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Wednesday, March 23, Eyewitness News at 11

8:08 PM, Mar 22, 2011   |    comments
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<<opening for eyewitness news at eleven>>
GOOD EVENING AND THANKS FOR JOINING US..
I'M FRANK MALLOY..
AND I'M LEAH JOHNSON.... THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT 11.

FOR THE PAST SIX DAYS... PEOPLE FROM ALL OVER THE COUNTRY ARE STEPPING OUT IN MACON... AND TAKING IN SOME CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVITIES.
AS AMY AUBERT TELLS YOU... FOR SOME... TAKING A STEP BACK IN HISTORY... IS THE BEST WAY... TO KICK OFF THE FESTIVAL.
<<
Nats: "You are now sitting in Central City Park."

FOR ROY SHULTS... IT'S JUST ANOTHER DAY ON THE JOB.

Nats

THE 72-YEAR-OLD SAYS HE KNOWS THE CITY LIKE THE BACK OF HIS HAND... AND SHARING TIDBITS OF MACON'S HISTORY WITH OUT-OF-TOWNERS... LIKE WHERE THE ALLMAN BROTHERS LIVED... AND THE BIRTHPLACE OF SIDNEY LANIER... IS A JOB HE LOVES TO DO.

Nats

AND WITH A BUS LOAD OF TOURISTS... HE SAYS IT'S NEVER A DULL MOMENT.

Nats

KAY WICKER HAS SEVERAL FRIENDS VISITING FOR THE FESTIVAL... AND SAYS THE BEST WAY TO LEARN THE CITY... IS ROLLING THROUGH IT.

Kay Wicker, Macon: "I like to take them around, but I need a wonderful tour guide like Mr. Roy, here, to tell them all the facts."

AND FINDING OUT THOSE FACTS... IS WHAT MADE HENRY LASTER JUMP ON BOARD.

Henry Laster, Stockbridge: "We're just viewing Macon, touring Macon!"

HE SAYS HE MOVED OUT OF MACON IN THE EARLY '60'S... AND HE'S WATCHING THE CHANGES... THROUGH THE BUS WINDOW.

Henry Laster: "It just seems like everything has grown up and the buildings look a lot older."

TOURISTS PILED OUT OF THE BUS ON SEVERAL STOPS... TO SNAP PHOTOS... AND TAKE IN MACON'S SITES.

Nats: "They had a name for it, it was a wire rose."

AS LONG AS THE CHERRY BLOSSOMS ARE BLOOMING... SHULTS SAYS HE'LL GRAB A MIC... AND TAKE PEOPLE IN MACON... BACK IN TIME.

AMY AUBERT... 13 WMAZ... EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>> THE BUS TOURS CONTINUE TOMORROW... FRIDAY... AND SATURDAY... AND LEAVE CENTRAL CITY PARK AT 1 P-M. TICKETS ARE 12 DOLLARS.

THERE ARE PLENTY OF OPTIONS TOMORROW IF YOU WANT TO ENJOY SOME CHERRY BLOSSOM FUN.
THE NIGHTLY CHERRY BLOSSOM MUSIC OFFERINGS WILL KICK OFF AT 7-30 P-M WITH THE BAND OF THE AIR FORCE RESERVE CONCERT IN PORTER AUDITORIUM AT WESLEYAN COLLEGE.
ADMISSION FOR THAT CONCERT IS FREE.
LATER... MAKE YOUR WAY OVER TO CENTRAL CITY PARK FOR THEIR NIGHTLY FREE CONCERT.
DIRTY SOUND PROFESSOR TAKES THE STAGE AT SEVEN...
THEN MIGHTY MC-FLY WILL PICK THINGS UP AT NINE.
AFTER THE CONCERT... THE OFFICIAL CHERRY BLOSSOM COLLEGE NIGHT AFTER PARTY WILL GET FIRED UP AT ASYLUM ON PLUM STREET AT 11.
THEY OFFER FREE SHUTTLE SERVICE FROM THE PARK... AND FREE ADMISSION WITH A STAMP FROM THE CENTRAL CITY PARK CONCERT.
WITHOUT THE STAMP... ADMISSION WILL RUN YOU FIVE BUCKS.
FOR A COMPLETE LIST OF CHERRY BLOSSOM EVENTS... VISIT OUR WEBSITE AT 13WMAZ DOT COM AND LOOK FOR THE FESTIVALS LINK IN THE "DON'T MISS" BOX ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE HOMEPAGE.

GOVERNOR NATHAN DEAL SAYS GEORGIA IS SPENDING TENS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO EXPAND ITS STATE HEALTH BENEFIT PLAN TO MEET FEDERAL HEALTH LAW REQUIREMENTS.
DEAL SPOKE ON THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF THE LAW TODAY.
HE SAID THE STATE HAS SPENT ALMOST 18 MILLION DOLLARS TO EXPAND HEALTH COVERAGE TO DEPENDENTS UP TO AGE 26... AND ANOTHER 15 MILLION OVER TWO YEARS TO EXPAND PREVENTATIVE CARE.
DEAL WAS JOINED BY U.S. REPRESENTATIVES PHIL GINGREY... TOM PRICE AND ROB WOODALL.
THE GEORGIA CONGRESSMEN SAID THEY'RE WORKING TO OVERTURN THE LAW.
SUPPORTERS OF THE FEDERAL HEALTH LAW SAY IT WILL BRING COSTS DOWN BY INSURING MORE PEOPLE.

NEXT MONTH... THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION PLANS TO VOTE ON A PROPOSAL TO EVENTUALLY END THE GEORGIA HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION TESTS.
TO EARN A DIPLOMA...THE STATE NOW REQUIRES STUDENTS TO PASS THE TESTS IN FOUR SUBJECTS.
THEY ARE MATH...SCIENCE...SOCIAL STUDIES...AND ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS.
IF APPROVED.... NEXT YEAR'S FRESHMAN CLASS WOULD HAVE TO PASS THE GEORGIA HIGH SCHOOL WRITING TEST INSTEAD.
THEY'D ALSO TAKE EIGHT END-OF-COURSE TESTS....WHICH WOULD COUNT FOR 20 PERCENT OF THEIR FINAL GRADE.
THEY WOULDN'T HAVE TO PASS THOSE TESTS TO GET THEIR DIPLOMA.....BUT THEY WOULD NEED TO EARN A PASSING GRADE IN EACH COURSE.
JONES COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL MARY FRANCES STEWART SAYS THE PLAN COULD FREE UP CLASSROOM TIME...
BUT MAY ALSO MAKE IT HARDER TO KEEP STUDENTS MOTIVATED.
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, if I know I've got a 90 average and no matter what I do on the test I'm going to be ok in my coursework then that kind of impacts or could impact how some students would do."
THE STATE SCHOOL BOARD PLANS TO VOTE ON THE PROPOSAL APRIL 13TH.
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.. 52 PERCENT OF YOU SAY YES.. THEY SHOULD.
AND 48 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.

THE PARKS AT LAKE TOBESOFKEE ARE ON TRACK TO TAKE IN MORE MONEY THIS YEAR THAN EVER.
COUNTY OFFICIALS SAY THE RECREATION AREAS ARE BRINGING IN 50 THOUSAND DOLLARS MORE THAN A YEAR AGO.
OVER THE PAST COUPLE OF YEARS THE COUNTY HAS MADE MAJOR RENOVATIONS TO ARROWHEAD PARK.....ADDING NEW PICNIC TABLES....AND UPDATING R-V HOOK UPS.
A CAMPER FROM MAINE....HERE FOR THE CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL.... SAYS HE THINKS THE ADDITIONS ARE MONEY WELL SPENT.
Ronald Patten, Newfield Maine: "We'll come back to this park again. Whether we are going to and from Florida to visit relatives or whatever. It's proximity to the interstate and all, we'd definitely come back and we love this view."
PARK DIRECTOR DOUG FURNEY SAYS RESERVATIONS ARE FILLING UP FAST FOR THE LAKE PAVILLIONS AND MOST WEEKENDS ARE ALREADY BOOKED THROUGH THE SUMMER.

FIVE YEARS AGO... BIBB COUNTY DEPUTY JOSEPH WHITEHEAD WAS KILLED IN THE LINE OF DUTY.
IN THE EARLY MORNING HOURS OF MARCH 23RD.. 2006.. WHITEHEAD SUFFERED A FATAL GUNSHOT WOUND WHILE SERVING A NO-KNOCK SEARCH WARRANT IN A DRUG RAID.
TODAY.. FELLOW LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS.. FRIENDS.. AND FAMILY GATHERED AT THE BIBB LAW ENFORCEMENT CENTER TO PAY TRIBUTE TO WHITEHEAD.
CHIEF DEPUTY DAVID DAVIS CALLED WHITEHEAD A DEDICATED SERVANT AND SAYS HIS MEMORY WILL LIVE ON...David Davis, Chief Deputy:He will always be missed, and he will never be forgotten. As long as anybody serves at this sheriff's office, he will never be forgotten. And as the plaque behind me attributes, as long as any person serves, these people will not be forgotten. ANTRON FAIR AND DAMON JOLLY FACE FELONY MURDER CHARGES FOR WHITEHEAD'S DEATH.....
BUT AFTER FIVE YEARS ....ARE STILL AWAITING TRIAL.
DISTRICT ATTORNEY GREG WINTERS SAYS THEY FACE POSSIBLE DEATH SENTENCES.

A WARNER ROBINS MAN WAS SENTENCED TO SERVE AT LEAST 17 YEARS IN PRISON FOR CAUSING SEVERE INJURIES TO A 10-MONTH-OLD BOY.
THE HOUSTON COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY SAYS...
37-YEAR-OLD ANDREW GONZALEZ WAS FOUND GUILTY LAST FRIDAY OF FIRST-DEGREE CRUELTY TO CHILDREN, AGGRAVATED BATTERY AND AGGRAVATED ASSAULT.
JUDGE KATHERINE LUMSDEN GAVE HIM A 40-YEAR SENTENCE.... WITH THE FIRST 17 SERVED IN A STATE PRISON.
A NEWS RELEASE FROM THE DA'S OFFICE SAYS LUMSDEN CITED "GONZALEZ' COMPLETE LACK OF REMORSE AND FAILURE TO TAKE ANY RESPONSIBILITY" FOR THE CHILD'S INJURIES.

OPERATION ODYSSEY DAWN IS IN ITS FIFTH DAY IN LIBYA... AND COALITION FORCES SAY THEY'VE EFFECTIVELY DISABLED MUAMMAR GADHAFI'S AIR FORCE.
NOW... THEY'RE TURNING THEIR ATTENTION TO THE GROUND... AS MORE QUESTIONS ARISE ABOUT THE UNITED STATES' INVOLVE TERRELL BROWN HAS MORE FROM THE UNITED NATIONS.MENT IN THE CAMPAIGN. <<

((PKG))

(Tripoli, Libya)

Traces of anti-aircraft fire pierced the night sky in Tripoli... amid reports of explosions in the eastern part of the capital.

There's also word that coalition forces have hit Muammar Qaddafi's compound in Ajdabiya (Aj-dah-BEE'-ah).

(Ajdabiya, Libya)

Rebels moving up their front line are confident they'll soon be able to take that city:

((SOT)) (English) Rebel Fighter named SALAH

"This is a matter of time, time only. After maybe one day or less than one day these tanks will surrender, that's what we hope."

Coalition planes also bombed Qaddafi's forces in Miz-RAH-tah, to stop them from shelling civilians.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says Colonel Qaddafi has the power to stop all of this.

((SOT)) Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

"The quickest way for him to end this is by serving the Libyan people and leaving."

((STANDUP BRIDGE)) Terrell Brown, United Nations

The White House has repeatedly stated "Qaddafi must go." But the U-N resolution calls for protection of the Libyan people - not a regime change. That leaves President Obama to answer some tough questions.

House Speaker John Boehner sent the president a (gfx) letter Wednesday, firing off questions about the mission in Libya. He stated (tear-out) "A United Nations Security Council resolution does not substitute for a U.S. political and military strategy."

Defense secretary Robert Gates says the U.S. could turn over control of the operation as early as Saturday. But the terms of the transition are still being discussed by quarreling NATO allies.

((NATS))

Other countries are already flying a larger share of the combat strikes. But the rest --- is up in the air.
>> THE WHITE HOUSE SAYS PRESIDENT OBAMA WILL CONTINUE TO UPDATE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ON U.S. MILITARY INVOLVEMENT IN LIBYA... AND AN ADDRESS TO THE NATION HASN'T BEEN RULED OUT.

IT'S TIME FOR TONIGHT'S FACEBOOK FAN OF THE DAY...
JOHN HANNON!
CONGRATULATIONS JOHN... 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 (AND POSTS ASKING TO BE THE FAN DON'T COUNT... SORRY.)

YOU CAN JOIN THE GREAT HANG UP AND PLEDGE TO KEEP YOUR MIND ON THE ROAD AND OFF THE PHONE WHILE YOU'RE DRIVING.
JUST VISIT 13WMAZ DOT COM... AND LOOK FOR THE PLEDGE UNDER THE "FEATURES" TAB ON THE HOMEPAGE.
YOU'LL FIND THE LINK TO SIGN THE PLEDGE ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE PAGE.
IF YOU'VE SIGNED THE PLEDGE AND KEPT IT... OR IF YOU SIGNED IT AND *DIDN'T* KEEP IT... WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU.
EACH MONTH... WE'RE SHARING YOUR STORIES DURING OUR GREAT HANG UP DAY HERE ON EYEWITNESS NEWS.
JUST EMAIL US AT EYEWITNESS-NEWS AT 13WMAZ DOT COM TO LET US KNOW YOU'RE INTERESTED.

OUR JUNIOR JOURNALISTS ARE GETTING READY TO GRADUATE FROM THE PROGRAM... AND YOUR CHILD CAN BE PART OF THE NEW CLASS.
AUDITIONS WILL BE HELD ON APRIL 4TH AT THE GALLERIA MALL IN CENTERVILLE... AND APRIL 5TH AT THE MUSEUM OF ARTS AND SCIENCES IN MACON.
BOTH AUDITIONS WILL BE FROM 4-6 IN THE AFTERNOON.
KIDS LOOKING TO TRY OUT... MUST BE BORN BETWEEN AUGUST 1ST 19-98 AND AUGUST 1ST 2001.
PARENTS... THERE IS ONE THING YOU MUST AGREE TO BEFORE YOUR CHILD CAN BE A JUNIOR JOURNALIST.
YOU HAVE TO BE WILLING TO DRIVE YOUR CHILD TO EACH SHOOT... WHICH CAN BE ANYWHERE IN CENTRAL GEORGIA... AND THE STATION IN MACON.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE AUDITIONS.. VISIT OUR WEBSITE.. 13WMAZ DOT COM.
LOOK FOR THE LINK IN THE DON'T MISS BOX ON THE HOMEPAGE.

THANKS FOR JOINING US.... FIRST MORNIN COMES YOUR WAY AT 5 A-M.
THE NEWS IS ALWAYS ON AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.
ON LETTERMAN TONIGHT: BEN STILLER AND MUSICAL GUEST THE STROKES.
HAVE A SAFE NIGHT EVERYONE.

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