Thursday, November 17, 2011

Bakersfield is No. 1 in dirty air and Wendy Wayne faces a new setback in her fight with cancer

 * ... POLLUTION: Bakersfield ranked No. 1 on another list of dubious distinction, this time winning the title of the American city with the dirtiest air.  In fairness to us, the Forbes story noted that our air is actually cleaner than it has been in years, but we're still stuck with the title of the dirtiest city in the country. Following Bakersfield were Los Angeles, Visalia, Fresno, Pittsburgh, Modesto, Birmingham, Phoenix, San Diego and Sacramento.  Forbes had this to say about Bakersfield: "Hot, dusty, adjacent to California’s biggest oil fields, Bakersfield has 60 days a year of unhealthy air, 10 times a level considered acceptable. Its ozone levels are better than at any time in the past 15 years, but still unhealthy for 100 days out of the year."

 * ... SICK BAY: I was saddened to hear that Wendy Wayne has suffered a setback in her long battle with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Wendy underwent a stem cell transplant two years ago at City of Hope and had bounced back to her old self, but apparently the cancer has returned and she is back at City of Hope for another round of chemotherapy. Wendy is one of our community's most generous and giving citizens, a former member of the First Five Commission, an inductee into the CSUB Alumni Hall of Fame and a former Peace Corps volunteer. Keep this special woman and her family in your thoughts and prayers.

 * ... GREEN FROG: The closing of the Green Frog Market on Columbus prompted this memory from reader Mark Thompson. "I am reminded of the time in 2001 when the World Wrestling Federation (now WWE) came to town to tape their weekly Smackdown television show. During the episode heated rivals Stone Cold Steve Austin and Booker T wound up at the Green Frog and promptly destroyed the store as well as each other. It was one of the funniest moments ever in wrestling" and you can see the clip on YouTube.

 * ... OVERHEARD: At the downtown Starbucks on 24th Street a woman tells her companion: "I just gave that parolee outside two bucks because he looks so scary I was afraid to say no!"

 * ... BOOK SIGNING: Make sure you head over to Russo's Books at the Marketplace Saturday where author Richard Mallard will be signing his new book "Convict Lake," the tragic story of the death of several teenagers and would-be rescuers in 1990. I've read this book and it is a real page turner, as well as shedding new light on the troubled billion-dollar industry dealing with troubled teens. Mallard will be at Russo's from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

 * ... LA CRESTA: Another memory of old La Cresta, this time from life-long Bakersfield resident Matt Koelzer. "Two of the best memories are Sullivan's Miniature Golf north of Green Frog and west of the old Shakey's Pizza building and Alta Vista Drugs between Tam O'Shanter Liquors and the old Spin 'N Span Market. My family always referred to the drug store as 'Bert and Orville's' for the couple that owned it. If we were well behaved at the doctor or while running errands with mom, we could go in and get a soda or float from the old fashioned fountain where they still mixed you a Coca-Cola by hand."

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