Tonight's top story..
There's now a new way for you to donate money to programs that fight homelessness...
All you have to do is take a walk through downtown.
Judy Le spent time there today to check out the latest additions.
These might look like parking meters...
But these newly installed devices only take donations. That's because they're homeless meters and the Leadership Macon Group hopes they can help curb panhandlers.
<to put up all the meters it cost just about $14,000 and that covers all the cost of installation. We raised that money ourselves as a class so the city didn't have to spend any money>
This program is a project of Leadership Macon's 2012 class. And on a windy Tuesday morning...the group planted nine
donation stations around downtown.
<these meters take up to 60 dollars worth of coin donations and an unlimited amount of debit and credit donations. It's really easy to donate. Just insert your credit card right here, select your amount, and push ok>
The money goes into an account managed by the Urban Development Authority...and distributed through the Macon Coalition to End Homelessness in grants to local shelters and other programs that help the homeless.
<We have over 500 homeless children attending schools in Bibb County today. It is incredibly important that we step up to the plate to eradicate homelessness in Macon and Bibb County>
These new city ornaments have intrigued those walking by...
<I might donate some money>
The meters will be regularly emptied and money will be deposited into the account for the grant program.
Judy Le 13wmaz eyewitness news
Seven of the nine donation stations are located....between first street and MLK boulevard...and mulberry and poplar streets...in downtown Macon.
The attorney for a Centerville couple charged with stealing more than a half million dollars from an elderly neighbor with dementia....says they're realy good people.
William and Cheri Cox face three dozen counts of elder abuse... financial transaction fraud and theft... and forgery.
Police say they took the money from Herbert Marquiss... in the form of debit cards.. Checks... bonds and cash.
But today... attorney Jim Rockefeller said Marquiss gave it all to his clients...to thank them for caring for him.
He says Cheri Cox was like a daughter to Marquiss and cared for him after he was hospitalized twice.
He says his clients don't understand why Houston County investigators charged them with stealing.
<From their perspective, particularly Mrs. Cox's perspective... Whatever was given to her by his largess was done because he was treating her well because somebody was paying attention to him. Somebody was helping him. Someone was there for him and he really appreciated it. >
Rockefeller says his clients did not suspect that Marquiss could not make sound decisions.. and neither did his doctors.
Dozens of people in Twiggs County received good news today...in a court fight that has lasted for months.
Tom George reports ...That fight could soon be over.
<this is all mine back here..>
After months of concern, 82 year old Dry Branch resident Mary Casteen can finally walk her home of more than 50 years...like a weight's been lifted.
<and I feel like to me this is an answer to prayer .. I do, I feel that.>
Back in August, she and around 40 other homeowners found themselves fighting for their homes in Twiggs County Court. A Colorado man, Allan Evans laid claim to more than 400 acres of land.
Now, a special master released a report...telling a judge that they should keep their homes. The homeowners call it....a big victory.
<that takes a lot off of people out here that were having to spend money to battle this. >
<I felt a sense of gratitude to the citizens of Dry Branch who have been essentially been held hostage for almost a year on a bogus claim of ownership. >
The report called Evans' claims completely unfounded. It said a judge should issue a permament injunction banning him from filing any future legal action against the land owners.
<this is really just an affirmation of the title statues in Georgia to say if you do have a deed that's records of the courthouse and you possess that property, that you can rely on that. >
<for the homeowners that have lived on this section of Old Gordon Road for years, the ruling only confirms what they've known all along ... This place is their home.>
<it is home ... Yeah ... I couldn't think of living anywhere else... This is mine, and nobody can take it...>
In Dry Branch ... Tom George, 13WMAZ Eyewitness News.
The report by Dublin attorney James Nelson...now goes to a superior court judge...and landowners expect the judge to accept that report...and act on it.
We contacted Evans in Colorado .. He was not aware of Nelson's report...and says he had no comment until he sees it.
Millions are still without power.... nearly 24 hours after Sandy came ashore in the Northeast..
At least 39 people died in the storm...
New York City was hit especially hard. subways are shut down and much of Manhattan still has no power...
Here's an example of just how massive this storm is...
Waves on the south side of Lake Michigan are above 20 feet.. tying a record...
Winds from the edges of the storm also caused damage in the Cleveland area today... uprooting trees and leaving hundreds of thousands without power.
Another by-product of this so-called superstorm.. is snow..
This is video from the Smoky Mountains in east Tennessee.
A winter storm warning has been issued for higher elevations in North Carolina and surrounding areas.
Two teams from Robins deployed this week to help set-up emergency communications in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
Spokeswoman Chrissy Miner says a team know as "Hammer Ace" from the 6-89th Combat Communications Wing... went to Dover, Delaware.
A smaller group... Also from the 6-89th... Went to McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey.
Here's how you can help victims of the storm:
To donate to Red Cross Relief... Call 1-800-RED-CROSS or visit Redcross-dot-org.
You can also Text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
You can also donate to the Salvation Army...by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY to donate money... Or by bringing donations to 1955 Broadway.
And to support the medical relief efforts... You can donate to AmeriCares through their website www-americares-dot org.
The Return to Play Act strongly suggests that athletes get computerized cognitive testing before the season starts and after they've been diagnosed with a concussion.
One of those programs is called ImPACT... The athlete goes through a series of six tests including word memory, visual memory, and reaction time.
Their scores are compared to their pre-season numbers to track their recovery progress.
An athletic trainer at Piedmont Orthopedics walked Katelyn Heck through the exam and told her what each of the steps tells them about a concussed athlete.
<the test is not a pass-fail test; we're trying to get a baseline function of your brain, and what we're trying to do here is test you not only with reaction time, how quickly you answer, but how correctly you answer and we'll test your short-term memory and your long-term memory.>
<during this you're going to have a bunch of symbols across the top with numbers along the bottom. So, you'll see, like in this practice scenario, they're asking where is that square, '3', ok so you would hit number three with your mouse. Now, if they ask you where that square was, where was it? '3' three correct.>
<if you have a slow reaction times based upon norms, if it's below the norms, we tend to generally think of fogginess. Basically, a reaction time norm is point-55 seconds and when I see someone in a concussed case, they're in a .8.... .9... 1.0>
<we talked about long-term, not just short-term. So, now the last part of the test is to remember the words and the symbols and designs that you saw earlier in the test>
<there are intelligent athletes who have tried to figure out that 'if I bow this test, and try to act dumb the first time, that if I am concussed, it won't show up and I get to play' that has been proven, but this test has been tested and retested for validity and reliability to the point where the baseline picks up on anyone just trying to throw the test for that purpose.>
The ImPACT test isn't the only screening an athlete must pass to get back on the field. Doctors and trainers also put them through balance and exertion tests to gradually ease them back.
Tonight... You'll get the chance to meet some political candidates and hear them address some important issues.
The Macon-Bibb County Community Organization Collaborative is hosting a Candidates forum tonight at the Douglass Theater in downtown Macon.
You'll hear from candidates running for congressional... State... And local offices.
Volunteers will also be available to help educate voters on how to properly cast a ballot.
The forum starts at 6:30 tonight at the Douglass Theater...
That's on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Macon.
It's Great Hang Up day at 13WMAZ.
This month Katelyn Heck headed out to the Georgia National Fair to test people's knowledge about the dangers of texting and driving.
<ladies and gentlemen step right up and take our Great Hang Up game show challenge!>
<how many accidents lead to deaths or injuries in the United States because of distracted driving? A, ten thousand, b, one million, or c 1,500.>
<1,500?.... Ten thousand... Wow.>
<on average, how long does a driver take their eyes off the road when using a cell phone? Is it A 1 second, B 5 seconds, or C 3 seconds.>
<i think it's five seconds. Final answer? Yes. You are correct!>
<a driver who texts from behind the wheel is how many times more likely to get into an accident. Is it A ten times more likely, B five times more likely, or C 23 times more likely? I would say A... You're actually 23 times more likely to get into an accident.... Wow.. From texting while driving.>
<next Question, 22% of drivers ages 35-44 say they've texted while driving. How many drivers between the ages of 16 and 24 say they've texted behind the wheel. Is it A about half, B 1 out of 20 or C 9 out of 10. '9 out of 10' and why do you think that? Because more teenagers aer drawn to look at their phone because we text all the time, unlimited, so I think that's why.' It's actually a little lower, it's about half.>
<sign out great hang up pledge if you'll swear to stop texting while on the road>
<thank you so much, you've made me real knowledgeable and gave me some key facts and things of that nature about texting and driving.>
If you would like to sign our Great Hang Up pledge... head over to our website.... 13WMAZ dot com.
You'll find it under the features tab at the top of our homepage.
< Ross: "That's it? Who's that?"
Jacob: "That's the guy that took off with my bag and the way he's carrying it right there, the way it sways, that's definitely my bag right there.
Ross: 100 percent? Jacob: "100 percent!">
His bag was stolen..as it sat on the luggage carousel..inside a busy airport..
A big problem with people looting your luggage.
Tonight on Eyewitness News at 11.