Wednesday, November 16, Eyewitness News at 6

11:45 PM, Nov 16, 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.

OUR TOP STORY TONIGHT... SEVERE STORMS INCLUDING TORNADO WARNINGS... ROARED THROUGH MANY PARTS OF CENTRAL GEORGIA THIS AFTERNOON.
CHIEF METEOROLOGIST BEN JONES HAS BEEN TRACKING THE SYSTEM... HE'S JOINING US NOW WITH MORE FROM THE WEATHER CENTER.

BILL DURDEN WORKS FOR WASHINGTON E-M-C... HE TOOK PHOTOS OF THE STORM DAMAGE IN THE WARTHEN AREA IN WASHINGTON COUNTY... AND HE'S JOINING US BY PHONE TO TALK ABOUT THEM.
WE WANT TO SEE YOUR STORM AND STORM AFTERMATH PHOTOS AND VIDEO.
FIRST... MAKE SURE IT'S SAFE... THEN SNAP A FEW PICTURES AND EITHER EMAIL THEM TO EYEWITNESS NEWS AT 13WMAZ DOT COM... OR UPLOAD THEM USING OUR UPLOAD TOOL.

THE ATTORNEY FOR ACCUSED MURDERER STEPHEN MCDANIEL SAYS HE'S CANCELED TOMORROW'S BOND HEARING.
MCDANIEL IS ACCUSED OF KILLING AND DISMEMBERING MERCER LAW GRADUATE LAUREN GIDDINGS.
HE'S BEEN IN JAIL SINCE JULY 1 ON UNRELATED BURGLARY CHARGES.
HIS ATTORNEY FLOYD BUFORD SAYS THEY WANT TO EVALUATE AND REVIEW YESTERDAY'S INDICTMENT BEFORE ASKING A JUDGE TO SET BOND.
BUFORD SAYS HE EXPECTS A JUDGE TO ARRAIGN HIS CLIENT IN THE NEXT COUPLE OF WEEKS... AND HE SAYS HE WON'T RULE OUT SCHEDULING ANOTHER BOND HEARING BEFORE THEN.

ONLY 37 PERECENT OF MACON IS COVERED BY TREES... THAT'S ACCORDING TO RESEARCH PRESENTED BY THE MACON-BIBB COUNTY TREE COMMISSION...
THEY SAY THE MINIMUM FOR A CITY OUR SIZE... SHOULD BE 40 PERCENT..
BRITTINY BARBER SHOWS US HOW THEY'RE HOPING TO CHANGE THAT...
<<
Rob: "The quality of life in Macon is lagging behind many other cities which have ordiances.
MACON BIBB COUNTY TREE COMMISSION CHAIRMAN ROB APSLEY... SAYS IT'S TIME FOR CHANGE...
HE'S WORKING TO REVAMP THE CITY AND COUNTY'S TREE ORDInANCE.
Rob: "We'd like to increase the canopy of macon so that it's a cooler place. Cooler and more pleasant environments around developments are going to cause people to be attracted to come here and shop."
BUT SOME AREN'T AS KEEN *ON THE GREEN PUSH...
Eric: "We dont necessarily need a tree ordinance we seem to be right at the average for statewide tree canopy coverage, so if it's not broken. Why fix it? ERIC GRIFFIN HAS OWNED A CONSTRUCTION COMPANY FOR ABOUT SIX YEARS .... AND SERVES AS TREASURER OF THE HOME BUILDERS ASSOCIATION OF MIDDLE GEORGIA.
Eric: "I was recommended to keep an eye on what the tree commission was developing."
HE SAYS THE COMMISSIONS PROPOSAL.. COULD HURT BUSINESS..
Eric.: "Regulations just add expense that's the bottom line it's a mater of expense."
APSLEY SAYS ONLY TWO OF THE TOP 20 CITIES IN THE STATE.... DO NOT REGULATE TREES ON PRIVATE PROPERTY.... AND MACON is one of them...
Eric: "Just because every other city is doing it does that make it right for us to do it?"
AS THEY TAKE UP DRAFTING THE ORDINANCE... DEVELOPERS... AND THE ENVIRONMENTALLY CONSCIOUS... HOPING TO MEET IN THE MIDDLE
ROB: "the desire is to work with both of those groups to find a tree ordinance that will work with everybody."
WORKING TOGETHER... THEY SAYS TO HELP GROW MACON...
BRITTINY BARBER 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>> APSLEY SAYS HE HOPES TO HAVE THE ORDIANCE WRITTEN BY EARLY NEXT SPRING...
GRIFFIN SAYS ONCE IT'S WRITTEN... THE HOMEBUILDERS ASSOCIATION WILL ANNOUNCE WHETHER THEY SUPPORT IT.

GEORGIA'S GENERAL ASSEMBLY SESSION DOESN'T START UNTIL JANUARY... BUT SOME STATE LAWMAKERS ARE ALREADY FILING LEGISLATION THEY'D LIKE TO SEE NEXT YEAR.
THE PRE-LEGISLATIVE FILING PERIOD STARTED YESTERDAY... AND LAWMAKERS DROPPED ABOUT A DOZEN PROPOSALS INTO THE HOPPER ON THE FIRST DAY.
THAT INCLUDES THE EFFORT TO REQUIRE DRUG TESTING FOR PEOPLE RECEIVING TEMPORARY ASSISTANCE.
STATE SENATOR STEVE GOOCH OF DAHLONEGA IS ONE OF THE BILL'S SPONSORS.
HE SPOKE WITH RANDALL SAVAGE BY PHONE EARLIER TODAY.
Steve Gooch, State Senator: We continue to get a lot of influence from our constitutents back home that people are feareful that there are people out there who are on assistance from the federal and state governments that are abusing substances and drugs, and we believe that we should drug test anybody who takes any kind of assistance from the federal or state government.
STATE REPRESENTATIVE JAMES BEVERLY IS A MEMBER OF THE BIBB COUNTY DELEGATION.
HE'S JOINING RANDALL TO DISCUSS THE PROPOSAL.

PEOPLE IN PERRY AND SURROUNDING AREAS NOW HAVE A NEW PLACE TO PLAY TENNIS.
THE PERRY TENNIS ASSOCIATION RAISED A HALF MILLION DOLLARS TO BUILD AN EIGHT COURT TOURNAMENT FACILITY.
LORRA LYNCH JONES SHOWS YOU THE GRAND SLAM THEY'RE SERVING TO TENNIS PLAYERS OF ALL AGES.
IT'S A STORY THAT COMES STRAIGHT FROM THE HEART.
<<nats- playing
TARA TAYLOR AND DIANA HUMBLE COMPETE ON THE COURT..
nats- tennis
BUT DOUBLED-UP FOR THE SAME CAUSE.
Tara Taylor, Kathleen: (8:50) "The courts in Perry before were really rundown and ones in Warner Robins, they cannot keep up, because of people vandalizing the nets."
TAYLOR AND HUMBLE RALLIED WITH OTHER TENNIS LOVERS... TO BUILD THE MIDDLE GEORGIA TENNIS CENTER.
nats-
ITS BUILT ENTIRELY ON DONATIONS.
Kerry Norris. Perry: (20:25) "Were like, we really did this, you know?"
PERRY TENNIS ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT KERRY NORRIS SAYS THEY BROUGHT THE IDEA FROM LOVE TO MATCH POINT... IN A YEAR'S TIME.
quick nats-
THEY RAISED THE HALF MILLION TO BUILD IT THROUGH RAFFLES.. YARD SALES AND THE COMMUNITIES WILLINGNESS TO GIVE.
Kerry Norris: (20:25) "It's still a work in progress. We don't have the lights yet."
THOSE COME NEXT WEEK.
nats- kids playing
EVERYONE CAN PLAY NOW...
nats-
NORRIS WANTS TO NET PLAYERS FROM NEAR AND FAR.. ESPECIALLY CHILDREN.
Kerry Norris: (21:00) "The counties south of us, where there's not any tennis in the area at all. (22:40) "Westfield and Perry High, neither one of them have tennis courts to use."
THEY'RE ALL WELCOME HERE.
Diana Humble: (11:40) "Our courts are really great. They are new. There are no cracks. We keep the courts clean."
THAT'S A SCORE FOR ACE'S LIKE TAYLOR AND HUMBLE.... AND A REASON TO KEEP SWINGING (show missing shot)
FOR PRACTICING PROS.
nats-
STD
>> THE MIDDLE GEORGIA TENNIS CENTER IS ON HICKS DRIVE IN PERRY.
IT COSTS FOUR DOLLARS TO PLAY... OR YOU CAN BUY AN ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP.

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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