Thursday, April 28, Eyewitness News at 11

2:01 PM, Apr 25, 2011   |    comments
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<<opening for eyewitness news at eleven>>
GOOD EVENING AND THANKS FOR JOINING US..
I'M FRANK MALLOY..
AND I'M LEAH JOHNSON..THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT 11.


THE SOUTHEAST IS STILL TAKING STOCK OF THE DAMAGE TONIGHT AFTER TORNADOES RIPPED THROUGH THE AREA... KILLING AT LEAST 290 PEOPLE.
THOSE DEATHS ARE SPREAD ACROSS SIX STATES IN THE SOUTHEAST.
ALABAMA HAD 204 CONFIRMED DEATHS... MISSISSIPPI AND TENNESSEE BOTH HAD 33... GEORGIA HAD FOURTEEN... VIRGINIA HAD FIVE... AND KENTUCKY HAD ONE.
KENDIS GIBSON IS IN BIRMINGHAM WITH THE LATEST.
((NAT SOT Judy Adkins/North Birmingham Resident
"The dog's gone. Everything's gone." (cries and walks)
((NARR-1))
You can hear the despair and disbelief in Judy Adkins' voice.
((SOT)) Judy Adkins/North Birmingham Resident
"I have never seen anything like this in my life."
((NARR-2))
The Pratt City section of Birmingham is virtually wiped out. Willie and Dameata Carter look at what's left of the house they moved into just two months ago. Willie was home when the twister hit.
((SOT)) Kendis & Willie Carter
"I jumped in the bathtub.... And you rode out the storm in that bathtub? Yep."
((NARR-3))
They don't have insurance, but Dameata Carter is just glad her husband is alive.
((SOT))) Dameata Carter/Pratt City Resident
"I was happy to see him!"
((NARR-4)) aerials
Looking at the damage from above, it's hard to believe anyone could have survived. And hundreds of people did not. But search teams combed through debris piles Thursday, searching for anyone who might be trapped.
((SOT)) William Bell, Birmingham Mayor
"We're assuming the best, not the worst."
((STANDUP BRIDGE)) Kendis Gibson, Birmingham, AL
"The storm reduced buildings to rubble. Not even this church in the Pratty City section of Birmingham was safe."
((NARR-5)) Courtesy: CRIMSON TIDE PRODUCTIONS
The most devastating tornado was tracked for almost 370 miles... tearing through Tuscaloosa... all the way into Georgia and Tennessee. Even Alabama's governor, a Tuscaloosa native, says it's difficult to absorb the enormity of the disaster.
((SOT)) Gov. Robert Bentley, (R ) Alabama
"I have to separate myself emotionally from this because I'm the Governor of the whole state."
((NARR-6))
President Obama will tour the damage in Alabama on Friday.
((SOT)) Pres. Obama
"The federal government will do everything we can to help you recover."
((NARR-7))
And that's something survivors will be counting on.

IN CENTRAL GEORGIA... A TORNADO RIPPED THROUGH LAMAR COUNTY EARLY THIS MORNING... KILLING TWO PEOPLE BEFORE MOVING INTO MONROE COUNTY.
LYNN GUNTER IDENTIFIED THE TWO WHO DIED AS HER HUSBAND'S BROTHER... PAUL AND HIS WIFE...ELLEN GUNTER.
LYNN GUNTER SAYS PAUL AND ELLEN WERE BOTH RETIRED.
THE VICTIMS' ADOPTED 10-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER CHLOE... AND FATHER ALSO LIVED IN THE HOME.
BOTH WERE TAKEN TO THE HOSPITAL.
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SAYS THE STORM THAT HIT BARNESVILLE WAS AN E-F -3 TORNADO.

THE STORM THAT KILLED PAUL AND ELLEN GUNTER THEN MOVED INTO NORTHERN MONROE COUNTY WHERE IT DAMAGED DOZENS OF HOMES.
AS CANDACE ADORKA FOUND... SOME PEOPLE SAY IT WILL TAKE MONTHS TO RECOVER WHAT A TORNADO DESTROYED IN ABOUT AN HOUR.
<<
Laurie Tallaksen, Lassiter Road, Forsyth GA. nats" It fell over..."
LAURIE TALLAKSEN SAYS IT DIDN'T TAKE LONG FOR MUCH OF HER LIFE TO BE BLOWN AWAY.
"there's just nothin. There's nothing left."
TALLAKSEN'S WORK SHOP AND THREE BARNS WERE DEMOLISHED AND HER HORSES PINNED UNDER TREES.
"but overall the house is still livable so i can be thankful for that."
ONE STRUCTURE DESTROYED AND JUST FEET AWAY, ANOTHER ALMOST UNTOUCHED... DAN DARBE WITH THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SAYS THAT'S A CLEAR CALLING CARD FROM A TORNADO.
"so far i've found nothing but tornadic damage."
DARBE ASESSED THE TORNADO TRACK THURSDAY MORNING... HE SAYS IT WAS A LONG-LIVED TORNADO THAT STARTED IN LAMAR COUNTY AND TRACKED ACROSS NORTH MONROE.
""I actually started in an area where it touched down as one of the strongest so far where it was an EF2 about 130 mile an hour winds. And that's where we had numerous houses damaged and one of them completely destroyed."
BY THE TIME THE SAME TORNADO THREW TALLAKSEN'S DOG HOUSE INTO THE TREES, IT HAD DROPPED TO AN E-F1... BUT SHE SAYS IT HURT JUST AS MUCH.
"you work hard for what you got. no matter what it is, it's yours once its gone, you just... it's really a wake up call that anything can happen at anytime." .
MONROE COUNTY CREWS ARE HARD AT WORK... PICKING UP WHAT THE TORNADO KNOCKED OVER.
"Just clearing the roadways and getting power restored will take days. Actual clean up will take weeks."
TALLAKSEN SAYS IT WILL LIKELY TAKE HER JUST AS LONG... BUT SHE HAS NO CHOICE...
"Clean up and start back over.
CANDACE ADORKA, 13 WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>>
ONE HOME ON WELDON ROAD IN MONROE COUNTY WAS ALSO DESTROYED IN THE STORM.
CHRIS LANDERS... CHRISTI MERCER AND THEIR EIGHT-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER WERE AT HOME WHEN THEY HEARD A LOUD NOISE.
LANDERS' FATHER SAYS.... ON THEIR WAY TO TAKE COVER... THE TORNADO HIT... DEMOLISHING THE HOME AND INJURING ALL THREE PEOPLE.
THEY WENT TO HENRY COUNTY MEDICAL CENTER FOR TREATMENT FOR MINOR INJURIES.
MONROE COUNTY EMA DIRECTOR MATHEW PERRY SAYS THERE HAVE BEEN NO DEATHS IN MONROE... BUT 10 PEOPLE WERE INJURED.

TOMORROW... 13WMAZ WILL JOIN THE RED CROSS IN RAISING MONEY FOR DISASTER RELIEF AFTER THE TORNADOES IN THE SOUTH.
DURING OUR NEWSCASTS AT MIDDAY, A SPECIAL ONE-HOUR NEWSCAST AT 5 P.M., AND AGAIN AT 6 P.M....YOU CAN CALL A SPECIAL PHONE BANK IN OUR STUDIO.... WHERE RED CROSS VOLUNTEERS WILL BE READY TO TAKE YOUR PLEDGES OF SUPPORT.

MACON MAYOR ROBERT REICHERT VETOED A LAW TODAY THAT WOULD'VE RESTRICTED SMOKING IN MANY PUBLIC AREAS.
THE LAW PASSED CITY COUNCIL LAST WEEK.
AS ELEANOR LISSITZYN EXPLAINS... ONE MACON NIGHTCLUB OWNER BREATHED A SIGH OF RELIEF... BUT SUPPORTERS OF THE LAW SAY THE BATTLE IS FAR FROM OVER..
"My first thought was yay!"
DOWNTOWN NIGHTCLUB OWNER PHILLIP SINCLAIR SAYS IT WOULDN'T BE ELEMENTS WITHOUT THE FIRE... AND HE WELCOMED THE NEWS THAT MACON MAYOR ROBERT REICHERT VETOED A LAW RESTRICTING SMOKING IN PLACES LIKE HIS BAR...
"It was kind of what we we're looking for."
BUT FOR CO-SPONSOR OF THE ORDINANCE NANCY WHITE... THE MAYOR'S DECISION WAS BAFFLING.
"Bottom line I think the mayor risked a real opportunity to demonstrate some leadership."
SHE SAYS REICHERT'S OBJECTIONS THAT THE BILL IS TOO BROAD AND UNENFORCEABLE AREN'T SUPPORTED BY PRECEDENT IN OTHER COMMUNITIES.
"We found them rather unsubstantiated"
"City council passed the law last week by a vote of 9 to 6. That's just one vote shy of the ten they would need to override the mayor's veto.
But in a statement released today the mayor urged them not to do that. Instead he asks them to reduce the scope of the ordinance and then get the county on board with passing a similar law if they want to gain his support."
SPECIFICALLY THE MAYOR MENTIONS REMOVING THE BAN ON SMOKING IN PARKS AND OPEN SPACES.
"If you start putting in too many exemptions your really back at that 2005-2006 bill that Sonny Perdue shepherded in."
AS A SMOKER SINCLAIR SAYS HE WISHES THE LAW WOULD GO UP IN ASHES... BUT HE SAYS AS A BUSINESS OWNER HE COULD BE PERSUADED.
"If they rewrite it and it's less broad based and the county is included then cool... we'll have to go non-smoking."
STD
NANCY WHITE SAYS COUNCIL WILL PROBABLY DISCUSS THE SMOKING ORDINANCE AT NEXT TUESDAY'S FULL COUNCIL MEETING.

A 53-THOUSAND DOLLAR TOYOTA SEQUIOA PLATINUM IS THE AMONG THE TOP CHOICES FOR THE CITY CAR OF WARNER ROBINS MAYOR CHUCK SHAHEEN.
CITY COUNCIL HAS BEEN DISCUSSING BUYING THE MAYOR A CAR FOR OFFICIAL BUSINESS... SINCE HE CURRENTLY USES HIS OWN.
CITY ATTORNEY JIM ELLIOTT SAYS THE PERSONAL VEHICLE COULD MEAN MORE LIABILITY COSTS FOR THE MAYOR... IF HE GETS INTO AN ACCIDENT ON CITY TIME.
AT TONIGHT'S PRECOUNCIL MEETING... COUNCILMAN DARON LEE SAID THE CAR... WOULD BE WORTH THE INVESTMENT.
... COUNCILMAN PAUL SHEALY SAID THE CITY ISN'T READY FOR THE EXPENSE...
Shealy "We were not able to give our employees a cost of living raise. It just doesn't look right. It's not about whether we can do it or not. It's whether we should do it."
Lee "It's more of a wise decision to invest $53,000 moreso than the mayor-- his insurance company-- having to invest hundreds of thousands."
SHEALY SAYS THE CITY MIGHT BE READY TO PURCHASE THE CAR NEXT FISCAL YEAR.
LEE SAYS THEY'RE CONSIDERING SELLING 14 SURPLUS CITY VEHICLES... TO PAY FOR SOME OF THE EXPENSES.
HE SAYS DOING THAT COULD CUT THE COST IN HALF.

STATE SENATOR ROBERT BROWN FORMALLY ANNOUNCED HIS CANDIDACY TODAY FOR MACON MAYOR.....
AND IN THE PROCESS ENDED MONTHS OF SPECULATION ON WHETHER HE'D RUN..
ACCOMPANIED BY SEVERAL MEMBERS OF HIS CAMPAIGN TEAM.. BROWN MADE THE ANNOUNCEMENT AT NOON IN HIS DOWNTOWN BUSINESS OFFICE ON NEW STREET.
HE PROMISED TO LOWER MACON'S CRIME RATE.. IMPROVE THE CITY'S INFRASTRUCTURE.. AND PRACTICE FISCAL DISCIPLINE.
BROWN SAYS HE FITS THE PROFILE...FOR MACON'S NEXT MAYOR.
BROWN BECOMES THE FOURTH DEMOCRAT TO ANNOUNCE HIS RUN FOR MAYOR.
THE OTHERS ARE MAYOR ROBERT REICHERT.. FORMER MAYOR C. JACK ELLIS.. AND MACON FIREFIGHTER PAUL BRONSON.
REPUBLICAN DAVID COUSINO ALSO PLANS TO RUN.

LAW ENFORCEMENT JUST WRAPPED UP A SEARCH NEAR THE MAGNOLIA APARTMENTS IN MILLEDGEVILLE LOOKING FOR AN ARMED GUNMAN AND THREE OTHER MEN.
THAT'S ACCORDING TO GEORGIA COLLEGE CAMPUS POLICE.PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER HARRY BATTSON.
HE SAYS THE COLLEGE SENT OUT TEXT... EMAIL... AND PHONE CALL ALERTS... WARNING STUDENTS WHO LIVE THERE TO STAY INSIDE THEIR APARTMENTS... BUT HE SAYS THE WARNING HAS BEEN LIFTED.
HE SAYS POLICE HAVENT FOUND THE MEN BUT THEY BELIEVE THEY HAVE LEFT THE AREA... HE SAYS IT IS NOW SAFE FOR STUDENT.
BATTON SAYS THE INCIDENT BEGAN WHEN POLICE WERE PURSUING A CAR WHICH CRASHED NEAR THE APARTMENTS...
THE MEN RAN AWAY...
ONE WAS CARRYING A SHOT GUN.

IT'S ALMOST THE WEEKEND... AND THAT MEANS TIME TO FINISH THOSE ENTERTAINMENT PLANS.
HERE'S BEN WITH A PREVIEW OF WHAT'S HAPPENING IN THIS WEEK'S SCENE 13.
<<ALRIGHT PARTY PEOPLE - READY FOR ANOTHER AWESOME MIDDLE GEORGIA WEEKEND? GOOD! LET'S GET IT STARTED...

...WITH THE GEORGIA STATE FAIR! THIS SATURDAY IS OPENING DAY AND THE FUN LASTS ALL WEEK LONG AND THEN WRAPS NEXT SUNDAY. NOW, I COULD TELL YOU ABOUT ALL THE MANY, MANY EVENTS, THE NIGHTLY CONCERTS, THE SHOWS, THE RIDES, THE FAIR FOOD, BUT I THINK IT WOULD BE BEST IF YOU JUST GET DOWN TO CENTRAL CITY PARK AND EXPERIENCE THE FUN OF THE FAIR YOURSELVES! BUT FIRST, JUMP ONLINE TO GEORGIA-STATE-FAIR-DOT-ORG WHERE YOU CAN FIND THE COMPLETE DAILY SCHEDULE.

SATURDAY NIGHT IN GRAY, IT'S THE RETURN OF MUSIC UNDER THE STARS! NOW THIS EVENT WAS FORMERLY HELD IN THE PECAN ORCHARD AT GRAY ELEMENTARY, BUT THIS WEEKEND IT'S HAPPENING AT THE LIONS CLUB FAIRGROUNDS. BRING YOUR PIC-A-NIC BASKETS OR GET FOOD THERE, BRING YOUR COMFY LAWN CHAIRS, AND RELAX UNDER THE STARS AS MATT PIPPIN ROCKS THE MUSIC PORTION OF THE EVENING. TO FIND OUT MORE, CHECK OUT G-S-B-H-T-DOT-COM. MUSIC UNDER THE STARS STARTS AT SEVEN.

CARNEVALE DI VENIZIA IS COMING TO MA-CON...OR RATHER, MACON. SUNDAY, THE GRAND OPERA HOUSE WELCOMES THE INTERNATIONAL CITY SCHOOL OF BALLET OF WARNER ROBINS FOR THIS GORGEOUS SHOW THAT ALSO FEATURES COLORS, MOODS AND MOVEMENT. THE SHOW BEGINS AT FOUR. VISIT THE-GRAND-MACON-DOT-COM TO GET THOSE TICKETS NOW.

MUSIC WITH A MISSION - THAT'S WHAT'S HAPPENING AT THE TWO-THOUSAND-ELEVEN GOSPELFEST AT NEW FELLOWSHIP BAPTIST CHURCH IN MACON. FOR TWENTY-NINE YEARS, THE CHURCH HAS BEEN PUTTING ON THE FEST. AND HERE'S THE BEST PART - IT ALL BENEFITS THE AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY. THE SANGIN' STARTS AT FIVE-THIRTY...GET YA TICKETS AT THE DOOR.

LET'S KEEP THE MUSIC FLOWIN' HERE WITH SOUNDS OF FIREFLIGHT, AFTER EDMUND, HILAND AND ROYAL TAILOR IN THE OVERCOME TOUR. REAL LIFE CHURCH OUT ON GRAY HIGHWAY IN MACON WELCOMES THIS NATIONALLY TOURING CONCERT THIS SUNDAY AT SIX. FOR TICKETS, HEAD ONLINE TO I-TICKETS-DOT-COM.

AND THOUGH THAT WRAPS UP A VERY FESTIVE, MUSICALLY ABUNDANT WEEKEND, I'VE GOT ONE MORE THING FOR YOU. NEXT TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY, THAT MODERN -ISH CLASSIC - THE COLOR PURPLE - HITS THE STAGE OF THE GRAND OPERA HOUSE. THE DRAMA AND INSPIRATION OF THE WORLD-RENOWNED TALE COMES TO LIFE WITH IN THE LIVE MUSICAL ADAPTATION. TICKETS ARE GOING FAST, SO GET TO THE-GRAND-MACON-DOT-COM OR CALL 257-6391 TO PURCHASE THEM NOW.

AND THAT, MY FRIENDS, CONCLUDES ANOTHER AWESOME EPISODE OF YOUR PROSPECTIVE ENTERTAINMENT! GET TO THE FUNNIN' -THAT'S A WRAP...>>

AND COMING UP IN JUST A MATTER OF HOURS... THE ROYAL WEDDING THAT PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD ARE WAITING FOR.
GUESTS OF PRINCE WILLIAM AND KATE MIDDLETON WILL BEGIN ARRIVING AT WESTMINSTER ABBEY IN JUST A FEW HOURS.
THE EXCITEMENT IS ALREADY BUILDING OUT ON THE STREETS IN LONDON.
PRINCE WILLIAM CHECKED ON CAMPERS ALONG THE PROCESSION ROUTE... AND KATE MIDDLETON AND HER MAIDS HELD ONE LAST REHEARSAL.
ON THE STREETS OF WESTMINSTER ABBEY... THE UNOFFICIAL PRE-WEDDING PARTY HAS ALREADY STARTED... AND A MILLION PEOPLE ARE EXPECTED TO CELEBRATE.
YOU CAN WATCH THE ROYAL WEDDING COVERAGE HERE ON 13WMAZ.
NOW... FROM 5 A.M. UNTIL 6 A.M.... WE'LL HAVE EYEWITNESS NEWS MORNIN'.
FROM 6 TO 7 A.M... WE'LL HAVE ROYAL WEDDING COVERAGE ON CHANNEL 13-POINT-1... BUT YOU CAN WATCH EYEWITNESS NEWS MORNIN' ON 13-POINT-3 OR 13WMAZ DOT COM.
WE'LL HAVE C-B-S WEDDING COVERAGE UNTIL 9 A.M.

TONIGHT'S FACEBOOK FAN OF THE DAY... BRENDAN MARCUS.
CONGRATULATIONS BRENDAN... YOU'LL GET A 13WMAZ COFFEE 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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