By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
Lead stories from "First Look with Scott Cox's" Top Stories:
ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW OF 24TH STREET WIDENING PROJECT RELEASED: The city's plan to widen 24th Street and improve its intersections with Oak Street and Highway 99 would require demolishing 23 single-family homes regardless of which path is taken through its historic downtown, according to an environmental impact report released this week. Changes would include expanding 23rd and 24th streets from three lanes in each direction to four between D and M streets. There would also be an expansion of two to three lanes in each direction between D and Olive streets. These changes would result in "(a) permanent increase in ambient noise level." Members of the public will have an opportunity to comment on the EIR during a public hearing at the Jan. 16th Bakersfield Planning Commission meeting. Read the full story here.
BAKERSFIELD HAS WETTER 2013 THAN SAN FRANSISCO: How crazy dry was 2013 in California? The desert landscape in Bakersfield wound up with more rainfall than lush San Francisco. Bakersfield had only 3.43 inches of rain in 2013, half its normal 6.47 inches. But historically, 2013 is only Bakersfield's ninth driest year since record-keeping began in 1889. The city's driest year was 1959, with just 1.87 inches falling on what must have been a parched and desolate city landscape. Read the full story here.
DRIVER EJECTED, INJURED IN NEW YEAR'S DAY CRASH: A 24-year-old Fairfield man suffered major injuries early on New Year's Day when he was ejected from his vehicle near the Cottonwood off ramp on eastbound Highway 58. Robert E. Thomas was driving a 2004 Chevrolet east on the highway in the second lane. He lost control of the vehicle and made an unsafe turn, driving across the gore point onto the Cottonwood off ramp. Thomas was not wearing a seatbelt. His passenger, 30-year-old Sabrina K. Knox, was not injured. 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.
CHILLY START TO A NEW YEAR: Fellow thrill seekers welcomed the new year with a shiver-inducing splash at the 2014 Polar Bear Plunge at McMurtrey Aquatic Center in central Bakersfield. The event attracted 200 people who braved the cold waters and about 300 spectators who cheered them on. At 11 a.m. the pool was a brisk 52 degrees. The above-water temperatures hovered in the mid-50s. Fifty-two degrees might not sound very cold, but it will still "take your breath away," said Terri Elison, recreation supervisor. Read the full story here.
BAKERSFIELD COUPLES WELCOME FIRST BABIES OF THE NEW YEAR: Addison Howard, born at 1:37 a.m. was the first baby born in Bakersfield in 2014. She was born at Bakersfield Memorial Hospital and weighed 6 pounds 12 ounces, stretching 20 inches long and sporting a lot of dark hair. While Addison earned bragging rights, at San Joaquin Community Hospital boys were the trend. By the early afternoon, mothers had delivered three babies at the hospital, all of them boys. Read the full story here.
NEW OWNER OF HENLEY'S PHOTO ADAPTS TO CHANGING MARKET: Henley's Photo is being reinvented by a new owner who hopes to position the 65-year-old business to meet the challenges of the digital age. Jimmy Bunting, 30, said he plans to focus on processing film and making prints, which he says have become the shop's mainstay in recent years.Henley's will continue to offer classes and sell camera batteries, memory cards and other accessories, Bunting said. But no longer will the store sell cameras and lenses, except as a commission-earning affiliate of the online retailer Amazon. Read the full story here.
THE TECH REPORT
SNAPCHAT: The usernames and phone numbers for 4.6 million Snapchat accounts have been downloaded by hackers, who temporarily posted the data online. A website called SnapchatDB released the data but censored the last two digits of the phone numbers. It has since been taken offline but a cached version is still available. The hack comes days after an Australian firm, Gibson Security, warned of vulnerabilities in Snapchat's app which it said could be exploited by hackers. Gibson Security said it was not involved in the hack.
THE HEALTH REPORT
TOBACCO USE: A pair of leading tobacco control experts are urging countries to significantly boost tobacco excise taxes, saying it is the best way to reach the global goal of cutting the prevalence of smoking by one-third by 2025. The experts say a steep rise in tobacco excise taxes would double the cost of cigarettes on the street in developing countries where prices are currently low and the numbers of smokers are climbing rapidly. They say this type of approach has resulted in substantial reductions in the portion of the population that smokes in countries that have used it, including Canada and France.
THE SPORTS REPORT
BROSSOIT, BRODA POWER CONDORS TO 4TH STRAIGHT VICTORY: LAS VEGAS -- Bakersfield goalie Laurent Brossoit did it again, stopping all 17 shots he faced for his second straight shutout as the Condors moved to within a point of sixth place with a 3-0 victory over the Las Vegas Wranglers on Wednesday afternoon at The Orleans Arena. Center Joel Broda scored two goals to help Bakersfield (12-15-0-1, 25 points) to its fourth straight win. The Condors are 9-3 in their last 12 games. After a scoreless first period, Broda scored a power-play goal from the right-wing circle at the 5:50 mark of the second period. He later capped the game's scoring with an empty-netter, his 13th goal of the season, late in the third period. Condors forward Cameron Abney scored off a deflection at the top of the crease, following in a shot by defenseman Nick Pageau at the midway point of the second period. Andrew Carroll had a pair of assists for Bakersfield, which continues its four-game road trip with games in Colorado on Friday and Saturday. Read the full story here.
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