Thursday, March 16, 2017

Kern County GOP endorses Bruce Freeman in the Ward 5 City Council race, get ready for another Cioppino Feed and will success lead other colleges to court CSUB coach Rod Barnes?

 * ... WARD 5: The Kern County Republican Party endorsed Bruce Freeman for the Ward 5 city council seat, but not before slapping down challenger Ryan Nance as beholden to union interests. Nance is an executive with the local Carpenter's Union, the same group affiliated wth all the unpopular "Shame
On" protests around town a few years ago. By contrast Freeman, former chief executive officer of Castle and Cooke, represents the business community in an area where unions are not exactly wildly popular. In a press release, the county GOP said it interviewed both candidates but was concerned that Nance was "too beholden" to union interests. Earlier this week there was a big fund raising event for Freeman at the Seven Oaks home of Bob Hampton

 * ... BARNES: Rod Barnes led the CSUB Roadrunners to a first round victory over California in the NIT Tournament and now heads to Fort Collins to take on Colorado State in the second round. Runner fans could not be happier, but with success comes the likelihood that Barnes will be courted by other universities who have head coaching vacancies. At 51 years old, Barnes is a prime candidate for greener pastures, even though he has always insisted he is comfortable here and staying put. But success (and money) talks, so don't be surprised if other colleges make a run at Barnes to lure him away.

* ... CIOPPINO: If it is spring, it must be time for my all time favorite local charity event, the annual Cioppino feed over at Monsignor Leddy Hall at Garces Memorial High School. The event is planned for Saturday, Saturday 25, and tickets are going for $100 each. Proceeds go to the West Rotary foundation. The night features salad, fresh hot clams and the main dish cioppino-a stew of fish, crab in a secret sauce. For tickets call (661) 747-5380.

 * ... SCAM: Beware of people posing as employees of California Water Service who come to your home and ask to view your water bill. Cal Water says its employees always carry proper identification.

 * ... QWIKCAFE: I was among a small group of people who was afforded a sneak peek at the new QwikCafe on 18th Street which opens on Monday. QwikCafe is owned by the same folks who run Sequoia Sandwich Co. next door and will feature an array of "to go" sandwiches, salads, desserts and healthy drinks. My favorite: the beet salad and homemade "parfait" are outstanding.

 * ... SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK: "I'm currently helping my husband look for his chocolates that I ate last Friday."

 * ... MEMORIES: Did you know that Kern County actually had a "homecoming" week to invite former residents back to town? This comes compliments of local historian Ken Hooper who posted the following on Facebook: "We have all heard of homecoming events at high schools. But did folks know that for several years Bakersfield and Kern County promoted a 'Home Coming' week? The purpose was to invite former residents to return to town as a way to promote tourism and pride in the community. The first 'Home Coming' was in 1913."

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Bakersfield Racquet Club hosts a pro tournament, The Californian brings in a new executive editor and I give him some tips on where to wine and dine

 * ... TENNIS: If you do nothing else this week stop by the Bakersfield Racquet Club (BRC) to check out its annual pro tennis tournament featuring some of the hardest serving young kids in the
country. The weather is picture perfect, BRC is spruced up and looking its finest, and it won't cost you a penny. Just find a parking space, grab a chair and soak up some sun as you watch these amazing players from around the world.

* ... NEW EDTIOR: Let's all take a minute to welcome Jim Lawitz to Bakersfield. Lawitz is the new executive editor and vice president of The Bakersfield Californian, and I hope we give this veteran newsman the same kind of warm welcome that I was afforded some two decades ago. Here are my dining tips for Lawitz as he settles in to our community: 24th Street Cafe and Cafe Smitten for breakfast, Luigi's and Uricchio's Trattoria for lunch, Wiki's Wine Dive and Grill and The Padre Hotel for Happy Hour, Noriega Hotel, Woolgrower's, Muertos and Mexicali for dinner, and Pyrenees Cafe and Luigi's (yes, again) for a lazy Saturday brunch.

 * ... QWIKCAFE: And hey Jim, don't forgot the locally owned Sequoia Sandwich Co. downtown on 18th Street and its new sister business, QuickCafe, next door that will feature "to go" salads and specialty sandwiches. You will learn that here, the locally owned restaurants are the ones to favor.

 * ... LIVE MUSIC: Don't forget there a couple of live music shows that you don't want to miss this Thursday. First, Nora Jane Struthers and Joe Overton bring their blend of Americana to Temblor Brewing Co. at 6:30 p.m. and around the same time the California Guitar Trio will be playing at the Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame.

* ... GOOD FORM: Some years ago I worked at The Los Angeles Times with a sports writer named Barbara Ludovise, who has now moved on to other pursuits. Turns out she was in town recently for  Rolling for Reading assemblies at Del Rio and Rosedale North elementary schools. Listen to her reaction of her time here: "I've been doing school assemblies since 2004 and I've never had a better experience than I did this week at Del Rio and Rosedale North. The teachers and students at both schools showed so much heart and passion.Very impressive! I am not looking for publicity (I've had more than my share) but do want to commend those schools for a job well done."

 * ... TRUMP OR TRIUMPH: And finally, Linda Banducci shared this note about mistaken identity: "This morning, my husband and I stopped at a popular, local restaurant before running errands. As my husband is an avid motorcycle enthusiast, he happened to be wearing a Triumph Motorcycle shirt.  When our waitress (one of our regulars, who happens to be Hispanic), came to the table, she took one look at my husband's shirt and immediately went into an anti-Trump tirade. She then left the table. Once I realized what had set her off, I summoned her back to the table, pointed out that the shirt said Triumph, not Trump, and told her that that is the name of a motorcycle. We all had a good laugh. From the restaurant, we went to a nearby big box hardware store. We were still laughing about the restaurant incident when the greeter at the big box store pointed to the shirt and went into a similar tirade! It became not so amusing as the day progressed and my husband received numerous episodes of the 'stank eye.' C'mon people, lighten up! TRIUMPH! It's a motorcycle for Pete's sake!"

 * ... MEMORIES: The 1952 earthquakes changed the face of Bakersfield forever, leveling beautiful Victorian buildings and hotels that were replaced by the uninspired architecture of the 1950s. Other old buildings were lost to fire, common in those days, and one of them was the A.C. Maude building that once graced 18th Street. It burned on July 7, 1889. For a trip down memory lane, check out the Kern County of Old Facebook page.