Thursday, February 25, 2016

Next time you think about shooting that family photograph in one of our almond orchards, better check with the owner, and what is the proper etiquette for a "pay it forward" chain at Starbucks?

* ... GOOD ADVICE: It's not surprising that so many families choose the natural beauty of our almond orchards to take family or wedding photos, especially this time of year, but local farmers are warning to do your homework first. Darin Buoni and his father Frank Buoni spray pesticides on local fields, and it prompted Darin to post this prudent warning on Facebook: "Check before you take
your children into the trees to see what has been sprayed in the last 24-48 hours. Some of the pesticides we spray in our line of work are very toxic. I watched a family taking pictures deep in a field of almond trees where I know for a fact the night before was being sprayed with a heavy dose of pesticides that requires a reentry time. And before you even find that information out perhaps you should talk to the property owner about being allowed to be on the property at all. It's very rude to trespass on someone's property because you just feel like it's ok to do so." Good advice.

* ... ETIQUETTE: Here's an etiquette question I cannot answer: What's the protocol when the car in front of you at Starbucks buys your $4.45 coffee, but when you inquire about returning the favor to the customer behind you, the barista says their bill is $13? Do you buy their drinks or risk a case of bad karma? I posed the question to freelance etiquette columnist Lisa Kimble Edmonton, who in Solomon-like fashion chose to split the baby with this response: give the barista $5 to offset the bill of the customer behind me.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Old expression is whoever wins presidency is the one you'd rather have a beer with. I might have to give up drinking."

 * ... GOOD FORM: Philip Beglin shared this example of good form that he recently witnessed. Said Beglin: "Yesterday as I backed out of the parking lot of Raymond's Trophy and Awards on Chester Avenue, I saw some poor old man in a motorized wheelchair, who also carried a blind person's white cane, leave the sidewalk and get about half-way across the street when his grocery bag fell from the chair and dropped his purchases into the street. Before I could get out of my car to help, two young boys (probably about nine or ten years old) who were riding skateboards rolled up behind the man, jumped off their boards, and gathered up and re-bagged the groceries for him. What a nice thing to do, huh?"

 * ... OILDALE: Folks in the Oildale area are planning a neighborhood cleanup for Saturday, March 5. If you want to participate, call Cher Pannel at (661) 393-4473. Everyone will gather at the Standard School park at 8 a.m.

 * ... FUND RAISER: Here's a fun way to raise money for a good cause. The Association of Petroleum Wives is holding its 14th annual Charity Sporting Clay Shoot on Friday, March 11, at the Kern County Gun Club. The cost is $100 person or $400 for a four-person team. Check-in is at 7:30 a.m. and lunch follows the shoot. Proceeds benefit the Mission of Kern County- Women's Recovery Program. Call (661) 333-3206 for information or email

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Food blogger sends some love to Pyrenees Cafe and Saloon, a dangerous new outbreak in crime locally and some really good form at Mossman's

* … CRIME: What would you do if someone started pounding on your door in the middle of the
night? If you said call 911, you are right. Across town people are reporting an alarming crime trend in which someone starts pounding on your door screaming that his life is in danger.  If the door is opened, two or three young men force their way inside and rob you blind. Wisely, the people who this happened to called 911 and allowed the police to deal with it. So unless you have your pit bull on a leash or a Glock in your back pocket, be safe and don't open the door.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Taking shots of Tequila is just another way of saying, 'I like where I wake up to always be a surprise.'"

 * ... SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK: A restaurant posts this sign inside: "We Do Not Have WiFi. Talk to Each Other. Pretend it's 1995."

 * ... FOODIE: It's always nice when folks from out of town discover the uniqueness of our Basque heritage, particularly when it comes to the eateries on the east side of town. That's the kind of love Pyrenees Cafe received when a blogger from Cook's Country came to town to devote his blog to the wonders of Basque food. He sampled it all: from the setup menu of soup and salad to the pickled tongue followed by garlic fried chicken. From the blog: "The Pyrenees CafĂ© has changed hands many times since it first opened in 1899, but in recent years, after a period that featured more rival factions, shifting alliances, and hostile takeovers than your standard episode of Game of Thrones, former waitress Julie Crawford and her husband Rod were the ones left standing in charge of this Bakersfield landmark. Since September 2014, they’ve been serving up their take on classic Basque fare, along with some new favorites that devotees claim are too good to miss."

 * ... GOOD FORM: Kelly Giblin sent this shout out to the folks over at Mossman's, which was her mother and father-in-law's favorite restaurant. "Following dad’s death, we began taking mom there for breakfast to keep up an important tradition for her. Our first visit after dad’s death made it clear why they loved it so much. When we walked in, we were immediately surrounded by the entire staff who cried, laughed and shared their memories of dad with us. Since then, we have looked forward to our breakfasts, especially visiting with our adorable waitress Amanda, as well as Mandy, Gayla and Dorette. Without fail, we are always greeted with hugs and laughter. Yesterday was Valentine’s Day and it was extremely busy but as always, Amanda took the time to visit with us, share pictures of her family, and then as a Valentine’s gift (and with a sly wink) she told us that our bill had been taken care of. Holidays like that can be a difficult time for mom since dad died, but thanks to Amanda and Mossman’s it was a wonderful day! These are the kind of people and places that make Bakersfield so great!

 * ... KUDOS: Hats off to Cami Privett, a 2011 graduate of Frontier High School who went on to UC Irvine on a soccer scholarship. Privett recently signed a contract with the Houston Dash soccer team, joining the squad after playing for a club in Norway.

 * ... ASSISTANCE LEAGUE: Hats off to the Assistance League of Bakersfield that is celebrating the 60th anniversary of its Operation School Bell. This program has clothed more than 135,000 Bakersfield children and thousands more have benefited from the work these volunteers perform every day.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Ken Metter criticizes Rep. Kevin McCarthy and then sics a lawyer on a radio host who joins the fray, thanking Harvey Hall and tackling a new hike

 * ... METTLER: So who knew former Kern High School District trustee Ken Mettler has such a thin skin? Mettler penned a "Community Voices" column in The Californian last week in which he lashed out at Rep. Kevin McCarthy for being "a former used car salesman turned taxpayer-paid politician" with no principles. Mettler fancies himself as a true conservative so you can imagine what the rest of the column said. Okay so far, so good, it is Mettler's opinion and we were happy to provide him a forum. But when you willingly join the debate circle you can bet you might be in for some criticism yourself. Which is exactly what radio host Ralph Bailey (KERN NewsTalk 96.1 FM/1180 AM) did last week, calling out Mettler on his hypocrisy and challenging his facts. So how does Mettler respond? He had his lawyer send a cease and desist letter to KERN corporate owner American General Media and then - get this - sends a similar letter to The Californian asking us not to report any Bailey criticism of Mettler. Goodness Ken, you should know better. As they say in Havana, "boca cerrada, no entran moscas."

* ... HARVEY: On the other end of the decorum spectrum is Mayor Harvey Hall, who announced last week he would not seek re-election. Here's my note to you, Harvey: Thank you for your service. Your gift has always been your genuine kindness and concern for all citizens of our town, no matter their race, religion or economic stature. You eschewed the polarization and divisiveness that is part and parcel of politics today (see Mettler above item), and instead you always took the high road. Like the happy warrior Hubert Humphrey, you wore your love for Bakersfield on your pin-striped sleeve, and for that we all owe you a word of thanks.

 * ... JAR TRAIL: I got out Sunday and tackled the Jar Trail, an incredibly steep two-mile ascent that climbs more than 1,000 feet per mile. It's located at the mouth of the Kern River Canyon and provides the most breath-taking views in town. But be advised: if you want to make it to the top, bring hiking sticks, water and snacks because for people of moderate fitness, the climb can take two to three hours. (They say a fitness buff nick named "the beast" can make the ascent in 32 minutes). This trail is not for beginners, but for those looking for a challenge, go for it. And please, if you go don't leave trash and water bottles on the trail.

 * ... BAD FORM: Bryan Kelly just can't seem to get a break. Remember Bryan? He is the former Trader Joe's employee who a few years ago found a soiled diaper stuffed inside a shoe box at a local Walmart. Well, it happened again, this time at the Walmart in the Northeast. While strolling through the store he stumbled upon two women changing the diaper of a small boy, right where the Pampers were displayed. The women casually opened a new box of Pampers, pulled out a diaper, put it on the boy and stuffed the used diaper back in the box of Pampers. "They put the used Pamper in the package and turned it around so one could not tell it had been opened. I finally cleared my way out of the remnants of the tower of babel and out into our unhealthy fresh air. Have you ever showered with a mixture of Comet, Lysol and vinegar?"

 * ... KERN RIVER VALLEY: Some folks up in Lake Isabella are holding a fund raiser to build a skate park for local kids. According to Karene R. Williams, a group of local volunteers has aligned itself with the non-profit California Recreation Foundation to raise the funds. "We have the support of First District Supervisor Mick Gleason as well as Parks and Recreation Director Bob Lerude. Kern County Parks and Recreation is providing the location at no cost. Once the skate park is built, it will be turned over to the county for upkeep and maintenance." The group hopes to raise $150,000.
Donations can be made to California Recreation Foundation and mailed to 2809 Irwin Avenue, Lake Isabella, CA 93240.

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: Ronal Reynier writes that you might be a Bakersfield old timer if you remember when high schools had "occupational classes... when Bakersfield Community College was at BHS and you went to Bakersfield Community College tuition free. Times have changed. We used to leave our books on an outside window sill and the next day they were still there."