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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
Lead stories from "First Look with Scott Cox's" Big 6:
FORMER VICE PRINCIPAL PLEA: A former local vice principal cops to a plea of improper acts with a child. Former Fairfax Middle School vice principal Donald Ricketts pleaded no contest Wednesday to one count of lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14 years old. Six other felonies were dismissed in exchange for the plea. Sheriff's detectives say a girl reported to officials at the Lamont substation April 12, 2011 that Ricketts sexually molested her on numerous occasions over a three-year period. Ricketts and the girl knew each other through Fairfax Assembly of God Church. The girl reported that the acts occurred primarily at church but once at Fairfax Middle School. Ricketts started as a teacher in Fairfax in January 2004 and moved to vice principal in 2007. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 23. Read the full story here.
DEATH SENTENCE: A self-described skinhead is sentenced for a murder at a Tehachapi prison. Travis Frazier, 31, was sentenced to death for the 2009 murder of fellow inmate 20-year old Evan Broderick. Frazier and Kenneth Nowlin stabbed Broderick 24 times in 18 seconds on the prison's exercise yard. Prosecutors say Frazier has shown no remorse and has a long history of violent behavior and the death penalty is the only just sentence. The 33-year old Nowlin was sentenced to death on July 26. Both men will be housed at San Quentin State Prison. Read the full story here.
PRISONERS BACK TO KERN COUNTY: Plans to send more prisoners back to Kern County hit a roadblock in the State Assembly. On Wednesday, legislators voted 75-zip on a bill that would extend a deadline to move 9,600 inmates by year's end. If the bill passes the State Senate and is signed by Governor Jerry Brown, part of the money that would be spent to lease cells in private prisons and county jails would go instead to rehabilitation programs. But the bill includes Brown's original plan to lease the local cells if the court sticks to its year-end deadline to move the inmates.
SUSPECT WANTED: Bakersfield Police need your help finding a guy who allegedly beat up and robbed a cabbie. It happened in the 800 block of 34th Street back on July 26. Just after 5 p.m., the cab driver gave a man a ride, but he wouldn't pay. Not only that, he then allegedly grabbed the cabbie's cell phone. After a struggle, the driver tells police the guy struck him and then took off with the phone and the car keys. He's described as Hispanic in his 30s with short black hair and tattoos on both arms. Read the full story here.
9/11 REMEMBERED: All around Kern County, people took a moment Wednesday to remember the victims of America's worst terrorist attack. At South High School in Bakersfield, members of the Junior ROTC Rebel Battalion held a ceremony before school. That Juan Delatorre, the group's commander. 23-ABC reports other schools holding special ceremonies included Bakersfield High, where the Air Force Junior ROTC cadets paid homage to those who died on 9-11. That event included the laying of a wreath and a moment of silence.
BAKERSFIELD CITY COUNCIL: Productive night for the Bakersfield city council. Council members Wednesday night approved a $3 million contract extending Mohawk Street to Hageman Road, and a resolution letting the city quickly buy what it needs to take over an animal shelter from Kern County. In closed session, the council approved spending up to $75,000 to settle a 2011 lawsuit brought by Yetunda Wright against the city and Bakersfield police officers Timothy Berchtold and Noah Landers. Wright's 15-year-old son Traveon John Avila was shot and killed by officers during the traffic stop of a stolen car July 9, 2010. City Attorney Ginny Gennaro says the council's action is not an admission of guilt. The council also approved an ordinance that would rezone 77 acres of county land at the southeast corner of Calloway Drive and Seventh Standard Road from agricultural to residential, when the city eventually annexes it. 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.
SKINHEAD CONVICTED IN PRISON KILLING SENTENCED TO DEATH: Already serving a sentence of life without parole for murder, Travis J. Frazier, self-described "skinhead," was sentenced to death Wednesday. On May 11, 2009, at the exercise yard of the California Correctional Institution in Tehachapi, Kenneth Nowlin held 20-year-old Evan Broderick while Frazier stabbed him 24 times in 18 seconds. As Broderick lay on the ground Frazier stood over him and laughed. Prosecutors say 31-year-old Frazier has shown no remorse and has a long history of violent behavior. Deputy District Attorney Andi Bridges said the death penalty was the only just sentence. Read the full story here.
COUNCIL APPROVES MOHAWK STREET EXTENSION: The Bakersfield City Council approved a $3 million contract Wednesday extending Mohawk Street to Hageman Road. But before the council approved hiring Granite Construction to complete Mohawk Street, Ward 2 Councilman Terry Maxwell wondered why the city has budgeted $812,318 for items including "change orders," which are changes to expenses and costs during construction. Public Works Director Raul Rojas responded that the project's developer is expected to pay the city an additional $400,000, and that when it arrives, this money will reduce the city's actual cost for change orders by almost half. Read the full story here.
UNEXPECTED BODY FOUND NEAR CASTAIC LAKE: Authorities say a burned body found near Castaic Lake isn't that of a missing college student but rather an unrelated murder victim. Los Angeles Sheriff's Capt. Mike Parker said Wednesday that the remains found a week ago near Castaic Lake aren't those of 19-year-old Bryce Laspisa. He says they belong to Lamondre Miles. Investigators believe the South Los Angeles man was killed in Hawthorne and his body dumped and burned. Three people have been arrested. The body was found when firefighters doused a small brush blaze. Read the full story here.
LOTTERY TICKET BOUGHT IN BAKERSFIELD NETS $1.5 MILLION FOR WINNER: A man that usually buys $10 worth of California Lottery Quick Picks four times a week at Howard's Mini Market on Planz Road, won big Tuesday night, winning about $1.5 million. The store's co-owner and cashier Hyesuk Park said she saw the man Wednesday morning when he stopped by for gasoline and told him the big news. Park said the man was happy but not deliriously so. But she was excited for him, calling him one of her favorite customers. Read the full story here.
FORMER VICE PRINCIPAL PLEADS NO CONTEST TO LEWD OR LASCIVIOUS ACTS WITH A MINOR: Former Fairfax Middle School vice principal Donald Ricketts pleaded no contest Wednesday to one count of lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14 years old. Kern County Sheriff's detectives have said a girl reported to officials at the Lamont substation April 12, 2011 that Ricketts sexually molested her on numerous occasions over a three-year period. Six other felonies were dismissed against Ricketts in return for his plea, according to Kern County Superior Court records. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 23. Read the full story here.
THE ENERGY REPORT
CONTROVERSIAL FRACKING BILL PASSED IN LEGISLATURE: T he California Assembly approved a bill Wednesday night that would tighten the state's regulation on hydraulic fracturing -- or fracking. The bill, of course, pleased no one --especially oil companies and environmentalists. The bill passed 47-17. Reuters reported that companies would be required to obtain permits for fracking as well as acidizing, the use of hydrofluoric acid and other chemicals to dissolve shale rock. Oil companies have suggested that acid could be useful than fracking. Environmentalists didn't like the bill because it loosens some environmental approval regulations. Read the full story here.
THE TECH REPORT
AT&T ONCE AGAIN GETS UPPER HAND IN iPHONE RELEASE: If you like talking on the phone and surfing the web at the same time the new version of the iPhone will let you do it --but only on AT&T. The blog Tech Crunch reported late Wednesday that Verizon and Sprint customers will not be able to chat on the phone and do web tasks. The blog reported that Apple places the blame on the networks operated by Verizon and Sprint. Apple, of course, announced new iPhone models on Tuesday. Simultaneous data and voice use has been a major desire for Verizon and Sprint customers, but that will have to wait.
THE HEALTH REPORT
BILL WOULD EXPAND PHARMACISTS' ROLE IN CALIFORNIA: California's Assembly approved a bill Wednesday that would expand the services California pharmacists can provide to patients. The Associated Press says that under the bill pharmacists could order certain lab tests and prescribe smoking-cessation drugs. The bill is part of a package by Democratic Sen. Ed Hernandez of West Covina that aims to address the state's expected shortage of primary care physicians. Supporters including pharmacy schools and Blue Shield of California say the legislation would allow pharmacists to better use their training and could help control health care costs. It now goes to the Senate for a final vote.
'MALE MENOPAUSE': We've all heard the TV ads for testosterone treatment for "low T." But new research in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine says a different hormone may play a role in less sex drive and more fat as men age. Estrogen -- the female hormone -- is needed by men, too. The study gives the first clear evidence that too little of it can cause certain "male menopause" symptoms, the Associated Press writes. Dr. Joel Finkelstein of Massachusetts General Hospital led the U.S.-government funded study. He told the Associated Press: "A lot of things we think are due to testosterone deficiency are actually related to the estrogen deficiency that accompanies it."
THE SPORTS REPORT
REED TO MAKE THE ROUNDS SATURDAY: Fresh off his best NASCAR Nationwide Series finish, a ninth at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway on Friday night, Bakersfield's Ryan Reed will be back in his hometown on Saturday and trying to be in two places at once. He'll be racing in a Pro Late Model race at Kern Country Raceway Park and also be signing autographs during Drive to Stop Diabetes Night at Bakersfield Speedway. The tracks are about 25 miles apart, but the 20-year old Reed is becoming well versed in being a multi-tasker. "I've been really busy back here (North Carolina) and figured I could kind of be in two places at once," Reed said Wednesday in a phone conservation. Read the full story here.
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