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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
Lead stories from "First Look with Scott Cox's" Big 6.
SILVA'S DEATH: Accidental -- that's the cause of death of a man beaten by Kern County Sheriff's Deputies. Sheriff Donny Youngblood said Thursday that the cause of death for 33-year old David Silva was accidental. The coroner's report showed Silva to be overweight and had hypertension of the heart. Youngblood says that all of the baton strikes used by the deputies were within policy. Youngblood adds Silva's blood alcohol content was .09 and he had methamphetamine in his system. Silva died May 8 at Kern Medical Center after being beaten by law enforcement officers near the hospital in east Bakersfield.
ATTORNEYS REACT: Attorneys for the family of David Silva and for the witnesses to his encounter with sheriff's deputies reacted with outrage to the sheriff's statements Thursday. The Bakersfield Californian's Steven Mayer writes Bakersfield attorney David Cohn, who is representing the Silva family in what could become a wrongful death lawsuit against the sheriff's department, questioned the autopsy results. Cohn says the notion that Silva died because he had heart disease and that the blows he sustained and the multiple dog bites he suffered did not contribute to his death, is hard to believe. Bakersfield attorney Daniel Rodriguez, who is representing several people who witnessed the confrontation between deputies and Silva -- including two whose cell phones were confiscated May 8 -- poses the question whether deputies have the right to take private property and to hold people hostage in their homes without a warrant.
BROADCAST LEGEND DIES: One of the true legends of Bakersfield broadcast television has died. A family spokesperson says Don Rodewald died Wednesday of natural causes and had been in poor health for some time. The longtime host of a 2-hour afternoon show, called the 'Matinee,' Rodewald became popular for his quirky personality and trademark haircut and smile. After a 20-year run, Rodewald left the air in 1973 and went on to teach at Bakersfield College for another 18 years. Rodewald returned to 23ABC for a series of reports to celebrate the station's 50th anniversary. The family is holding private services, but a scholarship will be set up in his name at Bakersfield College. Rodewald was 86.
SUSPECT GRABS WOMAN: Bakersfield police are asking for the public's help identifying a suspect wanted for battery. It happened May 17 around 3 p.m. as the suspect approached the victim in the parking lot of the Food Maxx at 4128 Chester Ave. The suspect made inappropriate comments toward the victim. The victim was afraid and tried to run back into the store when the suspect grabbed and kissed her, then took off running. He's described as black, 42 to 45 years old, 5'5", 180 pounds, with black medium-length hair, brown eyes, wearing a dark blue T-shirt and white tennis shoes. Call BPD if you know anything about the case.
GRAND FIRE COST: The total cost of damage in the Grand Fire -- $8.2 million. That's the word from Kern County Fire after crews finally gained full containment of the 43,000 acre blaze Wednesday. The fire started May 15 and forced the evacuation of Frazier Mountain High School and scared several Frazier Park homeowners before making its way out of the area. Five injuries were reported. No buildings were lost. The cause is still under investigation.
INMATE DEATH: We now know the name of the inmate who was killed in his cell at Kern Valley State Prison. The victim was 27-year old Andrew Keel from northern California. Keel was assaulted in his cell last Thursday. He was taken to a hospital where he later died. Keel's cellmate, 43-year old Dennis Bratton, is suspected of killing him.
WHAT'S TRENDING ON BAKERSFIELD.COM
In case you missed it, here are the stories that are trending across bakersfield.com ...
SHERIFF DEFENDS DEPUTIES' CONDUCT, SAYS SILVA DEATH ACCIDENTAL: A forceful Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood announced at a tense press conference Thursday that David Sal Silva, whose death earlier this month raised questions about use of force by deputies, died as a result of hypertensive heart disease and was not only intoxicated but had methamphetamine and other drugs in his system at the time of his death. Youngblood said a pathologist has ruled Silva's death accidental. In addition, he said, deputies never struck Silva in the head or neck. The findings of the sheriff's department were that three deputies struck Silva, and they hit him in areas that policy allows them to strike. Read the full story here.
ATTORNEYS REBUT SHERIFF'S FINDINGS, CRITICISMS: Attorneys for the family of David Sal Silva and for the witnesses to his violent encounter with sheriff's deputies reacted with incredulity and outrage to the sheriff's statements Thursday. Bakersfield attorney David Cohn, who is representing the Silva family in what could become a wrongful death lawsuit against the sheriff's department, questioned the autopsy results. "They're trying to say he died of natural causes," Cohn said. "Who would believe that?" And Bakersfield attorney Daniel Rodriguez, who is representing several people who witnessed the confrontation between deputies and Silva -- including two whose cell phones were confiscated May 8 -- said the sheriff's opinion of whether any witnesses like or dislike, trust or distrust, law enforcement is irrelevant. Read the full story here.
ONE KILLED IN CAR CRASH ON EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE: The driver of a vehicle who died in a crash on Edwards Air Force Base has been identified as 26-year-old Fernando Reyes Flores. The Rosamond resident was driving his private vehicle when he lost control and crashed on Rosamond Boulevard at Lancaster Boulevard Thursday morning. Read the full story here.
BROADCASTING PIONEER RODEWALD DEAD AT 86: "Until tomorrow at 3, when it's just you and me." With that line, which would become the catchphrase of a lifetime, Don Rodewald went from genial announcer to Bakersfield icon in the early days of television. Rodewald died Wednesday at age 86, and a vital link to Bakersfield's trailblazing media history was lost forever. Said Rodewald's daughter, Judy Barkett, "He was primarily an announcer on camera, and his best-known show was as host of the 'Afternoon Show.'" "It was the precursor to the modern-day talk show. He showed movies and he did live features of goings-on around town. It was a two-hour show, from 3 to 5. Everybody I knew growing up had him in their living room when they came home from school." Read the full story here.
VIDAK'S MARGIN SLIPPING; PEREZ STILL HAS A CHANCE TO FORCE A RUNOFF VOTE: The Senate District 16 race may not be decided after all. Hanford cherry farmer Andy Vidak will probably still seize the outright win. But a new analysis of voting trends by The Californian shows his win isn't certain. The campaign of runner-up Leticia Perez says it has a slim chance for a second round in her battle with Vidak. A sharp swing against Vidak in Election Day and late-mail voting could be repeated in the 5,500 votes that remain to be counted in Fresno, Kern, Kings and Tulare counties. "It's pretty small," Perez said Thursday. "But there's a chance." Her campaign manager, Trent Hager, said no matter what, "it's going to be extremely close." Read the full story here.
THE ENERGY REPORT
KEYSTONE PIPELINE: In a post by InsideClimateNews.org, the Pulitzer-prize winning website questions the need for the controversial Keystone Pipeline in the wake of surging U.S. oil production. The pipeline would bring oil from Canada's tar sands regions into the U.S., but it has raised protests from environmentalists. The US Energy Information Administration reported that domestic crude production will increase by 20 percent by 2014, while import of foreign crude will only make up 30 percent of the U.S. inventory. With those numbers, some suggest that the U.S. doesn't need the pipeline projects that would connect the tar sands regions in Alberta to refineries in Texas. While the federal report paints a rosy picture, Republicans in the House of Representatives passed a bill that would grant approval of the Keystone Pipeline. The Obama administration says it will veto the legislation.
THE TECH REPORT
SAMSUNG: Samsung Electronics has announced that it has sold more than 10 million units of its Galaxy S4 phone less than a month after its worldwide launch on April 27. The phone is estimated to be selling at the rate of four units per second and is currently available in more than 110 countries. To help keep sales flowing, Samsung also announced Thursday a few new colors on the way. Joining the existing White Mist and Black Forest models this summer are Blue Arctic and Red Aurora, followed later by Purple Mirage and Brown Autumn.
GOOGLE: Google X, Google's lab where the company hatches big ideas like driverless cars and Google Glasses, is acquiring the high altitude wind startup Makani Power, according to an article in Bloomberg Business Week. Makani Power has been building and testing a new type of wind turbine that is attached to a long tether and which rotates high off the ground, capturing wind that is stronger and more consistent than wind typically found on the ground. The idea behind the innovation is that capturing high altitude wind could be cheaper, more efficient, and more suitable for certain environments.
THE HEALTH REPORT
AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE: California unveiled prices Thursday that consumers will pay for a selection of health plans offered through the state under the Affordable Care Act. The cost to a 40-year-old who needs coverage would vary from about $40 to $300 per month for a mid-level plan, depending on the person's income. Some young adults, who are less expensive to cover, could pay nothing, depending on how much they earn. The exchange will also offer what it calls platinum plans, in which co-payments are very low or non-existent. These plans would cost $500 for those who do not qualify for subsidies, but as little as $300 per month for low-wage earners. California's exchange will offer coverage from 13 insurers - down from more than 30 that had applied to participate. Among them are some of the biggest names, including Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield and Kaiser Permanente. Consumers will be able to begin signing up on October 1 for plans that will go into effect in January. Next month, the exchange will reveal plans and prices for insurance that small business owners can purchase for their employees.
TEEN PREGNANCY: Here's some good news: The nation's teen birth rate is falling fast. The 2011 rate was just half the 1991 rate, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency reports the decline parallels a steady rise in birth-control use among sexually active teens. There were 31.3 births per 1,000 teens in 2011, down from 61.8 in 1991.
THE SPORTS REPORT
CAL STATE BASEBALL ADVANCES: With a 7-1 victory over Sacramento State, Cal State Bakersfield's baseball team is one step closer to a Western Athletic Conference championship and a berth in the NCAA playoffs. The Roadrunners were aided by 12 walks. At 2-0 in pool play, the Roadrunners face 2-0 University of Texas San Antonio in tonight's game. CSUB swept San Antonio (also nicknamed the Roadrunners) in a three-game home series April 12-15, outscoring UTSA 22-9 in the series. Read the full story here.
THE BLAZE STREAK CONTINUES: It took a while Thursday night but the Bakersfield Blaze stretched its winning streak to six games with a 4-3 win in extra innings over visiting Stockton. After an 0-for-4 start, Steve Selsky hit a fastball into right-center, bringing home Ryan Wright, giving the Blaze the win.
GARCES FALLS IN VALLEY TITLE GAME: The Garces Rams couldn't hold a 7-3 lead over host Hanford West in the CIF Central Section Division II softball title game Thursday and fell in eight innings 9-8. Read the full story here.
TAFT WINS TITLE: For the second straight year, Arizona Pilgrim delivered a stellar pitching performance in the Central Section Division IV softball title game. This time, however, the sophomore hurler got the run support she needed to help Taft High win the big one. Pilgrim tossed a four-hitter and smacked a two-run home run as the Wildcats overpowered top-seeded host Liberty-Madera Ranchos 9-3 for the Division IV title Thursday. Read the full story here.
AND IF YOU'RE LOOKING FOR SOMETHING TO DO THIS WEEKEND, check out the Kern County Basque Festival.