By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
Lead stories from "First Look with Scott Cox's" Top Stories:
FLU KILLS 6TH PERSON IN KERN: The flu sweeping through Kern County claimed a sixth victim Saturday while hospital emergency rooms remained clogged with people suffering flu-like symptoms. A health official said Sunday that the strain of influenza sweeping the county has proven to be more serious than usual. Two victims died in early January, three died Friday and a woman in her early 40s died Saturday. The three men and three women who have died, have been reasonably healthy people and all between the ages of 30 and 62. Read the full story here.
SUPERVISOR DAVID COUCH SUES FORMER EMPLOYER OVER FIRING: Kern County Supervisor David Couch has sued Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC, the investment firm where he used to work, for firing him because he took the 4th District seat. In a lawsuit filed on Jan. 2 in U.S. District Court in Fresno, Couch alleges that the firm hired him in 2008, while he was serving as a Bakersfield city councilman, under the understanding that he intended to eventually run for the Kern County Board of Supervisors. Couch's suit states that the firm approved his political activity but, when he actually won county office and moved from the part-time city gig to the full-time county job, Morgan Stanley fired him in January 2013. Read the full story here.
MORE E-CIGARETTE STORES OPEN AS HEALTH DEBATE RAGES ON: E-cigarettes or e-cigs for short, have sparked a debate between manufactures and health officials. And in the last two months alone, two new stores have opened in Bakersfield that exclusively sell e-cigs. E-cigarettes are battery-powered, tubular devices that deliver vaporized nicotine for inhalation. The liquid that is vaporized, dubbed e-juice, is available in a stunning array of scents and flavors, and comes with various levels of nicotine or no nicotine. Manufacturers and sellers tout e-cigarettes as a cheaper, healthier alternative to tobacco that helps smokers quit. Skeptics say those claims are unproven, at best, and want e-cigarettes to be treated no differently than traditional cigarettes under the law. Read the full story here.
WHAT'S TRENDING ON BAKERSFIELD.COM
TOUGHEST QUESTION GOES UNANSWERED AT YOUNG WOMAN'S MEMORIAL SERVICE: No one posed the question outright, but clergymen who spoke at Saturday's memorial service for 22-year-old Princess Flores Almonidovar proceeded as though everyone in attendance needed an answer: Why would a just God allow the death of a young woman who was, by all accounts, an angel on earth who financially supported her family and even sent money to relatives back in The Philippines while putting her own self-interests on hold? Police say Almonidovar was killed on impact early Jan. 3 after a 24-year-old man suspected of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol collided with her car in southwest Bakersfield. There was an overflow crowd of more than 1,000 mourners at St. John's Lutheran Church. Read the full story here.
DETECTIVES ARREST FELON FOUND WITH FIREARMS, AMMUNITION, METH: Kern County Sheriff's detectives serving a warrant in the Rosedale area arrested a felon Friday who the department says had firearms, ammunition, stolen property and methamphetamine. William Stuart Crunk, 38, had been under suspicion in a series of thefts of diesel fuel and appliances from houses in the area. His bail was set at $55,000. A search of Crunk's vehicle and residence at 21447 Kratzmeyer Road, turned up several firearms and rounds of ammunition, which he as a convicted felon is prohibited from owning or having access to. Detectives also found suspected methamphetamine and stolen property. Read the full story here.
POLICE SEARCH FOR VEHICLE INVOLVED WITH SHOOTING: Bakersfield Police are searching for suspects involved in the shooting of two people Saturday night in southeast Bakersfield. When police arrived at the site of the shooting in the 10 block of South King Street, the two victims had been taken to local hospitals. Police said the victims Sunday were in stable condition. Police are searching for a dark compact vehicle seen fleeing the scene of the shooting, which occurred around 8 p.m. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the BPD at 327-7111. Read the full story here.
THE TECH REPORT
CONNECTED CITIES: Cisco CEO John Chambers made clear during a speech at CES, the company's direction is toward IP video and Internet connected everything. The Mayor of Barcelona joined him as Barcelona is one of the rare, large European city, enjoying a budget surplus. The city is partnering with Cisco to become a "smart city." IP devices, such as network-connected street lamps are helping Barcelona reduce costs on things like energy and waste management. Chambers spoke enthusiastically of a world where everything is automated, IP-enabled, and connected. He touted the benefits of smart shopping carts and Internet-connected street lighting to help reduce crime and serve double-duty as electric car chargers.
THE HEALTH REPORT
THE FLU: The seven influenza-related deaths last week in California indicate that flu season is widespread and more severe than in past years, according to state health officials. Of the seven confirmed deaths and 28 others under investigation, all were people under 65 years old. And all but one of the seven confirmed deaths had contracted the H1N1 strain -- the one known as swine flu. Dr. Ron Chapman, the director of the California Department of Public Health, said our flu season may not peak for several more weeks and encourages everyone to get vaccinated to protect not only themselves, but those with whom they come into contact.
THE SPORTS REPORT
CSUB MEN'S WRESTLING: ONE WIN, ONE LOSS: The Cal State Bakersfield wrestling team didn't get much time to bask in the glow of its impressive win over No. 20 Boise State on Friday night. The Roadrunners were faced with the challenge of taking on another ranked team in Oregon State on Sunday afternoon. This time, CSUB couldn't pull off the upset, losing 25-10 to the No. 24 Beavers in a dual meet at the Icardo Center. Oregon State, coming off a 21-14 victory against Stanford on Saturday, took seven of 10 matches from the 'Runners. Read the full story here.
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