Sunday, January 26, 2020

Kobe Bryant dies when his private helicopter goes down near Calabasas, Kevin McCarthy celebrates his 55th birthday, Ronda Newport takes over the Board of Realtors and the oil boom in Texas

Welcome to Bakersfield Observed. Our mission is to celebrate life in Kern County by focusing on newsmakers and events and the local characters who make this community such a special place. The views expressed here are strictly my own and do not represent any other person or organization.

: Kobe Bryant, an NBA legend beloved by millions, died in a helicopter crash Sunday morning in Calabasas, along with four other people, including his 13-tear-old daughter Gianna. According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, there were no survivors of the crash. An investigation is ongoing.
The crash came one day after Bryant was passed by Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James for third place on the NBA's all-time scoring list. As late as 10:39 p.m. ET on Saturday, Bryant was active on social media, congratulating James on Twitter during the Lakers' 108-91 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. Authorities said it was Sikorsky 76 helicopter that crashed, believed to be the private copter that Bryant was known to fly in often. The Sikorsky is a favorite chopper for those who can afford it and has a good safety record, but authorities said the area of the crash was fogged in early in the morning. He was 41 years old.

 * ... OIL BOOM: Now that the United States has reached near energy independence, thanks to cracking the code on fracking, environmentalists want to shut it down. Doing so, without a viable alternative or replacement for fossil fuels, would simply shift the burden to imports from Saudi Arabia, Venezuela or other oil producing countries. But there is plenty of oil here, not only in Kern County but also in Texas which has become a global oil superpower. If Texas were a country it would be the world's No. 3 oil producer, behind only Russia and Sauia Arabia. Said one report: "Plunging drilling costs have sparked an explosion of production out of the Permian Basin of West Texas. In fact, Texas is pumping so much oil that it will surpass OPEC members Iran and Iraq next year, HSBC predicted in a recent report... Much of the excitement in Texas centers around the Permian Basin. Some oil execs believe the amount of oil in the Permian rivals Saudi Arabia’s Ghawar Field, the world’s largest conventional oilfield."

 * ... WEEKEND GALAS: Congratulations to Ronda Newport, who was installed as the new head of the Bakersfield Association of Realtors at a gala this weekend, and also to Jessica Mathews who presided over a sold out event at Riverlakes Ranch to benefit the League of Dreams.

 * ... BIRTHDAY: Happy birthday to House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who turned 55 years old this weekend. Assemblyman Vince Fong, a former McCarthy aide, posted this picture on Facebook. (Is there anywhere Vince doesn't show up these days?)

 * ... MEMORIES: And thanks to Art Moore and the Facebook page Kern County History Fans, I bring you Cheryl Johns, the 1967 Potato Princess sponsored by the Kern County Potato Growers Association. She is wearing a Shafter Potato Sack Dress.

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