Valley Public Radio - Live Audio

Bakersfield

Kern County District Attorney's Office

In the last 10 days, Bakersfield has been the site of two high-profile attacks: In one, a man and a woman were stabbed in a Starbucks; a few days later, another man gunned down his ex-wife and four other people in east Bakersfield before turning the gun on himself. On their face, these two crimes don’t have a lot in common; but at the root of both was domestic violence, which in 2017 was responsible for almost 7,000 calls for help in Kern County alone.

Kern County Sheriff's Office

More details have emerged in a Bakersfield shooting spree on Wednesday that left six people dead, including the alleged killer. 

The Kern County Sheriff’s office has released the names of the suspect and victims in Wednesday’s shooting. Sheriff Donny Youngblood says there’s reason to believe the suspect, 54-year-old Javier Casarez, had a connection to many, if not all of the victims.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Local hospitals in three San Joaquin Valley communities are making big plans for the future, including an expansion, a reopening, and a bankruptcy filing.

In Kern County, Adventist Health has announced plans to build a new hospital in Northwest Bakersfield. The facility will be built near the intersection of Coffee and Brimhall Road, adjacent to the development known as the Bakersfield Commons. It’s unknown when construction on the new facility might begin. Adventist Health currently operates a hospital in downtown Bakersfield on Chester Avenue.

Six people are dead, including the shooter, after a mass shooting in Bakersfield on Wednesday evening. The spree spanned five crime scenes in East Bakersfield.

According to the Kern County Sheriff’s office, the 35-minute ordeal began near a trucking business close to Highway 58 and State Route 184. There, the suspect allegedly shot and killed two people, including his wife, then pursued another person down the street and killed him near a neighboring sporting goods store.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

  It’s probably obvious that hospitals can be high stress environments, and it’s not just patients who can get agitated and upset. Sometimes it’s also co-workers. Last week, we heard about how some see tolerating violence in health care as part of the job. In the latest installment in our series Part Of The Job, we look at how health care educators have been trying to change that culture of harassment and violence before their students reach the workforce.

For Valley Fever Survivors, A Growing Need: Wigs

Aug 8, 2018
Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

In a small boutique in downtown Bakersfield, Brenda Blanton donned a styling gown and settled into a salon chair facing a mirror. Shop owner Kelly Giblin approached, not carrying scissors or a curling iron, but a small hairpiece resembling a dirty blonde bob with dark roots. “This is an amazing hairpiece,” Giblin said excitedly, clipping it onto Blanton’s thinning, shoulder-length hair. “We can put it on, trim it in, and it will blend with your hair and no one will ever now.”

Greg Ballmer

In a small section of Kern County, outside the city of Bakersfield, a dirt ridge rises above the farmland. It’s home to a couple of cell towers, an orchard, and a creature that we didn’t know was there up until the last 25 years. In fact, it's by chance that this animal is no longer flying under scientists’ radar.

The first scientist to identify it was Greg Ballmer, a retired entomologist.

In 1997, Ballmer was driving down Highway 99, just south of Bakersfield,

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

A new bill in congress is aimed at preventing the fungal disease valley fever that’s endemic to Central and Southern California. 

The so-called FORWARD Act, introduced by Bakersfield Congressman and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, would establish a national valley fever working group and would award grants to entities researching the disease.

http://www.leticiaperez.org/media/ / http://www.leticiaperez.org/media/

Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez was charged with two criminal misdemeanors last week over her 2017 vote against a ban on marijuana dispensaries. The DA's public integrity unit investigated the case and found that Perez's husband Fernando Jara had done business with marijuana industry groups before the vote, creating what they claim is a conflict of interest. She denies the charges and has pled not guilty.

The Kern County District Attorney Lisa Green has filed criminal misdemeanor charges against county supervisor Leticia Perez. The counts include using her governmental position to influence an issue in which she had a financial interest, and for failing to file proper disclosure documents.

Christina Lopez / KVPR

People in cities across the country marched and rallied over the weekend against separation of families at U.S. borders. On Saturday, nearly one thousand individuals participated in the Families Belong Together march and rally in Downtown Bakersfield.

Christina Lopez / Valley Public Radio

On the outskirts of Kern County lies the community of Lamont. It is an unincorporated area 10 miles southeast of Bakersfield home to over 15,000 people. This corner of the county is made up of migrant farm workers, small business owners, and immigrant families, majority Hispanic. 

Join the staff of Valley Public Radio for an open house event Wednesday June 13th at Cafe Smitten in Bakersfield. It's a chance to meet the KVPR news staff, as well as fellow public radio listeners in Kern County. And if you have the new KVPR app on your phone, we'll treat you to a Cafe Smitten coffee drink of your choice.

Herbalpert.com

Even if he didn't sell 72 million recordings, with 15 gold albums, and five number one hits - Herb Alpert would still be a music industry icon. For while he's best known as the trumpet player behind the instrumental pop sounds of the Tijuana Brass of the 1960's and 70's, his role as a record producer is also legendary. A co-founder of A&M records, he went on to sign and record superstars from Sergio Mendes to The Carpenters, Cat Stevens, Peter Frampton, and Sting.

Office of Asm. Rudy Salas

Two bills that could improve valley fever research made it one step closer to law on Thursday, passing out of the California Assembly and into the state Senate. 

The bills aim to streamline the state’s inconsistent reporting guidelines for valley fever, a fungal disease caused by inhaling spores that grow in arid soil. Reporting requirements for the disease vary by county, making it difficult to tally and study the disease burden across the state. 

TBC

According to a new report from The Bakersfield Californian's Harold Pierce, 10 teachers in the Kern High School District have been assaulted by students this year alone. Some suggest the number might even be higher. It's the latest news on a topic that has long plagued the district, which once was know for its high suspension and expulsion numbers.

Parks Fee Hike
The National Park Service has backed off its plan to raise entrance fees at popular parks like Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon to $70. Under a revised plan announced Thursday, the new entrance fee would be $35.00 starting June 1.  The park service says the majority of the increased revenue will stay in the parks to help on a backlog of maintenance. Overall, across all parks, entrance fees rise $5 under the new plan.
 

David Aus

Today on Young Artists Spotlight we hear performances from talented trombone, oboe, French horn and piano soloists from Bakersfield. We hear from Daniel Ramos, oboe; Nicole Bonna, trombone; Abby Higgins, French horn and Andrew Ramirez, piano.

Kern County

Kern County Supervisors have adopted new district lines following a legal settlement with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. The group sued the county alleging the 2011 supervisorial redistricting disenfranchised Latino voters by drawing lines that divided communities like Arvin and Delano, diluting their political power. In February MALDEF won the suit in U.S. District Court, setting up settlement talks to draw new district lines and new procedures for upcoming elections.

Christina Lopez

This weekend’s historic "March for Our Lives" rally saw hundreds of thousands of students gather from coast-to-coast and across the world in solidarity with students whose lives were cut short due to gun violence in their schools. This weekend, students from high schools across Kern County participated in Saturday’s rally that drew over 500 in attendance in west Bakersfield. FM 89’s Christina Lopez reports.

Hundreds of students from across Kern County high schools gathered along Truxtun Avenue for the March for Our Lives rally in Bakersfield.

Pages