Saturday, September 21, 2013

Symposium to focus on Valley Fever is set for Bakersfield this week. Top CDC and National Institutes of Health brass will attend

 Rep. Kevin McCarthy gives us his weekly view from Capitol Hill. His focus this week: the upcoming Valley Fever Symposium.

 "Our Valley Fever Symposium is upon us.  On Monday and Tuesday,  I invite you to join me, along with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Tom Frieden and National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins at a symposium on Valley Fever where we will host an open discussion with the community to learn more about this disease.

 "Caused by the Coccidioides fungus native to the soil in our region, Valley Fever has become known as a “silent epidemic” as it only takes one breath to become infected.  In our community, all of us know someone who has been impacted by this disease - even our pets can contract it.  However, the effects experienced by those affected vary greatly.  Some individuals who catch Valley Fever recover in several weeks after experiencing only flu-like symptoms.  Others may take months to overcome it, and experience a much broader range of devastating effects. And some have died from this disease.

"Despite its widespread impact on the western United States, no vaccine or effective treatment exists.  Our symposium addresses this problem by starting a community discussion with leading national experts on Valley Fever who will share the most recent developments, goals, and challenges ahead.  Most importantly, we want to hear your stories and ideas, and I hope you join us in our fight against this disease.

The full schedule is below:

Monday, September 23, 2013 – Recognizing Our Valley Fever Survivors

Location: Kern County Department of Public Health – Hans Einstein Center

1800 Mount Vernon Avenue, Bakersfield, CA

4:30 PM – Valley Fever Survivors Reception

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

Tuesday, September 24, 2013 – Fighting Valley Fever

Location: California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB) Multipurpose Room inside the Student Union

Parking Lot L is reserved for attendees

9001 Stockdale Highway, Bakersfield, CA

7:30 a.m. - Registration/Check in

8:00 a.m. – 12:30 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

Friday, September 20, 2013

Friends of Oildale plan a clean up and volunteer day and lots of new eateries popping up around town

 *... OILDALE: This is the type of news I love to share. On Saturday, September 28, a large group of
civic minded folks will meet in the morning at Standard Middle School to spruce up the sidewalks in Oildale. This "Love Oildale" movement is a day of service sponsored by a group known as the Oildale Leadership Alliance. It is also a prelude to a bigger day of service set for March 29 next year. If you are interested in helping, go to the group's website at  Thanks to Cher Pannell, president of the leadership alliance, for bringing this to my attention.

* ... BUSINESS: Frosting, Ink Bakeshop has opened in its new, stunning location downtown. The cupcake and sweet tooth shop owned by Sheila Heninger is now open on Eye Street at 19th in the renovated Hay Building. It is beautifully decorated with exposed brick walls and a bright and lively interior. Next door is the new Eye Gallery, an equally impressive space that is part of The Metro Galleries. Both businesses will have outdoor seating.

 * ... MORE OPENINGS: And speaking of new businesses, Chipotle Mexican Grill has opened a new location on Coffee and Hageman, serving the growing Northwest. And the popular chain is building yet another near Sam's Club down Gosford Road to serve Southwest residents.

* ... SPOTTED: A middle aged woman riding in the front passenger seat of a blue SUV, stopped for a light at North Chester and Roberts Lane,  casually rolls down her window and dumps her portable cup holder full of trash and assorted paper in the street.

 * ... ARTFEST: I stopped by Artfest on Saturday, the popular annual fund raiser for the Boys and Girls Club of Bakersfield. Held at the beautiful Moorea Banquet Centre off Harris Road in the Southwest, the event featured tiles and paintings done by the program kids and a live auction. The annual gala raises some $150,000 a year for this community program.

* ... COLLEGE FOOTBALL: If it is fall, you can bet I will hear from Sunny Kapoor, a proud 1985 graduate of The Ohio State University. He was gleeful to note he attended the Ohio State-Cal game in Berkeley, a rout by the Buckeyes. He went with his wife, Julie, sons Nigel (Bakersfield College student) and Arie (Cal State Chico student). "Being a Buckeye alumni, we sat in the visitors section, with all my Buckeye brethren. It was amazing to see all the scarlet and gray at the stadium... Our seats were adjacent to the 'best damn band in the land' and were regaled by their tunes related to the state of Ohio and The Ohio State University. All in all it was a great visit, and sure looks like the Buckeyes may have a shot at the National Championship, but we have to go through Michigan first, and that game should be evenly matched. Anyhow, I am making my reservations for the Rose Bowl at the very least !"

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Lots of shout outs: to good customer service, the folks who work to make this a better place, and embracing the good that is called home

 * ... HOME: I spent a few days with my younger daughter in Chicago, her adopted hometown now that she is working and out of college. Chicago is one of the world's great cities, and her downtown Lakeview area is an eclectic mix of bars and boutique restaurants brimming with young people setting out on their own. It's easy to become infatuated with what you don't have, but even with all our quirks and challenges, Bakersfield is a good place to call home. To that I will add this: You know you're from Bakersfield when you pick out friends' homes in La Cresta when the commuter jet flies over the Panorama Bluffs before landing.

 * ... GOOD FORM: Here's a hats off to some folks working to make our city a better place. The potted trees that were planted downtown have really spruced the place up. It was the work of Melissa Iger of The Tree Foundation of Kern, paid for by a grant from The Bakersfield Californian (family) Foundation. Don Martin, owner of The Metro Galleries and long a driving force in the downtown renaissance, helped plant the trees and then decorated them with beautiful fall flowers. And kudos to the city of Bakersfield which has been diligently going about the thankless job of picking up tons of trash and old clothes left on the bike path between Beach Park and Manor Street. That corridor is a favorite haunt for runners, walkers and cyclists but it is shared with the homeless who often discard their belongings near the path.

 * ... CUSTOMER SERVICE: And speaking of good form, is there any better customer service in town that what you witness at the downtown Cruz Thru car wash? Whoever owns this franchise either has a terrific training program or is an ace at finding the right employees.

 * ... MUSEUM: Matt Munoz has joined the Bakersfield Museum of Art to head up its marketing department. Matt is a member of the popular local band Mento Buru and most recently was an entertainment reporter at The Bakersfield Californian.

 * ... KINDNESS:  This random act of kindness comes courtesy of reader Denise Pennell:  "My husband and I were enjoying an ice cream outing with friends at Dewar’s on Rosedale Highway when a family in an adjacent booth finished their Dewar’s adventure and left the store. Another young family with three children came in just behind them and sat in the same booth next to ours that was just vacated. The oldest daughter – of around eight years old – discovered a wallet in the booth which obviously belonged to the gentleman who had just left. Her parents pointed him out in the parking lot and the young girl ran to deliver the wallet before he could leave. We didn’t witness the exchange but I can only imagine how grateful he was to have his wallet returned with everything still intact. As we were leaving, I asked the parents if I could pass along a Kindness Coin to this young lady after witnessing her selfless act of kindness. Her face lit up when she received the coin and listened to the Random Acts of Kindness story, and I knew that it would make a difference in her life as she promised to 'pay it forward.'  Dr. Chuck Wall’s movement still thrives today as displayed by the prompt action of this young girl and her parents who obviously teach their children well the value of honesty, integrity and kindness. And I still believe there is goodness in just about everyone. We need to continue to pay it forward."

The Harvest Moon over downtown Bakersfield ....

 The harvest moon looms brightly over a California bungalow in downtown Bakersfield.