HIT: Bakersfield has something special in Ken Hooper. The Bakersfield High School history and archiving teacher has, over the years, established himself and his young Drillers as invaluable resources for the community.

Their specialty: researching, uncovering and keeping us connected with important pieces of local history that might otherwise never come to light. From finding the Bakersfield High (then Kern County High School) report cards of Earl Warren, the noted U.S. chief justice and California governor, to tireless work tracing the history of veterans who served their country, Hooper and his students never cease to amaze with their findings.

Last week, Hooper was on hand for the return of a lost Purple Heart to the Texas family of Robert Bates, a USS Arizona sailor who was killed in the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. Research by Hooper and his BHS students led to the medal's return to a grateful family.

MISS: Take charge of your kid's diet

If there's one thing we learned from last month's court ruling against New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's plan to limit soda pop consumption, it's that government should have a limited role in determining the type and quantity of the foods we may consume.

In the case of children, that role falls to parents. They need to be informed consumers who are willing to pay attention to reports like "Kids' Meals: Obesity on the Menu," by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. The report showed that 97 percent of nearly 3,500 analyzed kids' meals do not meet basic nutritional standards.

Some of the meals offered by well-known brands and restaurants were so packed with fat and calories that they tripled established standards. More than 1,200 calories for a kid's meal? No thanks.

The report gives good marks to some of the kids' offerings from Subway, IHOP, Outback Steakhouse and Burger King. As for bringing your kid into the home of the Whopper and convincing him to choose healthful offerings such as oatmeal, well, good luck with that.

MISS: Can Dodger green bring title?

With the first pitch due at 1:10 p.m. today, it seems that our Major League Baseball team -- at least the one that's geographically closest to us -- already leads in a rather dubious category.

The 2013 Dodgers, at home against arch-rival San Francisco, have the highest payroll in baseball history, according to The New York Times. The Blue Crew's management will be shelling out about $213 million to their players, more than double the salaries inherited last year by the team's new ownership.

We can just hear legions of Yankees fans, whose team previously had baseball's highest payroll, and endured 14 years of grief for it, turning that familiar taunt westward: "Look at the Dodgers, trying to buy a championship!"

HIT: Litter collection efforts working

An inmate work crew program for litter control appears to be working. The Kern County Sheriff's Office says crews, in a coordinated effort with the county Waste Management and Roads departments, recently cleared 27,000 pounds of roadside trash in east and southeast Bakersfield. Work will continue in other high-litter areas, the Sheriff's Office says.