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Tuesday, May 17, Eyewitness News at 11

7:46 PM, May 17, 2011   |    comments
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GOOD EVENING AND THANKS FOR JOINING US..
I'M FRANK MALLOY..
THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT 11.

A FOLLOW UP TO A STORY WE FIRST BROUGHT YOU IN MARCH.
FOR YEARS THE CITY OF MACON HAS PAID TO MAINTAIN TWO DOZEN VACANT HOUSES THEY BUILT USING GRANT MONEY.
THEY BUILT THEM FOR LOW-INCOME FAMILIES BUT COULDN'T FIND ELIGABLE BUYERS.
AFTER SPENDING CLOSE TO A MILLION DOLLARS MAINTAINING THE HOUSES - ELEANOR LISSITZYN TELLS US CITY OFFICIALS FINALLY FOUND A WAY TO GET SOME OF THEM OFF THE BOOKS.
"It's a beautiful home."
THREE BEDROOMS... THREE BATHS... IT'S CLARENCE KITCHEN'S DREAM HOME.
"I never would have been able to afford it."
EXCEPT FOR A GRANT PROGRAM THE CITY USED TO BUILD HOUSING FOR LOW INCOME FAMILIES.
"I've had many crying nights just for thankfulness for how great the program is."
RIGHT NEXT TO HIS HOME... SITS A VACANT ONE... IT'S ONE OF TWENTY FOUR UNSOLD HOMES THE CITY BUILT WITH FEDERAL GRANT MONEY... BUT HASN'T BEEN ABLE TO SELL.
"People just can't afford it."
SINCE 2007 THE CITY PAID FOR MAINTENANCE COSTS... SPENDING HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS ON EXPENSES LIKE LAWN CARE... AND ALARM SERVICES.
BUT NOW MAYOR REICHERT SAYS THEY FOUND A WAY TO UNLOAD TEN OF THE HOUSES. CITY COUNCIL VOTED TUESDAY NIGHT TO TURN THEM OVER TO GEORGIA BEHAVOIRAL HEALTH SERVICES... A NON-PROFIT ASSOCIATED WITH RIVEREDGE BEHAVORIAL HEALTH SERVICES.
"It will stop the hemmoraging of maintenace expenses on these units to have them occupied and put to good use."
STAND UP" "This house on maynard street is one of the homes the city has agreed to give Georgia Behavorial Health Services. Inside vandals have done tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage.
"As part of the agreement the city will essentially give away the houses to Georgia Behavorial Health Services. In exchange they'll do all the repairs the city would have had to pay for to make the houses liveable. They will repair vandalism damage... add new HVAC units... and all of the appliances to get them ready for tenants."
"The people to whom the property is rented have to meet eligability guidlines."
RIVEREDGE SAYS THEY'LL HELP HOMELESS FAMILIES AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES GET IN THE HOUSES...
"I think it's a wonderful thing, everyone needs a home."
AND HE SAYS THE DAY THIS SIGN FINALLY COMES DOWN...WILL BE A GOOD ONE.
"I'd be nice to have some new neighbors."
STD WE ALSO REPORTED IN MARCH THE CITY COULD HAVE TO REPAY THE HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY ALMOST ONE MILLION DOLLARS.
THAT WAS AFTER THE CITY'S AUDITOR FOUND THAT THE MONEY SPENT MAINTAINING AND REPAIRING THE HOMES WASN'T AN ELIGIBLE EXPENSE AS PART OF THE PROGRAM.
TONIGHT MAYOR REICHERT SAID HE STILL BELIEVES THE EXPENSES ARE LEGITIMATE AND THEY'VE FILED PAPERWORK WITH HUD ASKING THEM TO COVER THE COSTS.
HE SAYS THEY STILL HAVEN'T GOTTEN A FINAL DECISION FROM HUD.

A NEW BIBB COUNTY COURTHOUSE MAY APPEAR ON THE LIST OF PROJECTS IN A NOVEMBER SPECIAL LOCAL OPTION SALES TAX REFERENDUM..
DURING THIS WEEK'S CLOSE UP... MAYOR ROBERT REICHERT.. WHO'S SEEKING RE-ELECTION THIS YEAR.. SAID THE PROPOSED COURTHOUSE WOULD BE SMALLER THAN THE VERSION VOTERS REJECTED LAST YEAR.
Robert Reichert: Mayoral Candidate: A much scaled back structure of some kind that will house Superior Court, State Court and Probate Court.
REICHERT IS ONE OF FOUR DEMOCRATS SEEKING THE MAYOR'S OFFICE IN THIS YEAR'S ELECTION.
THE OTHERS ARE STATE SENATOR ROBERT BROWN.. FORMER MAYOR C. JACK ELLIS.. AND MACON FIREFIGHTER PAUL BRONSON.
REPUBLICAN DAVID COUSINO IS ALSO RUNNING.
YOU CAN CATCH CLOSE-UP IN ITS ENTIRETY AT NOON SATURDAY AND SIX A-M SUNDAY ON WMAZ.

HOUSTON COUNTY COMMISSIONER TOMMY STALNAKER SAYS HE DOESN'T EXPECT NEW TAXES IN THE NEXT BUDGET YEAR.
HE SAYS A MILL INCREASE IS NOT LIKELY.
STALNAKER SAYS THE NUMBERS AREN'T FINAL YET... BUT HE'S NOT PLANNING JOB CUTS EITHER.
HE'S "HOLDING THE LINE" ON EXPENSES... AND LOOKING FOR NEW WAYS TO CREATE REVENUE.
HE'LL PRESENT HIS 2012 BUDGET TO THE COMMISSION JUNE 21ST.

WHEN YOU'RE SEARCHING FOR A JOB... YOUR RESUME IS ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS POTENTIAL EMPLOYERS SEE.
THIS WEEK.. WE'RE WORKING WITH THE GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND THEIR RESUMAY CAMPAIGN TO GIVE YOU SOME TIPS FOR MAKING YOUR RESUME SHINE.
YOU CAN CALL OUR JOB PHONE BANK WITH YOUR RESUME AND JOB-HUNTING QUESTIONS BETWEEN 4 AND 6-30 THURSDAY AFTERNOON... AND GET HELP FROM CERTIFIED DEPARTMENT OF LABOR RESUME WRITERS.

THANKS TO A TOURISM PRODUCT DEVLOPMENT GRANT... GEORGIA'S OLD CAPITAL MUSEUM SOCIETY... MADE A FEW UPGRADES AT ONE OF ITS ATTRACTIONS... THE SANFORD HOUSE.
IT'S AN 8 THOUSAND 700 DOLLAR MATCH GRANT... MEANING THE OLD CAPITAL MUSEUM SOCIETY... HAS TO MATCH THAT COST.
THE SANDFORD HOUSE WAS BUILT IN 1825 AS A TAVERN... AND IT'S THE ONLY SURVIVING TAVERN IN THE AREA FROM WHEN MILLEDGEVILLE WAS A FRONTIER CAPITAL.
AMY WRIGHT... EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AT THE OLD CAPITAL MUSEUM... SAYS THEY USED THE GRANT TO PURCHASE THREE NEW HEATING AND A-C UNITS... TO OPEN THE BUILDING TO MORE TOURS... AND KEEP IT BETTER PRESERVED.
SHE SAYS... NO OUTSIDE FUNDING MAKES RESTORING THE HISTORIC BUILDING... DIFFICULT.
Amy Wright, Georgia's Old Capital Museum: "It's a structure like all old homes, the people that own it are the ones that really work. We work to secure the funding to take care of the roof leaks, the bats int he attic, the bees and 200 gallons of honey in the walls; those things that are the constant challenges of owning an old home."
THE SANFORD HOUSE MUSEUM IS LOCATED ON WEST HANCOCK STREET...IN DOWNTOWN MILLEDGEVILLE
THE CAPITOL SOCIETY TOOK IT OVER IN 1966...AND THEY PLAN A 45TH ANNIVERSARY PARTY THERE ON JUNE 24TH FROM 4 TO 6 P-M. FOR TICKETS... YOU CAN CALL... 478-453-1803.
AGAIN... THAT NUMBER... 478-453-1803.

IT'S A DISEASE THAT AFFECTS MORE THAN 20 THOUSAND CENTRAL GEORGIANS..
Bill: "Watching..watching what's coming down the road and worrying about what's going to happen"
BILL'S WIFE.. JOAN SUFFERS FROM ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE.
WHILE IT CAN BE A DEVESTATING DIAGNOSIS... THIS BIBB COUNTY COUPLE FACES EVERY DAY WITH SMILES... AND MAKING THE BEST OF WHAT'S TO COME.
STEPHANIE SUSSKIND WILL SHARE THEIR INSPIRING STORY TOMORROW AT 6:30.. ON EYEWITNESS NEWS MORNIN.

THIS WEEK... SONY STARTED RESTORING ITS PLAYSTATION NETWORK AFTER THE MASSIVE OUTAGE.
LEAH JOHNSON SAT DOWN WITH CNET'S DAN ACKERMAN EARLIER TODAY TO GET THE DETAILS ON THE OUTAGE... THE RESTORATION... AND WHAT COULD HAPPEN IN THE FUTURE... IN THIS WEEK'S GEEK 13.

LAST WEEK... WE TOOK YOU INSIDE THE NEW RENOVATIONS AT THE WASHINGTON MEMORIAL LIBRARY.
THIS WEEK... WE'RE TAKING A MORE IN-DEPTH LOOK AT WHAT THAT MEANS FROM A GEEK 13 PERSPECTIVE.
IF YOU WANT TO BRING YOUR OWN LAPTOP... YOU CAN ENJOY THE FREE WI-FI THAT COVERS THE LIBRARY... AND STRETCHES ACROSS THE STREET TO THE JOSHUA CUP COFFEE SHOP AND WASHINGTON SQUARE PARK.
YOU CAN ALSO CHECK OUT A LAPTOP.
IF YOU DO THAT... YOU CAN'T TAKE IT OFF LIBRARY GROUNDS... AND IT'S DUE BACK IN AN HOUR.
AND SOON... YOU'LL BE ABLE TO LOG ON AND DOWNLOAD E-BOOKS.
THAT SHOULD START LATER THIS MONTH OR IN EARLY JUNE.
LIBRARY DIRECTOR THOMAS JONES SAYS THEY PLAN TO KEEP THE TECH UPGRADES COMING.
Thomas Jones, Libary Director: "We just want the public to know that we're trying to be very responsive to their information needs so that our services and our offerings will be evolving based upon what the community really needs.
THE LIBRARY WILL OFFER FREE COMPUTER CLASSES STARTING NEXT MONTH ON A FIRST-COME, FIRST-SERVED BASIS.
TO GET A COMPLETE SCHEDULE AND REGISTER FOR ONE OF THE CLASSES... YOU'LL HAVE TO GO TO THE LIBRARY IN PERSON.

I-PADS AREN'T JUST FOR ON-THE-GO ADULTS...
Pause for nats= 2 sec
"good job"
AT BIBB COUNTY'S NORTHWOODS ACADEMY... PRE-KINDERGARTEN STUDENTS USE THE TECHNOLOGY TO LEARN PATTERNS... AND LETTERS.
TEACHER LAUREN STEPHENS SAYS THE I-PAD KEEPS KIDS ENGAGED... AND LET'S HER TRACK STUDENTS' PROGRESS.
THE SCHOOL USES ITS I-PAD IN SMALL GROUP AND INDIVIDUAL LESSONS.
KIDS LIKE THE GAMES BECAUSE THEY'RE FUN... AND LET THEM LEARN HANDS-ON.
Lauren Stephens, Pre-K teacher: "When they see what happens, such as playing a matching game, doing patterns and different things like that, they're actually learning at the same time and they really enjoy using them"
NORTHWOODS ACADEMY USED GRANT FUNDS TO GET THEIR IPAD.

TODAY'S 13WMAZ DOT COM WEB POLL ASKS...
DOES USING TECHNOLOGY AT AN EARLY AGE IMPROVE LEARNING?
SO FAR... 77 PERCENT SAY YES.. IT DOES.
WHILE 23 PERCENT OF YOU SAY NO.. IT DOES NOT IMPROVE LEARNING.
TO VOTE NOW.. VISIT OUR WEBSITE.. 13WMAZ DOT COM.
LOOK FOR THE QUESTION ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE HOMEPAGE.

A BIG TOURNAMENT TO HONOR A MAN OF WHO LEFT A BIG MARK ON CENTRAL GEORGIA..
IT'S A STORY THAT COMES STRAIGHT FROM THE HEART.
GOLF CARTS ROLLED DOWN THE PATHS AT HEALY POINT COUNTRY CLUB FOR THE FIRST ANNUAL BIG HENRY GOLF CLASSIC..
BIG HENRY AS IN HENRY LESLIE - A LOCAL GUY WHO ALWAYS TOOK TIME TO HELP PEOPLE IN NEED..
LESLIE DIED LAST SEPTEMBER..
TODAY 108 GOLFERS PLAYED IN BIG HENRY'S MEMORY..
THE TOURNAMENT RAISED TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS FOR ONE OF LESLIE'S FAVORITE GROUPS - THE METHODIST HOME FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH..
THOSE WHO KNEW HIM WELL SAID LESLIE HAD A BIG HEART FOR PEOPLE WHO NEEDED A HELPING HAND..
Randy White:..He was a gentleman that when he had a friend in need he went around and got everyone else and let 'em know he had a need and made sure that need was taken care of as best we could.
HENRY LESLIE WAS ALSO A LONG-TIME ATLANTA FALCONS SEASON TICKET HOLDER WHO ENJOYED TAKING HIS FRIENDS UP TO WATCH THE BIRDS PLAY..

THANKS FOR JOINING US.... FIRST MORNIN COMES YOUR WAY AT 5 A-M.
THE NEWS IS ALWAYS ON AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.
HAVE A SAFE NIGHT EVERYONE.

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