Tuesday, April 5, Eyewitness News at 6

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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 DODGE COUNTY MAN DIED AFTER AN EF-TWO TORNADO DESTROYED A DOUBLE-WIDE TRAILER EARLY THIS MORNING.
DODGE COUNTY CORONER JOE SMITH IDENTIFIED THE VICTIM AS 45-YEAR-OLD CHRISTOPHER MCNAIR.
THE TORNADO TOUCHED DOWN IN THE GRESSTON COMMUNITY.... BETWEEN COCHRAN AND EASTMAN.      
BOFTA YIMAM SPOKE WITH FAMILY MEMBERS ABOUT HOW THEY'LL LEAN ON EACH OTHER... DURING THIS TIME OF LOSS.
Zoia Ashley "As the trailer rolled over we skipped layers."


ZOIA ASHLEY SAYS THE F-2 TORNADO RIPPED THROUGH THEIR MOBILE HOME.


"trailer turning, turning"


...TOSSING IT ABOUT A 100 YARDS.


Ashley,
"I was so scared I didn't know what to do with myself."


BUT THE 15-YEAR-OLD'S SURVIVAL INSTINCTS KICKED IN. 
 
 Zoia Ashley
"I didn't stay still, I jumped up and went and called my momma name."


THE PAIR ALONG WITH ANOTHER RELATIVE SURVIVED.    


NATS Ashley "We hid behind a chest of drawers"


THE DEVASTATING TORNADO'S WRATH KILLED ASHLEY'S UNCLE 45-YEAR-OLD CHRISTOPHER MCNAIR.  


Ricky McNair
"Oh my God, I was hollering at the top of my voice, hoping that he could hear me, and I could hear him answer me, but I never did"


RICKY MCNAIR SAYS HE SEARCHED THROUGH SCATTERED PILES OF FURNITURE... CHUnKS OF ROOF...


NATS 


AND DEBRIS... TO FIND HIS NEPHEW.  HE SPOTTED HIS BODY UNDER THIS MATTRESS.


McNair
"And when I found him I just broke down."


MCNAIR DESCRIBES CHRISTOPHER AS A FAMILY MAN... WHO RECENTLY LANDED A JOB IN CONSTRUCTION... EXCITED WITH THE PROSPECTS.


McNair,
"He talked about his son a whole lot and things they were going to do."


NATS Trash pick up


AS THE TIGHT-KNIT FAMILY WORKS TO SALVAGE BITS AND PIECES OF THEIR HOME.


NATS  Ashley looking at photo "my uncle" 


OTHER SHARED HUGS OF COMFORT...        


Ashley
NATS "Wish my uncle Chris was still here."


IN A MOMENT WHERE LIFE 'S UNEXPECTED LOSS... BRINGS THEM TOGETHER.


"We just take it one day at a time, with God's help, family and friends I think we can make it I know we can"


BOFTA YIMAM 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS 
  ASHLEY SAYS HER UNCLE...ANTHONY LYLES... IS BEING TREATED FOR A GASH ON HIS HEAD.
CHRISTOPHER MCNAIR IS SURVIVED BY A 16-YEAR-OLD SON.


       OFFICIALS SAY THAT CHRISTOPHER MCNAIR WAS ONE OF AT LEAST SIX PEOPLE WHO DIED AS A RESULT OF THIS MORNING'S STORMS.
   THAT INCLUDES A BUTTS COUNTY FATHER AND HIS THREE-YEAR-OLD SON.
     BUTTS COUNTY OFFICIALS SAY 28-YEAR-OLD ALIX BONHOMME JUNIOR.... AND HIS SON ALIX THE THIRD..... DIED WHEN A TREE LIMB CRASHED INTO THEIR HOME IN JACKSON.
       A MAN IN IRWIN COUNTY WAS KILLED WHEN A TREE HIT HIS HOME.
   IN COLQUITT COUNTY, OFFICIALS SAY A COUNTY WORKER DIED WHEN HIS TRUCK HIT A TREE. 
    AND ATLANTA POLICE SAY A MAN WAS KILLED WHEN A TREE FELL ON HIS CAR IN NORTHWEST ATLANTA. 


THE CRAWFORD COUNTY SCHOOL SYSTEM IS CLEANING UP AFTER STORMS TORE INTO A SCHOOL.
STRONG WINDS RIPPED OFF PART OF THE ROOF AT CRAWFORD COUNTY MIDDLE SCHOOL.
VANESSA RUFFES GOT A LOOK AT THE DAMAGE... AND TALKED WITH SCHOOL OFFICIALS ABOUT THE NEEDED REPAIRS.
<<
NATS, principal walkthrough classroom


PRINCIPAL ANTHONY ENGLISH SAYS THREE CLASSROOMS ARE SHUT DOWN AFTER MONDAY NIGHT'S STORMS BLEW THROUGH.


Nats


ENGLISH SHOWED US A SURPRISE ADDITION TO ONE CLASSROOM... A NEW SKYLIGHT...


SOGGY CEILING TILES AND INSULATION COVER DESKS AND FLOORS...


NATS


HE SAYS TWO OTHER CLASSROOMS HAVE MINOR DAMAGE... FROM WATER DRIPPING DOWN.


"I was just seeing the power of a storm -- the wind-- and just how it peeled back that ceiling there."


Seagraves "We're looking at about 1000 square feet of one corner of our middle school facility..."


ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT TREY SEAGRAVES SAYS... THAT THOUSAND SQUARE FEET OF DAMAGE... COULD COST THE SCHOOL SYSTEM 50 to 100 THOUSAND DOLLARS TO REPAIR.


Seagraves "It's not going to do a good thing for our bottom line, but in a situation like this you just have to get it fixed."


SEAGRAVES SAYS THEY'LL USE MONEY FROM A LOCAL SALES TAX... SET ASIDE FOR REPAIRS AND RENOVATIONS... 
HE ALSO EXPECTS INSURANCE WILL REIMBURSE THEM FOR MOST --IF NOT ALL-- THE DAMAGE.


NATS


ENGLISH SAYS THE STORM HAS THROWN A SLIGHT HITCH IN THEIR SCHOOL DAY... THEY HAD TO MOVE ABOUT SIXTY STUDENTS TO OTHER PARTS OF THE BUILDING.
BUT LIKE A TRUE EDUCATOR... HE WANTS TO MAKE IT A LEARNING EXPERIENCE.


English "We're going to take photos and we're going to show the kids the power of mother nature and when there's a storm of course we want to take the necessary precautions."


VANESSA RUFFES 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>> SEAGRAVES SAYS THEY HOPE TO HAVE AT LEAST A TEMPORARY FIX IN TWO TO THREE WEEKS.
HE SAYS WEATHER EXPERTS CLOCKED WIND SPEEDS IN THAT AREA AT 80 MILES AN HOUR.


STUDENTS AT BIBB COUNTY'S HEARD ELEMENTARY HAD THE DAY OFF WHILE CLEAN-UP CREWS REPORTED TO SCHOOL AND SPENT THE ENTIRE DAY DOING REPAIRS.
AS AMY AUBERT SHOWS YOU... THE AREA ON VINSON ROAD WAS CRIPPLED FROM THIS MORNING'S STORM.
<<
Nats


CLEAN-UP CREWS SPENT THE DAY... TURNING THE MESS OF DOWNED TREES... INTO THIS...


Nats


David Gowan,Director Risk Management BCSD: "These two limbs right here, they fell this way."


DAVID GOWAN...THE DISTRICT'S RISK MANAGEMENT DIRECTOR... SAYS... TUESDAY... AFTER ROOF DAMAGES... WATER LEAKS... AND FALLEN TREES... HEARD ELEMENTARY HUNG A "SCHOOL CANCELED" SIGN.


Nats


GOWAN SAYS FALLEN LIMBS DESTROYED A FOUR THOUSAND DOLLAR AIR CONDITIONING UNIT OUTSIDE A PORTABLE CLASSROOM.


David Gowan: "You can see structurally that the portable, thankfully, is still in good condition."


BUT ON VINSON ROAD... HEARD ELEMENTARY WASN'T THE ONLY THING IN THE STORM'S PATH.


Amy Aubert, Eyewitness News: "Right across the street from the school, at Liberty United Methodist Church, several trees were completely uprooted, like this one right here. I'm about 5 foot 4, and as you can see, just the roots of this tree stand about two feet higher than me so you can imagine the gusts of wind that came rolling through early this morning."


Angela Freeman: "I think the biggest surprise is the warnings, the sirens didn't go off."


ANGELA FREEMAN IS JUST ONE OF A COUPLE DOZEN VOLUNTEERS... WHO SPENT THE DAY... CLEARING THE CHURCH'S TREE-COVERED CEMETERY.


Nats


Angela Freeman: "In the night there was this much going on, and we didn't really know it."


SCHOOL REPAIR WORKERS AND CHURCH VOLUNTEERS... SAY UNTIL THE MESS IS CLEARED... THEY'LL KEEP ROLLING ON.


Nats


AMY AUBERT... 13 WMAZ... EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>> BIBB COUNTY SCHOOLS SAY HEARD ELEMENTARY WILL RE-OPEN WEDNESDAY MORNING... AND IS RESCHEDULING TUESDAY'S C-R-T-C TESTING TO FRIDAY.


WE HAVE A CORRECTION TO A STORY WE BROUGHT YOU ON EYEWITNESS NEWS AT FIVE.
CENTRAL GEORGIA TECHNICAL COLLEGE SPOKESWOMAN TONYA MC-CLURE SAYS THEY'RE CANCELING CLASSES IN ALL BUILDINGS *EXCEPT* BUILDINGS I... H... J AND THE MODULAR UNIT.
CLASSES AT CENTRAL GEORGIA TECH'S OTHER CAMPUSES WILL GO ON AS SCHEDULED.


THE STORMS ALSO TOOK THEIR TOLL ON THE STATE'S LARGEST EMPLOYER... ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE.
WINDS DAMAGED A HANGAR... AND TOPPLED TREES ON OR NEAR SEVERAL BUILDINGS.
nats- cutting trees
CREWS CAME OUT EARLY THIS MORNING... REMOVING LIMBS AND SEVERAL TREE'S NEAR THE MAIN GATE.... AND AROUND BASE HOUSING.
CAPTAIN PAM STAUFFER WITH BASE PUBLIC AFFAIRS SAID ONE BUILDING TOOK EXTENSIVE DAMAGE...  OTHERS WERE MODERATELY DAMAGED.
SHE SAYS POWER SUPPLY FAILURE AND FLOODING CAUSED SOME DAMAGE.... BUT MOST OF IT WAS TO THE LANDSCAPE. 
A TREE FELL ON THE AIR CONDITIONING UNIT OF BUILDING 309... AND ONE CRASHED ONTO THE ROOF OF BUILDING 158.
Jim West, RAFB: (6:15) "It's still limbs up there on the roof. I looked at this morning, and when we get those out, we can access to see if it did penetrate the roof, and if it did, we'll fix it."
Ken Babbitt, RAFB: (3:48) "It's amazing. It's amazing that the wind was so powerful it pulled a tree this big that's been here probably 100 years, and just blew it over."
STAUFFER SAYS ROBINS ACTIVATED THEIR DAMAGE ASSESSMENT TEAM THIS MORNING.
SHE SAYS THEY'LL HAVE A COST ESTIMATE WHEN THE WINDS DIE DOWN.


     TODAY'S 13WMAZ DOT COM WEB POLL QUESTION ASKS...   HOW DID THE STORM OVERNIGHT AFFECT YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD?
  SO FAR 47 PERCENT OF YOU SAY YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD DIDN'T HAVE ANY DAMAGE.
   46 PERCENT OF YOU SAY MINOR DAMAGE
   AND 7 PERCENT OF YOU SAY YOU HAVE MAJOR DAMAGE
   TO VOTE NOW.. VISIT OUR WEBSITE...13 WMAZ DOT COM.
   LOOK FOR THE WEB POLL QUESTION ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF OUR HOMEPAGE INSIDE THE DON'T MISS BOX.


  CUTS IN HOPE SCHOLARSHIP FUNDS TAKE EFFECT THIS FALL.
  BUT SOME DEMOCRATS WHO OPPOSE THE REDUCTIONS ARE TOURING THE STATE.. TO GAIN ENOUGH SUPPORT TO RESTORE THE HOPE FUNDS.
  THEY DISCUSSED THE SITUATION AT GEORGIA STATE COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY IN MILLEDGEVILLE.
  RANDALL SAVAGE HAS MORE.
<<STATE DEMOCRATIC SENATORS ROBERT BROWN OF MACON AND JASON CARTER OF DECATUR TALKED ABOUT HOPE SCHOLARSHIP CUTS TO A HANDFUL OF STUDENTS AT GEORGIA STATE COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY IN MILLEDGEVILLE.
  BROWN SAYS IN ADDITION TO TWENTY PERCENT CUTS IN HOPE SCHOLARSHIP FUNDS.. STUDENTS MUST ACHIEVE HIGHER SCORES TO GET THE FULL HOPE SCHOLARSHIPS. STUDENTS WHO DON'T MAKE THOSE SCORES...WILL QUALIFY FOR LESS FUNDING.
  14:10:36 Robert Brown: State Senator:You're going to have to have a 3.7 grade point average as well as make twelve hundred on the SAT, which means that almost all of the students are going to come from metro Atlanta.
  CARTER.. GRANDSON OF FORMER PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER.. SAYS STUDENTS ALREADY RECEIVING HOPE SCHOLARSHIPS SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO COMPLETE COLLEGE UNDER THE OLD FUNDING FORMULA.
  14:13:06Jason Carter, State Senator: The current students who receive who receive the HOPE scholarships have upheld their end of the bargain, and we think the state of Georgia should keep that promise. The money is in the bank.
  THAT WOULD PLEASE CHARLESTON TROUTMAN.. A GEORGIA COLLEGE FRESHMAN WHO'S CONCERNED ABOUT FUTURE HOPE FUNDING.
  14:06:51Charleston Troutman, Georgia College Freshman: The fact that I don't know how much money I'm going to be getting is really scary. So I guess the miscommunication between what's going to really happen with the HOPE scholarship and what we know is really what worries me the most.
  DURING A TAPING OF THE 13 WMAZ CLOSE-UP PROGRAM.. REPUBLICAN STATE SENATOR CECIL STATON SAYS HOPE'S STILL AVAILABLE FOR DESERVING STUDENTS.
  14:20:34 Cecil Staton, State Senator: If you do the work, if you do the job, then you ought to be able to go to a Georgia institution of higher education regardless of income. This is a merit based scholarship, not a need based scholarship.
  RANDALL SAVAGE.. 13 WMAZ.. EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>>  STATON ALSO SAY LAWMAKERS MADE AVAILABLE ONE PERCENT LOW INTEREST LOANS FOR STUDENTS WHO WANT GET ENOUGH HOPE SCHOLARSHIP MONEY TO REMAIN IN COLLEGE.
  BUT DEMOCRATS SAY THE BEST ALTERNATIVE IS TO RESTORE THE HOPE SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM THAT EXISTED BEFORE THE CHANGES.


     YOU CAN HEAR MORE FROM STATE SENATOR ROBERT BROWN TONIGHT ON HIS CONSOLIDATION PLAN FOR MACON AND BIBB COUNTY.
   BROWN PLANS TO HOLD A PUBLIC MEETING IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING THE MACON CITY COUNCIL MEETING IN COUNCIL CHAMBERS..
   HE SAYS HE HAS INVITED OTHER MEMBERS OF THE BIBB COUNTY DELEGATION.. CITY COUNCIL.. COUNTY COMMISSION.. AND THE MACON WATER AUTHORITY.
     THAT MEETING AGAIN GETS UNDERWAY AT CITY HALL AFTER THE CITY COUNCIL MEETING..


   AFTER THE STORMS CAME THROUGH EARLY THIS MORNING... MANY OF YOU GOT OUTSIDE WITH YOUR CAMERAS TO TAKE PHOTOS OF THE DAMAGE.
   ONE USER SNAPPED THIS SHOT OF A TREE ACROSS A CAR IN HOLIDAY MOBILE HOME PARK.
   AND SOMEONE ELSE TOOK THIS PHOTO OF DAMAGE IN THEIR CRAWFORD COUNTY BACKYARD.
SEND US YOUR PHOTOS...LOOK FOR *PHOTO GALLERIES* IN THE MENU BAR ACROSS THE TOP OF OUR HOMEPAGE...


ONE HUNDRED THIRTY NEW LOFT APARTMENTS MAY BE COMING SOON TO DOWNTOWN MACON.
THE BIBB COUNTY COMMISSION APPROVED BACKING FIVE MILLION DOLLARS IN BONDS FOR NEWTOWN MACON TO DEVELOP EIGHT PROJECTS..
     THE PROJECTS INCLUDE RENOVATIONS AT SEVERAL OLD BUILDINGS AND THE CONSTRUCTION OF AT LEAST ONE NEW ONE.
NEWTOWN MACON PRESIDENT MIKE FORD SAYS WORK COULD BEGIN IN THE NEXT FEW MONTHS... AND IT SHOULD BE COMPLETED IN THE NEXT TWO YEARS.
HE SAYS MORE LIVING SPACE DOWNTOWN  COULD BRING MORE BUSINESSES.
Mike Ford, President Newtown Macon: "The lofts they pretty much rent at 95- 98% occupied and we feel like as we add more people lving downtown it will help with the business."
COMMISSIONER JOE ALLEN SAYS ONCE PEOPLE MOVE INTO THE APARTMENTS.. THEY'LL BRING IN MORE THAN 400-THOUSAND DOLLARS IN PROPERTY TAXES A YEAR. 

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