Friday, April 18, 2014

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, gives us his weekend Easter message

 Rep. Kevin McCarthy:

"Judy and I would like to extend our warmest greetings to all those celebrating the blessings of Easter and Passover.

 "As we gather with friends and family this Easter weekend, we are reminded of God’s great love for us. We give thanks for the many blessings that He has bestowed upon us. And we are renewed in our commitment to faith, hope, and love. Let us celebrate, and may our spirits be lifted and renewed.

 "Please join me also in praying for the members of our community who are away from home this Easter, especially the brave men and women of our armed services. May God protect and guide them in their service and sacrifice and bring them home safely.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Roscoe Rolnick kicks off his annual shoes for the homeless drive, another new eatery for downtown Bakersfield and a little history of an old building being renovated

* … ROSCOE: Roscoe Rolnick has kicked off his 22nd annual Shoes for the Homeless Shoe Drive to benefit the Bakersfield Homeless Center. This is one of those under-the-radar events that has a huge impact: in 10 days he collects enough pairs of shoes to supply the homeless center for a year with
shoes. And check this out: over the last 21 years, the shoe drive has collected more than 55,000 pairs of shoes. Louis Gill, homeless center director, said shoes were the number one item requested. If you'd like to donate, drop the shoes off at Guarantee Shoe Center at 21st Street and Chester Avenue and receive $10 off your next purchase.

 * …  BUSINESS: And speaking of local businesses, the always popular White Forest Nursery is getting ready to celebrate 50 years as a family-run business. Owners Jeri and Rita White will hold a special celebration on Saturday, May 3, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be prizes, local vendor booths and try tip sandwiches for $5. It is hard to beat White Forest for its sheer size and selection, not to mention good prices.

* … SPOTTED: Posted on a friend's Facebook wall: "Is there anyone else interested in ruining my life this morning? Applications are being accepted until noon."

 * … EATS: Yet another new restaurant is getting ready to open downtown. It will be called City Grill and it will be located on Chester Avenue between 18th and 19th streets.

 * … BAD FORM: Who dumps a mattress in a park? Someone did up on Panorama Drive, leaving a dirty mattress in the small parking lot and overlook area across from the cemetery. Really? (Californian file photo)

  * … RUDY: Terrie Stoller outs at Sunridge Nurseries has authored a cute book about a throwaway dog who was abandoned on a Bakersfield road. She told me it's a true story that is told through the dog's eyes. Called "Rudy the Throwaway Mutt," the book is available on Amazon.  Reviews on Amazon praise the little guy's tenacity and character emphasizing the sadness felt by abandoned animals. Proceeds from the book are donated to the local NRA children's programs and the Free Roaming Felines in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.

 * … MEMORIES: Elinor Grant is one of my pen pals and she is a walking encyclopedia on Bakersfield history. Regarding the building being renovated at the corner of 18th and Chester she said: "Before it became a restaurant it was another bank - Crocker National. When I was in grade school my fourth grade teacher arranged for her students to open bank accounts there with deposits of nickels and dimes. This was in the mid 1930s. After the bank moved to another location the building then became a restaurant."

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Bako Bits: Looking for a $2 million mansion? Plenty to choose from in Bakersfield, and more on stray dogs and cats and those young gun skeet shooters about town

 * … REAL ESTATE: How many homes do you think are for sale in Bakersfield for $2 million or
more? A simple search of the Trulia real estate website found five in that range, starting at $2.3 million and soaring to a $2.9 million mansion boasting seven bedrooms, eight baths and 16,000 square feet of
living space. Meanwhile, an old home I have admired downtown that sold for $220,000 in 2010 is back on the market listed at $775,000. What is this, 2006?

* … STRAYS: The throw-away culture that exists in our society unfortunately extends to pets, and Kern County seems ground zero for stray animals. Recently an emaciated, but very sweet, female gray cat showed up on my porch. She was hungry, for food, for water and most of all, for attention. I later learned that she had been spayed and walked with a limp because of an injury that no one bothered to attend to. A friend took her in, nourished her and heard the soft purr of a cat that only wanted to be loved. By the time she was taken to a veterinarian, it was too late. Someone out there unceremoniously dumped this cat in my neighborhood, an act so cruel that it defies logic. At least "Honey," as she was named over a 72-hour period, had love at the end.

 * … OVERHEARD: A friend coming back from the beach this week remarked: "What moron at Caltrans decided to reduce Highway 46 to one lane during Spring break week for minor road work?"

 * … SPOTTED: Former Gov. Pete Wilson was in town this week and was spotted in the lobby of the Padre Hotel chatting with KEDC director Richard Chapman and county counsel Teri Goldner.

 * … YOUNG GUNS: One of Bakersfield's best kept secrets is that each year it produces some of the best young skeet shooters in the nation. And that tradition continued this weekend at the Ken Barnes Open Skeet Tournament at the Kern County Gun Club. Miles Ramsey, the 13-year-old Stockdale Christian seventh grader and son of Mark and Betsy Ramsey, came away as the class champion in both the 28 gauge and 410 bore and as High Overall Champion in his class. And Jenna Bouni, 16-year-old daughter of Frank and Lori Bouni, shot a perfect 100 X 100 in the 12 gauge and also claimed the lady's championship with an overall score of 388 X 400. She is a freshman at Grand Canyon College in Phoenix. Both kids represent a long line of local teens who have had outstanding careers shooting skeet.

   * … MEMORIES: Jack Kelley posed this question:  "Good morning Richard. I was wondering if any of the old timers in Bakersfield remember the police motorcycles painted red and black. They were painted black and white after a lawsuit forced all vehicles issuing traffic tickets had to be painted black and white. I don’t think this applies anymore."

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Bako Bits: Bakersfield turns out for an annual clean up day, bad form at Starbucks and good form to honor city firemen

 * … CLEAN UP: Hats off to all the local people who scanned out around town Saturday for the Keep Bakersfield Beautiful and the Great American Cleanup. I spotted hundreds of folks about town
participating, and city crews were busy on the bike path between Beach Park and Manor Drive picking up discarded grocery carts and other trash.

 * … SPOTTED: At the Starbucks on Oswell a young mother is sitting in a brown leather chair cuddling with her young son. The problem: her shoes are off and her dirty feet are lounging on the surface of the round table where people place their food.

 * … GOOD FORM: A group of city firemen from the No. 15 station in Seven Oaks are at Jersey Mike's restaurant when they learned a patron has picked up their bill. "We were all surprised and so thankful," fireman Stephen Elrod told me. "All we know was that his name was Walk and we wanted to thank him."

 * … THE MARK: It looks like The Mark will be the latest restaurant it town to cash in on the popularity of outside dining. The eatery has leased a parking lot next to its building on 19th Street and is planning on outside dining with a bar, modeled after what Luigi's Delicatessan did a few years ago when it expanded its garden seating.

 * … TRASH: Karen DeWalt submitted this bit of good news: "I recently submitted an article about Caltrans cleaning up the corner of Golden State frontage road and F Street and trimming the Oleanders.  Last Wednesday the corner was getting cleaned up, not by Caltrans but someone who saw the article. Not only cleaned up the corner but the road as well. This group is called Retiree Pickup.  The corner is cleaned up and now waiting for Caltrans to pick up the weeds. Thank you so much for the Retirees Pickup Group which goes out every Wednesday where needed."

 * … FUND RAISER: There are still tickets left to this year's Vino Amore 2014, the fund raiser put on by Bakersfield East Rotary. It's on for Saturday, April 26, at Monsignor Leddy Hall at Garces Memorial High School. Chef Gino Valpredo and Luigi's will provide dinner paired with wines from Croad Vineyards. Tickets are $75 each and can be purchased by calling Scarlett Sabin at (661) 900-8995.

  * … MEMORIES: My recent blog post about the old Toohey's restaurant triggered this response from Virginia Ratzlaff Pool. "The article about Toohey's brought about memories of the first shopping center outside of downtown. Toohey's was only a small part of the village. I lived across the street from Reimer's Spic-N-Span Market and only half block from Toohey's. I ran around with the Toohey girls who lived on Jeffrey Street. The neighborhood was really nice back then. Mr. Toohey would let us girls come into the restaurant with our roller skates on during closed hours and skate around the counter.  It was quite something. Those were the good old days."