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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
Lead stories from "First Look with Scott Cox's" Big 6:
BODY FOUND IN CANAL: Authorities are trying to identify a body recovered from a canal near Delano. At about 12 p.m. Tuesday, a worker found the body stuck to the bottom of the Friant Kern canal near Woollomes Avenue. A drop of two feet in the water level led to the discovery. Kern County Sheriff's detectives and a Search and Rescue crew responded. Deputies determined the body had been there for an extended period, and there was some indication the death was suspicious. An autopsy is scheduled. Delano Police were called in because they're investigating the case of Erika Lango, a mother of four who went missing in October. Lango's family members were at the scene where the body was recovered. No word on whether the body is male or female. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Kern County Sheriff's Office. Read the full story here.
HOMICIDE VICTIM: A Ridgecrest man was the victim of a homicide. That's the finding of the Kern County Coroner in the case of 60-year-old Thomas Burch whose body was discovered Aug. 24 in the 300 block of Ridgecrest Boulevard. Authorities say Burch died at the scene from blunt force head trauma. An autopsy was done Aug. 27, but the coroner had to complete more tests before releasing the report on Tuesday. No suspects have been named, and the Ridgecrest Police are investigating.
MISSING TEEN: Bakersfield Police hope you can help find a missing teen. Courtney Brooks, 15, disappeared a little over a week ago from the home where she lives with her father, and authorities say she's most likely still in the Bakersfield area. Brooks is 5 feet 7 inches tall, 125 pounds with long blond hair, blue eyes and braces. Anyone with information is asked to call Bakersfield Police at 327-7111.
DRUNK DRIVER SENTENCED: A man convicted in a deadly east Bakersfield car crash is going to prison. On Tuesday, Cody Randazzle was sentenced to 29 years to life. Authorities say Randazzle had a blood alcohol level of .18 when he was speeding eastbound on California Avenue at about 2:30 a.m. on October 6, 2012. Randazzle lost control of his car and slammed into a brick wall. Two passengers were injured and a third, Amby Henry, died at the scene. In October, Randazzle was convicted of gross vehicular manslaughter and inflicting great bodily injury while driving on a suspended license. Read the full story here.
COLD WEATHER: Local citrus farmers are bracing for a cold snap. A wintry storm pushing through the western half of the country is bringing bitterly cold temperatures that threaten crops in here California. Citrus farmers in the Central Valley checked wind machines and ran water through their fields in anticipation of temperatures at or below freezing early today, followed by even colder weather on Saturday. Parts of California could see the thermometer drop to the 20s. Read the full story here.
FIRE IN TEHACHAPI: A structure fire in Tehachapi closes Highway 202. It happened Monday evening and caused about $80,000 in damage. Kern County firefighters said they responded at 8:35 p.m. to a building in the 20300 block of Valley Boulevard. About a quarter of the 1,000-square-foot structure was on fire. The blaze was put out in 20 minutes and the cause is under investigation. No one was injured. 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.
POLICE, FAMILY OF MISSING WOMAN GATHER AS BODY IS PULLED FROM CANAL: The discovery of a body in the Friant-Kern Canal east of Delano Tuesday brought forth authorities from both the Kern County Sheriff's Office and Delano Police Department, and family members of a 26-year-old Delano woman who's been missing for almost two months. Sheriff's spokesman Ray Pruitt said mid-afternoon, before the body was removed from the water, that it hadn't been determined whether the body was male or female. He said no connection had been made to the disappearance of Erika Padron Lango. Pruitt said the body had been in the water for an extended period of time, and based on what investigators could see at the scene, the death was suspicious. Read the full story here.
HOUSES ON FORMER SCHOOL SITE UP FOR VOTE: Once-controversial plans to build 100 condominiums on southwest land at River Run Boulevard and Elkhorn Creek Lane have been replaced with more accepted plans for 53 single-family homes, the Bakersfield Planning Commission will learn during a public hearing Thursday. Building officials issued a grading permit for the nearly 12-acre parcel Nov. 6. The plan calls for 53 houses on lots of around 6,000 square feet, and streets that will connect to Elkhorn Creek Lane, not busier River Run Boulevard. Neighbors have no problem with that. Read the full story here.
CITRUS GROWERS BRACE FOR COLD SNAP: At 77 years old, east Bakersfield citrus grower Dick Minetti needs his sleep. But tell that to Mother Nature. Temperatures are expected to drop below freezing Wednesday night, potentially threatening the mandarins, lemons and other fruit hanging in his 30-acre orchard off Park Drive near Edison. With a flashlight on his bedstand, Minetti plans to check the indoor-outdoor thermometer in his bedroom periodically through the night. If the mercury slips below 29 degrees for more than a couple of hours, he plans to irrigate his trees with warm water. The resulting steam just might be enough to protect his crop. Read the full story here.
DRUNKEN DRIVER SENTENCED TO 29 YEARS IN PRISON FOR FATAL CRASH: A drunken driver who crashed into a wall in October of last year -- killing a passenger and wounding two more -- was sentenced Tuesday to 29 years in prison. Cody Randazzle, 30, had a blood alcohol content of .18 percent and was driving 20 miles above the speed limit on East California Avenue when he lost control of his car and slammed into a brick wall, prosecutors said. Amby Dawn Henry was pronounced dead at the scene. A jury convicted Randazzle on Oct. 24 of gross vehicular manslaughter and inflicting great bodily injury while driving on a suspended license. Read the full story here.
CENTRAL SECTION FOOTBALL RANKINGS, PLAYOFFS WEEK 4: Check out Californian sports reporter Zach Ewing's central section football ranking for week four of playoffs on bakersfield.com. Read the full story here.
THE TECH REPORT
FACIAL RECOGNITION: In the future, Apple devices may be able to detect and recognize users' faces, letting them unlock and even control some features on their gadgets with just their mug. The Cupertino tech company was granted a patent Tuesday for "personal computing device control using face detection and recognition" by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The patent details a system and method that would allow Apple devices to detect users' faces. The patent says Apple devices would be able to recognize if the users standing in front of the gadgets are "authorized." If they are, users could then control some aspects of their gadgets with just their faces. Besides that, the patent could also use a person's face to determine whether to display certain information, such as an incoming call, message or email. If an unauthorized user is detected, the device would not display the information. Apple isn't the first to toy around with facial recognition and detection. For some time, Android users have been able to unlock their phones using facial recognition. And Samsung users can scroll up and down on articles by simply looking at their devices and tilting them back and forth.
THE HEALTH REPORT
MENINGITIS OUTBREAK: T he University of California Santa Barbara is suspending some social and fraternity events to prevent the further spread of a strain of meningitis that has now infected four students, one of whom lost his feet to the disease. The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department confirmed the fourth case Monday. Meningitis, which causes the membranes in the brain and spine to swell, can be fatal. Those who survive can be permanently paralyzed or mentally impaired. The disease is spread through proximity and contact. Hundreds of students have been given antibiotics, and the university is also cleaning dormitories and athletic facilities more thoroughly to ensure that more people aren't infected. The outbreak is the second at a U.S. college this year. Eight people have fallen ill at Princeton since March with the same illness. Authorities say they don't believe the two outbreaks are related. Although no vaccine for type B meningitis has been approved for use in the United States, the Food and Drug Administration is permitting Princeton to import a vaccine that is available in Europe and Australia. Students who choose to do so will be able to receive the vaccine starting next week. A freshman lacrosse player at UCSB, lost circulation in his limbs because of the disease, and doctors were forced to amputate his lower legs.
THE SPORTS REPORT
CENTENNIAL COACH PLACED ON LEAVE: Centennial has placed boys basketball coach Hernan Santiago on paid administrative leave indefinitely with the Golden Hawks' season opener less than three weeks away, athletic director Tom Haskell confirmed. Santiago is in his first year at the school. Haskell said the coach could be reinstated as soon as an independent investigation was complete, but there was no sign of how long that might take. Santiago is not allowed contact with the team in practice or games while he is on leave. Centennial opens its season Dec. 20 in a tournament in Santa Maria. Junior varsity coach Jason Carmona has taken over the varsity job. Read the full story here.
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