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LEGISLATION GUARANTEES WORK FOR MILITARY
12-19-2014 - AP A new assembly bill will give members of the military with state jobs guaranteed employment when they return home. If passed, non-salaried workers under AB 64 will be ensured the same number of hours that they were working before deployment. Current law only requires reinstatement, but no guarantee on hours.
STATE: TEHACHAPI HOSPITAL MUST HAVE SURGERY AREA
12-19-2014 - AP A money-saving plan to build the new Tehachapi hospital in phases has been obstructed by state law. Project manager Stacey Pray tells the Tehachapi News and Guide that the facility must include kitchen and surgery areas when it opens, increasing the construction deficit from $5.8 million to $14.7 million.
STOCKS, OIL PRICES UP
12-19-2014 - AP Stocks continued to climb Friday on word earlier this week that the Federal Reserve would be cautious raising interest rates. The Dow gained 27 points, the Nasdaq was up 17 and the S&P 500 increased nine. American crude posted its biggest gain in two years, up $2.41.
OVER THE RIVER AND THROUGH THE WOODS...
12-19-2014 - ST Triple-A says more than 7.5-Million people from Kern to San Diego Counties will be on the road this Christmas Holiday season. Spokeswoman Marie Montgomery says lower prices at the pump is a main factor in what is expected to be a record number of people taking a vacation. "It's going to put more money in people's pockets to be able to spend on other types of travel expenses that may be more fun. Such as hotels, maybe some extra gifts." Montgomery says more than four million people from Northern California will also be out there during the Holiday season that runs from December 23rd to January 4th.
WILDFIRE SEASON COMES TO A CLOSE
12-19-2014 - ST Cooler temperatures and recent rainfall have allowed the Kern County Fire Department to officially close out the 2014 wildfire season. Engineer Phil Neufeld says even though the fire danger has decreased, burn zones like the one from the four-thousand acre Way Fire near Wofford Heights could pose flooding and mudslide problems. "We would like people to be cognizant and vigilant about erosion problems that might happen because of the lack of watershed." Neufeld says the fire season usually ends in early October, but drought conditions led to the possibility of fire sparking in tinder dry vegetation.
BOMB THREAT TRIGGERS CHP EVACUATION
12-18-2014 - SuzG CHP officers in Bakersfield plan to track down the person who sent a suspicious-looking package to their headquarters on Buck Owens Boulevard, prompting a bomb squad call-out. Officer Robert Rodriguez says the large manilla envelope they received Thursday wasn't leaking, but the lack of a return address and other things had them concerned. "We had to actually go out and look at it and make that split-second decision." The bomb squad rendered the package harmless and found it contained papers. Rodriguez says they don't know if it was intended to be a threat.
TCSD SUPT. TENDERS RESIGNATON
12-18-2014 - AP The Taft City School District has accepted the resignation of their superintendent after being arrested for three DUIs over a 14-month span. Ron Bryant recently pleaded no contest to violations in August and November, which prompted administrators to put him on unpaid leave. Bryant's last day is January 31st.
GAS LEAK FORCES STREET CLOSURE
12-18-2014 - AP River Run Boulevard between Stockdale Highway and Buena Vista Road had to be shut down after construction workers at a west Bakersfield site accidentally punctured a one-inch gas line. Southern California Gas spokeswoman Angela Fentiman says crews were called to the leak just before 11 a.m. Thursday. "Our SoCal Gas crews responded, and the gas was under control by about 1:20 p.m." The road was reopened by 1:30 p.m. No evacuations were triggered, but Kern County Fire was called to monitor the air at nearby Ronald Reagan Elementary School.
POLICE: MAN SHOT DURING ARGUMENT
12-18-2014 - AP A 37-year-old Bakersfield man killed near Norseman Street and McDonald Way was shot from an apartment by another man. Police say an armed John Cooper died at around 4 p.m. Wednesday after trying to confront people inside the building. Cooper's killer called 911 and is said to be cooperating with the investigation.
FIREFIGHTER INJURED WHILE FIGHTING CENT. BAKERSFIELD FIRE
12-18-2014 - AP Arson investigators are trying to figure out what sparked a suspicious vacant house fire in central Bakersfield that caused about $50,000 damage. City firefighters were called near Forrest and H streets just after 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. One firefighter suffered an ankle injury while trying to put the fire out.
EAST-SIDE FIRE DEEMED "SUSPICIOUS"
12-18-2014 - AP Arson crews are calling a fire at a vacant house near Monterey and Gage streets in east Bakersfield suspicious, and have launched an investigation. City firefighters were called to the single-story house just after 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. No injuries were reported. It caused about $35,000 damage.
MAN KILLED IN ARVIN ID'ED
12-18-2014 - AP A suspected gang member who was shot to death in the front yard of a home in Arvin has been identified by the Kern County coroner as 22-year-old Leon Arreguin. Police say the Arvin man was shot at around 5 p.m. Wednesday near 3rd Avenue and B Street. He died after being transported to Kern Medical Center.
WOMAN SENTENCED FOR CHILD ABUSE
12-18-2014 - AP A Ford City woman has been sentenced to six years in prison after prosecutors say she bruised, scratched and bit her fiancee's child. 18-year-old Ashlynn Westbrook entered a no contest plea to a child cruelty charge in November. She was arrested in August after the child's mother noticed the injuries.
MAN ADMITS TO FORECLOSURE SCAM
12-18-2014 - AP A Visalia man has admitted to running a $2.5 million foreclosure rescue scam with another man in Bakersfield and two other cities between 2010 and 2011. 36-year-old Juan Curiel pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge Thursday. Prosecutors say he used a bogus loan elimination program to take thousands from victims.
GARDENING TOOLS STOLEN FROM B&GC
12-18-2014 - AP About $1,000 in gardening equipment was stolen from the Boys and Girls Club on Niles Street in Bakersfield. A roto-tiller, leaf blower and other tools were discovered missing Thursday afternoon after an instructor noticed a broken storage shed lock at the club's garden, then later found a hole cut in a chain link fence.
STOCKS FINISH SHARPLY HIGHER
12-18-2014 - AP The major indexes finished well into the green Thursday, with the Dow posting its biggest gain since 2011. It was up 421 points, while the Nasdaq was up 104, and the S&P 500 gained 48 on word from Wednesday that the Fed would be patient raising interest rates.
MAN DEAD AFTER SW SHOOTING
12-17-2014 - AP A man is dead after being shot in a southwest Bakersfield neighborhood just east of West High School. Sergeant Brent Stratton says police were called near McDonald Way and Norseman Street at around 4 p.m. Wednesday. "Upon officers arrival, they located an adult male ... suffering from gunshot wounds. He, ultimately, succumbed to his injuries." Stratton says a suspect is in custody after being found nearby, and weapons were recovered at the scene. He says it's not clear if there was only one only shooter, or if both men involved were in a gunfight.
BPD ADDING NEW OFFICERS BY YEAR'S END
12-17-2014 - AP The Bakersfield Police Department says it will be adding 35 new officers to the force by the end of the year. Detective Louis Wood says BPD is inching closer to reaching its staffing goals again after cuts were made during the recession. "I'd like to get up around 400 sworn officers, and the city council has us budgeted for about 404 officers." Wood says there will be 374 officers on patrol by the end of the year. He expects BPD may reach its goal at some point next year.
MAN FOUND IN ALLEY ID'ED
12-17-2014 - AP The Kern County coroner says the 29-year-old man who was found dead in an alley near Sierra Middle School died from stab wounds. Raul Valera was found at around 7:30 a.m. Monday near Oswell Street and Pioneer Drive. Sheriff's detectives are investigating the death as a homicide.
HWY 99 LANES CLOSED DURING WORK
12-17-2014 - AP Barrier work will force the closure of outside northbound and southbound lanes of Highway 99 between Panama Lane and Taft Highway. The work will happen between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Motorists are being urged to pay attention to construction signs and look out for workers.
MCCARTHY RETURNS FROM OVERSEAS
12-17-2014 - AP House majority leader Kevin McCarthy is back in the U.S. after leading a congressional delegation that visited troops in the middle east fighting ISIS. The Bakersfield congressman visited military members in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Iraq, and met with a Bakersfield sergeant in Baghdad.
NATURE PRESERVE PLAN FAILS
12-17-2014 - AP A plan to convert a failed Bakersfield-area residential development into a preserve with nature trails will not happen. The conservation trust that bought The Canyons south of Hart Park has put the property back on the market for $6.5 million after discussions about mineral rights with creditors fell through.
NASA: 11 TRILLION GALLONS OF WATER NEEDED TO QUENCH DROUGHT
12-17-2014 - AP New satellite data from NASA says it will take about 11 trillion gallons of water for California to recover from its ongoing drought. That's about 1.5 times the volume of the country's largest reservoir. Scientists say it will take several major storms over years to pull the state out of exceptional drought.
DOW, S&P SOARS ON FED PATIENCE
12-17-2014 - AP The Dow and the S&P 500 had banner days, sporting their biggest gains of the year Wednesday. The Dow soared 288 points, and the S-and-P 500 gained 40 on word that the Federal Reserve would be patient raising interest rates. The Nasdaq added 96 points.
DISTRICT RELEASES STATEMENT ON TAFT HIGH MISTRIAL
12-17-2014 - ST Taft Union High School District Superintendent is reacting after the judge declared a mistrial in the case where Bryan Oliver seriously wounded Bowe Cleveland in 2013. Superintendent Blanca Cavazos declined to be interviewed, but her office released a statement saying the District is "...disappointed that this tragic incident has not been resolved in the judicial system so that we can move forward."
TWO HONORED FOR HELPING AFTER A CRASH
12-17-2014 - ST A Hall Ambulance supervisor and a Kern County firefighter who were sideswiped by a suspected DUI driver on Highway 119 near Taft have been recognized for helping people in the crash despite having their vehicle roll several times. Supervisor Armando Lazaro says their training kicked in once they crawled from the wreckage in the November crash. "I started dispatching help to our scene to our dispatchers, to respond additional units. There would be at least four people involved." Firefighter Adam Bickford also called the Fire Department for help before tending to victims in the three car crash.
TEENS BUSTED FOR THEFTS IN ROSAMOND
12-17-2014 - ST Kern County Sheriff's deputies in Rosamond have arrested two teenage boys in connection with dozens of thefts throughout the city. Sergeant James Anton says over the past month the 16 and 17-year-old boys would hit between six and eight unlocked vehicles per night in different neighborhoods. "We might have more victims that haven't reported it. And we're trying to give back property." Anton says the teens are accused of stealing iPads, laptops, tablets and even clothing. They were booked into Juvenile Hall for conspiracy, theft and receiving stolen property.
CALM LOOKING FOR HOLIDAY HELP
12-17-2014 - AP The California Living Museum says it needs 30 volunteers to help out during its Holiday Lights event between now and January 3rd. They say they need the help starting at 5 p.m. each night to help direct guests through the museum's light displays. People interested in helping out are being urged to call (661) 871-1822.
WOMAN DEAD AFTER CRASH NEAR CSU-B
12-17-2014 - AP Police say a woman is dead after wrecking her car into the wall of an apartment complex near the Cal State-Bakersfield campus. Sergeant Matt Peery says first responders were called to the scene on Camino Media, northwest of Ming Avenue and Gosford Road, just after 10 p.m. Tuesday, and found the woman pinned inside her vehicle. "Fire personnel removed the occupant from the vehicle, where the occupant was transported to a hospital and treated for major injuries." The woman later died at the hospital. It's not known if drugs or alcohol were factors in the crash.
MAN JAILED AFTER WILD EASTSIDE CHASE
12-17-2014 - AP A chase that hit 70 miles per hour through an east Bakersfield neighborhood ended with the arrest of a 23-year-old man that was wanted for kidnapping an elderly woman and stealing her car. Sheriff's Lt. Bill Smallwood says it started at around 2 p.m. Tuesday after Jose Ruiz Jr. was spotted inside the car, which prompted an attempted traffic stop near Pioneer Drive and Monet Court. "The suspect fled the vehicle on foot and into a residential neighborhood and was able to steal a second vehicle. The suspect attempted to flee the area in the second stolen car." Ruiz crashed the GMC Avalanche into a Kentucky Street fence, and was found hiding nearby.
TAFT SD SUPT. TO LEARN FATE THURS.
12-17-2014 - AP The superintendent of the Taft City School District will learn whether he'll remain in that position during a special meeting set for Thursday afternoon. Ron Bryant was taken off paid leave Dec. 10 after pleading no contest to his second DUI in August and third in November.
MAN JAILED FOR 8TH AND L SHOOTING
12-17-2014 - AP Police have arrested a man in connection to the death of another man near 8th and L streets in central Bakersfield. They say 19-year-old Jimmy Ramirez was involved in the Dec. 6 gunfight that killed Abel Trujillo. Another man involved in the shooting, 22-year-old Errol Scorza, turned himself in Monday.
TRAIN DERAILS NEAR CALIENTE
12-17-2014 - AP Union Pacific is planning to repair the hundreds of feet of track that were damaged during a 10-car early-morning derailment near Caliente. Spokesman Jeff DeGraff says the railroad has also sent investigators to the scene of the Tuesday accident near Bealeville Road and Hart Flat. "It can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to more than that just to make sure that we know what happened." DeGraff says the train was delivering paper goods and furniture to Los Angeles. The train did not spill its cargo, and no injuries were reported.
MAN WANTED FOR MURDER JAILED
12-17-2014 - AP A man wanted for killing a 33-year-old man and a 4-year-old girl during a gun fight in Watsonville has been arrested in southwest Bakersfield. Officers on Monday found Amado Hernandez in a home on Ringsdale Court, northwest of Panama Lane and Akers Road. He was booked into the Kern County Jail on a murder charge.
VOLATILE OIL MARKET FORCES STOCKS LOWER
12-17-2014 - AP Volatile swings in the price of oil forced the major indexes into the red Tuesday. The Dow sank 111 points, the Nasdaq dropped 57 and the S&P 500 lost 17. U.S. crude finished two cents higher to $55.93.
VOLUNTEERS HONORED BY SENATOR
12-17-2014 - AP Senator Jean Fuller of Bakersfield is commending people for volunteering their time with the Kern County Sheriff's Office Desert Group Search and Rescue team. Nearly 30 people received the President's Volunteer Service Award on Tuesday, with five receiving special acknowledgement for dedicating over four-thousand hours to the group.
CA HOME SALES DOWN SHARPLY
12-17-2014 - AP Home and condo sales in California tumbled over 17 percent in November. Realty website Property Radar says the slump was expected, as the market is in its annual off-peak season where buyers don't feel compelled to buy and sellers don't feel compelled to sell. Median home prices increased a few grand to about $385,000.
KCFD MAKING SANDBAGS AVAILABLE
12-16-2014 - AP Kern County Fire is making sandbags available to area residents that may still be leery about flooding. Up to 25 sandbags can be picked up at four Bakersfield stations, and at the the department's headquarters. Bags can be picked up at station 42 at 2011 Fairfax Road, 52 at 312 Taft Highway, 61 at 6400 Fruitvale Ave., and 67 at 14341 Brimhall Rd. Bags and sand can be picked up at headquarters at 5642 Victor St.
MISTRIAL IN HIGH SCHOOL SHOOTING CASE
12-16-2014 - ST Jurors expressed confusion over the difference between attempted voluntary manslaughter and attempted murder to the judge in the Taft High School shooting case forcing him to declare a mistrial after four days of deliberation. The jury deadlocked on all charges against Bryan Oliver, who opened fire with a shotgun in a science classroom in 2013, seriously wounding Bowe Cleveland, but missing Jacob Nichols. Prosecutors said Oliver has a violent nature and the shooting was revenge for being teased. The defense claimed Oliver was a ticking time bomb that finally blew after suffering continuous bullying. Retrial is set for January 26th.
LAW ENFORCEMENT KNOCKS ON DOORS FOR A GOOD CAUSE
12-16-2014 - ST Four hundred needy families in Kern County will have a proper Holiday meal with Turkey and all the trimmings after getting deliveries of food baskets from Kern County Sheriff's deputies and Bakersfield Police officers. Sheriff Donny Youngblood says the families that are chosen are not random. "They spend days leading up to this looking for people that are needy on their calls. They write a little note down, and then fill out a form and turn it in for certain families." Patrol cars lined up at the W.A. Thompson distribution center in southwest Bakersfield this morning, loading up the food baskets and toys for kids.
JURY RECOMMENDS DEATH FOR OILDALE MAN
12-15-2014 - ST A jury has recommended that an Oildale man be sentenced to death for killing his estranged wife and mother in law. Jacque Underwood, a friend of the victims, was pleased with the recommendation for Robert Fuller, following the 2009 murders of Annette Sowders-Fuller and Sharon Cannon. "I don't think he'll ever be put to death, but the only thing we get out of that is that he'll be confined to a cell. He won't be allowed to go around, watch TV and read books." The family's children called 911 when the shootings in the Plymouth Street home took place. Fuller is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 14.
MAN WANTED FOR KILLING TURNS SELF IN
12-15-2014 - AP A 22-year-old man accused of killing another man near 8th and L streets on Dec. 6 has turned himself in. Bakersfield Police say Errol Scorza was jailed recently for the shooting death of Abel Trujillo after admitting to the crime. He had been wanted since Dec. 9, and slipped away from SWAT officers later that night.
BODY FOUND IN ALLEY
12-15-2014 - AP/ST Homicide detectives are investigating after a body was found in an alley near Sierra Middle School in east Bakersfield. Sheriff's spokesman Ray Pruitt says deputies were called to the scene near Oswell Street and Pioneer Drive just after 7:30 a.m. Monday. "They did locate the body of a male - he was obviously deceased - the body had been located by an area resident who had exited their yard earlier this morning into the alley." Pruitt says the body had signs of trauma, but wouldn't say anything further. An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday.
NO VERDICT YET IN OLIVER TRIAL
12-15-2014 - ST Jury deliberations in the Taft High School shooting case have concluded their third day. The jury had asked for a read-back of testimony Friday in the case of the wounding of Bowe Cleveland in 2013 by Bryan Oliver. This afternoon, the jury asked for clarification on the definition of "attempted involuntary manslaughter," and the judge told them to re-read the jury instructions and break them down to their simplest form. Deliberations will resume Tuesday morning.
NWS: STORMS TO BRING MORE RAIN
12-15-2014 - AP Two storm systems that have begun making their way through California will bring a combined three-tenths of an inch of rain to the parched southern valley. National Weather Service meteorologist David Spector says both storms will not compare with the storm from late last week. "The last storm brought, like, one or one-and-a-half inches to the south valley. These two storms combined aren't even going to be close." Rain fell on Bakersfield on Monday night, and more rain is expected Tuesday. Both storms also aren't bringing the strong winds that the prior storm did, but gusts near 60 mph have been reported along the Grapevine.
BODY-WORN CAMERAS COMING TO WASCO DEPUTIES
12-15-2014 - AP The Kern County Sheriff's Office says deputies in Wasco will be using body-worn cameras by early next year. Commander Drake Massey says it's part of a six-month pilot program that may lead to a county-wide rollout. "That will allow our administration to make a more-informed decision, if they want to expand them out to the rest of the deputies, but we do have interest from our sheriff in starting a smaller pilot program in our correctional settings as well." The 17 cameras were purchased by Wasco City Council for about $15,000. Massey says the cameras will improve case accuracy and allow for better department transparency.
MAN ADMITS TO METH DISTRIBUTION
12-15-2014 - AP A Bakersfield man has admitted to trying to distribute about nine pounds of methamphetamine. Prosecutors say 29-year-old Miguel Marquez admitted to possessing the drug in October after two people involved in the ring were arrested. He faces up to 10 years in prison when he's sentenced in March.
CANADIAN MAN ADMITS TO DRUG RING
12-15-2014 - AP A Canadian man has admitted to trying to distribute 44 pounds of cocaine after his accomplice was pulled over by a highway patrol officer near Buttonwillow with the drugs in her trunk last December. 47-year-old Donald Lancer pleaded guilty in federal court Monday. He was arrested in Seattle after receiving a suitcase full of fake drugs.
FELON FACES PRISON TIME FOR POSSESSING GUN
12-15-2014 - AP A Bakersfield felon may spend up to 10 years in prison after admitting to possessing a firearm. 33-year-old Vincent Deleon pleaded guilty in federal court Monday. Prosecutors say he threw the nine millimeter pistol over a fence while trying to flee from FBI agents in Nov. 2013.
FIRE DAMAGES SE BAKERSFIELD TRIPLEX
12-15-2014 - AP An electrical short is being blamed for an apartment fire in southeast Bakersfield that caused about $25,000 damage. Bakersfield Fire says it happened just before 10:30 a.m. Monday at a triplex near South H Street and William F. Halsey Avenue. No injuries were reported.
TRIP: DELAYS EXPECTED NEAR 178 AND MORNING DR.
12-15-2014 - AP Utility line removal will temporarily delay traffic near Highway 178 and and Morning Drive all this week. The Thomas Roads Improvement Program says motorists can expect 10-minute delays between 6 a.m. and 4 p.m., and are urging drivers to avoid the area during that timespan.
DMV: AVOID AB 60 SCAMS
12-15-2014 - AP The DMV is warning people applying for a driver's license through a new law set to take effect Jan. 2 to be on the lookout for scams that claim to speed up the process. They say only a $33 fee will be needed to apply for a license under AB 60, and most services the scams will utilize are offered for free by the department.
OIL PRICES FALL ANOTHER $2
12-15-2014 - AP The price for a barrel of U.S. crude oil gave up another $2, settling at $55.91 on Monday. The drop came amid indecision from OPEC nations on whether to cut production. The price hasn't been this low since 2009.
STOCKS TAKE ANOTHER BEATING
12-15-2014 - AP The nosedive in the price of crude forced stocks sharply lower Monday, with the Dow giving up nearly 100 points in active trading. The Nasdaq fell 49 points. The S&P 500 dropped nearly 13 points.
THOUSANDS PARTICIPATE IN TOY RUN
12-14-2014 - AP Between 4,000 and 7,000 motorcycles and 600 cars paraded through Bakersfield for a special cause on Sunday morning. The day marked the 31st-annual Salvation Army Toy Run and Food Drive. Spokesman Todd Bradford says it's the second-largest toy run in the nation. "This event here is the best event we have all year from the community. So, we're excited. We look forward to this event every year." Bradford says the event provides toys for needy families, and enough supplies for the charity's social service groups to last through next year.
PGE: 9,000 LOST POWER DURING STORM
12-12-2014 - AP PG&E says thousands of people in Kern County should have their power back after Thursday's storm. Spokeswoman Katie Allen says, at its peak, 9,000 people lost electricity late Thursday night. "When the high winds were impacting the county, we were able to dispatch additional crews from Washington, Oregon and southern California, to help with the extensive amounts of damage." Allen says many of those workers were delayed by flooding on Highway 99, however. Work to strengthen the grid will continue through the weekend.
THURSDAY STORM ONE OF STRONGEST IN YEARS
12-12-2014 - AP The National Weather Service is calling Thursday's storm one of the strongest seen in Kern County in at least five years. Meteorologist Steve Mendenhall says the entire county received much-needed precipitation. "The total rainfall for Bakersfield was 0.9 inches. Other rainfall across the area: 0.68 inches in Taft, to a little over an inch in McFarland." Mendenhall says nearly an inch of rain was seen in the Grapevine, and Frazier Park saw over two inches. He also says another, less-intense storm will hit the area on either Monday or Tuesday.
BURN-SCARRED HILLSIDE HOLDS
12-12-2014 - AP Kern County Fire says the area below the Way Fire burn scar is still holding up despite another night of heavy rainfall. Crews are still stationed in Wofford Heights, monitoring runoff and the stability of the hillside. Residents there are still being asked to be prepared to evacuate if conditions change.
BAKERSFIELD HS STUDENTS HEADING TO NYC
12-12-2014 - AP Bakersfield High students will be competing this spring in a national competition in New York after winning a statewide contest on business strategies. They say the virtual enterprise students beat 50 other schools during an event at the Rabobank Convention Center, where they developed a business plan for a hydroponics company.
SHERIFF'S DEPUTIES KILL DOG
12-12-2014 - AP Sheriff's deputies shot a dog to death while they were conducting an investigation into a vehicle theft in Oildale. It happened at a mobile home park on McCord and Plymouth avenues at around 4 p.m. Friday when they say the dog broke his chain and began charging toward the deputies. No injuries were reported.
WREATHS TO BE LAYED AT GRAVES
12-12-2014 - AP Rotary club members, military members and the general public will be laying wreaths at the gravesides of Kern County veterans this weekend. It's going to happen at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Bakersfield National Cemetery on East Bear Mountain Boulevard. The event is part of the Wreaths Across America campaign.
BPD: DUI CHECKPOINT THIS WEEKEND
12-12-2014 - AP Police say another driver's license and DUI checkpoint will be set up in the Bakersfield area this weekend. It's going to happen Saturday, but they aren't saying where exactly the task force will be stationed. Police are trying to keep the roads safe and free of impaired drivers over the holidays.
TORNADO SPOTTED IN L.A.
12-12-2014 - AP The National Weather Service says a tornado touched down in south Los Angeles, ripping the roofs off multiple buildings Friday morning. No injuries were reported after the twister. Meteorologists estimate gusts at up to 85 miles per hour.
OIL PRICES CONTINUE SLIDE
12-12-2014 - AP Domestic and global crude prices plummeted Friday. U.S. crude lost $2.23 to $57.72, and Brent crude gave up nearly $2 to $61.73. The drop was triggered by a report saying oil still isn't being bought, despite sharply lower prices.
STOCKS NOSEDIVE FRIDAY
12-12-2014 - AP A plunge in the price of oil sent stocks into a freefall on Friday, with the Dow losing more than 315 points. It was the worst week for the Dow since Sept. 2011. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq indexes also dropped, giving up 33 points and 54 points respectively.
THREE ARRESTED FOR ROBBERY STRING
12-12-2014 - ST Bakersfield Police have arrested three men in connection to several thefts at retail stores throughout the city. Sergeant Joe Grubbs says officers picked up Thomas Sherman, Charles Fomby and Thomas Gonzalez based on surveillance footage and eyewitness descriptions. "Each of them had a warrant for their arrest alleging four counts of Grand Theft, three counts of robbery, one count of participation in a criminal street gang, and four counts of shoplifting." Investigators are still looking for Matthew Propps and Desmond Dillard, who they believe also took part in the thefts that started in October.
BIG PLANS FOR COUNTY MUSEUM
12-12-2014 - ST The Kern County Museum has rededicated the Beale Memorial Clock Tower 50 years after it was completed after being rebuilt. Museum Executive Director Roger Perez says it's part of an overhaul to the entire museum. "We have seven large projects that really are going to make this place look different. And it's going to improve the way you get through the museum." Perez says the entrance will be changed and Aera Energy has given the museum a $300,000 gift to upgrade the gallery in the main building. The makeover is expected to be finished by late 2015.
KERN CO. FIRE EYING WAY FIRE BURN SCAR
12-11-2014 - AP Kern County Fire says it has already notified Wofford Heights residents living below the Way Fire burn scar to get ready to evacuate if stormy weather triggers a mud slide or flooding. Captain Tyler Townsend says fire crews are keeping an eye on the hillside. "We have pre-staged some resources in the Wofford Heights area, given that we're expecting potential mud and debris flows in the area below the Way Fire." Townsend says county fire is paying particularly close attention to the Lake Isabella area, but he also says firefighters throughout the county have been asked to keep a eye on flooding.
NWS: STORM WILL BRING NEEDED RAIN
12-11-2014 - AP The National Weather Service says the storm making its way through California will significantly impact Bakersfield and Kern County. Forecaster Dan Harty says the area will receive much-needed precipitation through Friday night. "It's potentially up to around an inch of rain - some areas will only receive half-an-inch or three-quarters, but we think an inch of rain is possible in the Bakersfield area." Harty says the storm is also bringing very strong winds. Gusts through the Grapevine topped out at 80 miles per hour overnight.
PG&E FIGHTING STORM OUTAGES
12-11-2014 - AP PG&E says it's bringing in workers from outside the county to combat power outages caused by the storm. Spokeswoman Katie Allen says the utility doesn't expect major problems Friday, but they do plan on being busy. "For this storm, we have stationed 16 crews that are ready to respond to any potential outages." An outage in east Bakersfield left thousands without power Thursday night. Several spot outages were also reported throughout the county.
BAKERSFIELD FIRE: WE DON'T HAVE SAND BAGS
12-11-2014 - AP The Bakersfield Fire Department is urging people in need of sand bags to contact the city's public works department, or check local hardware stores. They say individual fire houses are not providing sand bags.
PENALTY PHASE ENTERS CLOSING ARGUMENTS IN FULLER TRIAL
12-11-2014 - AP An Oildale man will soon learn whether he'll receive the death penalty after being convicted of killing his wife and mother-in-law. Closing arguments are scheduled for Friday in the penalty phase of 61-year-old Robert Fuller's trial. Prosecutors believe he shot 45-year-old Annette Sowders-Fuller and 69-year-old Sharon Cannon in 2009.
WOMAN STRUCK IN INTERSECTON
12-11-2014 - AP A 57-year-old woman is hospitalized after being struck by a vehicle while crossing a east Bakersfield intersection. The California Highway Patrol says Maria Frias was hit by one vehicle and may have been run over by another while in a cross-walk at Niles and Webster streets Wednesday night.
RIBBON CUT ON OLD TOWN KERN APARTMENTS
12-11-2014 - AP The Kern County Housing Authority says it's happy about a soon-to-open development in Old Town Kern that will provide a living space for up to 50 families. Director Stephen Pellz says the complex surrounding the Cornet Building on Baker Street provides needed affordable housing. "We've got waiting lists of 12,000-plus families on it, so just to be able to add 50 more units - it helps meet that demand. We're just pleased to be a part of that." The housing authority and the city held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the complex on Thursday.
GYM EMPLOYEES APPLAUDED FOR SAVING MAN'S LIFE
12-11-2014 - AP Six gym employees in Ridgecrest are being applauded for saving the life of a man who went into cardiac arrest. The In-Shape Health Club employees have been nominated for the Kern County Fire Department's lifesaving medal after they used a defibrillator on the man Tuesday night before paramedics arrived.
FRESNO-TO-BAKERSFIELD HSR COST LOWER THAN EXPECTED
12-11-2014 - AP The Fresno-to-Bakersfield leg of California's $68 billion high-speed rail system will cost less than expected. The High-Speed Rail Authority on Thursday says it has accepted a $1.2 billion bid for the 65-mile segment. They were anticipating spending up to $2 billion.
ENERGY COMPANY SETTLES WITH COUNTY
12-11-2014 - ST The Kern County District Attorney's Office, along with D.A.s from seven other counties have settled with an energy company that burned contaminated wood at power generating plants, including one in Delano. Deputy D.A. John Mitchell says Covanta Energy used construction site waste, which could cause harm to the air as well as farmlands. "The law allows for elected District Attorneys to bring actions on behalf of the public when it's in the public's best interest." Mitchell says Ken County will get $100-thousand in restitution and fines. He says Covanta did not check their fuels closely enough, but they have changed their policies.
COUNTY LAGS BEHIND STATE, ACCORDING TO REPORT
12-11-2014 - ST The United Way has released a report showing how Californians are doing when it comes to health, education and income, and it shows Kern County lags behind the rest of the state in many areas. County Chapter President Della Hodson says the American Human Development Index shows people in the county are not as healthy as they could be. "A child born in Kern County today has a life expectancy of 77.8 years. Across the state of California the average is 81.2 years." Hodson says nearly 28 percent of adults don't have a high school diploma, compared to the state average of 18.5 percent.
TEHACHAPI HOSPITAL FUNDING WOES
12-11-2014 - ST The Kern County Grand Jury has toured the old hospital in Tehachapi as well as the new one being built to replace it. They report that there are currently not enough funds for Tehachapi Valley Healthcare District doesn't have the funds to complete the building. Some non-critical areas may have to be left as shells that will have to be finished at a later date.
JURY DELIBERATES IN TAFT HIGH SHOOTING CASE
12-10-2014 - ST Jury deliberations have begun in the Taft High shooting case. The jury heard closing arguments, where the defense told them Bryan Oliver was a ticking time bomb that was ready to blow after continual bullying. Defense attorney Paul Cadman says Oliver is a troubled teen who blacked out from the time he left home in 2013 and went to the school, where he seriously wounded Bowe Cleveland. He argued that Oliver should have been charged as a juvenile, since he was only 16 at the time of the shooting.
MAN DIES AFTER WRECK INTO MAIL TRUCK
12-10-2014 - AP A 54-year-old Bakersfield man is dead after wrecking his station wagon into a mail truck in west Bakersfield. Police sergeant Joe Grubbs says witnesses at Old River Road and Stockdale Highway spotted Stephen Oronoz running a red light at the intersection just prior to the accident, which happened at around 4 a.m. Wednesday. "It doesn't appear that weather was related, and it doesn't appear that drugs or alcohol were related, either." Oronoz was pronounced dead at Mercy Southwest Hospital. Grubbs says the mail carrier suffered moderate injuries. The crash closed the intersection for about six hours.
MAN PLACED ON LIFE SUPPORT AFTER CRASH DIES
12-10-2014 - AP A 30-year-old man is dead after a crash near Ming Avenue and New Stine Road. It happened before 3 a.m. Wednesday. Police say the vehicle veered from the southbound lanes of New Stine, ran into a signal box and a brick wall, then struck a tree. Fausto Simental-Ruelas died after being place on life support.
LAMONT WOMAN DEAD IN HEAD-ON CRASH
12-10-2014 - AP A Lamont woman is dead after her car was struck head-on by a pickup on Panama Lane. 24-year-old Graciela Savedra was killed after her westbound car veered into the eastbound truck of 45-year-old Jose Perez. Savedra was pronounced dead at the scene. The crash closed Panama Lane near Cottonwood Road for about three hours.
MOTORCYCLIST DEAD IN LAMONT
12-10-2014 - AP A 19-year-old motorcyclist is dead after a crash near a gas station in Lamont. The California Highway Patrol says Leonel Morales was thrown from his bike after he drove into a car near the Fastrip on Main Street and Gail Marie Drive at around 7 a.m. Wednesday. He died after being transported to Kern Medical Center.
FIRE DAMAGES OILDALE HOME
12-10-2014 - AP Firefighters have extinguished a house fire in Oildale that caused about $40,000 damage. Kern County Fire captain Tyler Townsend says they were called to the single-family home on Oildale Drive, north of Roberts Lane, at around 8 a.m. Wednesday. "It's believed at this time that the fire started in the attic, but fire investigators are still going through their investigation." Townsend says the home was unoccupied at the time, and firefighters were able to save the rest of the structure. The fire was put out in about 20 minutes.
MURDER SUSPECT ESCAPES SWAT THROUGH CEILING HOLE
12-10-2014 - AP Police believe a 22-year-old murder suspect eluded SWAT officers by climbing through a hole in the ceiling of the central Bakersfield garage he was hiding in. Officers failed to capture Errol Scorza after he ran into the garage near 6th and P streets Wednesday night. Investigators believe Scorza killed Abel Trujillo in a Saturday shooting near 8th and L.
BIKERS DROP OFF TOYS FOR BURN VICTIMS
12-10-2014 - AP Two motorcycle groups trekked to the Grossman Burn Center at San Joaquin Community Hospital in downtown Bakersfield to drop off toys for child burn victims. Bakersfield Street Riders president David Fletcher says his organization and the American Legion Riders were happy to give. "You hearts go out to the children no matter what. What better cause could there be?" Fletcher says it's the sixth time the street riders made holiday donations to the hospital. 33 riders made the trip Wednesday night.
TAFT SD SUPT. SENTENCED FOR DUIS
12-10-2014 - AP The superintendent of Taft City School District has been sentenced to three years probation and work release after entering no contest pleas to two separate DUI charges. The pleas come after Ron Bryant was jailed in August and November. Trustees will discuss Bryant's future with the district next Thursday. He has been taken off paid leave.
OIL PRICES DROP FURTHER
12-10-2014 - AP The price for a barrel of U.S. crude crashed to another five-year low on Wednesday. It plummeted another four percent to $61.36 after OPEC said it would slash daily production next year to a 12-year low of 28.9 million barrels a day.
BPD POPS TWO LIQUOR STORES
12-10-2014 - AP Bakersfield police have cited two liquor stores for selling alcohol to minors during a sting operation. They say they sent a "minor decoy" into 15 Bakersfield stores on Tuesday. The Joint Vice Task Force says it will conduct additional stings through the end of the year.
CALTRANS READY FOR STORM
12-10-2014 - AP Caltrans says roughly 3,000 maintenance employees are being mobilized to help keep some 1,500 storm-fighting vehicles on California roadways Thursday and Friday. The agency says it's getting ready for what the National Weather Service says could be one of the strongest systems the state has seen in years.
POLICE LOOKING FOR MEN IN CAR
12-10-2014 - AP Police are looking for a vehicle whose occupants may know more about the Saturday murder of a man in central Bakersfield. It is believed the men inside the car have knowledge about the death of Abel Trujillo near 8th and L streets. The suspected killer, 22-year-old Errol Scorza, remains at large. We have photos of the suspect vehicle here and here. (Photos: Bakersfield Police Department)
BPD LOOKING FOR MAN WHO STOLE CAR
12-10-2014 - AP Police are looking for a man who stole a 2013 Dodge Durango from a lot in downtown Bakersfield. They say he drove off in the vehicle after requesting to see it on Dec. 5 at Jim Burke Ford on Oak Street. We have photos of the suspect here and here. (Photos: Bakersfield Police Department)
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