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Sunday, May 19 2013 11:00 PM

HITS & MISSES: Local doctors report findings on 'Spice Gold'

By The Bakersfield Californian

HIT: The work of two Bakersfield physicians should help increase awareness in the wider medical community of a troubling, and possibly unrealized, practice that threatens pregnant women and their unborn children: the use of legal but potentially dangerous drugs.

At a meeting of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in New Orleans, Drs. Cindy S. Lee and Sally Nalesnik highlighted the case of a local woman whose use of an herbal incense called "Spice Gold" may have resulted in eclampsia, a potentially life-threatening seizure that affects pregnant women. Spice Gold is often smoked for its marijuana-like high.

Their presentation underscores what has long been a concern among health professionals: Many unregulated drugs are sold over the counter, marketed as safe, or not as drugs at all, but may carry serious health threats. Most users of these substances have no idea of their potential dangers and believe they are purchasing safe products.

HIT: Appealing those sanctions

Bakersfield College President Sonya Christian now says the college is considering appealing the sanctions imposed by the California Community College Athletic Association that, among other things, vacated two seasons' worth of Renegade football victories and last fall's state junior college championship.

Our position when the sanctions were announced was that if they were not in line with the infractions, BC should appeal. We did not like Christian vanishing after reading a prepared statement and making herself unavailable to answer questions. If she hadn't chosen that tactic, maybe this information could have been offered on Tuesday and prevented animosity toward BC administrators.

HIT: We would all like to do this

Anyone who has ever had his fill of rude cellphone users can identify with this: National Review columnist Kevin Williamson settled an encounter with an obnoxious theater patron by snatching away her phone and tossing it across a New York theater. Williamson was attending the play "Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812," but his enjoyment was being hindered by a woman sitting next to him who apparently was not the least bit concerned that her cellphone conversation might be annoying to other patrons.

When Williamson and his date asked her to turn off the phone, "she suggested that I should mind my own business," he wrote. Williamson then did what we've probably all wanted to do at one time or another: the snatch and toss. OK, so that was not the proper thing to do, Mr. Williamson, and we urge you not to handle such a situation in a similar manner should it arise again. Wink, wink.

HIT: Mervyns' comeback (sort of)

One of Bakersfield's most prominently empty retail spaces will soon be occupied. The long-vacant former Mervyns building on California Avenue is getting its first tenant in nearly five years: a crafts store. Hobby Lobby has signed a lease to occupy about 55,000 square feet on the southern portion of the building, or roughly half its floor space. It's not full tenancy, but it's a start.

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