Monday, March 21, Eyewitness News at 11

5:45 PM, Mar 21, 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.

THE WARNER ROBINS AGENCY IN CHARGE OF DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS WILL SOON UNDERGO A CHANGE OF CAST.
TONIGHT... AFTER A TIE-BREAKING VOTE FROM THE MAYOR... COUNCIL DECIDED TO CHANGE THE MAKE-UP OF THE REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY.
AS VANESSA RUFFES EXPLAINS... MAYOR AND COUNCIL WILL STEP DOWN AS MEMBERS... AND BE REPLACED BY PEOPLE FROM THE COMMUNITY.
<<
Nats, "I'm going to vote to go ahead and reform the RDA board... that's all..."

MAYOR CHUCK SHAHEEN'S VOTE TO OVERHAUL THE REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY TIPPED THE SCALES IN A DECISION THAT HAD COUNCIL EQUALLY SPLIT.

SHAHEEN SIDED WITH COUNCILMEN TOM SIMMS JUNIOR... DARON LEE... AND JOHN WILLIAMS.
THEY ALL SAY REMOVING MAYOR AND COUNCIL FROM THE R-D-A BOARD... AND REPLACING THEM WITH SEVEN MEMBERS FROM THE COMMUNITY WILL ALLOW CITY PROJECTS TO PROGRESS QUICKER.

THEY SAY THE NEW STRUCTURE WILL TAKE OUT THE "POLITICS" AND BRING IN DEVELOPMENT EXPERTISE.

Nats, Simms "You have to use your resources, and we have an excellent pool of people out there."

COUNCILMEN BOB WILBANKS... PAUL SHEALY... AND MIKE DALEY VOTED AGAINST THE CHANGE... SAYING IT COMES AT A CRITICAL TIME... AND THE NEW STRUCTURE RAISES ETHICAL QUESTIONS.

Wilbanks "You do not put the fox in charge of the henhouse folks. The people who are getting rich off these development projects shouldnt be the ones making the decision about where and how that development is going to be made in the city of Warner Robins."

Daley "I have no problem whatsoever if this board changes over -- if we change the RDA over to something different. What I'm concerned about is the sense of urgency to do so."

IT'S A CHANGE OF GUARD... THEY SAY HAS THEM WORRIED... WITH MAJOR PROJECTS LIKE G-RAMP AND THE NEW L-E-C ON THE LINE.
VANESSA RUFFES 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>> MAYOR CHUCK SHAHEEN SAYS HE'LL PROPOSE A LIST OF R-D-A CANDIDATES ... WHO'LL BE SCREENED BY THE NON-VOTING EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR.... GARY LEE.
HE SAYS COUNCIL CAN THEN VOTE TO APPROVE OR REJECT THE FINAL CHOICES.
HE HOPES TO HAVE THAT FINAL LIST IN TWO WEEKS... IN TIME FOR THE NEXT COUNCIL MEETING.

NEIGHBORS OF A WARNER ROBINS WOMAN WHO WAS MURDERED LAST MONTH..... SAY THEY'RE RELIEVED THAT POLICE HAVE MADE AN ARREST IN THE CASE.
JONI CLEMENTS WAS FOUND SHOT TO DEATH IN HER WESTWOOD DRIVE HOME ON FEBRUARY 8TH.
TODAY... POLICE ANNOUNCED THEY ARRESTED HER HUSBAND JAMES E. CLEMENTS JUNIOR AND CHARGED HIM WITH FELONY MURDER AND BURGLARY.
NEIGHBORS SAY WEEKS OF SPECULATION ABOUT WHO KILLED JONI CLEMENTS LEFT SOME COMMUNITY MEMBERS FEELING UNEASY.
JUDY ETHERIDGE LIVED A FEW HOUSES AWAY FROM THE CLEMENTS.
SHE SAYS THE NEWS THAT JAMES CLEMENTS HAD BEEN ARRESTED WAS A SHOCK... BUT SHE'S GLAD TO HAVE SOME ANSWERS.
"Well it'll bring some relief to the neighbors because we didn't know what happened and who did what. We've been keeping our doors locked."
WARNER ROBINS POLICE SPOKESWOMAN TABITHA PUGH SAID TWO OTHER MEN ARE ALSO CHARGED WITH FELONY MURDER IN THE CASE.
ACCORDING TO PUGH... 29-YEAR-OLD RICHARD SYBERT.. AND HIS FATHER ROBERT GRANT SYBERT ARE CHARGED WITH FELONY MURDER AND BURGLARY.
PUGH SAID RICHARD SYBERT IS THE SUSPECTED GUNMAN.
SHE SAID JAMES CLEMENTS AND ROBERT SYBERT ARE BEING HELD AT THE HOUSTON COUNTY JAIL WITHOUT BOND.
RICHARD SYBERT IS BEING HELD WITHOUT BOND AT THE JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA SHERIFF'S OFFICE AND FACES EXTRADITION TO GEORGIA.

MILLER MIDDLE SCHOOL WAS UNDER A CODE RED LOCKDOWN THIS AFTERNOON.
BIBB COUNTY SCHOOL OFFICIALS SAY 17 9-MILLIMETER BULLETS AND 17 12-GAUGE SHOTGUN SHELLS WERE FOUND IN AN EIGHT GRADE BOY'S BOOK BAG AROUND 2-15.
THEY SAY NO WEAPONS WERE FOUND.
THE STUDENT WAS NOT IDENTIFIED.
HE HAS BEEN SUSPENDED AND WILL FACE AN EVIDENTIARY HEARING.

FORMER GOVERNOR SONNY PERDUE SAYS HE'LL BACK NEWT GINGRICH IF HE SEEKS THE REPUBLICAN NOMINATION FOR PRESIDENT.
EARLIER TONIGHT... PERDUE SAID THE FORMER U-S HOUSE SPEAKER "WOULD MAKE A GREAT PRESIDENT."
GINGRICH ALREADY HAS THE BACKING OF GEORGIA'S GOVERNOR NATHAN DEAL... WHO SERVED WITH HIM IN THE U-S HOUSE.
THE TEN-TERM CONGRESSMAN SAYS HE'S EXPLORING A WHITE HOUSE BID AND WILL LIKELY MAKE A DECISION BY MAY.

IF YOU WOKE UP WITH A LAYER OF YELLOW COVERING YOUR CAR TODAY... YOU'RE FAR FROM ALONE.
POLLEN SEASON IS HERE IN CENTRAL GEORGIA.
WORKERS AT FOUNTAIN CAR WASH SAY THE PINK FOUNTAIN OUT FRONT MARKS MORE THAN JUST CHERRY BLOSSOM TIME.
IT'S ALSO THE START OF THEIR BUSIEST TIME OF YEAR.
SOME CENTRAL GEORGIANS COMPARED IT TO A LAYER OF SNOW.
THEY SAY THEY'VE MADE MORE THAN ONE TRIP TO THE CAR WASH IN THE SPAN OF A WEEK.
THE YELLOW STUFF DRIFTED FROM TREES AND COVERED WINDOWS TODAY... WHICH IS WHY FROSTI SMITH SAYS SHE NEEDED TO SCRUB HER CAR BEFORE GOING ANYWHERE.
Frosti Smith, Macon: "It was as if it was raining, and then all the pollen came and dragged across my car. It was like completely yellow."
THE POLLEN COUNT IS EXPECTED TO REMAIN HIGH THE REST OF THIS WEEK... THANKS TO WARM TEMPERATURES AND LOW HUMIDITY.

ONE CRAWFORD COUNTY MAN MOLDED HIS LIFE'S WORK FROM MORE THAN A CENTURY OF FAMILY TRADITION.
AS ELEANOR LISSITZYN EXPLAINS... MARK MERRITT'S LOVE OF MUD AND THE LAND IT COMES FROM IS HELPING SCULPT THE HISTORY AND THE FUTURE OF HIS HOMETOWN.
MARK MERRITT'S FAMILY HAS BEEN SHAPING THE GEORGIAN FOLK POTTERY TRADITION FOR ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY YEARS...
Merritt: "Its neat being able to take part of the ground, the earth and make something out of it people can use."
SIX GENERATIONS OF MERRITT'S HAVE MOLDED THIS ECHECONNEE SWAMP CLAY...
"The only way to learn is by doing it"
TO HELP MAKE CRAWFORD COUNTY AN AREA REVERED FOR IT'S EARTHENWARE.
"It's got iron in it... that's what makes it a brownish color.
IT'S A CRAFT THAT'S SLOWLY BEING LEFT IN THE DUST... IN THE 1800'S CRAWFORD COUNTY WAS HOME TO MORE THAN SIXTY FIVE POTTERS.
TODAY THE MERRITTS SAY THEY'RE THE ONLY ONES LEFT.
nats of machine
MARK AND HIS WIFE CONNI PROCESS AND SELL CLAY THROUGH THE LIZELLA CLAY COMPANY... AND THEY ALSO SELL THEIR POTTERY AT DOZENS OF CRAFT SHOWS A YEAR.
"Just to get Crawford County's name back on the map as a pottery mecca... it's been the hub for years for pottery in Middle Georgia."
AS THEY PUT IT... THIS CLAY CREATED THE TUPPERWARE OF THE 1800'S... SCULPTING CONTAINERS AND JUGS THAT WERE ESSENTIALTO EVERY HOUSEOLD....
"100 years ago the didn't drink out of bottles, allumnimum cans, they used pottery jugs."
NOW... THE FATHER OF TWO SAYS... THE TRADITION IS EVOLVING.
"They only made a few thing a long time ago, just what was necessary. People today make functional pottery and people also make just decorative pottery, just something pretty." 1:55 1:31 M2
HE SAYS IT'S THE HUMAN IMPRINT ON HIS WORK...THAT KEEPS UP THE DEMAND FOR THIS GEORGIA CLAY
"I just like to know it's handmade."
AND THEY HOPE THEIR CUSTOMER'S DESIRE TO HOLD CRAWFORD COUNTY'S EARTH WITH THEIR OWN HANDS...
nats
WILL BE ENOUGH TO KEEP THE WHEEL TURNING FOR MANY MORE GENERATIONS TO COME.

THE MERRITTS POTTERY WILL BE DISPLAYED AT THIS YEAR'S ANNUAL JUG FEST ON MAY 19TH AND 20TH IN KNOXVILLE GEORGIA.
THAT'S JUST OUTSIDE OF ROBERTA.
THE MERRITTS ALSO HOST THEIR OWN POTTERY FAIR IN NOVEMBER...
FOR MORE INFORMATION...VISIT 13MWAZ.COM AND CLICK ON THIS STORY ON OUR HOMEPAGE...

ALLIED FORCES IN LIBYA ARE LAUNCHING MORE ATTACKS... BUT LIBYAN LEADER MUAMMAR QADDAFI ISN'T BACKING DOWN... SAYING THIS WILL BE A LONG WAR.
PRESIDENT OBAMA SAYS QADDAFI "HAS TO GO."
BUT HE ALSO SAYS..... THAT'S NOT THE GOAL OF THE INTERNATIONAL MILITARY EFFORT AGAINST LIBYAN GOVERNMENT FORCES.
SCOTT GOLDBERG HAS MORE FROM NEW YORK.
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NATS explosion
Lines of anti-aircraft fire streaked over Tripoli for the third night.
NATS plane
A Libyan government spokesman says allied forces bombed a civilian airport and ports but the claim has not been verified.
nats guys with rocket
Sunday night....an allied missile hit leader Muammar Qaddafi's compound.
The US military says the target was a government command facility
President Obama says it's US policy that Qaddafi has to go....but maintains the purpose of the operation is not to bring him down.
SOT: (Obama) ``Our military action is in support of an international mandate from the Security Council that specifically focuses on the humanitarian threat posed by Col. Gadhafi to his people."

:48-:56 Standup: (Scott Goldberg/United Nations) "The United Nations security council met Monday to discuss a letter from Libya's foreign minister asking for the military aggression to stop. The council rejected a request for an emergency meeting."

Allied forces are carrying out missions to extend the no fly zone over a 600 mile-wide area.

NATS missile

The lead US commander in the region says in the past 24 hours, at least a dozen Tomahawk missiles took out more air defense sites and Libyan command centers.

1:12-1:17 SOT: (Gen. Carter F. Ham/Commander, U.S. Africa Command) "I assess that our actions to date are generally achieving the intended objectives."

President Obama says the US will hand over control of the operation to other coalition partners within days.


>>
THE U-S HAS ALREADY LESSENED ITS ROLE IN THE OPERATION AS MORE AIRCRAFT FROM OTHER NATIONS BEGIN TO PARTICIPATE.

TODAY'S 13WMAZ DOT COM WEB POLL QUESTION ASKS... SHOULD THE U-S BE INVOLVED IN THE LIBYA CONFLICT?
SO FAR 72 PERCENT SAY NO... AND 28 PERCENT SAY YES... THE U-S SHOULD BE INVOLVED.
VOTE NOW... LOOK FOR THE WEB POLL QUESTION IN THE "DON'T MISS" BOX ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF OUR HOMEPAGE.

JAPAN'S POLICE AGENCY SAYS THE DISASTER DEATH TOLL HAS TOPPED 89-HUNDRED... AND ESTIMATES THAT THE FINAL FIGURE WILL BE MORE THAN 18 THOUSAND.
THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION SAYS JAPAN NEEDS TO ACT QUICKLY AND BAN FOOD SALES FROM AREAS AROUND THE COUNTRY'S DAMAGED NUCLEAR PLANT.
A SPOKESMAN FOR THE AGENCY SAYS RADIATION IN FOOD IS A BIGGER HEALTH RISK THAN PARTICLES IN THE AIR... WHICH DISPERSE WITHIN DAYS.
JAPANESE OFFICIALS SAY THERE'S NO QUICK-FIX AS THEY TRY TO RESTORE POWER TO THE DAMAGED PLANT.... IN HOPES OF GETTING THE COMPLEX'S COOLING SYTEMS UNDER CONTROL.

IT'S TIME FOR TONIGHT'S FACEBOOK FAN OF THE DAY.
JACKIE FOSSETT BOLING OF CULLODEN.
CONGRATS JACKIE... YOU'LL GET A 13WMAZ COFFEE MUG IN THE MAIL.
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.

HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE FILLED THIRD STREET PARK AS CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVITIES CONTINUED TODAY.
PEOPLE LINED UP AN HOUR IN ADVANCED TO COOL OFF WITH A FREE CONE OF MAYFIELD CHERRY ICE CREAM.
MAYFIELD REPRESENTATIVE SAYS THEY SERVED ABOUT 90 GALLONS OF ICE CREAM.
KIDS OF ALL AGES ALSO GOT TO TAKE A CARRIAGE RIDE AROUND THE BLOCK.
THEY SAY THEY CAME OUT TO ENJOY THE GREAT WEATHER AND ALL OF THE ACTIVITIES.
Diane Green, Bolingbroke: "Well I think it's a good thing for Macon and I think it makes us everybody that lives in the area real proud.
Al Bacon, Reynolds, IN: "Anything that's free is great especially if you're retired , It's the thing to do you know it's on now and the flowers are pretty."
THIRD STREET PARK FESTIVITIES CONTINUE THROUGH THE WEEKEND... WITH AN INTERNATIONAL FOOD FESTIVAL ON SATURDAY AND SUNDAY ON MULBERRY STREET..

IF YOU CAN'T WAIT UNTIL THE WEEKEND TO GET YOUR FILL OF CHERRY BLOSSOM FUN... HERE'S A LOOK AT SOME EVENTS COMING UP TOMORROW.
KICK OFF THE DAY WITH THE JACK GOLDEN ENVIRONMENTAL SHOW...
LEARN ABOUT RECYCLING AT LITTER PREVENTION AT THE PORTER AUDITORIUM AT WESLEYAN COLLEGE.
THAT EVENT BEGINS AT 10:15 A.M.
LATER ON LISTEN TO PATRIOTIC MUSIC AT THE ARMY GROUND FORCES BAND CONCERT.
THAT IS ALSO AT PORTER AUDITORIUM. IT BEGINS AT 7:30 P.M.
THEN TOP THE DAY OFF WITH A BEACH BASH FEATURING THE DIRK HOWELL BAND.
THE CONCERT IS FROM SIX TO TEN P.M...AT CENTRAL CITY PARK.
FOR A COMPLETE LIST OF FESTIVAL ACTIVITIES.......
GO TO 13 WMAZ DOT COM.. CLICK ON THE FESTIVALS LINK..
IT'S INSIDE THE DON'T MISS BOX... ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE HOMEPAGE.


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