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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
Lead stories from "First Look with Scott Cox's" Big 6:
LOCAL OBAMACARE ENROLLMENT: Looks like some of your neighbors are signing up for Obamacare. Local enrollment in California's new health insurance exchange got off to a slow start last month, according to new numbers released Thursday, but there are signs the pace has picked up. About 1,600 Kern County residents applied for an insurance plan through the Covered California exchange in October -- the first month of enrollment -- and 298 people actually signed up. While Kern accounts for 2.3 percent of California's population, it only accounted for 1 percent of Covered California enrollments last month. The numbers came from a report delivered by Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee to the agency's board at a meeting in Sacramento. Read the full story here.
BAKERSFIELD STUDENT INVOLVED IN COLLEGE HATE CRIME: A Bakersfield student is among three people charged with a college hate crime case. Three white students at San Jose State University face misdemeanor hate-crime and battery charges after authorities say they harassed a black roommate by outfitting their dormitory suite with a Confederate flag, barricading him in his room, and fastening a bicycle lock around his neck and claiming they lost the key. Santa Clara County prosecutors filed the charges late Wednesday against 18-year-old Logan Beaschler of Bakersfield. Also charged are 18-year-old Colin Warren of Woodacre and 19-year-old Joseph Bomgardner of Clovis. The men each face up to a year in jail if convicted. University officials say all three have been suspended. Read the full story here.
DELANO SHOOTING ARREST: A man is behind bars after a fatal shooting in Delano. Police arrested 19-year-old Joseph Mendez in connection with the death of 20-year-old Cody Jamal Harris at one of the city's parks this week. Mendez was taken into custody in San Bernardino County. He was booked into the Kern County Jail on suspicion of homicide, assault with a deadly weapon and gang-related charges in the shooting Monday night at Kalibo Park. Read the full story here.
CALIFORNIA CITY ARREST: An arrest is made in the death of a two-year old child in eastern Kern County. Deputies arrested 26-year-old Matthew Berry on charges of first-degree murder and assault on a child causing death. On Wednesday morning, a man boarded a regional transit bus near California City with 2-year-old Pharoah Vanvactor. The driver called authorities after the man told the driver the toddler was not breathing. Paramedics could not revive the child, who was pronounced dead at the scene. The Kern County Coroner says Vanvactor died from blunt force trauma. The toddler lived with his mother in the 8,000 block of Eucalyptus Avenue, and that Berry is the mother's boyfriend. The case is being investigated as a homicide. Read the full story here.
LAMONT SHOOTING: A teenage driver is recovering from a roadway shooting near Lamont. Around 3:45 a.m. Thursday, deputies went the 8400 block of Buena Vista Road where they found the 15-year-old with a gunshot wound to the head. Authorities say he crashed into a telephone pole after a shot was fired from an unknown vehicle. The victim, whose name was not released, was listed in stable condition at a local hospital. Now investigators are looking for leads, and if you know anything you're asked to contact the Kern County Sheriff's Office, or call the Secret Witness hotline at 322-4040. Read the full story here.
CALM HOLIDAY LIGHTS: Bakersfield's zoo is busy putting the finishing touches on another installment of Holiday Lights. For the 11th year, the California Living Museum is hosting the event from Nov. 29 through the end of the year. A record 58,000 visitors went to CALM last year. For more information, visit calmzoo.org.
WHAT'S TRENDING ON BAKERSFIELD.COM
In case you missed it, here are the stories that are trending across bakersfield.com.
BAKERSFIELD GETS RECORD RAIN, WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY ISSUED FOR MOUNTAINS: While Bakersfield received a record amount of rainfall Thursday, the National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory through 4 p.m. Friday for areas in the Kern County mountains above 4,000 feet. The rain caused some flooding of downtown streets, forcing detours around underpasses. There were reports of debris and mud on Highway 178 East and some street flooding in parts of desert towns. During the heaviest parts of the rain, the California Highway Patrol was responding to more than 30-weather related accidents. The weather service called for snow and strong winds for areas above 4,000 feet, and 3 to 5 inches of snow for areas above 5,000 feet were predicted. Read the full story here.
MAN ARRESTED IN CONNECTION WITH DEAD TODDLER BROUGHT ABORAD BUS: The live-in boyfriend of the mother of a dead 2-year-old boy brought aboard a bus outside California City has been arrested on suspicion of murder. Matthew Berry, 26, is being held on suspicion of assault on a child causing death, said sheriff's spokesman Ray Pruitt. He said Berry was arrested Thursday afternoon and likely will be arraigned Monday. The coroner's office identified the toddler as Pharaoh Vanvactor, and said the boy died from blunt force trauma. Read the full story here.
BAKERSFIELD MAN AMONG THREE STUDENTS CHARGED WITH HATE CRIME AT SAN JOSE STATE UNIVERSITY: Three white students at San Jose State University face misdemeanor hate-crime and battery charges after authorities say they harassed a black roommate by outfitting their dormitory suite with a Confederate flag, barricading him in his room, and fastening a bicycle lock around his neck and claiming they lost the key. Santa Clara County prosecutors filed the charges late Wednesday against Logan Beaschler, of Bakersfield, and Colin Warren, of Woodacre, both 18, and 19-year-old Joseph Bomgardner of Clovis. The young men each face up to a year in jail if convicted. According to a university police report, the suspects admitted that they harassed the freshman but claimed they were merely playing "pranks" or "jokes." Read the full story here.
DETENTIONS DEPUTY ARRESTED ON SUSPICION OF SMUGGLING CONTRABAND INTO JAIL: A local detentions deputy was arrested on suspicion of several crimes Thursday after allegedly trying to smuggle tobacco into Lerdo Jail. Deputies said an investigation into the smuggling of contraband into the jail led them to 50-year-old Leroy Martin Romero, who they determined was bringing contraband into the facility for gang members. Romero was detained when he arrived for work Monday morning, and two packages of contraband tobacco were found on him. A search warrant served at Romero's home in the 2900 block of Dartmouth Street in northeast Bakersfield turned up two packages of suspected methamphetamine, deputies said. They also found a stolen street sign. Read the full story here.
PARENTS EXPRESS CONCERNS AT MEETING AFTER ALLEGED BUS ASSAULT: A handful of parents expressed fear for student safety Thursday during a meeting at Fruitvale Jr. High School, a month after the alleged sexual assault of a 13-year-old girl on a school bus. "When students don't behave the way we expect, when they do something wrong, is there a program in place to deal with that, like Safe School Ambassadors?" asked 50-year-old Martha Elias who has an eighth-grader at the school. She was referring to a national program that trains students to stand up for peers who are being bullied and to report problems to adults. Fruitvale does not participate in that particular program, Principal Leslie Roberts said, but she added that the school encourages a "culture of respect" in many ways, including incorporating anti-bullying instruction into the curriculum and providing students with ways to report problems anonymously. Read the full story here.
THE TECH REPORT
APPLE V. SAMSUNG: A federal jury Thursday returned its damages verdict against Samsung Electronics, saying it should pay Apple $290 million in the patent dispute involving technology used in iPhones and iPads. Apple and Samsung are embroiled in worldwide patent litigation disputes spanning multiple courts. Apple was seeking $380 million. Samsung said it should pay $52 million for the use of such features as the iPhone maker's "pinch to zoom" in 13 older products. The win brings Apple's damages haul against Samsung to $929 million including an order in March that awarded $599 million over 14 products and one in April for $40.5 million.
CALLS ON PLANES: The Federal Communications Commission is reviewing its 22-year ban against in-flight cellphone calls, igniting concerns among frequent fliers about plane cabins becoming much noisier. At its meeting on Dec. 12, the FCC will consider changing its rules to allow passengers access to mobile wireless services. The 1991 ban began because of concerns about jamming ground stations. FCC chairman Tom Wheeler said modern technologies can deliver mobile services in the air safely and reliably, and the time is right to review our outdated and restrictive rules. The FCC proposal would give airlines the option to allow voice calls, and public comment would be sought if the proposal moves forward.
THE HEALTH REPORT
GO NUTS: Eating nuts may help you live longer -- and your best bet for a long life is to munch on them regularly, according to a Harvard University study published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers followed 120,000 people for 30 years. They found the people who ate nuts regularly were less likely to die during the study. People who ate a daily portion of nuts reduced the death rate by 20 percent over the course of the study. People who ate four portions of nuts a week were recorded as having a 13 percent reduction in the death rate.
NATION'S HEALTH: The Centers or Disease Control and Prevention set goals for 2015, and Thursday the agency released its first progress report. CDC officials said they're mostly pleased. In 2010, the agency started to focus attention and money on six targets: smoking, AIDS, obesity and nutrition, teen pregnancy, auto injuries and infections that spread at hospitals. It later added food safety. The report card found: good declines in car accident deaths, teen births and three key types of infections spread at health care facilities. Progress in lowering smoking rates and childhood obesity. Mixed success on AIDS as more people have been tested, but no change in estimates of new HIV infections each year. No improvement in the arena of food safety where the goal was to reduce salmonella and E. coli infections. But last year, the rates were as high or higher than before the campaign started.
THE SPORTS REPORT
BAKERSFIELD CHRISTIAN BEATS WOODLAKE IN FOUR, CLAIMS D-IV SECTION TITLE: From the start of the season, the goal never changed. The Bakersfield Christian volleyball team had its sights set on winning a section championship from the time it began practicing this summer. That never-wavering desire to reach the top was fulfilled by the Eagles on Thursday night when they took down visiting Woodlake in four games to win the Central Section Division IV championship. The top-seeded Eagles, who lost in the section quarterfinals a year ago, got solid contributions from up and down their youth-laden roster in beating the defending champion Tigers 25-22, 27-25, 20-25, 25-21. Read the full story here.
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