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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
Lead stories from "First Look with Scott Cox's" Big 6:
SUSPICIOUS LETTER IN TAFT: A potent letter brings a HazMat team to a supermarket in Taft. 23-ABC said a viewer called in Thursday to report it happened after a letter was delivered to the Bank of America branch inside the Albertson's on Kern Street. When a teller opened the envelope, two people reportedly became sick. Albertson's shoppers were evacuated while crews examined the letter to make sure there was no threat, and the store was eventually reopened. No word on just who sent that letter or what it was that made it so powerful.
ALLEGED SEXUAL ASSAULT IN SCHOOL: Kern County Sheriff's Deputies are investigating an alleged sexual assault on a Fruitvale Middle School bus. The incident was reported Thursday and involved a girl who was allegedly victimized by three boys. The Fruitvale superintendent confirmed an investigation is underway, and a sheriff's spokesperson said more information would be released as it becomes available. Read the full story here.
MOTHER SENTENCED IN COURT: A Bakersfield woman who police said handed a knife to her teenage son to use during a fight is sentenced. Louisa Polin, 39, got a year in jail Thursday. She pleaded no contest to being an accessory to a crime. Three other felony charges, including attempted murder, were dropped. Police say Polin got into an altercation with a man on April 2 outside the FoodMaxx on Union Avenue. She and her two sons followed the man to a house in the 300 block of East 9th Street where Polin handed 14-year-old Kasey Villegas a knife. Villegas then stabbed the victim four times. The man survived. Both Kasey Villegas and 13-year-old Kristopher Villegas were arrested in connection with the attack.
CONSTRUCTION ON WESTSIDE PARKWAY: The Thomas Roads Improvement Project says there'll be yet another day of median work on Calloway Drive. From 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday both inside lanes will be closed between Gleneagles Drive and Marby Grange Way. As usual, motorists are advised to stay alert, and things should be back to normal by the evening rush.
CHP GETS NEW WHEELS: Bakersfield drivers might be noticing some heavy-duty Highway Patrol cars. This week, the Bakersfield division got the first four of its new Ford Explorers, dubbed Police Interceptor Utility Vehicles. The CHP says the SUVs will eventually replace their Crown Victorias statewide. They meet all the department's safety, performance and hauling requirements. Having any doubts? Well, officer Robert Rodriguez wants us to know that if you feel the need for speed, you can look for the new cruiser in your rear view mirror.
BAKERSFIELD FIRE DEPARTMENT OPEN HOUSE: This weekend you can see your Bakersfield Firefighters in action. On Saturday, the department is holding an open house at station one downtown. Battalion Chief Anthony Galagaza says visitors will see crews doing many of the difficult tasks they perform on a daily basis. You can also learn life-saving techniques like CPR, and there will be an educational obstacle course for kids. It all takes place Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at station one located at 21st and H Streets. Read the full story here.
WHAT'S TRENDING ON BAKERSFIELD.COM
In case you missed it, here are the photos that are trending across bakersfield.com.
DEPUTIES INVESTIGATING POSSIBLE ASSAULT OF GIRL, 13, ON SCHOOL BUS: Kern County sheriff's deputies are investigating a report of an assault against a 13-year-old Fruitvale Junior High School student on a school bus Tuesday. Sheriff's spokesman Ray Pruitt said the girl reported being assaulted by two or three male students while on the bus after school. Pruitt said that so far investigators have not determined whether sexual battery -- or any crime -- occurred. The incident was reported to deputies Wednesday by the school's principal, Pruitt said. The investigation is ongoing. Read the full story here.
KERN SITES RECOMMENDED FOR NATIONAL PARK: The U.S. Secretary of the Interior on Thursday sent a report to Congress recommending that it create a National Historical Park to commemorate the life and work of Cesar Chavez and the farmworker movement. Three Kern County sites would be included in the park if Congress chooses to adopt the report's findings. Thursday's recommendation would incorporate the following sites in Kern County -- the Filipino Community Hall in Delano, The Forty Acres in Delano, and the UFW's headquarters in Keene. Read the full story here.
SUSPECTS SCAM VICTIM OUT OF LARGE SUM OF MONEY, PROMISED HIM $80,000 IN RETURN: Police said an elderly man was taken in by a scam where two suspects asked him for a donation, telling him he'd receive $80,000 in return. The victim drove to a bank, withdrew a large amount of money and gave it to the suspects, who asked that he let them out and drive around the block so they could prove their trustworthiness. The victim agreed. The suspects were gone when he returned. Police said the victim was approached by the suspects Oct. 22 outside the Costco on Rosedale Highway. The suspect from that incident is described as black, 50 to 60 years old, 6 feet tall, 185 pounds, with a slim build, thin face and unshaven. He was last seen wearing a black hat, black jacket, white T-shirt and tan pants. Read the full story here.
SUSPECT WANTED FOR FRAUDULENT USE OF CREDIT CARD: Bakersfield police said a woman fraudulently used a credit card Aug. 30 to purchase items at the Kohl's at 9400 Rosedale Highway. The suspect is described as white, 40 to 50 years old, 5 feet 4 inches to 5 feet 6 inches tall, 150 to 160 pounds with short blonde hair. Anyone with information regarding this crime is asked to call Detective Craig at 326-3541. Read the full story here.
SCOTS' DEFENSE SHINES IN 4-SET WIN OVER RAMS: The Highland High volleyball team celebrated their victory over Garces High Thursday night. The Scots had six players with 11 or more digs. Highland's only SEYL loss this season was to Tehachapi, which is 6-0 in league play after beating East on Thursday. The Scots and Warriors square off again Tuesday in a match that will have league championship implications. Read the full story here.
THE TECH REPORT
SAMSUNG: Taiwanese officials this week handed down a $340,000 fine against Samsung for waging what they considered to be an unfair online campaign against HTC devices. Samsung allegedly hired an advertising firm that paid students and bloggers to write posts and comments online that praised Samsung's products but were critical of gadgets from rival HTC. The advertising firm, OpenTide Taiwan, was also fined just over $100,000. It reportedly provided regular reports about its activity to Samsung indicating the Korean phone maker knew about the campaign.
GOOGLE: Despite a long-ago vow to retain its well-regarded simple and clean web design, Google has started testing banner ads on its search results pages. A Google spokesman Thursday confirmed to Computerworld that it has begun testing the banner ads. He said the company is running a very limited, U.S.-only test, in which advertisers can include an image as part of the search ads that show in response to certain branded queries. The test, which appears to have started about a week ago, is said to include Southwest Airlines among a handful of advertisers.
THE HEALTH REPORT
COLOR CONTACTS: Color contact lenses may seem like the perfect addition to your Halloween costume, but wearing them may come at great risk to your eye health. On it's website, the Food and Drug Administration warns that people don't go to the ophthalmologist or optometrist to make sure that the contacts fit properly, which can lead to scratches on the cornea, or an ulcer on the cornea. There's also the risk of getting pink eye, and having decreased vision. It some cases, these problems could lead to blindness. Eye experts warn that the problem is not the contact lenses themselves, but the fact that people often use them without consulting an eye care professional, don't have a prescription and do not use the proper care.
TAINTED PET TREATS: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has yet to identify the source of the possibly tainted pet jerky treats that may have killed nearly 600 pets and sickened more than 3,600 of them since 2007. Most of the jerky treats implicated have been made in China, according to the FDA website. Investigators have tested more than 1,200 samples but haven't uncovered what could be causing the illnesses. The treats are sold as jerky tenders or strips and are made with chicken, duck, sweet potato, dried fruit and in combinations of these ingredients. Dozens of brands have been implicated. But because the source of contamination has not been identified, the FDA has yet to issue a recall.
THE SPORTS REPORT
STOCKDALE LOOKS TO STAY HOT AGAINST LIBERTY: Perhaps Mike Snow has it right: The Stockdale football coach has given up on trying to predict this high school football season. Up next for Stockdale (4-3, 2-0) is a visit to Liberty (6-1, 1-1) at 7:30 tonight. The game will be broadcast live on bakersfield.com beginning at 7 p.m. For Liberty, momentum has also been fickle. A 5-0 start was slowed by few road bumps. Then came a flat tire: A 45-10 loss to Bakersfield, followed by a 24-6 halftime deficit to Frontier last week before rallying. Read the full story here.
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