Sunday, May 13, 2012

California taxes drive two families to leave the state and beware of an elder abuse scam

 * ... ROBBERY: Heads up on a scam and crime that is becoming all too common in our community. The latest victims are Glen and Millie Crabtree, who have been married for 68 years and have lived quietly on the east side of town. Last week they were the victims of a robbery and scam that cost them $2,000 in cash and almost $700 in jewelry. It was last Monday around 11 a.m. when they returned home from the bank and two Hispanic women appeared and their door, inquiring about a weight loss product Millie sells to earn a little extra cash. While one of the women distracted Millie, the other went into their bedroom, found the family safe open and pocketed the cash and jewelry, including their wedding rings. "I just feel so stupid now," said Millie, who is 85. "It's not even the money but jewelry and our wedding rings that we have had for 68 years." She described the women as in their early 50s and one "weighs 300 pounds. I have never seen hips and thighs that big. I would know her anywhere." A friend is offering a $1,000 reward. Call Bakersfield Police if you have any information.

 * ... OVERHEARD: A middle aged woman sharing her family's frustration over Calfornia's $19 billion budget deficit and the prospect of even higher taxes. "Two people on my street, one is an oil engineer and the other is a lawyer, are leaving California because of taxes. One just listed his house and his moving to Nevada and the other is leaving when his daughter goes to college next year. They have both just had enough." My take: I think most people would agree to higher taxes if they believed Sacramento was  serious about curtailing spending and agreeing on pension reform for state employees.

  * ... GAY MARRIAGE: The debate over same-sex marriage rages on, fueled by President Obama's revelation that he now supports it. This clearly is an issue that divides our community, and today (Monday) on Californian Radio KERN 1180 we will tackle the topic. Among my guests will be Judith Pratt, a communications professor at Cal State Bakersfield, and a young gay man who thinks it's a bad idea. Call in to (661) 842-5376 to weigh in, beginning at 9 a.m.

* ... TRASH: John W. Sliger dropped me a note to have his say about those who litter our community. "It is a symptom of the laziness that has invaded our lives. Another such symptom is shopping carts at places like Walmart. Everytime we go to one of the stores that provide shopping carts for their customers I find the carts just dumped in the parking lot, often within just a few steps of a 'cart corral.' I can somewhat understand this when it is in the handicapped-parking area. Those people have a reason. Other people are just plain lazy. It does NOT matter how much of a hurry the individual is in, just dumping the cart is rude, inconsiderate, and costly."

 * ... GOOD DEED: Speaking of trash, hats off to retired Superior Court Judge James Stuart who donated a park bench and a concrete trash can that were installed at RiverWalk Park. A sign reads the trash can is dedicated to "Lucky and Friends" in honor of the judge's dog, a stray who was found by his son a few years back. Reader Aneta Adams wrote to thank the judge, saying previously there had been no trash can at the southeast corner of the lake.  "It was difficult for some people to clean up after their dogs around that lake or to carry their trash the far distance to another trash can or to their cars. My husband and I have had no problem doing so, even though that location has been precisely where our two Scottish Terriers decide to relieve themselves. Since the addition of the 'Lucky and Friends' trash container, we have noticed an improvement to the trash situation around that lake."

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