HELLO EVERYONE AND THANKS FOR JOINING US.... I'M FRANK MALLOY.
THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT SIX.
IT HAPPENS EVERY WINTER...HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE WAITING IN LINE OVERNIGHT IN MACON....FOR HELP WITH THEIR HOME ENERGY BILLS.
IT'S PART OF THE FEDERAL ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM.
SOME PEOPLE CAMPED OUT IN THE COLD AND RAIN AT ST. PAUL A.M.E. CHURCH IN EAST MACON.... TO CLAIM THEIR SPOT IN LINE.
JIMMY SAMMUEL WITH THE BIBB COUNTY E-O-C SAYS THIS IS THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY TO HAND OUT THE MONEY TO PEOPLE IN NEED.
BUT SOME SAY THERE MUST BE AN EASIER WAY TO GET MONEY TO PEOPLE WHO NEED HELP .
LEAH JOHNSON CONTACTED THE MIDDLE GEORGIA COMMUNITY ACTION AGENCY...WHICH ALSO HELPS PEOPLE PAY THEIR ENERGY BILLS
LEAH... WHAT DID YOU FIND OUT?
FRANK... I TALKED WITH THE DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF THAT AGENCY... ROBIN DOSTER.
SHE TOLD ME THAT THEIR PROCESS DOESN'T INVOLVE PEOPLE WAITING OUTSIDE IN LONG LINES FOR HOURS, SOMETIMES DAYS AT A TIME.
"We had concerns about them being out there in the weather, in the dark, staying out there for long periods of time so we looked at our process and determined that we wanted our clients to call in instead of being out there in the weather. On one occassion we had a fight break out when we opened to the general public and had started employing off duty police officers. That, in addition to the clients lining up earlier and earlier led us to change our process. No process is going to be perfect. We get some complaints about lines being busy and that they have to continue to call but still, wefell like this process has worked best for us."
DOSTER SAYS THEY HANDLE AID FOR HOUSTON AND SEVERAL OTHER COUNTIES AND THEY HELP 4800 PEOPLE, WHICH IS MORE THAN IN BIBB COUNTY.
SHE SAYS THEIR EXPERIENCE WITH HAVING PEOPLE WAITING IN LINE RAISED SAFETY AND HEALTH CONCERNS.
SHE SAYS HER AGENCY... THE MIDDLE GEORGIA COMMUNITY ACTION AGENCY ALLOWS PEOPLE TO CALL IN BY PHONE TO MAKE APPOINTMENTS.... A MORE EFFICIENT ALTERNATIVE TO WHAT THEY HAD IN THE PAST.
OUR CANDACE ADORKA WAS AT SAINT PAUL A-M-E CHURCH WITH THE FOLKS IN LINE FOR ENERGY ASSISTANCE THIS MORNING.
SHE TAKES A LOOK AT WHAT THE ASSISTANCE FROM THE MACON-BIBB E-O-C MEANS TO SOME OF THEM.
*** nats tickets***
THESE LITTLE YELLOW TICKETS MEAN HOPE FOR PEOPLE LIKE FRED ROBERSON AND HIS NEPHEW WHO HAS ASTHMA.
"We need assistance very badly."
THE TICKET MEANS ROBERSON CAN APPLY FOR FEDERAL FUNDING TO HELP PAY HIS ENERGY BILL... AND KEEP THE COLD FROM AGGRAVATING 5-YEAR OLD ADARIUS' CONDITION.
"it feels like when I can't brethe and stuff... but i have to take medicine like cough drops..."
BUT THERE WERE ONLY 250 TICKETS... ROBERSON WAS 251ST IN LINE.
"I was hoping i'd get a number. when I didn't get a number, I turned away, but then I said hold on, let me turn right back. I need to know something, someone has got to tell me somethign before I leave."
Samuel: "The delay didnt help, the fact that we had to delay over a month form starting and the fact that the program is being cut between 40 and 50 percent. so we knew it would be a lot of people, more poeple than we could serve today."
JIMMIE SAMUEL RUNS THE ORGANIZATION THAT DISTRIBUTES THE FUNDS...
HE SAYS THE TICKET SYSTEM IS THE FAIREST MOST EFFICENT WAY TO SERVE PEOPLE ON A FIRST COME-FIRST SERVE BASIS AS MANDATED BY THE STATE.
"The liability questions are too great that's why we don't start until 7, we dont encourage people to camp out over night and we understand why they do but there's nothing we can do about that."
ROBERSON SAYS HE WILL HAVE TO TRY AGAIN ON ONE OF THE OTHER 5 DAYS THE E-O-C IS TAKING APPLICATIONS... AND OTHERS HAVE ALREADY STAKED THEIR PLACE IN LINE FOR THE NEXT ROUND OF TICKET HAND OUTS.
THEY WILL CAMP OUT ON A NIGHT FORECASTERS SAY HAS A CHANCE FOR THUNDERSTORMS.
CANDACE ADORKA.. .13 WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>> THERE ARE FIVE MORE OPPORTUNITIES... INCLUDING TOMORROW... FOR PEOPLE IN BIBB COUNTY TO APPLY FOR HELP.
THE E-O-C WILL BE AT ST PAUL AME AGAIN TOMORROW STARTING AT 7...
THEN THEY MOVE TO UNION BAPTIST ON JANUARY 18 AND 20...
AND FINALLY UNIONVILLE BAPTIST ON HOUSTON AVENUE ON JANUARY 24 AND 25.
TWO CENTRAL GEORGIA COLLEGES WILL BECOME ONE WITHIN THE NEXT TWO YEARS.
THE STATE'S BOARD OF REGENTS TODAY APPROVED THE MERGER OF MACON STATE COLLEGE... AND MIDDLE GEORGIA COLLEGE IN COCHRAN.
THEY SAY IT WILL HAPPEN BEFORE THE END OF 2013.
THAT'S ONE OF FOUR MERGERS THAT WILL REDUCE THE NUMBER OF SCHOOLS IN THE STATE COLLEGE SYSTEM.
THE GOAL....IS TO SAVE MONEY..AND REDUCE ADMINISTRATIVE COSTS.
THE BOARD OF REGENTS SAYS BOTH MACON STATE...AND MIDDLE GEORGIA COLLEGE CAMPUS....WILL STAY OPEN.
BUT THEY HAVEN'T WORKED OUT DETAILS.
MEANWHILE... SOME ESTIMATES SAY THE STATE'S HOPE SCHOLARSHIP WILL FALL BEHIND THE RISING RATE OF COLLEGE COSTS.
KATELYN HECK WILL TAKE A LOOK AT THAT ISSUE... A LITTLE LATER IN THE SHOW.
GOVERNOR NATHAN DEAL TALKED ABOUT ECONOMIC GROWTH AND JOB CREATION THIS MORNING AT THE GEORGIA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE'S ANNUAL EGGS AND ISSUES BREAKFAST IN ATLANTA.
HIS PLAN FOR TAX CREDITS...AND TAX BREAKS FOR BUSINESSES GOT A WARM RECEPTION FROM THE BUSINESSPEOPLE THERE.
RANDALL SAVAGE HAS MORE.
<<CHAMBER MEMBERS LIKED GOVERNOR NATHAN DEAL'S THREE-PHASE TAX PROPOSAL THAT HE SAYS WILL STIMULATE ECONOMIC GROWTH AND CREATE JOBS.
HE WOULD ELIMINATE THE SALES AND USE TAXES ON GOODS USED IN MANUFACTURING.. AND WOULD OFFER TAX CREDITS FOR BUSINESSES THAT CREATE MORE THAN 15 NEW JOBS.
AND HE WOULD END SALES TAX ON ENERGY USED IN MANUFACTURING.
Nathan Deal, Governor: a move that will align us with many of our top competitors because a sales tax is supposed to be a tax on consumption.
MACON'S BOB HATCHER.. PRESIDENT AND C-E-O OF MID-COUNTRY FINANCIAL CORP.. LIKES WHAT HE HEARD.
Bob Hatcher, Banker: As a businessman, the governor is talking about making Georgia the most business friendly state in the country. That as a businessman, me as a banker it means growth for our state over a lot of years.
STATE SENATOR ROSS TOLLESON OF PERRY.. THINKS THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY WILL BE RECEPTIVE.
Ross TolLeson, State Senator: When you start talking about tax credits or redoing the tax structure, you have to make sure you have that proper balance out there. But it's very effective in stimulating business and creating jobs.
CHIP KOPLIN.. OWNER OF A METAL AND RECYCLING BUSINESS IN MACON.. LIKED THE GOVERNOR'S PROPOSALS.
CHIP KoplIn, Macon Businessman: I was also a big fan of him saying he was going to be pushing for the elimnation of the sales tax on energy. I think that's a real big deal for us in the industrial sector in trying to recruit new business for Central Georgia.
RANDALL SAVAGE.. 13 WMAZ.. EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>> DEAL ALSO TALKED ABOUT EARMARKING FORTY-SIX POINT SEVEN MILLION DOLLARS TO CONTINUE DEEPENING THE SAVANNAH HARBOR.. AND FORTY-FIVE POINT SEVEN MILLION TO BUILD RESERVOIRS TO IMPROVE THE STATE'S WATER SUPPLY PROGRAM.
HE SAYS THE STATE EXPECTS ITS POPULATION TO GROW BY FOUR MILLION PEOPLE IN THE NEXT TWENTY YEARS.. AND WE NEEDS NEW RESERVOIRS TO KEEP UP WITH THE GROWTH.
TONIGHT... DEAL WILL GIVE HIS STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESS.
YOU CAN WATCH IT ON G-P-B STARTING AT 7 P-M... AND WE'LL HAVE MORE ON THE SPEECH TONIGHT ON EYEWITNESS NEWS AT 11.
TODAY'S 13WMAZ DOT COM WEB POLL ASKS... HOW IS THE STATE OF THE STATE UNDER GOVERNOR NATHAN DEAL?
SO FAR 15 PERCENT OF YOU SAY BETTER THAN BEFORE.
19 PERCENT SAY WORSE.
AND 66 PERCENT SAY ABOUT THE SAME.
VOTE NOW... LOOK FOR THE QUESTION ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF OUR HOMEPAGE AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.
SOME GEORGIA STUDENTS AND THEIR FAMILIES MIGHT HAVE TO SAVE UP A LITTLE EXTRA CASH FOR COLLEGE.
THE GEORGIA STUDENT FINANCE COMMISSION SAYS COLLEGE TUITIONS AROUND THE STATE COULD GO UP THREE PERCENT A YEAR STARTING IN 2013.
KATELYN HECK EXPLAINS WHY THEY SAY THE HOPE SCHOLARSHIP WONT BE ABLE TO KEEP UP.
FOR SOME HIGH SCHOOLERS... CHOOSING A COLLEGE CAN BE TOUGH... BUT SOME SAY *PAYING* FOR COLLEGE CAN BE AN EVEN BIGGER CHALLENGE.
(SOT: student: its a long hard road, but i think anyone can do it if they put a little effort into it.)
STUDENTS RELYING ON THE HOPE SCHOLARSHIP MIGHT HAVE TO PUT IN A LITTLE MORE EFFORT THAN THEY PLANNED.
THE GEORGIA STUDENT FINANCE COMMISSION SAYS (CG) RISING TUITION COSTS... MORE STUDENTS ELIGIBLE FOR HOPE... AND DROPPING LOTTERY FUNDS... WILL START TO TAKE A TOLL ON STUDENTS WALLETS.
(SOT: student: that's a little scary. makes me think im going to have to do a lot more yardwork.)
CG:COMMISSION DIRECTOR STEVE IRELAND SAYS THIS YEAR'S TUITION AND FEES FOR ONE SEMESTER AT THE UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA COMES TO AROUND FORTY SEVEN HUNDRED DOLLARS.
HOPE COVERS ABOUT TWO-THIRDS OF THAT.
CG: BUT BY 2015.... THE COMMISSION PREDICTS TUITION WILL BE JUST OVER FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS... WITH HOPE COVERING ONLY ABOUT HALF.
(SOT: student: I think HOPE makes it easy for some kids to say okay i'll go to college, i mean its paid for this much so i might as well. But if you're paying more out of pocket, it makes you think about it a bit more.)
SOME STUDENTS SAY THE DROP IN HOPE PAYMENTS... RAISES A LOT OF QUESTIONS.
(SOT:student: how do we balance it? how do we get that money and still make the grade?)
FOR MANY STUDENTS... GIVING UP THEIR DREAM COLLEGE ISN'T THE SOLUTION...
(SOT:student: Georgia's my thing and I'm going with it. I'll work hard, and I'm going to do it.)
OTHERS SAY THEY WILL HAVE SHOP AROUND BEFORE CHOOSING A SCHOOL.
13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS
THE STATE COMMISSION PREDICTS HOPE PAYMENTS WILL CONTINUE TO DROP THROUGH 2016.
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.