THEFT: Yet another theft and another sign of the times. Chris Lowe is a banker who works off California Avenue and recently discovered that the catalytic converter and the co2 sensors were stolen off his car in broad daylight. "I looked into why someone would steal this, and there's two reasons: They can resell them for a decent price and the catalytic converter contains platinum, which can be torn out and sold to a recycler. Also the time it takes to remove it is about two minutes. When I reported it to the police and my insurance, they said it's a common occurrence for the catalytic converter to be stolen from SUVs and Hondas. To protect it from being stolen again, I've ordered a device called a 'Cat Clamp,' which goes over the catalytic converter and makes it harder to steal quickly. Hope it works!"
COVENANT: More good news for the folks over at Covenant Community Services, a nonprofit dedicated to helping foster youth get back on their feet. The organization is opening a Covenant Coffee kiosk at Bakersfield Memorial Hospital, open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday. In addition, chief Covenant cheerleader Randy Martin tells me that Bakersfield North Rotary gave $5,000 for the Hope fund, which helps distribute books to students in Oildale elementary schools.
No matter how you feel about the homeless and panhandlers, it is clear this situation is way out of control. Consider this note from Mindy Wright, a church-going woman who helps numerous charities and who is on disability income. She was at the Starbucks on Mount Vernon when, while waiting in the drive-through lane, was approached by not one but two panhandlers. "The staff came out and chased him off. I gave my order and another young man came up to the driver window side of waiting cars knocking on windows. I just turned my head. When I finally got to the window as I was waiting, I bowed my head and said a prayer for those men. The barista asked if I was all right and I said yes. It just upsets me when I can't even leave when being approached by these men ... Then I go to Costco to pick up some pictures and an elderly man with a cane comes up and says he needed money to get to someplace and asked for money. I just kept walking! It is getting to the point that where a normal person like me avoids places due to the possibility of being alone and being accosted!"
COUNTY ROADS: Carmen Needham Tyack wrote to give thanks to the foreman of the Pumpkin Center yard of the Kern County Roads Department for hearing out her concerns about a small quarter mile section of country road. "It gets chewed up by tractors, and people in the community use it as a shortcut if it's nice and smooth. He has always obliged until last week when he told me they had to do something. I forgot to tell him that I had survey marks in the road for when I paid to have it surveyed due to a property split. So I panicked a little bit when they were covered with blacktop of some sort.
"Joe, the foreman, came out with a metal detector and kindly marked and dug up my survey marks. I was so appreciative to what he was doing for me I went out to thank him and see if he had luck locating the nails. So for this, I thank him ... I want to also acknowledge the fact that county workers get paid by us, the taxpayer, and they should never forget that. We are all public servants if we are getting paid with taxpayer dollars. I recall in my younger days as a first grade teacher a principal made me aware of that 'we are just a public servant.' That was about 30 years ago; everyone should be reminded."
BAKERSFIELDISM: Paul Summers says you know you're a Bakersfield oldtimer if you remember Don Hart talking about the "Fly Catching" (not baseball) contest in east Bakersfield. The one who caught the most flies was the winner and received a new bicycle donated by Roux and Kuentzel Sporting Goods.
Email Richard Beene , Californian president and CEO, at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears here on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; the views expressed are his own. Read more on his blog at BakersfieldObserved.com.