Friday, September 30, Eyewitness News at 11

3:31 PM, Sep 28, 2011   |    comments
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GOOD EVENING AND THANKS FOR JOINING US..
I'M LEAH JOHNSON..THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT 11.

THE MACON-BIBB FIREFIGHTER WHO LOST HIS JOB OVER A HAZING STUNT... SAYS HE TOOK THE MOST HEAT... BECAUSE HE'S NOT A HIGH RANKING OFFICER.
CHRIS HUGHES SAYS CAPTAIN STEPHANIE BURKE PLANNED THE ROOKIE-PRANK... AND HE SAYS EVERYONE IN THE FIREHOUSE KNEW ABOUT IT BEFORE IT WENT DOWN.
CHIEF MARVIN RIGGINS FIRED HUGHES FOR SUPPLYING THE B-B GUN USED IN THE PRANK.
HUGHES SAYS A LOUD BANG... MEANT TO SOUND LIKE A GUNSHOT... WAS ACTUALLY A FIRECRACKER HE SET OFF.
HE SAYS CAPTAIN BURKE ASKED HIM TO FIND A FAKE GUN FOR THE HOAX.
HUGHES SAYS IN A TEXT MESSAGE CONVERSATION BETWEEN HE AND BURKE... HE TEXTED HER QUOTE... I GOT THE FAKE GUN... AND SHE REPLIED SHE'D CALL OTHERS INVOLVED.
Chris Hughes, Fired Firefighter: "If this is zero tolerance, it should be a zero tolerance. You know, it's kinda like you have a zero tolerance on drinking and driving, no matter if you just a point over, you know, or a lot over. You gonna get the same thing the next person gets. You know, I feel that this wasn't handled the right way and it's been like that for a while. You know, you have your pick and choose who you gonna punish more than the other? And you just seein' it in this episode. You know, I played a role just like everybody else played a role. And the only excuse they have to give me is I was fired because I provided a BB gun which I was asked to bring. And yeah I know I could've said no but, like I said, the same thing was played on me in '05. And six years later, you know, nothin' happened then so I figured I'd go along with this one and pledge up on this one. Everybody would get a good laugh and we'd be done with it. But the biggest mistake is when they put it on Youtube. And the media and the citizens got a hold of it and forced him to make a decision and he made the wrong decision in my thoughts."
HUGHES SAYS ROOKIE PRANKS ON FIREFIGHTERS ARE COMMON... AND SAYS THIS IS THE THIRD SHOOTING HOAX HE KNOWS OF IN HIS DEPARTMENT.
HE SAYS THE TROUBLE STARTED WHEN SOMEONE POSTED THE VIDEO TO YOUTUBE.
HE SAYS BURKE ASKED THE FIRE FIGHTER WHO POSTED IT ON-LINE TO TAKE IT DOWN A DAY LATER... BUT IT WAS TOO LATE.
WE COULD NOT REACH STEPHANIE BURKE FOR COMMENT....BUT MACON MAYORAL SPOKESMAN CLAY MURPHEY SAID SHE DENIED KNOWING ABOUT THE PRANK IN ADVANCE.
MURPHEY SAYS SHE NOW FACES DEMOTION BECAUSE SHE FAILED TO STOP THE STUNT.

THREE MONTHS AGO TODAY... MACON POLICE DISCOVERED PART OF MISSING MERCER LAW STUDENT LAUREN GIDDINGS' BODY.
POLICE SAY THEY HAVE HER KILLER IN CUSTODY.
STEPHEN MCDANIEL IS STILL IN THE BIBB COUNTY JAIL AWAITING TRIAL.
POLICE FOUND GIDDINGS' TORSO IN A TRASH CAN OUTSIDE HER APARTMENT BUILDING ON JUNE 30... AFTER FRIENDS REPORTED THE TWENTY SEVEN YEAR OLD MERCER LAW GRADUATE MISSING.
BIBB COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY GREG WINTERS SAYS HE'LL ONLY GET ONE SHOT AT THIS CASE... AND HE INTENDS TO GET IT RIGHT.
WE REACHED WINTERS BY PHONE TODAY... HE SAYS HE'S HASN'T SET A DATE YET TO SEND MCDANIEL BEFORE A GRAND JURY.

BY STATE LAW.... HE HAS 90 DAYS FROM THE DATE MCDANIEL WAS CHARGED... TO GET HIM INDICTED.
AFTER NINETY DAYS... HE SAYS... MCDANIEL IS ENTITLED TO BOND.
BUT HERE'S THE CATCH....MCDANIEL NOW FACES THREE DIFFERENT SETS OF CHARGES... BURGLARY... MURDER AND CHILD PORNOGRAPHY.
AND THAT MEANS HE'LL PROBABLY REMAIN IN JAIL UNTIL AT LEAST MID-NOVEMBER.
WINTERS SAYS HE WON'T ASK FOR THE INDICTMENT UNTIL MORE OF THAT EVIDENCE IS IN HAND.
SPOKESWOMAN JAMI GAUDET SAYS...THEY HAVEN'T RECEIVED ANY NEW EVIDENCE IN RECENT WEEKS FROM THE F-B-I CRIME LAB.
POLICE SENT DOZENS OF ITEMS FROM BARRISTERS HALL TO THE F-B-I.

TWO MEN WERE SENTENCED TO LIFE IN PRISON... FOR A 2010 MURDER.
BIBB COUNTY ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY SANDRA MATSON SAYS JUDGE MARTHA CHRISTIAN SENTENCED 21-YEAR-OLDS DEMEKO WILSON AND RAYMON GREEN TO LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE... PLUS 45 YEARS... FOR KILLING 29-YEAR-OLD CHRISTOPHER FINNEY.
MATSON SAYS THE MEN WERE CONVICTED ON SEVERAL CHARGES... INCLUDING FELONY MURDER AND AGGRAVATED ASSAULT.
SHE SAYS WILSON AND GREEN SHOT FINNEY IN MAY 2010 DURING AN ATTEMPTED ARMED ROBBERY.
MATSON SAYS THE TWO ALSO FIRED SHOTS AT A GAS STATION A FEW DAYS LATER.
WILSON AND GREEN WERE CONVICTED OF FOUR COUNTS OF AGGRAVATED ASSAULT IN THAT CASE.

THE 1-16TH AIR CONTROL WING AT ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE CELEBRATED A CHANGE OF COMMAND TODAY.
THEY HELD A CEREMONY AT THE MUSEUM OF AVIATION.
THE 4-61ST AIR CONTROL WING WAS ALSO ACTIVATED AND BLENDED WITH THE 1-16TH.
HUNDREDS ATTEND THE SPECIAL EVENT WHICH ACCORDING TO ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE.... IS DEEPLY ROOTED IN MILITARY TRADITION.
COLONEL HENRY CYR (SEAR)... VICE COMMANDER OF THE 4-61ST AIR CONTROL WING SAYS... THE ORGANIZATIONS WILL REMAIN A TEAM WITH THE SAME MISSION BUT WILL JUST OPERATE UNDER A TWO WING STRUCTURE
"The units that fly the J-Stars aircraft here at Robins have been intergrated between active duty and guard members for nine years. Based upon an Air Force directive, the organization will change but the mission will stay the same."
THE 4-61ST AND 1-16TH AIR CONTROL WINGS WILL ORGANIZE... TRAIN AND EQUIP PERSONNEL TO SUPPORT THE JOINT SURVEILLANCE TARGET ATTACK RADAR SYSTEM...ALSO KNOWN AS J-STARS.

TEXAS GOVERNOR AND REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFUL RICK PERRY MADE A STOP IN GEORGIA TODAY.
PERRY SPOKE THIS MORNING IN SMYRNA.
DOUG RICHARDS WITH OUR ATLANTA SISTER STATION 11 ALIVE WAS THERE... HE RAN THE GOVERNOR'S SPEECH... THROUGH A TRUTH TEST.
<<I'm Doug Richards


Before he announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination, Texas Governor Rick Perry scheduled a speech before the Georgia Policy Foundation.


VO He gave the speech this morning, stayed on script, took no questions, then held a fundraiser and left town. He repeated a claim that is an eye-opener, and it it's drawing the attention of 11 Alive's bull meter.


824 my home state since June of 2009 created 40 percent of the new jobs in America since June of 2009.


OC: It's a remarkable claim. Texas has less than ten percent of the nation's population. But Perry says it created 40 percent of the nation's jobs?


<Http://www.dallasfed.org/research/jobgrowth/2011/1106.cfm>


Job Creation
June 2009 - July 2011
Texas: 328,000 new jobs
US: 697,000 new jobs
Texas: 47% of new jobs in US




The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics says that Texas created 328,000 jobs between June 2009 and July of this year -- while the the country created 697,000 jobs. That's more than 40 percent of the nation's jobs.


1934 seems to me to be an incredible record. and the forty percent of job creation? You can argue that from a lot of different perspectives statistically.


That's Tom Rice, a Republican state representative who hasn't endorsed anybody yet.


Unemployment
June 2009 - July 2011
Texas: Rose from 7.7 to 8.4%
US: Dropped from 9.5 to 9.1%


Perry has many detractors and their favorite Texas statistic is this one: During that same period of time, unemployment rose in Texas -- from 7.7 percent to 8.4 percent-- while it dropped nationally. (9.5 to 9.1 pct)


OC How do you create more jobs and more unemployment? More people. Texas's population growth has been double the national average.


OC Detractors also point out that oil-rich Texas has created more jobs than the national average since the 1970s -- back when Rick Perry was still a Democrat. But the Bullmeter can't complain about Perry's specific claim -- Texas did create more than 40 percent of the nation's jobs since June 2009 -- just as Rick Perry said. >>
PERRY ALSO CONTRASTED HIS RECORD WITH THAT OF HIS CHIEF G-O-P RIVAL... MITT ROMNEY.
HE SAID REPUBLICANS WILL CHOOSE SOMEONE WHO HAS QUOTE--"GOVERNED ON CONSERVATIVE PRINCIPLES"... AND NOT ONE WHOSE HEALTH CARE POLICIES... PERRY SAID... "PAVED THE WAY FOR OBAMACARE."

IF YOUR WEEKEND PLANS TAKE YOU THROUGH BIBB COUNTY TOMORROW... YOU MIGHT NOTICE SOME DELAYS ON INTERSTATE 16.
THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION SAYS TO EXPECT DOUBLE LANE CLOSURES ON THE WESTBOUND SIDE.
THEY SAY CREWS WILL MAKE EMERGENCY ROAD REPAIRS BETWEEN 7 A-M AND 5 P-M.
THE D-O-T SAYS WORKERS WILL BE CLOSE TO THE ROAD... AND SAYS YOU SHOULD SLOW DOWN WHEN DRIVING THROUGH THAT AREA.

IT SOUNDS LIKE WE'RE HEADED INTO OCTOBER WITH SOME NICE WEEKEND WEATHER.
AND IF YOU'RE PLANNING A DINNER OUT... YOU MAY WANT TO SEE HOW YOUR FAVORITE RESTAURANTS DID... WHEN THE HEALTH INSPECTOR DROPPED IN.
AMY AUBERT HAS THIS WEEK'S RESTAURANT RATINGS...
<<WE'RE BACK IN BIBB COUNTY THIS WEEK...STARTING OFF WITH OUR LOWEST SCORES FIRST....
DOWNTOWN GRILL AT 5-62 MULBERRY STREET LANE IN MACON... GOT AN 85... A "B"... DROPPING FROM A PERFECT 100 LAST TIME.MRS. WINNERS AT 24-19 PIO NONO AVENUE SCORED AN 87... THAT'S A "B"... COMING AFTER A 91 OR "A" LAST TIME.AND FINCHER'S BARBECUE AT 56-27 HOUSTON ROAD IN MACON SCORED A 90... THAT'S AN "A"... FOLLOWING A 92... ANOTHER "A" ON THE INSPECTION BEFORE. NOW FOR A LOOK THE TOP SCORES OF THE WEEK... AND THIS WEEK'S GOLDEN SPATULA NOMINEES...JOE D'S AT 23-29 INGLESIDE AVENUE IN MACON... WHIPPED UP A PERFECT 100... ON THEIR PAST TWO INSPECTIONS.
TUCKER'S BARBECUE AT 45-91 BROADWAY IN MACON ALSO SERVED UP TWO FLAWLESS SCORES ON THEIR LATEST INSPECTIONS.
VERONICA'S SOUL FOOD AT 20-55 EISENHOWER PARKWAY IN MACON KEPT UP THE PERFECT SCORE TREND... WITH TWO 100'S.I AVERAGED OUR NOMINEES PAST FIVE SCORES... AND WE CAME OUT WITH A THREE-WAY TIE. WE'RE AWARDING THE GOLDEN SPATULA TO A RESTAURANT THAT HASN'T WON IN RECENT WEEKS.
THE WINNER... JOE D'S... WITH A PERFECT 5 SCORE AVERAGE OF A 100.
JOIN US AGAIN NEXT FRIDAY FOR MORE RESTAURANT RATINGS... AMY AUBERT... 13 WMAZ... EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>> FOR ALL YOUR RESTAURANT RATINGS... GO TO OUR WEBSITE 13WMAZ DOT COM.
HOVER OVER THE FEATURES TAB... AND CLICK RESTAURANT RATINGS.

TONIGHT'S FACEBOOK FAN OF THE DAY IS STEPHANIE FOSTER RAMAGE.
STEPHANIE... YOU'LL NEED TO EMAIL FAN OF THE DAY AT 13WMAZ DOT COM TO CLAIM YOUR COFFEE MUG.
YOU KNOW THE ROUTE TO FAN OF THE DAY STATUS.... FACEBOOK DOT COM SLASH 13WMAZ... LIKE BUTTON... CONVERSATIONS.

A CALIFORNIA FAMILY WAS REUNITED TODAY... AFTER AN ACCIDENT LEFT THEIR DAD MISSING FOR NEARLY A WEEK.
HIS CAR PLUNGED OFF THE SIDE OF A MOUNTAIN AND HE MANAGED TO SURVIVE FOR SIX DAYS.
CHRIS WOLFE HAS MORE.
<<You don't know if it's echoing or where it's coming from. So I just ran up to the top and I looked down and I saw my dad's car, and of course my heart dropped. And I realized, oh my God. I could not see how to get down I just could not figure it out. I said, "dad we're gonna be there, we're gonna be there. And he was just was crying and crying. And so I just slid from tree to tree, grabbing on trees to trees.
DAD IS 67-YEAR-OLD DAVID LAVAU, OF LAKE HUGHES. HE DISAPPEARED LAST FRIDAY NIGHT. BUT FAMILY MEMBERS SIMPLY THOUGHT HE'D TAKEN A TRIP TO SEE HIS GIRLFRIEND OR SOMETHING. DAYS PASSED, HOWEVER, AND THEY GREW CONCERNED. DAVID LAVAU'S FAMILY FOUND HIM ALIVE AT THE BOTTOM OF A MOUNTAIN AFTER HIS CAR PLUNGED 200 FEET OFF LAKE HUGHES ROAD NEAR LAKE HUGHES.
IT'S A DEAD ZONE. NO CELL SERVICE, NOTHING. HE'D BEEN DOWN HERE SIX DAYS. SIX DAYS.
Of course I hugged him, we both cried. I said, "how did you make it?" He said, "I drank the water in the river and I ate leaves and bugs."
Yeah, the story we have from him when I spoke to him about it, he was heading this direction. Another car was heading towards him, had bright lights on. So he flashed the lights at the car. I believe probably at that point he swerved and went off the road.
BEYOND THE SURVIVAL STORY, IS THE AMAZING DRAMA OF THE LAVAU FAMILY'S DETERMINATION AND DETECTIVE WORK TO FIND DAD.
The detectives, I know they were doing their job, doing their work, but they weren't able to collaborate with us. So we couldn't put our heads together. So we were sort of doing a lot of it on our own.
So we got credit cards, cell phone, we broke into his Facebook, and found out there was no communication. Our 12-year-old, Ashley, broke into the cell phone by a code... I don't even know how she did it. So we got to find out all the voicemails.
There was no credit card trails, no cell phone trails since Friday, so we narrowed it down that he had to have gone off anywhere from the 5 Freeway in Castaic to Lake Hughes, where he lives. >>
DAVID LaVAU WAS AIRLIFTED TO A HOSPITAL FOR TREATMENT.
HE BROKE HIS COLLAR BONE AND HAS CUTS AND BRUISES... BUT HE'S EXPECTED TO BE OKAY.

ELECTIRC MEMBERSHIP CORPORATIONS OF GEORGIA TEAMED UP WITH THE PGA TOUR'S BIRDIES FOR THE BRAVE FOR THE FIRST ANNUAL HEROES INVITATIONAL GOLF TOURNAMENT.
THE EVENT WAS HELD AT SOUTHERN HILLS GOLF AND COUNTRY CLUB IN HAWKINSVILLE.
IT RAISES MONEY FOR MILITARY MEMBERS AND THEIR FAMILIES... WHILE GIVING WOUNDED SOLDIERS AN OPPORTUNITY TO PLAY.
RETIRED MASTER SERGEANT... MICHAEL ROLLINS SUFFERED A TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY WHEN HIS GROUP WAS ATTACKED IN IRAQ IN 2003. HE SAYS PLAYING IN THE TOURNAMENT HAS BEEN THE BEST DAY OF HIS LIFE.
Michael Rollins, Retired MSgt: " It just gives you the opportunity to het out and just be normal for a day you're not injured when you're out here you're just like everybody else they treat you just like family it's just a blessing."
THE TOURNAMENT RAISES MONEY THROUGH GREEN FEES... DONATIONS... AND RAFFLES.
ALL OF THE MONEY WILL GO TO BIRDIES FOR THE BRAVE.

TODAY.. CENTRAL GEORGIA STUDENTS TIPPED THEIR HATS TO RAISE AWARENESS ABOUT A SERIOUS DISEASE.
IT'S A STORY THAT COMES STRAIGHT FROM THE HEART.
AT TATTNALL SQUARE ACADEMY... CHILDREN PAID A DOLLAR TO WEAR HATS TO SCHOOL TODAY IN HONOR OF THEIR PEERS... WHO SUFFER FROM CANCER....
IT ALSO CALLS ATTENTION TO THOSE WHO HAVE EXPERIENCED SIDE EFFECTS LIKE HAIR LOSS....
TATTNALL SQUARE ACADEMY HAS EXPERIENCED THE EFFECTS OF THE DISEASE FIRSTHAND...
ABBY WILSON, HAS BEEN BATTLING LUNG CANCER FOR 5 YEARS AND UNDERWENT SURGERY WEDNESDAY.
SOME OF HER FRIENDS EXPLAINED WHY THEY THINK IT IS IMPORTANT TO GO INVOLVED...
Madison Deese Tattnall Square Academy "This could be you, you could be in that same situtaion and I think that I would most defiently would want all of my friends and everybody backed up behind me. so i think that Abby deserves that just as much as everybody eles and maybe even more because she is just a great person"
THE INITIATIVE IS PART OF THE MISSION OF JAY'S HOPE... A NON-PROFIT WITH THE GOAL OF IMPROVING THE QUALITY OF LIFE FOR CHILDREN BATTLING THE DISEASE....
TODAY'S EVENT RAISED SEVERAL HUNDRED DOLLARS..


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