<<opening for eyewitness news at eleven>>
GOOD EVENING AND THANKS FOR JOINING US..
I'M FRANK MALLOY..
AND I'M LEAH JOHNSON..
THIS IS A LATE EDITION OF EYEWITNESS NEWS AT 11.
ALL OF CENTRAL GEORGIA IS UNDER A TORNADO WATCH AS STRONG STORMS ROLL ACROSS THE STATE..
THOSE STORMS HAVE BEEN MOVING QUICKLY AND STRIKING SUDDENLY..
LET'S JOIN CHIEF METEOROLOGIST BEN JONES IN THE WEATHER CENTER WITH WHAT WE CAN EXPECT OVER THE NEXT SEVERAL HOURS..
The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch for all of Central Georgia until 5 a.m. Tuesday.
The NWS says tornadoes, hail up to an inch in diameter, thunderstorm wind gusts up to 70 mph and dangerous lightning are possible in these areas.
A tornado watch means conditions are favorable for tornadoes and severe thunderstorms in and close to the watch area.
THANKS BEN.. WE'LL TALK WITH YOU AGAIN IN JUST A FEW MINUTES.
A MILLEDGEVILLE MAN WAS SENTENCED TO LIFE IN PRISON FOR KILLING HIS EX-GIRLFRIEND LAST YEAR.
OCMULGEE JUDICIAL CIRCUIT DISTRICT ATTORNEY FRED BRIGHT SAYS....
33-YEAR-OLD ALONZO ROBERSON PLEAD GUILTY TO MALICE MURDER TODAY IN THE KILLING OF 25-YEAR-OLD JAQUANNA FREEMAN.
SHE WAS FOUND SHOT TO DEATH IN MARCH 2010 ON PENNINGTON ROAD.
THAT'S OFF OF VINSON HIGHWAY.
ROBERSON WAS ARRESTED LATER THAT MONTH IN ATLANTA.
BRIGHT SAID ROBERSON HAD THREATENED FREEMAN.... AND WHEN HE WAS ARRESTED... THE MURDER WEAPON WAS FOUND ON THE BED HE WAS SLEEPING IN.
HE WAS ALSO CONVICTED OF THEFT BY TAKING IN CONNECTION WITH THE STOLEN HANDGUN AND RECEIVED A 10-YEAR-SENTENCE TO BE SERVED AT THE SAME TIME AS THE LIFE SENTENCE.
SEVEN NEW VOLUNTEER BOARD MEMBERS WILL STEER CONSTRUCTION OF THE WARNER ROBINS LAW ENFORCEMENT CENTER.
COUNCIL APPROVED A LIST OF NAMES FOR THE REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY.... BUT BARELY.
LORRA LYNCH JONES EXPLAINS WHY THE MAYOR BROKE A TIE VOTE.
<<Chuck Shaheen: (20:10) "My priority here is cost effective, quick."
AND MAYOR CHUCK SHAHEEN MOVED APPROVAL OF A NEW REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY BOARD ALONG RAPIDLY.
WITHIN TWO WEEKS OF DISSOLVING THE OLD ONE... MADE-UP OF COUNCIL MEMBERS... SHAHEEN PUSHED SEVEN NAMES... PLUS TWO EX-OFICIO MEMBERS THROUGH.
Chuck Shaheen: "We wanted to go ahead and expedite this, because we wanted to get this law enforcement center built."
SHAHEEN SAYS HE ASKED ALL SIX COUNCIL MEMBERS FOR THE NAMES OF POSSIBLE APPOINTEES... BUT SAID MIKE DALEY.. BOB WILBANKS AND PAUL SHEALY DIDN'T RESPOND.
Chuck Shaheen: "I don't know why they didn't submit names and were not going to stall anymore."
BUT DALEY.. WILBANKS AND SHEALY SAID THEY WEREN'T ASKED.
DALEY... THE FORMER R-D-A CHAIR... SAID WHEN THE LIST OF NAMES CAME BEFORE COUNCIL MONDAY... HE DIDN'T KNOW SOME OF THE NAMES... AND WASN'T PROVIDED WITH THEIR QUALIFICATIONS.
Mike Daley: "There was an opportunity there for us as a mayor and council to come together on an issue."
BUT INSTEAD THEY SPLIT... DALEY.. WILBANKS AND SHEALY CHOOSING NOT TO VOTE BECAUSE OF A LACK OF INFORMATION.
Mike Daley: "This doesn't have anything to do with the people elected to this board. It has to do with the process, and I've yet to understand the sense of urgency to get this done so quickly."
Chuck Shaheen: "My priority here is efficiency, cost effectively for the city of Warner Robins. That's what our goal is with this board."
SHAHEEN SAYS IF THE NOMINEES ACCEPT THE APPOINTMENT... HE WANTS THEM TO START THIS WEEK.
STD SHAHEEN SAYS ALL OF THE APPOINTED R-D-MEMBERS HAVE SOME BACKGROUND IN REAL ESTATE... DEVELOPMENT OR ARCHITECTURE.
HE SAID THE BOARD'S FIRST PRIORITY WILL BE THE LAW ENFORCEMENT CENTER... BUT WILL INCLUDE OTHER PROJECTS... SUCH AS G-RAMP.
SEVEN MACON CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS ARE SPONSORING A NEW LAW THAT WOULD RESTRICT SMOKING IN PUBLIC PLACES.
ACCORDING TO COUNCILWOMAN LAUREN BENEDICT... THE LAW WOULD MAKE IT ILLEGAL TO SMOKE IN PLACES LIKE RESTAURANTS... BARS AND PUBLIC PARKS.
THE LAW WOULD... HOWEVER... ALLOW FOR BUSINESS OWNERS TO CREATE OUTDOOR SMOKING SECTIONS.
COUNCIL HAD A LONG DISCUSSION ABOUT THE PROPOSAL DURING THE ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS COMMITTEE THIS EVENING... AND BENEDICT SAYS THE PROPOSAL WILL PROBABLY BRING MORE CONTROVERSY IN THE COMING WEEKS.
BUT SHE SAYS SHE BELIEVES THERE'S ENOUGH COUNCIL AND PUBLIC SUPPORT TO PASS THE SMOKING-BAN.
"The number on issue is that employees in these establishments don't have the right to a smoke free work place like employees, say, that work at my law firm in an office building already have under state law. And that's really what it is aimed at."
SEVERAL COUNCILMEMBERS EXPRESSED CONCERNS ABOUT GETTING TOO INVOLVED WITH THE WAY PRIVATE OWNERS RUN THEIR BUSINESSES... AND THE LOGISTICS OF ENFORCING THE ORDINANCE.
THE PROPOSAL IS SET TO BE REFERRED TO THE PUBLIC SAFTEY COMMITTEE FOR DISCUSSION DURING TOMOROW NIGHT'S FULL COUNCIL MEETING.
MACON CITY COUNCIL'S APPROPRATIONS COMMITTEE ALSO HEARD A PRESENTATION MONDAY NIGHT FROM MACON-BIBB INDUSTRIAL AUTHORITY CHAIRMAIN CLIFFORD WHITBY...
WHITBY TOLD COUNCILMEMBERS ABOUT A NEW PLAN TO BRING REVENUE INTO THE AUTHORITY.
HE SAYS INDUSTRIAL AUTHORITY REVENUE HAS BEEN DECLINING... AND THEIR CURRENTLY FACING A ONE MILLION THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLAR SHORTFALL FOR 2011.
ANOTHER PROBLEM... SAYS WHITBY IS THAT AND A LOT OF THE MONEY THEY HAVE CAN'T BE USED TO BUY NEW LAND...
THAT'S WHY WHITBY SAYS THE AUTHORITY VOTED TO START SOMETHING CALLED A PILOT PROGRAM TO BRING IN NEW MONEY...
"Payment in lieu of taxes meaning the company when we incentivize them do not pay taxes but they can pay a payment in lieu of taxes which mean it's not coming from the exsisting tax base."
WHITBY ALSO TOLD COUNCILMEMBERS THERE IS NO MORE LAND WITHIN THE CITY LIMITS THAT THE INDUSTRIAL AUTHORITY CAN MARKET TO INDUSTRY.
COUNCILMAN MIKE CRANFORD SAYS THAT'S BECAUSE SO MUCH OF IT HAS ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS...
BUT CRANFORD SAYS IN THE FUTURE PILOT FUNDS COULD BE USED TO PURCHASE AND REHAB CITY LAND.
SOME PEOPLE IN MILLEDGEVILLE SAID THANKS TO THOSE WHO FOUGHT AN EARLY MORNING FIRE AT THEIR HOUSING COMPLEX.
WE SPENT TIME AT A COOK OUT WHERE RESIDENTS SERVED UP A MEAL TO HONOR A GROUP OF FIREFIGHTERS.
NATS " I brought slaw,and two cakes and brownies " :04
THOSE ARE JUST A FEW OF THE ITEMS PREPARED BY RESIDENTS OF THE LEGACY AT SINCLAIR HOUSING COMPLEX IN MILLEDGEVILLE.
SOT: We left from here one evening and all of the owners decided that they wanted to do something for the firefighters but we didn't know what to do, so one night we were home and decided hey, let's have a fish fry.
THEY HOSTED THAT FISH FRY MONDAY AFTERNOON TO THANK FIREFIGHTERS IN BALDWIN COUNTY.... MILLEDGEVILLE AND MERRIWETHER.
TWO WEEKS AGO.... LIGHTNING STRUCK A BUILDING ON THE PROPERTY.
SOT: I had never heard a bolt of lightning that loud and my wife and I got up and looked around. A fireman pounded on the door and some neighbors we have said that we had to get out immediately.
VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS AND COUNTY FIREFIGHTERS ARRIVED ON SCENE.
DEPUTY CHIEF STEVE SOMERS SAYS THEY WERE JUST DOING THEIR JOBS.
HE WAS PLEASANTLY SUPRISED BUY THE GRATITIUDE OF THE RESIDENTS.
"Humbled a little bit that they would think about us and want to do something for us. Um after the loss they went through I figured that would be the last thing they were thinking about, they have so much they have to do to get their lives back to a little more normal."
FIREFIRGHTERS SAY ONE CONDO UNIT WAS DESTROYED IN THE FIRE AND THREE OTHERS WERE DAMAGED.
RECONSTRUCTION IS EXPECTED TO TAKE UP TO EIGHT MONTHS.
SCREW DRIVERS... SAWS... AND FARM MACHINERY.
THOSE ARE JUST A FEW OF THE TOOLS... LARRY CRAWFORD USES TO CREATE METAL SCULPTURES.
HIS COLLECTION FEATURES CRITTERS... CATERPILLARS AND SIX-FOOT-TALL DINOSAURS.
BOFTA YIMAM INTRODUCES YOU TO THE MAN BEHIND WHAT HE CALLS.. "FARM ART"
NATS Crawford "half of a post hole digger"
LARRY CRAWFORD'S PASSION FOR ART LANDED ON SPIDERS
NATS "pair of old pliers"
ALONG WITH OTHER CREATURES... SEVERAL YEARS AGO---
"bugs, caterpillars, turtles."
THE METAL-SCULPTED ANIMALS CRAWLED INTO HIS LIFE... AND YARD... UNEXPECTEDLY.
Crawford, "Well I really didn't intend on getting into it that much, really, I just do it more or less for my amusement."
HIS COLLECTION DOESN'T DISCRIMINATE AGAINST MAN-EATERS EITHER.
"Florida alligator not too many people around Georgia Like em haha"
PIPES AND NUTS WIELDED TOGETHER MADE THIS REPTILE COME ALIVE--
NATS "barn door hinge"
THE LAURENS COUNTY NATIVE COMBS THROUGH YARD SALES... TO COLLECT PARTS... INCLUDING FARM MACHINERY.
"it might take me a couple more years to come up with what would go with that part."
THE HANDY-MAN FIRST LEARNED TO WELD IN HIGH SCHOOL...
NATS "Army shovel"
THEN HONED HIS SKILLS WHILE WORKING ON AUTO FENDERS.
CRAWFORD SAYS THERE'S NO PARTICULAR REASON BEHIND WHICH RAKE.. OR TOOL... FLIES WITH HIS IDEAS.
"Just the way my mind works haha"
THE 59-YEAR-OLD'S MIND... STAYED POSITIVE... AND FOCUSED... DESPITE LIFE'S SET BACKS. CRAWFORD SAYS HE'S A TWO-YEAR NECK CANCER SURVIVOR. HIS LOVE FOR HIS SCRAP DESIGNS AND THE PEOPLE WHO ENJOY THEM... KEPT HIM GOING .
"I just like to see the expressions on people's face whenever they walk by and see different articles in it"
"This 6 foot dinosaur is just of several of Crawford's pieces that can be seen at the art show inside the Dublin Mall. He says it's priced around $2,000."
THE HUMBLE SCULPTOR WON'T GIVE HIMSELF A PAT ON THE BACK... BUT OTHERS DO.
Frenasee Daughety, River roots visual arts alliance
"He finds pieces of Americana, things made in America, and he refashions those things into a brand new piece of art.
Nats "this is gonna be his tail"
CRAWFORD ISN'T SURE HOW HE'LL SNAG THE SCRAP... TO MAKE HIS COW SCULPTURE. BUT HE'S CONFIDENT... NO MATTER THE TOOL... HE'LL USE STUFF MOST THROW AWAY... TO CREATE VALUED PIECES OF ART... THAT LIVE ON.
BOFTA YIMAM 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS
CRAWFORD SAYS HIS PIECES RANGE FROM 35 TO AROUND TWO-THOUSAND DOLLARS.
THE RIVER ROOTS VISUAL ARTS ALLIANCE SAYS THE ART SHOW WILL CONTINUE AT THE DUBLIN MALL UNTIL APRIL 14TH.
THE EXHIBIT IS CLOSED ON SUNDAYS AND MONDAYS.