Thursday, July 21, 2016

City of San Diego bans plastic bags in grocery stores, which given our reputation as a litter capital, may not be a bad idea for Bakersfield


 * ... PLASTIC BAGS: So did you see the city of San Diego has banned the use of plastic bags in grocery stores? It is a trend that is picking up momentum throughout the west, and it's likely only a matter of time before a similar ordinance is adopted here. The reasoning: people carelessly discard
plastic bags like they use to throw away cigarette butts, and they are not only unsightly but also terrible for the environment. Given Bakersfield's unwelcome reputation as a litter capital, it would be hard for me to oppose the move here. In San Diego, plastic can still be used to bag produce and to cover your laundry. And speaking of litterers, I chuckled when I spotted this on social media recently: "People who think leaving trash near the trash receptacle is good enough: I'll have the same attitude when I use your bathroom. "



 * ... MORE TRASH: Bailey Abbot and his wife Janice were in Kauai recently, both hiking and driving, and noted "there is virtually no trash to be seen. The difference is not that Kauai is using convict labor, but rather - as you have exhorted us who live in Bakersfield repeatedly, these island residents assume the role of owners and caretakers."



* ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: If you think there is nothing better than sex, you've never had a cop turn on his lights behind you and then pull over someone else."

  * ... GOOD FORM: John and Teresa McKiearnan wrote to thank two women, in separate cars, "who stopped to help two obviously loss dogs at the corner of Jewetta and Noriega Monday evening and taking them home to try and find their owners."

 * ... BULLDOGS: I drove down to the Tejon Ranch Outlets this past weekend and was pleased to encounter a cheery group of Golden Valley High School students handing out water to thirsty shoppers while trying to raise money for the Bulldog Theater Company to attend the American High School Theater Company in Edinburgh, Scotland. Golden Valley was nominated by CSUB and was one of only 50 schools selected out of more than 2,000 applicants to attend. If you have a few bucks to help these kids, contact Sheila McClure or principal Paul Helman at the school (661) 827-0800.



 * ... MEMORIES: Sue Machado added another long-gone bakery to the list of of things we miss about old Bakersfield. Said Machado: "Another bakery, not too large but nonetheless important, in the east portion of Bakersfield... the LA CRESTA HOUSE OF SWEETS owned and operated by J.D. and Betty Starr.  J.D. moved on to become head baker at Smith’s while Betty also worked for Smith’s in Fikes Market downtown.  I believe J.D. started at Beck’s Bakery in the downtown area in the 1940s.  My uncle and aunt claimed they learned about baking from my mother, the oldest of eight children."

City of San Diego bans plastic bags grocery stores, which given our reputation as a litter capital, may not be a bad idea for Bakersfield


 * ... PLASTIC BAGS: So did you see the city of San Diego has banned the use of plastic bags in grocery stores? It is a trend that is picking up momentum throughout the west, and it's likely only a matter of time before a similar ordinance is adopted here. The reasoning: people carelessly discard
plastic bags like they use to throw away cigarette butts, and they are not only unsightly but also terrible for the environment. Given Bakersfield's unwelcome reputation as a litter capital, it would be hard for me to oppose the move here. In San Diego, plastic can still be used to bag produce and to cover your laundry. And speaking of litterers, I chuckled when I spotted this on social media recently: "People who think leaving trash near the trash receptacle is good enough: I'll have the same attitude when I use your bathroom. "



 * ... MORE TRASH: Bailey Abbot and his wife Janice were in Kauai recently, both hiking and driving, and noted "there is virtually no trash to be seen. The difference is not that Kauai is using convict labor, but rather - as you have exhorted us who live in Bakersfield repeatedly, these island residents assume the role of owners and caretakers."



* ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: If you think there is nothing better than sex, you've never had a cop turn on his lights behind you and then pull over someone else."

  * ... GOOD FORM: John and Teresa McKiearnan wrote to thank two women, in separate cars, "who stopped to help two obviously loss dogs at the corner of Jewetta and Noriega Monday evening and taking them home to try and find their owners."

 * ... BULLDOGS: I drove down to the Tejon Ranch Outlets this past weekend and was pleased to encounter a cheery group of Golden Valley High School students handing out water to thirsty shoppers while trying to raise money for the Bulldog Theater Company to attend the American High School Theater Company in Edinburgh, Scotland. Golden Valley was nominated by CSUB and was one of only 50 schools selected out of more than 2,000 applicants to attend. If you have a few bucks to help these kids, contact Sheila McClure or principal Paul Helman at the school (661) 827-0800.



 * ... MEMORIES: Sue Machado added another long-gone bakery to the list of of things we miss about old Bakersfield. Said Machado: "Another bakery, not too large but nonetheless important, in the east portion of Bakersfield... the LA CRESTA HOUSE OF SWEETS owned and operated by J.D. and Betty Starr.  J.D. moved on to become head baker at Smith’s while Betty also worked for Smith’s in Fikes Market downtown.  I believe J.D. started at Beck’s Bakery in the downtown area in the 1940s.  My uncle and aunt claimed they learned about baking from my mother, the oldest of eight children."

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

A social media app allows a distraught owner to find her stolen Siberian husky and a few lessons in servant leadership by those who gave so much to our community


 * ... HAPPY ENDING: There will be no talk of politics or police shootings or #blacklivesmatter in this space today. Instead, allow me to share the story of a happy ending that started when a friend's 10-month old Siberian husky was stolen from the back yard of her home near the Bakersfield Racquet Club. When she noticed the lock on her gate had been cut and her dog gone, she alerted
neighbors on the NextDoor neighborhood app and within minutes, someone had spotted the dog with a homeless man at the McDonald's on 23rd Street. She later found her dog at the downtown GET station on a leash with a stranger. "I said that's my dog," she told me. "He said, 'No, it's my dog.' I called my dog by her name and noticed she even had a new collar on." When her husband arrived, the man gave up the husky and walked away. Are our pure bred dogs now being stolen and sold on the streets? But here's a salute to the power of social media, alert neighbors and a reunion between a family and its dog.


 * ... SERVANT LEADERSHIP: Do you ever think about what your legacy will be after you leave this earth? Will you be remembered for your generosity, your kindness, your heart? Were you involved in the community? Did you give back? That was a question I was pondering after getting a
note from Patricia Graffius, who noted that her late husband, Jim Huber, was born on July 20, 1916. During his years here he left his mark in many positive ways, including being one of the founders of the Rotary Club of Bakersfield East and serving as its first full year president; helping charter West Rotary; building Skateland roller rink and bringing the Dunns to Bakersfield to be the teaching pros. (The Dunn family accumulated many awards over the years. Daughter Natalie was three time world champion skater and is a member of the Bob Elias Hall of Fame.) In addition there is James Huber Chapel at First Congregation Church which he bequeathed at his passing in 1995. And, his son Robert was in the first graduating class of South High and is now in his second term as Mayor of Simi Valley."



 * ... GUNNER: And speaking of those who leave a positive imprint in this life, I attended a surprise gathering at Luigi's to honor the retirement of Gregg Gunner, longtime owner and operator of Gregg's Pharmacy which he recently sold to Rite-Aid. If the measure of a life well lived can be summed up by who shows up to honor you, Gunner has done well. It was a full house and Fran Gunner regaled the crowd with delightful stories of her husband's often quirky behavior, but never at the expense of others. Among those I spotted there were Don Lucas, Bruce Massa, Gary and Gloria Friedman, Ken and Teri Jones, Brian Komota, Cindy and Tom Anspach, Eleanor Etcheverry, Jane Cormier, Tom Anton, Cathy and Mark Abernathy, Dwight Byrum, Clark Gustafson, and finally Joe Munoz and daughter Julie.


* ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "You never regret being kind, unless you're in prison."

 * ... TRASH: My rant on trash in Bakersfield drew this response from Dwayne Ardis: "Your column today on trash and litter was interesting. I would like to point out one factor as to why Bakersfield, and California as a whole, has a litter problem and other states don't. The difference is, California does not make prison inmates pick up litter along road ways anymore. It would be interesting to know why."

 * ... MORE TRASH: And Chris Padham added this: "Regarding your comments concerning litter I couldn't agree more. I do not need to see a sign post telling me welcome to California. I can always tell when  the roads become littered and crumbling."



Thursday, July 14, 2016

Lamenting a culture that leaves out streets littered with trash and garbage, praising West Rotary and more memories of old Bako

 * … TRASH: It is a familiar lament when we travel out of state and notice that Bakersfield's litter
problem seems out of control when compared to other areas. I spent a few days recently in Salt Lake City and Park City, Utah, and it was near impossible to find trash on the roads and freeways. And then this note greeted me when I came home: "We are traveling and today we are near Atlanta. I read the Bakersfield Californian daily online and read your piece on litter. We just came through Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee and now Georgia. IN NOT ONE OF THESE STATES DID WE SEE LITTER! We were so impressed and ashamed of Bakersfield at the same time. We want the town we love to be as clean and beautiful as what we've seen so far. What will it take to get our own people to wise up? Come on people, we need more civic pride!"



 * … DRIVING: From Tony Malon comes this observation about local driver: "Two types of drivers in Bakersfield, the tortoise and the hare. One is asleep when the light turns green, and one burns rubber at the first sight of green."

 * ... GOOD FORM: Sometimes it is the small things that make working with local businesses so pleasant. Recently I called King Door Co. to service my garage door, and sure enough within a week I received a personal 'thank you' card from company president Roman Ruiz. For the price of a stamp, he earned my loyalty.

 * … SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "To avoid conversations at work, always walk with purpose and a toilet plunger."

 * … MOVING UP: Congratulations to Jason Cater who recently joined the staff of the city planning department as an associate planner. Cater is known for his work as director of Bike Bakersfield and he later did a short stint with Sage Equities.


 * … WEST ROTARY: If you question the service provided by your local Rotary Club, think again. Alvin G. Sandrini told me that his club, West Rotary, donated over $75,000 to local charities in 2015 and this year has chipped in another $56,000 to good causes so far. Said Sandrini: "While the Bakersfield West Rotary-Stroope Family Foundation provides the funds, it is the hard-working West Rotary members who donate the countless hours needed to generate those revenues."

 * … MEMORIES: Wayne Marshall shared this tidbit of our local history: "Barbara Kaiser Miner’s recollection of the location of the Golden Crust Bakery prompts me to write this note:...The bakery was located on the north side of the Santa Fe Railroad tracks at M Street. There is a good aerial photo
showing this area in Chris Brewer’s book (1998) 'Bakersfield’s Photographic Past – A Photographic Album' on page 7. I worked at the mentioned lumber yard (King-Marshall Lumber, 14th and L streets) from 1954 to 1960. It was owned by Larry King and Sid Marshall (my father). The lumber yard never burned. The yard that did burn was Hayward Lumber at 14th and H streets."

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

A young voice prays for tolerance and compassion as our nation struggles with race,some really bad form around town and more on those old bakeries

 * … KINDNESS: The tragic events besetting our country right now are almost behind my scope of understanding, so I will settle by sharing the words of a young woman from Nashville: "Rather than
pray for one specific race, one specific group, one specific country, or one specific community, pray for humanity. Pray for acceptance. Pray for compassion. Pray for tolerance." My thanks to reader Jerry Bowman for sharing this.

 * … NINA GRAE: Keep an eye on the rising talented singer Nina Grae, a Bakersfield product and the daughter of Claire Porter, owner of Uricchio's Trattoria downtown. I attended a private concert for Nina and her bad at Uricchio's this weekend and left believing I had been afforded a sneak peek at a rising star.



* … TRASH: Some days are worse than others, but last Saturday it seemed the entire town resembled a trash dump. On a three hour bike ride through town, I spotted three mattresses and three box springs (matched sets!) casually discarded off North Chester, the parking lane at the Panorama Bluffs park was littered with fast food cups, diapers and empty beer cans, and the Park at RiverWalk was awash in empty soda cups, soiled napkins and empty plastic water bottles.

 * … SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Want to see stupidity, watch how people are so easily confused boarding a plane."

 * … SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK: "I Just want to peacefully hang out with my friends, regardless of race while making fun of idiots, regardless of race."

 * … MEMORIES: A recent conversation thread about the Golden Crust Bakery stirred this memory from Barbara Kaiser Miner: "Bill Fong and Bill Upshaw's memories stirred up my memories of attending Emerson Jr. High School in 1938 and 1939. At that time I was a majorette with the Emerson Drum and Bugle Corps. Before school each morning we practiced marching to be ready for the parades. We would march south on 'L' street to the railroad tracks where we would practice our counter-march. The Golden Crust Bakery was on the south side of the railroad tracks. Since this was early morning, I also smelled the good smells that came as we approached the bakery. About 1940 the King Lumber Yard burned down."

 * … MORE MEMORIES: Mike Huckert weighed with this: "My dad drove a delivery truck for them and I can recall many trips to the bakery. The aroma of freshly backing breads is etched into my memory and there is nothing like the taste of a freshly baked sesame hamburger bun snatched off the cooling tray. At one time there was an observation deck on the north side of the bakery so people could watch twisting of the dough before it was placed in backing pans  As a young Cub Scout, we made several trips to see this and I can remember having to cross the tracks to get to the observation window and platform. I also remember certain kinds of premixed dough was delivered by rail in huge cardboard barrels and offloaded near this same area."

 * … HOME: If you don't think we live in a special place, consider this note from Ted Elder: "Yesterday I was in the Gift Shop at San Joaquin/Kaiser Hospital when a Corrections Officer offered me a beautiful custom handmade pen and thanked me for my service.  I must assume he did this because I was wearing my 'Special Forces Army Baseball Cap. My service was completed many years ago and.this recognition would never have happened where I came from - San Luis Obispo two years ago. Only in Bakersfield and thank you Bakersfield."


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Another local business, Gregg's Pharmacy, sells out to Rite Aid, researching those old District Attorneys and remembering the Golden Crust Bakery

* … LOCAL HISTORY: The District Attorney's office is reaching out to the public for help in finding photos and information on some of the district attorneys who served Kern County since 1866.
The DA's office needs photos of A.C. Lawrence (1872-74), James W. Freeman (1874-79, 1883-88), Alvin Fay (1889-92, 1895-98), J.W. Ahern (1893-94, 1899-1903), and Barclay McCowan (1915-18). If you have information on these men, contact Christy King in the District Attorney's office at (661) 868-2716.

* … FAMILY BUSINESS: Every time a locally owned family business closes or sells out, we lose a little piece of the character of our community. And now I learned that Gregg's Pharmacy (owned by Gregg and Fran Gunner) has sold to Rite Aid, bringing an end to the Gunner family's long footprint in our community. Gregg Gunner (the only way to describe him is witty and joyful) bought the family pharmacy from his father Don in 1976. Prior to that Don Gunner owned and operated Gunner, Medical and San Dimas pharmacies. Gregg's father's sister's family also owned Yant's pharmacies locally during that time.



* … SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "The most important part of being on a gluten free diet is telling everyone about it."

 * … JACK: My pal Jack McGee over at Bakersfield Optical spoke for many of us when he left me this message: "It's terrible that we have two candidates running for mayor in Bako (Kyle Carter and Karen Goh) that have more character and integrity than the candidates running for president."




* … MEMORIES: Ann Cierly wrote to answer a reader's question about the old Golden Crust Bakery: "My 19 year-old father, W. R. Cierley, brought his new bride to Bakersfield in 1930 to go to work for his cousin, H.L.( Hub) Cierley, one of the owners of the bakery, which was on the north side of the railroad tracks on M Street. He worked there until his untimely death in 1946. I visited the bakery many times and remember fondly the great Labor Day employee picnics at what is now Hart Park, and the several Christmas programs in which he volunteered his very young daughter to recite The Night Before Christmas, ha! I know I'm among many old-timers who went to Emerson Jr. High when it was located on Truxtun across the street from the Baptist church. Many late Spring afternoons sitting upstairs in math class, with the windows wide open (no air conditioning then), we would sigh with pleasure as the smell of fresh baking bread wafted through the room."

 * … MORE MEMORIES: And Robert Ricou added this: "The Sanitary Golden Crust Bakery (full name) was located on the north side of the railroad tracks on M Street. My father drove the transport that delivered bread and Fontana Pies to Tehachapi, Mojave, Ridgecrest/China Lake until their closing in the late 1960s. While in high school and attending BC, my summer job was loading the China Lake and the Fresno transport which both left at midnight. Also, I unloaded sacks of flour from railroad boxcars on the tracks adjacent to the bakery. "

 * … FIREWORKS: And finally, former city councilman Mark Salvaggio reacted to my lament about fireworks this way: "Perhaps these dog owners who lose their pets on Independence Day ought to show some self-responsibility and keep their dogs inside on this night.  Better yet, they should keep their dogs inside every night during triple digit temperature days. Maybe you and Lois Henry ought to live back east where there are plenty of Big Brother liberals who also spout taking the joy out of this American pastime. You could do an exhaustive study on which are more noisy:  illegal fireworks or safe and sane legal fireworks."



Another year of crazy (many illegal) fireworks is behind us, more mailbox thefts around town and readers remember the old bakeries across town

 * … PETS: With the annual obsession with fireworks over, how many dogs do you think broke free from their yards in a panic and were left roaming the streets? Nobody keeps track of this stuff, but
judging by social media posts on Facebook, the Nextdoor app and email threads, the number across the country is in the thousands. It's an annual ritual: in communities like ours where fireworks are legal, dogs cower and often break through fences in sheer terror, some of them eventually being reunited with their owners and others lost forever. When you toss in fireworks-related injuries and fires, it just seems hard to justify, but I will let Lois Henry carry the water on this one.



* … THEFT: Mailboxes are being broken into across town, which prompted this lament from reader Sunny Kapoor: "The proliferation of mailboxes being broken into has reached epic proportions. Our neighborhood mailbox is broken into every 2 to 3 days, with multiple pieces of mail being stolen, and this has been going on for months. On contacting the postal service about the problem, we are advised that they are working on it. It just seems like that they don’t care... I just wish that our local postmaster general would start to pay attention to this serious problem, especially with the Identity Theft Issue being front and center. Most of the residents in our neighborhood have resorted to a PO box at their expense, in order to protect their mail. I am hoping you will print this in your weekly spotlight, so that some attention will be garnered for this problem."

 * … SPOTTED ON TWITTER: You know you are white trash when there are more ankle monitors than Fitbits at the family barbecue.

 * … MORE TWITTER: "If you don't want me to show up to your wedding in pajamas then you might want to rethink using the words 'evening wear.'"

 * … RUNNERS: I when for a hot hike (emphasize the word HOT) in the hills overlooking Hart Park Saturday and was in awe as a well conditioned group of about 20 teenagers from a local cross country team passed me without hardly breaking a sweat. Judging from some of their T-shirts, these young athletes seems to be from Ridgeview High School.

 * … MEMORIES: From reader Bill Fong: "Bill Upshaw's memories of the old Golden Crust Bakery stirred up memories of the school bus trip that we got to take when in grade school. Besides being a great way to get away from school work, we received a free fresh slice of their raisin bread at the end of the tour. Also, I was wondering if anyone remembers if Golden Crust was on the north or south side of the railroad tracks? Many years ago as a 4 year old, we lived on L Street just south of the tracks, but the only structure that I remember was a big lumberyard next to the tracks. Thank you for stirring up my memories."

 * … MORE MEMORIES: And finally this from Greg Laskowski: "You may be an old timer if you remember the Helms Bakery truck coming through your neighborhood offering bread, hot dog and hamburger buns, and other goods. Those yellow and blue panel tucks with the pull out rays in the back were something to and the kids would flock around."



Thursday, June 30, 2016

In the aftermath of the devastating Erskine fire, a woman shows what good form is all about and the Assistance League of Bako celebrates 60 years of philanthropy


 * … GOOD FORM: The local outpouring of support for the victims of the Erskine fire has been overwhelming, but Debbie Cormier may have set a new standard in terms of personal generosity. I
heard this from an insider at Dignity Health: "Cormier, who works in the emergency department at Mercy Hospital Southwest, was preparing to sell her trailer so she listed it in the newspaper. She received several calls from people interested in purchasing it, but she was particularly moved by the conversation she had with a man whose family lost their home in the Erskine fire. The man made a trip to Bakersfield to take a look and make an offer. As he opened up the conversation about the price, Cormier told him that he and his family could have the trailer, free of charge. And with that, Debbie offered a family that lost nearly everything a place to live and a sense of hope. Kindness, no matter how big or small, goes a long way in positively affecting those around us."



 * … ASSISTANCE LEAGUE: Hats off to the folks over at the Assistance League of Bakersfield who are celebrating their 60th year of philanthropy. The non-profit also announced it has awarded $1,000 scholarships to seven graduating high school students based on academic achievement, financial need, community service and leadership. They include Qiuer 'Candi' Chen of Independence, Cesar Hernandez of McFarland, Alexis Adjei of Liberty, David Pacheco of West, Nikholas Duque of Burroughs, Maribel Vargas of Wasco and Libby Otten of Liberty.



 * … OVERHEARD: Only in California would you hear the Brexit vote described like this: "The European Union is like the California Coastal Commision: both good ideas that have evolved into bloated bureaucracies responsible to no one but themselves. No wonder England left."

 * … ROSEDALE: It has been a long time coming but the widening of Rosedale Highway is starting to come into shape. We now have three lanes in each direction from Highway 99 west to Fruitvale, a start at least for arguably one of most clogged arteries in town.


 * … SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Men are like dogs. We’re excited to see you and have no clue what you’re mad about."

 * … DAWN PATROL: I am always impressed, and encouraged, by the number of people who get up and out early every morning to get their workout before the heat of the day. From Seven Oaks to the Panorama Bluffs, these dawn patrol folks are up early to tend to their health.

 * … SUMMER FOODIE: One of my favorite summertime haunts is Mexicali downtown, where the air conditioning is always on full blast and the service, drinks and food are top notch.


 * … MEMORIES: Bill Upshaw says you may be a Bakersfield old timer if you remember the Golden Crust Bakery at L Street and the railroad tracks and the Langendorf Bakery at 16th and F streets.