Thursday, August 10, 2017

Remembering the famous studio musicians called "The Wrecking Crew" and a young bass guitarist named Carol Kaye, Happy Jack's gives back to the Ronald McDonald House and Taft College gets a big donation from a supporter

 * ... WRECKING CREW: Before he rose to fame, the late Glenn Campbell was an accomplished studio musician and a member of a famous group of musicians in Los Angeles called "The Wrecking Crew." Active in the 1960s and 1970s, the Wrecking Crew became the most requested session
musicians of their time, playing with artists such as Frank Sinatra, Sonny and Cher, the Beach Boys, the Monkees and even the Byrds. In addition to Campbell, other members included keyboardist Leon Russell, guitarist Tommy Tedesco and saxophonist Steve Douglas. And, not to be forgotten, the crew also included a talented young bass guitarist named Carol Kaye, who at 84 now lives in Rosamond.
Kaye was the bassist on Phil Spector and Brian Wilson productions and recorded guitar on Ritchie Valens' huge hit "La Bamba." The story of the Wrecking Crew was made into a documentary now available on Netflix.

 * ... HAPPY JACK'S: My friend Gene Bonas, a proud Navy veteran, reminded me of an important event this weekend that is worthy of note. Said Bonas: "Stopped in at my favorite diner to have a delicious hamburger and spoke with the owners of Happy Jack's, Frances and Ruben Rosales. They said they're sponsoring another fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald House this coming Sunday, August 13, from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. All money collected will go to Ronald McDonald House, and workers are donating their time, wages and tips. Last year Happy Jack's presented Ronald McDonald House $8,000. The goal this year is $10,000. So, for a delicious breakfast or lunch please support this worthwhile fundraiser."

 * ... RIP HARRY: Taft College lost a friend and community role model last year with the death of Harry Wilson, who graduated from the school in 1942. Wilson, who died last September at the age of 96, served in both World War II and the Korean war and later worked at ARCO for 30 years before retiring. The college has now announced that Wilson left the college $1.6 million, which will help fund  student support services along with starting the Opal Smith and Harry Wilson Endowment for Taft College.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Sometimes I'm good at eating healthy, but other times I have to change into bigger clothes in the middle of a meal."

 * ... SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK: "Unfortunately, I don't have the type of rage that makes you want to clean house."

 * ... NUESTRO MEXICO: Congratulations to the folks who own Nuestro Mexico, the intimate eatery on 21st Street that consistently serves up quality food at affordable prices. (They also happen to offer an awesome margarita). According to the Californian's Dorothy Mills-Gregg, the restaurant is looking to open a lounge at the corner of Calloway Drive and Hageman Road to serve the fast growing Northwest area.

 * ... MEMORIES: Did you know that the Grapevine is actually a community located at the foot of what we now know as the 'Grapevine grade" headed to Los Angeles? According to the Facebook page Kern County of old, "The village and grade are named, not for the once-winding road known as the Grapevine that used to climb the steep mountain canyon, but for the canyon it passed through with its wild grapes that still grow along the original road. Its Spanish name was La CaƱada de las Uvas, i.e. Grapevine ravine." Wikipedia added: "The top of the Grapevine is registered as California Historical Landmark #283, where Don Pedro Fages passed through in 1772 during his explorations through California."

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

One woman's story of struggle, loss, drugs, homelessness, jail and redemption and Clinics Sierra Vista joins the campaign to keep the Kern River safe

 * ... REDEMPTION: Do you believe in second chances, fate and redemption? Do you believe there is hope for someone who went to jail 10 times for everything from drug use to grand theft and spent
years living on the street? Those are long odds for sure, but 35-year-old Tara Hunt is an example of why we should never give up. Hunt has lived a life not for the faint of heart: her mother was murdered, her father died of AIDS and she fell into a life of crime, drugs, deceit and denial. But she refused to quit and today, drug free, sober and determined, is working for county Supervisor Leticia Perez as she climbs the ladder of redemption. I will be chatting with Hunt today (Wednesday) on KERN NewsTalk 96.1 FM as she shares her story of failure, despair and later - success.

 * ... KERN RIVER: Hats off to Clinica Sierra Vista which has stepped forward to take an aggressive approach to warning people about the dangers of swimming in the Kern River. Clinica, a non-profit that serves 150,000 people in Kern, Fresno and Inyo counties, has launched a multimedia campaign to keep people out of the river, whose raging waters have claimed at least a dozen lives this summer alone. The health-care organization has embarked on a blitz of radio PSAs, print ads, social media posts and perhaps the most high-profile outreach of all: five billboards – three in English, two in Spanish – that remind valley residents that there’s only one sane way to approach the Kern River: by appreciating its beauty from the riverbank. The campaign isn’t cheap; Clinica is spending $23,000 to get the word out. But the only cost Clinica CEO Steve Schilling is worried about is the human one. “Keeping our patients and our fellow neighbors healthy and safe is a public health obligation we take very seriously. This is just another way we can help make that happen."

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Sorry I used a 3D printer to make an exact replica of your mom and we're dating now."

 * ... THE MARK: The popular downtown restaurant The Mark, known for its live music and Tuesday night jazz sessions, has parted ways with manager Jeramy Brown. Meanwhile Meir Brown, owner of Cafe Med, has been brought in as interim general manager to build a new management team.

 * ... OVERHEARD: A local hair stylist is telling a customer about why she left her old salon: "I found out the owner put up cameras inside the building, with audio, so she could listen in on all of our private conversations."

 * ... TRASH: A big "thank you" to the woman who was spotted picking up trash on the Panorama Bluffs at 6:30 a.m. this week.

 * ... GREEN ENERGY: Chris Padham contributed this to our morning: "An interesting read yesterday about energy costs during the summer months. Just paid my PGE bill. I used .06 kilo watt more than last years period. It cost an additional  $35 for this year. I now understand why it's called green energy. The whole point is to take as much green from your wallet as they can."

 * ... MEMORIES: The old American Jewelry Co. used to be located at the corner of 20th and Eye streets downtown, and outside was an elegant street clock. According to the Facebook page Kern County of Old (an endless source of fascinating historical footnotes) that clock is now in Illinois. One reader noted: "The American Jewelry Co., Bakersfield  purchased a Joseph Mayer street clock in 1922. It remained in Bakersfield until Jasper San Filippo purchased it. It is now restored as part of the San Filippo collection in East Barrington, IL at 'Place de la Musique.'"