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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
Lead stories from "First Look with Scott Cox's" Big 6:
CALIFORNIA CONDOR FOUND DEAD: The body of a California Condor was found Thursday morning in a tank off Jacaranda Drive in Bear Valley. An emergency team participating in the annual Great Shake Out earthquake drill discovered the body floating in the tank. They noted it was tagged number 30 and reported the find to the Bear Valley Springs Police Department. Jeff Hodges, general manager of the Bear Valley Community Services District, confirmed that the bird was a California condor and that biologists from the Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge in Ventura County had recovered the carcass. The cause of death hasn't been determined, nor is it known how long the carcass had been in the tank. Biologists at the refuge specializing in condor conservation will investigate the cause of death. Condors are an endangered species. Read the full story here.
NEW BUS SERVICE TO LAX: Need to get to LAX? A company based in Brooklyn, N.Y., says it will run buses between the Amtrak station in downtown Bakersfield and Los Angeles International Airport starting Nov. 24. Interstate Bus plans to offer six trips a day each way -- one more than the previous service, whose Aug. 31 closure left local travelers without bus service to LAX. One-way tickets will cost $32 each, and no round-trip tickets are available. Through December, children 12 years or younger may travel free with the purchase of an adult fare, but not more than one child free per adult. Interstate's Bus said departures from Bakersfield will leave at 3, 5 and 8 a.m., noon and 3 and 6 p.m. Departures from LAX are scheduled for 6:30 and 9 a.m., noon and 4, 7 and 10 p.m. Tickets are being sold through the company's website: interstatebus.us. It asked that customers needing to book a free children's seat contact the company by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the full story here.
VA RECORDS: Responding to allegations that a doctor had taken confidential patient records out of the Bakersfield Veterans Administration clinic, the VA announced Thursday that three separate investigations over the course of seven months showed that no such patient information had been "released into the community or abused in any way." VA Los Angeles associate director David Holt was in Bakersfield Thursday to talk to the media and meet with veterans at the clinic just west of downtown Bakersfield. He said: "We are confident that these results confirm that veterans in Bakersfield and Kern County did not have their personal information compromised." He praised clinic staff for being vigilant and reporting their suspicions, but repeated several times that veterans had no cause for concern about their personal information. Some of the original tipsters weren't convinced. Two of the staffers who made the reports maintained that patient records were breached and they were unsurprised by what they felt was a continuing VA whitewash. Read the full story here.
SUGARY DRINKS STUDY: A new study says young Kern County kids have cut down on the number of sugary drinks they gulp down in a day. Thirty-six percent of Kern kids ages 2 to 11 drank at least one soda or other sugared beverage a day in 2011-2012, down from nearly 50 percent for 2005-2007. That's according to a policy brief by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. The figures stayed the same -- 63 percent -- for adolescents ages 12 to 17. The report found that statewide guzzling of sugar-sweetened beverages fell among younger children but rose among adolescents. Kern County fell right in line with the state's 11 percent drop in the consumption of one or more sugary drinks a day for children ages 2 to 17 between the two time frames.
NECKLACE SNATCHING CASE: The third and final defendant charged with murder in a necklace snatching that resulted in the victim's death has been found guilty of all the charges against him. Twenty-year-old Christopher Harvell Patterson faces life in prison without the possibility of parole at his Nov. 19 sentencing. A jury convicted him Wednesday of murder, robbery and participating in a criminal street gang. Prosecutors have said Patterson yanked a necklace from Guadalupe Ramos on Aug. 19, 2012 as she walked to her car in the park lot of the Foods Co. on Haley Street. She fell to the ground and died of cardiac arrest. Prosecutors said Patterson ran to a car Maxamillon Lee McDonald was driving and where Lawrence Slaughter was waiting, and the three of them fled the area. Both McDonald and Slaughter have been sentenced to life without parole. Read the full story here.
BIOMASS PLANT: Until about a year ago, nearly 2 million pounds a day of agricultural waste and urban tree trimmings would go up in smoke or get trucked to a landfill, and nobody really benefited from it. Not anymore. Now it fuels a power plant north of Bakersfield that generates enough electricity to power 30,000 homes. And it helps produce steam that doubles production in nearby oil fields. Kern County dignitaries went on a tour of the Mt. Poso Cogeneration Co. LLC plant on Thursday in celebration of the inaugural National Bioenergy Day. They were impressed. County Supervisor Leticia Perez said, "Very few subjects really excite me like cogeneration and biomass. This really is the future." Cogeneration is the dual process of creating electricity and steam for oil production at the same time. Read the full story here.
WHAT'S TRENDING IN BAKERSFIELD.COM
In case you missed it, here are the stories that are trending across bakersfield.com.
ACLU CRITICIZES IMMIGRATION SWEEPS AT KERN COURTHOUSES: The American Civil Liberties Union of California on Thursday criticized Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents from the Bakersfield office for repeatedly going to local courthouses to arrest immigrants suspected of being in the country illegally. Attorneys for the ACLU and the organization's Immigrants' Rights Project sent a letter to ICE Acting Director John Sandweg demanding agents stop arresting individuals who are attempting to pay fines, attend court appearances, get married or obtain restraining orders. Read the full story here.
BUS SERVICE BETWEEN BAKERSFIELD AND LAX TO RESUME NEXT MONTH: A company based in Brooklyn, N.Y., announced Thursday it will run buses between the Amtrak station in downtown Bakersfield and Los Angeles International Airport starting Nov. 24. Interstate Bus plans to offer six trips a day each way -- one more than the previous service, whose Aug. 31 closure left local travelers without bus service to LAX. One-way tickets will cost $32 each -- a little more than the last service sold them for -- and no round-trip tickets are available, Interstate announced. Through December, children 12 years or younger may travel free with the purchase of an adult fare, but not more than one child free per adult. Read the full story here.
SUSPECTED DUI CRASH KILLS LAKE ISABELLA MAN: A 29-year-old Lake Isabella man died early Thursday after his pickup collided head-on with an SUV driven in the wrong lane by a man suspected to be under the influence of alcohol. Taylor John Embree died at the scene of the crash on Comanche Driver, about a half mile north of Breckenridge Road. California Highway Patrol officers said the driver of the SUV, 35-year-old Gustavo De La Cruz, was driving his Ford Explorer north in the southbound lanes of Comanche Drive at a high rate of speed. De La Cruz was unable to get into the correct lane and avoid the crash because of his level of intoxication. His SUV overturned and he suffered a broken leg. De La Cruz was arrested on suspicion of DUI, officer said. Comanche Drive was closed in both directions for four hours. Read the full story here.
BIOMASS CO-GEN PLANT FIRES UP LOCAL OFFICIALS: Until about a year ago, nearly 2 million pounds a day of agricultural waste and urban tree trimmings would go up in smoke or get trucked to a landfill, and nobody really benefited from it. Not anymore. Now it fuels a power plant north of Bakersfield that generates enough electricity to power 30,000 homes -- and it helps produce steam that doubles production in nearby oil fields. On Thursday, Kern County dignitaries, including state Sen. Andy Vidak, R-Hanford, gathered for a tour of the plant in celebration of the inaugural National Bioenergy Day. Read the full story here.
CONDOR FOUND DEAD IN BEAR VALLEY: The body of a Californian Condor was found Thursday morning in a tank off Jacaranda Drive in Bear Valley. An emergency team participating in the annual Great Shake Out earthquake drill discovered the body floating in the tank. They noted it was tagged number 30 and reported the find to the Bear Valley Springs Police Department. The cause of death hasn't been determined, nor is it known how long the carcass had been in the tank. Biologists at the refuge specializing in condor conservation will investigate the cause of death. Read the full story here.
THE ENERGY REPORT
OIL SUMMIT: The West Kern Petroleum Summit takes place all day today at Taft College. It's bringing together energy experts, policy makers, academic and regional leaders to talk about everything from new technology to economic development. They'll also talk about the oil industry's workforce needs. Keynote speakers include Congressman Kevin McCarthy and Ann McElhinney, director and producer of "Frack Nation," a documentary on hydraulic fracturing. The summit is sold out, but you can watch it live streamed on bakersfield.com.
THE TECH REPORT
DATA PLANS: AT&T plans to offer tablet users a $5 day pass for mobile data service, as well as a $25 prepaid plan for one gigabyte over three months, in a bid to reach more types of consumers. The "casual rate plans" are designed for consumers who don't want tablet cellular service enough to pay a monthly fee. The $5 day pass includes 250 megabytes of data. The two new plans are available now for all AT&T tablets.
GOOGLE: Google shares moved into record territory by jumping more than 8 percent in after-hours trading Thursday after the world's largest Internet search company reported better-than-expected quarterly results after the closing bell. The gains came on optimism that Google can adapt its online advertising business to a new world in which people search and surf the Internet using multiple devices, not just a single desktop computer screen. Google said third-quarter revenue grew 12 percent to more than 14 billion. Google shares rose in after-hours action following the results, suggesting that a new advertising system Google launched in July, called Enhanced Campaigns, may be helping to re-accelerate the company's ad revenue growth.
THE HEALTH REPORT
AIR POLLUTION: What many commuters choking on smog have long suspected has finally been scientifically validated: air pollution causes lung cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer declared Thursday that air pollution is a carcinogen, alongside known dangers such as asbestos, tobacco and ultraviolet radiation. The decision came after a consultation with the World Health Organization. The agency had previously deemed some of the components in air pollution such as diesel fumes to be carcinogens, but this is the first time it has classified air pollution in its entirety as cancer causing. The risk to the individual is low, but the main sources of pollution are widespread, including transportation, power plants, and industrial and agricultural emissions.
SLEEP: Among the many vital roles that sleep plays in our lives, our nightly rest may give us the chance to take out the cerebral trash according to a new study. No, it's not some kind of Ambien-induced sleep-housework. It's about the process by which the brain refreshes itself by removing the build-up of mental metabolites such as beta-amyloid and tau -- the byproducts of a day's mental work. Left to fester on the sidewalks of our brains, these byproducts of everyday mental activity can gum up the works, causing signals across synapses to slow, and neurons to die. Accumulations in the brain of tau and beta-amyloid are hallmarks of certain dementias, including Alzheimer's Disease. In a new study, scientists from University of Rochester Medical Center and New York University found that the brains of mice at the end of a sleep period had their lowest concentration of neural refuse of the day. By the time they were ready to sleep again, those concentrations had reached their peak.
THE SPORTS REPORT
HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Tonight's a big night in high school football. And bakersfield.com will be live at 7 p.m. with the Wasco-Bakersfield Christian football game. Watch the live stream. Then join us again at 11 p.m. for the BVarsity Live recap show.
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