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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
Lead stories from "First Look with Scott Cox's" Big 6:
MOTEL SHUT DOWN: Hundreds of people need to relocate after a motel in central Bakersfield is condemned. On Wednesday, Kern County Health officials decided to shut down the Tropicana on Union Avenue. This came after owners failed to fix some issues found during an annual inspection last week. Plumbing and electrical hazards, cockroaches, and bedbugs are among the problems. The motel is now undergoing repairs. Health officials provided showers and laundry service for tenants so they would not bring bed bugs to their temporary locations. Read the full story here.
BURGLARY: A couple of suspected burglars are rounded up in East Bakersfield. On Wednesday, Kern County Sheriff's Deputies were called to a home at 2500 Inyo Street after someone reportedly interrupted a crime in progress. Three suspects ran from the scene, and two of them, an adult and a juvenile, were captured in the 300 block of Crawford Street. The other suspect remained at large.
DUSTBOWL : You can get an idea what it was like for Kern County's Dust Bowl migrants during an upcoming festival. Former Sheriff Mack Wimbish is one of the organizers, and he says participants will experience food, music and memorabilia from the Grapes of Wrath days. Dust Bowl Days happens Saturday, October 19th from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Sunset Middle School, Weedpatch Highway at Sunset near Lamont. Admission is free. To find out more call 331-9136. Read the full story here.
HIT-AND-RUN SENTENCING: A defendant who took a plea deal in a fatal hit-and-run is sentenced to five years' probation after serving a nine-month jail sentence. Gustavo Alvarez-Solis served the jail time before sentencing to guarantee he serve the entire nine months in jail and not be released early due to prison realignment or jail overcrowding. He pleaded no contest to hit-and-run causing death after striking pedestrian Brandon Weaver March 5, 2012 on 24th Street east of Oak Street. Police said Alvarez-Solis drove his pickup home the night of the crash and told no one what had happened. He cleaned the vehicle and threw out the windshield. Alvarez-Solis later took the truck to a repair shop. He said gang members had vandalized the vehicle. Read the full story here.
EARTHQUAKE : Shaky ground in the mountains east of Bakersfield. A minor earthquake was reported about two miles north of Lake Isabella at 6:34 p.m. Wednesday. The Southern California Seismic Network says it was registered at 3.5. No immediate reports of damage or injuries. Read the full story here.
ANIMAL SHELTER: Kern County Supervisors want to get on the same page as the City of Bakersfield when it comes to critters. Supervisors Chair Mike Maggard sent Mayor Harvey Hall and the City Council a letter Wednesday saying he wants time at the council's October16th meeting to talk about Animal Services Operations and procedures. Since splitting their programs, Maggard says there needs to be 24-hour exchange period, so people living in the county can temporarily drop off animals at the city shelter. Supervisors also want the city to partner with them on the Trap-Neuter-Return program for feral cats, and reconsider their policy of euthanizing those cats. So far no word from city officials.
WHAT'S TRENDING ON BAKERSFIELD.COM
In case you missed it, here are the stories that are trending across bakersfield.com.
SEVEN OAKS WILL GET $28 MILLION ASSISTED LIVING CAMPUS: A $28 million Seven Oaks Assisted Living and Memory Care complex will open its doors in late 2014 or early 2015 to seniors age 62 and older. Caregivers will try to give its more than 200 regular residents and visitors the personal attention that brings purpose to their lives. Lito Morello, director of Kern County's Aging and Adult Services Department, hailed the project, pointing out that Kern County has 117,000 seniors ages 60 and older -- a number that is expected to grow by 89 percent by 2030. Read the full story here.
BAKERSFIELD MOTEL CLOSED FOR HEALTH, SAFETY VIOLATIONS: A downtown Bakersfield motel was shuttered Wednesday morning by the Kern County Public Health Department for numerous health and safety code violations, displacing more than 100 residents and their pets. The Tropicana Motel at 1622 Union Ave. was cited for electrical and plumbing violations, along with a bed bug infestation. Numerous agencies helped find alternative lodgings for motel residents. Their pets were placed temporarily in the City Animal Shelter. Read the full story here.
FROM DUST THEY CAME AND HERE THEY STAYED: Volumes have been written about the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s but with the possible exception of John Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath," nothing tells the story quite as well as the photographs taken during that era -- many of which were taken right here in Kern County. Fortunately, the Walter Stiern Library at Cal State Bakersfield has a large collection -- approximately 140 prints -- which will be on display starting Sunday at a reception that is open to the public. The display is expected to be the focal point of a broader event to welcome the National Steinbeck Center's "Onward" team upon its arrival in Bakersfield. Read the full story here.
COACH STORE AT VALLEY PLAZA ROBBED: Police said the Coach store in the Valley Plaza mall was robbed Tuesday morning by suspects using pepper spray. Officers have recovered the stolen merchandise. Police said other details were not immediately available. Read the full story here.
COUNTY COUNTERS RUMORS OF KMC PAY CUTS: Kern Medical Center officials are looking to cut $6.5 million from the hospital budget, triggering panic among staff that their pay and benefits are threatened. "KMC will immediately reduce its salaries and benefits budget by 8 percent, review all services and supplies for similar reductions, and take aggressive action to improve its revenue generation," wrote County Administrative Officer John Nilon in an email sent to KMC staff. But top county administrators say they are not planning across-the-board salary and benefit cuts as the county's largest union has claimed publicly, but are looking to use hiring freezes, voluntary furloughs and other methods to match KMC spending to its budget. Read the full story here.
THE TECH REPORT
SEE IT: Comcast, NBCUniversal and Twitter next month plan to enable Comcast Xfinity TV subscribers to record or watch NBCUniversal TV shows with the tap of a button embedded in tweet postings. The online button is a manifestation of a Comcast project called See It that involves a partnership between the three companies to integrate online social interaction into the TV viewing experience. Tweets about TV content have been growing fast enough to convince Nielsen to begin tracking Twitter conversations about TV. Metrics service SocialGuide claims that 19 million individuals in the U.S. sent 263 million tweets about live TV in the second quarter of 2013.
IRON MAN SUIT: The technology in Iron Man is getting a step closer to reality thanks to the United States military. The Army has commissioned a Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit, which would provide the wearer with superhuman abilities like night vision, enhanced strength, and protection from gunfire. Each suit would have an on-board computer that would be able to instantly respond to certain situations and provide the user with enhanced situational awareness. According to the press release, the suit may use liquid armor, currently under development at MIT, which has the ability to transform from a "liquid to solid in milliseconds when a magnetic field or electrical current is applied." The goal is full-body ballistic protection, theoretically allowing the wearer to literally walk through a stream of bullets. A panel that rests against the skin would be able to detect and respond to the body's core temperature, skin temperature, heart rate, and hydration levels. The suit would also provide basic life support such as heat, air, and oxygen.
THE HEALTH REPORT
HEPATITIS: Hawaii health officials are asking stores to pull a fat-burning supplement from shelves after officials linked it to cases of liver failure and acute hepatitis in 29 people. Two people have undergone liver transplants and one person has died, according to the Hawaii State Department of Health. Twenty-four of the people who fell ill reported using OxyElite Pro before being diagnosed; the patients had no other medication or supplement in common. Hawaii investigators are working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. OxyElite Pro is sold nationwide.
ABORTIONS: California women will have more access to abortion after Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill Wednesday that allows nurse practitioners and other non-physicians to perform the procedure during the first trimester of pregnancy. Assemblywoman Toni Atkins of San Diego introduced the measure because of concern that there are not enough physicians, especially in rural areas, to meet the needs of women who desire an abortion. The measure requires the non-physicians to complete specified training and comply with standardized medical protocols.
THE SPORTS REPORTS
CONDORS: INTENSITY ON THE ICE: For some, the chance of making the Condors ended Wednesday night after an intrasquad scrimmage at Rabobank Arena. For others, the test continues tonight as the intensity ramps up when the Condors travel to San Francisco for the first of three ECHL pre-season games. The Condors play in Stockton on Friday night before finishing up the pre-season schedule on Sunday at home against San Francisco. "We're going to make some decisions here tonight and take 28 players on the road for the next two games," Condors coach Troy Mann said of trimming the roster. The Condors had 33 players on the ice Wednesday. Mann said it was tough to evaluate scrimmages, but was trying to keep a sharp eye on the bubble guys. Read the full story here.
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