Kernville Union School District Superintendent Robin Shive breathed a sigh of relief after his school board split 2-2 last month on a vote to allow concealed weapons on district campuses and at school-related events. The tie meant people with Concealed Carry Weapon permits would not be allow…

Earlier this year I wrote about how difficult if can be for an undocumented immigrant who is the victim of a crime to get help from law enforcement when it comes to filling out a simple government document. It's a form that asks one question: Was this person helpful in cooperating with the i…

"Public commissions, boards, councils and other legislative bodies of local government agencies exist to and in the conduct of the people's business. The People do not yield their sovereignty to the bodies that serve them. The people insist on remaining informed to retain control over the le…

Remember the TV game "Password"? One contestant would give a one-word hint to a partner. The partner, in turn, had five seconds to ponder the meaning of that hint in the hope of being able to guess what the password might be.

You know that feeling you get when you've been away from home for a while either because you're on vacation, a work-related assignment or something else? You get tired and feel out of sorts sleeping somewhere other than your own bed. And if you have kids or elderly family members with you, t…

My wife and I recently went on vacation. We chose to go to a place that is often in the news, where reports of wild shootouts between gunmen and law enforcement or even the military take place in broad daylight.

The priest approached the podium as he does every Sunday ready to give a sermon. Except this time he did not. With a somber look and holding a document in his hand, the priest said, "Instead of a homily, I've been asked by the bishop to read this letter." I perked up a little bit, wondering …

Would you expect a 19-year-old to be a) in college; b) working full-time; c) partying at every opportunity; d) a homeowner? Thinking back to what I was doing at 19, answer c would likely be the top answer. But Brenda Ruiz is no ordinary 19-year-old.

If there's a positive side to working in the news business, it's that it can bring you to know people who have faced the most tragic losses and yet somehow are able to endure, achieve and rise above adversity. One such person is Nellie Martinez. Let me tell you a little something about her.

One year after schools in Wasco tried to create a new school district by unifying its elementary and high school districts into one, the same effort is brewing in Shafter. But the current process under way there has already dissolved into split camps with accusations of secret meetings by ce…

Kern County Superior Court Executive Officer Terry McNally is eager to dispel rumors that any court personnel is in cahoots with immigration officials by tipping them off about a person's legal status.

A McFarland police officer recently promoted to the rank of commander turns out to have a criminal record. Documents from San Bernardino County Superior Court reveal that in 2009, Steven Nieves was arrested by Fontana police and charged with six misdemeanor counts including exhibiting a weap…

This is a tale of two congressmen who came to Bakersfield last week. One's a Democrat, Rep. Luis Gutierrez of Illinois, and the other a Republican, Rep. David Valadao of Hanford. Their mission: to find common ground on the politically sensitive -- and divisive -- issue of comprehensive immig…

This is a tale of two congressmen who came to Bakersfield last week. One was a Democrat, Rep. Luis Gutierrez of Illinois, and the other a Republican, Rep. David Valadao of Hanford.

After months of contentious debate, the U.S. Senate has finally passed the first significant piece of legislation on immigration reform in years. The bill was crafted by a bipartisan group of four Democrats and four Republicans, hence the name "the gang of eight." It cleared the Senate with …

It takes political courage in this town to have a mayor publicly state that he supports comprehensive immigration reform to address the country's challenge of what to do with 11 million or so undocumented immigrants. That's what Bakersfield mayor Harvey Hall did when he was among a group of …

South High School graduate Maria Perez is one of the hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants to be granted temporary permission to remain in the country and get a work permit and a driver's license. The 19-year-old applied for and was granted such status under the Deferred Action fo…

The cooler weather is here, and I welcome it. It means leaves will turn colors and brighten up the neighborhood. It will no longer be too hot to ride a bicycle in the middle of the afternoon or take a walk. No more shorts and sandals, although my friend Bruce will still wear shorts no matter…

The facilities at Believers of Jesus Church on Planz Road were teeming with young people eager yet wary of how to fill out a government form that could grant them a chance to remain in the country without fear of deportation. They came to get legal advice and help in filling out the form at …

During this time of the year, I've been covering an annual ritual in public schools. It's the dance of the layoff notices in which a school district issues a notice to teachers and other employees that they might not have a job next school year. And in every case, every year there are the us…

I've got to give credit when it is rightfully deserved. So I'd like to share the story of two mentors at Mira Monte High School who are passionate in their respective fields in education in large part because they believe in their students. And partly because they can identify with and see t…

Petra Villanueva lives in Arvin and just like a good deal of its residents, she speaks mostly Spanish. A stay-at-home mom, Villanueva has become a well-known figure at school board meetings where board members cringe when she gets up to speak on issues important to the community. She is not …

As if Kern County's African-American community didn't have enough challenges -- a high dropout rate, high unemployment and poverty rates -- along comes something else that is unnerving and devastating the lives of a whole community, particularly young black men. I'm talking about HIV/AIDS. D…

Many of us look forward to what a new year will bring in hope of making our lives or community a better place -- or at least a bit more interesting as we venture into circumstances we weren't quiet expecting.

A few weeks ago, I posed a question in my column: Can East Hills Malls be saved? And many readers jumped in with comments and suggestions on ways to improve, if not, save the financially troubled East Hills Mall in northeast Bakersfield.

I suppose teaching junior high students can be challenging enough these days without having to worry about your personal safety on school grounds. But at a recent Bakersfield City School District Board meeting, a couple of teachers spoke up about concerns over teacher safety, including feeli…