Tuesday, December 13, Eyewitness News at 6

10:19 PM, Dec 13, 2011   |    comments
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IN JUST A FEW MINUTES MAYOR ROBERT REICHERT WILL TAKE THE OATH OF OFFICE... TO OFFICIALLY BEGIN HIS SECOND TERM AS MAYOR OF MACON.
HELLO EVERYONE AND THANKS FOR JOINING US.I'M LEAH JOHNSON..
AND I'M LORRA LYNCH JONES... THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT SIX.
FRANK MALLOY HAS THE NIGHT OFF.
WE'LL HAVE MORE LIVE COVERAGE OF INAUGURATION DAY AT MACON CITY HALL.... IN JUST A FEW MINUTES.
BUT FIRST....

VIOLENT CRIMES IN MACON ARE DOWN THIS YEAR... COMPARED TO LAST.
IN 2011.. MACON POLICE REPORT FEWER HOMICIDES... ROBBERIES AND AGGRAVATED ASSAULTS.
BRITTINY BARBER BREAKS DOWN THE NUMBERS AND SHOWS US THAT NOT ALL CRIME DECREASED THIS YEAR.
MACON POLICE THEY'VE SEEN LESS VIOLENT CRIME IN THE CITY THIS YEAR...
THE NUMBER OF HOMICIDES DECREASED BY 35 PERCENT.... 20 HOMICIDES WERE REPORTED IN 20-10... AND ONLY 13 SO FAR THIS YEAR...
ALSO DOWN.... THE NUMBER OF ROBBERIES AND AGGRAVATED ASSAULTS...
Fletcher: "We are 300 strong but there's 92-thousand people in the city limits. We can't be everywhere but the community has stepped up."
Fletcher: It starts with the team effort of the community, the police department and the district attorney's office."
HE SAYS THAT COLLABORATION... NOW PUTS CRIMINALS BEHIND BARS.. AND KEEPS THEM THERE...
AND FLETCHER SAYS POLICE HAVE ALSO INCREASED THEIR EFFORTS IN CERTAIN AREAS...
Fletcher: "Business robberies are down over 50 percent I attricbute that to special details that the chief of police and the majors have put together to target certain aspects of violent crime."
HE SAYS TO DATE... 39 PEOPLE HAVE BEEN SHOT IN THE CITY... LAST YEAR THE NUMBER WAS NEARLY DOUBLED THAT...
BUT ...WHILE VIOLENT CRIMES DECLINED... SOME PROPERTY CRIMES INCLUDING BURGLARY AND LARCENY ROSE...
POLICE SAW A 6 PERCENT INCREASE IN BURGLARIES AND A 15 PERCENT INCREASE IN LARCENY..
SO OVERALL ....THE MOST SEVERE CRIMES ...SO CALLED PART ONE CRIMES....INCREASED BY SEVEN PERCENT... IN MACON...
ACCORDING TO THE F-B-I... MOST CRIMES ACROSS THE NATION HAVE ALSO DROPPED SINCE 2007... WITH FEWER HOMICIDES... AGGRAVATED ASSAULTS AND.. PROPERTY CRIMES....
BRITTINY BA
ONE MORE NOTE . THE 24 REPORTED RAPES IN MACON THIS YEAR ARE THE SAME NUMBER AS LAST YEAR.
THE CRIME NUMBERS FOR THIS YEAR ARE THROUGH DECEMBER 5TH. RBER 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS

AN ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE IS SET TO REVIEW THE PUNISHMENTS FOR TWO MACON-BIBB FIREFIGHTERS TOMORROW MORNING.
THE REVIEW COMES AFTER THIS VIDEO OF A HOAX SHOOTING... ENDED UP ON YOUTUBE.
CHRIS HUGHES AND SERGEANT JOSHUA BREWER WILL APPEAR BEFORE THE JUDGE AT 9 A.M.
FIRE CHIEF MARVIN RIGGINS FIRED HUGHES FOLLOWING THE PRANK... AND BREWER FACED A 10-WEEK SUSPENSION AND DEMOTION.
THE HEARING WILL BE AT THE DEPARTMENT OFFICE OF HUMAN RESOURCES IN MACON.
NEITHER WOULD NOT COMMENT ON THE CASE.

THE NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD RECOMMENDS AN OUTRIGHT BAN ON PHONING OR TEXTING WHILE DRIVING... EXCEPT IN EMERGENCIES.
THE BOARD SAID IT CALLED FOR THE BAN AFTER FINDING THAT A 19-YEAR-OLD WAS TEXTING WHILE DRIVING AND CAUSED A DEADLY HIGHWAY PILEUP IN MISSOURI LAST YEAR.
THAT WRECK KILLED TWO PEOPLE AND INJURED 38 OTHERS.
THE SAFETY BOARD DOESN'T HAVE THE POWER TO IMPOSE REGULATIONS... BUT ITS RECOMMENDATIONS CARRY HEAVY WEIGHT WITH LAWMAKERS.
GEORGIA LAW BANS CELL PHONE USE FOR PEOPLE UNDER 18 AND BANS TEXTING WHILE DRIVING FOR EVERYONE.
BUT THE AUTHOR OF THAT LAW... MACON STATE REPRESENTATIVE ALLEN PEAKE SAYS.... THE N-T-S-B'S RECOMMENDATION GOES TOO FAR....
HE TOLD 13WMAZ HE WOULD NOT SUPPORT AN OUTRIGHT BAN OF TALKING ON THE PHONE WHILE DRIVING.
IN FACT... PEAKE SAID HE WAS TALKING TO US OVER A CELL-PHONE WHILE DRIVING.

IT'S THE FINAL DAY OF THE 13 DAYS OF GIVING... AND TODAY WE'RE HIGHLIGHTING AN ORGANIZATION THAT ENCOMPASSES THE PHRASE... 'IN GIVING WE TRULY RECEIVE.'
PARA VINSON STARTED I-C-U MINISTRY ALMOST SIX YEARS AGO.. AFTER SHE TRAVELED TO FOUR HOSPITALS AND SPENT 8 WEEKS WITH A CLOSE FRIEND IN THE INTENSIVE CARE UNIT... AFTER HE WAS HIT BY A TRUCK.
STEPHANIE SUSSKIND EXPLAINS HOW VINSON SAYS YOU CAN HELP MAKE PEOPLE'S LIVES BETTER.. WITH A SIMPLE ACT OF KINDNESS.
<<(nats sewing machine)
IT MAY LOOK LIKE SANTA'S WORKSHOP THIS SEASON...
(nats Para Vinson giving instruction)

BUT FOR PARA VINSON, IT'S A YEAR-ROUND PROJECT.. I-C-U MINISTRY... TO BRIGHTEN PEOPLE'S LIVES.. DURING WHAT CAN BE THEIR DARKEST MOMENT.
Para: "When you get a phone call that your loved one was hurt in an accident, you go straight to the hospital and you're not gonna leave there until they come home with you or they are out of danger.... So that's where this comes in, I try to think of anything you would need"
SHE CALLS THEM 'ICU SURVIVAL KITS.'
"everything in here is made with love and stitched with prayers"
BAGS FULL OF EVERDAY ITEMS THAT SHE DELIVERS TO ICU WAITING ROOMS ACROSS THE AREA.
"here we have a bag of tolietries..we have soap, shampoo, lotion, a bath cloth, a comb, and a little information sheet that tells how we got started."
MAGAZINES, A BIBLE, A BLANKET AND PILLOW HELP COMPLETE THE HAND-MADE GIFT.
Para: "everything that we get goes for supplies. We have to buy material, stuffing, and if we don't have enough samples we have to buy those by the case"
AND THAT'S WHERE YOU COME IN.
VINSON SAYS YOU CAN DONATE HOTEL-SIZED ITEMS... FABRIC.. EVERY LITTLE BIT HELPS.
Para: "its not about fancy things or what's in the bags, its more about what it does for the people who are there"
SHE SAYS IT'S A TOTAL VOLUNTEER EFFORT...
Para: "Sometimes you're doing this and you think 'am I really touching anybody? ya know does it really matter?
NATS 'awww' (hugging)
THEN MOMENTS LIKE THIS COME ALONG...
Tamatha Beckham: "I'm gonna get all teary-eyed. I appreciate so much what you did."
THIS IS TAMATHA BECKHAM'S FIRST TIME MEETING PARA VINSON.
SHE GOT AN ICU SURVIVAL KIT A YEAR AGO, WHEN HER MOM WAS IN THE PERRY HOSPITAL.
Tamatha: "The nurses brought out these monogrammed ICU bags and I just can't even tell you what a gift that is, in an otherwise dreary moment of your life"
AND VINSON SAYS.. YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE TOO.
Para: "If you can help somebody...Christmas isn't about how many gifts you put under the tree, but Christmas shouldn't be, holidays shouldn't be, giving shouldn't be just on holidays, it should be everyday. You should help somebody everyday."
AND BY HELPING I-C-U MINISTRY... YOUR THROWAWAYS... CAN BE JUST WHAT SOMEONE NEEDS.
STEPHANIE SUSSKIND 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS.>>
PARA VINSON DROPS OFF ICU SURVIVAL KITS AT PERRY HOSPITAL, HOUSTON COUNTY MEDICAL CENTER, THE MEDICAL CENTER OF CENTRAL GEORGIA AND COLISEUM HOSPITAL.
HER VOLUNTEER GROUP MEETS TWICE A MONTH.. AND MAKES ABOUT 60 BAGS AT EACH SESSION.
SHE ALSO SELLS BOILED PEANUTS AT LOCAL FESTIVALS TO RAISE MONEY.
IF YOU'D LIKE TO HELP.. YOU CAN CALL 214-5560.
THAT NUMBER AGAIN... 214-5560.

ben gives three day forecast
THANKS BEN.. WE'LL TALK WITH YOU AGAIN IN JUST A FEW MINUTES.

MAYOR ROBERT REICHERT IS JUST MOMENTS AWAY FROM BEGINNING HIS SECOND TERM AS MAYOR OF MACON.
HE'S GATHERED WITH COUNCIL MEMBERS AT MACON CITY HALL TO TAKE THE OATH OF OFFICE.. AND ADDRESS THE CITY WITH HIS PLANS FOR THE NEXT FOUR YEARS.
WE TAKE YOU THERE LIVE... FOR THE CEREMONY.
mayor reichert gives inauguration address
ad lib recap
WE'LL HAVE MORE ON TONIGHT'S CEREMONY... AND THE CELEBRATION TO FOLLOW... TONIGHT ON EYEWITNESS NEWS AT ELEVEN... 13WMAZ DOT COM AND M-A-Z MOBILE.
WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK.

GEORGIA COULD FACE 9 MILLION DOLLARS IN FEDERAL CUTS FOR SUBSTANCE ABUSE PROGRAMS.
THAT'S ACCORDING TO A NEWS RELEASE FROM THE GEORGIA ASSOCIATION OF COMMUNITY SERVICE BOARDS.
THEY SAY THE U-S SENATE IS VOTING ON THE MONEY ON FRIDAY.
AS AMY AUBERT SHOWS YOU... THE DECISION... .. COULD AFFECT SOME PROGRAMS RIGHT HERE IN CENTRAL GEORGIA.
<<Nats, unlocking door
THE OCONEE CENTER IN MILLEDGEVILLE HAS UNLOCKED HOPE FOR HUNDREDS FACING ADDICTION.
Sarah Hogan, Community Liason: "When they first come it's like an a-ha experience."
SARAH HOGAN WORKS WITH THE CENTER... SHE SAYS THEY OFFER COUNSELING... CLASSES... AND HOUSING...
Hogan: "This is their kitchen area, they prepare all their meals..."
...THROUGH THREE SEPARATE PROGRAMS.
BUT WITH FUNDING CUTS FOR SUBSTANCE ABUSE PROGRAMS ON THE TABLE... THE GROUP COULD SOON BE LIMITED.
HOGAN SAYS ONE OF THOSE PROGRAMS....THE HOPE HOUSE PROGRAM... NOW OFFERS TEN BEDS... BUT WITH LESS MONEY.. THEY'LL HAVE TO MAKE CUTS.
Caressa Jackson, Jasper County: "I was tired of doing drugs."
CARESSA JACKSON SAYS IN MAY SHE REACHED OUT TO THE HOPE HOUSE PROGRAM.
Caressa Jackson: "It can be hard when you don't have a place to go, and have no one to care for you."
SHE PLANS TO GRADUATE FROM THE PROGRAM SOON... BUT FOR NOW... IT'S HELPED HER GET A JOB... AND PROVIDED A HOME FOR HER AND HER TWO KIDS.
Caressa Jackson: "I have to do it because they need me. And with me being out there on drugs they won't have a good mother."
SHE SAYS WITHOUT THE PROGRAM.. IT'LL BE HARD FOR OTHERS LIKE HER... TO MAKE A CHANGE.
Sarah Hogan: "For that one person that it makes a difference in their life, it's well worth it."
tHE GROUP SAYS WITH A WAITING LIST... WHAT THEY REALLY NEED IS MORE MONEY... AND FUNDING CUTS COULD SHUT THE DOORS... TO MORE NEEDING HELP.
Nats, closing door
AMY AUBERT 13 WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS. >>
WORKERS AT THE OCONEE CENTER PLAN TO MEET WITH STATE LEGISLATORS THURSDAY TO DISCUSS THE IMPORTANCE OF THE PROGRAM.

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