News 12 This Morning Local Update - December 1, 2006

House on Old Mims Road destroyed in fire

An investigation is underway this morning after a house went up in flames last night.

It happened around 11:30 at an old two story house off of Old Mims Road.

It was a total loss, but no one was living there.

Augusta Commission approves 2007 budget

After their third try, Augusta commissioners finally reached a decision yesterday over next year's budget.

The budget passed on a 6 to 4 vote.

For details on what projects will be funded and what will be cut in the new budget, click here.

Deputy gets 30 day suspension over threat

The Richmond County sheriff is making it clear what he expects from his deputies.

Deputy Jason Brown was given a 30 day unpaid suspension and probation for a year after he threatened a Metro Spirit journalist.

Brown went before the sheriff's disciplinary review board yesterday.

On Monday, the deputy hand-delivered an apology to the Metro Spirit reporter, and Sheriff Strength says that played a part in his decision.

SC Blue Laws may interfere with last-minute Christmas shopping

Last minute shopping could be a problem on Christmas Eve if you live in South Carolina.

That's because the Blue Law requires that stores selling non-essential items stay closed until 1:30 on Sunday afternoons.

This year some Aiken businesses are hoping a pardon will be made.

The law was created initially to protect people who object to working on Sundays.

A proposed ordinance blocking the law passed Tuesday. It will now face a final vote December 12.

Merle Temple gives exclusive statement to News 12

He's tried numerous times to postpone his jail time, even asking for an presidential pardon.

But tonight, Merle Temple, Linda Schrenko's former deputy superintendent, will spend his first night in the Edgefield Federal Prison.

Temple pleaded guilty to 3 felony charges, after admitting that he took part in a scheme to funnel federal education money to Schrenko's campaign for governor.

In a statement to News 12, he describes life-changing events that he says solidified his faith in God, and he says he also plans to spread God's Word.

Later in the statement, Temple writes that he is not angry and that he forgives all as he was forgiven.

To see the entire statement, click here.

Search for missing Allendale teen over

The search for a missing Allendale teenager is being called off.

Sheriff Tom Carter says there's nowhere else to look and that there isn't enough evidence to arrest the only suspect, 17-year-old Erica Bradley's boyfriend Derrick Maner.

The sheriff's office says they'll continue to following any leads, and alert nearby agencies.

World AIDS Day walk in Augusta

Today the world is acknowledging the AIDS epidemic.

It's World AIDS Day, and the city of Augusta started marking the national day of awareness Thursday night.

There was a walk at Druid Park Avenue where our own Domonique Benn served as emcee.

The theme for this year's world aids day is "Action Makes a Difference". It stresses the importance of every community member playing an active role in the fight against this epidemic.

South Carolina will offer free or low-cost testing for HIV today at various public health departments.

Coming Up

You've heard of an inheritance...but inherited obesity?

Monday on News 12 This Morning, learn how your genes can affect your brain and weight.