eyewitness news at 6, 10-14-13

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    Hi, everyone. I'm Frank Malloy.

    Thanks for joining us.

     Our Top Story tonight...If money alone decided the campaign to become Macon-Bibb's first mayor...the race wouldn't even be close.

     Spending reports filed this weekend show that Robert Reichert raised...and spent....over five times more than C. Jack Ellis.

     Both men are two-term mayors of Macon.

     Tomorrow...voters will pick one of them to lead the new consolidated government.

     Through Friday night...the records show Robert Reichert had raised nearly 426 thousand dollars.

     Elllis...about 84 thousand.

     For campaign spending...another huge gap.

     The campaign has cost Reichert 393 thousand dollars.

     Ellis so far has spent almost 77 thousand.

     Reichert's on track to raise...and spend more than twice as much as in 2011.

     That's when he and Ellis also faced off in a regular mayoral election... and then a runoff.

     Ellis...though...may spend even less than two years ago.

     Robert Reichert also had more than four times as much money in the bank last Friday than Ellis... more than 32 thousand  dollars.

     Last week... we spoke to Reichert who said the amount of money he's spending to become the first mayor of Macon-Bibb is justified... due to the importance of the election.

     But Ellis called spending that much on a local race...ludicrous.

     Early voting last week... Had high average daily turnout compared to early voting prior to the September 17th election.

     Tomorrow's runoff with choose not only a mayor, but four commission members to serve with the five already chosen for the consolidated government.

     It was supposed to be a meeting...between president Obama...and congress's top leaders.

     But it never happened...and it hasn't been rescheduled just yet.

     It was planned for 3 this afternoon...as an opportunity to avert hitting Thursday's debt ceiling deadline...and possibly make headway to reopening the federal government.

     That's as we approach the two week mark since the partial shutdown started.

     The White House says the postponement will allow leaders in the senate the time to continue making important progress towards a solution... that raises the debt limit and reopens the government. 

     The president said today there had been some progress in negotiations to avoid a thursday default... But no one's really elaborated on what that progress is.

     The duration of the debt battle's surprised a lot of people, including Middle Georgia State College's professor Greg George, also the director of the school's Center for Economic Analysis.

     I talked to him in studio earlier this afternoon about where we stand.

      The president and congressional leaders have referred to this...as the first time the nation's faced the possibility of a default... But as our sister publication, USA Today pointed out, that's not entirely true.

      It cites an Associated press article...saying the U.S. defaulted once during the War of 1812...when the British set fire to the White House... And another time in 1979, because of a back-office paperwork problem in the Treasury Department that cost taxpayers billions of dollars.

     Even on a personal level...falling into debt ... Can happen to anyone.

     And in a medical crisis the consequences can be devastating.

     But in spite of life's curveballs...Judy Le talked to one couple who cut up their plastic to live debt-free

The Ramages say they lived extravagantly and spent money freely

<i bought diamonds, took exotic vacations, went to every kind of entertainment>

 

Wendell Ramage indulged in luxuries because he only had a few more years to live

< with stage four prostate cancer, I thougth at the end of four years, id just promptly drop dead>

 

So he kept spending ... Until he outlived his initial prognosis and built up his credit card debt. With the prospect of a longer future ... He and his wife ... Linda ... Had to work at reducing 50-thousand-dollars in debt.

<instantly i had to do something because i couldn't straddle her with that debt>

 

The Ramages sought help through the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Middle Ga. It's a nonprofit group that helps people manage debt.

<nicole caldwell, vp cccs - their interest rate was 20, 22 percent. We were able to lower it to 9 percent, 10 percent, 12 percent>

 

After cutting up credit cards ... Linda and Wendell say they changed their lifestyle and lived frugally

<we had to eat a lot of girlled cheese sandwhiches and tomato soup. We didn't go the ramen noodle route, but who knows>

 

 

They made monthly payments of about one-thousand dollars for the next five years and steadily climbed out of debt. Now ... They are debt free and about to reach another milestone ...

<in june, we are celebrating our 50th and linda's already said no big celebration, but i want one>

 

The Ramages still enjoy life .... But now ... In moderation

 

Judy Le 13wmaz eyewitness news

     To get out of debt ... the Ramages say they also went on a spending freeze. They didn't buy new clothes or travel much during the five year plan.

     In every school in Bibb County, there's anywhere between 10 and 50 students who have asthma.

     But until now, only 6 of Bibb's 41 schools had nebulizers in the nurse's office.

     Nebulizers are machines that help control asthma symptoms and cost around 70 dollars a piece.

     Barnes Health Care donated enough enough of them to have one in every Bibb County school.    

     School nurse Stacy Carr says the extra machines will benefit both students' health and attendance.

< There's a lot of absteneeism. A lot of children miss school because of asthma flareups and sometimes the parents will tell usthey kept them home to give them nebulizer treatments, so they're staying at home to get these treatments because the parents are afraid to send the machine to school. They only have one machine. Maybe their machine's not working as well so they go to the doctors to get treatments.>

 

Carr says as long as students leave their medicines with the nurses office, a treatment only takes 15 minutes and kids could easily go back to class afterwards.

In emergency situations for kids who haven't been diagnosed with asthma, the policy is still to call paramedics if necessary.

     The 11-day event ended this past Sunday and the turnout was outstanding.

     The fair totals for this year exceeded expectations with nearly four-hundred-and-fifty-thousand people attending this year's event.

     Thats about five-thousand more people than last year and the second highest attendance total in Georgia National history..and fair officials are already looking towards next year.

<we always expect what we had the previous year so we expect at four hundred and fourty nine thousand people next year. But we've already started planning and thinking about next year...we do that while the fair is going on..you see what's working and what's not working there are always way to fine tune and make it an even better product.>

     The fair dates for 2014 will be October 2nd through 12th.

     A witness says a Macon teenager accused of shooting a 13-year-old...yelled..."I didn't mean to" as he ran away.

     The incident report says victim...Marquez Blount was conscious when police arrived on scene Friday. he died Saturday night.

<Quinishia Flowers, Macon: That Quez is a good child he didn't do nothing to nobody Quez didn't get in trouble like Quez was really a laid back person  >

     That's Quinishia Flowers talking about Blount...who she says was a close friend.

    The shooting happened Friday night on Cleveland Street.     

     The 16-year-old suspect has not been identified.

     Police say he and the younger boy were handling a gun...when it discharged. The suspect ran away ...But police found him nearby.

     Flowers says she can't believe he's gone.

<Quinishia Flowers, Macon: It real hard because Quez is like my little brother I see Quez every day and knowing the fact that I aint going to see Quez no more at all so I am just going to have to go day by day knowing that he gone and know that I ain't going to see him again, hear from him. >

The 16-year-old was charged with possession of a firearm by a person under age 18 and possession of a firearm with an altered serial number.

Macon police say he's expected to face more charges.

     Finders, keepers...

     That's what's happening in Milledgeville, where police say the number of car break-ins and thefts jumped compared to last year.

     Anita Oh has more.

<I came back and the first thing I thought, 'man I hope nobody got my CD player.' And they did>

But it wasn't just any CD player.

<I had a $1400 sound system I had put into my car. A CD player, suboofer amps, Tweeters, the whole... The whole nine yards>

<after that... I don't care if I'm going to McDonald's. I Lock my car>

According to the Milledgeville Police Department, these thefts are happening more often.

<it was a jeep so it has the back hatch. The side doors were locked but the window on the rear of the vehicle was open... So they just opened that and climbed through and took the stereo>

Milledgeville police say... So far this year,

they've gotten reports of 148 car break-ins and thefts... Up from 88 last year.

That's a 68 percent increase.

Police tell me the thefts are random and isolated... Which means no one is immune.

 

<preventing a car break-in might seem simple... Lock your doors, roll up your windows and take or hide all valuables when you leave the car>

But some say it's easy to be careless.

<they have in their mind... You know, oh this can't happen to me... Ain't nothing going to happen to me... Nobody would steal that. They just get too comfortable>

But police say getting too comfortable and not taking proper precautions... Just increases the chance that you could become a victim.

 

Anita Oh, 13WMAZ Eyewitness News.

     Police say these incidents are "crimes of opportunity" -- and unrelated in any way.

     They say the cause in the increase in break-ins and thefts is unclear.

     You now have two more ways...and two new times...to watch us.

     We begin broadcasting Eyewitness News at 10 tonight on our digital channel 13-point-2 -   that's where you watch your favorite Central Georgia CW programming.

    You'll also see Eyewitness News Mornin' at 7am tomorrow.

    The CW will be on Cox digital channel 3.. and on a number of other cable providers.

    Or with your over-the-air antenna, on 13 point 2.

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