Tuesday, June 28, Eyewitness News at 6

6:43 PM, Jun 28, 2011   |    comments
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HELLO EVERYONE AND THANKS FOR JOINING US.I'M LORRA LYNCH JONES
AND I'M LEAH JOHNSON... FRANK MALLOY HAS THE NIGHT OFF.

FIRST TONIGHT... GEORGIA SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY SAYS A BUSINESS OWNED BY STATE SENATOR CECIL STATON OWES THE SCHOOL TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS.
STATON'S COMPANY ...GEORGIA EAGLE MEDIA DOES BUSINESS WITH THE SCHOOL ....OPERATING ITS SPORTS RADIO NETWORK AND SHARING THE ADVERTISING REVENUE.
THE UNIVERSITY SAYS STATON'S COMPANY IS IN BREACH OF CONTRACT...FOR FAILING TO PAY MORE THAN 52-THOUSAND DOLLARS.
AS A RESULT, GEORGIA SOUTHERN SAYS IT IS ENDING ITS BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP WITH STATON.
ACCORDING TO DOCUMENTS 13WMAZ OBTAINED THROUGH AN OPEN RECORDS REQUEST... THE SCHOOL WILL END THE CONTRACT ON THURSDAY FOR WHAT IT CALLS "LACK OF PAYMENT."
<<(archive video)
STATE SENATOR CECIL STATON SIGNED A FIVE YEAR DEAL TO OPERATE GEORGIA SOUTHERN'S RADIO NETWORK IN MARCH 2006.
AN EXTENSION WAS SCHEDULED TO TAKE EFFECT JULY FIRST... BUT A LETTER FROM ATHLETICS DIRECTOR SAM BAKER TO STATON....DATED JUNE 17TH... SAYS.....
(TAKE GFX)
"IT IS GEORGIA SOUTHERN ATHLETICS' INTENTION TO MOVE THE OPERATION OF THE RADIO NETWORK IN-HOUSE JULY 1, 2011." HE WENT ON TO SAY... "WE DO LOOK FORWARD TO CONCLUDING OUR BUSINESS WITH PAYMENT IN FULL FOR THE AMOUNT OWED FOR 2010-11."
THAT STATEMENT CAME AFTER LETTERS FROM BAKER TO STATON DATING BACK TO LAST AUGUST....... ASKING FOR PAYMENTS OWED TO THE UNIVERSITY.
THE LETTERS SHOW STATON PAID OFF HIS DEBT TO GEORGIA SOUTHERN FOR THE 2009-2010 YEAR... IN FEBRUARY.
ACCORDING TO GEORGIA SOUTHERN .MARKETING DIRECTOR CHRISTIAN FLATHMAN... THAT WAS STATON'S LAST PAYMENT.
BUT HE SAYS 52-THOUSAND DOLLARS FOR THIS YEAR..... IN SALES REVENUE... PLUS RADIO TRAVEL EXPENSES ... IS NOW PAST DUE.
Lorra LynchJones: We tried to reach Senator Staton for his side of the story at his Macon and Atlanta offices. We also came to see him at as publishing company on Peake Road in Macon. His assistant said he was not available."
THE UNIVERSITY'S RESPONSE TO 13WMAZ's OPEN RECORDS REQUEST SHOWED STATON'S LAST REPLY TO GEORGIA SOUTHERN DATED MAY 24TH.
IN IT....STATON DID NOT DIRECTLY ACKNOWLEDGE THE LATE PAYMENTS... BUT WROTE "AS A LOCAL BUSINESS, WE ARE BARELY SURVIVING THE WORST THREE YEARS BROADCAST MEDIA HAS EXPERIENCED IN DECADES DUE TO THE BAD ECONOMY. AT JUST THE MOST DIFFICULT TIME FOR US YOU SIMPLY SEND A LETTER SAYING THAT'S IT. NO CALL TO A FRIEND. NO WORD OF WARNING."
STATON GOES ON TO ASK THE UNIVERSITY TO KEEP THE CONTRACT UNTIL JANUARY FIRST..... TO MAKE A SMOOTH TRANSITION AND ALLOW HIM TO MAKE BACK SOME OF THE MONEY ALREADY SPENT FOR THE 2011 FOOTBALL SEASON.
>> GEORGIA SOUTHERN SPOKESMAN CHRISTIAN FLATHMAN SAYS THE UNIVERSITY DID NOT ACCEPT STATON'S REQUEST FOR THE CONTRACT EXTENSION.
HE SAYS THEY EXPECT STATON TO PAY THE 52-THOUSAND OWED.... AND ARE "EXPLORING OPTIONS" TO COLLECT THE MONEY OWED.
GEORGIA EAGLE MEDIA ALSO OPERATES IN WARNER ROBINS... INCLUDING WRWR-TV... THE PATRIOT NEWSPAPER AND SEVERAL A-M AND F-M RADIO STATIONS.

A 17-YEAR-OLD IS STILL IN CRITICAL CONDITION AFTER BEING ACCIDENTALLY SHOT BY HER BOYFRIEND.
THAT'S ACCORDING TO WARNER ROBINS POLICE.
SHE'S THE SECOND TEENAGE GIRL IN THREE WEEKS ACCIDENTALLY SHOT IN WARNER ROBINS.
AS AMY AUBERT SHOWS YOU... SOME LIVING ON CORNELIA DRIVE ARE SHOCKED.
<<
Montez Jackson, Warner Robins: "I heard the gunshot, that's when I turned around, and Jimmi Grace, she just fell on the ground."

MONTEZ JACKSON SAYS MONDAY... HE WAS HANGING OUT IN HIS FRONT YARD... AT 7-06 CORNELIA DRIVE... WITH HIS TWO FRIENDS... ARMA HARRIS AND HARRIS' GIRLFRIEND... JIMMI GRACE.

HE SAYS THAT'S WHEN 18-YEAR-OLD HARRIS... PULLED OUT HIS GUN.

Montez Jackson: "He was playing with the gun, and he cocked it, and then he shot it, I guess. Because I was walking in the house and I turned around."

THE BULLET HIT 17-YEAR-OLD GRACE... IN THE STOMACH.

Montez Jackson: "She told Arma that she was shot, and I'm assuming he thought she was playin', and then I was like, 'You shot her for real,' and then he was like, 'Oh my God,' and he picked her up and put her in the car."

JACKSON SAYS... HE AND HARRIS DROVE GRACE TO THE HOUSTON COUNTY MEDICAL CENTER... AND A POLICE REPORT SAYS AN OFFICER FOUND THE CAR PARKED IN THE HOSPITAL'S EMERGENCY LANE... ITS DOORS OPEN AND THE PASSENGER'S SIDE... FULL OF BLOOD.

Nats, playing with child

AMY REEDY LIVES ON THAT SAME BLOCK WITH HER TWO-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER... KAYLEIGH. SHE SAYS HEARING THE GUNSHOT... MAKES HER WORRY... FOR HER CHILD'S SAFETY.

Amy Reedy, Warner Robins: "Why did they have a gun anyway? Why did he shoot an innocent girl? It just makes me wonder and think what's going to happen when she grows up."
POLICE SAY THE GUN BELONGED TO HARRIS... WHO'S IN THE HOUSTON COUNTY JAIL...CHARGED WITH RECKLESS CONDUCT.
AMY AUBERT... 13 WMAZ... EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>> GRACE IS IN CRITICAL CONDITION AT THE MEDICAL CENTER OF CENTRAL GEORGIA. HARRIS WAS RELEASED THIS AFTERNOON FROM THE HOUSTON JAIL....ON 25 HUNDRED DOLLARS BOND.
ON JUNE 7TH... A 16-YEAR-OLD WARNER ROBINS BOY... ACCIDENTALLY SHOT HIS 14-YEAR-OLD SISTER IN THE ARM. THE BOY FACES SEVERAL CHARGES...INCLUDING RECKLESS CONDUCT.

IT'S GREAT HANG UP DAY HERE ON EYEWITNESS NEWS.
WE'VE BEEN TAKING A LOOK BACK AT THE ANTI-TEXTING LAW PASSED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY ONE YEAR AGO.
LAUREN DISPIRITO JOINS US WITH MORE ON HOW THE LAW IS BEING ENFORCED.
IN JANUARY... WE TOLD YOU CENTRAL GEORGIA LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES... HAD ISSUED FEWER THAN FIVE CITATIONS... FOR TEXTING BEHIND THE WHEEL.
POLICE AND DEPUTIES TOLD US IT'S TOUGH TO SPOT... BUT SOME SAY THEY HAVE TICKETED DRIVERS.
HERE ARE THE RECENT NUMBERS.
GEORGIA STATE PATROL SAYS ACROSS THE STATE... TROOPERS HAVE ISSUED ONE HUNDRED AND FIVE CITATIONS FOR TEXTING AND DRIVING SINCE IT BECAME ILLEGAL LAST JULY.
IN BIBB COUNTY... THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE SAYS THEY'VE WRITTEN TWO TICKETS TO PEOPLE THEY SPOTTED BREAKING THE TEXTING LAW.
MACON POLICE HAS THE HIGHEST NUMBER OF CITATIONS OF THE CENTRAL GEORGIA LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES WE TALKED TO.
THEIR OFFICERS TICKETED SIXTEEN TEXTING DRIVERS SINCE 2010.
THE WARNER ROBINS POLICE DEPARTMENT HASN'T ISSUED ANY TEXTING AND DRIVING CITATIONS.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON HOW MANY TICKETS OTHER CENTRAL GEORGIA AGENCIES HAVE GIVEN... LOOK FOR THIS STORY ON OUR HOME PAGE... AT 13 WMAZ DOT COM.

TODAY... WE ASKED OUR FACEBOOK FANS IF THEY WERE SURPRISED BY THE NUMBER OF CITATIONS LAW ENFORCEMENT HAS GIVEN.
JANICE N KEN DAVIS SAYS... YES IT SURPRISES ME... IT SHOULD BE WAY HIGHER. DRIVE I-75 IN THE MORNING ABOUT 8-9 AND YOU WILL SEE ... IT'S CRAZY. AND SOME DON'T EVEN HIDE IT.
AND YOLANDA EVETTE JONES-MAYS SAYS... HOW DO THEY KNOW YOUR TEXTING AND DRIVING AND NOT DIALING A NUMBER? TO ME THERE'S NO WAY TO REALLY TELL.
HEAD TO FACEBOOK AND JOIN THE CONVERSATION.
AND DON'T FORGET TO BECOME A FAN BY CLICKING THE *LIKE* BUTTON.

COMING UP... WE'LL SHOW YOU WHAT MACON POLICE SAY ABOUT WHETHER THE LAW'S CHANGED DRIVERS' HABITS. LORRA?
THANKS LAUREN, WE'LL CHECK BACK WITH YOU LATER IN THE SHOW.

SOME CENTRAL GEORGIA DOCTORS SAY THEY HOPE TO GET PATIENTS INTO DOCTORS' OFFICES INSTEAD OF EMERGENCY ROOMS.
MACON OPTOMETRIST AND STATE HOUSE CANDIDATE JAMES BEVERLY TALKED ABOUT CONSOLIDATING MACON AND BIBB COUNTY... SENTENCING REFORM AND IMPROVING HEALTH CARE ACCESS FOR PATIENTS WITHOUT TRANSPORTATION DURING THE TAPING OF THIS WEEK'S CLOSE-UP PROGRAM.
James Beverly, Democratic Candidate: What we wanted to do is a group of doctors in town is form a coalition to explore how do we deal with access issues in the Middle Georgia area. How do we make it such that folks can get to primary care doctors without using the emergency room as their first souce of treatment. BEVERLY AND ANISSA JONES... BOTH DEMOCRATS... ARE RUNNING FOR THE HOUSE DISTRICT 139 SEAT THAT DAVID LUCAS VACATED TO SEEK A STATE SENATE SEAT.
THEY'LL MEET IN THE JULY 19TH ELECTION.
YOU CAN WATCH CLOSE-UP HERE ON 13WMAZ AT NOON SATURDAY AND SIX A-M SUNDAY.

A FORMER GEORGIA STATE TROOPER IS GETTING AN EARLY START ON THE 2012 HOUSTON COUNTY SHERIFF'S ELECTION.
JUSTIN TABOR STOPPED BY OUR STUDIO TODAY TO TALK ABOUT HIS IDEAS FOR THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE.
HE SAID HE THINKS THE COUNTY CAN GET A BETTER HANDLE ON CRIME IN THE AREA BY PROVIDING MORE ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY TO DEPUTIES IN THE FIELD.
"I think we need to have real time computers in all of the patrol cars to make them more advanced. Today we are dealing with the 21st century criminal...... They are stronger, faster, bigger and definately smarter."
THE 32 YEAR OLD CANDIDATE KICKED OFF HIS FUND RAISING CAMPAIGN YESTERDAY.
HE SAYS IF ELECTED.... HE'LL ALSO CONDUCT COMMUNITY FORUMS AND WORK WITH THE COUNTY'S YOUNG PEOPLE THROUGH THE SCHOOLS.

IF YOU OWN A HOME IN BIBB COUNTY... YOU HAVE A TWO-MILL TAX INCREASE COMING YOUR WAY.
TODAY... COUNTY COMMISSIONERS APPROVED AN 83 AND A HALF MILLION DOLLAR BUDGET THAT INCLUDES THE INCREASE.
THE INCREASE ADDS EIGHTY DOLLARS A YEAR FOR PEOPLE WHO OWN PROPERTY VALUED AT ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS.
COMMISSIONERS ELMO RICHARDSON... BERT BIVINS AND CHAIRMAN SAM HART VOTED IN FAVOR OF THE BUDGET... AND JOE ALLEN AND LONZY EDWARDS OPPOSED IT.
EDWARDS SAYS HE'S CONCERNED THAT THE TAX HIKE COULD KEEP THE SPLOST FROM PASSING THIS FALL.
Lonzy Edwards, Commissioner: We need to pass a SPLOST in the worst kind of way. We had these listening sessions i went to every one of them. And the message I took from those listening sessions was..yes we'll support the SPLOST but not if you rasie our property taxes.
Sam Hart, Commission Chairman: I think that is still a challenge no doubt about it. We still have to communicate to the people that....putting the two mills on was the last thing we could do.
THE NEW BUDGET GOES INTO EFFECT FRIDAY.

OUR GREAT HANG UP COVERAGE CONTINUES... WITH LAUREN DISPIRITO.
SHE TALKED WITH MACON POLICE ABOUT GEORGIA'S NO TEXTING AND DRIVING LAW.
LAUREN?
MACON POLICE TRAFFIC DIVISON LIEUTENANT WILTON COLLINS SAYS HIS PATROL OFFICERS TELL HIM... THE LAW IS MAKING A DIFFERENCE ON THE CITY'S ROADWAYS.
Lt. Wilton Collins, Macon Police: I think that either yes, it's changed and people finally opened their eyes and realized that yes it's dangerous or they're much more careful about it and keeping it down while they're doing it."
COLLINS SAYS OTHER DRIVERS HAVE TOLD OFFICERS THEY DIDN'T KNOW IT IS ILLEGAL TO TEXT AND DRIVE IN GEORGIA.

WE'VE BEEN CHATTING ABOUT THIS WITH VIEWERS ON FACEBOOK... AND ASKED... ARE YOU SURPRISED BY THE NUMBER OF CITATIONS LAW ENFORCEMENT HAS GIVEN?
lauren reads facebook comments
HEAD TO FACEBOOK AND LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK.
AND DON'T FORGET TO BECOME A FAN BY CLICKING THE *LIKE* BUTTON.
WE CAN CONNECT YOU TO MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE DANGERS OF TEXTING BEHIND THE WHEEL.
LOOK FOR THIS STORY AT 13 WMAZ DOT COM TO FIND LINKS TO WEBSITES LIKE DISTRACTION DOT GOV.
YOU CAN WATCH PEOPLE'S PERSONAL STORIES.. AND GET MORE INFORMATION ON TEXTING AND DRIVING.
LORRA... LEAH? THANKS LAUREN... AND WHILE YOU'RE ONLINE... VISIT THE GREAT HANG UP PAGE... AND SIGN THE PLEDGE.THEN... AFTER YOU SIGN... WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU.
EMAIL THE-GREAT-HANG-UP AT 13WMAZ DOT COM TO LET US KNOW YOU'RE INTERESTED IN SHARING YOUR EXPERIENCE.

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