* … CIGARETTES: Before we get too excited about the news that CVS pharmacies will stop selling cigarettes, how many of us remember that Target did so back in 1996? The CVS move likely has more to do with the company positioning itself as a partner and provider of health care than with saving lives. But I applaud it nonetheless. Meanwhile the number of Americans who smoke has declined from 42 percent in 1965 to just 19 percent in 2011.
* … COVENANT: It looks like Covenant Coffee, the popular coffee and sandwich shop up on North Chester, will be setting up shop at the Bakersfield Racket Club. The BRC board has approved the idea and now head Covenant cheerleader and manager Randy Martin is working out the details to take over the BRC coffee shop. This should be a real boost in the arm for both BRC and Covenant, which employs foster children to give them a leg up on the road to success.
* … WENDY: I'm not sure what the late Wendy Wayne would think of the effort by CSUB President Horace Mitchell to rename the Westside Parkway after her (it is proposed as the 'CSU Bakersfield alumna Wendy Wayne Westside Parkway'), but I have a suspicion she might be embarrassed by the whole thing. The Wendy I knew was less impressed with naming rights and more focused on random acts of kindness and helping those who are not so blessed as the rest of us. She would likely say, 'That's quite an honor, but just go give someone a hug."
* … APNEA: For all of you who suffer from sleep apnea, Al Bensusen over at Sandman Technologies has some good news for you. There is a new sleep apnea machine out that is literally so small it fits in a shirt pocket, and is just as powerful and reliable as the larger, older models. I credit Bensusen and his clinic for providing me with a good night's sleep, and he says this new smaller machine is bound to be a big hit among the sleep deprived. And he's the only outlet in Bakersfield to have it. The palm-sized device, made by Human Design Medical in Ventura, weighs just 10 ounces and is perfect for those who travel a lot.
* … OVERHEARD: At a local Starbucks a young man tells his friend: "That girl in front of me just order 2,100 calories of caramel coffee and muffins. Wonder what she is having for lunch?"
* ... RED: Bakersfield Sound legend Red Simpson entertains the crowd at the Rasmussen Senior Center every Tuesday. His secret to a long and happy life: smile. His favorite local restaurant? Milt's Coffee Shop.