Local News Roundup — Feb 17, 2009

Here are some of the stories in the Southland on Tuesday...

Authorities ID Body Found Near Highway

Authorities identified a body found Sunday on the side of a road near Running Springs as that of a woman who was involved in an argument at a Redondo Beach bar.(NBCLA.com)

Budget Battle

California lawmakers remain locked in a frustrating search for one more vote to end the state's budget impasse.  Lawmakers broke the record for longest legislative session in state history over the weekend before disbanding Sunday night without the necessary votes. Last night, Senate leader Darrell Steinberg announced that lawmakers had failed to find the final vote in his chamber as Republicans refused to support more than $14 billion in tax increases. Steinberg has called for another session and said he would put the tax provisions of the budget proposal up for a vote, even if they would not pass.  The stalled effort prompted Gov. Schwarzenegger to make good on an earlier promise to begin the layoff process for thousands of state workers. (NBCLA.COM)

Polanski Hearing

A hearing is scheduled today on a request by defense lawyers for a judge to dismiss the case against film director Roman Polanski. Polanski ... who's now 75 years old ... fled to his native France in 19-78 after pleading guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl. His attorneys want the case dismissed on grounds of judicial and prosecutorial misconduct. L-A County prosecutors say in retort that the issue should not even be considered until Polanski returns to Los Angeles County. His attorneys have said Polanski has no intention of returning under the present circumstances. He would be arrested if he did. The girl with whom Polanski had sex is now a 45-year-old mother of four. She has long wanted the case against the Oscar-winning director dismissed. (NBCLA.COM)

Back to the Bargaining Table

Negotiators for the Screen Actors Guild and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers will resume contract talks today for the first time since November. The two sides are scheduled to meet today and tomorrow at the offices of the alliance in Sherman Oaks. The negotiations will be the first since November 22nd. Since then ... SAG members have elected a more moderate board and fired their chief negotiator. The actors have been working without a contract since the 30th of June. (NBCLA.COM)

 Pain at the Pump Gasoline prices rose in Los Angeles County today but by the smallest sum recorded in 15 consecutive day of increases. The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular unleaded gasoline rose one-tenth of a cent overnight and now stands at 2 dollars and 26-and-a-half cents. That's 7-point-4 cents more than last week and 24-point-6 cents more than a month ago ... but more than 88 cents less than at this time last year. In Orange County ... unleaded regular rose for the 15th straight day today. It now stands at 2 dollars and 25-point-7 cents.

TASER Death Investigation

An autopsy is scheduled later today on the body of a man who died after being pepper-sprayed and shocked with a Taser in a confrontation with L-A County sheriff's deputies in Lakewood. The Sheriff's Department says that deputies moved against the man when they found him running naked in the street in the area of Silva Street and Dunrobin Avenue Saturday night. A department spokesman says they used the Taser and the pepper spray when he advanced on them in a threatening manner. The coroner's office says 32-year-old Chenard Kierre Winfield of Los Angeles was 6 feet 3 and 350 pounds.

Sea Lion Shootings

A marine animal rescue organization is offering a 5-thousand-dollar reward for information leading to the conviction of whoever has been responsible for shooting sea lions in Santa Monica Bay. The latest victim was a 30-pound 8-month-old sea lion pup which was found paralyzed and in critical condition at Dockweiler Beach earlier this month. The organization offering the reward is Marine Animal Rescue. It can be contacted at 1-800-39-WHALE. (NBCLA.COM)

Octuplets Mom Update

A Franklin, Tenn.-based Christian talent agency gave some advice to Octuplets mom Nadya Suleman about licensing photos of her children, but the head of the agency said he decided against representing her. More than a decade ago, the Ambassador Agency Inc. started representing Kenny and Bobbi McCaughey, the Iowa couple whose sextuplets born Nov. 17, 1995 became the first surviving set of six in the nation.  Wes Yoder, the president of the firm, said he considered handling the Suleman octuplets, but "has not executed a representation agreement, nor do we intend to do so." (NBCLA.COM)

Southland Soaking

California is set to dry out after a Presidents Day holiday weekend soaking that left made travel treacherous with snowbound mountain passes and flooded roadways. But the state appeared to have dodged the major mudslides and flooding that had been feared. Some mud flowed over sandbags and seeped into about 20 homes in a burn area in Yorba Linda. Lingering showers will persist throughout Southern California today as the region heads into a dry period.  (NBCLA.COM)

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