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Tuesday, March 8, Eyewitness News at 11

11:46 PM, Mar 8, 2011   |    comments
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GOOD EVENING AND THANKS FOR JOINING US..
I'M FRANK MALLOY.. AND I'M LEAH JOHNSON..THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT 11..

A FEDERAL PROGRAM DESIGNED TO HELP FIGHT BLIGHT... COULD END UP ADDING ABOUT TWENTY NEW BOARDED-UP HOMES TO MACON NEIGHBORHOODS.
AS ELEANOR LISSITZYN EXPLAINS... MACON CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS ARE TRYING TO KEEP THAT FROM HAPPENING... BUT IT COULD COST THE CITY THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS. VANDALS BROKE IN TO THIS HOUSE IN DECEMBER... CAUSING TWENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS IN DAMAGE... AND LEAVING IT UNSELLABLE...
'The damage was shocking."
COUNCIL MEMBERS TOURED THE DAMAGE TUESDAY EVENING. IT WAS PART OF A WORKSESSION TO DISCUSS WHAT TO DO NEXT WITH 23 PROPERTIES THE CITY BUILT FOR LOW INCOME HOME OWNERS WITH FEDERAL GRANT MONEY...
"we wanted them to see the damage."
THE DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT TOLD THEY CITY THEY'LL NO LONGER FOOT THE BILL FOR REPAIRS... SO IN ORDER TO SELL THIS HOUSE... THE CITY WOULD HAVE TO PAY TO REPAIR IT.
"do you want to repair it?"
"we don't have the money."
THE CITY HAS SPENT ABOUT THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS REPAIRING DAMAGE TO HOMES LIKE THESE SINCE 2007... AND THEY'VE SPENT ANOTHER ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY SIX THOUSAND TO INSURE THEM... BUT REICHERT SAYS THEY'VE NEVER FILED A CLAIM FOR DAMAGES...
THAT NEWS LEFT SOME COUNCIL MEMEBERS BAFFLED
"It seems like we should be able to get some clarity here."
THE MAYOR TOLD COUNCIL THEY WERE JUST FOLLOWING THE PRECIDENT OF PREVIOUS ADMINISTRATIONS... BUT HIS CONCERN IS THAT THEY'D BE BETTER OFF FOOTING THE BILL FOR REPAIRS... THAN PAYING THE INCREASE IN PREMIUMS..
"We'll look in to filing the insurance claim." 11:25
COUNCILMAN TOM ELLINGTON SAYS HE DIDN'T NEED TO SEE THE DAMAGE... TO KNOW THE SOLUTION.... GETTING OCCUPANTS IN
THE HOMES...
"I think we need to keep looking for a creative solution."
WITHOUT ANYONE LIVING IN THE HOMES... THE MAYOR SAYS HE'S HESISTANT TO SPEND MONEY ON REPAIRS.
"It's just going to happen again, We'll be back here in another 90 days."
TWO IDEAS PROPOSED AT THE MEETING... RENTING THE PROPERTIES.. OR LETTING PEOPLE LIVE IN THEM RENT FREE... AREN'T ALLOWED UNDER THE HUD PROGRAM.
SO REICHERT SAYS UNLESS HUD IS WILLING TO RELAX THEIR REQUIREMENTS... THE CITY ONLY HAS TWO CHOICES-
FIX THEM UP...OR BOARD THEM UP.
STD REICHERT SAYS HE HAS MEETINGS SCHEDULED WITH HUD OFFICIALS IN THE NEXT FEW WEEKS.
HE SAYS THEY'LL BE COMING TO MACON TO VIEW THE HOUSES... AND HE HOPES THEY'LL BE OPEN TO SUGGESTIONS FOR PUTTING THE PROPERTIES TO GOOD USE.

THE GEORGIA SENATE HAS APPROVED MAJOR CHANGES TO THE HOPE SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM.
GOVERNOR NATHAN DEAL'S PLAN WOULD REDUCE CUT SCHOLARSHIPS FOR ALL BUT THE STATE'S
TOP-SCORING STUDENTS.
IT WOULD ELIMINATE PAYMENTS FOR BOOKS, FEES AND REMEDIAL CLASSES.
THE SCHOLARSHIPS WOULD BE FOR A FIXED AMOUNT...RATHER THAN RISE WITH TUITION.
THE BILL PASSED THE SENATE TODAY BY A 35 TO 20 VOTE.
IT NOW GOES BACK TO THE HOUSE TO APPROVE CHANGES MADE IN THE SENATE..

BLECKLEY COUNTY STUDENTS WILL HAVE SCHOOL TOMORROW... AFTER A BOMB THREAT SHUT DOWN THE DISTRICT TODAY.
SHERIFF HAROLD LANCASTER SAYS A 9-1-1 DISPATCHER GOT A CALL LAST NIGHT THAT THREATENED ANYONE WHO SET FOOT ON A BLECKLEY COUNTY SCHOOL CAMPUS TODAY.
HE SAYS DEPUTIES AND BOMB-SNIFFING DOGS SEARCHED THE COUNTY'S FOUR SCHOOLS... AND DIDN'T FIND ANY BOMBS.
LANCASTER SAYS THE CALLER GAVE THE DISPATCHER SOMEONE ELSE'S NAME... AND SUSPECTS THE THREAT CAME FROM A STUDENT.
Sheriff Harold Lancaster: "My first feeling is this is just a kid wanting to be out of school, but you can never take these things for granted, you have to follow through and check on everything and make sure things are safe." THE DOOLY COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE SAYS NO BOMBS WERE FOUND IN TODAY'S SEARCH.
SHERIFF LANCASTER SAYS... A JUVENILE CONVICTED OF MAKING THE THREAT COULD FACE UP TO FIVE YEARS PROBATION.
BLECKLEY COUNTY SUPERINTENDENT CHARLOTTE PIPKEN SAYS... SCHOOLS WILL REOPEN TOMORROW AND MAKE UP THE MISSED DAY ON MARCH 29TH.

BIBB COUNTY SUPERINTENDENT ROMAIN DALLEMAND WILL PROPOSE SOME MANAGEMENT CHANGES FOR HIS NEW DISTRICT TO THE SCHOOL BOARD THURSDAY NIGHT.
THAT'S ACCORDING TO SCHOOL SPOKESMAN CHRIS FLOORE.
HE SAID DALLEMAND PLANS TO REVIEW AND REORGANIZE THE DISTRICT'S LEADERSHIP STRUCTURE... TO HELP IMPROVE STUDENT PERFORMANCE.
THE CHANGES WILL INVOLVE MANAGERS AT BOTH THE CENTRAL OFFICE... AND THE COUNTY'S SCHOOL BUILDINGS.
FLOORE SAID HE DIDN'T KNOW IF THAT WILL INCLUDE ANY JOB CUTS.
BUT HE SAID THE CHANGES CAME AS A RESULT OF DALLEMAND'S VISITS TO SCHOOLS.... AND CONVERSATIONS WITH PARENTS.... STAFF AND THE PUBLIC.
DALLEMAND WAS OUT OF TOWN TODAY... AND NOT AVAILABLE FOR COMMENT.

NORTHSIDE HIGH SCHOOL IN WARNER ROBINS HAS A NEW PRINCIPAL...BUT HE'S A FAMILIAR FACE.
HE'S GREG PEAVY.....A WARNER ROBINS NATIVE WHO'S BEEN WITH THE SCHOOL SYSTEM FOR 18 YEARS.
PEAVY HAS WORKED AS A TEACHER...BAND DIRECTOR...AND ADMINISTRATOR AT NORTHSIDE.
HE'LL REPLACE MARK SCOTT...WHO'LL BECOME THE HOUSTON SCHOOL DISTRICT'S ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT FOR HUMAN RESOURCES.

THE PERRY FIRE DEPARTMENT AND AN APARTMENT COMPLEX HAVE RESPONDED TO A WOMAN'S COMPLAINT ABOUT HER THREE TRAPPED CATS.
KELLY LUCAS AND HER BOYFRIEND NICK TRICE SAY THE CATS WERE STRANDED INSIDE THEIR APARTMENT AFTER A FIRE ON FEBRUARY 18TH.
YESTERDAY... WE TOLD YOU THAT LUCAS WAS UNHAPPY THAT POLICE.... THE FIRE DEPARTMENT.... AND OWNERS OF THE HOUSTON COUNTY APARTMENT COMPLEX HAVE BEEN UNABLE TO HELP HER SAVE THE CATS. BUT IN EMAILS TODAY... FIRE CHIEF JOEL GRAY AND THE APARTMENT MANAGER SAID THEY'VE DONE EVERYTHING THEY CAN TO HELP THE CATS GET OUT OF THE UNSTABLE BUILDING.
HE ALSO SAID IT'S NOT SAFE FOR RESCUERS TO ENTER THE APARTMENT.

WARNER BROTHERS' DECISION TO FIRE CHARLIE SHEEN FROM 'TWO AND A HALF MEN' HAS RAISED SOME QUESTIONS ABOUT THE SHOW'S FUTURE. WE ASKED OUR FACEBOOK FANS WHAT THEY THOUGHT THE STUDIO SHOULD DO WITH THE SERIES AFTER SHEEN'S DEPARTURE. ONE PERSON WROTE... "I LIKE THE SHOW AND WILL MISS IT.
I DON'T LIKE THE WAY CHARLIE SHEEN HAS BEEN ACTING, THOUGH."
SOMEONE ELSE COMMENTED... "MAYBE C-B-S SHOULD PUT HIS CHARACTER IN REHAB ON THE SHOW AND RUN WITH THAT STORY LINE... LET THE OTHER AWESOME ACTORS AND ACTRESSES PLAY OFF "CHARLIE" NOT BEING THERE!"
AND A THIRD PERSON WROTE... "I LIKE THIS SHOW... BUT I WILL STOP WATCHING IT IF HE ISN'T ON IT."
JOIN US AT FACEBOOK DOT COM SLASH 13WMAZ AND CLICK THE LIKE BUTTON TO BECOME A FAN SO YOU CAN JOIN THE CONVERSATION.

TODAY'S 13WMAZ DOT COM WEB POLL QUESTION ASKS... WHAT SHOULD HAPPEN TO 'TWO AND A HALF MEN'?
SO FAR 13 PERCENT OF YOU SAY BRING BACK CHARLIE SHEEN.
27 PERCENT SAY REPLACE HIM.
AND 60 PERCENT SAY... TIME TO END THE SHOW.
VOTE NOW.... LOOK FOR THE QUESTION IN THE "DON'T MISS" BOX ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF OUR HOMEPAGE AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.

TECHNOLOGY IS MOVING QUICKLY... AND WE'RE HERE TO HELP YOU STAY ON TOP OF THE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS.
LAST WEEK... WE TOLD YOU HOW TO "GOOGLE" YOURSELF... AND REMOVE YOURSELF FROM THE SEARCH ENGINE IF IT'S STARTING TO HURT YOUR REPUTATION.
BUT HOW CAN YOU KEEP TRACK OF YOUR ONLINE IMAGE?
HERE'S C-NET'S BRIAN COOLEY WITH A COUPLE OF TIPS IN THIS TECH MINUTE.<<
You may have heard about services that monitor your reputation online and do it for a fee. But you can handle that yourself...for free.
First google the common form of your name-first and last. Put it in quotes to be specific, then check the first three pages or so of results. While you're there click on the news results and check the first page or so. Oh you can also go to google.com / alerts to set up an automatic email to be notified when anything new with your name is found by google.
Second check Twitter at twitter.com - again search your name in quotes, or while you're in the previous google session I just showed you, click on updates on the left side to find Twitter results.
And if you're a Twitter user, log in and check your mentions. That's the link with the @ in front of your Twitter name.
Finally you have to monitor Facebook because it's not well searched by Google. So log in, search your name and then click posts by everyone.
Just a few tips to know if your online reputation is starting to slip.
>>

AND IF YOU'RE HEADING OVER TO FACEBOOK WHILE YOU'RE ONLINE... YOU CAN ALSO CHECK OUT THE SOCIAL NETWORK'S NEW OFFERING... MOVIE RENTALS.
WARNER BROTHERS HAS LAUNCHED A RENTAL PROGRAM THAT LETS USERS VIEW THEIR MOVIES STREAMED FROM FACEBOOK FAN PAGES.
RIGHT NOW... "THE DARK KNIGHT" IS THE ONLY MOVIE AVAILABLE... BUT WARNER BROTHERS SAYS MORE TITLES WILL BE ADDED IN THE COMING MONTHS.
EACH RENTAL WILL COST YOU 30 FACEBOOK CREDITS... OR THREE DOLLARS.
YOU CAN ACCESS THE RENTAL FOR UP TO 48 HOURS AFTER YOU BUY IT... AND YOU CAN USE OTHER FACEBOOK FEATURES LIKE POSTING COMMENTS AND STATUS UPDATES WHILE YOU'RE WATCHING THE MOVIE.

AND A WORD OF WARNING... IT MIGHT LOOK LIKE THE REAL THING TO THE NAKED EYE... BUT IT'S NOT.
A SMARTPHONE APP CAN TRICK DRIVERS INTO THINKING THEY'RE BEING PULLED OVER BY THE POLICE.
IT FEATURES FLASHING RED AND BLUE... AND A BLARING SIREN.
USING IT AS A POLICE SIREN ON SOMEONE IS CONSIDERED IMPERSONATING AN OFFICER... AND VIOLATORS COULD FACE A SERIOUS FINE.
A SPOKESMAN WITH THE SOUTH CAROLINA HIGHWAY PATROL SAYS MOST DEPARTMENTS USE SOLID BLUE LIGHTS INSTEAD OF A RED AND BLUE COMBINATION.
HE SAYS... DON'T BE AFRAID TO QUESTION SOMEONE WHO DOESN'T LOOK LIKE A POLICE OFFICER.
SOT Robinson: "Their ID, you can get their name if you want to, but yes you can always ask for proper ID.
THE DEPARTMENT ALSO RECOMMENDS THAT DRIVERS SLOW DOWN... ACKNOWLEDGE THAT YOU SEE THE OFFICER... TURN ON YOUR INTERIOR LIGHT IF IT'S DARK... AND PULL OVER IN A VERY PUBLIC PLACE.

IT'S TIME FOR OUR FACEBOOK FAN OF THE DAY.
TONIGHT'S WINNER... NIKKI GAULTNEY!
CONGRATULATIONS NIKKI... YOU'LL GET A 13WMAZ COFFEE MUG.
IF YOU WANT TO BE OUR FACEBOOK FAN OF THE DAY... IT'S EASY.
VISIT FACEBOOK DOT COM SLASH 13WMAZ AND CLICK THE "LIKE" BUTTON TO BECOME A FAN.
THEN... JUST JOIN THE CONVERSATIONS.
WE PICK OUR FAN OF THE DAY RANDOMLY.

FOR THE SEVENTH YEAR IN A ROW... GEICO HAS BEEN NAMED UNITED WAY OF CENTRAL GEORGIA'S TOP CONTRIBUTER.
IT'S A STORY THAT COMES.. .STRAIGHT FROM THE HEART. GEICO... PLEDGED OVER EIGHT HUNDERED AND FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS... DURING THE 2010 UNITED WAY CAMPAIGN..
THAT'S AN INCREASE OF OVER TWO PERCENT... FROM THE PREVIOUS YEAR'S TOTAL.
THE DONATION IS MADE UP OF EMPLOYEE CONTRIBUTIONS AND A CORPORATE GIFT.
ACCORDING TO A NEWS RELEASE FROM UNITED WAY... THE DONATION WILL HELP MORE THAN ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND LOCAL PEOPLE.
MARY ZARCONE...THE SOUTHEATERN REGIONAL VICE PRESIDENT OF GEICO...SAYS IT'S TOUGH TO CONTINUE TO TOP THEMSELVES....BUT THEY ALWAYS FIND NEW WAYS TO GET CONTRIBUTIONS.
we collect um, a various means. everything from payroll deductions where we have different meetings, discuss it with our associates how important it is to help others in our community. um, everything from that payroll deduction right up to...baking cakes and selling them, you know, at lunch time and running those sort of contribution efforts. IN ADDITION TO THE MONEY RAISED BY ASSOCIATES.. GEICO MADE A CORPORATE GIFT OF ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY-NINE THOUSAND DOLLARS.

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