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KGET: Local News

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - New numbers are out on how many undocumented immigrants applied for a driver's license last Friday at DMV locations in Kern County.

    The new California new law -- Assembly Bill 60 --requires the DMV to issue a license to any person unable to provide proof of legal residency in the U.S.
         
    Thousands of undocumented immirgrants packed DMV locations across the state, and here in Kern County last Friday -- the first day to apply for a driver's license.

    The following numbers were provided by the DMV
         
    The downtown Bakersfield office processed the most with 153..
     
    The DMV in Arvin had 103, and the DMV in southwest Bakersfield prossed 104 applications.

    According to the DMV, they expect to process about 1.4 million additional driver's license applications over the next three years.
         
    Statewide, there have been 46,200 applicants since Friday.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - Some new businesses around town are helping residents make better choices about what to put on the dinner table.
         
    And, public health officials agree that such economic developments are shifting Kern County toward better nutrition.

    Sarah Cornejo, co-owner, Fit Pantry, said what you put into your body is important. 

    "Your body is a machine and your food is what fuels your machine," said Cornejo.
         
    These two are gasing up residents by preparing well-balanced meals for at least $75 a week.
         
    They have delivered 3000 meals since they officially began in November.
         
    They're hoping to shake off bad habits and give more people in town a hunger for healthy food.

    "We think healthy eating is a lifestyle," said Tarin Meadows, co owner.
         
    The owners of a local food truck are also serving up acai sorbet bowls topped with granola, strawberries and banana.
         
    Super berry acai is packed with antioxidants and boosts your immune system.
         
    And sprouting up at the park at Riverwalk is this natural food grocery store, set to open Feb. 25.
         
    Each business seems to be part of a growing health trend here in Bakersfield.

    Mariel Mehdipour, director of community wellness, Kern County Public Health Department said that people are moving toward looking at healthier options for their meals. 

    "I think there has been a growing consciousness amongst residents with regards to health," said Mehdipour.     

    That consciousness, she said, is moving Kern in the right direction, though adds that the county still has a long way to go.

    "We've moved in a more positive direction over the last few years, but we're still number two for deaths related to diabetes," said Mehdipour. "We are 54 out of 58 counties with deaths related to heart disease. But we used to be much worse ... we are seeing -- you know -- the health data showing a positive movement."
         
    According to Kern County Public Health, the healthy food choices that these new businesses are bringing to Bakersfield will continue to push the momentum toward improved well-being.


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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - Detectives are looking into reports of a deputy who was shot at early this morning while responding to a call near Kern Medical Center and East Bakersfield High School.

    The shooting happened just before 2 a.m. when deputies responded to a complaint of loud noise from a prowler on the 2000 block of Pacific Drive.
         
    A deputy arrived and was speaking with the resident who made the call when someone began shooting in their direction, hitting the back of a patrol car multiple times. 
         
    No one was injured. 
         
    Sheriff's officials said this morning a male suspect is in custory. He was arrested nearby with glass in his hand in an apparent suicide attempt.

    Sheriff's officials are expected to release more information this afternoon. 


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    SACRAMENTO, CA - State health officials confirm seven cases of measles from five different locations within California.   

    State health director Dr. Ron Chapman in a news release says two Utah resident cases have also been confirmed and three additional California residents are also suspected to have measles and are under investigation.

    All confirmed and suspect cases reported visiting Disneyland or Disney California Adventure Park in Orange County, sometime between December 15 and December 20, 2014.

    Based on information from current cases, it is likely that a person infectious with measles was at one of the theme parks on these dates. People can be infectious with measles for 9 days. Measles typically begins with fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes and within a few days a red rash appears, usually first on the face and then spreads downward to the rest of the body. Measles is a highly infectious, airborne disease.

    “If you have symptoms, and believe you may have been exposed, please contact your health care provider,” said Dr. Chapman. “The best way to prevent measles and its spread is to get vaccinated.”

    Measles has been eliminated in the United States since 2000. However, large measles outbreaks have occurred in Western Europe, Pakistan, Vietnam and the Philippines in recent years. Travelers to areas where measles is endemic can bring measles back to the U.S., resulting in limited domestic transmission of measles.

    Disney and other theme parks in California are international attractions and visitors come from many parts of the world, including those where measles is endemic.  Two doses of measles-containing vaccine (MMR vaccine) are more than 99 percent effective in preventing measles. Measles vaccines have been available in the United States since 1963, and two doses have been recommended since 1989. If you are unsure of your vaccination status, check with your doctor to have a test to check for measles immunity or to receive vaccination.

    The California confirmed cases reside in five local health jurisdictions Alameda, Orange, Pasadena, Riverside, and San Diego and range in age from 8 months to 21 years. Six cases were unvaccinated for measles, 2 were too young to be vaccinated, and 1 had received appropriate vaccination (two doses of MMR vaccine).

    Several large contact investigations are ongoing. Health care providers treating patients with fever and a rash should consider measles, and ask patients about travel to international destinations and domestic venues that are popular with international travelers.

    More information about measles can be found at http://www.cdph.ca.gov/HealthInfo/discond/Pages/Measles.aspx

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA.- The Bakersfield City Council is expected to award a contract for the Rosedale Highway Widening Project.

    A contract bid is being awarded to Teichert Construction in the amount of $16,014,592.40 for the Rosedale Highway Widening Project.

    The initial estimate for the project by TRIP engineers was for $15 million, which included a roadway widening and a water line installation for the City Water Department.

    TRIP will appropriate $325,215 in federal earmark funds and $1,615,000 in local funds contributed by the County to account for the difference. 

    According to TRIP, the project is funded with federal, local, and domestic water enterprise funds. 

    The project will add a lane in each direction from Calloway Drive to 700' feet east of Gibson Street. 

    TRIP expects the road improvements will shorten commute times and provide better access to area businesses.  

    The project is expected to begin in spring 2015.

    The Thomas Roads Improvement Program opened bids for the Rosedale Widening Project on Dec. 17.

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    (MSNBC) - One suspect is dead and two others are in custody after an attack that left 12 dead at the Paris offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, two senior U.S. counterterrorism officials told NBC News.

    French police had identified the three suspects as brothers Saïd Kouachi and Chérif Kouachi – both French males in their 30s – and 18-year-old Hamyd Mourad, according to NBC News. Cherif Kouachi was convicted in 2008 of terrorism charges related to fighting in Iraq and sentenced to a year and a half in prison.

    Two masked gunmen armed with Kalashnikov assault weapons stormed the offices of Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday morning, killing 12 people. The attackers killed an employee stationed on the first floor before breaking into an editorial staff meeting taking place upstairs, according to Paris prosecutor Francois Molins. They yelled “Allahu Akbar” — or “God is great” —before fleeing to a black Citroen parked outside, he added.

    French police have identified three suspects, NBC News confirmed. The suspects are brothers Saïd Kouachi and Chérif Kouachi, both French males in their 30s. The third suspect, Hamyd Mourad, is 18 years old. Cherif Kouachi was convicted in 2008 of terrorism charges related to fighting in Iraq and sentenced to a year and a half in prison.
    A massive manhunt was underway in the French capital following the attack on the publication, which had been under threat for years for printing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad and other satirical writings about Islam. An anti-terror raid took place late Wednesday in the city of Reims, north of Paris, Agence France-Presse reported.

    Of the 12 dead, the 10 killed in the production office included one police officer, one guest, and eight journalists, Molins said at a press conference on Wednesday. In addition, one maintenance personnel and another officer, who engaged the group as they fled, were killed. Eleven others have been wounded, four of which are in critical condition. He added that the attackers headed north from the Charlie Hebdo offices, abandoned the vehicle they fled in, and carjacked a Renault Clio.

    French President Francois Hollande, who called the shootings a “terrorist attack,” said that Thursday would be a national day of mourning in the country and that they were be a moment of silence at noon local time. “We need to stop the attackers, try them, and very severely punish them,” the president said on Wednesday. “We will do everything we can to apprehend them. We also need to protect all public spaces.” He continued, adding “We need to be ourselves. Our best weapon is our unity.”

    In response to the attack, France raised its threat level and increased security at other media organizations, shops and places of worship.

    A senior U.S. counter-terrorism official told NBC News they had no confirmation of any claim of responsibility for the attack. “We cannot confirm that ISIS or AQAP or any other group is responsible,” the official said.

    In Washington, President Barack Obama strongly condemned the attack. ”I think that all of us recognize that France is one of our oldest allies, our strongest allies,” he said in the statement. Obama added that “our counterterrorism cooperation with France is excellent. We will provide them with every bit of assistance that we can going forward.”

    Obama offered Holland U.S. resources to help “identify, apprehend and bring to justice the perpetrators and anyone who helped plan or enable this terrorist attack,” according to a White House readout of a call Wednesday between the two leaders.

    The offices of Charlie Hebdo are not far from the U.S. Embassy in Paris. There “are no plans to close or limit access to the U.S. Embassy in Paris or other diplomatic facilities in France,” the embassy tweeted. Flags at the French Embassy in Washington, D.C., were flown at half mast on Wednesday in response to the tragedy.


    Charlie Hebdo has long courted controversy with satirical attacks on political and religious leaders. Some Muslims interpret the Quran as prohibiting visual depictions of the prophet. In 2012, France was forced to temporarily close its embassies and schools in more than 20 countries amid fears of reprisals after the magazine printed cartoons of Muhammad. The Charlie Hebdo offices were also firebombed in 2011 after publishing a caricature of the prophet on its cover.

    As a result of the prior attack and ongoing threats to the magazine, police officers had been permanently assigned to protect the magazine’s offices and were on site Wednesday morning. The two officers engaged the gunmen and were killed in the attack.

    The publication’s most recent tweet was a cartoon of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS. The text in the cartoon translates to: “Best wishes, by the way.”

    Secretary of State John Kerry Wednesday emphasized the need to protect press freedom. “What [terrorists] don’t understand is they will only strengthen the commitment to that freedom and our commitment to a civilized world,” he said.

    Wednesday’s shooting is one of the worst terror attacks on French soil. In March 2012, seven people were killed in three gun attacks targeting French soldiers and Jewish civilians in Montauban and Toulouse, while a string of bombings in 1995 killed eight and injured more than 100.

    Muslim leaders in France, as well as in the U.S., condemned Wednesday’s violence. “This extremely grave barbaric action is also an attack against democracy and the freedom of the press,” the French Muslim Council said in a statement.

    Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron said “the murders in Paris are sickening,” adding on Twitter that the U.K. stands with France in its fight against terrorism.

    There was an international outpouring of support for France and freedom of the press. On Twitter, #jesuischarlie was trending worldwide. Journalists, students, and many of the city’s residents were photographed holding signs bearing the slogan, which means “I am Charlie.” The message has flooded the streets of Paris in the form of homemade placards, as well as professionally printed signs and stickers. As night fell, crowds gathered for candlelight vigils in memory of those killed. An illuminated sign atop a monument in Paris’ Plaza de la Republique stated, “Not afraid.”

    “Bernard Maris was a cultured, kind and very tolerant man. He will be much missed,” said Christian Noyer, governor of the Bank of France.

    Author Salman Rushdie, whose novel “The Satanic Versus” prompted Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini to issue a fatwa against him in 1989, commented on the Paris shooting.

    “Religion, a mediaeval form of unreason, when combined with modern weaponry becomes a real threat to our freedoms,” he said in a statement. “This religious totalitarianism has caused a deadly mutation in the heart of Islam and we see the tragic consequences in Paris today. I stand with Charlie Hebdo, as we all must, to defend the art of satire, which has always been a force for liberty and against tyranny, dishonesty and stupidity.”


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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - A teenager who was struck by a car while walking to Foothill High School, has filed a lawsuit in connection with the accident.

    According to the CHP, 17-year-old Gina Fields and another student were struck in October while walking in a crosswalk at Weedpatch Highway and Eucalyptus Drive.

    Fields was in a coma, but is now able to walk.
         
    The law suit filed by Fields, names the city of Bakersfield, Kern County, the state of California and the driver, 26-year-old Esmeralda Sanchez.

    The suit alleges there were no signs warning drivers of the crossing. 
         
    It asks for damages of more than $15,000 and a jury trial.
         
    CalTrans is set to begin making improvements to the crosswalk this morning.
         
    Highway 184 will be reduced to one-way traffic control between Mills Drive/ Breckenridge Road and Lanora Avenue today and tomorrow from 9 a.m. to noon.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - In case you missed it, the Boron High School football team is heading to the Super Bowl.

    The Bobcats won the NFL's Together We Make Football contest after months of voting.
         
    The 11-man football team's success, despite its size, helped land them a spot as a finalist.
         
    And now they're heading to Glendale to watch the big game.
         
    NBC's Today show will have a special reveal tomorrow morning right here on KGET
        
    Be sure to tune into 17 News at sunrise tomorrow morning as we get reaction from the Bobcats.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - Six local schools are gearing up for a regional robotics competition this Saturday at the Kern County Fairgrounds. Students will compete with other middle and high school students from across California for a top spot at the annual robotics extravaganza.
         
    Each team must be able to build a robot that can stack cubes as high as it can to create one massive tower. Students design the robot themselves and figure out the proper mechanics for controlling the moving machine using a remote control.
         
    Teachers say the competition is helping students learn more about coding and the perseverance it takes to rebuild.
         
    "Their first year was really a lot of trial and error and they've learned a lot about coding and a lot about building. So I think you can see that our teams this year would be very competitive with other teams across the state," said Kenelee Henderson, Robotics Advisor at Frontier High School.
         
    The competition is also enticing students to think about careers in science and engineering.  
         
    "I like doing this, I really do. And I love robotics. Its fun," said Gabriela Chumpitaz, sophomore at Frontier High School. "It's a great opportunity with the background knowledge I gain here to expand it to maybe a profession."
         
    Fifty teams will compete at the fairgrounds from 7:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Saturday.
         
    Whoever wins will get a shot at the state championships in the spring at Great America Amusement Park in Santa Clara.
         
    Admission is free for those who want to head down there this weekend and cheer on the students.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - Houchin Blood Bank is still in need of donors as they say reserves are dangerously low, below 60 percent. 

    Every donor will receive a T-shirt and is also entered to win one of two prize packages. 

    Houchin said "the supply of all important negative blood types is of particular concern, because patients with those blood types can only take A-, B-, AB- or the universal O- blood type.  Having enough of each blood type collected, tested and ready to go to our hospitals is what saves lives. That life could be your own, or that of someone you love."

    New and existing volunteer donors are urged to come in to either donation center to help fill the shelves with the lifesaving gift only they can share.

     Appointments are not needed as walk-ins are welcome. Blood donors just need to be in good health, weigh 110 pounds and have a photo ID with date of birth to get started.  Donors must be 17 years of age or older, or 16 with parental consent. It takes only an hour to donate blood.

     A list of mobile blood drives located throughout the County can be found at www.hcbb.com.

    According to Houchin:

            To recognize the gift of life that donors share, the blood bank is saying thank you during National Blood Donor Month with a         free Reasons to Give t-shirts for all donors. All January donors also receive a coupon for a free individual pizza from Rusty’s, and are         automatically entered to win two exciting prizes: A complete WiiU system and flat screen TV from Kern Health Systems, and a         weekend on the town in Bakersfield thanks to the Bakersfield Marriott at the Convention Center and the Executives’ Association of Kern         County.

            The regular hours for the Truxtun Donor Center are 9 am to 6 pm Monday-Wednesday, Thursday from 11 am to 7 pm, Friday from 9 am         to 6 pm, and Saturday from 8 am to 2 pm.  The Bolthouse Donor Center is regularly open Monday through Thursday from 11 am to 7         pm, Friday from 9 am to 6 pm, and Saturday from 8 am to 2 pm. Both centers are closed on Sunday. More information and optional         appointments are available at www.hcbb.com, or from Peggy Smith at 661-616-2505.


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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - Bike Bakersfield is looking to keep cyclists safe while on the roads at night by hosting another bike light giveaway.

    Bike Bakersfield will be giving out taillights and headlights today, Jan. 8, at four locations throughout Bakersfield for riders that stop by on their bikes who do not already have lights.

    Tonight is the fourth installment of the Project Light Up The Night event.

    Bike Bakersfield representatives will be at the followng locations:

     - Bike Bakersfield Bicycle Kitchen: 1708 Chester Avenue from 4 p.m. - 6 .p.m.

     - East Bakersfield, corner of Mount Vernon Avenue and Niles Street from 4:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

     - Oildale, corner of Roberts Lane and Chester Avenue from 4:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

     - South Bakersfield, corner of 4th and P Street from 4:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

    Remember you must have your bike with you. Staff members will physically put the lights on the bikes for you. Bike lights will not be given o those who do not have a bike with them.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - A locally produced documentary raising awareness about human trafficking will premiere at Maya Theaters tonight.

    The Kern Coalition Against Human Trafficking is hosting the premiere  of "The Trafficked Life," a film by Michael Fagans. 
          
    There will also be a panel discussion including trafficking survivors and subjects featured in the film.
         
    The premiere will also include an art exhibit, silent auction, and live music

    Show times are at 6 and 7:45 p.m. Ticket are $20 and can be purchased HERE.

    And tomorrow,the  Kern Coalition Against Human Trafficking is hosting its second annual human trafficking awareness day.
         
    The event will be free to the public and held at noon at the liberty bell in downtown Bakersfield. 

    If you are unable to attend the showing, organizers say they expect the film to eventually be available online, though no word yet on when that will be.



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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - The Kern County Sheriff's Department is looking for a suspect wanted for two counts of first degree murder.

    Jorge Tovar Gonzales is suspected of killing his wife, Elizabeth Leon, in 2006. 

    On Dec. 21, 2006, KCSO deputies found the body of 22-year-old Leon concealed in a water heater closet inside her apartment on the 2,000 block of Flower Street, in east Bakersfield.

    According to KCSO, Leon was seven-and-a-half months pregnant at the time of her death. She had been stabbed multiple times when she was found.

    THe couples' children was missing fromn the apartment at the time but were later returned to family members by Gonzales.

    In October 2012 a warrant was issued for Gonzales charging him with two counts of first degree murder.

    If anyone has information on this case they are asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 661-861-3110 or Secret Witness at 661-322-4040.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - If you are a parent of a local high school student, tonight is your chance to weigh in on the use of new school funding.

    The Kern High School District is taking input from the public for its local control accountability plan.
         
    The district is receiving funding earmarked for programs directed at low-income students, foster youth, and those learning english as a second language.
         
    Trustees say that amounts to more than 60 percent of the district's student population.

    Parents, educators, business owners, non-profit organizations, and local leaders are encouraged to attend and share their input.
         
    The meeting is tonight at 6:30 p.m. at South High school in the library. 

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - The California Living Museum will receive two donated auto scan x-ray machines to enhance its veterinary capabilities.  The machines were donated to CALM from Omni Family Health.  They were used in their Shafter and Wasco clinics.  The machines have an estimated value of $75,000.  

    CALM will use the x-ray machines in its rehabilitation clinic.  The donation was made possible because Omni Family Health no longer needs the machines.   The zoo will convert the machines to digital x-ray, the cost of which is much less than having to purchase a new machine.

    “There are many instances when we need immediate diagnosis in order to save an animal. The donation of these x-ray machines will allow us to better assess the health of the animals in our care at CALM,” said zoo curator Donald Richardson.

    According to Francisco L. Castillon, Chief Executive Officer for Omni Family Health, “we are happy to partner with CALM and are appreciative of the opportunity to make a difference in the community with this donation.”

    The x-ray machines will be installed in the coming months in anticipation of the spring rehabilitation season.


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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - If you're driving to east Bakersfield Saturday morning, you might want to plan an alternate route.  

    Officials at Cal Trans say the Northbound 99 connector to eastbound Highway 58 will be closed weather permitting Saturday morning for electrical work in the area.  The closure is expected between 9:00 a.m. and noon.  

    Cal Trans says closures may continue for longer periods of time if necessary, due to delays caused by weather or uncontrollable events that may occur during maintenance.

    Cal Trans is urging drivers to pay close attention to directional signs, as detours will be made available. Commuters will experience delays and are encouraged to avoid this area and use alternate routes.

    Portable message signage will be in place advising motorists of the closures. Motorists are advised to watch for highway workers and to adhere to all closure signage.

    Caltrans would like to thank residents and commuters for their patience during this maintenance operation. The public is asked to please be alert for road maintenance personnel and “Slow for the Cone Zone.”



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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - It's an issue the Pope is urging people of all cultures and religions to take on -- human trafficking. Experts say Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco are three of the top ten U.S. cities for human trafficking and Bakersfield is a stop along the way.

    To raise awareness of the crime, a locally produced documentary is premiering Thursday night at Maya Cinemas. The Kern Coalition Against Human Trafficking is hosting the premiere of The Trafficked Life, a film by Michael Fagans.

    The documentary features three local women who are survivors of sex trafficking. The Trafficked Life gives some insight into what these victims go through.

    Department of Human Services program specialist Vanessa Frando said, "They were formerly in the life. They are no longer part of that. They are survivors. They are helping us to educate the public."

    The number of people being trafficked in Kern County is unknown -- but Magdalene Hope founder Doug Bennett says by helping people involved in prostitution locally, he estimates the majority are being trafficked.

    Bennett said, "When you drive down Union Avenue, three of the four women you see do not want to be out there and they're being forced to be out there through force fraud or coercion."

    Frando says some people are more vulnerable than others.

    "Children that are in low income families, broken families, foster youth are all populations that are at high risk," she said.

    Bennett said, "The average age that a girl enters into prostitution is 12 to 14 years old. Any time there is a minor who is brought up on a prostitution charge, it's always human trafficking."

    Organizers say they expect the documentary to eventually be available online.

    Friday the Kern Coalition Against Human Trafficking is hosting its second annual Human Trafficking Awareness Day. It's at noon at the Liberty Bell in downtown Bakersfield and is free and open to the public.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA.-Nearly two dozen local shelter dogs boarded a plane, headed for a new life in Oregon. 

    City and county animal services teamed up with Wings of Rescue to fly 20 dogs to new homes in Oregon, where there's a demand for pets. The non-profit flies cats and dogs to their forever homes. 

    Animal control officials say this is a win-win for everyone. 

    Another flight takes off February 5, 2015. The "Flight of the Valentines" will bring 140 dogs to New York. For more information or to help the non-profit, visit www.WingsofRescue.org.


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    VENTURA COUNTY, CA - A man accused of setting his wife on fire at a Ventura County home has turned himself in to authorities, according to the Ventura County Sheriff's Department.

    Juan Manuel Hernandez, 31, turned himself in to law enforcement agents Thursday night in Bakersfield, according to the sheriff's department. Details regarding his surrender were not immediately available.

    Hernandez was the subject of a search that began after the Ventura County Fire Department responded to a medical emergency call Monday at a home in Moorpark. The 29-year-old woman who made the 911 call told firefighters that her husband had set her on fire.

    "Very startling when you hear information about someone trying to set someone else on fire," Ventura County Sheriff's Capt. Don Aguilar said Monday. "The victim had enough character to get up and make a call and ask for help."

    The woman was transferred to a specialized burn center in serious condition.

    Story courtesy of NBC LA.

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    Marcus Allen visits the Boron Bobcats to let them know they've won a trip to the Super Bowl.

    See the video HERE.

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