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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
Lead stories from "First Look with Scott Cox's" Big 6:
FUNERAL HOME HERO: We're learning more about an elderly Bakersfield man who pulled a gun inside a local funeral home. Eighty-three-year-old Kenneth West entered Basham Funeral Care on Niles street Tuesday afternoon and produced a gun. Turns out he's facing a terminal illness and told funeral director Kent Smith he was there to kill himself. West had been there a week earlier to plan his own final arrangements and was distraught over his situation. Smith talked West into ditching the idea of suicide and leaving the business where sheriff's deputies took him into custody. West was arrested and booked into jail on charges of false imprisonment, obstructing or delaying a peace officer and weapons violations. Read the full story here.
FIREFIGHTER HURT: A firefighter is injured while battling a house fire in southwest Bakersfield. About 8:30 a.m., city crews were called to an older two-story home on Garnsey Avenue and found flames coming from the attic. They got things under control, but one firefighter suffered smoke inhalation. The injuries were not life-threatening, and the cause of the fire is under investigation. Read the full story here.
CRASH AT KMC: A car crashed outside the emergency room at Kern Medical Center. Bakersfield Police were called to the hospital at about 4 p.m. Wednesday, and no injuries were reported. It looks like a Chevy Sedan ran up over a curb and hit a pillar, without actually going inside the ER. Police say they believe the 29-year old driver was involved in a hit-and-run accident on Mt. Vernon Avenue before the one at KMC. Read the full story here.
BEATING: A Bakersfield man is hospitalized after allegedly being severely beaten by a co-worker. At about 11 a.m. Tuesday, Bobby Fitts was reportedly working under the hood of a vehicle at a Berry Petroleum worksite in Derby Acres. That's when a fellow employee identified as 46-year-old Michael Atkison allegedly came up and hit him in the head with a 24-inch pipe wrench. Earlier in the day, Fitts had reportedly accused Atkison of stealing his cell phone. Fitts was airlifted to Kern Medical Center with a skull fracture, and was listed in critical condition. Kern County Sheriff's Deputies later arrested Atkison on assault charges and he's scheduled to make a court appearance Thursday. Read the full story here.
STABBING: A man is recovering after being stabbed near Bakersfield's federal courthouse. It happened at about 2 a.m. Wednesday in the 500 block of 19th Street. The victim is believed to be a transient, and authorities are looking for whoever stabbed him. If you have any information, you're asked to call Bakersfield Police. Read the full story here.
BURGLARY CASE: Authorities released photos of possible suspects in a southwest Bakersfield burglary. It happened at about 8 p.m. June 30 when the door of a business was pried open in the 5500 block of Business Park South. Thieves removed a number of items. On Wednesday, police released surveillance photos of four men, and they're trying to determine if these guys were involved in the burglary. If you know anything, you're asked to call the BPD.
WHAT'S TRENDING ON BAKERSFIELD.COM
In case you missed it, here are the stories that are trending across bakersfield.com
FUNERAL DIRECTOR DISARMS ELDERLY SUICIDAL CLIENT: Kenneth West said he just wanted to make life even easier for his family and funeral director Kent Smith when he walked into Smith's office at Basham Funeral Care Tuesday afternoon and announced he was there to kill himself. Visibly distraught, the 83-year-old battling terminal illness -- who had bonded with Smith a week earlier when making funeral arrangements for himself in advance so others wouldn't have to -- showed Smith the butt of a gun and said, "I'm gonna take my life with this." Smith wanted to catch the attention of one of his co-workers and get them to call 911. So he stalled West by telling him that if he committed suicide, he'd have to be taken to the county coroner's office, so he might as well just kill himself there. Smith escorted West toward the front of the building and the scheme worked -- he got another employee to call for help, and the sheriff's department came. Read the full story here.
POLICE, ATTORNEY SEARCH FOR ANSWERS IN BEATING OUTSIDE MARKETPLACE RESTAURANT: Questions abound as to who is responsible for sending a restaurant patron to the hospital with a fractured skull and eye socket following a fight at The Marketplace in southwest Bakersfield. The family of Michael Solis allege security guards at Que Pasa Mexican Cafe are responsible for his injuries. Bakersfield police say bouncers were involved in the incident, but the investigation is ongoing and the only arrest so far has been for public intoxication. Solis has been released from Mercy Hospital and traveled with his mother to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center Wednesday to discuss options in repairing his facial injuries. A manager at Que Pasa declined to comment Wednesday. Read the full story here.
OILFIELD WORKER ACCUSED OF ATTACKING CO-WORKER WITH PIPE WRENCH: An oilfield worker attacked and seriously injured a co-worker with a pipe wrench Tuesday, according to deputies. Forty-six-year-old Michael Atkinson was booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, deputies said. He was no longer listed as being in custody as of Wednesday afternoon. Deputies said they were called to the area of Highway 33 and Cadet Road 11 a.m. for a report of an assault. They found Bobby Fitts lying on the ground, semi-conscious, with a large injury to the back of his head. Fitts was taken to Kern Medical Center for treatment of moderate to major head injuries. Read the full story here.
LIKE BOOKENDS, FRIENDS UNTIL THE END: Californian staff writer Steve Levin tells the story of enduring friendship today. He writes that Margaret Ann "Dickie" Wilson was a well-known public health and school nurse in Kern County who died July 7 of cancer at age 81. A master gardner, inveterate cross-stitcher and eternal optimist with a sweet alto voice for choirs and three-hour phone conversations with friends, she was the single female in the Kern County Department of Health Services sent on days-long trips to the county's corners while the married nurses stayed home with families. With little family, her life was spun among friends in patterns as intricate as her embroidery. Read the full story here.
SIGN STOLEN FROM OILDALE TAVERN: Thieves tore a sign off the exterior of Oildale spot Lucky Tavern last week, and owner George Shepherd is offering a $100 reward for information leading to its return. The sign was stolen between 11 p.m. Aug. 28 and 9:30 a.m. Aug. 29. Shepherd said he believes a crowbar was used to pry the wooden sign off the brick exterior of the building. Anyone with information is asked to call Shepherd at 836-1975 or Secret Witness at 322-4040. Read the full story here.
THE ENERGY REPORT
DOES FRACKING RAISE HOUSEHOLD INCOME: A story by Bloomberg raises the question: Does fracking raise household incomes? An energy industry-backed report says yes. Bloomberg reported Wednesday that fracking lowers energy costs per family, freeing up more than $1,200 per year, and by creating 2.1 million jobs. Much of the increases in household income are due to the lowering of natural gas prices. The report was released Wednesday from IHS CERA. Read the full story here.
THE TECH REPORT
SMARTWATCHES: Samsung and Qualcomm made emphatic plays for consumers' wrists Wednesday, with snazzy smartwatches. Sony's SmartWatch 2 is due this month, and Apple and Google are likely to follow. Samsung's device can make calls, show email alerts, respond to voice commands, run apps and even take pictures. It has a touchscreen and connects with some Samsung devices. It rolls out in the U.S. in October. Samsung has not said how much it would cost. The Toq is Qualcomm's Android entry into the market and features a touchscreen and displays incoming calls, messages and other alerts. The device's battery is capable of lasting for days, and a special version of the Toq can connect wireless with stereo headphones that can be used to listen to music. No price has been given on either device, which both launch later this year.
KODAK: The bankruptcy cloud that hung over Kodak for the last couple of years has finally lifted. Eastman Kodak announced this week that it has completely emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy as a leaner, reorganized company. Instead of peddling its once-popular film and cameras, Kodak will now focus on digital imaging for businesses. Kodak CEO Antonio Perez said in a statement that the company will serve imaging for business markets -- including packaging, functional printing, graphic communications and other professional services.
THE HEALTH REPORT
BINGE DRINKING: Binge drinking is not just a guy thing, women do it too, and not only young women binge drink, a U.S. health official says. Dr. Bob Brewer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says binge drinking is men drinking five or more alcoholic drinks within a short period of time or women drinking four or more drinks within a short period of time. On average U.S. women who binge drink have six drinks at a time and might binge three times in a month. While 18-34 is the age group with the most binge drinkers, those age 65 and older is the age group that binge drinks most often.
INTERNET ADDICTION: If the Internet is ruining your life and yet you still can't pry yourself away from it, you might be a candidate for admission to Bradley Regional Medical Center. Next week the Pennsylvania medical facility opens an in-patient treatment and recovery program for people with Internet addiction. The "digital detox" program at the acute care hospital's Behavioral Health Services unit involves a 10-day stay within a secured and locked unit. Patients will be cut off from Internet use for days and will be treated by a multidisciplinary team that includes psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, nurses and social workers.
THE SPORTS REPORT
CONDORS SIGN THREE: The Bakersfield Condors announced the signing of three players on Wednesday -- brothers Scott and Blair Macaulay and goaltender Paul Karpowich. Scott Macaulay, a 22-year old defenseman, joined the Condors late last season, playing in four games and scoring his first goal in the final regular-season game. "He's a puck-moving defenseman, right shot, who can hopefully play some power play for us over time," Condors coach Troy Mann said. "We want to have strong depth on the back end and he is certainly a kid who can add to that." Read the full story here.
CSUB MEN'S BASKETBALL SEASON OPENS NOV. 8: Cal State Bakersfield opens its men's basketball season at Washington State on Nov. 8, one of two Pac-12 opponents on the Roadrunners' schedule. But the biggest change from past Division I seasons is a new conference. The Roadrunners have joined the Western Athletic Conference and will compete in the March 13-15 WAC Tournament in Las Vegas that will determine the WAC's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. Read the full story here.
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