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KGET: Local News

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    The CHP says drugs are being investigated as a possible cause of a crash that left two people dead.

    It happened about 10:40 a.m. on northbound 99 at the Olive Drive off ramp.

    CHP says a car cut off a rig and hit the truck's front end. That sent the car out of control and into a guard rail.

    Investigators say the car hit the rail on the driver's side door and the female driver died at the scene.

    The passenger was taken to KMC where he later died. 

    The CHP says they are investigating the possibility that the driver of the car may have been under the influence of drugs.

    The names of the two victims have not been released.

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  • 02/25/15--11:27: Two stores open in southwest
  • BAKERSFIELD, CA- The Sprouts Farmers Market and the BevMo! store at the shops at Riverwalk opened this morning.

    The 25,000 square foot Sprouts store is the company's 21st store to open in Southern and Central California.

    The store focuses on fresh, natural and organic products.

    The store will include bulk foods, dairy, meat and seafood and a bakery.

    Meantime BevMo! opened today but will have a grand opening Friday.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA- Opening statements are over and the first witness has taken the stand in the trial against the man accused of raping three women and assaulting a fourth during the Summer of 2013.

    Billy Ray Johnson is accused of being the so-called "Masked Rapist."

    He faces 26 felony charges.

    In a jailhouse interview last November, Johnson claimed he burglarized homes, but never raped anyone.

    Prosecutors say they have DNA evidence linking him to the crimes.

    The jury was seated earlier this morning.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - The Bakersfield Condors are keeping their team name as is for their American Hockey League franchise.  The announcement was made after the first period of Wednesday night's game against the Idaho Steelheads at Rabobank Arena.  

    Submissions were considered until February 15 at midnight. Extra credit and weight, team officials say were given to those who submitted their own original logo design and/or jersey concept.

    One winner will win four tickets to a 2014-15 Condors game and drop the ceremonial first puck.  

    The AHL is one step below the National Hockey League and pro hockey in Bakersfield has come a long way since 1994, when the team was the Bakersfield Oilers-part of the Pacific Southwest Hockey League.

    Then in 1995 the Fog rolled in as part of the West Coast Hockey League. And then the birth of Condorstown in 1998, still a member of the West Coast Hockey League before transitioning into the East Coast Hockey League in 2003.

    Since then, the Condors have gained a reputation for their outrageous promotions, which Oilers President Kevin Lowe says he hopes continues with the new team coming next season.  Team officials say uniform design and team colors for the new Condors franchise are still in the works.  

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    SACRAMENTO, CA- Researchers say they have found a link between ultrafine pollution and death from heart disease.

    Their study has found the link but stops short of saying the pollution is the cause.

    The study is the first to consider the effects on people of long-term exposure to ultrafine particles. It was conducted by OEHHA in collaboration with other institutions and recently published online in the scientific journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

    The California Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) says the study demonstrates an association between long-term exposure to ultrafine particle air pollution and death from heart disease. Ultrafine air pollution particles are tiny - about 0.1 micron in diameter or roughly one-thousandth the width of a human hair. These particles are generated from gas and diesel motor vehicle engines, biomass burning and energy production.

    "This research provides an important contribution to our understanding of the progression of air pollution-related heart disease," said OEHHA Director Dr. George Alexeeff. "Research in this area is critical to furthering our understanding of the potential health impacts of the smallest air pollution particles and how they can best be addressed."

    "Our findings suggest that ultrafine particles may have a significant impact on public health," said lead author Dr. Bart Ostro, former chief of OEHHA's Air Pollution Epidemiology Section. "This study also provides evidence about the relative importance of the different types and sources of microscopic air pollution particles and may aid in prioritizing and reducing the cost of pollution control."

    The study, titled "Long-term exposures to fine and ultrafine particles, species and sources: Results from the California Teachers Study Cohort," analyzed data from more than 100,000 middle-aged women whose health status was followed from 2000 through 2007. The findings, based on data from California teachers and administrators recruited from the State Teachers Retirement System, indicate that different types of tiny particles, including those formed from gas- and diesel-fueled vehicles, biomass burning and other combustion sources, were strongly associated with death from heart disease caused by blocked arteries.

    Key findings included:

    Ultrafine and "fine" particles (2.5 microns in size, or about one-thirtieth that of human hair) contributed to heart disease mortality.

    Certain constituents of ultrafine particles were strongly associated with death from heart attacks. These constituents included copper, iron, other metals, and elemental carbon (soot).

    For several constituents, the ultrafine particles were more strongly associated with death from heart attacks than those in the larger (but still tiny) fine particle size range.

    OEHHA's Dr. Ostro co-authored the paper with researchers from the Cancer Prevention Institute of California, the City of Hope National Medical Center and theUniversity of California, Davis. The latter developed unique methods to estimate long-term exposures to air pollution that were critical to the study.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA- A state apellate court has upheld a Kern County judge's decision to throw out child molestation charges against a man on grounds of prosecutorial misconduct.

    The 5th District Court of Appeals sided with Judge H.A. Staley who ruled prosecutor Robert Murray tampered with a transcript in a child molestation case to make it appear the defendant admitted to the crime.

    Murray said it was intended as a joke.

    Judge Staley ruled that was grounds to dismiss all of the 5 child molestation charges against Efrain Velasco-Palacios.

    The appellate court found Murray's actions were "outrageous and conscience shocking."

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA- Memorial Hospital has broken ground on our area's first emergency room exclusively for kids.

    It will be called the Robert A Grimm Children's Pavilion for Emergency Care.

    Officials say it will be the only dedicated pediatrics emergency department between Los Angeles and Madera.

    It will be the latest addition to the Lauren Small Children's Medical Center that will include eight pediatric intensive care beds and 31 beds for seriously ill infants.

    Officials say the new children's pavilion will be located adjacent to the existing emergency department and will feature separate waiting and treatment areas for pediatric patients.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA- Crews are making repairs to a water main near Columbus Street and Haley Street.

    They say the have had to shut off the water to about 15 homes while the fix the problem.

    The homes impacted are in the 2900 and 3000 blocks of Berger Street.

    Cal Water officials say it could take 2 to 3 hours to make repairs.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA- Kern County deputies are looking for a man they say robbed an east Bakersfield restaurant.

    They think this may be the second time this same man has hit the business near Niles Street and Oswell Street.

    Deputies say the most recent incident happened ten days ago.

    They say the suspect entered the restaurant just as it was closing and held an employee at knife point.

    They say the suspect got away with an unknown amount of cash.

    The suspect then fled the restaurant through the rear door eastbound on foot. The victim described the suspect as walking with a limp and using a cane to walk.

    The suspect may also be responsible for a burglary that occurred at the same restaurant about two months prior to the robbery. The suspect in the burglary was described as walking with a cane and also described as having a cross tattoo on his right hand and an unknown tattoo on his left hand.

    If anyone has information on this case they are asked to call Detective David Hubbard at 661-391-7582, the Sheriff’s Office at 661-861-3110, or Secret Witness at 661-322-4040.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA- Bakersfield Police are looking for suspects they say went on an overnight crime spree.

    Cops say it started at the EL Fogon Restaurant on Brundage Lane at 3 am. Wednesday.

    They say two suspects robbed the restaurant with an assault rifle.

    About an hour later they say similar looking suspects robbed a home on Fiesta Ave.

    Then about 8 a.m. police say there was a shooting at the Hollywood Market on East Planz Road.

    The suspects again matched the description from the earlier crimes.

    Just after 9 officer spotted the suspect vehicle near West High School.

    The suspects ran and eventually got away in their car, but police were able to recover the rife they believe was used in the two robberies.

    The investigation into these crimes is continuing. Detectives and officers are out at several locations following up on leads. Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to call the Bakersfield Police Department at (661) 327-7111.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA- BNSF railway announced it will spend about $141 million in its 2015 budget to increase rail capacity and maintain current lines.

    The industry has come under recent criticism regarding the growing number of crude oil shipments by rail.

    Some of those shipments have ended with derailments and fiery explosions.

    The maintenance program in California will include 880 miles of track surfacing and replacement of nearly 54 miles of rail.

    BNSF will also pay to construct three miles of double track and a siding as part of the Tehachapi rail improvement project.

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    (NBC News) The Federal Communications Commission has issued an important ruling on an issue we've all heard about, but few people seem to understand.

    It's called Net Neutrality, and the decision by the FCC will shape the Internet of the future.

    The result is your friend's cutest cat videos will now stream just as fast, or as slow, as any show everyone binge watches on Netflix.

    Internet service providers won't be allowed to give preferential treatment.

    The commission's three-to-two vote reflected the sharp political divide on the issue.

    Republicans fear its the first step of a government takeover that will turn the Internet into a public utility.

    Comcast, the parent company of NBC Universal, was among the Internet service providers that opposed net neutrality because it covers issues that are already settled.

    Supporters say they're avoiding an Internet with fast lanes on the superhighway for those willing to pay, and sidewalks for those who can't afford it.

    Read more:

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA- Bakersfield police are hoping someone recognizes a man who tried to steal a woman’s purse at the Valley Plaza Mall.

    Cops say the suspect entered the mall and approached a woman who was sitting in a massage chair near the Red Robin.

    They say the man tried to snatch the woman’s purse, but the victim fought back and was able to hang on to her purse.

    Police say after a short struggle the suspect gave up and ran out of the mall empty-handed.

    The suspect is described as a: Hispanic man, 18-21, 5’7”, thin build, wearing a red baseball cap, white t-shirt with unknown design on front and blue jeans.

    Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to call Detective Verion Coleman at (661) 326-3873 or the Bakersfield Police Department at (661) 327-7111.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA- Bakersfield police are looking for a man they say stole groceries twice from the same store.

    Detectives say the man when into the Albertson’s store on Mt Vernon Ave. and filled a shopping cart with food and other merchandise then walked out without paying.

    The suspect is described at a: white or Hispanic male, 25-28, 5’7”-9”, 165-175 lbs.

    Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to call Detective Alex Paiz at (661) 326-3846 or the Bakersfield Police Department at (661) 327-7111.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - For months now, developmentally disabled citizens and their advocates have expressed their concerns and frustrations with the services being provided by the Kern Regional Center.

    Now, a state audit  is raising new questions about the leadership and work environment at KRC.
    A spokesman for the Department of Developmental Services said they have given KRC 45 days to correct some serious problems.

    California's DDS lodged a complaint with KRC on Dec. 11.
    In the complaint, DDS outlined a myriad of concerns about how KRC is operated. The state says these concerns stem from years of client complaints.

    "I don't think that we disregarded any comments. If there are concerns that are expressed to us, we respond to them," said Duane Law, KRC CEO.

    But the state disagrees.

    The audit cites numerous issues, calling KRC non-complient. DDS cited insufficient oversight by the board, lack of knowledge, low morale and lack of trust, and said KRC is in a critically fragile state.
    "We have a survey that we have discussed as a board and approved, and will be sending it out shortly to all 8,000 consumers, all 4,000 vendors and to our staff and other community partners. Kind of just getting a good assessment of how we are serving our community," said Susan Lara, KRC board president.

    But in December, a parent of a former regional center client told us the center wasn't doing its job.

    "When the kern regional center is sending out denials, they're not sending out explanations on why the children of the families are being denied services," said Kelly Lank, parent of former KRC client.

    In the amended January notice, DDS listed findings of its Novemer investigation and the results raised quite a few eyebrows.
    On a 10 scale, not a single staff member rated morale as being higher than five.
    Most put morale between one and three.
    KRC staff told the DDS they didn't feel valued, and that they believed the administration doesn't care about consumers or families.
    Staff also said communication is extremely poor, and said training has lacked since the director of client services left the organization more than four months ago.
    Law and Lara contest those that KRC serve remain the center's top priority.

    "I think it didn't catch us off guard but there are certain insights that they've provided to us during the process that we were not maybe aware of, or at least aware of the significance of those issues. So now we are redoubling our efforts to focus our time and attention on those issues," Law said.

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  • 02/26/15--14:43: Llamas on the lam
  • (KPNX) Two llamas running through Sun City, Arizona drew a crowd of curious onlookers and several area residents who were trying to herd the animals Thursday afternoon.

    The pair, one black and one white, dodged cars as they moved from a field into a neighborhood.

    Maricopa County Sheriff's Office posse members, including two tried to corral the llamas with their SUVs, were assisting in the operation.

    Though posse members attempted to capture the twosome multiple times, the llamas bolted deeper into a neighborhood.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA- The annual Bakersfield Black History Parade is set for Saturday, Feb. 28th.

    The parade starts at 10 a.m. and will wind its way through downtown and will be followed by a festival.

    When: Parade begins at 10 a.m. with events to follow

    Where: Route begins 21st and V streets; Heritage Festival follows at the Gardens at Mill Creek on 21st Street.

    Admission: Free

    Information: 703-7955

    The parade route is west on 21st street to M Street, left on M Street near downtown Elementary the back east on 20th.

    The Heritage Festival will be held from 12 to 4 at the Gardens at Mill Creek.

    Parade organizer remind everyone to bring an umbrella because the parade will go on rain or shine.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - The Kegley Institute of Ethics at CSU Bakersfield will honor their 2015 recipients tonight for the Wendy Wayne award for Exemplary Ethical Behavior.

    This year's recipients are Janet Hefner and Joseph Constantine.

    Each year, CSUB's Kegley Institute of Ethics presents two awards to those who exemplify strength, courage and commitment to the most vulnerable in the community -- traits they say personified the late Wendy Wayne.

    Janet Hefner ñ Adult Lifetime Achievement Award  
    Hefner established services for people living with HIV/AIDS and was a catalyst for important social change on behalf of Bakersfieldís LGBTQ population. 

    Joseph Constantine ñ Youth Award
    Constantine was selected because of his compassion for those who are socially forgotten or left behind, both in school and in the community. He has already built a reputation for befriending isolated students, coming to their defense when needed and working against bullying in his school. 

    The awards are named for Wendy Wayne, who passed away in 2012 from non-Hodgkinís lymphoma. Wayne spent three decades in Bakersfield and earned a reputation for working for the public good and helping people in this community and well beyond.

    The awards ceremony begins at 5:45 p.m. at Seven Oaks Country Club. Tickets cost $80 per person. Visit HERE for more information.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA- The Board of Directors of the Bakersfield Women’s Business Conference (BWBC) announced Thursday that Olympian Dara Torres will be the 2015 conference keynote speaker.

     Torres entered her first international swimming competition at age 14 and competed in her first Olympics Games a few years later in 1984. As the 2008 Beijing Olympics, she became the oldest swimmer to compete in the Olympic Games, taking home three silver medals.

    “The theme for the 2015 Bakersfield Women’s Business Conference is ‘Strength of a Woman.’ Speakers and workshops will highlight all different areas of a woman’s strength, including emotional, physical, mental, and professional,” said Leigh Pozas, Chair of the Board of Directors of the 2015 Bakersfield Women’s Conference.  “We feel that Dara embodies all these key areas of a women’s strength and know that she will motivate and inspire all of our attendees to find and promote all of their individual strengths.” 

    The 2015 Bakersfield Women’s Business Conference will be held on September 24th, 2015 at the Rabobank Convention Center.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - Judge John Lua sentenced Bryan Oliver Thursday morning, for the January 2013 shooting at Taft Union High School.

    It has been more than two years since Oliver walked onto the campus with a 12 gauge shotgun and a pocket full of shells and shot classmate Bowe Cleveland in the chest.

    Last month, Oliver agreed to plead no contest to two charges of attempted murder and admit to an enhancement of using a firearm, in exchange for 27 years in prison. Judge Lua accepted the terms of the plea agreement Thursday -- sending Oliver to prison. He will be eligible for parole in 2028.

    Judge Lua said, "The actions taken on January 10, 2013 are the defendant's alone and he will be held responsible."

    Judge Lua sentenced Oliver to seven years four months for two attempted murder charges, and 20 years for an enhancement of using a firearm. Judge Lua also ordered Oliver to pay nearly $900,000 in restitution to the families.

    Oliver appeared emotionless during the proceedings. His mother cried, as her youngest son comforted her.

    Cleveland's family was also in the courtroom. His father read statements, written by family members.

    Rob Cleveland said, "What has been done to our son is unforgivable. Yet, we are working hard as a family every day, to find forgiveness."

    During the trial, Oliver testified he was relentlessly bullied by students, including Bowe Cleveland, and he couldn't take it anymore.

    Chief Deputy District Attorney Mark Pafford said, "That was their defense, but it was also my motive."

    Pafford spoke at a news conference following the sentencing. He says the jury sympathized with Oliver more than the prosecution anticipated.

    "After we talked to jurors about the case, we realized there could be some difficulties in retrying to case and so Mr. Cadman and I discussed a resolution," said Pafford.

    Oliver agreed to that resolution, and pleaded no contest to the attempted murder charges and admitted to the enhancement of using a firearm.

    Pafford said, "I believe it is a fair resolution, we charged him with attempted murder and that's what he plead to."

    The Department of Corrections will determine where Oliver serves his sentence.

    Oliver didn't speak during the sentencing and his public defender, Paul Cadman, didn't want to comment on the case.

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