Wednesday, November 23, Eyewitness News at 11

3:00 PM, Nov 22, 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.

THANKSGIVING BEGINS IN LESS THAN AN HOUR... BUT THE HOLIDAY TRAVEL WEEKEND STARTED FIVE HOURS AGO.
THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE ARE TRAVELING THROUGH THE STATE WITH SOME MAKING STOPS HERE IN CENTRAL GEORGIA.
THE GEORGIA STATE PATROL SAYS THEY PLAN TO STEP UP PATROLS THIS WEEKEND... TO MAKE SURE DRIVERS STAY SAFE.
SEVERAL DRIVERS WE SPOKE WITH SAID TODAY'S RIDE WAS A SMOOTH ONE..
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: "We realize visability is a big deterent to breaking the law and that's why we're out in mass numbers and will be throughout the holiday period. Visability gets people attention."
G-S-P SAYS 13 PEOPLE DIED ON GEORGIA ROADS LAST YEAR DURING THE THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY..
SGT. MAURICE RAINES SAYS THEY HOPE THAT NUMBERS DROPS THIS YEAR..
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.

NOT EVERYONE WILL BE TRAVELING THIS THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY.
TOMORROW... VOLUNTEERS FROM SEVERAL AREA ORGANIZATIONS WILL SPEND PART OF THE DAY WORKING TO FEED THOSE IN NEED.
IN WARNER ROBINS... WELLSTON DINER WILL OFFER A FREE THANKSGIVING DINNER FROM 11 A-M UNTIL 2 P-M.
THE DINER IS LOCATED AT 1801 EAST WATSON BOULEVARD.
ALSO FROM 11 UNTIL 2 TOMORROW... LIGHT OF THE WORLD CHURCH WILL OFFER A FREE MEAL.
YOU CAN FIND THE CHURCH ON BAILEY AVENUE IN MACON.
AND VOLUNTEERS WILL HAND OUT A FREE DINNER IN THE TUBMAN MUSEUM PARKING LOT.
THAT WILL BE FROM NOON UNTIL TWO... ON THE CORNER OF FIFTH AND WALNUT STREET.
FOR A LIST OF OTHER THANKSGIVING EVENTS... VISIT THE HOLIDAY RESOURCE PAGE AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.

OF COURSE... AFTER THANKSGIVING COMES BLACK FRIDAY... THE TRADITIONAL START OF THE HOLIDAY SHOPPING SEASON.
BUT SOME STORES ARE GIVING SHOPPERS A CHANCE TO GET STARTED ON THEIR SHOPPING TOMORROW.
THE NATIONAL RETAIL FEDERATION SAYS ALMOST ONE IN FIVE SHOPPERS WENT TO THE STORES LAST THANKSGIVING.
AND THEY SAY MORE SHOPPERS GETTING A HEAD START ON THANKSGIVING HAS BEEN A GROWING TREND.
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 SOME WILL SHOP TOMORROW - MOST SHOPPERS WILL HIT THE STORES ON BLACK FRIDAY.
THE NATIONAL RETAIL FEDERATION REPORTS ABOUT TWO OUT OF EVERY THREE AMERICANS WILL TRY TO SCORE SOME DEALS ON THAT DAY.

AND EVEN THOUGH WE'RE STILL 24 HOURS OR MORE AWAY FROM THE OPENING OF MOST BLACK FRIDAY SALES... A COUPLE OF BARGAIN HUNTERS HAVE ALREADY LINED UP.
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, "Some of my friends we usually come out early, campout and get the best deals. It's kind of fun. We've turned it into a Thanksgiving tradition"
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.

AND MANY OF THOSE BLACK FRIDAY SHOPPERS HAVE THEIR EYE ON THE BEST DEALS FOR ELECTRONICS.
BUT SOME OF THOSE SALES... MAY COME WITH A FEW HIDDEN FEES.
JENNIFER MOULLIET TAKES A LOOK AT HOW TO STAY SAVVY WHEN YOU'RE SHOPPING FOR A NEW COMPUTER.
<<
WHEN YOU BUY A NEW COMPUTER AT BEST BUY...YOU COULD SET IT UP YOURSELF....OR PAY 100 DOLLARS SO THEIR TECHNICIANS DO IT FOR YOU.

Chris Smith, Ditech Sales Lead and PCHO Associate: "We normally like to have a few of our computers pre set-up for our customers,"

CHRIS SMITH SAYS NORMAL SET UP FOR A NEW COMPUTER CAN TAKE UP TO FOUR HOURS... SO THEY PRE-OP TWENTY PERCENT OF THEIR INVENTORY.

Chris Smith: "That way if a customer wants a computer that's already been set up and restored... we sell it to them... we add on the service ."

THAT INVOLVES BEST BUY'S GEEK SQUAD MAKING A RECOVERY DISK... AND RUNNING SET-UP SOFTWARE...WHICH CAN ONLY BE DONE ONCE.

Chris Smith: "once we have created it there's no way to revert from that the updates that we've already installed on the computer can't be undone."

BRAD SPIEGEL SAYS THAT HUNDRED DOLLAR SERVICE IS UNECESSARY.

Brad Spiegel, President of Quality Computers: "It makes me feel like there is a conflict of interest."

HE SAYS WHEN YOU TURN ON YOUR COMPUTER FOR THE FIRST TIME.... THE DIRECTIONS WALK YOU RIGHT THROUGH THE PROCESS. HE SAYS BUYING THAT 100 DOLLAR SERVICE MAKES PEOPLE MORE LIKELY TO USE BEST BUY'S... GEEK SQUAD...INSTEAD OF GETTING SERVICE ELSEWHERE.

Brad Spiegel: "It may be so the customer comes back when they have an issue."

SMITH SAYS THE SERVICE IS OPTIONAL... CUSTOMERS CAN STILL BUY A COMPUTER THAT HASN'T BEEN TOUCHED BY THEIR TECHNICIANS.
SIEGEL SAYS THAT CAN BE CONFUSING... AND HE HEARS FROM HIS OWN CUSTOMERS WHO SAY THE SALES PITCH MAY VARY.

Brad Spiegel: "the boss or the company themself may have no clue that a rogue employee is doing something or saying something improperly."

SMITH SAYS THAT'S NOT AN ISSUE.
Chris Smith: "We definitely don't want to have our customers purchasing something they don't want."

JENNIFER MOULLIET 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS
>> SMITH SAYS IT'S NOT BEST BUY'S POLICY TO MISLEAD THEIR CUSTOMERS... AND IF YOU FEEL THAT YOUR SALES ASSOCIATE ISN'T BEING TRUTHFUL TALK WITH A MANAGER BEFORE YOUR PURCHASE.

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.
WE SPOKE TO THE MAYOR TODAY ABOUT WHAT'S NEXT ON HIS PRIORITY LIST.
HE SAYS SO FAR... HE'S FOCUSED ON STARTING THE SPLOST PROJECTS... AND IMPLEMENTING THE NEW SERVICE DELIVERY PLAN THE CITY AND NEGOTIATED LAST MONTH.
THAT PLAN MEANS THE CITY WILL TURN OVER THE MANAGEMNT OF FIVE DEPARTMENTS TO THE COUNTY.... WHICH REICHERT SAYS WILL BE CHALLANGING.
'Just the logistics of transfering people and equipement, property. We've got to deed the property, quick claim it to the county all the rec. center properties, so theres' a lot of legal work that's got to go on."
TRANSFERRING THOSE DEPARTMENT SHOULD SAVE THE CITY ABOUT FIVE MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR... SAYS REICHERT.
THE MAYOR SAYS HE'S FEELING OPTIMISTIC ABOUT THE STATE OF THE CITY'S FINANCES... WHICH HE CALLS 'IMPROVING'.
HE SAYS HE EXPECTS AN EXTERNAL AUDIT OUT NEXT MONTH TO GIVE A POSITIVE OUTLOOK IN LIGHT OF THOSE COST-CUTTING MEASURES.

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 Serling, 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..

TONIGHT'S FACEBOOK FAN OF THE DAY IS JOE KIEFER.
JOE... YOU'LL NEED TO EMAIL FAN OF THE DAY AT 13WMAZ DOT COM TO CLAIM YOUR COFFEE MUG.
OKAY... WE'RE TRYING LAST NIGHT'S FAN OF THE DAY TAG AGAIN.
"AHA!" THE DETECTIVE EXCLAIMED, "A CLUE! THE CRIMINAL HAD A 13WMAZ COFFEE MUG!"
"BUT THAT MEANS THEY MUST HAVE VISITED FACEBOOK DOT COM 13WMAZ," THE SIDEKICK MUSED. "AND THEY CLICKED THE LIKE BUTTON, THEN JOINED CONVERSATIONS."
"ONCE WE FIND OUT WHO'S DONE THAT AND BEEN RANDOMLY CHOSEN," DECLARED THE DETECTIVE, "WE'LL HAVE OUR LIST OF SUSPECTS!"

EVERYONE HAS THAT FAMILY PHOTO... YOU KNOW... THE AWKWARD PICTURE TAKEN DURING THE HOLIDAYS.
MAYBE EVERYONE'S DOING SOMETHING DIFFERENT... NO ONE'S LOOKING AT THE CAMERA... OR THE FORMATION THAT WAS PERFECT IN YOUR HEAD... TURNED OUT LOOKING NOT QUITE RIGHT.
WE WANT TO SEE THOSE HORRIBLE HOLIDAY PHOTOS.
JUST EMAIL THEM TO WHERE-YOU-LIVE... AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.

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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