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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
Lead stories from "First Look with Scott Cox's" Top Stories:
TEACHERS THROUGHOUT KERN SCORE FIRST RAISES IN YEARS: More than two dozen Kern County school districts have issued raises for educators that, for many, mean the first ongoing salary increases since the 2007-08 school year. District administrators say they have a new school funding formula and temporary tax increase to thank for the pay raises. The formula provides base funding for all school districts, and feeds extra dollars to districts that serve the most disadvantaged students. The salary bumps, for the 2013-14 school year, range from 1 percent in districts that include the Fruitvale School District and Delano Joint Union High School District and 6 percent in the Taft City School District. Read the full story here.
LUSH FREEWAY LANDSCAPING COULD GO BY WAYSIDE: In the future, some state highways in metropolitan Bakersfield could look a lot more like their counterparts in Arizona, Caltrans officials said Tuesday. Following Gov. Brown's drought declaration in January, Caltrans has reduced its watering of highway landscaping by at least 50 percent in Kern County. As Bakersfield faces its third parched year, Caltrans plans to replace some landscaping along Highway 99 with "hardscape" a la Arizona. Read the full story here.
LATE RANDSBURG MAN AWARDED SECOND-HIGHEST ARMY HONOR: The family of a late Randsburg man was presented the Distinguished Service Cross Tuesday for his "heroic actions" during the Korean War. Honored at the U.S. Capitol office of Congressman Kevin McCarthy was Army Sgt. 1st Class Robert Keiser, who died in 2009. His wife, Pamela Keiser, received the medal. The cross is the second highest military decoration -- after the Medal of Honor -- that can be bestowed to a member of the U.S. Army. It is awarded for extraordinary heroism. 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.
FATAL BIG RIG CRASH CLOSES THREE LANES ON NORTHBOUND INTERSTATE 5: A fatal crash Tuesday involving two big rigs closed three of the four northbound lanes of Interstate 5 south of Highway 138, backing up traffic for at least 10 miles. California Highway Patrol officers said the first reports at 6:48 a.m. said a big rig had stalled in the slow lane. Another big rig crashed into it shortly afterward, killing one of the drivers. One of the big rigs was a tanker truck carrying aviation fuel that has to be offloaded. Read the full story here.
SENTENCING POSTPONED AS BROTHERS IN ALLEGED HOME INVASION TRY TO WITHDRAW FROM PLEA DEAL: Two brothers who pleaded no contest to three felony counts in connection with a 2011 home invasion are seeking to withdraw their pleas because of a dispute over the amount of custody credits they believe they're due. Sentencing for Humberto and Vicente Guizar-Figueroa, scheduled to occur Tuesday, was postponed to April 11 while their attorneys file motions for withdrawing the pleas and prosecutors draft an opposing motion. The brother face 40 years to life if convicted of all the charges against them. Read the full story here.
TWO ARRESTED IN CONNECTION WITH SHOOTING NEAR DOWNTOWN: Bakersfield police arrested two people Tuesday in connection with a shooting incident near downtown. Police responded shortly before noon to a report of shots being fired near 8th and Eye streets. Shawndel Ziegler, 22 and Anthony Gaston, 23, both of Bakersfield, were detained after witnesses identified the vehicle and told officers Ziegler fired at another vehicle. Read the full story here.
THE TECH REPORT
FACEBOOK BUYING OCULUS: Facebook is buying a virtual reality technology company called Oculus for $2 billion. According to the Associated Press, Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg called the purchase a "long-term bet on the future of computing." Oculus makes the Oculus Rift, which AP described as a virtual reality headset. A blog on the Oculus website says that "This partnership is one of the most important moments for virtual reality: it gives us the best shot at truly changing the world."
THE HEALTH REPORT
MOVE IT: Anthem Blue Cross is promoting its California Moves Miles campaign to encourage Californians to swim, run, walk or bike 200,000 miles over the next six weeks. A related website called CaliforniaMovesMiles.com offers health tips, recipes and information about Anthem Blue Cross' wellness programs. It also has a calculator to help translate activities into "miles." For example, 20 minutes of light activity such as gardening or bowling is equal to one mile, whereas 30 minutes of a vigorous activity such as basketball is equal to three miles. Participants who log activities on the site are entered to win weekly prizes such as Fitbit and Jamba Juice gift cards. This is the second edition of the program, which runs until April 27.
THE SPORTS REPORT
STOCKDALE SURGES PAST PATS: Stockdale had already clinched victory over Liberty in a key Southwest Yosemite League boys tennis match Tuesday, but Mustangs coach Dave Hillestad still cajoled his doubles teams that remained on the court, trying to coax every last point out of them. It worked -- Stockdale swept the doubles en route to an 8-1 victory over host Liberty in a matchup of Kern County's top teams. It's been a decade since a Kern County team won a Central Section Division I championship in boys tennis (it was Stockdale in 2004), and Hillestad would like to change that. Read the full story here.
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