Eyewitness News at 11, 8-20-12

10:05 PM, Aug 20, 2012   |    comments
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     After a full day of questioning potential jurors...a jury was selected in the case of a Warner Robins man accused of hiring two men to kill his wife.

     14 were selected...10 women and four men...12 of them will serve as jurors with two alternates.

     Austin Lewis was inside the court all day and has more on the process.

     After a full day of questioning potential jurors...a jury was selected in the case of a Warner Robins man accused of hiring two men to kill his wife.

     14 were selected...10 women and four men...12 of them will serve as jurors with two alternates.

     Austin Lewis was inside the court all day and has more on the process.

     At an earlier hearing, Judge Lukemire made a ruling on a taped phone conversation between lead investigator Mark Wright and Clements.

     He decided...that conversation would be admissable as evidence.

     Now today...after the jury panel left, the defense attorneys brought up that ruling...and their earlier request to exclude it.

     Judge Lukemire reaffirmed his earlier decision.

     Opening arguments in the case being tomorrow morning..

     Houston County coroner Danny Galpin says a seventeen-year-old man died tonight in a crash with a semi.

     Galpin says the accident happened at the intersection of Highway 96 and Thompson Mill Road around six.

     The driver's name is not being released until family members are notified.

     We'll update this story as more details become available.

The search continues tonight for the man Bibb County investigators say shot another man to death on the porch of a South Bibb County home.

     Today...they obtained warrants for 40-year-old Willie Lee Bostic.

     A news release says Bostic shot 59 year old Walter Henley at a home on Fulton Mill Road.

     He's now charged with malice murder.

     Investigators said witnesses reported the two men were arguing about a car.

     Anyone with information on the case can call Macon regional crimestoppers...at 1-877-68-CRIME. Again that's  1-877-68-CRIME.

      We could be just days away from learning who will lead Bibb County's animal shelter. 

      A citizens committee met behind closed doors today to talk about three finalists, selected from about twenty candidates.

     Commissioner Lonzy Edwards says due to background checks and other procedures....they probably won't name that person publicly until late next week.

 

<but I can assure the community that the persons who were interviewed were highly qualified and the person who will ultimately be selected will be someone all of us can rally around, who's had a great deal of expeience, well-trained, and will be able to make a contribution to our community right off the bat. It's not an opportunity to learn on the job but rather somebody who's had a lot of experience>

      Also on the committee's agenda...where the new shelter may be.

      You may remember...in early June...the current facility had to be shut down for several days while a bug infestation was treated.

      And shelter workers have long expressed the desire for better accommodations with space to help more animals.

      Commissioner Edwards says to save money, they tried to find space already owned by the county...but that didn't leave them with many choices.

<we're going to have to have probably a little but more land than maybe some of us originally thought, whether we can get that land in a site or location that is centrally located, accessible, and visible, i'm just not sure yet>

     He says they also plan to look at city owned land and private property.

<we don't want to antagonize neighbors. We want to make sure that whatever we do is compatible with the surrounding where it is located. We, at the same time, want to make sure that we listen to the community, that we are attentive to the desires of animal lovers everywhere in our community and make sure that we have a site that will allow us to do all the things that we need to be done.>

he is optimistic they will have the shelter complete within twelve months...sooner than expected.

     The committee meets again next Monday.

     Edwards says that is also the day they will put in their scores for the architect candidates.

     He says they plan to have the architect team assembled within two to three weeks.

<we don't want to antagonize neighbors. We want to make sure that whatever we do is compatible with the surrounding where it is located. We, at the same time, want to make sure that we listen to the community, that we are attentive to the desires of animal lovers everywhere in our community and make sure that we have a site that will allow us to do all the things that we need to be done.>

     Edwards says he is optimistic they will have the shelter complete within twelve months...sooner than expected.

     The committee meets again next Monday.

     Edwards says that is also the day they will put in their scores for the architect candidates.

     He says they plan to have the architect team assembled within two to three weeks.

     At least 50 people from two Warner Robins neighborhoods came to City Hall Monday night.. Showing their opposition to a new housing development. 

     They wanted council to vote against Planning and Zoning's recommendation to allow a developer to build 125 houses adjacent to their neighborhoods.

     Lorra Lynch Jones explains why they left satisfied... But not without a fight.

David Cooke explaining the plight of homeowners in the Harpers Ridge and Tucker Place subdivisions... Two upscale neighborhoods off Houston Lake Road.

He spoke alone... But spoke for an army.

<we decided everybody should wear red, so we could let the council know were here as neighborhood. Were here as citizens to fight for our rights as citizens to have due process.>

They encouraged council to overturn the Planning and Zoning Boards 7 to 0 vote... In favor of allowing a developer to build 125 houses adjacent to their neighborhoods.

<there were a lot of issues here that the developer didn't look at and Planning and Zoning didn't look at close enough.>

Those issues included added traffic volume... more houses on smaller lots and flooding.

<my basic concerns were were going to generate much more water runoff in an area that's already experiencing flooding issues. We don't need that.>

Council member Mike Brashear made the motion to overturn planning and zonings decision... which passed in a 3 to 2 vote.

Council member Mike Daley opposed the decision.

<A lot of the people that came to me, their big concerns were property values, and it was hard to see there was going to be a difference in property values.>

That's because Daley says the developer still plans to build 105 homes... Versus the 125 which required the alternate zoning.

Cooke still called it a victory.

<we thank our city leaders, because they did look at it a lot closer and made good decisions and they listened.>

In Warner Robins 13WMAZ Eyewitness News.

     Also tonight... Council annexed 52 properties that were considered "islands" within the city.

     Most are zoned for commercial use... And no one came to speak out against the annexation.

     Macon's emergency radio system will have to wait for an upgrade.

     A city council committee did not pass a resolution tonight to upgrade to a new 800 megahertz system.

     Motorola made a claim that they did not receive a fair shot in the bidding process, saying they could complete the project for less than the company already selected.

     Committee chair Tom Ellington says another council member made a motion to restart the bidding process but that suggestion did not pass either.

     Ellington says the current radio system has failed several times and needs an upgrade.

     But he says after tonight's vote, he does not know what the next step is to get that done.

     Members of Perry's Chamber of Commerce are urging business owners in their city to use Social Media to expand their reach.  

     We talked with two people who say Facebook helps their shops stay open.

     The owners of the Perfect Pear and the Sugarplum Tree in downtown Perry say their social media sites boost their profits.

     Megan Brent says her business has grown from catering only to lunch four days a week.

     She says she uses her restaurants Facebook wall to post daily specials

<"I've kept a log of how many folks we've had every day and it's so neat to see because of things like well because of Facebook and word of mouth that our numbers have pretty much doubled this years from last year.  >

Brent says her catering business has also grown because people post pictures from her events on their Facebook.

    New numbers released by the College Board show that the pocketbooks of Georgia college students and their families...may be hurting this year.

     The study says Georgia ranked third in the nation...for the fastest-rising college costs.

They say in-state tuition and fees rose nearly 16 percent in the past year - behind only California and Arizona.

And that comes while Georgia is also cutting back on its lottery-funded Hope scholarship.

 

But despite the numbers, Tom George tells us one state school in Central Georgia says they've bucked the trend.  Macon State's tuition only rose 2 and a half percent, increasing by 35 dollars for the fall semester..

<actually for my first time, it's actually pretty good. I'm able to get all my books and everything, I;m not worried about having money especially for the financial aid so it's pretty good. >

 

It's back to school day at Macon State College ... Students back in the classrooms, and hanging out with friends ... And while students at other colleges in Georgia may be pressed by higher tuition, at Macon State, students aren't worried.

< definitely cant complain, it's not like paying for Georgia Tech or UGA or anything like that. >

 

Ashley Holliday uses Pell Grants to finance her education, and says the grant has been able to cover the small bump.

<I mean my refund's a little bit smaller, but it's not a huge deal, so I mean as long as it covers my college, I don't really mind  >

 

But others, like Justin Grove, are paying their own tuition and say every penny counts.

{***SOT FULL***}

<this year I paid out of pocket. I saw the need to seeing as though tuition has went up, that I pitched in some of my money, she pitched in some of her money.>

 

65% of students at Macon State use financial aid ... but Dean of Admissions Sheri Rowland advises them to use it wisely.

<there are limits on federal financial assistance. And so we have a responsibility as well as the student to make sure we can get through their degree in a timely manner using resources that they have avaiable to them.   >

 

And with an economic climate like Macon's, students say policy makers should keep them in mind when making tuition decisions.

<we have to be aware of some of the low students and some of the middle class students may not be able to pay the full amount of financial aid which might leave them outside of school  so we just gotta keep out education system together.  >

 

In Macon, Tom George, 13WMAZ Eyewitness News

     In addition to the relatively small tuition increases, student fees actually went down a Macon State ... A recreation fee was canceled because of the school's planned consolidation with Middle Georgia College early next year.

     And the weekend's Box Office totals are in...with Sly Stallone...Jean Claude Van Damme...and Chuck Norris kicking their way to the top... The Expendables 2 grossing more than 28 and a half million dollars.

     The Bourne Legacy...sliding into the second spot after one week at the top... Pulling in seventeen million.

     And animated Disney feature ParaNorman...raking in fourteen million.

     And the weekend's Box Office totals are in...with Sly Stallone...Jean Claude Van Damme...and Chuck Norris kicking their way to the top... The Expendables 2 grossing more than 28 and a half million dollars.

 

     The Bourne Legacy...sliding into the second spot after one week at the top... Pulling in seventeen million.

     And animated Disney feature ParaNorman...raking in fourteen million.

     Congratulations, Glen Bolden.

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     Don't go away.

     The Georgia boys from Warner Robins who represented the state at the Southeastern Little League Tournament... Received one more honor before retiring their bats for the season.

     Mayor Chuck Shaheen gave the boys each a key to the city.

     He called it the city's top honor... Given for representing the International City in an exemplary way.

     The team from the Warner Robins American Little League made it to the finals of the tournament... But lost to Tennessee 1-0.

     Tennessee is still in the game... with an undefeated record so far at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

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