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Lead stories from "First Look with Scott Cox's" Top Stories:

NEARLY ALL INTERNET CAFES SHUT DOWN: All but one of 12 known Internet cafes in Bakersfield as of March 13 have closed, following word this week from the Kern County District Attorney's office it would offer amnesty to cafes that stop gambling immediately. Kern County has been similarly successful in convincing the estimated 25 cafes throughout the county to cease illegal gambling activities. Only one cafe that has remained open without offering illegal gambling. The others have closed entirely. Read the full story here.

Both companies facing Cal-OSHA fines for their role in last summer's botched demolition of a Bakersfield power plant are appealing their proposed penalties. Subcontractors Alpha Explosives Inc., based in Lincoln, and DuBois, Wyo.-based Demtech Inc. contend in paperwork filed with Cal-OSHA that the agency was wrong to levy fines totaling $28,400 for a series of alleged violations. Alpha was hired by the job's prime contractor, Covina-based Cleveland Wrecking Co., to demolish the former Pacific Gas and Electric Co. power plant along Coffee Road just south of Rosedale Highway. But the early-morning Aug. 3 demolition went terribly wrong.

COUNTY SETTLES LAWSUIT OVER TREATMENT OF HIV-POSITIVE DETAINEES: County will pay the families of two HIV-positive men who were incarcerated at Lerdo Jail $500,000 to settle a lawsuit that claimed they were not given medical treatments for thier disease while in custody. The federal government, which incarcerated the two illegal immigrants at Lerdo under a contract to buy jail bed space from the county, will pay an additional $300,000. Both men were transfered to Lerdo Jail from the San Francisco Bay Area in fall of 2008 for detainment pending deportation hearings. One of the two men, Juan Carlos Baires, died at Kern Medical Center after developing a massive infection. The second man was eventually taken out of custody, returned to his home and released without comment. Read the full story here.


In case you missed it, here are the stories that are trending across bakersfield.com.

BAKERSFIELD MAN ARRESTED ON SUSPICION OF TRYING TO SELL STOLEN DRILL BIT: A Bakersfield man ended up in jail after he allegedly tried to sell a stolen drill bit to a company in Oklahoma. Daniel Ince, 31, was arrested after a Kern County sheriff's detective, posing as a representative from the Oklahoma company, met with Ince. The detective examined the drill bit and determined it had been stolen from Cesmat Service Company in Bakersfield. Ince is being held on suspicion of grand theft and possession of stolen property. Read the full story here.

GUNS AND DRUGS FOUND IN SOUTHWEST BAKERSFIELD HOME: A search of a southwest Bakersfield home turned up two assault rifles, a MAC-10 machine pistol with a silencer, and improvised gun known as a "zip gun," a bulletproof vest and more than 1 1/4 pounds of heroin. Deputies said the guns and drugs -- as well as thousands of rounds of ammunition -- were found at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at a residence in the 6400 block of Green Garden Drive. Jesus Sital, 20, was arrested on suspicion of numerous gun and drug offenses, and a 17-year-old male was arrested on an outstanding warrant. Read the full story here.

KIDNAPPING? NOPE, JUST BAD COMMUNICATION AND TURNED OFF PHONE: What law enforcement agencies initially believed to be a kidnapping Thursday of a 3-year-old from Bakersfield ultimately turned out to be a case of bad communication and a turned off cellphone. The California Highway Patrol and the Kern County Sheriff's Office trailed two adults in a car up Highway 58 to Tehachapi after the child was reported missing from his father's Bakersfield home. The vehicle was stopped in Tehachapi and two adults were questioned. One of them turned out to be the boy's biological mother, who had picked him up from the father's home but neglected to tell anyone. Read the full story here.


NETFLIX GOES AFTER INTERNET PROVIDERS: Netflix is going after the country's largest Internet service providers. On Thursday, the company's CEO Reed Hastings accused ISPs like Verizon and Comcast of compromising Internet freedom and degrading the experience of consumers. This is the latest in Netflix's dispute with these firms over whether it should help pay the cost of delivering its data-heavy content, a CNN report said.


HOMEWORK MAKING CHILDREN SICK: New research shows some students doing more than three hours of homework a night is literally making them sick. The study surveyed more than 4,300 students from 10 high-performing public and private high schools in upper-middle-class California communities, according to a CNN report. Research showed that excessive homework is associated with high stress levels, physical health problems and lack of balance in children's lives; 56% of the students in the study cited homework as a primary stressor in their lives.


CENTENNIAL SOFTBALL'S MCNEW ONE-HITS INDEPENDENCE: Centennial pitcher Trish McNew threw a dominant seven-inning, one-hit outing in a 9-0 victory against Independence on Thursday. She only allowed two baserunners while recording 11 strikeouts. "Trish showed up big-time today," said Centennial coach Samantha Walker. "We've had some struggles with not being able to finish games in the past, but she went all seven innings perfectly." The Falcons (5-6) managed their only hit the top of the fifth inning. McNew struck out the side twice in Thursday's game, once in the third inning and again in the sixth. Read the full story here.