Eyewitness News at 6, 2-28-13

6:53 PM, Feb 28, 2013   |    comments
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Next on Eyewitness News at Six...

One phase of the investigation...into December's shooting at a Kroger store...has ended.

That's the case involving a city of Macon Police officer.


Plus... What sequestration would take away from one of the area's best known tourist attractions.

Eyewitness News at Six is next.

<but we will not be rushed...we're going to do this right. We know this is an important case to the community and we know that the community wants and deserves answers. >

Good evening, everyone.

I'm Frank Malloy.

And I'm Leah Johnson.

Our top story tonight...Bibb County's DA says he'll take two to three weeks....to review the case file on a fatal shooting outside a Macon supermarket.

Police say Macon Police Officer Clayton Sutton shot and killed Sammie Davis, Jr outside the Kroger on Pio Nono Avenue on December 21st.

Today...the Bibb County D-A says the Georgia Bureau of investigations finished their work on the case...and turned the file over to his office.

Just about an hour ago... You saw his news conference here live...on Eyewitness News at 5.

Tom George was there...and he joins us for a recap.

Well, many in the community had been asking "what took them so long..."

The GBI took over the case just about two months ago.

And that came after Macon police conducted their own internal investigation.

Now Cooke says his office has a lot of work ahead.

<this is a large file. It contains hours of video and recorded interviews as well as hundreds of pages of documentary evidence. We've already begun our review of this file and we will do so as quickly as possible without sacrificing the quality or the accuracy of our own review but we will not be rushed.>

Now the next step will be Cooke going through those files.

He says that will take at least 2 to 3 weeks...before he decides how to proceed on the case ...And whether any charges will be filed.

Now Cooke says his investigation is separate from the Macon Police's investigation.

And Officer Sutton will remain on administrative leave until his department decides what it will do.

Police say that's standard procedure...when an officer is involved in a shooting.

When we think of the impact of budget cuts... Commonly known as sequestration... We usually talk in terms of the effects on the Department of Defense and bases like Robins Air Force Base.

But as we found out today...one of Central Georgia's most visited tourist attractions stands to lose funding... And jobs... Positions managers at the Ocmulgee Indian Mounds say, are desperately needed.

< it's amazing how this was built>

These vacationers from Connecticut making a pit stop at the Ocmulgee National Monument on their way to Florida.

< We needed a break from the Connecticut winter so we came down to Georgia >

They're among more than a hundred thousand people from the U.S. And around the world who visit Macon's 2 thousand year old settlement each year.


How you doing ... Pretty day..

But keeping up the national park comes with a price.

Jim David... Superintendent at the Ocmulgee National Monument says their budget is at 1.2. Million dollars this year.

< We have 702 acres to maintain, so with 11 staff members and that size budget we are a little bit tight. >

And now, with sequestration looming, that budget is set to get even tighter... An Interior Department memo sent out to heads of National Parks told them to find a way to cut 5 percent of their budgets.

< we sat down the management team and tried to figure out what we could do reduce that 5 percent but also have the minimal impact that we could. >

That means cutting funding for the annual Indian Celebration, which has become a popular event in Macon.... It also means cutting summer maintenance workers from 4 to just 1. David says even with four people, there's a lot of turf to cover.

< I really appreciate the parks that I go to that are well maintained, like as a runner you can tell when a park hasn't been maintained.>

It's something park goers and managers alike are hoping to avoid.

< I think its really sad that they would cut that. I think its an enjoyable part of my life to go to parks and enjoy them.>

Gary Ingram....the director of the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site in Plains says they can make that 5 percent budget cut by putting in a hiring freeze...and prevent job and program cuts.


Congress has until tomorrow... To reach a decision that would halt the cuts.

Meanwhile... The blame game on the hill continues.

<"I really believe that the American people deserve better than what the Republicans in this building believe is the right thing. They've endured too much economic uncertainty in recent years. Now, the economy is poised for a strong long-term growth. The coming months, the stock market is near all-time highs. Our job in Congress should be to provide a foundation for our economy in these next steps.>

<I don't blame the Super Committee members. There are leaders here that worked with all the members of the Super Committee. It's unfortunate that they didn't come to an outcome but there were an awful lot of others influencing the Super Committee to not come to an agreement unless their goals were met and I would start there with the President of the United States. >

President Obama is set to meet with Reid and other Congressional leaders tomorrow at the White House.

The automatic budget cuts would take 85-billion dollars from federal budgets over the next seven months, the remainder of the government's fiscal year.

Tonight... The Bibb Board of Education convenes for a regularly scheduled meeting...

its first since the resignation of Romain Dallemand as superintendent.

Members voted Monday to buy out his contract for a sum of 350 thousand dollars, plus benefits.

Tonight...they could name an interim superintendent....and possibly start planning the search for Dallemand's replacement.

The full board begins its meeting in less than a half hour.

Austin Lewis will have a full report on Eyewitness News at 11 and 13WMAZ-dot-com.

Early voting is under way in both Jones and Monroe counties, where people will decide whether to continue SPLOSTs for education.

The separate votes in the two counties conclude Tuesday, March 19 and early voting ends Friday, March 15.

Both counties already have a one percent sales tax in place for education, and they expire this year.

According to the ballot question, Monroe County wants to raise up to $32 million over the next five years for various education purposes.

Jones County's sales tax would raise up to $16 million.

For information on polling places and times, contact your local board of elections.

Here's some information on a story we brought you last week.

Eastman salon owner Jonathan Bryant says his shop is not ready for business...and he's not yet sure when he'll reopen.

The salon was one several businesses hit by fire last week in Eastman's downtown.

Last week...we incorrectly reported when Jonathan's salon would reopen.

You don't hear this lead-in to a news story very often... But if you're dealing with a buzzard invasion...one central georgia town may have the solution.

Sandersville, Georgia is using buzzard carcasses to ward off live birds.

The carcasses are perched on a water tower in town to scare away buzzards...

Which are a nasty threat to cell phone antennas on the tower...

<buzzards are filthy, disgusting, foul creatures. We had to do something immediately to reconcile the situation. They nest on the antennas which are mounted on the water tower. You get poor cell phone reception and you really don't want to tell your customers that's why you're losing signal strength... 'cause there's buzzard poo on the antennas.>

The carcasses are made of plastic bird bodies with real buzzard wings and tails, and were issued by the Department of Agriculture.

Cochran is a city rich with history,

As Annette st. Claire introduces you two family's there...

and their educational legacy

<School bell rings ( Nat Sound)>

mae chapel is a little school with a big history just off hwy 26 in bleckly county

<nat sound.. we had to pick cotton...>

sam and willie coley weretwo of the first students to attend the Mae Chapel school

established in the early 1900's as a school for African American children

<sam and willie coley: It was exciting coming to the school.. I see the building.. I remember it ya know a lot of changes have been made

That time period.. you had to deal with what you had..>

A time period that was filed with adversity

<sam and willie coley: It was terrible.. people were cruel.. back in the day.. I'm not going to say it was good..our people we were colored people>

That cruelty forced mr William perry a trustee of a neighboring school to move mae chapel

<Nat sound>

by logs across gun swamp creek bridge so children like sammie and willie could receive a safe education. perry's grandson Algie Jones remebers his commitment to the children

<Algie jones: My grandfather always said an education is something you cant take away you can take away land you can take away money but you cant take away an education

I'm just happy we got thru it and because I didn't think a lot of people would get through it.. a lot of people couldn't get thru it.. people give up too quick you got keep marching>

An out house ..... the original slates.... and


And a dictionary all signs of their past...

<Reporter Annette St. Claire: sam willie if these walls could talk what would they say

How far I've come how far did I go>

But they say the real credit lies with their family

<Times was hard... to live with some people.. but momma was good she taught us the right way to go and I appreciate what my mother did

COVER VIDEO My momma used to tell us all the time do the best you can with what you can

So that's what we did we made it!!!>

Video ...bell rings...

Annette St. Claire..

Nat-sound lord that's the school bell

13wmaz eyewitness news

Tomorrow night we'll show you what educators in bleckley county are doing

with Mae Chapel to continue its legacy

Conductor Ward Stare has taken his last bow... Directing the Macon Symphony Orchestra.

He's only been here a year... But he said he just didn't have the time and energy he needed to devote to the post.

Of course, the music continues...orchestra CEO Sheryl Towers says planning is on for the 2013-2014 concert season.

Towers plans to invite in guest conductors, who'll help develop their own programs.

She also called Stare a wonderful talent...and said Macon's musicians enjoyed his leadership.

A shining tradition has made its way back to Macon.

After being held in Augusta in recent years, the Golden Gloves boxing championship will once again take place in central Georgia.

The amateur championships will take place at Bishop Ray Boxing Arena...

Bishop Frank Ray spoke about the importance of the championships, in and outside the ring...

<this is about the kids. It's not about Bishop Ray. It's the kids. We're here to promote a good relationship. And show love to our young people where they know they can come in this club here and be safe.>

Elimination rounds for the Golden Glove championships will take place this Saturday and Sunday at Bishop Ray Boxing Gym on 6th Street...

Followed by the championship rounds, to be held next weekend, March 9th and 10th.


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