Kern County has placed second in a national ranking of the best places to own a rental property for investment purposes.

A new index by Seattle-based landlord services firm All Property Management Inc. based Kern's ranking on criteria including the county's average vacancy rate (eighth lowest in the nation at 4.78 percent) and yearly rental price increase (nearly 13 percent, or ninth highest nationwide). Housing appreciation, mortgage rate caps and job growth were also factors.

No other California city landed in the company's top 20; Fresno ranked 21st, Sacramento 30th.

Bakersfield's home market weakened in September as inventory rose about 7 percent since August, total sales declined 6 percent and median prices slid 2.2 percent.

Some of the softening, detailed in a closely watched monthly report by local appraiser Gary Crabtree, is expected in autumn, a time when homebuying usually slows.

Compared with a year before, the median sale price of a single-family home in the city was up 30 percent at $195,000 in September.

Former executives of Tenneco Oil Co. are organizing a company reunion in Houston later this month, and inviting ex-employees in the Bakersfield area to join them.

Twenty-five years ago, in October 1988, Tenneco Inc. sold the oil company, which had employed 200 people locally.

The reunion will include the release of a book by former executives of the oil company titled "Built from Scratch‚ The Energy Companies of Tenneco."

Information about the Oct. 25 reunion at Houston's Royal Sonesta Hotel, is available online at

Local offices of Career Services Centers have been renamed America's Job Centers of California as part of an alignment with a national network of employment centers.

The offices continue to offer job seekers help with training, employment referrals and other services. Likewise, the centers still provide employers with training and tax incentive programs.

The local offices' phone number is 325-4473, and their new website

Bakersfield's Integrated Lighting has been appointed independent sales agent for d'ac Lighting , a New York-based decorative lighting fixtures manufacturer.

The agreement covers all of Kern, Fresno, Kings and Tulare counties.

Located at 3025 Gibson St., Integrated Lighting has more than 20 years of experience with electrical and lighting work.

A Menifee company has developed a propane-diesel fuel system that it claims can help Central Valley dairies save money and reduce emissions when retrofitted onto irrigation pump engines.

The company, California Clean Air Technologies, says its Dual-Fuel Retrofit Systems saved Maddox Dairy in Riverdale between $3,400 and $4,000 per month in fuel costs in the high usage times of May and June.

The system can be installed on Tier I, II and III diesel engines. The company's website is