Kern County high school graduates attending or planning to attend a four-year university can apply for a $10,000 scholarship through the Jim Costa-Kern County Water Agency Water Resources Fellowship.

The scholarship is awarded annually to students pursuing a career in a water resources-related field. Students are eligible if they are graduates of a Kern County high school or a current resident of Kern County and are enrolled in a four-year university or have plans to do so by fall 2011.

Scholarship winners may have an opportunity for a paid internship with the Kern County Water Agency. Congressman Costa, D-Fresno, for years has been deeply involved in California water issues.

The deadline to apply is April 8. More information: .

From the blogs: What does Bakersfield have in common with Detroit and Cleveland?

The three rank among Forbes' list of America's 20 "most miserable cities." Bakersfield can credit its lack of educated residents for being on the list.

Eight of the 20 spots on the annual list were California cities. Stockton ranked first for the second time in three years due to the housing bust, violent crime and unemployment rates. The Forbes list takes into account 10 factors including unemployment, crime and taxes, but it also considers weather, commute times and how the local sport teams are doing.

Forbes writes: "The residents of Bakersfield are among the most uneducated in the country, with only 15 percent possessing a college degree and 70 percent a high school diploma. The U.S. averages are 28 percent and 85 percent, respectively."

An update from a news item posted on The Grade in July: Southern Bleacher Company, hired by Kern Community College District to build bleachers at Bakersfield College's baseball field, filed a claim last year asking for more than $500,000 in dues. The company stated KCCD had "continued failure and refusal ... to make payment" on a $796,000 contract, of which $351,000 had been paid, according to the claim.

Following contract mediation in December, KCCD agreed to release $319,000 of contract retention money, KCCD meeting minutes show, and the claims have been "satisfactorily resolved."

Southern Bleacher, the nation's largest stadium manufacturer, according to its website, filed the claim in June.

Five Cal State Bakersfield graduate students from the master's of social work program will host two events to give teenagers prevention tips and information on teen dating violence.

The first meeting will be held 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday at The Marketplace, at Ming Avenue and Haggin Oaks Boulevard. The second will be 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday at Mercado Latino, 2105 Edison Highway.

The goal of the group is to reduce the frequency of intimidation and actual acts of violence in teen dating relationships by drawing attention to the problem and advocating for prevention. One in three high school students has been or will be involved in an abusive relationship, the group states, citing the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

The Kern Region Forensics League tournament will kick off Saturday at Ridgeview High School.

It will be the first in a series of tournaments involving the top local ninth through 12th grade speech and debate students. Those students from the Kern High School District will compete against the top students from Fresno to determine who will represent the Southern Valley Forensics League at the annual California High School Speech Association state forensics tournament in San Diego. The National Forensics League tournament will be in Dallas.

Andrei Codrescu, a respected poet, essayist and commentator, will give a lecture 7 p.m. Feb. 21 at Dore Theater as a guest of the Kegley Institute of Ethics at Cal State Bakersfield.

Codrescu has authored more than 30 books and received a Peabody Award for writing and starring in the PBS film "Road Scholar." He has taught literature and poetry at Johns Hopkins University, among other universities.

As a precursor to Codrescu's visit, CSUB will show "Road Scholar" 6:30 p.m. Feb. 17 in the multipurpose room on campus.

His talk, "Whose Global Village? Reflections on Power and Imagination in Today's World," is free and open to the public. Codrescu's will focus on the differences between "globalite" and "globalism." Parking is free after 6 p.m. in lots B, C and D.

The lecture is part of the Kegley Institute of Ethics' 25th anniversary year, sponsored by the Norman Levan Center for the Humanities, San Joaquin Community Hospital and Kern Medical Center.

-- Jorge Barrientos, staff writer

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