IMG_2127.jpg

A man directs traffic into Lightning in a Bottle music festival at Buena Vista Recreational Aquatic Area on Thursday.

Miss — Those attending Lightning in a Bottle have been jamming out so far — in a traffic jam, that is.

Festivalgoers spent more than an hour stuck in traffic Thursday just trying to get inside the Buena Vista Aquatic Recreational Area. A total of 20,000 attendees are expected to be at the five-day music festival, and a good majority of their presence was felt.

As more attendees arrive Friday and Saturday, expect more traffic delays around the area. Once they are in, nearly all festivalgoers will be camping on the grounds.

Want to avoid unnecessary headaches and stress this weekend? Steer clear of that area.

Hit — Kern County students had to buy a lot of red apples after 52 teachers were honored during the Kern County Teachers of the Year awards.

Teachers from more than 20 school districts in the county were recognized Tuesday night for inspiring young minds and reminding everyone why education is so important.

Sixth-grade teacher Germaine “Gigi” Maurer from Juliet Thorner Elementary School and third-grade teacher Valerie Perez from Browning Road STEAM Academy in McFarland were named the Teachers of the Year and will now move on to the California Teachers of the Year program. Flor Gonzalez, a dual-immersion Spanish kindergarten teacher at Nueva Vista Language Academy in Delano, was selected as an alternate.

Thank you to all teachers out there who guide kids to their passions and make learning fun for all. 

Miss — We're five months into 2019 and have unfortunately experienced a fair share of shootings already.

There have been eight fatal shootings and 23 non-fatal ones between Jan. 1 and April 26, according to the Bakersfield Police Department. Half of those deaths occurred last month.

Bakersfield could be on its way to meeting or surpassing 2018's fatal shooting numbers, which were 20. It also looks like it could be on track for fewer non-fatal shootings this year, as there were 102 in 2018.

In a perfect world, there would be zero shootings in our town and elsewhere. But since that's not our reality, we can only hope we won't see record breaking numbers this year.

Hit — Bakersfield still finds ways to thrive even when California experiences its lowest ever population increase.

Statistics compiled by the California Department of Finance estimate that Bakersfield grew 1.1 percent over the last year. That is an estimated 4,290 people, bringing the city's estimated population to 389,211 as of Jan. 1.

California itself grew at a rate of 0.47 percent.

City Manager Alan Tandy said in an interview earlier this week that lower housing costs and availability of land for expansion and pro-development policies contributed to the city's population growth.

To all the new Bakersfield residents, welcome home.