By The Bakersfield Californian
Q: I was mailing some packages for my mom and I told her I was going to the Pegasus Drive post office. She told me it was either closed or closing soon. I went anyway and asked them when I got there, and they said they had heard this from other customers.
They have noticed a slowdown in business also. They told me this is definitely not the case and has been surmised by many since an article came out in The Californian about the sorting part of the post office being in jeopardy. Could you maybe do a story to inform the public of the facts, so business would return to normal?
-- Sandra Nelson Akers
A: The Postal Service has indeed decided to close the mail processing part of Pegasus operations, but when that will actually be implemented is unclear, said Postmaster David Morrison. The closure could happen between January 2013 and January 2014, Morrison said.
But other operations at Pegasus will continue, he said. The Postal Service will continue to provide retail services and post office boxes there.
Q: Why isn't there a cooling center in Lamont? That's unconscionable.
-- Rebecca Mooney
A: As a result of this question being asked, Lamont might just get one.
First, a little background.
The Kern County Parks and Recreation Department partners and coordinates with various facilities throughout the county to open cooling centers when temperatures are expected to reach certain highs.
To be part of that program, the county requires the partners be able to open the centers on weekends and holidays if highs are going to meet the threshold on those days -- and not everyone can, said department Director Bob Lerude.
The county doesn't want to get into a situation where it announces the opening of cooling centers countywide and then has to add various exceptions, he said, because that will confuse the public.
The problem in Lamont is that the Bear Mountain Recreation and Park District facilities that could accommodate a cooling center are often rented out for events on weekends and so can't meet the county requirement, said District Manager Lorena Cervantes.
But, Lerude pointed out, nothing precludes Bear Mountain from operating a cooling center on its own, outside the county system, when its facilities are available.
We passed that sentiment on to Cervantes, who said that sounded like a good idea and she'd take it to her board for consideration.
"I don't see why that would be a problem," Cervantes said.
She said she'd let us know what the board decides.
Q: Why is Hong Kong separated from China in the medals received category in the Olympics? I thought Hong Kong was a part of China.
-- Name not given
A: Andrew Mitchell, a spokesman for the International Olympic Committee in Switzerland, referred us to a 1997 article in the publication Olympic Review that explained what would happen to Hong Kong's Olympic team when Great Britain handed Hong Kong over to China.
Various Olympic-related organizations agreed that the National Olympic Committee of Hong Kong would be called the Amateur Sport Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China, and it would fly the new flag of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region with a bauhinia flower, and use the national anthem of China.
"The agreement signed in Hong Kong by IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch and NOC President Arnaldo de O. Sales conforms to the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region as enacted in 1984," the article went on to say. "The Amateur Sport Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China, will therefore continue to enjoy its membership in the Olympic Movement as a separate and independent entity functioning in accordance with the Olympic Charter."
Q: Has the Department of Transportation considered making a "right turn only" lane on Stockdale Highway going east and turning onto Real Road for Highway 58 access?
It is ridiculous that traffic is backed up often more than a block because someone in that lane wishes to go straight and prevents all traffic from turning right on the red light.
-- Treva Cardiel
A: Ryan Starbuck, an engineer with the city of Bakersfield, answered:
The city does have a project to make the eastbound outside through lane a "right turn only" lane at Real Road.
The intersection currently has three through lanes and no dedicated right-turn lane. Due to right-of-way constraints, the city was unable to expand the intersection to provide a separate right-turn storage lane.
The striping change to make two through lanes and a "right turn only" trap lane will help reduce delay since the number of right-turning vehicles is almost equal to the amount of through traffic at this intersection. The striping modification and associated traffic signs are scheduled to be installed within the next few months.
Ask The Californian appears on Mondays. Submit questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or to The Bakersfield Californian, c/o Christine Bedell, P.O. Bin 440, Bakersfield, CA 93302.