Wrapping up some nuggets from around our community and trying to outrun some angry University of Washington alumni who are after my hide ...
* ... MAKE MINE A PICON PUNCH: Always nice to see Bakersfield's rich culture recognized by the national media, and the September edition of the Altantic magazine turned its attention to the historic Noriega Hotel, one of our renowned Basque dining establishments and home of the famous Picon Punch. (read the entire story here) The writer Wayne Curtis gives the Noriega its due, even if he did focus primarily on the punch and not the terrific food. From the story:
"But what lured me here was the Picon Punch. The early history of the drink remains murky, but it appears to be a Basque-American concoction, without antecedent in the old country. The punch has some variants within its broad range. But it’s usually made with grenadine, club soda, a float of brandy, and Amer Picon, a bitter French aperitif made with herbs and burnt orange peel. I’m told in some Nevada bars it’s served in a mug, rather than the standard old-fashioned glass."
* ... WITH APOLOGIES TO THE HUSKIES: I erred in a recent item noting that former Bakersfield High Driller Will Mahan was punting for the University of Washington Huskies. I actually called the school the "Washington State Huskies," which given college rivalries these days is enough to get me tarred and feathered by the Husky faithful. It's like confusing UCLA and USC or the Georgia Bulldogs with the Florida Gators. KERO-TV anchor Jackie Parks, herself a University of Washington alum, told me she just about "choked on my coffee" when she read her beloved Huskies were mentioned in the same sentence as that "cow town" college across the state, the Washington State Cougars. So with apologies to Jackie and the Husky faithful ... mea culpa.
* ... DIVISION ONE REPORT FROM CSUB: Karen Langston, one of the marketing folks over at Cal State Bakersfield, turned me onto the Athletic Department's "Roadrunner Report" blog which is rich in information on the university. (you can read it here) In it, Athletic Director Rudy Carvajal gives an update on the school's move to Division I and how the recession and budget crisis is affecting the program. Tough times all around. In Rudy's words:
"The bad news is that the budget crisis, particularly as it impacts CSUB’s Athletics Program, has been significant. Not only has it reduced staffing and state support, it has also increased our scholarship fees this year by 30%, which amounts to more than $250,000 in additional and unexpected expenses. Cumulatively, it also marks the third consecutive year of state budget reductions. Our ability to turn this around will depend upon our ability to encourage community volunteers to help us and to make significant progress in growing our donor base. Without considerable growth and support in both of these areas, it will have a profound effect on our future.
One can easily see that we need growth and not reductions in support to be able to sustain the 19 Division I sports we currently offer. While the average donation has grown over the last few years, the number of donors has fallen. We really need your help, and there are many ways that you can assist us. For example, if each of our current donors recruited just one new donor, we could double our donor base. It is that simple, and you could make that happen." (photo of Rudy courtesy of CSUB)
* ... REMEMBER THE GARCES, CSUB BARBECUES: Don't forget two important fund raisers coming up that need our support. The first is the annual Garces Memorial High fall barbeque, featuring the famous "Icardo special" New York steak or Teriyaki chicken dinner. Cost is $25 a person and doors open at 5 p.m. This comes up Thursday, October 1. My elder daughter graduated from Garces and I know the folks work hard and do a good job, and even when money is tight, this is a fund raiser to support. The next week, on Thursday October 8, you can dine again at the 31st annual Cal State Bakersfield athletics barbeque. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.. Tickets are being presold for $25 each and are $30 at the door. Call 661-654-3473.