Liz Fabian

Liz Fabian is the civic reporting senior fellow at the Mercer University Center for Collaborative Journalism.

Her work appears here as part of a journalism collaboration between Mercer University, The Telegraph, 13WMAZ and GPB Macon.

Contact Civic Reporting Senior Fellow Liz Jarvis Fabian at 478-301-2976 or email fabian_lj@mercer.edu.

Liz Fabian

Two Wesleyan College students from China are seeing the worst and best of human behavior amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The young women were out shopping at a local store when they were singled out and harassed.

Liz Fabian / Center for Collaborative Journalism

A pack of four Bibb County sheriff’s deputies on motorcycles led the body of a fallen colleague into Macon Memorial Park Cemetery late Wednesday morning.

Deputy Kenterrous Taylor, 27, died early March 18 when he was thrown from his vehicle on Forsyth Road.

Taylor was responding to a reported burglary in progress when he lost control of his patrol car, crashed into a wall and overturned near Rivoli Drive.

Typically, a large public funeral would be held for a law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty but the global pandemic has postponed a public memorial.

Liz Fabian

Concern over the global coronavirus pandemic is putting disaster preparedness plans to the test.

The Macon-Bibb County Commission will be meeting by phone Tuesday and the Planning & Zoning department has decided to close its doors to the public.

“Our goal is to have the least amount of disruption and yet maintain the protocols laid out by the CDC to try to stem the spread of this nasty virus,” P&Z executive director Jim Thomas said Monday afternoon.

Liz Fabian / Center for Collaborative Journalism

The developer hoping to turn the old Pio Nono Avenue Kroger into storage units is not giving up.

Axela Development Group is asking for a rehearing before the Macon-Bibb Planning and Zoning Commission after carving out 15,000 sq. ft. of the 84,000 sq. ft. building for a potential grocery store.

Liz Fabian

Macon-Bibb County commissioners will decide Tuesday, March 3 whether to issue a moratorium on alcohol licenses in the zip codes of 31204, 31206 and 31211.

“I think that there’s some argument to be made that we’re oversaturated,” Commissioner Virgil Watkins told the Operations and Finance Committee he chairs.

Liz Fabian

Plans for a Sonny’s BBQ restaurant on Zebulon Road will have to go before the Macon-Bibb Planning and Zoning Commission for a third time.

On Monday, commissioners voted to defer the application for a second time after the design plan violated four stipulations in the original concept for outparcels at the Lofts at Zebulon development in the 5800 block of Zebulon Road.

Liz Fabian

Businesses that are in arrears have a one-time chance to skip late fees and penalties.

Macon-Bibb County commissioners approved a safe haven period until June 30 to pay up past due occupation taxes, commonly referred to as business licenses.

A failure in the county’s computer system that tracks delinquent taxpayers means some business owners may have unintentionally let their compliance lapse.

“We had some glitches in that many businesses did not get their business license renewal,” said Commissioner Mallory Jones, who sponsored the ordinance.

Liz Fabian

Macon-Bibb County commissioners want more time to consider privatizing business plan reviews and inspections after additional questions were raised Tuesday night.

Mayor Robert Reichert and County Manager Keith Moffett have advocated for SAFEbuilt Georgia LLC to take the reins of the Business Development Services Department.

The company contracts with dozens of municipalities across the state.

Liz Fabian

Four months after the state shut down Macon-Bibb County’s animal shelter, doors are open again but this time under the sheriff’s control.

An inspection Thursday led the Georgia Department of Agriculture to release the stop order, according to Julie McPeake, chief communication officer for the state regulatory agency.

Sheriff David Davis now has charge of the county’s entire Animal Welfare Department in addition to the Animal Control operation he took over in the Fiscal 2018 budget.

Liz Fabian

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, a cozy new restaurant is coming to north Macon.

Miramar Raw Bar & Tapas will open its doors Feb. 13 in the Vineville Crossing shopping center near one of its sister restaurants, Brasserie Circa at 4420 Forsyth Road.

“This place is very sexy to me, it’s very sleek,” said bar manager Josh Howard. “In my opinion, this place will be the best to bring a date to.”

Howard was unloading bottles of liquor Friday at the bar where he will be serving up specialty Spherification cocktails with tiny beads of flavor mixed into the concoctions.

Liz Fabian

When Macon-Bibb County voters go the polls this spring, they’ll use new voting equipment and might even vote in a new location.

Elections supervisor Jeanetta Watson said nearly 115,000 people are now registered to vote.

“That’s a historical high for Bibb County,” Watson said Thursday. It suggests that nearly every person old enough to vote in Bibb County is registered.

The spike comes through automatic registration at the Department of Drivers Services and the politically active climate, she said.

Liz Fabian

More than a dozen people signed up Monday to speak against a proposed self-storage facility at the old Kroger location at 400 Pio Nono Ave.

Their arguments before the Macon-Bibb County Planning and Zoning Commission were enough to halt the project to build 569 climate-controlled storage units inside the 84,000 sq. ft. building.

Most of those opposed to the storage facility would prefer another grocery store in that large shopping center a couple of blocks west of Vineville Avenue.

Liz Fabian / GPB

Dozens of people opposed the conversion of a vacant grocery store into a storage facility in a USDA defined food desert coming before the Macon-Bibb County Planning and Zoning Commission on Monday.

Several neighbors spoke out against a proposed climate-controlled self-storage facility in the old Kroger at 400 Pio Nono Ave. in Macon.

Liz Fabian

Richard Robinson was barely over 21 when he opened his first funeral home in south Macon.

In the three years since starting his own business, the young man from east Macon has seen a disproportionate share of young people among his hometown’s homicide victims.

Monday, Robinson joined Macon-Bibb County commissioners Al Tillman and Virgil Watkins to announce their new partnership aimed at reducing youth violence.

Liz Fabian

More than 100 Macon businesses are in jeopardy of losing their alcohol licenses as of Jan. 1 unless the law is changed.

The Macon-Bibb County Commission amended the alcohol code last year and set the license expiration date as Dec. 31 to align with the Georgia Department of Revenue.