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  1. Builders 'top off' new medical development in northeast

    BY COURTENAY EDELHART The Bakersfield Californian
    Friday, Jan 23 2015 05:42 PM

    Ancient pagan Scandinavians were big believers in trees. They plopped them on top of new buildings all the time, a tradition that persists today in the form of "topping off" ceremonies commemorating the installation of the last structural beam in a new building's framework.

    In the American version of the ceremony, the tree is accompanied by a flag. On Friday, doctors, politicians and various other dignitaries watched a crane hoist the last beam onto a medical building under construction at Highway 178 and Morning Drive in northeast Bakersfield. They cheered when the beam was lowered and hammered in place without dropping the potted tree and flag stand precariously perched on top.

  2. Bakersfield's private hospitals earn Bs, Cs in new study

    Other local hospitals said they support transparency in safety assessments, but they're a little dubious about the Leapfrog report. The Leapfrog Group's Hospital Safety Score assigns A, B, C, D and F grades to about 2,500 hospitals...

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    Hospital 'grades' not always a fair measure

    A new report on the safety of care at hospitals across the nation put Kern Medical Center at the absolute bottom of Bakersfield's hospital pile. The county-owned hospital got an "F" in The Leapfrog Group's Hospital Safety Score report --...

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    Community roundup: Kern earns mixed grades for tobacco control

    The American Lung Association gave Kern County its usual bashing in an annual report that graded the region's tobacco control policies. The association rates cities nationwide in its "American Lung Association State of Tobacco Control...

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    Environmental group says oil and gas industry hurts air quality

    The environmental group Earthworks has released a report that raises questions about possible adverse health effects from living near oil and gas production. The 56-page report, "Californians At Risk: An Analysis of Health Threats from...

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    Medical board accuses local OB-GYN of gross negligence

    The California Medical Board has moved to either revoke, suspend or deny the medical license of Bakersfield OB-GYN Dr. Philipp Ramon Melendez, accusing him of gross negligence in failing to properly treat a high-risk pregnancy that ended...

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    ASK EMILY: Covered California's confusing mail

    Another in a series of Q&A columns answering consumers' questions about the Affordable Care Act. You've jumped through all of Covered California's hoops. You figured out what makes a bronze plan different from a silver one. You made your...

  8. Experts: Bidart handling apple recall well

    Bidart Bros. is doing a reasonably good job of damage control since a food poisoning crisis was linked to its apple processing plant, according to industry watchers. Earlier this month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers...

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    ASK EMILY: Health law mandate hits employers unevenly

    Another in a series of Q&A columns answering consumers' questions about the Affordable Care Act. Starting Jan. 1, one of the most-feared aspects of the Affordable Care Act took effect after some delay, requiring large businesses to...

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    Major grant to fund homeless services project

    Thanks to a new $1.2 million federal grant, Clinica Sierra Vista next month will begin offering an intense program of substance abuse and mental health services for the homeless. The initiative will target veterans who have been homeless...

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    Kaiser healthcare workers strike

    About 2,600 Kaiser Permanente mental health clinicians in California walked off the job Monday to protest a "chronic failure" to provide Kaiser members with "timely, quality mental health care." The workers were members of the National...

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    Workers' comp case traps Alabama nurse in Bakersfield for 3 years

    Alabama nurse Althea Hart didn't anticipate she'd still be in Bakersfield three years after agreeing to work here in 2011 under a 13-week contract with optional renewals. In that time five of her relatives have died, her husband has had a...

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    Dhanens among honorees on Donate Life Rose Parade float

    A "floragraph" of Fresno State fraternity pledge Philip Dhanens will be among 72 honoring organ and tissue donors on a float in the 126th Rose Parade Thursday. Composed of coffee, seeds, flowers and other natural materials, Dhanens' head...

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