Thursday, January 30, 2020

Supervisor Leticia Perez's amazing comeback, Frank DeMarco of Rosemary's Creamery dies, Anna Lavin named to head the Kern County homeless collaborative and Chevron gives Taft College $156,000

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.

 * ... LETICIA PEREZ: Not long ago many had written Leticia Perez off, dismissed as irrelevant in today's political climate and certain she could not recover from the legal problems involving her husband's role in promoting marijuana. But like the mythical phoenix she not only rose from the ashes but came roaring back, and here she was Wednesday night speaking at the State of the County dinner as chair of the Kern County Board of Supervisors. And not only that, but she did so as the defender of the oil and natural
gas industry, speaking passionately about how work in the oil fields has allowed so many families to rise out of poverty. Who would have thought that a lifelong Democrat, once fighting for her political life and subjected to relentless criticism by local right wing radio, would be a pivotal player in the fight to save the fossil fuel industry? "No one ever doubted her intelligence," one political insider told me, "but the way she has positioned herself is nothing short of brilliant. " And make no mistake but conservative Kern County needs allies in the office of Gov. Gavin Newsom, who seems hellbent on putting the oil industry out of business. "If she has the governor's ear and it helps Kern County," the insider continued, "well that is important." (photo by Sam Morgan)

 * ... RIP FRANK: Frank DeMarco, one of the original owners of Rosemary's Creamery, has passed away at the age of 89. DeMarco and his wife, Rosemary, started Rosemary's in November 1984 and over the years the F Street store became a favorite place for people to recognize birthdays and special anniversaries. Family members said DeMarco had been suffering from heart and kidney issues and had been under hospice care. Frank and Rosemary were high school sweethearts and celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in December. Their daughters, Roseanne and Katie, run the family business with DeMarco's grandson Patrick. Services are set for next Wednesday at St. Francis of Assisi. A rosary service is set for 10:30 a.m. followed by an 11 a.m. mass.

 * ... SMART KIDS: So you think you were a smart kid? Have you met Ishaan Brar, a junior at Stockdale High School? The local student was named to the prestigious Global Team Leaders, a group of 35 young people from 18 countries who have achieved the ability to creating innovative technologies that encourage healthy communities. He is the son of rheumatologist Dr. Sumeet Bhinder and nephrologist Dr. Harjeet Brar.

 * ... GRIMMWAY: Hats off to Grimmway Farms for donating $5 million to CSUB to establish the Grimm Center for Agricultural Business, the largest single gift ever bestowed on our local university. The money will come over three years and comes from an endowment created by Barbara Grimm-Marshall and Kari Grimm Anderson. The gift coincides with Grimmway's 50th anniversary in business.

 * ... TAFT COLLEGE: And also a big hats off to Chevron which gave the Taft College Foundation $156,000 to help fund the development of the allied health and sciences lab, specifically by providing medical equipment for expansion of the TC anatomy and physiology curriculum. This donation will strengthen Taft College’s collaboration with Kern County schools by expanding classes for STEM careers, said Sheri Horn-Bunk, executive director of the TC Foundation.

 * ... ANNA LAVIN: Bakersfield College administrator Anna Gavin has been named the new head of the homeless collaborative. Gavin has worked at BC for three years and is now the first executive director of the organization, which seeks to coordinate the efforts of multiple agencies to fight homelessness in our community.

 * ... THUGS: I spotted this on Facebook. Beware of folks who walk our streets. The caption read: "The Bakersfield Police Department is requesting the community’s assistance in identifying suspects responsible for an assault. The incident occurred on November 2, 2019, in the 2500 block of Wible Road. The victim was walking to a convenience store in the area when he was assaulted by the suspects... Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to call Detective Eric Celedon at (661) 326-3964 or the Bakersfield Police Department at (661) 327-7111.

 * ... KERN SCHOOLS: One of the most familiar brands in town - Kern Schools Federal Credit Union- is going away. The company has announced it's changing its name as part of plans of expand in the region and is opting for Valley Strong Credit Union. Kern Schools was founded in 1938 to serve local teachers before eventually expanding to general Kern County residents, according to its website.

 * ... MYSTERY PHOTO: I spotted this old photo on the Kern County of Old Facebook page. It was taken somewhere in Bakersfield. Do you know where?

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.