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KGET: Local News

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - She's known as a dancing phenomenon locally, but now she's getting worldwide recognition for her skills..

    Local health enthusiast Carrie Swidecki, 38, officially received recognition in the Guinness Book of World Records on Saturday for the longest marathon on a motion sensing dance game.
    She also received the record for most high scores achieved in a 24-hour period with 101 high scores.
    She now advocates against childhood obesity and encourages others to live healthy and exercise.

    "Everybody has obstacles but it's how you approach them. And you can either be defeated or take the challenge and go for it," Swidecki said.

    Swidecki said she overcame obesity 15 years ago when she weighed in at 210 pounds, wearing a size 18/ 20.
    She adds she never dreamed playing video games would change her life so much.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - One local man is thanking the community for their generous donations to support him as he looks to finance specialized training for his service dog.
    A special event was held at Tastries Bakery for Jacob Saecker, who has autism and relies on his dog Jasmine for everyday needs. 
    His first service dog, Thor, recently died from cancer.
    Jacob's family said Thor, and Jasmine, have helped him tremendously.
    Jasmine is trained in search and rescue tactics as well as to detect and alert others in case of a seizure or other medical emergency.

    The family said that if they reach their goal of $1,500, they will put those funds toward the needs of others looking to pay for similar dog training.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - Dirt filled the air as local racers revved up their engines at Kern County Raceway Park on Sunday, trying out the new dirt track.

    The new track is the third venue at the facility, which also hosts a half-mile paved oval and motocross family track.

    Lee Baumgarten, the President and General Manager of Kern County Raceway, said a small Facebook post drew out a large crowd on Sunday.

    "We have a handful of racers out here and they are going to give feedback to the people that are building the race track so we can make it as good as we can for them," said Baumgarten.

    One driver, a CPA during the week and racer during the weekend, Shannon McQueen, tried out the track in her sprint car.

    "They have a great facility out here. I mean it's awesome. We lose racetracks faster than we get them so its nice to have another venue to race at," said McQueen.

    McQueen primarily races midget cars, a lot smaller than the sprint car she practiced with on Sunday.

    "In 2012, I became the first female driver to win a USAC Western States Midget Title. In 2011, I became the first female driver to win a Bay City Racing Association Midget Title; I became the first female to win a USAC Midget Race in 2007," said McQueen.

    Despite all of her championships, McQueen said being a woman in racing isn't always easy.

    "I've been around long enough that most of the guys know me and give me the respect that I deserve but when I first started it was very difficult. They wanted to push you around but they figured out really quick with me if you are going to race me dirty you are going to get the receiving end of it as well," she said.

    She is thankful for her local sponsors and racing family through her adversity.

    "Anybody that is a fan of racing that goes to the race track and supports auto racing, it takes all those guys to make this go and if there is no one sitting in the stands we are not doing a very good job either," said McQueen.

    Kern County Raceway Park's third season formally kicks off on March 28 with the NASCAR west series.

    Organizers said the night will be filled with music, food, and lots of action.

    Click HERE for more on the Kern County Raceway Park.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA- Kern County Sheriff's deputies are investigating a shooting in east Bakersfield.

    Sunday, just before 3:30 p.m. deputies got a call for a shooting about a block from Kern Medical Center.

    Deputies say the victim walked across the street with relatives and was found by deputies at KMC.

    They say the victim is William Hoard, 18, has a non-life threatening gubn shot wound.

    Deputies were advised the two suspects were black male adults. Two vehicles were seen leaving the area. The vehicles were described as a pink and grey sedan and a black sedan.

    This investigation is ongoing.

    Anonymous "text" tips can be sent to TIP411 (847411). Just type the key word "KCSO" prior to the message.
    Anyone having information on this incident is asked to contact the Kern County Sheriff's Office at (661) 861-3110 or contact Secret Witness at (661) 322-4040.

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    TAFT, CA- Kern County Sheriff's deputies say they busted a woman who had stolen cash from a 93-year-old Taft woman.

    Deputies say Olga Davidson, 50, had snuck into the home without the victim knowing.

    A neighbor discovered Davidson inside the home and called deputies.

    KCSO says the woman claimed a specific amount of cash was missing.

    Deputies say they found the cash concealed in the crotch area of Davidson's pants.

    Davidson is part of the Sheriff's Electronic Monitoring Program.

    She was arrested and booked on first degree burglary charges.

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    (NBC News) Ted Cruz is running for president.

    The Republican senator from Texas announced his candidacy early Monday morning on Twitter, then followed up with speech at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.

    "The answer will not come from Washington, it will come only from men and women, lovers of faith, people from across the county from people of faith who respect The Constitution," Cruz told the cheering crowd.

    Cruz is the first contender to officially declare his 2016 candidacy, and despite his grassroots Tea Party support, political analysts still consider him a long-shot for the Republican nomination.

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    (KUSA) A 12-year-old Colorado girl is accused of trying to kill her mother with bleach after she took away her iPhone.

    The girl, who has not been identified, was detained Friday at the Boulder County Juvenile Center. The Boulder County Sheriff's Office was first notified of the alleged crime on March 6.

    The sheriff's office says the girl first tried to kill her mother on March 2 by putting bleach into her breakfast smoothie. The mother told police she noticed an odor of bleach in the drink, and thought her daughter had cleaned the glass before making the beverage, and didn't rinse the bleach out.

    Later in the week, the BCSO says the girl poured bleach into a water carafe her mother kept in her bedroom.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA- Two Bakersfield Fresh & Easy stores are closing.

    A representative from the independent grocery chain confirmed for 17News early Monday morning the store located at Panama Lane & Stine Road and a second store at California Avenue & Stockdale Highway will be sold.

    Fresh & Easy says the company spent the lat year re-focusing its efforts under new ownership.

    That includes launching some new ideas in its test market of Las Vegas.

    The company CEO posted a video to Youtube Friday saying the company wanted to give every location a chance to succeed.

    But he said some, due to physical limitations like parking lot size, were just not performing to expectations.

    April 3rd is the expected closing date.

    Two Fresh & Easy store will remain open in Bakersfield.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA- The California Department of Transportation announced a couple of overnight road closures that May affect your commute home.

    The northbound and southbound number one lanes on I-5 from the Lerdo Highway overcrossing to the State Route 46 separation will be closed from 6 6 a.m. starting Monday through Thursday.
    Crews will be working to repair the lanes.

    Motorists should also plan for lane closures for Highway 58 between H Street and Cottonwood Road through Thursday as well.

    Crews will be working to repair the shoulders.

    Outside lanes in both directions will be closed from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA- There are new specialists in Bakersfield to care for your furrier family members.

    Access Specialty Animal Hospitals is opening a satellite location here in town, offering cardiology and internal medicine for pets.

    They are teaming up with Animal Emergency and Urgent Care on Easton Drive, off Truxtun Avenue and the specialists will visit weekly for appointments.

    The CEO of Access says they will add specialties as the need grows.

    Access started back in 2005, offering emergency and internal medicine services in Los Angeles.

    Services at the animal hospital are similar to human specialty medicine and typically by referral only.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA- A for-profit company has pitched the board supervisors to take over the county's beleaguered library system.

    At last week's meeting, the board decided to send the proposal of privatizing the libraries back to county staff for further review.

    17 news obtained a copy of the pamphlet that Library Systems and Services sent to county leaders as part of its pitch to take the libraries over.

    In it, LSSI says it can lower costs through automation of certain tasks and the company says it lowers employee pension costs because library staff become LSSI employees.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA- A highly decorated local veteran who became a double amputee during his service is facing a criminal charge while getting treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

    Lance Corporal Jeremiah Thein is charged with one misdemeanor count of willful cruelty to a child.

    While he couldn't say much about the charge as the case is ongoing, he did talk about how he is doing and the Veterans Justice Program and veterans advocates say his case highlights the increasing need for treatment.

    Every time we met Lance Corporal Thein from his hospital bed at Walter Reed to his home- back in Bakersfield we saw his bright smile and constant charisma. Now, he says, it was all a mask and he was hiding PTSD.

    April 20th, 2012, in Afghanistan, the Marine stepped on an IED, pushed a fellow Marine out of harm's way, and sacrificed his legs in the explosion.

    He says he was immediately diagnosed with post traumatic stress.

    "It's almost like a replay button that goes off in your head over and over again at what happened to you and everything you've gone through in a split second... honestly we are not normal people. like when you take a boy and turn him into a man and send him to a country where everybody wants to kill him, how do you expect us to come back? Expect us to come back all handy dandy oh, I'm ok all sunshine? No," Thein said

    Defense Attorney and veteran, David Torres is representing Jeremiah Thein who in December was charged with one count of misdemeanor willful cruelty to a child.

    That's when an anonymous caller reported possible "child abuse," against Jeremiah's step son.

    The officer found bruising on the boy's bottom, legs, arm, back, and inside his left ear- plus a scratch on his forehead.

    The boy told the officer "my step dad hit me with the belt."

    When police asked Thein about the accusation, he told police "he was at home watching the children" alone.

    He went to check on the boys and found his step-son holding a pillow over his younger son's face.

    Thein told the officer he "spanked his step son with a belt approximately ten times" but "it wasn't his intention to strike anything but his bottom"

    "If there's a charge we want to know what is wrong with the person and whether or not there is that issue of PTSD which in this case we believe it is. But what we want to do most importantly is to ensure these individuals receive treatment," said Thein's defense attorney David Torres.

    "When veterans make mistakes and have no one to back them up, how do you think it makes us feel. When every body is all praising us when we go fight but when we come back and make a mistake everyone hates you. How are you supposed to respond to that?" said Thein

    Thein says he's getting therapy and it's helping. It's through the Veterans Justice Program supported by the state penal code.

    Randy Dickow helped start the program in 2011. There are posters in the Kern County Courthouse telling veterans who to contact if they are in trouble with the law offering them a chance to get counseling or treatment, in lieu of incarceration for most misdemeanors and some less harsh felony cases, if the VA finds they qualify.

    "Just because they say you are a veteran doesn't mean you will necessarily qualify. They have the ability to assess you to determine if you do have PTSD," said Michael Yraceburn, Supervising Deputy District Attorney.

    "We've actually been fortunate here to be able to do pre-conviction mitigation in many cases but the statute does provide that when they are successful, when they've completed all of the terms for example probation and they've completed what ever counseling that was ordered, the record can be completely erased," Dickow said

    He says the most common crimes committed by vets with PTSD involve drugs or alcohol.

    The second most common offense he says is domestic violence.

    Locally, 34 veterans have completed the program with no repeat offenses.

    "As I tell all of these guys it's not just you. It's the program. If you mess up, you're messing up the program," Dickow said.

    "This is not a get out of jail free card. This is not a do not accept responsibility card. Alright, this is an alternative sentence. By going through the program the court can consider that," Yraceburn said.

    Dickow expects the number of veterans, like Thein, needing PTSD counseling will grow as our service men and women return to civilian life.

    As Thein adjusts to his civilian life he says he's still relying on fellow veterans for support and new friends. He has filed for divorce from his wife and since the charge, has not seen his step-son or Jeremiah Junior.

    "Well I love and miss my boys. I don't care what anyone says about me. I don't care what anyone does to me. No man is perfect. I made a mistake and I acknowledge it. Yes, no man is perfect," Thein said.

    Thein says he will be able to see his son next month and he is in therapy two to three times a week.

    His next court date is set for April 3rd.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA,- The sixth annual Dust Bowl Roller Derby competition wrapped up in Bakersfield Wednesday.

    The three day event took place at the Saunders multi-use facility on Palm Street.

    Two local teams competed with squads from other cities and states on the west coast.

    The competition was won by the Bakersfield Diamond Divas.

    Competitors say roller derby is on the rise and roller derby's not just for girls.

    On top of the three local women's teams, there's currently a men's team and a youth team here in the Golden Empire.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA- Police say an 86-year-old man fired a gun into the ceiling of his home because he felt threatened by his 62-year-old son.

    The incident put police on alert as they tried to convince the man to put down his gun.

    Police say no one was hit in the shooting and they took the gun from the man. No one was arrested.

    They say it will be up to the District Attorney to decide if charges will be filed in the case.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA- Police are investigating a shooting that happened Monday night.

    Detectives say just after 9 p.m. officers were called to the 4200 block of Charter Oaks Ave. near California and Highway 99.

    They say Michael Cook shot his adult son with a shotgun during a family disturbance.

    Police say the victim fled before they could get to the scene but later turned up at a local hospital.

    They say the victims injuries are not life threatening.

    Police say the victim was uncooperative with cops and the father was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon.

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    SACRAMENTO, CA- Republican lawmakers and small business owners rallied in Sacramento Monday to protest against the so-called "hidden gas tax."

    Fresno Assemblyman Jim Patterson is sponsoring a bill that would remove transportation fuels from California's cap and trade tax rolls.

    Critics of cap and trade say gasoline prices have gone up more than a dollar a gallon this month in many cities, compared to an average of 23 cents a gallon nationwide.

    "The oil price information service is now demonstrating that the cap and trade is costing drivers about 13 cents per gallon. Carb also said that carbon allowances have a high probability of shooting up to somewhere around 75 dollars a ton. If that is the case, that would add 76 cents to each gallon of gas," said Patterson

    The state's cap and trade program is charging Californians for carbon emissions that come from the tailpipes of their cars to fight climate change.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA- A woman whose body was discovered inside a motel room in southeast Bakersfield last month died at the hands of another.

    The coroner determined 40-year-old Angela Ruth McCall died of asphyxia.

    Her death has been ruled a homicide.

    Police say McCall was a prostitute.

    Her body was found inside the Villa Inn Motel on Union Avenue on February 11.

    Anyone with information on this case is urged to call Bakersfield Police at 327-7111 .

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA- The city of Bakersfield is still trying to formulate a response to to new statewide watering rules announced last week.

    Those rules don't kick in for another 37 days but the state wants people to water their lawn two days a week.

    Last week, city staff said it will look into establishing an emergency ordinance.

    They say it's too hot in summer for lawns to survive on two days of water.

    Yesterday, the city said it will look at what some other Central Valley cities are doing, and review recommendations from CalWater.

    The city said it will schedule a special water board meeting early next month.

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    SACRAMENTO -- California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Director and State Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith today warned consumers that the consumption of unpasteurized (raw) dairy products may cause serious illness.

    Six Northern California residents have recently been diagnosed with campylobacteriosis, a bacterial infection that can come from consuming contaminated raw milk.

    A recent investigation conducted by CDPH identified multiple bottles of Claravale Farm raw milk that tested positive for Campylobacter. Under the direction of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), Claravale Farm has initiated a recall of the affected product. (See CDFA Announces Recall of Raw Milk Products at Claravale Farm of San Benito County news release.)

    Campylobacteriosis may cause diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, nausea, and vomiting within two to five days after exposure to the organism. Illness can last for up to a week or more and can be especially severe for those who have weakened or compromised immune systems, and for young children and the elderly. Although most people who get campylobacteriosis recover completely, some patients do suffer long-term effects, including arthritis and paralysis.

    Raw milk is milk from cows, goats, sheep, or other animals that has not been pasteurized (heat treated) to kill harmful germs.
    A wide variety of germs that can make people sick have been found in raw milk, such as Brucella, Campylobacter, Listeria, Mycobacterium bovis, Salmonella, and Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli, including E. coli O157. E. coli O157 can cause hemolytic uremic syndrome, which is a sometimes deadly cause of anemia and potentially permanent kidney failure.
    Raw milk contaminated with disease-causing bacteria does not smell or look any different from uncontaminated raw milk, and there is no easy way for the consumer to know whether the raw milk is contaminated.

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  • 03/24/15--14:45: CBCC starts work on new wing
  • BAKERSFIELD, CA- A new holistic healing center is being built to help local cancer patients.

    The Comprehensive Blood and Cancer Center is expanding to offer services like spiritual and mental wellness.

    A beam raising ceremony and official announcement of the new wing of the CBCC was held Tuesday morning.

    CBCC along with Dignity Health have just started construction, and officials hope the facility will be ready by summer.

    Services will include cancer rehab and survivorship programs to help patients get back on their feet after cancer, a wellness kitchen which will teach survivors to cook healthy food that prevents cancer from returning, private rooms for chemo treatment, and a expansion in the infusion chemo treatment area.

    The center will also provide more privacy for patients going through extensive treatments.

    "What we are doing is a lot of biological therapies, which take a longer period of time, so patients stay for a longer period of time. As a result of that the expansion will allow patients to stay here. we'll also be providing private rooms for patients who need private rooms," said Dr. Ravi Patel, CBCC Medical Director.

    The facility makes CBCC one of the nation's largest free standing private cancer centers and will better serve the needs of the cancer patients throughout Kern county and surrounding areas.

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