The federal government's so-called "sequester" has been much in the news lately. Sadly, it seems to be illustrating the true lack of leadership coming from state and federal government.
Much has been made of the cancellation of White House tours and PR flights by the Air Force. What has concerned me most is the Secretary of Agriculture claiming he will have no choice but to furlough meat and other food inspectors.
We Americans love those long-odds stories where by sheer guts and courage, the hero wins the day. David faces down Goliath with a pocket full of rocks and a sling, and takes him out with one shot. John Wayne says "aw shucks" and shoots the bad guy. Rambo shoots down the bad guy's helicopter with an explosive arrow. The Lone Ranger rides off into the sunset after his latest victory for justice.
We see ourselves in the stories. We braved the sea to get here, we broke the sod and built our houses with our own hands, we built our nation from sea to sea with not much more than plain grit and a Winchester, and "By Ned" (my father's phrase) that's the kind of people we are.
The Tehachapi Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Dr. David Newby will perform on Sunday, March 10 at Country Oaks Baptist Church beginning at 4 p.m.
The program opens with Johannes Brahms, Violin Concerto in D Major, featuring guest soloist Vincent Meklis.
When children see something they don't understand, they expect adults to explain it. When that doesn't happen, they make up their own explanations.
When I was seven or eight years old, in 1941 or 42, a family moved to our little Iowa farm town, to a house just a few doors down from ours. It was a man and his wife, and a boy a little older than I. Their clothing was a bit different. They spoke English, but it sounded different from our Midwestern version. Their name was different too: Rosenbaum.
Publishing a newspaper means dealing with a lot of moving parts, often under deadline pressure. It isn't always the easiest job and we don't claim perfection. Still, we strive for accuracy and have no "agenda" for what we publish beyond doing our best to accurately report what takes place at local governmental meetings and other newsworthy events.
Which is why I am dismayed that our report of the Feb. 19 Tehachapi City Council meeting was a disaster.
Stars speak to us. They speak to us-- to our person, our community, our collective race-- on landline hot-wired to our core. There is something about looking up to the sky and seeing those many, many facets, those many pinpricks of light gazing back at us in silence that is utterly disarming. Utterly inspiring. Starlight, uninhibited by the moon and her radiance, possesses a silent, regal beauty. We stare off the bow of our little, rocky vessel into the deep oceans of space. Something spectacular and inexplicable happens to us when we gaze upon the stars. Yet this immensely moving phenomenon is becoming more and more difficult to experience in full, and we are sadly to blame.
In order for this miraculous exchange to occur, in order for us to soak up the starlight, we ourselves must grow still, and silent, and above all things, we must grow dark. With every glimmer of light we manifest on the Earth, the stars grow dimmer, duller, and their magnificence wanes. Imagine back when our ancestors called this planet home, before the wonders borne of Tesla and sold by Edison, before electric bulbs burned waxless in lamp. Back when fires died, and candles snuffed out with a long curl of smoke. Back then the stars truly shined on moonless nights, when the world was truly dark and the concept of light pollution (let alone air pollution) were figments so far seeded in the future our ancestors very likely could hardly conceive of a relative notion. The stars shone out the brighter, and enriched their lives manifold. Yet we in the future, we in the now, continue to light our little eternal fires of spark and wire coil, shutting out the quiet whispers of the stars-- street lamp by street lamp, house light and flood light. We slowly barricade the vast sidereal universe from our senses. We expand and we spread, and the little pockets of wild, and darkness, and starlight begin to erode from existence.
If you have never heard of TMAC — the Tehachapi Municipal Advisory Council — I’m not surprised.
The official advisory body for the Board of Supervisors from the Tehachapi area was envisioned late in 2010 as Supervisor Don Maben was leaving office. It was supposed to meet monthly, with a membership representing the City of Tehachapi, Golden Hills, Stallion Springs and Bear Valley Springs Community Services District and the Tehachapi Unified School District boards.
I thought it was a good idea. Since we are so far from the seat of county government, the promise of TMAC was that there would be an increased opportunity for local input on projects that affect us here, as an example.
With the recent inauguration of President Obama, our country has once again seen a peaceful election come and go. While this election did not see one president succeeding another, it has given me pause to think about the importance of succession and the role that it plays in our lives.
Many of us do it instinctively, as we teach our children vital life skills so that they'll be able to carry on without us should the need ever arise but often times, especially when things are going well, we put off planning for our future succession amongst the hustle of everyday life.
This is the story of two school boards; actually, it's an incomplete story, as we do not know how things are going to turn out, but I think it's worth telling.
You are no doubt familiar with the Board of Trustees of Tehachapi Unified School District. That is a seven member board, supposedly elected, although sometimes no one runs and so incumbents are appointed -- or someone quits and someone else is appointed, so it may not quite be true that everyone on the board is elected, but it is an elective body, with all registered voters in the very large school district eligible to vote.
I'm writing to inform the community of a proposal that the Tehachapi Unified School District is considering. Although this proposal is focused on Jacobsen Middle School, and might seem like it doesn't concern many of the school aged students of this district, the proposed changes are so far reaching and permanent that they will affect all children as they matriculate through the lower grades and into JMS.
The district is considering moving the sixth grade students from their current location (a collection of portable classrooms physically removed by 100 yards from the main campus) and putting them into one hall (the "100 Hall") of the main building. This would require displacing the classes that are currently using classrooms in the 100 Hall, cramming them into the other two halls, and putting some 300 sixth graders into one hall.
We come to that dreaded time of year when football is about to be over for the season. It's the worst time of the year for a number of reasons. First off, there is nothing on the tube that can keep me from my chores. It's the dead of winter, and even during mild winters, Tehachapi weather is still not conducive to a lot of outdoor activity. And there are only so many projects that one can do inside the house that don't require a second mortgage, a sledge hammer and re-plumbing.
Sure, I can watch hockey, but I can't watch an entire hockey game on TV, unless it's the playoffs. I can watch basketball, but I am not a fan of the NBA at all, and college hoops only excite me in March. I'm a fair weather fan when it comes to basketball and hockey.
It's winter horse-keeping season. I am layered in warm fleece, gloves, hat, wool socks, lined boots, quilted down jacket and am still cold. I've dragged bags of shaving to spread in the horses' pens and dumped rice hulls on the puddles and muck.
In the ceaseless wind, I break ice off the troughs, pick packed mud out of hooves and feed supplements in the dark.