GOOD EVENING AND THANKS FOR JOINING US..
I'M FRANK MALLOY....THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT 11.
LEAH JOHNSON IS ON MATERNITY LEAVE..
MACON POLICE RETURNED TODAY FOR ANOTHER SEARCH AT THE APARTMENT COMPLEX WHERE INVESTIGATORS SAY LAUREN GIDDINGS MAY HAVE BEEN MURDERED.
OFFICERS BROUGHT IN AND THEN REMOVED A LARGE STORAGE BIN FROM THE APARTMENT.
THEY ALSO LEFT WITH SEVERAL BROWN PAPER BAGS.
SEVERAL OFFICERS SPENT MUCH OF THE AFTERNOON AT TEH BARRISTERS HALL APARTMENT BUILDING ON GEORGIA AVENUE IN DOWNTOWN MACON..
POLICE SPOKESWOMAN JAMI GAUDET SAID OFFICERS WERE "FOLLOWING CLUES" INSIDE APARTMENT NO. 4.
THAT'S THE HOME OF STEPHEN MCDANIEL.
POLICE HAVE CALLED HIM A PERSON OF INTEREST IN GIDDINGS' DEATH.
SHE SAID ALL OF THE EVIDENCE OFFICERS COLLECTED TODAY WILL BE SENT TO THE FBI.
SHE SAYS THEY'RE STILL WAITING ON OTHER RESULTS OF FBI TESTING.
Jami Gaudet: "We don't have anything yet and we still don't know whether we're going to have partial or full. But they are on sight and they'll continue to go back. They'll continue to work the clues, work the evidence in the office. And then today they felt like they needed to come back out here and so here they are."
STEPHEN MCDANIELS IS CURRENTLY BEING HELD IN THE BIBB COUNTY JAIL ON UNRELATED BURGLARY CHARGES.
DEMOCRATS DAVID LUCAS AND MIRIAM PARIS WERE BACK ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL TODAY... THE FIRST DAY OF THEIR RUNOFF FOR THE STATE SENATE 26 SEAT.
PARIS CARRIED 45 PERCENT OF THE VOTES IN YESTERDAY'S SPECIAL ELECTION... WHILE LUCAS GOT 39 PERCENT.
LUCAS SPENT THE MORNING PICKING UP HIS CAMPAIGN SIGNS.
PARIS SPENT TIME AT HER CAMPAIGN HEADQUARTERS..
LUCAS BLAMED REPUBLICANS FOR HIS SECOND-PLACE FINISH.
PARIS SAYS SHE FINISHED FIRST BECAUSE PEOPLE LIKE HER.
SHE SAID SHE ALSO APPRECIATED THE ENDORSEMENT OF MACON REPUBLICAN ALLEN PEAKE.
Miriam Paris, Senate Hopeful: I appreciate his endorsement. But I think people have confidence in me that I'll represent them and not just some of them all of them.
David Lucas: Former State Representative: The issues have not been debated. This has all been about David Lucas. The Republican Party wants to defeat David Lucas.
SENATE DISTRICT 26 INCLUDES ALL OF TWIGGS AND PARTS OF BIBB... HOUSTON AND WILKINSON COUNTIES.
THE WINNER REPLACES ROBERT BROWN.. WHO RESIGNED TO RUN FOR MACON MAYOR.
THE MAYOR'S RACE IS ALSO HEADED TO A RUNOFF... BETWEEN CURRENT MAYOR ROBERT REICHERT AND FORMER MAYOR C. JACK ELLIS.
THE RUNOFF FOR BOTH RACES WILL BE HELD AUGUST 16TH.
MACON WAS THE ONLY CITY IN THE STATE THAT HELD A PARTISAN PRIMARY ELECTION YESTERDAY.
THAT'S BECAUSE IT'S THE ONLY CITY THAT REQUIRES THE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL TO HAVE DEMOCRATIC OR REPUBLICAN PRIMARIES.
TODAY'S 13WMAZ DOT COM WEB POLL ASKS... SHOULD MACON HAVE NON-PARTISAN ELECTIONS?
SO FAR 82 PERCENT OF YOU SAY YES... IT SHOULD.
AND 18 PERCENT OF YOU SAY NO.
VOTE NOW... LOOK FOR THE QUESTION ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF OUR HOMEPAGE.
NEARLY 10 THOUSAND DOLLARS WORTH OF CROPS BIT THE DUST THIS WEEKEND AFTER SOMEONE TOOK A JOYRIDE THROUGH FARM FIELDS.
AS AMY AUBERT SHOWS YOU... FOR ONE FARMER... IT'S LOST INCOME HE WON'T SEE AGAIN... UNTIL NEXT HARVEST SEASON.
Nats, walking through dead plants
JAMES HITCHCOCK IS NO STRANGER TO FARMING... HE'S WORKED IN THESE FIELDS SINCE HE WAS A KID.
Nat pop, picking at sunflower seeds
BUT HE SAYS... IT'S THE FIRST TIME... SOMEONE USED THE FARMLAND... FOR OFF-ROADING.
James Hitchcock, Tennille: "I found it Saturday morning, I got on my tractor and went to the field, and the first thing I found is where they tore my cotton field up."
BUT THE DAMAGE DIDN'T END THERE.
James Hitchcock: "They basically just took their truck and run over the crops, they just kept doin' doughnuts and basically just spinnin' tires."
HE SAYS... EVEN WORSE THAN THE COTTON FIELD DAMAGE... WERE THE SUNFLOWERS... WHERE THE DIRT'S A LOT SOFTER... SO TIRES SINK QUICKLY.
James Hitchcock: "Some of the other field were a clay-based dirt, and they were just really spinnin' on top of the ground, but this field here they really just tore it up, just chopped it up."
THE JOY RIDER STRUCK ABOUT EIGHT FARMS... IN JOHNSON AND WASHINGTON COUNTIES.
HITCHCOCK SAYS... ON HIS FARM ALONE... NEARLY 10 THOUSAND DOLLARS OF THE SEASON'S GROWTH HIT THE DIRT.
Nat: "That's right, down the drain."
JOHNSON AND WASHINGTON COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICES ARE WORKING THE CASE. WASHINGTON COUNTY SAYS THEY HAVE A QUOTE... "GOOD LEAD" FROM A TIP... AND ARE INVESTIGATING.
BUT FOR HITCHCOCK... IT'S TOO LATE TO REPLACE LOST REVENUE... SO HE'S LOOKING FOR JUSTICE.
Hitchcock: "It's not that I want the money back, bring them out here and let them replace it with work. Pullin' weeds, somehtin' that will teach them a lesson."
AMY AUBERT... 13 WMAZ... EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>> HITCHCOCK SAYS HE'S OFFERING A 500 DOLLAR REWARD TO ANYONE WITH INFORMATION.
WASHINGTON COUNTY SHERIFF... THOMAS SMITH... SAYS IF THEY FIND THE DRIVER... THEY'LL FACE CRIMINAL DAMAGE TO PROPERTY... WHICH IS A FELONY.
MACON POLICE SAY HOME BURGLARIES AND CAR BREAK-INS ARE UP AROUND THE CITY THIS YEAR... AND THEY'RE WORKING TO KNOCK THAT NUMBER BACK DOWN.
THE DEPARTMENT IS LAUNCHING NEIGHBORHOOD SATURATION 2011.
STARTING TODAY... 53 OFFICERS FROM ALL FOUR CITY PRECINCTS WILL PATROL NEIGHBORHOODS DAY AND NIGHT... KNOCKING ON DOORS AND GETTING TO KNOW PEOPLE IN THE COMMUNITY.
MACON POLICE MAJOR ROBERT GRABOWSKI SAYS THEY WANT TO DETER CRIMINALS... BEFORE THEY COMMIT CRIMES.
HE SAYS THE GOAL IS TO MAKE PEOPLE FEEL SAFER... AND IMPROVE THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN OFFICERS AND THE PEOPLE THEY SERVE.
"We wanna build a bridge between the citizens of these communites and Macon Police Department anf part of that bridge is not having the citizens be so afraid of police being in their neighborhoods, especially just on routing patrols checking up on them."
SOME OF THE NEIGHBORHOODS THE OFFICERS WILL PATROL INCLUDE PLEASANT HILL...FORT HILL... VILLAGE GREEN AND LYNMORE ESTATES.
THIS WEEK'S DAY TRIP DESTINATION BROUGHT US TO THE WHISTLE STOP CAFE IN JULIETTE.
TWENTY YEARS AGO THE OSCAR NOMINATED MOVIE FRIED GREEN TOMATOES CALLED THE STOP HOME.
THE TOWN WAS BUILT UP AND THE RESTAURANT WAS CREATED FOR THE FILM.
THE RESTAURANT SERVES FRESH VEGETABLES AND HOMESTYLE SOUTHERN COOKING.
THEIR MOST POPULAR ITEM ON THE MENU IS THEIR FRIED GREEN TOMATOES.
RHONDA PRATKA SAYS SHE ENJOYS BRINGING HER FAMILY TO THE WHISTLE STOP TO TAKE IN THE MOVIE MAKING MEMORIES.
Rhonda Pratka, Kathleen: " This is actually my third visit. I'm originally from Texas so when we have guests to Georgia this is one of the places we like to bring them just for some of the culture here in Georgia. I've seen the movie and they always have great food."
MONROE COUNTY TOURISM DIRECTOR KAREN MANUS-PENNINGS SAYS THE WHISTLE STOP IS ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR TOURIST ATTRACTIONS IN CENTRAL GEORGIA.
SHE SAYS CLOSE TO 300 THOUSAND PEOPLE VISIT EACH YEAR.
TOMORROW MORNING... THE SPACE SHUTTLE ATLANTIS IS SCHEDULED TO LAND.
AND WITH ITS TOUCHDOWN COMES THE END OF A CHAPTER IN HISTORY.
IT'S A BITTERSWEET TIME FOR FOLKS ALONG FLORIDA'S EAST CENTRAL COAST.
JOHN ZARRELLA TAKES A LOOK AT HOW THE LOSS OF WELL-PAYING JOBS WILL HURT AN ALREADY FRAGILE ECONOMY.
STEPHANIE ESTRADA IS LUCKY. SHE KNOWS IT.
"Every single step that I've taken it was timely and it was the right move. And for some reason it's worked out."
STEPHANIE IS A LAWYER. SHE WEARS SUITS. SHE WORE THEM BEFORE, TOO, BUT THOSE WERE CALLED BUNNY SUITS... NASA SPEAK FOR THE GARB YOU PUT ON WHEN WORKING ON SPACECRAFT. STEPHANIE SAW IT COMING--THE SHUTTLE PROGRAM WAS ENDING.
"I was willing to do anything whether it be technology related or law related or working at McDonalds. I didn't care."
WHILE STILL WITH NASA, SHE WENT TO NIGHT SCHOOL, GOT HER LAW DEGREE AND LEFT THE SPACE AGENCY BEFORE IT LEFT HER. BY THE TIME THE THREE SHUTTLES ARE SENT TO MUSEUMS, NEARLY EIGHT THOUSAND PEOPLE WILL HAVE LOST THEIR JOBS.
"This was given to me. It's just a reminder from everyone, they signed it."
BILL BENDER ALREADY LOST HIS. HE RAN THE DEPARTMENT THAT TRACKS AND PHOTOGRAPHS SHUTTLES AS THEY LIFTOFF AND LAND. BENDER THOUGHT HE MADE A WISE DECISION MOVING FROM SHUTTLE TO NASA'S NEW CONSTELLATION PROGRAM. IT WAS GOING TO BE THE FUTURE...TAKING HUMANS TO DEEP SPACE. INSTEAD, CONSTELLATION GOT DEEP SIXED. FIVE MONTHS AGO, BILL FOUND HIMSELF WITHOUT A JOB.
"And I still want to be part of it but I'm getting to come up to the point, may be I need to let it go and look at other things and look after myself."
IT'S GOTTEN TO THE POINT WHERE BILL IS GIVING THOUGHT TO A JOB IN AFGHANISTAN, WORKING ON PERIMETER DEFENSE IMAGERY.
"We've got thirty minutes to get this thing hooked up from the second it hits the ground we'll get this thing all plugged in and ready to go and flowing freon, yep."
AS SOON AS ATLANTIS LANDS, RAY ZINK WILL LEAD A CONVOY OF TRUCKS TO THE RUNWAY TO PREPARE THE SHUTTLE FOR ITS NEXT MOVE. ZINK'S JOB WON'T END UNTIL THE VEHICLES LEAVE FOR MUSEUMS. AFTER THAT, HE PLANS TO START UP AN ORGANIZATION THAT BRINGS SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING TO KIDS.
"We all have a lot of experience and a lot of knowledge and we'd love to pass it on to another generation. so we figured hey lets get together, lets find a place to do this, either go where the kids are or bring them to us."
ZINK HAS SEEN A LOT OF FRIENDS GO. WITHIN 24 HOURS OF ATLANTIS'S LANDING HE'LL SEE MORE. 23-HUNDRED PEOPLE WILL BE LEAVING. THE SHUTTLE PROGRAM IS OVER. IT'S DONE. JOHN ZARRELLA CNN AT THE KENNEDY SPACE CENTER IN FLORIDA.
ONCE ATLANTIS LANDS... 23-HUNDRED SHUTTLE WORKERS ARE EXPECTED TO BE LAID OFF THIS WEEK.
ABOUT EIGHT THOUSAND WORKERS TOTAL IN THE AREA OF KENNEDY SPACE CENTER WILL BE PUT OUT OF WORK BECAUSE OF THE SHUTTLE PROGRAM ENDING.
LAST NIGHT... THE FAN OF THE DAY TRAIN WAS DELAYED BY THE ELECTION.... BUT EVERYONE GETS THEIR MOMENT IN THE SPOTLIGHT... SO MEISHA ROBINSON... EMAIL US AT FAN OF THE DAY AT 13WMAZ DOT COM TO CLAIM YOUR COFFEE MUG.
AND TONIGHT'S SELECTION - MONIQUE TOWNS - GETS HER CHANCE TO EMAIL US AND CLAIM A MUG AS WELL.
GETTING INTO THE RUNNING FOR FAN OF THE DAY IS AN EASY THREE-STEP PROCESS.
ONE... VISIT FACEBOOK DOT COM SLASH 13WMAZ.
TWO... BECOME A FAN... AND THREE... GET IN ON THE CONVERSATIONS.
WE PICK OUR FAN OF THE DAY RANDOMLY.
A GROUP OF WOMEN BATTLING CANCER WANT TO CREATE A PLACE OF PEACE AND SOLITUDE.
THEY'RE DESIGNING A SERENITY GARDEN...
AND TODAY'S HERO CENTRAL SHOWS YOU HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED.
JUDY MASON CAME UP WITH THE IDEA.
SHE SAYS WOMEN BATTLING CANCER NEED FRIENDS... BUT A LOT OF ALONE TIME TOO.
THIS GARDEN WILL BE FOR EVERYONE WHO HAS BEEN TOUCHED BY CANCER.
ANYONE CAN BUY A BRICK FOR FIFTY DOLLARS AND HAVE A LOVED ONE'S NAMED ETCHED ON.
THEY WILL BECOME PART OF THE GARDEN'S PATH.... SAYS CANCER SURVIVOR PAM MOHR.
PaM Mohr, Warner Robins (941) "I love the idea. Theres a lot of time you just want to be by yourself. You don't want to be with friends or family, because its a big stressor. YOu can go there and just think, just have some quiet time."
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON BUYING A BRICK... CALL 478-953-1377.
AGAIN THAT'S 478-953-1377
AN OUT-OF-CONTROL FIRE HYDRANT... A WINDSURFER RESCUE... AND A MYTHICAL ANIMAL SIGHTING....
HERE'S ANDY ROSE WITH "TAKE A LOOK AT THIS!"
TAKE A LOOK AT THIS!
A CAR-JACKING SUSPECT, RUNNING FROM THE LAW, CRASHED INTO A FIRE HYDRANT IN CALIFORNIA, SENDING A 100-FOOT GEYSER INTO THE AIR!
IT TOOK FIREFIGHTERS ABOUT TWO HOURS TO GET THE WATER TURNED OFF.
TWO HOUSES HAD TO BE EVACUATED AS WATER POURED OVER THEM.
THE HOMES ARE NOW BEING CHECKED OUT FOR WATER DAMAGE.
IT WAS THE COAST GUARD TO THE RESCUE WHEN A WINDSURFER BECAME STRANDED.
THE WOMAN HAD BEEN MISSING MORE THAN 12 HOURS BEFORE BEING FOUND CLINGING TO HER BOARD IN THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY EARLY TUESDAY.
THE GUARD CHOPPER SENT A RESCUER TO 62-YEAR-OLD CATHY CATON.
SHE'S IN STABLE CONDITION, AND HER HUSBAND SAYS HE'S RELIEVED SHE'S O-K.
A TEXAS TEEN SAYS HE FOUND THE MYTHICAL CHUPACABRA!
CARTER POPE SAYS HE KILLED THIS STRANGE CREATURE, WHICH HE'S CONVINCED IS THE REAL THING!
It just walked across and started shaking, slowly moving across. No hair at all on it, the back legs were shriveled up. I honestly think it was a chupacabra.
CHUPACABRA SIGHTINGS HAVE BEEN AROUND FOR YEARS...THE LEGEND IS THAT IT SUCKS THE BLOOD OF LIVESTOCK.
SOME WILDLIFE BIOLOGISTS SAY CHUPACABRAS ARE ACTUALLY JUST SICK COYOTES OR SOME OTHER WILD ANIMAL.
THANKS FOR JOINING US.... FIRST MORNIN COMES YOUR WAY AT 5 A-M.
THE NEWS IS ALWAYS ON AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.
ON LETTERMAN TONIGHT: ACTOR JEREMY PIVIN AND MUSICIAN CEE LO GREEN..
HAVE A SAFE NIGHT EVERYONE.