Eyewitness News at 11, October 19, 2012

10:46 PM, Oct 19, 2012   |    comments
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 Good evening.
   Thanks for joining us.
   I'm Leah Johnson..   
   Frank Malloy will be here a little later for Football Friday Night...
     An autopsy has confirmed that the death of a North Macon woman was a homicide.
     Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones says the autopsy showed that Christine Cook was suffocated.
      Cook was found dead in her home early Thursday after her only child, Cheryl Pepper, called police and asked them to check on her mother. 
      Police say when they arrived... Cook's jewelry box had been ransacked... and her face was covered.
     They also say they found a door open and Cook's car missing. 
The car was later found parked less than 500 feet from the house on Malvern Hill and 
Picketts Ridge.   
      Call Macon Regional Crimestoppers if you have any information on the case at 1-877-68-CRIME, again that's 1-877-68-CRIME. 
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   Bibb County Sheriff Jerry Modena says no criminal charges will be filed against Judge Howard Simms after a traffic stop in September.
Simms was stopped in west Bibb County. 
He blew above the legal driving limit in a breathalyzer test, but was allowed to drive himself home.
Modena says the officers made several mistakes in the case.
     They included failing to do a field sobriety test or taking Simms to the law enforcement center for a second breathalyzer test.
He says their biggest error was not writing an incident report... as required by law.
<I don't like it because we made a mistake, and these sheriff's deputies down here, they're better than this, and we've had a long talk about it, but that's what's come back and that's why the case probably will not go to trial. From what the solicitor says, there's hearsay, you can't prosecute on hearsay. We've looked to see if we can find any new evidence in it, and we can't.>
Modena suspended two officers involved with the traffic stop at the beginning of the month. Both of them had to go through additional training before getting back on the job.


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  It's a five way race for the Sheriff of Wilcox County.
   Front yards and intersections in Wilcox County are filled with election signs.
     Five men... All born and raised in here are hoping to be named the next sheriff.
<one of the main things I want to do is get the spending under control>
     Robert "bob" Addison is one of thee independents in the race.
     For 22-years he says he worked with the Georgia State Patrol.. Now he spending time running a Wild Hog Hunting Club and farming.
     He says he ready help the department transition from this situation earlier this year.
< The first thing of course is getting back on the right track and then we're going to tackle the drug problems.  >
     Hank Collier.. Also an independent says agrees they need to address the drug problem.
<that's the main reason I do what I do specializing in narcotics. The more kids we can keep drugs out of their hands the better off  >
         Most of his 11 years in law enforcement has been spent in drug investigations.
     He says he'll bring his expertise to the office.
"I'm experienced in all aspects of the investigation, prosecution of criminal cases. I know what will make a good case, what does not make a good case."
"I've got 20 years law enforcement experience. The first 15 in Wilcox County. "
     The republican candidate.. Mike Martin has worked as an investigator and a chief deputy.
    The grandfather of three says most people in the county have lost their faith in the top law enforcement office.
"I don't think most of them trust the sheriff's department and I can put that trust back in the county."
     28-year old Samuel McKinney decided to run as an independent.
"I just want to restore the faith and support of the community."
     Since 2009.. Mckinney says he's worked for the sheriff's office.
     One of his top priorities.. To make sure they have a qualified staff.
"One of the first things would be to have the best and well qualified staff working in the department. That's the only way the sheriff department will operate successfully."
     Lonny Curry is the democrat running. 
    We stopped by his house several times to try to speak with him.. but never could reach him.
    Earlier this year he was a Chief Deputy in the Wilcox County Sheriff's Office.
     No matter the political party or plan for the future.. Each man says they're the best for the job to move the county forward.
     Brittiny Barber 13wmaz eyewitness news.
     Earlier his year.. the former Sheriff.... Stacey Bloodsworth was removed from office after he was charged with abusing three inmates And conspiring to cover up the attacks .
Brittiny Barber introduces us to the men hoping to be elected in November.
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  As the first week of early voting winds down... elections supervisor elaine carr says the Bibb county Board of Elections office saw a large turnout.
She says nearly a thousand voters a day came out to cast a ballots this week.
The line of voters outside the board of elections off Pio Nono Avenue grew throughout the day.
Carr says the number of people turning out to vote is about the same as during the 2008 presidential race.
She says people who are 75 and older... or have a physical disability can skip the lines.
  You can avoid the long lines by showing up early to cast your ballot.
"You get here about 7:30 or 8, be the first one in line. That way you're not gonna stand in line. Other than that, anytime during the day you come in, there's a line. And I can tell you that, as opposed to all my other elections, the presidential general is the highest turnout we ever hold."
 And she says another way to skip the line is to vote through the mail.
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Two weeks... and one debate to go in Campaign 2012.
   Candidates are spending the weekend hitting the swing states in hopes of widening the margin of support. 
   Jim Acosta reports.. it could get messy.
<WHILE MITT ROMNEY PREPARED FOR HIS FINAL DEBATE WITH PRESIDENT OBAMA HIS RUNNING MATE PAUL RYAN TRAVELED ACROSS FLORIDA TESTING OUT THE CAMPAIGN'S MESSAGE FOR THE NEXT BATTLE TO COME FOR SWING STATE VOTERS.  
"President Obama is not telling you what his second term plan would be. He's not saying that he's offering anything new. All he's offering is four more years of the same." 
"We have to work on a collaborative basis." 
ANOTHER PART OF THAT SWING STATE PITCH CAN BE FOUND IN THIS NEW ROMNEY CAMPAIGN AD THAT CASTS THE GOP NOMINEE AS A BIPARTISAN PROBLEM SOLVER. 
"But we need to have leadership. Leadership in Washington that will actually bring people together and get the job done and could not care less if-if it's a Republican or a Democrat." 
IT'S A CHANGE IN TONE FOR A CANDIDATE WHO ONCE CALLED HIMSELF A SEVERELY CONSERVATIVE GOVERNOR DURING THE PRIMARIES PROMPTING THE PRESIDENT TO ACCUSE ROMNEY OF ETCH-A-SKETCHING HIS PAST. 
"We have got to name this condition he is going through. I think it is called Romnesia. (cheers)." 
THE PRESIDENT IS GETTING A BOOST FROM STATE UNEMPLOYMENT NUMBERS SHOWING THE JOBLESS RATE DROPPING IN FLORIDA, OHIO, NEVADA, COLORADO AND WISCONSIN. ROMNEY HAD A JOKE FOR THE IMPROVING ECONOMY AT A BENEFIT DINNER IN NEW YORK WHERE HE AND THE PRESIDENT EXCHANGED PUNCHLINES. 
"You're better off now than you were four weeks ago." 
FRIDAY'S MAP.. READS LIKE A CALENDAR THE MORE CANDIDATES AND SURROGATES FLOODING INTO BATTLEGROUNDS THE CLOSER THE ELECTION. 
"The American people are so much better, so much stronger, take so much more responsibility than either Governor Romney or Congressman Ryan give them credit for." 
NEWSPAPERS ENDORSEMENTS ARE ALSO STARTING TO COME IN. AFTER PICKING PRESIDENT OBAMA FOUR YEARS AGO, THE ORLANDO SENTINEL CHOSE ROMNEY SAYING: WE HAVE LITTLE CONFIDENCE THAT OBAMA WOULD BE MORE SUCCESSFUL MANAGING THE ECONOMY AND THE BUDGET IN THE NEXT FOUR YEARS. BUT THE DENVER POST STAYED WITH THE PRESIDENT SAYING THE ECONOMY HAS MADE DEMONSTRABLE - THOUGH HARDLY REMARKABLE - PROGRESS. IN DAYTONA BEACH, WHERE A BIKER CONVENTION IS IN TOWN FOR THE WEEKEND, FLORIDA VOTERS ARE GETTING REVVED UP. 
"I'm undecided, leaning toward Romney though." 
(reporter: "And why's that?") 
" I'm not crazy about what Obama's done in a nutshell." 
"I really don't like Romney that much, I would've voted for him if he had respect for women." >
   After the debate, the candidates will be where else..swing state...
   Romney and Ryan are heading to Colorado...The President stays in Florida.
   You can watch the debate right here on 13WMAZ .. It begins at 9 p-m Monday.
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    Changes are still being made to the Macon Mall.
     The latest change was celebrated Today.
     Frank Malloy shows you what's new.
The ribbons are cut... And the openings are official... As a crowd gathered to welcome two new stores... to the Macon Mall.


With the openings of Dry Falls Outfitters and B. Turner's... co-owner of the mall... John Gibson says they're headed in the right direction.
" The number one key is offering merchandise and fashion at value and that is what is going to draw the people."
Gibson says stores like Dry Falls can easily compete with others of its kind... Offering specialty items for people who enjoy the outdoors.


" It's going to be the very largest outdoor fashion store in middle georgia. "
Gibson also points out the face lift that both stores give to the mall entrance... beside the smoking pig restaurant.
The walls next to the restaurant... are now all glass.
Though he's pleased with new businesses... Gibson says there's more to accomplish and that the end of renovations are not near.
"As we suggested two years ago that the turn around was something that would be measured in years.  We believe that we have another two more years to get to a point where this asset will become stabilized."
He says the next phase of renovations included sprucing up JCPenney.  The inside storefront already has a new façade... by November... the outside will too.
Owner of the new stores...Bud Turner... has stores in Griffin and has been in retail for 30 years. He says he's happy to be apart of the Macon Mall Family.
" We think it's a new and different Macon Mall.  We think it's safe and quite frankly it's some of the best real estate in town."
 Once all renovations are complete, the Macon Mall will be around 800 thousand square feet.
     At it's peak, it was over one million.
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    Tomorrow is a big day for hunters across the state.
   Saturday is the start of deer season here in Georgia... 
     For the past week... hunters have been allowed to use so-called primitive weapons... such as bows and arrows.... but tomorrow begins the season for hunters to use fire arms.  
      At Bass Pro Shops in Macon, many folks stocked up on supplies for the big day.
"We have an excellent deer population in the state of Georgia. The state game laws have a very liberal bag limit ... Two bucks, ten does per person per season. We've noticed quite a spike in gun purchases in the last three or four weeks getting prepared for deer season."
  Of course in Georgia, you'll also need a hunting license.. which you can get online... or at local sporting goods stores.
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The health inspector works to make sure you and your family are safe when you go out to eat.
     This week... some places made the mark.. While others fell short.
     Here's Brittiny Barber with this week's Restaurant ratings.
 We're back in Bibb County this week.. And first here's a look at our lowest scores.
     HONG KONG RESTAURANT at 59-36 ZEBULON RD received an 87.. Which is a "b". On their last inspection they got a 91 or an "a".
     And MOON WING AND SEAFOOD on GRAY HWY scored an 80.. A "b". 
     The last time the health inspector stopped in they were given an 82.. Also a "b".
     Now for a look at the top scores of the week.
     FRANCAR'S on LINDEN AVE brought in a 100.. On their last inspection they had the same score.
     Natalia's at 201 NORTH MACON ST scored a 100.. On last inspection they also had a 100.
     And last but not least.. Nu-way weiners on HILLCREST BLVD scored a 100.. And on their previous inspection.. The same thing another 100.
     An extremely tight race.. But this week's 
    Golden Spatula goes to Francar's with a five score average of 100.
     Congratulations to everyone there. Remember you can tune in each week when we highlight your restaurant ratings.
     I'm Brittiny Barber 13wmaz eyewitness news.
     For all of your Restaurant Ratings... check us out online at 13WMAZ-Dot-com.
     Click on the features tab to search by your county.
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   Cat lovers in Columbia, South Carolina..don't have to be near their feline friends to have fun...
   A kitty-cam...that's interactive provides hours of fun... for cats and humans.
   Mary King explains..
THIS IS YOUR ORDINARY CAT PLAYROOM -WITH A TWIST. 
It just brings so much excitement. 
CAT TOYS MOVING ALL BY THEMSELVES OR AT LEAST IT LOOKS THAT WAY. 
The toys will move in different directions. 
HOW? A LITTLE VIRTUAL MEOW-ITY. 
As long as you have a computer and the internet, you can log on and play with our cats. 
AND THAT'S FOR ANYONE IN THE WORLD. THE NEW SYSTEM IS CALLED iPET COMPANION AND PAWMETTO LIFELINE IS THE FIRST SHELTER IN THE SOUTHEAST WITH THE SOFTWARE. 
You log onto Pawmetto Lifeline, you can click onto the system and then you will go into a queue. 
IF THERE ARE OTHERS AHEAD OF YOU..YOU'LL HAVE TO WAIT YOUR TURN. 
You may luck out and no one is playing at that time and you can instantly play right then?users have two minutes to play. 
Mary Standup: Once you're logged into the system, you have three toys to choose from... select a toy and then watch them play.  
END SU. 
You can also reposition the webcam through the arrows on the control panel- you can also zoom in and out 
THE SYSTEM STAYS LIVE 24/7 SO WHEN WILL THESE CATS SLEEP? 
We have cats in there right now- they don't even pay attention to it so they'll sleep when they want to and they'll play when they want to. 
CLEARLY.  
AND WHILE IT SEEMS ALL FUN AND GAMES.. SHELTER OFFICIALS SAY iPET HAS A GREATER PURPOSE. 
Current shelters who have this system have seen an increase in adoptions, awareness and even donations that help towards their animal care. So we have so many wonderful pets that are available for adoption here and to be able to promote them and give them more exposure not only in Columbia, but across the world. 
PURR-TY COOL, HUH? 
   If you're more of a dog person, Pawmetto Lifeline says they're in the process of looking into systems for dog lovers, too.
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  Here's something you don't see everyday...
"Right at the fork in the road there's a literal fork in the road. It was awesome! 
It was artistic. It was whimsical and it told the story that there's a fork in the road, watch out! >
    An artist in California thought the road needed a little something extra...
   It's a six-foot fork.. made of wood and coated in spray paint to look like the real  thing.
   The fork in the road didn't stick around for long...
   The city of Carlsbad took it down.. saying it isn't safe or legal to put objects in the road.

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