Friday, November 4, Eyewitness News at 6

10:40 PM, Nov 4, 2011   |    comments
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HELLO EVERYONE AND THANKS FOR JOINING US.
I'M LEAH JOHNSON..
AND I'M FRANK MALLOY..THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT SIX.

WITH ELECTION DAY DRAWING CLOSER - MORE CENTRAL GEORGIA LEADERS SAY A VOTE FOR NEXT WEEKS' BIBB COUNTY SPLOST WOULD HELP KEEP ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE STRONG.
YESTERDAY...WE TOLD YOU ABOUT THE ENCROACHMENT ISSUE...AND HOW BASE SUPPORTERS CALL IT ONE OF THE BIGGEST THREATS TO THE AREA'S LARGEST EMPLOYER.
TODAY...BIBB AND HOUSTON COUNTY OFFICIALS RALLIED FOR THE SALES TAX... AND SAID IT WOULD ALLOW ROBINS ROOM TO GROW.
JENNIFER MOULLIET HAS MORE.
<<
Rick Goddard Maj. Gen. Ret. (USAF): "With this SPLOST we're working very hard to solve the encroachment issue."

RETIRED MAJOR GENERAL RICK GODDARD SAYS CENTRAL GEORGIANS NEED TO DO EVERYTHING THEY CAN TO SAVE ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE FROM A FUTURE ROUND OF BASE CLOSINGS.... AND PRESIDENT OF MACON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE... CHIP CHERRY SAYS BUYING LAND IN THE BASE'S ENCROACHMENT AREAS WOULD HELP.

Chip Cherry: "It's about the health of the individuals that live in this area, it's about the safety of the people that live in this area, and it's about eliminating a liability to Robins Air Force Base."

IF IT PASSES....BIBB COUNTY OFFICIALS PLAN TO USE SIX MILLION DOLLARS FROM THE SPECIAL PURPOSE LOCAL OPTION SALES TAX TO BUY OUT PROPERTIES IN THE BASE'S ENCROACHMENT PERIMETER. MACON MAYOR ROBERT REICHERT SAYS PEOPLE WILL BARELY NOTICE THE COST.

Robert Reichert: "Right now we're at six percent so for a five dollar footlong your total bill is five dollars and thirty cents. If you pass this Local Option Sales Tax your total bill will be five dollars and thiry-five cents the beauty of it is it cost you an extra nickel to buy your foot long sandwich everybody else that comes through macon and buys a footlong is also going to pay us a nickel."

GODDARD SAYS ROBINS IS THE ONLY AIR LOGISTICS CENTER WITH ENCROACHMENT ISSUES.... AND SPLOST MONEY WILL PUT HELP PUT THEM ON A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD .

Rick Goddard Maj. Gen. Ret. (USAF): "It doesn't gurantee anything but it certainly puts you in a position much more favorable when that BRAC process begins."

JENNIFER MOULLIET 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS.

>> CHIP CHERRY SAYS THERE ARE TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY-FIVE PROPERTIES IN THE ENCROACHMENT AREA.
THE SIX MILLION DOLLARS IN SPLOST MONEY WOULD HELP THEM BUY AROUND EIGHTY.
EARLY VOTING ENDED TODAY.
VOTING AT YOUR REGULAR POLLING PLACE OPENS AT 7 A-M TUESDAY.

AND AS WE TOLD YOU YESTERDAY...MORE THAN 5-HUNDRED JOB CUTS ARE COMING AT ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE... WITH POSSIBILITY OF MORE TO COME.
THE AIR FORCE SAYS ITS WORKING OUT THE DETAILS OF CHOPPING 45-HUNDRED MORE JOBS.
ANOTHER MAJOR ISSUE CENTRAL GEORGIA LEADERS ARE WATCHING... IS THE REPORT FROM HE SUPER COMMITTEE IN WASHINGTON D-C.
LORRA LYNCH JONES EXPLAINS WHAT THAT IS... AND WHY IT MATTERS TO ROBINS.
<<LORRA ON CAM
THE SUPER COMMITTEE IS THE NICK-NAME GIVEN TO WHAT'S FORMALLY CALLED THE JOINT SELECT COMMITTEE ON DEFECIT REDUCTION.
(TAKE GFX)
IT WAS FORMED TO CUT THE NATIONAL DEFECIT... BY TRIMMING ONE-POINT-TWO TRILLION DOLLARS OVER TEN YEARS.
IT'S MADE-UP OF TWELVE HOUSE AND SENATE MEMBERS... SIX DEMOCRATS... SIX REPUBLICANS. NONE OF GEORGIA'S LEADERS ARE ON THE PANEL.
ON CAM
THEY'RE FOCUSED ON DEFENSE SPENDING... TAXES... MAJOR ENTITLEMENT FUNDS... SUCH as HEALTH CARE AND EDUCATION.
CONGRESS SET A NOVEMBER 23RD DEADLINE TO GET THIS ALL FIGURED OUT... AND AS DIRECTOR OF THE CENTER FOR ECONOMIC ANAlYLIS AT MACON STATE COLLEGE... GREG GEORGE... EXPLAINS... THERE COULD BE MAJOR CONSEQUENCES IF THEY DON'T MAKE A DEAL BY THEN.
(TAKE SOT)
Greg George: (16:20) "If they don't reach a compromise, you're looking at $600 billion in cuts over ten years. That's on top of the $450 billion the Defense Department has already incurred. If they reach agreement, there could be defense cuts built into the new agreement."
BUT GEORGE SAYS THOSE CUTS WOULD BE MUCH MORE MANAGABLE THAN THE ACROSS THE BOARD CUT OPTION.. TERMED "THE SEQUESTER OPTION" BY CONGRESS.
GEORGE SAYS IF THAT HAPPENED... IT WOULD PUT TREMENDOUS STRESS ON THE FUTURE OF ROBINS.... AND THEREFORE... CENTRAL GEORGIA'S ECONOMY.
Greg George: (3:07) "What were really concerned about is BRAC. With Base Realignment and Closure pressures, more cuts means more pressure there. We just can't have the base being shut down. That would be cataprophic for the local economy."
GEORGE SAYS THERE'S A LOT OF POLITICAL JOCKEYING GOING ON WITH IN THE COMMITTEE... ESPECIALLY BECAUSE OF NEXT YEAR'S ELECTION.
HE SAYS IF THEY MEET THAT NOVEMBER 23RD DEADLINE... CONGRESS IS SUPPOSED TO VOTE ON THE DEAL BY DECEMBER 23RD.
STD>> WE'LL BE KEEPING A CLOSE EYE ON THE SUPER COMMITTEE... AND HOW THEIR DECISIONS COULD AFFECT ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE.
TOP MILITARY LEADERS TOLD THE COMMITTEE THIS WEEK THAT MORE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE CUTS WOULD CAUSE IRREVERSABLE DAMAGE... AND BRING THE AIR FORCE TO THE LOWEST LEVEL IN ITS HISTORY.

WARNER ROBINS CITY COUNCILMAN JOHN WILLIAMS WON'T FACE AN ELECTION-WEEK COURT TRIAL AFTER ALL.
THE HOUSTON COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE SAYS WILLIAMS' TRIAL ON CHARGES OF FILING A FALSE POLICE REPORT HAS BEEN POSTPONED UNTIL AT LEAST FEBRUARY.
IT WAS SCHEDULED TO BEGIN MONDAY... A DAY BEFORE THE CITY ELECTION.
WILLIAMS FACES TWO CHALLENGERS FOR HIS POST 6 SEAT.
IN JUNE 2010...POLICE SAY WILLIAMS ACCUSED A WOMAN OF TAKING HIS CITY CELL PHONE AT A WARNER ROBINS WAFFLE HOUSE
WILLIAMS DENIED THAT....BUT HE WAS INDICTED FOR MAKING FALSE STATEMENTS TO POLICE.

A BOMB THREAT TO A BUS...SENT BY TEXT MESSAGE....CAUSED A STIR TODAY OUTSIDE FORSYTH'S HUBBARD MIDDLE SCHOOL.
SHERIFF CARY BITTICK SAYS IT HAPPENED AROUND 3 P-M....AS STUDENTS WERE LEAVING SCHOOL.
A GIRL ON THE BUS GOT THE TEXT MESSAGE SAYING A BOMB WAS ON BOARD.
SO AUTHORITIES EMPTIED THE BUS ...AND SEARCHED IT.
BITTICK SAYS THEY BELIEVE THE MESSAGE WAS A HOAX. NOBODY WAS INJURED.
HE SAYS THEY'RE LOOKING AT THE GIRL'S PHONE...TO TRY TO DETERMINE WHO SENT THE TEXT.

DOMESTIC PARTNERS OF GAY AND LESBIAN EMPLOYEES OF MERCER UNVERSITY... CAN NOW GET INSURANCE THROUGH THE SCHOOL.
THAT'S AFTER THE BAPTIST UNVERSITY CHANGED ITS POLICY LAST FRIDAY.
SAME-SEX PARTNERS OF UNIVERSITY FACULTY AND STAFF NOW QUALIFY FOR HEALTH AND DENTAL BENEFITS... AS WELL AS THINGS LIKE LIBRARY ACCESS... AND TUITION WAIVERS.
AS ELEANOR LISSITZYN EXPLAINS... UNIVERSITY OFFICIALS SAY THE MOVE WAS IMPORTANT TO MERCER'S FUTURE.
Mercer University Chief of Staff Larry Brumley says the unversity's decision to extend benefits to same-sex couples, is about keeping the university competitive. He says a committee established last spring took a look at policies at other unversities across the Southeast and made the recommendation to help Mercer recruit and maintain top-notch staff.
Brumley says for the university's presdient, it was also an ethical decision.
He says it was about affirming quote the "value and dignity" of all faculity and staff. It's a move that will likely raise some eyebrows in the community, Mercer was founded as a baptist school.
They were also a member of the Southern Baptist COnvention as recently as 2006. But speaking to several students on campus, they seem to feel it's a positive move.
Student: "I'm Baptist myself, but I think everyone's entitled to their own personal choice, again a life choice like that, I'm happy for them. Things like that, it wouldn't do any harm to anyone."
Student: "A lot of faculty weren't coming to Mercer because they didn't have the benefits, and now it has opened the school up to a broader range of faculty."
Student: "There will be a lot of opposition I think, from older supporters. But I think it's neccessary, it's a great step forward for Mercer to stay current."
University officials say the policy is effective immediatly.
STD

WE SPOKE TO SEVERAL OTHER STUDENTS ON CAMPUS THIS AFTERNOON WHO DECLINED TO GO ON CAMERA.
THEY WERE ALSO IN FAVOR OF THE NEW POLICY.
WE ALSO REACHED OUT TO MERCER PRESIDENT WILLIAM UNDERWOOD.
HE WAS UNAVAILABLE FOR COMMENT THIS AFTERNOON.

THE WEEKEND IS HERE... AND YOU MAY BE LOOKING TO CELEBRATE.
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 JOINS US WITH THIS WEEK'S RESTAURANT RATINGS.
WE'RE BACK IN HOUSTON COUNTY THIS WEEK...STARTING OFF WITH OUR LOWEST SCORES FIRST....
NU-WAY WEINERS AT 12-15 RUSSELL PARKWAY IN WARNER ROBINS... SCORED AN 88... A "B"... DROPPING FROM A 90 OR "A"... LAST TIME.
ACCORDING TO THE INSPECTION REPORT... COLD FOOD WAS NOT HELD AT THE PROPER TEMPERATURE AND ADEQUATE VENTILATION AND LIGHTING WAS NOT USED.
PIZZA HUT AT 13-44 SAM NUNN BOULEVARD IN PERRY... GOT AN 87... A "B"... COMING AFTER A 74 OR "C" ON THE INSPECTION BEFORE.
ACCORDING TO THE HEALTH INSPECTOR... PROPER EATING... TASTING... DRINKING OR TOBACCO USE WAS NOT FOLLOWED.
HE NOTES THAT AS A RISK FOR FOODBORNE ILLNESS.
HE ALSO SAYS CONTAMINATION WAS NOT PREVENTED DURING FOOD PREPARATION AND DISPLAY.

AND WAFFLE HOUSE AT 15-01 WATSON BOULEVARD IN WARNER ROBINS SCORED AN 86... A "B"... FOLLOWING AN 80... ANOTHER "B"... LAST TIME.
THE INSPECTION REPORT SAYS ADEQUATE HANDWASHING FACILITIES WERE NOT SUPPLIED AND ACCESSIBLE... IT NOTES THAT AS A RISK FOR FOODBORNE ILLNESS.
IT ALSO SAYS WIPING CLOTHS WERE NOT PROPERLY USED AND STORED.
NOW FOR A LOOK THE TOP SCORES OF THE WEEK... AND THIS WEEK'S GOLDEN SPATULA NOMINEES...
BURGER KING AT 1000 ST. PATRICKS DRIVE IN PERRY WHIPPED UP A PERFECT SCORE... COMING AFTER A 91 OR "A"... LAST TIME.
PEACHES N CREAM AT 18-07 WATSON BOULEVARD IN WARNER ROBINS... SCORED A 96... AN "A".... FOLLOWING A 93... ANOTHER "A"... ON THE INSPECTION BEFORE.
AND MONKEY JOE'S AT 49-93 RUSSELL PARKWAY IN WARNER ROBINS SERVED UP A 95... AN "A"... COMING AFTER A PERFECT 100 LAST TIME.
JOIN US AGAIN TONIGHT AS WE AVERAGE OUR NOMINEES PAST FIVE SCORES TO GIVE YOU THIS WEEK'S GOLDEN SPATULA WINNER....FRANK...LEAH?
FOR ALL YOUR BIBB AND HOUSTON COUNTY RESTAURANT RATINGS... GO TO OUR WEBSITE 13WMAZ DOT COM.
HOVER OVER THE FEATURES TAB... AND CLICK RESTAURANT RATINGS.

TWO STATE LAWMAKERS WANT TO PASS A BILL THAT WOULD REQUIRE PEOPLE TO PASS A DRUG TEST TO RECEIVE WELFARE.
STATE REPRESENTATIVE JASON SPENCER AND STATE SENATOR JOHN ALBERS... BOTH REPUBLICAN... HOPE THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY WILL CONSIDER THE PLAN NEXT YEAR.
THE MEASURE WOULD NOT APPLY TO PEOPLE ON FOOD STAMPS... OR OTHER PUBLIC ASSISTANCE.
TODAY'S 13WMAZ DOT COM WEB POLL ASKS... SHOULD WELFARE RECIPIENTS HAVE TO PASS DRUG TESTS?
SO FAR 95 PERCENT OF YOU SAY YES.
5 PERCENT SAY NO.
VOTE NOW... LOOK FOR THE QUESTION ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE HOMEPAGE AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.

WE'RE HEADING TO MILLEDGEVILLE FOR A LOOK AT OUR "WHERE YOU LIVE" PAGES.
TONIGHT... YOU CAN JOIN THE FIRST FRIDAY FESTIVITIES IN DOWNTOWN MILLEDGEVILLE.
MILLEDGEVILLE MAIN STREET'S NOVEMBER THEME IS "GIVE THANKS."
JOIN IN THE FUN DOWNTOWN UNTIL 8 P-M TO SEE THE WORK OF CRYSTAL WAGNER...
SHE'S THE FEATURED ARTIST OF THE MONTH.
YOU CAN ALSO HEAR JERRY ATKINS STRUMMING THE GUITAR.
FOR MORE ON THE FIRST FRIDAY FUN... VISIT THE MILLEDGEVILLE PAGE IN OUR "WHERE YOU LIVE" SECTION AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.

THANKS FOR JOINING US.... WE'LL BE BACK TONIGHT AT 11.
BUT REMEMBER...THE NEWS IS ALWAYS ON AT 13WMAZ.COM !
THE EVENING NEWS IS UP NEXT.
HAVE A SAFE NIGHT EVERYONE.


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