Eyewitness News at 11, October 15, 2012

10:40 PM, Oct 15, 2012   |    comments
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Good evening.
   Thanks for joining us.
   I'm Frank Malloy.
   Leah Johnson has the night off.
   This is Eyewitness News at 11.
 Tonight's top story..
    There will be one less candidate in Peach County for next month's election..
   Today, the county Board of Elections voted to remove a candidate from the coroner's race.
Katelyn Heck explains how an exception in the state law played a large part in their decision.
40 years ago... at 17 years old... Otis Lee Daniel Junior pleadED guilty to burglary... Which is a felony.
Documents from the Board of Pardons and Paroles show Daniel was pardoned in 1988.
And the pastor at the church Daniel attends says his contributions to the community outshine the dark mark on his record.
"Fire department chief, he's an officer in the church, he's been an upstanding citizen in Peach County for many years."
But the conviction came back to haunt Daniel when he put his name in the hat in for Peach County coroner.
According to state law... Daniel can run for elected office... Since the conviction happened more than 10 years ago... and all of his civil rights were given back.
However, an attorney for the Board of Elections says that's not true for all positions.
He says the pardon rule does not apply for anyone running for coroner, sheriff, tax commissioner, or clerk of court. A convicted felon can't run for those seats...even if they've been pardoned.
"The coroner is the person who is appointed to take the position of sheriff if the sheriff is not available or is removed or has to leave office. So the law pertains to both the sheriff and the coroner."
In a three to one vote... The Board of Elections decided to remove Daniel from the ballot.
"I feel that it was unfair. We're going to wait 40 years to bring up something on a man that was still going from a child to a adult."
"The law is what it is. I don't interpret the law. We don't interpret the law as a board; we just apply it."
Daniel has ten days to appeal their decision.
Katelyn Heck 13WMAZ Eyewitness News
 Daniel says he does plan to appeal the decision to the Superior Court. He would not comment any further on the hearing.
Last week, his opponent Kerry Rooks told 13WMAZ he did not know about the complaint against Daniel.
Tony West, the man who brought up Daniel's record, was not at Monday's hearing.
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     Council members in Warner Robins gathered at The Homer J Walker Jr. Municipal Complex for a council meeting.
Jennifer Moulliet was there and gives us an inside look. 
Mayor Chuck Shaheen recognized city employees at Monday's City Council meeting for their years of service in the community.
Council also recognized Retired Fire Captain Randy Mullis... Mullis died last month of complications following a heart attack... His family was presented with a plaque.
Council members passed several ordinances... Including keeping the millage rate the same as the previous year... And passing an ordinance that would crack down on gaming machines.
"We've got quite a few of them in Warner Robins and they're popping up everywhere and we've had quite a few robberies at these particular stores." 
The ordinance requires business owners to submit monthly reports showing how much money they make... the machines have to be in plain view... And can't be within a hundred yards of a housing authority property.
Mayor Chuck Shaheen says the new ordinance is about safety. 
"We want to make sure that we're protecting people that go into the convenience stores and for the owners as well there's been a lot of crime in these convenience stores."
Councilman Shealy says it may even cut down the number of stores that are popping up. 
"Some of them are really small stores and it doesn't take much to open one of them up, but with the safety factors of those videos in there I think you're going to see a little slow down on those stores opening up."
In Warner Robins... Jennifer Moulliet 13WMAZ eyewitness News. 
     There was also some debate among council members before passing and amended version of their Master Lease plan... Or the equipment the city plans to buy for the police and fire departments.
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Chief Robert Singletary asked for two pumper fire trucks... One to replace an older 1991 model.. And the other to go in their new fire station.
But some council members said because they haven't even started building the new station they shouldn't buy a new truck for it. 
Mayor Chuck Shaheen says removing the other fire truck is only temporary
"Chief Singletary was very understanding because a fire truck is like half a million dollars so I think he was just trying to work with us to try to reduce the amount a little bit but we're going to have to put it right back on in about a month because we need to pursue a fire station on highway 96."
Other things on the master lease were ten new police cars for the Warner Robins Police Department. 


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  Dr. Betty Tolbert, the longtime owner of Progressive Christian Academy in Macon is suing the current owners, saying they have a criminal background and defrauded her out of her school.
  The school had a positive reputation in the community for years under Tolbert's leadership.
  But several years ago....it fell into foreclosure. 
    Tolbert solicited Sunrise Enterprises to help the school get out of financial trouble.
   Instead, according to her lawsuit..Sunrise purchased the school for 200,000 dollars ... and brought in its own people run to the school as a for-profit institution.
That comes as a shock to some people in Macon...who have fond memories of Tolbert's years in charge. 
"They put a great focus on education, but also in ensuring that these children were complete people once they left the confines of the campus. I mean they pumped out  everything from doctors to lawyers to dentists."
   13WMAZ has tried repeatedly to get in contact with representatives from the Florida company to find the current owners, but they have not returned our phone calls.
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Bibb County's new animal shelter will be on Eisenhower Parkway....if county commissioners agree.
A citizens screening committee today picked a 10-acre spot at Fulton Mill Road and Eisenhower...just past Macon State College in west Bibb.
That's according to county spokesman Kevin Barrere.
They'll present their choice to the commissioners tomorrow...for a formal vote.
The current animal shelter is next to the city of Macon's landfill...and plagued with health and safety problems.
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    You may want to avoid Pine Street between Spring and New streets in the morning.
    A new million dollar SPLOST project is underway around the Medical Center of Central Georgia..
     When it's all said and done .... There will be new sidewalks throughout the project area with handicapped-accessible ramps .... There will be a median designed with trees and designated loading zones against the curb.
     There will also be crosswalks and concrete improvements in the intersections of New and Pine Streets and trees on the street instead of on-street parking. 
     The project is funded by local sales tax, the Medical Center and and G-DOT's transportation enhancement program.


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     President Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney have stayed off the campaign trail and behind closed doors as they prepare for their second face-off.
   Jim Acosta explains why the stakes are so high in tomorrow's presidential debate.
"Hello, hello! I brought some food!" 
AFTER JOKING THAT HIS DEBATE PREP WAS A "DRAG" LAST TIME AROUND, PRESIDENT OBAMA ASSURED SUPPORTERS AT A CAMPAIGN OFFICE OVER THE WEEKEND IN VIRGINIA HE'S HITTING THE BOOKS. 
"I'm gonna do my work. Everybody's so serious!" 
MITT ROMNEY WAS ONLY SEEN BRIEFLY DURING HIS PREPARATIONS... HEADING IN AND OUT OF CHURCH ON SUNDAY. IN ROMNEY'S SPARRING SESSIONS... OHIO SENATOR ROB PORTMAN IS ONCE AGAIN PLAYING THE PRESIDENT...WHILE ADVISER PETER FLAHERTY HAS THE ROLE OF MODERATOR... CNN'S CANDY CROWLEY. 
AS PORTMAN INDICATED SUNDAY, THE CAMPAIGN IS GETTING READY TO RUMBLE. 
"I think president Obama is going to come out swinging. I think he's going to have to compensate for a poor first debate and I think that will be consistent with what they've been doing this whole campaign." 
OVER AT OBAMA DEBATE PREP... THE PRESIDENT'S LONG TIME ADVISER ANITA DUNN IS PLAYING CROWLEY... WHILE MASSACHUSETTS SENATOR JOHN KERRY IS ONCE AGAIN STANDING IN FOR ROMNEY. 
THE PRESIDENT' TEAM VOWS HE WILL AMP UP HIS PERFORMANCE. 
"I think he's going to be aggressive in making the case for his view of where we should go as a country." 
THAT COULD BE A RISKY MOVE AND PERHAPS ALIENATE SOME IN THE AUDIENCE IN THIS DEBATE'S TOWN HALL STYLE FORMAT... PERHAPS EXPLAINING WHY AN OBAMA AIDE NOW SAYS THE PRESIDENT WILL BE "FIRM BUT RESPECTFUL." 
ADVISERS SAY THEY'RE PREPARED FOR ALL VARIABLES. 
"The president can change his style. He can change his tactics. He can't change his record." 
"I think Mitt Romney's performance was indeed, magical and theatrical." 
IT'S A HIGH WIRE ACT FOR BOTH CANDIDATES...WITH THE LATEST CNN POLL OF POLLS SHOWING THE RACE IS NECK AND NECK.. NOT JUST NATIONALLY. 
BUT IN THE THREE KEY SWING STATES OF FLORIDA... WHERE ROMNEY MAY HAVE A SLIGHT EDGE. 
OHIO... WHERE THE PRESIDENT MAY BE INCHES AHEAD. 
AND VIRGINIA.. WHERE IT'S ALMOST A TIE. 
A DEAD EVEN BATTLEGROUND MAP PUTS A PREMIUM ON TRADITIONALLY DEMOCRATIC STATES LIKE WISCONSIN... HOME TURF OF ROMNEY'S RUNNING MATE PAUL RYAN...  
"We haven't dedicated our electoral voters since 1984 to the republican nominee. it is time we changed that." 
The second of three debates will be a town hall format. 
It starts at 9 p-m Eastern and will be held at Hofstra University in New York. 
 You can watch it live right here on 13-WMAZ.
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    It was 28 years ago today that President Ronald Reagan paid a visit to Macon while campaigning for his second term as president.
   Then Macon mayor George Israel remembers the talking to the President.
George Israel, Former Macon Mayor:
"People were always so hard on him..the national media..but he was one of the most endearing..honest..down-to-earth, at ease people you could ever be around."
 Before President Reagan's visit, contenders for the Democratic nomination came to Central Georgia to woo voters. 
 Former astronaut John Glenn stumped in Milledgeville and civil rights leader Jesse Jackson came to Macon, but both men would ultimately lose the bid to Walter Mondale, who would ultimately lose to Ronald Reagan.


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  Hundreds of people in Bibb County came out today to cast their ballots early for the November election.
     Elections supervisor Elaine Carr said the turnout's typical for a presidential election.
     The line extended outside the board of elections office on Pio Nono.
     Most people we spoke to said they waited between an hour and an hour and half.
     Many says it was worth it to have their voices heard.
"On the first day to vote, to be one of the first people to vote that exciting to me and I wanted to take that opportunity
It doesn't what party you are people are interested in the issues."
     Early voting run though November 2.
     In Bibb County....the Board of elections is open from Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. To 5:30 p.m.
     There will also be one Saturday to vote early.. That's October 27th.
      For polling places and times in your county...contact your local board of elections.
     Election Day is Tuesday November 6.


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   Seven people... Deemed to have made major contributions to the City of Warner Robins.. Will be inducted into the city's first hall of fame class this weekend.
     Yvonne Elliott chaired the committee that started meeting two years ago to put the event together.
     She says Warner Robins is young city... And they want to recognize the people that made it what it is today.
     They received 24 nominations... And chose seven for the inaugural class. 
"It's just a bunch of great people, and for us to become the city we are today, is almost unheard of. But it just progressed. We just had some great, great leaders who went about forming our city."
     The Hall of Fame banquet is Saturday night at the Marriott Courtyard in Warner Robins.
     The event is sold out.



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