Eyewitness News at 11, October 11, 2012

11:09 PM, Oct 11, 2012   |    comments
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  Vice President Joe Biden and GOP opponent Paul Ryan face off in their first and only debate of the 2012 campaign.... with a back and forth about the deadly attack on the U-S consulate in Libya...
   Good evening and thanks for joining us.
   I'm Leah Johnson
    And I'm Frank Malloy.
 Eyewitness News Reporter Randall Savage watched the debate with local representatives of both parties...
   Republican Jason Downey and Democrat Danny Glover..
A Telfair State Prison correctional officer has died after being assaulted at the prison in Helena Thursday night.  
Georgia Department of Corrections spokeswoman Gwendolyn Hogan confirmed the death by phone.  
  Hogan says they can't release any details because the attack is under investigation.  
13WMAZ will update the story as soon as more details become available.
   A search connected to last week's murder of 58-year-old Gail Spencer has wrapped up for the night.
   Spencer was found dead in her home on Stinsonville Road last Saturday morning.
An autopsy showed she was suffocated.
     Rescue divers from the-Macon Bibb Fire Department combed an area near Echeconnee Creek in south Bibb County.. 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.
 Police have also arrested a fourth person in Spencer's death.
     23-year old Keith Anthony Dozier from Warner Robins is charged with felony murder.
      He had his first court appearance today. Judge Cedric Leslie read 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.
The Bibb County sheriff's office is investigating a shooting that happened late this afternoon in Payne City.
   Officers on the scene said people had chased a woman on foot along the train tracks...then shot at her behind the Shamrock Restaurant.
Investigators said a passerby called 9-1-1..
The woman reportedly received only minor injuries as was treated at the Medical Center of Central Georgia.

   State investigators are asking questions at a private school in Macon...
   They showed up at Progressive Christian Academy today to speak with staff members.
  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. 
    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 found that both have criminal backgrounds in Florida..
     According to the Florida Department of Corrections, Christina Perera Hawkins is on probation for 3 counts of depositing a check with intent to fraud.
     She was released from prison in April.
    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.
    The couple could not be reached for comment.
    A Bright from the Start spokesman said the agency is involved because there is a state-licensed day care at Progressive Christian Academy.
      Some state lawmakers representing Central georgia banded together today to oppose the charter school amendment on the November ballot. 
   "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. 
    After the press conference, the legislators invited state schools superintendent John Barge to talk about other issues at City hall.
     Barge was asked about his stance on the charter school issue.
     He says local school districts are strapped for cash from the state, and charter schools approved by the proposed state commission would cost extra. 
<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 aproving 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.>
    Amendment 1 will be on the November ballot.
 In Florida...there are allegations of race-based expectations in public schools..
  Kaitlyn Ross of our Gannett sister station in Jacksonville explains what this is all about..
NATS: (Marquita and her daughter laughing) 
Track: Marquita Wilson wants the best for her daughter. 
She's a senior at William Raines High School and she expects her to do well after graduation. 
SOT: 5:12: The world is competitive and well rounded. You have to be able to present both. 
Track: But the new strategic vision generated by the Department of Education doesn't have the same expectations for all students. 
The Board of Education just approved a plan for the next six years that factors in a students race as an indicator of success. 
SOT: 6:02: The students should be measured for where they are, because the color of your skin doesn't determine that.
Track: The statistics laid out by the department of education tell a different story.
They broke the goal's down in math and reading, here are the reading numbers:  
By 2018, 90% of Asian students are expected to be reading at grade level. 
But only 88% of white students, 81% of Hispanic students, and 74% of black students are expected to do the same. 
74% is not an acceptable number for Marquita Wilson. 
SOT: 6:20: It's definitely a negative connotation, especially for those who can achieve higher, and now you're saying all you have to achieve is THIS. 
Track: Before the Board of Education approved the strategic plan, some members raised the same questions. 
SOT: 235:20: If Asians can have a goal of 90% in reading, why can't whites, and other subcategories. So I would just ask my fellow board members if we are happy with the signal this sends? 
SOT: 237:28: It would be making a heck of a statement, wouldn't it John, to say this is what we expect hispanics and african americans will be able to accomplish compared to other groups and just leave it at that. You throw up a big  question there.
Track: Other subcategories were included in the plan... 
With disabled students, economically challenged students, and English learners all under 80% reading by 2018. 
Board Members in support of the strategic vision argued that the numbers they're aiming for in all categories would be an improvement on current levels. 
Though statistically each racial group is not expected to improve at the same rate. 
SOT: 238:55: I think we need to be realistic in our ability to impact those at the same degree.
Track: The Board voted to approve the plan, which will now be the gold *standard for every school in Florida. 
Marquita Wilson thinks it's a shame the state doesn't hold all their children to the same *standard.
SOT:  4:34: They all go to school together, they live in society together, work on the same jobs, so the standards should meet across the board for all of the kids.
The Board of Education is tasked with formulating one strategic vision for the entire state, and now it's up to the school districts to meet these goals. 
 Let's face it... There are all kinds of signature food items at the fair... And most of them aren't healthy.
But one Dietician says it's okay to eat your favorites when they come to town once a year.
Lisa Carter says one day of splurging shouldn't hurt your eating habits.
But she says if you're worried... Split your favorite items... Sit down while eating them...and be careful on the toppings.
<lisa Carter, Registered Dietitian: "another excellent source of fiber is popcorn of course you have to be careful what you put on it You don't want to load it down with butter and salt of course this has some added in already and again I say a couple of times a year I think we're okay.">
Carter says if you're worried about your diet Houston Healthcare offers a Healthy Living for Life program that's free with a doctor referral.
 For more information look for this story on our website WMAZ dot com

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