* ... MOUNTAIN LION: Was it a mountain lion or simply an overfed tabby? Either way some folks in the Grand Island development of Seven Oaks are abuzz over the reported sighting of the big cat. Said one resident: "It was definitely a mountain lion and not a bobcat as it was very large. He was eating the neighbor’s dog food and when he was approached he ran off, jumped the five-foot tall wrought iron fence and ran onto the golf course at Seven Oaks. We aren’t that far from the river so maybe it had wandered away looking for food?" We already know about the cougars at Seven Oaks, but this is one intruder even the gates can't keep out.
* ... THE BUZZ: Lots of talk in our community about the number of city and county employees who are earning more than $100,000 a year in public pensions. The Californian ran a list of some of the top earners, including former county Fire Chief Dennis Thompson who is pulling down $232,547 a year. (read the entire story here) But let's not gang up on the retirees. Shouldn't our anger be directed at our elected officials who negotiated these sweetheart deals in order to buy support from the public employee unions? As one reader, Caroline Reid, said: "With the amount of money we are paying our public officials in retirement and what we paid them while they were working, we ought to have the safest, most crime free and law abiding city in the Valley, and surrounding areas. And the farmers shouldn't have to worry so much about water for crops. And, our taxes should keep going up but they will because we have the pensions."
* ... CHILDHOOD CANCER: John Schumacher, a teacher at Lakeside School, is about to part with his beard of over 30 years to help fight childhood cancer. His wife, Joan Knowlden Schumacher, said it's all part of a St. Baldrick's Foundation event to raise money to fight cancer. Moved by the story of a young boy's struggle with cancer, he decided to shave his beard to raise $250 and he'll have his head shaved to raise another $500. "He hasn't shaved his beard in over 30 years so this is a big event," his wife said. "He and his sister are UCSB alums and challenge other alums to donate Saturday." It will all happen at the Prime Cut on the corner of Brimhall and Calloway drive.
* ... DRUM CORPS: Hats off to 16 Bakersfield area high school and college kids who won the world championship in a drum and bugle corps competition held in Indianapolis, IN. Reader Ann Olcott said the kids, members of the Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps - B Corps, practiced all summer to win their second championship. "The sound from the drums and horns just blows you away," she said. Ann's grand daughter, Jami Olcott, was a member of the winning team. She is a 2010 graduate of Bakersfield High School.
* ... BAKERSFIELDISM: From my friend Riley Parker: You know you're a Bakersfield old-timer if you "would never wear a shirt to high school that didn't come from Coffee's University Shop."