* ... RETORT: Paula Robertson has worked for Stockdale High School for 22 years and was shocked when she saw herself mentioned (not by name) as the driver of a school van who was texting on her pink phone at a traffic light. "Yes I was on my phone but only to check the time because this particular van does not have a clock," she said. "I know better than to text while driving." Another reader, Riley Parker, spotted her on Stockdale Highway and thought he saw her texting. "I am 55 years old and I know better," Paula said. "I want to set the record straight."
* ... ONLY IN OILDALE: Workers in the Oildale branch of the Chase bank were evacuated Thursday when a suspicious package was found. They were allowed to return when the package was found to contain an old pair of women's panties and a book on Barack Obama.
* ... OVERHEARD: A woman walking into a local Starbucks on a recent morning: "I hope today isn't a repeat of yesterday. I was hit up three times for money and the last guy told me he was just released from Corcoran!"
* ... GIVING: I consider myself lucky to work for a family whose mission is to give back to our community, and recently The Bakersfield Californian Foundation gave out a new round of grants to deserving organizations. Among the recipients are The Cat People, Marley's Mutts, CALM, Pet Food Pantry, Kern County Library, Bags4Kids, BARC and the Friendship House. Those grants ranged from $1,700 to $6,500. The Foundation also donated $15,000 to Ready to Start; $15,000 to Lightwave Education; $9,800 to MARE (for the Summer Literacy program partnering with Migrant Student Outreach); $9,025 for the Boys and Girls Club summer reading program; and $4,000 for First Book. Add to that were miscellaneous donations of $20,000 to the Kern County Nut Festival; $5,000 to AngelDogs; $5,000 to the Henrietta Weill Memorial Child Guidance Clinic Stable Skills program; $3,200 to the College Dream Fund; $1,000 sponsorship to the Buena Vista Museum's Spectacular World of Science event; and $17,252 to the Kern Historical Society, for their historical plaques. That's some $125,000 that will do an awful lot of good around town.
* ... ERA OF THE WINGER: Darrell Winger wrote to note the success of his children in the annual math field day competition in which son Zachary Winger won the 8th grade triathlon games.
"This marked the third year in a row for Zachary to win his event," he said. "This also meant that for the fifth year in a row a Winger family member has won the triathlon games at the competition. Zachary's older brother Alex won the competition three years in a row as well. A very proud family accomplishment!"