Eyewitness News at 11, 1-9-13

10:47 PM, Jan 9, 2013   |    comments
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   Good evening.

   Thanks for joining us.

   I'm Frank Malloy.

   And I'm Leah Johnson.

   This is Eyewitness News at 11.

     First tonight... a court issues an order that would force Georgia's Secretary of State to accept a different county boundary for Bibb and Monroe Counties, pushing business and residential tax dollars into Monroe.

     The dispute overturns a decision from a year and a half ago... that left the two counties as they exist now.

< I find that Bibb County has met its burden of proof, and proved its exceptions to the survey by a preponderance of the evidence. >

     That was Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp in August of 2011.

     He said then, that... maps drawn in 2009 by surveyor Terry Scarborough... Would be tossed out.

     Those maps shift the county line several hundred yards north.

     That would place the Bass Pro Shops... and the Taylor Terrace neighborhood about a mile away from the Shoppes at River Crossing.. in Monroe County.

     But today, a Fulton County Superior Court Judge said... Secretary Kemp has to adopt those maps... and she plans to issue an order forcing him to do so.

     We spoke to Monroe County Commission Chairman Mike Bilderback, who was in the courtroom.  He told us he's cautiously optimistic, but won't celebrate until the order's final.

     But Bibb County Commission Chairman Sam Hart said in a statement today, he plans to keep that from happening.

     He also said, neither he, members of his commission, nor county attorneys.. knew the hearing...based on what's called a 'mandamus action' from Monroe County... had been set.

     "Had we been made aware of a Mandamus action and had we been served, we would have moved to intervene of behalf of Bibb County...", Hart said.

     Hart also said, the same judge dismissed the Monroe County suit last September.

     Secretary Kemp's office declined to comment today. 

     Macon Police are looking for a man wanted for a weekend shooting near Freedom Park...and tonight, they say he may be armed and dangerous.

     He is Roderick Lofton....and he faces 6 counts of aggravated assault...and one count of criminal gang activity.

     That's all tied to a drive-by shooting on Morgan drive...in which police say, a girl teenage girl was hit in the leg.

     The girl wasn't seriously hurt... In fact, police say she just had a bruise from the bullet.

     That shooting happened just an hour after a teenage boy was shot playing basketball at Freedom Park.

     A gold Honda accord was seen in both places.

     We asked police spokesperson Jami Gaudet if any of the charges are connected to the Freedom Park case...she said Lofton is strictly wanted for the shot fired on Morgan Drive.

     If you have any information on Roderick Lofton...or saw anything related to either crime Saturday... Please call Macon Regional Crimestoppers at 877-68-CRIME.

     That's 877-68-CRIME. 

   Macon police are trying to figure out how a missing 63-year-old man...ended up dead in a ditch.

   Police say the body of Robert Odom was found in a back yard on the 800 block of Corbin Avenue...off Riverside Drive.

     They say Odom lived next door.

     So far... there's no word on his cause of death.

<leon Jones, coroner: "he'd been missing for several days. Normally, I've been told he turns up missing then he comes back this time they did a canvas search and found the body this afternoon. >

     Bibb County coroner... Leon Jones says the body had been there several days... And says the autopsy is planned for tomorrow.

A mishap at a chemical company in Cordele sent a cloud of stink spreading across southwest georgia and even into Alabama.

     Officials say the chemical called (DIE-meth-oh-ate) dimethoate is mostly harmless-- two people were treated and released for dizziness and nausea-- but Candace Adorka found the chemical spill mainly left people curious.

<I have about 4 of these air freshners in the sunroom and there's a candle here and a candle there...>

Candles and cinnamon-scented oils were Betty Avera's weapon of choice to fight the pungent odor in her Cordele home Wednesday morning.

<I thought it was my trash so I went and took the trash out came back in and I just couldn't figure out where the smell was coming from.>

It was coming from Drexel chemical a couple miles northeast of her house-- at least a dozen drums filled with an insecticide ingredient overheated while in a warming vat.

<55 gallon drums with a metal band holding the lid on and it was building up enough pressure to blow the lid off.>

ire Chief Ray Lunsford says they got complaints of the scent from around southwest georgia and even into Alabama-- but in Drexel's back yard, Kathy Hobbs says the the smell was so strong it woke her from her sleep.

<I thought there was a skunk under my floor under my bed. No kidding it was that intense.>

several others around town had the same idea..

<it smelled like a skunk in the yard sprayed something and it was just horrible>

<it didn't smell like no chemicals or anything it just smelled like a skunk>

For several people, the skunky odor left them curious, but not concerned.

<I really wasn;t worried about it>

<after I heard the news and they said it wasn't harmful, it didn't bother me anymore>

<Drexel uses some pretty safe chemicals over there i believe, I've had some dealings with drexel, good company>

chief Lunsford says the spill has been cleaned up, and the manager assured him they fixed the malfunction that caused the accident.

Candace Adorka 13 wmaz eyewitness news.

Lunsford said the Environmental protection agency and other appropriate agencies were notified about the spill.

     A Conyers family lost four children... The youngest a baby..the oldest, only seven, in a duplex fire overnight.

     Firefighters say the flames broke out on the second floor of this Conyers home, just east of Atlanta. 

     The children's mother and grandmother, and a five-year-old boy escaped the flames.

     The mother was taken to the hospital with severe burns after crews say she risked her own life for her children. 

<"She was able to save one of the children, a little five-year-old; witnesses advised that she actually threw that child from a second-story window." >

     Three boys and a girl did not survive the fire.

     The cause is still under investigation. 

     Investigators want to know who shot at a Muslim house of prayer early yesterday morning in Fayetteville, Georgia.

     According to our sister station, WXIA in Atlanta, no one was inside when four of the building's windows were shattered by a spray of bullets.

     The Fayette County sheriff says his department is looking into whether the shooting was a hate crime.

<"Until we know a motive, we're just going to treat it as such. That way we treat it as seriously as possible until we rule it out." >

     A spokeswoman for the Muslim group says she doesn't think the shooting was anything more than an act of vandalism.

     The F-B-I has been called in to look into the case.

      Albany State University has been ordered to refund a 3 million dollar donation from the Ray Charles Foundation after failing to construct a performing arts center the money was meant to be used for, though the school hasn't explained why.

     The Albany Herald reports the Foundation went to the Georgia Attorney General's Office for help getting its money back.

     Ray Charles, who died in 2004, was an Albany native and also donated $1 million to Morehouse College in Atlanta. That money built a performing arts building named for the singer.

     Some health news tonight...and we start with an alarming study..that shows Americans are apparently getting sicker and dying younger than their international peers.

     A new report from the National Research Council Wednesday finds life expectancies in the U.S. are lagging behind 27 other high-income countries.

     That's despite the fact that Americans spend more per person on healthcare than any other country. 

     Data from 2007 show Americans' life expectancy is three-point-seven-years shorter for men compared to the leading nation of Switzerland.

     It's five-point-two-years years shorter for women compared to the leading nation of Japan.

     A likely cause, according to the report, is that Americans know what is good for them, but few act on it. 

     An annual cancer report finds overall cancer death rates are declining in the United States.

     But the number of cases of some cancers related to the human papillomavirus has gone up.

     That's despite the fact there are vaccines available to prevent the H-P-V infections that can lead to cancer.

     The first vaccine, Gardasil, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2006.

     Another in 2009.

     The annual cancer report is a collaboration between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and several major U-S cancer groups.

     The report concludes there's clearly a need for more prevention efforts for H-P-V-related cancers -- including getting more people vaccinated.

     Fluency in two languages may be key in preventing cognitive decline as you age.

     The findings are part of a study released this week by the Journal of Neuroscience. 

    Researchers evaluated more than a hundred people who identified themselves as bilingual.

     During tests that involved simple working memory, bilinguals and those who only speak one language scored about the same.

     However, in experiments where participants had to switch between intuitive tasks, bilinguals were faster.

     Researchers believe this shows that bilinguals can be better mental jugglers.

     In other news tonight...Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis is stepping down from her post.

     Solis sent a letter to colleagues today announcing her resignation.

     But in it, she gave no specific reason for why she's leaving.

     She called the decision to resign "one of the most difficult decisions" she'd ever made.

     President Obama released a statement calling Solis a "champion for working families" and commending her work over the past four years.

     President Obama will reportedly nominate his White House chief of staff, Jacob "Jack" Lew, to be the next U-S Treasury Secretary.

     That's according to an unidentified CNN source, who says the announcement could happen tomorrow.

     Lew was a former budget director for Presidents Obama and Bill Clinton, and a key player during the 20-11 debt ceiling talks. 

    If approved, he would be the second Treasury Secretary during the Obama administration.

     He would replace Timothy Geithner, who is moving back to New York to be with his family.

     Coming to America...the Nissan Leaf.

     You already see them here...Starting this week, the all-electric sedan will be made here too.

     The green car has been made exclusively in Japan, but will now be made at a plant in Tennessee.

     The automaker says it's working to manufacture 85 percent of the cars it sells in the U-S in North America by 20-15.

     The Leaf is not the commercial success it was expected to be with total sales still under 10-thousand.

     Meanwhile, sales of its rival, the Chevy Volt, have surged.

     Last year GM sold nearly 24 thousand of the cars -- more than double the number that sold in 20-11.

     A quick reminder...that you can keep up with 13WMAZ's weather on your Ipad.

     You can find our new ap in the APP store now...

     Download it...and you can follow all your news headlines too, even sports scores...

     And...give us feedback...after you download it, let us know what you think...

     A Macon woman says she was tired of passing by a public park...in her neighborhood... and seeing it deserted and filled with dead trees.

     So she came up with a plan...

This is the one I'm sitting at now that has the boxwoods around the back of it.

     Lee Johnson says it took only a couple of months to get her idea approved by the city.

     She donated all the plants, trees, and materials needed to revitalize Rose Park on Park Place in Downtown Macon.

     Now there's 3 maple trees... a native white oak... and several roses replacing the dead trees.

< The city doesn't have a lot of funds. I thought well this is a small park and I could fund that. >

     The next phase will include repainting the benches in the park.

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