Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Another storm will bring steady rain and snow to California through the weekend, Rod and Julie Crawford take me on a tour of the Silver Fox Starlite Lounge, and Cafe Med gets some 5-star love from a customer

 * ... RAIN AND COLD: Brace yourself because we are in for yet another weekend of steady rain, snow in the mountains and possible road closures. Is this California? Is this the Kern County I have
known for so many years? The rains this winter have been spectacular - and needed - but we are desert rats here and occasionally I admit to missing those morning when it is 80 degrees at 6 a.m. Let it rain, and snow, but when the sun returns, I will welcome that too.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "I love my husband. But, what really motivates me to stay married is how much weight I'd have to lose to date again."

 * ... SILVER FOX STARLITE: I took a tour of the old Silver Fox Lounge that is being lovingly restored by Rod and Julie Crawford, the couple who turned Pyrenees Cafe into one of the most popular spots in town. The couple purchased the 18th Street restaurant across from Mexicali (it had been renamed the Castaway Lounge and its iconic Silver Fox sign donated to the Kern County Museum) and are determined to return it to its nostalgic form of 40 years ago, when the best places in town were venues like The Town Casino in the old Padre Hotel, Suds Tavern, The Mint and of course the World Famous Alley Cat. "The Fox definitely won't be the dive that they once knew but not so nice that you are going to feel under dressed," Rod said. Longtime restaurateur and Crawford friend Andrew Willingham is helping in the restoration and will likely help run the place. My bet: expect the Crawfords to deliver a menu of outstanding food and service, served in a lively, homey atmosphere with plenty of outdoor seating. The new Silver Fox Starlite Lounge should be opened by sometime in February.

 * ... 18th STREET REVIVAL: The Silver Fox Starlite Lounge is just the latest in the gentrification of 18th Street, already home to Mexicali, The Goose Bar and Grill (formerly Goose Loonies), Bill Lee's and an expanding Sequoia Sandwich Co. Add the upscale new apartment complex just a few blocks west, and a new coffee house called Cafe Smitten that looks about to open, and you have an urban renaissance that is transforming 18th Street east of Chester Avenue. Will this corridor become one of the "it" places to live downtown?

* ... SPEED RECORD: Last week I wrote about a man who set a land speed record on a bicycle here in 1941. As it turns out, Harvey McCown said the late Vince Clerou was part of it. "The car not only 'paced' the bicycle, but had a wind screen mounted on it. That way the car was braking the wind and the rider only had to focus on his speed. Vince grinned and chuckled about the wind coming around and 'probably' pushing the rider to a higher speed. The car driver had to be very skilled to maintain the speed and not cause a problem for the rider. The race car driver was in town for a race at the race track at the old fairgrounds. The area is now south of Sam Lynn Ball Park. The big mound that used to be there was the grandstand for the race track. I seem to remember the name of Barnie Olfield, but that may just be the passage of time enhancing the story telling."

 * ... CAFE MED: If you think customer service is dead, consider this note from Nick Phillips who recently visited Cafe Med his wife Celeste and their 3-month-old son Adonijah. They showed up without a reservation and waited for a bit until the staff set up a fresh table for them in the deli area.
"While waiting for our table, about six passersby stopped to compliment us on our handsome baby boy. One more approached, with a friendly smile and familiar presence, to kneel down and admire Adonijah - Adonijah's feedback was a very intent stare. The food was delicious and the service great. We were amazed at how many friendly faces we had encountered in one evening, not to mention the fact that our baby had not complained the entire time!" When the check came, a stranger appeared to intercept the check, wished them a happy new year and told Phillips to save his money for a special date night. "Stunned, surprised, and slightly scared, my wife and I were feeling very blessed. I rose to give the man a hug and a big thank you, learning that his name was Kenny. We would like to thank God, for blessing us and preparing such a perfect evening. We thank Kenny, for such a thoughtful act of kindness. And we thank Cafe Med, for great service."

Thursday, January 12, 2017

California welcomes the "atmospheric river" of rain and snow, what's going on at the Fox Theater and my seven month retirement ends with a daily radio show starting next week

 * ... RAIN AND SNOW: Take a deep breath and enjoy this "atmospheric river" of rain that has been pummeling California for the past few weeks. To be sure it is not enough to end the long drought, but there is plenty of good news for our lakes and reservoirs. As Louis Sahagun of the Los
Angeles Times reported: "Lake Tahoe has risen 12 inches in just the last two weeks as the storms have dumped 33.6 billion gallons of water into the massive landmark, which measures 72 miles around and has a capacity for 37 trillion gallons of water. As of Tuesday morning, 154 of the largest reservoirs tracked by the California Department of Water Resources had filled to about 97 percent of their collective average for the day ... Just a year ago, many were at or below 50 percent of average." Even Lake Oroville has risen 90 feet since December. (photo courtesy of SFGate)

 * ... GOING, GOING, GONE?: The Wall Street Journal recently compiled a list of popular products that have fallen out of favor with consumers. Among them: powder detergent (replaced by pods), processed cheese, bar soap, margarine, ground coffee (replaced by the Keurig cups), frozen juice concentrate and alkaline batteries.

 * ... FOX THEATER: What is going on over at the Fox Theater and the folks who are running the show? Jennifer Self, the Californian's longtime features editor who is plugged into the local entertainment community, shed some light this week when she questioned what happened to Bob Bender, who apparently lost his job running the Fox and booking shows at the iconic venue. So who is running this local community treasure? I hope it's not Melanie Farmer, the head of the Fox Theater Foundation who has zero experience in concert promotion. Other than telling Self the foundation was looking at being a more "hands-on operation" (what does that mean?) we are left in the dark. Memo to Farmer: The Fox is a community treasure and many of us have opened our wallets to preserve and restore it. If Bender is out, tell us what the plan is for the grand old dame of Bakersfield.

* ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "I've never done jail time, but I've been stuck in a group text with my family and it can't be much worse."

 * ... RADIO: I spent a career in print journalism but my second love has always been news radio, a more free wheeling environment that is both authentic and unpredictable. So I am pleased to announce that effective this Monday, Jan. 16, I will host my own two hour daily talk show on KERN NewsTalk (96.1 FM/1180 AM) from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. (I will be the lead-in for the popular Ralph Bailey Show that comes on at 3 p.m.) Join me on inauguration week for a lineup of special guests including Monsignor Craig Harrison, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Pulitzer Prize winning Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker, former Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, Reuters Washington, D.C., correspondent Bill Trott, CSUB political science professor Jeanine Kraybill, water expert Harry Starkey, Californian columnist Lois Henry, CSUB basketball Coach Rod Barnes, Californian executive editor Bob Price and many more.

 * ... FOODIE: Were you surprised that the Mimi's restaurant on California Avenue closed? Eateries come and go but Mimi's always seemed to have a steady clientele. But the food business is a tough one, and the public can be fickle in its loyalty. Across the street, I made my first visit to the Habit Burger and while it is no In-N-Out, the burger was rich and tasty and the service was excellent. I was also pleased to read that RJ's Bar and Grill had reopened and was back in business on Hageman Road.

 * ... STOLEN CARS: Car and truck theft is rampant here is Bakersfield, and here are some of the most popular targets according to the Bakersfield Police Department: 1990 through 2000 Honda Accords and Civics; 2000 through 2008 Chevrolet Silverado trucks; 2000 through 2008 GMC Sierra trucks; and 1990 through 2000 Acura Integras.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

When marriages end in a most public way via social media, Bakersfield's Joey Porter is in trouble again and remembering a time when Bako was the home of a bicycle speed record

* ... DIVORCE: By sheer coincidence a number of friends and acquaintances of mine are seeing their marriages end, or at worse slowly unravel in a most public manner via postings on Facebook and other forms of social media. The indescribable heartbreak of divorce for those of us who have
been through it - as I have - is compounded by the way social media allows people to peek behind the curtain of our private lives. (One social media ritual is a Stalinesque purge of the soon-to-be ex spouse's photos, a sure sign that something isn't right at home). My advice to these folks: whatever pain you feel now will eventually be replaced by hope, new beginnings and salvation. If you have a friend going through a tough time, do as the late poet Maya Angelou advised and "be the rainbow in somebody else's cloud."

 * ... MARY: Watson Realtor Mary Christenson was out for dinner at Wiki's Wine Dive and Grill the night of the Alabama-Clemson college football championship when a stranger asked her if she was rooting for Alabama. Why? She was wearing a black checked wool wrap reminiscent of the late Alabama football legend Bear Bryant's houndstooth cap. (Full disclosure: Mary and I have been friends for years, I have used her to buy and sell homes and she is the generous sponsor of this blog.)

* ... JOEY PORTER: Why can't Joey Porter just stay out of trouble? The former Foothill High star, now a coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers, was arrested outside a Pittsburgh bar for assaulting a doorman. This is just the latest in a long string of incidents that seem to follow Porter.

 * ... FRIENDLY: Did you see that a driver fell asleep at the wheel and ran his car into a restaurant on North Chester that used to be the home of the Friendly Cafe? The Friendly, and its famous multi-egg omelette, was one of the first places I visited after moving here years ago. And yes, I still miss it.

 * ... SPOTTED ON INSTAGRAM: "There should be a millennial edition of Monopoly where you just walk around the board paying rent, never able to buy anything."

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Filing my taxes online this morning and Vladimir Putin texted to say I shouldn't be using form 1040EZ."

 * ... SPOTTED BY PETER: Peter Wonderly spotted a young man at a local Target wearing a T-shirt that read, "I like big butts and taco trucks."

 * ... SCHWINN: My buddy Randy Martin of Covenant Community Services turned me on to this interesting factoid from a history site. In 1941, a man named Alfred Letourneur "was able to beat the motor-paced world speed record on a bicycle, reaching 108.92 miles per hour (175.29 km/h) on a Schwinn Paramount bicycle riding behind a car in Bakersfield, California."

* ... EAST HIGH: Sue Lueth reached out to me to remember Roger Chichester, a former biology teacher at East High who was so kind and inspirational to her daughter, who at one time was had a rare immune disorder and was facing a potential bone marrow transplant. "Mr. Chi in his usual graceful way, made her a  teacher's assistant during the time Physical Education classes were supposed to be held. This single act of kindness guided a scared isolated  teen to pursue a career in science. Her excitement was  invigorating and a joy to watch... We were blessed with the grace of God, to follow a much  less rigorous course of treatment, thus avoiding the need  for the transplant thanks to the incredible medical professionals at UCLA. My daughter went on to college to pursue her dreams. Ken Chichester is his father's son, and this gentle dynamic man is keeping his father's dream alive. In the obituary it lists a scholarship fund for East High  students excelling in Science. Donations can be made to: East High ASB, 2200 Quincy Street, Bakersfield, Ca. 94306 . Please write Roger Chichester on the memo section of the check.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Charles Manson ends up in Bakersfield at a local hospital, record rain hits Kern County and Karen Goh's impressive swearing-in ceremony

 * ... RAIN: Count me among those who are enjoying this long period of persistent rain. I can't
remember a time when the rain was so steady and hard, and Lord knows we need it. The irony: we expected this last year when we had an El Nino event but this year we are experiencing La Nina, just more proof that you should never underestimate a woman.

* ... CHARLES MANSON: Did you see the headline in the New York Daily News about Charles Manson being hospitalized in Bakersfield? It read: "Satan Calls For The Devil." Meanwhile, social media lit up with comments, many of them lamenting that even a monster like Manson is afforded the best health care while other Americans go without.

 * ... BED BUGS: Did you know that 10 years ago bed bugs were virtually unheard of yet now there has been an explosion of them across the country? It's something I think about every time I check into a hotel, so I was intrigued by pest control company Orkin's list of the top bed bug infested cities. (Good news! Bakersfield didn't make the list.) Here is the dirty dozen: Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Chicago, New York, Columbus, Ohio, Los Angeles, Detroit, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, San Francisco/Oakland, Richmond, Va., and Raleigh-Durman, N.C.

 * ... GOOD FORM: Peggy Mellon share this uplifting moment with me: "Yesterday morning, I went to Trader Joes to buy sunflowers for my neighbor, Lenor Freeland, who was celebrating her 102nd birthday. As I was being checked-out, I made mention of this to the young woman who was helping me. She smiled as I told her about Lenor who is still active and continues to be a part of our Brighton Parks Community. Then this smiling Trader Joes employee said 'Please tell her =bappy birthday from Trader Joes' as she took off the cost of the flowers from my bill. One more act of kindness that I thought I should pass on to your readers.  Keep smiling."

* ... KAREN GOH: If the turnout for Mayor Karen Goh's swearing in was any indication of how successful she will be, then she just might become one of our most wildly popular mayors. I stopped by a reception for her at The Metro Galleries on 19th Street, and the place was packed wall to wall with well wishers. The goodwill in the room was impressive, and it's clear the community is behind her.

 * ... OVERHEARD: At the downtown Post Office a woman greets a friend this way: "Did you hear Jack is back in jail? Won't get out until July."

 * ... PLASTIC BAGS: Earlier this week I mentioned that - finally - I am in the habit of remembering to take my own reusable bags to the grocery store. This prompted a friend to mention: "My new rule: never by more than I can carry out in my arms."

 * ... TRASH: Gerhard Schmidt weighed in about our trash problem. "The key to this problem is prevention. No one, including waste management people, are doing anything about this. Large item pick-up is available for free. Just look in the recycling pages of the phone book. However, the offenders probably do not read the Californian or the phone book. The solution would be public service spots on radio and TV, as well as billboards. Yes, billboards cost some money, but perhaps less than man hours required for clean-up. Advertising companies might even help with the cost, when the billboards are not reserved.  It is therefore not necessary to hoist that sofa onto a pick-up and hunt for a dump site. All that is needed is a phone call and hauling it to the curb."

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

A huge "hydro event" of storms and rainfall are coming to California over the next week, new gun laws restricting ammo sales are on the books and a final goodbye from Mayor Harvey Hall

* ... STORMS ARE COMING: If you thought the rains last week were something, get ready for a huge "hydro event" over the next week. Meteorologists are warning that California will experience "jaw
dropping" amounts of rain, including up to 42 inches of precipitation for the Merced and San Joaquin River basins and up to 300 inches (or 25 feet) of snowfall into the Southern Sierra Crest, including the Lake Tahoe and Mammoth Mountain areas. This hydro event has already started in the Sierras and will include heavy rains in Central California through the weekend. And speaking of storms, wasn't our New Year's Day spectacular? Bright, sunny skies with the snow capped mountains clearer than I have seen them for years. Keep your cameras ready because more is coming.

* ... GUN LAWS: You can thank the California Legislature for the surge in gun and ammunition sales at local firearms shops. The Legislature passed a slew of new laws - some won't take effect until next January - that will make it much harder for law abiding citizens to buy ammunition or even borrow someone's weapon. It's interesting that the lawmakers who pass these laws are the same ones who choose to ignore other laws that don't suit their tastes, including declaring "sanctuary cities" to avoid working with federal immigration authorities. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to pick and choose which laws to obey?

* ... END OF AN ERA: Did you catch Harvey Hall's open letter to the community in the Tuesday Californian? It was typical Mayor Hall, oozing with sincerity and all from the heart, honoring our community and the people who make this such a special place to live. Hall's legacy as mayor will be one of inclusion and unity. Let's hope his successor, Karen Goh, does the same.

* ... GOOD FORM: Digging through old emails I found this note from Patricia Basset about her commute between Lake Isabella and Bakersfield. The message was from last year (sorry I missed it Patricia) but it is still relevant. Said Basset: "Quite often the canyon is closed due to an accident, someone over the cliff, rocks in the road, etc. (Recently) there was a large rock slide about half way up the canyon and the line of cars waiting to get through was massive. It was hot, hot, hot and we were told it could be up to 10 hours to get the road cleared. While I was driving up 178, I was behind a young man in a truck, pulling a backhoe. He was waiting along with all of us until a young woman walked back down the road, after going to the slide area. When that girl told the guy in front of me about the slide, he didn't even think twice. He pulled the chains off his backhoe, unloaded it (no simple task) and took off up the hill. Within minutes, he cleared one side of the road of several huge rocks which allowed the traffic to move slowly, but steadily along. I am pretty confident that nobody thanked him, but I want that man to know my husband and I, along with all those waiting, really appreciated his being willing to go out of his way to help us get through the canyon. We do have good people here in Bakersfield."

 * ... MILESTONE: I reached a personal milestone the other day when I actually remembered to bring a reusable plastic bag into Trader Joe's.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "How dare you call me mentally unstable on this, the day of my cat's quinceanera."

 * ... TAFT COLLEGE: the annual Triple Play dinner and auction benefiting Taft College is set for Jan. 27 at the Historic Fort in Taft. Eric Byres, a former Oakland A's outfielder and now an ultra marathoner, will be the guest speaker. For tickets call (661) 763-7936.

 * ... PUZZLER: Here is a head scratcher from Bonnie Farrer: "While visiting my daughter and family in Orlando for Christmas we were all pleasantly surprised to see that the large bag of mandarin oranges on her kitchen shelf were from Bakersfield! When I returned home yesterday, I bought  mandarine oranges here. They were  from Florida. This doesn't make sense. PS: the Bakersfield oranges were seedless and tastier!"

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Some wishes for 2017, honoring those among us who give so unselfishly, recognizing good service and my personal list of things I would like to see accomplished in the new year

 * ... NEW YEAR: I think it's time to move on from 2016, which delivered some sad news on the passings front (everyone from Carrie Fisher and mother Debbie Reynolds to John Glenn and local
icons like Ray Dezember) to a presidential election that left the country divided. Here are some random thoughts as we head into the New Year.

 * ... PAY IT FORWARD: A few things I would like to see more of this year: random acts of kindness, a more civil discourse among those who disagree, empathy and understanding for those who struggle emotionally or economically, appreciation of those who came before us to break barriers and improve our lives, good service, charity and love.

* ... FORGET ABOUT IT: Conversely here are a few things I can do without in 2017: police shootings and gang violence, illegal trash dumping, so called 'micro aggressions and safe zones' in our public schools and colleges, political correctness, selfies, political hate speech on both sides of the aisle, group think, alarmist rhetoric on fossil fuels and academic arrogance.

 * ... ANGELS AMONG US: I'd also like to end this year with a personal thank you to some of the people who live among us and unselfishly give so much back. You may know of these names or not, but trust me these people give back to our community in ways big and small. So here goes: Deborah Leary, Tracy Walker-Kiser, Jim and Beverly Camp, Tuesdy and Kevin Small, Sheryl Barbich, Lois Henry, all the volunteers at the Assistance League, Jenny Waguespack, Marv Steinert, Vickie Thrasher, Monsignor Craig Harrison, Randy Martin, Janis Varner, Diane Lake and Marjorie Nixon.

 * ... SERVICE: Here are some tradesmen and business people I regularly do business with. Not only are they masters of their crafts, but I count them among my friends: house painter Rich Johnson, handyman Dean Farnsworth, Realtors Mary Christensen, Gary Belter and John and Katy Glentzer, restaurateur Claire Uricchio Elieff,  arts promoter Don Martin, Rami who owns Ramco Express on F Street, Tony Warren at Bakersfield Plumbing, Jeff Simpson at Sequoia Sandwich Co., and the staff and managers at Mission Bank.

 * ... GET IT DONE: Some things I would like to see done locally: finish the 24th Street widening project and Centennial Corridor; clean up Highway 58 and Highway 99, a new Bass Pro Shop on Highway 99, more downtown development and in-fill and finally, someone needs to figure out how to end the rash of mailbox thefts.

 * ... SURPRISE: My biggest surprise in 2016: I didn't think anything could smell sweeter than a puppy until my granddaughter was born. Here's to all you grandparents out there.

 * ... TALENT: Two local broadcasters I miss are former KERO anchor Jackie Parks and KGET morning anchor Kiyoshi Tomono. Both had an intelligence and style that is unusual for a market our size.

 * ... CAROLING: How about a shout-out to the members of a CSUB fraternity and sorority who took the time to sing Christmas carols to the residents of the Carriage House Estates? Said Phyllis Adams: "Their reasoning was they wanted to bring back caroling to people. It was thoroughly enjoyable to have these young people do this on their own."

 * ... GOOD FORM: And finally a reader dropped me this note about the folks over at Nothing Bundt Cakes who demonstrated some over the top customer service. "On Christmas eve my daughter's friend, who has undergone chemo and radiation in her fight against cancer for the past year, realized her husband forgot to pick up their cakes from Nothing Bundt Cakes for their Christmas dinner. On Christmas morning my granddaughter e-mailed Nothing Bundt Cakes, they replied and agreed to meet the customer at their shop to give them their cakes. If you are in the market for a cake I suggest you go to Nothing Bundt Cakes, they take customer service seriously."

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Graffiti vandals tag cars in the La Cresta neighborhood, more thieves target local mailboxes and another memory of the talented Bryan Kelly

* ... SCROOGE: Some folks in the neighborhood near Garces Memorial High School awoke the day after Christmas to find their cars had been tagged by graffiti vandals. I suppose these "artists" have
tired of bridge overpasses and alleyways and are now moving through the darkness randomly vandalizing cars parked in driveways. Let's hope they all get a visit from bad karma in the days and months ahead.

* ... MAILBOX THEFT: The amount of mailbox theft across town is simply staggering, and hardly a day goes by without someone telling me it happened to them. This time it happened to Nellis Johnson, who had put some Christmas cards in a stuffed blue postal receptacle only to find out later someone had fished our her mail. Said Johnson: "A nice lady came to our door with four of our Christmas cards she had found in the calendar department of Office Depot on Stockdale, stamps not canceled, letters opened. She was a mail carrier and advised me to go to the Post Office and report it. That afternoon, we received a UPS package from Office Depot containing six more cards, uncancelled and torn open, with a very, very nice letter of apology from the store. These letters had been found in their men's bathroom. The mail had been taken from the mail boxes outside the Stockdale post office! I had stupidly put them in an already stuffed box, laughing at us dummies who were trying to get the cards delivered at the last minute! The postal employee I spoke with was truly saddened by this event, suggested I bring the mail inside when the box was full, apologized for not having an empty post box, asked me to come in when I see this again (?) and gave me the number to the postmaster. He said he would report the matter himself, but knew my call would be needed. I learned a lesson I shouldn't have had to learn because I know better."

* ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "If you get a present from me with scissors and a roll of tape trapped under the wrapping paper, I'm gonna need those back."

 * ... BRYAN KELLY: Mary Bensusen-Page wrote to remember the well-lived life of Bryan Kelly, who died earlier this month at the age of 63. "Thank you so much for the  Bryan Kelly mentions in your column. I have known him for 35 years. I had the privilege of being one of his original dressers when he and Michael Izquierdo performed in 'Greater Tuna.' This is a two man show in which they portrayed over 20 different characters. The show ran for nearly a year. It was done at the Moose Lodge on Old Stine Road playing Sunday evenings only.  It became almost cult-like with full houses each performance. Jim  Baldwin led the audience in singing the Star Spangled Banner each performance to kick off the show. What a special time that was! He was a professional actor having earned a SAG card after appearing in a made for TV movie starring Judith Light and David Ogden Stiers. He has performed with almost every theatre group in town in addition to co-owning with Michael, TB Productions which gave local talent a chance to shine in commercials and in print. It was an honor to have called him friend. He and Michael, on stage and off, were incredible!"

 * ... OBITS: John Pryor was reading the obituary page and had this reaction to the death of Kathryn Bailey.  "We attended East High together although she was a senior when I was a sophomore. In that year, Kathryn and three of us sophomore trumpet players (Jim Jones, David Hauser, and I) entered a talent contest sponsored by the East Bakersfield Progressive Club on Baker Street where a temporary stage was constructed over the canal.  A huge crowd gathered.  What was special was Kathryn's talented transposition of her piano score of Aram Khachaturian's Sabre Dance into a trumpet trio.  Despite the high number of contestants, with Kathryn's piano accompaniment, we won first place!  As her obituary indicates, she went on in life to work with major performers in the Bay Area such as Pat Boone, Anita Bryant, Johnny Mathis, Billy Holiday, and The Four Freshmen to mention but a few -- plus multiple mentions in Herb Caen's columns in the Chronicle. Who says Bakersfield doesn't produce world-class talent? "

 * ... MEMORIES: Evelyn Johnson, the longtime secretary of the downtown Rotary Club, remembers when she and husband Roy moved to Bakersfield in 1947 and "all the police motorcycles were red. One day one of the wives of a city or county official complained.. eventually they all got painted black and white."

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Hats off to Sal Moretti for cleaning up a community eyesore, Californians rush to buy guns and ammunition and Jackie Parks remembers Bryan Kelly

* ... TRASH: Here's a shout-out to Sal Moretti and the folks over at the city Solid Waste Division for taking the time to clean up a stretch of road that has become a community eyesore. After I posted last week about the mounds of garbage (mattresses, chairs, couches, old washing machines etc) that people
illegally discarded off Fairfax (the old county dump road) Moretti privately messaged me that he was going to send crews out to clean it up. And that they did. Supervisor Robert Manuel and his team filled several dump trucks full and left the area pristine. The city can't force people to do the right thing, and it must be tiring to spend so much time and energy cleaning up after people who view the world as their own personal toilet. But thank you Sal. So here is my remedy for that road: since it already is a dead end, close it off at Fairfax with a gate and code to allow access to authorized personnel. There is no reason for any vehicles to travel that road. And finally, shed the name Old County Dump Road and name it after Sal. (Before and after pictures provided by Sal Moretti)

* ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "On my marriage license, where they ask in which state I live, I wrote: Depression."

 * ... GUN LAWS: There's another rush on guns and ammunition in California, thanks to a legislature that embraces some of the toughest anti-gun laws in the country. Remarked Realtor Michael Richert: "I’m not good on a crowded day at Disneyland, or anywhere for that matter where my space bubble is pierced. That was never more evident on Saturday, December 17 when I stopped by for some ammo at a local gun store. The last Saturday to purchase certain types of riffles and it was chaos. We usually stay dormant unless someone tells us we can’t have something anymore."

 * ... BRYAN KELLY: When I wrote about the death of 63-year-old Bryan Kelly the other day, it triggered this response from former KBAK anchor Jackie Parks, who moved to a TV market outside of Baltimore with husband Todd Karli. Said Jackie: "You see, he was a dear friend of my eccentric aunt Millie when she lived in Bakersfield many, many years ago. He would later keep her updated on my life (from watching me on TV) and was thrilled to meet me one day at Trader Joe's so he could let Millie know. Over the years he chatted with me about the birth of our kids, recommended kid-friendly foods, talked to them about their interests, encouraged piano and ballet lessons (neither which took hold for long) and never failed to ask about Millie who, at 92, will be heartbroken to hear he is gone. Thanks for writing such a nice farewell."

* ... MAILBOX THEFT: I received a note from reader Kelly Clanton with this plea: "We have suffered our third mail theft this year, this time Friday night with Christmas packages taken from our dropbox. Last time a check was forged and we had to get a new account. At least 10 mail thefts have occurred within a half mile radius of our 'safe' northwest neighborhood this year. Sending this to encourage Postmaster Linda La Force, postal inspectors Jeff Fitch and Bill Zembridge and  Congressman Kevin McCarthy to work faster on this for us, and come up with an immediate solution please.  Running to the mailbox to pick up our mail mid day and driving miles to the post office to drop off outgoing mail is not the answer."

 * ... GOOD SERVICE: James in Taft wrote to thank someone who goes over and above with customer service: "Last Sunday morning (12/18/16) at 7 a.m. I was warming up with my morning tea as it was 32 outside, when my doorbell rang. I thought who would be hear that early. When I opened the door and I was surprised it was my Californian deliverer, Michelle Ayala in Taft. She handed me my paper and said it was too cold to have to come out and get it. She has been doing a great job and it was a pleasure to give her a Christmas gift as I try and do every year.  So all you subscribers be sure and do the same for your deliverer as they have to endure all types of weather and conditions.