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Tuesday, January 17, Eyewitness News at 6

6:26 PM, Jan 17, 2012   |    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..

THE CAPTAIN WHO ALLEGEDLY ABANDONED THE CRIPPLED CRUISE LINER THAT CAPSIZED OFF THE COAST OF ITALY LATE FRIDAY WILL BE RELEASED FROM JAIL AND PLACED UNDER HOUSE ARREST.
THE DEATH TOLL IN THE COSTA CONCORDIA TRAGEDY ROSE TO 11 TODAY WHEN FIVE BODIES WERE RECOVERED FROM THE SUBMERGED PART OF THE SHIP.
MANY OF YOU ARE TALKING ONLINE...AND ASKING QUESTIONS...ABOUT THE CRUISE ACCIDENT.
SO WHEN YOU BOARD THE SHIP - HOW SAFE ARE YOU?
AUSTIN LEWIS HAS BEEN RESEARCHING THE TOPIC ALL DAY...AND SHE JOINS US FROM THE EYEWITNESS NEWSROOM..
FRANK - WE HAVE BEEN WORKING WITH OUR GANNETT SISTER NEWSPAPER U-S-A TODAY ON CRUISE SAFETY..
I ALSO TALKED TO SOME MARITIME EXPERTS ABOUT SOME OF YOUR QUESTIONS -- AND WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO ON BOARD.
<<ONE QUESTION THAT WE HAVE IS.... WHAT ABOUT SAFETY DRILLS ON BOARD?
YOU SHOULD KNOW THAT THE INTERNATIONAL MARITIME ORGANIZATION -- A UNITED NATIONS AGENCY THAT GOVERNS PASSENGER SHIPPING---REQUIRES CRUISE SHIPS TO CONDUCT A SAFETY DRILL WITHIN 24 HOURS OF SAILING.
THIS DRILL SHOULD INSTRUCT YOU ON HOW TO USE A LIFE JACKET... AND WHERE YOU SHOULD GATHER IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY.
ROD SULLIVAN---A MARITIME EXPERT I TALKED TO IN JACKSONVILLE....SAYS YOU NEED TO KNOW BOTH OF THOSE THINGS....IF YOU ARE TRAVELLING INTERNATIONALLY.... YOU SHOUL DMAKE SURE YOU CAN COMMUNICATE WITH THE CREW.
Rod Sullivan, Maritime Lawyer: The bedroom stewart is the very first person who is supposed to be able to tell you where to go and what to do in case of an accident.So you should talk to your bedroomstewart make sure you can communicate with them in English and they understand English well and they understand what you are saying.
ANOTHER QUESTION...SHOULD YOU BE CONCERNED ABOUT THE SIZE OF THE SHIP?
WELL IT DEPENDS ON WHO YOU ASK. A SPOKESMAN FOR A BRITAIN MARITIMETRADE UNION TOLD USA TODAY THAT THE COSTA CONCORDIA SHOULD BE A WAKE-UP CALL TO REGULATORS --AS CRUISE SHIPS GET EVEN LARGER.
IN A STATEMENT....HE WROTE THAT THEY ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THE INCREASED SIZE OF PASSENGER SHIPS...AND THAT THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE ON BOARD RAISE QUESTIONS ABOUT EVACUATION.
BUT ROD SULLIVAN SAYS THAT HE WOULD FEEL SAFER ON A BIGGER NEWER SHIP.
Rod Sullivan, Maritime Lawyer: There are far more accidents that occur on casino vessels and ferries and smaller boats of that nature then there are on large cruise ships like this particular vessel.
AND LASTLY...HOW CAN YOU TELL IF YOUR CRUISE SHIP HAS HAD ANY SAFETY PROBLEMS?
BRAD SCHOENWALD OF THE U-S COAST GUARD'S CRUISE SHIP NATIONAL CENTER OF EXPERTISE WALKED ME THROUGH THE WEBSITE.
FIRST YOU CAN CLICK THE TAB THAT SAYS VESSEL SEARCH.
THEN YOU CAN TYPE IN THE VESSEL'S NAME.
I AM GOING TO PUT IN CARNIVAL... AND YOU THEN SEE A LIST OF DIFFERENT CARNIVAL SHIPS COME UP.
YOU CAN CLICK ON EACH NAME...AND THE SITE WILL TELL YOU HOW BIG IT IS....AND WHEN IT WAS INSPECTED.
IF YOU THEN CLICK THE BUTTON SUBMIT AGAIN---YOU WILL FIND INFORMATION ON WHETHER THOSE INSPECTORS FOUND SAFETY DEFICIENCIES.

>> SCHOENWALD TELLS ME IN GENERAL CRUISING IS VERY SAFE---AND HE SAYS THAT YOU SHOULD FEEL ESPECIALLY SAFE IN A SHIP THAT IS DEPARTING FROM A U-S PORT.
FRANK?
WE CAN CONNECT YOU TO THE P-SIX WEBSITE... JUST LOOK FOR THE LINK IN THIS STORY AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.

TODAY'S 13WMAZ DOT COM WEB POLL ASKS...WILL THE COSTA CONCORDIA ACCIDENT MAKE YOU LESS LIKELY TO TAKE A CRUISE?
SO FAR 57 PERCENT OF YOU SAY NO.
AND 43 PERCENT SAY YES.
CAST YOUR VOTE... LOOK FOR THE QUESTION ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF OUR HOMEPAGE AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.

MACON POLICE SAY A 17-YEAR-OLD WOMAN FACES CHARGE OF FELONY MURDER...IN A FATAL SHOOTING.
THEY SAY US MARSHALS THIS MORNING ARRESTED KRYSTAL ALMARAZ.
SHE'S ACCUSED OF KILLING IGNACIO GABRIEL ARMENTA CONTRERAS..HIS BODY WAS FOUND EARLY SATURDAY NEAR MEAD ROAD AND ALLIED INDUSTRIAL PARK.
SHE'S NOW IN THE BIBB COUNTYJAIL.
POLICE HAVE NOT RELEASED ANY FURTHER DETAILS ON THE SHOOTING OR TODAY'S ARREST.

STATE AND LOCAL EXPERTS SAY 2012 WILL LOOK A LOT LIKE 2011 AS FAR AS THE ECONOMY GOES.
THAT WAS THE FORECAST ECONOMISTS GAVE TODAY AT THE ECONOMIC OUTLOOK LUNCHEON AT THE MACON CENTREPLEX.
ROBERT SUMICHRAST... DEAN OF U-G-A'S TERRY COLLEGE OF BUSINESS... SAYS THE STATE ECONOMY WILL EXPAND BY LESS THAN TWO PERCENT.
AND THAT PUTS GEORGIA AT RISK OF A SHORTER, MILDER RECESSION.
HE SAYS THIS YEAR... GEORGIA WILL ADD 18-THOUSAND JOBS... THE FIRST YEARLY GAIN SINCE 2007... BUT THAT WON'T BE ENOUGH TO CURB THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE.
HE ALSO SAYS GEORGIA'S ECONOMIC GROWTH RATE IS RISING... BY NEXT YEAR IT WILL GROW AT THE SAME RATE AS THE REST OF THE NATION..
BUT SUMICHRAST SAYS WE HAVE TO DO BETTER.
"Georgia is poised to perform on par with the rest of the nation but that doesn't satisfy me and I suspect it doesn't satisfy you either. Most of you came of age when Georgia regularly outperformed the nation by huge margins. Going forward Georgia is unlikely to outperform the nation unless we change our economic strategies and development policies."
MACON STATE ECONOMIST TRIP SHINN SAYS CENTRAL GEOGIA HAS ALSO BEEN ADDING JOBS... PARTICULARLY IN EDUCATION... HEALTH... AND THE FINANCIAL SECTOR.
HE SAYS THE LOCAL JOB GROWTH IS SLOW... BUT ANY GROWTH IS A GOOD SIGN.
"People should be more positive than they have been. It's easy to continue to feel down about the economy because the economy have been in such bad shape. But the ecomony will not be in bad shape forever. I think theres more cause for cautious optimism than for pessimism."
SUMICHRAST SAYS GEORGIA'S EMPLOYMENT WILL CONTINUE TO GROW AT HALF THE NATIONAL RATE... UNTIL NEXT YEAR WHEN CONSTRUCTION AND FINANCIAL SECTORS BEGIN TO RECOVER.

SOME MACON POLICE OFFICERS WHO PLAYED TOUCH FOOTBALL ON DUTY....WILL BE REPRIMANDED.
THAT'S ACCORDING TO A MACON POLICE NEWS RELEASE.
WE TOLD YOU LAST WEEK HOW A MACON MAN SHARED PHOTOS OF THE IMPROMPTU GAME...BEHIND SOME STORES AT PRESIDENTIAL PARKWAY.
THE RELEASE SAYS THAT CHIEF MIKE BURNS WAS DISAPPOINTED AND TOLD THE OFFICERS THEY SHOWED POOR JUDGMENT.
THE NEWS RELEASE DID NOT SAY HOW MANY OFFICERS WERE DISCIPLINED..

THE 20-12 PRESIDENTIAL SWEEPSTAKES HEADS TO SOUTH CAROLINA SATURDAY..
AND POLLS SAY THE PALMETTO STATE VOTERS ARE FOCUSING ON THREE REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES .. FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY.. FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER NEWT GINGRICH OF GEORGIA.. AND TEXAS CONGRESSMAN RON PAUL.
RANDALL SAVAGE TALKED WITH CENTRAL GEORGIA SUPPORTERS OF THOSE THREE.
<<BILL KNOWLES.. A MEMBER OF OF BIBB COUNTY'S REPUBLICAN EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE.. SAYS SOUTH CAROLINA VOTERS LIKE GINGRICH'S CONSERVATIVE VIEWS.
KNOWLES SAYS PREDICTS CHRISTIANS AND CONSERVATIVES WILL MAKE GINGRICH THEIR FAVORITE ON PRIMARY DAY.
47:04 Bill Knowles, Gingrich Supporter: Evanganical christians number one. Number two, he's a lot more conservative than Gov. Romney is. You know his experience certainly is a matter to South Carolinans more so than up north. They seem trial by fire as they say up there. Southerners like a little more traditional.
MACON ATTORNEY JASON DOWNEY ACKNOWLEDGES ROMNEY HAS AN UPHILL BATTLE IN THE SOUTH.. ESPECIALLY SINCE GINGRICH IS FROM GEORGIA.
54:01 Jason Downey, Romney Supporter; It stands to reason that Newt will do well here and I think that in the south, southern voters want a social conservative and Mitt Romney is not exactly a Rick Santorium or Newt Gingrich.
BUT DOWNEY THINKS ROMNEY WILL DO OKAY IN SOUTH CAROLINA.
1:13:10 Jason Downey, Romney Supporter: I think he'll do pretty well in South Carolina. I never anticipated that he would win, and if he does win, this weekend, I think the race is over. But if he gets 23 to 25 percent of the vote in South Carolina, I'll be content.
VALERIE SARGENT MARTIN THINKS RON PAUL WILL DO OKAY TOO.
9:25:12 Valerie Sargent Martin, Paul Supporter: You know I'm looking for him to do pretty well, probably top three. But he admittedly is not as strong in South Carolina and Florida as he was in Iowa and New Hampshire.
MARTIN SAYS THAT'S BECAUSE SOME MISTAKENLY THINK HE'S AN ISOLATIONIST BECAUSE OF HIS NON-INTERVENTION MILITARY POLICY.
RANDALL SAVAGE.. 13 WMAZ.. EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>> NEITHER KNOWLES.. DOWNEY..NOR MARTIN BELIEVE A LOSS IN SOUTH CAROLINA OR FLORIDA WILL END THEIR CANDIDATE'S CHANCES OF GETTING THE REPUBLICAN PARTY'S PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION.
AND ALL THREE BELIEVE THEIR CANDIDATE WILL REMAIN IN THE RACE UNTIL THE PRIMARY SEASON IS OVER.

IF YOU CAN'T GET TO THE POLLS IN GEORGIA THIS ELECTION SEASON... AN ONLINE BALLOT SYSTEM COULD MAKE VOTING A LITTLE EASIER FOR YOU.
KATELYN HECK EXPLAINS HOW MILITARY AND OVERSEAS VOTERS CAN GET THEIR BALLOTS... WITH JUST A FEW CLICKS OF A MOUSE.
<<
(NATS)
SECRETARY OF STATE BRIAN KEMP SAYS HE WANTS EVERY GEORGIA CITIZEN TO HAVE A VOICE IN THE MARCH SIXTH PRIMARY... EVEN THOSE WHO ARE THOUSANDS OF MILES AWAY.
MANY VOTERS CAN NOW RECEIVE THEIR ABSENTEE BALLOTS ONLINE INSTEAD OF BY MAIL.
THE NEW SYSTEM WILL HELP GEORGIANS WHO ARE OVERSEAS....AND MEMBERS OF THE MILITARY...INCLUDING THOSE HERE IN THE STATES.
(SOT: hendrix: my last deployment was during the last presidential election and I was worried that my vote wouldn't be counted. So this seems like its really going to help out a lot of our members especially with security and knowing their vote is going to count.)
KEMP SAYS THE SYSTEM'S BIGGEST ADVANTAGE IS SPEEDING UP ABSENTEE VOTING.
(SOT: kemp: if theyre on a boat somewhere or a remote base, now, they if they can just get to a computer and a printer they can simply print that ballot out and mail it back.)
TO SIGN UP FOR AN ONLINE BALLOT... CLICK THE "MY VOTER PAGE" LINK ON THE SECRETARY OF STATES HOMEPAGE.
THEN ENTER YOUR INFORMATION TO LOG IN AND APPLY FOR THE ABSENTEE BALLOT.
(CG) THE BALLOTS WILL BE SENT BY EMAIL STARTING JANUARY TWENTY FIRST.
VOTERS MUST PRINT OUT THE BALLOT... FILL IT OUT... AND MAIL IT BACK TO THEIR HOME COUNTY'S BOARD OF ELECTIONS.
THE ONLINE BALLOTS DEBUTED LAST YEAR... BUT KEMP SAYS HE WANTS TO ENCOURAGE EVEN MORE PEOPLE TO USE THEM THIS YEAR.
(SOT: this is the presidential election. i think this is the biggest decision voters get to make and definitely our military members are going to appreciate this new system.)
KEMP SAYS SO FAR THEY HAVE NO PLANS TO OFFER ONLINE BALLOTS TO ALL GEORGIA VOTERS.

KATELYN HECK
13-WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS
>> IF YOU'RE A CIVILIAN....INSIDE THE UNITED STATES..YOU STILL NEED TO USE THE PAPER ABSENTEE BALLOTS.
FOR MORE INFORMATION YOU CAN VISIT THE SECRETARY OF STATES WEBSITE AT W-W-W DOT S-O-S DOT G-A DOT GOV (www.sos.ga.gov) OR LOOK FOR THIS STORY ON OUR HOMEPAGE AT 13-WMAZ DOT COM.
THE DEADLINE FOR REGISTERING FOR THE PRIMARY...IS FEBBUARY SIXTH...THAT'S ONE MONTH BEFORE SUPER TUESDAY

DODGE COUNTY LAID OFF SOME COUNTY ROAD WORKERS LAST YEAR.. DUE TO BUDGET CUTS.
AND NOW CHAIRMAN DAN MCCRANIE SAYS IT'S TAKEN LONGER THIS YEAR TO GET APPROVAL OF THEIR 2-POINT-7 MILLION DOLLAR LINE OF CREDIT ... PUTTING THE COUNTY IN A PINCH...
BRITTINY BARBER SHOWS YOU HOW BUDGET CUTS HAVE MADE FOR A BUMPY WINTER....FOR PEOPLE IN SOME PARTS OF THE COUNTY..
<<
We've got dirt level with the road.. where does the water go?
FOR 15 YEARS... WILLIAM TRIPP AND HIS FAMILY HAVE CALLED BILL MULLIS ROAD HOME...
BUT HE SAYS RECENTLY.. HE'S FACED PROBLEMS ON HIS COMMUTE...
Tripp: "There was holes all in here those were pretty much you just dragged the bottom of your vehicle right in here,
ON JANUARY THIRD... TRIPP AND SEVERAL OTHERS TOLD COUNTY COMMISSIONERS ABOUT PROBLEMS WITH THE ROAD..
THEN LAST WEEK.. HE SAYS THEY CAME OUT TO SCRAPE IT
TRipp: "they basically just hit the high spots, fille din the holes. did not pull the ditches or anything like that."
DODGE COUNTY CHAIRMAN DAN MCCRANIE SAYS AFTER LAYING OFF NEARLY 20 ROAD DEPARTMENT EMPLOYEES LAST OCTOBER.. THEY HAD TO CUT BACK ON SERVICE...
McCranie: "We only we two motor graders working, employees driving motor graders...so yea it's kind of hindered what we can do as far as picking up garbaGe or scraping roads."
HE SAYS WITH THE TOUGH ECONOMY AND SALES TAX REVENUE DOWN BETWEEN 7 AND 14 PERCENT LAST YEAR ... THE PROBLEM COMES DOWN TO MONEY.
McCranie: "It's taken over twice the time this year to get the line of credit set up."
THEY'RE ASKING FOR ABOUT A $2-POINT-7 MILLION DOLLAR LOAN TO GET THOUGH THE YEAR...
Mccranie: "I think once we get the line of credit things will get back on a more regular schedule with scraping the roads."
There was holes all in here
FOR TRIPP AND OTHERS WHO LIVE IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD....THEY'RE HOPING THAT MEANS A PERMANENT FIX TO THEIR ROAD ISSUES
BRITTINY BARBER 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS
>>
CHAIRMAN DAN MCCRANIE SAYS BEFORE THE CUTS.. ROADS WERE SCRAPED ABOUT ONCE EVERY TWO WEEKS...
WILLIAM TRIPP SAYS UP UNTIL LAST WEEK... IT HAD BEEN ABOUT THREE MONTHS SINCE HIS ROAD WAS SCRAPED..

MANY PEOPLE HAVE THEIR CELL PHONES CLOSE AT HAND... AND WHEN THAT PICTURE-PERFECT MOMENT COMES AROUND... THEY USE IT TO SNAP A PHOTO.
IF YOU'RE ONE OF THOSE FOLKS... YOU MAY WANT TO HEAD OVER TO THE MACON "WHERE YOU LIVE" PAGE.
WE'VE CURATED PHOTOS FROM AN I-PHONE APP THAT SHOWS PICTURES PEOPLE HAVE TAKEN AROUND MACON.
TO FIND OUT HOW TO GET YOUR PHOTO INCLUDED ON OUR TIMELINE... JUST LOOK FOR THE STORY ON THE MACON PAGE IN THE "WHERE YOU LIVE" SECTION AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.

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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