* ... DARK DAYS: The news on the economic front has gone from bad to worse lately with all the talk of a double-dip recession and columnist Paul Krugman's warning that a depression is not out of the question. Now comes a study by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center showing how far the pain has moved through the economy. As reported in the Wall Street Journal, the study said that out of the 13 recessions since the Great Depression, "none has presented a more punishing combination of length, breadth and depth than this one." Even among those with jobs, three in 10 working adults have had their hours reduced and a quarter have taken a pay cut. Another 12 percent have been forced to take unpaid leave and 11 percent were forced to switch from full time to part time. Think about it: how many of your own friends and family members have taken pay cuts or been furloughed this year? Finally, the study said the recession had "ushered in a culture of frugality: 57 percent of those surveyed have postponed or canceled a vacation and seven out of 10 are buying less expensive brands. Nearly half have loaned money to someone in need."
* ... PADRE NEWS: It was great to see Drew Hall back at work Wednesday night. Drew is the popular 31-year-old Padre Hotel manager who was critically injured in a jet ski accident at Lake Havasu. After suffering multiple skull fractures and almost losing an eye, he has made a miraculous comeback and is eager to get back to work full time. (read my previous post here) Drew has taken to Bakersfield and is still planning to buy a home here. He told me he received over 100 get well cards from folks around town. Meanwhile, Padre owner Brett Miller said the hotel had its best month ever in June, and business and leisure travelers are starting to discover his rooms. "The rooms have been on fire," he told me. "We are blowing away our guests with incredible service."
* ... TOP GUN: Kudos to 12-year-old Jason David, one of our community's sharp shooters out at the Kern County Gun Club. The seventh grader from Standard Middle School is an ace trap shooter and recently posted his first perfect score, shooting 100 straight in the California State Trapshooting Championships. He was C Class Champion and won in a shoot-off. He also was champion in the Intermediate Entry Level at the California Scholastic Clay Target Program. His team, the Oaktree Junior Claybreakers, is traveling to Sparta, Illinois, in July to compete in the National Championships.
* ... OVERHEARD: Word on the street is that HomeGoods is considering opening a store in the old Long's Drug building on California Avenue. HomeGoods is owned by the company that owns TJ Maxx and Marshalls and they have outlets all over the country. No announcement yet from the corporate office.
* ... SNAKE BIT: I seem to be snake bit when it comes to reporting on Siobhan O'Rourke, the young lady who received a National Multiple Sclerosis Society college scholarship. She's heading to Biola University, not Cal State Bakersfield.
* ... BAKERSFIELDISM: From reader Kimberly Fulenwider: You know you're from Bakersfield if "you remember the koi pond at Valley Plaza and the ginormous chandelier that swept down from above it! I loved looking at the fish as a child and throwing pennies into the pond."