Sunday, June 28, 2020

Gov. Newsom orders bars shut in Kern and six other counties because of the coronavirus, Medicali becomes the latest restaurant to close temporarily, vagrants take over the old 24 Hour Fitness and the hold bar at Noriega's is salvaged

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. The views expressed here are strictly my own and do not represent any other person or organization.

 * ... BARS TO CLOSE:  Faced with an alarming spike in coronavirus cases, Gov. Gavin Newsom has ordered bars in Kern and six other counties to close. The order came Sunday for bars in the
following counties to close: Los Angeles, Fresno, Kern, San Joaquin, Tulare, Kings and Imperial.  In addition, eight other counties have have been asked by state officials to issue local health orders closing bars: Contra Costa, Santa Clara, Sacramento, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Santa Barbara and Stanislaus. “COVID-19 is still circulating in California, and in some parts of the state, growing stronger,” Newsom was quoted in the Los Angeles Times as saying. “That’s why it is critical we take this step to limit the spread of the virus in the counties that are seeing the biggest increases.” The question here: faced with their own dire economic circumstances, will bar owners comply?

 * ... COVID VICTIM: It looks like Mexicali has become the latest victim of Covid-19. Word is at least two employees have tested positive (other employees have been tested but the results are not
back) and the popular downtown restaurant has been closed all weekend, the only notice being a sign on the door. Mexicali joins a growing list of local eateries to close because of the pandemic, including Luigi's, In-N-Out, Dewar's and Woolgrowers.

 * ... HBO MOVIE: A new HBO mini series called "I'll Be Gone In The Dark" debuted this weekend, the story of the notorious Golden State Killer who terrorized multiple communities and was only tracked down because of DNA evidence. A local expert on the case, former Kern County sheriff's deputy Martin Downs, will appear on The Richard Beene Show Tuesday to discuss the case that started in Tulare County as the killer spread fear throughout the state. Tune in Tuesday at 1:30 for my conversation with Martin Downs.

 * ... 24 HOUR FITNESS: One of our city's hot spots for the homeless is near the intersection of Gosford Road and White Lane, home of the 24 Hour Fitness that closed a couple weeks ago. As soon as the company hauled away its exercise equipment, the building became a magnet for the homeless. I drove by there Saturday to find more than a dozen homeless making the building their new outposts. Two men were using a syringe to feed drugs into their veins while others had set up camps in the shade near the front entrance. And so it goes.

 * ... RIP NORIEGA'S: Anyone who spent any time in Noriega's has been mourning its demise, closed by its owners after Covid-19 dealt a death blow to family-style eating. These pictures of the restaurant and bar tell the story. The long bar is headed to the Kern County Museum to be on display where, unfortunately, it will be lost in the mountains of displays of other artifacts.

 * ... MEMORIES: Courtesy of the Kern County History Fans Facebook page, check out this old image of roads at the base of the Panorama Bluffs around 1911. The caption reads: "Shown are China Grade Road and Jewett Lane north toward the Kern River Bridge. I think this image is from the Californian of July 1, 1911 posted in anticipation of a major auto race. Of interest is the then-forestation of the general area now called Panorama Preserve."

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