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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
Lead stories from "First Look with Scott Cox's" Top Stories:
GROUP TO TAKE PANHANDLING SURVEYS DOWNTOWN: Homeless advocates will probe the extent and effects of downtown panhandling with a series of surveys during the next six months, after an outreach group approved the idea Tuesday. The unanimous verbal vote by the Kern County Homeless Collaborative's steering committee authorized volunteers to start questioning panhandlers and downtown business owners. Its vote comes as the Bakersfield City Council prepares to give first reading March 5 to an ordinance targeting "Panhandling/Soliciting," making it illegal to "solicit in an aggressive manner in any public place." Read the full story here.
SURVEY FINDS INCREASE IN HOMELESS CHILDREN BUT OVERALL DROP IN HOMELESSNESS: The number of homeless children in emergency shelters and transitional housing rose by more than one-third since last year, but the total of homeless people in metropolitan Bakersfield dropped by 37 percent, according to a yearly homeless survey released Tuesday. The Point-in-Time Count identified 160 children in emergency shelters or transitional housing compared with 120 last year. Elsewhere in the survey, however, the numbers of homeless universally declined, with southeast Bakersfield showing the most dramatic improvement. Read the full story here.
COUNCILMAN SAYS HE'S DEALING WITH CITY STAFF'S 'FABRICATIONS': Bakersfield City Councilman Terry Maxwell's numerous and often extremely detailed questions regarding the widening of 24th Street haven't been free, nor cheap. The city staffers estimate that responding to some of Maxwell's questions has cost around $50,000, give or take. And that's just from the Jan. 22 city council meeting to the Feb. 12 meeting. According to the city, it cost $16,869 to hire Parsons Corp. to redo a report Maxwell had requested on creating one-way streets downtown. 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.
ACCIDENT MAKES LONG WEEKEND TRIP TO COAST LONGER: Kern County travelers taking advantage of the long weekend to spend time at the coast found themselves in a massive traffic jam Monday afternoon blocking both lanes of Highway 166 in San Luis Obispo County. The 3:43 p.m. accident occurred when a pickup truck towing a trailer overturned near Alamo Creek Road east of the Highway 101 intersection. Traffic remained blocked for more than two hours before a lane could be cleared. There was no report of injuries. Read the full story here.
NEW HIGHLAND FOOTBALL COACH IS YOUNGEST IN BAKERSFIELD: Ten years ago, Michael Gutierrez was still in high school, having just finished a senior football season for Foothill. On Tuesday, Highland High School announced the 27-year-old would be the youngest head football coach. Gutierrez, who is a primarily offensive coach, said he'll run the zone-read option offense with the Scots, and he'll bring defensive coordinator Chris Hawkins with him to implement a 4-2-5 defense. Read the full story here.
SAN BERNARDINO TRUCK DRIVER DIES AFTER TRUCK LEAVES ROADWAY: A big-rig truck driver from San Bernardino died Tuesday morning when the rig he was driving on Interstate 5 left the roadway just south of Highway 58. Ernie Ray Patton, 56, died at 11:22 a.m. at the scene of the accident. The CHP is investigating the incident. Read the full story here.
THE TECH REPORT
SAMSUNG GALAXY S5: Samsung is expected to unveil its flagship device, the Galaxy S5, at its "Unpacked 5" event on Monday. Bloomberg is reporting the new high-end smartphone will have a larger, sharper 5.2-inch display and will be released before April. Unnamed sources also told Bloomberg the device may be cheaper than previous models and will have an improved battery and camera. The Samsung mobile chief said the company was studying the inclusion of an eye scanner in its smartphones, but wouldn't confirm whether or not that will be a feature in the S5.
THE HEALTH REPORT
IN VITRO FERTILIZATION: More American women have had medical help to have their babies than ever, according to the latest annual report from the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology. The group represents the greater majority of in vitro fertilization clinics in the United States. Their report showed that doctors at these clinics performed 165,172 procedures, including IVF, with 61,740 babies born as a result of those efforts in 2012. That's about 2,000 more babies born using treatments from IVF clinics than in 2011. That also makes 2012 the year with the highest percentage of babies born through IVF than ever reported previously.
THE SPORTS REPORT
HIGHLAND HIRES FOOTBALL COACH: Ten years ago, Michael Gutierrez was still in high school, having just finished a senior football season for Foothill. Soon, Trojans coach Scott Douglas would ask Gutierrez to help on his coaching staff while Gutierrez attended Bakersfield College. Gutierrez, 27, completed his meteoric rise Tuesday, when Highland athletic director Steve Matney announced the school would make him Kern County's youngest head football coach. "It's something I've been working for and my group of coaches has been working for," Gutierrez said. "We want to have a chance to do something like this. It's exciting to see that goal reached and the work pay off at lower levels. Now we have a school that trusts us to shape young men."
WEST CAPTURES SYL BOYS BASKETBALL TITLE: Just when it looked like the South Yosemite League boys basketball race would be thrown into late chaos, West High did what it had done all year. The Vikings used a late run to beat Ridgeview 67-57 at home Tuesday and clinch the school's first league title since 1999. "I'm proud of these kids," Vikings coach Tye Hammond said. "They've displayed toughness and character all year. There's been no lead we haven't been able to overcome and make it a close game. We fight and fight the whole way."
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