President's Message
Dear BBRC Friends,
What a breath of fresh air it was, spending Thursday evening with some of our Rotary family at The Park at Riverwalk!  We had more than 30 people in attendance at our first true “social” in months, and it was obvious that we were excited to see each other in person
This pandemic has created a lot of challenges for people here and around the world.  Dare I say that some good has come from it as well?  Like a deepened appreciation for things that are so easy to take for granted:  quiet visits with friends, quality time with family, a warm breeze off the lake…oh yes, and LIVE MUSIC!
Rockin’ Dan Johnson (and his Blonde Faith trio partners, Tamera and Kevin) provided music that was like a salve for our lonely souls!  Dan, we can’t even say thank you enough for adding life to our Subway Social!  I know you were anxious to “pull out all the amps,” but acoustic was the only way we could roll without a sound permit.  You’re the best!
And how about all the BBRCers that ordered their dinner at Michelle Leveroni’s Subway!  Michelle is wife of our Program Director Pete, and it was a great way to show a little love to our Rotary family business-owners.
I hope to see everyone at this week’s meeting, when our program will be presented by our own Michael Turnipseed, president of KernTax!
Until then, share Rotary with a friend!
What you Missed!
For Wednesday morning’s meeting the name of the game, so it seems, is to “tune in early to tune up”! It certainly seems there is a lot of good conversation going on by those Bakersfield Breakfast members who are calling in on ZOOM well before President Cheryl Scott sounds the morning chime. So, if you want to start your coffee maker just a bit earlier, do so, then come join in. Who knows perhaps you’ll have enough time to enjoy another cup before meeting’s end.
We GET our meeting going with Deidre Brown who blessed our meeting asking for our continued abilities to serve, for improved community health, and abundant Love. Karen Bonanno followed with our Nation’s Pledge of Allegiance.
Past President and Songstress Denise Haynes revealed that she has got a theme planned for each week based upon our featured speaker. Pretty clever if you ask me, and since this week’s speaker is a civil engineer with the City of Bakersfield Centennial Corridor TRIP Roads project, the most appropriate song is of course…”On the Road Again”, by Willie Nelson. Sung with a decent touch of country twang, Denise even had me bobbing my knee to the beat of her melody of her singing. Girl’s getting’ good!
We welcomed long time past Breakfast Rotarian and Ohio resident Joe Schoenstein. Seeing Joe’s bright shining face was a surprise in deed. He is certainly missed. For those that knew Joe, he has been busy serving as a director of finance of a non-profit program for persons with disabilities. According to Joe, he is going to retire from his position as director. Knowing Joe, he will have a new conquest right around the corner. Come see us soon Joe!
**Featured Presentation**
We have most certainly been privileged over a number of years with presentations from the former Bakersfield manager of the TRIP Roads project. I think that has been good for a number of reasons. But the number one reason it has been good, at least for me, is that I have been able to strategically plan ahead to figure out how to get to work in the morning, or anywhere for that matter. Yes, with the amount of lawsuits, demolition, detours and the like, it was great that Project Engineer Luis Topete came to give us an update.
Seems like all the projects are on schedule and that is good news. There have been a number of changes to the project, or should I say projects, since the beginning, according to Luis, but the largest change has been the price tag. Originally, secured in 2006 by former Congressman Bill Thomas, the funds amounted to $630 million to complete the projects. Fast forward to 2020, Federal and State funds which have come through grants, Cal Trans, and local contributions has risen to $1.4 billion. I would expect that is a lot of concrete with more to come.
Luis tells us that whether the TRIP funds appropriated for Fairfax and SR 178, Stockdale and Enos Lane (SR 43), Belle Terrace Bridge and Ming Expressway, Kern River Bridge, 24th Street widening, and of course the largest of them all, The Centennial Corridor, a total of 13 separate projects, these road improvements will certainly change the way we drive for the better in Bakersfield. Great, because I hope when all the projects are completed in August of 2022 that I will never have to pre-plan which route I will have to drive to work again. Luis said many of the projects will be completed well in advance of August 2022, adding that many of the projects are within the 25 to 75% completion phase to date.
Bakersfield is certainly not the little town I grew up in, as in many of these areas of construction I remember were places where we lived, worked, and played. Yet with time we will enjoy safer commutes, the benefits of modernization, and sensible roadway design like never before when Luis and those companies who tirelessly bring this gargantuan project to conclusion complete their jobs.
Thank You Luis for visiting with us on ZOOM, your dedication to the TRIP project and to the community which it will serve.
** Family of Rotary**
Past Prez Denise Haynes provided an update upon Past Prez and Honorary Member Carl Leech’s wife, Becky, who will be returning home following a brief hospital stay. According to Denise, the BBRC is requesting those persons who are interested in providing meals to the Leech Family please sign up to do so. She said a sign up list will go out and can be seen on your email this week. Please respond if interested as Denise said she would speak to Carl and assess their meal needs for the next two weeks. (Editor's note - Denise sent a note that the list is fully subscribed!  Our club is VERY supportive of our Family of Rotary.)
**Announcements Announcements**
As you all most likely know our 7th Annual Thousand Flags program at Riverwalk Park has been cancelled to the dismay of Rotarians and community members alike. The project will resume next year according to our Thousand Flags Committee. On a side note, you may have seen on social media, that there has been an outcry by many persons who are saddened by the news of the absence of our display on Memorial Day.
I wanted to include our BBRC Monthly Social at Riverwalk Park we held Thursday organized by Michele McClure. These events are presented to us as opportunities to bond together in a customarily relaxed atmosphere and Thursday’s gathering was no disappointment. Thanks to you Michele for taking all the orders to place at Michelle Leveroni’s Subway (Pete Leveroni's wonderful wife) --conveniently located next door, and thanks to you, Dan Johnson’s Blonde Faith performing the grooves.  Photos of the event are available at the bottom the club social photo album CLICK HERE for the album
The turnout for this outing was strong, and it gives us a chance to add a lot of “normal” to a very unprecedented time. Wanna be with us? We want you to join in the fun as we look forward to you being with us as we transition from solitude to community in the coming days and weeks.
In health, safety and good Rotarian spirit,
By: Frank Wooldridge
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