Local Update - April 25, 2007

Representative requested for James Brown, Jr.

This morning Tomi Rae will appear in court for yet another hearing. This time, it's for her son.

An attorney for Tomi Rae filed a motion to appoint a representative for James Brown, Jr.

News 12 was at Augusta Regional last night as Tomi Rae and her and son arrived in Augusta for the hearing.

"There are trust issues there and I don't think anyone else should be allowed to appoint guardianship over our son, especially someone who in the first place threw us out of our home," she said. "So why they're concerned now is something that I'm concerned about."

She says she's ready for their day in court, and says she's always been happy with Judge Jack Early's decisions in the past. She expects today to be no different.

The judge may also decide if the appointed special administrators will gain more control over Brown's estate. A contempt of court petition against trustee Buddy Dallas might be discussed as well today.

Stay tuned to news 12 for the latest on that hearing.

Incumbents win North Augusta council election

There will be no changing of seats on North Augusta's city council.

The incumbents came out on top, with James Adams winning 699 votes, Ken McDowell 620 votes, and Carolyn Baggott 566 votes.

All three of them will continue serving on the city council.

Darrell Blocker came in with 294 votes, and write-in candidate Joseph Pippen got 95.

7 qualify for District 10 race

Seven candidates for Georgia's 10th District seat in Congress are officially running.

The election is June 19 and is non-partisan, but party affiliation will be listed.

Erik Underwood, Paul Broun, Jim Whitehead and Nate Pulliam have qualified as Republicans and James Marlow and Evita Paschall as Democrats. So far Jim Sendelbach is the lone Libertarian.

Qualifying will continue through noon on Thursday (April 26).

Columbia County tables Pre-K discussion

Will it stay or will it go? That's the question confusing many Columbia County parents when it comes to the county's Pre-K program.

Last night the school board voted to table the decision and talk about it a little more before making an overall decision.

The vote to get rid of the Pre-K program last week was only a tentative one.

"I'm glad they haven't made a decision to scrap it completely, and I hope they're open-minded to listen to all the concerns of all the parents out there," said parent Heather Holloway.

"We need several answered questions," said chairman Regina Buccafusco. "Can we keep the seats? Is their program equitable to our program? So all these questions really need to be answered."

The BOE will revisit the issue until at least the end of summer, when they will bring in a state BOE representative to help.

Middle schoolers charged with arson

Two Murphey Middle School students have been arrested for arson.

Investigators say the students set an abandoned home on Cherry Road in south Augusta on fire yesterday morning on their way to school.

A witness spotted the two boys running from the house. A deputy who was about a block away from the scene then took them into custody.

Fire investigator Lt. G.B. Hannan says the home had been abandoned for quite some time and was not secured, which is a big part of the problem.

"This house had evidence of people going in and out," he said. "There were beer bottles, cigarette butts, candles. So it was eventually going to happen, whether intentional or not. With people going in and out of the structure like that, it happens."

If you own abandoned property there are ways to protect it. Make sure to check on it often, lock all doors and board up any windows, and ask neighbors to keep an eye out for any suspicious activity.

As for the 13- and 14-year-old suspects, each is charged with one felony count of arson.

They are both at the Youth Detention Center this morning.