Lead stories from "First Look with Scott Cox's" Top Stories:
INCARCERATED VETERANS TARGETED FOR HELP: Thirty-three inmates at Lerdo Jail, dressed in orange jumpsuits, stood at military attention as the Stars and Stripes were carried past by a Kern County sheriff's honor guard. Despite the metal fencing, despite the armed guards and the miles of razor wire, for an instant Thursday morning it seemed the jailed convicts, veterans all, were once again proud soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen. It's all part of the Incarcerated Veterans Program, an innovative new effort unveiled Thursday designed to identify inmates who have served honorably in the armed forces and assist them with their rehabilitation. Read the full story here.
Conveniently timed to open around the time area schools got out Thursday, the new Planz Park skatepark became an instant southeast success when around 300 skaters showed up ready to shred. The skatepark replaced a pool -- which technically could have been skated once drained -- with a bowl that was about 100 percent more zen, and probably more skateable, too. Skaters call the rectangular pool filter opening the "deathbox" for its unique ability to send one hurtling, sans board, into the deep end. .
STUDY FINDS 'MODEST' COST INCREASE TO STATE TO GIVE UNDOCUMENTED MEDI-CAL: A new study has found it wouldn't cost much to extend the Affordable Care Act's expanded Medi-Cal coverage to the state's illegal immigrants, but critics are dubious. The bill would make low-income undocumented immigrants eligible for Medi-Cal and create a California Health Exchange Program for the undocumented that would mirror the Covered California exchange from which they're now excluded. Specifically, it would rise somewhere between $353 million and $369 million in 2015, and grow to between $424 million and $436 million in 2019. 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.
MIRA MONTE GRADUATE, ABANDONED BY MOM OVERCOMES OBSTACLES: Amairany Melo said her mother left an Oceanside home she shared with her children and other relatives when Melo's grandfather died in Mexico June 24, 2008. It is a date the 17-year-old high school senior remembers because her mother never returned. Melo, a graduating senior at Mira Monte High School, said school has been like a refuge for her over the years -- "a getaway." On May 28 she will graduate and, having had her pick of 10 universities that accepted her, will attend UCLA. Read the full story here.
GARCES GRAD WITH RARE CONDITION SURVIVES TWO HEART SURGERIES: Emily Leyva, a recent graduate of Garces Memorial High School, wore the same white robe, white square hat and gold tassel the 128 other graduates sported during their commencement celebration Wednesday at the Rabobank Theater and Convention Center. She blended in, but she was different from her peers. Leyva was diagnosed at birth with a rare heart defect that occurs in about 1 out of every 2,000 births. For Leyva, it meant a heart murmer and a hole between the septum separating the two lower chambers of her heart. Leyva said her experiences in and out of hospitals ultimately helped her select a career path. She plans to study biology at the University of San Diego and become a nurse practitioner in pediatric cardiology. Read the full story here.
MIRA MONTE'S HIGH-SCORING HUGGINS SIGNS WITH NM ST.: Mira Monte's Braxton Huggins -- who had just become Mira Monte's first Division I-bound athlete -- signed to play basketball for New Mexico State on Thursday. Huggins, a 6-foot-4 combo guard who was the BVarsity Player of the Year, averaged 32.3 points per game for the Lions as a senior; that total ranked third in the state, according to MaxPreps. Read the full story here.
THE TECH REPORT
GOOGLE TABLET: Google has a new tablet in the works that incorporates advanced vision capabilities that can capture more precise three-dimensional images of objects, the Wall Street Journal reported late Thursday. Sporting a 7-inch display, the tablet will come equipped with two rear-facing cameras, infrared depth sensors, and advanced imaging software, unidentified sources told the Journal.
THE HEALTH REPORT
HEPATITIS WARNING: Chronic viral hepatitis affects as many as 5.3 million Americans, and most don't know they're infected. The number is in the news because Monday was the third national Hepatitis Testing Day. The observance was established in the Action Plan for the Prevention Care & Treatment of Viral Hepatitis. If you've never been screened, health officials say it's a good idea to get checked out to avoid complications such as cirrhosis of the liver.
THE SPORTS REPORT
CONDORS FINALS: The Bakersfield Condors continue their run in the ECHL Western Conference Kelly Cup playoffs tonight at Rabobank Arena at 7 p.m. against the Alaska Aces. Queen Victoria, the condor whose video went viral will be around for pictures, and Bakersfield's latest viral star, Tara the Super Hero Ninja Cat will drop the puck with her family. Read the full story here.
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