Thursday, August 16, 2012

Local businessman finds his stolen bike on Craigslist and Bako police set up a sting to recover it; and readers provide some blowback to this blog

 * ... CRAIGSLIST: Hats off to the Bakersfield Police Department for helping arrange a sting operation to recover a stolen bicycle. The bike was stolen out of the garage of local business owner Mark Ramsey earlier this week, and sure enough, Mark later spotted it listed for sale on Craigslist, the free online classified website. He alerted the police and a sting was set up near the Canyon Hills Church. "Long story short, we drove up, the detectives hopped out of the car, introduced themselves and busted two guys, 19 and 16, for burglary and possession of stolen property. The minor was on probation already... Hats off to the BPD and the detectives who handled the whole thing... professionals the whole way through and on it in a flash. Nice to know we have some good quality people working at the BPD... considering the budget cuts, smaller workforce etc. they're still ready and willing to put it on the line to bring criminals to justice, uphold the law and do what they can to make our community a safer place."

 * ... FEEDBACK: A reader known simply as "Kash" is a regular contributor to this column who never minces words. Kash's latest missive concerns recent posts about people texting and driving and the three joggers who came upon two young people in the back of a pickup truck. "First, nobody can drive in this city, with or without a cellphone in hand. Quit writing about that boring crap whenever one of your stupid, loyal readers writes in. I'm surprised none of them caught me driving. You wouldn't know what to do with that story. Second, the people spotted having intercourse in their truck. Actually, that's quite adventurous and romantic. Here is this bright young man treating his girlfriend to a nice, private time, when all of the sudden three nosey runners drop in on them. If they were good human beings, they wouldn't have bothered with the truck. In this over populated world we can all still control our actions and let people have as much privacy as we can control. If they accidentally saw them getting it on, they should have looked away while apologizing profusely. Ever get intimate anywhere you're not really supposed to? It increases the fun. Try it sometime. If I was the one caught by runners I'd keep going at it while telling them off. I keep it classy.... Third, as your BFF I can tell you the truth. The truth is, you need to change your picture. It makes you look like an ass. You can do better." (Hang Glider Hill photo by Michael Renzi)

 * ... MEMORY: The pickup truck post also brought this response from Riley Parker. "I couldn’t help but laugh at the account of the lovers in the pickup bed. My family lived in a house on the adjacent oil lease from 1948-1962. There was no Paladino Drive, no Morning Drive and no State Route 178. Access was via a gravel road from Kern Canyon Road near the ‘Y’ where the Chevron is located today. On any given summer evening, and sometimes during the pre-dawn of morning, lovers would find their way to the top of that ridge and/or the top of what became known as ‘Hang Glider Hill.’ Seldom would they stay for more than an hour. Dad used it as a teaching moment, explaining that sometimes minor infractions, in this case trespassing, should be overlooked and the violators granted a bit of grace. In any case, there were spectacular views of cars traversing the grapevine, and of the moon rising over Breckenridge, with no housing developments or lighting to interfere. The only sounds emanated from the sheep being tended by Basque shepherds as they grazed the wheat stubble. Those are very pleasant memories."

 * ... SHADE: Norma Sacchini submitted this rant on the tendency in our community constantly trim shade trees. "I am driving down Old River Road and what are they doing while it is 109 degrees? Thinning all the beautiful shade trees. Why? These trees do not need to be trimmed... no wires anywhere on Old River Road...We need the shade and all the beauty we can get!"

* ... MOVIES: Marsha Kennedy added her thoughts about people who bring young children to R rated movies. "The 'entitled generation' feels they have the 'inalienable right' to do what pleases them, with no thought or concern towards anyone else. However, their parents enabled them by never telling them no and allowing them to do whatever they pleased and giving them everything they want. I'm a parent of four grown sons and am not without compassion - but there are times that parents need to either get a babysitter or do a family outing instead!"

 * ... SPOTTED: In a case of really bad form, a young man in his 20s in spotted urinating in the public parking garage on 18th and Eye streets during the lunch hour mid week as a woman in a Toyota SUV waits to drive him off.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The fattest state in the union? Mississippi. The Centers for Disease Control releases an obesity rating list and remembering Dr. Hans Einstein

* ... GOOD CAUSE: If you're like me you have your list of favorite charity fundraisers (West Rotary's annual Cioppino Feed and St. Francis Parish School's CrabFest are near the top of mine). But another one not to miss is the "Elegant Evening of Wine" to benefit the Joe Alexander Scholarship Foundation. This is an East Rotary-inspired event that, while a bit pricey, is always a first class operation thanks to folks like Vernon Varner, Phil Icardo, Daren Alexander and others. It's a great alternative to the time consuming charity golf tournament or chicken dinner at a country club, and it's all for a good cause. This year it's set for Saturday, Sept. 29, at the downtown home of Dr. Mark and Sue Ashley. It's the 10th anniversary of the event and the 100th birthday of Joe Alexander. Tickets are going for $175 each. Contact Vern Varner for more information at (661) 979-5788.

 * ... EINSTEIN: Our community lost a giant recently with the death at 89 of Dr. Hans Einstein, one of the preeminent experts on Valley Fever. Einstein, a distant relative of Albert Einstein, was born in Berlin but his mother moved him to The Netherlands after Hitler took power. He came to the United States as an exchange student and attended Furman University. Dr. Gerhard H. Schmidt recalled this story from Einstein's mother, who had been living in England where political scandals usually involve sex. "So, when Dr. Einstein’s mother was visiting from England just after Watergate and the Nixon resignation, her big question was, 'But where’s the sex?'"

 * ... OBESITY: Obesity is a national epidemic, and now the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta has rated the states in terms of the best, and worst. The fattest state? Mississippi leads the nation with a rate of 34.9 percent, followed closely by Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana and Kentucky. Even the "most fit" states have high obesity rates. The least obese state was Colorado where 20.7 percent of the people were overweight, followed by Hawaii and Massachusetts. California came in with a rate under 25 percent.

* ... WOOD-DALE: Marlene Morales, the communications director over at the law firm of Chain, Cohn and Stiles, dropped into the Wood-Dale market for the first time recently. "It's everything I've read and now just experienced. Old fashion fresh meat counter with old fashion customer service. I felt like I was in Ozzie and Harriet's movie. Everyone waiting in line conversed with each other as we all observed the fresh meats (Harris Ranch steaks, stuffed pork chops, various sausages, bison, frog legs, scallops, halibut, etc...)  Then at the cash  register, the checker introduces herself as Darlene and proceeds to tell me that for the holidays they will be offering turducken... Turkey stuffed with duck, the duck stuffed with hen. Needless to say, it was a wonderful experience back in time and glad
Bakersfield still has old fashion values and grocery stores."

 * ... GOOD DEED: Here's a nugget to brighten your morning, compliments of reader Ginny Espinoza. Ginny's friend held a yard sale recently and a couple bought several items and paid with two $100 bills, both of which turned out to be counterfeit. "Last week the mother of the male came to my friend’s house to pay the debt! Her son was guilt-ridden (now in jail for another offense) and asked his mother to make good.  I am just hoping that he will repay her one day! I really have to give kudos to the mother – that couldn’t have been easy!"

 * ... SPOTTED: Peter and Patty Wonderly and a friend were running the foothills just north of Morning Drive and Paladin recently when "we noticed a pickup truck parked on the edge of the hilltop. We ran up the side hill and as we crested the top we witnessed a young couple in the truck bed - complete with mattress - scrambling to get into their clothes. Hey - keep it classy, folks."

Sunday, August 12, 2012

A reader recalls a chance encounter with the late Julia Child, who revealed her family's Bakersfield roots

   * ... JULIA CHILD: Did you know that the late Julia Child (she would have been 100 years old this Wednesday) had Bakersfield roots? That's according to Susan Peninger, who shared a story about running in to the famous author and cook at LAX years ago. Child was alone and Peninger engaged her in conversation. "She asked my favorites (recipes) of hers and when I told her a gateaux and her roast chicken, she repeated the words I can still hear in my head when I think of her. Then, suddenly, the tables turn (no pun intended) and she was the one asking questions. She wanted to know all about me and where I was from, and so forth. When I said Bakersfield, she told me that her father had owned land in Bakersfield and that the family was here often during that time. In my research later, I discovered her father, John McWilliams Jr., was a California land developer who did own Kern County land and as I recall it was in the 1920s-1930s, and perhaps beyond.  It was Julia herself who told me the family lived here briefly."

* ... OUR WORLD: Claudia Casagrande wrote to share an experience in the Kern Medical Center waiting room. "I spent 5 1/2 hrs in the orthopedic waiting room at KMC with a relative who has a broken leg.  The waiting room was hot and crowded.  Crowded with people with broken limbs as well as able bodied friends and family. A young woman with a newly casted leg hobbled in on crutches to wait for her pain prescription. She was in obvious pain and looked around for a place to sit. She asked one middle aged woman if she could sit in the only vacant chair. The woman replied that she was saving it.  No one offered their seat, so I, probably the oldest female in the room, offered mine, after which a young man with an injured arm, insisted that I take his seat. The scenario played out several more times that afternoon and a few more men and woman offered their seats to others.  But many able bodied men and women did not. The woman who was saving the chair saved it for a half hour or so, before her son came and sat. "

 * ... CAL RADIO: Prices are going up in the local real estate market and the inventory of homes for sale is at or near an all-time low. On Monday at 9 a.m., join me on Californian Radio (KERN 1180) when I will be chatting with Scott Tobias, head of the Bakersfield Association of Realtors, when we will be talking about the state of the local market.

* ... THE MARK: The staff of the new downtown restaurant called "The Mark" is a collection of young people picked up from other eateries across town, and two of them are local products from rival high schools. Chef Ro Fernandez is a Shafter General, and bar manager Tony Partida (formerly of Cafe Med) hails from cross county rival Wasco. "It's like old home week here," Partida told me. The Mark is beautiful addition to downtown and is located on 19th Street in the building that once housed Goose Loonies.

 * ... INTERNS: Assemblywoman Shannon Grove has a new group of interns for her Bakersfield and Sacramento offices, all of them high achieving youngsters. They include Kirsten Albers, a sophomore in the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University; Leah Avila, a junior at Cal State Bakersfield; Mackenzie Carter, a sophomore at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo; Jasmin Howells, a junior at Patrick Henry College in Virginia; Michelle Huete, a sophomore at UCLA;  and Andrew Worthing, a senior at Northwestern College in Saint Paul, Minnesota. 

 * ... MOVIES: Here's something I bet most people have experienced. From reader Beth Espinoza: "The new trend in Bakersfield is to take your baby, toddler, adolescent, etc. to movies with R ratings. I sat next to families at Ted and Savages most recently. Now I know I shouldn’t be judging the parenting skills of others but, really, people? If you can’t afford a baby sitter then go see a movie made for families!"