Nearly every time I see Randy Martin, he cuffs me around for not mentioning Covenant Coffee when Starbucks seems to percolate much too frequently in columns. Martin is a ball of fire. He is the CEO of Covenant Community Services, which operates Covenant Coffee in the old Bank of America building in Oildale. CCS (among other things) helps youth transition from foster homes to the adult world by teaching them life, work and people skills.

If not for people like Martin and his devoted crew, these kids might fall off the edge of the world.

I'd never been to Covenant, not because I don't like Randy or Oildale (Oildale has texture), but it's not in my flight path.

A couple of weeks ago, I met his crew at the Covenant Coffee shop. I was stunned. It's beautiful -- cozy with sofas, comfortable chairs and tables and a giant roasting machine near the entrance. You could drop this place into Carmel, Berkeley, Newport Beach, Sausalito or Paris.

There is a chance that Covenant might be taking over the coffee shop at the Bakersfield Racquet Club, which would be a boon for its fans throughout town.


Finally, rain last Thursday. We can't complain about 75-degree days, clear, sunny, but you almost feel guilty. The trees have totally been head faked. The flowering pear trees are in bloom. It seems early. My sweet peas aren't that far from blooming, either.

That was the most unusual January I can remember.


Last week, I had a chili boat from Moo Creamery with real meat chili ladled over a happy bed of Fritos. It was comfort food and a satisfying treat.

Moo does a great job. I'd like to know two people who work harder than Richard and Jessica Yoshimura. They routinely work 100-hour-plus weeks (as do some of their staffers, including floor manager Elisa Carlson). The food is quite good. Moo appears to have overcome its access challenges, having lost a direct entrance and exit from Truxtun.


Bronson Wheelan, son of builder Brad Wheelan and Susan, recently won the Juniors Division of the Rincon Classic. Brad conducts his business in Bakersfield but moved his family to Ventura a few years ago.

Bronson is 17 and in a perfect world would follow pro surfer Dane Reynolds, probably the best surfer ever to come from Bakersfield.


We will stay at the beach with the email from Molly Sabat in regard to the column on Ventura.

"Ventura ... is my home, my refuge, my life and my heart.

"I'd visit my three brothers who still live there, meander downtown, duck into thrift shops, plant myself in front of my ocean and watch the waves.

"I'd go to the swap meet at the fairgrounds, eat at Johnny's Burritos, Casa de Soria, Boccalli's and linger over a bowl of clam chowder while I watch those paddle wheel cycle thingies that people rent at the harbor, walk Main Street and stop at the Hub in the Arcade for a Bloody Mary.

"I'd wander through the mall (which is named Pacific View) but only has a view of the Pacific if you perch yourself on the top floor, on top of a ladder, in front of a tiny window aimed at the sea. I would drive by the four places I lived, through the Arbolada, past the lovely estate where I married Bruce or sit by the Cross for awhile.

"I would browse at Bart's Books and stay at the Pierpont Inn or the Crowne Plaza."


In regard to the column where I was accused of snoring, Bakersfield Master Chorale standout Cassie Jue suggests taking Omega 3 to get rid of snoring.

"It cured my husband," Cassie said.

These are Herb Benham's opinions and not necessarily those of The Californian. Email him at