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Thursday, December 22, Eyewitness News at 6

6:51 PM, Dec 22, 2011   |    comments
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HELLO EVERYONE AND THANKS FOR JOINING US.... I'M LORRA LYNCH JONES.
THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT SIX...
FRANK MALLOY HAS THE NIGHT OFF

NEW NUMBERS FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR SHOW UNEMPLOYMENT IN MACON AND WARNER ROBINS DROPPED IN THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER.

IN THE MACON AREA... UNEMPLOYMENT FELL FROM 10 PERCENT IN OCTOBER TO 9 POINT 4 PERCENT IN NOVEMBER.
THAT'S NEARLY A POINT LOWER THAN A YEAR AGO'S 10-POINT-3 PERCENT.

IN WARNER ROBINS... THE JOBLESS RATE DROPPED HALF A PERCENTAGE POINT.
IT NOW SITS AT 7 POINT 2 PERCENT... THATS DOWN FROM 7 POINT 7 PERCENT IN OCTOBER.

BUT WHAT'S BEHIND THAT DECREASE?
IS IT A SIGN OF A RECOVERING ECONOMY? OR JUST A BOOST THANKS TO SEASONAL HIRING?
13WMAZ'S ELEANOR LISSITZYN SPOKE WITH LABOR COMMISSIONER MARK BUTLER TO GET THE STORY BEHIND THE NUMBERS.

<<
GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF LABOR COMMISSIONER MARK BUTLER SAYS THE STATE IS BUCKING NATIONAL TRENDS... BY BRINGING DOWN UNEMPLOYMENT RATES THE RIGHT WAY... BY ADDING JOBS.

WHEN NATIONAL UNEMPLOYMENT RATES DIP... EXPERTS SOMETIMES ATTIBUTE IT TO THE UNEMPLOYED QUITTING THE JOB SEARCH... SO THEY NO LONGER FACTOR INTO DEPARTMENT OF LABOR STATISTICS.
"That's not the case in Georgia, our number went down because people were finding work. Not because they were leaving the job market. In the Macon area, the number of jobs increased by over 1,100."

AND THE BEST NEWS... HE SAYS THOSE ELEVEN HUNDRED OF THOSE HIRES AREN'T RELATED TO THE HOLIDAY SEASON.
HE SAYS INDUSTRIES LIKE HEALTH CARE... LESISURE SERVICES... AND FINANCIAL SERVICES... ADDED A LOT OF THOSE JOBS.

"I just believe that Georgia businesses are starting to have some confidence in Georgia's ecomony. They're starting to invest, they're seeing demand for services go up, and they're cautiously starting to hire again."

BUT HE CAUTIONS... IT'S WAY TO SOON TO CALL THIS A TREND.
" One month of good numbers is exactly that, one month of good numbers. Maybe we'll be talking about this again in six to eight months and we'll be calling it a trend. However, world events, national events, change all these numbers in an instant. "

FOR NOW THOUGH... HE SAYS ANY DROP IN UNEMPLOYMENT IS WELCOME NEWS.
STD
>>

JOINING US NOW IS GREG GEORGE... A PROFESSOR OF ECONOMY AT MACON STATE COLLEGE.
DOCTOR GEORGE... THESE LOWER NUMBERS HAVE SOME PEOPLE FEELING POSITIVE ABOUT THE ECONOMY BUT WHAT DO THEY REALLY MEAN?

(LEAH AB LIBS INVU)

-Are retail trends improving?
-What do housing trends say about Georgia's economy?
DO WE STILL HAVE LONG WAY TO GO?



THANKS DR. GEORGE.
LORRA?

A WARNER ROBINS FACTORY SAYS IT'S LAYING OFF 40 WORKERS.
THE ANCHOR GLASS CONTAINER CORPORATION PLANT ON BOOTH ROAD PLANS TO IDLE ONE OF ITS GLASS-MAKING MACHINES FOR ALL OF NEXT YEAR.
THEY SAY THEY'RE MAKING THE CHANGE TO BRING ITS MANUFACTURING IN LINE WITH CUSTOMER NEEDS.
ACCORDING TO THE ROBINS REGIONAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE... THE PLANT HAS 443 WORKERS.
THE LAYOFFS ARE ABOUT NINE PERCENT OF THAT.
THE COMPANY SAYS IT'S WORKING WITH A UNION TO MANAGE THE LAYOFFS UNDER THEIR LABOR CONTRACT.

A WARNER ROBINS DEVELOPER PLANS TO OPEN A 40-THOUSAND SQUARE FOOT... FOUR MILLION DOLLAR FAMILY FUN CENTER THIS SPRING.
STEVE RIGBY SAYS HIS SELF-NAMED "RIGBY'S" IS A BIG INVESTMENT IN A TOUGH ECONOMY... BUT HE'S DEVELOPED A BUSINESS PLAN HE'S CONFIDENT WILL WORK.

<<nats- cars/traffic
A BOOM OF PEOPLE AND DEVELOPMENTS IN RECENT YEARS ALONG HIGHWAY 96... SEALED STEVE RIGBY'S DECISION.
Steve Rigby: (47:00) "This part of Warner Robins is the fastest growing part of Warner Robins there is."
THE TRAFFIC COUNT..
nats- turning pages
AND A 247 PAGE STUDY BY A LAS VEGAS GAMING COMPANY.... CONVINCED HIM THIS IS THE RIGHT SPOT FOR "RIGBY'S FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT CENTER."
Steve Rigby: (46:10) "It's going to be a 40 mile radius of people coming in to support this. It's going to be successful. That's not even an option."
HIS BUSINESS PLAN ESTIMATES CHILDREN WILL SPEND AN AVERAGE OF TWELVE DOLLARS AND FIFTY CENTS EACH VISIT.
Steve Rigby: (48:50) "There's so many different activities here, that you won't ever get bored, because you can't do everything in one night.
IN HIS ONE ACRE BUILDING THAT HE CALLS "A DAVE AND BUSTERS ON STEROIDS" ... RIGBY'S WILL OFFER A BOWLING ALLEY... SKATING RINK... FOOD COURT... LASER TAG AND MAZE... ADULT LOUNGE... ARCADE... AND EXTRAS.
Steve Rigby: (44:40) "Were going to have a cappuccino shop. Somebody said what about a candy store, so were going to have candy."
HE FIRMLY BELIEVES IN HIS VISION... SAYING IT WILL BE FAMILY AND BUDGET FRIENDLY... CLOSE TO HOME.
Steve Rigby: (46:20) "They can come in their back yard and spend as little as $5 or as much as they want and have a full day of entertainment."
RIGBY DREAMED IT ALL UP... WITH INSPIRATION FROM HIS OWN FIVE CHILDREN... BUT BELIEVES IT WILL BE A PLACE MOST EVERY KID AND ADULT
WILL WANT TO PLAY.>>

RIGBY SAYS THE FUN CENTER WILL HAVE A LOUNGE EXCLUSIVELY FOR ADULTS... BUT ALCOHOL WILL NOT BE SOLD... TO KEEP IT FAMILY FRIENDLY.
HE PLANS TO HIRE BETWEEN 65 AND 100 PEOPLE BY THE TIME RIGBY'S OPENS IN APRIL.

TODAY'S 13 WMAZ DOT COM WEB POLL ASKS... DOES CENTRAL GEORGIA HAVE ENOUGH FAMILY-ENTERTAINMENT OPTIONS?

SO FAR 82 PERCENT OF YOU SAY NO
AND 18 PERCENT OF YOU SAY YES.

TO VOTE NOW.. VISIT OUR WEBSITE AT 13 WMAZ DOT COM.. AND LOOK FOR THE WEB POLL QUESTION ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF OUR HOMEPAGE.

ben gives three day forecast
The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch for Baldwin, Bibb, Crawford, Hancock, Houston, Jones, Macon, Monroe, Peach, Putnam, Taylor, Twiggs and Wilkinson counties until 11 pm.

THANKS BEN.. WE'LL TALK WITH YOU AGAIN IN JUST A FEW MINUTES.

THE NUMBER OF DEATHS ON GEORGIA HIGHWAYS FELL IN 20-10.. AND THE TREND IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE THIS YEAR.

AS WE HEAD INTO A BUSY TRAVELING WEEKEND... HEAR WHAT OFFICIALS SAY THEY DID TO HELP BRING DOWN THE NUMBERS.

AS WE GO TO BREAK.. HERE'S A LOOK AT TODAY'S AVERAGE GAS PRICE IN MACON ACCORDING TO TRIPLE A.
WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK.

FEWER PEOPLE DIED ON GEORGIA'S HIGHWAYS IN 20-10 THAN THE YEAR BEFORE... THAT'S ACCORDING TO THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION.

DEATHS ARE DOWN ALMOST FOUR PERCENT...AND THEY SAY THE NUMBERS HAVE CONTINUED TO DROP FOR THE LAST FIVE YEARS.
BRITTINY BARBER EXPLAINS WHY SOME SAY THE ROADS ARE GETTING SAFER.

<<
RHONDA STUBBS.. ALONG WITH HER MOM AND DAUGHTER... HIT THE ROADS TO GRAB SOME LAST MINUTE CHRISTMAS GIFTS...
Rhonda Stubbs, MAcon: "I'm on the way to atlanta to go shopping."
THE MOTHER OF THREE SAYS SHE NOW HAS PIECE OF MIND.. KNOWING FATALITIES ON GEORGIA'S HIGHWAYs DROPPED IN 2010...
Stubbs: "It make me feel much better with my children and the other kids out on the road this time of the year and its a comforting feeling to know."
Brittiny Barber: "48 fewer people died on Ga roads in 2010 than in 2009. And this year's numbers are on track to be even lower than that."
Raines: "The present that we want to give to the motoring public is to make it safe...
SGT MAURICE RAINES WITH THE GEORGIA STATE PATROL SAYS SEVERAL FACTORS PLAYED IN TO THE FIVE YEAR DECLINE...
Sgt. Maurice Raines :"It's definitely high visibility of law enforcement whether it be local police, sheriff's department or the Ga state patrol and second high usage of seat belts.
THE GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION SAYS THEY'RE ALSO WORKING TO MAKE ROADS SAFER.. FOCUSING ON CONSTRUCTION AND ENGINEERING...
FOR 18-YEAR OLD AUSTIN HEFNER... THAT'S MADE A DIFFERENCE TO HIM...
Austin Hefner, macon:"They've been doing a lot of road work around here and I think adding extra lanes and making things safer."
FOR STUBBS... THE EXTRA EFFORT BY OFFICERS IS APPRECIATED...
Stubbs: "They should continue to stay in sight where me along with the other drivers, you know, we're aware they're on the highways and I believe that will make the fatalities rate go down even more."
LAW ENFORCEMENT HITTING THE STREETS THIS HOLIDAY SEASON .. WORKING TO HELP MORE PEOPLE ARRIVE ALIVE..
BRITTINY BARBER 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS..>>

SERGEANT MAURICE RAINES SAYS THE PEAK HOLIDAY TRAVEL TIME BEGINS TOMORROW..

HE SAYS STATE TROOPERS WILL BEEF UP PATROLS ... LOOKING FOR IMPAIRED DRIVERS, FOLKS DRIVING WITHOUT A SEAT BELT OR BREAKING ANY OTHER STATE LAWS...

GIRLS BASKETBALL TOOK CENTER STAGE AT WESTSIDE HIGH SCHOOL ALL DAY LONG.

WE'LL PUT YOU INSIDE THE SPIRIT CHEERS AND HEAR FROM COACHES ON THE SIDELINE AS TEAMS FROM ACROSS THE STATE CAME IN TO TRY AND SNAG SOME BRAGGING RIGHTS.

TONIGHT...TORNADO WATCH. SHOWERS AND STORMS. LOW OF 58. TOMORROW...MORNING RAIN, THEN CLEARING. HIGH OF 67.
EYEWITNESS NEWS AT 6 CONTINUES AFTER THE BREAK.

NEW FEATURES ARE COMING SOON... TO UPDATE THE WAY YOU GET NEWS AND WEATHER TEXT-ALERTS FROM 13WMAZ.

THE NEW SYSTEM INCLUDES AUTOMATED SEVERE WEATHER ALERTS... CUSTOMIZED FOR YOUR COUNTY.

IF YOU HAVEN'T SIGNED UP FOR THE NEW FEATURES... YOU'LL STOP GETTING ALERTS SOON.

TO SIGN UP... JUST VISIT 13WMAZ DOT COM.
SCROLL DOWN... AND LOOK FOR THE LINK TO SIGN UP FOR TEXT MESSAGES ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE PAGE.


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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