Local News

Friday, Aug 16 2013 07:45 AM

'First Look': First News for Aug. 16

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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN

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

AIRPORT BUS CLOSURE: End of the line for the bus service connecting Bakersfield with Los Angeles International Airport. Effective August 31, Airport Bus of Bakersfield will be no more, due largely to what the general manager says is a gradual decline in ridership since 2011. He says the service needs 14 passengers per trip to cover costs, and that lately the average has been about 10. No new operator has been identified, though the service's owner continues to operate the Amtrak bus service between Bakersfield and Los Angeles Union Station. Travel agents and people who take the bus say its closure is sure to inconvenience local travelers to LAX but could provide a boost to Bakersfield's Meadows Field Airport. Read the full story here.

DROWNED TODDLER IDENTIFIED: Authorities identify a toddler who drowned at a home in Bodfish. The Kern County Coroner says the family of 2-year-old Christopher Garcia was visiting a friend's house Tuesday when the boy was found floating in an above-ground swimming pool around 7:30 p.m. He was taken to Kern Valley Hospital where he was pronounced dead about an hour later. An autopsy shows the manner of death was accidental. Read the full story here.

BRUSH FIRE BODY IDENTIFIED: A body found last weekend near Arvin has been identified. The Kern County Sheriff's Office says the death of 37-year-old Oscar Garcia is being investigated as suspicious. Firefighters discovered his body Sunday while they battled a brush fire off Bear Mountain Boulevard, just east of Deer Trail Drive. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Sheriff's Office. 

DRUG BUST: Two people are busted after cops find a stash of meth in southeast Bakersfield. Manolo Benitez, 34, of Tujunga and Clapsira Lazcano-Lopez, 37, of Paramount were hooked up Wednesday on several drug charges plus charges of conspiracy and possession of false citizenship papers. Detectives say they found five pounds of methamphetamine and more than a pound of heroin in their vehicle. Read the full story here.

FLACHMANN SERVICES: Services will be held this weekend for a longtime professor at California State University Bakersfield. Michael Flachmann died last week at age 70 in Utah after complications from a blood clot. Flachmann taught English and was founder of the University Honors Program. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at Hillcrest Memorial Park, with burial at noon. A reception follows at 1 p.m. at the Stockdale Country Club. All three events are open to the entire CSUB community. No RSVP required. Read the full story here.

HIGHWAY 99 CLOSURES: Local drivers might want to avoid Highway 99 this weekend. Caltrans is doing some striping work along the southbound lanes of the 99 between Golden State Avenue and White Lane. On Saturday, from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. the two outside lanes and off-ramps will be closed to traffic. Then on Sunday the fast lane will be shut down during the same hours. Detours will be in place each day to limit congestion. 

WHAT'S TRENDING ON BAKERSFIELD.COM

In case you missed it, here are the stories that are trending across bakersfield.com

AIRPORT BUS OF BAKERSFIELD NEARING END OF THE LINE: The bus service connecting Bakersfield with Los Angeles International Airport is scheduled to cease operation Aug. 31. Airport Bus of Bakersfield's general manager blamed the decision to close on a gradual decline in ridership since 2011. He said the service needs 14 passengers per trip to cover costs, and that lately the average has been 10.2. No new operator has been identified, though the service's owner continues to operate the Amtrak bus service between Bakersfield and Los Angeles Union Station. Travel agents and people who take the bus said its closure is sure to inconvenience local travelers to LAX, even as it could provide a boost to Meadows Field. Read the full story here.

MAN, 63, CHARGED ON SUSPICION OF HAVING SEX WITH GIRL, 14 : A 63-year-old Bakersfield man was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of allegedly having a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl. Police said the arrest of William Wesley Deyoe Jr. came as he was planning on taking the victim on a trip to Florida. According to police, Deyoe is a trucker who met the girl online and established a relationship with her. During encounters with the girl, police allege he had unlawful sexual intercourse with her. Deyoe was arrested for lewd acts with a child, unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He is being held in the Kern County Jail. Read the full story here.

A KERN COUNTY GRAPE THAT TASTES LIKE COTTON CANDY: It took 12 years but Kern County fruit breeder David Cain finally developed a grape with the spun sugar taste of cotton candy. At a 2001 trade show Cain tried a grape tasting of cotton candy, then spent years using cross-breeding techniques to meld it with heartier California grapes to create the Cotton Candy grape. The fruit is available at Sweet Surrender in Bakersfield for about $5 per pound. Read the full story here

CITY WILL SEND "NUISANCE" LETTERS TO INTERNET CAFE OWNERS AND LANDLORDS : Despite a month of stepped-up police patrols, the number of city Internet cafes has increased from 10 to 13, with a 14th cafe under construction, a Bakersfield police lieutenant told the Safe Neighborhoods and Community Relations Committee on Thursday. Owners and patrons claim that the businesses offer a sweepstakes similar to the Monopoly game offered by McDonald's restaurants, but city officials say their establishments are outlets for illegal gambling. The Kern County District Attorney's office, however, is awaiting a decision from the 5th District Court of Appeal in Fresno before prosecuting Internet cafes for illegal gambling. Read the full story here.

BC TRYING TO IGNORE SANCTIONS : Bakersfield College football coach Jeff Chudy is making it simple when the subject of sanctions against his program comes up: He won't talk about it. The opening phase of the Renegades' 2013 season began Thursday with the team's first official practice. Ninety-eight players took the field late in the afternoon. Because of alleged violations of California Community College Athletic Association rules dealing with special privileges for football players, BC lost all wins from the 2011 and 2012 seasons and had its 2012 state championship stripped. Two years' probation and a postseason ban for this season directly affect this year's squad. BC is appealing the sanctions and that process continues. "There's no uncertainty," Chudy said of his program. "We've got a game Sept. 7 against Santa Ana and I think all of us are extremely focused on getting better." Read the full story here.

 

THE ENERGY REPORT

OIL PRICES SURGE AMID MIDDLE EAST TURMOIL: The price of oil has been inflated by turmoil and increasing violence in the Middle East, but ample global oil supplies are helping to keep the rise in check. The price of U.S. benchmark oil rose 48 cents to $107.33 per barrel in afternoon trading Thursday. Brent crude, a benchmark used to price imported crude purchased by many U.S. refineries, rose 91 cents to $111.11 per barrel.

 

THE TECH REPORT

SONY AND VIACOM: Viacom has tentatively agreed to let popular cable channels like Nickelodeon and MTV be carried by an Internet TV service in the works at Sony, a deal that could signal the start of a new era of competition for cable and satellite providers. The agreement is believed to be the first of its kind between a major programmer and any of the technology giants that are trying to disrupt the traditional television model. Sony is also in negotiations with the Walt Disney Company and Time Warner. Sony has said almost nothing about its Internet TV intentions, but the company has been interested in selling channels through its PlayStation video game console for years. The service is suspected to be available later this year.

FACEBOOK PAYMENTS: Facebook plans to test a new payments product that would allow online shoppers to make purchases on mobile apps using their Facebook login information. Sources say the product would allow any shopper who has previously provided Facebook with their credit card details to make purchases on partnering e-commerce mobile apps without entering billing information. Facebook confirmed the test, which is expected to launch in the next month or so. If launched widely beyond the testing phase, would pit Facebook against digital payments giant PayPal on mobile devices.

 

THE HEALTH REPORT

COFFEE: The debate over coffee's health risks continues to brew. A new study finds that heavy coffee consumption is associated with a higher death risk in men and women younger than 55. Men younger than 55 who drank more than 28 cups of coffee a week were 56 percent more likely to die from any cause. Women in that age range had a two-fold greater risk of dying. Experts through the years have found both health benefits and problems associated with coffee. The caffeine in coffee can elevate heart rate as well as raise blood pressure. However, coffee is a major source of antioxidants.

LEGISLATION: A bill allowing nurse practitioners to operate independently of physicians passed an Assembly committee this week. Senate Bill 491 would allow them to practice independently of physicians in certain medical facilities, such as hospitals, clinics and skilled-nursing facilities. SB 491 is headed to the Assembly Appropriations Committee, where it will join SB 493 that would increase the role of pharmacists by allowing them to give immunizations and prescribe some drugs. Supporters of the bills say it's critical that California is prepared for the increased demand for care once federal law requires nearly everyone to have health insurance.

 

THE SPORTS REPORT

TWO PROJECTED IMPACT PLAYERS SIGN WITH CONDORS: The Condors announced two major signings on Thursday -- center Joel Broda and 2010-11 All-ECHL first team defenseman Wes Cunningham. Both are expected to play significant roles with the team this season, though both could well end up at a higher level. Broda, a fifth-round draft pick of the Washington Capitals in 2008, is a familiar face, having played 32 games with the Condors in 2010-11 while assigned to the team from the Houston Aeros of the American Hockey League after signing a three-year National Hockey League entry-level contract. Cunningham returns to North America for his sixth professional hockey season after spending last season in Norway, where he had 21 points and was a plus-25 in 38 regular-season games for Lorenskog. Read the full story here

CELEBRATION OF LIFE FOR TRACK OFFICIAL: A celebration of life will be held for Steve O'Neil starting at noon Saturday at RJ's Bar & Grill, 9440 Hageman Rd. O'Neil died following an accident Saturday night at Bakersfield Speedway. O'Neil's family noted that he did not want a traditional funeral service and that Saturday would be a time for sharing stories and celebrating his life. Read the full story here.

CHECK OUT OUR SCOTT IN 60 FEATURE: 

 

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