Richard Beene

Friday, Oct 11 2013 05:00 AM

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

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    Bakersfield Californian CEO Richard Beene.

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By Richard Beene

Happy ending; My earlier blog about packages being stolen from your front porch brought this note from reader Peter Wollesen. "In 2008, my brother-in-law was married in Oslo, Norway. Since he and his new bride were to visit California after the wedding, they instructed the wedding photographer to ship the photos to his parents' house here in Bakersfield. Several weeks later, the shipment hadn't arrived. The photographer reprinted the order, but the mystery about the original order remained. That is, until months later, when my in-laws received an anonymous call.

"Apparently the box containing the photographs was too tempting for a wanna-be thief, who poached it off of my in-laws' doorstep. The caller explained that an unidentified relative of theirs had stolen the box, hoping for something of value. When they opened it and found only photos, they were disappointed, but apparently felt too guilty to simply throw them away. Instead, they held onto the photos until their conscience got the better of them, and they confessed to the mystery caller. An arrangement was made to retrieve the photos and I, presumably due to my size, was designated as the gofer. I drove to an area in Oildale that reminded me very much of Dorothea Lange's images of the dust bowl; I suspect that most of Bakersfield has no idea that such areas exist just a few miles away. Anyway, there I met the caller, who handed over the entire box of photos, undamaged, with no words exchanged."

RIP Nancy: I was saddened to hear that longtime Luigi's "backrub lady" Nancy Mickelberry died this week. Mickelberry left Luigi's some years ago but while there was known for giving her customers a back and shoulder massage before they ordered. She was 78.

Runners: The men's CSUB Roadrunners basketball team will hold a blue-gold scrimmage this Saturday. The university is opening the doors and inviting the public to meet the team and watch the Runners in action. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. and the first 100 fans will receive a free T-shirt.

Senior queens: Hats off to two "queens" of the recent senior games out at Rosewood Senior Living Community. They are both 100 years old and more spry than people half their ages. One queen is Ruth DeKay, a Rosewood resident who will turn 101 on Thanksgiving Day. The other is Opal Lovett who turned 100 on Aug. 18. A little background on Opal from her granddaughter Kelly Charles: she plays Bingo as often as she can, lives at Pinewood Glenn, attends church at Pinewood and is affectionately called "gram" by her six grandchildren, seven great grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.

First Friday: It looks like the movement that began First Friday five years ago is morphing into something that will give the monthly celebration of downtown more muscle and definition.

Those behind First Friday are incorporating it into a nonprofit and will soon announce a board of directors. The new organization will focus on marketing, promotions and building the arts district and First Friday.

It is no surprise that the founder of First Friday, Don Martin of Metro Galleries on 19th Street, is also the driving force behind the new nonprofit.

His aim: focus First Friday on getting people into downtown businesses and try to avoid food vendors and others that take away from the theme of arts and local businesses. More on this to come.

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 rsbeene@yahoo.com.

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