Richard Beene

Wednesday, Dec 04 2013 07:59 AM

Bakersfield Observed: A blog about life, media, politics and people

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    By Felix Adamo

    Bakersfield Californian CEO Richard Beene.

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By Richard Beene

Scores: A new international research survey shows that U.S. 15-year-olds have lost ground to their counterparts in other countries when it comes to math and science. The study showed that the American students slid from 25th to 31st in math since 2009, from 20th to 24th in science and from 11th to 21st in reading. All this does not bode well for students who are growing up in a global economy. While we slide, other countries like Poland and Ireland improved and moved ahead of the United States.

First Friday: It's time for the December First Friday downtown, and there's no better place to pick up unique Christmas gifts. My suggestions: Start at the Ice House Framing and Gallery on 19th Street, then head to Kuka's Folk Art across the street or In Your Wildest Dreams across from The Padre Hotel. Or pick up gift certificates from any of the locally owned downtown restaurants, including Muertos, The Mark, Uricchio's Trattoria, Chef's Choice Noodle Bar or the fun and funky pet store Biscuit Boutique. The downtown art galleries open at 5 p.m. Over at The Metro Galleries, a stunning new show will feature the work of Pasadena artist (and former Bakersfield resident) Faith Taylor while The Foundry will hold its last exhibit before closing its doors for good.

Photography: Meanwhile there is another interesting show this Friday at the Ice House Framing and Gallery on 19th Street. The business will be featuring the photography of Anthony Ghiglia, a well-known surf photographer whose images are breathtaking. The La Jolla-based Ghiglia is a senior photographer at Surfer Magazine.

Helmets: The Bakersfield Family Medical Center/Heritage Physicians Network are running a commercial on local television that has some folks scratching their heads. Among them is Elton Kelly, who noted the commercials show a mother, father and two children on bicycles at a local park, not wearing helmets. Said Kelly: "I have a vested interest in wearing a helmet as 20 plus years ago I crashed and smashed my helmet -- but, saved my head."

Memories: Russell L. Rink has a question for all you Bakersfield old timers: "I was wondering if anyone remembers the old military complex in Oildale that was bounded on the north side by Douglas Street and was called Veterans Square. The complex was converted to apartments for veterans after WWII. I lived there in the late 1940s. We lived on Highland Drive. It was just east of the Kern County airport and east of the now existing Wingland School."

Richard Beene is president and CEO of The Bakersfield Californian. He blogs at These are his opinions, not necessarily those of The Californian. Email him at

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