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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.

PORTERVILLE: A Porterville man out of jail on bail was nabbed by law enforcement officers after he allegedly stole thousands of dollars worth of cargo.

On Thursday, Robert Wayne Blackwell, 35, broke into the back of a trailer that was parked on Highway 65 a few miles north of the Kern County line, according to The Recorder. California Highway Patrol officers witnessed Blackwell break in to the staged, locked tractor trailer at about 1:30 a.m., according to the report.

Blackwell attempted to drive away but was stopped by officers. They discovered additional stolen cargo items in his vehicle and at his home, the newspaper said.

The CHP said Blackwell is believed to be part of a cargo theft group that has been breaking into trailers in the area.

Different task force teams conducted a two day cargo trailer operation in the county after a nationwide company had 15 tractor trailers burglarized, each carrying millions of dollars worth of cargo.


The Clearwater-Yakima solar power project slated for Mojave has come to a halt.

Developers have put the project on hold until the Kern County Planning Commission reviews new material, takes public comments and makes its recommendations, the Mojave Desert News reported.

Residents objected to the project’s locations — in the middle of town — and not so much to the idea of solar power generation.

The 429-acre project would incorporate 180,000 photovoltaic solar panels on two adjacent sites, producing 40 megawatts of power. The project comprises more land than downtown Mojave, according to the newspaper.

An environmental group filed a petition for a Mojave mining company to halt operations because of endangered snails.

But last week, Golden Queen Mining Co. received good news: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service did not find the snail to be endangered or threatened, the Mojave Desert News reported.

In its petition, the environmental group said that more than 40 percent of the habitat of the Mohave Shoulderband — a half-inch tall snail with a light brown spiraling shell — was believed to be in the area.

Attorneys for the mining company said the petition failed to provide any photos of the snails or snail shells or scientific information needed for granting protection, the newspaper said.

Mining officials said construction of parking areas and infrastructure are advancing as planned. Actual mining won’t take place for about another year.

Off-road enthusiasts will soon have a map to guide them through different trails.

On Tuesday, the California City City Council accepted a grant that will allow Cal City to print maps for the Off-Road program.

The $17,837.25 grant came from the OHV Access Initiative through Yamaha Motor Sports, the Mojave Desert News reported.

Besides rider maps, the grant will also be used to create a goodie bag that will contain a whistle, a compass and a desert survival brochure.

The bags will be given to each permit applicant and are expected to be ready in the fall.


Ridgecrest residents, get ready for a new Marshalls opening its doors May 15.

The store will occupy part of the building on North China Lake Boulevard that used to house Mervyns many years ago, the Daily Independent reported.

Marshalls will occupy a 24,529-square-foot area. As part of the celebration, a Marshalls representative said the store will donate $5,000 to Disabled American Veterans during the ribbon-cutting ceremony at 7:30 a.m. May 15. The new store will add about 60 full- and part-time jobs to the area, a Marshalls press release said.

Ridgecrest Vice Mayor Chip Holloway said having a national retailer in the community is a positive sign looking forward.


The Marcias Boxing Team is no longer getting together in a Stallion Springs garage. The team is now training at a gym conveniently located in town with a larger arena to practice.

Al Macias, the boxing coach, opened the gym because he wanted to give back to his community and help kids stay out of trouble by giving them something to do, the Tehachapi News reported.

The boxing team has about 50 members and four boxers are competing at many USA Boxing amateur competitions. The gym is open to people of all ages, the newspaper said. The gym is at 421 N. Green St., Unit H, in Tehachapi.

Tehachapi now has a Little Free Library.

Part of a national trend, Little Free Libraries are usually placed in areas of high traffic in front of parks, businesses or neighborhoods. This one will go in at Expert Estates, 151 N. Mill St., according to the Tehachapi News.

The book selection varies based on community donations, but currently ranges from children’s stories to science fiction, literature and non-fiction.

The Little Free Library is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.


Taft College is giving students the opportunity to get a glimpse of career opportunities in different subjects.

Those include areas in science, technology, engineering and math through its STEM Outreach program. On May 2, 160 high school seniors visited the college campus and rotated through three centers. They were a part of physical science, life science, engineering and mathematics demonstrations, the Taft Midway Driller reported.

Rachel Taylor, coordinator for STEM Outreach Activities at Taft College, said it’s important for students — graduating from junior high school to high school — to start considering their education and career goals.

A group of more than 40 Kern County dogs took an overnight trip to Vancouver, Wash., in hopes of finding a forever home.

Unity Thrift Animal Rescue, a Taft-based nonprofit, collaborated with Southwest Washington Humane Society in the pet exchange, the Taft Midway Driller reported.

But before the 34 dogs from Taft and nine from elsewhere in the county left Tuesday, they had to be checked for heartworm, get rabies vaccinations if necessary and pass an exam to receive a health certificate for Washington. The trip to Washington cost Unity Thrift $2,250.

The nonprofit is seeking donations. For more information, call Suzi Baker at (661) 331-0420.


More than 280 military retirees attended  the 2014 Military Retiree Appreciation Day.

Guest speaker John Oglesby, a Kern County Superior Court judge, said it was a privilege to personally thank veterans for what they have accomplished, an Edwards Air Force Base newsletter reported.

Information booths and vendors were set up to offer information for veterans. For information on military retirees and upcoming events, call the AFB Retiree Activities office at (661) 277-4931.


The Frazier Mountain High School will be hosting a college and carrier fair May 21.

There will be 20 to 25 employers and 15 to 20 colleges and vocational schools available to answer questions and give out brochures, the Mountain Enterprise reported. The event kicks off at 3 p.m. in the high school’s gymnasium. For info call 248-5271 or 245-3312.