Croad: Local wine makers Patti and Martin Croad are at it again, introducing a new blend appropriately named "661" after their hometown's area code.
The wine, which sells for about $24 retail, is available at various places around town. It is produced and bottled by Croad Vineyards in Paso Robles, where the family also produces a full line of wines including a Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet.
On the back label the Croads printed a Valentine to Kern County: "As the winter mist surrenders to the summer sun you will find a mighty river tamed by the valley plains. Where the fertile ground provides food for the nation and the energy to move it there. Where the people give as much as they receive and share memorable moments with good wine."
Spotted on a friend's Facebook page: "Some might look at this gift of rain and credit the recent 'Pray for Rain' event in Bako. I credit myself for getting my car washed Tuesday."
Panhandlers: Marilou Burlingame wrote with a unique way to deal with panhandlers.
"If business persons would hand out brooms, scoopers and plastic bags to those that hang around the front of their establishments, and after finishing the job, give the person a voucher or certificate to a fast food place. I wonder how many would actually take up the broom or just vanish."
Ski chalet: Bentz Ski Chalet, owned by the late Doug Bentz, is up for sale. Bentz died of a heart attack on the bike trail earlier this month and now his son, Dirk, is trying to sell the family business. Apparently Doug Bentz was preparing to sell the business shortly before he died. If you are interested, call Dirk at (661) 343-5910.
Gifts: Looking for a unique gift? You might consider checking out Greater World Gifts, a non-profit fair trade store run by the First Congregational Church at Real Road and Stockdale Highway. It is holding its first spring sale on Saturday, March 29, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The store features items made by artisans in impoverished countries.
Swenson's: Colorado resident Mark Parsons was in town recently visiting his mother and spotted the mention of Swenson's ice cream parlor in this column. "I began in my junior year at BHS as a dishwasher at the Valley Plaza store, working my way up to Super Scooper by the time it closed in 1970. I transferred to the Mt. Vernon store in the shopping center across from the BC football stadium and worked there and the Hillcrest store that was only sporadically open. I went to BC working my way into being the fellow who actually made the ice cream and drove it madly to the Taft store in the middle of the night so it would not melt. I recall making $1.40 an hour to start, and finally up to $1.75 per hour. I worked there until I finished at BC and went away to UC Davis and life off in America. The stores were all owned by Bakersfield Food Harvesters, a partnership of two doctors and a brother-in-law who did the day to day management. They owned tomato harvesting equipment, a car rental agency, a gas station and these ice cream stores. I ate a lot of ice cream in those days. It was grand. Thanks for helping me recall those days."
Email Californian President and CEO Richard Beene at email@example.com. His column appears on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; the views expressed are his own. Read more on his blog at BakersfieldObserved.com.