HELLO EVERYONE AND THANKS FOR JOINING US.
I'M FRANK MALLOY.
THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT SIX.
LEAH JOHNSON HAS THE NIGHT OFF.
THE HEADS OF MACON AND BIBB COUNTY SAY 2012 WILL BE AN EXCITING YEAR FOR THE AREA.
COUNTY COMMISISON CHAIRMAN SAM HART AND MAYOR ROBERT REICHERT ADRESSED HUNDREDS OF ROTARY CLUB MEMBERS AT THE MACON CENTREPLEX.
CANDACE ADORKA WAS THERE AND HAS MORE ON WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY.
MAYOR ROBERT REICHERT TOLD BUSINESS AND COMMUNITY LEADERS THEY SHOULD BE-- QUOTE-- EXCITED AND OPTIMISTIC ABOUT THE YEAR AHEAD.
HE SAYS THE CITY HAS MORE MONEY IN RESERVE FUNDS THAN LAST YEAR... AND PROJECTS AND INITIATIVES COMING DOWN THE PIKE WILL REVITALIZE MACON.
HE BELEIVES A PROJECT TO TURN THE HISTORIC DANNENBERG BUILDING INTO LOFTS... ANOTHER TO DOUBLE THE SIZE OF THE ROSA PARKS PARK... AND A SPLOST-FUNDED PROJECT TO EXTEND SECOND STREET... WILL BE THE SPARK THE LOCAL ECONOMY NEEDS.
"There's a real sense of enthusiasm and optimism from merchants, owners, and residents about the future of downtown. We see the beginings of an urban, walkable model which is increasingly attractive to an evergrowing number and variety of people."
COUNTY COMISSION CHAIRMAN SAM HART AND REICHERT ALSO BRIEFED THE CROWD ABOUT HOW 5 CITY DEPARTMENTS WILL TRANSFER TO THE COUNTY THIS SUMMER.
THE MOVE WILL AFFECT ABOUT A HUNDRED EMPLOYEES.
HART SAYS THEY ARE WORKING TO TREAT THOSE EMPLOYEES FAIRLY.
"We wanted to do as the mayor said we were committed to equity to make sure agin that they didnt suffer as they moved form the city to the county especially as it relates to salaries."
SOME ROTARY MEMBERS SAY THEY WERE IMPRESSED WITH THE UNITY,
"The blesing to me was that we had a cooperative, positive spirit and that spirit between city and county government becomes so exciting."
HART SAYS COMMISSIONERS ARE WORKING TO HIRE A CONSTRUCTION FIRM TO MANAGE PROJECTS THAT WILL BE FUNDED BY THE PENNY SALES TAX... AND AN OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE WILL KEEP THE PUBLIC POSTED ABOUT HOW THE 190-MILLION DOLLARS FROM THE TAX IS SPENT.
CANDACE ADORKA 13 WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS.
COMMISSIONER HART ALSO GAVE THE CROWD THE LATEST IN A BORDER DISPUTE WITH MONROE COUNTY IN NORTH BIBB COUNTY.
MONROE COUNTY HAS APPEALED THE SECRETARY OF STATE'S RULING LAST YEAR THAT BIBB COULD KEEP THE DISPUTED LAND.
HART SAYS THEY'RE WAITING TO HEAR BACK FORM THE SECRETARY OF STATE ABOUT THAT APPEAL.
A FAMILIAR FACE ON THE COUNTY COMMISSION WANTS ANOTHER TERM.
DEMOCRAT JOE ALLEN SAYS HE'LL RUN AGAIN IN DSITRICT FOUR..
ALLEN MADE THE ANNOUNCEMENT TODAY AND SAID THERE'S PLENTY OF UNFINISHED BUSINESS.
Joe Allen "I wanted to be apart of the process of making this county the best county in the state of Georgia. As chairman of human resources I will continue to do all I can to get our employees, as well as the employees being transferred from the city to the county that they receive the same salary and benefits on the same levels as the job dictates"
PRIMARY ELECTIONS FOR THE COUNTY SEATS WILL BE HELD JULY 31ST.
SOME U-S SENATORS MAY BE READY TO HIT *DELETE* TODAY ON A CONTROVERSIAL BILL AGAINST ONLINE PIRACY.
THAT COMES AFTER A DAY OF WEB PROTESTS AGAINST THE STOP ONLINE PIRACY ACT...OR SOPA.
JENNIFER MOUILLET SPOKE TO A MERCER LAW PROFESSOR ABOUT WHAT SOPA MEANS...AND WHY SOME ONLINE BUSINESSES WENT BLACK TODAY TO FIGHT IT.
GFX "WHAT IS SOPA?"
DAVID OEDEL... A MERCER UNIVERSITYLAW PROFESSOR SAYS HOUSE BILL THREE TWO SIX ONE... OR THE STOP ONLINE PIRACY ACT WOULD MAKE IT DIFFICULT FOR ORGANIZATIONS LIKE WIKIPEDIA
David Oedel, Law Professor: "This bill might expand the secondary liablitiy to include organizations like wikipedia to make it difficult for the kind of free flow of ideas that we presently have on the internet."
GFX "HOW WOULD IT AFFECT WEBSITES LIKE WIKIPEDIA?"
"It's a little unclear what it would mean for wikipedia but there is a fair chance that it would expose wikipedia to a variety of kinds of liabilities for people that are actually linking to pirated kinds of information."
NOW UNDER FEDERAL COPYRIGHT LAWS... OEDEL SAYS SITES LIKE WIKIPEDIA WOULD HAVE A GOOD DEFENSE BECAUSE THEY DON'T HAVE A CONSCIOUS.... CLEAR KNOWLEDGE THAT WHAT THEY PUT ON THEIR WEBSITE MAY BE VIOLATING COPYRIGHTS... BUT SOPA WOULD CHANGE THAT.
"This law would expand their own potential to be basically policeman of the internet and of their own particular sight and all the contributers to their site."
HE SAYS IT'S A VIOLATION OF OUR FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS.
"if you can't talk about and link to sites freely and without checking whether those sites themselves are clean you will be less inclined to link to those sights if you are going to be held liable and that kind of everyone looking over each other's shoulder probably isn't a good way to be running the web going forward."
HE SAYS PREVENTING ONLINE PIRACY IS A GOOD IDEA...BUT HE THINKS SOPA NEEDS TO BE CHANGED...OR KILLED.
JENNIFER MOULLIET 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS.
LATE THIS AFTERNOON....THE NEW YORK TIMES REPORTED THAT SEVERAL SENATORS...INCLUDING THE CO-SPONSORS OF SOPA...SAY THEY ARE WITHDRAWING SUPPORT.
ONE OF THEM...UTAH REPUBLICAN ORRIN HATCH...SAID SOPA IS NOT READY FOR PRIME TIME.
THE BILL IS SCHEDULED FOR A SENATE TEST VOTE NEXT WEEK
NO WORD YET ON WHETHER THAT WILL STILL HAPPEN.
ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE LEADERS WANT MORE PEOPLE TO TAKE GROUP TRANSPORATION TO WORK.
COMMANDER OF THE 78TH MISSION SUPPORT SQUADRON... COLONEL ROGER JOHNSON.. DELIVERED THAT MESSAGE AT A NEWS CONFERENCE TODAY.
LORRA LYNCH JONES WAS THERE. LORRA?
HE SAID SOME PEOPLE ARE TAKING MASS TRANSIT... BUT NOT ENOUGH.
JOHNSON SAID ABOUT 850 PEOPLE CARPOOL... THAT'S UP 30 PERCENT OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS
ABOUT 700 CHOOSE A VAN POOL... THATS' UP 114 PERCENT SINCE 2010.
AND 850 PEOPLE RIDE THE BUS SHUTTLE.. KNOWN AS BIRD... FROM MACON TO ROBINS PER MONTH.
THAT'S UP 300 PERCENT SINCE IT STARTED A YEAR AGO.
JOHNSON SAID THESE OPTIONS CUT DOWN ON TRAFFIC.. PARKING PROBLEMS AND POLLUTION... BUT IT'S A SMALL PORTION OF THE 27-THOUSAND PEOPLE WHO COME ON BASE EACH DAY.
ROBINS IS WORKING WITH HOUSTON GOVERNMENT LEADERS ON ANOTHER OPTION FOR MASS TRANSIT.
WE RODE ALONG WITH CENTERVILLE MAYOR JOHN HARLEY AS HE EXPLAINED WHY THEY WANT A STUDY TO TELL THEM IF PUBLIC TRANSIT WILL WORK IN HOUSTON COUNTY.
<<nats- seatbelt, turns on car
John Harley: (23:30) "We believe it would be great for our citizens. We believe we have a lot of our citizens who do not have access to things like great healtcare."
(23:48) "The reason they don't have access is because they can't actually get there. They don't ahve the transporatation capability."
(24:10) "The churches are certainly taking care of some in the cities, but it would be great if we were taking care of everybody."
24:35) "The major area is Warner Robins, Centerville, the northern part of Houston County, but certainly, Houston County and Perry and Byron."
(24:25) "Will our area support mass transit at this time? That's what we want to find from it. It would give us a great indication of whether or not it would support it.>>
THAT STUDY WILL BE CALLED THE WARNER ROBINS AREA TRANSPORTATION STUDY.
PROGRAM MANAGER JESSICA BIRD SAYS IT WILL COST 100-THOUSAND DOLLARS... WITH 80 PERCENT PAID FOR WITH A FEDERAL GRANT... 10-PERCENT FROM THE STATE.. AND 10-PERCENT LOCAL.
THE STUDY WILL START THIS SPRING.
A FORMER STATE PRISON IN MILLEDGEVILLE COULD SOON BECOME A NURSING HOME FOR ELDERLY SEX OFFENDERS... AND OTHER PRISONERS WITH HEALTH PROBLEMS.
STATE OFFICIALS CLOSED BOSTICK STATE PRISON IN 20-09.. BUT THE GOVERNOR'S MIDYEAR BUDGET PROPOSAL INCLUDES SIX MILLION DOLLARS TO TURN IT INTO A HUNDRED AND FIFTY BED HOME FOR SICK INMATES.
ANGIE GHEESLING.. DIRECTOR OF THE MILLEDGEVILLE AND BALDWIN COUNTY DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY.. SAYS A PRIVATE COMPANY SUGGESTED THE IDEA ABOUT TWO YEARS AGO.
Angie Gheesling, Development Authority: They had an idea for reuse that was a good situation for them, but also for the Department of Corrections because this population are parolees that are just not in any medical condition to be released to individuals or to other facilities. So this facility would actually house those, a nursing home of sorts for parolees.
MILLEDGEVILLE MAYOR RICHARD BENTLEY ALSO LIKES THE PROPOSAL.. HE SAYS THE CONVERSION WOULD MAKE A GOOD USE FOR THE OLD PRISON.. WOULD CREATE JOBS FOR THE COMMUNITY
AND COULD RESULT IN A SIMILAR CONVERSION TO ANOTHER CLOSED PRISON NEARBY.
Richard Bentley, Milledgeville Mayor: It's my understanding roughly around 250 jobs when the projects reaches fruition. As you just mentioned just a moment ago, Bostick is the building that they're looking at now, but Men's is right across the street, and the original proposal was to place about 300 folks in these buildings.
UNDER THE PROPOSAL.. THE STATE'S PARDONS BOARD WOULD RELEASE THE OFFENDERS TO THE FACILITY.. WHICH WOULD BE OPERATED BY A PRIVATE COMPANY.
THAT COMPANY WOULD BE PAID WITH FEDERAL MEDICAID MONEY.. NOT STATE FUNDS.
HOUSTON COUNTY'S DISTRICT ATTORNEY FILED A MOTION SAYING HE'LL SEEK THE DEATH PENALTY AGAINT RICHARD SYBERT.
SYBERT IS ACCUSED OF KILLING JONI CLEMENTS IN A MURDER FOR HIRE SCHEME LAST FEBRUARY.
SYBERT IS ACCUSED OF CONSPIRING WITH HIS FATHER... AND CLEMENTS' HUSBAND IN HER KILLING.
LAST YEAR INVESTIGATORS SAID SYBERT SHOT CLEMENTS IN HER HOME... AND HIS FATHER PROVIDED THE GUN AND DROVE THE GETAWAY CAR.
ALL THREE MEN FACE 14 CHARGES.. INCLUDING MALICE MURDER... FELONY MURDER... AND CONSPIRACY.
THEY'RE ALL IN THE HOUSTON COUNTY JAIL.
ben gives three day forecast
THANKS BEN.. WE'LL TALK WITH YOU AGAIN IN JUST A FEW MINUTES.
STILL AHEAD... SHERRI GOSS WITH ROSENBERG FINANCIAL GROUP TELLS US WHY SOME PEOPLE SAY THERE IS ANOTHER RECISSION COMING DOWN THE PIKE IN 2012..
AS WE GO TO BREAK.. HERE'S A LOOK AT TODAY'S AVERAGE GAS PRICE IN MACON ACCORDING TO TRIPLE A.
WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK.
pause for preroll
6:00 Intro: There is chatter about us heading into another recession in 2012. Sherri Goss with Rosenberg Financial Group is here to explain.
Host: First, Sherri, what is the definition of a recession, and why would we go back into one?
IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS FOR SHERRI CALL HER AT 752-1374 OR EMAIL HER AT EYEWITNESSNEWS@13WMAZ.COM.
SHE'LL BE HERE UNTIL 6:30..
WE'RE TAKING A LOOK AT SOME OF YOUR PICTURES.. THIS ONE IS FROM THE AREN'T MY KIDS THE CUTEST GALLERIES.
SEND US YOUR PHOTOS...LOOK FOR *PHOTO GALLERIES* UNDER FEATURES IN THE MENU BAR ACROSS THE TOP OF OUR HOMEPAGE...
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.