Thursday, May 24, 2007
The Macon Symphony Orchestra has a new CEO. After a yearlong search the board hired Eugene Carinci of Portland, Maine. The new CEO will focus on fundraising and boosting attendance. Two issues faced by symphonies all over the country. Carinci has experience as both an administrator and musician.
Hamilton Elementary School is closing its doors after fifty-three years. The Bibb County elementary school held its final sixth grade graduation on Wednesday. The school serves children in the Unionville neighborhood. In March the school board voted to close Hamilton citing declining enrollment. Students from Hamilton will be moved to Hartley Elementary.
Officials met in Atlanta Wednesday to discuss commuter rail, again. Former State Representative, Larry Walker, who serves on the board of the Department of Transportation says it's time to make a decision on the rail issue. Some of the option's discussed; going ahead with the Atlanta-Lovejoy portion of the line, hiring a consultant, or getting rid of the project all together. DOT officials say plans for a Macon to Atlanta route are not looking good.
Middle Georgia farmers will be getting some help from the Federal Government. The U.S. Farm Service Agency says 152 counties around the state will be eligible for low-interest loans. An Easter eve freeze damaged or destroyed many crops. The cold weather caused 258-million dollars in damage statewide. Hardest hit were blueberries, peaches and pecans.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Damage to the Middle Georgia peach crop is far worse than expected. After a freeze on Easter weekend, damage estimates were about 50 percent. However, farmers now estimate the losses at 80 percent. Officials from the Peach County Extension office say the reduced crop also means five hundred fewer migrant workers will be coming to the area. These workers contribute to the local economy. Officials with Lane Packing, one of the largest growers in the area, say the freeze is the third worst in the company's 100 year history.
The new Macon-Bibb County Board of Tax Assessors is up and running. The board elected Bill Vaughn as Chairman, and voted to mail out the 2007 tax notices. The new assessors took office after the Bibb County Commissioners voted to remove the previous board. They came under fire after 18-thousand property owners appealed their assessments. There is still one vacancy to be filled on the new board.
A Macon Marine died fighting in the Anbar Province of Iraq on Monday. The United States Department of the Military says Cpl. Jeffrey Walker joined the Marines in 2004 and was stationed at Camp Lejune, North Carolina. Cpl. Walker was assigned to combat logistics and deployed to Iraq earlier this year. He received the Iraq Campaign Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the Sea Service Ribbon prior to his death.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Three Macon teenagers have been arrested and charged with animal cruelty. Two 14-year old's and a 13-year old are accused of setting a dog on fire. The dog was still alive when fire officials arrived on the scene, but died soon after. Animal advocates are calling this one of the worst cases of animal cruelty they have ever seen.
It's been more than a month since an oil spill was discovered in a drainage ditch near Central City Park. The spill originated at the City of Macon's vehicle maintenance department, and quickly spread. The city will have to spend 130-thousand dollars to clean up the mess. The City Council is hoping the Environmental Protection Agency will help pay for the cleanup.
Bibb County Commissioner Sam Hart has formally stepped down. Hart was forced to leave office after purchasing a new home and moving out of his district. However, he is not leaving politics. Hart says he will run for Chairperson of the Bibb County Commission during the next election. Harts departure leaves the commission with two Republicans and two Democrats.
Macon City Councilman, Rick Hutto is leaving his Ward 1 council seat to run for a citywide post. He will run against Councilwoman Brenda Youmas who defeated him in 2003. Hutto says he stands a better chance this time because of his record on council. Formal qualifying for the race is in June.