Thursday, December 29, 2011

Time to bust out those New Year's resolutions and Michael Rubio makes the right call

* ... NEW YEAR'S: It's time to consider those New Year's resolutions, but instead of the usual suspects (I will exercise more, eat healthier and write thank you notes ) how about if each of us adopted a charity and contributed a little something every month? Can you imagine the impact  if we all dug a little deeper and gave to the charity of our choice?

 * ... RUBIO: My heart goes out to state Sen. Michael Rubio, who dropped out of a race for Congress to put his family first. This came after his second daughter was born with Down syndrome. The local Democrat was an early favorite to win this race, and it's refreshing to see politicians look into their hearts and do the right thing.
 * ... DIAPERS: It has been a while since I mentioned the nasty habit of people casually discarding their diapers just about anywhere (including - yuck - a new shoe box at Target). But Scott A. McMillan, who owns several Sonic Drive Thru restaurants in the South Valley, reminded me the habit is alive and well. He discovered this Christmas Eve morning when he helped open his Sonic in Hanford. He cleaned the outside area and as he was  leaving - after only one customer had come through - he glanced back and found a used diaper sitting under the drive thru window. "My first thought was 'Are you kidding me?' We've only had one guest! But right then a picture of you from the Californian flashed into my head and I started laughing out loud. After a few minutes of hearty laughter I removed the unwanted item and went on my way."

* ... SMOKE POLICE: Molly Mac has only lived here a few years but opted to weigh in on our area's air pollution rules. Recently she found herself driving behind three school  buses. "Whew,  the exhaust fumes were overwhelming. I read that at least 60 percent pollution is due to vehicle emissions. It would seem to me that it would benefit the air if these vehicles were converted to natural gas as are the GET buses....and no I don't want to hear about the cost. Where are our vaunted representatives on this issue? Perhaps we could utilize the farm subsidies to syndicated farms and business (which are no more than corporate welfare).....and no, I don't own natural gas stock or know T. Boone Pickens."

 * ... SPOTTED: A woman driving on Ming Avenue in the afternoon rush hour trying to merge into the left lane with her right  blinker on while talking on her cell phone with her left hand and  smoking a cigarette with her right hand. As reader Marlene Morales said:  "This is an accident waiting to happen. And by the appearance of her vehicle, I'm sure she didn't have insurance."

 * ... CONVENANT: Vince Romero wrote to recommend buying coffee from Convenant Community Services, the local non-profit that does so much to help foster youth. "Our company uses Convenant coffee for all of our coffee and coffee accessories and condiments.  Spread the word about this great service." Covenant is located in an old bank building at 1700 North Chester Avenue.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Wendy Wayne returns home after undergoing chemotherapy and kudos to Judge David Lampe

 * ... JUDGE LAMPE: My mention of Superior Court Judge David Lampe drew this note from reader Brian K. Wohlgemuth. "A few years ago I was a jury member on a trial in his courtroom. About a week after the case was over, Judge Lampe recognized me in a local Starbucks. He approached me and called me by name. Once I figured out who he was (he wasn't wearing the black robe in Starbucks, so it took me a few seconds) he said he wanted to thank me for my service. The fact that Judge Lampe remembered my face, my name, and took the time to come and thank me really meant a lot to me. By the way, he handled the trial in a very professional, efficient manner. Kern County is fortunate to have Judge David Lampe."

 * ... WENDY: Welcome home to Wendy Wayne, the former First Five Commission chairperson who underwent another round of chemotherapy in Los Angeles for a recurring case of non Hodgkins lymphoma. I ran into Wendy over the weekend when she and political consultant husband Gene Tackett were visiting friends downtown. Wendy is one of our more remarkable neighbors who has done so much for our community. Welcome home, friend.

 * ... SMOKE POLICE: C.J. Mason is among the readers who took me to task for criticizing the ban on burning fireplaces. "As long as others continue to foul the air on no-burn days (when we have an inversion layer of brown gunk in the air), I vote for more 'smoke police.' And here’s a novel idea; people can continue to enjoy a warming fire by buying and using gas logs! I’m a native of Bakersfield and I’m dismayed that my town is ranked No. 1 as having the most polluted air in the nation. How poor does our air quality have to become before aggressive action is taken to try and improve it? My greatest is hope is that my grand kids will be able to move from this area (as soon as their parents can find jobs in this poor economy) before their lungs become permanently damaged from the bad air."

 * ... JAVA: I don't consider myself a coffee snob but the "Full City" blend of Mexican grown coffee I purchased recently from Covenant Community Services may be some of the best I've ever had. Plus, I have the satisfaction of knowing that my money went to support local foster kids. Covenant is a local non-profit devoted to helping foster youth, and its coffee roasting operation (located at 1700 North Chester) is one way it raises money. They are also seeking 1,000 donations of $83 to complete its renovation of an old bank building to house its offices. Stop by and try some java and support a good cause.

 * ... CAL BAPTIST: Kudos to Caleb Hill, who was home for the holidays after graduating with honors from California Baptist University in Riverside. He is the grandson of Richard and Beverly Laughman, a graduate of Bakersfield Christian High School and the son of Kurt and Joy Hill. He is also the grandson of Ada Mae Hill, a retired Bakersfield school teacher.

 * ... VOLUNTEER: And a final hats off to 13-year-old Katy Rodriguez, a seventh grader at Norris Middle School who is in her fourth year of sponsoring a gift drive for the Jamison Children's Center. Proud grand mother Pat Snelling told me that Katy passes out fliers in her neighborhood to collect gifts. Last year she delivered 175 gifts to the center and this year another 100.  Now that is impressive.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Covenant Community Services reaches out to help foster youth

 * ... COVENANT: Would you write a check for $83 to help save a life? That's what the folks over at Covenant Community Services are asking as they try to get 1,000 people to write a check for $83 to cover the costs of renovating its offices in an old bank building in Oildale. Covenant, if you don't know, works with foster children to put them on the path to productive lives. I visited their office at 1700 Chester Avenue and chatted with Randy Martin, the energetic founder who is devoting his life to helping those in need. Covenant also imports top qualify coffee from around the world and when construction is complete, the Chester Avenue office will feature a coffee bar staffed by former foster children. I'm writing them a check, and I hope you will do so as well. Stop by and meet Randy or send your check to 1700 North Chester Avenue, Bakersfield, 93308.

 * ... SQUATTERS: A family of squatters has been evicted from a house they took over on Elm Street downtown recently, yet another sign of the difficult times we are all in. When I mentioned this to a local Realtor, he shrugged and said "it's happening all over town."

 * ... SHOP LOCAL: Local attorney Matt Clark submitted this as another reason why we all should shop locally. "I went into a prominent department store in Los Angeles yesterday to buy a sport coat.  Ultimately, I pick one out, buy it and leave - no problem.  When I get home, Molly notices that the ink-filled security tag is still on the coat.  Of course, I made it out of the store without the tag going off, and the store is in Los Angeles, not here.  After calling the store to figure out how to remove the tag, and remaining on hold for 20 minutes, we were told to just bring the garment back.  What
a pain.

* ... SPOTTED: The following gas miser cars and trucks were spotted in the parking lot of Action Sports: two Toyota Priuses, two Honda Elements, one Toyota Rav4, a small Nissan pickup, a Honda CR-V and one Subaru Outback. Has America finally embraced the small car?

 * ... FEEDBACK: Local Realtor Patsy Sadler came to my defense following an anonymous reader who called this blog a waste of ink and newsprint. "I would like to say to you, like I say to the people who praying or saying Merry Christmas offends you, go somewhere else or don't read the column.  You didn't print your name because you knew your opinion is not that of the majority who read and enjoy this column. I love this column and it brings back lots of memories that I have forgotten especially being born & raised her for 62 years. If I am in a hurry & don't have time to read the paper in full, I read the obits and Bakersfield Observed, thank you Richard and keep up the good memories.  Speaking of memories (anonymous it's time for you to turn the page) you know you're from Bakersfield if you remember riding a horse for 50 cents an hour at Ragsdale stables on Edison Hwy and Quantico.  I used to ride every Saturday and Sunday for years, leaving there on my bicycle riding to Thrifty's on Niles and having a double scoop for 10 cents and my very protective mother didn't have to worry about me being abducted or involved in a drive by shooting. Now those were the days, 1961. "