<<opening for eyewitness news at six>>
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 SPOKE OUT TODAY...ABOUT ALLEGATIONS THAT HE TOOK POTSHOTS BY EMAIL AGAINST SOME FELLOW REPUBLICANS...UNDER AN ASSSUMED NAME.
RANDALL SAVAGE CAUGHT UP WITH STATON TODAY AT THE STATE CAPITOL.
CONTROVERSY CONTINUES TO SWIRL AROUND THE STATE CAPITOL OVER EMAILS ALLEGEDLY SENT BY STATE SENATOR CECIL STATON OF MACON.
STATON DENIES HE WAS INVOLVED.
Republican State Senator Cecil Staton, "I didn't do this, and so I have recieved some of those emails, I have forwarded as some were forwarded to me by other members of our caucus that's the extent and that's all I know about it. "
A REPUBLICAN ACTIVIST ACCUSED STATON OF SENDING EMAILS UNDER THE NAME BETH MERKLESON....ACCUSING OTHER POLITICIANS OF SIDING WITH DEMOCRATS TO TAKE CONTROL OF THE SENATE.
ONE OF THOSE ACCUSED...IS REPUBLICAN SENATOR ROSS TOLLESON FROM PERRY.
TOLLESON SAYS HE IS STAYING OUT OF THE EMAIL CONTROVERSY.
Republican State Senator Ross Tolleson, "I'm not going to take myself down into the mud on issues like that because at the end of the day my job is to focus on the work of the twentieth senate district "
Randall Savage 13WMAZ Eyewitness News "Things are quiet here at the state capitol today but state senator Cecil Staton says he hopes the Beth MErkelson incident doesn't distract the lawmakers at the final day of the session tomorrow "
STATON HAS TURNED OVER HIS MAJORITY WHIP DUTIES FOR THE END OF THE SESSION...SAYING HE DIDN'T WANT IT TO BE A DISTRACTION.
IHE SAYS HE IS STAYING FOCUSED ON WHAT IS IMPORTANT.
Republican State Senator Cecil Staton, "I assure you, you know I am going to survive it, it will be fine because at the end of the day what matters to me is my family, my community, my character and my integrity"
RANDALL SAVAGE 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS.
ACTIVIST ARCH ADAMS... AN INTERNET EXPERT AND TRAMPOLINE SALESMAN... GAVE SENATE REPUBLICANS A REPORT THIS WEEK THAT SAID HE TRACKED THE MERKELSON EMAILS BACK TO STATON'S BLACKBERRY.
ADAMS HAS NOT RETURNED OUR PHONE CALLS.
TODAY'S 13WMAZ DOT COM WEB POLL...
DO THE EMAIL ALLEGATIONS AGAINST SENATOR CECIL STATON HURT HIS CREDIBILITY.
SO FAR 66 PERCENT OF YOU SAY YES.
34 PERCENT OF YOU SAY NO.
VOTE NOW... VISIT 13WMAZ DOT COM AND LOOK FOR THE WEB POLL QUESTION IN THE "DON'T MISS" BOX ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF OUR HOMEPAGE.
MACON POLICE SAY TWO PEOPLE WERE INVOLVED IN THE KILLING OF A MACON STORE CLERK LAST NIGHT.
38-YEAR-OLD GARY BENNETT COLE JUNIOR DIED AFTER HE WAS SHOT DURING AN ATTEMPTED ARMED ROBBERY JUST BEFORE EIGHT-O-CLOCK.
BOFTA YIMAM EXPLAINS WHY POLICE SAY THEY NEED YOUR HELP.
NATS "Not goin back in there"
RENNA (RENEE) SPIVEY SAYS SHE RETURNED HOME TUESDAY NIGHT TO FIND OFFICERS...
NATS "police cars, detective cars"
SWARMING THE FAMILY DOLLAR STORE... ACROSS THE STREET.
"Well you hear that somebody done got shot on this street but it ain't never hit that close to home."
POLICE SAY THE STORE'S ASSISTANT MANAGER... 38-YEAR-OLD GARY BENNETT COLE JUNIOR WAS SHOT AND KILLED... DURING AN ATTEMPTED ARMED ROBBERY. THE STORE'S SURVEILLANCE VIDEO CAPTURED ONE MAN SPORTING A BLACK BANDANA... PLUS RED PANTS WITH WHITE POLKA DOTS. YOU CAN SEE THE SECOND MAN.. IN THE DOORWAY... ACTING AS A LOOKOUT.
WORKER CYNTHIA POOLE TOLD POLICE TWO PEOPLE CAME INTO THE STORE... COLE AGREED TO GET SOMETHING... THEN THE GUNMAN TOLD POOLE TO OPEN THE SAFE. WHEN SHE TOLD HIM SHE DIDN'T KNOW THE COMBINATION... HE TOOK SOMETHING AND RAN OUT... NORTH ON HOUSTON AVENUE.
"Gary didn't bother nobody, the times I have been over there to the store, he treated everybody nice."
BIBB CORONER LEON JONES SAYS COLE HAS NO FAMILY IN THE AREA---MOST OF HIS FRIENDS WORKED AT THE STORE. VISITORS FOUND THE STORE CLOSED WEDNESDAY.
"Some people we spoke to in the community say Cole lived nearby and they would often see him traveling to work on a bicycle. They say he worked at the store for at least a year and would talk about his efforts towards gaining a G.E.D."
NATS" pitiful that he had to die like that"
AS INVESTIGATORS SEARCH FOR CLUES... SPIVEY SAYS THIS LATEST KILLING PUTS HER IN FEAR.
"I was thinkin' about moving but I know I'm fittin' to move now."
BOFTA YIMAM 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS
BIBB CORONER LEON JONES SAYS COLE DIED WITHIN ABOUT 45 MINUTES OF THE SHOOTING.
POLICE SAY LAST NIGHT'S STORE CLERK KILLING... MARKS THE THIRD HOMICIDE THIS YEAR.
BY THIS DATE LAST YEAR... THERE WERE SIX HOMICIDES.
IF YOU HAVE ANY INFORMATION ON THE CASE... YOU CAN CALL MACON REGIONAL CRIMESTOPPERS AT 1-877-68 CRIME... AGAIN THAT'S 1-877-68 CRIME.
A JUDGE SAYS A MILLEDGEVILLE MAN LIVING UNDER A FALSE IDENTITY SHOULD FACE SEXUAL ASSAULT CHARGES IN MISSISSIPPI.
JAMES THOMAS... WAS BROUGHT INTO COURT WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON.
WHEN POLICE ARRESTED THOMAS IN FEBRUARY... HE TOLD THEM HIS NAME WAS JAMES KELLUMS... AND HIS ARREST WAS A CASE OF MISTAKEN IDENTITY.
BUT IN COURT WEDNESDAY... JUDGE HUGH WINGFIELD SAYS THE STATE WENT "ABOVE AND BEYOND" IN PROVING THE CASE... AND SAYS THOMAS WILL FACE EXTRADITION TO THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI.
DETECTIVE COREY GOBLE PRESENTED SEVERAL I-Ds... CREDIT CARDS... AND A FAKE SOCIAL SECURITY CARD THAT HE SAYS... WERE IN THOMAS' POSSESION.
BUT HE SAYS.... THE BIGGEST GIVE-AWAY... WAS A FINGER PRINT MATCH UP.
Detective Corey Goble: "When the two print cards matched up, he really has no argument, and it's hard to say you're someone when the fignerprint evidence says you're not."
SHELBA BROOKS LIVES BEHIND THE HOME WHERE THOMAS WAS FOUND AND SAID SHE CONTACTED THE SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT TO TESTIFY AFTER WE REPORTED THIS STORY LAST WEEK.
SHE SAYS... WHEN HE MOVED IN IN 19-91... HER NEIGHBOR INTRODUCED HIMSELF AS JAMES THOMAS... BUT KEPT TO HIMSELF... SINCE THEN.
Shelba Gail Brooks, Gordon: "Well, we didn't know anything about it until they actually came out and arrested him, so we never thought anything about him being back there."
ACCORDING TO DETECTIVE GOBLE... THOMAS WILL BE SENT TO MISSISSIPPI THIS WEEK.TO FACE SEXUAL ASSAULT CHARGES FROM 2003.
` HOUSTON COUNTY LEADERS WANT TO ATTRACT NEW INDUSTRIES... IN PART... TO REDUCE THEIR ECONOMIC DEPENDENCE ON ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE.
THE DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY SAYS ABOUT 71-THOUSAND FOUR-HUNDRED PEOPLE WORK IN HOUSTON COUNTY.
ABOUT 10-THOUSAND OF THEM WORK AT ROBINS.
A MUCH SMALL NUMBER WORK AT THE TWO NEXT LARGEST INDUSTRIES... PERDUE FARMS AND FRITO LAY... ABOUT 24-HUNDRED AND 14-HUNDRED EMPLOYEES RESPECTIVELY.
TODAY... HOUSTON LEADERS GREETED VISITORS FROM ABROAD...WHO COULD EVENTUALLY HELP ATTRACT NEW JOBS.
LORRA LYNCH-JONES HAS MORE.
SALESMAN AT PERRY'S WARNER ROBINS SUPPLY LOCATION... JIMMY REEVES
quick nats- reeves.
KNOWS THE VALUE OF SMALL BUSINESS LIKE THIS ONE... AND BIGGER ONE'S.
LIKE THE ONE ACROSS THE STREET... TOLLESON LUMBER..
nats- lumber plant
IT'S HOUSTON'S 6TH LARGEST MANUFACTURER... WITH ABOUT 195 EMPLOYEES.
Jimmy Reeves: (11:45) 'As many people as they employ, it makes a big impact on our community."
BUT THERE'S ALWAYS ROOM FOR MORE... WHETHER LOCALLY BUILT... OR FOREIGN GROWN.
THAT'S THE MESSAGE HOUSTON DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR MORGAN LAW GAVE DIGNITARIES FROM 21 DIFFERENT COUNTRIES.... WHEN THEY VISITED PERRY'S GO FISH CENTER.
Morgan Law (28:50) "There is really a lot of fruit this could bear, but it is a long term investment."
LAW SAYS CONSUL GENERALS... FROM PLACES LIKE ISREAL.. GERMANY... AND BRAZIL CAME HERE AS PART OF A GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT TOUR.
LOCAL LEADERS WANT TO BUILD RELATIONSHIPS... TO BRING FUTURE JOBS AND TOURISM....
quick nats- logging
OR EXPAND EXISTING BUSINESS..
REEVES SAYS HE WOULDN'T MIND THE LUMBER YARD GROWING... EVEN IF IT MEANT MORE LOGGING TRUCKS.
(nats) -logging truck
Jimmy Reeves: (12:15) "We hear 'em everyday to the point, we don't pay attention to it anymore.
BECAUSE HE SAYS THE NOISE... IT'S REALLY THE SOUND OF BUSINESS.
Reeves (cover/12:20) "They're cutting lumber and that's what we need."
THE DELEGATION ALSO VISITED MERCER... FRITO LAY AND THE OCMULGEE INDIAN MOUNDS.
THEY HEAD TO COLUMBUS TOMORROW.
HAVE YOU HEARD OF THE RECENT DIRE PREDICTIONS ABOUT OUR ECONOMY AND THE DOLLAR?
SHERRI GOSS WITH ROSENBERG FINANCIAL GROUP IS HERE TO EXPLAIN.
SHERRI... SOME PEOPLE THINK WE'RE HEADED FOR SOME REALLY TOUGH TIMES.
Sherri: Yes, and the new spin words I'm hearing are "economic armageddon". That sounds pretty scary, so I want to talk about this.
We probably all agree that our country has big problems that need to be fixed. Unsustainable government spending, high unemployment, and so on. My hope is that our leadership figures out how to make a course correction to get us in a healthier position.
In the meantime, what I see are people who will use the "scariness" of our situation to sell things. Remember Y2K? Things were going to blow up, and there was going to be panic and devastation. People were buying generators, dehydrated food, and bottled water. Then, the calendar rolled over and it was just another day.
There are people out there today selling doomsday bunkers, vegetable seeds, and dried food kits and they are experiencing record sales. If you're going to buy any of these things, at least buy something you can use--even if doomsday doesn't arrive.
And, I would like to suggest an alternative. Instead of buying into this hype, why not get serious about paying off debt? The worst thing that can happen then, is doomsday doesn't come, and you're in a better financial position.
I met a lot of people in 2008, who stopped investing after the market crash. That was the good time to invest, as values had been driven down. Now, those people have missed out on that opportunity.
Don't be scared out of making good decisions.
We are in a tough place financially, as a country, and bad things like earthquakes do happen, and will continue to happen, but we need to keep a healthy perspective in all of this.