Wednesday, May 30, Eyewitness News at 11

10:44 PM, May 30, 2012   |    comments
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GOOD EVENING AND THANKS FOR JOINING US..
I'M FRANK MALLOY..
AND I'M LEAH JOHNSON..THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT 11.

THE CITY OF MACON AVOIDED WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN A COSTLY LAWSUIT WITH
THE POLICE AND FIRE PENSION BOARD.
THE DISPUTE STARTED WHEN THE CITY FAILED TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE PENSION TRUST FUND BETWEEN JULY 2009 AND DECEMBER 2010... PUTTING THE CITY ALMOST 3 MILLION DOLLARS BEHIND IN THEIR PAYMENTS.
KATELYN HECK SPOKE WITH COUNCIL MEMBERS WHO SAY THE BOARD GAVE THEM A SHORT TIME FRAME TO PAY UP AND AVOID LEGAL ACTION.
<<
(NATS)
MACON CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS HUDDLED BEHIND CLOSED DOORS TO DISCUSS WHAT THEY CALLED "POTENTIAL LITIGATION."
THEY RECEIVED A LETTER FROM ATTORNEYS FOR THE FIRE AND POLICE PENSION BOARD THIS WEEK... SAYING THEY "SHALL HAVE NO OTHER ALTERNATIVE THAN TO SEEK ALL AVAILABLE LEGAL AND EQUITABLE REMEDIES" IF THE CITY FAILED TO PAY ALL OF THE MONEY OWED BY JUNE FIRST.
(SOT Elaine Lucas: This has dragged on for a long long time and it was time for us to resolve it.)
AFTER ALMOST 40 MINUTES BEHIND CLOSED DOORS... COUNCIL CAME OUT WITH A PLAN TO END THE DISPUTE.
THEY AGREED TO MOVE THE FULL THE AMOUNT OWED... MORE THAN 2 AND A HALF MILLION DOLLARS...FROM THE CITY'S GENERAL FUND TO THE POLICE AND FIRE PENSION TRUST FUND.
(SOT Reichert: This is certainly a demand for two and a half million dollars that we did not have budgeted for. Thank goodness we were in a situation to meet this demand avoid the litigation that might have gone along with it.)
MAYOR ROBERT REICHERT SAYS THE TRANSFER WILL DRAIN THE CITY'S RESERVE STASH FOR THE YEAR... SO THEY'LL HAVE TO TIGHTEN THEIR BELTS COME FALL.
(SOT Reichert:We're going to be running real close on cash reserves before we get ad valorum tax revenue in to replenish the general fund. So, we're actually coming down into a cash flow situation in the fall that we've been trying to avoid but the police and fire pension demand would not let us to do that.)
BUT COUNCIL MEMBERS AGREED... THE 2-POINT-5 MILLION DOLLARS... IS MONEY WELL SPENT.
(SOT Lucas:I think it's to the credit of these loyal employees who worked so long and gave so much to the city that they were vigilant in pushing for full funding of their pension plan)
THE PLAN PASSED WITH A UNANIMOUS VOTE BY THE 12 COUNCIL MEMBERS PRESENT.

KATELYN HECK
13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS
>> FORMER MACON-BIBB FIRE CHIEF JIM HARTLEY... WHO ACTED AS A SPOKESMAN FOR THE PENSION BOARD... SAYS HE'S PLEASED WITH COUNCIL'S DECISION BUT WOULD NOT COMMENT ANY FURTHER.

THE G-B-I AND THE TAYLOR COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE ARE INVESTIGATING REPORTS THAT A COUPLE KEPT A TEENAGE GIRL LOCKED IN A CHICKEN COOP FOR MONTHS.
THAT'S ACCORDING TO RODNEY WALL WITH THE GBI OFFICE IN COLUMBUS.....
BUT HE WOULDN'T GIVE DETAILS OR DESCRIBE WHERE THE TIP CAME FROM. THE TAYLOR COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE SAYS DEPUTIES WENT TO A HOME ON EAST OLD WIRE ROAD IN BUTLER LAST FRIDAY.
THEY STOOD BY AS OFFICERS FROM THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF FAMILY AND CHILDREN SERVICES TOOK THE GIRL FROM THE HOME.
THE SHERIFF'S REPORT SAYS DFACS GOT A COMPLAINT THAT A 15-YEAR-OLD GIRL WAS BEING PAD-LOCKED INSIDE A BUILDING WITHOUT FOOD AND WATER OUTSIDE THE COUPLE'S HOME.
SHERIFF JEFF WATSON SAID THEY DON'T KNOW YET WHAT'S TRUE AND WHAT'S NOT..
Sheriff Jeff Watson, Taylor County: It could be any of it, you know, we're just investigating trying to find exactly what happened, so we know which way to go, we'll know what charges to file, that kind of thing if these allegations are found to be true.
WE WENT TO THE HOME... BUT COULD NOT SPEAK TO THE COUPLE.
WE DID TALK TO A NEIGHBOR WHO DIDN'T WANT TO BE IDENTIFIED... BUT SAYS SHE THINKS THE ALLEGATIONS ARE FALSE.
SHE SAID THE COUPLE ARE HARD WORKERS... AND SHE CALLED THE 15-YEAR-OLD.... A SWEET GIRL.
SHERIFF WATSON SAYS THE TEENAGER IS STILL STAYING WITH D-FACS.

MACON POLICE CONTINUE THEIR SEARCH FOR SOMEONE THEY CALL A PERSON OF INTEREST IN CONNECTION WITH MONDAY'S MURDER OF 29 YEAR OLD CANDICE RICE..
THAT'S ACCORDING TO MACON POLICE SPOKESWOMAN JAMI GAUDET..
RICE WAS FOUND DEAD IN HER LAFAYETTE DRIVE HOME MONDAY NIGHT.. POLICE WANT TO TALK WITH BOBBY LEE FORDHAM, JUNIOR..
GAUDET SAID THEY'RE ALSO SEARCHING FOR A CAR HE TRAVELED IN AFTER THE MURDER AND MAY STILL BE DRIVING..
THE CAR IS A BLACK 4 DOOR KIA SPECTRA..
GEORGIA LICENSE PLATE NUMBER B-M-M 5-1-3-6..
ANYONE WITH INFORMATION ON THE CASE IS ASKED TO CALL MACON REGIONAL CRIMESTOPPERS AT 1-877-68CRIME..
THAT'S 1-877-68CRIME.

MACON COUNTY RANKS WORST IN THE STATE FOR PUBLIC HEALTH.. AND ECONOMIC VITALITY... ACCORDING TO A RECENT REPORT FROM THE HEALTHCARE GEORGIA FOUNDATION.
COUNTY LEADERS SAY THEY'VE ALREADY TAKEN A FEW STEPS TO CLIMB BACK UP THE ECONOMIC LADDER.
TO HELP CUT DOWN THEIR 14.7 PERCENT UNEMPLOYMENT RATE... THE COUNTY RECENTLY BOUGHT ALMOST 130 ACRES OF LAND FOR AN INDUSTRIAL SITE.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR JIMMY DAVIS SAYS BOOSTING HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION RATES WILL HELP GROW THE FOUR-THOUSAND PERSON WORK FORCE.
Every community's got its challenges and companies understand that, i mean if you told them everything was perfect, they wouldn't believe you anyway but what they want to know is what are you doing to meet, what are you doing to correct that challenge.
TO SEE HOW THE REPORT RANKED OTHER COUNTIES IN CENTRAL GEORGIA... LOOK FOR THIS STORY ON OUR WEBSITE AT 13WMAZ-DOT-COM.

RAILROAD CROSSING ARMS SHOULD BE COMING TO THE SITE OF SUNDAY'S DEADLY CRASH...BY THE END OF NEXT YEAR.
THAT'S ACCORDING TO THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION ...WHICH SAYS THE IGNICO DRIVE CROSSING IN HOUSTON COUNTY IS ON THEIR HIGH PRIORITY LIST... FOR SAFETY IMPROVMENTS.
A STATE REPORT LISTS RAILROAD CROSSINGS AROUND THE STATE WITHOUT GATES.....AND THE NUMBER OF VEHICLE-TRAIN ACCIDENTS BETWEEN 2005 AND 2010.
THE IGNICO DRIVE AND HIGHWAY 2-47 INTERSECTION HAS THE MOST ACCIDENTS IN THAT TIME....FIVE.
THAT DOESN'T INCLUDE SUNDAY'S ACCIDENT... OR ANOTHER ONE LAST YEAR.
G-DOT SAYS IGNICO DRIVE WAS ADDED TO THE PRIORITY LIST BASED ON TRAIN AND TRAFFIC VOLUME...NUMBER OF ACCIDENTS...AND OTHER FACTORS
THEY SAY NEW GATES WILL COST BETWEEN 200-THOUSAND .. AND 350-THOUSAND DOLLARS.
13 WMAZ WILL CONTINUE TO SEEK ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON THE GATE PLANS... AND WE'LL REPORT BACK TO YOU AS WE FIND OUT MORE.

A MACON COMMUNITY CENTER SERVED AS CENTER STAGE TO ADDRESS YOUNG PEOPLE ON THE VALUE OF RESPECT.
THE FREEDOM PARK COMMUNITY CENTER HOSTED THE "LET'S TALK ABOUT IT" FORUM WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON.
THE EVENT FEATURED A PANEL AND DISCUSSION ABOUT RESPECT AND OTHER TOPICS FACING YOUNG PEOPLE.
ORGANIZERS SAY THE EVENT WORKS TO SEND A POWERFUL MESSAGE TO THE CITY'S YOUTH TO HELP THEM BECOME SUCCESSFUL ADULTS.
"Our community is in dire need of change. Most of our young people have fallen victim to what goes on in the streets and because of that I came to give my input as to why. Life is all about choices. I'm looking for them to make better choices."
CLARENCE THOMAS, JR. THE CENTER'S SUPERVISOR SAYS A LOT OF THE NEGATIVE BEHAVIOR THAT SOME KIDS DISPLAY IS ROOTED IN THE LACK OF RESPECT FOR THEMSELVES.

SCHOOL MIGHT BE OVER FOR BIBB COUNTY STUDENTS... BUT OFFICIALS SAY THAT DOESN'T MEAN THE LEARNING STOPS.
THE BIBB SCHOOLS' WELCOME CENTER WILL STILL BE OPEN OVER THE SUMMER... THOUGH THE HOURS ARE SHORTER.
PARENTS WILL BE ABLE TO REGISTER THEIR KIDS... GET QUESTIONS ANSWERED... AND USE THE RESOURCE CENTER.... BUT PARENTS THEMSELVES CAN PARTICIPATE IN DIFFERENT CLASSES AND WORKSHOPS.
TEMICA MEANS... A PARENT ACADEMIC INSTRUCTOR... SAYS SOME OF THOSE WORKSHOPS WILL TAKE PLACE ON A BUS.
THE MACON-BIBB OFFICE OF WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT IS SPONSORING A MOBILE LAB THAT WILL STOP AT 8 SCHOOLS DURING JUNE.
SHE SAYS ADULTS WILL GET HELP CREATING RESUMES... CARVING OUT CAREERS AND APPLYING FOR JOBS ONLINE.
"Some parents have never even seen an online job application. So this will give parents an opportunity to be introduced to what I call career connections-- how do we get parents to reconnect with today's new career opportunities."
THE FIRST WORKSHOP ON WHEELS WILL BE AT HARTLEY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL ON JUNE 7.
MEANS SAYS THERE'LL BE A TWO HOUR SESSION AT 10 A-M AND ANOTHER AT 5 P-M.

A WEEK FROM TOMORROW - ANY ANIMALS REMAINING AT MACON ANIMAL CONTROL ARE SCHEDULED TO BE PUT DOWN.
THAT'S WHEN THE SHELTER WILL CLOSE FOR THREE TO FIVE DAYS FOR PEST CONTROL TREATMENT.
THE SHELTER STILL HAS 30 DOGS AVAILABLE FOR ADOPTION.
IF YOU WANT TO HELP...
YOU'LL FIND MACON ANIMAL CONTROL AT
10-10 11-TH STREET.
IT'S OPEN MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY FROM 8 A-M TO 4-30 P-M.
BRING YOUR DRIVER'S LICENSE AND 75-DOLLAR ADOPTION FEE... IN CASH... TO THE SHELTER.
THAT FEE ALSO INCLUDES SPAY OR NEUTER... AND RABIES SHOTS.

SEATTLE POLICE SAY A GUNMAN WENT ON A CITYWIDE CRIME SPREE THAT LEFT FOUR PEOPLE DEAD... THEN TURNED THE GUN ON HIMSELF.
TERESA GARCIA HAS MORE FROM SEATTLE.


SCRIPT:}

SEATTLE POLICE SAY THE BEARDED MAN IN THIS SURVEILLANCE PHOTO OPENED FIRE SHORTLY AFTER WALKING INTO THIS SEATTLE CAFÉ NEAR THE UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON WEDNESDAY MORNING. ABOUT A MINUTE LATER, HE'S SEEN STANDING ALONE, AMID OVERTURNED STOOLS... HOLDING WHAT APPEARS TO BE A GUN IN HIS LEFT HAND. FIVE PEOPLE WERE SHOT IN THE CAFÉ... THREE OF THEM DIED.

((sot)) Evan Hill /Lives Above Cafe

"it's a very mellow cafe....artists , music performances... it's the last place you would expect something like this to happen"

WHILE POLICE WERE LOOKING FOR THE GUNMAN, THEY SAY HE FATALLY SHOT A WOMAN DURING A CARJACKING IN DOWNTOWN SEATTLE. THE STOLEN S-U-V WAS FOUND ABANDONED, WITH A HANDGUN ON THE DRIVER'S SEAT.

WHILE POLICE WERE SPEAKING TO REPORTERS, WORD CAME OF A THIRD SHOOTING, INVOLVING POLICE AND A MAN FITTING THE DESCRIPTION OF THE GUNMAN, IN A NEIGHBORHOOD NEAR WHERE THE STOLEN CAR WAS FOUND.

Pipe 4 19:07:36 Asst. Cheif James Pugel/Seattle PD

the suspect saw the uniformed officers he apparently knelt down in the middle of the street, put the gun to his head and shot himself."

POLICE SAY PRELIMINARY FINDINGS SUGGEST ALL THREE SHOOTINGS ARE CONNECTED.

SEATTLE IS IN THE MIDDLE OF A WAVE OF GUN VIOLENCE... ITS POLICE AND CITY OFFICIALS ARE ASKING FOR HELP.

SOT - Mike McGinn/Seattle Mayor

"it's going to also take a partnership with the community to end a culture of violence where young men think it's OK to resolve disputes with violence, including guns."

IT'S NOT YET JUNE, AND THE CITY HAS ALMOST MATCHED THE NUMBER OF HOMICIDES REPORTED IN ALL OF 2011. TERESA GARCIA, CBS NEWS.
THE ALLEGED GUNMAN IS HOSPITALIZED IN CRITICAL CONDITION.
POLICE DON'T HAVE A MOTIVE FOR THE SHOOTINGS... BUT SAY THEY BELIEVE THE CARJACKING VICTIM WAS RANDOM.

THIS WEEKEND... YOUNG CENTRAL GEORGIA BASEBALL PLAYERS WILL HAVE A CHANCE TO GET SOME TIPS... WITH THE SECOND ANNUAL ALEX WYCHE DAY.
IT'S HAPPENING THIS SATURDAY... JUNE SECOND... FROM 4 P-M TO 6-30... AT MACON LITTLE LEAGUE.
THAT'S 2320 ANTHONY ROAD.
EACH YOUNG PLAYER WILL NEED TO DRESS .. IN BASEBALL PANTS... T-SHIRT... CLEATS AND A BASEBALL CAP.
AND MAKE SURE NOT TO FORGET THE EQUIPMENT... THEY'LL NEED A GLOVE... BAT... AND BATTING HELMET.

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