The unemployment rate in Kern County went down last month.

The county saw a 7.5 percent unemployment rate for October, an improvement from 8.1 percent in September, according to new data released Friday by the state Employment Development Department. The October rate is a big improvement from last October, when the rate was 9.1 percent.

Statewide, the rate dropped to 4.9 percent from 5.1 percent in September. The rate was 5.3 percent in 2016. Statewide, 31,700 non-farm jobs were added in October.

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The southbound Highway 99 ramp at Real Road will be closed for several hours this weekend.

The California Department of Transportation said the ramp will be closed from 5:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday for landscape maintenance and drainage cleanup. The closure will include the far right lane between Highway 58 and the Ming Avenue off-ramp.

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Bakersfield business C. Jeff Thomson International has been named this year’s recipient of the California Leopold Conservation Award.

The award, which recognizes conservation on private land, will be given to Thomson’s family on Dec. 4 at the California Farm Bureau Federation’s annual meeting in Orange County. Thomson, a local farmer, died suddenly in October.

On his farm, he used drip irrigation and soil-moisture sensors to reduce water use on a number of his crops by up to 60 percent. Thomson also established an 850-acre wetland on his property in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The awards are sponsored by the Sand County Foundation, the California Farm Bureau Federation and Sustainable Conservation.

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California State University, Bakersfield is now accepting nominations for this year’s Wendy Wayne Ethics Awards.

The awards, put on by the Kegley Institute of Ethics, recognize people who are committed to helping others. Awards are given out each year to one adult and one minor along with $5,000 for a charitable donation or college scholarship.

The awards honor Wayne, a CSUB alumna who joined the Peace Corps and later worked in the health and education fields. She was also involved with the Kern County Planning Commission and other organizations.

“These awards are special because they recognize persons who just do the right thing, day in and day out. Such people are among our community’s most impressive role models,” said Kegley Institute of Ethics Director Emeritus Christopher Meyers.

The deadline for this year’s nominations is Dec. 1. The nomination form can be found at csub.edu/kie or by contacting the Kegley Institute of Ethics at 654-6263. Winners will be recognized at ceremony at the Stockdale Country Club.

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