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KGET: Local News

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - As a strong winter storm is about to approach California Wednesday night, officials with State Farm urge homeowners to prepare themselves.  

    State Farm says there are simple tasks homeowners can do that can help protect homes and property: http://learningcenter.statefarm.com/safety-2/severe-weather-1/severe-wind-safety-tips/ when a winter storm is predicted:

    · Inspect Your Home - Before the storm arrives, inspect your home rain gutters, roof, yard, out-buildings, and trees and shrubs for possible hazards.

    · Take an Inventory - Make sure you have plenty of emergency supplies like batteries, blankets, flashlights, water and non-perishable foods.

    Travel can be hazardous in winter conditions, but drivers can protect themselves with these suggestions http://learningcenter.statefarm.com/auto/safety/5-tips-for-driving-safely-in-the-rain/ from the State Farm Vehicle Research Facility:

    · Check the Battery - Older batteries are especially at risk during cold weather, leaving you stranded and vulnerable in the cold.

    · Keep Windshield Washer Fluid Tank Full and Change Wipers -Fluid should be able to withstand freezing temperatures. Wipers should be replaced if the windshield view is smeared and hard to see through.

    · Prepare a Road Survival Kit - It's important to have a basic tool set, a first aid kit, blanket, jumper cables, flash light, gloves, a small plastic tarp (to kneel on or lay on in the snow while installing tire chains or changing a flat), and road flares.

    State Farm is responding to weather related claims throughout California. State Farm policyholders may file a claim by contacting their agent, calling 1-800-SF-CLAIM (1-800-732-5246), or visiting http://www.statefarm.com

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA. - After Kenny Warren was laid off from his job on an oil rig in November, he knew it would be a difficult Christmas for his family this year.

    His layoff is one of many cuts oil companies have made as oil prices have dropped to lowest they've been in five years.

    However, soon after the our story on the Warren family aired, we received a call from a woman who made Christmas a little brighter for the deserving family.

    The Warrens told 17 News they borrowed money to purchase two gifts for their son, but couldn't afford a tree.
         
    Right after the Warrens' story aired, Monica Lindsey said she knew immediately what she wanted for Christmas -- to give an extra tree she had in her house to the family.
    .
     "It's just amazing that people can just give. Makes me want to cry almost. Me too. I almost started crying when she pulled up. I feel like we've been touched by an angel," said Kenny and Ashley Warren.

    Their angel brought them gifts to go under the tree as well.

    "We had a year where it was very tough and my mother did everything that she could to try and have a Christmas but we couldn't afford a tree," said Lindsey. "If someone hadn't thrown a tree away in the dumpster, why they did that i don't know before christmas, we wouldn't have had one. That's the christmas I remember and I didn't want him to have that kind of Christmas as well. I wanted him to have a smile on his face."

    Two other families have also expressed interest in donating to the Warrens, one bought the family tickets to holiday lights at CALM, the other will drop off gifts next week.
         
    The Warrens say they hope they are back on their feet enough financially next year so they can give to another family, as people gave to them this Christmas.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - Police need your help finding two men accused of stealing shirts and men's cologne from a store at Valley Plaza Mall last month.  

    Police say on November 17, the men entered Abercrombie & Fitch store inside the mall.  Investigators say store employees recognized the suspects from prior thefts the suspects had committed at the store.

    One of the men ran out of the store with six bottles of men’s cologne and was confronted by a store employee. The other suspect filled a bag with 15 to 20 shirts from the store.  He was confronted by a store employee and a struggle ensued over the bag containing the shirts.  Then according to police, pulled the bag away from the store employee who heard the suspect say “He’s lucky I don’t have my gun.”

    Both suspects fled with the merchandise.  Police describe the suspects as a Hispanic, 18, 5’9”, 130 lbs., light complexion, short brown hair, brown eyes, gray hooded sweatshirt, khaki shorts, black backpack.

    The other is described as Hispanic, 18, 5’9”, 140, dark complexion, dark “shaggy” hair, brown eyes, black letterman jacket, dark jeans, black Raiders hat.

    If you have information regarding this case, call Detective Lance O’Nesky at (661) 326-3561 or Bakersfield police at (661) 327-7111.




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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - A man has died following an early morning crash Wednesday in southwest Bakersfield.  Police say Fausto Simental-Ruelas, 30, had been driving southbound on New Stine Road when the vehicle veered from the roadway, struck a signal light box on the southwest corner of Ming and New Stine, then struck a block wall on the south side of the alley.  

    The vehicle eventually struck a tree in the center divider.  Simental-Ruelas was taken to Kern Medical Center where he was pronounced dead just before noon.  The cause of the crash is under investigation.  Police say the vehicle was equipped with hand controls for its operation.  It is unknown if drugs or alcohol are a factor in this crash.  

    If you have any information, you're asked to call Bakersfield police at 661-327-7111.   

    In the meantime, a 24-year-old woman is dead after a crash on Panama Lane near Cottonwood road Wednesday morning.
    It happened just after 5:00 a-m.

    Highway Patrol officers say Graciela Savedra of Lamont, made an unsafe turn, entering the opposite lane, hitting a truck head on. She died at the scene.  The driver of the truck was not hurt.

    CHP says alcohol and drugs were not factors.

    And, Stockdale Highway was backed up after a deadly crash at the intersection with Old River Road. That crash happened just before 4:00 a.m. Police say witnesses saw 54-year-old Stephen Oronoz in a white Saturn, run a red light and hit a mail truck in the intersection.

    Oronoz was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The woman driving the mail truck was treated for minor injuries. The investigation is ongoing.

    If you have any information, call police at 661-327-7111.






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    The jury began deliberations Wednesday afternoon in the Taft Union High School shooting case.

    Bryan Oliver is charged with two counts of attempted murder in the January 2013 shooting that wounded classmate Bowe Cleveland.

    Closing arguments wrapped Wednesday with prosecutor Mark Pafford telling jurors this was a case of revenge -- that Oliver was bullied but planned and premeditated the shooting against Cleveland.

    Oliver's defense attorney Paul Cadman argued relentless bullying at the high school campus led Oliver to snap. Expert witnesses for the defense testified Oliver had bipolar disorder and suffered from post traumatic stress disorder.

    Stay with 17 News for complete coverage when the verdict arrives.


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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - An anchor for the Bakersfield Telemundo affiliate was attacked by a man outside the KGET studios in downtown Bakersfield Wednesday.  

    A man assaulted Andres Herrera, who anchors the Telemundo 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts, as Herrera was entering the building Wednesday afternoon.  The assault, which was captured on security camera, shows the man approaching Herrera and then punching him in the face.  The man, identified by the Bakersfield Police Department as 41-year-old Jason Aydelotte, asked Herrera if he worked for the news.  The attack happened along China Alley on the building's south side. The Spanish-language affiliate tapes newscasts inside the KGET building and shares resources with the NBC affiliate.

    Herrera was taken to the hospital to be checked out, but was not seriously injured.  He suffered a bruise and some scratches under his right eye.

    "It just goes to show that you never know when you're going to be a victim, when it's going to happen to you," Herrera said. "I would advise people just to be on the lookout and really don't trust anybody to get that close to you."

    The BPD arrested Aydelotte and booked him on a misdemeanor charge of battery.  His bail was set at $5,000. Kern Superior Court records indicate Aydelotte has a history of assault, including a conviction of assaulting a peace officer in 2006 for which he served three years in prison.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA. - The Kern County Board of Supervisors will host a community forum open to the public on Jan. 5. 

    The forum will feature the Kern Stop Meth Now Coalition, who will discuss their work and strategies used to reduce the impact methamphetamine has on Kern County.

    The forum will take place at 9 a.m. in the Board of Supervisors Chambers, located at 1115 Truxtun Ave.

    The coalition is a product of the board of supervisors, created to study devise a strategy to respond to the growing use of methamphetamine in Kern County.

    The coalition is comprised of public agencies from multiple communities to focus on four key factors: Family Wellbeing, Youth Prevention and Treatment, Business Support, and Public Safety.

    Work in these areas is done to promote prevention, early intervention, treatment and suppression using methods that include trainings, community meetings, public service announcements and special events.

    For information on meetings and events, you can visit their website, or search Kern Stop Meth Now on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA. - A group of local Harley riders have rallied together to make patients in a local hospital a little warmer this season.

    The Ladies of Harley will be donating their hand-crafted blankets to patients undergoing cancer treatment at San Joaquin Community Hospital's AIS Cancer Center.

    The Harley-riding ladies have raised more than $10,000 in the past two years for the center.

    A few of the ladies are cancer survivors themeselves and are doing what they can to give back.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA. - Skateland fans are rejoicing today after learning their favorite skating rink will remain in operation.

    After the sale to an owner who planned to turn the business into a storage facility fell through, the future of Skateland was up in the air.
         
    However, it was revealed on Dec. 10 that the rink had been sold to new owners -- one of which is a member of Skateland's own Bakersfield Diamond Divas roller-derby team.
         
    New owners, Helen and Victor Swall, as well as Victor's parents, Mike and Marie Swall, will re-open Skateland to the public on Friday, Dec. 12..
         
    The rink will be open 7:30 p.m. - 9 p.m. on Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. - 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with weekend skating during the day from 1:30 p.m. - 4 p.m.

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    More than 1,500 PG&E customers are without power due to downed powerlines as a result of strong winds.

    Reports from the scene indicate a car port cover was removed from a home driveway by a gust of wind that flew into a powerline, causing the damage. 

    PG&E is en route, though there is no time scheduled for power to be restored.



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    BAKERSFIELD, CA. - Closing arguments in the penalty phase will be made tomorrow for an Oildale man who was convicted eight days ago for murdering his wife and her mother.

    Robert Dale Fuller, 61, was found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder and six counts of violating a court order to prevent domestic violence.
         
    The defense completed its closing arguments today in the penalty phase.
         
    His wife, 45-year-old Annette Sowders and her mother, 69-year-old Sharon Cannon, were shot to death in the living room of their home in the 200 block of South Plymouth Avenue in August 2009.
     
    The jury will deliberate whether to sentence Fuller to the death penalty -- as pushed by the prosecution -- or to go for life without parole.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA. - The Bakersfield Fire Department is reminding residents that sandbags are not available at BFD fire stations.

    Residents concerned about flooding in their area as a result of flooding streets or storm drains, BFD is urging you to seek assistance through the City of Bakersfield Public Works Department.

    BFD is also urging residents to check with local hardware stores for sandbag availability.

    The City Of Bakersfield Public Works Department can be reached at 661-326-3111.

    Or, for emergency service after normal working hours, holidays, and weekends, call the Bakersfield Police Department at 661-327-7111.


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    BAKERSFIELD, CA. - Bakersfield Police are advising residents to exercise caution in the southwest area because of extreme low visibility.

    The particular areas of concern are around Panama Lane and Gosford, where it is reported there is zero visibility.

    BPD is also reporting there are numerous crashes in the area.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA. - A woman is in the hospital with major injuries after being struck twice by two different vehicles while walking through an intersection last night in east bakersfield.

    According to the California Highway Patrol, 57-year-old Maria Elena Frias was struck by a 2014 Nissan Rogue while in the crosswalk of Niles Street and Webster Street, driven by 42-year-old Patricia Castillo.
         
    After being struck by the Nissan, CHP officials said Frias was then run-over while laying in the road by a Toyota driven by an unknown party -- which had made a u-turn at the intersection.

    According to the CHP, Castillo pulled her Nissan to the curb while the driver of the Toyota fled the scene.

    CHP officials said alcohol is not a factor in the incident.

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    The worst storm to hit California in years left Kern County wind-whipped and drenched Friday with hard closures on Highway 99 in Delano and in south Bakersfield.

    Highway 99 was closed at Taft Highway in both north and southbound direction as of  8 a.m.  The CHP enforced a similar hard closure in Delano on Highway 99 at Cecil Avenue.  Mud and water also forced the shutdown of the Ming Avenue on ramp to Highway 99 around 7:30 a.m.  In both cases traffic was being detoured around the area.

    There were reports of rockslides in the Kern River canyon on Highway 178.  And power lines were down across the roadway on Hwy 65 at Merced Ave around 8 a.m.

    A weather system known as the "Pineapple Express" hammered Bakersfield with strong winds and up to .89 inches of rain. The storm left 8,900 people in the dark overnight according to PG&E reports and snarled the Friday morning commute.

    The system also dumped snow in the higher elevations.  Authorities reported five to six vehicles were stuck in the snow on Mil Portero Highway and Cuddy Valley Road in Frazier Park.

    Showers were expected to continue through early Saturday morning, but the bulk of the moisture had passed through overnight Friday, KGET forecaster Kevin Charette reported.

    The weather is a result of the "Pineapple Express" - an atmospheric river of sorts that streams moisture from the Pacific tropics toward the West Coast. Wind gusts of up to 147 mph were reported Thursday.

    "It's like a fully loaded Super Soaker that just unloads onto parts of California for a couple days straight," said Ari Sarsalari, a meteorologist for The Weather Channel.

    In Oregon, the winds proved deadly. A falling tree killed a homeless man who was sleeping on a trail, and a teenage boy died after a large tree fell on the vehicle in which he was riding, causing it to swerve and hit another tree.

    In Western Washington, strong winds knocked out power to more than 150,000 customers Thursday. A tree fell onto a casino's 18,000-gallon propane tank and started a large fire roughly 30 feet from the building in Olympia, Washington.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA. - The Kern County Sheriff's Depatment, the Bakersfield Police Department, and W.A. Thompson Distributors, will join together again this year to deliver 400 Christmas food baskets to local families in need.

    Baskets will be delivered on Tuesday, Dec. 16. The gift baskets are made possible through generous donations from benefit associations, volunteer organizations and business owners throughout Kern County.

     The Christmas food baskets consist of two large boxes of food including a turkey, potatoes, stuffing, vegetables, fruits, canned goods, bread, drinks, and other food items as donations allow.

    Families who receive a food basket are chosen from referrals made by deputies and officers from both agencies. Baskets will be delivered by officers and deputies.

    The baskets will be prepared by volunteers on Monday, Dec. 15, and delivery will begin promptly at 7:30 a.m. on Dec. 16.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA. - Local law enforcement will be cracking down on impaired drivers this holiday season.

    The Bakersfield Police Department's zero tolerance crackdown begins tonight, Dec. 12, and runs through Jan. 5.

    The BPD said there's an increase in drunk driving related fatalities around the holidays each year.
         
    The public is asked to call 911 and report drivers they suspect of being under the influence.

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  • 12/12/14--10:09: Highway weather updates
  • Update:

    2:05 p.m.

    The Highway Patrol reports Highway 99 at Cecil Avenue in Delano is now open in both directions.

    __________________________________

    11:30 a.m.

    Mt. Pinos reports of snow 

    Mt Abel reports of snow 

    Redrock Randsburg rd hwy 14 to hwy 395 12-12-2014 9:30 am flooding

    ___________________________________

    11:03 a.m. 


    99 at Cecil avenue still closed in both directions...traffic being diverted, Ellington and first.  

    Highway 33 at Lerdo, traffic being diverted at Brown Material Road...

    Grapevine is open.  

    58 at county line road is open 

    Kern River canyon is open.   

    ____________________________________

    10:18 a.m.

    Northbound 99 near Bear Mountain Blvd now open.

    ____________________________________

    10 a.m.
    Southbound 99 is now open near Taft Highway. 

    Northbound 99 near Bear Mountain Blvd is still closed.

    ____________________________________

    8 a.m.

    Northbound & Southbound Hwy 99 shut down due to flooding. Southbound traffic is being diverted at Taft Highway. Northbound traffic is diverted to Highway 223 to Union Avenue, and then back onto the freeway.

    Traffic is also being diverted northbound & southbound Highway 99 at Cecil Avenue due to flooding.

    There's reports of rockslides in the canyon on Highway 178. 

    And power lines are down at Hwy 65 and Merced Ave.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA. - The highly-popular Festival of Christmas opened last night, with a benefit performance for low income and disadvantaged families in the Bakersfield area.
         
    Glorious Christmas is an entertaining mix of traditional Christmas music with a spiritual message of faith.

    The show includes flying angels, toy soldiers, and a giant singing Christmas tree 

    "It's something we love doing for the community," said producer/ director Rick Moore. "It's our gift to the community and it's something we like to do to bring meaning to what Christmas really is."
         
    You can catch Glorious Christmas happening tonight, Saturday, and Sunday night.
         
    Showtime is 7:30 p.m., with tickets are available at the door.  

    Canyon Hills is located on Auburn Drive, just east of Fairfax in northeast Bakersfield.

    Tickets start at $14 for adults and half price for children. 

    You can find out more, including how to purchase tickets at Glorious-Christmas.com

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA. - The jurors have asked for testimony to be read back to them at the Taft High shooting trial.

    Jurors said they want to hear the testimony of Rebecca Jackson, a friend of Oliver who testified he warned her something bad would happen at the school the day before the shooting.

    There was a motion to have the defendant present during the reading but that motion was denied.

    Testimony read back is not considered a critical stage so Oliver will not be present. 

    The jury has deliberated for approximately seven hours so far.

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