Saturday, February 6, 2016

McCarthy: Defense Secretary Ash Carter cites work being done at the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake

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

 "This week, I was pleased to hear Secretary of Defense Ash Carter describe the work being carried out Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake as of “critical importance” to our county’s national security.  On Tuesday, the secretary took a tour of the facility and briefed the media.

 "It was encouraging to hear the Department of Defense is intensely focused on research and development, and innovation within all of its entities. “China Lake is in the sweet spot of DOD’s strategic transition, and with heavy emphasis on research and development, some of its high-end, innovative capabilities are reflected in his budget request,” Carter said. “R&D spending is consistent with our determination to remain innovative.”

 "I agree with the Secretary that the research, development, testing and evaluation that is conducted within our community at China Lake and Edwards cannot be replicated anywhere in the world. Both provide vital resources to support our brave men and women in uniform who fight to defend our freedom. This is why I will continue to ensure everyone in Washington understands that these installations are strategic national assets.

 "Meanwhile in Washington we’ve also taken steps to ensure defense innovation.

 "Last week, I introduced a bill that will stop our military’s reliance on Russian-made rocket engines. Our bill aims to repeal a provision of the FY 2016 Omnibus Appropriations Bill that essentially allows the unlimited purchase and use of engines manufactured by a Russian company with close ties to the Putin regime for national security launches.

  "I took this step because I believe securing access to space is a national security priority and it is strategically foolish to ask American taxpayers to subsidize Russia’s military industrial base. American taxpayer dollars should not be wasted on Putin, who has destabilized Ukraine, continues to harbor and support the Assad regime, and is supplying weapons to Iran. This ban will also provide an opportunity for the aerospace industries within California to help build the engines necessary to carry out national security launches.

 "Overall, the past two weeks have reaffirmed the commitment our country must make to policies that enable and promote defense innovation so that our future will be even brighter than our past.


Thursday, February 4, 2016

Fentanyl, a drug 100 times more potent than morphine, is spreading across the country largely under the radar and the local SPCA says all donations stay here in Kern Country

 * ... FENTANYL: If you are the parent of a teenager or young adult, listen up. A dangerous drug is making the rounds with young people that is 100 times more potent than morphine and some 50 times more potent than heroin. It's name is fentanyl and it is classified as a synthetic opioid analgesic that is commonly prescribed as a pain suppressor in cancer patients. There are now synthesized versions on
the market, one version a white powder called "China White" and another in lollipop form called a "percopop." I first heard about fentanyl on National Public Radio where experts said it is killing more young people today than heroin or other substances, yet it is largely unknown by many people. Experts told NPR that fentanyl often kills on the first dose and is making the rounds in communities and college campuses.

* ... SHOP LOCAL: If you need another reason to support local non profits, consider this from Chuck Nordstrom over at the local Bakersfield SPCA. "I enjoyed reading your blog today as I always do and noticed the article about buying local. When the article mentioned the ASPCA and Humane
Society of the United States as wasteful, I just want to make it clear to the readers that the Bakersfield SPCA is a separate stand alone shelter and does not receive money from the ASPCA when people make contributions. One hundred percent of the money donated to the local Bakersfield SPCA remains in Bakersfield and helps take care of the local animals care, spay/neutering and boarding until they find there new adopted home. Many people don’t understand the difference between the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and the Bakersfield SPCA."

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "My Dating Profile... Pros: Good as hell tweets, eyebrows. Cons: Anxiety disorder, married, four kids."

* ... DROUGHT: How many times do you drive through town during a rainstorm and see sprinklers on? For Betsy Gosling, it is far too often. "It amazes me still to see people watering their lawns, not only every day, or even on the opposite days they are suppose to, but two days after we get almost 1 inch of rain. What are these people thinking?  Where are  their heads?  Certainly not thinking about anyone else but themselves. I heard Jim Scott on Channel 17, announce one time to the viewers to turn off their sprinklers after one of our recent rains.  You would think the city of Bakersfield would have asked all the TV stations to make those announcements."

 * ... QUILTS: If you appreciate the beauty and workmanship of a handmade quilt (or better yet purchase one as a gift) head out to the 35th Biannual Cotton Patch Quilt Show the weekend of Feb. 13-14 at the Kern County Fairgrounds (Exhibit Hall 3). There will be 200 quilts on display (most are for display only and not for sale) as well as vendors offering quilting materials, jewelry, clothing and gift items. The price for this two-day event is $10 for adults, along with free parking.

 * ... KUDOS: Congratulations to A-C Electric Company’s Solar Division which was recently recognized as the top solar company in Fresno by the Fresno Business Journal’s annual Book of Lists.  In addition, out of the top 500 solar contractors in North America, A-C Electric Company earned the eighth ranking on the Solar Power World 2015 list of Top Commercial Solar Contractors.  Said company executive David Morton: "We feel this is quite an achievement.  Being able to draw on the resources and experience of a 70-year old electrical construction company has allowed us to scale up to meet the market demands of our commercial, agricultural and non-profit customers while maintaining the quality and service they expect from a local company."

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Good news: California allows dogs in restaurant patios, the price of cauliflower soars and a new political commentator from CSUB appears on NewsTalk 96.1 FM

 * ... DOGS: I wrote earlier about the opening of new outdoor seating areas at local restaurants,
prompting several readers to ask if dogs are allowed while dining alfresco. "When we are on the coast," one wrote, "we can take our dog to the local lunch spot and eat outside. Is it permitted here?" The short answer: California state law allows dogs to accompany their owners in patio seating areas, but individual businesses can set their own policy. So it's best to inquire before you show up with your beloved canine on a leash. Over at Pyrenees Cafe, owner Rod Crawford told me they have had service dogs in the patio and as long as they are well behaved, he has no problem with it.

 * ... CAULIFLOWER: So who knew there was a shortage of cauliflower? That's right, apparently cold weather in California and Arizona has created a shortage and prices have spiked so high that it made the front page of the Wall Street Journal. In Michigan, a head of cauliflower was going for $8 a pop in supermarkets. Elsewhere, the price has soared to a more reasonable (yet still expensive) $3 a head. Cauliflower is a favorite among weight watches because it is low in carbohydrates and can be used in multiple ways.

* ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Here's a depressing thought: it's less than a year before the 2020 presidential campaign begins."

 * ... OVERHEARD: A local businesswoman is telling a colleague: "I know we need the rain but honestly, I am tired of it. Bring me some sunshine!"

* ... CRABFEST: The annual Saint Francis School CrabFest, always one of the hottest tickets in town, is set for this Friday at the Kern County Fairgrounds. This marquee event features a fabulous crab and rib dinner followed by both a silent and live auction. This year, Maureen Beck and Don Lucas and his wife will be presented with the Saint Francis Legacy of Excellence Award. For information on tickets (if there are any left) call (661) 326-7955.

 * ... KRAYBILL: Here's a somewhat tardy welcome to Dr. Jeanine Kraybill, a new assistant professor out at Cal State Bakersfield. Kraybill joined the faculty last August, teaching political science, and is now a political analyst for the election this year for KERN NewsTalk 96.1 FM. Kraybill is originally from Chino and earned her PhD from Claremont Graduate University. She will be appearing regularly on First Look with Scott Cox.

 * ... BUY LOCAL: Bud King wrote to weigh in on the scandal involving the Wounded Warrior Project, which is under fire for spending lavishly on retreats, dinners and travel. Said King: "After the Wounded Warriors Project article you posted, I checked into it and found you to be so right about it. A few years ago I checked in to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Humane Society of the United States, and found that there was a lot of waste of money, and I stopped donating to them. I only donate to the local animal rescues. The only national charity I donate to is the Salvation Army, otherwise I keep it all local. We have so many local rescues, like Marley's Mutts and the Bakersfield Pitt Crew that can use our money locally."

Sunday, January 31, 2016

The local Wounded Heroes Fund seeks to distance itself from the Wounded Warrior Project, Pyrenees Cafe opens a popular patio bar and Albertsons returns to the Southwest

 * ... VETERANS: I received notes from several readers reminding me that the Wounded Heroes
Fund of Kern County is in no way affiliated with the Wounded Warriors Project. Why is this important? Because the Wounded Warriors Project, a national organization, has come under fire for lavish spending on staff and salaries, and folks from the other organization, which is locally focused, worry this could hurt their own fund raising. This is an important distinction and worth a reminder, so here it is: if you want to support veterans, and you want the money to stay here in Kern County, support the Wounded Heroes Fund of Kern County, where the executive director and the board of directors are not paid and 100 percent of the money goes to local veterans.

 * ... DINING: Bakersfield is not a town known for its outdoor dining (not real popular in the heat of summer) but those restaurants that do offer it do very well. The gold standard of course is Luigi's Delicatessen, where the outdoor patio and bar are always in high demand. Tahoe Joe's in the southwest has a nice patio, as do Cafe Med, Uricchio's Trattoria and The Mark. The latest entrant in patio dining is Pyrenees Cafe and Saloon, where owners Rod and Julie Crawford have converted an outdoor storage area into a dynamic area of seating under umbrellas with a full bar and food service. Pyrenees caters to a younger crowd and there is almost always live music, and it is certainly worth your visit.

* ... BAD FORM: Dale Stewart dropped me this note on folks who run red lights, one of my pet peeves. Said Stewart: "In your continuing commentary about Bakersfield red light runners, I thought you might like this one. The other day I was traveling east on Truxtun. I stopped at a red light at Chester. The light turned green for me. Then a car came from the north and turned east on Truxtun against the red light. This was followed by a second car and then a third car. The third car was a black and white driven by one of Bakersfield's finest!"

* ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Okay. So I took the road less traveled. Now where the hell am I?"

 * ... GOOD FORM: Count me among those who are thrilled that Albertsons has returned to its old location in the Stockdale Town and Country shopping center. Not only has Albertsons returned, but it brought back many of the familiar employees who have worked at the same store for years. Albertsons replaced the short-lived and ill-fated venture of Haggen markets into Kern County.

 * ... SCAMS: Will Bailie has won a multi-million dollar Spanish lottery not once, but twice. At least that is what a "Spanish lottery official" told him in a letter. The catch: to collect the $4.5 million prize Bailie had to wire money overseas to "claim" the prize. Bailie was not taken in by this scam, but  worries others may be too gullible. "I am sending you this so you can mention it in your column and it might save someone some considerable money," Bailie said.