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Oil's latest slump takes a heavy toll on Bakersfield

Oil's latest slump takes a heavy toll on Bakersfield

Most early mornings here, finding an open table at Pappy's Coffee Shop is a dicey proposition.

The small diner along Rosedale Highway opens at 4:30 a.m., just in time for workers to grab a bite before heading out to the oil fields. But on a recent Tuesday at 6 a.m., many tables sat empty. About an hour later, more customers arrived, mostly oil industry higher-ups, retirees or farmers.

Roger Lake, a regular, scanned the restaurant.

"I don't see any oil field workers," he said.

Lake knows the industry well. The 76-year-old Bakersfield resident has worked in oil since 1959 and still consults, though the plunging prices encouraged him into...

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