Thursday, August 23, 2018

Mamma Mia opens downtown, the Israeli lobby hits up Congressman David Valadao, an abused pit bull finds a home and home invasion robberies hit the Southwest....

Friday, August 24, 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 to live. Send your news tips to

 * ... MAMMA MIA: I stopped by the new downtown eatery Mamma Mia this week, and if it reminds you of Luigi's, well there is a reason. The owner and chef of Mamma Mia worked at Luigi's for more than 25 years, and while some dishes are similar, I think there is room for both of them in
town. First, Mamma Mia's has taken over a space that has housed a lot of restaurants over the past 20 years - 18th and Chester beside the renovated old bank building - but it is much more than that. I had the minestrone soup - tasty - and our group shared a fried calamari, presented in a different manner but delicious nonetheless. There was a sparse crowd when we were there, most likely because they are in their "soft opening" phase. My recommendation: Check them out. It could be a great addition to downtown dining.

 * ... VALADAO: Congressman David Valadao was in Bakersfield this week to spend an evening discussing threats to the state of Israel. For the second straight year, Valadao met at a private residence with local voters and representatives of AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, an influencial national organization that lobbies on behalf of Israel. Among the topics: the going clashes on the Israeli border with Gaza, the growing threat of Hamas and Iran and congressional support for Israel. Valadao, a Hanford Republican, faces Democrat TJ Cox in the November general election.

* ... MONSIGNOR CRAIG HARRISON: Monsignor Craig Harrison is back from a three-month visit to Assisi, returning to yet another scandal involving priests in Philadelphia molesting thousands of men and women and a growing homelessness problem here at home. "It just seemed to have doubled in the time I was gone," Harrison told me on KERN NewsTalk 96.1 FM, referring to the homeless issue. The Philadelphia story, he said, led to him rethinking his commitment to the priesthood for the first time in 35 years, a spiritual cleansing of sorts that led to his renewed commitment to the church.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "I tried on an outfit and asked husband if he liked that one or the next one best... then went into the closet and came out with the exact same outfit on and he looked at me and dead ass said, 'Definitely the first one.'”

 * ... LOCAL CRIME: How bad is local crime? How about a home invasion in The Oaks right across Ming Avenue from the Marketplace, not exactly known as a high crime area? Bakersfield police are looking for an Hispanic woman and two men who burst through the door and held residents at gunpoint as they ransacked the house.

 * ... DOG RESCUE: Here is a reason to be generous in your giving to local dog and cat rescues. It works. This is a picture of Shadow, a grey pit bull who lived the first five years of his life tethered by a large chain in the hot sun. He was rescued and thanks to generous donations, now lives a full life of love in Alaska with a former Bakersfield resident named Donna Carpenter.

 * ... DECK OF CARDS: A local company is marketing a deck of cards with the faces of local celebrities and elected officials. Take a look at who will show up in the deck:

* ... MEMORIES: Wood and steel standard oil derricks dot a potato field near Edison in the late 1940s. 

Monday, August 20, 2018

Hiker captures a fire at Democrat Hot Springs

 Bakersfield resident Adam Kahler captured some quintessential California photographs when he was hiking near Democrat Hot Springs and witnessed a fire fighting helicopter battling a local blaze. Enjoy these "only in California" shots.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

The New York Times focuses on our almond industry, Raising Cane's is coming to town, a lost Stockdale High School ring and some good form about town

Monday, August 20, 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 to live. Send your news tips to 

 * ... BEE SHORTAGE: The New York Times Sunday magazine devoted a large spread to our Central Valley,
California's $7.6 billion almond industry and the 30 billion bees (and hundreds of bee keepers) who keep the trees pollinated. The concern: the steady decline of bee populations that scientists believe is caused by a parasite. "Since 2006," the Times reported, "annual winter losses in colonies have averaged more than 28 percent, nearly double the historical winter mortality rate of 15 percent." The industry is in peril and the industry is reacting. "Agricultural entities - including California's Almond Board - pour money into pollinator research, but they are simultaneously anticipating the end of bees. There was talk about a new variety of almond tree that is self-pollinating. One almond grower and distributor said a lot of new orchards were buying the self pollinating plants, but no one could tell if the trees were actually self pollinating or if the bees from neighboring orchards were slipping into their blooms." This is a huge largely untold story. outside of farming circles. Stay tuned. (photos courtesy of The New York Times)

 * .. RAISING CANE'S: The fact that a new fast food restaurant opens in town is hardly news, but it is if Raising Cane's is coming to a block near you. Known for its chicken tenders and sides and spices, Raising Cane's is opening on Coffee Road just a few blocks north of Rosedale Highway and I predict will be a huge hit in a town that loves its fast food. It is now advertising for employees for a  early 2019 opening.

* ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "I’m happy my date didn’t snoop in my medicine cabinet but sad I spent an hour setting up 40 ping pong balls in there for nothing."

 * ... MORE TWITTER: "Had another panic attack this morning or as I like to call it, waking up."

 * ... STOCKDALE HIGH: Did you graduate from Stockdale High School in 1995 and are missing your senior ring? I ran into this on Facebook: "(TO ANYONE WHO WENT TO STOCKDALE HIGH SCHOOL IN 1995...) Do you know the name of the person who played basketball that was #22 and ran track that did the high jump that possibly was the central section champion?? We have found your ring..."

 * ... GOOD FORM: Here is a salute to all of those people among us who take it upon themselves to try to keep our community clean. This is from Jim Pappe a local cyclist: "Cycling friends, meet Lisa. I've seen her for several years cleaning up the trash thrown out on Alfred Harrell Highway by vehicles and, today, cyclists. I stopped and chatted with her enough to thank her, and to apologize for one of our own cyclist's selfish behavior. Please act responsibly when you are cycling and pocket your tubes and CO2 cartridges after fixing your flat. And thank Lisa when you see her."

 * ... MEMORIES: A then and now look at the Tejon Pass.