Thursday, January 7, 2016

Burglars clean out a house as the owners watch TV in another room, and get ready for another brew pub (Craft Tap House) to open in a few weeks off Truxtun

 * ... CRIME: Here is a scary scenario: you are at home watching TV with your spouse on a rainy night and unbeknownst to you, a stranger is in your house rifling through your purse just a few feet away in the master bedroom. It happened this week at a home in the Bakersfield Country Club area
and the intruders made off with a purse, jewelry, credit cards and driver's licenses. Said one of the homeowners who asked to remain anonymous: "I'll look great in all my costume jewelry; they were very discriminating criminals. We only turn on the alarm after we go to bed or leave the house. That will change." The theft happened well before 9 p.m. and the couple is now installing security cameras.

* ... BREW PUB: We are only a few weeks away from the opening of a new brew pub in town, this one a project by Imbibe Wine and Spirits owner David Dobbs and a few partners. It will be called Craft Tap House and it will be located in the old Garden Spot building at the corner of Truxtun and Oak Street. Hobbs told me there will be craft beers, wine, mixed drinks and a menu modeled after what you might find at Eureka Burger or Moo Creamery.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "True self control is waiting until the movie starts to eat your popcorn."

 * ... GOOD FORM: Faced with two ill dogs on New Year's day, Beth Ann Michaels found the phone number for Kern Mobile Vet services (Kern Housecall Veterinary Services) in the newspaper classified section and gave them a ring. "The doctors came out for a very nominal feel and examined my two ill dogs," she said. "He has a fully equipped van and all the medications my dogs needed. Another gift for the animal lovers in Bakersfield."

* ... BAD FORM: Shame on the young blonde in the older gray Pontiac, belching smoke, who gunned her engine and floored it to run the red light at Columbus and Union Avenue and somehow avoided a truck that was going through the light on green. In this town, it's always best to look both ways even if you do have the green light.

* ... MEDIA: More changes in the local media scene. The latest: Leeza Starks has been named news director for the Scripps owned KERO-TV 23. She joins the ABC affiliate from KFSN-TV in Fresno where she was assistant news director. She has previously worked in Columbus, Ohio, Jacksonville, Florida and Huntington, West Virginia. Starks replaces Todd Karli who left last month to accept an anchor job in Salisbury, Maryland. Karli's wife, KERO anchor Jackie Parks, will joining him in May.

 * ... LITTER: Don Luvisi offered this note about trash and litter: "Those that are too lazy to properly dispose of their take out food containers/wrappers etc just throw them in the back of the pickup bed. They will be lifted right out in a few miles at freeway speeds. See this all the time, rarely see someone throwing litter out the window."

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The community says goodbye to long-time citizens James Murray and Doris Walker, welcome to a "conveyor belt" of El Nino produced storms this week and noting some good form about town

 * ... RIP JIM MURRAY: What is the measure of a life well lived? Is it longevity? Commitment to family? Success in business? All those things apply to the late Jim Murray, who died last week at the age of 93 after battling congestive heart failure. But when people remember Murray, watch their eyes light up when they talk about his wit, his smile and his endless curiosity about his family,
friends and his community. What a legacy of kindness and laughter this man left, and when a Rosary is held for Murray today (Wednesday) at St. Francis of Assisi Church, it will be standing room only. A World War II veteran, Murray retired from the S.A. Camp Co. and devoted his life to this three daughters (Germaine Echenique, Kristin Moore and Laura Etcheverry), nine grand children and an endless supply of friends. Talk to someone who knew him and watch their eyes light up.

 * ... DORIS WALKER: We also lost Doris Walker, one of those people who never knew a stranger and a friend who went out of her way to welcome me to this town. Doris was married to Herb Walker (founder of H. Walker's Clothing) for a remarkable 50 years. Born in Bakersfield, her parents were from Lucca, Italy, and she threw herself into helping run the business in the early days when Herb Walker's was getting off the ground. She loved playing bridge at Bakersfield Country Club, was an avid reader and unfailingly greeted you with a huge smile. Her daughter Tracy now runs the family business and as she told me, "she (Doris) had a lot of patience with her husband and girls and she loved her Manhattans!" (Tracy's older sister, Nancy, lives in Pasadena.) Doris was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year. She was 81. Keep Herb and his family in your thoughts. At her request, the funeral service will be limited to family.

 * ... EL NINO: If there were any doubts about the arrival of El Nino they were dashed this week. We are now experiencing the leading edge of at least four storms that are brewing in the ocean and headed for California. The Los Angeles Times described it this way: "It's this pattern, a series of back-to-back-to-back storms seemingly arriving on a conveyor belt, that concerns officials bracing for potential damage from the predicted winter of heavy rains." The snow level is dropping and we can all expect steady rains the best of this week into the weekend.

* ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "I think the only way I’ll ever be motivated to go to the gym is if I’m in prison."

* ... OVERHEARD: From my friend Steve Holloway: "I hope manners are the next cool trend."

 * ... LITTER: From John Rous comes this thought about our litter problem. "Richard, another comment about the terrible litter we see on our roads and freeways.  My wife and I are traveling up the Oregon coast and I don,t think we seen enough litter to fill a grocery plastic bag. Could it be that the signs we see about littering in Oregon carries a maximum fine of $6,250? California and Kern County, wake up."

* … MORE GOOD FORM: Just when you start to lose faith in humanity, people like Jan Johansen share a story like this. Said Johansen:                                                                                                                                                                      "I want to thank the Good Samaritan who found my purse in a shopping cart at Costco on Rosedale Highway and turned it into management on Dec. 28 at approximately 4:30 p.m. In my haste of shopping and getting my car trunk loaded up, I left my purse in the basket. I missed my purse within 15 minutes, turning around and returning to Costco, hoping that I would find my purse. Costco management had my purse in the safe, waiting for me to come back and claim it. All items, cash, check book, were all there, not one thing was missing.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

The beautiful coastal redwoods begin to fall victim to the long California drought, and new Mexican eatery Sol y Luna opens to a huge business

 * … DROUGHT: Next time you drive around town keep an eye on those trees that are wilting away in the drought. One of the most prominent is the coastal redwood, a stately and fast growing tree that graces medians in the Southwest and homes throughout the community. Redwoods thrive with plenty of rain and moisture, which wasn't a real problem until several years ago, but today many are dying and will eventually be cut down and replaced.

 * ... RESTAURANT: True to form, the new Sol y Luna restaurant in the Sully's shopping center at Buena Vista and Ming Avenue (home to Wiki's Wine Dive and Grill) is doing gang busters business in its first month of opening. Early reports have been positive, but if you don't want a 45-minute wait, give it a few months. Meanwhile, the new Mexican eatery Centro 18 on 18th Street is getting similar kudos among those who have dined there. Both are work checking out.

* ... GOOD FORM: Patsy Clatterbuck sends this shoutout to an employee of the downtown Sparkling Image car wash: "A young man named Felipe found the $100 in cash I had hidden in my car (and forgotten about) when he was cleaning the interior. When I got in my car to drive away there was the money - left where I would see it. I was so impressed and grateful for his honesty. Way to go, Felipe! Thank you!"

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "It might look like I’m doing nothing, but at the cellular level I’m really quite busy."

 * ... SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK: "The Wizard of Oz is really just a cautionary tale about the lengths a woman will go to for the right shoes.

* ... PACKAGES: More on those holiday packages, this compliments of Darlyn Baker. "Expecting several FedEx packages, when one arrived I opened it. To my surprise it was a new iphone, which I had not ordered. I looked at the mailing label and saw it was to have been delivered to someone else.  FedEx tracking shows the date/time of delivery all right, but to WHO was it delivered? If a signature is not required, which most senders do not require, you may never find where your package was delivered.  I quickly drove to the recipient's home. He said, 'I was wondering where that was.'  FedEx showed it was delivered but it shows only the address on the mailing label, not the actual address where it was delivered. What recourse would that fellow have had if I had not delivered his phone?  How would he begin to tell FedEx they made a mistake? And, this was in October, not even the busy holiday rush.  If you didn't get something that shows you did, good luck finding out who has it."

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy sets out 2016 goals, including dealing with ISIS and a president who routinely oversteps his authority

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

 "With a new year come new goals and commitments. This could mean getting into better physical and mental shape, or cutting out snacks and sweets from our diets (don’t worry, Dewar’s is exempted from all new year’s resolutions), or taking time to reflect on the lessons that have surrounded us for into a new year with a renewed outlook.
generations. But for the rest of us, we are simply excited by the proposition of a fresh start -- to dive

  "This year ahead, without question, will be a historic one. Primarily, because we will elect a new President of the United States and the run up till then will test our nation’s vision for the future. And there are millions of Americans looking for a leader that embodies the spirit of the New Year and offers a fresh start for our economy, which has slogged along the last seven years. But against the backdrop of a national election there are others goals we will strive to meet.

 "First, we must destroy ISIS. Period. To do this, the President has to put forth a strategy that is different than his current patchwork approach. Congress has passed legislation (and the President has signed legislation) that calls on him to present a strategy to defeat this terrorist regime. With the calendar turning over, we cannot afford any more delay on a plan to win.

 "Second, we must not wait for our presidential nominee to present a new path forward. And as Majority Leader I intend to put Congress on an aggressive path to offer a different approach than the President’s failed agenda. Right away, when Congress returns next week, the House will vote on a bill that repeals Obamacare and defunds Planned Parenthood. And unlike our other attempts to do this (which have been stopped in the Senate) this bill will head directly to the President’s desk.

 "But we must show the American people what real healthcare reform looks like -- one that empowers the patient and the free-market. I look forward to Republicans in Congress working to present our plan to the American people.

  "Our first week back will also be the start to a yearlong focus on reforming our regulatory state that is adding costs to everything from buying and driving a car to purchasing food at the grocery store. These hidden taxes have made America less competitive and centralize power with unelected bureaucrats. And with more bureaucratic power comes more corruption and waste. At seemingly every turn over the past several years our government has proven this point.

  "We will continue to push back against the President’s continued executive overreach and disregard for the law. To date, the courts have stepped in and stopped several of his executive orders from being implemented; including, illegal immigration and regulations on puddles and ponds on private property. A multi-prong approach to restoring the balance of powers has proven to be necessary. That requires the legislative branch to conduct oversight, use its power of the purse, and pass legislation. All three will be highlighted in 2016.

  "And in California, we will continue to fight day in and day out to get drought legislation signed into law. In the House, we have exhausted nearly every option at our disposal and have made good faith efforts to work with our Democrat colleagues to come up with a solution everyone can agree to. Unfortunately, our Senators have refused to rise to the moment and join us so that California’s future is one of growth and prosperity, not managed decline.

 "These goals are a small sample of what is to come in 2016. I am excited for the New Year because I am excited for the future of our community and our country. I know our neighbors have the ingenuity and enthusiasm to make this year and following years better than the ones of the past. But it must be our goal to empower the American people to do so.  It is my commitment for that to happen.

 "Happy New Year and God Bless.