HELLO EVERYONE AND THANKS FOR JOINING US... I'M LEAH JOHNSON..
AND I'M FRANK MALLOY.
THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT SIX...
THE HOUSTON COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT IS UNDER FIRE...FROM SOME PEOPLE WHO SAY ITS GRADUATIONS...WERE MORE LIKE CHURCH MEETINGS.
TODAY....SUPERINTENDENT ROBIN HINES RELEASED A STATEMENT SAYING
THEY PLAN TO FOLLOW THE LAW... ABOUT THE SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE.
BUT HE WOULDN'T COMMENT FURTHER.
FOUR PEOPLE FILED COMPLAINTS WITH THE WISCONSIN BASED FREEDOM FROM RELIGION FOUNDATION... ALLEGING THAT PRAYERS AND GOSPEL MUSIC AT PERRY AND VETERANS HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATIONS... VIOLATED THE FIRST AMENDMENT.
THAT SAYS THE GOVERNMENT MAY NOT ENDORSE ANY PARTICULAR RELIGION.
THE FOUNDATION'S ATTORNEY ANDREW SEIDEL SENT A FORMAL COMPLAINT TO HINES YESTERDAY ABOUT THE VETERANS CEREMONY... AND ANOTHER TODAY ABOUT PERRY HIGH.
SEIDEL WROTE... "THESE COMPLAINTS SHOW THAT VETERANS GRADUATION WAS NOT AN ISOLATED INCIDENT... BUT A SYSTEMATIC PROBLEM THAT REQUIRES IMMEDIATE ACTION TO ENSURE THAT ALL
HOUSTON COUNTY SCHOOLS DO NOT VIOLATE THE U-S CONSTITUTION IN THE FUTURE.
A NORTH CAROLINA MAN ATTENDING HIS NIECES GRADUATION MADE THE ORIGINAL COMPLAINT ABOUT THE VETERAN'S CEREMONY.
WES BRYANT EXPLAINED HIS OBJECTIONS TO THE SUPERINTENDENTS SPEECH.
Wes Bryant, Pittsboro North Carolina: "One belief system or lack there of, should not be basically endorsed as the way in life to be successful for the student body or all the people attending. It's a very unethical thing. It can be angering to some people. It can make some people incredibly disheartened and feel alienated and even in some ways oppressed by their community, that their not really apart of their community because they are different in their beliefs. So it's wrong in every way and I would not do the same thing in his situation"
WE TALKED WITH MERCER LAW PROFESSOR DAVID OEDEL ABOUT THE COMPLAINTS.
CONTRARY TO THE FOUNDATION'S CLAIMS... HE SAID IT'S NOT A CLEAR-CUT CASE.
OEDEL SAYS THE SUPERINTENDENTS SPEECH AND REFERENCES TO "GOD" COULD BE CONSIDERED PROTECTED FREE SPEECH.
HE RAISED QUESTIONS ABOUT IT EARLIER THIS YEAR...BUT BIBB COUNTY COMMISSIONER ELMO RICHARDSON WANTS PEOPLE TO KNOW....HE SUPPORTS CONSOLIDATION.
IN A NEWS CONFERENCE TODAY.. RICHARDSON SAYS THERE'S BEEN SOME MISUNDERSTANDING ABOUT HIS EARLIER COMMENTS.
HE SAID MERGING THE CITY OF MACON AND BIBB COUNTY...COULD INCREASE TAXES FOR PROPERTY OWNERS IN THE UNINCORPORATED AREA.
RICHARDSON SAYS HE'S SINCE LEARNED THAT A CONSOLIDATED GOVERNMENT COULD GET ADDITIONAL REVENUE BY EXTENDING FRANCHISE FEES AND FIRE DISTRICT TAXES COUNTYWIDE.
FRANCHISE FEES ARE NOW COLLECTED IN THE CITY.. AND FIRE TAXES IN THE COUNTY.
Elmo Richardson, County Commissioner: I'm 110 percent behind consolidation. I think it's the most important thing we have on the ballot July 31. I think it's important for this community to come together as one government.
RICHARDSON ALSO SAYS THEY COULD SAVE MORE BY REDUCING THE NUMBER OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES..
HE SAYS THAT COULD BE DONE THROUGH ATTRITION....NOT LAYOFFS.
THE TWIGGS COUNTY SHERIFF SAYS FOUR MEN ATTACKED A MAN IN HIS HOME... TORTURED HIM... AND ROBBED HIM.
DARREN MITCHUM SAYS THE FOUR WERE CAUGHT WITHIN 48 HOURS.
SHERIFF'S DEPUTIES ARRESTED 40 YEAR OLD PAUL STAFFORD ....AND 42 YEAR OLD DENIS JONES.
LEAD INVESTIGATOR ROBERT RODGERS CALLED STAFFORD THE "MUSCLE" AND JONES THE "MASTERMIND."
ALSO ARRESTED WERE.... 21 YEAR OLD GREGORY KING AND 35 YEAR OLD DONALD STANLEY..
INVESTIGATORS SAY MASKED MEN PUT A GUN TO 61-YEAR-OLD ROBERT LUCE'S HEAD...ORDERED HIM INTO THIS HOUSE AND DEMANDED MONEY.
THE FOUR ALLEGEDLY TIED HIM UP WITH DUCT TAPE...BEAT...AND TORTURED HIM BY PLACING HOT SCISSORS ON HIS BACK.
THE SHERIFF SAYS THEY GOT AWAY WITH THREE-THOUSAND DOLLARS ... AND TWO LAPTOPS.... AND LEFT A GAS STOVE ON TO TRY AND KILL LUCE..
but when they did leave, mr stafford blew the flame out on the gas stove and left the house building up with propane gas. while mr luce was bound and tied up on the floor.
LUCE FREED HIMSELF ... AND CALLED 911.
mr luce was transported to the medical center for any medical attention he needed. he had multiple burns on his back andwas released the same day.
STAFFORD AND STANLEY ARE FROM LAURENS COUNTY....KING AND JONES FROM TWIGGS. ALL FOUR ARE AWAITING BOND HEARINGS.
MACON POLICE ARRESTED A MAN THEY SAY SPRAY PAINTED HIS NICKNAME --SLUG -- ON DOWNTOWN BUSINESSES... STORM DRAINS..AND EVEN A STOP SIGN.
23-YEAR-OLD RALPH WAYNE STONE.. ALSO KNOWN AS SLUG FACES 20 COUNTS OF INTERFERING WITH GOVERNMENT PROPERTY AND THREE COUNTS OF CRIMINAL TRESPASS.
AUSTIN LEWIS TALKED TO POLICE AND TO PEOPLE IN THE CHERRY STREET NEIGHBORHOOD ABOUT THE GRAFFITI.
MERCER LAW STUDENT HADLEY HAYES SAYS SHE USED TO LOVE COMING OUT HERE...BUT NOW...
Hadley Hayes, Macon:I mean I don't want to sit and I don't want my friends to sit on my balcony and look at the graffitti right across the street. I mean it just destroyed the visual appeal of any aspect that the balcony had before
IT'S ON THE STORM DRAIN ACROSS THE STREET...
HER NEIGHBOR'S WALL...
EVEN HER DUMPSTER...JUST AS HER PARENTS WERE COMING HERE FOR GRADUATION.
Hadley Hayes, Macon: They came down from Charlotte North Carolina for my graduation from law school and I lived here for three years and this had never been here so they'd never seen it, so they kinda had the same reaction that I did this just very negative and overall just not pleased by what had happened.
POLICE SAYS 23-YEAR-OLD RALPH WAYNE STONE...AKA SLUG... WROTE HIS NICKNAME ALL UP AND DOWN CHERRY STREET.
POLICE SAY THEY STILL DON'T KNOW WHY STONE DID IT.
Lt. David Freeland, Property Investigation: basically when we brought him in, he did lawyer up. The only thing he did say was he didn't really know what that word meant. It had no meaning to him I guess just a word he picked to write out on businesses and property.
DAN LEBEL SAYS WHEN HE SEES THE FOUR LETTER WORD ON THE STORM DRAINS...AND STOP SIGNS...HE SEES RED.
Dan Lebel, Macon:It angers me and it's frustrating obviously because it is ugly and it's unsightly and these things cause more problems than Slug thought he was causing. He was just having a good time.
SOME DOWNTOWN BUSINESSES LIKE BLAIR'S FURNITURE REMOVED THE WRITING ON THE WALL.
AND OTHERS SAY THEY HOPE TO SEE THE REST OF IT GONE SOON.
AUSTIN LEWIS 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>> LT. DAVID FREELAND SAYS THE GRAFFITI WASN'T GANG RELATED.
HE SAYS POLICE CAUGHT STONE WITH THE HELP OF A TIP FROM CRIMESTOPPERS.
FOR THE SECOND YEAR IN A ROW... GEORGIA'S NEW TEACHER OF THE YEAR HAILS FROM A MACON SCHOOL.
LAUREN ECKMAN JOINS US NOW... TO TALK ABOUT THE EXPERIENCE... AND WHAT LIES AHEAD.
HOLLYWOOD COMES TO MACON AGAIN THIS WEEK.
BUT FIRST...THERE'S PLENTY OF PREP WORK...TO MAKE WAY FOR HARRISON FORD... AND THE OTHER STARS OF 42.
JENNIFER MOULLIET CAUGHT UP WITH ONE MACON MAN WHO'S NO STRANGER TO THE MOVIES.
"I'm going to be a reporter in the movie."
ALAN THIESE'S SAYS HIS ROLE IN "42" WILL BE HIS FOURTH TIME ON THE BIG SCREEN.
Alan Thiese: "I enjoy doing that kind of stuff."
THIESE DIDN'T ALWAYS WALK THE RED CARPET... HE SPENT TWENTY-ONE YEARS IN THE NAVY.
NOW RETIRED... HE SAYS HE HAS PLENTY OF TIME TO DEVOTE TO HIS NEW HOBBY.... AND HIS ACTING EXPERIENCE INCLUDES FILMS LIKE REMEMBER THE TITANS... THE CRAZIES AND THE MADE FOR T-V MOVIE.... ANDERSONVILLE.
BUT THIS TIME... HE WAS TOLD HE WOULD GET AMPLE FACE TIME... AS A SPORTS REPORTER IN THE MOVIE ABOUT HOW JACKIE ROBINSON BROKE BASEBALL'S COLOR BARRIER.
" I have heard that I will be holding a great big camera with flash bulbs."
HIS LATEST WALK DOWN HOLLYWOOD STARTED WITH A MAJOR LEAGUE FITTING.
"The clothes they fitted me on this morning I have a tag all I do is check in at Luther Williams Field go to some receiving area.
AND A FORTIES STYLE HAIR CUT.
"To make sure it was good and close on the sides and neat on the back so I mean they're going through great pains to make sure this movie is very authentic."
THIESE SAYS THEY DON'T GIVE HIM A LOT OF DETAILS
"We'll get an email Sunday night that gives us where we report to, who we report to."
AND THEN HE SAYS YOU WAIT.
" it's a lot like the military they put you in a position and you sit and wait until it's ready for you and then you go do your thing in other words you have to follow directions real good."
JENNIFER MOULLIET 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>> A MEDIA LIASION FOR 42 SAYS FILMING IN MACON STARTS LATER THIS WEEK.
LOCATIONS INCLUDE THE CITY'S HISTORIC TERMINAL STATION TRAIN DEPOT...A STORE ON SECOND STREET... AND LUTHER WILLIAMS FIELD.
THE OLD BALLPARK WILL DOUBLE FOR ONE IN DAYTONA BEACH FLORIDA...WHERE THE BROOKLYN DODGERS TRAINED IN THE 1940s.
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.