Saturday, October 23, 2010

McCarthy: California only behind Nevada and Michigan in high unemployment rate

 Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, brings us his weekly update. In his words:

"It was another sad week for the community of Rosamond and our larger Kern community as we learned about the loss of Lance Corporal Joseph C. Lopez, U.S. Marine Corps.  Lance Corporal Lopez was serving with the 3rd Battalion based out of Camp Pendleton in Afghanistan.  Our condolences go out to his family and friends in Rosamond as we remember him for his ultimate sacrifice in defending our freedom. ‬

‪ "This week the U.S. Army recognized one of Bakersfield’s own, Sgt. Zachary R. Reese with the Silver Star, the third-highest military decoration awarded to a member of the Armed Forces for valor in the
face of mortal danger from the enemy.   Last April, Sgt. Reese, a sniper by training, was serving in Afghanistan, and while on patrol was able to warn his platoon of a large number of insurgents heading
in their direction.  He organized an ambush which would be one of the most successful operations linked to changing the momentum of the spring campaign in the Kunar province.  Again, we are so grateful for
our warfighters like Sgt. Reese who put their lives on the line every day to defend our freedom.  ‬
"In economic news, California once again was ranked number 3 when it comes to jobless rates in our nation.  Coming in behind Nevada and Michigan, our state has a 12.4% jobless rate.  Apparently, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) doesn’t seem to pay attention to vital statistics like this.  Thursday, as a result of the Clean Air Act, which is enforced by the EPA, the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District voted to impose an additional $12 fee on vehicle registrations in the Central Valley due to certain Federal requirements not being met earlier this year.  While it is important the air we all breathe is clean, this action will result in a unacceptable $29 million fine, which is another example of inflexible
Federal environmental policies.  This will punish hardworking Americans  and contribute to economic uncertainty as our local communities struggle to create jobs.  Residents in the Central Valley
need jobs, not another fee that takes money from hard working families.‬

‪ "I head down to Taft again this weekend for the conclusion of Oildorado Days and Taft’s 100th Anniversary celebration.  This time I hope to be a part of breaking a world record.  Bob Leikam, the owner
of Taft’s Domino’s Pizza, will be working to break the Guinness Book of World Records for the most medium pepperoni pizzas sold in 24 hours.  As a former deli owner, I may not have that much experience
making pizza, but I will be lending Bob a hand to make this record a reality.  Come down to Taft and order a medium pepperoni for you and your family.‬

Friday, October 22, 2010

Two suspects arrested in shooting death on Cal State campus

 Bakersfield police have arrested two men in the tragic shooting death of 18-year-old Bianca Jackson on the campus of Cal State Bakersfield late Thursday night. Here's what is new: police believe this was a gang shooting involving teens who crashed a campus party. The victim was apparently leaving when she was hit with a random shot.
 The two suspects are Jonathan Darnel Bell, 18, and Christoper Lee Miller, 19, neither of them a student. Police are now looking for a dark gray Chevrolet Avalanche that fled the scene. It is speculated that Bell and Miller were shooting at occupants in the Avalanche.
 The shooting happened when the student party great to around 150 young bell, fights broke out, campus police intervened and the fight continued in a parking lot where the shooting broke out. Read The Californian for the latest developments.

Teen shot and killed at Cal State Bakersfield Halloween party

 An 18-year-old woman was shot and killed when a small party grew out of control on the campus of Cal State Bakersfield Thursday night. It's the first time anyone has been shot on the campus. Police said 30 to 40 people were invited to attend the Halloween party but more than 100 showed up. A fight broke out, shots rang out and Biana Jackson, a graduate of Ridgeview High School, was killed. She apparently was not a student at CSUB and neither were many of the party goers. Police are looking for several younger black men who were seen in a black Cadillac Escalade.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Another "seismic legal clash" adds to woes in the housing market and the SPCA plans its Mutt Strut

 * ... REAL ESTATE: Can things possibly get worse with the housing crisis? Well apparently they can. Amid a market that is swamped in foreclosures and uncertainty, the focus now is on thousands of documents that went missing in the 2005 to 2007 frenzy when the market was red hot. 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."

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hot new hair straightening product is under scrutiny and Wall Street Journal spotlights Kevin McCarthy

 * ... YOUNG GUNS: Rep. Kevin McCarthy has received some more positive press, this time a front page analysis in the Wall Street Journal focusing on the group of moderate Republicans who likely will be in control of the House after the election. McCarthy was singled out for recruiting a class of candidates across the country who have political experience and will be open to compromise to push through important legislation. Said the Journal: "Among the ideas is to bring a series of bills to the floor, as often as once a week, designed to cut spending in some way. Longer term, GOP leaders say they recognize they may have to compromise with Democrats in tackling broader problems." (photo courtesy of the Wall Street Journal)

 * ... THE BUZZ: Lots of chatter in local hair salons over the safety of a hot new hair straightening product. Some reports say the product, called the Brazilian Blowout, contains dangerous levels of formaldehyde, a chemical the National Cancer Institute calls a cancer-causing substance. Apparently when it's exposed to heat from hair dryers,  it emits a nasty smell that causes sore throats and eye irritation. Some stylists worry that other customers not undergoing the procedure may become sick by inhaling the fumes if the salon is not properly ventilated.  An NPR report said the product's maker maintains it is perfectly safe, but the state of Oregon is warning salon workers to use it with caution. And in Canada, NPR said it has been pulled from the shelves. KBAK TV reported earlier that the treatment can cost up to $250 per session and that Cal OSHA has received complaints about the product.

* ... VIBE'S... Reader Nancy Vibe says you are a real Bakersfield old timer if you can remember the tune to the old "Vibe's Market" jingle. Her father-in-law said the markets were on California Avenue, Rosedale Highway and in Greenfield and Arvin. The jingle: "Vibe's, Vibe's... Vibe's is a working man's friend ... You spend less money and you get more too ... Vibe's, Vibe's, Vibe's is a working man's friend."

 * ... MORE VIBE'S: And there is this from reader John Croson: "I had the pleasure of working for Roy Vibe when I was in high school. He had the best product in Bakersfield by far and was the greatest boss a kid could work with. He even bought my black figs from my back yard and sold them at the store."

 * ... FOUNDATION: The Women's and Girls' Fund of Kern County is accepting applications for a new round of grants focusing on "education and training." The fund, part of the Kern Community Foundation, will award grants totaling $16,000 to $20,000. Interested nonprofits should send a letter of intent to apply to the Foundation office, 3300 Truxtun Avenue, Suite 220, Bakersfield, 93301, or fax it to 661-325-5358. The Fund was launched in 2005 and has awarded $63,000 in grants from an endowment exceeding $440,000.

 * ... OVERHEARD: Two women talking at Oildorado Days celebration in Taft. "Girl, How are you?" Other woman responds, " I am great! I got new teeth!"  With that, she pulled them out and proudly showed off her new dentures.

 * ... SPOTTED: Middle-aged man gives a hot cup of coffee to a homeless, obviously unstable woman at the Chevron station at the corner of 23rd and L streets in a random act of kindness.

* ... BAKERSFIELDISM: You know you're from Bakersfield "if your gift packages to your children away at college include Dewar's Chews."

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Warning newcomers about the dangers of Valley Fever and musing about about Zack Scrivner's pot conviction

* ... VALLEY FEVER: Pauline Larwood, a former county supervisor and one of the leaders in an effort to find a cure for valley fever, dropped me this note regarding what every newcomer to our town should know: "September's reported cases show a sharp rise in valley fever infection in Kern County. The number of monthly cases in tracked by both the Kern County Health Department and Physician's Automated Lab. September's cases likely were exposed to Coccidioides immitis spores six weeks prior to infection. people who have lived here all their lives are likely still susceptible. History shows that the old, the very young, those who are immune suppressed, blacks and Filipinos and some other Asian ancestries all seem to be more susceptible to serious disease. New residents probably know little about the disease and should educate themselves. One way to do that is to visit"

 * ... THE BUZZ: Lots of talk around town about county supervisor candidate Zack Scrivner's disclosure that he was arrested on a marijuana charge while a student at UC Santa Barbara. Call me jaded, but I can't get overly agitated over this whole affair. Isla Vista, where Zack was busted, is not much different from Chico, Berkeley, Boulder, Austin, Ann Arbor or any other college town. Marijuana is a fact of life and the idea that kids experiment with it should come as no surprise to anyone .That's not an endorsement of his behavior, or the fact that he didn't come clean about it earlier, but rather a concession that with youth comes indiscretion.

 * ... SHE'S BACK: Read with interest Californian opinion editor Robert Price's Sunday column talking about the very real possibility that Nicole Parra will be appointed county supervisor to replace the state Senate bound Michael Rubio. Parra, a former Assemblywoman, would be appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger if Rubio wins the 16th State Senate race as he is expected to do. As Price points out, this is rich with irony since Parra would return to reclaim her "deposed father's place on the dais, replacing the man who defeated Pete Parra six years ago - and who happens to be a former protege of her sworn blood enemy, termed out 16th District state Sen. Dean Florez."

* ... GREEN FROG: Reader Nancy Vibe recalled when her father-in-law leased the produce section of the Green Frog market on Alta Vista for 32 years. In the old days, he said "people would come in on Saturday, dressed in their good clothes, and shop. He said the men had on nice sport coats and ties, and the women had on - get this - fur coats! So they would come in all dolled up, buy their veggies and give and get the latest gossip about Bakersfield's finest. You had to see Roy Vibe on Saturday to get the good stuff!"

 * ... IRON MAN: Mike Toland is one of those guys who makes us all look bad. Fit, trim and disciplined, this geologist at the state Department of Conservation is one of our community's most committed athletes, not to mention a gracious and decent man. So it was nice to hear that Toland is headed to the International Triathlon Union's World Long Course Championships in Las Vegas next year. Mike qualified to be part of Team USA in the 55-59 age group by competing in the National Long Course Championships in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The race included a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride and 13-mile run. Now that's something to crow about.

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: You know you're a Bakersfield old-timer if you "remember what was on the northwest corner of 20th and K streets. (The Trailways Santa Fe Bus Depot)