Buy Photo

Felix Adamo

Bakersfield Californian CEO Richard Beene.

DOWNTOWN: Not sure about you, but I plan to spend this Friday downtown for the first First Friday of Spring. Among the attractions, both Uricchio's Trattoria and the Wall Street Cafe have new appetizers, The Padre has revamped its menu, Chef's Choice Noodle bar is always a good choice and in my opinion, Muertos has the best burger in town. Over at The Metro Galleries on 19th Street, a new show titled "Echoes and Whispers-Listening to Nature" showcases the creative passion of artist Linda Brown. Ceramic works by Mark Ahlstrand will be also on display.

SPELLING: Dave Kettler told me a story that I simply must share. He was in the drive-through lane at a downtown eatery recently when he saw a sign in the window saying, 'Thank you for your contentious business.' (Obviously, they meant to thank the patrons for 'continuous' business.) When he came to the window, with his tongue planted firmly in cheek, he said 'Your prices are too high, the wait was ridiculous, the food cold, and yes, you're welcome!'"

Hats off to the Rotary Club of Bakersfield (the downtown club) whose foundation just awarded more than $40,000 in grants to local nonprofit organizations. Among those receiving money were the Boys and Girls Club of Kern County, Garden Pathways, Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra, Bakersfield ARC, Friends of Mercy Foundation, Greater Bakersfield Vision 2020, Boy Scouts of America, Golden Empire Gleaners, Buena Vista Museum of Natural History and the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

ART: Thursday morning, members of the Bakersfield Museum of Art's Blue Ribbon Committee toured the art- and sculpture-filled Bakersfield Country Club home of Milt and Betty Younger and were treated to a surprise gift for one of the visiting members. At the end of the tour, Betty surprised them by giving a framed watercolor she painted in 1965 of the Oleander home of W.B. Camp to committee member Karrie Kirschenmann Camp, who is married to W.B.'s grandson, Clayton. Betty recalled sitting on the curb when she painted it almost 50 years ago. She said she had entered it in the Kern County Fair and took first place.

MEMORIES: This memory, courtesy of reader Michael Perry: "The recent USTA tennis matches at the Bakersfield Racquet Club reminded me that my grandfather, Earl Cook, one of the founding members of BRC, once hosted the Ozzie and Harriet Nelson family (including David and Ricky) at his home on Baldwin Road during a tennis tournament at BRC in the early 1950s. Ozzie and Harriet were a tennis family before they were the perfect TV family. Lake and Edith Lovelace often joined Earl and Eva ['Feathers' and 'Mimi' Cook for a spirited game of bridge on Baldwin. Lake, the real founder of the Bakersfield Racquet Club, allowed me to take my first swimming lessons there even though I was way too short. (He proved it by measuring the depth of the pool with his cane and showing me even the shallow end was over my head!) My teacher was Tommy Gallon. I kid you not!"

Email Richard Beene , Californian president and CEO, at His column appears on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; the views expressed are his own. Read more on his blog at