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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
Lead stories from "First Look with Scott Cox's" Big 6:
SENTENCING: Sentencing for a Bakersfield man convicted for his role in a wild crime spree. Rene Gomez, 28, was sentenced Tuesday to two years in prison after pleading no contest in July to robbery and a count of hit and run was dismissed. Authorities say Gomez and Steven Lujan robbed the Freeway Express Market in Mettler on March 1 of more than 10,000. Lujan is charged with robbery, attempted murder and sexual battery and is being held on $880,000 bail. His next court hearing is scheduled for Sept. 19. Read the full story here.
TRUCK DRIVER'S DEATH A HOMICIDE: A man whose body was found west of Bakersfield died from multiple gunshot wounds. That's the finding of the Kern County Coroner in the case of 45-year-old Todd Chance. He was discovered around 9:30 a.m. Sunday on a dirt extension of Noriega Road east of Enos Lane. Sheriff's detectives are investigating it as a homicide. Chance's Ford Mustang was missing from the scene. It was found a short time later about 17 miles away, near the intersection of Tigerflower Drive and Wheatland Avenue. If you know anything about the incident you're asked to contact the Kern County Sheriff's Office. Read the full story here.
DRUG BUST: Officers with the Kern Narcotics Enforcement Team arrest two Bakersfield residents on suspicion of conspiracy and cultivating marijuana for sale. Authorities discovered about 200 pot plants and more than 60 pounds of processed marijuana inside and outside a house in the 4800 block of Olivia Street Monday. The house is close to Greenfield Junior High School. Sony Tith, 60, and his wife Chan Buethoenn, 53, were booked into the Kern County jail. Read the full story here.
PEDESTRIAN KILLED: A pedestrian is struck and killed by a pickup in central Bakersfield. It's a hit-and-run that happened around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday as a woman was walking in the roadway outside of a crosswalk in the 3100 block of Q Street. She died at the scene. The pickup drove away. It's described as a black raised single cab pickup with possible chrome or single stripe on the side and loud exhaust. Anyone with information is asked to call Bakersfield Police or Secret Witness at 322-4040. Read the full story here.
REWARD FOR INFORMATION: Rewards are offered after a series of sexual assaults in East Bakersfield. July first and August first, Virginia Avenue, July 18, Columbus Street, August 19, Quantico Avenue. The Secret Witness Program is putting up five thousand dollars each for information leading to charges filed against suspects in these assault cases. That's a total of $20,000 in reward money. Some of the perps may have also committed burglaries on Virginia, March 25 and May 14. If you know anything, you're urged to call Secret Witness at 322-4040. Read the full story here.
BAKERSFIELD DRIVERS: Good news for Bakersfield drivers -- you're apparently the nation's 56th-best drivers and the best in all of California. That's according to the Allstate Insurance Company's ninth annual survey that puts Bako drivers far ahead of motorists in LA or San Francisco. The survey analyzes cities from the U.S. Census Bureau's Annual Estimates of the Population for Incorporated Places over 50,000 and is produced to increase awareness of the importance of being tolerant and attentive behind the wheel.
WHAT'S TRENDING ON BAKERSFIELD.COM
In case you missed it, here are the stories that are trending across bakersfield.com.
TRUCK DRIVER'S DEATH A HOMICIDE: A truck driver found in a field northwest of Bakersfield Sunday morning died of multiple gunshot wound and his death has been ruled a homicide, according to a coroner's office news release. Todd Chance, 45, left his Bakersfield home Sunday and was found a couple hours later in a field 16 miles away, Kern County Sheriff's spokesman Ray Pruitt has said. Farmworkers found the body on Sunday at 9:30 a.m. off a dirt section of Noriega Road near Enos Lane just south of the Rio Bravo-Greeley Unified School District offices. Read the full story here.
MCCARTHY TARGETED IN IMMIGRATION AD WAR: Three nonprofit advocacy groups with nationwide memberships are waging an ad battle in Kern County media over immigration reform, with U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy in the middle. One TV spot for a Santa Barbara based nonprofit group, accuses the congressman of "talking about legalizing 11 million illegal aliens, making it easier for them to take jobs, too," and asks, " ... is that your idea of immigration reform?" On the other side, American Action Network, a center-right advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., has spent $65,000 on broadcast, digital and cable ads supporting McCarthy's stance on the issue. McCarthy did not respond for comment. Read the full story here.
CAN KERN RESIDENTS SPOT THE VANDERBERG ROCKET LAUNCH?: Will the scheduled Wednesday morning rocket launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base be visible from Kern County? Maybe, said a spokeswoman at the base near Lompoc. And maybe not. Visibility of rocket and missile launches depends on weather, lighting and other factors, said Staff Sgt. Erica Picariello, of Vandenberg's public affairs office. Blast off of the 235-foot Delta IV Heavy rocket could come as early as 10:52 a.m. Read the full story here.
AS COURTROOMS CLOSE SOME WORKERS GET RAISES: California's judicial branch has taken hit after financial hit from the state budget. Californian columnists Lois Henry writes that Kern County has closed down one of Kern's outlying courts entirely and is preparing to shut another on all but a single day of the week. California's Chief Justice recently approved 3.5 percent raises for hundreds of Administrative Office of the Courts, appellate and Supreme Court employees. Kern County Superior Court Judge David Lampe said they have lost 2,500 jobs and had to close 80 courtrooms throughout the state. Read the full story here.
200 POT PLANTS, MARIJUANA FOUND AT HOME NEAR SCHOOL : Officers with the Kern Narcotics Enforcement Team arrested two Bakersfield residents Monday on suspicion of conspiracy and cultivating marijuana for sale after finding about 200 pot plants inside and outside the residence, plus more than 60 pounds of processed marijuana. The residence, in the 4800 block of Olivia Street, is close to Greenfield Junior High School. Arrested were 60-year-old Sony Tith and his wife 53-year-old Chan Bunthoenn. They were booked into the Kern County Jail. Read the full story here.
THE ENERGY REPORT
OIL PRICES SURGE ON MID-EAST FEARS: Saber rattling in the Middle East sent oil futures prices soaring on Tuesday -- or that's at least what the analysts say. The Washington Post reported The growing likelihood of a U.S.-led military response to reports of Syrian use of chemical weapons rattled markets. The price of the U.S. benchmark crude oil, West Texas Intermediate, closed at $109.01 a barrel for October delivery, up $3.09 from the day before. Overnight, oil prices were trading at $112 per barrel in international markets.
THE TECH REPORT
APPLE TRADE-IN: You soon will be able to walk into an Apple Store, fork over your old iPhone and walk out with some extra cash in your pocket. ABC News has confirmed Apple will launch a trade-in program for iPhones next month. Apple declined to comment on the program. According to ABC News' sources, customers will be able to bring in their old iPhone into the store and then an Apple store employee will provide a quote for the phone based on the model and the condition. If the customer decides to go through with the trade-in, they will be able to back up and wipe the phone at the store and then will be given an Apple gift card, which they can use to buy a new phone or other products at the store.
AD SALES: Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Cox Communications have convinced Dish Network to let their N-C-C partnership sell local ads targeting its satellite TV subscribers. NCC, which already represents DirecTV, AT&T U-verse TV and Verizon FiOS TV, said Tuesday that it will be able to offer marketers later this year the ability to target ads to 3 million Dish homes by storing ads on subscribers' DVRs.
THE HEALTH REPORT
SCHOOL LUNCHES: After just one year, some schools around the country are dropping out of the healthier new federal lunch program, complaining that so many students turned up their noses at meals packed with whole grains, fruits and vegetables that the cafeterias were losing money. Federal officials say they don't have exact numbers but have seen isolated reports of schools cutting ties with the $11 billion National School Lunch Program, which reimburses schools for meals served and gives them access to lower-priced food. Districts that rejected the program say the reimbursement was not enough to offset losses from students who began avoiding the lunch line and bringing food from home or, in some cases, going hungry.
BRAIN CONTROL: Brain researchers say one person has remotely triggered another person's movement, a flicking finger, through a signal sent to him by thought. University of Washington researcher Rajesh Rao sent the first human-to-human finger-flicking brain signal to his colleague, according to a university announcement. Rao's thought was transferred across the campus, via the Internet and triggered the movement in his colleague who described it as feeling like an involuntary twitch. Researchers at Duke University and Harvard have previously demonstrated the transfer of brain signals between rats, and from a person to a rat.
THE SPORTS REPORT
BLAZE FALLS TO PORTS: Josh Bowman pitched a five-hitter with seven strikeouts and no walks to lead the Stockton Ports to a 3-1 victory over the Blaze in a California League baseball game at Sam Lynn Ballpark. Bruce Maxwell had two hits, including a solo home run in the sixth inning, for the Ports (67-67). Juan Silverio hit a solo homer in the first inning for Bakersfield, and Kyle Waldrop added two hits. Former Liberty High and Bakersfield College standout Brent Peterson was promoted to the Blaze from Class-A Dayton (Ohio). He'll play second base.
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