Tuesday, March 13, Eyewitness News at 6

7:44 PM, Mar 13, 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...

OUR TOP STORY AT SIX... THE BILL THAT COULD CONSOLIDATE MACON AND BIBB COUNTY NOW SITS IN THE SENATE'S HANDS.
THEY'RE EXPECTED TO MAKE MINOR CHANGES .. AND THEN SEND IT BACK TO THE HOUSE.
BUT WHAT DOES CONSOLIDATION MEAN FOR YOUR WALLET?
BRITTINY BARBER AND RANDALL SAVAGE SHOW YOU HOW IT COULD AFFECT YOUR TAXES.
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A BILL THAT CALLS FOR MERGING MACON AND BIBB COUNTY COULD RAISE PROPERTY TAXES FOR SOME PEOPLE... AND CUT THEM FOR OTHERS.
Peake: "There's a potential that if the commissioners chose to raise rates, they can chose to do that."
PEOPLE WHO OWN PROPERTY IN THE CITY OF MACON WOULD GET A BREAK.
THAT'S BECAUSE RIGHT NOW.....THEY PAY TAXES TO BOTH THE CITY...AND THE COUNTY.
AFTER CONSOLIDATION... THAT CITY TAX BILL WOULD DISAPPEAR... AND SO WOULD THE REVENUE ACCORDING TO BIBB CHAIRMAN SAM HART
Hart: "If the city's millage goes a way, then clearly it would have to be picked up by the new government and you're talking about about four and a haLf mills... or close to it."
IF THAT HAPPENS... THEN EVERYBODY'S RATE WOULD BE THE SAME.... ABOUT 16 AND A HALF MILLS.
Hart: "Either the new government would have to raise taxes to cover that or they... there's no other way to do it.
IF YOU OWN AN AVERAGE HOME IN MACON....WORTH ABOUT 125 THOUSAND DOLLARS.....THAT COULD SAVE YOU ABOUT 265 BUCKS.
BUT IF YOU LIVE IN THE REST OF THE COUNTY...YOUR RATE COULD RISE AND YOU COULD PAY AN AVERAGE OF ABOUT 225 DOLLARS MORE.
Reichert: "City residents will continue to pay county taxes as they always have at the same rate and perhaps more."
THAT'S BECAUSE THE MERGED COUNTY GOVERNMENT.... WOULD ABSORB THE MACON CITY BUDGET.
WITH RANDALL SAVAGE... BRITTINY BARBER 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS
>> THIS YEAR.. THE CITY IS EXPECTED TO RAISE ABOUT 17-POINT-SEVEN MILLION DOLLARS IN PROPERTY TAXES.

BIBB COUNTY CAMPUS POLICE ARE SEARCHING FOR THE PERSON WHO APPARENTLY HID AN UNLOADED HANDGUN AT WESTSIDE HIGH .
JENNIFER MOULLIET WENT TO THE SCHOOL TO FIND OUT MORE.
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Bibb county schools say a campus police officer found a handgun in the ceiling of a boys bathroom near westside high schools gym....around ten Tuesday morning.

The school was placed on code-red lockdown and more officers were called in to search the campus. The code red lasted about 50 minutes.

Director of risk management David gowan days the discovery was part of every campus officers daily search.

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Gowan says the gun found wasn't loaded and no ammunition was found. He said officer mike cheek searched the same bathroom on Monday...so he believes the gun was placed there in the last day.

Officers are still investigating who brought the gun into the high school.
in Bibb County, Jennifer Moulliet 13wmaz... eyewitness news.

>> GOWAN SAID THIS IS THE EIGHTH GUN INCIDENT AT A BIBB CAMPUS DURING THIS SCHOOL YEAR. THREE OF THEM WERE AT HOWARD HIGH.
CAMPUS POLICE ENCOURAGE ANYONE WITH INFORMATION ON THE WESTSIS INCIDENT AT WESTSIDE HIGH TO CALL MACON CRIMESTOPPERS AT 877-68-CRIME.
AGAIN.. THAT'S 1-877-68-CRIME.

WARNER ROBINS POLICE SAY A MAN WHO ROBBED A B-B AND T BANK LAST WEEK.......WAS ARRESTED IN TAMPA, FLORIDA.
ON SATURDAY... POLICE SAY A MAN WALKED INTO THE BANK... AND HANDED THE TELLER A NOTE.
THE TELLER GAVE HIM AN UNDISCLOSED AMOUNT OF MONEY... AND HE LEFT.
NO ONE WAS HURT.
A NEWS RELEASE SAYS THE TAMPA REGIONAL FUGITIVE TASK FORCE ARRESTED CHRISTOPHER LEON HOLT... AFTER A TIPSTER IDENTIFIED HIM AS THE SUSPECT.

WHEN CREWS FILMING A NEW CLINT EASTWOOD MOVIE LEFT MACON LAST WEEK...THEY LEFT BEHIND A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS.
NEARLY SIX THOUSAND OF THEM.
WE RECEIVED A COPY OF THE CITY'S CONTRACT WITH S AND K FILMS....THE COMPANY THAT CAME TO TOWN TO FILM SCENES FOR TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE.
IT SAYS THEY PAID A THOUSAND DOLLARS A DAY TO RENT LUTHER WILLIAMS FIELD...AND.EIGHTEEN HUNDRED TO FILM THERE FOR ONE NIGHT.
CITY PARKS DIRECTOR DALE DOUGHERTY SAYS THE GRAND TOTAL CAME TO 58 HUNDRED DOLLARS.
HE SAYS THE HOLLYWOOD CREWS ALSO LEFT THE HISTORIC BALLPARK IN GOOD SHAPE.

A GROUP OF MACON AND BIBB COUNTY LEADERS SAY THEY ARE BEHIND ROMAIN DALLEMAND'S PLAN....TO GET BIBB COUNTY'S SCHOOLS ON TRACK.
THE SUPERINTENDENT IS WORKING TO PUT HIS MACON MIRACLE STRATEGIC PLAN INTO EFFECT.
MAYOR ROBERT REICHERT... COMMISSION CHAIRMAN SAM HART... NEWTOWN MACON PRESIDENT MIKE FORD... AND INDUSTRIAL AUTHORITY CHAIRMAN CLIFFORD WHITBY SPOKE OUT IN SUPPORT OF HIS STRATEGIC PLAN...AT A NEWS CONERENCE TODAY AT TERMINAL STATION.
CANDACE ADORKA REPORTS ON HOW DALLEMAND SAYS HIS PLAN...IS GATHERING STEAM.
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"All aboard! Get on board. Train is fixing to leave. Lets get on board witht he Macon Miracle plan."
CITY AND SCHOOL OFFICIALS... BUSINESS AND COUNTY LEADERS... VOICED THEIR SUPORT OF THE SCHOOLS' STRATEGIC PLAN, AND IT'S IMPORTANCE TO ATTRACTING NEW BUSINESSES.
"One of the things that they talked about is again wha are you doing in terms of your schools."
COMMISSION CHAIRMAIN SAM HART SAID ... HE, REICHERT, AND SUPERINTENDENT ROMAIN DALLEMAND MEET EACH MONTH...TO FIND WAYS TO COLLABORATE.
THEY DISCUSSED EXPANDING MACON POLICE YOUTH PROGRAMS INTO SCHOOLS... USING THE TRANSIT AUTHORITY TO GET KIDS TO THEIR SCHOOL OF CHOICE... HOUSING AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAMS IN COUNTYRECREATION FAICLITIES... AND BRINGING ACADEMIC PROGRAMS INTO THE PLANNED JUVENILE JUSTICE CENTER.
"the conversation is about our students, the conversation is about our future, the conversation is about our most precious resources."
SUPERINTENDENT ROMAIN DALLEMAND SAYS THE MOST IMMEDIATE CHANGES WILL AFFECT SAFETY AND DISCIPLINE.
HE SAYS THEY'RE ALREADY RECRUITING STAFF...FOR TWO ALTERNATIVE SCHOOLS THAT WILL OPEN THIS FALL.
AND THEY'RE LOOKING FOR MENTAL HEALTH THERAPISTS TO WORK WITH STUDENTS RIGHT NOW.
OTHER INITIATIVES WILL TAKE LONGER.
"an example of that is year round shcooling. It's goign to take a full year to study year round schooling to have more conversations with our stakeholders beofre we can reach the implementation stage,"
SCHOOL BOARD VICE PRESIDENT SUSAN MIDDLETON SAYS THEY MUST VOTE ON EACH INITIATIVE IN THE PLAN...AND APPROVE MONEY FOR IT.
"Dr Dallemand does not have an open checkbook. I think that's somehtign the community thought but we have an operating budget of abotu 150 million dollars a year and we vote on items that are funded through that bidget."
THE BOARD PASSED THE MACON MIRACLE... BUT SCHOOL LEADERS SAY THE WORK IS JUST BEGINNING.
CANDACE ADORKA 13 WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS
>> WHILE THE COMMUNITY LEADERS ASK FOR SUPPORT... A GROUP CALLED THE BIBB SCHOOLS SUPPORTERS IS STILL HOPING FOR A CHANCE TO CHANGE THE PLAN.
THEY WILL MEET TONIGHT AT LIZELLA BAPTIST CHURCH.
THAT'S AT 29-50 SOUTH LIZELLA ROAD IN LIZELLA.
THE MEETING IS SCHEDULED TO START AT SEVEN.

A SPARTA POLICE OFFICER IS IN THE MORGAN COUNTY JAIL.
THE G-B-I SAYS 33-YEAR-OLD TRAVIS EDWARDS IS CHARGED WITH DOGFIGHTING AND CRUELTY TO ANIMALS.
KATELYN HECK WENT TO SPARTA... FOR MORE DETAILS ON THE ARREST.
Tom Davis with the gbi says Edwards was arrested here at his home on schoolhouse acres Monday night.
He says the investigation started at the end of last week with a tip from someone in the area. He could not tell me who the tip was from, but Davis says investigators found several pit bulls at Edwards home.
He says the dogs did not appear to be injured but says they did need some treatment.
Sot: they were very slender, they looked like they were in need of feeding.
The dogs were taken to old Capitol vet clinic in milledgeville Sparta police chief says Edwards started working for the police department in 2007. He told me he is very disappointed that one of his officers was arrested but would not comment further on the case.

In Sparta katelyn heck 13 wmaz eyewitness news
42-YEAR-OLD REGINALD SHIVERS WAS ALSO ARRESTED ... AND FACES THE SAME CHARGES.
HE'S BEING HELD AT THE HANCOCK COUNTY JAIL.

AS WE TOLD YOU YESTERDAY ON EYEWITNESS NEWS...SOME CITIES AND COUNTIES AROUND THE STATE ARE DONATING FUEL TO THE GEORGIA STATE PATROL... TO HELP THE AGENCY COVER THE COST OF RISING GAS PRICES.
SO TODAY... OUR 13WMAZ DOT COM WEB POLL ASKS.. SHOULD THE GEORGIA STATE PATROL ASK CITIES AND COUNTIES FOR GAS MONEY?
83 PERCENT OF YOU SAY NO... THEY SHOULDN'T.
AND 17 PERCENT THINK THEY SHOULD.
VOTE NOW... VISIT 13WMAZ DOT COM AND LOOK FOR THE QUESTION ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE PAGE.

THIS YEAR... MACON'S OLD BOOK SALE IS PART OF THE CHERRY BLOSSOM FUN.
VOLUNTEERS WITH FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY ARE ALREADY SETTING UP FOR THIS YEAR'S SALE AT THE MACON CENTREPLEX.
JUDY LE TOOK A PEEK.
THE OLD BOOK SALE STARTED A NEW CHAPTER. THERE'S A NEW LOCATION...A DIFFERENT SALE DATE...AND MORE BOOKS.
FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY PRESIDENT...ANDY NEWTON...SAYS THEIR SPACE AT CENTRAL CITY PARK WAS CONDEMNED...SO THIS YEAR...THEY MOVED TO THE MACON CENTREPLEX.
NEWTON SOT: 58 "this is going to work out great for us. It's cleaner, nicer. We can't get rained on. 104
HE SAYS HE'S EXPECTING A LARGER TURN OUT ... BECAUSE THIS YEAR...THE BOOK SALE STARTS THE SAME WEEK AS THE CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL.
STANDUP: 36 newton says there are 100-thousand books on sale. They range from 50 cents, like this book, to a $10-thousand singed, first edition of flannery o'conner's wise blood. 47
THE BOOKS WERE ALL DONATED BY THE COMMUNITY AND THE LIBRARY. READERS FROM AS FAR AS CANADA COME TO DIG THROUGH THE SHELVES. EIGHTY-FOUR-YEAR-OLD...JANE TURNER...SAYS IT'S ABOUT FINDING THE BOOKS A LOVING HOME.
TURNER SOT: 124 it's just knowing that we're going to put books into the hands of people who just lvoe to come and line up every year and wait for us to open. And they just take sacks of books home 137
SHE SAYS THE CHILDREN'S SECTION HAS ALWAYS BEEN A BIG HIT...ESPICIALLY FOR HER GRANDKIDS.
TURNER SOT: 340 what were the uncle wiggly books? do they still have those? i doubt it, you havben't heard of them have you? of course, they like 'tangled' and the princesses. and my great grandson is interested in star wars. he just loves those 404
FROM MURDER MYSTERY TO ROMANCE, THERE'S A BOOK FOR EVERYONE.
JUDY LE, 13 WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS.
THE BOOK SALE STARTS AT 10 A-M THURSDAY AT THE MACON CENTREPLEX.
THIS YEAR... IT'S OFFICIALLY A PART OF THE ANNUAL CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL.

THERE ARE SOME STREET CLOSURES YOU MAY NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WHEN THE FESTIVAL STARTS BLOOMING THIS WEEKEND.
YOU CAN FIND THEM ON THE MACON WHERE YOU LIVE PAGE.
WE HAVE A LIST OF ALL THE CLOSINGS DOWNTOWN DURING THE FESTIVAL.
IT INCLUDES TIMES AND DATES FOR ROADS YOU SHOULD AVOID.
YOU CAN FIND DETAILS ABOUT ROAD CLOSURES AND MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL.
TO GET MORE NEWS AND EVENTS IN YOUR COMMUNITY.... HEAD OVER TO OUR "WHERE YOU LIVE" FEATURE AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.

TODAY.... MACON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA AND MERCER UNIVERSITY WELCOMED A NEW CONDUCTOR.
HIS NAME IS WARD STARE...AND HE'S CURRENTLY THE RESIDENT CONDUCTOR FOR THE ST. LOUIS SYMPHONY.
STARE STUDIED AT JULLIARD SCHOOL IN NEW YORK.
BEFORE CONDUCTING.... HE PERFORMED AS A TROMBONIST FOR ORCHESTRAS IN CHICAGO AND NEW YORK.
HE SAYS HE CAN'T WAIT TO SHARE HIS PASSION FOR MUSIC WITH PEOPLE IN MACON.
Ward Stare, Conductor: 00:25 It's a way that we can instantly communicate and feel emotions so, it's faster and more powerful and immediate than even words.
MACON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA C-E-O SHERYL TOWERS SAYS STARE'S CREATIVITY AND CONNECTION WITH THE COMMUNITY MADE HIM STAND OUT.
HIS FIRST PUBLIC PEFORMANCE IS IN SEPTEMBER.

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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