By Richard Beene
The five-year cloud hanging over the local housing market seems to be lifting, and Realtors are finally able to breathe a sigh of relief. Home prices are rising, inventory is tight, mortgage rates are low and homes are selling. New homebuilders also are showing clear signs of confidence with more than 100 permits pulled in October alone. That's the word from Baynes Bank of Mission Bank. Some of the top builders, according to Banks, are DR Horton, Lennar, McMillin, Balfanz, Castle & Cooke, S&S Homes, Towery Homes and Froehlich.
If it's Thanksgiving week, it must be time for another Pie Run -- that iconic Bakersfield tradition that starts at dawn on Thanksgiving Day out at Hart Park. John Rous, one of the fathers of the annual event, says it will all start around 6 a.m. Bring a pie, cookies or other eats and then hit the hills for an invigorating run or walk with your favorite friend or dog. Rous will have a bonfire where he will make hot dogs and tri-tip, along with enough coffee for some 300 people. This is one of Bakersfield's signature seasonal events, and it's well worth setting the alarm clock for an early start.
City councilwoman Sue Benham and husband (Californian columnist) Herb were in a small bar in Paris on election night when they met two young American college students. "When we told them we were from Bakersfield, they said, 'Our friend is from Bakersfield! Here she comes," Sue told me. And who walks up? Stockdale High graduate and now Stanford student Melissa Hamilton, daughter of local orthopedist Dr. Chris Hamilton and wife Susan. Small world, indeed.
Sheila Vogel sends a shout-out to an unidentified man "at the corner of Coffee and Stockdale Tuesday morning who exited his work vehicle to assist a disabled pick-up with a trailer through the intersection. The man who appeared to be in the bakery business with white pants and an apron helped the truck's occupants push the truck out of traffic's way and to clear the intersection. Thank you! "
The Bakersfield Breakfast Rotary Club is renewing its annual drive to place wreaths at the National Cemetery on Dec. 15. You can help by buying a wreath for just $15 to honor our veterans. Check out the website at www.bakersfieldwreathproject.org.
Jolie Brouttier is a kindergarten teacher at McKinley Elementary who is part of a group that gets together to feed the needy on Thanksgiving. "I sent out fliers to inform families about this event and got a tremendous amount of families (some households of 10 living in tiny apartments) who can't provide a meal on Thanksgiving day. These families, my students, are the light of my life. I have food on my table every day; I have a fridge full every day. These kids, they don't. Two hundred families returned the form desperately requesting food to be delivered Thanksgiving day, and 'Love for Thanksgiving' does that."
Richard Beene is president and CEO of The Bakersfield Californian. He blogs at www.bakersfieldobserved.com. These are his opinions, not necessarily those of The Californian. Email him at email@example.com.