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Cal State Bakersfield has had nearly a week since it beat Texas-Arlington on Wednesday to advance to the semifinals of the National Invitation Tournament.

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Everything about the past two weeks was uncharted territory for Cal State Bakersfield basketball. From entering the National Invitation Tournament to traveling to New York to playing in Madison Square Garden, none of the players or coaches really knew what to expect.

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It was an experience none of them will ever forget: Walking through the tunnels at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, past posters of Kevin Durant (remember him, OKC?) into a sea of flashbulbs and onto a court with the famed NCAA Tournament logo.

1 For the first time, The Californian has published online "The story of us," a collection of history pieces, old photos, columns and an exhaustive timeline chronicling 150 years of Kern County history. It had been included with the printed paper on Aug. 6, 2016, but not made available to on…

They include a longtime local political aide who decided to step out from behind the scenes. A new city school district superintendent who has begun to make his mark — and make some waves. And a young runner who may be the next big standout at storied McFarland High School.

If the scenario sounds like a country song, maybe it's because it actually became one: Singer returns to the hometown he loved/loathed/ultimately escaped to make peace, relive his earliest memories of home and family, and say goodbye.

The Californian remembers the people we lost this year who helped shape the city’s identity and inspire us. Reflections on country music great Merle Haggard and activist Helen Chavez begin our special commemoration

Robert Price, Senior Editor for The Bakersfield Californian and author of "The Bakersfield Sound: How a Generation of Displaced Okies Revolutionized American Music," sits down alongside Eye Street Editor Jennifer Self to remember the great musician Merle Haggard after his death in 2016. 

As Kern County celebrates its 150th anniversary, we honor a colorful past full of dreamers, doers, movers and shakers. I'd like to tell you about a few of the people who helped make Kern County what it is today.