Thursday, August 23, 2012

Facebook rejects advertisement from a local gun store featuring little more than plastic decoy ducks, and Imbide Wine and Spirits sponsors a fund raiser for Covenant Coffee

 * ... FACEBOOK: Gene Thome is the easy going owner of Bear Mountain sports, a store that has catered to hunters and sportsmen for almost 30 years. Normally he's not easy to rile, but he was Thursday when the administrators of Facebook refused to allow him to advertise on its pages. Why? Gene wanted to post a picture of employee Bill Curtis holding a plastic dove decoy. Seemed innocent enough until Facebook rejected the ad, saying it not not allow "ads for ammunition, firearms, paintball guns, BB guns, or other weapons, including but not limited to: knives, daggers, swords, bows, arrows, knuckle dusters, and nunchucks." But the ad only showed a plastic decoy, so Thome was left scratching his head. "How is this offensive?" he asked me. "According to Facebook there is nothing in my store that I can promote with them. This is so sad on many levels."  (photo courtesy of Gene Thome)

  * ... COVENANT: Regular readers of this column know how fond I am of Covenant Coffee, the little non-profit on North Chester that helps former and current foster children gain skills to become productive citizens. If the converted bank building at 1700 North Chester is out of your way, here's an excuse to drop by to check out what they are doing. On Thursday, October 18, Covenent will open its doors to the public with a wine tasting and live music. David Dobbs, who owns Imbide Wine and Spirits along with wife Tami, are donating all the wine for the evening. Tickets are $25 and all proceeds go to Covenant. The event will run from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Pick up tickets at Imbibe on Truxtun Extension.

 * ... RUNNERS: And speaking of worthy fund raisers, the woman's basketball team at Cal State Bakersfield is trying to raise $100,000 by the end of December to provide more training opportunities over the summer months. Head coach Greg McCall is promising a "stronger, faster and taller" Lady Runners team that will open its season against the University of Arizona on November 9.

* ... TEHACHAPI WINE: Eugene Wood was shopping at Country Club Liquors on Columbus up in the northeast when he ran into a Forest Glen wine labeled Tehachapi Clone. It's a pinot grigio and "comes from a vineyard they have in Tehachapi, and they are giving credit to the area. On hot summer nights a glass of chilled pinot goes well with some grilled salmon on a cedar plank. I recommend it."

* ... STRANGERS: A reader wrote with a cautionary tale about suspicious people showing up at your door in the evening. "I answered  the door tonight to a lady with a young boy. I asked what I could do for her, she said, 'Yesterday my brother died of a heart attack and I'm  collecting for his funeral. Would you please help?' She had a plastic baggie with money in it.  I was so shocked, I just looked at her and then I said, no, where do you live?' She said up the street in the apartments. Was she for real,  or just someone begging money or just casing the neighborhood?"

 * ... LEADERSHIP: A reunion of the last 25 classes of Leadership Bakersfield is set for Thursday, October 4. The program is sponsored by the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce and exposes future leaders to all aspects of our community. If you served in a class and are interested, go to the Chamber of Commerce website for more information.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

District Attorney Lisa Green and Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood warn of a crime wave as thousands of felons are released on the streets

 * ... CRIME: If you think the state prison realignment that has dumped hundreds of parolees on our streets is not affecting crime, think again. I spoke recently with District Attorney Lisa Green and Sheriff Donny Youngblood (Green was my guest on Californian Radio KERN 1180 and the sheriff called in) and both agreed that property crime has spiked since Gov. Jerry Brown implemented his plan to relieve crowding by releasing thousands of felons. In fact, Green told me of a case where a suspect told his arresting deputy that "now is the time for crime" because he would likely serve only a fraction of any sentence he received. Green said the number of crimes reported in Bakersfield has jumped 38 percent in the last few months.

 * ... VALADAO: A big Republican crowd showed up for lunch at the Petroleum Club Tuesday to raise money for David Valadao in his bid for a congressional seat. On hand were House Majority Whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy and House Speaker John Boehner. Valadao, a Hanford farmer, currently serves in the state Assembly and is running for the newly created 21st Congressional District. (file photo of David Valadao)

 * ... CSUB: I had the chance the other day to meet David Melendez, the new vice president for university advancement over at Cal State Bakersfield. Melendez will be in charge of fund raising for the university, one of the most critical tasks in this period of budget cutting and economic uncertainty. He replaces Beverly Byl, who left CSUB a few months ago amid a rocky relationship with key alumni. Melendez is sharp and articulate and will work directly with CSUB President Horace Mitchell to enhance alumni relations, work on governmental relations and raise money. Melendez was most recently at Chapman University where he served as assistant vice president for advancement. His wife is a sculptor and will move to Bakersfield as soon as the couple finds a suitable home.

* ... OVERHEARD: A prominent local architect is telling a friend that his business has started to pick up dramatically. "I went for two years without work and now I have enough for the next two years," he said. "Something good is happening with this economy."

* ... SPOTTED: Clayton Koerner was taking a left on Mohawk from California Avenue when a young woman driving a new Ford Focus tossed a banana peel onto the street. "I thought this little girl has no class," he said. "Hopefully, either she or her family read this and realize people are watching and she needs to get respect for her community."

 * ... PARTY SCHOOLS: If you are sending a child off to college this year you might want to pay attention to the Princeton Review's annual list of the hardest partying schools in the country. The top ten: West Virginia University, the University of Iowa, Ohio University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Georgia, the University of Florida, UC Santa Barbara, Florida State, Miami University and Syracuse. The most sober school: Brigham Young University. The University of Colorado-Boulder was cited for its "Reefer madness" and Providence College for having "Lots of Hard Liquor."

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Northwest Baseball 10 year olds win the Cal Ripken World Series and DA Lisa Green coming on Californian Radio to discuss local crime

* ... CHAMPS: Congratulations to the team of Northwest Baseball 10-year-olds who won the Cal Ripken World Series in Bentonville, Arkansas. The team made it to the finals after sweeping teams in California and traveling to Arkansas for the tournament. It may not be an Olympic gold medal, but don't tell that to these local boys of summer.

* ... LISA GREEN: District Attorney Lisa Green will be my guest Monday on Californian Radio KERN 1180. We will be chatting about local crime, the ongoing prison realignment and its role in the sharp spike in thefts and burglaries. Call us with your questions beginning at 9 a.m. at (661) 842-5376.

 * ... ASHBURN: Linda Fiddler, who helped manage Democrat Leticia Perez's successful campaign to join the Kern County Board of Supervisors, is now working for Roy Ashburn in his bid to return to the board. (file photo of Roy Ashburn)

* ... SPOTTED: Retired Kern County Schools Superintendent Larry Reider and Vince Rojas, who retired as head of the Kern Schools Federal Credit Union, having lunch together at Luigi's. Other familiar faces seen during the busy lunch hour were Monsignor Craig Harrison of St. Francis and local plastic surgeon Dr. Darshan Shah.

 * ... GOOD DEED: A transient couple with a black dog are resting in the shade near the 24th Street Cafe when another couple leaves the restaurant and offers them food and cold drinks.

 * ... KASH: Remember Kash, the reader with the poison pen who had a gripe or two about our town and this column, including my picture? Linda Burton wrote to say that Kash should "change his name to Crass or Crass minus the 'cr,' either would apply." Another reader, Stephen Montgomery, said Kash  "should be ashamed making all those silly snarky remarks. That kind of thing looks at best juvenile and shows a lack of self discipline.  If writers can't put their name on it most likely they shouldn't write it. Maybe he and some others should find something else to read. Me? Agree or not this is my favorite column." Nice to have Linda and Stephen watching my back.

 * ... BC RENEGADE: Too often people go about their business quietly and rarely get the recognition they deserve. Randy Ariey called my attention to Judy Romanini, a counseling department assistant at Bakersfield College for more than 20 years. "When students have been issued an incorrect grade, or received a notice in the mail saying they have been suspended from BC, it is Judy who they seek out and sometimes blame. However,  Judy handles  all these types of situations with a  aring heart, and a true concern for each individual; furthermore, it is truly remarkable that she has done this job for 21 years. She is the face of Bakersfield College for all of our young people, and I feel that is a great thing."