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Monday, September 5, Eyewitness News at 11

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TONIGHT'S TOP STORY... SEVERE WEATHER MOVED THROUGH PARTS OF CENTRAL GEORGIA THIS AFTERNOON.. AS THE REMNANTS OF TROPICAL STORM LEE SWEPT INTO THE STATE.

   FOR THE LATEST.. WE GO TO CHIEF METEOROLOGIST BEN JONES IN THE WEATHER CENTER.

  ben gives three day forecast

THANKS BEN.. WE'LL TALK WITH YOU AGAIN IN JUST A FEW MINUTES.

            THE TWIGGS COUNTY COMMISSION IS UNDER FIRE AFTER A RESIDENT SUED ALLEGING THEY ILLEGALLY USED COUNTY EQUIPMENT AND MONEY TO FIX UP A CHURCH.

            JENNIFER MOULLIET SPOKE WITH THE MAN WHO FILED THE COMPLAINT..

Walter Ashby, Jeffersonville:"The citizens deserve better than what they are getting."

WALTER ASHBY SAYS HE'S JUST STANDING UP FOR THE TAXPAYERS IN TWIGGS COUNTY.

"you can't give away taxpayer money."

AND HE SAYS THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS LED BY CHAIRMAN RAY BENNETT DID WHEN IT USED COUNTY MONEY AND EQUIPMENT... AND INMATE LABOR ...TO FIX THE OLD MARION BAPTIST CHURCH WHICH BURNED IN 2007.

HE SAYS EARLY THIS YEAR HE ASKED THE BOARD TO HELP CLEAR DEBRIS LEFT BY THE APRIL TORNADOES... FROM HIS OWN LAND.

Walter Ashby, Jeffersonville:"Can't do it it's private property and it's against the law and I said what about the 23rd and 24th of March when you were working on private property at the church?"

ASHBY SAYS HE KNEW IT WAS ILLEGAL... BUT HE WANTED TO HEAR THE BOARD ADMIT THAT THEY WERE DOING SOMETHING WRONG.

HE WENT TO COMMISSION MEETINGS DEMANDING ANSWERS FROM CHAIRMAN BENNETT. HE SAID BENNETT WOULDN'T RESPOND.

Walter Ashby, Jeffersonville:"No matter what the question is you'll never get an answer, and it's not only from me it's anyone else that presents questions to the board and he won't even allow the commissioner that is controlling or representing your district to answer a question."

ASHBY SAYS HE PRESENTED AN ORDER ISSUED BY A TWIGGS COUNTY JUDGE IN 1983 STATING THAT THE USE OF COUNTY EQUIPMENT... CREWS... AND MONEY FOR WORK ON PRIVATE PROPERTY IS INDEED ILLEGAL....

Jennifer Moulliet, Eyewitness News: " Taking his attorney's advice Chairman Ray Bennett declined to comment stating it is a legal issue that is pending."

ASHBY SAYS OTHER CHURCHES IN THE COUNTY SUSTAINED DAMAGE FROM THE STORM... BUT HE CONTENDS THAT BENNETT ONLY HELPED ONE ...THE OLD MARION BAPTIST CHURCH ....BECAUSE IT HAD THE MOST MEMBERS....AND THE MOST VOTERS.

JENNIFER MOULLIET 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS. >>

            JUDGE L.A. McCONNELL HELD A HEARING LAST WEEK ON ASHBY'S LAWSUIT.

            THE JUDGE GAVE BOTH SIDES A WEEK TO FILE BRIEFS IN THE CASE.  

            MACON AND BIBB COUNTY LEADERS STILL HAVE TO DECIDE WHAT TO DO WITH A MILLION-AND-A-HALF DOLLARS IN FEDERAL MONEY THAT WAS SUPPOSED TO REDEVELOP THE HISTORIC ATLANTIC COTTON MILL BUILDING.

            THAT BUILDING BEHIND THE KROGER ON PIO NONO BURNED DOWN LAST APRIL.

            TOMORROW CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS WILL DISCUSS USING THE MONEY TO REDEVELOP THE DANNENBERG BUILDING DOWNTOWN.

            COUNCILWOMAN NANCY WHITE SAYS IT'S A GOOD PROJECT THAT MEETS THE GRANT'S CRITERIA AND WILL SPUR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT... BUT COUNCILWOMAN ELAINE LUCAS SAYS THERE ARE BETTER USES FOR THE MONEY.

Elaine Lucas: "The money should be used in the neighborhoods, it should not all be used either around Mercer or Downtown, which is where most of these large grants have been used."

Nancy White: "you just can't go out and say oh I want to put this into this project it has certain criteria in terms of housing that it has to meet and this just happened to meet those criteria so lucky us."

            THE GRANT WAS AWARDED TO BOTH THE CITY OF MACON AND BIBB COUNTY... SO BOTH GOVERNMENTS HAVE TO SIGN OFF ON THE DANNENBERG PROJECT.

            IF THEY AGREE THE MIDDLE GEORGIA REGIONAL COMMISSION WILL SUBMIT THE CHANGE TO THE GEROGIA DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY AFFAIRS FOR APROVAL.

            A STRING OF ACCIDENTS ALONG I-75 SOUTHBOUND IN MONROE COUNTY SENT 11 PEOPLE TO THE HOSPITAL.

            THE MONROE COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE SAYS 18 VEHICLES WERE INVOLVED IN SEVERAL CRASHES NEAR MILE POST ONE-85.

            HE SAYS THE 11 PEOPLE INJURED WERE TAKEN BY AMBULANCE TO HOSPITALS.

   THIS WEEK... THE NATION WILL HONOR THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE SEPTEMBER 11-TH ATTACKS.

     IN THE AFTERMATH OF 9/11... CANTOR FITZGERALD EMERGED AS ONE OF NEW YORK'S MOST PROFOUND SYMBOLS OF LOSS.

    ITS STAFF WAS NEARLY WIPED OUT... AND THE BOND TRADING POWERHOUSE WAS IN DANGER OF GOING UNDER.

    ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS CAUGHT UP WITH CANTOR'S CEO HOWARD LUTNICK...TO TALK ABOUT THE PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL CHANGES OF THE PAST DECADE.

THIS IS THE TRADING FLOOR AT CANTOR FITZGERALD - AFTER A REMARKABLE COMEBACK FROM SEPTEMBER 11TH.

:07-:12 (Sept. 12, 2001) God please my dad...

658 CANTOR EMPLOYEES DIED ON 9-11, TRAPPED ABOVE THE FIRE IN THE NORTH TOWER AT THE WORLD TRADE CENTER.

CEO HOWARD LUTNICK SURVIVED BECAUSE HE WAS TAKING HIS SON TO KINDERGARTEN. BUT HE LOST HIS BROTHER GARY AND HIS BEST FRIEND. AND HE BECAME THE PUBLIC FACE OF CANTOR'S TRAGEDY.

:24-:31 (Sept. 14, 2001) My brother's on the 103rd floor. There is no 103rd floor.

TODAY, LUTNICK IS BACK ON HIS FEET, COMPOSED, AND DRIVEN. HE HAS REBUILT CANTOR. AND LIKE OTHER WALL STREET FIRMS THAT LOST EMPLOYEES, THE COMPANY HAS HELPED VICTIMS' FAMILES... GIVING AWAY 180-MILLION DOLLARS.

:45-:49 (Howard Lutnick/CEO, Cantor Fitzgerald) The most important thing in my life was how big a number I could give to them.//How much could I be a part of their lives and make a difference.

:53-:59 (Alexis Christoforous/New York) Cantor relocated to midtown Manhattan - rebuilding its headquarters on the lower floors.

THE COMPANY IS NOW TWICE AS PROFITABLE AS IT WAS A DECADE AGO. AND THE NEW YORK OFFICES HAVE GROWN..FROM JUST 150 PEOPLE AFTER THE ATTACKS TO NEARLY 15-HUNDRED. SOME ARE CHILDREN OF CANTOR EMPLOYEES WHO WERE KILLED IN THE ATTACKS.

(Lutnick) The fact that they'd be willing to work for the firm where their dad was killed.//It is the greatest honor we could have and it is my pleasure

LUTNICK REMAINS A FIERCE BUSINESSMAN - BUT AT CERTAIN MOMENTS... HE STRUGGLES.

(crying) It's really amazing.

HE DESCRIBES HIMSELF AS HEART BROKEN....BUT SAYS HE FINDS COMFORT IN FAMILY. BOTH HIS OWN AND THE EXTENDED FAMILY - AT CANTOR FITZGERALD.

   ON SEPTEMBER 11TH OR THE CLOSEST BUSINESS DAY... CANTOR DONATES AN ENTIRE DAY'S REVENUES TO CHARITY.

   LAST YEAR THAT CAME TO 11-MILLION DOLLARS

    FOR MORE ON HOW 9-11 CHANGED AMERICA... VISIT OUR WEBSITE.. 13WMAZ DOT COM.

    CLICK ON THE 9-11 LINK IN THE CHECK IT OUT BOX ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE HOMEPAGE.

     YOU CAN SHARE YOUR STORY TO THE VIDEO WALL AND LISTEN TO OTHERS AS THEY RECALL WHERE THEY WERE WHEN THE ATTACKS HAPPENED.

    YOU CAN ALSO CHEK OUT THE LATEST STORIES... BLOGS AND PICTURES REMEMBERING THE DEADLY ATTACKS.

    ALL THAT AND MORE ON THE SEPTEMBER 11-TH SECTION OF OUR WEBSITE... 13WMAZ DOT COM.

    LABOR DAY IS ALWAYS A IMPORTANT DATE ON THE CAMPAIGN CALENDAR... AND SOME OF THE TOP REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES WERE MAKING THEIR PITCH TO TEA PARTYERS IN A KEY EARLY PRIMARY STATE.

    RANDALL PINKSTON HAS THE LATEST FROM COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA.

This was a different kind of Republican debate - the three man panel questioned each candidate separately on their conservative qualifications for president.

(0.09 - 0.13)

(SOT - Herman Cain/Republican Presidential Candidate)

"I BELIEVE I WILL BRING A UNIQUE SET OF LEADERSHIP SKILLS QUALITIES TO THE WHITE HOUSE."

The panel focused on tea party principals.... including lower taxes and less government spending.

(0.19 - 0.24)

(SOT-Newt Gingrich/Republican Presidential Candidate)

"THIS ECONOMY IS IN GRAVE DANGER OF GETTING WORSE, NOT GETTING BETTER."

The invitation-only audience seemed to like the presentation.

(0.27 - 0.30)

(Mike Brennan/South Carolina Republican)

SOT: "I saw a lot more depth in these folks than I've seen so far."

AND many wanted to hear from the candidates who weren't there -- including presumed front-runner Governor Rick Perry, who returned to Texas to monitor the huge wildfires in his state.

(0.40 - 0.44)

(Lou Nolan/South Carolina Republican)

SOT: "I think he should be with his people in a time of crisis like that."

(0.44 - 0.54)

(BRIDGE: Randall Pinkston/CBS NEWS/Columbia, SC)

South Carolina is a key state for the candidates - since 19-80 the winner of the Republican primary here has gone on to become the party's nominee.

(NAT)

Mitt Romney - who initially turned down an invite to the forum - has stepped up his efforts to court tea party voters.

And Tea party favorite Michelle Bachmann used part of her time to attack the President Obama.

(1.06 - 1.13)

(SOT-Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) /Republican Presidential Candidate)

"THIS CURRENT ADMINISTRATION IS STEALING FROM GENERATIONS YET UNBORN TO SATISFY THE GROWTH OF GOVERNMENT."

(VO)

Sarah Palin, who has yet to decide if she's running, turned down an invitation to the forum.

G-O-P voters will get many more opportunities to see the Presidential hopefuls.

There will be five Republican debates over the next six weeks.

   TWO OTHER REPUBLICANS WERE MISSING FROM TODAY'S FORUM.

   FORMER UTAH GOVERNOR JON HUNTSMAN AND FORMER SENATOR RICK SANTORUM DIDN'T GET INVITED BECAUSE THEY'RE NOT DOING WELL ENOUGH IN THE POLLS.

            OLIVE GARDEN RESTAURANTS AROUND THE COUNTRY SHOWED THEIR APPRECIATION TO THE MEN AND WOMEN WHO WATCH OUT FOR THE COMMUNITY EVERY DAY.

            THEY DELIVERED FREE LUNCHES TO HUNDREDS OF POLICE DEPARTMENTS, HOSPITAL EMERGENCY ROOMS AND FIRE STATION ACROSS THE NATION.

      IT'S A STORY THAT COMES... STRAIGHT FROM THE HEART.

            THE EMPLOYEES OF THE LOCAL OLIVE GARDEN HERE IN MACON PACKED UP A COMPLETE ITALIAN FEAST WITH LASAGNA, SALAD, BREADSTICKS, AND TIRAMISU.

            THEY DELIVERED THE LUNCH TO THE HOSPITAL EMERGENCY CENTER AS PART OF THE "HOSPITALIANO" LUNCH TO HONOR THOSE WHO SERVE.

            THE EMPLOYEES SAYS GIVING BACK TO THOSE WHO HELP US EVERYDAY IS A GREAT FEELING.

Debra Upshaw, Macon "They go to work everyday and put their lives on the line for us to protect us, to serve us so this is just a little token of our appreciation"

Loyd Harrison, Manager "The kind of patient they have to have.  The kind of will power they have to have and just the understanding that taking care of people that comes with a big burden"

            NATIONWIDE... MORE THAN 740 OLIVE GARDEN RESTAURANTS PARTICIPATED IN THE HOSPITALIANO LUNCH.

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