Local News

Wednesday, Aug 07 2013 07:56 AM

'First Look': First News for Aug. 7

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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN

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

PG&E PRESIDENT ON IMPLOSION: Pacific Gas and Electric Co.'s president says the utility and state officials reviewed demolition plans prior to Saturday's power plant implosion that injured several people, including one critically. PG&E President Chris Johns downplayed the company's role in the planning process Tuesday, saying it took a look at its demolition contractor's timing and safety precautions but did not conduct an expert review. Johns spoke to The Bakersfield Californian's editorial board meeting and said, "We had an observation of the general plan from beginning to end of the whole multi-month proces. But you know ... we're not experts on demolition." Read the full story here

BOMB SQUAD: The Kern County Sheriff's bomb squad headed out to a northwest Bakersfield neighborhood. Deputies rolled out shortly after 9 a.m. Tuesday to Pembroke Avenue after someone called them to report two possible bombs. Two bottles were found on the homeowner's front lawn. Authorities say one of the bottles exploded. The Sheriff's office is investigating. Read the full story here.

STABBING: An elderly southwest Bakersfield man is recovering from being stabbed. At about 2:40 p.m. Tuesday, deputies went to a home in the 100 block of Cortez Court, where the 70-year-old victim had already been driven to a hospital. His injuries don't appear to be life-threatening. The man was reportedly stabbed during an altercation with his 20-year-old son, who took off before deputies arrived. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Sheriff's Office, or call Secret Witness at 322-4040. Read the full story here.

SHERIFF SUBSTATION: Some Kern County Sheriff's personnel are relocating for a little while. The Buttonwillow Substation is in the midst of a large-scale remodel that should take about five months. So for the time being, the staff is doing business out of the Parks and Recreation office at 133 E. First St. All the phone numbers remain the same, and service won't be interrupted. Officials note that the remodeling will not disturb the historic appearance of the Sheriff's substation building. Read the full story here.

AG REPORT: Good news for Kern County's agriculture industry. Not only is Kern County now the No. 2 agricultural producing county in the state, but it's stomping closely behind Fresno County, with agricultural commodities valued at more than $6.2 billion. The Bakersfield Californian reports that's the first time the gross commodities value has ever topped $6 billion, and it's an 11 percent increase from 2011. It's due in large part to grapes. Thanks to satellite mapping of grape vineyards, high prices and strong yields, grapes were the No. 1 agricultural commodity in the county, at nearly $1.5 billion. That's an increase of more than 50 percent from their initial 2011 ranking, when grapes first were ranked at $707.6 million total value, making them our No. 3 agricultural commodity. Almonds come in at number two. Read the full story here.

MURDER SENTENCING: The man who ran over and killed an elderly Bakersfield couple is sentenced to 78 years to life. Oscar Jimenez, 45, heard the news Tuesday in Kern County Superior Court. In April 2011, Jimenez was driving a pickup on Auburn Street while under the influence of methamphetamine. He lost control, jumped a curb and hit Albert and Annabelle Cichy, who were out for a walk. Jimenez was convicted on two counts of second degree murder. Read the full story here

WHATS TRENDING ON BAKERSFIELD.COM

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

WITNESSES IN SILVA DEATH CASE FILE CLAIMS AGAINST KERN: A third legal action related to the death of David Sal Silva was filed Tuesday in Bakersfield by witnesses alleging police seizure of their cell phones was improper and even unconstitutional. The law offices of attorney Daniel Rodriguez filed separate claims with the county of Kern on behalf of five people who witnessed the violent confrontation between law enforcement officers and the 33-year-old father of four. Although the claims are not identical, each is related to the seizure of two of the witnesses' cell phones by Kern County sheriff's investigators and the allegation by the witnesses that authorities unlawfully detained them, improperly confiscated and possibly damaged their personal property, and that investigators violated claimants' First Ammendment rights by preventing them from publishing video images of the incident on social media or other media outlets. Read the full story here.

STATE, PG&E REVIEWED DEMOLITION PLANS: Pacific Gas and Electric Co.'s president says the utility and state officials reviewed demolition plans prior to Saturday's power plant implosion that injured several people, including one critically. PG&E President Chris Johns downplayed the company's role in the planning process Tuesday, saying it took a look at its demolition contractor's timing and safety precautions but did not conduct an expert review. Johns spoke to The Bakersfield Californian's editorial board meeting and said, "We had an observation of the general plan from beginning to end of the whole multi-month proces. But you know ... we're not experts on demolition." He added that staff at the California Public Utilities Commission also conducted a "high-level" review of the demolition plans. A spokesman for the agency said late Tuesday afternoon that he had no information on the review. No site-specific demolition permit was issued for the job, San Francisco-based PG&E said, because one of the subcontractors, Alpha Explosives, has a state license to perform such work. Read the ull story here.

SON ALLEGEDLY STABBED 70-YEAR-OLD FATHER: Deputies responded to a victim of a stabbing at a residence in west Bakersfield at about 2:40 p.m. Tuesday. The Kern County Sheriff's Office says a 70-year-old man was reportedly assaulted by his 20-year-old son after an altercation inside a residence in the 100 block of Cortez Court. The suspect left in a dark-colored sedan before deputies arrived. The victim was taken to Kern Medical Center and his injuries didn't appear to be life-threatening. Read the full story here.

911 TAPE: WIFE CALLS FOR HUSBAND INJURED IN PG&E BLAST: The wife of Jerry Wood, injured Saturday when shrapnel flew from the implosion of the Kern Power Plant, called 911 to get help for her critically injured husband. A dispatcher asks the woman the extent of her husband's injuries in detail. You can hear the call at bakersfield.com. We do warn you that the call may be difficult for some people to hear. Read the full story here.

GRAPE HARVEST: KERN COUNTY NOW CALIFORNIA'S NO. 2 AG PRODUCING COUNTY: The new Kern County Crop Report is out, and it may be time to raise a glass of the finest vintage. Not only is Kern County now the No. 2 agricultural producing county in the state, but it's stomping closely behind Fresno County, with agricultural commodities valued at more than $6.2 billion. That's the first time the gross commodities value has ever topped $6 billion, and it's an 11 percent increase from 2011. And it's due in large part to our gorgeous grapes. Thanks to satellite mapping of grape vineyards, high prices and strong yields, grapes were the No. 1 agricultural commodity in the county, at nearly $1.5 billion. Read the full story here.

 

THE ENERGY REPORT

HALLIBURTON, SCHLUMBERGER ACCUSED OF PRICE FIXING: Oilfield service companies Halliburton and Schlumberger, both with significant operations in Kern County, are fending off lawsuits from hydraulic fracturing competitors in Texas. Bloomberg also reported that Halliburton, along with Baker Hughes, are being investigated by the U.S. Justice Department. Both companies acknowledged the investigation. Schlumberger has not yet acknowledged it's the target of the investigation. All three companies, however, were sued in a Texas federal court of their fracking pricing. The suit has class-action status. Read full story here.

 

THE TECH REPORT

SAMSUNG TAKES A BITE OUT OF APPLE'S MARKET SHARE: Apple's huge market dominance in tablet computers is beginning to slip -- just a bit. Samsung, specifically, has begun to chip away at Apple's lead by cutting away at its market share. In 2012, Samsung's share grew from just 7 percent to more than 18 percent this year. Last year, Apple controlled 60 percent of the tablet market, but this year the company holds just 32 percent of the market

 

THE HEALTH REPORT

CHILDHOOD OBESITY DECLINE? New evidence of a national decline in childhood obesity is showing up in data reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health officials said Tuesday that in 18 states, including California, there are at least slight declines in obesity among low-income preschoolers. But the AP reports health officials say there's a lot of work still to be done. CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden said, "It's not like we're out of the woods." Still one in eight preschoolers in the country is obese, and it's worse among black and Hispanic children.

COMBAT AND SUICIDE: A new military study disputes the usual thinking about the impact of war on members of the military. The study suggests combat has little or no influence on suicide rates among U.S. troops and veterans. The Associated Press says depression and other kinds of mental illness, alcohol problems and being male were all linked to suicides among military members, just as they are among the general population. But the Associated Press says researchers at the Naval Health Research Center in San Diego found deployment and combat didn't raise the risk of suicide. The researchers wrote that "the findings from this study are not consistent with the assumption that specific deployment-related characteristics, such as length of deployment, number of deployments, or combat experiences, are directly associated" with suicides.

 

THE SPORTS REPORT

MAPLES REINSTATED AS GARCES FOOTBALL COACH: Jim Maples has been reinstated as head varsity football coach at Garces Memorial High School, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno announced Tuesday. The diocese completed its investigation of "alleged unprofessional conduct related to sporting program protocols and bylaws by Maples" and the claims "could not be substantiated by any admissible evidence," the diocese said in a news release. It said it could not release any additional information because of privacy concerns. Garces placed Maples on paid leave July 29 after the diocese received allegations of misconduct. Officials wouldn't detail the allegations. Read the full story here.

BLAZE POWER PAST PORTS: Steve Selsky led off the scoring with a his 13th home run, Juan Perez had three hits and starter Jake Johnson was sharp as the Blaze beat the Stockton Ports, 3-1, on Tuesday night. Selsky led off the top of the second with a solo shot off of Stockton's Josh Bowman (4-5), who was strong over seven innings. The Blaze added its other two runs thanks to two Stockton errors. Bakersfield totaled eight hits, with Perez leading the way. The three runs were more than enough for Johnson (6-4), who struck out five and allowed three hits while walking one in five innings of work. Read the full story here.

 

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