Eyewitness News at 6, 3-26-13

10:46 PM, Mar 26, 2013   |    comments
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 We may find out tomorrow....the Houston County District Attorney's ruling on a fatal shooting by Warner Robins police.
     George Hartwig told us about an hour ago... That he has reviewed the report.
     He's charged with deciding whether the shooting of Anthony Rawls was justified... or if any crime was committed.     
     Rawls was 49-years-old...a prison guard.  He died on March 10th ...after police went to his home on a domestic disturbance call.
     When we brought you this story earlier this month... A GBI spokesman told us...Rawls had pointed a gun at his wife, and then shot at police.
     At least five officers returned fire, police say... Rawls dying from multiple gunshot wounds.
     Warner Robins Police spokeswoman Tabitha Pugh says the officers are on paid administrative leave until the investigation is complete. She says the department is also conducting its own internal affairs investigation to evaluate if the officers followed department policies.
     The names of the officers involved have not been released.
      Just a few minutes ago....Hartwig told us he had reviewed the GBI file...and was writing a letter outlining his decision.
     He said he'll send it to Police Chief Brett Evans....who may release it tomorrow.

     Tonight... A neighbor says rough times landed a Macon man on the streets...where he was found dead today.
     The coroner says he died of natural causes... a heart attack.
     but as Tom George explains...there's much more to the story.
This morning, officials found the body of 59-year old David Suttles in his car in the parking lot of what used to be a furniture store on Burrus Driver....off Riverside Drive.

Bibb County coroner Leon Jones says Suttles was homeless.
He had been living out of his car for the past three months since getting evicted from his home back in December.
Nearby businesses owners  told me that they had seen a car going in and out of that parking lot for the last few weeks, but didn't know anyone had been living in it.
Now before he lost his home, Suttles lived on Riverview Road.
I spoke with his next door neighbor, Jim Preston, who says Suttles was just a guy who fell on hard times.
He had lived at that home for around 8 years...and worked as a carpenter and for contractors.
Preston says that when Suttles got behind on rent..their landlord gave him a break for a few months... but then had to evict him in December.
 Preston said Suttles didn't have very many visitors....except for some nieces and nephews.
   Tom George, Eyewitness News.
  Coroner Leon Jones said Suttles was dead for at least a couple days. He was last seen alive in the parking lot Saturday afternoon.
He said there will be no autopsy.

     A Macon Police officer resigned after Internal Affairs found that he abused his power by handcuffing an 8-year old.

     Officer Justin Fox, who lives in a Gray Highway Apartment complex, while off duty... went to the apartment of an 8-year old.
     He said that 8 year old threw pine cones at his dog.
     The boy's mother filed a complaint with the Macon Police Department and Internal Affairs found his behavior "reflected discredit upon himself as a Macon Police Officer."
     Fox resigned before the department was set to fire him.

< He had no justification. He knew, he realized that he'd done wrong. He made no excuse to cover it up, made no excuse to minimize it . He realized what he'd done was wrong, should not have done it, and suffered the consequences for it. >

      Macon Police disciplined Fox several times in the past, mostly for instances of discourteous conduct.
     But Jimmy Barbee, head of Internal Affairs says even if Fox had a clean slate before this incident, handcuffing the child alone would have been grounds for losing his job.
     Two Georgia Republican Congressmen made stops in Central Georgia today... Saying they're working to reduce the effects of sequestration... Particularly on the military.
     Those across-the-board spending cuts kicked in March 1st.
     Jack Kingston visited Fort Valley State University... Austin Scott came to Warner Robins.
<kingston: You know it's a bad way to do business. It was supposed to be an axe that was  a threat and not supposed to actually fall and what we need to do and as a member of the defense committee, I am trying to pass a regular defense appropriation bill that would give the military the flexibility that they need to cut wasteful spending and also to make sure that there is stability. There are so many things that they can do if we pass legislation, so were pushing hard for that.>
< Scott: weve got to cut spending. The problem with the sequester in regard to national security and defense is the way its being applied and approached in the military. We passed an appropriations measure for the military just a couple of weeks ago that's the first real appropriations measure they've had in several years. They've been operating under a continuing resolution for several years. So now, they've got a little flexibility. That's been good for Robins to have that flexibility."
     The pending legislation Scott talked about prompted the Department of Defense to delay furloughs for its civilian workers for two weeks.
     That includes 15-thousand workers at Robins.
     Officials at the Pentagon are looking at how it could affect their budget.
     Scott says there's a possibility the legislation could reduce the number of furlough days each employee would take.
     It was set at 22.
<that has a ripple affect all through the economy. It's not just the man or the woman out there on the line that loses a day's pay. That's a day's pay that doesn't get spent in the community. Were extremely concerned for this area. Were in meetings on a regular basis with the Air Force and doing everything we can to minimize the impact.>

     Those furloughs notices were delayed for two weeks.
     Scott represents Georgia's 8th District which includes Robins Air Force Base.
     Kingston represents the 1st District.. which is Southeast Georgia.
     The two men differed on the likelyhood of a future round of base closings.
     Kingston said a 2015 BRAC is almost invetiable... While Scott believes there's a strong possibility it won't happen.
<I think the possibility for a base realignment and closure commission coming out in 2015 is pretty strong and one of the things that we want to do at Warner Robins, the logistic centers but also in Albany. The marine base and everywhere else, make sure our military facilities are up to speed with new missions and new buildings and that were supporting our troops there. I think nothing, I don't think there is a state that comes second when it comes to Georgia taking care of the military.>
<I expect the president again will ask for a round. Were on the subcommittee where that first vote is going to come. One of the key things I will tell you, I hope we don't go through a BRAC process. BRACs don't save money in the short term. What I will tell you is it's going to be difficult for an BRAC piece of legislation to pass through the house and senate, I believe.">
     Kingston was at Fort Valley State participating on a panel for an agriculture and technology forum.
     Scott came to the Museum of Aviation to take part in discussion on how defense cuts will impact the local economy.
The Middle Georgia Regional Airport asked the F-A-A to give them 30 more days before shutting down the air traffic control tower.

Last week... The F-A-A announced 149 towers would close As a result of the sequester... with Macon's control center scheduled to shut down April 21st.
Airport manager Doug Faour (fay-or) says an extra month would allow him to work with the city on new options to keep the tower open.
He sent the FAA a letter today... asking for the extra time.
He suggests things like funding traffic controllers through the city... Or partnering with the Middle Georgia State College aviation program to help staff the tower.

          A new candidate has entered the district 2 race for Macon-Bibb's consolidated government.
          Irving Martinez...who ran against David Lucas and Miriam Paris last year for the District 26 state senate seat... has thrown his hat in the ring.                   
He says if elected... he'll be an advocate for the people.
<Martinez: this city needs to be taken care of by it's citizens not politicians you need to have people who are committed to making sure that the climate of this city for godsake has some relevance to humanity.  >
    Martinez will be up against Councilmen Larry Schlesinger and Henry Ficklin....and first-time candidate Brandon Carlisle.
    Two former educators with the Bibb County School District have sent a letter of intent to apply for a Charter School.

    Former Westside High School Principal Laura Perkins and Esterine Stokes, a former teacher and Graduation Coach at Westside,
said they want to see the Academy for Classical Education (ACE) open in Bibb County, in the fall of 2014.
    Both women say the community needs better educational options.

    Perkins and Stokes said there would be room for 150 to 200 students per grade.
    Students would be selected by a lottery.
    The pair submitted their letter of intent to the state department of education March 21.

<Leah Johnson, Eyewitness News: "Charter schools have been around in Georgia for several years.
   They receive taxpayer dollars... but are independent from their local school district and operate under a contract that covers how they're run and how they teach. That's their charter.

   Because charter schools are public schools.... state law says they receive public funding... must have fair and open enrollment....be secular... serve all student populations... and cannot charge tuition.

   Charter schools are governed by a non-profit board of directors... not the local board of education.
    But state law gives them more flexibility from certain state and local rules and regulations.... like class size restrictions, teacher pay restrictions, curriculum requirements and teacher certification.

    Until last year.... all charter schools needed approval from their local school district.
    Back in November.... Georgia voters changed that.
    They approved an amendment to the state constitution that creates a state commission that can approve charter schools.

    But groups hoping to start a charter school must submit their petition to the local school board *first.*
If they're denied.... they can apply to the commission.
    Statewide charter schools apply directly to the commission.
    Lou Erste (er-stee), Director of the Charter Schools Division for the Georgia department of education says it's all about choice."
Louis Erste, Director Charter Schools Division: "Three big reasons charter schools got started - one: to satisfy parents that didn't want their zip code to determine that their children went to a lousy school, two: parents, principals and teachers that have innovations that they can't get the local district to implement because they just don't want to hear it, and three: the choice."

Leah Johnson, Eyewitness News:  Charter school backers say some local school boards resent them... because they compete for students and funding.
   Georgia now has 110 charter schools.>
    A company that runs charter schools across the country is looking for students for its online academy.
    Georgia Connections Academy is holding an information session tomorrow evening to recruit 1,000 students for grades K-12.
    The session will be held from 6:30-8:00pm at the Fairfield Inn and Suites on Sheraton Drive in Macon.
    For more information, call 1-800-382-6010. Again...that's 1-800-382-6010.




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