Monday, February 20, Eyewitness News at 6

6:14 PM, Feb 20, 2012   |    comments
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HELLO EVERYONE AND THANKS FOR JOINING US....I'M LEAH JOHNSON..
AND I'M FRANK MALLOY.
THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT SIX...

MONROE COUNTY LEADERS WANT TO RENEW THEIR SPECIAL PURPOSE LOCAL OPTION SALES TAX WHEN VOTERS HEAD TO THE POLLS NEXT MONTH.
COUNTY COMMISSIONERS SAY THE LIST OF PROJECTS INCLUDES SOME NECESSITIES.
KATELYN HECK BREAKS DOWN WHAT VOTERS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE SPLOST BEFORE SUPER TUESDAY.
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POLICE PATROL CARS... A COUNTY CIVIC CENTER... AND TWO NEW FIRE STATIONS... ALL MADE THE LIST FOR THE MONROE COUNTY SPLOST PROPOSAL.
COUNTY COMMISSIONER JOE PROCTOR SAYS THE LIST GOES ON AND ON.
(SOT: there's so much that the people of monroe county would get out of this splost that they probably dont realize half of it.)
MANY PEOPLE AGREE... THE DETAILS OF ALL THE SPLOST PROJECTS... ARENT CLEAR.
(STANDUP: two women in downtown forsyth told me they plan to vote against the splost because they're skeptical about how the funds will be used. others told me they don't know enough about the plan to have an opinion.)
PROCTOR SAYS THE SPLOST IS PREDICTED TO BRING IN OVER 30 MILLION DOLLARS OVER SIX YEARS IF IT PASSES.
MONROE COUNTY WILL GET OVER 80 PERCENT OF THAT ... THE CITY OF FORSYTH WILL GET 15 PERCENT AND THE CITY OF CULLODEN....JUST UNDER 2 PERCENT.
SEVEN MILLION DOLLARS FROM THE COUNTY REVENUE WOULD GO TO REVAMP ROADS... AND ANOTHER SEVEN MILLION TO EXPAND THE COUNTY WATER SYSTEM.
COUNTY E-M-A DIRECTOR MATT PERRY SAYS THE PLAN INCLUDES UPDATING POLICE AND EMERGENCY RADIO SYSTEMS TO MEET NEW F-C-C REGULATIONS.
HE SAYS THAT COMES WITH A PRICE TAG OF OVER THREE MILLION.
(SOT:if we don't pass the splost, we're going to have to figure out another way to pay it, and its going to come out of our taxpayers pockets even deeper. As tight as budgets are, it would be difficult to do.)
PROCTOR SAYS MANY PEOPLE HAVE TIGHTENED THEIR FINANCIAL BELT RECENTLY... BUT HOPES THEY'LL FIND A LITTLE EXTRA ROOM IN THEIR BUDGET AND VOTE TO RENEW THE SPLOST.

KATELYN HECK
13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS
>> PROCTOR SAYS THE COUNTY ALSO PLANS TO REPLACE SOME OF ITS AMBULANCES... AND RENOVATE THE MONROE COUNTY HOSPITAL.
FOR A COMPLETE BREAKDOWN OF THE PROPOSED SPLOST... JUST LOOK FOR THIS STORY AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.

THE NATION'S LARGEST PROTESTANT DENOMINATION MAY DROP SOUTHERN FROM ITS NAME.
SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION PRESIDENT BRYAN WRIGHT IS EXPECTED TO RECOMMEND A TASK FORCE TO STUDY WHETHER THE DENOMINATION SHOULD CHANGE ITS NAME.
WRIGHT SAYS HE'S CONCERNED THE NAME IS TOO REGIONAL.... AND HURTS THEIR EFFORTS TO EXPAND OUTSIDE THE SOUTH.
THE CHANGE WOULDN'T BE OFFICIAL... UNLESS MEMBERS APPROVE IT AT THE NEXT TWO ANNUAL CONVENTIONS.

THE WOMAN ACCUSED OF STABBING THE FATHER OF HER CHILD TO DEATH... HAD A ROCKY RELEATIONSHIP WITH HIM.. THAT'S ACCORDING TO HIS FAMILY...
POLICE SAY 24-YEAR OLD ZABRINA WHITE IS IN THE BIBB COUNTY JAIL....CHARGED WITH FELONY MURDER.. AFTER SHE STABBED COURTNEY THOMAS TWICE.
IT HAPPENED EARLY SUNDAY MORNING AT THIS APARTMENT ON BLOUNT STREET.... IN SOUTH MACON...
A WITNESS TOLD POLICE.. THE TWO STARTED ARGUING.. THEN THOMAS HIT WHITE SEVERAL TIMES IN THE FACE AND THREW A CHAIR AT HER...
THE WITNESS SAYS BOTH GRABBED KNIVES AND STABBED EACH OTHER....
WHITE WAS STABBED IN THE ARM AND THEN LEFT...
POLICE FOUND HER SEVERAL HOURS LATER...
THOMAS DIED AT THE MEDICAL CENTER OF CENTRAL GEORGIA...
HE LEAVES BEHIND THE SON HE HAD WITH WHITE... AND A LARGE FAMILY..
JELEEL THREATT SAYS HE TRIED TO HELP HIS COUSIN...
Jaleel: "I walked up to him and i was just asking him cuz, you alright? and he wasn't saying nothing. so I tried to lean him up on the wall. I actually did lean hiim up on the wall. I seen the blood on his shirt but I didn't know he was stabbed."
CArmeta Thomas: "I called the hospital and they told me I need to get up there because I didn't hink it was that serious because I know they had a rocky relationship and then when my nephew called and told me he was dead. It's still hard to believe."
Melody Pleas: "It broke my heart. That's the closest brother to me. And she took him away from me."
MACON POLICE WOULD NOT COMMENT ON THE COUPLE'S PAST.

A STATE OFFICIAL IS TELLING TWO MACON CITY COUNCILMEN... THAT THEY VIOLATED THE STATE'S OPEN MEETING LAW.
THAT'S ACCORDING TO GEORGIA ATTORNEY GENERAL SPOKESWOMAN LAUREN KANE.
SHE SAYS STEFAN RITTER OF THE A-G'S OFFICE SENT A DRAFT AGREEMENT TO THE MACON CITY ATTORNEY CONCERNING THE CASE OF CHARLES JONES AND LARRY SCHLESINGER.
OTHER COUNCIL MEMBERS ACCUSED THE TWO OF MEETING SECRETLY TO WORK OUT THEIR CHOICES FOR WHICH COUNCIL MEMBERS WOULD SERVE ON WHICH COMMITTEES.
ACCORDING TO KANE... THE AGREEMENT SAYS THE TWO VIOLATED THE LAW.
BUT BOTH SCHLESINGER AND JONES SAY THEY DIDN'T VIOLATE THE LAW... AND THEY HAVE YET TO RECEIVE THE DRAFT AGREEMENT.
Charles Jones: "I stand by what I said. And if I'm not a guilty man I'm definitely not going to sign anything saying i'm guilty of anything. No matter what."
IF THE TWO DECIDE TO SIGN THE DRAFT AGREEMENT... KANE SAYS... THEY'D AGREE NOT TO VIOLATE THE LAW AGAIN... AND PROBABLY ACCEPT TRAINING.

OVER THE PAST FEW WEEKS... WE'VE WORKED TO ADDRESS SOME OF YOUR CONCERNS ABOUT BIBB COUNTY SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT ROMAIN DALLEMAND'S "MACON MIRACLE" STRATEGIC PLAN.
AS PART OF THAT ONGOING EFFORT... WE'RE JOINED BY COMMUNITY MEMBER CHRIS HORNE... TO SHARE SOME OF HIS OBSERVATIONS ON THE PLAN.

-You've been looking into and blogging on some aspects of the plan; can you share a little of what you've found?
-What are some of your areas of concern?
WE WANT YOU TO SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT THE MACON MIRACLE PLAN BY BLOGGING ON OUR MACON WHERE YOU LIVE PAGE.
JUST SEND AN EMAIL TO "WHERE YOU LIVE AT 13WMAZ DOT COM" AND WE'LL CREATE YOUR ACCOUNT.

BY THE END OF THE YEAR PEOPLE WHO LIVE NEAR MERCER MAY BE ABLE TO BUY GROCERIES IN THEIR OWN BACK YARD.
THE COLLEGE HILL ALLIANCE IS WORKING TO OPEN A NEIGHBORHOOD MARKET IN A BUILDING BEHIND THE POST OFFICE ON COLLEGE STREET.
THEY SAY THE MARKET WOULD HOUSE ABOUT 20 VENDORS ON MORE THAN 26-THOUSAND SQUARE FEET.
NADIA OSMAN WITH THE ALLIANCE SAYS THE MARKET WOULD BE CONVENIENT FOR PEOPLE WHO LIVE NEAR DOWNTOWN.... AND BOOST THE LOCAL ECONOMY. THE COLLEGE HILL ALLIANCE WILL HOLD A PUBLIC MEETING ABOUT THE MARKET NEXT TUESDAY THE 28TH AT 6 PM AT CENTENARY CHURCH ON ASH STREET.
OSMAN SAYS THE GOAL IS TO HAVE THE MARKET OPEN BY CHRISTMAS.

A MACON GROUP HOPES TO SAVE MONEY... AND HELP CONSERVE THE PLANET'S RESOURCES.
THE BIBB COUNTY GREEN TEAM MEETS ONCE A WEEK.
JENNIFER MOULLIET TAKES A LOOK AT WHAT THEY'RE WORKING ON.
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WHAT STARTED AS A MEETING TWO YEARS AGO...TURNED INTO A COMMITTEE DEDICATED TO SAVING MONEY.
THEY CALL THEMSELVES THE BIBB COUNTY GREEN TEAM.
nats
STEVE LAYSON SAYS THEY'VE ALREADY SAVED MONEY BY MAKING THE COUNTY COURTHOUSE ENERGY EFFICIENT.

"We've already saved over two hundred and fifty thousand dollars just on the retrofits themselves."

LAYSON SAYS THEY'VE PARTNERED WITH E FILING DOT COM... A COMPANY BASED IN CALIFORNIA... IN HOPES OF BEING A LEADER IN TECHNOLOGY.

"when you're a technological leader yes its going to create more jobs to come and people will be looking to macon for a lot of things that typically they would look to atlanta for."

HE SAYS THEY'VE ALREADY MADE CHANGES... LIKE GOING TO ELECTRONIC TIME SHEETS... AND INSTALLING BIKE RACKS BUT NOW THEY'RE EXPANDING TO ELECTRONIC CITY DOCUMENTS.
Pamela Harris, Georgia Representative for Efiling.com: "You will be able to go onto the website and pay your trash bill electronically on the bibb county website along with your tax notifications."

PAMELA HARRIS SAYS THEY EVEN HAVE SOMETHING TO SAVE JUDGES TIME.
"That warrant can be sent from the sherriff's department to one of the judges to his home and he's allowed to sign off on it online on his ipad at home not having to wake up his family or turn every light in his home on to sign a document."

SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE... HOWARD SIMMS SAYS HE'S ON BOARD.

"It's a step into the 21st century which is where we need to be anything that we can do to expedite matters so we can spend more time in court instead of sitting behind a desk signing documents."

BIBB IS THE ONLY COUNTY IN THE STATE INVOLVED IN THE PROJECT... AND HARRIS HOPES OTHER COUNTIES WILL JOIN IN.

JENNIFER MOULLIET 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS.

>> THE GREEN TEAM RECEIVED A 50-THOUSAND DOLLAR GRANT FROM THE GEORGIA ENVIRONMENTAL FINANCE AUTHORITY.
THEY PLAN TO USE IOT TO REPLACE WATER HEATERS IN SEVERAL FIRE STATIONS WITH SOLAR SYSTEMS.

AND THE MACON-BIBB TRANSIT AUTHORITY SAYS ITS NEW BUSES... MOVE THE CITY TOWARD ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION.
TODAY... THE AUTHORITY ANNOUNCED THREE ADDITIONS TO THE FLEET.
THE M-T-A SAYS THE BUSES USE CLEAN DIESEL... AND HAVE ZERO EMISSIONS.
MACON MAYOR ROBERT REICHERT SAYS RELIABLE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION HELPS GROW INDUSTRY... BY MAKING WORKPLACES ACCESSIBLE.
HE SAYS THIS MOVES MACON CLOSER TO BEING A REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION HUB.
C-E-O RICK JONES SAYS EACH BUS COST 375-THOUSAND DOLLARS.
EACH ONE ALLOWS 35 PASSENGERS TO SIT... AND ANOTHER 35 TO STAND.
SOME REGULAR BUS RIDERS SAID THEY'RE EXCITED.
Eric Baldwin, Macon: "Everybody don't have transportation. It's good that we have a good city buses that don't break down, because people be late getting where they have to go."
Myla Johnson: "I think they're pretty neat since they have new buses. I'm pretty happy because they have new buses coming around."
JONES SAID SINCE 2009... THE TRANSIT AUTHORITY HAS INCREASED ITS NUMBER OF BUSES ARRIVING ON SCHEDULE....FROM ABOUT 45-PERCENT... TO ABOUT 90-PERCENT.

TODAY'S 13WMAZ DOT COM WEB POLL WANTS TO KNOW IF YOU THINK CENTRAL GEORGIA HAS ENOUGH PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS.
SO FAR 61 PERCENT OF YOU SAY NO... IT DOESN'T.
39 PERCENT SAY... THERE ARE ENOUGH OPTIONS OUT THERE.
VOTE NOW... 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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