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  • Though she is battling cancer, Donna Warden finds comfort in fostering unwanted animals.

    LOIS HENRY: Dog foster wonders who's really saving whom?

    Donna Warden’s prognosis isn’t good, frankly. After several rounds of intense chemo, radiation and having both breasts removed — to the bone — Warden is still on cancer medication and likely will be the rest of her life. “I have a very aggressive cancer and I’ve been told two or three times that

  • Lois Henry

    LOIS HENRY: How not to respond to the public

    What started as a simple question about how much a new county employee is paid morphed into something weirdly and needlessly antagonistic. On Sept. 16, all news media received an email from Steve Gabbitas, formerly the Bakersfield City School District spokesman, alerting us that he is now the Kern

  • A chart from a study of stream fluctuations in the southern Sierra Nevada over the past 13,000 years shows several sustained periods of drought, one lasting 1,000 years.

    LOIS HENRY: A 1,000-year drought? Study brings scary past into focus

    If you think the drought is scary now, you would not have wanted to be around these parts 7,200 years ago. That’s when a 1,000-year drought so severe it dried up Tulare Lake got started, according to a new study by Cal State Bakersfield masters student Ashleigh Blunt and geology professor Rob

  •  Timothy Atkins spent 22 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit. Now, he's facing a worker's compensation nightmare after breaking his leg when he stepped in a pothole in a parking lot nearly 3 years ago. The injury made it impossible to continue his job driving a GET bus.

    LOIS HENRY: The cost of two decades lost

    How much is 22 years of your life worth? According to California Victim Compensation and Government Claims rules, if you spent those years wrongfully locked up, it’s worth a little more than $800,000. That’s exactly what happened to Timothy Atkins, who was arrested in 1985 in Venice Beach at the

  • Lois Henry

    LOIS HENRY: Hoping the state sees reason on water conservation

    Well, the state came through for West Kern Water District as only the state can, it seems. West Kern had been told to reduce its water consumption by 28 percent from 2013. Small problem: 80 percent of West Kern's water goes to hardened demand from industrial users — three major power plants,

  • Maria Lopez, City of Bakersfield Animal Care Center kennel technician.

    LOIS HENRY: Grabbing success by the tail

    When I met her two years ago, I got a good feeling about Maria Lopez. She didn’t disappoint. A couple years ago, Maria and her husband, Kelcey Brown, were homeless. It was a foreclosure issue with their rental house in Lancaster, not drugs or problems with the law. Either way, they found

  • A three-legged dog from Bakersfield's shelter on the day she was adopted to a family in Northern California through Cathey's K-9 Rescue. Cathey's is seeking donations to buy a kennel in Riverside to save more Kern County dogs.

    Animal rescue events coming up

    There’s almost always something going on with animal rescue groups. Here are just a few ongoing or upcoming events to remember. • Lamont residents can get their male dogs fixed free of charge at a clinic Sept. 19 put on in Lamont by Marley’s Mutts Dog Rescue. Residents must apply online at www.

  • Lawrence Thomlinson stands in the kitchen of an apartment at Park 20th, where 25 units are reserved for homeless veterans. He hopes to move into one of the units in the next week or so.

    Homeless vets at home in new apartments

    If Lawrence Thomlinson’s luck had hit the skids several years earlier, things might have turned out a lot worse for the 71-year-old retired printer. Thomlinson, an Air Force veteran, suffered prostate cancer about two years ago. He had to quit work as a security guard and the bills stacked up.

  • Lois Henry

    LOIS HENRY: Drama over gay marriage a rerun for Kern viewers

    Watching the drama play out over the rogue county clerk in Kentucky and her religious objections to gay marriage should be awfully familiar to anyone who’s been around Kern County for the last few years. Our situation didn’t go nearly as far as what happened with Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, who

  • Lois Henry

    LOIS HENRY: More oilfield water to irrigate Kern crops

    Another local agricultural water district will begin taking oilfield produced water to irrigate crops perhaps starting as early as this week (if all goes as planned). The North Kern Water Storage District will begin accepting about 32 acre feet a day of produced water from California Resources

  • Lois Henry

    LOIS HENRY: Spay/neuter making a dent

    Fewer animals are coming into city and county shelters. That means fewer are being killed. The numbers aren’t huge, but the dip is noticeable and appears to be sustained. There may be other explanations for that small, shiny scrap of good news. But most in the animal welfare community credit the

  • Lois Henry

    LOIS HENRY: City animal programs small but steady

    Small, steady, and most importantly, successful. That’s how I would describe programs under the city of Bakersfield’s nascent animal welfare operations. The city took over the Mount Vernon animal shelter after an acrimonious split from Kern County in October 2013 and has been steadily building

  • The Bakersfield Fire Department held a controlled, live-fire fireworks demonstration before the July 4 holiday to show the structural fire dangers of illegal or improperly used fireworks, particularly during times of high heat, low humidity, and prevailing wind conditions. BFD roof test panel #2 was involved in heavy fire more than eight minutes from fireworks ignition and contact to complete burn through and full involvement of a typical, cured, shake-shingle roof sample, prevalent in older Bakersfield neighborhoods.

    Fireworks ban coming back for more debate

    The fight over banning fireworks in Bakersfield will continue, at least for another month. That’s when the Legislation and Litigation Committee tasked with making a recommendation to the full City Council will discuss the issue again. After more than an hour of presentations by staff, comments by

  • Lois Henry

    LOIS HENRY: We don't need more misinformation about fracking

    Sometimes the only appropriate response I can muster to the idiocy that goes on in Sacramento is “Oh, brother.” We are a family newspaper, after all. This time, it’s a bill by Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D- Burbank, that would require all food irrigated with oilfield water to be labeled, “Grown using

  • Lois Henry

    LOIS HENRY: Reading success is only limited by the number of volunteers

    More than 11 percent of Kern High School District students drop out of school. That’s close 1,000 kids a year. Not only does the future dim for those 1,000 kids but some of them will also likely become a drain on society. If you could go back in time and spend one hour a week doing one thing that

  • Lois Henry

    LOIS HENRY: Can homeowners reuse their household graywater? Yes and no

    OK, so back to graywater. Last week, I wasn’t able to get an authoritative answer to a reader’s question about whether Bakersfield permits graywater systems to use washing machine and other household water for landscaping and gardens. City Building Division Chief Phil Burns called and gave me the