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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
Lead stories from "First Look with Scott Cox's" Top Stories:
FARMER LOSES HER COMPOSURE DURING CROSS-EXAMINATION: Defense attorneys for Bakersfield mortgage fraud defendant Julie Farmer rested their case Thursday following hours of intense testimony by the former Crisp & Cole Real Estate office manager, including her brief but dramatic breakdown under withering cross-examination by the lead federal prosecutor. Answers she gave her Bakersfield lawyer painted a picture of her as an innocent administrative assistant with no knowledge of the malfeasance going on around her. Prosecutors allege Farmer helped orchestrate a mortgage fraud ring led by Crisp and Carl Cole in which the conspirators used straw buyers to secure home loans fraudulently, flipped the properties multiple times at ever-higher prices and extracted the equity. Read the full story here.
LONG-DISPUTED CANYONS PROPERTY SLATED FOR PRESERVATION: The 864 acres of wind-whipped upland, winding canyons and scenic bluffs with panoramic views of the Kern River and foothills near Hart Park has weathered more than a decade of conflict over development rights. As Californian James Burger reports, now the land known as The Canyons is poised to be purchased out of bankruptcy by the Metropolitan Bakersfield Habitat Conservation Plan Trust Group, an agency that uses funds from a fee on land development to preserve open space in Kern County. Ultimately the hope is that a long-planned city of Bakersfield trails system for bikers, runners and equestrians could be developed on the property allowing the public to share the property with the endangered plants and animals that live there. Read the full story here.
SALAS' STAFFERS DEPARTURES STUN SO CLOSE TO PRIMARY: Two employees have resigned from the office of Assemblyman Rudy Salas, D-Bakersfield, this week, prompting an accusation from a former staffer's spouse of "unethical" behavior. Their departures come less than two months before the June 3 primary. Salas' district coordinator, Willie Rivera, left Tuesday to start a new position in Bakersfield the following day with the Corporation for Better Housing. The assemblyman's senior field representative, Elva Lopez Martinez, left on Wednesday. They join at least three other staffers who have left Salas' office since voters elected the former Bakersfield Ward 1 councilman in November 2012. 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.
THREE MEN KILLED IN HIGHWAY 58 CRASH HAD TRAVELED FROM PERU IN PAST YEAR: Yonadan Inga, Marino Inga and William Bernardo-Zapaico arrived in separate journeys from Peru to the U.S. within the past year in the hopes of finding better lives and making enough money to send home to their families. All three were killed Saturday morning when a speeding van collided into the pickup they were traveling in on Highway 58 west of Fairfax Road. There will be a fundraiser to help pay for the men's funeral expenses at Beach Park starting at about 9 a.m. Sunday. They'll be selling plates of Peruvian food. Read the full story here.
POLICE RAID INTERNET CAFE ON OAK STREET: Bakersfield police Thursday afternoon served a search warrant at the Hot Spot Cyber Center Internet cafe, leaving with several baggies full of U.S. currency and confiscating nearly four dozen computers and several servers. Police spokesman Sgt. Joe Grubbs said the operation was part of an undercover sting. Grubbs said police received tips from nearby businesses that illegal sweepstakes were taking place at the cafe. The search occurred about a month after the Kern County District Attorney's Office sent cease-and-desist letters to Internet cafe owners. Read the full story here.
DEAF MAN FILES CLAIM AGAINST CITY AFTER HE'S ALLEGEDLY INJURED BY POLICE OFFICER: A deaf man allegedly tackled by Bakersfield police who believed he'd been trying to break into an apartment has filed a claim against the city alleging civil rights violations, assault and unlawful arrest. Jesus A. Trevino suffered a fractured wrist in the encounter, his attorney, Daniel Rodriguez, said Thursday. Plates and screws have been put in Trevino's wrist, and more surgery may be necessary. Read the full story here.
THE TECH REPORT
TWITTER PUSHES FURTHER INTO MOBILE ADS: Twitter is working to become less reliant on the 241 million users signing into the service each month. The company said Thursday it is making it easier to run marketing campaigns on both Twitter and MoPub, the mobile ad exchange company it purchased last October in a deal that was estimated at around $350 million. As the middle man in matching advertisers to ad space across thousands of mobile apps, MoPub handles more than 130 billion ad requests every month that can reach more than one billion unique devices.
THE HEALTH REPORT
SALMONELLA CASES DOWN, BUT WATCH OUT FOR OTHER FOODBORNE BACTERIA: You might want to think twice before heading out to your favorite oyster bar. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's annual report card on foodborne illnesses, vibrio infections -- most frequently found in raw or undercooked shellfish - have increased by 75% since the CDC's previous analysis period, 2006-2008. That's about 6,600 cases for every 100,000 people - and for every case that is reported, the CDC estimates there 142 more that aren't diagnosed. The microbe that causes vibrio is found naturally in coastal saltwater.
THE SPORTS REPORT
ECHL PLAYOFFS: BURGDOERFER BACK IN FOLD WITH CONDORS: When Erik Burgdoerfer left Bakersfield at the end of last season and headed back to his home in New York, he pretty much felt his playing days in Bakersfield were over. He had played nowhere else in his three years of professional hockey, but after two straight sub-par seasons, he had a sour taste in his mouth. When new coach Troy Mann took over the team in June, getting Burgdoerfer back in the fold was a top priority for him. It was anything but an easy sale. Read the full story here.
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