Thursday, January 14, 2016

Kevin Burton decides against running for mayor of Bakersfield, an expert predicts the price of oil will double this year and Monsignor Michael Braun begins his farewell tour

 * ... OIL: With the price of oil hovering around $30 a barrel, it's hard to find optimists in the oil patch. But at least one analyst is bucking that trend by predicting the price will double to around $60 a barrel by the end of this year. That's the word from The Wall Street Journal which reported that
energy executive Harold Hamm believes the current glut will ease as U.S. producers "ratchet down production until the market recovers." Hamm, chief executive of the U.S. shale producer Continental Resources,  also described OPEC as "almost a nonentity" that is losing its ability to dictate market prices.

 * ... KEVIN: Kevin Burton has decided against running for mayor this year, citing his responsibilities as president of the San Joaquin Community Hospital foundation. Burton, who will turn 45 next week, called being mayor "a lifelong dream" but told me he was simply not in a position to run for election this year. "I love this city and it's been my goal to be mayor," he said. "But I just can't do it now." It is still not certain if Harvey Hall will run for reelection, and Burton's decision creates an even wider opening for former homebuilder Kyle Carter to seek the office. Carter says he is running whether Hall runs or not.

* ... MONA: An interesting exhibit of neon signs will be on display in Glendale next month when the Museum of Neon Art holds its grand opening. And one of its prized pieces is none other than one of the original neon signs for the now defunct Green Frog market. The sign, if you remember it, has the phrase 'Howdy Folks' under a strutting green frog decked out in a tuxedo and black top hat. By the way, if you are into this kind of stuff, take a leisurely drive through old east Bakersfield some time and take in the treasure trove of neon signs that grace our streets, from Pyrenees Cafe to Luigi's to Woolgrowers to the Arizona Cafe. Or, better yet, head over to the Kern County Museum to check out its impressive display of old neon signs.

 * ... BRAUN: Good luck to Monsignor Michael Braun, one of the smartest - and wittiest - pastors in town who has spent three decades leaving his imprint on Catholic life here. Braun will retire at the end of this month, but not before a 'farewell tour' of sorts that included a tribute dinner at Bakersfield Country Club that drew some 300 people. When Braun steps down, he will be the longest-tenured pastor at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, also surpassing those at other local Catholic parishes.

 * ... SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK: "I'd like to read an obit about someone who did not die surrounded by family. Someone whose niece was on her way but didn't quite make it."

 * ... FUND RAISER: Mark your calendar for the annual reverse raffle and fund raiser for the Our Lady of Guadalupe School, a small non-profit school that serves students through the eighth grade. The dinner is set for Saturday, Feb. 13., at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine at 4600 E. Brundage Lane. Tickets are going for $140 (steak dinner for two and one entry into the reverse raffle) and there will be an $8,000 grand prize. This year's honorees for the Monsignor Craig Harrison award: Rose Alderete, Marylou Burlingame and Woolgrower's Restaurant-Jenny Poncetta and Mayie Matia.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

New Zach Galifianakis comedy series is set in Bakersfield, the Heart Hospital hires Margaret Scrivano Patteson and Taft College gets ready for a huge fund raiser

 * ... BASKETS: A new comedy on cable starring Zach Galifianakis will have a strong Bakersfield storyline. The series is called Baskets, it starts Jan. 21, and it features Galifianakis as an aspiring
clown who is forced to move back to Bakersfield because of financial difficulties. Hollywood has always depicted Bakersfield as a quirky, backwards place populated by amusing rustics, so it will be interesting to see how they portray us here. Said one promo: "Chip Baskets (Zach Galifianakis) wants to follow his dream of being a French clown—however, reality keeps interfering. Saddled with financial difficulties and facing an impenetrable language barrier, he moves back home to Bakersfield with high hopes. There, he is forced to confront his past while working as a rodeo clown and competing with his siblings for his mother's approval and affection."

* ... SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK: Marriage is repeatedly texting your spouse "Do we need anything at the grocery store?" until one of you dies.

 * ... ANGELS: Erica Weigel Langston wrote to thank three "angels" who were there when her pregnant daughter fainted at the Goodwill store on Olive Drive. The first angel was a woman named Janet who found her daughter's phone and called her family, the second a nurse at Memorial Hospital named Roberto and the third a security office named Nyack who comforted her when she was rallying the family. "Heartfelt thanks and very much love to these and many more everyday angels who walk among us," she said.

 * ... PATTESON: Congratulations to Margaret Scrivano Patteson who has been hired as manager of business development at the Heart Hospital. A former pharmaceutical salesperson, Patteson credits Heart Hospital cardiologists like Dr. Brig Bhambi with helping her recover from a heart attack she suffered two years ago. She has been a volunteer speaker for the Heart Hospital and is currently a WomenHeart champion.

* ... TAFT COLLEGE: If you are a supporter of Taft College, mark Jan. 22 on your calendar for the school's Athletic Triple Play dinner at the Historic Fort in Taft. The guest speaker is Charlie Hough, a former major league pitcher who played for the Dodgers, the Texas Rangers, the Chicago White Sox and the Florida Marlins. He currently serves as the Dodgers' senior advisor of player development. Hough ended his career having won 216 games along with an ERA of 3.75 with 2,362 strikeouts.
Contact Sheri Horn-Bunk for sponsorships and tickets. (661) 763-7936.

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: You may be a Bakersfield old timer if you "remember stopping for a train at Banducci's Corner, Fairfax, Sterling or Oswell and watching each open boxcar to see if a 'bum' was inside."

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Foodie website selects Bakersfield's best restaurants, I add my own touch and more on those porch thefts about town

 * ... FOODIE: A website called "The Culture Trip" has listed its favorite Bakersfield restaurants, and they clearly hit some of the high spots. Included were Noriega Hotel, 24th Street Cafe, Hodel's, J's Place, Uricchio's Trattoria, Mama Roomba, Zalka Indian Cuisine, Cope's Knotty Pine Cafe
and Muertos Kitchen and Lounge. I would add these to that list: Luigi's Delicatessen, Pyrenees Cafe, Jin Sushi, Cafe Med, Casa Munoz, The Red Pepper, The Mark, Valentien's, Mexicali, Woolgrowers and The Padre Hotel. (Photo of Muertos owner Shawna Haddad)

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "If I had a dollar for every time I thought about you, I would start thinking about you.

 * ... THEFT: The maddening trend of folks stealing packages off porches continues. Consider this note from Debbie Statezni: "My daughter sent me flowers today…on HER birthday to thank me for being her mom.  Someone took them off my front porch before I got home from teaching. Nice.  I hope whoever did that needed those flowers."

 * ... GOOD FORM: Kelly Clanton sent out these kudos to a local Costco employee: "Special thanks to Alan, who works the door at Costco, for singing 'It Had to be You' to people as they walk in the door and brightening everyone's day. What a gem!"

 * ... BAD FORM: And Joe Michael submitted this nugget that will have you shaking your head. Said Michael: "Have you noticed the flocks of gulls around town recently? Maybe the wet weather has brought them in? As I was parking at Target on Wible, I noticed a single bird interested in something on the ground. As I watched I finally identified it as a discarded diaper. The bird pecked and pulled until it was finally opened and the bird dined on the contents. I suppose a bird watcher was kind enough to leave this morsel for a hungry bird? Unfortunately the ungrateful bird did not dispose of the wrappings in the garbage."

* ... ACHIEVER: Some good news about a local South High lad from Mary K. Shell. John W. Lathrop, 1982 graduate of South High School, has been promoted to Brigadier General and Assistant Division Commander, 40th Infantry Division of the California National Guard. His promotion was celebrated in the fall  at a ceremony in Los Alamitos. He is the son of Donna and Robert Lathrop, both of whom taught at South High. Lathrop was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserve in 1986 upon his graduation from UC Riverside. He saw duty in South Korea and participated in Desert Shield and Desert Storm while assigned to the Army’s 27th Field Artillery Regiment. After joining the National Guard in 1991 he was deputy commander of a group deployed to Iraq in support of Iraqi Freedom IV, serving in 2005 and 2006. His wife is the former Mary Patrice Manning and the couple has two daughters: 21-year old Kaitlin and 19-year-old Elizabeth.  John’s twin brother, Mike, is a retired Marine.