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Tuesday, March 15, Eyewitness News at 11

10:52 PM, Mar 14, 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.

THREE CENTRAL GEORGIA COUNTIES VOTED TO EXTEND A PENNY SALES TAX TODAY... AND A FOURTH ELECTED A NEW COUNTY COMMISSIONER.
PUTNAM COUNTY VOTERS SAID YES TO A SPLOST EXTENSION, WITH 68 PERCENT IN FAVOR AND 32 PERCENT OPPOSED.
THE BALDWIN COUNTY PROBATE COURT SAYS VOTERS THERE ALSO PASSED THE SPLOST EXTENSION.
78 PERCENT VOTED IN FAVOR OF THE SPLOST, AND 22 PERCENT WERE OPPOSED.
LAURENS COUNTY VOTERS OVERWHELMINGLY PASSED THE SPLOST EXTENSION WITH 90 PERCENT OF VOTERS IN FAVOR AND 10 PERCENT OPPOSED.
IN BLECKLEY COUNTY, VOTERS CAST THEIR BALLOT TO DECIDE ON A COUNTY COMMISSIONER.
AS OF 10 P.M., CANDIDATE BARBARA WRIGHT SAID THE NUMBERS WERE 80 PERCENT TO 20 PERCENT IN FAVOR OF HER OPPONENT ROBERT BROCKMAN.
WE CALLED ROBERT BROCKMAN BUT A SPOKESMAN ANSWERED AND SAID THAT HE DID NOT WANT TO COMMENT AT THIS TIME.
WE DID TALK WITH BARBARA WRIGHT WHO SAID EVEN THOUGH SHE LOST, SHE FELT SHE RAN A CLEAN CAMPAIGN AND GAVE IT HER BEST SHOT.
SHE SAID SHE ENJOYED THE RACE AND MEETING THE PEOPLE OF BLECKLEY COUNTY.
SHE ALSO SAID SHE HAD NO REGRETS.

MORE THAN A THOUSAND PEOPLE PAID THEIR LAST RESPECTS TO TWO HOUSTON COUNTY GIRLS KILLED IN A CAR ACCIDENT LAST WEEK.
VANESSA RUFFES HAS MORE FROM LESLIE AND BRIDGET SULLIVENT'S FUNERAL WHERE LOVED ONES SAY THE TWO WILL BE REMEMBERED FOR THEIR HEART ON AND OFF THE SOFTBALL FIELD.
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Pastor "You see, Bridget was like a butterfly. She was everywhere. All over. (Laughs)"

THOSE WHO KNEW 11 YEAR OLD BRIDGET SULLIVANT SAY SHE WAS SPUNKY... OUTGOING... AND ALWAYS IN MOTION.

HER 17 YEAR OLD SISTER LESLIE... PEOPLE SAY... WAS QUIET AND TOUGH... BUT A MOTHERING TYPE.

Brian Rainwater "She was probably one of the most tender-hearted girls I've ever known. She would do anything for anybody."

MORE THAN A THOUSAND PEOPLE FILLED THE SANCTUARY OF SECOND BAPTIST CHURCH TUESDAY NIGHT... TO REMEMBER THE GIRLS.

BOTH WERE KNOWN AS LITTLE LEAGUE ATHLETES... AND STRONG IN THEIR FAITH... BUT MANY SAY BRIDGET'S KIND HEART --

Matt Coffee "Always willing to help. Always wanting to deflect praise from herself to someone else."

--AND LESLIE'S... WILL BE EACH GIRL'S MARK ON THE WORLD.

Mitch Horton "Sweet... and I think she put others ahead of herself a lot of times."

AS THE HOUSTON COUNTY COMMUNITY MOURNED THE TWO GIRLS... IT ALSO PULLED TOGETHER... MAKING THEIR FUNERAL A CELEBRATION OF THE JOY EACH GIRL BROUGHT TO LIFE IN HER OWN WAY.

"We don't have to ask where's Bridget. She's with a heavenly father and a loving savior. Leslie is with a heavenly father and a loving savior."

TWO YOUNG LADIES TAKEN TOO SOON... LOVED ONES SAY... BUT CLEARLY TOUCHING MANY LIVES BEFORE THEY LEFT.
VANESSA RUFFES 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>> THE SULLIVENT SISTERS DIED AFTER A WEDNESDAY NIGHT CAR CRASH ON HIGHWAY 96 IN SOUTH HOUSTON COUNTY.

NUCLEAR OFFICIALS COULD SPRAY WATER AND BORIC ACID ON A STRICKEN JAPANESE NUCLEAR PLANT AS THEY TRY TO CONTAIN RADIATION FROM DAMAGED FUEL RODS.
LEAKING RADIATION CAUSED THE GOVERNMENT TO ORDER 140 THOUSAND PEOPLE LIVING NEAR THE PLANT TO SEAL THEMSELVES INDOORS TO AVOID EXPOSURE.
TWO PEOPLE WERE RESCUED FROM TSUNAMI RUBBLE TODAY... BUT RESCUERS SAY THAT'S RARE GOOD NEWS.
THE CONFIRMED DEATH TOLL IS AROUND 33-HUNDRED... AND THOUSANDS ARE STILL MISSING.
OFFICIALS HAVE ESTIMATED THAT AT LEAST 10 THOUSAND PEOPLE DIED IN ONE OF JAPAN'S STATES. ALSO.... UP TO 450 THOUSAND PEOPLE ARE IN TEMPORARY SHELTERS... AND MILLIONS ARE COPING WITH NEAR FREEZING TEMPERATURES AND SNOW... WITH LITTLE FOOD, WATER OR HEATING.

THE DISASTER IN JAPAN HAS LEFT LOVED ONES ON A FRANTIC SEARCH FOR THOSE LISTED AS 'MISSING.'
FOR SOME... SEARCHING BY TELEPHONE IS THE ONLY OPTION.
AMY AUBERT SPOKE WITH ONE CENTRAL GEORGIA COUPLE WHO SAYS... SINCE THE QUAKE... THEY'VE MADE NEARLY A HUNDRED CALLS A DAY... IN HOPES OF HEARING THEIR FAMILIES' VOICES AGAIN.
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Noriko Marks, Warner Robins: "This sister I cannot get in touch with, she's in Aizuwakamatsu."

NORIKO MARKS CLUTCHES A PICTURE OF HER OLDER SISTER... THE ONLY ONE OF HER THREE SIBLINGS IN JAPAN...SHE HASN'T HEARD FROM... SINCE FRIDAY'S QUAKE.

Noriko Marks: "An incredible story is the night before, 11:30 Thursday night I'm speaking to my sister, to prepare."

MARKS SAYS JUST HOURS BEFORE SIGNS OF THE TSUNAMI... SHE WARNED HER SISTER TO STOCK UP ON FIRST AID... WATER... AND SUPPLIES.

Norikio Marks: "I felt it somehow, I don't know why, I felt it."

MARKS IS FROM FUKUSHIMA JAPAN... IN THE MOUNTAIN CITY OF AIZUWAKAMATSU... JUST TWO HUNDRED MILES FROM WHERE SHE SAYS... THE WORST OF THE TSUNAMI HIT.

Norkio Marks: "I was born in this home."

SHE LEFT HER HOMETOWN IN JAPAN WHEN SHE WAS TWENTY ONE... AND SAYS... NOW... SEVENTY FIVE PERCENT OF THAT CITY... IS DESTROYED.

Noriko Marks: "All I do, I was praying."

MARKS AND HER HUSBAND JOE WERE ABLE TO CONTACT HER TWO OTHER SIBLINGS BY PHONE...IN TOKYO... SHE SAYS THEY ASKED FOR TWO THINGS.

Noriko Marks: "Just water and a prayer."

ANOTHER FAMILY MEMBER TELLS HER... THE AFTERMATH OF THE QUAKE... SEEMS UNENDING.

Norkio Marks: "He said I would like to take a bath, it's been four days, same clothes in the shelter."

MARKS SAYS HER COUSIN'S FAMILY IS STILL LISTED AS MISSING... BUT THEY'LL CONTINUE THE SEARCH... UNTIL THEY HEAR WORD.

AMY AUBERT... 13 WMAZ... EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>> MARKS SAYS HER BROTHER IN TOKYO RECEIVED WORD THAT HER SISTER IS OKAY... BUT THEY HAVE YET TO GET IN CONTACT WITH HER.

PARKS AND RECREATION DIRECTOR DOC DOUGHERTY HAS A PLAN FOR BOWDEN GOLF COURSE..
DOUGHERTY TOLD CITY COUNCIL'S COMMUNITY RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE HOW HE WANTS TO CHANGE SOME OF THE PRICING OPTIONS AS A WAY OF INCREASING REVENUE AND ATTRACTING MORE GOLFERS DURING SLOW DAYS.
THE COURSE HISTORICALLY LOSES ABOUT ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS A YEAR...
DOUGHERTY SAYS THE NEWLY RENOVATED COURSE USED TO HAVE ONLY TWO OPTIONS - A DAILY RATE AND AN ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP.
BUT DOUGHERTY SAYS HE'D LIKE TO START OFFERING OPTIONS LIKE CORPORATE AND FAMILY RATES.
AND HE SAYS A MORE CURRENT PRICING STRUCTURE SHOULD HELP MAKE BOWDEN COMPETITIVE WITH OTHER PRIVATE CLUBS.
"I think changes such as Mondays having four for the price of three and thursday afternoons eighteen holes for eighteen dollars, things like that for a cost conscious public they'll go for things like that and bring them back to Bowden. They'll see how beautiful the place is and in turn they'll come back another day."
DOUGHERTY ALSO PROPOSED CREATING A DISC GOLF COURSE... ALSO KNOWN AS FRISBEE GOLF... ON THE BOWDEN PROPERTY...
ALL OF THE PROPOSED CHANGES STILL HAVE TO GO BEFORE THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL FOR APPROVAL.

COUNCIL MEMBERS ALSO VOTED TO FILL ERICK ERICKSON'S VACANT WARD FIVE SEAT.
ERICKSON LEFT COUNCIL IN FEBRUARY TO TAKE A JOB HOSTING A RADIO SHOW.
COUNCIL VOTED UNANIMOUSLY IN FAVOR OF APPOINTING BEVERLY BLAKE TO FUFILL THE REMAINDER OF ERICKSON'S TERM.
THAT'S AFTER THEY POSTPONED THE VOTE LAST COUNCIL MEETING BECAUSE BLAKE WAS OUT OF TOWN.
THE NORTH MACON RESIDENT IS MACON'S PROGRAM DIRECTOR FOR THE KNIGHT FOUNDATION.
SHE WAS NOMINATED BY WARD FIVE COUNCIL MEMBERS NANCY WHITE AND LAUREN BENEDICT.
BLAKE WILL SERVE ON COUNCIL UNTIL THE TERM EXPIRES IN DECEMBER.

FOUR MORE EMERGENCY WARNING SIRENS WILL GO UP IN MONROE COUNTY.
THAT'S ACCORDING TO E-M-A DIRECTOR MATT PERRY... WHO SAYS A FEDERAL GRANT WILL PAY FOR THE SIRENS.
THEY'LL GO TO SOME OF THE COUNTY'S HIGH-POPULATIONS AREAS: JULIETTE... CULLODEN.... HIGH FALLS STATE PARK AND THE COUNTY RECREATION COMPLEX OFF HIGHWAY 42.
FORSYTH ALREADY HAS FOUR SIRENS.
PERRY SAYS THE SPEAKERS CAN PUT OUT THE USUAL WARNING SOUNDS BUT ALSO BROADCAST RECORDED MESSAGES.
HE HOPES THEY'LL BE IN PLACE BEFORE THE SUMMER STORM SEASON.

JUST THREE WEEKS AFTER UNVEILING LEGISLATION TO OVERHAUL THE STATE'S CASH-STRAPPED HOPE SCHOLARSHIP... GOVERNOR NATHAN DEAL SIGNED IT INTO LAW.
THE NEW REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR MADE FIXING THE LANDMARK SCHOLARSHIP A CENTERPIECE OF HIS LEGISLATIVE AGENDA THIS SESSION.
THE PROGRAM WAS SET TO GO BROKE AS LOTTERY REVENUE FAILED TO KEEP PACE WITH RISING TUITION AND SOARING COLLEGE ENROLLMENT.
THE NEW LAW WILL SLASH SCHOLARSHIPS TO 90 PERCENT FOR ALL BUT THE HIGHEST SCORING STUDENTS.
THOSE WHO EARN A 3 POINT 7 G-P-A AND A 1200 ON THE S-A-T WILL STILL GET A FULL SCHOLARSHIP.

TECHNOLOGY MOVES QUICKLY... AND IT'S EASY TO GET LEFT BEHIND.
SO WE'RE STARTING A NEW SEGMENT HERE ON EYEWITNESS NEWS AT 11... AIMED AT HELPING YOU KEEP UP WITH WHAT'S GOING ON WITH THE TECH WORLD.
FOR OUR FIRST EDITION OF GEEK 13... WE TALKED WITH C-NET EDITOR ERIC FRANKLIN ABOUT SOME OF THE OPTIONS IF YOU'RE LOOKING TO PICK UP A TABLET.
"Well, there are a lot of options, actually. The most popular option would be the iPad. Apple just released the iPad 2 last Friday, and that's definitely the most popular option. It's also the one that's sold the most and has the most ports. The other options are tablets based on the Android operating system. Those are options like the Motorola XOOM or the Samsung Galaxy tab. There are also a lot of other options that are maybe cheaper, but don't work as well as the aforementioned tablets, but if consumers are looking for a new tablet, I'd say stick to the mainstream right now."
FRANKLIN ALSO SAYS.... THAT IF YOU WANT A TABLET THAT CAN CONNECT TO A 3-G DATA NETWORK... TRY TO AVOID GETTING LOCKED INTO A TWO-YEAR CONTRACT.
HE SAYS THAT'S BECAUSE THE MARKET IS CHANGING VERY QUICKLY RIGHT NOW.

MEANWHILE... VERIZON'S ROLLING OUT SOMETHING A LITTLE SMALLER THIS WEEK... THE COMPANY'S FIRST 4-G PHONE.
THE ANDROID-BASED H-T-C THUNDERBOLT WILL GO ON SALE THURSDAY.
IT'S THE FIRST PHONE TO USE VERIZON'S LONG-TERM EVOLUTION... OR L-T-E... NETWORK. THE COMPANY SAYS CUSTOMERS CAN EXPECT DOWNLOAD SPEEDS THAT ARE NEARLY TEN TIMES FASTER THAN 3-G SPEEDS.
FOR NOW... VERIZON PLANS TO OFFER AN UNLIMITED 4-G DATA PLAN.
BUT A SPOKESWOMAN SAYS THAT OPTION WILL PROBABLY GO AWAY... ALONG WITH THE REST OF VERIZON'S UNLIMITED PLANS BY THE END OF THE YEAR.

IT'S TIME TO FEATURE TONIGHT'S FACEBOOK FAN OF THE DAY....
VERMEIA RICHARDSON FROM MACON.
VERMEIA... 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.

DESPITE RAINY WEATHER TODAY... MANY VENDORS ARRIVED AT CENTRAL CITY PARK READY TO ASSEMBLE CONCESSION STANDS AND CARNIVAL RIDES.
VIDEO JOURNALIST KIMBERLY BURDEN WAS AT THE PARK AS EVERYONE GOT READY FOR THE PINKEST PARTY IN CENTRAL GEORGIA..
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Nats of Rain

THE RAIN SOAKED THE GROUNDS OF CENTRAL CITY PARK BUT THAT DID NOT STOP WORKERS FROM SETTING UP FOR THE BIG DAY.

Nats of Workers

VENDOR OWNER OF GILLETTE PIZZA AND U MAKE IT SLUSH CONCESSION...BRIAN GILLETTE SAYS HE'S NO STRANGER TO THE CHERRY BLOSSOM.

Brian Gillette "I think we have been coming to the cherry blossom festival for about fifteen years now"

HE SAYS EACH YEAR IS GREAT

Brian Gillette, New York "We love all the events. The stage the entertainment, the concerts, the carnival. There is really something for everybody, I mean from 4 years old all the way up to 80 years old"

Nats of Workers

Linda Maddox "I've got 24 food vendors and I've got probably 40 to 50 outside vendors and in the buildings we got close to 50 to 60 vendors"

SPECIAL EVENTS COORDINATOR FOR THE FESTIVAL.... LINDA MADDOX OVERSEES THE FESTIVITIES AT THE PARK SAYS PEOPLE CAN EXPECT SOME NEW THINGS THIS YEAR.

Linda Maddox "Camel rides and I think that's gone be fun, we got the water ball that's new to us, and I think that's going to be a lot of fun"

Nats of Water

Chris "It takes a lot of scrubbing to get the grease off from the event before, so basically getting everything where it's operating"

WORKERS WORKED THROUGH THE DRIZZEL TO CONSTRUCTED CARNIVAL RIDES.

Nats of workers

>> THE CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL OPENING CEREMONY KICKS OFF THIS FRIDAY AT CENTRAL CITY PARK AT NOON.

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