Thursday, January 5, Eyewitness News at 11

11:47 PM, Jan 5, 2012   |    comments
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GOOD EVENING AND THANKS FOR JOINING US..
I'M FRANK MALLOY..
AND I'M LEAH JOHNSON..THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT 11.

A MONROE COUNTY MIDDLE SCHOOL GYM FILLED WITH PARENTS AND STUDENTS TONIGHT...
THEY CAME TO LEARN MORE ABOUT A PLAN THAT WOULD CHANGE THE STRUCTURE OF THE DISTRICT IN AN EFFORT TO SAVE MONEY..
AS BRITTINY BARBER SHOWS US.... NOT EVERYONE AGREES WITH THE PROPOSAL..
<<
NATS OF MEETING
DOZENS OF FOLKS FILED IN TO BANKS STEPHENS MIDDLE SCHOOL GYM... TO LEARN ABOUT PROPOSED CHANGES TO THE MONROE COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT...
Grant: Regardless of what you've seen or read otherwiise the boar dhas not has not made a made a final decision...
SUPERINTENDENT ANTHONY PACK LAST MONTH PROPOSED CONSOLIDATING THE COUNTY'S TWO MIDDLE SCHOOLS... CREATING A SIXTH GRADE ACADEMY AND MOVING 9TH GRADERS FROM THE FRESHMAN CAMPUS TO HUBBARD MIDDLE SCHOOL...
NATS
AT THE MEETING ... SOME PARENTS VOICED CONCERN...
you said we'd go down to one principle for the middle school with tow separate campuses is there not a plan to have a principal at or a leadership staff at the sixth grade campus?
OTHERS SAY THEY LIKE PARTS OF THE PLAN
I know my fifth grader and his groupd of peers are very excited about going ahead and being merged in with with the group of kids they're actually going to graduate high school with.
FOR MANY.. THE TOP CONCERN FOCUSED ON WHETHER TO MOVE THE 9TH GRADERS...
BOARD CHAIRMAN RAY GRANT... SAYS THAT'S OFF THE TABLE NOW...
gRANT: "the plan will not include relocating the 9th grade campus
ALTHOUGH SOME DISAGREED ON WHAT'S BEST FOR THE DISTRICT...
I feel like we;re rushing into a decision rather quickly
THEY MADE IT CLEAR.. NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS... THEY WANT TO MAKE SURE THE QUALITY OF EDUCATION STAYS THE SAME...
nats
BRITTINY BARBER 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS..

>> SUPERINTENDENT ANTHONY PACK SAYS THE PLAN WOULD SAVE THE DISTRCT BETWEEN 500 AND 750-THOUSAND DOLLARS EACH YEAR... THAT'S WITHOUT MOVING THE 9TH GRADERS.
HE SAYS THE TOPIC WILL BE BROUGHT BACK UP AT THE NEXT BOARD MEETING ON JANUARY 10TH...

FORSYTH MAYOR JOHN HOWARD SPENT HIS FIRST WEEK IN OFFICE GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS.
LAST MONTH... WE REPORTED THAT THE SECRETARY OF STATE'S OFFICE IS INVESTIGATING POSSIBLE ELECTION FRAUD IN THE RACE FOR THE MAYORAL SEAT.
BUT AS AMY AUBERT SHOWS YOU... THE MAYOR HAS BIG PLANS FOR FORSYTH FOR THE NEXT FOUR YEARS.
<<
Nats: "Hey Frank, how you doin'?"

YOU MIGHT THINK HE'S CALLED CITY HALL HIS WORKPLACE FOR A WHILE...

Nats: "Here we are."

BUT IT'S MAYOR JOHN HOWARD'S FIRST WEEK ON THE JOB.

Nats: "I've got your number, I'm going to call you right back."

HE WAS SWORN IN THE CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS TUESDAY.

BUT HIS POSITION HIT HOME... WHEN HE SAW UNDER HIS NAME... "MAYOR."

John Howard, Mayor: "I looked at it and then my mom, my wife and my son we're sitting there and some more family members, and I said, 'Look! Look!'"

ALONG WITH THE TITLE... HE SAYS... COMES BIG RESPONSIBILITY.

John Howard: "Our city has grown bigger in size and we just need to re-do our infrastructure, because our infrastructure, I don't think it's strong enough to support a city of this size."

Nats, cars

HE PLANS TO WORK ON ROAD REPAIRS... FIXING WATER PROBLEMS... AND CABLE T-V ISSUES.

Nats

BUT MOST OF ALL... HE SAYS... BRINGING JOBS.

John Howard: "That's where I got to get out and blow the horn for the city and talk to some people, which I have started doing."

HIS FIRST WEEK ON THE JOB COMES NEARLY TWO MONTHS AFTER THE SECRETARY OF STATE'S OFFICE OPENED AN INVESTIGATION INTO POSSIBLE ELECTION FRAUD IN THE FORSYTH MAYOR'S RACE.

DISTRICT ATTORNEY RICHARD MILAM SAYS ELECTION SUPERVISORS THREW OUT AT LEAST TWO ABSENTEE BALLOTS BECAUSE THE VOTERS' SIGNATURES DIDN'T MATCH THOSE ON FILE.

HOWARD SAYS HE VOTED ONLY ONCE... AND HE RAN A CLEAN CAMPAIGN.

Howard: "I just don't think, and I refuse to believe that someone would put their freedom on the line for a mayoral race."

HOWEVER THE INVESTIGATION TURNS OUT....HOWARD SAYS IT WON'T CLOUD HIS PLANS FOR THE CITY... FOR THE NEXT FOUR YEARS.

AMY AUBERT 13 WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS. >> DISTRICT ATTORNEY MILAM SAYS THE INVESTIGATION WON'T AFFECT HOWARD'S TIME IN OFFICE.
HOWARD IS THE FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN ELECTED MAYOR IN FORSYTH.

STARTING NEXT WEEK... MORE PEOPLE IN BIBB COUNTY CAN GET HELP HEATING THEIR HOMES THIS WINTER.
THE MACON-BIBB ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY COUNCIL ANNOUNCED SIX DATES TO TAKE APPLICATIONS FOR THE HEATING ASSISTANCE PROGRAM... SPREAD OVER THREE DIFFERENT LOCATIONS.
FIRST... TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY... THEY'LL BE AT SAINT PAUL A-M-E CHURCH ON SHURLING DRIVE.
ON JANUARY 18TH AND 20TH... THEY'LL TAKE APPLICATIONS AT UNION BAPTIST ON KITCHENS STREET.
THE FINAL TWO DATES WILL BE JANUARY 28TH AT UNIONVILLE BAPTIST CHURCH ON HOUSTON AVENUE.
THEY'LL START TAKING APLICATIONS AT 7 A-M EACH DAY... AND SEE THE FIRST 250 PEOPLE.
THE E-O-C PLANNED TO HAND OUT FUNDS TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC LAST MONTH... BUT DELAYED UNTIL CONGRESS RELEASED THE FUNDS.
E-O-C DIRECTOR JIMMIE SAMUELS SAYS HE'S GLAD THE WAIT IS OVER.
"It's been tough but we really appreciate the way the public has responded. They called... we got a lot of calls, no question, but people were respectful and I don't think we got cursed out not once this time so they understood that we were doing all we could do." SAMUELS SAYS APPLICANTS WILL NEED TO BRING PROOF OF INCOME... THEIR LAST ENERGY BILL... SOCIAL SECURITY CARD... AND A STATE-ISSUED PHOTO I-D.

DOZENS OF PEOPLE CAME OUT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE PROPOSED ROAD WIDENING PROJECT ON JEFFERSONVILLE ROAD.
THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION PLANS TO TURN THE TWO-LANE ROAD INTO FIVE LANES.
FOLKS GOT A CHANCE TO LOOK AT MAPS DETAILING THE PROJECT... WHICH THE D-O-T SAYS INCLUDES A TWO-MILE STRETCH ON JEFFERSONVILLE ROAD AND A HALF-MILE STRETCH ON MILLERFIELD ROAD.
THE AGENCY SAYS THE PROJECT WOULD DISPLACE A DOZEN HOMES AND TWO BUSINESSES.
KEVIN VANHOUTEN WITH THE D-O-T SAYS THE MEETING GAVE PEOPLE A CHANCE TO SHARE THEIR OPINIONS AND CONCERNS.
"It's part of the environmental process where we make sure we let the public know and allow them an opportunity to voice their concerns.
THE D-O-T SAY THE PROJECT WOULD COST JUST OVER 25 POINT 5 MILLION DOLLARS.
VANHOUTEN SAYS THEY COULD START CONSTRUCTION IN 2015.

A MAN ACCUSED OF SHOOTING A MACON TEENAGER IN THE HEAD ON CHRISTMAS EVEIS BACK IN JAIL.
LAST WEEK WE TOLD YOU HOW DISTRICT ATTORNEY GREG WINTERS CLAIMED THAT A JUDGE'S ERROR...
....FREED SHOOTING SUSPECT ZACHARY GUYTON ON BOND.
TODAY A DIFFERENT JUDGE.....SUPERIOR COURT SENIOR JUDGE TOMMY DAY WILCOX....REVOKED GUYTON'S BOND AND SET NEW BOND AT 50 THOUSAND DOLLARS.
GUYTON IS IN THE BIBB COUNTY JAIL TONIGHT....CHARGED WITH AGGRAVATED ASSAULT AND USING A WEAPON WHILE COMMITTING A FELONY.
HE ALLEGEDLY SHOT QUINTAVIOUS HUTCHINGS IN THE HEAD...DURING A ROBBERY AT AN ANTIOCH ROAD HOME.

TOMORROW AFTERNOON... MILLEDGEVILLE WILL HONOR THE LIFE OF FALLEN SOLDIER ALEX FRENCH BY RENAMING THE STREET HE GREW UP ON. FRENCH DIED IN AFGHANISTAN FROM A ROADSIDE BOMB IN OCTOBER 2009.
HE AND HIS TWO SISTERS GREW UP IN MILLEDGEVILLE ON LORETTA DRIVE... WHICH WILL NOW BE ALEX FRENCH DRIVE.
HIS FAMILY SAYS THE STREET DEDICATION WILL HELP KEEP THEIR SOLDIER'S MEMORY ALIVE.
Latoya French: His sacrifice didn't go unnoticed. That it wasn't in vain that he went over there and lost his life.
Laquitta French: He would love it. I think it would be very proud.
THE STREET DEDICATION WILL BE TOMORROW AFTERNOON AT ONE... AT THE INTERSECTION OF ALEX FRENCH DRIVE AND HARRISBURG ROAD.

GOVERNOR NATHAN DEAL SAYS HE PLANS TO PROPOSE CONSOLIDATING... OR ELIMINATING... SOME STATE AGENCIES IN HIS 2013 BUDGET PROPOSAL.
HE SAYS HE EXPECTS THE MOVE TO SAVE MONEY.
THE REPUBLICAN ALSO SAID IT WOULD LIKELY MEAN THE LOSS OF SOME PUBLIC JOBS... BUT DIDN'T OFFER SPECIFICS.
THE PROPOSED CHANGES INCLUDE ELIMINATING THE STATE'S PERSONNEL ADMINISTRATION... WHICH OVERSEES GEORGIA'S HUMAN RESOURCES.
DEAL ALSO WANTS TO TRANSFER THE SEXUAL OFFENDER REVIEW BOARD TO A NEW DIVISION AT THE GEORGIA BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION.
THE GOVERNOR WILL PRESENT THE 2013 BUDGET TO STATE LAWMAKERS NEXT WEEK..HE WILL DELIVER HIS STATE OF THE STATE SPEECH ON WEDNESDAY NIGHT..

GOVERNOR DEAL ALSO SAYS HE WANTS TO ADD 10 DAYS TO THE STATE'S PREKINDERGARTEN CALENDAR THIS FALL... RESTORING HALF OF THE DAYS HE CUT TO HELP SAVE THE PROGRAM LAST YEAR.
DEAL SAYS HE WANTS TO INCREASE THE NUMBER OF DAYS FOUR-YEAR-OLDS ARE IN LOTTERY-FUNDED PRE-K... WHICH WILL RAISE TEACHERS' SALARIES BY ABOUT FOUR PERCENT.
BUT THE MOVE MEANS THE STATE WOULD HAVE ABOUT TWO THOUSAND FEWER SLOTS FOR CHILDREN.
STATE OFFICIALS SAY NOT ALL OF THE 86-THOUSAND SLOTS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE WERE FILLED THIS SCHOOL YEAR.
STATE LAWMAKERS WOULD HAVE TO APPROVE THE MOVE

THE AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY WANTS YOUR HELP.
THEY'VE LAUNCHED A THIRD STUDY IN THEIR NATIONWIDE CANCER PREVENTION SERIES... AND THEY'RE ASKING FOR VOLUNTEERS IN MIDDLE GEORGIA TO SIGN UP.
BIBB COUNTY RANKS SIGNIFICANTLY HIGHER COMPARED TO THE STATE'S AVERAGE FOR CANCER CASES.
THE AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY HOPES TO REDUCE THAT NUMBER BY USING THE STUDY TO LEARN WHAT LIFESTYLE... ENVIRONMENTAL... AND GENETIC FACTORS CAUSE CANCER.
ANYONE AGES 30 TO 65 WHO HAVE NOT BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH CANCER CAN JOIN THE INITIATIVE.
THE STUDY REQUIRES A ONE-TIME BLOOD SAMPLE AND A CONFIDENTIAL... PERSONAL SURVEY EVERY TWO YEARS.
YOU CAN ENROLL IN THE STUDY AT THE CANCER LIFE CENTER AT THE MEDICAL CENTER OF CENTRAL GEORGIA ON JANUARY 25 AND 26.
TO LEARN HOW YOU CAN SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT VISIT 13WMAZ DOT COM AND LOOK FOR THIS WEB STORY.
SALUTATIONS AND WELCOME, MIDDLE GEORGIA! IT'S TWO-THOUSAND-TWELVE...THE BIG TWENTY-ONE-TWO! AND SCENE THIRTEEN'S PUMPED, PRIMED AND READY TO JUMP HEADFIRST INTO A NEW YEAR OF ENTERTAINMENT!

ALRIGHT, SO AT THE BEGINNING OF THE YEAR, YOU GOT TWO THINGS GOING ON...FOLKS THINKING ABOUT THE PAST AND FOLKS THINKING ABOUT THE FUTURE...SOMETIMES EVEN AT THE SAME TIME. SO I GOTTA SAY, I DON'T THINK KENNETH SHEARER'S NEW EXHIBIT AT MACON ARTS ALLIANCE - ENTITLED "SUNRISE: AN ARTIST'S RECOLLECTION OF YELLOWSTONE" - COULD BE ANY MORE APPROPRIATE FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS. SUNRISE...THE FUTURE? RECOLLECTION...THE PAST? YEAH, I'M GOING MIGHTY DEEP HERE FOLKS...JUST HANG WITH ME...

THE OPENING RECEPTION FOR THIS GORGEOUS NEW EXHIBIT KICKS OFF AT FIVE P-M THIS FRIDAY...AT MACON ARTS ALLIANCE IN DOWNTOWN MACON...

NOW, THIS NEXT EVENT ISN'T EXACTLY TAKING PLACE IN CENTRAL GEORGIA, BUT IT'S DEFINITELY SOMETHING YOU GUYS WANT TO TRY TO CHECK OUT! LOCAL SUPER-SONGSTRESS LOUISE WARREN IS GONNA ROCK THE FORTY-WATT-CLUB IN ATHENS, GEORGIA THIS SATURDAY NIGHT! SHE'S PLAYING WITH LILY OF THE SUBURBS AND DOORS OPEN AT EIGHT. HERE'S THE THING PEOPLE - IT'S DEFINITELY COOL TO SUPPORT LOCAL, HOMEGROWN TALENT, AND THIS GIRL'S PRETTY AWESOME, SO GET THERE AND SHOW HER SOME MIDDLE GEORGIA LOVE!

BACK IN THE MIDSTATE ON SATURDAY NIGHT, MAMBO'S CAFÉ TURNS UP THE HEAT FOR A SPICY TANGO OR TWO! IT'S LATIN NIGHT! STRAP ON THOSE DANCIN' SHOES AND TRY YOUR HAND...OR FEET RATHER...AT A BIT OF SALSA OR A SMIDGE OR MERENGUE MUSIC! D-J-MAGICO WILL HANDLE THE SPINNING OF THE TUNES...YOU JUST GET YOURSELVES OUT TO MAMBO'S 'ROUND ABOUT NINE O'CLOCK SATURDAY AND BE PREPARED TO DANCE THE NIGHT AWAY! VISIT QUE-PASA-G-A-DOT-COM TO GET THE DETAILS.

LOVE IS NEVER OUT OF SEASON...BUT TRADITIONALLY, THE WEDDING SEASON IS IN FULL SWING DURING MAY TO AUGUST. SO BRIDES-TO-BE - IT'S TIME TO GET CRACKIN'! AND HERE'S SOMETHING JUST FOR YOU. THIS SUNDAY, THE THIRD ANNUAL GEORGIA BRIDAL BASH IS HAPPENING AT THE MACON MARRIOTT CENTREPLEX CONVENTION CENTER...OR THE M-M-C-C-C? ANYWAY, THE PRE-BASH RECEPTION STARTS AT ELEVEN A-M...AND THEN THE MAGICAL BASH DOORS OPEN AT NOON. BEHIND THEM YOU'LL FIND WEDDING PROS, CATERERS, FLORAL DESIGNERS...AND A SUPER-FANTASTIC FASHION SHOW! GET ALL YOUR BRIDAL BASH INFO ONLINE AT GEORGIA-BRIDAL-BASH-DOT-COM!

HOW ABOUT THIS FOR A NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION? GET OUT AND HAVE A GOOD TIME IN THE PLACE THAT YOU CALL HOME, FOLKS! MIDDLE GEORGIA'S FULL OF SO MANY AWESOME OPPORTUNITIES...EXPERIENCE THE AWESOMENESS! SCENE THIRTEEN'S ON A MISSION TO SPREAD THE ENTERTAINMENT...AND WE'LL BE AT IT AGAIN NEXT WEEK. BUT FOR THE FIRST TIME IN TWENTY-TWELVE...THAT'S A WRAP!

TONIGHT'S FACEBOOK FAN OF THE DAY IS MELISSA KIGHT MIMBS.
MELISSA... YOU'LL NEED TO EMAIL FAN OF THE DAY AT 13WMAZ DOT COM TO CLAIM YOUR COFFEE MUG.
IF YOU'D LIKE A MUG... OR LIKE US TO SHOW YOUR MUG.... IT'S EASY.
JUST JOIN US AT FACEBOOK DOT COM SLASH 13WMAZ... JOIN NEARLY 28 THOUSAND OTHER FANS... AND START YAKKING.
WE MAKE THE PICKS RANDOMLY.

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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