RIP: I was sad to hear of the passing of Adala "Nadene" Steinert, one of the truly gracious members of our community. Nadene was 92 when she died. She is survived by her husband of 71 years, Marvin Steinert, a local businessman who has been so generous to many worthy organizations in town.
Cul de sacs: Not everyone may agree on the widening of 24th Street downtown, but Westchester residents could not be happier with the new cul de sacs being installed on the "tree streets" (Pine, Spruce etc). This weekend, I spotted no fewer than 10 small children playing in the middle of Pine Street near 24th Street now that the street has become a dead-in.
A reader, who asked not to be named, had a terrific suggestion for the Tree Foundation of Kern to encourage "tree literacy." Said the reader: "I have long thought an interesting series of articles could be written about the trees in Bakersfield. Perhaps a contest of sorts. Each month, you or the Foundation could pick a kind of tree (Redwood, Sycamore, Beech, etc.) and ask people to nominate outstanding examples of that tree. Size, conformity, beauty in location, etc. could be judged and you could do a photo essay, pick outstanding examples, give a plaque to mount by 'the best example,' etc. It would encourage people to plant and admire trees and be a positive story about something nice in Bakersfield."
Oscars: Apropos of nothing, but how surreal did Kim Novak and Goldie Hawn look at the Academy Awards? When is enough plastic surgery enough?
Cemetery: Lillie Rose wrote to recall the old Chinese cemetery off Terrace Way. "My parent's friends, Bob and Molly Hawthorne, lived in a house that sat rather far back on a lot near where Baldwin Road meets Terrace Way. The Chinese cemetery was almost in their backyard. I was born in Bakersfield in 1943, and as soon as I could walk I was in their yard and fascinated by the cemetery. It was a lovely place back then. Both the Hawthornes and my parents impressed upon me that it was a place to be treated with the utmost respect. I was sad when the graves were relocated and houses on what had once been holy ground."
Tunnels: And yet another reader, Kevin Schmidt, suggested making our underground tunnels a tourist attraction. "As an amateur historian, it is with fascination that I read your stories about the underground tunnels in downtown Bakersfield. It reminded me of my visit to Seattle. My favorite part of the city was the 'underground city tour' that took you literally underground in old Seattle to visit some of the business and speakeasys that existed in those times. The city went 'up' while the existing businesses stayed put, with the streets above them. It is one of Seattle's most popular tourist attractions.
"Perhaps some enterprising individual can reopen and explore the tunnels under Bakersfield, bring it back to its old mysteries, culture and history to become a unique Bakersfield attraction."
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 email@example.com.