Thursday, May 18, 2017

Five Guys tops In-N-Out as the nation's most popular burger, the Bynum family breathes new life into an industrial area and Bill Thomas masters the art of a short speech

 * ... BLVD: You have to hand it to local developer Greg Bynum and his sons - Don and David - for spearheading the re-development of an area of town that could have fallen into disrepair. The area off
Buck Owens Boulevard was once home to Costco, Home Base and other big box retailers, but after being purchased by the elder Bynum it is now home to a bustling and growing entertainment complex. It now consists of Don Bynum's Temblor Brewing Co., Rush Sports (one of David's projects), Bakersfield Karting, the DMV court and soon BLVD, the new entertainment center (coordinated by David Bynum,) that will feature a restaurant, three bars, a bowling alley, laser tag, billiards and bocce ball, a ropes course and meeting center.

 * ... STERLING SILVER: The Bakersfield College Foundation held a dinner this week to celebrate the passage of Measure J, which will provide the college with some $500 million in capital improvements. The Sterling Silver dinner honored former House Ways and Means Committee chairman Bill Thomas, former Mayor Harvey Hall and others who worked to win passage of the measure, which won a remarkable 65 percent of the vote. My take away from the dinner: both Thomas and Hall are masters at giving short, concise and thoughtful remarks. Through the years, they have learned no one is disappointed in a short speech.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Nothing is better when 'the one that got away' becomes "whew so glad I dodged that bullet!'"

 * ... SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK: "If I cancel Comcast, I’ll have enough money to retire in five months."

 * ... WALKING TOUR: If you are a history buff, you might want to join a walking tour of historic downtown Bakersfield this Saturday. The tour is free and will be led by Bakersfield High teacher Ken Hooper, starting at the Woolworth's building at 10 a.m. and ending around 12:30 p.m.

 * ... TRASH: I read in the Californian the story about the annual "Community Appearance Survey" in which Mayor Karen Goh, Cathy Butler and others drove around town and rated areas on the appearance of trash. On a scale of one to four, with one being "no litter" four being "extremely littered," they gave Bakersfield a rating of 1.6. Really? What kind of blinders were the mayor and Cathy Butler wearing that prevented them from seeing the litter the rest of us see?

 * ... CSUB: Congratulations to the nearly 2,000 undergraduates and 450 master's degree candidates who will be graduating from CSUB this year. This is the largest graduating class in the history of the local university.

 * ... BURGER WARS: Has our beloved In-N-Out burger lost its crown as the world's best hamburger? That is the word from a recent Harris Poll that found, for the first time ever, In-N-Out has been toppled in a poll of the country's best burger. The new winner? The signature burger from Five Guys, a Virginia based company that is making inroads in the West. Five Guys has outlets in Valencia and Visalia and is planning on opening its first Bakersfield location on Calloway Drive.

 * ... MEMORIES: According to the Kern County of Old Facebook page, the building housing downtown's Tiki-Ko cocktail bar was originally built to house the Windsor Hotel.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Renovation of Griffith Field at Bakersfield High School moves toward completion, it's college "move out" day for students and watch those dirty grocery cart handles

 * ... DRILLER PRIDE: The new stadium, track and football field at Bakersfield High School is finally coming together, and it looks spectacular. Next time you are on California Avenue headed
west glance to your right to check out the new digs, all worthy of Driller Pride for the new season. The vintage 1923 stadium upgrade includes moving the visitor stands behind the track; new concessions, ticket booths and restrooms for the home and visitor sides; the addition of two (2) “mini-Griffiths” that will attach to the current stadium that will expand seating and provide additional room for a new weight room and trainers facility;  replacing the locker and shower areas with modern plumbing and facilities; replacing the watering and drainage systems in the stadium and Morrow Field to ensure fields get evenly watered and properly drained when rain occurs; redoing the field and the track; and enhancing curbs, gutters and parking.

 * ... GRADUATES: Congratulations to all those high school seniors out there, and especially the ones who have settled on a college to continue their journey. They're headed off to places like the University of Arizona, Baylor University, Cal Berkeley, Loyola Marymount and closer to home CSUB and Bakersfield College. This is also the time when parents are trudging off to colleges to move their children out of the dorms for the summer. Said one friend: "I got more than 15,000 steps on my Fitbit going up and down six flights of stairs. My knee hurts."

 * ... WELCOME HOME: Congratulations to a special couple - Bakersfield High School dean of instruction Tamara Clark and her city firefighter captain husband A.J. Clark - for bringing home their third son Ben from Children's Hospital Los Angeles. Ben was born with a congenital heart defect but underwent successful open heart surgery while just a few days old. They were grateful for not only the care at CHLA, but also at Memorial Hospital (where the defect was detected) and the Ronald McDonald House at CHLA. 

* ... HAND SANITIZERS: Next time you ignore the hand sanitizer at the grocery store, consider this as reported in The New York Times: "Grocery carts can be particularly risky points of transmission. Someone grabbing chicken or meat can leak the juices onto a cart and their hands and then continue to push the cart around, transmitting pathogens like Salmonella and E. coli onto the handle. The next person who handles the cart, or the next child who sits in the top of the wagon, can then pick up the bugs."

 * ... SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK: "Being cremated is my last hope for a smoking hot body."

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "That awkward moment when you’re checking yourself out in the window of a car and then realize there’s someone inside."

 * ... GOOD FORM: Hats off to the two ladies who spent Mother's day morning walking the park at the Panorama bluffs picking up trash. By the way, I was the guy on the bike who waved hello.

 * ... DOG PLAQUE: And finally there was this from James M. Stuart: "I always thought the 'Lucky and Friends' was the best dog plaque at Riverwalk Park (mainly because it was the only one and Lucky is my dog), but now I have to say that there is one that is much better... located on a bench, it reads: 'Lucas: For my beloved friend and constant companion, my little dog. I will love you always-  Anita.' I don't recall ever meeting Anita or Lucas but am appreciative of how much a pet can mean to someone."