Sunday, June 10, 2018

Experts fear a "suicide contagion" after the deaths of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade, a young cowboy lifts my spirits and Dr. Horace Mitchell gets a rousing sendoff

Monday, June 11, 2018

Welcome to Bakersfield Observed, now online only. Our mission is to celebrate life in Kern County by focusing on newsmakers and events and the local characters who make this such a special place. Email your news and notes to

 * ... SUICIDE: How many of us have been touched by the tragedy of suicide? How many of us have lost a loved one, family member or a friend from the despair of depression? It is more
widespread than you might think, and it comes as little surprise that the suicide rate in the United States has jumped 30 percent since 1996. And now with the suicides of designer Kate Spade and chef Anthony Bourdain, experts are worrying about something called "suicide contagion," where suicides spike in the wake of celebrity suicides that gather a lot of media attention. Madelyn Gould, a professor at Columbia University, told The Los Angeles Times that research has shown that the phenomenon is real and suggests that media coverage of celebrity deaths can influence those who are vulnerable or at risk and can lead to a spike in suicide rates.

 * ... HERE AT HOME: Most suicides go unreported by the media out of respect for the families and survivors, but some are too public to ignore. Locally, we have experienced more than our share: community activist Jai Bernstein killed herself in Hart Park, city councilman Jeff Tkac did so a mere week after taking office, and local farmer Jeff Thompson committed suicide as well.

 * ... CHOOSE LIFE: In the midst of all this heartache about suicide, state Senate candidate Shannon Grove posted a picture on Facebook that lifted my spirits. Grove was at the Glennville Rodeo when she spotted a cute little boy in a cowboy hat. She posted this with the picture: "Nathan living life to the fullest - competed in his first rodeo - got a trophy. God has big plans for Nathan, I know this because he was a safe surrender baby, 1 lb 4 oz when he was born. Nathan has always wanted to be a cowboy."

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Drove through Rocky Mountain National park today so my kids could enjoy the beautiful scenery of their iPads."

 * ... MORE TWITTER: "I just wanna be rich enough to forget when payday is."

 * ... RAISING CANE'S: One of the country's most highly rated fast food chicken restaurants - Raising Cane's - is coming to Bakersfield. Construction is under way at the corner of Coffee Road and Downing. No word on when it will open but they are advertising for employees. Cane's is known for its singular focus on chicken, and its meals are said to feature some of the best chicken strips around.

* ... HORACE MITCHELL: A dinner honoring outgoing CSUB President Horace Mitchell was held this weekend at the Marriott, drawing a huge crowd of local dignitaries from academia and local businesses. Some 400 people attended to say farewell to the man who has guided CSUB for the past 14 years. Mitchell told me he and his wife Barbara are planning to retire in Huntington Beach, where they have owned a home for years. Among the honors bestowed on Mitchell was a key to the city presented by Mayor Karen Goh.

 * ... MEMORIES: Check out this photo from the corner of Chester and 20th Street, the northeast corner, then and now.

No comments: