Friday, September 9, 2011

McCarthy: Ten years after 9-11, the spirit and resilience of America still lives

 Rep. Kevin McCarthy, House Majority Whip, looks back at September 11, 2001, and looks forward to a new future.

 "Ten years ago, our nation was struck by the worst terrorist attack ever to be carried out on American soil. Over three thousand Americans were killed. I was with my wife Judy getting our kids ready for school when I heard that an airliner had struck one of the twin towers, and I remember the shock as news of the continued assault on our land came cross the wires.
  It’s hard to believe it’s been a decade since that day, but I will never forget the response of the men, women and children in our community and in every community across the nation. Even our own first responders from Kern County flew to Washington to help at the Pentagon.
 "As the dust of disbelief settled, the American people came together in solidarity. Men and women from every walk of life stood united as Americans to make it abundantly clear to the cowardly terrorists who waged this deliberate assault on our nation and way of life that we would not be intimidated. With American flags waving in front yards across the country, we immediately resolved that we would rise together from the ashes and reaffirm our rights as Americans to live, vote and worship as we please.
 "After the attacks, brave young people from around our district, from Paso Robles to Bakersfield to Ridgecrest to Lancaster, answered the all to serve a half a world away in the name of freedom. These young people have sacrificed their time, sweat and blood – and 32 local service members have given their lives – so that you and I can wake up each day and be free. I want the men and women in our military and their families to know that we will be forever grateful, and I promise to fight to ensure your sacrifice is never forgotten.
 "This September 11th marks the ten-year anniversary of the attacks and has been declared a National Day of Service. Volunteerism has never been lacking in our communities, and this 9/11 is another opportunity for us to show the solidarity Americans have for our way of life. I encourage everyone to seek out opportunities to give back this upcoming Sunday whether through your house of worship, a local charity, visiting veterans in your local community or donating blood to save a life
 "Even now, the scars of that terrible day remain, but so does the resilience, hope and courage of the American people. It was just four months ago that news of the death of Osama Bin Laden drove scores of
Americans of varying races and religions to the gates of the White House with American flags to celebrate that the mastermind of the September 11th attacks had finally been brought to justice. As we reflect on the ten-year anniversary, let us never forgot what makes our nation so special. We are a nation founded on the principles of freedom and liberty, and we will never give up the fight to keep our country safe and strong for generations to come.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Remembering the events of September 11, getting to know the Pluot and worrying about the recession

 * ... SEPTEMBER 11: This Sunday is the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, and I hope each of you will find a special way to observe this day. At the very least we can all proudly display our American flags while remembering all the lives lost in the war on terrorism. Reader Tina Burke wrote to ask if The Californian was going to devote a page to Old Glory as we did last year. The answer is yes, we will, so look for it in your Sunday Californian.

 * ... RECESSION: Experts now say the odds of the nation falling into a second recession - California hasn't pulled out of the first one yet - are now 50-50. Many smaller local companies have made all the cuts they can, and owners are downsizing their homes and selling assets to make payroll. We may see a new wave of business failures if things don't turn around soon.

. * ... PLUOT: I was introduced to the "pluot" at the downtown Farmer's Market this past Saturday. If you haven't heard of it, the pluot is one of a number of new hybrid fruits that are hitting the market. The pluot his part plum and part apricot and is absolutely delicious. I was told these particular pluots were grown in Lamont. Other hybids include the pluerry (part plum and part cherry) and the peacharine (part peach and part nectarine.

 * ... THE BUZZ: There is a lot of talk among downtown property owners and business people about the proliferation of drug activity at the corner of 21st and Eye streets downtown, one of the popular corners for the homeless and groups of itinerant young people. One business owner told me he had gone to the Bakersfield police with his concerns, particularly after witnessing a drug transaction in broad daylight.

 * ... OVERHEARD: At a dollar store on Olive Drive, a young woman asks the cashier to direct her toward "eyeliners." When told the store was out of eyeliners, the young woman responded: "Then tell me where the Sharpie markers are. I've used them before but you really have to be careful because what you see is what you get!"

 * ... GOOD SERVICE: Add these businesses to the growing list of places where you can expect outstanding customer service: the downtown U.S. Post Office, where the familiar faces behind the counter are always smiling, and my service technician from Clark's Pest Control.

 * ... COOKIE MAN: A reader passed along a wonderful story featuring former Bakersfield resident Don Wedel, who now spends his time baking cookies for needy children and their families in Midland, Texas. It's yet another example of how much good there is in a world that sometimes seems so crazy. Mary Lytell told me that Don, her cousin, has been helping the needy at the Midland "transitional house" for several years now. He is the son of the late Milt and Priscella Wedel and the younger brother of the late Jerry Wedel. (photo courtesy of the Reporter-Telegram)

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: Joyce Adams wrote to clarify and earlier post regarding the old Adams Shoes that once featured a size of extra long shoes. "Next to the five and dime (the name was Wagner's) was a shoe sotre, Adams Shoes. My husband, Al Adams, and I were the owners. The 'work boots' (actually shoes) were a size 35 and were made for Robert Wadlow. He had worn the shoes and outgrew them to a size 37 before his death at the age of 22. We still have the shoes that were on display at the shoe store. They are but 18 inches in length but look much longer!"

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Central Valley sweet potatoes gain in popularity and another burglary hits Haggin Oaks

 * ... SISTER CITY: Good to hear that one of Bakersfield's sister cities - Wakayama, Japan - escaped serious damage from a recent typhoon. That's the word from Susan Stone, president of the Bakersfield Sister City Project, who noted that her contacts in Wakayama all seem safe. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Sister City relationship between Bakersfield and Wakayama, whose mayor will visit Bakersfield in November.

* ... SWEET POTATOES: The Los Angeles Times featured a front page story on the growing popularity of sweet potatoes, many of which are grown here in the Central Valley. According to The Times, Americans have doubled their consumption of sweet potatoes in the last decade, and exports to other nations are also skyrocketing. Most of California's sweet potatoes are grown in Merced County. (photo courtesy of The Los Angeles Times)

 * ... EUREKA!: Speaking of food, folks in the Southwest are looking forward to the opening of new Eureka! Burgers and Craft Beer at the Shops at RiverWalk. This Fresno based franchise features gourmet burgers, craft beers and an engaging atmosphere and should be a good addition to the growing Southwest area. Earlier reports indicated this new Stockdale Highway location should be open by the end of this year. It joins other longtime tenants PF Changs, The Elephant Bar, BJ's and California Pizza Kitchen.

 * ... BREAK IN: There was yet another burglary in Haggin Oaks over the Labor Day weekend, the third burglary in a matter of just a few days in the Southwest neighborhood. In the latest case, the homeowners were asleep inside when the intruder broke into the garage through a window but could not gain entry into the home because the door leading inside was locked. Meanwhile, there continues to be a rash of car break-ins across town, particularly in Olde Stockdale, La Cresta and Westchester. Remember: lock your doors and keep your alarms on.

 * ... OVERHEARD: Twenty-something woman at Starbucks tells the barrista to "hold the whip cream" on her morning caramel machiatto (about 250 calories) because she is dieting, then decides to order a 440-calorie scone to go.

* ... GOOD SERVICE: Reader Sheri Warfield wrote to praise the customer service at New City Cleaners, which has been in business for more than a century.  "They are a five star cleaners known for their great quality and customer service skills. They know most of their customers by name and have developed friendly relationships with many of them over the years. A very courteous, knowledgeable staff makes for a pleasant trip to the dry cleaners."

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: Glenda Geissel writes that you may be an Oildale old timer "if you remember the Cottage Hospital that was located where the Mish Funeral Home is now. I know from experience because my sister and myself were born there in 1946 and 1949. I was born an '08er and no doubt will die an '08er. Thanks for all the memories your column brings to mind."

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Haupts celebrate 30 years of marriage, burglars hit Haggin Oaks and high praise for Michael Turnipseed

 * ... BURGLARIES: The folks over in Haggin Oaks are on guard after two recent burglaries left the otherwise quiet neighborhood rattled. One resident returned to find her house ransacked, indicating the intruders had spent some time inside her home.

 * ... THIRTY YEARS: Congratulations to longtime residents Bruce and Jane Haupt, who celebrated 30 years of marriage in grand style this weekend. As a surprise to his wife, Bruce arranged to fly in her mother, Jane Geldermann, from Chicago along with her brother and sister. Bruce's parents, brothers, their four children (all products of Garces Memorial High School) and a couple dozen cousins were also there when Jane showed up at Luigi's Saturday night for a steak and chicken dinner. Sounds like a nice way to kick off the next 30 years of marriage. Bruce is vice president of Independent Pipe and Steel and Jane works at Valley Oaks charter school.

 * ... HIGH PRAISE: Harry Starkey, general manager of the West Kern Water District, talking about Michael Turnipseed, the head of the tax watchdog group KernTax: "Turnispeed should be knighted for the work he has done to bring PGE rates in line."

 * ... IMBIBE: Stopped by Imbibe Wine and Spirits off Truxtun Extension the other day and was treated to some great live jazz. Mark Meyer on the saxaphone and Steve Elsen on the trumpet appear at Imbibe regularly and are worth checking out while treating yourself to wine, specialty beer and a cheese plate.

* ... NEWCOMERS: Received a nice note from LA-area transplants Mike and Tish Burnett, who moved to our town earlier this summer. It's their first summer here and they're loving it, hardly missing at all their old home in La Canada Flintridge. The Burnetts moved here to be closer to Tish's sister, Pam Walker. Her husband, Neil, is a longtime resident and works at Kern Oil and Refining. "I just wanted to close the loop and let you know we are here and loving it, heat and all!" Mike wrote. "Actually Neil tells me it's actually spring like right now." Mike is currently sales manager for Sparkle Uniform and Linen Service, one of our many family owned companies in town.

 * ... GUILD HOUSE: Carole Cohen wrote to let everyone know that the Guild House is reopening for lunch on Tuesday, September 6. The Guild House is located on the corner of 18th and F streets, is staffed by an all-volunteer staff, and everything served is homemade. All proceeds go to benefit the Henrietta Weill Child Guidance Clinic.

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: Linda L. Smith writes that you may be a Bakersfield old timer if you remember "Toon's Piano store on Chester Avenue near 8th Street." She recalls that a man named Leech was the general manager and later purchased Toon's, renaming it Leech Piano. Linda said this would have been in the 1950s and that the store was later moved to the Westchester area.