NEW! News 12 This Morning Local Update

August 29, 2006

Here are your top stories for Tuesday morning, August 29.

Whiskey Road accident

Traffic is still moving slowly this morning in the eastbound and westbound lanes of Whiskey Road after an accident.

It happened just before 8:00 in front of the Sonic restaurant near Sharons Lane.

No one is injured, but you may want to use an alternate route while crews can get the scene cleared up.

Gas prices down

Prices at the pump are a little more reasonable...but how long will that last?

Lots of factors can change prices throughout the day.

This area is paying an average of $2.60 for gas, down about 10 cents from last week, but still up from the $1.50 per gallon drivers paid back in 2004.

One reason: the US gets the majority of its crude oil from other countries, but we want more than they can make. That means prices could continue to climb.

"It means we got to drive a little less...and these big cars use an awful lot of gas," said Neil Wilson, a driver we spoke to yesterday.

Locally, though Georgia has a lower gas tax, with all the other impact fees tacked on, you pay $0.44 extra per gallon, while in South Carolina you pay an extra $0.35 a gallon.

Keith Brown resigns

Augusta commissioners will be one vote short now. Yesterday morning, interim District 4 representative Keith Brown gave his resignation to the mayor.

The Board of Elections disqualified Brown from running for the seat in November, saying he didn't meet residency requirements.

"I could continue to sit on the commission," Brown said. "That I believe would only divide the commission, divide the city, and only benefit me."

Now commissioners will have to agree on a different interim commissioner.

Some have mentioned Richard Colclough, who stepped down from the seat in District 4 to run for a state office.

Alvin Mason and Bernard Harper are the two candidates on the ballot for the seat in November.

Time to Care Blood Give In is today

We want to remind you to come out to our Time To Care Blood Give In. It's today at the First Baptist Church Activities Building on Walton Way Extension.

In addition to helping save lives, each donor will receive a free t-shirt and meal.

And if you're bringing your little ones, there will be free baby-sitting services.

This is all possible with the help of Shepeard Blood Center and our Time To Care partners.

We hope you'll come out and give.

Two arrests in pickup truck murder

From CrimeTeam 12, a double county murder case nets two arrests.

The Burke County Sheriff's Office arrested Michael Fields yesterday afternoon. He is charged with murder along with Michael Thomas.

Investigators say they are looking for more suspects in the murder of Curtis Howard, Jr.

He was found dead in the bed of a pickup truck on horseshoe road Friday night.

While the body was found in Richmond County, GBI now has the case, because investigators say there's a good chance the crime happened in Burke County.

Copenhaver kicks off mayoral campaign

Augusta mayor Deke Copenhaver made his candidacy official yesterday. He'll run in November to try to keep his job for the next four years.

The mayor made the announcement at the Augusta Common.

This year has been a drama-filled one for Copenhaver and the Commission as a whole.

You'll remember the gridlock over abstentions, and recently all the budget troubles...but there have also been some good things, like the sale of city land for riverfront condos and the announcement of dozens of new jobs.

"It takes time for a team to gel," Copenhaver said. "We live in a vastly impatient society, but the Commission is coming together and working better together. I think you're really going to see us working better on the budget, because that's of concern to all of us."

Qualifying for the mayor's race began yesterday, and will continue through Friday.

Former fire chief Ronnie Few, William "Gil" Gilyard and businessman Steven Kendrick also have announced plans to run.

The election is November 7.

Stories we're working on

Hurricane Katrina hit the US one year ago today, and Augusta became a refuge for many.

So where are they now?

Find out tonight at 6 o'clock.