Thursday, March 12, 2020

A CSUB economic predicts the coronavirus will trigger a recession, Grimmway Farms celebrates 50 years in business and Bishop Joseph Brennan makes an appearance at St Francis no less

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.

 * ... CORONAVIRUS: Will the coronavirus plunge the United States into a recession? CSUB
economics professor Dr. Richard Gearhart believes it will, and it's hard to argue against when you look at the economic hit we are taking as we respond to the virus. CSUB has suspended classes for the rest of the semester, Disneyland has closed, Broadway shows have shuttered, the NCAA has canceled the men's and women's college basketball tournament known as March Madness, the NBA and NHL seasons have been suspended, major league baseball delayed the start of spring training, the Bakersfield Tennis Open has been canceled and there will be no more audiences at hit TV show recordings like Jeopardy!, Wheel of Fortune and The Ellen Show. Can the closing of public elementary and high schools be far behind? What about all the charity events and walks that start in the spring? What about high school and college graduations? How will this affect the homeless and their encampments? All signs point to a tough few months ahead of us, so stay calm, and stay tuned.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "The wage gap isn't real. Men just tend to go for higher paying jobs, like doctor, engineer and CEO. Whereas women go for lower paying jobs like female doctor, female engineer and female CEO."

 * ... GRIMMWAY FARMS: Grimmway Farms is celebrating its 50th anniversary, one of the truly inspiring local stories of two brothers (Rob and Bob Grimm) who started hawking corn on street corners in Anaheim and went on to build what is now the nation's largest carrot producer. The Grimms have both died but CEO Jeff Huckaby is now at the helm and says Grimmway is weathering the coronavirus scare quite nicely. Orders for Grimmway's line of organic produce sold under the Cal-Organic brand are up, and fully 50 percent of all of Grimmway's business now comes from organic produce. The company employs some 7,000 people in seven states and ships product to 20 countries.

 * ... BISHOP BRENNAN:  The Kern County Catholic Prayer breakfast was held this week, featuring an address by Bishop Joseph Brennan from the Diocese of Fresno. The irony in the room was rich: here was the bishop who will make the final decision on the fate of Monsignor Craig Harrison, who has been accused by multiple men of sexually molesting them dating back to the late 1980s. Some Father Craig supporters boycotted the event although there was a robust turnout nonetheless. And this is the same bishop whose diocese is being sued by Father Craig for defamation. Finally, the event was held in the Monsignor Craig Harrison Youth Center at St. Francis. If Harrison is kicked out of the church, that signage will undoubtedly come down. 

 * ... SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK: A sign of the times.

* ... MEMORIES: Workers attend to the wreckage of the Porche Spider that James Dean was driving when he lost control and went off the road on Highway 46, dying at the scene.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Thanks to the new sales tax the city of Bakersfield is flush with cash, Bob Price takes his brand to KGET, an explosion of homeless along the bike path and the pigs that live amongst us

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.

 * ... FLUSH WITH CASH: So did you read the city is suddenly flush with cash? That's right, reporter Sam Morgan reported in The Californian that even the most optimistic predictions of how
much money the new sales tax would generate have been exceeded. "The good financial fortunes have left city officials with the unique problem of needing to find new projects to fund," Morgan wrote.

 * ... ROBERT PRICE: It has been two weeks since Bob Price left The Californian after 30 years and started a new gig at KGET. He hit the ground running so to speak, appearing on air almost immediately in a coat and tie no less (inside joke for those of us who worked with Bob) and by my estimation he has been a smash hit. Not because he was fluid and graceful and knowledgeable on the air (that will undoubtedly come later) but rather because he was himself. The genius in KGET hiring Bob was exactly that: they hired the iconic Bob Price, rarely cranky, occasionally disheveled, but always self deprecating, funny and lovable. All of that TV smoothness will have to come later, but for now KGET should pride itself in adding a valuable brand to its lineup of talent. Tune in and enjoy the show.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "I sneezed in Costco today and it was the most attention I have gotten in the past year."

 * ... HOMELESS: Despite the best efforts of the city, which has now thrown a cool couple million dollars into trying to control the homeless explosion, the situation on the ground is out of control. All along the banks of the dry Kern River, from Beach Park out to Manor, I counted at least a dozen homeless encampments, some with multiple tents replete with campfires, vicious dogs and trash - piles of trash. Think back a few years ago when all the improvements were made along the river-shade areas, viewing stations, new paths and infrastructure. Today, the homeless own the entire riverbank, their dogs running loose and their trash extending for miles. And so it goes,

 * ... TRASH: Don't get me started on the people who treat our community like their own trash receptacle. Like whoever used Round Mountain Road to unceremoniously dump computers, computer screens, CPUs, printers and keyboards, strewn across the road.

 * ... CAMELLIA SHOW: The annual Camellia Show was held this weekend at the Bakersfield Racquet Club, drawing entries from across the state and dozens of entries locally. There are some 32,000 varieties of camellias, and here are a few of them.

 * ... GARDNER FIELD: Check out this Army training flight over Taft during War War II when Gardner Field (along with Minter Field) trained thousands of pilots for the war. Photo compliments of the Kern County of Old Facebook page.

 * ... MEMORIES: I spotted this old photo on the Kern County of Old Facebook page. Who remembers it?