By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
Kern County's small, nonfarm businesses are eligible to apply for low-interest federal disaster loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration.
The Economic Injury Disaster Loans may total up to $2 million. They are intended to help businesses cover expenses and payments that they would have been able to meet if not for the drought.
The SBA is offering the loans to California and Nevada counties declared disaster areas because of the drought. Counties neighboring a disaster area, such as Kern, are also eligible.
Loan application information is available by calling the SBA at 800-659-2955, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or going online at sba.gov/services/disasterassistance. The application deadline is May 6.
Members of the Kern County Farm Bureau's Young Farmers & Ranchers recently donated 385 pounds of peppers and more than 150 pounds of onions to an organization planning to give them to people in need.
Members of the group harvested the produce Sept. 15 at a Mettler field owned by a bureau board member. It was given to the Community Action Partnership of Kern, which planned to distribute the food to local food banks.
Last year farm and ranch families involved with the Farm Bureau raised some $556,000 and donated more than 10 million pounds of food to assist people in need, the bureau reported.
A "Junk Your John Day" event is set to offer free water-saving toilets to customers of West Kern Water District on Oct. 6.
Customers who bring in their water bill or driver's license can trade in up to three old, inefficient toilets for $150 vouchers to pick up new ones at Cooper's True Value Home Store. A maximum of 40 toilets may be replaced.
The water district, the Water Association of Kern County, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. and Cooper's are sponsoring the event, scheduled for 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the district's parking lot, 800 Taft St., in Taft.
DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen at 5880 District Blvd. celebrated a two-month showroom remodel with a grand reopening ceremony Thursday.
The ceremony was attended by representatives of the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce. Mayor Harvey Hall read a proclamation and cut a ceremonial ribbon.
DreamMaker opened in 2003 by franchisees Everett and Patty Gray. The store specializes in renovations, upgrades, design-build projects, refacing of cabinets and accessibility baths for seniors and disabled people.
Clariant Oil Services recently celebrated 10 years, or about 1 million man hours, without a lost-time accident at its California operations.
The company attributed its achievement of the safety milestone to in-depth employee training, rigorous auditing and employees empowered to make important safety decisions.
Clariant is a Switzerland-based specialty chemical company with an American oil services division headquartered in Houston.
J.D. Power and Associates has given Southern California Gas Co. its highest customer satisfaction ranking among large natural gas utilities in the Western United States.
The ranking was based on a random survey conducted between September 2011 and July 2012. It found that SoCal Gas's customer service ranked tops among the nine large utilities in the West, and third overall across the country.