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Stepping Back in Time with the BFD

Today, the Bakersfield Fire Department uses ultra-modern, state-of-the-art equipment and fire engines for battling blazes and keeping the people of Bakersfield safe. But in the early 1900’s, about a century ago, fire engines looked much, much different! 

In 1911, the BFD used horse-drawn fire engines, employing at least twenty-two brave and noble draft horses to answer the emergency calls of the citizens. And just as machine engines need to be kept in good repair, horses needed care and attention too, including shoeing and hoof care, veterinary care, and the provision of thousands of pounds of wheat-hay, oats, and barley for their food. These beloved, hard-working animals had names, of course, including Fire Horse “Ned,” “Jenks,” and “Max.” 

By 1915, the BFD was completely motorized, ending the Department’s horse-drawn firefighting era. One of the department’s early engines even got its own nickname, The Frog. Modern for its time, The Frog was a 1927 American LaFrance Fire Engine delivered to the City of Bakersfield on December 10, 1927 at a cost of $6,000. This pioneering gasoline engine could go up to 55-60 miles per hour and pump 750 gallons of water per minute! So why name it The Frog? Because when the engineer would use all his strength to push the brake pedal all the way down to bring the engine to a stop, the engine would hop all over the roadway like a frog! 

To learn more about the department’s rich history, go to

Picking a probiotic

When kids are having digestive issues, many doctors recommend kids to take a probiotic.  But there are many choices. Consumer, a private evaluator of Health and nutrition items, recently tested more than two dozen varieties and rated these as top options:

L’il Critters Probiotic Acidophilus These chewables for 4 and up include seven kinds of good bacteria and are also gluten-free. $6;

Udo’s Choice Infant’s Probiotic For babies and children up to age 5, the powder dissolves in milk, formula, or water. $28; 

Florastor Kids The powder, for kids 2 months and up, contains a strain of yeast that may help guard against antibiotic-related diarrhea. $16;

Opting out of vaccinations potentially dangerous

Childhood vaccinations are issued to help prevent children from getting sick by building their immunity to diseases that were once prolific. But in the wake of confusing information regarding the safety of vaccinations, particularly the concern that some may be linked to the onset of autism, more and more parents are opting out of having their children vaccinated -- sometimes with unfortunate consequences.

Many diseases that are effectively prevented by simple vaccines have cropped up once more. This can be attributed to children simply not getting fully vaccinated. Nearly 80 percent of parents are uncomfortable about having their children vaccinated, according to a survey analyzed by researchers at the CDC. Pain from the needle itself and uncertainty about the safety of vaccines is leading many parents to forego shots or delay certain vaccinations until their children are older. It is estimated that roughly 8 percent of American children are now not getting regular vaccinations or doing alternate schedules, and 2 percent are not getting shots at all.

Some parents would like to have their children vaccinated but have postponed routine visits due to unemployment and subsequent loss of Health insurance. Some areas have even fell victim to budget cuts that have led to shortages of necessary vaccines.

In 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert regarding Haemophilus influenza type b, commonly referred to as Hib. Five children in Minnesota contracted the disease, three of whom who were not vaccinated.

The CDC also reported that there were 17 outbreaks and 222 cases of measles reported in 2011. A disease that was essentially wiped out in North America is now showing up again and the numbers are rising. 

Dr. Jason Bowling, an infectious disease specialist, said that in 2011 the United States had the highest number of measles cases of any country in the last 15 years. Although it is likely that most of the cases were contracted outside of the country, kids who haven’t been vaccinated are highly susceptible to measles onset as a result, potentially leading to a greater number of outbreaks in the United States and Canada.

Whooping cough, or pertussis, is a highly infectious respiratory disease that was once considered eradicated but has also made a resurgence. Various states across the country have reported many whopping cough outbreaks, to the point that it has been labeled an epidemic once more. Health officials in Washington state have said that the number of outbreaks from spring 2012 are the highest since the 1940s. While whooping cough is usually not fatal among older children and young adults, it can be very dangerous for infants.

Most Health professionals agree that vaccinations are important to the well-being of the child and the community, providing the safest way to prevent certain diseases or reduce their severity. There are several recommended vaccinations that children should receive:
      • DtaP: Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis
      • Hepatitis A
      • Hepatitis B
      • Hib
      • Influenza
      • MMR: Measles, mumps and rubella
      • Pneumococcal
      • Polio
      • Varicella: Chickenpox
      • Smallpox
Parents who have any concerns about vaccinations should speak to a physician to weigh the pros and cons of each vaccination. 

View from the top

Try the piggyback Rider that lets your kids stand on the wide bar in back. He’ll be tied to you with a harness and his weight will be evenly distributed, so you’ll both be comfy. It’s for kids 2 1/2 years and older and 60 pounds or less. $80;

Soothing Stick 

The BPA-free Zoli Gummy Stick teether is easy for babies to hold, with a soft tip and a tooth-like handle to get them used to the idea of brushing. The circular stopper prevents it from going too far into the mouth. $10 for two; 

Edible Kern County: What's In Season








Courtesy of Vicki Murray, Murray Family Farms

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