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KGET: Local News

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA. - The City of Bakersfield Solid Waste Division would like to remind the community that there will be no trash pick up on Thursday (New Year's Day) in observance of the holiday. 

    Trash normally collected on Thursday will be picked up on Friday, and normal Friday pick up will be collected Saturday.

    If you need to recycle your Christmas tree you can chop it up into small pieces and place it in your green waste container -- make sure the lid will close completely.

    For a list of drop off locations throughout Kern County, click HERE.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA. - The Kern County Homeless Collaborative is looking for volunteers to survey homeless individuals and gather information for the 2015 census.

    The organization currently has 80 volunteers signed up but they say they need up to 150 volunteers.

    The group is looking for volunteers from all parts of the county.

    If you would like to volunteer, or learn more about the project, contact the homelessness project manager (see info below).

    Christine Lollar
    Homelessness Project Manager
    Kern County Homeless Collaborative
    661 834 2734
    kernhomeless.org

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    DELANO, CA. - Delano police report they arrested a man for a burglary that happened yesterday afternoon.

    According to Delano PD, 46-year-old Sean Michael Jones, of Delano, was arrested on an unrelated felony warrant and drug charges -- when a search of Jones' home revealed the location of several stolen items.
         
    The burglary happened around 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 30.
         
    Police found the front door forced open and the home ransacked.
         
    Property reported stolen from the home was a 12 gauge shot gun, a 50 inch TV, stereo equipment, and various sports cards.
         
    Jones was booked into the Kern County jail with additional felony charges -- residential burglary, felon in possession of a firearm, and possession of stolen property.


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    SACRAMENTO, CA. - A series of new laws will go into effect today, including one that will make more than a million unauthorized immigrants in California eligible to get a driver's license.

    AB60 -- The Safe and Responsible Driver Act -- becomes law, as California joins nine other states, as well as the district of columbia and Puerto Rico to grant undocumented immigrants access to licenses.
         
    But immigration advocates are concerned that people will not know about the law, distrust it, or be afraid to apply for the new licenses at the DMV.
         
    Potential applicants are protected by the Trust Act, which enables the undocumented to cooperate with police and law enforcement without fear of deportation.
        
    Once residency is proven, eligible applicants can complete the forms, pay a fee, and take both the written and the driving tests. 

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA. - Kern County supervisors are helping to take a stand against methamphetamine use in our county, and the public is encouraged to participate.

    Next Monday, Jan. 5, at 9 a.m., they're hosting a community forum for the Kern Stop Meth Now Coalition.
         
    The coalition was created in 2009 at the board''s request.

    It came on the heels of a meth impact study that revealed 39 percent of all Kern County criminal cases involved methamphetamine.     
         
    The informal forum will be in the supervisors chambers at 1115 Tuxtun Ave. in downtown Bakersfield.
     
    For more information on meetings and events, visit kernstopmethnow.com.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA. - The coroner has released the name of a driver killed when his dump truck came into contact with a high-voltage power line near Wasco.

    The incident happened the morning of Dec. 30, off Highway 99, just south of the Highway 46 interchange.
         
    According to the California Highway Patrol, when 56-year-old Porfirio Mazon of Lamont exited his truck, he was electrocuted.
         
    An official cause of death by the coroner is still pending.
      
    PG&E crews had to cut power to surrounding areas while crews worked the scene.

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    The year 2014 might be over, but it created memories and many news worthy moments. 

    As we say goodbye to last year, take a look back with us at the many moments that captured all of our attention. 

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA. The year is ending in tragedy for a Bakersfield family, following the firey crash that killed their son today on Highway 178.

    According to the California Highway Patrol, 18-year-old Salim Bassam Akroush of Bakersfield was heading west, and speeding  at nearly 100 miles per hour, around 9 a.m. when he lost control of his  Mercedes and hit the embankment. 
         
    The car then caught fire under the Bernard Street overpass. 
        
    Initial reports said Akroush, who was belted in,  died of his injuries on the way to the hospital.
        
    The investigation is ongoing.

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  • 01/01/15--17:12: Remembering Steve Swenson
  • BAKERSFIELD, CA - Steve Swenson may have been cancer's most formidable foe. He beat throat cancer in 2007 and had every intention of being triumphant again when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2012. "He had a distinctive cackle that you could hear all the way across the newsroom, you know, just full of life," says Robert Price, executive editor, Bakersfield Californian.  

    "He was a man to be respected, he was an expert in his trade, and he served Kern County well for the 30 plus years that he wrote for the Bakersfield Californian," said Jim Scott, 17 news.  

    After his first diagnosis in 2007 Swenson wrote a series of columns for the paper, describing sometimes in morbid detail how he clawed his way back to health. "You had the feeling that he was going to beat it. And he made good on that.
    But with pancreatic cancer, it just wasn't meant to be," added Price.  

    Steve announced he had cancer for a second time online. "You first swallowed hard to realize the message that was there. And you just shake your head and say, typical Steve, that's just the way he would handle this.  That is just the way Steve is," says Michael Trihey, KGET-TV News Director.  

    A consummate journalist is what he was, Steve chronicled his doctor's visits on Facebook in graphic detail. He put a face on the deadly disease. "You know, people could sort of empathize with him, you know through Facebook, a lot of people could follow his journey," said Price.  

    And earlier this year, the Kern Press Club held a dinner as it named a journalism scholarship in Swenson's honor and gave him its lifetime achievement award. "I hope that journalism remains strong in America," said Swenson in August. 

    Steve's Facebook friends organized 'Team Steve' prodding Swenson along and offering words of encouragement.  They held lunches and get-togethers where old reporters from the Californian mingled with Steve's friends from all walks of life.
    Just look at these photos, on the golf course, on trips, Steve spent his final days living, not dying.

    "He could flirt with women in sort of a grandfatherly way so that they wouldn't be offended and if you or I did that, we'd be out on the streets in minutes," added Price. 

    And Swenson faced his final diagnosis with courage and humor. In a column in October, he described the moment he realized his cancer was deadly. What a 'bummer' Steve called it. "It became my choice from then on how I was going to live. I was a pretty happy fellow most of my life and saw no reason to change that." The plan became: make yourself right with God, have fun.

    "I think whenever it comes time for me to die, we'll be thinking of Steve Swenson, we'll be thinking how did Steve do this, and we'll be thinking how can I be as gracious and courageous as Steve?," added Trihey.

    Funeral services are pending.


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    BAKERSFIELD, CA. - You might've heard about the possibility of increased fees New Year's eve for the ride sharing service Uber. 
         
    One local rider paid eight times the regular fare New Year's eve -- costing more than $270 for a 20 mile Uber ride. 

    "We took more stops than usual to get home and thought the bill would be a little bit higher, not as extremely high as it was," said Sean Stevens.

    Stevens took an Uber ride just after 1:30 a.m. New Year's morning from downtown to the northwest, with a stop near the Marketplace. 
        
    A 20 mile ride that would've normally been $33.50, cost stevens $272. 

    "I can understand it being a holiday, it was going to be more expensive. Since we went out of the way, I knew it was going to be more expensive in general, so when I checked my statement this morning, I didn't think it'd be eight times the regular limit."

    That's because Uber's dynamic pricing system increases fares during peak times. 

    "When demand for rides exceed the supply of drivers on the road, like after a big event, prices go up to encourage more drivers to go online," according to an Uber YouTube video.

    Uber sent 17 News an email on it's dynamic pricing policy -- estimating the highest fares on New Year's between 12:30 and 2:30 a.m.

    "Riders always know the price before they request. The surge amount is prominently displayed and when it's more than double they must type themselves to confirm," according to an Uber YouTube video.

    Stevens said he doesn't remember doing that and plans to dispute the charge.

    "That's pretty ridiculous to bump the prices that much. I could understand maybe $100, that would be fine, but for the charge that I was charged, it was outrageous."

    Uber is looking to patent the surge pricing program. 
       
    The company is awaiting a decision from the US patent office on its application. 

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA. - Cal State Bakersfield students are getting settled into their new homes today as 500 students move in to the new campus dorms.

    It's time to move out of the old dorms built back in the 1970s and in to new spaces on the northeast side of campus. 

    The new CSUB dorms are finally ready for the new tenants after a forty-one million dollar project financed by the chancellor's office. 
         
    The three-building housing complexes boast six-bedroom suites divided by a common space area with one restroom per suite.
         
    And, the sustainable and ecofriendly building was designed to help the university cut down on energy costs.
         
    Many of the students moving in are also athletes on the women's basketball team, many of whom say they are happy to have scored a new space.

    "Coming from the old dorms to the new dorms, I think it's a big upgrade and the living. It's going to be more students so I think that'll be better," said sophmore Brittany Sims. "And now we get a new living room area instead of a lobby so that'll be cool."

    The new 150,000 square foot complex is not only used for dorms, but also adds multipurpose room. a game room, classrooms, and other spaces which will be able to be used by students and the public.
         
    This is phase one of five new housing phases to eventually be rolled out. By the fifth phase the campus should have 1,500 living spaces for students.
         
    The university hopes the new dorms will help CSUB relinquish it's commuter school reputation. 

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA. - Dozens of locals started with a clean slate this new year by taking a freezing plunge in the pool.
         
    This is the 10th year for the Polar Bear Plunge at McMurtrey Aquatic Center in downtown Bakersfield.
         
    Participants braved the cold weather and either slid down the slide or jumped into the icy water.

    "I highly recommend it," said Nina Ha. "I think you should definitely do it once, and it's exhilarating, and when you're done, you can go back if you want to, but you can also say 'i've done it, and i'm good.'"

    The water was actually warmer than the temperature at 49 degrees.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - Governor Brown has appointed the chairwoman of the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to the Kern County Fair board of directors.  According to a news release from the governor's press office, Blodgie Rodriguez, 46, has been a Realtor at Paramount Real Estate since 2012.

    She was a Realtor at Walters and Associates from 2007 to 2012 and at MJC Properties from 2004 to 2007. Rodriguez was interim program director at the Kern County Youth Mariachi Foundation from 2001 to 2003 and a sales associate at the Bakersfield Californian from 1987 to 2001.

    She is also a member of the Latina Leaders of Kern County Board of Directors. This positon does not require Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Rodriguez is a Republican.




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    BAKERSFIELD, CA. - The community is invited to take advantage of a low cost vaccination, licensing, and microchip clinic that will be held on Saturday, Jan. 3.

    The event is hosted by the City of Bakersfield Animal Control Division and will be held at the Park at Riverwalk, at 11200 Stockdale Hwy, from 9 a.m. until noon.

    The rabies vaccinations will be offered to all dogs 3 months of age and older. The
    vaccine cost is reduced, however; the licensing fees are regular price

    Microchips are offered free of charge as long as the dog has a valid city license.

    DAPP vaccines are also offered at the monthly clinics. Dogs should be at least eight weeks old and in good health the receive the vaccine.

    For more information you can contact the City of Bakersfield Animal Control Division at (661) 326-3436, or the City of Bakersfield Animal Care Center at (661) 832-PETS or visit CBACC’s website.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA. - The former BPD officer suspected of driving under the influence and hitting a woman at a gas station last April, pleaded guilty Friday to one felony DUI charge.

    The California Highway Patrol said Kristopher Carter, 31, was drunk when his truck plowed into the Shell gas station on Merle Haggard Drive and struck Leann Harris, 20. Officers said Harris was pumping gas and she became pinned between her car and the gas pump, leaving her partially paralyzed. Officers said Carter tried to leave the scene but was arrested.

    In May, Carter was formally charged with DUI causing bodily injury, hit and run, and obstructing a peace officer. He pleaded guilty Friday to driving under the influence of alcohol causing bodily injury.  Four other charges, including hit-and-run, were dismissed as part of the plea deal.
         
    Carter was a Bakersfield Police officer from 2006 to 2012 and retired due to a disability, according to BPD.  

    Sentencing for Carter is set for Feb. 18. He is expected to receive a sentence of seven years and four months in prison.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - A collision involving a train and a semi truck in Shafter today did not result in any injuries, but it did cause some delays.

    The crash happened at Poplar Avenue near Highway 43.

    According to the California Highway Patrol, there were no injuries and the cargo trailer was empty.

    No word yet what caused the crash.

    An Amtrak representative said its 713 train, the San Joaquin, is waiting in Wasco for clearance to continue its trip to Oakland.

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    The former BPD officer suspected of driving under the influence and hitting a woman at a gas station last April, pleaded guilty Friday morning to one felony DUI charge.

    Four other charges were dismissed as part of the plea deal.

    Mr. and Mrs. Harris were somber as they spoke of the crash, and Friday's plea deal.

    The California Highway Patrol said Kristopher Carter was drunk when he drove into the Shell gas station on Merle Haggard Drive and hit Leann Harris, paralyzing her.

    He pleaded guilty Friday morning to driving under the influence of alcohol causing bodily injury.

    Carter is expected to receive seven years and four months in prison when he is sentenced February 18.

    Harris's parents say they're as pleased as possible- considering for a first time the maximum sentence Carter could have received was eight years.

    Mr. And Mrs. Harris say their daughter is an inspiration to them and everyone around them.

    They said they are so thankful for all the people in the community who have helped them following the crash.


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  • 01/02/15--23:40: Kern County Meth Epidemic
  • Bakersfield, CA

    Geographically, Kern is the largest county in California, with lots of open land and desert. Adrienne Buckle from Kern County Department of Mental Health said Kern is a crossroads of drug trade in California.
    "It is a prime area in Kern County where we have an easy East/West access and easy North/South access so it means there's an easy way to traffic in and out" said Buckle.

    Buckle said that meth targets all socioeconomic levels. "It is an equal opportunity destroyer and it will find its way into any of those cliques or families or social models or economic areas. It is everywhere" said Buckle.

    Officials agree that it's going to take a grassroots effort to reduce the impact of the meth epidemic. "Our community has to step up and say you know what we have answers, and we're ready to help you make change" said Buckle.

    One way to get involved is to attend the community forum Monday the 5th of January at 9am in the Board of Supervisors Chambers on Truxtun Avenue and L Street.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - If you are interested in helping the Boron Bobcats reach the Super Bowl, click on the following link: 

    https://www.togetherwemakefootball.com/

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - An investigation is underway, after firefighters found a woman dead inside a burning home in northeast Bakersfield.

    Police say crews responded just before 8 p.m. to a house fire on University Avenue, near Columbus Street. Firefighters found the woman's body as they extinguished the flames.

    Sergeant Joe Grubbs says police are investigating, but so far, the death isn't suspicious.

    No one else was inside the home.

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