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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
MERCY CLOSING ITS FLORENCE R. WHEELER CANCER CENTER: Mercy Hospitals is closing its Florence R. Wheeler Cancer Center at its Truxtun Avenue location on May 24. Mercy President and CEO Bruce Peters said the hospital is moving its outpatient oncology services to the Comprehensive Blood & Cancer Center. CBCC, located on Truxtun Extension, has cancer-fighting technology and a number of advanced treatment tools that Florence R. Wheeler did not. The goal of the move is to give patients better, more coordinated care from diagnosis to treatment. Read the full story here.
TROUBLED YOUTHS FIX RACE CARS: For 16-year-old Nicholas Garza, the 911 Race for Youth program was an opportunity for change. Garza, of Bakersfield, is on probation until he is 21, after committing a residential burglary. He and four other Kern County teens on probation spent Wednesday learning to repair cars used in the 911 Race for Youth. The race involves law enforcement and emergency response teams challenging each other in car races at Kern County Raceway Park. The next race is set for May 10. Read the full story here.
ENVIRONMENTALISTS SAY STATE HAS WITHHELD REQUIRED FRACKING INFORMATION: A prominent environmental group accused state oil regulators Wednesday of failing to comply with public disclosure rules contained in an interim version of California's new fracking law. The accusations are part of the Center for Biological Diversity's efforts to build support for a proposed fracking moratorium that on Wednesday cleared the state Senate Environmental Quality Committee. The Senate Bill would disproportionately impact Kern, by far California's top oil-producing county. In a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown, the CBD said legally required data on recent frack jobs around the state is incomplete or absent from a public website maintained by the state. 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.
JURY CONVICTS MAN OF RAPING BUDDY'S UNCONSCIOUS GIRLFRIEND: Christopher Andrew Ramon was a trusted friend who'd often been allowed to stay over at his buddy's home. Ramon betrayed that trust with the rape of his friend's girlfriend as she lay unconscious during an early morning in late August. A jury convicted 22-year-old Ramon of rape of an unconscious victim Wednesday. He faces up to eight years in prison and lifetime sex offender registration at his June 4 sentencing. Read the full story here.
MORNING DUST STORM IN KERN DELAYS TRAFFIC: Karen Briltz was terrified Wednesday morning about trying to drive through a dust storm that left her little to no visibility along Stockdale Highway. So she sat in her car about three miles west of Allen Road. Waiting. For an hour. Briltz had pulled over because she couldn't see the road. Neither could many other drivers, who also idled on the side of the highway. Poor visibility was reported throughout the San Joaquin Valley from blowing dust. Read the full story here.
LAWSUIT IN ALLEGED ASSAULT OF AUTISTIC GIRL BACK IN COURT: Both sides in a civil lawsuit against the Kern High School District agree that in October of 2009, two autistic teenagers were discovered in an Independence High School bathroom in partial states of undress. A civil lawsuit that began Monday attempts to sort out whether what occurred in that bathroom was rape or consensual sex. That's difficult to do because both of the students involved have the mental capacity of small children, and neither is able to speak. The parents of the girl, who was 15 at the time, say she needs years of counseling and speech therapy to cope with ongoing trauma from the alleged assault, and they want the district to pay for it. Read the full story here.
THE TECH REPORT
GOOGLE NOW FOR ANDROID: You probably have a trick or two up your sleeve to remember where you've parked amidst a sea of other cars. But if you're still prone to forgetting your parking spot, Google's refreshed Android Search app might be able to help you out, according to Engadget. The update adds a new Google Now parking card that lists the address of the place where you left your car, along with a map that shows how far you are from that location, the report said. In case the card got it wrong the first time, it can also offer alternative places that you can check. Yes, that's a nightmare if you're in a massive parking lot, but it sure beats going around in circles for hours.
THE HEALTH REPORT
ADULTS FAVOR CLOT-DISSOLVING DRUGS: A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association says most surveyed adults would want clot-dissolving medications if they were incapacitated by a stroke. That may sound like a no-brainer, but it has important implications for the debate over whether to use such medications when patients are unable to provide consent or family members aren't around to OK the treatment on their behalf. Researchers at the University of California at San Francisco found that 76.2 percent of adults age 50 and older said they wanted the treatment under those circumstances.
THE SPORTS REPORT
SAUNDERS SIGNS WITH CAL STATE FULLERTON: Independence senior track and field star Kyra Saunders piqued some last-minute interest from Cal State Fullerton. Two days ago, she went to Fullerton to visit and verbally committed to the Titans on the spot. Read the full story here.
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