Friday, January 8, 2010

McCarthy: Congress needs to wake up and curtail spending

  Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) gives us his weekly update from Capitol Hill. Disagree with him? Post a blog comment. 
  "This is my first 'Beene Blog' for 2010, and I would first like to thank Richard for allowing me to regularly keep you updated with what's happening in Congress through weekly updates over the past year. Second, I hope everyone had a good Christmas break and a happy New Year.

 "Congress comes back into session next week and our highest priority should be jobs, especially after Washington’s disconnect with creating jobs over the past year. While unemployment is at a record high in states like ours and at a double-digit rate nationally, Congress has continued to put forward big spending measures that drive up the debt and kill jobs. Congress needs to wake up.  Americans don't want partisan solutions - we want common-sense workable solutions that will help produce a job-creating environment.That is why my colleagues and I are advocating a "no cost jobs plan" that removes burdensome and credit-killing regulations, eliminates upcoming tax increases, increases exports by approving pending free trade agreements, freezes out-of-control Washington spending, and reforms financial regulations to get credit flowing, all without increasing Washington spending and debt.
 "This week, I traveled throughout our communities. It was nice to see and hear from many of you.
 "On Tuesday, I joined local officials from around the county and unveiled H.R. 4352, a bill that I authored that will help level the playing field for small communities that compete with larger cities for critical wastewater infrastructure funds. This common sense reform would help address the systemic funding problem that shortchanges many small communities from obtaining financing for wastewater infrastructure facilities so they can comply with various state and Federal mandates.
 "On Wednesday, I met with the Bakersfield Breakfast Rotary (a lively group for early in the morning) and discussed the economic challenges facing our nation. Following my meeting with the Rotary, I met with local small business owners, and toured the M.D. Manufacturing plant in Bakersfield. After meeting with our local businesses, it could not be clearer that Congress needs to stop new credit-killing regulations and start working to provide a vibrant market where small businesses can prosper.
 "As Congress reconvenes next week, there will once again be a lot of attention towards health care reform. As you know, the Senate passed their version of the government takeover just before Christmas through a shady practice of giveaways and backroom deals. Continuing Chicago-style politics, instead of the usual open and transparent conference committee process to reconcile differences, Democratic Congressional leaders and the President have all chosen to make their final changes behind closed doors. During his campaign, then-Senator Obama promised eight times that all negotiations on health care would be televised live and recently C-SPAN even formally asked Congressional leaders to keep the President’s promise; unfortunately, Speaker Pelosi laughed off this idea and has continued to move forward with her costly and secretive agenda. Americans continue to express opposition to legislation that will raise health care costs, raise taxes, and increase federal spending. Health care reform will affect one-sixth of our nation’s economy, and every American deserves to know what direction their representatives are going to take when it comes to future reform. That is why I have joined my colleagues in pressing for more transparency and will continue the fight to prevent this bad health care bill from becoming law.
 "I hope you all have a good week."

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Bolthouse Properties makes big donation to Houchin Blood Bank, and Bako Buckeyes Unite

 *  ... GOOD NEWS FOR HOUCHIN: Houchin Blood Bank had some big news Thursday when it announced that Bolthouse Properties was donating five acres of vacant land for a new blood facility off Buena Vista Road. This is just the latest example of the generosity of the Bolthouse family, which has helped fund many causes through the years. Houchin CEO Greg Gallion told me he was overwhelmed by the donation, which will allow the blood bank to build a completely new and expanded facility across from St. John's Lutheran Church. Gallion sees that area of the Southwest as the epicenter of our city's growth, and a prime location for a new blood facility. Bolthouse Properties is no longer affiliated with Bolthouse Farms, the huge carrot producer, instead holding and developing commercial and agricultural properties located mainly in Southern California. Bakersfield attorney Tony Leggio is president of  Bolthouse Properties and said the donation was consistent with "the Bolthouse Family legacy in giving back to the community."

 * ... BAKO BUCKEYES UNITE: I received a strong response from an earlier post wondering how many Ohio State Buckeye alumni or fans live here locally. Reader Sunny Kapoor had emailed me to get in a dig at all those Oregon fans after the Ducks lost in the Rose Bowl. A sampling of the responses:

 - Louis Sun, wastewater superintendent for the city of Bakersfield, graduated from Ohio State in 1997 and said he too "bleeds scarlet and gray." He was at the Rose Bowl game said his expectations for the Buckeyes next year are "sky high."
 - Dianne Hoover, director of our city recreation and parks department, told me that she grew up in central Ohio and though she didn't attend Ohio State, is a fan by birthright.

 "Most of my family still lives in Ohio so I return for holidays and get the football fever all over again. My brother has an entire room dedicated to Ohio State football and yes, he did graduate from there. I bring 'buckeyes' to share with co-workers after a big win, or sometimes before one. A  real buckeye comes from the nut of the buckeye tree, which can't be eaten by humans since it is poison to us when consumed, but not to touch. ... The buckeyes, the tree's way of reproducing itself, have a thorny outer shell but when they fall off the tree, the shell splits open and the remaining nut looks like the eye of a buck; hence the buckeye."

  - Bill Allison, corporate sales manager for the Bakersfield Condors, chimed in that he grew up just south of Dayton, Ohio, in Centerville, the home of former Buckeyes and current NFL players Mike Nugent and A.J. Hawk. "I wear my scarlet and gray proudly in the Condors office and can't wait for next season. Go Bucks!"
 - And finally there is Frank Colatruglio, vice president of UBS Financial Services in Bakersfield, who grew up in Tiffin, Ohio, attended Bowling Green State University for three years before transferring to Cal State Bakersfield and falling in love with our community. He's been here 30 years but still roots for the Buckeyes. "Growing up in Ohio where it is like Iceland this time of year, it always seemed the Rose Bowl was playing in some faraway land of perpetual sunshine and 72-degree temperatures." 

 * ... SERVICES FOR CLAUDE FIDDLER: The funeral service for longtime Chevron oilman Claude Fiddler has been set for Thursday, January 28 at 2 p.m. at Greenlawn Mortuary and Cemetery. Expect a huge crowd as the community expresses its respect for both Claude, who died last week at 77, and his late wife Shirley Ann, who died just about a month ago.

 * ... DANNY MAITIA'S FAREWELL: Bakersfield always reserves a special send-off for its most beloved citizens, which explains why the service the Danny Maitia came as close as we have here to a state funeral. Danny was the former co-owner and head bartender of the popular Woolgrower's Basque restaurant, founded by his mother, Mayie Maitia.  He died of brain cancer after a two-year battle. He was 55. The service, held at St. Francis Church and officiated by Monsignor Craig Harrison, drew a standing room only crowd. The wake was held at the Basque Club, catered by Luigis Restaurant and Delicatessen and again drew an overflow crowd. Farewell Danny.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Meet Chloe Walker Kiser

There is absolutely no reason for this post other than to show off Chloe, the sweet yellow lab puppy owned by Tracy Walker Kiser and Brian Kiser. These pictures were taken at H. Walker's Men Clothing - owned by Tracy - in downtown Bakersfield. Who doesn't love a puppy picture?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Is Fessler a replacement for Carvajal? And an Ohio State Buckeye seeks same in Bako


* ... RAINING DOGS AND CATS: I had a chance to catch up with the folks over at the local SPCA on Gibson Street the other day when I was dropping off some books, left over by two daughters who have since moved out of town via college and both unlikely to return. The books will be sold during the SPCA's annual late March-early April book sale to raise money. Local spokesman Chuck Nordstrom says donations have remained steady but  the facility is overwhelmed with owner relinquished animals being dropped off by folks who have lost their jobs, their homes or are moving out of town. The facility is now "at capacity," meaning it has more than 300 dogs and cats. The SPCA will only take unwanted pets when  it has room. In the meantime, it always has a need for old sheets and towels for the strays, so open your hearts (and your pocketbooks) to this local worthy cause.

 * ... LONELY  BUCKEYE SEEKS SAME: Received a humorous email from Sunny Kapoor, finance manager of the West Kern Water District, who noted that he was a "Buckeye transplant" from Ohio and had the chance to take in the Rose Bowl game against Oregon (sorry Ducks, Ohio State was impressive in this one). Said Kapoor: "Sitting in the Ohio State section brought back a ton of memories of watching games at the ole 'Horseshoe' and listening to the 'Best Damn Band in the Land.' I am aware of a lot of Oregon Duck alumni in Bako, but I wonder how many Buckeyes live here?" With apologies to the Ducks and the PAC-10, any Buckeyes out there?

 * ... BAKO BITS: I spotted cancer survivor Wendy Wayne out for a morning run near Jastro Park the other day. She was bundled up, had an impressive gait and looked great. What a difference a few months make. Just a short time ago she was down in Los Angeles for some very tough treatment for non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and now she's back running. Great to have you back, Wendy. We're also waiting word on the funeral service for Claude Fiddler, the 77-year-old local oil engineer who died last week, just two weeks after his wife Shirley Ann passed away. This will be a standing-room only service as the community pays last respects to this remarkable man. More on this as it develops.

 * ... THE BUZZ: The real story behind the departure of Roger Fessler from general manager of American General Media to Cal State Bakersfield is how soon Athletic Director Rudy Carvajal will retire. You have to think Fessler would be the likely candidate to succeed Carvajal, who has served in the post since 1972 and should be nearing retirement. No one is talking but keep your eye on this one. Fessler's move was the latest to rock the local radio business, which has been in a funk during this recession. Just a few weeks ago Mike Allen, who worked at the local Spanish radio group for more than 30 years, left the company and is currently out of work. I'm not sure there is a connection here -  the Fessler move was a personal decision to follow his passion - but it represents a huge change on the local radio scene. Rogers Brandon , president of the AGM Group, indicated Fessler would not be replaced and he would be picking up some of his duties, at least temporarily. And I don't think we've heard the last of Mike Allen.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Local oil engineer Claude Fiddler dies, two weeks after his wife passes away

* ... RIP CLAUDE FIDDLER: Two weeks ago I reported that Shirley Ann Fiddler, a longtime Bakersfield resident, had died after a lengthy illness. And now I learn that husband Claude Fiddler passed away late  last week. Claude was a retired Chevron oil manager and he and his wife spent a career in some of the most exotic locales (Hong Kong, Madagascar, Paris and Taft among other places) but they loved Bakersfield and called it home. (read the previous post on Shirley Ann here) I was not aware Claude had any health problems; in fact he was the picture of a robust soul: striking silver hair combed back, thin waist, firm  handshake. It's always curious and odd to me how long-time married couples will often die within weeks of each other, and this was one couple who shared a long and close marriage. Claude served as president of the downtown Rotary Club and was a long time board member at the Golden Empire Gleaners. According to a story in Inside CSUB, a publication of  Cal State Bakersfield, the Fiddlers established two scholarships at the university, both fully endowed to the tune of $100,000. They have two children, Linda and David, both of whom earned master's degrees from CSUB. (photo courtesy of CSUB)

 * ... ETCHEVERRY OFF TO AFRICA: I also learned the other day that Jeffrey Etcheverry was headed off to South Africa to inspect some grape packaging equipment. Jeff works for David Sabovich, president of Fresh Look Brokers, a company that handles some of the Central Valley's table grape brokerage and packaging. Apparently the new equipment in South Africa shows great promise in making the process more efficient.

 * ... KUDOS FOR THE MUSEUM: Local community activist Sheryl Barbich shared some accolades that came to the Bakersfield Museum of  Art concerning its recent show featuring the work of artist James McMillan. Apparently the New York attorney who loaned the art, Patrick Bradford, was so impressed with the show that he donated $2,500 to the museum. Bradford's note: 
     "You and your colleagues have a real national treasure in the Bakersfield museum. Over the past decade I have served on many, many non-profit boards and I must say that the enthusiasm from your museum's patrons and supports was inspiring. Again, thank you for presenting Mr. McMillan's work in such a highly professional manner."

     McMillan's work was part of the Harlem Renaissance show and he also has come art in the current exhibit.  

     * ... THE BUZZ: It looks like the plaintiffs law firm of Chain, Cohn and Stiles has stolen the marketing director away from the Kern Schools Federal Credit Union. The firm convinced Marlene Morales to give up nine years at the credit union to run the marketing program for the law firm. Morales also served as marketing manager for San Joaquin Valley College. She's a native of Bakersfield, a Foothill High grad, and went on to Bakersfield College and Cal State Bakersfield where she earned her bachelor's in English/Communication.