Eyewitness News at 6, 2-11-13

7:06 PM, Feb 11, 2013   |    comments
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For the first time in about 600 years... The Head of the Catholic Church...announces he will resign.

Hello everyone. Thank you for joining us.

I'm Frank Malloy.

And I'm Leah Johnson.

This is Eyewitness News at Six.

The announcement came today... As the Vatican explained...the Pontiff's doctors had advised him against transatlantic travel.


They did not describe any specific health condition.

But the Pope's brother, Father George Ratzinger... Said age was wearing on Benedict the XVI...who will turn 86 this year.

In 2005... He was elected to succeed the popular Pope John Paul the Second...

Today... He announced his plans to leave that post.

He officially steps down on February 28...

And on March 1, the Papal conclave that will picked his successor...will convene.

The pope's resignation blind-sided a priest from St Peter Claver off Vineville Avenue.

Judy Le sat down with him earlier today.

<I woke up this morning to this surprising news out of the vatican, well I thought it was a joke you know and then I turned on the tv and I saw the news (and you knew it wasn't a joke) no it wasn't a joke>

Even though he didn't see it coming...St. Peter Claver Pastor Daniel Melaba says...he understands the pope's decision.

<For him, I think it's something he's agonized over>

Old age and ailing health are viable factors for retirement...and in this case...resignation. The news comes right before Lent...a fasting period that leads up to Easter.

<it's we humans who are worried about time. What time is appropriate, what time is right. We worship God in and out of seasons. You know for God, there is no time that is not opportune time>

Melaba comes from Nigeria and has called Macon home for the past four years. He says new leadership doesn't necessarily mean a shift in tradition.

<By and large, it's the same gospel. It's going to be the same church and so I see more of continuity. Still, it has not sunken in that this happened>

Judy Le 13wmaz eyewitness news

Possible successors for the Vatican...include

Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco...the Italian Cardinal of the Catholic Church...

Cardinal Marc Quellet... Canadian head of the Catican office for Bishops.

Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi...an Italian and President of the Pontifical Council..

Cardinal Leonardo Sandri of Argentina...

And Cardinal Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan...

You can read more about each of these men ... And their service with the Church...at USA Today.com... there's a link to that article in a story on our homepage.

Brock Bingaman teaches religious studies at Wesleyan College. He says the prospect of a new pope could energize the Catholic church world wide as people look ahead to the church's future.

And Bingaman says Pope Benedict's legacy includes both good and bad.

In our webpoll today... At 13WMAZ-dot-com... We asked... What sort of Pope should succeed Benedict XVI?

54 percent...are hoping for a Traditionalist.

46 percent...say its time for a Reformer to helm the church.

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

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

<he really continued some of the good things that John Paul 2 engaged in, including peace building. He had to account for being in Hitler youth, and so he made some pretty proactive decisions and he made peace with Jewish people, visited synagogues, he did some things that John Paul did as well, visiting religious groups, doing some things along those lines. He is brilliant, so academically, intellectually he could speak to multiple sides. Under his watch he had some of the most difficult and trying times that any pope has in recent history. He also had a debacle with the muslim world and his lecture where he's making some references that muslims were offended by. So he's made some mistakes as well, but I think overall he's kind of maintained the trajectory that John Paul the second was continuing on.>

In our webpoll today... At 13WMAZ-dot-com... We asked... What sort of Pope should succeed Benedict XVI?

54 percent...are hoping for a Traditionalist.

46 percent...say its time for a Reformer to helm the church.

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

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

Of those 24 homicides last year, 4 of them remain unsolved.

Up next... Intersections to watch out for in Houston County and Warner Robins...

Find out if your daily commute takes you through one of the Top 5 intersections for crashes...

That's next on Eyewitness News at Six.

Warner Robins drivers might want to beware.

Police statistics show you most likely to get into an accidents at one of five intersections.

Lorra Lynch Jones tells you where to take extra caution.

Everyday... David Hughner watches the controlled chaos from his work.

<last week I saw a fender bender right here in front of the store.>

He says the intersection of Moody Road and Russell Parkway stays constantly congested with cars.. Coming to and from Robins Air Force Base.

<from about 7 to 8-30 avoid it. From 330 to 530... Avoid it.>

Warner Robins police statistics show the most accidents in the city last year happened from people traveling on Moody...where it meets Russell.... 28 of them... Mostly from folks following too closely.

The second most collision ridden spot... It's going the other way... Where people driving on Russell at Moody... with 26 crashes.

Again most happened for the same reason.

<warner Robins police say the accidents at these intersections are more likely to happen on particular days. Moody at Russell on Tuesdays and Wednesdays... Russell at Moody on Mondays.>

Three more intersections rounded out the top five for the most crashes.

Russell Parkway at Houston Lake Road with 22 accidents...

Watson Boulevard at Carl Vinson Parkway also with 22..

And Russell at Kimberly with 21.

Again.. the main factor... Following to closely, plus distracted driving.

None of the accidents at the top five collision spots caused drivers serious injury... Although there were 6 traffic accident deaths in the city last year. That's down from 11 the previous year.

<it's just an accident waiting to happen you know?>

Hughner says there's bound to be more outside his shop... But a plan by the city to adjust the signals on Russell may help. It's underway now... Scheduled for completion in a few months.

In Warner Robins, Lorra Lynch Jones 13WMAZ, Eyewitness News.

City Engineer Walter Gray says the retiming project on Russell will adjust the traffic light timing from Wellborn Road to Houston Lake Road.

He says that will likely speed up the time it takes to get through the intersections.. Making drivers less impatient... And possibly reducing the potential for accidents.

There's also money set aside for the resurfacing of Moody Road.

The Georgia State Patrol says all lanes of I-16 west in Laurens County are now open after cleanup from last week's fatal crashes.

A two-mile stretch of the right-hand lane has been closed since last Wednesday's accidents.

The state patrol says part of the highway was "incinerated" by the fiery crashes that involved 27 vehicles and killed four people.

The state patrol says cleanup was completed this weekend.

< So, we're really blessed that we don't have any fatalities, any confirmed fatalities. So, we're doing better than most people would think.">

That's the Mayor of Hattiesburn, Mississippi... Talking about the powerful tornado that touched down yesterday... Destroying several homes... Damaging businesses, and toppling buildings at the University of Southern Mississippii.

This is viewer video... Obtained through CNN... At least 16 people were injured in the storm that ripped through several counties.

Two people were critically hurt.

Police at the University of Southern Mississippi have declared a state of emergency and urged those who were away from their dorms over the weekend...not to come back for now.

Coming up next... They're chocolatey...they're minty... and they have a day dedicated in their honor.

Stick around. A taste of more Eyewitness News at 6...after this.

Chill out... It's National Peppermint Pattie Day.

For more than 70 years now, the chocolate candy with a cool, minty middle has brought smiles to faces.

Back in the 1940s, ice cream maker Henry C. Kessler wanted to expand his company's list of treats so he added the cool candy to his brand.

Now, Hershey's delivers the "sensation" of the smooth dark chocolate pattie with a burst of peppermint in the middle.


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