Thursday, May 12, 2016

Bakersfield mayoral candidates take to social media to spread their message, we are entering Valley Fever season and more good and bad form about town

 * ... POLITICS: How do you call attention to yourself when you are among two dozen people running for mayor? Beyond the yard signs and direct mail campaigns, the smartest candidates are embracing Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other forms of social media to spread their messages. Bypassing local television is not only cost efficient, but also more effective in targeting likely voters in specific demographics and behavioral communities. Former home builder Kyle Carter is making good use of video testimonials that are making the rounds on social media, while his opponent Karen Goh is showing signs that she too will use the medium to spread her message. (A smartly produced pro Goh video just popped up on Facebook thanks to Metro Galleries owner Don Martin, a Goh supporter). Vince Fong is also active on Facebook, posting videos promoting his quest to replace Assemblywoman Shannon Grove in the Assembly.

 * ... VALLEY FEVER: If you are new to town and are not aware of Valley Fever, you need to school yourself on this potentially deadly disease. One way to do that: attend the Valley Fever Awareness Walk set for Saturday, August 13, at Pioneer Village. And humans aren't the only one susceptible to this disease. Consider this from Sandra Larson: "I just learned about a parrot in Taft some years ago that sickened and died; tests revealed VF was the culprit. Gorillas and other primates in zoos have died. Every breathing animal from aardvark to zebra can get it, including snakes!" Larson added that one of her friends suspected her dog had valley fever because of a lack of appetite, persistent cough and general lethargy. "She convinced a doubting veterinarian to do a VF test. The test came back positive, the dog was treated and recovered." If you have questions about this year's walk, contact Larson at

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Dating: the process of hiding your crazy just long enough to get the other person to commit."

 * ... SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK: "I just plugged the food I ate today into my new smart phone fitness app and they immediately sent an ambulance to my house.

 * ... BAD FORM: I am never sure what to think about the gaggle of nurses who take their lunch time smoke breaks on the sidewalk in front of Bakersfield Memorial Hospital.

 * ... GOOD FORM: Janet Hopkins passed along this example of some truly food form: "I observed some good neighbor behavior on Monday morning on the way to my office as I waited for the light to change at the intersection of Truxtun and Oak streets. Several large plastic paint buckets had rolled off a truck and into the street where they were waiting to cause an accident. An employee of Conroy’s Flowers saw the buckets and watched the traffic for an opportunity to retrieve them.  He entered the intersection and as he was picking them up, a vehicle who had the green light pulled up carefully and put on their emergency blinkers to protect the Conroy’s employee until he was safely back on the sidewalk. Two strangers working together prevented what could have resulted in a major problem at a busy intersection. Good work!"

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Property crime explodes across town, Fruitvale Junior High kids excel once again and more good news for the daily aspirin dose

 * ... CRIME: If you are selling or renting a home, beware. When houses are empty - even if for a day - burglars are breaking in and stealing whatever is not bolted down: water heaters, refrigerators,
stoves etc. It is happening all over town and it makes you wonder: have we become a lawless society when it comes to property crime? Ward 2 Councilman Terry Maxwell has been pushing to find ways to fund the hiring of another 100 Bakersfield police officers over the next few years, but even that may not be enough.

 * ... SAFETY: Speaking of safety, if you are in the market for a secure home or office safe - or if you have problems with the one you have - I can recommend T and T Liberty Safes for excellent service. The company, located on Knudsen Drive off Highway 99, carries top-of-the-line safes and boasts an excellent staff of technicians if you have issues with lock key pads or you need a floor safe bolted down.

 * ... CAST IRON: Did you know that cooking in cast iron is an easy way to add iron to your diet? That's according to  the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which noted the levels of iron emitted depend on the type of food being cooked. Acidic foods like tomatoes or apples transfer iron more easily.

 * ... ASPIRIN: And if you are taking a daily low-dose aspirin to lower the risk of heart attacks or strokes, The New York Times says researchers are also saying it can help fight certain types of cancers. Said one researcher: "Aspirin may also lower the risk of other types of cancer, including esophageal and stomach cancers, as well as cancers of the breast, prostate and lung."

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Ever talk to someone so stupid they make you squint?"

  * ... SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK: "Nothing is more terrifying than making eye contact with the guy running that mall kiosk."

 * ... FRUITVALE: The Fruitvale School District has a long impressive record in the annual National History Day contest, and they are off to another good start. This past weekend all three students from Fruitvale Junior High won their divisions in the state competition and are headed to the nationals next month at the University of Maryland. The students were Elizabeth Calley, who won the Junior Individual Documentary division, Lauren Bittle, who won the Junior Individual Performance division, and Kimberly Jensen, who won the Junior Individual Exhibit division.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

First phase of major development at the busy corner of Stockade and Coffee Road about to break ground, valley fever in dogs and a Bakersfield High senior wins an art competition

 * ... DEVELOPMENT: Word on the street is that ground will soon be broken for a major new
development at the corner of Coffee Road and Stockade Highway across from the Trader Joe's center. The 15-acre parcel, owned by GC Investments, will eventually house a major brand hotel at the north end, a high end Sully's Market and gas station and some retail including Blaze Pizza, Cafe Rio and Jersey Mike's.

* ... WEEKEND: Congratulations to the local chapter of the Friends of the National Rifle Association (NRA) which held its annual fund raiser this weekend. This is a huge event and is said to be the fourth largest of its kind in the United States. Add to that the annual Bakersfield Jazz Fest out at Cal State Bakersfield, Kentucky Derby parties around town and Mother's Day, if you were bored it was your own fault.

 * ... ACHIEVER: And a special shoutout to Ethan Petty, a senior at Bakersfield High School, who was the overall winner of the annual Congressional Art Competition hosted by Rep. Kevin McCarthy at Metro Galleries on  19th Street last Friday. Under the direction of his art teacher, Vicki Smart, Ethan created his piece, “Internal Contrast,” using acrylic paint on canvas.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "I’ve probably wasted a solid year of my life just staring into the fridge."

 * ... VALLEY FEVER: We are entering the season for Valley Fever, but did you know the disease can also be deadly for dogs? That's what I heard from my friend Becky Porter, who told me she and husband Dick have had three dogs diagnosed with valley fever in the past two years. "One poor boy, Jotolon, was diagnosed late in the disease and had to be put to sleep - it was tragic.  The other two were caught early. One girl, Bullet, responded quickly to medication and was healthy in a matter of weeks. Our Balthazar has been on meds since October and just can't seem to get better. These poor animals suffer just like we do and need medical attention. Has anyone done an article on the effects of Valley Fever on our pets? Our vet tells us the disease is rampant among animals right now."

 * ... FOUNDATION: One of the most generous family foundations in town - The Bakersfield Californian Foundation - gave away $328,000 to local nonprofits this past Friday. Among the recipients: Bakersfield Community Theatre, $10,000 to improve and upgrade their Youth Theatre program; Bakersfield Ivy Legacy Foundation, Inc., $5,000 for their ASCEND (Achievement, Self Awareness, Communications, Engagement, Networking and Developing) Program; Bessie Owens Primary School, $4,500 to purchase risers for their stage area; Boys and Girls Club of Kern County, $16,650.27 for the expansion and upgrade of the Club’s sound system for their Performing Arts Program; Child Guidance Guild of Bakersfield, Inc., $10,122.43, to help replace damaged kitchen equipment; Covenant Community Services, $12,500 for Fostering Art, an art advocacy and educational program for former foster youth; Kawaiisu Language and Cultural Center, $6,000 for Go Native! 2016, an annual outdoor event that exposes the public to Native American traditional crafts, music, storytelling and food; Kern County Library Foundation, $48,898 to help in the creation of a Digital Arts Lab; Kern County Museum, $49,925 to fund painting the exterior of the Hotel Fellows, one of the historic properties in Pioneer Village; Kern County Superintendent of Schools, $51,223 toward the funding of the California Living Museum’s Master Sign Plan; Kern Dance Alliance, $10,000 for the Kern Dance Alliance + Garden Pathways Summer Dance Camp and $3,650 for SHINE for Girls, MATH + DANCE = SUCCESS program; Kern River Valley Historical Society, $20,000 to help fund construction costs of the Kern Valley Museum Annex; New Advances for People with Disabilities, $25,000 toward the purchase of sound, video recording, and stage lighting equipment to outfit their new state of the art center; North of the River Junior Theatre, $12,000 for this summer’s Junior Theatre Summer Program; Ridge Route Communities Museum and Historical Society, $5,283 for upgrades to their Museum Signage, and improvements to their Outdoor Learning Center; Tehachapi Community Theatre Association, $25,000 to help with the funding of the expansion of the BeeKay Community Theater; Tehachapi Parks Foundation, $12,500 for the purchase of artistic bike racks and cultural features at locations in the Tehachapi Valley Recreation and Parks District.