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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
Lead stories from "First Look with Scott Cox's" Big 6:
ATTORNEY CALLS FOR INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION: The lawyer for the family of a Bakersfield Police informant shot and killed while leading officers to a fugitive last month is calling for an independent agency to investigate. The informant, 34-year-old Jorge Ramirez was killed in a Sept. 16 gun battle outside the Four Points Sheraton, along with 32-year-old Justin Harger. According to the Bakersfield Californian, L.A. based attorney Mark Geragos accuses BPD Chief Greg Williamson of making comments that he says seem to be an attempt to explain and justify the killing while slandering Ramirez. Geragos says officers involved in the shooting who have refused to speak about it should be compelled to do so. Read the full story here.
FAMILY VIOLENCE SWEEP: Several people are in jail after a Family Violence detail sweeps through Bakersfield. On Wednesday, Kern County Sheriff's deputies served 57 warrants. Among those booked was 63-year-old Willie Spiegner, whose charges include elder abuse, false imprisonment and felony resisting arrest. Four others were hauled in on charges of spousal abuse, two for misdemeanor willful cruelty to a child. This is the 11th year the detail has made the one-day sweep. It's made up deputies from the Sheriff's Patrol Division and the Electronic Monitoring Program. Read the full story here.
DRUG BUST: A traffic stop south of Bakersfield leads to a huge drug bust. A little after 4 p.m. Tuesday, a Highway Patrol officer pulled over a Chevy pickup on northbound Highway 99 near Bear Mountain Boulevard. The officer reportedly saw indicators of criminal activity, and the driver, 44-year-old Alfredo Niebla-Ramirez of Bellflower, agreed to a search, so a canine was called in. The search turned up about 36 pounds of meth and about four pounds of cocaine hidden in a spare tire...estimated street value over one million dollars. Niebla-Ramirez was arrested on a charge of transporting narcotics. Read the full story here.
ANTI-ABORTION RESOLUTION: It's a dead issue for now as Bakersfield City Council members table the idea of an anti-abortion resolution. The council briefly reconsidered the ordinance at last night's meeting, but then decided 5-2 to drop the issue until at least four members bring it back. The resolution was approved last month by a city committee made up of three council members, and commended organizations that advocate for and educate the public about the alternatives to abortions. City Attorney Ginny Gennaro says there would be no need for its enforcement. Read the full story here.
MAN ACQUITTED ON SEVERAL CHARGES: A jury has acquitted a Bakersfield man of charges including attempted murder and mayhem, and hung on several other charges including torture. The next court date for 27-year-old Kristopher Lawless is Friday, where it's expected prosecutors will re-file on the hung charges and a second trial will be scheduled. Lawless has been held on $2 million bail since November 2012 after being arrested on suspicion of stabbing, choking, burning, gagging and biting his girlfriend. Read the full story here.
MARIJUANA BUST: Huge drug bust east of Bakersfield. Kern County sheriff's deputies found 88 pounds of processed marijuana and rifles Tuesday in a garden on private property in the Twin Oaks area. Deputies say they were unable to find the suspects, but there was evidence people had been working in the marijuana garden earlier in the day. 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.
ATTORNEY DEMANDS INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION INTO SHOOTING OF POLICE INFORMANT: The attorney representing the family of a police informant shot and killed while leading officers to a fugitive last month is calling for an independent agency to investigate the shooting. Los Angeles-based attorney Mark Geragos also said that the goal of previous comments by Bakersfield Police Chief Greg Williamson "seems to be an attempt to explain and justify the killing while slandering Jorge (Ramirez)," the informant. Geragos -- who has represented high-profile clients such as Michael Jackson, Chris Brown and former Congressman Gary Condit -- was retained by the family of 34-year-old Ramirez following the Sept. 16 shooting that killed both him and fugitive Justin Bryan Harger. Read the full story here.
TOP COMMUNITY COLLEGE ADMINISTRATORS GET RAISES: The Kern Community College District board has given Chancellor Sandra Serrano a 9 percent raise following a period in which student costs have been rising and access to classes shrinking. Under the terms of a new contract effective Sept. 12, she is now earning a base salary of $308,000 a year, up from $282,450 a year in 2009, when her employment contract was last renewed. The chancellor's salary is determined by looking at administrative compensation rates in similar districts, as well as changes to the California Consumer Price Index and job performance. Read the full story here.
IN SURPRISE, COUNCIL DROPS ABORTION DISCUSSION: In a surprise decision, the Bakersfield City Council briefly reconsidered an ordinance restricting abortion that a city committee tabled in May, before voting 5-2 Wednesday to drop the entire issue until at least four members bring it back. Tabled by the council's Legislative and Litigation Committee in May, the ordinance would have allowed anyone "aggrieved" by an abortion to file a civil lawsuit and potentially recover damages including $10,000 per violation from the "... person, business, organization or government agency" providing the abortion. Read the full story here.
UFW, GROWERS DELIVER ALMOST 8,000 IMMIGRATION REFORM LETTERS TO McCARTHY'S OFFICES: Central Valley growers joined the United Farm Workers union Wednesday in delivering what they said were nearly 8,000 pro-immigration-reform postcards and letters to the Bakersfield offices of Congressman Kevin McCarthy. A UFW news release said the letters were signed and collected within the past two weeks, and that most came from the Central Valley. The event was part of a continuing campaign by immigrant advocates to pressure McCarthy -- the third-highest ranking Republican in the House of Representatives -- to push for a vote on a reform bill passed in June by the U.S. Senate. Read the full story here.
JURY AQUITS MAN OF MAYHEM, ATTEMPTED MURDER, HANGS ON TORTURE CHARGE: A jury acquitted a Bakersfield man of charges including attempted murder and mayhem, and hung on several other charges -- including torture -- following deliberations Wednesday. The next court date for 27-year-old Kristopher Lawless is Friday, where it's expected prosecutors will re-file on the hung charges and a second trial will be scheduled. Lawless has been held on $2 million bail since Nov. 2012 after being arrested on suspicion of stabbing, choking, burning, gagging and biting his girlfriend. Read the full story here.
THE TECH REPORT
FACEBOOK: Facebook is giving teen users new freedom despite risks. For the first time, users younger than 18 can post publicly, and not just to their friends. The logic is that other sites don't restrict kids, teens are getting more web savvy, and young celebrities want a voice. This could let minors publicly share things they'll regret, so they must manually opt in to public sharing and confirm they understand the risks. The change was announced Wednesday.
STATE OF THE INTERNET: Year after year, Internet bandwidth connection speeds continue to grow. The newly released second quarter 2013 State of the Internet report from Akamai shows that for the first time ever, more than half of all connections were 4 megabytes per second or faster. In the U.S., the fastest region is the District of Columbia at 49 megabytes per second, a 32 percent year-over-year gain. New Jersey came in second and Massachusetts is third. The average peak connection speed for the U.S. as a whole came in at 36 megabytes per second, which puts the U.S. in the number 16 spot in the world. Hong Kong took the number one spot, with an average peak connection speed of 65 megabytes per second.
THE HEALTH REPORT
CHOLESTEROL DRUG: A new type of lipid-lowering drug being developed by Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals cut cholesterol levels by about half in its first late-stage clinical trial, the companies announced Wednesday. The drug, called alirocumab, is one of a new class of potentially powerful cholesterol fighters that have excited doctors and investors alike The results of the latest study appear to be consistent with those of previous, smaller studies.
LASER SURGERY: More patients are filing claims after being burned, scarred or otherwise injured during laser surgeries performed by non-doctors, a new study shows. Researchers found 75 out of 175 legal cases related to procedures like laser hair or scar removal involved someone other than a physician operating the laser. What's more, the proportion of lawsuits listing a nurse, medical assistant, technician or "intern" as the operator more than doubled between 2008 and 2011.
THE SPORTS REPORT
HANEY DOMINATES SWYL MEET: Stockdale's Blake Haney, one of the top high school distance runners in the country, finished the 5k course at the Park at the Riverwalk in 15 minutes, 3 seconds, 49 seconds ahead of second-place Bradon Kan of Frontier to win the Southwest Yosemite League meet Wednesday. Read the full story here.
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