Wednesday, December 28, Eyewitness News at 6

11:05 PM, Dec 28, 2011   |    comments
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HELLO EVERYONE AND THANKS FOR JOINING US.... I'M FRANK MALLOY.
THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT SIX... LEAH JOHNSON HAS THE EVENING OFF.

PARTS OF GEORGIA'S NEW IMMIGRATION LAW TAKE EFFECT JANUARY FIRST.
STARTING THEN... MANY PRIVATE BUSINESSES MUST USE THE E-VERIFY SYSTEM.. WHICH CONFIRMS IF AN EMPLOYEE IS ELIGIBLE TO WORK IN THE U-S...
BRITTINY BARBER SHOWS US HOW ONE CENTRAL GEORGIA COMPANY MADE THE TRANSITION.
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AT HOUSTON HEALTHCARE IN WARNER ROBINS... TRACEY HARRELSON WORKS AS THE STAFFING MANAGER OF THEIR 23-HUNDRED EMPLOYEES....
TRacey Staffing manager: "There's probably about four screens you'll go to here."
SINCE 2007 SHE AND OTHER HUMAN RESOURCE STAFF... HAVE USED THE E-VERIFTY SYSTEM.. TO CHECK THE ELIGIBILITY OF NEW HIRES
Tracey: "we knew that probably down the road it would become a requirement so we decided to just go ahead and participate."
E-VERIFY IS ONE PIECE OF GEORGIA'S IMMIGRATION LAW.... WHICH GOES INTO EFFECT JANUARY FIRST....
IT SAYS QUOTE..."EVERY PUBLIC EMPLOYER, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO, EVERY MUNICIPALITY AND COUNTY... SHALL REGISTER AND PARTICIPATE IN THE FEDERAL WORK AUTHORIZATION PROGRAM TO VERIFY EMPLOYMENT ELIGIBILITY... OF ALL NEWLY HIRED EMPLOYEES."
nats of paper...
THE USE OF E-VERIFY WILL BE PHASED -IN.. BASED ON THE NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES..
BEGINNING JAN 1 2012... THOSE WITH 500 OR MORE EMPLOYEES.. MUST USE THE SYSTEM...
AS OF JULY 1 OF NEXT YEAR... COMPANIES WITH 100 OR MORE EMPLOYEES JOIN IN.. AND THEN JULY 1 2013... BUSINESSES WITH MORE THAN 10 EMPLOYEES MUST USE IT...
tracey: we've got to enter new case and we actually follow the prompts.
FOR HARRELSON AND HER STAFF... SHE SAYS USING THE SYSTEM... HAS *NOT INCREASED THEIR WORKLOAD...
Harrelson: "We probably hire on average anywhere from 20 to 30 employees every two weeks and it really has not slowed down our process at all."
SHE SAYS IT GIVES THEM A PIECE OF MIND KNOWING THEIR NEW HIRES... JOIN THE TEAM VERIFIED THROUGH FEDERAL AGENCIES...
THE EXTRA STEP IN THE HIRING PROCESS.. THAT THE STATE HOPES WILL CUT DOWN ON THE NUMBER OF ILLEGAL WORKERS..
BRITTINY BARBER 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS
>> BUSINESSES WITH FEWER THAN 10 EMPLOYEES WILL NOT BE REQUIRED TO USE E-VERIFY...
ALSO BEGINNING SUNDAY AS PART OF THE NEW IMMIGRATION LAW - LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT WILL HAVE THE POWER TO ARREST.. WITH PROBABLE CAUSE... ANY PERSON SUSPECTED OF BEING AN ILLEGAL ALIEN..

SOME MACON CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS ARE SPEAKING OUT ABOUT WHAT COULD HAPPEN TO NEARLY 100 MACON CITY EMPLOYEES WHOSE JOBS ARE BEING SHIFTED TO BIBB COUNTY NEXT YEAR.
COUNTY COMMISSIONERS LAST WEEK TENTATIVELY APPROVED A PLAN THAT WOULD STRIP AWAY ALL THEIR SENIORITY.
THAT COULD AFFECT THEIR PENSIONS... THEIR BENEFITS...AND THEIR PAYCHECKS.
BIBB COUNTY COMMISSIONER LONZY EDWARDS AND MACON MAYOR ROBERT REICHERT JOIN RANDALL SAVAGE TO DISCUSS THE PLAN.

GOVERNOR NATHAN DEAL WANTS GEORGIA TO KEEP MORE OF ITS WATER FROM FLOWING TO OTHER STATES.
HE HAS APPROVED PLANS FOR LOW-INTEREST LOANS TO DESIGN AND BUILD NEW RESERVOIRS.
IT'S PART OF GEORGIA'S SO-CALLED WATER WAR WITH ALABAMA AND FLORIDA.
THE PROGRAM WOULD USE 300 MILLION DOLLARS TO EXPAND GEORGIA'S WATER SUPPLY.
IT WOULD BUILD MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR RESERVOIRS... REOPEN INACTIVE WELLS... OR DRILL NEW ONES.
THE PROGRAM ALSO ENCOURAGES THE STATE TO OFFER LOANS FOR THOSE PROJECTS.

A POLITICAL NEWCOMER IS THROWING HIS HAT INTO THE RING FOR THE STATE SENATE DISTRICT 26 SEAT NEXT YEAR.
IRVING MARTINEZ CALLS HIMSELF A LIFELONG DEMOCRAT.
TODAY... HE ANNOUNCED PLANS TO SEEK THE SEAT NOW HELD BY FELLOW DEMOCRAT MIRIAM PARIS.
MARTINEZ TALKED ABOUT CITY PROBLEMS... SAYING THAT MACON IS DIRTY AND OFFICIALS AREN'T DOING ENOUGH TO GET LITTER AND TRASH OFF THE STREETS.
IF HE'S ELECTED... HE SAYS HE'LL USE THE SENATE SEAT TO GET WELL-KNOWN PEOPLE TO DONATE TO THE CITY.
Irving Martinez, State Senate Candidate: I'm gonna go visit Tyler Perry. I'm gonna reach out to Oprah Winfrey. I will reach out to anyone and anyone who is willing to come in and invest in our city.
PARIS WON THE SEAT IN LAST SUMMER'S SPECIAL ELECTION SHE'S EXPECTED TO SEEK RE-ELECTION.
WE COULD NOT REACH HER FOR COMMENT.

A SPACE HEATER CAUSED A FIRE THAT DESTROYED A HOME EARLY THIS MORNING.
THAT'S ACCORDING TO CAPTAIN JAMES FRANKLIN WITH THE WARNER ROBINS FIRE DEPARTMENT.
WITH TEMPERATURES EXPECTED TO DROP BELOW FREEZING TOMORROW MORNING - JENNIFER MOULLIET TALKED WITH FRANKLIN ABOUT WAYS TO KEEP SAFE AND WARM.
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THIS IS WHAT'S LEFT AFTER A FIRE BURNED THROUGH FOUR O NINE GRENADA TERRACE... AND CAPTAIN JAMES FRANKLIN SAYS IT COUD HAVE BEEN PREVENTED.
James Franklin, Captain: "They looked at the burn patterns and dug out where they thought the fire started and there was a space heater sitting right there."

HE SAYS THE SPACE HEATER WAS LEFT ON EVEN THOUGH NOBODY WAS HOME... A COMMON MISTAKE THIS TIME OF YEAR

James Franklin: " They usually sit on the floor, they get fairly hot, things can get up against them and start a fire."

FRANKLIN SAYS MORE PEOPLE USE SPACE HEATERS IN THE WINTER TO LOWER THEIR POWER BILLS... HE SAYSGFX THERE ARE THREE RULES TO KEEP IN MIND...
ALWAYS TURN IT OFF WHEN YOU LEAVE THE ROOM...
LEAVE THREE FEET CLEAR AROUND THE HEATER....
AND NEVER LEAVE SMALL CHILDREN OR PETS ALONE WITH A SPACE HEATER.

nats

HE SAYS IF YOU DO USE ONE... ALWAYS PLUG IT DIRECTLY INTO THE WALL OUTLET.

James Franklin: "It can overheat an extension cord and the cord can catch on fire."

AND HE ALSO DOESN'T RECOMMEND FALLING ASLEEP WITH YOUR SPACE HEATER ON.

" if you kick the covers off the bed and they fall against the space heater while you're sleeping it could catch on fire

CAPTAIN FRANKLIN SAYS ANY SPACE HEATER CAN BE A FIRE HAZARDS... IF YOU'RE NOT CAREFUL.
JENNIFER MOULLIET 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS.+

>> CAPTAIN FRANKLIN ALSO ENCOURAGED EVERYONE TO CHECK THE BATTERIES IN THEIR SMOKE DETECTORS ONCE A MONTH.
HE SAYS THE BEEPS FROM THE DETECTOR... COULD SAVE YOUR LIFE.

NEW YEAR'S EVE IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST PARTY NIGHTS OF THE YEAR..
AUSTIN LEWIS TELLS US ABOUT SOME CELEBRATION OPTIONS IN MACON..
THERE ARE SOME GREAT EVENTS HAPPENING ON THE 31ST HERE IN MACON.
AND THEY STILL HAVE TICKETS AVAILABLE IF YOU HAVEN'T MADE ANY NEW YEAR'S EVE PLANS YET.
BLUES LEGEND B-B KING WILL BE ROCKING THE MACON CENTERPLEX ON NEW YEAR'S EVE.
IT'LL COST YOU ANYWHERE FROM 49-50 TO 69-50---
BUT BRENDA THOMPSON--THE SALES MANAGER AT THE CENTERPLEX TELLS ME THAT THEY ARE OFFERING SOME TICKETS AS BUY ONE GET ONE FREE.
THEY ARE DOING THIS THROUGH 10 P-M ON DECEMBER 30TH OR AS LONG AS THOSE TICKETS ARE STILL AVAILABLE.
YOU CAN BUY THEM THROUGH TICKETMASTER OR AT THE BOX OFFICE DURING REGULAR HOURS.
ALSO THOMPSON TELLS ME THAT DUBLIN MUSICIAN E-G KIGHT WILL OPEN FOR B-B KING.
THE CONCERT STARTS AT 8 PM AND ORGANIZERS SAY IT SHOULD BE OVER BY 11.
IF YOU WANT TO DANCE THE NIGHT AWAY---YOU MIGHT WANT TO CHECK OUT THE ADVOCACY RESOURCE CENTER'S BIG DANCE.
TICKETS ARE 45 DOLLARS FOR ONE AND 80 DOLLARS FOR A COUPLE.
ANDY HARRELL FROM THE ADVOCACY RESOURCE CENTER SAYS THERE ARE STILL SOME TICKETS AVAILABLE BUT THEY'RE GOING FAST.
YOU CAN BOOGIE THE NIGHT AWAY FROM 8 TILL 1.
AND OF COURSE THERE IS THE THIRD ANNUAL CHERRY BLOSSOM BALL DROP DOWN AT CHERRY STREET PLAZA DOWNTOWN.
THIS EVENT IS FREE---AND ALCOHOL WILL BE SOLD ON SITE.
IT WILL KICK OFF AT 9 PM.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THESE EVENTS --GO TO OUR WEBSITE AT 13-WMAZ DOT COM.

YOU STILL HAVE TIME TO GET OUT TO THE CELEBRATION FOR NIGHT THREE OF KWANZAA.
TONIGHT'S CELEBRATION HONORS THE PRINCIPLE OF COLLECTIVE WORK AND RESPONSIBILITY.
THE KWANZAA CEREMONY AND REGIONAL UNITY EVENT BEGINS AT 7 AT THE COMMUNITY ENRICHMENT AND CONSULTING SUITE ON WASHINGTON AVENUE.
THE EVENT IS FREE - DONATIONS ARE WELCOMED.
KWANZAA IS THE CELEBRATION OF AFRICAN HERITAGE AND TRADITIONS... AND RUNS FROM DECEMBER 26TH UNTIL JANUARY FIRST EACH YEAR.

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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