Thursday, August 25, 2016

New museum director struggles with logo for Pioneer Village and CSUB President Horace Mitchell and wife Barbara celebrate 50 years of marriage


 * ... MUSEUM: Zoot Velasco was hired as a "change agent" for the Kern County Museum (now
Pioneer Village) and as the new CEO he has certainly come in with enough energy and new ideas to fill a room. But judging by the two proposed new logos to brand Kern Pioneer Village, Velasco lacks an eye for graphic design. It would be charitable to describe both as uninspiring, clunky and amateurish, so let's hope the museum's board of directors (can you hear me Beth Pandol?) steps in to help Zoot find a logo that lives up to the museum's promise.



 * ... FIRST COUPLE: Congratulations to CSUB President Horace Mitchell and his wife Barbara who are celebrating their 50th year wedding anniversary. Mitchell became CSUB's fourth president in July 2004.


 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Common Sense isn’t a gift. It’s punishment, because you have to deal with everyone who doesn’t have it."

 * ... MEMORIES: Superior Court Judge Thomas Clark dropped me a note to recall some memories when he was a boy. Said Clark: "Your mention of crawdad fishing in the canals brought back memories. As a boy I fished many a crawdad out of the irrigation canal that abutted our property (near Brundage and N Street). All the canals were teeming with crawdads in those days. I think they are long gone now---probably as a result of mosquito abatement spraying."

 * ... GOOD FORM: Here's a big shout out to Joe Rivera, a Bakersfield High graduate who just achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. He is a member of Troop 125, which is the troop associated with St. Francis Parish. Said his proud mother Katie Rivera: "His Eagle Scout project was to paint address curbs for the senior citizens of the Kern City neighborhood, to make it easier for emergency vehicles like police, fire and ambulance to find their homes in the case of emergency. Joe and the great boys from Troop 125 (and his two younger sisters) painted 227 address curbs, a project which spanned about two months."  Joe is now a freshman at Bakersfield College.

 * ... SPOTTED: An older red Ford SUV is spotted around town with a bumper sticker that reads: "*UCK TRUMP" under what appears to be the symbol of the United Farm Workers. Do we really have to share our foul personal sentiments with everyone else?


 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Moms rejoice as kids go back to school, Lois Henry gets some well deserved kudos and more on those old sidewalks about our community


 * ... SCHOOL DAYS: So just how happy were all the moms to see their kids go back to school last week? Apparently ecstatic, as evidenced at the Broken Yolk Cafe across the street from Stockdale High
School. I was told the place was packed on the first day of school as celebrating moms consumed three cases of champagne after dropping off their kids.

 * ... COLLEGE DAYS: In a few short years many of those same mothers will be tearful when they drop those same little darlings off to college, a right of passage that is in full swing right now. So there is to all those friends of mine who have shared that final tearful embrace while leaving their kids at places like Arizona, Baylor, Berkeley and UCLA. You have earned the right to be proud.



* ... LOIS HENRY: Kevin Cornelius dropped me this note about my former colleague Lois Henry: "(She) is the Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes when it comes to covering or uncovering a story the public should  know about. Take for instance her article in the newspaper on August 17,  'Kern High School District has some explaining to do'....  Briefly put KHSD police officer Chief Joe Lopeteguy was fixing to get railroaded when he wasn't even on the train. Seems KHSD were trying to get Lopeteguy to take the rap because they got caught up in there own quicksand. All I can say is when this gal digs into a story she leaves no stone unturned. I have advice for all you public agencies... when Lois Henry comes knocking on your front door, run out the back!"


* ... MEMORIES: Don Ambriz added this to the discussion of old markets in east Bakersfield. "My grandmother lived near the corner of Kentucky and Kern streets - right across the street from Mayfair Market. During the 1950s, my cousin and I would buy 10 cents worth of liver from the meat counter and would go craw-dad fishing in the Lake Street canal."

* ... GOOD FORM: Here is a shout out to a group of people who rarely get recognized, our postal carriers. Thanks to Madeline Parra for passing this along: "Just wanted to share how great of a mail carrier we have. In the 28 years I have worked at Brown Armstrong I’ve never had a problem with mail delivery, and all because of Rosemary. Boy did I find out different when she went out on leave!
Rosemary Baca Arauza is a 30-year postal employee who delivers to the 4200 Truxtun Extension area where I work. About a month ago, Rosemary went out on leave and the mail delivery has been hit and miss. We are lucky to get our mail by 5 p.m. and there have been some days where we have not received our mail at all. When I called the Stockdale post office to complain, the supervisor said Rosemary has such a high-standard and she’s been doing it for so long that nobody can touch her.  I want to give a big shout out to Rosemary for going over and beyond.  I was aware Rosemary was good and always had a smile on her pretty face, but I had no idea she was in the elite class until she went out on leave and I had something to compare to. Hurry back Rosemary!"

 * ... SIDEWALKS: William Dean wrote with a personal story behind some of those old stamped sidewalks about town. In his words: "My name is William Dean and I was reading your blog about the old sidewalks in town and the contractors that poured the cement and also paved the roads as they went along. My grandfather and my uncle were two of these. They owned a company named Dean and Stroble cement contracting. And from the early 1900s to just about the time of the depression they paved and built many of the old roads and sidewalks in Bakersfield, a lot around Baker Street and also in Oildale. They had 10 model T trucks and about 40 mules plus some big cement mixers that they moved down the street as they went. I don't know how many of the mixers they had but I know of one for sure because I have an old picture of the mixer. My grandfather and my uncle are standing next to it with there work crew. I think it was taken in the area around Baker Street around 1920. My grandfather's name was Fred Thomas Dean and my uncle's name was Vance Stroble."

Moms rejoice askids go back to school, Lois Henry gets some well deserved kudos and more on those old sidewalks about our community


 * ... SCHOOL DAYS: So just how happy were all the moms to see their kids go back to school last week? Apparently ecstatic, as evidenced at the Broken Yolk Cafe across the street from Stockdale High
School. I was told the place was packed on the first day of school as celebrating moms consumed three cases of champagne after dropping off their kids.

 * ... COLLEGE DAYS: In a few short years many of those same mothers will be tearful when they drop those same little darlings off to college, a right of passage that is in full swing right now. So there is to all those friends of mine who have shared that final tearful embrace while leaving their kids at places like Arizona, Baylor, Berkeley and UCLA. You have earned the right to be proud.



* ... LOIS HENRY: Kevin Cornelius dropped me this note about my former colleague Lois Henry: "(She) is the Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes when it comes to covering or uncovering a story the public should  know about. Take for instance her article in the newspaper on August 17,  'Kern High School District has some explaining to do'....  Briefly put KHSD police officer Chief Joe Lopeteguy was fixing to get railroaded when he wasn't even on the train. Seems KHSD were trying to get Lopeteguy to take the rap because they got caught up in there own quicksand. All I can say is when this gal digs into a story she leaves no stone unturned. I have advice for all you public agencies... when Lois Henry comes knocking on your front door, run out the back!"


* ... MEMORIES: Don Ambriz added this to the discussion of old markets in east Bakersfield. "My grandmother lived near the corner of Kentucky and Kern streets - right across the street from Mayfair Market. During the 1950s, my cousin and I would buy 10 cents worth of liver from the meat counter and would go craw-dad fishing in the Lake Street canal."

* ... GOOD FORM: Here is a shout out to a group of people who rarely get recognized, our postal carriers. Thanks to Madeline Parra for passing this along: "Just wanted to share how great of a mail carrier we have. In the 28 years I have worked at Brown Armstrong I’ve never had a problem with mail delivery, and all because of Rosemary. Boy did I find out different when she went out on leave!
Rosemary Baca Arauza is a 30-year postal employee who delivers to the 4200 Truxtun Extension area where I work. About a month ago, Rosemary went out on leave and the mail delivery has been hit and miss. We are lucky to get our mail by 5 p.m. and there have been some days where we have not received our mail at all. When I called the Stockdale post office to complain, the supervisor said Rosemary has such a high-standard and she’s been doing it for so long that nobody can touch her.  I want to give a big shout out to Rosemary for going over and beyond.  I was aware Rosemary was good and always had a smile on her pretty face, but I had no idea she was in the elite class until she went out on leave and I had something to compare to. Hurry back Rosemary!"

 * ... SIDEWALKS: William Dean wrote with a personal story behind some of those old stamped sidewalks about town. In his words: "My name is William Dean and I was reading your blog about the old sidewalks in town and the contractors that poured the cement and also paved the roads as they went along. My grandfather and my uncle were two of these. They owned a company named Dean and Stroble cement contracting. And from the early 1900s to just about the time of the depression they paved and built many of the old roads and sidewalks in Bakersfield, a lot around Baker Street and also in Oildale. They had 10 model T trucks and about 40 mules plus some big cement mixers that they moved down the street as they went. I don't know how many of the mixers they had but I know of one for sure because I have an old picture of the mixer. My grandfather and my uncle are standing next to it with there work crew. I think it was taken in the area around Baker Street around 1920. My grandfather's name was Fred Thomas Dean and my uncle's name was Vance Stroble."

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Bakersfield Observed puts a spotlight on old memories about town, from the Golden Crust Bakersfield to the companies that stamped the sidewalks around downtown

 * ... ODDS AND ENDS: I am visiting friends out of town and will devote this blog to sharing some of the odds and ends that readers send my way, most of them heavy on the history of the town we call home. Enjoy.

* ... BARBECUE: Elsie Petty weighed in on the best barbecue in town with this missive: "The best old locally owned BBQ restaurant was the Hickory House on 18th Street, across from Bill Lee's. It was owned by the Bill Lee family and was very good and not too expensive. Sad day when they closed and tore down the building. I am not sure when it closed."

 * ...SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Finding out your ex got fat is like finding 20 bucks in your pocket. Not life changing but definitely puts a smile on your face."

 * ... MORE TWITTER: "Someday, once humans are extinct, I hope whatever species rules Earth makes chicken nuggets in the shape of us like we did for dinosaurs."

 * ... GOOD FORM: Don Summers submitted this example of really good form: "Richard, I travel on Highway 65, Porterville Highway, weekdays and for the last month or so I have noticed a gentleman who travels up and down the highway picking up litter. He doesn't discriminate one side or other, far north or south, or in between. One person trying to make a difference."

 * ... MEMORIES: Navy veteran Gene Bonas reached out to share his memories of growing up on our east side, where the Golden Crust Bakery filled the streets with the sweet aroma of fresh bread. "One of my most cherished memories had to do with our kitchen when I was quite young. Because I was the last of nine kids, my mom cooked and baked each day of the week, Monday through Friday.  On Mondays it was bread; Tuesdays cakes; Wednesday cookies; Thursdays pies; and Fridays mom baked breads, rolls and muffins.  here were so many delicious smells coming from our kitchen that they were  magnets for friends of my five brothers and three sisters. Saturdays were shopping days where my mom and I would walk to the market on the corner of Kentucky and Kern Streets. I can't remember the name of the market but maybe one of your readers can. Shopping was an experience because my mom would visit with neighbors on the west side of Kern Street going to market, and talk with neighbors on the east side of Kern Street coming home. All the while I was pushing a cart loaded with two 50 pound sacks of flour and sugar plus groceries. By the time I got home, I was pooped! But, my mom made me return the borrowed cart to the market."

 * ... HISTORY: Last week I mentioned the names of the companies that left their logos stamped in our downtown sidewalks. It struck a chord with my friend Bailey Abbott, who dropped me this note: "You mentioned Fairchild, Gilmore and Wilton. That curb stamp, which can be found on (900 – 1000 block) 18th Street, north and south sides, and possibly elsewhere is neigh on to 100 years old. In 1922 Fairchild, Gilmore and Wilton was purchased by Griffith Company out of Los Angeles. Griffith Company, License No. 88, has maintained an office in Bakersfield since at least the early 1930s. In 2002 Griffith Company celebrated 100 years of building California. My meager 36 years of continuous employment with the Griffith Company Red Trucks in town was just a bit part over their last 114 years in business. And no the city no longer allows those concrete stamps to speak to the history of Bakersfield."


Thursday, August 11, 2016

Get ready for an explosion of political graffiti around town, Michael Congdon celebrates a year at Mission Bank and looking to our sidewalks for a bit of history


 * ... ELECTIONS: Like California wild flowers on the Grapevine, political signs are starting to pop
up around town as we enter the closing stretch before the November elections. The first to appear are simple red and blue signs endorsing the city council candidacy of Andrae Gonzales, who is trying to unseat Ward 2 incumbent Terry Maxwell. In a matter of days the entire town will be sprinkled with this political graffiti as we head toward an important national and local election.



  * ... WATER: Looking for some summer reading that is both relevant and eye opening? Consider "The Big Thirst," a book looking at the challenges and opportunities of water by author Charles Fisherman. As noted in a review: "In 2008, Atlanta came within ninety days of running entirely out of clean water. California is in a desperate battle to hold off a water catastrophe. And in the last five years Australia nearly ran out of water—and had to scramble to reinvent the country’s entire water system. But as dramatic as the challenges are, the deeper truth Fishman reveals is that there is no good reason for us to be overtaken by a global water crisis. We have more than enough water. We just don’t think about it, or use it, smartly."



 * ... MISSION: A (very) belated congratulations to Michael Congdon, who is celebrating one year at Mission Bank as its chief credit officer. Michael and I were in the same Leadership Bakersfield class some time ago and I lost track of him when he moved to Modesto to work for Wells Fargo. Is he glad to be back? "It's terrific," he told me. "I read your blog and know how you feel about trash and litter, and trust me we are better here than some other parts of California. It's good to be home."



* ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "You don’t know heartbreak until you see the waiter coming to your table with food but then take a sharp turn to a different table."

 *  ... FOODIE: Bill Lee's is known for many things - an expansive menu as well as its potent Mai Tais - but did you know they also feature an excellent club sandwich? Not exactly Chinese food but I can highly recommend it.

 * ... SIDEWALKS: I am a sucker for local history and living downtown, I have plenty of time to enjoy the historic buildings and relics and reminders of the past. Old sidewalks also hold clues to our history, and I wonder if anyone remembers the people who worked at the companies that left their names and logos stamped in our sidewalks. Among some of the names imprinted on old sidewalks: Federal Construction, Joe Brown of Bakersfield, Ted Alter Cement Contractor, Larsen and Rawlings of Bakersfield, A. Klingenberg, Meyer and Stoll and Fairchild, Gilmore Wilton.




 * ... MEMORIES: A friend was lamenting the demise of many of the old locally owned barbecue restaurants in town and said this: "For years the best barbecue in town was The Barbecue King on Union Avenue a few blocks from California on the east side of the street."
 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Mini fiberglass trucks painted by local artists will appear throughout town courtesy of the Bakersfield Museum of Art, and country crooner Sam Outlaw is coming back to town


 * ... CONSTRUCTION ZONE: A frustrated reader wrote pleading to Caltrans to speed up the work being done on the junction of northbound Highway 99 and eastbound Highway 58, a nightmare for "local motorists who have endured a year of construction. "I have had two screws in my tires, several close calls and a few scares with semis when I take that road to work," she said. "When will it be finished?"

* ... TRUCKS: Hats off to the Bakersfield Museum of Art for its upcoming show featuring miniature fiberglass pickup trucks customized in paint by local artists. The trucks will be part of "Driven By Art" show that will run from Sept. 19 to Oct. 2 and later - and I love this idea - a dozen of them may be permanently installed on the Westside Parkway. Look the trucks on display around town, including one at The Marketplace in the southwest.


 * ... OVERHEARD: A customer at the downtown Sequoia Sandwich Co. is overheard telling a friend: "Why is it I need a photo ID to pick up a radio station giveaway but not to vote?"

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Son, someday you will meet a very special woman and make her incoherent with rage."

 * ... MORE TWITTER: "When my stylist is washing my hair and then tries to talk to me, I press my finger to her lips and say 'shh, let's not ruin this with words.'"

 * ... OUTLAW: Here's a must-see event for your calendar: On Friday, Sept. 9, the rising country singer Sam Outlaw returns to Bakersfield for a one-night show at Temblor Brewing Co. Outlaw (and yes, that is his real name) has appeared twice in Bakersfield to great fanfare and he and his band are returning after a long European tour. Outlaw is appearing courtesy of Passing Through Productions, which earlier this week showcased the New Orleans band The Iguanas at Temblor.


  * ... GOOD FORM: Shawna Haddad runs the successful Muertos Kitchen and Lounge downtown, and she knows something about good service and good form. "Thank you to the woman who thought she cut me off at the Starbucks 24th Street drive through for paying for my order. It was a complete and lovely surprise! However, it was not necessary. Please call me at Muertos (661) 324-2557. I would like to return the favor and treat you for your kindness. Thank you again for being so thoughtful."

 * ... FOUNDATION: The Bakersfield Californian Foundation is accepting applications for its fall grand cycle, offering three separate awards in the amounts of $25,000, $50,000 and $100,000. There is no specific focus for this cycle but the Foundation is interesting in capital and stand alone project, not operating costs. For more information go to www.bakersfieldcalifornianfoundation.org.


Thursday, August 4, 2016

Rodriguez and Associates drop off $200,000 at Bakersfield Memorial Hospital to support the Grossman Burn Unit, get ready for The Iguanas at Temblor Brewing Co. and the ongoing debate over climate change


 * ... RODRIGUEZ: Hats off to local plaintiff's attorney Daniel Rodriguez and his team over at Rodriguez and Associates for donating $200,000 to Bakersfield Memorial Hospital and its expanding services. The gift will support the opening of the Neuro ICU and the establishment of the S.A. Camp Companies Burn Unit at the Grossman Burn Center, both of which will bring advanced technology and outstanding patient care to the people of Kern County.


 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "I’ve enjoyed giving presentations at work a lot more since I started communicating exclusively through interpretive dance."

 * ... IGUANAS: One of the hottest musical venues in town these days is the Temblor Brewing Co. off Merle Haggard Drive. The popular brew pub has been blowing up since opening its doors to musical acts, and Monday night the brassy New Orleans sound of the Iguanas will be appearing on the Temblor stage with its big sound. If you see just one concert this summer, this should be your top pick. Doors open at 6 p.m. and tickets are just $25.


 * ... BIKE RACKS: Have you noticed the appearance of colorful new bicycle racks popping up around town? Manufactured out of sturdy steel and in the shape of a road bike, the racks are the work of the city of Bakersfield and Bike Bakersfield to promote active transportation and active lifestyles. Bike Bakersfield director Adam Kahler said 29 racks have been placed around town, all funded via the Bakersfield Californian Foundation and public grants and funding.


* ... FEEDBACK: My piece on an anti fossil fuel activist drew this note from reader Harry Love: "In today's column you placed the words global warming in quotes. That is an indication that you find it to be questionable at to being true. Ninety-eight percent of scientists who study the
climate find that climate change caused by human activity is true. First, the correct term is climate change. Second, using your logic, if you had to use the word evolution in a column, you would have to place quotes around it. Some people believe it to be a hoax." Thanks for your note, Harry, and you might be surprised to learn that I do indeed believe in global warming, or climate change as you call it. What we might disagree on is its cause, and how societies respond to it.

 


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Teenage hip hop artist calls for an end to the use of fossil fuels, and the candidates for Ward 2 City Council will square off Wednesday on the Ralph Bailey Show


 * ... FOSSIL FUELS: Idealism is a terrific concept, except when it runs headlong into reality. So consider for a moment Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, a 16-year-old Colorado hip hop and "global warming" activist who is leading a nationwide effort to ban the use of all fossil fuels by the year 2026. The problem with snappy sloganeering is that it often ignores the harsh light of reality. As noted the Heritage Foundaiton's DailySignal: "It’s fairly common knowledge that Americans use coal and natural gas to power homes,  vehicles, businesses, schools, and hospitals. In fact, the United States gets 81 percent of all its energy from oil, coal, and natural gas. What’s less known is that conventional fuels go beyond providing energy for Americans. Petroleum and natural gas are used to make thousands of everyday items—aspirin, toothpaste, sunglasses, shoes, tires, shag rugs, and tennis balls, to name a few... Americans not only would face significant lifestyle changes, many would lose their entire livelihoods. It’s not just the American way of life that would be lost, either—fossil fuels have raised people around the world out of poverty and into healthier, richer lives."


 * ... HOME: What do you do when you have family in town for a long, hot, Bakersfield weekend? First I nestled them into our iconic old Padre Hotel, the restored grand dame of downtown Bakersfield where the service is crisp and food is excellent. Then dinner at Uricchio's Trattoria, where it seems literally everyone knows your name, a long relaxed Saturday lunch at Luigi's Delicatessen, where the hustle of the staff turns chaos into order, a quick run by the Bakersfield Racquet Club to show off that even humble towns have world-class sports facilities, and a finally a casual Sunday breakfast at 24th Street Cafe. That is a lineup that not even 110 degrees can put a damper on.

 * ... CAFE MED: And speaking of local eateries, my friend Juan tells me I simply must try Cafe Med's house hamburger served on a pita roll at lunch. In deference to Juan, it's on my bucket list.

 * ... MAYA: Word on the street is the construction in the parking lot of the Maya Theaters will house a food court, including a China Bistro, a yogurt shop and other eateries yet to be named.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "The breast exam was going well until I realized I was there for a job interview."

 * ... RADIO: There are few more important local races this election year than the fight for the Ward 2 City Council seat, where incumbent Terry Maxwell faces a stiff challengs from Andrae Gonzales. This is sure to be one of the hottest races in town, and on Wednesday I will talk to both candidates when I fill in as host on the Ralph Bailey Show on KERN NewsTalk 96.1 FM. Maxwell will come on at 3 p.m. and Gonzales at 4 p.m. I will also be chatting with Monsignor Craig Harrison to get his take on the virulent state of the American political conversation, and also with assistant CSUB professor Jeanine DiCesaris Kraybill to get her take on the presidential sweepstakes. The show runs from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.




 * ... GOOD FORM: Lowana Towes submitted this simple act of kindness. "While listening to the Fruitvale Junior High kids singing Christmas carols at Glenwood Gardens an elderly resident began crying. One of the students left the group and walked to the back of the room and gave the lady a big hug. The lady stopped crying and said 'I really needed that.' The girl walked back to the group and continued singing. What a wonderful thing for her to do."