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KGET: Local News

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA- PG&E is asking drivers to avoid Panama lane between Gosford Road and Highway 99 Wednesday and Thursday.

    Crews will have two of the three lanes on Panama closed from 7a.m. to 4 p.m. both days.

    This is part of a larger project that began in February 2014.

    The project is expected to be completed in the next two weeks.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA- The new lanes on Highway 58 will be used to shift traffic as more work is planned for the section just east of Highway 99.

    Many drivers have been wondering why the newly finished lanes are not open to traffic even though work is complete.

    Another project is planned for the same section and the new lanes will be used to shift traffic so crews can work on the outside lanes and the the right shoulder, according to TRIP officials.

    Prior to shifting traffic, new detour signs and temporary striping need to be installed. Signs are currently being made and are expected to be posted and the temporary striping installed within the month. City staff is making every effort to reduce this time frame, according to TRIP officials.

    Once signage and temporary striping is in place, traffic will move onto the new lanes. However, motorists should anticipate future closures to the outside lanes for construction of the Beltway Operational Improvements Project. In the near future, motorists will also see nighttime work to repair potholes in the shoulders due to heavy traffic use during construction.

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    SACRAMENTO, CA– Following the lowest snowpack ever recorded and with no end to the drought in sight, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced actions that will save water, increase enforcement to prevent wasteful water use, streamline the state's drought response and invest in new technologies that will make California more drought resilient.

    “Today we are standing on dry grass where there should be five feet of snow. This historic drought demands unprecedented action,” said Governor Brown. “Therefore, I’m issuing an executive order mandating substantial water reductions across our state. As Californians, we must pull together and save water in every way possible.”

    High resolution photos of previous snow surveys are available here.

    For more than two years, the state’s experts have been managing water resources to ensure that the state survives this drought and is better prepared for the next one. Last year, the Governor proclaimed a drought state of emergency. The state has taken steps to make sure that water is available for human health and safety, growing food, fighting fires and protecting fish and wildlife. Millions have been spent helping thousands of California families most impacted by the drought pay their bills, put food on their tables and have water to drink.

    The following is a summary of the executive order issued by the Governor today.

    Save Water

    For the first time in state history, the Governor has directed the State Water Resources Control Board to implement mandatory water reductions in cities and towns across California to reduce water usage by 25 percent. This savings amounts to approximately 1.5 million acre-feet of water over the next nine months, or nearly as much as is currently in Lake Oroville.

    To save more water now, the order will also:

    Replace 50 million square feet of lawns throughout the state with drought tolerant landscaping in partnership with local governments;
    Direct the creation of a temporary, statewide consumer rebate program to replace old appliances with more water and energy efficient models;
    Require campuses, golf courses, cemeteries and other large landscapes to make significant cuts in water use; and
    Prohibit new homes and developments from irrigating with potable water unless water-efficient drip irrigation systems are used, and ban watering of ornamental grass on public street medians.

    Increase Enforcement

    The Governor’s order calls on local water agencies to adjust their rate structures to implement conservation pricing, recognized as an effective way to realize water reductions and discourage water waste.

    Agricultural water users – which have borne much of the brunt of the drought to date, with hundreds of thousands of fallowed acres, significantly reduced water allocations and thousands of farmworkers laid off – will be required to report more water use information to state regulators, increasing the state's ability to enforce against illegal diversions and waste and unreasonable use of water under today’s order. Additionally, the Governor’s action strengthens standards for Agricultural Water Management Plans submitted by large agriculture water districts and requires small agriculture water districts to develop similar plans. These plans will help ensure that agricultural communities are prepared in case the drought extends into 2016.

    Additional actions required by the order include:

    Taking action against water agencies in depleted groundwater basins that have not shared data on their groundwater supplies with the state;
    Updating standards for toilets and faucets and outdoor landscaping in residential communities and taking action against communities that ignore these standards; and
    Making permanent monthly reporting of water usage, conservation and enforcement actions by local water suppliers.

    Streamline Government Response

    The order:

    Prioritizes state review and decision-making of water infrastructure projects and requires state agencies to report to the Governor’s Office on any application pending for more than 90 days.
    Streamlines permitting and review of emergency drought salinity barriers – necessary to keep freshwater supplies in upstream reservoirs for human use and habitat protection for endangered and threatened species;
    Simplifies the review and approval process for voluntary water transfers and emergency drinking water projects; and
    Directs state departments to provide temporary relocation assistance to families who need to move from homes where domestic wells have run dry to housing with running water.

    Invest in New Technologies

    The order helps make California more drought resilient by:

    Incentivizing promising new technology that will make California more water efficient through a new program administered by the California Energy Commission.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA- A man accused of driving drunk and causing a crash that injured a Hall Ambulance staffer and a Kern County firefighter has cut a deal with prosecutors.

    In November 2014 19-year-old Fermin Garcia's van slammed into an SUV on Taft Highway...injuring Paramedic Supervisor Armando Lazaro and Firefighter Adam Bickford.

    Garcia pleaded no contest Tuesday to one felony count of DUI causing injury.

    He's expected to be sentenced April 27th.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA- Firefighters will try to down 12 eggs, home fries and two biscuits and its all to help a fellow firefighter.

    Capt. Pete Dern, 49, has been with with the Fresno Fire Department for 25 years.

    Sunday afternoon an eyewitness captured the moment on video that he fell into a burning garage.

    He was leading his team across the roof when it collapsed, sending him into the flames.

    Captain Dern's injuries are severe. Burns over 65 percent of his body. And smoke inhalation has damaged his lungs.

    A doctor at the burn center says this is just the beginning of a long recovery.

    City and county firefighters had planned to donate the proceeds from this weekends fundraiser to their respective burn survivor charities but now will donate the money to help Capt. Dern.

    The event is called the Iron Man Omelet Challenge and it will happen Friday and Saturday April 4 and 5 at the Grand Opening of the Broken Yolk Cafe.

    The challenge consists of a 12-egg omelet plus home fries and 2 biscuits. The fireman will have one hour to complete this challenge. The winner's photo will be placed on Broken Yolk's wall with bragging rights and will be awarded an extra $1,000 donated by the Broken Yolk Cafe for either the Bakersfield Fire Fighters Burn Foundation or Kern County Firefighers Burn Survivors Trust.

    The Broken Yolk Cafe is at 3300 Buena Vista Road in the Mustang Square Shopping Center.

    If you would like to donate directly to Capt. Dern and his family you can do so here.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA- The CHP is cracking down on drivers who aren't paying attention behind the wheel.

    April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

    For the next 30 days, the CHP is showing no mercy on drivers who are caught texting or using hand-held cell phones while driving.

    But it's not just cell phone use.

    The CHP says if drivers get distracted, for things like eating or putting on makeup they're violating a traffic law and will be cited.

    "Distracted driving is definitely a concern all year round, but in order to really focus on a problem that motorists face, we need to get the word out using a month to try and focus on that specific violation. I think that it keeps people on for forefront what's going on," said Officer Vaughn Cain of the California Highway Patrol.

    This month's campaign is called "Silence the Distraction."

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA- Deputies arrest a man they say used Facebook to lure and then sexually assault two 14 year old girls.

    On March 30, 2015, Michael Corral (24) of Arvin, used a Facebook account to communicate with two 14 year old females.

    The Facebook account Corral used belonged to a friend of the two females.

    Corral eventually lured both female juveniles to the Valley Plaza Mall, where he picked them up in his vehicle.

    He drove the juveniles to a remote area near Lamont, purchased alcohol, and consumed it with them.

    During the incident, Corral threatened the females with a knife and sexually assaulted them. The females were eventually able to flee from Corral and call law enforcement.

    On March 31, 2015, Corral turned himself into the Arvin Police Department. Deputies from the Kern County Sheriff’s Office responded to take custody of Corral. Corral was booked into the Central Receiving Facility for two counts of rape by force.

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    UPDATED 4:40pm

    The Kern County Coroner confirms the body of 67-year-old Robert Tupac was found inside his office this morning. Police say he had been shot. The coroner has not ruled on the cause or manner of death.
    Coroner's investigators were on scene Wednesday morning at the Stockdale Tower office of Dr. Robert Tupac in southwest Bakersfield where a body was discovered around 7:25 a.m., according to BPD Det. Justin Lewis.

    The individual suffered a gunshot wound, but the BPD could not immediately confirm if it was self- inflicted or a homicide.

    Dr. Tupac was fighting an accusation of professional negligence from the California Dental Board, which was seeking to suspend or revoke his license. 17 News reported in October the case had been submitted and was pending a judge's decision.

    Several patients claimed Tupac botched dental implants that left the mouths of his patients disfigured.

    One patient 17News spoke to sued Doctor Tupac and settled out of court for $80,000.

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    Several agencies met today at the Kern County Fire training facility on Olive Drive, discussing wildfire prevention in Kern County and surrounding areas.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - Local Boys and Girls Club members cut the ribbon on a brand new park outside the Armstrong Youth Center in east Bakersfield on Thursday.

    Wells Fargo funded the park with a grant of $384,000.
    Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County representatives said the space will be used for physical activities, community events, gardening, and environmental education for its members.

    "This was an eyesore before it became what it is today. Just seven months ago we stood here to celebrate the grant and look at what it has become today. So, extremely excited about what the resources are used for." said Wells Fargo representative Ernie Pineda.

    Councilmember Terry Maxwell, Congressman David Valadao, and supervisor Leticia Perez were also at the event.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - Preschool teachers are joining with fast food workers calling for higher wages in California. 

    An event was held in Sacramento on Wednesday to announce they are launching a series of strikes, marches and rallies to bring more attention to the issue.
    These workers reportedly make between $10 and $12 per hour.  
    They want their pay raised to $15 an hour, saying they don't make enough money to keep themselves out of poverty.

    "Teachers don't get paid enough and they can't support their families on that wage so they have to go and find another career for them to do. And a lot of them, this is their passion to teach kids and it just breaks their heart that they can't because they can't afford to do it," said preschool teacher Josephine Brown.
    The announcement is part of a nationwide campaign to raise public awareness about the cause.  
    They plan to launch strikes around the country on tax day, April 15.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - Gov. Brown is issuing the strictest crackdown on water use in our state's history in reaction to the severe drought situation.

    The governor said water use must be slashed by 25 percent, and Californians need to change the way they live.
    But in a state with one-and-a half million swimming pools and sprawling growth, some analysts say it won't be easy.
    Some cities -- like Long Beach -- have fined businesses for wasting water and installed water meters to keep tabs on consumption.
    Meanwhile, local water officials agree with the governor's executive order.
    A representative for Cal Water said the company has already been complying with most of the restrictions announced on Wednesday.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - A Bakersfield man accused of multiple home invasions and an attempted kidnapping at an elementary school was sentenced to 8 years in prison Thursday.

    According to court documents, 53-year-old Calvin Cartwright pleaded no contest to one count of attempting to kidnap a child under 14 years of age.
    A slew of other charges, including another kidnapping charge, burglary, and annoying a child after illegal entry of a building, were dismissed as part of a plea deal.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - Firefighters in Fresno and Bakersfield are coming together to support a Fresno firefighter captain who fell through the roof of a burning home. 

    Captain Pete Dern fell through the roof of a burning garage on Sunday. He remains in critical condition.
    The 25-year-veteran fire fighter was venting the roof when it gave way.
    He was taken to a nearby burn center with severe injuries and burns to 65-percent of his body.
    And this weekend the new Broken Yolk Cafe will host the Firefighters Iron Man Omelette Challenge.
    That's a 12-egg omelette they will be trying to eat, with $2,000 on the line.
    Those winnings, plus money raised during the challenge, will benefit Captain Dern.     
    The cost is $50 for two tickets and that includes breakfast.
    The event is Friday and Saturday, from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day at the Broken Yolk Cafe on Buena Vista Road and White Lane.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - A local band is in the running to win a recording session with a Grammy-winning producer.

    Hometown mainstays Mento Buru is one of 30 independent musicians competing in Verizon Wireless's "Musica Unsigned" contest.
    The band is currently in the 15th spot and needs your help.
    You can vote for the band now until April 16th.
    The top five acts that receive the most votes will become finalists.
    A panel of judges will then select the winner.
    If you would like to vote for the band, click HERE to submit your vote!

    You can also learn more about the band and their music by checking out their social media sites.
    Twitter: @mentoburu
    Instagram: #mentoburu

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - A trial date has been set for a Bakersfield teen accused of shooting and killing his stepfather in 2014.
    On April 2, the trial date for 17-year-old Kody Ryan was set for Feb. 1, 2016. 

    Ryan is accused of shooting his 37-year-old stepfather Derick Mitchell in June of 2014. 

    The shooting happened on Cinnabar Court in the Pheasant Run neighborhood near Calloway and Brimhall Road.

    In the police report, Ryan's mother said he and Mitchell had an argument about his failing performance in school and being late returning home.
    According to the document, at one point Ryan went to the bathroom and Mitchell followed him.
    That's when Ryan's mother reported heard a "loud bang" from their master bedroom. 
    The report said his stepfather, Mitchell, had a single gunshot wound to the chest. 

    Ryan is set to stand trial as an adult.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - Increased truck traffic is expected on State Route 119 (Taft Highway), beginning Monday, April 6. The increased traffic is expected to continue for the next six to eight weeks, according to representatives with the Thomas Roads Improvement Program.

    Motorists are reminded to stay alert and drive with caution while traveling through this area.

    The contractor for the State Route 99/Hosking Avenue Interchange project will be importing dirt from the State Farm Sports Village to the construction site. Up to 600 truck trips will be made each day, between the hours of 7 a.m. and 4 p.m.

    The trucks will leave the State Farm Sports Village at Gosford Road and travel along State Route 119 to State Route 99 (Highway 99). 

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    SACRAMENTO, CA - The California Department of Conservation (DOC) today gave notice on Thursday of an emergency rule-making package to regulate underground injection related to oil and natural gas production.

    The rulemaking creates firm deadlines by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the Division of Oil and Gas Resources and the State Water Resources Control Board.

    "This is a significant step in California's commitment to ensure that underground injection practices comply with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and to quickly eliminate risks to California's precious water resources," State Oil & Gas Supervisor Dr. Steven Bohlen said. 

    The DOC  has primary authority through the U.S. EPA to regulate underground injection wells related to oil and gas operations in California.

    The regulations, available on DOC's website, will be provided to the Office of Administrative Law on April 9 to ensure they are in place no later than April 30.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA- Court documents are shedding new light on an officer-involved shooting last month involving one current and one former corrections officer linked together in a love triangle, according to police.

    Court documents say former corrections worker Robert budge shot Wasco State Prison Sergeant Anthony Bracken at Bracken's northwest Bakersfield home March 18.

    It also states Burdge was lying in wait in the bushes and shot Bracken in the back when he arrived at his home just before 10:30 that night.

    Police said Bracken managed to barricade himself inside his home and Burdge fled.

    The documents show investigators "pinged" Burdge's cell phone and tracked him to the Vagabond Inn the next morning, west of Bakersfield where Stockdale Highway meets I-5.

    The Kern County Sheriff's and Bakersfield Police SWAT teams were called there for a standoff that lasted several hours.

    The documents state that when Burdge finally informed officers he wanted to surrender he reached for a firearm in his waistband, which police say forced two BPD SWAT officers to shoot him.

    Burdge died at Kern Medical Center.

    Search warrants reveal investigators found numerous shell casings and live rounds of ammunition in the Mercedes Benz Burdge was driving.

    The documents also reveal the love triangle both men were involved in included Burdge's ex-wife.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - A man who led police on a 17-minute chase through Bakersfield on Friday morning was arrested without incident, according to officials with the Bakersfield Police Department.

    The chase started just after 9 a.m. in the 1900 block of Belle Terrace. According to BPD, they were conducting surveillance in the area and attempted to stop the suspect's red Saturn vehicle.

    That's when police say 21-year-old Philip Sacdalan failed to yield to officers and led police on a pursuit through the Oleander area in downtown Bakersfield.

    Scadalan eventually yielded to police in the area of Oleander and Shamrock.

    According to police, Scadalan had a felony warrant for burglary, robbery and spousal abuse and several open felonies.

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