In a 3 to 1 decision Tuesday evening, Bibb County Commissioners voted to raise property taxes for the county.
According to Commissioner Lonzy Edwards, the two mill tax increase is not the correct way to help the county. Edwards was the only vote against the tax increase.
Edwards says they should have looked harder at where they could make cuts. He suggested the county reform its pension plan, or even re-evaluate how many people are actually needed to work for the county. He says the county has never analyzed how many employees it actually needs to how many employees the county actually has.
Commissioners Elmo Richardson, Bert Bivins, and Chairman Sam Hart all voted in favor of the increase. Commissioner Joe Allen was out sick for the vote.
The increase will be effective immediately, and affect residential and commercial property owners.
It wasn't a day of shopping that brought the bomb squad to the mall, but it was certainly a day of excitement for the crew.
The two man, one dog, Macon Bomb Squad team did a practice run of detonating a bomb inside the mall Wednesday afternoon. The team did the practice run as if there was a real bomb threat, so they know exactly what to do in a real situation.
They brought out the bomb sniffing dog to check the doors and atriums inside the mall, and the full body protective suit that looks like it just came out of the movie The Hurt Locker.
Part of the Macon Mall is being demolished, so mall officials invited the bomb squad in to help them get some practice. The small C-1 explosive was placed inside the main entrance by the covered parking structure where the demolition is taking place, so no one was near the area of the explosion.
Lieutenant Wilton Collins is the Bomb Squad Supervisor. He says his team jumps at every opportunity it can to exercise a real life scenario.
"I guess everybody's fear is to see that one package that is placed in a mall or post office. We're fully prepared to handle that, so every time we get a chance to run something realistically, it's seemless."
Collins says their main job is to find a bomb, and detonate it when they want, and not when the person trying to do damage wants it detonated.
Collins said they responded to 22 bomb threats last year alone.
Wednesday afternoon the Macon Branch of the NAACP offered a congratulations to Mayor Robert Reichert for his victory in the run-off election. The organization is urging Reichert to hire C Jack Ellis as the Chief Administrative Officer.
The President of Macon's NAACP, David Booker, says the move would bring unity to the city.
"I think that moving forward with the 9,000 people here in Macon that voted for C Jack Ellis if something significant is not done these people will feel like they have again been disenfranchised," says Booker.
The Macon-Bibb County Fire Department responded to a fire at a vacant house on Jessamine Drive around 2:40 am Wednesday morning. According to Sgt. Ben Gleaton the fire started in a bedroom of the house.
Gleaton says the tenants moved out of the house a few weeks ago. No one was injured.
An investigation revealed the fire was intentional. Gleaton says there was no power source in the bedroom where the fire started.
Joey Bells family owns the vacant property and says, " Somebody set the fire in there. I mean that's all there is to it. Usually if it's an electrical fire you know you can see it from the electrical outlet. It's just in the middle of the floor in the corner so it was set deliberately. There's no two ways about that.
Investigators continue to interview witnesses and ask anyone with information to call 751-2713. There is also a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to an arrest.
Digital Bridges is a venture of Georgia College with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.The project is a citizen-led initiative involving the innovative uses of technology to improve the quality of life of the community.
Digital Bridges has been open for 18 months and during a time when companies were laying off and people were looking for jobs, Digital Bridges stepped in and looked for ways to help the Milledgeville community.
"In the beginning it was extremely technology focused, however as we turned it over to the community we really started surveying and holding public hearings. We quickly discovered the economy was the greatest concern for this community," said Heather Holder Director of Digital Bridges.
So, the company came up with a plan.
"The focus shifted from just looking for innovated uses for technology as it applies to the community, instead looking for how we can prepare people for the job market that's changing," said Holder.
And with a changing job market, there was a need to help people get back to work.
" In this day and age it is more important than ever to be able to use the Internet and computer resources, especially for job hunting, finding out information, and doing research on different things. Especially for the students with research and some of the people who have been laid off from their jobs that need to fill out online applications now", said Tommy Cook, Program director at digital bridges.
Digital Bridges has state of the art computers and flip cameras that small businesses can use to make their own commercials on youtube.
"It's very nice and I like the decorations and the assistants here are very friendly", said Jennifer Ngyen.
"We can't depend anymore on people driving to your store, you also have to have a great online presence. So we do a lot to teach people and prepare them for how other people are kind of interchanging information", said Holder.
" Everybody is different, everybody has a different background that they are drawing from when it comes to computers. Some of them are scared to death to even touch them, some of them had some limited experience. So we kind of have to identify it on an individual level about what their needs are and where we need to start from, and what kind of concepts we need to drive home at first," Said Cook.
The center is free to use for anybody within the Baldwin county community. For more information you can call 478-387-0254.