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Sunday, Sep 16 2012 11:00 PM

HITS & MISSES: Not enough parents getting their kids shots

By The Bakersfield Californian

MISS: An analysis by The Associated Press has found the percentage of children in private school in California who haven't had all their vaccinations is twice that of those in public schools. That's a troubling trend when you consider the re-emergence of illnesses like whooping cough, which are preventable with vaccines. Sadly, the trend continues, with a 10 percent jump in the number of students last year who entered private school without their recommended immunizations. Meanwhile, the opt-out rate in public schools held steady for the first time in nearly a decade. Experts say 90 percent of the population must be vaccinated to keep certain diseases and infections at bay.

HIT: New ball fields in northwest

Kudos to the North of the River Recreation and Park District for keeping Polo Community Park fenced off long enough to actually let the grass grow in. The lush sports fields can now be enjoyed by local football, soccer, baseball and softball teams. The district had fenced off the fields at the new park to allow grass to properly seed and grow in time for the park's opening. The park officially opened in late August. It's the largest and newest park in the NOR system.

HIT: Recycling rollout coming sooner

Bakersfield city staff announced an enhanced rollout of its citywide blue bin recycling program last week. Instead of taking three years to move all residential customers to recycling, it will now take two. Nearly 20 percent of the city's homes will have their bins next month. After lagging behind other areas of the state in recycling, Bakersfield has emerged a leader in implementing recycling. It led the way on transforming a voluntary curbside recycling program into part of the regular trash service for all customers. The county is now following its lead in the metro Bakersfield area. The city has also started a food scrap recycling program in 50 local schools.

MISS: Animals on the loose

A family dog was left dead and a neighbor bitten last week by two pit bulls that escaped their owners' home through an open front door. Even worse, the dogs didn't have up-to-date vaccinations. The dogs' owners, who have an electric fence around their backyard to contain their pets, were hosting visitors who inadvertently let the dogs out. The story illustrates the dangers posed by loose pets in Bakersfield, a situation that's on the rise. Last year, Bakersfield had 720 dog-bite incidents, 100 more than just three years ago. With the weather cooling off and school having started, more people will be walking their neighborhoods.

HIT: Heroic acts by prison guards

Five local prison employees were honored for heroic actions on the job, a reminder of the danger correctional officers face in their daily work in and outside the prison walls. Wasco State Prison Correctional Officer Armando Vera and another officer were recognized for stopping to help a civilian trapped in a vehicle that had plunged into a canal while they were transporting prison inmates. Kern Valley State Prison Correctional Sgt. Ron Crother and Correctional Officers Gary Legaspi and Tu Nguyen each were honored for stopping an inmate from strangling his cellmate, an incident that resulted in significant injuries to Crother.

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