Thefts pick up in a bad economy, Cal State's new basketball coach and a 100th birthday
* ... MORE THEFT: In another sign that some folks will stop at nothing, thieves are stealing flocks of pink plastic flamingos that girls from St. Francis Parish School use to raise money for Relay for Life. That's right. Pink plastic flamingos used by school kids to raise money to fight cancer. Here's how it works: The Challenge team girls target the lawns of potential donors and "flock" them with the flamingos in a good spirited way to raise money. But now, according to principal Cindy Meek, the flamingos have disappeared from two lawns, one in the Bakersfield Country Club area and the other in Westchester. "Obviously the girls are disappointed," Meek said. "They were raising a lot of money for the cancer society."
* ... NEW COACH: Now that CSUB has a new basketball coach in former Naismith Coach of the Year Rod Barnes, Athletic Director Jeff Konya can turn his attention to finding a new women's volleyball coach and an athletic conference that will accept Cal State. Barnes coached at Ole Miss and took the Rebels to the Sweet Sixteen and last coached at Georgia State, where he inherited a mess of a program fraught with academic issues. Over coffee at Starbucks, Konya told me there was a lot of interest in the job, so much that he had to change his cell phone number to keep the callers at bay. Among those who expressed interest was former UCLA and Georgia coach Jim Harrick.
* ... EAST BAKO: Reader Pat Glenn wrote to say "thank you for your blog column. It has brought back so many memories, and it's great to see the names of some of my old friends that I haven't seen in years. John Pryor, Jack Saba and Glen Worrell were all classmates, and Paul Summers was from our neighborhood, though I don't know if it's the same Paul that was quoted in your column. Some things I don't remember, but there are others that haven't been mentioned yet. I don't remember the Bob White drive-ins, but there was Bob White's malt shop on Baker Street. The owner's name was Bob White and they did use the logo of the namesake bird. East Bakersfield was a separate little town then, and we went across the street to Bloomfields' drive-in at lunch from Washington Junior High, or would walk down Baker to Bob White's. There were several diner-type cafes, a couple of dime stores, Pennys, an open front grocery store (R.K. Market), right in the middle of town, Snyder's Bicycle Shop, and of course, Saba's Men's Store. There were no supermarkets then, but mom and pop stores scattered throughout the neighborhoods. In those days parents didn't have to worry about the kids playing out after dark, and in the summertime Jefferson Park was filled with kids. In the evenings there was an outdoor skating rink with music, amateur entertainment at the small amphitheater, free equipment (such as basketballs and ping pong) that could be checked out, all free, except for a small charge to get into the swimming pool.
* ... COPPER THEFT: More on the rash of copper thefts across our community. From reader Stephen A. Montgomery: "A house I'm watching being built was in the framing stage and had just been wired prior to other work and someone came and cut out most of the electrical wire. They got probably 20 bucks worth of copper but cost the builder about three grand to repair and replace the damage. They now have all the openings to this house boarded up when their when their backs are turned."
* ... BIRTHDAY: Happy birthday to Wanda Stone, who turned 100 this past week. Her grandson, Mike Tasos, flew in from north Georgia with his wife Vicki, and sons Christopher and Gregory to join the celebration. "She's lived in the same Oildale house since the 1940s," he told me. "Came from Oklahoma. Still sharp as a tack and lives at home. Sweetest lady around. Still as sharp as Bill O'Reilly's tongue." They celebrated her 100th at Christ the King Church in Oildale.
* ... WHO KNEW? The Rolling Stones, longtime country music fans, sang about Bakersfield in 1978 in their song “Far Away Eyes” on the album “Some Girls.”
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