Eyewitness News at 11, 11-20-12

9:40 PM, Nov 20, 2012   |    comments
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<she befrirended everybody that came into her realm and she treated everyone as a special person.>

<I have enjoyed knowin her. Really she's taught me a lot.>

Fond remembrances tonight for Georgia's only Miss America...as friends and family lay to rest the woman they say...was the picture of southern graciousness.

Good evening, everyone. I'm Frank Malloy.

Leah Johnson has the evening off.

In just a moment... We have more on the life of Neva Fickling... with some thoughts and memories from those who knew her well.

But first tonight... thousands of Georgians will be on the road this week... bound for malls and shopping centers.

But for those of you planning your Black Friday shopping attack... beware.

Price tracking data from the past six years... Shows those deals may be a myth.

Lorra Lynch Jones took a look at the research... And tells you what you might want to consider before the post-turkey shopping spree.

Before I get started... A disclaimer.

I know many of you shop on Black Friday as a kick-off to the holiday season.

If that's your reason for staying up all night... Standing in the cold or fighting the crowds... I say Go For It!

This is for folks who think they have to jump into the pre-Christmas chaos to get the best deals.

A National Retail Federation survey says you'll be shopping alongside 147 million other American's during the Black Friday weekend.

If that's not enough to frighten you.. This might.

Research commissioned by the Wall Street Journal and conducted by a data gathering company called Decide Incorporated... Shows gifts from Barbies to kitchen appliances and watches usually cost less at other times times of the year.

For example... That watch you've been eyeing... Price tracking data shows... The best time to buy it is in March.

Either wait to next year... Or go ahead and over pay... Jewelry and other luxury items tend to go up in price the closer you get to Christmas.

Those Ugg boots your daughter wants... They're past their prime for this season.

They were most likely at their lowest price point in September or October... And they only go up the closer you get to Christmas.

Same goes for that flat screen TV... You should've bought it around Halloween.


Before you start calling me the Grinch... I do have some holiday shopping cheer to offer.

If you're looking for a blender for mom.. Or a toaster oven for the wife... You'll probably get the best deal closer to the big holiday.

Retailers often mark down prices on items they overstocked in the days before Christmas.

And there are deeply discounted deals to be found on Black Friday... Or Thursday as weve seen with this year's early openings.

Keep in mind quantities will be limited on those items.

And know... That retailers use those rock bottom sales to get you in the door... Then keep other products at their regular price.

I saved the best part for last.

If the gamer in your family wants an X-box, those same price tracking studies show you're in luck.

Video game systems see the biggest price plummet on Black Friday and Cyber Monday... Often saving shoppers about 100-bucks.

Happy Shopping!

Lorra Lynch Jones, 13WMAZ, Eyewitness News.


If you're set on going to the stores... Bring along your smart phone and use Amazon or Red Laser's App to check the in-store price against an on-line price.

If it's lower on-line... Many stores have price matching policies.

We've created a special Black Friday resource guide on 13WMAZ-dot-com.

Look for the Black Friday icon in the Check it box.

You'll find a long list of stores... Their inventory and prices.

Plus... Store maps and online deals.

Now for some merchants..Black Friday starts Thursday.

On 13WMAZ-dot-com...we asked if you'll forgo that second serving of turkey to shop on Thanksgiving.

Only 12 percent said yes.

88 percent...said no thanks.

Vote now... Check us out at 13WMAZ.com.

And look for the question on the right side of the homepage.

This week....families will load up the cars, fire up the GPS, and take to the roadwaysto visit family and friends.

And with the number of drivers rising... So does the potential for serious accidents.

Tom George today caught up with some state leaders...hoping to spread a message of safety.

<9 days before Christmas, I found out that one of the 2 people my parents said would always be there was gone... >

After losing her brother Caleb to a texting while driving accident in 2009 ... College student Alex Sorohan is spending part of her Thanksgiving break on the road...to try to keep other families from suffering the same kind of heartbreak.

<so I think that definitely spreading the message, educating anyone you know, just doing it for someone you love is going to make a difference. >

Albany to Columbus ... Savannah to Augusta, and a quick stop in Macon... Operation Safe Holidays has been jet-setting the whole state in one day ... spreading an important message...

< Five people will lose their lives every day on each of the 41 remaining days of this year, that's too many, and that's unacceptable. >

George public safety leaders want to reduce traffic fatalities around the holidays.

<we believe that with the help of the public, by slowing down, buckling their seatbelts, doing the right thing ... We can save some lives in in Georgia. And that's the bottom line ... Saving lives. >

In 2005, there were more than 1,700 deadly crashes in Georgia ... Compared to just over 1,000 so far in 2012.

Officials say the improving economy may cause that number to creep back up as more people can afford to travel.

While right now.....the state's on track for slightly fewer highway deaths this year...they say a bad final month could put the 2012 total...over last year's.

<Gas prices have gone down and we've seen an associated increase in traffic.

<another problem they say is people driving too fast on backroads, which actually have a higher amount of fatalities in Georgia than highways. >

So there are three basic things we'd like you to do ..

Slow down, Wear your seatbelt , and don't drink and drive. >

In Macon, Tom George, 13WMAZ Eyewitness News.

The state says nearly half of the auto deaths involve people who weren't wearing seat belts...even though more than 90 percent of Georgians DO buckle up.

When a Baldwin County prison inmate wanted to threaten President Obama...he called the prison's rape-prevention hotline...10 times.

That's according to a federal indictment charging Richard Ware...with a dozen counts of making threats.

It says he made those calls to the prison hotline last March...threatening to kill the president...and his family.

He also wrote a letter last year threatening the Obamas....Bill...Hillary...and Chelsea Clinton...and former President George Bush. He didn't say which one.

No arraignment has been scheduled for Ware on those federal charges.

Back to a story we first told you about at the top of the show...the life of Neva Langley Fickling, who passed away Sunday after a two year struggle with cancer.

Fickling was born in 1933...

In 1953... She proudly wore the crown as Georgia's first...and so far....only Miss America.

Today her friends and family packed Mulberry Street Methodist Church to bid her farewell.

More than 500 people filled the sanctuary... and others spilled over into a separate room to watch a video feed.

Reverends Tommy Martin and Tommy Mason were the main speakers. They said Neva had been planning the entire service for at least a year. They said she didn't want any eulogies, or lengthy talks....just specific quotes from the Bible... and performances from some Macon musical superstars... like Neva's own performance partner...Edward Eikner... and violinist Robert McDuffie.

From violin to piano and choirs accompanied by soaring organ music, the entire service was filled with music. Fickling's friends say it was fitting. After the service we spoke to some of her friends-- including both public figures and a longtime family employee.

Fickling is survived by her husband of 58 years, her four children, and 9 grandchildren.

Bibb County is discussing a proposal designed to curb animal euthanasia and overpopulation of animals...but today it also met with some concerns. Judy Le has more.

Animal Services Director Sarah Tenon reviewed the proposed spay/neuter ordinance....with Bibb County Commissioners. If passed...it would require pet owners to fix their cats and dogs.

Some commissioners were not fully convinced....just yet...

<It's just a matter of getting people on the same page, having the ordinance reexamined, reworked, terms better defined, enforcement issues dealt with>

Tenon suggests pets should be spayed or neutered at ages 4 to 5 months.

She said the ordinance would be hard to enforce...and they'd need the community's help.

<When we go out to investigate other complaints, we're going to have to have to check on the spay and neutering>

Tenon says the shelter can use a 100-thousand dollar petsmart charities grant to help fund spaying and neutering.

Another affordable option would be to work with veterinarians to reduce costs.

<Anytime that you spay or neuter, you're reducing the number of animals coming into the shelter and the number of animals that are possibly euthanized so it's going to have a positive impact on that>

To provide more incentive for owners ...Tenon suggests a higher fine...more than 50 dollars....that's at least matches the cost of spay and neutering.

The ultimate solution would be to bring the city and county together to pass a single ordinance.

Judy Le 13wmaz eyewitness news

Commissioners debated over the definition of animal ownership. Tenon says people become owners if they harbor or feed animals for more than 14 days. The ordinance spells out several exceptions.... like show animals, guide dogs and animals used by law enforcement.

Robins Air Force Base received a big honor for its clean commuting initiative.

On Wednesday...they took home the Clean Air Campaign's 2012 PACE Award after being first runner-up last year.

Robins says they owe it all to employees at the base taking more public transportation and carpooling.

The base says about 50 to 60 people take the BIRD...or buses into Robins Daily...every day.

They also say hundreds of people take van-pool or car pool.

John Pugh, the deputy director, says it helps the environment and saves employees money.

<John Pugh, Deputy Director, 78th Mission Support Group: it helps keep our air clean and every pound driven is a pound of pollution so think of what we're breathing so the more peoplle that are taking mass transit the better it is for the environment, the base and the employer. >

The Clean Air Campaign recognized Robins Air Force Base as the state's top Government Champion, Federal Employers...in their clean initiatives.

For many people, it's tradition to put up the Christmas tree around Thanksgiving, and the city of Macon is no different.

This afternoon Macon-Bibb firefighters worked to construct the 40 foot tall tree, which is a metal frame covered with greenery.

Tonight on Eyewitness News at Eleven... We're helping make your Black Friday tech purchases a little easier.

In tonight's Geek 13... Our computer consultant stops in to explain the differences between netbooks, notebooks, convertibles, tablets... All those gadgets that could be on your loved ones' Christmas lists this holiday.

That, plus a look at how one community brought tradition to the table at an early Thanksgiving event today.

That's tonight...on Eyewitness News at Eleven.


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