Lead stories from "First Look with Scott Cox's" Big 6:
CONDEMNED INMATE DIES: California prison officials say a death row inmate convicted of beating a 90-year-old Bakersfield woman to death with a baseball bat has died from liver disease. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said 44-year-old Timothy Rodriguez died June 6 at the hospital at Corcoran State Prison. He was sentenced to death in 2010 for killing Thelma Long in Bakersfield. Read the full story here.
MORTGAGE FRAUD: A Bakersfield couple pleads guilty in a mortgage fraud scheme that prosecutors say cost lenders more that 6 million dollars in losses. Thirty-seven-year-old Eric Hernandez and 32-year-old Monica Hernandez both pleaded guilty in federal court yesterday (mon) to conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud and bank fraud. They're scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 4th when they face a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, a 1 million dollar fine and five years of supervised release. The Hernandezes were indicted in June 2010 in what prosecutors said was a scheme to provide bogus information -- false pay stubs, letters from tax accountants and bank statements -- to support home loan and refinance applications. Read the full story here.
RAPE CASE: The Bakersfield man accused of raping his young daughter and then leaving her to die in a field in July 2011 has been found competent to stand trial. After ruling Monday that Ray Coriell is fit for trial, the Kern County Superior Court judge in the case scheduled a readiness hearing for Oct. 18 and a jury trial to start Oct. 28. Coriell was arrested July 28, 2011, capping a two-day search in which residents of his central Bakersfield neighborhood believed a prowler had abducted Coriell's then 7-year-old daughter. The girl was taken from her home and found hours later nine miles away in east Bakersfield. Read the full story here.
SHOOTING REVIEW: The Kern County Sheriff's deputy who fatally shot a man in Oildale acted within department policy. That was the finding of a review board Monday in the case of Deputy Ryan Pollack. The sheriff's office says Pollack used force consistent with department guidelines when he shot 33-year old Caleb Blackburn last month. Blackburn was suspected of having just stabbed a man repeatedly in the 100 block of Woodrow Avenue. The stabbed man was taken to a local hospital with major injuries. Read the full story here.
EVACUATION: An accidental release of anhydrous ammonia forces the evacuation of about 50 Buttonwillow residents. It happened shortly after noon Monday. Kern County Fire says it was alerted to the incident when an employee of The Buttonwillow Warehouse Co. walked into the fire station from three blocks away to report the spill around 12:30 p.m. A county hazardous materials crew helped control the leak, which occurred as the caustic chemical was being moved from a 30,000 gallon holding tank to a 1,000 gallon holding tank. The evacuated area was identified as east of Miller Avenue, south of Cotton Avenue, west of Meadow Street and north of Highway 58. No injuries were reported, and the evacuation has been lifted. Read the full story here.
NEW RECTOR: There's a new rector at a popular local high school. Monsignor Perry Kavookjian is replacing Monsignor Michael Braun as rector of Garces Memorial High School. Braun served as rector for seven years and will retain his position as pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish and School. During his tenure, Braun oversaw such construction projects as the Cerro Science Building, the St. Dominic Student Chapel, the Salvucci Aquatic Center, the new tennis courts and the new batting cages. He also led the renovation and repair of the student and staff parking lots and an upgrade of the school's technological infrastructure in preparation for the distribution of iPads to students. Kavookjian is the pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in northwest Bakersfield, where he is in the process of establishing and building a parish and constructing a new church and religious center. Read the full story here.
WHAT'S TRENDING ON BAKERSFIELD.COM
In case you missed it, here are the stories that are trending across bakersfield.com
CONDEMNED MURDERER OF ELDERLY WOMAN DIES OF NATURAL CAUSES: Corcoran State Prison officials said Monday that an inmate condemned for the fatal 2007 beating of a 90-year-old Bakersfield woman died June 2 of natural causes. Forty-four-year-old Timothy Rodriguez was convicted of first-degree murder for the death of Thelma Long, and was involved with an unlawful sex case against a former Kern County sheriff's detention deputy. Margarita Young took a plea deal for a misdemeanor charge in 2010 after having sex with Rodriguez, then an inmate at Lerdo Jail, while she was employed as a detention deputy. Rodriguez died of end-stage liver disease. Read the full story here.
COUPLE PLEADS GUILTY IN FEDERAL MORTGAGE FRAUD CASE: A Bakersfield couple pleaded guilty Monday in a mortgage fraud scheme that prosecutors say cost lenders more that $6 million in losses. In a Fresno federal court, 37-year-old Eric Ray Hernandez and 32-year-old Monica Marie Hernandez both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud and bank fraud. They are scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 4. Each faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, a $1 million fine and five years of supervised release. The Hernandezes were indicted in June 2010 in what prosecutors said was a scheme to provide bogus information, including false pay stubs, letters from tax accountants and bank statements, to support home loan and refinance applications. Read the full story here.
DAD ACCUSED OF RAPING DAUGHTER TO STAND TRIAL: The Bakersfield man accused of raping his young daughter and then leaving her to die in a field in July 2011 was found competent Monday to stand trial. After ruling that Ray Salvador Coriell is fit for trial, the Kern County Superior Court judge in the case scheduled a readiness hearing for Oct. 18 and a jury trial to start Oct. 28. Coriell's defense attorney, Michael C. Lukehart, said Monday's ruling does not mean that other "mental issues" won't come up in the case. Lukehart said: "He's got a raft of them." Kern County Deputy District Attorney Michelle Domino said the judge's ruling "only settles at this stage that he's competent to stand trial as of now." Coriell was arrested July 28, 2011, capping a two-day search in which residents of his central Bakersfield neighborhood believed a prowler had abducted Coriell's then 7-year-old daughter. Read the full story here.
GOATS NIBBLE AWAY AT WEEDS IN ECO FRIENDLY ALTERNATIVE: She isn't like normal goats. She doesn't roam around with her herd all day. She prefers to socialize with humans and get massaged. And once in a while nibble at clothes. Her name is Panchita. With a chiming bell around her neck, the one-and-a-half-year-old goat rubs her head against Javier Onaindia's hand, calling his attention to feed her more trail mix. Panchita is the leader of 300 goats currently nibbling at brush and weeds next to Golden Empire Transit headquarters on Golden State Avenue. She and her herd will be in town until the end of the week. "Panchita is the boss," Onaindia said with a laugh. He is the owner of J.O. Goat Co. and has brought his goats to Bakersfield for the past three years. Read the full story here.
ALTA VISTA PROJECT BACK ON TRACK SEVEN WEEKS AFTER GAS EXPLOSION: Heavy road work on Alta Vista Drive resumed Monday, exactly seven weeks after an asphalt grinder cut into a PG&E-owned natural gas line, causing an explosion and fire that destroyed the grinder and halted the road resurfacing project. On Monday a huge machine crawled southward on Alta Vista, chewing up hundreds of cubic yards of asphalt and spewing it into the back of a dump truck. A similar grinder was deemed a total loss following the April 22 explosion that led to the evacuation of several residences in the northeast Bakersfield neighborhood. Read the full story here.
THE ENERGY REPORT
REPORT SAYS SHALE OIL ABUNDANT: A new report released by the Energy Information Agency suggests that there is more shale oil and gas worldwide than previously believed. MarketWatch.com reported Monday that Russia sits on the most "technically recoverable" shale oil resources -- 75 billion barrels. The U.S. ranks second, with 58 billion. The Energy Information Agency said China, Argentina, and Libya round out the top five. The Energy Information Agency reported that shale oil provided 29 percent of total U.S. crude-oil production and 40 percent of total natural-gas production last year. Read the full story here.
THE TECH REPORT
WORLD WIDE DEVELOPERS CONFERENCE: Monday was a big day for Apple fans and techies of all kinds as the iconic company unveiled its latest and greatest at the annual Apple World Wide Developers Conference. Among the biggest revelations were a complete redesign of the iPhone operating system, the unveiling of the iTunes Radio streaming music service, a redesigned Mac Pro that will be built here in the U.S., and the new California-themed naming system for the Mac operating systems. With a complete visual overhaul, iOS7 will be released in the fall and is being called a clean sweep that changes absolutely everything from the typography and color schemes to the typical icon and button shape. Also coming this fall is iTunes Radio, a free streaming service that will compete with Pandora and Spotify. iTunes Radio will include over 200 programmed channels, plus others inspired by music the user already listens to. The service will be ad-supported and will encourage users to buy songs they like from iTunes.
PUSH TO TALK: AT&T revealed on Monday that its Enhanced Push-to-Talk service is now available for AT&T business customers through app for the iPhone 4S and 5. AT&T said this is the first time a U.S. carrier is offering push-to-talk capabilities on the iPhone. A representative of AT&T said there is an increasing need for instant communication and now business customers can communicate faster and to larger groups.
THE HEALTH REPORT
CONCUSSIONS: A new study shows that children and young adults take longer to recover from a concussion if they've suffered one within the previous year or repeated blows at any time. The study from Boston Children's Hospital found that kids and young adults, ages 11 to 22, who came to the emergency room with a repeat concussion took longer to recover than those with a first concussion, suggesting the effects may last longer than previously thought -- something coaches and parents should consider in deciding when kids should return to the athletic field. A single previous concussion more than a year earlier did not increase the risk for a longer recovery.
DESIGNATED DRIVERS: A study published Monday in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs found that roughly 40 percent of the designated drivers interviewed had drunk enough to register on a breathalyzer test -- and 20 percent had had enough to significantly impair their driving Equipped with Breathalyzer tests, University of Florida researchers stopped more than 1,000 patrons leaving bars and restaurants in a Florida college town. They asked drivers and non-drivers the same questions before administering the test. The researchers noted that their sample consisted mostly college students, but added that about 40 percent of the people they interviewed were not students, and that older drivers tended to have higher blood alcohol levels.
THE SPORTS REPORT
THE BLAZE: The Blaze blasted four home runs, pounded out 19 hits total and rolled past visiting Visalia on Monday night 13-7. Ryan Wright and Yorman Rodriguez opened the game by hitting back-to-back homers to put the Blaze up 2-0. In the fourth inning, Juan Duran followed hit a two-run shot that helped Bakersfield build an 8-3 lead. Steve Selsky capped a six-hit sixth inning with a home run that put the Blaze up 13-3. The series between the Blaze and Visalia continues tonight at 7:45.
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