Monday, October 19, 2020

Fire guts the old Logan's Roadhouse, Chad Hathaway gets married, two women to speak out on breast cancer today and is Bob Price really an old, senile reporter?

 Welcome to Bakersfield Observed. Our mission is to celebrate life in Kern County by focusing on newsmakers and events and the local characters who make this community such a special place. The views expressed here are strictly my own and do not represent any other company or publication.

 * ... BREAST CANCER: Most breast cancers are diagnosed among woman over the age of 50 - most

often in the 55 to 65 age range - and Diane Nelson and Stacey Shepard are two witnesses to that. Nelson, a pharmaceutical rep, and Shepard, a writer at The Bakersfield Californian, will be sharing their story today (Monday) at CBCC at 5:30 p.m. in an “Ask Us Anything” format. And both will be guests on The Richard Beene Show today at 2 p.m. to share their experiences as a warning to others.

 * ... BOB PRICE: Bob Price, the popular former editor at The Californian who has since joined KGET as a reporter, received a bit of hate mail at the station when a text referred to him as a "senile old fart." In typical Bob Price fashion, he joked in a post that he was surprised it took eight months in his new job to be criticized.

 * ... TYLER WILLIAMS: Congratulations to Tyler Williams, a Bakersfield lad who has built an impressive career as a professional cyclist. Williams was among an elite group of racers who were named by USA Cycling to compete in the first ever UCI sports world championships. The event is scheduled to take place inDecember. Williams burst onto the professional scene after learning to ride (long and fast) with local cyclists who routinely ride into the foothills (Woody, Glennville etc) on the weekends. After a stint living and riding in Spain, he returned to the United States and made his home in Santa Rosa. Recently, Tyler and wife Brea welcomed their first child into the world.

 * ... HAPPILY MARRIED: And hats off to Chad Hathaway,  president and owner of Hathaway Oil, and wife Lindsay who were married this weekend in a small ceremony officiated by state Sen. Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield).  Hathaway is a regular guest as an oil industry expert on both The Moneywise Guys and The Richard Beene Show on KERN NewsTalk 96.1/1180 AM.

 * ... LOGAN'S: Fire engulfed the old Logan's Roadhouse Grill on California Avenue Saturday morning and suspicions immediately focused on vagrants who have been using the building for shelter.

 * ... MEMORIES: This wonderful old picture of the Beale Clock tower draped with a Red Cross fund raising banner comes compliments from the Kern County History Fans Facebook page.

 * ... MORE MEMORIES: And then there is this, a picture circa 1939 of loading bins of potato planter which fertilizes and plants potatoes in one operation. Photo by Dorothea Lange.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Political endorsements from the Bakersfield Association of Realtors, Assemblyman Vince Fong faces off against challenger Julie Solis and remembering Bakersfield's daughter, Patrica Alatorre

Welcome to Bakersfield Observed. Our mission is to celebrate life in Kern County by focusing on newsmakers and events and the local characters who make this community such a special place. The views expressed here are strictly my own and do not represent any other company or publication.

 * ... RED COUNTY: If Kern County is known for anything, it is the conservative streak that runs through our community, often at odds with the more progressive politics of San Francisco. But you might

be surprised to hear that the percentage of Republican voters has remained steady at 37 percent, compared to 34 percent for Democratics and another 22 percent for those who decline to state a party affiliation. According to today's Bakersfield Californian, this could be good news for Republicans because the share of voters who identify as Democrats has slid two percentage points.

 * ... ENDORSEMENTS: The Bakersfield Association of Realtors has issued its endorsements for the Bakersfield City Council. The BAR endorsed Eric Arias for Ward 1, incumbents Andrae Gonzales for Ward 2 and Bruce Freeman for Ward 5 and Patty Gray for Ward 6. In addition, the BAR is using a "yes" vote on Proposition 19 and a "no" vote on Propositions 15 and 21.

 * ... ZIMMER ENDORSES LACEY: District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer is among two dozen DAs who have thrown their support behind Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey in her reelection bid. Lacey is in a pitched political fight with former San Francisco prosecutor George Gascon. Gascon was one of the architects of Proposition 47, which decriminalized dozens of felonies across California, and opponents fear he will bring a dose of San Francisco justice to southern California.

 * ... FONG VERSUS SOLIS:  Did you see the debate between Assemblyman Vince Fong and Democratic challenger Julie Solis on KGET the other day? To be sure it wasn't much of a debate since it's hard to consider Solis a serious candidate given her past behavior in public. (Who can forget her tirade about "big titties" during a clash with Supervisor Leticia Perez?) And to Fong's credit, he maintained his composure and answered the questions seriously. Expect Fong to win reelection to the 24th Assembly District walking away.

* ... BAKERSFIELD'S DAUGHTER: Have you seen the new mural downtown celebrating the memory of Patricia Alatorre, the 13-year-old Bakersfield girl who was killed during an encounter with an older man she met on the internet? It's a lovely tribute and a reminder to everyone about the dangers of meeting strangers online.

* ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Remember when you used to go see the tattooed fat ladies at the fair, and now we see them every day for free?"

 * ... WORDS OF WISDOM: In a conversation with Pastor Angelo Frazier of Riverlakes Community Church, Frazier remarked on the historic times live in. "Every breath is an historic breath," he said. "We need to remember that." Amen.

 * ... GIRL SCOUTS: Who remembers a bus accident back in 1969 that took the lives of three young Bakersfield girls? I spotted this post on Facebook, which read: "Remembering the three Girl Scouts that died in a bus accident coming off the Grapevine (I-5) in 1969. Here’s to those who survived. May they all Rest In Peace. Just wondering if anyone remembers my cousin, Nancy Tatum. I was only 7 at the time and I don’t remember much about her. Also, thank you Munsey Elementary Scool BCSD for allowing me to take these pictures:"

 * ... MEMORIES: Compliments of Art Moore and the Facebook page Kern County History Fans comes this post on an old store on Chester Avenue. "Hochheimer and Company - Pioneer Store... 1900 to 1928 Chester Avenue.: Proprietor: Florent Schurra (1850-1937)... Chester Ave. between 19th and 20th St.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Medical experts fear a winter "twindemic" of flu and Covid-19, the "zen master" Art Sherwyn is profiled by The Californian and plaintiff's attorney Daniel Rodriguez on the mend after receiving a new hip

Welcome to Bakersfield Observed. Our mission is to celebrate life in Kern County by focusing on newsmakers and events and the local characters who make this community such a special place. The views expressed here are strictly my own and do not represent any other company or publication.

 * ... TWINDEMIC: Talk to any medical professional and he or she will tell you the experts are dreading this winter. The possibility of a "twindemic" (an explosion of both Covid-19 and the common flu) is a

distinct possibility, particularly considering the number of Americans at risk. For example, only 45 percent of American adults opt to get a flu shot every year (that rises to 62 percent among school age children) and fully half of American adults say they are wary of taking an Covid vaccine once it becomes available. Dr. Brij Bhambi of Bakersfield Heart Hospital says its all rather simple: wear a mask, practice social distancing and despite "pandemic fatigue," stay out of crowded spaces and away from strangers.

 * ... ART SHERWYN: It was nice to see the profile of Art Sherwyn in Sunday's Bakersfield Californian in a piece written by KGET's Robert Price. It was a lovely valentine to a man who has touched so many both in the classroom as a career teacher, on the tennis court as a successful coach at Stockdale High School and most of all as a mentor to young artists. Sherwyn is all of that: accomplished artist, legendary teacher and coach and most of all, a kind and sentient being who has the golden touch of a leader, mentor and teacher. I met Sherwyn when one of my own daughters played for Sherwyn at Stockdale where his tennis team won three consecutive Valley championships. I loved this quote from Sherwyn that Bob Price included in his piece:  "“The greatest leaders take no victims and the greatest victories have no losers,” he said he would tell his players. “We sat down and we discussed it: ‘You're going to send 32 teams home this year as losers. How do you make them feel like winners?’ And so we created ways to make sure that our opponents always left feeling good. When we won those valley championships, all three years, I refused to let them celebrate in front of our opponents. We went straight over, we shook their hands. We showed compassion. We'll celebrate later." (California photo by Alex Horvath)

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Heard a rival dad is planning to hand out king size candy bars for Halloween so now every trick or treater that comes to my house is getting a full rack of ribs."

 * ... DANIEL RODRIGUEZ: It takes a lot to sideline noted plaintiff's attorney Daniel Rodriguez, but this was one opponent even his legendary tenacity could not defeat. Rodriguez recently underwent a hip replacement, compliments of Dr. Fadi Saied of Southern California Orthopedic Institute (SCOI). The verdict: Rodriguez was told his running days were over, but that simply was not going to happen."Why?" he said. "Because I have only one more continent to tun in order to have completed a marathon on each of the second continents: Antartica. I just received my confirmation that I'm enrolled in the running of the Antarctic Ice Marathon in December of 2121!"  Well done, counselor.

 * ... THIS WEEK: It will be a busy week in news. On Monday, the Senate Judiciary Committee begins hearings on the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, a spectacle that will last all week. Also this week, Kern County should learn if it will advance to the "red tier" to allow limited restaurant dining and as a openings for churches, gyms and zoos. Finally, President Trump has been cleared to resume campaigning as we head into the final stretch of the campaign.

 * ... MIGRANT CAMP: Check out these classic old photos, taken by Dorothea Lange, of the Shafter Migrant Camp in 1938.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Republicans widen their lead over Democrats in Kern County, a look at the statewide propositions and Amestoy's is torched once again on the east side

Welcome to Bakersfield Observed. Our mission is to celebrate life in Kern County by focusing on newsmakers and events and the local characters who make this community such a special place. The views expressed here are strictly my own and do not represent any other company or publication.

 * ... GOP HOLDS EDGE IN KERN:  If were were worrying about Kern County turning blue (Democratic) you can relax for now. In fact the county may be turning more conservative, according to data compiled by KGET. A year ago it appeared Republicans in Kern County were losing their edge, but

since then Republicans have managed to widen the gap over Democratic by 10,765 votes. Those voters identifying as no party preference, KGET said, make up 22 percent of the registered voters. In the hotly contested 21st Congressional District where Democrat T.J. Cox faces David Valadao, Democrats have a 15 percent edge over registered Republicans.

 * ... PROPOSITIONS: You should have received your California ballot in the mail and beyond the races for president, Congress and local boards, there will be a number of propositions to be decided. My research on the propositions normally includes checking out the recommendations of the Kern County Taxpayers Association, run by Michael Turnipseed. Only two of the propositions earned the KCTA's endorsement: Prop 19 and Prop 22. Proposition 22 would retain the independent contractor status for part-time workers (Uber, DoorDash, writers and other delivery drivers) while Proposition 19 allows some homeowners to transfer their tax assessments anywhere within the state. Do your own research, but the KCTA recommendations are a good place to start.

 * ... HUNGER: How bad is hunger in our community? Well to see it for yourself, drop by the Mission of Kern County every Wednesday and watch as hundreds of cars line up for free protein and dairy boxes compliments of a federal program. Mission director Carlos Baldovinos said more than 700,000 pounds of food has been distributed since the program began 18 weeks ago. "These are people on the verge of hunger and on the verge of homelessness," he said. Most of these people, he added, lost their jobs in the pandemic and are one paycheck away from losing everything. The food comes from the Farms to Families food box program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Let’s get married and have kids so instead of trying a pumpkin beer you can stop the crying while I go back into the corn maze to find the shoe."

 * ... AMESTOY'S: It was certainly an ignoble end to an iconic bar that stood on the east side of Bakersfield for years. Amestoy's, which closed last year, has turned into an eyesore of neglect. Since closing the building has been tagged, vandalized and burned - twice. That's right Amestoy's has been set on fire two times and today it stands as testimony to how some people treat our community. Take a look and weep.

 * .... MEMORIES: Check out the old Bellevue Ranch that was located out near where CSUB is now. Here's some information provided with the photos: "The 13,500 acre ranch was started in the 1800s by James Ben Ali Haggin, Lloyd Tevis, and William 'Billy' Carr.  It was located west of Bakersfield largely in the vicinity of present day Cal State University Bakersfield. Photos by Carleton E. Watkins.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Kern County businesses that remain open should heed the super spreader event at the White House, another Liberty Safe survives a California wildfire and the Valadao-T.J. Cox races goes down to the wire

Welcome to Bakersfield Observed. Our mission is to celebrate life in Kern County by focusing on newsmakers and events and the local characters who make this community such a special place. The views expressed here are strictly my own and do not represent any other company or publication.

 * ... SUPER SPREADER: At one point or the other, all of us have suffered from fatigue over this pandemic. But the super spreader event at the White House, in which at least eight people have been infected with Covid-19, should tell us something. Locally, the virus fatigue is everywhere: some

businesses simply ignore the rules (including the Teaser Pleaser, American Kids and Woolworth's according to The Bakersfield Californian ) while others only half heartedly adhere to the protocol. But the White House reception for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett should serve as a warning of how quickly the virus spreads. In addition to President Trump and First Lady Melania, others infected there include Trump advisers Kellyanne Conway and Hope Hicks, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Mike Lee of Utah and Ronna McDaniel, head of the Republican National Committee. 

 * ... LIBERTY SAFES: If you work at Liberty Safes in town, this was a marketing dream come true. Known for selling rock-solid safes that can withstand heat, fires and break-in attempts, Liberty Safes has been selling its brand of safes in Kern County for decades. Then, sadly the Creek Fire broke out and burned a home down, but its Liberty Safe withstood the heat. Check out the pictures of these Liberty Safe employees who cracked, amid the rubble, the safe open and found everything inside - include alcohol and firearms - perfectly safe.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Wow so when Trump gets Corona positive, all world leaders wish him a speedy recovery but when I got Corona positive, my wife doubled my life insurance. Is it because I'm brown?"

 * .... NO KILL SHELTER: Here is some good news when it comes to stray dogs and cats. The Kern County had its first "no kill" month on record, thanks to a surge in adoptions during the pandemic. Kern County Animal Services said they welcomed 683 animals in the month of September and 643 of those are still alive. A "no kill" shelter is when a shelter finds homes for at least 90 percent of the population.

 * ... POLITICAL HEAT: There are few local political races as heated as that of former congressman David Valadao trying to unseat Democrat Rep. T.J. Cox. Check out this bilingual, anti-Valadao ad that is floating around social media. Valadao recently picked up the endorsement of The Bakersfield Californian.

 * ... MEMORIES; From the Facebook page Kern County History Fans comes these two pictures from back in the day.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Downtown residents and businesses cheer on news that the Greyhound Bus Station will be demolished, the founder of the Grossman Burn Center is arrested for DUI in the deaths of two young boys, it is rattlesnake season and some really bad form at Starbucks

Welcome to Bakersfield Observed. Our mission is to celebrate life in Kern County by focusing on newsmakers and events and the local characters who make this community such a special place. The views expressed here are strictly my own and do not represent any other company or publication.

 * ... GREYHOUND:  After years of trying, it looks like the old Greyhound Bus Station downtown will finally be leaving, making room for a multi-story apartment complex that would change the nature of downtown. The Californian's John Cox reported that the 60-year-old property sold in July for $1.27

million to Church Plaza LLC, whose officers include Majid Mojibi, president of San Joaquin Refining Co. Inc. The Californian said the development will be the family's first residential project and will include about 100 rentals. For many downtown residents and businesses, the bus station has been an eyesore, dirty, dilapidated and attracting a bad element to downtown. Along with the Padre Hotel and the Bitwise project going on at the corner of H and 18 streets, the new project will go a long way in sprucing up an eyesore. (photo courtesy of Alex Horvath/The Bakersfield Californian)

 * ... RATTLESNAKES: If you get out and about to run, hike or bike, beware that we are entering the peak season when rattlesnakes are breeding. I spotted this one near Hart Park on the bike trail, a baby but one not to be trifled with. I pulled this from a website devoted to rattlesnakes: "A friendly reminder and warning for those of you with kids and dogs - It is September and the start of football season, but it is also the time of year when copperheads are born. The baby snakes are born with venom and ready to defend themselves. The mama snake generally gives birth to about 8 - 10 of these critters, so if you find one there are others around. The babies will keep those greenish/yellow tips on their tails for about a year. These snakes are not generally aggressive but will bite if you are unfortunate enough to touch or step on one. Do not reach under bushes, around rocks, or even flower pots without looking first. They like damp places so beware, even under children's toys and dog dishes!"

* ... AMAZON PALM: Would you be comfortable using your "palm" to check out and pay for grocery items? That's what Amazon hopes as it rolls out its new palm technology that uses your unique palm print to identify and then pay for your items. Amazon said it chose to use palm-scanning technology because it’s “considered more private” than other biometric alternatives, which include things like eye-scanning technology or facial recognition. “You can’t determine a person’s identity by looking at an image of their palm,” Amazon added.

 * ... GROSSMAN ARREST: One of the co-founders of the Grossman Burn Center has been arrested on two counts of vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence in the deaths of two young boys in Westlake Village. Police said Rebecca Grossman, 57, apparently sped through an intersection and ran into two brothers, Mark and Jacob Iskander, who had been taking a walk with their parents and siblings. The incident happened around 7 p.m. on a quiet residential street. Rebecca Grossman is the wife of Peter Grossman and both are listed as co-founders of the Grossman Burn Center. The Grossman Burn Center operates locally out of Memorial Hospital on 34th Street. (file photos of the Grossman and the two brothers who died in the incident)

* ... BLM PROTESTS: A shot of some of the graffiti (easily washed away) that protesters left on the steps of the Bakersfield police department this past weekend.

 * ... STARBUCKS: What would your reaction be if you received this at Starbucks?

 * ... MEMORIES: A classic old picture from Taft compliments of the Kern County History Fans Facebook page.

Monday, September 28, 2020

More than 100,000 Christians descend on Washington, D.C. for the national prayer, more Black Lives Matter protests in downtown Bakersfield and a Good Samaritan comes forward

Welcome to Bakersfield Observed. Our mission is to celebrate life in Kern County by focusing on newsmakers and events and the local characters who make this community such a special place. The views expressed here are strictly my own and do not represent any other company or publication.

 * ... BLM PROTESTS: Black Lives Matter protesters turned out both Friday and Saturday nights in

downtown Bakersfield, leading to a scuffle when a couple dozen pro-Trump protesters showed up in a caravan of cars and trucks. Bakersfield police said a fight broke out Friday night although no one was seriously injured. The protest Friday night was about half the size of the previous evening.

 * ... PRAYER MARCH: An estimated 100,000 people descended on Washington, D.C. Sunday for the 2020 Prayer March. The overflow crowd, representing Christians from across the nation, spilled over the National Mall for a day of prayer and hope. Among those from Bakersfield attending were Mission of Kern County director Carlos Baldovinos and his son, and Pastor Angelo Frazier of Riverlakes Community Church. Frazier contributed two of these photos and Monday he will be on The Richard Beene Show at 2:30 p.m. to talk about his experience there.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "I spent more on weed last year than Trump paid in taxes."

 * ... GOOD SAMARITAN: The best read of the weekend was the story by Steven Mayer in The Bakersfield Californian about the good samaritan who replaced the broken neon restaurant sign at Casa Munoz Union Avenue at no cost. As Mayer reported, Jerad Webb confessed that he was behind the good deed along with his colleagues at California Neon Signs in Bakersfield, a company that also has worked on signage at the Pyrenees Cafe and the Fox Theater. Webb came upon the sign, took measurements and replaced it all without telling owner Joe Munoz what he was up to. Now that is good form. (picture courtesy of The Californian)

 * ... OIL TOWN: Spotted this on Facebook and surprised we have not seen one of these here.

 * ... MEMORIES: Check this out compliments of Art Moore and the Kern County History Fans Facebook page.