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Church arson concerns county officials


Macon-Bibb County officials plan to take a stand, literally, to show they won't tolerate acts like the suspected arson of a church in Macon.

Authorities say they're investigating the fire at God's Power Church of Christ on Cedar Avenue two weeks ago as intentional, although they say they have no indication it was a hate crime.

Rabbi Larry Schlesinger, also a county commissioner, says clergy members plan to organize a gathering at the church to make a statement.

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Bibb sheriff and deputies 'Walk for Safety'

Bibb County Sheriff David Davis and his deputies say they're taking steps to show they're looking out for the public's safety. They joined people for a walk Tuesday night through Macon's Kings Park neighborhood.

Alice Williams moved to Kings Park in August of 1970, but she says, compared to nearly 40 years ago, the neighborhood is hard to recognize.

"The houses was pretty. The yards looked good, and so it was just a joy to stay out here," she said.

But manicured lawns and unkempt homes gave way to abandoned structures and a new neighbor, crime.

Sierra Carr feels she and her two-week-old daughter Alicia would be in better hands if they saw more police more often.

"Officers, doing what they're doing now, walking out here. That'll probably slow it down a little bit," she said.

She says she rarely she sees badges or flashing lights until crime happens.

Mayor, commissioners disagree over blight money

Macon-Bibb officials are fighting blight and each other over how to divide up $14 million of funding to address dilapidation, unsafe structures, and abandoned properties in the county.

Mayor Robert Reichert has proposed focusing on four target areas (Coliseum Heights, Montpelier Heights, Second Street and Pleasant Hill).

He told 13WMAZ Tuesday those are only suggestions that the commission can discuss and change.

"I'm just interested in focusing the money in two or three projects of significance rather than nine or ten projects of insignificance," Reichert said.

Reichert says partnering with organizations, such as Habitat for Humanity, that are already doing work in certain neighborhoods can double the impact of funding.

Snake bites man at Macon motel

A man staying at a south Macon motel had an unwelcome guest in his room.

Lieutenant Sean DeFoe with the Bibb Sheriff's department says the man was bitten by a snake at the Magnolia Court Motel
Monday night.

59-year-old Danny Chambers went to the hospital where he was in stable condition.


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Summer lunch program fuels good nutrition

During the school year, students in Macon-Bibb County are fed a healthy meal.

But when school is out for the summer, parents may find getting a nutritious lunch on the table to be a challenge.

The school system now has what is called "the Lunch Bus."

Staff fill the bus with box lunches and drinks and drive through certain neighborhoods throughout Macon and Bibb County.

Last year, they served more than 6,800 meals at over 100 locations.

Organizers say the lunches don't just fill the stomach, they help the mind, too.

"Usually when kids aren't getting a balanced meal, it tends to hinder their learning experiences as well. So, in this aspect, we try to make sure that we reach out to the community to help the parents and help the children," says Bernice Tukes, Summer Foods Coordinator.

Fresh Air, Loaves and Fishes feed the needy

Every Tuesday, Loaves and Fishes hands out sack lunches to people in need.

Today, they received a little extra in their bag.

Dozens lined up outside waiting to receive their meal.

Fresh Air Bar-B-Que of Macon provided barbecue sandwiches and slaw.

Also, teens from several churches throughout Macon helped hand out the food.

Judy Sexton with Loaves and Fishes says Fresh Air really gave the homeless a nice meal.

"A lot of them would not have another meal until tomorrow when Macon Outreach serves lunch. I'm excited being able to give a BBQ sandwich, and not just a lunch meat sandwich or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich," says Sexton.

The teens handed out more than 100 lunches Tuesday.

UPDATE: More arrests made in Macon Walmart riot

Two more arrests have been made in the Walmart vandalism case bringing the total number of arrests to five. Lekelvin Lamont Renfroe, 20, turned himself in to authorities at about 9 a.m. Tuesday, according to a Bibb County Sheriff's Office news release.

A 16-year-old juvenile was also arrested.

Renfroe, the juvenile, and three other suspects, are charged with rioting, damage to property, and street gang activity.