Thursday, December 6, 2018

Rep. Kevin McCarthy secures funding to widen Highway 46, winners and losers in the city sales tax and Michael Bowers lands a job at Centric Health

Friday, December 7, 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 to live. Send your news tips to

 * ... HIGHWAY 46: Rep. Kevin McCarthy had some good news this week, announcing that he had
secured $17.5 million from the Department of Transportation for the widening of Highway 46 to four lanes in Lost Hills. This comes on top of the $50 million that McCarthy helped secure for the Centennial Corridor, and it will go a long way in making "blood alley" a much safer commute to the coast.

 * ... BUSH FUNERAL: McCarthy went on to say he was moved by the funeral for President George H.W. Bush, adding he hoped it would lead to a "resetting" of the national debate that has turned so ugly. The funeral allowed "America to take a deep breath," he said, and hopefully that will lead to a more civil dialogue.

 * ... JUDY MCCARTHY: And speaking of the House majority leader, here's a big happy birthday to his wife, Judy Wages McCarthy, a true class act.

 * ... SALES TAX: The big winners in the narrow passage of the city sales tax: Bakersfield police chief Lyle Martin who will get another 100 sworn officers on the street, City Manager Alan Tandy who will be able to make the city's pension obligations, and possibly homeless center executive Louis Gill who may benefit from a city contribution to his organization. The big loser? That would be Sheriff Donny Youngblood who may lose dozes of sworn deputies to BPD as they seek higher salaries.

 * ... MICHAEL BOWERS: Congratulations to Michael Bowers who is leaving the political world to become head of public affairs for Centric Health. Bowers worked for state Sen. Andy Vidak until Vidak's defeat in the mid-term elections.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "The worst thing about seeing my parent's sex tape was remembering the day I filmed it."

* ... SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK: "When a man loves cats, I am his friend and comrade, without further introduction." - Mark Twain

* ... MEMORIES: Check out this series of photos from a Kern County historical Facebook page. It appeared with this caption: "DARE DEVIL DERKUM
Paul J. C. Derkham
2 Jul 1881 to 17 Apr 1958 (aged 76)
Burial : Union Cemetery
Bakersfield, Kern County, California

--Pro bicycle racer 1898-1902
--Pro Motorcycle racer -California, US and World Champion 
--Manager: Kern County Fair 1913-1924
--Owner of 1st "Drive-in" Service Station in Bakersfield 
--Owner of 3 Tire Businesses
--Operator of Stage Line: Kern Co. to Santa Maria 
--Beverage Industry Distributor 
--1939 Manager of "Cotton is King Festival"

One of the greatest motorcycle riders of his time, if not all-time, Paul "Dare Devil" Derkum dies at 78. He was owner of Derkum Service located at 2200 Chester Avenue at 22nd in Bakersfield, California with a 2nd location on Center Street in Taft, California.

Born on July 2, 1881, he had the need for speed even as a youngster. By the time he reached his teens, he had already been racing bicycles nationally for two years. Motorcycles were just a natural progression.

Indian was the bike of choice for many of the early racers, but Paul J.C. Derkum literally made his name on a 1908 Indian twin. On February 22, 1908, Derkum broke ten speed records at a one-mile dirt track in Los Angeles—clicking off the fastest time ever for a flying mile, two miles, three miles and so on up to ten miles!

His achievements were chronicled in the California newspapers, with one Los Angeles reporter dubbing him “Dare Devil Derkum,” a name that stuck throughout his racing career.

The following excerpt is from the Los Angeles Herald, July 27, 1909.....

On July 20, 1909, at 11:15 a.m. Paul “Daredevil” Derkum checked in at Temecula during a timed 320 mile roundtrip race between Los Angeles and San Diego. He was determined to lower J. Howard Shafer’s June 30, 1909 record of 16 hours and 50 minutes. In a cloud of dust, Derkum raced his Indian north out of town and into the record books. His finishing time was 10 hours, 59 minutes, and 30 seconds.

Everyone wondered if J. Howard Shafer could break Derkum’s record and reclaim the title. On July 26, 1909, at 5:00a.m. Shafer revved up his two-cylinder Thor motorcycle at the Los Angeles Herald office on First and Broadway. Shafer was confident that he could make the run in ten hours flat. However, at 12:20 p.m., he returned to the newspaper office failing to set a new record.

“Shafer, who went as far as Santa Ana, was met by a large brown hen at that city and in the mix-up which followed, Shafer, the hen and the motorcycle precipitated into a nearby ditch with the result that Derkum's record is still unsullied and that Shafer returned with a badly battered up machine and a whole handful of chicken chicken feathers as the result of his effort.” Source: Today in Motorcycle History, April 17, 1958

Monday, December 3, 2018

Remember George H.W. Bush's connection to Bakersfield, we should learn the fate of the city sales tax this week and the eight-day Hanukkah celebration begins

Monday, December 3, 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 to live. Send your news tips to

 * ... RIP 41: Looking back at the remarkable life and career of George H.W. Bush, our 41st president, we should remember the Bakersfield connection. It was June of 1949 when George and his then pregnant
wife Barbara, with little George Bush in tow, moved to a 967 square foot home on Monterey Street in east Bakersfield. The elder Bush was just 26 years old and was working for a subsidiary of Dresser Industries, an oil supply business later bought by Halliburton, and he was selling supplies out of the trunk of his Studebaker. The family lived here for only three months, but the house remains standing today.

 * ... SALES TAX: We should learn this week if the proposal one percent sales tax for the city of Bakersfield (Measure N) will pass or fail. The last we checked the "yes" votes on the sales tax were just 13 votes behind, with some 2,900 ballots still to be counted. The results of those last ballots should be released this week. The way the votes are trending appear to give an edge to the sales tax passing, which will make City Manager Alan Tandy and most of the city council happy. Stay tuned.

 * ... SOCCER PARK: Another big decision is coming up, possibly this week or next, on the fate of the Kern County Soccer Park out ate Hart Park. This 21-field park is run by a non-profit foundation, but the person who founded it all, John Trino, wants out. The problem: the county has neither the money nor the will to run the park, so Trino is trying to line up an operator who could operate it in agreement with the county. One thing is for sure: the soccer park is a community treasure, it lures tens of thousands of visitors here a year, and the county supervisors need to find a way to keep it operating.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "It's all fun and games until you piss off a redhead. Then it's just a barren landscape of death and destruction."

 * ... SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK: "If service dogs knew that they wear signs that say “don’t pet me” all day they’d get really upset."

 * ...HANUKKAH: Happy Hanukkah to Bakersfield's Jewish community. Hanukkah began Sunday and is observed for eight nights and days. The celebration commemorates the rededication during the second century B.C. of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, where according to legend Jews had risen up against their Greek-Syrian oppressors in the Maccabean Revolt. Often called the Festival of Lights, the holiday is celebrated with the lighting of the menorah, traditional foods, games and gifts.

 * ... MEMORIES: Check out this photo of North Chester circa 1943, compliments of the Kern County History Fans Facebook page.