Thursday, October 20, 2016

Step aside all you negative people, researchers show happy people really do have more fun ... plus a trip to Lakeside School and LGBTQ group shuns both mayoral candidates

 * ... LAKESIDE: Want to feel good about America and our country? Spend a few hours in one of our local classrooms and chances are you will come out impressed with the level of teaching and
surprised at how bright our kids are these days. I rarely set foot inside a school these days, but this week I spoke to Joseph Andreotti's AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) class at the Lakeside School. My thoughts: a committed teacher, promising and bright students and a supportive faculty and administration.

 * ... HAPPINESS: And here's something else that lifted my spirits: researchers say people who are genuinely happy, kind and sympathetic really do have more fun. That's good news in a world where narcissism and pettiness seem to rule the landscape in politics and entertainment. Said the Wall Street Journal: "Nice people, rejoice: Notwithstanding the prominent examples today in political and popular culture, the best available research still clearly shows that in everyday life the nice people, not the creeps, do the best at work, in love and in happiness."

* ... QUEER THE VOTE: So what do you think of the movement to write in "Queer the Vote" instead of voting for either Kyle Carter or Karen Goh as mayor? That's the recommendation of some folks in our local LGBTQ community who are unhappy with either candidate. Neither Carter nor Goh, they argue, has done enough to embrace the gay, lesbian and transgender community. To his credit, Carter has been up front about saying he would not participate in a gay pride parade for fear or angering some segment of the community. (Carter says he has gay friends but on this issue he will not get involved.) Goh has been consistent too in dodging the question and failing to return calls. This issue is hardly large enough to turn this election, but it's an interesting sideshow in this show we call the 2016 election campaign.

* ... FOODIE: If you like food that talks back to you, try the new spicy chicken sandwich at The Padre Hotel, part of its new menu that was rolled out recently.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Bad Hombre" is the name of the cologne I buy at the Dollar Store."

 * ... WATER TOWER: Remember the old water tower that was taken down at Bakersfield High School to make way for the renovation at Griffith Field? It's now at the Kern County Museum and a group of Driller supporters are looking for input on how to make it a star attraction there. There will be a meeting at 4:30 p.m. on November 2 to discuss this. For more information call Jami Anderson at (661) 633-0340.

 * ... GOOD FORM: And hats off to those ladies over at the Assistance League of Bakersfield who will be contributing books to the students at Stella Hills Elementary School this Saturday. Said Dona Chertok: "We are participating in the Make a Difference Day; on which thousands of volunteers will be giving back to their communities. On Oct. 22, volunteers from across the country will unite for Make A Difference Day, one of the largest annual single-days of service nationwide."

 * ... LIBRARIES: Those mini, roadside libraries about town are about to celebrate their fourth anniversary. Named after the late Wendy Wayne, an educator and inspiring community activist, there are now some 63 libraries in Kern County, according to Susan Reep. One of them, located in front of Bernadette Ferguson's house on C Street, was featured on a Times Square billboard as a finalist in a Black and Decker contest.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Bobcats are spotted on the bike trail in southwest Bakersfield, outdoors columnist Steve Merlo dies and sharing some memories of old Bakersfield

 * ... BOBCATS: There have been more bobcat sightings out on the bike trail to the west of town, the latest coming earlier this week when my friend Jason Barnes was cycling out toward Enos Lane.
Barnes managed to snap a handful of pictures of the young cat as he rode past. The bobcat seems undisturbed by Barnes on his bike and simply sauntered alongside the path as Barnes rode past, cell phone camera in hand. The drought has pushed bobcats and other wildlife closer to the neighborhoods in the southwest, but there have been no indications that they pose a threat to anyone.

 * ... CYCLISTS: And speaking of cyclists, Bakersfield has always had a robust cycling community but there has been a noticeable spike in the number of cycling "commuters" on our streets, particularly in the downtown area where millennials on fixed gear bikes share the road with the more serious recreational cyclists. If you are driving, make sure you are alert and "share the road" with these folks.

 * ... STEVE MERLO: I was saddened to learn that outdoors columnist Steve Merlo died of an apparent heart attack. Merlo was an avid outdoorsman, and I appreciated how he wrote about the hunting and shooting sports in ways that made them accessible to folks who never owned a weapon. He was a strong advocate of the 2nd Amendment, a proponent of the environment and a level head when it came to how the shooting sports can play a healthy role in our society.

 * ... OVERHEARD: A commuter who lives on the east side of town but works off Truxtun is telling a colleague: "I just won't go through California and Oak at rush hour anymore. I am thinking of taking Rosedale to Mohawk ... that is how bad it has gotten."

 * ... SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK:" I’ll call it a smartphone the day I yell 'Where’s my phone' and it yells 'Down here! In the couch cushions!'

 * ...MEMORIES: Here’s a follow-up on Loren Stroppe’s memories of Ewing’s Stockdale Inn, compliments of Cheryl Saki: "After the Ewings failed to renew the lease on the site with the owner of Tenneco Oil, the building was purchased by a group of local businessmen. It was cut in half and moved to California and Oak at the site of the Santa Fe Railroad Roundhouse. The building was remodeled to resemble a train station with a vintage Pullman car sitting on the tracks in front. An authentic red caboose was located inside for additional seating for diners. The restaurant was named the Iron Horse and it was decorated with artifacts from closed train stations throughout the state. Milton Huggs of Milt’s Coffee Shop was the owner of the Iron Horse. Milt eventually sold the restaurant and the property was turned into the the strip mall that currently occupies the corner of California and Oak. I am honored to say that Milt is my dad and I am so proud of his creative genius that has enhanced and enriched the restaurant scene in Bakersfield for the past 50 plus years."

* ... MORE MEMORIES: And finally, John Pryor adds this memory when "all development west of Oak Street was limited to cattle grazing land of Kern County Land Company. My uncle, dentist C. E. (Doc) Pryor lived on the west side of Oak, north of Brundage. He had horses corralled behind his home... My parents belonged to Stockdale Country Club at the time (with something like $22 per month for dues).  o get there, we had to drive through all open fields between Oak and Fairway except for one little frame building. The sign said Shell -- not global Shell Oil but rather local Joe Shell's 'oil patch.' That was in the 1930s and 40s. Even in the 1950s when I played on the Bakersfield College golf team (Jack Frost was coach) this was evident. The surroundings of Stockdale were all open fields for cattle grazing."