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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
Lead stories from "First Look with Scott Cox's" Big 6:
VIDAK WINS: Andy Vidak is headed to Sacramento as the 16th district state senator. His opponent in Tuesday's election, Leticia Perez, conceded to Vidak Wednesday afternoon. In a statement, Perez said the voters have spoken, and she thanked the thousands cast their votes for her. Perez added that she looks forward to Vidak delivering on his promises to "create jobs, improve the economy and deliver fresh, reliable water to our farms and families." Read the full story here.
VALLEY FEVER: A local congressman is leading a national fight against valley fever. House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy hopes the Valley Fever Task Force launched this week will bring awareness to the fight against the airborne disease common to the San Joaquin Valley and parts of the southwestern U.S. McCarthy says the 13-member task force will work with community organizations and the medical community to educate the public and look for advancements in prevention and treatment. Read the full story here.
POSITIVE ID MADE: A positive ID has been made on a body found in Wofford Heights. Twenty-two-year old Brandi Tanner went missing from her home two weeks ago. A body found Sunday about four blocks away from Tanner's place is that of Tanner. The coroner's office identified the mother of two through dental records. Her cause of death is still pending. Read the full story here.
BC SANCTIONS: Bakersfield College has lost its latest attempt to remove severe penalties against its football program. Officials got the word last Friday through an e-mail from the California Community College Athletics Association that the sanctions will stand. At the root of sanctions are forms of assistance given to players through a booster club. The second appeal was filed July 9, and the school has until early next month to submit the next one. Read the full story here.
POT SHOP KILLINGS: The female suspect in a double homicide and armed robbery in south Bakersfield has been identified. Police are looking for 16-year old Miracle Jackson in connection with the July 17 incident at a medical marijuana co-op on Chester Avenue where two people were shot to death. Thirty-two-year-old Aaron Burris has already been identified as a second suspect. Anyone with information about either suspect is asked to contact the police department's Secret Witness Line at 322-4040. Read the full story here.
CSUB LANGUAGE PROGRAM: Cal State Bakersfield faculty and students worried about the future of the university's Department of Modern Languages and Literatures held a small campus protest Wednesday in support of the program. About a dozen people, including instructors and current and former students, put up posters and marched with signs at Dorothy Donahoe Hall over concern that CSUB will dismantle the department. The university says the group's fears are unfounded, but Interim Chairman Anthony Nuno admitted that several language professors who have retired have not been replaced. Nuno is part of a committee formed in March to call attention to the department's attrition rate. In May it sent University President Horace Mitchell a letter outlining its concerns and making the case for preserving the department. The president has yet to respond to the letter. 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
PEREZ CONCEDES 16th STATE SENATE DISTRICT RACE TO VIDAK: Republicans were rejoicing and Democrats were talking re-match Wednesday after late vote counting gave Andy Vidak a clear claim on the 16th Senate District seat. Democratic opponent and Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez conceded the race Wednesday afternoon. "This campaign is over," she said in a statement. "Andy has earned the right to represent us in Sacramento and I look forward to him delivering on his promises to create jobs, improve our economy and deliver fresh, reliable water to our farms and families. It's time for each of us to get to work." A Californian analysis showed Perez would have needed to claim more than 90 percent of the 6,523 remaining votes in Kern and Fresno counties to win. Both sides saw the writing on the wall. VIdak said: "It was a spirited campaign and I look forward to working with Supervisor Perez along with every other elected official in the district. We all have to set aside our differences and work together to make this valley a better and safer place to live." Read the full story here.
SECOND POT SHOP KILLING SUSPECT IDENTIFIED: The female suspect in the July 17 double homicide and armed robbery of a Chester Avenue medical marijuana collective was identified Wednesday by Bakersfield police as 16-year-old Miracle Jackson. Thirty-two-year-old Aaron Patrick Burris has already been identified as a second suspect. Anyone with information about either suspect is asked to contact the police department's Secret Witness Line at 322-4040. Read the full story here.
CORONER IDENTIFIES WOFFORD HEIGHTS BODY AS THAT OF MISSING WOMAN: The Kern County coroner's office says the body found Sunday in Wofford Heights has been identified as 22-year-old Brandi Tanner. The coroner's office identified Tanner through dental records. Her cause of death is still pending. Tanner was last seen July 8. Read the full story here.
VINCE GILL BOWS DOWN TO BUCK AND MERLE: Californian Eye Street Editor Jennifer Self writes about a tribute to Bakersfield and its musicians. She writes: Bakersfield doesn't see much of Vince Gill in the flesh, but his spirit took up permanent residence in the city the first time he heard a Buck Owens song. Later that musical kinship would extend to Merle Haggard, who, like Owens, was a star practitioner of the Bakersfield Sound. Gill's "Bakersfield," a collaboration with steel-guitar virtuoso Paul Franklin, hits stores Tuesday. It's a 10-song homage to Owens and Haggard. Read the full story here.
SUSPECT USED STOLEN CREDIT CARD TO MAKE CONVENIENCE STORE PURCHASES: Bakersfield Police say that a suspect entered the Gill Market at 390 Bernard St. on several occasions on May 19 and made purchases using a stolen credit card. The suspect is described as a Hispanic woman between 40 to 50 years old, 130 pounds, with long black hair in a pony tail and wearing glasses, a white T-shirt and black shorts. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective John Blunt at 326-3907. Read the full story here.
THE ENERGY REPORT
HOUSE GOP MEMBERS SLAM EPA ON FRACKING INVESTIGATIONS: During Congressional hearings Wednesday, Republicans blasted the Environmental Protection Agency for abandoning investigations into groundwater contamination caused by hydraulic fracturing -- or fracking. Platts Oil and Gas reported that Republican members of a joint subcommittee were upset that the EPA investigations humiliated companies involved in fracking, and that science behind the investigations was shoddy. The EPA was investigating a link between groundwater contamination and fracking in gas and oil regions of Texas, Wyoming and Pennsylvania. The agency, however, retreated from those investigations and has been heavily criticized by Republican members.
THE TECH REPORT
CHROMECAST: Google just revealed a tiny HDMI dongle that connects to your plain old, non-smart TV, letting you send YouTube videos, Netflix movies, Pandora music and other content from the Internet to the television, all controlled by a phone, tablet or laptop. You use your phone or other gadget to tell content providers what to play on the node, called Chromecast. It's not just limited to Android, either -- it'll works with the iPhone YouTube app, and via the Chrome Web browser.
AD-SKIPPING: A federal appeals court on Wednesday struck down Fox's challenge of Dish Network's commercial-skipping service. Fox has tried to halt Dish' Networks Hopper service, which allows users to record shows and automatically remove commercials when they view the programs later, saying the service violates Fox's copyright laws. But the 9th Circuit court of appeals agreed with a lower court's rejection of Fox's request for a preliminary injunction, saying that it's ok because consumers were making the copies of Fox's original programs, the recordings and skipping of commercials were legal under "fair use" doctrine that protects that consumer activity. Analysts say cable, satellite and telecom firms providing television services might be encouraged by the court's decision to expand into similar services.
THE HEALTH REPORT
MEDICAL COSTS : A recent survey showed that about one in six U.S. doctors believe they bear some responsibility for holding down healthcare costs, they think the burden falls more heavily on trial lawyers, health insurers, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, medical device makers and even patients. The survey by Mayo Clinic researchers found that only 36 percent of the responding physicians thought practicing physicians had a major responsibility to reduce healthcare costs. By contrast, 52 percent said patients bear a major responsibility. The biggest blame fell on trial lawyers, whom 60 percent of physicians said had a major responsibility to reduce costs, and health insurance companies, at 59 percent.
COST OF CHILDBIRTH: You probably didn't hear much about it, but on Monday a duchess gave birth to a prince. The cost of her stay in a top London hospital? Around $7,600 which covered her deluxe suite, choice of wine, and satellite TV -- oh, and the production of the heir to the throne. By comparison, a standard American birth costs about $30,000. The United States out-does every other country in the world when it comes to birth costs because pregnancies are billed item-for-item in the United States, and each item is more costly than in other countries. Britain and most other developed countries instead charge one fee for childbirth. These items can include the likes of disinfectant -- $20 a pop, even though Walgreens sells a bottle of the same product for less than $3. Insurance usually picks up about two-thirds of the cost.
THE SPORTS REPORT
BLAZE WIN: Top Cincinnati Reds pitching prospect Robert Stephenson won his first game for the Bakersfield Blaze Wednesday night in an 11-2 win over the Modesto Nuts. In his second Blaze appearance, Stephenson struck out six, walked none and allowed six hits and one earned run in 6 and one-third innings. Read the full story here.
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