Wednesday, November 23, Eyewitness News at 6

3:00 PM, Nov 22, 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.

THANKSGIVING ISN'T UNTIL TOMORROW... BUT MANY SHOPS ARE ALREADY GEARING UP FOR BLACK FRIDAY.... THE SHOPPING DAY THAT COMES AFTER.
STILL... SOME STORES ARE SEEING THE VALUE OF STAYING OPEN ON TURKEY DAY.
THE NATIONAL RETAIL FEDERATION SAYS ALMOST ONE IN FIVE SHOPPERS HIT THE STORES ON THANKSGIVING DAY LAST YEAR... PART OF A GROWING TREND.
AUSTIN LEWIS TALKED WITH ONE RETAILER ABOUT WHY THE DAY BEFORE BLACK FRIDAY... HAS THEM SEEING GREEN.
<< LIKE MANY SHOPS AROUND THE COUNTRY---BASS PRO IS GETTING READY FOR A HUGE SHOPPING WEEKEND.
THEY ARE HAULING MERCHANDISE THROUGHOUT THE STORE.
---AND LAYING OUT NEW ITEMS FOR THE HOLIDAY SALES.
Jen Helms, Apparel Associate:The main thing we really try and focus on is we try to make sure that we have all our product out here on the floor for the customer, that we have the sizes they need.
BUT FOR BASS PRO SHOP THE CHAOS *STARTS* ON THANKSGIVING DAY---NOT BLACK FRIDAY.
Bruce Henderson, General Manager Bass Pro Shop: it's become a bigger and bigger day particularly here in the Macon community.
<nats of cash register popping open>
A DAY THAT IS HAVING SOME RETAILERS---SEEING GREEN ON TURKEY DAY.
BRUCE HENDERSON, THE GENERAL MANAGER AT BASS PRO SAYS STAYING OPEN ON THANKSGIVING DAY IS GOOD BUSINESS---BECAUSE THERE IS NOT MUCH TO DO FOR PEOPLE BUT EAT.
Bruce Henderson, General Manager Bass Pro Shop:It's become one of our top ten shopping days of the year and that's saying alot considering we're only open a partial day.
WHILE THANKSGIVING IS A BIG DAY FOR THEM---IN THE RETAIL WORLD, THERE'S NOTHING QUITE LIKE BLACK FRIDAY.
Jen Helms, Apparel Associate: Thanksgiving it's pretty busy, but it's nothing compared to Black Friday. Black Friday you walk in here and there's just customers everywhere.
SHOPPERS THAT ARE TRYING TO GET THE MOST BANG FOR THEIR BUCK.
Billy Avery, Shopper: The deals, the pricing, the special pricing saves a lot of money and uuuh the opportunity to buy it at a better pricing than waiting until later.
AUSTIN LEWIS 13 WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>> HENDERSON SAYS THE ENTIRE THANKSGIVING DAY WEEKEND... FROM THURSDAY TO SUNDAY... BRINGS MORE PEOPLE THROUGH THE DOOR THAN ANY OTHER FOUR-DAY WEEKEND.
BUT THE NATIONAL RETAIL FEDERATION SAYS BLACK FRIDAY STILL TOPS THANKSGIVING... WITH ABOUT TWO OUT OF EVERY THREE SHOPPERS HITTING THE STORES THAT DAY.

THE FIRST HOLIDAY DEALS MAY NOT ROLL OUT UNTIL TOMORROW BUT SOME BARGAIN HUNTERS ALREADY RESERVED THEIR PLACE IN LINE.
EDDIE MURPHY AND JAMES ALBERT ARRIVED AT BEST BUY ON PRESIDENTIAL PARKWAY IN MACON EARLY... AND SET UP CAMP.
THE TWO SAY THEY'VE MADE THE STORE'S BLACK FRIDAY SALES PART OF THEIR HOLIDAY ROUTINE FOR YEARS.
ALBERT SAYS HE WANTS MAKE SURE HE'S IN LINE TO GET THE DOORBUSTER SPECIALS.
James Albert, "Basically everything we came for, we get because we come early"
Eddie Murphy, "The deals are unbeatable. The ones they have in here at Best Buy, $179 for a laptop and they have the LCD 1080 TV that's $199 for a 42 inch that is pretty good, you're not going to find that anywhere not even online"
BEST BUY OPENS ITS DOORS FOR BLACK FRIDAY AT MIDNIGHT.
OTHER STORES WITH MIDNIGHT SALES INCLUDE TARGET... MACY'S AND KOHL'S.
WALMART'S SALES START AT 10 P-M THURSDAY... AND TOYS-R-US OPENS ITS DOORS AT NINE ON THURSDAY.

BUT BEFORE BLACK FRIDAY..... COMES THANKSGIVING DAY... AND THE HOLIDAY TRAVEL PERIOD STARTED JUST A FEW MINUTES AGO.
THIS IS A LIVE LOOK AT TRAFFIC ON INTERSTATE 475 AT PEAKE ROAD.
TRAFFIC APPEARS TO BE FLOWING SMOOTHLY.
STATE PATROL TROOPERS HIT THE STREETS IN FULL FORCE TODAY... HOPING TO HELP BRING THAT NUMBER DOWN.
BRITTINY BARBER SHOWS YOU HOW.
<<
this is fee fee pixy and teddy...
HOLIDAY TRAVELERS OF ALL KINDS HIT THE ROADS... HOPING TO MAKE IT TO THEIR DESTINATION FOR THANKSGIVING CELEBRATIONS...
BRad HOlden, Orlando: "ROund trip it's probably about 2,000 to 2,500 miles...
richard Barbara Desrochts, Columbia South CArloina: "We're down here in Macon visiting my brother and sister inlaw..
ESSICK MAYS AND HIS WIFE... LEFT JACKSONVILLE WEDNESDAY... BOUND FOR ATLANTA...
Essick Mays, Jacksonville: "We'll take that five or six hour travel just to be with our families."
SO FAR.... MAYS SAYS THE TRAFFIC HAS COOPERATED...
Essick Mays, Jacksonville: "I thought it was going to be pretty bad, but traveling has been really really good. I think the reason why the traveling has been so good, everybody's been so nice on the roads because there's a lot of police officers out there."
Sgt. Maurice Raines: "Visability gets people attention."
THAT'S WHY SGT. MAURICE RAINES SAYS THE GEORGIA STATE PATROL STEPPED UP THEIR PRESENCE.
Raines: "Visibility and vehicle stops do deter and people see one vehicle stopped they think about what their doing and basically slow down and do what's right themselves."
LAST YEAR DURING THE THANKSGIVING TRAVEL PERIOD FROM WEDNESDAY AT 6 P-M TO SUNDAY NIGHT.. MORE THAN 23-HUNDRED ACCIDENTS HAPPENED IN GEORGIA... AND 13 PEOPLE DIED...
Raines: "Every year we want it to go down not up."
TROOPERS OUT IN FORCE... SO PEOPLE CAN ENJOY THE HOLIDAY WITH THE ONES THEY LOVE....
AND MAYS WHO SPENT 22 YEARS IN THE NAVY... SAYS THAT'S ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS TO HIM...
Mays: "now I just value every moment I can get with my family evey moment every second."
BRITTINY BARBER 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS
>> TRIPLE A PREDICTS ABOUT 42-POINT-5 MILLION AMERICANS WILL TRAVEL 50 MILES OR MORE THIS THANKSGIVING...
THAT'S UP FOUR PERCENT FROM LAST YEAR.
IF YOU PLAN TO BE ONE OF THEM... YOU'LL WANT TO CHECK OUT THE PRICES AT THE PUMP BEFORE YOU HEAD OUT.
ACCORDING TO TRIPLE-A... THE AVERAGE PRICE OF A GALLON OF REGULAR UNLEADED DROPPED TWO CENTS IN MACON... TO 3-16.

AND WE WANT TO KNOW WHAT TIME THE THANKSGIVING FESTIVITIES START FOR YOUR FAMILY.
TODAY'S 13WMAZ DOT COM WEB POLL ASKS... WHEN IS YOUR THANKSGIVING DINNER?
SO FAR 54 PERCENT OF YOU SAY NOON TO 2 P-M.
27 PERCENT SAY 2 TO 4 P-M.
14 PERCENT SAY 4 P-M TO 6 P-M.
AND 5 PERCENT OF YOU SAY YOUR MEAL DOESN'T FALL DURING ANY OF THOSE TIMES.
VOTE NOW... LOOK FOR THE QUESTION ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE PAGE AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.

MACON MAYOR ROBERT REICHERT WILL OFFICIALLY TAKE OFFICE FOR ANOTHER FOUR YEARS DURING AN INAUGURATION CEREMONY NEXT MONTH.
EARLIER THIS MONTH... HE WON REELECTION ... AND SPEARHEADED A PUSH TO GET A SIX YEAR SPLOST APPROVED.
AND REICHERT SAYS THE SPLOST STILL REMAINS ONE OF HIS TOP PRIORITIES.
HE SAYS NOW THAT VOTERS HAVE PASSED IT... THE CITY NEEDS TO FOCUS ON COMPLETING THE PROJECTS.
"So the 800 megahertz radio system, improvements at the Collseium, trying to figure out whose going to do those. Whether we have a project manager, what priority the projects will be done and how were going to get a cash flow program of when the money is going to come in
THE MAYOR SAYS HE EXPECTS THE NEXT FISCAL YEAR TO BE PARTICUARLY CHALLENGING... AS THE CITY HANDS OVER FIVE DEPARTMENTS... TO THE COUNTY.
THAT'S PART OF THE SERVICE DELIVERY PLAN NEGOTIATED BETWEEN THE CITY AND COUNTY LAST MARCH.
REICHERT SAYS THE CITY'S FINANCIAL STATE IS IMPROVING... AND THE FIVE MILLION DOLLAR CUT IN EXPENSES HE EXPECTS TO REALIZE AS PART OF THE SERVICE DELIVERY PLAN SHOULD HELP EVEN MORE.
HE SAYS HE HOPES THE RELEASE OF THE CITY'S ANNUAL EXTERNAL AUDIT NEXT MONTH WILL SHOW THE IMPROVEMENTS.
"We hope, we have our fingers crossed, and are hopefully expectant, that it will show good results and excess revenues that we attain. That's obviously a combination of the revenues coming in and watching the expenditures. Which bodes well for this coming fiscal year."q11
REICHERT SAYS HE'S ALSO FOCUSING ON THE SECOND STREET CORRIDOR PROJECT.
EIGHT MILLION DOLLARS FROM THE SPLOST WILL GO TOWARDS MAKING SECOND STREET A MORE PEDISTRIAN AND BUSINESS FRIENDLY ENVIRONMENT.
REICHERT SAYS HE PLANS TO DISCUSS HOW TO GET STARTED AT A COUNCIL WORKSESSION ON TUESDAY.

A PROPOSED NEW ENERGY PLANT WOULD BRING ONE HUNDRED FIFTY JOBS TO TWIGGS COUNTY NEXT YEAR.
W-G-S ENERGY GROUP OWNER BRET WARREN SAYS HE'S AGREED TO BUY ABOUT TWO HUNDRED SEVENTY-FIVE ACRES NEAR INTERSTATE 16 AND HIGHWAY 96.
WARREN SAYS HIS COMPANY WOULD CONVERT WOOD CHIPS AND OTHER CARBON-BASED PRODUCTS INTO ELECTRICITY.. WHICH WOULD BE SOLD TO GEORGIA POWER.
JUDY SHERLING.. EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE JEFFERSONVILLE AND TWIGGS COUNTY DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY SAYS WARREN VISITED BEFORE CHOOSING TWIGGS.
Judy Sherling, Development Authority: We presented all of the things that we could do for them and heard what they wanted to do in our county and then we came out to the property and as he looked over this beautiful land, he felt like this was the place to be.
WARREN SAYS HE HOPES TO SIGN A CONTRACT WITH GEORGIA POWER NEXT WEEK.. AND COMPLETE HIS DEAL WITH TWIGGS COUNTY OFFICIALS IMMEDIATELY AFTER THAT.
HE SAYS CONSTRUCTION SHOULD BEGIN EARLY NEXT YEAR.. AND THE PLANT SHOULD BE OPERATIONAL WITHIN A YEAR.

BIBB COUNTY'S DISTRICT ATTORNEY WON'T COMMENT ON A REPORT THAT AUTHORITIES FOUND A PAIR OF LAUREN GIDDINGS UNDERWEAR IN THE APARTMENT OF HER ACCUSED KILLER... STEPHEN MCDANIEL.
CITING ANONYMOUS SOURCES.. THE TELEGRAPH TODAY REPORTED THAT THE UNDERWEAR WAS SENT TO THE FBI LAB... AND TESTS FOUND GIDDINGS DNA ON THEM.
DISTRICT ATTORNEY GREG WINTERS DECLINED TO CONFIRM THAT.
IN A TEXT MESSAGE TO 13WMAZ'S RANDALL SAVAGE.. WINTERS WROTE.. "NO COMMENT. NOT VERY HAPPY THAT INFORMATION WAS LEAKED."
LAST WEEK.. A BIBB COUNTY GRAND JURY INDICTED MCDANIEL ON A CHARGE OF MURDERING GIDDINGS.. AND 30 CHARGES OF CHILD EXPLOITATION.
NO TRIAL DATE HAS BEEN SET.
WE COULD NOT REACH MACON POLICE CHIEF MIKE BURNS FOR COMMENT.

MULTIPLE SEX CHARGES AGAINST A FORMER MACON POLICE OFFICER ARE EXPECTED TO BE DISMISSED.
THAT'S ACCORDING TO THE DEFENSE ATTORNEY IN THE CASE.
IN 2009... ANTONIO WHITE WAS ARRESTED AND CHARGED WITH RAPE.. INCEST.. AND CHILD MOLESTATION.. AMONG OTHER THINGS.
WHITE'S ATTORNEY... CLARENCE WILLIAMS SAID THE PROSECUTION ANNOUNCED MONDAY THAT THEY PLAN TO DISMISS THE CHARGES.
WILLIAMS SAID HE DOESN'T KNOW THE EXACT REASON THE CHARGES ARE BEING DISMISSED.
HE ADDED IT'S USUALLY BECAUSE THEY LACK MERIT.
PROSECUTORS FROM THE HOUSTON COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE COULD NOT BE REACHED FOR COMMENT ON THE CASE..

SOME PEOPLE LINED UP AT THIRD STREET PARK THIS MORNING... HOPING TO PICK UP THE KEY INGREDIENT FOR THEIR THANKSGIVING MEAL.
THE DIAMOND FOUNDATION GAVE TURKEYS TO 20 FAMILIES... BUT ALSO HAD EXTRAS AVAILABLE ON A FIRST COME FIRST SERVED BASIS.
WILL BUTLER WITH THE FOUNDATION SAYS THEY HAVE MORE THINGS TO COME NEXT YEAR.
HE SAYS THE GROUP'S GOAL IS TO END HOMELESSNESS.
BERNICE DUGGER PICKED UP A TURKEY FOR HER GRANDDAUGHTER.
SHE SAYS SHE HAS A LARGE FAMILY... AND SHE'S GRATEFUL FOR EVERY CHANCE TO IMPROVE ON THEIR HOLIDAY.
"She invited me to come pick up one because she really knows we have a big family and at the present time with the way the bills and everything going, I didn't have... you know the money to go into that."
BUTLER SAYS TODAY'S GIVEAWAY COULD FEED BETWEEN 50 AND 60 PEOPLE.

LET US BE YOUR RESOURCE FOR GROUPS SERVING THANKSGIVING MEALS TOMORROW.
JUST LOOK FOR OUR HOLIDAY RESOURCE GUIDE IN THE CHECK IT OUT BOX AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.
ONCE YOU GET THERE... LOOK ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE PAGE... FOR A LIST OF THANKSGIVING EVENTS.
YOU CAN ALSO FIND HOLIDAY HEADLINES... VIDEO... AND PROGRAMMING GUIDES.
IT'S ALL ON THE HOLIDAY RESOURCE GUIDE 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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