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KGET: Local News

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - On Tuesday, March 17, the use of insecticides on crops will be greatly restricted, according to Kern County Agriculture Commissioner Ruben Arroyo.

    According to Arroyo, Tuesday marks the 10 percent bloom stage for all citrus south of 7th Standard Road.

    As a result, insecticides are restricted in order to enable bees to work the citrus blossoms and reduce the risk of damage to the bees.

    The announcement mandates all citrus growers, pest control operators, and bee keepers comply with regulations bee protection areas.


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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - Valley Gun celebrated its 50th anniversary with a block party and $10,000 donation to Honor Flight Kern County. The organization recognizes local veterans by sending them to Washington, D.C. to see the memorials built in their honor.

    Valley Gun owner Ken Quarnberg says he is happy to help a good cause. "We as a country do appreciate their sacrifice, we appreciate everything they have done in the name of freedom, and the fact that they saved freedom for the world," said Quarnberg.

    Honor Flight executive director, Lili Marsh says the donation will go toward three upcoming flights. "We're beside ourselves, that puts six and three quarters of a person on a plane in the spring," said Marsh.

    This May, the organization will send its first group of Vietnam veterans.

    John Heath is a Vietnam vet. He was overwhelmed today, when he found out he is eligible to sign up for the Honor Flight experience. "It's going to make me feel really good to be able to go back and see a lot of my friends that are on the wall," said Heath.

    At age 18, Heath was sent to Vietnam for two years and he earned a purple heart. "When your exposed to that kind of danger it stays with you it's a matter of how you control it," said Heath.

    Heath is a chaplain and uses his trauma from Vietnam as a way to connect and serve other veterans.

    His wife, Northa says it was divine that they stumbled upon today's event. Northa said John is more than deserving to experience Honor Flight. "I know that where ever he goes he will add to the group and honor others as he's being honored," said Northa.

    If you would like more information on honor flight, to sign up, volunteer, or donate, visit our hotlink section.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - A local man is dead tonight after driving off an overpass and crashing into the embankment below.

    According to the California Highway Patrol, the driver of a Ford F-150 mistook the transition from south bound Airport Drive onto Highway 99.
         
    The driver drifted off the right-hand shoulder of the roadway, crashing below on Rio Mirada Drive, said a CHP official.
         
    The man was identified by CHP as a local resident, but his name hasn't been released.
         
    He is described as being in his early twenties.

    "Accidents like this where people veer from the roadway are common. We have so many distracted drivers now where people aren't paying attention, doing other things in the car instead of focusing on their driving," said CHP officer Kevin Perkins.

    There is no indication on what led to the crash.

    Perkins said the man was not wearing a seatbelt.
         
    No other passengers or vehicles were involved.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - A suspicious death in north east Bakersfield has homicide detectives looking to the public for help.

    The coroner identified the man as 28-year-old Jose Angel Banales.
         
    According to the sherrif's office, around 8:30 p.n. on March 13, deputies responded to a report of an unresponsive man at a home in the 400 block of Crawford Street.
         
    First responders administered CPR but Banales was eventually pronounced dead at the scene.
         
    According to deputies, tthe manner of his death is suspicious and are asking anyone with information to call the Sheriff's Office at 861-3110.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - Dozens of protesters today called for more accountability of law enforcement officers involved in the deaths of unarmed men in Bakersfield.

    Family members and supporters of people who died in custody or at the hands of law enforcement, took part in the "Walk for Justice" this afternoon. 
         
    They spoke out about what they call police misconduct, wrongful death and civil rights violations. 
         
    Protesters included family members of David Silva, who died nearly two years ago after a struggle with deputies. 
         
    His family is involved in a civil lawsuit against the sheriff's department. 

    "These officers are very rarely held accountable, maybe in a civil trial they are, but never held personally accountable, in a criminal aspect. I want these officers to be held out in a criminal division," said Chris Silva, David Silva's brother.  

    Protesters met at four locations where people have died. 
         
    The march ended at Heritage Park in east Bakersfield. 




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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - Republican House Speaker John Boehner came to Bakersfield Saturday evening in support of local Republican Congressman David Valadao.

    Security was in place at the Padre Hotel downtown Saturday night, as Boehner sat out on the rooftop bar.

    A spokesperson for Congressman Valadao says Boehner spoke at a fundraiser Saturday night at the Stockdale Country Club.

    Boehner came to Bakersfield in January last year to support republican legislation on our state's drought.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA -
    UPDATED 3/16/15 

    CHP says they located the suspect, Kevin Coontz, and his vehicle about 9 p.m. Sunday night.

    They says the vehicle was impounded for investigation but Coontz has not been arrested as the investigation continues.

    _____________________________________________________________


    California Highway Patrol is looking for the driver that hit and killed a pedestrian Sunday in northwest Bakersfield.

    It happened just after 2 p.m. Sunday in a neighborhood off Calloway Drive on Palm Avenue.

    CHP Sergeant Brad DeGeus says a man in his mid-60s was walking on the sidewalk when a car drifted off the road and hit him.

    DeGeus said, "Traveled onto the sidewalk, struck the pedestrian and then fled the scene. At this time, we have no information on the vehicle that was involved in the collision."

    Anyone with information on the crash is encouraged to call CHP at 864-4444.

    By our count, nine pedestrians have died on Kern County roads so far this year.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - The California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) is announcing a couple of road closures happening this week.

    The northbound and southbound number two lanes on Interstate 5 from the Lerdo Highway overcrossing to Main Drain Road near Lost Hills will be closed Monday through Thursday March 19th.
         
    The closure will be in effect from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. for pavement rehabilitation and shoulder work. 

    Also, State Route 58 will be closed at the Broome Road Overcrossing near Tehachapi next week.
         
    Crews will be conducting concrete grinding and asphalt operations on the Broome Road Overcrossing.
         
    Traffic will be reduced to one-way reversed traffic control Monday through Thursday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Friday from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.


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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - Kern is the third largest county in California. With a large mountain range, lack of water, and hot weather, the area is highly susceptible to wildfires. County firefighters are prepared today at the Keene Hellibase for extreme life saving emergencies with Hoist training. Which teaches them how to rescue people in tough situations, using a helicopter.

    25-year old, Colby Hutchens brushed up on his hoist training today to prepare him for fire season. Kern County Fire Captain, Richard Anderson, says Hutchens is one of twenty Kern County Firefighters who have this type of training.

    "So we will always have a Hoist ready crew and Hoist ready helicopter stationed in Kern County it will never leave," said Anderson. This rescue method helps crews rescue people in a shorter amount of time.

    "Ninety-nine-percent of the rescues and Hoists that we do are for citizens of dirt bike accidents, off road accidents, vehicles over the side into the Kern River," said Anderson.  

    Last year alone Kern County Fire had 14 Hoist rescues. Scott Beck is one of the pilots, he says this training is crucial.

    "It's the only way that we have an ability to get the person out and get them to a higher level of care," said Beck."The more that people realize what we can do, the more they can have that peace of mind that were there for them when they need us," said Anderson.

    Kern County Fire Department will be having three wildfire expos, preparing communities for the dangers of wildfires. Those expos are at the end of April in Frazier Park, Lake Isabella and Tehachapi.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA- The California Highway Patrol is urging drivers to not push their luck as they celebrate Saint Patrick's Day Tuesday.

    CHP officials say the number of arrests and DUI's increased in recent years during the holiday.

    They say the best way to avoid an incident is to designate a sober driver or make arrangements for a ride home.

    In 2014, the CHP made 489 dui arrests on Saint Patrick's Day in California.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA- A local woman says she lost more than just material possessions in a recent theft as the thieves made off with her father's remains.

    Ravin Bowers is asking for the public's assistance after she says her vehicle was broken into Saturday morning and her father's ashes were stolen.

    Bowers says her father's urn was stolen from her vehicle as well as tools and other items.

    "I don't care if it's a sticky note on my window to let me know if maybe you threw him somewhere or if he's in a trash can. that's my dad and like I said he's all I have, I don't care if you still have him, just place him on top of my truck. i just want him home," Bowers said.

    It happened near Pioneer Park in east Bakersfield.

    If you can help, call Bakersfield Police at 327-7111.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA- A baby is dead and deputies say the death may be suspicious.

    Just after 6 a.m. Monday deputies were called to the Country Inn on South Union near Belle Terrace for a report of a baby not breathing.

    When deputies arrived they found a four month old male infant unresponsive and not breathing. Medical aid responded and transported the infant to Mercy Hospital where the child was pronounced deceased a short time later.

    Detectives responded and initiated an investigation into the child’s death. Evidence at the scene led detectives to believe the child’s death may be suspicious. The child had been living in a motel room at the Country Inn with his mother and father and three siblings.

    The investigation is ongoing. An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause and manner of death. If anyone has information on this case they are asked to call the Sheriff’ Office at 661-861-3110 or Secret Witness at 661-322-4040.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA- Its a chance to celebrate St. Patrick's and help a worthy cause at the same time.

    Houchin Community Blood Bank will have special celebrations at both of its donor centers on Tuesday.

    Donors can give a pint of blood and win prizes.

    All day at both donor centers, donors can reach into the Granite Construction Pot o’ Gold to win prizes ranging from lottery tickets to restaurant certificates. One lucky donor at each center will win $50 in cash. Donors must bring their own pint of life to share with patients in need.

    Festive refreshments will be served all day.

    Hours at the Truxtun Donor Center, 5901 Truxtun Avenue, are 9 am to 6 pm. Hours at the Bolthouse Donor Center, 11515 Bolthouse Drive are 11 am to 7 pm. More information and optional appointments are available at www.hcbb.com, or from Peggy Smith at 661-616-2505.

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    FRESNO, CA- Three members of the same family entered guilty pleas today in connection with a $5.6 million mortgage fraud scheme in Bakersfield, U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

    Bakersfield residents Eliseo Jara Jr., 35, and his brother, Sergio Jara, 33, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, mail fraud, and wire fraud. Sergio Jara’s wife, Melissa Jara, 34, pleaded guilty to wire fraud.

    According to court documents, from 2007 to 2010, the Jara brothers conspired with others to use straw buyers to purchase residential properties in Bakersfield developed by Jara Brothers Investments (JBI) and Pershing Partners LLC. The conspirators paid straw buyers to purchase the properties from JBI and Pershing Partners, and funded the purchases using loans they obtained for the straw buyers based on false and fraudulent loan applications. Melissa Jara admitted to causing false loan applications and supporting documents to be submitted to a lender in order for a straw buyer to finance the purchase of a property from an LLC that she owned and controlled.

    As part of their plea agreements, each defendant agreed to forfeit their interests in six properties in Bakersfield, a 2007 Lexus, and approximately $110,419 seized from a bank account. Additionally, Eliseo Jara agreed to a personal forfeiture money judgment of $5,664,250. Sergio Jara agreed to a personal forfeiture money judgment of $4,743,500. Melissa Jara agreed to a personal forfeiture money judgment of $534,750. Melissa Jara also agreed to deposit $100,000 with the Court toward her victim restitution obligation prior to her sentencing hearing.

    This case is the product of a joint investigation by the Internal Revenue Service‑Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kirk E. Sherriff, Henry Z. Carbajal III, and Megan A. S. Richards are prosecuting the case.

    The maximum sentence for the conspiracy charge and the wire fraud charge is 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The actual sentence will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory sentencing factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

    Four co-defendants have previously pleaded guilty. Antonio Perez-Marcial was sentenced on May 12, 2014 to 46 months in prison. Arlene Mojardin is scheduled to be sentenced on May 18, 2015. Candace Gonzales is scheduled to be sentenced on June 8, 2015. Ricardo Salinas is set for sentencing on June 29, 2015. The indictment charges two additional defendants, who are set to proceed to trial on April 28, 2015, before Judge Ishii. The charges as to these defendants are only allegations; they are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - Crude oil plunged 4% Monday, to its lowest price in about six years. Raising the question of, how oil prices will affect Kern County and the city of Bakersfield in the near future.

    The county has said it faces a $60 million deficit because of falling oil prices. This loss is because a majority of the county's revenue is from property taxes which includes oil properties. Whereas the city relies heavily on revenue from sales tax. Despite the county's plight the city is experiencing short term benefits with the drop in oil prices, lower fuel and asphalt costs, leading to more road maintenance.

    As county officials express the negative impact of the falling oil prices Bakersfield City Council members are also concerned how the oil industry will affect the city's sales tax, which generates about 60 million dollars in revenue for Bakersfield every year.

    With an increase of oil industry layoffs, Bakersfield City Manager, Alan Tandy, says the city will not know how much sales tax will be impacted by the oil industry until mid-summer. "You know we have been trying to listen to and speak to people in the oil industry to get a better gauge on how long the deflated prices will last and how deep they will go when they will recover, and we get a wide variety of mixed opinions and mixed answers, so until there is clarity, there is no way to tell how it will impact the city and for how long," said Tandy.

    Although there is not a definite answer, Tandy says the city is taking precautionary measures, creating a conservative budget for the next fiscal year by not advocating for new services or projects. The new budget begins July 1.


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    Monday night the Tehachapi City Council voted to permanently ban the smoking parlors within their city limits.  It all started a few months ago when someone applied for a permit to open a hookah lounge.  But, Tehachapi city officials said they want to continue to promote a healthy lifestyle for the residents of their mountain town, and a hookah lounge isn't what the doctor ordered.

    In a unanimous decision with no opposition, the Tehachapi City Council banned hookah lounges within their city limits Monday night.

    Hookah lounges are smoking spots that are popular hangouts for young adults to smoke flavored tobacco through water pipes or hookahs.  Something that city leaders say runs counter to the image they're promoting.

    Assistant City Manager, Christopher Kirk said, "according to the American Lung Association using a hookah pipe, the estimated daily water pipe use is equivalent to smoking about ten cigarettes a day, and that's in one half hour session of smoking a hookah pipe".

    Susan Wiggins, Tehachapi Mayor said, "we don't want anything in our community that is not healthy".

    While council members hammered hookah lounges, they spent much more time highlighting recent tourism trends in Tehachapi.

    Wiggins said, "everything has increased, some of them five fold, showing how many people are coming, how many people are staying in our hotels, eating at our restaurants, going to our wineries, and we are very proud of that".

    Council members say one thing tourists won't find in their town, is a hookah lounge.

    Will other cities follow suit?

    We'll have to wait and see.



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    BAKERSFIELD, CA- A local organization dedicated to helping women succeed in business, received a generous contribution Monday night from Wells Fargo bank.

    A $45,000 check was presented to the Women's Business Center, which is operated by Mission Community Services Corporation.

    The money will be used to fund self-employment training for women looking to start their own businesses in Kern, Monterey and San Luis Obispo counties.

    The center was selected as the recipient among a competitive pool of applicants across the country.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA- Bakersfield Police are looking for a new class of Explorers.

    They are currently recruiting and testing for new teen Explorers who work closely with the police department.

    The Explorers Program offers experience in arrest and control, emergency dispatch and communications, fingerprinting and many others aspects of police work.

    Primary general requirements for entrance testing: you must be at least 14 ½ (in high school) to 20 years of age you must have a general interest and appreciation for law enforcement.

    You must have and maintain accumulative GPA of 2.0 ("c" or better in each class), you must not engage in alcohol and drugs, you must be of good moral character, you may not have any felony convictions, if under 18 years of age, you must have parental consent and support.

    Testing Information: (Testing consists of just general knowledge from school. Nothing Law Enforcement related)
    Date: Thursday, April 9, 2015
    Time: 1800 hrs (6:00 pm) DOORS LOCKED AT 6:15 P.M.
    Location: Rabobank Convention Center 1001 Truxtun Avenue – Potato Room
    Materials: Picture I.D. (School, Drivers License, California Identification, etc.) THAT’S ALL
    For more information, contact Explorer Advisors Cindy London at 661-326-3024,

    For more information click here.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA- Monday night there was a graduation ceremony held by the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

    Thirty-six students have completed their work at the Chamber's Business Academy.

    Norma Gaspar, anchor for our Telemundo sister station was emcee for the commencement at the Casa Royale banquet hall.

    It's a ten week program that educates and guides people on how to start up their own business.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA- Those in search of a new furry friend are in luck this Saint Patrick's Day.

    Its the 4th annual "Find Your Lucky Charm" adoption event.

    Its happening Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.n.and again Wednesday from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. at all three Kern County Animal Services shelters in Bakersfield, Lake Isabella, and Mojave.

    KCAS says all dogs and cats eligible for adoption will cost $17 including spay and neuter surgery and the first set of vaccinations.

    For more information, call 868-7100.

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