Local Update - May 9, 2007

Bomb Threats Cost You Hundreds of Thousands
Bomb threats may be funny to pranksters, but Wednesday morning, board members are not laughing at the cost of them. You won't either, once you see how much they're really costing you. A total of 129 bomb threats have been called into schools this year, and the price of them really adds up. In all, the fake threats have cost more than $77,000 dollars for the fire department and more than $51,000 for the sheriff's office special operations, totaling $129,000. This number, however, excludes 911 dispatchers and investigators. Tuesday, the school board heard suggestions from government leaders, federal and state law enforcement agencies, and the community, but they did not decide on a solution.

City Attorney gets the Boot
With only four months behind the desk, Augusta Commissioners are asking their city attorney to resign. The mayor sent a letter to Eugene Jessup Monday, telling him that commissioners believe his continued employment was not in the best interest of the city. Jessup was hired in January to replace Attorney Steve Shepard. Since then, he's had run-ins with some commissioners after he seized the hard drive of an attorney under him. He also wanted her fired for doing personal business on the city computer. Jessup will receive a severance package. Mayor Deke Copenhaver tells News 12, the city is working with an outside legal group until a replacement is found. Jessup could not be reached for comment.

10th District Debates
The 10th Congressional District Debates are coming up next week, and you can be a part of them. Augusta State University's Political Science Department is hosting a debate among the 10 candidates. Six Republicans, three Democrats, and one Libertarian will answer questions in a debate News 12's own Laurie Ott will moderate. It's Wednesday, May 16th at 7PM in the Jaguar Student Activities Center Ballroom on the ASU campus.

Murdered Aiken Teacher's Daughter Charged
The daughter of an Aiken Middle School teacher found dead is now charged with murder. Wednesday morning, officers say 21-year-old Christina Mavris stabbed 55-year-old Dana Davis to death last Thursday. Her body was found after Mavris called 911 to report a fire at the home on Hahn Avenue. News 12 has learned Davis filed several reports with the police to document her daughter's violent behavior over the last four years. According to one of the incident reports, Dana Davis told police her daughter refused to take her prescription medication. It also says Christina Mavris was seen by four separate health facilities in the past. Her mother's funeral will be Saturday afternoon at 1:00PM at Cedar Creek Church in Aiken.

Flea Market Fire Investigation
A.T.F. agents and U.S. Marshals are working with the Augusta Fire Department Wednesday morning, looking in into the massive fire at the South Augusta Flea Market. Tuesday, agencies compared evidence which includes pictures and blueprints of the building. Vendors were out Tuesday salvaging what they could. Some say they'll be back in business this weekend. Meanwhile, the man who runs the South Augusta Flea Market, Harold "Dusty" Rhodes, is scheduled to be in court on Thursday. Firefighters say he never gave them any plans to correct some of his fire code violations, including problems with exits and smoke detectors. Rhodes says part of the problem is water access. The nearest hydrant is a quarter of a mile away from the flea market.

Postal Rate Increase
Get ready to shell out more money for your snail mail. New postage rates take effect Monday, May 14th. The price to send a first class stamp is going up to 41 cents.

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