The number of homes listed for sale in Bakersfield rose by nearly a fifth in August, even as the sales tally slipped a bit, according to a leading gauge of the city's housing market.

Local appraiser Gary Crabtree's latest monthly report showed that current listings increased by 127, or 18 percent, while the number of closed sales of existing homes decreased by 22, or 4 percent.

In accompanying notes, Crabtree predicted continuing moderation in month-over-month median sales prices increases, which have been "unsustainable" in recent times, he wrote. August's median, $200,000, was up 2.6 percent from the month before, and 29 percent higher than a year prior.

The Hydrogen Energy California clean coal project proposed near Tupman will be the subject of three days' of informational workshops and public comments next week in Buttonwillow.

Sponsored by the California Energy Commission and the U.S. Department of Energy, the events run from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday at the Buttonwillow Recreation and Park District Multi-Purpose Facility, 556 Milo Ave.

Each day will focus on different aspects of the federally subsidized project, which would turn coal and petroleum coke into fertilizer and other chemicals, as well as electricity for sale to the power grid at times of peak demand. It would employ about 200 people.

A Texas company has acquired Bakersfield's Chancellor Oil Tool Inc. , a 53-year-old maker of liner hangers, cement heads and other oilfield equipment.

The buyer, Team Oil Tools Inc., manufactures, sells and services downhole completion products, including "swellable packers" and composite plugs for hydraulic fracturing. It's based in The Woodlands, Texas.

Chancellor's president, Thomas Townsend, said in a news release that the transaction will allow the company to expand its production capacity.

Hoping to stimulate local tourism, the Kern County Board of Trade hopes to award grants totaling up to $100,000 to nonprofits engaged in attracting tourists.

Applicants must be a 501(c)(3) organization based in the county. No single group may be awarded more than $10,000.

The deadline for applications is 5 p.m. Oct. 18. Information is available online at

Finalists have been announced for the inaugural West Coast Oil & Gas Awards, and the winners are scheduled to be honored at a ceremony Oct. 24 at the Bakersfield Marriott at the Convention Center.

A group of 52 industry executives selected the finalists from among more than 400 entries submitted by about 250 different companies. Among the contest categories: Industry Leader, Drilling & Well Services Company of the Year and Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative of the Year.

The list of finalists is available online at:

Bakersfield's Mountainside Disposal Inc./Price Disposal Inc. has agreed to pay $38,625 in fines for failure to meet a state-imposed deadline for installing diesel particulate filters on its trucks.

The California Air Resources Board, which levied the fines, said the company had no past violations. The penalties go toward community college classes on emission education and a fund created to pay for air quality improvement projects.

Mountainside/Price has seven franchise agreements covering 1,200 square miles, including agreements with Kern County, Bakersfield and Arvin.

Shell Pipeline Co. LP dedicated an oil tank in Bakersfield Thursday to highlight damage prevention and safe-digging practices.

Tank at 1801 Petrol Road features a reminder that people call 8-1-1 before digging.

People who call the number can get a professional to come out and mark the location of underground utilities, reducing chances that they will rupture an underground pipeline by accident.

The Association of Petroleum Wives raised $22,000 for Kern County charities in what its news release called an "especially rewarding" 2012-13 club year.

Through fundraisers such as Charity Bunco and the club's annual Sporting Clay Shoot, the Bakersfield-based organization was able to make donations to California Living Museum, Garden Pathways and WarmLine.

The group's 2013-14 club year kicks off with a "Membership Luau" Saturday. For information, contact Membership Chairwoman Lynn Califf at 301-0907.

Keller Williams Realty will hold an office meeting noon Sept. 19 for people interested in learning about the real estate industry. It will be held at the business' new location, 5601 Truxtun Ave., Suite 150.

To RSVP and/or learn more information, contact Jamie Judd at or 368-3807.