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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
Lead stories from "First Look with Scott Cox's" Big 6.
WHY VIDAK WON: Why did Andy Vidak win the 16th District Senate Seat? In a word: turnout. Vidak campaign manager Tim Orman tells The Bakersfield Californian turnout was everything in his client's win. The campaign set a target turnout from day one and tailored everything to getting that number of voters out. Preliminary turnout numbers put the total turnout across the district at a measly 21 percent. Turnout in Kern and Fresno counties, where opponent Leticia Perez was strongest, was even lower. In Fresno County, 17 percent of registered voters cast ballots while 19.5 percent did in Kern. Turnout was more than 32 percent in Vidak's home county of Kings and 25 percent in Tulare County. Vidak beat four other candidates to capture the seat left vacant by Bakersfield Democrat Michael Rubio. He starts his new job next week.
PLASTIC BOTTLE BOMBS: Three Bakersfield High School students have been arrested on suspicion of several felonies in connection with creating plastic bottle bombs that resulted in the cancellation of classes Monday. Police say they're 15 and 16 years old and were arrested on suspicion of possession of a destructive device, possession of a destructive device near a place where people pass by, possession of substances or materials with the intent to make a destructive device, and conspiracy. BHS was placed on lockdown after three small explosions were heard on the campus late Monday morning. The students reportedly used plastic watter bottles filled with water and a common household chemical.
GRAND FIRE CONTAINED: The Grand Fire near Frazier Park is fully contained. Crews got a handle on the blaze yesterday (wed) after the fire burned more than 43-hundred acres and caused a brief scare to Frazier Park residents before moving out of the area. There were 166 personnel working on the fire Wednesday, down from more than a thousand when the blaze was raging and only slightly contained last week. The blaze began May 15 and resulted in the evacuation of Frazier Mountain High School. The cause is still under investigation.
DUI CHECKPOINT: Drivers in eastern Kern will have to be on the lookout for the cops. Better yet -- don't drink and drive. That's the word from the Highway Patrol as they plan a DUI checkpoint on Saturday in an unincorporated area of eastern Kern County. The checkpoint will be staffed by officers who are trained in the detection of alcohol and/or drug-impaired drivers. The officers will be equipped with breath testing devices which provide an accurate measure of blood alcohol concentrations of drivers suspected of being under the influence.
HIGHWAY ADOPTED: A local company adopts a stretch of highway and they're sprucing things up to celebrate. PG&E is the first corporate sponsor for the City of Bakersfield litter cleanup program for local streets and highways. The annual sponsorship of $6,700 is in support of PG&E's adoption of Coffee Road from Brimhall Road to Rosedale Highway and beneath the Coffee Road Overpass, as well as Rosedale Highway between Henry Lane and Enger Street. The city will use the sponsorship to hire clients of the Bakersfield Homeless Center to regularly clean up litter in these adopted areas.
KILLER KERN WARNING: New warnings posted at the mouth of the killer Kern River. Friday morning around 10:30, the Kern County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue Team will be updating the sign at the mouth of the Kern River Canyon to reflect the current number of lives lost in the Kern River since 1968. The sign is updated each year during the month of May to include the number of lives lost in the Kern River during the previous twelve months. This year the sign will be updated from 266 lives lost to 267 lives lost.
WHAT'S TRENDING ON BAKERSFIELD.COM
In case you missed it, here are the stories that are trending across bakersfield.com ...
KORN ON A MISSION TO FIND CURE FOR DIABETES: The members of Grammy-winning hometown heroes Korn will be preparing to head overseas for the European leg of their current concert tour when the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation holds a wine and food event in Bakersfield June 1. But they'll be there in spirit, as the guitar played by Brian Welch at the recent concert marking his return to the band after an absence of eight years will be auctioned off. Tickets are $65 in advance and $75 at the door. For information or to buy tickets, call 636-1305 or visit jdrfla.org. Read the full story here.
TURNOUT TRENDS PROPELLED VIDAK TO VICTORY IN SENATE RACE: One word: turnout. Political observers on Wednesday gave that single-word answer when asked why Andy Vidak won the 16th Senate District seat outright. Former Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez, D-Shafter said: "The Democrats need to focus on turnout in Kern." Kern County Democratic Party chair Candi Easter said: "Democrats don't turn out to vote." Vidak won the seat outright in a field of five candidates including Kern County Supervisor and Democrat Leticia Perez by capturing 51.4 percent of the vote as of Wednesday's unofficial count. Perez was second with 42.3 percent. There were about 4,000 outstanding ballots in Fresno County Wednesday evening, not enough to change the outcome of the race. Vidak will be sworn in sometime next week. Read the full story here.
THREE STUDENTS ARRESTED IN CONNECTION WITH PLASTIC BOTTLE EXPLOSIONS: Three Bakersfield High School students were arrested Wednesday on suspicion of several felonies in connection with creating plastic bottle bombs that resulted in the cancellation of classes Monday. Police spokeswoman Michaela Beard did not have the age of each student, but said they were 15 and 16 years old. She said they were arrested on suspicion of possession of a destructive device, possession of a destructive device near a place where people pass by, possession of substances or materials with the intent to make a destructive device and conspiracy. Read the full story here.
TEHACHAPI AREA HOMEOWNERS HAVE WILD PIG PROBLEM: The Tehachapi News reports that residents of the Stallion Springs and Bear Valley Springs areas are experiencing property damage caused by wild pigs. Peter Goelz reported seeing as many as 17 pigs in the gully behind his home on Borrel Court in Stallion Springs. The pigs have dug up yards and gardens on several streets. Bear Valley police have even received reports of the pigs posing traffic hazards in the Deertrail Drive and Paramount Drive areas. Some think the ongoing drought may be bringing the animals into residential areas. Stallion Springs Police Chief Brad Burris, on his patrol run, stopped by to check out the damage. "We had a real bad problem five or six years ago, then it quieted down," he said. "They have come in from time to time since, but now they're back in force." Read the full story here.
STOCKDALE UPSETS TOP SEED TO REACH D-1 BASEBALL FINALS: Coach Dan Lemon is one game away from wrapping up his baseball career at Stockdale High in style, and he has one of his favorite teams to thank for it. The Mustangs upset top-seeded Clovis-Buchanan 3-2 in eight innings Wednesday in a Central Section Division I semifinal and moved within one victory of giving Lemon his third section title in his final game. Read the full story here.
THE ENERGY REPORT
PRICE OF OIL: The Associated Press reported that the price of oil fell to near $93 a barrel on Thursday after a survey showed manufacturing activity in China falling to its lowest level in seven months, a sign that the recovery in the world's No. 2 economy is fading. By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark oil for July delivery was down 99 cents to $93.29 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract declined $1.90 to close at $94.28 a barrel on Wednesday.
THE TECH REPORT
TWITTER SECURITY: Twitter is beefing up security in the wake of several high-profile accounts being hacked. The social network has rolled out a two-step verification process, which requires users to confirm their identity with two pieces of log-in information. When you enable the feature in your settings, you'll be asked to input your cellphone number. Then when you try to log in, you'll enter your regular password, and then Twitter will send you a text message with a verification code. When you get that text message, you'll have to input that code to get in. The idea is that there are two pieces of information to confirm that you are who you say you are. Twitter says it is also working on additional security features.
SMART RIFLE: TrackingPoint out of Austin, Texas has just started selling the most advanced long-distance rifle available on the civilian market. The weapon incorporates laser and computer technology, as well as a color graphics display, to allow even a novice shooter to hit moving targets at 500 yards. Its Wi-Fi transmitter permits the user to stream live video and audio to an iPad and post impressive shots on Facebook or YouTube. The shooter tracks targets on the display, and by pushing a button near the trigger, they lock a red laser dot on their quarry. The red laser tag remains on the target, even if it moves. Shooters then align the red dot with a blue cross-hair on the screen and squeeze the trigger. The gun decides exactly when to fire, taking into account the distance, barometric pressure, temperature, the curvature of the earth, and other variables. The rifles are custom made and start around $22,000 each.
THE HEALTH REPORT
ASTHMA TREATMENT: An antibody has scored high marks as possible treatment for asthma, according to researchers from the University of Pittsburgh. The researchers enlisted volunteers around the country to receive a weekly dose of the drug Dupilumab for 12 weeks. They found that asthma incidents decreased by 86 percent for those taking the antibody as compared to those using a placebo. The drug is still in the early testing phases and several years away from federal approval.
AUTISTIC HIRES: Autism advocates are praising a German software company for its plan to hire people with autism as software testers, programmers and data quality assurance specialists. S-A-P, which employs more than 65,000 people worldwide, says it sees a "potential competitive advantage to leveraging the unique talents of people with autism, while also helping them to secure meaningful employment." It will partner with a Danish company to recruit people on the autism spectrum.
THE SPORTS REPORT
STOCKDALE BASEBALL: Longtime Stockdale baseball coach Dan Lemon is retiring from coaching at the end of the season, but he will have wait until Friday's CIF Championship game before doing so. Lemon's Stockdale Mustangs stunned No. 1 seeded Buchanan of Clovis, 3-2, on Wednesday and advances to the title game at No. 2 seeded Clovis North. Pitcher Max Carter threw a complete game for the Mustangs, allowing just five hits and a walk and struck out five in eight innings of work. Zach Tanner scored the go-ahead run in the top of the eighth inning on Kevin Lee's sacrifice fly to deep center field. Read the full story here.
TEHACHAPI ADVANCES: Tehachapi will also play for a Valley title on Friday after the Warriors defeated Madera south 9-5. Tehachapi will play against Golden West in Visalia on Friday. Read the full story here.
CAL STATE WINS OPENER: A triple-play highlighted Cal State Bakersfield's opening 11-3 victory against San Jose State in the first round of the Western Athletic Conference Tournament in Grand Prairie, Texas. Frank Martinez had a career-high four RBIs and starting pitcher Jeff McKenzie recorded his sixth complete game of the season for the top-seeded Roadrunners (36-21), who are looking to earn an automatic berth into the NCAA tournament with a WAC tournament title. Read the full story here.