One more hour...and the polls will be closed...as voters in Macon and Bibb County elect one of these men... The first mayor of their consolidated government.
We're counting down with you tonight in our Campaign 2013 coverage... on Eyewitness News at 6.
I'm Frank Malloy.
And I'm Lorra Lynch Jones.
We begin our election night coverage at Northeast High School.
That's where 13WMAZ's Anita Oh has been watching the polls and talking with voters as the time dwindles down on the runoff election.
We join her now live at the campus on Upper River Road.
Anita Oh... Live at Northeast High School.
Her next stop is the Board of Elections...where she'll be following incoming returns tonight... as we continue our coverage throughout the evening.
Now tonight... As the votes are tallied...
Macon and Bibb County are electing a Mayor... Either C. Jack Ellis, former mayor of Macon...or Robert Reichert, who currently holds that office...will lead the consolidated government.
Voters are also selecting 4 county commission members in districts 2, 4, 6, and 8.
In district 2, that'll either be Larry Schlesinger...or Henry Ficklin.
District 4....Mallory Jones faces Beverly Olson.
District 6...Ed DeFore and Adah Roberts.
And in District 8...it's Virgil Watkins and Charles Jones.
Those chosen tonight will serve along with 5 commission members chosen during the September 17th election.
That new commission replaces the current 15 member city council... and 5 member county commission.
Now during the primary.. There were six mayoral candidates on the ballot.. Plus a write-in.. And they all had their campaign strategies.. But did those strategies change when the field narrowed to two.
Katelyn Heck and Randall Savage join us in Studio B to discuss what Robert Reichert and C. Jack Ellis did throughout the campaign.
1. Over the past four weeks... What have been some of the major differences in how Ellis and Reichert have reached out to voters? Compared to before the runoff?
2. Part of reaching out to voters involves participating in political forums and media appearances... Have you seen any changes in Ellis or Reichert when it comes to their willingness to participate?
3. Have you noticed any changes in demeanor for either of the candidates since the September 17th election?
4. Reichert raised five times the amount of money as Ellis... 426-thousand... And Ellis... 84-thousand... talk about the differences in how each candidate spent his money.
Thank you, Randall.
There's also voting in another election going on right now... the one slated for November 5th.
The International City saw a steady stream of early voters this morning.
Warner Robins city hall opened its polls at 8..
Voters are choosing a new mayor and 4 council members.
Election officials also say voters can also personally bring their absentee ballot to city hall.
Election superintendent Kathy Cummings said voting went smoothly.
<Kathy Cummings Election Superintendent: They tell me it's gone really well from previous years..
It was really brisk from previous years and we've had a steady flow with the new election system from the state we had a few things that would snag us up but then we'd straighten it out but every things going pretty well
Warner Robins is one of dozens of cities where early voting is underway for the November 5th election.
Several of those cities will settle mayor's races... including Fort Valley, Gordon, Gray, Ivey, Marshallville,
Milledgeville and Roberta.
Voters in Hawkinsville and Pulaski County will decide whether to consolidate the city and county.
Sunday alcohol sales are up for a vote in Dublin.... Forsyth... and Sparta.
And there are SPLOST votes in Hancock... and Crawford Counties.
For polling places and times... check with your local board of elections.
Early voting runs through Friday, November 1st.
A couple of weeks ago we told you that if the government shutdown continues
.... the Meals on Wheels program could be in jeopardy,
today....Meals on Wheels clients across Central Georgia received a letter from the Middle Georgia Regional Commission Area Agency on Aging... saying services might be ending in a month.
But in Houston County that won't be the case.
Elise Brown tells us why..
79-year-old Bernice Smith used to cook big sunday dinners for her 9 kids.
<greens, butter beans and peas, and pig feet, pig tails, roast beef. >
Because of arthritis she's unable to cook like she once did.
Two years ago Smith's daughter signed her up for meals on wheels.
Tuesday morning she received a letter saying that service could come to an end.
<the government is telling us that there are 30 days more of funding to provide meals on wheels. >
96 of 144 Houston County Meals on Wheels are paid for by the federal government.
That's according to executive director Kenny Weaver.
However....he says houston could use some of its 55 thousand dollars in reserve money to maintain the program.
<we could go another two or three months with the government shutdown.>
Because Weaver didn't want to alarm clients...he also sent an additional letter detailing the plan.
<even if there is no agreement on the government shutdown by November 14th...Houston County Council on Aging is committed to continuing your meal delivery for as long as possible.">
It goes on to say quote
<we will notify you if your services are in jeopardy.>
<we just wanted to soften the blow with our second letter.>
For Smith...meals on wheels isn't only about the food....
The central georgia native has a message for law makers....
<they should get their business right, and leave us poor folks alone. >
Elise Brown...13WMAZ Eyewitness News.
If the reserve money dries up....Weaver says meals on wheels would rely heavily on donations.
In Macon and Bibb County ... Executive Director Winnie Hinton says they will also tap into reserve money. That will last them three of four months
A piece of history returned to the Warner Robins Fire Department today.
A Perry man donated one of the two original fire trucks...back to the fire department.
Austin Lewis shows you how a childhood memory... became a grownup's labor of love.
<Danny Evans, Perry: I think the coolest thing to me is that it's the same truck I played into when I was three years old and now it's still here it's just been with me all my life so it means a lot to me. >
Danny Evans said it's a dream come true to own the fire engine he would see as a child for eight years....but now there's a new dream for this truck.
<Danny Evans, Perry: When I found out they was going to do a fire museum here in Warner Robins I felt it was important that one of the first two trucks that warner robins had ever bought to come back to the museum. I had one of the two trucks and I wanted to give it back to them >
This fire truck practically started with the me of the Warner Robins Fire Department..and helped firefighters save lives.
Now...the 1959 model has a new mission.
<Robert Singletary, Fire Chief WRFD: it's great it's something we have been working on for years originally we talked about turning the fire station into a little mini-museum in original shape but then we had the opportunity to acquire one pf the original fire trucks it's just kinda like icing on the cake. >
Firefighters...who served the city...came to see Evans.. turn over the keys to this original truck...and donate it to the city of Warner Robins.
A truck that celebrates the past...and shows...how far the trucks since have come.
<Robert Singletary, Fire Chief WRFD:And the amount of equipment we can carry nowadays is considerably more than that, but that's the history, that's where we originate from and we always want to remember that. >
And one of the originals will make it easier to do that.
Austin Lewis 13WMAZ Eyewitness News
Chief Robert Singletary... says they plan to restore the original truck.
They're looking for people in the community who know how to restore classic engines... To help out.
You can dig up all kinds of surprises in the school library sometimes... But this is an extra special one.
7 year old Kambria Foster thought today was just another every-day trip to the media center with her class..
But she was mistaken...
Tech Sergeant Jocelyn Foster was deployed for 6 months to Southwest Asia.. she served 13 years total in the military.
Kambria is a student at Vineville Academy in Macon.
Both mom and daughter were overjoyed to see each other again.
<Tech Sgt. Jocelyn Foster "I'm excited to see Kambria, it's been a long six months without her, amazed at how shes grown I'm overwhelmed with joy an happiness.Kambria Foster: I'm glad to see her early and that she came home early cause she tricked me .. I talked to her this morning and she call me this morning did not tell me >
Mom and daughter have talked on the phone and skyped to keep in touch, but of course, that's nothing like the real thing.
13WMAZ is your source tonight for campaign coverage.
We'll be with you via livestream at 13WMAZ-dot-com starting at 8... updating you every half hour.
We'll also bring you live breaking news on both Eyewitness News at 10 on the Cw...that's at our cable channel 13.2. ... and at the top of the hour on our main channel.
Then we'll continue the rest of our 10 p.m. Broadcast with the rest of the day's news, while we get ready to join you back here again for Eyewitness News at 11.