Thursday, December 11, 2014

Local radio group adds an FM simulcast for First Look with Scott Cox and The Ralph Bailey show, heating up the local radio wars …

 * … RADIO WARS: The local radio wars heated up this week when American General Media
accounced it had added a new FM station to its broadcast of News-Talk 1180 KERN. The station will simulcast KERN-AM on 96.1 FM, giving local hosts Scott Cox and Ralph Bailey new reach on the FM dial. AGM president Rogers Brandon said the simulcast will "allow KERN-AM and the excellent talent that we have on the station to be discovered by the vastly larger FM audience."

* … BIRTH: Did you hear about the woman who gave birth on a Southwest Airlines flight from San Francisco to Phoenix? Lind Brammer wondered: "Who issues the birth certificate? Which county?  I think it would be an interesting item for that baby to put on his/her resume, that he/she was born inflight, somewhere over the San Joaquin Valley."

* … PANDHANLDERS: Sandra Hurtado witnessed something the other day that is worth sharing. In her words: "We were exiting freeway at White Lane and a young girl in her 20s was standing at the median with her cardboard sign asking for money. My daughter made a comment that it was so sad because she is so young. We all felt bad for her. I proceeded to my destination at Urner's to pick up my order. I'm standing in the back and I see the young lady walking through the parking lot and get in a car. She sat in the car for awhile … counting her money. She left in a shiny red SUV, a really nice car.  It's so hard to judge now when giving money."

 * … RIP NANCY: Nancy Sherman spent 30 years working as a nurse at Kern Medical Center, and over that time became almost legendary in her commitment to her patients. This note from my friend Gordon Westhoff speaks volumes: "I just read the obituary today for Nancy Sherman and wanted to say a few words regarding her. I had the privilege as a sales rep in healthcare to call on Nancy for over twenty years at KMC. She was the best and most dedicated clinical nurse I ever knew - her patients were all that mattered to her. Doctors and sales reps both feared and respected her  As a rep you better NEVER try and sell her a product that was not the best for her patients  I was terrified of her when I first met her becasue she let me know in VERY clear terms to not ever waste her time with salesman bull! Her nurses all respected her and her patient's families loved her. She was a true legend at KMC."

 * … FOODIE: If you are a fan of anchovies, make sure to order the Ceasar salad at The Padre Hotel which comes with lightly and delicately fried anchovies. Highly recommended.

 * … SPOTTED: A man waiting in line at the downtown Sequoia Sandwich Shop is wearing a T-shirt that reads: "Bakersfield. It's really not that bad."

 * … GOOD FORM: Hats off to Shirley Cody who recently completed 1,000 miles of water walking at the McMurtry Aquatic Center. Not a bad feat for an 80-year-old woman who devoted five years of her life to achieving this goal.

 * … BAD FORM: Kern County sheriff's deputies have arrested two teenage boys for allegedly feeding a cat to two large dogs and vide taping the grusome act. According to KGET, the video surfaced on social media and the teenagers were tracked down and arrested for animal cruelty. This kind of behavior defies all logic. In the video, the teenagers could be heard encouraging the dogs to attack the cat. No word on if the cat survived.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Bakersfield lags the state in well being and socio-economics and local oil producers slow down production and begin laying off workers to respond to a global oil glut

 * … RANKINGS: Bakersfield posted some low rankings in a new survey by the Social Science Research Council that measures well-being and access to socio-economic upward mobility based on race, ethnicity, gender and geographic location. Some key findings about Bakersfield: Our index score of 3.69 is 30 percent below the California average and the median
earnings range from $36,031 for whites to $18,865 for Latinos, a spread of over $17,000. And, almost half of all Latino adults in the Bakersfield metro area did not complete high school. "This is more than twice the rate for African Americans in the Bakersfield metro area, and the highest rate of any group in any of the ten biggest metro areas," according to the report.

* … OIL: With the benchmark price of Kern County crude oil now under $60 a barrel, more producers are laying off service workers until the price stabilizes. All this may be good for consumers as the price of gas drops, but lower oil prices will have a devastating impact on county tax revenue, 40 percent of which comes from the energy sector. The price of oil has plummeted more than 40 percent since July, one of the sharpest drops in memory.

* … SCAM: A local restaurant was the target of a familiar scam the other day. A "very professional" man called the manager posing as a collector for the utility PGE, demanding $900 on a cash card or the power would be cut off later that day. The manager "almost fell for it," the owner told me, but at the last minute called the utility and learned it was a hoax.

 * … RAIN: A huge storm is headed to the Bay Area, where meteorologists expect as much as 7.5 inches of rain. That's terrific news for the drought and northern California, and let's hope some of it trickles down to the Central Valley. One thing is for certain: we are a long way from recovering from the drought.

 * … SPOTTED: Posted on Facebook was this: "Fatherhood is accidentally turning your daughter's white blouse pink because you're being 'economical' with the wash, then washing it by itself with bleach to turn it back to white before anyone notices."

 * … BURGLARY: Another house - this one downtown near Jastro Park - was burglarized this week when someone kicked the door open in broad daylight. This is the time of year when these kinds of burglaries and break-ins spike, so watch out for your neighbors.

 * … GOOD FORM: I received a nice hand written note from a friend the other day, thanking me for something I considered almost inconsequential. It serves as a reminder of the power of a personal note, not in text or in email, but offered in a way that speaks to sincerity and thought.

 * … BAD FORM: Miriam Martin called to share a story of someone who broke into her car the other night. "They saw my straw bag and must have thought it was my purse," she said. "It contained my scriptures, my Bible and my hymnal. They weren't homeless because they left two blankets I had in the back seat!"

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Local oil producer Chad Hathaway to appear as my guest on First Look with Scott Cox this Tuesday, and a couple of former NFL stars are spotted downtown dining on Chinese Food

 * … OIL INDUSTRY: After years of soaring energy prices and new drilling, the oil and gas industry has found itself in an unfamiliar position: the price of oil has dropped to a five-year low and environmentalists continue their attacks on hydraulic fracturing. We will talk about these issues when Chad Hathaway comes into the First Look studios to discuss the challenges facing the energy sector. Hathaway is a fourth generation oil producer who founded a company bearing his name in 2001. He also has been active in the Kern Citizens for Sustainable Government, an organization that has quickly evolved into an influential player on public policy. He will appear on the show at 9 a.m. Tuesday, broadcast live on KERN NewsTalk 1180 and videostreamed live on

  * … SPOTTED: Bakersfield has a long and storied history of producing great athletes in virtually every sport, and I spotted a few of them the other night while dining at Bill Lee's downtown. While chatting with local caterer Mike Ariey (former offensive tackle with the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants) he pointed out Rodney Leisle in the bar. Leisle graduated from Ridgeview High School and UCLA before spending five years with the New Orleans Saints. And yes, he was sporting a rock of a Super Bowl ring bearing the Saints emblem. Leisle is now an energy consultant with Vivint Solar.

* … THEFTS: Here is a cautionary tale: A homeowner downtown woke to find her car burglarized. Apparently the thieves used her garage door opener in the car to open her garage and make off with bicycles and other items.

* … SCAM: Yet another telephone scam, this one compliments of Patricia Kelley: "They just keep coming. This morning I received a call, 'Congrats your application for a PayPal loan has been reevaluated and you have been approved for a $1,300 loan. Call this number (631) 406-4695, Smithtown N.Y. within 24 hours for your acceptance and funds will be transferred to your bank account.' Watch out people, you are instructed to push #1 for a live operator, which I did not do. If you call the number, which I verified on my phone, it is disconnected. Nothing is free! I am now going to check my credit reports to see if there is any mischief there.

 * … MEMORIES: Some random memories from reader Ronal Reynier: "I graduated from East Bakersfield High School in 1954 and at that time an arts teacher by the name of Lois Smith could tell you the history of each painting in the school library. They said in the 'Kern's Past' article that the paintings in 2004 were worth $250,000. A William Wendt painting now would be worth almost that much. My question is were are they now? Some years ago a lady bequeathed her art collection to the County of Kern that had an estimated value at the time of one $1 million to $5 million dollars.
They were housed in the vault of the late Great Western Savings and Loan while the county checked if it was legal for them to except the collection. I have the same question, where are they now? Will these enter into the other great mysteries of the county as to where and what happened to the lion statues of the old jail building; and the neon 'Weather-Bird' sign above the Sill Building? At the time it was the largest neon sign west of the Rockies." Royal: I believe the lion statues were moved to a fraternity house at the University of Nevada at Reno.