Eyewitness News at 6: June 21, 2013

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Hello everyone

I'm Frank Malloy.

Leah Johnson has the evening off.

Tonight, our top story...a Macon police officer could be fired after facing criminal charges.

She's the fifth one charged this year.

But this one says....she still wants to keep her job.

Kontrina Toomer is on administrative leave...after a drug raid at the home she lived in on Thursday.

The Monroe County Sheriff's office says she was arrested....and charged with possession of marijuana...and reckless conduct for child endangerment.

A man living in the home, Horace Wise, was also arrested.

Shortly after the arrest... Toomer was released on her own recognizance.

Today, 13WMAZ's Tom George went to her Forsyth home and spoke with her.

Frank, although she declined to go on camera, the Toomer I spoke with today didn't look like the woman you saw in the mugshot ... She was holding a young child and told me that in the blink of an eye, the job she told me she loved was gone...

Questions...

FRANK: What did Toomer say about the charges against her?

-- She says she was only arrested since it was her home in Forsyth, and that the marijuana and money that was found didn't belong to her . She said it belonged to Horace Wise.

FRANK: What's the relationship between Toomer and Wise?

-- She told me...he's the father of her 7 month old... She said they'd been living together for a while...but that the drug raid and arrest blindsided her.

FRANK: So she says, she didn't know what was going on.

-- That's right ... She said she knew he had a past history of some legal trouble, but says she had no idea what was in her house ... The gun was her personal gun, but everything else she says wasn't hers.

FRANK: Now she lost her badge and gun over this ... was there anything in her record to show any warning signs...

Frank, no, she's worked for the Macon Police since late 2010 and I have her disciplinary history right here ... You can see it's just one sheet ... Completely clean slate ... And she tells me she loves her job...and if there's a way... she says she wants to keep it.

FRANK:

Tom George...thanks for that report.

As we said...Toomer is the fifth Macon police officer arrested this year...

In January...Troy Guidry and Jon Wantz were accused of stealing a tractor from Mr. Rooter on Roff Avenue in Macon.

The owner used a GPS to track the tractor to Guidry's home in Monroe County.

Both officers resigned..

In February...two other officers resigned after being arrested on weapons charges.

Police say Jonathan Graves removed a gun recovered in an investigation..reported it lost..and then gave it to someone else.

Adolphus Jones is accused of taking a gun from an apartment...shooting it..and then getting rid of it.

Both were charged with fiduciary theft and violation of oath of office.

While it's been a tough year for MPD... Department leaders tell us it's important to remember...that's those arrests represent a small fraction of the force.

Today...at a pinning ceremony for new officers... Sgt. Michael Bittick with MPD said, he's still proud of the many officers who faithfully serve every day.

< It's always hard to try and bounce back from something like that, especially when it comes one after another like this, but we have 99 percent of our officers, and 1 percent does hurt everybody. There are a lot of great officers in this department doing a lot of great things for the city of Macon and the community of Bibb County. >

Macon police spokeswoman Jamie Gaudet said seven new officers were pinned today for the Macon Police Department..

In yesterday's case, the drug squad that raided Officer Toomer's and Wise's home found both marijuana...and pills.

Their news release says the pills were... quote... of undetermined origin.

Today, Judy Le looks into the pill problem...and how it affects people and communities.

When you think of illegal drugs ... You probably think first of marijuana and cocaine.

But prescription drugs can be just as addicting and lethal.

According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigations .... Prescription drug abuse has gone up ... and so has the number of deaths caused by overdose.

Of the top five illegally sold ... Four of them are pain relievers. GBI agent ... Marc Mansfield says people turn to pill mills for easy access to these kind of drugs.

<they don't have pain, they're going to get the prescription to get it filled and then they're selling it on the street. So you can get a generic bottle for 10 dollars through your insurance and then you take it out and sell it for 20-25 dollars a pill. That's pretty good profit>

To crack down on these pill mills ... Governor Nathan Deal signed into law new regulations that require all pain clinics to get licenses from the state medical board. They must register every two years.

I also talked to Gregory Phillips....a drug investigator in Monroe County.

He says he works on five to ten prescription drug cases a month and says that's a lot for a county that size.

Judy Le 13wmaz eyewitness news

The state board of regents officially named the next president of Fort Valley State.

 

 

 

Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith will be FVSU's ninth president...according to a news release.

Currently, Griffith is the provost and senior vice president at York College of the City University of New York.

He's held that post since 2007.

His academic field is political science...and he's a specialist on Caribbean security, drugs and crime.

Griffith has consulted for both the U.S. Agency for International Development...and the Canadian Government.

He'll step into the post on July 22nd... Until then, Montezuma native Kimberly Ballard-Washington will serve as interim president.

The current president, Larry Rivers, steps down June 30.

Celebrity Chef Paula Deen is out at the Food Network, after she reportedly admitted to using racial slurs in the past.

The Network says it will not renew her contract, which expires this month.

Deen has built a cooking empire through tv, cookbooks, products, and endorsement.

The Food Network began airing "Paula's Home Cooking" in 2002 and added "Paula's Best Dishes" in 2008.

Deen admitted to having used the n-word in years past...while being questioned as part of a lawsuit.

The network's announcement came just hours after she posted a video online apologizing. She says she's changed...and she doesn't condone using racial slurs.

There is a spot in Byron you can visit anytime and pick up some stuff for your garden or your tackle bag.

Suzanne Lawler shows you how one man dug himself into a unique business...

in our Weekend Wanderer.

<these are on their way to Florida>

Bruce and Glenda Self spend much of their days working with worms.

<yea maybe we'll find one or two... >

Turns out the wiggly creatures are quite popular at this time of year.

<well right now fishermen because of the brim and shellcrackers on the bed and full moon so everybody's fishing right now so this is our busy time of the year cupping worms.>

They cup fifty blue containers a week by hand.

They say in the spring gardeners show up to put the worms in their compost pile...

With that kind of demand this hobby became a family affair.

<I always have a glove... I won't touch them by hand.>

Glenda is Bruce's wife... And admits when her husband came home with the new business plan she had some worm worries.

<I said Oh my God.>

<we lived in a split level in Atlanta when we bought this worm farm down here and I moved her out of it to a single wide trailer and she cried for six months until the money started rolling in she changed her mind... You can't run her out of here now.>

<this board gets hard on your elbow so I just use this piece of foam to prop on.>

And there is another piece to this puzzle... The Self family now farms rabbits... And that helps out... You guessed it ...

<the rabbit manure is good for the worms. it's 16 percent protein. it helps fatten them up for cupping for the fish bait. so it's an ideal combination, rabbits and worms.>

Sure Bruce admits folks scratch their heads when they pull up and see the two critters in the backyard.

<nobody puts the two together>

But this family is making it all work... Looking after rabbits and worms to help fund their retirement years.

Suzanne Lawler 13WMAZ Eyewitness News.

The worms will run you two bucks a cup... And 35 dollars for a gallon bucket of which you would get about 3-5 thousand worms..

Rabbits are twenty and they have different varieties.

To get to the Self's place just take the Byron exit ... His address is 7603 Houston Road.... They are located right next to Bob's Auto Salvage and there is a sign out by the street.

Elise Brown was at Super-Sods new green office building...that is leaving some people in awe.

Take exit 142 off of 75...and you'll notice one building with a butterfly shaped roof that wasn't there before.

Just a few months ago when Heather Virden looked out the window of her home...this is what she saw.

Her home also doubled as Super-Sods office.

But now the company's green office building is complete...upgrading her view.

<sitting out by the koi pond, hearing the water fall and being in the afternoon shady, it's just really neat. Peaceful, quiet out there. >

For Virden...a green office building has its perks for her...and her customers.

<they can see the results of laying the sod out, seeing how to use the water for irrigation. >

And Super-Sod takes irrigation seriously with its butterfly shaped roof ...designed to catch rainwater.

It goes into a tank....which is used to water the garden.

<we have brand new technology for an irrigation controller that actually goes out to the web and gathers weather information and waters the plants based on what the weather is going to be not necessarily on what the plan is now. That technology alone can save on 50 percent irrigation water savings.>

<I'm standing on what's called drivable grass...it's a parking system that filters storm water. Edward Dyson says that when he pulled up to super sod he wasn't sure what to make of it.>

<I don't park on the grass. But it's designed for that >

Dyson didn't hesitate taking his grandson to check out the koi pond.

<I saw fish. you saw fish? pretty fish?>

Dyson says the office building and grounds offer great teaching moments.

<technology has brought us a long ways, seeing it being used in this fashion..it's amazing.>

The office is designed to be family friendly...and they have fish food on hand for the kids.

Elise Brown, 13WMAZ Eyewitness News.

Other cool features of the building include reclaimed wood....a reflective roof and giant fan.

Today is the official start of summer...

So as we enjoy the weather out in the garden... We're asking in our webpoll...what's your favorite season.

24 percent of you prefer spring.

16 percent are summer people.

46 percent like those fall temperatures.

And 14 percent of you like winter.

That's all the time we have for Eyewitness News at 6.

We'll see you back here tonight at 11.... Until then, follow all your news, sports and weather on MAZ and MAZ-mobile.

As we say goodbye...it's time to take a look back at the week in all the places you call home.

 

 

 

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