Friday, August 30, 2013

McCarthy releases details on the Sept. 23 Valley Fever Symposium set for the Hans Einstein Center at the Kern County Department of Health

 Rep. Kevin McCarthy, House Majority Whip, gives us his weekly view from Capitol Hill. In his words:

"This week, the agenda for the 2nd day of our upcoming Valley Fever Symposium was announced.  From 8 a.m to 5 p.m. our community will have the opportunity to hear not only from the directors of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Thomas Frieden, and National Institutes of Health, Dr. Francis Collins, but also from the leading researchers on Valley Fever today.

 "Kern County has been leading the way on Valley Fever research and this gathering will showcase the work being done by Dr. Claudia Jonah, Dr. Michael Lancaster, Dr. Royce Johnson, and Kirt Emery in detecting, diagnosing, and fighting Valley Fever.  In addition, our community cannot express enough gratitude to the volunteers of the Valley Fever of Americas Foundation that has continued to work to raise awareness of this disease.

 "Dr. John Galgiani, who is the director of the University of Arizona’s Valley Fever Center for Excellence, will also be participating and sharing his research.  With over 30 years of experience researching Valley Fever, he will provide information on some exciting advancements in vaccine research.  In addition, David Larwood, who is the CEO of Valley Fever Solutions, will be presenting on their work on a drug called nikkomycin Z, a medication that has been showing promise in treating Valley Fever.

"We will continue to announce additional speakers and panelists that will be participating in our community’s two day Valley Fever Symposium. Below is the full list of events that will be occurring on September 23 and September 24.

Date: Monday, September 23,  2013 – Recognizing Our Valley Fever Survivors
Location: Kern County Department of Health – Hans Einstein Center

4:30pm – Valley Fever Survivors Reception

5:30pm – Valley Fever Community Forum with CDC Director Thomas Frieden, M.D. and NIH Director Francis Collins, M.D.

Date:  Tuesday, September 24, 2013 – Fighting Valley Fever

Location: California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB) Multipurpose Room

8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. - State of the Science, Presentations from Leading Experts on Valley Fever

1:00 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. – The Congressional Valley Fever Task Force

2:00 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. – California Public Policy and Challenges

3:00 p.m. – 3:45 p.m. – Susceptible Populations of Valley Fever

4:00 p.m. – 4:45 p.m. – Pets/Animals and Valley Fever

For more information, please call 661-327-3611 or email

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Bakersfield Sound legend Red Simpson and gun shop owner Gene Thome head to Tennessee for the Muddy Roots Festival, and are we becoming a nation of singles?

 * ... RED SIMPSON: Bakersfield Sound legend Red Simpson will be appearing at the Muddy Roots Music Festival outside of Nashville this weekend. And opening for him will be Gene Thome, the owner of Bear Mountain Sports who is quite the singer himself. The festival is set in Cookeville, Tennessee. Thome told me he will be sharing the stage with Shooter Jennings, son of the late Waylon Jennings.

 * ... FOOTBALL: We are headed into the first weekend of college football with all the collective hoopla and hysteria. Steve and Danielle Frolio reminded me that the Nebraska Cornhusker Group meets each game day at Goose Loonies Tavern and Grill to cheer on the red and white.  aid Danielle: "This is a local group that my husband and I started here in Bakersfield back in 2008 to bring more attention to college ball (and especially our favorite team - the Huskers) in which everyone is invited to come out and support college football, whoever your team may be. Our first game is this Saturday at 5 p.m. and we hope to have a terrific turnout. GO BIG RED!" Starting Sept. 7, Goose Loonies will open for breakfast at 9 a.m. on the weekends.

 * ... GOING SOLO: Did you know that more Americans are now living alone than ever before? According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 27 percent of Americans are living alone, compared to just 17 percent in 1970. Why? Young people are waiting longer to marry and the number of married couples has been steadily dropping, from 71 percent in 1970 to 49 percent today. The Los Angeles Times quoted a researcher as saying "the rise of living alone is the greatest social change of the last 50 years."

 * ... ROTARY: More kudos to the Twilight Rotary Club which sent 140 kids back to Mount Vernon School with free backpacks and supplies. The club also raised some money for Rotary International's Polio Plus project.

 * ... MEMORIES: Jerry Beckwith remembers the old Stan's Drive-in on the northeast corner of 19th Street and Union Avenue. "It was part of the weekend cruise along with Mitchner's and Andre's. One of the really cool things, other than the best double burgers and onion rings ever, was the Request Phone Line that was mounted on an outside wall - a direct line to KAFY Radio. I guess you could call it our 1950s version of Social Media."

 * ... MORE MEMORIES: And finally this from Jimmie Hill of Oildale: "Just a little comment on Anthony Contreras and his memory of Baker and Bernard streets. The market on the northwest corner was the Stop and Shop Market owned by the Diffenbaughs. There was Herb and maybe a couple more brothers. Gene and Joe's was a sporting goods and bike shop next door. My dad was the meat cutter/butcher at the store for years and Gene and Joe's repaired my bike after it was stolen from in front of the old Granada Theatre on Monterey street. This was in the late 1940s to early 1950s."

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Former state Senator Roy Ashburn leaves the Republican Party over differences on immigration and gay rights, talks candidly about his rise and fall in state politics

 * ... ASHBURN: I had a long talk with former state Senator Roy Ashburn this week and it is good to see him rebounding from his personal and political setbacks. In an hour-long, no holds barred interview on First Look with Scott Cox, Ashburn spoke candidly about his DUI arrest in Sacramento
and his decision a week later to come out as being gay. He also revealed that he is no longer registered as a Republican because of the party's stand on immigration and gay rights. Was he hypocritical while in office? "I lied and disappointed people," he told me. "I was not honest." The hardest decision after his DUI arrest: calling his mother and telling her he was gay. In another surprise Ashburn told me his younger brother died of AIDS 20 years ago, making the telephone call even harder. With the emotional weight of a secret life behind him, Ashburn is now refocused and happy. Are politics behind him? "I don't have a need to be in public office," he said. "But I wouldn't rule anything out."

 * ... SPOTTED: The rash of pedestrian deaths on our roadways is not surprising when you view something like this: An elderly Hispanic woman with five young children in tow, including one in a stroller, is seen jaywalking across a busy Ming Avenue near the Bank of America office at midday.

* ... ACHIEVER: Kudos to Dr. Lauren Rodriguez, a local girl who has started her medical career at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. Lauren is a product of Bakersfield High School, Stanford University and the University of Michigan Medical School. She also has done research in Bolivia, Brazil, Mexico and Macedonia. She is the daughter  Richard Rodriguez, a music teacher at Curran Jr. High, and Cheryl, a math teacher at Warren Jr. High.

 * ... EAST HIGH: East Bakersfield High School is looking for former cheerleaders to help the school celebrate its 75th anniversary. Angie Wise says the reunion is set for October 12. If you cheered for the school, contact her at (661) 871-7221, extension 72265.

* ... MEMORIES: One last memory of Gus Ergo's Beale Park grocery store from Stan Scrivner, who grew up in a house next to the store. "Gus Ergo opened his store at 303 E Street in 1928... I remember the old gas pump out front with the glass top that we could watch the gas move around in. And there
was the canvas awning across the front of the store that Mr. Ergo would unroll every morning and roll back up every evening. Gus Ergo died December 16, 1967, and Sally, his wife, ran the store until
1974. She sold it to a couple who tried to make a go of it but, they couldn't so she took it back. Later she sold it to Joe and Josie Mendoza. They converted it into an apartment and it burned down. I loved living next door to Mr. Ergo's store, as well as across from the Ergo family, and I hated it when my dad called to say it had burned down. So many memories up in flames."

Sunday, August 25, 2013

A tale of two local businesses: Pappagallo woman's boutique going out of business while the Ice House Framing and Gallery benefits from a move to the Bakersfield arts district

* ... LOCAL BUSINESS: I was sorry to hear that Pappagallo Clothes and Assessories, the woman's boutique that has served the community so well for years, is preparing to shut down. The popular,
locally run store has long been an anchor in the Stockdale Fashion Plaza, right new Cafe Med. Another locally owned company, the Ice House Framing and Gallery, has benefitted from finding a new location downtown on 19th Street. Long time managers Al Mendez and Lance Jones told me the walk-in traffic has skyrocketed since the business moved from the iconic Ice House brick complex off the Garces circle to the arts district, just down the street from the popular new eatery and bar, The Mark.

 * ... ASHBURN: I ran into former state Senator Roy Ashburn the other day. Ashburn's life narrative is a compelling one: great achievement followed by a public humiliation and then a soul searching that has left him trim, focused and happy. Ashburn will join me Tuesday at 9 a.m. on First Look with Scott Cox (KERN NewsTalk 1180 and video streamed live on to talk about local politics and his view on how being openly gay may have contributed to his defeat in the 1st District Kern County Supervisor race.

* ... HELMET CLUB: On the heels of the trouble that beset Bakersfield College and its Helmet Club, Garces Memorial High School launched its own football support group last week. Almost 200 people  paid $250 each to seed the Hail Mary Club and dine on Luigi's best steaks. While the precise mission of the organization is unclear, the spirit, devotion and dedication of the community to Garces football is not. As long as the Hail Mary Club plays by the rules, the football program will benefit from such strong support.

 * ... AIR POLLUTION: Gerhard Schmidt wonders how wise it is to see long lines of cars, idling, while waiting in line at the Costco gas pumps. "Even in nice weather, cars in long lines sit there idling, waiting for a pump. Well yes, there are lots of wimps who can’t stand a few minutes of heat this time of the year. Experts say that turning off the engine while waiting also saves fuel... or are they all trying to help the oil industry? But didn’t they join Costco to save money?"

 * ... GLEANERS: Here's a fund raising event that is worthy of your attention. On Friday, September 13, The Petroleum Club and Imbibe Wine and Spirits will be sponsoring a barbecue to raise money for the Golden Empire Gleaners. For $25 you will be treated to a barbecue dinner and a complimentary glass of beer or wine in the parking lot of the Petroleum Club. It will run from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

 * ... MEMORIES: Another special memory of growing up in the old Oleander area, compliments of Bettina Belter. "I was raised on the corner of Oleander and Buena Vista, attended Roosevelt Elementary, kindergarten through sixth grade. My childhood friends Bettye and Patty Dremel and myself were at Gus's any day of the week that ended in 'y.' We would take our wagon and gather soda pop bottles and make our way to collect our bounty from Gus. We redeemed those bottles and they in turn redeemed us with brown paper bags full of candy... the Chum gum was my favorite, two sticks for a penny. We would then make our way to Beale Park and swim until we were raisins playing mermaids. On your birthday you got to pick any piece of candy you wanted, some of us had two birthdays in a year. Gus and his wife Sally were part of many of our childhoods, and they served us well."