* ... WEEKEND: Congratulations to the local chapter of the Friends of the National Rifle Association (NRA) which held its annual fund raiser this weekend. This is a huge event and is said to be the fourth largest of its kind in the United States. Add to that the annual Bakersfield Jazz Fest out at Cal State Bakersfield, Kentucky Derby parties around town and Mother's Day, if you were bored it was your own fault.
* ... ACHIEVER: And a special shoutout to Ethan Petty, a senior at Bakersfield High School, who was the overall winner of the annual Congressional Art Competition hosted by Rep. Kevin McCarthy at Metro Galleries on 19th Street last Friday. Under the direction of his art teacher, Vicki Smart, Ethan created his piece, “Internal Contrast,” using acrylic paint on canvas.
* ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "I’ve probably wasted a solid year of my life just staring into the fridge."
* ... VALLEY FEVER: We are entering the season for Valley Fever, but did you know the disease can also be deadly for dogs? That's what I heard from my friend Becky Porter, who told me she and husband Dick have had three dogs diagnosed with valley fever in the past two years. "One poor boy, Jotolon, was diagnosed late in the disease and had to be put to sleep - it was tragic. The other two were caught early. One girl, Bullet, responded quickly to medication and was healthy in a matter of weeks. Our Balthazar has been on meds since October and just can't seem to get better. These poor animals suffer just like we do and need medical attention. Has anyone done an article on the effects of Valley Fever on our pets? Our vet tells us the disease is rampant among animals right now."
* ... FOUNDATION: One of the most generous family foundations in town - The Bakersfield Californian Foundation - gave away $328,000 to local nonprofits this past Friday. Among the recipients: Bakersfield Community Theatre, $10,000 to improve and upgrade their Youth Theatre program; Bakersfield Ivy Legacy Foundation, Inc., $5,000 for their ASCEND (Achievement, Self Awareness, Communications, Engagement, Networking and Developing) Program; Bessie Owens Primary School, $4,500 to purchase risers for their stage area; Boys and Girls Club of Kern County, $16,650.27 for the expansion and upgrade of the Club’s sound system for their Performing Arts Program; Child Guidance Guild of Bakersfield, Inc., $10,122.43, to help replace damaged kitchen equipment; Covenant Community Services, $12,500 for Fostering Art, an art advocacy and educational program for former foster youth; Kawaiisu Language and Cultural Center, $6,000 for Go Native! 2016, an annual outdoor event that exposes the public to Native American traditional crafts, music, storytelling and food; Kern County Library Foundation, $48,898 to help in the creation of a Digital Arts Lab; Kern County Museum, $49,925 to fund painting the exterior of the Hotel Fellows, one of the historic properties in Pioneer Village; Kern County Superintendent of Schools, $51,223 toward the funding of the California Living Museum’s Master Sign Plan; Kern Dance Alliance, $10,000 for the Kern Dance Alliance + Garden Pathways Summer Dance Camp and $3,650 for SHINE for Girls, MATH + DANCE = SUCCESS program; Kern River Valley Historical Society, $20,000 to help fund construction costs of the Kern Valley Museum Annex; New Advances for People with Disabilities, $25,000 toward the purchase of sound, video recording, and stage lighting equipment to outfit their new state of the art center; North of the River Junior Theatre, $12,000 for this summer’s Junior Theatre Summer Program; Ridge Route Communities Museum and Historical Society, $5,283 for upgrades to their Museum Signage, and improvements to their Outdoor Learning Center; Tehachapi Community Theatre Association, $25,000 to help with the funding of the expansion of the BeeKay Community Theater; Tehachapi Parks Foundation, $12,500 for the purchase of artistic bike racks and cultural features at locations in the Tehachapi Valley Recreation and Parks District.