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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
Lead stories from "First Look with Scott Cox's" Big 6:
DESIGNER HANDBAGS THEFT: Police said two women didn't let anything get in their way when it came to acquiring the latest in designer handbags. Bakersfield Police say La Cora Johnson and Lakisha Toles entered the Coach store in the Valley Plaza mall at 10:20 a.m. Tuesday and began selecting purses. A clerk walked over to assist them. One of the women threatened her with pepper spray. Police said the two continued selecting purses and ran from the store. Police later found the two in a stolen vehicle near California and Oleander avenues. Nineteen Coach purses were recovered. Both 29-year-old Johnson and 31-year-old Toles, 31 were arrested on suspicion of crimes including robbery and possession of a stolen vehicle. A basic Coach handbag can start at 200 dollars. Anyone with information regarding this incident is urged to contact Bakersfield police at 327-7111. Read the full story here.
NUT THEFT: Deputies say Francisco Javier Lopez Martinez hatched a heist plan that was just plain nuts. Martinez was contracted to transport $100,000 worth of almonds from Sunny Gem in Wasco to a buyer in North Carolina. But Martinez, deputies say, wasn't associated with any legitimate transportation company. Among the falsified documents detectives found in Martinez's possession: driver's license; immigration papers; the company emblems on his semi-truck; and a stolen license plate on his trailer. Martinez was booked Thursday on suspicion of crimes including grand theft, forgery and conspiracy. It wasn't immediately clear what he planned to do with the haul. Read the full story here.
HIGHWAY 58 BOTTLENECK: The $17.2 million widening of Highway 58 west of Cottonwood Road will begin next week. Transportation officials said it will help reduce the rear-end and sideswipe accidents that occur when motorists merge from three lanes each way to two. Security Paving Company will expand the freeway from four lanes to six using its existing median. That means no homes or businesses will be demolished as a result of its construction. Jose Camarena, a spokesman for Caltrans, said this: "The name of the project really says it all: 'State Route 58 Gap Closure.' What this project is intended for is congestion relief and safety and operational improvements." Read the full story here.
SALMONELLA CASE: A case of salmonella in Kern County has been linked to an outbreak of the disease that public health officials say may stem from raw chicken packaged at three Foster Farms facilities in California. The Kern County Public Health Services Department received confirmation in the first week of October that a local infection was a strain of Salmonella Heidelberg involved in the outbreak, said Donna Fenton, chief environmental health specialist. Fenton said she could not say whether the infected person was an adult or child. The California Department of Public Health confirmed that the ill person had eaten chicken from one of the three plants implicated in the outbreak. Read the full story here.
LIGHTS ON WIND TURBINES: Kern County planners, wind energy companies and Federal Aviation Administration officials have hatched a plan that will shut off 227 bright red lights perched on the top of massive wind turbines in the Kern County portions of the Mojave Desert. And future wind energy projects would also see fewer lights installed. A study by Clancy JG International determined that 64 percent of the existing lights could be removed without compromising the primary goal of the beacons: helping pilots avoid night-time collisions with the 500-foot-tall wind power towers. People have complained about the red lights shining from the top of the towers because they say they're powerful enough to drown out the stars. On Tuesday, Kern County supervisors will hear a report on the plan. Read the full story here.
STAND DOWN FOR VETERANS: Stand Down is a military term for removing exhausted military troops from the stress of combat to a place of safety and security. It's come to extend to veterans who face the stress of homelessness or financial insecurity, and could use some help solidifying a place in mainstream society. For the 15th year, the Kern County Veterans Stand Down Committee replicated the event held in more than 200 cities across the country. On Thursday, more than 400 veterans, some homeless, others not, gathered at Stramler Park for a day of relaxation and unity. For at least one day, veterans received everything from clean clothes to haircuts to flu shots, or took care of VA benefits. 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.
CITY GETS READY TO UNLOCK HIGHWAY 58 BOTTLENECK: The $17.2 million widening of Highway 58 west of Cottonwood Road begins next week, transportation officials said Thursday. The widening comes in hopes of reducing the rear-end and sideswipe accidents that occur when motorists merge from three lanes each way to two. Security Paving Company will expand the freeway from four lanes to six using its existing median, meaning that no homes or businesses will be demolished as a result of its construction. Today, Highway 58 ends just three miles west of Cottonwood Road. Read the full story here.
MISSING DELANO WOMAN SOUGHT: Delano Police are searching for a 26-year-old woman who left her apartment Wednesday night to visit a friend and hasn't been seen since. Erika Padron Lango is described as Hispanic, 5 feet 4 inches tall, 125 pounds, with brown eyes and straight long brown hair. She has a tattoo on her right shoulder blade of "Julio," and was last seen wearing black sandals, blue sweat pants and a blue or pink sweater top. Police said she was last seen by her husband about 10 p.m. Wednesday when she left their Delano apartment to visit a friend. She did not show up for work on Thursday. Anyone with information about this case is asked to call Delano Police at 721-3377. Read the full story here.
DEAL WOULD TURN OUT THE LIGHTS ON SOME WIND TURBINES: Kern County planners, wind energy companies and Federal Aviation Administration officials have hatched a plan that will shut off 227 bright red lights perched on the top of massive wind turbines in the Kern County portions of the Mojave Desert. A study by Clancy JG International determined that 64 percent of the existing lights could be removed without compromising the primary goal of the beacons: helping pilots avoid night-time collisions with the 500-foot-tall wind power towers. Read the full story here.
WEST GRAD. BRANDON SMITH ACTIVATED BY BUFFALO BILLS: Former West High wide receiver Brandon Smith will make his NFL debut for the Buffalo Bills on Sunday as a cornerback at the age of 26, his former high school coach said. Smith was a standout football player at West for then-coach Rich Cornford and went to Arizona State to play football. Through multiple injuries and coaching changes, however, Smith played infrequently for the Sun Devils --he started just three games in his career, catching 10 passes for 196 yards. The Bills picked him up for their practice squad, where he has stuck until this week, when they'll use him against Cincinnati on Sunday morning in Buffalo. Read the full story here.
NEW DETAILS IN COACH STORE ROBBERY: Police said two local women didn't let anything get in their way when it came to the latest in designer handbags. La Cora Johnson, 29, and Lakisha Toles, 31, entered the Coach store in the Valley Plaza mall at 10:20 a.m. Tuesday and began selecting purses, according to police. A clerk walked over to assist them. One of the women threatened her with pepper spray. The two continued selecting purses and ran from the store, police said. Police later found the two in a stolen vehicle near California and Oleander avenues. Nineteen Coach purses were recovered. Both Johnson and Toles were arrested on suspicion of crimes including robbery and possession of a stolen vehicle. Read the full story here.
THE TECH REPORT
T-MOBILE: T-Mobile really seems to get what people hate about their wireless carriers. Contracts. Limits on trade-ins. Outrageous international roaming rates. After taking aim at the first two, the company that calls itself the "uncarrier" has now declared its intent to undermine the profits its competitors squeeze from Americans traveling abroad--a topic that reliably produces horror stories that can strike fear in the smartphone-toting jetset. On Wednesday, T-Mobile said it was getting rid of international data roaming fees altogether and offering a simple, cheap plan for international voice service.
CHROMECAST: We may live in a mobile-obsessed world, but it turns out the best-selling consumer-electronics gadget on Amazon isn't made by Apple or Samsung. And it's not a Kindle. It's Chromecast, the tiny Google device that streams video and music to a TV. Chromecast has topped several of Amazon's bestseller lists for weeks now, displacing a Kindle model as sales leader and leapfrogging ahead of both Apple TV and the Roku. It's easy enough to guess why the Chromecast is popular. It's cheap at $35, when it debuted, it immediately sold out. But perhaps most important, Chromecast isn't restricted to a single platform. It works for both iPhone/iPad and Android users which gives almost anyone with a smartphone, tablet or computer the opportunity to stream to their TV using devices they already know and use.
THE HEALTH REPORT
ALZHEIMER'S: The discovery of the first chemical to prevent the death of brain tissue in a neurodegenerative disease has been hailed as the "turning point" in the fight against Alzheimer's disease. More work is needed to develop a drug that could be taken by patients, but scientists say a resulting medicine could treat Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Huntington's and other diseases. In tests on mice, the Medical Research Council showed all brain cell death from prion disease could be prevented. Professor Roger Morris, from King's College London, said: "This finding, I suspect, will be judged by history as a turning point in the search for medicines to control and prevent Alzheimer's disease."
HOSPITAL CARE: Patients hospitalized Friday night or over the weekend stay longer than patients admitted for the same problems Monday through Thursday. This adds unnecessary costs to their medical treatment and face a greater chance of experiencing a complication. A Journal of the American Medical Association study found that hospitalized patients who suffered a cardiac arrest during nights and weekends were less likely to survive. A British study found that patients who were admitted to a hospital on a Sunday faced a 16 percent higher risk of dying within a month than those admitted on weekdays. Why? During the week, all diagnostic and interventional services are open. On the weekend, many of them shut down except when staff members are called in to care for a life-threatening problem. As a result, the pace of medical care for patients on the weekend slows from a run to a walk.
THE SPORTS REPORT
KESSLER BRING USC TO VICTORY: Cody Kessler passed for 297 yards and two TDs as the USC revitalized Trojans (4-2, 1-2 Pac-12) survived Arizona's second-half rally to win 38-31 for interim head coach Ed Orgeron, the longtime defensive line coach who replaced the fired Lane Kiffin on Sept. 29. Nelson Agholor caught a 62-yard touchdown pass and Tre Madden had a 63-yard TD catch in the first quarter for the Trojans, who had the Coliseum rocking as they roared to a 25-point lead in the first half. Read the full story here.
CENTENNIAL VOLLEYBALL: Centennial senior Cassidy George stood up to one of Kern County's most intimidating front lines in a 3-1 Golden Hawks volleyball victory at Stockdale on Thursday. George had 10 kills and the deciding point for Centennial, which is now 2-0 in the Southwest Yosemite League. Senior teammate Abby Campbell added 17 kills for Centennial. Read the full story here.
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