Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Petty thefts, robberies and burglaries soar in Bakersfield and the collective shame of the litter in our community

 * ... CRIME: Did the news that the number of thefts and robberies have spiked recently really surprise anyone? There is hardly a neighborhood in town that hasn't seen an increase of petty thefts, car break ins and home burglaries. Prison realignment has dumped thousands of "non violent "offenders on our streets, but it doesn't make the person who returns home to find the house ransacked feel any better. What can we do? Police Chief Greg Williamson appealed for more community support, which to me translates into active community watch programs and constant communication with the police when you see something suspicious.

* ... LITTER: You know our litter problem here is bad when a visitor from Oregon takes the time to write a letter to the newspaper about how terrible we look to outsiders. "Of all the areas we have traveled in California as well as all over the USA, the trash around Bakersfield was deplorable. Surely the citizens care about the impression they are making," wrote Marcia Nashem of Bend, Ore.

 * ... OVERHEARD: An employee at a local grocery store is overheard telling a customer about shoplifters."The most common things they steal here are meat, cheese and coffee. Hard times."

 * ... DIETS: A recent study by the New England Journal of Medicine seems to confirm what we all know: dieters who eat earlier in the day rather than later lose more weight. In otherwise almost identical groups with the same caloric intake, those who ate dinner before 3 p.m. lost more weight than those who ate later. "Weight loss," a story in The New York Times said, "should focus not just on calories and nutrients, but also the timing of food.

* ... EAST HIGH: I have already mentioned that legendary broadcaster Don Rodewald is being inducted into the East High School Hall of Fame, but I neglected to mention the other honorees. They include Cornel Jordan, Don Galey, Rick McLeod, Manuel Oroz, Vernon Bell, Ruscel Reader, Bob Boyer, Terry Moreland, Ed Granillo, Dean Jones and Larry Press.

* ... MEMORY: Jack Moore is a third generation Bakersfieldian whose grandparents owned the Speedway Market. His own father regaled him with stories of the old Union Avenue Plunge and the mischief of his youth. "My dad was quite a rambunctious kid.  I am guessing that there were homeless people back then that lived down on the river and a friend and my dad would shoot at them with bow and arrows. He always referred to them as bums and they would get chased off.  He would also throw oranges at the cars and trucks pulling into the Orange Grove Trailer Park where they lived. My dad eventually went to Bakersfield Union High School for a year, about the time that Frank Gifford was becoming a football star."

* ... MEA CULPA: I screwed up in reporting on the success of Stacy Vanderhurst, a 2003 graduate of Centennial High School who went on to graduate from Notre Dame and is now completing her doctorate at Brown University. I erred in saying she graduated from high school a decade earlier.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Wool Growers restaurant likely to get some new love in an upcoming feature of Saveur magazine, and an old timer remembers the original Green Frog market

 * ... WOOL GROWER'S: It looks like Wool Growers, the famous Basque restaurant on 19th Street, will be getting some more love from the national press. Christiane Camou, daughter of Wool Grower' owner Jenny Maitia-Poncetta, tipped me that the editor of Saveur magazine (James Oseland) popped into the eatery last week.  "He enjoyed it so much that he had his photographer take hundreds of pictures of the food, and visited with my grandmother and myself about the history of Basque restaurants in Bakersfield," she said.

 * ... CAL RADIO: Tune in to Californian Radio (KERN1180) Monday at 9 a.m. when Assemblywoman Shannon Grove will be my guest to talk about AB 202, the school marshal's bill. In addition, I will be chatting with Cal State Bakersfield Athletic Director Jeff Konya and Runners baseball coach Bill Kernen.

 * ... HIGH ACHIEVER: Hats off to Stacy Vanderhurst, valedictorian of her 1994 graduating class at Centennial High. She went on to graduate from Notre Dame with honors and is now completing her doctorate at Brown University. In addition, Stacy is teaching an "Anthropology of Globalization" class at Brown this semester.

* ... NIGHTMARE: Here's a nightmare story on air flight that I wouldn't wish on anybody. Lois Henry, our Californian columnist, was flying back from the inauguration when she missed her 6 p.m. connection in Phoenix and was bumped to the 9 p.m. flight. That turned out to be two hours late, but it did make it to Bakersfield only to pass over the city and turn around because of fog at Meadows Field. "They initially rebooked me on the next day's 9 p.m. flight, but I was able to finagle a seat on the 11 a.m. flight. And no, US Airways did not put us up in hotels. You either had to pay for your own room, or schlump around the airport all night. If I don't see the Phoenix airport again for a good long while, it still won't be long enough!"

* ... WHAT'S IN A NAME: Cheryle DeMaro shared with me the origin of her own namne. "In the mid 1950s there were quite a few female babies (me included, except my dad changed my middle name to Jeanette in a compromise with my mom) that were named Cheryl Ann. Working in banks over the years I met a few of them in Bakersfield. I got curious and asked my mom why she picked that name. She said while in the hospital a new TV series came on and it was called 'On the Waterfront' starring the hunk at the time Preston Foster. His famous tug boat was named the Cheryl Ann. It was only on a couple of years but he had some Bakersfield women who had a crush on him. I thought maybe these 'Cheryle Anns ' would like to know. Also, does anyone know the story of the beautiful old Victorian house located behind the new Maya?"

 * ... GREEN FROG: Stan Anderson wrote to recall the old Green Frog Market that was located on the southeast corner of California and Chester. "In the early 1950s, Paul Taylor owned and operated the grocery department, and my dad, Clif Anderson, owned and operated the 'full service' meat department while Charlie Everett owned and operated the produce department  Somewhere around 1953 or 1954 Mr. Everett built the store at Alta Vista and Bernard and the Chester store closed. At this point, my dad went to work in the Alta Vista store where he worked for Mr. Everett as a meat cutter until he retired in 1974.  My Mom, Naomi Anderson, was the bookkeeper for the Bernard store from about 1955 until she retired in about 1992."

House Majority Whip McCarthy speaks of the value of education and our students, and takes a bet on the 49ers winning the Super Bowl

 Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, gives us his weekly view from Capitol Hill.

 "One of my best friends that I’ve known since childhood is Marshall Dillard. Many may remember him as a star athlete at Bakersfield High School who went on to play football at Stanford. He probably would say I was the friend who would ask him to get autographs for me when he would meet other star athletes. He has always been a role model and he continues to inspire our local students at Munsey Elementary School.

  "I visited Munsey this week to honor students for their academic achievement, and I was impressed with the eager minds of the students and the energy of the parents that were there. Our children are our most valuable asset and I know that a quality education is certainly the most important tool for them to be able to achieve their highest goals. I could not have been more honored to share the stage with my good friend and his students.

 "And as a former Bakersfield College student, I was also proud to meet and honor our state champion Renegade football team on Wednesday as well. To stand on the field of Memorial Stadium with the players and the coaching staff was a great experience.
 "As I look around our community, I am reminded of how much we have to be proud of. But I continue to have major concerns as I travel around the Central Valley and continue to hear the concerns from our local small business owners and families. Burdens from regulations and litigation remain. I will continue to fight to rein in onerous regulatory agencies that can literally tie up economic growth. For our local families to thrive, we must fight for a strong and vibrant economic climate.

 "Finally, I'm sure many will be watching the Super Bowl this weekend (or at least the commercials). It’s always exciting to see a California team go to the Super Bowl. My friend Maryland Congressman Andy Harris, who is a huge Ravens fan, challenged me to a friendly bet. I told him I would personally send him a box of Dewar’s chews if the Ravens managed to win the Super Bowl this Sunday.  On the flip side, when the 49ers win, Congressman Harris agreed to send me Maryland’s finest crab cakes.

 "Hopefully, we will celebrate a 49ers win this weekend after the Super Bowl, but I am proud to celebrate our local champions here at home.