Eyewitness News at 6, 9-6-12

6:43 PM, Sep 6, 2012   |    comments
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Memories of a brother...and an American hero.

Forty-five years after Sergeant Rodney Davis died in action...a recollection of his life...and what he left behind when he gave all.

Hello everyone. Thank you for joining us.

I'm Frank Malloy.

And I'm Leah Johnson.

This is Eyewitness News at Six.

September 6, 1967 ... 45 years ago ... Macon and the country lost Sgt. Rodney Davis.


He was awarded the Medal of Honor in Vietnam when he sacrificed his own life to save others ... Now...his family and friends have plans to honor him.

Tom George met with the family today.

<as a brother, he was one of the finest guys that you would ever like to have for a brother>

<my brother Rodney gave his life for this country 45 years ago in Vietnam. >

September 6, 1967 -- Sgt. Rodney Davis sacrificed his life to save his fellow Marines by jumping on top of a grenade. His younger brother, Howard, had just graduated high school.

<all I was thinking about was good times and life ahead and then when I got the news of him passing and I could think of nothing more than his life was over and mine was almost beginning. >

He knew his brother was a hero ... But it really sunk in when the family came to Washington to receive his Medal of Honor from the president, the highest award a soldier can earn ... Howard still remembers LBJ's exact words to him...

<from a grateful nation .. And a very supportive president .. It was something he hoped we received well.>

But before all that...the brothers grew on Neal Avenue...in Pleasant Hill.

<and a lot of fights on my behalf were evaded because Rodney was there.. He didn't enjoy fighting, but he didnt mind (laughs) >

But the kid from Macon now remains Macon's only ever Medal of Honor recipient... His porrtait hangs in the mayor's office ... And there's a memorial near city hall ... Even his own navy ship ... And now his fellow Marine veterans have raised money for a 14-foot memorial near his grave at Linwood Cemetery... facing I-75.

<they hope that when people are driving on the roads, they'll remember his sacrifice >

<he was doing what Rodney does and if he had been here, he would have done the same thing for me had I been there and not been a grenade, it could have been a brick you understand but he would have done the same thing for me >

In Macon, Tom George, 13WMAZ Eyewitness News.

Davis was survived by his two young daughters, Nikki and Samantha, who are now in their 40s.

His wife Judy...died several years ago from breast cancer.

Rodney Davis's family and fellow Marines...hope to dedicate that memorial on Veterans Day.

Next Tuesday....Bibb County chairman Sam Hart plans to name his choice...to run the county's animal shelter.

He's scheduled to make his recommendation to the full commission at a called meeting next Tuesday.

Last month...a citizens panel named two finalists to run the troubled shelter...

Richard Rice...a former vice president of Atlanta's Humane Society....

And Sarah Tenon....who runs the shelter in Mobile...Alabama.

That called meeting happens at 4 p-m Tuesday...at the Bibb County courthouse.

Major General Robert McMahon retired in June as the Commander of Robins Air Force Base... But didn't stay retired for long.

This week he started a new job as the CEO and president of the 21st Century Partnership.

That's the group that advocates for Robins Air Force Base... Both at home and in Washington.

He explained to Lorra Lynch Jones why the threat of a looming 500-billion dollar federal budget cut from Washington.. Known as sequestration... Poses the first.. Massive challenge.

<This is the one meter target. The target right in front of our noses that if we don't deal with as a nation its going to have a catastrophic affect not only on our military but many of our domestic programs as well. We don't talk about that near enough. The example I give is Head Start. What kind of impact will a nearly 500 billion dollar reduction in budget over ten years have on a program like Head Start? We need to be talking about that. It's not just the impact on defense. Weve got to push our congress to do something to take action and part of that is getting our local communities, our local govts.to communicate, as well as the average citizen to communicate to Washington that allowing sequestration to kick in is a non-starter. We cant let that happen.

Lorra: I think a lot of people look at this issue and say that'll never happen. They're not going to let that happen. Is it really possible?

McMahon: What scares me today that in early September were limited in the time left before this actually kicks in. When you consider the fact that Congress has been in recess, the amount of time between now and the election that you have a lame duck Congress coming back, irrespective of who the president is we don't have very much time to take this action. 2 January is not that far way, so there's a lot of concern among many of us that this is really possible.>

In his new role... McMahon says he plans to educate the Central Georgia community on the possible impacts of threats to Robins.

He says if Congress can't reach an agreement by the January deadline... the largest impact to Robins would likely be the loss of civilian jobs.

Today in our 13WMAZ Web Poll, we asked you if you feel...that the future of Robins Air Force Base is secure.

44 percent of you responded, yes.

56 percent of you say no.

To vote now...log on to 13WMAZ-dot-com...and look for the poll question on the right side of the page.

Publishing company McGraw Hill is handing out 15-thousand dollars for the most effective approach to teaching science and math.

There's only one Georgia teacher in the running--- and he teaches 8th grade at Huntington Middle School in Warner Robins.

If he wins, the cash goes to improve teaching science and math at the school.

Candace Adorka spent the morning in class to see how they'd use the money.

When Jason Heath's science class takes on a concept-- for instance electricity-- they prefer learning by doing.

<IT's all connected, and then when I turn this on, it goes up really fast >

<you can sit there and go over the textbook all day long but until they get to experience all these things it really doesn't hit home till then>

Problem is-- those hands-on science tools aren't cheap.

So when he came across a competition offering 15-thousand dollars, he sprang into action.

<right now they're working on some cars, and we'll go an see how they're doing>

He and his students submitted a video of a lesson on motion to the McGraw Hill STEMIE awards.

It's one of 30 remaining entries from around the country.

<you know i'm not trying to brag but our video was by far the best. And, still not trying to brag but I think the lesson was the best, we just need some help with the voting part.>

Anyone can go online and vote for any of the 30 teachers-- but Heath says his school is one of those with the greatest need.

<the lesson that we did do, the science of speed, I paid for everything, and we were only able to do it with a small group because of that>

He says with 15-thousand dollars-- they could update the essentials...

<this funnel that used to be clear... Not really that clear any more>

and still have cash left over.

<class set of Ipads definitely. The snap electronic kits we only have three, so if we could up that to ten so seven more of those. Interactive atom kits..." >

Huntington is more than 800 votes behind the front runner-- a high school visual arts teacher in Pella, Iowa.

<when I was looking up their information, it seemed like they don't really need the money.>

It's stiff competition, but Heath's students say, it's nothing Georgia can't handle.

Candace Adorka, 13 wmaz eyewitness news.

If you want to vote for Jason Heath...We can link you to the McGraw Hill page. Just look for this story at 13WMAZ-dot-com.

A family renting a home in Macon is somewhat relieved, after a huge amount of debris that covered their yard since Tuesday is gone.

Renter Anita Thorpe was worried about her family's safety when the huge tree came down Tuesday.

City workers wouldn't move the tree because of the possibility it would hit the house.

The homeowner called in a tree removal service.. which got the job done today.

While Thorpe is glad she can get to her house, she would like the tree cut down completely.

It's been a week since two men were shot to death in east Macon.

As Austin Lewis explains.... police are still looking for clues in the deaths of 26-year-old Antonio Fluellyn and 25-year-old Deundre Emory.

I'm Austin Lewis and I am outside the house off Cowan Street where two men, Antonio Fluellyn and Deundre Emory were shot last Thursday. Police found Fluellyn dead when they arrived here...and they say Emory was taken to the Medical Center of Central Georgia where he died later.

Investigators say they questioned one person of interest in the case this week. That man, Rodney Lanier Lowery, is in the Bibb County jail on an unrelated probation violation charge.

Polices spokeswoman Jami Gaudet told me that Lowery remains a person of interest in this case....but she won't comment further.

She says they're still looking for help from the public.

And she says tips from the public...even the small ones can make a difference.

<Jami Gaudet: when we have these bits of information from people who live in the area or know the victims or know the suspects or have some relationship to the area where the crime occurred, we never know where that one piece of information is gonna crack a case for us. >

I called both the Fluellyn family and the Emory family today....both declined comment. The Emory family told me that they were busy with funeral plans. Deaudra emory will be buried

We have new information on a story we brought you yesterday...about a G-B-I search in Peach County.

Rodney Wall....agent in charge of the GBI's Perry office...says the search was connected to the case of Teresa Dean...the Twiggs County girl who disappeared in 1999.

Wall says a tip led them to the Peach County home...where they used ground-penetrating radar to search for a pit.

But after two hours searching...they found nothing.

He had no further details on the case...and the Twiggs County sheriff's office did not return our phone calls.

We have new information on a story we brought you yesterday...about a G-B-I search in Peach County.

Rodney Wall....agent in charge of the GBI's Perry office...says the search was connected to the case of Teresa Dean...the Twiggs County girl who disappeared in 1999.

Wall says a tip led them to the Peach County home...where they used ground-penetrating radar to search for a pit.

But after two hours searching...they found nothing.

He had no further details on the case...and the Twiggs County sheriff's office did not return our phone calls.

Here's a correction to a story we brought you last week...on the killing of Joel Taylor of Warner Robins.

Friends of Taylor last week told us he had multiple sclerosis...but his mother says...that's not so.

Patricia Taylor today told us he had sickle cell anemia....epilepsy...and other health issues...but not M-S.

She said she has no clue why someone broke into his apartment last week...and shot him...but suspects that someone thought he'd be an easy victim.

She called her son....a loving and spiritual young man.

This morning...breakfast came with a 4.25 million dollar fundraising goal...for the hundreds of volunteers who helped kick off the United Way of Central Georgia campaign at the Wilson Convention Center this morning.

Every year, the money helps fund 50 local health and human service programs that serve 14 counties throughout Central Georgia.

The fund raising drive is expected to last four months.



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