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New Houston Co. stadium set to open Fall 2016


Houston County Schools plan to open a new football stadium in the fall of 2016.

The board started collecting money for the project in 2012, after voters passed a penny sales tax for education.

School leaders believe the new stadium will help solve a perennial problem at McConnell-Talbert stadium in Warner Robins.

Maintenance Director Cecil Parker says McConnell-Talbert's field is in such poor shape right now, that playoff games had to be moved to locations outside the county.

Parker showed 13WMAZ that the middle of the field is mostly sand with no grass cover.

He said, "It should be turf grass. Thick grass. The middle, between the 30's is where they wear it out."

Amended pension plan in Warner Robins benefits Mayor


The same pension arrangements for those who retire early, as those who retire at full term.

The Warner Robins Council amended its pension plan for government workers elected into office and tailored it to early retirees.

Before. the rules stated that government retirees retiring at full term can collect their pensions while in office, but did not specify that early Retirees can do the same.

The decision affects the city's top-ranking elected official, Mayor Randy Toms.

"Since Mayor Toms was not at normal retirement age when he retired he didn't fall within that provision of the existing pension law" says City Attorney Jim Elliott.

He called the former plan inconsistent.

"The rules only state that full term retirees are eligible" said Elliot

Warner Robins' unemployment rate falls, Macon's rate holds steady


The unemployment rate for metro Warner Robins in October was 7.1 percent, down two-tenths from September. The rate was 7.1 percent in October last year.

Metro Macon's rate for the same period remained unchanged at 7.7 percent, according to a news release from the Georgia Department of Labor. Metro Macon's rate was 8.4 percent last year.

The rate fell as metro Warner Robins added 500 jobs in October, the news release states. The total number of jobs increased to 58,800, up from 58,300, or 0.9 percent, from September.

Much of the job gain came in state government, including the public schools, retail trade, which is associated with holiday hiring, and the goods-producing sector, which includes manufacturing and construction, according to the news release.

Warner Robins pastor urges calm after Ferguson


In Central Georgia, the reaction to the verdict in Ferguson has been mixed, but pastor Troy Wynn of Warner Robins made one message loud and clear: c
ool heads and calm actions are the only way to move forward.

Wynn said Tuesday night that his goal was to speak positive words to people in the community who might be frustrated with Monday's grand jury decision.

He wants to give young people in particular hope and constructive ways to make their voices heard.

"History has proven that when we take a violent route, we do more damage than good," he said.

Pastor Troy Wynn is encouraging his congregation to think twice about how they react to Ferguson in a time when emotions are running high in Missouri and here at home.

Houston County home hit by tornado


There was damage in Houston County, including broken windows and trees snapped in half, after the neighborhood was hit by a confirmed tornado.

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Houston County EMA Chief Jimmy Williams said the tornado was level F-1, meaning it was moving between 73 miles per hour and 112 miles per hour.

That was fast enough to blow the roof off of of a home on Pitts Road and knock it off its foundation.

Mother sentenced for running over child


A Macon woman convicted of running over her own son after shoplifting at a mall will serve nine years in prison.

Arkebia Albury was sentenced today in Houston County Superior Court.

In May 2013, police said she shoplifted clothes from a store at the Galleria Mall in Centerville, rushed out to her car, and didn't realize that her four-year-old son was not inside.

As Albury pulled out, her son was hit. The child suffered skull fractures, liver injuries, and more. Police said she put her son into the car and drove away. Officers pulled her over a few miles from the mall.

Monday, Judge George Nunn sentenced her to 20 years, nine of them in prison, 11 on probation.

Houston County district attorney George Hartwig says her son is still recovering from those injuries.


Car City raises funds for homeless


Gary Hawk and a few of his church members are participating in Car City, a campaign that invites people to spend the night in a parking lot in their cars.

"It might be cold out here, but it could be worse. It could be raining, it could be windy," Hawk said, "Actually it's not a bad night. Some people do this year round. We're doing it for one night."

But they're doing it for a good cause: to bring awareness to homeless families who have to do the same.

Dozens of people showed up to the event Friday night.

Shirley Boan is a volunteer for Family Promise of Greater Houston County, a nonprofit organization that helps homeless families get back on their feet.

"By and large, what we've discovered is there's a lot of people in this town that don't realize that there is a problem here," Boan said.