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GET BUS IS BACK WITH FREE RIDES
08-18-2014 - ST-SuzG GET buses are back in Bakersfield, after a deal to end a 35 day strike by drivers and mechanics over pay and working conditions. Teamsters Union spokesman Chester Suniga says drivers wanted to get back on the job. "They realized, 'Hey, this impacts everybody'. It impacts the company, it impacts them, it impacts the ridership." Suniga says there will be more full time drivers hired as well, but their demand to end the two tier wage system is on hold for now. And on Monday, Golden Empire Transit spokesperson Gina Hayden announced all bus rides will also be free through September 1st, as a way woo back riders who were hurt by the loss of service.
WILDFIRE RAGES, DESTROYS HOMES IN WOFFORD HEIGHTS
08-18-2014 - ST Kern County firefighters have evacuated several structures in the Wofford Heights area because of a wildfire that has scorched at least 1,200 acres near Mar Vista Drive and Wheeler Way. At least three structures have burned since the Way Fire started around 2:30 this afternoon. Highway 155 is open to residents only. Evacuees are being told to go to Kern Valley High School, where the Red Cross has set up a shelter. The fire is running along a four-mile ridge from Wofford Heights to the Burlando Road area of Kernville. A large animal shelter has been set up for people who need it at McNally Ranch in Lake Isabella.
COUNTY CHOPPER RESCUES FIREFIGHTERS
08-18-2014 - ST A helicopter crew from the Kern County Fire Department has been on the job at a large series of wildfires in Northern California for nearly two weeks, performing rescues. Captain Sean Collins says the crew of Helicopter 408 will be working at the July Complex southwest of Yreka for about another week. "A fresh crew will be going out to replace them, so that the continuity of our firefighters, medics, pilots will be engaged with the fires." Collins says Chopper 408 hoisted trapped or injured people on six occasions just last week. He says one of them was a tricky night operation in steep, rugged terrain.
SENTENCING IN MORTGAGE FRAUD CASE
08-18-2014 An accountant connected to the Crisp and Cole mortgage fraud scheme will spend nearly two years in federal prison and pay over $4-Million restitution after prosecutors say he used false employment information in mortgage applications. 65-year-old Kevin Sluga admitted to submitting the applications between 2005 and 2007. Sluga will begin his sentence in October.
MAN WANTED FOR MURDER
08-18-2014 - ST The Kern County Sheriff's Office is asking for help finding a murder suspect. Authorities believe twenty-seven-year-old Jose Partida-Cortes may have shot 18-year-old Jonathan Romero multiple times during a late-Saturday evening altercation in the 100 block of West Second Street in Buttonwillow. Partila-Cortes is described as a five-foot-five, 170 pound Hispanic man with brown eyes and black hair.
WOMAN KILLED IN SOUTHWEST CRASH
08-18-2014 - ST The investigation continues into an accident in southwest Bakersfield that left one woman dead. It happened at the intersection of River Road and Ming Avenue around 8:30 this morning after a pickup ran a red light and plowed into a minivan driven by 66-year-old Linda Sue Beason, who was taken to Mercy Southwest Hospital, where she died. Police say drugs and alcohol do not appear to be factors in the crash.
KIDNAPPING ALLEGATIONS FOR FORD CITY MAN
08-18-2014 A Ford City man is in custody after deputies say he kidnapped a woman late Sunday night and threatened to kill her with a large machete. The Kern County Sheriff's Office responded to the report shortly before midnight after the victim escaped the vehicle. The suspect, 23-year-old Winbaldo Vasquez, faces kidnapping, false imprisonment and criminal threat-related charges.
CHILD ABUSE ARREST
08-18-2014 A Ford City woman is jailed after a two-year-old boy came home to his mother with bruises, scratches and bite marks. The Kern County Sheriff's Office says the boy received the injuries while visiting his father and his new fiancee, eighteen-year-old Ashlynn Westbrook. After an investigation, Westbrook was charged with felony child abuse and battery with serious bodily injury. The child was treated at a Bakersfield hospital.
MAN SENTENCED FOR TEEN'S DEATH
08-18-2014 - ST A man convicted of shooting a teenage boy in the head in east Bakersfield has been sentenced to more than 74 years in prison. Patrick Darnell Harris shot 17-year-old Silberio Rodriguez during an argument at a 2009 party. Three other suspects have already been sentenced on lesser charges connected to the shooting.
COUNTY PRISONS SINGLED OUT
08-18-2014 Two Kern County state prisons received near-perfect scores during recent audits and have been accredited by the American Correctional Association. Officials say both the Wasco State Prison and the Kern Valley State Prison received near-or-better-than ninety-eight percent scores during recent prison management tests. Currently, sixteen prisons in the state have received A-C-A accreditation.
MAN DIES IN CRASH ON 99
08-18-2014 - ST The Kern County Coroner's Office has identified a man who was killed when a truck he was riding in hit the center divider on northbound Highway 99. Fifty eight year-old Rafael L. Sandoval died at the scene south of Sandrini Road around 4:15 this morning after the pickup clipped a big rig trailer and went into the divider.
BPD: WOMAN, 65, SHOT IN DOMESTIC DISPUTE
08-16-2014 A woman has been shot in northeast Bakersfield in what police are calling an apparent case of domestic violence. It happened just before 6:30 Saturday morning in the 3000 block of Catalina Drive. That's in a neighborhood off Auburn and Oswell. Lt. Joe Mullins says the 65-year-old victim was taken to a hospital with injuries described as major. A man was detained at the home.
TENTATIVE DEAL REACHED IN BUS STRIKE
08-15-2014 - ST The Golden Empire Transit board of directors will hold a special meeting at its headquarters Saturday after reports that both sides reached a tentative agreement. The board will hear what happened in a daylong negotiating session Friday with the Teamsters union representing more than 200 striking drivers and mechanics. The strike has been going on since July 15th.
KERN COUNTY RANKS HIGH IN OIL PRODUCTION
08-15-2014 - ST A report from the publication, "Drillinginfo" ranks Kern County as the top county in the nation for oil production. Kern Economic Development Corporation President Richard Chapman says nearly 400-million barrels per day are pumped out of the ground. "If we were comparing our production to states, we would be fourth or fifth in the country." Chapman says McKenzie County in North Dakota is in second place, with 235-million barrels produced per day. Once the extraction of Monterey Shale is perfected, production could go even higher.
TWO FIRES, TWO INJURIES
08-15-2014 - ST City firefighters had to rescue two people from separate fires just blocks apart in Central Bakersfield. Battalion Chief Dan Brown says the first fire was on H Street, north of 3rd Street this morning, where a person had to be hospitalized with burns over 80 percent of their body. "We were in the overhaul stages when we noticed smoke coming from a structure about a block up the street." Brown says a person was suffering from smoke inhalation at that fire near 4th Street. He says the fires are under investigation, but they are not connected. Combined damage is estimated at $125,000.
SENTENCING IN ELDER ABUSE CASE
08-15-2014 - ST A woman who took a plea deal in an elder abuse case has been sentenced to a year in jail. Tara Camp was given the term, plus three years probation after her mother was found in her Cottonwood Road home in a room filled with dog feces, trash and rodents. Camp is not allowed to own any dogs that might pose a danger to probation officers.
STREET CLOSURE COMING
08-15-2014 - ST Construction workers will be closing P Street at the Highway 58 overpass in the evenings, starting Sunday night, and continuing through Thursday night. Workers will be removing supporting scaffolding from the bridge that is being used to close the gap between east and westbound lanes.
ROAD RAGE IN THE HIGH DESERT
08-15-2014 - ST A person who was a passenger in a car traveling on Highway 14 in Rosamond received major injuries when someone in another vehicle opened fire. The victim's vehicle passed the gold Chevy SUV Thursday near Dawn Road. The SUV sped up and someone inside it fired four rounds from a shotgun, hitting the 48-year-old passenger. The victim was taken to Antelope Valley Hospital.
DEPUTY GETS MISDEMEANOR FOR TWO DEATHS
08-14-2014 - ST-SuzG A Kern County Sheriff's deputy has taken a plea deal in a crash that killed Daniel Hiler and Chrystal Jolley on Norris Road in Oildale. Defense attorney David Torres says John Swearengin had one of two 2012 vehicular manslaughter charges dropped, and a gross negligence enhancement dropped on another, making it a misdemeanor. "My client will receive three years' summary probation, and on top of that, he will have to begin at least 480 hours of community service." Torres says the judge refused to allow an earlier disciplinary report against Swearengin to be admitted into evidence, and he planned to argue the victims played a role in their deaths by being intoxicated and wearing dark clothing when they crossed the street at night. Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood is planning an administrative and disciplinary review of Deputy Swearengin's actions on the night of the accident, but says it's important to remember the accident on Norris Road near Diane Drive affects three families and his investigation will be thorough. "We have to look at this objectively. This is a tough case." Swearengin was speeding to a call without his lights or sirens while Daniel Hiler and Chrystal Jolley were pushing a motorbike across Norris Road. Their families got more than $8-million in settlements with the county, but say they are outraged that Swearengin will not serve time in jail.
DRIVERS SAY "NO" TO CONTRACT PROPOSAL
08-14-2014 - ST-SuzG Golden Empire Transit administrators and the Teamsters union representing striking bus drivers and mechanics are back to square one after drivers rejected a proposal to end the strike. Spokesperson Gina Hayden describes the offer that was voted on, today. "A three percent increase for one year. It would have been an extension of the existing contract, and they voted it down 161-19." The union had moved from a four percent raise to three percent, while GET moved from 2.5 percent to three percent, but the sticking point was over the length of the contract. The GET board wanted a one-year deal, while drivers wanted a total of nine percent over three years. The strike began July 15th.
PAROLEE WANTED FOR ATTEMPTED KIDNAP, ASSAULT
08-14-2014 - ST-SuzG Police are looking for a man accused of beating and trying to kidnap his ex girlfriend. 35-year-old Sergio Hernandez, who was released from jail under prison realignment, went to the woman's home on August 3rd and dragged her by the hair towards his vehicle while kicking her. Her current boyfriend chased Hernandez away.
LAW ENFORCEMENT ON THE HUNT FOR DUI DRIVERS
08-14-2014 - ST Kern County law enforcement agencies are running saturation patrols ahead of the Labor Day weekend to target impaired drivers. The BPD, CHP and Sheriff's Office have put more units on the streets and highways and they will remain in force through September 1st. During the Labor Day weekend of 2012, 147 people nationwide were killed by drunk driving.
VISITING KERNVILLE? THERE'S AN APP FOR THAT
08-14-2014 - ST The Kernville Chamber of Commerce has rolled out an app that will let visitors check out events and discounts there. The free app, which works on Apple and Blackberry products will provide maps, phone numbers and locations and other services for the tourist spot near Lake Isabella.
KMC BILL PASSES CAPITOL HURDLE
08-14-2014 - ST A bill written by Bakersfield Assemblyman Rudy Salas that would give the Kern County Board of Supervisors the option of creating a hospital authority to manage Kern Medical Center has passed a unanimous Senate vote. The bill will now go back to the Assembly for a concurrence vote. If it passes, it will go to Governor Brown's desk for a signature.
DBA TO ROLL OUT PLANS FOR THE NEXT YEAR
08-14-2014 - ST The Bakersfield Downtown Business Association will be hosting an annual fundraiser at the Westchester next month to get funding for more beautification of the area. Some of the plans for next year include streetscaping to make the downtown district more pedestrian friendly. They are also looking at the idea of an outdoor amphitheater.
VIDAK PRAISES WATER DEAL
08-14-2014 - SuzG. Hanford State Senator Andy Vidak is praising his colleagues in Sacramento for crossing political lines to get a new water bond measure on November's ballot. Before Tuesday night's near-unanimous vote, Vidak said he's seen at least five other water bond measures fail over the years, despite the dire need for water in California. "I'm excited, and I also want to thank the Governor for listening to the Valley's bipartisan voice. I appreciate it." The Senate passed the $7.5-Billion water bond 37-0, the vote was 77-2 in the assembly. The governor signed the authorization that same night.
PARED DOWN WATER BOND HEADING TO VOTERS
08-14-2014 - SuzG. State lawmakers have reached a deal on a revamped water bond on the November ballot. The main sticking point had been the amount of money dedicated to new reservoirs and other water storage projects. Both parties agreed to a total of $7.5 Billion, with $2.7 Billion dedicated to storage.
COUNCIL WEIGHS IN ON BUSES AND BRICKS
08-13-2014 - ST The Bakersfield City Council heard from both sides of the Golden Empire Transit strike, with administrators telling them the economy hasn't grown enough to give the drivers the wage increase they want. Councilman Terry Maxwell advanced an earlier motion to make a change. "We should advocate to keep the Board of Directors that we have until such time as your strike is over." That motion was defeated, as was another motion that would have had Council-appointed GET Board members Norris Ledbetter and Howard Silver removed by the end of their terms. The Council also unanimously voted to refer the preservation of more than five-thousand engraved bricks and tiles at the downtown Centennial Plaza to the City's Community Services Committee. The Committee will come up with a plan by October on moving or repairing bricks that have become cracked on the uneven surface.
CONVICTED MOLESTER GETS HARD TIME
08-13-2014 - ST A 105 years to life sentence has been handed down to a Bakersfield man convicted of molesting three girls. Deputy D.A. Arthur Norris says the victims testified against Daniel Cruz about the 2013 assaults. "I know they were all extremely happy with the verdict and sentence. It took a lot of courage for each of them to come into court and talk about what happened to them." Norris says Cruz is a dangerous predator, and the sentence will see to it that he doesn't have his first parole hearing until the year 2103.
SETTING UP VETS WITH JOBS
08-13-2014 - ST The Army Reserve is helping Kern County petroleum and construction companies hire military veterans who are mustering out of service and looking for civilan employment. Formar Marine James Weiland says people who served in the armed forces bring something special to the job. "The core values of the armed services. You got leadership, safety. And then working as a team is a big thing, and that's what we have to do when we're drilling." The Public Partnership Initiative sends resumes from former servicemembers to various companies on request, and hiring and retention rates of those prospects are pretty high.
COMMUTE DELAY IN NORTHEAST
08-13-2014 - ST Construction crews will be closing the inside lanes of both directions at Highway 178 and Canteria Road to install traffic signals. The closures will be in effect Thursday and Friday from 6AM to 4PM. Drivers are being to plan ahead and expect delays.
SHERIFF'S OFFICE TO WORK WITH ICE
08-14-2014 - ST The Kern County Sheriff's Office is taking part in the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency's Victim Notification Program. The program will inform victims and witnesses of crimes committed by a criminal alien when that person will be released from custody.
COUNTY FIREFIGHTER SETS STATE STANDARD
08-14-2014 - ST Kern County Fire Prevention Engineer Anthony Romero has been recognized for his work on clamping down on unlicensed companies that provide fire safety services to Bakersfield businesses. Romero formed a task force in 2010 to come up with a plan to get various licensing agencies to go after violators in an even manner across the state.
NO APPEAL IN CIVIL CASE
08-14-2014 - ST The insurance group representing the Kern High School District has chosen not to pursue an appeal of a $1.5-Million civil judgement against the District. The judgement stemmed from a case where a teacher's aide at Independence High School found an autistic boy and girl naked from the waist down in a bathroom in 2009.
ANOTHER ARREST IN SOUTHWEST MURDER
08-13-2014 - ST A third person is jailed for a murder late Sunday night in southwest Bakersfield. Twenty-nine-year-old Eric Gonzalez is charged with homicide and conspiracy, but BPD says reports the suspects wore masks during the attack were false. Two teenagers were arrested Monday for the killing of 29-year-old Jonathan Saavedra Dean on Silver Dollar Way near Hosking Road.
POSSIBLE MOVEMENT IN GET BUS STRIKE
08-12-2014 - ST Negotiators for more than 200 bus drivers and mechanics who have been on strike for nearly a month and Golden Empire Transit administration met for several hours for an unscheduled meeting. GET spokesperson Gina Hayden says they met for most of Tuesday, and there's been a bit of movement. "Union officials agreed to take GET's latest offer to striking employees for a vote, without recommendation." Hayden says the proposal calls for a one-year, three percent raise, retroactive to July 1st. The drivers and mechanics will vote later Wednesday.
MORE FREFIGHTERS HEAD NORTH
08-12-2014 - ST Sixty five Kern County firefighters have been deployed to eight major wildfires burning in Northern California, providing logistical support and small strike teams. Captain Sean Collins says it's unusual to have so many large wildfires burning at once. "But it's not unusual for us to be able to support so many fires, or so many emergency incidents at once." Collins says the firefighters, who will be deployed for up to 14 days, represents about 10 percent of the Fire Department, but there are still enough personnel to handle a major wildfire if one breaks out in the county. Ten Bakersfield City firefighters have also been deployed to the Beaver Fire northwest of Yreka. Three engines with three firefighters each, and one Battalion Chief will work as a strike team at the fire which has scorched nearly 29,000 acres.
ENERGY RATES TO CHANGE FOR MANY IN KERN COUNTY
08-12-2014 - ST PG&E is changing the way they bill customers for power in Bakersfield. Spokesperson Katie Allen says rates became uneven during the energy crisis of 2000-2001, and the state mandated a change. "Today, many customers pay too much or too little. That's why we're working with the CPUC to level the playing field, so customers pay for what they get." says rates for people who use around one-thousand kilowatt hours should see a reduction of around $7.50, while people in the low-income CARE Program will likely see a nearly six dollar increase, as discount rates are being reduced.
TWO IN COURT FOR SETTING OFF IED
08-12-2014 - ST Two men accused of setting off acetylene-filled balloons that injured four people on the Fourth of July have entered not guilty pleas in court. Prosecutors say James Trino and Julian Elizondo ignited the balloons on Elizondo's property on the 19-thousand block of Stockdale Highway.
TAXES COMING DUE IN COUNTY
08-12-2014 - ST The Kern County Treasurer's office has announced that the deadline for paying unsecured property taxes is September 2nd. The bills are for items like farm equipment, boats, aircraft that are not attached to real estate.
BC GETS NEW STUDENT LIFE DIRECTOR
08-12-2014 - ST Bakersfield College has announced a new Director of Student Life. Dr. Nicky Damania is filling the position that that has been vacant since last year due to a resignation. Damantia held a similar position while he was at the University of Nevada, Reno. He will oversee student support services and engagement programs on the campus.
CROP REPORT SHOWS KC STILL GROWING
08-12-2014 - SuzG. The 2013 Crop Report shows Kern County is holding its own and still ranks second in agriculture production in California. Ag Commissioner Ruben Arroyo confirms we are starting to see some effects from the drought, but increases in some crops and prices offset losses in others. "Out of the whole big picture, we're kind of in the ballpark, you know, nothing spectacular or different about this crop report." Last year's crop is valued at $6,769,855,590, with grapes, almonds, milk, citrus and cattle as the top five commodities. Tulare has risen to top ag county in the state, while the drought has knocked Fresno County to third place.
HAPPY 85TH BIRTHDAY BUCK
08-12-2014 - SuzG. It was 85 years ago today that the man who founded KUZZ radio was born in Sherman, Texas. Buck Owens moved to Bakersfield in 1951, making it the base of his many musical and business endeavors, which included 15 number one country hits. He died suddenly in 2006, the night after playing for fans at the Crystal Palace. His birthday bash there tonight will feature local artists paying tribute to Owens.
TEENS ARRESTED FOR MURDER
08-12-2014 - SuzG. Bakersfield police have arrested two teenagers for killing a man on Silver Dollar Way and Hosking Avenue. Detectives used interviews and other evidence to track down the juveniles. Twenty-nine-year-old Jonathan Saavedra Dean suffered a gunshot wound to the head Sunday night but the motive for the killing is not clear.
SUPES TAKE SCALPEL TO KMC FINANCES
08-11-2014 - ST The Board voted to lay off as many as 36 employees at Kern Medical Center, which will save the hospital more than $2.5-Million per year. The layoffs would go into effect at the end of August or beginning of September, and would affect nurses, mental health workers and technicians. The Board had originally eyed cutting 51 positions, but hospital management told them that an increase in the number of patients and the previous closing of two departments has cut losses from $3-Million per month to about $549-thousand per month.
COUNTY SETTLES WITH FAMILY OF MAN KILLED IN SCUFFLE
08-11-2014 - ST Kern County has settled a civil suit with the family of former NFL player David Turner, who was killed during a confrontation with Sheriff's deputies at the Fastrip on Niles Street. County Counsel Theresa Goldner says the $1.8-Million settlement was reached after a federal jury found in the County's favor in three of four counts. "The jury hung 6-2, and hung up on whether or not the shooting itself was excessive force." Turner was stopped at the Fastrip in 2011, and began fighting with deputies. One of them shot Turner when his partner was hit on the head with a bag full of beer cans.
GET TO EXCHANGE PASSES DURING STRIKE
08-11-2014 - ST Golden Empire Transit is offering to replace bus passes that have gone unused during the strike. Spokesperson Gina Hayden says starting Tuesday people can turn in their partially used passes that they bought before the strike started. " If they have a 31-day pass, or a Summer Youth pass, we will replace those. But if they have a reduced fare pass, we cannot replace those yet." Hayden says people can mail them in, but once the strike is over, customers will be able to get them replaced at the transit centers as well. She says no new talks have been scheduled to end the strike, which started July 15th.
MAN SHOT IN SOUTHWEST IDENTIFIED
08-11-2014 - ST The Kern County Coroner's Office has identified a man who was shot in the head in southwest Bakersfield. Twenty nine year-old Jonathan Saavedra Dean's body was found Sunday night outside his car on Silver Dollar Way, near Hosking Road. Police say Dean was killed by four men in masks and dark clothing.
ARREST MADE IN MURDER CASE
08-11-2014 - ST A man has been arrested for the murder of a man found in south Bakersfield. Twenty one year-old Anthony Padilla is accused of stabbing Oscar Albert Simentel on August 2nd, and leaving his body in a vacant lot on Adam Street near South Union Avenue.
MAN STABBED BY GIRL IS SENTENCED
08-11-2014 - ST A man who was stabbed by the daughter of his girlfriend has been sentenced to two years, eight months in prison for assaulting the mother after taking a plea deal for possession of a gun. Manuel Hernandez was stabbed by the 16-year-old girl who came to the defense of her mother in June on Three Rivers Drive. The girl was not charged.
MAN CONVICTED IN PASSENGER DEATH
08-11-2014 - ST A man who caused his passenger's death when he ran from a County Sheriff's deputy in east Bakersfield has been convicted of second degree murder. Fredrico Anguiano fled from the deputy at Oswell Street and East Brundage Lane in 2013, and eventually crashed into the back of a flatbed truck, ejecting 26-year-old Guillermina Puentes.
BABYSITTERS ARRESTED, ACCUSED OF FELONY ABUSE
08-09-2014 A Bakersfield toddler is hospitalized with third degree burns from being put into a bathtub and left unattended. The adults, who police say were babysitting the one-year-old and two other small children, have been arrested on felony abuse charges. The other children were put into protective custody. It happened Friday afternoon at a home in the 3600 block of Ashe Road.
PLANE OVERSHOOTS RUNWAY IN SOUTHEAST BAKERSFIELD
08-08-2014 - ST A man from Nevada City, California escaped injury when he overshot the runway at the Bakersfield Municipal Airport and crashed into a fence on Watts Drive. Police Sergeant Joe Grubbs says 67-year-old William Newsom was low on fuel as he was headed south Friday and had to dodge construction equipment on the runway. "FAA will do the investigation. We don't do any investigations on airplane crashes," said Grubbs. Newsom had radioed Meadows Field to let them know about the problem, but picked the air strip on South Union Avenue because he didn't want to risk running out of gas over a populated area.
TRIPLE MURDER VICTIMS IDENTIFIED
08-08-2014 - ST The Kern County Coroner's Office has identified three people who were killed when at least two men broke into their northeast Bakersfield apartment. 23-year-old Junior Contreras of Ridgecrest, 22-year-old Daniel Watkins and 29-year-old Zephaniah Matthews of Bakersfield were shot Wednesday night. There is still no motive for the shooting.
OFFICER NAMED IN SHOOTING
08-08-2014 - ST Bakersfield Police have identified an officer who shot a man who tried to light a woman on fire after splashing gasoline on her in east Bakersfield. Nine-year veteran Aaron Stringer fired one round at 26 year-old Michael Dozer Wednesday at the TMP Gas Station at East Brundage lane and Mt. Vernon Avenue.
ROADWORK IN THE SOUTHWEST
08-08-2014 - ST Construction workers are grinding and re-paving a pair of intersections on Stockdale Highway. They are grinding down the surfaces at the Old River Road and California Avenuey intersections, and there could be traffic delays in all directions there until 10AM.
TEHACHAPI WINS PRIZE WORTH HOWLING ABOUT
08-08-2014 - ST The City of Tehachapi took home a $25-thousand prize in a contest to get a dog park built. The town took first place for the "Bark For Your Park" put on by PetSafe. The money will be put towards the design and construction of a park somewhere in the city limits.
GAS THEFT BUST
08-08-2014 - ST Police have arrested three juveniles for stealing gas from parked cars in a southeast Bakersfield neighborhood. Officers noticed a pickup driving in a suspicious manner early Friday morning near Monitor Street and Adelaide Avenue. When the truck was pulled over they found four five-gallon jugs full of gas along with a hose and funnel.
GET THOSE BIKES READY FOR SCHOOL
08-08-2014 - ST The CHP, Kern County Public Health Services, and Bike Bakersfield will be hosting a bike festival at Siemen Park on Redlands Drive at 10 O'clock this [sat] morning to give school kids a chance to get their bicycles ready for the coming school year. Bike mechanics will be there to make sure everything is in working order, and there will be a mini health fair, too.
MAN THROWN FROM CAR IN HIGHWAY WRECK
08-08-2014 - ST A Bakersfield man was taken to a hospital with major injuries after losing control of his vehicle on Highway 99 and was thrown from the car. The CHP says 40-year-old Filipe Mendoza was headed north near the Stockdale Highway exit early this morning when he hit the guardrail, then spun out before being thrown out. Alcohol appears to be a contributing factor in the crash.
ARRESTS IN JULY 4TH IED BLAST
08-08-2014 - SuzG. Two men have been arrested for an explosion that hurt four people on July 4th, one seriously. Sheriff's spokesman Ray Pruitt says they picked up 49-year-old Jim Trino Friday at his home on Starbright Drive in northwest Bakersfield. "Possession and manufacturing of an explosive device, detonating an explosive device causing great bodily injury, and being an ex-felon in possession of ammunition." The men were burned when two large balloons filled with acetylene exploded prematurely. The second suspect, 44-year-old Julian Elizondo, owns the Stockdale Hwy property where the IED was set off. Kern County Fire reported the incident last week.
SHAFTER MAN KILLED ON MOTORCYCLE
08-08-2014 - SuzG. A 22-year-old Shafter man has been killed in a motorcycle crash on southbound Interstate-5, five miles south of SR-46. The CHP says Marcus Martinez was riding his Suzuki GSXR 600 faster than the 70mph speed limit last night when he hit a van near the Eastside Canal overcrossing, and was then run over by a semi.
BUS STRIKE ROLLS ON
08-07-2014 - ST Talks between the Teamsters union representing more than 200 striking bus drivers and mechanics and the Golden Empire Transit District have broken off, and no new meetings are scheduled. GET spokesperson Gina Hayden says the union rejected the administrator's offer of a two-percent increase this year and a 2.5-percent raise next year during Thursday's meeting. "At this point, the employees have not had an opportunity to vote on any offers since the strike started." The union is seeking a four-percent raise in each of the next three years.
DEPUTIES LOOK FOR LEADS IN TRIPLE MURDER
08-07-2014 - ST Kern County Sheriff's investigators are looking for at least two men who forced their way into an east Bakersfield apartment and killed three men and seriously wounded another, but there are few leads so far. Spokesman Ray Pruitt says the men who opened fire in the apartment on Quincy Street near Virginia Avenue Wednesday night are very dangerous. "We have interviewed witnesses at the scene, and in the area. But at this point, we have not been able to identify any suspects." Pruitt say there were two children and an adult woman in the apartment at the time of the shooting, but they were in another room, and were not hurt.
DISCUSSING GROUNDWATER SAFETY
08-07-2014 - ST Around 100 people attended a day-long meeting at the Kern County Supervisors chambers to discuss groundwater monitoring in areas where hydraulic fracturing is used to extract oil. Western States Petroleum spokesperson Suzanne Noble says today's session was meant as a way to hear people's concerns about fracking. "They'll probably have another public forum such as this, but there will be more of those technical experts to communicate to the public what they are looking at, and why." Noble says the ideas for new regulations would be proposed in January, 2015, then be fine-tuned before they go into effect in 2016.
BAKERSFIELD MALL EVACUATED
08-07-2014 - ST Valley Plaza Mall in south Bakersfield was evacuated and the City Fire Department got calls about smoke in one of the stores. Five engines and three trucks got to the mall this afternoon, and security was ushering customers outside. Firefighters found an air conditioning unit with a burned-out motor that was making the smoke. The all-clear was sounded about 40 minutes later.
RELIGIOUS ITEMS STOLEN FROM CHURCH
08-07-2014 - ST The Kern County Sheriff's Office is investigating a theft at a church in southeast Bakersfield. On June 30th, someone went into the Missionaries of Guadalupe Church on Rexland Acres Drive, and took a six-foot tall hooked Bishop's staff and three silver cups worth several thousand dollars.The suspects were seen fleeing the church in a white Toyota pickup.
COUNTY FIRE CHOPPER MAKES RESCUE AT WILDFIRE
08-07-2014 - ST Kern County Fire's Helicopter 408 had to rescue a firefighter battling the French Fire near Madera after he was hit by debris. The chopper was called to an area of very steep terrain just after 2 AM Tuesday, and rescuers had to use night vision gear. The firefighter from the Tahoe Inter-agency Hotshot crew was hoisted out and taken to a hospital with severe injures.
BEAR SIGHTING IN MOUNTAIN NEIGHBORHOOD
08-07-2014 - ST The Kern County Sheriff's Office is warning people in the Tehachapi area about a bear sighting. They got a call this afternoon from a person in the Golden Hills neighborhood who saw a 250-pound black bear with a white chest in their back yard. The bear was last seen running back into the woods.
OUTLETS AT TEJON OFFICIALY OPEN
08-07-2014 - SuzG. The first outlet mall to be built in Southern California in more than 10 years has opened at the base of the Grapevine in Kern County. At last night's preview party, Tejon Ranch spokesman Barry Zoeller said the 71 shops and eateries will add millions to the tax base. "From job generation to supporting other services, to providing an image boost to the southern San Joaquin Valley, we think the Outlets at Tejon really hits it on all cylinders." Shopper Dianne Dalzell agreed there was a big need for more local choices. "In recent years I have hardly spent anything because there wasn't anything available." Last night's event raised $100-thousand for several local charities. While there are still a few shops not quite ready for business, the retail space is 100-percent leased. The grand opening for the Outlets at Tejon was this morning.
MASKED GUNMEN KILL THREE
08-07-2014 - SuzG. Sheriff's detectives say a deadly late night shooting in east Bakersfield happened when several masked gunman burst into an apartment where there were adults and children. Sheriff's Lt. Dean Marshall says three people were killed. Deputies were dispatched to the 1800 block of Quincy for a report of shots being fired. Deputies arrived and four victims suffering from gunshot wounds." The fourth victim survived and is in stable condition, but it's not clear if any of the children were hurt. Deputies would like anyone with information on the attack to call them.
MAN KILLED AFTER TRYING TO LIGHT WOMAN ON FIRE
08-06-2014 - ST-SuzG The man who was shot and killed by a police officer as he tried to set a woman on fire in east Bakersfield was 28-year-old Michael Dozer. BPD Sergeant Joe Grubbs says the officer fired one shot when Dozer charged at him Wednesday at the TMP Gas Station on Mount Vernon Avenue and East Brundage Lane. "There are two investigations that typically take place with these. An administrative investigation, and a criminal investigation. Both of those investigations are taking place simultaneously." Witnesses told police said the woman had been filling her tank when Dozer used the hose to spill gas on the ground and on her, and then tried to use a lighter. The woman's kids were in the car.
ANOTHER DAY OF NEGOTIATIONS SET FOR BUS STRIKE
08-06-2014 - ST Negotiators for more than 200 bus drivers and mechanics and Golden Empire Transit have scheduled a second day of talks for Thursday after meeting for two hours. GET spokesperson Gina Hayden says even though there was no agreement, she was optimistic about today's talks. "We are certainly hopeful, and do believe that progress being made, and that we may be on the way to a resolution." Hayden says GET administration is still proposing a two-percent increase this year and a 2.5-percent raise next year, plus some other components, which she declined to describe. The union wants four-percent raises in each of the next three years.
MAN SENTENCED FOR FATHER'S DEATH
08-06-2014 - ST A Bakersfield man convicted of killing his father during what defense attorneys describe as a manic episode has been sentenced. Geoff Murphy was sentenced to more than 53 years for shooting James Murphy in 2013. Murphy had been hitting his mother when his father grabbed a gun and shot him. Murphy took the gun from him and turned it on his father.
MAN SENTENCED IN CONNECTION TO UNBORN CHILD DEATH
08-06-2014 - ST A McFarland man who pleaded no contest to the death of his girlfriend's unborn child when he beat her has been sentenced to 200 hours of community service and will have to undergo domestic violence counseling. Prosecutors were not able to determine the exact time of death of the three-month-old fetus when Noe Landeros hit the woman in April.
SUSPECTED ARMED ROBBERS CAUGHT
08-06-2014 - ST Police have arrested two men in south Bakersfield who approached a man and tried to rob him using a sawed off shotgun. The suspects were spotted in a pickup near White Lane and South H Street, Tuesday night. 23-year-old James Alva was arrested during the traffic stop, and the passenger, 23-year-old Luis Reyes was arrested after a short foot chase.
CAUSE OF DEATH IN OIS
08-06-2014 - ST The Coroner's report confirms a woman who was shot by deputies on Union Avenue when she pointed a fake handgun at them was killed by their return fire. Forty-two-year-old Maria Rodriguez was struck multiple times the morning of August 3rd, as she stood on top of large rock pile at a business. The deputies are on leave during the investigation.
BPD LOOKING FOR CIGARETTE THIEVES
08-06-2014 - SuzG Bakersfield police are looking for the other suspects who helped steal $3,000 worth of cigarettes from the Circle K store on Auburn Street. They arrested 25-year-old Royce Robinson on O Street last month after getting a tip. Officers are also looking for links to similar crimes in the area.
BUS STRIKE NEGOTIATORS TO HEAD BACK TO THE TABLE
08-05-2014 - SuzG Golden Empire Transit says it will go back to the negotiating table Wednesday morning with the Teamsters Union, which represents more than 200 striking bus drivers and mechanics. GET Spokesperson Gina Hayden says the district is limited in what it can offer, because of a state requirement on passenger fares. "If we don't make that 20 percent ratio, what happens, is: the state reduces our funding by that same amount." GET is offering raises of two-percent and 2.5-percent this year and in 2015. Tuesday is Day 22 of the strike.
ACCIDENTS SNARL CALIFORNIA AVENUE
08-05-2014 - ST A Bakersfield woman was taken to Kern Medical Center with major injuries after rolling her SUV on California Avenue in front of the Hobby Lobby. Police Sergeant Joe Grubbs says was speeding west on California Tuesday afternoon when she over-corrected and slammed through a tree and was thrown from the vehicle. "It doesn't look like she was wearing a seat belt. The condition of the seat belt, it's not damaged." Grubbs says he doesn't know if drugs or alcohol were a factor. California was closed in both directions in the area for a couple of hours. Westbound traffic on California Avenue was snarled near the Highway 99 offramp when an RV pulling a trailer knocked down a power pole Tuesday around the same time as the rollover accident two blocks away. The RV was trying to turn onto Easton Drive from California when it snagged a guy wire and yanked the pole down.
NATIONAL NIGHT OUT AGAINST CRIME
08-05-2014 - ST Several hundred people got a chance talk with Bakersfield Police officers and see some of the equipment they use during the annual National Night Out Against Crime. Nine year-old Bell Murrillo had just climbed out of the SWAT Team armored vehicle last night, and was having a ball. "I've seen like the ambulance, Probation, BPD, SWAT Team, and Bomb Squad." The CHP, Red Cross and other groups were also there, offering tips on safety and crime prevention. The BPD had short classes in the City Council chambers covering identity protection and neighborhood watch programs.
TOUGH SENTENCE FOR GANG MEMBER
08-05-2014 - ST A gang member convicted of shooting at a Bakersfield Police car while it was chasing a stolen car has been sentenced to more than 59 years in prison. Walter Kai Williams fired four shots at the car in 2013 as it passed him on Haley Street, near East California Avenue.
THEFT RING BROKEN
08-05-2014 - ST Police have arrested three people with gang ties after they were seen casing the Home Depot on Mount Vernon Avenue, and it turns out they were wanted for at least 15 thefts at other businesses. One of the suspects was out on AB109 post-release supervision. The Sheriff's Office is also looking to see if they are connected to any crimes in their jurisdiction.
DEPUTIES MAKE ARREST IN EQUIPMENT STING
08-05-2014 - ST The Kern County Sheriff's Rural Crimes unit have arrested a Buttonwillow man after setting up farm equipment as bait to clamp down on thefts in farm and oil fields. Deputies tracked the items to the home of 49-year-old Roy Henning. He was arrested for grand theft, possession of stolen property and vandalism.
BPD GETS MONEY FOR BOOZE STINGS
08-05-2014 - ST The Bakersfield Police Department will be conducting several alcohol stings through the end of June, 2015, after getting a grant that will let them use minors ad decoys. During the operations, the decoys, under supervision, will go into liquor stores and see if employees or customers will sell booze to them, which is a misdemeanor.
ATTEMPTD CARJACKING NEAR TAFT
08-05-2014 - ST Kern County Sheriff's deputies have arrested a man who tried to carcjack another man in Dustin Acres. A woman used a ride-sharing app to ask for a ride from Bakersfield to Dustin Acres July 29th. When he went to bring her back, 22-year-old Cesar Aguilar-Sanchez got into the front seat and punched the victim, who was able to take the keys and run for help.
FIREFIGHTERS HELP BATTLE NOR-CAL WILDFIRES
08-04-2014 - ST The Kern County Fire Department has sent 59 people and 10-15 engines out of the county after a request was made for more resources. Captain Eric Coughram says dry conditions have sparked a raft of wildfires. "With the lightning strikes that have come through California, we've assigned resources out into the Northern California fires." Coughram says the firefighters have been sent to the Eiler Fire in Shasta County, as well as the French Fire near Madera, the Little Deer Fire in Siskiyou County and the El Portal Fire near Yosemite. The Bakersfield Fire Department is also sending firefighters to three of the fires in Northern California. Battalion Chief Danny Brown says 18 people and four engines have been sent to the Little Deer Fire in the Klamath National Forest, the French Fire near Madera and the El Portal Fire near Yosemite. "Each crew that's out, they can be out for three weeks before they'll come back for rehab, and we'll switch them out with somebody else, if need be." Brown says there are still enough firefighters to cover emergencies in the city.
BPD SEEKS SEX OFFENDERS
08-04-2014 - ST A sex offender who failed to check in with his Parole officer after being released from the Kern County Jail is wanted by Bakersfield Police. 34-year-old Christopher Earl Pettenger is described as 5'8", 170 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes. Police are also looking for a high-risk sex offender who removed his ankle monitor. 52-year-old Robert Dale Schriver's whereabouts are unknown. He's described as 5'8", with a thin build, with brown hair and eyes.
BRICKS TO GET ANOTHER LOOK
08-04-2014 - ST The Bakersfield City Manager's office says the memorial bricks and tiles at Centennial Plaza outside Rabobank Arena are getting another look. Spokesman Chris Huot says they are kicking around the idea to level parts of the Plaza, where cracked bricks can be a walking hazard. "The ultimate outcome of that is: the bricks and tiles will not be removed as part of that process." Huot says one of the ideas would be to temporarily remove broken or cracked bricks to smooth the ground underneath, then put the brick back. He says they will take their suggestions to the City Council at their August 13th meeting.
BODY FOUND IN FIELD ID'd
08-04-2014 - ST A man whose body was found in a dirt field off Adams Street near South Union Avenue in Bakersfield has been identified. 28-year-old Oscar Albert Simental's death is considered suspicious by the BPD. Simental was found early Saturday morning, and investigators are hoping the public will provide a few leads.
FAMILY OF LOCAL FOOTBALL PLAYER PLANS SUIT AGAINST UNIVERSITY
08-04-2014 - ST Attorneys for the family of a former Foothill High School football player is planning on filing a lawsuit stemming from his death while practicing at the University of California. Ted Agu complained of dizziness, loss of balance and shortness of breath during a conditioning run in February. He collapsed at the team's medical facility, then taken to a hospital where he died.
CITATIONS FOR BAD FOOD
08-04-2014 - ST The Kern County Sheriff's Rural Crime unit cited two people for trespassing and selling sub-standard quality food in a Wasco field where farmers were working. A health inspector determined Friday that 600 pounds of food food, which included homemade seafood and ice cream products had been adulterated and processed improperly. There were no illnesses.
INMATE DEATH IN TAFT
08-04-2014 - ST An inmate at the Taft Correctional Facility's low security housing area was found not breathing during a head count. 54-year-old Stephen Merry of the United Kingdom was found Sunday morning in his cubicle. Foul play is not suspected, but an autopsy will be performed to determine his cause of death.
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