Friday, May 8, 2009

Bakersfield College: 96 years '"on the hill" and now serving 17,000 students

The slick new annual report from Bakersfield College showed up on my desk this week and it makes for a fascinating read. It's easy for BC to get lost in the shuffle as Cal State Bakersfield continues to grow on the other side of town. But BC has been around since 1913 and you tend to forget just what an impact this school makes on our community. Hats off to BC marketing guru Amber Chiang for pulling together a compelling read. Check out some of these statistics:
* ... ENROLLMENT: Total enrollment topped 17,000 full-time and part-time students in each of the fall and spring semester, and about 10,000 in the summer.
* ... FULL-TIMERS: About 22 percent of the registered students were full-time students, meaning they were taking at least 12 units.
* ... FINANCIAL AID: Nearly 90 percent of the students received some kind of financial assistance.
* ... TOTAL HEADCOUNT: For the whole year, the school served 33,235 students. OF those, 55.7 percent were female and 44 percent were male. Here's something puzzling: the gender of 105 students was listed as "unknown." Hmmmm.
* ... MAJORS: The top declared majors were registered nursing, business administration, criminal justice, liberal studies, psychology and undeclared.
* ... TRANSFERS: The top transfer schools after getting their AA degree were UCLA, UC Davis, UC Berkeley, CSUB, Cal State Northridge and Fresno State.

* ...ETHNIC MAKEUP: Latinos make up 42.9 percent of the student enrollment, followed by Caucasian at 35.7 percent, African-American at 6.8 percent and Asian at 6.4 percent.
* ...STUDENT AGE: About 59 percent of the kids are between 19 and 24 with the rest older, clearly reflecting the commuter and reentry aspects to this community college.
* ... HISTORY: BC was founded in 1913 and had a first year enrollment of just 113 students. The school set up shop on its current 153-acre campus in 1956.
* ... ATHLETICS: BC has a rich history in athletics. It has 17 teams in nine different sports and its football and new baseball stadium (pictured above) are the nicest in town.

McCarthy: still a Driller and recognizing the brightest of our students

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) heads back home today and sends in this report from the week. In his words:

"This week I announced the 22nd Congressional District of California Merit Award winners for Kern County. The award honors the achievements of our communities’ best and brightest high school students, and recognizes their positive achievements to inspire all of our students. As a community, we can create a positive environment that supports the hard work of our next generation’s leaders. Students who will receive the award were nominated by their principals because they have demonstrated academic excellence (having earned a 3.5 GPA or higher), exemplary school citizenship, volunteerism, involvement in extracurricular activities and leadership skills. To join us for the Merit Award Presentation, come by the Kern County Superintendent of Schools Office today May 8, from 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm.

"This week I also introduced a resolution (H.Res 411) to support the Intermediate Space Challenge in Mojave, which will take place on May 15. The Space Challenge is an exciting and challenging opportunity for students in grade school to think about outer space and energize their interest in science and math. We can encourage our children’s imagination to explore career opportunities in science and math to help them compete in a competitive global economy.

"I am excited to be participating in the Fourth Annual Driller Football Hall of Fame Banquet and induction ceremony on Friday night at the Marriott. As a proud member of the class of ’83, I was glad to be asked to offer the keynote remarks for the dinner. We will be honoring the following alumni: William Fanning, T.H. Lockard, Davis Loustalot, Bob Warkentin, Willie Brown, and Pat Preston.

"Last week I told you about the National Council for a New America that my colleagues and I introduced to engage citizens and create solutions to address the issues we face in our country. The first discussion kicked off at a pizza restaurant in Arlington, Virginia this past Saturday with former governors Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush, and had a good turnout to talk about solutions to move our country forward. If you would like to find out more about the National Council for a New America, please visit the recently unveiled website:

"And if you are on Facebook, don’t forget to check out my Facebook page for the latest happenings in DC and our local communities. Check out the video of Burt Rutan’s latest project – amazing things are happening out there in Mojave!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Short shots around town: a weekend of jazz and wine, kids heading off to college, the arts

Another day of cleaning out my cupboard of odds and ends. I continue to hear of more kids heading off to school (or staying here) and they all make us proud. It's May in Bako, so that means good weather and jazz and fine wine. Enjoy the weekend.
* WINE FEST: Don't forget the Party in the Park wine tasting tomorrow night (Friday) over at Cal State, hosted by the CSUB Alumni Association. This is always a fun event and kicks off the Jazz Festival weekend, which is one of the school's premier events each year. Check out today's Californian for a full lineup for the Jazz Festival. For last minute tickets to the wine tasting, call 661-654-3211.
* VISUAL ARTS FESTIVAL: The Bakersfield Museum of Art presents its annual "Visual Arts Festival" next Thursday, May 14. Curator Emily Falke say the festival is expected to draw hundreds of artists from around California who have submitted works for the juried competition. The exhibit opens with a reception from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and awards at 6:45 p.m. The opening is free to members, $10 for non-members. Light appetizers and a no-host bar will be available. The exhibit runs through August 30. For more information call 661-323-7219.

* YOUNG ARTIST: Speaking of art, check out the painting by Stockdale High senior Stephanie Linn (above) who won a young artists contest sponsored by Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield). As the overall winner of the art competition, Stephanie’s piece will represent the 22nd Congressional District in Washington DC, and hang in the capitol tunnel leading to the United States Capitol for a year. Stephanie and two guests will be provided airline tickets courtesy of Southwest Airlines to travel to Washington for the exhibit opening on Wednesday, June 24, 2009. Stephanie is the daughter of Victor and Connie Linn and her art teacher is Art Sherwyn at Stockdale. She said her piece was influenced by the work of Paul Cadmus, specifically his oil painting, Coney Island. Stephanie went to River Walk Park and studied and photographed children playing on a jungle gym. She then compiled all the different photographs into one piece that includes 25 children.
* DOGS GONE WILD: While we are on the arts, Beth Pandol over at the Bakersfield Museum of Art told me their first "Doggone Morning" this week was a success. (See pictures below.) Folks brought their dogs for talks on obedience, breeds and other topics. Let's hope this continues and evolves into something bigger.

* GUNS AND ABORTION: Interesting recent survey by the Pew Center shows attitudes toward gun ownership are becoming more conservative, as in defending Second Amendment rights. (Check it out here)
* NON-PROFIT MOVEMENT: Meanwhile I hear that Jan Lemucchi has been hired as the new communication specialist over at the Kern Community Foundation, working for CEO Fred Drew and foundation chair Judi McCarthy. Jan has been around and previously worked at KGET TV, Mercy Hospital, the Bakersfield Assn. of Retarded Citizens, the Saba Agency and The Californian.
* AND OFF THEY GO: Rounded up a few more names of kids heading off to colleges, some going far and others staying closer to home. These are all Stockdale kids:
..... EAST COAST BOUND: Michele Keathley heads to Fordham University in New York on a volleyball scholarship. She's the daughter of Corey and Duane Keathley. Her sister Kim is attending Point Loma University in San Diego.
..... STAYING CLOSE: Julie Hutton, one of the stalwarts of the defending Central Section girls tennis team at Stockdale, will attend CSUB on a tennis scholarship.
.... DEEP IN THE HEART OF TEXAS: K.C. Hobson has signed with Texas A&M to play baseball even though he likely will be a high draft pick to play pro ball. Stay tuned for more on his future.
..... GO RENEGADES: Brooke Williford, daughter of Tara and Steve Williford, will be attending Bakersfield College in the fall.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Lookin' for love on Craigslist, and a good laugh in the morning with Rachel Legan on KGFM

I'm not much one for local radio (love local talk but I opt for satellite radio for music) and sometimes the local "jocks" can drive you insane with their occasional profane drivel. But the other day I came across a bit on the "Rachel and Dustin" morning show over at KGFM 101.5 that was simply - in a word - hilarious. Rachel is all around good egg Rachel Legan and Dustin is her brother, both local Bakersfield products who know our community intimately. What they do at 7:50 every Thursday morning is peruse Craigslist and find local people looking for love, desperate folks who are just certain they made a "connection" with that special someone in the tight T-shirt but failed to get her name. You can't make some of this stuff up, and while there is a certain sadness to some of these postings, Rachel and her brother manage to bring them alive. In Rachel's words:

"Every now and then over the past several years I would read one of the Bakersfield Craigslist Missed Connection posts on air... The second week we were on together I printed out several posts I thought were interesting and we just went with it. The phones went CRAZY.

"I'm not sure we could live with ourselves if the "hot piece of tail who was strollerin' around with the baby in the 'MY MOMS KNOCKERS ROCK' t-shirt at the mall yesterday" missed her connection with "the hawt (sic) guy who was driving past (sic) in a lifted Chevy S10 w/primer on the left side wearing a Daniel Boone hat and a bandage to cover up his new tat".
"Obviously these two need to be united at once! Who are we to stand in the way of two minute love? LOL."

Tune in for a good laugh. We all need a laugh these days.

Coming off the disabled list: Wendy Wayne, John Moorhouse on the mend

Catching up with a couple folks who have been battling the demons of illness: Wendy Wayne and John Moorhouse. Traded emails with Wendy and got a rundown of her battle against non-Hodgkins lymphoma (see previous post here). She just returned from four days in Austin visiting son Larkin, his wife Katie and adorable granddaughter Maya (pictured with Wendy). She's done with the stem cell harvesting and will head back to the City of Hope Hospital next week for a battery of tests. Then later this month she'll check in as an inpatient for the stem cell transplant. As usual, Wendy doesn't dwell on her own illness but spends time asking others about their lives.

Meanwhile John Moorhouse, husband of Californian publisher Ginger Moorhouse and a longtime local insurance agent (pictured here), is doing better after a kidney transplant down at UCLA Medical Center. The transplant went without a hitch but in the recovery John developed valley fever and now he's being treated for that. Good news: John was released last week, readmitted with a minor development and should be back soon. Thoughts and prayers go to both Wendy and John.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Temple Beth El to honor Harvey Hall with 2009 Hillel Award

Mayor Harvey Hall gets a lot of chances to cut ribbons and get his picture taken, but next week he'll be given an honor of real substance when he will be presented with the 2009 Hillel Award by Temple Beth El. The Hillel Award honors a community leader who exemplifies the "spirit of the ancient sage Hillel the Elder ... known for his kindness, his gentleness, his concern for humanity, his moral and legal decisions are the cornerstone for Jewish tradition." Previous Hillel recipients include Wendy Wayne, Mayor Bob Price and Dr. Jess Diamond. Like all politicos Harvey may have his flaws - he can be a bit thin skinned - but no one can doubt his commitment to our community and the countless hours he puts in to improve our image both locally and elsewhere. Local political consultant Gene Tackett (husband of Wendy Wayne) will be the event MC and Fred Drew, new CEO over at the Kern Community Foundation, will give the introduction speech.

Famous words from Hillel include: "If I am not for myself, who is for me, but if I am for my own self (only), what am I? And if not now, when? ... That which is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. That is the whole Torah; the rest is commentary. Go and study it."

Temple Beth El is Bakersfield's Reform Synagogue and has been serving the community for more than 60 years. Rabbi Cheryl Rosenstein leads services Friday nights and the third Saturday of the month. Harvey will be honored Thursday, May 14, at the Doubletree Hotel. Tickets run $85 each or $850 a table. For more information, call 661-322-7607.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Bako Bits: short takes around town, from a Rubio run to kids making college decisions

Some short takes around our community following another splendid spring weekend, celebrating folks getting together for a good cause and our children moving on in their lives.
* RELAY FOR LIFE: You have to hand it to the organizers of Bakersfield's annual Relay for Life event out at Cal State Bakersfield. Thousands showed up and camped and walked and tens of thousands of dollars were raised to fight cancer. This has become one of our community's signature events and it is certainly something to rally around. Has any family not been touched by this dreaded disease?
* KUDOS TO KBAK: The folks over at channel 29 KBAK did a nice job with their live reporting from Relay for Life on Saturday morning. Personal testimonials from weatherman Miles Muzio were done in a quiet and respectful manner.
* RUNAWAY WINDMILL: Spotted this headline on the Californian breaking news Twitter feed: "runaway windmill closes Highway 58." Only in California would we understand runaway windmills.
* CLEAR PATH FOR RUBIO: When former Assemblywoman Sarah Reyes bowed out of the race for the State Senate 16th District, it virtually handed it to Supervisor Michael Rubio. Rubio's war chest of almost $400,000 and his total commitment to winning this seat is scaring away potential opponents. Others may emerge, but Mr. Rubio is going to Sacramento.

Last Friday was the day our high school seniors had to make final decisions on what colleges they will attend. This is clearly one of the most important decisions these young folks will have made in their short lives, and it will shape their lives forever. Here's a sampling of where some kids I know will spend the next four years:
* USC TROJANS: Frances Ellison, a senior at Stockdale High, will be heading to the USC engineering program. Frances was the top singles player for the Stockdale tennis team. Her sister Denise (also the No. 1 singles player before her) ended up at Notre Dame. They are the daughters of Bob and Patricia Ellison.
* LINDENWOOD LIONS: Elizabeth Key, senior at Ridgeview, decides on private Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Mo., taking advantage of a scholarship that recognizes her academic achievements along with skeet shooting. She's the daughter of local businessman Keith Keys.
* GO BRUINS: Andrew Green, senior at BHS, heads to Westwood to enjoy the beautiful UCLA campus. Andrew is the son of deputy District Attorney Lisa Green and Grimmway counsel Jeff Green. His brother is attending UC Irvine.
* SAN LUIS: Brooke Shuford, another Driller over at BHS, is headed to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Brooke was a Driller swimmer and is the daughter of Kellie and Dan Shuford.
* TO THE BEACH: Scott Camp, Stockdale High, heads to the beach at UC Santa Barbara to study. Scott is the son of Jim Camp, owner of S.A. Camp company, and Carol Camp.
* TEXAS BOUND: Cassie Clayton, a golfer over at Garces Memorial High, heads to Texas Christian University, a favorite of a lot of Bakersfield kids. Cassie is the daughter of Judy and Greg Clayton.
* MISSOURI BOUND: Brian Foley, Ridgeview High, also heads to Lindenwood to hone his shooting skills on a skeet scholarship. He is the son of Kim and Tim Foley.