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Thursday, September 24, Eyewitness News at 6

5:46 PM, Sep 24, 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.

THE MACON WATER AUTHORITY SAYS IT HAS WRAPPED UP A TEMPORARY REPAIR JOB ON A BROKEN SEWER LINE NEAR CENTRAL CITY PARK.

THE LINE BROKE WEDNESDAY.

BUT THEY STILL NEED A PERMANENT SOLUTION TO KEEP THE PIPE FROM BREAKING AGAIN.

JENNIFER BELLAMY SHOWS YOU WHAT COMES NEXT.

<<

Jennifer Bellamy, Eyewitness News:

"Crews from the Macon Water Authority and the city of Macon were out here at the levee putting final touches on it this morning. They had about 40 crew members but that's died down to about three who are out here keeping watch over everything and making sure things stay in order."

*nats*

THESE MOTORS PUMP OUT WATER FROM THE OCMULGEE THAT SEEPS INTO THE BARRIER CREATED AT THE BASE OF THE PIPE.

CREWS FROM THE MACON WATER AUTHORITY....THE CITY AND THE COUNTY STARTED WORKING ON THE PROBLEM WEDNESDAY MORNING...WHEN THE WATER AUTHORITY DISCOVERED A SEWER-LINE BREAK.

Darryl Macy, Macon Water Authority:

"Everybody needs to know that the levee is secure though the guys did a good job getting it ready keeping it secure so the park's safe Macon's safe."

THURSDAY MORNING MEN PLACED THE FINAL SANDBAGS TO THE BARRIER...BUT WEDNESDAY....OTHERS WORKED INTO THE NIGHT TOSSING SANDBAGS TO MAKE PROGRESS IN THE FIX...BUT WHILE MACY SAYS HE SEES NO THREAT...THERE'S STILL MORE WORK AHEAD TO MAKE SURE THE PIPE DOESN'T BREAK AGAIN.

Darryl Macy, Macon Water Authority:

"We're working in conjunction with the corp of engineers to make sure the levee's always safe. And we'll get contractors out here to make the permanent repairs to make sure that this doesn't happen again."

Jennifer Bellamy, Eyewitness News:

"Now this pit could continue to look like this for at least another week. That's becasue Macy says it might take them that long to find a contractor to make the permenate changes. In downtown Macon...Jennifer Bellamy...13WMAZ...Eyewitness News."

>>

IF THE PROBLEM WENT UN-FIXED...IT COULD HAVE EVENTUALLY DAMAGED THE LEVEE.

MACON'S GREAT FLOOD OF 1994....OF COURSE...HAPPENED AFTER THE OCMULGEE RIVER ROSE....AND BROKE THROUGH THE LEVEE.

OVER THE LAST YEAR... THE ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS AND THE CITY HAVE WORKED TO IMPROVE NEW SAFETY CONCERNS AT THE LEVEE.

BILLY BIRDWELL WITH THE CORPS SAYS THEY'RE FINISHING UP A REPORT BASED ON THE MOST RECENT INSPECTION...AND THAT MAY BE RELEASED NEXT WEEK.

MACON'S RIVERWALK REMAINS CLOSED.

WATER COVERS MOST OF THE TRAIL AND PARTS OF THE PLAYGROUND.

ASSISTANT DIRECTOR MARIE JONES WITH PARKS AND RECREATION SAYS... THE RIVERWALK HAS BEEN CLOSED SINCE MONDAY MORNING.

SHE SAYS THEY'RE MONITORING WATER LEVELS.

TODAY... THE OCMULGEE RIVER IS MORE THAN 4 FEET ABOVE FLOOD STAGE.

JONES SAYS AFTER THE WATER RECEDES... THEY'LL CLEAN UP THE AREA... AND MAKE SURE IT'S SAFE FOR VISITORS.

THE MONROE COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE HAS IDENTIFIED TWO PEOPLE FOUND DEAD IN A HIGH FALLS HOME YESTERDAY.

PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER ALLISON SELMAN-WILLIS SAYS THEY ARE 44-YEAR-OLD CHRISTINA MAE REEVES... AND 52-YEAR-OLD TIM GEORGE MEZA.

SELMAN-WILLIS SAYS REEVES DIED FROM A GUNSHOT TO THE HEAD.. AND MEZA DIED FROM A SELF -INFLICTED GUNSHOT TO THE HEAD.

INVESTIGATORS RULED THE CASE A MURDER-SUICIDE.

THEY SAY THEY MAY HAVE DIED LAST WEEKEND.

TONIGHT WE HAVE MORE INFORMATION ON A STORY WE FIRST BROUGHT YOU YESTERDAY ON EYEWITNESS NEWS AT FIVE.

HANCOCK COUNTY AUTHORITIES IDENTIFIED A WRIGHTSVILLE MAN WHO WAS KILLED IN A CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENT AT A CHURCH.

32-YEAR-OLD TIMOTHY DIXON DIED WHEN PARTS OF A NEW ROOF COLLAPSED AT HICKORY GROVE BAPTIST CHURCH.

THAT'S ACCORDING TO RICKY BROWN WITH THE HANCOCK COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE.

BROWN SAID THREE OTHER MEN WERE TAKEN TO HOSPITALS.

HE SAID THE HINES CONSTRUCTION COMPANY OF WRIGHTSVILLE WAS PUTTING NEW RAFTERS IN THE CHURCH...WHICH WAS DESTROYED IN FEBRUARY BY A TORNADO.

BRAD MITCHELL, A SPOKESMAN FOR THE FEDERAL OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION SAID...... THE AGENCY DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT THE ACCIDENT UNTIL 13WMAZ CALLED TO ASK ABOUT ITS INVESTIGATION.

HE SAID THE CONTRACTOR DID NOT NOTIFY THEM AS REQUIRED BY LAW.

HINES CONSTRUCTION COULD NOT BE REACHED FOR COMMENT.

A ROADWAY PROJECT IS UNDERWAY IN BIBB COUNTY THAT COULD SAVE LIVES IN AN ACCIDENT.

THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION IS INSTALLING CABLE GUARD RAILS ALONG INTERSTATE SIXTEEN AND INTERSTATE SEVENTY-FIVE.

VANESSA RUFFES SHOWS YOU WHY SOME SAY THESE CHEAPER BARRIERS....COULD ALSO BE SAFER.

<<

NATS

DRIVING DOWN INTERSTATE SIXTEEN AND INTERSTATE SEVENTY-FIVE...YOU MAY NOTICE SOMETHING NEW ALONG THE SIDE OF THE HIGHWAY.

IT'S A NEW BARRIER SYSTEM...AND TRANSPORTATION OFFICIALS SAY IT COULD SAVE A LIFE.

NATS

UNTIL NOW...METAL GUARD RAILS OR CONCRETE BARRIERS WERE ALL YOU WOULD SEE ALONG CENTRAL GEORGIA HIGHWAYS.

WANDA JARKZYNKA, BONAIRE

"You see too many twisted and broken ones along the way, and you wonder."

BUT SOME LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS SAY THESE NEW LOW TENSION CABLE BARRIERS ARE A WELCOME ADDITION.

DEPUTY SEAN DEFOE, BIBB COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE

"If a person involved in an accident hits a metal guardrail...you have a chance of bouncing back into traffic. And also the metal guardrails do no absorb the impact as much as these cable barriers will."

(GRAPHIC)

ACCORDING TO THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE OF HIGHWAY SAFETY...IN 2006... MORE THAN THREE THOUSAND GEORGIANS WERE INVOLVED IN GUARD RAIL COLLISIONS...ABOUT THIRTY-SIX OF THEM DIED.

NATS

THE NEW GUARD RAILS...CALLED LOW TENSION CABLE BARRIERS.... BEND MORE THAN METAL OR CONCRETE BARRIERS...CAUSING LESS DAMAGE TO A CAR AND... POTENTIALLY FEWER INJURIES.

ACCORDING TO OFFICIALS...THE CABLES ARE DESIGNED TO CATCH VEHICLES AND GUIDE THEM GRADUALLY TO A STOP.

THEY SAY THE CABLES ALSO COST LESS TO INSTALL AND ARE EASIER TO REPLACE.

VANESSA RUFFES

"While some say this new barrier system will be a benefit to highway drivers overall, Deputy Sean Defoe with Bibb County Sheriff's Office says there are some disadvantages."

DEPUTY SEAN DEFOE, BIBB COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE

"We have emergency lanes we can cut through. They used to have 2 miles...now they have to drive 5 miles, if they have to turn around to get to an accident."

BUT DEFOE SAYS IT'S A SMALL PRICE TO PREVENT DANGEROUS HEAD-ON COLLISIONS.

VANESSA RUFFES 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS.

>>

THE GUARDRAIL PROJECT COSTS TWO-POINT-TWO MILLION DOLLARS AND WILL SPAN FOURTEEN MILES ALONG I-75 and I-16 WHEN COMPLETED.

TRANSPORTATION OFFICIALS COULD NOT TELL US THE COST DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CABLE BARRIERS AND GUARD RAILS.

THE PROJECT SHOULD BE DONE BY MID-OCTOBER.

TODAY'S 13-W-M-A-Z DOT COM WEB POLL ASKS...

DO YOU FEEL SAFE DRIVING THROUGH THE I-75/I-16 SPLIT?

77 PERCENT OF YOU SAY YOU DON'T.

AND 23 PERCENT SAY YOU DO.

YOU HAVE UNTIL MIDNIGHT TO VOTE.

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

SOME OF YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT SPEEDERS ON THE I-16 - I-75 SPLIT ON 13-W-M-A-Z DOT COM..

ONE PERSON WROTE...

A MAJOR PORTION OF THE PROBLEMS IN THAT EXCHANGE COULD BE SOLVED BY JUST SLOWING DOWN AND SHOWING A LITTLE COURTESY.

IF YOU'RE IN THAT MUCH OF A HURRY, YOU SHOULD HAVE LEFT HOME YESTERDAY!

ANOTHER PERSON COMMENTED... MIGHT AS WELL SEND THE RESCUE SQUAD NOW, AS THERE MOST LIKELY WILL BE AN ACCIDENT.

THE NICKY NASCARS OF THE WORLD WON'T SLOW DOWN FOR CONSTRUCTION.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION.

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

STUDENTS IN ONE CENTRAL GEORGIA SCHOOL CAME FACE TO FACE WITH HOMELESSNESS.

A GROUP OF PEOPLE WHO USED TO BE HOMELESS SPOKE AT STRATFORD ACADEMY IN MACON.

THEY TOLD STUDENTS HOW THEY ENDED UP ON THE STREETS...AND HOW THEY TURNED THEIR LIVES AROUND.

IT WAS SET UP BY A GROUP CALLED THE FACES OF HOMELESSNESS SPEAKERS' BUREAU.

LAUREN DISPIRITO HAS MORE.

<<

Jackie Johnson: "I do cry...but I am just so grateful today it is not sad tears anymore...anymore, its not sad."

JACKIE JOHNSON WAS HOMELESS IN MACON FOR THREE YEARS. SHE SAYS PEOPLE USED TO STEP OVER HER IN THE STREET.

J: "State of shock, I was numb, then I went into a deep deep depression" (vo of students listening)

JOHNSON SAYS SHE HAS HER LIFE BACK ON TRACK...AND WANTS TO PREVENT THIS FROM HAPPENING TO OTHERS.

They do not have to make the choices I made...you know they can follow their dreams and their dreams can come true.

COALITION MEMBER PHIL BANZE SAYS HE WANTED TO PUT A FACE ON HOMELESSNESS.

PB: Going to schools helps put the seed in their mind that this is a human issue, these are human beings, and that pile of rags on the street is not just a pile of rags, its somebody with a background, a family, a story, and they need to be respected just as much as anybody else."

STUDENTS SAY THE PRESENTATION CLEARED UP A LOT OF MYTHS.

Skip Lazenby, senior: " You always think if they really want to they can go get a job you know minimum wage they can go do this, not really, there's a lot of situations where you really just can't."

AND THEY SAY THEY WERE MOVED BY JOHNSON'S STORY.

Corine Lindley student: "Oh my gosh it was so emotional, I was, I started crying immediately just because we're so distanced from everything."

Mack Hodges, senior: "It is one hundred percent humbling."

TODAY, JOHNSON HAS HER OWN APARTMENT.

JJ" Wow it is such a freedom. I am in a 12 step program and I know God did it all I have to say that, God did it all.

nats clapping - vo of standing ovation

>>

PROUD MOMS DADS... AUNTS AND UNCLES... SHARE PICTURES OF YOUR CUTIES ON 13-W-M-A-Z DOT COM.

THIS IS AIDEN.

THE CAPTION SAYS HE'S GRANDMA'S LITTLE TIGER.

THE CAPTION FOR THIS PICTURE SAYS THESE COUSINS ARE TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHAT TO GET INTO NEXT.

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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