Thursday, April 23, 2020

Accelerated Urgent Care doctors trigger a storm of controversy over the coronavirus, images of child porn appear on a Bakersfield College Zoom meeting, catching up with KBAK TV personalities and how about getting a speeding ticket for going 165 mph!

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.

 * ... CORONAVIRUS: Two doctors who own and operate Accelerated Urgent Care (known as one of the places that offers coronavirus testing) have ignited a storm of controversy by calling for the opening of the economy and casting doubt on the motives behind the current policy to control the virus. Dr. Dan Erickson and Dr. Artin Massihi basically said the virus is simply a another flu and the reaction has been overblown. (Erickson proudly boasted that he does not wear a mask) The response from other doctors was swift. One expert, quoted in The Californian, said the doctors used flawed data and accused them of "advancing factual inaccuracies." On social media, the blowback was  hard and immediate. One reader accused the doctors of taking the stand so they can make more money at Accelerated, which is now closed to most all other business while it provides testing. The Kern County Health Department also disagreed and said the county should continue to practice social distancing. So are the Accelerated doctors motived by money or science? You decide. (photo courtesy of The Californian)

 * ... ZOOM BOMBING: Imagine being Bakersfield College president Sonya Christian and you are hosting a Zoom meeting with community leaders to talk about the school's response to the coronavirus. And then imagine you are looking at the screen and someone - a hacker - posts a graphic video of child pornography. Well it happened, as it often does on unsecured Zoom meeting accounts, and the meeting was quickly ended. Bakersfield police are investigating. Among those attending were state Sen. Shannon Grove, county CAO Ryan Alsop and Michael Turnipseed of the Kern Taypayer's Association. (stock photo for illustration purposes only)

 * ... SPEED: Remember when I reported that speeding along Interstate 5 had skyrocketed since the shelter at home orders? Well, check this out: a CHP officer ticketed someone for going 165 mph - yes that is right - in south Orange County. Be careful out there.

 * ... NEWS ANCHOR: It was good to see KBAK TV anchor Rachelle Murcia posting a video on Facebook during one of her visits to the Comprehensive Blood and Cancer Center (CBCC) for treatment. Murcia is staying busy and occasionally broadcasting from home during her treatment, which has compromised her immune system and put her at greater risk of the coronavirus. Keep Murcia and her family in your thoughts.

 * ... REYNA HARVEY: Now that we are catching up with local television personalities, Reyna Harvey, a high spirited and talented reporter for KBAK TV, has joined KRON TV in San Francisco. Harvey is originally from Oakland so the move north was a homecoming of sorts.

 * ... JACKIE PARKS: And finally, you likely remember longtime anchor Jackie Parks who moved to Maryland a few years back along with her anchor personality Todd Karli. It turns out their son, Jack, s returning to the Golden State to attend Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. Sometimes you just can't take the California out of the kid no matter where you end up. Parks and Karli were the most prominent husband-wife couple on TV when they left KBAK a few years ago.

 * ... GASOLINE PRICES: Who thought we would see prices like this at your local pump?

 * ... TRASH: If you ever drive on Round Mountain Road, a favorite spot for local cyclists, you may have noticed how some people use it as their own personal dumping ground. Check out this photo from Facebook allegedly showing a truck that may have left a load of dump on the side of the road. We are told this has been reported to the Sheriff's Department.

 * ... MEMORIES: Don't you just love this picture of the old "Dead Man's curve" on the old Highway 99 before Interstate 5 was built? Thanks to the Kern County History Fans page for this shot.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

The next phase of the pandemic may get uglier as angry Americans demand to reopen society, a CHP officer moves out of his house to protect his infant daughter, and with the interstates clear, speeding is the name of the game

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.

 * ... THE NEXT PHASE: I am afraid that the next phase of this pandemic is going to be an ugly one. There is a growing movement across the country to reopen the country at almost any cost. People are frustrated and angry, millions have lost their jobs. and there is a sense that the cure for the
coronavirus may simply be too much to pay. In Michigan, protesters took to the streets at the state Capitol to demand "freedom," and in Florida thousands swarmed to the beaches when they reopened this weekend. A month into the lockdown, and I fear things will only get uglier as this pandemic drags on. Stay tuned, and stay healthy.

 * ... LOCAL HERO: Society tends to throw around the word "hero" too often, but I nominate Adam Taylor for showing true sacrifice. A 22-year veteran of the California Highway Patrol, Taylor now serves as public information officer for the CHP in Buttonwillow. His wife, Breanne, gave birth to their daughter, Austin, in December, right before the coronavirus hit like a vengeance. To make sure his wife and daughter do not contract the virus, Taylor has moved out of the house - just down the street - and is content with daily visits to his wife and daughter through a front window. Now that's a real hero, to his family and to his community.

 * ... SPEEDING:  While interviewing Taylor on The Richard Beene Show, he also told me something interesting: the roads are clear and people are speeding more than ever. In fact, he said there had been a 30 percent increase in people pulled over for going 100 mph or more this March over the previous march. It's not the Autobahn, folks.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Which one of your kids cheats at board games? Watch him, he's going places. Also, that's the one that will put you in a home.

 * ... BEENE MUG: You know you're famous when someone makes a coffee mug adorned with your name. But who knew I was so beloved by Roy Keenan, one of the adopted sons of Monsignor Craig Harrison? It was The mug, referring to my radio show as "All manure, all the time" was posted on Keenan's Facebook page. As one of Harrison's adopted sons, it's not surprising that Keenan would question my journalistic judgment for reporting on his father's suspension from the church because of allegations of of sexual misconduct. (If a handful of people accused you of sexual abuse, I bet you would prefer people avoid the subject as well) Yet, I wonder if the Fresno County District Attorneys office, which said there was credible reason to believe Harrison's accusers, or the Diocese of Fresno, which suspended Harrison to investigate the claims, were also honored with similar mugs? Thanks for the compliment, Roy, but next time please include my picture.

 * ... BOUNTY: And by the way, I want one of these mugs for my collection of news memorabilia. I will pay a bounty of $100 per mug with the money going to the Kern Alliance Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault. Text KERN NewsTalk 96.1 FM at 661-842-5376 if you have located one of these gems.

 * ... MEMORIES: Not sure what happened to this old hotel that was featured on the Kern County History Fans Facebook page. Does anyone know?