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Thursday, August 16th, 2018

Cal State Bakersfield ranked 213 in a recent "Best Colleges For Your Money" list from TIME.com. The list ranked 727 schools based on a variety of criteria, including estimated cost, average student debt and career earnings.

You may be able to throw the phrase "politics as usual" out the window after Tuesday night's primaries in several states around the country. There's a recent wave of new candidates trying to take over congressional and state offices -- and so far, having success. Women, minorities and first-time candidates are breaking political ground like never before. According to Axios, at least 199 women have won primaries in House races alone.

The Kern Valley High School Broncs will be in action at Taft this Friday at 7:30. The first home game will be next Friday against Silver Valley. The JV at 4 and the Varsity game at 7pm. 

Wednesday, August 15th, 2018

Fire update:  The Mendecino Complex fire near Clear Lake has burned around 365 thousand acres and is at 64% containment at last report. Full containment is expected on or around the 1st of September. More than 250 structures have been destroyed and there has been one fatality. The Carr Fire in Shasta and Trinity Counties is approaching 215 thousand acres and a reported 67% containment. More than 11 hundred structures have been destroyed or damaged and there have been 3 firefighter fatalities. The Ferguson Fire near Yosemite burned nearly 100 thosand acres and is 87% contained. The Yosemite National Park is officially reopen after closing for nearly three weeks. The Holy fire south of us is at less than 25 thousand acres and 72% contained. 

A new grand jury report says that internal documents from six Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania show that more than 300 "predator priests" have been credibly accused of sexually abusing more than 1,000 child victims. The lengthy report, released yesterday afternoon, investigates clergy sexual abuse in six dioceses dating back to 1947. 

A Good Samaritan helped rescue a man this morning in Delano after a tree trimmer found himself stuck in a palm tree. According to Kern County Firefighters, the man was trimming the tree when his climbing gear failed and he was left hanged onto the tree 40 feet above ground. As this was going on, a man heard about the situation and happened to be towing a boom lift. He showed up to the scene and offered to help.  A firefighter was then able to be raised to the tree trimmer and within four minutes was able to safely free the man from the tree. 

Kern River Valley residents will decide on the fate of the only hospital in the valley. In November, an $82 annual parcel tax will be on the ballot of those that live within the 450 square miles of the Kern Valley Healthcare District surround the hospital. Officials from Kern Valley Hospital say the parcel tax must pass in order for the only emergency medical services in the valley to continue. SB 1953 requires California hospitals to bring buildings up to seismic code by 2030. The project cost has been trimmed from $58 million to a $28 million cost to the community. The new cost breaks down to $82 per parcel annually. CEO Tim McGlew says this version of the parcel tax has been trimmed down to the bare minimum. The plan even includes moving administration offices into trailers in a dirt lot across the street to cut costs.

It's something the Board of Supervisors made clear: they don't want the marijuana business in Kern County. The 4-1 NO vote in October 2017 sent a clear message: it will be up to the voters to decide. This past July County Supervisors voted to allow two measures on the November ballot, one that deals with only regulating medical marijuana sales, the other regulating commercial adult use and medical marijuana.

Italian emergency workers pulled two more bodies out of tons of broken concrete and twisted steel Wednesday after a highway bridge collapsed in Genoa, raising the death toll in the disaster to at least 39 people. The collapse of the Morandi Bridge sent dozens of cars and three trucks plunging as much as 45 meters (150 feet) to the ground Tuesday as many Italian families were on the road ahead of Wednesday's major summer holiday. The collapse took place after a violent storm.

The reopening of Yosemite National Park can't come soon enough for Douglas Shaw. The 20-day closure during peak tourist season at one of the busiest parks in the U.S. cost Shaw $200,000 in lost revenue at his hotel just outside Yosemite. Most of the park reopened yesterday. The nearly three-week closure was the result of a wildfire that has burned 150 square miles and killed two firefighters since it started July 13.

Sande Alessi Casting is looking for about 1000 paid extras for a movie being filmed in Bakersfield. Sunday, August 26, there will be an open casting call. They are looking for all types of people. The casting call will be at the DoubleTree by Hilton at 3100 Camino Del Rio Court in Bakersfield. People are asked to choose one of the following audition times: 11 a.m., 12 p.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Everyone is asked to bring a 3x5 current color photo with no wigs, makeup or sunglasses in the picture and also a pen or pencil.

Tuesday, August 14th, 2018

The 20-day closure during peak tourist season at one of the busiest parks in the U.S. cost Shaw $200,000 in lost revenue at his hotel just outside Yosemite. Most of the park reopened Tuesday. The nearly three-week closure was the result of the Ferguson wildfire that has burned 150 square miles and killed two firefighters since it started July 13.

Authorities say a Utah firefighter has died battling the largest recorded blaze in California history. Authorities say the man died Monday night at a hospital after he was injured at the site of the Mendocino Complex fire north of San Francisco. Details haven't been released.

Bakersfield Police concluded their investigation Monday into what prompted the August 1 active shooter false alarm, unable to determine how the call originated because the hospital's phone system is too antiquated.  Jen Culbertson, chief of nursing at Mercy Hospital, said that there were a number of things the hospital could have done better during the lockdown, noting that their hospital phones are in the process of being replaced with upgraded ones that can pinpoint the exact location of calls made from hospital phones.

A local World War II veteran was awarded the highest military honor by the French government at a ceremony yesterday. Jim Gloeckler was a rifleman with Gen. George S. Patton's third army. He was also one of the soldiers who stormed the beaches of Normandy on the second day, landing on Utah beach -- the code name for one of five sectors of the allied invasion of German-occupied France in June of 1944. Gleockler has lived in Shafter for 92 years. He already has a Bronze Star, a Silver Star and two Purple Hearts, and now has the Legion of Honor -- the highest French order of merit for military and civil merits.

Voters will have a say on several measures set to appear across Kern County ballots this November. Two county-wide measures are proposing to lift the ban on medical marijuana shops throughout the Golden Empire, while one is proposing a reversal on the ban solely within the City of Bakersfield. The county-wide ban, which took effect last year after Kern County Supervisors made it illegal to sell marijuana for any use, has faced fierce opposition. An attorney who wrote the measure says "The smart move is to regulate." adding each measure could generate four to $10 million annually. "It makes for a safer community and creates jobs," he added.

The Broncs officially open the 2018 season against Taft this Friday at 7:30 at Taft. Kern Valley and Taft shared identical records of 2-7 last season. Ben Goffinet will be back as Kern Valley’s head coach after a three-year hiatus. 

Authorities are investigating a Northern California car crash that led to a fight between two men and resulted in their deaths, one by apparent homicide and the other after he was run over by a third car. The San Francisco Chronicle reported Monday that a fight broke out between two drivers shortly before 4 a.m. Sunday after they collided on Interstate 5 near Sacramento. Witnesses reported one of the men hit the other with some type of weapon, ultimately killing him. The suspect then walked away on the highway and was then fatally struck by a car.

Monday, August 13th, 2018

Google wants to know where you go so badly that it records your movements even when you explicitly tell it not to. An Associated Press investigation found that many Google services on Android devices and iPhones store your location data even if you've used a privacy setting that says it will prevent Google from doing so. Critics say Google's insistence on tracking its users' locations stems from its drive to boost advertising revenue.

California homeowners may find themselves facing insurance headaches even if their houses weren't affected by this year's blazes. The California Department of Insurance had already warned this year that the increasing number and severity of wildfires were making it harder for homeowners in the state to find and hold onto insurance. 

The man accused of setting a Southern California fire that has burned more than 19,000 acres appeared in court Friday and said, "It's all a lie!" as a judge read the charges against him. Forrest Gordon Clark, 51, did not enter a plea during the brief appearance in an Orange County courtroom. When the judge explained the process further to him, Clark said, "I comprehend. I do not understand though."  He is due back in court August 17 for arraignment and bail review.

The American Pet Products Association projects that in 2018, pet ownership will cost Americans more than $72 billion. So, WalletHub searched out the most pet-friendly cities in the country, measuring factors such as pet budget, pet health and wellness and "walkability."  After comparing 100 cities, Bakersfield was ranked 68. WalletHub finds that Scottsdale, Arizona is the most pet-friendly city in the U.S. Fresno was ranked 91.

Broncs football is back this week. Kern Valley will play at Taft at 7:30 Friday. Kern Valley and Taft shared identical records of 2-7 last season. Ben Goffinet will be back as Kern Valley’s head coach after a three-year hiatus. The first home game will be on the 24th as KVHS hosts Silver Valley. 

A man was hospitalized early Sunday following a single-vehicle roll over crash on Highway 178 in the Canyon at around 4:45 a.m. California Highway Patrol officers responded to the accident near democrat landing. According to officials, the driver was heading westbound towards Bakersfield when he lost control of his Honda Civic in a turn. CHP said the car then started to roll across oncoming traffic and up the side of the hill before resting on the eastbound shoulder. Officers said the driver was transported to a local hospital with minor injuries. CHP said speed was a factor in the accident.

 Firefighters made significant progress trying to tamp down a wildfire that threatened homes and has been raging for days south of Los Angeles. Aircraft have been making flight after flight, dumping water and retardant to protect Lake Elsinore and other foothill communities as the fire sweeps through the dense, bone-dry brush of the Cleveland National Forest. The Holy Fire — named for Holy Jim Canyon, where it began Monday — grew to nearly 33 square miles (85 square kilometers) by Saturday morning. But firefighters also made progress, with containment rising from 10 to 29 percent.

The Ranch Fire, one of the Mendocino Complex fires, became the largest wildfire in California history on Sunday mornin. The Ranch Fire scorched more than 282 thousand acres by yesterday morning — bypassing the previous record holder, December’s Thomas Fire, which burned more than 281 thousand acres in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

The Ferguson Fire is now the largest fire in the Sierra National Forest’s History. A large portion of Yosemite National Park is open and they hope to open every area buy tomorrow. The current containment is at around 85%.

Add this to the challenges facing California wildfire victims: Tariffs. The import tariffs imposed by President Donald Trump are adding thousands of dollars to the cost of building homes. That especially squeezes homeowners who seek to rebuild quickly after losing their houses to natural disasters, such as the wildfires scorching parts of California.

The plastic versus paper straw debate continues to make headlines as more cities opt for a complete ban. Right now, a proposed bill in California would make it illegal for servers to give customers plastic straws unless they ask for them. There is also backlash to the movement, disability advocates say some people need straws. If the proposed bill passes it will not completely ban plastic straws. Lawmakers say their intention is to have you think twice before using a plastic straw.

The number one movie?  “The Meg”. The Jason Statham vs. a Jurassic shark blew past initial estimates that had the film finishing with $30 million (or less) and finished the weekend with $44.5 million. The international numbers were impressive as well, as the film managed $97 million for a worldwide total in the area of $141.5 million.

Friday, August 10th, 2018 

The Holy Fire over Orange and Riverside Counties had grown to nearly 10,000 acres. It was sending some Holy smoke toward eastern Kern County. Additionally, smoke layers from Utah wildfires were circulating around the ridge of high pressure and arriving over Kern County from the east. It seems to be coming from all directions. 

Cal Fire officials identify third firefighter killed in Carr Fire as Jason Brake.  Cal Fire officials confirmed a firefighter assigned to battle the Carr Fire burning in Shasta County was killed in a traffic accident. The Carr Fire is currently 173,522 acres and is 47 percent contained. Cal Fire is not sure when they'll have full control.

President Donald Trump railed against NFL players who protested at Thursday night's preseason games, saying the players are outraged about "something that most of them are unable to define."  The President sees the issue as a political winner, using the protests to fire up his base. He told attendees of a private dinner last year, "It's really caught on. It's really caught on."  Trump has slammed the NFL players since the protests began, suggesting the players be kicked out of the country and praising sports he says are more patriotic.

An online petition proposes replacing Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos with NBA star LeBron James. “LeBron James is an inspiration to kids all over the country. He's shown he cares about America's youth and understands the power of public education in helping children meet their true potential,” said the author of the petition. James recently opened a school for at-risk children in his hometown of Akron. The ‘I Promise’ school is a year-round learning center devoted to the city’s most challenged youngsters. As of Friday morning, the petition is approaching 25,000 signatures.

 If you're looking to add a loving pet to your family, you can do it Friday for a low cost. Friday, Aug. 10, Kern County Animal Services is offering pet adoptions for $5. All the animals have been spayed, neutered, vaccinated and microchipped. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the shelter located at 3951 Fruitvale Ave.

The Tejon Ranch Company, the company behind The Outlets at Tejon, had a rough second quarter, according to the company's financial report. The company reported a million-dollar loss in the second quarter of this year. Just a year ago, the company showed a $200,000 loss in the same quarter. My personal commentary would be "That's what happens when you put a giant shopping complex where you have to drive 20 miles toward the city to get to the country. 

If American religion were traded at a stock exchange, your broker might be telling you to sell. The trend lines don't look great and haven't for quite some time. Social scientists and religious leaders have lots of theories about the long, slow slide, blaming it on everything from the internet to the politicization of conservative Christianity.

Perhaps you've seen this on Facebook or elsewhere. Just in time for back-to-school shopping, hundreds of thousands of people are sharing a great coupon for Dollar General stores. It's a coupon for $150 worth of merchandise to honor Dollar General's birthday. In recent years, coupons like this have popped up on Facebook for all sorts of stores: grocery stores like Kroger, Publix and Aldi, Walgreens, Walmart and Target. Unfortunately, in each of these cases, there is no free merchandise. Dollar General has posted on its Facebook page that this is a scam, just like all the recent coupons promising $60 or more of free merchandise.

Another firefighter was killed battling a massive wildfire in Shasta County, officials announced Thursday morning. "We are saddened to report the death of a CAL FIRE heavy Equipment Mechanic from the Butte County Unit assigned to the Carr Fire. He was killed early this morning as the result of a traffic accident on Highway 99 in Tehama County."  t is unclear if the crash was directly fire-related.

The City of Bakersfield Animal Care Center will be throwing a “Clear the Shelters” event from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Aug. 18, at 201 S. Mt Vernon Ave in Bakersfield. All adoption fees will be waived for the event. Games, food and music will be provided. The city hopes to find as many homes for pets as it can during the event.