GOOD EVENING AND THANKS FOR JOINING US..
I'M FRANK MALLOY..
AND I'M LEAH JOHNSON..THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT 11.
FIRST AT 11...
MEMBERS OF THE MARTIN LUTHER KING COMMISSION HELD A SYMPOSIUM TONIGHT DISCUSSING THE ISSUE OF CONSOLIDATION.
Henry: "We find that consolidation becomes a question in the South when certain numbers of African American reach a certain threshold that becomes threatening to other people who have always been in power."
COUNCILMEMBER HENRY FICKLIN WAS A PANELIST FOR THE DISCUSSION... AND SAYS HE'S OPPOSED TO THE IDEA.
THE GROUP TALKED ABOUT THE PROS AND CONS THAT WOULD COME ALONG WITH CONSOLIDATION.
A LOT OF FOCUS WAS ON THE IDEA THAT FEWER PEOPLE WOULD BE MAKING BIGGER DECISIONS FOR A LARGER GROUP.
STATE REPRESENTATIVE... JAMES BEVERLY SAYS HE'S NOT FOR OR AGAINST THE IDEA.
"There's some big, big big issues, right? You have to have proportional representation. You gotta do that first. You have to deal with how do we create economic opportunities for the whole community if we're going to do this thing. How do you make people feel like, you know what, these guys were actually very deliberate about it, does it make sense for me to actually vote for it or not, and those considerations are tough."
BEVERLY SAYS HE THINKS THEY'LL GET A BILL OUT THIS SESSION.
HE SAYS IF THEY GET EVERYTHING DONE STRUCTURLY IN TIME... IT COULD BE VOTED ON IN THE JULY PRIMARIES.
THE GROUP ALSO FOCUSED DISCUSSION AROUND THE EDUCATION SYSTEM... AND SUPERINTENDENT DALLEMAND'S STRATEGIC PLAN.
"Only 24 out of 41 of our school systems schools made adequate yearly progress, or AYP as you hear it. Do you want anything adequate?"
BIBB COUNTY SCHOOL TEACHER..... SAYS THE MACON'S SCHOOL SYSTEM NEEDS A MIRACLE.
SHE SAYS WITH KIDS GETTING BY WITH JUST ADEQUATE PERFORMANCE ISN'T ENOUGH.
SHE SAYS THOSE CHANGES IN THE LEARNING SYSTEM START... WITH THE TEACHERS.
"Unike most professions, sometimes we're not tweaked as much as other professions are. And so one of the things that I love about the program is this idea that all teachers can be professionally developed to the maximum of their potential to deliver the best education to every student."
CARTER CALLS THE STRATEGIC PLAN A LIVING DOCUMENT... AND SAYS IT IS ALWAYS EVOLVING.
SHE SAYS THE SCHOOL DISTRICT IS OPEN TO LISTENING TO THE COMMUNITY'S COMMENTS... ABOUT THE MACON MIRACLE.
A STATE OFFICIAL IS TELLING TWO MACON CITY COUNCILMEN... THAT THEY VIOLATED THE STATE'S OPEN MEETING LAW.
GEORGIA ATTORNEY GENERAL SPOKESWOMAN LAUREN KANE 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.
"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...
TONIGHT A MACON WOMAN IS IN JAIL AFTER POLICE SAY SHE STABBED THE FATHER OF HER CHILD TO DEATH.
ACCCORDING TO THE INCIDENT REPORT.... 20-YEAR OLD COURTNEY THOMAS DIED AFTER ZABRINA WHITE STABBED HIM IN THE STOMACH.
IT HAPPENED EARLY SUNDAY MORNING ON BLOUNT STREET IN SOUTH MACON.
A WITNESS TOLD POLICE... THOMAS HAD HIT HER BEFORE THE ATTACK.
THE WITNESS SAID THOMAS THREW A CHAIR AT HER AND THEN THEY BOTH GRABBED KNIVES.
ACCORDING TO THE INCIDENT REPORT... DURING THE SCUFFLE WHITE WAS STABBED IN THE ARM..
THOMAS'S FAMILY SAYS THE TWO HAD A CHILD TOGETHER... BUT ALSO HAD A ROCKY RELATIONSHIP.
TODAY THIS FAMLY CAME TOGETHER TO REMEMBER HIM...
He was kind He was gentle hearted he has a sweet heart. He had a heart of gold. He just wasn't no bad kid. He's a nice guy I just don't understand why she kille dhim like that.
Melody: "I just can't believe she would do somehting like that. Me and him were just so close. The closest out of all my brothers."
WHITE IS BEING HELD IN THE BIBB COUNTY JAIL CHARGED WITH FELONY MURDER AND AGGRAVATED ASSAULT.
THIS MORNING AROUND 11 A.M. GEORGIA STATE PATROL RESPONDED TO A TWO CAR ACCIDENT ON SCOTLAND ROAD NEAR BLUEWATER CHURCH IN LAURENS COUNTY.
WITNESSES SAY THEY SAW A HELICOPTER ON THE SCENE.
LAURENS COUNTY CORONER RICHARD STANELY THE THIRD SAYS THE STATE PATROL DID NOT CALL HIM OUT TO THE SCENE...
TROOPERS WITH THE STATE PATROL COULD NOT CONFIRM TO US WHETHER THE WRECK CAUSED ANY INJURIES.
A PANEL FOR THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION MET TONIGHT... AND RECOMMENDED THAT ITS LEADERSHIP APPROVE A NEW ADD-ON DESCRIPTION FOR THE DENOMINATION.
THE ADD-ON HOWEVER... WOULDN'T BE A LEGAL NAME CHANGE.
THE NEW NAME WOULD BE "GREAT COMMISSION BAPTISTS."
SBC PRESIDENT BRYANT WRIGHT, HAS SAID HE IS CONCERNED THAT THE TERM... "SOUTHERN" IS TOO REGIONAL AND HINDERS THE FAITH'S EFFORT TO EXPAND.
THE PANEL REJECTED A COMPLETE NAME CHANGE, CITING THE LEGAL COSTS AND DIFFICULTIES.
THE BIG STORY OF THIS PRESIDENT'S DAY HAS BEEN HIGH GAS PRICES...
THE NATIONAL AVERAGE ACCORDING TO TRIPLE A... $3.57 A GALLON.
THAT IS UP 25 CENTS SINCE JAN. 1... AND EXPERTS SAY PRICES COULD REACH A RECORD $4.25 BY LATE APRIL
THE SURGE IN GAS PRICES FOLLOWS AN INCREASE IN THE PRICE OF OIL.
TODAY ON EYEWITNESS NEWS AT FIVE WE SPOKE WITH LOCAL ECONOMIST GREG GEORGE DURING OUR GET ANSWERS SEGMENT.
HE SAID THE RISE IN PRICES CAN BE ATTRIBUTED TO THE SIMPLE ECONOMICAL TERM OF SUPPLY AND DEMAMD.
When you talk about supply and demand, unfortunately there's a lot of supply contraints right now. We still have a moratorium on some drilling in the gulf, there's trouble in the Middle East; Iran is acting up. So, the supply is not gonna remedy itself anytime soon and then all we have is demand. Going into the summer travel season and spring travel season we see an increase in demand and that drives prices up.
TODAY IN OHIO... REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE RICK SANTORUM ECHOED GEORGE'S PREDICITION ON STEADLY RISING GAS PRICES.
HE TOLD AN AUDIENCE THAT BIG-CITY AMERICANS SHOULD BRACE THEMSELVES FOR $5-A-GALLON GAS.
AND WHILE GEORGE SAYS THE SCARCITY IN THE SUPPLY OF GASOLINE IS THE CAUSE FOR HIGH PRICES... SANTORUM SAYS IT'S PRESIDENT OBAMA WHO IS TO BLAME.
I know as prices we see going up at the pump folks who are just starting to breathe a little big as the economy is coming back a little bit, unemployment starts to go down. All of the sudden they are going to be hit with the same force of wind in 2008 in the summer that caused us to go into a recession. All because of the radical environmentalist policies of this president.
ANOTHER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE AND FORMER GEORGIA CONGRESSMAN NEWT GINGIRCH SAYS... HE BELIEVES THE DAYS OF CHEPAER GAS CAN COME AGAIN.
THE FORMER SPEAKER TOLD A CROWD IN TULSA OKLAHOMA... HE BELIEVES HIS POLICIES CAN BRING DOWN PRICES AT THE PUMP TO A LOW AS TWO DOLLARS A GALLON.
HE... LIKE HIS FELLOW CANDIDATE SANTORUM.. BLAMED TODAY'S PRICES ON THE PRESIDENT.
What we do know is, under the Obama policy, prices are going up. What we do know is, under the Obama policies, we depend on Saudi Arabia. What we do know is, under the Obama policies, we create no American jobs with new energy development. With Gingrich policies, what we know is, we will dramatically expand our independence of the world market; dramatically expand our capacity to produce energy without regard to our foreign potential enemies.
WE ASKED ALL OF YOU TODAY ON FACEBOOK WHAT YOU THOUGHT ABOUT NEWT GINGRICH'S CLAIM HIS POLICIES COULD BRING GAS PRICES DOWN TO AS LOW AS TWO DOLLARS...
ROSHUNDA SONATA HOLLOWAY SAID GINRICH'S CLAIM WAS "QUITE CATCHY BUT ANYONE THAT KNOWS HOW OUR GOV'T SYSTEM WORKS KNOWS THAT A PRESIDENT ALONE DOESN'T DICTATE THE PRICES OF GAS."
DALE WILLIAMS SAID: "I THINK IT'S SORT OF LIKE IN JUNIOR HIGH WHEN A CLASS PRESIDENT CANDIDATE PROMISES TO END HOMEWORK AND HAVE THE CAFETERIA SERVE FRENCH FRIES EVERYDAY...VERY ENTICING, BUT NOT LIKELY TO HAPPEN"
AND STEPHANIE LAND WALLACE ID HAVE TO SEE IT BEFORE I BELIEVE IT.
GOVERNOR NATHAN DEAL ANNOUNCED A PARTNERSHIP WITH GOOGLE TODAY THAT WILL BRING FREE WEBSITES TO SMALL BUSINESSES THROUGHOUT GEORGIA.
HE SAID THE NEW INITIATIVE WILL HELP GROW SMALL BUSINESSES IN GEORGIA... AND PROVIDE BUSINESS OWNERS A VALUABLE RESOURCE AT NO COST.
IT'S PART OF A STATE INITIATIVE CALLED "GEORGIA GET YOUR BUSINESS ONLINE."
FOR THE NEXT YEAR, PARTICIPATING BUSINESSES CAN GO TO THE MOVEMENT'S WEB SITE TO GET A FREE SITE OF THEIR OWN.
IT INCLUDES FREE TOOLS, TRAINING AND RESOURCES.. ALL PROVIDED BY GOOGLE.
IN A RELEASE... GOVERNOR DEAL SAID 97 PERCENT OF AMERICANS LOOK ONLINE FOR LOCAL PRODUCTS OR BUSINESSES.
BUT 54 PERCENT OF GEORGIA SMALL BUSINESSES DO NOT HAVE A WEBSITE.
THE PROGRAM IS EXPANDING ACROSS THE UNITED STATES, AND IS ALSO IN 23 COUNTRIES.
BY THE END OF THE YEAR PEOPLE WHO LIVE NEAR MERCER UNIVERSITY MAY HAVE A CHANCE 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.
We want this market to be something that will only enhance the business district that we already have. we don't wannna put any restaurants any markets out of business, we just want to be able to provide College Hill residents and visitors something that they don't have right now."
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.
MACON'S MAYOR SAYS NEW BUSES AT THE TRANSIT AUTHORITY... FURTHER HIS GOAL OF MAKING MACON A REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION HUB.
THE MACON-BIBB TRANSIT AUTHORITY ANNOUNCED TODAY THE ADDITION OF THREE NEW BUSES TO ITS FLEET.
MAYOR ROBERT REICHERT TOLD A CROWD OUTSIDE THE TERMINAL BUS STATION... THAT RELIABLE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION HELPS GROW INDUSTRY... BY MAKING JOB SITES ACCESSABLE.
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 BECAUSE THE LARGER BUSES WILL RELIEVE OVERCROWDING.
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.