Eyewitness News at Eleven Sept. 9, 2013

10:17 PM, Sep 9, 2013   |    comments
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You'll see much more of Scott Pelley's interview with the President a little later in this broadcast but first...

Our top story tonight

long lines...and long waits...for early voting at the Bibb County Board of Elections today.

It's more fallout from the glitches that occurred after election officials...put hundreds of voters into the wrong districts.

Randall Savage explains what poll workers are doing to ensure an accurate vote...and why.

It may be a few days late... But Bibb elections offices are checking people's addresses against their district maps to make sure they're voting in the right races.

On August 28th...Bibb election officials notified the Secretary of State's office that some voters were listed in the wrong districts...and being issued the ballots.

That night.. The state election administration manager Erica Hamilton instructed Bibb officials to check people's addresses....against their county district maps....before handing them ballots.

Veronica Seals of the county election office told us that they started that procedure...last Friday.... September 6th.

That's more than a week after the Secretary of State's office advised them to do that.

Last Thursday.. The 5th....When we went to the Board of Elections office..Officials were not checking address on the map. They were checking voter identifications..as usual...then issuing voting cards.

The new procedure means it's also taking longer for voters to get checked in and voter cards issued.

Doug Haygood stood in line about 40 minutes.

< Doug Haygood, Early Voter: They said they wanted to check my street address was in the district that I was voting in and it was.>

Ty Ivey stood in line about 41 minutes before getting his ballot. Some of it was spent checking his district.

< Ty Ivey, Early Voter: The gentleman went back and checked it on the map to make sure the voting district was right.>

Nikia Trice spent about 40 minutes in line as well.. And election officials checked her address on the map as well.

< Nikia Trice, Early Voter: I provided my drivers license and then she looked up some records, I guess to see what district I was in to make sure I was in the right area. And Then I was given my card, and I was able to vote.>

Randall Savage.. 13 WMAZ Eyewitness News.

Meanwhile today...amid early voting...and the voting districts confusion.....the board of elections' phone system was down.....for the second time in just over a week.

Calls to the board's office went to voice mails or were transferred to the main county switchboard.

People were told the phone system was down.. And would be back up in a few minutes.

But the problems persisted throughout the day.

When we visited the office today....election officials declined to explain what had happened..

New tonight...

A man died in a Monday evening crash at Artic Circle and Jeffersonville Road in East Macon.

According to Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones, the accident happened around 6.

Jones says 32-year-old Daniel Dewayne Cassidy of Jones County was driving a Honda Civic and died inside the vehicle. He was trapped inside the car, and emergency crews worked for hours to remove his body.

Jones says there was also a child inside the car who was taken to the Medical Center of Central Georgia.

The other driver was 52-year old Valerie Hicks. She was in a Toyota Highlander. Jones says she was also taken to the hospital. He said neither she nor the child was believed to have life-threatening injuries.

Investigators are still working out the details of what actually happened.

The grandfather of a 21-month-old toddler who drowned in Jones County Friday afternoon...spoke to 13WMAZ about what happened on the day he lost his grandson.

The toddler died after falling in a lake...in the Hampton Lakes subdivision.

The Sheriff's Department says the investigation is ongoing - but investigators expect no charges to be filed.

The toddler's grandfather sat down with Anita Oh today to explain what he believes happened...

Andrew got out of the house somehow, perhaps through the garage, and stumbled down to the lake, just 150 yards away at most. A witness saw him fall into the lake and immediately called 911. In the meantime my son and daughter-in-law and others nearby were looking for him, and unfortunately found little Andrew in the water>

Lewis talked about what he'll remember most about the smiling 21-month-old.

i'm going to remember andrew mainly through our peek-a-boo sessions we had. it didn't matter, whenever I saw andrew, we almost immediately engaged in peek-a-boo. He knew whenever he saw my face it was peek-a-boo-time>

Andrew's funeral will be held on Thursday morning at the Church of God of Prophecy on Houston Road in Macon.

An overnight fire in Hancock County killed one person.

The fire was at a two story building located at 1950 Log Cabin Rd.

The identity of the victim has not been released... But the body has been taken to a GBI crime lab in Atlanta according to Fire Safety and State Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens.

Investigators said today they'll be working the site again tomorrow.

Hancock County Sheriff's office is assisting as they work to find out what caused the fire.

A former Warner Robins businessman... and Robins Air Force base official ... will serve at least 8 years in prison after he admitted to child molestation.

Jennifer Moulliet was at Shelly Simmons Senior's sentence hearing today...

Friends and family gathered inside the courthouse waiting to hear Shelly... Simmons Senior's fate.

Simmons was charged with eight counts of child molestation... Involving four separate young victims.

He pleaded guilty to four counts a week ago... Preventing the victims from having to testify against him in court.

Assistant District Attorney Clif Woody told the judge Simmons admitted to putting the victims on his lap and touching them inappropriately... And grabbing the buttocks and breasts of another victim.

The state read letters from the victims.

and friends of Simmons' spoke on his behalf.

ultimately Judge George Nunn sentenced Shelly Simmons Senior to serve twenty years in prison... Serving eight.

Simmons' lawyer Franklin Hogue asked Judge Nunn to give his client thirty days before going to prison to take care of his wife... Who has fallen a week before and broken her hip... Judge Nunn denied the request.

<the state appreciates that sentence and believes it's a fair sentence>

<they'd asked for twenty years serve ten, we asked for twenty years whatever number less than ten >

<i think what helped him was he is eighty-four years old and did live an otherwise good life as I argued these were as the judge said crimes that couldn't be ignored though. >

Simmons was taken into custody immediately following the hearing.

In houston county... Jennifer moulliet 13wmaz eyewitness news.

Simmons was a prominent businessman in the International City... and was a longtime announcer for Warner Robins High School football.

If Simmons serves all eight years he'll be 92 when he is released.

Tonight a Macon council committee discussed shutting down late night crimes... By making bars close earlier.

Right now... Last call at bars and clubs throughout the city is two a-m... And all alcoholic drinks must be finished before three.

However... Keith Moffett... A city administrator... Says many places stay open hours past that... Making it difficult for police to monitor... And creating a safety issue.

The proposed law would require all people to leave bars and clubs at three o'clock.

<it would take away any grey area, because at three o'clock, no one should be at these establishments, no one should be there loitering or anything, and it helps police. They don't have to go in and ask a lot of questions.>

Moffett says Mayor Robert Reichert asked the city to draft the law after a teen was shout outside Zodiac Lounge in July.

it happened about four o'clock in the morning. The establishment was open. People were there hanging out, and some attitudes happened, but had the facility not been open at four o'clock in the morning, this probably could have been prevented.>

Councilman Henry Gibson says he agrees... But he also wants Macon Police to boost enforcement.

i think law enforcement could do a little bit more, but a lot of the responsibility should rely on the club owner themselves.>

The Public Safety committee chair Virgil Watkins says the group will bring up the topic at one of the next meetings... And in the meantime... Bring bar and club owners into the conversation.

The committee also put off discussions on an ordinance that would require pet owners in the city to spay or neuter their animals.

Nancy White... Who wrote the proposed law... Asked them to bring it up at the next meeting... So animal shelter director Sarah Tenon... And other members of the community could give input.

That meeting is in two weeks.

On CBS This Morning... You saw Charlie Rose's exclusive interview with the leader of Syria's regime.

Later... CBS Evening News Anchor Scott Pelley interviewed President Obama regarding potential U.S. Military intervention in that nation.

Here's a portion of that conversation at the White House.

< I think it is important for the international community and the United States to stand up and say, "This cannot happen." Now the good news is I think that Assad's allies, both Russia and Iran--recognize that this was--this was a breach. That--this was a problem.


SCOTT PELLEY: Assad essentially put you on notice today. In the interview with Charlie Rose, he said of the US, "If you strike somewhere, you have to expect the repercussions somewhere else in a different form in a way that you don't expect." Do you take that as a threat?


PRES. OBAMA: I think it was intended as a threat. I don't take it as a credible threat in the sense that Assad doesn't have the capacity to strike in a significant way. Some of his allies like his allies like Iran and Hezbollah do have the capacity to engage in asymmetrical strikes against us. Our intelligence I think is very clear the they would not try to escalate a war with us--over limited strikes to deal with this chemical weapon issue. But the truth of the matter is, those threats already exist from a whole range of groups. And we--understand what those threats are and take those precautions very seriously.

You can catch more of that...at 13WMAZ-dot-com.

We want to take a moment to clarify what we reported about Senator Saxby Chambliss and how he would vote on a resolution approving military action against Syria.

We reported on Eyewitness News Midday that he was in favor.

Our sister newspaper USA TODAY put Chambliss in the "yes" column based on his recent public statements.

Chambliss has said doing nothing is not an option and a meaningful military response -- short of putting U.S. troops on the ground -- would be appropriate.

But Chambliss's office says he wants to see the final form of any resolution - with amendments -- before he declares whether he will vote for it.

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