eyewitness news at 6, 10-26-13

6:05 PM, Oct 28, 2013   |    comments
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    Hello, everyone.  I'm Frank Malloy.

    Thanks for joining us for Eyewitness News.

     Our top story tonight at six....

     Due to a split vote...Macon's Planning and Zoning Commission put off a decision on whether to rezone land along Zebulon Road .

     Anita Oh was there for the meeting and explains what happened...and why so many people object to the 30 million dollar project moving forward.

     Frank, around 180 people turned out this afternoon for a discussion whether to rezone that land...from residential to commercial.

     The battle is over a stretch of 25 acres along Zebulon....across from Sonny Carter Elementary.

    Alabama-based developer, Blackwater Resources...said the commercial rezoning would allow a 30-million dollar shopping center project into the area.

    I spoke with the developer today...

     He tells me the project will bring up to 500 jobs and 50 million dollars a year in sales.

<obviously there's a lot of community benefit here from a sales tax standpoint and a property tax standpoint that would be great for the community plus a lot of new retail, shops and restaurants here>

But over 400 neighbors in subdivisions on Zebulon Road signed petitions against the re-zoning...

Many of them have lived in their neighborhoods for decades.

Some of the ones who showed up for today's meeting say...a new shopping center in their backyards would increase traffic, noise and crime.

Neighbors I spoke with say they were expecting a decision today...And they're upset with the decision to defer the vote.

<why aren't they listening to us? They want to defer it like they need more evidence that we're against this... I don't get where they're coming from. Yes, I'm very angry. But i'm also more determined to come back again... And we're going to come back double>

The commission's next meeting is fifteen days away...November 12.

So Frank... angry neighbors say they'll be back for that next meeting...

and the developer says they have no plans to back out any time soon.

Thanks Anita.

The planning commission could decide on the 12th to push that decision back even further.

     New information tonight about     

a man accused of trying to snatch a child outside Springdale Elementary School.

     That's as he prepares to go before a judge tomorrow for a bond hearing.

     His name....Maduabuchi <mah-DOO-ah-BOO-chee> Christian Ogo.

     Last week...Bibb County officials gave us an incorrect name for the suspect...who's reportedly a native of Nigeria.

     He's been in the Bibb County jail without bond....since last Wednesday night.

     Ogo is charged with kidnapping...battery...and false imprisonment.

     Last week....his lawyer...Keith Fitzgerald...told us the charges were all a misunderstanding.

     He said Ogo speaks no English...but was trying to pick up a grandchild at Springdale.

Ogo is scheduled to appear tomorrow in Bibb County Superior Court...before Judge Howard Simms.

     Macon native Jason Aldean shared some sad news via Twitter.

     A man apparently stepped out in front of his tour bus and died early Monday in Indiana, WFIE reports. Officials believe the man walked into the middle of the road.

Aldean tweeted this to his followers Monday afternoon:

"With a heavy heart, I'm sad to say that a man passed away last night after stepping out in front of my bus in Indiana.

In all the years I've been touring and all the miles we've driven, nothing prepares you for something like this to happen.

I'm praying for Albert Kennedy's family and friends today and ask that you do the same."

     No further information's available on details of the accident right now, but the Knox County sheriff's department's statement matches details of Aldean's tweet.

   Another man died last night after being hit by a vehicle last week in Macon.

   This victim is the tenth pedestrian to be hit and killed on Macon roads this year.

   Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones says 60 year old Luther Wright was hit on Magnolia street last Wednesday.

   Jones says Wright died last night from his injuries.

   A Macon lawyer is dead after he was hit by a car in Bolingbroke while he was riding his bike.

     The Monroe County Sheriff's Office says it happened yesterday afternoon on Highway 41.

     According to a news release....61-year-old Walter Leggett <LAY-get> was trying to make a left turn onto Heritage Drive when he was hit by a car driven by 78-year-old Ahmad Rasheed of Macon.

     Leggett later died at the Medical Center of Central Georgia.

     The Monroe sheriff's office says they are still investigating what happened..

     According to the U-S Department of Transportation..more than 600 people a year are killed in traffic accidents while riding a bicycle. The majority of those fatalities happen between 4 pm and 8pm.

     The Department of Transportation has some safety tips for both cyclist and drivers.

     Bicyclists should always wear a helmet.

     They should follow the same rules of the road as people in cars...or any other vehicle.

     Drivers should allow at least three feet clearance  when passing a bicyclist...and always be especially careful when making left or right turns.

     Bicyclist should wear fluorescent or brightly colored clothing to increase their visibility

     Motorist are advised to take extra precautions while driving on Arkwright Road for the next few days.

     New traffic signals have been installed and are currently in flash mode.

     The new signals are located...at the intersections of arkwright road and the entrance and exit ramps to I-75 southbound in Macon.

     If weather permits...the signals are expected to be fully functional this Thursday, October 31st.

     A flashing sign is in the area to alert drivers of the change and when it will take affect.

     Motorists should use extreme caution at this intersections until the signals are operational.

He was class president...drum major...and his school's ROTC leader.

But two months ago...everything changed for Twiggs County High School senior Rashard Little.

Kristen Swilley tells us about the accident that disrupted his senior year...and how friends...classmates and the Twiggs community are pitching in to help him.

August 16th was supposed to be just another day for 17-year-old Twiggs County High School student Rashard Little.

But that morning his mother says she got a call she'll never forget.

<I was crying. I didn't know what was going on. Nobody was telling me what was going on at the scene. The only thing that they were saying was that they had Roland out of the car, but Rashard they couldn't get out the car. >

Rashard was driving through heavy rain when his car hydroplaned and he crashed into a tree.

He broke his collarbone, cracked ribs on both sides.

He injured the left side of his brain, making it difficult for him to speak. 

Rashard spent a week and a half in ICU and three more weeks in the Medical Center of Central Georgia.   n

He finally came home....October. 18th.

Meanwhile...Rashard's medical bills began to pile up, quickly topping 10,000 dollars.

<I couldn't believe a student I was so close to was involved in such a tragic accident>

That's when Rashard's band director, Edward Stackhouse, stepped in.

<the day of the accident I rushed down there the morning of the accident in a state where I really didn't think he was going to make it>

Stackhouse, students, and members of the Twiggs County community are now raising money to help pay for Rashard's bills.

And the high school senior says he appreciates the work his band director is doing for him and his family.

<it feels good. I feel honored because he was at the top and now he looks at me as a role model.>

In Jeffersonville...Kristen Swilley...13 WMAZ Eyewitness News...

Rashard expects to don his drum major uniform and take the field once again next month....at Twiggs County High School's senior night.

     Stricter requirements for Georgia's HOPE scholarship is forcing some students out of school.

     That's according to the technical college system of Georgia.

     As a way of curbing the costs of the lottery-funded HOPE program, state lawmakers in 2011 raised the minimum GPA students had to keep in their first year from 2.0 to 3.0.

    More than 11,000 Georgians lost HOPE grants to attend state technical colleges.

    And most of them ... have not re-enrolled in school as of this fall.

     We may see that trend reverse though.

     Last year, with lottery revenues up, Governor Nathan Deal and lawmakers reversed course....restoring the minimum GPA to 2.0 for students this fall.

     Parents, the C-D-C is urging you to get your kids vaccinated for the flu, even if they're otherwise healthy.

     A new report found that nearly half of kids who died from flu complications had no underlying medical conditions or risk factors for complications.

     Researchers say about 830 children died from flu-related complications between 2004 and 2012.

     The C-D-C says children should start getting yearly flu shots at six months old.

     You can do that at your local health department...

     A lot of corner drug stores also offer flu shots on a walk in basis now too.

  Penn State will pay 59-point-7 million to 26 sexual abuse victims of former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

     The terms of the settlements, which include a release of all claims against Penn State and other parties, are subject to confidentiality agreements.

     Of the 26 settlements... 23 are fully signed and three are agreed in principle, with final documentation expected within the next few weeks. 

     The aggregate dollar amount paid by the university for the 26 settled claims is 59-point-7 million.

     The university's president called the agreements "another step forward in the healing process for those hurt by mr. sandusky, and another step forward for penn state."

     A former interim mayor.. A political newcomer... And well-known chef go head-to-head in the race for the Warner Robins Post 5 council seat.

     That district stretches along to the city's northern boundary.. Highway 247.. And includes Commercial Circle... Which is the downtown area.

     Lorra Lynch Jones introduces you to the candidates and their agenda for the city.

Retired educator... Clifford Holmes thought about giving the mayor's job a go.

He's held the position before... 70 days in 2008 when then mayor.. Donald Walker... Left on sick leave.

But Holmes decided against the mayor's race...

 

<it's an expensive adventure.>

Instead trying to reclaim the seat he left four years ago.

<I offer myself again, so at least there will be some experience in the race.>

Holmes said the city will need it... With a new mayor and the possibility of four new council members.

One of his opponents.. Liberty Kovach.. Says political inexperience isn't such a bad thing.

<I bring a new perspective to the table.>

She's 25... And a stay at home mom.... Who sits on the board of the city's farmer market.

<it's mostly old men in politics. There's no reason a young woman can't get involved, too.>

She say her youth may encourage Warner Robins young people to care about city government.

Robins Air Force Base employee and cook... Richard "chef" Weldon... Says it's his ideas that stand out.

<we must go green. There's no other way around it.>

He's pushing that... Saying low air pollution would help Robins in future round of BRAC.

Weldon.. The current Downtown Development Authority Chairman... wants public transportation and a vibrant downtown, too.

<were looking for growth, renewal and making Warner Robins look beautiful.>

All three candidates want dilapidated properties in the district demolished... Downtown and along Highway 247.

<it's a major issue to me, because it also affects Robins Air Force Base.>

<make it a place where people want to come spend time.>

<we want to make it appetizing for other industry to come into Warner Robins and create jobs.>

It's voters choice on who they think can best turn the words... Into actions.

 

     Post 5 is currently represented by Daron Lee... Who's running for mayor.

     The district has about 65-hundred voters.

     Early voting in Warner Robins ends Friday... November 1st.

     Election day is Tuesday, November 5th.

     When it comes to types of halloween candy....guess what?

     Chocolate seems to be the preferred choice - no surprise there!

     A survey conducted by the national confectioners association found that chocolate will account for 72 percent of all candy spending this halloween.

     According to market research firm information resources, in the past 52 months ending september 8, americans spent 3-point-9 billion to buy 3-point-5 billion chocolate bars, bags and boxes under 3.5 ounces.

     Reese's and M&M's each accounted for more than 5-hundred million in sales.

Thanks for joining us.  We'll be back tonight at 10...on Central Georgia's Cw...and again at 11 right back here.

But until then, remember... The news is always on at 13WMAZ.com.

The evening news is up next.

Have a safe night everyone.

 

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