Thursday, September 26, 2013

There has been another bobcat sighting on the bike path in the Southwest, and a social media cat fight erupts over the future of First Friday

 * ... BOBCAT: There has been another bobcat sighting along the bike path in the southwest. This from reader Kevin Ammann: "I thought I'd pass along that on Saturday morning, friends and I were
riding on the bike path about 1.5 to 2 miles west of Allen Road and saw a bobcat sitting under a shrub. Then on Tuesday evening, we saw a bobcat crossing the bike path at Truxtun lakes. It was coming from the bigger of the lakes and heading toward the dry riverbed. I've heard that they've been seen on the path, but first time I saw one."
(file photo of bobcat in a tree)

 * ... FIRST FRIDAY: A social media cat fight erupted this week over the direction of First Friday, the popular, monthly downtown event that focuses on art and bringing people into local businesses. It was triggered when Seamus Finn, a relatively new local businessman who runs a cooking studio, launched a clumsy attempt to "improve" First Friday by adding new commercial elements. Finn, a tireless self promoter, did all this without consulting the local artists and business people who have worked to make First Friday successful. The fear, according to local artists, is the commercialization of First Friday will turn it into a street faire like the ones hosted several years ago by the Downtown Business Assn. First Friday has avoided food vendors and has tried to keep it focused on the arts and getting people into the doors of local businesses. All this erupted on social media which led to Finn issued a mea culpa if he had insulted anyone. Stay tuned.

 * ... ABORTION: Memo to City Councilwoman Jacquie Sullivan: can we please stop pushing the divisive, misguided and totally unnecessary idea of having our own "Restrictions on Termination of Human Life" ordinance? However well intentioned the effort, aren't there bigger challenges in Ward 6 and the city that demand our attention?

 * ... VIDEO: Hats off to Kyle Steiner, a 2010 graduate of Bakersfield High School, who is in Australia directing a music video for Aussie pop singer Vince Gelonese. Steiner is in his final year of film school in the San Fernando Valley.

* ... WINE: It's that time of year again for the annual Elegant Evening of Wine to support the Joe Alexander Scholarship Foundation. This is truly a first class event and this year it will be held at the home of Mark and Sue Ashley in Westchester. Meir Brown of Cafe Med provides a world class experience for this Rotary event, which seems to grow in size each year. Individual tickets are $175 each. Call Vernon Varner at (661) 979-5788 for further details.

 * ... MASTERS SWIM: If you are into competitive masters swimming, you might want to head over to Garces Memorial High this Saturday when The Gold Wave Masters swim team is hosting its First Annual 'Say Goodbye to Summer' swim meet. Most of the 36 entries are coming from out of town. People wanting to sign up may do so online at: It all starts at 8:30 a.m.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Drama at a dinner for Valley Fever Symposium speakers when Dr. Royce Johnson performs an emergency tracheotomy on former county supervisor Pauline Larwood after she chokes on food

 * ... PENSIONS: Keep your eye on the city of San Jose where a court battle is under way over reducing public pensions. The problem: San Jose now spends a fifth of its $1.1 billion general fund on pensions and retire health care. According to the New York Times, a plan drafted by the Democratic
mayor and approved by 70 percent of the voters would reduce benefits for new hires and make current retirees pay more for their health care. Not surprisingly the public employee unions have challenged this in court. Said the Times: "The outcome of the case is expected to have a major impact on municipal budgets around the state, and perhaps the country. If a state court rules later this year or early next year that the referendum allows San Jose to alter pension plans for existing workers, and it survives appeals, similar measures are expected to pop up elsewhere."

 * ... LARWOOD: There was a scary scene at a special dinner for community leaders and speakers at this week's Valley Fever Symposium. Among those attending the dinner at The Mark restaurant downtown Monday night were local civic leaders Tom and Pauline Larwood. Pauline, a former county supervisor who has been involved in the fight to find a cure for valley fever, apparently choked on a piece of meat and was struggling to breathe. Luckily, she was surrounded by some of the biggest names in medicine and Dr. Royce Johnson, an infectious disease specialist at Kern Medical Center and a UCLA professor, performed an emergency tracheotomy with a pocket knife and a pen. One witness told me Pauline regained consciousness by the time paramedics arrived and is expected to fully recover. "But there is no doubt that Royce Johnson saved her life," the witness told me. The dinner was sponsored by Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, and featured the directors of the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health. (file photo of Pauline Larwood)

* ... BAD FORM: It looks like the kiosks on the bike trail near Chester Avenue have been vandalized. Bob Moses wrote that the kiosks, part of the Uplands of the Kern project, had holes kicked into the floors and broke signs explaining the local wildlife. "Sad part for me is that I'm surprised they lasted this long," Moses said.

 * ... SPOTTED: Susan Hill spotted this on Monday: "I saw a woman holding hands with a small child, walking across Truxtun Avenue against the light. Both were wearing white 'Choose Life T-shirts. Teaching your child to cross a street in the cross walk with the walk sign glowing, might help promote the cause."

 * ... MARY: It was nice to hear that Mary Trichell, owner of W.A. Thompson, was honored by the Kern County Fair Board as "Woman of the Year."  Several hundred friends attended a dinner to congratulate and acknowledge her achievements and generosity.

 * ... MERLE: George Shire remembers when he was managing the Jack C. Arbuckle Co., located at 500 East 19th Street, back around 1960 when there was a place called Smoky's Tavern next door. George recalled that Merle Haggard was a regular in the place.

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: Linda Welch wrote to ask if anyone remembers the Highway 99 bill board that the city of Fresno installed. It said: "Help keep Fresno clean. Send your trash to Bakersfield." Ouch.