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Sunday, Aug 04 2013 11:00 PM

HITS & MISSES: Public integrity specialist is a welcome add

By The Bakersfield Californian

HIT: It should come as no shock that following the 16th Senate District race, someone accused someone else of not playing by the rules.

In this case it's the campaign of Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez, whose supporters may or may not have offered to bring voters' completed ballots to the elections office for them, in violation of state law.

Kern County District Attorney Lisa Green aims to find out. Using funding for "public integrity" investigations, Green's office will take a look at the charges -- and DA's investigators who already have a lot on their plates won't be diverted from other cases. Green's "public integrity" investigator will examine this and other complaints, including whether government agencies or special districts fail to hold open meetings as required by state law, instances of alleged public resource misuse, and possible voter fraud.

Why should burglars, drug dealers and gang members get all of the DA's attention? Green should be applauded for finding the resources to branch out in this important direction.

HIT: App displays restaurant reports

Viewing public comments and ratings for restaurants through sites like Yelp and Google is helpful. So, we hope, is this: A new app, "Safe Diner," available through iTunes and Google Play, places information about restaurants' inspection grades in the palm of your hands.

Developed by AT&T, the app includes reports for more than 1,800 restaurants in Kern County. Users can also send complaints to restaurants with accompanying photos and videos. The Kern County Public Health Department plans to add new features, such as how to safely enjoy restaurant leftovers.

HIT: Enrolled everywhere, no commute

Starting in this fall quarter, students at California State University schools will no longer be limited to enrolling in courses exclusively on their own campuses.

As part of the new Intrasystem Concurrent Enrollment program, (almost) all 23 campuses are at their disposal. A student at Cal State Bakersfield will be able to enroll in a class at Cal Poly Pomona or any other campus on the quarter system. If a class fills up too quickly here, students will have the opportunity to take it from a different campus without the commute.

Cal State Bakersfield will offer two concurrent enrollment online courses for starters: Introduction to Sociology and Our Oceans, which is a geology course. As of now, 36 online courses are available for fall.

MISS: 'Fast drinking' popular in France

Binge drinking isn't just an American problem. The French, loathe to adopt English words, have coined the term "beuverie express" -- which literally translates to "fast drinking" -- to describe massive, rapid consumption of alcohol, usually as part of a group.

The need arises from the frighteningly vast popularity of binge drinking among the French. According to a report from the French Society for the Study of Alcohol, alcohol-related hospital admissions have risen by 30 percent in just three years. And short-term admissions for binge drinking or, ahem, fast drinking, are up by a whopping 80 percent.

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