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KGET: Local News

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    RIDGECREST, Calif. – A 1-year-old child died Sunday in Ridgecrest, after being found face-down in a tub of water.

    Ryder Evans was found in the tub of his home at approximately 6 p.m. in the 1900 block of West Ward Avenue. Sheriffs say he was administered CPR upon discovery, and transported to Ridgecrest Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

    An autopsy to determine the cause of death is scheduled for Tuesday.

    Kern County Sheriffs are investigating the incident.

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    Taft, CA -- The Taft Police Department issued a news release this afternoon regarding the investigation of varsity high school football players after last Friday's game was canceled against Highland High School.

    Here is what it says: On Friday, 09/05/2014 the Taft Police Department was notified of an incident at the Taft Union High School involving students on the Varsity Football Team.

    The Police Department and the High School District immediately investigated the matter.

    Monday 09/08/2014 it was determined juveniles students to be involved in several incidents in and around the Varsity Locker room.

    The investigation thus far has resulted in (8) citations issued to (8) juvenile students who then were released to their respective parents.

    The citations and the investigative report will be sent to Kern County Juvenile Probation for disposition. Due to the ages of the suspects no additional information will be released.

    Of the (8) students: (4) were cited for Battery and False Imprisonment, (3) were cited for Battery, (1) was cited for Sexual battery.

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    BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – A man is dead and a woman is in the hospital after a vehicle collision at the intersection of Panama Lane and Ashe Road Tuesday morning.

    Bakersfield police says that Stanley Eugene Henry,79, was sharing a lane with another vehicle while waiting at the stoplight on eastbound Panama Lane. When the light turned green, he reportedly accelerated into the intersection to get ahead of the other vehicle in the lane, when a minivan driven by a woman entered into the intersection from southbound Ashe Road at what witnesses say was a high rate of speed, striking Henry on the driver side.

    The collision forced Henry‘s vehicle into a nearby City of Bakersfield signal light repair truck.

    An additional vehicle, traveling northbound on Ashe Road, was also struck by one of the vehicles involved, but it is currently unclear by which vehicle.

    Henry died at the scene.

    Police have not released the name of the woman, but say she was taken to the hospital with minor injuries. No other injuries were reported.

    The Bakersfield Police department is still investigating the incident, and no arrests have been made.

    The intersection of Panama Lane and Ashe Road is expected to remain closed until 4 p.m.

    Police encourage anyone with information regarding this case to contact them at 661-327-7111. Anonymous texts can be sent to 274637 by sending BPDCRIMES along with a message.

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    BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - The Kern County Board of Supervisors approved an agreement Tuesday to appoint Arebi Garsa as interim chief financial officer for Kern Medical Center.

    Garsa's hiring was contracted through HFS Consultants, a management consulting service.

    The Kern County Administrative Office said HFS will provide financial advice and oversight to KMC for up to one year, at an amount not to exceed $430,000, plus travel expenses up to $90,000.

    KMC Chief Executive Officer Russell Judd said that Garsa has 29 years of experience dealing with hospital finance and handling financially troubled hospitals.

    "The hospital has made progress turning its finances around during the past year, and it is absolutely critical to have top-flight management talent in place so that KMC can continue on this path," Judd said.  "Mr. Garsa is a seasoned CFO with extensive turnaround experience in both interim and permanent positions, and I am confident he will achieve positive fiscal results that will total many times the cost of the agreement."

    Supervisors said that as it is a temporary position, Garsa's agreement does not include sick leave, health insurance, or pension benefits, and he may be fired at any time with no severance compensation.

    Board Chairman Leticia Perez said that she does not expect finding a permanent CFO to take the full year of HFS' contract.

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    UPDATED: 2:20 p.m.

    Kern County sheriffs clarified that there was not an assault at Curran Middle School Wednesday.  The incident involved a special education student who had caused a disturbance.  The student was detained, and officers were called to the scene.  No weapons were involved.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - Officials at Cal State Bakersfield say a university provost and vice president has been appointed as the new president of Cal Poly Pomona.  

    According to a news release, Dr. Soraya Coley currently serves as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB). She will begin her new position on or before January 1, 2015. “Cal Poly Pomona is one of the most renowned institutions in the west and has a long and rich history of providing the highest quality education to a highly diverse student population. I am honored to be appointed as the university’s next president,” said Coley. “I am excited to work alongside the many outstanding faculty and staff and embrace the ‘learn by doing’ philosophy to fulfill the university’s unique mission to prepare students for a lifetime of learning and contribute to the region’s educational and economic advancement.”

    Coley will become the sixth president of Cal Poly Pomona – and the first woman to serve in that role. She succeeds J. Michael Ortiz who will retire at the end of the calendar year after 12 years as president. “As a polytechnic institute, Cal Poly Pomona has a unique mission among the CSU campuses and Dr. Coley’s experience as a teacher and a leader, and her knowledge of public higher education in California makes her the right person to lead the institution," said Lou Monville, chair of the CSU Board of Trustees who is also chair of the Cal Poly Pomona Presidential Search Committee. “Throughout her career, Dr. Coley has been focused on student opportunities and achievement, and she will both embrace Cal Poly Pomona’s core values and apply innovative vision to ensure that the university continues to serve as a model for the rest of the state.”

    In addition to serving as Provost/VPAA at CSUB since 2005, Dr. Coley also held the position as the interim Vice President for University Advancement. Her prior experience in higher education includes serving as the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Alliant International University (2001-03) and as a Dean of the College of Human Development and Community Service, an Administrative Fellow in the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs, Department Chair and professor in the Human Services department at California State University, Fullerton (1981-2001).

    Coley earned a bachelor’s in sociology from Lincoln University, a master’s in social planning and social research from Bryn Mawr, and a Ph.D. in social planning and policy also from Bryn Mawr.

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    SACRAMENTO, Calif. – A man plead guilty Wednesday to mail fraud in connection with a telemarketing scam that targeted the elderly in Dinuba, Woodland, Stockton, and Bakersfield.

    Wladimir Rocha, 35, plead guilty to one count of mail fraud. Rocha is a Cape Verde national and resident of Winchester, Virginia.

    Court documents state that the scam tricked victims into believing the money they sent to the defendants would be used to pre-pay taxes and fees on winnings from sweepstakes or lotteries.

    The US Department of Justice says that Rocha opened different post office boxes in Virginia to receive the money.

    Rocha faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

    He is scheduled for sentencing on Dec. 3. Rocha’s co-defendant Joseph Nkunzi plead guilty on Sept. 2, and is scheduled for sentencing on Nov. 19.

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    BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Thomas Roads Improvement Program provided images at what two local road improvement projects will look like when completed.
    Janet Wheeler at TRIP provided artist renderings for the Highway 178 widening project and the Rosedale Highway project.
    The images show Rosedale Highway plans to expand from four lanes to six.
    Trip is now awaiting environmental certification. Bidding is expected to happen this fall.
    Designs for Highway 178 are also complete and bidding expected to take place later this year.

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    BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – The Community Action Partnership of Kern Food Bank will be distributing boxes of pre-packaged food to drought-affected families through September.

    CAPK says that those eligible to receive a box of food will be asked to self-certify that they live in a household where drought conditions have caused underemployment or unemployment.

    The nearest food assistance locations can be found by dialing 211.

    The complete list of upcoming distribution dates, from the CAPK website, is below:

    Wednesday, Sept. 10
    Oildale – New Community Church
    5 to 7 p.m.
    1705 N. Chester Ave.
    Bakersfield, CA 93215

    Saturday, Sept. 13
    Lamont Pentecostal Church of God
    9 to 11 a.m.
    9901 VELMA AVE.
    Bakersfield, CA 93308

    Monday, Sept. 15
    Wasco – Parks & Rec
    5 to 7 p.m.
    1280 Poplar Ave.
    Wasco, CA 93280

    Tuesday, Sept. 16
    Valley Faith Fellowship
    5 to 7 p.m.
    15570 County Line Road
    Bakersfield, CA 93215

    Wednesday, Sept. 17
    Isaiah’s Sober Living I & II
    5 to 7 p.m.
    1904 Clarendon Street
    Bakersfield, CA 93307

    Thursday, Sept. 18
    McFarland – La Mission De Jesus
    5 to 7 p.m.
    188 San Juan Street
    McFarland, CA 93250

    Saturday, Sept. 20
    Wofford Heights
    9 to 11 a.m.
    25 Arden Ave.
    Wofford Heights, CA 93285

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    BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - The Downtown Business Association is looking for sponsors to refurbish the Statue of Liberty mural downtown. The mural was done through the Arts Council of Kern.
    The DBA and DBDC is raising awareness to preserve the mural with artist Thomas Zachary, who is ready to restore the painting "with an update and salute to our services," according to a news release by the DBA.
    The cost is estimated to be $5,000. A revised concept for the mural will be revealed at the Taste of Downtown event, Sept. 1, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
    The DBA would like for five sponsors to donate $1,000 each.
    The mural is locatedon the corner of 20th and Eye Street.

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    MOUNTAIN CITY, Tenn. - An engineering teacher at a Tennessee high school has invented a solution she hopes will prevent deaths of infnats from being left in a hot car.

    Susan Quave, who teaches her students to find an engineering solution to problems, developed the "don't Forget Me" car seat system, which has received a provisional patent.

    "Where the idea came from is this summer, when a lot of infants were in circumstances where they lost their lives because they were left in hot vehicles," said Quave.

    The system is activated sounding an alarm when the driver or baby sit on the cushion.

    "When the driver leaves the car, the speaker will say, 'Don't forget me,': said Quave."When the driver shuts the door, after two minutes, the beacon light which is on the fan of the child's infant seat's protection thing will come on and the beacon light will say, 'Child in danger."

    Quave is a mother and grandmother herself and decided to do what she could to help prevent future deaths.

    Quave said she researched the market for similar products to make sure her product is unique. She is currently waiting to hear back from car seat manufacturers.

    (Reporting compiled by NBC's Olivia Caridi)

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - We're learning more about the man killed in a crash Tuesday morning on Ashe Road at Panama Lane. Stanley Henry, 79, was a father, grandfather and great-grandfather -- who friends say had a passion for serving our community.

    Police say a woman ran a red light Tuesday morning, hitting Henry's car. As investigators figure out what happened, friends and family are mourning his loss.

    Stanley Henry was involved with a variety of local organizations -- including the Kern County Sheriff's Mounted Posse -- known for riding in parades and rodeos while raising money for local kids.

    Anthony Mungary said, "He was kind of like the pillar of the posse for quite a few years now."

    James Montoya said, "Stan was very involved. He was always at every function."

    Serving in various board positions, friends say he was a great leader and a good cook.

    Montoya said, "We would have our posse meetings, we'd have it every first Monday. Stan was there. He was the first one there. He was cooking his famous beans."

    Mungary said, "He made what everybody thought was just fantastic. Everybody wanted to know the recipe for it."

    Friends say they'll remember the beans, but most of all his character.

    Mungary said, "There wasn't a thing that we did that he wasn't willing to take on."

    Montoya said, "He was a great man."

    Police say the crash is under investigation and no charges have been filed or arrests made.

    His funeral will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at Hillcrest Memorial Park and Mortuary.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - Bakersfield police need your help finding a man they say tried to lure a boy into his car by saying he was the boy's father.  

    Investigators say an 8-year-old boy was approached by a man in the 800 block of Potomac August 22.   The man according to police told the boy he was his father and that the boy's mother was also in the vehicle. The suspect then told the juvenile to enter his vehicle. The juvenile did not recognize the suspect or the additional subject in the vehicle.

    Upon seeing the contact between the juvenile and the suspect, a school employee intervened at which time the suspect left in the vehicle. The vehicle is described as a: black, older model Chevrolet Aveo (similar to the photo provided).

    The suspect is described as a Hispanic man, 35-40, 5'8" medium build, medium length black wavy hair.

    If you have information regarding this case, call Detective Daniel McAfee at (661) 326-3544 or Bakersfield police at (661) 327-7111.

    You can now send an anonymous text message to the Bakersfield Police Department. It’s quick and it’s easy. Simply enter 274637 into your phone and text BPDCRIMES along with your message. The text is sent to the police department and the sender remains completely anonymous.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA -  Every year, Kern County shelters take in around 30,000 unwanted, discarded, and stray animals.
    And the problem isn't getting better.

    That's why Tuesday, 17 news is again partnering with the Bakersfield SPCA to ask you to unleash your love.  This year, the fundraiser will include a barbeque as well as dozens of dogs and cats for adoption. And each pet comes with a back story.

    Crying in his cage at the local SPCA,  This is Champ. The puppy might not seem happy here, but it's safer than where he was found, on the side of the 178 freeway in downtown Bakersfield, covered in ticks and fleas.  "Extremely busy, cars flying by everything else, this little boy was just dumped there. People just make pets so disposable anymore and we're the ones that bring them in and really give them that safe harbor," says Julie Johnson, SPCA executive director.   

    Right now, the no-kill shelter has hundreds of cats and kittens.  Dogs and puppies, all with histories, all waiting to be loved, some longer than others.  Like Minnie. This cage has been her home for the past two years, waiting for her human to rescue her.

    This kitty lived in a warm lap, until its owner passed.  Now, she pets herself against a cage, longing for loving hands again.  And the owner of this poodle mix, decided their dog days were over and surrendered her.

    Each one of these lives claw or cry in closed cages.  Trying to catch the eye of someone who will simply love them. "And we know that the animal deserves that second chance and so we are able to do that because of the local funds raised, adds Johnson.   

    And the 1960s SPCA building is showing wear too, peeling paint, warped wiring, and aging appliances.  They are things donations could help, so the shelter can continue to save lives like Rose. 

    Rose is ready to be spoiled by her new daddy, Dale Vannoy, who stamped her ticket out of here, and into his home. "Well because I know these dogs need help and most of them are drop offs or strays so I wanted to help out." 

    And there's so many more waiting with wet noses that can't get close enough and paws pressed- hoping their someone will say, that's the one.  "There's really no reason not to come to a shelter and get an animal. There really isn't, says Johnson.   

    We hope you unleash your love next Tuesday, September 16, from 5 a.m to 6:30 p.m. outside our KGET studios at 22nd and M Streets in downtown Bakersfield. New this year, lunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. courtesy of Halliburton.  Five bucks gets you a hot dog lunch, chips, water & a Kit Kat bar. There will also be vaccines and micro-chipping offered.  All donations stay right here in Kern County.

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    TEHACHAPI, Calif. - Kern County sheriffs released the name of one of the men killed in a double-homicide that occurred earlier this month in Tehachapi.

    Sheriffs say 54-year-old Jose Antonio Fajardo was found dead in a residence in the 600 block of Cherry Lane in Tehachapi at 3:28 a.m. Sept. 1. The cause of death was determined to be blunt injuries.

    The name of the other victim is being withheld until sheriffs can locate next of kin.

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    BAKERSFIELD, Calif.– The Kern Green Awards were presented last night honoring local businesses and individuals for raising awareness about sustainable living practices and recycling.

    Aera Energy played host for the event, which honored, among many, Cal Water for their conservation rebate programs and Metro Recycling for its state of the art recycling facility.

    Stria was honored for new bike racks and a no-idling company policy.

    Ikea was also honored for building one of the biggest solar panel power projects at its warehouse on Interstate 5.

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    BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – Bike Bakersfield will be hosting an awareness ride to promote the Three Feet for Safety Act on Tuesday Sept. 16., the same day the law goes into effect.

    Members of the community and the organization will meet at  at the Liberty Bell on the southeast corner ofTruxtun Avenue and 

    Chester Avenue
    . At  there will be a short ride through downtown Bakersfield, ending at Dagny’s on 20th and 
    Eye Street

    The “Be Sweet! Give 3 Feet” campaign by Bike Bakersfield urges riders to come out in support of the new Californialaw requiring motorists to give at least three feet when passing a bicyclist.  

    ”Violators will be charged a base fee of $35, which may jump to $220 if a collision occurred resulting in bodily injury to the bicyclist. If a motorist is unable to safely pass the bicyclist, she must slow to a reasonable speed and wait until it is safe to

    pass,” according to Bike Bakersfield’s release.

    All are welcome to attend.

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    BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Police are asking for help in identifying and locating two suspects accused of robbery.

    The Bakersfield Police Department says that the two suspects assaulted a store clerk at the Chevron located at 1999 Taft Highway on Sept. 6. The first suspect attempted to purchase alcohol at the store and was refused, returned later with the second suspect, assaulted the clerk, and stole food items before fleeing the scene in a vehicle, according to police.

    The first suspect is described as an eastern Indian male, between the ages of 16 and 18, five feet nine inches tall, approximately 150 pounds, with black hair and a dark complexion, wearing a red, white, and black button up shirt and blue jeans.

    The second suspect is described as a hispanic male, between the ages of 16 and 18, five feet eight inches tall, approximatly 200 pounds -- with a heavy build -- with black hair and brown eyes, wearing a dark T-shirt and blue or black jeans.

    The suspects' vehicle is described as a white Mitsubishi sports car, with a black or carbon fiber hood, with black wheels with low profile tires and blue headlights.

    Police encourage anyone with information regarding this case to contact Detective Dennis Murphy at 661-326-3567, or BPD at 661-327-7111.

    Anonymous text messages can be sent to 274637 by sending BPDCRIMES along with a message.

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    PORTERVILLE, Calif. - A 15 year old juvenile died after an alleged street racing mishap on Road 196 Sept. 10, after being taken to a Porterville hospital.

    The California Highway Patrol says that Robert Dohrer, 27, was traveling southbound on Road 196 south of Avenue 192 at approximately 30 to 40 mph, and witnessed a Toyota and a sedan racing northbound on Road 196.

    The driver of the Toyota reportedly attempted to pass the sedan by entering the southbound lane, lost control, and travelled off the roadway. The Toyota then re-entered the roadway and was struck on the driver side by Dohrer's Mitsubishi, according to the CHP.

    After the collision, the unidentified sedan reportedly stopped, removed the juvenile from the Toyota, and fled the scene. Surveillance footage from Sierra View District Hospital shows three Hispanic males in a dark color four-door sedan resembling a Pontiac drop off the boy at the hospital.

    The 15-year-old later died from his injuries. His name has not yet been released, and is pending the notification of next of kin.

    Alcohol is not suspected to be a factor in the incident.

    The CHP requests that anyone with information regarding the identity of the dark sedan and its occupants contact them at 559-784-7444.

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    LAMONT, Calif. - Tech giant Google is investing $145 million in a new power plant near Lamont.

    On the company's official blog, Google states that the 82 megawatt project will produce enough electricity to power 10,000 homes, and possibly bring 650 jobs to Kern County.

    "Like many states, California has a goal of increasing the amount of energy procured from renewable sources," says Google's Nick Coons on the blog. "This project helps support that quest and marks 17 renewable energy investments for Google since 2010, including five here in the Golden State."

    Google says the site near South Comanche Drive has gone from 30 oil wells to five, as it was exhausted of profitable fossil fuel reserves.

    Construction began in December, and Google hopes to have the site operational by the end of this year.

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