Local News

Monday, Apr 21 2014 06:58 AM

'First Look': First News for April 21

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Lead stories from "First Look with Scott Cox's" Top Stories:

HAVE WE TURNED A CORNER? LOCAL ANIMAL EUTHANASIA RATES PLUMMET: Every year for 11 years, The Californian has reported the grim tally of cast-off animals that had to be killed by the county of Kern and city of Bakersfield -- more than 250,000 total. This year there's something remarkable to report: a 19 percent year-over-year drop in the number of dogs, cats, livestock, birds and other critters euthanized, according to city and county data analyzed by the paper. But why the drop? Animal advocates point to community momentum building behind government and nonprofit efforts to spay and neuter more animals, reducing the overpopulation that drives shelter intake numbers. Read the full story here.

CENTURY-OLD TREASURE WAS SLATED FOR DEMOLITION: Despite what historians and preservationists are saying about the significance of the Security Trust building in downtown Bakersfield -- and they agree it is a local treasure -- the 104-year-old landmark came close to suffering the fate of so many other historic structures throughout Bakersfield's history. There was an order for demolition but Sam Abed is the new owner who has taken on the daunting task of restoring the bank-turned-restaurant-turned-ruin. Abed, who is looking at substantial costs to rehabilitate the building, said so far, local government has provided little incentive to restore the site. Read the full story here.

ATTORNEYS PAINT CONFLICTING PICTURES OF FARMER FOR JURY: Closing arguments in Julie Farmer's mortgage fraud trial portrayed her Friday as either an "innocent-minded" office manager kept in the dark about an elaborate criminal scheme, or a witting "vital part" of Bakersfield's biggest corporate scandal in recent memory. Prosecution and defense lawyers took turns summing up seven days' worth of testimony, agreeing that witness credibility should be top-of-mind for the jury. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher Baker and Henry Carbajal argued that Farmer knew far more than she let on during several hours of testimony Thursday. They called her Crisp & Cole Real Estate's main troubleshooter on illegal "straw buyer" property transactions, and an executive whose fingerprints were on multiple and various fraudulent loan-related documents. Read the full story here.


In case you missed it, here are the stories that are trending across bakersfield.com.

CONSTRUCTION AT OLIVE AND CALLOWAY DRIVES: Ground breaking has started on the southwest corner of Calloway Drive and Olive Drive. But what's going to be developed? It's going to be a 21.5-acre shopping center currently known as "Riverlakes Galleria." Its still-unknown tenants are slated to include a grocery store, health club with outdoor pool, gas station with convenience market and other retail. It's one of those projects that was in the works years and years ago and then stalled when the recession hit. Construction should be done in the fall and grand openings should start being held in October and November. Read the full story here.

TEHACHAPI PRISONER DIES AFTER BEING TAKEN TO HOSPITAL: A 51-year-old inmate at the California Correctional Institution in Tehachapi died Saturday after being taken to an emergency room. Daniel C. Campos, of Chino, died at 4:51 p.m. at Tehachapi Hospital following an incident at the prison occurring about an hour earlier. An autopsy is scheduled to determine the cause and manner of Campos' death. Read the full story here.

MAN ACCUSED OF SEXUALLY ABUSING FOUR CHILDREN: A 57-year-old Bakersfield man was arrested Thursday on suspicion of sexually abusing four children. Daniel Holthaus is being held on $1.4 million bail. He's scheduled to be arraigned Monday. Deputies said the victims are as young as six years old, and were abused over a 15-year period. Read the full story here.



FACEBOOK LAUNCHES FRIEND-TRACKING FEATURE: Your phone always knows where you are. And now, if you want, your Facebook friends will always know where you are, too. Facebook is introducing a mobile feature called Nearby Friends that taps into that steady stream of location information so friends can track each other in real time, a CNN report said. The idea is to make it easy for people to meet up in real life, so they can have conversations in person instead of comment threads. The new Nearby Friends feature is not turned on by default, the report said.



BAKERSFIELD AREA RATES LOW FOR ACCESS TO PRODUCE: The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index recently ranked Bakersfield in the bottom 10 metro areas nationwide for access to fresh produce. The ranking was based on interviews with 300 residents in 189 metro areas across the country over the two-year period from January 2012 through December 2013. The survey asked, "In the city or area where you live, is it easy or not easy to get fruits and vegetables?" In the Bakersfield area, 86.7 percent said it's easy to get them, placing the region in the bottom 10 nationally, ahead of only six other metropolitan areas. The worst access was in Anchorage, Alaska, where 67.3 percent of respondents said it was easy to get produce. The best access was in Olympia, Wash., with 96.6 percent saying yes. Read the full story here.



HECKMAN GETS ELUSIVE WIN AT SPEEDWAY: After finishing in second place three times during the first four races of the year, Kyle Heckman was more relieved than excited to finally win an IMCA Modified feature race. Heckman passed Rodger Holder with four laps remaining to win an exciting 25-lap IMCA main event Saturday night at Bakersfield Speedway. Holder finished second followed by Robby Sawyer, Brett Bennett and Justin Schweitzer. Read the full story here.




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