We begin with a look in Bibb County... Where plans for a new elementary school building are one step closer to reality.
Tonight the school board voted to buy around six acres of land just south of Heard Elementary... That's on Houston Road.
They will pay just under 14-thousand dollars per acre... With an estimated total of around 78-thousand dollars.
The district will combine that land with the over 12 and a half acres the current school sits on... And rebuild Heard Elementary.
Board president Wanda West says architects can now begin designing the new building.
it's been on the docket for a while and the parents are excited and we're excited too. We're excited to come together to begin moving forward on the promises and what has been approved to be done.>
The new building is scheduled to be finished by December 2014.
Tonight... The board also extended a contract to Erin Weaver... To take over Suzanne Griffin-Ziebart's deputy superintendent position.
Griffin-Ziebart will leave the district next week to work for Minneapolis Public Schools.
Bibb Interim Superintendent Steve Smith recommended the district hire Weaver - a former Central High School principal... To replace her.
After voting on her position and the land contract... The school board went back into executive session for about two hours... But did make any public decisions afterward.
All kids in Central Georgia head back to school soon... But for a few children... The lazy days of summer stopped today.
Several school districts rang bells today Houston County.
Elementary... Middle... And high school students showed up for their first day At all thirty seven houston county schools.
13WMAZ was present for Bonaire Elementary's first day... where principal Willis Jones was ready to get things started.
it's always exciting. I'm always nervous and excited. I always dread it a little bit, until we get those kids back in the building an dI see them smiling and they're giving me high fives and I'm welcoming them back and then it's just another year.>
Jones has been Principal at Bonaire for four years.
Bibb County school students return to the classroom on Monday..0
Most students in Wilcox County went back to school today... But the elementary school is out until the 13th of August.
The county is dealing with a mold issue at the elementary school due to all of the rain this year..
The mold problem may also be affecting businesses and homes throughout the area.
We talked to Carl Goodrich with Servpro Macon who says they use tools like this to measure if your walls have lots of moisture.
Moisture can be the breeding ground for mold.
Goodrich says one way to get rid of it... is to remove the area with mold.
But that's not always an option.
Carl Goodrich, Owner of Servpro Macon: The things like subfloors or studs in the walls that sort of thing you obviously can't tear those out your house would fall down you need to get them dry either with air movers or de-humidifiers that sort of thing that's what we do. >
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.. Health effects from Mold can include... runny nose... eye irritation... Cough... Congestion... aggravation of asthma or a skin rash.
Three weeks ago, a Bibb County firefighter almost died after a car hit him while he stood in the emergency lane on I-75.
As Tom George found out, he's now on the path to recovery.
And he's getting by with a little help from his friends.
This is my baby brother...>
When Cookie Rhyne looks at this picture, she sees a brother anyone would be proud of.
< A firefighter, a EMT guy, it's no surprise to us when he chose that profession .. That's his main vocation in life, I think is being able to be there for people to help them.>
It's what Sgt. Eric John's done every day ... As a 20-year veteran of the Bibb County Fire Department.
NAT POP :04
But on July 11th, while clearing a wreck on I-75, Sgt. John was standing in the emergency lane on I-75 when a Warner Robins teenager swerved into the lane and hit him.
< It was like he just disappeared, he was just there, and the next second he was gone.>
The 250 pound man flipped in the air and landed on the highway...
He was rushed away in critical condition.
< The EMT guys he told me when he got to Eric on that freeway that he was dead already, when he got them in the back of that ambulance and they brought him back. >
Since then, Eric's facing a long recovery from his injuries..
< There's a lot of prayers going on for him, you know.>
Prayers from everyone including his work family, who realized the man who helps others ... Needed their help.
< It's something that we know if it were one of us, Eric would be the one talking to you all. >
So they gathered to come up with ways to raise money..
Brainstorming benefit rides, BBQ, and selling T-shirts..
And in a short time, words' spread quickly...
< I'm hearing that, they're having sales from California to Afghanistan, all across this nation>
All leading up to a big event next month
< If we can carry him and drag him out of that hospital, he will be there. >
So Sgt. John can go back to being the man in the picture.
< Sitting up there, being proud of what he is, and who he works for and what he does for living, I just can't wait for that day again. >
Tom George, 13WMAZ Eyewitness News.
The event for Sgt. John is set for September 14th.
If you want to contribute to Sgt. John... you can contact Liana Rogers at 478... 501...3-4-7-9
Again that's 478... 501... 3-4-7-9.
According to a new study... Revitalization in Macon's College Hill neighborhood has boosted property tax income over the past decade.
Mercer University... the College Hill Alliance... the Knight Foundation...the city of Macon... And a few others... Partnered to revamp 22 houses... With 9 more on the way.
Between 2002 and 2011... Property taxes increased by over 50 percent in College Hill... That's nearly double the increase for all of Bibb County.
The project to rebuild the historic neighborhood started with a group of Mercer students in 2007.... And Josh Rogers... Director of the Historic Macon Foundation... Says it's grown faster than anyone thought it could.
Patients at the Medical Center of Central Georgia are among the first in the nation to test out new food options.
The "Great Living Menu" was introduced two weeks ago through Morrison's Healthcare and the Partnership for a Healthier America.
The menu allows nutrition staff to cut down on sodium by 44 percent and calories by 33 percent.
Director of food nutrition... Adrien Clermont... says an increase in whole grains... wheats... and pasta will provide healthier options without compromising taste.
The nutrition staff at the medical center serves more than 300 thousand patients a year.
The new menu will impact up to 1 million meals over the next five years.
Welcome Back... It's time to take a look at some of the top stories around the nation on this Thursday the first of August.
Many parts of the south east are dealing with rainfall totals 25 inches above normal.
Tonight the CBS Evening News made a stop in the Watermelon Capital of the world - Cordele where the excess rain is actually hurting the crop this season.
The low lying plants are being saturated by the high rain totals... And too much water means the melons split open... Rot... Or lose flavor.
Even though July is a peak harvest month for watermelons... Half of the crop on this farm is ruined.
A local packing plant that handles the watermelons plant shut down for two weeks because of the poor crop..
When they were open - Only one of the four conveyor belts was in use..
<it's the wettest year I've seen, I've never seen a year this wet.>
In Milwaukee today... Workers for McDonald's asked for supersized wages and the right to join unions.
Workers in St. Louis joined the rally as well... Seeking an increase to the national minimum wage.
They say the average pay rate of 9 dollars an hour is not enough money to survive on.
Workers at various fast food places have left their posts throughout the week to protest for better wages and benefits.
A judge in the case against James Holmes says... The prosecution can present evidence of his memberships on two dating sites.
According to prosecutors... Holmes put up profiles on Adult Friend Finder dot com and Match dot com with the tag line... "will you visit me in Prison."
They claim this could indicate his mental state.
Defense attorneys say the information is irrelevant and could be prejudicial... since there is no confirmation of the intent or meaning of the taglines.. Or even who wrote them.
But the judge allowed the information... And said the jurors can decide how much weight to give the information.
The trial for Holmes is scheduled for February..He's accused of opening fire in a Colorado movie killing 12 people and injuring 70 others..
Minnesota and Rhode Island are the latest states to add same sex marriage.
There are now a total of 13 states.
In Minnesota today.. They celebrated in what is called the biggest wedding reception in the history of the state.
Grooms Reid Bordson and Paul Nolle held a midnight ceremony in Minneapolis... To start a day where hundreds of same sex couples tied the knot in the land of ten thousand lakes.
The celebration was called a historic after-party.
And those are some of the stories making headlines this Thursday... August the first.
Today was the deadline for developers seeking to build a new stadium for the Atlanta Falcons.
Courtney Lyle joins us with the latest on negotiation between the developers and two churches that stood in the way of one site.
Today is the first of August... And the Falcons have already made plans to build a new stadium... That will cost one billion dollars.
The only issue was where to put the new facility.
Our sister station WXIA has the latest on the negotiations between the two churches... And the decision that was made around six this evening.
Friendship Baptist Church is one of two churches that would have to move to clear the way for a new billion dollar stadium south of the Georgia Dome. Church leader Lloyd Hawk told us the talks continued all day -- with a deal very close. But it was a different story at Mt Vernon Baptist -- the church that actually sits in the footprint of the south site. State records show he Georgia World Congress Center authority made what it called its best and final offer for the church Wednesday. The state offered Mt. Vernon 6.2 million dollars -- an offer the church unanimously rejected, according to state documents.
The World Congress Center responded by saying "it is officially terminating negotiations and abandoning efforts to acquire Mt. Vernon Baptist Church property."
The impasse frustrated city councilman Ivory Young, who wants the new stadium on the site where the churches are now. i'm saying all parties involved, come back to the table and make the deal happen. Let's move forward for the benefit of atlanta
Without a deal with both churches, the stadium moves to a site north of the Georgia Dome -- a half mile from the nearest MARTA station. the august firsdt deadline is a self imposed deadline and legally there is still some wiggle room. But the falcons and now the state are indicating that as far as the south stadium site goes, they're not interested in wiggling anymore. Dr11alive news
There are still some groups who do not want the new stadium on the north site either... Because it will bring extra congestion and traffic to the area.
It sits about a half mile away from existing MARTA stations... Which made the south site more appealing.
But earlier this week.. President and CEO of the Falcons Rich McKay did say that the south site was not suitable for the stadium anyway.
Thanks Courtney We'll see you again later for sports.