Thursday, December 3, 2020

A Staten Island bar becomes a focal point over the fight to open restaurants, Hodel's on Olive Drive closes temporarily, and the Lady Runners basketball team picks up a win over Cal Berkeley

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.

 * ... BAR WATCH: Keep your eye on the new flash point over coronavirus restrictions: Mac's Public

House bar on Staten Island. The bar has been the scene of lively protests since the bar manager was arrested this week for failing to comply with state restrictions. Protesters descended on the eatery in a graphic reflection of the national anxiety of state and local governments imposing restrictions while elected officials like California Gov. Gavin Newsom flaunt them themselves. Locally, the "push back" movement is also gaining momentum as business owners face the crippling reality to trying to run a business in a very unstable environment. Already some noted local restaurants, including Hodel's, have decided to suspend operations until things become clearer.

 * ... HODEL'S: Hodel's on Olive Drive has been a mainstay in the Bakersfield restaurant scene for decades. Generations of families have eaten there, hundreds of kids worked there as their first job and the family has been generous in its donations to non-profits and local sports teams. It was heart-breaking then, when I chatted with Don Hodel on KERN NewsTalk 96.1 FM and he explained why the restaurant is closing for a few months to ride out the pandemic. So much is up in the air, he told me: the future of buffets in the restaurant business, how long it will be before the catering business rebounds and most of all when will the industry return to some semblance of normalcy. Listen to my interview with Don Hodel here by going to under "blogs."

 * ... SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK: From the Facebook page of my friend Kelly Gafford Gladden comes this: "Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect."

 * ... LADY RUNNERS: Congratulations to the CSUB women's basketball team that kicked off the pandemic plagued new season with a win over PAC-10 rival Cal Berkeley. The final: Runners 60, Cal 52. The man, meanwhile, kicked off their season with a close loss to Santa Clara.

 * ... CSUB RUNNERS: Check out this classic old picture of the first CSUB men's basketball team back in 1971. Jennifer Self, head of communications at the campus, posted the pictures as part of her informative daily roundup "Things to Know" of news from the university. Self writes: "The team, which had no home court, practiced at Lakeside School and local high schools. Despite these initial challenges, head coach Jim Larson - just 30 years old - assembled a quality roster that included team captain Odis Ward, co-captain Walter Clapp, Carl Toney, Ken Shiloh, Richard Ross, Robert Rodriguez, Ellis Porter, Jimmy Jones, Sean Baxter, Howard Bell, Rodger Carr, Kenny Pauls, Bob Kelly and James Anderson."

 * ... MEMORIES: Take a look at this old picture, circa 1890, on 19th Street from L Street looking west. Thanks to the Kern County of Old Facebook page for this one.