Eyewitness News at 11: June 18, 2013

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Hello, everyone.

Thank you for joining us.

I'm Frank Malloy...and these are the stories that made headlines in your world on this Tuesday.

<there's just always something missing... You look at your cousins and your friends and you just see them growing and doing what they want to do, and she ain't here to do the things that she used to do.

Tonight, family members reflect on the unsolved death of a Macon teen, killed by a stray bullet that traveled straight through her bedroom wall.

It's not a homey feeling anymore. It's a...we gotta go in her again feeling.

The trial of murder suspect Stephen McDaniel is now off the table until at least January. That's according to Bibb County District Attorney David Cooke.

Giddings family filed a wrongful death lawsuit Monday in U.S district court.

The purpose of the suit is two fold. One is an additional avenue for discovery and the other is to make sure that he never profits from his crimes by writing anything, blogging anything, whatever...every cent ought to go to the Giddings.

Keith Alexander's job usually keeps him out of the public eye... But he stepped into the spotlight today for the second time in a week to defend the top secret operations that he runs.

General Keith Alexander claimed the NSA surveillance programs recently revealed by leaks...have help stopped more than 50 potential attacks since 9-11.

These programs are critical to the intelligence community's ability to protect our nation.

The Sally Ellis Davis cultural arts center at Georgia College is using her past to drive today's conversation of race.

And it's also relevant to look at the history that her statements represented in her time period and talk about our issues today. >

And those are some of the stories that are part of your community...and beyond tonight.

In local news, we begin with the postponement of murder suspect Stephen McDaniel's trial.

It was slated for September...but now Bibb County District Attorney David Cooke says...it won't happen until at least next January.

That happened, Cooke says, after Giddings lawyers met with Judge Philip Brown.

They agreed to argue motions in the case in September...and schedule the trial for early next year.

That conference came one day after Giddings' parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit against McDaniel....her accused killer.

Among other things.. William and Karen Giddings say McDaniel deprived them of giving their daughter a proper burial by dismembering her body.

They also claim that McDaniel may have gotten rid of parts of her body on 63-acres of woods in Pike County... owned by McDaniel's late grandfather.

The parents asked for a jury trial.. The maximum amount of compensatory and punitive damages.. The full value of Lauren Giddings life as determined by the jury.. And all costs of filing the lawsuit against McDaniel.

Today...we also spoke to Gidding's sister... Kaitlyn Wheeler, who said, her family is trying to pursue every avenue to get justice for her sister.... And the civil suit was just another step.

<we haven't discussed any amounts, but we don't think, as a family, that mcdaniel has anything or will ever have anything but anything that he acquires, we don't think he should have, or deserves to have that.>

McDaniel is charged with killing Giddings... His fellow Mercer Law School graduate.

He also faces 30 counts of possessing child pornography.

Tonight... Bibb County teachers... Parents... And community members highlighted their hopes and concerns for the school district.

Katelyn Heck has more on the first of two scheduled community forums.

After a few words from Bibb Interim Superintendent Steve Smith...

It was the audience's turn to talk... And Smith's... to listen.

<he seems to be the right person for the right time and he seems to have the courage to do what needs to be done to get this system back on track.>

About a hundred people broke into smaller focus groups.

Each made a list of their likes... And dislikes about the school district.

<shrinking the class sizes, improving the communication from the district to the parents, and to the community>

<holding parents more accountable. I have a lot of experience where the parents don't seem to be aware of what their child does away from home>

When it came time to share those concerns with Smith...

<discipline.... They said discipline was a big issue... Discipline>

A few common ideas dominated the presentation.

<it was good to hear from parents, it was good to hear from members of the business community, administrators, and find out that there's so much similarity between the groups and what their concerns are.>

Now... Smith says it's time to take action... He plans to make a priority list based on community input and at the top... Is discipline.

<i think it starts in the classroom. There's some school-level issues for discipline, but also some system-level issues. And I haven't fully been able to grasp what it is. Everyone talks about discipline as being the problem, but I need to know specifically what aspects of the discipline.>

Smith says boosting communication between the district and community will help him figure that out.

Improving technology also made his top three list of priorities.

Katelyn Heck 13WMAZ Eyewitness News

Another community forum is scheduled for 9:30 Thursday morning at Central High School.

Smith says an online survey will also be on the school district's website later this week.

Steve Smith is no stranger to the Bibb County School system. He served in the district for more than 18 years as an educator and coach.

He will serve in the role of interim superintendent until a permanent replacement is found for Romain Dallemand.

The board voted to buy out Dallemand's contract back in February.

Three D-Js are apologizing after making fun of a former N-F-L player and his battle with A-L-S, also known as Lou Gherig's disease.

The radio personalities aired a skit mocking former New Orleans Saints player Steve Gleason, and his computer generated voice.

Hours later, the men were out of a job.

One of the d-js, Steak Shapiro, admits they made a big mistake.

< I JUST WANT TO APOLOGIZE TO STEVE GLEASON, TO HIS FOUNDATION, TO ALL THE FOLKS THAT WERE HURT BY THIS. IT WAS AN ILL ATTEMPT AT HUMOR THAT ABSOLUTELY FELL SHORT. >

Gleason wrote on a facebook page today that he accepted the dj's apologies..

Steak Shapiro also said, if something positive could come out of what he himself called "offensive remarks"... He hopes a conversation about sensitivity will start.

Georgia College is providing a venue for a different kind of conversation...one that revolves around race and diversity.

The school's Sallie Elllis Davis Cultural Arts Center is offering events designed to encourage the community to talk about issues that are still prevalent.

Davis was the first African American educator with a degree to teach in Milledgeville.

She studied with the likes of w.e.b. Du bois and george washington carver ... and worked to break down racial barriers in her community.... Despite her appearance.

She looks like her Irish father ... But identified with her mother's african american community.

Now.. the cultural arts center using her past ... To drive today's conversation of race through a series of movies.

<it's also relevant to look at the history that miss davis represented and her time period and talk about our issues today versus the historical issues that these people are dealing with>

This afternoon, visitors saw 'imitation of life'...

It's the story of a young black woman who looks white..but unlike Davis..chooses to deny her African American roots.

Next..the center will offer "nothing but a Man"..starring Ivan Dixon.

When parents these days...look for daycare...they're probably looking for more than just "someone to keep the kids".

Bright from the Start... the agency that regulates Georgia's day cares... is doing something new to make parents choices easier.

It's called a Quality Ratings system...and so far, more than one thousand of the state's six thousand licensed child care centers have signed up, including more than a dozen in Macon.

Each day care sends in a portfolio showing their curriculum, physical activity, and nutrition.

At Joshua House off Mercer University Drive, the director embraces the program...both as an assessment tool...and to help attract families.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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