Wednesday, January 4, Eyewitness News at 11

12:13 AM, Jan 5, 2012   |    comments
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GOOD EVENING AND THANKS FOR JOINING US..
I'M LEAH JOHNSON..THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT 11.

THE MACON-BIBB ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY COUNCIL PLANS TO ANNOUNCE DETAILS ON ITS NEXT ROUND OF ENERGY GRANTS TOMORROW MORNING.
LAST WEEK... THE E-O-C ANNOUNCED THAT IT NOW HAS THE FUNDS... TO ASSIST PEOPLE WITH THEIR ENERGY BILLS.
E-O-C EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR JIMMIE SAMUEL SAYS.... CONGRESS APPROVED FEDERAL FUNDS FOR THEIR PROGRAM.
THEY EXPECT MORE THAN 400-THOUSAND DOLLARS WHICH WILL ALLOW THEM HELP TO 25-HUNDRED HOUSEHOLDS THIS YEAR.
THE E-O-C PLANS TO ANNOUNCE THE DETAILS TOMORROW AT 11-30 A-M.
WE'LL HAVE UPDATES AT 13WMAZ DOT COM... M-A-Z MOBILE... AND EYEWITNESS NEWS MIDDAY.

BUSINESS IS GOOD AT THE MEDICAL CENTER OF CENTRAL GEORGIA... BUT BUDGET CUTS AND THE UNCERTAINTY OF HEALTH CARE REFORM ARE GROWING BURDENS.
THAT'S WHAT C-E-O DON FAULK TOLD BIBB COUNTY COMMISSIONERS WHEN HE BRIEFED THEM ON THE STATE OF THE HOSPITAL.
CANDACE ADORKA SPOKE WITH FAULK ABOUT STRIDES THE HOSPITAL MADE THIS YEAR... AND WHAT THAT MEANS FOR YOU.
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IF YOU NEED CRITICAL CARE THIS YEAR AT THE MEDICAL CENTER OF CENTRAL GEORGIA...THEY SAY THE.CHANCES ARE ABOUT 30 PERCENT BETTER YOU'LL GET A BED.
THAT'S BECAUSE LAST YEAR, THE HOSPITAL ADDED 21 NEW BEDS TO TREAT VERY SERIOUS CASES AMONG ADULTS.
THE MEDICAL CENTER'S C-E-O DON FAULK SAYS THAT WILL SHORTEN YOUR WAIT IN THE E-R AND MAKE ROOM FOR PATIENTS FROM RURAL AREAS.
"If you're in another hospital in our region 50 miles away and you need that highest level of care, if all of our beds are filled, then you have to go somewhere else, but we're able to say yes to patients and their doctors who need our care."
FAULK SAYS THAT WAS ONLY ONE OF THE WAYS THE HOSPITAL IMPROVED OVER THE PAST YEAR....
THEY'VE PARTNERED WITH THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA BIRMINGHAM TO GIVE CENTRAL GEORGIANS ACCESS TO THE LATEST CANCER CLINICAL TRIALS... PATIENTS CAN NOW CHECK IN TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM FROM HOME WITH A NEW SERVICE CALLED IN-QUICKER... AND THE MEDICAL CENTER IS TRYING TO TEAM UP WITH OTHER CENTRAL GEORGIA HOSPITALS AND DOCTORS...
FOR INSTANCE THIS YEAR THEY HOPE TO BREAK GROUND ON THE MEDICAL CENTER OF PEACH COUNTY....AFTER THEY GET THE GREEN LIGHT FROM THE STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL.
"it is a good project, it will provide great service to all the residents of Peach County whether they are in Byron or Fort Valley or in the unincorporated areas, it will be a great service to that whole region out there."
FAULK SAYS MEDICARE AND MEDICAID CUTS... COUPLED WITH NEW HEALTHCARE RULES... WILL BE MAJOR HURDLES IN 2012 AND BEYOND.
"The folks who are caught in the middle of that are hospitals and doctors who are takign a shrinking dollar resource and an increased demand on the other side and trying to make those things work out."
HE SAYS THIS YEAR... THEY WILL WORK ON USING TECHNOLOGY TO LET DOCTORS CONSULT WITH PATIENTS REMOTELY... AND NEW PROCEDURES FOR HEART FAILURE PATIENTS.
>> FAULK SAYS THEY'RE WORKING ON IMPROVING PREVENTION AND HOME CARE TO MAKE THE HOSPITAL MORE EFFICIENT.

A MACON BUSINESSMAN RECEIVED FIFTEEN YEARS PROBATION AFTER HE ADMITTED STEALING MONEY FROM BUSINESS PARTNERS.
BIBB COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT CHIEF JUDGE PHIL BROWN SENTENCED BILLY RAMSBOTTOM JUNIOR UNDER GEORGIA'S FIRST OFFENDER LAW..
THE SENTENCE CAME DOWN AFTER SEVERAL OF HIS VICTIMS ASKED BROWN TO GIVE HIM PROBATION.... NOT JAIL TIME.
THEY INCLUDED FORMER ATLANTA BRAVES JOHN ROCKER AND RYAN KLESKO AND FORMER FALCONS PUNTER CHRIS MOHR..
THEY TOLD THE JUDGE THAT RAMSBOTTOM AGREED TO REPAY THEIR LOSES.
HE'S ACCUSED OF STEALING NEARLY A HALF MILLION DOLLARS FROM INVESTORS IN A SAINT SIMONS BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT.

MACON POLICE SAY THEY SEIZED NEARLY A DOZEN GUNS AT A HOME OFF BOB-O-LINK DRIVE ON NEW YEAR'S EVE.
POLICE SPOKESWOMAN JAMI GAUDET SAYS THEY WERE PATROLLING AGAINST CELEBRATORY GUNFIRE WHEN SOMEONE SHOT OFF AN ASSAULT RIFLE IN THE HOME'S BACKYARD.
GAUDET SAYS THEY FOUND TWO SEMI-AUTOMATIC ASSAULT RIFLES... TWO SHOTGUNS... A REVOLVER... ASSAULT PISTOL... AND FIVE SEMI-AUTOMATIC PISTOLS INSIDE THE HOUSE.
SHE SAYS THREE BAGS OF MARIJUANA WERE ALSO SEIZED... AND THREE PEOPLE WERE ARRESTED.

A TRAIN HIT AND KILLED A MAN AS HE WALKED ON SOME RAILROAD TRACKS NEAR BONAIRE.
THE HOUSTON COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE SAYS THE VICTIM IS 41-YEAR-OLD FREDDIE MEEK JR. OF BONAIRE.
THE ACCIDENT HAPPENED ON TRACKS BETWEEN DAVIDSON ROAD AND AZALEA AVENUE AROUND NOON.
A NEWS RELEASE SAYS HE WAS WEARING EARPHONES AND DIDN'T SEE OR HEAR THE TRAIN.... WHICH STRUCK HIM FROM BEHIND.
MEEK WAS PRONOUNCED DEAD AT THE SCENE .. LT. JOHN HOLLAND SAYS NO CHARGES ARE EXPECTED.

TWO LEGISLATORS EXPECT EARLY APPROVAL OF THE MACON-BIBB CONSOLIDATION PLAN WHEN THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY BEGINS IN ATLANTA NEXT WEEK.
STATE REPRESENTATIVES NIKKI RANDALL AND BUBBER EPPS TALKED ABOUT CONSOLIDATION AND OTHER TOPICS DURING THE TAPING OF THIS WEEK'S CLOSE-UP PROGRAM.
RANDALL... A DEMOCRAT... AND EPPS... A REPUBLICAN SAY THEY THINK THE BILL WILL MAKE IT THROUGH THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY ... WITH UNANIMOUS APPROVAL FROM THE SEVEN-MEMBER BIBB COUNTY LEGISLATIVE DELEGATION.
Nikki Randall, Delegation Chairwoman: We are about 99 1/2 percent done. We weren't that far apart anyway. We fully expect to push this thing forward, introduce a new bill in the first two weeks of the session, and actually as a delegation, we're pretty excited about it.
Bubber Epps, State Representative: And I applaud Rep. Randall, she's the one who kept the balls in the air and made sure that we stayed on target with it. I think the most encouraging aspect of this is that we've been able as a delegation to sit in a room and close the door and everyone speak from a personal perspective. It's been addressed totally with respect with everyone's opinion and everyone's input. THE TWO LAWMAKERS SAID THE DELEGATION HAS AGREED ON THE SIZE OF A CONSOLIDATED GOVERNMENT.. AND WHETHER THE TOP LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER SHOULD BE APPOINTED OR ELECTED. BUT THEY DECLINED TO GIVE DETAILS.

A MAJOR ROAD PROJECT COULD IMPACT PEOPLE WHO LIVE AND WORK IN EAST MACON...
THE GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION HAS PROPOSED WIDENING JEFFERSONVILLE ROAD.. FROM EMERY HIGHWAY TO EMERY ROAD.... AND ALSO WIDENING A PORTION OF MILLERFIELD ROAD...
THE PROJECT WOULD CHANGE THE STREETS FROM TWO LANES.. TO FIVE...
BUSINESS OWNER TONY GILBERT SAYS HE SEES TRAFFIC PROBLEMS EVERY DAY...
Gilbert: "Early in the morning the traffic gets bottled up bad. It probably gets 20 maybe more cars and pickup trucks every morning with people trying to get passed the red light."
A PUBLIC MEETING IS SET TO RUN FROM FOUR UNTIL SEVEN TOMORROW NIGHT... AT MORIAH MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH ON MILLERFIELD ROAD.
ALSO TOMORROW.. G-DOT WILL HOLD AN INFORMATIONAL SESSION ABOUT A POSSIBLE BRIDGE REPLACEMENT PROJECT ON STATE ROUTE 19... IN TWIGGS COUNTY...
THAT MEETING IS SCHEDULED FROM FIVE UNTIL SEVEN AT THE TWIGGS COUNTY SENIOR CENTER.

A STATE LAWMAKER WANTS TO MERGE EIGHT COLLEGE CAMPUSES ACROSS THE STATE... INCLUDING TWO IN CENTRAL GEORGIA.
THE PROPOSED CONSOLIDATIONS INCLUDE COMBINING MIDDLE GEORGIA COLLEGE IN COCHRAN... AND MACON STATE COLLEGE.
REPUBLICAN REPRESENTATIVE MARK HATFIELD FROM WAYCROSS SAYS THE MERGERS WOULD SAVE THE STATE MONEY.
HE SAYS HE MET WITH CHANCELLOR HENRY HUCKABY AND BOARD OF REGENTS CHAIRMAN BEN TARBUTTON TODAY.
HUCKABY IS EXPECTED TO MAKE AN OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT FRIDAY.
FOR A COMPLETE LIST OF THE PROPOSED MERGERS AROUND THE STATE... LOOK FOR THIS STORY IN THE STATE NEWS SECTION AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.

WARNER ROBINS POLICE WANT TO MAKE IT EASIER FOR YOU TO GIVE THEM ANONYMOUS CRIME TIPS.
THEY LAUNCHED A SERVICE CALLED TIP SUBMIT.
POLICE SPOKESWOMAN TABITHA PUGH SAYS YOU CAN SEND IN A TIP USING THE ON-LINE FORM AT W-R-POLICE-DOT-ORG.
YOU CAN ALSO DOWNLOAD THE "TIP SUBMIT" APP TO YOUR I-PHONE OR ANDROID... OR TEXT THE TIP TO THE WORD "CRIMES."
THE INFORMATION SENT IN IS ROUTED TO SERVERS IN CANADA WHERE IT'S ENCRYPTED TO PROTECT THE TIPSTER... THEN SENT BACK TO WARNER ROBINS POLICE.
PUGH SAYS THE METHOD MAKES IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR POLICE TO IDENTIFY THE TIPSTER.
THE SERVICE IS ALSO OFFERED IN GRAY AND JONES COUNTY.

DRESS BY DRESS... DONATIONS KEEP ROLLING IN FOR THE SIXTH ANNUAL DEMON DRESS DRIVE.
KATELYN HECK SHOWS YOU HOW PEOPLE FROM ALL OVER MIDDLE GEORGIA CAN GET A TOP DOLLAR LOOK AT BOTTOM LINE PRICES.
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(NATS)
BLUE... PINK... SPARKLES...SEQUINS... USED DRESSES OF ALL COLORS AND SIZES ARE WELCOME AT THE DEMON DRESS DRIVE.
THE WARNER ROBINS STUDENT COUNCIL WANTS EVERY GIRL TO FEEL LIKE THE BELLE OF THE BALL WITHOUT HAVING TO PAY HIGH END PRICES.

(SOT: student: you hear peoples stories who wouldnt be able to go to prom without finding a dress here, seeing their emotions, and their moms crying, you get everything here)

THE DRIVE ALREADY HAS ALMOST TWO HUNDRED GOWNS READY TO *RE*-MAKE A FASHION STATEMENT.

(SOT: Hilliard: we've helped some brides... bridesmaids dresses... but its mostly prom dresses

BUT PUTTING ON THE DRIVE ISNT ALL GLITTER AND GLAM... STUDENT COUNCIL MEMBERS SPEND MONTHS PUTTING THE EVENT TOGETHER.
HILLIARD SAYS THE GRATITUDE OF THE PEOPLE... HELPS MAKE ALL THE WORK WORTH WHILE.

(SOT: Hilliard: Last year I had a young lady that bought a dress, and she was just so overwhelmed because she saved so much money on the dress that she was abe to go out and buy jewelry and some new shoes to go with it. She, just, she cried.)

AND ITS NOT JUST SHOPPERS WHO WILL BENEFIT... THE STUDENT COUNCIL WILL DONATE ALL OF THE PROCEEDS TO A CHILDRENS CHARITY HERE IN CENTRAL GEORGIA.

(SOT: student: they are awestruck. we present the check and have a reception, they are so grateful we chose them and grateful to receive a few thousand dollars)

EACH YEAR, THEY PICK A DIFFERENT CHARITY... AND THEIR DONATION GOES UP EVERY YEAR. LAST YEAR THEY RAISED 45 HUNDRED DOLLARS.

(SOT: Barbara: seven years ago when we started this we had no idea what we were getting into)

THE DRIVE ISNT JUST FOR STUDENTS... THE STUDENT COUNCIL WANTS EVERYONE TO HAVE THE CHANCE TO FIND THEIR PERFECT DRESS... AT THE PERFECT PRICE.

KATELYN HECK
13-WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS

>> THE DRESSES WILL BE ON SALE FOR NO MORE THAN FIFTY DOLLARS... WITH SOME DRESSES SELLING FOR AS LITTLE AS FIFTEEN.
THE DRIVE WRAPS UP WITH THE BIG SALE DAY ON SALE JANUARY TWENTY-EIGHTH FROM TEN A-M UNTIL TWO IN THE ROCKIN R CAFÉ.

IF YOU'VE CHECKED OUT THE THEATRE MACON SCENE... YOU'VE PROBABLY HEARD THE NAME JIM CRISP FLOATING AROUND DOWNTOWN.
HE'S THE FOUNDING ARTISTIC DIRECTOR... AND HE SAT DOWN WITH DEL WARD...
FOR THIS MONTH'S PERSONAL PROFILE.

TONIGHT'S FACEBOOK FAN OF THE DAY IS JEROME WILLIAMS.
JEROME... YOU'LL NEED TO EMAIL FAN OF THE DAY AT 13WMAZ DOT COM TO CLAIM YOUR COFFEE MUG.
BEING FAN OF THE DAY REQUIRES INTENSE FOCUS.
REALLY CONCENTRATE ON THOSE KEYS AS YOU NAVIGATE TO FACEBOOK DOT COM SLASH 13WMAZ.
GIVE THE LIKE BUTTON YOUR FULL ATTENTION AS YOU CLICK IT.
AND MAKE SURE YOU DEDICATE YOUR BRAIN POWER TO JOINING THOSE CONVERSATIONS.
FROM THERE... IT'S A RANDOM CHOICE.

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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