Wednesday, May 4, Eyewitness News at 6

10:06 PM, May 4, 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.

STORM SURVIVORS IN LAMAR AND MONROE COUNTIES CAN START APPLYING FOR FEDERAL AID THIS WEEK... ONLINE... BY PHONE... AND SOON -- IN PERSON.
FEMA IS OPENING ITS DISASTER RELIEF OFFICE IN BARNESVILLE... AND WILL START RECEIVING PEOPLE FRIDAY.
VANESSA RUFFES HAS MORE ON HOW TO GET HELP.<<
NATS, walking hallways
MICHAEL WATSON IS SLOWLY GETTING LIFE BACK TO NORMAL... GLAD TO BE AT WORK AGAIN AT LAMAR COUNTY MIDDLE SCHOOL.
"I missed school Friday, and I think in a way they were glad to see me Monday and to know I am OK."
FOR THE HISTORY TEACHER... ANYTHING ROUTINE IS A BLESSING...
THAT'S BECAUSE.. AT HIS HOME... A FEW MILES DOWN the ROAD... LIFE WON'T BE THE SAME FOR QUITE A WHILE.
"The closets and the basement stayed. And the whole upstairs and everything is gone."
Standup "The Watsons are one of at least a hundred families in Lamar County whose homes were damaged by the storm and can apply for federal recovery aid for whatever their insurance doesn't cover."
FAMILIES AND BUSINESSES NEEDING HELP FROM FEMA... FOR REPAIRS... PAYING FOR TEMPORARY HOUSING... OR OTHER DISASTER-RELATED EXPENSES MUST APPLY FOR IT... BY PHONE... ONLINE... OR IN PERSON.
HAYLA HALL WITH the state's PUBLIC HEALTH DISTRICT FOUR SAYS THE COUNTY IS MAKING COMPUTERS AVAILABLE FOR STORM VICTIMS... AS APPLYING ONLINE IS THE QUICKEST WAY.
"There's one in the health department. There's one in the library. And the school system has computers available."
AT THE WATSON HOME... THE FULL REBUILDING EXPENSE IS STILL UP IN THE AIR.
"We had hundreds, one hundred two hundred trees down and insurance doesn't pay for tree removal or things of that nature, unless it's on your house, and so any bills like that insurance doesn't cover, we're going to apply for help with that."
HIS FAMILY SURVIVED THE STORM...HE SAYS THEY ALSO PLAN TO MAKE IT THROUGH THE CLEANUP.
VANESSA RUFFES 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>> THE HOTLINE FOR FEMA ASSISTANCE IS...
800-621-3362. THAT NUMBER AGAIN IS 800-621-3362.
YOU CAN ALSO APPLY ONLINE AT *DISASTER ASSISTANCE DOT GOV.*
PEOPLE SEEKING HELP IN MONROE AND LAMAR COUNTIES CAN APPLY IN PERSON AT THE FEMA ASSISTANCE OFFICE IN BARNESVILLE... WHICH OFFICIALLY OPENS FRIDAY AFTERNOON.
THAT OFFICE IS LOCATED AT 118 ACADEMY DRIVE.
FEMA SAYS BRING AS MUCH DOCUMENTATION OF HOME- OR BUSINESS-OWNERSHIP THAT YOU HAVE.

A MACON GROUP WANTS YOUR HELP...IN SUPPORTING SURVIVORS OF THE TUSCALOOSA DISASTER.
SINCE SATURDAY.. THEY'VE COLLECTED ITEMS..LIKE FOOD... CLOTHING AND CASH.
SO FAR THEY'VE RAISED ABOUT 12-HUNDRED DOLLARS.
BOFTA YIMAM EXPLAINS HOW THEY CLICKED INTO ACTION.
NATS rock

THE SOUND OF DISASTER IN TUSCALOOSA--

Madeline Jackson
"rock works, hammer works"

HIT HOME FOR THIS YOUNG... RESILIENT...

NATS "anything works, takin what we can get "

RESOURCEFUL GROUP.

Jackson,
"can't be there to help so we're trying to help from here"

19-YEAR OLD MADELINE JACKSON SAYS THE TORNADO SPAWNED AN UNEXPECTED TWIST TO HER FRESHMAN YEAR AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA.

Jackson,
"I was with 980 girls, crammed in a lobby, and it was pretty terrifying but we were lucky."

THOUGHTS OF THOSE NOT SO LUCKY... MOTIVATED JACKSON TO START A MOVEMENT OF SORTS.

NATS Jackson "get this stuff off the truck"

Chris Campos,
"tryin to figure out what could we do here in Macon so I got onto facebook"

CHRIS CAMPOS STARTED WITH A FACEBOOK SITE THAT LINKED MACON TO TUSCALOOSA EFFORTS... FOLLOWED BY A FACEBOOK MESSAGE TO JACKSON... AND A BLOG ABOUT IT ALL... WHICH CLICKED INTO THIS---

NATS "that's clothes and if you need that"

SENDING THIS---

NATS "here's some drinks"

AND THIS---

NATS "and here's some diapers"

TO THEM.

Jackson,
"This started as an idea and it's expanded and it's just awesome to watch how people respond."


STANDUP
Bofta Yimam
"The group says they hope to collect enough to fill this 18-wheeler 54 foot truck and send it to Tuscaloosa early Saturday morning. So far, they've collected 20% of what they need."

Jackson nats "we're taking anything and everything"

JACKSON SAYS SHE TOOK UP PRE-LAW HER FIRST YEAR... BUT COULD PUT THAT ON HOLD

"thank you so much"

BASED ON WHAT SHE'S LEARNED THIS WEEK.

"thinking about doin' public relations and then going to law school"

BOFTA YIMAM 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS
YOU CAN DONATE AT EMMANUEL CHURCH ON FOSTER ROAD... OR ACE HARWARE...ON RIVERSIDE DRIVE... UNTIL FRIDAY AT EIGHT P-M.
ORGANIZER WENDY CHANDLER SAYS ALL ITEMS WILL BE GIVEN TO THE CITY OF TUSCALOOSA... AND CASH WILL BE USED TO BUY HEAVY EQUIPMENT... LIKE CHAINSAWS.
YOU CAN CONTACT MADELINE JACKSON AT 478-972-6911....AGAIN THAT NUMBER IS 972-6911.

BALDWIN COUNTY HAS LOST HUNDREDS OF JOBS IN RECENT YEARS...FROM A PRISON...AND FACTORIES THAT'VE SHUT DOWN.
BUT TODAY...THEY CELEBRATED SOME GOOD NEWS.
ELEANOR LISSITZYN HAS MORE.
<<
It was a deal two years in the making. Triumph Aerostructures finally announced wednesday they'll add 250 jobs here at their milledgeville plant over the next few years.

Local officials say they put together a special bonding package for the company and offered tax incentives for the aircraft parts manufacturer .
According to a press release they're job force won't be the only thing growing, they're also adding 60000 square feet to this bulding.

They say Both those things combined will total a seventeen milion dollar investment in the community.

I spoke w angie gheesling of the baldwin count development authority, she says these jobs are likely going to be some of the highest paying in the entire baldwin county area.

And she says that's good news for a region that's seen the loss of several major manufacturers in recent years.

Gheesling says Triumph won't add all of the jobs at once. Instead they'll come online gradually. She says people interested in applying for those jobs should refer to the triumph company's website.

>> AGAIN...THE COMPANY SAYS APPLY ONLINE...NOT IN PERSON.
TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT JOBS AT THE TRIUMPH PLANT...LOOK FOR THIS STORY ON OUR HOME PAGE....13WMAZ-DOT-COM.

IT SOUNDS LIKE A SCENE FROM A MOVIE.
TODAY ON THE GRAY HIGHWAY... POLICE SAY A BAIL RECOVERY AGENT FIRED SHOTS AT A FUGITIVE WHO WAS TRYING TO GET AWAY. THE BAIL AGENT WAS ARRESTED...THE FUGITIVE ESCAPED.
IT HAPPENED JUST BEFORE NOON AT PRECISION AUTO TUNE IN EAST MACON.
POLICE SAY BAIL AGENT DAVID HARPER TRIED TO SERVE A WARRANT ON DYTUAN ERVIN...WHO'S WANTED IN MISSISSIPPI.
WHEN THE SUSPECT TRIED TO DRIVE AWAY....POLICE SAY HARPER FIRED SHOTS AT HIS CAR.
A POLICE NEWS RELEASE SAYS HARPER COOPERATED WITH OFFICERS WHO WERE CALLED TO THE SCENE.
BUT HE WAS ARRESTED AND CHARGED WITH RECKLESS CONDUCT WITH A FIREARM...ERVIN'S STILL ON THE LOOSE.

THE CITY OF MACON ONCE AGAIN...IS DEMOLISHING BLIGHTED HOMES...AS PART OF THEIR ONGOING CLEANUP PLAN.
THEY STARTED A NEW ROUND OF DEMOLITIONS TODAY. CITY CREWS DESTROYED THIS HOUSE ON BELMONT AVENUE AS FIREFIGHTERS WASHED AWAY THE LINGERING DUST.
MAYOR ROBERT REICHERT SAYS THE PROCESS TO SEIZE THE HOMES AND TEAR THEM DOWN IS SLOW....BUT HE HOPES TO BRING A SENSE OF HOPE TO THE COMMUNITY...
SOME NEIGHBORS TOLD US THEY'RE PLEASED.
neighbor "feel good about it really good"
neighbor "I feel good about it, its something they should have did because the houses have been just sitting and not doing nothing with them."
REICHERT SAYS THEY'VE DEMOLISHED HUNDREDS OF HOMES SINCE HE TOOK OFFICE...BUT ARE STILL WORKING THEIR WAY THROUGH THE CITY'S LIST.
THEY PLAN TO TEAR DOWN ONE HUNDRED HOMES THIS YEAR...AND ONE TWENTY HOUSES NEXT YEAR.

TODAY'S 13 WMAZ DOT COM WEB POLL ASKS...
ARE BLIGHTED HOMES HURTING PROPERTY VALUES IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD?
SO FAR.. IT'S AN EVEN SPLIT... 50 PERCENT OF YOU SAY THEY ARE HURTING VALUES.. WHILE 50 PERCENT SAY THEY ARE NOT.
TO VOTE NOW.. VISIT OUR WEBSITE AT 13 WMAZ DOT COM.. AND LOOK FOR THE WEB POLL QUESTION ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF OUR HOMEPAGE INSIDE OF THE DON'T MISS BOX.

DOZENS OF FRIENDS AND ACQUAINTANCES ATTEND THE FUNERAL OF MABLE JONES.. A COMMUNITY ACTIVIST WHO TWICE RAN FOR MAYOR OF MACON.
JONES DIED LAST WEEK AFTER AN EXTENDED ILLNESS.
ALTHOUGH JONES DIDN'T WIN A POLITICAL OFFICE.. SHE KEPT ABREAST OF POLITICAL ISSUES.. AND MADE SURE POLITICIANS KNEW WHERE SHE STOOD ON THEM.
COUNCILMAN HENRY FICKLIN LAUDED HER INVOLVEMENT IN COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES.
AND MENTORS PROJECT DIRECTOR JUNE O'NEAL PRAISED JONES WORK WITH CHILDREN.
June O'Neal, Mentors Project: She was passionate about children about education about aviation about the Atlanta Braves and she loved hats.Henry Ficklin, Macon Councilman: She always wanted to be involved. I think that would be her legacy to me is that she was constantly involved.
ALTHOUGH MABLE JONES SELDOM MENTIONED HER SERVICE.. SHE WAS A FORMER MARINE WHO ROSE TO THE RANK OF CORPORAL.
SHE WAS BURIED WITH FULL MILITARY HONORS.

AN UNSOLVED BALDWIN COUNTY MURDER WENT VIRAL... OVER THE WEB... AND ACROSS THE COUNTRY.
IT STARTED AS SURVEILLANCE VIDEO FROM A SHOOTING..
THE ORIGINAL SURVEILLENCE VIDEO OF THE JULY 2009 ROBBERY AND MURDER AT LINA FOOD STORE... PROVED TO BE LITTLE HELP TO THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE.
AS AMY AUBERT SHOWS YOU... THE V-H-S QUALITY BARELY MAKES THE GUNMAN IDENTIFIABLE... BUT THAT'S WHERE TECH GEEKS ACROSS THE COUNTRY... STEPPED IN.
<<
NEARLY TWO YEARS LATER... BALDWIN COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE IS STILL LOOKING FOR THE MAN... BEHIND THESE GLASSES.
BUT THIS TIME.. THEY'RE GETTING HELP FROM THE COMMUNITY...AND BEYOND,.

Diedre Byrd, Detective: "They're like, 'I've already seen that picture, I've got it right here on my phone."

DETECTIVE BYRD SAYS... THIS IMAGE... CIRCULATING BY PHONE THROUGH MILLEDGEVILLE AND ACROSS THE COUNTRY...
IS AN ENHANCED VERSION OF THIS... THE ORIGINAL SHOT FROM FOOTAGE THAT TECH GEEKS TOOK FROM A 13 WMAZ STORY LAST YEAR.

IT'S JUST ONE IMAGE FROM SURVEILLANCE VIDEO THAT CAPTURED THE JULY 2009 MURDER OF OWNER... DANNY PATEL...AT THE LINA CONVENIENCE STORE ON HIGHWAY 22.

Deidra Byrd, Detective: "I knew it was gonna be big; it wasn't a case that was gonna go away. People were interested, people wanted to help."

ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE... HENRY COUNTY POLICE DETECTIVE TIM YANCEY...WHO GOT INTERESTED IN THE CASE AND OFFERED TO HELP.

Tim Yancey, Henry County: "Unfortunately, it's not like the CSI on TV."

HE SPENT AN ENTIRE DAY WORKING ON THE BALDWIN COUNTY TAPE... USING THREE DIFFERENT EDITING PROGRAMS... AND COUNTLESS EFFECTS.

Tim Yancey: "Once it's digitized we go into it and look at it frame by frame."

THIS STILL IMAGE HE SAYS... IS ONE OF THE BEST HE HAD TO WORK WITH.
IT'S THE SAME FRAME THAT DAVID HATHAWAY... AN ASTRO PHYSISICIST WITH NASA IN ALABAMA... CHOSE TO WORK WITH.

David Hathaway: "The video off of video tape has what we call noise, it's this techni-color snow that you kinda see in a freeze frame. And if you average images together, that noise, that snow goes away, and you end up with a cleaner image."

BUT HE SAYS... IN THIS CASE.. THAT'S HARD TO DO BECAUSE THE V-H-S TAPE WAS SO OLD.

Tim Yancey: "a lot of business owners don't change the tapes."

YANCEY SAYS THIS ONE... WAS PROBABLY RECORDED OVER FOR FIVE YEARS... BEFORE THE MURDER..

Tim Yancey: "The first thing I'm going to do is enlarge it some."

NOW... HE'S WORKING ON CLEANING UP AN IMAGE... FROM A DIFFERENT CASE...

Yancey: "I'm gonna import some of these pictures and see if I can improve on them."

... A STOLEN CAR.

Yancey: "This is our video... and I came in and... cleaned it up."

JUST LIKE SEVERAL "CLEANED-UP" VERSIONS... OF THE BALDWIN COUNTY GUNMAN.
YANCEY'S IMAGE ... WAS THE BEST ENHANCEMENT... THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE GOT.

Yancey: "I have a tendency to not wanna give up."

Nats, typing

BUT BYRD SAYS THE PICTURE ITSELF ISN'T QUITE CLEAR ENOUGH... TO IDENTIFY THE MURDERER.
SHE SAYS THEY'RE INVESTIGATING ALL ANGLES... TO TRY TO PUT THIS CASE TO REST... SOON.

Byrd: "It's just reaching a worldwide basis, you know, the media, and e-mails and cell phones, it's nothin' I've ever seen before."

AMY AUBERT... 13 WMAZ... EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>>
THE BALDWIN COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE SAYS THIS IS THE FIRST CASE THEY'VE SEEN THAT WENT VIRAL.
THEY SAID A BLOG SITE... REDDIT DOT COM... CAME UP WITH NEARLY A HUNDRED DIFFERENT IMAGES OF THE GUNMAN... ENHANCED BY TECH LOVERS ACROSS THE COUNTRY.
THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE SAYS AT THIS TIME... THEY HAVE A STRONG SUSPECT IN THE CASE.

THE FOLKS AT Y-96 JOIN THE HERO ARMY EVERY YEAR FOR THE CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL OF CENTRAL GEORGIA.
Folks our kids are our future.
(Frank) Oh, just heard the bell ring.
OUR OWN FRANK MALLOY TEAMED UP WITH D-J LEE FOUNTAIN TO TALK TO LISTENERS THIS MORNING.
THE STATION HAS DEDICATED ITS STAFF TO THE CAUSE FOR THE LAST ELEVEN YEARS.
.... AND THIS LITTLE GUY IS WHO FOLKS ARE SUPPORTING ...
THIS BABY IS SURVIVING AT ONE POUND ONE POINT FIVE OUNCES.
LAST YEAR... FOLKS PLEDGED 53-THOUSAND DOLLARS TO THE EFFORT.
THE CHILDREN'S MIRACLE NETWORK HOSPITALS TELETHON HAPPENS THE FIRST WEEKEND IN JUNE RIGHT HERE ON 13WMAZ.

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