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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
Lead stories from "First Look with Scott Cox's" Top Stories:
ATTORNEYS: CIVIL SETTLEMENT HAS NO BEARING ON CRIMINAL CASE AGAINST DEPUTY CHARGED WITH VEHICULAR MANSLAUGHTER: Deputy John Swearengin had a rough week. There was Kern County's settlement of a civil lawsuit with the families of the two pedestrians Swearengin struck and killed while driving at speeds of more than 80 mph on Norris Road the evening of Dec. 16, 2011. But local attorneys say the outcome of his criminal trial -- pushed back to late April -- is still very much up in the air. He's charged with two counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence. "The fact that a civil judgment has occurred has no impact on the criminal case," said Defense attorney H.A. Sala, who is not connected to the Swearengin case. Read the full story here.
UNDER FIRE, GET RETURNS TO DRAWING BOARD: One day after taking a public drubbing, Golden Empire Transit District officials said Thursday they were busy crafting changes that would upgrade service for Bakersfield's poor, homeless and disabled. But don't expect a quick fix to Bakersfield's public bus system. July will be the soonest for any changes benefiting the groups that complained the loudest Wednesday. Improvements will require shifting buses and other resources from one part of the city to another. Read the full story here.
KHSD TEACHERS REACH DEAL TO GET SALARY RAISES: The Kern High School District and its teachers union reached a tentative contract agreement Wednesday that would include the first on-schedule salary raise for teachers since pre-recession years, according to an email obtained by The Californian Thursday. Jesse Aguilar, vice president of the Kern High School Teachers Association, wrote in an email to union members Thursday morning that the "conceptual" agreement is not yet in writing but union bargaining team members will meet March 11 to consider the deal, reported The Californian's Lauren Foreman. 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.
BAKERSFIELD ROLLS OUT THE WELCOME MAT AGAIN FOR CIF STATE WRESTLING CHAMPIONSHIPS: This weekend's CIF State Wrestling Championships at Rabobank Arena will bring 560 wrestlers from around California and with them will come coaches from some 270 teams and thousands of fans. It's been 10 years since the state meet moved to Bakersfield and at the start, nobody was quite sure what they were getting into. Now, no box corner is left unchecked. Neither is any other detail. Read the full story here.
BHS' FIGUEROA ENTERS WRESTLING CHAMPIONSHIP RANKED NO. 3: Bakersfield High's J.J. Figueroa figured it might be nice to qualify for the CIF State Wrestling Championships as a freshman, just to soak in the experience. Figueroa is ranked No. 3 in the state at 113 pounds and has a chance to become one of California's rarest wrestlers: A freshman state champion. Figueroa was hanging around in the top 10 of The California Wrestler's state rankings, but it wasn't until last weekend's Central Section Masters that he made his big move. Read the full story here.
JURY FINDS IN FAVOR OF KERN COUNTY ON THREE OF FOUR CLAIMS FILED IN DAVID LEE TURNER LAWSUIT: A jury found in favor of Kern County on three of four claims Thursday following a six-day trial in Fresno during which attorneys representing the family of former NFL player David Lee Turner argued his civil rights were violated when he was shot and killed by a Kern County sheriff's deputy outside a convenience store in 2011. Specifically, the jury found no violation of Turner's civil rights by either Deputy Aaron Nadal or Deputy Wesley Kraft when they detained him after midnight on July 10 outside the Fastrip on Niles Street and Mount Vernon Avenue. No violation was found to have been committed by Kraft when he searched Turner, nor was any violation found on the part of either deputy when both used batons on Turner in an attempt to make him comply with their orders. Read the full story here.
THE TECH REPORT
GOOGLE BARGE MOVES TO STOCKTON: What is it really? Google says its barge will be an interactive technology center when it's finished being built. The Associated Press reports that the four-story barge, which was ordered out of Treasure Island in San Francisco, moved on Thursday to Stockton. The AP quoted Port of Stockton Director Richard Aschieris as saying, "It was an exciting morning for us. This doesn't happen every day. In fact I would probably say this is, from a maritime point of view, the highest visibility vessel we may have ever hosted."
THE HEALTH REPORT
KERN ENROLLMENT IN COVERED CALIFORNIA HITS 8,000-PLUS: Newly released data from the state show there were nearly 7,294 people enrolled in subsidized Covered California plans in Kern County and another 824 in unsubsidized plans as of Jan. 31. While Kern accounts for 2.3 percent of California's population, it only accounted for 1.1 percent of Covered California enrollments for the period. Clinica Sierra Vista CEO Steve Schilling blamed the lackluster showing on the "inconsistent" performance of the health exchange's web portal. Schilling said angry patients are taking it out on certified enrollment counselors when they can't submit applications for health insurance online or have to repeat work they've already done.
THE SPORTS REPORT
BHS' FIGUEROA RANKED NO. 3 IN WEIGHT CLASS ENTERING CIF STATE MEET: BHS's Figueroa ranked No. 3 in weight class entering CIF state meet. Bakersfield High's J.J. Figueroa, a freshman, ranked No. 3 in the state at 113 pounds and has a chance to become one of California's rarest wrestlers: A freshman state champion. He made his big move, beating state No. 1 Adrian Camposano of Fresno-Central in the semifinals and then knocking out No. 4 Matt Gamble of Porterville-Monache for the title. The CIF state wrestling championships runs Friday and Saturday at Rabobank Arena. Read the full story here.
PRACTICES, QUALIFYING BEGIN AT ANNUAL MARCH MEET AT FAMOSO: It's become a crowded playing field, and that's OK with Dan Horan Jr. Horan, of Rancho Cascades, started driving nostalgia Funny Cars 10 years ago, before there were any real races for the newfangled, old-school division. Today, about 30 drivers are expected to make qualifying attempts as the biggest nostalgia drag race in the world -- the March Meet -- kicks into high gear at Auto Club Famoso Raceway. Read the full story here.
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