* ... COUNTY PENSION: In all the talk about why we are losing so many of our Kern County sheriff deputies to other agencies, we seem to have missed a key central point. At least that is what county chief administrative officer (CAO) Ryan Alsop told me recently during an appearance on The Richard Beene Show. Alsop said the chief culprit behind the budget crisis is rising pension costs, which have added $20.5 million to the sheriff's department's budget over the past four years, eating into the county's ability to provide substantial raises to needy deputies. "It is crowding out our ability to do anything with the money," the CAO said, adding that the same was true in the Kern County Fire Department, where pension costs have spiked $19 million over the same period. Until that is addressed, Alsop said, the county will continue to struggle with its budget and budgetary priorities.
* ... YOUNG ACHIEVERS: BakersfieldLife magazine is recognizing some of the brightest young professionals in town with its annual "20 Under 40" tribute. This years bunch is a quality group, and they all deserve our recognition. Here's the group:
• Amy Travis, CASA executive director
• Tiffany Chatman, Aera Energy facilities engineer
• Jennifer Williams Cordova, Willis and Williams Design Studios graphic designer
• Shannon LaBare, Purveyor House founder and creative director
• Jasmin LoBasso, Kern County Library marketing division
• Derrick Miller, POM Wonderful general manager
• Jack Bertrand, North High School director of vocal music
• Lizbeth Barajas-Gonzalez, coordinator for social emotional learning
• Ariel Dyer, Beale Memorial Library associate
• Christie Ludwick, Vibe Stitch owner
• Analicia Torres, Bakersfield Train Robbers front office manager
• Blake Goehring, Merrill Lynch financial adviser
• Jaime Doniaz, Multicultural business development officer
• Eduardo Vargas, Bidart Bros. health and safety technician
• Jessica Mathews, League of Dreams executive director
• Valerie Caudillo, Centric Health peripheral vascular disease program coordinator
• Lesley Bonds, Bakersfield College student success and equity director
• Brandon Grimm, Grimmway Farms director and general manager
• Zach Skow, Marley's Mutts founder
• Manpreet Kaur, Jakara Movement leader/Greater Bakersfield community organizeral place.
* ... SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK: "Woman who ignore me just haven't learned to make the best of a bad situation."
* ... HEAT: A central coast television station posted this graphic showing Bakersfield a tad, well, hot. Remember, it's a dry heat.
* ... SICK BAY: Local cyclist Richard Picarelli is recovering after being hit by a car on Calloway at the Westside Parkway last week. Picarelli, who works at State Farm, suffered a broken pelvis but is at home recuperating.
* ... RAISING CANES: It looks like we will be getting a second location for Raising Cane's, the fast food franchise devoted to all things chicken. The city has confirmed that Raising Cane's will build on the lot where Mimi's Cafe stood next to Barnes and Noble on California Avenue. Mimi's is being demolished to make way for the new chicken restaurant.
* ... MEMORIES? How about these pictures from the Vintage Bakersfield Facebook page?