Thursday, July 16, 2020

Defendants in a Father Craig suit file an appeal, Bakersfield makes a list of "fat" cities and a Golden Eagle Hawk makes a spectacular flight back into the wild

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 company or publication.

 * ... FATHER CRAIG: There's been a development in legal battle between Monsignor Craig Harrison and a critic and an organization he sued after Harrison was removed from his post because of allegations he may have molested young men and boys over the course of his career. Lawyers for the Roman
Catholic Faithful and Stephen Brady filed an appeal this week asking the Fifth District Court of Appeal to reverse a lower court decision that denied an anti-SLAPP motion because Harrison was not a public figure. Attorney Paul Jonna argued that Harrison's high standing in the community and frequent appearances in the media rendered him a public figure by any standard in Kern County, and that Brady had never defamed Harrison in any of his statements. The 71-page appeal graphically details allegations from six or more men who claimed Harrison subjected them to both emotional and sexual abuse while Harrison served as a priest in Merced, Firebaugh and Bakersfield. Only one of the accusers, a Benedictine monk who went by the name Brother Gilligan, was named in the report. Gilligan - his real name is Ryan Dixon - has also been sued by Harrison. Jonna is asking the court to reconsider throwing out Harrison's lawsuit because he is a public figure and has engaged in a "pattern of rank intimidation against those who speak against him. He's sued a victim, an investigator, and his own diocese - and enlisted his brother to engage in a campaign of harassment." (file photo of Stephen Brady and Harrison)

* ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Everything that makes me happy either gives me cancer or makes me fat."

 * ... WORST CITY: Did you catch the story going around the internet showing the "worst city" in every state? Well you guessed it, Bakersfield is listed as the "worst" city in California. A puzzling list for sure and few would argue there are plenty of "worst" cities even in Kern County much less the state.

 * ... AND WE ARE FAT, TOO: Maybe one of the reasons we rank so low on the list of desirable cities is because we are collectively grossly overweight. That's the word from The American College of Sports Medicine and the Anthem Foundation that says Bakersfield came in a dismal 99th out of 100 cities in terms of exercise and eating well. In case you care, Arlington, Va. ranked best among the cities examined and dead last, right behind us, was Oklahoma City, Okla.

* ... GOLDEN EAGLE: There was a magnificent small ceremony out at Wind Wolves Preserve this week when a Golden Eagle hawk was released back into the wild after recovering from an injury. The bird was released in a part of the 93.000-acre preserve that is off limits to visitors, but these pictures are stunning.

 * ... MEMORIES: This week we feature a couple of old hotels from back in the day. This one is of the old F.M. Noriega Hotel, built in 1893 located at 525 Sumner Street. The original name was the Ibaria Hotel.

 * ... MORE MEMORIES: And then there is this old photo of the El Tejon Hotel, compliments of the Kern County History Fans' Facesbook page.

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