Articles on this Page
- 05/13/15--11:04: _Olidale Mutual Wate...
- 05/13/15--11:55: _Bear season could b...
- 05/13/15--13:09: _Week of ceremonies ...
- 05/13/15--13:48: _Garces HS announces...
- 05/13/15--13:50: _Xerox to add 500 ne...
- 05/13/15--18:03: _Kern's meth epidemi...
- 05/13/15--18:34: _Local woman claims ...
- 05/13/15--19:54: _Two dead following ...
- 05/14/15--05:00: _Daycare Database
- 05/14/15--13:38: _Man sentenced to tw...
- 05/14/15--13:51: _Woman denied phone ...
- 05/14/15--14:16: _CALM celebrating bi...
- 05/14/15--14:38: _Ag officials begin ...
- 05/14/15--16:43: _Local judges reprim...
- 05/14/15--17:34: _New details in dead...
- 05/14/15--18:25: _Security salesman b...
- 05/14/15--18:42: _The California Delt...
- 05/14/15--19:03: _Ex-KRC board presid...
- 05/15/15--07:36: _Ways to prepare you...
- 05/15/15--13:59: _Ambulance and big r...
- 05/13/15--11:04: Olidale Mutual Water starts issuing notices to wasters
- 05/13/15--11:55: Bear season could be a busy one this year
- 05/13/15--13:09: Week of ceremonies for fallen officers continues Thursdsay
- 05/13/15--13:48: Garces HS announces new Theater Instructor
- 05/13/15--13:50: Xerox to add 500 new jobs in Bakersfield
- 05/13/15--18:03: Kern's meth epidemic, Part 2
- 05/13/15--18:34: Local woman claims company violates privacy
- 05/13/15--19:54: Two dead following crash involving Hall Ambulance
- 05/14/15--05:00: Daycare Database
- 05/14/15--13:38: Man sentenced to two years for fatal hit and run
- 05/14/15--13:51: Woman denied phone call from plane to stop husband's suicide
- 05/14/15--14:16: CALM celebrating birth of three Desert Bighorn lambs
- 05/14/15--14:38: Ag officials begin spraying for the Citrus Psyllid
- 05/14/15--16:43: Local judges reprimanded
- 05/14/15--17:34: New details in deadly ambulance crash
- 05/14/15--18:25: Security salesman becomes security threat
- 05/14/15--18:42: The California Delta Blues
- 05/14/15--19:03: Ex-KRC board president speaks publicly after resignation
- 05/15/15--07:36: Ways to prepare your home for wildfire season
- 05/15/15--13:59: Ambulance and big rig collision caught on video
Oildale Mutual Water Company has started a "Water Patrol."
The company is one of the first to have a designated water cop that is currently issuing notices, but could soon be issuing fines.
Oildale is part of the county, but they've adopted the same rules as the city of Bakersfield rules like people with an odd numbered address can only water on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays and people with an even numbered address on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
If at some point people are continuously wasting water and breaking the rules the patrol officer will have no choice but to write the fine.
The first fine is $25 and $50 for any after.
If you live in Oildale and need assistance with adjusting your sprinklers or have any you can call Oildale Mutual Water Company at 399-5516.
It also forces wildlife out of wilderness areas, down into cities and towns in search of food and water.
Last year was a record year for bear encounters in and around Bakersfield.
There were also several bobcat sightings near the Kern River Bed.
In Tehachapi Tuesday, wardens with the California Department of Fish and Game warned residents that bear season is ramping up.
"Right now we have lots of sows with cubs becoming more active; starting to travel. We have juvenile bears traveling alone for the first time and it's getting hotter with limited food and water that's putting a lot of stress on our bears," said Vicky Monroe, state wildlife biologist.
Property owners even down here in the city, are urged to bear-proof their property.
Officials say the first order of business is to secure any food or trash you have stored outdoors.
It was a somber ceremony outside the Bakersfield Police Department.
The flag flew over Truxtun Avenue, as Mayor H+arvey Hall and BPD Chief Greg Williamson spoke to officers and families of officers.
"Well I think it's very touching to all the officers, they understand the sacrifice that each of the individuals has made and I think it also puts in their mind that at some point they may have to make that ultimate sacrifice but they persevere and they have the courage to go out there and protect the community day in and day out knowing that on any day after any call they may not go home," said Bakersfield Police Chief Greg Williamson.
The Highway Patrol will hold a countywide memorial ceremony at the Kern County Peace Officer's Memorial on Truxtun Avenue, Thursday at noon. The public is invited.
Bethany Lahammer has designed and directed four thriving Youth Theatres between Colorado, New York and the Virgin Islands according to a release from the school.
Locally, Bethany was the recipient of The Empty Space's Best Actress Award for Diana in “Next To Normal”. She also assisted David Lollar at BCT in directing “Bang Bang You're Dead” and directed “Seussical Jr.” for BMT Stars. She is currently performing at Stars in “Sweeney Todd”.
Bethany has a BFA in Musical Theatre with a Minor in Psychology, Masters Training from NYU, and professional development memberships with the NYC Arts-In-Education Roundtable and the American Alliance of Theatre and Education. She brings 12 years of executive experience piloting and empowering programming, receiving leadership training from the Support Center for Non-Profit Management NYC and Alexia Vernon's Catalyst for Action.
“We are delighted and fortunate to have someone of Bethany’s talent and skill to come and teach our students about what it means to put on theater productions at a top level in our community”, said Myka Peck, principal of Garces Memorial. “Not only will she teach our students basic and advance techniques of acting, singing and stage production, she will inspire them to reach beyond what they think they are capable of accomplishing.”
The new employees will be housed at their facility on 34th Street.
Xerox says the new employees will provide technical support of on of its clients.
To help fill the positions, Xerox will hold a recruiting open house Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Xerox says applicants need a high school diploma and 6 months of customer service experience.
People who want apply can go in person, apply over the phone or apply online.
In person applicants can go to the Xerox facility at 401 34th Street from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.
If applying by phone, call 661-336-5710 or you can apply online at www.xerox.com/careers and use the job number 15011171
Xerox says they employ 400 people in Bakersfield and 4,000 statewide.
Myrna Arias is suing Intermex wire transfer, a Miami based company -- claiming she was fired for not using an app that allowed her bosses to know her every move, even at home.
Xora, a workforce management app, allows employers to access that information. It's legal according to Work Logic HR Training Coordinator Robin Paggi.
Paggi said, "Anything that's on company property is not private and there should be no expectation of privacy, if it's on company issued equipment."
In the lawsuit, Myrna Arias claims Intermex tracked her even while she was at home -- where she was on-call and unable to turn off the phone.
We spoke with her Los Angeles based lawyer Gail Glick over the phone.
"It's a lawsuit about the boundaries between an employer and an employee," said Glick.
Paggi says some of those boundaries aren't clear.
"It's legal for employers to monitor the activity of their employees during working hours. In this case, the employee said she was required to accept home calls 24-7. So does that then extend her working hours? We don't know," said Paggi.
Glick says arias was unaware of any way to turn off location services.
Intermex hasn't returned our phone calls as of news time.
Kern County Fire officials say no ambulance personnel from Hall were in the wreckage near Lebec Road. One person had died at the scene, the other died after being pulled out by rescue crews. The names of the two people who died have not been released. 17 news has a photographer on scene and will have more information as it becomes available. Frazier Mountain Park Road is expected to be closed while the investigation continues.
There are 251 active licenses for daycare facilities in Kern County. In the past five years, more than 60 have had Type A citations, issued for the most serious types of violations.
The state Department of Social Services launched its new website last year. You can find basic information on the state's website, but details of violations are limited. The DSS website lists only the number of violations, not details of what happened. Other important information is lacking, and in some cases, inconsistent and inaccurate.
"You click on it and you can't even find out what," said local mom Kim Gonzalez.
At some facilities, those details can be shocking -- Kern County kids getting into rat poison, being injured by staff, or wandering off the property.
Gonzalez said, "Why are we not able to look on the computer and actually see what's going on with these child care facilities?"
The state issues citations when there is a health or safety risk to children.
"Type B violations are things that are serious, but that can be fixed," said Michael Weston, DSS spokesperson. "Type A is something that needs to be fixed immediately because it represents a danger, immediately."
But you have to go to the DSS office in Fresno to see all the violations from local facilities.
For example, one day care provider with a string of serious violations you probably never would have heard of is Lil' Explorers.
In their files, we found six Type A violations in the last five years.
In December, a child found a pocket knife near the sleeping cots. The knife apparently had been left by someone who cleans the center.
A month later, a toddler escaped from the play yard and found his way out of the facility. A passerby found the child and returned the toddler to the daycare.
In response to the violations, the daycare fired the cleaning company and included a safety sweep in the pre-opening procedures and added a lock to the play area gate.
Lil' Explorers administrator Dawn Holleman declined to do an interview about the violations. Instead, she emailed a statement saying in part, "Lil' Explorers is dedicated to providing the very best care possible and is always available to speak to any questions or concerns."
Adding to the confusion is the fact not all Type A violations are so alarming. For example, not instructing kids on fire drill procedure. But you can't tell the nature of the violation by looking at the state's website, only that there is a violation.
"There's definitely a lot of regulations involved and it's for good reason," said Karen Kiser, co-owner of A Good Time Out.
Kiser says the limited amount of information the state provides can come off worse than it actually is.
"In our situation, if someone wants to call me and ask me about it, I have no problem telling them exactly what happened," said Kiser.
Weston says daycares must keep a record of violations for three years, but are only required to provide a copy of violations that have occurred in the last year. Citations must be posted for 30 days.
Weston says there isn't a timeline for when more information will be available through the website. In the meantime, licensing and inspection documents are maintained in Fresno.
"That's a big inconvenience," said Gonzalez. "You want to know as a parent, that they're going to a safe place."
We've posted every Type A citation in the last five years on our website along with responses from facilities. There are 61 facilities in Kern County with Type A violations, but there is nearly an equal number of daycares that don't have any Type A or B violations.
Click here to see a list of which facilities have Type A violations and which have none:
To visit the state's CCLD Facility Search, click here:
An alarming text came from him moments before a Southwest Airlines flight Karen Momsen-Evers was on took off.
"I started shaking the minute I got the text and I was panicked, I didn't know what to do," she said.
Karen was flying from New Orleans to Milwaukee. The text came as flight attendants were doing their final cabin checks.
The woman returned her husband's text telling him "no", but when she went to call him, a flight attendant told her to turn her phone off.
"The steward slapped the phone down and said you need to go on airplane mode now," she said.
Karen says she explained the situation and said the worker told her it was "FAA regulations".
"I begged her, I said I'm sure someone can make an emergency phone call," Karen says, but the woman told her there was nothing she could do.
Karen was finally allowed to call police when the plane arrived at the gate in Milwaukee.
When she arrived home she was met by officers who told confirmed her husband had killed himself.
Southwest Airlines offered a statement saying "Our hearts go out to the Evers family during this difficult time."
The airline went on to say, "Flight attendants are trained to notify the Captain if there is an emergency that poses a hazard to the aircraft or to the passengers on-board. In this situation, the pilots were not notified."
Read more: http://bit.ly/1EI2NQb
The commission cites two instances where Judge John Fielder violated conduct and abused his authority. Both of those cases involved Judge Cory Woodward who was publicly censured in September for having sex with a woman in his judicial chambers at the courthouse.
According to the commission, in April 2013 Fielder was unnecessarily forceful in speaking with a court administrator about her decision to reassign Woodward's courtroom clerk.
A few months later, the commission claims Fielder intervened on Woodward's behalf when a local attorney signaled he would seek to have Woodward removed from presiding over a retrial of a civil case. That attorney had mentioned Woodward's prior misconduct as grounds for his motion.
This isn't the first time Judge Fielder has been disciplined. In 1997, the judge received a private admonishment for conduct the commission says appeared to be coercive, failing to advise unrepresented defendants of their right to counsel and reading police reports without consent.
In 1994, Fielder received an advisory letter for being harsh and intimidating toward a witness.
In 1992, another letter for improperly accepting a guilty plea.
The commission states these prior actions were factors in determining the level of discipline in the most recent case.
We called Kern County Superior Court CEO Terry McNally Thursday afternoon. He hasn't returned our voice mail as of news time.
Authorities say the ambulance was stolen at knife point by a woman who reportedly had a seizure at her home, but refused treatment when paramedics arrived.
Just before 6:00 p.m., witnesses described the scene near Frazier Park as horrific.
"That ambulance hit that truck driver head on. There was no brakes, there was no swerving, nothing," said witness Charlotte Deese.
The Kern County Fire Department believes a neighbor called 911 to report 50-year-old Kristina Fort having a seizure.
"When they made contact with her she became irate, entered one of the ambulances that was on scene at knife point and proceeded to steal the ambulance," said Sgt. Zachary Emmons, California Highway Patrol.
CHP officers say Fort drove about 35 miles before colliding a semi truck - killing herself and the driver, 40-year-old Nelson Martinez of Los Angeles.
"One of the other witnesses came up and jumped into the truck to see if there was anything they could do and there was nothing they could do," said Deese.
Witnesses say the ambulance did not have its sirens on and was speeding close to 100 miles per hour at the time of impact.
"It turned out there was just one person in it and she was upside down and on the passenger side. They spent a long time trying to get her out," continued Deese.
Thursday afternoon, Mark Corum - Director of Media Services with Hall Ambulance said the incident was beyond rare.
Corum says protocol was followed in this case as paramedics left the engine running and locked the doors.
But he says as they were leaving, "They were going back to the ambulance to return the medical equipment at the back of the ambulance - so they had unlocked the ambulance, opened the doors, put the gurney and the first handbag in - and that's the point the individual brandished the knife," said Corum.
The paramedics were not hurt and immediately called 911.
The crash is being investigated by the CHP and the Kern County Sheriff's Department.
Police have identified the 19-year old as Kevin Huynh of Canoga Park. His accuser didn't want to talk on camera about the attack, fearful that he would come back.
It was Wednesday, May 6, when officers say Kevin Huynh was selling ADT Home Security systems, door-to-door on Huntington Downs Avenue.
"But, I seen him. He was carrying an ADT sign, a security sign," said Randy Eidson.
Eidson lives just a block from a woman who was at home with her adult daughter and invited Huynh in for a presentation.
"At some point during this sales presentation, she was alone with the salesman in the kitchen of her home and he sexually assaulted her," said Sgt. Joe Grubbs with the Bakersfield Police Department.
The woman tells 17 News she was cooking when the 19-year-old grabbed her breasts, and forced her hand to his groin. She says she fought and said no alerting her daughter. Both the woman and her daughter then escorted Huynh out. But, Huynh's accuser says he continued harassing her with sexually explicit text messages that she deleted.
Police also say Huynh made inappropriate comments to a woman on Polo Jump Court, just a few blocks away from the alleged attack.
"This other case, the woman didn't invite him into her home. He was making some comments that were inappropriate and she told him to leave," said Sgt. Grubbs.
Sgt. Grubbs says Huynh was fired from his sales job Friday. 17 News contacted ADT. A representative told us Huynh was not their employee, but worked for a company they contracted for sales, ASC Security U.S.A.
Sgt. Grubbs says Huynh did not have a record.
"I think it's kind of a unique situation in this case but still in any case don't invite people into your home," said Sgt. Grubbs.
"You know my wife is here sometimes by herself and now I feel this kind of vulnerability. But, she don't answer the door either. She understands not to do that," said Eidson.
General Manager and President of ASC Security U.S.A., Mark Sessa, says they did a background check on Huynh. He added, "We are aware of the situation. We have a zero tolerance for this type of allegation. We terminated the employee immediately. We are cooperating completely with the authorities on this."
Sergeant Grubbs says they can not make an arrest since it's a misdemeanor not committed in their presence.
They are waiting for the District Attorney's office to issue them a warrant. Meantime, they are asking for any other potential victims to contact them at 661-327-7111.
And a tiny federally-protected fish is approaching extinction. In Sacramento, state regulators find themselves in a perpetual balancing act, of stretching surface water supplies to meet hardened demands for fish, farms and cities.
And things are getting testy.
Big fights are breaking out over relatively small amounts of water. Valley growers lost one of those fights a few weeks ago and chalked it up to just another vote for fish over farms. But it's not that simple.
Nothing to do with water ever is. The Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta is 1100 square miles of islands, water and wildlife, and ground zero for California's water crisis. It's where the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers converge, carrying their precious life blood from five mountain watersheds to the valley floor and on to the ocean.
Roughly 25 million Californians and nearly three million acres of irrigated farmland depend upon the water that flows through this estuary to the state water project. This is also home to the Delta Smelt, an endangered species on the brink of extinction.
The people who live here, and a host of environmental groups, are rising up to defend the delta. "The one thing we agree upon is that the estuary itself needs to be maintained and that means that fresh water needs to flow through it," said John Herrick, a board member for the Stockton-based environmental group Restore the Delta.
People talk about water in terms of acre-feet. If you put one foot of water on a football field, that would equal an acre-foot of water. At a minimum, three million acre feet of fresh water must flow through the delta annually to prevent sea water intrusion. "If we lose salinity control in the delta, that water's no good for anything, for human consumption or ag, in the delta and for export," said Felicia Marcus, Chairwoman of the California Water Resources Control Board.
Last year, that was half of all the water from the system. The rest was divied up between delta agriculture, fish and wildlife, and exports to farms and cities to the south. Agriculture uses roughly 80% of the water exported from the delta.
But the drought and court-ordered pumping restrictions to protect the smelt have left growers with little to no surface water. Stakeholders are fighting over every acre-foot. Regulators are the referees. "It's a critical condition that's testing not only our physical infrastructure but our regulatory structure," said Les Grober, chief deputy assistant director of the SWRCB.
A lot of growers down here in the valley feel the deck is stacked against them up there, in Sacramento, in the state's water bureaucracy. "It's an un-elected board and a staffer", said Republican State Senator Andy Vidak of Hanford.
Ironically, delta activists feel the same way. "They're tweaking everything and maximizing water exports", said John Herrick.
Case in point, back in February, stakeholders clashed over a relatively small amount of water...five thousand acre feet.
Ag was asking for an emergency diversion in advance of an approaching storm system. The Water Resources Control Board, and its executive director Tom Howard said no.
Local lawmakers were outraged. "He said no, and he was the only one who said no, and they diverted that water out to the ocean", said GOP Assemblywoman Shannon Grove of Bakersfield. Tom Howard declined to be interviewed on camera, but told 17 News delta flows were already below minimum standards. And while the fishery agencies actually supported the request, they couldn't guarantee the diversions wouldn't harm the beleaguered Delta Smelt, an environmental requirement.
Local lawmakers were all worked up. "I was outraged. I was getting emails and phone calls and they were saying what in the heck is going on up there," said Senator Andy Vidak. The Wall Street Journal even picked up on the decision, blasting Howard for fretting over hypotheticals about harm to fish and letting the water go to the ocean.
Curtis Creel, assistant general manager of the Kern County Water Agency said, "We were disappointed with that decision." In his own defense Howard pointed out that in the last 12 months, he has approved nine temporary diversion requests, shifting some 400-thousand acre feet of water from estuarine flows to consumptive uses south of the delta.
But that's where it gets murky. Consumptive can be agriculture or urban use and Howard couldn't tell 17 News how much of that water went to ag.
Local water officials downplayed the benefits of Howard's stated concessions to agriculture. According to the State Water Contractors association, ag's share of that 400-thousand acre feet was just ten percent.
While critical of the Board's decision, Curtis Creel understands the tight spot regulators find themselves in as California's drought tightens its grip. "I think they're trying to do what's best for California. For better or worse, California has spoken about the value of the environment and we have regulations that dictate we must do certain things and they're attempting to operate within those constraints."
Howard and his Board get it from both sides really. Environmentalists have long criticized them for bending too far to accommodate agriculture. "And by bending the rules, I say cheating the rules, we're not solving the problem because people are surviving on stolen water, and nobody wants to hear that, but they're surviving on a water supply that's not dependable."
Herrick's talking about the people who farm and live on the Central Valley's west side. In our next report, what they're saying about that, Governor Jerry Brown's Twin Tunnels project and the ongoing battle to maintain the Delta's fragile ecosystem. But as we said, people are getting cranky.
Take for instance Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, the executive director for Restore the Delta, who inexplicably cancelled our interview in Stockton an hour before we were set to meet. Another member of the group simply stood us up.
We later learned that one of their members posted a warning on Facebook that a TV crew from Kern County was in town to do a "hit piece" on their organization.
After months of public outcry, Lara resigned on May 5. KRC CEO Duane Law continues to be employed by the center, despite similar calls for him to step down. All of this stemming from a Department of Developmental Services notice in January that KRC had committed numerous violations.
But an April audit revealed that a majority of the issues with KRC happened before Law was hired. Lara was on the board at the time, but she says the board of directors was not aware of the misconduct by the prior CEO, Michael Clark.
"I think there's a lot of lack of communication," Lara said. "I think some vendors who maybe were receiving certain services are upset also that they're not getting that preferential treatment anymore. But ultimately what's most important are the clients that we serve and making sure that they are getting those services and that the money is being spent responsibly.
"I do just want to stress though that as board president clients of the regional center always come first in my heart. And for the other board member, also."
Lara asked for the public to read the full audit and come forward with questions. She says the board is willing to explain the findings, but so far, the public has "jumped on a bandwagon."
"I ask them to seek the truth," Lara said. "The truth can be found in reading the management letter from DDS."
Lara admitted that the trust lost by KRC would not be earned back easily, but insists that the current management, including Law, are well equipped to bring KRC back to a level state. She said the months of public scrutiny over a topic they didn't fully understand started to wear on her and her family. Lara has a disabled son.
Lara said, "the management letter was finally out. The accusations from the community were getting really hard to take. Watching some of the accusations on social media were even harder. There were also some anonymous cyber bullying going on, accusing me of using my son as a prop for sympathy. I'm a freeloader. Just really nasty, awful, hurtful things. I have never experience such ugliness as I have the last couple months serving as board president."
Lara has also served on the board of directors for League of Dreams and the Association of Regional Center Agencies.
Kern Regional Center manages a budget of over $140 million, and provides funds to vendors that then provide services to the developmentally disabled.
It is required by law that half of the KRC board be either developmentally disabled, or be direct relatives of those who are disabled.
Last year, California spent an estimated 209 million dollars fighting wildfires. This season, the Kern County Fire department wants you to help avoid these dangerous blazes.
As fire season heats up, the county fire department is particularly concerned about residents in the mountain communities and those living in the valley should be aware of vacant lots.
Everyone should make an extra effort this season to protect their home and loved ones.
The official declaration of fire season is this morning at 10 at county fire department headquarters. Partner agencies will be there as well. The public is invited to learn more tips on how to prevent fire.
A surveillance video from a smog shop nearby caught the collision on camera.
On Wednesday, officials said a woman with a knife reportedly stole a Hall ambulance then later crashed with a semi truck in Frazier Park.
Kern County Fire officials said no ambulance personnel from Hall were in the wreckage near Lebec Road. One person had died at the scene, the other died after being pulled out by rescue crews. The names of the two people who died have not been released.