Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Saturday morning stroll through the downtown Bakersfield farmer's market

Friday, March 18, 2011

McCarthy: The national debt is unsustainable and will burden the next generation

 Rep. Kevin McCarthy, (R-Bakersfield) and House Majority Whip, gives us his weekly view from Capitol Hill. In his words:

 "Whenever I get a chance, I like to visit our local schools to talk with the students. And like many of you with kids in high school, I enjoy hearing about their plans after graduation  No doubt, the decisions they make today will shape their future. Each student has a different hope and a different dream, and I am determined to ensure America remains the country in which those hopes and dreams can be achieved.  
 "I fundamentally believe that cutting federal spending will allow more private sector employers to invest in job creation and foster economic growth. The more government borrows, spends and regulates, the harder it is for businesses to access capital and create jobs.  
 "With unsustainable deficits and a growing national debt, it is the next generation that will bear the burden of these costs. That is unacceptable. In the last four years, our national debt has grown from $8.67 trillion to over $14 trillion, a 63 percent increase. President Obama’s annual budget deficit is averaging 9.7 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). 
 "As reported recently, very few deficits in American history have even exceeded 6 percent of GDP, and those were all during times of war or under the Obama Administration. For 21 straight months, unemployment has remained at or above 9 percent, and is even higher in our district. Since January 2009, nearly 4 million jobs have been lost.
This cannot be allowed to continue, which is why House Republicans have taken immediate steps to repeal Obamacare, repeal the onerous 1099 tax requirement and cut federal spending.  You will see in the coming months a budget proposal that takes necessary steps to save and preserve Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid for future generations and will not fund Obamacare.  We must have an open and honest discussion about this so we can kick Washington’s dangerous spending habits and bring economic stability to the private sector.
 "Right now, 40 cents of every dollar spent is borrowed money. We simply cannot continue down this path. Just like families across the country, the government must tighten its belt. House Republicans will keep fighting for our families every day with common sense solutions aimed at getting people back to work.  But this will not happen as long as Senate Democrats and the Obama Administration continue to sit on the sidelines on this year’s budget and long-term spending commitments. I have long been told that in any job, you should be first one in and the last one to leave.  Operating under continuing short-term resolutions is not the best approach to governing, which is why Democrats need to step up to the plate and join us in taking serious steps toward getting our country back on the path to prosperity. 
"The American people were clear last November that they want a new direction.  And when the high school seniors of today enter our local economy, I am determined that they see a nation back on track to a better future.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Bakersfield Jet Center gets some love and an ode to oak fired barbecue

 * ... STEVE LOYD: Nice to see Bakersfield Jet Center, formerly Loyd's Aviation, receive a glowing review in the National Air Transportation's quarterly journal. The Jet Center is owned by Steve and Pat Loyd, whose smiling faces grace the cover of Aviation Business Journal. The Loyds, both of whom are deeply involved in our community, more than tripled their space by expanding into new quarters and did so with the help of one of their daughters, Kelly Loyd Pieczonka, who took time off from a career in retail merchandising to help reorganize and move the business. The move was planned before the recession, but the Loyds decided to move ahead anyway. Steve conceded he's had some sleepless nights, but things now appear to be paying off.

 * ... P90X: One of the current exercise rages is a routine called P90X, and now it's made a mark in our nation's capital. Featuring trainer Tony Horton, P90X provides a difficult regimen but apparently does produce results by "confusing" the muscles with varying types and degrees of workouts. The Wall Street Journal reported that Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the House Majority Whip from Bakersfield, is among a group of influential House Republicans who are devoted to the workout. Apparently they gather in the old House gym, turn on a Tony Horton video and get to work. McCarthy told the Journal he had lost 28 pounds but had put seven back on. (photo courtesy of The Wall Street Journal)

* ... DID YOU KNOW: Did you know that there was a street car barn on the northeast corner of 19th Street and Union Avenue? Reader Glen Worrell wrote that the corner also once hosted Aldo's Restaurant, Stan's and Stan's Drive-In. "Before World War II it was a streetcar barn. Before the war street cars ran from the Southern Pacific Depot (on Sumner Street) to the Santa Fe Depot on F Street and from about 18th Street to 24th Street. Actually there were several street car routes but the venture was never really successful."

 * ... BOB WHITE: Do you remember the old Bob White drive in restaurants? Reader Ernie Lostaunau does. He gave me a call and said the restaurants, named after a type of quail, were operating in the early 1960s but disappeared sometime after that. "I don't think they made it to the 1970s," he said. One was located on Union Avenue around 17th Street, the second on California around O Street and the third out on Rosedale Highway.

 * ... OAK BARBECUE: My tribute to the oak-fired grilled chicken at the Green Frog Market on Bernard Street brought this response from Mona Martin: "I would like to honor our friends on the Central Coast who have been instituting oak wood in their traditional 'Santa Maria BBQ,' a la Jocko's (Nipomo), Far Western (Guadalupe), Hitching Post (Casmalia) and the new kids, McClintock's (Shell Beach). This has long been a tradition on the Central Coast, carried on by generation after generation. I don't know of many who don't make it a point to partake of this wonderful culinary delight when visiting on the coast. Thank you for allowing my input, it is a bit close to my heart, as my two children are directly related to the Knotts family, proprietors of Jocko's."

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: You know you're from Bakersfield if "you think using your turn signals is just an option."

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

House Republicans follow Tony Horton's P90X workout routine

 Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) and House Majority Whip, is among a group of influential House Republicans who head to the old House gym several mornings a week for a vigorous workout. The routine: Tony Horton's P90X workout that "confuses" the muscles by continually working different groups. McCarthy told The Wall Street Journal that he lost 28 pounds with the routine but since has put seven back on. (photo by the Wall Street Journal)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Let's talk about true happiness and the story of how the old jail lions ended up at a fraternity house

 * ... ARE YOU HAPPY?: Interesting read in The Wall Street Journal on some important research into happiness. New evidence "suggests that people who focus on living with a sense of purpose as they age are more likely to remain cognitively intact, have better mental health and even live longer than people who focus on achieving feelings of happiness." It went on to warn that "in some cases, too much focus on feeling happy can actually lead to feeling less happy." In other words, focus less on the next gourmet meal or winning the NCAA basketball pool - those are examples of "moments" of short-term happiness that are fleeting - and more on volunteering, being involved in community projects, raising children or improving yourself. "Striving to live a meaningful life or to do good work should bring feelings of happiness... But people who primarily seek extrinsic rewards, such as money or status, often aren't as happy."

* ... YOUNG WICK: Local jeweler Gordon Wickersham wrote to tell me about his son, Bakersfield High graduate Alex, who is featured in a story in Popular Mechanics magazine. Alex works for Joby Energy, a start up company in Santa Cruz that is working on an experimental wind turbine that flies like a kite and sends its electricity to a grid on the ground. Apparently the airborne turbines are lower in cost and higher in yield than the traditional land based wind turbines.

 * ... DUTCH HOLLOWAY: Local historian and retired teacher Gilbert Gia said recent posts about the old La Cresta Air Park "helped me locate Dutch Holloway's Airfield, which in the early 1920s was near today's Green Frog Market on Bernard. Dutch was offering round trip flights to Los Angeles in 1922 even before there was a Meadows Field."

 * ... LIONS: And speaking of Gilbert Gia, a reader turned me on to one of Gia's historical research papers about the enormous lions that once stood in front of the old Kern County jail. The lions stood for 47 years until the 1952 earthquake, which damaged the jail building beyond repair. The lions were salvaged and were later purchased by Clyde Biglieri, a Sigma Alpha Epsilon alumnus from the University of Nevada at Reno. Lions are the national fraternity's symbol so Biglieri and some other alums ponied up the money to buy and move the statues to Reno. Apparently they were damaged along the way, but were restored by a fraternity brother and now stand guard at the fraternity house at 835 Evans Street.

 * ... DRIVE-INS: Paul Summers is the latest reader to weigh in on the drive-in restaurants that once were so popular in our community. "If my memory serves me right, before Michener's Drive-In it was Boo's Drive-In, owned by Walter (Bo) Boylan, older brother of Jim Boylan. At that time, they served the best sandwiches in town." As for Michener's, reader and friend John Brock remembers that Michener's stood at the northwest corner of 18th and Q streets.  "The drive-in consisted of a big parking lot in front of a small building at the rear of the property on the south side of the alley between 18th and 19th. I remember that getting into and out of the lot was sometimes a chore as cars pulled into the lot in parallel lanes perpendicular to the building and were served in the order in which they arrived. The cars closest to the building would have to leave and then all the cars behind would move up in line. Sometimes you might finish before the car in front of you and would have to wait for them to leave. I remember more than a few instances where a drink or something left on one of the trays they attached to your car would fall off when you were moving up in the line to make room for customers trying to get into one of the lanes. I also remember that the carhops who took your orders were not allowed to write anything down, they would have to memorize the order and submit it to the kitchen."

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Max the cat is missing and remembering when German prisoners picked cotton in Kern County

 * ... POW CAMPS: Received a fascinating note the other day shedding more light on the history of German prisoners of war held in Kern County during World War II. Calvin Goehring of Shafter wrote that the federal government took 40 acres of his family farm and built a POW compound that opened Dec. 11, 1944, and closed March 28, 1946, "They came to labor in the cotton and potato fields," he wrote. "Many of the farmers were German speaking (mostly Reformed and Mennonite churches nearby). It worked out well as labor was short. The Germans had never picked cotton and hated the hot weather." Goehring said his father, Emil, was not allowed to talk to the prisoners and no pictures were permitted. He said the camp was known as Detachment 6 and was a branch of Camp Cooke out of Santa Maria. "Local farmers paid the federal government a wage of $2.25 per hundred pounds of cotton and the government paid the prisoners 80 cents a day."

 * ... LITTLE FROG: One of my weekend rituals is stopping by the Green Frog Market on Bernard Street, affectionately known as the "Little Frog" compared to its larger sibling up on Columbus. It's hard to beat the smell of the oak-fired chicken grilling outside and the overall friendly ambiance inside. Green Frog owner Scott Hair was there and told me he picked up the idea of using oak to grill chicken in 1984 when he was in Tennessee for the World's Fair. "There are no new ideas in this business," he joked. That may be true, but you have to be smart enough to steal the good ones.

 * ... MAX IS MISSING: Few things are as heart breaking as when a pet goes missing. And that's why I'm happy to put out the word to help find Max, a 2-year-old black and white short hair that went missing in Westchester recently. The family has been searching Westchester, both north and south of 24th Street, but recently learned that Max's collar was found near some hangars at the old Meadows Field near the FedEx offices. The owners, who are offering a $1,000 reward, speculate Max may have hopped in a UPS or FedEx truck and ended up at the airport, or hopped off somewhere en route. They are now searching that area, as well as surrounding neighborhoods, and are seeking help from FedEx and UPS drivers who may had pickups on Pine and Lawn streets on February 24.  Max is black with a white chest, stomach, paws and whiskers. His face and nose are black. If you spot Max, call (661) 808-7674.

* ... DID YOU KNOW? Did you know that the original "Baker's field," the location of Col. Thomas Baker's field, is  believed to be in the area of O and P streets?

* ... SPRING BREAK: Nice to see the college kids home for their spring breaks. One I had a chance to catch up with is Kimberly Keathley, the effervescent daughter of Duane and Corey Keathley. Always the athlete, this Stockdale High graduate is now a senior at Point Loma Nazerene in San Diego and spent her week home riding her road bike. She spent Saturday riding up Lion's Trail to Walker Basin on a 100-plus mile ride with Stockdale Country Club tennis pro Hank Pfister and a dozen other riders. Her sister, Michele, is a sophomore at Fordham University in the Bronx and will be coming home for spring break this week.

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: Reader Linda Welch wrote to say you may be a Bakersfield old timer if "you remember the two beautiful lions that stood at the original court house. What ever happened to them?"