Thursday, December 1, 2016

CSUB appoints a new director of fund raising, Tracy Walker-Kiser gets some well deserved recognition by Memorial Hospital and it's time for the final First Friday of the year

* ... CSUB: Count me among those who are hoping CSUB made the right choice in appointing Victor Martin as the new vice president of university advancement. This is the key fund raising job on campus, requiring someone with high energy and deep connections in the community. The past two
to hold the job - David Melendez and Beverly Byl - were washouts and neither did much tap into the generosity of this town. The last person to do the job well - and he was terrific - was Michael Chertok, and he retired nine years ago. If I were Victor Martin, I would take Chertok out to lunch and pick his brain.

* ... GOOD FORM: Congratulations to three friends of mine who received some well deserved recognition recently. At the annual dinner of the Memorial Hospital Foundation board, Beverly and Jim Camp were feted as "patrons of the year" in recognition of their generosity to the hospital, and Tracy Kiser-Walker was named volunteer of the year. Tracy, who owns H. Walker's mens clothing store downtown, is a tireless volunteer for at least a half dozen organizations in town (downtown Rotary and the Junior League among others) and she was a driving force behind the annual Larry Carr Memorial Golf Tournament that raises so much money for hospital causes.

 * ... FIRST FRIDAY: The final First Friday of the year kicks off at 5 p.m. today in the downtown Arts District. Traditionally businesses in the district have used this night promote holiday shopping. Metro Galleries has two exhibits opening. Italian photographer Masilmilliano Marchetti will be showing "Transitions," a series of beautiful photos of the California coast. Also, "Small Works 2016" features paintings by local artists priced under $500. First Friday creator Don Martin says past three First Fridays have had record Fall visitors and that the ArtWalk (sponsored by the Arts Council of Kern) continues to grow and will have 70 plus artists this month. Martin moved the monthly event under the umbrella of the new Bakersfield Arts District Foundation earlier this year, says there will be some major new additions to the event in 2017, including the launch of an Arts District app.

* ... CRIME: Mailboxes in the Seven Oaks area have been hit again, this time by someone with a master key to open the mailbox cluster unit. These thefts are happening all over town, frustrating folks who use these neighborhood "cluster" boxes.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "I want the confidence of someone who doesn't bother putting a lid on their to-go cup."

 * ... SUSHI: A new sushi restaurant has opened downtown and it will host its grand opening today (Friday). It's called Yamato and it is located in the same space on 19th Street where Enso operated until recently. Ray Watson, president of Uniglobe Travel, told me the space has been spruced up and both the sushi and rolls were excellent. Yet another friend, Miranda Whitworth of the Kern Federal Credit Union, also raved about the place and posted a picture on social media of a sushi roll covered in seaweed salad.

  * ... YARD SALE: If you like yard sales and bargains, be advised there will be a huge one at Temple Beth El this Sunday. The temple, located just north of Garces Memorial High School on Loma Linda Drive, will  host the yard sale from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Temple vice president Greg Broida said some 100 families have donated furniture, tools, clothing, housewares and other items.

 * ... ACHIEVER: A few years ago I wrote about Phillip McGill, a Stockdale High student who graduated 10th in his class at the University of San Diego. Well now I learn that McGill has been named one of San Diego's "rising stars" for 2017 by Super Lawyers magazine. He is a mergers and acquisitions attorney working for Cooley LLP.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The ban on single-use plastic bags changes our behavior, a local business owner appears on a Food Network cookie challenge, and singling out a high achiever

* ... PLASTIC BAGS: Count me among those who are not unhappy with the new law banning single-use plastic bags. Most stores have already gotten rid of them, forcing folks to pay extra for a new, thicker plastic bag that can be used multiple times. But what happens if we treat the new bags the same way we did the thinner versions? I liked this thought from a Los Angeles Times editorial:  "The better solution is for consumers to eschew these thicker lookalikes and invest in bags made of materials such as canvas, cotton, nylon fiber or even woven plastic. They cost more upfront, but can last for years with the proper care and cleaning. Transitioning away from the 'paper or plastic?' days may seem like an inconvenience, but it’s the right thing to do for the environment. Make it count by embracing the spirit of the plastic ban, and not just swapping one plastic bag for another." My new favorite bag are those from Target: sturdy and capable of easily hauling weighty purchases. (photo courtesy of The Los Angeles Times)

 * ... CAT NAP: If you have a cat, as I do, this may come as no surprise: but did you know the average cat sleeps 15 hours a day and many sleep up to 20 hours a day? And if you are like me and you awaken to a gray tabby nudging you for food or staring you in the face, you won't be surprised to know they are most active at dusk and dawn. According to the website PetMD, cats "either doze in a light sleep or sleep very deeply. When your cat dozes (which lasts about fifteen minutes to a half hour), he will position his body so that he can spring up and into action at a moment’s notice.
 During deep sleep, cats experience rapid (or quick) brain movement. Deep sleep tends to last about five minutes, after which the cat goes back to dozing. This dozing-deep sleep pattern goes on until the cat wakes up."

 * ... FOOD NETWORK: If you are a fan of the Food Network, chances are you might have seen a local celebrity on its Christmas Cookie Challenge episode. Mai Gifford, a former pastry chef at The Padre Hotel and now the owner of De Coeur Bake Shop behind the downtown Post Office, was featured on an episode where she made soft ginger cookies with eggnog and a cream filling, as well as gluten free honey-cherry pistachio cookie. (photo courtesy of Gifford's Facebook page)

 * ... SICK BAY: I dropped by Memorial Hospital the other day to visit Jason Barnes, the local businessman who took a really bad spill on his bicycle while going 28 mph on the bike path near Enos Lane. After eight days in the hospital with five broken ribs and a fractured clavicle, Barnes was anxious to spend a night in his own bed and he finally got his wish. Doctors say his prognosis is good, and knowing Jason I expect to see him back on his bike after the first of the year.

* ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "If my kids don't give me the answers I want to hear I just start annoyingly tapping their foreheads and swiping like on a touch screen."

 * ... ACHIEVER: Here's a big shout out to Brooke Fries, a Centennial High and Bakersfield College graduate who went on to UC Santa Barbara. In May she graduated from the McGeorge School of Law (25th in her class) and she recently passed her California State Bar exam. Her mother, Natalie Dunn Fries, is a three-time world champion (figure roller skating) and Bob Elias Hall of Fame inductee while her father, Dan Lloyd, is a 38-year administrator at the Kern High School District.

 * ... MEMORIES: Here is a question for some of you old timers out there: a reader asks if anyone remembers the years of operation for the old Thunderbird Drive-In. If you happen to know, drop me an email.