"The problem was particularly acute at Stockdale Fashion Plaza. The irony is that the City was spending stimulus funds to improve the roads, and choking out (albeit inadvertently) the businesses that would ultimately benefit from the road improvements. At the urging of the businesses in Stockdale Fashion Plaza, the City opened up Stockdale Highway to six lanes. Now, traffic flow is restored. Stockdale Fashion Plaza is back and the roads are clear--six lanes of traffic."
So if you're like me and have been avoiding that part of town, feel confident you can return to Cafe Med, Christine's, the Gourmet Shop, Houston Jewelers, the Outback Steakhouse and other businesses at the Stockdale Fashion Plaza without spending 30 minutes staring at your knuckles in traffic. Thanks to Barry Goldner for the tip.
* STINSON'S THANKS ITS CUSTOMERS: I had the chance to stop by the annual customer appreciation lunch put on by Stinson Stationers at the company's 60,000-square-foot warehouse and distribution facility in East Bakersfield. Company president Ben Stinson does this every year, treating more than 600 customers to a barbeque lunch with dozens of free door prizes. The locally owned company, founded in 1947, has succeeded and held off the big box stores through a steady mantra of over the top customer service, Bakersfield style. Hats off to Ben and his crew at Stinson's.
* ... UNIVERSITY OF PACIFIC SENDS TWO HOME: Local residents Tom and Sherry Sharp alerted me that their daughter Taryn, who graduated from Centennial High in 2000, is now back home working as a pharmacist at Sav-On Drug inside Albertson's on Coffee Road and Olive Drive. Taryn swam all four years at Cal State Bakersfield, graduated with honors and then went to the pharmacy program at the University of Pacific in Stockton. She married Jeffrey Jolliff in 2004. He graduated from Garces Memorial and also from the pharmacy program at UOP in Stockton. He is now a pharmacist at Kern Medical Center. His parents are Terry and Eloise Jolliff of Joliff Enterprises, a long time custom home builder in Bakersfield.
* ... RIDGEVIEW KID RETURNS: Yet another proud mom, Victoria Martinez-Tate, tells me her daughter Alexis Olivas is back in town. Alexis graduated from Ridgeview High School, went to Bakersfield College for two years and then transferred to the University of California Santa Barbara where she earned a B.A. in history and a B.S. in biology. She worked both in northern and southern California and is now employed by Grimmway Farms as a qualify control laboratory manager.