Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Town Hall "Uncensored" debate is set for April 27, sound walls going up on 24th Street and the new dine-in Studio Movie Grill prepares to open

Wednesday, March 28, 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

 * ... SOUND WALLS: The sound walls along 24th Street are going up, and they stand out for their
design and beauty. The sound walls are 12-feet high (they appear much higher) and are made out of a composite made to resemble brick. They are coated with an anti-graffiti substance that will make it easier to clean once they are tagged, which they certainly will be. The wall will be staggered - not one continuous wall - between Elm and C streets.

 * ... POLITICAL DEBATE: Mark your calendars for Friday, April 27, when a big town hall political debate will be held at the Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame. The debate is sponsored by KERN Radio and KERN CAST and will feature appearances by most of the local candidates for the top offices, including sheriff, District Attorney, Congress, state Assembly and Senate and judgeships. I will be moderating the debate along with Supervisor Leticia Perez. Questions are being prepared by both the Young Democrats and Young Republicans. This is a can't miss event to determine where the candidates stand on local issues.

 * ... CENTENNIAL CORRIDOR: And speaking of construction projects, City Manager Alan Tandy announced that the city will receive some $94 million from two separate grants to help fund the completion of the Centennial Corridor. The city has three more grant applications out and Tandy is hopeful the city will not have to borrow money to complete the project. Expect to see yet more construction on the interchange and eventual bridge over Truxtun at the Westside Parkway.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "It's funny how we say 'a bug hit my windshield' when we are the ones going 70 mph. I'll bet the bug's family describes it differently."

 * ... ZELEZNY: I interviewed the incoming president of CSU Bakersfield, Dr. Lynnette Zelezny, and found her engaging, passionate and eager to join our community after 30 years at Fresno State University. Her father was an aerospace engineer and as a youngster she lived in areas with NASA research centers. She starts her work at CSUB in late June after President Horace Mitchell retires.

 * ... STUDIO MOVIE GRILL: Is Bakersfield ready for a movie theater that offers full in-theater dining? Well it is coming in just a few weeks when the Studio Movie Grill will open over off Rosedale Highway. The theater will offer a full and robust menu with "ninja" waiters who are trained to deliver food quietly and without obstructing the view of the screen. Studio Movie Grill opens April 12.

 * ... BAKER'S OUTPOST: A young couple in town is getting ready to open a local bakery specializing in locally grown grains. Laura and Ian Journey are owners of Baker's Outpost and are already providing Luigi's with special breads for sandwiches. The retail location will be next to The Mint at 19th and M streets. In the meantime, if you want to try their bread, head over to the Haggin Oaks Farmer's Market on Sundays. Because of Easter Sunday this week, the farmer's market will be open on Friday.

 * ... BAKERSFIELD INN: Who remembers the old Bakersfield Inn on Union Avenue? Check out these old photos, and the menu, complements of the Kern County of Old Facebook page.

Monday, March 26, 2018

An "island" of trash twice the size of Texas drifts in the Pacific, Bakersfield shows up on a list of hot home markets and Jerry's Pizza is sold

Monday, March 26, 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

* ... GARBAGE ISLAND: Here's one result of generations of not taking care of our planet. There is now a floating island of garbage in the Pacific Ocean that stretches 600,000 square miles - twice the size of Texas and three times the size of France - and it is growing every day. It's called the Great

Pacific Garbage patch and it stands as mute testimony to the carelessness in which we treat our planet. Consider this from a story in the New York Post: "Environmentalists expressed concern in October 2016 after a team of researchers from The Ocean Cleanup Foundation surveyed the vortex of trash piling up between California and Hawaii, spotting chunks of plastic glued together measuring more than a yard. '[It’s a] ticking time bomb because the big stuff will crumble down to micro-plastics over the next few decades if we don’t act,”' Boyan Slat, founder of Ocean Cleanup, a nonprofit that helps remove pollution from the world’s oceans, told Newser at the time. The size of the trash pile has nearly doubled in size since then, containing at least 79,000 tons of plastic — “a figure four to sixteen times higher than previously reported,” Scientific Reports said.

* ... HOUSING: Bakersfield has popped up on a list of the top ten hot home markets to watch. According to Forbes, the top ten markets considered "secondary" and under the radar are, in order: Spokane, Washington, Portland, Maine, Knoxville, Deltona, Fla., Boise, Jacksonville, Fla., Charleston, North Port, Fla. and Bakersfield. Said Javier Vivas, director of economic research at "It's pretty much Millennials who are looking at these markets because they offer inventory at the right price point. Over the next few months I think inventory in these markets may start to go quickly as the spring buying season begins. It's a trend we saw begin last year and are now seeing the pace pick up."

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Never do you get a greater sense of your advancing age than when you have to find your year of birth on an online drop-down menu."

 * ... RESTAURANT NEWS: It looks like the Tower Craft Bar and Grill, the latest restaurant to take over the elegant old church on Truxtun Avenue downtown, is getting ready to open. Chef Robert Alimiraie, formerly head chef at The Petroleum Club, is planning on an open house this week and he prepares to open to the public. Meanwhile, over at the new Wood-Dale Market in Grand Island Village, they are on the cusp of opening a small dine-in area for small plates, anything from tri-tip sandwiches to barbecue.

 * ... JERRY'S PIZZA: After more than 27 years in business, the iconic downtown music and pie venue Jerry's Pizza has been sold. The owner who guided Jerry's Pizza through the years and made it a musical hotspot for young adults, said the new owners, Corina and Ernesto Topete,  will take over on April 1. Ernesto and his brothers worked at Jerry's for years and promise to retain the most popular pizzas while introducing new ones themselves.

 * ... MEMORIES: Check out this picture The Club Saloon located at 1302 19th Street circa 1905. Photo courtesy of the Kern County of Old Facebook page.