Wednesday, July 13, Eyewitness News at 6

10:36 PM, Jul 13, 2011   |    comments
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HELLO EVERYONE AND THANKS FOR JOINING US.I'M FRANK MALLOY....
THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT SIX..
LEAH JOHNSON IS ON MATERNITY LEAVE..

THE REWARD FOR TIPS THAT LEAD TO AN ARREST IN THE HOMICIDE OF LAUREN GIDDINGS IS NOW UP TO 12-THOUSAND DOLLARS.
POLICE ANNOUNCED THE REWARD BEFORE ANSWERING QUESTIONS ABOUT THE MERCER LAW GRADUATE'S KILLING TODAY.
LAUREN DISPIRITO WAS AT THAT NEWS CONFERENCE.
SHE JOINS US NOW WITH MORE.
MACON REGIONAL CRIMESTOPPERS' WARREN SELBY SAYS ONE THOUSAND OF THAT REWARD MONEY IS FROM HIS ORGANIZATION.
THE REST... 11-THOUSAND DOLLARS... WAS DONATED ANONYMOUSLY BY PEOPLE WHO WANT TO HELP AUTHORITIES BRING LAUREN GIDDINGS' KILLER TO JUSTICE.
THEY'VE RECEIVED BETWEEN ONE AND TWO DOZEN TIPS SO FAR...
BUT POLICE HAVE NOT NAMED ANY SUSPECTS OR MADE ANY ARRESTS IN THE CASE.
MACON POLICE CHIEF MIKE BURNS TODAY SAID CORRESPONDENCE WITH THE F-B-I AND OTHER CLUES LED THEM BACK LAST NIGHT TO THE APARTMENT OF GIDDINGS' NEIGHBOR... STEPHEN MCDANIEL.
THIS AFTERNOON... BURNS WOULD NOT SAY WHAT EVIDENCE INVESTIGATORS TOOK FROM MCDANIEL'S HOME.
BUT HE SAID POLICE SENT THE ITEMS TO F-B-I HEADQUARTERS IN QUANTICO...
... WHERE THEY ARE ALREADY ANALYZING MORE THAN 70 PIECES OF EVIDENCE POLICE SENT THERE LAST WEEK.
POLICE ALSO PROCESSED MCDANIEL'S CAR.
THEY CONSIDER SEVERAL LOCATIONS INSIDE GIDDINGS' GEORGIA AVENUE APARTMENT COMPLEX POSSIBLE CRIME SCENES.
THE F-B-I IS CHECKING EVIDENCE FOR TRACES OF BLOOD... FIBERS.. DNA.. AND FINGERPRINTS.
POLICE SAID THEY THOUGHT RESULTS WOULD COME IN EARLY THIS WEEK... BUT NOW DON'T EXPECT TO GET A FULL REPORT THIS WEEK.
BURNS ALSO SAYS THEY'RE NOT THROUGH INTERVIEWING PEOPLE IN THE CASE.
GIDDINGS HAD A WIDE CIRCLE OF FRIENDS... AND POLICE SAY THEY'VE CHECKED INTO EACH TIP THAT'S COME IN SO FAR.
POLICE HAVE WORKED MORE THAN 400 HOURS OF OVERTIME... BUT BURNS SAYS THIS CASE IS BEING TREATED LIKE ANY OTHER HOMICIDE.
HE ALSO SAYS MANY OF THE OFFICERS ARE TAKING THE CASE PERSONALLY.
HE SAID QUOTE...MANY OF US HAVE DAUGHTERS.
FRANK?

A BOND HEARING FOR LAUREN GIDDINGS' NEIGHBOR AND BURGLARY SUSPECT STEPHEN MCDANIEL IS ON HOLD... WHILE A JUDGE CONSIDERS WHETHER LOCAL PROSECUTORS SHOULD HANDLE HIS CASE.
THIS AFTERNOON... MCDANIEL'S DEFENSE ATTORNEY FLOYD BUFORD FILED A MOTION ASKING A JUDGE TO DISQUALIFY THE BIBB COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE FROM PROSECUTING THE CASE.
THE MOTION ARGUES THAT BIBB PROSECUTORS MAY HAVE CONFLICT OF INTEREST... BECAUSE MCDANIEL IS A FORMER LAW CLERK IN THE D-A'S OFFICE.
BECAUSE OF THAT MOTION... BUFORD ALSO WITHDREW HIS REQUEST FOR A BOND HEARING FOR MCDANIEL.
THAT HEARING WAS SCHEDULED FOR TOMORROW MORNING.
FOR NOW... MCDANIELS REMAINS IN THE BIBB COUNTY JAIL.
POLICE SAY MCDANIEL IS ALSO A "PERSON OF INTEREST" IN LAUREN GIDDINGS' DEATH.

THE FBI HAS BEEN INVOLVED IN THE LAUREN GIDINGS CASE SINCE HER BODY WAS FOUND.
RANDALL SAVAGE AND CANDACE ADORKA SPOKE WITH FBI SPECIAL AGENT STEPHEN EMMETT IN THE ATLANTA OFFICE ABOUT THE AGENCY'S INVOLVEMENT IN LOCAL INVESTIGATIONS.
EMMENT DECLINED TO DISCUSS SPECIFICS OF THE GIDDINGS INVESTIGATION... BUT HE DID TALK ABOUT HOW THE FBI USUALLY GETS INVOLVED IN LOCAL CASES.
"If it's not a federal case and we have no jurisdiction and we're not invited in, I cannot see an instance where we would force ourselves into that equasion. It doesn't really work that way."
EMMETT SAYS THERE'S A LONG LIST OF TESTS THAT CAN BE CONDUCTED AT THE FBI CRIME LAB IN QUANTICO, VIRGINIA... WHERE EVIDENCE FROM THE GIDDINGS INVESTIGATION WAS TAKEN.
HE SAYS THERE IS A WAY TO GET EVIDENCE TO QUANTICO IN A HURRY... BUT WHAT'S MORE IMPORTANT IS THE TIME IT TAKES TO GATHER THE CLUES.
"It's very crucial to obtain the evidence soon into the investigation to avoid it being tainted by the environment or outside individuals, animals depending on where the crime scene is. It's crucial for the investigator to collect... properly collect... the evidence and submit it to the lab. If it is something that's gonna hold up the investigation, then priority can be given to that to include flying that evidence up on a government aircraft and advising the lab of the nature of the exam to give it priority."
EMMETT SAYS LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES AROUND THE COUNTRY CAN ASK THE F-B-I TO JOIN AN INVESTIGATION.. HE SAYS THE AGENCY PLACES PRIORITIES ON VIOLENT CRIMES.. WHICH WOULD INCLUDE MURDER.

AT LEAST ONE PERSON DIED....IN A BLECKLEY COUNTY ACCIDENT THIS AFTERNOON.
THAT'S ACCORDING TO BRIAN STRICKLAND...OF THE GEORGIA STATE PATROL'S STATESBORO POST.
HE SAYS OFFICERS ARE STILL ON THE SCENE....AT LIMESTONE ROAD...AND PETER STREET. THAT'S IN COCHRAN.
COCHRAN POLICE REFERRED QUESTIONS TO CHIEF JAMES SANDERS...WHO COULD NOT BE REACHED FOR COMMENT.

THE COMMANDER OF ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE SAYS THEY CORRECTED 36 OF 39 CITATIONS ISSUED LAST YEAR BY THE OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION
MAJOR GENERAL ROBERT McMAHON SAYS MORE THAN HALF OF THEM FOCUSED ON THE THE AIRCRAFT MAINTENANCE WINGS' USE OF CANCER-CAUSING CHEMICALS.
HE SAID THE PROBLEMS BECAME AN OPPORTUNITY TO IMPROVE SAFETY BASE-WIDE.
Maj. General Robert McMahon: (1:21) "What we have done is create a change in attitude here at Robins Air Force Base and this Air Logistics Center. The most important resource we have is our people. We have committed together that we are going to have a safe and secure work environment for those folks."
McMAHON CALLED BUILDING 169... AN AIRCRAFT REPAIR SHOP... THE "EPI-CENTER" FOR THE PROBLEMS.
LORRA LYNCH JONES TALKED WITH WORKERS THERE TODAY ABOUT SAFETY ON THE JOB.
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LACEY ROLLINS CAME TO BUILDING 169 AS A SHEET METAL MECHANIC... STRAIGHT OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL.
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THAT WAS TWO YEARS AGO... BEFORE SOME CO-WORKERS STARTED COMPLAINING ABOUT SERIOUS HEALTH AND SAFETY CONCERNS.
Lacey Rollins: (1937) "I didnt' notice a problem, but when they started pointing out things, i started realizing what we were doing wrong."
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THE OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION SAID THE MAIN PROBLEM WAS THE DUST CREATED BY CUTTING AND GRINDING SHEET METAL.
1955 "We were sanding on the shop floor and not using really good pte, or protective equipment."
THE FREE-FLOATING DUST CONTAINED LEAD... CHROMIUM AND CADMIUM.... WHICH ROLLINS LEARNED COULD CAUSE RESPIRATORY PROBLEMS AND CANCER.
2046 I was a little worried, but once we started making changes, I felt a lot better about where I work."
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DURING A TOUR ARRANGED FOR REPORTERS... EMPLOYEES IN BUILDING 169 SHOWED OFF THE CHANGES.
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... INCLUDING METAL CUTTING TOOLS AND VACUUM SYSTEMS THAT KEEP THE DUST AWAY FROM WORKERS.
Lorra Lynch Jones (2815) "These are the masks they were using. they cover the mouth and left a lot of the skin exposed. Now they've switched to these types of masks which cover the full face, plus this one provides its own ventilation system."
George Pierce: "This building is probably one of the cleanest buildings on RAFB."
FLIGHT CHIEF GEORGE PEIRCE SAYS OSHA'S SCRUTINY ALSO ADJUSTED MANAGEMENT'S ATTITUDE.
(715) "In the past management did not do a good job of listening to employees concerns. My philosphy is that these are the smartest people in the organization. My job is to listen to them and implement their ideas.
Rollins says she's felt the shift toward a focus on safety. She said, "I feel great and were going to continue to do things to improve this building."
McMAHON SAYS TWO OF THE THREE REMAINING CITATIONS WILL BE CORRECTED BY OCTOBER.
HE SAID THEIR WORKING WITH THE LOCAL UNION ON A SOLUTION TO THE THIRD.
YOU CAN HEAR MORE OF McMAHON'S INTERVIEW.... BY LOOKING FOR THIS STORY ON 13-WMAZ-DOT-COM.

NURSING STUDENTS AT GEORGIA COLLEGE COULD TREAT PATIENTS LOCALLY... AS A PART OF THEIR CURRICULUM.
THAT'S IF A PLAN PROPOSED BY THE CITY... GETS SUPPORT... TO CREATE SEVERAL NEW MEDICAL RESEARCH CENTERS.
AS AMY AUBERT SHOWS YOU... MAYOR BENTLEY PLANS TO REUSE ABANDONED BUILDINGS... ON WHAT SOME MAY KNOW... AS HISTORIC HOSPITAL GROUNDS.
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RACHEL SMITH HAS BEEN STUDYING NURSING AT GEORGIA COLLEGE... FOR FOUR YEARS...

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...BUT SAYS FOR HANDS-ON EXPERIENCE... SHE TRAVELS FROM MILLEDGEVILLE... TO MACON.

Rachel Smith, Statesboro: "I've set my alarm many a painful time for 4:30."

BUT WITH THE HELP OF THE CITY... GEORGIA COLLEGE NURSING STUDENTS... COULD SOON TREAT PATIENTS... JUST DOWN THE ROAD.

Mayor Bentley: "This actually allows them to research and practice their craft and their profession as they are training in school."

IF THINGS GO AS PLANNED... BOARDED UP WINDOWS AND ABANDONED BUILDINGS AT a former INSANE ASYLUM... COULD BE RENOVATED as MEDICAL RESEARCH CENTERS.

Amy Aubert: "Mayor Bentely says this building behind me would be included in the renovations project. It's the old nursing dormatory; he says they'd use it to house the current Georgia College nursing students. But he says they wouldn't break ground on those renovations until 2015."

Bentley: "You could have the clinical research facility there that would focus and emphasize on rural healthcare."

IT'S TRAINING FOR THE STUDENTS... BUT TREATMENT... FOR THOSE ACROSS GEORGIA WITHOUT HEALTH CARE.

Smith: "It'll definitely prepare them for the real hospital when they become registered nurses."

AMY AUBERT... 13 WMAZ... EYEWITNESS NEWS.

>> BENTLEY MET WITH GOVERNOR NATHAN DEAL THIS AFTERNOON... ASKING FOR SUPPORT FOR THE PROJECT.
HE SAYS IT WAS INITIATELY SPEARHEADED BY GEORGIA COLLEGE'S FORMER PRESIDENT... DOROTHY LELAND.
MOST OF THE FUNDING... HE SAYS... WOULD COME FROM THE STATE... BUT HE DID NOT HAVE AN ESTIMATE OF THE COST.

DID YOU KNOW THERE'S A PLACE IN CENTRAL GEORGIA WHERE YOU CAN SEE OVER 12-HUNDRED ANIMALS FOR FREE?
AT NOAH'S ARK IN LOCUST GROVE... YOU CAN CHECK OUT EVERYTHING FROM A SQUAWKING PEACOCK... TO A PIGS AND LLAMA'S.
IT'S A REFUGE FOR HOMELESS AND ABUSED ANIMALS OF ALL SHAPES AND SIZES...
DIANE SMITH... WHO'S THE ASSISTANT TO THE DIRECTOR.... SAYS AS MANY AS 15-HUNDRED PEOPLE A DAY STOP IN...
ONE OF THEIR MAIN EXHIBITS... A LION... TIGER AND BEAR THAT LIVE TOGETHER AS A FAMILY.
Diane Smith: "You have an American black bear, you have an african lion and you have a tiger who's from Asia. These animals would never meet in the wild, but they came together as babies and they've lived together as a family."
NOAH'S ARK IS IN HENRY COUNTY ON L-G GRIFFIN ROAD... AND IT'S OPEN TUESDAY THROUGH SATURDAY FROM NINE UNTIL FOUR.
IT'S FREE TO CHECK OUT ALL THE ANIMALS... BUT THEY DO ASK FOR DONATIONS TO HELP RUN THE CENTER.

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