Where were you when the storm moved through town Sunday afternoon? Did your power go out? Were you stuck on the Westside Parkway unable to see because the rain was coming down so hard? Sudden, unexpected weather events like this bring out the best in us. There were impromptu block parties, neighborhood pool parties and I ended up enjoying a rare patio dinner reveling in the 25-to-30 degree drop in the temperature, eating by candlelight because my friend's power was out.


Superior Court Judge David Lampe is recovering after a nasty accident that happened while he was riding his bicycle on Labor Day. Lampe, an avid and experienced cyclist, was participating in a group ride when his front tire hit a rock and his tire shredded, sending him over the handlebars and onto the pavement. He suffered a broken clavicle and numerous bruises.


"It's time to eliminate triggering words like industrious, diligent and conscientious. They stigmatize those who choose not to be."


"You know that you're officially lost when you turn down the car radio and take off your sunglasses."


When I wrote to commemorate Monsigner Craig Harrison's 30 years in the priesthood, Liz Neuman reminded me that Monsignor Perry Kavookjian is also celebrating his 30th anniversary. It turns out Harrison and Kavookjian were classmates in the seminary and were ordained together. Said Neuman: "As you may know, in 2008 Monsignor Perry was tasked with the challenge of beginning the first new Catholic parish in Bakersfield in 40 years. He has taken St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish from a small group of people meeting at Frontier High School to a booming and vibrant parish of over 4500 families! The beautiful church at the corner of Old Farm and Reina Road represents Father Perry's dedication to serving the Catholic community in Northwest Bakersfield, but the true testament of his priesthood can be found in the deep affection his parishioners hold for him. ... We are throwing an anniversary party for our beloved pastor on Sept 16th. We have sold out the Crystal Palace with people wanting to celebrate his ministry, which I believe is proof that Bakersfield loves Monsignor Perry!"


Jack Kelley wrote with his memories of the old Lebec Hotel. "My wife and I spent our wedding night at the Lebec Hotel in 1948 (it was very run down then). We were on our way to Catalina. The hotel was built by a saloon keeper Thomas O’Brien and a partner Cliff Durant. Cliff Durant was the playboy son of William Durant, the founder of General Motors. The hotel was started in 1919 and the $225,000 grand hotel was opened to the public Friday, May 21, 1921, in a blaze of glory as Hotel Durant. Jack Dempsey, heavyweight champion of the world, was a registered guest. Other guests were silent film stars Rex Bell, Clara Bow and Buster Keaton. Cliff's father ran out of money due to bad investments and pulled out, forcing O’Brien to buy him out and renamed the Hotel Durant to Hotel Lebec. The hotel never made money, always about breaking even. O’Brien sold the hotel to Foster Curry, son of the concessionaires of Yosemite, and the hotel was renamed for a short time as Curry’s Lebec Lodge. ... The hotel gradually went downhill. The County of Kern condemned the hotel, Tejon purchased and burned it and buried the rubble. There is a Cypress tree and a historical marker at the site."


And Nikki Heitman added this: "I remember the hotel, in fact my grandfather worked there for a while. The family lived up in the hills and while riding home on the back of their flatbed truck, they encountered a mountain lion. I think they moved not too long after that. My grandmother was concerned for her nine kids' safety."

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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