Incoming CEO at Houchin Community Blood Bank

Galen Kline, who joined Houchin Community Blood Bank in 2017 and now serves as chief operating officer, has been named CEO, effective Jan. 1. He replaces retiring President and CEO Greg Gallion.

After a nationwide search, Bakersfield-based Houchin Community Blood Bank has selected its own chief operating officer, Galen Kline, to serve as CEO after the Dec. 31 retirement of Greg Gallion, who is also president.

Kline earned a bachelor's degree in business administration at Sonoma State. He began his career as a bioecologist, and he worked on the Exxon Valdez oil spill before joining Houchin in 2017 as director of quality.

"Galen is an outstanding leader with a proven track record of success," Houchin Chairman Joseph C. Engel said in a Friday news release. "Employees, blood donors and recipients, and the community can expect Houchin Community Blood Bank to continue to grow and prosper with Galen at the helm."

Ninety-employee Houchin provides blood, plasma, platelets and other blood derivatives from its pool of 18,000 volunteer donors. It serves 11 hospitals, plus burn, cancer and transfusion centers in Kern County.

The Bakersfield City School District is looking to add another grade level to one of its schools starting next school year.

The district said that with enrollment at Cato Middle School increasing at a major rate, it is looking to add a sixth-grade level at Horace Mann Elementary, one of Cato’s feeder schools, for the 2019-20 school year to ease overcrowding.

According to the district, enrollment at Cato Middle has reached 1,000 students after opening in 2014. With 180 or more students expected to attend the school in the next five years, the district is looking to lighten the load.

The district said it chose Mann Elementary for the change because it has been seeing reduced enrollment over the last few years, declining from 883 in the 2015-16 school year to 780 this year. If the change is approved, the 129 students currently in fifth grade will remain at the campus next year.

The district’s board of trustees will consider approving the change during its Nov. 13 meeting. The open session of the meeting starts at 6 p.m. at 1300 Baker St.

Adventist Health Bakersfield will host a free men's health screening on Sunday at St. John's Lutheran Church.

The screenings will take place from 9:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at 4500 Buena Vista Road. People are encouraged to bring their families. Children will be able to support the troops by drawing pictures and writing letters.

The letters and drawings will go in Boxes for the Brave, where they will be sent out to members of the military.

Lane closures on Highway 99 between Highway 58 and Ming Avenue are expected for next week.

According to the Thomas Roads Improvement Program, lane closures in both directions will be needed Tuesday to Thursday between 6 p.m. and 5 a.m. for paving and re-striping operations and the installation of concrete barrier rail along the roadway.

At least one lane will remain open during the work.

Cal State Bakersfield is holding a community forum on Thursday.

The forum will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Icardo Center, 9001 Stockdale Highway. The goal of the event is to receive feedback on what people would like to see in the university’s future.

For more information, call 654-2782.

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