eyewitness news at 11, 5-3-13

10:57 PM, May 3, 2013   |    comments
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Hello, everyone...I'm Frank Malloy.

And these are the stories making headlines this Friday...the third day of May.

I just wish em the best. I hope things get back to some kind of normalcy soon for em cause theyre missed.

MY prayers are with y'all, I hope they get the place up and running soon, and that things work out for y'all, and I miss you and I want you back up here.>

 

A local lunch spot...feels the crunch.... missing its patrons from Pactiv...two days after fire severely damaged the plant.

While in Byron....

Looking for the cause of the fire that tore through Southern Perfection Fabrication.

THEN....guess who's coming to the race... to replace Senator Saxby Chambliss?

The field of candidates grows...and District 1 U.S. Congressmen Jack Kingston jumps on issues close to Central Georgia...like this...

<sequestration is not the best way to cut the budget and my heart goes out to anyone who's been furloughed by it. Right now we have to cut the budget and sequestration is the only game in town>

and this....

< the people that go in and shoot unarmed citizens, usually have a mental problem, and it's not a fault of the gun>

AND... In Macon...relay for life walkers continue the race...

to find a cure for cancer.

And those are your headlines for this Friday, May the third.

First in local news tonight...

Cleanup continues...and work goes on...after a fire devastated Southern Perfection Fabrication in Byron.

Today, 13WMAZ found out... the plant was cited... And fined for violations... almost one year to the day... Before his fire broke out.

In a story we covered here last year... The Occupational Safety and Health Administration...also known as OSHA... Found 15 serious violations... From health and safety standards.

The violations included "exposing workers to combustible residues and flammable liquids... without adequate precautions to prevent fires and explosions."

OSHA fined the company 54 thousand dollars, but that was later reduced to about 16 thousand as part of an informal settlement.

We were unable to reach the owner... Gordon Hale... For comment today.

However... He told us last year that the company addressed the violations before the fines were given... And they had hired a safety coordinator.

Hale told us the complaints came from an employee... Who was fired for stealing.

<well we go through the scene and we look at the char patterns and the burn patterns and determine where the origin was and then we look at all the sources of ignition in that area. We're hoping to know a preliminary by the end of the day and possibly as late as tommorrow maybe something a little more definite.>

Chief Mosby also says they were able to salvage most of the items in the building.

As far as injuries...three firefighters were hurt... One treated onsite, the other two taken to the hospital...and later released.

Meanwhile, although there is some smoldering debris around the site...the fire is out and investigators are working to find the source of the blaze.

Containers of paint that exploded during the fire...dangling light fixtures and any of the damage materials left in the building... will be used to locate the source of the fire.

State fire marshals investigated today...to see what may have started the fire...and how another one can be prevented.

This Southern Perfection fire was the second in two days.

The first...Wednesday morning...did significant damage to the Pactiv plant in South Bibb County.

But the impact is felt beyond the plant's grounds.

At Friends Bar and Grill .. The absence of Pactiv employees means that...what's usually a room packed for lunch...was nearly empty today.

And it's not just business. It's personal...particularly for server Vicki James, whose daughter was just shy of the 90 days needed to transition from temp work to becoming a full time employee.

Friends' manager says he hopes things get back to normal for everybody.

<I just wish em the best. I hope things get back to some kind of normalcy soon for em cause theyre missed.

MY prayers are with y'all, I hope they get the place up and running soon, and that things work out for y'all, and I miss you and I want you back up here.>

Pactiv has around 240 full time staff and 50 temp workers...

The company says those current full-time employees will continue to be paid...for now.

But those temp workers don't have that benefit.

Yesterday, a Georgia Department of Labor staffer told us...a number of them filed for group unemployment to help fill the gap.

Company representatives have declined to comment.

In another industrial accident...we've NOW learned what caused a generator to blow up at a georgia coal plant.

Georgia power officials say an employee at Plant Bowen in Cartersville didn't follow procedures... And there was a breakdown in communication.

As a result, hydrogen and air built up inside a generator, triggering the blast that injured three people.

Congressman Jack Kingston represents Georgia's first district...which doesn't reach central georgia.

But today, he made a trip to Macon...to campaign for the next job he hopes to have...the senate seat filled by Saxby Chambliss...who's announced he's not seeking reelection.

While here...the Republican tackled immigration...sequestration...and the U.S. Senate's decision not to expand background checks required before you buy a gun..

<the concern we've had about the senate gun control legislation is that it seems far more designed to register guns and confiscate guns, rather than stop the tragedies that we've had at Sandy Hook. What I think it missing from this debate is mental health. Because the people that go in and shoot unarm

ed citizens, usually have a mental problem, and it's not a fault of the gun.>

You can check out more of Representative Kingston's comments at 13wmaz-dot-com.

He joins Republican Representatives Paul Broun and Phil Gingrey of Marietta in the senate race.

Congressman Kingston wasn't alone in his gun control discussions today.

A large crowd...gathering in Houston for the National Rifle Association's Annual Meeting.

Wayne LaPierre, the NRA's Chief Executive, greeted the tens of thousands of members who showed up for the Texas-sized event.

Texas Governor Rick Perry and Former Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin are on the program to speak.

Thanks, Chrissy Miner, filling in for Ben tonight.

We'll see you again in a few minutes.

Relay for life raises money for cancer awareness and research.

But it is also a time to remember those lost to cancer...and those who survived.

Hundreds of supporters turned out to the Al Sihah Shrine Park in Macon... To celebrate the continued fight to stop cancer.

The celebration in Bibb County is one of many held around the world.

This year's celebration featured one hundred and 37 teams and raised over 2 hundred and 20 thousand dollars.

The theme for this year's event is "A century of Hope"...Relay through the decades.

Small...but enthusiastic crowds this evening... In the second day of the Georgia State Fair.

Families showed up under cloudy skies, refusing to let the chill keep them off the rides...or even from a taste of ice cream.

Last year, the fair ran for 10 days... This year, it's been cut back to four.

You can stop in from 10 a.m. Through midnight tomorrow...noon through midnight Sunday.

Tickets are 7 dollars for adults, 6 for seniors and kids 5 through 12.

Little ones under four get in free.

From the fair to the circus... But you won't find any rides here.

The world-famous Cirque du Soleil circus has been touring North America and is making a stop in Macon for its performance of Quidam (key-dahm) ... Which tells the story of a magical world using acrobats and elaborate costumes.

For those not familiar with Cirque du Soleil, it's a lot different from your average circus .....

< Well with Cirque du Soleil what we do is have an invented language that really sounds exotic and foreign to anyone. So it sounds a little bit sometimes like French, Italian, like German, it's just phonetics that just sound beautiful and tell the story that you want to hear. >

While the performers are in town, they stay busy training ... One performer says he hasn't had much time to check out Macon, but did notice the Southern hospitality.

< We don't really get to meet a lot of people actually. That's a shame but the one thing that came to my find is the accent. I think so far since we got here actually, I feel like the accent is different. >

Quidam will run through Sunday at the Centerplex.

< We don't really get to meet a lot of people actually. That's a shame but the one thing that came to my find is the accent. I think so far since we got here actually, I feel like the accent is different. >

Quidam will run through Sunday at the Centerplex.

Now to the story that is making national headlines tonight.

The Reese Witherspoon dashcam video that shows the actress's Atlanta arrest, was released this morning.

<i...am being arrested...and handcuffed?>

That's just part of the video released today by the Georgia State Patrol.

Witherspoon has pleaded no-contest to the charges of obstruction of justice.

Marc McAfee ...With our sister station...WXIA...shows us what led to her arrest that night.

<

According to the police report--- Witherspoon's agent and husband Jim Toth was seen drifting over the yellow line on Peachtree Street.

 

 

He was pulled over in this Walgreens parking lot for sobriety tests by a state trooper. After several minutes, Witherspoon got her first warning.

 

 

(sot- Ma'am get back in that car I'm not going to tell you again. I'm pregnant and I need to use the restroom. You can't use it out here get back in the car.)

 

 

Then after several more minutes of tests, Toth is breathalyzed.

 

 

(sot- Blow Blow Blow good job. Ma'am sit on your butt.)

 

 

Toth jokes with the trooper after he delivers another warning.

 

 

(sot- I married a southern woman.)

 

 

Then Witherspoon gets out of the car one last time.

 

 

(sot- I'm an American citizen and I'm allowed to stand on American ground and ask any question I want to ask.)

 

 

(sot- I'm now being arrested and handcuffed? Yup. Do you know my name? Do you need to know my name? Not yet. You're about to find out who I am.)

 

 

Now handcuffed and off-camera, her husband apologizes for her.

 

 

(sot- I had nothing to do with this.)

 

 

And Witherspoon warns the trooper about future news coverage.

 

 

(sot- This will be national news, just want to let you know.)

 

 

And again.

 

 

(sot- It will be national news. )

 

 

Witherspoon and her husband will pay fines as part of their pleas. She released a statement after the arrest saying she had a few too many drinks, she was sorry it happened, and had nothing but respect for the police. Marc McAfee in Atlanta for 11Alive news. >

A lawyer for Witherspoon says the "sweet Home Alabama" and "legally Blonde" actress has pleaded no contest to a disorderly conduct charge.

Municipal Court of Atlanta Deputy Solicitor Ronda Graham said in a statement today... Witherspoon entered the plea and paid a $100 fine, resolving the case.

Most of Georgia...not expecting too much in the way of outdoor weather on this first weekend in May.

A precursor to what parts of the state could see... High winds are being blamed for this tree falling onto a home up in Northwest Atlanta....

 

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