Thursday, December 1, Eyewitness News at 11

11:55 PM, Dec 1, 2011   |    comments
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GOOD EVENING AND THANKS FOR JOINING US..
I'M FRANK MALLOY...THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT 11.
LEAH JOHNSON HAS THE NIGHT OFF..

A SWEEP BY BIBB COUNTY'S TRUANCY TASK FORCE FOUND 17 STUDENTS WHO WERE NOT IN SCHOOL
MACON AND BIBB COUNTY OFFICERS VISITED 50 HOMES OF CHRONIC TRUANTS WEDNESDAY AS PART OF THE RESPONSE TO A RECENT WAVE OF YOUTH VIOLENCE IN THE CITY.
THE SCHOOL DISTRICT SAYS... OUT OF 25 THOUSAND STUDENTS... MORE THAN 32-HUNDRED STUDENTS WERE ABSENT FROM SCHOOL FIVE OR MORE DAYS IN THE LAST SCHOOL YEARS.
95 MISSED 50 OR MORE DAYS... AND TEN HAD 90 OR MORE ABSENCES.
THE SCHOOL DISTRICT SAYS... OUT OF 25 THOUSAND STUDENTS... MORE THAN 32-HUNDRED STUDENTS WERE ABSENT FROM SCHOOL FIVE OR MORE DAYS IN THE LAST SCHOOL YEARS.
95 MISSED 50 OR MORE DAYS... AND TEN HAD 90 OR MORE ABSENCES.
Chief DEputy David Davis: "this was more than just going out and checking the schools of which some of that was done but this was a situation where we actually went to the residences and made contact with parents or whoever was at the residences to impress upon them tyhe importance othat they need to have their kids in school."
THE STUDENTS WERE BETWEEN THE AGES OF 10 AND 15.
OFFICERS HANDED OUT WARNINGS TO THE PARENTS OF STUDENTS WHO WEREN'T IN SCHOOL.
BIBB COUNTY D-FACS RECENTLY PROPOSED DROPPING SOME WELFARE BENEFITS FOR THE PARENTS OF TRUANT STUDENTS.
BUT DAVIS SAID D-FACS WAS NOT INVOLVED IN WEDNESDAY'S SWEEP.

A HOUSTON COUNTY JUDGE SET BOND AT 20 -THOUSAND DOLLARS THIS MORNING FOR 82-YEAR-OLD SHELLY SIMMONS.
SIMMONS WAS ARRESTED LAST WEEK ON TWO COUNTS OF CHILD MOLESTATION.
ACCORDING TO A LEGAL ASSISTANT TO ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY DESHALA DIXON, THE CONDITIONS OF SIMMONS BOND INCLUDE NO CONTACT WITH HIS VICTIMS OR THEIR PARENTS, NO CONTACT WITH CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF 18, AND NO CONSUMPTION OF ALCOHOL.
SHE SAYS HE HAS ALSO BEEN FITTED WITH AN ELECTRONIC MONITORING DEVICE AND IS ONLY ALLOWED TO LEAVE HIS HOME TO GO TO DOCTOR'S APPOINTMENTS.
SIMMONS WAS A FORMER PUBLIC ADDRESS ANNOUNCER AT WARNER ROBINS HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL GAMES IN THE 1970S AND 80S.
HE RETIRED FROM ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE IN 1985.
HIS ATTORNEY... FRANKLIN HOGUE... SAYS HIS CLIENT TOLD HIM HE IS INNOCENT.
THE COUNTY'S WEB SITE SAYS SIMMONS WAS STILL IN JAIL AS OF LATE TONIGHT..

THE GEORGIA STATE FAIR COULD SOON HAVE A NEW OWNER AND RETURN TO MACON NEXT SPRING.
THAT'S ACCORDING TO MARK LOVELL OF UNIVERSAL FAIRS IN 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.
FAIR BOARD PRESIDENT DON JOHSTONO SAYS THE EXCHANGE CLUB DECIDED IT WAS TIME TO DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT... AND IF THE FAIR WAS TO CONTINUE... IT WOULD HAVE TO BE UNDER NEW OWNERS.
"I'm really excited about the possibility that the Georgia State Fair which has been such a huge part of Macon for so many years; since the 1850's, really, will continue to function and continue to be available as a recreational and family fun activity resource for the citizens of Middle Georgia. I was very disappointed when the Exchange Club decided to part company with the fair, but happy that the opportunity to have a fair in the spring of 2012 looks like it's a very real possibility."
JOHSTONO SAYS HE EXPECTS THE SALE TO BE FINALIZED QUICKLY... SO THE NEW OWNERS CAN START PLANNING FOR NEXT SPRING.

THE CITY OF DUBLIN IS PREPARING TO RING IN A BIG BIRTHDAY... WITH A NEW BELL..
GEORGIA'S EMERALD CITY IS HOLDING A SERIES OF BELL-CASTING EVENTS TO KICK OFF ITS BICENTENNIAL CELEBRATION.
AUSTIN LEWIS TALKED WITH THE CASTING TEAM... ABOUT WHAT GOES INTO MAKING THE BRONZE BELL.
THE CITY OF DUBLIN WILL TURN 200 ON DECEMBER 8TH 2012---AND THEY'RE PLANNING A YEARLONG CELEBRATION FOR THE BIG EVENT.
THE FIRST BIG GIFT BIRTHDAY GIFT FOR DUBLIN.. A BELL CAST IN THE CITY.
Mayor Phil Best, Dublin: It's a very exciting, humbling feeling to know we are going to be part of history
PEOPLE CAN WATCH AND SOME TOOK PART IN THE MAKING OF THE BELL.
A GROUP OF LOCAL TEENS GOT TO PASS BRONZE PIECES TO LOAD IN THE FURNACE.
Emily Hatchedd, Dublin: It was part of Dublins history not something that comes around every often, obviously cause it's every 200 years so it was just cool to be a part of it
AND THEN THE CASTING TEAM BEGAN TO PUT TOGETHER THE MOLD.
Dave Verdin/ Verdin Company: We have one inside core which represents the inside shape of the bell and we have three stackable outside cores that stack over that, that are present outside the bell.
NEXT... THE TEAM BEGAN TO PREPARE THE MOLD FOR THE METAL.
Dave Verdin/ Verdin Company: ,we backfilled it with sand to keep everything in its place.
Dave Verdin/ Verdin Company: Once we start pouring the bronze into that, there's a lot of gases and pressure to the sand keeps everything together.
IT TAKES ABOUT SIX HOURS FOR THE METAL TO BE JUST HOT ENOUGH TO POUR INTO THE MOLD
Dave Verdin/ Verdin Company: The metal will reach 2200 degrees Farenheit in the furnace and we will pour the bell into the mold.
AND THOSE WHO SAW IT ALL HAPPEN-- SAY IT WAS JUST AS GREAT TO SEE THE MAKING OF THE BELL AS IT IS TO BE PART OF THE CITY'S HISTORICAL CELEBRATION.
David Moy, Dublin: This bell is going to be here for a very long time and I want these boys to look back and know they were here when the bell was cast. I figured it would make the city mean more to them.
AUSTIN LEWIS 13 WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS.
TOMORROW MORNING... CITY LEADERS WILL BREAK THE BELL'S MOLD AT 10.
THE BELL'S OFFICIAL DEDICATION WILL BE HELD AT 4-30.

HUNDREDS OF THIRD GRADERS HELPED LAUNCH THE CHRISTMAS SEASON TONIGHT IN DOWNTOWN MACON.
ALL THE THIRD GRADERS IN THE BIBB COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT WERE INVITED TO SING CHRISTMAS CAROLS ON THE STEPS OF THE CITY AUDITORIUM. THEN MAYOR ROBERT REICHERT AND COUNTY COMMISSION CHAIRMAN SAM HART LIT THE CHRISTMAS TREE IN FORNT OF CITY HALL.
SHERRI MOORE WAS IN THE AUDIENCE WATCHING HER DAUGHTER SING.
"It's exciting to see how excited she is to be singing with her peers and something that she worked so hard on. Now she's able to deliver. We rushed here and she's very excited."
THE LIGHTING CEREMONY KICKS OFF "CHRISTMAS IN DOWNTOWN"... A SERIES OF CHRISTMAS EVENTS THIS WEEKEND SPONSORED BY MAIN STREET MACON...
THE WEEKEND WRAPS UP WITH THE MIDDLE GEORGIA CHRISTMAS PARADE ON SUNDAY AT 3 P-M.

AND IN FORSYTH... THE ANNUAL HOMETOWN HOLIDAY PARADE MARCHED RIGHT THROUGH THE CENTER OF TOWN.
FORSYTHIANS YOUNG AND OLD LINED THE STREETS IN MONROE COUNTY.
MARY PERSONS HIGH SCHOOL BAND ROCKED THE CROWD...
THE THEME OF THE PARADE... HOLIDAYS PAST... PRESENT... AND FUTURE... AND MANY FLOATS WERE DECORATED TO SHOW HOLIDAY CLASSICS.
MICHAEL BERLIN SAYS HE TAKES HIS FAMILY TO SEE THE PARADE EVERY YEAR.
Michael Berlin, Forsyth: "It's a very close knit community and we all really care about eachother and we try to get together whenever we can whether it's at a fair or an event like this it's just good to share the bond of being in a small town."
IF YOU MISSED OUT ON FORSYTH'S HOMETOWN HOLIDAY PARADE... YOU CAN CATCH THE CHRISTMAS PARADE IN BOLINGBROKE SATURDAY AT 3 P-M.

TONIGHT WE KICK OFF OUR 13 DAYS OF GIVING WITH A LOOK AT A LOCAL CHARITY..
Toni Henson Slade, Executive Director Project Giving: I have a front row seat to watch the beauty of the human spirit.
PROJECT GIVING FOCUSES ON HELPING FAMILIES IN GEORGIA WHO ARE DEALING WITH A CHRONIC ILLNESS.
THROUGHOUT THE YEAR---THE CHARITY HELPS THESE FAMILIES WITH BIG AND SMALL EXPENSES.
BUT DURING THE HOLIDAY SEASON---THEY HAVE A CHRISTMAS ADOPTION--WHEN TEACHERS LET THE ORGANIZATION KNOW ABOUT FAMILIES THEY THINK NEED SOME HOLIDAY CHEER THIS YEAR.
THOSE FAMILIES GIVE THE ORGANIZATION A WISH LIST OF THINGS THEY HOPE TO GET FOR CHRISTMAS---AND PROJECT GIVING TRIES TO FIND PEOPLE TO HELP THEM GET EVERYTHING ON THAT LIST.
Toni Henson Slade, Executive Director Project Giving: We pair them up or partner them with individuals, families, Sunday school classes, business, organizations, whomever would like to adopt them for Christmas.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR TONI HENSON SLADE---RIGHT NOW THEY NEED PEOPLE TO ADOPT FAMILIES IN NEED AND TO DONATE MONEY AND GENTLY USED ITEMS TO THE ORGANIZATION.
YOU CAN ADOPT A FAMILY BY DECEMBER 22ND.

DECK THE HALLS WITH BOUGHS OF HOLLY! IT'S THAT TIME OF YEAR PEOPLE! IT'S THE BEGINNING OF THE END!!! ACTUALLY, IT'S THE VERY BEGINNING OF THE VERY LAST MONTH OF THE YEAR AND...GOTTA TELL YOU FOLKS...IT'S BEGINNING TO LOOK AN AWFUL LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS!

'TIS THE SEASON TO BE JOLLY, RIGHT? RIGHT?! WELL YOU AND YOURS CAN GET JOLLY THIS FRIDAY NIGHT AT FIRST FRIDAY IN DOWNTOWN MACON. THE DECORATIONS ARE UP! AND AT THE GEORGIA SPORTS HALL OF FAME - THE WHOLE FAMILY IS INVITED FOR A FREE SHOWING OF THE POLAR BEAR EXPRESS. AHH...IT'S JUST SO SWEET. ANYWAY, CHECK THAT OUT AT SIX THIRTY.

NOW PAY ATTENTION, BECAUSE I'M ABOUT TO ROCK A LINE-UP OF LIVE THEATRE THAT'S GONNA BLOW YOUR MISTLETOE!

AND SPEAKING OF ROCKIN' - THE NINETEEN FORTIES COME ALIVE IN MUSIC AT MACON LITTLE THEATRE...

SET IN NINETEEN-FORTY-TWO IN THE MIDST OF WORLD WAR TWO - THIS FUN, FUNNY, INCREDIBLY ENERGETIC PRODUCTION IS ONE YOU ABSOLUTELY DO NOT WANT TO MISS. ALL THESE AWESOME CHARACTERS...

...THEY ALL COME TOGETHER TO PRODUCE A LIVE RADIO BROADCAST FROM THE HOTEL ASTOR ON CHRISTMAS EVE. TAKE YOUR FOLKS, TAKE YOUR KIDS, OR JUST TAKE YOURSELF AND HEAD OUT FOR OPENING WEEKEND OF THE 1940'S RADIO HOUR. GET TICKETS BY CALLING 471-PLAY.

IF YOU'RE DREAMING OF A "WHITE CHRISTMAS"...DREAM YOURSELF RIGHT ON OVER TO THEATRE MACON FOR A LIVE PRODUCTION OF THE IRVING BERLIN CLASSIC MUSICAL! BING CROSBY BROUGHT IT TO LIFE ON THE BIG SCREEN...AND BOY WAS THAT AN INCREDIBLE FILM. BUT CHECK THIS! YOU GET TO SEE IT LIVE! ON STAGE! STARTING THIS FRIDAY! AND LET ME TELL YOU...THE CAST? JUST PHENOMENAL. CALL THE THEATRE AT 746-9485 TODAY TO MAKE RESERVATIONS FOR OPENING WEEKEND SHOWS!

NOW THIS NEXT LIVE-STAGE PRODUCTION DOESN'T BEGIN UNTIL NEXT WEDNESDAY, BUT IT'S JUST SUCH A POPULAR MIDDLE GEORGIA TRADITION THAT IT WARRANTS TALKING ABOUT THIS WEEK.

THAT TIMELESS TALE OF CHRISTMAS MAGIC - THE NUTCRACKER - IS BACK! IT ALL STARTS WHEN UNCLE DROSSELMEYER ARRIVES AT THE SILBERHAUS FAMILY CHRISTMAS PARTY BEARING EXTRAORDINARY GIFTS FOR THE CHILDREN. ESPECIALLY YOUNG CLARA - FOR WHOM A SPECIAL NUTCRACKER IS INTENDED. BUT IT'S NOT UNTIL THE PARTY'S OVER THAT THE TRUE MAGIC REALLY BEGINS! THE ENCHANTMENT BEGINS WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER SEVENTH. HEAD ONLINE TO THE-GRAND-MACON-DOT-COM TO SEE A SCHEDULE OF SHOWS AND TO PURCHASE TICKETS.

AND IF YOU'RE ONE FOR CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS...HAVE I GOT A COUPLE OF AWESOME ONES FOR YOU!

FIRST, IN WARNER ROBINS THE BOULEVARD SHUTS DOWN TO MAKE WAY FOR THE FIFTY-FOURTH ANNUAL ROBINS REGIONAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE CHRISTMAS PARADE! YES SIR! FIFTY-FOUR YEARS OF FLOATS AND MARCHING BANDS AND ALL THE THINGS THAT MAKE PARADES SO MUCH FUN! IT'S BEGINNING TO SOUND A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS IS THIS YEAR'S THEME. THE ACTION STARTS AT TEN, BUT IF YOU WANT A GOOD SEAT - YOU MAY WANT TO GET THERE A SMIDGE EARLY.

THEN ON SUNDAY, THE MIDDLE GEORGIA CHRISTMAS PARADE MARCHES THROUGH DOWNTOWN MACON IN ITS FIFTY-FIRST YEAR! THE THEME FOR THIS PARADE? CHRISTMAS ON MAIN STREET! AGAIN - IT'S HAPPENING THIS SUNDAY AT THREE.

AND HEY, JUST SO YOU KNOW, THE BIG GUY - 'OL SAINT NICK HIMSELF - IS TAKING TIME OUT OF HIS VERY BUSY CHRISTMAS SCHEDULE TO MAKE AN APPEARANCE IN BOTH PARADES!

'TIS THE SEASON FOR JOY AND MERRIMENT, PEOPLE OF MIDDLE GEORGIA, SO GO FORTH AND GET YOUR CHRISTMAS SPIRIT ON! WE'LL SPREAD THE CHEER, RIGHT HERE, FOR YOU MY DEARS...SAME TIME NEXT WEEK. THAT'S A WRAP.

TONIGHT'S FACEBOOK FAN OF THE DAY IS MICHAEL WINANS.
WINANS... YOU'LL NEED TO EMAIL FAN OF THE DAY AT 13WMAZ DOT COM TO CLAIM YOUR COFFEE MUG.
YOU KNOW... A LOT OF RESEARCH HAS GONE INTO FINDING THE FORMULA FOR GETTING THAT COFFEE MUG.
BUT FINALLY... SCIENTISTS HAVE REVEALED THAT ONE VISIT TO FACEBOOK DOT COM SLASH 13WMAZ PLUS ONE USE OF THE LIKE BUTTON TIMES X NUMBER OF TIMES TAKING PART IN CONVERSATIONS... DIVIDED BY A RANDOMLY SELECTED Y.... MAKES THE IDEAL EQUATION.

MORE THAN 50 CENTRAL GEORGIA SENIOR CITIZENS RECEIVED RECOGNITION TODAY FOR THEIR VOLUNTEER WORK WITH CHILDREN.
THE MACON-BIBB COUNTY E-O-C FOSTER GRANDPARENT PROGRAM VOLUNTEERS ENJOYED A BANQUET COMPLETE WITH FOOD..MUSIC AND SEVERAL GUEST SPEAKERS.
THROUGH THE PROGRAM... SENIORS HELP KIDS WITH THEIR SCHOOLWORK AND GIVE THEM SOME ENCOURAGEMENT.
79-YEAR-OLD CHRISTINE JOHNSON SAYS BEING A FOSTER GRANDPARENT HAS ENRICHED HER LIFE.
Christine Johnson: "I love children and I knew I had something more to give so I decided to join this program and give as much as I can to the little ones because they need as much as they can get."
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON HOW TO VOLUNTEER TO BE A FOSTER GRANDPARENT... CHECK OUT THIS STORY ON OUR WEBSITE 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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