Sunday, March 14, 2021

The newly vaccinated wake up and head out to dine after a year of hunkering down, a coalition vaccinates farmworkers in Delano and Greyhound wants to move to the Amtrak station

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.

 * ... OUT AND ABOUT: Were you among those who go out this weekend, perhaps taking in dinner at a local restaurant, after a year of hunkering down? It was the thing to do: gather up friends who have been vaccinated and hit the town, or at the very least head to an intimate dinner party. One thing is for sure: our local 

eateries are on fire: big crowds were spotted at Mexicali and the Starlite Lounge and other popular local restaurants throughout the city. To be sure Covid is not behind us, but the level of confidence has grown where newly vaccinated couples are braving the elements to dine out. 

 * ... WHAT WE WILL MISS: For sure there will be things we will miss about hunkering down at home: endless days working in T-shirts and pajamas, family time that found a new rhythm during the lockdown, home cooking and a reluctant relaxation that came with the knowledge that you had no where to go but home. In his Sunday piece in The Bakersfield Californian, columnist Bob Price put it this way: "Some things we'll hang on to," he noted. "Home gyms, hiking, garage ping pong, cooking, board games. Appreciation for local small businesses. The willingness to sacrifice."

 * ... GOOD NEWS: The Greyhound bus station downtown has always been an eyesore: dirty, neglected and a gathering spot for newly released prisoners. But now, after years of effort, it looks like Greyhound is finally packing up its bags and leaving for greener pastures. This week, the City Council at its Wednesday  will consider a deal that would allow Greyhound to lease space at the Amtrak Station. "Due to an evolving business climate, Greyhound staff determined they no longer have a need for a facility of that size. City staff determined the relocation of Greyhound bus services to the existing city-owned Amtrak Station site achieves various major objectives of the City Council," according to a city memo. The property, located at G and 18th streets, is ideal for a multi purpose facility to compliment the Padre Hotel and the Bitwise building.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "I keep changing the wifi password to make sure that my wife always needs me."

 * ... KATIE BARTON: Katie Barton has been named general manager for American General Media's group of radio stations after serving as director of sales and marketing. The appointment of Barton was part of AGM's move to shuffle leadership responsibilities for its stations in California and New Mexico. In addition Rich Watson, currently general manager of AGM's properties in the Santa Maria area, has been appointed regional manager of AGM California, overseeing the station groups in Bakersfield, San Louis Obispo and Santa Maria.


 * ... COVID VACCINATIONS: Hats off to local defense attorney David Torres and other volunteers who spent their Saturday coordinating Covid vaccines for farmworkers. In all, five groups came together to organize a mass vaccination site in Delano: the United Farm Workers, the UFW Foundation, the Cesar Chavez Foundation, the Latino COVID Task Force and the County of Kern. Torres was among the volunteers who spent their day making sure vaccinations reached those who work in the fields.

 * ... MEMORIES: Check out this shot of the coffee shop of the old Royal Palms Motel around 1965. Compliments of the Kern County of Old Facebook page.

 * ... MORE MEMORIES: The Kern County of Old page also served up this nugget, date uncertain, of police officers parading with their canines.

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