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VOTING MACHINES TESTED AHEAD OF ELECTION
10-30-2014 - ST The Kern County Grand Jury helped the County Auditor-Controller's office with the testing of touch-screen voting machines ahead of next Tuesday's election. Grand Jury Foreman Dennis Elliott says a dozen members selected five machines at random and ran them through a mock election cycle. "We did the hand marking of the ballots. Then we took those same ballots and entered that information into the machine with the Auditor. Then the machine printed out the results, and we compared whether the same information was on the machine that was on the ballots." Elliott says the machines were chosen from different precincts, and all worked as they should.
BRICK PROJECT SET TO BEGIN
10-30-2014 - ST The City of Bakersfield is getting set to move forward with a project to replace memorial bricks at Centennial Plaza in front of the Rabobank Arena. People who think their bricks have been previously removed after being laid in 1998 are being asked to call Caleb Blaschke at the City Manager's Office to get more information about the replacement process.
LATEST ON TAFT SHOOTING TRIAL
10-30-2014 - ST Court proceedings in the Taft High School shooting case was closed to the media as potential jurors were interviewed by the judge and attorneys from the D.A.'s Office and Bryan Oliver, who's being tried on an attempted murder charge. The Bakersfield Californian reports the jurors were questioned Wednesday about a five-page selection questionnaire written by both sides.
BOMB SQUAD CALLED TO EAST COUNTY
10-30-2014 - ST The Kern County Sheriff's Bomb Squad were called out to Weldon, southeast of Lake Isabella after they got a report of a suspicious device near the intersection of Kelso Valley and Kelso Creek Roads. Deputies found an explosive and possibly unstable device Tuesday morning, and rendered it safe at the scene. They are now trying to figure out where the device came from.
RIOS, SALAS BELIEVE THEY'RE BEST FOR 32ND
10-29-2014 - AP A former teacher and Delano city councilman says he's ready to replace incumbent Rudy Salas for the 32nd District assembly seat. Republican Pedro Rios says his education, agriculture and civil service experience sets him apart from Salas. He also says Salas has done poorly in Sacramento. "Mr. Salas had two years, he was given an opportunity to represent the district, and he failed completely to do his job." Salas disagrees, saying that he did well during his first term in Sacramento. "We're trying to get more jobs, more water, better schools and safer neighborhoods for everybody here in the central valley. When you look at my record, I've been able to deliver on all four of those promises." Both ran against each other in 2012, with Rios falling to the Democrat by about 4,000 votes.
GOV. BROWN VISITS ARVIN
10-29-2014 - AP Gov. Jerry Brown used a 15-minute speech in Arvin to prop up Democrats running for state and national offices, and also to champion Proposition 1 and 2. Brown told the voters at the Arvin Veterans Memorial on Wednesday that both propositions would bring needed water to Kern County, and would free up money for future infrastructure improvements. "Save water, save money - yes on Proposition 1, yes on Proposition 2. It's pretty clear." Proposition 1 would set aside $7.5 billion in bonds for water infrastructure, while Proposition 2 would establish a fund to pay down state debt.
GOV. BROWN NOT AWARE OF ARVIN GAS LEAK
10-29-2014 - AP During his speech on Wednesday in Arvin, Gov. Jerry Brown said he was not aware of the gas leak that displaced eight families along Nelson Court roughly seven months ago. He said, after he was questioned about the response by an Arvin resident, that he would talk to the state's division of oil and gas after his speech. The rupture displaced nearly 40 people in March, prompting the county to ask the state for help confirming that the affected homes are safe.
GAS LEAK TRIGGERS EVACUATIONS IN TEHACHAPI
10-29-2014 - AP The leak of a half-inch gas line forced the evacuation of two homes in Tehachapi. The Southern California Gas Company says the rupture was found at around 2 p.m. Wednesday near J and Green streets after a utility worker hit the line while working on a telephone pole. The evacuation order was lifted later that evening.
BIG RIG CRASH CLOSES PORTIONS OF I-5
10-29-2014 - AP The California Highway Patrol is investigating after a late-night semi crash sparked a two-acre brush fire and closed multiple lanes of Interstate 5 between Fort Tejon and Grapevine Loop. It happened just after 11 p.m. Tuesday. Officers believe the big rig may have been traveling as fast as 100 mph when it wrecked.
KCSO: MAN WANTED FOR MAIL THEFT, USING ATM CARD
10-29-2014 - AP Sheriff's deputies are looking for a person who pried open several mailboxes in Lamont and stole a debit card. They say the mail was stolen near Segrue Road and Main Street between Oct. 4 and 5. The robber later withdrew money from the victim's bank account while using the card at an ATM. You can view a photo of the suspect here. (Photo: Kern County Sheriff's Office.)
DETENTIONS DEPUTY TAKES PLEA DEAL
10-29-2014 - ST A former detentions deputy assigned to the Lerdo Jail has pleaded no contest to a charge of conspiracy to bring tobacco, marijuana and meth into the jail. Leroy Romero is scheduled to be sentenced in November. Four other charges were dropped in exchange for the no contest plea.
ASSESSOR CANDIDATES CLAIM TO BE RIGHT CHOICE
10-29-2014 - AP One of the candidates for Kern County's soon-to-be-vacant assessor-recorder position says his 25 years of appraisal experience makes him the right choice for the job. Jon Lifquist says there isn't much that he hasn't done at the assessor's office over the last decade. "I knew Jim Fitch was retiring, so I just kind of looked around, trying to figure out who might run for the office, and I couldn't find anybody that's more qualified than myself." But Lifquist's opponent, Bakersfield city councilperson Russell Johnson, says says Lifquist doesn't have the right experience. "If it requires making a $7.7 million mistake with the wind energy roll, or a $27.7 million mistake with the oil roll, then he's right - I don't have enough experience making those mistakes." Lifquist says Johnson has no experience as an auditor, and wouldn't know how to make the most simple appraisal. Both appear on the ballot for the position next Tuesday.
GROUP WORKS TO GET LATINO VOTE OUT
10-29-2014 - AP Representatives with the Latino Interactive Voter Education Project were in Bakersfield trying to entice Latinos in Kern County to get to the polls ahead of next week's mid-term election. Activist Dolores Huerta established the group, and says there are several key issues on the ballot regarding healthcare, the budget and water that everyone should pay attention to. "All of these things that we're voting on are very important and it affects every single one of us. If we stay at home and don't vote, we're really kind of cutting our throats." Tuesday was the deadline to get absentee ballots into the county election office. Registered voters can vote at their polling place on Nov. 4.
BPD: PACKAGE THIEF AT LARGE
10-28-2014 - AP Police are looking for a man who stole a package from the doorstep of a home on Bradley Avenue southwest of Bakersfield. Using surveillance footage, they say 36-year-old Samuel Marabella took the box off the front porch in August. Marabella also has an outstanding warrant for a burglary that happened at a video game store earlier this month.
INDIAN WELLS FARMING MAY SEE FARMING RESTRICTIONS
10-28-2014 - AP Supervisors are a step closer to implementing a partial ban on new agriculture in the Indian Wells Valley in an effort to stop the strain on nearby aquifers. Supervisors gave unanimous approval Tuesday to a plan that would disallow nearly all new farming in the area. The approval opens up a public comment period for the next 45 days before a formal vote can be cast.
12 PROSTITUTES ARRESTED IN STING
10-28-2014 - AP Bakersfield police and Kern County sheriff's deputies have arrested 12 suspected prostitutes during a sting along Union Avenue. It happened Friday night. Police say the prostitutes were looking for Johns near bars and liquor stores along the thoroughfare that cuts through downtown.
GOV. BROWN IN ARVIN WEDNESDAY
10-28-2014 - AP Gov. Jerry Brown will stop in Arvin to campaign for himself and Democratic state senate hopeful Luis Chavez. Brown's office says the governor will hold a press conference at the city's veterans memorial building at around noon Wednesday. Chavez is trying to unseat incumbent Andy Vidak. Brown is trying to fend off the challenge of Republican banker Neel Kashkari.
CONDORS BEAT REIGN
10-28-2014 - AP A third period goal off the stick of defenseman Jonathan Narbonne was just enough to push the Bakersfield Condors past the Ontario Reign yesterday night, 3-2. Left winger Josh Winquist also notched a goal and an assist in the win. The Condors will play the Reign at Rabobank Arena again this Saturday night at 7 p.m.
ARRAIGNMENT POSTPONED FOR COUPLE WHO FLED THE COUNTRY
10-28-2014 - ST The arraignment for a couple accused of killing their three-year-old foster daughter has been continued to next Monday so they can hire attorneys. Serenity Gandara's grandmother, Rene Maese, says she's frustrated by the delay granted to Alberto and Carla Garcia after they were extradited from Mexico after the fled their southwest Bakersfield home in 2010 with their biological children. "I really do want to hear, I mean like, I want to start this. They've had already four years of hiding. Why can't we just start?" Prosecutors say the couple were arrested by the FBI in 2012, but fought the extradition process. The toddler died of severe blunt force trauma.
DO-OVER IN JURY SELECTION
10-28-2014 - ST The judge in the Taft High School shooting case has dismissed an entire panel of potential jurors after an outburst from the mother of a student in the classroom where Bryan Oliver opened fire, seriously wounding Bowe Cleveland. A new group of 80 was pulled this morning because the woman, who was part of the panel, may have been heard in the hallway Monday, berating Oliver inside the courtroom for making her son's life what she called "a living hell".
BC PRESIDENT GETS HIGH HONOR
10-28-2014 - ST The National Council for Marketing and Public Relations is recognizing Bakersfield College President Dr. Sonya Christian as this year's "Pacesetter of the Year" for the Western U.S. Dr. Christian was cited for her work in making BC a model community college, using historical records and technological innovations.
SCHOOL WORKS TO QUELL MRSA FEARS
10-28-2014 - ST North High School administrators say they are taking steps after two students were diagnosed with Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA infections. pamphlets discussing hygiene have been handed out to students and classrooms and common areas where the students have been have been disinfected. MRSA is contagious only through direct contact.
LOCAL FABRICATOR FINED BY FEDS
10-28-2014 - ST The Environmental Protection Agency has fined Kern Steel Fabrication in east Bakersfield more than $57,000 for improperly managing hazardous waste. During an investigation in 2012, the EPA found that the business didn't properly close or label about 30 containers holding waste paint, used oil and batteries.
BURGLAR. CHILD MOLESTER WANTED
10-28-2014 - AP A felony arrest warrant has been issued for a registered child molester and burglar who failed to check in with his probation officer. The warrant was issued for 19-year-old Alejandro Delgado on October 2nd after he broke another law. Delgato is described as a 5-foot-6. 150-pound Hispanic male with black hair and brown eyes. He is known to frequent the 5700-block of Leo Street and the 600-block of 6th Street in Bakersfield. You can view a photo of Delgado here.
RENTERIA, VALADAO SPAR ON WATER
10-27-2014 - AP 21st District congressional incumbent David Valadao says his Democratic challenger, Amanda Renteria doesn't have a plan to fix the water shortage in the valley, and would likely do whatever she could to restrict water usage. "She has never, ever addressed what the cause is for the situation on why the water is going out and how she plans on fixing that - and that's a huge flag for people who plan to vote here next week." Renteria denies the claims, and says Valadao has done little to bring water to the valley. She says Valadao's signature water bill that he introduced in the house has several flaws, and will likely remain stalled in the senate. "We don't have a single drop of water, or a single dollar for building the dams and infrastructure that's needed, and we do need someone that does know how to bring people together and actually knows how to move legislation forward." The 21st congressional district includes northwestern Kern County and portions of Bakersfield.
COUPLE WANTED FOR FOSTER CHILD DEATH EXTRADITED
10-27-2014 - AP A couple wanted for the death of a three-year-old foster child has been returned to Bakersfield after being arrested in Mexico. 31-year-old Alberto and 30-year-old Carla Garcia fled their southwest home after Serenity Gandara died there in 2010 from blunt-force trauma. Both face murder and child cruelty charges.
NO CHARGES IN IN-CUSTODY DEATH
10-27-2014 - ST/AP An independent investigation into the in-custody death of David Silva in east Bakersfield after a struggle with Kern County Sheriff's deputies shows there is not enough evidence for the U.S. Attorney's Office to recommend prosecution. Sheriff Donny Youngblood says his internal investigation and another by the District Attorney's Office showed that there was no wrongdoing in the 2013 incident. "The reason I invited the FBI in was not to prove me right. It was to let the public have a more transparent view of what occurred out there." An autopsy showed Silva died from hypertensive heart disease at Kern Medical Center. He also had amphetamine, methamphetamine and a muscle relaxant in his system. The legal counsel representing Silva is not happy with the decision to not file charges against the officers involved in the struggle. Daniel Rodriguez, the civil attorney representing the family of David Silva, says he's disappointed, but the decision still doesn't change much. "The decision by the U.S. Attorney's Office not to prosecute for whatever reason, will have absolutely zero effect on our civil case." The 33-year-old Silva died at Kern Medical Center after the encounter, which involved batons and the use of a canine unit.
MOTORCYCLIST DIES FROM CRASH
10-27-2014 - AP A 61-year-old Bakersfield man is dead after being hit by a car while riding his motorcycle on the city's southeast side. It happened Saturday night near South Union Avenue and Garden Drive. Patrick Gilmore was rushed to Kern Medical Center where he later died.
TWO CRITICALLY HURT IN MCFARLAND SHOOTINGS
10-27-2014 - AP McFarland police are investigating a pair of weekend shootings that they believe may have been gang-related. The first shooting happened at California Avenue and Second Street on Friday, while the second happened just a couple blocks north near 1st and Harlow streets on Saturday. Both victims are hospitalized at Kern Medical Center in critical condition.
CONDORS SOAR ON IMPRESSIVE GOALTENDER PLAY
10-27-2014 - AP Goaltender Aaron Crandall turned away 23 shots to help the Bakersfield Condors secure a 3-0 shutout road win against the Ontario Reign. Left wing Josh Winquist also notched two goals in Sunday's victory. The Condors play the Reign Tuesday at Rabobank Arena, with puck-drop scheduled for 7 p.m.
WIENERMOBILE STOPPING IN BAKERSFIELD
10-27-2014 - AP The Oscar Meyer Wienermobile will be making several stops throughout Kern County and Bakersfield this week. The iconic, hot dog-shaped bus will be stopping at the All Saints Anglican Church pumpkin patch on Gosford Road from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, then will make the trip to the Kern County Museum on Chester Avenue from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. this Thursday. Friday, the Weinermobile will be stopping at the dachshund races in Lake Isabella from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, the vehicle will be making two stops: The Kern County Food Bank on Feliz Drive from 8 a.m. to noon, then the Ronald McDonald House on 34th Street from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
JURY SELECTION A STEP CLOSER IN TAFT HIGH SHOOTING CASE
10-27-2014 - ST The judge in the Taft Union High School shooting case has imposed a gag order for the duration of the trial. The prosecution and defense attorney for Bryan Oliver submitted a questionnaire to the judge, who will then hand them out to potential jurors when selection begins. The defense claims Oliver opened fire in the classroom in 2013, seriously wounding one student after being bullied.
TRIPLE MURDER IN DELANO
10-27-2014 - ST Three people found by Delano Police who were shot to death inside a car have been identified. Officers responded to a report of a traffic accident Saturday at Fremont Street and 7th Avenue. Ricardo Valenzuela, Shawn Michael Pantoja and Alberto Juan Gonzalez, all 19-year olds from Delano, were pronounced dead at the scene.
PLANE CRASHES NEAR RIDGECREST
10-24-2014 - AP The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating a deadly single-engine plane crash in the mountains near Ridgecrest. Martin Hernandez with Kern County Fire says it happened just after 10 a.m. Friday. "It crashed about two miles northwest of Randsburg, and, basically, it was a double fatality." Hernandez says the plane, which was registered to a Mojave flight school, was carrying an instructor and a student. Their names have not been released.
PEREZ: NO REASON FOR ARVIN MEETING
10-24-2014 - AP The Kern County Board of Supervisors chairperson says there wasn't a reason to meet Thursday with eight Arvin families displaced by a Petro Capital Resources gas leak back in March. Leticia Perez says she opted to cancel the scheduled meeting after talking with the families. "We didn't need to meet. There wasn't a whole lot of new information to discuss. As we've done before, we've canceled because there wasn't a whole lot of new information." The meeting would have gone over the results of an independent test on whether gas is still leaking from the line. Perez wouldn't say what the test results results revealed, but did say she's optimistic that the families would eventually be assured that their homes are safe.
NEW CHIEF PROBATION OFFICER NAMED
10-24-2014 - AP Kern County Superior Court held a national search, but looked from within to hire its new chief probation officer. T.R. Merickel will enter the role in December, replacing the retiring David Kuge. Merickel had been directing the office's adult division.
POLICE LOOKING FOR DEPOSIT THIEF
10-24-2014 - AP Bakersfield police are looking for a woman accused of posing as a landlord and stealing a rental deposit check. They say the woman clamed to be the property manager of a building on Chester Lane and Elm Street, and cashed the check on Sept. 24. She is described as a 5-foot-3, 130-pound Hispanic female in her 20s or early 30s, and may be using the first name of "Monica." You can view a photo of the suspect here. (Photo: Bakersfield Police Department)
POLICE RAID CHOP SHOP
10-24-2014 - AP Police have arrested a 27-year-old man for running a chop shop out of his east Bakersfield home. James Quair was jailed on multiple charges after police found a stolen car in his garage on Bates Avenue, north of Virginia Avenue. A second suspect, 20-year-old Gabriel Garcia, was already jailed on unrelated charges.
MAJOR GAS LEAK SOUTH OF BAKERSFIELD
10-24-2014 - ST A tractor working in a field southwest of Bakersfield pierced a natural gas line, triggering some evacuations and orders to shelter in place within an eight square mile area surrounding Houghton and Wible roads. PG&E spokesperson Katie Allen says they were able to cut the gas supply to the 30-inch gas line nearly two and a half hours after it was punctured this morning. "Repairs should last 48 hours. Once those are done, we will be working to ensure exactly what happened here." Allen says the line is one of two main transmission lines that supplies gas for most of the state. At its peak, it was releasing one million cubic feet of natural gas per hour. Sheltering orders were lifted after noon, Friday. The Kern County Superintendent of Schools office says students from Panama Elementary School were bused to Berkshire Elementary as a precautionary measure after the rupture, but none of the kids were in danger. After lunch today, most of the kids were taken back to the school. Parents picked up around 500 students from Berkshire.
CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON NEW INTERCHANGE
10-24-2014 - ST A new interchange at Highway 99 and Hosking Avenue is under construction, which will open up south Bakersfield and ease traffic at Panama Lane. Former Congressman Bill Thomas says that part of Bakersfield is a prime location to give the economy a boost. "We're going to provide that on and off, and entrepreneurs are going to provide that reason for getting on and off." The Thomas Roads Improvement Project build will cost $20.7-Million and is scheduled to be completed by late 2015.
VIGIL HELD FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIMS
10-24-2014 - AP The Alliance Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault partnered with the First Presbyterian Church of Bakersfield for a candlelight vigil paying tribute to women affected by domestic violence. Carolann Wooten with the alliance says Thursday night's event downtown had a special message attached to it. "We came together as a community - victims, survivors, people who work in business, and the faith community - to make a stand against violence against women." Pastors representing three area churches were in attendance to comfort current victims and pray for past victims.
ANNUAL BUSINESS EXPO HELD DOWNTOWN
10-24-2014 - AP Roughly 150 vendors and caterers turned out to the downtown Rabobank Convention Center for the 24th-annual Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce Business Expo. Melissa Rossiter with the chamber says Thursday's event provided a valuable opportunity for businesses in attendance to get to know each other and potential customers. "It's extremely important to the local business community. It allows businesses to network with other businesses and promote their products and services." Rossiter says just about every Bakersfield industry was represented Thursday in front of two-thousand potential customers.
"ROAD RAGE" BLAMED FOR WRECK
10-24-2014 - AP Police believe road rage may have led to a two-car crash in southwest Bakersfield, pinning one of the victims in her car. It happened just before 7 p.m. Thursday just west of the intersection of Wilson Road and White Lane. Eyewitnesses say one of the drivers was in an argument with another driver just before the wreck.
CITY FIELDS HUD SPENDING RECOMMENDATIONS
10-24-2014 - AP The city of Bakersfield is turning to its residents, trying to figure out how to spend millions in federal Housing and Urban Development funds over the next five years. Community development director Douglas McIsaac says Thursday's public forum at the downtown Hall Ambulance Community Center allowed the city to gauge how to best spend the $4.6 million it gets annually from the agency. "Neighborhoods are important - they want to see more investment in affordable housing, and jobs creation and youth centers." The information will be used in a plan that will be presented to city council in May.
ELEMENTARY STUDENTS WATCH ECLIPSE
10-24-2014 - AP The Kern Astronomical Society helped Franklin Elementary students view an uncommon sight in the sky. Franklin teacher Walter Albrecht says the kids used special technology to view Thursday's partial solar eclipse, where the moon passed in front of the sun. "For safety reasons, we have special telescopes and viewers that the students can use to see it, because they can't look at it directly - it'll hurt their eyes." Albrecht says the phenomenon is visible in Kern County every five or seven years.
RABOBANK ARENA NAMING RIGHTS EXTENDED
10-24-2014 - AP The city-owned Rabobank Arena in downtown Bakersfield will continue to be called "Rabobank Arena" under a 10-year contract extension signed between the city and the financial institution. The original naming rights contract was signed in 2005. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
B&GC TO ACCEPT ROBOTICS DONATION
10-24-2014 - AP The Boys and Girls Club of Bakersfield will accept a donation Friday to help continue its robotics program. The $1,500 check from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers will be put toward new robot kits and the salary of the club's technology coordinator.
WEEK DECLARED "RED RIBBON WEEK"
10-24-2014 - AP The assembly has declared the next seven days to be Red Ribbon Week in an effort to stop increasing drug abuse among school children. Assemblymembers passed a resolution making the proclamation with help from the Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs. Students and parents are being asked during the week to commit to living in a drug-free environment.
SMALL FIRE AT SEQUOIA NAT'L FOREST
10-24-2014 - AP Firefighters are trying to figure out what sparked a fire at the top of a giant sequoia tree that has spread to about three acres in Sequoia National Forest. The fire was discovered northwest of Solo Peak in Giant Sequoia National Monument. The U.S. Forest Service says no homes are threatened by the fire. All recreation areas will remain open.
SENTENCING IN DUI DEATH
10-23-2014 - ST A Bakersfield woman has been sentenced to three years in prison for causing the death of her passenger when she lost control of her car while driving drunk. Milessa Mavity is the cousin of Clayton Goldman, who was killed in the 2012 accident. She says she's not happy with the sentence given to Tessa Jennings this morning. "It's a huge injustice for somebody to be able to take someone's life and only have to face three years, and only 85 percent of the punishment." Jennings had a blood-alcohol content of .24 when she lost control of her car near Sidding Road and Highway 43 and slammed into a tree.
TEHACHAPI TO LOSE MANUFACTURING PLANT
10-23-2014 - ST General Electric is moving their wind turbine manufacturing operations out of Tehachapi to Pensacola Florida, which will affect 37 local jobs. GE spokeswoman Lindsay Theil says the move is not intended to reflect badly on the operation in Tehachapi. "When we look at the cost footprint, what really makes sense for us, is to streamline the operations to Florida." Theil says 14 jobs will remain in Tehachapi when the plant closes in November to support testing of new wind turbine development. The plant was responsible for building the machine heads and hubs of windmills that are used all over the western U.S.
CAUSE OF DEATH FOR A PRISONER A MYSTERY
10-23-2014 - ST The Kern County Coroner's Office says toxicology tests need to be done to determine how a prisoner at the Lerdo Pretrial Facility died. 50-year-old Reginald Hill of Bakersfield was found Sunday evening and taken to San Joaquin Community Hospital where he died.
15 ARRESTED IN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SWEEP
10-23-2014 - AP Sheriff's deputies have arrested 15 people in six Kern County communities on outstanding domestic violence warrants. The arrests were made Tuesday during the 12th-annual National Family Violence Apprehension Day. Sheriff's offices throughout the country are urged to take part in the nationwide sweep once every October.
FREEWAY IMPROVEMENT PACKAGE APPROVED
10-23-2014 - AP An $82 million freeway improvement package has been approved by Bakersfield City Council. The improvements are slated for Highways 58 and 99 over the next two years. Councilman Willie Rivera says, though the price tag may cause some sticker shock, the city is getting a good deal. "The bid we're actually approving this evening is actually significantly lower than what we originally budgeted. So, there's a tremendous amount of savings that we're realizing, which is good news." A $9.5 million construction management contract will push the final price tag over $90 million. The bid was expected to come back at over $100 million.
COUNCIL APPROVES POLICE FUNDING
10-23-2014 - AP The city of Bakersfield will spend around $2.4 million on new vehicles, equipment and personnel for the city's police department. Bakersfield City Council approved the additions during its meeting Wednesday night. 15 new officers, lieutenants and technicians will be added to the force using the money.
PLAZA BRICKS SAVED IN FOUNTAIN PLAN
10-23-2014 - AP About $270,000 will be spent to reconstruct the fountain at Centennial Plaza, with the aim of saving thousands of engraved bricks at the site. The city plans to install a new, above-ground circular fountain in front Rabobank Arena. The commemorative bricks will be set in mortar in various areas of the arena's plaza.
NWS: WINTER MOISTURE WON'T STOP DROUGHT
10-23-2014 - AP Meterologists with the National Weather Service say Kern County residents can expect average rainfall and slightly warmer weather this winter. Brian Ochs with the NWS office in Hanford says areas of the southern valley may actually receive slightly above-average levels of precipitation, but it still won't be enough to reverse exceptional drought conditions. "You'd probably be expecting about three inches between December, and January, and February, and March as well." Ochs also says mountain snowpack will also remain close to average.
FREE SAFETY DEVICES AT RED CROSS SEMINAR
10-23-2014 - AP The Kern County chapter of the American Red Cross says it will give away free smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, fire extinguishers and surge protectors to the first 50 families registered for a safety seminar this weekend at the organization's headquarters at Niles and King streets. They say 30 spots remain for the east Bakersfield event.
BAKKEN CRUDE TRANSPORT STOPPED IN SACRAMENTO
10-23-2014 - AP A fuel company has agreed to stop unloading Bakken crude trains in Sacramento after the city's air quality district mistakenly authorized the operation. Environmental law group Earthjustice claims the permit was given to Interstate Oil Company without a proper environmental review. The same group is also trying to stop North Dakota oil trains from entering Kern County.
OILDALE WOMAN SEXUALLY ASSAULTED
10-23-2014 - AP Sheriff's deputies are looking for a man who sexually assaulted a woman at knife-point at her Oildale home. It happened early Wednesday afternoon on Decatur Street west of North Chester Avenue. The victim was transported to an area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The suspect is described a six-foot, clean-shaven white male in his 20s that weighs approximately 180 pounds.
NEW REVEALATION IN TAFT SHOOTING TRIAL MOTIONS
10-22-2014 - ST The D.A.'s Office has gotten new records showing that a teen who opened fire in a Taft High School classroom reported being bullied nearly two years before the shooting. Public Defender Paul Cadman says prosecutors did their job in letting him know about the reports regarding Bryan Oliver after they came in Tuesday afternoon, but the school is in the wrong for waiting to release them. "It is an absolute outrage that the high school has been hiding these records. And I am very suspicious regarding the civil case that's occurring, the outrageous conduct of the high school." Deputy D.A. Mark Pafford says he's disappointed in the late release of the records in the Bryan Oliver case, but it won't change anything from a prosecution standpoint. He says no teabagging was involved in what he says was a fight. The judge also ruled that a video depicting a cartoon character cutting another one, then baking her internal organs into cupcakes, will be admitted. Pretrial motions are expected to finish Monday, with jury selection staring immediately after.
FARMERS CONCERNED ABOUT GROUNDWATER REGS
10-21-2014 - AP Kern County farmers say they're concerned about new regulations aimed at stopping what state legislators believe is the overuse of groundwater. Kern County Farm Bureau president and farmer Greg Wegis says, if a county-elected agency cannot figure out a way to replace used groundwater with water from other sources by 2020, the county's multi-million dollar agriculture industry will suffer. "If we cannot find new water supplies or ease environmental regulation, 12,500 jobs could be lost." Farmers discussed the regulations with a panel of groundwater and law experts at the Kern Ag. Pavilion on Tuesday.
PSYLLID QUARANTINE EXPANDED
10-21-2014 - AP The quarantine for the Asian Citrus Psyllid has been expanded to nearly 150 square miles in and around Bakersfield. The California Department of Food and Agriculture opted to expand the quarantine Tuesday. The pest, which can carry a devastating citrus greening disease, was recently found near Pumpkin Center and Rexland Acres.
CHP LAUNCHING SAFETY CAMPAIGN
10-21-2014 - ST The California Highway Patrol is conducting year-long a campaign on Kern County highways and some Bakersfield city streets in an effort to reduce the number of deaths related to impaired driving. The CHP says, from October of 2011 to 2012, there were 15 deaths and 288 injuries on county roadways.
JURY SELECTION UNDERWAY IN MURDER CASE
10-21-2014 - ST Jury selection is underway in a death penalty case where a man has been accused of killing his wife and mother in law in Oildale. Prosecutors say Robert Fuller shot Susan Sowders-Fuller and Sharon Cannon in 2009 while two children were at the home in the home on Plymouth Street, south of Roberts Lane.
MAN HIT BY TWO TRUCKS IN SW BAKERSFIELD ID'ED
10-21-2014 - ST A 31-year old Bakersfield man who was hit by two pickups in southwest Bakersfield has died two days after the accident. Pablo Antonia Metta was trying to cross Gosford Road, north of White Lane last Friday morning when he was struck. He was taken to Kern Medical Center, where he died of his injuries Sunday night.
CORONER: MAN HIT AT OILDALE INTERSECTION ID'ED
10-21-2014 - ST The Kern County Coroner's Office has identified an man who was hit and killed by a vehicle in Oildale as 55-year-old Alajandro Banales of Bakersfield. Banales was crossing the intersection of Roberts Lane and Sequoia Drive during the evening of Oct. 4 when he was hit. He was taken to Kern Medical Center where he later died.
WORKERS POUR NEW BRIDGE
10-21-2014 - ST Workers have poured 650 cubic yards of cement into a new bridge that will pass over Highway 178 at Morning Drive. Project manager Kris Budak says different agencies had to lay pipes and wiring inside the bridge before the concrete could be poured Tuesday. "We have PG&E gas and electric, AT&T, we have an East Niles waterline, and, really, the coordination between all the utilities - everybody's been working so well together that we're on schedule." Budak says once the bridge has set and hardened, they will work on pulling the support structure away. She says the project will be completed by the middle of 2015.
INDUSTRY MANAGERS MEET AT OIL AND GAS SUMMIT
10-21-2014 - ST Around 100 petroleum industry managers attended the West Coast Oil and Gas Awards Industry Summit at the Bakersfield Marriott to hear legislators talk about hydraulic fracturing, oil trains and the impacts of both on the state. Spokesman Daniel Creasey says Tuesday's event dealt with getting good information to the public. "It can be challenging to translate from a business environment... to the general public, and I think that's a challenge that the industry faces as a whole." Creasey says, using hard data, the message is getting out, but he also says it's an uphill fight against environmental groups that are adept at public relations work.
SUPERVISORS APPROVE ELECTRONIC DATA SYSTEM
10-21-2014 - SuzG Department heads from Kern County's public safety agencies got their wish on Tuesday from supervisors, who gave final approval to a $5 million electronic data system that lets them share important case files. District attorney Lisa Green said the current system that's been used for years won't even let them go paperless. "It's very outdated and outmoded, and we're very much in favor of having all of the criminal justice partners on the same page with the courts." The case management system from Tyler Technologies will be purchased with money that was set aside in the budget for information technology projects.
PUBLIC HEALTH: EBOLA OF NO CONCERN TO KERN COUNTY
10-21-2014 - AP The public health officer of Kern County says area residents shouldn't be concerned about catching the Ebola virus. Dr. Claudia Jonah says the virus, which has not been reported in California, can only be transmitted through direct contact with infected bodily fluids. "The general public, at this time, is not at risk. It's healthcare working taking care of infected patients that are at the high risk." Jonah says the current outbreak, which began after a man brought the viral infection to Dallas from Liberia, is actually the fourth seen in the U.S. and the first seen outside of a rural environment.
MAN CONVICTED OF CHILD ABUSE
10-21-2014 - AP A man has been found guilty of hitting and slamming his two-year-old son if front of his Ridgecrest home just over a year ago. Edward Czajka was convicted on a count of felony child abuse in Kern County District Court on Tuesday. Czajka faces up to six years in prison when he's sentenced in November.
$4.6 MILLION IN REIMBURSEMENTS NOT COMING TO COUNTY
10-21-2014 - AP Kern County says it's missing out on $4.7 million in Williamson Act tax reimbursements this year. The state owes the county $28.5 million since the reimbursement component was suspended in 2007. The act gives a property tax break to farmers who agree to not develop their land for other purposes.
BPD LOOKING FOR GAS STATION ROBBERS
10-21-2014 - AP Bakersfield police are looking for two people who stole cigars from a gas station. The two suspects are alleged to have robbed the Valero Corner Store on Gilmore Avenue and Buck Owens Boulevard during the night of Oct. 5. You can view a photo of both suspects here.
ROBBER HITS SW RABOBANK
10-21-2014 - AP Bakersfield police are looking for a man who robbed a bank in southwest Bakersfield. Sgt. Joe Grubbs says it happened just after noon Tuesday at the Rabobank at White Lane and Gosford Road. "He came into the bank, handed over a note demanding money and was given some money. He then left the bank, and was last seen northbound away from the bank." Grubbs says police arrived shortly after the robber left, and also says no injuries were reported. The robber is described as a 5-foot-5 or 5-foot-6 white male with dark brown hair and framed glasses. You can view surveillance photos of the suspect here and here. (Photos: Bakersfield Police Department)
SMOKE ALARM ALERTS EAST BAKERSFIELD FAMILY OF DANGER
10-21-2014 - ST A family in east Bakersfield was able to get out of a burning home after being woken up by a fire alarm. Kern County firefighters were called early this [tue] morning to the home on Kentucky Street near Lake Street and had the fire knocked down within nine minutes. Food left on the stove is being blamed for the fire, which caused $25,000 damage.
MAN FACES CHARGES FOR PRISON DRUG SMUGGLING RING
10-20-2014 - AP A man faces federal charges after prosecutors say he tried to smuggle synthetic marijuana into the Taft Correctional Facility for his brother. 44-year-old Steve Harris faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted. It is alleged Harris schemed with other people to bring spice into the prison for 41-year-old Trey Harris.
BORON BURGLARY YIELDS NINE ARRESTS
10-20-2014 - AP A investigation into a Boron burglary netted nine arrests. Robbers took food, furniture and personal items from a home on Ferguson Street in August. Seven were arrested for the burglary and credit fraud using information stolen from the home. Two were arrested after they were found using drugs at the home of one of the suspects.
CORONER NOT SURE WHY BABY DIED
10-20-2014 - AP The county coroner isn't sure why a four-day-old infant died in east Bakersfield over the summer. Aiden Bonds was found unresponsive at his home near Alta Vista Drive and Niles Place just before 9 a.m. on July 15. Sheriff's deputies are still investigating the incident.
AGENCY DISCUSSES JUVENILE JUSTICE
10-20-2014 - AP Members of the Kern County Network for Children focused Monday on the juvenile justice system and its effect on families during a two-hour discussion in downtown Bakersfield. Deputy public defender Teryl Wakeman says the legal process can be confusing for the parents of troubled teens, but also says elements of juvenile law and adult law remain the same. "If anyone has any questions, of if their kid is in trouble, they should contact a lawyer, they should contact the public defender's office - if they have a court date that's set, they should definitely contact us." Wakeman says juvenile delinquency is down in Kern County this year, but still remains a problem.
BPD: CITIZEN VOLUNTEER UNIT TAKES STREETS
10-20-2014 - AP The Bakersfield Police Department's citizen volunteer unit has taken the streets to help officers downtown. 34 volunteers have begun patrols in citizen volunteer vehicles, with the aim of leading police toward possible criminal activity. They will also help the public with directions and information about downtown buildings.
$3.6 MILLION IN CAP-AND-TRADE FUNDS TO FARMERS
10-20-2014 - AP The California Department of Food and Agriculture has awarded $3.6 million for farmers that will be put toward the installation of irrigation systems that reduce water and energy use. Over 90 projects will be funded throughout the state. The funds come from a cap-and-trade auction program.
DEPUTIES CHARGED FOR FIRING GUN
10-20-2014 - ST Two Kern County Sheriff's deputies are being charged with firing a gun in the Golden West Casino parking lot on Union Avenue in Bakersfield, then trying to conceal evidence of the shooting. Assistant D.A. Scott Spielman says Robert Patrick and Patrick Klawitter fired the gun in September and are being charged with a misdemeanor. "Both charges in this case can carry up to six months for the concealing of evidence, or up to a year for the grossly negligent discharge of a firearm." Spielman says if they are convicted, Klawitter and Patrick would serve their time in the Kern County Jail.
CHRISTMAS PARADE DEADLINE APPROACHES
10-20-2014 - ST The deadline for businesses, marching bands and non-profit agencies to enter a float in the 33rd Annual Bakersfield Christmas Parade is coming this Friday at 4:30 PM. Parade Coordinator Mira Patel says he expects the December 4th parade to run close to two hours. "We typically take about 100 entries. We're more than three-quarters of the way there, I would say. It's just a matter of getting the last-minute folks who can make it out." Patel says they are also looking for vendors to set up at eight locations on the parade route to sell food, hot chocolate and souvenirs.
TRIAL SET TO BEGIN IN TAFT HIGH SHOOTING
10-20-2014 - ST A teen accused of opening fire inside his classroom at Taft Union High School, seriously wounding Bowe Cleveland in 2013 has been assigned a courtroom for his trial, which is expected to last more than a month. Prosecutors and defense attorneys for Bryan Oliver are working on what will and won't be admitted during the trial, and the first potential jurors are scheduled to be interviewed Thursday.
POLICE LOOKING FOR STORE FLASHER
10-20-2014 - AP Police say they're looking for a man who exposed himself at a convenience store in southwest Bakersfield. It happened Oct. 12 near Wilson and Stine roads, but police were unclear about where exactly the crime took place. The suspect is described as a black male in his 20s with a slim build and braided hair. You can view a photo of the suspect here. (Photo: Bakersfield Police Department)
THREE INJURED IN BACKYARD DIGGING ACCIDENT
10-17-2014 - AP Three adults received moderate injuries after they cracked a glass container filled with a nerve poison while digging in their backyard in McKittrick. The three individuals arrived at Kern County Fire Station 21 just before 10 a.m. yesterday seeking medical aid. A Hazmat crew was able to remove the rest of the chemical from the yard.
TEEN WHO WRECKED JEEP AT LARGE
10-17-2014 - AP The California Highway Patrol is looking for a 17-year-old who wrecked his Jeep and ran from the scene north of Cuddy Valley Road, abandoning his passenger at the crash site with major injuries. The unidentified driver crashed on Scott Russell Trail early Thursday. The passenger was airlifted to Kern Medical Center.
DELANO SHOOTING VICTIM ID'ED
10-17-2014 - AP A man who was shot to death near Fremont Elementary School in Delano has been identified as 48-year-old Johnny Holguin. Holguin was found with multiple gunshot wounds near 13th Avenue and Clinton Street around 11:30 p.m. Thursday. Police are still trying to figure out who shot the man.
OILDALE INFANT FOUND DEAD
10-17-2014 - AP Sheriff's deputies are investigating after an infant was found dead in Oildale. 3-month-old Ryder Lambert was found unresponsive just after 5 o'clock in the morning Thursday at a home near Ray and McCray streets. The coroner's office is still trying to figure out what caused the child's death.
KERN CO. UNEMPLOYMENT STILL FALLING
10-17-2014 - AP Labor analysts say Kern County's unemployment rate fell another six-tenths of a percentage point in September to 8.9 percent. State labor market consultant Steven Gutierrez says growth is happening despite seasonal declines in agriculture. "We normally see agriculture go down this time of year, but what's helping is that we're seeing some good growth in major sectors." Gutierrez says the best growth is being seen in government and manufacturing. The county continues to have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the valley, but still trails the state average of 7.3 percent and the national average of 5.9 percent.
CAL/OSHA EBOLA REQUIREMENTS RELEASED
10-17-2014 - AP Cal/OSHA has released a series of requirements that aim to stop the spread of Ebola - if the viral infection were to be found in California. Juliann Sum, the agency's acting chief, says the guidelines were first adopted in 2009, and specifically address how workers can best protect themselves from the disease. "They will protect workers as long as people are aware of them. The guidelines that we're putting out are guidelines on how to understand these requirements and implement these requirements." The regulations urge healthcare, aviation, mortuary workers to wear proper protection and receive the correct training.
HONOR FLIGHT FUNDRAISER RIDE SET FOR SATURDAY
10-17-2014 - AP Motorcycle-riders in patriotic garb will venture from Oildale to Glennville on Saturday morning to raise money for Honor Flight Kern County. Over 200 bikers will begin their valley-to-mountain run at 8:30 a.m. near Arvin Street and North Chester Avenue. They aim to be in Glennville by noon.
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