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California High-Speed Rail Authority

The California High Speed Rail Authority has officially released an updated plan that makes big changes to first section of the bullet train.

The plan confirms that the Authority wants to change the first functional section of track to run from Bakersfield to San Jose. The original plan was for the first working segment of track to run from the Central Valley to Burbank outside LA.

The report leaked on Wednesday, but Thursday evening the Rail Authority released an official version of the document confirming the route change.

Change Of Destination Expected For High Speed Rail

Feb 18, 2016
California High Speed Rail Authority

A big change appears to be in the works for California’s high speed rail project. Valley Public Radio’s Jeffrey Hess has more.

The original plan was to connect cities in the Central Valley to Burbank in Southern California with the first functional stretch of track. Now according to multiple media reports, the High-Speed Rail Authority appears ready to run the first trains from Bakersfield to San Jose.

The rail authority is expected to release a report tomorrow detailing the need for the change.

KMC / Kern County

Kern Medical Center has a new name. But that's actually the smallest change the venerable public hospital is set to undertake in the next year. After being run by Kern County for over a century, the hospital - now branded simply as "Kern Medical" - will be spun off later this year to a newly created, independent hospital authority. 

Kern Medical CEO Russell Judd says the new name reflects a new era for the nearly 150 year-old institution. 

Study Links Oil And Gas Activity in San Joaquin Valley To Earthquakes

Feb 4, 2016
Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Scientists have linked wastewater disposal from oil and gas activity to earthquakes in California for the first time. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, the new study looked at earthquake activity in the southern Central Valley.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The City of Bakersfield is searching for ways to tighten its fiscal belt thanks in part to lower oil prices. Over the past twelve months, city sales tax revenue has been nearly 5 percent below budget expectations. That’s left the city council considering mid-year budget adjustments, seeking to trim $1.4 million  from this year’s books.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

  As 2015 comes to a close, Valley Edition asked two local journalists to help us take a look back at the top stories of the year. Evan Onstot of KSEE 24 and Robert Price of the Bakersfield Californian joined us to talk about the biggest news events of the past twelve months, with an eye towards stories to watch for 2016. Among the stories that stood out to our panelists:

KGOV / KGOV

California lawmakers gathered in Bakersfield today for a State Senate hearing on how to prevent pipeline “dig-in”accidents like the one in Kern County that killed an Earlimart man last month. FM89’s Joe Moore reports.

http://www.bakersfield.com/thebakersfieldsound

Kern County is known around the globe for the way it revolutionized American music.  In Robert E. Price's new book "The Bakersfield Sound," he recounts how a generation of displaced Okies altered musical history. The book remembers household names like Buck Owens and Merle Haggard as well as lesser known names that influenced American music.

The Guardian

A new report from the British newspaper The Guardian says Kern County leads the nation when it comes to use of deadly force by law enforcement.

According to numbers published by the paper, 13 people have died this year in connection with the use of force by law enforcement in the county. That’s higher than the total for New York City, which has ten times the population.

LinkedIn

A Bakersfield police detective is under arrest today after he allegedly took bribes from a drug dealer. 

The FBI and US Department of Justice allege that detective Damacio Diaz accepted thousands of dollars in bribes from a drug dealer. In exchange, the FBI alleges Diaz tipped the dealer off to law enforcement activities and the confidential names of informants.

In a 16-count indictment, Diaz is also charged with retaining seized narcotics with the intent to distribute, disclosing the contents of a wiretap investigation and filing false tax returns. 

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The Kern County Board of Supervisors has approved new rules that supporters say will streamline oil and gas production.

The unanimous vote by the board Monday endorses a new environmental report that will make most surface production activities go through a process similar to the one to get a building permit.

The state will still regulate subsurface operations.

High Speed Rail Authority

Will California’s high-speed rail system be German enough?

That question is not a joke, as I learned last month while riding Germany’s popular high-speed rail. In fact, it’s a more important question than the ones Californians have been myopically asking for years about the costs, funding, and construction deadlines of the state’s controversial project.

Flickr-Marufish

Bakersfield has become the first city in the nation to call for the extension of a federal solar panel tax credit.

The Bakersfield City Council voted 5-1 Wednesday night in favor of a resolution supporting extending the tax credit past its 2016 expiration date. The credit is officially called the Solar Investment Tax Credit and was established in 2005 to help jump start the solar panel industry.

City Council member Willie Rivera says the solar sector is still growing in Bakersfield, and ending the tax credit could take away an economic driver.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Bakersfield’s Wild West Shopping Center is getting a new owner. FM89’s Joe Moore reports on why the city council voted last night to buy the property.

The nearly 5 acre parcel sits where westbound Highway 58 dead-ends into Highway 99. For years extending freeway access on 58 to the west side has been a top city priority - a plan now known as the Centennial Corridor freeway.

Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition the program begins with Political Junkie Ken Rudin speaking with VE Host Joe Moore about Kevin McCarthy and how he could become the next House Speaker. 

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