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KGET: Local News

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA. - Hundreds of local business, government and educational leaders toured bakersfield high school this morning as part of Principal Partners' Day.

    The half-day event was held at 20 local high schools.

    Guests toured the campus and saw teachers in action. They also heard what kind of academic programs, electives, and extracurricular activities are offered to students.

    "Every year they are amazed, they didn't realize the great things that public schools are doing. they hear of the bad things that kids are doing and really 99.9% of these kids are doing great things and are great kids," said David Reese, Bakersfield High School Principal.

    The event concluded with a luncheon. Principal Partners' Day is co-hosted by the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce, the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, KHSD, and the KHSD Educational Foundation.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA. - An inmate at Lerdo Jail who was found unresponsive and later pronounced dead has been identified.

    Christopher Earl Pettenger, 34, was taken to Kern Medical Center after apparently being beaten by inmates inside the pre-trial detention facility.

    Officials said he sufferd severe head wounds.

    In August, Pettenger was identified as a sex offender and wanted by police for violating his parole after he didn't check in.

    The Kern County Sheriff's Office is investigating the incident.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - An explosive device was found at Kern Valley Hospital in Mountain Mesa Wednesday, which the Kern County Sheriff's Office says was brought in by a hospital employee.

    Kern County Sheriff's deputies responded to a report of a possible improvised explosive device at approximately 11:22 a.m. The Kern County Sheriff's Office Bomb Squad was called in after deputies secured the area. The device was taken outside the hospital and defused.

    KCSO says deputies determined the device to be originally located by the hospital employee at another location. The employee reportedly brought the device into work in order to ask for assistance for who to contact for help. The device was unlikely to have been intentionally placed in the hospital, according to KCSO.

    An investigation into this incident is ongoing. KCSO asks anyone with information about this case to call 661-861-3110, or the secret witness line at 661-322-4040.

    Anonymous text tips can be sent to TIP411 by sending KCSO before your message.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - What started as a Wasco photographer having a little fun in the Halloween spirit, has evolved into nationwide reports of a murderous clown terrorizing Bakersfield. Local law enforcement says that's just not the case.

    The Wasco clown has created a lot of buzz on social media over the last week or so. Now copy-clowns are popping up. From Wasco to Bakersfield, Twitter and Instagram, rumors of clowns invading Kern County are going viral.

    It started with a husband and wife's photography project, and has gotten exaggerated into headlines like this, "Murderous Death-Clowns Stalk Southern California."

    All this clowning around is making for some interesting stories. Anthony Garza says he saw three clowns in Wasco. He said, "He just chased her and then she was like gone, but she was scared."

    Wednesday afternoon, there was a report of a clown chasing kids near Golden Valley High School. The principal Paul Helman says police didn't find any evidence of a clown on campus.

    Kern County Sheriff's officials say they have received a lot of these types of reports, but they are all unfounded.

    "I believe right now it's going to be juvenile antics, but I haven't seen anything else come through," said Sheriff's deputy Ian Chandler.

    Sheriff's officials say they have not located any clowns, nor have they identified any victims of crimes committed by clowns.

    Law enforcement officials say they expect clown calls will increase as it gets closer to Halloween. They say the reports have all been pranks, but they will investigate any criminal activity that's reported.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA. - The Kern High School District is facing the threat of a civil rights lawsuit today.
         
    The Dolores Huerta Foundation is accusing the district of discriminatory disciplinary policies, according to a release by the foundation.

    The lawsuit alleges those practices have disproportionate impact on Latino and African-American students.

    The foundation said the district's discipline and involuntary transfer policies are pushing students, especially of color, out of schools and toward the juvenile and criminal justice systems, often referred to as the School-to-Prison-Pipeleine.

    The Dolores Huerta Foundation will hold a news conference at its office this morning at 11 a.m.

    Activists said they'll reveal details of the legal action they're taking later today.

    The activist groups involved include: California Rural Assistance, Inc., Equal Justice Society, Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance, Inc, Faith in Action Kern County, National Brotherhood Association, Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, and the Dolores Huerta Foundation.
     

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA.- A dozen of Kern County's "Women of World War II" -- also known as Rosie the Riveters -- have new bragging rights this morning after being honored at the Guildhouse restaurant.

    These hard-working women were riveters and welders, and performed other important functions;
    they were among the eight million women recruited during World War II to support the war effort here at home.

    "What I did were those bomb racks and i worked on the wings," chuckled Lonetta Johnson.
     
    "Welding was a job you did because the men had all gone to war, including my husband, and you wanted to bring him back," said Evelyn Spencer

    The Kern County Veterans Foundation organized the luncheon,referring to these women as "true inspirations."

    The work they did had a much larger impact than supporting the war effort and keeping the home front together.

    Their labors in traditionally male-dominated fields, paved the way for women to work in the same fields as men -- for the same pay.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA. - The Kern County Board of Surpervisors is facing a lawsuit over its approval for a project at the Rosedale Alon Refinery.

    This morning a coalition of concerned citizens, environmental groups, and health and safety advocates filed the suit.

    They claim the project which would increase crude by rail shipments to the alon refinery would harm air quality and subject residents to risks from possible derailments.

    The suit by groups like the Sierra Club and Earthjustice, claims that the county failed to fully assess the project's risks and disclose them to the public.


    View the legal documents HERE

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA. - The lockdown has been lifted for Mt Vernon School after officials diffused what they describe as a certain kind of grenade.

    A representative from the Sheriff's Office reported that a transient in the area looking for cans saw the device, recognized it as a potential explosive and notified the school's principal with concerns.

    The device was located about 30 to 50 yards west of the school, in a vacant lot between two boarded up buildings.

    the investigation is ongoing.


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    BAKERSFIELD< CA. - A screening of the Sundance-honored Cesar Chavez documentary will be presented as part of CSUB's Celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. 

    CSUB Programming and the Cesar Chavez Foundation will be the first to host the screening of "Ceaser's Last Fast." Film director Richard Ray Pere will also be in attendance.

    The event will take place today with a VIP reception at 5 p.m. in the Stockdale Room and the film screening at 6 p.m. in the Student Union Multi-Purpose Room. 

    A panel discussion will follow with Perez, Cesar Chavez Foundation President Paul Chavez, CSUB history professor Alicia Rodriquez, and CSUB student Mercedes Macias. Andres Chavez, CSUB student and grandson of Cesar Chavez, will moderate the discussion.

    The documentary, which was shot in Delano, is also available on Netflix.

    From the release:
    The film examines Chavez's last and longest water-only public fast of 36 days in 1988, over the pesticide poisoning of farm workers and their children to examine his entire life and his spirituality that inspired millions of Americans. 

    Drawing on never-before-seen film footage from his 1988 fast and interviews with key participants, Perez dramatically depicts the personal suffering Chavez endured during his ordeal.

     A largely untold chapter in the history of American civil rights, this is the story of a man who totally dedicated his life to nonviolently battling on behalf of the most vulnerable workers. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City Utah in January. 


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    BAKERSFIELD, CA. - An ACL injury prevention workshop will be held tonight for parents and female student athletes.
    The workshop is open to youth athletes from 5 years old and older

    The event will take place at 6 p.m. tonight at  Pair & Marotta Physical Therapy, who will be hosting a seminar on "the most dangerous aspects facing female athletes of all ages in sports today."

    "Catastrophic knee injuries are occurring in younger female athletes and with greater frequency," according to the release. 

    ACL Injury Prevention Workshop
    Thursday, October 9
    6pm-8pm
    Pair & Marotta Physical Therapy 
    5337 Truxtun Ave. 
    Free and open to the community 
    912-9991 
    Aaron@pairmarotta.com

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA. - A woman accused of murdering a 2-year-old girl in her care was convicted Thursday in a Bakersfield court.

    The jury convicted Wendy Gomez of one count of murder and one count of willful harm to a child under circumstances likely to produce great bodily death or injury, according to prosecutor Deputy District Attorney Nicholas Lackie.

    Gomez took custody of the two-year-old when the victim's mother left for Mexico.

    Among the injuries sustained, the victim reportedly had serious skull fractures.

    On Sept. 20, the victim died. The victim was reportedly in Gomez's car for eight hours before she called police.

    Gomez admitted to numerous acts of violence against the child, according to Lackie.

    She will face sentencing on Nov. 6 and is looking at possibly serving 15 years to life.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA. - Bakersfield Police officers served two search warrants Thursday in connection with the death of 34-year-old Efron Ramon Estrada.

    The warrants were served to two houses next to each other in 1500 block of Wilson.

    While serving the warrants, there were concerns of one individual becoming violent, which prompted police to call the Sheriff's SWAT team.

    As a result, three people were detained.

    Estrada was found in a blue recycling bin at South H street and Wilson Road on Oct. 5.

    Police received a call around 9:15 a.m. about the body from a witness who was dumpster-diving for recyclables in the alleyway.
     

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    The California Department of Conservation has announced a second set of revisions to the proposed regulations titled "SB4 Well Stimulation Treatment Regulations." SB4 proposes regulations on the use of well stimulation for wells used in oil and gas production. Well stimulation includes treatments such as hydraulic fracturing and acid matrix stimulation.

    You can read more about SB4 by clicking here.

    The public is invited to submit their comments and suggestions by email, fax, or mail:

    Email - DOGGRRegulations@conservation.ca.gov

    Fax - 916-324-0948

    Department of Conservation

    ATTN: Well Stimulation Regulations

    801 K Street, MS 24-02

    Sacramento, CA 95814


    Comments must be submitted before 5 p.m. on October 24, 2014.
     

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA -- New questions are being asked as Golden Empire Transit officials reveal their new building will cost between $45 million and $55 million to build.

    But, that's not all.

    GET also says it has spent more than $1.5 million in the past few years on the design.

    The transit agency says the current building on Golden State Highway was built in the 1980's, designed to last about 25 years.

    GET officials say federal grants would pay for the new facility along with a maintenance garage. 

    "In terms of just efficient use, the new facility would be much better," said GET Spokesperson Gina Hayden.

    But, that facility comes with a hefty price tag.

    "Our drivers want to have safe vehicles, and having a larger more efficient garage will certainly help us do that," Hayden continued.

    GET officials say the current maintenance garage has a hard time keeping up with the 88 buses in service.

    Officials also say space for its employees in its administrative building has run out.

    The transit agency hopes to secure federal funding to cover the expenses, it says, are necessary to better serve its riders. 

    "If we get funding for a facility, we would never be able to use that for operating expenses which includes salaries. That funding comes from the state. If we were to get funding for the facility and we don't use it we will have to return it, said Hayden.

    But while Golden Empire Transit waits for funding to be approved, a document obtained by 17 News 
    shows the money it already spent on design -- more than $1.5 million funded by Proposition 1B, a transportation bond passed by California voters in 2006.

    That design also includes a lot next to GET's current building. 

    Elliot Kirschenmann, the city's new appointee to GET's board, has asked staff for a financial update at the next board meeting. 

    But some, including residents and city officials, feel much of that money should be spent elsewhere.

    "Unfortunately, those funds can't be used for operating funds such as salaries, over here. So you can't mix, but I think we would be remiss if we did not attempt to get some of the funds when we so critically need a new garage and new facilities," continued Hayden.  

    Hayden also said the timetable is uncertain for the federal funding.

    She says it could be approved fairly quickly or it could be years before it's approved.

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    UPDATE (2:15 p.m.): The coroner's office has released the cause of death for Efren Ramon Estrada as strangulation.

    BAKERSFIELD, CA. - Bakersfield Police officers arrested a man for the murder of 34-year-old Efren Ramon Estrada, who was found dead in a blue recycling bin Oct. 5.

    Peter Garcia, 50, was arrested for homicide in the 1600 block of Wilson Road at 12:10 a.m. Friday.

    Police issued two search warrants Thursday to seek evidence and individuals detectives determined to possibly be involved in the incident.

    The warrants were served to two houses next to each other in 1500 block of Wilson.

    While serving the warrants, there were concerns of one individual becoming violent, which prompted police to call the Sheriff's SWAT team.

    As a result, three people were detained.

    Estrada was found in a blue recycling bin at South H street and Wilson Road on Oct. 5.

    Police received a call around 9:15 a.m. about the body from a witness who was dumpster-diving for recyclables in the alleyway.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - Students at vocational school pay a sizable sum for their education, but how much do they get paid after they graduate? A state agency is attempting to find out.

    The California Workforce Investment Board is creating a new database that requires state education and economic agencies to provide a yearly report of how well vocational programs prepare students for careers.

    With this database, the board hopes to provide a way for schools and local governments to assess the effectiveness of academic and vocational programs.

    The database will collect best practices data for job readiness, look at how many students graduate with degrees and credentials, and track how much money students earn over a two-year period and 5-year period after graduation.

    The database is the result of Assembly Bill 2148. The Workforce Investment Board plans to release the first report at the end of 2015.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - The Department of Agriculture and Measurement Standards will be hosting a public meeting Monday to spread awareness of the Asian Citrus Psyllid quarantine expansion into Bakersfield.

    The meeting will be held Oct. 13 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the Fairview Elementary School cafeteria.

    The quarantine was expanded after the psyllid was found in southeast Bakersfield. Biologists from the Kern County Department of Agriculture and representatives from the California Department of Agriculture will be present to answer questions from the public.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA – Bakersfield police say they have arrested a juvenile who dressed as a clown and chased other juveniles in the area of Monitor Street and Pacheco Road Thursday.

    Officers were dispatched to the area and arrested the unidentified juvenile at a home in the 800 block of Pacheco Road.

    They say he admitted to chasing other juveniles while dressed as a clown to perpetuate the hoax he had seen online.

    Officers arrested the juvenile for annoying a minor and he was booked into Kern County Juvenile Hall.

    There have been several clown sightings throughout Kern County in the past week after last weekend’s story about a clown coming out at night in Wasco that spawned similar sightings.

    The clown in Wasco turned out to be a man and his wife’s photography project.

    Bakersfield Police ask anyone with information about the clown incident in the area of Monitor Street and Pacheco Road from Thursday, Oct. 9, to call them at 661-327-7111.


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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - Police are seeking the public's help in locating and identifying a man wanted for stealing a wallet from who they describe as an elderly woman at a grocery store.

    The alleged theft occurred Aug. 20, around 12:30 p.m. at the WinCo store on Coffee Road, according to the Bakersfield Police Department.  Police say the suspect stole the wallet from the woman's purse.

    The suspect is described as a black male in his late 20s, who is 6 feet two inches tall, weighs approximately 300 pounds, and has short black hair and light beard. Surveillance footage shows him wearing a "Gotta' Go Bail Bonds" T-shirt and blue jeans.

    Police say the suspect committed a similar crime at the same WinCo July 28.

    BPD encourages anyone with information regarding this case to contact Detective Joel Luera at 661-326-3947, or the department at 661-327-7111.

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

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    HANFORD, CA - The deadline is approaching for local high school juniors and seniors looking to attend a United States Service Academy after graduation. The academies offer students 4-year degrees, room and board, medical and dental coverage, and a stipend, in exchange for a 5-year military service commitment.

    Students who wish to attend a service academy must be nominated from an authorized source. For students in the 21st congressional district, the Academy Nomination Application must be sent to Congressman David Valadao's office by Saturday, Nov. 1.

    Anyone with questions regarding the process are encouraged to call Congressman Valadao's office at 559-582-5526.

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