Wednesday, May 11, Eyewitness News at 11

10:09 PM, May 11, 2011   |    comments
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<<opening for eyewitness news at eleven>>
GOOD EVENING AND THANKS FOR JOINING US..
I'M LEAH JOHNSON..
AND I'M FRANK MALLOY..
THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT 11.

MACON CITY COUNCIL STARTED HASHING OUT THE DETAILS OF MAYOR ROBERT REICHERT'S PROPOSED BUDGET TODAY.
SO FAR.... APPROPRIATIONS CHARIMAN MIKE CRANFORD SAYS HE'S CONFIDENT THAT THE MAYOR PROPOSED A SOLID BALANCED BUDGET.
BUT AS ELEANOR LISSITZYN EXPLAINS... OTHER COUNCIL MEMBERS AREN'T SO SURE THE NUMBERS WILL ADD UP.
<<
nats of flipping pages
MACON CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS GOT ROLLING ON BUDGET HEARINGS WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON...
AND APPROPRIATIONS CHAIRMAN MIKE CRANFORD SAYS... SO FAR... SO GOOD.
"I'm really impressed that we're able to maintain the services that were maintaining without having to increase the millage rate."
HE SAYS THE CITY PREPARED WELL FOR TOUGH TIMES
"We've trimmed employees, haven't filled vacant positions, savied money everywhere we could."
ALL THAT TRIMMING ADDED UP TO AN 18% REDUCTION IN NON-SALARY... NON-BENEFIT SPENDING IN 2011... AND A FIVE MILLION DOLLAR SURPLUS.
"I'm feeling confident right now."
BUT COUNCILMAN RICK HUTTO... ISN'T.
"Almost all of the capital expenditures need to be borrowed."
ANOTHER ISSUE... HE SAYS THE MAYOR'S BALANCED BUDGET... DEPENDS ON SAVING MONEY BY HAVING THE COUNTY RUN RECREATION...
THAT'S PART OF THE NEW SERVICE DELIVERY PLAN...
BUT IT ONLY HAPPENS IF VOTERS APPROVE THE NEXT SPLOST.
"I think theres a possbility that it could pass, but also a possiblity it could fail. I want to know, what's plan b?"
HE SAYS THE MAYOR IS ALSO COUNTING ON COUNCIL TO APPROVE PLANS TO REPAY MILLIONS TO EMPLOYEE PENSION FUNDS OVER SEVERAL YEARS.
"Thats a lot of cards that have to fall into place."
Stand up: Council will spend the next few weeks going through all one hundred and fifty pages of the 2012 budget. They'll hear a pitch from every city department head laying out how much money they want and how they intend to spend it. But council won't make decisions on what gots cut and what stays in here for another three and a half weeks.
STD
>> THE CITY IS REQUIRED TO SUBMIT A BALANCED BUDGET TO THE STATE BY THE END OF JUNE.

ALSO TODAY... A CITY COUNCIL COMMITTEE RECEIVED AN UPDATE FROM THE MAYOR'S OFFICE ON THE FATE OF 31 EMPLOYEES WHO WERE LAID OFF LAST YEAR.
THE CITY COMMITTED TO HELPING THE WORKERS FIND NEW JOBS.
HUMAN RESOURCES DIRECTOR BEN HUBBARD TOLD THE EMPLOYEE DEVELOPMENT AND COMPENSATION COMMITTEE THAT OF THE 31 WORKERS - THE STATUS OF16 OF TEM REMAINS IN QUESTION.
TWENTY WORKERS ACTUALLY GOT LAID OFF... NINE RETIRED... AND TWO WERE PLACED IN OTHER JOBS.
FOUR OF THE EMPLOYEES WHO WERE LAID OFF WERE REHIRED LATER. THAT MEANS 16 OF THEM COULD STILL BE OUT OF WORK.
HUBBARD SAYS HE DOESN'T KNOW HOW MANY OF THOSE FOUND NEW JOBS... BUT RECORDS SHOW ABOUT FOUR ARE STILL COLLECTING UNEMPLOYMENT. COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN CHARLES JONES SAYS HE WANTS TO MAKE SURE LAID-OFF EMPLOYEES STILL LOOKING FOR CITY JOBS... WILL GET FIRST CRACK AT ANY OPEN POSITIONS.
"Make sure that all of the jobs that were posted and they were notified of them. We've got to be clear in what we do for these employees because we're dealing with people's lives."JONES SAYS THE ADMINISTRATION WILL TRY TO DETERMINE HOW MANY OF THE SIXTEEN ARE ACTUALLY WORKING AND WHETHER THEY WERE NOTIFIED OF CITY JOB OPENINGS AND REPORT BACK AT THEIR MEETING IN TWO WEEKS.

PROBLEMS AT THE MACON WATER AUTHORITY'S TREATMENT PLANT SENT MORE THAN 21 MILLION GALLONS OF PARTIALLY TREATED SLUDGE INTO THE OCMULGEE RIVER.
THAT'S ACCORDING TO AN M-W-A- SPILL REPORT.
IT SAYS THE SPILL WAS DISCOVERED MONDAY.
ELECTRICAL PROBLEMS AFFECTED THE GEAR THAT TREATS SLUDGE BEFORE IT'S RELEASED INTO THE RIVER.
TERRY FORREST... DIRECTOR OF WASTE MANAGEMENT SAYS.... THE EQUIPMENT WAS OUT OF ORDER FOR FOUR DAYS... AND THAT MEANS THE SLUDGE DIDN'T MEET NORMAL TREATMENT STANDARDS BEFORE FLOWING INTO THE OCMULGEE.
"This tank behind me holds one million gallons and the spill was a little over 21 million gallons, so you can look at 21 of these tanks."
FORREST SAYS THEY STARTED WATER TESTING MONDAY AND FOUND THAT THE WATER QUALITY IN THE RIVER CHECKED OUT OK..
HE SAYS THE WATER AUTHORITY IS REQUIRED TO MONITOR WATER QUALITY IN THE SPILL AREA FOR UP TO A YEAR.

A MACON ANIMAL CONTROL WORKER IS ON LEAVE...WHILE THE DEPARTMENT INVESTIGATES HIS HANDLING OF A CASE.
THAT'S ACCORDING TO A NEWS RELEASE FROM MACON POLICE.
THE DEPARTMENT SAYS IT'S BEEN CONTACTED BY DOG LOVERS.. WHO SAY BRUCE ROZIER LET THE DOG DIE AFTER IT BECAME STUCK IN A SEWER PIPE ON MONROE AVENUE LAST MONTH.
IN THE POLICE NEWS RELEASE....CHIEF MIKE BURNS SAYS THE DEPARTMENT IS STILL INVESTIGATING HOW ROZIER HANDLED THE CASE BUT SAID IF THE COMPLAINTS ARE TRUE....ANIMAL CONTROL'S ACTIONS WERE TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE.
POLICE SAY INTERNAL AFFAIRS ARE INVESTIGATING.

NEWT GINGRICH HAS FORMALLY JUMPED INTO THE RACE FOR PRESIDENT.
THE REPUBLICAN ANNOUNCED HIS CANDIDACY ON TWITTER TODAY... AND HE'S WORKING TO CONVINCE VOTERS THAT HE HAS A FRESH VIEW FOR WASHINGTON.
DANIELLE NOTTINGHAM HAS MORE FROM THE WHITE HOUSE.<<
He's a familiar face hoping to create a new image as he makes a run for the White House.

(SOT: NEWT GINGRICH / FROM YOUTUBE.COM) - "I'M ANNOUNCING MY CANDIDACY FOR PRESIDENCY OF THE UNITED STATES."

Newt Gingrich took a page out of President Obama's play book.. Using youtube, Facebook, and Twitter - to launch his presidential bid.

(SOT: JAN CRAWFORD / CBS NEWS POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT) - "YOU'RE SEEING REPUBLICANS NOW TRY TO TAP INTO THOSE SAME SOURCES, REACH OUT TO NEW VOTERS, GET THEIR MESSAGE OUT IN DIFFERENT WAYS."

(SOT: NEWT GINGRICH / FROM YOUTUBE.COM) - "I HOPE YOU'LL DECIDE TO JOIN ME - LET'S WORK SIDE BY SIDE."

When he was Speaker of the House , he launched the conservative contract with america.. But he insists he's not trapped in the 90's. His aides say he writes his own tweets.. And promotes advances in energy

(STANDUP BRIDGE: DANIELLE NOTTINGHAM / CBS NEWS / THE WHITE HOUSE) - "Gingrich has to prove to Republican voters that he can still be a force to contend with as a new generation of politicians enter the race for the White House."

And he comes into the fight with both personal and political baggage. His past includes 2 divorces, marital infidelity and ethics allegations.

(SOT: JAN CRAWFORD / CBS NEWS POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT) - THE KEY QUESTION IS WHETHER THE VOTERS WILL FORGIVE HIM OR ARE JUST READY FOR SOMETHING DIFFERENT"

Gingrich is among the first Republicans to get into the presidential race. And so far polls show voters are not excited about the field of potential candidates.
>> THIS WEEK... G-O-P ACTIVISTS ARE ENCOURAGING NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE AND INDIANA GOVERNOR MITCH DANIELS TO JOIN THE RACE.

A CENTRAL GEORGIA COLLEGE ONCE AGAIN HAS NATIONAL ACCREDITATION FOR ITS TEACHING PROGRAM.
FORT VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY LOST BOTH STATE AND NATIONAL ACCREDITATION IN 2005.
SINCE THEN THEY'VE WORKED TO BUILD UP THE PROGRAM.... WHICH NOW HAS ABOUT 300 STUDENTS.
THE COLLEGE OF EDUCATION IS NOW ACCREDITED BY THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF TEACHER EDUCATION... AND THE GEORGIA PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS COMMISSION.
JUDY CARTER... THE DEAN OF THE COLLEGE OF EDUCATION SAYS THAT BENEFITS THE STUDENTS.
Judy Carter, DEan of College of Education: "They can now put on their resume that they graduated from and NCATE accredited instution so when they go out to apply for a job this will mean a lot for employers."
CARTER SAYS THE UNIVERSITY'S PRESIDENT ANNOUNCED THE ACCREDITATION AT GRADUATION LAST SATURDAY... AND THAT THOSE SENIOR ARE THE FIRST TO GRADUATE WITH THE DISTINCTION.

BIBB COUNTY'S NEW CELEBRITY TEACHER GOT A SURPRISE WHEN HE WALKED INTO HIS OFFICE TODAY.
Pause for nats= 2 SEC (clapping)
STUDENTS AT NORTHEAST HIGH SCHOOL SURPRISED GEORGIA'S NEXT TEACHER OF THE YEAR... (Jah-DON) JADUN MCCARTHY... WITH A PARTY.
HE WAS NAMED THE 2012 STATE TEACHER OF THE YEAR FRIDAY.
STUDENTS IN MCCARTHY'S ADVANCED PLACEMENT LITERATURE CLASS SAY IT WAS THEIR WAY OF SAYING THANKS FOR ALL HE'S DONE.
Charmiska Jones, student 0-4: "I hope he knows how much we appreciate him as a teacher and we are very proud of him."
Michael Massey, student 05-09: "He teaches you to look above and beyond everything you've been used to seeing"
Daikeen Lockett, student 10-18: "For him to actually get this award from this side of town is amazing so to tell you the truth the whole actual city of Macon should be celebrating this right now."
THE BIBB SCHOOL DISTRICT PLANS TO HONOR MCCARTHY ... AT A CEREMONY NEXT MONTH.

WE HAVE A UPDATE ON A STORY WE BROUGHT YOU YESTERDAY. REGARDING DISASTER FOOD ASSISTANCE FOLLOWING THE TORNADOES HERE IN GEORGIA.
PEOPLE LIVING IN 25 STORM-AFFECTED COUNTIES -- INCLUDING MONROE AND LAMAR -- CAN APPLY FOR FOOD STAMPS.
IF YOU LIVE IN MONROE COUNTY YOU NEED TO APPLY AT THE MONROE COUNTY D-FACS OFFICE..
IF YOU LIVE IN LAMAR COUNTY - YOU WILL APPLY AT THE LAMAR COUNTY D-FACS OFFENSE..
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.
TO SEE IF YOU QUALIFY.. CALL 866-371-8222.
AGAIN THAT'S ... 866-371-8222.

TONIGHT'S FACEBOOK FAN OF THE DAY...

BARBARA MARRS.
CONGRATULATIONS BARBARA... 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.

SOME PEOPLE IN WARNER ROBINS WANT TO GET THE COMMUNITY AND ITS ONE OUTDOOR WALKING TRAIL IN SHAPE.
Jennifer Scheffer, Warner Robins: (2:10) "This is our only one in Warner Robins. If you have access to Robins Air Force Base, they have trails on the base, but as far as the City of Warner Robins. This is our only area."
JENNIFER SCHEFFER AND HER CHAMBER OF COMMERCE LEADERSHIP CLASS WANT TO IMPROVE THE WELLSTON TRAIL... BY ADDING EXERCISE STATIONS FIRST.
THEN... THEY HOPE TO RAISE MONEY TO ADD TRAILS IN OTHER PARTS OF THE CITY... STARTING AT THE MACON STATE COLLEGE CAMPUS.
THEY'RE FUNDRAISING THROUGH THE "GET UP AND GO" 5K RUN-WALK THIS SATURDAY... MAY 14TH.
THE RACE STARTS AT 8 A-M AT THE MACON STATE CAMPUS... THAT'S OFF WATSON BOULEVARD.
REGISTRATION IS 25 DOLLARS.... ALL PROCEEDS BENEFIT THE TRAIL PROJECT.
CALL 478-718-8537 FOR MORE INFORMATION.
THAT'S 718-8537.

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