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Video screen still of Wonderful Pistachios commercials.

Local ag giant Paramount Farms announced Tuesday that it has contracted with television personality Stephen Colbert for a yearlong "Get Crackin', America" pistachio campaign that will debut with a pair of Super Bowl commercials.

This marks the second consecutive Super Bowl to feature Paramount's Wonderful Pistachios. In a 30-second spot in last year's coverage of the sporting event, recording star Psy of "Gangnam Style" fame demonstrated his way of cracking open the nuts, which are grown in Kern County and elsewhere in the Central Valley.

Colbert, the Emmy award-winning host and executive producer of Comedy Central's satirical "The Colbert Report," said in Tuesday's news release: "Since I was a child, I've dreamed of working with America's premier nut company."

The median sale price of an existing, single-family home in Bakersfield rose almost 10 percent to $208,000 in December even as the number of purchases declined by a fifth , local appraiser Gary Crabtree reported in a closely watched housing gauge.

December's median, defined as the point at which half the homes sold for more and half sold for less, represents a 28-percent increase over December 2012.

A two-day business conference coming to Bakersfield later this month will examine strategies for treating, reusing and disposing of water used in oilfield activities such as hydraulic fracturing and steam generation.

Hosted by Houston-based American Business Conferences, the event will feature presentations by oil executives and regulators on subjects including freshwater sourcing, disposal options and permitting.

The conference will take place Jan. 29-30 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Bakersfield, 3100 Camino Del Rio Court. Event information is available online at

The California Independent Petroleum Association plans to open a Bakersfield regional office that would be the oil trade group's only location outside Sacramento.

While CIPA has not yet identified where the office will be located, it has selected the person who will run the operation: Director of Regional Affairs Blair Knox, who for years has served as its director of public affairs.

CEO Rock Zierman said the office will serve California's leading oil production areas of Kern County, Southern California and the Central Coast.

A Tehachapi company says it has developed a pocket-size black light flashlight that, with 51 ultraviolet 395 nanometer LEDs, it claims is 30 percent brighter than the competition.

A company news release says the product helps detect bed bugs, pet urine in carpet, valuable minerals, leaks, counterfeit currency and forensics evidence.

Power Tek's 51 LED Ultraviolet Flashlight sells on Amazon for $15.75.