Tuesday, April 12, Eyewitness News at 6

10:40 AM, Apr 11, 2011   |    comments
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HELLO EVERYONE AND THANKS FOR JOINING US...
I'M LEAH JOHNSON.. AND I'M FRANK MALLOY..
THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT SIX.

MACON STATE SENATOR CECIL STATON TODAY GAVE UP HIS DUTIES AS MAJORITY WHIP FOR THE FINAL TWO DAYS OF THIS YEAR'S SESSION..
HIS DECISION CAME AFTER A CONTROVERSY OVER E-MAILS..
A REPUBLICAN ACTIVIST SAYS STATON HAS BEEN SENDING OUT EMAILS UNDER AN ASSUMED NAME....ATTACKING LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR CASEY CAGLE.
STATON SAYS THAT'S NOT TRUE....AND HE WANTS TO KNOW WHO'S REALLY SENDING THEM.
RANDALL SAVAGE IS JOINING US WITH MORE.
ARCH ADAMS.. A REPUBLICAN ACTIVIST....INTERNET EXPERT AND TRAMPOLINE SALESMAN FROM HARTWELL.. SAYS HE'S TRACKED THE EMAILS BACK TO STATON'S BLACKBERRY.
THEY WERE SENT UNDER THE NAME BETH MERKLESON... BUT SO FAR NO ONE BY THAT NAME HAS BEEN LOCATED IN THE STATE OF GEORGIA.
ADAMS CLAIMS THAT STATON EVEN ACCIDENTALLY SIGNED HIS NAME....TO A MERKELSON EMAIL.
IT SAYS --
THANK YOU SO MUCH. PLEASE HELP SPREAD THE WORD TO THE FAITHFUL AROUND THE STATE.. WE CANNOT LET THE LT. GOVERNOR WIN... REGARDS.. CECIL STATON..
ANOTHER MERKLESON EMAIL SAYS ---
YESTERDAY I GO ALMOST 100 EMAILS SO I AM CUTTING AND PASTING AND LEARNING MORE ABOUT COMPUTERS THAN I EVER THOUGHT I WOULD FOR A 55 YEAR OLD WOMAN!!!...
I WOULD CERTAINLY SEND YOUR SENATOR AN EMAIL OR BETTER YET CALL AND TELL HIM OR HER NOT TO SUPPORT CAGLE'S COUP WITH THE DEMOCRATS... GOD BLESS.. BETH..
NEITHER ADAMS NOR STATON RETURNED OUR CALLS.. BUT A SENATE SPOKESMAN SAYS STATON DIDN'T SEND THOSE EMAILS...AND IS PERPLEXED.
MEANWHILE.. CAGLE'S SPOKESMAN ISSUED THIS STATEMENT ON HIS BEHALF...SAYING.
IT'S CERTAINLY A TROUBLING ACCUSATION AND THE LT. GOVERNOR HAS CONFIDENCE IN THE SENATE CAUCUS
TO CONDUCT THE APPROPRIATE INVESTIGATION AND TO ADDRESS THIS CORRECTLY.
STATON WAS AMONG THE REPUBLICAN LEADERS WHO MET IN MACON LAST FALL AND STRIPPED CAGLE OF SOME OF HIS POWERS IN THE SENATE. CAGLE IS TRYING TO GET THOSE POWERS BACK.
FRANK... LEAH?
DOUGLAS STATE SENATOR GREG GOGGANS WILL TAKE OVER AS MAJORITY WHIP FOR THE FINAL DAYS OF THE SESSION... WHICH WRAPS UP ON THURSDAY..

LOGAN VARNADOE IS A LITTLE BOY FROM BONAIRE... WHO IS QUICKLY BECOMING KNOWN AROUND THE COUNTRY.
WE FIRST BROUGHT YOU THE TWO-YEAR-OLD'S STORY YESTERDAY.
HIS COUSIN WAS ROBBED WHILE SELLING LEMONADE TO RAISE MONEY FOR HIM.
THE FAMILY SAYS THEY'VE HAD AN OUTPOURING OF SUPPORT THEY NEVER IMAGINED.
<<
NATS, Varnadoe and Logan

APRIL VARNADOE SAYS HER SON LOGAN HAS SPENT MOST OF HIS YOUNG LIFE IN THE HOSPITAL...

Nats, showing feeding tubes "It's uh... perinatal nutrition..."

FEEDING TUBES ARE A WAY OF LIFE FOR HIM ... AS ARE SURGERIES... THE TWO-YEAR-OLD HAS GONE THROUGH MORE OF THOSE THAN BIRTHDAYS.

NATS, "At least 8... 8,9,10. He's had 10 surgeries..."

VARNADOE SAYS HER SON WAS BORN PARTIALLY BLIND AND DEAF... IT WAS JUST RECENTLY DOCTORS DISCOVERED LOGAN ALSO HAD A RARE INTESTINAL DISEASE... THAT VARNADOE SAYS WOULD TAKE THEIR FAMILY TO CINCINNATI FOR TREATMENT.

"There's a big possibility we're going to have to go back and forth. It's not just a one-time, go in there and fix it type thing. It's a very rare complicated condition."

HER NIECE CHELSEA'S LEMONADE SALES WERE JUST ONE WAY THE FAMILY WAS RAISING MONEY TO TAKE OFF WORK AND MAKE THE TRIP... VARNADOE SAYS SHE NEVER THOUGHT TWO THIEVES MAKING OFF WITH THEIR CASH WOULD BE A BLESSING IN DISGUISE.

"We've got people from all over the country calling us. It's been unbelievable. It's been wonderful."

Standup "Varnadoe says within twelve hours of our airing her son's story, the family received more than 3,000 dollars on their donation website."

AND THE NUMBERS KEEP CLIMBING...

NATS

VARNADOE SAYS SHE CAN'T THANK PEOPLE ENOUGH FOR THEIR DONATIONS.
SHE SAYS THEY'LL GO FAR IN KEEPING HER BY LOGAN'S SIDE...

NATS

SHE SAYS HER LITTLE BOY HAS KNOWN A LOT OF PAIN IN HIS LIFE... AND NOW... MUCH KINDNESS.

"It's five dollars or ten dollars and twenty dollars. (Chokes up) You know they're thinking about my son..."

VANESSA RUFFES 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>> VARNADOE SAYS THEY'LL MAKE THEIR TRIP TO CINCINNATI TOMORROW.
POLICE SAY THEY MADE A SECOND ARREST IN THE ROBBERY EARLY THIS MORNING.
THEY SAY 20-YEAR-OLD GAGE ALLEN TURNER WAS ARRESTED AFTER SOMEONE SPOTTED HIM KNOCKING ON DOORS IN THEIR NEIGHBORHOOD AND CALLED POLICE.
POLICE SAY THEY FOUND HIM IN A VACANT APARTMENT.
21-YEAR-OLD AMBER UMBARGER... WAS ARRESTED SATURDAY.

A JURY CONVICTED A PERRY MAN TODAY FOR KILLING A DRUG DEALER FOR CRACK AND CASH.
A HOUSTON COUNTY JURY CONVICTED 36-YEAR-OLD KEVIN WAYNE FAULKNER OF FELONY MURDER, ARMED ROBBERY AND OTHER CHARGES. THAT'S ACCORDING TO DISTRICT ATTORNEY GEORGE HARTWIG.
FAULKNER WAS ON TRIAL FOR MORE THAN A WEEK IN THE MAY 2008 SHOOTING OF 22-YEAR-OLD ANTONIO DAWSON.
HARTWIG SAID FAULKNER TESTIFIED THAT HE'D BEEN SMOKING CRACK THAT DAY....STOLE HIS GIRLFRIEND'S PISTOL.... AND WENT TO BUY MORE DRUGS FROM DAWSON.
THE VICTIM'S BODY WAS LATER FOUND DUMPED IN A WOODED AREA OFF HIGHWAY 247 IN KATHLEEN.
FAULKNER MAY BE SENTENCED LATER THIS WEEK.
HARTWIG SAID HE FACES AN AUTOMATIC LIFE SENTENCE.

THE POSSIBILITY OF CONSOLIDATING MACON AND BIBB COUNTY GOVERNMENTS APPEARS DEAD THIS YEAR..
BIBB'S LEGISLATIVE DELEGATION HAS TWO CONSOLIDATION PROPOSALS UNDER CONSIDERATION.
ONE.... PRIMARILY AUTHORED BY SENATOR ROBERT BROWN.. THE OTHER BY REPRESENTATIVE ALLEN PEAKE.
ON MONDAY.. BROWN TOLD THE OTHER SEVEN DELEGATION MEMBERS EITHER APPROVE HIS CONSOLIDATION PROPOSAL THIS LEGISLATIVE SESSION.. OR FORGET IT.

TODAY'S 13WMAZ DOT COM WEB POLL ASKS...
WILL THE CITY OF MACON AND BIBB COUNTY EVER CONSOLIDATE?
SO FAR... 77 PERCENT OF VOTERS SAY NO.. THEY WILL NOT... WHILE 23 PERCENT OF YOU SAY YES THEY WILL.
TO CAST YOUR VOTE.. VISIT OUR WEBSITE.. 13WMAZ DOT COM.
LOOK FOR THE QUESTION IN THE DON'T MISS BOX ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE HOMEPAGE.

SIX RETIRED HOUSTON COUNTY EDUCATORS WILL RECIEVE ONE OF THE SCHOOL SYSTEM'S HIGHEST HONORS.
SUNDAY... THEY'LL BE INDUCTED INTO THE TEACHER OF FAME.
ONE OF THIS YEAR'S INDUCTEE'S IS RAY HORNE.
HE BEGAN TEACHING DRAMA AT NORTHSIDE HIGH SCHOOL IN 1963.... THE YEAR THE SCHOOL OPENED.
HE'S WON NUMEROUS HONORS LOCALLY AND IN OTHER STATES FOR HIS PRODUCTIONS.
HORNED RETIRED ABOUT TEN YEARS AGO... BUT NOW VOLUNTEERS SIX HOURS DAY... FIVE DAYS A WEEK IN NORTHSIDE'S FRONT OFFICE.
Ray Horne, Warner Robins: (702/6:10) "This keeps me younger than I would be if I wasn't doing this. I keeps me on my toes. (cover 5:20) "If you're laughing, you're enjoying life, and I just like to make people laugh. I like for them to have a good time."
JOYCE BROOKS... MARY ALICE HOLLAND... ANNABELLE LYTLE... BILLIE MOSTELLER AND BERTIE RINER WILL ALSO BE INDUCTED TO THE HOUSTON TEACHER HALL OF FAME.
THE CEREMONY IS SUNDAY AT 2-30... AT THE BOARD OF EDUCATION IN PERRY.

YESTERDAY ON EYEWITNESS NEWS... WE TOLD YOU ABOUT A DUBLIN GROUP THAT PLANS TO GATHER AT THE PUMPS ON SATURDAY TO PRAY FOR LOWER PRICES.
IT'S AN EFFORT STARTED BY THE BEACON OF LIGHT CHRISTIAN CENTER IN DUBLIN.
THE GROUP WILL START PRAYER AT 9 A.M. SATURDAY AT KROGER ON HILLCREST PARKWAY IN DUBLIN.
THIS STORY HAS MANY OF YOU SHARING YOUR THOUGHTS AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.
ONE USER WROTE... "I DON'T THINK WE CAN PRAY OURSELVES OUT OF THIS ONE... THOSE PRICES ARE JUST GOING TO KEEP GETTING HIGHER... AND IF THIS DOES WORK, I GUESS I'LL DRIVE TO DUBLIN TO FILL MY TANK UP."
SOMEONE ELSE COMMENTED... "NOT BEING JUDGMENTAL, I FEEL LIKE WE SHOULD PRAY FOR MUCH MORE THAN JUST LOWERED GAS PRICES. SO MANY PEOPLE ARE STRUGGLING WITH NO WORK, AND LITTLE INCOME.
DON'T GET ME WRONG, I WOULD BE GRATEFUL IF THE GAS PRICES WOULD DROP. IT WOULD BE WONDERFUL! BUT REALLY, AS BIG OF A MESS THIS GOVERMENT IS IN... IT IS GONNA TAKE MORE THAN LOWERED GAS PRICES TO HELP IT."
JOIN US AT 13WMAZ DOT COM AND LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK.
YOU CAN CLICK ON THE COMMENTS LINK AT THE TOP OR BOTTOM OF EVERY STORY WE POST.

BIBB COUNTY'S HOWARD HIGH SCHOOL PLANS TO OFFER FINANCIAL INCENTIVES TO STUDENTS WHO SCORE HIGH ON COLLEGE PREP EXAMS.
THE SCHOOL WON A GRANT THAT'S PART OF A FEDERAL INITIATIVE ANNOUNCED BY FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA TO SERVE MILITARY FAMILIES.
BUT AS LAUREN DISPIRITO EXPLAINS... YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE THE STUDENT OF A MILITARY FAMILY TO EARN THE GRANT'S REWARD.
Nat class

STUDENTS AT HOWARD HIGH SCHOOL SIGNED UP TO TAKE MORE THAN 300 COLLEGE PREPATORY ADVANCED PLACEMENT EXAMS THIS YEAR.

Nats students

LAST YEAR'S SCORES... ONLY 29 PASSED... OF ABOUT 275 STUDENTS ... SHOW A GAP IN ACHIEVEMENT.. ONE THAT PRINCIPAL MATT ADAMS' HOPES A NEW GRANT HELPS THEM CLOSE.

Matt Adams, Howard HS Prinicipal: "A lot of times they're going into that not really understanding the commitment that it takes"

Nats Obama speaking

TUESDAY.. STUDENTS AND OFFICIALS LISTENED AS FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA ANNOUNCED JOINING FORCES... AN INITIATIVE TO BETTER SERVE AMERICA'S MILITARY FAMILIES.

GRAPHIC
UNDER THE PLAN...
HOWARD GETS MORE THAN 200 THOUSAND DOLLARS... SPONSORED BY NORTHROP GRUMMAN CORPORATION... TO FUND A-P MATH AND SCIENCE COURSES IN SCHOOLS THAT SERVE MILITARY COMMUNITIES.

GRAPHIC 2
ADAMS SAYS THE GRANT COVERS TEACHER TRAINING... SATURDAY EXAM REVIEW SESSIONS AND REWARDS HIGH SCORING STUDENTS WITH ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS.

Matt Adams, Howard HS Prinicipal: "what this is gonna do is this is gonna prepare them, it's gonna provide the opportunites, the resoruces to get them prepared to be successful in advanced placement course."

Nats class

ADAMS SAYS INCENTIVES ARE OPEN TO ALL STUDENTS... LIKE SOPHOMORE AJ KILCREASE... WHO IS NOT FROM A MILITARY FAMILY... BUT LIKES THE CHALLEGE OF A-P COURSES.

A.J. Kilcrease, Howard HS Sophomore, Bibb County: "Some students might not want to go through the whole course just to get 100 dollars at the end of it, but as in passing the AP test, the students that are already enrolled in the course will definitely try harder."

ADAMS SAYS THE SCHOOL HOPES MORE THAN 70 STUDENTS WILL PASS AP EXAMS NEXT YEAR.. ONCE THE GRANT PROGRAM BEGINS.

LAUREN DISPIRITO
13 WMAZ
EYEWITNESS NEWS
PRINCIPAL MATT ADAMS SAYS THE NATIONAL MATH AND SCIENCE INITIATIVE THAT RUNS THE GRANT ASKED THE SCHOOL TO APPLY.
OF HOWARD'S MORE THAN ONE THOUSAND STUDENTS... HE SAYS ABOUT 10 STUDENTS COME FROM MILITARY FAMILIES.
THE GRANT RUNS THROUGH MAY 2014.

DRIVERS WHO USE HANDHELD DEVICES ARE FOUR TIMES AS LIKELY TO GET INTO CRASHES SERIOUS ENOUGH TO INJURE THEMSELVES.
THAT'S ACCORDING TO THE INSURANCE INSTITUTE FOR HIGHWAY SAFETY.
WE'RE WORKING TO HELP YOU DECREASE YOUR RISK WITH THE GREAT HANG UP PLEDGE.
JUST VISIT 13WMAZ DOT COM AND LOOK FOR THE GREAT HANG UP UNDER THE FEATURES TAB.
YOU'LL FIND A LINK TO SIGN ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE PAGE.
IF YOU SIGNED THE PLEDGE AND KEPT IT... SIGNED AND DIDN'T KEEP IT... OR IF YOU'RE STILL DECIDING WHETHER OR NOT TO SIGN AT ALL... WE WANT TO TALK TO YOU.
EACH MONTH... WE'LL SHARE 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.

WE ASKED YOU TO NOMINATE THE BEST PIZZA WHERE YOU LIVE.
THE PERSON WITH THE POST THAT WAS SHARED THE MOST ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER WON A FUN PACK TO JOHNNY G'S IN WARNER ROBINS.
THE WINNER IS.... LETASHA GILES OF DUBLIN.
SHE POSTED THAT JOHNNY'S PIZZA IN DUBLIN IS THE BEST.
SHE SAYS THEY HAVE THE FRESHEST VEGGIES AND CRUST THAT IS HANDMADE DAILY.
CONGRATULATIONS LETASHA!
STAY TUNED FOR OUR NEXT "BEST OF FEATURE" WHERE YOU LIVE.

WE'RE TAKING A LOOK AT YOUR NATURE'S BOUNTY PHOTOS.
HERE'S AUTUMN... PICKING STRAWBERRIES.
AND THE CAPTION ON THIS ONE SAYS "BUMBLE BEES AND CHERRY TREES!"
SEND US YOUR PHOTOS...LOOK FOR *PHOTO GALLERIES* UNDER FEATURES IN THE MENU BAR ACROSS THE TOP OF OUR HOMEPAGE...
AND DON'T FORGET TO LET US KNOW WHEN AND WHERE YOU TOOK THE PHOTO.


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