Thursday, March 17, 2016

CSU Bakersfield seeks to emulate the success of Gonzaga, Butler and others, Griffith Field gets a renovation and looking for wildflowers in Kern County

 * ... BIG DANCE: CSU Bakersfield's appearance in the NCAA Tournament will give the university some priceless national exposure, and there are plenty of examples of the tournament putting smaller schools on the map.
Gonzaga, a small Jesuit school in Spokane, Wash., is primarily known for its "giant killer" status in college basketball, as is Butler University, another small school in Indianapolis that has created a national brand via the Big Dance. Like CSUB, these are regional schools that have gained national prominence via excelling in one sport: basketball. And with that exposure comes recruits, alumni pride that evolves into alumni giving, and out of area students seeking to live on a campus with a rich winning tradition.

* ... WILDFLOWERS: There are pockets of Kern County where the wild flowers are spectacular this year. Consider this note from Jon Crawford: "Highway 58 up the grade from McKittrick to Carrisa Plains is at its peak of Gold Fields, Fiddlenecks, Lupines, etc. – just beautiful and then to top it all off, are the multitude of solar farms. The contrast of God’s beautiful creations to man’s eyesores are too apparent to avoid."

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy a huge house and cry in any room you like."

 * ... GRIFFITH FIELD: It's bitter sweet to watch the demotion and renovation of Griffith Field, Bakersfield High School's legendary venue for decades of Driller football. The main grandstand will remain, but pretty much everything else of the stadium is being leveled to make way for a new track and artificial turf.

 * ... RAY DEZEMBER: A memorial service the Ray December will be held on Monday at 10 a.m. at St. John's Lutheran Church off Buena Vista. This will no doubt be a standing room only affair for a man who meant so much to this community and exemplified the concept of "servant leadership." If you expect to get a seat, I would advise arriving early.

* ... FOODIE: My recommendation of the week goes to Match Point Grill, the aptly named sandwich shop that operates at The Bakersfield Racquet Club. I stopped by the Pine Street diner to catch some of the incredible tennis being played at The Bakersfield Open, and wandered into the sandwich shop for a tuna sandwich and iced tea. It's a homestyle diner with a limited menu surrounded by tennis action. BRC, meanwhile, is looking as good as it ever has. If you haven't been in a while, check it out.

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