Tuesday, February 14, Eyewitness News at 6

6:45 PM, Feb 14, 2012   |    comments
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<<opening for eyewitness news at six>>
HELLO EVERYONE AND THANKS FOR JOINING US.... I'M LEAH JOHNSON..
AND I'M FRANK MALLOY.
THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT SIX...

THE FATHER OF A 15-YEAR-OLD ORIGINALLY CHARGED WITH AN ALLEGED RAPE... NOW CLEARED... SAYS HIS SON SAID ALL ALONG... HE DIDN'T DO IT.
AMY AUBERT GOT AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH THE PARENT THIS MORNING... AMY... WHAT ELSE DID HE SAY?
THE STUDENT'S FATHER ... WHO ASKED US TO CALL HIM JAMES... DIDN'T WANT TO SHOW HIS FACE ON CAMERA.
HE SAYS HE'S DISAPPOINTED WITH HOW THE BIBB SCHOOL DISTRICT...AND ITS CAMPUS POLICE...HANDLED THE CASE LAST MONTH.
HE SAYS THE FIRST TIME HE HEARD ABOUT THE ALLEGED RAPE... WAS WHEN OFFICERS CAME TO HIS DOOR AROUND 1 A-M... TO ARREST HIS SON.
HE SAYS THE SCHOOL SHOULD HAVE NOTIFIED PARENTS OF THE INVESTIGATION.
HE SAYS HIS SON SPENT 20 DAYS IN THE Y-D-C FOR A CRIME HE DIDN'T COMMIT.
HERE'S PART OF MY INTERVIEW WITH JAMES EARLIER TODAY.....

THE PRESIDENT'S PROPOSED DEFENSE BUDGET... AMOUNTS TO 32 BILLION DOLLARS LESS THAN LAST YEAR'S.
THOSE CUTS COULD HAVE AN IMMEDIATE EFFECT ON ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE.
MAJOR GENERAL ROBERT MCMAHON SAT DOWN WITH LORRA LYNCH JONES LIVE DURING EYEWITNESS NEWS AT FIVE TO DISCUSS THE POSSIBLE IMPACT.
<<
The cuts should have minimal impact. What we do is repairwork on other aircraft. The president has mentioned retiring some air craft, inlcuding 65 c-130s, which we repair here, and ritiring 27 C-5s. So it's not the primary impact but the secondary impact that could be an issue. There's the possibility we might have to reduce workforce by some size. But what ideally we want to do is find new workloads we can bring into the base. We'll look ahead for some ways to bring in work and support our activity if in fact the president's budget is approved.
>> IN HIS 2013 BUDGET... PRESIDENT OBAMA ASKED CONGRESS TO AUTHORIZE UP TO TWO ROUNDS OF BASE REALIGNMENT AND CLOSURE... OR BRAC.
IN LORRA'S CONVERSATION, SHE ALSO ASKED GENERAL MCMAHON HOW JOB CUTS ARE PROGRESSING ON BASE, AS EMPLOYEES ARE OPTING TO ACCEPT EARLY SEPARATION AND RETIRMENT PACKAGES.
IN THE FIRST ROUND OF OFFERS FROM THE BASE, 238 PERSONNEL CAME TO AN AGREEMENT.
IN THE SECOND ROUND, GENERAL MCMAHON SAYS 108 PEOPLE HAVE ACCEPTED.
MAJOR GENERAL MCMAHON SAYS HE'S CONFIDENT THAT, THROUGH A COUPLE OF OTHER MEASURES THE BASE MIGHT BE ABLE TO RELY ON, THE GOAL FOR REDUCING THE WORKFORCE BY 452 PERCENT CAN BE MET WITH AS LITTLE DIFFICULTY AS POSSIBLE AND QUOTE, "NO MANDATORY ACTIONS IN TERMS OF FORCED REDUCTIONS."

WE'RE CONTUNING TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS ABOUT THE STRATEGIC PLAN FOR BIBB COUNTY SCHOOLS.
TODAY CANDACE ADORKA TAKES A LOOK AT THE PART OF THE PLAN THAT WOULD CLOSE SOME SCHOOLS... CANDACE?
THE MACON MIRACLE PLAN PROPOSES CLOSING UP TO 12 ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS.
ON FACEBOOK... APRIL RAY SAYS My daughters kindergarden class already has 26 kids in her class. I mean really how much more can you put in a class?
AND KIRA GREEN ASKS... "WHY CLOSE ALL THESE SCHOOLS?? EVERYONE ISN'T GONNA FIT, IT'S GONNA BE SO OVER CROWDED..."
BIBB SCHOOLS CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER RON COLLIER SAYS AS A WHOLE... THE DISTRICT HAS MORE THAN 25-HUNDRED EMPTY SEATS.
HE SAYS THAT'S INEFFICIENT AND WASTEFUL... AND HERE'S HOW THE DISTRICT WOULD TRY TO CHANGE THAT.
THE PLAN PROPOSES CAPPING ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CLASSES AT 25.... AND UNDER THE PLAN... ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS WOULD HOLD KINDERGARTEN TO THIRD GRADE.
COLLIER SAYS THEY DIVIDED THE TOTAL NUMBER OF K-TO-3 STUDENTS IN BIBB COUNTY BY 25 TO FIGURE OUT HOW MANY CLASSROOMS THEY WOULD NEED.
THEY FOUND THEY WOULD NEED ABOUT 275 FEWER ELEMENTARY CLASSROOMS.
COLLIER SAYS FIGURING OUT HOW TO CUT THOSE EXCESS CLASSROOMS... WOULD BE A LONG AND INVOLVED PROCESS THAT INCLUDES FIGURING OUT WHAT KIND OF PORTFOLIO SCHOOLS PARENTS AND STUDENTS WOULD WANT.
"So again, it's gonna take time.... some people have asked will we be starting when school opens in august with this, and quite frankly, at this point, it's gonna take longer than that. Parts of this will, but for the most part, I think Dr. Dallemand has mentioned that it will start in the fall of 2013 but in order to get us to the point we need, it's gonna take 5 to 7 years to get us there."
ANOTHER PIECE OF THE PUZZLE IS THE PENNY TAX FOR EDUCATION VOTERS APPROVED IN 2009.
IT REQUIRES THAT THE DISTRICT BUILD 5 NEW ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS.
COLLIER SAYS THEY WOULD NEED TO TAKE THAT INTO CONSIDERATION WHEN DECIDING HOW MANY SCHOOLS TO CLOSE.
FRANK? LEAH?
THANKS CANDACE... YOU CAN ADD YOUR COMMENTS AND QUESTIONS TO OUR FACEBOOK CONVERSATION.
JUST CLICK THE LIKE BUTTON ON OUR FACEBOOK PAGE.

STARTING NEXT MONTH... BIBB COUNTY PARENTS WILL BE ABLE TO REGISTER THEIR KIDS FOR PRE-K.... BUT THE PROCESS WILL BE A LITTLE DIFFERENT THIS YEAR.
REGISTRATION WILL TAKE PLACE AT THE WELCOME CENTER NEXT TO THE HUTCHINGS CAREER CENTER ON RIVERSIDE DRIVE.
THIS YEAR... PARENTS CAN ALSO REGISTER ON TWO SATURDAYS... MARCH 10TH AND 24TH... BETWEEN 8 A-M AND 4 P-M.
IN ORDER TO SIGN UP... YOU'LL NEED PROOF OF RESIDENCE... SUCH AS A CURRENT UTILITY BILL.... YOUR CHILD'S BIRTH CERTIFICATE AND HIS OR HER SOCIAL SECURITY CARD.
YOUR CHILD MUST BE FOUR YEARS OLD ON OR BEFORE SEPTEMBER FIRST 2012.
FOR MORE INFORMATION... LOOK FOR THIS STORY AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.

A NEW HIGHWAY CONNECTING FIVE CITIES FROM GEORGIA TO MISSISSIPPI COULD RUN THROUGH PARTS OF MACON... BYRON... AND WARNER ROBINS.
KATELYN HECK EXPLAINS THE PROPOSED ROUTES THAT WOULD STRETCH THROUGH CENTRAL GEORGIA.
<<
(NATS)
THESE SMALL ROADS THAT MAKE UP DOWNTOWN BYRON... COULD EVENTUALLY BE PART OF A LARGE STRETCH OF HIGHWAY RUNNING EAST AND WEST THROUGH CENTRAL GEORGIA.
BYRON MAYOR LARRY COLLINS SAYS... HES ALL FOR IT.
(SOT: I see it as progress. As long as our society looks at highway transportation as a primary means of moving stuff and people then we got to have better roads and we gotta have more of them.)
THE FEDERAL HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATIONS 14-th AMENDMENT STUDY PROPOSES FIVE ROUTES... ALL OF THEM STARTING IN NATCHEZ, MISSISSIPPI AND ENDING IN AUGUSTA, GEORGIA... PASSING THROUGH MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA... COLUMBUS, GEORGIA... AND MACON.
THREE OF THE PROPOSED ROUTES TRAVEL THROUGH BYRON.
THE FIRST BYRON OPTION IS A NEW INTERStATE SYSTEM STARTING FROM I-75 TO STATE ROAD 57 TOWARD 247.
THE SECOND ALTERNATIVE IS A MIX OF INTERSTATES AND HIGHWAYS.... FROM I-75 TO I-16... NEAR THE OCMULGEE NATIONAL MONUMENT... THEN EAST TO U-S 80.
AND THE THIRD OPTION INCLUDES UPGRADING HIGHWAY SYSTEMS FOLLOWING STATE ROAD 49 TO AVONDALE MILL ROAD AND BUILDING A ROAD EXTENSION BETWEEN I-16 AND STATE ROAD 247.
COLLINS SAYS ANY OF THESE OPTIONS WOULD HELP DEVELOP THE SMALLER AREAS OF BYRON.
(SOT: the job of us as the government is going to be to have quality growth... to maintain some of the small-town amenities that we do have)
DOUG HECOX WITH THE FEDERAL HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION SAYS NO DEFINITE PLANS HAVE BEEN MADE TO START THE HIGHWAY PROJECT,
HE SAYS THE GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION STILL HAS TO WEIGH THE COSTS AND BENEFITS OF EACH ROUTE BEFORE MOVING FORWARD.

KATELYN HECK
13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS
>> THE 14-th AMENDMENT STUDY OUTLINES THE COST OF EACH ALTERNATIVE ROUTE... THE CHEAPEST OPTION STARTING JUST UNDER 300 MILLION DOLLARS..
THE MOST EXPENSIVE COMES WITH A PRICE TAG OF MORE THAN SEVEN AND A HALF BILLION DOLLARS.

IT'S THAT DAY AGAIN... WHEN CUPID'S ARROW IS IN FULL FLIGHT... AND SO ARE THE FLORISTS.
WE POPPED IN TO ONE FLOWER STORE IN MACON... WHERE THE LINE WAS OUT THE DOOR... AND OVER FIVE HUNDRED DELIVERIES WERE ORDERED.
LAWRENCE MAYER FLORIST STARTED PREPARING FOR VALENTINES DAY RIGHT AFTER CHRISTMAS.
OWNER... JON MAYER... SAYS SALES WERE HIGH AND HE TRIPLED HIS STAFF TO HANDLE THE ORDERS.
BEFORE NOON TODAY THEY HAD ALREADY REACHED THEIR FIVE-HUNDRED ORDER LIMIT FOR FLORAL DELIVERIES... BUT WE CAUGHT UP WITH TWO SURPRISED LADIES WHO WERE ALL SMILES WHEN THEY RECEIVED THEIR GIFT FROM THEIR VALENTINE.
Tangela Lowe, Macon: "Actually this is the first year that i've actually had someone to spend valentine's day with."
Lisa Gulledge, Macon: "I have a really sweet little card and I'm one hundred percent the love of his life." "laugh"

AND IN THE SPIRIT OF VALENTINE'S DAY... WE ASKED OUR FACEBOOK FANS TO SHARE SOME OF THE ROMANTIC THINGS THEY'VE DONE FOR THEIR SIGNIFICANT OTHERS... OR THAT THEIR SIGNIFICANT OTHERS HAVE DONE FOR THEM.
COLEY WROTE... "I WENT TO MY WIFE'S OFFICE THE NIGHT BEFORE VALENTINE'S AND DECORATED IT WITH A HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY BANNER... BALLOONS... CANDY ON HER DESK THAT SPELLED I LOVE YOU... AND CHANGED HER LAPTOP SCREEN TO A PICTURE THAT SAID "HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY."
KELLI REPLIED... "SINCE MINE COULDN'T BE HERE WITH ME, HE MADE ME A ROSE AND A LOVE POEM. I LIKED THAT BETTER BECAUSE I'M NOT INTO EXPENSIVE GIFTS.
ROBIN'S A COFFEE LOVER... "HE BROUGHT ME A BEAUTIFUL MUG WITH A BEAR IN IT. THAT MAN KNOWS THE WAY TO MY HEART... A GOOD CUP OF JAVA!"
AND GLENDA SHARED HER STORY... "26 YEARS AGO... WE WENT TO THE JUSTICE OF THE PEACE AND GOT MARRIED. MY HUSBAND ASKED THE JUDGE HOW MUCH HE OWED HER FOR THE CEREMONY AND SHE ASKED HIM HOW MUCH I WAS WORTH.
HE ANSWERED... "LADY, I DON'T HAVE THAT MUCH MONEY!"
SHARE YOUR STORY AT FACEBOOK DOT COM SLASH 13WMAZ.

AND TODAY'S 13WMAZ DOT COM WEB POLL QUESTION ASKS... HOW MUCH WILL YOU SPEND ON VALENTINE'S DAY?
SO FAR... 36 PERCENT SAY YOU WON'T SPEND ANYTHING.
28 PERCENT WILL SPEND UP TO 25 BUCKS.
17 PERCENT PLAN TO SPEND BETWEEN 25 AND 50 DOLLARS.
AND 19 PERCENT OF YOU SAY YOU'LL SHELL OUT MORE THAN A
TO VOTE... JUST VISIT 13WMAZ DOT COM AND LOOK FOR THE QUESTION ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE 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.

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