Eyewitness News at 6, October 23, 2012

9:50 PM, Oct 23, 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.
  Our top story.. 
More than 300 people nationwide caught fungal meningitis from tainted injections...and now a Macon woman is the latest case.
  The state Department of Public Health says the 66-year-old woman received a steroid shot from the Forsyth Street Ambulatory Surgery Center. 
Then...she developed symptoms like headache and slight fever....and a slightly high white blood cell count in her spinal fluid.
The center is the only one in Georgia that used potentially tainted medicine from a drug manufacturer in Massachusetts. 
The state says 184 Georgia patients got those injections.
But the Macon woman is the state's only fungal meningitis case.
David Harvey....Director of the North Central Health district....says the earlier a meningitis patient receives treatment....the better the outcome. 
<anyone now, of those 180 people who fit that description need to check with their physician because the outcome can be really tragic if we don't deal with it proactively.>
  The Forsyth Street Ambulatory Center says they no longer uses any medication from the New England Compounding Company where the contamination started. 
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  After three weeks of treatment for alcoholism at a metro Atlanta rehab center...  Superior Court Judge Howard Simms is home.
   Simms was stopped on the night of September 22nd at a road check in north Bibb County and a breathalyzer recorded point zero eight three.
    That's a little over the legal limit for driving under the influence. 
   Simms talked with 13WMAZ's Kenny Burgamy earlier today for his first interview since the DUI encounter one month ago.
Frank - Leah... You may remember Judge Simms checked himself into treatment three weeks ago. He was stoic today as he told me about the intense rehab sessions.
The judge told me his addiction for more than twenty years never affected his job as district attorney or as a judge in superior court.  He was defiant about staying on the job.    
<the one on one intensive treatment that I've been through, all day, every day kind of stuff, has gotten me to a place that I've never been sober in my adult life, and that is, I'm actually looking forward to a life down the road sober, the things that I can do, the husband that I can be, the father that I can be, and the judge that I can be.
KB: We've had some reports that there were at least nine people that same night that were arrested for DUI at the same time, not necessarily at the same roadblock, but the same operation,what would you say to those people? Those people that did take the breathalyzer, that were taken downtown, charged with DUI, but because of who you are, were able to drive away. What do you say to those people?
S: All I can say to that Kenny is I don't know what their circumstances were, I don't know what condition they were in. I can tell you unequivocally that I didn't ask for any kind of special treatment. In fact, I declined to let them drive my car. Like I said, at that point, that was when I figured I was going downtown, when I said no. So, I don't know their situations, but I know I didn't ask anybody to treat me any differently.
KB: As superior court judge, you've had to chastize people for DUI, and you've had to talk to people about alcoholism and driving. Is there any point of that that you feel hypocrtitical that you've had to engage them for something that you've done yourself?
S: I had to do my job as judge and I will continue to do my job as judge. I think if you talk to the lawyers who practice in front of me that the consensus of opinions will be that I've done a good job as judge, but have I ever felt strange having that conversation? Absolutely, because deep down inside, I knew that I was an alcoholic.
KB: Will you run again for superior court or has this changed your political future?
S: No, I intent to run again.
KB: Do you think the people would support you given what you've gone through. Do you think they'll be supportive or concerned?
S: I hope that they'll be supportive. That's a decision they'll have to make. What I can say is if you want to fault me for my character flaws that's fine. I've obviously got a lot of them. I'm a flawed man. You can't fault me for what I've done on the bench. I've done, by all accounts, a good job as a judge, and I intend to continue to do that good job, and I intend to do it better than I've done it before.>
   Frank - Leah... Simms told me he will not resign and plans to return to the bench soon. 
    Thanks Kenny.
   Simms remains in outpatient treatment for the next several months. 
   As you know... Sheriff Jerry Modena announced last week there will be no charges against the judge.  
     If you want to see more of Kenny's interview with Howard Simms... Visit our website.. 13wmaz dot com.
     Look for this story on the homepage.
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A 23 year-old Milledgeville woman faces charges of false statements and concealing a body.... after her dead baby was found buried in the backyard.. 
deputies were called to Lakemere Lane Northwest in Baldwin County. 
The homeowner called saying he found the body of a newborn buried in his backyard. 
     Investigators say they determined that Brittany Palmer gave birth to the infant and then buried it within a few days before the body was found. 
<Sheriff Massee, Baldwin County Sheriff: had been born what we consider   to be full term at the home, she had an unassisted birth, and during the birth, the child we think possibly drowned, the child was born in the bathtub in a area of the home. >
     Massee says once they have the autopsy results... they'll look at all of the evidence to determine if other charges could be filed. 
    At the home...we spoke to a man who said he was Brittany Palmer's father. He declined comment.


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You can't see the injury, but concussions can leave behind effects bigger than the blow that caused them.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention... 7 out of 10 concussions go undiagnosed because people don't know what to look for.
So we're bringing you the hard-hitting facts on the brain injury with our five part series... Concussions: A Real-Life Penalty.
We'll tackle the issues like... What signs to look out for and what effects can last long after the season ends.
It all starts Thursday on Eyewitness News at 6.


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   Two candidates want to serve as chairman of the Bibb County Commission for the twelve months before the consolidated Macon-Bibb government begins in January 2014.
     They are incumbent and Democrat Sam Hart who has held the position for four years..... and Republican Tom Wagoner, a political newcomer who bills himself as a businessman, not a politician.
     Hart and Wagoner join Lorra Lynch-Jones and Randall Savage to talk about the issues and their campaign.
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    From the time we are children... and throughout adulthood
... we're able to witness the unknown through the power of reading.
     Today a group of Springdale elementary students learned the importance of patience... while reading "Interrupting Chicken."
     I was on hand for the lesson in communication... Listening well and not interrupting others.
        Afterwards... Ms. Johnston's kindergarten class introduced one of their favorite books to me... "Pete the Cat."
        The students here say they know the importance of picking up a good book in their spare time.
      "When you get older you need to read bigger words.  So, when you're young you can spell and that makes you a better reader and then that makes you a better learner too! "
     We want children all across Central Georgia to be able to enjoy books of their choice.
     So be sure to join us this Saturday... For our Make A Difference Day.
     We'll have a book drive and children's book giveaway at several locations.
     You can find out more at 13WMAZ dot com.



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