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KGET: Local News

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    BAKESFIELD, CA - Three off-duty sheriff's deputies helped Bakersfield police make an arrest of several theft suspects Tuesday night.  

    Officials say Sheriff's Commander Tyson Davis, Lieutenant Todd Bishop, and Sergeant Zach Bittle, were riding bicycles on the bike path around 6:15 p.m. in Bakersfield near the area of Stockdale Hwy. and Calloway Dr. when they saw a bicycle being stolen. That theft took place near Chipotle Restaurant on Stockdale Hwy., and at the time the three were unsure if it was a theft or robbery of the bicycle that had just occurred.

    Davis, Bishop, and Bittle attempted to detain the three suspects near the intersection of Stockdale Hwy. and Calloway Dr., and as they did the suspect who was operating the stolen bicycle, a 17-year-old boy, attempted to ride away on the stolen bicycle. The other two suspects began running south across Stockdale Hwy.

    Davis began chasing the two suspects who fled on foot and identified himself as a deputy. One of the suspects confronted Davis, reached into his pants pocket simulating a firearm, and threatened to shoot Davis. The second suspect threatened to stab Davis. Davis then displayed his off duty firearm and ordered both to stop. Both suspects then ran toward Mercy Southwest Hospital and entered the emergency room area.

    Davis followed both of them and relayed the information to Bakersfield police. Several officers arrived shortly thereafter and located both suspects, identified as a 17-year-old male and 18-year-old David Craddock, inside Mercy Southwest Hospital where both were arrested without further incident. Craddock was identified as the suspect who threatened to shoot Davis. The 17-year-old boy was identified as the suspect who threatened to stab Davis. He was found to be in possession of a knife when he was arrested.

    Bishop and Bittle identified themselves as deputies and chased the 17-year-old suspect on the bicycle for a short distance at which point he got off the bicycle and attempted to flee on foot. They were able to reach him and after a brief struggle were able to force him to the ground where he was arrested with the assistance of a state parole officer who had arrived on scene to assist. He was also in possession of a knife when he was taken into custody.

    The incident occurred in the City of Bakersfield, and Bakersfield police officers responded to investigate the incident and arrested all three suspects. It was later determined that all three suspects had been in the area on foot when they attempted to steal two bicycles from a bicycle rack at the Chipotle restaurant. They were confronted by the owners of the two bicycles, Michael and Therece Hutchens, at which point the three abandoned one of the bicycles and fled the area with one of the bicycles.

    The 17-year-old male suspect who ran from Davis was arrested and booked into Juvenile Hall for petty theft and making terrorist threats. The 17-year-old male suspect who fled on the bicycle was arrested for petty theft and booked into Juvenile Hall. Craddock was arrested for petty theft and making terrorist threats and booked into the Kern County Jail.
     

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - Opening statements started Wednesday for a repeat DUI offender accused of killing a pregnant Bakersfield woman and her unborn child in a January 2014 crash.

    Prosecutors say Joseph Maine was driving drunk when he ran a red light and crashed into Vanessa Carrillo's car.

    Our cameras are not allowed to cover the trial, but 17's Aric Richards was inside the courtroom for most of the day.

    Carrillo's family said they aren't able to comment on the the case until it's over, but the family told me a couple months ago all they want is justice to be served.

    At times during opening statements, Maine became emotional and put his head down.

    The District Attorney's Office refiled second-degree murder and DUI charges against Maine earlier this year after those previous charges were dropped in December.

    Deputy District Attorney Courtney Lewis made her statements first followed by Deputy Public Defender Kevin Moran.

    Both outlined what the evidence will show in the trial, especially which vehicle had the green light and who had the red light at the intersection of Fairview Road and Monitor Street in south Bakersfield.

    Prosecutors say Maine was drunk, speeding and ran a red light when he collided into Carrillo's car, driven by her best friend.

    Carrillo's mother was in the backseat. Both suffered non-life threatening injuries.

    Vanessa Carrillo died at the scene.

    Prosecutors say Carrillo had the green light, but the defense disagrees.

    Six witnesses testified Wednesday for the prosecution, including Carrillo's mother, her best friend, three Bakersfield police officers and a Kern Medical Center doctor.

    Prosecutors say Maine's blood alcohol level was .16, two times the legal limit.

    On Thursday, witnesses for the defense are expected to take the stand.


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  • 05/20/15--18:05: Safe Sleeping
  • BAKERSFIELD, CA - Unsafe sleeping accounts for the majority of infant deaths in our county. Seventeen infant deaths were associated with unsafe sleeping last year, by our count and apparently, it's happened again.

    Already this year, eight infants, between 13 days old and eight months have died in Kern County. Where an infant sleeps is a common thread in many deaths of young children.

    The autopsy for Lyric Hanson is still pending, his mother told 17 News she believes her son would still be alive if she hadn't slept with him.

    Public health experts say that is the case in many infant deaths.

    Bringing a baby in bed can be comforting to a fussy newborn and a parent, but you run the risk of accidentally killing your baby.

    Public health perinatal investigator Rose Cochran said, "We're not calling you a bad parent, that you can't stay awake. We're telling you you're human. Especially if the baby has a bad night, or they've had a bad couple days, they're teething or something, sleep is always going to beat you. You can't fight it."

    Health experts say babies should sleep in a crib or pack-and-play with a firm mattress and fitted sheet. There should be nothing in the crib but the baby, no pillows, blankets, stuffed animals or bumpers. Your baby should be placed on his or her back and nothing should cover their head.

    Experts say it's imperative for infants to have their own sleep area. In many of these deaths, families didn't have a crib.

    You can help local babies have a safe place to sleep. A play pen that doubles as a crib can be purchased for as little as $39 through Amazon and Walmart. Items can be sent to Kern County Network for Children, 1212 18th St., Bakersfield, CA 93301.

    Lyric's mom told me she saw our special report on this April 28, but found comfort in breastfeeding in bed. She said if she hadn't slept with him he'd still be alive.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - Dozens of local treasure hunters now know the value of their personal troves. World renowned appraisers and auctioneers from Bonhams spent the day at the Bakersfield Museum of Art separating the rare finds from average art.

    This is the second year Bonhams has donated its time and appraisers to see what hidden gems they will find in Bakersfield and put them up for bid at auction.

    Each one of the people who attended the Wednesday event hoped what they were holding were gold mines.

    "I always felt it was a painting that I loved and enjoyed, but some of my family felt that they might have an inheritance here," said Barbara Kleier.

    But, Kleier learned otherwise. Her pre-World War II painting was appraised at around $300. And, Bonhams pros pointed out imperfections in a pair of Japanese lamps belonging to Sandra Watt and Michael Perry. The value of the set was estimated at about $200.

    "We had no real intention in selling them. If they were worth thousands we might have thought about selling them," said Perry. "But, even for insurance purposes it's fun to have an appraisal and know what they are worth," added Watt.

    "Almost every family has something that's a treasure and maybe it's a treasure to them because it has sentimental value or maybe it is a real treasure," said event chairwoman, Laurie Maclin.

    People paid $20 to have two pieces appraised. That money and exposure benefits the Bakersfield Museum of Art. And, if someone's item had real value, Bonhams would offer to auction it off for them. The original owner would make the majority of the profit while Bonhams would get a 15% to 20% cut.

    Mark Anderson decided to put his colored engraving up for auction. It's estimated value was between $1,000 and $2,000.

    "It's actually been in our closet for four years," said Anderson.

    Evelyn Ernst struck gold, too, with a painting estimated to be worth $2,000 to $3,000. But, it won't be hitting the block.

    "Yeah, I've got to have something classy," said Ernst, laughing.

    The items that will go up on the block could go up at any of Bonhams auctions around the world. A watch from here last year went for $85,000 at auction. This event raises close to $6,000 for the museum.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA.-Kern County has the highest teen birth rate in the state. One BHS teacher decided to give her students a glimpse into the challenges of being a young parent. 

    Sociology teacher Mrs. Pederson says while students learn sex education in the classroom, they need the real experience to deliver the lesson. So she made each of her students parents. 

    This isn't a classroom. It's a delivery room. And for four days these new parents have had a newborn by their side. 

    Clinica Sierra Vista provided the babies and recorded how well each student took care of their child. Each cry, diaper change and feed. This was the responsibility of the parenting couple. So was all financial cost, including cost of birth. 

    After 96 hours of parenting, students were thankful their 8 lb. baby could be returned. 

    Mrs. Pederson says she will continue delivering her "grandbabies" to her students for as many years as possible. 




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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - Job seekers looking for an opportunity in Bakersfield may want to check out a job fair happening Thursday.
         
    The Department of Human Services is hosting another Job Fest, this one at the Rabobank Convention Center.

    Organizers said they will have 150 employers on hand, with more than 3100 job openings.
         
    The doors open at 9 a.m. and close at noon.
         
    There is no cost to attend Job Fest, but you're advised to dress professionally and bring 50 copies or your resume or application.

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    BAKERSFIELD,CA - Those living with lung disease had a chance Thursday to learn more about how to manage their illness.

    The American Lung Association in California held a respiratory rally Thursday morning at San Joaquin Community Hospital.
         
    Those with lung cancer, COPD, Alpha One and asthma had a chance to speak to medical professionals and hear from motivational presenters about lung health.
         
    And if you think you have a lung problem, there are some steps you can take.

    "You definitely want to get screened," said Tamira Smith lopez with the American Lung Association in California. "You want to talk to your doctor. You want to find out if you have asthma or COPD. If you are thinking there is a possibility that you have lung cancer there's preliminary screenings now that will help catch that much earlier on.

    If you missed Thursday's event but would like more information, visit the American Lung Association's website at lung.org/California.

    Or, you can call its lung help line at 1-800-LUNG-USA.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA- A Bakersfield attorney is under arrest for assaulting a homeless man, according to Bakersfield Police.

    Attorney Vincent Gorski, 37, was drunk when he fired a shot in the air after pointing the gun at the victim police said.

    It happened just before 11 Wednesday night at Truxtun Avenue and S Street.

    Police said the victim told them he was using a business sign near the sidewalk in front of the attorney’s office to look at an injury he had at his arm.

    The victim said Gorski showed up at the offices and began yelling at the victim for being on his property.

    Police say that’s when Gorski went into his law offices and came back with a gun.

    The victim told police Gorski pointed the gun at him before firing once in the air.

    Police say they recovered the gun, a shell casing and video of the incident at the scene.

    Gorski was arrested for Assault with a Deadly Weapon, Negligent Discharge of a Firearm, Resisting Arrest and Public Intoxication.

    Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to call the Bakersfield Police Department at (661) 327-7111.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - A man who police say robbed a downtown Bakersfield bank, which led to an officer-involved shooting, killed himself, the Kern County coroner's office reported Thursday.

    Leland Kane Smithson, 26, of Lancaster died as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, according to the coroner's office. The coroner ruled Smithson's death a suicide.

    Smithson was not hit by police gunfire, said Sgt. Joe Grubbs of the Bakersfield Police Department.

    The shooting happened after Smithson robbed the Wells Fargo Bank on 22nd Street around 10:18 a.m., armed with a handgun and wearing a mask over his face, police said. He ordered the unarmed bank security guard outside into the bank, then ordered the guard to the ground inside and entered the vault, according to police.

    They said Smithson then fled in a white Chevy Impala and was spotted by police near Highway 178 and P Street. That led into a car chase and Smithson crashed into a tree at East 18th and Owens Streets at 10:23 a.m. Tuesday.

    Following the crash, officers fired an unknown number of shots at Smithson, police said. He was wounded, but police didn't immediately know if he was hit by officers' gunfire. Smithson was taken to a local hospital where he died.

    Money and a loaded firearm were recovered at the crash scene, police said, but they wouldn't disclose how much money. The officer that fired at Smithson has been identified as 15-year veteran Isaac Garcia.

    Garcia has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation and review by the Critical Incident Review Board.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - Trial continued Thursday in the case of Joseph Maine.

    He's the man prosecutors say was driving drunk and speeding when he crashed into a car in south Bakersfield, killing a passenger and her unborn child.

    Our cameras are not allowed in the courtroom, but 17's Aric Richards has been following the trial from inside the courtroom.

    The mother of Vanessa Carrillo has attended the trial surrounded by family members and friends.

    Thursday morning and into the afternoon, several pictures, diagrams and videos were marked as evidence as the defense made its case.

    Maine sat quietly in his seat and did not seem as emotional as Wednesday, the start of opening statements.

    The defense started out by calling three witnesses to the stand, individually.

    Two of them work for the City of Bakersfield and monitor and maintain traffic light intersections.

    The other witness is out of Los Angeles and was hired to reconstruct the crash.

    All three witnesses talked extensively about the traffic signals at the intersection of Fairview Road and Monitor Street in south Bakersfield.

    That's where prosecutors say Vanessa Carrillo and her unborn child were killed, when Maine ran a red light, colliding into her car.

    Deputy Public Defender Kevin Moran says Maine had the green light.

    But, Deputy District Attorney Courtney Lewis says Maine had the red light.

    Lewis also listed about a dozen errors where the traffic signals at the intersection were flawed before and after the crash in January of last year.

    The Event Data Recorders were also brought up by Public Defender Moran and explained by the last witness.

    The EDR was pulled from each car and studied to determine the speed of both vehicles at the time of the crash and who applied the brakes.

    According to the EDR data, Maine was driving at 51 miles per hour, .05 seconds before the crash and was braking.

    It showed Carrillo's car was traveling at 32 miles per hour one second before the impact.

    Maine is charged with five felony counts including second-degree murder and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.

    He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA.-A delivery truck is partially danging off the bridge connecting southbound highway 99 and eastbound highway 58. 

    Expect delays if you're headed this way. The crash happened around 5:50 a.m. this morning. It is unclear how long it will take to clear the area. 

    The last time a big rig struck a bridge, it damaged the guardrail and it took Caltrans hours to repair and make sure it is safe.

    It doesn't appear there is nearly as much damage this time around. 

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA.-Many seniors prefer the comfort of their home over a retirement home, but that can leave the elderly feeling isolated and without quality meals. 

    One company has launched a campaign to change that by encouraging the community to start Sunday dinners with seniors. 

    Almost 6,000 males 65 and over lived alone in 2010, according to the U.S. Census and just over 12,000 female seniors. Home instead is an in-home care company with offices in Bakersfield. 

    They've started a Sunday dinners with seniors pledge and are asking for weekly dinners with elderly grandparents, loved ones and/or neighbors. 

    For each person who makes an online "return to Sunday dinner" pledge...home instead will donate one dollar to the Meals on Wheels organization. 

    The company hopes the campaign will foster connection and more nutrition meals. 

    Make the pledge online at SundayDinnerPledge.com. Any pledges made before July 31, 2015, home instead will match funds up to $20,000. That includes pledges made in the United State and Canada. 



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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - A woman was rescued from the Kern River after a kayaking trip gone awry.

    Bakersfield and Kern County fire crews said the incident happened Thursday around 5:15 p.m.  

    The woman was kayaking down the river when she fell out and her kayak kept going, leaving her in the river.
         
    She was able to climb up on a rock and that's where firefighters found her.
         
    A fire captain said one swimmer made it to her with a rope, and then crews on land pulled them back to a calmer part of the river where they could get out. 
         
    Despite her harrowing ordeal, the woman is said to be in good shape and good spirits. 

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - Dozens gathered Thursday night at Mira Monte High School for some free information on some controversial immigration issues.

    Professionals gave out information and free legal consultations regarding U Visa for victims of crimes, how to protect yourself from fraud when it comes to immigration issues, and AB 60 driver's licenses.
         
    The Dolores Huerta Foundation, along with other civil rights organizations, local leaders and attorneys hosted the event.
         
    This is the second time this meeting has been held in Bakersfield. 

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - Hundreds of concerned residents met with Cal Water officials to voice their concerns about water restrictions.

    Nearly 300 people showed up to a meeting at California Water Services company Thursday night to learn more about the new regulations.
         
    Everyone will be forced to cutback compared to their usage in 2013, reducing use by 32 percent.
     
    "I certainly don't want to waste water but 32 percent seems to be a pretty high mountain to climb," said Bakersfield resident Wendy Benson

    Aside from the question and answer session, Cal Water also gave everyone a stack of papers to go through, hoping to provide its customers with facts and answers going forward.
         
    The biggest concern centered on how rates will be judged.
         
    Cal Water said even with cutbacks in water usage, you can expect your bill to keep rising due to the fixed cost of operation.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - New unemployment numbers are out and they show fewer people are unemployed in Kern County.

    The unadjusted rate for April is 10.3 percent.
         
    That's down from 11.2 percent from March, and below last year's April estimate of 10.9 percent.
        
    Kern County is more than double the national average, which is 5.1 percent for April 2015.
         
    California's is 6.1percent.

    The biggest local jump for jobs was in farming, which added 9,200 jobs from March to April.
         
    The oil industry lost 200 jobs from March to April... and 200 from February to march... indicating a little more stability in that sector as oil prices have slowly come back up.

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - Kern County Search and Rescue added two more deaths to the sign at the mouth of the canyon Friday morning. 
        
    The sign is updated every year before summer starts with the number of people who have drowned in the Kern River since 1968.
         
    That number is now up to 271, after sheriff's officials said 2 19-year-old men drowned in 2014 while swimming in the river.
        
    And this year, water levels are lower due to the drought, but officials advise that doesn't mean the river is safer.

    "Unfortunately, when water level goes lower, all of those are now up on the surface, and you're not going over them. Any appendage will get caught in the rock and it will pin you down and you're gonna stay there, unfortunately, until we get there," said Sgt. Damon McMinn with KCSO.

    Officials are reminding the public to wear a life vest, helmet, and rubber shoes if you plan on getting in the river for any reason. And, never drink and swim. 

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    BAKERSFIELD, CA - As we head into a long holiday weekend, it's important to remember what memorial day is all about.

    It's a time for our nation to pause and remember the men and women in uniform who have died fighting for our freedoms.
         
    Out at the Park at Riverwalk, you can be part of a patriotic celebration this weekend.
         
    It's the second annual Thousand Flags celebration and organizers are asking for volunteers to help install all of those flags.

    Preparation and installation of the flags starts at 7 a.m. Saturday.
         
    Volunteers are encouraged to just show up at the park.
         
    The display opens at 11:30 a.m.
         
    At noon, everyone will pause for the National Anthem and raising of the entrance flag.
         
    Saturday and Sunday evenings, taps will be played and the honor guard will lower the flag.

    On Monday, a patriotic fair featuring exhibitors and vendors will open at 10 a.m. and close at 3 p.m.
         
    At noon on Monday, a presentation with color guard honors, the National Anthem and presentation from local veterans will be held.
         
    Flag sponsorships cost $50 and can be purchased online at thousandflags.org.

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    SACRAMENTO, CA - The State Water Board has approved a proposal from farmers to voluntarily cut back water use in order to protect future water rights.

    The proposal was by riparian water right holders in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta looking to ensure they would have enough water during the growing season from June to September.

    “This proposal helps Delta growers manage the risk of potentially deeper curtailment, while ensuring significant water conservation efforts in this fourth year of drought,” said State Water Board Chair Felicia Marcus. “It allows participating growers to share in the sacrifice that people throughout the state are facing because of the severe drought, while protecting their economic well-being by giving them some certainty regarding exercise of the State Water Board’s enforcement discretion at the beginning of the planting season.”

    Under the program, growers who participate could opt to either reduce water diversions under their riparian rights by 25 percent, or fallow 25 percent of their land.

    Riparian water right holders who choose not to participate in this voluntary program may face enforcement of riparian curtailments later this year, though risk of curtailment would not be any greater than it would have been if the program were not approved, according to the state water board.

    However, water right holders throughout the state, including senior and riparian right holders, have been warned by the state water board that curtailments are likely this year because of the continued unprecedented drought conditions.

    They add that junior water right holders in the Sacramento and San Joaquin river watersheds and others have already been curtailed for the second consecutive year. 

    Last year, hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland were fallowed, according to the board.

    The board said the participants will have to submit a specific plan to achieve the program’s conservation requirements by June 1. They add there will be spot checks during the growing season.

    The board added the program only applies to riparian water right holders in the Delta. 

    They define riparian water rights as rights held by those who own property that abuts a river or stream and divert water for use on that property. Unlike appropriative rights, which are curtailed by seniority along a waterway, riparian rights are curtailed collectively by a shared percentage.

    Because most of the farm land in the Delta abuts natural streams and sloughs, the board said riparian water right claims are more extensive in the Delta than in other agricultural regions of the state.

    They add that these water rights are among the most secure in the state’s water rights system and are curtailed only when natural stream flow is inadequate to serve the reasonable uses of all riparians.

    The board said that although this conservation program has been proposed by riparian water rights holders in the Delta, the program could be a template for riparians in other parts of the state, subject to adjustment for local and regional conditions.

    To learn more about the state's drought response, visit Drought.CA.Gov.

    Every Californian should take steps to conserve water. Find out how at SaveOurWater.com.


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