Big Lots is planning an Aug. 15 grand opening at its newest Bakersfield store at White Lane Crossing, 4751 White Lane.

The 22,057-square-foot store replaces a former Big Lots at 3580 Wilson Road. A spokeswoman said the new location has higher traffic and serves a greater population density. There are now three Big Lots in Bakersfield.

The Ohio-based closeout retailer sells everyday goods, seasonal items, home decor, electronics, toys, furniture and mattresses. The new store's hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

An eight-hour public workshop set for Thursday in Bakersfield is expected to consider the impact of oil well stimulation techniques like hydraulic fracturing on groundwater.

The 8:30 a.m. meeting at the Kern County Board of Supervisors Chambers, 1115 Truxtun Ave., is part of the State Water Resources Control Board's obligations under 2013's Senate Bill 4, which created California's first rules specific to the process commonly called "fracking."

The water board is required to develop model criteria for developing groundwater monitoring during well stimulation. Agency officials are being joined at the event by representatives of the state Department of Conservation, its Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources, and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Colston Construction Inc. plans to break ground at 10 a.m. Aug. 13 at the site of a residential development along Taft's Hillard Street.

The project, dubbed Sandy Creek Estates, has been in the works since 2003. It will begin with 32 homes, all of which have been pre-sold.

Sales information about the project's next phase is available through Bob Colston at 201-2087.

A new, 102-kilowatt photovoltaic solar power array has been installed at the Hampton Inn & Suites, and the company says the system saves up to $8,800 a month on energy costs.

San Luis Obispo-based REC Solar designed and put in the system, which sits atop the hotel's carports and produces 44 percent of the hotel's electric power.

The 94-room hotel is located at 8818 Spectrum Park Way. A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the solar system took place July 30.

Bakersfield's Power Machinery Center has won a 2013 Service Excellence Award Gold from UniCarriers/Nissan Forklift America.

The honor means the store at 3263 Rio Mirada Drive met standards in seven categories including employee competence, customer satisfaction and business planning.