By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
Lead stories from "First Look with Scott Cox's" Top Stories:
TRIP FINANCING HITS SLIGHT BUMP IN THE ROAD: The city's various highway upgrades will keep rolling in the new year, but Bakersfield's route to paying its share of the Thomas Roads Improvement Program may be headed for a slight detour. That's because, as its secretary promised in September, the West Park Home Owners Association has taken the city to court, challenging its plan to borrow millions to match some of the $630 million in federal earmarks that former U.S. Rep. Bill Thomas, R-Bakersfield, secured to expand highways in metropolitan Bakersfield. It could cost the city anywhere from $175,000 to $225,000 to defend. Read the full story here.
FIVE NOMINATED TO PRESTIGIOUS U.S. MILITARY SERVICE ACADEMIES: U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy has sorted through the top high school seniors in the region for possible appointment to United States military service academies. McCarthy named five nominees for admission to service academies from among 23 high school applicants in his district. Michael "Mickey" Cushine, attends Independence High School. He's been nominated to the U.S. Air Force Academy. Andrew "Drew" Francis attends North High School. He's been nominated to the U.S. Military Academy. Kyle Mathes-Orr attends Tehachapi High School. He's been nominated to the U.S. Naval Academy. Garrett Silong attends Burroughs High School. He's been nominated to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. Sarah Manges attends Centennial High School. She's been nominated to the U.S. Naval Academy. Read the full story here.
CLOTHING, SHOES TO PLAY ROLE IN PROSECUTION OF ACCUSED RAPIST: Billy Ray Johnson Jr.'s choice of footwear could play a role in the case filed against him in connection with a series of rapes in east Bakersfield. Shoe track evidence was left at three of the four scenes of rape or attempted rape Johnson is accused of committing last year. Deputies seized the shoes and clothing the 33-year-old Johnson was wearing when first arrested on a weapons charge Oct. 14, and have since seized clothing and other items at his former residence in the 900 block of Quantico Avenue. 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.
TWO ACCUSED IN CONNECTION WITH ASSAULT, CARJACKING OF REPOSSESSION AGENT: A woman and an 18-year-old assaulted a repossession agent Thursday and stole his vehicle after the agent tried to repossess the woman's vehicle in southeast Bakersfield. Officers responded to the 4900 block of South Union Avenue at 11:41 a.m. and discovered the agent had parked behind a vehicle and contacted its driver, 38-year-old April Lee, informing her that he was repossessing the vehicle. Police said Lee backed her vehicle into the agent's, and then gout out and began assaulting him. 18-year-old Dominique Robertson joined in. Read the full story here.
TAFT WOMAN SHOT BY DEPUTY DIED OF MULTIPLE GUNSHOT WOUNDS: An autopsy performed on a Taft woman shot by a deputy after she charged the deputy with a dagger determined she died of multiple gunshot wounds and her death is a homicide. Bethany Christine Lytle, 31, died about 90 minutes after being shot. Deputies said they first saw Lytle seated and speaking incoherently at a residence in the 800 block of Fillmore Street, but then she grabbed a doubled-edged dagger, stood up and charged at deputies. Read the full story here.
CENTENNIAL TOPS MISSION OAK WITH HOT 4TH QUARTER: Down by 11 points, the Centennial boys basketball team had little margin of error to work with during the final six minutes and 10 seconds of its Garces Holiday Hoops Challenge quarterfinal game against Tulare-Mission Oak. Thankfully, for the Golden Hawks, they were near-perfect down the stretch and pulled out a 79-75 victory over the Hawks on Thursday night at Garces High. Brandon Robinson had 29 points, including a clutch 3-pointer with 40 seconds left, to lift Centennial to the dramatic win, its second of the day. Read the full story here.
THE TECH REPORT
NSA: The National Security Agency is working to build a supercomputer that could break almost all encryption worldwide, according to the latest revelation from documents provided by Edward Snowden. But the spy agency is apparently far from achieving a breakthrough in creating a "cryptologically useful quantum computer," The Washington Post writes in a report Thursday. The effort is centered at a laboratory in College Park, Md. Labs sponsored by the European Union and the Swiss government are also pursuing this scientific holy grail.
THE HEALTH REPORT
HEALTH CARE: Supporters of President Obama's health care law had predicted that expanding insurance coverage for the poor would reduce costly emergency room visits as people sought care from primary care doctors. But a new study conducted in Oregon has flipped that assumption on its head, finding that the newly insured actually went to the emergency room more often. The study compared thousands of low-income people in the Portland area who were randomly selected in a 2008 to get Medicaid coverage. Those who gained coverage made 40 percent more visits to the emergency room than their uninsured counterparts. The finding casts doubt on the hope that expanded insurance coverage will help rein in rising emergency room costs just as more than two million people are gaining coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
THE SPORTS REPORT
CENTENNIAL REACHES TOURNEY SEMIS WITH BIG FINISH: Down by 11 points, the Centennial boys basketball team had little margin of error to work with during the final six minutes and 10 seconds of its Garces Holiday Hoops Challenge quarterfinal game against Tulare-Mission Oak. Thankfully, for the Golden Hawks, they were near-perfect down the stretch and pulled out a 79-75 victory over the Hawks on Thursday night at Garces High. Brandon Robinson had 29 points, including a clutch 3-pointer with 40 seconds left, to lift Centennial to the dramatic win, its second of the day. Read the full story here.
CHECK OUT OUR SCOTT IN 60 FEATURE: