Saturday, November 13, 2010

McCarthy: a week to pause and pay tribute to those who have served our country

 Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) gives us his weekly update from Capitol Hill. In his words:

"Thanks to all the students and parents who came out this past weekend in Bakersfield and Atascadero for the Academy Forums organized by my office.  Students were able to visit with representatives from each
U.S. Service Academy, along with various visiting cadets and midshipmen who were able to offer first-hand accounts of what school is like at the academies.  If you missed it and would like more information on the application process, please contact my local office at: 327-3611.

  "Wednesday, I was out in Mojave for the facility groundbreaking of the first commercial spaceship manufacturing company, The Spaceship Company.  As you know, the Mojave Air and Space Port is leading the way in the development of commercial space flight.  Now Mojave will be making history once again and will be providing private-sector jobs as The Spaceship Company builds the first commercial spaceship for space tourism.  Our state needs to be pursuing more economic development opportunities like this one to get our economy going again and keep us on the forefront of cutting edge technology development.

  "Thursday was Veterans Day and my daughter Meghan and I rode in the 91st Annual Bakersfield Veterans Parade in a WW II Jeep owned by Lou Duncan.  Later that afternoon I planted a tree in honor of local Navy
Vietnam veteran, and VFW Post 1468 Life Member Chaplain, Alvie Chadwick at the Veterans Hall on Wilson Road.  As a country we must remember to pause and remember those who have served, and those who continue to serve in our nation’s Armed Forces to secure and maintain our nation’s freedom.  Living in the 22nd Congressional District, it is not hard to remember our veterans. Throughout the district there are reminders: China Lake Naval Air Warfare Center, Weapons Division, Edwards Air Force Base, Camp San Luis Obispo and Camp Roberts.  I hope you were able to take a moment and thank veterans who have served and who are currently serving to protect our freedom and way of life.

  "Next week Congress will be back at work on Capitol Hill and begin a lame duck session.  It will be interesting to see what the outgoing Democratic Majority plans to make a priority before Christmas.
Congress has not considered a real budget for Fiscal Year 2011, and it is vital that we extend current tax law.  This is something Congress failed to do before the election.  All Americans need stable tax rates
moving forward, rather than waiting in limbo wondering if they will be hit by massive tax hikes on January 1, 2011.

  "Come January a new Congressional Majority will come to town and there will be many new changes that will focus on limiting government through reform and creating jobs that America needs.   I look forward
to sharing with you in the coming weeks the plans for the new Congress.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Another tuition hike for students in the Cal State system and get ready for a citywide anti-littering campaign

 * ... TUITION: Students in the Cal State University system are in for another "fee" hike,  5 percent this school year and another 10 percent next year. We can all thank rising costs, a dysfunctional legislature and the recession for what is but another in a long string of fee hikes in both the Cal State UC systems. And, in a surrender to the obvious, Cal  State trustees will belatedly start using the term "tuition" instead of "fees" to bring the state schools in line with other colleges in the nation. All this is the inevitable and sad end to the Golden State's 1960s era promise of a "tuition free" education. Tuition in the Cal State system will rise to $4,884 a year while the UC system cost around $10,000 a year, excluding room, board, books and other expenses.

 * ... LITTER CAMPAIGN: Happy to read that the city is about to launch an aggressive anti-littering campaign. Dianne Hoover, city and parks recreation director, told The Californian's Steven Mayer the campaign could include bus billboards, public service announcements and perhaps tougher fines for those who choose to use our  city as  their personal trash can. Of course it's shameful that we have to remind  people not to litter in the first place, but that's the way it is. Wouldn't it be nice if folks just took responsibility for their own trash? (photo of Dianne Hoover by Felix Adamo)

 * ... ESTATE SALE: Reader Sherry Baxter passes along this nugget. A recent classified advertisement in The Californian read: "Attention handymen! My husband left. Misc. home improvement supplies. Come buy his stuff! Cheap."

* ... OVERHEARD: A barista at a local Starbucks tells a customer about a drive-through patron who tried to hand off a used diaper through the window. At least she didn't leave it on the sidewalk.

 * ... RUFENER'S: Reader Bobbie Hulson wrote to mourn the closing of Rufener's Alta Vista drug store, leaving only a handful of locally owned and operated drug stores left in town. "The story in today's paper about Rufener's closing mentioned that several people would prefer to deal with local private pharmacies. Is there any reason that you could not list the local private ones in Bakersfield Observed?  (Or at least list the ones you know about and ask Bako people to add the ones that they frequent.) We also feel the same way and have dealt with Gregg's on 34th and San Dimas  happily for many years. .... I know that there have to be a few more.  Thanks, Bobbie Hulson."

 * ... KNOTTY PINE: How many of you remember the Knotty Pine Cafe? Joy Antonaros Rose does, and offers this interesting background: "I was so pleasantly surprised to read the contributing comments by Gene Bonas regarding 'having lunch at the Knotty Pine Cafe and playing the juke box from your table.'  The Knotty Pine Cafe was owned by our father, John Antonaros and his brother Nick Antonaros.  I have a wonderful old photo that is proudly displayed in my office of them in the Knotty Pine Cafe.  In fact, my brother, George Antonaros, and my sisters, Annette Antonaros Londquist and Madelyn Antonaros Jones and I still have the original records that were played in the juke boxes.  Many of those incredible records are still in their original jackets and we found them in boxes in our parents garage  Our father, John, passed away in November of 1999 but our mother, Bessie Antonaros, is still alive. Actually there is a tremendous ethnic history as our family was one of the founding settlers in Kern County's Greek Community and St. George Greek Orthodox Church . There is an interesting piece about our family in the book "Kern's Movers and Shakers" by Camille Gavin and Kathy Leverett. The Antonaros family has deep roots in our local community and a special thank you to Gene Bonas for remembering those days on Baker Street.
 Thank you for 'Bakersfield Observed; as it is my favorite part of the paper!" Thanks for the kind words and for filling us in on the old  Knotty Pine.

* ... BAKERSFIELDISM: From reader Al Gutierrez: You know you're a Bakersfield old-timer  if "you remember standing at the corner of 19th and Baker Street when the 1952 earthquake toppled the Kern County Equipment Co. building."

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Can Michael Rubio stay a moderate once in the halls of a divided State House? His test is to come.

* ... RUBIO'S FUTURE: County supervisor Michael Rubio is headed to the State Senate with a reputation as a moderate Democrat who can bring all sides together. It's certainly true that Rubio has shown  leadership on the Board of Supervisors, but Sacramento will present a different test. In the sharply divided State House, will Rubio routinely vote with the Democratic majority whose policies are clearly out of step with the conservative Central Valley? And will that tarnish the reputation he has worked so hard to build and diminish his effectiveness? One thing is clear: this young rising star will be tested in a way he hasn't been before.

 * ... BURGLARIES: Thousands of people are out of work with little hope of finding jobs, there  is desperation in the air and we are entering one of the peak seasons for home burglaries and car theft. There are reports all over town of burglaries and break ins, from the gated communities of the Southwest to downtown to the east side neighborhoods. Police can only do so much, so this one is in our court. Get to know your neighbors, question strangers, use your alarm and stay alert. The holiday season is open season for those who are just a window pane away from ruining your day.

 * ... GIRL SCOUTS: Reader Wilma Oaks wrote to express her dismay at the idea that Girl Scout uniforms and sashes could be made in China. "My mind goes to the next step - China baking our Girl Scout cookies. No! I want American made." Wilma, we can all relax now. Apparently the Girl Scouts did toy around with the idea of letting China bid on the uniforms but changed its mind when there was a public outcry against it. The organization now says only U.S. companies can bid on the uniforms.

  * ...  OLD BAKO: More from Bow Porter, who recently moved from Hawaii back to Bakersfield. "I lived at the upper end of Mount Vernon and worked at 19th and Eye as a draftsman for Continental Oil when it was above the drug store. I rode the bus to work. My stop was the first on the route and my bus driver would stop in front of my house instead of having me walk to the corner. He also stopped and waited at a bakery on  Baker Street so I could buy cookies for my child's school event. This would have been in the early 1960s. Newberry's department store was across the street, with the best yardage available, as they had mill ends from popular dress manufacturers... most of my paycheck was spent there!"

 * ... BECK'S: Received a nice hand-written note from Virginia Parks, who wanted to share her memories of a downtown bakery called Beck's. "Beck's Bakery was on 18th Street just east of the Padre Hotel. Also Beck's Bakery in the Food City Market on Chester Avenue in the early 1940s. I sold a lot of French break for 10 cents and a dozen doughnuts for 60 cents."

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: You know you're from Bakersfield if "you know what a trap door spider is."

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Some good news on the local economy and BC adds five local men to its Hall of Fame

 * ... GOOD NEWS? I'm always to encouraged to share any signs that the local economy may be improving. Don Martin, the owner of the boutique art gallery "Metro Galleries," located on 19th Street downtown, says things are looking up for his business. "The gallery is booked every weekend and most week nights in December," he told me. "I'm thinking it's a sign the local economy has improved somewhat for businesses. Most are doing smaller mixer style events rather than the larger sit down dinner types. I'm optimistic for 2011."

 * ... BAKERSFIELD COLLEGE: Four people were inducted into the Herb Loken BC Alumni Hall of Fame over at Bakersfield College recently. Among the inductees was Jan Stuebbe, current BC athletic director and former quarterback at Shafter High and BC, where he only lost two games in two years and went onto star at Colorado State. Chris Hitchcock, a 35-year employee at BC and a major force in the Alumni Association and David Gay, local Realtor and developer, were also honored. Rounding out the group was George Culver, former North High, BC and major league pitcher. George has raised more than a million dollars for the BC baseball program to install a scoreboard, lights and a clubhouse that bears his name.An impressive group.


 * ... EASTSIDE NEWS: Reader Judy Thomas lives in the Bakersfield Country Club area and contacted me after I wrote about a garage theft in her neighborhood. "My gardener has had two lawnmowers stolen right from the sidewalk (while he was in the back yard) ... Needless to say, his new one is locked up at all times, even if he is right there. He checked with neighbors and no one saw or heard anything." Add this to the reports that  Bakersfield police say burglars are targeting elderly homeowners in the Bakersfield College area, and it's time to stay alert.

 * ... SAYING THANKS: Bow Porter dropped me an email about her work on renovating an older house she bought on the internet sight unseen. Porter had lived here for many years, moved away, settled in Hawaii in a 600-square-foot condo but returned to restore what she called a "lovely old home." Doesn't she know she's supposed to downsize, not upsize? Bow wanted to say thanks to ATT employee Jairo Pardo for doing such a good job in hooking up her phone, internet and cable service, but when she went to find a place to compliment the employee, she was met with blank stares. "Doesn't anyone recognize a job well done and take the time to let the company or owners know of the good workmanship of the employee? It seemed like each of the  people I talked to were surprised to know why I wanted an address. It takes only a few minutes and perhaps we would have better service if the technicians found a little praise for their efforts."

 * ... KARPE: Last week I wrote about the frustration of a woman who was turned down by a major bank even after she offered to put $100,000 cash down on a $350,000 house. That prompted this response from Scott A. Berry, lending division manager over at Karpe Realt Estate. "I am an avid reader of your blog and I enjoy it very much. I just thought I would send you a friendly reminder for those people with large down payments Karpe Real Estate will make a loan on that property through our private money loan department. We have seen an increase in people requesting private money loans because the traditional credit markets are so restrictive. I thought this might help your reader."

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: From contributor Riley Parker: You know you're a Bakersfield old timer if "you thought that a bag of ten cent burgers from Ken Ken's was going out to dinner."