Friday, April 26, 2019

Friday's Bakersfield Observed: Bakersfield rallies behind Monsignor Craig Harrison after allegations are leveled against him, Blaine Hodge is recognized by Rep. Kevin McCarthy and more random crime throughout town

Friday, April 26, 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

 * ... FATHER CRAIG: The news that Monsignor Craig Harrison has been accused of sexually assaulting a young man several decades ago rocked our town in ways that simply cannot be
measured. Harrison is universally beloved, and I count him among my friends and mentors. Rarely has one man had such a positive effect on an entire community, no matter your religion or personal beliefs. Harrison has denied the claim and pledged to defend himself. My take: we live in a time of recrimination and character assassination, so let's not judge this man too quickly. Let's allow this case to play out and let the authorities do their investigation. Did it really happen? Is this a shakedown of the Catholic Church fabricated for profit? (remember Jussie Smollett?) If it did happen, was it an isolated incident or will more come forward? Father Craig is a beloved an iconic figure, and I will stand by his side.

 * ... AFFORDABILITY: Here's some good news locally, though it is a bit of a mixed bag. A new study says Bakersfield is one of the most affordable places to live in the country, although that comes with high poverty and high unemployment. We have always known that Bakersfield is one of the most affordable places to live in California, as are Fresno, Visalia and other Central Valley towns. But all this is all relative given that this is California and we lead the nation in high gas prices and utility rates.

 * ... SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK: "Remember when people would flash their headlights to give people a heads up there’s a cop down the road? I liked it when we were all a team.'

 * ... CRIME: Just when you think criminals cannot stoop lower, I spotted this on Facebook: "Saturday evening I had the entire front end of my 2006 GMC Sierra 2500 HD stolen off my truck in the parking garage at the San Joaquin Hospital on Chester Ave. Anyone knows the whereabouts of where I can recover these items please let me know!"

 * ... BLAINE HODGE: It was nice to see our local hero Blaine Hodge be recognized by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy the other day. Hodge, if you remember, was the young man who intervened at the local Starbucks on Stockdale Highway when a woman was being attacked by a man with a machete. McCarthy presented Hodge with the 2019 Citizens Honors Award from the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. “Fight or flight, we all question what we would do in a frightening situation, but we all wouldn’t wonder what Blaine would do,” McCarthy said in a news release. “He acted swiftly and bravely, two qualities that no doubt helped to save the survivor and all those in the immediate area that day.”

* ... MEMORIES: How about this old picture of Bakersfield City Hall back in the day?

Monday, April 22, 2019

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on our Honor Flight program ...

 House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy gives us his weekly view from Capitol Hill. In his words:

 "Members of Honor Flight Kern County escorted veterans from our district to the U.S. Capitol last week where they went on a tour with our team.

The twenty-three veterans traveling with Honor Flight Kern County toured the U.S. Capitol and visited their respective memorials. Veterans on the Honor Flight served in WWII and the Korean War.

We can never fully repay our veterans for their service and dedication to our nation, but one way we can express our gratitude is through the honor flight program. I am grateful to the Honor Flight Network for so graciously celebrating our veterans. We can all learn important lessons about respect, humility, and a love of country from our service members.

Last week I had the opportunity to lead a bipartisan and bicameral Congressional delegation trip to South America, specifically Argentina, Brazil, and Colombia.

Our visit to Argentina served as a symbol of the enduring partnership between our two countries. From combatting terrorism to ensuring a positive outcome to the crisis in Venezuela, our alliance with Argentina is an important one—and it will be for years to come.

The United States and Brazil are also natural partners. We have the two largest democracies in the Western Hemisphere, and we share values like liberty, the rule of law, and respect for human rights. The better that we work together, the better off we’ll be.

Our country also supports Colombia’s efforts to move forward. We are united in the battle against drug trafficking and in bringing about a lasting resolution to the crisis in Venezuela. The pursuit of freedom will triumph over the devastation of socialism.

This trip reaffirmed our commitment to fighting for peace and democracy in South America and the Western Hemisphere."

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Monday's Bakersfield Observed: Countryside Market wins the Mac 'n Cheese fest (yet again), the story behind a downtown Sycamore tree, Brian Kiser's confirmation in the Catholic Church and homeless graffiti

 Monday, April 22, 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

 * ... COUNTRYSIDE MARKET: Congratulations to Countryside Market that took home the
People's Choice award for an unprecedented fourth time in the annual Mac 'n Cheese Festival at CSUB. The festival was a sellout and featured more than 30 food vendors, live music from Truxton Mile and plenty of beer and wine. Proceeds from the event go to the CSUB Athletic Scholarship fund. The annual feed is put on by American General Media, owner of KERN NewsTalk and other radio stations in town.

 * ... HOUSE OF FLOWERS: Among the vendors at Mac 'n Cheese was House of Flowers, the popular flower shop on 19th Street. Owner Diana Klawitter was happily passing out colorful flower "crowns" for both men and women that proved to be the hit of the event.

* ... DOWNTOWN SYCAMORE: One of the most iconic trees in downtown Bakersfield - and truth is there are many - lives at the northeast corner of A and 20 streets. A graceful old sycamore, one of its huge branches shoots over the intersection providing shade. As it turns out, this tree was planted in 1977 by a then-resident of the intersection named Stephanie Foe. I met Foe recently and she told me she dug up the tree, then about three feet high, in a wash ravine in the San Gabriel mountains and transplanted it to Bakersfield where it continues to flourish today. She said it struggled early on, but daily she would urge it to grow and thrive. And indeed, it did.

 * ... SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK: This woman was tagging the freeway overpass at Ming and Wible and was caught on camera doing so. Recognize her?

 * ... MILESTONES: Happy birthday to Miranda Whitworth Munoz, communications manager at Kern Medical who celebrated in classic style with a Saturday brunch at Luigi's. Her birthday fell on Easter Sunday. Also hats off to my friend Brian Kiser, who was confirmed in the Catholic Church Saturday evening. Kiser works for California Resources Corp.

* ... CSUB BARBECUE: The annual spring barbecue at CSUB is set for Thursday, May 9, out at the southwest campus. The annual feed goes to support athletic scholarships at the campus. Tickets are just $30. Call Logan Belz for tickets or sponsorship opportunities at (661) 654-2361.

* ... MEMORIES: Check out this old postcard showing a parade down Chester Avenue to mark the end of the Spanish-American War.

 * ... MORE MEMORIES: And check out this photo from the Kern County History page on Facebook. The caption read: "Photo of the aftermath of a wind storm in Fellows in 1926. Murvin and Eugene Delaney were asleep in the bedroom of this clapboard house when the wind blew over a wooden derrick which landed on the house killing Eugene."