LOCAL AND REGIONAL NEWS

Friday, January 24th, 2020


In a 4-3 vote, Bakersfield City Council narrowly approved the highly controversial plan to build a 150 bed low barrier homeless shelter in Southeast Bakersfield. Welcoming a third shelter nearby is frustrating to residents in the area, and the promise by City Council to invest more in the community's infrastructure is said to be too little, too late.


A Fresno grand jury returned with a three-count indictment for two men from Kern County. The men, ages 20 and 24 were charged with conspiring to distribute over 160 pounds of methamphetamine and approximately 300 fentanyl pills. According to court documents, the men were stopped in a routine traffic stop in Pixley. Through the rear windows of the car, officers saw two buckets with a white crystalline substance on the rim of the lids, prompting a search of the vehicle.


NFL free agent Antonio Brown turned himself in at a Florida jail last night following accusations that he and his trainer attacked the driver of a moving truck that carried some of his possessions from California. A warrant had been issued for his arrest. 


Caltrans and the California Highway Patrol are teaming to protect drivers when heavy snow limits or blocks use of the Interstate 5 in northern Los Angeles County through "Operation Snowflake."  When forecasters predict heavy snow will drop to 4,500 feet or lower, Caltrans coordinates with the CHP to activate “Operation Snowflake”, an alert system that calls for maintenance crews to work around-the-clock to keep the highway open.


China's National Health Commission says the number of cases of a new respiratory virus has risen to 830 with 25 deaths. The update Friday morning also confirmed the first death outside the central province of Hubei. The health commission in Hebei, a northern province bordering Beijing, said an 80-year-old man died after showing symptoms upon his return from a two-month stay in Wuhan to see relatives.



Two more flu-related deaths have been reported in Kern County, according to Kern County Public Health. That brings the total up to three flu-related deaths in Kern County for the for the 2019-20 flu season.


Governor Gavin Newsom says the three American flight crew members who died when their aerial water tanker crashed while battling wildfires in southeastern Australia were part of a crew on a California-based tanker. Gov. Newsom in a statement on Thursday did not identify the crew members but called them heroes.


The western monarch butterfly population wintering along California's coast remains critically low for the second year in a row, a count by an environmental group released Thursday showed. A nonprofit environmental organization recorded about 29,000 butterflies in its annual survey. By comparison, about 4.5 million monarch butterflies wintered in forested groves along the California coast in the 1980s. 


A 10-year-old girlon a playground was shot by a stray bullet in a drive-by shooting outside a Southern California elementary school, authorities said Thursday.


Oxnard police said on Twitter the girl was struck Thursday morning during a car-to-car shooting outside McAuliffe Elementary School in the coastal city. The shooting is believed to be an isolated incident. The girl suffered non-life threatening injuries, and no one else was injured, police said.


A former Bakersfield attorney who is accused of misappropriating $350,000 is now being investigated by the Bakersfield Police Department, according to court filings with the Kern County Superior Court. According to the California State Bar, family attorney Barabara McDaniel Harris was ordered inactive in July 2019 after a couple she represented in a divorce filed a complaint in 2018. She is no longer eligible to practice law in California.


California has been named one of the top states for highway safety laws according to saferoads.org ' s 2020 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws Best and Worst States. On the list, California ranked seventh for highway safety laws. The site found that the golden state had 10 highway safety laws. Among the list of "Worst States" included Arizona, South Dakota, Nevada and Ohio.


 Kern County firefighters were able to stop an Acrolein leak that started at Taft Manufacturing on Wednesday and end all evacuation orders. Around 11 a.m. crews were called out for a hazardous waste situation. They arrived and quickly evacuated all facility employees from the area. Acrolein is very hazardous to those who breath in the substance and because of that, firefighters created an evacuation radius just in case.


A warrant has been issued for the arrest of NFL wide receiver Antonio Brown following accusations that he and his trainer attacked another man near Brown's Florida home. Officers responded Tuesday afternoon to a disturbance call, where the alleged victim said Brown and his trainer, Glen Holt, hit him, police said. Holt was arrested a short time later and charged with one count of burglary with battery.


Several police departments are warning the public about a new text message phishing scam that looks to be from FedEx about a package delivery. FedEx said customers around the country have gotten a text message that shows you a "tracking code" and asks you to click it to set delivery preferences. The company said the link would take you to a fraudulent, scammer-operated site that would try to steal your personal information and money.


The western monarch butterfly population wintering along California's coast remains critically low for the second year in a row, a count by an environmental group released Thursday showed.The count of the orange-and-black insects recorded about 29,000 butterflies in its annual survey. By comparison, about 4.5 million monarch butterflies wintered in forested groves along the California coast in the 1980s. 


A man's body was found in a pile of manure at a dairy farm in central California and authorities are investigating the discovery as a suspicious death, authorities said. A worker at the farm in Galt found the body Wednesday while working in the area where manure and waste get processed. The man has been identified but his name is not being released until the coroner notifies his family. Owners of the dairy farm said he was not one of their employees.


A passenger who landed at Los Angeles International Airport Wednesday night was hospitalized for a precautionary medical evaluation amid increased concerns over coronavirus. This development comes a day after Los Angeles County public health officials said it was "very possible'' the area will see at least one patient, given the number of people traveling between Southern California and China.


Thursday, January 22nd, 2020


The Kern County Sheriff's Office has released more details on a fatal stabbing that happened Tuesday afternoon near Foothill High School. Deputies were dispatched about 2:38 p.m. for a report of a stabbing near the high school. Deputies found a 17-year-old male subject lying on the ground suffering from stab wounds. Praredics and deputies performed life-saving measures but the boy was declared dead at the scene, according to the Sheriff's Office. Two other stabbing victims were found near a second crime scene nearby. One of the other stabbing victims was 23-year-old Jason Cruz and has been booked into the Kern County Jail for homicide. The other victim was a 14-year-old male was stabbed at the scene and has been booked into Juvenile Hall for assault with a deadly weapon.


It was a full house at the City Council Chambers of the McFarland Veterans Community Center on Tuesday night. Dozens gathered for the first public hearing of the city's planning commission. Geo Group is the private prison company which runs the Mesa Verde ICE processing center. Its representatives told the planning commission that turning those correctional facilities into processing centers will contribute to the economic growth of the city of McFarland.


California Gov. Gavin Newsom is urging a federal judge to reject Pacific Gas and Electric's blueprint for getting out of bankruptcy and renewing his threat to lead a bid to turn the beleaguered utility into a government-run operation. In a court filing Wednesday, Newsom's lawyers gave a sternly worded rebuke of PG&E's plan, escalating the intrigue in a year-old bankruptcy case that will determine the fate of the nation's largest utility. 


Chinese state media say the city of Wuhan is shutting down outbound flights and trains as the country battles the spread of a new virus that has sickened hundreds and killed 17. The official Xinhua News Agency said Thursday that the city also asked people not to leave Wuhan without specific reasons.


According to a Governor's Office of Emergency Services " Hazardous Materials Spill Report , " the chemical that was spilled at Taft Manufacturing was Acrolein. The chemical leaked from a "large container shipped from overseas." At least 30 people were evacuated from the plant and an evacuation radious of six miles was established. 


Eli Manning, champion of two Super Bowl titles, retires from football after 16 seasons with the New York Giants. Manning won Super Bowl MVP honors following the 2007 and 2011 seasons. Manning is just one of five players in NFL history to win two Super Bowl MVP awards. He also earned Pro Bowl honors in 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2015.


In a new report, Brandeis University named Bakersfield the worst place for children to grow up in America. The Child Opportunity Index 2.0 took a look at how neighborhood conditions affect the health and development of children across the United States. Based on a max score of 100, Bakersfield came in dead last with a score of 20, with "fifty-one percent of children [living] in very low-opportunity neighborhoods." The highest-ranked metropolitan area was Madison, WI with a score of 83.

Visitors will be able to get into museums in Southern California for free on Saturday as part of SoCal Museums’ Free-for-All. 


More than 40 museums will open their doors to visitors free of charge. Participating museums include the J. Paul Getty Museum, La Brea Tar Pits, the National History Museum of Los Angeles County, the California Science Center and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.  



Tuesday, January 21st, 2020


It was a full house at the City Council Chambers of the McFarland Veterans Community Center on last night. Dozens gathered for the first public hearing of the city's planning commission. The turnout was so big, there was not enough room, and people had to be outside. The Geo Group asked the commission to consider approving modifications to its community Golden State and Central Valley correctional facilities so that both facilities can be re-purposed to house federal inmates and detainees. There are growing concerns that turning these correctional facilities into immigration detention centers will only attract a heavier ice presence to the city of McFarland.


A woman whose toddler was killed when a California sheriff’s deputy rear-ended her car has died of her injuries. The Los Angeles Times reports that 23-year-old Kalesha Johnson died Wednesday. Johnson’s 1-year-old son died at a hospital hours after the Saturday night collision on Interstate 5 near Stockton. The California Highway Patrol says a marked San Joaquin County sheriff's patrol car rear-ended Johnson's sedan, sending it down an embankment.


The Bakersfield Police Department has released the identities of three people who fled from a home explosion in the 11000 block of Privet Place in Southwest Bakersfield on Tuesday afternoon. They were identified as 59-year-old Jay Hanner, 38-year-old Matthew Hanner and 18-year-old Austin Hanner. All three were inside the residence at the time of the explosion according to the BPD. The damage of the explosion was $450,000 according to the Bakersfield Fire Department. Arson units are still investigating the cause of the fire and there are currently no suspects in custody.


One person is dead and two additional people were injured in a stabbing that occurred in East Bakersfield Tuesday afternoon. According to Matt Alvarez of the Kern County Sheriff's Office, deputies were called out to the area of Foothill and Morning Drive at around 2:30 p.m. on reports of a stabbing. When deputies arrived, they found a crowd of about 300 people at the scene. A juvenile male victim was found suffering from a stabbing. KCSO deputies and Kern County Fire Department crews attempted life-saving measures, but the victim was declared dead. One person has been detained as a person of interest, but has not been declared a suspect at this point.


A 3.6-magnitude earthquake struck the Granada Hills area Tuesday night, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The quake hit shortly after 11:40 p.m. and hit nearly two miles north-northeast from Granada Hills, according to the USGS. The depth of the temblor was about four miles.


Being a truck driver isn't the draw it used to be. At Excel Driver Services, they're grinding gears trying to figure out how to get more people behind the wheel of big rigs. America has a major shortage of licensed truck drivers. According to the American Trucking Associations, the industry was short more than 60,000 drivers in 2018 – that's almost a 20 percent increase from the year before.


A new study examining out-of-pocket spending for maternity care found that giving birth is still costing women thousands of dollars, even among those who have employer-provided health insurance. Published this month in the peer-reviewed journal Health Affairs, the study found the average out-of-pocket costs for maternity care among women with employer-based insurance jumped from $3,069 in 2008 to $4,569 in 2015.


Stock and oil prices fell Tuesday as concern about the potential impact of a Chinese disease outbreak increased and a rating agency cut Hong Kong’s credit rating for official borrowing due to political tension. Indexes in London and Frankfurt declined and Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong closed sharply lower after China announced a fourth death from coronavirus. The outbreak, centered on the central Chinese city of Wuhan, has sickened more than 200 people.


A 3-year-old boy is safe after being attacked by a mountain lion Monday in Lake Forest in Orange County. The mountain lion grabbed the child by the neck and dragged him away from his family just after 4 p.m. yesterday. The boy’s father threw a backpack at the lion, which made the animal drop the child and snatch the bag before climbing up a tree. The boy was taken to a local hospital and is now in stable condition. The mountain lion was later tracked down and euthanized by Orange County fire officials.


Hundreds of volunteers will fan out across Kern County on Friday, venturing into parks and alleys and looking under bridges and along the Kern River, to get an accurate idea of the county's homeless population. The annual point-in-time homeless count has taken on major significance this year as homelessness has reached a crisis point — locally and statewide — that has the public demanding action and local leaders scrambling to find meaningful fixes for a seemingly intractable problem. The event Friday will be a small but significant step in this effort: getting a handle on the size of the problem.


The McFarland Planning Commission will meet Tuesday to hear public comments on proposed changes to permits that could allow a private prison company to dramatically expand immigrant detention capacity in Kern County. GEO Group Inc., which runs the Mesa Verde ICE Processing Center in Bakersfield, has requested amending the permits for Golden State Modified Community Correctional Facility and Central Valley Modified Community Correctional Facility to be repurposed to house federal inmates and detainees.


A Kern County Fire Department engineer has been crowned the "World's Strongest Firefighter" in an event hosted by famous strongman and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Ben Gallaher won the award in Santa Monica at an Arnold Sports Festival event on Saturday, according to Kern County Fire and festival social media accounts. The event, held on the Santa Monica Pier, was a lead-up event to the annual Arnold Sports Festival, which will be held March 5-8 in Columbus, Ohio.


Hundreds of people rallied at Central Park at Mill Creek for the annual Women’s March on Saturday. They each had a different reason for marching. Some marched for fairness, others, for justice, and others for inclusiveness, but they all marched united. The rally was filled with local women speakers and social justice advocates.


The California Highway Patrol is investigating a crash that left three teens with major injuries on Highway 178 near the Golden State Avenue off ramp yesterday. Officers said at around 10:00 a.m. the driver of the car lost control and crashed into a tree on the side of the highway. Four teens were inside the car at the time of the crash, two males and two females between the ages of 16 and 18. Three of them were taken to the hospital with major injuries, according to the CHP. The cause of the crash is still under investigation.


The Super Bowl is set. On Sunday, the 2nd of February, the Kansas City Chiefs will take on the San Francisco 49'ers in Miami. Both locked it up this past weekend in the Conference Championship games. Two young quarterbacks playing. Patick Mahomes and Jimmy Garafallo. 


Any body will steal anything. Authorities are investigating the theft of nearly 100 beehives from an orchard in northern California. The beehives, which are used to pollinate almond orchards, were discovered missing on Friday, beekeeper Mike Potts said. He estimated that the theft of the 92 hives, about a third of his operation, would cost him about $44,000 in revenue.


The Black Jacket Symphony will present Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon at the Fox Theater this March. The concert is scheduled for March 1. Tickets go on sale to the public on Friday, Jan. 24 at 10 a.m., but you can get yours early with code "HOWDY" starting on Tuesday, Jan. 21 at 10 a.m. through Thursday, Jan. 23 at 10:00 p.m.


 A Southern California driver intentionally rammed a Toyota Prius with six teenage boys inside, killing three and injuring three others before fleeing, authorities said Monday. The Prius went off the road and slammed into a tree at around 10:30 p.m. Sunday in Temescal Valley in Riverside County, southeast of Los Angeles. A 42 year old man from Corona was arrested a short time later in a neighborhood near the crash site, according to the California Highway Patrol.


Preston McAvinue told his estranged wife that if she didn’t let him see his kids, she could wait and see what happened to her car, a court document says. The next morning, the driver’s side rear tire fell off her car as she dropped her 8-year-old off at school. She examined the car and found the lugnuts on both rear wheels had been loosened or removed, according to the document. McAvinue, already wanted on charges including attempted murder stemming from a November assault, was arrested Jan. 15 and is held on more than $1 million bail in connection with the multiple cases filed against him, according to court records.


Australia’s forests are burning at a rate unmatched in modern times and scientists say the landscape is being permanently altered as a warming climate brings profound changes to the island continent. Heat waves and drought have fueled bigger and more frequent fires in parts of Australia, so far this season torching some 40,000 square miles , an area about as big as Ohio. With blazes still raging in the country’s southeast, government officials are drawing up plans to reseed burned areas to speed up forest recovery that could otherwise take decades or even centuries. But some scientists and forestry experts doubt that reseeding and other intervention efforts can match the scope of the destruction. The fires since September have killed 28 people and burned more than 2,600 houses.




Friday, January 17th, 2020


A federal judge on Thursday indefinitely blocked a new California labor law from applying to more than 70,000 independent truckers, deciding that it is preempted by federal rules on interstate commerce. The state law that took effect Jan. 1 makes it harder for companies to classify workers as independent contractors instead of employees who are entitled to minimum wage and benefits such as workers compensation.


We're just one day away from the annual Women's March Kern County where hundreds are expected to take the streets of Bakersfield. The event takes place on tomorrowfrom 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. It starts at Mill Creek Park, located at 21st and R streets.


A traffic stop by Tehachapi police led to the arrest of three Kern County residents. According to the Tehachapi Police Department, on Wednesday at around 11 p.m. officers conducted a traffic stop on Highway 58 near the Love's Truck Stop. "During the traffic stop officers discovered one of the passengers, Daniel Salvatierra, 35, of Mojave, was in possession of a loaded firearm, a quantity of methamphetamine, narcotic paraphernalia, and brass knuckles. The driver of the vehicle, 28-year-old Andres Esparza, who was on parole, was arrested for having pepper spray. Passenger Nora Esparza, who was on probation, had several warrants out for her arrest. The 28-year old also was in possession of meth.


A former Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy who falsely claimed that he was shot at by a sniper is now facing criminal charges. Last August Angel Raul Reinosa reported being shot at by a sniper in the parking lot of the Lancaster station. After an investigation, officials determined the shooting had been fabricated. The LA District Attorney's Office announced charges of filing a false police report and two felony counts of insurance fraud have been filed against Reinosa.


That predicted storm took it's time getting here yesterday, but getting here it did. A lot of rainfall, but you didn't have to go uphill too far to hit snow. The road condtions caused the cancellation of bus service to school from Havilah this morning. 


Kern County District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer announced the resolution in the financial conflict of interest case against Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez. Supervisor Perez agreed to the factual basis for the misdemeanor charges brought against her and further agreed to a series of actions to remediate the issues caused by the conflict of interest and disclosure related charges.


The death of a man who was found inside a marijuana dispensary in East Bakersfield last year was ruled a homicide. According to the Kern County coroner's office, Marques Troyvell Stokes's death was caused by "blunt injuries." Other factors also contributed to his death, including Atherosclerotic Heart Disease and Acute Methamphetamine and Cocaine Toxicity.


Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux held a news conference Thursday to provide updates on a major gang operation in the county. The news comes after a months-long investigation that concluded in a large-scale operation. The gang crackdown was to dismantle a violent gang in Tulare County. Boudreaux said the gang members caught during the operation were responsible for over 30 drive-by shootings, multiple weapon and drug sales, and conspired with other gangs to commit similar crimes.


Ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s is getting in on the streaming war. The company has announced it has partnered with Netflix on a new flavor, “Netflix and Chill’d.” It has peanut butter ice cream with pretzel swirls and a fudge brownie. The product also comes in a non-dairy form. The new flavor is currently making its way to grocery stores across the country.

 

Disneyland’s latest attraction, “Rise of the Resistance,” is set to open in “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge” this today. And if the demand for the ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida is any indication, thrillseekers should anticipate heading to the Anaheim theme park early to have a chance to experience it. The immersive attraction pits the heroic Resistance against the villainous First Order — and is “unlike anything” else at Disneyland, according to the resort’s website.



Thursday, January 16th, 2020


The governor has restarted a project to build a giant, underground tunnel to pump water to the southern part of the state. Gov. Gavin Newsom's administration on Wednesday issued a Notice of Preparation for the project. It's the first step in the state's lengthy environmental review process. Last year, Newsom halted a similar project that would have built two tunnels for the same purpose. The new project will have only one tunnel, and it will carry less water. State officials don't know how much it will cost. The Sierra Club of California opposes the project. The group is concerned about its impact on the environment.


The Trump administration is signaling that it could increase fuel economy standards, possibly compromising on its push to freeze them at 2020 levels. In one of the administration's hardest-fought battles to roll back Obama-era environmental regulations, two federal agencies submitted a final rule on gas mileage and greenhouse gas emissions on Tuesday.


Fire officials in Sacramento say two people in a homeless encampment suffered burns when a propane tank exploded. The Sacramento Fire Department reported the incident on its Twitter account Thursday morning, saying the explosion ignited a small grass fire. Two people were being treated for burns. Firefighters were able to quickly put the fire out.


A proposed law that would require companies like PG&E to compensate customers for intentional power shut offs cleared its first hurdle in the legislature yesterday. The law would put a system in place to try to bring balance to the intentional black outs that interrupted the lives of millions of Californians last fire season. In some cases, the law would allow customers to be compensated for lost resources.


A senior state official in town Tuesday for a record-setting meeting on the future of Kern's oil and gas industry said Wednesday that Gov. Gavin Newsom's representatives will be back in the county soon to continue a dialogue on how to achieve California's climate-change goals without ruining the local economy.


According to the National Weather Service's Hanford station, five of the past six years have been the five warmest in Bakersfield’s recorded history. Since the turn of the millennium Bakersfield has experienced nine years that were ranked, on average, among the warmest 20 since records started being kept in 1893. Fresno, Bakersfield's cousin to the north, is seeing an even more dramatic warming.


An 11-year-old boy was arrested Wednesday after he made criminal threats on social media to “shoot up” Jacobsen Middle School, according to Tehachapi Police. TPD said the received reports from a concerned parent who said the student had posted a photograph of himself on social media holding what was believed to be a firearm. Officers contacted the school and located the student who posted the photo. During the investigation, officers recovered a BB gun pistol that was confirmed to be the item in the social media post. 


Nearly a dozen people are behind bars after a crackdown on vehicle thefts in Kern County. According to the California Highway Patrol, the Kern County Auto Theft Task Force conducted undercover late night operations the week of Jan. 6. Patrolling areas in Bakersfield and Shafter, 11 people were arrested and 12 vehicles were recovered. Two complaints will be filed for auto theft and forgery charges.


People throughout San Diego County are searching for answers after hearing a mysterious boom yesterday afternoon. Dozens of San Diego Residents in La Jolla and Del Mar took to Twitter after hearing the noise before 12:45 p.m. No word on what it was. 


For years the people of Bakersfield have enjoyed letting their inner superheroes and villains out at the annual Bakersfield Comic Con, but now it's time to let your Disney flag fly. The creators of Bakersfield Comic Con are now bringing Mouse-Con to the Kern County Fairgrounds. Mouse-Con is coming to Bakersfield on Jan. 26 from 10 a.m. ro 5 p.m. Tickets cost $10 and kids 12 and under get in for free.


Headed to the gym for a little workout? Why not go to the movies instead?  According to a new study, a trip to the movie theater is just as good for your heart as a trip the gym. Here’s how researchers at the University College London came to that conclusion. They studied more than 50 people wearing biometric sensors to track their heart rate all while watching the 2019 live-action remake of “Aladdin.”  For about 45 minutes of the movie, the viewers’ heart rates rose 40% to 80% higher than the maximum normal resting heart rate, the researchers discovered. Researchers found that the participants’ heart rates during the two-hour movie were in a zone similar to light exercise.


Wednesday, January 15th, 2020


Tuesday's afternoon session at the Board of Supervisors was a packed house, with hundreds of members of the public gathered in the main auditorium, and overflowing to listen from outside. The reason? To address the guests from Sacramento in attendance, representatives from Governor Gavin Newsom's office, invited to hear presentations from oil industry leaders about how their clean energy initiative is stifling Kern's economic future. Oil producers see California's movement towards clean energy as a threat to Kern County jobs. About 100 people in attendance came to rally for environmental protections, supporting government regulation.


One person suffered minor injuries after four vehicles and a school bus were involved in a traffic collision in southwest Bakersfield Tuesday afternoon. Police say the school bus, which was from Panama Buena Vista Union School District, was empty except for the driver. The bus appeared to be at the front of the collision, with several vehicles behind it apparently rear-ending one another in chain-reaction.


Robert Daniel Rivas, the man accused of attacking a woman with a machete at a Starbucks, was acquitted of attempted murder but found guilty of multiple felonies including assault with a deadly weapon and attempted voluntary manslaughter. 


The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to hire two law firms to pursue legal action against pacific Gas & Electric, the nation's largest utility over a massive wildfire last fall that combined with rolling power shutoffs caused losses of $725 million. The supervisors also released findings of a report assessing the economic impact of the fire and four PG&E power shutoffs. 


Last evening was a special gathering of people to honor the man and woman of the year, as given by the Kern River Valley Chamber of Commerce. Man of the year is Bruce Vegter for his many contributions in the Valley that include the Historical Society and the Kern River Heritage Foundation. The woman of the year is Kathe Malouf receiving accolades for her work on projects such as getting the dog park at Kissick park put in. 


Federal authorities will investigate why an airliner with engine trouble dumped jet fuel over a densely populated area of Southern California while making an emergency return to the airport, dousing dozens of schoolchildren in a smelly vapor. Delta Air Lines Flight 89 to Shanghai, with 181 passengers and crew on board, turned back to Los Angeles International Airport only minutes after taking off Tuesday.


A Hollywood casting company is asking local residents to appear as extras in an upcoming Netflix film to be shot in Bakersfield. No experience is necessary. Registration is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 19 at the Bakersfield Marriott Convention Center, located at 801 Truxtun Ave. If you're interested, you can call 818-755-1404 for more information. Check Kern River Radio dot com and the local news page if you didn't get that number.


The Kern County Board of Supervisors proclaimed January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month during their session Tuesday afternoon. The board marked the month by ringing the Kern County Liberty Bell. Throughout the last two years, the Kern County Department of Human Services has received 175 referrals alleging allegations of human trafficking and exploitation of children. 


The Panama-Buena Vista School District said they are working closely with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Homeland Security following a ransomware attack last Friday. On Jan. 10, the district was hit with a cyber ransomware attack that caused a technology and phone outage at multiple schools. 


A gas leak and related power outages are affecting several thousand residents and businesses yesterday afternoon in Ridgecrest. Ridgecrest police says a gas leak was reported at South Downs Street and West Church Avenue. Southern California Edison shut off power in the area as crews work on repairs. The outage is affecting 2,392 customers. 


The Community Action Partnership of Kern has been officially approved to run the county’s new emergency homeless shelter. During its Tuesday morning meeting, the Kern County Board of Supervisors approved a $6.1 million three-year contract with CAPK to operate the new shelter to be located at 2731 O St. Under the contract, the nonprofit organization will run a 150-bed facility, develop and implement a policy and procedure handbook, provide support services, 24-hour security and surveillance and more.




Tuesday, January 14th, 2020


Toyota is recalling nearly 700,000 vehicles in the U.S. because the fuel pumps can fail and cause engines to stall. The recall covers certain 2018 and 2019 Lexus models. Also included are certain 2018 and 2019 Toyota 4Runner, Camry, Highlander, Land Cruiser, Sequoia, Sienna, Tacoma, and Tundra models. Some 2019 models also are affected including the Avalon and Corolla.


The San Diego City Council has approved a ban on marijuana billboard ads within 1,000 feet of schools, playgrounds, day care centers, youth centers and parks with playgrounds. The council vote Monday was unanimous, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported. The law will make 352 of the city's 644 existing billboard sites eligible for marijuana ads.


A U.S. Border Patrol dog sniffed out more than $190,000 worth of methamphetamine concealed in a vehicle along a Southern California highway, the agency said. An agent patrolling Interstate 15 followed a suspicious vehicle Friday as it exited onto U.S. 395 and parked at a gas station in the unincorporated Rainbow area of San Diego County south of Temecula. The driver, only identified as a 34-year-old U.S. citizen, was arrested.


Led by Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow, the top-ranked LSU Tigers defeated the No. 3-ranked Clemson Tigers 42-25 to win the CFP National Championship played Monday night.


Representative TJ Cox announced significant funding from the state aimed to combat homelessness in District 21 Monday. The California Department of Housing and Community Development has awarded $461,261 through the 2019 Emergency Solutions Grants Program. 


A thank you to the community from this past season's Toys for Tots. Yvonne Pickerell said that nearly 1500 local kids were given almost 48 hundred toys thanks to all who contributed and the Toys for Tots crew. 


The Kern County coroner's office has identified the three teens who were found dead in an orchard near Lamont last Friday as 18-year-old Adrian Ochoa, 17-year-old Raul Fernandez and 16-year-old Valentin Eli Ramirez. Ochoa, Fernandez and Ramirez were found shot and killed in an orchard. Deputies said they were called around 7:00 p.m. to the area of Buena Vista Boulevard and Fairfax Road for reports of shots being fired.


Officials with the Newsom administration are expected to attend a January Board of supervisors meeting about Kern County's oil industry. According to the board agenda, the officials are expected to make a presentation during the meeting. Governor Newsom has slowed giving out fracking permits as part of his effort to phase out dependence on fossil fuels. Meanwhile, local advocacy groups are encouraging the public to attend the meeting and share their voice.


An advisory council appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom is calling for California voters to consider a legally enforceable mandate to end homelessness. The recommendation Monday comes as California grapples with one of its most pressing and politically fraught problems. Newsom notably did not adopt the council's recommendation when he outlined his own $1 billion homelessness plan to lawmakers last week.


The Department of Housing and Community Development announced it will be providing $273,261 to Kern County to go towards combating homelessness. According to a press release from Rep. TJ Cox, the funding is expected to go towards the new emergency shelter, community outreach, rapid rehousing and grant administration.


The Houston Astros fired manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow hours after Major League Baseball suspended the pair for the 2020 season for their role in a sign-stealing scandal that has tainted the team's 2017 world championship season. 


 Grandparent scams are targeting people right now. Senior citizens get phone calls saying their grandchildren are in trouble and need money. One of the recommendations is that you contact that family member (who’s supposedly calling you) on their actual phone number. Reach out to another family member to just verify. Crooks are digging to find details about your family. Whether it’s through social media or other online info, keep your accounts safe and be careful what you share.


Assemblyman Rudy Salas has introduced a bill that would require the installation of seismic gas shutoff devices on any newly constructed or renovated homes. Assembly Bill 1923 was created in response to last year’s major earthquakes that struck the Ridgecrest area, during which gas lines leaked and multiple homes caught fire. 


Monday, January 13th, 2020


A newspaper reports federal officials are prepared to bill wildfire victims for a portion of nearly $4 billion the government says it's owed by Pacific Gas & Electric — if the debt isn't resolved as part of the utility's bankruptcy case. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has asked for reimbursement from PG&E to cover costs from the government’s response to recent fires.


People throughout the Canadian province of Ontario awoke Sunday to a cellphone alert warning them of an "incident" at a nuclear plant just east of Toronto — only to later be told the message was a mistake. The message, which was transmitted throughout the nation's most populous province, was accompanied by a shrill emergency broadcast noise. 


 It is just under a week away from the 2020 Women’s March of Kern County. The third annual Women’s March of Kern County will be kicking off at Mill Creek Park from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., on Jan. 18. According to Kimberly Kirchmer, the founder of the march says the event is expected to have over a thousand people in attendance. This year the march will have Dolores Huerta as a speaker and some new elements for attendees.


The Kern County Board of Supervisors is asking for public comments from anyone potentially impacted by the governor's increase in regulations on the oil industry. In November, Governor Gavin Newsom issued a moratorium on permits for wells using high-pressure steam to extract oil. The board is asking for the oil community to attend Tuesday's meeting to discuss the economic impacts the restrictions cause.


An off-duty Los Angeles County Sheriff’s detective was killed Sunday after helping someone cross the street. Authorities say 41-year-old Amber Leist was driving when she noticed someone trying to cross the street had fallen. Leist got out to help that person and while she was walking back to her car, she was hit by a car. Officials say the driver stayed at the scene and cooperated with authorities. Investigators say the crash was an accident.


The NFC and AFC teams are heading into this weekend's conference games. It will be the Green Bay Packers traveling to San Francisco to take on the Niners, and the Tennessee Titans going into Arrowhead Stadium play the Kansas City Chiefs. 



Police in McFarland are investigating a fatal Friday night shooting as a homicide. Officers discovered the man had suffered from multiple gunshot wounds. Medical staff declared the man dead at the scene, according to police. The Kern County Crime Lab and Coroner's Office were called to the scene to continue the investigation. Police say there is no suspect information.


A former Tehachapi City Council candidate was convicted Friday of secretly recording a conversation with the city's police chief. James Davies, 42, was found guilty of felony eavesdropping stemming from a May 2019 meeting he had with Tehachapi Police Chief Kent Kroeger. Davies faces up to three years in prison, according to the Kern County District Attorney's Office.


Federal health officials are inspecting Yosemite National Park's food service areas after at least a dozen people have fallen ill with stomach issues. The National Park Service and the U.S. Public Health Service told the San Francisco Chronicle they launched an investigation after employees and visitors reported the problems this month. Federal officials said they haven't identified the illness or the origin of the outbreak.


California is sending 31 disaster specialists to Puerto Rico after a magnitude 5.9 earthquake struck the island's southern coast on Saturday, the latest in a series of quakes over the past week that have toppled homes and schools and left more than 4,000 people in shelters. Gov. Gavin Newsom said the deployment comes in response to the Puerto Rican government's request for assistance.


This weekend the Bakersfield Police Department is continuing to crack down on street racing in the city. Saturday night during the street racing operation, officials issued ten citations and impounded three cars. Two people were also arrested for grand theft auto after a traffic stop according to police.


After being unanimously reapproved by the Kern County Board of Supervisors, the Grapevine project is once again facing backlash. The Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit Friday challenging the reapproval, citing negative environmental impacts of the project under the California Environmental Quality Act.


The Bakersfield Condors came into Saturday night's game against the Iowa Wild with a 5-1-1 record in their last seven games. The hot streak made its way into the contest in the third period. Trailing 2-1, the Condors ripped off four unanswered goals and won 5 to 2.





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