By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
Here are the lead stories from "The Big 6" on "First Look with Scott Cox":
FATAL CRASH KILLS SAN DIEGO COUNTY MAN: A crash on a Kern County roadway kills a San Marcos man. 46-year old Luis Romero died yesterday afternoon around 5:45 at Kern Medical Center after his car crashed on Interstate Five south of Bear Mountain Boulevard. Romero was driving south on I-5 at about 4 p.m. when he lost control. He was wearing a seat belt.
BRUSH FIRES SLOW INTERSTATE 5 TRAFFIC: Traffic on Interstate 5 slows to a crawl as Kern County firefighters work to contain two wildfires on the Grapevine. Flames broke out Sunday near the Fort Tejon exit causing a traffic jam that extended as far down the mountain as the junction of Highway 99 and I-5. Some 50 homes were evacuated, and residents were able to get back home by around 8:30 last night. Firefighters are expected to be on-scene Monday to complete mop-up of the fire area. The cause -- a faulty catalytic converter from a passing vehicle.
COSTCO EVACUATED: More than 300 customers are evacuated from a local Costco after reports of a possible hazardous material release. It happened Saturday afternoon around 5 at the Rosedale Highway location. Employees reported a hissing sound coming from a two-inch pipe near the ceiling in the rear of the store. Turns out the line sent refrigerant to the frozen foods area. One person got sick, nobody was hospitalized, but the store was evacuated as a precaution.
HOMICIDE INVESTIGATION: It’s a possible homicide -- that’s the word from sheriff’s detectives after they found a partially decomposed body inside a house on Real Road. The call came in around 3:50 Friday afternoon and sent detectives to 604 South Real Road where they learned family had found the body of 49-year old Earl Wiseman. Family members had to break a window to get inside. Authorities say Wiseman had been dead for about a day. An autopsy is scheduled.
PEDESTRIAN DIES IN EAST BAKERSFIELD: A pedestrian dies after he’s struck by a vehicle in east Bakersfield. It happened Saturday night around 9:55 while the man was crossing Mount Vernon Avenue just north of Quincy Street. The victim was taken to nearby Kern Medical Center and was pronounced dead around 10:15. No word yet on his name or whether the driver was cited.
TEHACHAPI HOUSE FIRE: A woman rescued from a burning house in Tehachapi is doing better than expected. 43-year-old April Covington is at the Grossman Burn Center in West Hills recovering from second and third degree burns over 35 percent of her body. Doctors say her vital signs are good. On June 30th, the mother of four was pulled from the home on Mission Street by a Kern County firefighter who heard her screams and knocked a hole in the wall. Two others got out safely, and the cause of the fore is under investigation.
Here’s what was trending from the weekend on bakersfield.com
DUI ARRESTS: Three people were arrested Friday at a checkpoint to screen drivers for driving under the influence and/or without a valid driver's license.
The Bakersfield Police Department Traffic Enforcement Detail conducted a DUI / Driver License Checkpoint between the hours of 7 p.m. and 2 a.m. Friday in the 4700 block of Panama Lane.
A total of 1,359 vehicles passed through. Of those, 1,151 were screened, with the following results:
* two DUI arrests
* one felony arrest
* 13 drivers were found to not have a valid driver license
BLAZE STADIUM ISSUES: Do the Blaze need a major commercial development to make their proposed baseball stadium in northwest Bakersfield a success? That’s the question behind a story published Sunday by reporter John Cox.
And the answer is not at all, according to local commercial real estate professionals, as well as city officials and people connected to both projects.
The owners of the Blaze have pushed back the opening of the stadium until 2015, roughly the same timeframe of the opening of the first phase of the Bakersfield Commons commercial development.
For all the trouble that Blaze owners Gene Voiland and Chad Hathaway have encountered with the stadium plan, theirs is looking like the more solid construction schedule.
While they have not yet announced a definite start of construction, the Blaze owners say they hope to break ground by year's end and open in 2015. A representative for World Oil said the Commons project's initial, retail phase will kick off in the 2014-15 time frame.
Originally, construction of the 3,500-seat stadium was to begin in February of this year. But Voiland and Hathaway alluded to setbacks ranging from a desire not to rush the building's design to the discovery of unexpectedly sandy soil that will require more concrete than anticipated.
Read reporter John Cox's
BODY FOUND ON REAL ROAD: Homicide detectives were called to a Bakersfield home late Friday afternoon after the partially decomposed body of a man was found inside.
Kern County Sheriff's Cmdr. Steve Hansen said family of the man discovered him at 3:50 p.m. after breaking a window to get inside his house at 604 S. Real Road. The body had not yet been positively identified, and by its decomposition it appeared the man had been dead for about a day.
PRISON STERILIZATION: A story by the Center for Investigative Reporting found that Doctors under contract with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation sterilized nearly 150 female inmates from 2006 to 2010 without required state approvals, The Center for Investigative Reporting has found.
At least 148 women received tubal ligations in violation of prison rules during those five years -- and there are perhaps 100 more dating back to the late 1990s, according to state documents and interviews.
From 1997 to 2010, the state paid doctors $147,460 to perform the procedure, according to a database of contracted medical services for state prisoners.
The women were signed up for the surgery while they were pregnant and housed at either the California Institution for Women in Corona or Valley State Prison for Women in Chowchilla, which is now a men's prison.
COSTCO EVACUATION: More than 300 customers were evacuated from the Rosedale Highway location of Costco at 4:54 p.m. Saturday after reports of a possible hazardous material release.
One person was sickened with what authorities called a "minor complaint." No one was hospitalized.
An investigation found the pipe to be carrying a refrigerant to the frozen foods area. The flow of the product was stopped when safety equipment attached to the system recognized the sudden increase of flow form a leak, limiting the amount of refrigerant store patrons were exposed to.
NESTLE ICE CREAM PLANT TOUR: Reporter John Cox got a rare behind-the-scenes tour of Nestle’s huge ice cream plant here in Bakersfield, which produces more ice cream than any other plant in the world.
The plant produces Dreyers ice cream, drumsticks, push up and frozen fruit bars, which are made 24-hours a day.
Nestle says the place provides a third of the country's ice cream, including reduced-fat and lower-calorie treats. There's even ice cream with whey protein for dogs.
Cox reports that As an outsider, getting inside Nestle Dreyer's Ice Cream Co.'s Bakersfield plant is almost impossible. That's partly because the place isn't set up for visitors. But also, the place holds valuable secrets: Dreyer's keeps a tight lid on, for example, its method of mixing low-fat, reduced-calorie ice cream and its way of spraying chocolate inside cones to keep them crisp.
POSITIVE U.S. ECONOMIC NUMBERS LEAD TO PRICING INCREASES: Positive U.S. economic numbers, fueled mainly by a strong jobs report, and the continued unrest in the Middle East helped drive oil futures higher at the end of the day on Friday.
According to INVESTING.com, futures prices for August delivery hit their highest marks since May of 2012. The website said an improving economy is generally correlated with increased demand for oil and fuel products like gasoline.
QUEBEC OIL CAR EXPLOSION RAISES QUESTIONS: In the wake of Saturday’s deadly derailment and explosion of freight cars carrying oil, that led to five deaths and scores of injuries in small town in eastern Quebec, is raising questions how to best transport crude oil over long distances.
Rail cars and pipelines are the two major options as oil companies wrestle with how to ship oil from North Dakota and Canadian tar sands.
Saturday’s explosions, which destroyed 30 buildings and left dozens unaccounted for, were caused when air brakes failed and the cars rolled down a hill into the town. Canadian officials are still investigating the incident.
MSN TV: Microsoft is pulling the plug on MSN TV, a service formerly known as WebTV.
The service was one of the first to offer Internet access via television sets. It will shut down September 30.
WebTV offered television-based e-mail and Web browsing via wireless keyboards but struggled to gain traction with consumers. Microsoft rebranded the service as MSN TV in 2001, but it has largely taken a backseat to the company's focus on the Xbox game console, which also offers Internet access.
Microsoft cited the myriad ways people can now access the Internet as a contributing factor to the service's demise, including the fact that Apple is reportedly near a deal with Time Warner Cable that would bring an influx of new channels to the computer maker's set-top box, Apple TV.
THE CREATOR OF THE MOUSE: Last week saw the passing of an inventor whose handiwork is in millions of homes and offices . . . maybe even yours.
Doug Engelbart died Tuesday at his California home, roughly 49 years after creating the computer accessory known as the Mouse.
In an interview many years later, Engelbart showed off his original, made in 1964 as part of an experiment -- a wood-encased mouse, or "X-Y Position Indicator For A Display System," as it was called at the time.
Engelbart won a patent for his mouse in 1970, but he never made a fortune off it. By the time the mouse became commonplace in the late 1980s, his patent's 17-year-life span had expired.
Douglas Engelbart was 88.
MERS: The World Health Organization is forming an emergency committee of international experts to prepare for a possible worsening of the Middle East coronavirus — known as MERS — which has killed 40 people.
A W-H-O official said there was currently no emergency or pandemic but the experts would advise on how to tackle the disease if the number of cases suddenly grows. Most of the cases of MERS so far have been in Saudi Arabia, which hosts millions of Muslim visitors every year for the annual haj pilgrimage.
WATER: Forget expensive gym memberships or miracle diet pills, researchers have found the cheapest way to lose weight is by simply drinking more water.
A study has found that adults who drank two cups before a meal lost around four pounds more than a group that didn't drink the extra water.
The research was included in a review of eleven different studies looking at the impact drinking water can have on diets.
Brenda Davy, a professor at Virginia Tech who assisted in the review, said that water could help squelch the feelings of hunger and help dieters reduce their calorie intake.
THE SPORTS REPORT
The Bakersfield Californian named its high school athletes of the year in softball, baseball and track and field.
In baseball: Garces senior catcher Jake Sweaney was named player of the year. Sweaney recently signed a minor league contract with the Philadelphia Phillies. He was the highest local player taken in the Major League Baseball draft. Sweaney is just the third player since 1983 to earn the honor in back-to-back years. He hit .489 with eight home runs, 14 doubles, 41 runs and 39 RBIs. He also stole 22 bases while playing catcher, the most demanding position on the diamond.
In softball: Stockdale sophomore second baseman Lucy Lopez earned player of the year honors after 6 doubles, three triples and three home runs among her section-leading 58 hits. In the playoffs, she was 6-for-7, including 3-for-3 in the Mustangs' 4-0 loss to Fresno-Central in the Division I semifinals.
In boys track and field: State champion Blake Haney of Stockdale was an easy choice. Haney won the state title in the 1,600 and 3,200 meter runs. He is representing the U.S. this week at the World Youth Championships in the Ukraine.
In girls track and field: Liberty sophomore Morganne Hill earned athlete of the year honors after she finished fifth in the 300-meter hurdles at the CIF State Track and Field Championships last month, clocking a personal-best time of 42.43 seconds in the state preliminaries. She also finished sixth in the state in the 100 high hurdles, again recording her best time in the prelims, a 14.14.