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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
Lead stories from "First Look with Scott Cox's" Big 6:
FIRE: New details are emerging about a fire that killed a toddler in Oildale. Twenty-one-month-old Aiden McDonald died Wednesday at a home in the 300 block of Washington Avenue. Three children were able to escape. A small memorial has been started outside the scene of the tragedy. Read the full story here.
BLAZE STADIUM: The Bakersfield Blaze will be playing ball in their new stadium a year later than planned. The team's owners announced Thursday the new stadium at Bakersfield Commons is expected to be ready in time for the start of the 2015 season. Co-owner Gene Voiland says the delay can be blamed on design changes and the complexities of building a modern, privately financed stadium. Read the full story here.
ARTS COUNCIL: The head of a local arts organization is stepping down. Michael Millar of the Arts Council of Kern announced his resignation Thursday. Millar will leave the organization June 30 to join the faculty of an unspecified Southern California university. Millar served as executive director for two years, a period that saw the loss of a contract that totaled roughly $500,000, half of the Arts Council's annual budget. Also during that time, the organization lost several longtime employees who oversaw a number of programs and grants. As it stands now, the staff consists of Millar and a part-time administrative assistant. Board president Anthony Goss will act as interim executive director without pay until a replacement is found. Read the full story here.
MURDER CHARGE: A Bakersfield man is facing murder charges after a badly decomposed body is found in an east Bakersfield garage. The District Attorney has charged 20-year-old Eddie Rivas with first-degree murder in connection to the death of Mia Ramirez whose body was found earlier this month inside the garage near Oswell and Niles streets. Court records show Rivas has a previous conviction for assault with a deadly weapon against a police officer. It's still not clear how Ramirez died or how long her body had been in the garage.
MISSING MAN: The Kern County Sheriff's Office needs your help finding an elderly Wasco man. 80-year-old Clarence Reynolds left Wasco at about 1 p.m. Wednesday on his way to visit his wife in a Bakersfield hospital and never arrived. Family members became concerned he may have become disoriented and reported him missing. Reynolds drives a 2009 silver Ford Focus, California License plate 6FOY182. Reynolds is white, 5-foot-7,115 pounds. He has gray hair and green eyes, wears glasses, and has a full beard. He may be wearing a straw sun hat, white shirt and blue jeans. Anyone with information is urged to call the Sheriff's Office. Read the full story here.
FIREWORKS SAFETY: Fireworks booths are popping up all over Kern County and they open up July first. But even with legal fireworks, safety precautions are in order. Bakersfield Fire Battalion Chief Anthony Galagaza says there should always be an adult present when lighting them up, and it should never be done around people, buildings, dry grass or other combustibles. He says have a bucket of water handy and never carry fireworks in your pocket. On July third and fourth, a joint task force from the fire department and Bakersfield Police will be looking into reports of illegal fireworks use.
WHAT'S TRENDING ON BAKERSFIELD.COM
In case you missed it, here are the stories that are trending across bakersfield.com
CONTROVERSY OVER WALL IN SOUTHWEST BAKERSFIELD: The story of a walkway closed off between the Amberton and Stockdale Estates neighborhoods in southwest Bakersfield continues to gain steam at bakersfield.com and on Facebook. People are talking about the path used by a generation of children to walk to school. It has become the most hotly debated territory in southwest Bakersfield since a homeowner closed it June 14 with a cinder block wall. According to city officials, the move by homeowner Michael Hansen, who lives in the 7300 block of Calle Privada in Stockdale Estates, was entirely legal because the half of the walkway that's in Stockdale Estates is on Hansen's private property. Read the full story here.
FAMILY, NEIGHBORS MOURN TODDLER KILLED IN FIRE: With a somber look on his face, Curtis McDonald walked slowly and stared at a shattered window in its burned frame Thursday, the morning after an intense house fire took the life of his 21-month-old son. With tears in his eyes, he was too distraught to say much about the blaze that enveloped his Oildale home in the 300 block of Washington Avenue, sent him and other family members to the hospital and left a neighborhood in mourning. About 12 hours earlier, neighbors formed a human chain to get McDonald's three boys, ages 4, 5 and 6 years, out of the burning house. But the flames and black smoke engulfed the home and they were unable to save the life of the youngest boy, Aiden McDonald. Now the family is trying to pay for a funeral for both Aiden and another relative who died just days earlier. Read the full story here.
INMATES INJURED IN CRASH ON HIGHWAY 99: The California Highway Patrol is reporting that two inmates were injured in a crash involving California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation vehicles on Highway 99 just north of Stockdale Highway. The crash happened at 3:07 p.m. in the southbound lanes, according to the CHP's website. Three vehicles were involved. The roadway was reported clear at 3:16 p.m. and tow trucks were sent to the area. Read the full story here.
CONSTRUCTION DELAYED AT NEW BLAZE STADIUM: Like a baserunner who takes a big turn at first base and then scurries back to the bag, the Bakersfield Blaze has decided its original plans for a new stadium were too aggressive. Blaze owners Gene Voiland and Chad Hathaway announced Thursday that the new stadium won't open until 2015, a year later than planned. They offered a passionate defense of the decision Thursday night at Sam Lynn Ballpark during the Blaze's game vs. the High Desert Mavericks. "This is a very complex project," Hathaway said. "We're not building a basic, stripped-down stadium. We wanted to build something that would make Bakersfield proud, and when you do something like that, you have a lot of things in the construction process that pop up that surprise you. Read the full story here.
ARTS COUNCIL LOSES CONTROVERSIAL DIRECTOR: With its very survival in question, the Arts Council of Kern announced the resignation of its executive director Thursday. The council has been decimated by a shrinking budget and staff. Michael Millar, who did not return a phone call for comment Thursday, will leave the advocacy and education organization June 30 to join the faculty of an unspecified Southern California university. Anthony Goss, who was voted president of the board of directors just Wednesday, will act as interim executive director until a replacement is found. He said he will not be paid. Read the full story here.
THE ENERGY REPORT
HYDRAULIC FRACTURING: News service Reuters reported Thursday that about 30 percent of shareholders in Chevron and Exxon-Mobil support more disclosure about the use of hydraulic fracturing or fracking. The shareholder votes represent deep concerns about the practices, according to Reuters. The issue is coming to a head in California as oil companies work to extract billions of barrels of oil from the Monterey Shale. Chevron said 31 percent of its shareholders supported the fracking proposal. That number is up from 27 percent the year before. Exxon Mobil said 30 percent of its shareholders supported the practice. Read the full story here.
THE TECH REPORT
WiFi: Facebook and its advertisers want to know where its subscribers are, and the company is working to convince Wi-Fi users to give up that information in exchange for free Wi-Fi service. The social networking giant is testing "Facebook Wi-Fi" in cafes located in San Francisco and Palo Alto. The Wi-Fi service requests users "check in" using their Facebook account at the business. Upon doing so they are granted wireless Internet access. The ability to gather location information and other personal data about Facebook's users is considered crucial because that is exactly the type of information advertisers want.
INSTAGRAM: Instagram on Thursday unveiled a new video service for the popular image sharing app. The feature, simply called video on Instagram, lets users create and share short video clips of 15 seconds or less. The product puts Facebook -- which owns Instagram -- in direct competition with rival Twitter, whose app, Vine, has grown rapidly in recent months.
THE HEALTH REPORT
PRODUCE: Scientists say fruits and vegetables should not be stored in the fridge or a dark cupboard because they need a natural cycle of day and night to produce optimum levels of nutrients and flavor. Because they remain alive after being picked, the biological clocks of fruits and vegetables continue to tick meaning their cells remain active and they are still sensitive to the time of day. Allowing them to continue on a day-night cycle keeps them in a more natural and healthy state. Like plants, food crops use their 24-hour clock to change their physical state throughout the day by altering levels of chemicals which help them ward off pests. The findings suggest that the way we store our food could profoundly alter how healthy it is for up to a week after it is harvested.
FLU SHOTS: People with serious egg allergies may no longer have to worry about flu shots. A federal advisory panel on Thursday said a new vaccine that's made without eggs is an option for adults with severe allergies. Current flu shots are made from viruses grown in eggs and could trigger allergic reactions in some cases.
THE SPORTS REPORT
BLAZE WIN SECOND HALF OPENER: Shane Dyer pitched seven scoreless innings and the Bakersfield Blaze opened its second-half schedule with a 3-2 victory over the High Desert Mavericks on Thursday night at Sam Lynn Ballpark. Yovan Gonzalez hit an RBI double and Juan Silva added an RBI single in a two-run sixth for Bakersfield, and Kyle Waldrop hit what proved to be the game-deciding run with a solo home run in the seventh inning. Dyer struck out five and waked none, allowing four hits in the win. Bakersfield hosts High Desert again tonight at 7:45 p.m. Read the full story here.
SCHOLARS AND ATHLETES: When it comes to school, there's probably very few seniors who have as challenging as an academic load as Bakersfield High senior quarterback Asauni Rufus. Rufus and the Drillers open the season August 30 at Oaks Christian in Westlake Village.
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