Wednesday, May 2, Eyewitness News at 6

9:42 PM, May 2, 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...

A SENIOR STATE ATTORNEY MET WITH BIBB COUNTY SCHOOL OFFICIALS TODAY...EXPLAINING LAWS THAT PROTECT THE PUBLIC'S RIGHT TO KNOW.
SUPERINTENDENT ROMAIN DALLEMAND ATTENDED THE SESSION ON GEORGIA'S OPEN MEETING AND OPEN RECORDS LAWS..
ALSO THERE... HIS DEPUTY SUPERINTENDENTS... TWO SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS... AND ABOUT 50 SCHOOL EMPLOYEES... OTHER PEOPLE... AND THE MEDIA.
BUT SIX OF THE SCHOOL BOARD'S EIGHT MEMBERS....WEREN'T THERE.
LAUREN CANE... THE SPOKESWOMAN FOR THE GEORGIA ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE SAYS THEY HELD THE SESSION AFTER THE MACON TELEGRAPH RAISED CONCERNS ABOUT HOW THE DISTRICT HANDLED OPEN RECORDS REQUESTS.
AFTER THE MEETING... AS A FOLLOW-UP TO THE STORY WE BROUGHT YOU LAST NIGHT ON EYEWITNESS NEWS... WE ASKED DALLEMAND TO TALK ABOUT THE MEDIA AND CITIZEN COMPLAINTS ABOUT THE LACK OF TRANSPARENCY... DIFFICULTY COMMUNICATING WITH HIM... AND GETTING REQUESTED DOCUMENTS.
"Well you need to know we do have a process in place that our in house counsel follows dilligently and I know that he's on top of all of the requests and we have been responding to the requests appropriately and in a timely fashion and unfortunately if you request something you may not get it immediately when you want it but we do provide the information that are requested to every one. and so the purpose for this training really is what I call it was to make sure that everyone understands the process."
WE THEN ASKED IF HIS OFFICE IS FULFILLING MEDIA AND CITIZEN REQUESTS TO MEET WITH HIM AND MEMBERS OF HIS CABINET.
"If you keep track of, anf i'm sure you're aware of every monday I meet with somewhere betweek 14 to 16 community members who sit down with me one on one to share issues and concerns with me and so I do not know where you get your information from however I'm available to meet with the public."
BUT WHILE DALLEMAND SAYS THE DISTRICT RESPONDS PROMPTLY TO ALL OPEN RECORDS REQUESTS....THAT'S NOT ALWAYS THE CASE.
LAST WEEK... A SPOKESWOMAN FOR THE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE TOLD US TODAY'S SESSION WAS SCHEDULED AFTER THE MACON TELEGRAPH RAISED CONCERNS ABOUT HOW THE DISTRICT WAS HANDLING OPEN-RECORDS REQUEST.
MEANWHILE... WE'VE FILED OUR OWN REQUESTS...TO GET A LOOK AT DALLEMAND'S SPENDING AND TRAVEL IN RECENT MONTHS.
REPORTER KATELYN HECK FILED THE REQUEST LAST MONTH...FOR RECEIPTS.....RESERVATIONS...AND OTHER SPECIFIC TRAVEL EXPENSES.
SO FAR...THE SCHOOL BOARD'S LAWYER RANDY HOWARD HAS SENT US ONLY A BUDGET LINE ITEM SHOWING DALLEMAND'S BUDGET... TWICE.
BUT NOT THE ACTUAL SPENDING BREAKDOWN.
HIS RESPONSE SAID RELEASING SOME OF THAT INFORMATION WOULD BE AN INVASION OF PRIVACY.
THIS AFTERNOON.... KATELYN SPOKE AGAIN TO HOWARD'S OFFICE.... WE'LL UPDATE YOU ON THOSE RECORDS WHEN WE GET THEM.
THE LAW ALLOWS UP TO THREE BUSINESS DAYS TO RESPOND TO AN OPEN-RECORDS REQUEST.

A MAGISTRATE COURT JUDGE SET WEAVER MIDDLE SCHOOL TEACHER... SAMUEL MCPHEE'S BOND TODAY...AT 45-THOUSAND DOLLARS.
MCPHEE FACES A SEXUAL ASSAULT COUNT AFTER A STUDENT SAID HE TOUCHED HIM INAPPROPIATELY.
THE 23-YEAR-OLD MUSIC TEACHER APPEARED AT THE BIBB COUNTY L-E-C COURTROOM FOR THE FIRST TIME TODAY.
HE CAME DRESSED IN AN ORANGE JUMPSUIT WITHOUT HANDCUFFS.
HE STOOD IN FRONT OF JUDGE JANE REEVES WITH ATTORNEY ELIZABETH LANE STANDING BY HIS SIDE.
THE JUDGE SET BOND AND THEN PROVIDED GUIDELINES.
THEY INCLUDE.... NO CONTACT WITH THE STUDENT OR HIS FAMILY.
MCPHEE IS ALSO NOT ALLOWED NEAR ANY SCHOOL OR ANY CHILD UNDER 16-YEARS-OLD.
ELIZABETH LANE DECLINED TO COMMENT ON THE CASE... OR CONFIRM THAT SHE'S MCPHEE'S ATTORNEY.

INTEREST AND QUESTIONS GROW AROUND A PROPOSED ONE-CENT TRANSPORTATION SALES TAX... OR T-SPLOST ON THE JULY BALLOT.
IT'S PREDICTED TO GENERATE MORE THAN 750 MILLION DOLLARS FOR 11 CENTRAL GEORGIA COUNTIES OVER A TEN-YEAR PERIOD.
THOSE COUNTIES....INCLUDING BIBB AND HOUSTON... WILL VOTE...AS A SINGLE DISTRICT.
SO EITHER THEY'LL ALL APPROVE IT...OR NONE OF THEM.
STATE REPRESENTATIVE BUBBER EPPS...A SUPPORTER... AND LOCAL SIERRA CLUB SPOKESMAN LINDSAY HOLLIDAY....WHO SAYS HE'LL VOTE NO.... ARE JOINING RANDALL SAVAGE NOW.
VOTERS ACROSS THE STATE WILL VOTE ON THE T-SPLOST JULY 31ST...IN TWELVE DISTRICTS.
THE REGIONS AROUND DUBLIN...AND SOUTH OF BIBB AND HOUSTON ...ARE IN DIFFERENT DISTRICTS.

A VETERINARIAN BY TRADE AND A WEEKEND WARRIOR BY CHOICE... GEORGE McCOMMON SPENT THE PAST YEAR COMBINING HIS TWO TALENTS..
ABOUT A WEEK AGO... McCOMMON RETURNED HOME TO MACON AFTER A YEAR LONG DEPLOYMENT IN AFGANISTAN WITH THE GEORGIA ARMY NATIONAL GUARD.
LORRA LYNCH JONES TELLS YOU HIS STORY AND WHY HE SAYS IT'S IMPORTANT TO SHARE IT.
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THE ROLLING HILLS OF BOLINGBROKE SHARE LITTLE IN COMMON WITH THE DUSTY.. MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN OF RURAL AFGHANISTAN.
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BUT GEORGE McCOMMON SAYS THE ANIMALS... THEY'RE ABOUT THE SAME EVERYWHERE... EXCEPT YOU'LL SEE MORE HORSES HERE... MORE DONKEYS OVER THERE.
George McCommon: (28:37) "Its honestly the hardest working animal behind the ant, and they had a lot of the animals in Afghanistan."
(show video)
McCOMMON TRAVELED ALONG WITH A TEAM AMONG REMOTE OUTPOSTS OF AFGHANISTAN...
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MEETING WITH PEOPLE TO WHOM VISITORS WERE VIRTUALLY UNKNOWN
George McCommon: (33:30) "One man asked if we were Soviet troops. They didn't get out much."
BUT McCOMMON'S VETERINARY SKILLS OPENED DOORS FOR THEM... OFFERING THE AFGHANS KEY INSIGHTS TO THEIR MEANS OF SURVIVAL... ANIMALS AND CROPS.
George McCommon: (32;20) "Sometimes they would use practices that I would call almost medieval, like I said, then they'd turn around and do something smart and sophiscated."
HIS TEAM ALSO HELPED FORGE A RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THESE PEOPLE AND THEIR NEWLY FORMED GOVERNMENT... DELIVERING THE MESSAGE THAT THE COUNTRY'S LEADERS COULD HELP.
George McCommon: (33:30) "30 years of war. Nobody had ever shown up and tried to do anything nice for them."
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BACK AT HOME... McCOMMON HAS EXCHANGED HIS FATIGUES AND FARM ANIMALS.... FOR JEANS AND PURE BRED HORSES... BUT HE DOESN'T WANT ANYONE FORGETTING THERE ARE 100-THOUSAND AMERICANS STILL SERVING.
George McCommon: (35:20) "Were going to be there for a long time. I think people need to know there are guys going eight weeks without a shower, that are getting one meal a day. There are still people on the front lines."
EACH ONE DOING THEIR DUTY... AS DIVERSE AS THOSE JOBS MAY BE.
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McCOMMON JOINED THE ARMY NATIONAL GUARD 18 YEARS AGO.
WHEN NOT ON DUTY... HE'S AN ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF VETERINARY SCIENCES AT FORT VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY AND LARGE ANIMAL VETERINARIAN.
ACCORDING TO MICHAEL HUTCHINSON... OWNER OF HUTCHINSON AUTO MALL... THE CAR... ALSO KNOWN AS THE BEAST JUNIOR IS IN HIS SHOP... AND BEING GUARDED BY AGENTS.
HE SAYS HE GOT A CALL FROM THE SECRET SERVICE INFORMING THEM THAT THE CAR WAS ON IT'S WAY.
IT WAS CARRIED FROM SAVANNAH BY A TRUCK CAPABLE OF TOWING A TANK AFTER THE ARMORED VEHICLE'S TIRE WAS DAMAGED DURING THE PRESIDEN'TS TRIP TO FORT STEWART LAST WEEK.
HUTCHINSON SAYS HE HOPES THE FIRST LADY WILL BE FIXED BY THE END OF THE DAY.

FOR FOLKS LOOKING TO GET THEIR HANDS ON A GOOD READ OR AN OUT-OF-PRINT BOOK... THE GEORGIA NATIONAL FAIRGROUNDS IS THE PLACE TO BE STARTING TOMORROW.
THAT'S WHEN THE OLD BOOK SALE KICKS OFF.
TODAY... HOUSTON COUNTY FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY WORKED ON WHAT THEY CALL "BUILDING A LIBRARY IN ONE DAY."
ORGANIZERS SAY... WITH 70 CATEGORIES TO CHOOSE FROM... THE HOUSTON COUNTY OLD BOOK SALE IS ONE OF CENTRAL GEORGIA'S LARGEST.
Georgette Lipford, Houston County Friends of the Library: "Last year we added three new categories. This year and last year we have a category for vampire paranormal books... which didn't exist the first year we had our sale. That was not really a genre."

Pamela Yates, Houston County Friends of the Library: "Sometimes we do something special...this year we're gonna have a bunch of fairytale books to kind of go with that television show Once Upon A Time."
THE SALE STARTS TOMORROW AT TEN... AND WILL RUN THROUGH SATURDAY. ADMISSION IS FIVE DOLLARS.

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