Friday, April 25, 2014

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy recognizes outstanding students with the 23rd Congressional District Merit Award

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, House Majority Whip, gives us his weekly report. In his words:

 "This week and the coming weeks, I have the distinct privilege of recognizing and honoring our most outstanding high school seniors in our community.

 "Our community has some talented students and I want to take the opportunity to recognize them with the 23rd Congressional District of California 2014 Merit Award for students in Kern, Tulare, and Los Angeles counties. This award was created to recognize outstanding high school students who have demonstrated exemplary school citizenship, volunteerism, community service, involvement in extracurricular activities, leadership skills and have earned a GPA of 3.5 or higher. Earlier this year, high school principals were invited to select one outstanding graduating senior per school to receive the 23rd Congressional District of California 2014 Merit Award.

"This award is not only about outstanding academic achievement; it is also meant to recognize the character and positive values that these students uphold.  I look forward to watching these young leaders continue to succeed in the future.”

Student Recipients

Kern County

Mr. Austin Huckaby - Bakersfield Christian High School

Mr. Patrick Crowley – Bakersfield High School

Miss Sarah Manges – Centennial High School

Mr. Ben Ward– East Bakersfield High School

Miss Breana Garcia – Foothill High School

Miss Erin Glavin – Frontier High School

Mr. Ryan Young – Garces Memorial High School

Miss Sara Baldridge – Highland High School

Mr. Michael Cushine – Independence High School

Mr. Mason Meyers – Kern Valley High School

Miss Morgan Wonderly – Liberty High School

Mr. Jacob Allen – Maricopa High School

Mr. Andrew Francis – North High School

Miss Gurjot Kaur – Ridgeview High School

Miss Pratyusha Gogulapati – Stockdale High School

Mr. Clayton Wikoff – Taft Union High School

Mr. Kyle Mathes Orr – Tehachapi High School

Miss Casey Ross – West High School

Miss Kassidy McLaughlin – Rosamond High School

Mr. Ruben Juan Soto – Mojave High School

Mr. Dane Adams – Desert High School

Mr. Kristoph Livingston – California City High School

Mr. Chad Cracraft – Sherman E. Burroughs High School

Miss Lydia Alverson – Boron High School

Tulare County

Mr. Jose Gonzalez – Granite Hills High School

Miss Kayla Holloway – Harmony Magnet Academy

Mr. David Ivancovich – Monache High School

Mr. Anthony James Moore, Jr. – Porterville High School

Miss Jakoba Duffin – Strathmore High School

Los Angeles County

Miss Amanda Tepe – Lancaster High School

Miss Ariel Andal –Desert Christian High School

Mr. Daren Harrell – Quartz Hill High School

 "Also, I want to recognize the artistic talent of our local high school students, and I am pleased to announce the winners of our 2014 Congressional Art Competition. Congratulations to all of the winners and especially to the competition’s overall winner, Frontier High School’s Jacey Cruz, whose winning piece, “San Francisco,” will soon arrive in Washington.  I look forward to Jacey’s visit to our nation’s Capital for the unveiling of her artwork where it will be displayed for visitors to see during their visit to the U.S. Capitol building this year. In addition, all of this year’s winners will hang in my office in Washington for the next year.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Bako Bits: The IRS hands out bonuses to employees who are behind on their own taxes, some really bad form and more memories of old Bakersfield

 * … IRS: Did you hear the Internal Revenue Service handed out $1.1 million in bonuses to more than
1,100 employees who were behind on their own taxes? And they wonder why the public is so cynical these days.

 * … SCAM: Here's the latest scam making the rounds, compliments of my friend Ken Barnes: "My phone rang this morning and I noticed the caller input name was 'Stine Doughnuts.'  Wondering why they would call me I answered, and a mortgage company  representative was on the other end of the line trying to get my business. This is a new low for these companies using legitimate business numbers to get someone to take the call. Have you heard of this practice before now?  I get a lot of calls with out of state area codes that I do not bother to answer because they are usually sales calls. I thought there were laws in place preventing this type of practice. If not, there should be.

* … OVERHEARD: A woman is telling a friend: "My grandmother always told me that if you wanted to know how clean a restaurant was, ask someone in the pest control business."

* …. BAD FORM: Brian Kelly knows bad form when he sees it, and he always drops me a note when he spots a doozy. Brian was getting into his car when a woman pulled into the space in front of him and promptly tossed a banana peel out the windows. "Pulling out I saw her step from the car and slip. Quickly thinking, she grabbed the steering wheel, but continued to slide off the seat and landed with a thud on the door jam. Her grasp on the steering wheel had prevented her from going all the way to the ground. I  pulled forward and asked if she was okay. In a colorful way she said yes. I asked what kind of trashy idiot would leave a banana peel on the ground for someone to slip and fall, and drove forward. I noticed in the rear view she responded in sign language. In hindsight, I wish had driven back around and reminded her to buy bananas."

 * … TRASH: Jon Crawford also wrote to talk about trash, and the people who treat out community like an open trash can. "I belong to a local gym and about once a week I feel compelled to tell the manager that it’s time to clean the men’s dressing room because of all the trash and towels littering the floor. One woman said the women’s dressing room was also littered, so it’s not just a gender issue. A friend said that his gym has the same problem, so it’s not just the members at my gym. I think that the litter issue is a three-fold problem. People who think they’re entitled because they pay taxes or dues to litter; expecting others to clean-up their messes. The littering, at least in my gym, seems to be oriented around the ages of 18 to 35; the younger the member the more likely he is to litter. Lastly, it seems to be related to background culture or heritage; as one group seems to be the greatest offenders."

* … MEMORIES: Some folks asked what the name of the restaurant was that was located in the old bank building at the corner of 18th and Chester.  According to Carl Bryan: "I believe it was called Sixpence and Rye." And yet another reader called to tell me that the old Sambo's restaurant was never located on Chester Avenue but rather on Union Avenue where Casa Munoz now sits.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

For the first time ever the University of California system admits more Hispanics than whites, but Asian students continue to lead the field particularly at UC Berkeley and UCLA

 * … COLLEGES: This is the time of year when high school seniors commit to the college of their choice, a white knuckle period for both the students and their parents. And now comes word that for
the first time ever, more Hispanic students were admitted to the University of California system than whites, reflecting our changing demographics. Add to that: the system admitted more out of state students than ever as well, simply because they pay higher tuition fees than in-state students. The facts: Latinos account for almost 29 percent of the California students for this fall's freshman class. That is slightly more than the 26.8 percent of whites, but it trails the number of Asian students at 36.2 percent. Black students represented 4.2 percent of those admitted.

 * … BUSHES: From Jon Crawford comes this thought: "Hawthorn bushes are evergreen, and although they are rather innocuous in looks, they do provide greenery in center dividers on Truxtun. In the spring they are covered with small pink flowers that last less than a month. Last month I noticed the city’s gardeners pruning to remove the flowers while they were in full bloom. One might conclude our city’s bureaucracy likes neat, but not beauty or color."

* … VINCENT: My earlier post about an abandoned cat that showed up on my porch brought this uplifting tale from Superior Court Judge David Lampe: "My wife Sandy (and I) are suckers for animals. A big feral black tomcat showed up on our front lawn about a year ago. We already had three rescued cats (and three dogs). My wife's heart went out to this big tom who was ill and dying on our front lawn. He was torn up on his head and torso after a lot of fights. He must have lost the last one. He wouldn't leave. Long story short: after many vet bills (neutered, antibiotics, eye drops, infected teeth removed) and convalescence in a cage in a spare bedroom, he survived. We call him Vincent, because they cut his ear when they neutered him (because he was feral) and because his other ear was chewed up in fights (my wife is a professional artist). We thought that we would release him once neutered and probably feed him as an outdoor cat. However, he now will not set foot outside. If we open the door, he just stares at us as if to say, 'Hey, I've been there - done that. Never again!' He has become the sweetest cat we have, and gets along with all the other animals. My nickname for him is The Thug because of his size and history. He is like a mob guy enjoying retirement. Sort of like Marlon Brando in the Godfather."

 * … MEMORIES: The old bank building being restored at the corner of 18th and Chester has triggered a lot of memories. Albert Lyons remembers going there when it was Tiny's restaurant. "I remember sitting by the big windows overlooking 18th Street. After that it was a  medieval theme restaurant but I cannot remember the name... King Arthurs? does anyone remember that? I had a friend who worked there."

  * … MORE MEMORIES: And this from reader Henry Webb: "I am grateful and excited to see the old bank building at 18th and Chester be resurrected. It should be a glorious place to see when finished.
I remember in the 1950s there was a Tiny's restaurant at that location. My dad used to take me there for their famous strawberry waffles. Across the street was a Sambo's cafe with a large mural of Sambo and the tiger in a jungle setting. Such a place is shocking to think of today as are the miscegenation laws that were in effect in some states then. I miss Tiny's."

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Dorothy Harrison, mother of Monsignor Craig Harrison, dies over Easter weekend, and enjoying the Sequoia National Forest on a picture perfect weekend

 * … DOROTHY: I was saddened to hear that Dorothy Harrison, the mother of Monsignor Craig Harrison, died this weekend. Dorothy had been diagnosed with state 4 pancreatic, liver and lung cancer over a year ago and was not expected to last this long. But she did and and as Monsignor Craig said,
she was an "amazing witness of faith." Services will be at St. Francis Church on Tuesday at 6 p.m. A rosary and funeral mass will be held Wednesday at 10 a.m.

* … WEEKEND: Could we have asked for better weather to bless us for an Easter weekend? I spent Saturday evening at a Passover Seder in a beautiful La Cresta back yard, surrounded by an eclectic mix of Jews, Christians, seekers, atheists and Deists. It made for a spirited discussion and the ultimate realization that wherever you stand on religion, friendships endure when we appreciate what we have in common and not our different personal views or faith.

 * … HIKE: One of our great gifts here in Bakersfield is that we are just a half hour drive from some of the most beautiful hiking country anywhere in the country. A few of us headed up the Kern River Canyon Sunday and spent a few hours hiking on Cow Flat Road in the Sequoia National Forest. Despite the lack of rain, there were plenty of wildflowers and the views of the canyon and beyond were stunning. All you need are shorts, hiking shoes and the will to get a workout.

* … VINTAGE: The renovation of an old restaurant building downtown continues to be the talk of the town. Located at the northeast corner of 18th Street and Chester Avenue, what was once a home to a taco and enchilada restaurant is being returned to its original glory, a 1910 structure that was built to house the old Security Trust Bank. It is fascinating to watch the old facade stripped off to reveal a beautiful old building that owner Sam Abed promises to restore.

* … GOOD FORM: Mary Christenson is best known as one of Watson's star Realtors, but each year around this time she is known for turning her yard into an Easter extravaganza. For the past four years she has covered her Seven Oaks front lawn with plastic Easter eggs - some 1,500 of them - to the delight of neighborhood children who stop to enjoy the scene. The eggs, along with her array of colorful blooming roses, make for quite a scene.

 * … BAD FORM: A pox on whoever stole the special palm planter next to the door of the Bakersfield Community House near the Bakersfield Museum of Art. This is a worthy organization that operates on a shoestring budget. The palm was planted to welcome folks to the senior center.

 * … MEMORIES: Wilson Call added to those readers who remember Toohey's steak house in La Cresta. As he remembers it: "Toohey was very controversial. If you would ask for steak sauce he would tell you his steaks are the best and you don't need any sauce!"