Wednesday, June 15, Eyewitness News at 11

6:00 PM, Jun 13, 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.

The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm warning for for Telfair, Wheeler, Laurens, and Dodge counties until 11:30 p.m. The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for northern Central Georgia until midnight.

DRY CONDITIONS IN CENTRAL GEORGIA HAVE KEPT FIREFIGHTERS BUSY THIS SPRING..
MACON-BIBB FIRE SAFETY OFFICER DEMETERIUS ELLISON SAYS THE DEPARTMENT HAS RESPONDED TO ABOUT 164 BRUSH FIRES SINCE APRIL.
HE SAYS THEY AVERAGE ABOUT FIVE OR SIX BRUSH CALLS A DAY.... THAT'S DOUBLE THE USUAL NUMBER.
NATURE CAUSED SOME OF THE FIRES... BUT PEOPLE CAUSED OTHERS HE SAYS.
MACON-BIBB ASSISTANT FIRE CHIEF CLIFF RUSHIN SAYS EVERYONE CAN HELP REDUCE THE NUMBER OF BRUSH FIRES.
Cliff Rushin, Macon-Bibb Assistant Fire Chief: "It's grilling season but we ask people to be very very careful anytime they have an open flame."
Demeterius Ellison, Macon-Bibb Fire Safety Officer: "We want to emphasize just being safe about it because when we go out on a call, it ties up a lot of equipment at that particular time, especially if get in the woods, it's very unpredictable."
THERE IS A BURN BAN IN EFFECT FOR CENTRAL GEORGIA UNTIL OCTOBER.
IF YOU VIOLATE THE BAN....ELLISON SAYS YOU COULD FACE A FINE OF UP TO 25-HUNDRED DOLLARS.

OFFICIALS SAY A NEW WILDFIRE HAS DESTROYED A BARN AND BURNED ABOUT 300 ACRES NEAR WAYCROSS... NOT FAR FROM WHERE FIREFIGHTERS ARE GRAPPLING WITH OTHER FIRES OUTSIDE THE OKEFENOKEE SWAMP.
A STATE FORESTRY COMMISSION SPOKESMAN SAYS THERE ARE SOME HOMES NEARBY... BUT THE FIRE ISN'T POSING AN IMMEDIATE THREAT.
A CAMDEN COUNTY FIRE DESTROYED A MOBILE HOME LAST NIGHT... AND A DIFFERENT FIRE FORCED OFFICIALS TO EVACUATE ABOUT 50 HOMES IN CHARLTON COUNTY.
MEANWHILE... A 300-SQUARE-MILE FIRE IN THE OKEFENOKEE HAS ESCAPED ITS EASTERN BOUNDARY.

MACON MAYORAL CANDIDATE ROBERT BROWN SAYS IF HE'S ELECTED... HE PLANS TO GET RID OF MACON'S CRIMINAL ELEMENT DURING HIS FIRST TERM IN OFFICE.
DURING A NEWS CONFERENCE TODAY... BROWN SAID HE'S FED UP WITH ACCEPTING CRIME IN CERTAIN NEIGHBORHOODS.
IF HE'S ELECTED MAYOR... HE SAYS HE'LL HAVE SHOT HOUSES SHUT DOWN WITHIN SIX MONTHS... AND PUT GANGS AND PROSTITUTES OUT OF BUSINESS IN TWO YEARS.
HE SAYS HIS PLAN FOR MAKING THAT HAPPEN INCLUDES ADDING FIFTY OFFICERS TO THE MACON POLICE FORCE.
Robert Brown, Democratic Mayoral Candidate:I want to increase that at least by 50 officers to somewhere with a police force around 350. Police officers enforce the law. They're the ones who have to be out there.
BROWN IS ONE OF FOUR DEMOCRATS IN THE MAYOR'S RACE.
HE'S RUNNING AGAINST FORMER MAYOR C. JACK ELLIS.. FORMER MACON FIREFIGHTER PAUL BRONSON.. AND MAYOR ROBERT REICHERT.
THEY MEET IN THE JULY 19TH PRIMARY.
TODAY'S 13WMAZ DOT COM WEB POLL ASKS... WHO PLAYS THE GREATEST ROLE IN PREVENTING CRIME?
SO FAR 2 PERCENT OF YOU SAY ELECTED OFFICIALS.
14 PERCENT OF YOU SAY POLICE.
AND 84 PERCENT OF YOU SAY PARENTS PLAY THE GREATEST ROLE.
YOU HAVE UNTIL MIDNIGHT TO VOTE.
LOOK FOR THE QUESTION ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF OUR HOMEPAGE AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.

AN IRWINTON MINISTER PLANS TO RUN FOR THE STATE SENATE SEAT ROBERT BROWN VACATED TO RUN FOR MAYOR.
51 YEAR OLD BOBBY GALE SAYS HIS MINISTRY TRAINS PEOPLE FOR MISSION WORK WORLDWIDE AND ALSO WORKS TO DEVELOP WATER WELLS IN PLACES LIKE UGANDA AND KENYA.
HE'LL RUN AS A REPUBLICAN IN SENATE DISTRICT 26.
GALE SAYS HE'S RUNNING BECAUSE HE HAS COMPASSION FOR OTHERS AND LOVES HELPING PEOPLE.
"What I'm hoping to accomplish is not a lot of empty promises. I'd like to come in and look at the issues that we're facing like new jobs, helping our school system and helping some of the issues that are facing our communities."
THE SENATE DISTRICT COVERS TWIGGS COUNTY AND PARTS OF BIBB, HOUSTON AND WILKINSON COUNTIES.
STATE REPRESENTATIVE DAVID LUCAS ALSO QUALIFIED FOR THE RACE TODAY.
MACON CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT MIRIAM PARIS SAYS SHE'LL RUN FOR THE SENATE SEAT BUT HASN'T QUALIFIED YET.

STATE LAWMAKERS HOPE TO HELP STUDENTS WHO NEED EXTRA MONEY FOR COLLEGE..
STUDENTS CAN NOW APPLY FOR LOW-INTEREST LOANS AFTER STATE LAWMARKERS SET ASIDE 20 MILLION DOLLARS FOR THE PROGRAM
LOAN WILL BE BETWEEN 35 HUNDRED TO 10 THOUSAND DOLLARS...AT ONE PERCENT INTEREST RATE..
STUDENTS MUST GRADUATE HIGH SCHOOL WITH A 2 POINT 5 G-P-A AND MAINTAIN AT LEAST A 2 POINT 0 AVERAGE IN COLLEGE TO QUALIFY.

TOMORROW... ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE CELEBRATES ITS 70TH BIRTHDAY.
70 YEARS AGO... MACON MAYOR CHARLES BOWDEN RECEIVED A TELEGRAM SAYING THE SLEEPY WHISTLE-STOP TOWN OF WELLSTON WOULD SOON BE HOME TO A NEW BASE.
THAT'S ACCORDING TO HISTORIAN BILL HEAD.
HEAD SAYS THE THE BASE PLAYED A BIG ROLE IN PULLING CENTRAL GEORGIA OUT OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION.
HE SAYS IN THE 19-30'S... THERE WERE ONLY 47 FAMILIES BETWEEN MACON AND PERRY... BUT BY 19-44... THAT CHANGED.
THE BASE EMPLOYED 26 THOUSAND PEOPLE DURING WORLD WAR II.
Bill Head, Chief Historian: "There are two things I think people need to remember, one is that had it not been for the efforts of the folks in Macon, there would be no base. And two, if it wasn't for the efforts of all the communities, most especially, of course, Warner Robins, we would not have been able to continue to have the base here. And it's what keeps us going."
ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE NOW EMPLOYS 22 THOUSAND PEOPLE.
THE CELEBRATION START TOMORROW AT 6 P-M AT THE MUSEUM OF AVIATION.
THAT EVENT IS SOLD OUT.

A CENTRAL GEORGIA SUNDAY-MORNING TRADITION WILL END IN LESS THAN TWO WEEKS.
ON JUNE 26TH....MABEL WHITE BAPTIST CHURCH WILL END ITS WORSHIP SERVICES ON 13WMAZ AFTER MORE THAN 52 YEARS.
REVEREND JIMMY WATERS STARTED THE BROADCASTS IN OCTOBER 1958.
STARTING JULY THIRD... 13WMAZ WILL AIR EPISODES OF THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW AT 11 A-M ON SUNDAYS UNTIL A LONG-TERM REPLACEMENT IS CHOSEN.
13WMAZ GENERAL MANAGER JEFF DUDLEY SAYS THE STATION APPRECIATES ITS RELATIONSHIP WITH MABEL WHITE OVER THE YEARS AND WISHES THE CHURCH WELL IN THE FUTURE.

THE CITY OF WARNER ROBINS TOOK A TEST DRIVE FOR A NEW WAY OF MAKING MONEY.
THEY AUCTIONED OFF 14 RETIRED POLICE CARS TODAY.
PURCHASING AGENT MARK BAKER SAYS THE CARS WERE ALL TEN YEARS OLD... OR MORE.
EACH WHITE FORD CROWN VICTORIA SHOWED ABOUT 150-THOUSAND MILES ON THE ODOMETER.
HE SAID ALL BUT ONE IS IN WORKING CONDITION... AND EACH ONE HAD A BID BEFORE CLOSING TIME TODAY.
Mark Baker, Purchasing Agent: "This is the first time we have done a silent auction on vehicles, we have done it on property before, so we kind of testing the waters on this"
BAKER SAID THE MONEY FROM THE SALE OF THE CARS WILL GO BACK INTO THE GENERAL FUND.
HE HOPED TO MAKE ABOUT 14-THOUSAND DOLLARS.

IT'S TIME TO TAKE A LOOK AT WHERE YOU LIVE.
IT'S A FEATURE ON 13 WMAZ DOT COM THAT SHOWCASES NEWS AND EVENTS SPECIFIC TO YOUR COMMUNITY.
TODAY WE ANNOUNCE OUR TWIGGS WHERE YOU LIVE PAGE. ANYONE IN TWIGGS IS WELCOME TO CONTRIBUTE OR BLOG FOR THE SITE. TO READ MORE ABOUT HOW TO BLOG FOR TWIGGS OR YOUR AREA, CHECK OUT THE POST ON THE TWIGGS WHERE YOU LIVE PAGE.
FOR MORE NEWS AND EVENTS IN YOUR COMMUNITY..HEAD OVER TO OUR "WHERE YOU LIVE" FEATURE AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.

ARIZONA CONGRESSWOMAN GABRIELLE GIFFORDS HIT ANOTHER MAJOR MILESTONE TODAY.
SHE LEFT THE HOSPITAL... FIVE MONTHS AFTER BEING SHOT IN THE HEAD.
ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS HAS THE LATEST FROM NEW YORK.
<<
Gabrielle Giffords is at home with her husband...for the first time in 5 months.

Doctor's discharged the Arizona Congresswoman Wednesday from the Texas hospital where she's undergone surgeries and intensive therapy.

(Phoner Graphic - C.J. Karamargin/Gifford's Spokesperson)
"The congresswoman is elated. This is a major step in her recovery and she is feeling very good about it needless to say."

Giffords has made great strides since she was shot at point-blank range on the left side of the head in an attack in January.

Last week, she had a 10-minute conversation with fellow Congresswoman and friend Debbie Wasserman-Shultz.

:35 - :46
(Source: NBC's Meet the Press)
(SOT: Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Shultz/D-Florida)
(SOT PROVIDED BY NBC'S "MEET THE PRESS" - No International access)
"She spoke to me in full sentences, initiated those sentences instead of just responding, which is what she had really only been able to do recently, and she's making remarkable progress. We're so proud of her."

But Giffords still has a long way to go.

Every day, she'll travel 26 miles from her husband's home near Houston to the hospital for 6 hours of rehabilitation.

At home, she'll have round the clock care.

Giffords has had to relearn how to walk and talk...and still struggles to find words and form sentences.

Susan Hileman was shot three times in the same attack.

1:08 - 1:15
(SOT: Susan Hileman/Shooting Victim)
"Gabby has a long, hard road ahead. But look at that smile...she'll be back. I have confidence."

Doctors and Giffords' husband, astronaut Mark Kelly feel confident too...expecting that giving her a more normal quality of life...more time spent outdoors...more time with her family...will enhance her already remarkable recovery.
>> A JUDGE HAS DETERMINED THAT ACCUSED SHOOTER JARED LEE LOUGHNER IS MENTALLY INCAPABLE OF TAKING PART IN HIS OWN DEFENSE.
DOCTORS ARE TRYING TO TREAT HIM IN HOPES OF PUTTING HIM ON TRIAL AT A LATER DATE.


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