Friday, March 28, 2014

McCarthy: Sgt. 1st Class Robert Keiser personified the American hero

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

"This week was another special week for Kern County. I had the honor of presenting the Distinguished Service Cross posthumously to Sergeant First Class Robert Keiser for outstanding service and heroism during the Korean War.

 "Sergeant First Class Keiser resided in Randsburg, CA with his wife, Pamela, until he passed away in 2009. He was a member of the U.S. Army’s Second Indianhead Infantry Division. On November 30, 1950, he and his division approached a major roadblock of damaged and abandoned American vehicles. Under constant enemy fire, Sergeant First Class Keiser swept forward and personally cleared the roadblock vehicle by vehicle. He loaded the dead and wounded aboard vehicles that could still run and commanded those around him to drive to friendly lines. In a battle that would become known as “The Gauntlet,” Sergeant First Class Keiser’s actions were undoubtedly a decisive factor in saving hundreds of lives.

"Sergeant Keiser was not just a Randsburg cowboy, he was an American hero.
 "Also in Washington, a new statue was unveiled in the U.S. Capitol’s Statuary Hall. What makes this unique is that the person who designed and sculpted this piece was born in Taft and raised in Bakersfield. But in addition to that, this is his second statue that is now displayed in the U.S. Capitol.

 "It was great to see and catch up with Benjamin Victor this week when he stopped by my office. His latest work is a statue of agricultural hero Norman Borlaug, which is one of the two statues in the Capitol for the State of Iowa. Many of us in Kern County know his work in Taft when he sculpted the Taft Oil Workers Monument that was unveiled during the city’s centennial celebration.  And now, hundreds of thousands of visitors in the Capitol each year will also know Ben, who has the distinct honor of being the only living sculptor to have two sculptures in National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol (his other being the statue of Paiute activist Sarah Winnemucca for the State of Nevada).

 "Our community is a special place with tremendous people and this week, all of America got to see it.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Environmental groups attack hydraulic fracturing, but trying to prove a negative won't stand up in making public policy, and some bad form when two dogs are locked in a hot car

 * … FRACKING: I had to chuckle at the recent letter to the editor from an Oakland-based environmental group that insists on trying to link hydraulic fracturing to earthquakes. Never mind that
countless government studies have discounted this theory (as they used to say, 'never let the facts get in the way of a good story') the writer said earthquakes have occurred in areas where fracking is practiced. And? What he didn't say was that quakes have happened in areas free of fracking as well. That's called trying to prove a negative, and frankly the argument doesn't hold water. Hydraulic fracking needs legitimate oversight, not hysteria.

 * … SAFETY: The incident at the Wal-Mart on Gosford Road is a cautionary tale to everyone. Two young black men in a white van pulled up to a woman in front of the store and grabbed her purse while the van was moving, hurling the woman against the moving vehicle and throwing her to be ground. Bakersfield police said the woman was not seriously injured and she maintained hold on her purse. They are looking for suspects. Be safe out there.

 * … BAD FORM: Gordon Dowdy spotted this bit of bad form in front of the Panera Restaurant on Stockdale Highway: "At 12:30 p.m. today a car with all the windows rolled up and two poor little dogs locked inside. We consider this animal abuse."

* … GOOD DEED: Lupe Canon-Morales and her friend were taking their daily walk recently when her friend tripped and fell.  "As I was helping her up and retrieving her glasses, a young lady driving by (we walk in an industrial area) witnessed what had just happened. She made a U-turn, pulled alongside us and inquired if we needed help. She then drove us back home. We were so rattled we failed to get her name, we want to thank her for her thoughtfulness and taking the time to see us safely home.  God Bless her, we need more people like her in this world!"

 * … BAGEL SHOP:  A reader wrote that her husband was in Bagels and Blenderz recently and spotted a couple with their small gray chihuahua sitting on the table. "How unsanitary was that?" she asked. "You may think twice before you sit down to enjoy your next bagel and coffee at this location.  Let's hope they clean and disinfect their tables frequently!  Remember people, dogs are not human!"

 * … CEMETERY: My friend Ray Mish, owner of Mission Family Mortuary, dropped me a note about the old Chinese Cemetery between Terrace Way and Brundage Lane. After the cemetery was moved to clear way for a housing tract, Mish said a contractor putting in a swimming pool found the skeletons of two people. Mish was working for there now defunct Armstrong-Flickinger Mortuary and he asked the owner if he would donate baby caskets to bury those two in Union Cemetery, which had donated a plot of ground where the other Chinese had been buried. "I then contacted members of the Ming family, a prominent Chinese family. I was given permission to conduct these services with a minister and flowers and a large gather of people and it was a traditional Chinese funeral." Mish said he is now in his 75th year in the funeral business, starting when he was just 14 years old.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A scuffle at The Padre Hotel lounge leaves some patrons worried about their safety, and volunteers gather to clean up Oildale one block at a time

 * … PADRE: An ugly incident Saturday night at The Padre Hotel triggered two letters to the editor from women worrying about their safety at the bar. This is the kind of press that people like Padre
owner Brett Miller hates, and he told me Tuesday that he was getting to the bottom of it. "Someone stabbed someone with a pen," he told me. "It was a puncture wound…. Usually we have a good crowd I am surprised we had an issue." Miller said he was meeting with his staff to make sure the popular downtown bar and eatery was attracting the "right crowd" in its after hours lounge.

 * … OILDALE: Volunteers will be fanning out across Oildale this Saturday for a huge clean up day. Cher Pannell, president of the Oildale Leadership Alliance, told me some 200 people are expected to participate. It will start at 8 a.m. with Supervisor Mike Maggard serving as the honorary chairperson. Kern Country Animal Services will be there, holding a dog and can clinic offering free micochipping and spay-neutering at low prices. Want to participate? Show up at Standard Park for the fun.

 * … SIGN OF THE TIMES: This note from reader Pete Parson speaks for itself: "I live around the corner from the homeowner on Los Flores who fired warning shots when burglars were 'operating' on a neighbor’s house.  I am currently in the process of remodeling my bathroom and in so doing removed the old bathtub and placed it in my yard just off the front steps. Over a couple of weeks I made calls to numerous charities to effect a removal of said tub with no takers coming forward. As a last resort, utilizing a ploy my father once used with an worthless old freezer, I affixed a 'for sale $50' sign to it and to my great relief the tub was stolen within 24 hours."

 * … PANHANDLING: Robert Clements has an easy answer to panhandling: punish those who give money. "People who give cash perpetuate the problem. Pass an ordinance that  makes it an infraction to give cash to panhandlers. The ordinance  could also require any group or individual who wish to solicit for  donations in public to get a permit to do so or be cited (including  panhandlers). Once a few people are cited and the word spreads the  source of funds would dry up. This would create a reason for the givers to think twice, since they are the real problem.

 * … HIGHWAY 58: And finally there was this from Bill Deaver about those trucks on Highway 58. "I've been driving 58 (and 466 before it) since it was built, and have great respect for truckers. But there are two kinds who create problems: those who do what your letter-writer reported (slow passing) and those who, on the downgrades on both ends, go like a bat out of hell. The solution is a climbing lane out of Bakersfield from General Beale Road to Tehachapi. It will cost a fortune and won't be built for years, but it has to be one of this county's major highway priorities given its role as a major goods movement corridor, which you can confirm with KernCOG."

 * … MEMORIES: A reader submitted this about the location of the old French Village restaurant. "My grandparents lived in the house on the south side of the French Village. It was located at what is now Life House Parkville Healthcare Center at 329 No. Real Road, which is just south of Palm St. My family lived with my grandparents for a short time in 1944. My brother and I used to play with the owners children as they lived in a house on the property of the French Village."

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A dog is found abandoned with his ears cut off as well as his tongue, but rescuers say he is now healthy and doing well. Hats off to the volunteers and veterinarians to help these abandoned pets

 * … MUTTS: I stopped by the Healthy Bakersfield Expo at the Convention Center this weekend where I met Hooch, an adorable French Mastiff who was hanging around the Marley's Mutts dog rescue booth. When Hooch was found, someone had cut off both ears and cut out his tongue, an act so cruel
and senseless that it makes you lose faith in humanity. (Hooch is now fed by hand and is happy and healthy, thank you). There was another dog who had been shot, and a third who also had his ears cut off. Kudos to  Marley's Mutts, San Joaquin Veterinary Hospital and all the other dog and cat rescuers and the veterinarians who donate their time to help these animals.

 * … EYESORE: Don't expect that imploded PG and E plant at the corner of Gosford Road and Rosedale Highway to be cleaned up any time soon. Cal-OSHA has said there can be no cleanup of the site until the investigation into what went wrong is complete, including appeals. Looks like that eyesore will be with us for a while.

 * … MARCH MADNESS: For those of you who are into March Madness, I spotted this post on Twitter: "The 16 perfect brackets probably belong to lifelong North Dakota State fans who attended Mercer for undergrad and Dayton for grad school."

 * … PANHANDLING: Gerhard Schmidt had a good take on the panhandling ordinance before the City Council. "Let me make sure I get this right about the possible panhandling ordinance. It is to criminalize the act, right? That would  mean a fine or jail time. Since these criminals don’t have the money to pay the fine, they would have to panhandle to get it. The alternative, giving them jail time, and the jails are already overcrowded, would mean free room and board for them. It would not really be free. You and I would be paying for that, if you are a taxpayer."

* … HIGHWAY 58: Last week I wrote about a carload of young people flashing obscene gestures to a truck driver on Highway 58. I labeled it bad form, but Steve Laird has another take: "Certainly, it was bad form  and very boorish behavior for this type of road rage to occur. There simply is no excuse for it.  However the driver of the passing big rig probably does not have clean hands in this. Highway 58 is a two lane highway, and I have personally observed many slow moving trucks pass an even slower moving truck at a very slow speed. In the end the truck doing the passing can end up tying the fast lane for a minute or so because they cannot generate the speed to complete the passing maneuver in a reasonable amount of time.  Now both lanes are blocked and in the end the truck doing the passing ends up doing the same speed he was before he passed the slower truck. The difference is he is now the one in front.  That is very frustrating and is an abuse of the passing lane. Again, there is no excuse for for this incident of road rage, but the frustration caused by a very slow passing truck is understandable."

 * … CAMP KEEP: The Camp KEEP Foundation will be hosting its annual WineCamp for KEEP fundraiser on May 3 from 6-9 p.m. Tickets are $40 for the event, which will feature appetizers, wine, live music and opportunity basket. This year it will be held at a private residence in the Northwest. .FOr tickets call (661) 636-4629. All proceeds benefit the Foundation’s “campership fund” that helps send kids to camp who can’t afford to go otherwise."