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Thursday, December 29, Eyewitness News at 6

11:39 PM, Dec 29, 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 NIGHT OFF.

A STORE THAT HAS ANCHORED A CORNER OF THE MACON MALL FOR MORE THAN 35 YEARS WILL CLOSE..
THE SEARS STORE AT MACON MALL WILL CLOSE ACCORDING TO THE STORE'S PARENT COMPANY.
AUSTIN LEWIS HAS MORE ON TONIGHT'S TOP STORY..

<<
Austin Lewis, Eyewitness News: I'm here at Sears in Macon Mall. The company said today it's closing. We have contacted local and corporate management who have declined to comment.
The company said earlier this week that they would be closing up to 120 Sears and Kmart stores nationwide due to poor holiday sales.
They released the list of 79 of those stores that are closing including Macon's Sears.
The Sears has been an anchor store at Macon Mall since it opened in 1975 and before that there was a Sears at 3rd Street and Riverside which closed when the mall opened.
I talked to shoppers who were shocked.
Sam Wright, Knoxville: I stood there with my mouth opened because this is the place I come to get all of the kids clothes and you get a really good price at it, you know and Sears has been around forever.
Denise Benifield, Macon: (1:18) I was surprised very shocked. Especially by it being the only store here, we're only so big.
Mamie Stewart, Macon: (00:21) I am surprised because I shop at Sears and Penneys. And I have grandchildren, I need to get children clothes, during the Christmas season I shop there. I mean it's just devastating to know that it's fiting to close (00:33)
Sam Wright, Knoxville: Now when I see their faces, I'm gonna say well they are going to be looking for a job, it's just bad.
Austin Lewis, Eyewitness News: We don't know yet when it will close or how many will lose their jobs.
Austin Lewis 13WMAZ Eyewitness news. >>

SEARS PARENT COMPANY ALSO PLANS TO CLOSE FIVE K-MART STORES AROUND GEORGIA. BUT NO CENTRAL GEORGIA STORES ARE ON THAT CLOSING LIST.

TODAY'S 13 WMAZ DOT COM WEB POLL ASKS... WILL CENTRAL GEORGIA'S ECONOMY BE BETTER OR WORSE IN 2012?

SO FAR 20 PERCENT OF YOU SAY BETTER
40 PERCENT OF YOU SAY WORSE
AND 40 PERCENT OF YOU SAY ABOUT THE SAME.

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.

13 PEOPLE WHERE SENT TO THE HOSPITAL AFTER A BUS CARRYING PRISONERS WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS OVERTURNED ON I-16 TODAY.

ACCORDING TO CORPORAL LEE WEAVER WITH THE GEORGIA STATE PATROL THE BUS WAS CARRYING 2 OFFICERS AND 11 PRISONER WHEN IT FLIPPED OVER..
WEAVER SAID THE BUS WAS TRAVELING IN THE RIGHT HAND LANE ON I-16 TOWARD SAVANNAH WHEN A CAR MOVED INTO THE LANE.
HE SAID THAT CAUSED THE BUS TO SWERVE OUT OF THE WAY.... AND ONTO THE GRASS.
THE DRIVER LOST CONTROL AND THE BUS OVERTURNED.
WEAVER SAID EASTBOUND TRAFFIC ON I-16 WAS BACKED UP FOR 2-HOURS.

THE BUS WAS TRANSPORTING PRISONERS FROM JACKSON TO SAVANNAH.
WEAVER SAY THAT NO ONE WAS SERIOUSLY HURT..
EVERYONE ON THE BUS WAS SENT TO THE MEDICAL CENTER OF CENTRAL GEORGIA TO GET CHECKED OUT.

AN EAST DUBLIN MAN IS ACCUSED OF SHOOTING HIS EX-GIRLFRIEND.
LIEUTENANT GREG DOMINY OF DUBLIN POLICE SAYS IT HAPPENED JUST BEFORE 7 P-M WEDNESDAY AT THE EMERALD POINT APARTMENTS ON WOODLAWN DRIVE.
DOMINY SAID WITNESSES TOLD THEM

LAMONTE HARVEY SHOWED UP OUTSIDE OF HIS EX-GIRLFRIEND'S HOME... SMASHED A WINDOW IN HER CAR... HIT HER... AND THEN SHOT HER IN THE ABDOMEN.
DOMINY SAID TAKEISHA BUTTS IS NOW IN STABLE CONDITION AT A MACON HOSPITAL.

HE SAYS HARVEY IS IN THE LAURENS COUNTY JAIL FACING SEVERAL CHARGES INCLUDING AGGRAVATED ASSAULT.

WARNER ROBINS POLICE ARRESTED A FLORIDA FUGITIVE WANTED IN CONNECTION WITH A VIOLENT RAPE FOUR YEARS AGO IN WEST PALM BEACH.

POLICE SPOKEWOMAN TABITHA PUGH SAYS THEY ARRESTED 21-YEAR-OLD PASQUALINO ANDRIANO ON WEDNESDAY AFTER GETTING A TIP FROM FLORIDA AUTHORITIES THAT HE WAS IN TOWN.
PUGH SAYS POLICE MADE THE ARREST AT A HOUSE ON THE 100 BLOCK ON VESTA DRIVE.

THE PALM PEACH POST REPORTS THAT ANDRIANO IS ACCUSED OF TAKING PART IN THE RAPE AND ASSAULT OF A WOMAN IN FEBRUARY 2008.
THEY SAY ANDRIANO WAS RECENTLY IDENTIFIED BY A D-N-A MATCH AFTER BEING RELEASED FROM PRISON ON A DIFFERENT CHARGE.

THIS YEAR WILL BE REMEMBERED FOR DEADLY AND DAMAGING WEATHER ACROSS THE U-S AND RIGHT HERE IN CENTRAL GEORGIA.

<<
JOHN ON CAM
CENTRAL GEORGIANS ARE STILL TALKING ABOUT THE DRAMATIC EVENTS OF THE YEAR... BEGINNING WITH A WINTER STORM ON JANUARY 10TH.
snow nats
A MESSY MIXTURE OF SNOW SLEET AND ICE DISRUPTED THE PACE OF LIFE FOR DAYS.
FOUR INCHES OF SNOW BLANKETED PLACES LIKE EATONTON AND SANDERSVILLE.
SNOW WASN'T THE BIGGEST PROBLEM FOR MACON... IT WAS THE HALF-INCH OF FREEZING RAIN.
JOHNSON COUNTY WAS HIT HARDEST WITH NEARLY AN INCH OF ICE.
TREES AND POWER LINES FELL UNDER THE STRAIN... PUTTING THOUSANDS OF GEORGIA POWER CUSTOMERS IN THE DARK.
april 5th bite
2011 WAS A STAGGERING YEAR FOR TORNaDOES ACROSS THE NATION. GEORGIA STOOD IN THE PATH OF THREE SEPARATE TORNADO OUTBREAKS IN APRIL.
THE FIRST - AND ONLY - TORNADO DEATH IN CENTRAL GEORGIA THIS YEAR HAPPENED EARLY ON THE MORNING OF APRIL 5TH. AN EF-2 TORNADO DESTROYED TWO MOBILE HOMES IN NORTHERN DODGE COUNTY. THAT SAME NIGHT, A WEAKER EF-1 TORNADO CUT A ONE-MILE PATH THROUGH SOUTHERN BIBB COUNTY. THAT STORM TOSSED TREES ON NINE HOMES ACCORDING TO the NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE .

april 16th bite
FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE WEATHER RECORDS, BIBB COUNTY REPORTED A TORNADO FROM TWO DIFFERENT WEATHER SYSTEMS IN THE SAME YEAR.
THE SECOND TORNADO RIPPED THROUGH NORTH MACON ON THE MORNING OF APRIL 16TH. THOUGH NO ONE WAS SERIOUSLY HURT... WINDS OF 110 MILES PER HOUR DAMAGED TWO DOZEN HOMES AND BUSINESSES...LIKE THE DAYS INN ON RIVERSIDE DRIVE.

april 28 bite
THE MASS DESTRUCTION IN TUSCALOOSA, ALABAMA MADE HEADLINES ON APRIL 27TH. LATER THAT NIGHT, THE SAME SYSTEM MOVED EAST INTO THE PEACH STATE. OUR AREA SAW DAMAGE FROM TWO TORNADOES - AN EF-1 IN PUTNAM AND HANCOCK COUNTIES...AND A STRONGER EF-3 STORM THAT SPUN FOR THIRTY MILES THROUGH, LAMAR, PIKE, MONROE AND BUTTS COUNTIES. THE STORM CROSSED INTERSTATE 75 IN MONROE COUNTY NEAR MILE MARKER 196 JUST AFTER ONE IN THE MORNING...WITH ENOUGH FORCE TO TOSS TRACTOR TRAILERS FROM THE ROAD. THE STORM INJURED TEN PEOPLE IN MONROE COUNTY ALONE.

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HAS NOT CONFIRMED ANY TORNADOES IN CENTRAL GEORGIA SINCE THAT DAY....THE LONGEST LULL SINCE 2006.

farm nats
2011 WAS THE DRIEST YEAR IN CENTRAL GEORGIA SINCE THE 1950S... LEADING TO A MAJOR LONG-TERM DROUGHT AND SERIOUS TROUBLE FOR FARMERS.
A MODERATE DROUGHT HAD ALREADY DEVELOPED ACROSS MOST OF THE STATE AS THE YEAR GOT UNDERWAY.
AN UNUSUALLY DRY MAY MADE MATTERS WORSE.
IT TOOK ABOUT SIX WEEKS TO GO FROM MODERATE TO SEVERE.. EXTREME... THEN EXCEPTIONAL...THE HIGHEST DROUGHT CLASSIFICATION
THANKS TO DECENT RAINS THIS FALL...THE SITUATION HAS REMAINED EXTREME BUT STABLE SINCE AUGUST.
(GRAPHIC)
THE ENTIRE YEAR BROUGHT 33.14 INCHES OF RAIN.... WHICH IS ONLY 73 OF THE NORMAL RAIN.
ACCORDING TO THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE, RAINFALL RECORDS HERE IN MACON GO ALL THE WAY BACK TO 1880 ... BUT SOME OF THE OLDER RECORDS ARE INACCURATE OR INCOMPLETE.
THAT SAID... THIS YEAR WILL UNOFFICIALLY PLACE AS THE FOURTH DRIEST BEHIND 1954, 1935, AND 1904.
JOHN ON CAM
UNFORTUNATELY THE DROUGHT WILL PROBABLY APPEAR ON ANY RECAP OF 2012, TOO.
ACCORDING TO THE CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER... GLOBAL WEATHER PATTERNS SHOULD KEEP THE SOUTHEAST DRIER THAN NORMAL FOR THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE. THAT MEANS THE DROUGHT WILL MOST LIKELY PERSIST OR INTENSIFY.
JB 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS WEATHER
>>

(AD LIB TOSS TO DAVID)

TONIGHT... MOSTLY CLEAR WITH LOWS IN THE MID 30S.
FRIDAY... MOSTLY SUNNY WITH HIGHS IN THE MID 60S.
FRIDAY NIGHT... PARTLY CLOUDY WITH LOWS IN THE MID 40S.

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

WE HAVE A CORRECTION ON A STORY WE BROUGHT YOU LAST NIGHT.
A FEDERAL JUDGE THIS SPRING PUT PART OF GEORGIA'S TOUGH NEW IMMIGRATION LAW ON HOLD..
THAT'S THE PART THAT ALLOWS LOCAL ENFORCEMENT TO VERIFY SOMEONE'S IMMIGRATION STATUS...AND ARREST THEM...IF THEY SUSPECT THEY'RE AN ILLEGAL ALIEN.
THAT WON'T TAKE EFFECT UNTIL FEDERAL JUDGES RULE ON WHETHER IT'S LEGAL.
BUT THE SECTION THAT REQUIRES MANY EMPLOYERS TO USE THE E-VERIFY SYSTEM TO SEE IF NEW EMPLOYEES ARE LEGAL CITIZENS...IS STILL SCHEDULED TO BECOME LAW ON SUNDAY.

THREE NEW FACES WILL SERVE ON COUNCIL IN THE INTERNATIONAL CITY IN 20-12.

STILL AHEAD... WE'LL SHOW YOU HOW THEY AND OTHER CITY LEADERS... BLESSED WARNER ROBINS AS WE HEAD INTO THE NEW YEAR.

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.

20-12 BRINGS SOME CHANGES IN THE LEADERSHIP OF WARNER ROBINS...
THREE NEW FACES WILL SERVE ON CITY COUNCIL... AND TODAY ALL THREE JOINED WITH OTHER CITY LEADERS AND MINISTERS.. TO PRAY FOR THE CITY IN THE COMING YEAR..
BRITTINY BARBER HAS MORE..

<<
nats of prayer: father we thank you today....
WITH HANDS RAISED AND HEADS BOWED... WARNER ROBINS CITY LEADERS JOINED WITH COMMUNITY MEMBERS AND MINISTERS.. FOR THE SECOND ANNUAL PRAYER SERVICE..
Shaheen: "a lot of people said this was the turning point in our city last year when we had this prayer vigil last year."
THEY ASKED FOR GUIDANCE IN THE NEW YEAR..
Shaheen:We're a faith-based city
AND THAT BLESSINGS WOULD COME TO THE INTERNATIONAL CITY...
For every home and household we ask your bleSsing..
THE NEW YEAR COMES WITH THREE NEW FACES TO CITY COUNCIL... WHO ALL JOINED HANDS AT THE PRAYER SERVICE...
Carolyn Robbins: "I think we've got some good new council members. We've got some good older council members and we've got a mayor that's definitley dedicated to the city
NEWLY ELECTED COUNCILMAN MIKE BRASHEAR SAYS THE PRAYER VIGIL SENDS A SIGN TO THE COMMUNITY
Brashear: "I think it's very important for our citizens to know that their leadership is faith-based and that we can come to city hall and have a prayer vigil on our steps of city hall."
nats of swearing in....
AS THEY TAKE THE OATH OF OFFICE... THE THREE NEW MEMBERS SAY COMMUNICATION IS THE KEY TO MOVE THE CITY FORWARD...
Davis: "I may not agree with what's being said, but I need to communicate that in a gentlemanly manner in a manner that can be respectful."
nats
WITH THEIR HAND ON THE BIBLE... STANDING IN FRONT OF FRIENDS AND FAMILY... THEY SWORE TO PREFORM THE DUTIES A THEIR OFFICE..
A PROMISE THEY SAY THEY TAKE SERIOUSLY... AS THEY TAKE THEIR NEW POSITION WORKING FOR THE PEOPLE OF WARNER ROBINS...
BRITTINY BARBER 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>>

CITY ATTORNEY JIM ELLIOT TELLS US EVEN THOUGH THE NEW COUNCIL MEMBERS WERE SWORN IN TODAY.... THEY DON'T OFFICIALLY TAKE OFFICE...UNTIL NEW YEAR'S DAY.

THERES BEEN LOTS OF TALK OF BASKETBALL BUT WE CANT FORGET IT IS ALSO BOWL SEASON FOR THE BULLDOGS AND THE JACKETS...

THATS RIGHT WELL TAKE A QUICK PEEK AT HOW TECH AND U-G-A ARE PREPARING FOR THEIR RESPECTIVE BOWL GAMES.. PLUS


THE HAWKS.. THE HAWKS.. THE HAWKS ARE ON FIRE...
WELL TAKE A LOOK AT THEIR RED HOST START
STICK AND STAY FOLKS.. SPORTS IS NEXT

A MACON GROUP PLANS TO WELCOME VETERANS OF THE IRAQI WAR HOME FRIDAY.

THEY'VE SCHEDULED WHAT THEY'RE CALLING THE MACON ONE IRAQI FREEDOM RETURN CELEBRATION FROM 2 TO 4 P.M. FRIDAY AT CENTRAL CITY PARK.
FRANK DIXON WITH THE MACON ONE COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS GROUP SAYS THE EVENT WILL FEATURE MUSIC.. SPEAKERS... REFRESHMENTS.. AND PRIZES FOR TROOPS IN UNIFORM.

GOSPEL, HIP-HOP AND ROCK MUSICIANS WILL ALSO PERFORM.
THE MACON VETERANS CENTER WILL OFFER ON-SITE POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS COUNSELING... SOMETHING DIXON SAYS IS A SIGN OF SUPPORT FOR THE RETURNING TROOPS.

Frank Dixon Organizer :"We have to acknowledge that that have troops; men and women that go out and there families have to sacrifice. They go overseas and risk bodily harm and emotional trauma. And we should do something to show them that we are here for you, we care. A lot of times people say that the conflict is over, but the conflict is not over for the troops sometimes.

FOR MORE INFORMATION YOU CAN CALL DIXON AT (478) 258-9949 AGAIN THAT NUMBER IS 478-258-9949


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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