Tuesday, May 31, Eyewitness News at 6

7:59 PM, May 31, 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.

A TWIGGS COUNTY WOMAN FACES 43 FELONY CHARGES AFTER ALLEGEDLY STEALING PEOPLE'S IDENTITIES WHILE FILING THEIR TAXES.
THAT'S ACCORDING TO THE TWIGGS COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE.
AS AMY AUBERT EXPLAINS... IT HAPPENED JUST ACROSS THE ROAD FROM THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE.
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Amy Aubert: "The Twiggs County Sheriff's Office first looked into the case back in 2009 after receiving identity theft complaints. According to Sheriff Darren Mitchum, 37-year-old Jackie Young Elvine filed fradulent tax returns and stole customers' identities. She's charged with 43 felony counts--7 of those, identity theft. A big case, Sheriff Mitchum says, for this area.

Sheriff Darren Mitchum, Twiggs County: "For one person to actually be charged with 43 felony counts, seven of which is identity theft, it's pretty big."

Amy Aubert: "And he says it happened right across the street from the Twiggs County Sheriff's Office. According to Mitchum, Elvine worked here at what used to be Sample Tax Services. The building is now open under a new name-- Blacc's Fashions-- and new ownership. Neighbors say Elvine still used the location as a tax service, even after the business moved out. Sheriff Mitchum says 3 agencies spent over two years in the investigation, and he's glad to see an arrest made."

Sheriff Mitchum: "It's very positive; it's gratifying to know that you put this amount of work into something and you actually got a positive result."

Amy Aubert: "Besides 7 counts of identity theft, Elvine faces 18 counts of computer fraud and 18 counts of theft by receiving stolen property. In Twiggs County, I'm Amy Aubert, 13 WMAZ, Eyewitness News."
>> THE TWIGG'S COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE SAYS ELVINE MADE BOND ON MAY 25TH.
THEY ALSO SAY MORE ARRESTS ARE POSSIBLE... BUT DID NOT RELEASE THEIR INCIDENT REPORT ON THE CASE.
SHERIFF MITCHUM COULDN'T SAY WHETHER ANYBODY LOST MONEY AS A RESULT OF THE ALLEGED IDENTITY THEFTS.

A HOUSTON COUNTY GRAND JURY TODAY CHARGED JAMES CLEMENTS WITH HIRING TWO MEN TO MURDER HIS WIFE...AND ALSO INDICTED THE PAIR ACCUSED OF CARRYING OUT THE KILLING.
CLEMENTS IS ACCUSED OF CONSPIRING TO KILL HIS WIFE...JONI...IN FEBRUARY. INVESTIGATORS SAID RICHARD SYBERT SHOT HER IN HER HOME...AND HIS FATHER...ROBERT SYBERT....PROVIDED THE GUN...AND DROVE THE GETAWAY CARE.
DISTRICT ATTORNEY GEORGE HARTWIG SAYS ALL THREE MEN NOW FACE 14 DIFFERENT CHARGES....INCLUDING MALICE MURDER...FELONY MURDER...AND CONSPIRACY.
JAMES CLEMENTS...AND ROBERT SYBERT ARE BOTH IN THE HOUSTON COUNTY JAIL...AND HARTWIG SAYS THEY SHOULD BE ARRAIGNED WITHIN SEVERAL WEEKS. RICHARD SYBERT IS IN A FLORIDA JAIL....WHILE HARTWIG TRIES TO HAVE HIM SENT BACK TO GEORGIA TO FACE CHARGES.

IT IS OFFICIAL... THE ATLANTA THRASHERS ARE MOVING TO WINNIPEG.
TRUE NORTH SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT ANNOUNCED TUESDAY THAT IT PURCHASED THE STRUGGLING TEAM AND WILL SHIFT IT TO CANADA NEXT SEASON....
THE DEAL IS REPORTEDLY WORTH 170 MILLION DOLLARS... INCLUDING A 60 MILLION DOLLAR RELOCATION FEE THAT WOULD BE SPLIT BY THE REST OF THE LEAGUE.
THE LOSS OF THE THRASHERS WILL MARK THE NHL'S SECOND EXPANSION FAILURE IN ATLANTA....
THE CITY FIRST HOSTED THE FLAMES FROM 1972 UNTIL THEIR DEPARTURE TO CALGARY IN 1980....
THE THRASHERS BEGAN PLAY IN ATLANTA IN 1999.
IN 11 SEASONS.... THE FRANCHISE MANAGED JUST ONE PLAYOFF APPEARANCE.
DARNAY TRIPP WILL HAVE MORE ON THEIR DEPARTURE IN SPORTS.

TODAY'S 13WMAZ DOT COM WEB POLL QUESTION ASKS... WILL YOU MISS THE ATLANTA THRASHERS?
SO FAR 88 PERCENT OF YOU SAY YOU WON'T.
AND 12 PERCENT OF YOU SAY YOU WILL MISS THEM.
VOTE NOW... VISIT 13WMAZ DOT COM AND LOOK FOR THE QUESTION ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE HOMEPAGE... DARNAY TRIPP WILL HAVE MORE ON THE THRASHERS RELOCATION LATER IN SPORTS...

RICHARD POWELL WAS FIRED AS MACON'S PUBLIC WORKS DIRECTOR IN FEBRUARY.
NOW HE'S STILL WAITING FOR A HEARING...ON WHETHER HE CAN GET HIS JOB BACK.
THE MACON CITY COUNCIL SCHEDULED A HEARING THIS AFTERNOON ON RICHARD POWELL'S APPEAL.
BUT THE HEARING NEVER GOT UNDERWAY...AND ABOUT AN HOUR AGO....THE COUNCIL MEETING BROKE UP IN CONFUSION.
COUNCIL MEMBERS COULDN'T AGREE ON THE GROUND RULES OR PROCEDURES....OR WHAT SHOULD HAPPENED NEXT.
THEY AGREED TO PUT OFF POWELL'S CASE...UNTIL THEY COULD GET ANSWERS.
ELEANOR LISSITZYN WILL HAVE MORE....ON EYEWITNESS NEWS AT 11.

ROBERT BROWN IS EXPECTED TO QUALIFY FOR THE MACON'S MAYOR'S RACE NEXT WEEK...AND THAT WILL SET POLITICAL DOMINOES TUMBLING.
MIRIAM PARIS SAY SHE'LL STEP DOWN AS MACON CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT TO RUN FOR BROWN'S SEAT..
JAMES TIMLEY WILL STEP UP FROM COUNCIL PRESIDENT PRO-TEM TO TAKE PARIS' PLACE..
RANDALL SAVAGE HAS MORE ON WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THAT..
<< ONLY THE FIVE MEMBERS ELECTED CITYWIDE CAN SERVE AS PRESIDENT OR PRESIDENT PRO-TEM.. WITH MIRIAM PARIS GONE.. AND JAMES TIMLEY LIKELY TO BECOME PRESIDENT.. THAT LEAVES THREE CHOICES FOR PRESIDENT PRO TEM.. LAUREN BENEDICT.. RICK HUTTO.. AND LARRY SCHLESINGER.
BENEDICT ISN'T INTERESTED.
45:15 Lauren Benedict, Councilwoman: At this point and in this term, no, I don't believe that I would seek election from the members of council for either president or pro tem.I've got plenty on my plate at the office and with regular council duties then so, no, I don't think so.
HUTTO SAYS HE'S BEEN ASKED ABOUT TAKING THE JOB.
5:23:28 Rick Hutto, Councilman: I didn't intend to campaign for it. But I had several people come to me and say that I should be the one to be pro tem for two reasons, one of course, that I have an extra term over those two with senority. The second is I'm also on rules committee.
AND HUTTO SAYS HE'S READY TO SERVE.
6:28:26 Rick Hutto, Councilman: Absolutely. If my peers on council want me to serve as pro tem, I certainly will.
COUNCILMAN LARRY SCHLESINGER.. THE THIRD MEMBER ELIGIBLE PRO TEM CANDIDATE.. WAS OUT-OF-TOWN.. BUT SAYS IN A TELEPHONE INTERVIEW HE WOULD BE INTERESTED...IF HIS FELLOW COUNCIL MEMBERS WANT HIM.
RANDALL SAVAGE.. 13 WMAZ.. EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>>QUALIFYING FOR MACON MAYOR...AND CITY COUNCIL RACES STARTS MONDAY AT 8-30 A-M....AT THE BIBB COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTIONS AT PIO NONO AVENUE...QUALIFYING ENDS AT NOON ON FRIDAY, JUNE 10TH.

TONIGHT, MOSTLY CLEAR SKIES WITH LOWS IN THE MIDDLE 60S.TOMORROW, PLENTY OF SUNSHINE WITH HIGHS IN THE UPPER 90S. THURSDAY WILL BE MOSTLY SUNNY WITH A SMALL CHANCE OF SHOWERS/STORMS IN THE AFTERNOON. HIGHS IN THE UPPER 90S.

16 PERCENT OF ALL DRIVERS UNDER THE AGE OF 20 WHO WERE INVOLVED IN FATAL CRASHES... WERE REPORTEDLY DISTRACTED WHILE DRIVING.
THAT'S ACCORDING TO THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION.
TODAY IS GREAT HANG UP DAY ON EYEWITNESS NEWS... AND WE'RE WORKING TO HELP KEEP YOU FOCUSED ON THE ROAD WHILE YOU'RE BEHIND THE WHEEL.
AS AMY AUBERT SHOWS YOU... THIS MONTH... SOME GEORGIA STUDENTS LEARNED HANDS-ON... WHY IT'S IMPORTANT TO PUT DOWN THE PHONE BEFORE HITTING THE ROAD.
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Nats, golf cart running over cones

NORMALLY... THESE TEEN DRIVERS... MIGHT NOT CRUSH A BARRIER OF CONES.

Nats, "Oh you just hit a dog!"

BUT THIS IS NO ORDINARY DRIVING COURSE.

Nats, officer: "When you start, keep a constant speed, a safe speed that you would to drive the course, but don't slow down and brake just to text, we want you to see what it's like when you hit these cones."

THEY'RE PUTTING THEIR FEET TO THE GAS... AND THEIR THUMBS... ON A KEYBOARD.

Nats, golf cart driving by

Brogain Thomas, Student: "I thought it'd be easy at first, and then I started speeding up and trying to text, and it really got really hard."

Clay Cofur, Student: "It was goin' good for a while, and then I had to turn, it's not too easy doin' it with one hand."

TURNING SINGLE-HANDEDLY... THEY SAY... THE HARDEST PART.

Nats, golf cart kim getting run over

ON A GEORGIA ROAD... THEY'D BE BREAKING THE LAW... THESE KIDS ARE TEXTING AND DRIVING.

Scott Cumbie, Henry County PD: "The whole event is to basically educate teenagers, the high risk drivers because they're new at it."

SCOTT CUMBIE WORKS WITH THE HENRY COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT... HE SAYS... THEY'RE TRYING TO ENCOURAGE KIDS TO PUT DOWN THE PHONE... BEFORE GETTING BEHIND THE WHEEL.

Scott Cumbie: "It's not important enough to die over, just pull over and answer it later."

AND AT THE END OF THE DAY... DRIVERS PLEDGED BY THUMBPRINT... TO HANG UP... BEFORE HITTING THE ROAD.

Nats, foot slamming on break.

AMY AUBERT... 13 WMAZ... EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>> YOU CAN PLEDGE TO DRIVE SAFER... BY JOINING THE GREAT HANG UP AND PROMISING TO HANG UP BEFORE HITTING THE ROAD.
JUST VISIT 13WMAZ DOT COM... AND LOOK FOR THE "GREAT HANG UP" BANNER ON THE HOMEPAGE.
YOU'LL FIND THE LINK TO SIGN THE PLEDGE ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE PAGE.
AFTER YOU SIGN THE PLEDGE... WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU.
WE SHARE YOUR STORIES DURING OUR GREAT HANG UP DAY ON THE LAST TUESDAY OF EACH MONTH.
JUST SEND AN EMAIL TO THE-GREAT-HANG-UP AT 13WMAZ DOT COM TO LET US KNOW YOU'RE INTERESTED IN SHARING YOUR EXPERIENCE.

HOUSTON COUNTY SCHOOLS ARE OUT AND IT'S TIME FOR SUMMER ACTIVITIES.
Nats of Swimming 3 seconds
CHILDREN AND FAMILIES HEADED TO FOUNTAIN POOL IN WARNER ROBINS TO COOL DOWN.
THE HOUSTON COUNTY RECREATION DEPARTMENT WILL BEGIN OFFERING SWIM CLASSES AND OTHER WATER ACTIVITIES FOR HOUSTON COUNTY RESIDENTS NEXT WEEK.
BRANDI WOOD SAYS SHE WANTS HER YOUNGEST SON TO LEARN HOW TO SWIM SO SHE CAN RELAX AT THE POOL.
Brandi Wood "I'm terrified of water with my kids and if he doesn't know how to swim especially if I have my back turned there's nothing I can do"
THE FIRST OF FOUR TWO WEEK SWIM CLASSES BEGIN ON JUNE 6TH.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON HOW YOU CAN REGISTER FOR CLASSES AT THE POOLS CALL 478-929-1916... AGAIN THAT NUMBER IS 478-929-1916 OR VISIT 13 WMAZ DOT COM AND CLICK ON THE LINK.

THE BIBB SCHOOL SYSTEM'S BUDGET WILL INCREASE BY ABOUT FIVE MILLION DOLLARS NEXT SCHOOL YEAR.
THE SCHOOL BOARD VOTED --- SEVEN TO NOTHING....TONIGHT TO APPROVE A NEARLY 300 MILLION DOLLAR BUDGET FOR FISCAL YEAR 2012.
SOME BOARD MEMBERS SAY SUPERINTENDENT ROMAIN DALLEMAND HELPED DEVELOP A PLAN THAT MAKES THE BEST USE OF THEIR MONEY.
CHANGES INCLUDE...
NO FULROUGH DAYS... 4 EXTRA PLANNING DAYS FOR TEACHERS... CUTTING 87 JOBS... INCLUDING 52 TEACHING POSITIONS... AND INCREASING SOME CLASS SIZES BY 1 TO 2 STUDENTS
THE DISTRICT SAYS SO FAR... STATE CUTS HAVEN'T BEEN AS DEEP AND THEY PLANNED FOR.

AN ORGANIZATION IN WARNER ROBINS IS BREAKING GROUND ON A NEW FACILITY THAT WILL HELP WOMEN AND CHILDREN IN NEED.
THE SALVATION ARMY WILL HOLD A GROUND BREAKING ON JUNE 2ND FOR THERE NEW DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SHELTER.
THE SHELTER WILL BE AN UPGRADE FROM THE CURRENT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SHELTER THAT HAS BEEN IN WARNER ROINS SINCE 1985.
THE NEW SAFE HOUSE WILL PROVIDE MORE SPACE FOR WOMEN AND CHILDREN THAT STAY THERE SAYS...EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE SALVATION ARMY....NICOLE ROSSER.
Nicole Rosser "Right now our facility is really, really small and in 1985 when the program actually started it was just a temporary shelter and so we been using that space for some time and this is long over due"
SALVATION ARMY WILL BREAK GROUND ON THE NEW FACILITY THIS THURSDAY JUNE 2ND.
THE WHERE ABOUTS OF THE NEW SHELTER IS SECRET FOR THE SAFETY OF THE WOMEN AND CHILDREN WHO WILL BE STAYING THERE.

THANKS FOR JOINING US.... WE'LL BE BACK TONIGHT AT 11.
BUT REMEMBER...THE NEWS IS ALWAYS ON AT 13WMAZ.COM !
THE EVENING NEWS IS UP NEXT.
HAVE A SAFE NIGHT EVERYONE.

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