Friday, November 20, 2009

A picture worthy of a magazine cover shot

 Wanted to share the cover of the upcoming December issue of BakersfieldLife, the glossy lifestyle magazine serving our community. Freelance photographer Jessica Frey truly captures the spirit of the season, focusing on young Nutcracker dancer Tara Baldoz. The magazine comes out next Saturday in home delivered editions of The Californian. My thanks to Californian graphic designer Glenn Hammett for another lovely cover. Enjoy.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The debate over immunizations and H1N1 and Memorial Hospital says thanks to its donors


* ... THE DEBATE OVER IMMUNIZATIONS: I'm intrigued by the number of people locally who are questioning the idea of immunizations in general and the new swine flu vaccine in particular. There has long been an emerging movement that has linked vaccines with autism and other ill effects, and it has a strong following in our community. And now some folks are even linking the onset of swine flu with valley fever. One of those questioning the need for immunizations is Dr. Courtland Keith, a local chiropractor who seems to reflect the general cynicism about drug companies and the potential ill effects of vaccines. I asked Keith (his practice is Keith Chiropractic over on New Stine Road) for some detail and he agreed to provide it, all with the caveat that he is not a medical doctor but does have some strong opinions on this topic. (Click here for a piece he  recommended) In his words:

  "If a new born infant has an under developed immune system at birth and depends upon the mother's breast milk to build that immune system, then why introduce an antigen to that system to try and create an immune response? What if just one of these known toxic substances is found in the vaccination (which most are found in every shot) that is being injected into the child is present? Thimerisol (mercury), aluminum, formaldehyde, squalene, ethylene glycerol and animal tissue/ DNA. Most of these products are used in every vaccination and are used as preservative for long self life and label adjuvants."
 "I also struggle with the American Medical Assn. and the government's position regarding vaccinations and the link to autism. What is the largest environmental, social, nutritional change that has occurred in the past 20 years that has created 1 in 100 children born to have autism? Their answer? We don't have a clue but we know without a shadow of doubt that it couldn't possibly by vaccinations? Then what has changed in the past 20 years? Your ability to diagnose and classify more accurately? Then why is there very little, if any adults over the age of 40 that have Autism?"

  The other side has equally compelling arguments, most of them presented in an interesting article in Wired magazine. (read the entire piece here) Some excerpts:

  "Consider: In certain parts of the US, vaccination rates have dropped so low that occurrences of some children’s diseases are approaching pre-vaccine levels for the first time ever. And the number of people who choose not to vaccinate their children (so-called philosophical exemptions are available in about 20 states, including Pennsylvania, Texas, and much of the West) continues to rise.
 "... That may not sound like much, but a recent study by the Los Angeles Times indicates that the impact can be devastating. The Times found that even though only about 2 percent of California’s kindergartners are unvaccinated (10,000 kids, or about twice the number as in 1997), they tend to be clustered, disproportionately increasing the risk of an outbreak of such largely eradicated diseases as measles, mumps, and pertussis (whooping cough). The clustering means almost 10 percent of elementary schools statewide may already be at risk.

 One thing for sure is this debate is not going away. Stay tuned.

  * ... MEMORIAL FOUNDATION SAYS THANKS: The Memorial Hospital Foundation held its annual meeting at Luigi's restaurant this week and used the time to say thanks to so many who are helping the hospital grow. Memorial President Jon Van Boening provided an update on the drive to create a Children's Medical Center and gave special thanks to Marvin Steinert, the Bakersfield businessman who cut a check for $50,000 to help the effort. Marv, who is now blind because of the onset of an illness, was there with his wife Nadine and son Gary Steinert of Fresno. Also singled out for recognition were Gary McElmurry and Tim Tunget from the local Costco warehouse stores, who presented a check for $110,000 to the Foundation. Lots of local folks were there, including Steve and Pat Loyd, Steve Clifford, Tom Smith, Tracy and Brian Walker, Greg Bynum, Mike Ansolabehere and Patti and Don Houchin among others.

 (pictured in the photo from left to right are Jon Van Boening, Memorial chief development officer Sue Benham, Foundation board member Mike Ansolabehere, Costco's Tim Tunget and Gary McElmurry and Memorial's Janelle Capra.)

* ... SHORT TAKES AROUND TOWN: Congratulations to Dr. Thomas H. Stewart, a local dentist who practices over off San Dimas Street and who has been elected head of the California Dental Association. ....Elsewhere, it's hard to believe it's been a full month since San Joaquin Bank was officially shuttered in a joint FDIC and state Department of Financial Institutions operation. The bank was closed on October 16 and at the same time taken over by Citizens Business Bank out of Southern California... And finally remember that this Saturday night is "Wine Fest," the annual gala put on by the Junior League of Bakersfield out at the Kern County Fairgrounds. Tickets are $60 and you can pick them up at H. Walker's men's store on 17th Street or at Imbibe Wine and Spirits Merchant on Truxtun Extension. It runs from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Kevin McCarthy profiled in "The Hill" newspaper

 Bakersfield's Rep. Kevin McCarthy is the subject of a profile today in The Hill, a Capitol Hill newspaper. Check out the entire story here but following are a few excerpts:

 "Unlike House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.), McCarthy is not a partisan bomb-thrower. And while liberal blogs relish going after Cantor, McCarthy hasn’t grabbed much of their attention. At least not yet.

Gesturing with his hands, McCarthy talks fast, so fast that his mouth sometimes has trouble keeping up.
 "... Without doubt, McCarthy sees the glass half-full. As the Republican Party battles with itself over whether it should turn toward the middle or sharply right, McCarthy says these skirmishes should play out in the primaries.

 “I’m not opposed to primaries. I think primaries are healthy,” he said.

 "... Asked how Republicans can win the House when poll numbers suggest otherwise, McCarthy smiles and responds, “Our numbers aren’t the highest.”
 "... McCarthy has a warning for Democrats who have been in Washington for a decade or longer: “If you are an incumbent and been here five terms, you should be concerned.” Most of these incumbents will survive, but McCarthy is attempting to expand the playing field — a must for the GOP if it hopes of winning the House anytime soon.

Sarah Palin and Bakersfield a dream team and a business born in the recession booms

 * .. LIKE THROWING RAW MEAT TO WOLVES: You have to hand it to George Martin, the local attorney who is bringing back the once wildly popular Bakersfield Business Conference. Martin scored it big by landing former GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin to be a headliner at the event, which is now scheduled for next October 9. Say what you will about Palin, but she is a red hot commodity right now and bringing her to Bakersfield's conservative audience is like throwing raw meat to a pack of hungry wolves. Meanwhile, no word yet on where the one-day conference will be held, but I hear Martin's first choice is the amphitheater at the Park at River Walk over off Stockdale Highway. The old venue over at Cal State Bakersfield appears to be out, partly because of the construction of the new student recreation center and the new bike path that winds around it.

 * ... A BUSINESS BORN IN THE RECESSION: If you're looking for some good news in the depth of this recession, consider Imbibe Wine and Spirits Merchants over off Truxtun Extension and Empire Drive. The business, owned and run by David and Tami Dobbs, is beautifully done and features a full wine store as well as a tasting area where you can sample wines by the ounce. The couple bought the building in July 2008, gutted and renovated it and opened Imbibe in March in the absolute depths of the recession. How are they doing? Tami tells me they are well ahead of their revenue goals and could not be happier with their growing clientele. The couple (she graduated from Bakersfield High and David from North High) spent 20 years in the wine business in Glendale before moving back in 2006 to be closer to family. This is a true entrepreneurial couple who built a business through sheer sweat equity against all odds in a recession. More power and all success to them.

* ... OFF TO HAITI: I saw Evan Evans, a local Allstate insurance manager, at Starbucks on 24th Street Monday morning where he regularly meets for coffee with his old high school pal Harry Starkey, head of the Berrenda Mesa Water District. Evans told me he was off to Haiti with 20 other members of the Olive Knolls Church of the Nazarene to build and work in a clinic. Apparently this is a 10-day trip and another example how many folks in this community give back in untold number of ways.

 * ... BOBBY'S BRIGADE FUND RAISER: If you're  looking for a good cause to support, drop over to B Ryder's sports grill this Thursday for an event supporting Relay For Life. The event is named for the son of CeCe Cross who lost his battle with leukemia. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door and includes trip-tip dinner, salad, beans, bread and a drink. B Ryder's is located at 7401 White Lane. Call CeCe Cross for details at 661-703-2050, or Vanessa Cierley at 661-246-8886. The event starts at 6 p.m.

 * ... RIP KURT YAEGER: I heard the other day that Kurt Yaeger, a local attorney who left town in the year 2000, had passed away in Riverside. Kurt and his wife Andrea Yaeger lived in Haggin Oaks and were avid golfers at Seven Oaks Country Club, where they were charter members and Kurt was the first head of the Board of Governors. Kurt was diagnosed with cancer three years ago and died at Loma Linda University Medical Center on November 10. He was 53. Keep Kurt, Andrea and their daughters Jacqueline and Elizabeth in your thoughts.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Teagarden in as president at Karpe and what to do about all those scofflaws with expired tags on the road

 * ... TEAGARDEN IN AT KARPE: It looks like Tom Teagarden is the new president over at Karpe Real Estate Center, succeeding Ray Karpe who abruptly resigned last week. Teagarden is a longtime Karpe employee and local product who has worked with the family company for years. He told me that he had been out of town and wasn't even aware that Ray Karpe had resigned, and when he returned Bob Karpe (Ray's father) offered him the job. (In an earlier post I erred in saying Bob Karpe founded the firm. It was actually his father, Elmer) Nobody is going public on the rift between Ray and his father. Ray says only there was a difference of opinion on the company's strategic direction. Teagarden was born in Bakersfield, graduated from Garces Memorial High and later UC Santa Barbara. He moved to Virginia where he worked, moved back and began working at Karpe in 1989. He's been married for 35 years to Susan and they have three grown boys, Thomas, Adan and Matthew. Here's wishing him and the company success.

 * ... THE SCOFFLAWS WITH EXPIRED TAGS: I hit a nerve with an earlier post on all the cars driving around town with expired license tags. My email inbox was filled with responses, including one from Bakersfield resident Gary Denny who said this had been a pet peeve of his for years. His words:

 "At times, I have seen three or four vehicles at one location with expired tags. A couple of years ago I tried to find an agency to call or report this information to: CHP, city police, sheriff's department, Department of Motor Vehicles... none of these agencies were responsible... an individual has no way to report these vehicles. How many millions of dollars is the state missing from expired tags?"

 Yet another correspondent (who asked me not to use her name) speculated those driving around with expired tags are the same people who regularly fail to pay library fines or their student loans, and then are shocked when it negatively impacts their credit. "This is a blase attitude that I have noticed for all the years we have been living here," she said.

 * ... A DOWNTOWN RENAISSANCE? I had a nice chat the other day with Cathy Butler, head of the Downtown Business Association (DBA), who was absolutely giddy over what is happening downtown. She was raving about the new restaurant Victor Victoria's over on 19th Street, located in the same spot that once hosted Kosmo's and Goose Loonies. She also mentioned the new "O" sushi restaurant (owned by the same folks who run Toro sushi over at the marketplace; read the previous post here) and of course she's excited about the opening of the newly renovated Padre Hotel in six weeks or so. Bringing downtown Bakersfield back to life is a block by block project. The old central business district has come a long way and has an equally long way to go, but these developments are worth celebrating..

 * ... PCL MAKES A DONATION: I mentioned earlier the generosity of industrial services company PCL donating $10,000 to the Golden Empire Gleaners. Here's a picture of the check presentation, never a real compelling picture but these folks deserve some recognition. From left to right are Jim Blom, Todd Yepez, John Kerchinski (PCL president locally), Pam Fiorini, Pam Lindaman, Renee Massey and Ronald Eaves.