• LOIS HENRY: When it comes to fireworks, some pay and some don't

    I want to talk about charities and fireworks. But first, pardon me while I go apoplectic over news that Kern County Court Commissioner Alisa Knight arbitrarily reduced fines from $1,000 to $480 on more than half (23 of 42) of the illegal fireworks citations issued by the Bakersfield Fire

  • Edilberto Guzman hand-tosses a pizza at California Pizza Kitchen in Bakersfield. It’s surprising how little space is devoted to pizzas on the menu — it’s a narrow column list on the inside, writes Californian restaurant critic Pete Tittl. It makes sense the chain has rebranded to emphasize its initials these days since the P — for pizza — is now no longer front and center.

    PETE TITTL: 'P' no longer the star at evolving California Pizza Kitchen

    Across the country, mid-priced restaurant chains have been hurting since the start of the last recession. Places like Olive Garden, Red Lobster, P.F. Chang’s, Applebee’s, Chili’s and others have watched consumers tighten spending or patronize locally owned establishments. In other words, they’ve

  • Charlotte Smith, Mackenzie Burdick, Hailey Cross and Rylee Popek tough it out in "Science Class" in a scene from "HIgh School Musical Jr.," playing thsi weekend at Bakersfield City School District Theater.

    STEFANI DIAS: Children take center stage this weekend

    It’s a good week for local theatergoers. Along with “Anything Goes,” in its final weekend at Stars Theatre Restaurant, and “The Princess of Pumpkin Center” at Gaslight Melodrama, a quartet of children’s productions take the stage this weekend. School doesn’t start until next month but it’s in

  • Aeromyth takes on the responsibility of getting Steven Tyler and the other rock gods of Aerosmith just right. Judge for yourself if they get it right at the Fake-A-Palooza festival Aug. 8 at the Kern County Fairgrounds.

    CESAREO GARASA: This tradeoff is even Steven

    How closely does the lead singer of Aeromyth resemble the lead singer of Aerosmith — as in the inimitable Spandex-clad, cushion-lipped, outrageous rock icon Steven Tyler? Enough to fool Tyler’s son, apparently. “One particular time, I was at the MGM in Vegas in the afternoon and Aerosmith was

  • Felix Adamo / The CalifornianRichard Beene

    BAKERSFIELD OBSERVED: A blog about life, media, politics and people

    ENERGY It looks like the long slump in the energy sector is not about to end anytime soon. The big oil service companies like Halliburton and Baker Hughes (they plan to merge) are signaling yet more layoffs as the price slump continues. Energy prices are down 20 percent over the past six weeks,

  • LOIS HENRY: More laws, yes. But they're a good thing for Kern's animals

    OK, don’t freak out. I’m writing about Kern County animal issues and this time (I make no promises for future agreement), I’m highly in favor of the county’s latest efforts. County Planning staffers are proposing what I think are good, common sense changes to Kern’s zoning ordinances that will

  • Three and a half years ago, two of Patty Reis’ children were murdered. “What I’m afraid of is forgetting the sound of their voices and being stirred by them, if I do,” she says.

    HERB BENHAM: Mother's steps to a 'new normal' after losing children

    She's had dreams. In one, her late son, David, brings home his F/A-18 and parks it in the family's driveway at their house in Rosedale. “Given that we're a Chevron family, he backed in, so that the jet would be facing outward when he wanted to leave," said Patty Reis,

  • Sushi Time server Hyewon Jhon is preparing to serve salmon sashimi at the restaurant on Coffee Road in Bakersfield. A new place in the northwest, Sushi Time offers a sense of joy in both the staff and the menu that will make it a worthy competitor to Love Sushi and Sushi Moon on that side of town. Though it’s new, it’s off to an impressive start in so many areas.

    PETE TITTL: Anytime is Sushi Time with fish this fresh

    It’s great when a sushi restaurant shows flair and imagination, particularly in the rolls and the names of the rolls. But what’s even more important, crucial really, is the freshness of the fish. Sushi Time, a new place in the northwest, has that part down pat, and there’s a sense of joy in both

  • Bakersfield OTR, which originated in Ohio, just added a location in Charlotte, N.C., bringing the chain's total restaurants to five. When will one come to the actual Bakersfeld?

    THE DISH: New Craft Tap House ready to pour it on

    Work is continuing at the old Garden Spot on Truxtun Avenue to create Craft Tap House, a brew pub offering no fewer than 50 craft beers with food. Partners on the project are Mike Miller, owner of Amestoy’s on the Hill; Imbibe owner Dave Dodd; Collin Reimer, co-owner of Prime Cut, J&M’s and

  • Californian contributing columnist Steve Flores.

    STEVE FLORES: Father and son bond on trip down Highway 1

    It was five years ago that I penned a story of my 1969 summer of youthful exploits with my high school friend Tom Molinar. Tom and I were 19 when we went on a week-long adventure down the Pacific Coast Highway. No prearranged destinations were planned. Our trip started in Avila and ended in San

  • The debut CD by Bakersfield hip-hop duo King Midas Clique is available now.

    MATT MUNOZ: Hip-hop duo Midas going for the gold

    King Midas Clique, Bakersfield’s latest hip-hop collaboration, could only be the work of fate. The duo of Eddie Brock and Alec “Doc” Holliday were not plucked from the sea of local lyricists and beat makers; these are seasoned pros eager to get their self-titled debut to fans of the genre. “Well,

  • HERB BENHAM: Spots, restaurants and other tough monkeys

    The column on sanding the spot off a pair of brown slacks with 40-grit sand paper when all else failed provoked several responses. Penelope B, former Arvin resident now living in Salem, Ore., suggests Grandma’s Secret Spot Remover: “Just to let you know, this stuff works. You can find it at Jo-

  • Bakersfield Californian CEO Richard Beene.

    BAKERSFIELD OBSERVED: A blog about life, media, politics and people

    WEATHER What a glorious, and unusual, weekend of weather. It’s always the talk of the town here when it rains, but sprinkle in some wind, lightning and powerful thunderstorms and it was an evening to remember. I spotted some trees down, but the southern valley came out relatively unscathed. Folks

  • Californian contributing columnist Jose Gaspar.

    JOSE GASPAR: Whatever happened with that? I'll tell you

    Ever read a news story or column about a particular subject that interests you and then later wonder, "Hey, whatever happened about that?" I know I have, and I confess that sometimes we in the media do not always keep readers and viewers updated on something we should. There have been

  • HERB BENHAM: Forget stone-washed; how about sanded pants?

    The new pants from Banana Republic have a spot on them. They were a birthday gift two months ago. The pants are chocolate Lab brown, stylish and have a nice crease running up the middle. How did that happen? I ate a tin of sardines in olive oil two straight days for lunch but I leaned way over the