HELLO EVERYONE AND THANKS FOR JOINING US.I'M LORRA LYNCH JONES.
AND I'M FRANK MALLOY..THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT SIX... LEAH JOHNSON HAS THE NIGHT OFF.
MACON AND BIBB COUNTY LAW ENFORCEMENT VISITED 50 HOMES YESTERDAY.... IN SEARCH OF STUDENTS NOT IN SCHOOL.
IT'S PART OF A NEW PARTNERSHIP CALLED THE TRUANCY TASK FORCE.
THEY'RE RESPONDING TO A RECENT WAVE OF YOUTH VIOLENCE.
BRITTINY BARBER JOINS US TO EXPLAINS THEIR GOAL.. AND WHAT THEY FOUND.
THE BIBB COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE... BOARD OF EDUCATION POLICE AND THE MACON POLICE DEPARTMENT TEAMED UP TO TRY TO REDUCE TRUANCY....
THE TASK FORCE VISITED THE HOMES OF 50 CHRONIC TRUANTS... BETWEEN THE AGES OF 10 AND 15 YEARS OLD....
THEY FOUND 11 STUDENTS THEY WERE LOOKING FOR .... AND SIX MORE THAT THEY WEREN'T.
Chief Prater" We had 49 households visited and fortunately there were approximately 33 of the students who were already in school.
and we also found 11 students that were actually taken tyo school and encouraged to be taken to school by parents or either the law enforcement officers themselves.
STATISTICS FROM LAST YEAR... SHOW MORE THAN 32-HUNDRED STUDENTS WERE ABSENT FROM SCHOOL FIVE OR MORE DAYS....
95 STUDENTS MISSED 50 OR MORE DAYS... AND 10 HAD 90 OR MORE ABSENCES...
Chief Mike burns: "WE went out there and we tried to find the children that's not in school take them back to school. they're never going to be a successful they don't go to school and get an education."
OFFICIALS SAY THIS SWEEP CAME AFTER MUCH OF WORK AND RESEARCH...
CHIEF DEPUTY DAVID DAVIS WITH THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE... SAYS 59 PERCENT OF PEOPLE IN THE BIBB COUNTY JAIL WHO RESPONDED TO A SURVEY... SAID THEY DID NOT GRADUATE FROM HIGH SCHOOL..
HE SAYS THEY'RE TRYING TO HELP KEEP KIDS IN THE CLASSROOMS.. BY HOLDING THEIR PARENTS RESPONSIBLE...
Chief Davis : "All of these parents were given a copy of the ga state law of truancy. they were also issued a citation a warning to let them know how important this is and it gives us a tool to follow up and to see if they are going to do what they need to do to get them back in school."
BIBB CAMPUS POLICE CHIEF STEPHANIE PRATER SAYS THEY'RE PLANNING ANOTHER SWEEP SOMETIME AFTER CHRISTMAS BREAK...
SHERIFF JERRY MODENA SAYS THEY'RE PLANNING TO ADDRESS THE TRUANCY ISSUE IN STAGES... THIS BEING THE FIRST STEP.. HE SAYS THEY'LL TAKE A LOOK AT WHAT THEY FOUND DURING THIS SWEEP AND DECIDED WHAT TO DO NEXT...
OFFICIALS ALSO SAID THE NUMBER OF TRUANTS REFLECTED THOSE AREAS WITH HIGHER CRIME RATES....
CHIEF PRATER SAID THERE WAS A HIGHER NUMBER IN BLOOMFIELD.... AND IN SOUTH MACON NEAR HOUSTON AVENUE.
A WARNER ROBINS MAN REMAINS IN JAIL THIS EVENING... AFTER HE WAS ACCUSED OF MOLESTING TWO CHILDREN.
A JUDGE SET SHELLY SIMMONS' BOND AT TWENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS THIS AFTERNOON.
SIMMIONS RETIRED FROM ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE IN 1985 AS A DEPARTMENT MANAGER..
HE ALSO SPENT MANY YEARS AS PUBLIC ADDRESS ANNOUNCER AT WARNER ROBINS HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL GAMES..
ELEANOR LISSITZYN HAS THE LATEST ON THE CASE.
"Attorney Frank Hogue represented Shelly SImmons in court this morning, he says his client maintains his innocence. The Houston County Sheriff's Office arrested Simmons last week on two counts of child molestation. Captain Randall Banks of the Houston County Sheriffs Office says they're accusing Simmons of an on going molestation of two children, with at least one incident taking place as recently as this year.
WE STOPPED BY SIMMONS FOREST POINTE HOME THIS AFTERNOON... HIS SON STANLEY SIMMONS WAS THERE... BUT DECLINED TO TALK ON CAMERA.
In addition to 20 thousand dollars bond, Simmons is required to wear an electronic monitering bracelet, he's also forbidden from having any contact with his alleged victims, and any other children under the age of 18. Hogue says while awaiting a grand jury, his client will live with his son in Kathleen.
SIMMON'S SON SAID THAT HE EXPECTED TO BAIL HIS FATHER OUT TONIGHT...JUST A FEW MINUTES AGO...THE COUNTY WEB SITE SAID HE WAS STILL BEING HELD IN THE HOUSTON JAIL.
INMATES AT HANCOCK STATE PRISON SET FIRES... VANDALIZED THE PRISON AND BROKE INTO THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICES DURING A FRIDAY NIGHT RAMPAGE.
THAT'S ACCORDING TO A STATE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS INCIDENT REPORT.
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS GOT THE DOCUMENT... WHICH DESCRIBES LAST WEEK'S VIOLENCE AT THE PRISON IN SPARTA.
IT SAYS THE INMATES BROKE LOCKS AND GOT INTO THE PRISON OFFICES USING FIRE EXTINGUISHERS.
THIS WEEK... THE STATE'S CORRECTIONS COMMISSIONER TOLD 13WMAZ THAT THE VIOLENCE WAS CAUSED BY INMATES WHO USED CELL PHONES TO COORDINATE GANG FIGHTS INSIDE THE PRISON.
HE CALLED ILLEGAL CELL PHONES AN EPIDEMIC IN GEORGIA PRISONS.
THE GEORGIA STATE FAIR HAS A NEW OWNER...AND COULD RETURN TO CENTRAL CITY PARK IN MACON NEXT SPRING.
THAT'S ACCORDING TO MARK LOVELL OF UNIVERSAL FAIRS IN MEMPHIS TENNESSEE.
HE SAID THE MACON EXCHANGE CLUB TODAY AGREED TO SELL THE CENTURY-OLD FAIR...WHICH EXPERIENCED SOME ROUGH FINANCIAL TIMES IN RECENT YEARS.
HIS FORMULA FOR TURNING AROUND THE GEORGIA STATE FAIR....MORE RIDES, BIGGER RIDES, BETTER ENTERAINMENT AND MORE FREE ATTRACTIONS.
HE SAYS PEOPLE IN MACON CAN EXPECT TO SEE THE FAIR RETURN IN 2012.... WITH SOME UPGRADES
We think we have a great marketing campaign. We have a couple of basic principals we try to abide by. We like to underpromise and overdeliver. Give peopel a lot of bang for their buck, and we also promote the fair as being clean, safe and family friendly.
LOVELL'S COMPANY SPECIALIZES IN BUYING TROUBLED FAIRS AND TURNING THEM AROUND.
ACCORDING TO THEIR WEB SITE...THEY OWN SEVERAL NATIONWIDE...STRETCHING FROM ARIZONA...TO WASHINGTON....TO TENNESSEE.
TODAY... WE BEGIN OUR 13 DAYS OF GIVING HERE ON EYEWITNESS NEWS.
WE'RE TAKING A LOOK AT 13 CHARITIES THAT HELP FAMILIES IN CENTRAL GEORGIA WHO COULD USE A HAND.
AND WE'RE INVITING YOU TO BECOME PART OF THE HERO ARMY AND EXTEND YOUR HELP.
WE START THINGS OFF WITH MACON'S PROJECT GIVING... WHICH HELPS FAMILIES WHO HAVE A CHILD WITH MEDICAL PROBLEMS.
AND AS ONE FAMILY TOLD AUSTIN LEWIS... THE PROJECT GAVE THEM SOMETHING TO DEPEND ON... WHEN THE UNTHINKABLE HAPPENED.
<<Amy Floyd, Warner Robins: On July 19th, Aden had been to camp that morning, gotten something to eat, got a haircut. The boys came home and they were just sitting on the sofa and he said my head hurts.
Amy Floyd, Warner Robins: within about 30 seconds he grabbed his head and started screaming.
THAT MOMENT CHANGED THE LIVES OF THE FLOYD FAMILY FOREVER -- THAT'S WHEN A GROUP OF BLOOD VESSELS BURST IN 8-YEAR-OLD ADEN'S BRAIN. IT'S CALLED AN ARTERIOVENOUS MALFORMATION... OR A-V-M.
ADEN WAS AIRLIFTED TO A HOSPITAL FOR EMERGENCY SURGERY.
Amy Floyd, Warner Robins: the doctors told us that night that he probably wouldn't make it through the night, through the surgery.
AND IT WAS ONLY JUST THE BEGINNING.
DOCTORS PLACED HIM IN A COMA FOR THREE WEEKS TO GIVE HIS BRAIN TIME TO HEAL FOLLOWING THAT FIRST SURGERY.
SINCE THEN HE'S HAD THREE MORE SURGERIES -- ONE OF THEM 27 HOURS LONG.
James Floyd, Warner Robins: We had no idea where he would get back to, what step we would have to re-do and we are having to do re-do walking and one of his vocal chords is stationary right now so his voice is just a whisper.
ADEN SPENDS MOST OF HIS TIME AT THE CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL IN ATLANTA.
HIS FATHER STAYS WITH HIM.
NOW ADEN IS JUST GETTING WELL ENOUGH TO SPEND WEEKENDS AT HOME.
Aden Floyd, Warner Robins: I like to come and be home.
James Floyd, Warner Robins: The feeling of being home is great especially for Aden. It gives him something to count down to during the week. It gives him a constant reminder of why he is there getting stronger, so eventually we'll be home all the time.
Aden Floyd, Warner Robins: We marked it off with an X, like a calendar.
AND WHEN DEALING WITH A TRAUMATIC EVENT LIKE THIS--IT'S HARD TO THINK OF ANYTHING ELSE.
Amy Floyd, Warner Robins: You never think this is going to happen to you that you'll have a child with a sudden illness, that you have to figure out how to go to work, how you get your other child to school
BUT WITH THE HELP OF PROJECT GIVING --THE FLOYDS DON'T HAVE TO WORRY AS MUCH ABOUT HOW TO PAY FOR ADEN'S MEDICAL BILLS *AND* THE MORTGAGE.
James Floyd, Warner Robins: The money that we would have put toward the mortgage, putting it toward the medical bills, putting it toward now this time of year for Christmas for the kids. AND THAT MAKES HIS ROAD TO RECOVERY A LITTLE EASIER.
James Floyd, Warner Robins: The fact that he survived these, everything, the emergency surgery, the incredibly long surgeries to remove the AVM, let's us all know he is incredibly strong and that he will be able to get back to where he was before. >>
THE FLOYDS TELL US DOCTORS SAY ADEN SHOULD BE OUT OF DAY REHAB SOMETIME IN FEBRUARY.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON HOW YOU CAN DONATE TO PROJECT GIVING, LOOK FOR THSI STORY ON OUR WEBSITE 13-WMAZ DOT COM.
TODAY'S 13 WMAZ DOT COM WEB POLL ASKS... HOW WILL YOU HELP A LOCAL CHARITY DURING THIS HOLIDAY SEASON?
SO FAR 36 PERCENT OF YOU PLAN TO DONATE MONEY.
57 PERCENT SAY YOU'LL DONATE GOODS.
AND 7 PERCENT PLAN TO VOLUNTEER.
VOTE NOW... LOOK FOR THE QUESTION ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE HOMEPAGE AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.
DOWNTOWN MACON WILL HAVE A LITTLE MIRE CHRISTMAS CHEER THIS EVENING.
THE BIBB COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT IS HOSTING A TREE LIGHTING CEREMONY ON FIRST STREET AT THE CITY AUDITORIUM TONIGHT.
CANDACE ADORKA JOINS US FROM DOWNTOWN WITH MORE.... CANDACE?
AGAIN... THE FESTIVITIES OFFICIALLY GET STARTED AT 6:30... IN JUST A FEW MINUTES.
THE FOLKS IN GEORGIA'S EMERALD CITY HAVE A PLAN TO RING IN THEIR 2012 BICENTENNIAL CELEBRATION... IN STYLE.
CREWS SPENT THE DAY MELTING... MOLDING AND CASTING A NEW BRONZE BELL.
THEY'LL DEDICATE... AND RING... THEIR CREATION TOMORROW.
AUSTIN LEWIS SPENT THE DAY WITH THE DUBLIN CREW.
SHE'LL BRING YOU THE SIGHTS AND THE SOUNDS... TONIGHT ON EYEWITNESS NEWS AT 11.
THANKS FOR JOINING US.... WE'LL BE BACK TONIGHT AT 11.
BUT REMEMBER...THE NEWS IS ALWAYS ON AT 13WMAZ.COM !
WE'LL LEAVE YOU TONIGHT WITH A LOOK DOWNTOWN AT THE PREPARATIONS FOR TONIGHT'S CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING.