Bakersfield

SMG - Fresno Convention Center

The last seven days have been significant ones for local ice hockey fans. Last week, the Bakersfield Condors of the ECHL announced that the team has been acquired by the NHL’s Edmonton Oliers. Fans and local officials hope the change will help give a boost to the popular franchise in many ways.

http://www.cs.csub.edu/~donna/kie/Lectures/masumoto.php

This week on Valley Edition our reporting team discusses how Valley air quality may affect our genes, a library vending machine that dispenses books, hockey in the region and much more.

Starting off the program, Valley Public Radio Reporter Rebecca Plevin reports on the issue of pollution and how it relates to our health. She explores the question of whether pollution is affecting Valley residents at cellular level.

Federal and Local Law Enforcement Break Central Valley Mail Theft Rings

Jan 15, 2014
Capital Public Radio

Federal and local law enforcement officials have announced arrests and prosecutions in a flurry of mail theft cases.  As Max Pringle reports, Sacramento, Bakersfield and Fresno were the focus of months of investigations.

Last year, U.S. Postal Service inspectors from around the country came to the Central Valley to help local police investigate an upswing in mail theft. Greg Campbell with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service says mail theft and drug abuse usually go hand-in-hand.

Backbeat Books

Buck Owens was one of the giants of country music, helping to define a rough and ready sound that will forever be linked with the city that Owens called home – Bakersfield. While Owens died in 2006, his legacy lives on. Now a new book titled “Buck 'Em: The Autobiography of Buck Owens” tells his story.

New Fracking Regulations Start January 1

Dec 30, 2013
Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

A new law to regulate the controversial oil extraction process known as “fracking” goes into effect in California on January 1st. Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento.

The oil industry says the new regulations will be some of the strictest in the nation. But some environmental groups that called for a moratorium on the process say the regulations don’t go far enough to protect water and air quality.

Under the law, oil companies will have to disclose chemicals used in the fracking process, although there are some limitations for trade secrets.

Mariner Books

California's Central Valley will be forever linked in history with the story of the Dust Bowl. Cities like Bakersfield and Fresno were the final destination for many who fled Oklahoma and nearby states during the 1930's - an era of dust storms, drought and the Great Depression. But what about those who stayed behind? And did John Steinbeck get the story right in his novel "The Grapes of Wrath?"

CSU Bakersfield

Technology entrepreneur Elon Musk held court Wednesday night before a packed crowd at Cal State University Bakersfield's Doré Theatre, in the college's new guest lecture series.

The founder of PayPal, and the CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, and chairman of SolarCity delivered a free ranging talk that covered everything from travel to Mars to high speed rail. 

Musk criticized the state's high speed rail plan, saying that it isn't "cool." Musk:

UFW Communications Director Maria Machuca / https://twitter.com/mariamachuca

A group of immigration rights activists staged a protest Wednesday at the Bakersfield office of House GOP Whip Kevin McCarthy, eventually meeting with the Congressman after being locked inside his office for much of the night. 

Amtrak

I’m not a big fan of trains, but my oldest son, Ben, 4, loves them. He’d been lobbying to go on a “big train trip,” and his school would be closed for a couple days at the end of September, when I had a meeting in Sacramento. Why not take the kid on a train trip from L.A. to the state capital, by Amtrak?

Courtesy Vince Gill

From the honky tonks of Oildale to  concert halls across the world, the hard driving, guitar driven country music that came out of Kern County – known as the "Bakersfield Sound" - has captured millions of fans across the world. Superstars like the late Buck Owens and Merle Haggard, not to mention hundreds of other musicians made Bakersfield, at least for a few decades, a true rival of Nashville’s famed music row. Now a new album by Vince Gill and pedal steel guitarist Paul Franklin seeks to honor that music – it’s called simply Bakersfield.

Road Trip To Collect Dust Bowl Stories on 75th Anniversary of 'Grapes of Wrath'

Oct 2, 2013
Dorothea Lange / National Archives and Records Administration, Records of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics

A group of artists is gearing up for a cross-country road trip that will end in California. It's part of a project to mark the 75th anniversary of John Steinbeck's novel "The Grapes of Wrath." Steve Milne reports.

The trip starts Friday in Oklahoma, retracing the path the Joad family took along Route 66 in "The Grapes of Wrath" with stops in New Mexico, Arizona and Texas.

Office of Congressman Kevin McCarthy

Kings County health officer Dr. Michael MacLean uses one word to sum up this week’s valley fever symposium: 'Unprecedented.'

He says it’s a big deal that the leaders of the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health are gathering in Bakersfield to focus their attention on an orphan disease that mainly affects the southwestern United States.

Valley Fever Symposium Aims To Spark Search For Vaccine, Awarness

Sep 22, 2013

In his mid-20s, Shane Hoover started planning for his death.

Hoover was diagnosed with valley fever, which is caused by inhaling fungal spores that grow in the soil, in 2010. He took medications for a while that kept it at bay. But he says he could not afford to keep paying for the drugs and, when he stopped, the disease intensified.

“He’d say, ‘I feel my body shutting down. I feel like it’s just a war inside of me that I can’t win,’” his mother, Kathleen Birks, said. “Our conversations became, ‘What do you want me to do with you when you die?’”

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

In the small Kern County community of Tupman, the 2013 pistachio harvest is well underway. 

Chris Romanini's family has been farming this land, just west of Interstate 5, where the valley's fields meet the Elk Hills for decades. 

It's probably not the first place you'd think of when it comes to the effort to reduce CO2 emissions and combat global warming. But just a few hundred yards away from this orchard, plans for a $4 billion power plant and fertilizer factory could soon make the Tupman area known for a lot more than those pistachios. 

Brown Promises to Sign Minimum Wage, Fracking Bills

Sep 11, 2013

California Governor Jerry Brown has indicated that he will sign a bill that would regulate hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which passed the Assembly today. The bill is generating fierce debate. Max Pringle reports from Sacramento.

Fracking is when energy companies pump pressurized water and chemicals into oil wells to maximize output. Democratic Assembly member Adam Gray says the measure gives much needed oversight to an under-regulated industry.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Last week the conflict that’s been brewing for months between the City of Bakersfield and Kern County over the city owned animal control facility that the two have shared for years finally boiled over. On Wednesday, the city told the county it has 40 days to move out.

This comes after negotiations for a two year extension of the current arrangement fell apart. The dispute of course goes back to money, and just who was shouldering more of the bill for the region’s pet overpopulation problem at the city owned facility on Mt. Vernon Avenue.

California Committee Delays Acting on Fracking Regulation Bill

Aug 21, 2013
Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics / http://www.flickr.com/photos/modernrelics/4461010654/

A California bill to monitor and regulate hydraulic fracturing, or fracking has stumbled in a key Assembly committee. Under the bill, companies would have to make public all information regarding their fracking operations. Max Pringle reports from Sacramento.

Fracking is when energy companies inject pressurized water and chemicals into the ground to extract oil and gas. Jena Price with the California League of Conservation voters says the bill the League co-sponsored would set a national precedent on the regulation of fracking.

Rising global temperatures aren’t just an international concern, they’re also an important local issue, especially when it comes to public health. How will climate change affect everything from rates of asthma and valley fever to wildfires and natural disasters?

http://www.pilgrimageforcitizenship.org/ / PICO California

A group of marchers is en route from Sacramento to Bakersfield in an effort to garner support for immigration reform. The 21 day Pilgrimage for a Pathway to Citizenship began August 12 in Sacramento, and is expected to end September 2, after making stops in Merced, Fresno and other Valley cities.

Cal State Bakersfield Professor Dr. Gonzalo Santos is among the 11 marchers making the 285-mile trek. He says the nation’s immigration laws need revamping.

Bakersfield-based produce grower and packer Sun World International has been acquired by Renewable Resources Group, a Los Angeles-based asset management firm.

Terms of the sale, which closed on August 9, were not disclosed. Sun World grows, packs and markets a variety of agricultural products ranging from grapes and stonefruit to vegetables. 

Sun World began operation in 1976, and had been owned since 2005 by Black Diamond Capital Management, a Connecticut-based investment firm. Black Diamond purchased Sun World assets at a bankruptcy auction for $127.8 million.

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