By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
Lead stories from "First Look with Scott Cox's" Big 6:
BAKERSFIELD FIRE URGE RESIDENTS TO BE SAFE IN WATER: Our summer heat makes the water mighty inviting, but not enough Kern County residents are playing it safe. Bakersfield Fire Battalion Chief Anthony Galagaza says between 2011 and 2012, 22 people here died from drowning.
Galagaza says there have been five drownings this year and 17 near drownings. He says everyone should learn how to swim, know their limits and never swim alone.
VIDAK DISCLOSURE CHANGES FINANCIAL PICTURE: Andy Vidak reveals new details on four business interests that were not originally disclosed on his campaign financial forms. Hanford Republican Vidak is in a heated run-off race for the 16th State Senate District seat against Bakersfield Democrat Leticia Perez. Vidak's amended Statement of Economic Interest officially confirms information that he previously mentioned only briefly on his campaign website and in a debate last week in Bakersfield. Vidak's amendment to his disclosure notes that he raises cattle and grows cherries on property his father owns in Orosi; that he manages a lettuce-cooling plant in Fremont; and that he worked as a trucking dispatcher in Tulare for a month in the fall of 2012. The revelations represent more than $200,000 in previously undisclosed salary for Vidak, and more than $25,000 in previously undisclosed property holdings. The election to replace Michael Rubio is July 23.
BAKERSFIELD POLICE CAR REAR-ENDED: If you’re gonna rear-end somebody, try to avoid a Bakersfield police cruiser. Police arrested a driver early Thursday morning after the car he was driving struck a police car in northeast Bakersfield. Officer Timothy Berchtold was driving west on University Avenue when he stopped at the stop sign at Wenatchee Avenue. Berchtold's police car was rear-ended by a 2013 Nissan Maxima allegedly driven by 31-year-old Joseph Espinoza. Espinoza allegedly ran away from the accident scene and was taken into custody several blocks away. Cops took him to the hospital. He faces charges of driving under the influence, hit and run, resisting arrest, resisting arrest with violence, and not having proof of insurance. Two of three passengers in the car with Espinoza also were taken to the hospital.
FORMER BAKERSFIELD RESIDENT KILLED IN MIAMI: Media outlets report that a former Bakersfield man has been fatally shot in a robbery in a south Florida city. KGET TV reports 54-year old Jerry Sherrell refused to hand over a mobile phone to a pair of robbers on a street in Miami. One of the suspects shot Sherrell, who died despite efforts by a witness to render first aid. Miami police arrested a 16-year-old suspect shortly after the shooting and that a second suspect remains at large. Sherrell grew up in Bakersfield but had lived in Arkansas for the last three years. Sherrell had been walking home after buying cigarettes.
SOUTHWEST BAKERSFIELD STABBING: Bakersfield police are searching for witnesses and a suspect in connection with a stabbing in southwest Bakersfield. Officers responded Thursday morning at about 10:30 to the Fastrip Food Store and gas station, 3701 Ming Ave., and found a 40-year-old man suffering from several stab wounds. Police say the man was uncooperative and wouldn’t tell them what happened. Authorities believe the stabbing happened in the 3800 block of Serrano Avenue. The guy was taken to Kern Medical Center for treatment. Cops haven’t found any witnesses.
SUICIDE ATTEMPT IN BAKERSFIELD: A man attempts suicide by walking in front of a car in central Bakersfield. It happened yesterday (thur) afternoon around 1:10 on the east side of Oak Street just north of Truxtun Avenue. Cops say the 25-year old pedestrian intentionally walked out in front of the vehicle in an attempted suicide. The man was taken to a local hospital, where he is in stable condition with moderate, non-life threatening injuries. The driver of the car wasn’t cited. Police don’t release the names of people who attempt suicide.
We take a look at what trending on Bakersfield.com from July 4th through this morning.
TAKE DOWN THE WALL BATTLE INTENSIFIES: A group of residents who live in the adjoining Amberton and Stockdale Estates neighborhoods have hired an attorney in their continuing quest to demolish a wall put up by a homeowner June 14, dividing the areas.
Following a second meeting with the Amberton-Stockdale Alliance Tuesday, Bakersfield attorney Barry Goldner said he has agreed to work for free representing the members.
For more than 30 years, the two subdivisions were joined by a pedestrian walkway that connected the north end of Outingdale Court in Amberton to the south end of Calle Privada in Stockdale Estates.
Today, walkers, joggers, bicyclists and students must travel out onto Ming Avenue or Ashe Road to reach either housing tract. Read the story here
HE WAS MORE THAN JUST A COACH: The sudden death of longtime South High football coach John Wren is among our most read stories of the last 30 days.
In a story Wednesday, by high school sports reporter Zach Ewing, the final day of Wren’s life are detailed along with the reaction from fellow coaches.
Wren attended South High’s football workout Monday night as usual and left for home around 8:30 without any signs of trouble. He is believed to have died in his sleep; his wife, Marina, found him in bed Tuesday morning. The cause of death was not immediately known.
Assistant coaches had a tear-filled meeting with players in the morning, and when players gathered for their normal evening weightlifting session, the weightroom was filled with alumni and parents, there to show support for Wren and the program. Read the story here
VIDAK FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE: Farmer Andy Vidak on Wednesday revealed new details on four business interests that were not originally disclosed on his campaign financial forms. Vidak, a Republican from Hanford, is in a heated and closely watched run-off race for the 16th State Senate District seat against Bakersfield Democrat Leticia Perez.
All elected officials and those running for office must file these statements, also known as 700 forms.
Vidak's amendment to his 700 form discloses that he raises cattle and grows cherries on property his father owns in Orosi; that he manages a lettuce-cooling plant in Fremont; and that he worked as a trucking dispatcher in Tulare for a month in the fall of 2012.
The revelations represent more than $200,000 in previously undisclosed salary for Vidak, and more than $25,000 in previously undisclosed property holdings. Read more here
MOTORIST ARRESTED AFTER REAR-ENDING BAKERSFIELD POLICE CAR: Bakersfield police arrested a motorist early Thursday after the car he was driving struck a police car in northeast Bakersfield.
Bakersfield police Officer Timothy Berchtold was driving west on University Avenue when he stopped at the stop sign at Wenatchee Avenue. Berchtold's police car was rear-ended at 7:07 a.m. by a 2013 Nissan Maxima allegedly driven by 31-year-old Joseph Anthony Estrada Espinoza. Read more here
JULY 3rd’s MINIMUM LOW TEMPERATURE: So far Bakersfield hasn't hit any record highs during this week of scorching heat, but Wednesday the city saw an unofficial record for the "coolest" it was that day -- 81 degrees.
The previous record high minimum for July 3 was 79 degrees, said National Weather Service meteorologist Gary Sanger.
FORMER BAKERSFIELD MAN KILLED IN MIAMI: Media outlets report that a former Bakersfield man was fatally shot in a robbery late Monday night in the south Florida city. Bakersfield's KGET TV reports Jerry Wayne Sherrell, 54, refused to hand over a mobile phone to a pair of robbers on a street. One of the suspects shot Sherrell, who died despite efforts by a witness to render first aid.
THE TECH REPORT
AT&T MAY SELL INFORMATION: said it may begin selling anonymous information about its customers' wireless and Wi-Fi locations, U-verse usage, website browsing, mobile application usage and other information to other businesses.
The carrier said it will protect its customers' privacy by providing the data in aggregate so it cannot be used to identify an individual. The carrier also said its customers can opt out of the program.
AT&T is not the first company to sell anonymous information. Facebook, Google, and Verizon Wireless also anonymizes and sells customer location and usage information.
TIME WARNER AND APPLE: Time Warner Cable , which launched its TWC TV app on Microsoft's Xbox 360 last week, may soon deliver cable programming through Apple TV. The nation's second-largest cable provider is working with Apple to offer subscribers access to HBO Go and Disney's WatchESPN multiplatform video products.
THE HEALTH REPORT
AIDS: Ever since the HIV virus infiltrated the United States around 1969, the infectious agent has gained a foothold in the country that's proven impossible to shake off. The virus has taken a special liking to big cities; 44 percent of AIDS cases in America were centered in only 12 metropolitan areas in 2007, according to the CDC.
Scientists have found that the prevalence of HIV in many impoverished urban areas matches that of low-income countries with HIV epidemics. An interactive map online allows you to zoom into the largest bastions of infection in America which include New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Miami.
Go to AIDSvu.org to see that map.
STEM CELLS: An international stem cell research team reports this week that they have grown functioning human liver tissues in mice.
The human liver "buds" implanted in the mice represent a first experimental step in growing replacement organs from stem cells for transplants, such as liver, pancreas and kidneys. The team from Japan relied on a "cocktail" of stem cells grown to resemble the liver bud cells used in the experiment.
Despite the effort's success, researchers warn that implants of such tissues in human patients are at least a decade away, after tests of their long-term growth and safety.
EAST HIGH’S RAMIREZ NAMED TENNIS PLAYER OF THE YEAR: After an undefeated regular season and by advancing to the Central Section semifinals, East High’s Samuel Ramirez was named The Californian's Boys Tennis Singles Player of the Year.
It's the fourth straight year that an East High player has won the award -- the previous three going to DJ Johnson, who graduated in 2012.
Recognition came late also for The Californian's Doubles Team of the Year, Stockdale's John Matthew Flores and Matt Nisson. After losing the Southwest Yosemite League final as the top seed to Liberty's Drew Raney-Andrew Engel, Flores-Nisson came back to win the section doubles title as the No. 4 seed, beating the top seed from Clovis West in the semifinals and the No. 3 seed from Clovis East for the championship.
BLAZE ROUT LAKE ELSINORE, 8-3: Bakersfield Blaze rode a tidal wave of momentum, stemming from a Kyle Waldrop steal of home, to an easy 8-3 win over the Lake Elsinore Storm at Sam Lynn Ballpark on a big July 4th evening. The homestand continues with another fireworks show on Friday night. Game time is 7:45 p.m.