Friday, May 8, 2015

Rep. Kevin McCarthy highlights the 23rd Congressional District 2015 Merit Award winners

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

 "As the school year begins to wind down and graduation season approaches, I wanted to highlight a number of the exceptional high school student leaders we have in our community. Each year, I honor
these students with the 23rd Congressional District of California 2015 Merit Award created 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. Our high school principals were invited to select one outstanding graduating senior per school to receive the 23rd Congressional District of California 2015 Merit Award.

This week I was able to personally recognize these individuals and celebrate their accomplishments. Below are the names of each student:

Miss Olivia Espinoza - Bakersfield Christian High School

 Miss Alexandra Vaughan – Bakersfield High School

 Mr. Timothy Andersen – Centennial High School

 Miss Adriana Alcala – East Bakersfield High School

Miss Ebony Turner – Foothill High School

Mr. Robert Norris – Frontier High School

Mr. John Soper – Garces Memorial High School

Mr. Douglas Johnston – Highland High School

 Miss Amrit Dhillon – Independence High School

Mr. David Mackey – Kern Valley High School

Miss Bailey Slayton – Liberty High School

Miss Kaylee Dunham – Maricopa High School

 Miss Jennifer Hernandez – North High School

Miss Breanna Ramos – Ridgeview High School

Miss Po Tsui – Stockdale High School

Mr. Phuc Nguyen Ngo – Taft Union High School

 Mr. Kasey Brockelsby – Tehachapi High School

 Miss Diana Hurtado – West High School

Miss Laura Koemmpel – Porterville High School

Miss Sarah Vehrs – Granite Hills High School

Mr. Raymundo Lopez – Harmony Magnet Academy

Miss Sabrina Mahal – Monache High School

Miss Josefina Lopez – Strathmore High School

Miss Stephanie De La Melena – Lancaster High School

Miss Darlene Mendoza – Desert Christian High School

Miss Melody Mendez – Quartz Hill High School

Mr. Austin Leonardo – Rosamond High School

Miss Monica Gonzalez – Mojave High School

Miss Erica Tyson – Desert High School

Miss Ellyse Adamczyk – California City High School

Miss Joelle Steichen – Sherman E. Burroughs High School

Mr. Keith Core – Boron High School

Each student was also asked to select a teacher that inspired them and here are the educators they chose to recognize. We thank the teachers in our community that work so hard for our children.

Mr. Frank Thiessen - Bakersfield Christian High School

 Ms. Clair Richards – Bakersfield High School

 Mr. Ryan Coleman – Centennial High School

 Mr. Brad Sanders– East Bakersfield High School

Mr. Wade Tavorn – Foothill High School

Ms. Nicole Nelson – Frontier High School

Mrs. Cheryl Rhodes – Garces Memorial High School

Mr. Geoffrey Ruud – Highland High School

 Mrs. Kip Glazer – Independence High School

Mrs. Erin Woodward – Kern Valley High School

Mrs. Leandrea Slayton – Liberty High School

Mrs. Debbie Myers – Maricopa High School

 Ms. Natalie Ryan – North High School

Mrs. Marlys Brimmer – Ridgeview High School

Mrs. Denise Sande – Stockdale High School

Mrs. Sarah Hamblin – Taft Union High School

 Mr. James Henderson – Tehachapi High School

 Mrs. Angela Jenkins – West High School

Mrs. Linda Shearer – Porterville High School

Mr. Rich Lambie – Granite Hills High School

Mr. Jeromy Blackwell – Harmony Magnet Academy

Mr. Grant Wagner – Monache High School

Mr. Ben Nelson – Strathmore High School

Mr. Thomas Shepardson – Lancaster High School

Mr. Devin Thomas – Desert Christian High School

Mr. Jeff Culver – Quartz Hill High School

Mr. Caleb Schroeder – Rosamond High School

Mrs. Maysha Dawson – Mojave High School

Mrs. Debbie Lewis – Desert High School

Mr. Shane Moore – California City High School

Mr. Chris Ostermann – Sherman E. Burroughs High School

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Living in a rail town: What is it about your neighborhood that makes it home? The quiet street, the shade, the neighbors or is it the sounds of freight cars coupling

 * … TRAINS: When people share what they love about their neighborhood, it rarely comes down to the size of the homes or the expensive cars parked outside. It's usually the small things that matter most - the kindness of the neighbors, that tall sycamore in the back yard, the quiet street. For me, it's the
distinctive sound of freight cars coupling at night or the soft wail of a train's whistle as it passes through town that are part of my nightly ritual. While I recognize the dangers of living in an area with heavy rail traffic, these nightly ballads have become the comforting soundtrack of my own neighborhood, and I would have it no other way.

 * … SPOTTED: On Twitter this popped up: "The best way to get a man to do something is to suggest he’s too old for it."

 * … CRIME: Living in a gated community may give you a greater sense of security, but it's not a guarantee you won't be a victim of crime. Earlier this week at The Greens in Seven Oaks, a gated adult community, someone kicked in the front door of a local residence and made off with jewelry and prescription drugs.

 * … MAZE CUP: Remember when I mentioned the upcoming Maze Cup, the tennis tournament featuring some of the best juniors in the state? It is being hosted at Stockdale Country Club and is set for May 16-17 and is absolutely free. If you are interested in a Friday dinner, the cost is $25, but the tournament itself is free to the public.

 * … OVERHEARD: A spunky and engaging Starbucks barista downtown responds to a customer's request with this friendly retort: "Gotcha dude."

* … HIKE: I am not a gambling man, but if I were I would wager that 10-year-old Waverly Reifka will never have to deal with diabetes or weight issues. The fourth grader, an A student at Ronald Reagan Elementary, recently completed a 16-mile hike with her parents on the Mill Creek Trail, a tough jaunt even for experienced hikers. Said proud father Dan Reifka of yet another long hike they took: "We woke up at 5 a.m., and we got home at midnight without dinner." Reifka said they were hiking with the Southern Sierra Hiking Club and "we thank you Leah,  Erin Clerico and Stephen Black and Tony Sarzotti the organizer."

 * … MEMORIES: Ronal Reynier's memory about an old theater that had a Spanish motif interior brought this response from Susan Seaman: "Mr Reynier's memory sounds like the old Granada Theatre located on Kentucky Street. It closed in the 1980s. It was remodeled in the 1950s, which may have done away with the trellises."

 * … OR WAS THAT THE REX? But Rhonda Brady added this: "Your reader Ronal Reynier may be remembering the Rex Theatre on 19th Street just east of Woolworths. My father worked there for a short time when I was very young but I was never inside so don't know if it had a Spanish motif." Yet another reader left me a voice mail speculating the old theater could have been the Rialto.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Home security cameras catch a young woman stealing a package at a Northwest Bakersfield home, some good form around town and get ready for the Maze Cup to return to Stockdale Country Club

 * … THEFT: Whoever snatched the package off Earl Absher's front porch may have messed with the wrong man. Absher, a retried Fresno police officer, was smart enough to install security cameras on the porch of his Northwest Bakersfield home and they recorded the young brunette who calmly walked up his sidewalk and snatched the box that contained a new briefcase. The video also clearly shows a
late model blue, or black, Chevrolet Suburban that dropped the woman off. Absher has posted four videos of the theft on a Facebook page called "Bakersfield Dirtbag." Check it out and if you recognize the woman, contact Earl.

* … GOOD FORM: There are good and honest people in this town, as this story from Steve Hollick testifies. "Richard, I went to Target in Rosedale. As I was loading my truck, I reached for my brand new iPhone and realized I didn't have it! I ran back into the store and retraced every step. Needless to say, it was gone. I was extremely upset with myself. A security guard was by the door and in a moment of desperation I just asked him if anyone turned it in. He gave me a big smile and said yes. I was stunned! I about hugged that guy! I want to thank the person who found and turned it in! God Bless him or her! I'm so glad that there are honest people in this town!"

 * … SPOTTED: I spotted this gem on Twitter: "Guys are like bears. If you lay very still they’ll paw at you a bit then give up and go look for food."

 * … MEA CULPA: I made an error earlier this week in writing about a home on Elm Street that had been taken over by squatters. The home, as it turns out, was not near 24th Street but instead is located closer to the Golden State Freeway. It is owned by a finance company and was not purchased by the city as part of the 24th Street Widening project. Squatters has become a problem throughout town, particularly when homes are in foreclosure or have been purchased by a governmnental authority as part of road projects.

 * … MAZE CUP: The Maze Cup, a tennis tournament featuring some of the top juniors from Northern and Southern California, is coming back to Stockdale Country Club this year. It is set for May 16-17 and trust me, this is one tournament you don't want to miss. Some of the past participants include Lindsay Davenport, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Michael Chang and Bob Bryan. The cost to attend is $25 and reservations are required. Call (661) 834-1113.

 * … OLPH: If you are in the mood for one of the best steaks in town (and face it, who isn't?) consider the annual Our Lady of Perpetual Help spring barbecue on the Parish grounds, 124 Columbus Street this Thursday. This is the famous Harris Ranch New York steak or chicken with all the local trimmings for just $25. Gates open at 5 p.m. with dinner served from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tickets are available at the church or school offices, at the event or by calling (661) 872-1543. Take out available as well as complimentary valet parking.

* … MEMORIES: Ronal Reynier had nice things to about the special section in The Californian this weekend called 'Birth of a City.' Reynier said it "brought back many fond and sad memories of my 78 years in this great city. It brought back memories of a theater I had forgotten about; but I require help
of one memory. I don't know if it is a dream or real. I seem to remember a theater that had a "Spanish" motif interior with trellises down the sides. Maybe some reader can enlighten me if it was real or just in my mind. If it is a dream, it was beautiful."

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Squatters move into homes on the north side of 24th Street as the widening project moves ahead, and which breed of dogs barks the most? The Beagle and Bassett Hound are the worst offenders

 * … SQUATTERS: The proposed widening of 24th Street downtown has led to a mess as squatters take over vacant homes on the north side. Just this weekend, Bakersfield police busted up a family of squatters on one house near Elm Street, apparently finding stolen guns and drugs in the process.
Neighbors tell me as soon as one house is purchased by the city and vacated, homeless and gang members move it to make the place their own. "I must say it truly took at the neighbors rallying together" and contacting Bakersfield police to get action on the Elm Street home, one homeowner told me.

* … DOGS: We have all have had neighbors with dogs who bark and yelp throughout the day, and night, but did you ever wonder what breeds were the worst offenders? According to a recent survey, the top five breeds who bark incessantly include the Maltese, the Keeshond, the Jack Russell Terrier, the Bassett Hound, and worst offender of them all, the Beagle.

 * … GOOD FORM: Ruth Fee wrote to thank some folks who work on 18th Street for coming to her aid when she took a nasty fall on a public sidewalk. "They quickly brought first aid, offering help and concern for my welfare. A special thanks to a visiting physician who despite my protestations refused to leave my side until my daughter arrived, and assured her I was in good hands. Scrapes, aches and a little rocky but otherwise all is well."

 * … BAD FORM: Steve Barnes wonders who "signed off on the lane striping on Highway 58 from Cottonwood Road to Highway 99. I drove it westbound last night at 5:30, and you literally cannot see the lanes when they shift left or right. You are driving along in the No. 1 fast lane and all of a sudden you are in the No. 2 lane. I came home from 99 to 58 east at 6:15 p.m., and you could see at least every third or forth car in the westbound lanes crossing over into the next lane unknowingly!"

 * … ACHIEVER: Greg and Mary Hanel are understandably proud of their children. Greg Hanel, former Stockdale High 2010 senior class president, is commissioning in the United States Air Force as a second lieutenant and graduating from The Ohio State University with a BS in Theoretical Mathematics in May. He will report to Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma, to begin pilot training. His sister Alyson, Stockdale High Class of 2009, will also graduate in May from Kansas State University with an MS in Geology  She and her husband Trent McCaw will reside in Henderson, Nevada.

* … HOUSING AUTHORITY: The Housing Authority of Kern County is celebrating its 75th year in existence, and it is looking for input from local folks. The authority's past is a living memory of our county, from the historic Sunset Migrant Camp to the housing provided during World War II. The authority is planning a luncheon with an historical exhibit on Thursday, May 21, at Hodel's. If you have a memory or photo you want to share, call (661) 631-8500 extension 2002.