Friday, December 30, Eyewitness News at 11

11:38 PM, Dec 30, 2011   |    comments
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<<opening for eyewitness news at eleven>>

GOOD EVENING AND THANKS FOR JOINING US..
I'M ELEANOR LISSITZYN.
THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT 11.
FRANK MALLOY AND LEAH JOHNSON HAVE THE NIGHT OFF.

AS WE HEAD INTO THIS HOLIDAY WEEKEND... MACON POLICE AND THE BIBB COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE ARE ISSUING STRONG WARNINGS TO PEOPLE WHO USE GUN SHOTS TO RING IN THE NEW YEAR.
THEY SAY THEY WILL NOT TOLERATE ANY CELEBRATORY GUN FIRE ON NEW YEAR'S EVE.
A POLICE NEWS RELEASE SAYS THEY WILL ARREST ANYONE CAUGHT FIRING A WEAPON IN CELEBRATION.
DON BRUNEL LIVES IN EAST MACON.
HE SAYS IN HIS NEIGHBORHOOD... PEOPLE SHOOTING THEIR GUNS TO CELEBRATE THE NEW YEAR HAS BEEN A BIG PROBLEM.

"Few years ago I made a tape recording. 20 to 30 minutes and it was one of the most frightening things I ever heard in playback. It sounded as if world war 3 were breaking out."

BRUNEL SAYS POLICE CRACK DOWN IN RECENT YEARS... HAS HELPED THE ISSUE.
BUT HE SAYS IT'S STILL A PROBLEM... AND HE'S WORRIED SOMEONE COULD GET HURT.

"Very simple. Somebody will be killed if we don't. It'll be a child, it'll be a grandmother, it'll be an old person like myself, or it'll be a young.. it doesn't.. somebody will get killed. "It's just a question of time."


TODAY'S 13 WMAZ DOT COM WEB POLL ASKS... DO YOU HEAR NEW YEAR'S EVE 'CELEBRATORY GUNFIRE' IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD?

SO FAR 57 PERCENT OF YOU SAY YES
AND 43 PERCENT OF YOU SAY NO

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.

THE NEW YEAR COULD BRING HELP TO PEOPLE LOOKING FOR ASSISTANCE PAYING THEIR ENERGY BILLS.

MACON-BIBB ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY COUNCIL DIRECTOR JIMMIE SAMUEL SAYS CONGRESS APPROVED FEDERAL FUNDS FOR THEIR PROGRAM THIS MONTH.
THEY'RE EXPECTING OVER 400-THOUSAND DOLLARS... WHICH HE SAYS WILL ALLOW THEM HELP TO 25-HUNDRED HOUSEHOLDS THIS YEAR.
THAT'S ABOUT HALF AS MANY AS LAST YEAR.
THE E-O-C IS NOW WAITING FOR THE FUNDING TO GO THROUGH THE STATE.
SOME SAY... THAT MONEY CAN'T COME SOON ENOUGH...

Jimmie Samuel, Exec. Dir of Macon-Bibb EOC: (53) The additional funds that were committed that we knew about will be coming because it was approved, it's just the bureaucracy of it from getting it to Washington down to the states.

JIMMIE SAMUEL SAYS AS SOON AS THE STATE LET'S THEM KNOW WHAT'S AVAILABLE - THEY'LL SET DATES FOR THE PUBLIC TO APPLY.
SAMUELS HOPES THAT HAPPEN IN JANUARY.

FOR THE SECOND CONSECUTIVE YEAR.. THE CITY OF MACON RECEIVED A CLEAN FINANCIAL REPORT FROM THE MAULDING AND JENKINS AUDITING FIRM.
AMONG OTHER THINGS.. THE AUDIT REVEALS THE CITY NOW HAS A TEN MILLION DOLLAR FUND BALANCE.
RANDALL SAVAGE DISCUSSED THE LATEST AUDIT WITH THE MAYOR.

<<MACON MAYOR ROBERT REICHERT SAYS THE CITY'S LATEST AUDIT INCLUDES THREE PIECES OF GOOD NEWS.
THEY INCLUDES A CLEAN AUDIT.... A GROWING FUND BALANCE FOR THE CITY...AND EARLY APPROVAL FROM THE STATE REVENUE DEPARTMENT.
1:53:15 Robert Reichert, Macon Mayor: I'm very proud of the fact that for the last four years, we have submitted the audit on time to the state, and this year it's the earliest we've ever submitted it. We actually submitted it I believe on Dec. 2. So we were well ahead of the Dec. 31 deadline.
MAYOR REICHERT SAYS GETTING A CLEAN AUDIT FOR THE SECOND CONSECUTIVE YEARS IS A PLUS FOR THE CITY.. HE SAYS THAT MEANS THE AUDITORS FOUND NO SIGNIFICANT PROBLEMS IN THE CITY BOOKS.
THAT'S IMPROVEMENT OVER SOME PAST YEARS.
THIRD.. REICHERT SAYS HE'S PLEASED THAT THE CITY'S FUND BALANCE CONTINUES TO GROW.
FOUR YEARS AGO.. THE CITY'S FUND BALANCE WAS A NEGATIVE FOUR MILLION DOLLARS.. THE CITY NOW HAS A POSITIVE BALANCE...OF TEN MILLION DOLLARS.
HE SAYS HE'S IMPROVED THE FINANCIAL PICTURE BY REDUCING THE CITY'S WORK FORCE...MAKING CITY HALL MORE EFFICIENT...AND CUTTING ITS HEALTH CARE COSTS AND OTHER THINGS.
3:44:15 Robert Reichert, Macon Mayor: I'm very proud of these accomplishments and I think it indicates the continuing management of city affairs that are fiscally prudent and conservative and to move in the right direction.
REICHERT SAYS THAT TEN MILLION DOLLAR FUND BALANCE MEANS THE CITY HAS ABOUT FORTY-DAYS OPERATING CAPITAL..
RANDALL SAVAGE.. 13 WMAZ.. EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>>

REICHERT SAYS HE HOPES TO INCREASE THE CITY'S FUND BALANCE TO TWENTY MILLION DOLLARS BY THE TIME HE LEAVES OFFICE IN 2015.
HE SAYS THAT'S THE EQUIVALENT OF ABOUT NINETY DAYS OPERATING CAPITAL.

A BALDWIN COUNTY MAN IS WANTED FOR QUESTIONING IN CONNECTION WITH A SAVANNAH ARMED ROBBERY AND MURDER.

CAPTAIN BRAD KING WITH THE BALDWIN COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE SAYS THEY'RE LOOKING FOR RONNIE HOLDER.
KING SAYS THEY BELIEVE HOLDER IS CURRENTLY IN MILLEDGEVILLE.
HE SAYS HOLDER HAS BEEN IN THE BALDWIN COUNTY JAIL 15 TIMES.

IF YOU HAVE INFORMATION... OR KNOW WHERE HOLDER IS... YOU'RE ASKED TO CALL THE BALDWIN COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE AT 478-445-4893... AGAIN THAT 445-4893.

BIBB COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY GREG WINTERS SAYS A JUDGE'S ERROR SET A CHRISTMAS EVE SHOOTING SUSPECT FREE ON BOND.

ZACHERY DEWAYNE GUYTON WAS RELEASED MONDAY AFTER HE POSTED BOND ON AGGRAVATED ASSAULT CHARGES.
HE'S ACCUSED OF SHOOTING A NINETEEN-YEAR-OLD IN THE HEAD DURING A ROBBERY LAST WEEKEND..

WINTERS SAYS THE JUDGE WHO ISSUED THE BOND... DIDN'T HAVE THAT AUTHORITY.... AND HE'LL ASK A SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE NEXT THURDAY TO REVOKE IT.
GUYTON WAS CHARGED WITH BURGLARY IN NOVEMBER...AND THEN RELEASED ON BOND FOR THAT CASE.
WHEN HE WENT BEFORE MAGISTRATE JUDGE BILL SHURLING MONDAY....WINTERS SAYS THE JUDGE DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT THE BURGLARY CASE.
WINTERS SAYS HE'LL ARGUE THAT STATE LAW REQUIRES A SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE...TO SET BOND IF A DEFENDANT IS ALREADY ON BOND FOR ANOTHER CHARGE.

"I will just say, um, it's a very serious case and I have concerns when somebody is charged with shooting someone in the head getting out on the streets again

GUYTON'S ATTORNEY.. ARJUN KAPOOR.. SAYS HE'S REVIEWING THE CASE TO DECIDE IF HE'LL OPPOSE WINTERS' MOTION TO REVOKE THE BOND.
BUT HE SAYS HIS CLIENT IS INNOCENT ... BECAUSE HE ACTED IN SELF DEFENSE.
KAPOOR SAYS HE BELIEVES GUYTON IS STAYING WITH FAMILY IN MACON... WHO HE SAYS HAVE BEEN TARGETED SINCE THE ARREST.

"They have recieved repeated threats, as you know, their house has been shot at. I believe some of the witnesses in this case have been intimiadated."

MACON POLICE SPOKESWOMAN JAMI GAUDET SAYS SHE'S UNAWARE OF ANY VIOLENCE OR INTIMIDATION AGAINST GUYTON'S FAMILY.

SIX MONTHS AGO TODAY...

MACON POLICE RESPONDED TO A MISSING PERSON'S REPORT ON GEORGIA AVENUE IN DOWNTOWN MACON... AND FOUND MERCER LAW GRADUATE LAUREN GIDDINGS' BODY.

HER NEIGHBOR AND CLASSMATE STEPHEN MCDANIEL WAS ARRESTED THE NEXT DAY ON BURGLARY CHARGES... THEN CHARGED WITH HER MURDER IN AUGUST.

STEPHANIE SUSSKIND SPOKE WITH GIDDINGS' COUSIN KATHY MANN THIS WEEK.. WHO SAYS THE REALITY OF LAUREN DEATH IS STILL SINKING IN...
SHE SAYS SIX MONTHS SINCE HER NIECE'S DEATH... AND THE PAIN HASN'T GOTTEN ANY EASIER.

Kathy Mann: "It's still hard to put our heads around the fact that this happened and that it's real. And as far as Lauren's family getting together... as you can imagine, there are moments that people have anger, and moments that people have a lot of bitterness but ultimately everyone came together at Christmas time and they used eachother to hold onto, surround themselves with the love of each other, and that way they support each other through this"

SHE SAYS THE FAMILY IS STILL FOCUSED ON FINDING THE REST OF LAUREN'S REMAINS.
STEPHEN MCDANIEL IS AWAITING ARRAIGNMENT ON THE MURDER CHARGE.
HE'S ALSO BEEN INDICTED ON 30 COUNTS OF CHILD EXPLOITATION.
HIS LAWYER.. FLOYD BUFORD... DID NOT RETURN OUR PHONE CALLS.
AND D-A- GREG WINTERS DECLINED COMMENT ON THE CASE.


TONIGHT... BECOMING MOSTLY CLEAR WITH LOWS IN THE MID 40S. SOME PATCHY MORNING FOG IS POSSIBLE.
SATURDAY ... MOSTLY SUNNY WITH HIGHS IN THE MID-TO-UPPER 60S.
SATURDAY NIGHT (NEW YEAR'S EVE)... MOSTLY CLEAR WITH LOWS IN THE UPPER 30S.

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

YOUR WEEKEND PLANS MAY INCLUDE A TRIP TO YOUR FAVORITE RESTUARANT.
WE'LL TELL YOU HOW SOME EATING SPOTS SCORED WHEN THE HEALTH INSPECTOR STOPPED BY... RESTUARANT RATINGS IS NEXT.

WITH THE HOLIDAY SEASON WINDING DOWN... AND THE NEW YEAR RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER... YOU MAY BE LOOKING TO CELEBRATE WITH A DINNER OUT.
BUT BEFORE HITTING UP YOUR FAVORITE SPOT... YOU MAY WANT TO SEE WHAT THE HEALTH INSPECTOR HAD TO SAY IN THIS WEEK'S RESTAURANT RATINGS.

WE'RE BACK IN HOUSTON COUNTY THIS WEEK...STARTING OFF WITH OUR LOWEST SCORES FIRST....

STEAK N SHAKE AT 29-99 WATSON BOULEVARD IN WARNER ROBINS SCORED A 78... THAT'S A C... COMING AFTER AN 80 OR B LAST TIME.

WAFFLE HOUSE AT 28-16 WATSON BOULVEARD IN CENTERVILLE GOT AN 82... A "B"... THAT'S UP FROM THE 55 OR "U" THEY SCORED ON THE INSPECTION BEFORE..

GOLDEN CORRAL BUFFETT AND GRILL AT 29-24 WATSON BOULEVARD IN CENTERVILLE SCORED A 90... AN "A"... COMING AFTER A 95... ANOTHER "A"... LAST TIME.

AND HAPPY WOK II ALSO SCORED A 90... AN "A"... AFTER GETTING THE SAME SCORE ON THE LAST INSPECTION.

NOW FOR A LOOK THE TOP SCORES OF THE WEEK... AND THIS WEEK'S GODLEN SPATULA NOMINEES.

GENJI JAPANESE STEAK AND SEAFOOD... AT 29-07 WATSON BOULEVARD IN WARNER ROBINS... WHIPPED UP A 97... AN "A"... FOLLOWING AN 89 LAST TIME.

KRYSTAL AT 16-38 WATSON BOULEVARD IN WARNER ROBINS SCORED A 98... THAT'S AN "A"... COMING AFTER A 76 OR "C" LAST TIME.

AND QUIZNO'S SUBS AT 28-01 WATSON BOULEVARD IN WARNER ROBINS SCORED TWO PERFECT 100'S... ON THEIR MOST RECENT INSPECTIONS.

WE AVERAGED OUR NOMINEES PAST FIVE SCORES... AND THIS WEEK'S GOLDEN SPATULA GOES TO...

QUIZNO'S SUBS.... WITH A FIVE SCORE AVERAGE OF A 98 POINT 2.

CONGRATULATIONS TO EVERYONE OVER AT QUIZNO'S SUBS.
FOR ALL YOUR BIBB AND HOUSTON COUNTY RESTAURANT RATINGS... GO TO OUR WEBSITE 13 WMAZ DOT COM.
UNDER THE FEATRUES TAB... YOU'LL FIND RESTAURANT RATINGS.

THANKS FOR JOINING US.... WEEKEND MORNIN COMES YOUR WAY AT 7 A-M
THE NEWS IS ALWAYS ON AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.

LETTERMAN'S NEXT.

HAVE A SAFE NIGHT EVERYONE.

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