Columnists

  • Richard Beene

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

    JACKIE PARKS The Bakersfield television market has long been used as a stepping stone for local anchors and reporters to get some experience and trade it in for a better job elsewhere. They move in and out of the market so quickly that sometimes it’s hard to put a face with a local network. But

  • Each Memorial Day weekend, the Kern River Valley Art Association hosts the Sierra Arts & Crafts Festival at Circle Park in Kernville, drawing dozens of artists and vendors.

    STEFANI DIAS: Farmers markets grow downtown, art all around

    Downtown has hit a bumper crop of farmers markets. Along with the Hen’s Roost, which hosts a market featuring produce, local products and ready-to-eat snacks on Wednesday, the Volunteer Center recently unveiled a Thursday afternoon market. Brenda Ratliff, the center’s executive director, said the

  • Alt country singer-songwriter Ron Houston, pictured above at left, and the Sickstring Outlaws appear at Trout's honkytonk on Friday.

    MATT MUNOZ: These Outlaws steal wisely

    When asked how he’d describe the Sickstring Outlaws sound, the band’s wild front man didn’t hold back. “Take some David Allan Coe, some Merle and Willie with a dash of Hank 3 and put it in a blender, add some Pantera for heat and blend on high for 5 minutes, then pour you a big Mason jar full of

  • Third-grade students in Tracy Arambula's class at Noble Elementary react using emojis to a story about Buddy, a dog who's neglected. The students are part of a pilot project in Bakersfield to teach youngsters about animal welfare.

    LOIS HENRY: Kids and animals, the right combination for a better future

    If you’re my age and remember the TV commercial with the crying Indian standing in garbage, I’ll bet that, like me, you’d sooner stab yourself than toss a wrapper in the street. That’s what happens when you ingrain the right message on a young mind. It sticks. That’s what the creators of a new

  • Richard Beene

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

    GRADS Hats off to all the high school seniors who are about to graduate and set off into the world as young adults. From Liberty to Golden Valley to South to BHS, there are awards ceremonies, hugs, plenty of tears and rooms full of hope and dreams. I salute them all and I know that wherever the

  • Richard Beene

    BAKERSFIELD OBSERVED A blog about life, media, politics & people

    POLITICS: Funny what happens when politicians veer off their well scripted stump speeches. It happened last week when 16 of the candidates running for mayor attended a debate at Cal State Bakersfield. While fielding questions from the audience, they were asked if, as mayor, they would attend a

  • Californian contributing columnist Jose Gaspar.

    JOSE GASPAR: United Farm Workers going global

    Fifty-four years after first organizing farm workers in the fields of Kern County for better wages and working conditions, the United Farm Workers union is going global. That was one of the major revelations at the UFW's 20th Constitutional Convention, held over the last four days at the

  • An automatic sprinkler watering a bed of flowers in bright sunshine.

    Ask TBC: Will local water restrictions continue this year?

    Q: I know we’re still in a drought but California did get more rain last winter. What kinds of conservation restrictions can we expect from local water companies for the rest of the year? — Multiple calls from readers A: Californians used 24 percent less water cumulatively during the past 10

  • PETE TITTL: Beef, chicken co-exist in game-changing chimichanga

    Quick: What’s the second-best Mexican restaurant in the northeast? We all know who’s the top dog. Red Pepper is the Golden State Warriors of Mexican restaurants on that side of town — possibly anywhere in town. Always excellent and always busy. But if you find a seat impossible to get, you might

  • Texas singer-songwriter Guy Clark died May 17. Among his most memorably songs was  “L.A. Freeway": "If I can just get off of this L.A. freeway / Without getting killed or caught / I’d be down that road in a cloud of smoke / For some land that I ain’t bought.”  FACEBOOK

    HERB BENHAM: In Austin or Dublin, Guy Clark was the best

      Guy Clark died last week but we’re not here to get sad. There is enough sad around so let’s celebrate Clark’s contribution to our happiness and well-being. Exquisitely crafted songs were the long suit of this singer/songwriter from Texas. “Who is your favorite songwriter of all time?” I

  • Robert Price.

    SOUND OFF: Is Planned Parenthood now surgically transgendering kids?

    This feedback forum is designed to give readers a way to voice criticisms and compliments or ask questions about The Californian's news coverage. Your questions may be edited for space and clarity. Reader: As the Obama administration continues the Hellenization of our nation's schools,

  • HERB BENHAM: Salmon hands? Sue doesn't bite

    I recently asked Sue if she could wrap and put away a piece of smoked salmon that I’d had for lunch. It was a modest request. The sort that married people ask one another as a matter of course. “No,” she said. “I’d rather not.” I was surprised. Sue is helpful. She is known for being helpful.

  • Richard Beene

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

    SNAKES If you don't believe we are in the middle of rattlesnake season, just ask Carl Moreland. Said Moreland: “My English Pointer Tess suffered a rattlesnake bite at 7 a.m. today while walking along an auto track trail east of Morning Drive approximately half way between Panorama Drive and

  • María Elena Garcia (Gissel Vazquez, seated) returns to Puerto Rico is get in touch with her roots in "La Gringa," playing at the Dore Theatre at Cal State Bakersfield. The cast includes, from left, DeNae Brown,  Michael Allen Moore,  Daniel Aquino,  Jose Heredia and  Sabrina Corona.

    STEFANI DIAS: ‘La Gringa’ a journey of discovery

    The desire to fit in and figure out where you belong marks any young person’s journey into adulthood. So it’s a fitting selection that Cal State Bakersfield’s theater department explores that very journey with “La Gringa,” which opens Thursday. “La Gringa” follows Maria Elena Garcia (Gissel

  • Participants dress up at a past "matsuri," or Japanese Festival, at Cal State Bakersfield.

    CESAREO GARASA: It's a Japanese Festival made in Bakersfield

    Japanese influence is so ingrained in our modern pop-culture DNA that we tend to take it for granted. We drive Japanese cars, we eat Japanese foods, we play Japanese video games on Japanese consoles, and we even watched — or still watch — Japanese cartoons all on Japanese TV sets. Heck, I play on a

  • Wade Kotrla and Lindsay Lawrence outside Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas.

    HERB BENHAM: Shafter by way of Texas - not a bad background

    Shafter must have some bad but I haven’t run into it yet. Not yet and not on a recent Saturday night when we drove there for the engagement party of Wade Kotrla and Lindsay Lawrence. Some places feel right, as if they have harnessed the transformative power of the earth on top of which they are