Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Is now the time to purchase real estate? And Five Guys Burger and Fries may be headed to Bakersfield

 * ... TIME TO BUY? Is now the right time to buy a new home? The Wall Street Journal argues it may be, despite the fact that prices continue to decline and the nation may be facing a "double dip" in the housing market. Why? Interest rates are at historic lows, a glut of homes has created a classic "buyer's market" and prices may begin to rise sooner than we think. "While we might not see rapid growth in the next couple of years, there are a tremendous number of positive signs that could lead to a rebound," said Anthony Sanders, a real estate finance professor at George Mason University. "So what might the next five years look like?" the story added. "Once the foreclosure mess begins to clear up... the traditional drivers of the housing market - demographics, affordability, loan availability, employment and psychology- should take over."

 * ... EINSTEIN:  Bakersfield Memorial Hospital will hold a ground breaking for the Einstein Front Entrance Pavilion Thursday, honoring Dr. Hans E. Einstein. Memorial is undergoing a growth surge and this latest addition is a well deserved honor for Dr. Einstein, who has been one of the nation's leading experts in looking for a cure for Valley Fever. Construction will include a new exterior, an interior hospital entrance with canopied areas for patients and visitors, enlarged and enhanced lobby area and improved parking and circular drive for patient drop off. The ground breaking will be held at 5 p.m.

 * ... THE BUZZ: Word on the street is that a Five Guys Burger and Fries restaurant may soon be headed to Bakersfield. This Virginia-based company is big in the South and apparently a franchisee has purchased the rights to open a Five Guys both in Los Angeles and Kern counties. Five Guys is strikingly similar to In-N-Out Burger but usually does not have drive through service.

 * .... NEW PRINCIPAL: It looks like M.T. Merickel, principal at Seibert Elementary, will be moving to Stockdale Elementary School to replace longtime principal Ron Madding. Madding is retiring from the Panama-Buena Vista School District this year after serving for years as principal at Stockdale. (photo of M.T. Merickel courtesy of Panama-Buena Vista School District)

* ... EPILEPSY: There are a lot of deserving charities in our community, all competing for our attention, and one that needs our help in the Kern County Epilepsy Society. It is holding its annual Mud Volleyball tournament in Stramler Park on Saturday, June 25. The cost is $350 for a team of six to ten people. "Like our city, our organization has seen its ups and downs, but the participation of the community in our yearly event has always allowed us to raise enough funds to continue to provide services to those affected by brain injuries and epilepsy," said Julie Gragg. If interested, call (661) 634-9810 to sign up.

 * ... SPOTTED: Young couple with three children and two dogs, parked off Panorama Drive adjacent to the walking park, casually toss their Taco Bell wrappers and empty soda cups in the gutter while getting into their SUV.

* ... WHO KNEW? In 1973, Bakersfield had its own comic book in the tradition of the underground comics coming out of the Bay Area. Titled "Bakersfield Kountry Komics," the comic book was written and illustrated by Larry Welz and Larry Sutherland, who was from Bakersfield. The adult themed magazine is now considered a collector's item .

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