Thursday, October 23, 2014

Downtown Bakersfield gets a new bistro, and Texas Rangers pitcher Colby Lewis stops by the Californian studio to talk about his year

 * … FOODIE: Another privately owned restaurant has opened downtown, this one a cozy bistro that features soft leather couches, a comfortable, homey interior, a wide selection of drinks and light salads and sandwiches. It's called CraSh Lounge and it is located on Eye Street next to the Caribbean eatery Mama Roomba. Check out the Mephistopheles panini but be warned it is spicy. Opened by Muertos Lounge owner Shawna Haddad-Byers, CraSh should not be confused with another relatively new wine bar and restaurant called Krush located in the Northwest off Hageman Road. Both are excellent choices for a quick bite. (a panini by CraSh and a view of the inside of Krush)

* … COLBY: It was good to see former Bakersfield College standout pitcher Colby Lewis in the California video studio this week, talking to local sportscaster Greg Kerr about his year with the Texas Rangers after coming off hip surgery. Lewis managed to pick up 10 wins in a shortened year and is feeling good and back in form. Kerr hosts a new weekly show streamed live on called "The Renegade Report," devoted to BC athletics. It airs every Thursday at 11 a.m.

* …. SCAM: Dwayne Ardis shared his story about how to avoid a scam: "I was getting gas at the Chevron/Fast Trip station at White Lane and Gosford one day when a lady approached me and asked me if I could help her get back home to Tehachapi because she ran out of gas. I said sure but I also requested to see her driver’s license to verify she lived in Tehachapi. She gave me a dirty look and walked away. Scam averted."

 * … GOOD FORM: Kudos to the woman who regularly pulls a litter barrel and cleans up trash along Alfred Harrell Highway and Fairfax Road. Said a reader: "May you be richly rewarded for all your time and effort  It is wonderful to have a leisure drive up the hill on a nice clean highway."

 * … WASTE: Amid the long drought, Jon Stuebbe wonders why "the Beach Park men’s toilet still has a trough urinal with a constantly running waterfall of water? Imagine how many million gallons of water run through it in a year. Apparently the water used by the city Parks and Recreation comes from a different and inexhaustible source."

 * … BLUE STAR: The Blue Star Moms, a group of mothers of current service members of all branches of the armed forces, is hosting a blood drive from Nov. 10 to Nov. 15. The group is looking for folks to donate blood at the two branches of the Houchin Community Blood Bank and is soliciting donations for care packages for military men and women stationed overseas.

 * … PETS: Remember that Busters Pet Fund, a group that helps abandoned and rescued pets, is collecting blankets and old towels at the Petco on Gosford Road this weekend.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Cal State Bakersfield to christen new state-of-the-art dorms for 500 students and a scammer is busted when he hits up the same generous couple

 * … SCAMS: Can you stand another story on people getting scammed out of their money? This one comes compliments of Irene Edmonds, who was going to a local restaurant with her husband Tom
when they were approached by a clean-cut man who claimed he was trying to get back to Fresno after his truck broke down. "For some reason, probably because he was so clean cut looking,
we gave him $20, figuring he was telling the truth and not looking for booze money… Maybe a month later we were going to an event at the Museum of Art and he approaches us again, same story. We informed him that we had given him money recently and he had that story then too… I would say that the look he gave us was pure hate. If I had been alone I would have been scared."

 * … WASTE: Hats off to the folks over at the Kern County Waste Management Department who opened their doors this past weekend to accept household hazardous waste. I dropped off some old paint and pesticides that had cluttered my garage and the process was simple and efficient. The facility is located at 4951 Standard Street and is open to the public Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Isn't it nice when local government works?

 * … CSUB: There is some really good news out at Cal State Bakersfield where they are getting ready to christen the new student dormitories. A ribbon cutting is set for Tuesday, Nov. 18. The dorms will house some 500 students, all part of President Horace Mitchell's vision to bring a true "campus experience" to the local university.

 * … HALLOWEEN: Halloween is coming up and Bakersfield police will be out in force with DUI checkpoints. Unfortunately, Halloween is one of the deadliest nights of the year for alcohol-related accidents. Be safe and if you drink, don't drive.

 * … OVERHEARD: A reader shared these thoughts on water rationing he has heard on the street: "Recent opinions I've encountered are 'I'm not going to stop overseeding rye grass in winter until they pass a law' and 'I'm going to continue overseeding in an effort not to put gardeners out of work.'  Is denial just a river in Egypt? Good news: in a recent visit to Famous Dave's restaurant recently, some nice gentleman paid for dinner, honoring the military service of one person at the table. He said 'I just wanted to show my son a real hero'. I was blown away. And 'Famous CJ' was the greatest waiter.  Thank you for such a nice gesture whoever you are! Now I will make sure to pass that favor on."

 * … MOVIE: A friend passed along a note that at 1 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 8, TCM (Turner Classic Movies)  will be airing the movie Hells Angels on Wheels. Said a reader: "This was made in 1967 mostly here in Bakersfield. Hart Park, the road to Hart Park, the Tilt-A-Wheel and other rides at Hart Park are made to look like a carnival. Also it shows Outlaw Hill, The Bakersfield Inn (Mexican tiles) and I think scenes using a church at the Pioneer Village (Kern County Museum).

Monday, October 20, 2014

House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy: Government should be helping to solve our water problems, not imposing more bureaucracy and red tape

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

 "This week I joined agricultural leaders and policymakers from across the state to discuss the future of our agricultural industry at the first annual Kern County Agricultural Summit hosted by Bakersfield College. The importance of Kern County agriculture to our community is highlighted by the $6.7
billion worth of products produced in 2013. And this significance extends beyond county lines as we greatly contribute to California’s overall production, which happens to be the top agriculture producing state in the U.S. with over 80,000 farms and ranches.

 "The Summit came at a significant time for our community. For generations before us to the present, the rich Central Valley soil and long days of sun have established us as America’s food basket and have turned the ole shantytowns from the Grapes of Wrath into the community we all cherish today. But cultivating the land is hard work and the reliance on cooperation from Mother Nature is never certain. Our historic drought reminds us of that every day. But compounding the naturally occurring impacts are regulations from Sacramento and Washington to preserve the Delta smelt in lieu of water deliveries to our communities.

  "There is no doubt that the issue of water is the top priority for our agriculture industry and our state. What we never expected however, nor should any community anticipate, is our government becoming so disconnected from the needs and realities of the communities they are supposed to serve.

 "Our government should be focused on solving problems that exist within our communities and society; not piling onto challenges that are not proven to exist with more bureaucracy and regulations. In Washington, I am leading the House in a renewed approach to governing that focuses on results. This will be critical as we continue to forge a solution on a long-term California water bill. A result-oriented approach to a successful water bill will ensure water moves through the Delta, benefits State Water Project contractors, and creates more storage – including dams and groundwater banking. Absent these provisions, any California water bill will simply be business as usual. And that is unacceptable.

 "The drought’s effects are a daily reminder of the damage harmful governmental policies can have on our community.  Through events like this week’s Agricultural Summit, it will be imperative that as a community we remain informed on the actions from Sacramento and Washington and involved in working to reverse them. In Washington, my work to this approach drives me every day.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Monday's Bako Bits: Is anyone else sick of the political attack ads that have flooded the airways? And veteran reporter Steve Swenson shares his battle with pancreatic cancer

 * … POLITICS: Is anyone else sick of the political attack ads that have flooded the airways? You'd think there would be weightier issues than how many times Pedro Rios voted while serving on the
Delano city council, or if Andy Vidak had suddenly "sold out" to the Sacramento politicians. But polling shows attack ads work, so get ready for another couple weeks of the incessant negativity.

 * … SEVEN OAKS: Hats off to the Seven Oaks homeowner who took things in his own hands after someone's dog kept leaving unwanted presents behind on his lawn. The homeowner put a small sign in the yard reading: "Is it really that difficult to pick up your dog's poop? Be a good neighbor!!" Ah, first world problems behind the gates.

 * … STEVE: Did you catch the essay by Steve Swenson in Sunday's Californian about his battle with pancreatic cancer? Steve spent 33 years as a reporter so it's no surprise that he writes with such honesty and wit, but this piece was moving in its authenticity and candor. Here's hoping Steve has many years left swinging his golf clubs and making that birdie now and then.

* … ENDEAVOR: It was so nice to see so many organizations reaching out to Endeavor Elementary School after someone burned down its playground equipment. This is one of the many things that gives this community such heart. Said Jay Stodder: "As published in the Californian Thursday,  several groups have stepped up to help pay for Endeavor Elementary  School's playground that was recently destroyed by arsonists. Among them is my place of employment, the Gaslight Melodrama in Rosedale. We're adding a benefit performance of Witches of Westchester to our schedule: Thursday October 24, 7 p.m."

 * … SCAMS: Yet another reader weighed in on this panhandlers who hit us up for money at local gas stations. "Another funny thing happened at that same station about a year ago. I was filling my car with gas when a gentleman with a young girl walked up to me and said that his wife and son were in an automobile accident near Fresno. He and his daughter needed bus fare to go to Fresno to be with them in the hospital. About two weeks later, the same gentleman at the same station approached me and said that his mother was near death at a hospital in Fresno and he needed bus fare hoping to visit her before she died.  I said, 'I'm sorry to hear that so much tragedy has happened to your family recently. Two weeks ago you needed money to go to Fresno to see your wife and son in a hospital in Fresno.'  If looks could kill… He left the station without talking to anyone else."

* … MEMORIES: Ronal Reynier is one reader who enjoys it when we reprint old front pages of The Californian. A recent one from 1911 raised a few questions for him:  "Where have they gone?" he asked, referring to all the small communities in the valley. "In this issue they print about Toltec and the Catholic Colonization in the Rio Bravo district. In this era each oilfield and farming area had their own small village. Most are long gone or swallowed up by other cities such as Bakersfield; but the names live on. The most common live on in our daily lives as areas we know of as Rosedale, Greenacres, Rio Bravo, Smith's Corners, Greenfield, Heck's Corners, or how about Mexican Colony?  Its been in the news a lot lately; how many of you have ever been to Tupman? From a 1916 map of Kern County I counted 47 that are no longer there."