Eyewitness News at 11, 1-22-12

7:29 PM, Jan 22, 2013   |    comments
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But first... A county commissioner says federal prosecutors should investigate whether the Bibb County School Board misspent money.

 

Austin Lewis has more on this story. Austin?

Commissioner Allen told us... His goal is to get the truth about the Bibb County School Board.... But he wouldn't delve into details...about what he wants to look into.

Allen read a page long statement asking for a special grand jury to look into a possible misuse of federal...state and local...money.

Allen declined to cite any specific examples...but said there should be an investigation on whether Board of Education personnel received compensation that they shouldn't have.

Or if an employee was punished for doing their job...in overseeing spending.

<Lewis: Do you think a potential crime was committed?

Allen: I think the people of Bibb County deserve the right to know if or not a crime has been committed if no crime has been committed then those individuals that have been put on the hot seat need to be told hey everything is fine but I think it's time that we do something instead of sit back and not do anything. >

This all comes as... the school district faces questions about its handling of the federal Promise Neighborhood program.

An audit said school administrators signed agreements that committed millions of dollars to the program... without approval of the school board.

And the district's former C-F-O says he was punished for raising questions about the spending.

Now again... Allen did not name these as specific examples.

But he says people want to see some action.

<Allen: They need to know somebody is doing something we're not just sitting back or I am not just sitting back tweedling my thumbs when accusations are flying out there we need to put a stop to it, we need to find out the truth I said that in my statement, find out what the truth is.

>

Just in the past hour....U-S Attorney Michael Moore told us he received Allen's letter and tells me he'll take a look at it.. and move forward as he sees fit. He says he generally will not comment on grand jury cases.

Thank you, Austin. We have reached out to the Bibb County Board of Education...and spokesman Donald Porter says the district planned to send out a response today. So far...they have not.

<Leah at Chroma: Forty years ago today, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a Texas law that outlawed any type of abortion unless the mother's life was in danger.

According to U.S. History.org...a woman challenged the law anonymously...and court documents called her....Jane Roe.

The ruling on her case...Roe versus Wade....said states could no longer restrict abortions during the first three months of a pregnancy.

The ruling said states could still pass laws restricting abortions during the second and third trimesters.

And the state of Georgia has passed its own restrictions.

For example....the Georgia Department of Public Health reports in 2005, then Governor Sonny Perdue signed what legislators called....the Woman's Right to Know Act,

It requires an ultrasound be performed before an abortion.... and the mother must be offered the chance to view that ultrasound and listen to the fetal heartbeat.

Women must also receive counseling explaining the physical and psychological risks of abortion....the age of the fetus at the time....

information on the father's legal responsibility to the child....and on assistance for prenatal care and childbirth costs.

Georgia law also requires that the parents of women under 18...must be notified if she decides to have an abortion.

And minors must sign a form stating that they are freely consenting and not being coerced.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the most recent national numbers are from 2009....when more than 784-thousand abortions were reported. That's in 46 states...four did not report their totals.

The latest statistics from Georgia are from 2010, where the state Department of Public Health reported more than 31-thousand abortions in the state of Georgia.

Nearly 15-hundred of those happened in the North Central Health District, which includes Bibb, Houston, Baldwin, Peach and several other Central Georgia counties.

That year...the CDC said there were nearly 16 abortions for every 1 thousand women between ages 15 and 44....that's just over the national average.

There are no public abortion clinics in Central Georgia.

Debbie (Lie-bee) Liby, Clinical Nursing Director with the North Central Health District, says they refer women seeking an abortion to places in Augusta or Atlanta. >

David Oedel is a constitutional law professor with Mercer Law School... Today, David, we're looking at Georgia... where we saw a legislative attempt to limit abortions just this past legislative session.

Start us off by explaining what that law attempts to do......

One person died in an accident on Interstate 75 in Houston County this afternoon.

The Georgia State Patrol says it happened around 3 today...near mile marker 133. That's just south of Perry.

So far... they're not releasing any further details on the accident... including the victim's name.

But the wreck caused at least two smaller accidents on 75 north... and closed two of the three lanes.

Crews are still on the scene of that wreck.

We'll update this story when more details are available... at 13WMAZ-DOT-COM.

The city of Macon will help some local nonprofits and volunteers... learn how to serve the community better.

They're sponsoring a upcoming community resource fair.... called *Macon* A Difference.

Mayor Robert Reichert met with other city leaders, today, to introduce the goals.

<Mayor Reichert: To make improvements and restore pride of people in their neighborhood and restore hope and confidence that people are not forgotten.>

Nearly a dozen non profit groups will gather at the Macon Centreplex on February 1st and 2nd.

The program includes workshops...

And allow non profit leaders to share ideas on how they can better serve areas that are struggling.

Organizers say all non-profit agencies and volunteers are encouraged to attend... and it's open to the public.

< Wanzina Jackson, Economic and Community Development, City of Macon: This is an opportunity to come and find out that there are some other things that I need to know about serving our community. >

Organizations that would like to participate can register with Volunteer Macon.

Look for details on how to do that... On our website... 13WMAZ-dot-com.

Back in July, we told you about this... It's an electric charging station...sitting in front of the Bibb County courthouse...

And it won't be the only one for long ... 13WMAZ's Tom George tell us, you'll soon see a hundred more of them dotting a seven county region....

<

Walking in front of the Courthouse, many didn't even notice the electric vehicle charging station, let alone use it...

< Did you know that's what it was? No I didn't know until you explained it to me, Sir.>

It's not easy being green sometimes ... But since debuting in July, Bibb County leaders say it's only charger has begun to get usage...

< You build it and they will come ... We know it's out there, it's a new technology and we kind of want to be on the leading edge, instead of trying to catch up.>

Now, a new grant from the U.S. Department Energy will allow the Middle Georgia Clear Air Coalition to install 100 more across the region.

< It's kind of like the chicken and the egg. You have to unofrtunately sometimes have the infrastructure in place so you can support the vehicles.>

Each unit costs around 8 thousand dollars, meaning Middle Georgia's share of the federal grant is more than 750 thousand dollars.... Georgia allows up to $2,500 in tax credit for buying electric cars ... Plus a federal tax credit of up to $7,500...

< One of the main selling points for a lot of people is that just like the one at the Courthouse, there's money in the grant for anyone with an electric car to charge it up for free. >

< I think it's a neat thing, wouldn't have to worry about high gas prices, and in the future, maybe I'd own one...>

Others worry about the cost...

< That's good, when the economy gets better ... I agree with that, if we had the money, it would be wonderful.>

But leaders say, just like with biodiesel and ethanol, once people get informed, they'll get on board..

< I felt good about it, I'd like to see it run, I sure do.l>

<that's the way we're going in the 21st century, and I think it's a good thing. >

In Macon, Tom George, 13WMAZ Eyewitness News.

The locations will be divided among the Middle Georgia Clean Air Coalition's 7 county region, which includes - Bibb, Houston, Crawford, Monroe,

Jones, Twiggs, and Peach Counties ... They're planning on having some installed by Earth Day in April.

We did ask if Bibb County had a tracking system in place to see how often the station's used...we were told...the county does keep count... But those numbers weren't immediately available.

Thanks, Frank.

Now in our webpoll today... At 13WMAZ-dot-com... We wanted to know...if you think the electric car trend will catch on and become popular in central georgia.

14 percent of you say yes... 86 percent of you... Don't think we're quite there yet.

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

Let us know what you think.

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

 

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