Wednesday, February 8, Eyewitness News at 11

11:51 PM, Feb 8, 2012   |    comments
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GOOD EVENING AND THANKS FOR JOINING US..
I'M FRANK MALLOY.. THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT 11.

TONIGHT WE'RE CONTINUING THE CONVERSATION ABOUT THE MACON MIRACLE... SUPERINTENDENT ROMAIN DALLEMAND'S PLAN FOR IMPROVING THE BIBB COUNTY SCHOOL SYSTEM.
TO GET A TEACHERS' PERSPECTIVE ON THE PLAN, WE SPOKE TO TIM CALLAHAN SPOKESMAN FOR THE PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION OF GEORGIA EDUCATORS.
LEAH HAS MORE ON WHAT HE SAID..

CALLAHAN JOINED US EARLIER ON THE PHONE FROM ATLANTA.
HE SAYS THEY'VE HEARD FROM MANY BIBB COUNTY TEACHERS CONCERNED ABOUT THE "MACON MIRACLE."

"When change of this magnitude and scope comes up from the school district, and it comes up suddenly without a lot of advanced notice or a lot of involvement, it's goign to make people nervous and apprehensive and concerned."

HE SAYS SOME TEACHER CONCERNS INCLUDE SCHOOL CLOSINGS, LONGER SCHOOL DAYS, REALIGNING GRADE LEVELS, AND CUTTING TEACHING POSITIONS AS TEACHERS RETIRE.
HE SAYS TEACHERS FEEL LIKE THE TWO STRATEGIC PLANNING SESSIONS HELD AT THE CENTREPLEX LAST YEAR DIDN'T ALLOW ENOUGH INPUT IN THE FINAL PLAN.

"i think those kinds of opportunities in sort of a stadium setting or mass setting don't lend themselves to thoughtful discussion or a sequence of development of activities. If you really want to involve the staff, you would involde them in a more meaningful way over a longer period of time than just the one or two shot type of thing

CALLAHAN SAYS HE HAS HEARD TEACHERS ARE AFRAID TO SPEAK OUT AND VOICE THEIR CONCERNS ABOUT THE PLAN FOR FEAR OF BEING PUNISHED BY THEIR EMPLOYER.

"I think some teachers are apprehensive because there have been layoffs in the past and we're talking about more layoffs in the future and in some situations when you bring problems to the floor and make your concerns noted, it sometimes might move you tot he ehad of the line in terms of who is laid off so in this economy I can well understand people who are fearful abotu losing their jobs and not wanting to speak out. but I must say it's not a very good atmosphere conducive to good education to have people fearful for their jobs and fearful about the changes that are coming so if this is going to indeed be a miracle i think its not off to a very good start."

CALLAHAN SAYS THERE ARE SOME PARTS OF THE PLAN THAT TEACHERS LIKE.... BUT HE SAYS THEY NEED MORE ANSWERS TO THE QUESTION... WHY?

"There needs to be a whole lot more explanation not just for the teachers but for the community at large and for the parents. I think there's an obligation here's what we have found, here's the data that tells us what we have found and underlines it, and here's how our plan matches the data and the experieces that we've had and here's why it's a good idea."

CALLAHAN SAYS THE GENERAL COUNCIL OF PAGE HAS SENT A LETTER TO THE BIBB COUNTY SUPERINTENDENT AND SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS ASKING THEM TO SLOW DOWN.... OPEN LINES OF COMMUNICATION AND GIVE MORE RATIONALE BEHIND THE PROPOSALS.

TONIGHT ON EYEWITNESS NEWS AT SIX... I SPOKE TO DEPUTY SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT AND DESIGN.. SUZANNE GRIFFIN ZIEBART.
SHE SAYS DALLEMAND'S PLAN DOESN'T NECESSARILY CALL FOR THE CLOSING OF 12 SCHOOLS.

SUPERINTENDENT DALLEMAND PLANS TO PRESENT THE PLAN TO THE PUBLIC AT A BIG EVENT AT THE CENTREPLEX ON FRIDAY AT 1 P-M .... AND THE SCHOOL BOARD IS SUPPOSED TO VOTE ON THE SAME DAY.
IF THE SCHOOL BOARD VOTES FOR THE PLAN... THEY WILL ADOPT IT AS A GENERAL DIRECTION FOR BIBB SCHOOLS... BUT THE DISTRICT WILL WORK OUT DETAILS OF THE PLAN LATER.
SOME MAJOR STEPS LIKE CLOSING SCHOOLS....OR CUTTING JOBS....WOULD NEED FURTHER ACTION BY THE BOARD.

MANY OF YOU HAVE BEEN SPEAKING UP ABOUT YOUR OPPOSITION TO ROMAIN DALLEMAND'S PLAN.
ON TUESDAY WE TOLD YOU ABOUT FACEBOOK PAGE... STARTED BY A PARENT... CALLED VOTE NO TO MACON MIRACLE.
TONIGHT THAT PAGE HAS 616 LIKES.
AN ONLINE PETITION ALSO STARTED BY A PARENT IS GAINING ITS OWN MOMENTUM
IT HAS JUST OVER 13 HUNDRED SIGNATURES.

TODAY'S 13 WMAZ DOT COM WEB POLL ASKS... SHOULD THE BIBB COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD APPROVE ROMAIN DALLEMAND'S STRATEGIC PLAN ON FRIDAY?

SO FAR 92 PERCENT OF YOU SAY NO
AND 8 PERCENT OF YOU SAY YES.

TO VOTE NOW.. VISIT OUR WEBSITE AT 13 WMAZ DOT COM.. AND LOOK FOR THE WEB POLL QUESTION ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF OUR HOMEPAGE.

ben gives three day forecast

THANKS BEN.. WE'LL TALK WITH YOU AGAIN IN JUST A FEW MINUTES.

A GEORGIA COMPANY BROKE GROUND IN PERRY TODAY ON A TRAINING CENTER FOR FIRST RESPONDERS TO LEARN ABOUT TERRORIST ATTACKS...AND OTHER DISASTERS.
THE GUARDIAN CENTER OF GEORGIA WILL BE LOCATED OFF THOMPSON ROAD.

AT FULL CAPACITY IS EXPECTED TO BRING IN 75 MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR TO HOUSTON COUNTY.. THAT'S ACCORDING THE GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT.
AUSTIN LEWIS HAS MORE ON HOW THEY ARE TRANSFORMING THE FORMER NORTHROP GRUMMAN PLANT INTO A DISASTER TRAINING FACILITY.

<< nats of the groundbreaking---
FOR CEO OF GUARDIAN CENTER OF GEORGIA GEOFF BURKART---
THIS MOMENT HAS BEEN IN THE WORKS FOR NEARLY 7 YEARS---
Geoff Burkart, CEO of Guardian Center of Georgia: 00:35 To see it finally kick off, the train leaving the station so to speak, we're just overjoyed.
nats of truck stuff
THEY'RE LAYING THE GROUND WORK FOR A FIRST RESPONDERS TRAINING CENTER--
nats
austin stand up: Right now it doesn't look much with grass and mounds of dirt, but according to Burkart in about a years time, I'll be standing in the heart of Seattle.
Geoff Burkart, CEO of Guardian Center of Georgia: 1:57if you look at an aerial view of their downtown city area they have an angled street system and I wanted to use that.
THE CITYSCAPE WILL HAVE BOTH STANDING AND CRUMBLED BUILDINGS---
A FLOODED NEIGHBORHOOD LIKE IN THE NINTH WARD DURING HURRICANE KATRINA.
AND EVEN A 1800 FOOT SUBWAY SYSTEM
ALL TO GIVE FIRST RESPONDERS A REALISTIC IDEA OF WHAT IT COULD BE LIKE IN A NATURAL DISASTER....OR A TERRORIST ATTACK.
Geoff Burkart, CEO of Guardian Center of Georgia: 3:28 2nd clip First of all who's in charge, second of all how are you going to muster and organize the resources that you have at your disposal, who makes those decisions.
HE CAME TO PERRY FOR ALL THAT SPACE....830 ACRES.
Geoff Burkart, CEO of Guardian Center of Georgia: 6:13 you can have a training site and it works very well for our purposes so it got to the top of our list.
MAYOR JAMES FAIRCLOTH SAYS THEY'LL BRING CUSTOMERS TO TOWN...AND THEIR MONEY.
Mayor James Faircloth, Perry: 2:32 WE will have new people in town that means more business for the hotels, more business for the restaurants, more business for the retail shop, and more business period.
BY NEXT FEBRUARY....BURKART SAYS THEY COULD BE TRAINING FOR FLOODS...EARTHQUAKES....AND TERROR...RIGHT HERE IN PERRY.
AUSTIN LEWIS 13 WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS.

>>

MORGAN LAW... THE NEW PRESIDENT OF ROBINS REGIONAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE - USED TO WORK FOR HOUSTON COUNTY AS ITS DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR.

HE SAYS THE COUNTY GAVE GUARDIAN CENTER A STANDARD DEAL THAT WOULD CUT THEIR PROPERTY TAXES BY ABOUT HALF... OVER THE NEXT 15 YEARS..

SOME PERRY STUDENTS ARE HEADED TO A NATIONAL COMPETITION TO SHOW OFF THEIR KNOWLEDGE IN AN UNUSUAL HOBBY.

WE'LL EXPLAIN HOW THEIR PASSION FOR PLANTS IS WINNING THEM TOP AWARDS.

PLUS... SOMEONE COULD FILE TAXES USING YOUR NAME AND SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER WITHOUT YOU KNOWING.
HEAR HOW IT HAPPENED TO ONE MACON WOMAN.

MACON POLICE SAY HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE MAY HAVE ALREADY FALLEN VICTIM TO IDENTITY THEFT THIS TAX SEASON...
THAT'S ACCORDING TO LIEUTENANT KEITH WOODFORD....

ON MONDAY AND TUESDAY... THREE PEOPLE REPORTED TO POLICE THAT SOMEONE FILED *THEIR* TAXES WITHOUT THEM KNOWING... AND THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE SAY IT'S PART OF A BIGGER PROBLEM...
MARK GREEN WITH THE I-R-S SAYS THEY'VE RECEIVED MANY REPORTS OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN VICTIMS OF SCAMS WHEN FILING THEIR TAXES THIS YEAR...
CAREE BROWN TRIED TO FILE HER TAXES IN JANUARY... BUT FOUND OUT SOMEONE HAD ALREADY USED HER SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER TO GET HER STATE
I was shocked and that's exactly what I thought, you know you hear about this happening to people all the time buit I never thought it would happen to me."
Unfortunately identity theft has risen. it's across thcountry It doesn't just affect the state of goergia

IF YOU'VE BEEN A VICTIMS OF TAX FRAUD.. YOU CAN CALL THE I-R-S PROTECTION HOTLINE AT 1-800-908-4490...
THAT NUMBER AGAIN.. 800-908-4490AND FEDERAL RETURN.

FOUR PERRY HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS TOOK HOME THE TOP PRIZE AT A STATE COMPETITION.
THESE TEENS AREA OF EXPERTISE MAY SURPRISE YOU.

nats- "This is a -- ", this is a ---"

THE STUDENTS CAN IDENTIFY NINETY SPECIES OF PLANTS.
THESE YOUNG FLORICULTURISTS CAN ALSO DIAGNOSE DISEASE... AND PROBLEM SOLVE TO HEAL SICK PLANTS.
AFTER WINNING THE GEORGIA FLORICULTURE COMPETITION... MITCHELL FREEMAN, TYLER CLAXTON, SAMANTHA STRICKLAND AND JAKE PARKER WILL MOVE ON TO NATIONALS IN INDIANA NEXT FALL.

Jake Parker: "Its just learning stuff you can use always later in life, landscape your own houses. you can win a lot of money. Thatt's one incentive for it."
Tyler Claxton: (6:20) "People ask you hey, what's that, just trying to get an answer out of you. It's pretty fun to be able to answer them correctly."

THE AG STUDENTS WILL PRACTICE IDENTIFYING PLANTS THROUGHOUT THE SPRING AND SUMMER IN PREPARATION. FOR THE NATIONAL COMPETITION NEXT FALL..

TONIGHT'S FACEBOOK FAN OF THE DAY IS ELLA IVEY.

ELLA ... YOU'LL NEED TO EMAIL FAN OF THE DAY AT 13WMAZ DOT COM TO CLAIM YOUR COFFEE MUG.

NOW... GETTING INTO THE RUNNING FOR FAN OF THE DAY IS AN EASY THREE-STEP PROCESS.
ONE... VISIT FACEBOOK DOT COM SLASH 13WMAZ.
TWO... BECOME A FAN... AND THREE... GET IN ON THE CONVERSATIONS.
WE PICK OUR FAN OF THE DAY RANDOMLY.

AND ONE LAST QUICK LOOK AT TOMORROW'S FORECAST WITH CHIEF METEOROLOGIST BEN JONES.
THANKS FOR JOINING US.... FIRST MORNIN COMES YOUR WAY AT 5 A-M.

THE NEWS IS ALWAYS ON AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.

ON LETTERMAN TONIGHT - ACTOR RYAN REYNOLDS AND SINGER DIERCKS BENTLEY..
HAVE A SAFE NIGHT EVERYONE.

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