Friday, March 1, 2019

Sikh woman allegedly kills baby and buries it in her backyard to prevent family shame, Rep. Kevin McCarthy weighs in on the wall emergency and Valley Republic Bank gets a new CEO

Friday, March 1, 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

 * ... NEWBORN DEATH: There are few stories more shocking than the revelation that a Sikh grandmother allegedly killed a newborn because of family shame. Police say the newborn was buried
in a flower bed behind the home in southwest Bakersfield in a neighborhood popular with Sikh families. Beant Dhilion pleaded not guilty to chargers of murder, assault on a child under 8 resulting in death and willful cruelty to a child. Police are looking for another family member, Bakhshinderpal Singh for his role in burying the child. The motive: the child was killed because its birth drew shame to the family.

 * ... EMERGENCY POWERS: House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy wasted no time in lashing out at House Democrats who voted to block President Trumps' declaration of a national emergency along the Mexican border. “House Democrats chose today to make a purely political statement against President Trump instead of taking seriously the national emergency at our country’s southern border. The President’s declaration – along with legislative action to appropriate funds for border security – will answer the call from experts and border security personnel on the ground to provide the resources needed to stop illegal entry into our country and the dangers associated with it. Through their resistance, Democrats are closing their eyes and turning their backs to human trafficking victims, victims of drug addiction, and Angel Families who have lost loved ones."

 * ... MORE KMAC: And speaking of KMAC, I spotted this on Jeopardy! earlier this week:

 * ... BEST HEADLINE: Spotted this headline in the New York Post: "Airline pressing charges after man grew coins in engine for good luck."

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, you’re probably really hot."

 * ... VALLEY REPUBLIC: Valley Republic Bank has a new CEO, replacing Bruce Jay who is set to retire March 31. Jay took control of the bank when it was founded, built it into a successful financial institution and is now turning it over to Geraud Smith, formerly a regional manager for Wells Fargo.

 * ... MEMORIES: Check out these pictures of the old Ridge Route over the Grapevine alongside a more current look.

 * ... MEMORIES: And then there is this advertisement for a big show in Taft.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Kevin McCarthy: Forget California's ill conceived and costly hi-speed rail, we should instead focus on highways and water infrastructure

 Every week I turn over space on his blog to House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy to bring us up to date on  current events. Here is his report for this week:

"California’s high-speed rail project has turned into a complete nightmare for Californians. Early reports suggested that this project would cost about $45 billion, but that number has ballooned to
$77 billion, with some estimating it could cost closer to $100 billion. Even California Governor Newsom recently stated that 'the current project, as planned, would cost too much and take too long.' This sentiment echoes what many Californians have felt for a long time – this project just isn’t feasible.

 "The California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) hasn’t been fully transparent with Californians, and their actions over the past years have led me to lose confidence in their ability to finish this project. In fact, they’ve intentionally misled us by inflating ridership numbers while simultaneously failing to provide tangible deliverables – like satisfactory financial reports – to the Department of Transportation (DOT). I applaud the DOT’s recent decision to rescind nearly $929 million in unspent federal funds that were allocated for this failed high-speed rail project because it’s clear that CHSRA cannot be entrusted with anymore taxpayer dollars. It’s more important than ever that we protect taxpayers, and given Governor Newsom’s recent statements, the DOT’s move makes a lot of sense.

"Living in California, we’re fortunate to be surrounded by diversity, both in our ranging landscapes and in the people who call California home. But our geography and growing population have caused stress to our infrastructure and transportation system. That is why I will fight to refocus our efforts on other more-needed California infrastructure projects, like highways and water infrastructure, because California’s communities and families deserve it.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Monday's Bakersfield Observed: Could you forgive someone who tried to kill you? Tom Morgan talks about this this week, more on the death of former KGET anchor Chris Burrous and Goose Loonies readies to open a second location

Monday, February 25, 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

 * ... THE POWER OF FORGIVENESS: Twenty-two years ago Tom Morgan was a young Kern County Sheriff's deputy when he responded to a call off Planz Road. Within minutes, he was ambushed by a young gang member and shot point blank in the neck with a 410 gauge shotgun
derringer. Left for dead, he miraculously survived, left street patrol, became a lawyer and set about putting his life back together. Today, more than two decades later, Morgan is on a new mission: to forgive the man who shot him and to testify on his behalf at an upcoming parole hearing. Morgan will share his story of setbacks, pain, challenge and forgiveness on my radio show (KERN NewsTalk 96.1 FM) this Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. He will be joined by his wife, Christy, who will share her own journey of facing the man who tried to kill her husband, of her own struggle to forgive and move on, and how baking has helped her face the daunting task of moving on.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "I skipped CrossFit today after spending a few hours trying to wrestle a duvet cover onto a comforter."

 * ... SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK: "My friend's newborn baby is allergic to their dog. I told him there are plenty of places that will take in a baby."

 * ... PICKLE BALL: Good news for all you fans of pickle ball, the fastest growing sport in the country. City Manager Alan Tandy told me the city is renovating the tennis courts at Jastro Park and converting some of the courts into dedicated pickle ball courts, which are narrower and shorter. In the end there will be six pickle ball courts and three tennis courts.

 * ... GOOSE LOONIES: Good news for foodies about town. The popular tavern Goose Loonies is opening a second location on Truxtun Avenue in a space once occupied by the failed Craft Tap House (and formerly the old Salad Bar). The original location on 18th Street will remain open, and I am betting the new location will be a big hit.

 * ... BURROUS: The coroner has released the cause of death of former Bakersfield TV anchor Chris Burruos, who died at a Glendale hotel two days after Christmas. The cause: methamphetamine toxicity. Burrous did time in Bakersfield at KGET and later ended up in Los Angeles. In addition to methamphetamine toxicity, other contributing factors included hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Burrous was at the hotel with a male friend apparently engaging in sex and dabbling in drugs.

 * ... MEMORIES: Soak up the richness of this photo of the post 1952 earthquake downtown.

 * ... MORE MEMORIES: And then there was the old Topper Motel on Union Avenue. Who remembers it?