Thursday, December 31, 2020

Let's kick 2020 to the trash bin and start anew, local hospitals seeking traveling nurses at $200 an hour and local lad Cooper Adamo heads east for a prestigious fellowship

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 company or publication.

 * ... HAPPY NEW YEAR: About the kindest thing you can say about the year 2020 is "good riddance." More colorful language may be appropriate but let's leave it at that. Here's to everyone for a more

prosperous, healthy, predictable and kind new year.

 * ... TRAVELING NURSES: Did you know that traveling ICU nurses are in such short supply during this COVID-19 pandemic that they are demanding salaries in the $200 an hour range? And that is even if you can find a nurse at that rate. That's the word from Matt Constantine, director of Kern County Public Heath, who said local hospitals are competing against themselves for skilled nurses who are now demanding hourly wages in the $200 range. To save yourself the bother, a $200 hourly rate comes to $8,000 a week or $416,000 a year. And many might say they are worth every penny.

 * ... COVID SURGE: Here's a dirty little secret no one really wants to talk about. Our local hospitals are so full of Covid patients that ambulances often drive through the streets of Bakersfield looking for a medical facility to place their patients. With the beds full and elective surgery all but put on hold, patients will other illnesses are often held on the local ambulances for an hour or more as drivers try to find a hospital that will admit them.

 * ... RISING STAR: Cooper Adamo, son of author Teresa Adamo and photographer Felix, heads to Washington, D.C., to attend the swearing in of Congressman elect David Valadao who is returning to Congress after defeating Democrat T.J. Cox. Cooper was a regional field director for the Valadao For Congress campaign for the 21st Congressional district seat, focusing on the Kern County region of the district. Following the swearing in, Cooper heads to the John Jay Institute  in  Langhorne, Pennsylvania to start his four month fellowship. Once there, Cooper will delve into  readings and topics from interdisciplinary studies in theology, philosophy, ethics, history, politics, culture, and jurisprudence. The John Jay fellowship program is intended to prepare Fellows for careers in public service, whether they take shape in the public, non-profit, or for-profit spheres.

 * ... FACES OF THE HOMELESS: I was struck by these black and white pictures taken at the Christmas dinner at the Mission of Kern County. Hats off to local photographer Mark Duffel for some amazing photography.

 * ... SHANNON GROVE: Did you catch this vintage picture of Shannon Grove when she was in the Army boot camp? The state senator posted it on her Facebook page this weekend.

 * ... MEMORIES: Here are a couple of pictures for all you fans of the old Ridge Route, the circuitous and dangerous road that connected Los Angeles with Bakersfield before Interstate 5 was built. These pictures are featured on a Facebook page devoted to the old California state route 99. They were taken in 1932 during a fire on the Ridge Route. The last picture shows the new route and its official opening in 1933.

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