Monday, December 19, Eyewitness News at 6

6:47 PM, Dec 19, 2011   |    comments
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<<opening for eyewitness news at six>>
FAMILIES OF SOLDIERS EMBRACED JUST MINUTES AGO AT ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE... AS MEMBERS OF THE THE 689TH COMBAT COMMUNICATION WING... ARRIVED HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS.
HELLO EVERYONE AND THANKS FOR JOINING US....I'M LEAH JOHNSON..
THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT SIX...
FRANK MALLOY HAS THE NIGHT OFF

OUR TOP STORY AT SIX... ABOUT 25 CENTRAL GEORGIA AIRMEN HAVE RETURNED HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS.
JUST A FEW MINUTES AGO... THE MEMBERS OF THE 689TH COMBAT COMMUNICATION WING ROLLED INTO ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE
LORRA LYNCH JONES WAS AT THE BASE... WAITING FOR THE TROOP'S ARRIVAL.... HOW'S IT GOING LORRA?
LORRA TALKS ABOUT TROOP HOMECOMING.
THANKS LORRA....
AND WE'LL HAVE MORE ON THEIR HOMECOMING TONIGHT ON EYEWITNESS NEWS AT SIX... AND 13WMAZ DOT COM.

AND MANY OF YOU HAVE WELCOMED BACK THE TROOPS IN YOUR OWN WAY ON FACEBOOK...
KESHA PENNYMON SAYS: THANK YOU FOR THE COURAGEOUS MEN AND WOMEN IN UNIFORM! THIS IS THE BEST CHRISTMAS GIFT EVER, BRINGING THEM HOME.
MERRY CHRISTMAS!
CONNIE ENGLISH SMITH POSTED: WELCOME HOME AND THANK YOU TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILIES FOR ALL THAT YOU HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO THIS GREAT NATION!
WISHING YOU ALL A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS! YOU AND YOUR FAMILIES ARE GREATLY APPRECIATED!
AND KIM CAGLE WROTE... "I'LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS" REALLY MEANS A LOT THIS SEASON FOR OUR MILITARY AND THEIR FAMILIES. THANK YOU.
JOIN THE DISCUSSION ON FACEBOOK.
JUST TYPE IN 13-W-M-A-Z-DOT-COM AND BECOME A FAN OF OUR PAGE BY CLICKING THE LIKE BUTTON.

TOM ELLINGTON WILL HEAD UP THE MACON CITY COUNCIL COMMITTEE THAT OVERSEES CITY SPENDING.
BY A 3 TO 2 VOTE... MEMBERS OF THE COUNCIL APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE PICKED ELLINGTON AS THEIR NEW CHAIRMAN.
MEMBER ELAINE LUCAS NOMINATED HENRY FICKLIN.. .A LONGTIME APPROPRIATIONS CHAIRMAN WHO RETURNED TO COUNCIL LAST YEAR.
BUT THE PANEL PICKED ELLINGTON.. A COLLEGE PROFESSOR BY ONE VOTE.
SOME OF THE OTHER CHOICES....LAUREN BENEDICT TO HEAD COMMUNITY RESOURCES....CHARLES JONES AS EMPLOYEE COMPENSATION CHAIRMAN....AND RICK HUTTO TO LEAD PUBLIC PROPERTIES.
AND ONCE AGAIN...BY A UNANIMOUS VOTE...VIRGIL WATKINS WAS CHOSEN AS PUBLIC SAFETY CHAIR.

AS PUBLIC SAFETY CHAIRMAN....WATKINS HAS A BIG TASK AHEAD.. AS THE CITY CONTINUES TO WORK OUT ITS PROPOSED YOUTH INTERVENTION PROGRAM.
AFTER A STRING OF YOUTH GUN VIOLENCE... MACON MAYOR ROBERT REICHERT ANNOUNCED ON AUGUST 30TH HIS PLAN TO CUT CRIME.
BRITTINY BARBER CHECKED BACK WITH THE MAYOR NEARLY FOUR MONTHS LATER TO FIND OUT WHERE THAT PLAN STANDS.
IN A FORUM AT CITY HALL BACK IN AUGUST.... MACON MAYOR ROBERT REICHERT LISTED SEVEN THINGS HE WANTED TO DO TO FIGHT A RASH OF TEEN VIOLENCE..
THEY INCLUDED EXPANDING MACON POLICE'S.... YOUTH AND INVERVENTION DEPARTMENT... PARTNERING WITH SCHOOLS AND THE RELIGIOUS COMMUNITY... AND WORKING WITH WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT TO HELP TEENS FIND A JOB...
REICHERT SAYS HE'S MADE PROGRESS.. MEETING WITH BIBB SUPERINTENDENT ROMAN DALLEMOND.. AND FAITH-BASED LEADERS.... BUT HE SAYS OTHER AREA'S STILL NEED WORK...
Reichert: "WE said that we would have a youth advisory council. That's the responsibility of the Mayor's office and I have not done well with that. WE are working on that but we have not gotten a youth advisory council established, but we'll be looking to do that shortly after the first of the year."
HE SAYS SEVERAL FACTORS HALTED THE COMPLETE DEVELOPMENT OF HIS PLANS... THE MAIN ONE... MONEY...
LOOKING FORWARD... HE SAYS SEALING THE DEAL TO HIRE MORE OFFICERS IS A TOP PRIORITY...
Reichert: "working with city council to try to get the funding for some additional positions in the police department and to fund the positions for the liason with the US attorney
ITS UP TO THE CITY COUNCIL'S PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE...TO APPROVE THAT PLAN.
THEY CHANGED THE PLAN PRESENTED BY POLICE CHIEF MIKE BURNS... FROM HIRING SIX NEW OFFICERS TO ONLY HIRING ONE...
Burns: I don't knwo wher my plan stands. The plan I first submitted to the mayor, the last thing that was conisdered by council wasn't even close to what we submitted to start with. I guess the urgency is not there anymore.
REICHERT SAYS THEIR SUCCESS IN FIGHTING CRIME HAS HAMPERED HIS PLAN.
HE SAYS SINCE VIOLENT CRIMES DECLINED THIS YEAR... SOME QUESTION THE NEED FOR INCREASED EFFORTS...
BRITTINY BARBER 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS
POLICE CHIEF MIKE BURNS SAYS THEY'RE ATTACKING YOUTH VIOLENCE THE BEST WAY THEY CAN WITHOUT SPENDING MORE MONEY.
HE SAYS THEY'VE RAN A COUPLE OF CURFEW CHECKS AND PARTNERED WITH THE SCHOOL DISTRICT AND SHERIFF'S OFFICE FOR A TRUANCY SWEEP.

THE SECRETARY OF STATE'S OFFICE IS INVESTIGATING SUSPECTED FRAUD IN FORSYTH'S MAYORAL ELECTION.
THAT'S ACCORDING TO DISTRICT ATTORNEY RICHARD MILAM.
AMY AUBERT SPOKE TO THE D-A... MAYOR TYE HOWARD... AND FORSYTH'S MAYOR ELECT TO FIND OUT MORE.
I RECEIVED THIS COPY OF A COMPLAINT FROM THE SECRETARY OF STATE'S OFFICE...
IT SAYS... QUOTE...
THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY REQUESTED AN INVESTIGATION ON THE NUMBER OF ABSENTEE BALLOTS AND SUSPECTED FORGERIES ON ABSENTEE BALLOTS.
DISTRICT ATTORNEY RICHARD MILAM SAYS HE MET WITH THE PROBATE JUDGE A WEEK AFTER THE NOVEMBER ELECTION... BECAUSE OF POSSIBLE FORGERY.
HE SAYS... AT LEAST TWO OF THOSE ABSENTEE BALLOTS WERE THROWN OUT BY ELECTION SUPERVISORS BECAUSE THE SIGNATURES DID NOT MATCH ONES THEY HAD ON FILE.
HE ALSO SAYS THE NUMBER OF ABSENTEE BALLOTS THIS YEAR WAS QUOTE ABNORMALLY HIGH... COMPARED TO LAST YEAR.
FORSYTH MAYOR TYE HOWARD SAYS HE FILED A LAWSUIT SOON AFTER THE ELECTION BECAUSE OF THE UNUSUALLY HIGH NUMBER OF ABSENTEE BALLOTS.
MAYOR HOWARD SAYS HE HAS SINCE DROPPED THE LAWSUIT CITING TIME AND MONEY CONSTRAINTS
MAYOR-ELECT JOHN HOWARD SAYS HE WELCOMES THE INVESTIGATION BECAUSE HE QUOTE... RAN A CLEAN CAMPAIGN.
HE SAYS HE SPENT A LOT OF TIME GETTING OUT IN THE COMMUNITY... KNOCKING ON DOORS AND TRYING TO GET SUPPORT.
HE SAYS IN THE END...HE THINKS THE RESULTS WILL BE THE SAME.
THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY SAYS THE RESULTS OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE'S INVESTIGATION WILL HAVE NO EFFECT ON THE 2012 MAYORAL SEAT.
MAYOR-ELECT JOHN HOWARD TAKES OFFICE JANUARY FIRST.
HE WON THE NOVEMBER RACE...BY 151 VOTES.
LEAH?

LOOK FOR CLOUDY SKIES TONIGHT WITH LOWS IN THE MID 40'S. TOMORROW HAS A GOOD CHANCE OF SHOWERS AND HIGHS IN THE UPPER 60'S. RAIN
THANKS BEN.. WE'LL TALK WITH YOU AGAIN IN JUST A FEW MINUTES.
CHANCES STAY WITH FOR THE REST OF THE WEEK

WELCOME BACK...
LORRA LYNCH JONES IS LIVE AT ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE.... WHERE THE TROOPS HAVE JUST ARRIVED HOME FROM IRAQ.
LORRA?
LORRA DOES LIVE SHOT
THANKS LORRA....
WE'LL HAVE MORE ON THE THE TROOP'S ARRIVAL... TONIGHT ON EYEWITNESS NEWS AT 11

A STATE AGENCY SAYS THE CITY OF MACON CAN USE A ONE AND A HALF MILLION DOLLAR GRANT FOR A DOWNTOWN LOFT PROJECT.
THAT'S A BOOST TO DEVELOPERS WHO WANT TO RESTORE THE OLD DANNENBERG BUILDING ON THIRD STREET.
ORIGINALLY....THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY AFFAIRS APPROVED THE FEDERAL GRANT TO DEVELOP HOMES IN THE OLD ATLANTIC COTTON MILL .
AFTER THE MILL BURNED DOWN IN MARCH... THE CITY ASKED THE STATE TO LET THEM USE THE MONEY ON ANOTHER PROJECT.
MAYOR ROBERT REICHERT SAYS THE DANNENBERG LOFTS WILL IMPROVE THE LOOK OF THE DOWNTOWN ...AND ITS BUSINESS CLIMATE.
no longer would it sit there as a dilapidated eye sore right in the middle of downtown. It would also bring in approx. 70 new residents to the downtown area and that what generates extra economic activity. "
THE STATE AGENCY SAYS DEVELOPERS MUST START WORK ON THE DANNENBERG PROJECT...BY FEBRUARY FIFTHTEENTH...NEXT YEAR.

THIS SUNDAY... CHRISTMAS DAY... MARKS THE FIFTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE DEATH OF THE GODFATHER OF SOUL.... JAMES BROWN.
EARLIER TODAY FOLKS GATHERED AT THE BRIDGE NAMED AFTER THE LEGENDARY SINGER... TO LAY WREATHS IN HIS MEMORY.
FORMER BROWN BACK UP DANCER TASCHA HOUSTON SAID SHE'S ORGANIZED A MEMORIAL AT THE BRIDGE EVERY YEAR SINCE 2007.
BROWN WHO GOT HIS START HERE IN MACON... OWNED A FEW HOMES IN AREA... AS WELL AS SOME BUSINESSES.
HOUSTON CALLED BROWN THE ULTIMATE ENTERTAINER... AND SAYS HIS MUSIC INFLUENCES EVERYONE.
SHE SAYS SHE HOPES TO MAKE THE MEMORIAL BIGGER EACH YEAR.
I want to see this get bigger and this bridge and for his legacy of music to keep on growing and let's make it bigger than ever. I want to see the same crowd that came out to our shows and packed the house.
THE BRIDGE TOOK ON THE SINGER'S NAMESAKE IN THE EARLY 90s.
YOU CAN FIND THE JAMES BROWN MEMORIAL BRIDGE ON WALNUT STREET IN PLEASANT HILL

LOOK FOR CLOUDY SKIES TONIGHT WITH LOWS IN THE MID 40'S. TOMORROW HAS A GOOD CHANCE OF SHOWERS AND HIGHS IN THE UPPER 60'S. RAIN CHANCES STAY WITH FOR THE REST OF THE WEEK.

THANKS MIKE..
EYEWITNESS NEWS AT SIX CONTINUES AFTER THE BREAK

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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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