Eyewitness News at 6, October 9, 2012

10:54 PM, Oct 9, 2012   |    comments
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   Hello everyone.  Thank you for joining us. 
    I'm Frank Malloy.
     And I'm Leah Johnson.
     This is Eyewitness News at Six.
 Tonight's top story...
   Change could be on the way for people living in a west Macon Apartment complex.
    A federal inspector will visit Macon Garden Apartments next week to follow up on complaints about living conditions there..
     We first brought you this story last month about problems including mold, non-working a/c units and holes in the walls of several units.
     Tenants now report they have gotten letters from the property manager about a HUD inspection that will take place next week.
      We were able to get a copy of the note... and it said "you must have your apartment home in clean and good condition." 
     Some apartment rooms are plagued with cockroaches and gaping ceilings. 
     Some tenants we spoke with..say they don't believe the inspections will change a thing.
Shavonaree Lundy: "That letter has been sent out several times as far as them doing inspections.  They've came out several times with the same letter and what's on the letter..they say report all damages and leaks that we have.  We've reported all damages and leaks several times..Now they want us to report them because now they got HUD coming out to supposedly check for everything..so I just feel like that letter it don't mean anything."
     A HUD spokesperson says that the last time the complex was inspected it received a score of 35 out of 100.
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 Macon police are investigating the death of a woman found in her home.
That's according to Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones.
He said police  have not ruled 58-year-old Gail Spencer's death a homicide.... but are calling her death suspicious.
He said Spencer's car was missing. It's a silver 2004 Acura Integra TS....with a Georgia license plate of PDF 3869.
.he said...Macon-Bibb firefighters found her body around 3:30 a.m. Saturday in her home on Stinsonville Road After friends called 911 to report her missing....
 The coroner said autopsy results are expected back Wednesday.
We could not reach police spokeswoman Melanie Hofmann for comment.
Anyone with information on the case can call Macon Regional Crimestoppers at 877-68-CRIME. Again that's 877-68-CRIME.
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ll but one of the 184 patients exposed to a tainted batch of medication at a Macon clinic have been notified.
     That's according to Michelle Hodge.. administrator at the Forsyth Street Ambulatory Surgery Center.  Where the patients received the medication.
     She says they reduced the number from 189.... because that figure counted some patients who had received multiple injections.
     Dr. David Harvey District Health Director says anyone with symptoms should immediately go to a doctor.
     Symptoms could range from a headache to neurological problems.... stroke or even death.
     The latest number is 119 cases of meningitis across the country.. With 11 deaths.
     And Dr.  Harvey says the numbers may continue to grow.
" This could be a very very long process. The further we go I think the fewer cases we'll see  after a peak level, but I don't think we're to the peak yet. I hope we are but  I'm afraid we are not."
The investigation involves the Centers for Disease Control and state and local health agencies.
     Some who've shown symptoms could have grounds for possible lawsuits.
     Macon lawyer Mike Cranford says they could seek compensation for medical bills.. Or pain and suffering.
     But for those still waiting to see if symptoms develop... It's a different story.  
"Here's the situation in a deal like that. You have a lawsuit because you were harmed by the psychological fear of it all, but the bottom line is you go through the process and at the end of the day the jury comes up and say ok well you were scared but you wasn't hurt, so you get a dollar for your troubles. So, it's one of those types of situations unfortunately people just have to live in fear because it's really not  something that's compensable."    
     The Macon clinic was one of many that received tainted shipments of steroid injections.     
They're used to treat back pain. 
     A Massachusetts pharmacy is suspected of supplying them.
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  Today's 13 WMAZ web poll asks...Are you concerned about the safety of medical injections?
   So far...76 percent of you say yes..
   24 percent say no.
 To vote now... Visit 13WMAZ.com.
   Look for the question on the right side of the homepage.
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Counties across the area today reported busy offices and lines of people for the last day to register to vote ... Tom George stopped by the Bibb County Board of Elections in Macon to see check out the final day rush..
"It's time for a change ... It's time."
She's been eligible for several election years before....but Stephanie Kendrick plans to cast her first ballot next month.
"I've been old enough a long time hahaha.... But I think it's down to the wire."
And Tuesday it came down to wire ... on the last day to register to vote in Georgia.
"We as a people need to come together and do what's right."
So after filling out her application, Kendrick got in line at the Board of Elections in Macon ... joining crowds of hundreds of others who waited until the last day.
"I sure do, I always put it off until the last minute, but I wasn't gonna put it off this year"
"You don't vote, you don't count. So I had to get on out here, last day,  and get it done."
"And I got a text from my friend, or my roommate, to please make sure and go vote ... Go register to vote."
"Today's registration deadline comes less than a week before early voting begins in Georgia right here at the Board of Elections on Monday."


Elections Supervisor Elaine Carr says as long as you've signed up by Tuesday's deadline... you can bring an ID and vote early.
"Once we put them in the system, it'll take them a good two weeks to get a registration card that will tell them where they would go vote, so don't panic if it's like a week later."


Getting people ready


"Register to vote."
to make history in Macon, Tom George, 13WMAZ Eyewitness News.
Now the elections office closed at 5:30, but if you're watching now and aren't registered, you can still register in person.  Some libraries are still open until 9 p.m.
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A 40-year-old criminal case has surfaced in the race for Peach County Coroner.
Jennifer Moulliet spent the day straightening out the facts.
She joins us now from the newsroom... Jennifer.
That's right Leah... We were told that the Secretary of State's office is investigating Otis Lee Daniel Jr.... Retired Fort Valley Fire Chief... who is now running against Kerry Rooks for Coroner in Peach.
This is true.
According to Jared Thomas ... Press Secretary for Secretary of State... Brian Kemp... Retired Peach County Fire Captain Tony West filed a complaint alleging Otis Lee Daniel Jr. 
"Put false information on his qualification form in that the candidate was convicted of a felony."..
According to this court document. Daniel WAS convicted of a felony .. In August 1972... When he was seventeen years old... He pled guilty to burglary.
Daniel told me he never served time in prison.
And he gave us this document from the state Board of Pardons and Paroles...showing that he was pardoned in 1988. 
He declined to go on camera...saying he didn't want to fuel the lies.We spoke to Tony West... The man who filed the complaint.
He's also retired from the Fort Valley Fire Department. He was a captain...at the same time Daniel was chief.
He says he has no vendetta against the candidate...but says he should be disqualified because of the felony...even though he was pardoned.
West points to line F of the affidavit that Daniel signed....to run for coroner. It says 
"I have not been convicted of a felony offense or any offense involving moral turpitude contrary to the laws of this state or any other state or the United States."
Under Georgia law...moral turpitude includes crimes like theft. 
However....another document signed by Daniel says:
"If so convicted that my civil rights have been restored and at least ten years have elapsed from the date of completion of the sentence without subsequent conviction of another felony involving moral turpitude."
Since Daniel was convicted forty years ago...and has been pardoned...this should allow him to run.  
Daniel's opponent Kerry Rooks says he's friends with West but said he didn't know anything about the complaint he filed.
   Peach Couny's Elections Superintendent... Michelle Riley says the county election board will meet to  decide whether Otis Lee Daniel Jr. Is eligible to run for coroner. 
     They have not yet set a meeting date.
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  House District 140 went from four counties to seven. And with the territorial expansion...comes a new name... District 144.
 Republican Bubber Epps...the current state representative...will run against challenger Mary Ann Whipple-Lue. 
   Judy Le talked to the two running mates on jobs...what they have to offer...and why each should win. 
Democrat Mary Ann Whipple-Lue challenges Republican incumbent Bubber Epps for the House District 144 seat. Epps has served as state representative for two terms. The businessman says he'd like continue what he calls...good policies.
"To maintain our state's triple a bond rating and to allow us to help finance projects in our state that we don't necessarily have the revenue on hand to do."
Whipple-Lue says Epps had 4 years to turn these rural counties around...but little has changed. She considers her Gordon upbringing an advantage....that gives her insight into the community.
"With me being born in this area, then I pretty much know the people in this district and what they are desiring"
Both candidates want to bring more jobs to the new expanded district...but have different approaches.
"We put together a packaged deal to be able to promote this idea, sell them this idea that if you relocate to our area, this is what we plan to have in place for you. Some type of incentive."
"Our primary concern should be to address small business owners that exist in this area and create an environment and climate and where possible, create a funding source that will encourage them to not only create jobs but also maintain existence."
Epps is seeking a third term...and after the last election...he switched from the Democratic party to Republican. He says he did it for the good of the district."
 "My makeup did not always follow the alignment of the democratic platform, not to malign them in anyway."
But as Whipple-Lue surrounds herself with blue inspiration...she says she's disappointed. She says she helped get Epps elected...but his switch broke the community's trust.
"I would say when i'm elected, i pledge my total dedication."
Both candidates have served at the county level...Epps as a Twiggs County county commissioner and Whipple-Lue on Wilkinson County's Board of Education.
Judy Le...13WMAZ, Eyewitness News
House District 144 includes Twiggs... Wilkinson and Bleckley counties ... and part of Jones... Bibb... Houston and Laurens counties.
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  Help with fire emergencies could arrive faster for some people in Perry. 
     The Perry Fire Department broke ground on a new fire station today to cut down on response times.
   The new Davis Farms Fire Station will be at Langston Road and Houston Lake Road... at the Highway 127 Loop.
   Perry Fire Chief Joel Gray says faster response times.. Mean lower insurance rates for homeowners.
   Right now, getting to a call from the east side of town takes up to 15 minutes.
Joel Gray: "The thing that we suffer from every day right now is anxiety that the call that comes in is from the east part of town because as badly as we want to be there as quickly as we can to have a positive effect on either a medical emergency or a fire, that 11-15 minute response is putting us behind the 8-ball as far as being able to do our job effectively."
   Gray says he expects the new station to reduce response times to less than 5 minutes. 
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   Armband days are underway at the Georgia National Fair..
That means you pay one price for unlimited rides through Thursday..
    While you're there, snap a few pictures of your fun at the fair.
   Send them to photos at 13 WMAZ dot com and we might share them on our website..

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