Thursday, May 22, 2014

Federal government drastically cuts its estimates of recoverable oil in the Monterey Shale, and the inspiring story of a kind hearted mailman who rescued the dog that bit him

* … SHALE: The government's stunning announcement dramatically cutting the amount of oil believed to be in the Monterey Shale could have widespread consequences for Kern County. Oil
industry experts were shocked when the Energy Information Administration estimated that there are only 600 million barrels of extractable oil in the shale, a drastic cut from the 13.7 billion barrels that were originally thought to be there. The reaction here? Local drillers shrugged it off, saying if the oil is there, the industry will find a way to extract it. I'm betting with the oil industry on this one.

* … GOOD FORM: This note from Joan Muller made my day. "I recently had to deal with finding kittens in the wall of my house. Mama kitty had gotten into the attic (which will be fixed) and had her litter of three babies. The kittens fell in a hollow spot which was about a 10 foot drop from the attic into the wall. Not having the means to extract the little ones from the wall I called my cousin Brook Muller for help. He was at church choir practice when I called but stated he would be over as soon as he finished. He showed up as promised at 9 p.m. with his saw and had to cut out three small portions of the garage wall before we finally found two little kittens which were starving and scared  While I put them in a pet carrier and gave them food and water Brook put the cut panels back in place, swept the floor and put all the boxes back where I had them. I found the third one the next day.  I just wanted to give a HUGE shout out to my wonderful cousin who gave of his time and talent to help God's defenseless creatures! He is a blessing to his family and this community!"

 * … THEFT: Add downtown to the growing list of neighborhoods where a resident has awakened to find his struck on blocks, the wheels and tires stolen in the night. This time it happened to a late model Toyota truck. Trucks in Stockdale Estates and La Cresta have suffered similar fates.

 * … CHUTZPAH: My use of the word "chutzpah" recently drew this response from reader Terry Beals: "While the mayor of Porterville is surely outspoken and ill informed, his unfortunate comments don't rise to a level of chutzpah. As a youngster I was told that a definition of chutzpah is difficult to create; but that the following description could suffice. A man convicted of killing both of his parents pleads for mercy from the judge, ... because he is an orphan. That is CHUTZPAH."

 * … SNUFFY: Dan Cooper wrote with this inspirational tale of Snuffy, a small white dog rescued from death row. "Our family moved from Reno to Bakersfiield in 1937, and we brought Snuffy with us, a small white dog with a mean streak. We lived on Orange Street. Snuffy bit the mailman and was picked up by the authorities to be held for 10 days, and if not adopted, put down. We did not want him back. The mailman asked us about the dog… On the last day, we later found out the mailman adopted the dog. The dog that bit him. We drove by his house, and there was Snuffy on a chain. Lucky dog, kind hearted mailman."

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Campus activism at UCLA puts the state of Israel in its cross hairs, and who wins the bragging rights for the amazing 3-year-old colt California Chrome?

* … ISRAEL: Did you hear about the latest incident of political correctness at UCLA? The Westwood campus is embroiled in a controversy over student government elections in which
candidates were pressured to promise that they would not visit Israel on sponsored visits. This kind of anti-Israeli sentiment is common on university campuses and it is sad that some try to quash a civil conversation about a very complex and important topic. One UCLA student, who refused to sign the pledge, lost by 31 votes. According to the Los Angeles Times, Chancellor Gene Block said he was disturbed by what happened and is calling for more tolerance on the campus. Other universities, including UC Santa Barbara and the University of Michigan, have seen undergraduates demand the school cut ties with companies that do business with Israel.

 * … BULLYING: And speaking of political correctness, you have to admire Porterville Mayor Cameron Hamilton's chutzpah even if you don't agree with his message. Hamilton is under attack for saying that bullying victims should toughen up and defend themselves and not blame the world's problems on bullying. In what can only be described as an unusual display of frankness, he said some folks should "grow a pair" and learn to "just stick up for them damned selves." You can imagine the ruckus that followed in the small community of 55,000 people. At issue was a student program proposing safe zones around town with signs directing children to places where they could seek refuge from bullies.

* … CHROME: It looks like there is a battle for bragging rights over California Chrome, the 3-year-old colt who will try to become the first horse in 36 years to win the Triple Crown. Folks in Bakersfield love the horse because co-owner Steve Coburn used to call Kern County home, but he now lives in Reno so the Nevada city also claims the horse. And up in Coalinga, where California Chrome was trained at Harris Ranch, there are bragging rights as well. It looks like the thoroughbred really has become "America's horse."

* … EXHIBIT: If you have a smart phone, and you use Instagram, here's your chance to enter a photography contest. The idea came from Don Martin, owner of the Metro Galleries on 19th Street, for a June exhibit. It will be called INSTAexhibition, a collection of Instagram only photography. Martin said this will be a unique show exploring not only the use of the app but also hashtags for marketing purposes. He already has entries from Europe, Canada and throughout the United States. For info on this exhibit log on to or email Martin directly at . (photo by Don Martin)

 * … MUSIC: And speaking of Metro Galleries, Don Martin is hosting a terrific Americana folk singer this Thursday, kicking off his summer concert series. The songstress is Kat Devlin from Santa Barbara, and I can personally vouch for her talent. A portion of the proceeds from the event (tickets are just $10) will go to support the Arts Council of Kern,. Doors open at 6 p.m. and Kat sings at 7 p.m.

 * … NUT FESTIVAL: Organizers are gearing up for the second annual Kern County Nut Festival out at the Kern County Museum. The inaugural event last year was a huge success but was not without its hiccups. This year they promise it will be bigger and better. It is set for Saturday, June 7, over at the museum. Pick up your tickets at the museum.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

More doubts about the panhandlers who roam our parking lots looking for cast, and The Bakersfield Californian Foundation hands out $211,000 for groups that care for our stray and abandoned animals

 *… PANHANDLERS: Kathy Scott wrote to share some information on panhandlers who hang out in the Von's parking lot at Stockdale Hwy. and California Avenue. "According to someone who works in the center, he noticed a large van coming early in the morning hours that unloads a group of people who then scattter throughout the shopping center and ask for money. At a precise time of day they all
gather to get into the van and return home. They profess to need food but will only accept cash.
Hungry, doubtful! But hungry for money that goes untamable, yes. I myself have encounter many of them outside of where I go for weekly meetings and was blasted for not giving them money. When are people going to see that the panhandlers are, for the most part, not whom they seem."

 * … GRANTS: I am fortunate to serve on the board of The Bakersfield Californian (family) Foundation, which focused its recent grant cycle on animal welfare. The number of groups and individuals committed to rescuing and helping abandoned animals is nothing less than impressive. The foundation handed out more than $211,000 in grants last week. Among the recipients: 2nd Chance Ranch [Tehachapi] $15,000; All The King’s Horses of Robison Ranch [Ridgecrest] $5,000; Bakersfield Pet Food Pantry $10,025; Bakersfield SPCA $40,000; Bit-O-Heaven Ranch $20,000; Cathey’s K-9 Rescue $5,000; Critters Without Litter: $20,000; Friends of the Kern County Animal Shelters Foundation $30,000; Have a Heart Humane Society [Tehachapi] $14,000; Helping Animals Live Tomorrow (HALT) Rescue: $13,300; People Assisting Wasco Shelter (PAWS) $12,000; Pet Match Maker California $10,000; A SafeFurr Place Animal Rescue: $5,000 and Whiskers Paws Hooves and Claws Animal Advocacy $12,000.

* … GOOD FORM: Here is a bit of good form compliments of reader Judi Anderson Gahagan. She was having dinner at the Outback Steakhouse on Mother's Day when her order was lost. "The manager came and asked what I had ordered, he then asked if my husband wanted a fresh meal when mine would be delivered. We said no, so my husband enjoyed his meal... I did too when my steak was delivered.  When our check came, we noticed my meal had been deducted, so this was a wonderful way to get us as repeat customers."

 * … MORE GOOD FORM: Kristi Orizaga, who worked in the city animal care center, wrote to thank the folks at Sharon's Mobile Pet Makeover for donating their time at the shelter. "The ladies do a wonderful job and I just wanted them to know how much we appreciate it."

 * … SKATE PARK: I ran into Dianne Hoover, the city parks director, the other day and she reminded me that a new skate park is opening this week at Planz Park. The park was designed by local skate boarders and will open this Thursday at 3:30 p.m. The new park, larger and more elaborate than the one at Beach Park, features a bowl, ramps, stairs, railings and a sloped wall. The skate park was originally a public pool that was built in the 1960s that is long past its life expectancy. (file photo by McIntosh Associates of Beach Park)

 * … SIDEWALK: The decision by a downtown property owner to dig up his sidewalk, only to be told by the city to replace it, could prove a costly mistake. Said Stephen A. Montgomery: "Not only will the property owners be required to replace the sidewalk they removed but the new walk will need to meet current code which, if the property is on a corner, will include an ADA compliant access ramp per the California Building Code. Their lapse of common sense and judgement may prove to be rather expensive."

 * … ACHIEVER: Ruthann Romano Marquez wrote to note that her nephew, Adam Schuster, graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder summa cum laude with a double major in English and Philosophy. He was also chosen to be the valedictorian speaker at the English Department graduation ceremony. Adam will pursue a Ph.d in English at the University of Wisconsin starting in September. Adam and his parents, Frank and Lisa Marquez Schuster formerly lived in Bakersfield. Adam attended Ronald Reagan Elementary and Warren Junior High before moving. He is the grandson of Joe Marquez, nephew of Deborah Marquez Baker and Richard Marquez ,who all reside in Bakersfield.