As the New York Times noted, "now those missing and possibly fraudulent documents are at the center of a potentially seismic legal clash that pits big lenders against homeowners and their advocates concerned that the lenders' rush to foreclose flouts private property rights." So how have the big banks responded to this crisis? They've made it near impossible to qualify for a loan, at least according to local Realtors I have spoken with. I saw one the other day and the look of frustration on his face was almost painful to witness. Yet another escrow on a house - a beautiful place at the right price in a wonderful neighborhood - had fallen through because of the reluctance of a bank to make a loan. "You wouldn't believe what they dragged my client through - sixty days of it! - and his credit is perfect. This neighborhood lost a wonderful family." One thing is clear: we are a long way from crawling out of this hole and meanwhile, wonderful homes at reasonable prices sit on the market.
* ... SPOOK: One of the more successful but little known annual events is this Saturday's Spooktacular, a 100-mile bike ride featuring more than 10,000 feet of climbing in the impressive mountains that frame our community. It is put on annually by the Kern Wheelmen cycling club and draws several hundred riders from across the West. There are shorter courses available, but the two 100-mile jaunts - one goes up White Wolf grade outside of Arvin and then the switch backs of Lion's Trail to Walker Basin while the other tackles Breckenridge mountain - test even the fittest of riders.
* ... MUTT STRUT: If riding 100 miles is too much for you, check out another worthwhile event this Saturday, the eighth annual Mutt Strut walk and run to benefit the SPCA at Yokuts Park. The SPCA's Chuck Nordstrom said all runners will receive a T-shirt and goody bag. Registration starts at 7 a.m. and there will be plenty of food after the race and walk. "Following our race will be Anderson Acres Responsible Dog Day Event from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. where the SPCA will be offering a microchip clinic and the county will be offering rabies vaccinations and licensing," he said.
* ... BROCKS: John Brock Jr. wrote to share some history of the old Trailway's bus depot that was located at the northwest corner of 20th and K streets. "My family bought the property in the late 1950s or early 1960s, demolished the building and created an additional parking lot for Brock's."
* ... GO DUCKS: Heard from reader Lori Peters that Lauren Kotz, a 2010 graduate of Stockdale High School, has landed a spot on the University of Oregon softball team. Peters said Kotz was the only player to make the team as a walk-on. Not a bad time to be a Duck given the strength of its football team this year.
* ... SPOTTED: As seen by KGFM radio host Rachel Legan: "A couple smoking outside the cancer clinic. Oh, the irony."
* ... BAKERSFIELDISM: You know you're a Bakersfield old-timer if "you saw Pancho Gonzales and Lew Hoad play an exhibition at the Bakersfield Racquet Club."