Local News

Wednesday, Jun 12 2013 07:23 AM

'First Look': First News for June 12

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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN

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

ROBBERIES: Bakersfield police are looking for a suspect in connection with two bank robberies and one attempted bank robbery during the past two weeks. The Secret Witness Program is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspect, who is wanted for an attempted robbery and two other robberies, on May 28 and again on Friday. The man is suspected in a May 28 attempted robbery at the Safe 1 Credit Union, 400 Oak St., and a robbery the same day at the Kern Schools Federal Credit Union, 4530 Ming Ave. He also is suspected in a second robbery Friday at the Kern Schools. Anyone with information on the case is urged to call the Bakersfield Police Department or the Secret Witness line at 322-4040. Read the full story here.

HEALTHY WORKPLACE: Thirteen Kern County employers are taking part in the National Healthy Worksite Program. It's The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention's initiative aimed at reducing chronic disease and building a healthier, more productive U.S. workforce. Some of the Kern employers selected as program participants include The Spaceship Company of Mojave, the City of Taft, Bakersfield Heart Hospital and Housing Authority of Kern County. Read the full story here.

FIRE: Arson is suspected in a fire that destroys a vacant home east Bakersfield. The call came in around 3 a.m. Tuesday from the 800 block of South Tulare Street. Fire crews found the two-story building totally engulfed, but they had it under control in about 30 minutes. No injuries were reported and damage is estimated at a quarter million dollars. Read the full story here.

SEX OFFENDER: A registered sex offender goes on the run in Bakersfield. The Kern County Sheriff's Office calls 31-year-old Isaac Alawdi a high risk offender. Alawdi is a convicted child molester who disabled his GPS tracking device last Thursday. His last known address was on Victor Street in northwest Bakersfield. Read the full story here.

FIREWORKS: Bakersfield College's Memorial Stadium will soon be filled with a sea of red, white and blue. A celebration called "I Love America" will be held there July 4. Producer Rick Moore tells 1180 KERN's Scott Cox that ILoveAmericaBakersfield.com has all the info you need to find out more about the huge event. The I Love America Liberty Festival will be held from 2 to 7 p.m. At 7:30 p.m. the I Love America Freedom Celebration will light up the sky with a fireworks display and includes marching bands and skydivers. Read the full story here.

CONTRACTOR ARRESTED: A Bakersfield defense contractor is arrested. Alejandro Villarreal was arrested Tuesday after a federal grand jury returned an indictment against him, charging him with 28 counts of wire fraud. According to the May 16 indictment, Villarreal was the president and manager of Oliver Supplies in Bakersfield. Over a two-year period, he allegedly substituted "similar" goods that were inferior or not made by government-approved suppliers, in 16 contracts that were awarded to his company. Villarreal charged the government over $250,000 on the contracts, and received about 224-thousand from the Department of Defense. He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count if he's found guilty. 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

SHERIFF'S OFFICE INVESTIGATING SUSPICIOUS DEATH: After a search that lasted much of Tuesday afternoon, the Kern County Sheriff's Office arrested a man on suspicion of homicide in connection with the discovery of a woman's body in a southeast Bakersfield garage. Twenty-year-old Eddie David Rivas of Bakersfield was taken into custody at about 3:50 p.m. at an apartment in the 3400 block of Edison Highway. Kern County sheriff's Lt. Todd Bishop Eddie Rivas is expected to face one felony count of first-degree murder. The incident in the 900 block of Vista Stree, began when deputies received a "suspicious circumstances" call from the southeast Bakersfield neighborhood at 9:33 a.m. Tuesday, according to Senior Deputy Victor Keesey. "When deputies arrived, they contacted the homeowner, who directed them to a detached garage behind the house," Keesey said. "There was a foul odor coming from the garage. ... when deputies went into the garage, they found the deceased in the garage." Read the full story here.

BAKERSFIELD DEFENSE CONTRACTOR ARRESTED: The U.S. Attorney's office announced that Bakersfield resident Alejandro Villarreal was arrested Tuesday after a federal grand jury returned an indictment against him, charging him with 28 counts of wire fraud. The May 16 indictment said Villarreal was the president and manager of Oliver Supplies in Bakersfield. Over a two-year period, he allegedly substituted "similar" goods that were inferior or not made by government-approved suppliers, in "approximately 16 contracts that were awarded to Oliver Supplies." According to the U.S. Attorney's office, Villarreal charged the government approximately $251,214 on these contracts, and received approximately $224,496 from the Department of Defense. Read the full story here.

13 LOCAL EMPLOYERS PICKED FOR NATIONAL WORKPLACE HEALTH PROGRAM: After a long wait, 13 Kern County employers large and small have been picked for a national worksite wellness program tied to health care reform. Kern is one of only eight counties in the nation that was selected for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Healthy Worksite Program, an initiative paid for by the Affordable Care Act's Prevention and Public Health Fund. The goal is to reduce chronic illnesses. Read the full story here.

MARINE'S SLAIN WIFE REMEMBERED AS CARING AND HUMBLE: Family and friends of Rubi Estefania Smith comforted each other Tuesday morning as they stood in front of the Fountain of Chimes at the Greenlawn Funeral Homes Cemetery in northeast Bakersfield. With tears running down their faces and dark sunglasses hiding their pain, about 50 people watched as Smith's mother and stepfather placed her ashes in a wall of the fountain. Smith, 21 was stabbed by her husband, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Esteban J. Smith, 23, in North Carolina. Her body was found at a motel on May 26 near Camp Lejeune, N.C., where Esteban was stationed, Texas police said. Esteban later went on a shooting rampage and was killed in west Texas. Read the full story here.

SCHOOL'S IN FOR SUMMER PROGRAM STUDENTS: Monday was the first day of operation for the Bakersfield City School District's Summer Learning Center program, a new initiative aimed at battling summer brain drain. At the end of the 2012-13 school year, all of the district's roughly 26,000 children in kindergarten through seventh grade were given a packet of homework and activities to complete over the summer. The finished packets are to be returned when school resumes in August. They can do the work at home, or they can drop in at their convenience at any one of 10 summer learning centers to get help from certified teachers, even if the kids don't speak English. Every site has at least one staff member who speaks Spanish. Read the full story here.

 

THE ENERGY REPORT

CRUDE PRICES CONTINUE TO FALL: With domestic crude stockpiles surging, the price for West Texas Intermediate futures (or light sweet crude) fell for the third consecutive day. The American Petroleum Institute estimates that U.S. gasoline inventories climbed by 1 million barrels. Prices for future delivery could fall further based when the U.S. Energy Information Agency releases its supply data report later this morning. Read the full story here.

 

THE TECH REPORT

COMCAST WIFI: Comcast has unveiled plans to build the largest Wi-Fi hot spot in the U.S. At a conference in Washington this week, Comcast said it has begun shipping residential broadband customers a new version of its wireless gateway that pulls double duty as a private Wi-Fi router and a public hotspot. Basically the gateway transmits two signals -- each functioning as a separate network. The family that owns the router can access the first network; the second is open to any Comcast broadband customer. Comcast subscribers can move between those public and private hotspots seamlessly. The company aims to install the gateways in its 20 million broadband customers' homes.

PRISM: Facebook joined Google Tuesday in calling on the U.S. government to allow the tech giants to provide their users more information about the national security data requests they receive. An attorney for Facebook urged the government to allow companies to publish the requests for users in order to provide what they call a complete picture of the government requests received. The companies have been under pressure since revelations last week about a secret data-gathering program at the National Security Agency. Facebook, Google and the Google-owned YouTube are among the companies involved in PRISM, a program that monitors online information. Google and Facebook have denied reports that they provide the government with unhindered access to its users' data, though both companies say they comply with valid legal requests.

 

THE HEALTH REPORT

WALGREENS: The nation's biggest pharmacy operator agreed on Tuesday to pay $80 million to resolve federal charges that it failed to properly control the sales of narcotic painkillers at some of its outlets. Officials at the Drug Enforcement Administration said that drugs including oxycodone that were dispensed by the facility owned by The Walgreen Company made their way to the black market. Under the agreement Walgreen committed to establish better internal controls. It acknowledged that practices at a distribution facility and some of its pharmacies did not meet standards.

HAND WASHING: Researchers at Michigan State hid out in bathrooms to document what people did. No, not that. The researchers were observing hand-washing practices. Of the almost 4,000 people observed, only 70 percent used soap, while 10 percent didn't wash their hands at all. The other 20 percent of people stopped at only wetting their hands. The Centers for Disease Control guidelines for hand-washing doesn't differentiate between warm and cold water, but they say you must use soap and wash for a good 20 seconds. The average time spent washing in this study? Six seconds. They also found that women were much more likely to use soap than men.

 

THE SPORTS REPORT

BHS FOOTBALL SCHEDULE: We've talked college sports, minor league baseball and hockey but let's talk about the No. 1 sport in town: high school football. Specifically: Bakersfield High. The Drillers released their finalized 2013 schedule and it's an interesting one, especially on Sept. 6 when they play host to Wasco. Yes The Tigers are coming to town, and Wasco may be riding a 14-game winning streak by then as well. BHS also features a home game against nationally ranked and defending state Division I champion Long Beach Poly on Sept. 20. The Drillers open the season on Aug. 29 at Westlake Village Oaks Christian. Yes football is right around the corner.

THE BLAZE FALL 9-3 TO VISALIA: Visiting Visalia turned the tables on the Blaze Tuesday night by blasting four home runs against Bakersfield pitching in a 9-3 rout at Sam Lynn Park. On Monday night, Bakersfield hit four home runs in a 13-7 rout over the Rawhide. The two teams continue their series tonight at Sam Lynn. Game time is 7:45 p.m.

 

AND CHECK OUT SCOTT IN 60:

 

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