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Sunday, May 05 2013 11:00 PM

HITS & MISSES: Scholarships abound for BC's scholars

By The Bakersfield Californian

HIT: Graduation season is just around the corner, but the generosity of a community willing to help deserving students is already upon us. On Friday, the Bakersfield College Foundation handed out 415 scholarships totaling nearly $400,000 to BC students at the school's 57th annual Honor Reception.

The average award to each recipient of $800 is enough to pay for one year of fees at BC, and with college costs ever on the rise, even at the junior college level, every bit of financial assistance helps.

HIT: No bonuses for VA execs

The number of veterans' pending disability and compensation claims that have been unresolved for more than four months is at a staggering 600,000, according to the military publication Stars and Stripes. The average time to complete a claim is more than nine months.

Now, in a development that may strike many as ironic and appropriate, the executives who oversee the Veterans Benefits Administration will feel a little of the pain that many of those veterans feel. Those senior executives will not be receiving any performance bonuses for the current fiscal year because of continuing problems with the benefit claims backlog.

Would anyone be surprised if, all of a sudden, things started improving for veterans who've been waiting for their benefits?

HIT: Water parks are open

The hot weather is here and so are the most popular, and free, public attractions in the county. The spray parks are open! The Kern County spray parks in Lost Hills, Mojave and Casa Loma Park in Bakersfield opened last week, and the Bakersfield city spray parks will be open weekends through May 26, then daily through most of the summer. Those are at Beale, Greystone, Jastro, Jefferson, Martin Luther King Jr., Planz, Saunders and Wayside parks.

MISS: Nasty findings in ground turkey

Are you among those who have switched to ground turkey as a tasty alternative to ground beef? Sit down. A new investigation by Consumer Reports reveals that most ground turkey contains potentially harmful, antibiotic-resistant bacteria and fecal matter. They claim that feeding turkeys antibiotics may in fact make the meat more antibiotic-resistant.

The report says 90 percent of the ground turkey sampled contained bacteria and about half contained fecal material. As you might imagine, the National Turkey Federation has cried fowl. The association disputes the claims, pointing out that the claims were based on a small sampling and the prevalence of pathogens worthy of public health concern is very low.

HIT: Roadwork at a 40-year high

Road construction and improvements in Kern County are at a 40-year high, the Kern Council of Governments reports. Kern COG says a variety of projects, funded by a combination of local, state and federal dollars, are either recently completed, nearly completed or just beginning.

Most visible to drivers are the widening of Highway 99 from Highway 119 to the Wible Road crossing and the final phase of the Westside Parkway. Other major projects are on Highways 46 and 14. We look forward to the day the dust finally settles.

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