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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
Lead stories from "First Look with Scott Cox," Top Stories:
ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE OKS CREATION OF KMC HOSPITAL AUTHORITY: Kern County supervisors have started a process that could turn control of troubled Kern Medical Center over to an independent hospital authority, and on Wednesday got help from a state Assembly committee. Supervisors say the county hospital can operate more efficiently -- and profitably -- outside of the county bureaucracy. They voted unanimously Tuesday to take the first step in creating an authority and support passage of Assembly Bill 2546. The legislation would give supervisors the power to create the authority and disentangle themselves from the financial millstone KMC has become. Read the full story here.
AEROSPACE PIONEER, LONGTIME KERN RESIDENT BILLA DANA, DIES: The image of Tehachapi test pilot Bill Dana wearing a gleaming silver pressure suit, flying alone in a black X-15 rocket plane hurtling toward the edge of space, is practically the definition of the iconic phrase, The Right Stuff. Dana, one of the nation's most respected aerospace pioneers, and a distinguished research pilot and aeronautical engineer, died Tuesday after a long illness, according to a NASA spokesman. Dana was 83. In a span of nearly five decades, Dana logged more than 8,000 hours in some 60 aircraft ranging from helicopters and sailplanes to the hypersonic X-15 rocket plane. Read the full story here.
MORE THAN 18,000 LOCALS SIGNED UP FOR OBAMACARE: More than 18,000 Kern County residents signed up for health plans made possible by the Affordable Care Act during the first open enrollment period for those plans, according to new local data the state released Wednesday. Between Oct. 1, 2013, and March 31, 2014, 18,083 people got health insurance through the state's health insurance exchange, nearly 91 percent of whom were eligible for subsidies. Combined, the subsidized and unsubsidized buyers in Kern County comprise 1.3 percent of enrollees in California. 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.
WOMAN DIES FROM INJURIES SUFFERED IN ALLEGED DRUNKEN DRIVING CRASH: A Bakersfield woman injured in an alleged drunken driving crash last month died Monday as a result of her injuries. Joan Zeek's sedan was struck by a van April 23 at the intersection of Calloway Drive and Marby Grange Way. The driver of the van, 30-year-old Keith Majusiak, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence causing great bodily injury. Zeek, 79, died at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. Read the full story here.
HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER SAYS DISTRICT SHOULD GET TOUGHER ON TARDINESS: Scott Clare, a math teacher at Highland High School, is urging the Kern High School District to enact a district-wide policy to curb student tardiness -- which he calls "a serious classroom management problem" that he's seen escalate. Board President Chad Vegas said after the meeting that he'd need to look into the feasibility of a district-wide policy. He said the district's priority is to make educational programs more innovative. Clare said at his school, a student has to cut three courses before entering the first phase of KHSD's STEP system, a series of punitive measures in the district's Truancy Reduction Program. Read the full story here.
FATHER SEEKS TO WITHDRAW PLEA IN DEATH OF 10-WEEK-OLD SON: A father who pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter in the death of his 10-week-old is asking to withdraw from the deal. Kylor Lamotte Smith-Sims, 23, had been scheduled for sentencing Wednesday, but Judge Colette M. Humphrey instead postponed sentencing to June 5 to allow Smith-Sims' attorney to file a motion to withdraw the plea. Charges of first-degree murder and assault on a child younger than 8 years old resulting in death were dismissed under the plea deal. If the plea is withdrawn those charges would be reinstated and he would face 25 years to life if convicted at trial. Read the full story here.
THE TECH REPORT
DRONES BANNED FROM NATIONAL PARKS: If you're planning to enjoy this spring or summer at a national park, you'd better leave your drone at home, according to a CNN report. On Friday, Yosemite National Park in California turned heads when it announced that drones, the unmanned aircraft increasingly making their way into private hands, aren't welcome in the park And it's not just Yosemite. The buzzing aerial machines aren't welcome at any of the 58 national parks, the report said. The Code of Federal Regulations states that "delivering or retrieving a person or object by parachute, helicopter, or other airborne means, except in emergencies involving public safety or serious property loss, or pursuant to the terms and conditions of a permit" is illegal.
THE HEALTH REPORT
IMPROVING KIDS' HEALTH: Researchers at UC Davis have found that telling youngsters what they should eat is more effective in the fight against childhood obesity than telling them what they shouldn't consume. A nutrition program they developed reduced the percentage of overweight or obese children from 56 percent to 38 percent over the course of a single academic year. Four elementary schools in two California school districts participated in the study. The "Shaping Healthy Choices Program" is a curriculum that integrates classroom nutrition activities with physical activity and gardening. The researchers found that fourth-graders who participated in the nutrition program ate substantially more vegetables and lowered their body mass index.
THE SPORTS REPORT
THUNDER SOUNDS OFF AGAINST CONDORS: Turnovers and penalties proved to be a deadly combination for the Bakersfield Condors on Wednesday night as the Stockton Thunder took full advantage of those en route to a 6-2 victory at Stockton Arena. Read the full story here.