Friday, March 16, 2018

Emilio Huerta is eyeing a new Latino district on the Board of Supervisors, the battle for the iconic Silver Fox neon sign and a new radio show will honor our local veterans

Friday, March 16, 2018

Welcome to Bakersfield Observed, now online only. Our mission is to celebrate life in Kern County by focusing on newsmakers and events and the local characters who make this such a special place. We value your feedback. Email your news and notes to

* ... HUERTA: What was really behind the decision by Emlio Huerta to drop out of the race
challenging Rep. David Valadao? Was it really to concentrate on recruiting more Democratic candidates as Huerta told the press? Or simply an acknowledgment by Huerta that he could not unseat the Hanford Republican? Could be, but consider this theory: Huerta realized he could not beat Valadao and his now lining up to run for a seat on the Kern County Board of Supervisors once the district lines are redrawn per a federal court order. This much is certain: there will be a second "safe" district for Latinos once the redistricting is complete, likely in time for the November elections. And once those district lines are clear, expect the son of Dolores Huerta to throw his hat into the ring.

 * ... SILVER FOX: Let's hope Rod and Julie Crawford succeed into their effort to get the old neon Silver Fox sign back on the roof of their bar, the iconic Silver Fox Starlite Lounge across from Mexicali on 18th Street. The sign was donated to the Kern County Museum before the bar was sold to the Crawfords, and now they'd like it back. Said Rod: "Drive down 18th street at night and imagine how that neon sign would look lit," he said. I agree, and with the rapid improvements to what I call the 18th Street Corridor, it would behoove the museum to return the sign to its original place. Think about all the classic neon signs around town, and how they add to the character of our town.

* ... MEDICARE SCAM: If you are on Medicare, you likely have heard that the government will soon issue new Medicare cards with new identification numbers to replace your Social Security number. It's all about privacy and making sure your Social Security number does not fall into the wrong hands. That's all good news, but with every change in Medicare you can depend on the scammers to be one step behind. Here is one scam going around town: someone calls you from "Medicare" and tells you that you need a temporary card for a small fee. They want all your personal information, bank and credit card numbers, so they can process your temporary card. The truth: Medicare would never call you and it does all communications by mail. Do yourself a favor and ignore these scammers.

 * ... SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK: "Don't tell me you miss me. Tell me you are outside with tacos."

 * ... KERN VETS: We live in a community that honors its veterans, and for the first time ever we will now have a radio show devoted to honoring the service of our local vets. Chad Garcia, who spent 13 years in the Army as an airborne infantryman, will host "KERN Vets" starting this Saturday on KERN NewsTalk 96.1 FM. The show will run every Saturday from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. His first guest will be a veteran of the battle of Iwo Jima in World War II.

* ... MEMORIES: Check out this picture of the old fire station #1 at the southeast corner of 20th and K streets around 1935. The structure was demolished around 1939 when the new fire station #1 was completed at 21st and H streets.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Stinson's merges with O'Leary's Office Products, Flame Broiler opens a new location and the new Movie Studio Grill is advertising for employees

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Welcome to Bakersfield Observed, now online only. Our mission is to celebrate life in Kern County by focusing on newsmakers and events and the local characters who make this such a special place. We value your feedback. Email your news and notes to 

* ... STINSON'S: Another big move by furniture and office supplies company Stinson's: they have taken over rival O'Leary's office supplies in a merger that will combine the two most prominent locally owned players serving Kern County. Ben Stinson III told me he expects the merger to bring the same
level of customer service - and competitive pricing - to the newly merged company. O'Leary's founder John O'Leary will stay with the new company for at least three years, working in business development and making sure the transition is smooth.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Instead of calling it the John, I’m going to start calling my bathroom the 'Jim.' That way I can say I go to the Jim every morning."

* ... FLAME BROILER: A sixth location of the popular rice bowl restaurant Flame Boiler is being built in the Artisan Square shopping center off Allen Road. Known as a venue for healthy eating, Flame Broiler now has more than 180 franchise locations in California, Arizona, Florida, Nevada and Oklahoma.

* ... SYMPHONY: Reader Gerhard Schmidt wrote to talk about audience protocol at local symphony events. "The audience attending the performances of the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra tries very hard to demonstrate their appreciation by applauding after each movement or segment of a piece.  On Saturday, the 10th, the last piece instead of the typical 3 to 4 movements, had 13 shorter segments. The flow was very much disrupted by the thirteen times applause interruptions, once even before a segment was completed. The conductor had to turn around and hold up his hand, indicating STOP. Actually, proper form at symphonic concerts calls for applause only at the end of the composition."

* ... MOVIE THEATER: Bakersfield is about to get its newest - and some might say riskiest -- entry into the local movie theater scene. It's called the Studio Movie Grill and it is now hiring employees for the latest location at Rosedale and Calloway Drive, just a few doors down from the 5 Guys burger restaurant. The theater will offer a robust menu and in-studio dining. The company has been wildly successful in other cities. Will it fly here?

 * ... DENNIS MILLER: Ain't this the truth from comedian Dennis Miller:

* ... MEMORIES: Enjoy this old photo of the original Hall of Records downtown, and its replacement.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

A prowler with a scoped rifle cases homes in Seven Oaks, new retail around the Maya Cinemas, some important work being done by Jim Scott and KGET and some old pics of Disneyland

Monday, March 12, 2018

Welcome to Bakersfield Observed, now online only. Our mission is to celebrate life in Kern County by focusing on newsmakers and events and the local characters who make this such a special place. We value your feedback. Email your news and notes to 

* ... PROWLER: Did you see the story on the local television website about a prowler in Seven
Oaks? A homeowner's security camera caught the prowler, a young black man, holding a scoped rifle, or possibly an assault weapon, walking up to the front door. The security camera scared him off but it's enough to make you think about crime throughout our community. This is Seven Oaks, not downtown, not Oleander, not the east side, and not Niles Street. Let that sink in for a minute. Police later arrested William Kindred, 24, and believe he may be the man with the weapon.

 * ... NEW RETAIL: Two new businesses opened in the new retail area built adjacent to the downtown Maya Cinemas. The first tenants are Yogurtland and China Bistro. There is room for another half dozen or so retail tenants.

* ... LOCAL TV: Some of the best reporting on local television appears every Saturday afternoon hosted by veteran anchor Jim Scott. In a world when media is fragmenting, and the ranks of reporters who play the watchdog role have dwindled to almost nothing, we desperately need the kind of reporting that Scott brings with "Kern County In Depth." It's relevant, local, civil and presents all sides. The problem? KGET buries it in the Saturday afternoon time slot, a ratings disaster for such an important show that should be more widely viewed.

* ... ADAM BOWLES: Congratulations to meteorologist Adam Bowles who has left KERO TV for a new job in New Orleans. The Mississippi State University alumni announced his departure on Facebook, pretty much par for the course for the millennial generation.

 * ... WOOD-DALE: The opening of the second location for Wood-Dale Market in Grand Island Village has been a huge hit. Perhaps this is no surprise but for owner Israel Vasquez, pouring thousands of dollars into a new location - with its pricey rent - is enough to make you sweat. But both Vasquez and his son Chris told me the reception in the Seven Oaks area has been outstanding. One of the big hits: the locally produced Santa Carota, grass-fed and carrot finished beef.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "There’s someone out there for everyone. All you have to do is sort through 6.93 billion people. Good luck."

 * ... MEMORIES: Check out this old picture from the 1955 opening of Disneyland and its commissary.