Friday, March 11, Eyewitness News at 11

11:32 AM, Mar 10, 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.


      JAPAN IS STILL SHAKING TONIGHT... AND THE AFTERSHOCKS FOLLOWING TODAY'S MASSIVE EARTHQUAKE ARE EXPECTED TO CONTINUE FOR SOME TIME.
      TONIGHT... MILLIONS OF PEOPLE ARE HOMELESS... AND HUNDREDS ARE DEAD AND MISSING.
       RANDALL KINGSTON HAS MORE.
<<
(nats of screaming)


This was the beginning of one of the worst disasters Japan has ever seen.


(nat pop)
The magnitude 8.9 earthquake hit just off the north east coast of Japan in the middle of the day....triggering a series of devastating tsunamis. 


(Source: NHK via RTV - No access Japan )
The initial 23-foot wall of water washed homes, cars and entire villages up to 3 miles inland...before sucking some of it back out to sea. (end NHK video) Thousands are injured...more than 400 are confirmed dead. But with more than 700 people still missing, the death toll is expected to rise.


(sot from helicopter)
"All we see is a pile of debris, and we've been looking for people, but we see nobody."


By nightfall, fires raged throughout the quake zone. The Japanese are used to earthquakes, but not like this.


(nat of woman)
(Source: NHK via RTV - No access Japan )
I thought I was going to die...this woman said...it was enormous.
Even in Tokyo...240 miles from the quake's epi - center...skyscrapers swayed. Aftershocks are still rocking a 13-hundred mile stretch of Japan's coastline...some registering as magnitude 6 earthquakes. 


Of great concern now: the condition of at least 2 nuclear power plants damaged by the quake. The Japanese government has declared a state of emergency because radiation levels inside one of them have surged to 1-thousand times their normal level. Officials say they're having problems venting the radiation because they have no stable power. As a precaution, they've evacuated thousands of people. 


>>    IN GEORGIA... OFFICIALS WITH COLUMBUS-BASED AFLAC SAY THE COMPANY PLANS TO DONATE ONE-POINT-TWO MILLION DOLLARS TO DISASTER RELIEF EFFORTS IN JAPAN.
     THE COMPANY HAS ABOUT FIVE THOUSAND WORKERS IN JAPAN... AND DOES ABOUT 70 PERCENT OF ITS BUSINESS THERE.
     A SPOKESMAN FOR THE COMPANY SAYS THERE WERE NO REPORTS OF MAJOR INJURIES TO THE COMPANY'S WORKERS IN JAPAN.


MANY CENTRAL GEORGIA MILITARY FAMILIES HAVE CONNECTIONS TO JAPAN... AND THE AMERICAN BASES THERE.
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 AISLINN (ACE-LINN).
PITTS SAYS THAT'S ABOUT 230 MILES SOUTHWEST OF THE QUAKE'S EPICENTER.
SHE SAYS A 5.0 QUAKE HIT HER AREA... AND THEY'RE OK.
PITTS SAYS SHE WAS IN THE CAR... WITH AISLINN (ACE-LINN)... WHEN EVERYTHING STARTED TO MOVE.Antoinette Pitts,
"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... because I had my daughter with me, I just know that I had to keep her calm." PITTS SAYS SHE PLANS TO STAY IN JAPAN... HER TWO-YEAR CONTRACT WRAPS UP IN SUMMER OF 2012.
SHE TAUGHT AT WARNER ROBINS MIDDLE SCHOOL FOR FIVE YEARS.


CLASSMATES AND FRIENDS OF THE WARNER ROBINS SISTERS WHO DIED AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT THIS WEEK REMEMBER THEM BOTH AS BEING MOTIVATIONAL... LIVELY AND HELPFUL.
17-YEAR-OLD LESLIE SULLIVENT'S LOCKER IS COVERED IN LETTERS AND SIGNS FROM HER FRIENDS AND TEAMMATES IN REMEMBRANCE OF THE VETERAN'S HIGH SCHOOL JUNIOR.
THE SOCCER AND SOFTBALL TEAMS... WHICH LESLIE WAS A PART OF MADE CARDS..
HER YOUNGER SISTER... 11-YEAR-OLD BRIDGET SULLIVENT STARTED AS THE HIGH SCHOOL'S SOCCER MANAGER LAST WEEK.
THE PLAYERS SAY THE SISTERS WERE BEST FRIENDS.
Megan Sipsy, 10th Grade: "Bringing us together made us see what we lost, and that we should all motivate eachother just like Leslie did for us."
Kaelyn Meade, 10th Grade: "She was very dedicated, she would do anything for you. She had a lot of heart, and... great teammate."


FUNERAL SERVICES FOR THE GIRLS WILL BE TUESDAY AT FOUR O'CLOCK.... AT SECOND BAPTIST CHURCH ON MOODY ROAD. 
VISITATION WILL BE MONDAY NIGHT... FROM 7 TO 9... ALSO AT THE CHURCH.


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 THIS WEEK 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.


AFTER YEARS OF GOING UNTOUCHED... THE MIDDLE GEORGIA RACEWAY IS ONCE AGAIN A DESTINATION FOR DRIVERS AND FANS.
AS ELEANOR LISSITZYN EXPLAINS... DOZENS OF ENTHUSIASTS GATHERED AT A RACERS REUNION IN BYRON THIS EVENING... FOR EVENT THAT THEY HOPE WILL BE THE FIRST OF MANY.
FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE IT SHUT DOWN IN 1984... RUBBER MET THE ASPHALT ON THE HALF MILE TRACK OF THE MIDDLE GEORGIA RACEWAY...
nats
NASCAR HALL OF FAMER BOBBY ALLISON WAS THE GRAND MASTER FOR THE RACER'S REUNION... on the very track HE WON A GRAND NATIONAL TITLE ON IN 1971 
"That was quite a special time for me."
HE SAYS WHEN CARS LIKE THESE WERE ON THE ROAD... RACING WAS A DIFFERENT GAME... 
""
FRIDAY NIGHT'S EVENT WAS A CHANCE TO EXPERIENCE THE WORLD OF RACING THE OLD WAY... FEET FIRST... AND HANDS ON.
nats
DON TOMBERLIN SAYS HE FIRST GOT BEHIND THE WHEEL AFTER FIXING UP CARS IN AN AUTO SHOP.... BUT BACK THEN ... WORKING ON CARS WASN'T THE ONLY WAY TO GET INTO RACING.
"You're telling me that racetrack drivers used to get their practice out running the law hauling illegal moonshine?
Yeah I'd say that's right."
POLICE BUSTED TRACK OFFICIALS FOR OPERATING A STILL LIKE THIS ONE UNDER THE TRACK IN THE 1960'S...
 FORMER RACE CAR DRIVER BOB MOORE SAYS IN ITS PRIME... THIS RACEWAY WAS ONE THE FINEST.
"I think the lap time was nineteen or twenty seconds and that was really haulin' the mail back then."
AFTER THE TRACK CLOSED IN THE '80'S IT WAS NEGLECTED.
CREWS STARTED RESTORING IT LAST APRIL.
TOMBERLIN SAYS HE HOPES FRIDAY'S EVENT WILL BE THE FIRST OF MANY.
"The track used to have a huge frown on it's face. Now I think it's smiling."
ALLISON SAYS BEING AT THE TRACK... WAS LIKE LOOKING IN A REAR-VIEW-MIRROR. 
"All I could think of was the good times I had at this place."
AND WITH A FEW TOUCH-UPS TO THE PAVEMENT... HE SAYS HE THINKS THERE COULD BE EVEN MORE TO COME


STD THE EVENT CONTINUES TOMORROW FROM 
9-AM TO EIGHT P.M AT THE MIDDLE GEORGIA RACE WAY IN BYRON OFF HIGHWAY 41.
IT COSTS FIVE DOLLARS TO ATTEND...


     IF YOU'RE PLANNING ON A DINNER OUT THIS WEEKEND... YOU MAY WANT TO KNOW HOW YOUR FAVORITE RESTARAUNTS DID WHEN THE HEALTH INSPECTOR DROPPED IN.
     AMY AUBERT HAS THIS WEEK'S RESTARAUNT 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.
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.
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.
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. 
WE AVERAGED OUR NOMINEES' PAST FOUR SCORES... AND THIS WEEK'S GOLDEN SPATULA AWARD GOES TO... 
CHINA HOUSE IN WARNER ROBINS... WITH A FOUR-SCORE AVERAGE OF 99.
CONGRATULATIONS TO EVERYONE OVER AT CHINA HOUSE.
JOIN US AGAIN NEXT WEEK AS WE HEAD BACK TO BIBB COUNTY FOR MORE RESTAURANT RATINGS.
FOR ALL OF YOUR RESTAURANT RATINGS... GO TO OUR WEBSITE 13WMAZ DOT COM.
CLICK ON "RESTAURANT RATINGS" UNDER THE FEATURES TAB ON THE HOMEPAGE.
  FROM THERE... YOU CAN SCROLL DOWN THE PAGE AND CHECK OUT INSPECTION SCORES FROM *YOUR* COUNTY.


   WE HAVE A PROGRAMMING NOTE TO PASS ALONG... THE FIRST 50 MINUTES OF THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS DID NOT AIR TODAY DUE TO THE PRESIDENTIAL NEWS CONFERENCE.
    IF YOU WANT TO RECORD TODAY'S COMPLETE EPISODE.. SET YOUR D-V-Rs FOR 1:37 A-M. 


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.


     CENTRAL GEORGIA'S FESTIVAL SEASON IS IN FULL SWING... AND THERE ARE PLENTY OF OPTIONS.
     YOU CAN GO GREEN IN DUBLIN FOR THE SAINT PATRICK'S DAY FESTIVAL.
     AND THIS TIME NEXT WEEK... THE CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL KICKS OFF.
     TODAY'S 13WMAZ DOT COM WEB POLL QUESTION... WHICH FESTIVAL ARE YOU MOST LIKELY TO ATTEND THIS MONTH?
     SO FAR... 7 PERCENT OF YOU SAY THE FORSYTHIA.
     35 PERCENT OF YOU SAY THE CHERRY BLOSSOM.
     13 PERCENT SAY THE SAINT PATRICK'S.
    AND 44 PERCENT OF YOU SAY NONE.
    YOU CAN VOTE RIGHT NOW... LOOK FOR THE QUESTION IN THE "DON'T MISS" BOX ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF OUR HOMEPAGE AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.


    THANKS FOR JOINING US.... WEEKEND MORNIN' COMES YOUR WAY AT 7 A-M.
   THE NEWS IS ALWAYS ON AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.
 ON LETTERMAN TONIGHT: HOWARD STERN
    WE LEAVE YOU NOW WITH SIGNS THAT SPRING IS RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER.
    ENJOY AND HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND.    



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