HELPING HAND

Hats off to Clinica Sierra Vista and a number of other organizations that teamed up to lend a hand to some of the neediest among us. The organization, which provides basic medical services to the poor and needy, opened its doors at its Old Town Kern facility to provide free haircuts, breakfast burritos, HIV testing and screening for glucose and high blood pressure. It was all part of National Health Center Week, an annual celebration of community health centers like Clinica Sierra Vista. Said Clinica CEO Steve Schilling: “The marginalized of our community are why Clinica was created. We can’t forget our roots.”

FRANKLIN

A sign of the times about traffic and growth: parents of students going to Franklin Elementary downtown have been told that walking their kids to school on busy Truxtun Avenue is too dangerous because of the speeding cars. Instead, they now must enter the school from the rear entrance on 18th Street.

FATHER GARCES

How long to you think it will take before someone calls for the removal of the statue of Father Francisco Tomas Garces at the Garces traffic circle? Is he a symbol of the white European repression of native Indian tribes, or an inspiration as one of the first Europeans to discover California? Take your pick.

SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK

"I thought I felt a cold breeze but it was just my mother's sighs of disappointment."

SPOTTED ON TWITTER

"If anyone asks, I'm drinking all this wine to collect corks for a Pinterest project."

24TH STREET

The last house standing in the way of the 24th Street widening is being demolished this week, clearing the way for the next phase in what will be a long process to improve the road. Next up: installation of sound walls on the north side of 24th.

OVERHEARD

A downtown resident is telling friends about a homeless woman who showed up at his door one evening past 9 p.m. "She was holding two Ramen noodle cups and asked me for hot water. I turned on the hot water and looked back and she was inside my house. When she saw I had ordered a pizza, she said, 'Can I have some?'"

PEOPLE IN THE NEWS

Providence Strategic Consulting Inc. has announced that two local business women have become affiliated with the firm. They are Kristin Hagan, a local attorney, and Kim Schaefer, a political and public affairs advisor who most recently was the public face behind the successful effort to rescind the PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) program.

WEEKEND MOVIE

Playing locally here at the Maya Cinemas is a movie called Wind River starring Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olson. It is one of the most highly anticipated movies of the year and is touted as a moving, dark drama set on an Indian reservation. Olson plays an FBI agent sent to Wyoming to investigate a murder. Worth considering for your weekend enjoyment.

Email contributing columnist Richard Beene at rsbeene@yahoo.com. His work appears here on Wednesdays and Fridays; the views expressed are his own. Read more on his blog at BakersfieldObserved.com.

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