Local Update - March 22, 2007

Neighbors say school bus should not have been on path

People living along Wilkins Road are questioning why a school bus was on the road at all two days after two-year-old Cole Ford is run over.

It happened Tuesday (March 20) on Wilkins Road in Columbia County.

Yesterday morning, more than 150 bus drivers met at Harlem High School to talk about the dangers of the job.

The property owner, John Wilkins, says the bus should have never made it down the dirt road where Cole Ford died because there's no room for it.

Medical examiners have concluded the two-year-old died of head and pelvis injuries.

It could be a week or longer before the Columbia County Sheriff's Office finishes its investigation.

No school uniforms for Richmond County

Personal style is back in for students in Richmond County.

Tuesday (March 20), the school board voted 7 to 3 to get rid of school uniform requirements that had been in place since 2000.

Board members and principals in favor of ditching uniforms say they spend hours every day dealing with violators and they should be spending that time in the classrooms.

Others, however, say uniforms help with discipline.

"Kids do better with structure. They do better academically," said District 6 board member Jack Padgett. "And certainly behaviorally they do better."

"The goal of the board's vote was to free up teachers, principals, and administration to teach students," said District 7's Frank Dolan.

The new policy goes into effect next year.

There are a few exceptions. The alternative school and several magnet and charter schools are keeping the uniforms.

If you want to know more about next year's dress code, click here.

Augusta community forum tonight

Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver wants to sit down to talk to you. He is hosting another community forum tonight.

It will be held at the Blythe Area Recreation Center on Highway 88 from 6 to 7 pm.

Everyone is invited to come out and be heard.

Sex offender sentenced to house arrest, not prison

A convicted sex offender has made a plea deal that allowed him to return to his North Augusta home.

43-year-old Richard Gray Mayson is now under house arrest.

Mayson was accused of raping a teenage boy three years ago, but due to changes in state law, prosecutors decided not to try him.

Instead, an Aiken County judge ruled to restrict him for 5 years to his home on Woldus Road near Sudlow Lake.

Mayson is required to wear a tracking device all the time.

He's also not allowed to be near anyone under the age of 17, including family and church members.

Recreation and Parks fingered in prison contraband smuggling

Officials at Richmond County's Correctional Institution say they've caught on to one way inmates are getting their hands on cell phones.

News 12 has learned several Augusta recreation employees are being investigated for allegedly providing phones to inmates.

Five prepaid phones were found hidden in the ceiling of the recreation department's maintenance shop Tuesday (March 20). That's where inmate crews get equipment and use the bathroom.

Prison and recreation officials say there's reason to believe recreation employees provided the phones.

Officials say they also found pornographic magazines inside the building.

The assistant director of the Recreation and Parks department says several employees are being asked to take a polygraph test.