• Richard Beene

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

    STRAIGHT TALK Dr. Everett Piper, president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, had some straight talk for some of the college students across the country who have been demanding a “safe place” to live and study, often at the expense of a civil dialogue of opposing views. Said Piper in a blog post:

  • Richard Beene

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

    GUITAR MASTERS It looks like former homebuilder Kyle Carter and wife Kim McAbee are drawing closer to opening their Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame. I am told the facility, located off Q and 23rd streets, will be a one-of-a-kind venue with over-the-top studios and electronics for shows and other

  • Herb Benham

    HERB BENHAM: Kobe stands alone - and lonely

    Kobe Bryant announced his retirement Sunday. He will finish this season, his 20th. Bryant is making $25 million this year, only slightly less than what I make. Bryant, 37, broke the news by releasing a poem on his website. Fifty-plus lines including: “This season is all I have left to give. “My

  • Steve Flores

    STEVE FLORES: Encounter has meaningful impact

    Divine intervention, spiritual intersession or just coincidence? I will let you decide under which precept or category this falls. It was the day after “All Souls Mass” at St. Francis Church. All Souls Mass is an annual service honoring those loved ones who have passed. My four children, Nikki,

  • Herb Benham

    HERB BENHAM: Sue's brother is still not crazy after all these years

    I bar-tended for my brother-in-law Dave’s surprise 60th birthday party. I had a bird’s-eye view on how much people drank. They drank and kept on drinking. Dave’s party was in Arlington, Va. Dave is Sue’s brother. He’s solid. Her family is like that. My people aren’t flaky, but we’re not Merrill

  • ACTION LINE: How to check out a charity before giving

    Reader: I have been receiving numerous solicitations via email and some in person to donate to charities this holiday season. What tips can BBB offer to make sure my hard-earned money goes to those really in need? Action Line: From collection kettles to toy drives to end-of-the-year tax deductions,

  • Robert Price

    SOUND OFF: How could you have printed such a racist rant?

    This feedback forum is designed to give readers a way to voice criticisms and compliments or ask questions about The Californian's news coverage. Your questions may be edited for space. Reader: Has The Bakersfield Californian really taken a page from one of Germany's leading

  • PETE TITTL: Applebee's a decent chain that tries for local connection

    Applebee’s has remodeled both the interior of its restaurant at The Marketplace and its menu in an attempt to fight the negative economic trends facing mid-priced chain restaurants. Though I’ve never been a big fan before, I like what I see so far. First the restaurant is playing up its connection

  • Richard Beene

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

    GIVING THANKS How do you define happiness, and how often do you give thanks to the people in your life who bring a smile to your face? If you are like me, I have always believed that happiness is a personal choice, so I don’t spend a lot of time longing to live on the coast or in a sexier ZIP code.

  • Columnist Valerie Schultz

    VALERIE SCHULTZ: Faith is saying ‘yes’ when God calls to us

    This is the story, a story I love, of how John Lennon met Yoko Ono: In 1966, he attended an exhibition of her avant-garde art in London. One of her pieces involved a ladder that he had to climb up, at the top of which seemed to be an all-black painting, until he looked through the spyglass that was

  • Columnist Valerie Schultz

    VALERIE SCHULTZ: Thanksgiving the day to remember who we are

    It’s Thanksgiving 2015, and could we be more despondent when we consider the future? We’re all in this hand basket together, worried about the Islamic State group and El Nino, global warming and local mudslides, prospects for our children and loved ones who are ill, clown-like presidential hopefuls

  • Californian columnist Lois Henry

    LOIS HENRY: Demands on desert aquifer look a little nutty

    Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who gasped (figuratively speaking) when pistachio farmer Paul Nugent told the Board of Supervisors at its Nov. 17 meeting that his and a partner’s trees, when mature, would consume 20 percent of all groundwater pumping in the Indian Wells Valley. “Why are we

  • BAKERSFIELD OBSERVED: A blog aboutlife, media, politics and people

    PIE RUN: Thanksgiving is this week, and I can’t decide what I enjoy more: the traditional dinner with friends or the annual Pie Run that kicks off the holiday at 6 a.m. at Hart Park. If you are new to town, this is a signature Bakersfield ‘can’t miss’ event. All you need is the discipline to get up

  • Deanna Blankenship has a string of felonies and battled meth addiction but is now clean and taking classes at Bakersfield College.

    LOIS HENRY: Setting criminals on path to the 'straight life'

    It’s hard to imagine that the bubbly, engaging woman sitting across from me is a hardened criminal. Shantee Jimenez is a pretty 27-year-old with a 1,000-watt smile who seems neither evasive nor underhanded. Yet a quick Google search will let anyone in the world know she’s been convicted of

  • Michelle Campos, Myra Thai, Gabriel Campos and Josh Thai. The family is thankful for Josh's life after the Garces sophomore suffered cardiac arrest at school. Campos heard about his son's condition at work and beat the fire department to Garces. “I went into the office and the secretary pointed me to the football field. There were a clump of people around Joshua on the 50-yard line.  “The vice principal yelled, ‘Clear,’ and Josh’s chest popped up in the air. That was a hard moment.”

    HERB BENHAM: Garces family gives thanks for teen's life after close call

    Joshua Thai is not showy. Probably the last thing the 15-year-old Garces sophomore would choose is to be in the middle of a situation with a bunch of people worrying about him. Josh tends toward quiet, straight A’s, playing Counter-Strike, slinging his baritone in the marching band, and being a

  • Robert Price is The Californian's executive editor.

    SOUND OFF: Why don't cartoons take on anti-Christian refugee bias?

    This feedback forum is designed to give readers a way to voice criticisms and compliments or ask questions about The Californian's news coverage. Your questions may be edited for space. Reader: Remember when I said The Californian needed to challenge its readers, both conservative and

  • HERB BENHAM: The weather, the trees, the holiday - spoil me more

    This weather could spoil us. Ruin us. Make us beg for an encore. Has coffee ever tasted better, hot water felt so good or a morning walk so invigorating? Cool and cold fall weather trumps everything and every season. It could be awhile before this gets old. Cold weather doubters exist. You know

  • Columnist Valerie Schultz

    VALERIE SCHULTZ: Parting with sugar such sweet sorrow

    Dear sugar, At long last: a “Dear John” letter to one of the most enduring loves of my life. I love you, sugar, and I probably always will, but you’re just no good for me. Or we’re no good together anymore. I know we’ve had some fun over the years: Remember my college semester in Europe and all