Local News

Tuesday, Feb 04 2014 06:52 AM

'First Look': First News for Feb. 4

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Lead stories from "First Look with Scott Cox's" Top Stories:

STATE ISSUES FINES FOR PG&E PLANT DEMOLITION: State investigators have issued fines totaling $28,400 against two subcontractors involved in the Aug. 3 demolition of the former Pacific Gas and Electric Co. power plant that sent debris flying across Coffee Road into a crowd of onlookers. One of the violations classified as "serious" resulted from Cal-OSHA's determination that Alpha and its subcontractor, Demtech, failed to correctly evaluate the hazards posed by the semi-gelatin dynamite and linear shape charges used to demolish the plant. Read the full story here.

GARCES HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL TO STEP DOWN: Garces Memorial High School is looking for a new principal. The Diocese of Fresno announced Monday that Kathleen Bears, principal for the past five years, would "step down" from her position leading the city's largest Catholic school at the end of the school year. Prior to going into administration, Bears had been a science teacher. She will remain at the school as a teacher. Read the full story here.

FATAL DRUNKEN DRIVING CASES BRING TWO FAMILIES TOGETHER IN SORROW: The families of a 25-year-old pregnant woman and a 6-month-old girl came together Monday morning outside a Kern County courtroom, after both families watched the first court appearances of the men accused of killing their loved ones. The pregnant woman, Vanessa Carrillo and the 6-month-old, LayJah Rennee Heath, were killed by alleged drunken drivers. Joseph Haskell Maine, 26, pleaded not guilty to two counts of second-degree murder and other crimes in connection with a Jan. 17 crash that killed the pregnant Carrillo. The arraignment of Alfredo Moreno was postponed until Tuesday. Read the full story here.


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

CITY AGAIN SEEKS PAYBACK FOR HIGH-SPEED RAIL WORK: The city of Bakersfield wants the state high speed rail authority to do for it what it did for Kern County and the city of Fresno -- repay it for work done on the controversial "bullet train" project. The question is when that will happen. On Thursday, City Manager Alan Tandy sent a letter to California High-Speed Rail Authority CEO Jeff Morales pointing out that Kern County supervisors approved an agreement with the rail authority Jan. 14 that would reimburse the county nearly $223,000 for "pre-award tasks" through the end of 2015. Read the full story here.

SPEAKERS CALL ON KHSD TO EXPAND SUPERINTENDENT SEARCH: At a Monday hearing held to gather input on the qualities the public would like to see in the Kern High School District's next superintendent, speakers called on the board of trustees to cast a wider net in its search for a successor to retiring superintendent Don Carter. The district plans to limit its first interviews to a handful of internal candidates, but says it will look outside if not satisfied with the results. Noting that the racial and ethnic makeup of the district is mostly children of color, a southwest Bakersfield resident said she wants an effort made to find a superintendent who is a minority. Read the full story here.

BROTHERS PLEAD GUILTY TO CONSPIRACY TO DISTRIBUTE METH: Bakersfield brothers Ulisses and Erik Lopez pleaded guilty Monday to conspiracy to distribute and possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine. The brothers delivered a pound of meth to an informant on Oct. 23, 2012. Ulisses Lopez faces a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison and a $5 million fine, while Erik Lopez faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. Read the full story here.



VEHICLE-TO-VEHICLE COMMUNICATION: The U.S. Department of Transportation is moving forward with a plan to enable vehicle-to-vehicle communication among light vehicles. The technology allows cars to "talk" to one another, exchanging basic safety data like speed and position 10 times per second in an effort to ultimately avoid crashes. It will not, however, automatically operate systems like braking or steering; the actual life-saving remains up to the driver. By sharing data between nearby vehicles, smart automobiles can identify risks, like another car veering too close to their lane, and provide alerts before it's too late to stop short of a collision.



COLONOSCOPY PILL CAMERA: An ingestible pill camera to help screen for polyps and early signs of colon cancer has been approved for use in the U.S. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the device for patients who have experienced an incomplete colonoscopy. They estimate 750,000 U.S. patients are not able to complete the procedure each year, due to anatomy issues. The capsule has two miniature video cameras, a battery and light source. Once the patient ingests the capsule, it is designed to transmit images for about 10 hours. Before the capsule is excreted, patients should not be near powerful electromagnetic fields, such as those created by an MRI device.



CHOI LEADS BC GOLFERS: Jeremy Choi shot a 7-over-par 78 to help the Bakersfield College men's golf team score 403 and place fifth among 15 teams in the Stanford Community College Tournament at the Stanford Golf Course. Chabot College (368) won the event and was followed by Sierra College of Rocklin (395), Folsom (396), Reedley (400) and BC (403). Robert Maston of Sierra was low medalist with a 70. Other BC scores: Paul Cooper (79), Michael Peet (80), Jack Gilkey (83) and Suraj Patel (83). Read the full story here.



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