Eyewitness News at Eleven July 30, 2013

9:49 PM, Jul 30, 2013   |    comments
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The investigation continues tonight into a morning house fire in Warner Robins destroyed a home.

The family was not inside when the flames sparked.

But the owner's two dogs needed a little extra help from neighbors ...

The house off Ellicott Drive started burning around 11:30.

It took firefighters nearly half an hour to control the flames.

During that time ... Two friends were searching for their neighbor's dogs... Lexi and Lucy.

When they found out the 2 dogs were still in the backyard ... They rushed to save them

the were nervous and wouldn't let us put the leashes on so we had to pick them up and carry them out>

<i saw flames shooting out the back side of the house that was about it. After we got them, the flames went everywhere>








About 20 firefighters were on scene to control the fire.

The house is a total loss.

Two suspects pleaded not guilty this morning to charges stemming from last October's workplace embezzlement scheme that led to the killing of Gail Spencer


Tracy Michelle Jones and Michael Brett Kelly were each charged with malice murder, three counts of felony murder, aggravated assault, burglary, false imprisonment, and theft by taking.

Prosecutors say Jones and Kelly suffocated Spencer at her home on Stinsonville Road and took company money.











District Attorney David Cooke says based on the evidence in the case, they've decided to try Kelly first. Cooke says he's confident both cases will run smoothly.











The state is seeking the death penalty in both cases.

There's no specific date yet on Kelly's trial, but sometime early next year was discussed.

Residents on Vickie Drive in Warner Robins... Call their street the forgotten area of the city.

That's because they say they can never get anyone to come out and fix anything where they live.


L-M McRae says he can't remember the last time someone cut the grass in this lot next to his house.

He says he's called the city several times... But nothing gets done.

13WMAZ's Jennifer Moulliet asked Warner Robins City marshall... Terry Wood about the property.. He said that lot is actually manned by the housing authority.

somebody owns this field if I was to have it cleared off and paid to have it cleared off and put me a double wide over here I bet you somebody would know who owned

that field because they'd want me to move my double wide off of their land they would show up then >








The director of the housing authority was unavailable to comment... But employees say they thought the city owned that land... But would make sure the property is taken care of.

McRae says they did... They were out mowing the field next to his house around 5 this afternoon.











He says We aim to be a good neighbor and correct any deficiency once it is bought to our attention.


Susanne Griffin-Ziebart is the Bibb Schools Deputy Superintendent who stepped in in the interim after Romain Dallemand left... And now, she's headed out herself.

We learned today... she'll be heading to the midwest next month...to serve as the Chief Academic Officer for the Minneapolis Public School System.

Griffin-Ziebart came to Bibb County in July 2011... Following Dallemand from her hometown in Rochester.

She stepped in as acting superintendent for three months after the school board bought out Dallemand's contract in February.

Griffin-Ziebart s

The new Bibb County Juvenile Justice Center reached a milestone today.


County officials joined members of the juvenile justice court... at a topping-out ceremony this morning.

They signed the last steel beam... before it was placed at the highest point of construction.

Grant Resources Administrator for the county... Kari Kitchens... says 7 million dollars of SPLOST money supports the center.

Kitchens says the location at Second Street and Oglethorpe will make services more convenient... because the justice center will

only be a block away from the DFACS... and closer to mental health services.





ays she learned a lot from her time in Macon... But wanted to move to a bigger school system... And be closer to home.


<i wasn't looking for just any job, I wasn't wanting to leave macon necessarily, but this was just one of those opportunities that had lights around it and arrows pointing to it, because it really had all of the challenges and opportunities lined up well with my passions and skills>








Griffin-Ziebart's last day with Bibb Schools is August 9th.

Kari Kitchens, Bibb Grant Resources Administrator: The facility itself will have extra room so that we can have service providers come to the actual facility that maybe a child is in need of some services in our community and transportation is a barrier. >








Kitchens says the new center is scheduled to open next year.

District Five commission candidate Jon Carson doesn't think the consolidated Macon-Bibb government should have any say on how the Bibb County Board of Education spends its money.

Earlier this year.. Bibb's state lawmakers introduced legislation that would require local government approval of school spending.. The legislation's on hold.

On this week's Close-Up program with Randall Savage .. Carson.. Along with the other two District Five candidates.. Commissioner Bert Bivins and Councilman Frank Tompkins talked about the school budget..








< Jon Carson, Political Newcomer: I have to agree. We need to elect board of education people that we can depend on to be responsible for their own budget.>

Tompkins.. A retired educator.. Doesn't want the commission involved in school spending.








< Frank Tompkins, Macon Councilman: I think the board.. The Bibb County Board of Education or school board should set its own budget work within the configuration that it is and the new commission, the new consolidation government, should do the same thing.>

Bivins recalls when the county commission had to approve the school budget.. He didn't like it.








< Bert Bivins, Bibb Commissioner: I sat through that for several years and it was extremely difficult because you don't know everything there is to know about the school budget at the time that it's presented to you.>











District Five runs along Riverside Drive and Wimbish Road in the north and Eisenhower Parkway and Pio Nono Avenue in the south.

You can catch Close-Up in its entirety at noon Saturday and six a.m. Sunday on 13 WMAZ.

Nearly eleven hundred special olympians will visit central georgia at the end of next month...When the masters bowling tournament is held in Warner Robins

Less than a month from the event... More help is still needed








At least four hundred volunteers are needed to make the event run...

Convention and visitors bureau director Marsha Buzzell says...

There are many ways for volunteers to lend a hand

<not only giving the awards the medals at every game but also the score for one thing, to get the athletes to the right lane, particularly those athletes who are in wheelchairs, to get them lined up with the special equipment that we have to get the ball rolling down the bowling alley>








The City has already contributed four thousand dollars

Buzzell says they need about four thousand more... In donations from the community.

If you are looking to donate money, time, or both, check out our story on 13wmaz.com...

A hundred Macon kids got new hairdo's to start off the school year.








Hairlines Salon and Boutique offered free haircuts and styling today.

Kids ages four through 13 packed the salon to get their back-to-school looks.

Owner Beverly Pitts says her boutique wanted to help students start the year with an A-plus look... Hoping it will help them finish it with A-plus grades.

little girls having their hair done and having a fresh new do for the first day of school is just the most exciting thing. It gives them confidence, makes them feel good about themselves, and we have felt very good doing this.

Welcome back, it's time to take a look at some top stories from today.

Here's what making headlines for this Tuesday... July 30th.

The Wikileaks trial has ended... And the judge for the court martial of Private first class Bradley Manning... found him not guilty for aiding the enemy.

This was the most serious charge against him in the case... And would have carried a possible life sentence.

Supporters of Manning are relieved of this acquittal... And they greeted the lawyers for Manning with shouts of thank you and a round of applause outside of the court room.

But they are concerned about what the verdict does mean for the fate of the private first class.

He was found guilty of five counts of espionage... theft... And computer fraud among other military charges.

His sentencing is tomorrow... And he could face one hundred and 36 years in prison.


Police in Kansas City say an S-U-V rear ended a parked cadillac... Then sent the vehicle crashing through a day care center.

Three children and the driver of the S-U-V were injured... But all are listed in stable condition at a hospital... With injuries that are not believe to be life threatening.

About 40 children were in side when the accident happened... And Kansas Police say two of the children were trapped under the cadillac.

The driver was approximately 80 years old... And the cause is under investigation.

And three former penn state officials will face trial... For allegedly covering up he sex abuse scandal of a former coach.

A judge made the ruling today... From two days of pretrial hearings on the case.

Former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was convicted of 45 counts of child sex abuse... And is serving a sentence of 30 to 60 years in prison.

According to prosecutors... former Penn State president Graham Spanier... Along with former vice president Gary Shultz and the former athletic director Tim Curley knew of the allegations of abuse against Sandusky... But lied to a grand jury about it.

All three men have pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.

And those are just some of the stories making headlines this Tuesday July 30th.

In an effort to better serve active duty military personnel... Three hospitals in Georgia launch a cooperative regional alliance.

The Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center... The Charlie Norwood Veterans Affairs Medical Center... And the Carl Vinson Veterans Affairs Medical center will join under the Georgia Federal Healthcare Executives Council.

The departments of the defense and of veterans affairs awarded the facilities 2 poin t9 million dolllars to start orthopedic and post surgical care services.

The grant is expected to be used to hire more people.

The agreement would take patients referred from Carl Vinson in Dublin... To have surgery at the Eisenhower Center at Fort Gordon... And rehab services would be at the Norwood Center in Augusta.

The state of Georgia may lose 9 point 9 million dollars in education funding.

A letter from officials at the U-S department of Education threaten to withhold the funds... Because the state did not implement a performance based teacher and leader evaluation program... as a part of Race to the Top.

The letter is only a warning... But the Department of Education does intend to wihhold the funds... If the state does not reach a compromise by the start of the 2013-2014 school year.

If the funds are withheld... The state will have until the end of September next year to demonstrate corrective actions for the program.

According to the U-S D.O.E... Georgia would be the first state to have Race to the Top funding with held.

According to the state website... Bibb and Peach county schools... receive funds from this program.

Rich McKay... President and CEO of the Atlanta Falcons... Says the south site for the proposed billion dollar falcons stadium... Is unsuitable for development.


In a letter to the Georgia World Congress Center Authority... He wrote that the site south of the stadium is not a viable option for the stadium... Because of the two churches on the site.

Also... Additional land surrounding the site have not been purchased by the company... Who is building the stadium.

He continues to say that officials have not been able to conduct environmental and other required testing at those sites.

There is a self imposed deadline of August first to decide on a location for the new stadium.

And both proposed sites have met strong opposition.



























































































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