Friday, January 18, 2019

Another successful Warren Cup at Bakersfield High School, the Hispanic Chamber honors local business people and Centric Health donates to help teachers affected by California fires

Friday, January 18, 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 such a special to live. Send your tips to

 * ... WARREN CUP: Congratulations to Nick Oosthuizen, a Bakersfield High senior who just became a citizen five months ago but still managed to win the Warren Cup competition based on a
deep knowledge of U.S. history. Nick outlasted 31 other BHS students to win the competition before a packed house of students and parents at the Harvey Auditorium on a rainy Wednesday evening. The event is the brainchild of BHS history teacher Jeremy Adams, who stages a history and constitutional knowledge quiz worthy of the Oscars. Among those personalities who submitted video taped questions for the contestants: President Donald Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, entrepreneur Elon Musk and Fox news host Dana Perino, The event is named in honor of Earl Warren, the Bakersfield native who rose to become a justice on the Supreme Court. (photos courtesy of Mayor Karen Goh).

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Funny how women claim to care about the environment and water conservation but when I offer to share a shower with them, they refuse."

 * ... SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK: "Betty White is still working at age 97 and I had to have a lie down after putting my socks on this morning."

 * ... CENTRIC HEALTH: Here is a shout to Centric Health of Bakersfield that donated $5,000 to help teachers in Butte County affected by November's Camp Fire that destroyed the town of Paradise. Said Dr. Brij Bhambi, Centric's chairman:  “Education is foundational – it makes us. And teachers are the reasons we succeed in our lives. The fire destroyed or damaged all nine schools in the Paradise Unified School District.

 * ... CHAMBER HONORS: More kudos to some local folks who will be honored by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Raji Brar will be honored as Business Woman of the Year, Cornelio "Corny" Rodriguez won Business Man of the Year, Michael Bowers was honored with the Community Service Award, Chevron was Corporation of the Year, Varner Bros. was Large Business of the year, Centro 18 Latin Steakhouse was Small Business of the Year and the Bakersfield Police Activities League was Non-Profit of the Year.

 * ... COUNTRYSIDE CORPORATION: And speaking of Raji Brar, she appeared on my radio show (KERN NewsTalk 96.1 FM) and explained the origins of Countryside Corporation, which now employs more than 400 people and includes a number of Countryside markets, Taco Bells, Subway shops and a construction business. Raji said her father immigrated from India and even though he was an electrical engineer, started off in the fields picking crops in Fresno County. He later moved the family to Bakersfield, worked for the Post Office, earned a real estate license and bought his first small convenience store in Oildale. And that, as they say, is where this remarkable story begins.

* ... MEMORIES: Check out this cool photo courtesy of the Facebook page "Kern County History Fans."

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Bluegrass comes to town, the scourge of homelessness presents health problems, BHS rated one of the top football high schools in America and a vegan eatery proves to be a big hit

Monday, January 14, 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 such a special to live. Send your tips to

 * ... FOODIE SHORTS: The Hens Roost, a relatively new vegan restaurant downtown near the
Post Office, is enjoying a business boom that seems to know no end. I dropped by the Roost on Saturday, eager to sit down to the Impossible burger after a long workout, and the place was wall to wall with customers. The whole plant based diet is not for everyone, but it is good to see there is enough of a base in town to support this kind of healthier eating. Meanwhile, we have also learned that Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers will open on February 12 over off Downing Avenue.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Do what you love” is shitty career advice because mostly what I love is spending time alone and eating breakfast food."

 * ... THE GREAT 48: If you happened to stop by the Marriott downtown this weekend, chances are you happened into some bluegrass. For the third consecutive year, the California Bluegrass Association brought its annual convention, called The Great 48 to signify 48 hours of picking and grinning, to the Marriott. (The event has been in Bakersfield for at least a decade but at other venues) Why Bakersfield? Organizers said we are ideally situated to attract bluegrass enthusiasts from both Northern and Southern California. The lobby was full of musicians jamming, and the ninth floor of the hotel was a virtual sea of fiddles, banjos, guitars, stand up basses and dobros.

 * ... BHS DRILLERS: The website StadiumTalk released its list of the top 20 high schools in America that produce the most professional football players. And yes, Bakersfield High made the list, ranking as the 14th best high school in the country. Said StadiumTalk:  "California is well represented on this list with 13 schools, but Bakersfield High is the only one of those that is not in Greater Los Angeles. That has not hurt the school’s success on the field as it has more wins than any other high school football team in the state. The crown jewel of its football program was Frank Gifford, who later won an NFL MVP and was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Just as Gifford eventually made his way into cinema, so would his alma mater. The feud between Bakersfield High and rival Taft High served as the backdrop for the 1986 comedy 'The Best of Times' starring Robin Williams and Kurt Russell."

 * ... CAFE MED: Cafe Med, one of our town's longest running successful restaurants, has opened a second located at Rio Bravo Country Club. It's a unique marriage: Rio Bravo is trying to rebrand itself and gets Meir Brown and his culinary expertise to help jump start the kitchen, and Brown gets a new outlet for his Mediterranean cuisine. The restaurant is open to the public.

 * ... HOMELESS: If you don't think our homeless problem is a public health issue, think again. Or just look at this picture of feces and urine found at the Assistance League offices on Q Street downtown. The problem is getting worse, friends.

 * ... MEMORIES: Who remembers the haunted house on Dracena Street? Photo courtesy of the Kern County of Old Facebook page.