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Bakersfield

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

A Kern County Superior Court Judge has issued a ruling in favor of a Bakersfield bakery owner in a LGBT civil rights lawsuit. Judge David Lampe sided with Cathy Miller, owner of Tastries Bakery, who refused to sell a cake to a lesbian couple. Eileen and Mireya Rodriguez-Del Rio filed a complaint with the state, which in turn brought legal action against Miller for violations of the Unruh Civil Rights Act. It's a state law which prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion, as well as sexual orientation.

 

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

Update Tuesday 2/13:

Kern DA: Serna Shooting Was Justified

Feb 2, 2018

Kern County District Attorney Lisa Green has determined that Bakersfield Police officer Reagan Selman acted reasonably when he shot and killed 73 year-old Francisco Serna in December 2016. Serna was unarmed, and suffering from dementia. Police later discovered the item he was holding in his pocket was a crucifix.

 

This week on Valley Edition we learn about new technology that is allowing valley residents to monitor the air quality right outside their homes. We also talk about the plans for new e-commerce centers in Fresno. Mayor Lee Brand says the plan to approve a major new industrial development could create hundreds of new jobs. But critics say the distribution warehouses would also generate more air pollution. 

Christina Lopez / Vall

Millions around the country and world made their voices heard this weekend during the second annual Women’s March. Homemade signs for women’s rights, equality for all, and support for immigrants were raised in Bakersfield -- an unlikely scene in the heart of conversative Kern County, which voted majority Republican during the 2016 election. FM89’s Christina Lopez attended the first annual Women’s March in Kern County this past Saturday, exactly one year since President Trump was sworn into office, and shares this report.

Blue Note Records

Gregory Porter is one of the brightest stars in the jazz world. Since he burst on the scene in 2010 with his critically acclaimed debut album Water, Porter has won two Grammy Awards for best jazz vocal album, and is one of the most in-demand artists in the genre. His new record Nat King Cole and Me has earned him spots on NBC's Today Show and Late Night With Stephen Colbert, and soon a concert at Carnegie Hall. 

Disease Experts Split On Benefits Of Valley Fever Bills Introduced This Week

Jan 18, 2018
Henry Barrios / The Bakersfield Californian

Advocates for valley fever research give California Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) an “A” for effort for what they call the most robust legislative effort to address the disease in California history. But public health officials and disease experts are split on whether the remedies proposed by Salas will bring improvements.

California High-Speed Rail Authority

If the leaders of California’s High-Speed Rail Authority are to be believed, by 2029 Bakersfield residents will be able to hop on a bullet train bound for LA’s Union Station or San Francisco’s Transbay Terminal. That’s if all goes according to plan, for a project that still doesn’t have enough funding to finish the job.

nickchapman / Flickr - Creative Commons

While the stock market is up, many cities in the valley are still struggling. Bakersfield perhaps faces the biggest cash crunch, as rising costs tied to health care and retirement expenses have coincided with a countywide economy that is struggling due to a decline in activity in the oil industry. One city projection indicates the city could face a $5 million deficit next year, growing to around $15 million in five years. Now the city council is considering what to do about the shortfall, and that could include a tax increase.

Ventura County Fire Department

The fire that flared up overnight in Ventura County has scorched 50,000 acres so far and burned at least 150 structures. Among those destroyed were buildings at a psychiatric hospital, which is now sending some of its patients to the San Joaquin Valley.

Kern County Department of Public Health

New data from the California Department of Public Health show that cases of valley fever are on the rise across the state. The airborne fungal disease is also the subject of a new public awareness campaign in Kern County, featuring sheriff Donny Youngblood.

This week on Valley Edition, we get reports on the surprising reason insurance premiums for many Covered California customers are dropping, and what local health care leaders are doing to address a rise in pre-term births in Fresno County. We also explore the following issues in interviews:

City of Bakersfield

It’s been an eventful first year on the Bakersfield City Council for Andrae Gonzales, who represents downtown, Westchester and other Ward 2 neighborhoods.

A new report from the Southern California American Civil Liberties Union claims that the Bakersfield Police Department and the Kern County Sheriff’s Office have - in the ACLU’s words – "engaged in patterns and practices that violate civil rights" including the excessive use of force.

Kern County Announces New Awareness Campaign For Valley Fever

Nov 7, 2017
Center for Health Journalism Collaborative

Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood grew up in Kern County. He hikes here, he rides horses here and he golfs here. He remembers elementary school field trips to Shark’s Tooth Hill to dig for relics here. He has done just about everything that could put him at risk for breathing in the coccidioidal fungal spore that causes valley fever, the insidious respiratory disease endemic to the area.

A relative got sick and died from the disease years ago after he was misdiagnosed. Then, a few months ago, Youngblood’s significant other got sick. Youngblood decided to get tested.

Vision Zero Kern Facebook page

According to a new report from the City of Bakersfield, 64 pedestrians and cyclists have been killed in accidents in the city in the last three and a half years. The new bicycle and pedestrian safety report says only around a quarter of those accidents were the fault of drivers. However, some say the number of deaths in the area is much larger, as the city's report doesn't count accidents that occurred in county islands.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Last week oil industry giant Chevron announced it would cut around 26 percent of the workforce in its San Joaquin Valley Business Unit. That's the part of the company that produces oil from fields in Kern and Fresno Counties. It's not the first big job cut in the industry but it could hurt the local economy, especially in Bakersfield. But is this latest news the result of low oil prices, or other factors?

Valley Fever Advocates And Legislators Vow To ‘Press Harder' After Governor Rejects Critical Bill

Oct 24, 2017
Center for Health Journalism Collaborative

Even as valley fever cases are sharply increasing in Central California, Governor Jerry Brown has vetoed legislation that would have created programs to inform the public about the little-known respiratory disease.

Kerry Klein / KVPR

Earlier this year, we reported on a new immigration policy in Madera County: Whenever the county jail was releasing a foreign-born felon back into the community, it would coordinate that release with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, which could potentially detain or deport that felon. But when a civil rights group looked into the policy, it uncovered a problem—one that could amount to a violation of an open meeting law.

Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra

The Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra begins its new season this weekend, and it marks the third season under the leadership of music director and conductor Stilian Kirov. He joined us this week on Valley Edition to talk about Friday night's opening concert, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, a stage play by Tom Stoppard with music by Andre Previn.

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