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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
Lead stories from "First Look with Scott Cox's" Big 6:
ELECTROCUTION: It was an electrocution -- that's what killed a man working at a local farming company. Alejandro Hernandez, 49, died Tuesday after being electrocuted while working at a Grimmway Farms facility. It happened around 6:30 p.m. in the 6900 block of Mountain View Road in Bakersfield. Hernandez died at 7:54 p.m. at Kern Medical Center's emergency room. A Cal OSHA spokesman says Hernandez was electrocuted as he was working on the junction box of a large cooler. He was pronounced dead on arrival at KMC. A Cal OSHA safety inspector visited the Grimmway facility Tuesday as part of the agency's investigation. Read the full story here.
HERO COMES HOME: One of Bakersfield's fallen heroes comes home. On Wednesday, the remains of Air Force Tech Sgt. Mark Smith arrived at LAX from Japan. From there his hearse was escorted by members of L.A.'s Freedom Patriot Motorcycle Club to Lebec, where Kern County chapter members took over the honors. The 30-year-old Smith is survived by his wife and two daughters. He served two tours in Afghanistan and was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal for his role in rescuing a soldier wounded in battle. Smith died Aug 5. during a routine training mission at Camp Hansen in Okinawa. Three other members of his helicopter crew were injured.
HUMAN TRAFFICKING: The Kern County District Attorney's Office successfully prosecutes its first human trafficking case under new guidelines. Deputy D.A. Dianna Carter says Jerome Henderson faces 32 years, eight months in prison when he's sentenced Sept. 24. Carter says Henderson met up with a 13-year-old girl last January and tried to persuade her to go with him to Sacramento. He was convicted Monday on two counts of human trafficking. Last November, California voters passed stricter sentencing guidelines under Proposition 35.
TWO PEOPLE RESCUED: Bakersfield fire crews come to the rescue of two accident victims on Highway 99. Shortly before one Wednesday afternoon, a passenger car collided with a semi in the southbound lanes near Panama Lane. One person was removed easily, but to get to the other victim, firefighters had to use the jaws of life to separate the car from the big rig. A man and woman were hospitalized with minor to moderate injuries. Read the full story here.
HIGHWAY 99 CHANGES: Some changes are taking place on Highway 99 in north Bakersfield. After Labor Day, CalTrans crews begin what's known as the Lerdo Lane Reconstruction Project that extends to Highway 46. They'll be closing off the middle lanes in both directions between Olive Drive and Seventh Standard Road. This involves concrete barriers and temporary striping. Officials say lane closures and traffic patterns will change throughout the duration of the 89.5 million dollar project that should be finished next year.
GRAPES: No wrath over grapes in Kern County these days. That's because growers throughout the state are making record shipments. The USDA reports 28 million boxes of California table grapes have been moved out as of last Friday. That's 10 percent over last year's total for the same period. The grape season started in May and runs through January, with 61 percent of the crop shipped after August 31. An industry spokesperson says consumers are becoming more health conscious, with grapes being a good fit for today's shopper.
WHAT'S TRENDING ON BAKERSFIELD.COM
In case you missed it, here are the stories that are trending across bakersfield.com
MAN ELECTROCUTED AT GRIMMWAY FARMS FACILITY: A 49-year-old Bakersfield man died Tuesday after being electrocuted while working at a Grimmway Farms facility. The coroner's office said Alejandro Hernandez was hurt at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the 6900 block of Mountain View Road in Bakersfield. He died at 7:54 p.m. at Kern Medical Center's emergency room. Cal OSHA spokesman Peter Melton said Hernandez was electrocuted while working on the junction box of a large cooler. He was pronounced dead on arrival at KMC. A Cal OSHA safety inspector visited the Grimmway facility Tuesday as part of the agency's investigation. Grimmway representatives could not be reached for comment. Read the full story here.
SECTION CLEARS FOUR TRANSFERS TO CENTENNIAL: Four Centennial athletes who transferred from Independence are immediately eligible to play for the Golden Hawks after review by the Central Section. Senior Derek Check, junior Brandon Robinson and sophomore Malcolm Johnson, all of whom played significant roles for Independence's 33-2 basketball team last year, were approved, as was incoming freshman Alec Check, according to CIF documentation. Read the full story here.
FIREFIGHTERS HELP RESCUE TWO PEOPLE TRAPPED IN VEHICLE: Bakersfield firefighters helped rescue two people trapped in a vehicle following a crash on Highway 99 Wednesday afternoon. A passenger vehicle crashed into a big rig at about 12:54 p.m. on southbound Highway 99 north of Panama Lane. Two people were trapped inside the passenger vehicle, and the Jaws of Life were used to remove the driver. The extent of their injuries was unclear. Read the full story here.
KERN RIVER VALLEY OFFICIALS EXPLAIN HOW TO HAVE FUN WITHOUT ADDING WATER : Stung by months of uneven revenues, and a lake and river parched by drought, Kern River Valley merchants joined trade and commerce officials Wednesday to send a message: There's more to do here than just play in the water. Attractions include the "Nuui Cunni" Native American Inter-Tribal Culture Center, where do-it-yourselfers made beaded hatbands and pine needle baskets, and painted landscapes during the center's weekly Craft Day. There's also bird watching; the region acts as a natural funnel for migrating birds of all sizes, from turkey vultures and raptors down to rufous hummingbirds. Read the full story here.
READY FOR THE PARTY OF THE YEAR? : After 18 years, Village Fest is a by-the-numbers event: 39 restaurants, more than 60 breweries (and a couple of dozen wineries), 17 bands, 500 volunteers, 16 acres and status as the No. 1 party of the year. "The 'party of the year' describes what we do. ... We keep trying to evolve it so it's not always the same event," said Village Fest co-founder Ralph Fruguglietti. Village Fest is scheduled for Sept. 7 at the Kern County Museum. Read the full story here.
THE ENERGY REPORT
NORTH DAKOTA SOCKING AWAY SAVINGS: With its oil and mineral riches, the state government of North Dakota is putting away hundreds of millions of dollars into a savings account. When the account matures in 2017, North Dakota officials will be able to draw from more than 3 billion dollars, according to USA Today. While not the largest severance or extraction fund in the U.S., North Dakota is growing at a remarkable rate. The fund is also partially inspired by Norway's sovereign wealth fund, which is among the largest in the world. One-third of North Dakota's residents are of Norwegian descent.
THE TECH REPORT
MOBILE E-COMMERCE: Smartphone and tablet users are more likely to visit a retail website or app than desktop computer users, and more than a third of visits to the top 50 e-commerce sites come exclusively from mobile devices, according to a new study from analytics firm comScore. In June of this year, 91 percent of tablet users and 90 percent of smartphone users accessed a mobile e-commerce web properties. That's compared with the 78 percent of desktop users that accessed e-commerce sites. ComScore noted that retailers who don't optimize their mobile browsing experience or introduce mobile apps are effectively turning away a third of their potential customers.
MOBILE ADVERTISING: Facebook is laying claim to a fast-growing share of mobile ad dollars, but Google still brings in more than half the money spent on mobile advertising worldwide. According to eMarketer, Facebook's share of the global mobile ad pie has grown to 15 percent this year, up from 5 percent in 2012. Google has essentially stayed flat at 53 percent. Twitter grew slightly but is still accounts for less than 2 percent of the global market. Mobile will account for 14 percent of worldwide digital ad spending this year, but that is projected to grow to 36 percent in 2017.
THE HEALTH REPORT
MEMORY LOSS: Scientists have made a major breakthrough in determining the cause of age-related memory loss, which they hope will herald the development of a new drug to reverse the process. A report released yesterday offers strong evidence that age-related memory loss really is a distinct condition from pre-Alzheimer's -- and might eventually be treatable. Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center examined brains, young and old ones, donated from people who died without signs of neurologic disease. They discovered that a certain gene that produces a key protein in a specific part of the brain's memory center, stops working properly in older people. More intriguing, the memory loss was reversible: Boosting the protein made forgetful old mice as sharp as the youngsters again.
OVARIAN CANCER: A new way of screening for ovarian cancer is showing potential, according to researchers in the US. Tumours in the ovaries are hard to detect in the earliest stages meaning it can be too late to treat them effectively by the time they are found. A U.S. trial of more than 4,000 women showed the method could identify those needing treatment. But a huge study taking place in the UK will give a final verdict on the test when it is completed in 2015. There is a survival rate of up to 90 percent when ovarian cancer is caught early, compared with less than 30 percent if it is discovered in the later stages.
THE SPORTS REPORT
BLAZE FALL SHORT IN 4-3 LOSS: The Bakersfield Blaze had a quiet seven innings Wednesday night, then had a comeback in the eighth and ninth innnings. But it wasn't good enough. Visiting Stockton Ports won the game 4-3 at Sam Lynn Ballpark. The final home game of the season is tonight. First pitch is at 7:15 p.m. It's Fan Appreciation Night.
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