By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
People told us not only the darndest but the funniest, most moving and interesting things in 2012.
We share them again, here.
"Then an explosion -- and the world was put on pause."
-- Army 1st Lt. Samuel Van Kopp describing the moment he and his platoon were hit by a powerful explosion caused by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan last September.
"Say nice things about me."
-- Monsignor Ronald Swett , who after announcing his retirement in September as pastor of St. Philip the Apostle Church cracked up his congregants by informing them there might be a reporter waiting to speak with them.
"Bakersfield High? Those guys play like they're in Jurassic Park. It's like a frenzy when they play defense. It's very impressive. They seek, and they destroy. And it's not just one guy destroying; it's a bunch of them."
-- Liberty High football coach Tony Mills, whose team went on to stun state No. 5 Bakersfield 28-17.
"This animal is globally significant to science."
-- Lawrence G. Barnes , curator emeritus of vertebrate paleontology at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, following the discovery of a 15.5 million-year-old fossilized dolphin skull -- a previously unknown species -- found in the Shark Tooth Hill bonebed northeast of Bakersfield.
"The tide is just running out on Obama."
-- Dick Morris , conservative author and Fox News commentator, who predicted at a $500-per-couple event last June in Bakersfield that Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney would "demolish" President Barack Obama in November's election.
"I'm calling today 'worst-case-averted day.'"
-- Bakersfield College Professor of Communications Helen Acosta , upon learning $6 billion in automatic education budget cuts would not take place because California voters passed Proposition 30.
"We want some exciting things to happen in Bakersfield. This is what we got."
-- Customer Kris Dale , who stood in line with his family in September -- along with many others -- for the opening of Apple Store at Valley Plaza.
"It breathes fire and the mouth opens and closes. It's pretty cool."
-- Airport restaurant manager Tammy Zaninovich , who posted Facebook photos of a dragon-themed ultralight aircraft Disney was testing at Shafter's Minter Field last spring and summer.
"Kern County is getting lots of great attention for our recovery."
-- Cheryl Scott , vice president of the Kern Economic Development Corp., which works to attract businesses and jobs to the area.
"It's a nasty way to die, but it's too easy for him for what he did."
-- Noemi Mendoza, speaking about the horrific death of Cesar Osuna, her former boyfriend and the accused killer of her 2-year-old son. Delano police said Osuna was doing construction work on a two-story house when he touched a live wire, fell from the building and became impaled on a fence. Mendoza pleaded no contest to willful cruelty to a child and was sentenced to six years in prison.
"I got to know my client, and I'd sit down and have dinner with him anytime because he's a great guy."
-- Defense attorney Kyle Humphrey following the July sentencing of client Michael Scott Cooper, a former resource specialist at Loudon Elementary School, to three years and one month in prison for possession of child pornography.
"We never lost faith. Our coach said that if we get to the playoffs, we're going to make a run. We went to the playoffs, made an excellent run and took care of business."
-- BC sophomore running back Jalen Sykes after his team's 35-14 win over CC San Francisco for the state championship.
"I don't think he's universally beloved, but I think he's pretty universally respected."
-- Bakersfield City Councilwoman Sue Benham on City Manager Alan Tandy , who just passed his 20 -year mark in the job.
"Who then is the one that's going to say, 'Wow, this is really bad and the system didn't work for this situation and what are we going to do to make it better?'"
-- Jennifer Johnson, a nurse practitioner at Shawnee Mission Medical Center in Kansas, addressing the death of a Bakersfield boy that was originally listed as "Severe Neglect" by Child Protective Services. The finding was later reversed.
"To do what he did, you always could say it's like the frosting on a cake, but it's like a cake the size of a building. That's a lot of frosting."
-- Steve Varner, referring to his son Jake Varner's gold medal win in 96-kilogram freestyle wrestling at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
"If we could find out who they are, we'd pay them to leave us alone."
-- Richard Diamond , general manager of North Kern Water Storage District, on problems caused by meth addicts destroying 30 of the district's 90 wells to get at copper wiring inside the motors. Repairs cost $3,000 to $5,000 per well.
"It's just a little strip of land. But it was a deadly place, especially for the Marines."
-- Wayne Heyart , 87, on what it was like to serve aboard the USS Pensacola during World War II. Heyart saw action in some of the bloodiest and most well-known battles in the Pacific Theater during his enlistment.
"I would never be that arrogant. You can't put a muzzle on The Californian. If anyone knows that, I do."
-- Former Bakersfield City Fire Chief Ron Fraze responding to talk that he told people nothing negative would be printed about him if he ran for city council because he had the support of Californian brass. He abandoned his short-lived council race saying God had led him in a different direction.
"I told him, 'You know you're smiling at me now.'"
-- Former television talk show host Montel Williams regarding local veteran George Kinney, who received a new set of teeth courtesy of Williams' new charity, A Soldier's Smile.
"I think I need to write Clint Eastwood a check because every time, I'm debating a chair."
-- Newsman Terry Phillips, who challenged three-term Congressman Kevin McCarthy for the 23rd District seat. Phillips, who ran without a party affiliation, for months called on McCarthy to debate him. McCarthy and Phillips had a spirited debate in October.
"We're the only college football show from Los Angeles to Fresno. We're it. And we have a pretty darn good team and a real historic program. ... We have a great fan base and they bleed Renegade red. But there are the new people who have come to town, and many of those people, unfortunately, don't know a lot about us."
-- Bakersfield College Athletic Director Ryan Beckwith
"I understand it's part of business. It's just unfortunate that I live here."
-- Shafter-area resident Walt Desatoff , who lives across the street from a 50-foot-high natural gas flare that burned loudly for months last summer when Chevron closed a nearby pipeline that left Occidental Petroleum Corp. little choice but to burn off the fuel.
"I have found today to be surprisingly emotional. (It's) the end of a 30-year program. This is the last time the space shuttle is going to land here, ever."
-- Gray Creech of the media relations office at Dryden Flight Research Center on the landing of the shuttle Endeavour at Edwards Air Force Base in September.
"I thought, 'Oh, my goodness. What would I be getting myself into? This is going to need so much money, so much attention.' (But) I looked at it like, 'Wow, look at all the opportunities.'"
-- Donna Kunz reflecting on her initial job interview to be city Economic Development Director. Kunz retired last summer after 11 years with Bakersfield during which she spearheaded major redevelopment and affordable housing projects in downtown Bakersfield, Old Town Kern and southeast Bakersfield.
"We want to be in this meeting. I want them to look me in the eye and tell me they didn't screw me and my school."
-- Wasco High School athletic director Raul Rangel after the CIF granted state Assemblyman Rudy Salas a meeting to explain why the school's undefeated football team was denied a regional bowl game.