Monday, March 28, Eyewitness News at 11

5:55 PM, Mar 28, 2011   |    comments
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     GOOD EVENING AND THANKS FOR JOINING US... I'M LEAH JOHNSON... 
FRANK MALLOY HAS THE NIGHT OFF.


     PRESIDENT OBAMA ADDRESSED THE NATION TONIGHT - TRYING TO REASSURE AMERICANS THAT U.S. INVOLVEMENT IN LIBYA WILL BE LIMITED. BUT ON THIS TENTH DAY OF AIRSTRIKES.... THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF DID NOT OUTLINE A SPECIFIC U.S. EXIT STRATEGY - EVEN WITH NATO ABOUT TO TAKE THE REINS.
     DANIELLE NOTTINGHAM HAS MORE FROM THE WHITE HOUSE. 
<<
President Obama delivered his address to a military audience at the National Defense University in Washington, touting the early success of the mission in Libya:


((SOT-OBAMA)) "A coalition has been forged and countless lives have been saved." 


That's the sole mandate of the U.N. resolution - to protect civilian lives threatened by Muammar Qaddafi's regime. The President says the U.S. will continue to be involved in that mission: 


((SOT-OBAMA)) "The United States will play a supporting role - including intelligence, logistical support, search and rescue assistance, and capabilities to jam regime communications." 


But the President says the U.S. won't go the way of the Iraq war to get rid of Qaddafi:


((SOT-OBAMA)) "Broadening our military mission to include regime change would be a mistake." 


((STANDUP))


President Obama says talks in London Tuesday will focus on what kind of political effort is need to pressure Qaddafi to step down. Ultimately, he said the Libyan people will determine their own destiny.


But the President didn't provide exact answers to some questions lingering in Congress:


((SOT)) Sen. Mitch McConnell, (R) Sen. Minority Leader
What will be the duration of the noncombat operation and what will be the cost? 


Obama said the transfer of command to NATO - set to completed on Wednesday - will reduce America's risk and cost.


This comes as the opposition in Libya slowly inches westward toward Qaddafi's hometown of Sirte.... making advances under coalition air strikes.


>>    THE PRESIDENT DID NOT ELABORATE ON WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF GADHAFI STAYS IN POWER... AND SAID REDUCING THE U-S ROLE IN THE CONFLICT WOULD ALSO CUT COSTS DURING A TIME WHEN THE COUNTRY IS LOOKING TO CUT SPENDING.


STRONG STORMS SWEPT THROUGH CENTRAL GEORGIA THIS WEEKEND... LEAVING NEARLY A THOUSAND STREET PARTY TICKET HOLDERS WITH NO PLACE TO GO.
NOW.... THE CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL AND MERCER TICKET SALES ARE OFFERING FULL REFUNDS.
BUT ONLY THIRTY PEOPLE HAVE TRICKLED IN SO FAR TO GET THEIR MONEY BACK.
(LAY-LA) LEILA IBRAHIM IS THE HEAD OF MERCER TICKET SALES.
SHE SAYS THEY PREPARED FOR A CROWD OF PEOPLE TO COME IN MONDAY WITH TICKETS IN HAND.
Leila Ibrahim, Head of Mercer Ticket Sales: "It was low, we were expecting it to kind of be a mad rush today for everyone to get their refunds immediately, people seem to be very calm about it."
IBRAHIM SAYS ANYONE WHO PURCHASED STREET PARTY TICKETS CAN GO TO THE MERCER TICKET SALES OFFICE AT 400 POPLAR STREET FOR A FULL REFUND.
SHE SAYS THOSE WHO BOUGHT  TICKETS ON-LINE SHOULD RECEIVE AN AUTOMATIC REFUND IN THE NEXT FEW DAYS.
YOU HAVE UNTIL APRIL 8TH TO RETURN YOUR TICKETS.     TODAY'S 13WMAZ DOT COM WEB POLL QUESTION ASKS... SHOULD THE CHERRY BLOSSOM STREET PARTY HAVE A BACKUP INDOOR SITE IN CASE OF RAIN?
      SO FAR 69 PERCENT OF YOU SAY YES... IT SHOULD.
      AND 31 PERCENT OF YOU SAY NO... IT SHOULD NOT.
     VOTE NOW... VISIT OUR WEBSITE AND LOOK FOR THE WEB POLL QUESTION IN THE "DON'T MISS" BOX ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE HOMEPAGE.


SATURDAY'S STORMS ALSO DAMAGED ABOUT 60 HOMES IN LAURENS COUNTY .
EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT DIRECTOR DON BRYANT SAYS AT LEAST TWO STRUCTURES WERE DESTROYED... AND NO INJURIES WERE REPORTED.
MOST OF THE DAMAGE WAS IN THE BREWTON COMMUNITY.. NEAR EAST DUBLIN.
TODAY... COUNTY CREWS WORKED TO CLEAR DEBRIS.
PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN THE AREA SAY REBUILDING WILL BE TOUGH.... BUT THEY'RE JUST THANKFUL NO ONE WAS HURT.Delana Kilgore: Laurens County: "He came outside and it was already dark. You couldn't hardly see , but he came outside and said well we don't have a porch and of course we didn't realize at that point that we didn't have a lot of other things too." THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SAYS THE DAMAGE WAS CAUSED BY AN   E-F-1 TORNADO. 
THEY ARE MEASURED ON A SCALE OF ZERO TO FIVE...FIVE IS THE MOST SEVERE. 


MACON BIBB FIRE INVESTIGATORS ARE RULING A WEEKEND MACON HOUSE FIRE AS POSSIBLE ARSON. 
SERGEANT BEN GLEATON WITH MACON-BIBB FIRE SAYS IT HAPPENED AT 855 AND 879 COLLEGE STREET LAST NIGHT.
  GLEATON SAYS THEY'RE RULING OUT ALL ELECTRICAL AND NATURAL CAUSES BECAUSE THE HOME IS VACANT AND HAS NO ELECTRICITY OR GAS.
HE  SAYS NEIGHBORS  REPORTED SEEING SUSPICIOUS PEOPLE IN AND OUT OF THE HOUSE. 
NO INJURIES WERE REPORTED.
SERGEANT GLEATON SAYS THEY'RE OFFERING A REWARD FOR UP TO TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS FOR INFORMATION ON THE FIRE.
ANYONE WITH TIPS CAN CALL MACON REGIONAL CRIMESTOPPERS AT 1-877-68-CRIME.
            AGAIN.. THAT'S 1-877-68-CRIME


      A LAS VEGAS-BASED AIRLINE HAS CANCELED PLANS FOR FLIGHTS BETWEEN MACON AND THE FLORIDA PANHANDLE.    
     SCOTT COFFMANN... MANAGER OF THE MIDDLE GEORGIA REGIONAL AIRPORT SAID VISION AIRLINES TOLD HIM EARLIER THIS MONTH THAT THEY WOULDN'T BE LAUNCHING SERVICE IN MACON.
     EARLIER THIS YEAR... THE AIRLINE SAID TWICE-WEEKLY MACON-TO-FLORIDA FLIGHTS WOULD BEGIN MARCH 25TH.
     COFFMANN SAID THE AIRLINE TOLD HIM THAT TICKET SALES WERE POORER THAN EXPECTED.
     HE SAID VISION ALSO CANCELED PLANS FOR FLIGHTS FROM ALABAMA TO FLORIDA.
     IN JANUARY... VISION SAID THEY'D FLY 30-SEAT PLANES BETWEEN MACON AND NORTHWEST FLORIDA REGIONAL AIRPORT... NEAR DESTIN AND FORT WALTON.
     
 A GEORGIA HOUSE COMMITTEE TOOK UP A SENATE BILL AIMED AT CRACKING DOWN ON ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION IN THE STATE.
   THE COMMITTEE GUTTED THE SENATE BILL AND INSERTED TEXT OF A MORE COMPREHENSIVE BILL.
   BOTH BILLS REQUIRE EMPLOYERS TO USE A FEDERAL DATABASE TO CHECK THE IMMIGRATION STATUS OF NEW HIRES AND AUTHORIZE LAW ENFORCEMENT TO CHECK THE IMMIGRATION STATUS OF CRIMINAL SUSPECTS. 
   BUT THE NEW BILL IS MORE FAR-REACHING.
    IT PROVIDES TOUGHER PENALTIES FOR IDENTITY THEFT... AND FOR HARBORING OR TRANSPORTING ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS.
   IT ALSO ALLOWS INDIVIDUALS TO SUE OFFICIALS WHO DON'T COMPLY WITH STATE LAWS ON VERIFYING IMMIGRATION STATUS OF NEW HIRES AND APPLICANTS FOR PUBLIC BENEFITS. 


     THE STATE BUDGET IS ONE STEP CLOSER TO FINAL APPROVAL.
      EARLIER TODAY....THE SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED THE 18 BILLION DOLLAR MEASURE.       COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN JACK HILL SAID THE BUDGET SAVES MONEY BY COMBINING SERVICES ACROSS AGENCIES AND DEPARTMENTS.
       HE SAYS SOME CORRECTION COSTS COULD GO DOWN AS THE STATE MOVES NON-VIOLENT OFFENDERS TO ALTERNATIVES..... LIKE DRUG COURTS.
      BUT HILL SAYS MEDICAID AND A HOLE IN THE STATE HEALTH BENEFIT PLAN LED TO A 180 MILLION DOLLAR GAP IN HEALTH FUNDING.
       THE 2012 FISCAL YEAR BEGINS JULY FIRST.


YOUR INCOME TAX RATE COULD DROP...BUT SOME NEW GOODS AND SERVICES WOULD BE TAXED UNDER A PROPOSAL BEFORE THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY.
  A GEORGIA JOINT LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE UNVEILED THE PROPOSAL AT THE STATE CAPITOL.
 THE PLAN CONTAINS PARTS OF A SWEEPING PROPOSAL THAT CAME FROM A STATEWIDE REVIEW PANEL LAST YEAR.
  THAT INCLUDES CUTTING THE PERSONAL INCOME TAX TO FOUR-POINT-FIVE PERCENT....
CAPPING ITEMIZED DEDUCTIONS...
AND TAXING SERVICES...LIKE AUTO REPAIRS AND MAINTENANCE.
THE JOINT PANEL COULD VOTE ON THE BILL AS SOON AS TOMORROW


LOTS OF PEOPLE HAVE ODD HOBBIES... BUT WE FOUND ONE BONAIRE MAN WHO "COLLECTS COURTHOUSES".
RETIRED AIRCRAFT MECHANIC FRED (VEE-AY-TOR) VEATOR HAS BEEN TO MORE THAN A THOUSAND COURTHOUSES ACROSS THE COUNTRY.
VANESSA RUFFES TELLS YOU ABOUT HIS QUEST TO COLLECT THEM ALL.
<<
"When you travel you run into all kinds of people. And a lot of interesting things happen and I could probably write a book when Im through about all the courthouses."


69 YEAR OLD FRED VEATOR HAS MADE IT A GOAL TO VISIT EVERY COURTHOUSE IN AMERICA.
SO FAR... HE'S OFF TO A GOOD START -- PICKING UP AT LEAST A FEW IN NEARLY EVERY STATE -- ALL ON HIS MOTORCYCLE.


"There's two states I haven't been to courthouses in... North Dakota and Nevada."


THE RETIRED AIRCRAFT MECHANIC FROM ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE... SAYS THIS IS HIS FIRST ONE -- THE OLD CRAWFORD COUNTY COURTHOUSE IN KNOXVILLE.


"Every courthouse I go to I park my motorcycle in front of it and take a picture."


IF YOU'RE WONDERING... VEATOR SAYS HIS CROSS-COUNTRY TOURS... AREN'T REALLY ABOUT A ZEAL FOR JUSTICE OR EVEN ARCHITECTURE.
LIKE MOST BIKE ENTHUSIASTS... HE SAYS IT'S JUST AN EXCUSE TO RIDE.


Veator "I rode a motorcycle to work everyday for twenty-five years at the base. Every single day except for two days when they had an ice storm."


Standup "Veator says in the five years he's been collecting he's been to more than 14 hundred courthouses. That's a little less than 300 each year."


THAT ADDS UP TO HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF MILES ON THE BACK OF A BIKE... HE SAYS... AND GAS?


"(Laughs) I probably don't want to know... That's probably why gas prices are so high -- cause I've been using too much."


THE TRIPS HE SAYS... ARE BETTER DONE SOLO... BECAUSE HE'LL TRY TO HIT AS MANY PLACES AS HE CAN IN ONE DAY. HIS DOG SAVANNAH DOESN'T USUALLY COME... AND BRINGING FRIENDS OR HIS GIRLFRIEND ALONG... CAN SOMETIMES TRY THEIR PATIENCE.


"Especially if they have a GPS and they see I'm going way out of the way to go where we need to go -- to go by a courthouse -- they say 'We ain't never going to get where we need to go, going to all these courthouses!"


BUT OF COURSE -- AS YOU PROBABLY COULD GUESS... FOR VEATOR... "COURTHOUSIN'" IS ALL ABOUT THE RIDE AND THE PEOPLE HE MEETS WHEN HE GETS THERE.
VANESSA RUFFES 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>> VEATOR SAYS AT THE END OF THE MONTH HE PLANS TO HEAD TO ALABAMA... TENNESSEE AND KENTUCKY.
HE WANTS TO FINISH COLLECTING IN THOSE STATES.
VEATOR SAYS HE HEARD ABOUT "COURTHOUSE COLLECTING" THROUGH HIS MOTORCYCLE CLUB.


IF YOU LIVE IN WARNER ROBINS... YOU CAN CHUNK YOUR JUNK FOR FREE DURING THE MONTH OF APRIL.
WARNER ROBINS TOWING AND THE KEEP WARNER ROBINS BEAUTIFUL COMMISSION TEAMED UP TO CLEAN UP.
IF YOU HAVE AN OLD JUNK CAR IN YOUR YARD... OR SCRAP METAL... YOU CAN CALL THE TOWING COMPANY OR THE CIVIC ORGANIZATION.
THEY'LL COME TO YOUR HOME.
YOU SIGN A FORM.... AND THEY'LL HAUL IT OFF AT NO CHARGE.
PLUS... IT'S TAX DEDUCTIBLE...ACCORDING TO DEBRA JONES....THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF KEEP WARNER ROBINS BEAUTIFUL.


LOTS OF PEOPLE HAVE ODD HOBBIES... BUT WE FOUND ONE BONAIRE MAN WHO "COLLECTS COURTHOUSES".
RETIRED AIRCRAFT MECHANIC FRED (VEE-AY-TOR) VEATOR HAS BEEN TO MORE THAN A THOUSAND COURTHOUSES ACROSS THE COUNTRY.
VANESSA RUFFES TELLS YOU ABOUT HIS QUEST TO COLLECT THEM ALL.
<<
"When you travel you run into all kinds of people. And a lot of interesting things happen and I could probably write a book when Im through about all the courthouses."


69 YEAR OLD FRED VEATOR HAS MADE IT A GOAL TO VISIT EVERY COURTHOUSE IN AMERICA.
SO FAR... HE'S OFF TO A GOOD START -- PICKING UP AT LEAST A FEW IN NEARLY EVERY STATE -- ALL ON HIS MOTORCYCLE.


"There's two states I haven't been to courthouses in... North Dakota and Nevada."


THE RETIRED AIRCRAFT MECHANIC FROM ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE... SAYS THIS IS HIS FIRST ONE -- THE OLD CRAWFORD COUNTY COURTHOUSE IN KNOXVILLE.


"Every courthouse I go to I park my motorcycle in front of it and take a picture."


IF YOU'RE WONDERING... VEATOR SAYS HIS CROSS-COUNTRY TOURS... AREN'T REALLY ABOUT A ZEAL FOR JUSTICE OR EVEN ARCHITECTURE.
LIKE MOST BIKE ENTHUSIASTS... HE SAYS IT'S JUST AN EXCUSE TO RIDE.


Veator "I rode a motorcycle to work everyday for twenty-five years at the base. Every single day except for two days when they had an ice storm."


Standup "Veator says in the five years he's been collecting he's been to more than 14 hundred courthouses. That's a little less than 300 each year."


THAT ADDS UP TO HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF MILES ON THE BACK OF A BIKE... HE SAYS... AND GAS?


"(Laughs) I probably don't want to know... That's probably why gas prices are so high -- cause I've been using too much."


THE TRIPS HE SAYS... ARE BETTER DONE SOLO... BECAUSE HE'LL TRY TO HIT AS MANY PLACES AS HE CAN IN ONE DAY. HIS DOG SAVANNAH DOESN'T USUALLY COME... AND BRINGING FRIENDS OR HIS GIRLFRIEND ALONG... CAN SOMETIMES TRY THEIR PATIENCE.


"Especially if they have a GPS and they see I'm going way out of the way to go where we need to go -- to go by a courthouse -- they say 'We ain't never going to get where we need to go, going to all these courthouses!"


BUT OF COURSE -- AS YOU PROBABLY COULD GUESS... FOR VEATOR... "COURTHOUSIN'" IS ALL ABOUT THE RIDE AND THE PEOPLE HE MEETS WHEN HE GETS THERE.
VANESSA RUFFES 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>> VEATOR SAYS AT THE END OF THE MONTH HE PLANS TO HEAD TO ALABAMA... TENNESSEE AND KENTUCKY.
HE WANTS TO FINISH COLLECTING IN THOSE STATES.
VEATOR SAYS HE HEARD ABOUT "COURTHOUSE COLLECTING" THROUGH HIS MOTORCYCLE CLUB.


IF YOU LIVE IN WARNER ROBINS... YOU CAN CHUNK YOUR JUNK FOR FREE DURING THE MONTH OF APRIL.
nats- tow truck
WARNER ROBINS TOWING AND THE KEEP WARNER ROBINS BEAUTIFUL COMMISSION TEAMED UP TO CLEAN UP.
IF YOU HAVE AN OLD JUNK CAR IN YOUR YARD... OR SCRAP METAL... YOU CAN CALL THE TOWING COMPANY OR THE CIVIC ORGANIZATION.
THEY'LL COME TO YOUR HOME.
YOU SIGN A FORM.... AND THEY'LL HAUL IT OFF AT NO CHARGE.
PLUS... IT'S TAX DEDUCTIBLE...ACCORDING TO DEBRA JONES....THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF KEEP WARNER ROBINS BEAUTIFUL.
Debra Jones, Keep Warner Robins Beautiful: (3:45) "We started working with our code enforcement. Our code enforcement officers came to us, and said we really have situation. Is there anything we can come up with? We gave it to our creative people, who gave it a name, "Chunk-a-junk." We thought it was just great."
JONES SAYS THE CHUNK-A-JUNK PROGRAM STARTED NINE YEARS AGO.
SINCE IT BEGAN... THEY'VE HAULED OFF MORE THAN 5-HUNDRED JUNK CARS.
CALL 478-922-1172 TO SCHEDULE A PICK-UP.
THAT NUMBER AGAIN IS 478-922-1172.
 
      IT'S TIME TO RECOGNIZE TONIGHT'S FACEBOOK FAN OF THE DAY....
        RICK TOOLEY... CONGRATULATIONS RICK.. YOU'LL GET A 13WMAZ 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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