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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
Lead stories from "First Look with Scott Cox's" Big 6:
NEW HIGH-SPEED RAIL PLANS: A surge in recent oil investment near Shafter has prompted a substantial redrawing of the proposed high-speed rail project through northern Kern County. The Bakersfield Californian reports a recommended alignment unveiled Thursday proposes laying tracks near the BNSF Railroad through Shafter and Wasco -- a reversal of a never-adopted April plan that avoided those cities' centers. The new proposed alignment is set for a vote Thursday by the board of the California High-Speed Rail Authority in Sacramento and has won qualified support from the city of Shafter and tentative agreement from Wasco officials, though both cities generally oppose the project because of its expected disruptive effect on farming. Read the full story here.
DUI SENTENCING FOR LOCAL TEACHER: A former local high school teacher learns her fate after several DUI arrests. Brandi Sherman's driver's license will be revoked for four years as part of her punishment Thursday for racking up four DUIs since 2011. In addition, the 38-year-old was sentenced to a year in jail and three years' probation, and was ordered to install breath alcohol ignition devices on her vehicles. Sherman will also have to wear an alcohol monitoring device for a year after her release from jail. She pleaded no contest in early October to felony DUI with an enhancement and driving with a license that was suspended or revoked because of a drunk driving conviction. Her three other DUI convictions happened in February 2011, March 2011 and September 2012. Sherman resigned in September as a teacher at Sillect Community School. Read the full story here.
HUMAN TRAFFICKING ARRESTS: Two people are in jail for human trafficking after a car is pulled over in central Bakersfield. Just before 12:30 a.m. Thursday, officers stopped a car in the 800 block of Union Avenue. Two prostitutes were found inside, one of them a minor. The BPD's Child Abuse and Sexual Assault Unit was called in, and the investigation led to the arrest of 22-year-old Donte Ford and 20-year-old Joseph Packard, both of Fresno. They both face multiple charges, and bail for each is set at $500,000 each. Read the full story here.
SEX OFFENDER VISITS: Bakersfield Police come out to haunt registered sex offenders on Halloween. At about 11 a.m. Thursday, officers from the BPD's Career Criminal Apprehension Team and detectives from the Child Abuse, Sexual Assault Unit, starting contacting those registered, and the effort continued throughout the evening. They were making sure they were all in compliance with their registration status and probation or parole status. No word on any arrests, or on whether the cops said Trick or Treat when the door was opened.
MCCARTHY ON IMMIGRATION ISSUES: Local Republican Congressman David Valadao sides with Democrats on their Immigration Bill. So how does that sit with his GOP colleague, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy? Appearing on K-E-R-N's Ralph Bailey Show, McCarthy said there's actually a number of immigration issues he and Valadao agree on, but they need get the job done once and for all. Valadao came out this week in support of H-R 15, featuring a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. He was on the show after McCarthy and said the bill is mostly the Senate version which includes border security.
BAN ON TOY GUNS: The California legislature may vote on a bill that would ban realistic-looking airguns and toy guns. 23-ABC's Jackie Parks reports the decision comes after the recent shooting death of a 13-year-old armed with an airgun in Santa Rosa. The boy was shot and killed by deputies last Friday after they repeatedly told him to drop what turned out to be a replica assault rifle.
WHAT'S TRENDING ON BAKERSFIELD.COM
In case you missed it, here are the stories that are trending across bakersfield.com.
LOCAL OIL ACTIVITY MAY SPUR REROUTE OF HIGH-SPEED RAIL: A surge in recent oil investment near Shafter has prompted a substantial redrawing of the proposed high-speed rail project through northern Kern County. A recommended alignment unveiled Thursday proposes laying tracks near the BNSF Railroad through Shafter and Wasco -- a reversal of a never-adopted April plan that avoided those cities' centers. The new proposed alignment, set for a vote Thursday by the board of the California High-Speed Rail Authority in Sacramento, has won qualified support from the city of Shafter and tentative agreement from Wasco officials, though both cities generally oppose the project because of its expected disruptive effect on farming. Read the full story here.
FORMER TEACHER SENTENCED TO YEAR IN JAIL FOR MULTIPLE DUIs: Brandi Lynn Sherman will be doing a lot of walking during the next four years. The 38-year-old former high school teacher's driver's license will be revoked for four years as part of her punishment Thursday for racking up four DUIs since 2011. In addition, Judge Steven M. Katz sentenced her to a year in jail and three years' probation, and ordered her to install breath alcohol ignition devices on her vehicles. The device prevents a vehicle from starting if the person blowing into it has a blood-alcohol concentration higher than the programmed level. Read the full story here.
TWO ARRESTED IN BAKERSFIELD ON SUSPICION OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING : A traffic stop near downtown Bakersfield early Thursday morning resulted in two arrests on suspicion of human trafficking. Bakersfield Police said a traffic stop just before 12:30 a.m. in the 800 block of Union Avenue revealed that the vehicle's two female occupants -- one a minor -- were engaged in prostitution. Further investigation resulted in the arrest of 22-year-old Donte Ford and 20-year-old Joseph Packard, both of Fresno. Ford was arrested on suspicion of several charges including human trafficking, sexual exploitation of a child, distribution of child pornography and parole violation. Packard was arrested on suspicion of human trafficking, providing false information to a police officer, conspiracy and participation in a street gang. Bail for Ford and Packard was set at $500,000 each. Read the full story here.
DENTIST TUPAC'S WORK CALLED 'ABOMINABLE' : A retired periodontist testified Thursday that Dr. Robert Tupac has a "horrible, terrible" reputation in Bakersfield. Dr. Mark Katz, who worked in Bakersfield before he retired in late 2010, delivered his testimony at the Office of Administrative Hearings in downtown Los Angeles. Last year, Tupac, a prosthodontist, was accused of gross negligence and other wrongdoing by the Dental Board of California. The case arose from complaints from two former patients and another Bakersfield dentist. Katz testified the work of Tupac's that he saw was "abominable," and that patients told him they had painful experiences in Tupac's office. Read the full story here.
NARCOTICS INVESTIGATION LEADS TO 4 ARRESTS: Narcotics investigators Thursday searching two east Bakersfield residences arrested four people on suspicion of various drug and firearm charges. The 9 a.m. search in the 1000 block of McCurdy Drive resulted in the seizure of 5 to 6 ounces of suspected methamphetamine and a firearm. Jovani Guerrero, 24, was arrested on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance for sale, felony child endangerment and being in possession of a firearm with an altered serial number. Juan Muneton, 26, was arrested on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance and resisting arrest. Reina Bravo, 33, was arrested on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance. Nabor Guerrero, 28, was arrested on suspicion of possession of stolen property. Read the full story here.
THE TECH REPORT
NEXUS 5 SMARTPHONE: Google unveiled its new Nexus 5 smartphone Thursday as the Internet search giant steps up competition with Apple's iPhone. The device has a 5-inch display and is tightly integrated with Google search and Google Now, the company's personal-assistant technology, through the home screen. Nexus 5, which Google developed with LG, comes with a new camera that corrects for small hand movements to reduce blur. The device comes in black and white and ranges in price from $349 to $399.
THE HEALTH REPORT
DRUG SHORTAGES: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration released a strategic plan for preventing drug shortages on Thursday and proposed a rule to require drug and biotechnology companies to promptly notify the agency of potential disruptions to the supply of medically important drugs. The Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act calls for the FDA to improve its response to imminent or existing drug shortages and to address the underlying causes of such shortages. The act also gave the FDA new authority to require drug manufacturers to notify it of potential supply disruptions. The FDA recommended that companies, among other things, design programs to ensure supply is available in the event of a shortage. It also recommended companies build up inventory before major manufacturing changes and that they communicate with contract manufacturers to anticipate problems.
TOBACCO PRODUCTS: Buying cigarettes in New York City is about to become a lot harder for young people, as lawmakers on Wednesday adopted the strictest limits on tobacco purchases of any major American city. The legal age for buying tobacco, including cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, cigars and cigarillos will rise to 21, from 18, under a bill adopted by the City Council and which Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said he would sign. The new minimum age will take effect six months after signing. Protesters pointed out that New Yorkers under 21 can drive, vote and fight in wars, and should be considered mature enough to decide whether to buy cigarettes. But the Bloomberg administration's argument that raising the age to buy cigarettes would discourage people from becoming addicted in the first place won in the end.
THE SPORTS REPORT
CENTENNIAL FACES BAKERSFIELD IN SWYL FOOTBALL SHOWDOWN: Every August, football coaches in the Southwest Yosemite League utter some variation of the same phrase: "Everyone has to go through Bakersfield High." And that quite literally becomes true in the final two weeks of the regular season, beginning at 7:30 tonight when the Drillers (6-2, 3-0 SWYL) take on Centennial (5-3, 2-1) with first place in the league on the line. If BHS passes that test, they finish the season with Stockdale (4-4, 2-1), in a game where first place could be on the line again. Read the full story here.
STRUGGLING CONDORS FACE TOUGH ROAD TRIP: It's one of the last places a team desperately looking for a win would like to play, but at 0-3-1 the Condors open three-game set against tonight against the Anchorage Aces on the big ice at Sullivan Arena. They are headed there with just one goaltender, an offense struggling to score goals and a lot of other areas needing improvement. Read the full story here.
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