Monroe County Schools could soon see some new developments. The Board of Education held a public forum Thursday night to discuss consolidation and restructuring.
Last month, Superintendent Anthony Pack proposed combining the county's middle schools, moving ninth graders to Hubbard Middle School, and putting sixth graders at the old Mary Persons' building.
Pack says, "We have duplication of positions and services. We have one middle school with just over 400 and one with just over 500 so we are duplicating positions and services at those two schools, if they were consolidated we would have the ability to offer more course programming for those students."
The informational meeting held inside Banks Stephens Middle School gymnasium gave community members a chance to voice their concerns and board members to address any questions.
The Dannenberg building in downtown Macon is one of many abandoned sites in the city's landscape, but that's all about to change. The grant money that was intended to redevelop the Atlantic Cotton Mill into loft housing, was re-assigned by the state to this historic downtown building.
"This time in the second round, the only project that came forward was the Dannenberg Project," says Macon City Councilwoman, Lauren Benedict.
The building is owned by Dunwody/Beeland Architects. Architect, Gene Dunwody, Jr., says they made the purchase in 2006, and he was set to redevelop it back then. "We had lined up financial backers, and then the bottom fell out."
Big changes are around the corner for Jeffersonville Road and Millerfield Road.
Thursday night the Georgia Department of Transportation held a public meeting at Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church for residents in the area to see descriptions of the widening project and answer questions.
The proposed project will widen Jeffersonville Road from two lanes, to five lanes from Emery Highway to Boggy Branch. The construction will also widen Millerfield Road from two lanes to five and a new bridge will be built over Walnut Creek.
Bibb County Commissioner, Lonzy Edwards, says the project is long over due.
"When you are trying to get in or out of East Macon on busy rush hour mornings it begins to be a very difficult process. Same thing is true with people returning home. I think certainly the road issue needs to be addressed. I don't think this is a one lane deal at all, certainly not a two lane deal. I think it needs to be expanded to accommodate the traffic, get people in and out quicker than we able to do it right now," said Edwards.
Construction is set to begin this year and it will take about 2 and a half years to complete. The total cost of the widening project is an estimated $24.6 million.
New immigration laws are having rippling effects on unlikely industries. The new laws now have the nursing staff at the Medical Center of Central Georgia scrambling to get their licenses renewed.
This year, licensed professionals must submit more documentation to verify their work eligibility. For nurses that deadline is tight and the Secretary of State's office is warning delays in processing the added paperwork could mean nurses won't be able to report to for duty.
Chief Nursing Officer at the Medical Center of Central Georgia, Judy Paull, says the laws are creating impacts that weren't planned for.
“ It's one of those down stream consequences that people didn't necessarily anticipate,” says Paull.
Paull says the Secretary of State's Office has already told her processing all the licenses may take longer than usual because of the added documentation.
Now, with E-Verify required by law licensed professionals are feeling an extra burden to get to work.
Paull says, “ I think that the concept of this being an immigration law [didn't] necessarily translate to someone's mind that this meant license professionals would be encompassed in these expectations.”
Secretary of State Brian Kemp says his office will not have more manpower to deal with the added paperwork.
“Bottom line is we are going to follow the law. We don't make it, and we are going to do the best to get people licensed in a timely manner and get people to work, “ says Kemp.
If less nurses are available Paull worries patient care could be at stake.
“The time line was a little tight. As is often human nature sometimes people like to wait to the last minute to have things renewed,” says Paull.
With time running out the Medical Center is counting on it's employees to file early.
Hundreds of low income households in Bibb County will now have help paying their power bill this winter. Jimmie samuel, the Executive Director of the Macon Bibb Economic opportunity council says money is now available for low-income residents who need help with their power bill. 574,000 will be given to Bibb County to help 1600 households. Samuel says he thanks the public for being patient.
"We really appreciate the way the way the public has responded. We had a lot of calls but people were respectful ", said Samuel.
To get help with your power bill, you will need proof of income; a Georgia state issued Id, the most recent heating bill, and a social security card for every member living in your home. Samuel says he thanks the public for being patient. Energy assistance help will be given out starting Tuesday January 10th at Saint Paul AME church located at 25-01 Shurling drive.