Thursday, December 22, Eyewitness News at 11

11:54 PM, Dec 22, 2011   |    comments
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<<opening for eyewitness news at eleven>>

GOOD EVENING AND THANKS FOR JOINING US.
I'M LEAH JOHNSON...
FRANK MALLOY HAS THE NIGHT OFF.

NEW NUMBERS FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR SHOW UNEMPLOYMENT FELL IN THE STATE OF GEORGIA...
INCLUDING MACON AND WARNER ROBINS.

IN THE MACON AREA... THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE DROPPED SIX-TENTHS OF A POINT IN NOVEMBER... LANDING AT 9-POINT-4 PERCENT.
THAT'S NEARLY A POINT LOWER THAN A YEAR AGO... AT 10-POINT-3 PERCENT.

IN WARNER ROBINS... THE JOBLESS RATE DROPPED HALF OF A POINT.
IT'S NOW AT SEVEN-POINT-TWO PERCENT.
THAT'S DOWN FROM SEVEN-POINT-EIGHT PERCENT A YEAR AGO.

GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF LABOR COMMISSIONER MARK BUTLER SAYS THE STATE'S UNEMPLOYMENT RATE FELL DUE TO AN INCREASE IN HIRING.
WHEN NATIONAL UNEMPLOYMENT RATES DIP... EXPERTS SOMETIMES ATTRIBUTE THE CHANGE TO THE UNEMPLOYED QUITTING THE JOB SEARCH... SO THEY NO LONGER FACTOR INTO DEPARTMENT OF LABOR STATISTICS.
BUTLER SAYS THE MACON AREA ADDED ELEVEN HUNDRED JOBS FROM OCTOBER TO NOVEMBER.
THE BEST NEWS HE SAYS.... MOST OF THOSE HIRES AREN'T SEASONAL JOBS.
HE SAYS MANY CAME IN INDUSTRIES LIKE HEALTH CARE AND FINANCIAL SERVICES.
BUT HE CAUTIONS... IT'S WAY TO EARLY TO CALL THE HIRING INCREASE 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. "

TO HEAR MORE FROM OUR INTERIVEW WITH STATE LABOR COMMISSONER MARK BUTLER... LOOK FOR THIS STORY ON OUR WEBSITE AT 13 WMAZ DOT COM.

TOMORROW KICKS OFF THE HOLIDAY TRAVELING SEASON.. AND THERE'S ENCOURAGING NEWS FOR PEOPLE IN THE PEACH STATE AS THEY HIT THE ROAD THIS WEEKEND.
THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE KILLED ON GEORGIA'S HIGHWAYS DROPPED FOR THE FIFTH STRAIGHT YEAR.

THAT'S ACCORDING TO THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION...
THEY SAY 48 FEWER PEOPLE DIED IN 20-10.. THAN IN 2009.
THAT'S DOWN ALMOST 4 PERCENT.
AND THE NUMBERS ARE ON TRACK TO BE EVEN LESS THIS YEAR..
SERGEANT MAURICE RAINES WITH THE GEORGIA STATE PATROL SAYS SEVERAL FACTORS HELPED THE NUMBERS GO DOWN... INCLUDING MORE PEOPLE WEARING SEAT BELTS AND LAW ENFORCEMENT VISIBILITY..
FOR RHONDA STUBBS.. SEEING MORE PATROL OFFICERS IS A GOOD THING...

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."

SERGEANT RAINES SAYS DURING THE TRAVEL SEASON... THEY INCREASE PATROL TO HELP KEEP PEOPLE SAFE.

STRONG STORMS BLEW THROUGH NORTH GEORGIA THIS EVENING.. SENDING AT AT LEAST 3 PEOPLE TO THE HOSPITAL.
OFFICIALS IN FLOYD COUNTY SAY THEY RECEIVED SEVERAL REPORTS OF DAMAGED HOMES.
ACCORDING TO GEORGIA POWER.. MORE THAN 19 THOUSAND CUSTOMERS LOST POWER STATEWIDE BECAUSE OF THE STORM
A SPOKESWOMAN SAYS MOST OF THE OUTAGES WERE IN THE ROME AREA.


ben gives three day forecast

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

THE HOLIDAY SEASON IS A TIME FOR GIVING.
AND FOR SOME..... THAT MEANS DONATING THEIR TIME TO THE SALVATION ARMY.
WE'RE TALKING ABOUT BELL RINGERS... MANY OF US SEE THEM OUTSIDE STORES... INCLUDING RIGHT HERE IN MACON
AUSTIN LEWIS TALKED WITH SOME VOLUNTEERS ABOUT THE JOY OF RINGING IN THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT.

<< (nats of Merry Christmas)
E-Y STOKES OF MACON SAYS THIS IS HIS FIRST YEAR -- VOLUNTEERING AS A SALVATION ARMY BELL RINGER---
HE AND SOME MEMBERS OF HIS CHURCH DECIDED TO TRY THEIR HAND AT IT--
AND STOKES IS GLAD HE FINALLY GOT HIS CHANCE TO RING IN THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT OUTSIDE MACON'S BASS PRO SHOP .
E.Y. Stokes, Salvation Army Bell Ringer: I always wanted to do this and I thought it was something I ought to do and it's a good way to give back.
(nat of bell ringing)
JOHN DUNWODY IS ALSO RINGING THE BELL FOR THE FIRST TIME THIS YEAR.
HE SAYS EVEN THOUGH HE IS GIVING BACK -- HE FEELS LIKE HE IS GETTING THE MOST OUT OF IT.
John DunwoDy, Macon: It delights me to see the money that's going into this. It's really a blessing to me, I get more of a blessing out of it.
Austin Lewis, reporting: And Salvation Army volunteers tell me there is nothing quite like the first time ringing the bell.
E.Y. Stokes, Salvation Army Bell Ringer: I guess everybody's got that little twinkle you know, it's just a lot of fun.
EVEN THOUGH ABOUT NINE OUT OF TEN PEOPLE WHO WALKED BY DURING THEIR SHIFT DIDN'T DONATE---
VOLUNTEERS SAY THEY ARE SURPRISED BY HOW MANY DO COME UP AND PUT A COUPLE OF DOLLARS INTO THE RED BUCKET.
E.Y. Stokes, Salvation Army Bell Ringer: But what has been heartwarming is to see the parents that are teaching their children to give.
Cody Reddell, Albany: Some people are less fortunate than others and everybody needs a Merry Christmas really.
AND FOR VOLUNTEERS HERE---THAT'S THE TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS.
AUSTIN LEWIS 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>>

SALVATION ARMY'S DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR PEGGY STEELE SAYS THE MONEY COLLECTED IN KETTLES GO TO SERVICES FOR NEEDY FAMILIES IN MACON.
STEELE SAYS SO FAR..... THE DONATIONS COMING IN HAVE BEEN ABOUT THE SAME AMOUNT AS LAST YEAR-- BUT THAT THE NEED IS HIGHER THIS YEAR.
SHE SAID SHE COULDN'T SAY WHAT THE AVERAGE KETTLE BRINGS IN EACH DAY.

TONIGHT THE MERCER NATION HAS A LOT TO SMILE ABOUT A COUPLE OF DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS.
THE BEARS POUNCED ON GEORGIA TECH THIS EVENING.
SUZANNE LAWLER JOINS US LIVE IN THE STUDIO.

LEAH THIS GAME WENT BACK AND FORTH AND THE BEARS HAD A ONE POINT LEAD AT HALF TIME.
THEY EVENTUALLY HELD ON AND WON 65-59.
HEAD MERCER BASKETBALL COACH BOB HOFFMAN JOINS US LIVE ON THE PHONE.


(SUZANNE AD LIBS INVU)
COACH FIRST OF ALL WHAT WAS IT LIKE IN THE LOCKEROOM AFTER THE GAME IN THE GWINNETT CENTER.

WHAT DOES THIS KIND OF A WIN MEAN FOR THE PROGRAM?


IF YOU WOULD LIKE MORE OF THE GAME BREAKDOWN JUST HEAD TO OUR WEBSITE AT 13WMAZ.COM.

THE HOLIDAY WEEKEND IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER.
AND THERE ARE PLENTY OF EVENTS HAPPENING IN CENTRAL GEORGIA.
BEN'S GOT THEM ALL IN THIS WEEK'S SCENE 13.... THAT'S AFTER THE BREAK.. STAY WITH US.


<<
WE'RE AT THAT STAGE OF THE HOLIDAY GAME WHERE WE CAN OFFICIALLY - BY MY RECKONING ANYWAY - COUNTDOWN TO THE MERRIEST OF DAYS IN HOURLY INCREMENTS! BUT FIRST, SCENE THIRTEEN'S GOT YOUR CHRISTMAS WEEKEND ENTERTAINMENT ALL WRAPPED UP AND READY TO DELIVER TO YOU...TONIGHT AT ELEVEN ON THIRTEEN W-M-A-Z EYEWITNESS NEWS.


ALRIGHT, I THINK WE'RE OFFICIALLY AT THE POINT WHERE WE CAN START AN HOURLY COUNTDOWN. THE MERRIEST DAY OF THE YEAR IS ALMOST HERE! NOW, THE HOLIDAYS USUALLY INVOLVE ANYWHERE FROM A SMATTERING TO A HEAPING HELPING OF FAMILY AND FRIENDS. SO IN THE SPIRIT OF THE SEASON, SCENE 13'S ABOUT TO SERVE UP OPTIONS THAT WILL BOTH ENTERTAIN YOUR COMPANY AND GET THEM OUT OF THE HOUSE FOR A WHILE! YES, YOU'RE WELCOME...

ON FRIDAY, ALL OF MIDDLE GEORGIA IS INVITED TO A PARTY! THE OCMULGEE NATIONAL MONUMENT - ONE OF THE AREA'S MOST RENOWNED HISTORIC LANDMARKS - CELEBRATES ITS SEVENTY-FIFTH ANNIVERSARY. SEVENTY-FIVE YEARS AGO THIS FRIDAY, ON DECEMBER 23, 1936, PRESIDENT FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT ESTABLISHED THE MONUMENT BY PRESIDENTIAL PROCLAMATION. SO COME OUT AND CELEBRATE THE INDIAN MOUNDS' FROM NOON UNTIL 5 O'CLOCK. THE COMMEMORATIVE CAKE WILL BE CUT AT TWO AND YOU CAN ALSO TAKE A GUIDED TOUR OF THE EARTH LODGE. CALL THE PARK AT 752-8257 FOR MORE DETAILS.

WHAT'S THAT? YOU WANNA SHAKE LOOSE? YOU WANT SOME REALLY COOL MUSIC AT A GREAT VENUE TO GET INTO THE CELEBRATORY SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS? WELL, HOW ABOUT THAT! I'VE GOT JUST THE THING! FRIDAY NIGHT AT THE HUMMINGBIRD IN DOWNTOWN MACON, THE ABBY OWENS BAND ALONG WITH BETSY FRANCK AND THE BARE KNUCKLE BAND ARE READY TO KICK OFF THE CHRISTMAS WEEKEND WITH ONE ROCKIN' CONCERT. THE MUSIC GETS A ROLLIN' AT NINE...

SO NEXT MONDAY, THE WEEK-LONG CELEBRATION OF KWANZAA BEGINS! IN MACON, THE KWANZAA CULTURAL ACCESS CENTER INVITES YOU OUT EACH NIGHT OF THE WEEK FOR A VARIETY OF EVENTS. ON MONDAY, FESTIVITIES KICK OFF WITH THE UNITY DAY AT THE DOUGLASS THEATRE. IT'S AN EVENING OF POETRY, DANCE, SONGS...THE LIST JUST GOES ON AND ON. AND ADMISSION IS FREE! NOW, MONDAY'S EVENTS START AT SEVEN, BUT EACH DAY IS A LITTLE BIT DIFFERENT. FOR MORE INFORMATION ON ALL THE HAPPENINGS, CALL 718-8067.

AND WRAPPING UP THIS FESTIVE PARTY, I'VE GOT TO GIVE YOU THE GOODS ON THE BIG MOVIES COMING OUT ON CHRISTMAS DAY...YOU KNOW...CAUSE IT'S JUST TRADITIONAL LIKE THAT. FIRST UP, STEVEN SPIELBERG'S WAR HORSE HITS THE BIG SCREEN! THE STORY IS BASED ON A CHILDREN'S NOVEL SET IN BRITAIN AND EUROPE DURING WORLD WAR I. IT'S ABOUT A BOY AND HIS BELOVED HORSE AND THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES THEY BOTH EXPERIENCE WHEN FORCED APART DURING A TIME OF WAR. THIS ONE LOOKS PRETTY EPIC, FOLKS! AND IT'S RATED PG.

IF YOU'D RATHER EXPERIENCE A DARKER FEATURE ON THIS MERRIEST OF DAYS, THEN PERHAPS YOU'D LIKE TO CHECK OUT DARKEST HOUR. IT'S ACTUALLY SET IN A VERY BEAUTIFUL MOSCOW, BUT THERE'S THIS LITTLE PROBLEM OF AN ALIEN INVASION THAT'S...WELL, NOT SO VERY PEACEFUL. THIS ACTION FLICK IS RATED PG-13.

WELL GOOD PEOPLE - THAT IS THAT! HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND TO ALL...WELL, YOU KNOW THE REST! THAT'S A WRAP...
>>

TONIGHT'S FACEBOOK FAN OF THE DAY IS LORI CHOMAN.
LORI... YOU'LL NEED TO EMAIL FAN OF THE DAY AT 13WMAZ DOT COM TO CLAIM YOUR COFFEE MUG.

NOW... GETTING INTO THE RUNNING FOR FAN OF THE DAY IS AN EASY THREE-STEP PROCESS.
ONE... VISIT FACEBOOK DOT COM SLASH 13WMAZ.
TWO... BECOME A FAN... AND THREE... GET IN ON THE CONVERSATIONS.
WE PICK OUR FAN OF THE DAY RANDOMLY.

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.

AND ONE LAST QUICK LOOK AT TOMORROW'S FORECAST WITH CHIEF METEOROLOGIST BEN JONES.



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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