Thursday, May 14, 2020

Bob Hampton, enthusiastic Taft businessman and USC alum, dies at the age of 83, Sheriff Donny Youngblood minces no works in calling for the reopening of the economy, and Dr. Brij Bhambi lays out the road toward herd immunity

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.

 * ... HERD IMMUNITY: Centric Health's Dr. Brij Bhambi says herd immunity may be the only way to deal with the long-term consequences of the coronavirus. Bhambi said society has moved from "trying to eliminate the virus to trying to live with it," and it is now clear the nation is too
restless to stay locked down much longer. The only viable option, Bhambi said, is "a reasonable strategy to build herd immunity." That means protecting those at risk - the elderly and people with health issues - while allowing the young and the healthy to return to work. At the same time, society must continue with social distancing and other precautions like wearing face masks. Still, he warned, there will be casualties."Not everyone is going to take personal responsibility" for their own welfare, he warned.

* ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "When this is all over I hope there are lots of job openings for people who can bake bread and put together jigsaw puzzles."

 * ... RIP BOB HAMPTON: In some ways Bob Hampton epitomized Kern County and his adopted hometown of Taft: larger than life, rooted in a blue collar work ethic, successful in a quiet way that was never flaunted and loyal to a fault. He was an enthusiastic graduate of USC, worked in the recycling and waste industries and although he could afford to live in Bakersfield's finest neighborhoods, it was Taft where he worked and called home. Hampton was 83 this week when he suffered what appears to be a heart attack at his Taft office and later died. The outpouring of affection for Hampton and his widow, Judy, was immediate and impressive.

 * ... SHERIFF YOUNGBLOOD: Sheriff Donny Youngblood minces no words when it comes to the pandemic and what it means for local businesses. Youngblood said the current state policy of threatening restaurants and bars with losing their alcohol licenses if they open was "tyrannical" and that his office has no intention of playing the enforcer when "people are just trying to make a living." In a perfect world, Youngblood added, the state should allow individual counties and cities to make their own decisions about opening with proper social distancing protocol. I am not a science denier, he said, but rather a person looking for a reasonable accommodation for people and businesses.

 * ... NORDSTROM CLOSING: One of the growing list of victims to this pandemic is Nordstrom, which is closing 16 locations because of the disruption in sales. Among those to be closed in the Nordstrom on State Street in Santa Barbara.“These types of decisions are never easy because we realize what this means for our employees,” the retailer’s corporate office said in a media statement. “Our goal is to best position ourselves to serve customers in each market where we operate. Because of the impacts COVID-19 has had on our business, we need to take a critical look at the physical footprint of our stores to determine which we will continue to operate.”  Nordstrom has been an  anchor in the Paseo Nuevo mall for almost 30 years along with Macy's, which closed three years ago.

 * ... ZELEZNY: Hats off to Lynette Zelezny, the CSUB president who was voted the CSU President of the Year by the student associations of the university system. Zelezny was the face of the Cal State system when CNN aired a report on the system moving to online learning in the fall.

 * .... MEMIORIES: Back in 1952, just after the big earthquake,  this is what Chester Avenue looked like. Thanks to the Kern County of Old Facebook page for this shot.

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