It's been 17 months since construction finished up... But the new Dodge county Jail still has no inmates.
County leaders have struggled to find the funds to hire additional staff and buy equipment needed to open.
As Brittiny Barber shows us... Even with the doors closed the facility's costing taxpayers money.
The doors to the new Dodge County Law Enforcement Center remain locked.
But that hasn't kept out the problems.
< What we do now is we're trying to just fix and stay ahead >
Sheriff Jeff Hinson says the contractors warranty ran out on June 15th.
Since then fixing issues like a leaky roof... Or a backed up water system come out of his budget.
< Having those kinds of problems already early on I'm sure time we get in we'll have even more problems >
< Brittiny It cost about $5 million initially in SPLOST money to build the jail, but even sitting here empty it's still costing taxpayers money >
The Sheriff's Office says since the warranty ran out they've paid a little more than $3,000 for repairs.
Add that to the $14,000 spent on up-keep at the old jail since completion of the new one... And an average of $6,000 a month the Sheriff says they pay for electricity at the new building.. You get a total of about $119,000.
That's not including the nearly $26,000 spent just this year.. To house their prisoners in other counties.
<I think it should be used I mean why build something like that if you're not going to make use of it >
Some say the fact that the county hasn't made use of the new building... shows breakdown in local government.
< I just feel terrible that we've had bitter fighting about our jail and things are being lost, money's being lost >
Dodge County Commissioners this week *did give the go-ahead to except bids for furnishing the rest of equipment needed. That includes beds.. Linens and uniforms for staff and prisoners.
A step in the right direction according to the Sheriff.
< You know we get to walk around and say i'd be nice to be here.Now we can see maybe a little light at the end of the tunnel and hopefully the money will work out with the county >
The County manager Bobby Peacock says he expects Commissioners to approve funding for the equipment.. As soon as the Sheriff brings them the bids.
Brittiny barber 13wmaz eyewitness news.
Before they can open the jail.. The Sheriff has to hire 17 additional staff members.
His office says that will cost about 548-thousand dollars.
The county has not approved the money for that.
A state ethics panel has reprimanded a Washington County judge who admitted driving...and speeding... under the influence.
The state Judicial Qualifications Commission this week announced its reprimand against Robert W. Wommack, Jr.
He's the county's State Court judge.
In March, Wommack pleaded guilty in Laurens County to DUI and speeding, according to the commission.
His sentence included 12 months' probation...a 945 dollar fine...and a license suspension.
The judge voluntarily disqualified himself from hearing DUI cases.
The commission issued the reprimand this week...after a private meeting with the judge.
Tonight...another judge's reported failure to pass a DUI test...may lead to discipline against the officers who let him drive home.
Bibb County's sheriff plans to announce tomorrow...whether he will take action against the officers.
Jerry Modena has scheduled a news conference for 2 p.m. Thursday.
This comes after last month's traffic stop for Superior Court Judge Howard Simms.
The sheriff says Simms registered a .083 on a breathalyzer.
That's over the normal standard for drunken driving.
Modena said his officers did not follow procedure...and used poor judgment..by letting Simms drive home.
Tonight...on 13WMAZ... you'll see the first bi-partisan debate of the presidential election cycle.
President Obama and Mitt Romney are in Denver.
That's the site of the first of three debates.
The focus.... domestic policy... with the economy expected to dominate.
Also on the agenda... health care and the tax divide.
Organizers say as many as 60 million people could tune in.
You can watch CBS coverage right here on 13WMAZ starting at 9.
Then...on Eyewitness News at Eleven... we'll wrap up the key points and have reaction from local political activists who are going to be here at our studios, watching along with us.
Or...if you'll be away from your Tv... We'll be streaming the debate. You can Check it out at 13WMAZ-dot-com.
Also on our homepage today... we asked if you've ever changed your vote after watching a debate?
9 percent of you say yes... 91 percent say you have not.
There are a little less than three hours until the debate... but there's plenty of time for you to vote in our web poll.
You'll find it on our homepage on the right hand side of the screen.
Downtown Macon is seeing a growth in shoppers... Because of the Mulberry Street Market.
The market is possible because of a USDA Farmers Market grant.
The grant awards more than 87 thousand dollars to the cause of helping local farmers to sell their products.
It also encourages people to eat healthy... by purchasing fresh foods at affordable prices.
Fred Ammons, CEO of Community Health Works, says the market should not be confused with a flea market.
He says the difference between the two is outlined in a work plan... that is issued to all farmers involved.
< Unlike many other markets the food items here come from central Georgia.>
The market is open weekdays from 4 to 7.
But sometimes the outcome of a big blow isn't something to cheer about.... Like a concussion.
Katelyn Heck joins us with more.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says that one out of every ten athletes in a contact sport will get a concussion each season.
Tonight we're explaining the basics of the brain injury and breaking down more of the numbers.
3.9 million... The number of concussions each year in the US according to the CDC.
7 out of 10... That's how many concussions the CDC says....go undiagnosed.
Womens soccer... The second-leading sport for concussions...after football.
When the brain moves around inside your head and hits the walls of your skull... That's when a concussion can happen.
It doesn't always take a big blow to do the trick either... Purdue University researchers found that a series of smaller hits can do it.
And most happen WITHOUT the athlete ever losing consciousness.
According to the Concussion Coalition... Almost half of players don't report feeling ANY symptoms after a concussive hit.
In some cases, an athlete won't show any signs until almost three days later.
40... The number of states who have laws that regulate when a player can return to play after a concussion.
Georgia is not on that list.
A concussion isn't an injury you can see like a bruise or a twisted ankle... but there are signs and symptoms that help determine if you have one.
Dr. Kevin Stevenson with Piedmont Orthopedics is with me now... Dr. Stevenson, when you're evaluating an athlete... we know some of the big signs include headache and dizziness... but what else are you looking for?
There are a lot of misconceptions about concussions...What do you think is the number one thing people need to know about?
You've gone out to several schools in central Georgia talking not only signs and symptoms... but a new computerized test that looks at brain function called ImPACT. What kind of feedback have you gotten from players and coaches about this?
Nine designers under the age of 40... say they discovered the character of old homes.. While decorating Historic Macon's first ever.... Idea House.
The project recruited young decorators... Some professional, some novices... To showcase budget friendly ideas in small spaces.
As Lorra Lynch Jones shows you... They invite you to take a tour and some ideas from the Beall's Hill home.
Dr. Stevenson will be speaking at a free seminar in about two weeks on October 16th hosted by the group Parents Against Concussions. That event starts at 6:30 p.m. and runs until 8 at Mabel White Baptist Church off Bass Road in Macon.
In a group of nine stylish young people... Canaan Marshall wasn't sure his style meshed.
<I brought my own style I guess (laughs)>
He's not a professional decorator... so taking on the foyer of this Ash Street home proved a daunting task.
<I wanted the foyer because I think it creates the entryway for the home, and also sets the stage and presence for the home.>
Interior decorator Andrea Crawford took a bedroom...
<My favorite part of the room is the headboard, by far>
The others tackled the rest of the house... challenged with designing on a dime... or at least a budget.
<I have usually shopped in antique stores with really fine antiques as opposed to flea markets>
Thats stretched their creative limits.. and they came-up with some one-of-a-kind designs.
<I grabbed an old window pane from the 1900's and used it as a table top.>
<Putting the bed at an angle actually created the perfect focal point. When you walk into this bedroom, it's the first thing you see.>
People can check-out all their ideas during tours that benefit Historic Macon.
Marshall says people may pick-up inspiration for their own house... or proof that a little love in historic homes goes a long way.
<the town is not down. Were reviving it.I call it the downtown chic. Were bringing it all back where it needs to be>
And along the way.. Marshall discovered he's got a decorator inside.
<I said oh my goodness. It all came together!>
In Macon, Lorra Lynch Jones, 13WMAZ, Eyewitness News.
Tours of the Idea House at 11-16 Ash Street start this weekend... and go through next weekend.
Tickets cost 12 bucks and the money benefits Historic Macon.