Tuesday, September 20, Eyewitness News at 11

1:52 PM, Sep 20, 2011   |    comments
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GOOD EVENING AND THANKS FOR JOINING US..

I'M FRANK MALLOY..

AND I'M LEAH JOHNSON..THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT 11.



OFFICIALS SAY A GROUP OF FIREFIGHTERS WHO PLAYED A PRANK ON TWO ROOKIES DIDN'T COMMIT ANY CRIMES... BUT THERE COULD STILL BE SERIOUS REPROCUSSIONS.

AND AS CANDACE ADORKA REPORTS THE FIRE CHIEF IS STILL DECIDING WHETHER THE PRANK WAS HAZING... AND WHETHER THOSE INVOLVED SHOULD BE FIRED OR DEMOTED.

<<

MACON-BIBB FIRE CHIEF MARVIN RIGGINS SAYS WHAT HE SAY IN THIS VIDEO... A HOAX STATGED BY FIREFIGHTERS... WAS UNPROFESSIONAL AND DANGEROUS.

""i do take this very very seriously i'm appalled by this type of behavior."

THE HOAX HAPPENED SUNDAY EVENING.....AND SOMEONE FILMED IT... AND POSTED IT TO YOUTOBE.

THE VIDEO SHOWS AN ARMED MAN ENTERING A FIREHOUSE IN WEST BIBB COUNTY THREATENING THE SEVEN PEOPLE IN THE ROOM RIGGINS SAYS AT LEAST 5 OF THE FIREFIGHTERS WERE BEHIND THE PRANK... WHICH TARGETED 2 ROOKIES.

"basically a prank that got out of hand."

HE NOW HAS TO DECIDE WHETHER THEY VIOLATED THE CITY'S CODE OF CONDUCT... AND 2 FIRE DEPARTMENT ORDERS... ONE OF WHICH STATES

THE MACON/BIBB COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT HAS A ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY FOR HAZING/PHYSICAL HORSEPLAY WITH ANOTHER PERSON; PHYSICAL CONFRONTATIONS OF ANY KIND, AND INITIATIONS OF ANY KIND.

Mayor Robert Reichert: " It certainly would not appear to be appropriate behavior in any sense, it certainly would not appear to be appropriate."

MAYOR REICHERT SAYS ANY PUNISHMENT WILL COME FROM RIGGINS... WHO SAYS THE CULPRITS COULD LOSE THEIR JOBS OR RANKS.

"it is something that could cause injury, could cause harm, it alludes to other things, it opens facets, doors that are far-reaching in my mind and so i take that verry seriously"

RIGGINS ASKED THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE TO SEE IF THE PRANKSTERS HAD VIOLATED ANY CRIMES.

"We did look at it and we have not found any intentional violation of Georgia law."

MODENA SAYS THEY WILL NOW TURN OVER ALL THEIR FINDINGS TO THE FIRE DEPARTMENT FOR AN INTERNAL INVESTIGATION.

CANDACE ADORKA 13 WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS.



>> RIGGINS SAYS OVER THE NEXT DAY OR SO.... HE'LL DECIDE WHETHER THE FIREFIGHTERS VIOLATED THE POLICIES AND DISCUSS THEIR PUNISHMENT WITH THEM...BEFORE HE ANNOUNCES IT.



SUPPORTERS OF DEATH ROW INMATE TROY DAVIS RALLIED ON THE STEPS OF THE STATE CAPITOL TONIGHT... URGING GEORGIA OFFICIALS TO SPARE HIS LIFE.

HUNDREDS GATHERED IN SUPPORT OF DAVIS... WHO IS SET TO DIE BY LETHAL INJECTION TOMORROW FOR KILLING OFF-DUTY SAVANNAH POLICE OFFICER MARK MACPHAIL... WHO WAS SLAIN WHILE RUSHING TO HELP A HOMELESS MAN BEING ATTACKED.

THE STATE PARDONS BOARD REJECTED CLEMENCY FOR DAVIS TODAY... LEAVING HIM WITH LITTLE APPARENT CHANCE TO AVOID HIS SCHEDULED EXECUTION.

To execute a man with this much doubt, does not bode well for any of us.

REVEREND RAPHAEL WARNOCK OF EBENEZEER BAPTIST IN ATLANTA WAS ONE OF THE MANY PEOPLE UPSET BY THE RULING... AFTER DAYS OF PROTESTING DAVIS' EXECUTION.

THE N-A-A-C-P SAYS IT'S CONSIDERING ASKING PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA TO INTERVENE.

A SPOKESMAN FOR THE DEATH PENALTY INFORMATION CENTER SAYS THE PRESIDENT CAN'T GRANT DAVIS CLEMENCY BUT COULD HALT THE EXECUTION BY REQUESTING A FEDERAL INVESTIGATION.

THIS IS THE FOURTH TIME IN THE LAST FOUR YEARS THE BOARD HAS REJECTED DAVIS' APPEALS.



EAST DUBLIN POLICE CHIEF WILLIAM LUECKE STILL DOES NOT HAVE ARREST POWERS..

THAT'S ACCORDING TO PEACE OFFICER STANDARDS AND TRAINING COUNCIL EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR KEN VANCE..

VANCE SAID THE COUNCIL DENIED LUECKE'S REQUEST AFTER HE APPEARED IN FRONT OF THE STATE POST COUNCIL ON SEPTEMBER SEPTEMBER 7 SEEKING TO GET HIS ARREST POWERS REINSTATED..

VANCE SAID THE COUNCIL DENIED LEUCKE'S REQUEST BECAUSE HE "FAILED TO DO WHAT HE NEEDED TO DO AS A CERTIFICATION HOLDER."

HE ADDED LUECKE CAN PETITION THE COUNCIL TO GET HIS ARREST POWERS BACK, BUT THERE'S A THREE- TO SIX-MONTH WAITING PERIOD BEFORE HE CAN DO THAT.

LUECKE DID NOT RETURN PHONE CALLS FROM 13WMAZ..



PARTS OF TATNALL SQUARE PARK COULD SOON GET NEW SIDEWALKS.

MACON CITY COUNCIL VOTED THIS EVENING TO ACCEPT A ONE MILLION DOLLAR GRANT... TO ADD SIDEWALKS AND REDO THE ROAD BORDERING THE PARK ALONG COLLEGE STREET.

PAT MADISON WITH THE COLLEGE HILL ALLIANCE SPOKE TO THE COMMUNITY RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE... HE SAYS OTHER SIDES OF THE PARK ALREADY HAVE SIDEWALKS... SO THE NEW ADDITION WILL CREATE A MORE UNIFORM LOOK.

HE SAYS IT WILL ALSO ADD SAFETY.

"The biggest thing though is it will narrow College Street to make student crossing much safer from Alexander II school to their park on Tatnall Square Park."

THE MILLION DOLLAR GRANT IS FROM THE GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION... AND REQUIRES A TWENTY PERCENT LOCAL MATCH.

ACCORDING TO DCOUMENTS... MERCER UNIVERSITY AND THE KNIGHT FOUNDATION WILL PICK UP THAT TAB.



COUNCIL ALSO DECIDED TONIGHT THAT THE CITY WILL NOT TAKE ON MANAGMENT OF TERMINAL STATION.

COUNCIL VOTED LAST MONTH... FOR THE CITY TO OPERATE THE BUILDING... INSTEAD OF NEWTOWN MACON.

THE MAYOR VETOED THAT DECISION... AND TONIGHT COUNCIL DID NOT HAVE ENOUGH VOTES TO OVERRIDE HIM.

COUNCILMAN TOM ELLINGTON SAYS HE AGREED WITH THE MAYOR... BECAUSE HE'S CONCERNED IT COULD END UP LOSING MORE MONEY... UNDER CITY CONTROL.

"We'd need more personel for instance for maintenance. I'm also not convinced we have anybody in house whose prepared to do the marketing of that facility."

IN THE LAST FISCAL YEAR... TERMINAL STATION LOST ABOUT TWENTY SIX THOUSAND DOLLARS ACCORDING TO COUNCILMAN RICK HUTTO.



AGENTS WITH THE FORSYTH-MONROE COUNTY DRUG TASK FORCE DISCOVERED AN ACTIVE METH LAB IN FORSYTH..

THAT'S ACCORDING TO ALLISON SELMAN-WILLIS WITH THE MONROE COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE..

THE AGENTS RAIDED A HOME ON MIZE STREET AND FOUND THE METH LAB - THE SECOND METH LAB FOUND AT THE SAME HOUSE IN THE PAST COUPLE OF MONTHS..

THREE PEOPLE WERE ARRESTED INCLUDING 65 YEAR OLD RONALD CAREY LUMMUS, 48 YEAR OLD JAMES MICAHEL LUMMUS AND 38 YEAR OLD TRACI LYNN ZOELLER..

THE THREE ARE BEING HELD IN THE MONROE COUNTY JAIL..



ONE CENTRAL GEORGIA CHARITY WANTS TO REVAMP AN OLD ABANDONED SCHOOL BUILDING AND MAKE IT THE HEART OF A MACON COMMUNITY.

DEBRA ROLLINS WITH REBUILDING MACON PRESENTED HER IDEA BEFORE THE BIBB COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS TODAY.

SHE SAYS THE ELAM ALEXANDER SCHOOL WOULD MAKE THE PERFECT HEADQUARTERS FOR THE NON- PROFIT ORGANIZATION WHO'S MISSION IS REPAIRING HOMES FOR THE ELDERLY.

ROLLINS WANTS TO PRESENT HER IDEA BEFORE THE COUNTY'S PLANNING AND ZONING COMMITTEE... BUT THERE IS A TWO THOUSAND DOLLAR FEE INVOLVED.

SHE ASKED COMMISSIONERS TO WAIVE THAT FEE.

COMMISSIONERS WE TALKED WITH SAY THEY LIKE THE IDEA OF TURNING THE THE SCHOOL INTO SOMETHING POSITIVE FOR THE COMMUNITY.

"It is being vandalized as we speak and that is a problem and the neighborhood is really concerned about that and would like to see the building be put to good use."

COMMISSIONERS SAY THEY WON'T BE ABLE TO WAIVE THE FEE BUT SUGGESTED THAT THE COMMUNITY COME TOGETHER TO SUPPORT THE IDEA WITH DONATIONS.



A MUNICIPAL COURT JUDGE SAYS COUNCILWOMAN ELAINE LUCAS' FACEBOOK POSTS WERE NOT AN ETHICS VIOLATION.

JUDGE BOBBY FAULKNER DISMISSED AN ETHICS COMPLAINT TODAY SAYING THE COMMENTS ARE FREE SPEECH.

REPUBLICAN ACTIVIST BILL KNOWLES FILED THE COMPLAINT ALLEGING THAT LUCAS' FACEBOOK POSTINGS CRITICIZING POLITICAL OPPONENTS VIOLATED CITY ORDINANCE BY UNDERMINING CONFIDENCE IN CITY GOVERNMENT.

KNOWLES SAYS HE'S SADDENED BY THE RULING... WHILE LUCAS CALLED THE WHOLE THING RIDICULOUS.

Elaine Lucas, Councilwoman: I think this is all part of Mr. Knowles' feeble attempt to try and discredit anybody who is actively supporting the Democratic Party's nominee who will be Barack Obama.

Bill Knowles, Republican Activist: I'm sorry that Judge Faulkner did rule against this. I wish he had've ruled for us, for me and for the citizens. But I understand that she does have First Amendment rights and she needs to take it a lot more responsibly.

YOU CAN HEAR MORE FROM KNOWLES ON THE COMPLAINT DURING THIS WEEK'S CLOSE-UP... AT NOON SATURDAY AND 6 A-M SUNDAY... HERE ON 13WMAZ.



CREWS TOOK THE FIRST STEP TOWARDS GIVING THE MACON MALL A FACELIFT TODAY.

THEY BEGAN SHOVELING... RIPPING AND PLOWING NEAR THE EISENHOWER PARKWAY ENTRANCE AROUND 8 A-M.

CREWS PLAN TO CONTINUE TEARING OUT GRAVEL AND CREATE A ROUNDABOUT IN ITS PLACE.

MALL MANAGER MISHAY BINGHAM SAYS THE NEW CIRCLE ENTRANCE TO THE MALL WILL KEEP TRAFFIC FLOWING.

SHE SAYS... THEY'RE PAVING THE WAY... TO AN ECO-FRIENDLY MALL ENTRANCE.

Mishay Bingham, Mall Manager: "This process includes recycling the current curb, underneath the asphalt here we've got dirt, rock, and then the binder, and the topping for the asphalt. We are grinding all that up, which is what you see going on right now, and that will become a soil cement, which will be our new base."

HULL STOREY GIBSON L-L-C... THE MALL'S OWNERS... PLAN TO DEMOLISH THE EMPTY EAST WING.

THEY SAY THAT WILL REMOVE UNUSED SPACE AND HELP MANAGEMENT CONCENTRATE ON MAKING THE REST OF THE MALL SUCCESSFUL.



FACEBOOK ISN'T WAITING FOR ITS DEVELOPERS CONFERENCE THIS WEEK TO TACK ON NEW FEATURES.

THE SOCIAL NETWORKING POWER HAS REVAMPED USER PROFILES WITH A "TOP STORY" FUNCTION THAT HIGHLIGHTS THE MOST RELEVANT TIDBITS FROM FRIENDS... A TWITTER-LIKE NEWS TICKER ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE PAGE WITH REAL-TIME UPDATES... AND LARGER PHOTOS.

THE NEW LOOK SHOULD BE AVAILABLE TO ALL OF FACEBOOK'S USERS IN A WEEK OR SO... ACCORDING TO THE PRODUCT MANAGER FOR FACEBOOK'S NEWS FEED.

FACEBOOK IS ALSO EXPECTED TO FOLD MUSIC AND VIDEO INTO ITS SERVICE.

EARLIER TODAY... GOOGLE ALSO ANNOUNCED THAT IT WAS OPENING ITS GOOGLE PLUS SOCIAL NETWORK TO EVERYONE AFTER A THREE-MONTH CLOSED-TRIAL.

GOOGLE ALSO ANNOUNCED A SLEW OF NEW FEATURES... INCLUDING IMPROVED SEARCH AND CHANGES TO ITS "HANGOUTS" VIDEO CHAT FEATURE.

ANOTHER NEW FEATURE... CALLED ON-AIR... WILL LET GOOGLE PLUS USERS BROADCAST THEIR HANGOUTS TO THE PUBLIC FOR ANYONE TO WATCH.



CRITICS ARE CALLING IT A BOX OFFICE FLOP.

NOT A NEW MOVIE... BUT RATHER... NETFLIX... THE SERVICE THAT PROVIES THEM.

THE PIONEERING MAIL-IN D-V-D RENTAL SERVICE RECENTLY UNDERWENT SOME MAJOR CHANGES... UPSETTING ITS SUBSCRIBERS.

C-NET'S KARA (SUE-boy) TSUBOI EXPLAINS.<<

TRACK ONE: Netflix's red, mail-in DVD envelopes changed the way people watched movies. But recent price and service changes have angered their loyal base of 25-million subscribers.



Josh Lowensohn / CNET Writer

"PR wise, they're in a tough spot. They didn't do a very good job telling people what was going to happen."



TRACK TWO: That's why Reed Hastings, the CEO and Co-Founder of Netflix emailed customers and took to his company's blog and YouTube channel to apologize and explain himself.



Reed Hastings / Netflix CEO & Co-founder

"I just want to say how sorry I am of the way we handled the communication around these big changes."



TRACK THREE: Hastings explained that the company will now be splitting into two. One to process its DVD rentals and one to handle the online streaming service.



Josh Lowensohn / CNET Writer

"Now you're juggling things on two different websites and it's kind of become cumbersome now."



Kara Tsuboi / ON CAMERA STANDUP

"Another major change is the name. The DVD service will go from Netflix to Qwikster."



(MOS) Taylor Shaw / San Francisco, CA

"I think it sounds too much like Napster. I like Netflix better."



(MOS) Pamela Mcglinchey / San Mateo, CA

"Why change a brand name if you've already got a brand that's entrenched in the market?



(MOS) Mark Miller / Greenville, SC

"Qwikster. What does that mean? It doesn't say anything about what it is. Netflix tells you exactly."



TRACK FOUR: To add insult to injury, the Twitter user who has already claimed the handle @Qwickster is a smoking cartoon character, forcing CEO Hastings to wage a separate public relations battle.



>> THE NEW QWIKSTER WEBSITE IS EXPECTED TO BE UP AND RUNNING WITHIN A FEW WEEKS.

FOR ALL YOUR TECH HEADLINES... HEAD OVER TO THE GEEK 13 PAGE AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.

YOU'LL FIND THE LINK ON THE SCENE 13 PAGE.



WE HAVE A NEW WAY TO PROVIDE YOU MORE WEATHER... WHENEVER YOU WANT IT.

IT'S OUR 13WMAZ FORECAST FIRST WEATHER CHANNEL... AND BEGINNING TODAY.. IT'S ON COX CABLE.

YOU CAN GET YOUR DAILY FORECAST.. DOPPLER RADAR IMAGERY AND EXTENDED FORECASTS FROM THE 13WMAZ TEAM OF METEOROLOGISTS.

IF YOU HAVE THE COX CABLE ADVANCED TV TIER... YOU'LL FIND US ON CHANNEL 113.

IT'S ON MANY OTHER CABLE SYSTEMS, TOO. CHECK YOUR PROGRAM GUIDE FOR THE CORRECT CHANNEL NUMBER.

AND EVERYONE CAN CHECK OUT 'FORECAST FIRST' BY CONNECTING AN OVER-THE-AIR ANTENNA TO A T-V AND TUNING TO CHANNEL 13 POINT 3.



TONIGHT'S FACEBOOK FAN OF THE DAY IS JEROME HARMON.

JEROME... YOU'LL NEED TO EMAIL FAN OF THE DAY AT 13WMAZ DOT COM TO CLAIM YOUR COFFEE MUG.

IT'S SIMPLE MATH... ONE VISIT TO FACEBOOK DOT COM SLASH 13WMAZ.... PLUS ONE PRESS OF THE LIKE BUTTON... TIMES X-NUMBER OF CONVERSATION PARTICIPATIONS... COULD EQUAL ONE COFFEE MUG FOR YOU.



THANKS FOR JOINING US.... FIRST MORNIN COMES YOUR WAY AT 5 A-M.

THE NEWS IS ALWAYS ON AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.

LETTERMAN'S NEXT.

HAVE A SAFE NIGHT EVERYONE.

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