Thursday, May 10, 2012

Time magazine's cover stirs up some controversy

 Time magazine has a provocative cover photo that is getting a lot of folks talking. With Mother's Day around the corner, you can be sure we will be hearing more about this.

Presumed GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney and wife Ann are headed to Bakersfield for a fund raiser, and Californian Radio to explore gay marriage

 * ... ROMNEY: It looks like presumed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and wife Ann are coming to Bakersfield for a fund raiser at the home of Grimmway Farms owner Barbara Grimm-Marshall. It's being billed as "an afternoon with Governor Mitt and Ann Romney" and will be held on Wednesday, May 30. Tickets are going for $2,500 a pop, $10,000 will get you a photo session and for $50,000 you get a private reception. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) will be there along with event co-chairs Jim and Beverly Camp, Iva and Michael Hawkins and Barbara Grimm-Marshall and Darcy Marshall.

 * ... GAY MARRIAGE: Polls show the nation is slowly warming to the idea of same-sex marriage, but the issue remains has hot as ever. On Monday, I will be take on the topic on Californian Radio KERN 1180 beginning at 9 a.m. Among my guests will be a young gay man who vehemently opposes same-sex marriages. Tune in to hear him articulate his position. We'll also hear from Dr. Raj Patel, partner in Preferred Family Care Physicians, about the obesity epidemic.

 * ... REIDER: I attended the dedication of the Larry Reider Education Center this week, named after the retired Kern County Superintendent of Schools. One of the reasons Reider is so enormously popular,  outside of guiding the department during some economically turbulent years, is his terrific sense of humor. In his speech, he recalled a friend who had been promoted to chief executive of a local company. Said Reider: "So this man asks his wife, 'Honey, in your wildest dreams did you imagine me being promoted?' And his wife replies: 'Honey, you're not in my wildest dreams.'" Classic Larry.

* ... TRASH: Tami Schumacher is a relative newcomer to Bakersfield (her family moved here from Southern California last summer) and she is amazed at the amount of trash on our streets. "I was at the park with my dog and saw a car pull up and a man drop a cup out of the car.  He proceeded to go to the basketball courts without picking up the cup and a trash can was 10 feet from him!" Tami: I wish I could tell you that what you witnessed was an anomaly, but it's not.

 * ... MAKE A WISH: The Make-A-Wish Foundation does an awful lot of good locally and generally does so without a lot of press. Which is why I'm happy to promote the organization's special fund raiser next Friday, May 18, at the Crystal Palace. It's the "Silver Spur Gala" featuring a steak dinner, live auction items and of course dancing. And, you get to taste Bowen's Whiskey, the new Bakersfield-made whiskey for just $5 a pop. (All proceeds go to Make-A-Wish). Tickets are $100 each or $1,000 for a table of eight. Call (661) 634-WISH (9474) if you are interested.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Obesity rate skyrockets and Donna Hylton is out as executive director of the Kern Adult Literacy Council

* ... OBESITY: How fat are we as a nation? Would you believe that the obesity rate among American adults is expected to top 42 percent by 2030? There are a host of factors of course - our obsession with fast food, snacks, sodas and and our aversion to exercise among them - but experts are warning the consequences for our health care system will be enormous. The diabetes epidemic alone will be devastating. Maybe we should start with smaller serving sizes, exercising more and giving up that morning Starbucks high calorie coffee (topped with whip cream) that really isn't much different than having a milkshake for breakfast. (photo courtesy of The Orange County Register)

* ... SHAKE UP: Donna Hylton, longtime executive director of the Kern Adult Literacy Council, is out after almost 12 years on the job. No word yet on who will replace Hylton, whose main job was raising money for literacy programs and operational expenses. The Council has long been on the forefront of confronting Kern County's illiteracy problem, which affects almost 25 percent of Kern adults.

* ... SPOTTED:  A young couple, sitting in a grey Nissan in the Target parking lot at Valley Plaza with an infant in a car seat, casually toss their Carl's Jr. burger wrappers and used napkins out the window before pulling out. As a friend told me: "Now there's some good modeling behavior."

 * ... PEREZ: Leticia Perez, the district representative for state Sen. Michael Rubio who is running for county supervisor in the 5th District, has picked up the support of the powerful Kern County Fire Fighters Union via its Political Action Committee. The union is mailing out flyers urging voters to cast their ballots for Perez, who is running against incumbent Karen Goh. This promises to be one of the closest races to watch, so stay tuned. (photos of Perez and Goh)

* ... ASSISTEENS: The Assisteens League, which has guided so many of our daughters through the years, is about to celebrate its 50th anniversary. The group was formed locally in 1963 and is open to young people in grades 9 through 12. Marianne Keathley told me they are looking for former members for an anniversary event to be held next year. Contact Marianne at for more information.

 * ... RODEWALD: Yet another memory of the bomb shelter years after the Cuban Missile Crisis. This nuggets from Rocky King, whose father in law is former local TV personality Don Rodewald. "He spent a month in a Nuedeck bomb shelter down on 19th Street during the bomb shelter scare. He and his wife, Shirley, spent the time together in the shelter and for their sacrifice, recieved a free bomb shelter from Nuedeck pools. Don asked the Neudeck brothers if he could have a swimming pool instead. The rest is history. By the way, Don still lives here in town in a senior living place and I am his ex-son in law."

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: You know you're from Bakersfield if "traffic has come to a halt due to a huge flock of sheep crossing the road."

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Relay for Life closes in on $2 million goal and here comes the Spring Cal State Barbecue

 * ... DOMINIC: Hats off to the thousands of folks who participated in this weekend's Relay for Life. One team, Dominic's Dugout, raised more than $17,000 for the cause. The team is named for Dominic Cornejo, a promising young man who died of cancer just shortly after graduating from Garces Memorial High School. His parents, Irma and Gerry Cornejo, wanted to thank everyone who has donated in the name of their late son. This year's Relay attracted a huge crowd (some 10,000 people) representing more than 400 teams. Its goal was to rail $2 million.

* ... CSUB: Don't forget the 40th annual CSUB Athletics Spring BBQ is coming up this Thursday out at the campus. This is always a fun event with great people watching and a terrific meal. The brains and cooks behind this event are chairman John Giumarra, Jr. and the Icardo Family, starting with the late Jimmie Icardo and now his son Gary and grandson Adam Icardo. Mark this one on your calendar.

* ... PIT BULLS: There are few issues that divide us more than how we feel about pit bulls. Born to kill or misunderstood dogs made vicious by their owners? I will be talking about pit bulls with several experts on Monday at 9 a.m. on Californian Radio KERN 1180. Call 661-842-5387 to weigh in.

 * ... OVERHEARD: A local man talking to a friend: "I don't get it. Why is it I can be arrested if I throw away used motorcycle oil in my trash, but the city oils down entire streets every few years. Does that make sense?"

 * ... BAD FORM: This note was sent to me by someone who asked to remain anonymous. "I spent hours filling out a job application with the Kern County Water Agency that contained ten pages of short answer job related questions. The rejection letter had someone's else's name at my address. Called the agency and was assured I received the right letter, even though it wasn't addressed to me. I still haven't received a letter addressed to me.  I can't believe they expect applicants to spend hours answering questions just to apply for a job, when they can't be bothered to spend a couple of minutes to send a letter with a correct name and address. Poor form."

 * ... HIGH ACHIEVERS: Hats off to a special group of students who competed in the state level of the National History Day competition in Riverside. Some of these youngsters are moving on to the national competition in June, to be held in Maryland. They will soon be raising money to fund their trips, and I couldn't think of a better effort. Some of the winners include Alex Coleman and Christopher Trickey (Champion) from Fruitvale Jr. High, Group Documentary, going to Nationals;  Kaitlyn Moss and Caitlyn Richter (Champion) from Fruitvale Jr. High, Group Exhibit, going to Nationals;  Cassidy Porter (Champion) from Endeavour Elementary, Individual Performance, going on to Nationals; Jessica Jensen (runner up) from Endeavour Elementary, Individual Display and Emma McNellis (Champion) from Endeavour Elementary, Individual Display;  and Madeline Abernathy (Champion) from Laurelglen Elementary, Individual Display.  Special Awards: Best use of Primary and Expert Sources Emma McNellis-Endeavour Elementary; Exemplary Understanding and Use of Geography Alexis Hill, Kaitlyn Hillis and Max Barrera - Thorner School; Outstanding Use of Academic English by English Language Learner Bryan Garcia- Blake Elementary. Thanks to Julie Gragg for submitting this.