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BAKERSFIELD OBSERVED: A blog about life, media, politics and people


For those of us who love college football, the season is finally upon us. USC plays Western Michigan, preseason No. 1 Alabama takes on No. 3 Florida State and my alma mater, Georgia Southern, travels to Auburn to take on the Tigers. But the future of football is in doubt, and nowhere is that more visible than in local high schools. Trevor Horn, The Californian's prep sports writer, cited a California Interscholastic Federation study that showed while participation among boys in high school sports jumped 3.5 percent over the last decade, participation in high school football actually sank more than 10 percent. The reason: concerns over concussions and other safety issues. The sport making huge strides in popularity? High school lacrosse.


Uricchio's Trattoria has reopened after being shut down for almost a week because of a mechanical issue. The popular downtown restaurant was forced to close last week and it remained shuttered over the weekend because the part had to be shipped in from out of state. Owner Claire Porter told me they are now back in business and she is hoping to see the familiar faces of her regulars back at the bar and in the restaurant.


A big thanks to Ron Lommen for sharing this example of good form in our community: "Hats off to the Boy Scouts of Troop 188 out of east Bakersfield. They spent a very hot weekend morning walking part of the bike trail picking up trash. They worked their way from Manor Street east toward Lake Ming. In the few miles they covered, they picked up eight large trash bags of garbage. These Scouts prove there are some very good youths in our community."


"Sorry that we don't have any fun snacks in the house, but we do have a variety of knee braces and reading glasses."


"What wine goes well with two ungrateful teenagers, an oppressive boss and insurmountable credit card debt?"


Ray Pruitt, a former information officer for the Kern County Sheriff's Office, has joined the law firm of Chain Cohn Stiles as an investigator. Given the number of times the law firm has sued the sheriff's department over the years, there is a certain synergy to this announcement.


David Milbrodt reached out to commend All Climate Air for its prompt response and service repairing his air conditioning unit. And he also put a plug in for two teams he follows: the UCLA Bruins and the Los Angeles Angels.


How many of you remember the old Lebec Hotel that existed on the old Ridge Route highway before the interstate was built? According to the Ridge Route website, the hotel was built in 1921 and was officially closed in 1968. It fell into disrepair, was eventually bought by the Tejon Ranch Co. and burned down in 1971. Said the website: "The Lebec Hotel was a 'complete gambling joint with a ball-room, rooms and apartments' during its heydays from 1925 to 1934. Clark Gable and his actress wife, Carole Lombard, as well as gangster Benny 'Bugsy' Siegel, frequented the Lebec Hotel. A 1926 touring guide describes it: 'Hotel Lebec is new and high class, 80 rooms, thoroughly modern, single $2-$3, with bath $4, coffee shop open 24 hours.' The Lebec Garage nearby was the largest and best equipped on the ridge. Labor was $1.75 an hour, increasing to $2.40 after 6 p.m."

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

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