Friday, April 5, 2013

McCarthy: developing a vaccine for Valley Fever is one of my top priorities

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield and House Majority Whip, addresses Valley Fever in this week's report from Capitol Hill.

 "Our community remains a leader in the effort to fight Valley Fever, as we have seen over the years from the tremendous work of those like Dr. Tom and Pauline Larwood, Sandra Larson, the late Dr. Hans Einstein and others.  As residents of the Central Valley, many of us personally know friends or family members who have been affected by this disease. It is important to educate members of our communities about how to reduce the risk of contracting Valley Fever and how to get tested for it when symptoms arise. But there is much more work to be done and there is tremendous momentum building with the help of the Bakersfield Californian and the tireless work of volunteers and rotary clubs across our community.

 "As a long-time supporter increasing awareness to Valley Fever and working toward the development of better treatments and ultimately a vaccine, I recently arranged a meeting in Washington, DC with Dr. Tom Frieden, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). I shared with him the countless stories of those that have contracted Valley Fever, also known as coccidioidomycosis from around our community, and I appreciated his commitment to work with experts in our community in Bakersfield to develop strategies to not only combat this disease, but also increase public awareness about Valley Fever.

 "In the coming weeks, I will travel to Atlanta to CDC’s headquarters where I will continue to discuss with Dr. Frieden and his scientists ways to work towards developing a vaccine and elevating the importance of awareness about Valley Fever at the Federal level. Leadership on this issue is all the more timely with the release of a CDC report a few weeks after our meeting in Washington that indicates the incidence of Valley Fever has been on the rise over the past decade in the American southwest, where the fungus that causes coccidioidomycosis is endemic.  This should be a call to action, and I intend to continue to work with Dr. Frieden and my colleagues in Congress to make sure Valley Fever research and prevention is a priority.

Right here in our own community we have experts that have been working for years on raising awareness and fighting for a vaccine, including the Valley Fever Americas Foundation and the Valley Fever Vaccine Project of the Americas.  To learn more about these organizations, you can visit their websites at: and, respectively.  In addition, the Kern County Public Health Laboratory is recognized as a premier facility in testing and diagnosing Valley Fever.  These organizations are valuable resources in our effort to better understand this disease, improve diagnoses, and ultimately develop a vaccine. Having lived all my life in Bakersfield, I have seen first-hand the impact Valley Fever can have on our friends and families.  I will keep readers updated on my upcoming meetings with Dr. Frieden and others at CDC and on our continued joint efforts towards reducing Valley Fever in our region and elsewhere.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The never-ending cycle of criminals being dumped on the streets only to commit more crime sparks a backlash, and eat more fish if you want to avoid heart disease

 * ... CRIME: There is a growing backlash against prison realignment and the way so many career criminals are dumped back onto the streets, often after serving only a fraction of their sentences. One reader, Margaret Roux, noted that an 18-year-old man was arresting for burglarizing a nearby home, all the while wearing his parolee tracking ankle bracelet. He was arrested and the homeowner was able to recover most of the stolen items at a pawn shop. As it turns out, the same teenager was arrested in
December for possession of a stolen vehicle, receiving stolen property and possession of a controlled substance, but served just 49 days before being released to hit the streets to burglarize again. And so it goes.

* ... FISH OIL: If your mother told you to include more fish in your diet, it turns out she was right. A new comprehensive study in the Annals of Internal Medicine confirms what we all have suspected: that people with "high omega-3 blood levels outlive those with the lowest levels." As reported in The New York Times, researchers said there was a direct correlation between the intake of fish and lower risk of heart disease. The conclusion? If you don't eat enough fish, take omega-3 supplements. If you are on a heavy fish diet, supplements would certainly not hurt you. (photo courtesy of The New York Times)

 * ... CIOPPINO: One of the hottest tickets in town is for the annual Cioppino Feed, the annual West Rotary fund raiser that features some of the best clams and cioppino you will ever eat. Word is there are some tickets left for the Saturday evening feed at Garces Memorial High School. Call Howdy Miller if you interested at (661) 747-5380.

 * ... FIRST FRIDAY: Should be a great Spring night for this month's First Friday downtown. Metro Galleries, one of the anchors of this popular monthly event, is featuring a unique exhibit by Southern California artist Karine Swenson. The show is entitled  'Real and Imagined: A Collection of Mostly Animal Paintings.' Next to Metro at the Foundry, a photography exhibit, "Superimposed" will feature work by Jennifer Williams and Tim Chong. As always on a First Friday it's fun to check out all the galleries, shops, restaurants and boutiques in the arts district.

* ... LITTER: It's our collective shame that after every holiday, like Easter, our parks are awash with litter. Deanna Haulman had this suggestion: "My husband and I walk at Hart Park. We notice that after the weekend the litter is awful, even dropped next to the large garbage cans throughout the park, apparently the litters are too lazy to even place the litter in the can.  We pick up during our walks but have come to the conclusion these folks assume someone else is responsible for picking up their garbage.  I would like to see the park rangers start to give tickets for littering maybe that would help obviously our efforts and the efforts of others doesn't help."

 * ... ADS MARKET: Some more memories of old Bakersfield, these compliments of Terrie Stoller. "My parents; Jack and Lyle Parlier, taught at Washington Jr. High School in the late 1930s and through the 1940s. It is now a district office. Admiral Dewey Sprayberry and his wife Velma became their very first friends in Bakersfield after their Fresno State College graduations and very first teaching jobs in Bakersfield. I got the feeling that Dewey and Velma were like surrogate parents of a young couple just starting out. ... I remember the Sprayberrys, their little ADS grocery store and apartment next to it very well.  My mother remained a faithful visitor to Velma until her last days."

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

City of Stockton's bankruptcy was borne by recklessness and promises that could not be kept, and more memories of old Bakersfield

* ... STOCKTON: The most disturbing aspect of the city of Stockton's bankruptcy is the sheer recklessness the city made in offering lifetime pensions to its employees. The city owes the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) more than $900 million, a staggering amount of debt that the city simply cannot repay. One of the key questions before the bankruptcy court is do you continue to honor the pension promises at the expense of other creditors? The case in Stockton is a business school case study in fiscal irresponsibility, and a warning to other municipalities about being realistic about promises made to public employee unions. (photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Times)

 * ... SPOTTED: From reader Candace Bumes: "To the driver of a red Mercedes SUV who did not yeild to an emergency vehicle with lights and siren: next time the paramedics could be going after your loved one. Think about it."

 * ... BUCKEYES: Sunny Kapoor is a proud graduate of The Ohio State University and took son Nigel to the Staples Center to take in the Buckeyes-Wichita State game during the Elite 8 round of the NCAA Tournament.  "As a Buckeye alumni, it was my opportunity to support my alma mater, and be surrounded by the best college fans in the country, and be entertained by the 'best damn band in the land.' Even though we lost, the experience was priceless, and we had a great time." Nigel is now a senior at Centennial High School and will be interning soon with a local engineering firm.

 * ... MEMORIES: Reader Victoria Shallock was among several folks who responded to an earlier post about old memories. Said Vickie: "I, too, fondly remember the 'Un-Lock-A-Loc' game from the local afternoon kid show with 'Meet Mitchel' (I believe his first name was really Harry?) You had to send in your entry along with the end panel from a loaf of Golden Crust Bread (another local entity/memory) and select which lock you wanted to open (there were three). I won a really cool microscope set one time! And I think one of Don Rodewald's features was a 'Come as You Are' segment on the local afternoon matinee show. Our family was called one afternoon and hurried down to the studio to be interviewed and appear on his show. I recall Don and my dad (who was a CHP officer) having a very interesting conversation about traffic laws. Great memories of wonderful times gone by when life was much more simple and uncomplicated."

 * ... FACE CREAM: And Rick Kreiser and other readers identified the woman who used to market a face cream that was "so pure you can eat it." Said Kreiser:  "Her name was Hazel Allen...a staple of Channel 10's (23) movie breaks... Don Rodewald lived in my neighborhood and I went through school with his girls, April and Judy... smart cookies, they were.  His tag line was 'half an hour before three, when it's just you and me.""

 * ... BREAD: And finally there is this from Albert Lyons: "Does anyone remember the jingle for Golden Crust Bread? I think it was a contest on a local children's program and I think Zippy was the clown and it might have been sponsored by Toy Circus. If you got on the program and was able to sing the jingle you could when a bike from the Toy Circus. "

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: Randy Martin, the head honcho over at Covenant Coffee, says you may be a Bakersfield old timer if "you remember the dump located on the bluffs near where Bakersfield College now sits."

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Is Hollywood getting ready to make a movie about Fernando Jara, the husband of Supervisor Leticia Perez who claims to have worked for the CIA in Yemen?

 * ... SPOTTED: Los Angeles actor Michael Pena, who had parts in the movies Tower Heist, End of Watch as well as the cable hit Eastbound and Down, was seen in the bar at The Padre Hotel talking to 5th District Supervisor Leticia Perez and her husband Fernando Jara. Apparently Pena is (file photo of Michael Pena)
interested in the life story of Jara, who recently revealed he worked for the CIA in Yemen after the September 11 terrorist attacks.

 * ... CHLOE: Sad to hear that Chloe, the adorable yellow labrador retriever who appeared with owner Tracy Walker-Kiser on the front of this month's BakersfieldLife magazine, has been diagnosed with lupus. Chloe can not only go outside with sunscreen but there is little doubt that Tracy and husband Brian Kiser will make her comfortable.

* ... MARKET: Remember the old ADS Market on Baker Street? John Pryor does, and says it was owned by the Sprayberry family. "ADS was the owner’s initials. His name? There must be a story here: Admiral Dewey Sprayberry. I grew up in that neighborhood and, as a kid, bought lots of candy there!  Dewey – as he was called – was a great guy from a kid’s perspective."

 * ... MEMORIES: Becky Arguedas took a trip down memory lane, remembering a Bakersfield when it was a small, more intimate place. "Every time my sister visits from Texas, we reminisce about how it used to be when we were growing up. We talk about Don Rodewald, George Day, Zippy, Meet Mitchell and Unlock-a-lock (remember that one?) and one other we can't remember the name.  Who was the woman that advertised the face cream and always ate a little bit to show it was pure and wouldn't harm you?"

 * ... GRAPEVINE: And Joe Fontaine remembers when you could gaze at the cars lights inching up the Grapevine. "If you are truly a Bakersfield old timer you will remember that on Friday evenings the lights on the Grapevine were the white of car headlights because the refugees from Los Angeles were fleeing north toward Bakersfield. They were red taillights on Sunday evenings because they were headed south back to the drudgery of southern California. Unfortunately we can't see either one today because of poor visibility due to air pollution."

 * ... DMV: Retired Superior Court Judge Jim Stuart gave a shoutout to the DMV office in Shafter. Said Stuart: "About to turn 71 next month, got a notice in the mail that in order to renew my driver's license I would have to pass a vision and a written test. Mind you, the one and only time I took the written test was in 1958 and the only test I have taken since then that really mattered was the Bar Exam, and that was back in 1968. The thought of being without a driver's license was scary, the thought of taking the test was equally scary.  I went to pick up the driver's handbook in Bakersfield and was amazed at how crowded it was. On the advice of a neighbor, I went to the Shafter office of the DMV. Crowded, but not too bad. No appointment, got a number, sat and waited... and watched. Contrary to the common perception many of us have of DMV employees, those at the Shafter office without exception were smiling, patient and just down-right gracious in the way they handled the many people who were in line ahead of me, and the lady who was assigned to me seemed to sense my anxiety, make a quick comment that put me at ease, smiled as she told me I had passed the test and wished me well."