Eyewitnesses News at 6: July 2,2013

10:07 PM, Jul 2, 2013   |    comments
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Severe weather could put a damper on tomorrow night's concert and fireworks in Warner Robins.
Organizer Allen Tatman says the Independence Celebration will go on... Even with a little bit of rain.
   But he says if there's thunder and lightning... that's a different story.
   Police... Fireman... And emergency crews will be on standby to evacuate the stadium.
  Tatman says they will open the gates back up... If the skies clear.

 

  We've also checked on events scheduled in macon on the fourth of july.
The fort hawkins fourth will go on.. Rain or shine.
    The event starts at 10 a.m. And wraps up at 2.
     The fort will offer tours.. Snacks..  and light some fountain fireworks.
And.. the fireworks are still scheduled to shoot off over lake tobesofkee.
    The event runs from 6 to 10.. With fireworks lighting the sky around 9:30.
    Organizers say they will monitor the weather and will decide thursday night if they need to cancel.
     If the event is rained out.. They will move it to another night.
 To see more events schedules in honor of independence day.. Visit our website.. 13wmaz dot com.
     Look for the link in the check it out box on the right side of the homepage.

 

Today's 13wmaz dot com web poll asks...
Would you attend a July 4th event in the rain?
    So far.. 90 percent say no.. You would not.. While 10 percent say yes.. You would.
   To vote now... Visit 13WMAZ.com.
   Look for the question on the right side of the homepage.

  A USA Today report raised red flags about student debt.... at two Middle Georgia State College campuses.
Tom George went to the college formerly known as Macon State to find out more.
Michael Viox and Jaron Lastinger didn't start college right away...
< I actually started later, back in 2009 at the age of 28>
< I figured a four year degree would do be me a lot better than just working at the Mexican restaurant waiting tables for the rest of my life.  >
At Middle Georgia State College, it's common to see students not fresh out of high school.
< We have a big base of non-traditional students. A lot of these students have children that they have to pay daycare for, that they have to pat housing expenses, their rent, their house payments. >
Lastinger has money saved up to start classes again, but also hopes to get the federal Pell grant.
Viox is a senior on a Pell grant. He took out student loans for his other expenses
< Basically Pell only pays for my tuition. I need the student loans to have everything else, a roof over my head, gas in the car to get to and from school, and food in my kids' belly.>

And he's not alone...
how many of you take out student loans? (hands raised)>

School officials say 60 percent of Middle Georgia State students take out student loans...
Looking at numbers from 2009....a study from USA Today listed the school...formerly known as Macon State... as a "red flagged" college.
18 percent of the student who took out federal loans defaulted.
But just 12 percent of them....graduated.
The school say a combination of federal policies and better financial education could help.
And I think it's going to take all of us working together to bring the loan rate down for students and the chance of default rate down..>

So students end up with a diploma, not debt...
exactly, which is where I hope to finish out..>

In Macon, Tom George, 13WMAZ Eyewitness News.
The USA Today report also red-flagged Middle Georgia College in Cochran.
There...like at Macon State...more students who took out federal loans defaulted...than graduated.
The two school merged earlier this year....as Middle Georgia State College.
The cost of a semester of tuition and fees at school....for an in-state student...is about15 hundred dollars.

 

 The political squabbling goes on...over setting this year's Macon-Bibb election date.
       Last night...Democrats ousted Steve Allen as one of their two representatives on the county Board of Elections.
       That comes just three days after he voted to hold the elections in September.
     Ronnie Miley.. A member of Bibb's Democratic Executive Committee.. says Allen's vote flies in the face of the executive committee.. which wants the elections held in November.
     After getting removed from the Macon-Bibb election board.. Allen resigned from the Democrats executive committee. He claims there is a growing dissatisfaction with current party leadership.
Steve Allen, Democrat: I have seen a lot of good people leave the party over the last couple of years, and I think there are just a few people who are trying to control things now, and they're not representative of Democrats as a whole in Bibb County.
Allen declined to name the people he's talking about...but says he wasn't surprised at his removal.
 Steve Allen, Democrat: I expected it. I knew it was coming, and I think their minds were made up. There's really nothing I could've said that would've change it. I think people had met independently before then and already decided that was going to happen
  After removing Allen.. The Democratic committee appointed retired educator John Swint to replace him on the county board of elections.

  The old El Azteca building on Tom Hill Senior Boulevard in Macon...  won't be there much longer
A company named....Georgia Environmental Group incorporated will start work on the demolition ... next Monday.
    That's according to President Casey Bullington.
   A Minnesota-based company... Buffalo Wild Wings... will open one of its restaurants on the former El Azteca site.

 Celebrity Chef Paula Deen has made headlines for the past the couple of weeks...after admitting in a deposition  to using the 'n-word'.
    But some people in her hometown still want to honor Deen with a museum dedicated to the former Food Network star.
    Austin Lewis went to Albany and spoke with the president of the museum board about the project.
Museum President BJ Fletcher says this spot off Roosevelt Avenue could be the new home for the Paula Deen museum.
She says it's right near other  developments in Albany.
The empty lot....could hold the building where it all began for Deen..
BJ Fletcher, President of the Board of the Paula Deen Museum: We have purchased her home that she was raised in and she's got 90 percent of the same furnishing...when you walk into this house you're gonna see how Paula Deen lived.
Fletcher says Deen spent the first thirty years of her life in Albany...and started catering here.
BJ Fletcher, President of the Board of the Paula Deen Museum: Paula has rolled up her sleeves and has come from a very humble background and we haven't seen any arrogance come from her
The Albany Convention and Visitors Bureau...says this could be an economic boom for the city.
They are already working with Deen to develop a walking tour app...so visitors hitting the streets...can hear from the hometown girl.
Rashele Beasley, Albany CVB:So having a museum either to actually begin it or end the tour would just be an added benefit.
The national controversy over Paula Deen admitting to using the n-word...may be hurting her empire...but Fletcher says it hasn't hit the project.
we always knew that we are going to be looking for investors we hadn't even gotten to that stage yet but we have been pounded with people that want to send donations to get this thing up and going.
It's already been accepted by some in Albany.
<Lillian Upshaw, New Jersey raised in Albany:I don't think Paula Deen should be punished for what she is accused of I think that everybody need forgiving and I feel like she should be forgiven too. She made a mistake
Dorothy Reynolds, Albany:I feel like it's going to make everything better show that she's actually a generally nice person someone can make a mistake and say the wrong thing and still have a good heart
Derrick Jackson, Albany: Personally I like Paula Deen the little controversy that's come up that's not going to shake me cause people are going to be people and that's not going to stop me from liking who I like
And like the Ray Charles Plaza is a fixture here in Albany...Fletcher says this spot could become one too.
Austin Lewis 13WMAZ Eyewitness News.
Judy Sherling...a board member of the Paula Deen museum says...they haven't started to accept donations for the museum...because they are still setting up the organization that will manage the museum.
     No date has been set yet for construction or their opening.

 

If you're looking to adopt a pet this week from Macon-Bibb Animal Welfare ... you'll need to do it before the holiday.
   the shelter will close Thursday ... July 4th through Monday.. The 8th.
   But to help you out.. The shelter is running a special this week.
 Judy Le joins us now live with more.
  If you wanted to adopt an animal but money was an issue ... Here's your chance to take one home.
    There's an adoption special going on today and tomorrow that might have you walking away with a dog in hand ... And money still in your pocket.
When Winnie met Jerry ...
There was an instant bond ...
she said she needs a home, but I think they all say they need a home >

Jerry Shipp has an impressive record for rescuing animals ... And the number keeps on growing
<three dogs and 27 cats>

Adoptions at the Macon-Bibb Animal Welfare normally cost 130 dollars ... But she got Winnie for free because
<she's already spayed>

Animals that are spayed or neutered are sponsored by the County. That means all fees are paid for. Those that aren't ... require a 50-dollar refundable fee.  For Shipp ... Saving animals is a top priority
<when is too much? I don't think there will ever be too many. As long as I have the space>

Shipp came early to take advantage of the adoption special because it ends Wednesday.
Winnie is just one of XX dogs up for adoption.
<adlib>
Again ... tomorrow is the last day to take advantage of this adoption special.
   The shelter will be closing for the fourth of July and will be open again next Tuesday.

 

One of the giant pandas at Zoo Atlanta is expecting again.
 An ultrasound this week showed that Lun Lun is pregnant with her fourth cub.
     The 15-year-old panda is expected to deliver her cub in two to three weeks.
     Her cub would be the first panda born in the U.S. this year.
     Lun Lun and her mate Yang Yang have three other offspring... Ages 6, 4 and 2..

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