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Sunday, Nov 18 2012 11:00 PM

HITS & MISSES: 100 percent of the vote will be no simple task

By The Bakersfield Californian

MISS: So much for decisive decision-making. The Bakersfield City Council approved a measure last week allowing residents in an area south of 24th Street to make their streets into cul-de-sacs where they currently intersect with 24th. As anyone following developments related to 24th Street knows, tensions between neighbors have run high ever since discussions started on how to improve the congested roadway and its adjoining streets. No decision has been made yet on exactly how to widen 24th Street. But while it appeared the City Council was straightforward about the cul-de-sacs, its approval came with a hitch. Residents of each street must unanimously agree to the conversion. So far, it seems that residents in that neighborhood agree on very little. Unanimous approval on anything seems unlikely there. Sometimes government just needs to weigh the arguments, then do what seems best.

MISS: Hostess with the leastest

The makers of beloved treats like Ding Dongs, Wonder Bread and Twinkies moved to liquidate last week after workers refused to end a strike over wage and benefit cuts. The company was troubled long before, seeking bankruptcy protection twice in the past few years. Unfortunately, that means the loss of jobs for its 18,500 workers, including many in California. The company's struggle was blamed on American's shifting tastes. More and more consumers are shunning processed sweets and opting for healthier choices. But Twinkies lovers, take heart. Experts expect the most popular brands will be bought by other companies and allowed to live on.

HIT: State's debt shrinks

Big cuts, an improving economy and approval of new taxes resulted in some of the most positive news out of Sacramento in a while last week. The projected deficit at the end of next fiscal year now stands at $1.6 billion compared with the old projection of $16 billion. Current estimates project the state could even have a surplus by 2014, but that's only if cuts already in place remain. If Facebook stock would only take off, we'd get there a lot sooner. But it's important to remember that these numbers can change quickly.

HIT: Tough job; somebody's got to do it

The California Living Museum's newest residents have an interesting mandate: breed, breed and breed. Three bighorn sheep -- a male and two females -- are at CALM on loan from zoos in Los Angeles and San Diego as part of a program to increase the genetic diversity among the bighorn population. The babies will eventually become their own herd at CALM and the adults will go to other zoos.

HIT: That's a smart kid

Kudos to local sophomore Alap Sahoo who, at 14, has earned a perfect score on the SAT exam, which is usually taken by high school juniors and seniors. He's one of just 360 students out of 1.6 million nationwide who achieved the highest possible score. He didn't take any prep classes and was even feeling a tad under the weather the day he took the test.

Intelligence runs in the Sahoo family. Earlier this year, Alap's 8-year-old brother won first place in a national math contest. But that's not to say it all came easily. "I really, really practiced," Alap said. And it clearly paid off.

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