• FTC names 7 local funeral homes penalized for price disclosure violations

    The Federal Trade Commission, responding to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by The Californian, has released the names of seven Bakersfield mortuaries it says violated price-disclosure rules during a six-state undercover investigation last year. The companies are: Alma Funeral Home

  • STEVEN VAN METRE: Student loan scandal threatening U.S. economy

    Roughly $1.2 trillion in U.S. student loans are jeopardizing the present financial well-being and future retirements of generations of Americans. And the Wild West-like behavior of the student loan industry is making the situation worse. Consumer abuses have become so rampant that the federal

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    Kern objects to coal plant's chemical manufacturing plans

    In an 11th-hour objection that could help sink one of the area’s largest industrial projects, Kern County Planning Director Lorelei Oviatt informed state officials last week that a clean-coal project proposed in western Kern County is not permitted to manufacture chemicals for use in

  • Holly Culhane

    HOLLY CULHANE: Confusion swirls around state's new paid sick law

    California employers must not be caught off-guard by a new paid sick leave law that goes into effect on July 1. The state penalties for non-compliance include stiff fines. The Healthy Workplace, Healthy Families Act of 2014 is a complex law that, with few exceptions, grants paid sick leave to

  • Californian contributing columnist Robin Paggi.

    ROBIN PAGGI: HR issues popping up in entertainment world

    If you're a fan of entertainment news, but don't want to get caught reading US Weekly magazine, here's the latest along with some related human resources information (because I see HR issues in everything). After appearing on the PBS show, "Finding Your Roots," Ben Affleck

  • Russ Allred, business consultant and author at Sunbelt Business Brokers

    RUSS ALLRED: Sanding off rough spots in business ownership

    To most it is just a pile of sand, but to the educated eye it is a treasure. Sand has myriad uses. You can bag it for bulk or monitor time as the grains run through an hourglass. Sand is the key ingredient in glass and solar panels. Sand is a good base material under brick or you can bind brick

  • People in Business

    RICHARD RUIZ has been elected chairman of Safe 1 Credit Union’s board of directors. Ruiz, a volunteer at the credit union for 15 years, is a certified public accountant. He serves as the Kern High School District’s director of business services. JORGE BARRIENTOS has won Mothers Against Drunk

  • Large solar project east of Taft will create habitat preserve

    Work has begun on a 700-megawatt solar energy plant near Maricopa that will dedicate nearly 2,000 acres — about a third of the project’s total footprint — to conserve habitat for three endangered and two threatened species. Funded entirely with private money, the project is owned by Maricopa Sun

  • Despite the arrival this year of four major national-chain retailers, BevMo, Nordstrom Rack, Sprouts and T.J. Maxx (pictured) at The Shops at River Walk, Bakersfield will experience an estimated $6 million dollar downturn in expected sales tax revenue for the first three months of 2015.

    City officials grapple with drop in sales tax revenue

    Bakersfield’s sales tax revenue fell nearly 16 percent during the first quarter of 2015, in a year-over-year comparison, and department heads will attend an emergency meeting Tuesday morning to discuss ways to account for the estimated $6 million loss. City layoffs aren’t planned as a result

  • As the water level in Isabella Lake has dropped, the lake no longer backs up against the Auxiliary Dam, in background.

    Water level at Isabella Lake falling to critical levels

    First, the silver lining: If an earthquake leveled the Auxiliary Dam, the weaker of the two dams at Isabella Lake, there would be no catastrophic flooding downstream in Bakersfield. That’s because the water level is so low in the lake, it no longer presses up against the 62-year-old earthen

  • This home located at 1312 Deschules Creek Ln sold for $278,000 on April 3. The 2,495 square-foot home in the 93311 ZIP code has 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms.

    Local home prices jump in May amid rising supply, demand

    Bakersfield’s home market gained steam last month as demand outpaced a surge in supply, pushing prices significantly higher. Local appraiser Gary Crabtree’s preliminary May market report said the city’s home sales volume jumped 18.2 percent from April to reach 590 closings, or 5.2 percent more

  • Holly Culhane

    HOLLY CULHANE: Does camera surveillance belong in your workplace?

    The recent fatal derailment of an Amtrak passenger train leaving Philadelphia has renewed calls to install video and sound cameras in locomotive engines. Eight people died and about 200 people were injured in the crash. The engineer, who sustained head injuries, says he cannot remember what

  • Chevron finds buyer for tainted oil, but questions remain

    A high-stakes mystery arose almost three years when someone allowed a common industrial solvent to enter one of only three oil pipelines connecting Kern County with refineries in the Bay Area. The ensuing contamination not only left the pipeline’s owner, Chevron, holding the bag with an estimated