Thursday, June 4, 2020

We open the airways to talk about race in America, Jacquie Sullivan decides not to seek another term on the City Council, and Uricchio's Trattoria and Pyrenees Cafe get ready to reopen for table service

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.

 * ... RACE AND KERN COUNTY:  Michael Bowers remembers being questioned by police as a young man. Keith Wolaridge is seized by utter fear when he spots he is being followed by a police
car. Leticia Perez looks at birth rates, demographics and civic engagement and reminds us that Kern County's future will look far different than its past. And Sheriff Donny Youngblood pulls no punches in condemning the officers involved in the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. These are just a smattering of the comments made over two days when I hosted these four people for a conversation on race on The Richard Beene Show (KERN NewsTalk 96.1 FM). Check out these links to my conversations with Bowers and Wolaridge, and with Perez and Youngblood.

 * ... JACQUIE SULLIVAN: Jacquie Sullivan will not be seeking reelection, ending a long 25 career on the Bakersfield City Council. She becomes the second council person to say they won't seek a new term, joining Ward 1's Willie Rivera who made a similar announcement last week. It's been a while since two open seats appeared on the ballot, and it could dramatically alter the coalitions on the council. Meanwhile, fellow Councilman Bruce Freeman said he would seek another term.

 * ... STEVE TEGLIA: Breaking news here from Lois Henry, chief executive officer of SJVWATER.ORG, a non profit devoting to covering California Water issues: Steve Teglia, a long time Assistant City Manager of the City of Bakersfield, has formally taken over the reins of the Kern Delta Water District. He was appointed to the position to replace retiring Mark Mulkay on May 16 and officially took over on Monday, June 1. “This is a great move for Kern Delta and we expect Mr. Teglia to lead this district into the future,” Mulkay wrote in an email Tuesday. “I hope that the water community will accept Mr. Teglia and treat him with the patience and professionalism in which I have been for the past 27 years.” Mulkay will continue working for Kern Delta as its Water Resources Manager, according to the email.

 * ... PYRENEES: The iconic Pyrenees Cafe in old town Kern will be reopening this weekend, and you can bet its legions of fans will make it a "standing room only" event. Pyrenees owners Rod and Julie Crawford said they spent the past month doing improvements and making sure the restaurant meets health and safety guidelines.

 * ... URICCHIO'S TRATTORIA: Meanwhile, Uricchio's Trattoria will return to in-house dining next Tuesday, according to owner Claire Porter. Claire told me the dining room will hold a "soft opening" this weekend  to see how it goes in dining rooms with fewer tables and no seats at the bar. The new hours will have Uricchio's closed Sunday and Monday.

 * ... PROTESTS IN PICTURES: With my compliments to all the folks around town who captured these images, a sampling of the protests around town this past weekend.

 * ... MEMORIES: Pictures of wrecks on the old Grapevine connecting Bakersfield with Los Angeles in the years before Interstate 5 was built.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Protesters hit the Bakersfield streets both nights this weekend under a heavy police presence, Cheryl Scott to head the Bakersfield College Foundation and homecoming for two young Bakersfield lads

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.

 * ... PROTESTS: Where were you during the weekend protests downtown against the death of George Floyd? I watched some of the coverage online and to my surprise I
received a text message around 10 p.m. Friday from my work colleague J.R. Flores saying he was with the demonstrators and they were marching into Westchester, where I live. Never one to miss the drama, I hurried down to 21st Street to catch a couple hundred people both in cars and on foot, honking horns, holding signs and chanting as Bakersfield police kept a respectful distance. Somewhere along the way, someone busted out a window at Bonnie's Best sandwich shop in 21st Street, but otherwise the protest seemed peaceful. (photos by JR Flores)

 * ... ANGELO FRAZIER: One of the witnesses to both nights of protests was Pastor Angelo Frazier of Riverlakes Community Church. Frazier used his time to walk between the police and the protesters urging calm, and noted he was disheartened by the defacing of the police memorial in front of the police station. Frazier will appear on The Richard Beene Show on (KERN NewsTalk 96.1 FM) Monday at 2:30 p.m. to talk about the protests. (photos courtesy of Angelo Frazier)

* ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "If you are looting in Minneapolis please grab me an air fryer."

 * ... HOMECOMING: I ran into a couple of young friends on a bike ride this weekend on the road to Woody. Local boy Tyler Williams, a cycling phenom who has raced professionally across the world, was in town on personal business and hit the road for a quick 50-mile ride with Zach Griffin and a few others. Williams is married to another local product, Brea Williams, and they are expecting their first child in October. The couple live in Santa Rosa where Tyler trains with California-based cycling team and Bree is a nurse at the Santa Rosa Hospital. Also on the ride was Zane Adamo, a Bakersfield High graduate who is the son of Felix and Teresa Adamo. Felix is a world class photographer who is retired from The Bakersfield Californian and Teresa is also a journalist who is now writing children's books. Zane told me he was "walking in my father's footsteps" and is devoting his life to professional photography. (File pictures below of the Williams and Adamo)

 * ... CHERYL SCOTT: Congratulations to Cheryl Scott who has been appointed executive director of the Bakersfield College Foundation. Scott will direct all fundraising and community outreach and will report directly to college President Sonya Christian. Since 2005 Scott has been vice president of the Kern Economic Development Corp.

 * ... CLEROU: I spotted these photos on the Historic Union Cemetery Facebook page. A caption read: "Colonel Joe Clerou served his country with honor. The youngest of eight children of Louis and Lucie Clerou. After graduating from the University of San Francisco, Joe enlisted into the Marine Corps in 1941. During World War II he was involved in battles of Guadalcanal , Tarawa, Saipan, Tinian, and Okinawa. After World War II he was called back for the Korean War. After proudly serving his country Colonel Joe Clerou married his love Shirley Clerou and had six children and went into the tire business, working at Clerou Tire. Thank you for your service Colonel Joe Clerou 1919 - 2003