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KGET: Local News

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - The Kern County Sheriff's Office is investigating the death of a man they arrested, then released from custody on Feb. 26.

    It began with a traffic stop at Bear Valley Road and Roost Avenue, west of Golden Hills.
         
    Deptueis arrested 44-year-old Donald Levingston on suspicion of being under the influence of a controlled substance.

    While on the way to the central receiving facility, deputies say Levingston began acting erratically, so they stopped the car and requested an ambulance.
         
    The paramedics examined and cleared Levingston, at which time he was taken to the receiving facility where the staff asked he be taken to Kern Medical Center due to a medical condition.
         
    Levingston was receiving treatment while a deputy cited and released him from custody.
         
    A short time later, Levingston died from an unknown medical complication.
         
    Detectives are now investigating and an autopsy will be performed to determine the cause and manner of his death. 

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - The Children First Campaign and Community Action Partnership of Kern has joined together with Wendy's Words Libraries to bring seven new little libraries to CAPK locations throughout Kern County.

    An opening ceremony will take place Monday, March 2, on Dr.Seuss’ birthday, at 11:00 a.m. at the WIC location at 500 East California Ave. The day will include birthday cake, reading, fun and a visit from The Cat in the Hat.

    The libraries are dedicated to the memory of local humanitarian Wendy Wayne, who emphasized the importance of reading and education, as well as encouraging everyone to make the world a better place.

    “We are excited to be able to provide books at  these locations because many of these families have limited resources for purchasingbooks,” said Ramona Gia, Children First Campaign Board Member. “All children shouldhave access to books. I think it is what Wendy Wayne would of wanted."

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    (WLWT) A Cincinnati, Ohio mother is facing an assault charge after police said she slapped a child on a school bus.

    According to court documents, N'Doumbe Gueye, 30, told police that her 6-year-old son had been hit on several occasions by a 5-year-old boy who rode the same First Student school bus.

    Police say Gueye boarded the bus bound for Roll Hill Academy, asked her son to point out the boy who hit him, then slapped the boy in a confrontation.

    The incident was captured on video. 


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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - Kern County Animal Services will host a month-long adoption event featuring Chihuahuas.

    The 4th Annual Cheers for Chihuahuas adoption event will start on March 2 and run through March 31.

    During that time, all Chihuahua and Chihuahua mixes will be available to adopt for $25.

    “Our shelters see as many as 10 to 15 Chihuahuas and Chihuahua mixes come through our doors every day,” stated Nick Cullen, Interim Director for Kern County Animal Services.  “This means that we have a large number of wonderful Chihuahuas that we need to place in loving homes, so why not have a fun promotion where we are encouraging the public to join us in cheering for our Chihuahuas.”

    The Kern County Animal Services shelters in Bakersfield, Lake Isabella and Mojave will be participating in the promotion.  Adoption fees include spay or neuter surgery, first series of vaccinations, a microchip, Rabies vaccination and dog license for qualifying dogs and, a one year dog license for residents living in unincorporated areas of Kern County.  

    Fees are normally $85 for dogs 4 months of age and older or $75 for dogs under 4 months of age. 

    For information on adopting a pet, please call 661-868-7100 or visit one of the three shelter locations in person.


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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - Convicted murderer Christopher Lightsey was resentenced on Feb. 27 and is headed back to San Quentin Prison's death row.

    In 2012, the state supreme court ruled Lightsey should not have been allowed to represent himself during a competency hearing in 1995.
         
    Lightsey was convicted of killing 76-year-old William Compton back then.
         
    On Feb. 20, a new jury found Lightsey was competent in 1995, which means he will not be re-tried on the murder charge. 

    Defense attorney Richard Terry said he will explore an appeal of the verdict.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - There's a new sweet treat being tested at local Taco Bell restaurants in Bakersfield and you can be one of the first to try them out.

    They're called Cap'n Crunch Delights, and Bakersfield is one of the first to taste the cereal covered bites.

    A spokesperson for Taco Bell described the new dessert products are "warm, light pastries, coated with fruity Cap'n Crunch Berries cereal and filled with creamy, sweet milk icing."

    Testing for the product began on Feb. 26 at 26 Taco Bell locations in Bakersfield. 

    The items are offered in packs of 2 for $1.00, 4 for $1.69 or 12 for $4.49.


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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - The Bakersfield Fire Department responded to a fire in the 6200 block of Stine Road, just north of Panama Lane around 12:45 p.m. on Feb. 27.

    According to fire officials at the scene, Smoke and flames were seen from the front of the single-level apartment unit and was contained quickly without spreading to other units in the fourplex.

    No one was home at the time of the fire, according to officials.

    The fire is under investigation.


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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - The Bakersfield Police Department is seeking the community’s assistance in identifying and locating the following suspect wanted for theft. 

    On Feb. 9, at 12:16 p.m., while inside the Greyhound bus station located at 1829 18th St., the suspect took the victim’s wallet when the victim had left it unattended for a short period of time on a bench. 

    The suspect is described as a male between 40 and 50 years old, with a medium build, black afro hair, wearing a black jacket and dark pants.

    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 - The Bakersfield Police Department is asking for the public's health identifying and locating the following suspects and suspect vehicle wanted for grand theft. 

    The incident happened on Jan. 21, between 2 and 2:30 a.m., when police say the suspects removed items from the bed of the victim’s vehicle while it was parked in the 6300 block of Parsons Way. 

    According to police, one suspect is described as a male in his mid-20’s. The other suspect was not seen in the video surveillance. 

    The suspect vehicle is described as an early 2000’s white Chevrolet Tahoe with custom wheels. 

    Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to call Detective John Jamison at 661-326-3907 or the Bakersfield Police Department at 661-327-7111.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - A transportation company serving disabled passengers is up and running again after it was forced to stop operations earlier this week.

    17 News has learned that Express Transit has been operating for seven months without a license. The president of the company says he was unaware of the license status until Tuesday -- that's when express transit services stopped.

    The California Public Utilities Commission suspended Express Transit's license in July and revoked it in October, for failure to file its annual workers' compensation insurance annual report.

    CPUC spokesperson Chris Chow says from July 14, 2014 through Thursday, Express Transit was not licensed to operate vehicles to carry passengers for a fee.

    Express Transit President Baldo Paseta says the company provided services during that time because he was unaware of the problem until Tuesday afternoon, but the CPUC says Express Transit, incorporated refiled its license application February 4.

    The CPUC issued an operation permit Thursday to Express Transit and the company resumed operations again Friday morning.

    Kern Regional Center uses Express Transit. KRC CEO Duane Law says nearly 700 clients were without service during the two and a half days express transit wasn't operating. He says other vendors supplemented those rides.

    Law said, "All of the individuals were both collected and taken to their service sites and then brought back home. Some of them got there a little later than they usually do, because the routes were changed and of course the buses were different. By all indications, everyone was safely transported to and from."

    Law says he didn't know Express Transit had been operating with out a license, but he will follow up on the issue.

    Paseta says Express Transit is taking steps to avoid problems in the future.

    Chow says any reports of a company operating without a license would be investigated.

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    It has been said in the midst of California's historic drought there is no off-season for wildfires, but regardless, there hasn't been a big one in Kern County since last August.

    So what do the firefighters do when they aren't battling the big one?

    You might find it interesting to know when United States Forest Service Firefighters aren't putting out massive wild-land fires, some of them are lighting fires in the forests to protect and deter the big ones from burning the forests down.

    Fuels Battalion in the Kern River Ranger District, Ernie Villa said, "we are treating the hazardous fuels here with prescribed fire, and we've planned out this burn for several months. Hopefully over a period of time there will continue to be a lot less fuels on the ground and it will be a lot easier to manage fire as well as ecologically restore the forest back to where it should be."

    The intricate plan that is set each morning must be followed to the "T" to prevent any flame from getting out of hand, and one key element that needs to be in constant check is the weather.

    Firefighter Michael Hearons said, "we call it spinning weather, and it's usually done on the hour just to see the changing conditions in the weather environment and how that effects our fire. If we get close to what we consider a red flag for the day...too low in humidity's, too high in temperatures, things like that, then we spin it every half-hour to see the changes closer together."

    Firefighters must be in tune with changing weather conditions to keep their controlled burn at a low intensity heat, so the fire can't climb up the trees and become uncontrollable.

    U.S. Forest Service Firefighters work year round to reduce the amount of dead fuels on the ground to prevent the spread of massive wild land fires. On the day we went with them into the forests, they burned 20 acres of dead fuels.

     

     



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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - Members of the now famous McFarland track team stopped by Canyon Hills Assembly of God church on Sunday to share some words of inspiration and achieving your dreams.

    Many of those original team members attended the Assembly of God Church in McFarland as youngsters, too.

    They talked about their faith, the movie, and their lives.

    "Being from a small community like McFarland, nobody expects small towns or small teams to do much. And the fact that we won not one, not two, not three but nine state titles under the leadership of our coach Jim White, you know, that just shows that champions can come from small places and we did that," said Danny Diaz, runner on championship teams.

    The theme for the service was Champions Can Come From Anywhere.
         
    And one of the key themes team members shared with the congregation was that "with god, everything is possible."

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  • 03/01/15--18:19: McCarthy talks DHS funding
  • WASHINGTON - California representative and house majority leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield discussed the political battle over the Department of Homeland Security's funding bill Sunday on "Meet the Press" and what needed to happen for it to end.

    Host Chuck Todd talked with McCarthy and asked what will happen in five days when funding runs out? 

    "The best thing for the American public is that we do our job, that Washington changes, that the senate and the house get together and fix their differences and find common ground," McCarthy said.

    However, Todd argued that crossing party lines to come to an agreeable solution is not "the reality" of the situation.

    "I will tell you, from the majority leader of the house, I will be in that room and I will help solve that problem. All we need is Harry Reid to say the same thing and this can all be solved," McCarthy said. 

    McCarthy added "57 percent of the senate agrees with us, we can get this done very quickly. Let me make one thing clear, the first priority of the republican majority is the security of Americans and we'll make sure we have the security of his country." 

    DHS funding is scheduled to run out at midnight Friday.
         
    If congress can't find a compromise, 30,000 workers will be furloughed, and another 200,000 will continue to work without a paycheck.
         

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - An injury collision in east Bakersfield resulted in two people being sent to the hospital.

    The crash happened around 11 a.m on Sunday on Edison HWY beneath the Oswell overpass.
         
    According to CHP, a woman driving a Volkswagen Beetle tried to turn onto Edison HWY when the driver of an SUV ran a red light and hit her.
         
    The driver of the SUV was pinned inside the vehicle between a fence and a palm tree.
         
    Kern County Firefighters knocked down the tree and removed the driver.

    Two people were taken to a local hospital
        
    One driver suffered major injuries and the other had moderate injuries.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - Country music and Bakersfield go hand in hand. Home to many legends, from Merle Haggard to Buck Owens, musicians flock to Bakersfield to join in on the Bakersfield Sound. 82-year-old Fiddler, Hughie Smith is one of these local legends, with more than 400 awards and accolades. Smith does not let his age stop him from doing what he loves and his fiddle and piano have never left his sight.He is dedicated to practicing at least two hours every day, always preparing for his next big performance.

    Smith was born in Louisiana and started playing music at age four. "I just got hooked on music you know I didn't have no television, no radio or nothing, I just loved to play," said Smith. He never learned how to read music so he plays everything by ear. Smith sings and plays guitar, mandolin, piano, and his favorite fiddle.

    In 1967 Smith came to Bakersfield to play at the blackboard nightclub, five nights a week. "I didn't really want to play music for a living, I wanted to do something else but everything I tried always blew up in my face," he said. 

    Despite the fight, music stuck with him, and Smith made Bakersfield home, playing music all over town with his 59 year old fiddle by his side.

    Smith said his fiddle is a part of him. "Once you pick out the right one, you will never find another one, you become partners," said Smith. That fiddle has helped Smith win more than 400 contests, nine national titles, and three state titles. "I'm just going to see how long I can hang on, I'm going to work at it everyday I need the exercise, and keep practicing on the piano and fiddle both," said Smith.

    Smith still competes and with a state competition around the corner, he's not slowing down. "I don't ever want to give up, the older you get the more you gotta keep moving, pretty soon you can't move," said Smith.

    For more information on Hughie Smith visit the hotlink section.


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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - We now know the name of the man who died in a fiery crash Friday in northeast Bakersfield. The coroner's office identified him as 31-year-old Tristan Charles Riano of Bakersfield.

    The crash happened just before 5 p.m. Friday on Kern Canyon Road -- between Hillcrest Memorial Park and Bedford Green Drive.

    According to the highway patrol, Riano was headed east when his truck drifted onto the right shoulder. He overcorrected and ended up in the westbound lane, where the truck hit a van and burst into flames.

    Riano died at the scene. the driver of the van suffered minor injuries.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA- Kaiser patients in Tehacahpi will soon have their own office in town.

    Kaiser Permanente says the new facility will be open by fall 2015.

    The Medical Office will be supported by Registered Nurse Practitioners and physicians.

    Laboratory services will be available on site. Radiology services will be available through a contract with the Tehachapi District Hospital and first-fill prescriptions will be available from Walgreens directly across the street from the facility, according to Kaiser.

    The medical offices will be open Monday through Saturday, with evening appointments available.

    The decision to put a permanent clinic in Techachapi was made after the success of the Mobile Health Vehicle that has been in Tehacachapi for the last three years.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA- CSUB has opened two new labs to study human performance and movement.

    They are calling them PEAK labs. PEAK stands for Physical Education and Kinesiology.

    The Human Performance Lab focuses on physiological and human performance assessment as it relates to physical activity and sports. This lab features a variety of machines used to measure blood pressure, lung function, muscular strength and flexibility including a Bod Pod, a new machine that assesses body composition.

    The Gait and Posture Neuromechanics Lab focuses on biomechanics and motor control as it applies to human movement. This lab is equipped with a state-of-the-art eight-camera Vicon motion capture system, AMTI force plates and a wireless electromyography system; capable of capturing the 3-dimensional perspective of the kinematic and kinetic components of motion as well as the sequencing of muscle activation.

    Beginning Fall 2016, CSUB will change the name off the Physical Education and Kinesiology Department to the Kinesiology Department which will feature a bachelor of science degree in kinesiology with concentrations in allied health, applied exercise science and physical activity leadership. The Kinesiology Department also will offer a master of science degree in applied nutrition, which is an advanced degree to gain competency in community nutrition, health promotion, disease prevention, leadership and program planning.

    “The new PEAK labs will give our students an enhanced learning experience for our students and provide CSUB the opportunity to offer more services to the community,” said Kris Grappendorf, chair of the Physical Education and Kinesiology Department. “Our facilities will transform us into one of the best physical fitness labs in the region."

    CSU Bakersfield will be hold a grand opening of the new labs in Science 1 5:30-7 p.m. Tuesday, March 3, at the CSU Bakersfield campus and providing an opportunity for the public to tour both labs. Free parking will be available in Lot B.

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    TAFT, CA- Heavy rain caused a long sinkhole to open up, very close to some homes, in Taft.

    The building department will send out an engineer today to inspect a gas line beneath sinkhole, measuring about 200-feet in length, 2 feet wide and 4 feet deep.

    Kern County Fire and the Building Department said it was ok for residents to remain in their homes.

    The sinkhole runs alongside several homes in Taft on Van Buren Street.

    Residents say it also happened back in December when there was heavy rainfall.

    The sinkhole was filled with dirt then.

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  • 03/02/15--12:59: MS weeks kicks off downtown
  • Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week runs through March 8 and local supporters are already bringing attention to their cause.

    They met at the Liberty Bell in downtown Bakersfield Sunday to paint the town orange by tying orange bows around trees.

    Orange is the signature color of the National M.S. Society.

    Some of those suffering from the disease were on hand to express why raising awareness for M.S. patients is important because many are unaware of the struggles patients go through.

    "People will look at you and you look fine but there's a lot of internal symptoms -- pain that people don't see and you know, we just trudge through it and get through our day. Yeah, it would be nice for people to be aware of it. maybe, like I said, be sympathetic once in a while to our cause," said M.S. patient Jariann Hudson.


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