Local News

Wednesday, Jul 31 2013 07:25 AM

'First Look': First News for July 31

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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN

Lead stories from "First Look with Scott Cox's" Big 6:

PEREZ SUPPORTERS: The Kern County District Attorney's office has launched an investigation into reports that get-out-the-vote workers supporting Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez in the 16th Senate District race offered to take ballots from voters and deliver them. Assistant District Attorney Scott Spielman said the Kern County Elections Department forwarded a complaint to his office. California Elections Code allows only family members who live with a voter to deliver a ballot to the polls on his or her behalf. She says she was not aware of the allegations that some of her supporters violated the law. Perez lost the July 23 election to Hanford Republican Andy Vidak. Read the full story here.

FRACKING: A local legislator wants to show his colleagues what this "fracking" thing is all about. Today Rudy Salas is getting on a bus with fellow assembly members from around the state. Their destination is an oil production site where the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, takes place. That's where the shale is broken up underground to boost production. Salas says he wants the others to gain an understanding of the process and to show how vital it is to the economy.

CEQA CHALLENGE: A group calling itself Concerned Citizens of Bakersfield has filed notice that it intends to sue the city for violating the California Environmental Quality Act by not conducting an environmental review before adopting its new medical marijuana ordinance. The Bakersfield City Council approved the ordinance banning dispensaries within city limits on June 26, and it will go into effect Thursday. The lawsuit from Channel Law Group of Long Beach seeks the ordinance be "vacate(d) and set aside" and all related activity suspended "until respondent has taken such actions that may be necessary to bring the (ordinance) into compliance with CEQA." The group also wants the city to "prepare, circulate, and consider a legally adequate Initial Study, and if applicable, an Environmental Impact Report." Read the full story here.

POT BUST: A marijuana bust near Bakersfield yields more than $1 million in weed. On Tuesday, Kern County Sheriff's deputies searched a site near Rancheria Road and Poso Flat Road where they found more than 700 illegal plants growing. Forty-eight-year-old Arteaga Martinez of Ontario was arrested at the scene and booked on charges of cultivating marijuana. Authorities had the property under investigation before the raid. Read the full story here.

COACH SENTENCED: A former assistant baseball coach at Garces High School learns his fate for having an affair with a 17-year-old student. On Tuesday, Jon Sweet was sentenced to probation for his three-month affair with the teen. Sweet's attorney Kyle Humphrey says his client is glad he will not have to register as a sex offender. Sweet pleaded no contest earlier this month. Two other felonies were dropped in exchange for that plea. Read the full story here.

WESTSIDE PARKWAY: Bakersfield's Westside Parkway opening Friday may have broken the piggy bank when it comes to local roads projects. The Californian reports the City Council may need to borrow $270 million to finish several future projects. Those include the Centennial Corridor, linking the Parkway to Highway 99, a new 99 off-ramp at Hosking Road, and widening of Highway 178 from Morning Drive to the Mesa Marin complex. 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

D.A.'s OFFICE INVESTIGATING PEREZ SUPPORTERS FOR POSSIBLE VIOLATIONS: The Kern County District Attorney's office has launched an investigation into reports that get-out-the-vote workers supporting Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez in the 16th Senate District race offered to take ballots from voters and deliver them. Assistant District Attorney Scott Spielman said the Kern County Elections Department forwarded a complaint to his office. "We are in the midst of an investigation," he said. He said he could not talk about the details of the ongoing inquiry. California Elections Code allows only family members who live with a voter to deliver a ballot to the polls on his or her behalf. Perez said she was not aware of the allegations that some of her supporters violated the law. Read the full story here.

LOIS HENRY: THOSE FERAL CATS OUT THERE HAVE A SURPRISE COMING: Californian columnist Lois Henry writes, "Told you so!" About a month ago she said there was no need to freak out because the Kern County Animal Control shelter was changing how it handles feral cats. A month has gone by and things are progressing toward a much more humane and practical approach to this issue. The shelter takes in about 1,200 feral cats a year, and 100 percent were killed because ferals are considered unadoptable. But now the shelter is trying to take ferals only on certain days with an appointment to facilitate a trap, neuter and release program, and the early evidence is it's starting to work. Read the full story here.

FRESNO DIOCESE BEGINS PROBE OF GARCES FOOTBALL PROGRAM: The Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno has launched an investigation to determine the fate of Garces football coach Jim Maples, who was placed on paid administrative leave by the school on Monday. Central Section commissioner Jim Crichlow said the Diocese informed him Monday that it would form a panel to investigate possible violations within the football program, the nature of which Crichlow did not know. "They basically have not started," Crichlow said. "They're trying to put together a panel; nothing had been done when they contacted me (Monday). I know they want to get it started as soon as possible." Read the full story here.

CITY FACES ENVIRONMENTAL LAWSUIT OVER POT DISPENSARY BAN: A group calling itself Concerned Citizens of Bakersfield has filed notice that it intends to sue the city for violating the California Environmental Quality Act by not conducting an environmental review before adopting its new medical marijuana ordinance. City Attorney Ginny Gennaro said the Bakersfield City Council approved the ordinance banning dispensaries within city limits on June 26, and it will go into effect Thursday. Concerned Citizens' attorney Jamie Hall said it believes the ordinance violates CEQA because if the city's 24 dispensaries are closed in accordance with the ban, patients needing medical marijuana will impact the environment by going elsewhere. Read the full story here.

TEEN MISSING SINCE JULY 25 RETURNS HOME: A 16-year-old girl who had been missing has returned home. Bakersfield police reported Tuesday that Fatima Barraza, last seen July 25, was back home. Read the full story here.

 

THE ENERGY REPORT

OIL COMPANIES, RAILROADS RESISTING SAFETY CHANGES? The Associated Press reported Tuesday that the oil industry and U.S railroads are resisting the Obama administration's attempt to boost safety standards for the type of rail car involved in a fiery, fatal explosion in Canada, citing costs and technical challenges. Industry groups say it is impractical to retrofit tens of thousands of existing tank cars used to haul oil, even as they have adopted voluntary standards to ensure that cars ordered after October 2011 meet tough requirements recommended by federal transportation experts following a deadly ethanol train derailment and explosion in Illinois two years earlier. Read the full story here.

 

THE TECH REPORT

OTA TV: Only about 7 percent of American households use over-the-air antennas to watch TV. That's down 1 percent compared to 2010, according to the Consumer Electronics Association. About 83 percent of U.S. households rely on a cable or satellite subscription for home entertainment. The CEA is looking to push Congress to auction off broadcast spectrum for other uses, including mobile data and video.

JETMAN: A Swiss adventurer is making his first public flights in the United States this summer with his custom-built jet suit. Yves Rossy, also known as "Jetman," is making appearances at the Experimental Aircraft Association's AirVenture in Wisconsin in his carbon-Kevlar jetwing with four engines. Rossy says he's able to propel himself through the sky at upward of 190 miles per hour, controlling his jet suit with a throttle in his hand. He can go as high as 12,000 feet. He'll also fly at the Reno Air Races in September.

 

THE HEALTH REPORT

ASTHMA: As many as one in five youngsters with asthma may grow out of the respiratory condition as they age, new research indicates. Swedish researchers who followed more than 200 children with asthma found that at 19 years of age, 21 percent were in remission, meaning they had no wheeze or need for inhalers. Remission was more common among boys, they found. Even those allergic to animals or with severe asthma at a young age had an 18 percent shot at remission, according to the study. Doctors will rarely say a child has outgrown asthma, because there's always the possibility it will come back if someone is exposed to significant enough asthma triggers. Instead, they refer to someone who hasn't had symptoms in a long time as being in remission.

VA: When the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs opened its first VA clinic at City College of San Francisco in 2010, it was considered a model for the future, one that would provide healthcare services to veterans on a college campus. But nearly three years later, City College remains one of only four in the nation, according to The Center for Investigative Reporting. The on-campus clinic initiative has a $2.8 million annual budget but is still considered to be in the pilot stage. The initiative's national director said the agency does not have a plan for a systematic national rollout of services on campus because it is still gathering data on what works and what doesn't. He did not say how long that would take.

 

THE SPORTS REPORT

DIOCESE TO BEGIN PROBE OF GARCES FOOTBALL: The Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno has launched an investigation to determine the fate of Garces football coach Jim Maples, whom the school placed on paid administrative leave Monday. Central Section commissioner Jim Crichlow said the Diocese informed him Monday that it would form a panel to investigate possible violations within the football program, the nature of which Crichlow did not know. Read the full story here.

BLAZE POWER PAST NUTS: The Bakersfield Blaze hit three home runs to erase an early three-run deficit en route to an 8-6 victory over the Modesto Nuts in Tuesday night's California League baseball game at Sam Lynn Ballpark. Steve Selsky led off the fourth with a homer and one out later Kyle Waldrop went deep to cut the Nuts' lead to 3-2. They play again tonight. Read the full story here.

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