Eyewitness News at 6, 1-18-12

7:21 PM, Jan 18, 2013   |    comments
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Hello... I'm Frank Malloy.

And I'm Leah Johnson.

Georgia...rooting for its pro team tonight...

That's right. I'm Courtney Lyle. In less than 48 hours... the Falcons are essentially trying out for the Super Bowl.

I've got a little pregame analysis of what'll need to happen, to take it all the way.

And I'm Chief Meteorologist Ben Jones. If you think it feels more like January now... Wait until you see what's in my seven-day. Plus, I have your game-day forecast.

Four quarters are all that stand between the Atlanta Falcons and the Super Bowl.


Mike Smith and his team picked up their first playoff win in eight years last week over Seattle.

Courtney, that road block is behind them.. But another big test is less than 48 hours away.

Frank.. Leah...The Falcons have pulled out some close victories this season.. Including last week against the Seahawks.

Seattle features a mobile rookie quarterback in Russell Wilson and back-field threat Marshawn Lynch.. Which Atlanta did an ok job of shutting down.

Let's get down to business...and start our Sunday preview right now.

So this week, the name to know is Colin Kaepernick.

He took the starting Q-B slot for the 49ers in Week 11 from Alex Smith ...and the kid likes to run.

In the divisional round against Green Bay.. Kaepernick rushed for a single game quarterback record of 181 yards.

That was part of a franchise record 579 total yards of offense.

Unfortunately, for the Falcons... rush defense is an area where they struggle.

Atlanta has allowed 339 yards on 38 carries for quarterbacks this season... That's last in the league.

Matt Ryan has proven he can get the dirty birds down the field in tight situations.. The key to watch for is the Falcons defense.

If they can limit Kaepernick's keeps on read option plays... like they did last week with Russell Wilson... They've got a better shot at controlling the game and moving on to the Super Bowl. Head coach Mike Smith will give us some insight on Kaepernick later in Sports.

While the Falcons are prepping to win a NFC Championship.. Their fans are doing everything they can to support Atlanta.

<RICHARD MCWILLIAMS: What's a Casual Friday?>

Alan Parker's agents at State Farm don't usually get a "casual friday"... Today, Parker took a different approach and went with "Falcons Friday."

Falcons gear.. Such as a soda can from Atlanta's 1998 NFC Title and a Matt Ryan autographed hat are just some of the items Parker keeps in his office.

Today.. Red and black was everywhere.

<ALAN PARKER: Well it's just a very significant day. We figured we better help boost all the support and the confidence and encouragement... The Falcons can certainly use it on Sunday>

<JADA WALL: It's great. We normally don't have casual Fridays and today he said "hey, wear your Falcons shirts." So we did.>

Three o-clock on Sunday is when you need to be glued to the TV.

In our 13WMAZ Web Poll today... We asked you who your favorite football team is?

Twenty one percent of you... Likin' the Falcons.

55 percent... All about those Dawgs.

24 percent of you... Could be your high school team... Could be your alma mater.

We're keeping the vote open all night, Frank and Leah.

To vote now... Visit 13WMAZ.com.

Look for the question on the right side of the homepage.

All that coverage...Sunday... On 13WMAZ Eyewitness News...and now you can follow the sports on your I-Pad.

13WMAZ ap available in the ap store now.

Thanks, Courtney.

It's the largest employer in state of Georgia ... But now, with possible sequestration and other economic impacts, the Under Secretary of the Air Force has announce some cuts that would affect civilian workers at Robins Air Force Base.

Tom George joins us in the 13WMAZ Eyewitness Newsroom with more, Tom?

Frank and Leah, the move comes as Air Force officials say they're expecting a 1 point 8 BILLION dollar shortfall in funding for overseas operations, as well as what they called budget uncertainty.

So, the defense department issued a memo to all Air Force bases suggesting immediate cuts... The plan would impact Robins Air Force Base by implementing a complete freeze on hiring civilians, who make up almost three-quarters of Robins' employee payroll ... The plan would also impact civilians who already work on base.

It would eliminate all temporary workers, and would not renew term hire employees unless their jobs are classified as mission critical or necessary as a personnel matter.

The plan would also eliminate other spending by limiting some community events such as air shows, and by cutting the amount spent on supplies and maintenance contracts that are not mission essential.

However, despite cuts in some areas, the memo also made it clear what programs they want protected ...

The plan fully protects wartime operations as well as the Wounded Warrior Program. The plan will also try and protect most family programs and defense strategy programs.

According to Robins' Economic Impact Statement, the base has an annual federal payroll of almost 2 billion dollars ... Some local leaders say they are still weighing the impact of potentially having fewer employees...living in the Warner Robins community.

Frank... Leah?

A little more than an hour ago.. We received a statement from retired air logistics center commander, General Robert McMahon... who now heads up the 21st Century Partnership.

He urged congress to act quickly... saying...

"As a defense community, it is critical that we demand Washington address the effects, they themselves would create through sequestration

and any extension of the continuing resolution."

"this hiring freeze only scratches the surface of what Middle Georgia will see if action is not taken by Congress and the President."

General McMahon encouraged a move before the March 2nd deadline.

A 47-year old Warner Robins Woman is missing...and detectives are asking for your help to find her.

They say Andrea Murray is an endangered missing person.

She was last seen on January 16th...wearing a gray jogging suit.

Detectives say...she may have some mental limitations... And often frequents the areas around ignico drive and North Davis Drive.

Murray stands 5 feet tall and weighs about 275 pounds.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the detective on the investigation...at 478-929-6909...

Or to text to CRIMES...and include the keyword W-R-P-D in the body of the text.

The Blue Bird Corporation based in Fort Valley kicked off the new year with 600 orders for propane-powered buses.

They started making these alternative energy buses in 2007.

Austin Lewis has more on this greener technology... and why Blue Bird says it's saving school districts money.

On the outside...this looks like any other Bluebird bus...

The engine starts the same way

And the gauge tells you whether...how much fuel is left.

But underneath...this tank doesn't hold gas...but propane.

The exhaust emits...steam...instead of smog

<Phil Horlock, CEO Blue Bird:the reason is it's fantastic for the environment think about that it's a clean burning fuel a very clean-burning fuel we're not burning fossil fuels with this product. >

Phil Horlock...the C-E-O of Blue Bird...says this is one of 2,000 buses...they've made since 2007...that purr.

for propane.

He says these buses cost a little more... but it starts saving school districts green immediately.

<Phil Horlock, CEO Blue Bird: You pay that 6 or 7 thousand dollar premium but every year in propane savings versus diesel around 25-hundred dollars a year because the cost of a gallon of propane is about $1.50 right now diesel diesel is about 3.80 per gallon>

Horlock says...propane is not only cheaper...but when school districts get these greener buses they often bring the cleaner gas to their backyard.

<Phil Horlock, CEO Blue Bird: they install a filling station right on the premises of that school yard where those buses are stored just along side the diesel tank.>

Bluebird has sent them to Missouri...Washington State...Nebraska...Utah...and even Canada.

Horlock says they chose to build buses with propane tanks over other alternative energy because it's both cheaper...and cost efficient.

<Phil Horlock, CEO Blue Bird:It's actually a cost-saver that's instantly realizable because you save about 25-hundred to 3-thousand dollars per year immediately in fuel costs>

And while Bluebird still primarily creates diesel engine buses, propane powered ones...aren't far behind.

Austin Lewis 13WMAZ Eyewitness News.

While there aren't any propane-powered buses in Central Georgia districts... Bluebird says they've sent 20 of them to Hall County.

And some buses are scheduled to go to Appling County in March.

President Obama's public inauguration is set for Monday...

That's also the national holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior.

And when the nation's first black president is sworn in for his second term, he's expected to have one hand on the Civil Rights leader's own Bible.

King's daughter says Obama's presidency means a lot to the people who fought for the rights of African-Americans.

Still she says.... her father's work isn't done yet.

"Although we have come a long way, we still have to finish the work of Doctor King. So, symbolically, it's tying that movement into his presidency and saying that we've got serious work to do and it starts... not starts... but it continues in a deeper level in this second term that he is."

Of course, this weekend is when Central Georgia begins its own tributes to Dr. King... And there's a whole list of events at 13WMAZ-dot-com for you to check out.

Here are just a few of them.

In Dublin, Saturday... The 19th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Parade steps off at noon.

The procession starts on Martin Luther King Blvd. and ends on West Jackson Street in downtown Dublin.

Pay tribute with a day of service in Warner Robins.

The meeting point for those who want to take part in a number of service proects...is Ck's Lounge on North Davis Drive.

Work happens from 1-4...and that's on Monday.

Participate in Milledgeville's MLK Jr. March Monday at noon. The route begins in Huley Park.

Also at noon Monday...Participate or attend the Macon march that starts in four directions and meets in the front of Macon City Hall. The parade culminates as the four groups meet in front of city hall...for a brief presentation. For more events...check out 13WMAZ-dot-com.

After 10 years of hosting the Summer games of the Special Olympics...

Organizers in Houston County felt it was time to bring in some indoor activity.

Athletes from all 13 of Houston county middle and high schools showed up to participate.

Video Journalist Claudia Taylor shows us how the return of the Winter games played out.

Three winning teams will head to Atlanta... next weekend to take a shot at the state competition.


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