Saturday, July 16, 2011

A stroll along the Kern River in the heart of Bakersfield....

 Isn't it amazing what a difference having a little water in the river makes? Here are three stunning photos from Metro Galleries owner Don Martin that were shot during an afternoon jog recently.

Friday, July 15, 2011

McCarthy: interns have front-row seat of government in action, but what kind of world will they inherit upon graduation?

 Rep. Kevin McCarthy, House Majority Whip, gives us his weekly view from Capitol Hill. In his words:

 "In the midst of the ongoing spending debate in Washington are our interns. These young men and women sit at the front lines answering phone calls from constituents, drafting responses to letters, watching and transcribing floor sessions, taking notes at hearings and giving tours. Besides getting a taste of what life is like in the working world, they’re seeing how the government really works. And there has probably never been a better time for it.
 "This is an historic time. There is no question that we’re facing some very difficult decisions right now. My colleagues and I are continuing our fight to get Washington’s fiscal house in order and create an environment that encourages investment and job creation. I’ve said this before, but I believe now is the time we either rise up and create a better America or begin our long fade into history.

  "For this reason, I think it’s important to have our next generation of innovators and leaders here in the thick of it. I was able to spend some quality time with the interns this week, two of whom started Monday. Andrew Gillies, a graduate of Bakersfield High studying government and international politics at George Mason University and Meaghan Sullivan, a graduate from Paso Robles High and political science major at Cal Poly. I took a group on a tour of the White House and hosted a question and answer session. Not only was I impressed by their knowledge and passion for the political process, I was glad to hear that they are learning and are excited about being a part of what’s happening in Congress right now. One intern expressed that just interacting with staff and watching C-SPAN on a daily basis has given her a profoundly new understanding of how Congress works.

  "These young people are our nation’s future. When their internships conclude, they will return to their respective colleges to continue studying. But what happens when they graduate? Will they be able to
find jobs in today’s economy? These kids are the reason that my colleagues and I are so staunchly committed to reigning in federal spending, reducing job-crushing regulations that make America less
competitive and holding the line on raising taxes on families and small businesses.

  "If we allow our nation to continue down the path it is on – a path of soaring debt and deficits – there will be fewer opportunities for them to succeed. These interns are incredibly smart. They’re committed,
hard-working and have the drive and ideas to contribute to our country’s greatness. As we move forward in negotiations over spending, I hope that every elected official thinks about how the decisions we
make now will affect them and our nation.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The New York Times puts the spotlight on Rep. Kevin McCarthy and more memories of old East Bako

 * ... MCCARTHY: The New York Times magazine will publish a long feature on House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy this Sunday. The overall tone is favorable as it describes the Bakersfield Republican's task of bringing together the extremes of the Republican Party, from the freshman Tea Party members to the old guard. McCarthy sleeps on a sofa in his office and organizes regular "listening sessions" with new members to go over issues and differences within the  GOP. Wrote author reporter Robert Draper: "The job of House Republican majority whip — which is to gather sufficient votes to pass the party’s agenda on the House floor — would seem, at first blush, inappropriate for someone who is approximately as menacing as a summer-camp counselor. The word “whip” implies coercion and brings to mind the dark, backroom persuasions of Tom DeLay, known as the Hammer (who, truthfully, was never that much of a knuckle-breaker, though apparently he loved having that reputation). In the end, there’s only so much control House leaders can exert over a congressman who answers to voters back home. Whips tend to recognize this and, at least in recent years, have relied more on cajoling than threats. McCarthy, who is 46, represents the affable extreme of this philosophy. In his sunny view, “A conference united around policies creates better legislation than using intimidation.” (photo courtesy of The New York Times)

 * ... OLD GLORY: If you are looking to purchase a new American flag, you may want to consider one that has flown over the USS Arizona memorial at Pearl Harbor. Revenue raised from these flag purchases go to keeping up the memorial and honoring those sailors who lost their lives when the ship went down during the Japanese surprise attack. Reader Dorothy Meert said her family has been buying the flags for years. The phone number if (808) 422-2121 at the Fleet Reserve Association at Pearl Harbor.

 * ... BIOLA: Former Assemblyman Trice Harvey wrote to say that former Stockdale High softball standout Lyndsie Roberts just graduated from Biola College after four outstanding years on the softball team. "This year she set a school record for home runs in one season at 12 and had 10 doubles," he said. "Bakersfield has developed some fine lady athletes over the yeares and my friend Lyndsie Roberts is one of them!"

 * ... NICK PAOLA: More memories of Nick Paola. Reader Lynda Pennington wrote to say he was the brother of Pat Paola, who built the bowling alley (Paola's Bowling Alley),  which included Freddie's Top of the Hill restaurant. "There also were banquet rooms... the Caribbean Room, Jamaican Room and a third one I can't remember. My wedding reception was in the Caribbean Room in 1961. Pat was a general contractor and built lots of home in the East Niles area and Nick was a commercial painter who also did lots of landscapes."

* ... BAKERSFIELDISM: Coral Poole-Clark wrote to submit her own memory of our community. "I am surprised that no one has ever mentioned the Eskimo Freeze that used to be located on H Street just south of the railroad tracks across from the Harvey Auditorium in the late 1940s or early 1950s," she said. "It was shaped kind of like an igloo and was white with two peaks on top. You could get chocolate and vanilla soft freeze cones there. Often when my mother and I would drive home from downtown, we would stop and I would get out of the car and order, 'One chocolate, one vanilla, 10 cent cones.' And those were double scoops then!"

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Prepare to avoid the 405 Freeway this weekend as LA prepares for "Carmaggedon"

 * ... CARMEGGEDON: Remember that a 10-mile stretch of the 405 Freeway in Los Angeles will be closed this weekend, creating the mother of all traffic nightmares they are calling "Carmeggdon." It will be closed at Mulholland Drive at midnight Friday and not open until Monday morning, so avoid it at all costs. Good time to stay out of LA or use Meadows Field if you are leaving town.

 * ... JOHNNY MATHIS: The upcoming Johnny Mathis concert is being billed as his "first-ever" appearance  in Bakersfield, but Margaret Self says that's in error. "He performed at the Civic Auditorium on October 18, 1963, along with the 25-piece orchestra of Sy Zentner," she said. She said Johnny was 28 years old at the time and tickets were priced from $2.50 to $3.50. "My husband, the late attorney Robert Self, was program chair for the Westchester Kiwanis and they sponsored the show. All proceeds went to benefit Kiwanis philanthropies." Johnny will be at the Fox Theater on Thursday, September 22.

 * ... SPOTTED: Carl Cole, part of the Crisp and Cole real estate company that came to epitomize fraud and recklessness in the real estate bubble, was spotted working at the Brooks Brothers outlet in Camarillo.

* ... ALZHEIMER'S: The local Alzheimer's Association of Kern County is planning a walk to raise money to end this dreaded illness. Carol Hatton, CEO  of Continuum Senior Care Management, said the walk is planned for September 10 art the Park at River Walk. "It was we Americans who came up with a vaccine that stopped polio," she said. "Let's get rid of Alzheimer's!"

 * ... STORM DRIAN: Reader Cliff Harmel sent me a picture of a storm drain located near the intersection of San Pablo and Vassar streets in the northeast. Stamped on the drain it reads: "City of Bakersfield, Storm Drian, Public Works." That's correct, drain is spelled "drian." Said Harmel: "I pass the spot now and then when I walk my dogs ... I like to think the cover was manufactured and stamped in Fresno!"

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: A particularly relevant contribution from reader B.W. Bank: You know you're from Bakersfield "when 98 degrees is considered a cooling trend."

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Icardo Center gets new "Boise State" blue portable floor and celebrating a U.S. victory in women's World Cup soccer

 * ... CSUB: Had a chance to spend some time with CSUB Athletic Director Jeff Konya last Friday, interviewing him on Californian Radio SmartTalk 1230. Among his revelations: The Icardo Center is getting a new removable floor painted a bold blue (think Boise State) and is in for more upgrades as more basketball games move back to campus. Also, expect to see more uniformity in logos and uniforms among all the sports teams. In a few years, the teams will be sporting a bold new CSUB yellow-gold at home games. Also, lots of positive buzz about the eight recruits that new basketball Coach Rod Barnes is bringing to campus.

 * ... WOMEN'S SOCCER: Speaking of sports, it doesn't get more exciting than watching the United States' women's soccer team beat Brazil in the World Cup Sunday. An amazing game on any level that ended in a dramatic shootout.

 * ... PATRIOTISM: Reader Glen Worrell said his patriotism was challenged after he wrote that he was flying an American flag that was made in China. Turns out Worrell is a retired Coast Guard commander, rarely leaves the house without an American flag pin and loves his country as we all do. Worrell reminds us that patriotism is not determined by a flag manufacturer, but by what is in one's heart.

 * ... MEMORIES: Correspondent Geraldine Sproul wrote with some memories of old 18th Street, including the Masonic Temple. "Many people don't know this but during World War II the basement of the temple was a bomb shelter and they spotted planes on the roof... The Woman's Club further west on the corner on the north side of 18th Street is about a year older than the Masonic Temple. As a teenager I danced by way through life in the basement of the temple."

 * ... ACHIEVER: Hats off to Chelsea Dunlap, a local product who just graduated from UCLA with a major in English and a minor in anthropology. Her grandfather, Leland R. Luttrell, told me that Chelsea has accepted a one-year contract as an English teacher in Otsu, Japan, which is close to Bakersfield's sister city of Wakayama City. She is a graduate of Highland High School where she was active in the band and served as senior class president. Her parents are Bob and Susan Dunlap.

 * ... MEMORY: Ruth E. Overton wrote to recall a large mural that was painted on the side of a business just off Mount Vernon south of Niles Street. It was painted by Nick Paola. Anyone remember this? It would have been in the late 1950s.

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: Robert E. Holland writes that you might be a Bakersfield old timer if you remember driving down Truxtun Avenue "on a hot summer night with the windows down and smelling the wonderful aroma of bread baking at the Golden Crust and Sunbean bakeries."