Eyewitness News at 11: June 30, 2013

10:50 PM, Jun 30, 2013   |    comments
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We begin this evening with a fatal house fire... at the 100 block of Stonewall Place in Macon. It happened around 9:30 this morning. 50-year-old Terry Floyd was pronounced dead by Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones. Jones says Floyd is the son of Twiggs County Commissioner Donald Floyd. 13WMAZ talked to Ricky Norris...Terry Floyd's neighbor. He declined to talk on camera...but says he called the fire department when he smelled smoke this morning. Norris says he went to check on Floyd...and says he found Floyd's body near the front door. Jones says this is the 11th fire-related death this year. The autopsy will be completed Monday.

Earlier this week... We had a chance to speak with Lt. Demetrius Ellison from the Macon Fire department on how you can protect your house. He provided some very simple tips and suggestions. First... He recommends having smoke detectors in between bedrooms... And have more than one smoke detector for every floor you have. Be sure to check the batteries once a month... And change them twice a year. If your smoke detector starts beeping and you believe there is no smoke...this might be a sign to change the batteries. The fire department can help you install them in your home. Give them a call at 478... 751... 91-80. Again that's 478...751...91-80. Have a fire escape plan for you and your family... And practice it before there is an emergency. Draw a floor plan of your home... And make sure that everyone knows where the smoke detectors are. Practice exiting from the doors and the windows. Also Keep a fire extinguisher ... You can purchase them at any home improvement store. And when cooking... Do not leave food unattended. Also... Do not extinguish a grease fire with water. Instead... Cover it with a pot top. For more safety tips... Call the safety hotline at 478... 751... 2700. Again that number is 478...751...2700.

There was another fire in Bibb County tonight... But there was no one inside. It was a vacant home on Mutual Ave... Which is also in the Vineville area. Fire officials say they do not know what may have caused the fire... And by the time they were on the scene the home was completely engulfed in flames. They stayed to make sure it did not spread to the other homes in the area.

Perry got the Independence Day Party started early. Elise Brown was there for it's annual parade....or birthday gift for one lucky 8-year-old. <it's my birthday and we always do fun things.> Emily Magnus and her family....celebrated her 8th birthday by watching the Perry Independence Parade. <she's my little sister....she's so sweet to me....and she's the sweetest little sister ever.> <that was cool> <I saw queens and princesses.> The little cars seemed to be the family favorite. <one was doing donuts and peeling out. It's just fun and gets everybody excited.> <.they were cool...lots of noise. > Little cars weren't the only things getting the crowd going. <the bagpipes were really cool. I like their music I think it was really neat to watch them in their kilts and stuff. Emily's dad says the parade is going to be a new tradition. <it's just great, I work in Perry, so it's always great to support your local town and I think it's a great town to support.> After the parade the family plans on going to the Georgia National Fairgrounds for fireworks. <I like when it goes boom and stuff...yea> In Perry, Elise Brown 13WMAZ Eyewitness News. Emily says it would be cool to be in a parade when she gets older.

As the nation prepares to celebrate another year of independence... Security is expected to increase for some high profile celebrations this week. Police in Atlanta... warn of big security races for the annual peachtree road race...that's held on the 4th of July. If you decide to go... They want you to leave your bags at home. Travel light... And do not bring a backpack if you don't have to. Do not leave anything unattended. Police in Atlanta will take bomb detection devices along the course of the race... a day before it begins. They plan to be out in force on race day... With cameras covering the course and a command center to monitor the action. If you go... Police ask that you keep an eye out for anything suspicious as well.

The Macy's 4th of July Fireworks show is almost set for it's 37th celebration.Pyro Techs prepared the explosives... Wiring them together... And loading triggers on them..they're timed to go off with the music. The show starts with the sounds of Usher. The designer of the show says he starts preparing up to a year in advance. The Macy's show is the largest in the nation. It will last around 25 minutes... And span two miles of the hudson river.

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are running out of time... To prevent interest rates on need based loans from rising.Right now...the rates are 3 point 4 percent... But they are set to double. American College graduates already owe more than one trillion dollars in loans. And the higher rates could cost students and extra 5 thousand dollars over the next 5 years. The higher rates could generate as much as 36 billion dollars in revenue. Some lawmakers want to keep the percent the same for the next two years... And others think it should be based on changes with the market.

In state news... Georgia rolls out a new "Quality Rating and improvement System" tomorrow. It's all part of a national movement to improve childcare and assign ratings. More than 12 hundred daycares and after-school programs applied to become Quality Rated. Already... 10 percent of those have been given one... two... Or three stars. The report will not be released until tomorrow morning.

One of the major topics around the nation... Centers on Childhood obesity.

Earlier today...An annual tradition raised money and awareness for the fight against against the problem. Hundreds of cyclists biked the Georgia 400 corridor for the annual Hospitality highway bike ride. The riders spent about half an hour on the highway before riding through various roads in Fulton... Forsyth... And Cherokee counties.

The former director for the C-I-A and the National Security Agency says the government should release more information on it's surveillance programs... To assure the American public that privacy rights are protected. This morning on face the nation... Michael Hayden said he believes Americans will be more comfortable... if they knew what the programs are about and why they are carried out.<democracies like ours don't get to do something over a long period of time without national consensus. So I'm willing to shape (UNINTEL) off of my operational effectiveness in order to make the American people a bit more comfortable about what it is what we're. Otherwise the American people won't let us do it in the first place> Hayden also took the time to defend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Critics say the court has served as a rubber stamp to information requests... Instead of challenging government attorneys on whether the information is needed.

Two landmark cases highlighted a week of decisions by the Supreme Court. The justices struck down part of the defense of marriage act providing federal benefits to same-sex couples. And they also upheld a ruling... That over turns a vote in the state of California. Adriana Diaz was in New York for all the festivities. 84 YEAR OLD EDIE WINSOR LED THE FESTIVITIES. IT WAS A VICTORY LAP OF SORTS. WEDNESDAY, WINDSOR WON HER FIGHT FOR FEDERAL BENEFITS FOR MARRIED SAME-SEX COUPLES IN THE SUPREME COURT. If someone had told me 50 years ago that I would be the marshal of New York City Gay Pride Parade in 20-13, at the age of 84, I never would have believed it. MARCHERS SAID THERE WAS MORE REASON TO CHEER AFTER THE SUPREME COURT STRUCK DOWN PART OF THE DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE ACT AND RE-LEGALIZED GAY MARRIAGE IN CALIFORNIA. There are just so many more things to celebrate this year. So look at all the love its fabulous! AN ESTIMATED 2 MILLION LINED 5TH AVENUE TO SHOW THEIR PRIDE. NEW YORK CITY MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG AND STATE GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO CARRIED RAINBOW FLAGS AND "JERSEY SHORE STAR STAR J.WOWW WAS ALSO THERE. I'm just here supporting and being a fan. This is awesome. This years parade outshines last years. There are more floats, more corporate sponsors, and even some animal activists. HORSES LED MARCHERS, AND THIS DOG NAMED LADY GAGA DRESSED FOR THE OCCASION. THE CITY'S FIRST PRIDE MARCH WAS HELD 44 YEARS AGO TO MARK THE 1 YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF THE 1969 PRO-GAY RIOTS IN MANHATTAN - CONSIDERED THE BEGINNING OF THE GAY RIGHTS MOVEMENTS. PARADE GOERS SAY THE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS MARK A TURNING POINT IN GAY RIGHT HISTORY. It's a new day, it's a new day and that's a great thing to be a part of....THIS YEAR THEY'RE MARCHING AND DANCING MORE PRIDE AND EXPANDED RIGHTS. AD CBS NEWS NEW YORK. Pride marches were also held in Chicaco... San Francisco... And Minneapolis. Even Paris and Mexico City joined in the celebrations.

Four Swedish tourists and a pilot are safe today...after a helicopter... carrying them lost power 12 minutes after take-off. The pilot landed the helicopter in New York's Hudson River. It happened Sunday around noon. Authorities say the pilot used the craft's pontoons to keep the helicopter afloat. In 2009...a US Airways flight landed safely on the Hudson after striking geese. All 155 people aboard survived. No word yet on what caused the helicopter to lose power.

People in Brazil took to the streets for a different reason today... As protests continue in Rio de Janeiro against rate hikes by their government. Widespread frustration fuels the protests... As the citizens voice concerns over education... Health and transportation... amid rising crime and costs of living. The country prepares to host the World Cup and the Olympics... but the people are not happy with what they see as over-spending on stadiums by the government. Police in Brazil have responded with force... And the government plans to provide better services in the future. The protests today coincided with the last day of the FIFA Confederations Cup... Where Brazil played host to Spain.






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