Thursday, June 20, 2013

Taft gets ready to host a West Kern Petroleum Summit and the Maze Cup moves to Stockdale Country Club featuring some of the best junior tennis players

 * ... OIL SUMMIT: The Taft College Foundation will be holding a one-day energy conference featuring policy makers, regional leaders and experts in petroleum production. The "West Kern Petroleum Summit" is planned for Friday, October 18,  and will focus on the energy section that is so important to Kern County. One
of the speakers will be John Hofmeister, a former CEO of Shell Oil and the author of "Why We Hate the Oil Companies: Straight Talk from an Energy Insider." For more information call Sheri Horn-Bunk, executive director of the Taft College Foundation at (661) 763-7936.

 * ... MAZE CUP: It is not often you get to see some of the most talented junior tennis players in the West up close, but that is what the Maze Cup is offering this year at Stockdale Country Club. It is all set for June 28-29 when the best junior boys and girls from Northern and Southern California square off in a Davis Cup format. Past competitors in this event include Pete Sampras, Bob Bryan, Michael Change, Andre Agassi and Lindsay Davenport. And, it is all free.

* ... COLLEGE TOWNS: The website recently released its list of the 33 most "coolest college towns," based on the popularity of the campus and charm of the downtown. The top on the list: Athens, Ga., home to the University of Georgia. Rounding out the top ten were Amherst, Mass., Chapel Hill, N.C., Charlottesville, Va., Ann Arbor, MI, Princeton, NJ, Ithaca, NY, Athens, Ohio, Berkeley and Austin, Texas. (photo of downtown Athens, Ga.)

 * ... BAD FORM: More feedback on tensions between motorists and bicyclists, this one compliments of Karen King. "Years ago my adult son was riding his bicycle on New Stine Road in the proper lane and direction. A truck pulled up close to him and the passenger threw water at his face, almost causing him to fall over.  The passenger laughed and they drove on.  When the truck stopped at a light, my son rode up close to the truck and yelled loudly into the open window.  It about scared the guy to death. Although I told my son that is a risky thing to do in this day and age, I did understand his sense of satisfaction."

* ... TRUMPET: Local CSUB trumpet player Brent Williams has been selected to participate in a prestigious seminar near Boston called the Chosen Vale Center for Advanced Musical Studies. He will have opportunity to study with trumpet greats such as Thomas Stevens, John Wallace, Mark Gould and also work with Yamaha Corporation's head trumpet designer Bob Malone. Brent currently studies with Edward Carroll at California Institute of the Arts and is entering his senior year at CSUB where he studies trumpet with Sal Panelli.

 * ... MEMORY: A reader asked that I post this question: Does anyone remember a bowling alley that was on Golden State between V and 24th Street that had a trophy shop in it?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A local kindergarten teacher warns of online home rental scams and who exactly were the Bakersfield Buffaloes?

 * ... SCAM ALERT: Local kindergarten teacher Jolie Brouttier shared this story of almost being scammed on a "too good to be true" rental property. She was on the popular real estate website when she spotted a three bedroom, two bath home with a pool that was renting for just
$700 a month. "It wasn't until the third email, in which he explained all utilities would be paid for as well as an application form requesting my credit history that I started to think hmmm.... too good to be true. So I Googled his name and his phone number and was immediately sent to a forum warning me about this exact scenario."

* ... BAKERSFIELD BUFFALOS? Ted James was at a bar in Maui recently when he noticed a man wearing a T-shirt that read: Bakersfield-Buffalo-State Football Champs, 1971, Kern County, CA. It turned out the man was from Newcastle, Australia, and "had absolutely no idea what country Bakersfield was in. My wife and I, in our brief conversation with him, were able to give him a new meaning for his shirt and where Bakersfield was located. Ha! He was quite impressed that Bakersfield was in California. Mayor Hall would appreciate my efforts! My only question is were the Bakersfield College Renegades called the Buffaloes in the past?"

 * ... BICYCLISTS: In response to an earlier blog about bicyclists riding against traffic, Stephen A. Montgomery submitted this comment: "Sadly there is a strong motive for bicyclists to violate the California Vehicle Code by riding against the current of traffic," he said. "A friend who rides with the local chapter of the AIA group witnessed a motorist seen laughing as he made sport swooping in as close to bicyclists as he could. He got too close to one causing him to go down. Despite a pack of witness who saw the driver laughing before the impact the judge accepted the tale spun by his girlfriend passenger that he had dozed off! A late friend repeatedly had an all too common experience where morons think it's sport to come up behind a bicyclist so a passenger can smack him in the back of the head with a shoe! The combined speed of the perp's swing and the momentum of the vehicle make for a hard blow that can and has often caused the bicyclist to go down. The bottom line? It's simply too easy for irresponsible and just plain bad people to behave this way without consequence. While bicyclists should comply with the vehicle code they and all of us need a more assertive and positive response from the law enforcement sector."

 * ... MORE CYCLISTS: And finally there is this from reader Pam Martinez: "I just wanted to comment on your blog about the bicyclists riding against traffic.  I just happened to hit a bicyclist doing that exact same thing on Ming Avenue.  Praise God, he was not injured seriously, (only) scraped elbows. He did not have a helmet, but did not hit his head!  I was making a right turn onto Ming and did not see him.  Thanks for sharing your article."

 * ... NUT FESTIVAL: The Kern County Nut Festival could not have been a success without all the volunteers, but Annette Londquist wanted to thank a special group of young workers. "I am the Kids' Activities Chair for the Kern County Nut Festival.  Our area required many helping hands all day.  We received that help from the Boys and Girls Club of Bakersfield. What an impressive group of young men and women!  Every one of them had a positive attitude, gracious manners and worked tirelessly... I wanted to thank them publicly and let your readers know the outstanding job the leaders of this organization are doing in helping these wonderful young people develop into productive, successful adults. Life is good in Bakersfield with these young people in our midst."

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: Randy Martin says you may be from Bakersfield if you remember "Bob's Burger a hidden dive on Kentucky. Bob's served great burgers and a massive burger beast called the Belly Buster."

Sunday, June 16, 2013

More Americans than ever now have college degrees and retired Lt. Col. Joe Drew is inducted in the ARMY OCS Hall of Fame, along with his son

 * ... COLLEGE: There has been a surge in the percentage of Americans who how hold a college degree. That's the word from the National Center for Education Statistics, which reported that 33.5 percent of Americans aged 25-29 how hold at least a bachelor's degree. That compared with 24.7 percent in 1995. Locally, according to Scarborough Research, just 14.8 percent of Kern County adults hold a college degree.

 * ... DREW: Hats off to Joe Drew, a Tejon Ranch executive who recently was inducted into the Army's Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame at Fort Benning, Ga. Drew served in Vietnam and retired as a lieutenant colonel. And to keep it all in the family, his son Col. Thomas R. Drew also was inducted into the OCS Hall of Fame at the same time. The Army OCS Hall of Fame honors infantry officer graduates who have distinguished themselves in military and civilian pursuits. This is believed to be the first time a father and son have been inducted together. And to make it truly a family affair, Fred Drew (Joe's brother and himself also a Vietnam veteran) was inducted in the Army OCS Hall of Fame in 2007. As for Joe:  his military awards include the Legion of Merit, two distinguished Flying Crosses (V Device), Three Bronze stars (V Device), Twenty Two Air medals (V Device) two Purple Hearts, and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.

 * ... BAD FORM: A driver spotted two bicyclists (one on Brimhall and the other on Old River) riding against the traffic in clear violation of traffic laws. Both were almost hit by cars taking right hand turns. Remember: if you are on the bike, ride with the flow of traffic.

 * ... FESTIVAL: The first Kern County Nut Festival is in the books, and organizers should be happy about how it all went. Some 9,000 people showed up at the Kern County Museum to celebrate the almonds, pistachios and other nuts that are so important to our local economy. These events are always good venues to meet and greet, and the Nut Festival did not disappoint. Hats off to some of the organizers and volunteers I spotted there, including Sheryl Barbich, Beth Pandol, Tracy and Brian Kiser, Nancy Chaffin, Coleen McGauley, Brian Burrow, Cynthia and Gary Icardo, Jim and Patrice Black, Pat Collins, Linda Hartman, Kimberly Ward Graham, Mimi Audelo, Chris Frank and so many more. 

* ... REUNION: If you are a graduate of West High, heads up: there is a reunion of the West High classes of 1967, 1968 and 1969 set for August 31 at Stockdale Country Club. It will run from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Contact Jane Cormier (661) 332-5581.

 * ... GRANT: Hats off to the employees of the Von's on Coffee Road, who awarded a grant of $2,500 to the Assistance League of Bakersfield. The money will go to help fund Operation School Bell, which provides new school clothing to elementary age children locally.

 * ... NON PROFIT: The Society for Disabled Children is preparing for its annual camp in which 42 kids will spend 10 days fishing, swimming, riding horses and staying in cabins. Patricia Henson, the group's executive director, is looking for sponsors to help offset the costs. If you are interesting in helping, contact the society at (661) 322-5595.