Friday, May 27, 2011

McCarthy: Israel deserves our support and Obama's call for a pullback to pre 1967 borders is simply wrong

 House Majority Whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) gives us his weekly view from Capitol Hill. In his words:
 "This week, I had the opportunity to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu while he was in Washington addressing a joint session of Congress. Israel is a critical ally and a model of democratic government in an unstable region. Israelis live under a constant threat, and President Obama’s call for the implementation of 1967 borders only puts Israel in an indefensible position, limiting their ability to properly defend their people. We cannot allow for that.
 "Our commitment to our friends around the world isn’t just based on national security, but our economic security as well. There’s no question we need to get people back to work and generate more economic opportunities in our local communities. On Wednesday, I spoke to the Latino Coalition about the need to break down barriers to job creation. One way to do that is to pursue an ‘all of the above’ energy approach that will help increase our domestic energy production and address high gas prices. Earlier this month, I launched the House Energy Action Team to pursue policies to do just that, and this week, we released our ‘Fed Up With Prices At The Pump?’ video to highlight our efforts. In June, I’ll be making my way up to Ridgecrest to discuss with local business owners and community leaders ways in which the action we take in Washington can actually help folks back home.
 "This Memorial Day, I’ll be at home in the district participating in several events over the long weekend to honor our members of the Armed Forces. On Sunday, I’ll be at the Bakersfield National Cemetery at 9 a.m., and on Monday, at Union Cemetery at 9 a.m. and Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery at 11:30 a.m. I urge anyone who wants to join to come out and remember the men and women who have sacrificed so much so we can live in freedom and democracy. While we all enjoy the three-day weekend, let’s also reflect on the meaning of the holiday. The liberty we enjoy every day is directly due to the selfless service of countless men and women who’ve given their time, and too often their lives, to protect and defend our great nation. This Memorial Day has added significance as we recognize the tremendous work of those in our military and intelligence community who brought justice to Osama Bin Laden.
 "Luckily, several constituents came to town this week. I was able to have lunch with Tommy and Barbara Lee and their family, as well as meet with Al and Barbara Sandrini and Cathleen Rutherford. Speaking of our local community, this Friday is the annual Mojave Intermediate Space Challenge. This great event encourages creativity and strengthens local students’ interest in science and technology. In 2009, the House passed a resolution I introduced recognizing this great event and I applaud the innovation of these young people.
 "I will continue to work to protect our nation’s values and promote policies that will help grow our economy and jobs here in Kern County.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Mick Fleetwood is a Formula 1 racing fan: who knew? And responding to a nasty email

 * ... HOME TOWN: Received a sharply worded note from a reader, anonymous of course, accusing me of ignoring our community's many problems while promoting the children of my "rich friends." Huh? For the record: I don't know the lion's share of the successful kids I write about, and I am more than happy to share their stories when they come across my desk. As for Bakersfield, I am more aware than most of the very serious issues facing our community (illiteracy, poverty, crime, bad air etc) and I do address those issues from time to time. But I also try not to dwell on the negative. We all have a choice: wake up and embrace the good that surrounds us, and there is certainly plenty of that in our community, or be imprisoned in the darkness of the negative. I choose the former.

 * ... RETIREMENT: Hats off to Delani Bair, who is retiring after 43 years of teaching first, second and third grades, most of it in the Panama-Buena Vista School District. Bair arrived at Stockdale Elementary in 1985 and her class has participated in the school's insect-themed spring play every year. What's next? It's all about the grand children, including a new one due in October to her daughter in Ohio.

 * ... MICK'S VISIT: It turns out legendary rocker Mick Fleetwood was in Bakersfield this past weekend because he's a big Formula 1 race face. Fleetwood, co-founder of Fleetwood Mac, stayed at the downtown Padre Hotel for three days to attend a Formula 1 gathering out at the Buttonwillow Raceway Park.

 * ... OIL MOMUMENT: Reader Judi Anderson Gahagan wrote to praise the new Oil Worker Monument in Taft, saying it was well worth the drive. "Pack a picnic lunch and take a drive to Taft. It's worth seeing," she said. The monument-park is located on the corner of 6th Street and Supply Row Road. Make it a full day by also taking in the West Kern Oil Museum.

* ... CHILDREN'S BOOK: Nice to hear that Shirley Castro, a retired Beardsley School District teacher now living at the beach,  is writing a book along with her son, Christopher. The book, "Stelly and the Stickey Gooey Taffy," is out now. Shirley will be at Russo's on June 4 for a book signing. Christopher went through the Norris School District and graduated from Garces Memorial High and later Cal State Bakersfield. He is now a licensed marriage and family therapist and works for Contra Costa County as a mental health technician.

 * ... ART D'CEW'S: Reader Jeff Tuculet wrote to correct the spelling of a long closed soda shop on North Chester. "You and Clete Harper should be ashamed of yourselves. Clete and I are classmates, North High 1958. Spent many nights eating burgers, fries and cherry Cokes at Art D'Cew's at 1509 North Chester Avenue. Never heard of Art D'Que's. Tongue planed firmly in cheek."

 * ... LONG GONE: Dr. Bob Smith, a retired endodontist and avid cyclist, says you have been around a long time if you remember the general merchandise store Sackett and Peters at the corner of Wible and Wilson roads.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Appreciating locally owned businesses and getting ready for more parolees to walk the streets of Bakersfield

 * ... STINSON'S: Dropped by Stinson's Stationers this week and joined a couple hundred other people for a tri tip sandwich lunch. The occasion was a table top show featuring more than 30 vendors displaying the latest in office supplies. Ben Stinson III wielded a bullhorn and worked the Sonoma Street warehouse like a showman, giving away prizes and introducing folks as they walked in the door. Locally owned since 1947, Stinson's is one of those reminders why Bakersfield is such a special place to live. There is nothing like walking into a Stinson's showroom, or a locally owned restaurant like Uricchio's or Luigi's or Casa Munoz, and being greeted by name by the owner.

* ... INMATE RELEASE: It was disheartening, not to mention alarming, to read that the Supreme Court has ordered the California prison system to release 30,000 inmates because of crowding. Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood called it "shocking" and "dangerous" and noted state inmates are more of the hard core criminal types. "These are real prisoners, real felons," he warned, not just some pot smoking offender. It's  yet another consequence of this long recession that has left California broke and with a swollen prison population, many of whom will be dumped on the streets of Bakersfield. (Photo courtesy of the California Department of Corrections)

 * ... SPOTTED: Mick Fleetwood, founder and co-namesake of the legendary rock band Fleetwood Mac, was spotted at the downtown Padre Hotel this weekend.  The British-born Fleetwood was seen talking to friends and fans on the Prairie Fire lounge but it was not immediately known why he was in town.

 * ... GARCES CIRCLE: Nice to see the Garces Circle all spruced up and landscaped after the long Cal-Trans project to improve the overpass. If you haven't been down to the circle, it's worth a drive by. 

 * ... YOUNG DOC: Michele Newell wrote to sing the praises of her nephew, Jon Witcher, former valedictorian at Centennial High School. The son of Bob and Caryl Witcher, he will be graduating in June with a Ph.D. in Engineering and Applied Science from UC Davis. He attended the University of Arizona where he received his bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering and  then transferred to UC Davis where he earned his master’s.  "Not only will he become Dr. Witcher in 2011, he will also gain a wife! In October, he will marry Jasmyn Pangilinan, a graduate of BHS and daughter to Florencio and Nenette. Florencio is a local physician here in Bakersfield. Our family could not be more proud!" she said.

 * ... UCLA BOUND: Another local high school senior, Daniel Kinder, is headed to UCLA to study neuroscience. What makes this particularly appealing is that Daniel, who attends Liberty High, will be able to part of research for a cancer that has struck his own father. "On May 18, 2010 my father was diagnosed with a brain tumor that was eventually deemed cancerous. My major will allow me to be part of the research for cancer at the UCLA Medical School campus." Congratulations, Daniel.

 * .. BAKERSFIELDISM: You know  you may be from "old Oildale" if you remember Art 'D Que's Drive-in on the corner of North Chester and Justine Street, where Winchell's now stands. Thanks to Clete Harper for this little nugget.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Jay Leno takes a shot at Bakersfield (no surprise there) and spring gifts us a splendid weekend

 * ... JAY LENO: The "Tonight Show" host, remarking on how former Gov. Arnold  Schwarzenegger's mistress was discovered  in Bakersfield, takes this shot at our town: "Neighbors got suspicious when they learned it was the only house on the block not manufacturing meth." This is the kind of publicity we don't need.

 * ... WEEKEND: Outside of barbs from late-night talk show hosts, the real Bakersfield could be experienced anywhere about town this weekend when our community enjoyed mild days in what has turned out to be a splendid spring. Perfect weather for eating outside, grilling, waking or running on the bike trail or enjoying our parks. I ended up in Glennville Saturday and the creeks were swollen bank to bank and the wildlife was out in abundance, along with the snakes. One friend spotted five snakes on his daily run out towards Enos Lane. Spring forward a couple months and we will miss these days.

* ... MEMORY: Perry Whealy wrote to share a memory of his family, who lived on Rosedale Highway in Greenacres when it was a two-lane country road. "During the summer, my mother would take us to swim in the Kern River. We parked on the northwest side of the 24th Street bridge. On the north side of the bridge, a cement company operated a dredge that extended on a cable across the river from the northeast side. The dredge would scoop up sand from the river bottom leaving about an eight-foot hole where we would swim until the dredge slid down the cable again. It was cold, fun and it was free. Then on Friday evenings for one dollar, we would watch a movie at the 99 Drive In Theater located on Pierce Road. This is where I saw the movies High Noon and The African Queen."

 * ... OVERHEARD: That new construction out near P.F. Chang's China Bistro on Stockdale Highway is apparently getting ready for a Eureka Burger and a new Chipotle, all good news for those folks in the Southwest.

 * ... COLLEGE BOUND: North High School held a special ceremony to honor a group of California Scholarship Federation "Gold Seal" students headed to colleges across the country. They include Joseph Adams, Corban University; Yazmin Abasolo, CSUB; Sarah Billington, UC Santa Cruz; Eli Carroll, UC Davis; Brianna Cazares, BYU Hawaii; Kathryn Chapin, Sonoma State; Ariel Clark, CSUB; William Collins, CSUB; Dana Denesha, Sonoma State; Joshua Diebel, Sonoma State; Daniel Gross, Cal Poly; Oliver Guzman, UC Davis; Katie Hoffman, University of Hawaii Hilo; Leanne Jett, UC Davis; Robert Keene, UC Davis; Zachary Lenander, UC Santa Barbara; Jessica Lopez, UC Santa Barbara; Tobias Lopez, UC Santa Barbara; Veronica Martinez, San Diego Christian College; Jame Nguyen, Cornell; Maricruz Ortega, CSUB; Maribella Ortiz, CSUB; Andres Robles, CSUB; Jacob Rogers, Cal Poly; Delanie Schrader, CSUB; Jacqueline Swartz, UC Davis; and Elizabeth Underwood, UC Santa Barbara.

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: From reader Craig Holland: You may be a Bakersfield old-timer "if you remember bowling at Paola's on Mount Vernon and ordering a vanilla cream Coke."