GANGS: Most of us are fortunate to live in neighborhoods that are safe from the scourge of gangs. We go about our lives, shop, raise families and work with little regard for what happens in less fortunate neighborhoods. Which is why I was stunned to read the front page story in the Sunday Californian by Harold Pierce shedding light on the extent of gang activity in town. The most shocking part of the story? The half page map showing where the gangs operate, their names and the extent of their influence. From Colonia on the far east to the West Side Bakers to the west, gangs operate in a remarkably large part of our city.

CSUB: The smartest thing the CSUB Roadrunners did a few years ago was return to the iconic Icardo Center for home basketball games. Certainly Rabobank Arena had the fancier facilities, but the intimacy (and foot stomping noise on the old bleachers) of the Icardo Center plays better to whip up the crowd. And there is nothing like a Roadrunner basketball game on a crisp fall Saturday to renew some old friendships. Some of those I spotted enjoying CSUB's victory over Georgia Southern were former Mayor Harvey Hall, sporting a wintry white beard, Mel Atkinson, Greg and Mary Bynum, Patrick Wade, Alan Wade, Dr. Vip Dev, Mike and Claudia Stepanovich, Assemblyman Vince Fong and Rep. Kevin McCarthy.

SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK: “I ordered a chicken and an egg from Amazon. I’ll let you know” what arrives first.

MORE FACEBOOK SPOTTED: "If you’re not fully satisfied with your life, do something about it. Or complain about it on the internet. Whatever you prefer."

GOOD ADVICE: This good advice came from a high school teacher to her students about "news" stories: "Always ask yourself: Who writes these stories? Who benefits from the stories? And who is missing from these stories?"

GOOD FORM: Hats off to the young father who, along with his young sons, were seen walking the park at the Panorama Bluffs picking up trash, a heart warming example of a teaching your children the importance of having pride in your community.

MEA CULPA: Bruce Jay, president of Valley Republic Bank, wrote to correct me on an earlier item I published. "The Kern County Cancer Fund is in fact a part of the CBCC Foundation, but is a separate division with a separate mission, Board of Director, books and records, etc. The KCCF only provides financial assistance for cancer treatment. The typical client is either a single working parent or a working family with one bread winner that has cancer and can no longer work and household income has become compromised. Often, there is not sufficient income to pay monthly health plan premiums. So KCCF provides funds for cancer care medical costs including prescriptions, co-pays, insurance deductibles and COBRA. Without this assistance, patients can be forced into a horrific situation of having to suspend treatments due to household financial restraints. The good news is KCCF has provided financial assistance to over 450 clients over the past four years with a financial commitment of over $2 million."

Email contributing columnist Richard Beene at rsbeene@yahoo.com. His work appears here on Wednesdays and Fridays; the views expressed are his own. Read more on his blog at BakersfieldObserved.com.

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