OUR TOP STORY TONIGHT... YEARS OF DISCUSSION AND DEBATE CAME TO A HEAD TODAY... AS CENTRAL GEORGIA LAWMAKERS AGREED ON A PLAN TO CONSOLIDATE MACON AND BIBB COUNTY.
THE LOCAL DELEGATION FILED THE 39 PAGE BILL FRIDAY. ....
AND IF IT PASSES IN THE HOUSE AND SENATE.. IT WOULD GO TO A VOTE IN JULY.
HOUSE BILL 11-71 CONTAINS DETAILS ON HOW THE CITY AND COUNTY WOULD MERGER.
FOR EXAMPLE...IT CALLS FOR .AN ELECTED NINE MEMBER COMMISSION... AND A MAYOR AS CHIEF EXECUTIVE
THE COMMISSIONERS WOULD BE ELECTED FROM NINE DISTRICTS OF NEARLY EQUAL POPULATION.
THE MAYOR WOULD HOLD ALL EXECUTIVE POWERS OF THE RESTRUCTURED GOVERNMENT.
AND THE COMMISSION MEMBERS AND MAYOR WOULD ALL BE ELECTED IN NOVEMBER OF 2013.
THE LEGISLATION PUTS THE SHERIFF AS THE COUNTY's TOP COP IN CHARGE OF FACILITIES.. EQUIPMENT... VEHICLES.. RECORDS AND PERSONNEL FROM THE MACON POLICE DEPARTMENT AND THE BIBB COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE.
BUT THE MAYORIF VOTERS AGREE TO THE MERGER IN JULY..... A TRANSITION TASK FORCE WILL BE APPOINTED IN SEPTEMBER.
IT WOULD INCLUDE MACON AND BIBB COUNTY LEADERS.. ALONG WITH MEMBERS OF THE LOCAL DELEGATION AND THE CHIEF OF POLICE AND SHERIFF.
DOES THE POWER TO APPOINT A POLICE CHIEF.
SEVERAL COMMUNITY MEMBERS EXPRESSED THEIR OPINION'S ON THE POSSIBLE MERGER..
BIBB COUNTY COMMISSIONER LONZY EDWARDS SAID... HE THINKS THE HAVING A VOTE IN JULY... WOULD MAKE FOR AN INTERESTING CAMPAIGN SEASON...
To have poeple running both for one year term on the county commission one year ters as charman, then all of a sudden, poof! But if that's what people want I think it's fine. We're committed to do what's in the best interest of the total community and I 'm satisfied that when the dust settles and people understand what is in the dicument, they will give it a fair hearning and thye can vote yay or nay."
WE ALSO GOT REACTION FROM STATE REPRESENTATIVE ALLEN PEAKE ABOUT CONSOLIDATING THE TWO GOVERNMENTS.
"I think we've come up with something that will, the citizens of our community, all the citizens of our community would be interested in supporting. It was a tough effort and we had a lot of compromising, but that kind of stalled the process a little bit."
SHERIFF JERRY MODENA SAYS HE BELIEVES CONSOLIDATION... IS THE BEST WAY TO CUT DOWN ON CRIME.
"If we're gonna fight crime, and again as I said earlier crime is what I'm most concerned about, it's gonnahave to be done on a consolidated effort. We have everything from metal theft thieves down to burglars and just some mean people that have done some mean and bad things and certainly it works more efficiently under one head as opposed to being scattered all over the place."
AND COUNCIL PRESIDENT JAMES TIMLEY SAYS IF THE CONSOLIDATION BILL PASSES... IT SHOULD MAKE A SINGLE TAX FOR CITY AND COUNTY TAXPAYERS.
President Timley: "If you consolidate any government, that means the county and the city combine, there should be one tax. That's always been my concern. If you're going to consolodate the city and the county, then there needs to be one tax. Right now, the citizens of Macon don't have a clue that they're paying 12 mills than people in the county. 12 mills. That equates to approximately 500 dollars for a 100 thousand dollar house."
IF THE BILL CLEARS THE HOUSE AND SENATE.... AND IS SIGNED BY GOVERNOR NATHAN DEAL...
VOTERS IN MACON... BIBB COUNTY AND PAYNE CITY WOULD VOTE ON IT JULY 31ST... THE DAY OF GEORGIA'S STATEWIDE PRIMARY.
MACON CITY COUNCIL'S APPROPRIATION COMMITTEE SPENT SEVERAL HOURS TONIGHT GOING OVER THEIR MID-YEAR BUDGET REVIEW.
THEY HEARD FROM THE HEADS OF DEPARTMENTS LIKE POLICE.... FIRE... ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND PARKS AND RECREATION.
EACH DEPARTMENT HAD AREAS THEY SAID THEY'D LIKE TO WORK ON.
LIKE PARKS AND REC WHICH SPENT 103 PERCENT OF THE MONEY FOR THEIR OTHER UTILITIES CATEGORY.
HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT... DOC DOUGHTERY... SAYS THE COST CAME FROM OVER WATERING DURING THE SUMMER DROUGHT.
HE ALSO BLAMES BROKEN OR MISSING HOSE HEADS.
OVERALL... COUNCILMAN TOM ELLINGTON SAYS... THERE WERE NO BIG SURPRISES... AND CALLS THE REVIEW A GOOD EXCERCISE TO MAKE SURE THEY'RE ON TARGET.
Tom Ellington: "We do want to take a look at what accounts are classified as enterprise funds because it's a good excercise anyway and if you've got an enterprise fund where expenses regularly exceed revenues and you're transferring money in from a general fund then philosophically there's a question of whether it's truly an enterprise fund at all."
HE DESCRIBES THE PROCESS AS QUOTE INSIDE BASEBALL... BUT SAYS IT HAS AN IMPACT ON WHAT OUTSIDE AUDITORS AND BOND RATING AGENCIES CHECK WHEN THEY'RE LOOKING AT THEIR FINANCES.
ELLINGTON SAYS COUNCIL WILL GET THE MAYOR'S PROPOSED FICAL YEAR 20-13 BUDGET IN EARLY MAY.
TONIGHT AN OHIO TEENAGER IS IN CUSTODY AFTER A DEADLY SHOOTING INSIDE A SUBURBAN CLEVELAND HIGH SCHOOL. ONE STUDENT IS DEAD... FOUR OTHERS ARE HURT AND THE COMMUNITY IS IN SHOCK.
MANNUEL GALLEGUS HAS MORE FROM THE SCENE.
"it was chaos."
NATE MUELLER DESCRIBES THE MOMENT WHEN A TEENAGE GUNMAN OPENED FIRE ON STUDENTS INSIDE A SUBURBAN CLEVELAND HIGH SCHOOL.
"He pulled one shot, that all made us look, then I watched him fire another one."
MUELLER WAS SITTING AT A TABLE WITH FRIENDS INSIDE THE CAFETERIA AT 7:40 IN THE MORNING WHEN THE SHOTS RANG OUT. HE SAYS THE GUNMAN - T.J. LANE - NEVER SAID A WORD.
"He was just dead silent the entire time... didn't say anything before or during"
WHEN IT WAS OVER, 5 STUDENTS WERE SHOT. (17 YEAR OLD DANIEL PERMERTOR DIED SHORTLY AFTER). MUELLER HIMSELF WAS GRAZED BY A BULLET THAT NICKED HIS EAR.
"it's unimaginable. You don't think of it happening to you..."
STANDUP BRIDGE: LANE WAS ARRESTED ABOUT A HALF MILE AWAY from the school NEAR HIS CAR... AUTHORITIES SAY HE WAS CARRYING A .22 CALIBER SEMI-AUTOMATIC PISTOL AND AMMUNITION.
"He actually turned himself in to a couple of innocent bystanders just north of the city here in Chardon township."
(AP PHOTOS, NO EXCERPTING)
SOURCES TELL CBS NEWS THAT LANE TOLD AUTHORITIES HE WAS BEING BULLIED BY SOME OF THOSE WHO WERE SHOT, AND THAT THE SHOOTING WAS IN RETALIATION. SCHOOL OFFICIALS SAY THEY WANT STUDENTS, FACULTY AND PARENTS TIME TO PROCESS WHAT HAPPENED.
SOT: 16:03:41 superintendent
"I hope every parent, if you haven't hugged or kissed your kid, take that time."
MEULLER, WHO KNEW LANE SAYS HE DOESN'T KNOW WHAT WOULD DRIVE HIM TO SUCH VIOLENCE.
SOT - Nate
"he was never really the person you think would harm somebody..."
AUTHORITIES SAY LANE IS COOPERATING.
GRIEF COUNSELORS ARE AT THE SCHOOL, AND CLASSES ARE CANCELED FOR TUESDAY.
A VIGIL WILL BE HELD TUEDSAY NIGHT.
WE'RE JUST OVER A WEEK FROM SUPER TUESDAY AND GEORGIA'S PRIMARY... AND NEWT GINGRICH STILL HOLDS A DOUBLE DIGIT LEAD...
THE SURVEY USA POLL FOR WXIA IN ATLANTA SAYS RICK SANTORUM NEARLY TRIPLED HIS SUPPORT IN THE PEACH STATE IN THE PAST MONTH... HE NOW STANDS IN A VIRTUAL TIE FOR SECOND PLACE WITH MITT ROMNEY.
BASED ON THE POLL OF 457 LIKELY VOTERS IN THE REPUBLICAN PRIMARY, SURVEY USA SHOWS THE FIELD LIKE THIS:
GINGRICH, 39 PERCENT
SANTORUM, 24 PERCENT
ROMNEY, 23 PERCENT
RON PAUL, 9 PERCENT.
THE MARGIN OF ERROR IN THE REPUBLICAN RACE IS 4.7 PERCENT.
THE POLL SAYS 5 PERCENT OF LIKELY PRIMARY VOTERS ARE UNDECIDED.
THE POLL WAS CONDUCTED FEB. 23-26.
EARLIER POLLS BY SURVEYUSA SHOWED GINGRICH WITH A 53-POINT LEAD OVER ROMNEY IN DECEMBER THAT SHRUNK TO 12 POINTS EARLIER THIS MONTH. HIS CURRENT LEAD OVER SANTORUM IS 15 POINTS.
THE POLL ALSO SHOWS THAT SANTORUM'S SUPPORT HAS GROWN FROM 1 PERCENT IN DECEMBER TO 9 PERCENT EARLIER THIS TO 24 PERCENT THIS WEEKEND.
SURVEYUSA SAYS ALL FOUR REPUBLICANS WOULD BEAT PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA IN GEORGIA IN NOVEMBER, BY MARGINS RANGING FROM 3 TO 7 POINTS.
TWO AIRMEN FROM ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE EARNED BRONZE STAR MEDALS FOR HEROIC ACTS BY SAVING LIVES AND LEADING OTHER AIRMEN THROUGH EXTREME DANGERS IN AFGHANISTAN.
TECHNICAL SERGEANT RUBEN MARTINEZ AND MASTER SERGEANT SHANNON BLANTON... ACCEPTED THEIR AWARDS AT A CEREMONY THIS MORNING.
THE MEN SERVED TOGETHER.. ON SECURITY FORCES TEAMS FROM OCTOBER 2010 TO SPRING OF LAST YEAR.
MARTINEZ AND BLANTON SAID THE HONOR WAS UNEXPECTED AND HUMBLING.
MSgt Shannon Blanton: "It's not a medal that's just given out. It's based on what you're doing in that country.
TSgt Ruben Martinez: "It's a great accomplishment. It's an honor, something I don't think I quite deserve, but someone did. Great honor."
THIS IS THE SECOND BRONZE STAR FOR BOTH MARTINEZ AND BLANTON.
THEY ALSO EARNED THE MEDAL FOR SERVICE IN IRAQ.
A NEW DISTILLERY WANTS TO TAKE A SHOT AT ATTRACTING TOURISTS TO MILLEDGEVILLE.
GEORGIA DISTILLING COMPANY MAKES COLT FORDS GOOD TIME MOONSHINE AND VODKA.... BUT THEY WANT TO ADD TOURS AND SAMPLES TO THE MENU.
THE COMPANY TEAMED UP WITH REPRESENTATIVE RUSTY KIDD AND DRAFTED A BILL TO ALLOW LIQIOUR TASTINGS AT DISTILLERIES.
OWNER SHAWN HALL SAYS TOURS WOULD NOT BE COMPLETE WITHOUT A SMALL SAMPLE.
DISTILLERIES COULD GIVE OUT HALF OUNCE SAMPLES OF THEIR PRODUCT... FOLKS WOULD ONLY BE ALLOWED ONE SAMPLE PER DAY.
HALL SAYS STARTING TOURS AND TASTINGS WOULD BOOST BUSINESS... AND HE HOPES IT WILL ALSO BENEFIT THE COMMUNITY.
were trying to do things to bring more people to the area, just get more people interested in the area, highlight the community, and hopefully bring other business in here.
HALL SAYS HOUSE BILL 5-14 PASSED THE HOUSE AND IS NOW IN THE SENATE.
HE SAYS IF THE LEGISLATION PASSES.... TOURS AND TASTINGS COULD START BY EARLY FALL.
THERE IS ALWAYS SOMETHING GOING ON WHERE YOU LIVE... AND TOMORROW MORNING IN MACON... YOU CAN GRAB SOME FREE PANCAKES!
CHILDREN'S MIRACLE NETWORK HOSPITALS AND IHOP RESTAURANTS WILL CELEBRATE NATIONAL PANCAKE DAY TOMORROW.
AT THE IHOP'S ON EISENHOWER PARKWAY AND TOM HILL SENIOR BOULEVARD FROM 7 AM TO 10 PM... YOU CAN GET A FREE SHORT STACK OF BUTTERMILK PANCAKES..
THEY WILL ASK EACH DINER TO LEAVE A LITTLE SOMETHING BEHIND FOR CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL AT THE MEDICAL CENTER OF CENTRAL GEORGIA.
BRITTINY BARBER WILL BE AT THE RESTAURANT ON EISENHOWER LIVE DURING EYEWITNESS NEWS MORNIN'... SO DROP BY AND SUPPORT THE CHILDREN'S MIRACLE NETWORK.. AND GET A HOT MEAL WHILE YOU'RE AT IT.
AND SPEAKING OF HOT MEALS... WE HAD THE FOODIES THIS WEEKEND... WITH OUR OWN BEN JONES AS THE EMCEE...