Eyewitness News at 6, 10-1-12

11:11 PM, Oct 1, 2012   |    comments
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Bibb County's sheriff says some of his officers violated procedure..and used poor judgment...in letting a judge drive home after a DUI test.

Just a few minutes ago.... Jerry Modena released a statement on last month's traffic stop for Howard Simms...a Bibb County superior court judge.

It says Simms got a zero-point-eight three on his breathlyzer test. That's above the usual standard for drunken driving in the state of Georgia.

It happened September 22nd on Lamar Road...during a road check.

Modena's statement says an officer from a different agencY noticed the smell of alchohol coming from Simms' car...and asked a Bibb deputy to give him a breathalyzer.

He did...but the sheriff says the deputy failed to follow up with a standard field sobriety test.

The internal affairs investigation also showed that a Bibb captain decided to follow the judge...as he drove himself home. Modena calls that poor judgment.

The sheriff says he'll hold hearings with the officers involved...before deciding on discipline.

Judge Simms last week also released a statement on the stop. He said he's battled alcohol addiction...and that he would check into a rehab facility.

From Mobile, Alabama ...to Macon Georgia...Sarah Tenon is the new Macon-Bibb Animal Shelter director.

She has more than 23 years of animal shelter and animal control experience...and she's ready to shake things up at the embattled center.

Judy Le talked to a few activists who welcome her with open arms.

There's a fresh coat of paint in the foyer and bigger emphasis on cleanliness.

These small details are part of a change at Macon Animal Welfare that includes welcoming Sarah Tenon...the new director.

<I started out in the United States Army as a vetenary specialist back in 1981, straight out of highschool. I've worked at 5 different shelters, 3 different states>

The Hawkinsville native comes with 23 years of animal shelter and animal control experience.

<When you bring someone in that has no roots, I guess in the community, it's different. And she has roots in the community and I think it's going to be a good thing>

<I feel bad for her. She's coming in under such a cloud, but hopefully she can get things turned around. She's got lots of experience>

<It's a daunting task. It's a daunting task on a good day and a good shelter but it appears that she's capable>

The shelter...next to Macon's landfill...closed in July due to a roach and rat infestation. Now it's clsoed again for 14 days because of a parvo outbreak. But these problems aren't enough to chase Tenon away.

<We're just going to get in there and do the very best we can in this temporary situation>

Tenon says she hopes to keep euthanasia low...implement a pet retention program that offers help to owners...and start a fostering program.

Judy Le...13wmaz...eyewitness news

Bibb County Commissioner Lonzy Edwards says the ultimate solution to the current problem...is to build a new shelter. He says they expect to pick a site...within the next two weeks.

Central Georgia's largest hospital....also has a new leader..

Ninfa Saunders was recently named president and CEO of the Medical Center of Central Georgia... And today was her first day on the job.

Saunders has a nursing background and spent part of her young adulthood in Georgia.

After ten years in New Jersey...she said she returns to the area with her own nursing and management expertise and personal perspectives caring for her own loved ones.

Saunders succeeds former CEO Don Faulk who will stay on while Saunders gets settled on.

Last Friday, we brought you the story of a Warner Robins woman who lost her life savings of $800,000 to a scam from a man she met on match.com .

To many people...it raised the question when an adult child...should get involved...in their parent's business.

. Today, Carolyn's son Tommy Benningfield spoke to us about what he knew...and when. Tom George has his story...

{***SOT FULL***}

<you know, mom had come to me you know she was talking about a, you know a gentleman she'd come across online ... >

That's Tommy Benningfield ... Talking about the man his mother Carolyn met online...and according to the Benningfields... eventually took her entire life savings of $800,000.

Tommy lives with his daughter in the same Warner Robins house as his mom and says he wasn't suspicious of his mother's stories at first about why her friend needed money.

<you know I understand that does happen, a little bit of benefit of the doubt. >

But as time passed ... Tommy began to realize something might be wrong.

<you know I work the night shift schedule, so I was gone during the night. You know I'd get little bits and pieces here and there, and next thing you know things started sounding outrageous as far as the monies he was requesting. >

But by the time is was over, it was already too late.


<it snowballed bigger and faster than I thought it was, and then I got hit with ... It's all gone. >

He says he's since been behind his mom, helping her out ... But says she's always been financially independent...and with separate bank accounts and separate lives, he's never had a reason to monitor her money flow.

It's a common dilemma for what's called the "sandwich generation," adult children with their own responsibilities, even kids of their own...but also aging parents in their lives.

Dr. Susan Durr at Macon State says, it's important for parent and child to be able to talk adult to adult.

<If children do see yellow caution blinking lights, they have to be in a relationship with them to be able to monitor and begin to be aware of what's going on. >

<yeah you're upset, you're frustrated and a little mad but at the same time you gotta be there for the family. >

And for this family ...

< Life will go on >

They still have each other.

In Warner Robins, Tom George 13WMAZ Eyewitness News.

Benningfield says the FBI has told them their case is considered open, but not active... Carolyn also has a son in Florida, and says her entire extended family has been extremely supportive.

More fuel efficiency...better steering...and safer interiors... All features of the newest members of Macon Police Departement's cruiser fleet.

16 new Ford Interceptors, complete with interior options especially for police, were presented to officers at a ceremony today at the parking lot of Luther Williams Field.

Captains from each of the four precincts and the Support Services and Criminal Investigation Divisions selected which officers received the brand new cars.

The new vehicles were paid for by SPLOST money..

In today's 13WMAZ Web Poll...a chance to show your age.

Today... Marks the 30th anniversary of the compact disc.

Have you moved on to downloads only... Or do you still buy a CD now and then?



So far... 69 percent of you say yes...

31 percent have moved on.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Macon Mayor Robert Reichert presented a proclamation at City Hall this morning.

Dr. Tamica Means, Founder of A Means to Change, says the goal of her organization is to prevent and intervene with cases of domestic violence in the local area.

She says whenever one person is exposed to domestic violence, the impact is felt in the community.

Vote now... Log on to 13WMAZ-dot-com.

The webpoll's on the right side of our homepage.

< That's why it's so important that we heighten the awareness in the community so that we can eradicate domestic violence in Bibb County. >

According to the Bibb County Sheriff's office....so far this year...there have been nearly 300 cases of domestic violence in Bibb County.

A Central Georgia cancer survivor is throwing a party and you're all invited.

She says she puts on the annual fund raising event to celebrate and to educate others about the disease.

In tonight's Hero central central report... We talked to the Montezuma woman about why she does this year after year.

I always felt that everyone has a purpose and I feel my purpose now is to tell one and save one.>

A passion that Dawn James says she has had ever since she fought breast cancer and won. That was three years ago. Now this cancer survivor works to spread awareness about the disease.

After going through the traumatic diagnosis of being told that I have breast cancer. When I got well, I wanted to do something to give back to my community because so many people from all over helped me, as well as my family and my colleagues and friends.>

Armed with lots of pink Dawn spends time in the community at places like this Warner Robins Verizon store talking about the disease and her upcoming fund raiser.

It's called Dawn's Ta-Ta Celebration and is set for this Saturday at the Courtyard Marriott on Watson Blvd.

You can buy tickets now or get them at the door.>

She says the money raised will go to two cancer charities.

We decided to have a function and make it more like a party so people would remember. They'd come out and make small donations.

I hope everyone will come out and enjoy. If nothing else, you might not remember a lot about me or that night but I hope they remember how I made them feel about their bodies and going and getting themselves checked.>

She says, that's her ultimate goal.

I am a big advocate for just check the ta-tas. I was glad that I knew it and that I was able to check and find my own lump but some people are not as lucky.>

Dawn's Fund raising event to benefit breast cancer charity and research gets underway at 7:30pm Saturday at the Courtyard Marriott on Watson in Warner Robins.

Tickets are ten dollars.

You can buy them at the door or call 478-458-0063.

It's World Habitat Day...

And Macon's Habitat for Humanity celebrated by dedicating two homes in Lynmore Estates.

It's a story that comes.. Straight from the heart.

It's World Habitat Day...

And Macon's Habitat for Humanity celebrated by dedicating two homes in Lynmore Estates.

It's a story that comes.. Straight from the heart.


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