Thursday, September 20, 2018

Joseph's Italian restaurant falls on hard times, Greg Kerr joins Vance Palm to air CSUB home basketball games and a bit of Bako history from the archives

Friday, September 21, 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

* ... JOSEPH'S: The iconic Italian restaurant Josep's has fallen on hard times and may be flirting with going out of business. In an unusual move, the eatery's owner took to Facebook to share his concern. His post: "It is
with a heavy heart I must make this announcement... This summer has been incredibly hard on us and I'm not sure if we're going to be able to make it out. I've cut every aspect of spending, including the lowest number of employees we've had since my nana and father ran the place back in the 80s. My mother and father created and experienced the peak of this restaurant during the 1990s and early 2000s. I've been struggling to bring that back but I lack the finances and charisma they had. On top of that, the city continues to grow daily and competition ceaselessly arises. Simply put, the neccessary finances to keep the business afloat are not coming in. The money that does come in is only enough to cut even. This does not include license renewals, taxes, rent, and other utilities. I continue daily to keep the place alive and going for one more week at a time. But I know there will come a point where it's not going to be possible, especially now that we are in the midst of fair season. The fees of maintaining the business will eventually catch up. To be clear, we are not closed yet, we're still fighting to be open as of now, although the future of Joseph's is looking bleak. This is but a heads up to our loyal guests who frequent the establishment on a weekly basis. I know who you are and I feel it is my responsibility to prepare all of you."

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "You know that nice tingly feeling you get when you’re falling for someone? That’s common sense leaving your body."

 * ... SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK: "Just be yourself. Someone will love you for it then soon enough hate you for it."

 * ... CSUB BASKETBALL: This year's season of CSUB basketball will feature two veteran broadcasters airing the games. The university said all home men's basketball games will be broadcast on WatchESPN for the second-straight season. The Roadrunners are bringing back play-by-play announcer Vance Palm and welcoming local sports anchor Greg Kerr as the color analyst. Palm is entering his 20th year as a local play-by-play announcer. He currently has the longest tenure among announcers in the Bakersfield community and has been with the `Runners for just shy of a decade. Kerr, a constant in Bakersfield sports reporting since in 1987, has agreed to team up with Palm for CSUB's home games this season. Kerr was inducted into the Bob Elias Kern County Hall of Fame in 2016, becoming just the second journalist to join the ranks.

 * ... BRIDGET BARNES: And speaking of CSUB basketball, one of the more interesting people I have met recently is Bridget Barnes, wife of CSUB head coach Rod Barnes. The Mississippi native is a deeply spiritual lay minister whose mother was a Jehovah's Witness but she now identifies herself as a Christian. Check out her website at

 * ... DIGNITY: Congratulations to Dignity Health which announced a partnership with CSUB athletics to for Mercy and Memorial Hospitals to be the exclusive health care providers for CSUB athletics. Dignity is one of the more savvy marketers in the region and its Hello Humankindness campaign has been a huge hit. In October, it will become one of the primary sponsors of my show, The Richard Beene Show, on KERN NewsTalk 96.1 FM.

* ... ADVENTIST HEALTH: Meanwhile things aren't going so well over at Adventist Health, formerly known as San Joaquin Hospital. The hospital laid off a couple dozen of employees this week in what it called a restructuring.

* ... MEMORIES: How about this old picture of the Woody Store in the 1950s. I spotted this on the Kern County of Old Facebook page where the caption read: "Woody was named after Dr. Sparrell Walter Woody, who homesteaded with his wife at the foot of Blue Mountain in 1862. The Woody School District was founded in 1873 and a post office opened in 1889. A local legend states that the outlaw Joaquin Murrieta once had a cave/hideout in the area that he used while on the run."

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Former Congressman Bill Thomas pushes his agenda in the race for a seat on the Kern Community College District, a homeless woman hurls a rock through the window of local radio host Ralph Bailey and a walk down memory lane at Bakersfield High School

Monday, September 17, 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

 * ... BILL THOMAS: Bill Thomas, the former chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means
Committee, may be retired from Congress but he is as active as ever on the local level. And when Thomas senses something is amiss with one of his pet projects, he works to make sure things go his way. All this explains why Thomas is making the rounds on talk radio campaigning for Nan Gomez Heitzeberg who is running for a seat on the Kern Community College District. Thomas has been filling an unexpired term on the board and is not running for reelection, and he has a beef with fellow trustee Kyle Carter (the ex homebuilder and mayoral candidate) about how to spend the nearly half billion dollars in bond money to rebuild Bakersfield College. Thomas wants the money spent within a five year period to completely rebuild the aging campus, while Carter has advocated a more lengthy timeline to provide local jobs. Heitzeberg agrees with Thomas, while Carter and fellow candidate Karen DeWalt (who worked on Carter's mayoral campaign) believe otherwise. These "down ballot" races rarely get much attention, but Thomas is busy making the media rounds to make sure otherwise. Stay tuned.

 * ... SHOOTING: Here is an odd one: Remember that jealous ex husband who killed his ex wife and four other people last week off Weedpatch Highway? Well according to ABC23, a single funeral service will be held to honor the couple. The news station said they family is planning a single funeral service for the gunman, Javier Casarez, and his ex wife, Petra Maribel Bolanos De Cararez. The two were divorced in June and authorities believed the killings stemmed from the ex husband's suspicion that his former wife was having an affair with one or possible two of the victims.

 * ... MAIL THEFT: Did you hear the story out of Milwaukee about the postal worker stealing greeting cards with money and checks in them? That's right, the 20-year-old postal worker, Ebony Lavonne Smith, pleaded guiding to stealing more than 6,000 greeting cards filled with cash and checks in Wisconsin. She was caught in a sting operation after hundreds of people complained their letters and cards went missing in the mail.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "I lost eleven pounds in two days, and you can, too, provided you follow my raw poultry diet!"

 * ... SPOTTED AROUND TOWN: At the corner of Brundage and Cypress, an apparently homeless man on a bicycle is spotted riding with a fully blown up sex doll on his back.

 * ... HOMELESS: And if you don't think the homeless situation is getting worse, consider this note from my friend Justin Salters, who was walking to his car from lunch with this wife and infant daughter when they were approached by a homeless man asking for money. When Salters declined, the man retorted: "I hope it doesn't happen to your kid." And then there was this: Friday evening an apparently deranged homeless woman was knocking on doors downtown when she ended up at the apartment complex of KERN radio host Ralph Bailey. Before leaving, she hurled a rock through his front window. If you don't think the homeless are getting more aggressive, think again.

 * ... MEMORIES: From the Kern County of Old Facebook page comes this post by local historian Gilbert Gia: "The big white house across from the stadium is the relocated McDonald house. It was the high school’s second girls’ dormitory. My updated story is called Bakersfield High’s Dormitories, 1915-1955 (v6) and it is on the “School” page at"