Tuesday, May 10, Eyewitness News at 11

11:00 PM, May 10, 2011   |    comments
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GOOD EVENING AND THANKS FOR JOINING US..
I'M FRANK MALLOY..
AND I'M LEAH JOHNSON..THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT 11.

MACON MAYOR ROBERT REICHERT SAYS HE'S FOUND A WAY TO BALANCE NEXT YEAR'S BUDGET... WITHOUT INCREASING FEES OR TAXES...
AND THAT'S DESPITE DECLINING REVENUE... AND INCREASING EXPENSES...
SEVERAL COUNCIL MEMBERS SAY THEY'RE CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC THAT THE BUDGET IS AS GOOD AS IT SOUNDS...
ELEANOR LISSITZYN BREAKS DOWN THE NUMBERS.
MACON MAYOR ROBERT REICHERT PRESENTED HIS PLANS FOR FISCAL YEAR 2012'S BUDGET DURING A COUNCIL WORK SESSION TUESDAY NIGHT.

HIS PRESENTATION LEFT COUNCIL PRESIDENT MIRIAM PARIS CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISITIC
"Sounds like a whole lot, and I really want to see it."
TAKE GRAPHIC
ACCORDING TO THE MAYOR... GENERAL FUND WOULD EXPENSES ADD UP TO OVER SEVENTY FOUR MILLION DOLLARS
THAT'S A 3% INCREASE OVER LAST YEAR.
THE TOTAL OPERATING BUDGET IS MORE THAN ONE HUNDRED AND TEN MILLION DOLLARS...
END GFX
THE CITY IS REQUIRED TO SUBMIT A BALANCED BUDGET TO THE STATE... AND THE MAYOR SAYS HE DID IT WITHOUT INCREASING TAXES OR FEES.
HE SAYS THREE THINGS HELPED HIM DO THAT...
NEXT GRAPHIC
FIRST HE PLANS TO USE A FIVE MILLION DOLLAR BUDGET SURPLUS FROM THIS YEAR'S BUDGET...TOWARDS NEXT YEAR'S EXPENSES.
HE ALSO PROJECTS THE CITY WILL SAVE ABOUT ONE POINT TWO MILLION DOLLARS BY ELIMINATING DEPARTMENTS UNDER THE NEW SERVICE DELIVERY STRATEGY.
AND FINALLY HE SAYS THEY'LL USE REMAINING SPLOST FUNDS TO MAKE DEBT PAYMENTS.

END GFX
THE MAYOR ALSO TOLD COUNCIL HE PLANS TO FULLY FUND THE EMPLOYEE PAYSCALE PASSED IN DECEMBER.
NEXT GRAPHIC
IN ADDITION HE PLANS TO ADDRESS THE PENSION FUNDS.
REICHERT SAYS HE PLANS TO PAY ALL OBLIGATIONS TO THE GENERAL EMPLOYEES PENSION FUND... TO THE TUNE OF NEARLY ONE MILLION DOLLARS.

ALMOST ONE POINT TWO MILLION DOLLARS IS BUDGETED TOWARDS THE FIRE AND POLICE PENSION FUND... TO PAY DOWN THE FIVE POINT SIX MILLION THE CITY STILL OWES.
END GFX
Miriam: "We just have to wait to get down to the meat and potatoes of it."
PARIS SAYS THEY'LL HASH OUT DETAILS DURING BUDGET HEARINGS LATER THIS WEEK.

STD
COUNCIL WILL LOOK OVER THE MAYOR'S BUDGET PROPOSAL DURING MEETINGS IN THE NEXT COUPLE OF WEEKS.
COUNCIL AND THE MAYOR BOTH NEED TO SIGN OFF ON THE BUDGET BEFORE THEY CAN PRESENT IT TO THE STATE AT THE END OF THIS FISCAL YEAR.
THAT DEADLINE IS JUNE 30TH.

IT'S NOT DEFINITE YET... BUT HOUSTON COUNTY'S SCHOOL BUDGET DOESN'T INCLUDE FURLOUGHS FOR TEACHERS.
IF APPROVED IN JUNE... THIS WILL BE FIRST TIME IN THREE YEARS FOR NO FURLOUGH DAYS.
ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT FOR FINANCE STEPHEN THUBLIN SAID THE BOARD SET ASIDE FEDERAL MONEY EARLIER THIS YEAR.... TO TRY AND PREVENT FURLOUGHS.
HE SAYS THE BUDGET SITUATION IS IMPROVING... WITH FEWER STATE EDUCATION CUTS THIS YEAR.... ALTHOUGH THEY'RE STILL WORKING WITH ABOUT 25 MILLION DOLLARS LESS THAN LAST YEAR.
THUBLIN SAYS THE BOARD APPROVED CREATING 26 NEW POSITIONS IN FEBRUARY... AND THE BUDGET SUGGESTS CREATING EIGHT MORE.
SIX OF THOSE WOULD BE SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHING JOBS.

IMAGINE LOSING YOUR ABILITY TO DRIVE... PUT ON A SHIRT... OR EVEN COMMUNICATE.
AS CANDACE ADORKA EXPLAINS... THAT'S WHAT SEVERAL COMMUNITY LEADERS IN MACON EXPERIENCED AT A STROKE EDUCATION EVENT.
<<
FOR THOMAS MILLER... EVERY MONTH IS STROKE AWARENESS MONTH.
Nats "I also have a black belt in karate..."
A YEAR AGO, HE SUFFERED A STROKE.
SINCE THEN HE'S HAD TO RELEARN SEVERAL BASIC SKILLS... LIKE COMMUNICATING.. WHICH HE DOES THROUGH A MACHINE.
"I was talking, thinking i was being understood but in reality no one could understand me.
AT THE CENTRAL GEORGIA REHAB HOSPITAL... SEVERAL PEOPLE GOT THE CHANCE TO SEE WHAT THAT WOULD BE LIKE.
Virgil Adams: "i just developed a new appreciation for stroke victims and for the disease"
THEY WERE LIMITED... AS STROKE PATIENT'S WOULD BE... AND HAD TO PERFORM EVERYDAY TASKS.
"I think the hardest was to try to draw.. .they asked me to draw a star by not loking at the paper but looking through a mirror with my non affected hand which was my left hand and I couldnt do it.
A STROKE HAPPENS WHEN ARTERIES CLOG UP AND BLOOD CAN'T FLOW TO PARTS OF THE BRAIN.
THOSE BRAIN CELLS CAN DIE AND MAKE IT HARD TO DO SIMPLE THINGS.. LIKE GET OUT OF BED....
"Nats: ooh that's heavy!"
.... OR WIN A GAME OF WII.
REHAB DOCTOR ALLISON SCHEETS SAYS EVERY 40 SECONDS... SOMEONE IN AMERICA HAS A STROKE... AND WITH NUMBERS LIKE THAT... IT'S IMPORTANT TO KNOW THE WARNING SIGNS.
"Any of those three things, whether drooping of the face, inability to move an arm or any change in the speech pattern, you've got to call 911 immediately. Because the sooner we can get them to a hospital the better the outcome."
SCHEETS SAYS IT'S A LESSON SHE HOPES STICKS WITH PEOPLE EVEN MORE AFTER SPENDING A FEW MINUTES IN MILLER'S SHOES.
"a stroke is just so debilitating. It robs you of many things."
CANDACE ADORKA 13 WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>> DOCTORS SAY TO REDUCE YOUR RISK OF HAVING A STROKE... CUT DOWN ON SMOKING...DRINKING... SALT.. AND FAT... AND EXERCISE MORE.
FOR MORE INFORMATION.... LOOK FOR THIS STORY ON OUR WEBSITE... 13 W-M-A-Z-DOT-COM.

WOULD FRESH TAX REVENUES SWELL CITY COFFERS IF CASINO GAMBLING WAS ALLOWED ON THE OCMULGEE NATIONAL MONUMENT PROPERTY?
REPUBLICAN MAYORAL CANDIDATE DAVID COUSINO SUPPORTS CASINO GAMBLING AT THE INDIAN MOUNDS.. A MEASURE HE ALSO SUPPORTED FOUR YEARS AGO.
AND DURING THIS WEEK'S CLOSE-UP PROGRAM.. COUSINO DISCUSSES THE POSSIBILITY...
David Cousino, Mayoral Candidate: The people were afraid to have them come in because, you know, they believe that they would take over the whole city, and that's what I was accused of four years ago. Well, David wants to give up their city to the native Indians and everything. No, that's not what I want.
SO FAR.. COUSINO IS THE ONLY REPUBLICAN MAYORAL CANDIDATE.. BUT FOUR DEMOCRATS ARE IN THE RACE.
THEY ARE CURRENT MAYOR ROBERT REICHERT.. STATE SENATOR ROBERT BROWN.. FORMER MAYOR C. JACK ELLIS.. AND FIREFIGHTER PAUL BRONSON.
YOU CAN CATCH CLOSE-UP IN ITS ENTIRETY AT NOON SATURDAY AND AT SIX A-M SUNDAY ON WMAZ.

PEOPLE LIVING IN 25 GEORGIA COUNTIES AFFECTED BY THE TORNADOES LATE LAST MONTH... INCLUDING MONROE AND LAMAR... CAN SOON APPLY FOR DISASTER FOOD ASSISTANCE.
FEMA APPROVED THE PROGRAM FOR PEOPLE AFFECTED BY THE STORMS... WHO NORMALLY WOULDN'T QUALIFY FOR FOOD STAMPS.
IF YOU LIVE IN ONE OF THE APPROVED COUNTIES... HAD DAMAGE TO YOUR HOME... LOST FOOD AND INCOME... AND MEET INCOME ELIGIBILITY... YOU CAN APPLY FOR THE FOOD ASSISTANCE NEXT TUESDAY THROUGH THURSDAY.
IF YOU LIVE IN LAMAR OR MONROE COUNTY... YOU CAN APPLY AT THE D-FACS OFFICE IN BARNESVILLE BETWEEN 8 A-M AND 6 P-M EACH DAY.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON WHETHER YOU QUALIFY... YOU CAN CALL 866-371-8222.
AGAIN... 866-371-8222.

TOMORROW IS THE THREE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF THE MOTHER'S DAY TORNADOES THAT SWEPT THROUGH CENTRAL GEORGIA... AND IN SOME NEIGHBORHOODS... THE STORM'S MARK IS STILL THERE.
IN AREAS LIKE LAKE TOBESOFKEE... THE STORM DAMAGE IS LIKE A FAINT MEMORY... WITH NEARLY EVERYTHING REBUILT...
IN THE HARD-HIT BLOOMFIELD NEIGHBORHOOD... THERE ARE STILL HOMES BOARDED UP.
NEIGHBORS NEAR THIS HOME ON MCEVOY DRIVE SAY THE FAMILY LEFT IT VACANT AFTER THE TORNADO TORE THROUGH... AND NOW... THEY'RE STUCK WITH IT.
"We've been trying, through a lot of help, to get somebody to do something about it because it is a neighborhood eyesore!"
LAKE TOBESOFKEE DIRECTOR DOUG FURNEY CALLS THE STORMS A "BLESSING IN DISGUISE"...
HE SAYS THE PARKS WERE ABLE TO REBUILD EVEN BETTER THAN BEFORE WITH INSURANCE MONEY FOR THE STORM DAMAGE.
BIBB COUNTY E-M-A OFFICIALS SAY... THE TORNADO THAT TORE THROUGH BIBB CUT A TOTAL PATH 18 MILES LONG... CAUSING 4 POINT 7 MILLION DOLLARS IN DAMAGES.

APPLE AND GOOGLE SAY THEY ONLY GATHER DATA ON THEIR CUSTOMERS WHEREABOUTS IN ORDER TO SPEED UP SERVICE.
LAWMAKERS CALLED EXECUTIVES FROM THE COMPANIES TO CAPITOL HILL TODAY.
THEY'RE LOOKING INTO WHETHER SMARTPHONES AND TABLETS ARE INVADING YOUR PRIVACY.
BOTH COMPANIES SAY USERS CAN TURN OFF THEIR LOCATION-BASED SERVICES IF THEY PREFER.
LAWMAKERS SAY PRIVACY LAWS HAVEN'T KEPT UP WITH THIS EXPLODING INDUSTRY.
THEY PLAN TO INTRODUCE A BILL THIS WEEK TO GIVE MORE PROTECTION TO CHILDREN WHO USE HANDHELD DEVICES.

SONY SAYS IT PLANS TO HAVE ITS PLAYSTATION NETWORK RESTORED BY THE END OF THE MONTH.
A SPOKESMAN SAYS THEY'RE STILL LOOKING INTO THE RECENT MASSIVE SECURITY BREACH ON THE NETWORK.
SONY SHUT DOWN THE SYSTEM APRIL 20TH.
THE COMPANY SAYS THE NETWORK INTRUSION COMPROMISED PERSONAL DATA FROM MORE THAN 100 MILLION ONLINE ACCOUNTS.

SKYPE WILL SOON HAVE A NEW OWNER.
MICROSOFT AGREED TO BUY THE POPULAR INTERNET TELEPHONE SERVICE FOR EIGHT AND A HALF BILLION DOLLARS.
IT'S THE BIGGEST DEAL IN THE SOFTWARE MAKER'S 36-YEAR HISTORY.
MICROSOFT'S SALES AND PROFITS HAVE DOUBLED IN THE PAST EIGHT YEARS... BUT ITS STOCK HASN'T FOLLOWED SUIT.
INVESTORS WORRY ABOUT HOW WELL IT CAN DEAL WITH RIVALS OR CHANGES IN THE INDUSTRY.
SKYPE HAS ABOUT 663 MILLION USERS WORLDWIDE.

IF YOU'VE HAD YOUR EYE ON A HIGH-TICKET TECH GADGET FOR A WHILE... 2011 MIGHT BE THE YEAR FOR YOU.
SUMI DAS HAS A HANDFUL OF ELECTRONIC DEVICES THAT ARE SEEING A DROP IN PRICE.
WHEN IT COMES TO GADGETS, BRAGGING RIGHTS FOR EARLY ADOPTERS DON'T COME CHEAP. IF YOU BUY A NEWLY-RELEASED PRODUCT, YOU'LL PAY A PREMIUM

THE AVERAGE AMERICAN SPENDS NEARLY $800 A YEAR ON CONSUMER ELECTRONICS. YOU CAN SAVE A BUNDLE THOUGH BY WAITING TO GET YOUR HANDS ON THE LATEST & GREATEST.

Sumi Das/Correspondent, CBS Moneywatch.com: IF YOU WANT TO STRETCH YOUR GADGET BUDGET, HERE ARE FIVE HIGH-TECH PRODUCTS PREDICTED TO DROP TO NEARLY BARGAIN BASEMENT PRICES THIS YEAR.

BOOKWORMS WILL BE HAPPY TO LEARN AMAZON'S KINDLE IS EXPECTED TO SELL FOR NINETY-NINE DOLLARS, A PRICE MANY CAN'T PASS UP.

IF YOU'VE BEEN HOLDING OUT FOR A BIG SCREEN HDTV, FIFTY-FIVE INCH MODELS WILL LIKELY FALL JUST BELOW SIX HUNDRED DOLLARS.

Molly Wood/Executive Editor, CNET: Prices are good now because there has been a glut, but that LCD panel supply is drying up now because of the Japan earthquake and tsunami.

WHILE MOST HIGH-TECH BUNDLES AREN'T A BARGAIN, WII SYSTEM BUNDLES WILL PROVE OTHERWISE, AS PRICES DROP TO NINETY-NINE DOLLARS.

Molly Wood/Executive Editor, CNET: The Wii components separately, really cost a lot: the steering wheel and the extra controllers and sometimes the games. I would say if you can get a lot of those actual Wii accessories bundled in, then it's probably a deal worth springing for.

IN 2011, DIGITAL SLR CAMERAS SHOULD DROP TO UNDER THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS. SO IT WILL MAKE SENSE TO SERIOUSLY CONSIDER AN SLR WITH IT'S HIGHER IMAGE QUALITY OVER A POINT-AND-SHOOT.

AND IF YOU DON'T HAVE THE PATIENCE TO WAIT FOR PLUNGING PRICES, A PRODUCT THAT'S ALREADY A STEAL. THE IPHONE 3GS.

Molly Wood/Executive Editor, CNET: It's been competing with android phones like you would not believe because, any kind of iPhone for fifty bucks, you just can't resist.
FOR THE LATEST TECH NEWS... CHECK OUT THE GEEK 13 PAGE AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.
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