Thursday, June 20, 2019

Layoffs at The Bakersfield Californian as a sale looms, more details on the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino and is the "homeless" crisis really all about drug addiction and mental illness?

Friday, June 21, 2019

 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 community such a special place. Send news items to

 * ... HARD ROCK HOTEL AND CASINO: The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino is coming to Kern
County, but we are all going to have to show some patience. Scott Nielson, manager for the project, appeared on The Richard Beene Show to talk about the scope of the project and when we can expect to see in completed. Nielson said clearing the environmental hurdles will take at least 18 month and construction another two years. Eventually, it will provide 2,000 jobs when the 400-room hotel is built, complemented by a dozen restaurants and bars and a concert venue. The Hard Rock empire is owned by the Seminole Indian tribe in Florida, and currently has worldwide revenues in the $4 billion range.

 * ... TBC SALE: Only the most ill informed thought the sale of the family owned Bakersfield Californian would turn out to be a good thing. And with each passing day, that truth is born out as we head to June 30, the day the sale will close. This week, the new owners met individually with staffers to tell them their fate. It was a scene not unlike the 1982 movie Sophie's Choice, where a young Meryl Streep wept as the Nazis forced her to choose which of her two children would live, or die. One who didn't make the cut was executive editor Jim Lawitz, a highly unpopular fellow who won't be missed. Thankfully, senior editor Bob Price and columnist Herb Benham did survive, as did graphics editor Glenn Hammett, one of the most valuable (and popular) members of the staff. Losing their jobs were copy editors Ron Stapp, Tim Heinrichs and Dennis Wynne, graphic designer Kent Kuehl and sales rep Lisa Lee. The entire pressroom and mailroom staff are also being laid off as the paper gets ready to move its printing operations to Palmdale.

 * ... SPOTTED DOWNTOWN: In full view of customers going to a leaving three of downtown's best restaurants - Uricchio's Trattoria, The 18Hundred and Mamma Mia - a vagrant is spotted with his pants down defecating on the street. Remember: we do not have a homeless crisis. We have a drug addiction and mental health crisis disguise as a homeless crisis.

 * ... ZARDES: How fun was it to watch Gyasi Zardes, a player for the U.S. national team, score a head goal in the game against Guyana in the 2019 Gold Cup soccer tournament. Zardes, with his signature blond mohawk, took a header and scored to help the Americans to a 3-0 win. Zardes was a standout with the CSUB soccer team. He graduated in 2012.

 * ... GRIMMWAY FARMS: Did you know that every carrot sold at Costco, anywhere in the world, is a Grimmway Farms carrot? That's right, the Bakersfield-based carrot company is the exclusive supplier of carrots to Costco's no matter where they are located. Under the leadership of CEO Jeff Huckaby, Grimmway just recently closed on the purchase of an organic food company in south Georgia, near Valdosta, which will allow the company to produce organic carrots and other vegetables to Publix and other Southern-based supermarkets.

 * ... MEMORIES: More pictures compliments of there Facebook pages devoted to Kern County's history.

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