Local News

Wednesday, Jul 03 2013 07:35 AM

'First Look': First News for July 3

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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN

Lead stories from "First Look with Scott Cox's" Big 6:

COACH REMEMBERED: A local high school is in mourning today. Forty-four-year old John Wren, the longtime football coach at South High School, died in his sleep Monday night. The Bakersfield Californian reports Wren had undergone surgery to lose weight and was down some 60 pounds, but Wren had recently been concerned because he was gaining some weight back. Wren's father also died suddenly at a young age. Still, there was no indication that Wren had any immediate health concerns. Read the full story.

HOTSHOT: One of 19 firefighters who died fighting a wildfire in northern Arizona on Sunday was the husband of longtime Tehachapi resident Desiree Phillips Steed. Thirty-six-year-old Jesse Steed was captain of a crew responsible for fighting the Yarnell Hill blaze in Arizona and was one of the oldest and most experienced members of the Granite Mountain Hot Shots for the past two years. He started working as a hot shot in 2002 and moved to the Granite Mountain crew in 2003-2004 when it were established. In addition to extended family, Steed leaves behind a wife and two young children. Read the full story.

GARCES COACH: A former Garces Memorial High School coach pleaded no contest Tuesday to one count of unlawful sexual intercourse in connection with a relationship he had with a 17-year-old student at the school. Reports filed in court say 25-year-old Jon Aleczander Sweet had told detectives he had sexual intercourse with the girl several times. Two other charges of unlawful sexual intercourse were dismissed as part of the plea deal. Sweet was an assistant junior varsity baseball coach at Garces when he and the student began a sexual relationship in early 2013 following winter break. Sentencing is scheduled for July 30. Read the full story.

DEATH PENALTY: Two men are sentenced to death for killing a fellow Tehachapi inmate. On Tuesday, a Bakersfield jury said Travis Frazier and Kenneth Nowlin will die for the 2009 murder of Evan Broderick. The two were found guilty June 3. The killing happened in an exercise yard at Tehachapi prison. Frazier stabbed Broderick 24 times with a homemade knife while Nowlin kicked him and punched him. Frazier was already serving life for another murder conviction, and Nowlin was serving 46 years for robbery and the attempted murder of a cop. Now they both face execution. Read the full story.

PET SAFETY: The Kern County Animal Shelter is bracing for an influx of house pets this Friday because of Fourth of July fireworks. Spokeswoman Maggie Kalar says pets typically get spooked by all the noise. Last year the shelter took in 255 cats and dogs on July 5. On a normal day they only see 50 to 100. Kalar says you should keep a close eye on your pets during the celebration, and never take them with you to a fireworks event. For more tips, "Google" Kern County Animal Control.

WHAT'S TRENDING ON BAKERSFIELD.COM

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

SOUTH HIGH COACH REMEMBERED AS MORE THAN FOOTBALL: John Wren was a football man. He loved the game, played it, coached it, studied it, and in many ways lived it. But those close to Wren say the South High football coach and English teacher, who suddenly died Tuesday at 44, was so much more than that. "We're losing more than a football coach," said Jerald Pierucci, a good friend of Wren's and the coach at Bakersfield Christian. "Talking about it gets me choked up. He's one of those guys I wish there were more of. ... He was a great man, and I'm not using that in a cliche way the way people do when someone dies. He left his fingerprints on a bunch of kids, and some adults, too -- myself included." Wren attended South High's football workout Monday night as usual and left for home around 8:30 without any signs of trouble. He is believed to have died in his sleep; his wife, Marina, found him in bed Tuesday morning. The cause of death was not immediately known. Read the full story.

TEEN HERO SAYS: "IF I DON'T GET HER SHE'S GONNA DIE' : "When I started feeling the current, I knew that if I wasn't going to put all my strength into it, we could (both be) dead." Those were 16-year-old Christian Lozano's thoughts as he fought the waves that threatened to slam him and the little girl he was trying to rescue into the pilings of the Ventura Pier Friday. But Lozano successfully battled the surf and brought 11-year-old Maya Harding to safe ground. The girl's grandfather, Ventura resident Paul Harding, contacted The Californian a couple of days later searching for Lozano, who lives in Bakersfield. Harding knew the teen's name but not how to contact him. Maya also wanted to thank her rescuer, which she had been too rattled to do following her harrowing experience. On Tuesday, Maya was "happy (and) excited" to learn her hero's identity. Read the full story.

BAGS OF METH FOUND INSIDE FIRE EXTINGUISHERS: About noon Tuesday, deputies finished a narcotics investigation at the Travelers Lodge Motel at 1011 Oak St. in Bakersfield. The sheriff's office reports that as deputies tried to enter the suspect's motel room, the suspect ran out the back door with a large bag containing clothing and three fire extinguishers. He was taken into custody by deputies who were waiting outside. A closer inspection of the fire extinguishers revealed they had been altered. The writing on the label was in Spanish and indicated they were from Tijuana. Deputies reported that each fire extinguisher was stuffed almost completely full with methamphetamine. Read the full story.

FORMER GARCES COACH ENTERS PLEA IN CONNECTION WITH SEX WITH STUDENT: A former Garces Memorial High School coach pleaded no contest Tuesday to one count of unlawful sexual intercourse in connection with a relationship he had with a 17-year-old student at the school. Reports filed in court say 25-year-old Jon Aleczander Sweet had told detectives he had sexual intercourse with the girl several times. Two other charges of unlawful sexual intercourse were dismissed as part of the plea deal. Sweet was an assistant junior varsity baseball coach at Garces when he and the student began a sexual relationship in early 2013 following winter break. Sentencing is scheduled for July 30. Read the full story.

LOIS HENRY: 4TH HAS BECOME FIREFIGHTERS IN FLAK JACKETS: Lois Henry writes: You might think after five years of complete and utter failure to get even an iota of movement on my call to ban personal fireworks, I'd wise up. Nope. I'm a through-and-through American, meaning I DO NOT GIVE UP. So, for the sixth year in a row, I'm here to say: We absolutely must ban personal fireworks. Keep the professional shows. Expand them, even. But no more personal fireworks. Letting every yahoo with a match go wild for the sake of "tradition" is an annual disaster. Read the full story.

 

THE ENERGY REPORT

OIL RISES ABOVE $100 A BARREL: For the first time in nearly a year, the price of oil jumped to $100 barrel in late trading. Futures for West Texas Intermediate Crude jumped to $101 barrel based on overnight Tokyo trading. Analysts say concerns about instability in Egypt, and lagging economic data are causing the jump in prices.

McCARTHY ARGUES FOR ENERGY INDEPENDENCE : Congressman Kevin McCarthy believes that California needs to stop importing oil, and that Kern County can make that a reality. During his weekly statement, McCarthy said Kern County can lead the way when it comes to helping the state lessen its dependence on imported oil. McCarthy's chief complaint on what's causing this problem? Federal regulations. "In addition to limiting public land use for energy production, overbearing and duplicative regulations have made it virtually impossible for local energy companies to survive, much less succeed. Imagine the potential that could be unleashed if we approved commonsense energy policies that unshackled our domestic energy resources. " Read the full story.

 

THE TECH REPORT

.NYC: The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers approved Tuesday New York City's bid for a .nyc top-level web domain. New York officials filed for .nyc soon after ICANN announced it would make new top-level domains available. City business and residents will be able to apply for .nyc domains later this year for an unknown fee, which will be paid to the city. Brands and organizations like New York City that applied for top-level domains had to pay a one-time fee of $185,000 and will have to fork out an additional $25,00 annually to maintain control of it.

IWATCH: Following a report that Apple had applied for the "iWatch" trademark in Japan, more articles have come out claiming the tech giant also filed for the trademark in a half-dozen other countries including Mexico, Russia, Turkey, and Chile. The trademark seems to be for a watch that Apple is believed to be working on -- a wrist device that could connect with users' iPhones to show them messages and other information. A number of patents describing watch-like mechanisms have been filed by Apple in the U.S. but no one has yet uncovered a trademark filing here. But the smartwatch that arguably started the wearable technology trend will apparently soon be available for purchase at Best Buy. The Pebble smartwatch has landed on Best Buy's website with a "coming soon" tag and a pricetag of $150. If leaked inventory photos prove to be true, the wristwatch should be in stock on July 7.

 

THE HEALTH REPORT

LONG JOHN SILVER'S: The Center for Science in the Public Interest has named Long John Silver's Big Catch meal, with hush puppies and onion rings, the worst restaurant meal in America -- even though plenty of other choices have more calories. The center said laboratory tests showed the Big Catch had 33 grams of trans fat and an additional 19 grams of saturated fat and nearly 3,700 milligrams of sodium and 1,320 calories. Long John Silver's issued a statement saying that at $4.99, the Big Catch "delivers tremendous value to value hungry consumers." Diners don't have to take the hush puppies and onion rings, the company said. Other side choices include corn, green beans, rice and cole slaw.

WOMEN AND DRUG OVERDOSES: Every day, 42 women die from a drug overdose - and nearly half of those overdoses are from prescription painkillers. According to newly released figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of women dying from prescription drug overdoses has increased by more than 400 percent since 1999 -- nearly double the increase of deaths in men. The report says that more than 70 percent were unintentional. And that the epidemic is hitting women because women are more likely to have chronic pain, like fibromyalgia, and thus be prescribed pain killers. Women may also be given higher doses and use them for longer periods of time.

 

THE SPORTS REPORT

VARNER GOLDEN AT CAMP: Olympic Gold medalist Jake Varner, three-time state champion Nathan Morgan and Bakersfield High wrestler Bryce Martin hosted high schoolers Tuesday at the Olympian Wrestling Camp at Bakersfield College. Varner is a Bakersfield High graduate who won a gold medal in freestyle wrestling at the London Games last year. Varner also won two state titles in high school and two NCAA championships at Iowa State. Morgan, a BHS grad, was a four-time state finalist and three-time state champ with the Drillers. He went on to become a three-time All-American at Oklahoma State. Read the full story.

BLAZE LOSE 12-1: The Bakersfield Blaze fell behind early and managed just three hits in a 12-1 loss Tuesday to the Lancaster JetHawks in California League play at Clear Channel Ballpark. Bakersfield's hits were all singles -- Kyle Waldrop in the second, Juan Silverio in the fourth and Juan Perez in the fifth. Read the full story.

 

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