• Californian photographer Casey Christie, who lives in Bodfish, near the Erskine Fire. Christie said in his long career photographing wildland fires, he's never seen anything like the Erskine Fire.

    CASEY CHRISTIE: I've never seen anything like the Erskine Fire

    I’ve photographed dozens of wildland fires in my 37 years as a photojournalist and as a resident of Bodfish, we’ve been packed and ready to go more than once. But the Erskine Fire has wrought devastation like I have never seen, and hope to never see again. The 2002 Deer Fire started behind my

  • Robert Price

    SOUND OFF: Why exclude unemployment rate from job creation debate?

    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 and clarity. Reader: In your June 18 Sound Off, reader David Nicholas noted that President Obama had proudly

  • The crinkle-cut golden fries at Generals Headquarters in Shafter. Guests have the option of ordering them with garlic-Parmesan sauce.

    PETE TITTL: The Shafter mom-and-pop stop with killer shakes

    Reader Basil Zervis recently tipped me off to two humble north Kern eateries that draw crowds of Shafter’s discerning diners already. Will Bakersfield residents make the drive? They won’t be sorry if they do. Generals Headquarters, which occupies an old Foster Freeze on Lerdo Highway, is

  • Kenny Graham, No. 33, takes down Oakland Raider running back Hewritt  Dixon during a game in the late 1960s. Graham was a defensive back for the Chargers from 1964-1969. He made all-pro for four of those five years. He was recently living under a fig tree on an empty lot in Bakersfield.

    LOIS HENRY: Former Charger making progress, but it's slow

    With the terrible fire happening near Lake Isabella, it’s hard to focus on much else. So I’ll give you just a short update on former San Diego Charger all star Kenny Graham. He may be off the dirt but he’s a long way from settled. Thanks to some serious badgering by Kenny’s friend Mark Downing,

  • Richard Beene

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

    WIND WOLVES PRESERVE A large group of archeologists, botanists and scientists have descended on the majestic Wind Wolves Preserve and are discovering ancient caves and artifacts associated with the Chumash Indians a thousand years ago. I was fortunate to share an afternoon with these scientists

  • This work by Jimmy Bertram will be  on display at The Artistry of The Black Shamrock Tattoo event at Green Light Gallery downtown on Friday. Bertram is one of 11 artists who will be featured at the event.

    STEFANI DIAS: Fun night downtown set in ink

    Viewing the work of tattoo artists in often easiest in their shops — or an adventure in a bar or a club. But when those designs are on canvas rather than flesh, the venues are not as easy to pin down. Green Light Gallery will spotlight these often-unsung artists with a show in downtown Bakersfield

  • Bakersfield singer and entertainer Marlon Mackey.

    MATT MUNOZ: Man behind the mic is 'Mr. Dynamite'

    I’ve referred to Bakersfield singer and entertainer Marlon Mackey as “Mr. Dynamite” so many times, he should think about legally changing his name. In all seriousness, the energetic showman does possess flashes of the late, great James Brown’s personality and skill when he hits the stage, but

  • Pollution on July 4th goes up every year. But weather plays a major role in how much it increases.

    LOIS HENRY: Any way you slice it, fireworks aren't worth the cost

    I got a letter recently from Phantom Fireworks. Well, it came to “editor,” not me personally. We’re not like pen pals or anything. Anyhow, it was a reminder that fireworks can trigger PTSD for combat veterans. Which, they can. It’s serious and devastating. The letter advised that people who want

  • Richard Beene

    BAKERSFIELD OBSERVED: Life, media, politics and people

    JOBLESS Kern County has dropped two spots and now ranks 55th out of 58 counties in the state with the highest unemployment. That's the word from local appraiser Gary Crabtree, who noted that all six of the counties that comprise the Central Valley are ranked 50th or worse. Crabtree said our

  • HERB BENHAM: What his wallet said about Dad

    His black wallet sat on his bedside table. I stared at it and the wallet seemed to stare back as if to say, "What are you thinking, you wallet-packing impostor?" Dad left us last week and I have been spending several days with Mom sorting through piles of Thorlos socks, Capilene long-

  • Olivia Garcia tab

    In search of coolness in an AC meltdown moment

    There’s a familiar local saying that starts off with “You know you’re from Bakersfield when….” Of course, you plug in the rest. One line I definitely would like to add is: You know you’re from Bakersfield when you have endured an air-conditioning breakdown in soaring 90- to 100-degree temperature

  • Louis Amestoy is The Californian's vice president of content. Email him at

    LOUIS AMESTOY: Let's celebrate Bakersfield the way Texas celebrates Texas

    I was in Texas last week to attend orientation sessions for my daughter, who will attend Baylor University this fall, and I was struck by the overwhelming sense of pride in the state. Everywhere you look there is something celebrating the Lone Star State. Some of it was a legitimate dose of

  • Former NFL player Kenny Graham wanted to thank those with the NFL that helped him get his new room in Bakersfield Friday.

    LOIS HENRY: Former star Charger moves off vacant lot, for now

    He’s off the dirt. I was getting to the point I didn’t think it would happen. But the combined efforts of a lot of good folks helped get former pro football player Kenny Graham off the vacant lot where he’s been living the last three years and into a long-term hotel. The room is small, it’s

  • Robert Price.

    SOUND OFF: Nothing 'compassionless' about coverage of candidate's misstep

    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 and clarity. Reader: Once again we have been subjected to a hold your nose story from a clueless Californian

  • Allen Gallego and Trevor Moore fix a variety of Greek meats at the Greek Food Festival. The two of them have been working at the festival most of their lives. This year’s Greek Food Festival, which draws thousands of people each year, will run over three days, Oct. 14 to 16.

    STEFANI DIAS: Let's make Bakersfield food festivals better

    Last weekend, I went to taco heaven and I wish you all could have been there. Well, not exactly. This year’s Tacolandia, a lively celebration of the taco, was already packed, drawing more than 8,000 to the historic El Pueblo de Los Angeles. Better put, I wish we could all share an experience

  • The Cubana at Bakersfield Pizza Co. & Bar. The pizza, a take on the Cubano sandwich, is topped with roasted pork, ham, pickles, cheese, grilled pineapple and a mustard drizzle.

    PETE TITTL: Best new pizza joint in Bakersfield is ...

    A contender for best new local restaurant is Bakersfield Pizza Co. & Bar, which has opened on Ming Avenue near Home Depot. It’s in the same location as the defunct Empire Pizza, which impressed us before it closed last year. If you visited Empire, you won’t believe the way this place has been

  • The spicy chicken chile verde pizza at Pieology, one of two new pies at the fast-casual pizza chain.

    PETE TITTL: Freedom of choice at pizza place; just don't choose chile verde

    In the pizza niche of the nationwide restaurant market, there is a constant tension between the national chains and the local and regional independent operators. It wasn’t always that way. Before Pizza Hut and Little Caesar’s grew like weeds across the nation’s landscape, pizza was largely a local