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Sunday, Mar 24 2013 11:00 PM

HITS & MISSES: Welcome AEG -- now, bring on the Stones

By The Bakersfield Californian

HIT: The city of Bakersfield has entered into a 10-year-deal to have sports and entertainment giant AEG Facilities manage Rabobank Arena. The city was swayed by the financial security AEG, which manages the Staples Center in Los Angeles, could offer.

What most appeals to us, and likely the community, is AEG's documented ability to attract performers and shows through its promotion division, the second largest in the country. SMG, which held a contract with the city for the past 13 years, does not have a promotions division. AEG, incidentally, stands for (Phil) Anschutz Entertainment Group, and the management contract includes running Rabobank's Theater and Convention Center, the San Joaquin Community Hospital Ice Center and the Bright House Networks Amphitheatre.

Here's hoping Rabobank's bright lights eventually shine on some of the entertainment world's biggest acts. By the way -- AEG just took over management of the 2013 Rolling Stones tour. Hmmm ...

HIT: Inconvenient, but needed, project

A $33 million Caltrans project is under way that will convert a busy section of Highway 99 through south Bakersfield from six lanes to eight lanes. The huge project will surely cause some headaches for motorists, as most highway construction does, but the end result will be a much needed improvement to a crucial stretch of highway.

First up will be a four-week-long closure of the southbound Panama Lane offramp. Pesky, for sure, but patience is a virtue. Suggestion: Drive just a bit out of your way to patronize businesses in the area that will almost surely feel an economic pinch from the closure.

MISS: Off with his shadow!

It seems no weather forecaster is immune to public scorn when predictions prove wrong. Even the most famous forecaster of all.

An Ohio prosecutor has singled out for abuse one Punxsutawney Phil, the famous groundhog who every Feb. 2 predicts winter's end based on presence or absence of his infallible shadow. Michael Gmoser, prosecuting attorney in Butler County, has filed papers charging Phil with inaccurate reporting. He is seeking the rodent death penalty.

"I awoke this morning to a snowstorm, low temperatures and howling wind," Gmoser said Thursday, after not getting the spring day he was hoping for. He was kidding. We think.

Miles Muzio, Lisa Green is on line one.

HIT: Taft High senior saves a life

Taft Union High School senior Sara Jewell sprung into action during a choir trip to Disneyland last week, giving CPR to a 1-year-old girl who had stopped breathing. The Taft Midway Driller reported that Jewell, who is editor of the school newspaper, The Gusher, handled the breathing while a nurse did chest compressions until the baby eventually began breathing on her own.

HIT: Clean highways ahead?

Kern Council of Governments voted unanimously last week to divert money from highway call boxes, which are fast becoming obsolete, and put it into roadside litter cleanup. Bakersfield isn't the only Kern County city that will benefit: Kern COG says its updated plan will be much more inclusive than it was in its original draft.

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