Eyewitness News at 6, October 11, 2012

10:51 PM, Oct 11, 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..
  Investigators from a Georgia state agency showed up at Macon's Progressive Christian Academy today to question staff members.
  Candace Adorka was there... And talked to parents....school staff...and the investigators.
  She's here to tell us more.
  the investigators were on scene late this afternoon.
  They were from the Bright from the Start agency...which oversees day care centers.
  The agency representative at the school wouldn't comment on what brought her there.
But a spokesman in Atlanta released a statement that said...in part.....
 "The Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning is currently conducting an investigation into Progressive Christian Academy in Macon concerning potential employee issues.
 Because this is an open investigation, we cannot comment further at this time. 
However, several parents and a staff member raised concerns to 13WMAZ about the background of the couple that owns the school.
Their names are Christina and John Hawkins.
One employee we spoke to claimed that Christina Hawkins has a criminal record....and showed us a mugshot of a woman named Christina Perera on the Florida Department of Corrections website. She said Perera is the same woman...who now owns the school.
We looked up the couple's records in Florida...and here's what we found:
   The Hawkins' both have a criminal background from Florida. According to the Florida Department of Corrections...
    Christina Perera Hawkins is currently on felony probation from Florida for 2 counts of depositing a check with intent to fraud.
    She was released from prison in April.
    Her criminal record shows she served jail time for a 2006 organized fraud charge.. for an amount between 20 and 50 thousand dollars.
    She was also convicted of grand theft in 2009.
    John Hawkins also has a criminal history according to the Florida Department of Corrections.
    He served time for 2 burglaries from 2002.. and he also had a misdemeanor DUI in 2010.
They could not be reached for comment. A woman who answered the phone at Progressive Christian Academy had no comment.
The school is located on Madison Street in Macon's Pleasant Hill neighborhood.
A Bright from the Start spokesman said the agency is involved because there is a state-licensed day care at Progressive Christian Academy.
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   A Macon murder investigation...took a new twist today.
     58-year old Gail Spencer was found dead in her home on Stinsonville Road last weekend.. An autopsy showed she was suffocated.
     Brittiny Barber has been following this case.. Brittiny what's the latest?
     Today the investigation led officers to a creek at the Bibb-Houston County line.
     Rescue divers from the-Macon Bibb Fire Department combed the area... As police investigators watched from the bridge.
     They would not comment on what they were looking for.. Or what led them to this site.
     But Sgt. Melanie Hofmann says the search is connected to the murder of Gail Spencer.
     Divers focused most of the day on one area of the creek.. Just east of the bridge.
      As of right now... They are still on the scene... And an investigator told us they're not sure when they'll wrap up.
   Also earlier this morning... police arrested a fourth person charged with Spencer's death.
     23-year old Keith Anthony Dozier from Warner Robins is also charged with felony murder.
      He had his first court appearance today... Where Judge Cedric Leslie told him his charge... And explained he would not set bond.
     Dozier waived his right to a commitment hearing... Where investigators would have to explain the charge against him.
     Two of his fellow defendants... Tracy Jones and Michael Brett Kelly also waived that right.
     Courtney Kelly said she did not understand the charges against her... And will have a commitment hearing on October 24.
     All four....are being held without bond in the Bibb County jail.
     One of our reporters.. Jennifer Mouliett... said she met Dozier yesterday... While trying to talk to people in the apartment complex where Jones and Brett Kelly live.
     She said Dozier walked up and asked what was going on.
     When she told him about the arrest.. She said he started crying... Saying Brett Kelly was his friend.
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   Parents of students at Bibb County's Springdale Elementary have been warned about two separate knife incidents.
   School officials sent home a letter explaining that two pocket knives were taken to school by students.
   Principal Amy Duke sent the letter, which did not explain how the knives were found or what happened to the students.
   The two incidents were separate.
   Parents are warned to check their children's book bags and clothing to make sure they're not bringing anything dangerous to school.
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Right now...the Bibb County sheriff's department is investigating a shooting late this afternoon in Payne City.
It happened just over an hour ago.
And officers on the scene said someone chased a woman on foot along the train tracks...then shot at her...behind the Shamrock bar.
She reportedly got only minor injuries.
So far...there are no further details.
We'll update this story when more details are available....at 13wmaz-dot.com.
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 Some state lawmakers representing Central georgia banded together today in opposition of the charter school amendment on the November ballot. 
Amendment one reads, "Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow state or local approval of public charter schools upon the request of local communities."
The amendment would allow a state commission to approve charter school petitions that have been rejected on the local level. 
Representatives Nikki Randall, James Beverly and Patty Bentley, along with Senator Miriam Paris say that power is best left with locally-elected school board members. 
<electing school board members to be about the business of education in our communities and then telling them, but theres a committee up in Atlanta that knows nothing about our children, that has not had a hand in raising our children, but they're gonna have the authority to say, well, you all don't know. I think that's unfair, I think it's disrespectful, I think it is just not in the best interest of our children.".>
The press conference was ahead of a discussion panel where the legislators invited state schools superintendent John Barge to discuss various education issues. A couple school board members, a city councilman and a handful of community members listened and posed questions. Barge was asked about his stance on the charter school issue. He said he's mainly worried about how it would affect the state's tight education budget. 
<those students in those schools would be receiving basically double the amount of state dollars that are going to students in traditional public schools or the local approved charter schools and that was an effort to make up for the local funding that they weren't receiving but the problem would lie in lets take that average approval of 7 schools if the amendment passes and the agency is recreated, and we begin approving 7 schools a year, if you extend that out 5 years, 7 schools a year for 5 years because a charter is good for 5 years, the cost to the state in that extra money going to those students I just talked about would be about 450 million a year.>
     Supporters of the charter school amendment say it would give parents a choice in schooling for their children. 
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     As we told you earlier..Vice President Joe Biden and challenger Paul Ryan will be debating live tonight at 9 p-m.
     And another debate is coming your way....tomorrow night.
     That's when congressman Sanford Bishop debates his challenger John House...live...right here on 13wmaz.
     It begins at 5-30 p-m...right after Eyewitness News at 5. 
     You can also watch the Bishop House debate live tomorrow...at 13wmaz-dot.com.
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   The One Hundred Black Men Organization held their 2012 Career Fest at the Macon Centreplex this morning.
     The event is geared toward helping students choose a career path after graduation.
     More than 4,000... 11th and 12th graders from central georgia attended the event. 
     The students talked to college recruiters and picked-up information about each college and how to prepare.
     More than 60 colleges and technical institutions were on hand.... Along with some local businesses like Robins Federal Credit Union and Macon Power... plus branches of the military.
<At first I didn't know what In was going to do but since I came I was like okay and I been looking at different things. It got me motivated to do these things>
< I've learned that each college is different and they offer a variety of different schloarships and variety of programs.  Each college has it's own identity >
This marks the 15th year that the 100 Black Men have held the Career Fest.


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  The Georgia National Fair is headed into its final weekend in Perry...
    You've still got time to enjoy the rides, the food and the fun...
     Jennifer Moulliet is out at the fairgrounds checking out the sights and sounds..
     Hey Jennifer!
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 As we mentioned..one of the big attractions at the Georgia National Fair or any fair is the food..
   Today web poll asks...
    Do you enjoy fair food?
    So far 80 percent of you say yes..
   20 percent say no.
   To vote now... Visit 13WMAZ.com.
   Look for the question on the right side of the homepage.
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     Crews plotted the newest section of the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail and work should begin soon. 
     A G-DOT construction grant and money from New Town Macon made paying for this part of the trail possible.
     It's mapped out to be a half mile long... And will run alongside Riverside Drive... from the cemetery's gatehouse.
     It will  include a 300 foot... elevated boardwalk that will run through a tree canopy.
     The boardwalk will end with an overview of Vineville Branch creek.
" When you build a trail you want to find the prettiest place you can to put it.  Riverside cemetary certainly fits that bill."
   The project will take about a year to finish. 



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