Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A blood drive for David Price and lots of memories of old Bako and Oklahoma Roy's Grocery Store

 * ... VERN WALCK: Bakersfield lost another legend recently with the death of Vern Walck, who served as an equipment manager and trainer for more than 40 years. Walck started in Bakersfield at Foothill High  School, moved on to East High and then worked for the San Francisco Giants AA team in Texas. He later worked at Cal Berkeley, Taft College, Bakersfield College and USC, where he was  part of four Rose Bowl championships. He  returned to North High where he retired in 2005. Dave Rangel, equipment manager at Stockdale High, said Walck was a role model for the 16 equipment managers at local high schools. "He told me a good equipment manager was the first one on the job and the last to leave," Rangel said. "He was a mentor to all of us." Walck passed away on April 26.

 * ... TAKE FLIGHT: Reader Doug Winston wrote to say he enjoyed some of my earlier posts on the old airfields that existed around town.  "I don’t recall you writing about the Rio Bravo airport that is now long gone built by the Rio Bravo Resort. I’ll never forget seeing local, living legend Janice Brown (now Sullivan) flying a six seat Beechcraft A36 out of there one day in 1986. She is known for piloting the first solar powered airplane back in the early 1980s out at Edward’s Air Force Base’s Dryden Research Center. She is also rather petite. I could see passengers in the plane as it took off but no pilot due to her stature. One of those memories of days past. Janice did my flight review last year and is still as active as ever on the aviation scene. Bakersfield has many notable women pilots including our local examiner Donna Webster and many instructors such as Dee Bloom at Kern Charter at Bakersfield Municipal Airport (L45). This is a really good time for folks to get their pilot’s licenses because many excellent instructors and planes are in good supply."

 * ... BLOOD DRIVE: There is an effort under  way to honor former Bakersfield resident David Price III with a blood drive. Price, if you remember, is the former head of the county resource management agency who has undergone four major surgeries in seven weeks because of a spinal condition. His recovery at the  University of Virginia medical center has been touch and go. His wife, Liz, suggested that family and friends could donate blood to honor Dave. "She promised to share the news with him which would bring a smile and maybe a tear to his face," said Carola Enriquez, community development director at Houchin Community Blood Bank. Kern County Public Services will hold a drive on Wednesday, May 11, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. at 2700 M Street. You can call Stephanie Wood at (661) 862-8677 to participate or stop in at the blood bank at 5901 Truxtun Avenue to donate in Dave's honor. Be sure to mention his name of Fund 418 so Houchin can get word of donations to his family. To make an appointment at the blood bank, call (661) 322-6415.

 * ... GO NAVY: Not too many kids have the grades, discipline and will to get into a service academy, and it's even rarer for two sisters to attend the same academy. But that's the case with Kristen Ewert, who will be joining big sister Carolyn and the United States Naval Academy in July. Proud father Dave Ewert told me his Centennial High graduate "will be majoring in engineering and playing volleyball for the Midshipmen. Go Navy!" 

* ... OLPH BBQ: The annual Our Lady of Perpetual Help Spring BBQ is coming up Thursday, May 5 on the church campus on Columbus Street. Gary and Adam Icardo and their crew will be serving Harris Ranch New York steaks and chicken, along with the traditional favorites like Woolgrower's salad, French rolls from Pyrenees Bakery, Fred's BBQ beans and Dewar's ice cream. Proceeds will assist Monsignor Michael Braun in making upgrades to the 60-year-old facility. Tickets are $25 and are available at church and school offices, (661) 327-7741 or at the door.

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: From reader Paul Miller: You know you're a Bakersfield old timer if you remember, as a youngster, "sitting on the railroad tracks along Edison Highway, east of Mount Vernon, where a wagon with three or four bales of hay sat in front of Oklahoma Roy's Grocery and Fruit Stand and listening to The Maddox  Brothers and Rose, picking and singing."


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