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Lemonade stands, hay donations, meal servings: How Kern's helping fire victims

Three girls from Tehachapi set up a lemonade stand to raise money for Erskine Fire victims.

Kern County may be spread far apart, but when tragedy hits, the county comes together.

The Erskine Fire began a week ago Thursday and since then, countless businesses, nonprofits and individuals have teamed up to help its victims.

Those victims have needed everything: clothes, food, water, toiletries and more.

“To see people lose everything, and having to start over again, is pretty tough,” said Bob Hodel, owner of Hodel’s Country Dining. “So we are going to do our part. Let’s rebuild together.”

Hodel has been helping rebuild

Fireworks light up the Shafter sky during an organized show, as seen in a file photo.

Agencies urge fireworks safety during holiday celebrations

The Fourth of July weekend comes with certain traditions. There may be days spent poolside, picnics with hamburgers and hotdogs fresh off the grill along with sliced, cool watermelon, and maybe a ballgame or two. But there’s often a downside to the festivities in Kern County. Whether it’s a

Amber Sanders as seen in court last year.

Sentencing postponed for woman who took plea deal in beating death

Sentencing for a woman who pleaded no contest to an accessory charge in the death of a 31-year-old Bakersfield man was postponed Thursday to Sept. 16, at which point it’s expected she will have fulfilled the requirements of her plea deal by testifying against her co-defendants. Prosecutors

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  • Ruben Castro was sentenced to 25 years to life for the murder of a prostitute.

    Man who strangled prostitute sentenced to 25 years to life

    A Bakersfield man who strangled a prostitute with whom he had an ongoing relationship was sentenced Friday to 25 years to life in prison. Ruben Castro was found guilty of murder May 2 in the death of 34-year-old Andrea Russell. The motive remains unclear, but prosecutors have said he may have

  • A fire in the Stallion Springs area was reported around 10 p.m. Thursday. It was reported near Bold Venture Drive and Buck Passer Road in the southeast part of Stallion Springs.

    Fire breaks out in Stallion Springs overnight

    A grass fire in the Stallion Springs area that started at about 10 p.m. Thursday in the southeastern part of Stallion Springs near Bold Venture has been contained to less than 20 acres Friday morning, “We have limited communication with the fire command staff due to the use of tactical frequencies,

  • Spectators enjoy the fireworks at the Riverwalk Park in this file photo.

    Fireworks show sparks fireworks on Facebook

    Should a fireworks show be held in an area that has so recently suffered a deadly wildfire that displaced thousands of people? That very question sparked a large debate on the Kern Valley News & Info Facebook page, managed by Rex Emerson. Yes, the show in Lake Isabella will go on. 

  • TPD Lead Dispatcher Matt Murphy prepares to handle radio traffic from the dispatch center.

    Tehachapi Police Department opens dispatch center

    TEHACHAPI — The Tehachapi Police Department launched its own dispatch center, began taking its own calls from the public and opened its doors to the citizens 24 hours a day beginning Thursday. “It’s important to bring this (dispatch) in house, so we can provide even better service to the community,

  • The stunning one-of-a-kind monument recognizes the five branches of the military and now stands in front of the new Visitor Center in Tehachapi.

    Community celebrates opening of Freedom Plaza and Visitor Center

    TEHACHAPI — Several hundred people gathered on a warm Thursday afternoon for a joyous occasion people have looked forward to for quite some time — the grand opening of the Freedom Plaza and Visitor Center at the corner of West Tehachapi Boulevard and South Curry Street. “This is a proud day for us,

  • Map of the fire perimeters Thursday, June 30, 2016.

    LIVE UPDATES: Erskine Fire, June 30

    Updated at 4:45 p.m. The county provided an updated list of donation centers serving fire victims. See attached list for details.  Updated at 2:30 p.m.  Incident Information Website InciWeb has uploaded a gallery of photos from the Erskine Fire. For the full list of images,

  • Robbery suspect.

    Suspect robbed bakery, police say

    An armed gunman robbed a bakery last week, police said Thursday. The suspect entered Panaderia Bakery at 700 E. California Ave. at 4:45 a.m. June 22, brandished a gun and demanded items from the clerk, police said. He then fled the business. He’s described as Hispanic, 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 7

  • Breaking News and Traffic slides (4).jpg

    Two arrested after firing shots in south Bakersfield

    Two men were arrested and several guns seized after police responded to a report of a shooting Wednesday in south Bakersfield. Police responded to the 6800 block of Betty Street at about 5 p.m. for a report of shots fired from a vehicle. As officers drove through the area, they found the suspect

  • Breaking News and Traffic slides (4).jpg

    Man, 91, rescued after falling down slope near home

    A 91-year-old man was airlifted from Hart Flat after falling down a steep, long slope near his home, Kern County firefighters said. The man was flown from Anderson Court to the Keene Helibase, transferred to an ambulance and driven to a Bakersfield hospital for treatment and observation,

  • Funeral services for July 1, 2016

    Services scheduled Elena Lopez, 79, Bakersfield, June 26. Visitation 6 to 7 p.m. July 5, The Church of Bakersfield, 4040 Niles St.; service 9 a.m. July 6, The Church of Bakersfield. Hillcrest Memorial Park & Mortuary. Juanita Mears, 89, Tehachapi, June 27. Graveside service 9:30 a.m. July 5,