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August 11, 2021
Wooldridge's Words - August 11
As your Beacon writer I really have to watch my diction in this edition because we have a real life Rootin’ Tootin’ news journalist was our featured speaker in this mornings Bakersfield Breakfast Rotary meeting. I’ll need a prayer or two, so in comes Stephanie Baker with our Invocation who gave it all she’s got. Stephanie asking for Rotarians to be a model for leadership and community service and peace as a denominator to unify all of us. Will “Idaho Potato” Duerksen led us with America’s Pledge of Allegiance. Songstress Carol Smith belted out the song “My Country Tis’ of Thee” to get us in the right mood to focus our Rotary energies.
Live Pistol Pete Leveroni was in the house to introduce our featured speaker from KGET. Morning news anchor and Investigative reporter Alex Fisher is a local product who hails from Liberty High School and Pepperdine University. A son of educators, Alex appreciates the importance of a good lesson, and a good lesson is exactly what all who attended the meeting got, as Alex shared excerpts from his 18-month research of COVID deaths in Kern County. Certainly, a topic that is valuable by its very nature, it has been equally debatable, or even contestable by many accounts.
Alex compiled his research into a made-for-television report that was featured on KGET that evening. We received just a sample of his much more detailed findings. March 17th 2020 was Kern County’s first recorded COVID diagnosis and since that time the spread of the disease has changed the way we conduct our lives in almost every conceivable way. Alex tells us through the months of his research he has measured numerous fluctuations in the numbers of those Kern County residences that have been afflicted in the worst possible way, and that is with the death of a beloved family member. To the date of our BBRC meeting Alex tells us that 1429 Kern County residents have been listed among those who died from COVID.
Even controversy looms as to the accuracy of the death toll due to how records are documented on Kern County Coroner’s death certificates. Firstly, COVID will not be listed as a primary cause of death. Instead, COVID would be listed as a contributing factor falling only second to a primary cause of death, such as pneumonia as the primary cause. Secondly, Alex said even after those who experience serious complications from the disease that result in damage to heart, lungs and other vital organs, these patients are sent home in hopes of recovery, only to find in some cases that the damaged vital organs compromise the body’s ability to recover fully leading to unanticipated death. Alex said there are over 600 of these types of post-hospitalization COVID deaths in the last 12 months.
As one can see, the death count due to COVID is not an easy calculation to make as far as cause and effect. One thing Alex made crystal clear is that his research reveals that based upon Kern County ZIP Codes, there are more COVID deaths declared in the ZIP code areas where residents fail to become vaccinated.
Alex shared with Breakfast Rotarians a video which tells the heartbreaking account of one Kern family that in a matter of 16 days after the 2020 Christmas season lost 4 members due to COVID. These family members included the family patriarch and three of his sons. Listening to Alex’s video, a couple of comments stick in my head from one member of the family who spoke of his loss. Stressing that COVID is real, very real and that as a community member it is an act of respect, safety and compassion to receive the COVID vaccination to prevent other families of having to undergo what his family has.
The elusiveness of understanding the disease and how to prevent passing it to others has been most puzzling to Alex, and well I suppose that applies to every other person regardless of your level of medical expertise. Perhaps that is why Alex chose this relevant topic. But choose to examine the numbers, or deny, to wear masks, or not, and in what setting, or to become vaccinated, or not, our choices is something I expect will be the subject of much study in medical research for decades to come. With no roadmap, or GPS, to guide us as to what is around the next corner, Alex told us as the Delta Variant threatens progresses we have made toward having a somewhat normal lifestyle, COVID may be throwing a wrench in our plans. COVID works that way, and I suppose we will have to get used to the uncertainly and popular opinions. Where you stand on the issues is up to you…kinda.
By and large your chances are actually pretty good! Alex tells us 99% of people statistics show have fully recovered. This is good news for the masses, yet those 65 years of age and older that have not been vaccinated are gambling a numbers game. COVID deaths are highest with the older demographic. Kern County records show 70,000 of those 65 years and older have been vaccinated. 30% in Kern of that category have not been.
I am certain that Alex’s news report will be viewed by many in Kern. The value from such investigative reporting has a number of benefits. Mostly, informative, but also to identify issues and cause for a response. What is your response? You will respond, and you will own your own choices. Together we are experiencing a period in our lifetime that what we do may have serious quality and, of course, quantity of life implications for us in years to come. We want to thank you Alex for visiting with Breakfast Rotary, your devotion to the people of Kern County, and the difficult work of your chosen profession.
Photos from August 4 meeting 
You may have missed these photos from the August 4 meeting.  Here are some for your enjoyment!
Upcoming Speakers
Aug 18, 2021 6:45 AM
Aug 25, 2021 6:45 AM
Sep 01, 2021 6:45 AM
Behavior Health Director, Kern County Mental Health Plan
Sep 08, 2021 6:45 AM
View entire list
Birthdays & Anniversaries
Member Birthdays
Jeffrey Bell
August 2
Karen Bonanno
August 10
William Black
August 16
Michael O'Doherty
August 17
MJ Pasek
August 29
Teresa Ramos-Alvarez
August 31
Dennis Scott
Frances Scott
August 3
Neil Walker
Pam Walker
August 11
Sandra Parnell
Jon Parnell
August 17
Greg Desme
Janis Desme
August 27
David Spalinger
Melody Spalinger
August 29
Thomas Burke
Tina Burke
August 30
Upcoming Events
BBRC Social for the community
Los Panchos
Aug 19, 2021
District Conference
Ventura Marriott Hotel
Oct 08, 2021 – Oct 10, 2021
BBRC Wine, Place, and Show Fundraising Party
Luigi's Warehouse
Nov 13, 2021 6:00 PM
BBRC Charter Night + Christmas Party
Bakersfield County Club
Dec 03, 2021
Meeting Duties
August 25, 2021
Brooks, Becky
Bensusen, Connie
Bender, Dale
Flag Salute
Black, William
Visiting Rotarians
Blunt, Darin
September 1, 2021
Breckenridge, Mary
Bryant, Harry
Buoni, Marianna
Flag Salute
Burke, Thomas
Visiting Rotarians and Guests
Collup, Athena
September 15, 2021
Desme, Greg
Guerard, John
Duerksen, Will
Flag Salute
Haynes, Denise
Visiting Rotarians and Guests
Heise, Marlene
September 22, 2021
Tripicchio, Frank
Gordon, Willie
Kelly, Shaun
Flag Salute
Kelly, Shaun
Visiting Rotarians and Guests
Lopez, Temo
September 29, 2021
Maxwell, Jackie
McClure, Michele
Nelms, Ron
Flag Salute
Niemeyer, Heath
Visiting Rotarians
O'Doherty, Michael
October 6, 2021
Ashcraft, Chelsea
Parnell, Sandra
Pasek, MJ
Flag Salute
Pitts, Kay
Visiting Rotarians and Guests
Perkins, David
Russell Hampton
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It is difficult to develop a sense of closeness to everyone. Reflective meditation is needed.
- Dalai Lama
Rotary Club of Bakersfield Breakfast