Friends of Daniel Muhammed today are mourning a 25-year-old who left his mark as a poet...rapper...and performer.
He died this morning after he was hit by a car on Gray Highway in east Macon.
Tom George spoke to people at the Tubman Museum who called him a young man with a future.
Big personality, was a funny guy, was an outgoing, energetic guy, a guy that kind of brought the party with him so to speak. >
At the Tubman Museum, the loss of 25-year Daniel Muhammad who was killed this morning after getting hit by a car on Gray Highway... Was a life of a rising talent cut short.
< He was building a reputation and a following, and just seemed to have a lot going for him and very bright future, so we were all ready shocked >
Muhammad was from California, but spent his teenage years in Macon, where he rapped at local venues and had a talent for poetry...
< But he wears a mask ... Ego ... So he goes to the opposite of where she goes, unaware of the game they play, they shoot freethrows, but little do they know that love be a free soul. >
It's a talent he shared with others, doing workshops at the Tubman Museum teaching African drums to children...
< And he literally had everyone in a circle, we used the drums that we have and he was teaching everyone, you know, a heartbeat is actually like the sound of a drum, and he made it to where it made sense to percussion and how you could apply it to your life. >
Although his style was often edgy, it was that realness, they say, that made Muhammad relate to kids he taught...
< They felt like they could connect with him because he had such a passion for what they were going through, and he's the type of person, you're typical, artistic creative where he wore his heart on his sleeve and he loved to share that.>
In Macon, Tom George, 13WMAZ Eyewitness News.
Macon police say the cause of this morning's accident is still under investigation, and no charges have been filed.
So we don't know exactly what happened to Daniel Muhammad.
But we do know Macon averages several pedestrian fatalities each year.
Elise Brown spent the day examining a heavily traveled highway that's been the scene of a number of death's over the years..She joins us to talk about pedestrian safety..
Yes Frank..I'm on the side of Gray Highway right now. When I was out here earlier, I saw a lot of scary things.
People were running across the road....and disregarding traffic signals.
I spoke with Deputy Greg Thomas with the Sheriffs Department and got some tips on how people can be try to prevent accidents from happening.
It's a frequent sight on Gray Highway in Macon
VIDEO OF MAN RUNNING ACROSS.
According to Coroner Leon Jones...7 Bibb County pedestrians have died this year...after being hit by vehicles.
The latest....happened Tuesday morning.
<apparently he was walking down Gray Highway. He has dark clothing, the area where the gentleman was walking is very dark, on Gray Highway between Walmart and Woodlawn Drive and this young lady hit him. >
Deputy Greg Thomas with the Bibb County Sheriffs Office says that if you know you'll be walking home late at night...there are some things you can do to prepare.
<a lot of your sports oriented stores sell reflective clothing, vests, hats, shoes, lights, get something that is reflective that will let you be seen better by the drivers. It works out better for everybody. >
And that's not all.
It's also important to follow the traffic signals.
<with the traffic signals and the crosswalk signals, they're there for our benefit. Pay attention to them and use them as they're set. . >
Vigilance is key for drivers.
<leave the radio alone, cell phones, the other distractions, and pay attention to what you are doing. >
Thomas also says if you have to walk on the side of the road...stay at least 3 feet onto the shoulder...to avoid being hit.
Turning to money matters tonight....
Getting food on the table may get harder for thousands of central Georgians who rely on food stamps.
After the House slashed tens of billions from the budget for the food assistance program,
Anita Oh explains what this may mean for our community.
you're always hungry... You're always hungry>
That's the reality for Shelton Paul Jr... And many other central Georgians.
According to the USDA, 1 in 5 people in Georgia currently receive food stamps. That's five points above the national average...and the seventh-highest rates nationwide.
But that number could change - as the U-S House voted Thursday to slash 39 billion dollars from the federal food assistance program over the next decade.
<most of these people out here are dedicated people who want to make something out of their life... And they really need food stamps to make it>
Paul used to get 200 dollars a month on his e-b-t card as part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Now?<I don't get but 16 dollars a month for 6 months now>
That's because he was working full-time at a warehouse... But now he's out of work again.
Once his unemployment status is confirmed... The department of human services says his benefits can be adjusted accordingly.
For now, paul says those 16 dollars aren't enough.
<i'm standing in the soup line waiting to get something to eat... So them 16 dollars... They don't go that far>
And he's not alone.
<Some people I spoke with say cuts to the food stamp program mean cuts to some staples on their grocery list. Things like a gallon of milk can cost up to 4 dollars. On a tight budget, they say it just won't be possible anymore.>
<do you have to cut out certain things from your grocery list? "oh everything... Everything">
Paul says when you're cash-strapped... Any cut is too much... If your next meal is on the line.
<if they were cutting a penny, it would still affect them because everybody needs their food stamps>
Anita Oh - 13wmaz eyewitness news -- macon.
House Republicans say the food stamp program grew too big during the recent recession...and the standards in some states may be too loose.
The U-S Senate approved a smaller cut...and the White House says it will veto any large cuts in the program.
And while we're on the subject...of negotiations in DC... we could be facing a government shutdown.
That's because once again....Republicans and Democrats are at odd over spending...and so far haven't agreed on a budget for the next year.
So if a shutdown actuallly happens next Tuesday...October first...what could that actually mean for you here in Central Georgia?
Jennifer Moulliet joins us now in studio B to explain ... Jennifer.
Frank... We've been asking a lot of questions today.
About what a shut down could mean to both federal employees...and the general public.
I called Robins Air Force Base. The defense department told base leaders to be ready ... But no one could explain what those preparations are.
I also reached out to our Georgia U-S senators and congressmen... for answers... But they were unavailable.
Here's what I did find out... And i'll break it down into categories for you.
First... For active Duty members of the military...
If the government shuts down next week... You will still report to work on the first... Even if there is no defense funding bill... Your october first paycheck will already have been made before that midnight deadline on the 30th... And shouldn't be affected...
However... according to "The Military Times", a Gannett sister publication... your mid-month checks will depend on how long the shut down lasts.
If the funding dispute is resolved by the 9th of october... you should still receive your mid month paychecks... if not you won't be paid after october first until congress agrees on funding.
Also...employees' orders to relocate will likely be delayed.
For civilian defense employees... You will still report to work on the first... If the shutdown does in fact happen... But may be sent home early.
Now what if you're retired from the military?
Regular monthly retirement checks are NOT affected by a government shutdown... But could be delayed or reduced by a second fiscal crisis when the government reaches its 16 point 7 trillion dollar debt ceiling.
Military... Health and dental clinics could be limited to treating only active-duty members... Base exchanges and commissaries may close or have reduced hours.
Federal courts won't completely shut down...but after two weeks, they will partially reduce their work load. Some employees will essentially do their jobs without receiving their paychecks until the shutdown is finished.
And national parks... Like the ocmulgee national park or andersonville... Will close.
Again there is a lot of uncertainty.
And these are all just possibilities...that may never come to pass if the House...the Senate...and the White House all agree on funding before October 1st.
We'll continue to keep an eye on things for you.
It's Great Hang Up day at 13WMAZ!
State Agencies drove through central Georgia a few times this month... Teaching teens the dangers of distracted driving.
Katelyn Heck explains how a new federal grant will help Georgia expand those programs... And create new ones.
The obstacle course started like this...
But quickly turned to this after Peach County Senior Blease George drove through it.
<I think I knocked down around like seven cones actually texting while driving.>
The Governor's Office of Highway Safety... And other state and local agencies put on simulations like this all throughout the year.
<children are taking the pledge at high schools and we're doing everything we can, but we're still seeing that texting and driving is a contributing factor to more and more crashes.>
Recently... the federal government awarded Georgia 1-point-6 million dollars to help put the brakes on distracted driving.
<we are going to be working on a multimedia campaign to reach that group of teenagers until probably mid thirties. It sounds crazy, but we may use text messaging to help them remember not to text and drive>
Some teens say that could make a difference.
<just constantly doing things like this to show kids the problems that texting while driving actually make for them.>
But others are skeptical.
<the kids of today are hard-headed. They have to actually learn from their mistakes before they stop.>
But Director of the Governor's Office of Highway Safety Harris Blackwood says that won't stop the state from trying.
<we're going to do the very best we can do. We're very honored to be one of only seven states to get this, but when we do it, we want to do it right. We want them to understand just how much it takes them away from that car. If your eyes are on a cell phone and you're texting, you're just as dangerous as someone who is legally drunk.>
And some of these Peach County teen drivers agree...
<maybe like a little glimpse of the orange cones, but pretty much you can't see anything really.>
During an event at Peach High School this month... Teens who wore goggles to simulate drunk driving knocked over an average of 6-point-3 cones... while those who were texting knocked over 5-point-3.
Some students say they hope stats like that... Along with simulations and other campaigns... Could slowly encourage people to put their phones down while on the road.
Katelyn Heck 13WMAZ Eyewitness News.
Georgia will receive the money from the federal grant in October.
If you would like to take our Great Hang Up pledge... You can find it under the features tab on the right side of our homepage.