Thursday, May 25, 2017

Expedia ranks the most annoying things about flying (seat kickers, crying children, arm rest hogs etc), Stinson's celebrates its anniversary by giving away $70,000 and lamenting our trash filled streets

 * ... FLYING ETIQUETTE: Would you pay extra for a seat on an airplane in a designated "quiet zone?" It turns out a lot of folks would, anything to get away from pesky young children to seat mates who talk too much. That is one of the conclusions of Expedia's annual survey of plane travel, which
ranked the most annoying things about flying. The top things that bug us about flying include rear seat kickers, inattentive parents, aromatic (smelly or overly perfumed) passengers, the audio insensitive, the boozer, the chatty Cathy, the queue jumper, the seat back guy and finally the arm rest hog.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "How to get a woman mad in two easy steps: Take a picture of her and don't show it to her."

 * ... VAN KOPP: Welcome back to town 29-year-old Samuel Van Kopp, the Bakersfield High graduate who went on to West Point only to be gravely injured in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan in 2012. Van Kopp was a platoon leader when a suicide bomber approached and blew himself up, killing two soldiers and leaving Van Kopp with serious brain trauma. My interview with him, in which he questioned the politically driven rules of engagement for troops on the ground, is posted on Van Kopp has finished his first year of law school at Georgetown and his working this summer at the law firm of Klein Denatale and Goldner.

 * ... FOODIE: The new QwikCafe on 18th Street, brought to you by the owners of Sequoia Sandwich Co., is off to a good start and is starting to expand its offerings. A few of my favorites: a new "protein box" featuring hardboiled eggs, roast turkey, gouda or brie cheese, humus, veggies and grapes, or the "lite lunch premium" with half a roast turkey sandwich with a beet or kale-quinoa salad. Two of the more popular new offerings include the beef dip on baguette and a tuna melt panini.

 * ... GOOD FORM: Hats off to Stinson Stationers, the long-time office and furniture retailer that is celebrating 70 years in business. And in true Stinson's style, owner Ben Stinson III says the company will give away $70,000 in merchandise to needy local non-profits. To apply, go to and click on the non-profit link. Applications are due June 15.

 * ... MORE GOOD FORM: And here is some more good form compliments of reader Denise Watson: "One of the best things about shopping at the new Grocery Outlet Store on Brimhall is the veteran parking spot…nothing is better than seeing the surprise and pride on the face of a veteran when they pull into the parking lot and see that there is a parking spot reserved especially for them.  Even better when another customer notices them and says, 'Thank you for your service.' Pride, gratitude, appreciation and honor in the parking lot of a grocery store – now that is fantastic!"

 * ... TRASH: I was driving through the littered streets of downtown Bakersfield on Sunday when I thought about the "trash survey" that Mayor Karen Goh conducted in which she scored us between 1 and 2, ratings that assume our community is only slightly littered. I am all for the aspirational, but our city is a mess, and a casual drive through town reveals a culture that views our streets as its personal trash cans. How about a public campaign to take pride in our community?

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The race for Kern County District Attorney starts to pick up some steam, Grimmway Farms awards 65 college scholarships and Dee Whitley gets a school named in her honor

 * ... DISTRICT ATTORNEY: The election for District Attorney is over a year away but that is not stopping the candidates from organizing early. I dropped by an event for Assistant DA Scott Spielman at the downtown home of deputy DA Gina Pearl, where a nice crowd turned out to meet and greet and support Spielman's candidacy. Among those I spotted were former Bakersfield police chiefs Bill Rector and Greg Williamson, city councilmen Andrae Gonzales, Bob Smith and Chris
Parlier, attorney Tim Osborn, deputy DAs Kim Richardson and Mike Yraceburn, Linda Sullenger, Dave Dmohowski, Ted Pierce, and Dave and Kym Plivelich. The only other announced candidate in the race, supervising deputy DA Cynthia Zimmer, is also off to a fast start and has picked up endorsements from the Kern County Law Enforcement Association and the police officers associations from Bakersfield, Ridgecrest and Delano.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "I always thought a bachelor's degree was awarded when you could make a five course meal out of only condiments from your fridge."

 * ... GRIMMWAY: Hats off to the folks over at Grimmway Farms who awarded 65 college scholarships at its annual company picnic. President and CEO Jeff Huckaby said the scholarships, awarded since 2005, are based on scholastic achievement and provide support to students attending two- and four-year colleges and universities – and are renewable for four years. This year’s recipients will attend a variety of schools, including UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UCLA, UC Irvine, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and the University of Oregon. The annual picnic is quite a show, feeding more than 10,000 employees and family members at the Kern County Fair Grounds.

 * ... RIP SHAUNA: The wife of longtime KBAK sports anchor Greg Kerr lost her battle with cancer last week. Shauna Clay Kerr was in hospice when she finally passed away after a long struggle with the disease. Kerr delivered a beautiful and heartfelt tribute to his late wife on ESPN Bakersfield 1230 AM/98.1 FM, available and the KERNRADIO.COM website. “There is no playbook for this,” Kerr said. “And, quite frankly, it sucks but I know how much more it would suck if I didn’t have Jesus Christ in my life. That doesn’t mean that I’m not reminded of her hundreds of times a day.” A memorial service in her honor will be held June 10 at New Life Church at White Lane and Stine. Keep Greg and his family in your thoughts.

* ... FOODIE: The Padre Hotel is mixing up its menu again, seemingly always experimenting with what works and what falls flat. Two bar offerings I can highly recommend: the steak and blue salad, light and crisp for a summer day, and the hearty grilled cheese with (optional) bacon and egg.

 * ... RECALL: Michael C. Stock is a Californian fed up with taxes, and he had this rant: "It is time to clean house in Sacramento, beginning with an initiative recalling our illustrious and incompetent governor. His recent approval of gas tax and vehicle registration increases that he boldly declared, were a fee and not a tax... I have word from a competent Sacramento senator that the millions of dollars in gas taxes already collected have been funneled into the general fund rather than used for that which it was intended (road infrastructure improvement)... If it's BROWN, flush it. If it is disguised as our governor, RECALL IT! I am a avid reader and strong advocate of your informative column."

 * ... GOOD FORM: Congratulations to Delores S. Whitley, the longtime educator and principal who attended the ground breaking for a new elementary school named in her honor. The Delores S. Whitley Elementary School will be located at the corner of Wible and McKee roads. I got to know Whitley, a tireless and dedicated educator, when she was principal of Christa McAuliffe Elementary School where my own daughters attended.