Music: There was plenty of music in town this weekend for anyone who wanted some first-class entertainment. Vince Gill held court at Rabobank on Friday, honoring Buck Owens and Merle Haggard, and on Saturday Monty Byrom held a benefit concert for his brother Arthur at the Branding Iron Saloon on North Chester. Byrom is a local treasure, and he never disappoints. I stopped by to hear him sing and to help raise money for Arthur and Arthur's girlfriend, who were in a horrific motorcycle crash some time ago. Arthur runs the Branding Iron, and the turnout to help these folks was impressive.
Trash: Bonnie Farrer sent me a digital picture of a pile of trash sitting near a tree at the top of Elm Street below Golden State Freeway. "A week ago I flagged down a city truck and asked them to clean this up. Their reply was, 'That's the county's job.' The county said it was Caltrans' job. I called Caltrans and they said it's the city's job. I was glad to read in your column that Colorado doesn't have this problem."
Jon Crawford added these thoughts: "I believe most would say the trashiest portion of our local freeways, which probably rates in the top 10 in the USA, would be eastbound 58 from Highway 99 to the off-ramp to Bena Dump. I've thought the problem was with improperly covered private trucks hauling yard trash. However, I wonder if our government-controlled trash trucks aren't a big problem, as we followed two 'empty' city trash trucks into town from Bena as they dumped one or two pieces of trash every mile along 58. Perhaps much of our trashy freeways is a result of governmental contributions. Physician, heal thyself!"
Spotted: Actor Kevin Costner, who is in Kern County making a movie about the McFarland High School track team, was spotted at The Padre Hotel Friday morning, talking on his cellphone outside the Farmacy coffee bar.
Good form: Hats off once again to Dr. Ravi Patel and his staff at the Comprehensive Blood and Cancer Center. Last week the center held its 25th Anniversary Celebration of Life for cancer survivors and their families. Said Debra Banducci, who attended: "The carnival atmosphere was uplifting and fun for everyone involved. The speakers were inspiring and the food and drink, delicious. The campus was especially beautiful after its new renovation, and as always, Dr. Patel and his staff were available to greet and talk to those in attendance.
Achievers: I got a call from proud grandmother Christine Nichols who updated me on her two grandsons. Jose Medrano, a 2006 Centennial High graduate, just graduated from the Navy's Nuclear Power Program in Goose Creek, S.C., while his brother, Frontier graduate Matthew Medrano, is studying agronomy at the University of Kentucky.
Richard Beene is president and CEO of The Bakersfield Californian. He blogs at www.bakersfieldobserved.com. These are his opinions, not necessarily those of The Californian. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.