eyewitness news at 11, 10-29-13

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<I apologize to the family, I apologize to the community.  I also want my father in law to be let out. >

     The family of the man charged in an attempted kidnapping at Springdale Elementary talks to 13WMAZ...

     Hear why they say the accused grandfather is innocent...and should be set free.

     Plus...

<Are you suspecting some hanky-panky here? >

  David Lucas:  Well, what would think? The precinct was lost for two hours.>

     A state Senator accuses tampering with an election...only it wasn't his own... We explain...tonight on Eyewitness News at 11.

>

   Good evening.

   I'm Frank Malloy.

   Those stories are ahead... Plus...a look at some of the things Central Georgians will see on the ballots when they go to vote...exactly one week from today.

   First though...we take a minute to look back at some of the other stories that made headlines in your world today.

   This is your Tuesday, October 29th, in sight and sound.

     And those are some of the stories that are part of your world tonight.

A bond hearing for the man accused in an alleged attempted kidnapping at a Bibb elementary school has been delayed.

Judge Howard Simms wants Christian Ogo to have a psychological evaluation before making a decision.

Meanwhile, Tom George caught up with Ogo's family, who say their father is suffering in jail...because of something that started with some minor confusion.

All along, the attorney for Maduabuchi Christian Ogo has said the incident at Springdale Elementary last week was just a misunderstanding.

It happened last Wednesday, when police say Ogo tried to grab a child during the school's dismissal time.

But at Ogo's bond hearing today, District Attorney David Cooke argued the case isn't so simple. 

Cooke described Ogo's behavior that day as "bizarre".

< I don't expect what we saw was cultural misunderstanding. I looked over all the witness accounts and spoke with the officer at length, and once I'd reviewed all the statements of the witnesses, it became clear what our position should be.>

 

The courtroom was filled with members of the Nigerian community, who came out to support Ogo.  Ogo moved with his wife to Macon in June to live with his son after facing some health issues.

Friends and family say Ogo doesn't speak English, but rather a subdialect of Nigerian. They also told me, in his culture, it's customary to touch people while talking to them... Which is why they believe a language barrier created a misunderstanding.

Ogo's son says his father has been picking up his two children from Springdale a few times a week since school started in August.

Ogo is even on the authorized list.

He says the day the incident happened, it was just like any other day them picking up ...

< They brought out my 4-year-old out to him, which he normally holds by his backpack, so he won't run away from him because my 4-year-old likes to play a lot.  Then the boy took off running. My son took off running. Which he was running after him, and then, in the process of running after him, he saw another black kid that he thought was my 7-year-old kid.  He grabbed him. And then when the kid turned around and he recognized it wasn't him, he let go. >

 

The family says they understand the confusion could be scary for a young child, and have a message for other parents at Springdale.

 

< Nobody wants to send her child to school and then hear that this is what happened. Your mother instincts will kick in.  I apologize, I sincerely apologize, but I'm just pleading, I'm begging, this man, he doesn't have any ill intentions to hurt any child. He doesn't have that in his bones. I apologize to the kids,  I apologize to the family, I apologize to the community. I just want my father-in-law to be let out, that's all.  >

 

In court, Ogo appeared to have diffuculty swallowing, and Ogo's family went to jail after court to try and get him medical attention.  Since he has no birth ceritifcate from Nigeria, they say he could be around 83 years old. His family says they're worried he could die in jail.

 

Tom George, 13WMAZ Eyewitness News.

     After Ogo's psychological evaluation is done, a new bond hearing date will be set.

     District Attorney Cooke says its unlikely he'll change his opposition to bond.

     The race for the District 2 seat in Macon-Bibb County's new consolidated government seemed to be over last week...when a recount upheld the runoff results.

    But the candidate who apparently lost ..Wants another election.

     A recount said Macon City Councilman Henry Ficklin  lost to council colleague and Rabbi Larry Schlesinger by 26 votes.

     But Ficklin still questions that number, even after the recount he requested showed the same tally.

     Yesterday... he filed suit in Bibb Superior Court against the Macon-Bibb Board of Elections.

     Today... Ficklin told us that the election was filled with irregularities....misconduct and fraud.

     He said his name was left off more than the 26 ballots that gave Schlesinger a win.

     Defendants in the lawsuit include Schlesinger.... and elections supervisor Jeanetta Watson.

     We were unable to reach either of them for comment.

     State Senator David Lucas also suggested possible election fraud in District 2 today.

     Here are part of his comments to 13WMAZ's Randall Savage during a taping for this week's 'close Up'.

< David Lucas, State Senator: Godfrey One which is on Anthony Road, a stone throw from the board of elections. It was lost for two hours, the precinct. It was lost for two hours, and they were right down the street, lost for two hours, and then when it comes in you got 700 votes in...

  Randall Savage: Are you suspecting some hanky-panky here? >

  David Lucas:  Well, what would think? The precinct was lost for two hours.

     You can catch Close-Up in its entirety at noon Saturday and six a.m. Sunday on 13 WMAZ.   

     And the voting continues... Central Georgians take to the polls next week in more than 60 races in which mayors and city council members will be elected and Sunday alcohol sales questions will be answered in some areas.

     As we sit a week away from election day... we have a complete list on our website... But here are some of the highlights..

    Warner Robins... Is getting ready to elect a Mayor...

With current Mayor Chuck Shaheen running for a council seat... Voters will choose between Mike Brashear, Chuck Chalk, Eva Folse, Daron Lee, Joe Musselwhite...and Randy Toms.

Milledgeville prepares to elect council members and a mayor too.

     John Grant...father of former state senator Johnny grant...is challenging incumbent Mayor Richard Bentley.                      

     As they elect someone to the top slot... Voters in Fort Valley will decide whether current mayor John  Stumbo will hang onto his seat...or whether Barbara Williams will get a shot at the job

     Roberta mayor Becky Smith is trying to hold off challenger Sherri Thompson in next week's vote...            

     And Gray's election sees its mayor, Gus Wilson... Challenged by Stephen Tingen.

     Marshallville does not have an incumbent... But instead sees Valerie Lindsey Davis, Steve Lane, and William Massee, competing for city hall.  

     In Lumber City... Incumbent Sue Sammons is challenged by Terrance Brown...

     And in Gordon... Mary Ann Lue is going after the Mayor's slot currently held by Kenneth Turner.

     Voters in Ivey also see an incumbent, Ann Evans... Met by challenger.. .Daniel Lee Pope.

     Another big ticket topic this election cycle include Sunday alcohol sales referendums.  Cities either taking up votes either on "by the drink" or "package sales" include Dublin, Fort Valley, Gray, and Sparta.

     Some other offices, like council seats, on tickets too...and some areas with SPLOST referendums.

     For a complete listing, look for your election roundup at 13WMAZ-dot-com.

     Welcome Back.

    The Center for Health and Social Issues at Georgia College is taking a dig at health problems like childhood obesity... And they're doing so with the financial backing of a new 325 thousand dollar grant... To come in over the next three years.

   One project that will get continued support - this community garden on the south side of Milledgeville.

  Community members can pay an annual 10 dollar fee for their own plot of land in the garden.. where they can plant and pick fresh vegetables.

   Last month, the Center installed a new quarter-mile walking trail around the garden.

   One neighbor who has a plot in the garden says it's an opportunity to teach kids about proper nutrition.

<the kids think that corn comes from the grocery store in a can. They don't know potatoes actually grow under the ground and it's a good, major educational thing for the kids>

   The College is one of four groups in the state to receive the grant.

     And... While Halloween maybe an opportunity for a little indulgence.. Unloading a little of that Halloween candy surplus might not be bad start on a healthy course.

     So what if you could do that...and make a few bucks too?

     Some dentists in Warner Robins have found a way for Trick-or-treaters to both turn a profit...and benefit a soldier serving abroad.

     Family Dental Associates will have their "Halloween Candy Buy Back" day Friday.

     Marketing Director... Elaine Price... says they'll give one dollar for every pound of candy they receive.

     Price says they'll send the candy and handwritten letters to an organization called Operation Gratitude.

     The organization will provide care packages for soldiers serving in Afghanistan and other places.

     Price says they started participating in the program 3 years ago.

     She says they collected nearly 30 pounds of candy last year... and they hope to double that amount.

< Elaine Price, Marketing Director, Family Dental Associates: We decided this was something we definitely wanted to do and be apart of for our community, especially having Robins Air Force Base here. You know... it's close to home. >

     Halloween Candy Buy Back day is Friday... at Family Dental Associates.

     That's on Margie Drive in Warner Robins.

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