News 12 This Morning Local Update - October 11, 2006

Fire destroys south Augusta apartments

The Red Cross is helping eight families with shelter and financial assistance after their homes were destroyed by fire this morning.

The Charlestown South apartment complex on Lumpkin Road caught fire just before 3 o'clock.

Everyone was evacuated...but luckily no one was hurt.

Firefighters believe an electrical problem may have sparked the fire.

Man shot to death in drug deal gone bad

An Allendale man has been shot to death, caught in the middle of what deputies are calling a drug deal gone bad.

William Rouse is facing drug charges and Gary Roley is suspected in murder.

Deputies say Rouse crushed a stick of deodorant and tried to sell it as crack cocaine, then took off when the buyer got mad.

That is when deputies say Roley shot and killed Anthony Parker.

Former councilman accused of sexual assault in court

William Russ Ferrara, a former Aiken County Council member will be in court today for a preliminary hearing.

The hearing involves charges of fondling a deaf woman, 23-year-old Kari Cook.

Authorities say Ferrara asked her for sex in exchange for free rent.

Merry, Few to court today in elections board appeal

In Augusta, Ronnie Few will be back in court to face off with community watchdog Woody Merry.

Merry tells News 12 he and Few are set to appear in court at 11 o'clock this morning.

Merry and his attorney are appealing the Board of Elections' decision last month that allows Few to run for Augusta mayor.

Merry claims Few is not legally able to run for the mayor's office after Few filed for a tax break in Columbia County.

SPLOST projects in progress, being negotiated

Talks continue between city officials trying to divvy up SPLOST money from the first four phases of Augusta's sales tax.

So far the funds have yielded new parks, roads, and fire stations.

There's still millions of dollars left from the SPLOST to be spent.

The city administrator tells News 12 they're moving forward with several projects.

Right now he says they're interviewing architects for the new jail and judicial center.

The latest SPLOST is a $160 million package, but all the money won't be collected for another two years.

Richmond County takes school safety measures

The Richmond County School Board is working to make area schools safer this morning.

Yesterday, board members approved close to $18,000 to board up the old Davidson Fine Arts High School in downtown Augusta for safety reasons.

And board members decided to go ahead and place BOE officers at Davidson and A.R. Johnson in light of all the school threats made this past week.

Georgia gubernatorial candidates to appear on News 12 in debate

You'll want to tune in this week to hear what Georgia governor candidates have to say. News 12's Richard Rogers will be part of the forum to be aired on News 12 this Saturday at 7 o'clock, and he wants to know what questions you have for the candidates.

What do you want to hear Mark Taylor, Sonny Perdue, and Garrett Hayes talk about?

What issues are important to you in the governor's race?

Click here to let us know.

Absentee ballots available in Columbia County

12 is On Your Side if you are planning on being out of town and want to vote absentee in the November election.

Absentee ballots are now available in Columbia County.

You can stop by the Board of Elections office from 8 a.m. until 5 o'clock in the afternoon, Monday through Friday.

The elections office is located at 630 Ronald Reagan Drive.

Coming Up

A local business wants you to go cruisin' for sundaes, just like in the 1950's.

Thursday, we'll sample his delicacies and tell you how to get your business involved.

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