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POLICE NAME SUSPECT IN MOTORCYCLE HIT AND RUN ACCIDENT
04-16-2014 - SuzG. ST Police have identified a suspect wanted for severing the leg of a 90-year-old motorcyclist in a hit and run crash in east Bakersfield as 33-year-old Juan Armando Cortez of Bakersfield. Sergeant Joe Grubbs says Cortez is wanted on several charges stemming from Monday's accident. "Felony hit and run, driving without a license, no proof of insurance, and an unregistered vehicle." Grubbs says they were able to follow a trail of debris and human tissue from the accident scene at East Truxtun Avenue near Miller Street to Dolores and Gage streets where an abandoned Dodge minivan was spotted. Click on the link to see Cortez' picture. Juan Armando Cortez
PAROLEE CAUGHT AFTER LONG CHASE
04-16-2014 - SuzG A failed traffic stop near Delano has led to the arrest of a parolee in east Bakersfield. Deputies say they lost track of 27-year-old Jose Ayon Navarro last night, but found him at near his house on Dolores Street, along with ammunition and three-quarters of a pound of meth. He's also charged with cutting off his GPS ankle monitor.
GOVERNMENT RESTS IN FARMER TRIAL
04-15-2014 - JL The government rested its case in the trial of Julie Farmer who is accused in the $30-million Crisp and Cole mortgage fraud scheme. The prosecution finished its case around 4:20 Tuesday afternoon. The defense says they plan to put Farmer on the stand and will begin their case Wednesday morning at 8:30.
FIRE DEPT ENDS OPEN BURNING
04-15-2014 - JL The Kern County Fire Department has issued a mandatory end to all open burning in the county. Issued Monday, the ban puts an end to burning earlier than usual because of higher than normal temperatures, low humidity and dry vegetation. Open burning normally ends in May.
THREE BUSTED FOR DRUGS IN FORD CITY
04-15-2014 - JL Three people from Taft were arrested on drug charges during a traffic stop at 4th and Ash Streets in Ford City. 29-year old Victor Alsept, 32-year old Michael Martin and 37-year old Amy Swartz were taken into custody early Monday morning and face charges including being under the influence, possession of a controlled substance and possession of paraphernalia.
LOCAL SHOPPERS WEIGH IN ON ECONOMY
04-15-2014 - JL KUZZ News spoke with shoppers at the Rosedale Costco and got their thoughts about the economy. Steve from Bakersfield says he's noticed the stores are fuller these days. "And it seems to me that people have a little more spendable assets than they did in the past, so I think things are on an upswing." Gallup says consumer spending stalled in March but remains above levels seen in previous years.
KERN'S ECONOMY DOING WELL
04-15-2014 - JL The latest Gallup Poll shows the nation's economy holding steady for the last three weeks, but how is Kern County doing? Most people surveyed by Gallup say things are getting worse, but Richard Chapman with the Kern Economic Development Corporation says the county's economy is growing at a moderate rate. "Now it's not as robust as 2012 and we had about 6% annual growth. Last year we had 3%,2013, so we're predicting probably 2 1/2, 2%." Chapman says manufacturing and renewable energy industries are doing well and construction continues to grow at a pace of 10 to 12 percent each year.
NO WORD ON HOW BAKERSFIELD INFANT DIED
04-15-2014 - JL The Kern County coroner is still waiting for further tests to determine the cause of death of a 1-month old infant on "O" Street near 40th Street in Bakersfield. Kailance Williams was found not breathing at the scene on Sunday morning around 8:30. Police say there were no obvious signs of trauma.
POLICE SEARCHING FOR ROBBERY SUSPECT
04-15-2014 - JL A man wanted for robbery and criminal threats is on the run from Bakersfield police. The suspect went into the Wal-Mart on Gosford Road March 16th and took a box cutter and a tire tube then took off. He threatened employees when they tried to stop him. He's described as Hispanic, 40-45, long black hair and a goatee.
INSURANCE DEADLINE LOOMS
04-15-2014 - JL It's not just tax day. Today also is the two-week extension deadline to sign up for health coverage through California's insurance exchange. Consumers who were unable to create an account or fill out an application because of technical problems on the Covered California website have until midnight to secure a health insurance policy and avoid a tax penalty.
COUNTY FIRE ADDS SOME COLOR TO THEIR TRUCKS FOR A GOOD CAUSE
04-15-2014 - ST The Kern County Fire Department will be doing its part to promote Sexual Assault Awareness Month by putting teal ribbons on all of its fire trucks. Chief Brian Marshall says they want to do what they can to help the Alliance Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault. "Even though we will only be having the ribbons on our fire trucks for a month, the cause doesn't end. We're bringing it to the forefront." The Alliance will be handing out teal ribbons and placing signs in businesses throughout Bakersfield in an attempt to show people who are suffering at the hands of another that help is available to them.
COUNTY FIRE TRYING TO SOLVE LAMONT FIRE CAUSE
04-15-2014 - ST The Kern County Fire Department is looking for the person who lit a fire at a dentist office in Lamont. Arson investigators say they want to question the person seen around the business on Alicante Avenue on April 8th. Anyone who has information on the fire is being asked to call 877-FIRE-TIP.
TAFT PROJECTS MOVING FORWARD
04-14-2014 - JL Local developer Geary Coats says a new hotel at Main and 6th Streets in Taft is close, and a contract with Dollar General has been secured. The Taft Midway Driller reports Coats also announced a new RV park during Monday's State of the City luncheon, and the return of a Taco Bell restaurant at a yet-to-be-announced location.
TWO AGENCIES GET HEALTH CARE GRANT
04-14-2014 - JL The Kern Economic Development Corporation and the East Bakersfield High Health Careers Academy won a $15-thousand grant to prepare local workers to fill health care positions in Kern County. The grant will be used to pay for medical equipment for academy students to practice treatments as well as to shadow professionals at Kern Medical Center.
KHSD APPROVES RAISES FOR TRANSPORTATION WORKERS
04-14-2014 - JL Transportation workers at the Kern High School District will be getting a 5 percent pay raise after board members approved the increase at a special meeting Thursday. About 200 bus drivers and shop employees will get a 1 percent increase this year and 4 percent next year. The District approved raises last Monday for teachers, supervisors and classified and trade union workers.
DRUG TRAFFICKING RING THAT RAN DRUGS THROUGH CENTRAL VALLEY DISMANTLED
04-14-2014 - JL Officers have dismantled a drug trafficking organization that sent narcotics smuggled in from Mexico through the Central Valley to communities across the United States. California Attorney General Kamala Harris says the bust included the arrests of 11 people. She says the group worked with street gangs to smuggle methamphetamine and cocaine through San Diego to the Valley and then distribute it to other states.
DELANO-AREA FUNERAL HOME HAS LICENSE PULLED
04-14-2014 - JL The license of a Delano-area funeral home was revoked after an investigation determined employees overcharged for funeral expenses. Lane Family Funeral Home's license and the license of funeral director Padraic C. Lane were pulled effective December 16th. The funeral home overcharged on several expenses for services for a family in January 2011.
ARRAIGNMENT POSTPONED IN TEHACHAPI ANIMAL ABUSE CASE
04-14-2014 - JL A court appearance was postponed for a Tehachapi Unified School District maintainance worker who allegedly gassed three cats in a fabricated kill box. Robert Hutton was set to be arraigned Monday but the D.A. in Mojave is still investigating and no charges have been filed. Hutton was arrested March 31st at Monroe High School after he told a Kern County Animal Services officer that he had killed the cats.
FARMER TRIAL CONTINUES
04-14-2014 - JL Julie Farmer plans to testify in the Crisp and Cole mortgage fraud case. Tuesday is Day Five of the trial and the government plans to wrap up its case by noon. No word exactly when Farmer will testify but the trial could end this week. The former third-in-command at Crisp and Cole is the only defendant in the $30-million fraud scheme who failed to take a plea deal.
BAKERSFIELD PAROLEE KEPT A WEEK AFTER HIS CASE DISMISSED
04-14-2014 - JL A 20-year-old Bakersfield parolee found dead in his jail cell in Alaska was being held even though his case had been dismissed more than a week earlier. The case against Davon Mosley was dropped March 27 after California authorities declined extradition. Mosley was arrested in Anchorage March 16 on a fugitive warrant from California after attacking family members with a machete. He died April 4.
CALTRANS AND BIKE BAKO ON SAME PAGE REGARDING BIKE IMPROVEMENTS
04-14-2014 - JL Caltrans is backing new designs to make bicycling and walking safer and easier, and local bike enthusiasts are on board as well. The new guidelines call for bike lanes to separate cyclists from traffic. Lauren Franconi of Bike Bakersfield says it compliments what the city of Bakersfield is planning. "The bike paths and the bike lanes, we are working very closely with the city planning department on that, and with Kern COG also." Kern COG finds funds for improvements to facilitate non-motorized transit and has adopted a Bicycle Facilities Plan which is a funding conduit for improvements in non-motorized transportation.
TAX RETURN DEADLINE LOOMS AT LOCAL POST OFFICES
04-14-2014 - JL Last-minute tax filers have few options when it comes to getting those forms postmarked before the deadline Tuesday. Bakersfield postmaster Lenore Menchaca says post office windows will remain open only until 5:00 pm for you to buy postage and mail your returns. "And the other option is going out to 3400 Pegasus Drive, and they will be open and accepting mail until midnight." But she says the windows at Pegasus will be closed at 5:00 pm just like every other post office branch. She says the drop boxes at Pegasus will be cleared every 30 minutes or so.
SUSPECT SOUGHT IN HIT AND RUN
04-14-2014 Bakersfield police are looking for the suspect in a hit-and-run accident that left a 90-year old motorcycle rider with a severed leg. It happened around 1:40 Monday afternoon at East Truxtun Avenue at Miller street. Sergeant Joe Grubbs says the driver of a 90's Dodge Caravan failed to stop at the stop sign on Miller. "Officers were able to follow an evidence trail to the 1100 block of Dolores Street where they located the suspect vehicle, however the suspect has not yet been located." 33-year old Armando Cortez was last seen wearing a light colored baseball cap, light colored shirt and dark pants.
GAS PRICES CONTINUE TO CLIMB
04-14-2014 - ST Difficulty in getting ethanol supplies to gas refineries that are switching to summer blends have increased the price of a gallon of regular gas in Bakersfield by 11 cents in the past week. Triple-A spokesperson Marie Montgomery says gas exports to other countries has increased, boosting prices throughout the state. "As a consequence, our supply of California gasoline is lower than it was maybe a few weeks ago." Montgomery says some refineries are also offline for routine maintenance, reducing production capacity as well. She says prices may level off after the Memorial Day weekend, but it's not a sure thing.
YOU CAN RELIVE A BIT OF WWII HISTORY THIS WEEKEND
04-14-2014 - ST An Icon of World War II will be flying over the skies of Bakersfield this weekend. The Memphis Belle B-17 bomber will be offering rides to the public at the Epic Jet Center. Pilot Bob Hill says the bomber was not a comfortable place for the crew. "Veterans were typically at minus 40 degrees Cecilius at altitude. That's why you see all the pictures of them wearing the fleece-lined suits, etc. You take your glove off, and it would be frostbitten within a minute." Flights cost $450. Hill says they will also offer rides in a P-51 Mustang for $1,595.
EARLY WEEKEND CRASH SNARLS TRAFFIC
04-14-2014 - SuzG It took nine hours to clean up Saturday's firey gas tanker crash on southbound 99 in Bakersfield that had cars backed up all the way from 7th Standard Road to Lerdo Hwy. It happened around 4am when the truck wound up on its side at the Hwy 65 overcrossing. The driver was pulled from the cab by witnesses and suffered only minor injuries.
A PREVENTABLE FIRE IN OILDALE
04-14-2014 - SuzG Hot BBQ coals are blamed for a fire that caused about $5-thousand worth of damage to a detached garage on Rench Road in Oildale, just off Norris Road. The flames were discovered around 10:15 Sunday morning, and firefighters say they briefly threatened a nearby home, resulting in a reinforced alarm.
INFANT DEATH UNDER INVESTIGATION
04-14-2014 - SuzG An autopsy is planned for a one month old baby who was found not breathing at an apartment on O Street at 40th Street in north Bakersfield. First responders say the Kailance Williams was deceased when they arrived around 8:30 Sunday morning, but there was no sign of foul play.
SHOOTING IN DOWNTOWN
04-14-2014 - SuzG An ex-felon is back in jail for attempted murder and having a gun, after a shooting at the Ink Bar in downtown Bakersfield. Police say the victim, 25-year-old Tony Stewart, suffered a non-life threatening wound early Sunday. Deputies arrested 48-year-old Robert Graham in Rosedale that same morning.
FATAL CRASH ON THE 58
04-14-2014 - SuzG One of the people who died in a rollover crash between a van and a pickup truck on Hwy 58 at Fairfax Road was a 20-year-old man who'd moved to Bakersfield. Yonadan Diaz Inga was one of three young adults in the truck that was hit by the van at high speed Saturday morning. That driver from Las Vegas also died.
MAN FOUND GUILTY IN EAST BAKERSFIELD MURDER
04-11-2014 - JL A Kern County jury found a man guilty of first-degree murder in the death of an 84-year-old Bakersfield woman. Margy Lou Licastro was stabbed to death with a knife from her own kitchen during a burglary in her Baker Street home in January 2012. David Webster was found guilty Friday of first-degree murder with a special circumstance. He'll be sentenced in May and could get life without the possibility of parole.
DEPUTIES CLEARED IN FATAL SHOOTING
04-11-2014 - JL Two Kern County Sheriff's deputies who shot a man after a chase after he allegedly pointed a gun at one of them were cleared of any wrongdoing. The Sheriff's office says the shots fired by Deputies Aaron Warmerdam and Jeffrey Kelley March 26th were within department policy. 41-year old Christopher McDaniel was killed after leading deputies on a pursuit on a stolen motorcycle and then pointing a handgun at Warmerdam.
STILL TIME TO VOLUNTEER FOR CLEAN-UP
04-11-2014 - JL The Great American Clean-up sponsored by Keep Bakersfield Beautiful happens in Bakersfield Saturday and organizers say it's not too late to volunteer. Spokesperson Jessica Felix says they already have 55 teams scheduled to clean up 40 locations around town, but they can use more help. "You can go to any Albertson's in Bakersfield at 7:30 in the morning. They're very welcoming of late adds for the volunteer side of things." The mission of Keep Bakersfield Beautiful is to engage people to take greater responsibility for improving the community.
WOMAN CHARGED IN ANIMAL CASE IN LEBEC
04-11-2014 - JL Charges have been filed against a Lebec woman for mistreatment of several animals at an abandoned home on Canyon Drive near Louise Way in Lebec. Maggie Kalar of Animal Control Services of Kern County says Debra Hjelm, also know as Debra Clowes, is accused of causing 25 cats and one dog to live in inhumane conditions. "There's a lot of trash and debris piled up, and it just wasn't the proper living conditions that we like to see or a conducive environment that we like to see animals living in when they're being cared for properly." Hjelm was arrested Thursday. Kalar says the animals will hopefully be adopted out.
WASCO MEN BUSTED ON DRUG CHARGES
04-11-2014 - JL Two Wasco men were arrested on drug charges after an investigation revealed they were involved in sales of methamphetamine. 46-year old Miguel Tapia and 49-year old Rene Olivo were taken into custody Friday morning after officers served a search warrant at a house on D Street near the Amtrak Train Station. Officers found meth and paraphernalia inside the house.
MAN KILLED BY TRAIN ID'd
04-11-2014 - JL The Kern County coroner has released the name of the man struck and killed by a train as he was walking on tracks northeast of Garces Circle. 50-year old Paul White of Bakersfield was killed Thursday morning near the Chester Avenue overcrossing. The engineer told detectives White didn't move when he sounded the horn and hit the brakes about a quarter mile away.
RESULTS OF IN CUSTODY DEATH INVESTIGATION RELEASED
04-11-2014 - ST The District Attorney's Office will not be filing criminal charges against Sheriff's deputies and CHP officers involved in the struggle that led to the in custody death of David Silva near Kern Medical Center. At a news conference today, D.A. Lisa Green said her office had thoroughly investigated last year's death. "The evidence convinces me that law enforcement personnel involved with affecting the arrest of Mr. Silva acted reasonably in using the amount of force that they ultimately did employ to affect the arrest." Green says they also reviewed evidence in an unreleased FBI investigation to help with their review. Silva's brother, Chris Silva was at today's press conference, and he says he's not satisfied with the District Attorney's investigation. "This opens up more questions. It doesn't define anything. They can't even talk about a hobble, the string still. So where are we going to be in the next year?" Silva says his brother was hogtied by the deputies, who tied his handcuffs to leg shackles while he was on his stomach. The Sheriff's Office denies hogtying was employed, but they did hobble Silva's legs at some point during the 12-minute struggle.
SENTENCING HALTED FOR MAN WHO PLEADED TO DV
04-11-2014 - ST Proceedings have been halted for a Bakersfield man who was supposed to be sentenced after his defense attorney asked for a competency hearing. Kristopher Lawless will be back in court in May to see if he will be sentenced on domestic violence and witness intimidation charges. Charges of beating and hitting a woman with a blunt instrument in 2012 were dropped as part of a plea deal.
ANOTHER PEDESTRIAN STRUCK BY TRAIN
04-11-2014 - SuzG A second man was killed around 8:00 Thursday night as he walked along the train tracks in Shafter, near Sunset Avenue. He's identified as 75-year-old Neal Wood of that town, but police don't know what led up to that accident.
OFFICER ASSAULTED DOWNTOWN
04-11-2014 - SuzG It took several Bakersfield police officers to subdue a man who was attacking his girlfriend last night on K Street near Chester Avenue, and then turned on them. They say 58-year-old Pedro Hernandez swinging a large flashlight and refusing to comply with orders. The AB109 parolee is charged with spousal abuse, assault on a peace officer and being on drugs.
SCHOOL OFFICIALS SAY THEY WERE IN THE WRONG
04-11-2014 - SuzG Administrators at North High School in Oildale are publicly apologizing to 30 students who were told to leave a senior rally because they weren't going to graduate. The Kern High School District says school leaders will visit every classroom to make amends, and the truancy guard who made the comments will be disciplined.
BAKERSFIELD MAN ARRESTED ON DRUG CHARGES
04-10-2014 - JL Kern County narcotic agents arrested a 58-year old Bakersfield man during execution of a search warrant at a house on E. 10th Street near California Avenue. Vernon Taylor was taken into custody Thursday after officers found 40 grams of heroin, a stun gun, and evidence that heroin was being sold from the home.
CALIENTE CRASH VICTIM ID'd
04-10-2014 - JL The Kern County Coroner released the name of the Caliente man who died in a head-on collision on Highway 178 at Kissick Bay at Mt. Mesa in the Lake Isabella area. 65-year old James Dardis Jr. died Tuesday after his car was struck by a car driven by 48-year old Theresa Bell of Lake Isabella who also died in the crash.
KERN COUNTY IN THE MIDDLE OF ALLERGY SEASON
04-10-2014 - JL Kern County is in the middle of allergy season and that means many people are still suffering watery eyes and runny noses. Dr. Paula Ardron with Kaiser Permanente in Bakersfield says most people think pollen from one particular type of tree is the culprit. "The almond orchards are not typically what cause the nasal allergies that people experience because they're too large and heavy to travel very far." Dr, Ardron says trees that have finer pollens such as Olive, Sycamore, and Maple are likely the cause of symptoms. She says Bermuda grass is also a big factor this time of year.
BAKERSFIELD MAN INDICTED FOR POINTING LASER AT CHOPPER
04-10-2014 - JL A Bakersfield man was indicted on federal charges of aiming a laser pointer at a Kern County sheriff's helicopter. 46-year old Timothy Wilson allegedly aimed a laser at the chopper several times on March 8th, causing the pilot to experience eye problems that lasted 30 minutes. The Kern County D.A. has also charged Wilson with drug offenses and resisting arrest.
POLICE LOOKING FOR ARMED ROBBERY SUSPECT
04-10-2014 - JL Bakersfield police are looking for a robbery suspect who entered the Go-Go Mini Mart on Wible Road at Planz Road and pulled a gun on the clerk. It happened April 1 around 9:30 pm when the man pulled the gun out of his sweatshirt and then took off with cash. He's described as black, 25-30 years old wearing a Bakersfield High Drillers sweatshirt.
PEDESTRIAN KILLED BY TRAIN
04-10-2014 - ST A man has been killed after being hit by a train northeast of the Garces Circle in Bakersfield. Police Sergeant Damon Youngblood says the man was walking on the tracks near the Chester Avenue overcrossing Thursday with his back to the train, which sounded its horn and started braking a quarter mile away. "They estimate that he was struck when the train was going approximately 46 miles per hour." Youngblood says they don't know whether or not the unidentified man heard the oncoming train. Traffic at 30th and M streets was blocked for about 2 hours while investigators went over the scene.
FUNDING FOR AG EDUCATION A STEP CLOSER TO REALITY
04-10-2014 - ST Bakersfield Assemblyman Rudy Salas has gotten approval from an education subcommittee to have more than $4-Million restored to ag education programs after Governor Brown cut them from the upcoming budget. Salas says Future Farmers of America students from Foothill High School and other schools told legislators how important the funding is. "Not just for the ag aspect, but also the leadership aspect." Salas says the Assembly Budget Committee will meet to talk about formally adding the Agriculture Education Incentive Grant program funding back to the state budget.
MYSTERY SURROUNDS BODY FOUND NEAR LOCAL PARK
04-10-2014 - ST The Bakersfield Police Department is investigating the death of a woman whose body was found in a car at Jastro Park. Sergeant Mary DeGeare says the car was parked at the corner of 18th and Myrtle streets this morning. "We got the call at 6:51. Some women that were walking in the park saw her slumped over inside the car." DeGeare says there were no obvious signs of trauma on the body of the woman who she said was in her early 60's. An autopsy has been scheduled to identify the woman and determine her cause of death.
LAKE ISABELLA MORTUARY UNDER INVESTIGATION
04-10-2014 - JL Sierra Valley Mortuary in Lake Isabella will have to defend itself against complaints that its funeral director and owner failed to provide pre-paid burial services. The state Cemetery and Funeral Bureau is investigating two separate cases where clients transferred money into pre-needs funeral contracts to reduce their assets so they could qualify for Medi-Cal. Sierra Valley's attorney Barry Goldner says it's perfectly legal. "Pre-needs planning is one of the things that is recognized as appropriate." One complaint contends specified burial services weren't performed and the other states unused money remained in the pre-needs contract after the person was buried.
PUBLIC COMMENT ON THREATENED BIRD EXTENDED
04-10-2014 - ST The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has extended the public comment period on the status of the yellow-billed cuckoo that lives along the Kern River and other rivers around the country. Dams and river diversions have reduced the bird's habitat, causing the government to consider adding it to the threatened species list in October.
BPD INVESTIGATING TWO SHOOTINGS
04-10-2014 - SuzG Bakersfield Police say they have few leads to go on following a deadly shooting early this morning at a 7-11. Sgt. Martin Heredia says officers heard gunfire at 12:19am, and found two men who'd been shot outside the store on South H Street at Pacheco Road. "Both victims were transported to a local hospital. One of the victims has been pronounced deceased." Heredia says a dark vehicle may have been involved in the shooting, but they don't know what led to the killing. They're looking for any witnesses. Police are also investigating another shooting in a Pacheco Road alley near Monitor Street that happened about an hour before the 7-11 killing. The victim of the first shooting, a man, has multiple gunshot wounds but is said to be recovering. Officers do not think the shootings are related.
RALLY CALLS FOR SUPPORT OF TRUST ACT
04-09-2014 - ST A rally in front the of Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in downtown Bakersfield called on Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood to comply with the state's Trust Act. United Farm Worker spokesperson Marichel Mejia spoke at today's rally. She says undocumented immigrants arrested for minor offenses should not be placed on a 48-hour immigration hold. "We did meet with County Counsel Theresa Goldner last week, as well as Sheriff Youngblood. And they did assure us that they will be enforcing the Trust Act." Mejia says Governor Brown signed the Trust Act, limiting the state's cooperation with federal immigration authorities.
YOUNGBLOOD SAYS HE'S COMPLYING WITH TRUST ACT
04-09-2014 - JL Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood says he's doing his best to comply with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Trust Act which prohibits local law enforcement from detaining non-criminal undocumented immigrants for federal ICE authorities. Youngblood says he'll detain people that ICE wants in custody. "If they want him held because of serious offenses he has committed, either in Mexico or Israel or whatever other country you might want to imagine, and they request that we're gonna hold them, we're gonna hold them." Youngblood says he'll carve out an exception for individuals that ICE has deemed threats to public safety.
HEAD-ON CRASH KILLS ONE
04-09-2014 - JL A 35-year old man died during a crash on Eucalyptus Drive east of Morning Drive. The CHP says 38-year old Scott Mullen's Ford Taurus was weaving from side to side Wednesday and ran into a Chevy Suburban driven by 33-year old Vanessa Bonilla. The impact sent the Taurus into a utility pole and sheared it in half, ejecting passenger 35-year old Jason Harmon who died at the scene.
WASCO MAN CHARGED WITH RUNNING DRUGS OUT OF DAYCARE
04-09-2014 - JL Kern Narcotics Officers say a Wasco man was conducting a drug operation in the same house as a daycare. 24-year old Angel Soto was arrested Wednesday morning during the execution of a search warrant on F Street near Paso Robles Highway where officers found a half pound of methamphetamine worth $20-thousand. Neighbors complained about drug sales at the house.
SHERIFF'S OFFICE INVESTIGATING INFANT DEATH
04-09-2014 - JL Kern County Sheriff's investigators are looking into the death of a 4-month old infant on Jeffrey Street near Alta Vista Drive. Mia Rios of Bakersfield was found unresponsive around 12:30 Monday morning and was pronounced dead at Memorial Hospital. An autopsy was performed but the coroner's office is waiting for further tests.
DELANO MAN BUSTED ON SEVERAL CHARGES
04-09-2014 - ST Kern County Sheriff's deputies working with the Kern Narcotics Enforcement Team have arrested a man in Delano on gang, weapons and drug charges. Deputies served a warrant at a home on Almond Tree Way Tuesday, taking 32-year-old Jose Espinosa into custody. A search turned up four guns, evidence of pot sales and a large amount of cash.
POWER COMPANY WORKING TO KEEP COOL
04-09-2014 - ST PG&E is working to make sure the electrical grid will be able to handle the increased load that comes with rising temperatures in Kern County. Workers have been inspecting capacitor banks, making sure they are in good repair and will turn on to handle the extra voltage that will be needed as people fire up their air conditioners.
INVESTIGATION DEEPENS IN ALLEGED HITMAN CASE
04-09-2014 - ST A Delano man accused of two Kern County killings as well as seven other deaths in the state is being investigated in connection with even more murders. Prosecutors in Tulare County say 51-year-old Jose Manuel Martinez targeted victims in Kern, Santa Barbara and Tulare counties between 1980 and 2011. He was arrested on a murder charge in Alabama earlier this week.
GANG ARREST IN DELANO
04-09-2014 - ST Kern County Sheriff's deputies working with the Kern Narcotics Enforcement Team have arrested a man in Delano on gang, weapons and drug charges. Deputies served a warrant at a home on Almond Tree Way, Tuesday, taking 32-year-old Jose Espinosa into custody. A search turned up four guns, evidence of pot sales and a large amount of cash.
MAN SENTENCED FOR UNLAWFUL SEX
04-09-2014 - ST A man who pleaded no contest to having oral sex with someone under 14-years old has been sentenced to three years probation and given credit for more than a year's time served. Prosecutors say Randy Miller paid codefendant Anthony Searle-Harris $200 to have too girls perform the sex act on him in Oildale. Searles-Harris is expected to go to trial for furnishing the girls with drugs and alcohol.
CHP PLANS DUI CHECKPOINT
04-09-2014 - JL The California Highway Patrol will be cracking down on drunk drivers during a checkpoint this Friday between 6:00 pm and 2:00 am somewhere in Kern County. They'll be checking for drunk drivers as well as people who are driving with license violations. The CHP says checkpoints reduce the number of people killed or injured in alcohol-related crashes.
A BUSY MORNING FOR SUPERVISORS
04-09-2014 - ST The Board of Supervisors has approved spending $80-thousand to help fund a voucher program for spaying and neutering dogs. Animal Services boss Shyanne Schull says Marley's Mutts and Angel Dogs services will be helping to run the program, and they will be held accountable for costs. "They will be given clear outlines of what is expected, and they are reporting back to our department weekly, on the number of vouchers that have been dispersed. So, we will know exactly where they are at any given time." Each procedure costs $110, and the County will offer $30 dollar vouchers, while Marley's Mutts contributes another $30. In other news, Kern Medical Center has a new, two-week loan from the Board of Supervisors, which is needed to pay a huge bill to the state. KMC Financial Officer Sandra Martin outlined the totals on Tuesday. "Increasing it by $11-Million from $116.8-Million to $127.8-Million." The Board approved the loan after Martin and KMC CEO Russell Judd promised to have the note paid off within 14 days. KMC expects their overall debt will be down to about $1-Million by the end of this year, after cutting costs and bringing in more patients. The Board also approved Hall Ambulance's purchase of Kern Ambulance Service, expanding their business to the Wasco and Lost Hills areas. Hall will take over services on April 24th, and has offered jobs to all of Kern Ambulance's workers who successfully pass employment screening.
BURGLARY SUSPECTS BUSTED
04-08-2014 - JL Police arrested two burglary suspects, one of which was caught on a video recording by a witness. 50-year old William Kang is accused of busting the window of a car in the parking lot of In-Shape fitness club on White Lane March 20th. A witness took cell phone video of a man reaching into a car. Kang and Colleen Waits were arrested during a traffic stop Tuesday.
SUPES SAY NO TO POT SHOPS
04-08-2014 - JL Kern County Supervisors have said no to pot shops. Tuesday the board authorized County Counsel Theresa Goldner to initiate civil actions for injunction, reduction and civil penalties against ten marijuana dispensaries and their operators. A zoning ordinance prevents medical marijuana dispensaries from operating in unincorporated areas of the county.
TWO KILLED IN HEAD-ON CRASH
04-08-2014 - JL Two people died after a head-on crash on Highway 178 at Kissick Bay at Mt. Mesa in the Lake Isabella area. 48-year old Theresa Bell of Lake Isabella was pronounced dead just after 2:30 Tuesday afternoon at Kern Valley hospital after her car hit a vehicle an hour earlier driven by a 65-year old Caliente man who's identity hasn't been released.
HUNDREDS GATHER TO COMMEMORATE NATIONAL CRIME VICTIMS' RIGHTS WEEK
04-08-2014 - JL Coping with the loss of a loved one is a challenge for many Kern County residents who lost someone to violence or crime. This week is National Crime Victims' Rights Week, and Bakersfield paid tribute Tuesday with an event at the Liberty Bell followed by a march and candlelight vigil at St. Francis Church on H Street. Johnna Embrey lost her son Taylor last October to a drunk driver. "He has a three year old son and a wife, and his son is running around wondering where Daddy's at." President Ronald Reagan signed the Victims of Crime Act into law in 1984, the first law of its kind recognizing the rights of victims.
MANY YOUNG PEOPLE AREN'T INVOLVED IN THE WORKFORCE
04-08-2014 - JL Kern County's young people are an important part of the workforce, but new figures show many aren't working or even looking for a job. The Millennial Jobs Report from Generation Opportunity shows 15.5 percent of people ages 18 to 29 are unemployed. Spokesperson Corey Whalen says many industries need young people. "The workforce that is young now, not only can they not get jobs, but demographically there are more Baby Boomers so things are not looking good for young people in either of those regards." The unemployment rate for 18-29 year-old women is 13.1 percent.
TRIAL BEGINS FOR CRISP AND COLE DEFENDANT
04-08-2014 - JL Trial has begun for the sole defendant who did not take a plea deal in the Crisp and Cole mortgage fraud scheme. Former Operations Manager Julie Farmer claims she was unaware of the firm's criminal actions but faces conspiracy and fraud charges. A jury was selected and opening arguments were heard Tuesday. The scheme bilked lenders out of $30-million.
ROBBERY SUSPECTS SOUGHT
04-08-2014 - JL A robbery suspect who hit a store owner with her car and another woman are being sought by Bakersfield police on charges of robbery and assault with a deadly weapon. A woman went into the Mr. Fast convenience store on Brundage Lane west of Union Avenue March 20th and took some items, then took off in a brown Chevy Tahoe driven by the other woman. The pair are 20-30 years old, 5'6", 180 pounds. The license plate of the Tahoe is 6GXW165.
REWARD OFFERED FOR INFO ON KILLER OF 13-YEAR OLD
04-08-2014 - JL The Secret Witness Program is offering up to $5-thousand dollars for information that leads to the arrest of the person responsible for shooting a 13-year old Bakersfield boy to death. Cortez Batiste was killed April 1st on East Brundage Lane near Martin Luther King Boulevard. His body was found alongside the railroad tracks.
FIRE DAMAGES VACANT ACADEMY BUILDING
04-08-2014 - JL A fire that appears to be arson damaged two classrooms at a vacant school building on Bernard Street near Pico Avenue in northeast Bakersfield. Flames broke out Tuesday morning shortly after 8:00 a.m. and it took 20 Bakersfield Firefighters 15 minutes to put the fire out. The Heritage Academy has been vacant for years.
DELANO MAN FACING MURDER CHARGES
04-08-2014 - JL A Delano man faces several charges after police say he admitted to at least 30 murders, two of which were in Kern County. 52-year old Jose Martinez claims he was an enforcer for the Mexican drug cartels and was involved in the killings spanning several decades. Kern County DA Lisa Green says Tulare County will prosecute the cases since the murders occurred in Tulare, Kern, and Santa Barbara Counties. "I feel that these two cases, all of them but in particular these two, are in good hands." Martinez is accused of killing Kern County residents Jose Alvarado in 2007 and Juan Moreno in 2009.
SHED CATCHES FIRE IN OILDALE
04-08-2014 - JL An abandoned shed that was intentionally torched in the past caught fire on Wilson Avenue in Oildale and required over two dozen Kern County Fire personnel to put it out. The fire started around 10:00 Tuesday morning and quickly spread along a fence to a second abandoned building and an adjacent house. Damage is set at $20-thousand. Arson investigators are looking into the cause of the fire. Nobody was hurt.
INFANT DEATH INVESTIGATION IN THE NORTHEAST
04-08-2014 - SuzG Sheriff's detectives in east Bakersfield are investigating the death of a baby. The parents of the infant on the 400 block of Jeffrey Street near North Inyo Street were performing CPR when first responders arrived just after midnight. The child was not breathing, and was taken to a hospital, and later pronounced dead.
KERN HIGH DISTRICT APPROVES RAISES
04-07-2014 - JL The Kern High School District Board of Trustees approved raises for five groups of union workers. District representatives ratified collective bargaining agreements Monday that include a 1-percent raise this year and a 4-percent hike next year for workers in two classified unions as well as teachers, supervisors and trade union workers.
PESTICIDES FOR CITRUS CROPS OKAY
04-07-2014 - JL Local citrus growers will be able to use pesticides to protect their crops from insects beginning Friday, April 11th, for all citrus groves north of 7th Standard Road. The announcement from Kern County AG Commissioner Ruben Arroyo lets workers in the bee industry know that it's okay for growers to use pesticides toxic to bees after April 13th.
TWO NEW PRINCIPALS ANNOUNCED
04-07-2014 - JL The Kern High School District Board of Trustees has appointed two new principals. Gail Bentley will be the new principal of Stockdale High School and Terrie Bernardin will serve as principal of West High. Both served as assistant principals at Stockdale and West.
ARVIN RESIDENTS STILL WAITING TO GO BACK HOME
04-07-2014 - JL Arvin residents are still waiting to get back into to their homes after a flammable gas leak in eight homes on Nelson Court near Varsity Avenue. Residents have been living in hotels and apartments since March 18th. The primary vapor extraction system is in place and will run for another seven days before more canisters are placed inside the homes to monitor the gas levels.
BPD ADDS COLD CASE LINK TO WEBSITE
04-07-2014 - JL Bakersfield police have added a Cold Cases link on their website homepage. It's a connection to unsolved homicides representing 44 cold cases, with additional incidents set to be added in the future. BPD says they built the page in an effort to bring closure to the cases and the families of the victims. If you have any information on any of the cases, you're asked to contact BPD.
HOUSING MARKET DID WELL IN MARCH
04-07-2014 - JL Local real estate expert Gary Crabtree says the housing market did well for the month of March. Crabtree is with Affiliated Appraisers and issued his monthly Crabtree Report Monday which shows a 20 percent increase in closures of housing sales last month. "Our inventory is remaining quite stable in the vicinity of 920 active listings on the market." Crabtree says the market is gearing up for its peak season with some 520 properties entering escrow last month, a 17 percent increase over the month before. The average median price of a home in Bakersfield is $200 thousand.
SKIN CANCER RISK INCREASES WITH WARMER WEATHER
04-07-2014 - JL Warmer weather in Kern County means more people will be outside in the sunshine, and that brings a higher risk of skin disorders like basal cell cancer and melanoma. Dr. Ravi Patel from Comprehensive Blood and Cancer Center says it's fun to spend time in the sun, but there are dangers that come with with too much exposure. "One of the most common cancers unfortunately for us in the United States, and which is increasing year by year, is melanoma." Dr. Patel says melanoma can be more serious than other forms of skin cancer because it can spread to other parts of the body and cause serious illness and death. He recommends getting a skin check-up at least once a year.
OFFICER-INVOLVED SHOOTING JUSTIFIED
04-07-2014 - JL Bakersfield Police have determined the shooting of a suspect in a SWAT standoff in southwest Bakersfield was within department policy. Officers say 29-year old Miguel Villanueva holed up inside a garage at McDonald Way near Stockdale Highway March 14th after being stopped by CHP officers. A review board says four BPD officers were justified in shooting Villanueva, who remains in stable condition.
HELP FOR TAX PROCRASTINATORS
04-07-2014 - ST Around 20 percent of people still file their taxes by mailing them in, and with the April 15th deadline coming up, the state Franchise Tax Board has ways to help you. Spokesman John Barrett says one of the best features of the online Cal File system is the chat feature for people who have questions about filling out their forms. "It's probably just like what you use with your bank, or maybe your credit card company or cable provider. You can log on and chat directly with a FTB employee." Barrett says there is a section of frequently asked questions, as well as links to providers and forms that can be printed at no cost. Help can be found at ftb.ca.gov
CITY REACTS TO JUDGES RULING ON POT SHOP BAN
04-07-2014 - ST The Bakersfield City Attorney's Office is pleased with a judge's ruling that the right to ban pot shops is exempt from the state's Environmental Quality Act. Associate Attorney Richard Iger says given the push to legalize pot sales, he wasn't sure how the judge would rule last week. "We've stood by the position that we've always had a ban on medical marijuana in the City of Bakersfield. The judge basically upheld that reasoning." Iger says they have to get approval from the City Council in May to go after around 20 dispensaries in the city limits. He says they will only send cease and desist letters if they get complaints about the shops. Iger thinks that attorneys for the pot shops could appeal the ruling.
McFARLAND MAN FACES MURDER CHARGE
04-07-2014 - ST A McFarland man has been arrested for murder after his girlfriend's unborn baby died. Police say 31-year-old Noe Landeros was taken into custody Friday for domestic violence, and the victim went to the hospital the next day for pain. Doctors say the three month old fetus died as a result of the mom being beaten.
STING LEADS TO DRUG ARREST
04-07-2014 - ST Drug deputies and other officers also made a narcotics sting on Avalon Street near South H Street in south Bakersfield. 22-year-old Eduardo Rodriguez is accused of having nearly a half-pound of cocaine for sale and a loaded gun, which had been reported as stolen.
DRUG BUST IN APARTMENT COMPLEX
04-07-2014 - ST Eight people have been arrested in north Bakersfield following a visit from the Sheriff's Major Violators Unit and state Meth Task Force, who served warrants on adjoining apartment units on 33rd and Q streets. Officers seized evidence showing that drugs were being sold, as well as a loaded firearm.
CLOSURES ON 178 ANNOUNCED
04-04-2014 - JL Drivers on Highway 178 can expect the closure of the inside westbound lane near Canteria Drive on Monday. It's a permanent closure and is needed to build the westbound connection to the new bypass south of 178. Crews will also conduct traffic control through the work zone Monday through Friday between 6am and 4pm.
SHERIFF'S OFFICE WARNS OF PHONE SCAM
04-04-2014 - JL The Sheriff's Office is warning residents not to be fooled by a telephone scam artist calling himself Kern County Sheriff's Lieutenant Gore demanding payment for an outstanding warrant. The caller tries to get his victims to use a pre-paid credit card to send him money in order to avoid being arrested. If you get such a call, hang up and report it to the Sheriff's Office.
BAKERSFIELD CONSIDERED WALLET-HEALTHY
04-04-2014 - JL Kern County has come out near the top in a national survey of the most "wallet-healthy" cities in the United States. Financial social networking site Wallethub.com sponsored a study called the 2014 Wallet Wellness Report. Spokesman Odysseos Papadimitriou says Bakersfield came in Number Two. "Wallethub looked at the top 150 largest cities in the U.S., and we saw which cities are most friendly to our wallets." That means local people manage their finances and their lifestyles in such a way as to promote wealth creation and upward mobility. April is National Financial Literacy Month.
CAMPOUT AGAINST CANCER
04-04-2014 - JL This weekend is being dedicated to local cancer survivors as hundreds gather at the State Farm Sports Village at Taft Highway and Ashe Road for Campout Against Cancer. Spokesperson Mary Gillette says the Kern County Cancer Fund will receive all the proceeds from the weekend's activities. "In the 18 months it's been going, we have already assisted over 100 patients, so we just want to underwrite it so we can make sure the funds are there for people as they need them in the future." The money helps cancer patients pay insurance premiums, co-pays, deductibles, and related expenses. The event runs from 7 am to 7 pm Saturday.
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