HELLO EVERYONE AND THANKS FOR JOINING US.... I'M LEAH JOHNSON..
FRANK MALLOY HAS THE NIGHT OFF.
A BUTLER COUPLE DENIES MISTREATING THEIR TEENAGE DAUGHTER AFTER ALLEGATIONS OF CHILD ABUSE.
THE G-B-I HAS STARTED THEIR INVESTIGATION INTO ALLEGATIONS THAT SAMUEL AND DIANA FRANKLIN LOCKED THEIR 15-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER IN A STRUCTURE OUTSIDE THE HOME.
SHERIFF JEFF WATSON SAYS THEY CALLED ON THE G-B-I TO HELP WITH THE CASE TUESDAY.
AUSTIN LEWIS HAS MORE. <<
WE ARE CONTINUING TO FOLLOW THE ALLEGED CHILD ABUSE CASE OUT OF TAYLOR COUNTY TONIGHT.
G-B-I IS INVESTIGATING WHETHER A BUTLER COUPLE LOCKED THEIR 15-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER INSIDE A BUILDING.... OUTSIDE THE COUPLE'S HOME WITHOUT FOOD AND WATER.
THE COUPLE....SAMUEL AND DIANA FRANKLIN...HAVE NOT BEEN CHARGED WITH ANY CRIME.
THE G-B-I'S CHILD SPECIALIST OFFICER IN COLUMBUS...LEE BROOKS...WAS IN TAYLOR COUNTY TODAY...TO INTERVIEW THE DEPUTY WHO WENT TO THE FRANKLIN'
S FARM LAST WEEK....AND REMOVED THEIR DAUGHTER.
G-BI-I SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE WAYNE SMITH...SAYS BROOKS IS JUST STARTING THE INVESTIGATION.
SMITH SAYS THAT CAN INCLUDE ANYTHING FROM INTERVIEWS TO ASSESSING PHYSICAL EVIDENCE.
BUT HE DECLINED TO COMMENT ON SPECIFICS.
SMITH SAYS HE CAN TELL US THE GIRL IS SAFE AND THAT HE THINKS SHE'S STILL IN DE-FACS CUSTODY.
WE ALSO LEARNED MORE ABOUT THE FRANKLIN'S. THEY MOVED TO THIS HOUSE ON 783 EAST OLD WIRE ROAD IN 2009...AFTER LIVING IN CRAWFORD COUNTY.
IT'S ON 71 ACRES OFF OLD WIRE ROAD.
WE ALSO REACHED OUT TO THE FRANKLIN'S ATTORNEY....KEVIN BRADLEY...HIS OFFICE IS ON SPRING STREET IN MACON.
HE EMAILED US A STATEMENT. IT SAYS....
THE FRANKLIN'S DENY ALL ALLEGATIONS THAT THEY HAVE MISTREATED THEIR DAUGHTER. THEY LOVE THEIR DAUGHTER AND LOOK FORWARD TO HER RETURNING HOME. THE FRANKLINS INTEND TO HANDLE THIS MATTER IN THE COURTS AND NOT TO TRY THIS CASE IN THE MEDIA.
>> SHERIFF JEFF WATSON SAYS THEY'RE INVESTIGATING WHETHER THE GIRL WAS KEPT IN SOME KIND OF OUTSIDE STRUCTURE... THAT COULD INCLUDE A CHICKEN COOP...A BARN...OR A SHED.
WHEN YOU COMBINE PUBLIC HEALTH...AND ECONOMIC VITALITY.. A RECENT REPORT SAYS PEOPLE IN MACON COUNTY ARE HURTING MORE THAN ANY OTHER IN THE STATE.
HEALTHCARE GEORGIA FOUNDATION SAYS IT COMMISSIONED THE STUDY TO RAISE AWARENESS ABOUT PUBLIC HEALTH..
YESTERDAY ON EYEWITNESS NEWS... WE SAW HOW MUCH OF CENTRAL AND SOUTH GEORGIA FALLS IN THE BOTTOM THIRD OF THE RANKINGS..
SO LET'S SEE HOW CENTRAL GEORGIA IS DOING..
HOUSTON COUNTY HAS THE HIGHEST RATING IN CENTRAL GEORGIA.. FOLLOWED BY MONROE COUNTY.. JONES.. PULASKI.. AND PUTNAM IN THE TOP FIVE..
CRAWFORD.. JASPER.. BIBB.. BLECKLEY AND PEACH ROUND OUT THE TOP TEN..
NOTICE THE COUNTIES IN YELLOW.. THEY FALL IN THE MIDDLE RANGE STATEWIDE.
NEXT ARE LAURENS.. WHEELER.. TWIGGS.. BALDWIN.. TREUTLEN.. FOLLOWED BY DOOLY.. JOHNSON.. HANCOCK.. DODGE.. AND WASHINGTON.. THEN TAYLOR.. WILKINSON.. WILCOX.. CRISP.. AND TELFAIR.
AND AT THE BOTTOM OF THE RATINGS LIST FOR THE STATE.. MACON COUNTY.
ACCORDING TO HEALTH OFFICIALS IN MACON COUNTY.. DIABETES... HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE... AND AIDS... ARE THE BIG PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUES THERE.
SOME OF THEM TOLD KATELYN HECK WHY THE COST OF TREATMENT... KEEPS PEOPLE FROM GETTING THE CARE THEY NEED.
(NATS: I used this a lot when i was sick)
SOSAN BHATTI BATTLES THROUGH HER DIABETES EVERY DAY... BUT WITH NO JOB OR HEALTH INSURANCE... TREATMENT COMES WITH A HEAVY PRICE TAG.
(SOT: they charge you about 400 dollars for all the blood work.)
BHATTI LOST HER JOB WITH THE MACON COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION LAST YEAR... AND LIKE MANY OTHERS IN THE AREA... HAS TO CUT CORNERS ON HEALTH CARE.
(SOT:I have no choice and i have to wait until the pain is real severe and then I go emergency room because I will not afford it.)
EVELYN SELLARS WITH THE COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT COORDINATES PROGRAMS FOR PEOPLE LIKE BHATTI WHO NEED A LITTLE EXTRA HELP.
(SOT:besides this facility, which is a preventative agency, there's only two doctors offices here, and if its a specialty area problem that they're needing help for, then they have to travel out of town either 30 miles or 50 to 60 miles)
PHARMACIST DAVID KISER HAS HIS OWN CURE TO GET THE COUNTY BACK IN SHAPE.
HE TEAMS UP WITH DOCTORS ONCE A WEEK TO OFFER A FREE CLINIC.
(SOT: we basically sell at our cost so we don't make anything on the medicines that we sell for the clinic, for the folks that come over here, we try to do what we can)
THE VOLUNTEER PHYSICIANS GIVE PEOPLE THE HELP THEY NEED... AT A PRICE THEY CAN AFFORD.
KISER SAYS MACON COUNTY'S SLOWING ECONOMY IS AT THE HEART OF ITS HEALTH ISSUES.
(SOT: when something has to go, if they've got a choice between going to the doctor and eating for a month, they're gonna eat or they're gonna pay rent because they have to have a place to live and they've got to be able to eat, so something has to go and generally it's their health, it's their health care.)
HE SAYS ONE REMEDY... IS EDUCATION.
(SOT: it's not just about getting them their medicine, it's about changin their way of thinking also, they try to do that over there, i try to do that here, i talk to them about their medicines, how to take them, the importance of taking them and what they can do possibly to change things to where they can someday get off of some of that medicine.)
SELLARS AND KISER HOPE THEIR EFFORTS WILL HELP MORE PEOPLE LIKE BHATTI... WHO NOW GETS HER BLOOD TESTS... FOR ONLY 45 DOLLARS.
13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS
>> TO SEE MORE ON THE HEALTHCARE GEORGIA FOUNDATION STUDY... AND SEE WHERE YOUR COUNTY RANKED ON THE LIST...LOOK FOR THIS STORY AT 13WMAZ-DOT-COM.
COMMUNITY HEALTHWORKS C-E-O FRED AMMONS JOINS US NOW... TO TALK ABOUT THE PROBLEMS SOME CENTRAL GEORGIANS FACE... WHEN THEY'RE LOOKING FOR HEALTHCARE.
MANY OF THE STRUGGLING CENTRAL GEORGIA COUNTIES ARE FAR FROM CITIES.. HOW IS PUBLIC HEALTH AFFECTED IN RURAL VERSUS URBAN AREAS?
FOLKS IN MACON COUNTY HAVE WORKED ON WAYS TO MEET THE NEED.. HOW CAN RURAL COMMUNITIES HELP CREATE ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE FOR THEIR RESIDENTS?
MACON CITY COUNCIL MEMBER TOM ELLINGTON SAYS SOME OF THE FINANCIAL NUMBERS IN THE CONSOLIDATION BILL... JUST DONT ADD UP.
KATELYN HECK SPOKE TO OTHER ELECTED OFFICIALS TO SEE WHERE THE SCALE LEANS ON THE MACON-BIBB MERGER.
CITY COUNCIL MEMBER TOM ELLINGTON SAYS HE COMBED THROUGH THE CONSOLIDATION BILL AND FOUND TWO MAJOR ISSUES.
HE DOES NOT LIKE THE IDEA OF A SUPER-MAJORITY VOTE....AT LEAST SIX VOTES OUT OF NINE....NEEDED TO PASS A BUDGET.
(SOT: you could have a minority of the new commission, four members, basically making demands in a vote for a budget. they could say 'give us x, y, and z or take out x, y, and z or we will not vote for a budget and while it would be a minority of members, they could prevent that budget from passing.)
ELLINGTON ALSO OPPOSES CUTTING ABOUT 31 MILLION DOLLARS OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS. THAT'S ABOUT 20 PERCENT OF THIS YEAR'S COMBINED BUDGETS.
(SOT:cuts of that magnitude would undoubtedly mean cuts in services. I don't know what form that would take. It could mean fewer sheriffs deputies, it could mean closing recreation centers, it could mean shutting down entire departments, I just don't know)
ONE OF HIS COUNCIL COLLEAGUES....LARRY SCHLESINGER....WOULDN'T TALK SPECIFICALLY ABOUT THOSE BUDGET ISSUES...BUT SAID THE CONSOLIDATION PLAN STILL SHOULD BE PASSED.
(SOT i think we need to expect that we're gonna have to deal with some of the imperfections and tweak the whole thing at some point along the way. for me, coming together as one entity overrides any of the imperfections.)
MACON AND BIBB COUNTY VOTERS WILL DECIDE....ON JULY 31ST.
13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS
>> WE CALLED OTHER MEMBERS OF MACON CITY COUNCIL... AND BIBB COUNTY COMMISSION...TO ASK HOW MANY AGREE WITH ELLINGTON..... OR SCHLESINGER.
OUT OF THE 17 ELECTED OFFICIALS WE REACHED... NINE SAY THEY'RE FOR CONSOLIDATION... SEVEN ARE AGAINST... AND TWO REMAIN UNDECIDED.
THE REST DID NOT RETURN OUR PHONE CALLS.
TO FIND OUT WHICH OFFICIALS SUPPORT AND OPPOSE CONSOLIDATION... LOOK FOR THIS STORY ON OUR WEBSITE... 13WMAZ DOT COM.
TODAY'S 13WMAZ DOT COM WEB POLL ASKS... DO YOU THINK CONSOLIDATION WILL SAVE MACON AND BIBB COUNTY MONEY?
SO FAR 54 PERCENT OF YOU SAY NO.
AND 46 PERCENT SAY YES.
VOTE NOW... VISIT 13WMAZ DOT COM AND LOOK FOR THE QUESTION ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE HOMEPAGE.
MOST PEOPLE WOULD AGREE.. IT'S QUITE AN ACCOMPLISHMENT TO FINISH MEDICAL SCHOOL.... BUT EVEN MORE SO... TO DO IT BY AGE 21.
AJAY PILAI (AHH-HAY PILL-LAY) FROM WARNER ROBINS GRADUATED FROM THE MEDICAL COLLEGE OF GEORGIA LAST MONTH.
HE'S AT HOME FOR A FEW WEEKS... SPENDING TIME WITH HIS PARENTS AND HELPING A LITTLE AT THEIR MEDICAL PRACTICE.
AJAY LEAVES SOON FOR A YEAR OF RESEARCH... BEFORE TAKING ON A RESIDENCY.
HE PLANS TO BECOME AN OPTOMOLOGIST.
BIG DREAMS ARE NOTHING TO PILAI... WHO LEFT HOME FOR COLLEGE AT 13... AND GRADUATED COLLEGE BY 17.
Ajay Pilai: (12:30) "It's probably not for everyone, going through things so early, but I just think it's fantastic that with some hard work and a specific goal in mind, you really can achieve anything."
AJAY SAYS HE NEVER FELT LIKE HE MISSED OUT ABOUT A NORMAL TEEN-AGER.
HE SAYS HE MADE GREAT FRIENDS IN COLLEGE AND MEDICAL SCHOOL... AND FOUND THAT MOST OF THE OTHER STUDENTS WERE VERY ACCEPTING OF HIS YOUNG AGE.
THE COX CAPITOL THEATER WILL PRESENT A BENEFIT FOR FRANK MALLOY'S SON NICK.. TOMORROW NIGHT.
YOU MAY REMEMBER.. NICK WAS CRITICALLY INJURED IN A SINGLE CAR ACCIDENT IN LATE MARCH.. HE CONTINUES TO RECOVER.
THE BENEFIT WILL FEATURE LIVE MUSIC... AN AUCTION... AND DINNER WITH BEN AND I.
THE AUCTION INCLUDES SOME GREAT NOSTALGIC ITEMS... LIKE AUTOGRAPHED POSTERS OF MOTHER'S FINEST... AND KELLER WILLIAMS.
THE BENEFIT FOR NICK MALLOY STARTS AT 7 P.M. TOMORROW NIGHT... AT THE COX CAPITOL THEATER.
GENERAL ADMISSION IS FIFTEEN DOLLARS TO SIT IN THE BALCONY... AND TWENTY FOR THE STANDING ROOM FLOOR.