Saturday, February 11, 2012

Baily the stolen Labradoodle finds his way him and remember when East High basketball ruled the Valley

 * ... BAILY IS BACK: Remember the 3-month-old Labradoodle named Baily who  was stolen from his cage in a downtown burglary last week? Well he's back, unharmed and the same except for extensive grooming and painted blue nails. The owner reported that he went home for lunch and "found my neighbor on my doorstep holding our dog. It took me a minute to recognize him because of the extensive grooming and the blue sparking painted nails, but it was him. She had come home midday to find him in her back yard with her dog. We don't know if he found his way home or he was dumped over the fence, but he's here." Who knows what happened, but it's good the pup is back home.

 * ... SINGLES: Did you know that almost half of all American adults today are not married, and that 28 percent of them live alone - the highest level in U.S. history? That's the word from Fortune magazine that noted the percentage of Americans living by themselves has doubled since 1960. Fortune noted that "Singletons play an essential yet unappreciated role in revitalizing cities and animating public spaces. Compared with married people, they're more likely to eat out in cafes and restaurants, exercise in a gym, take art classes, attend public events and volunteer." Further, the magazine said high concentrations of singles help create "urban tribes, social networks that substitute for traditional families."

 * ... GREENLAWN: Greenlawn Mortuaries and Cemeteries is constructing a new "Celebration of Life" center at its Southwest location, and is looking to the public to help design it with a special spin. The company is asking local families to submit "old black and white photos, 1950s and before, for consideration. If selected they will be copied, framed and displayed throughout the building." The originals will be returned. Interested? Call Sandy Moffett at (661) 324-9701.

 * ... EAST HIGH: Bill Abshier wrote to honor the legacy of former Bakersfield College basketball coach Ralph Krafve, and also noted that Krafve spent 13 years at East High where he racked up a record of 262-56.  "I was a sophomore at East in 1967 when we won the first Valley title ever for East High and the team was considered the finest team the Bakersfield area ever produced. (Quoting my 1967 yearbook). I have a great memory of sitting at a game that season with my dad, and my dad saying as we watched Krafve sit there with his legs crossed, relaxed,  'Look at him sit there, he isn't worried one bit, he has already done his home work.'"

 * ... SPOTTED: From Tonia Cody comes this: "I pulled into the ARCO AM/PM this morning on Union Avenue and pulling up to the pump beside me was a middle aged man in a large four-wheel drive pick up ... (then he) tosses a fully lit cigarette out his window.  God knows what might have happened to both he and I had there be flamable liquid on the ground."

Friday, February 10, 2012

McCarthy: Time for Obama to stop telling us what we 'need' like high speed rail

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

 "February 6 marked President Ronald Reagan’s 101st birthday. What strikes me most when I reflect on his life is that his words and actions continue to inspire America. He truly believed in this country
and America was “mankind’s best hope.” He also deeply respected our fundamental constitutional rights, vigilantly protecting them from judicial activism and government interference.
 "This week, it was hard to ignore the uproar surrounding the Obama Administration’s mandate that flouted religious freedoms and our First Amendment rights. In attempting to implement the new health care law (whose own constitutionality is currently in question in the Supreme Court), the Administration set out new rules that would force religiously-affiliated organizations to comply with mandates in Obamacare, even if those mandates infringe on their conscience and beliefs. I join many of you who have called my office in outrage to this decision, and I will work to ensure this action does not stand.

"Unfortunately, this Administration has made a habit of telling the American people what they ‘need.’ This week, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was in California to talk about how badly the state needed high-speed rail (HSR). Sound bites are nice, but the fact is that HSR is the last thing California’s strained budget and overburdened taxpayers need. The money’s not there, the ridership estimates are exaggerated and the people don’t want it. Both the Bakersfield City Council and Kern County Board of Supervisors voted to oppose the project, and 59 percent of voters say given the chance to vote again, they would vote no.

 "The Federal Government is going into its fourth year of $1 trillion deficits and the State of California could run out of money by early March. HSR is not a smart investment, and I’m continuing to push
legislation to freeze all unspent federal dollars for the project. Many Californians work hard to support their families, save for their kid’s college, and build a nest egg for retirement, all the while
paying taxes to Washington and Sacramento. We must do more to ensure that government respects the money you send to Washington and spends it carefully.

 "Despite all our challenges, America remains strong and I remain optimistic. I am reminded of President Reagan’s farewell speech, where he described that shining city on a hill. President Reagan said, “I’ve
spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it.  But in my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors
and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That’s how I saw it, and see it still.” And that’s how I see it, and see it still.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Is Bakersfield's housing market starting to rebound? And lamenting the thieves who stole a family puppy

 * ... GOOD NEWS: Ready for some good news for a change? A new report from a California research group says that Bakersfield's housing market is starting to rebound. According to California Business Minute, Bakersfield ranked No. 2 on a list of ten cities whose housing markets are expected to grow by at least 3 percent this year. Orlando was in the top spot with a market expected to grow by 11.7 percent, and Bakersfield was close behind at 11.1 percent. Filling out the top ten were Washington, D.C., Phoenix, Miami, Tampa Bay, Dallas, Jacksonville, Fla., Cleveland and Honolulu.

* ... BURGLARY: Burglaries across our town - and no neighborhood is immune - are far too commonplace but one the other day left me fuming. Turns out someone broke into a garage and attached play room behind a downtown residence and stole some electronics. But they also took the family's pet, a 3-month-old Labradoodle, a deed low enough to make anyone sick. As another neighbor said, it was a "despicable" deed.

 * ... SOUTHWEST BASEBALL: The Cal State Roadrunner baseball team is holding a development clinic for young players out at Aera Park this weekend. The clinic, which runs from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday, is open to players of all ages and is another example of the college reaching out to the community. And speaking of Southwest Baseball, did you know that the organization donates money to local charities every time it holds a tournament? Some of the groups that will benefit include the Police Activities League, the Juvenile Arthritis Foundation, Bakersfield Rescue Mission and Bakersfield Homeless Shelter and the Boys and Girls Club.

* ... GOOD SERVICE: When you think of good service, the U.S. Postal Service is rarely mentioned. But Lori Newby wrote to remember some excellent customer service she received from the Post Office on Brundage last December. Turns out she had mailed eight cards with insufficient postage, but three Post Office employees worked together to locate them. "Later that afternoon, after I had gone home for the day, my husband called to tell me Juanita from the Brundage Post Office called and had located the cards and held them so he could add the additional postage. When the term 'good service' is used, seldom does the Post Office come to mind. However, I have since learned that the postal workers at this particular branch, on their own time, contribute to the community in various ways, not the least of which is answering those precious letters to Santa. So to John, Bev and Juanita, and all their co-workers, thank you for all you do."

* ... SPOTTED: From reader Rhaya Lemons: "A couple days ago I was driving west on 178 (and) a blue Honda was in front of me, weaving. At first I thought she was a drunk driver until she went across all three lanes to make the Golden State off ramp, almost causing a wreck ... head down and texting the whole time. Could have been way worse. Good thing traffic wasn't too bad."

* ... SPCA: If you want to help the plight of abandoned dogs and cats remember the annual Bakersfield SPCA "Furry Paws and Foggy Nights" fund raiser set for Friday, February 24. It's always a good show with plenty of food, music and live auctions. This one will be held at the Petroleum Club. Call (661) 323-8353 (extension 2) for information on tickets.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Reunion set for the 1978 Bakersfield College basketball team and Salvaggio heads to the Kern County Fair Board

 * ... CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON: There will be a special reunion tonight (Wednesday) bringing together many of the players and coaches of arguably the most successful Bakersfield College basketball team ever to take the court. It's all built around the theme "The Unforgettable Season," a sentimental nod to the incredible 1978 team that boasted 11 of the 13 players from Kern County and ran up an impressive 33-2 record. There will be a reception from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the terrace above the recently refurbished gym floor, and all former BC Renegade players - men and women - are invited. Some of the honored guests include former head coach Ralph Krafve and former Athletic Director Herb Loken.

 * ... SUPER BOWL: Did you know that the Monday after the Super Bowl is known as the highest employee absenteeism day of the year? Apparently so many employees "sick out" after the big game revelry that many companies take the unusual step of reminding employees not to abuse their sick time privileges.

 * ... OVERHEARD: A businessman sharing a joke at lunch: "I want to die like my grandfather, asleep. Not like those two screaming passengers in his car that night."

 * ... TAXES: It looks like California voters may be greeted with competing proposals on the November ballot to raises taxes. There are now at least three initiatives under way to put a tax hike proposal on the ballot, including one that would raise taxes on those earning more than $1 million a year. Some analysts believe voters will be confused by so many competing initiatives and will simply vote against them all.

 * ... SALVAGGIO: Kudos to Mark Salvaggio, the former city councilman who has been appointed to the Kern County Fair Board. Salvaggio spent 19 years on the council and was always a straight talker with a strong independent streak.

* ... SPOTTED: Man driving an older maroon Ford van down H Street with a small mixed breed dog plus a toddler sitting on his lap, two other children and a woman in the front seat and two more children in the back, one of whom is unbuckled and standing up leaning against the side window.

 * ... JEWELRY SHOW: The jewelry of Diana Campbell-Rice will be on display at the Metro Galleries on 19th Street Wednesday evening. There will be live music featuring Kama Ruby, wine and finger food. Perfect for a Valentine gift. A portion of the sales will benefit the Bakersfield AIDS project. The show runs from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

 * ... GOOD SERVICE: I have enjoyed reading the weekly stories in The Californian highlighting outstanding servers and waiters at local bars and restaurants. These folks work hard, don't make a lot of money and have little to show for their efforts. Another group of cheery workers are  the young ladies who work at the downtown Cruz Thru Express Car Wash on 24th Street, who invariably greet everyone with a smile.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Former city fire chief Ron Fraze being courted to run for Ward 2 City Council seat, and CSUB wrestling fights to survive

  * ... THE BUZZ: The talk downtown is that former city Fire Chief Ron Fraze may run for the Ward 2 City Council seat being vacated by Sue Benham. Benham, now vice president of development at Memorial Hospital, has said she won't run for another term in the ward, which covers much of the downtown area. Fraze lives downtown and supporters feel his inside knowledge of how the city works would serve the area well.  I talked to Fraze Saturday and he told me he is considering a run and is honored that some folks are urging him to enter the race. Stay tuned.

  * ... WRESTLING: Had coffee the other day with Craig Tobin, a local businessman who is among a growing group of people trying save the wrestling program out at CSUB. Wrestling is one of those sports that is basically fending for itself in an era of extreme budget cuts and Tobin and others have been committed to finding ways to keep it alive. There have been fund raisers and some guerrilla marketing, and last week they put more than 1,000 people in the stands at the Icardo Center to watch CSUB take on Arizona State. Craig will be my guest today (Monday) on Californian Radio KERN 1180 beginning at 9 a.m. Stay tuned because you will hear from from these folks.

 * ... KINDNESS: Christine Lollar dropped me a note to send her good wishes to Wendy Wayne, who is dealing with a recurrence of cancer and was recently honored with a random act of kindness. "Thank you, Richard, for listing the 'kindness' and mentioning Wendy’s 'battling' non-Hodgkin’s. What a perfect adjective. I found it ironic that the organization is called 'Soldier’s Smile' because that is exactly what Wendy Wayne wears on her face every day, a 'soldier’s smile.' She’s long been my mentor. If I could have her grace and humbleness in my pinky finger I will have lived a successful life. When you think of her life from the Peace Corps to First Five, immunization volunteer, and ever the civic servant whenever called upon. Wendy is an amazing, all around, individual, and she has truly fought her own fight (her physical battles) and the fight of thousands, maybe millions, who could not fight for themselves."

 * ... OVERHEARD: This little gem comes from reader Walter Stewart. "I am amazed and amused in a Bakersfield restaurant yesterday. The man sitting in the booth in front of me was wearing a cap. I was amazed when a man walking by paused and said, 'Cultured people remove their hats in restaurants.' I was amused when the man dryly responded, 'Cultured people mind their own business.' I am still chuckling."

* ... SPOTTED: Jessica Massey submits this bit of bad form, spotted in the parking lot of Albertson's on Gosford and White Lane. "The woman in the truck in front of me completely stopped the flow of traffic in the parking lot by coming to a full stop to open her driver's side door and toss a soda cup on the ground! I honked at her and gave her the 'are you serious?' signal and she just gave me a dirty look and drove off. So rude to the poor Albertson's employee that probably had to pick it up and to me for getting that dirty look!"

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: You know you're from Bakersfield when keeping up with the Jones means serving Smith's cookies. Thanks to J.R. Lewis of Keller Williams for that little ditty.