Sunday, November 9, 2014

The percentage of first-time buyers in the housing market continues to shrink, remembering Wendy Wayne and celebrating some iconic watering holes around our community

 * … HOUSING: Some nuggets on the sputtering recovery in our home sales: the National
Association of Realtors says fewer young people see home ownership as a goal, and the statistics support that. Only 33 percent of homes were bought by first time buyers this year, the lowest level since the late 1980s. Home prices are rising while wages are stagnent, freezing out many first time buyers. The average age of the first time buyer has now risen to 31.

* … FOODIE: I was intrigued by my colleague Pete Tittl's Sunday review of Ethel's Old Corral Cafe so I stopped by for a look-see with a friend after a nice hike in the hills overlooking Hart Park. Every town in America has its iconic bars and restaurants, and certainly Ethel's is one of our's. Rustic and unassuming but full of character, this should be a destination for anyone looking to get off the beaten path for something unique to what makes Bakersfield a special town. While there, I also heard folks talking about the new owners of the Pyrenne's Cafe, who have done some renovations that are bringing the old place back. Yet another example of one of the many iconic watering holes in our community.

 * … OVERHEARD: I heard this on Friday while having lunch at Luigi's Restaurant and Delicatessan: "There's hardly a day goes by that I don't think of Wendy Wayne and her kindness and spirit. How many people can you say that about who are gone?" For those of you who didn't know her, Wendy was a community activist with a huge heart who died of cancer two years ago at the age of 64.

 * … MUSIC: Every so often,  a singer comes along with a voice so singular and captivating, that he or she can sing anything and mesmerize a room.  That is New Orleans-bred Andrew Duhon who could sing "Mary Had a Little  Lamb" and have people on their edges of their seats. There are traces of Van Morrison, Bob Dylan and various blues singers, Andrew's voice is ageless even though he's not yet 30. He's performing at the Bakersfield Museum of Art  6 p.m. (doors open at 5) Sunday, Nov 16.  Buy a ticket online at Eventbrite or at the door.

* … GOOD FORM: This letter from Twilla Klassen brightened my day, and I hope it does the same for you. Said Twilla: "What a blessing my friend David Urner and I had last Friday (Halloween) at Mexicali West. A young couple was in a booth across from us as we walked in for lunch. We said hello and sat down. When we got ready to leave the waiter gave David this note: 'To the cutest couple in the bar. We lost a grandmother yesterday. It was nice to sit and hear your banter and we wanted to buy your lunch. Have a wonderful weekend. Happy Halloween.' Thank you two so much. We have show the note to lot of people … this was special for us."

* … MEMORIES: Sue Anderson wrote to ask if anyone remembers the old Community Club Awards Program that was around in the mid to late 1960s. "The idea was that you would purchase certain items (Pepsi, Arby’s, etc) or patronize certain stores. Then you would save receipts, bottle caps, and other proofs of purchase, turn them in to your organizer and your club would be rewarded with cash prizes. The idea was great, but somehow it turned into more of a scavenger hunt  I remember going to gas stations and asking them to save their bottle caps, and had restaurants saving bread wrappers for me. I even remember my dad in a dumpster in the back of a neighborhood Thriftimart looking for cash register receipts!"

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