kern county

Health
5:30 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Arvin Residents Move Back Home Despite Health Concerns

Eight families living on Nelson Court in the small agricultural town of Arvin are finally returning home after being evacuated because of a gas leak in March.
Credit Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

After being forced to evacuate in March because of a gas leak, eight Arvin families are finally returning to the place they call home. But, as Fm89’s Diana Aguilera explains, some residents are still concerned about the situation.

State and Kern County officials met with the families on Friday and told them it was safe for the residents to return home.

Representatives from the state’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources say the rounds of testing done in and around the homes on Nelson Court confirmed that the level of gasses were back to normal.

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Community
1:15 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

Author Interview: Selma's Berry Family Goes "Beyond Luck" In Rags To Riches Story

Betsy Lumbye's new book "Beyond Luck" tells the story of the Berry family, from the fields of Selma to the Klondike Gold Rush to the oil fields of Kern County
Credit West of the West Books

The San Joaquin Valley is filled with remarkable stories about families, fortunes and fame. But while names like Boswell and Kearney grace the history books, the remarkable tale of the Berry family of Selma has largely been overlooked. 

Now the new book "Beyond Luck: The Improbable Rise of the Berry Fortune Across A Western Century" by author Betsy Lumbye tells their story.

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Environment
5:21 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

Pipeline Owner To Stop Paying Temporary Housing For Arvin Residents

One of the eight homes evacuated in March on Nelson Court.
Credit Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

Arvin residents who were forced out of their homes in March because of a toxic gas leak are now facing a new dilemma. This time it's dealing with housing. 

The oil company that owns the leaking pipeline told eight Arvin families on Tuesday that they will stop paying for their temporary housing at the end of this month. 

That means residents will either have to return home or pay out of pocket to live elsewhere.

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The Two-Way
4:25 am
Mon November 3, 2014

Key Function Deployed Early Before SpaceShipTwo's Crash

Wreckage lies near the site where a Virgin Galactic space tourism rocket, SpaceShipTwo, exploded and crashed in Mojave, Calif.
Ringo H.W. Chiu AP

Originally published on Mon November 3, 2014 4:37 am

A key function called "feathering," which changes the aerodynamics of the Virgin Galactic spacecraft that crashed into the Mojave Desert last week, was engaged too early, investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board said on Monday.

The function is supposed to be deployed when SpaceShipTwo reached a speed of 1.4 times the speed of sound. Instead, it was deployed when the spacecraft reached Mach 1.

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The Two-Way
12:09 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

1 Dead After Commercial Spaceship Crashes During Test Flight

The commercial space ship, pictured here in an earlier test flight, crashed in the California desert.
Mark Greenberg Virgin Galactic

Originally published on Fri October 31, 2014 2:28 pm

In what could be a major setback for commercial space tourism, a manned spaceship has crashed in California's Mojave Desert.

The Virgin Galactic Spaceship Two was on a test flight this morning, with two pilots aboard. Minutes after its rocket fired, the company announced on Twitter that spacecraft experienced an "anomaly."

Capt. Tom Ellison of Kern County Fire Department said that Spaceship Two had a malfunction shortly after it separated from White Knight Two, the rocket that gives Spaceship Two a lift up to 45,000 feet.

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Environment
3:23 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

Seven Months After Gas Leak Arvin Residents Still Can't Return Home

Yesenia Lara stands outside her home on Nelson Court, one of the eight homes evacuated back in March because of a gas leak.
Diana Aguilera Valley Public Radio

Earlier this year eight Kern County families were forced out of their homes because of a gas leak. Now, seven months later families are still asking questions about their health and when they can return to their neighborhood.

When Yesenia Lara bought her home three years ago she never imagined living there would eventually bring so much anger and sadness to her family.

"This is my house, esta es mi casa. Excuse the mess but I hardly come here."

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Fracking
6:41 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

California Makes Changes To Fracking Regulations

file photo
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The state of California is making some changes to its new fracking regulations based on nearly 100,000  comments from the public. This is the third version of the regulations for fracking, which injects sand, water and chemicals underground to release oil.

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Environment
6:32 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

Environmentalists Sue To Stop Bakersfield Oil-By-Rail Project

A coalition of environmental groups is suing Kern County to block the expansion of a railyard at the Alon Refinery in Bakersfield.
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

A coalition of environmental groups is suing Kern County over its approval of a project that would expand oil-by-rail shipments at a Bakersfield refinery. 

The Kern County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the railyard expansion at the Alon Refinery on Rosedale Highway in September. The project would allow the refinery to process crude oil from the Midwest, delivered to Bakersfield by train.

Kassie Siegel is with the Center For Biological Diversity, one of the groups in the lawsuit. 

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Music
9:39 am
Tue September 16, 2014

New Documentary Highlights Contibutions Of Billy Mize To The Bakersfield Sound

"Billy Mize and the Bakersfield Sound" makes its Kern County debut on Thursday at the Crystal Palace
Credit William J Sanders

A new documentary film seeks to tell the story of one of the most influential figures in the development the Bakersfield Sound. But when the film makes its Bakersfield debut this Thursday night at the Crystal Palace, the star on the screen won’t be Buck Owens or Merle Haggard, it will be musician, songwriter and influential TV personality Billy Mize.

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Energy
6:17 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

Kern County Gives Oil-By-Rail Project Go-Ahead

The Alon Refinery in Bakersfield will soon get a new railyard under a plan approved by the Kern County Board of Supervisors Tuesday.
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The Kern County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to approve plans by for a new oil-by-rail facility at a Bakersfield area refinery. 

The Alon Refinery on Rosedale Highway would restart operations with shipments of crude oil from the Dakotas delivered to Bakersfield by train.

A number of environmental groups raised concerns about the potential for accidents, and the project's impact on CO2 emissions. They also questioned the thoroughness of the project's environmental study.

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Environment
11:27 am
Tue September 9, 2014

Oil-By-Rail Project For Bakersfield Refinery Sparks Debate

If approved, the new project at Bakerfield's Alon Refinery, would result in two additional mile-long trains running through the city every day.
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Kern County is on the verge of an oil boom. Not in local production, but in oil from North Dakota, transported to California by rail. The Golden State is already a major destination for trains filled with crude oil from the Midwest. But a new project that goes before the Kern County Board of Supervisors later today would expand that significantly for one local refinery.

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Government & Politics
5:49 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

Kern County Judge Censured for Relationship with Clerk

Kern County Superior Court in Bakersfield.
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

A state watchdog has censured Kern County Superior Court judge Cory Woodward for having a sexual relationship with a clerk.  The decision also states that Woodward attempted to mislead the court about the relationship.

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Environment
4:55 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

The Smoke is Clearing for Junction, Way Fires

View of the Way Fire from Old State Road, Wofford Heights
Credit InciWeb

Firefighters are making progress containing two wildfires that sparked in the San Joaquin Valley on Monday.

The Junction Fire, which led to evacuations of thousands of homes in and around Oakhurst, is now estimated to be 612 acres in size and is currently 40% contained. Nine structures have been destroyed and 2 injuries reported.

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Government & Politics
6:16 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

In Kern County, Voting Rights Bill Meets Opposition

Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Last week, the Kern County Board of Supervisors went on record against AB 280.  It’s a California bill that would require counties with high minority populations to get approval from Sacramento before making major changes in election procedure. 

For instance, before moving a polling site location, Kern County would need to get the ok from the California Secretary of State to ensure that it’s not discriminating against minorities and low-income voters.

Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez says that would be far too costly.

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Environment
12:51 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Bakersfield Man Recalls Kayak Trip From Kern County To SF Bay, 30 Years Later

This month CNN journalist John D. Sutter is on a mission to kayak the San Joaquin River from Fresno to San Francisco Bay. We spoke with him last week on Valley Edition as he seeks to document the stories along what has been called America's most endangered river.

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Author Interviews
11:14 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Gerald Haslam Recalls Tragic Story Of Athlete Leon Patterson With New Book

Gerald Haslam's new book "Leon Patterson: A California Story"

Author Gerald Haslam is something of a literary renaissance man. A historian, novelist, essayist and biographer, he is one of California’s most respected writers, and has devoted much of his career to telling stories about life in the Central Valley. His writing is much like the region he comes from: direct, unpretentious, and often filled with surprising depth and color.

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Around the Nation
6:00 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

One Drought Solution Is A Riddle: How Do You Make Water Run Uphill?

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 8:49 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

California's severe drought is inspiring some creative thinking. With farmland going dry in the Central Valley, water districts are proposing something that's never been tried during a drought. They want to move water uphill by reversing the state's main aqueduct. As Lauren Sommer reports from member station KQED, it'll take a serious engineering effort.

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Environment
5:55 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Innovation Needed To Crack Central California's Monterey Shale

file photo
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The much talked about oil boom to come out of Central California is on hold, unless new technology finds a way to safely crack the Monterey Shale that could hold over 13 billion barrels of oil.

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Fracking
6:04 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Report Casts Doubt On Potential Of Monterey Shale Oil Production

An anticipated oil boom in California may be delayed a bit, if it happens at all. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento on some new estimates published today that could dampen the state’s fracking future.

Fracking is an oil extraction process that involves pumping large amounts of water, sand and chemicals into rock. It had been estimated California may be able to recover more than 13 billion barrels of Monterey Shale oil.

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Arts & Culture
12:45 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

"Lost Hills" Photo Exhibit Shines Light On Rural Life

Lost Hills is a town of 3,500 farme and oilfield workers located at the southern end of California's Central Valley.
Sam Comen

In 2009, Sam Comen, a photographer from Los Angeles, began a five year photo journey in Central California. He originally wanted to parallel the effects of the recession to the Great Depression. So he turned to the San Joaquin Valley for photo opportunities.

He landed in the rural west side community of Lost Hills and produced the series named after the community of 3,500, which has gained national attention since.

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