Sunday, August 25, 2019

Merced DA's office takes up the Father Craig case, frustrated business people consider vigilante justice to combat the drug addicts and looking into the horrific death of young Sara Hudson

Friday, August 30, 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

 * ... FATHER CRAIG: The Merced District Attorney's office is now reviewing the allegations of
sexual abuse against Monsignor Craig Harrison. The Merced police ended their probe and passed it onto the DA's office, which will now conduct its own review to determine if the case is worth prosecuting. Bakersfield police recently closed their investigation into a decades-old allegation, saying there was no "corroborative evidence" to support formal charges. No matter what the Merced DA's office rules, the most important ruling on Father Craig's fate will come from the Diocese of Fresno, and there is no word on when that might come.

 * ... VIGILANTE JUSTICE: If there is one thing downtown business owners can agree on, it is this: we do not have a homeless crisis. Rather, we have a drug crisis. That was the consensus of a group of downtown business owners who discussed our crisis on my radio show (KERN NewsTalk 96.1 FM) this week. Among those we talked with was Dixie Haley Brewer, a downtown retailer whose business - In Your Wildest Dreams at 19th and Q streets - has been vandalized and targeted by thieves multiple times over the past year. Haley said if things continue to spiral downward, it will only be a matter of time before vigilante justice kicks in as people take their safety into their own hands. What that means, and how it is handled, is unknown at this time but it reflects the extreme frustration business owners feel as this situation spirals out of control.

 * ... SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK: Speaking of the drug addicted homeless, a business owner downtown posted this on Facebook: "Now we've got these 'animals' pounding on windows and breaking them in broad daylight. This little white chick with very short bleached blonde hair, in a grey hoodie and black shorts just walked up 19th Street pounding our windows with her fist as she walks by. She shattered a window at Mill Creek Antiques and kept on walking. Then proceeded to hit ours.  I currently have a boarded window and a boarded door. I guess we're "blessed" to not have another broken one ourselves. Watch for this little hoodlum.  Usually has a 'girlfriend' with her. They like to try and get inside and divide employees so one can steal.'"

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "No matter how nice I ask random people, nobody will take me to Funkytown."

 * ... THEFT: And finally, now that it is a misdemeanor to steal anything merchandise valued under $950, businesses are witnessing a wave of shoplifters simply walking out the door with stolen goods. Check out this post from 23ABC: "The Bakersfield Police Department is asking for help in finding two people wanted for questioning regarding a petty theft on July 15 at an Albertsons on Brundage Lane. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Dunn at (661) 326-3876." In many cases, thieves will steal items like cases of diapers and then sell them individually at the transient hotels scattered about town.

 * ... SARA HUDSON: Did you hear about the terrible death of 22-year-old Sara Hudson in Dallas? Hudson, who attended Garces Memorial High School and later the University of Arkansas, was killed in Dallas on her 22nd birthday. Her body was discovered in a burning SUV and authorities believe she was the victim of a car jacking that led to her murder. Arrested in the case was Glen Richter, 49. Hudson has relatives in Bakersfield and she was well known in the Garces community.

 * ... ALLISON GARGARO: Congratulations to 23ABC weather forecaster Allison Gargaro, who has become a certified meteorologist. The Arizona State graduate received her credentials from Mississippi State University.

Happy 27th wedding anniversary to House minority leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy and his wife, Judy. Check out this adorable picture of the two back in the day. The couple met in high school and have been inseparable since.

* ... MEMORIES: More old photos from two Facebook pages devoted to local history, Kern County History Fans and Kern County of Old. Do you spot Dewar's n the first photo?

We will explore the homeless crisis all week on The Richard Beene Show, Kern County leads the state in hemp production, it was move-in day for CSUB students and remembering the night that Jimi Hendrix came to the Civic Auditorium

Monday August 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 community such a special place. Send news items to

 * ... HOMELESS: I am turning over the airwaves this week to local business owners who have suffered at the hands of our homeless crisis, and there are a lot of them. All week on The Richard
Beene Show (KERN NewsTalk 96.1 FM/1180 AM from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.) I will be chatting with people whose businesses have suffered at the hands of the free-range homeless and vagrants who now move about our streets with virtual impunity. We will hear from Diana Klawitter and her daughter Amanda, who run House of Flowers on 19th Street. We will chat with Dixie Brewer Haley from the In Your Wildest Dreams consignment shop, which has been broken into and vandalized numerous times. We will hear from Shawna Haddad of Muertos and Crash Lounge, who will give us the perspective of someone who has been in business downtown for decades. And yes we will talk solutions, but not before we understand what individual business owners are contending with on a daily basis. Tune in and join the discussion.

 * ... VISUAL POLLUTION: And here is something you don't want to witness.

* ... HEMP: Here is some rich irony: despite the fact that the city and county have banned the retail sales of marijuana, Kern County has emerged as the top hemp producing county in California. That's right, John Cox of The Californian reported that we have 33 different groups planning to grow hemp on 76 different sites in Kern, covering an astonishing almost 7,000 acres. So how do we justify this while banning retail sales? The county has an open arms policy toward growing commercial hemp, leveraging our deep knowledge of agriculture, water and distribution to make Kern County an ideal place to grow hemp for multiple purposes, including the manufacturing of CBD oil.

 * ... CSUB: It was "move in" day at CSUB over the weekend as hundreds of students settled into their dorms for the start of the semester on Monday. CSUB president Lynette Zelezny and men's basketball coach Rod Barnes were there to lend a helping hand, as well as dozens of upper classmen ambassadors who welcoming the incoming freshmen and returning students. CSUB expects a record enrollment this year topping 12,000 students.

 * ... WHEN JIMI CAME TO TOWN: Here are some pictures to feast your eyes on. Jimi Hendrix appearing at the Civic Auditorium on Oct. 26, 1968. Photos by Ron Raffaelli.

 * ... MEMORIES: Some more pictures from our past thanks to the Kern County of Old Facebook page. Do you recognize the Garces Circle?