Museum trees seasonally eclectic

Remember as a kid losing a baseball in a tree? Well, there are no shortages of baseballs or trees through this December at the Kern County Museum in Bakersfield. Tis Clock Tower Holidays through December 29, and this festive season you will find the museum’s Main Gallery occupied by tall evergreens filled with curious ornaments — everything from baseballs to shopping receipts. This year’s theme is “My Favorite Things,” and depending on the tree decorator, “favorite things” ran the imaginatively eclectic and wonderful gamut. Visitors got their first look during the opening reception on Nov. 19 — a night of gazing at wondrous tree works of art and equally splendid holiday wreaths created by local artists. There was plenty of delicious food, beverages, a silent auction for the wreaths, and a contest to decide which artists had created the most award-worthy displays. This year’s “Over The Top” winner was “Nightmare Before Christmas” — a tree designed by Denise Kobdish that featured ghouls and goblins that conveyed a surprisingly festive mood. More
Posted: 11/23/09; 10:30:12 AM | Permalink(#)

Searching and serving

When Congress passed Public Law 94-142 in 1975, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EAHCA), it authorized federal reimbursement to schools based on the number of students identified as having special needs and enrolled in special needs programs. As such, it raised a huge question, “how do we identify who those students are so we can get the federal funds to educate them?” The state provided an answer in 1977 mandating that counties join in a project known as “Search and Serve,” Claude W. Richardson was superintendent of schools at the time. The office, along with Kern High and Bakersfield City school districts formed the county’s first three Search and Serve programs, which began operation on Oct. 10, 1977. Physically Exceptional and Health Services Director Ernest Strong was given the responsibility of carrying it out for the office. He appointed Larry Keeter, now retired, as the first coordinator. Keeter continued to hold down the job of speech and hearing services coordinator at the same time. More
Posted: 11/16/09; 10:34:20 AM | Permalink(#)

Seniors discover CALM

It was a quiet, Nov. 2, Monday morning at the California Living Museum (CALM) in Bakersfield, after a busy weekend. Les and Pat Gilbert from Taft, who have enjoyed zoos their entire lives, thought it might be a good time to bring their great grandchildren to CALM to learn about the native animals and natural vegetation on display. What they did not know was there would be a surprise for them, too. Every Monday at CALM is Senior Discovery Day, which meant the Gilberts got in for half price. “We did not know about that until we got here, but I’m all for it,” Pat said. “We like to take our kids on excursions once a year. It’s a great experience for them. With CALM reducing the price for seniors it really helps out those of us on fixed incomes.” Things had been a little bit quiet for CALM volunteer docent Marilyn Radon (pictured at right) up to that point. She was getting ready for her 10 a.m. wildlife presentation and had retrieved a rosy boa snake from its enclosure to display in the Al Robbins Reptile House. That’s when Joe McCoy, who had also been unaware of the discount for seniors, wandered by with his three year-old, twin grandchildren Madi and Jaxon. More
Posted: 11/9/09; 11:56:59 AM | Permalink(#)

They built it in one day

Sometimes the spirit of man is amazing when called upon to perform feats that seem physically impossible. Such fortitude was displayed on Oct. 29, when a force of approximately 200 men and women, some with little or no construction experience, were asked to build a playground for children in one day at the Kern County Museum in Bakersfield. And they did. Called Kern Inspiration Playground, it truly was, as national nonprofit playground designer KABOOM! came to Bakersfield on Sept. 1 and asked local school children to draw pictures of what they would like to see in the playground. KaBOOM then set about designing the playground, which was financed through a grant from Albertsons Sav-on. When the clock struck 8:30 a.m. on Oct. 29, Albertsons made its physical presence known, as approximately 155 volunteer workers from stores in Bakersfield, Paso Robles, Ridgecrest and the San Fernando Valley came ready to build. More
Posted: 11/2/09; 11:21:36 AM | Permalink(#)

Concert all about ‘Revolution’

If you do not think getting up at 7 a.m. to take a bus from Van Nuys to Bakersfield to hear opera is something you would do, then you probably do not have the same motivation that drives high school Academic Decathlon teams. October 21 was the date of the annual Academic Decathlon Concert held at Rabobank Convention Center. It started at 10 a.m. Birmingham Community Charter High School senior Angel Portales was one of those, along with his team, who made the early morning bus trek from Van Nuys to Bakersfield to learn by listening. “Opera is exhilarating,” Portales said. “When the singers want to make a heroic point, it sounds heroic. I like hearing the sounds of the symphony orchestra instruments, too. But more than that, this was a great experience to hear live what we will be tested on in the music portion of the Academic Decathlon later his school year.” More
Posted: 10/26/09; 3:20:20 PM | Permalink(#)