Local News

Monday, Jul 29 2013 07:20 AM

'First Look': First News for July 29

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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN

Lead stories from "First Look with Scott Cox's" Big 6:

OFFENDER AT LARGE: Bakersfield Police are on the lookout for a high-risk registered sex offender. Fifty-three-year-old Benjamin Feliz reportedly failed to report to his parole officer after being released from jail. Feliz is described as Hispanic, 5 feet 7 inches and 200 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. Anyone with information is asked to call Bakersfield Police at 327-7111. Read the full story here.

SMOG RULES: Kern County off-road enthusiasts can look forward to tougher smog rules. Starting with 2018 models, dirt bikes and other off-road vehicles sold in California will have to meet new requirements. On Thursday, the Air Resources Board approved rules to cut gas fumes by 70 percent. The design changes involved are expected to add hundreds of dollars to the cost of new models. Golf carts, go-karts and snowmobiles are exempt.

DUPLEX STRUCK: A driver plows into the side of a Ridgecrest duplex. It happened about 4:45 p.m. Friday in the 200 block of Oasis Drive. An 11-year old girl was trapped between her bed and a Lincoln sedan that smashed through the wall of her home. The girl and driver of the car were both freed from the wreckage and taken to Ridgecrest Hospital with reportedly minor injuries. The cause of the accident is under investigation. Read the full story here.

POT SHOP ARREST: An arrest is made after two people are shot to death inside a Bakersfield pot shop. Thirty-two-year old Aaron Burris was tracked down to an Oildale apartment on Wainwright Drive and surrendered without incident Friday night. Sixteen-year old Miracle Jackson is still on the loose. Police say Burris and Jackson robbed the First Reliable co-op on Chester Avenue July 17 and killed 23-year old Devin Daniels of Bakersfield and 55-year old Tony Sherman of Los Angeles. Officers also arrested five other people on suspicion of being accessories to the crime and participation in a criminal street gang. Read the full story here.

WESTSIDE PARKWAY: Bakersfield's first new freeway since 1976 is set to open this week. The $164.3 million Westside Parkway is a six-lane expressway that will officially be opened Friday. The parkway's final $30.1 million segment, from Allen Road to the Heath Road and Stockdale Highway intersection, is due to be completed next year, while planning continues for the controversial Centennial Corridor, which will connect the parkway to Highway 58 and, eventually, Interstate 5. Friday's ceremony takes place at 10 a.m. atop the Coffee Road bridge. Read the full story here.

EARTHQUAKE: An earthquake is reported east of Bakersfield. A 3.2-magnitude earthquake shook the Kern River Valley Sunday morning. Centered about 15 miles southeast of Lake Isabella, the minor quake happened at 10:34 a.m. It caused no damage or injuries. 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

LOIS HENRY: CHP STONEWALLS THE PUBLIC ON SILVA CASE: Californian columnist Lois Henry writes: Sometimes I read stuff in the paper that just makes my jaw drop. Like, how about a state agency -- whose main function is to interact with the public -- refusing to let the public see the policies governing how it's supposed to conduct that interaction? That's the California Highway Patrol, by the way. Oh, but wait, don't answer yet! The CHP has also refused to name its two officers who were involved in the David Sal Silva death. The CHP also claimed its policies on the use of what it called its "Nylon Leg Restraint" have been "deemed confidential for officer safety and security reasons and, as such, are exempt from disclosure." Read the full story here.

LETICIA PEREZ ON THE 'DAILY SHOW': Californian reporter James Burger writes that the day after Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez conceded defeat in the 16th Senate District race, she was featured Thursday on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, a Comedy Central "news" show. "Reporter" Aasif Mandvi interviewed Perez about why, when the chairman of the national Democratic Party offered in January to support her in a run for the congressional seat now held by David Valadao, she turned the opportunity down. "There is remarkable gridlock in D.C.," Perez said. Read the full story here.

ARREST MADE IN POT SHOP DOUBLE HOMICIDE: Bakersfield Police say the hunt for one of the suspects in a July 17 double homicide and robbery of an area pot shop ended Friday night with the arrest of 32-year-old Aaron Patrick Burris. Police said Burris was tracked to an Oildale apartment on Wainwright Drive and surrendered without incident about 5 p.m. A second suspect, identified as 16-year-old Miracle Jackson is still on the loose. Also Friday night, officers arrested 30-year-old Robert Thrower; 25-year-old Jamie Wandick; 24-year-old Darnell Warren; 23-year-old Joevaughn Spencer; and 25-year-old Danny Webster on suspicion of being accessories and participation in a criminal street gang. Read the full story here.

KRIS PERRY REFLECTS ON LANDMARK RULING, GROWING UP IN BAKERSFIELD: Californian reporter Courtenay Edelhart traveled to Berkeley for this next story. She writes: Last month, on the day after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on two historic same-sex marriage cases, Kris Perry and the woman who is now her wife visited the Newseum, a Washington, D.C. museum of journalism that displays newspapers from across the nation. "It was surreal to look and see our pictures on every front page in the country," said 48-year-old Perry, who lives in Berkeley but grew up in Bakersfield. She and wife 50-year-old Sandy Stier, were the plaintiffs in a years-long court challenge of Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot measure that amended the California constitution to ban same-sex marriage. "When this all first started, I thought our names might appear in some obscure legal brief and that would be the end of it," Perry said. Hardly. They've been featured prominently in international news coverage of the case. Read the full story here.

DEMOCRATS REFLECT ON LOSS IN 16TH, PLOT THEIR FUTURE: Californian reporter James Burger writes that Democrats lost painfully last Tuesday. They were backed by all the strength and star power their state party could muster, but failed to fend off a well-organized campaign by the Republican Party and lost the 16th Senate District seat -- a post they'd held since Jim Costa took it from Republican Phil Wyman in 1994. Kern County Democratic Party Chair Candi Easter called it a failure of the party. "If we lose this race, we lost it because of Democrats. We lost it because prominent Democrats didn't get engaged. We lost it because Democratic voters didn't vote," she said as votes were still being counted but the ultimate outcome was clear. "We weren't prepared." Read the full story here.

 

THE ENERGY REPORT

FRACKING PIONEER GEORGE MITCHELL DIES: The oil industry is reacting to the death of George Mitchell, a pioneering oil man who developed concepts to improve yields from hydraulic fracturing or fracking. Mitchell died Friday in Houston. He was 94. Forbes said Mitchell was America's first fracking billionaire. Other publications lauded Mitchell's innovations that helped keep natural gas prices low -- a benefit to millions of Americans. When Mitchell began Fracking operations, combined with horizontal drilling, in the 1990s only a small percentage of oil came from fracked formations. Now it accounts for about 90 percent of domestic production. Read the full story here.

 

THE TECH REPORT

MOBILE FACEBOOK: According to new data from Mobidia, U.S. smartphone users chew through around 300 megabytes per month accessing Facebook's mobile offerings. And that figure is split relatively evenly between cellular and Wi-Fi access. Mobidia shows that U.S. smartphone users on LTE connections consumed slightly more data than their 3G counterparts. The firm's numbers indicate U.S. users consume more data accessing Facebook than those in the United Kingdom, South Korea and Canada.

BROADBAND SPEED: It may seem like your computer, laptop or personal device is getting slowed down by all the applications on it, but don't blame the Internet because it is getting faster. Broadband speeds continue to grow at a rapid pace around the world, with an impressive 17 percent increase globally from last year, according to Akamai's State of the Internet report. U.S. Internet speed gains were significantly more impressive, with a 27 percent gain. The Akamai report found that of the top 10 broadband nations, only two outpaced the United States for growth in speed: the Czech Republic, with 34 percent growth; and Sweden, with 32 percent growth. But as we reported last week, the U.S. is falling further behind in world rankings of average Internet connection speeds. The U.S. dropped one place to ninth overall.

 

THE HEALTH REPORT

FOOD SAFETY: The Food and Drug Administration proposed new rules last week that would require food importers like Walmart to make sure that their foreign growers and processors were following American food safety standards. About 15 percent of food that Americans eat now comes from abroad. The rules, if made final, would shift much of the burden for tracking food safety to companies. Currently the F.D.A. inspects less than two percent of food imports at the border.

COFFEE: To hear most recent research tell it, coffee is a miracle drink. The magic beans have been shown ward off skin cancer and Alzheimer's, reduce heart failure and diabetes risks, heighten focus, and maybe even protect liver health. According to a study performed by the Harvard School of Public Health and published this month, people who drink two to four cups of java each day are less likely to die by suicide than those who don't drink coffee, drink decaf, or drink fewer than two cups each day. The study followed more than 200,000 people for at least 16 years and found that the suicide risk was cut by around 50 percent for caffeine fiends.

 

THE SPORTS REPORT

BAKERSFIELD BLAZE: The Bakersfield Blaze raced out to a huge lead, before hanging on for an 8-6 victory over the Lake Elsinore Storm on Sunday. Junior Arias hit a home run on the first pitch of the game, and Steve Selsky had a two-run double as part of a four-run first inning for Bakersfield. The Blaze head home for a 6-game-in-7-night homestand starting tonight against the Modesto Nuts at 7:45. The Blaze will send one of the Reds' top prospects to the mound tonight, Robert Stephenson, who hit 100 MPH on the stadium gun in his last start. Read the full story here.

BAKERSFIELD SOUND: The Bakersfield Sound's first season in the California Collegiate League came to an end with a 5-3 loss to the Santa Paula Halos at Sam Lynn Ballpark. Chris Neal was 2-for-3 with an RBI to lead the Sound. Read the full story here.

YOUTH BASEBALL: Bakersfield Southwest's All-Star season came to end with a 6-1 loss to Jurupa in the semifinals of the PONY Baseball Pony-13 World Series. Sean Mullen pitched a complete game with nine strikeouts, and Jalen Smith was 3-for-4 with the team's only RBI. Luke Fringer added two hits for Southwest. Read the full story here.

 

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