TREBEK: Alex Trebek, the popular host of the long-running game show Jeopardy!, has developed a love affair of sorts with Taft College. Trebek has long had a fascination with oil and gas production, and in October he showed up as the emcee of the West Kern Petroleum Summit sponsored by the Ta…

DEMOGRAPHICS: Howell Raines, the Alabama-born former editor of The New York Times, penned an opinion piece for the Times this Sunday in which he succinctly summed up the challenge facing entrenched Southern Republicans (and there are lessons for California and the rest of the nation as well)…

FIREWORKS: The Fourth is behind us but the heated passions over fireworks live on. Consider this note from R. Craig Lincoln: "I can't tell you how disappointed I am of the city and county to allow fireworks. What's wrong with our council and supervisors? Not only because of the drought but B…

ANIMAL ABUSE: The news that coyotes are attacking and killing dogs that have been abandoned off of Breckinridge Road drew this response from John Kiearnan: "What a horrific and terrifying death these animals had to go through and continue to go through not only on Breckenridge Road but all o…

SCAM: Gilbert Alemao shared with me yet another scam, this one an email from "The Internal Revenue Service" informing him of a $1,900 refund. The catch? It asked for all his personal information, bank account number, etc. "I wasn't born yesterday but I have to admit the attachment is pretty …

FRACKING: The Environmental Protection Agency issued a report saying hydraulic fracturing (fracking) has not resulted in widespread damage to drinking water, but that won't stop the anti-fossil fuel crowd from claiming otherwise. In what can only be described as an example of extreme chutzpa…

MOBILE: Get ready for a whole new line of "smart TVs" designed to leverage the growing time we spend on our mobile devices. The new flat screen TVs, from manufacturers like Sharp, Samsung, Sony and Insignia are designed to take advantage of a growing trend by consumers to ditch traditional T…

DROUGHT: Here is a real head-scratcher, compliments of Heather Van Arkel, who recently replaced her lawn with artificial turf: "California Water Service recently sent out an informational flier on water use during the drought. I read it thoroughly and was excited to read that they are now of…

ESTHER: Our community lost a terrific person recently with the passing of Esther Gamez, a daughter of the founders of Mexicali restaurant and quite possibly one of the most gracious, and kind, people I have been fortunate to have met. She was 84. Esther was a Bakersfield success story, born …

UNIONS: In what one commentator called "sheer, naked chutzpah," the same unions that helped pass a $15 an hour minimum wage law in Los Angeles are now asking to be exempt from the law. That's right, the county Federation of Labor is saying collective bargaining agreements should trump the lo…

ANIMAL ABUSE: If you want to get someone's attention, turn the conversation to how some people treat their pets. This note from Jean Hughes Gutierrez hit home: "Your recent comment on dogs being dumped on Breckenridge Road and being attacked and eaten by wild animals was typical of what is g…

FOREVER YOUNG: The best of all of us was on display on Mother's Day, when folks took to Facebook and other social media to pay tribute to their mothers. So many pictures, many old photos in black and white taken in the war years of the 1940s, showing our mothers in their prime, smiling and s…

THEFT: Whoever snatched the package off Earl Absher’s front porch may have messed with the wrong man. Absher, a retried Fresno police officer, was smart enough to install security cameras on the porch of his Northwest Bakersfield home and they recorded the young brunette who calmly walked up…

BAD FORM: What happened on Truxtun extension the other day is not only bad form, but also extremely bad karma for the driver of a white pickup truck. Consider this: Anyone who commutes on Truxtun knows about the ducks that occasionally cross the road to the medical offices on the other side.…

VETERINARIAN: This is one of those stories that makes you cringe and wonder what makes some people tick. A veterinarian in Brenham, Texas, has been fired after she posted a picture online of herself holding up a dead, orange tabby cat that she claims to have killed with a bow and arrow. It i…

DROUGHT: The long drought and the fight over water has revealed a glaring weakness facing California farmers: As a group they have done a terrible job of explaining the importance of what they do. Remember when the oil and gas industry was caught flatfooted when the anti-fossil fuel crowd at…

DROUGHT: This probably should not come as much as a surprise, but low-income households are carrying the heaviest load when it comes to conserving water. That's according to The Los Angeles Times, which reported that residents in the wealthy enclaves like Newport Beach, La Canada Flintridge …

OIL PRICES: Oil producers have sharply curtailed drilling as the price of crude has plummeted, but it may not last for long. At least that is the opinion of oil magnate T. Boone Pickens, who predicted this week that oil prices would rebound to about $100 a barrel by the end of 2016.

MARCH MADNESS: It turns out that our obsession with the NCAA Tournament has to do with a lot more than simply college basketball. According to researchers, doctors report up to a 50 percent rise in the number of vasectomies during the NCAA &dcFour;Tournament, presumably so the men can sp…

ISRAEL: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a blunt, 40-minute speech to Congress laying out the risks that Iran poses to the very existence of Israel. Was it political theater or an honest attempt to warn the world of the threat of a nuclear Iran?

OIL BY RAIL: Environmentalists applauded when President Obama vetoed the Keystone XL pipeline, but what did it accomplish? Not much, according to experts, who point out the oil extracted from our resurgent fields will simply find its way to market via rail cars, often through our most densel…

ANCHOR: "NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams, caught in a lie about being on a helicopter that came under fire in Iraq a decade ago, is off the air for now as the network conducts an internal investigation. And now comes word that Williams may have exaggerated his reporting from Hurrican…

CLINICA: The east side of town has an important new health center that will open on Monday. It’s called the East Niles Community Heath Center and it represents the latest venture by Clinica Sierra Vista to expand its coverage for underserved and low-income residents.