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Casey Christie / The Californian

Laura Liera is The Californian's digital news assistant. Reach her at with news from beyond Bakersfield.

TAFT:That "in sickness and in health" vow got an early test for one Taft newlywed couple.

A man who'd been at their wedding reception climbed into a car and ran them both down, sending the bride to the hospital on her wedding night.

It happened in Taft Heights when 25-year-old Dustin Little, accompanying an invited wedding guest, was asked to take his intoxicated friend away from the wedding, the Taft Midway Driller reported.

As Little was leaving, he reportedly "made insults about the bride," according to Kern County Sheriff Senior Deputy Stephen Wells. The groom took offense and challenged Little to a fight. Little left the reception, jumped in his car and started to drive away. The groom tried to stop him in the street, but Little managed to drive off. Then, according to Kern County Sheriff's Office deputies, Little make a U-turn and drove back, swerving his car into both the groom and his bride, who had joined him in the middle of the street.

The bride was taken to a Bakersfield hospital. The groom declined treatment.

Little fled but deputies collared him a short time later. He was being held on $530,000 bail and is charged on suspicion of attempted murder and one count of assault with a deadly weapon.

Clayton Wikoff has a 4.36 grade point average and is leading the Taft Union High School class of 2014 as the school's valedictorian.

Friday, he was awarded the 23rd Congressional District of California 2014 Merit Award by Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, the Taft Midway Driller reported.

The award recognizes the hard work, dedication and outstanding academic achievement of students who are nominated by their school principals.

Wikoff, the newspaper said, plans to major in mathematics and engineering at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and then enter the Air Force as a second lieutenant.

The Taft valedictorian was one of 18 Kern County high school seniors to receive the award.


If you're hiking or enjoying the views at Wind Wolves Preserve this weekend, don't be surprised to see a couple of new animals roaming the lands.

A total of 15 California tule elk bulls, 16 cows and five calves have been brought from the San Luis Refuge into Wind Wolves Preserve and the Carrizo Plains Ecological Reserve in San Luis Obispo.

Seventy years ago, the California native tule elk were on the bink of extinction, The Mountain Enterprise reported. Now, with collaboration between the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and theU.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the tule elk has started to grow in population.

A fish and wildlife environmentalist told the Enterprise that capturing and transporting tule elk is a huge endeavor, but the effort is critical for the species' long-term survival.


They're still teens and they've already checked one off their bucket lists.

For the second year in a row, the Edwards Base Aero Club hosted Aero Camp, which prepared and introduced students to the world of aviation, an Edwards Air Force Base newsletter said.

Over spring break, April 21-25, students ages 14 to 19 were trained by certified flight instructors. The students underwent eight hours of training a day, the newsletter said.

Each student was given an hour of flying every day. When they weren't in the air, students were completing their ground school kit that prepared them for a short oral exam with one of the instructors. When they were signed off, they took the Federal Aviation Administration written exam.

The club's next camp will be hosted in July. For more information, call 661-275-AERO.


How would $15,000 worth of fireworks look in the sky?

That is what Norm Hill, CEO of Norm Hill Aviation in California City, wants to find out this Fourth of July. Although California City already puts on a firework show every year, Hill wanted to help the city and start a new tradition.

"We want to put on a nice, extravagant show for our city and our sister towns," Hill told The Californian.

Hill has challenged local businesses to match his $500 donation for the fireworks show, and encouraged businesses in Boron, Mojave and surrounding areas to help out.

The $15,000 display budget was estabished after Hill investigated typical costs for firework shows.

"That's the price for a 20 to 25 minute show," he said.

So far, his challenge has been matched by seven other businesses. If you would like to donate, contact Mary Ann LeBlanc at (760) 373-2007.

The words that most students don't want to hear: Summer school. But the Mojave Unified School District could be just the place a lot of students want to be this summer.

According to the Mojave Desert News, the district will host a Summer Renewable Resources and Conservation Academy during July.

The academy will feature hands-on, in-depth, and project-based classes. It's open to students from kindergarten to the 11th grade. The academy will be held at Mojave Junior/Senior High School July 7-25.


This would be another reason to visit Tehachapi: Plans for a mountain bike park may soon be in the works.

Last year, the City of Tehachapi hired a group that specializes in planning mountain bike parks to study the possibility, the Tehachapi News reported. One conclusion: 53 miles of trails will represent a $7 million investment.

If the city approves the plan, the bike trails are expected to bring in 40,000 visitors in the first year alone, and up to 100,000 visitors by its eighth year, the study found.

The Tehachapi News said the study reported an estimated 12 trails could be constructed over a period of three years at costs ranging from $50,000 to $140,000 per trail, depending on skill level.

Two Tehachapi restaurants closed during the last weekend in April.

After nine years of serving steak and seafood dishes, City Slickers Restaurant posted closed signs on its doors, the Tehachapi News reported.

Also closed was a Quizno's franchise, owned by the same family, in an adjacent space.

Signs posted on the doors blamed "continuing building construction issues" and thanked Tehachapi residents for their years of support and friendship.

The Tehachapi city manager was surprised to see the restaurants closed. The newspaper reported that there were no current city enforcement actions afoot that might have prompted the owners to close the restaurants.


A seventh and eighth grade brother and sister from Murray Middle School traveled to Washington, D.C., for the inaugural National KidWind Competition and returned home with a $250 check and a judges' award.

The April 26 competition, which is designed to encourage kids to learn about renewable energy, was held as part of the USA Science & Engineering Festival, The Daily Independent reported.

The siblings created their best handmade windmill ands were judged on performance criteria including energy output. The designs were presented with a full write up of the project, the newspaper said.