Thursday, July 12, 2018

Chaos at Valley Plaza as thousands jostle to get a deal, RIP Lonnie Shelton and some great news coming out of Meadows Field for air travelers

Friday, July 13, 2018

Welcome to Bakersfield Observed. 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. Email your news and notes to 

 * ... MALL CHAOS: I am always surprised how far some people will go to save a buck. How about
standing in line with a couple thousand people, under a hot sun, with your toddler in tow to save money on a stuffed bear? Well it happened at the Build-A-Bear franchise at Valley Plaza where a couple thousand people showed up to take advantage of a "pay your age" deal. (If your child is two years old, the bear would cost $2) It was a nationwide marketing campaign that was so successful the company was forced to shut down company stores across the country, including the one at Valley Plaza and even one in London. And get this: in a scene reminiscent of Black Friday, fist fights broke out as people jostled for position at Valley Plaza. But in true American spirit, someone found a way to profit off the mess. A local Mexican restaurant, seeing the chaos at the mall, offered a "pay your age margarita special (if you were 21 years old, the drink cost $2.10).

 * ... MEADOWS FIELD: There is some good news coming out of Meadows Field. Thanks to a $500,000 grant from the Department of Transportation (arranged by House Majority Leader Kevin  McCarthy), it looks like we may get daily flight to Dallas, likely via American Airlines. According to county CAO Ryan Alsop, the county will use the money to create a package to incentivize a major airline to provide daily service. And the second bit of good news from CAO Ryan? Ryan said he is on the verge of striking a deal with Uber (and then Lyft) to service Meadows Field.

 * ... PICKLEBALL: Pickleball has taken Bakersfield by storm, and it now has eight new dedicated courts built by the North of the River Recreation district at Greenacres Park. And we are not alone: Bakersfield resident Adam Kahler sent me this poster he spotted in Driggs, Idaho.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "It’s not a successful weekend unless I’m bringing shame and dishonor to my family."

 * ... MORE TWITTER: "They say couples should never go to bed angry. That’s why married people always look so tired."

 * ... RIP LONNIE SHELTON: Football High graduate Lonnie Hill, possibly the greatest basketball player ever to come out of Kern County, dies in Los Angeles at the age of 62. This Facebook post from a friend pretty much says it all: "Tonight one of the most wonderful men you could ever meet, Lonnie Shelton, passed away in Los Angeles after being in a medically induced coma for weeks suffering from high blood pressure. Lonnie was a best friend, college roommate at OSU, and an amazing college and professional basketball star. He won an NBA championship with the Seattle Sonics in 1978. There is so much more that could be said but I struggle for words. Tonight is truly one of saddest days in my life. He always finished our phone calls with 'Love you man.' I am blessed to know such a great kind man. My heart goes out to his family."

 * ... MEMORIES: How about this old picture from the Kern County of Old Facebook page?

Sunday, July 8, 2018

No Uber or Lyft service at Meadows Field in Bakersfield, Greenacres Park unveils eight new pickle ball courts and more on the medicinal benefits of CBD oil made from hemp and marijuana

Monday, July 9, 2018

Welcome to Bakersfield Observed. 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. Email your news and notes to 

 * ... MEADOWS FIELD: Flying out of Bakersfield is tough enough these days: very few airlines serve us, the flights are ridiculously expensive and to get anywhere you have to fly through Phoenix. But thanks to our wise local leaders, you can't even use Uber to get a ride to or from the airport.
Why? Because two local cab  companies (and don't get me started on our inefficient, chronically tardy Third World local cabbies and their run-down cabs) have an exclusive franchise to serve the airport. And how ridiculous is that? Is it any wonder that some folks make the half mile walk from the terminal to Merle Haggard Drive, luggage in tow, so they can connect with Uber? This is not a nationwide problem as The Californian called it; I cannot name a major airport in the country that does not allow Uber or Lyft to service their airports. Wake up Bakersfield, we can do better.

 * ... CBD OIL: Cannabidiol oil is an extract from the hemp plant, and legions of people across the world swear by its medicinal value. The Food and Drug Administration last week approved the first CBD oil based medicine to treat epilepsy, but CBD fans claim it can help alleviate aches and pains, anxiety, reduce inflammation and even help with nicotine craving. CBD oil is safe and legal, yet some people avoid it because it can also be produced from the marijuana plant. (Note CBD oil does not trigger a "high" like marijuana). There is one CBD oil shop in Bakersfield, on F Street near KC's Steakhouse, and owner Ted Sisco will appear with me on KERN NewsTalk 96.1 FM to talk about its benefits. Don't miss this important show airing at 1:30 p.m. this Tuesday, July 10.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Licking someone's face is a quick and 100 percent foolproof way of ending a conversation."

 * ... PICKLEBALL: If you haven't heard of pickle ball, the fastest growing sport in America, you will soon. A combination of tennis and ping pong played on a smaller court using a wiffle ball, the sport has exploded in Kern County, and now there are eight new pickle ball courts available for play at Greenacres Park thanks to the North of the River Parks and Recreation District. New courts are going in at Seven Oaks and Stockdale Country Club, and the members only Bakersfield Racquet Club also has four dedicated courts.

 * ... MEMORIES: So who remembers a gas station at the base of the Grapevine called Holland's? I spotted this on the Kern County of Old Facebook page, which read: "From the 1937 Official San Joaquin Valley- Sierra Visitors Guide, an ad for Holland's Cafe and Garage on the Ridge Route Summit. From SCVHistory. com: "Originally located on the Ridge Route just south of Caswell's on what is now the Gorman Post Road, Holland's Summit Cafe started as a truck stop devoid of tourists. The site featured a Standard Oil gas station, garage, and cafe. When the Ridge Route alternate was opened in 1933, Holland's was relocated from its original location to the new highway."