Thursday, December 29, 2016

Some wishes for 2017, honoring those among us who give so unselfishly, recognizing good service and my personal list of things I would like to see accomplished in the new year

 * ... NEW YEAR: I think it's time to move on from 2016, which delivered some sad news on the passings front (everyone from Carrie Fisher and mother Debbie Reynolds to John Glenn and local
icons like Ray Dezember) to a presidential election that left the country divided. Here are some random thoughts as we head into the New Year.

 * ... PAY IT FORWARD: A few things I would like to see more of this year: random acts of kindness, a more civil discourse among those who disagree, empathy and understanding for those who struggle emotionally or economically, appreciation of those who came before us to break barriers and improve our lives, good service, charity and love.

* ... FORGET ABOUT IT: Conversely here are a few things I can do without in 2017: police shootings and gang violence, illegal trash dumping, so called 'micro aggressions and safe zones' in our public schools and colleges, political correctness, selfies, political hate speech on both sides of the aisle, group think, alarmist rhetoric on fossil fuels and academic arrogance.

 * ... ANGELS AMONG US: I'd also like to end this year with a personal thank you to some of the people who live among us and unselfishly give so much back. You may know of these names or not, but trust me these people give back to our community in ways big and small. So here goes: Deborah Leary, Tracy Walker-Kiser, Jim and Beverly Camp, Tuesdy and Kevin Small, Sheryl Barbich, Lois Henry, all the volunteers at the Assistance League, Jenny Waguespack, Marv Steinert, Vickie Thrasher, Monsignor Craig Harrison, Randy Martin, Janis Varner, Diane Lake and Marjorie Nixon.

 * ... SERVICE: Here are some tradesmen and business people I regularly do business with. Not only are they masters of their crafts, but I count them among my friends: house painter Rich Johnson, handyman Dean Farnsworth, Realtors Mary Christensen, Gary Belter and John and Katy Glentzer, restaurateur Claire Uricchio Elieff,  arts promoter Don Martin, Rami who owns Ramco Express on F Street, Tony Warren at Bakersfield Plumbing, Jeff Simpson at Sequoia Sandwich Co., and the staff and managers at Mission Bank.

 * ... GET IT DONE: Some things I would like to see done locally: finish the 24th Street widening project and Centennial Corridor; clean up Highway 58 and Highway 99, a new Bass Pro Shop on Highway 99, more downtown development and in-fill and finally, someone needs to figure out how to end the rash of mailbox thefts.

 * ... SURPRISE: My biggest surprise in 2016: I didn't think anything could smell sweeter than a puppy until my granddaughter was born. Here's to all you grandparents out there.

 * ... TALENT: Two local broadcasters I miss are former KERO anchor Jackie Parks and KGET morning anchor Kiyoshi Tomono. Both had an intelligence and style that is unusual for a market our size.

 * ... CAROLING: How about a shout-out to the members of a CSUB fraternity and sorority who took the time to sing Christmas carols to the residents of the Carriage House Estates? Said Phyllis Adams: "Their reasoning was they wanted to bring back caroling to people. It was thoroughly enjoyable to have these young people do this on their own."

 * ... GOOD FORM: And finally a reader dropped me this note about the folks over at Nothing Bundt Cakes who demonstrated some over the top customer service. "On Christmas eve my daughter's friend, who has undergone chemo and radiation in her fight against cancer for the past year, realized her husband forgot to pick up their cakes from Nothing Bundt Cakes for their Christmas dinner. On Christmas morning my granddaughter e-mailed Nothing Bundt Cakes, they replied and agreed to meet the customer at their shop to give them their cakes. If you are in the market for a cake I suggest you go to Nothing Bundt Cakes, they take customer service seriously."

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