Thursday, September 17, 2015

Experts say the coming El Nino is attracting hammerhead sharks closer to the California coast, a classy new entree from Cafe Med and more help for those stray dogs about town

 * ... EL NINO: The coming El Nino may be bringing more than a little rain to California. According to experts quoted in The Los Angeles Times, the unusually warm water is also attracting great white sharks that are feeding closer to shore. The experts said hammerheads have been reported off the
coast the past two years "because warm water draws them and their food supply - mainly yellowtail and tuna - from Central America and Baja California." Chris Lowe, director of Cal State Long Beach's shark lab, told the newspaper that "it's a different ocean than we've been used to for the last 40 or 50 years." Be careful out there.

* ... SCAMS: Carol Craig knows a scam when she sees one, and the letter from "Walmart" but with a Spanish postal marking immediately got her attention. The letter claimed to be from Walmart and enclosed a check for almost $2,000 if Craig agreed to be part of a "quality control" program. Of course, once the check is cashed (and before your bank figures out it is fake) you are asked to wire $350 "to get started." Don't fall for this one.

 * ... FOODIE BEST BET: Cafe Med is getting some rave reviews about a new 12-inch pizza is it serving, using its signature pita bread as the crust. Starting at just $10.95, this entree item is on both the bar and lunch menu. If you have had Cafe Med's pita bread, you know this will be a can't miss dish.

* ... SPOTTED: A relevant Twitter post from my friend Trish Reed: "You know you're a grown up when you're excited about getting new tires on your car after work."

 * ... STARBUCKS: Next time you are in the drive-through lane at Starbucks, consider this note from Mike Huston: "On pretty much a daily basis, I pass through the drive-thru lane at the Starbucks on 7th Standard and Highway 65.  On two occasions so far this month, I have been treated to a 'free' cappuccino, courtesy of the driver in front of me. I doubt that this practice is isolated to this particular Starbucks, but certainly worth mentioning. And, while an early morning cup of coffee is a nice way to get your morning started, I submit paying it forward to the driver behind you will make you feel even better! If you are already a regular Starbuck’s donor, you deserve the free drink destined to come your way!"

 * ... GOOD CAUSE: Feel like doing something nice for a good cause? If so, head over to Sparkling Image Car Washes of Bakersfield Friday (today) where they will be hosting their 6th annual car wash fundraiser to benefit Camp KEEP. Half of the proceeds from the sale of all full service car washes will be donated to Camp KEEP to help send kids in need to camp. In recent years, more than $40,000 has been raised through Sparkling Image for the cause.

 * ... RESCUE DOGS: Here is a new twist in the noble effort to help all those stray dogs in town. A new thrift store, called Rags to Rescue and located at 234 H Street, is opening to help fund the HALT (Helping Animals Live Tomorrow) rescue operation. The store will feature home goods, furniture, and some gently used clothing, and all proceeds will go to support dog rescue and placement operations. The store opens Friday (today) and is looking for volunteers to help staff it. Consider this a "cause for paws and other treasures."

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A retired judge warns that those random pictures you post on Facebook may come back to haunt you, and let's end this mess at Bakersfield College and reappoint Sonya Christian as president

 * ... FACEBOOK ETIQUETTE: Think twice before you use Facebook to post pictures of your new boyfriend or girlfriend or that wild night at the local bar when you let your guard down. According to retired Superior Court Judge Sharon Mettler, Facebook postings can and have been used in court to expose the weaknesses
and transgressions of the other party. Said Mettler: "I spent 5.5 years doing family law for the Kern Superior Court after unification. Yes, copies of Facebook pages do get admitted into court with proper authentication  yes, they do have probative value; and yes, they have impacted judicial decision making. (Mine anyway. People trying to portray themselves as sober with good judgment and the other parent as a drunken partier should not post pictures of themselves actively participating in drunken orgies."

* ... BAKERSFIELD COLLEGE: Add my voice to those who want to see a quick end to this mess up at Bakersfield College involving extending the contract of president Sonya Christian. It has gone on far too long, and the lingering uncertainty threatens to damage the reputation of a major local educational institution. Christian is popular, energetic and focused, and she presides over an institution that is the only school in the Kern Community College District (Cerro Cosa and Porterville colleges are the others) that is showing steady enrollment growth. BC serves more than 15,000 students, many of whom need remedial help to pass basic courses, a fact that is not lost on Christian. The college district board needs to extend her contract and move on before even more damage is done.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Do you guys ever just stare into the sunset and think: I locked the door, right?"

 * ... WEST: Congratulations to C.J. West, the 6-foot-3-inch junior at Garces Memorial High School, who has verbally committed to play women's basketball at the University of California, Berkeley. She will be able to officially sign her letter of intent on national signing day this fall.

* ... TRASH: Susan Reep is traveling in Wyoming, visiting her daughter, and sent me this note: "I'm in Wyoming for the month visiting my daughter,  and although Sheridan is much smaller than Bakersfield in population, it's also smaller in size. I've been walking all over town on the streets and in the parks and around the schools - and have literally seen no litter. None. I don't know what else to say. Why can't Bakersfield measure up? We have great people - but our highways into and out of town are ugly and our streets full of litter."

 * ... GOOD FORM: And this bit of good form comes compliments of reader Catherine Pitcher: "I am writing to you about our mailman who has a very caring heart. The other day, I walked down to the mailbox and the mailman was sitting in his delivery vehicle. He was looking very concerned as he was staring at a house across the street. He noticed the door was wide open.  He knew that was unusal. This house had been broken into not very long ago as well as other homes in the area. The mailman kept an eye out on the house while I went and got another neighbor to check out the house.  This mailman went far and beyond the call of duty. I appreciate our United States postal workers."

 * ... FOSTER: Longtime Bakersfield radiologist Dr. Donald M. Foster, who died in 2013, has left a lasting legacy at the University of Rochester, his alma mater. The university's website said Foster established two endowed funds in his name: the Donald M. Foster M.D. Distinguished Professorship in Biostatistics and the Donald M. Foster M.D. Professorship in Biomedical Genetics.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Environmental group calls for an end to oil and gas drilling on federal lands, Haggen grocery files for bankruptcy and a little history about Larry Reider

 * ... FOSSIL FUELS: Environmental groups are calling on President Obama to outlaw the production of oil and national gas from federally owned lands and along the continental shelf. Whether this can be done with the stroke of a pen is up for debate, but groups like the Center for Biological Diversity (a group often criticized for its hyperbole) say it will go a long way to reduce the effects of climate change. The problem, as cited in a report by the news service Vice, is in the details.
Said Kathleen Sgamma, public affairs spokeswoman for the Western Energy Alliance: "It's not a serious discussion. It's not a serious point of view," noting that fossil fuels provide about 80 percent of US energy needs and calls to 'Keep it in the ground' offer little in the way of replacements. "Groups like the Center for Biological Diversity will talk about wind and solar. Wind and solar are great, except they have only to do with electricity generation, which doesn't cover transportation or heat. It's just electricity, and it's just a very small portion of electricity now."

* ... DUST MITES: If you are one of those people who don't make your bed in the morning, you may be doing something right. That's the word from the BBC which reported that researchers believe that dust mites thrive in dark places, and that leaving the bed unmade could help kill them off. Dr. Stephen Pretlove told the BBC, "We know that mites can only survive by taking in water from the atmosphere using small glands on the outside of their body. Something as simple as leaving a bed unmade during the day can remove moisture from the sheets and mattress so the mites will dehydrate and eventually die." So there you have it; you can thank me.

* ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "There are no bad photos. That’s just how you look sometimes."

 * ... HAGGEN: Now that the Haggen supermarket chain has filed bankruptcy, its store in the Town and Country Shopping Center on Gosford and Stockade Highway (it was an Albertson's not too long ago) is being cleaned out by bargain hunters before it closes. Many items are discounted up to 50 percent off but get there quickly, because everything is going fast.

 * ... OVERHEARD: Two men are talking about the opening of the craft beer venue Temblor and the explosion of craft brews across the country. Said one: "That old bank building at Chester and 18th is perfect for a craft brewery."

 * ... LARRY: Ever wonder how folks from out of town end up in our community? I ran into Larry Reider, the affable former Kern County superintendent of schools, and he shared how, as a young college graduate, he ended up in Bakersfield in 1965. "I was at the (college) job placement office (in Washington) looking for a teaching gig and I knew I wanted to go to California. So I went down the list of cities in California alphabetically and Bakersfield was at the top of the list. There was a job in Arvin at an elementary school and I drove down sight unseen." Fifty years later, a building bears his name and Larry and wife Sandra are retired happily in the town they call home.

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: You may be a Bakersfield old timer if you spent "getting gold stars for reading a number of books while attending the summer reading program in the basement of the Baker Street Library."