<<opening for eyewitness news at eleven>>
HELLO EVERYONE AND THANKS FOR JOINING US....I'M LEAH JOHNSON..
THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT ELEVEN...
FRANK MALLOY HAS THE NIGHT OFF
ONE OF THE LAST GROUPS OUT OF IRAQ... MADE IT HOME TO ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE FOR THE HOLIDAYS.
25 MEMBERS OF THE 5TH COMBAT COMMUNICATIONS GROUP RETURNED TONIGHT... TO A BIG WELCOME FROM FAMILY AND FRIENDS.
LORRA LYNCH JONES SHOWS THE REUNION OF WIFE.. EAGERLY AWAITING HER HUSBAND... AND HERO.
THE LAST MINUTES AWAY FROM THE ONE YOU LOVE CAN SEEM LONGER THAN THE MONTHS SPENT APART.
Aubrey Christensen: (8:00) "He keeps telling me almost there, almost there."
JUST ASK AUBREY CHRISTENSEN...
(8:00) "He's been updating me. Just passed Kohls Warehouse, just this. Were on 247, almost there, about every 5 minutes."
BUT UNTIL SHE LAYS EYES ON HER HUSBAND OF TWO YEARS... IT'S HARD TO SET THE ANXIETY ASIDE.
(8:20) "I'm a little shaky, just mainly nervous because I havn't seen him in awhile"
THAT'S THE CASE FOR MOST EVERYONE HERE... THEIR HUSBANDS... FATHERS AND FRIENDS LEFT THREE MONTHS AGO... TO SHUT DOWN U-S OPERATIONS IN IRAQ.
(10:04) "I'll probably start crying. I'll admit that I will."
AND AS CHAD CHRISTENSEN FINALLY ARRIVED HOME.. SHE DID.
OF COURSE... AUBREY WASN'T THE ONLY ONE.... NOT A DRY EYE COULD BE FOUND IN ANY CORNER OF THE PARKING LOT.... CHAD INCLUDED.
Chad Christensen: (22:34) "This is the first deployment for me, and I'm just excited to be back and couldn't wait to hold her in my arms once more."
THEY DIDN'T HAVE ANY PLANS... NO BIG WELCOME HOME DINNER PARTY...
Chad Christenson: (23:50) "We will probably have something quick at home and enjoy a nice evening together."
THAT'S ALL THEY HOPED FOR...
(8:39) "He's going to be home for Christmas. A great Christmas present."
AND FOR ATLEAST AWHILE... AUBREY WON'T HAVE TO WORRY ANYMORE.
THE 5TH MOB... PART OF THE 689TH COMBAT COMMUNICATIONS WING.... WAS STATIONED AT SATHER AIR FORCE BASE OUTSIDE BAGHDAD.
THEY SET THE GROUND WORK FOR THE INITIAL U-S OPERATIONS IN IRAQ... STARTING IN 2003.
THE UNIT TURNED OVER COMMUNICATIONS TO IRAQI LEADERS LAST WEEK.
AND IF YOU HEAD OVER TO 13MAZ DOT COM
YOU CAN SEE A SLIDESHOW OF THE HOMECOMING FOR THE AIRMEN.. SUZANNE LAWLER... TOOK THOSE PICTURES
THE G-B-I SAYS THEY HAVE COMPLETED THEIR INVESTIGATION IN THE OCTOBER 14TH FIGHT... THAT TOOK PLACE AFTER A FOOTBALL GAME BETWEEN WARREN COUNTY AND SPARTA.
THEY SAY AGENTS INTERVIEWED 135 PEOPLE...INCLUDING PLAYERS...COACHES AND FANS ON BOTH SIDES.
NOW.. DISTRICT ATTORNEY FRED BRIGHT WILL ASK A HANCOCK COUNTY GRAND JURY....WHETHER TO CHARGE THE PEOPLE INVOLVED IN A BRAWL.
THE FIGHT HAPPENED AS BOTH TEAMS LEFT THE FIELD....AFTER WARREN COUNTY WON 21 TO 2.
THE FIGHT CAUSED SERIOUS INJURIES TO WARREN COUNTY FOOTBALL COACH... AFTER SOMEONE HIT HIM IN THE FACE WITH A FOOTBALL HELMET.
BRIGHT SAYS HE'LL ASK THE GRAND JURY WITHIN A FEW WEEKS....WHO SHOULD FACE CHARGES IN THE CASE.
MACON CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS ELECTED LEADERS FOR SIX COMMITTEES TODAY.
CANDACE ADORKA REPORTS SOME COUNCIL MEMBERS CRIED FOWL OVER THE COUNCIL'S DECISIONS.
EACH COUNCIL COMMITTEE HAS FIVE MEMBERS... AND EACH COMMITTEE VOTED FOR ITS CHAIRMAN AND VICE CHAIRMAN.
THE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE HAD THE CLOSEST VOTE FOR CHAIR.
TOM ELLINGTON WON 3 TO 2 OVER HENRY FICKLIN... WHO ACCUSED OTHER COMMITTEE MEMBERS OF MAKING THAT DECISION BASED ON ILLEGAL BACK-ROOM DEALS.
ELLINGTON SAYS THEY'LL HAVE TO PUT THE ACCUSATIONS BEHIND THEM AND WORK TOGETHER.
Ficklin:I think that it sends a strong message to the public that if council is goign to do this kind of thing to its own members that the public cannot expect a forthright council in dealing with affairs of the public and I think that's very scary."
Ellington: "He had a very solid financial mind, I'm glad to have him on the committee and I'm looking forward to working with him. Obviously I know that he and Mrs. Lucas were looking that he would end up with the chairmanship but I'm looking forward to workign iwth everyone on the committee."
LUCAS NOMINATED FICKLIN AND SHE ALSO WANTED TO CHAIR THE COMMUNITY RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE... BUT THAT POSITION WENT TO LAUREN BENEDICT.
LUCAS ALSO BLAMED THAT DECISION ON POLITICAL PLOTTING BEHIND THE SCENES.
"Lucas: "Because of politics, because of behind the scenes shenanigans by some of these folks in illegal meetings, those of us with experience and expertise in these different areas were totally shut out. therefore the fols we represent were also shut out.."
Benedict: "I really want us to move forward and focus on the business of the city rather than worrying about petty power struggles."
VIRGIL WATKINS WAS RE-ELECTED TO THE PUBLIC SAFETY CHAIRMANSHIP... BUT A NEW FACE... HENRY GIBSON... BECAME THE VICE CHAIRMAN.
GIBSON SPENT 35 YEARS AS A MACON POLICE OFFICER... AND HE SAYS HIS EXPERIECE WILL BE AN ASSET IN CITY HALL.
CANDACE ADORKA.... 13 WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS.
THE PUBLIC WORKS AND ENGINEERING COMMITTEE UNANIMOUSLY RE-ELECTED LONNIE MILEY AS CHAIRMAN... AND THE PUBLIC PROPERTIES COMMITTEE RE-ELCTED RICK HUTTO.
TODAY MACON MAYOR ROBERT REICHERT SPOKE TO US ABOUT HIS PLAN TO FIGHT AGAINST YOUTH VIOLENCE.
THE MAYOR ANNOUNCED HIS PLAN IN AUGUST OF THIS YEAR... AND SAYS SOME EFFORTS ARE WELL UNDERWAY... WHILE OTHERS HAVE BEEN HALTED BY CITY COUNCIL...
HERE'S WHERE HE SAYS SOME OF THE TOP PRIORITIES STAND
Robert Reichert: We would expand our own police youth and intervention services through police athletic league, DARE programs, great programs, gang resistence education awareness training. Those sorts of things. Unfortunately that's still bogged down with city council funding. We had originally asked for six positions and the funding for that in the police department. WE have not been successful but we're continueing in that effort. Numebr two is we would partner with the schools and we've had monthly meetings, Chariman Hart and I have had monthly meetings with Dr Dallemond and we are investigating a couple of different possiblilities for community schools"
REICHERT SAYS SEVERAL FACTORS HALTED THE DEVELOPMENT OF HIS PLANS... WITH MONEY AT THE TOP OF THE LIST
CITY COUNCIL HAS NOT APPROVED THE PLAN DRAWN UP BY THE MAYOR AND CHIEF OF POLICE.
ONE BIBB COUNTY SCHOOL RECIEVED AN EARLY PRESENT THIS YEAR.
ELAM ALEXANDER ACADEMY UNVEILED THEIR NEW BUILDING TO FAMILY AND FRIENDS DURING THEIR ANNUAL HOLIDAY PROGRAM.
THE SCHOOL USES PROGRAMS THAT WORK WITH KIDS FROM BIBB COUNTY AND SURROUNDING COUNTIES WITH SEVERE AND BEHAVIORAL PROBLEMS.
THE BUILDING OPENED AT THE BEGINNING OF THE SCHOOL YEAR... BUT DIRECTOR LARA SIMS SAYS THEY WAITED TO CUT THE RIBBON BECAUSE THEY WANTED TO CELEBRATE WITH THE COMMUNITY.
SIMS THANKED THE COMMUNITY FOR VOTING FOR THE 2-THOUSAND-NINE EDUCATION-SPECIAL-PURPOSE-LOCAL-OPTION-SALES-TAX THAT PAID FOR THE BUILDING.
it's just like it's been Christmas all year long. I mean we feel like everyday when we walk into this building we're opening a gift it's just a phenomenal back drop for these children and the learning that they participate in it gives them a sense of school pride."
RENOVATIONS TO THE FORMER BURKE CAMPUS PAVED THE WAY FOR A NEW ELAM ALEXANDER ACADEMY... THE OLD SCHOOL HAD BEEN ON RIDGE AVENUE FOR THIRTY EIGHT YEARS AND SIMS SAYS THE NEW BUILDING WAS DESIGNED WITH THE CHILDREN IN MIND
LOOK FOR CLOUDY SKIES TONIGHT WITH LOWS IN THE MID 40'S. TOMORROW HAS A GOOD CHANCE OF SHOWERS AND HIGHS IN THE UPPER 60'S. RAIN CHANCES STAY WITH FOR THE REST OF THE WEEK.
THANKS MIKE.. WE'LL TALK WITH YOU AGAIN IN JUST A FEW MINUTES.
THE HOUSE AND SENATE ARE LOCKED IN A BATTLE TONIGHT OVER A POPULAR TAX CUT THAT IS ABOUT TO EXPIRE.
HOUSE LEADERS SAY THEY EXPECT MEMBERS WILL VOTE DOWN A SENATE PLAN TOMORROW TO EXTEND THE TAX BREAK FOR TWO MONTHS.
CBS NEWS CORRESPONDENT DANIELLE NOTTINGHAM REPORTS FROM WASHINGTON.
The House now plans to vote Tuesday - and is poised to reject a Senate deal that would extend the tax break until February.
SOT: (Rep. John Boehner (R-OH, Speaker of the House) "Our members do not want to just punt and do 2 month short term fix where we have to do this again"
When Senators approved a bi-partisan deal over the weekend..
NATS: EN "I'm glad our work is done."
...... they expected their colleagues in the House to follow suit
But conservatives balked- insisting on a full year extension of the cut.
SOT: (ANN MARIE BUERKLE/R-NY) "What they sent us over was an insult to the American people."
Standup: (Danielle Nottingham/Washington DC) "The Speaker of the House wants Senate and House leaders to meet to iron out a new agreement. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is refusing -- saying he won't re-open negotiations until the House passes the Senate's bi-partisan deal"
Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer already back home with his constituents echoed frustration with House Republicans.
SOT: (Sen. Chuck Schumer/D-NY) "Negotiating with some of these folks is kind of like trying to pin jello on the wall, they keep moving the goalpost further back, and further back, and further back."
The tax cuts expire December 31st.
THE BILL ALSO INCLUDES AN EXTENTION OF UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS AND WOULD ALSO PREVENT CUTS IN MEDICARE PAYMENTS TO DOCTORS.
WELCOME BACK EVERYONE...
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HAVE A SAFE NIGHT EVERYONE.