Thursday, January 17, 2013

Is the super high end housing market warming up? And get ready for some cyclocross racing at Hart Park on Sunday when Bakersfield hosts the California state championships

  * ... HOUSING MARKET: The last five years hasn't seen much activity in the high end real estate market, but that may be starting to change. Mary Christenson, the Watson agent who specializes in high end properties in the Southwest, told me a $1.4 million home on the Seven Oaks golf course had four offers in five days of showing. "We have three buyers still ready to buy! Where are the new listings?" she asked.

 * ... TRASH: This note came from a reader reacting to those who so casually litter our streets. "Concerning those we see throwing trash out of their car. I went to Cal Poly SLO, and if you saw anyone throwing trash out of their vehicle, you would turn them in. This was in late 1970s. Now when I see it in a parking lot I confront the people and they have always picked it up without a confrontation. Maybe if more of did this, it may make a difference."

 * ... RODEWALD: Legendary Kern County broadcaster Don Rodewald will be inducted into the East Bakersfield High School Hall of Fame on February 16. Bakersfield City School District trustee Rick Van Horne told me that East High recently sent a film crew to sit down with Rodewald and let him reminiscence about his early days in radio and television. "Don is still in good spirits at Glenwood Gardens, so much so, that the crew ran out of video taking it all in," he said.

 * ... CYCLOCROSS: If you're looking for something to do this weekend, drive out to Hart Park to take in the California State Cyclocross Championship. It runs from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday and will feature some remarkable athletes riding off road on a European-style course. Even if you don't know much about the sport, it provides a great spectacle from multiple angles, and is absolutely free. Organizers Sam Ames and Keith Barnden tell me there will be a beer garden, drum line, bag pipes, food and more.

* ... CLEAN UP: The Oildale Foundation is planning a massive clean up of the area around the North Chester bridge on Saturday. Patrick Frase told me that Mayor Harvey Hall will be joining in the effort and he is urging other folks to volunteer. "With the very generous commitment of Mr. Greg Sanders and Varner Brothers Disposal we will beautify this area by removing tumbleweeds, dead vegetation and litter! Yes there is a lot of it... months of debris and neglect! With that said I am asking for volunteer help. We are starting at 8 a.m. meeting at Beardsley and North Chester Avenue. Trash clean up supplies will be provided."

 * ... WRESTLING: I goofed in writing about an upcoming dinner to support CSUB's storied wrestling program. The event is February 9 (not in April) so get your tickets now. They cost $40 each. Make your checks payable to The Coyote Club and mail to Janis Varner, 12300 Old Town Road, Bakersfield, 93312.

 * ... BANDUCCI'S: Another memory about the old restaurant Banducci's Corner on Weedpatch Highway. Terry Gaiser writes: "My favorite memories of Banducci's: Bud and his wife, the spaghetti and best, their apple pie with the secret rum sauce!"

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

More good news on building permits from Mission Bank and the Bakersfield Museum of Art introduces its new executive director to the community

 * ... BUILDING: There is more evidence that our local economy is improving, albeit slowly. A report from Baynes Bank, vice president over at Mission Bank, shows marked improvement in the number of building permits being issued. While the total number of 2012 permits pulled were 259 percent higher than 2011, he noted "we are still less than 50 percent of where we were a decade ago." Bank said a large apartment project has broken ground near Gosford and Pacheco roads, "and there are two more significant projects being discussed in the Northwest.... Also of note, Standard Pacific Homes (the national builder that purchased local builder Probuilt Homes) pulled eight permits in December. These are the first Bakersfield permits they have pulled in over four years. Welcome back."

 * ... MUSEUM: I ran into the newly appointed executive director of the Bakersfield Museum of Art just a few hours after his appointment was announced. My guess is that John Lofgren and his wife Inger will fit nicely into our community. He's got the charm, experience and drive to take the museum to the next level. I chatted with Lofgren while he was out dining with retiring director Bernie Herman and his wife Joan, Sheryl and Lou Barbich and museum board chair Susan Hersberger from Aera Energy.

* ... AMMO SALES: The push by the Obama administration for new restrictions on gun ownership has led to a predictable surge in the sales of weapons and ammunition at local gun stores. One gun shop owner, Gene Thome of Bear Mountain Sports, told me there is a run on almost every type of ammunition, and that he sells his Glock semi-automatic pistols as quickly as they arrive.

 * ... SPOTTED: A pox on the young man driving a newer VW Passat who casually tossed his fast food drink cup out his window while driving south on Gosford Road.

 * ... WRESTLING: The folks who raise the money to keep the wrestling program alive at Cal State Bakersfield have an important event coming up on Saturday, Feb. 9. It's a dinner to celebration 40 years of wrestling and it costs just $40 a seat. It will be held at Stockdale Country Club at 6 p.m. Make your checks payable to the Coyote Club and mail them to Janis Varner, 12300 Old Town Road, Bakersfield, Ca. 93312.

 * ... GUILD HOUSE: Another cause worth supporting is coming up Sunday, January 27, at the historic Guild House on 18th Street. It's a five-course dinner (including wine and a tour of the graceful, grand old dame of downtown homes) to benefit the Henrietta Weill Child Guidance Center. Tickets cost $100. Call Nada for reservations at (661) 834-3566.

 * .... BANDUCCI'S: Marilyn Brown dropped me a note about the old lunch place Banducci's Corner. "My dad ate lunch there several times a week with friends and relatives from the Edison area.  As a family we would go out to dinner on Friday nights and one of our favorite places was Banducci's Corner.  I remember Julia Banducci giving us kids candy from the attached store. Banducci's was a fun place with good food where everybody knew your name!"

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Californian Radio tackles gun control with guests Donny Youngblood, Kern County Sheriff, and Gene Thome, owner of the gun store Bear Mountain Sports

* ... GUN CONTROL: With the Democrats holding a super majority in the California legislature, it's a sure bet that our state's already tough gun laws are about to get much stricter. So what is next? Background checks on buying ammunition? More restrictions on the types and models of weapons that can be sold? On Monday, Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood will be on Californian Radio KERN 1180 to talk about gun control, the recent shooting in Taft and the 2nd Amendment. We will also be joined by Gene Thome, the owner of Bear Mountain Sports on Weedpatch Highway. Tune in at 9 a.m. to join a lively discussion on the hot issue of the day.

* ... FISHER: Fisher Communications, the company that owns KBAK TV and the Fox affiliate KBFX, appears to be up for sale. Industry insiders say the company is exploring "strategic alternatives" because of pressure from billionaire investor Mario Gabelli. Fisher also owns TV stations in Portland, Seattle and Boise among other markets. It is not certain if the company will be sold as a group or broken apart, and it is too early to tell what that will mean for the local staff and the direction of KBAK and the local Fox affiliate.

 * ... SPOTTED: Reader Virginia Childres submitted this about a homeless person she spotted on a local street. "I read this morning about the sign your friend saw and I remembered the funniest one I saw yesterday. I laughed again every time I thought of it, 'I'm too ugly to prostitute and too dumb to get a job. Just give me money.'"

 * ... HARVARD: Joe Feghali is a graduate of Stockdale High School who is now attending Harvard University, and he has returned to talk to other Bakersfield students about getting into Harvard and other elite schools. He will speak to students at Stockdale and 15 other local high school and middle schools this month.

 * ... NRA DINNER: Don't forget the annual Southern Valley Friends of the National Rifle Association dinner and auction which is set for Friday, February 1, at the Bakersfield Elks Lodge. Dinner tickets at $50 each and there will be opportunities to enter special drawings. Call Cyndi Benson if you are interested in sponsorships or donations, (661) 205-8569.

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: You may be a Bakersfield old timer if you remember Banducci's Corner at Weedpatch and Edison highway as a great place for lunch.