Thursday, March 7, 2019

The generosity of Alex Trebek to Taft College, the top 500 most polluted cities in the world exclude North America, and Dennis Quaid stops by for a cocktail at Uricchios

Friday, March 8, 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

 * ... ALEX TREBEK: The news from Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek that he is suffering from Stage 4
pancreatic cancer stunned America, but few know if his personal connection and his generosity to Taft College. It was five years ago that Sheri Horn-Bunk, head of the Taft College Foundation, read on the Huffington Post that Trebek joked he wanted to take a course in oil exploration at Taft College once he retired. Calls were made and Trebek ended up speaking at the West Kern Petroleum Summit in 2015, introducing Oklahoma oil baron T. Boone Pickens. In honor of his appearance the college started an oil engineer's scholarship in his name, and he promptly sent Horn-Bunk a check for $10,000 to endow it.

 * ... POLLUTED CITIES: I ran across a list of the world's top 500 most polluted cities, and guess what? The United States, and in fact Canada, did not have a single city on the list. Does that mean we are free of pollution? Certainly not, but it does point to the lunacy of mounting a  all-out effort on climate change here while the rest of the world does nothing. Consider: of the top 10 most polluted cities, nine are in India. Of the top 100, fully 57 of them are in China. Mexico and several Central American counties - Guatemala, Colombia, Peru and Costa Rica - made the list far down but no U.S. or Canadian cities made the list.

 * ... DID YOU KNOW? Did you know that upwards of 70 percent of the incoming freshmen at CSUB enter college deficient in both basic math and English.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "If Morgan Freeman was narrating my life story, I bet he'd be tired of repeating 'He's still eating' all the time."

 * ... SPOTTED AT URICCHIO'S: Well look who was spotted at Uricchios the other day, none other than actor Dennis Quaid. Word was that Quaid was here, along with country singer Tanya Tucker, to record music at a local recording studio.

 * ... MEMORIES: How about this old postcard featuring fishing on the Kern River?

 * ... MORE MEMORIES: And how about this advertisement for the Padre Hotel in 1962:

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Two Marine veterans join the office of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy

 This week's report from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, in his own words:

"I am proud to report that my office recently welcomed two new fellows from the Wounded Warrior program to our team – Gary Medina and Perry Finzel.

 "Gary Medina is a Bakersfield native who graduated from Foothill High School and later attended California State University, Bakersfield. Answering the call to duty, Gary left CSUB to join the
Marine Corps in 2007. While in the Marine Corps, he was deployed three times with an infantry unit, 3rd Battalion 1st Marines 1st Marine Division, and attained the rank of sergeant.
 "In 2017 he was accepted to serve as a Wounded Warrior Program Fellow for former Congressman Steve Knight.
 "Perry Finzel was born and raised in El Paso, Texas. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1998 as a Field Radio Operator, and has been stationed at Camp Pendleton, MCAS Miramar, and in Boise, Idaho as a recruiter. Perry deployed three times and has been to Australia, Thailand, Singapore, Kenya, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, and Qatar. He was honorably retired from the Marine Corps after 16 years of service in 2014, and joined former Congressman David Valadao’s office as a Wounded Warrior Fellow in September of 2017.
 "I am confident that these gentlemen will continue to excel in their new roles, and that the citizens of the Central Valley, Antelope Valley, and Indian Wells Valley will benefit from their knowledge and experience. Both Mr. Finzel and Mr. Medina have illustrious military backgrounds and proven track records of exceptional public service, and I am excited to continue working to advance the interests of our constituents with them on board.
 "The Wounded Warrior Program provides veterans with two-year fellowships in the House of Representatives.

American Airlines brings back daily service between Bakersfield and Dallas, Action Sports celebrates 30 years in business and and bad optics with the citizen oversight committee

Monday, March 4, 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

If you have lived in Bakersfield for any time, you know how fickle our air service is out of Meadows Field. Remember when we had daily flights to Houston, a true
convenience if you were headed anywhere on the east coast? For a brief time we had flights to Dallas as well, and then the recession killed that, or rather a slump in oil prices. Well, American Airlines has brought back daily, morning service to Dallas on an aircraft that seats anywhere from 72 to 79 passengers. Let's see how long it lasts, but enjoy it while it is here.

* ... OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: The creation of the citizens tax oversight committee in Bakersfield has been a political mess. Women claimed they were under represented, people said the panel is a collection of insiders, and no one seems to be happy. And then there was the picture in the Californian of the committee being sworn in. Talk about bad optics: a predominately white male group of blue suits. Kind of reminded me of the old Soviet politburo members during the May Day parades during the Cold War.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "The sole purpose of a child’s middle name is so he can tell when he’s really in trouble."

 * ... ACTION SPORTS: Congratulations to Kerry Ryan and his popular bike shop Action Sports which is celebrating 30 years in business. Kerry is one our community's most generous people, and over the decades he has provided service to thousands of residents at his store location on Brimhall Road. In addition, he has employed hundreds of young people, often providing first jobs for those just entering the work force.

 * ... BAD FORM: ABC23 showed some really bad form the other day (not to mention just poor judgment) in posting on its Facebook page an account about the CEO of the San Francisco Giants and his wife. The hook: apparently the Giants executive grabbed a cell phone from is wife's hand and she plumped back in her chair. Really? Have we reached a time where even the smallest of interactions among couples merit some kind of "breaking news" stature? I am betting people like my friend ABC23 anchor Tim Calahan were off duty and a low paid intern pulled this stunt. And you wonder why people don't trust the press.

 * ... MEMORIES:  Here is a fun old picture compliments of the Kern County History Fans Facebook page.