News 12 This Morning Local Update - September 28, 2006

Cave-ins affecting Laney Walker sewer lines

An old problem along Laney Walker Boulevard is now worse.

Cave-ins are creating sewer problems.

The Augusta Utilities Department was called out to evaluate a new cave-in yesterday morning.

Officials tell News 12 that industrial waste has taken its toll on the 40 year old pipes, eating up holes where eventually the top soil sinks in.

That creates big holes alongside this roadway and big headaches for lots of residents there.

"The entrance to our street has been blocked, and we have gotten a very pungent odor," said Elizabeth Wilson, who lives near the construction.

The utilities department is in the process of advertising a new project that would eventually take the industrial waste from the Laney Walker area and send it straight to the Messerly Wastewater Plant.

Truck overturns, spilling chemicals

An accident in Wagener shuts down a road for almost the entire day.

It happened when an 18-wheeler flipped yesterday morning, spilling chemicals along Highway 389, about 15 miles east of I-20.

The weight shifted when the driver was making a turn, and that caused the truck to overturn and spill the chemicals.

Officers say the truck was carrying hundreds of gallons of a chemical used to treat lumber.

The road was blocked off for most of the day as crews cleaned up, causing many who live there to take a different route.

"I hope they get it all up and nobody gets hurt," said resident James Jones.

"The first time I heard, I thought it's pretty scary. But hopefully they'll clean it up soon," said resident Jeremy Poole.

Emergency responders worried about the environmental impact the chemicals could have, especially if they got into the groundwater.

But they got it all cleaned up, and the reopened the road yesterday evening.

Officers say no one was hurt.

Head-on collision sends 4 to hospital

Four people are in the hospital after a head on collision on Walton Way.

It happened yesterday afternoon at the intersection with Quail Court, near the pond.

Officers say one of the vehicles crossed the center line, causing the accident.

Sheriff to argue against cuts before Commission

The Richmond County Sheriff's Office is fighting to keep their officers in the midst of more budget cuts.

Things could get worse if the city administrator's plan to cut 25 officers is approved.

Today Sheriff Ronnie Strength will meet with commissioners and not only ask that his department be spared from the cuts, but also for additional officers.

Sheriff Strength says crime is on the rise, and more cuts will compromise safety everywhere...including the jails.

"We've got more folks in jail with less jailers guarding them," he said. "Therefore, we have more inmate fights in the jail, we have more fights involving officers and inmates."

The sheriff's budget was cut before, back in 1997.

Right now the department is 34 officers, 6 investigators, and 25 jailers short.

Mayor's community forum today

News 12 is On Your Side, letting you know when you can tell Augusta's mayor what's on your mind.

Deke Copenhaver says he wants to hear from you.

He's hosting his next community forum today from 6 to 7 p.m., at the Sand Hills Community Center, 2540 Wheeler Road.

Job fair today

Hard work is waiting...and the Cross Country Home Services wants to help you find it. They're hosting a job fair today.

Managers will be at the Ramada Plaza Hotel in downtown Augusta from 10 o'clock this morning until 7 o'clock tonight.

If you can't make it today, they'll still be there Friday between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The company will be accepting resumes for customer service personnel.

Flu season is here!

That time has come.

We're talking about flu season, and Columbia County is getting ready now.

They've scheduled flu shot clinics: Three at the Evans government complex on October 2, 4 and 6; at Grovetown City Hall on October 10; and at Harlem City Hall on October 23.

There are also clinics at area high schools and special clinics at the health department. For a complete list, click here.

Coming Up

Usually the label "light" means you're eating or drinking a little bit healthier...but Friday, we'll tell you why doctors say that's a different story for smokers.

That's on News 12 This Morning starting at 5:30.