Eyewitness News at Eleven Sept. 18, 2013

9:43 PM, Sep 18, 2013   |    comments
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Now tonight at 11... We begin our news coverage... With conversations we had with current Mayor Robert Reichert...and former Mayor C. Jack Ellis... Both of whom would like to hold that title for the next three years.

In last night's runoff... Reichert lead with 49 percent of the vote.... But that wasn't enough to keep Ellis out of a runoff.

Ellis had 30 percent. Both men today explained why they think they have unique qualifications for changing times.  reichert: People have a favorable impression of the six years that I have been mayor. I think that is a distinct advantage that I have. I think also my education and being an attorney and taking a leave of absence to do this. Helps to convince people that I am able and that I am in this for the right reason.

Ellis: Passion. And hard work. I don't have all the money. I don't have the rich country club friends. Not saying that they're bad people, but we don't have that. That's not what we have in our campaign. We have a lot of hard working, every day, dedicated, hardworking people, and that's what we have in our campaign. And that's what we're gonna win with. We're gonna win with sheer determination, hard work, touching as many voters as we possibly can, throughout this city, and indeed, throughout this county.

In light of the runoff... We took the time to go over other times that Reichert and Ellis have met on the campaign trail.

Our own Randall Savage took us through some of their election battles.

The two met in a state senate race in 1991... But both would lose to Robert Brown.

Reichert was a political newcomer at the time... And Ellis had just returned to Macon.

But in more recent times... The two have fought for the top spot in Macon's city government.

<two years ago, that was the mayor's office before the consolidation thing and you had the partisan elections. Mr. Reichert, Mr. Ellis and a couple more guys including the late senator robert brown were in that race. And Mr. Reichert and Mr. Ellis wound up in a runoff that time around and of course Mr. Reichert won that election and he's been serving since then.>


Like Reichert and Ellis, candidates in four races must now campaign for runoffs on October 15th.

In district two...Two Macon council members....Larry Schlesinger...who's also a rabbi....and teacher Henry Ficklin.

District 4.... Mallory Jones against Beverly Olson. Jones is a realtor...Olson is also a city council member...and a longtime trustee of her family's Knight Foundation.

The city's longest-serving elected official....Ed DeFore... and Adah Roberts will meet in district 6. Roberts is a former chief financial officer for the city of Macon.

And the district 8 seat will be decided between two more Macon council members... Virgil Watkins and Charles Jones. Watkins is an educator and coach.....Jones is a minister.

Five of the nine new commissioners were elected yesterday.

Gary Bechtel won District 1 .... Elaine Lucas in Disctrict 3 .... Bert Bivins in District 5 .... Scotty Shepherd one District 7 .... And Al Tillman claimed District 9

In other news tonight... almost 5 months after a Perry teenager died as passenger during a drag racing accident, the driver is now being charged.

45-year old Danny Ray Wheeler was hosting a party at his house on Toomer Road in Perry and allegedly gave alcohol to a minor.

45-year old Danny Ray Wheeler was hosting a party at his house on Toomer Road in Perry and allegedly gave alcohol to a minor.

He then got in a car with two others in a drag race..... which ended with him crashing the Duke Road... killing 17-year old Colten Winkler.

Wheeler faces eight charges, including vehicle fatality, DUI, and reckless driving.

Captain Tommy Jackson from the Houston County Sheriff's office says part of the delay in charging him was that he was injured and lost his leg.

The offender had injuries that had to be treated. We had to wait on those, that situation, and we also had to get together all our information to take warrants.>

Jackson says Wheeler turned himself in voluntarily at the Houston County Jail.

Jail records show he remains in custody on more than 14 thousand dollars bond.

About 300 jobs at Boeing's Macon plant could be on the line...when the company ends production of the C-17 in two years.

Nearly 3,000 employees work on the military cargo plane in Macon plant and three other locations.

A company spokeswoman says they'll start reducing production next year.

They're not certain exactly how many Macon jobs...because they hope to re-direct those people to other projects.

The Macon plant assembles parts for the C-17...construction's then finished in California.

An unfamiliar sight...at least for most Central Georgia drivers... is coming to West Bibb County...and it will change the way you travel and reach certain thoroughfares.

It's a five approach roundabout....

The nearly 2 million dollar project is in its early stages....

Contractors are marking utility lines.

The project is suppose to improve the intersection..

Eugene Whitehead has lived in a home off SR 74 for 37 years...

He's seen a lot of accidents in that time.

I've seen everything from Cadillac to Oldsmobile. You name it I've seen it out there. Trucks, I've seen them turned over upside down, I've seen em everywhere you can put one. Sideswipe, it's just people won't slow down. >

Reporter Elise Brown noticed at least 15 trucks going through this area...in less than an hour and a half.

Some Houston County students are now encouraged to use mobile devices during class time at school.

The Bring Your Own Device program is now school wide at Northside High School and Feagin Mill Middle School.

The program was tested last year.

Students are allowed to use their personal mobile devices for class work at certain times.

Northside Principal... Greg Peavy... says the program does not require students to have a mobile device... and they won't be affected if they don't have one.

He says things are going well with initiative... but faculty are figuring out what situations work best with the program.

Dr. Greg Peavy, Principal, Northside High School: They actually document whether or not they're using the BYOD strategy. If we see a correlation between using that as a strategy in the class and how the students do then we're going to realize there is some impact there. >

So far, 7 Houston County schools are using the program.

The remaining schools will participate by the end of the year.

Issa Rae...the creator and star of the you-tube television series Misadventures of an Awkward Black Girl...talked to students at Fort Valley State University.

Her web series has garnered over 20 million views...and she has 125-thousand YouTube subscribers.

Austin Lewis talked to the web series creator and students excited to meet her.

Issa Rae...has gone from You-tube...to H-B-O...she just signed a deal with them to develop and star in her own series.

But while at F-V-S-U Rae talked to students about how she turned a hobby into a career.

However...students were excited that the awkward black girl jumped from their computer screens...to real life.

You may not recognize her face... But here..she's a star

<Marquita Garnes: I've been watching her and it's just crazy that she is actually here>

<Deja Simon: I was very, very very excited cause she is very a big inspiration to me>

Her name is Issa Rae...and she's awkward.

Her web series.called Misadventures of an Awkward Black Girl...is all about that.

Fans have funded the you-tube series that could...

Her first kickstarter campaign...raised nearly double 30-thousand dollars in just 30 days.

It all started because she wanted to see a character on TV more like her.

<Issa Rae: There is a certain representation of what it is to be a black woman that has been defined by mainstream right now via reality television and very limited TV shows and I just want to represent outside of that>

And she tapped into an awkward nation.

<Kiarrica Favors: Cause I am awkward black girl. >

<Johnetta Moore: I can definitely relate to awkward black girl >

But Rae...is more than her character...students says she's a dream.

<Deja Simon: She went through something as small as youtube to make and change it into this big broad, it expanded somewhere that Youtube, that people didn't know that Youtube could go. >

And Rae says she wants F-V-S-U students to know...that they can achieve their dreams too.

<Issa Rae: If I can do it and I am the worst procrastinator in the world if I can find a way to turn my hobby into a career turn my passion into something that's, I am currently making my living off of my passion, if I can do it, you can do it. >

Students who met Rae.. Said she wasn't awkward in person. Just very sweet and funny... In fact, as a fellow Californian..we even caught a picture together.

Issa Rae came to F-V-S-U as part of the John W. Davison Lecture Series

Reporter Elise Brown noticed at least 15 trucks going through this area...in less than an hour and a half.

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