Thursday, July 23, 2020

Leave it to the state of California to define what constitutes a "meal," is public education on the verge of a major overhaul in how it provides education, and Dylan Ryan makes the pages of an equestrian magazine

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.

 * ... FISH 'N CHIPS: The next time you belly up to your local bar, you better be ready to order dinner if you expect to be served that cold brew. That's the word from Gov. Gavin Newsom's office which has issued guidelines saying that drinks can only be served if they are accompanied by a full
dinner. And what is a full dinner? Well, according to the state, here are some items that fall short of being considered dinner: pretzels, nuts, popcorn, chips, appetizers (cheese sticks, fried calamari, chicken wings, egg rolls and cups of soup) and side dishes such as French fries, onion rings and small salads. Here, in all its wisdom, is the state's take on what constitutes a full meal: "... although multiple courses are not required to constitute a meal, in order for the patron to be served a meal there should be a sufficient quantity that would constitute the main course in a multiple-course dinner." Can you say nanny state?

* ... FUTURE OF EDUCATION: Is this pandemic triggering a potential rethinking of the way we look at public education? That's what Russell Johnson thinks as school systems grapple with the best way to provide quality education to children in the midst of Covid-19. Johnson, a former Bakersfield city councilman and planning commissioner who now runs Common Sense Consulting, predicted school systems may eventually evolve to a true hybrid system where students can decide what they want: online distance learning or in class learning, or a combination of the two. The technology is here and this would also appease parents who are fearful of violence or bullying at school or simply feel a more home schooling environment is best for their children. (file photo of Russell Johnson)

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "I’m not shy, I’m just really good at figuring out who’s worth talking to."

 * ... DYLAN RYAN: Congratulations to Bakersfield's own Dylan Ryan, an Occidental College senior who has been featured in Sidelines magazine, a publication devoted to horse enthusiasts and equestrian competition. The daughter of Action Sports owner Kerry Ryan, Dylan has ridden competitively since she was a child and now is a regular on the show circuit along with her thoroughbred, Bart. She is one of the few mixed race riders on the circuit, and credits her strong family and good genes (the Ryan family is full of fierce competitors in various sports) with her success. What was her motivation to keep riding? It was simple, she says. Dad Kerry Ryan told her she had to earn straight A's to compete, and that is exactly what she did.

 * ... SLO PROTEST: Did you hear about the Black Lives Matter protest in San Luis Obispo this week? The police allowed it after being assured by the organizer it would be peaceful, but that didn't turn out to be the case. The crowd marched straight to Highway 101 where they blocked traffic, and along the way smashed out the back window of a car that carried a toddler. The protest organizer was arrested. What would you do if you confronted a crowd like this?

 * ... MEMORIES: Just take a look at this picture of the Fox Theater under construction back in the day. Photo complements of the Kern County of Old Facebook page.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

The coronavirus comes roaring back and we brace for another disrupted fall, we lose an icon in Herb Walker, and Rep. Kevin McCarthy notes the passing of the great John Lewis

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.

 * ... COVID: A few things seem increasingly true as we head into the late summer and fall in the season of Covid: kids won't be returning to classes anytime soon, forget about fall college football,
there will be no live music shows and even the Kern County Fair is in jeopardy of being canceled. In April we had a cautious sense that we had this thing under control, and yet now hospitals across the country have reached capacity. More than two dozen states have halted or rolled back their reopening plans, and some cities have been hit so hard (Los Angeles, for one) that they be facing another total lock down. And to make matters worse: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say at least 40 percent of people who get the virus could show no symptoms, meaning thousands of Americans could be unknowingly still infecting others.

 * ... RIP HERB WALKER: Our community lost a local icon when Herb Walker passed away over the weekend. Walker was the tall, dapper founder of H. Walker's men's clothing, which has been clothing men in Kern County since 1971. His daughter Tracy, who now runs the store, said her father was recently diagnosed with lung cancer and he later contracted pneumonia. To make matters worse, toward the end he contracted Covid-19 and in the end it was just too much. Walker and his close friends were known for their love of golf, high spirited jokes and afternoon cocktails, and they would lighten a room by their presence. For years you could find Herb in the store, always looking sharp in his pressed golf shirts and casual leather loafers, the picture of the perfect host, greeting everyone with a warm smile and joyful twinkle that became his personal trademark.

 * ... SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK: "Facebook is a place that reminds you that everyone disappoints you."

 * ... JOHN LEWIS: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy joined the national outcry mourning the death of Georgia congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis, telling Twitter that Lewis "was an extraordinary man—a patriot in the truest sense. And he was my friend. One of the greatest honors of my life was to join him for multiple trips to Selma to march across the bridge. His life and legacy as a civil rights icon will endure for as long as America does."

 * ... DROWNING: There has been yet another drowning in the Kern River, this time in the relatively calm waters off Hart Park. Kern County Sheriff's officials say the latest victim was a 14-year-old girl who fell in the Kern River and did not survived. A helicopter located the girl after she was reported missing. She was located in the water but died at a local hospital.

 * ... MEMORIES:
I spotted this old picture of a traveling salesman on the Kern County of Old Facebook page with this caption: "This is my grandpa, Ira J Springer. He was a sewing machine salesman in the 20s, 30s and 40s. He would load his car with machines and sell them in the desert as far as Bishop. Notice the Padre Hotel in the background. If you inherited a treadle machine that was bought locally, chances are my grandpa was the dealer."