Thursday, June 14, 2012

Best places to retire? High tax California fails to make the list and more blowback from the Garces High School senior prank

* ... RETIREMENT: Forbes is out with its annual list of the best places to retire, and it should come as no surprise that California didn't make the cut. Forbes said that "high cost, high tax states like New York, New Jersey and California" were omitted in its list of the 25 top cities for retiring. Among those that were recommended were Albuquerque, N.M., Ashville, N.C., Austin, Tex., Bloomington, Ind., Boise, Idaho, Cape Coral, Fla., Fargo, N.D., Lynchburg, Va., Phoenix and Tulsa, Okla.

 * ... GARCES: A reader who asked to remain unnamed dropped me a note about the senior prank at Garces Memorial High in which some doors were glued shut and the faces of school administrators were photoshopped on a picture of Adolf Hitler and his inner circle of Nazis. "Gluing doors at Garces?  Are you kidding me? That's not a prank, that's vandalism. 'Boys will be boys'....oh please.  Mighty poor excuse for the incredibly bad behavior by whoever thought up and carried out the disrespectful photo idea and the door-gluing vandalism.  I say let the students remove the glue and pay for any repairs necessary as a result of their actions. Perhaps take a course in history to find out about Hitler's evils.   Good thing those students have already graduated.  They wouldn't be returning to Garces the next year if I were in charge.

* ... STING: Hats off to the folks over at The Guitar Center and the Bakersfield police for setting up a sting operation that led to the recovery of an expensive stolen guitar. It all started when a 1989 black Fender Stratocaster owned by musician Robert Flores was stolen. He went to the Guitar Center to alert them to the theft, and sure enough two men came in trying to sell it. The police were tipped, the police set up a sting, two men were arrested and the guitar was recovered. (file photo of a Fender Stratocaster)

  * ... LEADERSHIP: The Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce is planning a reunion of all the classes of its Leadership Bakersfield program. The 25th class of the program is about to graduate, and the reunion is planned for Thursday, October 4, at Stockdale County Club. There are some 750 local people who have been through the program, and the Chamber is trying to local everyone to tell then of the event.

* ... PHONE PREFIXES: More folks are weighing in on the old telephone prefixes and party lines. From Sarah Heinrichs: "Yes the prefix for the Oildale area was EXport 9-xxxx hence the 399-xxxx when numbers replaced the words. The area around East Bakersfield High School and College Heights had the prefix TRinity 1-xxxx  not TRiangle and became 871-xxxx when numbers replaced the words. When my family first got a phone we lived in the EMpire 6-xxxx area, were on a 10 party (rural) line but only heard the rings of four of the party lines.  Being able to make or receive a phone call at times was a nightmare.  We later moved to Oildale with an EXport 9 number but had several friends who lived in the TRinity 1 area of town.

 * ... MORE PREFIXES: This tidbit comes from Kala (Loewen) Stuebbe: "My father, Kenny Loewen, wanted me to pass on a telephone memory before even the prefixes. He remembers when his father, Pete Loewen, was a barber at the then new Padre Hotel Barber Shop in 1934 and their phone number was 164.  To contact them you would pick up the phone and a pleasant voice would say, 'Number please' and then connect you. Talk about 'hands free' (well almost). My grandfather later bought the barber shop and owned it from 1940 to 1976.  My dad loves to go to the 'New Padre,' by the way.  Lots of memories.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Downtown residents gather to oppose the widening of 24th Street and seniors at Garces Memorial High School pull off a year-end prank

* ... 24th STREET: There is a small but growing movement to oppose the widening of 24th Street downtown. A flyer being distributed to Westchester residents opposes the widening, saying it will destroy historic property and lead to a 40 percent decline in property values. The group is urging people to attend the upcoming hearings on the Thomas Roads Improvement Program (TRIP) project. Expect to hear more from these citizens. The plan is to widen 24th Street to six lanes, three in each direction, while cutting off some access to the south side of downtown by closing off some of the streets.

* ... GEESE: Darlyn Baker was heading west on Truxtun last week when traffic ground to a halt near Empire Drive. "Lo and behold, heading north across Truxtun was this family of geese.  It looked like the parents and six little ones. They made it safely across at their own pace... How refreshing to see the power of nature... to bring Truxtun traffic to a halt!" (photo by Darlyn Baker)

 * ... GUN CLUB: The Kern County Gun Club will hold its annual dinner and auction this Friday at 6:30 p.m. at the Bakersfield Elks Club. This is always an interesting and well attended event featuring both live and silent auctions and drawings. Tickets are $100 each. For more information call Ken Ferra at (661) 332-4680. And speaking of the shooting sports, I ran into Mark and Betsy Ramsey at Trader Joe's the other day and they told me son Miles has taken up skeet shooting at the Kern County Gun Club. Miles is being tutored by Clifford Bolt, an ace skeet shooter and a terrific coach. Miles is thinking of entering the Junior World tournament later this summer. (file photo of skeet shooter)

 * ... SPOTTED: Driving south on Highway 99 in a pickup truck, the driver is reading the Camera Ads auto trader publication while his passenger is engrossed in texting on his cell phone.

* ... SENIOR PRANK: A group of seniors over at Garces Memorial High School posted flyers photoshopping the faces of Monsignor Michael Braun and other school administrators on a historic picture of Adolf Hitler and some of his henchmen. They also apparently glued some of the classroom doors shut to delay the final exams for underclassmen. All this was done after they had graduated but underclassmen still had a few days of classes left. This little prank was clearly in bad taste as well as being destructive, but as one parent said: "Boys will be boys. Monsignor Braun should just budget for year-end pranks like this."

* ... SWAP MEET: Reader Joe Michael was at the swap meet on Union Avenue one recent morning when he noticed a young woman wearing a matching smock and pants like a health care worker with a stethoscope in her front pocket. Michael wondered how smart it was to carry a stethoscope in such a dusty and dirty environment. "A good friend of mine living in another city had surgery ... and contracted a staph infection, which entered his blood stream, went to his heart and lungs and he died the next day..... I thought of approaching her and asking where she worked and if she planned to sterilize the stethoscope before using it, but decided against it," he said.

* ... PREFIXES: More feedback on those old telephone prefixes, this one from reader Don Edwards: "My folks bought a house in the early 1950s out by the airport. I well remember the party line and prefix days. However the EX prefix wasn't Exchange. It was Export. Just a very trivial correction."

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Is an Apple Store headed to Bakersfield? And Westchester is hit with a rash of car and truck thefts

 * ... APPLE STORE: It looks like Bakersfield may finally get an Apple Store after all.  Apple has yet to announce it and no word on where it will locate, but it seems clear Apple is coming. Local attorney Mike Abril tipped me to a job posting on the networking site LinkedIn advertising for employees for a new Apple Store coming to Bakersfield. And Abril told me an employee of an Apple Store in Los Angeles confirmed that the company is indeed opening a new outlet here. One commercial real estate broker speculated Apple might end up in Valley Plaza.

* ... THEFTS: The downtown and Westchester neighborhoods have been hit with a rash of auto thefts, no less than a half dozen stolen in the last week. In one case, a woman who cares for rescued dogs awoke to find her 2004 Silverado pickup, hooked up to a rental trailer with 1,600 pounds of donated dog food, gone along with her black 2004 black Saab. Both cars were alarmed, which tells me this isn't the work of amateurs.

 * ... RUBIO: Join me Monday on Californian Radio KERN 1180 when I will be chatting with state Sen. Michael Rubio about the recent elections and what that means going forward. The show runs from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

* ... OVERHEARD: A local businessman talking to a friend: "She wants to take me out to lunch for my birthday but she's so broke she has to borrow money from me to do it!"

 * ... BIKE PATH: Longtime KERO TV anchor Jackie Parks has two young children and she shared with me her frustration over how some folks use the bike path. "I'm concerned and frustrated by the number of parents who use the bike path as an outing for toddlers. A few weeks ago I almost ran over a child who was learning to walk near the side of the path. And today the rider in front of me had to slam on his brakes to avoid hitting a child who was walking IN FRONT OF HIS OWN STROLLER. Shouldn't there be some rule about this since parental common sense doesn't seem to be enough?"

  * ... PREFIXES: Irene Randolph poses a question I cannot answer: "Regarding Bakersfield telephone prefixes, wasn't Oildale's [EX] for EXport?  And another east Bakersfield prefix was Triangle?"

 * ... MORE PREFIXES: Gene Bonas added this thought to the discussion on prefixes: "I thoroughly enjoyed reminiscing about the phone prefixes that I knew growing up in east Bakersfield.  It also reminded me of a game a group of us would play called 'play the busy signal.'  Several neighborhood guys would get together and dial our own number.  When we got the busy signal, between buzzes you could talk to others playing the busy signal.  We'd give out our phone number and wait.  In a few minutes a girl would call and a conversation would ensue.  We met a lot of girls this way... Often they attended the same schools we did.  When we met, we usually met at the miniature golf course by the Green Frog Market on Alta Vista.  The golf course is no longer there, but playing the busy signal was some fun."