Thanks for joining us.
I'm Frank Malloy.
Our top story tonight - Despite facing some tough choices, the Bibb County Board of Education passed a tentative budget for the next fiscal year .... Tom George was at at the meeting and breaks down the numbers for us...
The budget the board passed creates a deficit of around $3 million but spared big changes to four elementary schools
Administrators originally planned to close Barden Elementary and send students to Burghard Elementary.
The plan would also would have changed grade levels at King/Danforth and Jones elementary schools, a move that upset some parents.
Although some board members said budget challenges could lead to consolidating schools in the future, they agreed right now changing schools just a few months away from a new school year wasn't fair to students or parents.
The budget also has no tax increases
It passed 7 to 1 ... Tom Hudson voted yes, but says a slight increase in taxes might have been better than dipping into the fund balance.
"Our budget is a moving target .There are times where we've had to make two or three budget modifications per year based on the funding coming from the state and also not getting the tax revenue coming in, and to go to lower fund balance is setting a very bad precedent because of the mere fact that if we do not have the money to operate, then we'll have to get a tax anticipation loan or eventually have to raise the taxes, so you either do it not, or do it later."
Board member Jason Downey was the only one who said "no".
He says he voted against the budget in part because he wanted the four schools to consolidate and reorganize.
" I voted against that, the tentative proposal because of that, because it did not incorporate the consolidations and the reconfigurations, but it also still reflects what I think is not enough reduction in the Central Office. It still reflects large amount of furloughs and contract reduction days and classroom increases, which I've been against from the get go."
Because the board voted to save the four schools, the planned community hearings to discuss consolidating them will be cancelled. Superintendent Steve Smith said not changing the schools this close to a new school year is only fair to parents and students. Frank?
A Public Hearing on the budget is on Monday, June 17, at 6 p.m.,..
Final approval of the budget is scheduled for Monday, June 24th at 6 p.m.
Tropical Storm Andrea made landfall in Florida's Big Bend Area..
Forecasters say the storm isn't likely to reach hurricane force..but does pose a threat from flooding and storm surge.
Andrea has been hammering Florida with rain, heavy winds, and tornadoes...
Ben Jones has been keeping an eye on the storm...and is here to tell us what we can expect in the Peach State.
The Warner Robins man who fell to his death at a west Macon shopping center has been identified..
Bibb Assistant Coroner Lonnie Miley says he is 32-year-old Joseph Clark, Junior.
According to Macon police... Clark was running from police when he jumped a fence...and fell 40 feet to his death.
Officers were making a routine check at the shops in the presidential parkway shopping center... When they noticed a suspicious car with two men inside.
Police say the men became combative...and the pepper sprayed one.
That's when Clark ran away..
Investigators say they tried to warn him about the drop from the fence but he climbed it anyway.
Miley says that the exact cause of Clark's death is still pending.
A Houston County judge denied bond today for 25-year-old Arkebia (Ar-KEY-Bee-YA) Albury.
She's accused of driving over her four year-old son after police say she shoplifted at Belk's in Centerville.
Judge Edward Lukemire says her failure to appear in court for previous cases makes her a risk.
He says Albury should not be released to live with other family members....who may be witnesses in her trial.
Albury's lawer brought a plaque to court from a Macon Housing Authority group that had named Albury...parent of the year....back in April.
Prosecutor Ed Winters says the boy's injuries include a fractured skull, brain swelling and injuries to his chest.
Bibb County District Attorney David Cooke says he plans to re-indict Tracy Jones.. And add more charges.
She's one of four people charged with the October murder of her co-worker Gail Spencer.
That means the legal proceedings against her would start over...something Bibb County Superior Court Judge Tillman Self does *not* want.
Self wants the trial scheduled for summer 2014.
Members of Spencer's family were in court this afternoon.
Jones and Spencer were co-workers at the law office of Macon attorney Calder Pinkston.
Investigators say an embezzlement scheme led to Spencer's murder.
Last month, co-defendant Michael Brett Kelly pleaded guilty to the charges against him and was sentenced to life.
As part of the plea deal, Kelly must testify against Jones and the other two defendants.
...Keith Dozier and Courtney Kelly remain in the Bibb County jail.. charged with felony murder.
D.A. Cooke says the next opportunity to re-indict Jones will be July 9th.
Warner Robins city council members started their line-by-line look at Mayor Chuck Shaeen's proposed budget.
It was originally thought that all city employees would get a cost of living increase..but the council found out that's not entirely true.
"All employees get the three percent increase. Not everyone. Okay then this is not a COLA this is a pay scale or a grade adjustment. I guess you could use either term sir. I thought COLA meant everyone, cost of living for everyone so I think it makes a difference in how we're implementing it."
The raise would only affect people who aren't being paid according to their salary grade.
If an employee is already making what he or she should make..they won't get an increase.
The decision is based on a pay study that looked at what each city employee should be making.
Mayor Shaheen issued a statement about the budget process tonight..
In part saying: "We have a balanced budget with NO tax increase in tough economic times. Our employees have cut expenses and generated revenue from our resources to better serve our citizens."
Each employee will pay more for insurance..which will save the city 900 thousand dollars..according to Chief Financial Officer Bill Harte.
City Council plans to vote on the budget at their next scheduled council meeting on Monday, June 17th.
That's the estimated economic impact on Central Georgia... Of 15-thousand civilian employees at Robins taking 11 furlough days.
That's a 20-percent reduction in pay from July through September for each employee.
21st Century Partnership CEO Bob McMahon said those folks will feel the pinch.. And it will trickle down to all areas of the region's economy.
The Department of Defense sent out those furlough notices last week.
They're part of across-the-board federal budget cuts... Known as the sequester.
To help those impacted... The organization along with several community partners will host an event June 15th called SHARE.
Chief Operating Officer... Chrissy Miner... Says it's open to everyone... Not just Robins employees.
"This is an opportunity to get everybody together in one place for a holistic approach, looking at your mental health, looking at financial strength, planning for future cuts in your budget, and we will have a range of agencies, even maybe doing blood pressure checks to make sure your physical health is in check."
The SHARE event... Which stands for Sharing Help Assistance and Resources for Everyone... Will be Saturday June 15th at the Galleria Mall Conference Center in Centerville.
It's free and again... Open to everyone... Not just Robins employees.
It starts at 10 and runs until 2 p.m.
We can connect you to more information.
Look for the links inside this story on our website... 13WMAZ-dot-com.
Tomorrow...Robins Air Force Base will undergo a change of command..when Colonel Christopher Hill takes over as the installation commander of the 78th Air Base Wing.
Colonel Mitchel Butikofer will officially hand over the reigns tomorrow afternoon the Museum of Aviation.
Hill has been deputy commander for maintenance with the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex since 2009.
Butikofer will head to the Pentagon to become the deputy director for the Resources Office of Information Dominance and chief information officer.
Today is also the anniversary of the D-Day Invasion of World War Two.
On June 6th, 1944, Allied troops stormed the beaches at Normandy, France.
More than 156 thousand, American, British and Canadian Troops landed at five beaches in the region.
It was one of the largest water to land military assaults in history.
The battle freed Western Europe from Nazi Germany and helped bring an end to World War Two.
"Once you knocked my baby over, like I said, I just snapped. And she did not say I'm sorry"
A Florida mom involved in a brawl at an elementary school talent show apologizes.
It all started when Latisha James stood up to take pictures of her daughter on stage.
James was arrested...
The other mother, Jessica Tyler, could also face charges.
" Issa: What were you thinking? Were you thinking that this would never be seen or were you thinking how would this look when it is seen?"
More trouble for the IRS..as lawmakers quiz agency officials about videos made for a conference that cost more 50 thousand dollars..
They include a spoof of the popular sci-fi series Star Trek..
The House Oversight Committee wants the agency to account for millions of dollars spent on conferences.
" It has proved meritorious because we have gathered significant information on bad guys and only on bad guys over the years. "
Senator Saxby Chambliss defended the actions of the National Security Agency...
The Georgia lawmaker is vice-chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee...
Senators from both sides of the aisle..say collecting the phone records of millions of Verizon customers is necessary for national security."
Also on Capitol Hill today..Lawmakers did not pass measures to keep student loan interest rates from doubling on July first.
Democrats in the Senate wanted to give a two year extension of the current rates until a comprehensive overhaul could be written.
Senate Republicans wanted to link student loan interest rates to the financial markets.
This would have kept the rates low in the upcoming years... but over time the rates would change as the economy improves.
Both proposals failed...
In Georgia... There are new laws on what you can and cannot have on your license plate.
State officials have not given a list of specific words... but the new rules ban...
references to guns... Drugs and alcohol on personal license plates.
They also ban profanity... References to sex... Crimes... Or any variation on the word hate.
Also, any slurs on religion... Race... Ethnicity... Gender and sexual orientation fall under the ban.
Items subject to trademark or copyright are also on the prohibited list.
The new rules go into effect July 9th.
A treat for history lovers - The personal... Annotated copy of the Constitution by President George Washington... will be on display at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Museum beginning this Friday.
The book... Called "The Acts of Congress" is considered among the most important items Washington owned.
The Mount Vernon Ladies association paid almost 10 million dollars to obtain the book... Which is a record amount for an American Historical document.
It will be at the museum until June 24th.
Tonight's fan of the day is Lisa Willis..
Her favorite team..the Braves..
And her favorite music artist is Carrie Underwood.
Lisa... Email fan of the day at 13wmaz dot com to claim your coffee mug.
If you want to be fan of the day... Just like us on Facebook...and fill out the form to enter. We pick two winners each day.
It's out with the old and in with new in Peach County as the area prepares for a brand new Medical Center.
Medical staff gathered at the Peach Regional Medical Center to say goodbye to the small hospital that's served the community for decades...
The building was state of the art when it first opened, but now is making way for a new facility in Byron ... For people who've worked at the hospital for years, it's both bittersweet and exciting.
"There were many times when we didn't know whether we were going to make payroll or not, but we all had a dream, and that dream is finally coming true next week when we cut the ribbons at the new facility and it is with greatest pride that I say that I am still a part of this hospital."
The new hospital will feature a larger emergency center and operating room suite ...
They'll cut the ribbon next Thursday.