Friday, November 27, 2015

Congressman Kevin McCarthy extends his Thanksgiving weekend wish

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, House Majority leader, extends his Thanksgiving weekend wishes.

 "As our son Connor comes into town from college this week, Judy and I are grateful to have our family together for Thanksgiving. Families and friends around our community will be doing the same as they gather for Thanksgiving dinner reflecting on the blessings they have in their everyday lives. We all will be enjoying family traditions whether it is a special recipe for dinner, a touch football game at the park, or just simply catching up with family visiting from afar.

 "As we count our many blessings, let us remember to help those who are less fortunate as that is the true Thanksgiving spirit. We have such a generous and giving community, and I know that many of our friends and neighbors will be spending time serving others.
 "And of course let us also remember to be thankful for the brave men and women in our military who are away from their families defending the freedoms we enjoy. Our nation throughout our history has been blessed with individuals who serve and sacrifice for all of us and we are a grateful community.
 "Judy and I and our entire family want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Giving thanks to all the guardian angles who steer and support us and another Thanksgiving Day Pie Run goes down at Hart Park

 * ... GIVING THANKS: How do you define happiness, and how often do you give thanks to the people in your life who bring a smile to your face? If you are like me, I have always believed that
happiness is a personal choice, so I don't spend a lot of time longing to live on the coast or in a sexier zip code. Kern County is home, and it would be unfortunate to go about life believing that geography or a change of scenery are the keys to happiness. So here's to all the people in my life, all you guardian angels (and you know who you are), who make Bakersfield such a special place to call home.

 * ... PIE RUN: I spent Thanksgiving morning in the hills overlooking Hart Park watching the sun come up, a speculator scene framed by a vibrant canvas of yellows and reds from the forest of trees below. I was among the 300 or so folks who attended the annual Pie Run, which coordinator John Rous says is the best deal in town. Said Rous: "There is no course, really no beginning and no end, no cost and no rules. Just run or walk at your own pace." Rous ran through 300 cups of coffee in an hour as runners feasted on several dozen pies, cakes, doughnuts, muffins and cookies. (photo courtesty of Margaret Scrivano Patteson)

* ... TRAFFIC DEATHS: The number of deaths from traffic accidents in the United States has spiked sharply this year, and experts believe smartphones may be a big cause of it. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says traffic deaths jumped more than 8 percent the first half of this year, a big increase after leveling off in recent years. Should we be surprised by this? Probably not, considering the number of people I see in traffic glancing down on their cell phones and they weave across the road.

 * ... DROUGHT: Keep your eye on a new $1 billion desalination plan that is opening next month in Carlsbad, a project expected to supply up to 10 percent of San Diego County's water supply. I have often wondered why California, in the midst of a record drought, is not investing more in these types of facilities. Experts often say they don't pencil out economically, but the Carlsbad facility is a private venture so someone is betting that desalination is a good bet.

* ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "I’m amazing in bed. I have the ability to stay there all day."

 * ... GOOD FORM: Hats off to the folks over at the CARE Foundation which just distributed $36,125 in grants from money raised through Village Fest. Among those organizations that received grants were Optimal Hospice Foundation, CASA of Kern County, Henrietta Weill Institute, Kern Partnership for Children and Families, Kelly's Therapeutic Riders, League of Dreams, Bakersfield Police Activities League, and the Boys and Girls Club of Kern County.

 * ... MORE GOOD FORM: Deanna Haulman sends this shoutout to some folks who volunteered to clean up one of our parks: "Last Saturday it was nice to see employees from the local Coke company cleaning up at Hart Park  Love seeing local companies taking time out of their weekend to help the community."

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Celebrating all our young adults who come home during the Thanksgiving holidays, Kiyoshi Tomono is leaving KGET TV for a career in health care, and remembering the giant personality of Norm Hoffman

* ... THANKSGIVING: One of the great joys of the holidays is reconnecting with some of the young men and women who moved away after college but always return home for the holidays. You will see them this weekend at Luigi's, Woolgrowers, Pyrenees and all the haunts that beckon the
young home. I had a chance to catch up with four of them at The Padre the other day and left thinking: a few years ago these knuckleheads were driving their parents nuts in high school, and yet today they are holding down great jobs, buying homes and seemingly on top of the world.

* ... KIYOSHI: KGET TV is losing one of its most popular anchors with the announcement by Kiyoshi Tomono that he is leaving to pursue other interests. The long-time morning co-anchor said only he was leaving the station to go into the health care field, but he did say he was staying in town. Tomono is widely recognized as one of the smartest of the local TV anchors and has worked at the station since March 2004. With two young children, he no doubt will enjoy a new career that doesn't entail a 2 a.m. wakeup call.

* ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "People who say, 'I’ve got your back' are usually looking for the best place to stick the knife."

 * ... GOOD FORM: Here is a note from Wofford Heights residents Dave and Helen Escobedo that is worth sharing in this holiday season. "My wife and I had eye doctor appointments in Bakersfield yesterday morning. After our visit to the doctor we stopped at the Panda restaurant on Rosedale for lunch before our drive back up the canyon for home. As we stood in line a young man behind me asked if I had served in the Navy (he saw my Navy hat( and I said yes I had been in the Navy a long time ago. (I am 78 yrs old, my wife is 74). When it came time to pay for our food this young man stepped forward and paid our bill for us. He would not take no when I said he didn't have to do that. He said that he wanted to. What a wonderful surprise and a beautiful thing for him to do. He brought tears to my eyes and a lump in my throat. His name is Steven. Thank you Steven, whatever discomfort I may have from my service to my country, you and other young people like you makes it all worthwhile. God Bless you and thank you again."

 * ... CALM: I took a bike ride out to Lake Ming this weekend and noticed that the annual Holiday Lights event at CALM is about to open. This Bakersfield family tradition features over three million lights designed by Josh Barnett, and all proceeds benefit CALM. The show opens Nov. 27 and runs through Jan. 2, 2016. IT will be open every day except Christmas from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

 * ... NORM HOFFMAN: And speaking of cycling, I was headed up Fairfax Drive with my friend Scott Rosenlieb the other day when we passed the spot where former Bakersfield College health professor Norm Hoffman was struck and killed by a car on March 1, 2001. Scott and I shared a few laughs recalling Norm, a physical specimen with a huge personality and over-the-top charm. When he was hit by an inattentive driver, Norm was 59 years old and training for the U.S. Masters National Cycling Championship. At the exact spot where he was hit, someone painted the ancient Chinese symbol for yin and yang, a fitting tribute. The paint is faded, but not the memory of Norm Hoffman.

 * ... CHEZ NOEL: Another seasonal event of a different slant is the 28th Annual Chez Noel holiday home tour set fro Dec. 4-5 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Ticket prices are $40 and all the proceeds go to benefit the good folks over at the Assistance League of Bakersfield. Pick up tickets at the Bargain Box Thrift Store on Q Street, Kern Travel, Christine's, Inspire Salon and Span, SugarDaddy's or Victoria's at the Marketplace.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

This winter's El Nino will be the strongest on record, and get ready for the annual Thanksgiving Pie Run out at Hart Park

* ... PIE RUN: Thanksgiving is this week, and I can't decide what I enjoy more: the traditional dinner with friends or the annual Pie Run that kicks off the holiday at 6 a.m. at Hart Park. If you are new to town, this is a signature Bakersfield 'can't miss' event. All you need is the discipline to get up before dawn, drive to Hart Park and join a couple hundred other folks to either walk or run the course through Hart Park. Bring your dogs, some warm mittens, your running shoes and don't forget some breakfast food for the pot luck.
 John Rous, one of the founders of this annual event, reminds me that all of the leftover food goes to the homeless shelter. This is also the event that drew the wrath of the air pollution police a few years ago because - heaven forbid! - Rous had the chutzpah to light a small bonfire to warm the runners. (The air pollution control district later relented after Rous agreed to convert the bonfire into a barbecue pit, the only way a fire would be permitted.) That aside, the event goes on. "This is not just for runners," he said. "There are mothers pushing infants in strollers, walkers, bicyclists, all enjoying the morning." Make sure you arrive before Rous stands on a picnic table and kicks off the event precisely at 6 a.m.

 * ... EL NINO: This will be a wet week in Kern County, thanks to an El Nino that scientists say will definitely be the most powerful on record. The real question is what parts of California will get the rain, and how it will affect the drought? What we need is snow - not rain - in the Sierras so the reservoirs will will be gradually restored over time. And unfortunately, it looks like Central and Southern California will get more precipitation than Northern California. Still, this promises to be a wet winter, a bit colder, and that is something to welcome.

 * ... BABY NAMES: If you want a peak into how our world has changed, consider the top ten baby names popular in the decade of the 1970s. Here they are, in descending order: Kimberly, James, Michelle, David, Melissa, Jason, Amy, Christopher, Jennifer and Michael. Do you see yourself, or your children, on this list?

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Wouldn’t exercise be more fun if calories screamed while you burned them?"

 * ... MORE TWITTER: "I won’t come to your party unless you have an animal I can spend the whole time hanging out with."

 * ... MARE: Hats off to the good folks over at the MARE Riding Center which celebrated its 25th anniversary in October. Said Diane Hopkins: "Thanks to all our sponsors, donors, supporters, board members, volunteers and staff.  Everyone had such a good time and we are very thankful and proud that MARE has served the Bakersfield community for 25 years."