Friday, April 15, Eyewitness News at 6

10:43 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.

A LINE OF STRONG STORMS COULD BRING SEVERE WEATHER TO CENTRAL GEORGIA OVERNIGHT.
FOR THE LATEST ON THE THREAT... WE JOIN CHIEF METEOROLOGIST BEN JONES IN THE WEATHER CENTER.
THANKS BEN.. WE'LL TALK WITH YOU AGAIN IN JUST A FEW MINUTES.

95 PEOPLE IN WARNER ROBINS BECAME THE VICTIMS OF CAR BREAK-INS LAST MONTH.
POLICE SAY THEY WANT TO REMIND DRIVERS TO WATCH OUT FOR COMMON MISTAKES
nats- (754/:20) "That appears to be a wallet under the center console."
WE FOLLOWED OFFICER JUAN GARCIA AROUND AN APARTMENT COMPLEX PARKING LOT.
HE FOUND PURSES LEFT SITTING ON SEATS... I-PODS IN PLAIN SIGHT... WINDOWS CRACKED... AND A DOOR UNLOCKED.
GARCIA SAYS THOSE MISTAKES MAKE FOR EASY TARGETS FOR THIEVES... WHO KNOW IF THEY GET IN.... THEY CAN GET AWAY WITH VALUABLES.
Juan Garcia, Warner Robins Police: (7501:56) "Occasionally we do get reports of people looking in, pulling on doors. Were able to catch them in the act. (cover 1:10) "They'll also try and watch, that they don't have any witnesses."
POLICE SPOKESWOMAN TABITHA PUGH SAYS THIEVES BROKE INTO SEVERAL CARS ON FOURTH STREET LAST NIGHT.
THAT'S ON THE NORTH END OF TOWN... BUT SHE SAYS THE BREAK-INS HAPPEN CITY WIDE.

TODAY'S 13WMAZ DOT COM WEB POLL ASKS...
DO YOU LOCK YOUR CAR AT NIGHT?
SO FAR... 75 PERCENT OF YOU SAY YOU DO... WHILE 25 PERCENT SAY YOU DO NOT.
TO CAST YOUR VOTE.. VISIT OUR WEBSITE.. 13WMAZ DOT COM.
LOOK FOR THE QUESTION ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE HOMEPAGE.

A LOCAL BUSINESSMAN SAYS A LEMONADE STAND ROBBERY TURNED THREE WARNER ROBINS GIRLS INTO HEROS.
WHILE TRYING TO RAISE MONEY FOR A SICK CHILD... A PAIR NABBED THEIR MONEY JAR.
BRITTINY BARBER SHOWS YOU WHY THE GIRLS ARE STILL SMILING.
<<
nats Harley Powers and Krystal DeCent.
AFTER A SOUR EXPERIENCE SELLING LEMONADE.... THREE WARNER ROBINS GIRLS RECEIVED TOP HONORS FOR THEIR BRAVERY.
Harley Powers, Warner Robins: "It's been hard because knowing that Logan got his money stolen."
THEY WERE TRYING RAISE MONEY FOR A SICK TWO YEAR OLD LAST SATURDAY...WHEN ROBBERS SNATCHED THEIR PROFITS.
BUT THEY COULDN'T BREAK THEIR SPIRITS.
Krystal Decent, Warner Robins: "I felt kind of sad because I was like how could you steal money from a two year old. But then again I'm actually glad because it's a blessing in disguise."
SUPPORT POURED IN FROM ALL OVER THE COUNTRY WITH DONATIONS TO THE CHILD'S FAMILY.
MACON BUSINESSMAN MARTIN BELL RECOGNIZED THE GIRLS EFFORTS ON FRIDAY WITH PLAQUES, CHECKS AND SOME OTHER PRIZES...
nats We're going to name the Lemonade Sales PErson of the year.
Chelsea Edwards, Warner Robins: "It feels awesome now because he's gotten all these donations and everybody's been helping us out and stuff."
AND THEY SAY EVEN AFTER THE FRIGHTENING EXPERIENCE.... THEY MAY STILL TRY AGAIN TO TURN LEMONS INTO LEMONADE.
Chelsea Edwards, "I'll have it closer up to my house and my Nanny will be out there because I don;t want to go out there just me by myself and my two friends. I'd rather a parent be out there next time."
BRITTINY BARBER 13WAMZ EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>> AMBER UMBARGER... ONE OF THE SUPECTS IN THE ROBBERY WAS RELEASED FROM JAIL TODAY AFTER POSTING BOND.
THE OTHER SUSPECT.. GAGE TURNER REMAINS IN THE HOUSTON COUNTY JAIL.

A MAN WHO ALLEGEDLY TOOK A TAXICAB TO ROB A CREDIT UNION WAS ARRESTED WITHIN FIVE MINUTES.
THAT'S ACCORDING TO THE BIBB COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE..
THE ROBBERY HAPPENED AROUND NOON AT THE ROBINS FEDERAL CREDIT UNION ON ZEBULON ROAD ACCORDING TO SERGEANT SEAN DEFOE.
HE SAID 40-YEAR-OLD DAVID DELOACH HAILED A CAB AT THE SHELL STATION ON ROMEISER ROAD AND ASKED THE DRIVER TO TAKE HIM TO THE CREDIT UNION.
ACCORDING TO DEFOE... DELOACH GAVE A TELLER A NOTE DEMANDING MONEY.
HE DID NOT SHOW A WEAPON.
THE ROBBER LEFT THE BANK AND ASKED THE DRIVER TO TAKE HIM TO RED LOBSTER ON RIVERSIDE DRIVE.
A BANK EMPLOYEE SAW THE CAB AND GOT THE TAG NUMBER... DEFOE SAID.
OFFICERS STOPPED THE CAB AT FORSYTH AND TUCKER ROAD ABOUT FIVE MINUTES AFTER THE ROBBERY.

THE TRAILS ALONG THE OCMULGEE RIVER WILL TAKE YOU FURTHER...THANKS TO A NEW GRANT TO NEWTOWN MACON.
NEW TOWN HAS RECEIVED A GRANT FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES FOR CLOSE TO ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS.
LAST YEAR... THEY APPLIED FOR A LAND AND WATER GRANT.
THEY MATCHED TWENTY PERCENT OF THE GRANT WITH A GRANT FROM THE JAMES H. PORTER FOUNDATION AND THE BOOKER RAY FUND.
THE MONEY WILL BE USED TO EXTEND THE OCULMUGEE HERITAGE TRAIL ...TO THE CAMELIA GARDENS IN EAST MACON.
THE PLAN IS TO CREATE A MAIN TRAIL AROUND THE RIVER... ALONG WITH SMALLER TRAILS.
THE VICE PRESIDENT OF NEW TOWN MACON SAYS TWO OTHER GEORGIA CITIES GAVE THEM INSPIRATION.
Laura Schofield, Executive Vice President of Newtown Macon "Augusta had a wonderful riverwalk, Columbus had a wonderful riverwalk and those we modeled ours after those riverwalks and we model a lot of our downtown revitalization efforts off of what's worked in other cities."
THE TRAIL IS NOW NINE MILES.
AFTER THE NEW ADDITION IS ADDED.... IT'LL BE TWENTY-TWO MILES LONG.
SCHOFIELD SAYS THEY'RE WAITING TO GET STATE APPROVAL TO BREAK GROUND.
THEY EXPECT TO FINISH THE PROJECT NEXT YEAR.

MERCER UNIVERSITY'S BASKETBALL ARENA WAS PACKED WITH FUN AND INOVATION TODAY.
THE SCHOOL HELD ITS FOURTH ANNUAL ENGINEERING EXPO FOR STUDENTS TO SHOW OFF THEIR WORK.
THE EVENT SHOWCASED ORIGINAL RESEARCH AND PROJECTS FROM MORE THAN 150 STUDENTS.
THEY GOT TO TAKE AN IDEA AND TURN IIT INTO A FINISHED PRODUCT.
FOR JOSHUA HICKS AND HIS TEAMMATES... THAT PRODUCT WAS A HELMET CHIN-STRAP THEY HOPE WILL REDUCE THE NUMBER AND SEVERITY OF FOOTBALL CONCUSSIONS.
"you'll recieve impact from the front and when this happens the helmet is gonna move back slightly and its gonna pull the chin strap which is going to pull the jaw up."
HICKS AND HIS TEAM HAVE PATENTS PENDING ON TWO OF THEIR CHIN STRAPS.
OTHER PROJECTS INCLUDE A MECHANICAL PROSTHETIC FOOT FOR PEOPLE IN THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES.... AND A WAY TO CREATE BIO DIESEL FROM CORN OIL.

AFTER THE STORM ROLLS THROUGH EARLY TOMORROW MORNING... YOU MIGHT WANT TO ENJOY THE REST OF YOUR WEEKEND OUTDOORS.
AND IF YOU'RE PLANNING A DINNER OUT... WHAT BETTER WAY TO CHOOSE A RESTAURANT...THAN WITH THE HELP OF RATINGS FROM THE HEALTH INSPECTOR.
AMY AUBERT JOINS US WITH THIS WEEK'S RESTAURANT RATINGS.
WE'RE BACK IN BIBB COUNTY THIS WEEK...STARTING OFF WITH OUR LOWEST SCORES FIRST....
APPLEBEE'S AT 36-52 EISENHOWER PARKWAY IN MACON... SCORED A 78... A C... AFTER A PERFECT SCORE THE LAST TIME AROUND.
THE HEALTH INSPECTOR NOTED TWO VIOLATIONS KNOWN FOR FOODBORNE ILLNESS RISKS... WHICH WERE SEVERAL HANDWASHING FACILITIES WERE NOT SUPPLIED AND ACCESSIBLE.
HE ALSO NOTES THE REHEATING PROCEDURE WAS NOT DONE PROPERLY.
STEPHEN'S DINER AT 30-90 NAPIER AVENUE IN MACON... SCORED AN 85... A "B"... FOLLOWING A 96... OR AN "A"... LAST TIME.
ACCORDING TO THE INSPECTION REPORT... PROPER EATING...TASTING...DRINKING... OR TOBACCO USE WAS NOT FOLLOWED... WHICH IS NOTED AS A RISK FOR FOODBORNE ILLNESS.
THE REPORT ALSO SAYS SURFACES WERE NOT CLEAN.
AND WAFFLE HOUSE AT 51-46 THOMASTON ROAD IN MACON GOT AN 82 PERCENT... A "B"... AFTER GETTING A PERFECT 100... LAST TIME AROUND.
THE INSPECTOR SAYS CONTAMINATION WAS NOT PREVENTED DURING FOOD PREPARATION... AND DISPLAY.
HE ALSO NOTES THAT SURFACES WERE NOT CLEAN... AND SOME FOOD SURFACES WERE NOT CLEANABLE... BECAUSE OF POOR DESIGN.
NOW FOR A LOOK THE TOP SCORES OF THE WEEK. FIVE GUYS BURGERS AND FRIES... AT 1-20 TOM HILL SENIOR BOULEVARD SERVED UP A PERFECT SCORE ON ITS LAST TWO INSPECTIONS.
CHEN'S WOK AT 40-10 NORTHSIDE DRIVE IN MACON ALSO GOT TWO PERFECT 100 PERCENTS... ON IT'S PREVIOUS INSPECTIONS.
AND NU-WAY WEINERS AT 9-21 HILLCREST BOULEVARD IN MACON... WHIPPED UP A 99 PERCENT... AN "A"... AFTER ANOTHER 99... ON THE INSPECTION BEFORE.
JOIN US AGAIN TONIGHT AS WE AVERAGE OUR NOMINEES PAST FIVE SCORES TO GIVE YOU THIS WEEK'S GOLDEN SPATULA WINNER....FRANK...LEAH?
FOR ALL YOUR BIBB AND HOUSTON COUNTY RESTAURANT RATINGS... GO TO OUR WEBSITE 13WMAZ DOT COM.
CLICK ON THE FEATURES LINK... AND SCROLL DOWN TO RESTAURANT RATINGS.

MONROE IS ONE OF THE FASTEST GROWING COUNTIES IN CENTRAL GEORGIA.
THE 2010 CENSUS SHOWS THE POPULATION OUTSIDE THE FORSYTH CITY LIMITS GREW BY 26 PERCENT IN THE LAST TEN YEARS.
MORE THAN NEARLY 23 THOUSAND PEOPLE LIVE THERE now..
THAT'S UP FROM AROUND 18 THOUSAND TEN YEARS AGO.
THE CITY OF FORSYTH THOUGH... GREW LESS THAN ONE PERCENT.
POPULATION THERE NOW SITS AT ALMOST 38 HUNDRED PEOPLE...UP JUST 12 PEOPLE FROM 2000.
LAUREN DISPIRITO TALKED WITH THE SHERIFF... WHO SAYS POPULATION GROWTH HAS PUT A STRAIN ON HIS DEPUTIES.
Nats "Monroe County Sheriff's Office Watts speaking can I help you"

FOR THESE DISPATCHERS... MORE PEOPLE LIVING IN MONROE... MEANS MORE CALLS FOR HELP.

Nats "there is a disturbance there"

IN THE RADIO ROOM... MONROE COUNTY SHERIFF JOHN CARY BITTICK SAYS YOU CAN HEAR THE IMPACT.

Nats typing, then radio

Sheriff John Cary Bittick: "up until says 2001 we only had 1 dispatcher at a time"

NOW... THERE'S NEVER FEWER THAN THREE.

Nats car drives by

BITTICK... WHO COMES FROM A LONG LINE OF MONROE SHERIFF'S... SAYS AS YEARS PASSED.. DIRT ROADS TURNED TO PAVED..

Nats deputy drives away lights on

BUT NOT EVERYTHING CHANGED.

Sheriff John Cary Bittick "we've got basically the same number of people in our patrol division today that was there when i was there thirty years ago"

CALLS TO THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE TRIPLED IN A DECADE... UP FROM MORE THAN 11 THOUSAND ... TO MORE THAN 32 THOUSAND LAST YEAR... WITH 19 PATROL DEPUTIES... JUST 1 MORE THAN THREE DECADES AGO.

Sheriff John Cary Bittick: "means when you call for a sheriff's car on average you're gonna have to wait 15 or 20 minutes before they get there."

HE SAYS THAT'S TEN MINUTES LONGER THAN IT USED TO BE... WHEN EVERY MINUTE COUNTS.

Sheriff John Cary Bittick "concerned between the growth and the additional calls for service and the additional problems whether it's drugs or whether it's automobile accidents no matter what it is, how that money's gonna come along and whether we're gonna continue to be able to pay for it

IN RECENT YEARS.. HE SAYS THEY'VE ADDED TO A DRUG TASK FORCE... AND HIRED STAFF FOR THEIR NEW JAIL.

Nats so from here up

BUT THEY RELY ON PAYING DEPUTIES OVERTIME TO COVER CALLS... ON A GROUP THAT'S ALREADY STRETCHED THIN.

Nats cars

LAUREN DISPIRITO
13 WMAZ
EYEWITNESS NEWS
SHERIFF BITTICK SAYS RELYING ON OVERTIME COSTS LESS THAN HIRING MORE DEPUTIES...
HE SAYS HE'D CONSIDER HIRING 8 TO 10 PATROL DEPUTIES BUT WOULD NEED MONTHS TO FIND THEM AND WOULD NEED ADDITIONAL COUNTY FUNDS TO MAKE THAT HAPPEN.
HE PLANS TO ASK COMMISSIONERS TO HAVE THE UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA COMPLETE A LAW ENFORCEMENT STUDY TO DECIDE HOW TO MOVE FORWARD.

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 AND *DIDN'T* KEEP IT... WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU.
THE LAST TUESDAY OF EVERY MONTH... WE SHARE YOUR STORIES DURING OUR GREAT HANG UP DAY.
JUST EMAIL US AT EYEWITNESS-NEWS AT 13WMAZ DOT COM TO LET US KNOW YOU'RE INTERESTED.


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