<<opening for eyewitness news at eleven>>
GOOD EVENING AND THANKS FOR JOINING US..
I'M FRANK MALLOY..
THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT 11.
MACON CITY COUNCIL AND BIBB COUNTY COMMISSIONERS HAVE UNTIL MONDAY TO NAIL DOWN A LIST OF PROJECTS THAT A SPECIAL PURPOSE LOCAL OPTION SALES TAX WOULD PAY FOR.
CANDACE ADORKA REPORTS ONE STICKING POINT IS HOW TO CREATE JOBS...
MAYOR ROBERT REICHERT WAS AT THE COUNTY COUTHOUSE TODAY... TRYING TO CONVINCE COMMISSIONERS TO SPEND 9 MILLION DOLLARS TO IMPROVE AND EXTEND SECOND STREET AS A WAY TO REVITALIZE DOWNTOWN MACON... BUT THE COMMISSION DISAGREED.... SOME OF THEM WOULD RATHER SEE ABOUT SEVEN MILLION DOLLARS GO TOWARDS EXTENDING THE RUNWAY AT MACON REGIONAL AIRPORT.
COMMISSIONER LONZY EDWARDS SAID THAT WOULD BE BETTER FOR THE COUNTY'S ECONOMY.
sot:"if that runway is extended, it means thatw e have the possiblity of getting bigger airplanes in there which means that we get the possibility of getting more jobs, and not just any jobs, you're tlaking about good high-paying jobs in aircraft maintenance."
REICHERT SAYS HE'S NOT AGAINST EXTENDING THE RUNWAY... IT WOULD JUST BE A BETTER FIT IF A REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION TAX PAYS FOR IT.
HE SAYS HE WILL WORK TO CHANGE THE COMMISSIONERS' MINDS BY MONDAY.
THE SPLOST DISCUSSION WAS SANDWICHED BETWEEN MORNING AND EVENING PUBLIC HEARINGS ON A 2-MIL PROPERTY TAX INCREASE.
EACH PERSON WHO STEPPED UP TO THE PODIUM TOLD COMMISSIONERS THE COUNTY NEEDS TO TIGHTEN ITS BELT AND CUT ITS BUDGET BEFORE ASKING FOR MORE TAX MONEY.
Rene Neville "Its time to look at and prioritize our spending to get spending under control and cost control to have them thinking the way I think as a business owner and as a homeowner."
Gerry Youngblood: "In my neighborhood, we have about four homoes that have been foreclosed on. These are nice people that were trying to make a living that lost their jobs and their homes have been foreclosed on. Its sad to see this happening all over Macon, that's why I say I don't want to see any more taxes right now."
THERE IS ONE MORE PUBLIC HEARING TUESDAY AUGUST 16 AT 6 P-M AT THE COURTHOUSE.
THE COMMISSION WILL MAKE A FINAL DECISION ON THE PROPERTY TAX INCREASE IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING THAT MEETING
CANDACE ADORKA 13 WMAX EYE WITNESS NEWS.
COUNTY COMMISSIONERS ALSO DECIDED WHICH RECREATION PROJECTS THEY PLAN TO PUT ON THE BALLOT IN NOVEMBER UNDER THE SPLOST VOTE.
THEY WOULD SPEND 42 MILLION DOLLARS ON 14 PROJECTS AROUND THE COUNTY... INCLUDING 12-MILLION DOLLARS AT CENTRAL CITY PARK... 8-AND-A-HALF MILLION AT THE PARK BY THE HARTLEY BRIDGE AREA... AND HALF A MILLION TO FIX UP A PARK IN LIZELLA.
A SECOND CANDIDATE TODAY ANNOUNCED SHE'S RUNNING FOR A WARNER ROBINS CITY COUNCIL SEAT.
SHE'S ALEX TALLEY....A FORMER CITY OFFICIAL NOW RUNNING FOR THE CITYWIDE POST 2 SEAT.
TALLEY TOLD US SHE WORKED FOR WARNER ROBINS FOR 16 YEARS....PART OF IT AS HEAD OF PURCHASING...AND RECEIVING.
SHE SAYS HER BUDGETING AND FINANCE BACKGROUND WILL HELP.
TIM THOMAS SAYS HE'S ALSO RUNNING FOR THE SEAT...CURRENTLY HELD BY TOMMY SIMMS WHO IS NOT RUNNING FOR RE-ELECTION...
QUALIFYING FOR THE THREE COUNCIL SEATS....BEGINS AUGUST 29TH.
FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE THE INVESTGATION INTO THE MURDER OF MERCER LAW GRAD LAUREN GIDDINGS BEGAN THE LAWYER FOR HER ACCUSED KILLER STEPHEN MCDANIEL SAT DOWN TO TALK ABOUT HIS CLIENT... AND HOW HE FEELS ABOUT THE CASE
EARLIER TODAY... LAUREN DISPIRITO SPOKE WITH FLOYD BUFORD AT HIS DOWNTOWN MACON OFFICE.
Lauren DiSpirito: "From your perspective, the conversations you've had with him, what type of person is Stephen McDaniel?"
Floyd Buford, Attorney: "I can tell you a little bit about how he is. I personally think he is sort of a Renaissance man. He is interested in a lot of different areas, he sung in church choirs, he's very knowledgeable on a lot of issues, can be very articulate, he likes to play the violin, I have had people tell me that he, that they couldn't imagine that he could have done something like this because a person told me because he's the kind of guy that may see a bug or an insect going across the floor in his room and rather than kill him he would pick him up pick the insect up and take him outside so he's a person with a lot of interests very articulate, very smart, had a to my knowledge had a full scholarship to the undergraduate school at Mercer, and probably could have gotten a full scholarship to Mercer Law school but the application was a little late, and he has a lot of talents and very courteous, a nice young man."
Lauren DiSpirito: "What do you make of reports that he was socially awkward and different?"
Floyd Buford: "I don't you know I don't put any emphasis on that."
"Because if that is of significance socially being awkward or different if that's the standard that individuals use to convict someone our jails which in Georgia I think are the most overcrowded in the country would be even more, so I don't think he's awkward, I think he's thoughtful."
FLOYD BUFORD ALSO TOLD US THAT HE'S HIRING A PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR TO LOOK INTO SOME DETAILS OF THE CASE.
TO LISTEN TO MORE OF OUR NTERVIEW WITH BUFORD... LOOK FOR THIS STORY ON OUR WEBSITE.. AT 13 WMAZ DOT COM.
STORMS IN MONROE COUNTY TONIGHT LEFT BEHIND DAMAGE IN SEVERAL FORSYTH NEIGHBORHOODS.
AND NOW.. RESIDENTS AND OFFICIALS ARE LEFT WITH THE CLEANUP.
FALLEN TREES AND DEBRIS COULD BE SPOTTED IN PEOPLES FRONT YARDS... AND IN THE STREETS.
THIS TREE ON MONTPELIER AVENUE IN FORSYTH... EVEN TRIED TO TAKE A POWER LINE DOWN WITH IT.
THE STORMS ROLLED THROUGH MONROE COUNTY AROUND 4-45 THIS AFTERNOON.
ben gives three day forecast
THANKS BEN.. WE'LL TALK WITH YOU AGAIN IN JUST A FEW MINUTES.
IN SIX DAYS.. STATE LAWMAKERS CONVENE IN ATLANTA FOR A SPECIAL SESSION TO REDRAW STATE AND CONGRESSIONAL ELECTION DISTRICT LINES.
IN CENTRAL GEORGIA.. MANY PEOPLE WANT TO KNOW WHAT'LL HAPPEN TO THE SECOND AND EIGHTH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS.
RANDALL SAVAGE HAS MORE.
<<LAST FALL.. AUSTIN SCOTT.. A TIFT COUNTY REPUBLICAN.. WON GEORGIA'S EIGHTH DISTRICT CONGRESSIONAL SEAT BY DEFEATING JIM MARSHALL.. A MACON DEMOCRAT.
THE EIGHTH DISTRICT INCLUDES BIBB COUNTY.. BUT AT LEAST ONE PROPOSAL WOULD MOVE BIBB COUNTY OUT OF THE EIGHTH DISTRICT AND INTO THE SECOND DISTRICT .
THAT'S SOMETHING STATE REPRESENTATIVE ALLEN PEAKE.. A MACON REPUBLICAN.. DOESN'T WANT TO HAPPEN.. AND HE'LL WORK TO BLOCK IT IN THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY'S SPECIAL REDISTRICTING SESSION.
36:12Allen Peake, State Representative: It is going to be a big decision, and I'd like to fight to see Bibb County stay in Austin Scott's district, in the 8th Congressional District. Again, that's not my final decision, it'll be made by the entire House and entire Senate. So there's a lot of discussion going on about that.
BUT BIBB COUNTY DEMOCRATIC PARTY CHAIRMAN DARYL MORTON THINKS BRINGING THE SECOND DISTRICT.. AND CONGRESSMAN SANFORD BISHOP IN WOULD BE A GOOD.
6:12:16 Daryl Morton, Democratic Party Chairman: Sanford Bishop has represented us before. He knows the area. He knows how important Robins is to us, has a good relationship with the President. So I would welcome him back to representing us again.
BIBB COUNTY REPUBLICAN PARTY VICE CHAIRMAN BILL KNOWLES SEES THE CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT SHIFT AS A AN OPPORTUNITY TO WIN ANOTHER REPUBLICAN SEAT.
2:23:24 Bill Knowles, Republican Party Vice Chair: It's still got a good Republican base in it. The biggest part of the second district is going to be Muscogee County and Dougherty County, and they're obviously huge strong holds for Congressman Bishop. But it's something certainly that can be cracked as we did with Congressman Marshall.
RANDALL SAVAGE.. 13 WMAZ.. EYEWITNESS NEWS.
PEAKE SAYS REAPPORTIONING THE STATE HOUSE AND SENATE DISTRICTS WILL BE MAJOR TASKS AS WELL.
BUT PEAKE SAYS CONSOLIDATION OF THE CITY AND COUNTY GOVERNMENTS PROBABLY WON'T BE CONSIDERED DURING THE SPECIAL REAPPORTIONMENT SESSION.
STUDENTS IN BIBB COUNTY PACKED UP THEIR BOOKBAGS AND HEADED TO THIER FIRST DAY OF CLASSES.
FOR SOME KIDS IT WAS ALSO THEIR FIRST DAY IN A NEW SCHOOL.
JENNIFER MOULLIET GIVES US A LOOK INSIDE THE NEW AND IMPROVED ELAM ALEXANDER ACADEMY.
"We were a part of the process the whole way."
DIRECTOR OF ELAM ALEXANDER ACADEMY... LARA SIMS SAYS THE FACULTY AT ELAM HAD A HAND IN DESIGNING THE NEW SCHOOL.
Lara Sims, Director: Elam Alexander Academy: "we have had an enormous amount of input because we know what these children need."
THE ACADEMY IS PART OF THE GEORGIA NETWORK FOR EDUCATIONAL AND THERAPEUTIC SUPPORT... AND IS ONE OF TWENTY-FOUR PROGRAMS IN THE STATE.
ELAM SERVES CHILDREN WITH SEVERE EMOTIONAL AND BEHAVIORAL DISORDERS IN CENTRAL GEORGIA.
Lara Sims, Director, Elam Alexander Academy: "They need an environment where they can have smaller classrooms, where they have the space to move about many of them have sensory issues so we want them to have a roomy environment."
AND SHE SAYS THE NEW BUILDING HAS JUST THAT...FROM THE CALMING COLORS OF THE WALLS AND SKY LIGHTS TO THE SPACIOUS LAYOUT.
THE OLD BUILDING WAS CLOSE TO FORTY YEARS OLD AND SHE SAYS DIDN'Y LEAVE A LOT OF OPPORTUNITIES TO TEACH ... OUT OF THE BOX.
Lara Sims, Director: "Given the space that we have in this building we are able to offer more hands on learning experiences."
THE NEW ACADEMY OFFERS A CAFETERIA WITH A FULL STAFF TO SERVE HOT LUNCHES... IT ALSO OFFERS A PLACE FOR THE KIDS TO LET LOOSE AND PLAY.
LEARNING COMPUTER SKILLS WILL BE EASIER IN THEIR NEW... BIGGER MEDIA LAB.
AND SIMS SAYS THE NEW YEAR IS OFF TO A GREAT START.
Lara Sims, Director: "It feels incredible, the smiles on the kids faces."
SHE SAYS SHE'S LOOKING FORWARD TO THE REST OF THE SCHOOL YEAR.
JENNIFER MOULLIET 13 WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS.
SIMS SAYS THEY WERE ABLE TO RENOVATE THE BUILDING WITH FUNDS FROM THE SPLOST INIATIVE...TOTALING JUST OVER 4 MILLION DOLLARS.
SHE SAYS SHE PLANS TO GIVE BACK TO THE COMMUNITYAND TEACH THE STUDENTS BY PLANTING SEVERAL VEGETABLE GARDENS IN THE AREA.
TONIGHT'S FACEBOOK FAN OF THE DAY IS TIFFANY JOHNSON.
TIFFANY YOU'LL NEED TO EMAIL FAN OF THE DAY AT 13WMAZ DOT COM TO CLAIM YOUR COFFEE MUG.
NOW... 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.
AND ONE LAST QUICK LOOK AT TOMORROW'S FORECAST WITH CHIEF METEOROLOGIST BEN JONES.