1 of 10

Buy Photo

Felix Adamo / The Californian

Raymond Russell tip-toes to take a look over the wall that now blocks easy access from the Amberton neighborhood, where he and his family live, to Stockdale Estates.

2 of 10

Buy Photo

Courtesy James Parham.

Bakersfield legless lizard (anniella grinnelli). This species is only found in the southern San Joaquin Valley and the Carrizo Plain. It can be distinguished from all other legless lizards by its purple belly. The former range has been fragmented by conversion of much of the valley to agriculture. Small populations still could be found in undeveloped vacant lots within the city limits of Bakersfield, but at least two of the sites were developed in 2006.

3 of 10

Buy Photo

Courtesy Joe Krathwohl

Queen Victoria, or Vicky for short, an 18-year-old Andean condor owned by Las Vegas animal handler Joe Krathwohl, takes the perch without incident at a rehearsal in preparation for a somewhat more problematic exhibition at a Bakersfield Condors game held at Rabobank Arena.

4 of 10

Buy Photo

Felix Adamo / The Californian

Bottom's Up Espresso will open soon at the corner of Stockdale Highway and Allen Road.

5 of 10

Buy Photo

Felix Adamo / The Californian

The site of the old Bakersfield Brewing Co. on Union Avenue, just south of Highway 178.

6 of 10

Buy Photo

Holly Chambers

Linda Bortell, left, pictured with her son Adam Tardy and Holly Chambers, the Bakersfield surrogate who gave birth to Adam. Bortell and her family remain close to Chambers more than seven years after Adam was born. “I so wanted her to feel involved in his life,” Bortell said.

7 of 10

Buy Photo

Autumn Parry / The Californian

Erica Vargas recites her vows to her now-wife, Litcatzin Yoakum, outside of Kern County clerk's office.

8 of 10

Buy Photo

Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

Thirteen women were allowed to stay in the lobby of Congressman Kevin McCarthy's office in Bakersfield after the office closed one evening in November. The women had vowed not to leave the office until McCarthy met with them and listened to their demands for immigration reform. After the office closed, the protesters were allowed to stay in the lobby where two BPD officers were stationed.

9 of 10

Buy Photo

Alex Horvath /The Californian

Sir Richard Branson celebrates the successful test flight of the SpaceShipTwo rocket in Mojave, marking the first time SpaceShipTwo's rocket motor ignited and flew under its own power, breaking the sound barrier.

10 of 10

Buy Photo

Michael Fagans / The Californian

Author Gerald Haslam has a twinkle in his eye as he listens to a question about his work in the living room of his home in Penngrove.

Yes, they said it. We couldn't believe it, but they did. Here are some of the best quotes we captured from locals in 2013:

"So I tossed the diaper inside."

-- An anonymous "Esther," explaining what she did with the freshly soiled diaper she found on a northeast Bakersfield curb, deposited there minutes earlier by inconsiderate people who had just walked away from their parked car -- and left their sun roof open.

"It makes me feel like a resident of Berlin, when they put up the Berlin Wall. You suddenly realize how important free movement is. It almost defines us."

-- Twenty-year Amberton resident Ray Firkins in June, discussing homeowner Michael Hansen's decision to have a wall built dividing his Stockdale Estates cul-de-sac from one in Amberton.

"Sometimes I have to pinch myself -- this is my work. There really is a purple-bellied Bakersfield legless lizard."

-- James Parham, assistant professor of geology at Cal State Fullerton, in September, after he co-authored a journal piece documenting four new species of legless lizards, including three in Kern County.

"I just couldn't justify turning down that big paycheck for just a few weeks' work twice a year. So I kept whoring myself out to that cartoon donkey."

-- Country music giant Buck Owens, on his mixed feelings about "Hee Haw," in his posthumous autobiography, "Buck 'Em," published in November.

Dispatcher: "Is there anyone that's willing to help this lady and not let her die?"

Caller: "Um, not at this time."

-- Bakersfield dispatcher Tracey Halvorson pleading with an employee -- who also identified herself as a nurse -- at Glennwood Gardens' independent living community to provide CPR to an 87-year-old woman.

"Vicky was not hurt. She was not stressed. The only one that got hurt was the idiot who brought the condor."

-- Joe Krathwohl, known as the Birdman of Las Vegas, after temporarily losing control of Queen Victoria, his 18-year-old Andean condor, in front of thousands of fans at a Bakersfield Condors game -- and then slipping on the ice and performing an unintended pratfall.

"I honestly don't see any problem with it. It's not a sexual thing. I don't think that they would have a problem going to the beach and seeing women in their bikinis."

-- Bottom's Up Espresso area manager Amber McCulley, in November, explaining why the chain's newest location across the street from Bakersfield Christian High School is no big deal.

"Very few subjects really excite me like cogeneration and biomass."

-- Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez in October, after touring a power plant north of Bakersfield

"My mom was not feeling well and she was disoriented, so (hospital staff) would constantly ask her, 'Who are you, where are you at and why are you here?' So she was getting pretty good at her name and pretty good at KMC, but one time they asked her, 'Mrs. Nilon, why are you here?' and she said, 'Well, my son's the CEO and you need the business.'"

-- County Administrative Officer John Nilon speaking about his 85-year-old mother's stay at Kern Medical Center while he was interim CEO of the county public hospital

"You can't put a price on that. It speaks for your town and your town's personality."

-- Bakersfield resident Charles Conner in June, on the value of the 101-year-old, abandoned Bakersfield Brewing Co. building on Union Avenue south of Highway 178. It was demolished in December.

"We fell substantially short of the goal required to build a stadium that would be successful. A new stadium appears to be very unlikely."

-- Then-Bakersfield Blaze owners Gene Voiland and Chad Hathaway, in October, announcing they could not raise enough money to build a new baseball stadium.

"He was searching for his place in the world, but his life got cut short and now I'll never know the kind of man he would have become."

-- Gail Swartz, mother of murder victim Evan Broderick, who was stabbed to death in the exercise yard of the California Correctional Institution in Tehachapi.

"We believe that Internet cafes, as a general rule, are just a front for conducting illegal gambling acts."

-- City Attorney Ginny Gennaro, in July, discussing Internet cafes with the Bakersfield City Council's Safe Neighborhoods and Community Relations Committee.

"My tag line is he's biologically mine, but he's baked in Bakersfield."

-- Pasadena-area resident Linda Bortell talking about her biological son Adam, who was born by Holly Chambers, a Bakersfield woman who acted as a surrogate.

"I think if I were to use the language I want to use to describe this case, I'd be found in contempt of court and thrown out of here."

-- Defense attorney Arturo Revelo during his closing argument in the case of an admitted drug dealer charged with kidnapping.

"This is all about respecting and honoring all human life. Not honoring all creeds and all viewpoints ... .We have Wicca, there are a lot of things around, and I will recognize them, but I won't honor and respect them. And they don't honor and respect my perspective, but I have the right to exist."

-- Councilwoman Jacquie Sullivan, in October, explaining why she wanted part of the city's Human Life Resolution reading "Whereas, the City of Bakersfield respects and honors all viewpoints, religions, and creeds ..." changed -- replacing "respects and honors" with the less reverential "recognizes."

"I think it's the subject du jour. Six months from now, there will be something else we'll be talking about, and no one will remember what this is."

-- Councilman Terry Maxwell, in September, discussing how popular the proposed Human Life Ordinance had become during the public statements portions of Bakersfield City Council meetings.

"It is a one-way ratchet that always moves in diminishing my rights as a free citizen."

-- Defense attorney Michael C. Lukehart's response to the U.S. Supreme Court's June ruling that police can continue to take DNA samples without a search warrant from people they arrest. He said the court's decision marks the further erosion of individual rights.

"They are the government, but they don't know what to do. I don't see anybody following it. You're worse than the communists. You're a dictator. Democracy is voting."

-- Best Herbs Collective owner Bill Bui, in November, taking the city to task for its medical marijuana stance, and not putting the issue to a public vote.

"Because it doesn't exist. It's like saying you're opposed to unicorns."

-- Chad Vegas, member of the Kern High School District board of trustees and pastor of Bakersfield's Sovereign Grace Church, on why he's not technically an opponent of same-sex marriage.

"Eventually it's going to take from Tom all that he ever was, and all that he would have been."

-- Dallas-based attorney Leon Russell, discussing the brain injury Thomas Gutcher suffered in a May 20, 2008, crash.

"My nephew got a life sentence, not a death sentence, and this is a potential death sentence. If he comes down with (valley fever), somebody's got to be accountable."

-- Bay area resident Gilbert Robledo on his nephew being transferred to Pleasant Valley prison, where the valley fever rates among prisoners is 1,000 times higher than among the rest of Californians.

"I can't wait to spend our lives together, grow old together and raise these crazy kids together."

-- Erica Vargas to her wife, Litcatzin Yoakum, as the couple became the first same-sex pair to be married on July 1 following the dissolution of Proposition 8.

"Go fix that place."

-- Supervisor Leticia Perez, speaking to new Kern Medical Center CEO Russell Judd about the county's financially troubled hospital.

If I had known from the beginning I wouldn't have back teeth, I never would have done it."

-- Sheila Rios on the dental work she received from Bakersfield prosthodontist Robert Tupac. The Dental Board of California accused Tupac of gross negligence for his treatment of Rios and another patient.

"If the sun's up, we'll be cleaning."

-- Bakersfield Homeless Shelter Chief Executive Officer Louis Gill, talking about homeless crews cleaning up Bakersfield freeways.

"Police were there, standing in front of the door, but the doors weren't really locked. The police were polite and there was no confrontation between the police or the group."

-- Maria Machuca, spokeswoman for the United Farm Workers of America in November, one day after the UFW distributed a press release talking about "Bakersfield police intimidating and locking in more than a dozen...activists and several members of the press inside (Congressman Kevin) McCarthy's office."

"The chicken people won me over. I guess I'm a chicken person."

-- Bakersfield City Council member Jacquie Sullivan, speaking in support of an ordinance that would have allowed backyard chicken coops in Bakersfield.

"Somebody comes here and you say, 'OK now you have to cover trauma 24/7 and you never get to see your family and you'll never get to eat again, lunch again, but you're gonna make a million dollars, ' they're gonna say, 'Well, OK, that might be worth it."

-- Lisa Ohlfest, administrator of Kern Medical Center's clinics and physician practices, on why compensating KMC doctors (who are some of the highest paid county employees in the state) based on productivity helps recruit physicians.

"Welcome to the world's largest gathering, ever, of future astronauts."

-- Virgin Galactic founder Sir Richard Branson , speaking at Mojave Air and Space Port in September to hundreds of customers who have reserved seats on SpaceShipTwo, widely expected to become the world's first spacecraft for suborbital space tourists.

"We call these no-harm, no-foul bears."

-- Janice Mackey, a spokeswoman with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, after a young bear entered the City in the Hills neighborhood in northeast Bakersfield, but didn't behave aggressively or cause property damage.

"I found it! I found it!"

-- Julian Dorado, moments after digging up his wife, Lucinda's, diamond engagement ring from the bottom of a muddy lake at Hart Park -- four years after it was lost.

"It's funny how you fall apart a piece at a time."

-- Gerald Haslam, 76, an Oildale native who has written a number of award-winning novels, short story collections and non-fiction books, on the inexorable process of growing older.