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KGET: Local News

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA.-Kern County District Attorney Lisa Green announced a conviction in a significant murder case today.

    On January 12, 2015, in a case prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Joseph Kinzel, a Kern County jury convicted Tony Vasquez of First Degree Murder and other charges relating to Vasquez' role as a shooter in a drive-by shooting that caused the death of Armando Ortiz, Jr. 

    On April 10, 2014, just after midnight, Tony Vasquez, a longtime member of the Varrio Bakers criminal street gang, drove into the gas pump area at 7-11 convenience store in Southeast Bakersfield. Vasquez fired three shots from a semi-automatic handgun into a vehicle occupied by two men, killing Armando Ortiz, Jr., and wounding the other occupant. Vasquez fled the scene in a vehicle. 

    Detectives with the Bakersfield Police Department quickly identified Tony Vasquez as a suspect, and through co-ordinance with CDC Parole Agents, learned that Tony Vasquez had an assigned GPS ankle monitor active at the time of the shooting, and tampered with and removed the monitor just hours after the murder. Vasquez was identified as the shooter by the surviving victim, and a review of the GPS information for Vasquez established his connection to the vehicle used in the murder, his presence at the scene of the murder, and his path of flight immediately after the murder occurred. 

    Officers from the Bakersfield Police Department's Career Criminal Apprehension Team and Special Enforcement Unit (Gang Unit) apprehended Vasquez less than 24 hours after the murder. 

    Vasquez faces a sentence of Life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murder of Armando Ortiz, Jr. 


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    BAKERSFIELD, CA.-Mercy Southwest Hospital is working off a backup generator after a transformer blew yesterday afternoon and cut power. 

    Many lights are dimmed, but patients are still being cared for. Power went out yesterday around 12:30 p.m. and since then, the hospital has been running off a generator. 

    Last night, they brought in a backup generator to have on hand just in case. 

    By law, they are required to cancel all elective surgeries and procedures until power is restored, but anyone with an emergency, and patients already in the hospital, are being taken care of. 

    Hospital officials say they lost a transformer and are working with PG&E to try and resolve it. 


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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - An emotional day in court for a Bakersfield family who lost their baby girl in a crash last January.
    Fifty-year-old Alfredo Moreno was sentenced to 23-years-to-life in prison for the drunk driving crash that killed young LayJah Heath.

    Prosecutors say the family was headed home last year on January 19, when Moreno, with a blood alcohol level 2 and a half times the legal limit, slammed into the back of their car. One of their 6 month old twin girls was taken to the hospital and died three days later.

    The family says no amount of time can make up for what Moreno took away from them. "My baby shook and died in my arms. And I can't feel bad for anyone who did that to my child. My baby was murdered. She didn't die of natural causes, she was murdered because of someone's neglect and someone's decision," says Donte Heath, girl's father.  

    "We see it time and time again. DUIs are senseless crimes. They are 100% preventable. I don't know how else we can get the message across, if you drive drunk in this county and you have prior offenses, our office will go after you for murder," says prosecutor Courtney Lewis.  

    Prosecutors say Moreno had 2 prior DUIs.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - Free help is available for those needing to enroll in Covered California for 2015.   Dignity Health officials in a news release say open enrollment ends February 15, 2015.

    Those who qualify for insurance in the health exchanges but do not enroll could face high penalty fees. Assistance will be provided in both English and Spanish at the Plaza del Pueblo in the Mercado Latino from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. on the following dates:

    January 25
    February 1
    February 8

    Those interested in enrolling must bring the following documents in order to submit their application: Proof of income for everyone on the application, such as income taxes, check stubs, etc. Proof of Kern County residence, such as a utility bill or a driver’s license. Social security numbers and dates of birth for all applicants. Green card or proof of citizenship.

    For more information or to schedule an appointment on any of the above dates, call 661.632.5018.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - Four people were seriously injured when a red suv flipped south of Bakersfield at David Road and Adobe Road.

    A firefighter had to pry the roof off the vehicle to free the driver who's legs were trapped beneath the dashborad.
         
    Four people in the vehicle were taken to the hospital for treatment of serious injuries, including broken bones.
      
    The driver was reported to be alert and talking with rescuers before being taken to the hospital.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - Bakersfield police are asking for the public's assistance in locating a robbery suspect.

    On Jan. 13, just after 9 p.m., BPD officers responded to two robberies that had just occurred in the parking lot of the Chevron located at 2301 Panama Ln. 

    While in route, BPD reports the store clerk called to report another customer being robbed in the parking lot.

    The clerk reported that there were possibly two suspects involved and one suspect was in the suspect vehicle, a white Chevrolet El Camino that was parked to the side of the business.

    When officers arrived they arrested 33-year-old Jose Mendoza of  Morgan Hill, Ca. Mendoza fled the scene and threw a firearm and keys in a nearby flowerbed.

    Police were able to recover the money stolen and also found a second firearm in the suspects vehicle.

    Police are now looking for a second suspect, whose name they believe is "Miguel."

    Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to call Detective Matt Gregory at 661-326-3511 or the Bakersfield Police Department at 661-327-7111.


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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - Residents in northwest and southwest Bakersfield now have two postal service facilities available for their postal needs.

    A U.S. Postal Service Village Post Office previously opened in Rosedale Farrier, located at 3236 Allen Road. Today, another location opened in J&B's Brookside Market, located at 4700 Coffee Road. 

    Residents can pick up postage stamps and ship packages at both locations.

    "This is good news for our mutual customers," said Bakersfield Postmaster Tony Rivera. "Rosedale Farrier Supply Inc. and J&B's Brookside Market are offering their customers a one-stop shopping experience where they can buy stamps and ship prepaid Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes at a convenient location they already frequent."   

    Rosedale Farrier Supply Inc. is open Monday - Friday 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. J&B's Brookside Market is open Monday - Friday 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.  

    VPOs are a part of the network of outlets owned and operated by third parties to complement the Postal Service's own network of retail Post Offices. 

    According to the USPS, there are more than 800 VPOs located across the country.

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    SACRAMENTO, CA - The California Council on Science and Technology released volume I of an independent scientific assessment today, Jan. 14, on well stimulation in California.

    The report describes the process of and locations of oil and gas production and includes hydraulic fracturing as well as possible future production.

    The report was conducted in response to SB 4 and prepared for the California Natural Resources Agency. The report is the first in a three-part volume. 

    The study will look at current and potential future practices of well stimulation technologies in the state.

    "We applaud state leaders for seeking an independent scientific assesment to inform policy choices about well stimulation, which is the reason CCST was created as an independent organization by the legislature," said CCST Executive Director Susan Hackwood.

    You can view the full report by clicking HERE.


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    Bakersfield, CA -- It was an amazing sight to welcome two theaters worth of local World War II and Korean War Veterans to Maya Cinemas in downtown Bakersfield today for a free screening of "Unbroken".

    The war drama film produced and directed by Angelina Jolie is based on the 2010 non-fiction book Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, which premiered in theaters nationwide Dec. 25.

    The film revolves around the life of USA Olympian and athlete Louis "Louie" Zamperini, portrayed by Jack O'Connell.

    Zamperini survived in a raft for 47 days after his bomber was downed in WWII and was sent to a series of prisoner of war camps.

    KGET is a proud media sponsor of Honor Flight Kern County, which organized today's screenings, helping get the veterans there, seated and fed lunch before the screening.

    Before the film, KGET TV-17's Rachelle Murcia, who has traveled to Washington, D.C. on three Honor Flight Kern County trips, presented a 10-minute piece about what Honor Flight Kern County is all about, and what means to our local men and women who have served our country to take these life-changing trips.

    Here is the link to watch Rachelle's work.


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    TEHACHAPI, CA - A temporary holding facility for inmates in Tehachapi is back open.  Tehachapi police say the holding facility for booking purposes, opened on Tuesday.  In the past a cuffing bench was used.  The holding facility has three cells that can hold 2 people each.  Once the inmates are booked, they are transferred to jails either in Bakersfield or Mojave.

    The facility according to Tehachapi police had been shut down after deficiencies had been found following an inspection of the facility in June 2014.  

    Tehachapi police say their department worked closely with the Board of State and Community Corrections over the past several months to identify solutions to the deficiencies within the temporary holding facility.

    The recommendations have been implemented and all of the identified deficiencies have been corrected. The corrections involved raising the ceiling height in the holding cells and installing security caulk to all external fixtures.

    Other identified deficiencies were addressed through policy implementation. The temporary holding facility is now in compliance with Title 15 and Title 24 requirements and can be fully utilized as initially intended.



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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - A judge has sentenced an Oildale man Wednesday to the death penalty for killing his wife and mother in law.  Last month, a jury recommended the death sentence for 61-year-old Robert Dale Fuller.

    Judge John Somers announced the death sentence at Kern County Superior Court Wednesday afternoon.  

    Last month, Fuller was found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of his estranged wife, 45-year-old Annette Sowders and her mother, 69-year-old Sharon Cannon.

    They were shot to death in August 2009.





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    TAFT, CA - A Bakersfield man is under arrest after Taft police say he was found with more than 60 grams of suspected methamphetamine.  

    Taft police say they were doing a traffic stop for a minor equipment violation on Tuesday afternoon.  That's when Erick Cruz, 30, who was the passenger, was found to have the suspected drugs and over $350 dollars in cash.  

    Cruz was arrested and booked on several drug related charges.  The driver of the car was released pending further investigation.  Taft police say the suspected methamphetamine has a street value of more than $6,000.  



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    MC FARLAND, CA - The city of McFarland has a new police chief.  City Manager John Wooner announced Wednesday Scot Kimble has been named the new chief.  Kimble has been the interim chief since June of last year.  

    Former McFarland Police Chief Greg Herrington had resigned in July.  Herrington and the city had faced a sexual harassment lawsuit by a former department employee.  

    In a news release, Wooner says during the last seven months Mr. Kimble has demonstrated his ability to successfully manage the police department and has become a very active member in our community. The city is looking forward to working with Scot Kimble in years to come.




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    Bakersfield, CA -- Two important reports were released Wednesday about fracking in California, related to the passing of Senate Bill 4, the state's first effort to impose stricter restrictions on fracking.

    The Department of Conservation, through its Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources, published its draft environmental impact report today.

    S.B. 4 requires this E.I.R., pursuant to California's Environmental Quality Act, to provide the public with detailed information of potential impacts of fracking.

    That report is up for public review until March 16.

    One of six public hearings will be held in Bakersfield, February 23, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Kern County Administrative Center at 1115 Truxtun Avenue.

    Also, the first of a three volume independent scientific assessment of well stimulation was released today.

    It is from the California Council on Science and Technology.

    It's two main conclusions: first about fracking for oil, that resource projections for production from deep source rocks in the Monterey formation are highly uncertain.

    Investigators found no reports of significant production from the Monterey formation or other source rocks to date in California.

    They conclude, if and when operators attempt production in these reservoirs, they will need innovative technology like fracking.

    Regarding natural gas, the report found most of the remaining undiscovered reservoirs in California are likely to be similar to reservoirs already in production that do not use well stimulation technology.

    Kern county is releasing its own draft E.I.R. for a proposed zoning ordinance to streamline oil and gas permitting.

    Iit will be released in April, circulated for public comment and followed by public hearings.

    For links to both reports released Wednesday, click below.

    Draft Environmental Impact Report

    http://www.conservation.ca.gov/dog/SB4DEIR/Pages/SB4_DEIR_TOC.aspx

    Independent Scientific Assessment

    http://ccst.us/projects/hydraulic_fracturing_public/SB4.php



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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - Police have released the name of the woman accused of shooting an AT&T employee while he was on the job yesterday in south Bakersfield.

    According to BPD, the man was shot just after 4 p.m. in the 1500 block of P Street.
          
    The man and a co-worker were installing cables when the woman began shooting.
         
    Officers describe his injuries from the gunshot as moderate. 
         
    The second victim was shot at but not injured.
         
    The shooter was identified as 26-year-old Daneshia Manning of Bakersfield.
         
    Manning is now in custody. She has been booked on two counts of attempted murder and gun possession.
        
    BPD said she also is a suspect in an unrelated robbery case so officers booked her on additional charges of robbery and felony evading.
         
    BPD say her shooting at the two utility workers seems to be random, but they are still investigating a motive.






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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - A power outage in central Bakersfield left 1400 people without power overnight.

    A PG&E representative said the outage, which began around 12:45 a.m., was due to an equipment failure near H Street and Belle Terrace.
         
    The representative could not give details of what kind of equipment failed.

    Repairs were completed and power restored just before 2 a.m.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - Thanks to all of your generosity and support, we had another successful "Penny's for Your Thoughts" cinnamon roll drive yesterday morning.
         
    All of your efforts go to benefit the Alzheimer's Disease Association of Kern County.

    "I wanted to support Alzhemiers. I have family members that suffered from it and wanted to show my support," Brigette Bonnet, ADAKC supporter.

    The rolls started going on sale just after 6 a.m. yesterday across from our studios.
         
    Volunteers from a host of different organizations were on hand to help out.
         
    There was even had a dancing firefighter directing traffic.
         
    A little more than 3100 pans were sold at $10 a piece.
         
    And in the end, more than $38,000 was raised for those with Alzheimer's and Dimentia, exceeding the non-profit's goal of $8,000.

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  • 01/15/15--10:19: Obama makes broadband pitch
  • (NBC News) President Obama traveled to Cedar Falls, Iowa Thursday to promote increased access to broadband internet service.

    "We're going to clear red tape and foster competition, we're going to help communities connect and help communities connect in our digital economy," Mr. Obama said.

    The president says laws in 19 states limit choice and competition in broadband service and many smaller communities say they're passed over by large internet providers.

    The remarks came in a city with a population of just over 40,000 where about 88 percent of the households subscribe to a city-created utility offering high speed broadband service. 



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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - The crew at Bike Bakersfield will be back at it tonight giving out free taillights and headlights around town this evening.

    The organizations is hosting the fifth installment of Project Light Up the Night at four Bakersfield locations.

    Participants will be handing out lights at the Bike Bakersfield bicycle kitchen at 1708 Chester Ave. from 4 to 6 p.m.

    Lights will also be passed out at the corner of Mount Vernon Avenue and Niles street and the corner of Roberts Lane and Chester Avenue.

    Crews will also be at the corner of 4th and P Street from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

    You can also pick up lights at the Bike Kitchen in Arvin will also pass out lights from 4 to 6 p.m.
              
    Bike Bakersfield says anyone wanting to claim a light must have their bicycle with them when they arrive at a distribution area.


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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - Clinica Sierra Vista was awarded a $1.2 million, three-year grant today from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration today in an effort to better serve the homeless people of Kern County.

    The grant will fund a program that provides substance abuse and mental health disorder treatment services.

    The program will also look to provide outreach services and assist in finding permanent housing of homeless persons in Kern County.

    According to Clinica Sierra Vista, this is the first program of its kind in Kern County that provides substance use treatment services and mental health services, all while adopting a Housing First approach.

    According to Clinica Sierra Vista, the Housing First project looks to place homeless persons into permanent supportive housing, prior to any kind of treatment.

    The program was first initiated in Harlem, NY, and provided researchers with an evidence-based model of success.

    According to Clinica Sierra Vista, the practice of placing homeless persons in supportive, established housing first, encourages individuals to participate more in his or her own recovery process, as evident from prior studies.

    According to the 2014 Point in Time Homeless Census report, there were 173 chronic homeless persons in Kern County, with 94 percent reported to have mental health issues, 91 percent reported to have substance abuse issues, and 87 percent reportedly have a co-occurring disorder.

    Clinica Sierra Vista will partner with several local agencies to reach the homeless people in Kern County, including Flood Bakersfield Ministries, Inc, The Housing Authority of the County of Kern, The California Veterans Assistance Foundation, 

    The project will begin accepting referrals in early January 2015 and will serve up to 80 individuals per year. 






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