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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
Lead stories from "First Look with Scott Cox's" Top Stories:
CITY COUNCIL BANS AGGRESSIVE PANHANDLING: Bakersfield joined cities from San Francisco to Los Angeles in banning aggressive panhandling Wednesday with a unanimous 5-0 City Council vote. The council approved an ordinance making "aggressive solicitation" a misdemeanor or an infraction. Bakersfield's ordinance also bans all soliciting near banks, credit unions and ATMs, in parking lots and structures after dark, and on medians and public transit. It will become law in 30 days. City staff said it would give Bakersfield a legally defensible local statute to help downtown business owners who have said panhandlers are driving away their customers -- instead of using state penal code to cite violators. Read the full story here.
DEFENSE WITNESSES: FARMER HAD LIMITED AUTHORITY, WAS 'TRUTHFUL AND HONEST': Lawyers for Bakersfield mortgage fraud defendant Julie Farmer opened their defense case Wednesday with testimony that the former office manager had limited authority at Crisp & Cole Real Estate, and that she has proved herself honest and dependably hard-working. On the trial's sixth day of testimony, Jack Doremus, a former real estate broker and agent at the firm, said Farmer was a staff supervisor who had no authority over the firm's real estate agents. If she gave orders, he said, they originated with company owners David Crisp and Carl Cole. Bakersfield architect David Milazzo also testified to Farmer's lack of authority, saying she "didn't attend any" of the high-level meetings. Read the full story here.
TRASH IS TALK OF TOWN AT RECYCLING PLANT OPENING: City, county and state officials heralded the official opening Wednesday of a $12 million recycling plant designed to keep up to 4 million pounds of recyclables a year out of Bena Landfill. The largely automated 50,000-square-foot facility, on South Mount Vernon Avenue in southeast Bakersfield, actually switched on in February. As often as every 2 1/2 minutes, a series of remorseless green-and-yellow machinery will sift, crush, shatter and bind six different types of recyclables into bales weighing between 600 and 1,800 pounds. Read the full story here.
WHAT'S TRENDING ON BAKERSFIELD.COM
In case you missed it, here are the stories that are trending across bakersfield.com.
MAN ARRESTED IN CONNECTION WITH ATTEMPTED FIREBOMBING: A Bakersfield man was arrested on six counts of attempted murder early Wednesday in the throwing of a Molotov cocktail through the front window of a southwest home occupied by two adults and four children. Police said the device had been lit and thrown through the window of a residence in the 6200 block of Landfair Drive, but extinguished itself upon impact. Another Molotov cocktail was thrown at the residence but did not ignite. The motive for the attempted firebombing appeared to be related to domestic violence. Police arrested 24-year-old Marco Gutierrez in connection with the incident. Read the full story here.
DRUGS & AMMUNITION FOUND IN BAKERSFIELD MAN'S HOME FOLLOWING CHASE: A search of a Bakersfield man's home following a chase through the outskirts of Delano turned up methamphetamine, rock cocaine and ammunition. Detectives tried to stop 27-year-old Jose Ayon-Navarro for a Vehicle Code violation, but he refused to stop and managed to evade the detectives for a short while. He was located and arrested near his home in the 1000 block of Delores Street. Detectives found .75 pounds of suspected meth, rock cocaine, ammunition and evidence indicating drug sales inside the home He was arrested on suspicion of offenses including drug crimes and felony evading. Read the full story here.
WOMAN ORDERED TO STAND TRIAL IN DEATH OF 4-YEAR-OLD SON: A Bakersfield woman accused in the 2010 death of her 4-year-old son was ordered to stand trial following a preliminary hearing Wednesday, but her attorney said the woman was in another room when her son fell, and the boy's death is an accident. A judge ruled there was enough evidence to hold Alexis Dixon for trial. The burden of proof is much lower at a preliminary hearing than it is at trial. Bakersfield police have said Dixon is responsible for Mark Allen Dixon's injuries, including head trauma. His death was ruled a homicide by the Kern County coroner's office. Read the full story here.
THE TECH REPORT
GOOGLE WORKS ON FUTURE PHONE: Google is jumping into its next futuristic hardware project. This time it's a modular smartphone dubbed Project Ara that can be customized by swapping out individual pieces, such as the battery and the camera. According to a CNN report, the company previewed the very early-stage project at a developer event in Santa Clara, California, this week. Google said the first version of the phone will likely be available in early 2015. The phone will come in three sizes, ranging from mini to "phablet," and it will run on a future version of the Android mobile operating system. A frame called the Endo will hold the interchangeable components together with magnets.
THE HEALTH REPORT
APATHY IN ELDERLY COULD SIGNAL SHRINKING BRAIN: Being apathetic is usually defined as showing a lack of enthusiasm or energy. Most people who experience it say they just aren't motivated to do anything. According to a CNN report, although anyone in any age group can become apathetic, it has been well documented that apathy tends to affect those in their golden years. In a study published in the journal of Neurology, it found that older folks, who are apathetic - but not depressed -- may be suffering from smaller brain volumes than those without apathy.
THE SPORTS REPORT
LONGTIME SPORTS OFFICIAL OSTHIMER DIES AT 80: Clint Osthimer said officiating football was his favorite activity in athletics. But that was only part of his sports career. Osthimer, who died Saturday at the age of 80, was also a longtime track and field official and helped develop youth wrestling programs in Kern County. But Osthimer's life was so much more than athletics. "He was really a wonderful person who loved people," said his wife of 58 years, Sharon. Read the full story here.
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