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Tuesday, April 24th, 2018

A 17-year-old boy was killed Monday following a shooting in east Bakersfield. Deputies were called for shots being fired about 4:30 p.m. Deputies found a Hispanic boy suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. He was taken to the hospital where he later died, according to the Kern County Sheriff's Office. 

Two correctional officers were attacked over the weekend by a dozen inmates at Delano’s Kern Valley State Prison, according to state prison officials. The attack happened Saturday afternoon in a dayroom of a dorm at KVSP’s Minimum-Support Facility, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said. 

A Texas man has been sentenced to 50 years in prison for stealing $1.2 million worth of fajitas over nine years. Fifty-three-year-old Gilberto Escamilla was sentenced Friday after pleading guilty to theft by a public servant. The Brownsville Herald reports he told the court the fajita scheme spun out of control. Escamilla had been intercepting fajitas that he ordered through the Cameron County juvenile center where he worked and delivering them to his own customers. Escamilla was fired in August and arrested after authorities checked vendor invoices and obtained a search warrant that uncovered county-funded fajitas in his refrigerator. (the great fajita caper of 2018)

Monday, April 23rd, 2018

It’s one of those phone calls that sound like a scam: someone is telling you how Dish Network may owe you $1,200. Your first instinct may be to immediately hang up. But, hold the phone — literally — because fortune could actually be in your favor!  Recently, Dish Network lost a class-action lawsuit filed by more than 18,000 people who sued the company over violations against the National Do Not Call Registry law. According to the complaint, representatives from Dish Network knowingly called people on the do-not-call list between May 11, 2010 and August 1, 2011. As a result, a court ruled against the satellite TV company and ordered them to pay out a $61.3 million settlement.

On Tuesday the Kern County Board of Supervisors will give the Kern County Fire Department a $14 million dollar payday loan. Fire Chief Brian Marshall said he has more than $15 million in reimbursement money that hasn’t been paid by state and federal fire agencies to Kern County for staff and equipment used last year to fight fires and natural disasters. So the loan is needed to get the fire department through the rest of the fiscal year, which ends June 30.

The San Francisco Bay Area is falling behind on efforts to retrofit buildings that are vulnerable to collapse during a major earthquake, according to a newspaper analysis. The Los Angeles Times reported Sunday that there are up to 3,000 brittle concrete structures in San Francisco, yet the city doesn't have a list of where they are located. The building type is one of the deadliest in quakes. A landmark study by the U.S. Geological Survey unveiled last week showed how the Hayward fault in the East Bay is potentially more dangerous than the San Andreas fault in the Bay Area.

Friday, April 20th, 2018

California State University will not raise tuition at its 23 campuses for the 2018-19 academic year. Chancellor Timothy White says the country's largest university system will drop its proposal to consider raising tuition by $228 a year, which trustees had planned to discuss in May. White told The Associated Press that CSU will continue to press the state Legislature for increased funding, but will not put more financial burden on students. Undergraduate tuition is currently $5,742 a year.

Riverside County has been hit with a small earthquake Friday morning. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the city of Idyllwild was hit with a 3.4 quake just after 5:30 a.m. It's not known if there was any damage to buildings or if anyone was hurt. 

After investigating a possible kidnapping for several hours on Thursday, the Kern County Sheriff's Office determined it to be a hoax. Two students reportedly made it up and confessed to officials. KCSO said the two children may be charged with misdemeanor deceiving an officer, but that will be up to the District Attorney's Office to file it.

A medicine made from the marijuana plant moved one step closer to U.S. approval Thursday after federal health advisers endorsed it for the treatment of severe seizures in children with epilepsy. If the Food and Drug Administration follows the group's recommendation, GW Pharmaceuticals' syrup would become the first drug derived from the cannabis plant to win federal approval in the U.S.

Friday is April 20, or 4/20. That's the numerical code for marijuana's high holiday, a homage to pot's enduring appeal and universal slang for smoking. Festivities are planned worldwide, culminating with a synchronized smoke at 4:20 p.m. How the marijuana-loving world came to mark the occasion is believed traceable to five Northern California men now in their 60s with bad backs and graying hair. They are the unofficial grandmasters by virtue of the code they created nearly 50 years ago as students at a suburban San Francisco high school in 1971.

Thursday, April 19th, 2018

The Kern River Hatchery is having a Free Fishing Day for Kids (under 15) If possible, please announce the event , with time permitting. Saturday April 28th, 9am to 3pm Kern River Hatchery, Free fishing for kids, free hot dogs, games, prizes All fishing gear provided Sponsored by the Friends of the Hatchery

 Kern County District Attorney Lisa Green on Wednesday said she won't charge a pair of federal immigration agents who Delano police claimed lied during an investigation into a deadly crash involving a pair of immigrants fleeing the agents.

Those of you who have A T & T as a cellular carrier may find much improved service in and around the Kernville area. The new tower at Kernville Road and Valley View is being activated today. It's the structure that looks suspiciously like a metal pine tree. 

Carver County attorney Mark Metz said the recording artist Prince died from an accidental fentanyl overdose after he took counterfeit pills containing the powerful painkiller. "Prince had no idea he was taking a counterfeit pill that could kill him," Metz said. There is no evidence showing how he obtained that counterfeit pill, he said. Because of that, there will be no criminal charges filed in the case, he said.

The American Nostalgia Racing Association opens its season on Saturday at Auto Club Famoso Raceway, which also means it’s time to honor the 2017 series champions. As is the case for all four ANRA events (a fifth race might be added), time trials take place on Saturday with eliminations on Sunday. Last year’s season-opening race drew 300 participants and about that many are expected again. ANRA features a variety of classes for fendered (A/Gas on down) and open-wheel cars (Nostalgia Eliminator I on down). There also is competition in various junior dragster classes.

Top Fuel Hydro drag boats will be thundering through the water at Lake Ming this weekend for the first time in more than a decade. Drag boats have been competing at the East Bakersfield lake in one form or another fairly steadily for decades, lately under National Jet Boat Association sanction which does not run Top Fuel Hydros.

Bakersfield has ranked worst, second worst and third worst in the nation for three categories of air quality, shining a light on the community's ongoing potential for health risks associated with breathing poor air, according to a report released Wednesday by the American Lung Association in California. Local air regulators say the valley has made considerable progress to clean up its air, and say the geography and topography of the San Joaquin Valley make Bakersfield particularly vulnerable to smog formation and concentration of particulates when the weather doesn't cooperate.

Wednesday, April 18th, 2018

Wednesday morning the American Lung Association gave Kern County a "F" for air quality. We are listed as the worst air quality in the nation. Our particulate and ozone levels both received "F" scores. 

 Kern County Animal Services just obtained ownership of 160 dogs that were found in filthy conditions at a Tehachapi home. The former owner of the dogs, 69-year-old Allen Lee, did not pay the fees required by the county to care for the dogs, placing the dogs in county custody. Animal Services Director Nick Cullen said the dogs will soon be able to find homes. Sunday, Animal Services is having a Mega Adoption Event at the Kern County Fairgrounds.

Both lanes of the 178 inside of the canyon are closed due to a head-on crash. According to the California Highway Patrol, a Burgundy Toyota SUV traveling eastbound crossed over the center line and collided with the white Hyundai Sedan. Each car had two people in it and all four were transported to the hospital with minor to moderate injuries.

A group of medical marijuana advocates submitted an initiative to the county that would allow for medicinal marijuana businesses to apply for licenses. The group has an initiative on the ballot for this November where voters will decide whether to keep the current marijuana ban. Their current proposal for business licenses introduced on April 2 needs more than 10,000 signatures to qualify. If the measures get applied to the ballot and pass, medical marijuana dispensaries would be allowed in Kern County.

A relatively new device has children vaping in school bathrooms, and many adults have no idea. Juul is a vaping device that's increasingly popular due to its high-tech appearance, ability to hide in plain sight and be used without any telltale odor. Unfortunately, many kids fail to recognize Juul pods contain extremely high levels of nicotine. One Juul pod contains as much nicotine as a full pack of cigarettes.

Americans who waited until the last day to pay their taxes online got an unwelcome surprise: The IRS website to make payments and access other key services is down. The IRS still expects Americans to pay their taxes but U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin says extensions will be granted to those impacted when the site is up again.

Starbucks announced in a press release Tuesday that it will close 8,000 company-owned stores in the United States on May 29 in order to provide its staff with mandatory racial-bias education. The stores will be closed during afternoon hours that day. At that time, employees will be required to attend a training session that will address "implicit bias, promote conscious inclusion, prevent discrimination and ensure everyone inside a Starbucks store feels safe and welcome."

In an effort to protect Medicare beneficiaries' personal information, Social Security numbers will be removed from Medicare cards and replaced with 11-digit Medicare identification numbers. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra issued a consumer alert following the announcement from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. CMS is expected to begin rolling these new Medicare cards out this month.

A Kern man who has been on Death Row for decades will be set free. District Attorney Lisa Green announced Tuesday afternoon she will not seek a new trial for Vincente Benavides, 68, whose first-degree murder conviction and death sentence were reversed by the California Supreme Court. Benavides has been in jail or prison on the case since 1991. Key medical experts who testified for the prosecution at his 1993 trial now believe he is factually innocent- he did not kill anyone. 

Tuesday, April 17th, 2018

Medical marijuana businesses are banned in Kern County, but you may get to vote them back in. A medical marijuana advocacy group, Kern Citizens for Patient Rights, is working to get an initiative on the November ballot to overturn the ban. The group already has a similar initiative on the November ballot to possibly overturn the city of Bakersfield's city wide ban. Now they need about 13,200 valid signatures from Kern County residents in order for the county initiative to get on the ballot. This measure would not impact the ban on recreational marijuana businesses.

 It’s Tax Day, which means it's time to submit your tax returns. Today, Americans all over the country will be rushing to the post office to get their taxes mailed on time. And there’s even more reason to speed up your hustle this year. None of the  post offices are offering extended hours. File your taxes by tonight to avoid getting hit.

 It's been said Vietnam veterans weren't welcomed home after the war, but this past Saturday, the community threw a welcome back party for local vets returning from Washington. Forty one Vietnam veterans were given a hero's welcome as they returned from this month's Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. Honor Flight takes vets out to see memorials built in their honor. These veterans arrived Saturday night at LAX before bussing out to Garces Memorial High School. Crowds welcomed the veterans home with posters and banners.

A blast of cooler weather this week that left us some snow in lower elevations around the valley is expected to give way to temperatures reaching the 80s by Sunday. We should be around 80 on Saturday but a chance of rain before that on Thursday. 

Monday, April 16th, 2018

The Kern County coroner's office has identified a body that was found in Kern River as 34-year-old Juan Torrez. Torrez went missing in June of last year after he fell from his raft into the Kern River near Hart Park. A body was found in the Kern River in March just a half mile west of North Chester Avenue. Following further examination the body was determined to be that of Torrez.

Around 9:36 a.m., a magnitude-3.8 earthquake was reported near Grapevine, according to USGS. The earthquake was reported less than 10 miles northwest of Grapevine.