Sunday, November 8, 2009

Bako bits: a popular physician moves to Memorial, two locals undergo lung transplants and a movie price war?


 * ... POPULAR PEDIATRICIAN MOVES TO  MEMORIAL: I heard the other day that Dr. Madhu Bhogal, a longtime and popular local pediatrician, will be retiring from private practice and moving on to run the county's first pediatric intensive care unit at Bakersfield Memorial Hospital. Dr. Bhogal will be leaving her pediatric office, Bhogal Klupsteen and Patel, on San Dimas Street on November 15. Dr. Bhogal has a loyal following and has had a long association with Memorial Hospital, where she will now help found and run the planned "children's hospital within a hospital." Her husband is Dr. Rabinder Bhogal, an equally popular physician specializing in gastroenterology.
* ... FREE POPCORN? MOVIE WARS? Now here's the kind of recessionary pricing we can all celebrate. It looks like the Reading Cinemas over at Valley Plaza is challenging its rivals to a price war, introducing some creative marketing deals that may be hard to resist. Reading has lowered all movie prices ($8.50 for general admission and $5.50 for bargain matinees), a savings of 20-30 percent off the old prices. In addition, every Sunday is now "Family Sunday" where for $4 you can enjoy a family-size tub of popcorn with unlimited refills plus a free Nestle candy bar. And, hot dogs go for $1. They also will have a "Baby Boomer Thursday" where anyone 55 or older can purchase a $5 movie ticket to any show and get a free 46 ounce popcorn.

* ... TWO LUNG TRANSPLANT PATIENTS ON THE MEND: I now know of two young adults from Bakersfield who have undergone double lung transplants down in Los Angeles. The latest, 26-year-old Tiffany Kuehl Fischer, is a 2001 graduate of Stockdale High School and the daughter of Kent Kuehl, a longtime Californian graphic artist. Tiffany, who has cystic fibrosis, underwent the surgery on Friday, October 30, at USC University Hospital. Her dad says she is doing just terrific and her  husband Scott is by her side. Meanwhile there's also good news regarding Curtis Hartman, the 35-year-old local man who underwent a double lung transplant at UCLA Medical Center. He is finally on the mend and should be home for Thanksgiving. (read my previous post here) Curtis is the son of Linda Hartman, executive director of the BARC (Bakersfield Association for  Retarded Citizens) Foundation. Linda's sister, Californian human resources vice president Nancy Chaffin, told me he was "laughing and joking and looks wonderful." This was a touch-and-go operation as any transplant is, and I understand he is anxious to get back home to spend time with his wife Mary and their sons Gavin and Brock. Keep both of these people in your thoughts.

 * .... SHORT TAKES: Hats off to PCL Industrial Services, the employee-owned construction business that is giving $10,000 to the Golden Empire Gleaners this week. Dawn Alexander, marketing manager over at PCL, says the company wants to "make sure nobody goes hungry" during these lean times. Always nice to see local companies stepping up in a time of need. Meanwhile, Bakersfield hosted a cyclocross bicycle race  over at Hart Park this weekend and it was a huge success, drawing 150 riders from across the region. Sam Ames, assistant manager over at Action Sports, puts this race on and each year it grows larger and more successful.

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