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Sundance to bring film workshops to Macon

The Sundance Institute through a grant from the Knight Foundation will bring "artist development day labs" to Macon.

The day labs include workshops and panels from a wide array of screenwriters, producers, composers and filmmakers.

In addition to the events at the select cities, 12 filmmakers from the eight cities, Macon; Akron, Ohio; Charlotte, N.C.; Detroit; Miami; Philadelphia; San Jose, Calif.; and St. Paul, Minn.; will be made "Sundance | Knight Fellows." They will take part in special screenings and panels at the Sundance Film Festival in 2015 in Utah.

The event kicks off in Miami next week (Oct. 25), and the following cities will have their dates announced throughout 2015.

Attendence is free but requires an online RSVP through the Sundance Institute.

Group names Navicent Health president CEO of the Year

The Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals has named Dr. Ninfa M. Saunders, president and CEO of Navicent Health, as its 2014 CEO of the Year.

The Alliance recognizes a CEO annually that it believes has helped push their institution to be successful, while also continuing efforts to provide world class care and community benefit, according to a news release.

"Hospital leaders are facing more challenges than ever before and we see some of the greatest innovation and leadership each year when we select our CEO to honor," Alliance President Monty Veazey stated in the news release. "Dr. Saunders has taken a strong hospital and made its future even more compelling. She exemplifies dedication and excellence and that is why the Alliance is proud to recognize her as our 2014 CEO of the Year."

Firearm hunting season begins Saturday

The start of cooler weather tells Georgia hunters one thing, the firearm Deer hunting season has arrived. A few of those hunters told 13WMAZ's Paula Rotondo, it's like Christmas for them.

A safe Firearm deer hunting season demands proper preparation. Tree stands, ladder stands, and safety harnesses all should be checked before the season begins.

Ed George is a sales associate in the hunting department at Bass Pro Shop. He's a veteran hunter, and says safety is the top priority, especially when it comes to the stands.

He says, "The most common accident is people falling from or being injured in a deer stand."

Georgia's Department of Natural Resources found during the 2012, 2013 season, nearly 60% of the reported incidents were tree stand accidents.

George says he thinks 90% of the accidents are avoidable.

Middle Georgia State inaugurates first permanent president

Middle Georgia State officially welcomed a new leader this morning during his inauguration.

Christopher Blake is first permanent president of Middle Georgia State College.

Blake says since he was selected for the position in January, he's been listening and connecting with faculty, staff and students.

"It's helped me understand we have a capacity to really connect to middle Georgia and help it become a center of learning," he said.

Previously, Blake was president of Mount Mercer University in Iowa and helped the school become a university.

He hopes to do the same for Middle Georgia State.

"Our first step is to get our graduate programs going," Blake explained, "We'll be taking to the Board of Regents, proposals for two this year and maybe another two in a years time."

Central Ga. hospitals issue joint statement on Ebola

The major hospitals in Central Georgia issued an unusual joint statement Friday about the rising fears of the Ebola virus.

The "Statement Concerning Patient Treatment, Ebola" said they are "very well prepared to handle any infection disease situation" using the CDC protocols.

13WMAZ first reported Thursday that Medical Center-Navicent was asking incoming patients additional questions to see if they fell into the possible risk group for Ebola.

Friday afternoon, we received a joint statement from Navicent Health, Houston Healthcare, Coliseum Medical Centers and Coliseum Northside Hospital.

It said in part: "While flu-like symptoms do not necessarily indicate an Ebola diagnosis, we are taking extra precautions and have instituted additional screenings to protect our staff and community."

Bibb Schools approve raise for 1,500 employees

UPDATE: The Bibb County Board of Education approved raises Thursday night for about 1,500 non-teaching employees. It will be their first pay increase in six years.

Check back for more details.


The Bibb County School Board must approve the implementation of the salary study before some employees can get a raise.

The district set aside $1.3 million for these pay increases for classified employees. People who fall into that category work in, for example, transportation, nutrition and administrative roles.

Executive Director of Accounting Sharon Roberts said that group hasn't had an increase in pay for 6 years.
Each position is assigned a grade, or ranking, which is their level of responsibility.

Federal inspectors headed back to Macon Gardens

Federal inspectors are headed back to a troubled Macon apartment complex next week.

The Macon Gardens apartments could lose their federal Section 8 funding if inspectors say it's not up to code.

Joseph Phillips, spokesman for the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, says they'll return to the apartments Oct. 21.

Macon Gardens got a 40 out of 100 on a recent inspection. Tenants have complained for years about health and safety problems at the complex off Mercer University Drive.

Phillips says it could take several weeks to get those inspection scores and learn whether the complex loses its funding.

Public money pays most of the rent at the Macon Garden Apartments, and HUD admits they haven't followed up on problems there.