Thursday, March 9, 2017

CSUB basketball coach Rod Barnes is WAC coach of the year, solving the mystery of a house scheduled to be demolished on 25th Street and remembering Jose's Spanish Food

 * ... ROADRUNNERS: Cal State Bakersfield basketball coach Rod Barnes won his second consecutive "Coach of the Year" honor in the Western Athletic Conference, and with that he once again inched the Roadrunners closer to national prominence. If the Runners win the WAC again it
will mean an automatic tournament bid to attend the NCAA "Big Dance," which puts CSUB in rare company and under a national spotlight. The upside of this kind of image marketing for Bakersfield cannot be underestimated, and it brings the campus better recruits and moves us closer to the kind of recognition offered other smaller schools like Gonzaga, Bucknell and Creighton.

* ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "I miss a man around the house so he can watch me do all the work."

* ... GOOD FORM: Here's to the middle aged man who hopped out of his white GMC pickup truck at 19th and Chester the other day to help a homeless woman who fell in intersection, spilling her belongings in the crosswalk and holding up traffic.

 * ... BAD FORM:  Shame on two bicyclists who, on their weekly noon ride that takes them up Panorama Drive, decided to urinate in public at the corner of Alta Vista and Panorama on the wall of a private residence. One man's toilet is another's neighborhood. Let's try to treat every neighborhood as if it were our own.

 * ... 24th STREET: Earlier this week a reader wrote inquiring about the history of a house at the corner of 24th and Beech that bears a large white "P" on its chimney. It is among the houses scheduled to be razed for the 24th Street widening. My friend Peter Hunt responded this way: "The house at the corner of 24th and Beech Street that one of your readers asked about was my grandfather's home. His name was Pat Morison. The house was built in the late 1950s. In the 1960s it was written about in the Los Angeles Times or maybe Sunset Magazine or the Californian. I can't remember. During the construction he fell off of a saw house he had been standing on and severely broke his leg in several places. Doc Iger fixed him up. He sold the house in1970. The fireplace had a large M on it in those days!"

 * ... MORE 24TH: And Kevin McDermott added more history to the same house: "My dad, Robert McDermott, owned and lived in the house you mentioned in your blog at the corner of 24th and Beech from 1973 to 1989. I believe the house was built in 1956. The house had an initial up on the chimney when he moved in, and he changed to his when he moved in. I am not sure when it was first established, but have seen it change since he sold the house. I still remember 1981 when he dressed in a Santa outfit and sat on the roof next to the chimney waving to the passing cars. My daughter cried when she saw him up there."

 * ... DAN BLOCKER: ​And the local stories about the late Bonanza star Dan Blocker continue. This note came from reader Harry Love: "With all the recent articles about Dan Blocker I thought you would enjoy this one. I began teaching at Foothill High School in 1967. I was in the social studies department. Another member was Larry Yount (now deceased). He was a double for Dan Blocker on Bonanza. He was very proud of doing it and showed us photos of him on the set."

 * .... MEXICAN FOOD: So who remembers Jose's Spanish Food at California and K Street in the early 1960s? I spotted a menu for the place on the Kern County of Old Facebook page offering taco and tamale dinners starting at $1.45.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Bakersfield makes a list of "white trash" cities in California, we lose some jobs to Fresno but boy do we have some good music and festivals coming to town

 * ... WHITE TRASH: I usually pay little attention to the myriad of "lists" that show up on the internet. You know what I mean: best and worst places to retire, safest and most dangerous cities, highest illiteracy, most sunshine, worst air. So here is another list we've made, and make of it what
you will. Here are the ten most "white trash" cities in California, meaning those municipalities with the most violent and drug addicted white populations. The top ten, according to the website Hemet, Barstow, Hesperia, Stockton, Bakersfield, Riverside, Antioch, Livermore, Fresno and Lakeside.

 * ... JOBS: It looks like Bakersfield lost out on some 600 jobs when Ulta Beauty selected Fresno as the site of a large distribution center. That is the word from The Sacramento Bee that said the facility is expected to create some 600 jobs. Fresno city leaders said Ulta Beauty is the largest beauty retailer in the nation and its planned warehouse would help it fulfill orders from its online sales unit. Other Valley places under consideration by the company were Visalia and Bakersfield, as well as sites in Utah and western Nevada.

 * ... CALENDAR: Who says there isn't anything to do in Bakersfield? Next week, there will be two live performances in town Thursday evening, starting with the California Guitar Trio over at the Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame. This is part of Rick Kreiser's Guitar Masters series now in its sixth year. On the same evening, Nora Jane Struthers returns to town over at Temblor Brewing Co. as part of the Passing Through Productions series of concerts. And finally, mark Saturday, April 22, on your calendar for the fourth annual Mac 'n Cheese festival out at Cal State Bakersfield, a big event featuring more than 20 beer and wine distributors and plenty of food.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "There are stories of mothers so full of adrenaline they've lifted cars off their children. Mine just refused to share a slice of cake."

 * ... 24TH STREET: Sharon Ellington shared this note about one of the houses scheduled to be razed on 24th Street. "It's sad to see the first of many homes being demolished for the 24th Street widening project.  I've always loved the white house on the north east corner of Beech and 24th Street. It sits perfectly on that corner, as if it's welcoming people to the Westchester neighborhood. I'm wondering if anyone who reads your column could provide some history on the house. Who built it and when, and how the tradition of putting the owner's initials on the chimney began? I'm really going to miss that house! So sad that it will be gone very soon."

 * ... FOUNDATION: The Bakersfield Californian (family) Foundation has put out calls for its Spring grant cycle. The foundation is focusing on animal welfare causes or summer based literacy programs. Only 501(c)3 organizations need apply, and for details go to

 * ... DAN BLOCKER: So who knew that the late Dan Blocker of Bonanza fame was so loved in Bakersfield, and he spent so much time here. Blocker, along with the actor who played Hop Sing on the popular Western, made frequent trips to Bakersfield for events, and West Rotary's Howdy Miller also remembers when Blocker owned a boat that he kept at Marina del Rey. "It was 1972 Marina del Rey,  a new boat arrives next to slip #17...LADY IN CEMENT... a Frank Sinatra movie that was used for a boat name by Sinatra and sold to Dan Blocker. That boat looked as if was going 100 mph just sitting in the slip! Mr. Blocker was a large hairy chested GENTLEMAN who loved wearing overalls and deck shoes, quit a combo. The three boats slipped next to each were: Lady in Cement, It's The Water (Olympia beer distributor), and the Howdy Howdy."

  * ... MORE BONANZA: And finally, this memory from Jeanell Kaufman: "While working for Avon Cosmetics, my route took me to the Stockdale area. My customer was helping with a cocktail party for Dan Blocker. There was an emergency situation and I stayed to help my client. Because I helped her, I was invited to the cocktail party. I wasn't able to go but was happy to be invited. He was Grand Martial of the Christmas parade that year (1961).":