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BY THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
Lead stories from "First Look with Scott Cox's" Big 6:
ANIMAL CONTROL GETS KICKED OUT: The City of Bakersfield tells the county to get out of the Animal Shelter by September 30. Officials said Wednesday they're putting an end to a two-year interim agreement made May 3 to share the facility on Mt. Vernon Avenue. The city says 100 days have passed without receiving proposed revisions to the draft agreement from the county. Meanwhile, the city says they're working with the Bakersfield SPCA and the Homeless Center to facilitate shelter operations. A statement released by the county says the eviction endangers animal welfare, requiring the movement of nearly 700 animals from Mt. Vernon to a safe, secure, and healthy location within 40 days. Read the full story here.
BAKERSFIELD DRUG BUSTS: Two drug busts in south Bakersfield yield over one point four million dollars in methamphetamine. Early Tuesday morning, Kern County drug agents stopped two cars in the 6900 block of Longford Court. They found 10 pounds of meth hidden in a diaper box, street value 363 grand. They arrested men from Phoenix, L.A. and Avenal. Officers soon made another bust of two cars in a restaurant parking lot. That one netted 22 pounds of meth sealed in a dog food bag. Street value over $1,000,089. Deputies arrested a man from San Diego, a guy from Milpitas, both illegal aliens, and a woman from Porterville. Read the full story here.
CSUB ALUMNI HALL OF FAME: Nominations are going into the hat for next year's inductees into the Cal State University Bakersfield Alumni Hall of Fame. Association President Jewelle Scales says whoever gets in will be in some impressive company, including these folks. Nominations are due by Monday, September 2. To get it done, you can go to CSUBAlumniAssociation.edu or call 654-3211.
SEX OFFENDER WANTED: Another registered sex offender is on the run in Kern County. Bakersfield Police say 41-year-old Shawn Alvarez didn't report to the parole office after being let out of prison, and now his whereabouts are unknown. He's described as Hispanic, 5 foot 7, 190 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. You can see his mug at bakersfield.com, and if you know where Alvarez might be, you're asked to call the BPD. Read the full story here.
PEDESTRIAN IDENTIFIED: We've learned the name of a pedestrian struck and killed by a vehicle Aug. 15. Gloria Tillman, 59, of Bakersfield was struck at the intersection of Cottonwood Road and Cheatham Avenue and died at the scene. Read the full story here.
KERN COUNTY DROUGHT: Kern County is in the midst of a drought. The National Weather Service reports the county has experienced two winters of below-average rainfall, degrading the region to 'extreme drought levels.' This summer has been one of the driest starts to a year on record. Records show Bakersfield has only collected 2.36 inches of rain since January 1st. Average is 4.41 inches. We've only seen a trace amount of rain for the months of July and August.
WHAT'S TRENDING ON BAKERSFIELD.COM
In case you missed it, here are the stories that are trending across bakersfield.com.
RAPES HAVE EAST BAKERSFIELD RESIDENTS ON EDGE: Sabrina Sandoval and Monica Woodward have never fired a gun. In fact, Woodward is kind of afraid of them and never wanted one in her home. But a series of rapes in east and northeast Bakersfield over the past five weeks has changed their minds. "I was telling my husband this morning that we need to buy a gun," Sandoval said Wednesday outside her residence. The attacks have struck fear into east Bakersfield residents, and police announced Wednesday the formation of a joint investigative task force with the Kern County Sheriff's Office to pool all information and resources connected to the cases. Read the full story here.
CITY BOOTING KERN COUNTY ANIMAL CONTROL DEPARTMENT OUT OF SHELTER: The city of Bakersfield is kicking the Kern County Animal Control Department out of the shelter it operates on South Mt. Vernon Avenue. In a letter delivered Wednesday the city gave the county until Sept. 30 -- when the current city-county agreement ends -- to move out of the shelter. The county can continue using the shelter until Dec. 1, City Attorney Ginny Gennaro wrote, if it agrees to care for all stray and unwanted animals collected by the city or brought in by city residents during the extra two months, without compensation from the city. But county leaders say the county and city had built a deal and that the city went back on its word. Read the full story here.
HOMELESS CRAFTSMAN BADLY HURT IN TRAFFIC ACCIDENT: In his 53 years on and off the streets of Bakersfield, Tom Sprankle gained a reputation as a man intensely dedicated to his crafts. But about 9 p.m. Saturday, friends say he was struck by a motorcycle and seriously injured as he walked across Bernard Street heading north from Heritage Park. The motorcyclist tried to avoid him by laying down his bike, but collided with Sprankle, according to Daniel Bazan, a friend of Sprankle's. Sprankle's left leg was broken in two places and he suffered a severe head injury. On Wednesday, Sprankle remained in intensive care at Kern Medical Center, on a respirator and a feeding tube, said his sister Valerie Sims. Read the full story here.
KERN RIVER VALLEY RESIDENTS AND BUSINESS OWNERS COPE WITH HIGHWAY 178 CLOSURE: Business owners, emergency workers and residents in the Lake Isabella area put on brave faces Wednesday, as the closure of Highway 178, the main and fastest route from Bakersfield to the Kern River Valley, was extended through the weekend. A Caltrans spokesman said the agency hired Granite Construction Company on a $500,000 emergency contract, to clear the 178 through Kern River Canyon, where mud and rock slides occurred Monday afternoon after torrential rains that began the previous day. Motel owner John Davis of River View Lodge in Kernville said that if the 178 remains closed through the weekend, he's facing a $1,200 loss of business. Read the full story here.
SUPECTS STOLE BEER FROM ROSEDALE HIGHWAY ALBERTSONS: Two people are wanted for stealing beer from the Albertsons on Rosedale Highway. Deputies said the suspects removed two 15-packs of beer and ran from the store without paying at 2:26 p.m. June 28. They left in a gray extended cab pickup with a short bed and possible California license plate 7T59501. Both suspects are described as male and between the ages of 16 to 17, deputies said. One suspect is described as 5 feet 7 inches tall, 150 pounds, and was wearing a black hat, black tank top, black shorts and sandals. The other suspect is described as 5 feet 9 inches tall, 175-180 pounds, and was wearing a red hat, red T-shirt and black shorts. Anyone with information is asked to call the Kern County Sheriff's Office at 861-3110 or Detective Lackey at 391-7615. Read the full story here.
THE ENERGY REPORT
OIL PRICES CONTINUE TO FALL: For a third consecutive day, the price of the standard West Texas Intermediate Crude fell, even as the United States reported positive inventory numbers and reserves. The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday night that much is the fear is based around the Fed's decision to lessen stimulus spending.That in turn could depress local prices in emerging markets such as India, Indonesia and other developing countries, which have helped keep demand and prices high.
THE TECH REPORT
INFRASTRUCTURE: On Wednesday, Facebook announced an effort aimed at drastically cutting the cost of delivering basic Internet services on mobile phones in developing countries, where Facebook and other tech companies need to find new users. Half a dozen of the world's tech giants, including Samsung and Nokia have agreed to partner on the initiative, which they call Internet.org. The companies intend to accomplish their goal by simplifying phone applications so they run more efficiently and by improving data transmission. The effort is a reflection of how tech companies are trying to meet Wall Street's demands for growth by attracting customers beyond saturated markets in the United States and Europe, even if they have to help build services and infrastructure in poorer parts of the world.
GOING GREEN: Despite the push by telecommunication companies to "green" their networks and produce less of an impact on the environment, wireless networks still impose a major environmental cost, according to some analysts. One study from the Centre for Energy-Efficient Telecommunications estimates that from 2012 to 2015 wireless cloud computing will create emissions that would be the equivalent of putting around 4.9 million new cars on the road.
THE HEALTH REPORT
CVS: The L.A. Times reports that CVS Caremark a new prescription-drug rewards program. The benefit to customers is the opportunity to earn up to $50 a year in store credit. The benefit to CVS is persuading pharmacy customers to give up federal privacy safeguards for their medical information and permitting the company to share their drug purchases with others. The fine print on the CVS website says that "each person must sign a HIPAA Authorization to join." HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. The final stage of the enrollment process is acknowledging that your health information may potentially be re-disclosed and thus is no longer protected." Walgreens and Rite-Aid have their own rewards programs for prescription drugs. But officials at each company said they don't require customers to relinquish federal privacy protections.
MERS: Scientists have found the mysterious MERS virus in a bat in Saudi Arabia. An international research team said the bat virus is an exact match to the first known human case of Middle East respiratory syndrome. Researchers say the virus could have spread to people through other animals. Signs of MERS-like viruses have been reported in other animals, including camels. Since it was identified last September, the respiratory illness has sickened nearly 100 people, most of them in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East. About half of them have died.
THE SPORTS REPORT
CONDORS BOLSTER DEFENSE BY RE-SIGNING ERIK BURGDOERFER: It took a face-to-face meeting and a lot of phone conversations after that, but Condors coach Troy Mann finally got the defenseman he wanted. The Condors announced on Tuesday that Erik Burgdoerfer, who has played all 202 of his pro games in Bakersfield, has been signed along with his twin brother, Greg, a forward. Also signed was rookie center Travis Ouellette. Erik Burgdoerfer, 24, is fifth all-time among defenseman in games played in Bakersfield. He played in all but one game last season, was named team captain in January, and put up 21 points while logging up to 35 minutes per game. Read the full story here.
AFTER FINAL SCRIMMAGE, STILL NO CHOICE AT USC FOR STARTING QB: USC coach Lane Kiffin still hasn't decided between Centennial graduate Cody Kessler and Max Wittek after the 24th-ranked Trojans' final scrimmage at the Coliseum Wednesday. Not much has separated the two passers hoping to succeed Matt Barkley over the past three weeks, and Kiffin hasn't ruled out using both quarterbacks in games. Kessler started both halves of the no-tackling scrimmage with the first team offense. He threw two interceptions on deflected balls, but also made the game's best throw on a picture-perfect, 55-yard TD pass to Nelson Agholor, the new starter in Robert Woods' spot opposite Lee. Read the full story here.