Eyewitness News at 6, October 16, 2012

11:21 PM, Oct 16, 2012   |    comments
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  Hello everyone.  Thank you for joining us. 
    I'm Leah Johnson.
     And I'm Frank Malloy.
     This is Eyewitness News at Six.
  Tonight's top story..
      Warner Robins center for sporting events and concerts is about to get an overhaul.
     The Houston County Board of Education gave the go ahead today to start spending education SPLOST money to renovate McConnell-Talbert Stadium.
     Lorra Lynch Jones shows you what's in the works.
Warner Robins High coaches Tommy Howell and Tom Mobley...
Spend a lot of time at McConnell-Talbert... With students...
And teams.
Howell coaches Warner Robins running backs...
"I am the play by play voice for Sports Mike Radio for all the Football games."
Mobley says Friday nights in the press box get a little tight.
"It's cramped. It really is. There's coaches up there, the people who run the score board, the clock, there's coaches for both sides."
And the stadium is about to get a new one... On the visitors side.
Two to three million dollars worth of renovations include that... Plus handicap seating... Concession stand upgrades... And new stadium lighting.
The second phase of work includes Drainage system maintenance and field house renovations.
"The stadium was built in the late 60's, early 70's. No major renovations or improvements have been done since that time."
Facilities director Jason Daniel says work will start as soon as football season ends... And the first phase will be complete by late June.
Mobley and Howell say the work may not enhance student athletic abilities... But it can only help the fan experience.
"It would give them a pleasant feeling when they left the stadium. Especially with the high qualilty football we play here in Houston County."
In Warner Robins, Lorra Lynch Jones, 13WMAZ, Eyewitness News.
  Also today... The board of education approved spending to replace the gym flooring at six elementary schools.
     Daniel said they're moving from carpet to a safer sports flooring that costs about 800-thousand dollars.

    Houston County School Board members also approved a plan to install cameras on the sides of 20 buses.
    The cameras will be used to catch drivers who illegally pass buses.    
    An outside company will manage the system. 
The revenue from any tickets will be split between the company, the sheriff's office and the school system.
    The sheriff's office would decide if the evidence warrants a ticket.. which would be mailed to the driver.
    Fines for going around a school bus stop arm are 300 dollars for the first offense... And 750 for the second.    


A controversial flier that some are calling offensive is causing a stir on the campus on Mercer University.
     The flier features a picture of Thomas Jefferson and says "celebrate White History Months" in November and December.
      It says whites need to "end the silence".... and that next month's election ballots "might as well say black and white."
      Some students said they were shocked to find the fliers on what they say is an otherwise welcoming campus.
"People were angry about it. A lot of people were hurt also about the flier only because it just. 
The way that everything was worded in it just bothered a lot of people."
Students say they're planning a rally tonight at 9:30 on campus to unite against the message on the flier.
     An autopsy shows an 11-year-old Macon girl who died this summer was beaten and starved.
   The girl's grandmother remains in the Bibb County Jail.. charged with her death. 
   49 year old Cynthia McClesky-Baldwin is charged with felony murder, child cruelty and first-degree cruelty to children -- family violence. 
   Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones says she took her granddaughter, Ruth Baldwin, to the urgent care center on Riverside Drive in July.
   The child was dead when they arrived at the clinic.
   Jones says Ruth Baldwin died from blunt force trauma and being deprived of fluid and nutrition.


   A Macon teenager is charged with bringing brass knuckles to Southwest High School.
   A Bibb County schools news release says campus police arrested 17-year-old Malcolm  (hew-stun) Houston.
      They say officers found the brass knuckles during a random search.
    The district says they searched about 160 students at Southwest and Appling Middle School today.
     They used hand held metal detectors and checked inside book bags and purses.
     They say those searches will continue at other schools.
   Houston is in the Bibb County jail charged with possessing a weapon in school.
    His bond is set at 2400 dollars.

Bibb county lawmakers have been debating smoking policies for years... Making rules as they go along.
Today, they passed another measure drawing lines around where you can and can't smoke. 
Candace Adorka has more from today's commission meeting. 
<all votes say I... Opposed>
And with that, Bibb county commissioners banned smoking at all recreation facilities, except lake tobesofkee. 
"I don't want smoking in the park, I don't want second hand smoke around children."
Recreation director Doc Dougherty brought the measure before commissioners because neither the city nor the county has a smoking policy for parks.   
"We're looking at parks for nature and open space and clean air, and you've got people smoking right next to kids running down the first base line or running for a touchdown on the football field or playing a soccer match."
The sole dissenting vote was Bert Bivins-- he wanted the chance to consider some allowances for people who smoke. 
"I had kind of mixed emotions about it. I think we need to do something, I thought we went a little bit further than we needed to."
"Now dougherty says they did consider designated smoking areas, but with parks as expansive as central city park, he says that would come with a whole host of problems."
"The problem with designated areas is we'd have to have so many of them. Because freedom park, just that alone,  we'd need designated areas all throughout the park., It would just be too costly and nobody goes directly to that one designated area to smoke."
     Joe Allen championed a similar ban at lake tobesofkee last year-- and he got a partial ban at the lake's beaches. 
    His stance is the same with all other parks--- children shouldn't have to play around cigarette smoke and litter.  
"Some people will dislike it, but im sorry this is something I really believe in  and this board I believe will be congratulated for doing something that was needed a long time ago.":
Candace Adorka 13 WMAZ Eyewitness News. 
After the voting, Bibb County Commissioners rolled up their sleeves.... to get a flu shot.
      Commissioner Bert Bivins is head of the county's flu team.
      He invited the health department to administer the vaccines to all the commissioners and some county employees. 
     He says he wanted to show the public flu shots are safe essential to save lives. 


  Tonight President Barack Obama and Republican challenger meet for their second primetime debate...
   Both candidates will take questions on domestic and foreign police from an audience of about 80 uncommitted voters...in a town hall setting on the campus of Hofstra University in Long Island..
    We've been asking what questions you would like to ask President Obama and Mitt Romney on our Facebook page...
    Here's what a few of you had to say.
    Russell Laramie posted--I would ask them both how they plan to get both the Republican and Democratic parties, as well      as the smaller third parties, to work with each other on how to get millions of unemployed Americans back to work.
     Salvador Rubio asks--Will either of you ever propose a bill that senators and congressmen get paid based on attendance and performance?
     Jessica Margaret Bailey asks Romney--How can your business experience help our economy?
      For Obama--Why should we re-elect you as President?
      Dewell Garner says...I would ask how either would stop the sale of American companies to Asian and European companies.
    Rachon Maxine Hooker-Ward posted--What do you plan on doing to help those Americans who are falling through the cracks?
      The Presidential debate starts at 9 tonight right here on 13 WMAZ...
      You can also follow us on Twitter at 13 WMAZ news.

   Tonight's web poll asks.   What presidential debate format do you prefer?
   81 percent of you say questions from the public...
   And 19 percent of you say questions from a moderator.
   To vote now... Visit 13WMAZ.com.
   Look for the question on the right side of the homepage.


  The Tennessee company that owns Georgia State Fair is considering having two big fairs instead of just one. 
     Starting next week...the new owners will put on a fair up in Hampton at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. 
     Austin Lewis has more on what that means for Macon's Georgia State Fair. 
Just in time for Halloween...the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton will have plenty of games, fun, and music...with its own Georgia State Fair. 
Univeral Fairs says...the amount of space at the speedway available appealed to them. 
< Mark Lovell, Universal Fairs: It's a big facility, it has room for a lot of parking, it's got room to make the fair bigger, uh, the infrastructure is superb for big numbers and we just try to go big>
But what does that mean for Macon's Georgia State Fair...that we had just this six months ago?
Well Mark Lovell, the owner of Universal Fairs, who bought the Georgia State Fair...says Macon's fair is staying right here for the spring...with one change. 
< Mark Lovell, Universal Fairs: But our overall plan to have the uh spring fair and a fall fair, spring fair in Macon, fall fair in Hampton. >
Lovell says this year's fair's attendance numbers weren't as high as they hoped...
< Mark Lovell, Universal Fairs: I felt like the attendance was kinda soft and we expected mroe , uh I think we put together a pretty good program>
He says he still thinks Macon's Georgia State Fair is still brimming with potential. 
<the possibility is there it could be a big event, and when I say big event I mean large numbers of people a lot of folks bringing their families and the potential is there and we're not abandoning that at all. >
Lovell says they don't know when the spring fair will happen in Macon next year because they're waiting for the city to approve those dates.
Austin Lewis 13WMAZ Eyewitness News 
     Next week's fall fair happens Friday October 26th....through Sunday November Fourth...at the speedway in Hampton.
   Coming up tonight at 11...
     We'll have local reaction to tonight's presidential debate from local Democratic and Republican party members..
   We'll also tell you about a plan for a stormwater utility district in Perry..and how it could affect the town's current infrastructure..
   That's all tonight at 11 following the presidential debate..

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