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Wednesday, December 12th, 2018

Michael Cohen, who as President Donald Trump's personal lawyer and fixer once vowed he would "take a bullet" for his boss, was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison for an array of crimes that included arranging the payment of hush money to two women that he says was done at the direction of Trump.

 Police in Arvin are investigating a shooting that killed a man Monday night. The Kern County coroner’s office has identified the victim as 32-year-old Moses Joseph De La Fuente, of Arvin.Police said they responded to Langford Avenue because of gunshots and found the wounded man, who was pronounced dead at the scene. 

California's increasingly deadly and destructive wildfires have become so unpredictable that government officials should consider banning home construction in vulnerable areas, the state's top firefighter says. That may mean rethinking subdivisions in thickly forested mountainous areas or homes along Southern California canyons lined with tinder-dry chaparral. Yet Los Angeles County supervisors stung by California's housing shortage approved a massive rural housing development Tuesday despite the fire danger.

State and federal authorities estimated Tuesday that it will cost at least $3 billion to clear debris from 19,000 homes and businesses destroyed by three California wildfires last month. The disaster relief officials said the cleanup costs will far surpass the record cleanup expense of $1.3 billion the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers spent on debris removal in Northern California in 2017.

A reminder that prescribed burning from the US forest service is taking place today in Riverkern. That would be the reason for the smoke in the area. It would also seem that they are taking care of the final parts of the prescribed burn at the Live Oak campground in Wofford Heights today. 

The city of Oakland has filed a federal antitrust lawsuit trying to recover damages for the Raiders' upcoming move to Las Vegas. The suit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against the Raiders, the NFL and the other 31 clubs seeks lost revenue, money Oakland taxpayers invested in the Raiders and other costs. The suit does not ask the court to prevent the Raiders' move to Las Vegas but asks for damages that will help pay off the approximately $80 million in debt remaining from renovations on the Coliseum.

Tuesday, December 11th, 2018

Yesterday and today, the US forest service was conduction some prescribed burns at Live Oak Campground in Wofford Heights and at the Forest Service Headquarters in Kernville. Be advised that tomorrow, the forest service will be doing prescribed burns  of ground fuel in the Riverkern area. Again, if you see smoke coming from up river in the Riverkern area, it is a prescribed burn and they are on the scene to do it properly. 

 President Donald Trump sought Tuesday to pressure Democratic congressional leaders into supporting his demand for billions of dollars to build his promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, threatening to have the military build it "if Democrats do not give us the votes to secure our Country."  Trump tweeted the threat hours before Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi were to meet with Trump at the White House in an effort to avert a possible partial government shutdown on Dec. 21, when funding for some agencies is scheduled to expire.

The Yale Law School librarian's list of the most notable quotes of 2018. Rudy Giuliani's statement came in an August interview on NBC's "Meet the Press" when he told host Chuck Todd that Trump might "get trapped into perjury" if he were interviewed in special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation. When Todd replied: "Truth is truth," Giuliani responded: "No, it isn't truth. Truth isn't truth." 

Gas prices hit a record average low on Monday after crude oil prices plummeted. Monday, the average national gas price was two dollars and 42-cents, according to AAA Gas Prices. Although gas prices are dropping all across the country, California remains the most expensive state -- averaging $3.45.

Mental health workers at Kaiser Permanente are striking across the country and here at home. On Monday, the National Union of Healthcare Workers, the union representing mental health workers at Kaiser Permanente, called a five-day strike. Local mental health care workers are traveling to Fresno and Los Angeles to join organized picket lines, demanding Kaiser provide more support for day-to-day operations.

The Trump administration proposed withdrawing federal protections for countless waterways and wetlands across the country Tuesday, making good on President Donald Trump's campaign pledge to weaken landmark Obama-era water rules long opposed by some developers, farmers and oil, gas, and mining executives.

Two nuns who worked for decades at a Catholic school in California embezzled a "substantial" amount of money from tuition and other funds and used it to pay for gambling trips to Las Vegas, church officials said Monday. The embezzlement from Saint James Catholic School in Torrance appears to have gone on for as long as 10 years. The amount taken from tuition payments and other funds is still being tabulated, but some reports say it was as much as $500,000.

Time magazine has chosen "The Guardians and the War on Truth," a group of journalists who have been in the news in 2018, as its Person of the Year. The group includes Jamal Khashoggi, the Washington Post columnist who was killed at the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul this fall.

It's the holiday baking season and the Center for Disease Control is warning citizens to avoid raw cookie dough. Health officials with the CDC say eating or tasting unbaked products, such as dough or batter, can make you sick. Flour and raw eggs especially can contain bacteria and salmonella. The warning isn’t just for cookies. The CDC says it also includes other unbaked dough for things like pizza, biscuits, or other things with raw flour – like homemade play dough. So while you may want to sneak a taste, the CDC says it's better for your health to wait until the baked goods are fully cooked.

U.S. officials say active duty troops will begin leaving the southern U.S border this week and the number of forces there will go down to at least 3,000 by the holidays. There have been roughly 5,400 active duty troops along the border in recent weeks installing wire barriers and protecting border patrol agents in California, Arizona and Texas.

The Oakland Raiders fired general manager Reggie McKenzie on Monday, less than two years after he was named the NFL's executive of the year. McKenzie was let go from the position he had held for almost seven seasons a day after Oakland beat Pittsburgh 24-21 for its third win of the season. The Raiders announced the move in a brief statement thanking McKenzie for his time in Oakland and wishing him well.

Law enforcement officials in Fresno on Monday announced the arrests of 103 fugitives in a sweeping gang enforcement operation involving state and local agencies. U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott and Acting U.S. Marshal Karen Thomas announced the arrests following the effort led by the U.S. Marshals Service. Scott and Thomas were joined by Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp, Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer and other agency representatives. Acting U.S. Marshal Karen Thomas said 72 of the arrests were gang members or associates of gang members, and there were 18 firearms and $37,000 seized during the operation.

Monday, December 10th, 2018

The Alta Sierra Ski Resort opened Sunday morning. Alta Sierra has everything from beginner’s runs, so if you never skied before, we have a lot of runs for learning. There are also  intermediate runs and advanced runs. If you plan on visiting the Ski Resort, don't forget to put chains on your car.

California Highway Patrol officials announced a new public education campaign Friday. The series of ads will air throughout the year to encourage Californians to use other travel options if they choose to consume drugs and alcohol, including medications, prescription or over the counter. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, on average 4,200 drivers were arrested for driving under the influence in Kern County every year. To combat that, CHP will continue their maximum enforcement period during the holidays.

A Bakersfield woman is being accused of embezzling money and physical abuse against an elderly man. Donna Crick pleaded not guilty Friday to 82 felony counts of elder abuse. She is accused of embezzling money from a 92-year-old man with dementia. A prosecutor said it is "one of the most egregious financial elder abuse cases prosecuted in this office in a long time."  Crick is being held on $830,000 bail. She will be back in court Dec. 20.

California regulators on Friday said marijuana deliveries can be made anywhere in the state, even in locales that ban cannabis. Law enforcement groups and the California League of Cities opposed the move, arguing that pot deliveries to places that ban cannabis erodes local government control and will increase crime in those areas. The matter has been one of the most debated issues as state regulators hammer out permanent rules for how marijuana is grown, tested, packaged and delivered.

The California Building Standards Commission has ordered homebuilders to include solar panels on all new single-family projects starting in 2020. As of 2020, homebuilders and developers will have to include solar panels in their designs. Experts estimate the mandate could jack up the cost of new homes by $10,000 to $20,000.

Bakersfield Police Department (BPD) was dispatched following reports of a black Toyota vehicle at the bottom of the canyon around 10:30 yesterday morning. The vehicle was near the water on the rocks, but no one was found when official arrived. BPD officers told 23ABC News that based off the tire tracks they believe the car was heading west toward Bakersfield. Officials said that they believe the car slid off the roadway and down the canyon.

A sheriff’s deputy who died in a mass shooting at a Southern California bar was shot five times by a gunman who massacred 11 others, but the officer was killed by friendly fire, authorities said Friday. Sgt. Ron Helus was fatally shot in the heart by a California highway patrolman who had joined him in a firefight with the gunman at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks on Nov. 7.

Friday, December 7th, 2018

More than 75 years after nearly 2,400 members of the U.S. military were killed in the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor, some who died on Dec. 7, 1941, are finally being laid to rest in cemeteries across the United States. In 2015, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency exhumed nearly 400 sets of remains from the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii after determining advances in forensic science and genealogical help from families could make identifications possible. They were all on the USS Oklahoma, which capsized during the attack, and had been buried as unknowns after the war.

In the event you have traveling plans to the Southland, you are clear to travel the Grapevine. Earlier yesterday afternoon, Caltrans opened southbound lanes, and couple of hours later, the Northbound lanes were opened. There is still some congestion on northbound I-5 at Castaic due to big rigs blocking some of the roadway. The weather is clearing and there should be no problems over the weekend. Keep in mind though that you should carry tire chains, blankets and the like if you are traveling through higher elevations. 

The California Department of Education releases the California Dashboard every year to show how schools and districts are doing. And in the Kern High School District, some of the results were less than stellar. The district ranks near the state average for things like graduation and suspension rates, and below average in subjects like math and English.

A suspect has been arrested after it was discovered that stolen property was being sold online, according to the Kern County Sheriff’s Office. Detectives with the Rural Crime Investigation Unit received information Wednesday that the items stolen from a local utility company were up for purchase on an undisclosed website. A probation search of a residence in Oildale was conducted, and authorities located various stolen items valuing approximately $25,000.

Police and CNN have issued an all-clear message after the network's New York offices and studios were evacuated Thursday night because of a phoned-in bomb threat. The threat came Thursday night when a caller indicated there were five devices in the building, according to a law enforcement source. Several fire alarm bells rang inside CNN's New York newsroom, signaling an evacuation shortly after the call was received. Fortunately, no devices were found.

When water is your life blood, the appearance of fresh-fallen mountain snow is almost always good news. Even when it causes road closures and fender benders. There was plenty of good news to go around Thursday morning in the mountain areas of Kern County as the first serious snows of the season blanketed Frazier Park to the south, Tehachapi to the east, and Alta Sierra in the northeast. According to Jim Andersen, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, the storms are expected to grow quiet through the weekend.

Rep. David Valadao on Thursday conceded to TJ Cox in the race for California’s 21st Congressional District. Earlier in the week, elections office results showed Democratic challenger Cox held 50.4 percent of the vote with a 820-vote lead over the Republican incumbent. Valadao held 49.6 percent of the vote.

Alta Sierra Ski Resort announced on its Facebook page that opening day will be Sunday, Dec. 9. The area received some 16 inches of snow, according to the post that was published Thursday morning. The ticket office will open at 8 a.m.

The Kern County Board of Supervisors approved the purchase of approximately 8,000 square feet of property along Turner Ave. in Lake Isabella paving the way for progress on the Lake Isabella Visitor’s Center. During Tuesday’s afternoon board session, the board unanimously accepted the much-needed easement and right-of-way contract on approximately 8,808 square feet of property.

Heavy weather closed I-5 over the grapevine yesterday. Later in the afternoon the southboud lanes were reopened, however. the northbound lanes remained closed. Driving conditions have been responsible for several accidents, including yesterday afternoon on Walker Pass on highway 178.

Thursday, December 6th, 2018

 The 36th Annual Bakersfield Christmas Parade is just around the corner! Here's what you need to know if you are headed out to the parade or watching at home. 

Police have arrested a man for allegedly making false reports of active shooters twice in recent months: Tuesday at Memorial Hospital and Aug. 1 at Mercy Southwest Hospital. Police said 46-year-old Mario Thompson was detained Tuesday after police swarmed Memorial Hospital on what ultimately turned out to be a false report.

Evacuation orders have been lifted for some neighborhoods in Paradise, where a fire destroyed about 14,000 homes and killed at least 85 people, the Butte County Sheriff's Office said in a statement. All residents will be allowed back today, the statement said. 

A health official testified that a cooling tower that provides mist to make Disneyland visitors comfortable was the likely source for 22 cases in a Legionnaires' disease outbreak last year near the theme park. Disneyland is appealing state fines, saying the outbreak's source was not scientifically determined.

Sir Paul McCartney will rock San Diego's Petco Park once again next year. The legendary Beatles musician is taking his "Freshen Up" world tour to San Diego on June 22, 2019. Tickets will go on sale to the public Dec. 13 at 10 a.m. The next closest stop on McCartney's tour will be at Dodger Stadium on July 13 — just in case you're forced to make the drive.

A magnitude 4.2 earthquake struck Trona in San Bernardino County Wednesday afternoon at 1:40 p.m. An aftershock of magnitude 3.7 followed 30 minutes later. There are no reports of injuries or damage yet.

The Bureau of Land Management will lift its fire restrictions on Friday due to reduced fire conditions. The restriction will be lifted for approximately 650,000 acres of managed public lands in Kern, Fresno, Kings, Madera, San Luis Obispo, Tulare, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. The public is reminded to remain cautious when recreating on public lands to help prevent a wildfire. 

Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

Skiers and snowboarders may soon have nearby access to white slopes and stunning views. Alta Sierra Ski Resort is seeing more snow this week than it has in the past five years and is hoping to open soon. Last year, the resort opened for only two days due to insufficient snowfall and it didn’t open at all the four years prior. This year, the resort already has accumulated 10 inches and they hope to open on Sunday.

The Kern County District Attorney's Office says it's investigating an officer-involved shooting involving an Arvin police officer. The DA's office says the shooting took place early Wednesday morning but declined to provide other details, including whether anyone was injured.

The search for people unaccounted for after the deadliest U.S. wildfire in at least a century is winding down in Northern California, with just 11 names left on a fluctuating list that once approached 1,300 and prompted fears that hundreds had died in the flames. The declining number released late Monday came as a relief in the Paradise area as it reels from the wildfire that killed at least 85 people and destroyed nearly 14,000 homes.

Hospitals have become the target of many shootings across the nation and the Bakersfield Police Department responded to three active shooter calls within a year. Yesterday, an identical call from inside Memorial Hospital reported a possible active shooter. Law enforcement cleared the hospital and again there was no evidence of shots fired or any suspects. 

The next time you’re asked, “Would you like fries with that?”, a Harvard professor recommends asking for just six of them. Professor Eric Rimm, with Harvard University’s T.H. Chan Schoolf of Public Health, referred to French fries -- and potatoes in general -- as “starch bombs” in a recent article published by The New York Times . Rimm said if you want to indulge, portion control is the key. He said the ideal number of fries you should have is six.

The Kern County Elections office shows Measure N, the Bakersfield measure to increase sales tax for first responders, passing with a 97-vote majority. The Kern elections website posted the “Official Final Results as of 12/3/2018 12:47 p.m.” as 45,835 votes in favor of the measure and 45,738 against.

 The 2018 Bakersfield Christmas Parade takes place at 6 p.m. Thursday. In years past, more than 20,000 people have gathered to watch the annual event. The police department recommends that anyone not wishing to watch the parade should stay out the downtown area. Traffic congestion is expected to be heavy. 

Kern County Fire has confirmed via Twitter that law enforcement are responding to a potential active shooter at Memorial Hospital on 34th Street in Central Bakersfield. This is a breaking news story and we will continue to update this as more information is made available.

The deadline to apply for health benefits under Covered California is quickly approaching. The open enrollment period closes on January 15, but to have coverage starting at the beginning of the new year you must enroll before December 15. For more information or to enroll visit www.CoveredCA.Com

Only Mother Nature knows for sure, but Kern County's only ski resort could open for business as soon as this weekend if enough snow falls on the southern Sierra