Thursday, February 17, Eyewitness News at 6

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 HELLO EVERYONE AND THANKS FOR JOINING US.I'M LEAH JOHNSON..
 AND I'M FRANK MALLOY..THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT SIX.

A FIRE THAT SCORCHED HUNDREDS OF ACRES IN WEST BIBB COUNTY IS NOW UNDER CONTROL.
    THAT'S ACCORDING TO DISTRICT FIRE CHIEF PRESTON THOMAS.
    IT WAS REPORTED AROUND 2-30 THIS AFTERNOON.... NEAR THOMASTON ROAD.... AND ESTES ROAD.
   THAT'S NEAR LAKE TOBESOFKEE.
   LAUREN DISPIRITO SENT US THIS I-PHONE VIDEO OF THE BRUSH FIRE.
   40 TO 50 FIREFIGHTERS ARE ON THE SCENE.
GEORGIA FORESTRY RANGERS ALSO HELPED.
  CHIEF THOMAS SAYS THE FIRE CAME WITHIN A FEW YARDS OF SOME HOMES... BUT NO ONE WAS INJURED.

    A WARNER ROBINS JOB FAIR SCHEDULED TO LAST FOUR HOURS... SHUT THE DOORS AFTER JUST ONE HOUR.
    ACCORDING TO THE DIRECTOR OF CIVILIAN JOBS-DOT-COM... THE EVENT WAS ORIGINALLY FOR MILITARY PERSONNEL AND THEIR FAMILIES.
    AS AMY AUBERT SHOWS YOU... HUNDREDS OF JOB SEEKERS CAME OUT WITH HOPES OF LANDING A CAREER... AND MANY SAY THEY WERE HAPPY TO MAKE IT THROUGH THE DOORS.
<<
Nats, line

CROWDS LIKE THIS STARTED GATHERING AT THE MUSEUM OF AVIATION AROUND NINE O'CLOCK THURSDAY MORNING... FOR A JOB FAIR THAT STARTED AT TEN.

Nichole Spath, Macon: "It just makes you think, 'Wow, all of these people are lookin' for jobs right now.'"

NICHOLE SPAY-TH IS JUST ONE OF SEVEN HUNDRED AND FIFTEEN JOB SEEKERS WHO MADE IT TO THE EVENT BEFORE THE DOORS CLOSED... ONLY AN HOUR... AFTER OPENING.

Nats: "This is for pre-registered!"

THE EVENT WAS RUN BY A JOBS WEB SITE....CIVILIAN JOBS DOT COM.
VICKI WASHINGTON....WHO RAN THE FAIR FOR THE WEB SITE...SAYS... A CROWD THIS SIZE WAS UNEXPECTED... MOSTLY BECAUSE THE EXPO WAS GEARED FOR SERVICE MEMBERS... AND FAMILY.

Nats, Vicki Washington: "Are you military? Former military?"

AFTER SEEING LOCAL SEEKERS FLOCK BY THE HUNDREDS... WASHINGTON SAYS THEY SEPARATED THE BUNCH... ONE LINE FOR MILITARY... THE LONGER... FOR CIVILIANS.

Vicki Washington: "We've broken a record here, we've never seen this type of crowd."

AND THE LONG LINES OUTSIDE... MEAN MORE WAITING... INSIDE.

Shoshona Banks, Macon: "It is a ton of people out here, and the lines are long!"

MORE THAN FORTY EMPLOYERS SET UP SHOP...

Nats

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE WAS JUST ONE OF THEM.....OTHERS INCLUDED... LAW ENFORCEMENT...TECHNICAL... AND TEACHING CAREERS....AND DEFENSE CONTRACTORS LIKE BOEING AND LOCKHEED.
JOB SEEKERS SAY THEY'RE HAPPY TO SEE SO MANY ROBINS-AREA COMPANIES REPRESENTED.

Ashley Dagley, Warner Robins: "We want to keep our local industry up, you know, we want to keep our economy going here."

AND WITH RESUMES IN HANDS... JOB HUNTERS SAY... THEY'LL TOUGH IT OUT... TO FIND THE PERFECT JOB.

Nichole Spath, Macon: "You just gotta be patient and know that everybody's out here for the same reason."

AMY AUBERT... 13 WMAZ... EYEWITNESS NEWS.

>>    WASHINGTON SAYS THEY USUALLY EXPECT BETWEEN FOUR AND EIGHT HUNDRED PEOPLE AT A MILITARY JOB FAIR...
    SHE SAYS THEY REACHED MORE THAN SEVEN HUNDRED IN THE FIRST HOUR.

   AN OVERTURNED FOOD TRUCK.. LED TO A RIOT AT THE MONROE COUNTY JAIL OVER THE WEEKEND.
   THAT'S ACCORDING TO ALLISON SELMAN-WILLIS...MONROE SHERIFF DEPARTMENT PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER.
   WE SPOKE WITH WILL DAVIS... EDITOR OF THE MONROE COUNTY REPORTER ABOUT THIS STORY.. VIA SKYPE.
     ALLISON SELMAN WILLIS OF THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE
TELL US THAT EIGHT INMATES NOW FACE CHARGES ...SEVEN FOR OBSTRUCTION....ONE FOR INCITING A RIOT.

    LOCAL BUSINESSES COULD HAVE MORE WORK WITH SOME GOVERNMENT AGENCIES.
    OFFICIALS SAY THE MACON-BIBB BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY CENTER SHOULD OPEN THIS SUMMER... TO HELP LOCALLY OWNED COMPANIES COMPETE FOR CONTRACT WORK.
    BRITTINY BARBER EXPLAINS WHAT THIS MEANS FOR BUSINESS OWNERS.
<<    BUSINESSES LIKE LOCALLY OWNED C-J PRICE CONSTRUCTION... KNOW THE BURDEN THAT COMES WITH DOING WORK WITH GOVERNMENT AGENCIES.
Charlie J. Price, Jr.- Co-owner C.J. Price Construction: "It a lot of effort and a lot of foot work. A lot of creditialing that needs to be done in order to build any kind of relationship with that particular entity."
    ORGANIZERS OF THE NEWLY FORMED MACON-BIBB BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY CENTER HOPE TO MAKE IT A LITTLE EASIER.
Lonzy Edwards, Bibb Co. Commissioner: "This organization will serve as a clearing house. The member entities will let people know what contracting opportunities are available so they can compete fairly for it."
    IT'S A COMBINED EFFORT BY BIBB COUNTY... THE MACON HOUSING AUTHORITY AND THE MACON WATER AUTHORITY....
    THE GOAL.. TO HELP LOCAL AND MINORITY OWNED BUSINESSES COMPETE FOR GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS.
    IN THE CASE OF THE HOUSING AUTHORITY... THOSE CONTRACTS CAN TOTAL ABOUT 20 MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR.
John Hiscox, Exe. Dir, Macon Housing Authority: "What we're hoping is that as we see the advantages of all of this played out and work out, that other member governments will join us."    
    MEMBERS MET ON THURSDAY TO DISCUSES BY-LAWS, BUDGET AND HIRING STAFF.
    THE THREE ORGANIZATIONS EACH INVESTED 40-THOUSAND DOLLARS FOR THE PROJECT... TO HELP BOOST THE LOCAL ECONOMY.
Lonzy Edwards: "We see our dollar going out of Macon and Bibb County and we've got to stop that."
    AND A MACON BUSINESS OWNER CALLS THAT A PLUS FOR CENTRAL GEORGIA...
Charlie Price, Jr. :"WE have everything that we need here in this community so if we get better at utilizing what we have... i think it's just fantastic."
    BRITTINY BARBER 13 WAMZ EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>>    JOHN HISCOX WITH THE MACON HOUSING AUTHORITY SAYS THIS PROJECT HAS BEEN IN THE WORKS FOR MORE THAN 15 YEARS.
    IT'S AN EFFORT STARTED BY THE LATE ALBERT BILLINGSLEA... WHO WAS A FORMER COUNTY COMMISSIONER.
    BILLINSLEA DIED EARLIER THIS MONTH.

    A THIRD EXECUTIVE WITH THE AMERICAN SHINGLE COMPANY SURRENDERED TO BIBB COUNTY OFFICIALS THIS MORNING TO FACE CRIMINAL CHARGES.
    LAST MONTH...THE BIBB SHERIFF'S OFFICE ISSUED WARRANTS FOR THE THREE MEN... ON DOZENS OF CHARGES OF THEFT BY CONVERSION.
    THEY'RE ACCUSED OF TAKING THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS FROM CUSTOMERS... FOR ROOFWORK THAT WAS NEVER DONE.
    TODAY....BIBB COUNTY CAPTAIN MIKE SMALLWOOD SAYS FRANK (purr-a-bur) PUREBER SURRENDED TO INVESTIGATORS.
    RIGHT NOW...HE'S IN THE BIBB COUNTY JAIL ON 22 THOUSAND DOLLARS BOND.
    NO TRIAL DATE HAS BEEN SET FOR THE THREE EXECUTIVES.
    SMALLWOOD SAYS EACH COULD FACE TWO TO TEN YEARS IN PRISON IF CONVICTED.

    A STATE AGENCY SAYS IT SHUT DOWN TWO BARBECUE RESTAURANTS - ONE IN NORTH MACON AND ONE IN MILLEDGEVILLE BECAUSE OF UNPAID TAXES.
    THE PIG IN A PIT RESTAURANTS ON BASS ROAD IN MACON... AND WEST HANCOCK STREET IN MILLEDGEVILLE REMAIN CLOSED TODAY.
    VIEWERS TELL US A SIGN IN THE MACON RESTAURANT SAYS IT'S BEEN CLOSED BY THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE.
    SCOTT PURVIS.... MANAGER OF THE AGENCY'S MACON OFFICE CONFIRMED THE CLOSING... BUT WOULD NOT DISCUSS DETAILS.

    TWO CANDIDATES RUNNING FOR BLECKLEY COUNTY'S SOLE COMMISSIONER'S SEAT WILL ATTEND A "MEET THE CANDIDATES" FORUM TONIGHT.
    ROBERT BROCKMAN AND BARBARA WRIGHT WILL BE AT WALKER AUDITORIUM AT MIDDLE GEORGIA COLLEGE AT 7.
    THE SCHOOL'S STUDENT GOVERNMENT ASSOCIATION IS SPONSORING THE EVENT... AND INVITES VOTERS TO WATCH.
    IF YOU CAN'T MAKE IT TO THE FORUM.. YOU CAN SEE IT ON COMCAST CHANNEL100 NEXT FRIDAY AT 7 P-M.

     WE WANT YOU TO KEEP YOUR MIND OFF THE PHONE AND ON THE ROAD WHEN YOU'RE DRIVING BY JOINING OUR GREAT HANG UP PLEDGE AND VOWING TO GET OFF THE PHONE WHILE YOU'RE BEHIND THE WHEEL.
      JUST VISIT 13WMAZ DOT COM... AND LOOK FOR THE PLEDGE UNDER THE "FEATURES" TAB ON THE HOMEPAGE.
      YOU'LL FIND THE LINK TO SIGN THE PLEDGE ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE PAGE.
      IF YOU'VE SIGNED THE PLEDGE AND KEPT IT... OR IF YOU SIGNED IT AND *DIDN'T* KEEP IT... WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU.
       EACH MONTH... WE'RE SHARING YOUR STORIES DURING OUR GREAT HANG UP DAY HERE ON EYEWITNESS NEWS.
       JUST EMAIL US AT EYEWITNESS-NEWS AT 13WMAZ DOT COM TO LET US KNOW YOU'RE INTERESTED.

    FILM MAKERS AND FILM LOVERS ARE ROLLING INTO CENTRAL GEORGIA FOR THE SIXTH ANNUAL MACON FILM FESTIVAL THIS WEEKEND.
    WE WENT BEHIND THE SCENES TODAY TO GET A PREVIEW OF WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT AT THIS YEAR'S FESTIVAL.
SOT: IT'S A RELATIONSHIP DRAMA ABOUT HOW LOVE CHANGES THROUGH TIME AND IT'S A VERY CHARACTER DRIVEN PIECE.

Marco Velez is a young film maker from New York who's excited about his work. Telling stories he says has always been a passion of his.

SOT: SINCE I WAS A KID, I LOVED TELLING STORIES AND LISTENING TO STORIES. I GUESS IT ALL STARTED WITH MY GRANDFATHER TELLING ME ALL THOSE FANTASTIC STORIES ABOUT TOWN OR THE PEOPLE HE KNEW.

VELEZ...AND OTHER FILM MAKERS FROM AROUND THE WORLD HAVE GATHERED AT THE 6TH ANNUAL MACON FILM FESTIVAL.

SOT: Julie Saoud: It's a break from reality and everybody needs that. I think it's a big part of why people go to the movies. They want that break, they want to throw themselves into other people's stories and to me, to create those stories is an amazing thing.

AND IF YOU LOVE MOVIES...IT'S A CHANCE FOR YOU TOO TO SIT IN ON SOME CREATIVE WORK.

SOT: It's a great opportunity in February to come downtown and enjoy.
It's a great way to see a lot of movies, different movies that you normally would not see in the theater.

Julie Wilkerson with the festival says the event ALSO LETS people know the talent behind the lens.

SOT: We have special guests with each movie that will talk about the film and give everybody an idea of what it was like to make the film.

She says the event also showcases the city and works as an inspiration to film makers.

SOT: One of the great successes about the festival is that we've had film makers come and meet each other here, make films together and actually come back to Macon and make the films here.

An opportunity that Velez may take advantage of too.
    FOR TICKETS TO THE MACON FILM FESTIVAL CALL 478-256-3809.  
    AGAIN THAT NUMBER IS 478-256-3809....OR GO TO OUR WEBSITE AND LOOK FOR THIS STORY ON OUR HOMEPAGE.

     TODAY'S 13WMAZ DOT COM WEB POLL QUESTION ASKS... SHOULD THE STATE USE TAX CREDITS TO ENCOURAGE MORE MOVIES FILMED IN GEORGIA?
      SO FAR 56 PERCENT OF YOU SAY NO.
      AND 44 PERCENT OF YOU SAY YES.
      VOTE RIGHT NOW... LOOK FOR THE WEB POLL QUESTION ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF OUR HOMEPAGE INSIDE THE "DON'T MISS" BOX.

     WE'RE WORKING TO MAKE IT EVEN EASIER TO FIND OUT WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH THE WEATHER IN YOUR AREA.
      THAT'S WHY WE'VE ADDED THE DOPPLER RADAR TO ALL OF THE SITES IN THE "WHERE YOU LIVE" SECTION AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.
     JUST LOG ONTO 13WMAZ DOT COM AND LOOK FOR THE "COMMUNITY NEWS" BOX ON THE HOMEPAGE... SELECT YOUR COMMUNITY... THEN CLICK ON "MORE NEWS" TO HEAD OVER TO YOUR LOCAL PAGE.
      FROM THERE... SCROLL DOWN THE PAGE TO FIND THE DOPPLER RADAR ON THE LEFT SIDE.

   WHILE YOU'RE SNAPPING PHOTOS... YOUR KIDS LOVE POSING FOR THE SHOT.
    HERE'RE SOME OF THE PICTURES YOU'VE ADDED TO OUR "AREN'T MY KIDS THE CUTEST" GALLERY AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.
   HERE'S MYCHAEL... TWO YEARS OLD AND ALREADY DOING TRICKS ON HIS BIKE.
   AND OF COURSE... AFTER A LONG DAY OF PLAYING... YOU NEED TO TAKE A WATER BREAK.
SEND US YOUR PHOTOS...LOOK FOR *PHOTO GALLERIES* UNDER "FEATURES" IN THE MENU BAR ACROSS THE TOP OF OUR HOMEPAGE...

    THANKS FOR JOINING US.... WE'LL BE BACK TONIGHT AT 11.
BUT REMEMBER...THE NEWS IS ALWAYS ON AT 13WMAZ.COM !
   THE EVENING NEWS WITH KATIE COURIC IS UP NEXT.
   HAVE A SAFE NIGHT EVERYONE.

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