Eyewitness News at 11, 2-27-13

10:49 PM, Feb 27, 2013   |    comments
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<to see these kids not walk up the street anymore...it's really important to me..out of respect >

Three days after their death... Neighbors at a vigil remember 3 children...all under the age of 10....lost over the weekend in a housefire.

Hello, everyone.

This is Eyewitness News at 11.

I'm Leah Johnson.

And I'm Frank Malloy.

Investigators still don't know what caused the fire...which they believe started in a bedroom.

One child survived...and has since been released from the Augusta Burn Center, where the family tells us...he was treated mostly for smoke inhalation.

Tonight.... Before the vigil... Judy Le spoke with the mother by phone.

<I just remember, sleeping, I got out of the bed and left. And when I came back, I got a phone call, my house was on fire. The firefighters were taking my children out. I was screaming, telling them to come on, come on>

Tonight... Colethia William's pain was felt by the entire neighborhood.

About 300 classmates ... school teachers... Friends and neighbors lit up the street in memory of those three children.

Judy Le has more from tonight's candlelight vigil.

What started with one stuffed animal...turned into a makeshift memorial for three children who died in a house fire.

<we don't have to have a death in the community to come together, we should come together on many occasions. it just hurts that this has to be the occasion everybody comes together like this>

<ever since it happened, we've been over with the balloons and everything

The front yard was covered with memories of the children...all under the age of ten. The only survivor is three-year old...J'lon Williams... who was released from the Augusta Burn Center Wednesday afternoon.

<i don't know if he even knows anything right now. I don't even know how to tell him>

With streets blocked off...about 300 light up the night in honor of the three children

The biggest support came from classmates...

<they all come from the school...>

The candlelight vigil started in prayer and song. Teachers took to the podium to remember the children in story.

There was not a dry eye during the vigil...as the neighborhood copes with what many say...feels like the loss of ...a family member

judy le 13wmaz eyewitness news

While the cause is still under investigation... both Fire chief Marvin Riggins... and coroner Leon Jones say... There's no reason to believe it was anything but a tragic accident.

In two days... A string of budget cuts called sequestration will become reality if Congress doesn't halt them.

We've talked extensively about the civilian furloughs...and equipment cuts...that could impact Robins Air Force Base.

But other branches of the military could suffer too...including the coast guard.

<We think the aggregate number of potential layoffs is as many -- and, again, this is early childhood and K to 12 -- we think it's as many as 40,000 people will lose jobs. And again, the only other, the only other way you don't do that, again, I think is you would reduce school days. You could go to three-day weeks or four, you know. >

And finally... There's the department of agriculture.

The agriculture secretary says... Everything from farm subsidies...to money that funds food safety inspections...could be reduced.

<farm subsidies may very well get cut...at the same percentage as the food safety budget gets cut. And the food safety budget unfortunately is mostly people. And I've heard also members of congress complain about that maybe there's travel that can be cut. We've already done that. >

Agriculture leaders say there are between 700 million and a billion dollars worth of cuts its self-imposed on the department.

Meanwhile... Congressional leaders continue to fire back and forth with no remedy.

Yesterday... House Speaker Boehner...and Senate Majority Harry Reid...both pointed fingers at opposite ends of Capitol Hill...each claiming the other branch was delaying productive talks.


In Bibb County... The field of candidates who think they have an answer to leadership issues here at home...grew by two today.

Bibb County Commission Chairman Sam Hart Sr. formally announced his candidacy for Mayor of a consolidated Macon-Bibb County government during a morning news conference.

A few hours later, Macon Mayor Robert Reichert confirmed that he's running too.

Today, Hart said... He's got the background... and the know-how... To manage projects like SPLOST.

He also says his ability to build consensus is exactly what the united government will need.

< Sam Hart, Mayoral Candidate: We got some healing to do in our community. I think the consolidation piece, the piece that relates to nonpartisan voting, all those things have got the potential of tearing our community apart. You need somebody who can help bring our community together.>

Macon Mayor Robert Reichert says his official announcement to run is coming soon.

< Robert Reichert, Macon Mayor: We've made the decision to run for mayor of the consolidated government. But we have not made an official announcement yet or formal announcement to that effect.

When do you think that'll be forthcoming?

In the very near future. We're still trying to find the appropriate time, locations and people.>

Hart and Reichert join former Macon mayor C. Jack Ellis...and businessman David Cousino in the race.

Central Georgia travelers now have a new option...that will get you to your destination a little faster than the Volkswaggen Bug.

Silver Airways of Fort Lauderdale, Florida will soon be making daily flights from Macon...not just to Atlanta...but to Orlando as well.

Macon Mayor Robert Reichert says a Macon - Atlanta trip will cost you 44 dollars...which could be less than gas, and extended-stay parking at the airport for example.

If you're going on to Orlando...a flight that connects out of Atlanta will cost you $116.

Reichert says one of the 34-seat aircrafts will touch down at the airport Friday...for the official announcement.

The skies are clear now... But the rain was so heavy in Leslie in the south central part of the state ....look what it did to an in-ground pool.

The high ground water levels pushed this concrete pool right out of the ground.

The homeowners say they never even realized something like this was possible.

We have another Facebook Fan of the Day to tell you about...

Congratulations... To Stephanie Glynn...

Stephanie is not only a WMAZ fan... She also loves her Philadelphia Eagles.

And her favorite musician is Alicia Keys.

Stephanie's going to be getting one of these....a 13WMAZ coffee mug.

If you want one too... Just like us on Facebook...and fill out the entry form.

You have two chances to win...once in the morning...and again here on Eyewitness News at 11.


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