By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
Lead stories from "First Look with Scot Cox's" Big 6:
ARSON ARREST: An arrest is made after an arsonist torched a Bakersfield building. Bakersfield firefighters responded to a structure fire in the 200 block of Clyde Street, east of Union Avenue and north of Highway 58 around 11:45 a.m. Wednesday. Arson investigators arrested a man seen leaving the structure, and it appears the fire was intentionally set. A woman also left the building. Crews reported heavy fire showing from the roof of an apparently vacant, single-story house. There was no power to the building and several windows had been boarded up. The blaze was brought under control in 11 minutes. Damage was estimated at $25,000 and no injuries were reported. Read the full story here.
16TH SENATE RACE: Republican Andy Vidak is even further from a win in the 16th Senate District after a few final votes trickle in from Fresno County. Fresno County Elections has now published its Official Final Report. That report adds an additional 64 votes in final tally in the 16th Senate District contest. Only four of those votes went to Vidak. Democrat Leticia Perez got 54. The other six went to Francisco Ramirez and Paulina Miranda, two of the three other candidates in the race. Vidak is now 115 votes away from a win, a shift of 28 votes away from him. Vidak and Perez will face off in a runoff election in July. Read the full story here.
HOUSE FIRE: Bakersfield firefighters responded to a structure fire in the 500 block of Terrace Way, south of Brundage Lane and west of Union Avenue at about 8:45 a.m. Wednesday. Crews reported light smoke showing from the attic an apparently vacant, single-story residence. There was a mattress fire in a rear bedroom, and two men left the residence as firefighters arrived. The fire was brought under control in 10 minutes and damage was estimated at $10,000. No injuries were reported and the cause is under investigation. Read the full story here.
ALCOHOL POISONING: A woman found dead in late April died of acute alcohol poisoning. The Kern County Coroner's office says 34-year old Stacey Ann Peebles was found dead around 7:30 a.m. April 23 in the 900 block of East California Avenue. The death was ruled accidental. Read the full story here.
SPELLING BEE: A Bakersfield boy who made it to the National Spelling Bee has been eliminated from competition. Eleven-year old Osvaldo Sanchez is a sixth-grader at Emerson Middle School who made it out of rounds two and three but didn't make it to the semifinals. His coach says Osvaldo needed a 32 on a bank of 40 questions, and he just missed it. Sanchez will remain in National Harbor, Md., through Saturday to watch the rest of the National Spelling Bee, which is sponsored by The E.W. Scripps Co. He's one of 281 spellers ranging in age from 8 to 14 who have gathered from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories for the nation's largest and oldest annual spelling bee. Semifinals are Thursday. Read the full story here.
DELANO FIRE: Kern County firefighters are on-scene of a two-alarm fire at the Delano Senior Citizens Center on Jefferson Street. The fire broke out at about 4:15 a.m. Thursday. Flames were seen engulfing the roof of the facility, which partially collapsed. No word yet on damage or injuries. The facility provides entertainment and meals to seniors in the North County and was believed to be empty at the time of the fire.
WHAT'S TRENDING ON BAKERSFIELD.COM
In case you missed it, here are the stories that are trending across bakersfield.com
AUTOPSY REVEALS WOMAN DIED OF ACUTE ALCOHOL POISONING: The coroner's office says a woman found dead in April died of acute alcohol poisoning and her death was accidental. Thirty-four-year-old Stacey Ann Peebles was found dead at 7:23 a.m. April 23 in the 900 block of East California Avenue. Peebles' body was found in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park and police were initially investigating the death as a homicide. City Parks and Recreation workers had reported seeing a person down in the park near the softball diamonds. Read the full story here.
LOCAL MARINE'S MOM DOES NOT KNOW WHAT LED TO RAMPAGE: Rosalva Jimenez, the mother of a Bakersfield Marine killed after a shooting spree that left one dead in Texas tells the Associated Press she doesn't know what prompted the attacks, including the stabbing of his wife, also a Bakersfield resident, in North Carolina. Twenty-three-year-old Lance Cpl. Esteban J. Smith died Sunday in a gunfight with Texas authorities after a shooting rampage that left one person dead and several hospitalized. Authorities believe Smith fatally stabbed his wife, Rubi Estefania Smith, in a Jacksonville, N.C., motel room near Camp Lejeune before the shooting rampage. Read the full sotry here.
BPD ID'S SUSPECT IN DOUBLE HOMICIDE: The investigation into the double homicide that occurred in the 3700 block of Columbus Street on Monday has led to the identification of a suspect. The Bakersfield Police Department obtained a warrant for the arrest of 21-year-old Julio Jesus Romero of Bakersfield. Anyone with information regarding Romero's whereabouts is urged to contact the Bakersfield Police Department at 327-7111. Read the full story here.
BOY WISHES TO GIVE OTHERS LIKE HIM A FIGHTING CHANCE: Californian contributing columnist Jose Gaspar writes about a child who has a condition called adrenoleukodystrophy. The most devastating form of ALD appears in childhood. Here in Bakersfield 13-year-old Jeremy Hill Jr. has it. He had two bone marrow transplants. The boy would like to see a law passed to have all newborns screened for ALD. He wants to meet the president and tell him so. Read the full story here.
LOCAL STUDENT ELIMINATED AT NATIONAL SPELLING BEE: An 11-year-old Bakersfield boy who made it to the National Spelling Bee has been eliminated from competition. Osvaldo Sanchez, a sixth-grader at Emerson Middle School, made it out of rounds two and three but didn't make it to the semifinals. Language arts teacher and coach David Sandles said, "He needed a 32 on a bank of 40 questions, and he just missed it." Read the full story here.
THE ENERGY REPORT
WHAT IF NUCLEAR POWER IS THE FUTURE OF ENERGY?: That's exactly the question that is being raised by a provocative documentary movie that debuts next month in theaters and on CNN in November. The movie was financed by billionaire Paul Allen, one of Microsoft's founders. The movie, called Pandora's Promise, was an official selection at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival, but it's certain to generate controversy with it positive portrayal of an energy source that has been vilified by many. Filmmaker Robert Stone shows the growing controversy within the scientific community about the viability of nuclear energy versus other sources, including coal and oil. Many scientists featured in the movie, along with environmentalists, were once opposed to nuclear energy, but have now changed their minds. Read the full story here.
THE TECH REPORT
MICROSOFT OFFICE: Earlier this year, Microsoft changed up its Office product by offering it as a subscription for home users for the first time. How's it going? Well, the company just announced that Office 3-65 Home Premium has surpassed 1 million subscribers in about 100 days. Overall, Microsoft says the new Office is so far the best-selling version of the software in its history. The subscription costs 99-dollars and 99-cents a year and comes with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook and other Office apps for up to five machines, plus an extra 20 gigabytes of cloud storage, and 60 minutes of Skype world minutes per month.
BANDWITH: The Federal Communications Commission is scrambling to free up large amounts of bandwidth as wireless use continues to grow. The more people email, download and stream with smart phones and other wireless devices, the larger the hunger for the bandwidth becomes. And without adequate bandwidth, service becomes slower and less reliable, and prices increase. At the current growth rate, carriers will inevitably run out of bandwidth, although they can manage for "a couple years," an FCC official said last year. The FCC plans to auction off bandwidths now being used by television stations, government agencies and other broadcasters so they, too, can be used by mobile devices.
NETFLIX VS. BLACKBERRY: Netflix apparently doesn't think much of the BlackBerry platform. The streaming giant has created apps for various TVs, video game consoles, set-top boxes, Blu-ray players and mobile devices. Netflix has not, however, built a BlackBerry app -- and some BlackBerry users are furious. They've gone online to call for a public boycott of Netflix. Netflix -- with 36 million subscribers -- hasn't commented.
THE HEALTH REPORT
NEW SKIN CANCER DRUG: GlaxoSmithKline has won U.S. approval for two new skin cancer drugs. The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved Tafinlar and Mekinist for patients with melanoma that has spread or can't be surgically removed. The National Institutes of Health says estimates 77,000 Americans will be diagnosed with melanoma this year and more than 9-thousand will die.
WORKER HEALTH PREMIUMS: Businesses in the U.S. won more freedom to charge higher insurance premiums to workers who don't meet health goals under rules released by the Obama administration. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says the regulations also require employers to offer a reasonable alternative for workers who can't meet standards on weight, cholesterol or other measures. That's meant to protect employees from discrimination. Conditions such as obesity and diabetes account for three-quarters of U.S. health spending, and wellness programs have been gaining in popularity as businesses grapple with rising costs. The regulations let employers charge workers as much as 30 percent of their medical-plan premiums if they fail to meet goals, an increase from the current 20 percent. The rules take effect Jan. 1.
PENCIL LODGED IN MAN'S HEAD: A man suffering from headaches for years found out what's been hurting him -- a pencil that's been lodged in his head for more than a decade. German doctors say the 24-year-old man spent 15 years with a pencil in his head and sought help after suffering for years from headaches, constant colds and worsening vision in one eye. The unnamed man said he didn't know how the pencil got there but recalled that he once fell badly as a child. Doctors removed the pencil and say the man has recovered.
THE SPORTS REPORT
HONORS FOR A LIBERTY GRAD: Liberty High graduate Cassidy Bell, a senior outfielder at Penn State, was named to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-America first team, it was announced Wednesday. Bell set a Penn State record in batting average (.456), home runs (20) and runs scored (55). She had a 1.007 slugging percentage and a .591 on-base percentage. Read the full story here.
BC GRANTED EXTENSION IN APPEAL: Bakersfield College has been granted an extension to file its appeal of sanctions against the school's football program. BC was facing a Wednesday deadline to file an appeal with the Southern California Football Association for sanctions handed down by the SCFA on May 14. The Renegades had all victories from the 2011 and 2012 season changed to forfeit losses, and the California Community College Athletic Association then vacated BC's 2012 state football championship.
BAKERSFIELD BLAZE WIN SERIES: Yorman Rodriguez had two doubles and two RBIs, and James Allen pitched 6-1/3 solid innings to lead the Bakersfield Blaze to a 6-4 victory Wednesday over the San Jose Giants. Allen (3-5), limited division leading San Jose to two hits and two runs. He struck out five and walked two. Read the full story here.