Tuesday, March 22, Eyewitness News at 11

8:07 PM, Mar 22, 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.


     AT LEAST TWO PEOPLE DIED TONIGHT IN AN ACCIDENT ON I-75 SOUTH IN MONROE COUNTY.
     ALLISON SELMAN-WILLIS WITH THE MONROE COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE SAYS THE ACCIDENT HAPPENED NEAR MILE MARKER 197 AROUND 9 P-M.
     SHE SAYS A FIFTEEN PASSENGER VAN RAN OFF THE ROAD AND CRASHED..
     SHE ALSO SAID TWO PASSENGERS WERE LIFE-FLIGHTED TO A HOSPITAL IN CRITICAL CONDITION..
    SEVERAL OTHER PASSENGERS WERE TAKEN TO VARIOUS HOSPITALS FOR TREATMENT OF THEIR INJURIES..
      ALL SOUTHBOUND LANES OF THE INTERSTATE ARE BLOCKED AND WILL PROBABLY BE BLOCKED FOR SEVERAL MORE HOURS WHILE THE ACCIDENT IS BEING CLEARED.
      THE EMERGENCY LANE SOUTHBOUND IS OPEN AS THEY TRY AND GET TRAFFIC MOVING THROUGH THE AFFECTED AREA..


    MACON'S FIRED FORMER PUBLIC WORKS DIRECTOR...HAS ONE WEEK TO REQUEST AN APPEAL HEARING.
    THAT'S AFTER CITY ATTORNEYS SAY POWELL WAS ADAMENT HE WANTED TO SUBMITT HIS APPEAL IN WRITING INSTEAD.
    BUT AS ELEANOR LISSITZYN EXPLAINS... SOME COUNCIL MEMBERS ARE CONCERNED THAT WITHOUT A HEARING.... THEY COULD BE OPENING THE CITY UP TO A LAW SUIT... 
AND THEY SAY IF POWELL WANTS THEM TO CONSIDER HIS CASE... HE'LL NEED TO FOLLOW PROPER PROCEDURE. 
<<
IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A MEETING TO GIVE FORMER MACON PUBLIC WORKS DIRECTOR RICHARD POWELL A CHANCE TO PERSUADE COUNCIL TO OVERTURN THE MAYOR'S DECISION TO FIRE HIM LAST MONTH...
nats "All in favor say aye... all against."
BUT INSTEAD OF VOTING WHETHER TO UPHOLD THE DECISION... COUNCIL MEMBERS VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO TELL POWELL IF HE WANTS TO APPEAL HIS TERMINATION... HE MUST FOLLOW THE ESTABLISHED PROCEDURE...


ACCORDING TO CITY ATTORNETY POPE LANGSTAFF... POWELL WAIVED HIS RIGHT TO AN OFFICIAL HEARING... 
INSTEAD HE ASKED COUNCIL TO REVIEW A WRITTEN LETTER DEFENDING HIS WORK PERFORMANCE...


BUT COUNCILMAN TOM ELLINGTON BEGAN THE MEETING BY VOICING CONCERNS THAT WITHOUT A HEARING... THE CITY COULD BE OPENING ITSELF UP TO A LAW SUIT.
"We have got an established procedure through precedent that we are confident protects the rights of the employee and provides the city with maximum protection."
SEVERAL COUNCIL MEMBERS AGREED.
TO APPEAL A TERMINATION... AN EMPLOYEE MUST ASK FOR A HEARING.
nats
"This is messed up."
"You need me to hear it if you want me to give you an answer."
IF POWELL DECIDES TO REQUEST A HEARING... HE'LL PRESENT HIS CASE IN FRONT OF AN ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE 
"It's as if we have a trial and council basically is the jury.
COUNCIL WILL ULTIMATELY DECIDE IF THERE ARE GROUNDS FOR POWELL'S DISMISSAL.
"I spoke with Powell after the meeting. He decline to be interviewed on camera but he says he is pleased with council's decision. He says he does plan to file for a hearing and he also plans to hire an attorney. Eleanor Lissitzyn 13WMAZ eyewitness news."


>>    ACCORDING TO A LETTER FROM THE MAYOR'S OFFICE... POWELL WAS FIRED FOR A VARIETY OF ALLEGED OFFENSES INCLUDING FAILED PERFORMANCE EVALUATIONS... INAPPROPRIATE CONDUCT WITH A FEMALE COLLEGUE... AND WILD BOAR HUNTING ON CITY PROPERTY.
    POWELL RESPONDED IN A LETTER OBTAINED BY 13WMAZ...
    HE SAYS NOT ONLY DID HE INCREASE EFFICENCY IN HIS DEPARTMENT... HE ALSO SAVED THE CITY MONEY.
    ACCORDING TO THE RESOLUTION.... POWELL WILL HAVE SEVEN DAYS TO REQUEST A HEARING.
    ONCE HE DOES..... THE HEARING MUST BE HELD WITHIN THIRTY DAYS. 
      DURING THIS STORY ON THE 6 O'CLOCK NEWSCAST... WE RAN AN INCORRECT PHOTO.
      WE APOLOGIZE FOR THE MIX UP.


   CITY COUNCIL ALSO DISCUSSED RECLOCATING THE CITY'S CENTRAL SERVICES DEPARTMENT DURING TONUIGHT'S PUBLIC PROPERTY'S COMMITTEE
   DIRECTOR OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS KEITH MAFFETT SAYS THEY WANT TO RELOCATE  CENTRAL SERVICES FROM  RIVERSIDE DRIVE TO ONE OF THE BUILDINGS CURRENTLY OCCUPIED BY PARKS AND RECREATION IN CENTRAL  CITY PARK... 
    TO ACCOMODATE THE DEPARTMENT... PARKS AND RECREATION... WOULD CONSOLODATE TO ONE BUILDING. 
    HE SAYS IT WOULD GIVE THE CITY THE OPPORTUNITY TO DEVELOP THE PROPERTY NEAR THE CORNER OF RIVERSIDE DRIVE AND SPRING STREET WHICH SOME COUNCIL MEMBERS CALLED AN IMPORTANT PIECE OF PROPERTY.
   IT WOULD ALSO RELOCATE CENTRAL SERVICES TO A MORE MODERN FACILITY.
THE ENTIRE PROJECT IS EXPECTED TO COST ABOUT ONE POINT TWO MILLION DOLLARS. 


     TODAY... MACON'S TWO STATE SENATORS TALKED ABOUT ROBERT BROWN'S PROPOSAL TO CONSOLIDATE MACON AND BIBB COUNTY.
      SENATOR CECIL STATION SAYS HE'S REVIEWED BROWN'S FIFTY-PAGE PLAN.... AND HAS QUESTIONS ABOUT IT.
      THE TWO STARTED TALKING ABOUT THOSE ISSUES TODAY.
  SENATOR STATON'S CONCERNS INCLUDE THE SIZE OF THE NEW COUNCIL THAT WOULD PASS LAWS FOR MACON AND BIBB COUNTY.
  BROWN WANTS ELEVEN MEMBERS. STATON WANTS SEVEN. 
BUT STATON SAYS A COMPROMISE IS POSSIBLE.
  Cecil Staton, State Senator: We're going to continue to have conversations about that. I hope at the end of the day that's not an ultimate deal breaker because there are pros and cons for both sides of that argument. But I still believe the smaller more efficient government should be the goal of consolidation.
     FOR MORE ISSUES THAT STATON HAS WITH THE PLAN... AND TO WATCH RANDALL SAVAGE'S FULL INTERVIEW WITH HIM... VISIT OUR HOMEPAGE AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.


     THE BIBB COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE WILL REMEMBER ONE OF ITS OWN TOMORROW... FIVE YEARS AFTER HE WAS KILLED DURING A DRUG RAID.
     DEPUTY JOSEPH WHITEHEAD WAS SHOT ON MARCH 23, 2006... WHILE LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS SERVED A NO-KNOCK SEARCH WARRANT ON A MACON HOME.
     THE BIBB COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE SAYS IT WILL REMEMBER WHITEHEAD WITH A BRIEF CEREMONY AT 10 A.M. IN THE LOBBY OF THE BIBB COUNTY LAW ENFORCEMENT COMPLEX. 
     THE PUBLIC IS INVITED.
      TWO MEN... ANTRON FAIR AND DAMON JOLLY....ARE STILL AWAITING TRIAL IN THE CASE..THEY COULD FACE THE DEATH PENALTY IF CONVICTED..


THE PERRY ROTARY CLUB NEEDS ANGLERS FOR A GOOD CAUSE THIS SATURDAY.
ITS ANNUAL BASS FISHING TOURNAMENT IS ITS BIGGEST FUNDRAISER... NETTING MONEY FOR SEVERAL LOCAL PROJECTS.
BUT IN TONIGHT'S HERO CENTRAL REPORT... VANESSA RUFFES EXPLAINS HOW THE EVENT IS CASTING A WIDER NET... AND TOUCHING LIVES OVERSEAS.
<<
HORATIO CABASARES SAYS GROWING UP IN A SMALL FILIPINO TOWN TAUGHT HIM WHAT IT MEANS TO LACK MODERN CONVENIENCES.
"you didn't have any running water...you had to go to the nearest river."
NOW A SURGEON IN PERRY... HIS LIFE'S PASSION IS BRINGING THOSE COMFORTS TO COUNTRIES WITHOUT THEM.
THROUGH ROTARY... CABASARES HAS BROUGHT USED MEDICAL EQUIPMENT TO NEEDY HOSPITALS IN SOUTHEAST ASIA.


BUT HIS JOURNEY FOR HELPING THE LESS FORTUNATE CAME FULL CIRCLE TWO YEARS AGO...


CABASARES GREW UP IN THE PHILIPPINE ISLAND OF LEYTE... AND IN 2009 HE HELPED DELIVER 350 THOUSAND DOLLARS WORTH OF EQUIPMENT AND MEDICINE TO THE EASTERN VISAYAS REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER -- IN HIS HOME PROVINCE.


"This particular hospital serves about 4 million people with facilities and equipment that are probably vintage World War II."


HE SHOWED ME PICTURES OF HOSPITAL CONDITIONS... WHERE PATIENTS SLEEP IN HALLWAYS ON SIXTY-YEAR-OLD BEDS.
... AND BABIES SHARE MAKESHIFT INCUBATORS MADE OF CURTAINS AND FLUORESCENT LAMPS.


"Simple things like that, are very inexpensive, but they just have no means to get it."


GIVING THE HOSPITAL THE TOOLS IT NEEDS IS COSTLY BUT WORTH THE EFFORT.. CABASARES SAYS.
HE SAYS MONEY RAISED THROUGH ROTARY'S ANNUAL BASS TOURNAMENT CONTRIBUTES A LARGE PORTION OF SHIPPING COSTS... WHICH USUALLY RUN ABOUT FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS.


THE BEST PART... HE SAYS... IS FOR MANY CENTRAL GEORGIANS -- CASTING A LINE IS A FUN PASTTIME... BUT HE'S ALSO SEEN FIRSTHAND... IT CAN ALSO CAST A LIFELINE THOUSANDS OF MILES AWAY.


"to know that there are people out there, in other parts of the world who care for you, that to me is very very touching."


VANESSA RUFFES 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>> PERRY ROTARY SAYS THE TOURNEY TYPICALLY NETS ABOUT 17 THOUSAND DOLLARS IN ONE DAY... THROUGH ENTRY FEES... SPONSORSHIPS... AND DONATIONS.
IT COSTS 125 DOLLARS PER TEAM TO ENTER THE TOURNAMENT... YOU HAVE UNTIL NOON FRIDAY TO DO IT.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON ENTERING... CHECK OUT THIS STORY ON OUR 13 WMAZ DOT COM PAGE.


    THE TECH WORLD CHANGES EVERYDAY... AND KEEPING UP WITH THE TIMES CAN TURN CONFUSING VERY QUICKLY.
     SO WE'RE WORKING TO MAKE SURE YOU'RE ON THE CUTTING EDGE WITH OUR NEW TECHNOLOGY SEGMENT... GEEK 13.
     WE'LL TALK TO EXPERTS THE EXPERTS AND BREAK DOWN THE BIG NEWS.
     THIS WEEK... WE SAT DOWN WITH C-NET EDITOR DAVID CARNOY TO GET THE DETAILS ON T-MOBILE... A-T-AND-T AND THEIR PROPOSED MERGER.
"What kind of impact is this merger going to have? 
Right now we don't even know if the deal is going to go through. It is going to take at least a year and whether the government even approves this is still up in the air. What people are really worried about is that basically prices will go up and they do want the government to now take a stand and deal with stuff like why are cellphone companies charging for text messaging and these high prices to consumers willy nilly.
This is an opportunity for the government to take a look at the deal and perhaps impose some new rules on these companies.
If the deal goes through, will it be better for customers?
I don't think we'll see a whole lot of differences. Right now, T-Mobile really offers the cheaper plan so people have been gravitating towards them. The question is whether AT&T will make affordable plans out there rather than keep some of these plans that are pretty high priced. Verizon is still higher priced and Sprint is cheaper, a very good deal at this point.
The real question is that both companies are trying to save money by dealing with lower advertising costs and deploying their networks. That is a cost savings there. Is it just benefiting the companies rather than the consumers? At least in New York and some other big cities, they have always complained about AT&T service. Whether that will improve is another matter too.
What about products? Will customers have more to choose from? No, that won't change as much if the merger went through. Right now there are plenty of phones out there for both networks, so that really isn't a big deal.
Do you have any other information for consumers as they watch this potential merger unfold?
I think it's going to be a while before this merger plays out. You hope that some good would come out of it so that it would benefit consumers in some way. i have a feeling that it's not going to change much at all, that prices are going to stay relatively the same."


     MEANWHILE... THE C-E-O OF SPRINT NEXTEL SAYS HE'S CONCERNED THAT THE A-T-AND-T DEAL COULD STRENGTHEN THE COMPANIES AT THE EXPENSE OF OTHERS... INCLUDING HIS.
     HE SAYS... IF THE DEAL GOES THROUGH... VERIZON WIRELESS AND A-T AND T WILL CONTROL 79 PERCENT OF THE CELL PHONE MARKET.
     THE HEAD OF VERIZON WIRELESS SAYS HIS COMPANY IS "VERY INTERESTED IN WHAT'S GOING ON."


       IT'S TIME FOR TONIGHT'S FACEBOOK FAN OF THE DAY....
      JAMES ANAGNOST!
      CONGRATULATIONS JAMES... 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.


























































































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