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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
Lead stories from "First Look with Scott Cox's" Big 6:
TRANSGENDER LAW REPEAL: Activists in Kern County have collected over 17,000 signatures in hopes of qualifying a ballot measure that would repeal a controversial new law passed to protect transgendered students. Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 1266 into law in August, but opponents hope to repeal it before it goes into effect on Jan. 1. The law mandates that K-12 schools allow transgendered students access to the restrooms, locker rooms and sports teams of the gender with which they identify, regardless of their physical anatomy. Proponents say the law is designed to make all children feel included at school. Opponents needed to collect over 504,760 valid signatures by Nov. 10 in order for the measure to make the next statewide ballot. Read the full story here.
MCCARTHY'S TAKE ON OBAMACARE: A local Congressman says the Affordable Care Act is "unworkable" despite President Obama's attempts to fix it. In a statement released Thursday, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy said Obama's latest announcement is an effort to quote, "salvage what's left of his credibility" unquote, and bypass Congress to change a key provision of the law. The President has called upon insurance companies to reinstate the policies of customers who were dropped as the law known as Obamacare took effect. Despite the turmoil, legislators like California's Nancy Pelosi are defending the new law.
PORTERVILLE HEAD-ON COLLISION: A Porterville man is dead after his car hits a big rig head-on. It happened around 8:45 a.m. Thursday on Road 276 near Avenue 196. Authorities say the 49-year-old driver was northbound in a 2006 Mazda when for unknown reasons he swerved into the opposite lane. The car collided with a Freightliner driven by 67-year-old Bobby Fortuna of Tulare, who was unable to avoid a crash. Fortuna was hospitalized with moderate injuries and the other driver died at the scene. His name was withheld pending notification of family. The CHP says neither alcohol or drugs appear to be a factor in the collision.
DUST WARNING: Air officials are issuing a health warning for this weekend triggered by the chance of blowing dust. The health caution will last through Sunday and applies to the valley area of Kern County, as well as San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings and Tulare counties. Wind can create localized blowing dust that can cause unhealthy concentrations of particulate matter 10 microns and smaller. Exposure to the particulate pollution can cause health problems, including triggering asthma attacks and bronchitis. People with lung or heart problems should stick to their physicians' advice for dealing with periods of particulate exposure, and children and the elderly should avoid prolonged exposure or heavy exertion. Read the full story here.
MISSING TEENS: Bakersfield Police need your help in finding another missing teen. Cage Ryan Funk, 15, was last seen around 7:30 a.m. Wednesday in the 6400 block of Allen Road. Funk is white, 5 feet tall, eighty pounds with long brown hair and brown eyes. He may be wearing a black sweater, blue shirt and black sweats. Also missing since Wednesday, 13-year-old Alan Ray Moore, last seen downtown near Second and L streets. Moore is black, 5 feet tall, 105 pounds, last seen in black cargo shorts and a blue zip-up shirt with pink writing. Both boys are first-time runaways considered at risk because of their age. If you have any information, you're asked to call Bakersfield Police. Read the full story here.
AMERICA IS THE NEW WINE COUNTRY: Believe it or not, Americans now outdrink the French when it comes to wine, and Kern County is bringing a lot to the table. Five years ago Bob and Patty Souza opened a winery near Tehachapi. Bob said it was an all-consuming dream. But it's paid off for the Souzas, whose vintages have won several awards, and they've put Tehachapi on the map as far as wine is concerned. Such entrepreneurs are helping America become the world's number-one wine producer.
WHAT'S TRENDING ON BAKERSFIELD.COM
In case you missed it, here are the stories that are trending across bakersfield.com.
LOCAL ACTIVISTS WORKING TOWARD REPEAL OF TRANSGENDER LAW: Activists in Kern County have collected 17,244 signatures in hopes of qualifying a ballot measure that would repeal a controversial new law passed to protect transgendered students. Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 1266 into law in August, but opponents hope to repeal it before it goes into effect on Jan. 1. The law mandates that K-12 schools allow transgendered students access to the restrooms, locker rooms and sports teams of the gender with which they identify, regardless of their physical anatomy. The law caught many local parents off-guard. After angrily storming school board meetings, some began organizing an effort to get a measure on the next statewide ballot. Read the full story here.
PROBATION SEARCH NETS 2 ARRESTS IN EAST BAKERSFIELD: A probation search Tuesday by Kern County Sheriff's deputies in east Bakersfield resulted in the arrest of two people and the seizure of weapons. Crystal Deleon, 27 and Bernie Lopez, 27, both of Bakersfield, were arrested after deputies with the Gang Suppression Section went to the 1700 block of Owens Street. Both were arrested on suspicion of multiple weapons charges, including possession of a firearm and ammunition by a prohibited person, and participation in a criminal street gang. Deleon also was booked on three outstanding warrants for her arrest. Read the full story here.
KERN DEPUTIES EVACUATE RESIDENTS FROM FIRE, HELP NAB SUSPECT: Kern County Sheriff's deputies who happened to be in the area of an east Bakersfield apartment fire Wednesday helped evacuate residents and then assisted county firefighters in identifying the man who allegedly set the blaze. Jose Aparicio-Velasquez, 33, was arrested on suspicion of arson of an inhabited structure. He is being held on $50,000 bail. The fire at the apartment complexes at 1820 and 1840 Quincy St. was controlled by firefighters. Read the full story here.
ENROLLMENT EFFORTS PICKING UP, BUT STILL TOUCH-AND-GO IN KERN: Susan Rodriguez has a list of nearly 100 people who have asked for her help. She is an enrollment counselor with Catholic Charities Diocese of Fresno's Bakersfield location, trained to help people apply for insurance via Covered California, the state's health insurance marketplace. But Rodriguez can't assist the people on her list quite yet because she is still waiting for her badge and password from Covered California. So far, Rodriguez said the folks on her waiting list have been understanding of the delay and eager to have insurance. Read the full story here.
CLOVIS WEST OVERPOWERS STOCKDALE IN FOOTBALL, 44-12: Next for Clovis West High is top-seeded Bakersfield in the Central Section Division I football playoffs. And just which Golden Eagles team will bus to the prep cathedral called Griffith Field next Friday for the quarterfinal? Clovis West nose guard Austin Cox didn't hesitate to answer: "We're going to smack Bakersfield. We are definitely going to show up for Bakersfield. I'm not saying it's going to be an easy win; they will be a challenge as the No. 1 team in the Valley. But this is our shot." Read the full story here.
THE TECH REPORT
GOOGLE: The last six months have brought about revelations about the U.S.' Internet surveillance activities to light--and now, Google's taking the government to task in a blog post penned to introduce the company's latest transparency report. The U.S. government requested user information from Google 10,918 times over the first six months of 2013. What's more, the number of U.S. information requests has nearly tripled since the latter half of 2009. To shine an even clearer light on things, Google is breaking out detailed data about the specific kinds of U.S. orders and warrants its being served. In June, Google asked the Department of Justice to allow the company to disclose details about the number of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act requests it receives. Microsoft, Yahoo, and Facebook followed suit. The D O J refused those requests earlier this month. The companies are pursuing the matter in court.
GOOGLE GLASSES: Despite having its fair share of skeptics, Google Glass continues to accrue enhancements that could make it a mainstream hit when it officially debuts next year. The latest is from New York-based company Rochester Optical, which promises to release a special prescription lens add-on for the device in early 2014. The Google Glass-ready prescription lenses will be priced in the same range as standard prescription lenses. Customers will be able to visit a website where they can choose a matching color for their existing device, and enter their prescription information. Lenses will be shipped within two business days.
THE HEALTH REPORT
PREMIE BABIES: Women who undergo surgery for weight loss may put their future children at risk for potentially harmful health effects according to a new study. Published in the British Medical Journal, Swedish researchers have found that babies born to mothers who had bariatric surgery appear to have a greater chance of being born premature and being small for their gestational age.
DIABETES: One in 10 people globally will have diabetes by 2035, according to a concerning new report. To highlight World Diabetes Day which takes place each year on Nov. 14, the International Diabetes Federation released its sixth edition of the Diabetes Atlas. The report estimates how many adults between the ages of 20 to 79 will be affected by the disease in the future. By the end of this year, the IDF estimates that 382 million people will have diabetes around the world. By 2035, that number will skyrocket to 592 million. For comparison, about 285 million people had the disease just four years ago.
THE SPORTS REPORT
HANEY WINS TITLE ON AN EMOTIONAL NOTE: On the day of Blake Haney's final cross country race in Kern County, running was just about the last thing on his mind. But Haney ran, and he won, as usual, taking the Southwest Yosemite League championship in 14:58 on Thursday on a three-mile course at Hart Park. Afterward, Haney took off his Stockdale singlet to reveal what was really on his mind -- and painted on his undershirt: "We Love Coach Johnson." The Mustangs won their fourth straight league title but lost a member of their family Thursday when beloved assistant coach Bill Johnson died from a rare form of skin cancer in the morning. Read the full story here.
STOCKDALE ADVANCES TO VOLLEYBALL SEMIFINALS: Just as individual volleyball matches can have wild momentum swings, so can entire volleyball seasons. Stockdale benefitted from both at home Thursday night, winning big points and continuing a late-season roll with a Central Section Division I quarterfinal victory over Liberty, 19-25, 25-19, 25-23, 25-22. Read the full story here.
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