Sunday, May 8, 2011

An ode to a Bakersfield spring, the emerging downtown and events to save CSUB wrestling

 * ... BACK HOME: Spent the last ten days in Spain visiting my younger daughter who is wrapping up her junior year semester abroad. There's a lot to like about traveling alone with your daughter, particularly in Europe, and these moments are precious and fleeting. But coming home is just as sweet, and I found myself longing for the Bakersfield spring which our town wears so well. I returned to find my roses in full bloom, the first tiny green tomatoes in my garden and a lonesome tabby cat sitting on the porch. It's not Madrid, but it's home.

 * ... DOWNTOWN: There's a lot of learn from the great capitals of Europe, who have always embraced their old towns as the centers of life, entertainment and commerce. The London-based Financial Times, in a report on what makes cities "livable and lovable," addressed the uniquely American problem of decaying inner cities, seeing it as an opportunity for renewal. When the affluent flee to the suburbs, the Times noted "there is space to be filled by artists and architects, by poorer immigrants arriving with a drive to make money and by the proliferation of food outlets, studios and galleries. These, in turn, attract the wealthy back to the centre, at first to consume, and then to gentrify.... it is at these moments that cities begin to show  potential for real transformation of lives, or for the creation of new ideas, culture, cuisine and wealth." Sound familiar? Much of this is happening now  is downtown Bakersfield, as witnessed on any weekend evening.

 * ... HIGH ACHIEVER: Received a nice note from "proud grand parents" Barry and Tena Mathis who wanted to share the good news that their grand daughter, Elizabeth Jackman, is graduating from Fordham University in the Bronx with a degree in Arabic studies and language. Elizabeth graduated from Garces Memorial High School. Her parents are Chad and Michelle Jackman. Dad is a sergeant with the Bakersfield Police Department and Michelle is dean of students at Garces.

 * ... WRESTLING: There is a lot of activity to save the wrestling program at Cal State Bakersfield, including two fund raisers coming up later this month. There will be a celebrity poker night on Thursday, May 19, at the Aviator Casino in Delano, and the following night there will be an event at the Icardo Center starting at 6 p.m. Call Chris Cortez at the casino at (661) 721-7770 or Tonya Eagle for the Icardo Center fund raiser at (661) 302-4455.

 * ... BIKE TRAIL: For all you fans of our bike trail, this Saturday the Parkway Foundation will hold an event at Hart Park to distribute information on the bike trail and future plans. This is a family event and will feature food, entertainment and booths. CALM will be there as well as representatives of the parks service. It runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. across from the old ranger station.

 * ... WHO KNEW? Did you know that the almond trees that surround our community have life spans of 20 to 25 years?

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