HELLO EVERYONE AND THANKS FOR JOINING US.I'M LEAH JOHNSON..
AND I'M FRANK MALLOY..THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT SIX.
TEAMMATES... FRIENDS... AND TEACHERS REMEMBER LESLIE AND BRIDGET SULLIVENT AS MOTIVATED AND OUTGOING.
THE HOUSTON COUNTY SISTERS DIED AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT WEDNESDAY.
AMY AUBERT TELLS YOU WHY SOME SAY THEY'LL NEVER FORGET THE TWO... AND WHAT THE SCHOOLS ARE DOING IN REMEMBRANCE.
Sabrina Cox, 10th Grade: "I just didn't think I'd lose a teammate, I never thought of how it would feel."
THE LOSS OF TWO SCHOOL-AGED FRIENDS AND TEAMMATES SEEMS ALMOST UNREAL... BUT KIDS AT VETERANS HIGH... AND MOSSY CREEK MIDDLE SCHOOL... ARE DEALING WITH THAT REALITY.
Megan Sipsy, 10th Grade: "We lost two special people, and two sweet people, that, I never thought anything could happen to them."
17-YEAR-OLD LESLIE SULLIVANT... AND HER 11-YEAR-OLD SISTER... BRIDGET... DIED AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT WEDNESDAY.
A MEMORIAL STANDS IN THEIR HONOR AT THE ACCIDENT SITE... ON HIGHWAY 96 IN BONAIRE.
BOTH GIRLS WERE MEMBERS OF THEIR SCHOOLS' SOFTBALL TEAMS... AND JUST LAST WEEK... BRIDGET SIGNED ON TO MANAGE VETERANS' SOCCER TEAM...WHICH HER SISTER PLAYED ON.
Megan Sipsy: "You could tell they were just really best friends."
AMY GAUTNEY IS THE P-E TEACHER AT MOSSY CREEK ELEMENTARY... AND SAYS SHE HAD BOTH SULLIVENT SISTERS IN HER CLASS.
LIKE MANY OTHER TEACHERS AND STAFF....GAUTNEY SAYS THE SISTERS SHARED A MOTIVATIONAL ATTITUDE... ON AND OFF THE FIELD.
Amy Gautney, Mossy Creek Middle School: "I'm just happy they're together, I know that up there they're going to be watcing all of us down on the softball field and all their friends."
AT VETERANS HIGH... THE TEAMS DECORATED LESLIE'S LOCKER... AND DESIGNED CARDS... THAT SAY THINGS LIKE... "WE'RE PRAYING FOR YOU," AND... "I LOVE YOU."
THE GIRLS ARE SPORTING YELLOW RIBBONS... IN REMEMBRANCE OF THE SULLIVENT SISTERS.
Sabrina Cox: "I'm really sad she's gone but she's in good hands."
AMY AUBERT... 13 WMAZ... EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>> BOTH SCHOOLS ARE PLANNING MEMORIALS FOR THE SULLIVENT SISTERS... THE FIRST BEING A TRIBUTE AT TUESDAY NIGHT'S GIRLS' SOCCER GAME.
FUNERAL SERVICES FOR THE GIRLS WILL BE HELD ON TUESDAY AT FOUR O'CLOCK.... AT SECOND BAPTIST CHURCH ON MOODY ROAD.
THE VISITATION WILL BE MONDAY NIGHT... FROM 7 TO 9... ALSO AT THE CHURCH.
A PROPOSED SALES TAX FOR BIBB COUNTY COULD PAY FOR MAJOR IMPROVEMENTS TO THE COUNTY'S PARKS AND RECREATION AREAS.
MACON MAYOR ROBERT REICHERT AND BIBB COUNTY CHAIRMAN SAM HART ANNOUNCED THEIR SERVICE DELIVERY STRATEGY THURSDAY.
THE STRATEGY INCLUDES A SPLOST ELECTION IN NOVEMBER.
IF IT PASSES... THE COUNTY WOULD TAKE OVER THE RECREATION DEPARTMENT.
BRITTINY BARBER EXPLAINS WHY IT'S A MAJOR CONCERN.
<< THE PINOCHLE (pea-knockle) CLUB COMES TOGETHER EVERY WEEK DAY AT THE FRANK JOHNSON RECREATION CENTER...
SOMETIMES THOUGH... THEY'RE DEALT MORE THAN JUST A GOOD HAND OF CARDS.
Herbert Davis, Macon, "It's been leaking... It's been raining in here for a while and we've not be able to do anything about it."
MACON AND BIBB COUNTY HOPE A PROPOSED SALES TAX CAN FIX THOSE PROBLEMS.
Charlie Simmons: Macon: "A one cent sales tax would help them improve the building that we already have in existence.
Joe Allen, Bibb County Commissioner: "There's a lot of work that has to be done on these buildings. We know that, but the city didn't have the money."
IF THE SPLOST PASSES.... THE COUNTY TAKES OVER RECREATION....
Dale Dougherty, Dir of Macon-Bibb Parks and Recreations: I think that's what's really going to draw all the voters interests to say ok, now they see the that the governments are working together, the county and the city, but also they see something in it for themselves and not just for one certain area of the city."
AN ADVISORY BOARD.. WITH REPRESENTATIVES FROM THE CITY AND COUNTY.. WILL LOOK AT THE CURRENT REC CENTERS...AND WHERE NEW ONES ARE NEEDED.
Dale Doughtery: "I would look to see if we can really bring in county areas as far has having serious county parks, mega facilities where you have racquetball courts and rock climbing. It's something that's long overdue for this region probably by 20 or 30 years."
BACK AT THE TABLE... THESE CARD SHARKS AGREE IT'S IMPORTANT TO HAVE POSITIVE PLACES FOR EVERYONE TO HANG OUT.
Charlie Simmons: "We have people come in they play checkers. We play pinochle and I see a lot of times the kids in the gym they play basketball. It does help them stay off the streets. That's the main idea."
BRITTINY BARBER 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>> THE PLAN SAYS BY MAY 15TH... THE CITY AND COUNTY WILL APPOINT THE ADVISORY BOARD.
THEY'LL GIVE THEIR REPORT IN AUGUST... TO DETERMINE THE AMOUNT OF FUNDING NEEDED TO MAKE UPGRADES AND BUILD NEW FACILITIES.
HUNDREDS ARE DEAD OR MISSING IN JAPAN AFTER A MASSIVE EARTHQUAKE..
THE MAGNITUDE 8-POINT-9 QUAKE SPAWNED A 23-FOOT TSUNAMI AND WAS FOLLOWED BY MORE THAN 50 AFTERSHOCKS.
DOZENS OF CITIES AND VILLAGES ALONG A 13-HUNDRED MILE STRETCH OF COASTLINE WERE SHAKEN BY VIOLENT TREMORS THAT REACHED TOKYO... HUNDREDS OF MILES FROM THE EPICENTER.
WIDESPREAD FIRES ARE BURNING OUT OF CONTROL IN THE COUNTRY.
A SMALLER 6-POINT-6 MAGNITUDE QUAKE STRUCK CENTRAL JAPAN A FEW HOURS LATER.
A WARNER ROBINS FAMILY SAYS THEIR DAUGHTER IS TEACHING IN JAPAN FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE SCHOOL SYSTEM.
ANTOINETTE PITTS IS AT THE YOKOTA AIR BASE... WITH HER SIX YEAR OLD DAUGHTER
PITTS SAYS THE BASE IS ABOUT 230 MILES SOUTHWEST OF WHERE THE 8.9 MAGNITUDE EARTHQUAKE STRUCK.
PITTS SAYS A 5.0 QUAKE HIT HER AREA... AND THEY'RE OK.
BOFTA YIMAM SPOKE WITH PITTS... WHO SAYS SHE WAS IN A PARKED CAR... WHEN EVERYTHING STARTED MOVING.
LETTIE HAUGABROOK SAYS HER MOTHERLY INTUITION DIALED IN EARLY FRIDAY.
"It was just a feeling in the inside,"
SHE WOKE UP HER HUSBAND BOBBIE AT 3:22 A-M --
"She had an inkling to call Antoinette"
THEIR 30-YEAR OLD DAUGHTER ANTOINETTE PITTS.. AND SIX YEAR OLD GRANDAUGHTER AISLINN (ACE-LINN).. MOVED TO THE YOKOTA JAPAN AIR BASE LAST AUGUST. THE PARENTS SAYS THE 12 HOUR TIME DIFFERENCE DOESN'T KEEP THEM APART... BUT ADMIT THEY DIDN'T EXPECT FRIDAY'S CONVERSATION... TO START WITH TALKS OF NATURAL DISASTERS.
"She said are you calling about the earthquake? I go 'what earthquake?'"
THE MOST POWERFUL EARTHQUAKE TO HIT JAPAN IN AT LEAST 100 YEARS... KILLED HUNDREDS AND FORCED THE EVACUATION OF THOUSANDS. THE QUAKE STRUCK JUST OUTSIDE OF SENDAI... THAT'S MORE THAN 200 MILES FROM YOKOTA... BUT THE EFFECTS COULD STILL BE FELT.. .SAYS PITTS.
Voice of Antoinette Pitts:
"My car started feeling funny, you know I was trying to figure out what was going on with the car so I cut the engine off and it felt like it was lifted off the ground."
THAT'S WHEN PITTS SAYS HER DAUGHTER AISLINN.. ALSO IN THE CAR... ASKED WHY IT STARTED TO MOVE... PITTS SAYS AT FIRST SHE WASN'T SURE... BUT THEN--
"I looked up and that's when I realized all the other cars in the parking lot were moving as well like some of the light fixtures and some of the ramps, everything was moving and swaying."
PITTS SAYS TREMORS SOON FOLLOWED... THE TEACHER SAYS SHE LIKELY UNDERREACTED.. SINCE HER MATERNAL INSTINCT TOOK OVER.
"because I had my daughter with me, I just know that I had to keep her calm."
THE FORMER AIR FORCE WORKERS SAY THEY BEGAN TO DRINK UP THE JOYS OF RETIREMENT ABOUT 4 YEARS AGO -- BUT SAY YOU NEVER STOP WORRYING ABOUT YOUR KIDS.
"just thankful that they're Ok."
BOFTA YIMAM 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS
PITTS SAYS SHE PLANS TO STAY IN JAPAN UNTIL HER TWO-YEAR CONTRACT WRAPS UP IN SUMMER OF 2012.
SHE ALSO TAUGHT AT WARNER ROBINS MIDDLE SCHOOL FOR FIVE YEARS.
LAURENS COUNTY STUDENTS WILL CONTINUE TO GO TO SCHOOL ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-FIVE DAYS NEXT YEAR.
SCHOOL BOARD CHAIRMAN MARCUS CLEMENTS SAYS THE BOARD VOTED UNANIMOUSLY LAST NIGHT TO KEEP TEN TEACHER FURLOUGH DAYS IN NEXT SCHOOL YEAR'S CALENDAR.
CLEMENTS SAYS STUDENTS STILL GET THE EQUIVALENT OF ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY DAYS OF CLASSROOM TIME.
HE SAYS THE MOVE SAVES THE DISTRICT ABOUT ONE POINT FIVE MILLION DOLLARS... AND KEEPS THEM FROM HAVING TO CUT MORE THAN 15 TEACHING JOBS AND RAISE CLASS SIZES.
LAURENS COUNTY SCHOOLS BEGAN USING A ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-FIVE DAY CALENDAR TWO YEARS AGO.
IF YOU'RE PLANNING A DINNER OUT THIS WEEKEND... SEE HOW YOUR FAVORITE RESTAURANTS DID... WHEN THE HEALTH INSPECTOR DROPPED IN.
AMY AUBERT JOINS US WITH THIS WEEK'S RESTAURANT RATINGS.
WE'RE BACK IN HOUSTON COUNTY THIS WEEK...STARTING OFF WITH OUR LOWEST SCORES FIRST....
APPLEBEE'S AT 3-14 RUSSELL PARKWAY IN WARNER ROBINS... SCORED AN 85 OR B AFTER AN 89... ANOTHER B... ON ITS PREVIOUS INSPECTION.
THE INSPECTOR SAID FOOD WASN'T BEING HELD AT THE PROPER TEMPERATURE... AND SURFACES WEREN'T PROPERLY CLEANED AND SANITIZED.
CHEN'S EXPRESS AT 28-06 WATSON BOULEVARD IN CENTERVILLE... MADE AN 80 OR A B AFTER A 91 OR AN A... ON THE INSPECTION BEFORE.
THE INSPECTOR SAID HANDWASHING FACILITIES WEREN'T ADEQUATE... AND TOXIC SUBSTANCES WEREN'T PROPERLY IDENTIFIED... STORED AND USED.
AND LONGHORN STEAKHOUSE AT 29-01 WATSON BOULEVARD IN WARNER ROBINS... SCORED A 75 OR C AFTER A 93 OR A ON ITS PREVIOUS INSPECTION.
THE INSPECTOR SAID THE PERSON IN CHARGE DIDN'T HAVE THE PROPER KNOWLEDGE... THE RESTAURANT DIDN'T HAVE PROPER HANDWASHING FACILITIES... AND SOME FOODS WERE HELD AT THE WRONG TEMPERATURES.
NOW FOR A LOOK AT THIS WEEK'S TOP SCORES... AND OUR GOLDEN SPATULA NOMINEES.
SUBWAY AT 11-14 HIGHWAY 96 IN KATHLEEN... MADE A 99 ON ITS LATEST INSPECTION... AFTER A PERFECT SCORE ON THE ONE BEFORE.
CHINA HOUSE AT 6-04 RUSSELL PARKWAY IN WARNER ROBINS... HAD A PERFECT SCORE... AFTER A 99 ON ITS PREVIOUS INSPECTION.
AND GEORGIA BOB'S BARBEQUE AT 18-82 RUSSELL PARKWAY IN WARNER ROBINS... HAD A 97 ON ITS LATEST INSPECTION... AFTER A 99 ON THE ONE BEFORE. ALL OF THOSE SCORES ARE A'S.
JOIN US AGAIN TONIGHT AS WE AVERAGE OUR NOMINEES PAST SCORES TO GIVE YOU THIS WEEK'S GOLDEN SPATULA WINNER....FRANK...LEAH?
YOU CAN FIND RESTAURANT RATINGS FROM WHERE *YOU* LIVE... JUST VISIT 13WMAZ DOT COM AND LOOK FOR "RESTAURANT RATINGS" UNDER "FEATURES" IN THE MENU BAR AT THE TOP OF THE HOMEPAGE.
FOLKS IN FORSYTH SAY THEY PLAN TO "PAINT THE TOWN YELLOW" THIS WEEKEND FOR THE 24TH ANNUAL FORSYTHIA FESTIVAL.
THE BIG ARTS AND CRAFTS FAIR.. WITH MORE THAN 100 VENDORS... STARTS AT TEN SATURDAY MORNING.
FRIDAY... THE PRIMARY PROVIDER OF DECORATIVE FORSYTHIA FLOWERS... PREPARED WREATHS.. BASKETS AND RIBBONS.
FLORIST... ANGIE ELLIS HANGS HER CREATIONS... ALL AROUND TOWN.
THE SHRUBS... SOMETIMES CALLED YELLOW BELLS... GROW NATURALLY IN MONROE COUNTY... BUT DIRECTOR OF TOURISM... KAREN MANUS-PENNINGS SAYS.... THEY NEED LOTS OF EXTRAS... TO GIVE FORSYTH THE YELLOW GLOW.
Karen Manus-Pennings, Monroe Director of Tourism: "We have our festival. Were all about yellow. We all wear yellow to get into the spirit. You will see people walking around town, wearing the buttons, wearing yellow. Really helping us paint the town yellow."
THE ARTS AND CRAFTS FESTIVAL RUNS THROUGH 5 P-M SUNDAY... AND THERE ARE MANY OTHER FORSYTHIA EVENTS PLANNED FOR THIS WEEKEND.
FOR A FULL LISTING.. GO TO OUR WEBSITE 13WMAZ DOT COM.
CLICK ON WHERE YOU LIVE... THEN SELECT FORSYTH.
YOU'LL FIND A DAY-BY-DAY BREAKDOWN OF THIS WEEKEND'S EVENTS.
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.