Eyewitness News @ 6

6:09 PM, Apr 14, 2009   |    comments
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HELLO EVERYONE AND THANKS FOR JOINING US.

I'M LEAH JOHNSON..

AND I'M FRANK MALLOY...

THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT SIX.

A GROUP IN BALDWIN COUNTY SAYS THE SCHOOL DISTRICT HASN'T DONE ENOUGH TO DESEGREGATE THE SCHOOL SYSTEM.

THEY WROTE LETTERS OF COMPLAINT TO THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE..

THURSDAY REPRESENTATIVES FROM WASHINGTON D-C WILL COME TO BALDWIN COUNTY TO HOLD SEVERAL PUBLIC MEETINGS.

CARLY FLYNN MORGAN FOUND OUT WHY THE SUPERINTENDENT SAYS EDUCATION IN BALDWIN COUNTY IS EQUAL FOR ALL.

DONNA HURT ORGANIZED THE ALLIANCE FOR EXCELLENCE IN PUBLIC SCHOOL EDUCATION TWO YEARS AGO... AND SAYS SHE NOW HAS 200 PEOPLE ON HER MAILING LIST. SHE SAYS SHE AND OTHERS BEGAN WRITING LETTERS TO THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE... ABOUT THEIR DISAPPOINTMENT IN THE BALDWIN COUNTY SCHOOLS.

DONNA HURT (1) :9 "People are in the same building so it represents desegregation, but there's no real integration. There's no blending of cultures and no blending of ideals."

SHE CITES DROP OUT RATES... GRADUATION RATES... AND TEEN PREGNANCIES AS PROBLEMS FOR BLACK CHILDREN IN BALDWIN SCHOOLS.

DONNA HURT (2) :3 "The school and the community can change to help improve these circumstances by working together."

CARLY FLYNN MORGAN :22 "Superintendent Geneva Braziel says all students in Baldwin County are educated equally and have equal opportunities and she says statistics from the State Board of Education prove it."

BALDWIN COUNTY IS 64-PERCENT BLACK AND 31 PERCENT WHITE. LAST SCHOOL YEAR...3.4 PERCENT OF OF BLACK STUDENTS DROPPED OUT COMPARED WITH 3.7 PERCENT OF WHITES. GRADUATION RATES WERE ALSO COMPARABLE WITH 66 PERCENT OF BLACK STUDENTS GRADUATING AND 67.6 PERCENT OF WHITE STUDENTS GRADUATING.

IN A 7 PAGE LETTER TO THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE... HURT WROTE... THE PRIMARY OBJECTIVE IS TO CLOSE THE ACHIEVEMENT GAP BETWEEN MINORITY AND WHITE STUDENTS. THE SECONDARY OBJECTIVE IS TO CHALLENGE THE USE OF OUTDATED IDEOLOGIES THAT ARE RACIALLY DIVISIVE... BECAUSE THOSE IDEOLOGIES NEGATIVELY IMPACT THE DESEGREGATION OF THE PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM.

DONNA HURT (3) :7 "The underlying focus is preparing students for the longterm of education and at the same point in time pulling them together into equality."

SHE HOPES THE COMMUNITY WILL BRING THEIR CONCERNS TO THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE THURSDAY... TO BREAK DOWN BARRIERS AND BUILD-UP QUALITY EDUCATION. CARLY FLYNN MORGAN... 13 WMAZ... EYEWITNESS NEWS.

SUPERINTENDENT GENEVA BRAZIEL WOULDN'T SPEAK TO US ON CAMERA... BUT SHE TOLD US NO ONE FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE HAS CONTACTED HER OR THE SCHOOL DISTRICT ABOUT THURSDAY'S MEETINGS.

SHE ALSO SAID SHE WOULD BE WILLING TO LISTEN TO THE DEPARTMENT'S FINDINGS.

ACCORDING TO HURT... THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE WILL HOLD THREE MEETINGS THIS THURSDAY... ALL OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

THE FIRST.... FROM 9 A-M UNTIL 1 PM AT PO BOYS RESTAURANT.

THE SECOND MEETING IS SET FOR 2 TO 5PM AT FLAGG CHAPEL... AND THE THIRD MEETING... FROM 6 P-M TO 9 P-M AT THE OFFICE OF ALLIANCE FOR EXCELLENCE LOCATED AT THE CORNER OF ALLEN MEMORIAL DRIVE AND MAIN STREET.

WE TRIED TO SPEAK TO U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE... BUT THEIR SPOKESPERSON DIDN'T RETURN OUR PHONE CALLS.

STARTING THIS FALL... INCOMING FRESHMAN ATTENDING GEORGIA COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES WILL PAY MORE FOR TUITION.

THE BOARD OF REGENTS SUSPENDED THE "FIXED FOR FOUR" PLAN INDEFINITELY. THAT'S THE STATE'S PROMISE THAT GUARANTEED TUITION FOR FOUR YEARS FOR INCOMING FRESHMEN.

THE DECISION AFFECTS THE 35 COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES INCLUDING FORT VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY.

THE REGENTS WITHDREW THEIR TUITION GUARANTEE TODAY TO MAKE UP FOR 238-MILLION DOLLARS IN BUDGET CUTS... OR TEN PERCENT OF EACH SCHOOL'S FUNDING.

FORT VALLEY STATE'S VICE PRESIDENT OF STUDENT AFFAIRS... TERRANCE SMITH... SAYS THE REGENTS CUT THE BUDGET 10-PERCENT LAST YEAR TOO.

Terrance Smith: (3:54) "We'll have to make some very critical and tough decisions as it relates to a tuition hike."

CURRENT STUDENTS IN GEORGIA PUBLIC COLLEGES....WHO ARE ALREADY ENROLLED UNDER "FIXED FOR FOUR"... WILL NOT SEE ANY CHANGES.

TODAY'S VOTE ALSO INCLUDES OTHER TUITION CHANGES AIMED AT GENERATING 60 MILLION DOLLARS IN REVENUE.

SOME OF YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT THE PROPOSED TUITION HIKE ON 13-W-M-A-Z DOT COM.

ONE PERSON WROTE...

I THINK THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD FIND SOMEWHERE ELSE TO MAKE BUDGET CUTS, ITS HARD ENOUGH TO SEND A CHILD TO COLLEGE AS IT IS.

LEAVE OUR KIDS EDUCATION ALONE.

CUT SOME OF THOSE BIG DOLLAR SALARIES INSTEAD!

SOMEONE ELSE COMMENTED... A GUARANTEE IS A GUARANTEE, IF NOT, WHY EVEN BOTHER TO GUARANTEE SOMETHING. I FEEL BAD ABOUT BUDGET CUTS,

BUT NEVER GO BACK ON YOUR GUARANTEES BECAUSE EVERYONE HURTS IN LONG RUN.

SHARE YOUR OPINIONS ABOUT ANY STORY WE COVER.

USE THE IN YOUR VOICE FEATURE ON 13-W-M-A-Z DOT COM.

RIGHT NOW... PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN SOUTH BIBB COUNTY NEAR ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE ARE HEARING MORE ABOUT THE COUNTY'S PLANS FOR THEIR NEIGHBORHOOD.

THEY'RE MEETING WITH BIBB COUNTY COMMISSIONERS ABOUT POSSIBLE ZONING CHANGES TO THE AREA.

BASE SUPPORTERS SAY.... THERE ARE TOO MANY HOMES AROUND THE BASE... AND THAT COULD HURT ROBINS DURING ANOTHER ROUND OF BASE CLOSINGS.

STEPHANIE SUSSKIND HAS MORE ON WHAT'S GOING ON AT THE MEETING.

Stephanie Susskind talks about meeting between residents and Bibb Commissioners. Underway right now.

A DOMINO'S DELIVERY MAN WHO HIT AND KILLED A WOMAN LAST YEAR WAS SENTENCED TO EIGHT YEARS IN PRISON.

23-YEAR OLD IAN NICHOLS PLEADED GUILTY TO COUNT TWO HOMICIDE BY VEHICLE IN THE FIRST DEGREE WITH IMPAIRMENT OF MARIJUANA AND ALCOHOL.

21-YEAR-OLD BRITNEY HIGDON DIED IN THE WRECK LAST MAY 17TH ON HARTLEY BRIDGE ROAD.

PROSECUTORS SAY NICHOLS BLOOD ALCOHOL LEVEL WAS POINT-ONE-TWO.

POINT OH - EIGHT IS THE STATE'S STANDARD FOR DRIVIING UNDER THE INFLUENCE.

HE ALSO TESTED POSITIVE FOR MARIJUANA.

JUDGE MARTHA CHRISTIAN SENTENCED NICHOLS TO 13 YEARS...EIGHT TO BE SERVED IN THE STATE PENITENTARY AND FIVE ON PROBATION.

DEFENSE LAWYER REZA SEDGHI SAYS NICHOLAS WAS OFF WORK AND HAD A FEW BEERS... BUT HIS BOSS PRESSURED HIM TO COME BACK ON DUTY.

ON THE WAY BACK... HE PICKED UP HIS CELL PHONE AND HIT HIGDONS VEHICLE HEAD ON.

HER PARENTS SAY BRITTNEY HIGDON WAS PART OF A CLOSE-KNIT FAMILY AND HAD A FUN-LOVING PERSONALITY.

Kelly and Ricky Higdon, Macon

"She was very happy, just a joy to be around, a great sense of humor, she teased us alot, we just enjoyed her. We miss her so much."

THE HIGDONS SAID THEIR DAUGHTER WAS A FULL TIME DAY CARE TEACHER... WORKING TOWARD A TEACHING DEGREE AT MACON STATE COLLEGE.

LAST NIGHT....WE TOLD YOU ABOUT AN ANTI-TAX TEA PARTY THAT'S TAKING PLACE IN SANDERSVILLE TONIGHT.

IT GETS UNDER WAY AT 6-30 P-M AT THE WILKINSON COUNTY COURTHOUSE.

THE TEA PARTY IS ONE OF SEVERAL EVENTS IN CENTRAL GEORGIA IN THE NEXT 24 HOURS... AIMED AT PROTESTING GOVERMENT BAILOUTS.... SPENDING AND TAXES.

THE ORGANZERS' WEB SITE.... TAX-DAY-TEA-PARTY-DOT-COM LISTS THESE AS WELL:

IN MACON ....THERE'S A RALLY FROM NOON TO ONE TOMORROW AT ROSA PARKS PARK AT FIRST AND POPLAR STREETS.

IN EASTMAN...THEY'RE ALSO GATHERING AT NOON....AT THE CHAS-MAR HOME AND GARDEN PARKING LOT ON HIGHWAY 129.

IN EATONTON....ANOTHER RALLY BEGINS AT NOON AT THE PUTNAM COUNTY COURTHOUSE.

AND THE ANTI-TAX RALLY IN WARNER ROBINS...HAPPENS FROM THREE TO 7 P-M TOMORROW....AT THE MUNICIPAL COMPLEX AND CIVIC CENTER ON WATSON BOULEVARD.

THOSE RALLIES ARE HAPPENING APRIL 15.....OF COURSE....BECAUSE IT'S TAX DAY

AND MANY OF YOU ARE FRANTICLY CRUNCHING NUMBERS TO MEET TOMORROW NIGHT'S DEADLINE.

USUALLY THE POST OFFICE STAYS OPEN TIL MIDNIGHT ON THE 15TH... BUT NOT THIS YEAR.

SPOKESWOMAN NANCY CLARK SAYS.. BECAUSE OF BUDGET CUTS... THE MAIN POST OFFICE AT 4-51 COLLEGE STREET IN MACON WILL CLOSE AT 8 P-M TOMORROW.

THE LOBBY WILL BE OPEN UNTIL MIDNIGHT TO DROP OFF YOUR TAXES... BUT IF YOU DO THAT... YOU NEED TO ALREADY HAVE POSTAGE... BECAUSE NO TELLER WILL BE AVAILABLE TO SELL YOU POSTAGE.

CLARK SAYS THE MAIN POST OFFICE IN MACON IS THE ONLY POST OFFICE THAT WILL STAY OPEN LATE IN CENTRAL GEORGIA.

TODAY'S 13-W-M-A-Z DOT COM WEB POLL ASKS... HAVE YOU FINISHED YOUR TAXES?

85 PERCENT OF YOU SAY YOU HAVE.

AND 15 PERCENT OF YOU SAY YOU HAVE NOT.

VOTE RIGHT NOW.

LOOK FOR THE WEB POLL QUESTION ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE HOMEPAGE.

HERE'S SOME BREAKING NEWS FROM NORTH BIBB COUNTY.

MACON-BIBB FIREFIGHTERS RIGHT NOW ARE TRYING TO PUT OUT A BLAZE AT THE RIVERWALK APARTMENTS.

THAT'S ON RIVERSIDE DRIVE....NOT FAR FROM THE RIVER NORTH SHOPPING CENTER.

SUZANNE LAWLER TELLS US THAT FLAMES ARE SHOOTING THROUGH THE ROOF...AND THE APARTMENT BUILDING APPEARS TO BE FULLY INVOLVED.

WE'LL HAVE UPDATES ON THIS STORY AT 13WMAZ.COM...AND TONIGHT ON EYEWITNESS NEWS AT 11.

CENTRAL GEORGIA STATE LAWMAKERS DON'T AGREE ON HOW MUCH THEY ACCOMPLISHED DURING THE RECENT GENERAL ASSEMBLY IN ATLANTA.

FIVE OF THE EIGHT CENTRAL GEORGIA LEGISLATORS SPOKE TO BUSINESS AND COMMUNITY LEADERS AT THE MACON BIBB CHAMBER OF COMMERCE TODAY.

JENNIFER BELLAMY ATTENDED THIS MORNING'S SESSION.

SHE SHOWS YOU WHAT LEGISLATORS HAD TO SAY ABOUT THE SESSION THAT JUST ENDED IN ATLANTA.

<<

AFTER WEEKS AT THE STATE CAPITOL...SOME CENTRAL GEORGIA LAWMAKERS SAY THEY'RE NOT SATISFIED WITH THE RESULTS.

State Rep. David Lucas, (D) Macon:

"What did we get accomplished during the session? not much."

State Rep. Nikki Randall (D) Macon:

"The state was somewhat reneging on their promises to Macon."

A LOT OF THAT DISAPPOINTMENT CENTERED AROUND THEIR FAILURE TO RAISE MORE FUNDS FOR MACON'S SPORTS AND MUSIC HALLS OF FAME.

STATE SENATOR CECIL STATON SAYS STATE LEGISLATORS DID WHAT THEY COULD.

State Sen. Cecil Staton, (R) Macon:

"It passed in the house by a 4 to 2 vote among the delegation, then it came over the the senate, where there are only two of us, myself and Senator Robert Brown. I supported it and Senator Brown did not and because there are only two of us, it died for lack of majority, we vetoed each other out."

REPRESENTATIVE ALLEN PEAKE SAYS PEOPLE NEED TO SUPPORT THE HALLS...BECAUSE THEY'VE GOT TOUGH TIMES AHEAD.

State Rep. Allen Peak, (R) Macon:

"We're gonna have to go to plan b, which is take a look at the administration of the halls. We may have to look at some synergies between administrations between the two. Maybe have one executive director over both halls of fame."

State Rep. David Lucas, (D) Macon:

"The local community needs to support them but they also need to Lt. Governor Casey Kagel, who's running for governor that they need to support these state museums. We did not cut the ag center in Perry, like we did the museums."

THE LEGISLATORS ALSO TALKED ABOUT FUNDING TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS....STATON SAYS SOME SEE TRANSPORTATION ISSUES AS A BATTLE BETWEEN ATLANTA AND EVERYONE ELSE. REPRESENTATIVE BUBBER EPPS SAYS...PEOPLE NEED TO THINK REGIONALLY ABOUT TRANSPORTATION.

State Rep. Bubber Epps, (D) Dry Branch:

"It covers more counties, it impacts more citizens."

STATON SAYS THE LEGISLATORS DID WHAT THEY HAD TO .....BALANCE THE BUDGET..AND CUT STATE SPENDING BY 3 BILLION DOLLARS.

JENNIFER BELLAM...13WMAZ...EYEWITNESS NEWS

>>

STATE SENATOR BROWN... AND STATE HOUSE REPRESENTATIVES TONY SELLIER AND JIM COLE SAID THEY COULDN'T MAKE THIS MORNING'S EVENT.

WHILE SOME SAY THE ASSEMBLY DIDN'T GET ENOUGH DONE THIS YEAR....SENAOR STATON SAYS THE STATE CONSTITUTION ONLY REQUIRES THEM TO APPROVE A BUDGET...HE SAYS THEY DID THAT AND MORE.

STATON SAYS THE ASSEMBLY REDUCED THE BUDGET BY 3 BILLION DOLLARS.

WE CONTINUING TO FOLLOW BREAKING NEWS FROM NORTH BIBB COUNTY.

MACON-BIBB FIREFIGHTERS ARE STILL BATTALING A BLAZE AT THE RIVERWALK APARTMENTS.

THAT'S ON RIVERSIDE DRIVE....NOT FAR FROM THE SHOPPES AT RIVER CROSSING.

SUZANNE LAWLER TELLS US THAT FLAMES ARE SHOOTING THROUGH THE ROOF...AND THE APARTMENT BUILDING APPEARS TO BE FULLY INVOLVED.

WE HAVE A CREW ON THE SCENE... AND WE'LL HAVE UPDATES ON THIS STORY AT 13WMAZ.COM...AND TONIGHT ON EYEWITNESS NEWS AT 11.

IF YOU EVER SEE NEWS HAPPENING... OR IF YOU'RE JUST HANGING AROUND CENTRAL GEORGIA... WE WANT YOU TO SNAP PICTURES AND ADD THEM TO THE GALLERIES ON

13-W-M-A-Z DOT COM.

TONIGHT WE HAVE A COUPLE FROM THE PET PALS GALLERY.

THE CAPTION FOR THIS ONE SAYS FARMER POOCH.

AND THIS IS A PICTURE OF SCOOTER POSING.

SHARE YOUR PICTURES.

ADD THEM TO THE GALLERIES ON 13-W-M-A-Z DOT COM.

THANKS FOR JOINING US.... WE'LL BE BACK TONIGHT AT 11.

BUT REMEMBER...THE NEWS IS ALWAYS ON AT 13WMAZ.COM !

THE EVENING NEWS WITH KATIE COURIC IS UP NEXT.

HAVE A SAFE NIGHT EVERYONE.

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