By The Bakersfield Californian
Q: I am wondering about the rest stops on Highway 99 at Lebec and just south of Tulare. They both have been closed and under reconstruction for quite some time -- it seems like years.
Will they ever reopen? What has been the delay?
-- Joe Michael
A: Caltrans spokesman Jose Camarena answered:
The rest areas in Kern County near Gorman (Tejon Pass Safety Roadside Rest Area) were under construction for approximately two years and were recently completed and opened to the travelling public earlier this month (Sept. 7).
The facilities in Tulare County (Phillip S. Raine Safety Roadside Rest Area), just north of Tipton, have also been under construction for approximately two years and are scheduled for completion this fall (hopefully by the end of October).
A typical construction project takes approximately two construction seasons to complete.
Q: Just wondering what happened to Megan (Munro) on the noon news on Channel 29 KBAK. Enjoyed watching her and Aaron "yuk it up." Thanks for letting us know.
-- Rick Ray
A: Teresa Burgess, vice president and general manager at KBAK, filled us in:
"Megan is no longer with Eyewitness News. As with most smaller TV markets, Bakersfield does tend to be a "stepping stone" for on-air talent.
"We have some new additions to our team. Joining us are reporter Tom Murphy and weekend anchor/reporter Caitlin Rearden."
Burgess said she did not know to where Munro moved.
Q: On South Chester Avenue and Planz Road, the fire station is closed. What is the city going to do with the vacant building? It's been vacant for a while.
-- Lupe (full name not given
A: The city sold that property to Jose Carrillo last December for $100,000, according to Don Anderson, senior real property agent for the city.
Carrillo, a four-year Bakersfield resident originally from Venezuela, told us he hopes to convert the old station into a bakery. He said he doesn't know for sure whether he's going to be able to make it happen; he's in the middle of trying to secure the many and varied government approvals needed to do so.
Carrillo said he wants to model his bakery after a three-store chain in the Los Angeles area called Porto's Bakery & Cafe.
The Porto's website says it was started by a family that emigrated from Cuba to California in the 1960s "with not much more than the clothes on their backs" and opened a 300-square-foot bakery on Sunset Boulevard when their cake business outgrew their home.
The business continued to grow and today has stores in Glendale, Burbank and Downey and offers a wide variety of breads, sweets, sandwiches and other treats.
Q: Who is responsible for repair of bike lanes and the bike path? The bike path at Hart Park, behind the soccer fields, is in terrible shape. You can bend your rims hitting the potholes and cracks, and the dirt and debris from the soccer park backhoe makes parts of the path very dangerous. Also, the bike lane on Fairfax north of Panorama is so overgrown with weeds and trees that you have to ride in the car lane.
-- Marc Halling
A: It depends on what part of the bike path.
Kern County Parks and Recreation Department Director Bob Lerude responded to the first part of the question as his agency maintains that area:
"While the rehabilitation of the bike trail is on the capital/major maintenance list, it was not funded in this current fiscal year (2012-13). However, I will be working with General Services to see if there is some funding that becomes available that could be used to re-hab the section identified by Mr. Halling in the current fiscal year."
Lerude also caught us up on another bike path issue -- storm damage done in 2010 to the bike path at the east end of Lake Ming.
The county had been waiting on approvals and funds from state and federal emergency management agencies to do the work. Lerude said that work is now budgeted to be done this fiscal year.
We will forward your observations about the bike path on Fairfax to the city of Bakersfield.
Ask The Californian appears on Mondays. Submit questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or to The Bakersfield Californian, c/o Christine Bedell, P.O. Bin 440, Bakersfield, CA 93302.