• From right, Russ Ramer, Pat McGonigal and Scott Tootle are three generations of Bakersfield oilmen being affected by the drop in oil prices and the layoffs that have occurred because of the drop.

    Layoffs hit hard for three-generation Bakersfield oil family

    Oil well workover specialist Russ Ramer switches on his television several times a day to check just one piece of news. Not the stock market, not the latest presidential election polls; he wants to know the price of a barrel of oil. Ramer, out of work since August because of the industry’s

  • Kern oil field injections suspected of causing series of quakes

    Kern County oil field wastewater injections probably contributed to three earthquakes magnitude 4 and stronger on the same day in September 2005, according to a study published Thursday in the scientific journal Geophysical Research Letters. The peer-reviewed study is among the first to

  • handout photograph - Kern County citrus growers are extremely anxious about the looming threat of citrus greening disease, known as huanglongbing in China, where it originated. The illness isn't harmful to people or animals, but it kills fruit trees and has decimated the citrus industry in Florida. The disease is carried on an insect called the Asian citrus psyllid. Not every psyllid is a carrier, but the disease cannot spread without the pest, which transmits it by feeding on the liquid inside citrus leaves.

    State asks for local cooperation on citrus pest

    Attention anyone with an orange, grapefruit, lemon, mandarin, pomelo or lime tree growing in the backyard: California’s citrus growers need your help. A state program funded by industry is reaching out to homeowners who may be able to help control the spread of an insect that threatens the very

  • Bee hives sit ready for the upcoming almond pollination in an orchard in the Shafter area Jan. 30, 2016.

    Beekeepers fall victim to theft as hive rental prices rise

    The bee rustlers are at it again. Beekeepers are reporting an escalation in bee hive thefts just weeks before the Central Valley almond bloom, considered the world’s largest and most lucrative pollination event. Hives are typically contained in white containers the size of a bankers box.

  • Business roundup: North Meadows Business Park signs latest tenants, more

    Two more tenants — a commercial tire company and an industrial testing firm —  have been announced for North Meadows Business Park, Roll Real Estate Development’s 180-acre complex southeast of 7th Standard Road and Highway 65. TCi Tire Centers recently signed a 10-year lease for 17,580 square

  • Aldi invites job applications at Wednesday hiring event

    Discount grocer Aldi will host a hiring event Wednesday in downtown Bakersfield to fill an undisclosed number of associate positions at a store it plans to open within months near Panama Lane and Highway 99. The German-based chain invited job-seekers 18 years or older with a high school diploma or

  • Full steam ahead for Kern oil producers

    Kern County’s oil industry is facing the global petroleum glut with a full head of steam. Rather than ease the flow amid slumping oil prices, many local producers continue to push forward with steam injection activities that keep their wells pumping at a steady clip. Many have little choice.

  • Appraiser Gary Crabtree

    Crabtree predicts small increase in local home prices

    The man who more-or-less correctly predicted how well Bakersfield’s housing market would perform in 2015 said Thursday that single-family homes in the city will gain in value this year  — but not by much. Local appraiser Gary Crabtree said the downturn in oil prices, sluggish wage growth and

  • An almond orchard in bloom along 7th Standard Road, near the Target Distribution Center.

    Drop in nut prices may weigh on farmland boom

    Concern is rising that the recent decline in commodity prices may threaten Kern County’s farmland boom, a decade-old phenomenon that has attracted investors and bolstered growers’ assets even as it has raised the costs of farmers who rent. Two Central Valley market observers say a variety of

  • Business roundup: Weir merges with local CPA firm, more

    Bakersfield City Councilman Ken Weir has combined his accounting firm with another in town, Hardaway Axume CPAs LLP. The new firm, dubbed Hardaway Axume Weir CPAs LLP, will be owned by Donald R. Hardaway Jr., Oscar I. Axume and Weir. All three are certified public accountants. The firm’s

  • This is a diesel storage tank used in Kern County agriculture for fueling of tractors and other farming equipment.

    Farmers push for flexibility on enforcement of diesel tank rules

    Diesel fuel tanks have become a major source of headaches for local farmers. Thousands of above-ground storage facilities used to supply tractors and other agriculture equipment with fuel are suddenly the focus of urgent talks between the Kern County Farm Bureau and local government agencies

  • Gay Gardella, 2016 Kern County Cattlewoman of the Year

    Kern cattle associations name 2016 honorees

    Kern County ranchers this year underscored their appreciation for educators and the professionals who care for their cattle by selecting an animal science teacher and a veterinarian for special recognition at an annual awards dinner Feb. 5 at the Petroleum Club of Bakersfield. The Kern County

  • Bakersfield resident Harvey Campbell was fascinated by wines for most of his life.

    Bakersfield wine lover was No. 1 at Joseph Phelps Vineyards

    I wrote a news obituary Friday on the passing of Bakersfield cotton breeder and agricultural consultant Harvey Campbell, who died Thursday at the age of 87. Much of the story was dedicated — and rightly so — to Campbell’s epic, years-long battle with the San Joaquin Valley Cotton Board and his

  • Matthew Barnes

    People in Business

    MATTHEW BARNES has joined the staff of Provost & Pritchard Consulting Group as an associate engineer in the Fresno-based firm’s Bakersfield office. Barnes has 10 years of engineering experience. He specializes in management and design of municipal infrastructure and land development projects.

  • What's oil property worth? Industry, assessors to hash it out

    Few people outside the oil industry have ever heard of it, but a conference scheduled for Feb 16-18 at Ventura’s Crowne Plaza Hotel will have a profound effect on everyday life in Kern County. The meeting of perhaps 100 industry representatives and county assessors around the state has a

  • Kern County's December unemployment increase was was driven mainly by 8,700 farmworker layoffs.

    County's unemployment rate rose to 10.2% in December

    Kern County's unemployment rate jumped a full percentage point to 10.2 percent between November and December, according to seasonally unadjusted data the state released Friday. The change was driven mainly by 8,700 farmworker layoffs, a nearly 14 percent month-to-month decline that brought

  • Business roundup: State proposes new oil field injection rules

    California’s Department of Conservation on Thursday released the first draft of new rules it says will improve the safety of oil field injection operations common in Kern County, including wastewater disposal facilities and “cyclic steam” wells. Under pressure from the U.S. Environmental

  • Sales agents predict slowdown in local real estate market

    Property specialists at an outlook conference Wednesday in Bakersfield presented a generally pessimistic view of the coming year in local real estate, one they predicted will stall, or in some cases reverse, what has been a solid recovery from the high vacancies and low prices of the recession.