HELLO EVERYONE AND THANKS FOR JOINING US.I'M LEAH JOHNSON..
AND I'M FRANK MALLOY..THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT SIX.
FIVE YEARS AGO TODAY - BIBB COUNTY DEPUTY JOSEPH WHITEHEAD WAS SHOT TO DEATH WHILE SERVING A NO-KNOCK SEARCH WARRANT IN A DRUG RAID.
TODAY.. LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS.. FAMILY.. AND OTHERS PAID TRIBUTE TO THE FALLEN DEPUTY.... WHO THEY CALLED A DEDICATED SERVANT.
RANDALL SAVAGE HAS MORE.
<<CHIEF DEPUTY DAVID DAVIS SERVED WITH JOSEPH WHITEHEAD.. AND REMEMBERED THE FALLEN DEPUTY AS A MAN WHO TOOK PRIDE IN HIS WORK.. AND ONE WHO GAVE HIS LIFE PERFORMING HIS DUTIES.
David Davis, Chief Deputy: He was one of the most genuine people that you could meet. He was an extremely caring, considerate and respectful man, and all of us who worked with him in any capacity here at the sheriff's office can attest to that.
PASTOR RICK LANFORD REMEMBERED WHITEHEAD AS A FRIEND AND RELIGIOUS PERSON.
Pastor Rick Lanford, Methodist Home: We're here today because you were a friend of Joseph Whitehead. I was a friend to Joseph Whitehead. Joseph Whitehead was a friend to God.
HE DIED FROM GUNSHOT WOUNDS INFLICTED IN THIS HOUSE.
Randall Savage, Eyewitness: Five years after Deputy Whitehead was killed in a drug raid here, the house remains boarded up and unoccupied.
DISTRICT ATTORNEY GREG WINTERS LOOKS FORWARD TO TRYING THE ACCUSED KILLERS.
Greg Winters, District Attorney: We may have a trial this year, but I believe realistically the case will be in 2012.
REV. RONALD TERRY PRAYED FOR PEACE FOR WHITEHEAD'S FAMILY AND FRIENDS.
Rev. Ronald Terry, Chaplain: The Lord bless you and the Lord keep you and the Lord lift up his countenance upon you. The Lord give you peace in your going and your coming in your hours of pain and pleasure your moments of leisure and laughter.
RANDALL SAVAGE.. 13 WMAZ.. EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>> ANTRON FAIR AND DAMON JOLLY FACE FELONY MURDER CHARGES FOR WHITEHEAD'S DEATH..
BUT AFTER FIVE YEARS OF MOTIONS...APPEALS...AND HEARINGS....THEY'RE STILL AWAITING TRIAL. DISTRICT ATTORNEY GREG WINTERS SAYS FAIR AND JOLLY WILL FACE THE DEATH PENALTY.
WARNER ROBINS COUNCILMAN JOHN WILLIAMS PLEADED NOT GUILTY TODAY TO LYING TO POLICE ABOUT A STOLEN CITY CELL PHONE.
WILLIAMS APPEARED IN HOUSTON COUNTY COURT THIS MORNING.
LAST JUNE - WILLIAMS TOLD POLICE A HOMELESS WOMAN STOLE HIS CELL PHONE AT A WAFFLE HOUSE.
POLICE SAY THE PHONE WAS LATER FOUND IN THE BUSHES OUTSIDE THE RESTAURANT.
WILLIAMS IS CHARGED WITH MAKING FALSE STATEMENTS.
HIS ATTORNEY CHARLES COX SAYS WILLIAMS DENIES THE CHARGES..
Charles Cox "He wants to move forward and put this behind him and continue serving the people of Warner Robins and we want to be able to do that as quickly as possible."
LAST MONTH... A GOVERNOR'S PANEL SAID WILLIAMS SHOULD NOT BE SUSPENDED FROM THE WARNER ROBINS CITY COUNCIL BECAUSE THE CASE DID NOT INVOLVE HIS COUNCIL DUTIES.
NEXT MONTH... THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION PLANS TO VOTE ON A PROPOSAL TO END THE GEORGIA HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION TESTS.
TO EARN A DIPLOMA...THE STATE NOW REQUIRES STUDENTS PASS THE TESTS IN FOUR SUBJECTS.
THEY ARE MATH...SCIENCE...SOCIAL STUDIES...AND ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS.
LAUREN DISPIRITO SPOKE WITH LEADERS AT ONE CENTRAL GEORGIA HIGH SCHOOL... ABOUT THE PROS AND CONS OF DOING AWAY WITH THE TEST.
JONES COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL ELEVENTH GRADE MATH STUDENTS WEDNESDAY PREPARED TO TAKE THE GEORGIA HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION TEST.
TO GET READY... ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL MARY FRANCES STEWART SAYS STUDENTS SPEND A MONTH REVIEWING MATERIAL.
SHE SAYS A STATE PLAN TO PHASE OUT THE TEST.. STARTING WITH NEXT SCHOOL YEAR'S FRESHMAN CLASS COULD FREE UP INSTRUCTION TIME.
Mary Frances Stewart, Assistant Principal: "It would give them some more time to really solidify maybe some of things they have to hurry over now."
Lauren DiSpirito, Eyewitness News: "If approved, this year's eighth graders would still have to pass the Georgia High School Writing Test. They'd also take End-of-Course Tests, worth 20 percent of their final grade, but they wouldn't necessarily have to pass those tests, they would just need to earn a passing grade in the course, to get their diploma."
Mary Frances Stewart, Assistant Principal: "I'm concerned about what impact that has on the students really giving it their all when they take the test."
THE TESTS WOULD COUNT FOR 5 PERCENT MORE OF A STUDENT'S OVERALL GRADE.
PRINCIPAL CHUCK GIBSON SAYS HE'S WAITING TO SEE HOW THE STATE PLANS TO DETERMINE A SCHOOL'S ADEQUATE YEARLY PROGRESS...OR AYP...WITHOUT GRADUATION TEST SCORES.
Chuck Gibson, Principal: "Anytime your school is graded on student performances you really want to know the playing field, so to speak, with the students"
STEWART SAYS END OF COURSE TESTS MAY BE A BETTER MEASURE ... BUT IF STUDENTS AREN'T REQUIRED TO PASS A STANDARDIZED TEST TO GRADUATE... TEACHERS COULD FACE A CHALLENGE.
Mary Frances Stewart, Assistant Principal: "We've got to find a way to motivate kids to do their best all the time."
THE STATE BOARD PLANS TO VOTE ON THE PROPOSAL ON APRIL THIRTEENTH.
>> IF APPROVED... THE NEW REQUIREMENTS WOULD TAKE EFFECT NEXT SCHOOL YEAR.... AND THE TEST WOULD END BY THE 2014-2015 SCHOOL YEAR.
STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION SPOKESMAN MATT CARDOZA SAYS...
THAT MEANS NEXT YEAR'S SENIORS, JUNIORS, AND SOPHOMORES WOULD HAVE TO PASS THE GRADUATION TEST... OR END OF COURSE TESTS IN THE SAME SUBJECTS.
TODAY'S 13WMAZ DOT COM WEB POLL QUESTION ASKS....... SHOULD HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS HAVE TO PASS A GRADUATION TEST TO GET A DIPLOMA?
SO FAR.. 54 PERCENT OF YOU SAY YES.. THEY SHOULD.
AND 46 PERCENT SAY NO THEY SHOULD NOT.
VOTE NOW... LOOK FOR THE WEB POLL QUESTION IN THE "DON'T MISS" BOX ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF OUR HOMEPAGE AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.
LEGENDARY ACTRESS AND BUSINESSWOMAN ELIZABETH TAYLOR DIED FROM CONGESTIVE HEART FAILURE THIS MORNING.
TAYLOR WAS SURROUNDED BY HER CHILDREN WHEN SHE DIED IN CEDARS-SINAI HOSPITAL IN LOS ANGELES.
TAYLOR GAINED STARDOM AS A CHILD... AND APPEARED IN MORE THAN 50 FILMS.
SHE WAS ALSO FAMOUS FOR EXTRAORDINARY BEAUTY AND HER STORMY PERSONAL LIFE... WHICH INCLUDED EIGHT MARRIAGES AND A SERIES OF PHYSICAL AILMENTS.
IN ADDITION TO HER FOUR CHILDREN... TAYLOR IS SURVIVED BY TEN GRANDCHILDREN AND FOUR GREAT-GRANDCHILDREN.
SHE WAS 79 YEARS OLD.
WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK
RECORD REVENUE IS STREAMING IN FROM THE PARKS AT LAKE TOBESOFKEE.
COUNTY OFFICIALS SAY THE RECREATION AREA'S ARE BRINGING IN ABOUT 50 THOUSAND DOLLARS MORE THAN A YEAR AGO.
BRITTINY BARBER EXPLAINS WHY THEY BELIEVE THE LAKE IS MAKING MORE MONEY.
AT ARROWHEAD PARK... DONNELL WILLIAMS STANDS WAITING FOR HIS CATCH OF THE DAY.
Donnell Williams:Macon: "Just wishing me a good day of fishing."
HE'S SPENT HIS SPARE TIME ON THE LAKE FOR MANY YEARS... BUT SAYS THE RECENT UPGRADES ADD TO THE APPEAL.
Donnell Williams: "Like I say, it's cleaner and plus if you want to go camping you have a lot of grills out here they added to it, and the surrounding's much better."
Brittiny Barber: Eyewitness News: "Lake Tobesofkee not only attracts local people but also travelers from across the country, and that has the county on track to have their best year of revenue ever."
Doug Furney: Director: "The revenue is up about $50,000 over last year at this time .... The weather the way it's been over the last couple of months February and March has been really good."
GOOD WEATHER COUPLED WITH UPGRADES FACILITIES HELPED THE PARKS BRING IN MORE MONEY.
BIBB COUNTY WORKED TO CLEAN UP ARROWHEAD PARK AFTER THE MOTHERS DAY TORNADOS OF 2008... AND UPGRADED THINGS LIKE CAMPGROUND HOOK-UPS AND PICNIC TABLES.
Ronald :Newfield,Maine:" We like what we've got here very nice facilities and great views..... We'll definitely come back to this park again."
THE COUNTY PLANS MORE IMPROVEMENTS TO THE FIVE RECREACTION AREA'S .... PART OF THE MASTER PLAN THAT COULD COST BETWEEN 38 AND 51 MILLION DOLLARS... THAT'S ACCORDING TO COUNTY ADMISTRATIVE OFFICER STEVE LAYSON.
Doug Furney: "We're looking at some major improvements at Sandy Beach possibly a convention center and an amphitheater for concerts."
VISITORS SAY IT'S MONEY WELL SPENT.
The money's they've invested here at this particular park has made great changes."
Donnell Williams: "It should work out pretty good. Like I say there's room for the family, people can come out and enjoy their family.
BRITTINY BARBER 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS> DIRECTOR DOUG FURNEY SAYS MOST OF THE PAVILION SPACE AT THE LAKE HAS ALREADY BEEN RESERVED ON THE WEEKENDS THROUGH THE SUMMER. HE SAYS IF THEY BUILD MORE SPACE... IT COULD BRING IN MORE MONEY FOR THE COUNTY.
PLENTY OF YOU ARE HELPING US STAY UP TO DATE WITH WHAT'S GOING ON IN *YOUR* COMMUNITY BY BECOMING COMMUNITY BLOGGERS ON OUR "WHERE YOU LIVE" PAGES AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.
TODAY... WE'RE HEADING UP THE ROAD TO GRAY AND JONES COUNTY.
COMMUNITY BLOGGER KEMA CLARK HAS MARCH MADNESS AND APRIL AGONY ON HER MIND... AND SHE'S TYING THEM IN TO A GREAT READ.
YOU CAN JOIN HER AND SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON MARCH MADNESS BASKETBALL OR THE APRIL AGONY OF TAXES.
AND WHILE YOU'RE ON THE SITE... SIGN UP TO SHARE WHAT'S GOING ON IN YOUR COMMUNITY.
JUST LOOK FOR THE COMMUNITY NEWS SECTION ON 13WMAZ DOT COM.
SELECT YOUR COMMUNITY... THEN CLICK ON MORE NEWS TO GO TO THAT SITE.
LOOK FOR THE LINK THAT SAYS "BECOME A COMMUNITY BLOGGER" ON THE LEFT SIDE OF THE PAGE.
FOR THE SIXTH DAY ... PEOPLE ACROSS MACON ARE STEPPING OUT... FOR THE CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL. AND SOME SAY THE BEST WAY TO KICK OFF THE EVENTS... IS TO STEP BACK IN TIME WITH A TOUR GUIDE.
ROY SHULTS SAYS HE KNOWS THE CITY LIKE THE BACK OF HIS HAND... AND HE ENJOYS SHARING THAT KNOWLEDGE WITH VISITORS FROM ACROSS THE COUNTRY.
THE CHERRY BLOSSOM BUS TOUR STARTS IN CENTRAL CITY PARK... AND ROLLS THROUGH HISTORIC MACON... AND FINALLY FOLLOWS THE CHERRY BLOSSOM TRAIL THROUGH NORTH MACON.
KAY WICKER SAYS SHE JUMPED ON BOARD... SO HER FRIENDS FROM OUT OF TOWN... COULD LEARN THE STORY... BEHIND HER CITY.Kay Wicker, Macon: "We've just enjoyed everything about it, from having people come from out of the country, all over the United States, to visit Macon and hear their 'Ohh's and Ahh's' about how beautiful our city is." THE BUS TOURS CONTINUE THURSDAY... FRIDAY... AND SATURDAY... AND LEAVE CENTRAL CITY PARK AT
TICKETS ARE 12 DOLLARS.
MANY OF YOU ARE CERTAINLY TAKING YOUR CAMERAS ALONG TO ALL THE CHERRY BLOSSOM FUN.
HERE ARE SOME OF THE PHOTOS YOU'VE SHARED IN OUR GALLERIES AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.
BRAVE ANNA AND ETHAN ARE FEEDING THE TIGERS AT CENTRAL CITY PARK.
AND HERE'S A NICE SHOT OF THE MOON THROUGH THE CHERRY BLOSSOMS.
SEND US YOUR PHOTOS...LOOK FOR *PHOTO GALLERIES* UNDER FEATURES IN THE MENU BAR ACROSS THE TOP OF OUR HOMEPAGE...
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.