Eyewitness News at 11: March 23, 2013

11:16 PM, Mar 23, 2013   |    comments
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Thank you for joining us.
I'm Jennifer Moulliet.

While the weather in Macon wasn't great tonight, that didn't stop folks from dancing in the street at the Cherry Blossom's Street party.
The location moved to inside Macon City Auditorium.
And Central Georgians tell Austin Lewis that the weather didn't dampened the fun.
ZeEster Clyatt, Macon: "The lights are awesome, you get the acoustics that you wouldn't get outside plus you got ready access to the rest rooms."
Kimberly Wilder, Macon: "I think it's better being inside than it was before you got the dance floor compared to the pavement it's great."
Fawna Hollingsworth, Warner Robins: "It is a great time everybody is excited, everybody is happy to be out it is awesome I would say get out here and have a good time. Rock on."
Teresa Kelly, Bonaire: "Definitely come out and see the bands and everything have a good time, have a few libations."
Jeannie Hartman, Warner Robins: "I tried the pull porked with the Whiskey Tennesee sauce that was awesome."
Doug Weaver, Thomaston: "They are missing a good time it's really a lot of fun and we're staying dry and the food is great, friends are great and the people are wonderful real nice people."
Kimberly Wilder, Macon: "First street fair it's awesome I've lived here eight years and I've actually never been able to attend and this is incredible right now the atmosphere is wonderful all the people coming out it's wonderful, the music it is just great people should come down and see it."
Tomorrow is the last day of the pinkest party on earth.
Closing ceremonies will be at 5.

 

Concerns over the weather caused the Mulberry Street Festival to make some last minute changes including moving to another location.
The festival moved to the Farmer's Market on Eisenhower Parkway in Macon.
President of the Middle Georgia Art Association, Mae Thurston says this is the first time in over 40 years that they've moved the festival.
The association decided to make the move late Friday afternoon.
Another option would have cancelled the festival for at least one day.
They say the last minute change didn't stop the crowds from coming in and it kept the vendors happy.
Mae Thurston, President, Middle GA Art Association: "It was either the vendors lose their money... This is their lively hood here. They travel and do this and so we found this space."
Patricia Anderson, Glass Art By PJ, Dublin: "We just came right here and everyone was really nice. Everyone was polite so it was easy to come over here and make the switch."
The last day of the arts and crafts festival is Tomorrow.
Doors will open at 10 a.m.

The Cherry Blossom Festival may draw many to Macon for one week but one city council member says it may come at the expense of downtown businesses there 365 days a year.
As 13WMAZ's Tom George found out, for some, blocking streets is blocking business.
Simon Becker/ Union Furniture: "Percentage-wise, we see a drop of about 50 percent during Cherry Blossom."
Simon Becker owns the Union Furniture Company in downtown Macon. For shops likes his, street closures can be a big problem.
Tom George: "Now during the festival, this whole section of Cherry Street is blocked off, meaning if you're at one of these businesses, you can't just park your car in front, you would have to park somewhere else, and then walk there instead."
Simon Becker/ Union Furniture:"Many times it's very difficult for our delivery trucks to get to our business so we can load or for customers to come load their purchases and for our customers to get there in general."
But the parking issue has hit some businesses less hard than others... A few doors down at the Pink Chief Boutique owners say many of their shoppers are people already walking around...
Sandra Bryant/ Pink Chief: "The parade shut us down where people couldn't park, but after the parade, people started coming in cause we stayed open a little bit late and then people were coming in and out while they were preparing for the parade."
They say their aptly-named store has actually drawn curious festival-goers.
Sandra Bryant/ Pink Chief: "A lot of people come in just to see.. Cause they see the pink and they really think we're connected with Cherry Blossom."
But for next year, Macon City Councilman Rick Hutto says he wants to change the rules for street closures, so businesses can react
Rick Hutto/ Macon City Council: "This says who, it says exactly how many hours ahead they have to be notified,it says how many hours ahead signs have to go up, so, again, it's just an attempt at doing a much better at organization."
He says that way, small businesses can share in some of the Cherry Blossom love...
In Macon, Tom George, 13WMAZ Eyewitness News.
Hutto says he plans on working with Cherry Blossom President Jake Ferro to make some improvements for parking by next year's festival.

 

An off-duty Johnson County Sheriff's officer was shot and killed Friday.
That's according to Johnson County Coroner, Kenny Jones.
Jones says, 23 year old Krystil Wright was shot and killed in Lauren's County, while off-duty.
The case is being investigated by the Lauren's County Sheriff's Office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
At this time, it's unknown, what led up to the shooting.
We'll update this story as new information becomes available.

 

Two teenagers are charged with murder, accused in the fatal shooting of a 13-month-old boy in southeast Georgia.
The shooting happened Thursday while the little boy was being pushed in a stroller by his mother.
Family of the accused are coming forward.
Cristina Mutchler has latest.
"911 Operator: This is Brunswick 911, where's your emergency?
Caller: Emergency at (down the street). Woman says that her baby apparently been hit in the head or shot.
911 Operator:Her baby has been hit in the head or shot?
Caller: Shot. I can't tell. She's screaming now."
A CHILLING 9-1-1 CALL FROM A MAN WHO SAID HE COULD SEE SHERRY WEST PERFORMING C-P-R ON HER 13-MONTH-OLD SON AFTER HE WAS SHOT IN HIS STROLLER.
POLICE HAVE NOW CHARGED 17-YEAR-OLD DE'MARQUISE ELKINS AND A 14-YEAR-OLD BOY - WHOSE NAME HAS NOT BEEN RELEASED - WITH FIRST-DEGREE MURDER.
ACCORDING TO AUTHORITIES, ELKINS IS BEING TREATED AS AN ADULT IN CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS.
ELKINS' AUNT SAYS POLICE HAVE THE WRONG PERSON.
Katrina Freeman/ De'marquise Elkins' Aunt: "I am 100 percent positive that De'Marquise Elkins was not at the crime scene. He was at my residence."
SHERRY WEST HAS STRONG WORDS FOR THE YOUNG MEN WHO ARE ACCUSED OF KILLING HER SON, ANTONIO.
Sherry West/ Mother of Son Killed:"You killed an innocent human life, and that um, I hope you die for it. And that's how I feel."
POLICE AREN'T RELEASING MANY DETAILS, SAYING THEY DON'T WANT TO JEOPARDIZE THE INVESTIGATION.
HOWEVER, THEY ARE REASSURING THE COMMUNITY THAT NO STONE IS BEING LEFT UNTURNED.
A Brunswick Police spokesman says no other suspects are being sought at this time.

 

Georgia is getting closer to having some of the most gun friendly laws in the nation.
A major gun bill passed a big hurdle at the State Capitol yesterday that would allow a concealed carry permit holder to take a gun into a georgia church as long as the church agrees.
"Those people have been through a license requirement, fingerprint, background check, I don't think that's an issue these are mature Georgians"
"I don't think the spreading of guns is necessarily a good thing we already have enough crime in certain areas and I don't think the access of guns is going to help that."
The bill now goes back to the Senate to approve the changes.
If they do, it moves on to the Governor's office.

 

An Amber Alert issued in Atlanta has been lifted.
Derah Jenkins and her two children, 10 year old Deryl Benson and seven year old Chloe Jenkins were found safe this morning near West End Mall.
Atlanta police say Friday night someone forced their way into Jenkins car and forced her to drive away with her children inside the vehicle.
This morning Jenkins contacted family members and the alert was cancelled.

 

President Obama is on his way back to Washington after his first visit to Israel and Jordan as commander-in-chief.
After lots of diplomacy and politics, he wrapped up the trip with some sightseeing.
Danielle Nottingham reports from Jerusalem.
President Obama - the tourist - walked through the ancient city of Petra in Jordan on the last stop of his 4 day Middle East trip.
Friday in Amman, President Obama met with King Abdullah and announced he's working to deliver an additional 200-million dollars in aid to help Jordan care for the more than 460,000 refugees who have poured across the border to escape the civil war in neighboring Syria.
President Obama from Friday in Amman, Jordan: "The sight of woman and children being slaughtered, we've seen so much. It has to compel all of us to say what more can we do"
Danielle Nottingham Jerusalem, Israel: "President Obama spent the first 3 days of his Mideast visit here in Israel. He reaffirmed his commitment to the country's security and sat down for several meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu"
During his stay, the President fostered a breakthrough in relations between Israel and Turkey. Netanyahu apologized for a naval raid that killed 9 Turkish activists in 2010. President Obama also used a speech to Israeli students to make a direct appeal for peace with the Palestinians.
Danny Zaken, an Israeli journalist, says local reporters were skeptical about President Obama's trip, but watched him make a connection.
Danny Zaken, Jerusalem Association of Journalists: "He used all the tricks, he was so charming. Definitely charmed all Israelis."
Zacken says he doesn't expect President Obama back anytime soon, unless there's a major breakthrough in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
The president also traveled to the West Bank city of Ramallah and met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas

 

This could be just the beginning of the soggy mess for Birmingham, Alabama residents.
Rain from overnight Friday into Saturday caused this flooding.
But forecasters say more serious weather could be on the way with a threat of straight line winds and hail tonight.
Business owners in Birmingham say the flooding is becoming a serious issue.

 

That is the show for tonight. We'll see you back here for Eyewitness News weekend mornin.
But the news is always on at 13wmaz dot com.
We'll see you tomorrow

 

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