Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Will Majority leader Kevin McCarthy play an important role as the liaison between the House Republicans and Donald Trump? And noting some really good form, as well as some bad stuff

 * ... MCCARTHY: It looks like the election of Donald Trump as president could thrust Bakersfield Rep. Kevin McCarthy into an important role in a Trump presidency. That's the word from Dan Walters, a longtime political columnist for the Sacramento Bee who appeared at the Vision for the Valley
symposium at Bakersfield College Tuesday. With Trump at odds with House Speaker Paul Ryan, Walters said Majority Leader McCarthy is in a unique position to be the liaison between Trump and House Republicans. "He is in a good position to play a larger role, and that can be good for California and Kern County," Walters told me. Another panel member, Marty Wilson of the CalChamber, said McCarthy was on the short list of people who Trump called on election night. Stay tuned.

 * ... GOOD (AND BAD) FORM: Here is some good (and bad) form all in one take, compliments of Nancy Vibe. "First off, I would like to send out a heartfelt 'thank you' to the elderly gentleman that walks up and down Auburn street between Oswell and Fairfax. This awesome man makes this trek maybe twice a month with a cart covered with a trash bag and a rake, and he picks up trash! I am sorry I do not know his name, but he is an angel. I have stopped to say thanks but didn't take the time
to ask his name. I will soon. And then there is the other side of the coin. There is a family that lives on Ina Court whose yard backs up to Auburn Street. This owner of a dog(s) has taken the time to FLING dog feces over his fence onto what he thinks is the easement of bushes next to the sidewalk.  Well this lazy moron has such a great arm on him (her) that it makes the sidewalk. Guess who ends up cleaning up the mess? Yeah, the man with integrity!"

 * ... STARBUCKS: The downtown Starbucks at 24th and L streets lost a regular customer the other day when he was verbally assaulted by one of the many homeless men who hang out in front asking for money. "I walked past him leaving with my coffee and he muttered something," he told me. "I didn't really hear him until he screamed and me, stood up and flipped over the outside table and told me he was going to kill me." Sick of being hit up for spare change, he has sworn off the downtown location.

* ... NORIEGA'S: I can only go a few months before I need a fix at Noriega's, one of the Basque treasures that has served our community for so many years. There are few things better than a hearty Basque meal on a chilly night at the iconic Bakersfield restaurant. My favorite: fried chicken night.

* ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "My parents believed you should never go to bed angry. They were awake for the last 17 years of their marriage."

 * ... REUSABLE BAGS: This interesting note from reader Steve Hollick showed up in my mailbox: "I just was getting caught up on your columns and wanted to put in my two cents on the reusable bags. I ordered three canvas bags from www.feedprojects.com. Each of the bags bought feed a starving child for a year. They are super durable bags and I constantly get compliments on them. They hold a ton of groceries. Plus, it makes me feel good that I am helping out a child in need."

* ... MEMORIES: I ran into a Bakersfield old-timer who was waxing poetic about growing up in a much simpler time. As a child, he said JBA (Junior Baseball Assn.) had fields across from Memorial Hospital where Gregg's Pharmacy stood.

 * ... MORE MEMORIES: And finally, Jean Burette added these memories: "I remember when the Bakersfield Californian was delivered in the evening, and once a month a man came to the door to collect for the bill. Oh yes, and I too remember the Union Avenue pool and also the pool at Hart Park. We used to enjoy badminton at Kern Union High School in the evening, supervised  by Cap Harlson, and afterward go to Reed and Bell for a great root Beer."

Thursday, December 1, 2016

CSUB appoints a new director of fund raising, Tracy Walker-Kiser gets some well deserved recognition by Memorial Hospital and it's time for the final First Friday of the year

* ... CSUB: Count me among those who are hoping CSUB made the right choice in appointing Victor Martin as the new vice president of university advancement. This is the key fund raising job on campus, requiring someone with high energy and deep connections in the community. The past two
to hold the job - David Melendez and Beverly Byl - were washouts and neither did much tap into the generosity of this town. The last person to do the job well - and he was terrific - was Michael Chertok, and he retired nine years ago. If I were Victor Martin, I would take Chertok out to lunch and pick his brain.

* ... GOOD FORM: Congratulations to three friends of mine who received some well deserved recognition recently. At the annual dinner of the Memorial Hospital Foundation board, Beverly and Jim Camp were feted as "patrons of the year" in recognition of their generosity to the hospital, and Tracy Kiser-Walker was named volunteer of the year. Tracy, who owns H. Walker's mens clothing store downtown, is a tireless volunteer for at least a half dozen organizations in town (downtown Rotary and the Junior League among others) and she was a driving force behind the annual Larry Carr Memorial Golf Tournament that raises so much money for hospital causes.

 * ... FIRST FRIDAY: The final First Friday of the year kicks off at 5 p.m. today in the downtown Arts District. Traditionally businesses in the district have used this night promote holiday shopping. Metro Galleries has two exhibits opening. Italian photographer Masilmilliano Marchetti will be showing "Transitions," a series of beautiful photos of the California coast. Also, "Small Works 2016" features paintings by local artists priced under $500. First Friday creator Don Martin says past three First Fridays have had record Fall visitors and that the ArtWalk (sponsored by the Arts Council of Kern) continues to grow and will have 70 plus artists this month. Martin moved the monthly event under the umbrella of the new Bakersfield Arts District Foundation earlier this year, says there will be some major new additions to the event in 2017, including the launch of an Arts District app.

* ... CRIME: Mailboxes in the Seven Oaks area have been hit again, this time by someone with a master key to open the mailbox cluster unit. These thefts are happening all over town, frustrating folks who use these neighborhood "cluster" boxes.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "I want the confidence of someone who doesn't bother putting a lid on their to-go cup."

 * ... SUSHI: A new sushi restaurant has opened downtown and it will host its grand opening today (Friday). It's called Yamato and it is located in the same space on 19th Street where Enso operated until recently. Ray Watson, president of Uniglobe Travel, told me the space has been spruced up and both the sushi and rolls were excellent. Yet another friend, Miranda Whitworth of the Kern Federal Credit Union, also raved about the place and posted a picture on social media of a sushi roll covered in seaweed salad.

  * ... YARD SALE: If you like yard sales and bargains, be advised there will be a huge one at Temple Beth El this Sunday. The temple, located just north of Garces Memorial High School on Loma Linda Drive, will  host the yard sale from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Temple vice president Greg Broida said some 100 families have donated furniture, tools, clothing, housewares and other items.

 * ... ACHIEVER: A few years ago I wrote about Phillip McGill, a Stockdale High student who graduated 10th in his class at the University of San Diego. Well now I learn that McGill has been named one of San Diego's "rising stars" for 2017 by Super Lawyers magazine. He is a mergers and acquisitions attorney working for Cooley LLP.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The ban on single-use plastic bags changes our behavior, a local business owner appears on a Food Network cookie challenge, and singling out a high achiever

* ... PLASTIC BAGS: Count me among those who are not unhappy with the new law banning single-use plastic bags. Most stores have already gotten rid of them, forcing folks to pay extra for a new, thicker plastic bag that can be used multiple times. But what happens if we treat the new bags the same way we did the thinner versions? I liked this thought from a Los Angeles Times editorial:  "The better solution is for consumers to eschew these thicker lookalikes and invest in bags made of materials such as canvas, cotton, nylon fiber or even woven plastic. They cost more upfront, but can last for years with the proper care and cleaning. Transitioning away from the 'paper or plastic?' days may seem like an inconvenience, but it’s the right thing to do for the environment. Make it count by embracing the spirit of the plastic ban, and not just swapping one plastic bag for another." My new favorite bag are those from Target: sturdy and capable of easily hauling weighty purchases. (photo courtesy of The Los Angeles Times)

 * ... CAT NAP: If you have a cat, as I do, this may come as no surprise: but did you know the average cat sleeps 15 hours a day and many sleep up to 20 hours a day? And if you are like me and you awaken to a gray tabby nudging you for food or staring you in the face, you won't be surprised to know they are most active at dusk and dawn. According to the website PetMD, cats "either doze in a light sleep or sleep very deeply. When your cat dozes (which lasts about fifteen minutes to a half hour), he will position his body so that he can spring up and into action at a moment’s notice.
 During deep sleep, cats experience rapid (or quick) brain movement. Deep sleep tends to last about five minutes, after which the cat goes back to dozing. This dozing-deep sleep pattern goes on until the cat wakes up."

 * ... FOOD NETWORK: If you are a fan of the Food Network, chances are you might have seen a local celebrity on its Christmas Cookie Challenge episode. Mai Gifford, a former pastry chef at The Padre Hotel and now the owner of De Coeur Bake Shop behind the downtown Post Office, was featured on an episode where she made soft ginger cookies with eggnog and a cream filling, as well as gluten free honey-cherry pistachio cookie. (photo courtesy of Gifford's Facebook page)

 * ... SICK BAY: I dropped by Memorial Hospital the other day to visit Jason Barnes, the local businessman who took a really bad spill on his bicycle while going 28 mph on the bike path near Enos Lane. After eight days in the hospital with five broken ribs and a fractured clavicle, Barnes was anxious to spend a night in his own bed and he finally got his wish. Doctors say his prognosis is good, and knowing Jason I expect to see him back on his bike after the first of the year.

* ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "If my kids don't give me the answers I want to hear I just start annoyingly tapping their foreheads and swiping like on a touch screen."

 * ... ACHIEVER: Here's a big shout out to Brooke Fries, a Centennial High and Bakersfield College graduate who went on to UC Santa Barbara. In May she graduated from the McGeorge School of Law (25th in her class) and she recently passed her California State Bar exam. Her mother, Natalie Dunn Fries, is a three-time world champion (figure roller skating) and Bob Elias Hall of Fame inductee while her father, Dan Lloyd, is a 38-year administrator at the Kern High School District.

 * ... MEMORIES: Here is a question for some of you old timers out there: a reader asks if anyone remembers the years of operation for the old Thunderbird Drive-In. If you happen to know, drop me an email.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Another Bakersfield Pie Run is in the books, a local bicycle rider takes a nasty spill and Cafe Med serves up some delicious morsels while catering

* ... PIE RUN: Here's to John Rous and his team of volunteers for another successful Thanksgiving Pie Run at Hart Park. It looked like a record crowd in the 400 to 500 range who gathered at sunrise to get in a brisk and chilly morning hike or run to start the holiday. There was plenty of food, and each
year Sid Fulce and his wife Karen take the leftover pies (up to 70 at a time) to the Bakersfield Homeless Shelter. Soundman Pete Wonderly, wearing a Cossack fur cap to ward off the chill, served as emcee while Fluce tended to a roaring fire that welcomed the runners back to the starting line. Among those I spotted were Marcia Giumarra (one of the organizers), Mark and Betsy Ramsey and son Miles, Rob and Sally Baker and their three daughters (Katie, Sarah and Maggie), Hillary Haenes and Patrick Wells, Pam Binns, (Bakersfield Track Club president) Margaret Scrivano Patteson, Jim and Kelly Damien, Pete Elieff, Andrea Ames, Sam and Lauren Benham and daughter Nora, Mike Toland, David Rous, Bill Elrich, Rogers and Esther Brandon and Herb and Sue Benham along with grandson Andrew.

* ... THANKSGIVING: I spotted this on my friend David Jenson's Facebook page: "A lady was picking through the frozen turkeys at the grocery store but she couldn't find one big enough for her family. She asked a stock boy, 'Do these turkeys get any bigger?' The stock boy replied, 'No ma'am, they're dead.'

 * ... SICK BAY: Wishing a speedy recovery to my friend Jason Barnes who was involved in a nasty bicycle accident the other day. Barnes was doing a mid-day ride with a small group when he accidentally overlapped another rider's wheel, forcing him to the pavement. He broke five ribs and has a fractured clavicle but is expected to fully recover.

* ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "The sole purpose of a child’s middle name, is so he can tell when he’s really in trouble."

 * ... SPOTTED DOWNTOWN: A new business downtown is called "Herban Legend." Think about that one for a moment.

* ... GOLDEN SPIKE: 'Bunny" Giraud Haaberfelde, Bakersfield High class of 1945, wrote to say she remembers the old Golden Spike Cafe located at 1510 F Street. Said Haberfelde: "Hi Richard, in reference to the cafe, if I remember correctly it was next to the railroad track and had pretty good food. We’re talking around 1949. Many Thanks for your column that continually contains many wonderful old and happy memories of my beloved hometown." Thank you Bunny!

 * ... CAFE MED: Hats off to Meir Brown and his crew over at Cafe Med who knocked it out of the park while catering a recent fund raiser to support CSUB wrestling. Brown's spread included an assortment of fresh pizzas, pastas and seafood that were so good I had to take some home in a plastic to-go box.

 * ... HOLIDAY HOME TOUR: It's that time of year again for the popular 27th Annual Chez Noel Holiday Home Tour. This annual event, a major fund raiser for the Assistance League of Bakersfield, is set for Friday and Saturday December 2 and 3. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased from the Bargain Box Thrift Store at 1924 Q Street, Christine’s in the Stockdale Fashion Plaza, Kern Travel at 3501 Mall View Road,  Sugar Daddy at Stockdale Village and Victoria’s at the The Marketplace.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

It's Thanksgiving, can we spend a few days without the post election vitriol? And celebrating the annual Pie Run and remembering the old Golden Spike Cafe on F Street

 * ... GIVING THANKS: I hope we can all spend the next few days giving thanks to the blessings in our lives. There has been poison in the air ever since the election, and I for one am weary of the vitriol and insults that have worked their way into our everyday conversations and our musings on
social media platforms like Facebook. So I am calling for a truce. How about this for starters? Let's spend the next few days thinking about the things that bring us joy: the new grandchild, the children coming home for Thanksgiving, a morning run in the crisp fall air, wet puppy kisses, that new job, that new love (or even an old one), the memory of someone special who is no longer here. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

* ... PIE RUN: The annual Thanksgiving Pie Run, one of my absolute favorite things about living here, is back on for this Thursday at Hart Park. Thirty-five years ago John Rous and a couple of
running buddies decided to do a run on Thanksgiving morning, followed by a slice of homemade pie, and since then it has grown into one of our town's signature events. The idea is attractively simple: bring a pie, donuts or cookies and gather at Hart Park and then head out for a walk/run/or hike at the crack of dawn. Return and reward yourself with some breakfast treats. It's free of course and all it requires is an early wakeup and the will to join a couple hundred of others in a Thanksgiving tradition. The walk/run starts at the crack of dawn, so get there early.

 * ... GOLDEN SPIKE CAFE: Nobody really leaves Bakersfield without taking a piece of the town with them. That enduring theme was reinforced the other day when I struck up a conversation with a stranger and his son at the bar in the Padre Hotel. It turned out Robert Williams, a lawyer, and his son Ryan had driven up from Mission Viejo to take in the Sturgil Simpson concert at the Fox Theater. Williams expressed an unrestrained love for his hometown, and told me he regularly returns so his son can share in the quirkiness and warmth of Bakersfield. Williams grew up in Oildale and first attended Roosevelt Elementary and later Franklin Elementary, and then Golden Valley Junior High School. The family left Bakersfield in 1955 to move to Los Angeles. He told me his parents, Otis and Dell Williams, ran the Golden Spike Cafe at 1510 F Street. Anybody remember the Golden Spike?

* ... WRESTLING: I dropped by the home of Kevin and Tuesdy Small last week to attend a fund raising event for the storied Cal State Bakersfield wrestling program. One thing cannot be disputed: the folks who support our wrestling program (Coyote Club and others) are organized, energetic and they simply don't quit. Some 200 supporters turned out to get an update on the wrestling program and open their wallets to make sure the sport is properly funded and continues for years to come.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "I hate it when I forget my password and don't answer my secret questions right. It's like I don't even know me."

 * ... SAFETY PINS: My earlier post about folks wearing those anti-hate safety pins triggered this response from Chris Padham: "So it's come to this? If I'm not wearing a safety pin I could be considered a unsafe person to talk or sit next to? Seems like assumptions are being made if a pin isn't worn. And if you always sit next to someone who shares your views and won't challenge your beliefs how can you grow and expand your horizons or understand the hows and whys of opposite views?"

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Some wise thoughts as our nation struggles to understand the election, the Padre Hotel rolls out an extended Happy Hour and here come the kids home for Thanksgiving

* ... ELECTION: There have been some terrific essays about the election of Donald Trump and the vitriol and reactions that have swept the nation since. One of the best, in my view, was penned by Charles Einstein, who summed it up this way: "We are entering a time of great uncertainty.
Institutions so enduring as to seem identical to reality itself may lose their legitimacy and dissolve. It may seem that the world is falling apart... For many, that process started on election night, when Trump’s victory provoked incredulity, shock, even vertigo. 'I can’t believe this is happening!' At such moments, it is a normal response to find someone to blame, as if identifying fault could restore the lost normality, and to lash out in anger. Hate and blame are convenient ways of making meaning out of a bewildering situation. Anyone who disputes the blame narrative may receive more hostility than the opponents themselves, as in wartime when pacifists are more reviled than the enemy." It is well worth your read. Google his name and enjoy.

* ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Call your dad now and ask him what the wifi password is so he has time to find the little paper it's written on before Thanksgiving."

 * ... HAPPY HOUR: The Padre Hotel downtown has extended its happy hour and is now offering half price deals on wine and other specials on beer and mixed drinks. The happy hour now runs from 2 p..m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

 * ... THANKSGIVING: This is my favorite time of year, and one reason is the flood of young people who will come home to reconnect with family and friends over Thanksgiving. Expect to see these college kids (or recent graduates) at all their familiar haunts: Luigi's, Pyrenees, Woolgrower's, Noriega Hotel, Uricchio's Trattoria and Cafe Med, just to name a few.

 * ... GOOD FORM: Here's a tidbit that will make you feel good about our local Boy Scouts, compliments of Ron Lommen: "A follow up on the veteran’s day parade. For the last three years, the Boy Scout Troop 188 out of east Bakersfield meets at the American Legion at 6 am on veteran’s day to help serve breakfast to the veterans.  We than stay until the parade is complete, and sweep the trash from the sidewalks and business fronts along the entire route, we are the unsung final group to walk
the parade route.  The Boy Scouts spend their entire day off from school donating their time to the veterans and the city. Just letting folks know that a there are good kids out there trying to help
keep the city clean and support our veterans without any fanfare."

 * ... TRASH: And speaking of trash, Bob Moses passed this along: "I was at Riverwalk last Sunday and the park was spotless even though the Brews and Bacon event took place the day before. I complimented the park worker about the cleanliness and he said BARC had cleaned it. Let's have them out after all the parades, it will be good for everyone."

* ... MEA CULPA: Ellen Cypher was among a dozen folks who wrote (some more politely than others) about an error I made in explaining the "safety pin" campaign. In her words: "I feel compelled to correct your misconception that wearing a safety pin is 'a show of solidarity against our president elect.'  In fact, it is an anti-hate message. It lets others know you are a safe person to talk to or sit next to--that you won't attack them or discriminate against them. Even Trump supporters can wear a safety pin if they do not subscribe to the rhetoric of xenophobia."

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

A tale of two cities: celebrating the success of the first Bakersfield Marathon and lamenting the trash left behind after the annual Veterans Day parade

 * ... MARATHON: Kudos to the organizers of the first Bakersfield Marathon that succeeded on levels far beyond the athletic endeavor for almost 2,000 participants. From elite runners to folks
doing their first 5K, this was an all inclusive event that filled our streets with good cheer on a near perfect November morning. Across town, from the southwest to Panorama Drive, neighbors met on the street, coffee mugs in hand and dogs in tow, to watch the runners pass. When was the last time an event like this brought so many of us together?

 * ... VETERANS DAY: I wish the same could be said for the annual Veterans Day parade, but shame on those parade goers who thought it was okay to leave their cups, soiled napkins and fast food wrappers along the parade route. Here's a thought: next year let's hire folks (the homeless?) to walk the route with empty trash bags to encourage people not to litter.

* ... TRUMP: If you start noticing people wearing safety pins on their shirts or blouses, there is a reason. The idea: people who have felt insulted or maligned by Donald Trump are being urged to wear a safety pin as a show of solidarity against our president elect.

* ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy a huge house and cry in any room you like."

 * ... NEXT GENERATION: When I moved to Bakersfield more than two decades ago the community leaders included people like Jim Burke, Ray Dezember, Wendy Wayne, John Petrini and Eric Matlock, all tremendous people who have since died. I was thinking of them recently when a group of Bakersfield's "next generation of community leaders" gathered for dinner to support Bakersfield Memorial Hospital Foundation’s Miracle Society. These young philanthropists include Lindsay and Nick Ashley, Gianna and Ken Beurmann, Stacie and Clayton Campbell, Antone Chicca, Jen and Dan Clifford,  Lauren and Jeremy Helper, Elizabeth and Jeff Holz, Jill and Morgan Houchin, Jen and Dawson Li, Nicole and Jacob Panero, Lara and Michael Riccomini, Anna and Austin Smith, Victoria and John Trichell, Jennie and Beau Woodward and Briana and Dominic Zaninovich. Miracle Society donations this year enabled the purchase of a motorized gurney to transport patients who arrive at Memorial Hospital via air ambulance.

 * ... HARBOR FREIGHT: When did the Walgreen's on White Lane become Harbor Freight tools?

 * ... GOOD FORM: And finally there was this note from Mark Schaefer: "As a proud father of a student and husband of a teacher there, I have to say the annual Veterans Day celebration at Veterans Elementary School in the Norris School District was another wonderful event. Since opening in 2006, they have stayed true to the school's name during the week of Veterans Day. Monday night was another packed event with thank you letters to veterans written and read by students, patriotic singing, a guest speaker, and a flag planting ceremony by all the families in attendance. Nearly 1,000 attended this celebration, and made me proud of our school and community yet again! I can't wait to do it again next year."

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Wrestling with the meaning of the election of Donald Trump, Terry Maxwell gets hung by the noose of the 24th Street widening project and RIP to the mainstream media

* ... TRUMP: My take on the election of Donald Trump comes down to this: all of us, especially the pollsters and the media, underestimated two important factors... the deep personal unpopularity of Hillary Clinton, and
more importantly the widespread feeling that Washington (our government) isn't working for a wide swath of America. Casting this as a rural versus urban vote is only partially true, and it overlooks a deep and serious anxiety in this country that the ruling elite (so to speak) operate under a different set of rules than the rest of us. Clinton, more so than President Obama, represented the idea that those in power can get away with conduct and behavior that would land others in jail. Dismissing rural and "fly over" voters as uninformed boobs seems to miss an important message that half the country does not want business as usual. Trump did not create this widespread national anxiety; instead he rode it and exploited it while offering an (albeit jarring) alternative. The fact that so many voters overlooked his well documented flaws speaks volumes about the level of distrust of the political establishment. (Below: a map circulating on social media)

 * ... LOCAL ELECTIONS: Locally, I was surprised to see the local school bond measures pass (they were all well funded), Ward 2 City Councilman Terry Maxwell was hung by the noose of his opposition to the 24th Street widening project, and Congressman David Valadao fought off Democrat Emilio Huerta in a particularly nasty slugfest that won my award for the most dishonest campaign of the season. Karen Goh looks headed to a squeaker of a win over Kyle Carter in the mayor's race, and Jeffrey Tkac sent Harold Hanson into forced political retirement in the Ward 5 council race.

* ... ENERGY: Trump's election will be good news for the oil and gas sector, and we can expect a dramatic rollback of environmental regulations that have been the hallmark of the Obama presidency. Expect the Keystone Pipeline to be built and for regulators to have a friendlier attitude toward both coal and hydraulic fracturing.

 * ... MAINSTREAD MEDIA: And finally, RIP to the mainstream media, the traditional "gatekeepers" of political thought who were violently repudiated in this election. Will we ever be able to trust the polls again?

* ... ELECTION HUMOR: From Twitter: On election day "I saw the line where they were giving out stickers and wound up getting a damn flu shot."

 * ... STEAKS: One of the best cooks in town, Mike Ariey of Big Mike's Ragin' BBQ, is serving up a 16-ounce New York steak lunch at The Mark every Friday. The steak comes with cowboy potatoes, chili beans, green salad and corn bread. Lunch is served in the out door patio next door (called The Park at The Mark on 19th Street) and is open from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. And if a steak isn't your think, try the garlic chicken or excellent slow cooked baby back ribs, my personal favorite.

* ... OLD BARS: Here's a puzzler some of you readers may be able to answer. Karen R. Williams wrote: "Many years ago, the family of two of my school friends owned a bar that I believe was located in the alley behind the Haberfelde Building. It was called Potts Back Door. My friends were Gloria and Steve Potts. I was wondering if this is the location of one of the bars that have been in the news recently. It sure brings back memories from the late 1950s." Anybody remember this place and what occupies the space today?