Thursday, December 17, 2015

So much trouble in the oil patch that even lifting the ban on oil exports may not help, The Habit Burger opens to big crowds and some of my favorite local eateries

 * ... OIL PATCH: These a tough times in the oil patch, and with the price hovering around $36 a barrel, it won't get much better anytime soon. Here are some disturbing facts for a community so
closed tied to energy: the price of oil has sunk by two thirds since the summer of 2014, Iranian oil will soon hit the market and global production continues to flood the market. Locally, layoffs are almost a weekly occurrence and those who remain employed live in fear of the next round of cuts. All this comes as President Obama is expected to sign legislation to end the ban on U.S. oil exports, a law that was passed after the 1973 Arab oil embargo. Supporters say lifting the ban is long overdue, but they concede
it will have little immediate impact on the price of crude.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "I like holding the door for people who are far away, you know so they have to run a little."

 * ... HABIT BURGER: In true Bakersfield style, the Habit Burger Grill officially opened on California Avenue this week and it was a scene of long lines and massive crowds. We love a new eatery, and most of the reviews for this burger joint were positive. If the past is any guide, wait a few months before you stop by the Habit to try their specialty burgers.

 * ... FOODIE: Forget fast food, the best food in town is at one of our locally owned restaurants where the owners are there to personally greet you and the kitchen takes pride in consistency and creativity. Take your pick, but some of my favorites include Uricchio's Trattoria, Cafe Med, KC Steakhouse, Steak and Grape, Muertos, Mexicali, Jin Suishi, Casa Munoz, Luigi's Delicatessen, The Padre Hotel, The Mark, virtually any Basque eatery (Woolgrower's, Noriega's, Pyrenees Cafe), just to name a few. Take your pick.

 * ... CHEZ NOEL: I touched based the other day with Donna Chertok over at the Assistance League, which just came off another successful Chez Noel Home Tour. She reminded me that all proceeds from the home tour benefit the League's philanthropic programs, including Operation School Bell. And it was particularly heartening to hear that the young men from CSUB's Kappa Sigma fraternity worked with the League to so some of the heavy lifting. Hats off to those young men.

 * ... LIBRARY: With all the concern about funding our public libraries, it was good to get this note from sixth-grade teacher Roberto de Leon. "Edison Middle School was recently awarded a $6,000 grant award from author James Patterson to support our school library!  In addition, Scholastic Reading Club is matching the dollar donation with bonus points for individual classroom libraries. Edison is going to use the funding to buy new books for students. We've put together a group of kids who love reading - or, at the very least, have incredibly discerning tastes about books - and they'll be our primary book buyers. Imagine going on a $6,000 shopping spree at age 11?  It's an incredible gesture from Mr. Patterson, and one that a tiny school like ours is grateful for."

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