Sunday, December 13, 2020

Your Sunday-Monday Bakersfield Observed: A downtown restaurant burns and vagrants are suspected, and meanwhile restaurants across town are opening in defiance of the pandemic crackdown

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.

 * ... TINA-MARIE'S: It seemed like the whole town was grieving after a suspicious fire roared through Tina Marie's Downtown Cafe, engulfing the northeast corner of 20th and Chester in smoke and flames and leaving in ruin yet another local restaurant that was already dealing with the pandemic. These

pictures, taken by the owner of Tina Marie's and posted on her Facebook page, show the efforts that Bakersfield firemen put out trying to control the blaze. The fire broke out around 2 a.m. Saturday and then yet again around noon, leading investigators to believe that vagrants or the homeless may have had a hand in the two fires. To be sure, the homeless and vagrant problem downtown remains out of control, and restaurants and businesses like Tina Marie's are left to contend with vandalism and theft on their own, all the while trying to stay in business during the pandemic. When do you think our city leaders will wake up and deal with the downtown homeless problem in a serious manner? Its nice when they send condolences, but we are well beyond that point.

 * ... PUSHBACK: The statewide effort to "push back" against Gov. Newsom's pandemic crackdown is well under way, and it is an open secret that restaurants across Bakersfield are seating customers inside in defiance. To be sure, restaurants enjoy wide support among rank and file citizens, but that could turn on a dime if eateries let down their guard and become super spreader events. One by one, local restaurants are opening up and as one friend said about one prominent local restaurant: "I went there for pickup and the place was packed... inside... and not a mask in sight." My advice for restaurant owners: follow your heart but if you must open up, observe protocol like masks and social distancing, or risk losing the support you have.

 * ... COVID SHUTDOWN: Well here's a restaurant owner who is not happy with either Gov. Gavin Newsom or the Porterville City Council.

 * ... FINSTER FARMS: Enjoy this scene of the owner of Finster Farms tending to his garden while his daughters tag along for the ride.

 * ... MEMORIES: Lewis Jones posted this picture of a class from McKinley School back in the day. Said Lewis: "A flashback in time. This is a photo of my kindergarten class of September 23, 1944, at McKinley School. The school was located in Bakersfield, Ca. on 10th street between N St and O St. The teacher was Mrs/Ms Main. I am pictured in the 2nd Row, 4th from the left. Are any of my classmates out there."

 * ... MORE MEMORIES: And then there is this, a classic shot of Chester looking toward Truxtun and the old Beale Clock tower, thanks to the Art Moore and the Facebook group Kern County History Fans.

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