Thursday, October 11, 2012

Former Congressman Bill Thomas endorses Roy Ashburn for 1st District, Kern County supervisor

 It was a big day for former state Sen. Roy Ashburn, who is now running to represent the 1st District on the Kern County Board of Supervisors. Ashburn picked up the endorsement of former Congressman Bill Thomas, who split with longtime political consultant Mark Abernathy. Abernathy is running the campaign of Ashburn's opponent, Mick Gleason.
 Former city councilman Mark Salvaggio put it this way in an email blast: "This bipartisan group of endorsements is unprecedented in Kern County politics.  They speak well of Roy Ashburn's experience, abilities, and independent streak.  Ashburn now has a big political leg up in this important race...  He is combing the 1st District with great passion in seeking the support of the good people in Shafter, Delano, Kern River Valley, Oildale, Ridgecrest, Inyokern, and parts of Bakersfield.  His opponent, Mick Gleason, is seen as little more than a clone of Abernathy.

"The message is clear: these endorsements also signify the public being 'fed up' of another Mark Abernathy power grab.  People want their representatives to be accountable to the people instead of being controlled by a slick political operative who has never been elected to office himself.  Abernathy has been the subject of numerous controversies over the past 30 years in Kern County. His campaigns have been often characterized by taking the low road with twisted facts and half truths."

Milk tops all commodities in total value in Kern County for 2011 and a reunion brings Vietnam vets together

* ... GOT MILK? Did you know that the highest grossing commodity in Kern County last year was milk? That's right, according to the Kern County Department of Agriculture milk shot to the top of the list after ranking fourth in 2010. Following milk were almonds, grapes, citrus, carrots and pistachios. The department said Kern County reached a milestone in 2011 by topping the $5 billion gross production value for the first time ever. The top five commodities - milk, almonds, grapes, citrus and carrots - make up 70 percent of the total value of all commodities.

 * ... LIFE SAVER: Reader Teresa Hutson wrote to recognize Terry Pederson, a Bakersfield High School teacher who may have just saved a life on a field trip to Los Angeles. "As they were unloading the bus, Terry noticed a frantic woman with her child. The woman was panicked because she couldn't figure out what was wrong with her child. Terry recognized that the child was choking, and took the child from the mother. She gave the child a firm pat on the back and lo and behold a piece of candy about the size of a quarter shot out of her mouth...  If Terry hadn't been there at that moment, and because the mother was panicked and couldn't react sensibly it could have turned out to be a terrible tragedy.  Kudos to Terry and her quick response."

* ... OVERHEARD: Vince Rojas, retired head of Kern Schools Federal Credit Union, is relating a story about spotting a woman in the old Mervyn's parking driving with a plastic bag full of trash stuck in the driver's door. "I motioned to alert her to the bag, so she opens the door and lets the trash fall to the ground and drives off. I couldn't believe it."

* ... REUNION: Fred Drew and wife Linda traveled to Fort Benning, Ga., recently for an emotional reunion with men he served with in the Tay Ninh area of Vietnam. He was just a 22-year-old  captain when he went to Vietnam in 1969, and the reunion brought him face to face with 18 of the 165 men in the company he commanded. "Among those attending was my executive officer, one of my platoon leaders, my driver, and two of my platoon sergeants. We had several planned activities, one of which was to recognize Danny Peterson, who was killed in action in a heavy action on Jan. 9, 1970, and who was later awarded the Medal of Honor. There was a lot of emotion and joy and a few beers. These were the guys who helped make my command a success.  I owe them a lot.  America owes them a lot, as we do our current soldiers in harm's way." (Vietnam war file photo)

 * ... TOILET LOVE: Who knew that giving away new toilets would be such a big hit? It was all in the name of water conservation, and last week the West Kern Water District in Taft, Cooper's True Value Hardware Store and the Water Association of Kern County partnered to host "Junk Your John Day" in Taft. Customers of West Kern brought in old, inefficient toilets and swapped them for new, water efficient toilets. The event was a huge success and 121 toilets were traded out.

 * ... GARCES: The folks over at Garces Memorial High School have reached out to a neighbor who complained about the fireworks every year at the school's homecoming game. New to the neighborhood last year, the woman was not aware of the fireworks which spooked her new cat, who was killed by two dogs who had escaped their own yard. Homecoming for Garces is Friday night, and Lou Ann Durrett at Garces told me that the school would distribute fliers letting everyone know about the fireworks.  "We feel awful about your reader’s rescued cat. Hopefully we can avoid having that happen again," she said.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Record high number of Americans are now non church goers, but many still believe in God. And CSUB joins the Western Athletic Conference

 * ... RELIGION: A new national survey shows that the number of people who do not identify with any organized religion has jumped to almost 20 percent. That is a record high for those who see themselves "unaffiliated" with any church or religion. According to Pew research:  “Overwhelmingly, they [the non-affiliated] think that religious organizations are too concerned with money and power, too focused on rules and too involved in politics,” the survey said. Still, the vast majority - 68 percent - of the unaffiliated still believe in God.

 * ... CSUB: I attended the rally on campus at Cal State Bakersfield Tuesday when President Horace Mitchell announced the school was joining the Western Athletic Conference. It's easy to under estimate the importance of CSUB finally landing a conference, which makes programs like men's basketball eligible for post season play. And it was good to see the Dore Theater full of students, boosters and alumni. The WAD affiliation will begin in 2013.

* .... NAVY SHOWERS: Ever heard the term "Navy showers?" Reader Coleen Peters knows what it means, thanks to her husband Donald Porter who was in the Navy for 26 years. "For the time he spent on board a ship, it was mandatory to conserve water as much as possible. Showers consisted of getting wet, soaping down and rinsing off. The soaping down was done with the water off.  He has recently started taking 'Navy showers' again. What prompted this was a tripling of our water bill after  letting a toilet run for a month before fixing it. I am very proud of him for conserving a precious resource. Maybe we should all consider what we can do to help Mother earth. Little efforts multiplied by everyone can make a huge difference."

 * ... FIREWORKS: Susan Peninger lives near Garces High School, usually a thoughtful and friendly neighbor. But her beef is with the fireworks the school ignites during Homecoming. "When the fireworks started getting bigger and better a few years ago, I lost a new rescued cat. Fearful, no doubt, she squeezed through an open window only to be mauled and killed by some dogs who had escaped from their yard. The people who owned the dogs were new to the neighborhood so were likely unprepared for non-Fourth of July fireworks!  I was as well, and didn’t realize the cat had gotten out until too late. At any rate, if you have space in the blog maybe you can remind people who live near a high school to find out when the homecoming festivities will be in order to provide safety for their pets."

 * .... SPOTTED: Thousands turned out in Keene for the visit by President Obama, but there was also a sprinkling of protesters. One held a sign that said "Obama Your Finished," which is fine as a political statement but you'd hope the next time they would watch their spelling. (Photo courtesy of KERO 23)

 * ... OVERHEARD: A middle aged woman is raving about her new home in Castle and Cooke's The Greens" neighborhood of Seven Oaks.  "Everyone walks in the morning and one day there was someone waiting in our driveway to tell us that one of our tail lights was burned out. These people really care about their neighbors."

 * ... SCHOLARSHIP: Hats off to the folks over at East Rotary for another successful event to raise money fore the Joe Alexander Scholarship Foundation. The Elegant Evening of Wine was held at the home of Mark and Sue Ashley with food from Meir Brown's Cafe Med. It was the 10th years of this local fund raiser.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Bako Bits: animal lovers turn to hospice care for their pets and another California city teeters on bankruptcy

* ... PETS: Losing a beloved pet is one of life's more difficult moments, and determining when you should pull the plug can be heart breaking. But hospice care for failing pets? That's what got my attention in a story in The Los Angeles Times about a woman who sought hospice care for her failing cat. And it turns out that this is a growing movement across the country as grieving owners try to find a kinder and gentler way to say goodbye to a long-time companion.  (photo courtesy of The Los Angeles Times)

* ... ATWATER: Keep your eye on the small northern California town of Atwater, the latest municipality to head dangerously close to insolvency. The city has declared a fiscal emergency, which allows it to restructure union contracts without negotiations. The city has had layoffs, furloughs and salary freezes as it tries to balance its budget.

 * ... KIRSCHENMANN: The race to succeed Sue Benham in the Ward 2 City Council race is fully under way, pitting restaurateur Terry Maxwell against Planning Commission member Elliott Kirschenmann and David Mensch. Kirschenmann will be my guest on Californian Radio KERN 1180 on Monday at 9 a.m. Also joining me later in the hour will be Jeff Konya, the Athletic Director at Cal State Bakersfield, which is expected to join the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) this week.

 * .... FOOTHILL: Foothill High School will celebrate its 50th anniversary on Saturday, Oct. 13. During halftime of the football game the school will dedicate and anounce the new name of the football field as "Ned Permenter Stadium," recognizing the retired dean of the local coaches.

* ... CYCLING: Amanda Bartel is a local cyclist who wrote to put the spotlight on two fellow cyclists who came to the aid of a stricken rider during the recent Lighthouse Century on the Central Coast. Turns out the rider, an unidentified man, suffered a heart attack during the ride when two Bakersfield nurses, Sharon Pierce and Lisa Osborn, stopped to help save his life. He was stabilized, hospitalized and expected to make a full recovery. "I am honored to be a part of a community of people that care for our fellow man and don't hesitate to do whatever it takes to assist others," she said. "Sharon Pierce and Lisa Osborn are heroes in my book."

 * ... PFISTER: And speaking of cycling, Stockdale Country Club tennis pro Hank Pfister held his annual birthday ride Saturday to Panorama Heights, a grueling 100-mile jaunt with more than 8,000 feet of tough climbing. Among those who joined in the fun were Herb Benham, Kerry Ryan, Richard Picarelli, Bruce Haupt, Jack Skaggs, Bob Smith, M.T. Merickel, Ryan Ricard, Zach Griffin, Glenn Hammett, Jeff Simpson, Greg Walker, Brett and Cindy Bonetti and others.