The future of SPLOST projects for Macon and Bibb County will soon be finalized.
Today, the Bibb County Board of Commissioners agreed on a list of potential SPLOST projects to come for this November's ballot.
They plan to meet with the city to draw up a final list of recommendations.
After taking a look at the numbers, both the city and county added Bloomfield Park back to the list of parks and recreation. The city suggested $3 million, while the county feels $2 million is a fair amount to set aside.
According to Bibb County Chairman Sam Hart, the differences between what the city would like to see and what the county is offering are minor.
"We want to make sure that we get as much input as we can from both sides because it's going to be important that we all get behind this thing to push it because it's a real challenge to get it passed and we can't do it if we don't come out as a unified group," says Hart.
Hart hopes they can resolve their differences and produce a final list this week.
The Macon County Elementary School Bulldogs are barking up a storm!
The school's new reading program called "BARK" stands for "Become a Reader in Kindergarten."
On Friday, students and faculty invited parents to participate in a reading party. The kids and guests kicked off the celebration with song and dance, new books, and cake.
The initiative will provide every kindergarten student with a new book once a week for the entire school year. It's a way to encourage kids and parents to start reading early.
Teacher Shirley Coleman says, "The earlier you start reading, it exposes your child to go places that they probably won't be able to go in real life, but the book will take them there."
"I believe strongly that if we start them now they'll continue to read well into their adult years as well - that's a strong foundation to keep them going through school," says parent Carol Hollis.
The schools principal Gail Smith got the idea to start BARK after learning about Dolly Parton's efforts to provide books for every child born in her home county. Smith just adapted the concept to fit Macon County Elementary.
"The true message that we're trying to give to our parents how important it is to read to your children from the time they're born. Then, when they come to kindergarten when they're five, they'll be ready to go," says Smith.
By the end of the school year each child will have a set of 62 books.
In the mid-morning hours on Friday, an airplane touches town at Robins Air Force Base. The cargo is that of Army Specialist Mark Downer, a Warner Robins native who lost his life while fighting in Afghanistan.
The funeral procession carries Downer through the city streets of Warner Robins, and past his old high school. That's where hundreds are lining the sidewalks, looking to catch a glimpse, and pay tribute to a fallen soldier.
"My son is in the military," Janet Horn of Warner Robins says. "I can only imagine what the parents are going through."
Jo Teague happened to find herself standing next to Army Sergeant Jesse Borders. Neither know one another, neither knew Downer. Both, are moved to tears as the procession draws near.
"It's an honor to stand here by this gentleman, this soldier. Standing side by side, it's an honor and a privilege," Teague says as she looks over her shoulder at Borders. "And I thank God every day for the freedom, for the men and women that are fighting for us every day."
Sgt. Borders has been active duty for 13 years, and is stationed at Fort Gordon in Augusta. He never met, or much less heard the name of Mark Downer before. He swears, 'once a brother, always a brother'.
The grown man, a trained soldier for the U.S. Army, cannot control his tears when he thinks of the sacrifice Downer gave for his country.
"It's a tragedy and a loss that will not be forgotten. And as you can tell," Borders says choking back tears, "it is really hard for a soldier to stand here and tell how important, and what this means to soldiers like myself."
The procession winds its way back and forth through the city. Police and Sheriff cars lead the way with lights flashing and sirens wailing. Directly behind the lights come the deep rumble of the motorcycles from the Patriot Guard. Nearly one hundred motorcycles throttle past before Downer's hearse appears.
And a Sergeant stands at attention, gives a final salute to a fellow brother he never knew, and stands shaking, with honor and respect for a soldier from Warner Robins.
"He's a brother, and we all signed the contract...We take that oath and we became family."
Bibb County Superintendent Dr. Romain Dallemand is recommending Westside High School Principal Laura Perkins' contract with the school be terminated.
An ongoing investigation reveals Perkins misused school funds. Dallemand says because of "incompetency, willful neglect of duties, and other good and sufficient cause," Perkins' contract should end.
According to Dallemand, Perkins handled a 2010 $1.7 million grant inappropriately. 41 NBC obtained a copy of the letter sent from Dr. Dallemand to Perkins, which goes into detail about the misused Blending Learning Opportunities Grant funds.