Thursday, February 11, 2010

Remembering Sister Kay O'Brien and the surprising choice for a new Kern Foundation president

* ... REMEMBERING SISTER KAY: I was saddened to hear that Sister Kay O'Brien, the last member of a religious order to serve as principal of Garces Memorial High School, died last week. Sister Kay was a member of the Sisters of the Tacoma Dominican Order and served as principal for seven years, from 1971 through 1978. No doubt there are many in our community who fondly remember her tenure at Garces. She was responsible for hiring many of the school's former and current staff members, including V. Robert Garcia, who eventually returned as principal for three years before dying two years ago. Also hired by Sister Kay were John and Vince Fanucchi, Mike Phillips, Janie Reiland and Lela Steiber. After Garces she served as principal at St. Ann Catholic School in Ridgecrest and then as principal at St. Aloysius Catholic School in Tulare.

 * ... THE REEP GIRLS: I ran into local artist and educator Susan Reep the other day and she updated me on her three daughters, each of whom swore she would never return to Bakersfield after college, but of course did. Her youngest, Kimberly Smith, graduated from Cal State Northridge, lived on the coast but "made her way back to good ole Bako and opened Kern Train Your Brain, a neuro feedback business." Middle daughter Karen married Steve Davies and both taught school in Bakersfield but left for Colorado because Steve "found it easier to breathe there." Finally, oldest daughter Jennifer was dead set against returning but husband Matt Constantine wanted to live here. He is head of the Department of Public Health and Jennifer is a reading specialist at Endeavor Elementary.

 * ... BAKO SEASON: In the debate over whether "Bako" is an appropriate nickname for our town, longtime local sports photographer John Harte reminded me that his parents live in Grover Beach, a popular destination for those of us in the Central Valley. "Over the years I've heard service industry employees say 'the Bakos are coming.' I've also heard a few refer to summertime as 'Bako season.' Never offended me. I got a kick out of it."

 * ... THE BUZZ: More than a few folks were surprised by the choice of an outsider as the new president and CEO of the Kern Community Foundation. Floridian Jeffrey Pickering  is the new president, and he certainly brings with him sound credentials and experience in foundation work. But there were a number of local, well connected candidates who already intimately know the local scene and the players and could hit the ground running. Still, we can be certain that acting CEO Judi McCarthy directed a deliberate, thorough, thoughtful search, so I don't have any doubt that Pickering will succeed. We should all wish him luck.

 * ... RED CROSS: Speaking of jobs, I heard from my friend Scott Garrison that Lorraine Castro was no longer CEO of the Kern County Red Cross office. Apparently she is now working at Turning Point. Garrison is a member of the Kern Red Cross Board of Directors and said it is searching for a replacement.



Anonymous said...

Someone should remind John Harte that Grover Beach was once Grover City until a few years ago when the city fathers wanted to class it up by changing the name. Thank God we ( the Bakos) just speed by "Grover Beach" on 101 as we make our way to a real beach city, PISMO!!!

Anonymous said...

Regarding the news of Lorraine Castro leaving the American Red Cross: Um, I read that last month . . . in the Bakersfield Californian. Here's the story: