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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
Lead stories from "First Look with Scott Cox's" Big 6:
TEACHER ARRESTED FOR DUI: A former teacher arrested for DUI four times in the past three years has pleaded no contest to a felony and misdemeanor stemming from her latest arrest. Brandi Sherman, 38, entered the no contest pleas Wednesday to felony DUI with an enhancement and driving with a license that was suspended or revoked because of a drunken driving conviction. Sherman faces a year in jail and five years' probation. Also stipulated in the plea deal is that Sherman wear an alcohol monitoring device upon her release, and that a breath alcohol ignition device be installed in her vehicle. She resigned as a teacher at Sillect Community School effective Sept. 30. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 31. Read the full story here.
POWER PLANT FLAMES: A power surge sends 50-foot flames shooting from a tower at a liquid petroleum gas plant in Shafter. It happened Wednesday afternoon at Plains LPG Services on Beech Avenue. Firefighters were responding to a crash in the area when they noticed smoke streaming from the top of a 100-foot-tall heating tower.The fire burned itself out in about an hour. There were no injuries or evacuations. Read the full story here.
HOMICIDE: He was strangled to death-- that's what killed a Bakersfield man found dead near South Real Road. Terrence Tsitakis, 53, was found dead Sept. 20 by his roommate in his home in the 3900 block of Bianchi Way. The coroner's office has ruled the death a homicide.
ANIMAL SHELTERS: They're still working out the kinks at Kern County Animal Services. But the shelter on Fruitvale Avenue is now officially open. 23-ABC reports hundreds of dogs and cats have been moved in after officials broke ties with the city shelter on Mount Vernon Avenue. Read the full story here.
ARMED ROBBERY AT PIZZERIA: A pizzeria in northeast Bakersfield is victimized by an armed robber. Just after 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, police say two guys went into Papa John's in the College Shopping Center on Columbus Street. One man had a gun and reportedly demanded cash, which a clerk handed over before the pair took off on foot. Nobody was injured and the suspects are described as black and Hispanic, around 20 years old. If you have any information on the robbery, you're asked to call Bakersfield Police.
MAN CHARGED WITH FIRST DEGREE MURDER: A Bakersfield man accused of killing another guy and burying him at home appears in court. Frank Valles is charged with first degree murder in the death of Alphonso Hyde back in 2008. His body was discovered buried in the yard of Valles's home. In an interview from Lerdo Prison, Valles told 23-ABC Hyde died of a heart attack, so he wrapped him in an Indian ceremonial blanket and laid him to rest. However, court documents allege it was a calculated killing.
WHAT'S TRENDING ON BAKERSFIELD.COM
In case you missed it, here are the stories that are trending across bakersfield.com.
CENTENNIAL COACH KEVIN SNEED HAS THROAT CANCER: Centennial football coach Kevin Sneed was diagnosed with throat cancer last month and will start radiation treatment Monday. Sneed, 59, said he'll coach the Golden Hawks on Friday at Tulare Union and will continue to coach as long as he can this fall. Sneed said he felt a lump in his neck in August and when it grew, he became concerned, especially because his family has an extensive history with cancer. Doctors gave Sneed a positive prognosis involving eight weeks of radiation and then chemotherapy. Read the full story here.
LOCAL OIL PRODUCERS FEEL EFFECTS OF FEDERAL SHUTDOWN: Since the federal government shut down Tuesday, Chad Hathaway's Highway 65 gas pipeline project is up in the air. Staffing at the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has been drastically reduced, halting agency review of drilling and other oil and gas permits. The BLM has furloughed 86 percent of its California workforce, leaving only 130 employees, including inspectors. This means that, depending on how long it lasts, the shutdown could have a significant impact on Kern County oil production. Read the full story here.
FORMER TEACHER TAKES PLEA DEAL IN CONNECTION WITH FOURTH DUI: Brandi Lynn Sherman, a former teacher arrested for DUI four times in the past three years, pleaded no contest Wednesday to a felony and misdemeanor stemming from her latest arrest. Prosecutor Courtney Lewis said the 38-year-old faces a year in jail and five years' probation. Also stipulated in the plea deal is that Sherman wear an alcohol monitoring device upon her release, and that a breath alcohol ignition device be installed in her vehicle. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 31. Read the full story here.
FLAMES ERUPT FROM GAS TOWER: A power surge sent 50-foot flames shooting from a tower at a liquid petroleum gas plant in Shafter Wednesday afternoon. There were no injuries and no evacuations, and the fire at Plains LPG Services burned itself out in about an hour, Kern County Fire spokesman Corey Wilford said. Firefighters were responding to a crash in the area when they noticed smoke streaming from the top of a 100-foot-tall heating tower. Firefighters first believed the crash had something to do with the power surge, but that doesn't appear to be the case. An investigation is ongoing. Read the full story here.
WOMAN SHOT BY POLICE WAS POINTING AIRSOFT PISTOL AT OFFICERS: The woman shot and killed Tuesday morning after pointing a gun at officers had been armed with a chrome-colored airsoft pistol that fires pellets. Maria Rita Zarate, 31, pointed the replica SIG Sauer gun at police after officers and a mental health professional tried for 30 minutes to get her to put the gun down. Juan Zarate, a brother of Maria Zarate said his sister was a methamphetamine addict, struggling with the drug over the past eight years. An autopsy Wednesday confirmed Zarate died as a result of multiple gunshot wounds. Read full story here.
THE TECH REPORT
SILK ROAD: The FBI has arrested the San Francisco man they say ran Silk Road, the notorious underground digital bazaar that allowed traffickers to anonymously peddle heroin, cocaine and nearly anything else illegal. Ross Ulbricht, 29, allegedly operated the site as "Dread Pirate Roberts." He was charged with narcotics trafficking conspiracy, computer hacking conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy. The brazen site provided an international platform for drug dealers around the world to market their wares. Buyers and sellers could access the site only through the Tor anonymizing service and conducted transactions in Bitcoin to further conceal their identity. The identity of Dread Pirate Roberts has been one of the internet's most tantalizing mysteries.
THE HEALTH REPORT
DOCTOR SHORTAGE: Obamacare is expected to increase patient demand for medical services. Combine that with a worsening shortage of doctors, and next year you may have to wait a little longer to get a doctor's appointment. There is already a national shortage of doctors, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. We're down about 20-thousand now, and the number is expected to get worse as nearly half the nation's physicians are over the age of 50. A study in the Annals of Family Medicine journal projected the country will need 52-thousand more primary care physicians by 2025. One physician noted that most doctors stay away from primary care because the pay is often less than with a specialty.
MELANOMA: People with the most dangerous type of skin cancer tend to stay out of the sun and wear extra sunscreen the year after being diagnosed. But a new study suggests those precautions don't last. Two to three years after being diagnosed with melanoma, people spent as many days in the sun and were exposed to at least as much UV radiation as their peers without the disease, researchers found. Rates of melanoma have been rising in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. It predicts over 76-thousand new melanomas will be diagnosed in 2013. People who have had melanoma have a higher than average chance of getting it again. But that risk can be reduced if they cover up and stay out of the sun.
THE SPORTS REPORT
CENTENNIAL COACH TO BEGIN CANCER TREATMENT: Centennial football coach Kevin Sneed said he was diagnosed with throat cancer last month and will start radiation treatment Monday. Sneed, 59, said he'll coach the Golden Hawks on Friday at Tulare Union and will continue to coach as long as he can. "I'm still able to talk and coach and teach, and I'm going to keep doing it," Sneed said. "If at some point I can't do it and the radiation gets to me, we've made some plans." Mike Gregg, Centennial's defensive coordinator and a former Foothill head coach, has stepped in for the few practices Sneed has had to miss, and he would become the interim coach in Sneed's absence. Offensive line coach Dave Rice and running backs coach Brent Durkin would share offensive play-calling duties. Read the full story here.
HOT ROD REUNION HIGHLIGHTS BUSY MONTH AT FAMOSO: The 22nd NHRA California Hot Rod Reunion is just around the corner -- Oct. 18-20 -- part of the busiest racing month of the year at Auto Club Famoso Raceway. The historic track north of Bakersfield will be in action every weekend this month, starting with the Nostalgia Fall Championships and Mega Mopar Series on Friday and Saturday. The Nostalgia Fall Championships is for what his known as Group 2 in the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series -- classes such as Nostalgia Eliminator and A through D Gas -- and is the final points races for those. Read the full story here.
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