Kern BHRS

The Kern Behavioral Health and Recovery Services building at 2001 28th St. is shown.  

Hit — Good news for drug addicts who don't want to be drug addicts anymore.

Medi-Cal is expanding services through its new Drug Medi-Cal Organized Delivery System, giving people easier access to services, medications and resources, including their own case manager. 

One of the additions is a 24-hour phone-screening program that puts help literally in the palm of patients' hands.

Previously, people had to go, in person and during business hours, to one of various locations throughout Kern County, sometimes including the county courthouse. Going through metal detectors with law enforcement officials present can be daunting for those who've had trouble with drugs. Now they can rest easier and just focus on bettering themselves. 

Hit — Bakersfield Sikhs are confronting a terrible tragedy in their community, but they are confronting it in the best way possible: They're taking a hard look at themselves.

Police say a teen girl gave birth in a bathroom in her south Bakersfield home last November; the baby was taken from her, intentionally drowned and buried in the backyard; in February the girl's mother was arrested and charged with homicide; the girl's father committed suicide; and the girl's male cousin, a suspected accessory, remains at large.

Members of the community held an unprecedented meeting at a local Sikh temple and openly discussed topics previously forbidden, especially in that setting: Sex, child abuse, sex abuse and family violence.

It must have been a difficult discussion to have, but people who attended said it was frank, honest and enlightening. And that's a good place to start.

Hit — The Union Pacific Railroad has broken ground on a new facility in east Bakersfield, which means the old station, built at Baker and Sumner streets by the defunct Southern Pacific in 1889, may eventually become available to another party.

It's a terrific opportunity for historic preservationists and creative entrepreneurs, but the railroad must first come together with the city of Bakersfield, which most likely must play a role in facilitating a transfer.

Here's hoping the two parties have a chat soon.

Hit — Every year in mid-March, media outlets, government officials, schools and universities, nonprofit and civic organizations and other entities highlight the fact that government functions best when the people aren't left in the dark. It's called Sunshine Week.

We may not always agree with what is reported in the news, but we all benefit when we know what is happening in our local communities all the way to the world's stage.

Hit — We know our representatives in Washington, D.C., are busy, but they need to make time for their constituents back home. 

So we're happy to see that Rep. TJ Cox, D-Fresno, will be hosting his first town hall meeting of the year on March 23 in Hanford. 

“I believe that our leaders have a responsibility to be open and accessible to their bosses – the people who elected them," he said in a news release. "... This town hall is the first of many to come.”

Many Bakersfield residents have been wondering if/when Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, might hold a similar meeting with his hometown constituents. If Cox can make time for the people who've elected him, what's stopping McCarthy?