1 of 18
2 of 18
3 of 18
4 of 18
5 of 18
6 of 18
7 of 18
8 of 18
9 of 18
10 of 18
11 of 18
12 of 18
13 of 18
14 of 18
15 of 18
16 of 18
17 of 18
18 of 18
By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
Lead stories from "First Look with Scott Cox's" Big 6:
VALADAO AND IMMIGRATION REFORM: Change of heart for a local congressman on immigration reform. A day after saying he was on the fence about it, Congressman David Valadao of Hanford bucked his party leadership Wednesday and officially backed a Democratic colleague's immigration bill that includes a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. The Bakersfield Californian reports Valadao became the third Republican House member to support H.R. 15, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act by Congressman Joe Garcia of Florida. Representative Jeff Denham of Turlock made national news when he became the first a few days ago. Florida Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen announced her backing of the bill Tuesday. Read the full story here.
OIL REGULATOR STEPS DOWN: Kern County's top oil regulator steps down. Burt Ellison, 55, retired abruptly Friday, becoming the second person in two years to leave the post earlier than planned. Ellison declined Wednesday to specify his reasons for stepping down, but blamed state bureaucracy. As district deputy in Bakersfield for the state Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources, Ellison managed about 50 engineers, technicians and other staffers stationed at the agency's largest and busiest field office. Ellison said he plans to follow in the steps of his father and grandfather, both geologists who explored for oil and produced it as independents. Read the full story here.
TIME CHANGE SAFETY: As you remember to set your clocks back one hour Sunday, traffic safety officials want to remind you to be extra cautious for pedestrians on the roadways starting Monday. For most people, beginning Monday, the commute home will be in the dark. Bakersfield Police tell 23-ABC drivers should be on the lookout for pedestrians because they won't be as easy to spot as they were the same hour the week before. National statistics show that pedestrian-related traffic collisions go on the rise after the time change.
HALLOWEEN TIPS: The Kern County Sheriff's Office has some tips as the kids get ready to go out trick-or-treating. Spokesman Eric Coughran tells 23-ABC it's important to make sure the kids are wearing safe costumes. You should go with your kids and keep them in groups with flashlights so drivers can spot them easily. For Jack-O-Lantern safety, experts say you should swap those old flame-lit candles for electric ones whenever possible.
CHECK BEFORE YOU BURN SEASON: November is upon and that means Check Before You Burn season. Continuing through February, the San Joaquin Valley Air District is asking residents to cut pollution by saying no to wood burning. Officials say the program now in its 11th season has led to historically clean air for the valley. You'll be reminded each day whether wood burning is prohibited, or to Please Burn Cleanly. To check the latest forecast and to find out about special exemptions, go to valleyair.org.
BODY FOUND WEST OF WASCO: Still no ID on a body found near Buttonwillow. Kern County Sheriff's deputies say the body was discovered by farm workers at about 9:45 a.m. on Wednesday near an almond orchard in a field on Jackson Avenue just east of Rowlee Road. Detectives say the body is that of a white or Hispanic man. There was trauma to the man's body which was dumped sometime between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. A homicide investigation is underay, and an autopsy is scheduled to determine cause and manner of death. If you have any information on the case, you're asked to call the Sheriff's office or Secret Witness. 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.
FATHER OF SLAIN BOY, 3, SAYS HE THOUGHT SON WOULD BE SAFE WITH EX-GIRLFRIEND : Eavan Fanshier had no issues leaving his young son in the care of Stormy Roberts after the two ended their relationship in 2010. Roberts wasn't the boy's biological mother, but she treated James Lee Fanshier as if he was her own child. He thought James would be safe with her. But James was dead within a year. Fanshier's testimony Wednesday came during the fourth day of the trial for 27-year-old Dustin Wedel, who's charged with the murder of 3-year-old James. The child suffered broken ribs, a broken arm, injuries to his pancreas, bowels and genitals, and bruising over much of his body. Read the full story here.
FASTEST GUN IN THE WEST IS A REAL PISTOL : Being a professional gunslinger isn't always about shooting from the hip. For Joey "Rocketshoes" Dillon, it's a precise form of spinning, twirling and juggling that has made him a three-time gunspinning world champion and teacher to the stars on gun-handling techniques. Dillon and professional trick roper Will Roberts will perform a two-hour variety show full of tricks and quips about the old West, Saturday at the Tejon Corral, with hopes of raising money for the Ridge Route Communities Museum. Read the full story here.
BODY FOUND IN ORCHARD WEST OF WASCO : A homicide investigation has been started by Kern County Sheriff's deputies after a body was found Wednesday morning on an access road several miles west of Wasco. According to deputies, a farm laborer found the body just after 8:40 a.m. on the dirt extension of Jackson Avenue near an orchard about a mile east of Rowlee Road. The laborer told deputies the body was not in the area the previous afternoon when the field was last checked. Deputies said the adult male's body displayed obvious signs of trauma. An autopsy is scheduled to determine cause and manner of death. Read the full story here.
VALADAO SIGNS INTO HOUSE DEMOCRATS' IMMIGRATION BILL : A day after saying he was on the fence about it, Congressman David Valadao bucked his party leadership Wednesday and officially backed a Democratic colleague's immigration bill that includes a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. Valadao became the third Republican House member to support the H.R. 15, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act. "By supporting H.R. 15, I am strengthening my message: Addressing immigration reform in the House cannot wait," Valadao said in a news release. "I am serious about making real progress and will remain committed to doing whatever it takes to repair our broken immigration system." Read the full story here.
WEEK 9 PREDICTIONS : It's already week 9 for football in the Central Section. Check out Californian sports reporter Zach Ewing's week nine football predictions on bakersfield.com. Red the full story here.
THE TECH REPORT
NSA: The National Security Agency has been secretly collecting Internet data -- almost certainly including American email traffic -- as it transits to Google and Yahoo servers abroad, according to the latest disclosure from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Reported by the Washington Post, the documents describe a project code-named MUSCULAR. Even though NSA has been obtaining data directly from Google and Yahoo with court orders through the previously disclosed PRISM program, the new documents show it also has been taking data without permission abroad, outside the oversight of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The latest disclosure is likely to fuel calls in Congress and elsewhere to investigate and reign in NSA surveillance.
ASHTON KUTCHER: Engineers are at a premium, yet Lenovo landed a new product engineer and celebrity pitchman when it inked a partnership with Ashton Kutcher this week. Kutcher told USA TODAY "It's somewhat of a dual role." Kutcher, who studied biochemical engineering at the University of Iowa -- but did not graduate -- has a proven track record in tech investments He intends to offer advice on design and software for Yoga tablets. He said Lenovo makes really good hardware and he hopes to make their products as consumer friendly as possible.
THE HEALTH REPORT
FOOD ALLERGIES: For the first time, federal health officials are giving schools recommendations on how to handle food allergies in students. The guidelines, released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are voluntary but advocates say they could make schools safer for millions of children. They also could mean more classrooms will ban food rewards, snacks and party treats made with nuts, milk, eggs and other common allergens -- changes kids without allergies are sure to notice too. The CDC estimates that four to six percent of children have food allergies and that 88 percent of schools have at least one student with a food allergy.
THE SPORTS REPORT
DRILLER'S RUFUS VERBALLY COMMITS TO NEVADA: Bakersfield High quarterback Asauni Rufus verbally committed Wednesday to play safety for the University of Nevada, he said via text message. Rufus chose the Wolf Pack over offers from Cal Poly and UC Davis. "I just wanted to go to a place where I would be wanted, and where I would have coaches who believed in me," Rufus said. "Nevada is that place where I felt like I could achieve all my goals and be surrounded by great people." Verbal commitments are non-binding. Rufus can officially commit by signing a national letter of intent Feb. 5. Read the full story here.
BC SWEEPS GLENDALE IN VOLLEYBALL: Edithza Urias had 12 kills and four 4 aces, and Jesse Trail had 12 kills and 5 digs to lead the Bakersfield College volleyball team to a 25-23, 25-12, 25-9 victory over Glendale College in a Western State Conference match Wednesday at the Gil Bishop Sports Center. Kourtney Grantz and Tyler Herring added nine kills apiece for the Renegades (13-7, 6-1 WSC), and Kenadie Lee-McNeill had 41 set assists and three aces. Maddie DeMarco had 13 digs, Sarah Aurin added 11 digs, and they served two aces apiece. Read the full story here.
CHECK OUT OUR SCOTT IN 60 FEATURE: