Saturday, March 5, Eyewitness News at 6

7:13 PM, Mar 5, 2011   |    comments
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GOOD EVENING AND THANKS FOR JOINING US.
I'M BOFTA YIMAM.
THIS IS A LATE EDITION OF EYEWITNESS NEWS AT SIX.

A MACON PASTOR HOPES THE CITY'S NEW REDEVELOPMENT PLAN PROPELS IDEAS FOR CHANGE... INTO ACTION.
COUNCIL MEMBERS PASSED A PLAN ON TUESDAY... THAT LAYS THE FRAMEWORK---FOR REVITALIZATION EFFORTS IN THREE CITY SECTIONS.
LAUREN DISPIRITO SHOWS YOU WHAT CHANGES ONE PASTOR SAYS HE'D LIKE TO SEE IN UNIONVILLE.. AND EXPLAINS WHY HE'S HOPEFUL NOW... THE CITY COULD HELP IMPROVE THE AREA.

NATS "THAT'S A DUMP, RIGHT IN THE BACK DOOR OF A CHURCH, RIGHT OFF OF A MAJOR THOROUGHFAIR"

PASTOR SAM JOHNSON SAYS UNIONVILLE'S BLIGHTED HOMES MAY BE AS MUCH A HEALTH PROBLEM AS THEY ARE AN EYESORE.

NATS "RATS AND RODENTS AND EVERYTHING ELSE IN AND OUT"

HE SAYS IN THE MID 90S... HE COUNTED 100 VACANT PROPETIES IN THE MACON NEIGHBORHOOD. NOW... JOHNSON SAYS MANY... IF NOT MORE.. ARE STILL EMPTY.

NATS

PLUS... JOHNSON SAYS CONVENIENCE STORES IN THE AREA HARBOR ILLEGAL GAMBLING AND LEAVE PEOPLE WITH FEW HEALTHY OPTIONS.

"WE HAVE A SATURATION OF STORES WHERE WE CAN GET CARBOHYDRATES, SUGAR, BEER, OTHER THINGS, THAT'S A RED FLAG FOR A COMMUNITY IN DECLINE."

JOHNSON SHARED IDEAS TO IMPROVE UNIONVILLE WITH CITY COUNCIL TUESDAY. HE ASKED THEM TO CONSIDER NOT GIVING BUSINESS PERMITS FOR NEW CONVENIENCE STORES IN SOME NEIGHBORHOODS.

RABBI LARRY SCHLESINGER, MACON CITY COUNCIL "WE CERTAINLY DON'T WANT TO DENY ANYBODY THE OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE AN HONEST LIVING"

CITY COUNCILMAN RABBI LARRY SCHLESINGER SAYS DENYING LICENSES MAY NOT BE LEGAL... BUT HE SAYS COUNCIL SHOULD BE OPEN TO HEARING CONCERNS.

RABBI LARRY SCHLESINGER, MACON CITY COUNCIL: "I THINK WE HAVE TO ALLOW THE GOOD PEOPLE OF THE NEIGHBORHOODS THE TO OPPORTUNITY TO EXPRESS THEMSELVES IN A WAY THAT WILL ENABLE THEM TO TAKE BACK THEIR NEIGHBORHOODS."

SCHLESINGER SAYS COUNCIL COULD PUT IDEAS INTO ACTION WITH THEIR NEW URBAN REDEVELOPMENT PLAN.... CREATED TO REVITALIZE PARTS OF THE CITY.
JOHNSON HOPES THEY TAKE INPUT FROM UNIONVILLE'S CHURCHES.

"IT TAKES THE WHOLE VILLAGE, IF I BORROW HILLARY'S WORDS, IT TAKES THE WHOLE VILLAGE TO RAISE THE COMMUNITY, AND SO I'M HOPING THIS PLAN DOESN'T GET BOGGED DOWN WITH POLITICS."

JOHNSON CALLS THE REDEVELOPMENT PLAN THE CITY'S FIRST ASSERTIVE EFFORT TO IMPROVE NEIGHBORHOODS IN 15 YEARS... AND SAYS THAT'S AN ENCOURAGING MOVE TOWARDS CHANGE.

LAUREN DISPIRITO
13 WMAZ
EYEWITNESS NEWS

SCHLESINGER SAYS AFTER JOHNSON SPOKE TO COUNCIL TUESDAY... HE SUGGESTED MAYOR REICHERT... APPOINT A TASK FORCE TO LOOK INTO THOSE ISSUES.

HUNDREDS LOOKING TO GET SOME CHARGES OFF THEIR RECORD... TOOK PART IN AN EXPUNGEMENT FORUM.

THEY GOT TIPS ON CLEANING THEIR CRIMINAL RECORDS.... INCLUDING UNCONVICTED CHARGES.
PEOPLE GOT A CHANCE TO JOIN THE PANEL DISCUSSIONS AT STRONG TOWER FELLOWSHIP CHURCH.
ORGANIZER ASHELY DEADWYLER SAYS THIS EVENT HOPES TO RAISE AWARENESS ABOUT THE LAWS BEHIND EXPUNGEMENT... AND THE RIGHTS TO THOSE WITH RECORDS.
WILLIAM WEST SAYS HIS RECORD... ONCE KEPT HIM FROM LANDING A JOB.
HE HOPES OTHERS... WON'T HAVE TO GO THROUGH THE SAME TROUBLES.

WILLIAM WEST, MACON: "HOPEFULLY THEY'LL SEE THERE ARE PEOPLE OUT THERE THAT ARE TRING TO MAKE A DIFFRENCE IN LIFE AND FOR OTHER PEOPLE AND TRYING TO HELP OTHER PEOPLE."
ASHLEY DEADWYLER, ORGANIZER: "WE JUST NEED TO RECOGNIZE THAT THIS IS AN ISSUE OF ACCEPTING PEOPLE BACK INTO SOCIETY, IF WE'RE GOING TO RELEASE PEOPLE OUT OF JAIL AND LET THEM PAY THEIR DEBT LEGALLY, LET THEM SERVE THEIR SENTENCE AND THEM RELEASE THEM, WE'RE GONNA HAVE TO FIND A WAY TO ACCEPT THAT BACK INTO THE COMMUNITY."

DEADWYLER HOPES THE EVENT BOOSTS SUPPORT FOR HOUSE BILL 402... WHICH AIMS TO CHANGE STATE CRIME INFORMATION LAWS... SO THAT PEOPLE'S CRIMINAL RECORDS DON'T REFLECT CHARGES... THEY WERE NOT CONVICTED OF.
SHE SAYS MORE THAN TWO MILLION GEORGIANS ARE ESTIMATED TO HAVE A CRIMINAL HISTORY.

A COUPLE CENTRAL GEORGIA LEGISLATORS WANT YOUR INPUT... ON TWO BIILLS TARGETED TOWARDS LANDFILL IMPROVEMENTS.

SENATOR ROBERT BROWN ALONG WITH REPRESENTATIVE BUBBER EPPS HOSTED THE PUBLIC HEARINGS.
THE LEGISLATORS TALKED ABOUT TWO BILLS... HOUSE BILL TWO-74... AND SENATE BILL ONE-10... THAT COULD AFFECT LANDFILLS IN TWIGGS AND EAST BIBB COUNTY.
IF PASSED... THE BILLS WOULD RE-INTRODUCE YARD TRIMMINGS AND VEGETATIVE MATTER TO GEORGIA LANDFILLS.
BROWN SAYS PEOPLE IN RURAL AND POOR COUNTIES ARE CONCERNED LANDFILL OWNERS ARE TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THEM... AND SAY THEIR HEALTH COULD BE IN JEOPARDY

SEN. ROBERT BROWN
"THE PRIMARY CONCERN IS THAT THE SEEPAGE FROM THESE LANDFILLS CAN AFFECT THE WATER SUPPLY. AND IN TURN CAN AFFECT THE HEALTH AND SAFETY OF THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTY."
TINA HILL GARDNER
"CHEMICALS, DIFFERENT THINGS, IT'S A SERIOUS ISSUE, BUT NOT SOMETHING YOU HEAR EVERYDAY. YOU JUST DON'T SIT AROUND THE DINNER TABLE AND DISCUSS THIS."

DURING THE HEARINGS TODAY... THE SENATORS ALSO TALKED ABOUT POSSIBLE SALARY INCREASES FOR THE TWIGGS BOARD OF EDUCATION.
MORE EYEWITNESS NEWS CONTINUES AFTER THE BREAK.

MEDIATON IS UNDER WAY BETWEEN GEORGIA MEGACHURCH PASTOR BISHOP EDDIE LONG... AND THE FOUR MEN ACCUSING HIM OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT.
AN ATTORNEY FOR LONG'S CHURCH SAYS THE FIRST SESSION WRAPPED UP TODAY... AND MORE COULD BE SCHEDULED SOON.
LONG HAS DENIED THE ACCUSATIONS FILED AGAINST HIM BY THE FOUR MEN... LAST YEAR IN DEKALB COUNTY.
IF THE MEDIATION DOES NOT REACH A RESOLUTION... THE CASE COULD GO TO TRIAL LATER THIS YEAR.

FUNERAL ARRANGEMENTS HAVE BEEN SET FOR BLUES LEGEND EDDIE KIRKLAND.

VISITATION STARTS TOMORROW AT BENTLEY AND SONS FUNERAL HOME AT 9 A-M.... AND WILL CONTINUE UNTIL 9 P-M.
ON MONDAY VISITATION WILL RESUME FROM 9 A-M TO 11 A-M.

FUNERAL SERVICES WILL BEGIN MONDAY AT UNIONVILLE BAPTIST CHURCH AT ONE P-M.
KIRKLAND WILL BE BURIED AT CHERRY BLOSSOM CEMETERY IN LIZELLA.

THE RAINY WEATHER DIDN'T STOP SOME FOLKS FROM PLACING THEIR BIDS... ON A NEW SET OF WHEELS TODAY.

(PAUSE NATS FULL 3 SECONDS)
ABOUT 600 PEOPLE CHECKED OUT BIBB COUNTY SHERIFF'S PATROL CARS... DRUG CONFISCATED VEHICLES AND ROAD EQUIPMENT.
SOME ALSO PICKED UP FARM EQUIPMENT AND ITEMS FROM THE MILITARY SURPLUS.
AUCTION ORGANIZER JIM DAVIS SAYS BIBB COUNTY SELLS THEIR SURPLUS EQUIPMENT ABOUT ONCE EVERY TWO YEARS.
MICHAEL MCLAUGHLIN SAYS A FEW CARS CAUGHT HIS EYE... BUT SAYS HE ENJOYS THE AUCTION FOR MORE THAN JUST THE VEHICLES.

MICHAEL MCLAUGHLIN, WARNER RONBINS: "MY UNCLE WANTED TO COME OUT HERE AND I THOUGH I'D JUST COME OUT HERE WITH HIM AND ENJOY THE PEOPLE AND ENJOY THE CROWD. JUST NICE BUYS...NICE PEOPLE...NICE VEHICLES AND STUFF."

DAVIS SAYS THE MOST POPULAR ITEM AT THE EVENT WAS THE FORD CROWNE VICTORIA... ONCE USED BY THE MACON D-A OFFICE.
HE SAYS BIDS WENT AS HIGH AS 36-THOUSAND DOLLARS AND AS LOW AS... FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS.
THE AUCTION BROUGHT IN ABOUT 200 THOUSAND DOLLARS.

WE'RE TAKING A LOOK AT SOME OF YOUR PICTURES FROM THE PET PALS GALLERY.

THIS ONE SAYS... SITTING LIKE A CAT ON THE BACK OF THE CHAIR.

AND THIS ONE SAYS.. BELLA HELPING WITH THE DISHES.

SEND US YOUR PHOTOS...LOOK FOR *PHOTO GALLERIES* IN THE MENU BAR ACROSS THE TOP OF OUR HOMEPAGE...

LET'S HAVE ONE LAST LOOK AT WEATHER WITH METEOROLOGIST JASON DISHAROON.


ADLIB WEATHER

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.
WE'LL SEE YOU BACK HERE FOR EYEWITNESS NEWS AT ELEVEN.

FOR ALL YOUR NEWS... WEATHER... AND SPORTS 24-7... VISIT 13WMAZ DOT COM.
WE'LL SEE YOU LATER.

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