KSYL Local News

News For Friday 05/18/12


NEWS FOR FRIDAY 051812
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

THE RAPIDES PARISH SHERIFF’S OFFICE HAS ARRESTED A BOYCE WOMAN AND HER BOYFRIEND FACE IN CONNECTION WITH THE DEATH OF THE WOMAN'S 21-MONTH-OLD CHILD. 24 YEAR OLD JAYMES HARRIS AND 20 YEAR OLD PORSHIA MILLER, EACH HAVE BEEN CHARGED WITH ONE COUNT OF SECOND-DEGREE MURDER. THE UNIDENTIFIED CHILD, WHO DIED TUESDAY, REPORTEDLY HAD INJURIES ALL OVER IT’S BODY.

A JURY ON THURSDAY FOUND JOSEPH ANTON CHEHARDY JR. GUILTY OF SECOND-DEGREE MURDER OF HIS WIFE, WHO WAS SHOT TO DEATH IN MAY 2010 AFTER CHEHARDY BEAT AND CHOKED HER WITH THE COUPLE'S BABY IN HER ARMS. THE JURY OF NINE WOMEN AND THREE MEN WERE UNANIMOUS IN THE DECISION THAT TOOK ABOUT 50 MINUTES OF DELIBERATION. THE SENTENCE IS MANDATORY LIFE IN PRISON FOR CHEHARDY.

STATE POLICE REPORT A GLENMORA WOMAN DIED THURSDAY IN A SINGLE-VEHICLE ACCIDENT ON LA. HIGHWAY 112 IN ALLEN PARISH. TROOPERS SAY 47-YEAR-OLD DONNA FEE LOST CONTROL AND RAN OFF THE ROAD. THE CAR THEN WENT INTO A DITCH ON THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF THE ROAD AND HIT A DRIVEWAY. FEE, WHO WASN'T WEARING A SEAT BELT, WAS EJECTED. SHE WAS PRONOUNCED DEAD AT THE SCENE.

A BLOC OF CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICANS IN THE HOUSE DIDN'T MUSTER ENOUGH SUPPORT THURSDAY TO STALL A BUDGET BILL THAT TAPS INTO ONE-TIME DOLLARS TO HELP PIECE TOGETHER SPENDING PLANS, GIVING THE SENATE A VEHICLE FOR RESTORING MONEY STRIPPED FROM NEXT YEAR'S OPERATING BUDGET. THE HOUSE VOTED 63-38 TO SEND THE BILL TO THE SENATE, RAISING QUESTIONS ABOUT WHETHER THE HOUSE GOP COALITION PUSHING FOR DEEPER CUTS WOULD HOLD TOGETHER IN NEGOTIATING A FINAL VERSION OF THE $25 BILLION BUDGET FOR THE NEW FISCAL YEAR THAT BEGINS JULY 1. THE REPUBLICAN JINDAL ADMINISTRATION AND OTHER LAWMAKERS ARGUE THAT REMOVING THE ONE-TIME MONEY WOULD FORCE STEEP CUTS TO PUBLIC COLLEGES AND HEALTH SERVICES.

THE BUDGET-CUTTING COALITION OF HOUSE REPUBLICANS FELL APART THURSDAY WHEN IT CAME TO THE SPENDING PLANS TO FINANCE THE LEGISLATURE. ONLY ABOUT HALF OF THE MEMBERS OF THE GROUP VOTED TO TRIM LEGISLATIVE SPENDING, KILLING THE IDEA.
THE $93 MILLION BILL TO FINANCE LEGISLATIVE AGENCIES (HOUSE BILL 1044) WAS ADVANCED TO THE SENATE WITH AN 81-21 WITHOUT THE REMOVAL OF $6.9 MILLION PROPOSED BY REP. LANCE HARRIS, R-ALEXANDRIA. HOUSE SPEAKER CHUCK KLECKLEY, R-LAKE CHARLES, ARGUED AGAINST ANY CUTS, SAYING THEY WOULD FORCE WIDESPREAD REDUCTIONS TO STAFF BECAUSE 85 PERCENT OF THE LEGISLATIVE BUDGET IS TIED TO SALARIES. HE NOTED THE HOUSE BUDGET HAS BEEN AT STANDSTILL FUNDING FOR SEVERAL YEARS EVEN AS RETIREMENT AND HEALTH INSURANCE COSTS RISE.

A BAN ON HAND-HELD CELL PHONE USE BY DRIVERS HIT A ROADBLOCK THURSDAY IN THE LOUISIANA SENATE. THE SENATE TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE VOTED 2-1 AGAINST THE HOUSE-BACKED PROPOSAL, WHICH HAS REPEATEDLY FAILED TO GAIN TRACTION WITH STATE LAWMAKERS OVER THE YEARS. REP. AUSTIN BADON, D-NEW ORLEANS, SAID HE PROPOSED THE BILL AS A SAFETY MEASURE. HE SAID 10 OTHER STATES HAVE SIMILAR PROHIBITIONS. DRIVERS COULD USE A HANDS-FREE DEVICE TO TALK ON THE PHONE BEHIND THE WHEEL, UNDER BADON'S BILL. CRITICS SAID CELL PHONES AREN'T ANY MORE DANGEROUS THAN THINGS LIKE DRINKING COFFEE WHILE DRIVING, EATING WHILE DRIVING OR READING THE NEWSPAPER WHILE DRIVING.

INSPECTOR GENERAL STEPHEN STREET MADE A PITCH THURSDAY TO SAVE HIS GOVERNMENT WATCHDOG OFFICE, ASKING STATE SENATORS WHO ARE WORKING ON NEXT YEAR'S BUDGET TO RESTORE FUNDING TO KEEP HIS DOORS OPEN. THE HOUSE STRIPPED THE $1.7 MILLION FOR THE INSPECTOR GENERAL AND REMOVED REFERENCE TO THE OFFICE IN NEXT YEAR'S BUDGET FOR THE FISCAL YEAR THAT BEGINS JULY 1. THE SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE IS COMBING THROUGH THE HOUSE VERSION OF THE BUDGET AND CONSIDERING WHERE TO MAKE CHANGES. STREET, A FORMER PROSECUTOR, DESCRIBED HIS OFFICE AS A STRONG FIGHTER AGAINST FRAUD AND CORRUPTION IN EXECUTIVE BRANCH AGENCIES, AND HE SUGGESTED HIS FUNDING WAS ELIMINATED BECAUSE HE WAS DOING HIS JOB TOO WELL BATTLING PUBLIC CORRUPTION.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL'S PUSH TO CREATE A NEW, 401(K)-STYLE RETIREMENT PLAN FOR FUTURE RANK-AND-FILE STATE WORKERS IS NEARING FINAL LEGISLATIVE PASSAGE, HAVING RECEIVED SUPPORT FROM BOTH THE HOUSE AND THE SENATE. THE PROPOSAL (HOUSE BILL 61) BY REP. KEVIN PEARSON, R-SLIDELL, WOULD CREATE A CHEAPER INVESTMENT ACCOUNT SIMILAR TO A 401(K) PLAN FOR STATE EMPLOYEES HIRED AFTER JULY 1, 2013, INSTEAD OF A MONTHLY RETIREMENT PAYMENT BASED ON THEIR SALARIES AND YEARS OF EMPLOYMENT.
THE SENATE VOTED 23-11 FOR THE MEASURE, WHICH HEADS BACK TO THE HOUSE FOR APPROVAL OF SENATE CHANGES. SUPPORTERS SAID THE NEW SYSTEM WOULD HELP SHRINK THE GROWTH IN THE COSTS OF PENSION PROGRAMS.

BRIAN H. DOWNING, THE ALABAMA FAN SEEN ON A VIDEO APPARENTLY COMMITTING SEXUAL BATTERY ON AN UNCONSCIOUS LSU FAN AFTER THE BCS CHAMPIONSHIP FOOTBALL GAME, WAS INDICTED BY AN ORLEANS PARISH GRAND JURY THURSDAY. THE INDICTMENT AGAINST THE 32 YEAR OLD DOWNING FORMALLY CHARGES HIM WITH ONE COUNT EACH OF SEXUAL BATTERY OF A MALE VICTIM AND OBSCENITY. A VIDEO THAT WENT VIRAL ON THE INTERNET APPEARED TO SHOW SOMEONE IN A UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA JACKET ABUSING AN UNCONSCIOUS LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY FAN AFTER ALABAMA BEAT LSU FOR THE BCS FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP, JAN. 9.

SUSPENDED SAINTS LINEBACKER JONATHAN VILMA FILED A DEFAMATION LAWSUIT THURSDAY AGAINST NFL COMMISSIONER ROGER GOODELL, CLAIMING THE LEAGUE'S TOP EXECUTIVE MADE FALSE STATEMENTS THAT TARNISHED VILMA'S REPUTATION AND HINDERED HIS ABILITY TO EARN A LIVING PLAYING FOOTBALL. THE SUIT IN U.S. DISTRICT COURT IN NEW ORLEANS CLAIMS GOODELL, "RELIED ON, AT BEST, HEARSAY, CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE AND LIES" IN MAKING COMMENTS ABOUT VILMA WHILE DISCUSSING THE NFL'S BOUNTY INVESTIGATION OF THE NEW ORLEANS SAINTS.
GOODELL HAS SAID VILMA WAS A LEADER OF THE TEAM'S BOUNTY PROGRAM THAT PUT UP THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS FOR HITS WHICH TOOK OUT OPPOSING TEAMS' STAR PLAYERS FROM 2009-11

LOUISIANA LAWMAKERS SAID THURSDAY THAT THEY HAVE BROKERED AN AGREEMENT IN A DISPUTE BETWEEN THE OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY AND LANDOWNERS OVER HOW TO CLEAN UP ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE DONE IN DRILLING YEARS AGO. "THERE'S BEEN A COMPROMISE. IT WILL MOVE THROUGH THE PROCESS, AND WE WILL HAVE SOMETHING FOR THE GOVERNOR TO SIGN BEFORE THE END OF SESSION," SAID HOUSE SPEAKER CHUCK KLECKLEY, R-LAKE CHARLES. THE LEGISLATION WOULD CHANGE THE COMPLEX LEGAL PROCESS FOR DEALING WITH SO-CALLED "LEGACY LAWSUITS" THAT SEEK MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN DAMAGE CLAIMS.
NATURAL RESOURCES SECRETARY SCOTT ANGELLE WORKED ON THE AGREEMENT FOR GOV. BOBBY JINDAL AND SAID IT WILL REQUIRE COMPANIES TO START CLEANING DAMAGED AREAS TO REGULATORY STANDARDS, WHILE OTHER, MORE EXTENSIVE DAMAGES CLAIMS CAN BE PURSUED IN THE COURTS.

LOUISIANA'S PROPERTY INSURER OF LAST RESORT RECEIVED PERMISSION THURSDAY TO SECURE A $75 MILLION CASH LINE OF CREDIT IN CASE A HURRICANE DAMAGES THE STATE, SINCE A PENDING LEGAL JUDGMENT AGAINST THE COMPANY COULD NEARLY DRAIN ITS BANK ACCOUNT. THE LOUISIANA CITIZENS PROPERTY INSURANCE CORP. HAS ABOUT $140 MILLION SET ASIDE IN AVAILABLE FUNDS, ENOUGH TO COVER THE $110 MILLION JUDGMENT AGAINST THE COMPANY AND OTHER PENDING CLAIMS THAT ARE ESTIMATED TO COST AS MUCH AS $30 MILLION. THE BOND COMMISSION AGREED WITHOUT OBJECTION TO ALLOW THE INSURER TO ESTABLISH THE CREDIT FOR A BANK LOAN IN CASE OF A CATASTROPHIC EVENT WHERE THE COMPANY WOULD NEED MILLIONS MORE TO PAY CLAIMS.

AUTHORITIES IN LOUISIANA SAY A MAN WHO STARRED IN THE REALITY TELEVISION SHOW "SWAMP PEOPLE" DIED FROM NATURAL CAUSES. ASCENSION PARISH SHERIFF JEFF WILEY SAYS THE PARISH CORONER, DR. JOHN FRAICHE, MADE THAT DETERMINATION AFTER A PRELIMINARY AUTOPSY ON MITCHELL GUIST. GUIST, WHO APPEARED IN SEGMENTS OF THE "SWAMP PEOPLE" WITH HIS BROTHER, GLENN, DIED AFTER COLLAPSING MONDAY WHILE WORKING ON A HOUSEBOAT HE WAS BUILDING ON BELLE RIVER. FUNERAL SERVICES ARE SCHEDULED FOR SATURDAY IN GONZALES.









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