Page 1

Hot Rods, Customs & Dream Rides VOL. 28 NO. 2

Steamy Affair Warbirds Live On Better Ways of Vintage V12s Riding the Rails Weight Loss YOUR CITY. YOUR LIFE. YOUR MAGAZINE.




Hang on Tight, it’s Time For Some Serious Guy Stuff!


Charitable Super Couple Don & Jeannie Kuhns pg. 11

MID -YEAR HEALTH REPORT We’re everywhere you are.

Medical Specialties / Summer 2011 3


SUMMER 201 1

Try The Nines Restaurant for lunch. Over 20 items to choose from for under $10.00



Grab a shovel! We’re diggin’ these goods Stuff We Like ........................ 16 This homegrown boy gives us his top 10 Can’t Live Without ................ 19

—INTRODUCING— The New Happy Hour Happy Hour Specials from 11am to 7pm

MAN ISSUE A lifetime of turning metal into magic Kustom Kool ...................... 35 These guys are making warbirds soar again V12s ............................... 37 Out of their dreams and into their garages Dream Wheels .................... 40


Education Exclusive:

the ABCs

making the grade

Getting the upper hand on Valley Fever


57 Which setting is best for your children?



Going back to school was never so cool Non-traditional .................. 77

Bakersfield Marriott

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Find the funds to further your education Money for College .............. 78 Saving lives by shrinking waistlines



Immune system myths busted by experts Dirty Medicine ................... 63

BARC clients are creating masterpieces Art With a Purpose ............ 111 Preserve the past and keep history alive Nonprofit Spotlight ........... 113 / Summer 2011 5


SUMMER 201 1


D E PA R T M E N T S DRE Lic.00818891

True confessions of a telethon volunteer Letter from the Editor ............ 11 Stuff you didn’t know you needed to know Kern Facts .......................... 13

Turn your backyard into the best yard Home & Garden ................... 87

Summer is coming! Go casual... and chic The Bakersfield Look ............. 25

A summer salad fit for a king...crab, that is Quick Bites ........................ 92

Abracadabra! This guy has the magic touch

Classic Bako recipes abound at this deli

Poisonous perennials and deadly daisies Gardening with Mrs. P .......... 89

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Brighton Estates• $999,500 Gorgeous Brandt-built custom home, privacy-gated community. Almost 5,000 sq.ft. of luxury living. Office near Master Suite, upstairs game room with bath/closet. Private guest bedroom w/outside entrance & bath. Fenced pebble tec pool/spa, outdoor kitchen, gym/ play area, 30,492 sq.ft. corner lot. Rich amenities!





Do new paternity leave laws affect you? Human Resources ................. 28

How to bring your “A-Game” to this party Entertaining the Bakersfield Way ... 95

Local engineers meet international success Risktakers ........................ 29

Napa throwbacks! A tale of two wineries Life is a Cabernet ................. 99

That old nostalgic buzz is back

A sweet drink that’ll set off the fire alarm

Grand Island • $949,000 Prime golf course location! Builders original home. Pool, spa, two trellised patios, plantation shutters, tiled floors. 4 separate wings, formal living/dining, family room opens to granite island kitchen. Downstairs master, upstairs game, balcony golf course views, two 2-car garages.

Seven Oaks Showcase IV•$1,295,000 Privacy-gated. Jolliff-built! Over 6,700 sq. ft. 6 bdrms + office, 5.5 baths, theatre, game room, 4-car garage. Heated pool/spa, bbq, big patio! Hardwood floors, crown moldings, double-island granite kitchen w/dbl appliances.

Signature Properties, Signature Service! 6 Bakersfield Magazine





Bad hair be gone—Tips for the salon Looking Good, Feelin’ Good ...... 81

Say cheese! Which events did we attend? Party Chatter ................... 119

All aboard for this unique day-cation Great Getaways .................... 83

“X” marks the spot at this famous grave Bakersfield’s Sound ........... 122

*Offer valid through 06.30.11. Valid only at participating locations. New orders only. ©2011 California Closet Company, Inc. All rights reserved. Franchises independently owned and operated.











SPRING PROMOTION EVENT! FREE Upgrade from White to Lago® Wood Grain finish* with the purchase of any new California Closets system. Call us today to schedule your free design consultation. 800.274.6754 | / Summer 2011 7




MEDICAL PROFILES Medical Profiles ............... 73

Education Directory .......... 78 D










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Looking Good, Feelin’ Good ... 81


Home & Garden ............... 86

The Dining Guide The Dining Guide ............ 103

COMMUNITY PARTNERS Community Partners ........ 108

Shoppers Bazaar ........... 115

Kern Health Resource Guide ... 116

Religious Schools & Worship Services Directory Worship Directory .......... 117


inspired by classic old world design

everafters... Weddings .................. 118


Dream Homes Sizzlin' Singles

8 Bakersfield Magazine

g in m e Co Jun 11 20

661.587.9816 | / Summer 2011 9



Vol. 28 No. 2

Summer 2011

Publisher Les Corum

Executive Editor Mike Corum Assistant Editor Anika Henrikson Garden Editor Lynn Pitts

Wine & Food Editor Mike Stepanovich Creative Director Chuck Barnes Graphic Artist Laura Turner

Systems/Production Ryan Turner

Director of Sales/Marketing Mark Corum


www. 1620 Mill Rock Way • Bakersfield, CA

Sales & Marketing Lisa Corum, Greg Johnson Douglas “Dale” Heflin

DRE LIC: #00577493

© 2011 Prudential Financial, Inc. and its related entities. Prudential Real Estate brokerage services are offered through the independently owned and operated franchisees of Prudential Real EstateInc., Affi liates, Inc., a Prudential Financial company. Prudential, the Prudential logo and the Rock symbol are registered services mark of Prudential Financial, Inc. and its related entities, used under license. Equal Housing Opportunity.

Photography/Editorial Assistant Isabel Alvarez Staff Writer Kali Campbell

Contributing Writers Camille Gavin, Tracie Grimes David Nigel Lloyd, Gordon Lull Matthew Martz, Robin Paggi Tom Xavier Accounting/Human Resources Melissa Galvan Distribution/Circulation Brigit Ayers, David Corum



Mon.-Fri. 8am-6pm Sat. 9am-2pm

Cover Photo Solorzano Photography

Bakersfield Magazine, Inc. 1601 New Stine Road, Suite 200 Office (661) 834-4126 Fax (661) 834-5495 Email: website: Bakersfield Magazine is published bi-monthly by Bakersfield Magazine, Inc. All rights reserved. ©Copyright 2011 by Bakersfield Magazine, Inc. Reproduction in whole or in part of any text, photograph or illustration without written permission from the publisher of Bakersfield Magazine is strictly prohibited. Bakersfield Magazine, Inc. is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts, artwork or photographs, even if accompanied by a self-addressed stamped envelope. The opinions expressed in Bakersfield Magazine are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of Bakersfield Magazine management or owner. Bakersfield Magazine, Inc. assumes no responsibility or liability for claims made by advertisers. Subscription rate is $12 for 1 year, $18 for 2 years.

Secure PayPal Gift Subscriptions 10 Bakersfield Magazine

Letter from the Editor

Long ago...well, maybe not that long ago, but when I was younger, and a merit badge-earning Cub Scout, I had the opportunity to volunteer during a live TV broadcast of the Jerry Lewis Telethon. I basically handed out prizes at the carnival games they had going on, and it was fun to be working in a TV studio. At one point, I was asked to present a $100 donation on air. I got my picture in the paper and a little write-up about my “15 minutes.” I felt like a hero of sorts; really proud of the fact that, in some small way, I had actually helped out. Although it wasn’t my money, I was involved in doing something good. Fast-forward a few years. One of the greatest ideas we’ve had at the magazine is our Community Partners section, allowing us to support many of the fantastic nonprofits we have in Bakersfield by promoting various charitable events and causes. To date, we’ve given more than $690,000 in promotional coverage since the section’s beginning in mid-2008. It’s our way of helping out and being involved. And, just as I experienced earlier in life, it’s a “good” feeling. When we first heard of Global Family, a Bakersfield-based nonprofit with a goal of putting an end to child trafficking around the world (specifically young girls trafficked between Nepal and India), we didn’t hesitate to get involved. A few months ago, when a Global Family Board Member suggested we auction off the cover of our June issue to support their upcoming Best of Bakersfield event, we knew we had to give it a try. It’s something that’s never been done in the history of the magazine. The cover is just not for sale, but knowing the good that Global Family does worldwide, there was no denying that this was a special event and worthy of such an item. We were overwhelmed with the response at the auction, which took place on May 13. The cover was the big item of the night, raising the most money out of all the other fabulous items. The winning bidder was Don Kuhns, President of Healthland Insurance Services. “I like supporting local causes,” he told us. “I’m the President of the Board of the Bakersfield Rescue Mission. I’ve known


It’s a Good Feeling...

Cover stars Don & Jeannie Kuhns

[Global Family Executive Director] Jennifer Jensen’s father for a while so I got involved with Global Family years back. It’s a great cause. I know Les [our publisher] so I wanted to make sure the cover went for a good price and that the organization got as much money as it could. I was prepared to bid high.” (Note: 100 percent of the winning bid went to Global Family.) Don and his wife, Jeannie, came out to pose with Don’s Harley. We think the shots turned out pretty cool. Thanks, you guys, for being such good sports and, of course, for such a generous donation. And why, you ask, would we pose Don with his bike for the cover? Because this is our Annual Man Issue—and what’s more manly than a dude and his gal on a Harley? We have several cool Man stories starting on page 35, including my favorite, a story on Red Harden—custom car builder extraordinaire! We are also pleased to present our Medical Specialties section (page 55) with more informative, health-related articles including “Dirty Medicine: Mumps, Mudpies, and Myths” (page 63), and a first for us: an in-depth section on the local ABCs of Education (page 74). Plus, all of our regular features. What can I say? It’s another great issue. Thanks for allowing us to be a part of such a great community. That, in itself, is a “good” feeling.

Authentic and Inspired Mexican Cuisine by Chef Gilbert Sabedra

Featuring Central California Coast Wines

Lunch and Dinner 7 Days a Week Sunday Brunch Food “To Go” Cocktail Lounge Catering Chefs Table (by advance reservation) Winemaker Dinners and Special Events

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Mike Corum

(661) 871-5787 / Summer 2011 11

12 Bakersfield Magazine

Kern Facts

People • Places • Events

He’s the Public Information Officer for the Kern County Fire Department and she’s the owner and creator of Flourishing Art & Grandeur Event Productions, but this couple still keeps the romance and the fire alive after over 10 years of marriage!


& Hers

Be honest—what was the first thing you thought when you met your future spouse for the first time? Sean: Apart from everything else, it was her long fingernails. Oleta: Ahh! What a cute accent. And he’s a fireman, too! Wow! What is the craziest thing your spouse has ever done for you? Sean: She threw me a surprise 40th birthday and got my best friend from London to come out for the weekend. Oleta: He’s pretty predictable. What is the funniest thing that happened while you two were dating? Sean: We were at the Halloween street party in West Hollywood with some of Oleta’s work colleagues when I got manhandled by several transvestite airline “security checkers.” Oleta: Sean was totally groped

by a bunch of drag queen flight attendants in West Hollywood during a Halloween street fair.

What is your spouse most passionate about? Sean: She is most passionate about helping brides to realize their dream wedding day. Oleta: Me! He is always making sure I am happy; he puts me before he puts himself. It’s amazing that he is truly an unselfish person when it comes to me and my needs and wants. I am spoiled! What is your spouse’s biggest phobia? Sean: She is terrified of Mosquito Hawks. Oleta: Failing at anything! Everything has to be correct! Everything he does he does to the best of his ability.

in step with:

Oleta & Sean Collins Who’s the first one to admit when they’re wrong? Sean: Neither of us likes to admit that because we are both right all of the time. Oleta: Umm, neither of us! We both think we’re right all the time—seriously, not kidding! What’s your favorite thing to do in Bakersfield? Sean: We like to have dinner and see a movie, as we are both able to escape from reality and our very busy work schedules to relax and enjoy our own company. Oleta: Shh! Don’t tell anyone, but Sean and I love going to the Bakersfield Speedway. The Okie Bowl, here we come!

What is your least favorite thing about your spouse (a pet peeve if you will) and most favorite thing? Sean: Least favorite—she forgets to let me know what’s going on and then I worry about her when she’s late getting home. Most favorite—she loves me unconditionally. Oleta: Least favorite—he sucks his teeth! makes me crazy. Favorite—his lovely smile! / Summer 2011 13


Kern Facts


St. Francis Flamingos: Maggie Waguespack, Andie Grimm, Bridget Boylan, Amanda Armstrong


OU PROBABLY NOTICED RANDOM FLOCKS OF PLASTIC FLAMINGOS on various Bakersfield yards a few months ago. No, it wasn’t a new gardening trend sweeping the city—it was the St. Francis Parish School Challenge Girls! “This [school] year, the girls decided that they wanted to raise money for Relay for Life,” explained St. Francis Parish School Principal Cindy Meek. “It was the first time they decided to try to raise money using flamingos,” she added, chuckling. The Challenge Girls, made up of 5th to 12th grade girls from St. Francis, meets to work on service projects for the community. For this fundraiser, the girls moved four different flocks of twelve pink plastic flamingos around the city and set them up on yards hoping that the homeowners would then donate to the girls’ Relay for Life team. The response was overwhelmingly positive. “The girls set a goal of $10,000 and by early April, they were already nearing $7,000,” Meek elaborated. “This project was something that brought all the girls together. Girls from junior high and high school were working together. It was wonderful to see.” Kudos!



Best Prices on Authentic Gear


9000 Ming Avenue • Bakersfield

Next to Bank of America • In The Marketplace 14 Bakersfield Magazine

14 64 132 900 1,120 7,150 135,124

busiest Our current ranking on the list of Amtrak stations in the U.S. Number of phones in service in Bakersfield in 1895 k from Number of days it would take to wal Bakersfield to the White House Bakersfield Dollar cost for exclusive use of a city park for one day eld when Number of acres added to Bakersfi 1910 we consolidated with Kern City in day during Local men who registered on one 1917) 5, e (Jun ft the first major military dra 1940 Bakersfield’s census population in; Sources:; road of Kern County gy; Historic Chronolo

In & Around B•Town

Here’s a Great Idea...


O SAY THAT KERN COUNTY IS GENEROUS WOULD ALMOST BE AN UNDERSTATEMENT. Our communities know the true meaning of philanthropy— and nowhere is that more apparent than when looking at a recent program developed by Kern Community Foundation. This organization, which serves as a valuable resource for charitable donors in our area, has added one more egg to its basket: Nonprofit Search. Backed by GuideStar, a national group that compiles important information on nonprofits, Kern Community Foundation has been able to create a database of charities in Kern County in need of support. Donors looking to give money have a much easier time locating the nonprofit that’s right for them. It was something that was kicking around in Jeff Pickering’s head when he took over as president and CEO of Kern Community Foundation last year. “People would often tell me, ‘I care about the homeless, but what organization can I donate to?’ ” Pickering explained. “They wanted to know which organization would most benefit from their donation. “We didn’t want to keep saying, ‘let us do some re-

Non Parla Italiano?

Jeff Pickering search for you.’ This is an online nonprofit search tool for anyone wanting to get involved with a charity in our area. A local nonprofit creates an online profile, we’ll review it, and then people can start donating.” There are approximately 1,700 nonprofits in Kern County and Pickering said the Kern Community Foundation’s goal is to get at least half of them listed on the Nonprofit Search database in the coming year. It’s a way for people to make smart, personal decisions when it comes to donating to charity. And, let’s face it, there are a lot of people looking to make donations in our county. If you’d like more information on the Kern Community Foundation or on Nonprofit Search, visit or call (661) 325-5346.

“Fuhgeddaboudit,” because Donna Tessandori Weeks is the author of 487 pages of local Italian history presented in The Italians of Kern County. Weeks chronicles the arrival and spread of longtime Kern families (including Fanucchi, Lencioni, and Antongiovanni) from Italy to present day with short histories and family trees. Weeks is a wonder woman of sorts. Born into an Italian family and native to the Southern San Joaquin Valley, she has three BAs and two Masters degrees, is an active pilot, and an aerospace and aviation enthusiast. The Italians of Kern County is the product of Weeks’ years of work in genealogy and can only be purchased at the Xlibris online bookstore. Now that’s Italian!








1032 Truxtun Avenue, Bakersfield CA

WE ALSO BUY TICKETS! / Summer 2011 15

Kern Facts Feeling Smitten Bath Bombs, $5-$25 My Sorted Affair 900 18th St. (661) 549-2274

stuff we like

Vera Bradley Collection, $18-$71 Olcott’s 9000 Ming Ave., #L1 (661) 664-2644

A.G.E Eye Complex, $85 Essentiels Spa Et Beaute 9000 Ming Ave., #K7 (661) 654-0321

Faith Collection Crosses, $28.99-$59.99 Tickled Pink Boutique 1920 G St. (661) 325-7465

Become B-Town Famous!

Dior Sunglasses, $399.95 Bakersfield Optical 3100 19th St., #100 (661) 322-3937 JC Brief Bag, $135 Forever Diamonds 2206 F St. (661) 633-2278

16 Bakersfield Magazine

Be the envy of fri ends and family! Impress your neigh bors and co-work ers! Get your name in your city magazin e and your photo on the world-wide web.. . and best of all W IN GIFT CERTIF ICATES from these feat ured merchants! Log on to


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Did You Know...

The first Festival of Roses took place in September of 1969 in Wasco. The following year, the Wasco Rose Society was organized and the rose was designated the official county flower by the board of supervisors. Source: Historic Chronology of Kern County.

where am I Shame on us.

We thought we could stump everyone with last issue’s Pop Quiz picture. Alas, we were blown away by correct answers from readers. This time, in an effort to redeem ourselves, we’re going for something a little harder. Can you tell us where this photo was taken? If you think you know, email us at comments@ with your guess and, if you’re right, you are in the running for $30 in gift cards to Russo’s Books!

For life insurance, call a good neighbor.

Last Issue’s Answer: The Liberty Bell in front of the Superior Court building on Truxtun.

Call me and I’ll help you choose the right life insurance for you and your family.

Feeling lucky?


E’VE RANDOMLY SELECTED 12 A-List members’ names and have included them below. The only job you have now, if you’re an A-Lister that is, is to scour the list of names and see if we’ve selected yours. If you’re the first one to email us after spotting your name, you’ll walk away with a cool $100 gift certificate to Uricchio’s Trattoria*...just for reading the magazine and being an A-List member. That’s how we do it here. If you’re not on the A-List, go to and sign up. It’s free, easy, and you’ll be able to participate in all our contests and giveaways! Tony Moreno Anne-Marie Pitre

Gene Thome Mark Ramsey Benny Parlan Danny Howerton Charlotte Campbell Tara Farrar Carrie Champness Hadley Regan Daralynn Levenson Geraldo Hasta

*contest eligibility for A-List members only who have not won a prize in the past three months.

Darlene Denison, Agent Insurance Lic. #: 0F72463 4903 Calloway Drive, Suite 103 Bakersfield, CA 93312 Bus: 661-588-6070® State Farm Life Insurance Company (Not licensed in MA, NY or WI), State Farm Life and Accident Assurance Company (Licensed in NY and WI) - Bloomington, IL

P092014 / Summer 2011 17

Kern Facts

Who likes to win?


NE OF THE MANY PERKS of being a Bakersfield Magazine contest winner is that we keep giving, even after you’ve claimed your prize. For instance, you might walk away with a pair of Bakersfield Symphony tickets, but you’ll forever be immortalized as a winner when we put your name in the next issue! Also, all our lucky winners are listed on for all to see.

We offer multiple packages from 100 to 350 guests Park Place is a special event location, privately owned and operated. We are an outdoor park venue with an enclosed area for guest comfort in any weather condition. Our main interest is making weddings very special for your special day. For more information please call: 661.746.6765 Or visit: 28144 Fresno Avenue Shafter, California 93263 Call us today to find out how we can help save your business time and money.


Small Business & Group Benefits Specialists

Call for a FREE Consultation Jim & Brenda Lencioni

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Packaging & Assembly Woodshop Recycling Services Liquid Decasing Document Destruction Promotional Printing

Garces Gala Gift Basket Winner Gina Acosta A-List Contest Winner Jimmy Phillips Pop Quiz Winner Frank Domingo Stuff We Like Winners Dona Chertok—French Quarter Michelle Gagner—Majestic Palms Ramon Carriedo—Lou Ella’s Wayne Deats—Henley’s Amy Smith—Socially Yours Esther Rodriguez—Marion’s Katie Whyte—Flourishing Art Salvador Gonzales—Chica’s Bakersfield Symphony Tickets Patricial Scovil • Monique Molina Donna Calanchini • Frank Ramirez Women’s Business Conference Tickets Patty Reis • Betty Eaves CSUB Spring BBQ Tickets Karen Cunningham • Jerry Barton Jena Owens • Karin Magar John Molina Boys and Girls Clubs Golf Tournament Gift Basket Winner Melody Duncan

Katie Whyte

18 Bakersfield Magazine


Jimmy Phill

Wayne Deats


Karen Cunni



People •• Places Places •• Events Events People

Can’t Live Without



Martin Hansen tells us the things he can’t live without...for the time being.

Motorola Droid X

This thing could make any geek look sexy.

Cinch button-up shirts

Collar poppin’ worthy.

9 2

Sunglasses I’m rocking Electric’s Hardknox.

Old-Town Kern

The best food, cocktails, and atmosphere in town.

Martin Hansen

Production Foreman The Garlic Company


Home Theatre


Movie theaters are a thing of the past.


Blanket my mom made me for Christmas

Bobby Salazar’s Salsa Verde ©ISTOCKPHOTO.COM/ERICVEGA

5 TiVo

Greatest thing since sliced bread. I will never miss an episode of Deadliest Catch or Modern Family ever again!

I just like it. And it has ducks on it.

Perfect blend of red and green salsas.

4 My favorite blog ever! Taking political punditry to the next level.

7 Robert Earl Keen Legend. / Summer 2011 19

Care you can count on Having health insurance you u can count on is important to you u and your family. They deserve the he best, and so do you. Ask about GEMCare, now available vailable to Kern County employers. It's a plan that offers you the quality ality d Kern GEMCare physician network and lities — County's leading healthcare facilities Mercy and Memorial Hospitals. • More than 100 primary care physicians • More than 250 specialists • The two leading hospitals in Kern County

It all adds up to care you can an countt on. on. To find out more, please contact ct your broker or a GEMCare representative at (661) 61) 716-8800. GEMCare Health Plan, Inc 4550 California Ave, Suite 100 Bakersfield, CA 93309

20 Bakersfield Magazine 20110461(03/11)

Kern Facts




Known as The Brothers Barton, this local bluegrass duo has evolved into a very versatile, exciting act.

ast year, the Arts Council of Kern invited bluegrass duo The Brothers Barton to perform at a showcase of top local talent at the Bakersfield Marriott. Always obliging, the brothers saw no reason to explain that, as a music business venture, The Brothers Barton was all but defunct. Why should they? As brothers, Paul and Loren Barton play music together in fair weather or foul. It’s not only what they do; it’s who they are. They opened with Paul’s wry and inventive song about being professional rednecks. As usual, Paul beamed while Loren looked deeply puzzled. Next, Paul began a slow repeating musical phrase on the mandolin. Loren joined in. It became a round and then something quite indescribable. His guitar microphone began to slip toward the floor. He played a note then hurriedly wrapped some of the microphone’s cable round the mic halting its descent only momentarily. The process, which brother Paul seemed not to notice, repeated several times. It would have been great slapstick had the music not seemed so exquisitely beautiful and completely fresh. The brothers began playing together when they were kids, accompanying their banjoplaying father in the Hungry Hollow Pickers. It was new grass innovators like Tony Rice and David Grissman who inspired them most, however. “We moved to Bakersfield in ’93,” said Paul. “I was 18. Loren was 14.”

“I had a crazy idea,” Loren explained. “Let me quit high school, Mom and play the banjo.” To his surprise, his plan met no resistance. After only two years of practicing “a

gan composing simple bluegrass songs and complex new grass instrumentals. Their first CD, The Brothers Barton, was recorded poorly in a closet in Oildale. “We sold the heck out of it,”

The brothers began playing together when they were kids, accompanying their banjo-playing father in the Hungry Hollow Pickers. hundred hours a day,” as Paul put it, Loren took First Place in the Adult Division Banjo Contest at the Topanga Banjo and Fiddle Festival in 1995. Three years of education followed, only some of it formal. Then they got serious. Paul be-

Loren insisted. They played nearly every acoustic venue and festival within 250 miles of home. Five years later, they tried again, this time choosing Clearcreek Recording, a state-of-theart studio in Hart Flat. Paul sent

By David Nigel Lloyd some work-in-progress to fiddler Richard Greene in Los Angeles, inviting him to join them. Greene, who had begun his career with Bill Monroe, the father of bluegrass, had also coinvented new grass. As it turned out, nothing had ever reminded him of those heady days as much as what Paul Barton sent him. “Why not?” he wrote back enthusiastically. Originals, as the CD was entitled, was completed. They then hit the road as Richard Greene and The Brothers Barton. Together they did five national tours and recorded one album, Shufflin’, which featured three of Paul’s compositions. “Richard really wanted to push us into the limelight when the time was right,” said Paul. Unfortunately, the time never seemed right. Greene was at the time battling glaucoma and a lawsuit with his booking agency. “That was the end of it all,” said Loren. “I guess we’re Celtic musicians now,” says Paul, grinning. “My strong suit is playing music live,” said Loren. “That’s my love.” With piper and whistle player Joe Sampson and fiddler Jason Theiste (of Smokin’ Armadillos fame) the brothers have traded bluegrass for green shamrocks. Under the unlikely name World’s Tallest Leprechaun, they recently performed at the Bakersfield Scottish Games. Fortunately, most of their jigs and hornpipes devolve midway into that freeform realm that is pure Brothers Barton. / Summer 2011 21



The Rescue of Lindsey B. Hicks


Kern Facts

part one

Saturday, July 2nd

Hawaiian Music • Hawaiian Dancing Hawaiian Style BBQ • Giveaways Every 1/2 Hour *FREE CUSTOM PIN with every purchase *limit 1 per customer, while supplies last



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UST BEFORE MIDNIGHT on December 22, 1906, Lindsey B. Hicks was rescued after having been buried nearly 16 days under thousands of tons of earth by the caving in of the great shaft of the Edison Electric Company. This occurred at EEC’s power generating plant in Kern River Canyon about seventeen miles north of Bakersfield. “The accident occurred in the process of putting the heavy steel and concrete lining in the shaft which carries the water from the forebay down to the power plant 865 feet below. The whole length of the shaft [was] 1,723 feet. It was mined upward from the bottom, and as the work progressed, the walls were supported by timbers cut to form a succession of octagons fitting against the earthen sides of the shaft. The placing of the sections of steel tubing followed the same direction. “In order to protect the workmen engaged at this task from clods or stones that might fall from above, a bulk head of heavy timbers was built across the shaft a little way above them. As the work progressed, this bulk-head was moved higher and higher up. On the morning of Friday, December 7, the bulkhead had been moved successively upward until it was two-thirds or more of the way to the top of the shaft, and the progress of the workmen below had made it necessary to move it once again. “To do this work, Hicks, Gus Anderson (foreman), George Warner, C. D. Robles, H. Parris, and John Wilbar were sent down the shaft from the top. [Before] moving the bulkhead, one of the

men was ordered by Anderson to knock loose the lowest of the set of timbers. The timbers were held in position only by being wedged tightly against the walls of the shaft. No sooner was the first set of timbers collapsed than a cave started that released the second set of timbers. The men turned to flee up the steep incline of the shaft, but the falling of the timbers, one after another, like dominoes, was too fast for them. One man reached a point of safety. “Hicks, who was somewhere [in the middle] of the group of men, was struck by a falling timber just as he reached a skip (a small car built to run down the shaft on an iron track) and he fell forward beside the car, with the timber pressing on his back, and the whole mountain above him, apparently thundering down to close him in. “The superintendents and workmen near the tunnel, the shaft, and the power plant gathered about the collapsed hole in horror. The coroner was notified, the news of the death of the buried men was telegraphed, and the tremendous task of exhuming the bodies began. Seventy hours later, as the muckers were digging away at the top of the case, Pearl Davis, a shift boss, heard a faint tapping that seemed to come from deep down in the earth. Someone, down beneath the crumbled mass of earth and boulders, was striking a piece of steel against the rail. Davis answered the signal and was answered in turn.” Check out next issue’s History Tidbit to read the conclusion to this dramatic story from our county’s history!

It’s the Boys & Girls Club Anniversary!

T 22 Bakersfield Magazine

HE BOYS AND GIRLS CLUBS OF KERN COUNTY IS 45. June 1 marked the day this local chapter received its charter in 1966 and officially opened its doors to help the kids in our area. Help our Clubs celebrate this milestone all month long! Log onto for more information.


Source: History of Kern County, California by Wallace M. Morgan. Historic Record Company, Los Angles, California, 1914.

LUAU on the LOT


Skilled Hands

Multi-talented sculptor takes a whack at big chunks of ice and creates short-lived beauties for his guests.


ack Zimmerman chips, chisels, and carves 300-pound blocks of ice; blocks of ice that weigh nearly twice as much as he does. At 79 years old, and with a limited stature, Zimmerman is club manager and resident ice sculptor at Bakersfield Country Club. His work can be seen at any event at the country club that calls for this chilled décor. Zimmerman has been managing private country clubs for many years and in 1954, while he was a manager at a club in San Francisco, he realized that there was a constant need for ice carvings at club events. He decided to teach himself the craft and has included it as part of his job description for the past 57 years. Zimmerman transforms the ice with a 14-inch chainsaw and a variety of chisels designed for ice carving. In about an hour, he can carve essentially anything that’s asked of him. Many ice sculptors use handheld grinders to achieve extreme detail, but after nearly six decades in the trade, Zimmerman knows, “you put it up on the stand and that fine detail you put in there is gone in an hour.” Zimmerman sticks with his chainsaw for the major shapes and hand-chiseling for the details that he does free-hand. He may be good at what he does, but Zimmerman doesn’t

practice the art in his free time. “That’s like practicing roasting prime rib!” he explained. Zimmerman’s ice sculptures are just as highly in demand as the tender beef is for special occasions. And with six or more sculptures requested a month, Zimmerman totals about 70 to 80 carvings each year for the country club, which is practice enough for anyone in the craft. So what’s the trick to a successful carving? Zimmerman explained that it is all in the temperature of the ice. He has found that the time spent in the delivery van helps the ice reach the ideal state and he is ready to carve right when it is delivered to the club. The most difficult part of ice sculpting? “Picking it up and putting it on the table,” Zimmerman said, laughing. For example, Zimmerman recalled a biplane he made for a pilot’s 50th marriage anniversary where he had to use three separate blocks of ice totaling 900 pounds. With so many events and holidays each year, Zimmerman has a few stand-by designs. Easter brunch is a Bakersfield Country Club mainstay and always present at the buffet is the very cool, two-block creation “Reggie Rabbit.” The bunny consists of a block for the whole body and an entire second block for his ears.

Bakersfield Country Club Manager & Master Ice Sculptor

Jack Zimmerman

“It wouldn’t be Easter without Reggie,” Zimmerman added. Zimmerman loves the comments. His personal favorite was from an elderly woman at the club. “She said, ‘Oh, Jack, I just love your ice carvings...even when I don’t know what they are.’ ” Zimmerman laughed while adding that when he gets carried

away, “sometimes it’s hard to tell if it’s a fish or a bird.” Modesty is this club manager’s most obvious trait. Seeing his work, one can tell that he has more than just a knack for sculpting. He doesn’t consider himself an artist and yet most who enjoy his icy creations would call him just that. Whatever the creation may be, this man is happy to make an icy idea into a reality. The fleeting sculptures last four to five hours and while it’s bittersweet to watch them go, Zimmerman knows, “It means each one is an original.” / Summer 2011 23

24 Bakersfield Magazine

Niki Reyes, 31 Occupation: Radio Personality, Danny & Niki Morning Show on Kelly 95.3 Are you a Bakersfield Native? I was born and raised in Los Angeles. Is there a style product that you absolutely can’t live without? Chapstick. There is nothing worse than having chapped lips! Do you think Bakersfield has a style? Definitely! People might think we’re behind (in terms of fashion), but that’s not true. Describe your personal style. I like being trendy and flirty at the same time. How long does it usually take you to get ready in the morning? Not long at all—30 mins. I’m on the radio, after all. Is there a celebrity or person in your life that you get your style from? My mom. She has great style. What are you wearing? A dress by Analili, heels are from Qupid, and the jewelry is from

Does your style change when you are not at work? Absolutely! Again, I’m on the radio. I’m glad no one can see me! How do you personalize your ‘business’ look? An amazing bag or purse. What are your favorite places to shop in Bakersfield? La Coquette, Lush, and Valley Plaza, of course.


Always buy comfortable shoes. What is your favorite item of clothing? The right underwear, bra, and Spanx. What is the biggest fashion mistake you have made? Shoes that hurt! If you can’t walk in them, you don’t look good! Are you a bargain hound? I’m beyond a bargain hunter! I shop everywhere from Ross to sale racks to online deals. My favorite is Groupon! When you find a deal, it’s the best feeling in the world. / Summer 2011 25

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26 Bakersfield Magazine


CITIZEN KERN Seriously Magical

Personal Stats: Name: Ron Saylor Age: 48 Birthplace: West Covina, CA

How he got started: When he was nine, Saylor’s mother took him on a routine trip to the mall where legendary magician Chuck Jones just happened to be performing. The act left an impression. “I knew that magic would be a part of my life,” Saylor, who put on his first show at the ripe old age of 10, said. And it was a hobby that he kept throughout high school and college. He even put on private shows outside of his career. But 10 years ago, Saylor decided to make magic his only job. He bought a few ads and, shortly after, gave up his day job to perform full time.

His heroes: There’s no way Saylor could not say Harry Houdini and Lance Burton. As a magician whose talents lie in close up, stage magic, illusion, escapology, and mentalism, Saylor does have a few others who’ve influenced him through the years, including Richard Turner and Harry Blackstone, Jr.



I get to do what I love every day. And it’s a profession that allows me to give back.

His favorite part of the industry: “I get to do what I love every day,” Saylor explained. “And it’s a profession that allows me to give back.” But putting smiles on people’s faces isn’t all that he enjoys. “The magic community is very supportive. Everyone wants to help each other out—I don’t see any envy among the magicians (including Vegas mainstays like Criss Angel) I’ve had the pleasure to meet and work with.”


Career highlights: One would think that being asked to perform at Christina Aguilera’s baby shower, among other celebrity parties, couldn’t be topped. But Saylor has also performed on the Emmy’s, won a People’s Choice Award, put on shows in Vegas, Chicago, New York, and he’s even performed numerous times at The Magic Castle in Hollywood—the mecca for all professional magicians.




Title: Magician

What he’d still like to accomplish: Even with credentials that include being a past president of the Bakersfield Magic Circle, a member of the Society of American Magicians, and currently ranked as the #1 magician in the world by Philip & Henry Productions (the largest magician’s agency in the world), Saylor would like to one day have his own theater and perform five to six nights a week. Currently, he’s locally producing 2nd Monday Magic at The Intimate Theatre & Music Hall. / Summer 2011 27


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Bakersfield native and Employers are not reTexas Rangers pitcher quired to pay employees Colby Lewis made national while they are on FMLA/ headlines in April because CFRA leaves; however, of his decision to take adCalifornia’s Paid Family vantage of Major League Leave program provides Baseball’s new paternity wage-replacement for elileave and be home with gible employees for six his wife during the birth of weeks while they are on their second child instead these leaves. of being at work. Some Employers who are not derided his decision, while familiar with these leaves By Robin Paggi others applauded it, which or how to administer them gives some indication about how people could pay heavy penalties if they deny feel about men taking time from work to employees their right to be off of work. care for their wives and newborns. For example, Maryland state trooper Responses to the question “should Kevin Knussman was awarded $375,000 men get paternity leave from work?” after being denied a leave of absence to on included this care for his newborn daughter because one: “Men should not get paternity of his gender. According to court doculeave from work because there is no ments, Knussman asked for time off of viable reason to allow them that privi- work to care for his wife and his famlege. There is no compelling argument ily following the birth of his child. He for granting men paternity leave from was denied this time off work by the work, while there are viable reasons to manager of the medical leave and bendeny.” This respondent (and everyone efit section of the personnel department else who feels this way) should know who told him that “God made women to that men have the statutory right to take have babies, and unless (he) could have time from work to bond with a newborn a baby, there is no way (he) could be prior adopted child if they work for an em- mary care (giver),” and that his wife had ployer that has 50 or more employees or to be “in a coma or dead” for Knussman a public agency (regardless of the num- to qualify for the leave. ber of employees). Sara Mandelbaum, Knussman’s atThe Family Medical Leave Act and torney stated, “In passing the Family the California Family Rights Act allow Medical Leave Act, Congress sought qualifying employees up to 12 weeks to encourage men to share in child care off of work to bond with a new child, to duties that many working women took care for a family member with a serious on alone. Some male-dominated instihealth condition, or the employee’s own tutions like the Maryland State Police serious health condition. According to may have a problem with this concept, the California Chamber of Commerce, but the court has shown it is the law of an employee is eligible for family leave the land.” if he (or she): Nolan Ryan, Rangers president and *Works for a covered employer (em- former pitcher, told the press that in his ployers with 50 or more employees or playing days players did not have the public agencies); luxury of taking time off for a newborn *Has worked for that employer for at child: “In those days they never allowed least 12 months (the time does not have you to go home for a child to be born. to be consecutive); It’s just something you heard about (from *Has worked for the employer for at your wife) if it happened during the sealeast 1,250 hours in the 12 months pre- son.” That’s no longer the case for major ceding the start of the leave; and league baseball players, public agencies, *Works at a worksite where the em- and many private employers. ployer employs 50 or more employees either at the worksite or within 75 miles Contact Robin Paggi MA, SPHR-CA, CPLP at of the worksite. KDG HR Solutions. (661) 328-5267

photo courtesy Ramsgate Engineering, Inc.


Black Gold & Guts


ith each piece of equipment they design, manufacture, and ship, Don Nelson, Mike Houghton, Eric Berger, Frank Lawrence, and Danny Henderson have a lot at stake. These are the leaders of Ramsgate Engineering, Inc., who decided to pool their collective 30 years of experience together in 2005 to bring high-tech engineering and high-quality fabrication for heavy oil production to the global market. Their approach is unique to the heavy oil production industry. To meet the unique, multifaceted needs of the industry, they draw on expertise from their two business entities: Ramsgate Engineering and ProGauge Technologies. Ramsgate Engineering (a group of engineers, geologists, project managers, designers, and support staff) fills specialized niches within the heavy oil production industry such as steam generation and distribution systems; data systems implementation and management; electric power systems analysis, optimization, and design; and well design and drilling planning, just to name a few.

By Tracie Grimes

To complement Ramsgate services, ProGauge Technologies, Inc., a business started in 1998, is an equipment manufacturer specializing in state-of-the-art devices such as steam generators, well testers, steam splitters, and fluids conditioning heat exchangers. ProGauge equipment production is done in Bakersfield and in Oman. “Although we do quite a bit of work here in California for Aera Energy, a lot of what we do is in the Middle East and South America,” explained Nelson, President of Ramsgate and ProGauge. He added that ProGauge has recently begun manufacturing in Oman as well as Bakersfield to help cut down on logistics and shipping challenges. “We consider ourselves to be a ‘boutique’ company because we can do everything within our own company. We can design, procure, manage, and operate all phases of thermal and related oilfield projects and we can manufacture the equipment. Our specialties are in heavy oil development and enhanced thermal technologies, and have seen enormous growth in countries such as Oman, Kuwait, Venezuela, and Bahrain.” And, as you can imagine, traveling to these countries these days can bring a whole different set of risks to the table. >>

We do everything within our own company. We can design, procure, manage, and operate all phases of thermal and related oilfield projects and we can manufacture the equipment. —Don Nelson / Summer 2011 29


“I was in Bahrain when the protests broke out,” Nelson recalled of his most recent trip to Egypt. “I remember looking outside the window of my hotel room and seeing hundreds and hundreds of people just walking by. I didn’t really know what was going on at the time and I didn’t feel threatened, but I knew I wasn’t going to go outside anytime soon.” While certainly a memorable experience, Nelson was quick to add that this was the first time he’s seen any kind of Middle Eastern turmoil first-hand. “We usually get to take part in some of the coolest stuff,” added Berger, recalling the trip he and Nelson took with their families and were invited to an excavation site at the Great Pyramids. “They had closed down the Pyramids to tourists and set up these tents for a birthday party for President Mubarak’s sonin-law. And here we were, rubbing elbows with all these important Egyptian officials, just two regular guys from Bakersfield... unbelievable!” “It seems like our whole time in business has just been one long adventure,” agreed Houghton, who’s most memorable experience took place when he was working on a project in Madagascar. “I remember I was talking with another American couple and I was just transfixed by all the stars I could see and was thinking about how far I, this guy from Taft, had come. Then I started chatting with the couple, asking ‘Where are you from?’ ‘Oh, this little town in California nobody’s ever heard of—Taft.’ It’s just strange the journeys life takes you on sometimes.” Though there are plenty of days their journeys seem a bit surreal, most days these five friends and business partners are taking a sentimental journey. “We founded the business because we enjoyed worked together,” Berger said. “We had all worked together at Getty, and then everybody but me left, so I ‘retired.’ ” “After I left Getty Oil in 1991, I started another consulting

“ We really do ‘push the envelope’ and have always been known for our ability to ‘think outside of the box.’ We’re pretty adept at creating a whole new set of systems on how to get a project done while meeting EPA standards and being compliant with local laws and standards.” —Eric Berger company, TCCK Engineering and was bought out by a construction company in 2004,” Nelson explained. “I ‘retired’ at the age of 45, but playing golf every day got old. I got together with Eric, Mike, Frank, and Danny, because we had worked so well together in the past and we were all good friends, and we started Ramsgate.” Since he was working with the guys he knew best and they all knew the business inside and out, Nelson admitted he didn’t really feel any risk when Ramsgate first began operations. But now the challenges seem to roll in every day. “I felt pretty good that people were calling me and asking me to start another company,” Nelson smiled, “so I guess at first I just didn’t see that there was much risk involved. But now it’s a different story. Our biggest challenge is trying to keep up with the logistics of growth.” With more than 80 employees (“the most employees I had when I ran TCCK was 65 and that was after being in business 30 Bakersfield Magazine


DON nelson

for 10 years,” Nelson noted), and more and more calls coming in requesting bids, Ramsgate and ProGauge have quickly filled up the 20,000 square feet of space they moved into not that long ago. And even with our economy being the way it is, Nelson doesn’t see the companies’ growth slowing down anytime soon. “The downturn in the U.S. economy hasn’t affected us because 80 percent of our business is international. About the biggest risk our company faces is the Middle East going up in flames.” The partners are always at risk financially, Nelson added, because Ramsgate and ProGauge have to issue a bank guarantee for every project. “If we don’t deliver, they can call in that guarantee, which is for millions of dollars and is personally guaranteed by all five partners. “Another challenge that’s come up in recent years is the change that’s taking place in oil extraction from Middle Eastern fields. Until recently the Middle Eastern fields have been producing ‘light’ oil. Now they are starting to bring up ‘heavy’ [thicker, more viscous] oil. Meeting this challenge isn’t a problem for us because that’s what we’re geared to do. The challenge for us is that we are being asked to do bigger projects in the Middle East,” Nelson noted, adding that a “small” job in the Middle East would be considered huge here in the States. Large Middle Eastern projects would be in fields that produce billions of barrels. Confident that Ramsgate and ProGauge can meet the challenges of a changing Middle Eastern oil production industry, the partners rely heavily on their top-notch employees to come up with solutions. “Our employees are some of the smartest in their fields, some of the most respected internationally as well as in Kern County, and definitely the best and brightest I’ve ever worked with,” Nelson said with the pride of a father bragging about a child. “And to keep up with our growth, we are fortunate to be able to add new talent to the team almost every month. Our team works like a well-oiled machine and can pull together to do what needs to

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be done not only to complete the project, but to make sure it’s up to our high standards.” Validation for this extraordinary teamwork came when Ramsgate and ProGauge were awarded a gold award from Oman’s Minister of Oil and Gas. “That was quite a difficult project because we had to design and install equipment for a steam pilot project in Oman in under a year. There was a lot of pressure that went along with that project, a lot of air freighting of parts and equipment, and a couple of times we felt the crunch, but everyone just pulled together and we did it. This is the kind of teamwork that allows us to keep up with growth and stay successful.” The success of Ramsgate and ProGauge has almost caught Nelson and his partners off guard, he said laughing. “I really don’t mean to come off sounding too sure of myself or arrogant in any way, but when I think back at what we’ve done, it’s almost like living a dream. Who would have thought that we’d put two businesses together, form contracts with foreign countries to design, build, and implement some pretty complex equipment, and get wined and dined by bank presidents and ambassadors?” “The work is tough and very challenging,” Houghton added, noting that stepping out onto a desert in the Middle East is like stepping out onto the Moon. “But the most memorable thing about our projects is the adventure.” “We really do ‘push the envelope’ and have always been known for our ability to ‘think outside of the box.’ We’re pretty adept at creating a whole new set of systems on how to get a project done while meeting EPA standards and being compliant with local laws and standards,” Berger elaborated. “What we do on a daily basis definitely isn’t the ‘norm’ in the industry. What we do is much cooler!” While coolness is certainly a factor that keeps these five buddies out of retirement, it’s living the adventure they’d never dreamed possible that keeps them plugging away at the ol’ grindstone. After all, as Nelson noted, you can only play so much golf. v

Until recently the Middle Eastern fields have been producing ‘light’ oil. Now they are starting to bring up ‘heavy’ [thicker, more viscous] oil. Meeting this challenge isn’t a problem because that’s what ProGauge and Ramsgate are prepared to do. / Summer 2011 31

Halliburton is an EEO/AA employer. Š 2011 Halliburton. All rights reserved.

32 Bakersfield Magazine

Once upon a time, neon was king. We still think it is.



efficient substitute—but something was lost in translation. Still, some businesses were steadfast in their decision not to change. Here in town, more than a dozen establishments have held on to neon, including the Green Frog Market at Bernard Street and Alta Vista Drive and Mauricio’s restaurants. And with nostalgia at an all-time high for a lot of baby boomers in our city, it only makes sense that neon is experiencing another day in the sun. In fact, the Kern County Museum is collecting old neon signs from businesses long since closed in order to restore them

and display them in Pioneer Village. Lori Wear, Curator of Collections at Kern County Museum, explained that the Museum’s efforts to display old Bakersfield neon signs started after a donation of the Tejon Theatre neon sign back in 1998. “We realized that the collection on our grounds ended around World War II and displaying these signs would extend the exhibits to the mid-century modern period,” Wear explained. “And since many of the local theaters were designed by Charles Biggar and were run by the Lemucchi family, there was a major local connection.” Many of the signs come to the Museum needing a lot of work before they can be displayed. “Right now, O.B. Nuzum’s sign is at Center Neon where they are bending the glass,” she continued. “And the Silver Fox sign is A GREAT SIGN FROM THE PAST



he familiar buzz of a neon sign could be heard outside many a diner, bar, and theater in Bakersfield throughout the 1940s, and ‘50s. The glow emitted from these signs caused an electric stir in people. And it still does today. For many, neon symbolizes a time when drive-in theaters and burger joints were the norm; a throwback to early Vegas and the glitz and glamour of Old Hollywood. Sure, neon signs are still used today, but the heyday is long gone. These signs became an extravagant purchase and upkeep wasn’t cheap. So neon began to vanish from the storefronts of our town throughout the 1980s, replaced by less expensive, less elaborate versions. And as LED became available, many stores chose to recreate signs similar to those old neon ones with this more cost-

ready but we’re waiting on some piping so we can properly display both of those signs. But we’re evaluating how big we can grow this exhibit. It’s got a great 1950s feel that a lot of people connect with.” So while the glow of neon signs may be a distant memory for many of us, there are still those who want to preserve that part of our history—the part that connects us to a simpler way of life when selecting which drive-in to go to for milkshakes was the toughest decision of the day. Log on to to see a map of some of the neon signs still glowing strong today! v / Summer 2011 33

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34 Bakersfield Magazine

Back when Ed was still “little” and Barris was just the “prince,” Red Harden was among a handful that helped shape Kustom Kulture, influencing everything from pop culture to the cars we drive today.



By Matthew Martz

o guy ever forgets his first car. In a lot of ways, our first car can affect who we become. Sometimes we remember cars more than we remember the girls we took out in those cars. Red Harden remembers the first time he saw a car that changed who he was, and although he was still too young to drive, it was the prettiest car the 10-year-old had ever seen. Parked on a street in Joplin, Missouri was a 1936 custom Ford built by Joe Wilhelm—once one of the greatest custom car builders of his time—and it was love at first sight for Harden. “I didn’t know who Wilhelm was at the time,” he recalled. “But I remember thinking that it was the prettiest car I have ever seen, and saying to myself ‘that’s what I want to do.’ ” And while Harden’s name may not be as recognizable to some as George Barris (creator of the original Batmobile), Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, or Darryl Starbird, he is every bit a legend when it comes to transforming ordinary vehicles into works of art. For the past six decades, Harden has been skillfully bending metal, shaping sweeping fins, adding Frenched headlights and recessed taillights, shaving door handles, scooping hoods, sectioning bodies, and blending cocktails of candy colors that are sprayed onto the sheet metal skins of his custom-made chariots. Born in Bakersfield, Harden moved with his mother to the small town of Prior, Oklahoma when he was just






six years old and, after rough times, found himself in an orphanage. But it wasn’t long before this vehicle van Gogh began running away from that temporary home...a whopping 35 times. “It took me that many times to figure out what I was doing wrong to get caught,” Harden said with a grin. “I made up my mind at 12 years old; I wasn’t going to get caught this time and ran away to New York.” It wasn’t long before Harden discovered that living in the subways and streets of the Big Apple was not a place for a kid. After riding the rails for a few months, he decided to hitch a ride to Los Angeles. Ambitious and young, Harden landed in Burbank in 1960. Timing couldn’t have been better as the ‘60s ushered in a new era of custom rod building. Changes involved wheels and tires, with a competition influence bringing mags and wider rubber to the scene. The same racing inspiration also led rodders to use newer, bigger, and more raucous engines that pierced through voids in custom-cut hoods. The ‘60s also saw the evolution of the show rod. Flowing streamlined designs with radiant colors, and amazing artistry all blended together. What began with cars like the Ala Kart in the 1950s evolved into a radical new rod form that spawned untamed creations like Roth’s bubble top cars, Dean Jeffries’ Monkeemobile, Dave Puhl’s X Altered ‘34 Ford Coupe, and Starbird’s Li’l Coffin, also known to die cast collectors as the Demon or Prowler. Gone was any pretense of actual street use; these cars were built to push creative limits and dazzle car show spectators as well as budding young enthusiasts. Harden found himself in the middle of this custom car builder’s Mecca and, as fate would have it, landed a job with Joe Bailon, a car customizer credited with creating the paint color Candy Apple Red. In time, he would hook up with legendary customizer Bill Cushenberry, who in 1964 moved his business to North Hollywood, >> / Summer 2011 35



literally around the corner from Barris Kustom Industries. The entire area was bursting with testosterone-driven grease monkeys building chopped and stripped-down speed machines. Cushenberry ruled the ‘60s custom world, and would take Harden under his wing. The two became longtime partners and friends until Cushenberry’s death in 2005. “Bill was unbelievable; he taught me so much, and we built some great cars together,” Harden said pointing to a picture on his office wall, one of a futuristic show car named, “The Silhouette.” The 1963 hand-built machine sat on a shortened Buick chassis, and was originally powered by a Buick engine. The wheels on the car were fully exposed, but the angular body was strictly space age in shape, while the Candy Apple Red metal flake paint job, “fender well” headers, and crazed bubble top made it one of the most recognized cars in the world. The Silhouette was fully operable, and appeared in the movie Beach Ball in 1965. The car was such a huge success that Hot Wheels and Revell made a model of the car. The Silhouette was stolen in Bakersfield in 1983, and has never been recovered. “We’ve gotten a lot of leads over the

(Above) The most famous Dodge Charger ever to exist. (Below) The Silhouette, a custom car that casts a big shadow.

end Larry Bird and actor Dale Robertson. “I worked on a lot of interesting cars in those days,” added Harden. “That was a good era, especially for custom cars. They had individuality, and we would customize them, turning them into something like a fine piece of jewelry.” Harden’s most notable contributions were to DRAGULA, used in the hit TV series The Munsters, KIT from Knight Rider, and the General Lee, a bright orange supercharged 1969 Dodge Charger bearing a Confederate naval jack on its roof that grew to be more popular than Daisy Duke’s shorts in The Dukes of Hazzard. However, the early ‘70s seemed to mark the beginning of the end for what many consider the glory days of rodding and customizing, and it was in 1971 that Harden returned to Bakersfield. The arrival of the GTO, and the ensuing rise


Harden cut his teeth on such classic cars as The Munsters’ DRAGULA.

36 Bakersfield Magazine

of the muscle car, often bears blame for the decline in traditional rods and customs. Many speed freaks had already turned their backs on Deuce coupes and roadsters, wrenching instead on jacked-up ‘56 Chevys. Brand new production street customs, meanwhile, were being pumped out by the thousands in Detroit. “Those ‘50s and ‘60s cars were in an era by themselves, and now they’re trying to come up with new models of old cars to try and reach the guys that couldn’t afford them back in the day,” Harden explained. “But it’s nothing like having the real thing.” Today, Harden has turned his talent into a career as the owner of a collision repair shop. But bringing damaged sheet metal back to



Harden has started to rebuild one of the five original Batmobiles from the ground up. Log on to for exclusive details.

years, but nothing has ever panned out,” said Harden. “If we don’t find it soon, I’m just going to have to build another one.” Harden’s obsession with cars has only grown over the years. He continued his quest to create the coolest car he could and, as a result, became a pretty good metal shaper himself, rounding off the edges, chopping tops, and even creating his own mélange of pearl paints from ground up abalone shells. Throughout the 1960s and into the early ‘70s, Harden began working on Hollywood studio cars for movies and television and customized cars for the stars and numerous athletes including Dodgers Steve Garvey and Ron Cey, as well as Celtics leg-

normal isn’t nearly as much fun as turning normal cars into something extraordinary, so in his free time, Harden has continued to follow in the footsteps of his childhood heroes while dreaming up the wildest rides since Mr. Toad. The results have been a long string of knockout customs. And although Harden has built hundreds of custom cars and has owned over 1,000 automobiles during his life, this renowned custom car builder said he is not finished yet. “To build a car from the ground up; a real one-of-a-kind is challenging,” added Harden. “I have something in my head, and I want to build it before I am too old.” So if you see a car that resembles George Jetson’s “Space Car” cruising Bakersfield, don’t be alarmed, it’s probably Harden showing off his latest creation. M

Vintage Engine Restorers Are Giving Warbirds Another Chance To Soar



By Gordon F. Lull

rom July through October of 1940, waves of German and Royal Air Force planes battled to the death in the skies above Great Britain, raining fire and destruction upon cities and towns, and challenging each other in skilled ferocity. Luftwaffe Dorniers, Heinkels, Junkers, and Messerschmitts, at Hitler’s bidding, sought to soften Britain’s defenses and break its will before a planned sea invasion. Vastly outnumbered, the RAF’s Hurricanes and Spitfires pushed back. The bitter enemies had but one friend in common: the V-12 engine.

In Tehachapi, land of train loops and windmills, at the end of a desolate street, a single-story metal structure sits between the banks of Highway 58 and a sullen expanse of grass. Not much commends or identifies it. Flat roof, cracked paved lot, no signage. A poster at the locked front door reads, “Please Use Back Door.” Barely visible in the back lot are the guts of V-12s in various states of repair, along with rims, axels, wire, and massive containers (each containing a V-12 scheduled to be overhauled), stacked in mounds. Through the back entrance of the shop, you are hardly noticed. The dozen or more workers are possessed in joyous industry. There is little talking; only what is necessary. It is all clanks, taps, raps, grinding, and hums. This is the scene of men who love what they do: overhauling engines. And this is Vintage V-12s, arguably the premier vintage aircraft engine restoration company in the world. The owner, Mike Nixon, started working on WWII aircraft in 1973 at Van Nuys Airport. He started his own shop five years later in Chino and, in 1981, moved to Sun Valley where he incorporated the business as Vintage V-12s. In 1983, Nixon hired an area mechanic, Jose Flores (then still in high school). Soon after, Flores (now Vice President and General Manager of Vintage V-12s) joined that venture, and the company achieved what he calls “a nice comfortable level of business. “I remember Mike saying one day,” said Flores, “ ‘We’re doing well. We’re doing what we love, the customers like our work, and we’re making good money.’ We were averaging four or five engines a year.” All that was to change when a wealthy German businessman made his request: he needed the fledgling company to renovate five engines a year...for five years. Nixon and Flores agreed, >>

An airplane stands for freedom, for joy, for the power to understand, and to demonstrate that understanding. Such things are not destructible. —Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull


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MAN ISSUE / Summer 2011 37


hired two more employees, and Vintage V12s was on its way. And, in 1987, avoiding high commercial rent costs and Southland congestion, Vintage V-12s moved to its current location in Tehachapi. Today the company employs 35 people and 34,000 square feet of shop space. In addition to the V-12 business, Nixon also oversees three other companies, Vintage Radials, Vintage Aero Engines, and Vintage Carburetors, all located on the same commercial property. In its time, the V-12 represented the zenith of internal combustion engine evolution. Rather than disappear into the mists of technological advance, love for the engine assured that it would not be forgotten. Too much about it was unique and history-changing. The engine features twelve cylinders, two banks of six cylinders each, mounted on a single crank case. Each bank is mounted at what is usually a 60 degree angle to the other, creating its unique “V” shape. Twelve pistons drive the single crankshaft. This design results in more even firing, improved aerodynamics and smoothness, power pulses delivered twice as often, and no need for counterweights on the crankshaft (as with 90 degree V-8s). The V-12 runs slower than smaller engines, prolonging engine life. The first incarnation of the V-12 was in aircraft. As the “war to end all wars” (WWI) came to an end, V-12s were found in fighters, bombers, and zeppelins. Both German (Daimler, Haybach) and American (Curtiss) manufacturers were perfecting the engine. By World War II it dominated military aircraft. Rolls-Royce, Daimler-Benz, BMW, and the Packard Motor Company all manufactured the engine. After the war, turboprop and turbojet engines steadily eclipsed and displaced the V-12. But it was to find wider applications in the automobile industry. Today, thanks to people like Nixon and Flores, the V-12 aircraft engine lives on not just in memory, but in time and space. “This is World War II stuff,” said Flores, “and we’re keeping history going here.” What Nixon achieved was unparalleled. Over the years, restoration of V-12 engines had been the work of specialists. Each mechanic concentrated on a specific system or component. Nixon mastered the entire engine. And he assembled a team of fellow “masters” who love what they do 38 Bakersfield Magazine

Each V-12 has approximately 14,000 parts. Each must be inspected, cleaned and, if necessary, repaired before use.

and do it better than just about anyone else in the world. Said Flores, “There’s nobody else who can do what he [Nixon] does. As far as this engine goes, he is the top guy out there.” Vintage customers are worldwide. According to Flores, 60 percent of the company’s restored engines are shipped overseas to private and institutional customers in France, Spain, Mexico, New Zealand, Aus-

Mike Nixon, Vintage V-12s owner, started working on WWII aircraft in 1973 and never looked back.

tralia, Canada, and other countries. Vintage V-12s’ clients include wealthy private collectors, owners, museums, and (in one case) a Bakersfield racing enterprise (Strega). The company’s website (vintagev12s. com) includes a page on the “process” involved with restoration projects. Standing within the shop or in any one of its storage areas affords a view which suggests

controlled chaos. Hundreds of thousands of parts, some in original packaging a half-century old, inhabit acres of shelving. Engines in various states of restoration sit atop metal shelves, carefully organized to reflect each stage in the project. But the order is in the process. The process is this. First, an agreement regarding the specifics of the project (and costs) is reached. The engine is then shipped to Vintage V-12s, assessed, and disassembled. A work order is assigned and a notebook created, assuring continuity and accountability. With disassembly, each individual part is scrutinized for wear and damage. Then, the entire engine and its components—each engine has approximately 14,000 parts—is fully cleaned. Next, a full component inspection will determine any abnormalities or variances from manufacturer’s specifications. Most of the repair work is undertaken in shop and, according to Flores, the company is able to find 95 perecent of the parts it needs on premises (not surprising considering one large bank of parts, roughly the size of Connecticut, in an adjacent storage building). For those parts not readily available in-house, Flores begins dialing. “This is a relatively small community we have,” he said, referring to vintage engine restoration. “Now and then it may take some time to locate a part but it’s usually just a matter of calling someone up and telling them what you’re looking for.” After complete reassembly, the restored engine undergoes its final test. For

this, Nixon, Flores, and their team haul out “the testing truck,” an ancient International work truck. A small enclosed red cabin sits atop the truck, inside of which a display panel replicates an aircraft dashboard. The engine is hoisted atop the truck bed, hooked to the cabin display panel and, for five hours, put through a rigorous test to simulate flight conditions. Cooling temperature, fuel pressure, fluid temps; all are tested. Once it passes muster, the restored and gleaming engine is packed in a container and shipped back to the owner. The team works on 10 to 12 engines at any one time (20 engines, in various states of restoration, were in house at the time of our visit) and completes 12 to 14 projects a year. Each engine restoration takes approximately four months to finish, or 1,200 hours of work. That work has resulted in several achievements: *In 2007, the company returned to air racing and helped deliver three years of 1st place wins to Strega’s team and pilot; *In 1999, Vintage V-12s got the first restored “Battle of Britain” German Messerschmitt 109E airborne; and *In 2010, the first FW 190 with a BMW radial engine flew skyward after a Vintage V-12s overhaul. When Nixon and Flores are not overseeing work at the shop, they consult and educate across the globe (Nixon, during our first visit, was in Germany training technicians there). And, yes, both occasionally fly in the aircraft they restore. Nixon said both he and his partner have flown the P-51 Mustang. “We get the best part, though,” he added. “Landing, take off, and paying the bills are the really hard parts.” Ever since the Wright brothers launched the age of flight, aviation’s heroes have generally been pilots. Names fix themselves upon the popular imagination: von Richtofen, Mollison, Lindburgh, Earhart, Doolittle, Yeager. Those who make their feats possible generally remain unsung. No matter to the guys at Vintage V-12s. They’re content to be cunning craftsmen on earth. They can always gaze upward and watch their workmanship race across corridors of sky. “It is a high,” Flores admitted, “seeing those planes up there with those magnificent engines and thinking, ‘Hey, we did that.’ Now, that is flying high.” M

Carefree Retirement Living. With A Lifestyle You Didn’t Expect. Convenience, hospitality and security for the future. If you’re considering a retirement community for any of these reasons, Rosewood can provide everything you’re looking for. But what you might find is that the things you weren’t expecting can make the biggest difference to your life. Inspired by Rosewood’s uniquely engaged, fulfilling lifestyle, our residents are bringing new meaning – and more enjoyment – to their retirement years.

Call 1-800-659-6168 today to schedule a tour, and discover everything you want, and maybe even something you didn’t expect, at Rosewood. (800) 659-6168 1301 New Stine Road Bakersfield, CA 93309 Rosewood in Bakersfield, California, is owned and managed by ABHOW, a California nonprofit public benefit corporation. ABHOW is a nonsectarian corporation, serving seniors through quality retirement housing since 1949. State of California License #150400536, DHS License #120000165, Certificate of Authority #114. / Summer 2011 39

Dream wheels


hen it comes to cars, there are two things I know how to do: fill the gas tank and check the oil. And, to be honest, the only reason I know how to check my 5W-30 level is because I have been cursed by the car gods to own a vehicle that burns oil faster than a wok in a Chinese restaurant. My true knowledge of cars doesn’t extend past the aesthetic. I have no doubt that what’s under the hood counts, but I really do judge cars by their bodies. And while I really do yearn to one day own a new Volvo S60, the only reason is because my first two cars were Volvos. As I found out, though, that’s not an uncommon notion for most car guys. There’s really no logic behind a man’s dream car—it usually comes down to what he drove (or wanted to drive) in high school.

By Anika Henrikson

These are guys that know the ins and outs of their cars; they know every part under the hood. And since I had absolutely no knowledge of what a “Flathead Merc” meant prior to working on this article (save a guess that it was some sort of screwdriver), the magazine figured I’d be the best honorary man to write it. That way, I could start to understand just what it is about certain cars that’s so appealing to men. For these five guys, something about “that car” never left their minds. They would dream of owning “their” car for years—planning and re-planning every minute detail, pouring over auto mags, and attending car shows. Someday, it would be theirs. Oh, yes, it would be theirs... Steve Lantz “It’s a connection to a particular time in my life,” Steve Lantz said of his ‘29 Roadster. “My dad would drive jalopies at the speedway. I’ve always been a car guy; it’s a part of my life.” While in high school, Lantz’s dream car was a ‘65 Ford Ranchero but he always had an affinity for hot rods. When he graduated in 1971, Lantz said he was looking to buy a 1929 Ford. “I found the exact car I wanted, but the guy selling it wanted $800 and I only had $600.” The seller was holding firm, so Lantz realized he wasn’t going to be driving away in his dream car anytime soon, especially since he had signed up for the service. But little did Lantz know that in 1972, his stepfather would trade a Ranchero and a motor bike for the same ‘29. So while the car has been in his family for

Man-ism no. 1

It’s the sound. The motor. The speed. That’s the drive. It has to sound like a hot rod.

STEVE LANTZ ‘29 Ford Roadster

40 Bakersfield Magazine

a long time, it wasn’t until 2000 that his stepfather gifted the car to Lantz. “I had it repainted in 2002 and, with a friend’s help, I stripped the car in 2009 and rebuilt it on ‘32 rails with a 1953 Flathead Merc,” he added. “I have to keep tinkering. I guess I just have that kind of mentality.” But that desire to tinker is strong...and apparently genetic. Lantz’s 22-year-old son has a ‘31 five-window coupe and is currently building a ‘30 Ford pickup. When I asked him what the most crucial aspect of any hot rod


is, Lantz didn’t hesitate: “It’s the sound. The motor. The speed. That’s the drive. It has to sound like a hot rod.” It was a belief shared by his stepfather. “When I had the car mostly rebuilt, I took it over to show my stepdad, who was dying. He had to put his hot rod shirt on and take a picture with the car. He passed a month after that.” But the love of hot rods and the feeling of getting behind the wheel of a souped up Ford is alive and well in the Lantz family. “When I finally finished the car in March of 2010, I thought to myself, ‘What next?’ ”

Man-ism no. 2

It harkens back to that time in my life when we’d drive around listening to great ‘70s rock music.

Keith Reynolds “When I was in high school, my friend had a ‘67 Camaro and we would cruise around,” Keith Reynolds explained to me. “I don’t know if it was a midlife crisis, or what, but a few years ago, I decided I wanted a hot rod.” What he wanted was a Camaro. Reynolds found a listing on Craigslist for a rusted out ‘68 Camaro and went to work, using his days off from his job as a correctional officer to rebuild his dream car (he has since retired). “It was my first endeavor—I’d never done anything like this before. I’m not a mechanic, but I did most of the work out of my

KEITH REYNOLDS ‘68 Chevy Camaro

garage, bit by bit. I had a good friend who would bring over his tools and we’d listen to music, drink a few beers.” This was a “frame-off restoration.” And, yes, I had to be told what that was. The body came entirely off the frame during the rebuild and everything was disassembled so that Reynolds could assess just what needed to be replaced. “I would say eighty percent of the metal on the body had to be replaced,” he said. “It was completely rusted out.” But Reynolds was steadfast. He bought the car in 2007 and worked on it for 23 months, during which time he decided to forego putting in a typical small block Chevy 350 engine and, instead, chose a big block General Motors 520. “It’s really what sets this car apart from most muscle cars,” Reynolds added. But take one look at the Camaro and you’ll notice that other things set this dream car apart from other late ‘60s and early ‘70s models. Reynolds built a true piece of eye candy. Under the hood, he customized everything so every part is polished aluminum. >> / Summer 2011 41

Dream wheels

The car is definitely a carryover from his days in high school. “I had an old ‘34 Ford that I never got running. Then I had a ‘41, a ‘49, and a ‘48. None of them had paint jobs,” Corum said, laughing. “They were painted with primer. I had a ‘46 that I had to re-paint every few weeks because the red flames I’d put on with spray paint would peel off.” Corum was the ultimate greaser in high school—cruising through

Man-ism no. 3

I couldn’t have one then, but I have one now. I’m proud of it.

drive-ins and doing a bit of drag racing when the coast was clear. When he joined the Navy after high school and got married, he thought his hot rod days were over—but they were just on hiatus. “Once Donna and I got settled back in Bakersfield [after living on the East Coast for some time] I had a little extra money and time to tinker,” he added. “I bought a Model A Ford with a late model Chevy engine that I’d tinker with. And, somehow, I ended up with a ‘32 Ford Coupe. The only thing I did to that car was replace the engine. It had a 4-banger but I put in a V-8.” Then came another dry period where Corum was hot rod-less, but a year and a half ago, he decided the time to find his dream car had come.

“The Camaro takes me back to my high school days,” Reynolds said, his voice dripping with nostalgia. “It harkens back to that time in my life when we’d drive around listening to great ‘70s rock music. I poured so much of my own blood and sweat into this car. Having my own Camaro had always been a dream. It was a dream, now this car is my passion.” Les Corum “It’s like American Graffiti,” I said to our publisher, Les Corum, upon seeing his ‘32 Ford Highboy. Of course, I had no idea what a highboy was. “This type of hot rod is called that because it’s fenderless— you can see the frame and rails underneath the body,” Corum explained to me. 42 Bakersfield Magazine

LES CORUM ‘32 Ford Highboy Roadster


“I spent a lot of time searching for the perfect car. I finally found one in San Diego. It was the exact color I was looking for [hugger orange], has a late model Chevy small block engine with 425 horse power, and lots of chrome under the hood, plus complete paint and chrome underneath the full length of the body.” As gorgeous as it is, “I won’t drive it if there is any chance of it getting wet,” he joked, “it’s to difficult to get under the car to detail it. “This is the kind of car I saw being driven when I was in junior high and high school. I couldn’t have one then, but I have one now. I’m proud of it—I’ll go out and dust it, turn the engine on and listen to it, drive it around for a bit. It makes me feel like I’m 17 again.” John Van Alstyne Van Alstyne likes hot rods, though it’s not obvious on appearance. But behind those slacks and button-up shirt is a man who has spent most of his adult life building and driving classic cars and hot rods. “My first car was a 1950 Chevy with a GMC motor,” he told me in the conference room at Sierra Printers, the company he owns. “And my second was a ‘50 Mercury with a hopped up flathead.” By the time I was talking with Van Alstyne, I thankfully knew what that was. Cars are a hobby for him. And this hobby took a backseat to starting a family.

“It was really a lack of funding that kept me from doing a lot with cars while Patty [Van Alstyne’s wife and fellow car lover] and I raised the kids,” he said. “But I got back into it.” And he got back into it in a big way, building two hot rods: a ‘32 Ford Highboy Roadster and a ‘41 Willys. Both took roughly two years to complete. Van Alstyne also recently built a 1940 Willys. “It’s just what we do,” he said, modestly. “People like me were doing it in high school and we do it today because it’s what we love.” Of course, it can be an expensive hobby. But it’s a hobby that just about anyone, whether fulfilling a lifelong dream or having a midlife crisis, can get into. >>

Man-ism no. 4

It’s not a question of whether anything is right or’s all up to the individual building it.

JOHN VAN ALSTYNE ‘41 Willys / Summer 2011 43

Dream wheels


“There are no rules to this,” he added. It was an expression I would come to associate with hot rods. “It’s not a question of whether anything is right or’s all up to the individual building and the one who’s driving it.” The Van Alstynes even spent a vacation with the ‘40 Willys. They visited 26 states and drove 7,000 miles in an RV, pulling the Willys off the hitch in each city to cruise around. “It really is a culture,” he said of hot rodding. “I’ve made some amazing friends from out of town who we go to car shows with— that is definitely my favorite part about all this.” Frank Riccomini “I think it’s everything—it’s the feeling of building or working on your car; it’s the sound the engine makes; it’s the connection to a certain time in your life.” That’s the answer I got from Frank Riccomini, a local cotton grower, when I asked what it is about cars that men love so much. Riccomini is the proud owner of a 1957 T-Bird. But how he came to own the car is the best part of the story. “I was visiting my wife’s parents in Oxnard and I saw a photo of a car hanging on the wall. I asked whose it was and my wife said, ‘It’s my father’s.’ So I asked her where he kept the car and she told me, ‘In the garage.’ Well, I walked out into the garage, took one look at that car and asked how much he wanted for it.” Riccomini’s wife, Becky, assured him that her father would not sell the car. “I told her to go out to my car, grab my checkbook, and write a check. When I showed the check to my father-in-law, he just laughed. He didn’t think I was serious. Well, I drove home in the T-Bird that night.” This was six or seven years ago, Riccomini estimated. He spent a pretty penny having it completely restored at Custom Works here in Bakersfield. It was at this point in my interview with Riccomini that I had to learn that there is a big, big difference between restoring a classic car and building a hot rod. Seems self-explanatory now, but the actual act of customizing and modifying an old car turns it into a hot rod. Someone performing a full restoration would want the 44 Bakersfield Magazine

car to look just as it did when it was originally manufactured. Still, Riccomini said the cost was worth it. There’s just something about this car. And though he doesn’t drive it around, Riccomini does enter the ‘57 in numerous car shows. He’s even planning on taking it to Pismo for the show over Father’s Day weekend. “It’s a car that’s a part of history, and I like that,” he said. “And it’s so beautiful and unique.” Recently, Riccomini picked up a classic Ford pickup and he’s in the process of restoring that, too. “Ask me who I bought that one from,” he prompted me. “My father-in-law.” Clearly, this is a guy who loves to have classic cars (and trucks) in his life.


Man-ism no. 5

Riccomini said the cost was worth it.There’s just something about this car. These five guys are hardly alone in their obsessions. And, no, obsession is not too strong a word in this case. Bakersfield is known all over the United States as a kind of car mecca. We’ve got raceways and drag strips (and, boy, you better know the difference); not to mention, our city plays host to numerous national car events. The National Street Rod Association just recently held the 35th Western Street Rod Nationals at the Kern County Fairgrounds—the 25th consecutive year they’ve hosted here in Bakersfield. And while events of that caliber do pull in a lot of out-of-town visitors, there’s also a fair amount of local folks (read: men) who are there to check out the goods; they’re there from sun up to sun down so they can

talk shop with other guys who’ve built or restored their own dream car. Much the way a song can take you to a place in your past, the rumble of a small block or the sound of squealing tires has the power to transport these men back to high school. So, while I don’t have quite the same appreciation for a Ford on a radical rake or a Chevy with a blower sticking out of the hood (and I’m still not able fix a single thing on my own car), after talking with these local car guys, I am one step closer to understanding just what it is that causes most dudes to get that romantic, glazed-over look on their face when someone mentions a little deuce coupe. M / Summer 2011 45

MAN ISSUEfiles Pro

Delfino Homes 14525 Greatest Place • 661-587-7246 George A. Delfino’s family roots run pretty deep in Kern County. His grandfather, George Delfino, whom George was named after, first came to Tulare County from Milan, Italy, and then moved to Kern County in 1892. He worked for Kern Land Company when he was in his early 20s. Delfino’s grandfather started his own farming business in 1898 and continued to buy land, increasing his farming and cattle business. It was at this time that he created a partnership with his sons. Their properties were being encroached upon by the growth of the city. The properties were being sold off to school districts and other developers for malls and shopping centers. There are over a thousand residential homes, condos, and apartments on the family’s old properties. George’s father, Tony, and his uncles decided to develop the rest of their land. They were busy farming, so they decided that George should learn the developing trade. It was a new challenge for George because land development is an extremely technical field with a lot of steps to follow to turn farmland into finished subdivisions ready for homes. George thoroughly enjoyed developing the land. This was to become a great business venture for George and his family. George has developed nearly 500 acres of land and over 1,000 finish lots and paper lots combined. 46 Bakersfield Magazine

In 1997, George’s father passed away, followed by an uncle a year later. After finishing developing the family properties, George started Delfino Land Company, Inc. He started buying his own land and instead of simply just developing it, he decided he wanted to build homes on his lots and started Delfino Homes. Delfino Land Company, Inc. doing business as Delfino Homes has been building homes for the last thirteen years on its properties and in other premier subdivisions in Kern County. In this tough housing market, George decided to broaden his customer base by adding smaller home plans that would accommodate first-time buyers or empty nesters desiring more modest homes. George explained that this has been a welcomed challenge to be able to build homes that accommodate customers who want a special home in the 1,500 square foot range to the customer that wants a 10,000 square foot custom home. “After being in the development business for nineteen years, my goals remain the same: satisfying customers, building quality subdivisions, and building quality homes,” he said. The Delfino family roots that have run deep in Kern County for over a century will continue to grow.

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NAPA Auto & Truck Parts 490 Belle Terrace • 661-377-0212

Tim Delcid and Sons/Grandson The Delcids are more than just the name behind NAPA Auto and Truck Parts stores in Bakersfield, they are the family. It’s a serious pride in their work and relationships that sets this family of stores apart. Although TCID, Inc. represents the NAPA chain, their locations’ ideals reflect something more of a local parts house where a firm handshake still means something and the customer is king. Tim Delcid president and founder of TCID, Inc. has been in the parts industry since he was 17 years old. The mechanic, business owner, and devoted family man explained, “It just came to me. I was always working on motorcycles, go-carts, mini bikes, cars, and pickups.” Tim began building the family corporation with the Golden Empire Fleet Services in 1983, specializing in Heavy Duty Truck & Trailer repair. “I learned from some of the best parts people and heavy duty truck mechanics there were at the time.” In 2001, Tim bought a NAPA Auto Parts store in Wasco, CA. And in 2006, TCID, Inc. acquired Bakersfield NAPA, Southwest NAPA, and NAPA Heavy Duty Truck Parts and Service Center which includes Golden Empire Fleet Services. Timothy and Josh Delcid, Tim’s sons, have officially been a part of TCID, Inc. for the last decade, but really, they’ve been involved their whole lives. Timothy is the general manager of the Golden Empire Fleet Services and Josh is the general manager of the three NAPA Auto and Truck Parts stores. “My two sons, along with my wife Linda of 37 years, are very important to the business. They are taking it to the next level,” Tim said with pride. The NAPA employees are as vital to the businesses and are just as much a part of the family. Josh described them as the most, “outstanding, knowledgeable, and dedicated staff that any company could ask for.” The businesses’ patrons are just as big a part of this family’s success story. Tim’s first customer from 1983 is still with them, and they have several other customers that have been with them for 25 years. “It’s not business, it’s friends,” explained Timothy. And as a past president of the Bakersfield Breakfast Lions Club, Tim, along with TCID, Inc. and Golden Empire Fleet Services, is ac-

(l-r) Josh Delcid, Timmy Delcid, Tim Delcid & Timothy Delcid

tive in giving back to the community any way they can. “We really support Bakersfield. We’ve been here our whole lives,” explained Josh. The Delcid men agree that outside of business, spending time with their family is very important. Tim and Linda’s greatest enjoyment is being grandparents, and supporting the NAPA teams in NHRA drag racing, and as Tim explained, “we love that Nitro!” Timothy and Josh both like to get outside with their families to dirt bike, hunt, and play softball. The Delcid men also like to go sporting clays shooting with their customers and employees. But it’s at their Sunday dinners where business is totally off the table and its all about being a family. With any TCID, Inc. store, Josh explained, “the customer is going to be met with great service and quality parts.” They are also going to find an honest, hard-working family with a well-respected place in the business of local auto parts and truck repair that is likely to be upheld by future generations of Delcids. / Summer 2011 47

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NES Law Offices of Neil E. Schwartz 4900 California Ave., Suite B210 • 661-326-1122

Neil E. Schwartz For Bankruptcy Attorney Neil Schwartz, there’s no better feeling than having successfully helped one of his clients through a difficult situation. It’s one of the reasons he went into the legal profession. Originally from New York, Schwartz came to California in 1994 to further his education. He attended and graduated from San Diego State University and the Thomas Jefferson School of Law. Upon graduation in 2001, Schwartz began his career as an attorney in Southern California with the largest consumer firm in California, Price Law Group, and handled his first case in 2002. Much of his casework was in Bakersfield, however, and after a few years of driving back and forth from Los Angeles four times a week, Schwartz decided that the commute was too grueling. He officially moved to Bakersfield in 2004 and just two years later, founded the Law Offices of Neil Schwartz. Schwartz determined that his practice would focus solely on bankruptcy. “It’s something that sets us apart,” Schwartz said of his practice. “Since I’ve been handling bankruptcy cases for nearly ten years, and only these types of cases, I have seen every nuance of this area of law. I understand all aspects.” Schwartz fully understands that debt is among the top concerns of many Bakersfield families and small business owners. Schwartz and his staff strive to give each case individual care. “We offer a free consultation,” he explained. But there are other benefits of choosing this dedicated firm. For one thing, each client’s case is prepared by Schwartz himself, not a paralegal. For another, calls are not screened and Schwartz remains very accessible. “We offer a no homework approach,” he added. “We do all of the form preparation.” Still, one of Schwartz’s strongest qualities is that he will not take on a case purely for monetary gain. “I will tell someone right away if bankruptcy is not right for them,” he said. “I want to save them the heartbreak and the money if filing for bankruptcy is the wrong move.”

48 Bakersfield Magazine

Schwartz’s clients appreciate the way that he helps them understand their options, make choices, and take action to prevent debt problems from spiraling out of control. He helps his clients feel empowered to make informed decisions that help protect the security of their families because his goal is to alleviate the stress that comes from being financially unstable. This, obviously, requires long days and nights at the office. But his attitude is that work comes first. So much so that the 35-year-old single attorney has not been able to make time to start a family of his own. That’s not to say that he’s so busy he’s unable to enjoy a few hobbies. He’s currently working to improve his golf game and he’s a big fan of the New York Yankees. But that’s part of the deal for Schwartz. He understands how important his work is for Bakersfield families so, with three dedicated staff members, he’ll continue helping Bakersfield residents in tough spots gain financial independence.

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San Joaquin Veterinary Hospital 3441 Allen Road • 661-588-3299

Thomas J. Willis, DVM & Travis Thurman, DVM San Joaquin Veterinary Hospital was established in 2000 and is a testament to Dr. Thomas J. Willis’ 29 years in the business of caring for companion animals and livestock. Dr. Willis was born and raised in Bakersfield and spent the summers of his youth working on his father’s farm. He often quips, “I can honestly say cotton is the reason I became a veterinarian.” Dr. Willis raised a variety of animals in his younger years and remembers deciding in seventh grade to become a veterinarian. After graduating from Garces High School, Dr. Willis received his bachelors degree in Veterinary Science from the University of California at Davis and subsequently entered the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine where he earned the degree of Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Willis practiced for 16 years in Merced and Stanislaus counties, primarily in the dairy industry. He and his wife, Linda, then moved back to Bakersfield and established San Joaquin Veterinary Hospital to provide care for the community’s large and small animals alike. The practice has since grown to include another talented veterinarian, Dr. Travis Thurman, who shares Dr. Willis’ passion for animals. “I am currently living my dream as a veterinarian,” he said. Dr. Thurman joined the practice as the second animal

“Our love of God, family, and community enables us to work well together. I think this spills over into the practice.” physician three years ago. At age eight, he was introduced to 4-H and he was active in FFA while attending Highland High School. After attending Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, he continued on to veterinary school at St. George’s University in the Caribbean and then wrapped up his clinical year at Texas A&M University. He puts that diverse education to use here in town. At San Joaquin Veterinary Hospital, animals (everything from pets to livestock) can get full-service veterinary medical and surgical services. The doctors also make ranch and house calls, and place a focus on pain control and

production enhancement through healthy livestock. For added convenience, the hospital offers an in-house pharmacy and quality grooming services. Their facility houses a high-quality indoor boarding area with spacious animal pens on site. It comes down to an affection and appreciation of all animals. Dr. Willis and Linda have farm animals of their own that they are teaching their two children to care for. Dr. Thurman shares that love of animals outside the workplace as well, as he helps raise show steers and heifers for local 4-H and FFA groups in the county. “Our love of God, family, and community enables us to work well together. I think this spills over into the practice, where I hope our clients feel our concern and care for them and their animals,” said Dr. Willis. “This has been our number one priority at San Joaquin Veterinary Hospital, to let the community know we are there for them,” he added. / Summer 2011 49

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Snead’s For Men 8200 Stockdale Hwy.• 661-832-4270

Snead Price & Mark Price

Owners “It’s awfully hard to get a guy to change his style...unless he’s got a new girlfriend,” said Snead’s owner Mark Price, son of founder Snead Price. Since Snead Price was 16 years old (and living in Delano), he has sold men’s clothes. Generations of friends, farmers, and even Buck Owens himself have shopped with Snead and followed his trail of well-cut trousers all the way to Bakersfield. In 1988, Snead’s For Men opened at its previous location at Ming and New Stine. And just five years ago, Mark and his wife, Laurie Price, bought the store from Snead. Two years after that, the high-end men’s clothing store moved to its current location in the Town and Country Shopping Center at Stockdale Highway and Coffee Road. Mark is Bakersfield born and bred. One of four children, he left after high school for the Air Force, which was followed by 20 years of touring the country performing comedy, magic, and hypnosis. The prodigal son came back to Bakersfield after 30 years and when his father decided to sell the business, he seized the opportunity. “It’s hard to fill those shoes,” said Mark about taking over

“Generations of friends, farmers, and even Buck Owens himself have shopped with Snead.” his father’s store. And what stylish shoes they are. But which of the Price men has the better style? “Definitely my dad,” Mark said. “Hardly anybody can beat Snead.” Snead’s For Men is still a mom and pop operation with a grand total of four employees. Snead taught Mark the business of old-fashioned customer service; there are no rules and the customer is always right. Mark recalled that his father told him, “The customer is not an interruption of your work, they’re the purpose of your work.” The Price men know that “one size does not fit all,” and so care should be taken with each customer. The personal relationships Mark and Snead have built with customers are what they keep in mind when buying for the 50 Bakersfield Magazine

store. And Snead’s isn’t just suits, they carry everything from T-shirts to shorts and hats and have a full-time in-house tailor. They even offer custom shirt making. Mark calls their selection an eclectic range of styles and colors. “We keep a nice mix,” he added. They have respect for a man’s personal style and never buy more than a few of any garment. “You buy a shirt at Snead’s and you won’t see it on the guy in front of you at the beer fest,” explained Mark. Mark and Laurie now have one son who is in the Army, and a four-year-old grandson named Deegan who Mark says is his best friend. The couple is very active in local theater, and with a one man show and magic and comedy engagements, Mark keeps his feet in local entertainment, looking to the community as an extended family. And Snead’s customers are as welcome as family. The swank store is outfitted with a refrigerator and widescreen TV, “so if they want to hang out and eat and watch my TV, that’s okay,” Mark said with a smile.

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Gold Star Construction, Inc. 13061 Rosedale Hwy., Suite G212 • 661-281-6107

Eugene A. Winter Eugene A. Winter, president of Gold Star Construction, Inc., takes a lot of pride in his work. In addition to thriving in the profession of home building for the last 25 years, his company is nationally known as a premier builder of single family, custom homes as well as mixed use communities. Winter received his B.S. in Construction Management from Chico State University and stays on top of new trends in the industry by completing continuing education courses. And, with the shift toward “green” building, Gold Star Construction offers complete design-build service for customized energy-efficient homes. Proven knowledge and expertise in all markets has allowed Gold Star Construction to provide superior service and management of projects no matter the size or complexity...or the location. The company has developed projects in Texas, Montana, and Wyoming, including custom homes and ski lodges. That type of construction falls in line with Winter’s hobbies—he loves snow skiing with his family and salmon fishing with his dad. But he never

loses sight of Gold Star Construction’s goals. “I want people to know that I will work hard to help them design the custom home of their dreams and make sure that they enjoy the process of both design and construction.”

Hoggz Surf Shop 8200 Stockdale Hwy. • 661-865-5200

Chad Hoggard Chad Hoggard has been a fixture in the local surf and skate shop scene for 20 years. He used that position to create something great. Located in the Town and Country Shopping Center, next to Trader Joe’s, Hoggz Surf Shop opened in November 2010 with Hoggard’s years of experience behind it. The devoted husband and father started as a sales associate at a local Bakersfield surf and skate shop in 1990. Hoggard’s boisterous personality quickly helped him become manager and then partner. Then, after two decades, he decided it was time to do his “own thing,” Hoggard explained. “But friends and family made it happen.” Today, Hoggz is the only locally- and family-owned shop of its kind in town. Hoggz carries a wide array of surf and skate products, as well as a huge selection of apparel and accessories. Any visit comes with the killer customer service Hoggard is known for. Bakersfield born and raised, Hoggard said the store wouldn’t have happened without the local support. “This is a very loyal town,” he

added. As such, Hoggard enjoys being able to donate to charity events through Hoggz. Hoggz is enjoying success and as the eternally optimistic Hoggard continues his next chapter in local retail, he described it best when he said, “It’s in God’s hands!” / Summer 2011 51


52 Bakersfield Magazine / Summer 2011 53

54 Bakersfield Magazine



There’s a lot more to modern healthcare than hospitals and insurance plans. Beyond the waiting room, there are specialized fields of medicine that are advancing right before our eyes. And right here in our community. / Summer 2011 55

There’s No Place Like Home.




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56 Bakersfield Magazine

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Getting a Grip on Valley Fever



Dr. Hans Einstein Valley Fever Research Pioneer

it starts with a lung infection and people who get it usually get well,” he said, adding that little was known about treatment at the time. “We’re doing pretty well with treatment now,” Einstein said, “but prevention is the number one goal and a vaccine is the only




By Camille Gavin ere’s the good news about Valley Fever: if you get it and you’re living in Bakersfield, you couldn’t be in a better place. “The real gem of living here is that you’ve got the best physicians, the best experts at your fingertips—Kern County is known world-wide for its research on Valley Fever,” said Kirt Emery. An epidemiologist, or disease investigator, Emery tracks the statistics of the disease for the Kern County Department of Public Health. And without a doubt, Dr. Hans Einstein holds the top spot in the field of experts. Einstein, a Bakersfield resident, is the recognized authority on coccidioidomycosis, the technical name for the influenza-like disease. Now 88, he has been involved in the treatment and study of cocci, as it is also known, for at least 60 years. Incidentally, he first became aware of Valley Fever as a young man while living not here but on the East Coast. “I did a little training in New York before coming here and I saw a lot of patients with Valley Fever, which was first thought to be tuberculosis,” Einstein said. Many were men who previously had served in the U.S. Air Force during World War II and had done their training in California. The doctor became active in the research and treatment of the disease after coming to Kern Medical Center, then known as Kern General Hospital. In the 1940s, prior to his arrival, Myrnie Gifford of the Health Department had done “very important work. “She [Gifford] established the fact that

way of doing that. I am confident there will be [a vaccine] in the near future.” Perfecting a vaccine, he said, can be accomplished only through increased public awareness of the disease which is not limited to the San Joaquin Valley. It also is prevalent in Arizona—its state university is also a major research site—parts of Texas and New Mexico, northern Mexico, Costa Rica, Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina. One little-known fact is that dogs, cats, and even cows are also susceptible. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT VALLEY FEVER Reliable knowledge about Valley Fever—what it is, how you can get it, how it is treated, and ways to prevent it—is available from a number of sources. To demystify some of the myths, we asked Dr. Einstein and Kirt Emery of the Health Department these questions and got these answers: >>

S PE C I A LT I E S / Summer 2011 57

Taming a Beast

Kirt Emery Q. Is Valley Fever almost always fatal? A. No. Most people recover with treatment. About 60 percent of the people exposed do not get sick at all. Q. How will I know I have it? A. A simple blood test. Labs are now reqired to report any positive test results to the Health Department. Q. On average, how many people in Kern County get Valley Fever? A. In a “normal” or average year, about 300 individuals are diagnosed with the disease resulting in five deaths. In an epidemic year, such as we had in 1993, it peaked at 3,342 cases. In 2010, there were 2,051 cases reported so it may again be on the rise. Q. Can I get Valley Fever from someone else? A. No, it is not contagious. Q. How do you get it? A. Cocci is a fungus that lives in the soil and looks somewhat like yeast or bread mold. The spores become airborne when the uncultivated soil is disturbed and is inhaled into the lungs where the infection starts. Q. Are the spores everywhere in the soil or does it exist in specific parts of Kern County? A. The fungus is usually found in arid, sandy soil but it is spotty. In a 20-by-24-foot area it may be found in one spot but not in an area only a few feet away. Scientists have yet to come up with a specific model to predict where it is. Some work is being done with satellite imagery in conjunction with Cal State Bakersfield to determine and identify areas 58 Bakersfield Magazine

where it might be growing. However, this research is currently at the “baby-steps” stage. Q. I’ve heard people usually get it in springtime. Is that correct? A. Not necessarily; it does tend to be more prevalent as the weather gets warmer in summer and on into early fall. Q. Can I get it again? A. Under normal circumstances, if you get well, you stay well. Q. Is there anything that can be done to prevent the disease? A. A vaccine is the only way to prevent Valley Fever. What’s needed now is a movement such as the March of Dimes or Jerry Lewis’s MDA Telethon. In Dr. Einstein’s view, the most effective ways to create such a campaign would be to enlist the aid of a celebrity or some prominent individual like Bill Gates who carries a lot of clout. “The Salk polio vaccine would never have been done without the March of Dimes and the leadership of Franklin D. Roosevelt,” Einstein said. “And MDA [research] would not be what it is without Jerry Lewis—if it was Joe Blow, nobody would care.” Thus far, no such champion has come forward for Valley Fever, although famed

Well-known attorney George Martin, founder of the Bakersfield Business Conference, is one high profile local citizen who is active in spreading the word about Valley Fever. He, too, has had the disease. At the time, he was managing partner of Borton, Petrini and Conron. Initially he had to stay four or five days in the hospital, followed by a fairly long recovery period. “It’s the only time in my life I’ve been off work for five or six months,” he said. “I broke out in a rash all over—I looked like Howdy-Doody or some cartoon character. I spent my time watching NASCAR and Little League games on television.” Now, of course, he’s back at work doing legal work five days a week although he no longer manages the firm. Martin agreed with Einstein about the need for initiating a major campaign to create awareness of the need for a vaccine. “We can’t raise money for meaningful research doing car washes and cake sales,” Martin said. “There’s not a big profit margin in it for drug manufacturers but we need to put pressure on pharmaceutical companies and legislative and congressional representatives in our area need to help us come up with grants. Eventually it’s going to happen.” The California Assembly did pass a bill authored by former state Sen. Roy Ashburn calling for $1 million for Valley

The fungus is usually found in arid, sandy soil but it is spotty. It may be found in one spot but not in an area only a few feet away.

Attorney George Martin National League catcher Johnny Bench did participate in a Cocci Study Group conference held in April 2009 at Cal State Bakersfield. Bench’s personal interest stems from having contracting Valley Fever himself during a Buck Owens golf tournament here in the 1970s and his wife’s much more serious case of cocci, combined with meningitis, in 2005-06. Sadly, it also resulted in the loss of her unborn child.

Fever research. Unfortunately, the money has not been appropriated, according to Einstein. The county has received some federal money by way of Bill Thomas when he was in Congress. Getting back to the good news department, Martin’s son, Bryan Martin, turned his year-long bout with Valley Fever into a positive experience. Bryan had to stay out of school for an entire year due to the disease. He was in seventh grade at the time. Several years later, to fulfill a requirement for college admission, Bryan wrote an essay about Valley Fever, complete with a slide showing a spore given to him by Dr. Einstein. “It must have been pretty good,” said Martin. “It got him into Stanford!” For more information, visit the website of the Valley Fever Foundation of the Americas at M

e xclusive


Let’s face it: losing weight is hard. For some, it seems as fantastic a challenge as climbing Mt. Everest— unspeakably rewarding, but seriously improbable.


here will never be a gondola with hot chocolate service that ushers one up Everest just as there will never be a quick and easy way to lose weight. In a country where the majority of citizens are overweight, Bakersfield ranks number seven for most overweight metro cities according to the 2009 Gallup Healthways Well Being Index. Six out of ten people in Kern County are overweight or obese. These statistics show a serious problem, but there is good news for people looking to make a healthy change. Bakersfield is home to many physician-supervised, medicallyrooted weight loss solutions. Physician-controlled weight loss clinics are a healthy option, explained Dr. T. Anthony Don Michael, a board certified doctor in bariatric medicine, internal medicine, and cardiology. He applies these three specialties at the Advanced Heart and Medical Center to treat and prevent obesity-caused diseases and medical problems. “Our approach is very detailed,” said Dr. Don Michael, who has each of his patients watch an orientation video to ensure they know exactly what to expect in his program. “We are particularly concerned with what else is wrong with each patient.” He looks to identify what conditions have de-

weight loss veloped due to the excess weight and aims to treat those, as well. For Dr. Don Michael, the medical approach to weight loss has five components. n One is diet. Patients meet with a registered dietician, at least once a month to learn and plan their ideal diet, adapting to food preferences while maintaining the nutrition needed to lose weight healthfully. Dr. Don Michael does not recommend weight loss fads or frozen food diets


Photo Courtesy Lomas Photos

Better Ways of

saying, “you see all these ads that say you can eat pizza and cake and lose weight, but they’re all nonsense.” n The second component is exercise. Patients are asked to do a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise at least four times a week. Types of recommended workouts are cardiovascular exercise and weightlifting to increase fat-burning muscle. Dr. Don Michael also said exercise can come in the form of ballroom dancing and skiing. n The third component is medication. When people come to a weight loss clinic saying, “In the middle of the day, I get so hungry,” some physicians will then consider adding an FDA-approved appetite suppressant into the weight-loss plan. n The fourth component is that the patient must change his or her behavior. Behavior modification is a vital part of a patient’s success and counseling is a large part of that. Psychologists help address why a patient has become overweight and what he or she needs to do to change their life to lose the weight. n Dr. Don Michael’s fifth and final component of medical weight loss is surgery. Patient’s who face serious health complications often require surgery to get the initial weight off to gain mobility and reduce the severity of obesity-caused >>

S pe c i a lt i e s / Summer 2011 59


60 Bakersfield Magazine

conditions in order to make diet and exercise safe and effective. Patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more (a BMI is calculated by comparing a person’s weight with their height), or of 35 with co-morbid conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, or sleep apnea, are likely to be candidates for bariatric surgery. When these factors are present, being obese begins to cost the person not only financially but in quality of life. Bariatric surgery uses two approaches: restriction and malabsorption. Restriction is a method that shrinks the stomach and restricts food intake. Restrictive methods include the Lap Band and Vertical Banded Gastroplasty. These methods are the easiest, but the slowest form of surgical weight loss. Dr. Don Michael explains that the Lap Band, in particular, is great for adults who qualify for surgery but don’t have a large amount of weight to lose. However, he added that the band does tend to slip, and young people may get restless eating such limited portions for the rest of their life. Malabsorptive surgeries alter the digestive system so that the body can’t absorb as many calories. These procedures include gastric sleeves and duodenal switches, but these approaches are seen in more extreme medical situations where patients will often be weighing in near 400 pounds and have serious, often life-threatening, medical problems that have developed from the excess weight. Dr. Maureen Martin, Chairman of Surgery at KMC and bariatric surgeon with Kern Faculty Medical Group Bariatrics prefers to use a method that uses both restriction and malabsorption, the Roux-enY gastric bypass. The Dr. Don Michael also identifies and treats conditions gastric bypass is one that have developed due to excess weight. of the most common types of bariatric surgery and is often considered the most effective. The stomach is stapled to create a smaller pouch, and the intestine is then rerouted to the pouch. The now smaller pouch gives the patient a feeling of fullness much faster and doesn’t allow the body to absorb as many calories. Dr. Don Michael agreed that the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass is best for people with a significant amount of weight that face obesity-related diseases. In his vast experience, he has seen the gastric bypass completely cure type 2 Diabetes, asthma, and return an enlarged heart to a normal size. “We look at it as a tool, not as a treatment,” said Dr. Martin. Her patients are given the tools to change their lifestyle before they have a surgery and must practice controlling what they eat. On occasion, the pre-surgery diet has worked so well with the patient they’ve opted out of surgery to continue with supervised diet and exercise. Candidates are also psychologically evaluated to see if they have the support they will need post-surgery and also to rule out any undiagnosed mental illness that would inhibit the patient’s success. Dr. Martin feels keeping the weight off is



impossible without a support system. To maintain the success that bariatric medicine can bring, “they’ve got to lead a healthy life,” she added. That healthy life not only includes controlling diet and staying active but staying inspired and choosing to be around people that are supportive. Dr. Dr. Maureen Martin, Chairman of Surgery at KMC and barDon Michael’s paiatric surgeon with Kern Faculty Medical Group Bariatrics. tients attend a support group before and after their surgery to relate with others, stay motivated, and keep an eye on their progress. Physician-controlled weight loss is certainly a safe approach to weight loss, but for extremely self-motivated people, it isn’t necessarily the only option. With strict dedication to diet and exercise, some real weight loss can be achieved and maintained. If you have ever watched The Biggest Loser and thought, “If only I had access to something like that,” you’re in luck. Right here in town we have a wide selection of boot camps and weight loss challenges that provide group training with coaches and help to plan meals and diet. Tim Gojich has been a trainer with Fit For Life for nine years and said the organization’s philosophy of helping people achieve major weight loss is to start by “putting function back into their bodies.” For very overweight and obese people, being sedentary has become a part of their life and suddenly trying to keep up with athletes is not going to be effective. That’s why most fitness camps offer varying levels of exercise plans. Gojich explained that “starting as a beginner and regaining strength will help those with the most to lose avoid setback-causing injuries.” At the beginning of a boot camp program, participants are given a handout with specific portions according to weight that give the person the tools to control their diet and see better gains during the program. Gojich has seen boot camp and exercise help reverse the effects of obesity and explained that boot camp can “educate and get them moving for the rest of a person’s life.” It’s really the personal training in a group atmosphere that set boot camps and fitness challenges apart from a gym membership. It’s all about getting motivated and >> / Summer 2011 61


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When excessive weight is affecting your life, choosing to do nothing is not an option.

staying motivated. There are countless websites dedicated to motivating those on the road to weight loss by including inspiring stories of those who’ve accomplished their weight loss goals. Reading online how other people have stuck it out and achieved success can help keep you inspired and focused on your goal, making the old fashioned diet and exercise approach very effective. Weight loss is life changing as long as the commitment lasts. It can bring about

Weight loss can bring about positive behavioral changes, confidence, and renewed health, marking an overall improvement to one’s quality of life. positive behavioral changes, confidence, and renewed health, marking an overall improvement to one’s quality of life. The common denominator that every weight loss professional will agree on is that the secret to weight loss success is motivation. Whether the weight loss comes about by way of a clinical program, a surgery, or even diet and exercise, the results will be the same if the motivation is there. Dr. Martin explained that most failures to maintain weight loss, regardless of the method, occur when the person loses their support system. Choosing the right road for weight loss depends on the individual but when excessive weight is affecting your life, choosing to do nothing is not an option.* M *Please consult with a physician before starting any exercise routine.




MUMPS, MUDPIES, & MYTHS Dirty Medicine:

n late April 2009, news reports began to surface about a new strain of influenza. A 10-year-old in California tested positive for a virus that was a unique combination of influenza virus genes never previously identified in either animals or people. Two days after this first diagnosis, an 8-year-old, living 130 miles away in California, also tested positive. There was no known connection between these patients. By the same time the following year, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) would look back on the H1N1 pandemic as not only a success story but also a learning experience. The same goes for the Kern County Department of Public Health. “It was the first time we tried to prevent a pandemic before it occurred,” said Matt Constantine, Director of Public Health Services. “The experience represented a culture shift. For the first time, we had the ability to test for something we thought was coming.”

spent some portion of your childhood playing in the dirt. If you’re over the age of 20, you remember a time before every restaurant had to have a Department of Environmental Health grade posted in its window. You also remember that not every place of business had a giant bottle of hand sanitizer at the front desk. But it’s not because parents and doctors didn’t care about our health back then—it’s because some of the most

Playing In The Dirt

Culture shift really is the key phrase here. If you’re over the age of 30 (or grew up on a farm), chances are you

Despite what Grandma says, vaccinations are still the best way to strengthen your immune system against common viruses.


common ways we protect against food and airborne pathogens today were not around. Some of the illnesses we contracted were mysteries. Our parents and grandparents grew up without “modern” medical advances and because they grew up fine, it was assumed that the children of that time could simply build up their immune system by playing in the mud...and by being around other sick kids. Hence the popularity of “chickenpox parties.” However, our understanding of communicable diseases has changed. Our arsenal of knowledge has grown substantially. “Kids today have grown up with new practices for preventing illnesses. Like coughing or sneezing into the crook of your arm,” Constantine elaborated. “It’s certainly not a practice I grew up with. Parents today are much more aware of infection not because we didn’t have infectious diseases in the decades preceding this one, but because there are more readily available resources for parents to learn about their child’s immune system; to learn what vaccines can keep their children from contracting preventable diseases.” Not to mention the creation of the vaccines themselves. Continued on page 65 >>

S PE C I A LT I E S / Summer 2011 63

Architect’s Rendering, The Cancer Center at San Joaquin Community Hospital

Where Hope Begins The Cancer Center at San Joaquin Community Hospital (SJCH) brings a revolutionary, state-of-the-art, hospital-based program to Kern County residents faced with a cancer diagnosis. The only facility of its kind locally, The Cancer Center at SJCH will offer a comprehensive option in cancer diagnosis and treatment, all under one roof, another first for SJCH. Become a part of this vital new center — by giving of your time or with a financial donation. For more information, call the SJCH Foundation at 661-869-6570. E-mail: On the web:

Healing Follows

64 Bakersfield Magazine

Mumps,Mudpies, & myths Continued from page 63

As Denise Smith, Director of Disease Control for the Department of Public Health, noted, common diseases many of us (over a certain age) associated with childhood are preventable today. “The MMR [measles, mumps, rubella] vaccine was first created in the late ‘60s,” explained Smith. “But we had epidemics here in Kern County in the late 1980s. One in 1985 and one from 1989 to ‘90. Everyone learned that one dose wasn’t offering longterm protection.” So, the CDC researched the vaccine and the disease and began recommending that children receive two doses: one at 12 months of age and the second around age 4. In 1995, a vaccine for chickenpox (varicella zoster virus) became available. According to the CDC, after the release of the vaccine, cases of chickenpox in the United States decreased 10-fold from almost four million a year. Today, children are immunized with the MMRV (measles, mumps, rubella, varicella) vaccine. That might make some of us who dealt with Director of Public Health Matt Constantine says how we view infectious diseases has changed substantially over the last 50 years.

chickenpox a bit bitter, but your grandparents probably feel the same way about the measles or polio. Before leaving office, in the wake of a pertussis (whooping cough) epidemic, Former Governor Schwarzenegger signed AB 354 into law. Beginning July 1, 2011, students entering grades 7-12 must provide proof of having a pertussis booster shot (also known as DTaP) before starting. DTaP covers diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (the “a” stands for acelluar, which means the pertussis component contains only a part of the pertussis organism). Because we have the capability

The Department of Public Health’s Mariel Mehdipour and Denise Smith discuss disease patterns and vaccine schedules.

to be looking for these outbreaks, we are more alert when we do see cases. “With more technology and more awareness, we have to worry about things that our grandparents didn’t have to worry about 50 years ago,” Constantine said. “We have to keep pace with these advances and it’s hard for us to mentally process the full scope of these diseases, their vaccines, and the panics that come when a virus or disease is spreading. “With H1N1, for example, we didn’t know what to expect. I stood on Stockdale Highway between police officers while traffic had slowed to a standstill and people were lined up for hours to get a vaccine.” And, as Constantine explained, we’ve become accustomed to the flu. We know when flu season starts—we know what precautions to take. Even though, on average, close to 50,000 people die each year from the common flu, H1N1 scared people because it was something relatively new. But while the WHO officially declared the outbreak to be a pandemic on June 11, 2009, the pandemic level 6 rating was an indication of spread, not severity. The strain of the virus had a substantially lower mortality rate than a common flu outbreak. “People were seeing the images before the data was coming out,” explained Mariel Mehdipour, MPH, Director of Health Promotions for the Kern County Department of Public Health. “Production of the vaccine had to catch up to the demand.” It was unlike anything the Department had seen before, and that includes the mass inoculations for polio in the 1950s. The reason that organizations like the CDC, the WHO, and the Department of Public Health urge parents to get certain vaccines for their children is because they want to prevent large-spread epidemics of what used to be common childhood illnesses.

These mid-century posters were used by the Department of Public Health to promote cleanliness and vaccinations.

The truth is, so many advances have come from studying viruses and common infections that scientists and doctors have a much clearer picture of where these diseases come from. And they can see the effects of these diseases on our bodies and our immune systems. Everyday citizens can access these findings—which can have both good and bad outcomes. But the important thing is that people are paying attention; people are wanting to know how these diseases spread and how they can prevent them.


Still, there is something to be said for overusing antiseptic and antibacterial sanitizers. Bottles of hand sanitizer are everywhere and because we are always “on the go,” they have become our go-to solution when our hands are dirty (or when we perceive them to be dirty). “A great use of hand sanitizer stations would be at a place like a petting zoo,” Smith explained. “It’s a location where soap and water is not readily available. That’s the purpose of hand sanitizer—to kill germs on your hands when a washroom is not accessible. But hand sanitizers should not be relied on instead of soap.” >> / Summer 2011 65

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The reason? If you use it too much, hand sanitizer stops working the way it was intended to—the way you want it to. The active ingredient in hand sanitizer is alcohol—either isopropanol, ethanol, or some other form. That alcohol is what kills the bad germs. However, it also kills the good germs we have on our hands at all times. It seems contradictory that using hand sanitizer all the time will potentially lead to you coming down with an infection, but think about this: our bodies, especially our hands, are covered with bacteria and germs that are there to protect us. Our bodies rely on these ever-present germs to fight off other bacteria. Should another virus or bacteria come in contact with our hands, after they’ve been doused with hand sanitizer, there will be no natural defenses. “That’s not to say that hand sanitizer shouldn’t be used during flu seasons,” Smith warned. “It is still a good idea for children to use hand sanitizer at school or on field trips, but only after coming in contact with something that could pass on germs.”

A Happy Medium

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8501 Brimhall Rd., Bldg. 400, Ste. 401 & 402

Researchers have discovered that no matter how much we play around outside, no matter how long we play around with sickly kids, our immune system will not be “stronger” for it. We do need to develop antibodies (proteins in our immune system) to certain germs (like viruses and bacteria) so that our body can fight off future infections, but simply playing outside in the dirt won’t help us develop those, much to your grandfather’s chagrin. That type of immunity, the kind that John Travolta’s character in The Boy in the Plastic Bubble desired so badly, can only come from being exposed to the specific virus or disease—usually by way of inoculation. We know that now. It’s important to talk to your family doctor and learn about what vaccines are necessary to keep you and your children healthy, especially because certain vaccines are not necessary for everyone. And some vaccines have ingredients that can cause allergic reactions in small numbers of patients. Of course, just because you get a vaccine for diphtheria doesn’t mean you’re free to play in a swamp or swim in a ditch. “I give people the same advice moms have been giving for decades,” Constantine quipped. “Wash your hands.” M




Aguilera Health & Wellness Center “The only reason someone would have to leave [the Center] is if something is broken,” said Dr. Frank J. Aguilera, owner of Aguilera Health and Wellness Center. The medical office offers full chiropractic care, including physical therapy modalities to help injured muscles, ligaments, and tendons heal stronger and quicker. With in-office x-rays, four certified massage therapists, and even NuLean weight loss products, there’s no outside referrals. Dr. Aguilera has 24 years of chiropractic experience. Graduating from Los Angeles College of Chiropractics in 1986, Dr. Aguilera specializes in family care and sports-related injuries. He also has extensive training in automobilerelated injuries. Dr. Aguilera listens and learns from patients. Not only does Aguilera Health and Wellness Center help patients recover from neck and back pain, but guides them from a point of not understanding what caused their problem to a point where they understand how they can prevent re-injuring the area. At the Health and Wellness Center, it’s about “treating the whole body, not just a symptom,” added Dr. Aguilera. The center’s goal is to educate the patients on how to stay well. Therapy, biweekly health care classes, and exercise counseling, are just a few of the selections that Aguilera Health and Wellness Center offer to help maintain optimal health. After all these years, Dr. Aguilera said he is “still having fun,” adding, “every day I come into work I’m thankful I love what I do.” Dr. Frank J. Aguilera

8200 Stockdale Highway • (661) 833-1111

Bakersfield Heart Hospital Dr. Atul Aggarwal comes from a family of general medicine physicians. But Dr. Aggarwal wanted to do something different—something a step ahead—and cardiology seemed to bridge that desire. He completed medical school in India and then moved to the U.S. to complete an internal medicine residency at Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY. Dr. Aggarwal relocated to the University of Vermont, Burlington for an Adult Cardiology Fellowship and an Interventional Cardiology Fellowship. There are three essential tenets of medicine that keep him loving the field. “To be a clinician, a researcher, and a teacher,” he explained. In addition to his clinical work at Central Cardiology Medical Clinic and presenting monthly lectures to other physicians in town on new cardiovascular breakthroughs, he regularly participates in outcomes-based research. Perhaps most noteworthy, Dr. Aggarwal was the first and is the only cardiologist to perform transeptal atrial septal occluder implantations in Kern County, performing them exclusively at Bakersfield Heart Hospital. For a patient with a hole in their heart, Dr. Aggarwal places a self-centering device made of nickel alloy to close these defects. “It is crucial for some patients at risk for stroke,” he added. “In fifty percent of stroke cases, we don’t know the cause, and there is a correlation of stroke in patients with holes in their hearts.” The procedure is something that Dr. Aggarwal offers to select patients. He is able to research cardiovascular advances as well as work with and save the lives of his patients. Dr. Atul Aggarwal

3051 Sillect Ave. • (661) 333-1587 / Summer 2011 67




Optimal Hospice Care 4700 Stockdale Highway, Suite 120 (661) 716-4000 The day before Burton Spickler passed away, a hospice home health aide gave him a bath, changed the sheets on his bed, and made sure he was comfortable. This simple act restored comfort and dignity to his last day. This is a perfect example of what hospice care is all about. With Optimal Hospice Care, families can help their loved ones have the best possible end-of-life experience, providing dignity to patients and support to the families. “It really does encompass the whole family,” explained Todd Jeffries, director of community relations for Optimal Hospice Care. The members of the Spickler family are no stranger to this local hospice organization. In 2009, when Pamela Spickler’s cancer became terminal, her sons, Jason and Adam Spickler, knew they wanted hospice care for their mother. Having experienced hospice care with two family members prior, Jason and his wife, Dee Spickler, reached out to Optimal. Pamela, like some patients, was resistant at first because she felt like she was being asked to give up. “Once we told her that it wasn’t giving up, that it was getting the help we needed, she said ‘okay’,” Dee explained. Hospice was with Pamela for almost six weeks before she passed. Jason recalled meeting the Optimal chaplain, whom his mother had told him about, and the visit made a lasting impression—showing just how much hospice can do for a family. This past April, Jason’s and Adam’s father, Burton Spickler, found himself in need of end-of-life care. He had cancer that had spread to his brain and was in too much pain. The family knew they wanted to again call in Optimal Hospice. Burton knew how they had helped his wife and he agreed to welcome the caregivers into his home to give aid to him and his family. However, at 61 years old, he was self-employed with little to no health coverage. But Optimal Hospice Care, assisted by the Optimal Hospice Foundation, relieved that burden. At no cost, Optimal Hospice Care outfitted the Spicklers with everything they could possibly need, including knowledge. Adam and Jason split their time as caretaker for their father and Adam remembers the nurses explaining to him when to administer Burton’s medication as well as what to watch for. The hospice staff also called Jason with observations and acted as the family’s partner in caring for the Spickler patriarch. Hospice can keep people, “in their comfort zone and keep their dignity,” Dee added. “Once we got a system set up, he was so grateful,” said Jason about the Optimal Hospice staff helping his father bathe and keeping him comfortable. He explained, “You don’t have to worry about keeping them comfortable, because [Optimal] brings in a bed. You don’t have to worry about running out and buying a $400 wheelchair because [Optimal] brings one out. You don’t have to worry about those little things.” One of the things the Spicklers appreciated most was being able to call Optimal Hospice anytime, day or night, with questions or concerns about medication or their father’s care. This is a welcome aspect of hospice care because Dee explained, “as someone with no medical 68 Bakersfield Magazine

Jason Spickler and family

background, it’s all Greek to me.” After two weeks of hospice care, Burton passed away. The Spicklers were surprised by and deeply appreciated the follow-up care from Optimal, which continued offering support to the grieving family after Burton’s passing. For Dee, who also sought out hospice care for her mother, the biggest benefit of the service is, “knowing that there’s someone who understands. It’s the reassurance that someone else can help you, that you’re not alone.” “I can’t say ‘thanks’ enough,” said Jason. “I have recommended Optimal Hospice to other people. I would definitely tell people, and jump up and down if I have to, and say, ‘go here’.” Getting hospice care early can help stabilize the patient’s medical condition and some individuals may improve and be discharged with the option to resume care later when it’s necessary. Optimal Hospice Care aims to provide pain relief and symptom control to its patients and through stories like the Spicklers’, hope to show just how helpful the hospice process can be in the last stages of a loved one’s life. Helping family members is an essential part of the hospice mission while maximizing the quality of their patients’ lives.




Kern Bone & Joint Specialists, Inc. Dr. Amjadi received his M.D. from UCLA, completed an Orthopaedic Surgery Residency at the prestigious Cleveland Clinic Foundation, and additional fellowship training in neurosurgery and orthopaedic spinal surgery at Cedars-Sinai in Southern California. He is board certified and specializes in minimally invasive spinal surgery. He moved to Bakersfield in 2007, when he joined Kern Bone & Joint. “Minimally-invasive spinal surgery is a very technically-challenging field of medicine,” said Dr. Amjadi. It’s a field that allows him to alleviate pain and suffering in his patients using techniques that minimize discomfort and disability following surgery. Dr. Amjadi also holds two engineering degrees, which he finds very useful when applied to the complex nature of spinal disorders. While his work does keep him very busy, Dr. Amjadi still finds time to enjoy his hobbies which include weight training, cycling, and photography. “I need to be in shape to perform surgery because these procedures can often take a long time to perform,” he added. It’s a physically demanding line of work. As for photography, it’s an activity that keeps him grounded so he’s able to be more effective in serving the needs of his patients. “Having the opportunity to help people is the driving force for what I do,” he said. Firooz Amjadi, MD

1921 18th Street • (661) 324-2491

Home Instead Senior Care For Debora Savoy, working with seniors is not only her passion, it’s personal. As she watched her own mother struggle with being a mom, a professional, and a caregiver for her aging grandfather, Debora knew that there needed to be a way to bridge the gaps when family can’t always be there for a loved one. Debora is Senior Professional Human Resource certified, a member of the National Private Duty Association, and has 15 years of elder care experience. She has been with Home Instead Senior Care since 2000 and is owner of the Bakersfield office that opened in 2003. Debora is a member of the Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce and Kern Senior Collaborative and she sponsors the “Be a Santa to a Senior” program that brings presents to seniors who otherwise might not receive a gift during the holiday season. Home Instead Senior Care provides non-medical services for seniors in their homes including companionship, meal preparation, medication reminders, light housekeeping, errands, and shopping. Home Instead also specializes in Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Only the best work with Home Instead and each caregiver is put through a comprehensive screening process. “The Caregivers are my heart, my world,” said Debora. The Home Instead Senior Care Bakersfield office is a local, family-owned company with unparalleled, quality care. Debora’s heart has no limits for senior care and with the support of our community she wants, “to see the Bakersfield office become all that it can be.” Debora Savoy, SPHR - Owner

1234 Chester Avenue, Suite 200 • (661) 321-3235 / Summer 2011 69




Kern Ambulance 2324 7th Street, Wasco, CA (661) 428-8712 Brandon Wainwright purchased Kern Ambulance in 2006 out of a desire to help people—a lifelong goal. Having been a part of the emergency services industry for over 17 years, Wainwright has seen and done it all. It’s that experience and dedication that he applies to Kern Ambulance. Kern Ambulance was established in 1983 and, 28 years later, continues to provide advanced emergency medical services to the Wasco and Lost Hills area and the outlying farming communities. It offers 911 emergency ambulance services, stand-by ambulances for events, and prison services. Although they only operate in the Wasco and Lost Hills area, they transport to Bakersfield and even Los Angeles when necessary. With seven ambulances and three staffed around the clock, Kern Ambulance is always prepared. That has a lot to do with their training. Wainwright provides mandatory training for his staff in advanced cardiac life support, pediatric advanced life support, and pre-hospital trauma life support. These regular classes keep the Kern Ambulance team trained to the highest standard. That way, they can deliver the best care. Another way the team trains is through the Paramedic Preceptor program. The preceptors are experienced paramedics that provide internships to paramedic students. Wainwright said the program, “gives us the ability to provide them with the training they need to finish their paramedic training.” As a certified emergency medical dispatch center, Kern Ambulance can give emergency instructions over the phone and also takes calls to dispatch for a neighboring ambulance company. Their Comm Center also has an automated external defibrillator on site. Serving the unique needs of each community within Kern Ambulance’s response area is important to Wainwright. For example, in November 2007, they added a posting station in the Lost Hills community in order to better serve the residents and workers in this rural location. Doing so enabled a faster response to requests for medical aid. Wainwright has a career background deeply rooted in helping others, which undoubtedly led to his entering the field of emergency services in 1994. Over the course of 17 years, he worked as an emergency medical dispatcher, driver of a wheelchair van, EMT, and paramedic. These experiences allowed him to gain critical experience in the field. He also graduated from the police academy and was an officer in the Bakersfield Police Department for four years. Along with running Kern Ambulance, Wainwright is also currently a volunteer firefighter for Tulare County. While his serious drive would suggest it, his modesty would betray that Wainwright is a proud second degree black belt in Karate, and a brown belt in Japanese Jui Jitsu. While with the BPD, he used these skills as an assistant defensive tactics instructor. He also has his pilot’s license and enjoys going target shooting. But most of all, he said, “I enjoy helping people.” It’s a straightforward mission. Like many emergency medical services workers, Wainwright has been a part of many of the different ambulance companies around 70 Bakersfield Magazine

Brandon Wainwright

Kern and gained valuable experience and knowledge. As owner of Kern Ambulance, he is dedicated to providing the best possible response and emergency service. And that superior service is something that Wainwright credits to his employees. “They are a dedicated group of paramedics, EMTs, and dispatchers that have served this community for several years,” he said. The company is looking to improve the level of service they offer with new programs on the horizon. Kern Ambulance will soon provide CPR instructive classes in Wasco. “It’s a small community; we want to be able to educate people so they can begin care prior to our arrival for a better patient outcome,” said Wainwright. A program that is still in its infancy, but Wainwright is looking to implement, is the addition of a 12-lead EKG that he explains will, “better diagnose what type of heart attack the person is experiencing.” At Kern Ambulance, the geography limits physical growth so they place their focus on internal growth. Wainwright said their goal is to, “continue with advanced training to provide the community with the most advanced level of service.”




Hoffmann Hospice Tom and Beth Hoffmann were busy business owners in 1990 when a young AIDS-stricken mother turned to their home-health agency for help. It was a time when hospitals were slow to accept AIDS patients, but the woman and her two HIV-positive children needed immediate attention. The Hoffmanns referred her to what was then Bakersfield’s only hospice agency, but she was denied. The couple decided to care for the woman themselves, overseeing her home-based care until her death in 1994. The Hoffmanns founded their non-profit hospice agency the following year with the pledge that no hospice-eligible patients would ever be turned away, regardless of their illness or ability to pay. To date, Hoffmann Hospice has served 15,000 patients and their families throughout Kern County and the Antelope Valley (where they opened a second office in 2002). These days, Hoffmann is caring for Kern County’s terminally ill in greater numbers than ever before. As director of operations, Beth Hoffmann oversees the agency’s 120-member staff and its offices in Bakersfield, Lake Isabella, and Palmdale. Watching her staff ’s “commitment of caring” has been the most satisfying part of the last 16 years. “They demonstrate the very best of the human spirit, day in and day out,” she said. “They give until they’re exhausted. Then they give some more.” Tom & Beth Hoffmann

8501 Brimhall Road, Building 100 • (661) 410-1010

King Hearing Aid Centers, Inc.

Brian Handy, Jerry S. Anderson Evangeline Alcantar, Susan Hooker

King Hearing Aid Centers provides unbeatable prices and unmatched service to those seeking a solution to their hearing loss in Bakersfield and its surrounding communities. From two locations in Bakersfield, one downtown on H Street and one on Gosford Road on the Southwest side of town, King has served the area for more than 10 years. Board certified and licensed hearing aid dispensers Jerry Anderson (H Street) and Brian Handy (Gosford Road) perform no-charge tests to determine if patients can benefit from the use of a hearing aid. This test includes a lifestyle assessment, video otoscope exam, and a speech discrimination test to ensure a hearing aid solution is custom fit to meet individual needs. Patient Care Coordinators Susan Hooker (H Street) and Evangeline Alcantar (Gosford Road), make sure each patient’s experience with King is personal and intimate. They ensure appointment times are convenient, the lobby is comfortable and quiet, and perform needed hearing aid cleanings and repairs on the spot. The greatest joy the King team has is reconnecting patients with the sounds they’ve been missing—their grandchild sing, the sound of leaves, or birds chirping...things most of us take for granted. Their goal is simple: Make hearing affordable and simple for the thousands of people that can benefit from hearing aids in our community. King Hearing Aid Centers: Unbeatable Prices…Unmatched Service.

2427 H St. Ste. C, (661) 829-4136 • 3880 Gosford Rd. Ste. 300 (661) 829-4248 / Summer 2011 71




Golden Living Center Life is complicated today, so it’s no surprise that individuals who are admitted to Golden Living Rehab bring some of their medical complexities with them. A patient admitted for a simple hip replacement may have pneumonia, congestive heart failure, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), diabetes, asthma, or even obesity. Patient care that historically focused on a single crisis intervention may not be adequate for those with multiple problems. We base our complex medical services on an interdisciplinary approach to care, combined with clinical and rehabilitative therapy programs tailored towards each patient’s needs. Golden Living Center is proud to be partnering with Ana Walton, a respiratory therapist and president of Breathe Easy Tutoring and Training. As a 19-year veteran in respiratory therapy care, and also the RT Clinical Educator for Mercy Hospitals, Ana and her staff are a welcome addition to our team! “When a patient transitions from an acute hospital setting to a skilled level of care, respiratory therapy adds to the quality and continuum of care a patient receives.” said Ana. This team approach enables our patients to receive oneon-one care that helps build for stronger, faster, and longer-lasting outcomes following surgery or accident. With two living centers in Kern County to accommodate you, we are confident we have the care you need. You can choose a nursing home, or you can choose a Golden Living Center and start regaining strength, confidence, and independence, today!

3601 San Dimas St., (661) 323-2894 • 140 E. Tulare Ave., Shafter, (661) 746-3912

Cyndy Bock, Director of Sales & Marketing Ana Walton, Respiratory Therapist

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(661) 631-2036 2029 21st Street • Bakersfield, CA 93301

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72 Bakersfield Magazine

The Womens Care Center Armi Lynn Walker, M.D. Cary Shakespeare, M.D. Pellevé tm Now Available Look Lovely, Feel Refreshed

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2021 22nd St., Bakersfield, CA 93301

Specializing in Instrument Adjustive Techniques Steven C. Salyers, D.C. Gregory R. Heyart,D.C. Kristal D. Shropshire, D.C. Providing exceptional care while they help more Kern County families in the coming years. “We are proud to provide chiropractic care at affordable prices,” says Heyart. “Many patients are hesitant over concerns of discomfort,” explains Salyers, “but it’s a comfortable treatment experience for everyone from children to the elderly.”

(661) 327-2622

1001 Tower Way, Suite 130, Bakersfield, CA 93309

Stand out from the crowd. Medical Profiles 661-834-4126 / Summer 2011 73


Advanced Spinal Health, LLC


making the grade

Public & Private Education

Kern County is bursting at the seams with schools. With 48 public school districts, the largest high school district in California, and a number of private schools, local education is kind of a big deal. But it’s not just a big deal because we have such a large population. It’s because education is a vital component of a thriving community. In order for our children to become successful adults, they need to receive a well-rounded education. Thankfully, in our area, parents have the choice of sending their children to the public school in their district or investing in a private school of their choosing. So here is a look at the benefits of the primary and secondary education available in Kern County in both a public and private setting. Kern County Public School System The public school system of Kern County boasts a number of highly-achieving primary schools, including five elementary schools that won the 2010 California

Distinguished School Award and one that received the award in 2011. “We’re really pleased,” said Kern County Superintendent of Schools Christine Lizardi Frazier, when considering that half of the counties in the state had no recipients of the award. Three of our schools won the Title 1 Academic Achievement Award from the California Department of Education Christine Lizardi Frazier noted that children going through the public school system get a cultural education, as well as a traditional education.

which honors schools that overcome challenges and disadvantages to achieve academic success. One of those schools is also up for the most coveted and hon-


74 Bakersfield Magazine

orable award from the national level, the Blue Ribbon award. The Blue Ribbon has been awarded previously to seven of our local public schools. The benefit of diversity in Kern County public schools is undeniable. “We serve all kids,” said Frazier. “No matter what background they come from, we try to meet their needs.” Frazier explained that kids who

go to our public schools aren’t just getting a scholastic education, they are, “getting a social education,” and “they work with, collaborate, and understand peo-

the ABCs

“Children have to be educated, but they have also to be left to educate themselves.” —Ernest Dimnet

ple that are different than themselves.” But, ultimately, what school a child attends comes down to the area they live in and the wishes of Mom and Dad. “I’m a fan of parental choice,” said Frazier about choosing between public and private school educations. She added that a student can always return to a public school [after a private school] and believes that availability is the cornerstone of American education. At the high school level, vocational education programs are unique to the public school system and allow for students to learn about specialized occupations before graduating. Frazier explained with pride that in the National History Day and We the People competitions, the schools from Kern County have repeatedly carved a place in the top five with many past winners at the national level. Academic Decathlon is also a strong point for Kern County in academic competition; Frazier is especially proud of the success in such a diverse competition. For more than 117 years, Kern High School District (KHSD) has made excellence in public high school a tradition. With over 38,000 students, the KHSD is the biggest 9-12 district in the state. The district’s score on the state’s Academic Performance Index has improved every year for the last six years, and according to the KHSD website, KHSD Superintendent Don Carter expects to see more improvement this year, and credits having one of the finest district teaching staffs in the state.



When considering sending your child to public school, consider the high schools as they are the most influential ‘last stop’ before college. comprehensive campus, as well as alternative education programs such as continuation schools, home study, and online programs.” Private School While the public education in Kern County is diverse, residents also have the option to send their children to one of many specially-focused, quality private schools. Private schools offer a unique education and many student benefits. With a little research, parents may find a local private school that suits their child. Whether it be for a religious reason, or wanting a more focused curriculum, often parents who choose private education have found the values and academic expectations they want their child to be educated with are the focus of a certain school. Because many private schools are faith-based, that factor is often the reason parents will choose a private school for their child. 76 Bakersfield Magazine

Students at Bakersfield Christian High School are taught a focused, faith-based curriculum. (Inset) And students in some programs are able to work with the latest technology.

“Parents that choose our schools are looking for a comprehensive education that prepares them for a life that is also centered on values that come from a faith perspective,” explained Richard Sexton, Superintendent of the Catholic Schools Office of Catholic Education for the Diocese of Fresno, which encompasses our local Catholic grade schools. He added, “The educational quality is there; we have very high expectations of our students. Parents are willing to make the investment because they believe in the product.”

will often weigh the financial investment to the main benefits of private school education. Here are some of the pros of private school: They focus on specific topics and often have smaller class sizes. Private schools often have better books and supplies (funded by families/ parents), including more access to up-todate computers. Curriculum can be more challenging.

Photo courtesy kern county superintendent of schools

When considering sending your child to public school, consider the high schools as they are the last and most influential stop before college. “Kern High School District schools have been awarded the prestigious Distinguished School Award fifteen times since the program was instituted in 1986,” said KHSD Public Information Officer John Teves. Diverse programming can be found at the public high school level as well and at no cost. “The District’s programs and services include those for Special Education students. About ten percent of the KHSD’s nearly 40,000 students are enrolled in a Special Education program,” added Teves. He also explained that, “the KHSD provides a variety of programs in which students can find success in high school including the traditional

Photos courtesy bakersfield christian high school

Public & Private Education

Technology has come a long way in the public school system, as well. Even the youngsters learn via educational computer programs.

Bakersfield Christian High School President Dan Cole agreed. “Parents are highly invested,” he said, adding that in his experience, “parental involvement increases the student performance.” Cole believes that there is an organizational identity because, “private schools exist for a distinct mission.” When deciding to go private, parents

Now, these positives do not necessarily apply to every private school in America but are evident in some of our local, private educational institutions. “I like the smaller atmosphere and controlled setting. And the structure within the schools prepares the kids for their academic future,” said Joti Culbertson, owner of Kaur Boutique, who has sent

her four children to local private Catholic schools. “The parents get to know each other better so there is also a family atmosphere that we really appreciate,” explained Culbertson. She also added that at private schools, “it’s their way or the highway,” and, in her experience, the students are held accountable for their actions and face real consequences. “It’s preparation for being a conscientious adult,” she said. Because they do not receive tax revenue, private school curriculum is not limited by the bureaucratic practices and regulations of the government. This independence, if used responsibly, can allow for specialized programs and advanced curriculum including the religious perspectives the school promotes. According to, private schools, “can choose whatever curriculum and assessment model they wish. This freedom to design their own curriculum or avoid standardized tests can result in higher standards for students.” “For many courses there is an obvious similarity and overlap in content with the public school system,” Cole explained. “The difference is in the perspective. A Christian school presents all subjects as deeply interconnected.” Students of local private schools have many opportunities to join in on the interscholastic community in Kern County. All of the scholastic competitions that are offered by the public school system are available to private school students, as well. Private school students have excelled in representing Kern County at the state and national level in We the People, the California State Science Fair, History Field Day, and many more. And in 2008, the first private school from Bakersfield achieved the elite Blue Ribbon Award. While public or private schooling is often a difficult debate for parents, locally, we have highly-achieving schools in both sectors that present unique and diverse learning environments for children in Kern County. Whether seeking a specialized faith-based school, or a cultural learning environment, local parents and students have a world of options. So while it is important which school you want your child to attend, it’s more important that you and your child have discussed the importance of education and you’re both working hard for that diploma.

the ABCs


As a City employee, David Lyman used the master’s degree he earned to further his career— he’s now teaching at CSUB part-time.

Non-traditional Education

It turns out you can teach an old dog new tricks. In this day and age, it’s never too late to continue your education; it’s even encouraged. For employers, employees, and the unemployed, going back to college has become a valuable tool in the professional world. Right here in Bakersfield, there are several options for non-traditional college study. With a wide selection of institutions, students can earn a new degree, and professionals can seek additional post graduate training that will help them advance in their industry. These vocational schools have great options for those who have busy schedules that don’t allow for traditional classes like full-time employees and parents. Now that both classroom and online options are available, going back to school is making a comeback. “Particularly in today’s job market, we’re seeing more and more professionals For employers, employees, and working adults looking to improve or and the unemployed, going strengthen their educational background,” back to college has become said Danica Ross, Director of Public Rea valuable tool to the lations for University of Phoenix. professional world. Employers are at the root of the change. When graduates enter the workforce, they are filled with valuable, albeit theoretical, knowledge and tend to lack practical application experience. By furthering their education while working, employees can apply the information they are learning in practice and real time. “An educated world is a better world and employees in any industry could benefit from continuing their education and strengthening their skills,” said Ross. Prospective employees hoping to enter the job market are also beefing up their resumés with individual courses, professional development, and other forms of continuing education. “Keeping professional skills current and staying on top of an industry’s latest Continued on page 80

> / Summer 2011 77

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Whether you are going back to school 3 months, 3 years, or 30 years after high school, there are financial aid options for everyone. Should it be a federal grant, a college scholarship, outside scholarship, or even student loans, it is possible to hit the books even if you don’t have the cash. One major way to save on school is to go local. Luckily, we have California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB) and Bakersfield College that offer a highquality education in either the four year university or community college format. If you’re planning on heading into school right out of high school, start by filling out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, oh yes, the FAFSA. This application is not only free and fairly simple, but if you qualify for one of the many federal grants, the government will loan you money for school at a very low interest rate. If you do not qualify for a federal grant, don’t fret. Bakersfield College offers over 300 on-campus scholarships (visit links.asp to read up on all of them) and also provides links on their website to sites that can help you search for outside scholarships that are available. You’ll find that being a straight-A student is not a pre-requisite for winning a scholarship. It’s often just showing a need, a desire to learn, and that you are a positive investment for the fund. Once you’ve filed your FAFSA, you’re eligible for some of these types of government and state aid. Types of Federal Aid Federal Pell Grant Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) Federal Work Study (FWS) Federal Stafford Loan Academic Competitiveness Grant ACG Types of State Aid Board of Governor’s Fee Waiver (BOGFW) Cal Grants A, B, C Cooperative Agencies and Resources for Education (CARE) Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOP&S) These types of grants and scholarships can often be confusing and seem time consuming, but CSUB has Scholarship Tracking And Review System (STAR) where students can enter all their infor-

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mation, upload essays, and be always available to scholarship funds for review. The STAR System is a great way for students to cast out a wide net for campusbased scholarships and to make sure they are always considered. As you may have guessed, one scholarship probably won’t pay for all your books, let alone all your tuition, so you will want to increase your chances and check out some of the countless websites that help you find scholarships available to you. But always do your homework to verify that the website is on the up and up. According to the Federal Trade Commission here are some ways to spot a scholarship scam. The FTC cautions students to look for tell tale lines: • “The scholarship is guaranteed or your money back.” • “I just need your credit card or bank account number to hold this scholarship.” • “The scholarship will cost some money.” • “You’ve been selected by a ‘national foundation’ to receive a scholarship.” • “You’re a finalist” in a contest you never entered. When you’ve exhausted the aforementioned (and legitimate) scholarships, aid programs, or grants, there are always student loans available to cover expenses. Don’t be afraid of the “big bad loan,” because they are intended to be a positive investment that will enable you to make enough money to pay it back. Just be aware of repayment plans and how these loans work before you receive one. If you’re serious about your education, whether you want to go back for a few classes to qualify for a promotion at work or you’re looking to enter an entirely different field, scholarships and financial aid are great ways to fund that goal. And a quick search of our local college websites indicates that there are plenty of opportunities out there for those interested in the collegiate way of life. There is money out there for school, you just have to be willing to look for it.


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the ABCs

Non-traditional Education Continued from page 77

trends through continued education allows people to differentiate themselves and demonstrate initiative and relevance to potential or current employers,” explained Ross. Many employers offer tuition reimbursement and will refund an employee for the cost of attaining a degree in their field while they remain employed. An educated employee is a benefit to any company and often the employer will assist in helping to complete their education goals. This can be a very realistic way to return to school to earn a degree while still working. Michelle Newell, Public Affairs Specialist with Aera Energy explained, “Aera encourages employees to continuously pursue the growth and development of their skills

“A human being is not attaining his full heights until he is educated.” – Horace Mann

and competencies. We believe this is essential for both employees and Aera to remain competitive and to achieve Aera’s business goals.” Employees who choose to utilize this benefit are able to complete their undergraduate or their masters degrees all while working and actively applying their education to their profession. Another employer who offers tuition reimbursement is our very own City of Bakersfield. David Lyman is a principle planner for the Department of Economic and Community Development and has taken advantage of the opportunity to further his education. Lyman decided he would go back to school to complete his master’s degree in public administration; when he found out the city would pay him back for his tuition it sealed the deal. He completed his degree at Cal State Bakersfield by taking evening classes. Lyman said he was able to “apply theoretical concepts to real life situations,” adding that it gave him, “credible tools to address complex problems.” Being able to return for his master’s degree laid a foundation for Lyman, and he then pursued and completed a second master’s in public policy and earned his PHD in politics and policy. Both of these degrees 80 Bakersfield Magazine

Most vocational schools offer online courses which can be completed after work for student convenience.

he paid for himself, but were extensions off the master’s that the City funded. “I like to think they got a high return on their investment,” said Lyman about the benefits for his employer. Lyman is also now a part-time faculty member at CSUB and finds himself exploring the other side of education. Whether continuing their education or going back for a new degree, students can obtain valuable certifications that according to Ross, “can show that an employee or perspective employee is serious about

proach, because who knows the value of education more than an educator? Teachers looking to meet education demands and the needs of their students often turn to continuing education. Colleges offer various courses and training like bilingual education, special education, or teaching methods for math or science. Whatever the area of study, teachers can receive training to keep an edge on current curriculum and education standards. Keeping an edge is a good idea for any professional today. With the state of the economy, compe-

Many careers, including nursing, benefit from continuing education, so non-traditional schools offer a host of classes in those fields.

their profession.” The non-traditional route of returning to school is very common in many professions including nursing, education, and accounting that require continuing education to remain licensed or certified, or to remain a member of an association or licensing body. Many continuing education programs offer test preparation and refresher courses for professional exams. Teachers are a great example of a profession that utilizes the non-traditional ap-

tition in the job market has gotten fierce and prospective and current employees are challenged for ways to stand out and keep an edge. Non-traditional college, online, and evening classes offer a platform for working professionals and job seekers to reach their educational goals on their own time and pace. It seems Horace Mann was right when he said, “A human being is not attaining his full heights until he is educated.”



HAIR: is yours a hairdo or a hair-don’t?

A Guide to Health & Beauty

©istockphoto .co

Like clothing, hair needs to flatter your shape. Only it’s your face shape that is what’s important here. And while we’ve all been guilty of trying a style that just doesn’t work for us—it’s high time we knew why that look failed. Your facial structure will determine what type of haircut looks good and what looks bad, so here are some things to keep in mind next time you go “under the scissors.” First, you need to determine your own face shape. So, you can break out a ruler and measure the sections of your face to compare width and height (but who’s going to do that?) or you can, according to, do a simple post-shower measurement. Let the steam settle on the mirror in the bathroom after a hot shower and when you can just see the outline of your face in the mirror, trace it and what you will see is the shape of your face. Unless you’re not human, your face should fall into one of these categories: oval, square, oblong, round, and triangle. Oval faces are considered the “hourglass” of face shapes and are often referred to as the most desirable (think Eva Mendez). If this is what you see in the mirror, then you can pull off nearly any haircut and you also have the most room to experiment. Your only challenge is to choose what part of your face you want to accentuate. It could be your eyes or your cheekbones. According to, the only styles you should avoid are ones that “hang in your face or eyes.” If you find a square shape on the mirror, then your face is about as wide as it is long. Square faces have strong jawlines and features and your goal is to soften these lines as much as possible. You should consider sideswept bangs and height at the crown of your head. Think soft, soft, soft and if you want long hair, try fluffy and wispy curls. You should always avoid middle parts and solid, blunt bangs and any cut that is all one length—especially chin length. Look ringj geh m/ to classic square faces like Sandra Bullock or Gwyneth Paltrow for hair inspiration. >> / Summer 2011 81

Oblong is not as odd as it sounds...just ask Sarah Jessica Parker. It merely means you have a longer face, generally longer in length than width. Your aim when choosing a hair style is “chop and frame.” Those chic, straight bangs are for you! They significantly shorten the length of your face, but always pair them with a side part because a middle part will add length. It’s all about width with you. Generally, look to styles in medium to long lengths with waves or body that soften your long, elegant facial lines.There is no need to add height at the crown, so stop with the teasing! If you drew a circle on the mirror, either you had a hard time tracing or you actually have a round face. If you are the latter, then you are probably like Ginnifer Goodwin—a poster woman for those with round faces. As far as bangs go, you can do without them, but if you insist, then opt for a swept-across look à la Cameron Diaz. If you decide to go short, then go all the way and don’t let your hair hit your chin on the way down. Your focus is all about height, not width, so aim for looks that give you fullness at the crown and not at the sides of your face. A middle part will make your face appear longer, so draw that line and remember (if you have a round face, that is) to keep styles slim and close to your cheeks. If your chin is the narrowest part of your


face and your cheekbones and forehead are the widest, you have a heart-shaped face (which falls in the round category). If you must have bangs, take a tip from Reese Witherspoon and and go for side-swept fringe and avoid bangs that hang straight across as they will add width to the widest part of your face. Aim for most of the texture to be near your chin. If you like your hair long, then ask for long wavy layers that fall around your neck. You want to add width to your narrow chin to give the illusion of balance. Don’t opt for short, choppy layers and definitely avoid too much short shag on the top as it will widen your forehead, making you look like something discovered at Area 51. Finally, if you have a prominent jaw and a narrow forehead, you drew a triangular shape in the steam. According to, the goal with a triangular face is “to minimize your jaw-line and add width at your temples.” Do this by going for styles that add height and “a little width at the temples.” Try a side part and, if you want

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82 Bakersfield Magazine

bangs, ask for longer fringe swept to the side. Keep long styles close to your head at the jawline to give a slimming effect. So, how do you go from drawing your facial outline on the mirror to finding a cut that matches your face? Thanks to, here are some things to think about...and to bring up with your hair stylist when you’re in the hot seat. 1. Height at the top elongates the face. 2. Angular cuts at chin length slim a face. 3. Bobs and blunt cuts draw the eye to the bottom of the cut. 4. Hair pulled away from the face makes the eyes appear larger. 5. Layering can soften hard lines in a face shape. Another thing to consider is haircut trends. It doesn’t matter how much you believe feathered bangs will complement your mullet (although they may have in 1985), they will under no current circumstances make you look fabulous. And we may need to have a chat with your stylist (who may or may not be Billy Ray Cyrus). A great new hairstyle can be a transformation, so don’t be afraid to keep your mind open. Pay attention to the shape of your face the next time you go in for a new ’do. The most flattering cut for your face might be much different than the hairstyle you go into the salon with. v Sources:;;




Love the old trains? Nostalgia and romance are closer than you may realize.

photo by ken johnson

e could wax poetically on the history and romance of trains for days and days, but we’d much prefer to spend those days actually riding the rails; you know, experiencing the majestic feeling that comes from traveling across the land by way of a steam-powered locomotive. Sure, there are a few railways that still offer getaway options in these parts, but there is one company that offers such a wide variety of train rides that it’s booking tickets faster than you can say Casey Jones: Fillmore & Western Railway Company. And, good news, Fillmore & Western, located in historic downtown Fillmore, California in the heart of the Heritage Valley, is just a short, two-hour drive away. It might seem counterintuitive to drive a couple of hours just to take a train ride, but the sights and sounds offered by the farmlands of this rich, rural valley will leave no doubt in your mind that this relaxing weekend getaway was worth the drive. Those looking to ride the rails with Fillmore & Western are first greeted by Fillmore’s 1920s-era business district as they turn off of rural Highway 126. And, as mentioned above, the pristine century-old citrus and avocado orchards are main attractions along the route of train rides. But it is, perhaps, the cars themselves that steal the spotlight. The passenger coach cars and dining cars are from the 1930s and ‘40s and offer a true step back in time for all those who venture on board. And the locomotives that power the train are all gently restored, pre-1950 engines. Another feather in the cap of Fillmore & Western is that it recently acquired a new steam engine—one that runs on recycled vegetable oil. It’s the only eco-friendly engine of its kind west of the Grand Canyon. However, it is the company’s reputation as the “Home of the Movie Trains” that has garnered it so much attention. Having provided locomotives and cars for over 400 feature films, television productions, commercials, and still shoots (including major studio movies such as Water for Elephants, Inception, and Fast & Furious 5 in just the past two years), the nickname seems well-earned. Especially when one considers the origins of this company’s foray into Hollywood. “Short Line Enterprises was founded in 1967,” Fillmore & Western’s website ( boasts. “The company bought, sold, and traded locomotives, passenger cars, and freight cars, mostly of 19th century origin. The majority of the equipment was acquired from the property departments of three major movie studios: MGM, Paramount, and 20th Century Fox. >> / Summer 2011 83



11:10 AM

Page 1

Great Getaways

Image Courtesy Steve Cook Fine Art

With world-class cuisine and a cool arts scene, island breezes and unique boutiques, Ventura offers a relaxed escape in a spectacular coastal setting. Channel Islands National Park, kayaking, biking and wildlife viewing are just a few of the pastimes to be enjoyed. • County Fair • Johnny Cash Music Festival • July 4th Street Fair

This activity...focused the company on its long-term path of providing movie trains for the film industry.” Later, “Short Line moved its movie operations to the Newhall Ranch, placing it within the Hollywood production zone. Between 1985 and 1990, Short Line was used in over seventy feature films, television series, and commercials. No Hollywood railroad location had ever amassed that number of credits in such a brief period of time.” But the track lease was up in 1990 and a search began for a new home for Hollywood’s movie trains. “The only line that met the specific needs of the film industry was Southern Pacific’s Santa Paula Branch in rural Ventura County. The pastoral surroundings of the area also bode suitable for development of a passenger excursion business.” So the City of Fillmore was selected. In 1996, Short Line Enterprises became the film division of the Fillmore & Western Railway Company. Operations PHOTOS COURTESY OF FILLMORE & WESTERN RAILWAY

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Over 400 feature films, television productions, and commercials have used Fillmore & Western trains.

expanded from movie work and limited passenger trips to regularly scheduled daytime passenger excursions and Saturday Night Dinner Trains. And the expansion didn’t stop there. Passengers wanting to hop on board can select from a number of wonderful events. On select Saturday nights, year round, Fillmore & Western hosts a truly wonderful murder mystery event with a different theme each time. Guests will embark on an evening train ride, lasting roughly two hours, with an excellent dinner, hearty laughs, and some lessthan-serious sleuthing. Everyone will enjoy

a first-class, three-course dinner, served while actors commit mirth and murder. Jump right in and help solve the murder, or simply sit back, be waited on, and entertained on board the only Murder Mystery Dinner Train in Southern California. Reservations are required and there is full bar service while on board. Check the website for dates. For a relaxing, outThe train rides feature gorgeous views in high of-the-ordinary Saturvisability glass-topped cars. day or Sunday, try the Scenic Weekend Excursion. While you enjoy your time in a 1930s vintage passenger car, the train winds around a historic and calming agricultural setting. The first stop of the day will be at Loose Caboose Garden Center and Gift Emporium where you will find garden art; fountains; koi ponds and supplies; local honey and produce; and a wide variety of one-of-a-kind gift items, year-round Christmas decorations, and plants. The second stop of the day is in downtown Santa Paula, where passengers can visit the historic Southern Pacific Depot, the St. Francis Dam Memorial sculpture, the Santa Paula Art Museum, the California Oil Museum, the Ventura County Agriculture Museum, or take a self-guided walking tour of world-class murals. All these historic sites are within walking distance of the train depot. No matter when you step aboard, Fillmore & Western offers a good time. This is especially apparent during holidays. The company hosts a Father’s Day train ride. Dad and the entire family can enjoy this outing. In addition to the vintage train ride through the Heritage Valley, riders will feast on an impressive country-cooked BBQ lunch and celebrate the “king of the family.” And on Independence Day, the company really outdoes itself. After a BBQ dinner and train ride through the valley, guests will be able to enjoy a wonderful display of fireworks that will be put on by the City of Fillmore. You might wonder how you’ll be able to see the fireworks while inside the train. Well, the Fillmore & Western’s open-air flat car allows riders the opportunity to peer up into the night sky. The same car is available for dancing during special events, like Margarita Madness, this year happening on July 16, August 13, and September 17. Passengers who hop on board for this event are in for a treat. As the train travels through Heritage Valley, guests are sipping on delectable flavored margaritas and dining on enchiladas, beef tamales, rice, beans, and chips and salsa. After dinner, everyone dances to live music in the open air dance car. So it would seem, thanks to Fillmore & Western’s one-of-akind packages, that trains are no longer just icons of industry; they are no longer relics of bygone eras. They can be enjoyed today. Heck, you can even get married on one! It’s certainly true that “history, nature, and a small town atmosphere have all been nurtured and preserved in the valley for passengers who truly want to step back in time” by way of a Fillmore & Western train ride. It’s about time you stepped aboard, too. Visit or call (805) 524-2546 for more information. v

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the corner of the yard where a lounger or


a swing is set up.


Speaking of loungers, it’s always wise to


ensure you’ve got the backyard dimensions


to accommodate these chairs. Even if you don’t, the right small backyard

Since many families spend a good deal of time lounging in their yards, it makes

landscaping ideas can help you squeeze a lot of use out of a little land.

sense to decorate this outside area as if it is

Try picking up a few old upright chairs

another room in the house. Of course, the

from any antique or used furniture store.

more people you have outside, the more

You can weatherproof them and set them

seating areas you’ll need. But it doesn’t

beside a bird bath in the corner. But don’t

have to be all rattan patio chairs.

be afraid to get quirky.

First, locate a few areas in your backyard that would make for a great seating area. They should be fairly flat and free of large shrubbery. Then, get creative.

ORNAMENTS AND WOOD CHIMES Weathervanes, clocks, and wood chimes can add a whimsical feel to a backyard. These

While you’ll probably want to include

weather-resistant decorations can enhance

some wrought-iron chairs or tables,

their surroundings with soothing colors

there are numerous fun outdoor fea-

and sounds. Arrange a few unique orna-

tures that can create a magical backyard

ments in strategic places and instantly rev-

seating area.

olutionize the backyard into a work of art.

A fire pit can add warmth and charm LUMINARIES

for get-togethers. They are fairly inex-

Create luminaries for your garden

pensive backyard decorations that can

with recycled cans. You can use any

be quite practical. However, fire pits

size can from large coffee cans to small

also function as a fantastic romantic

soup cans. Clean the cans inside and

addition to any seating area—say in

out; this includes removing all of >>


to a backyard and serve as a focal point / Summer 2011 87


the labels. Paint the outside of the cans with acrylics, and then puncture holes all over the can. A rotary tool with a metal bit works best. Place votive candles or tea lights inside the cans to create ambient lighting. Glue flat-backed glass marbles over SECURITY H FIRE H CAMERAS H CARD ACCESS H ETHERNET



the holes to diffuse the light with color. You can also attach a strip of 22-gauge craft wire across the top to make a hanger for the recycled luminary. SODA BOTTLE BIRD FEEDERS Hang these feeders near your seating area and watch the birds fly to and fro. Remove the labels from the bottles and clean thoroughly. Decorate the outside of the plastic bottles





with acrylic paint or embellish them with mosaic tiles, glass marbles, or buttons. Make sure to use waterproof adhesive to attach items. Make four perches for the birds at the base of the soda bottle by inserting two thin dowels crossway through the bottle, three inches or so from the cap. Leave two inches of the dowel ends exposed outside the soda bottle. Cut access holes above each perch; leave the cutout on the bottle as a protective flap at the top of the openings. The flap will help direct water around the food opening.

Everything you need for your personal Oasis.

PLANT STANDS Tiered potted plant stands and hangers make it easy to decorate any seating area. For more vertical options, try installing a trellis against a sunny wall or a pergola over your seating area. A bench with a trellis on each side or arch over the seat does double duty to provide a rest stop and space for more plants. These benches work especially well for aromatic plants, bring-

HOME & GARDEN Inside and out, we have you covered.

88 Bakersfield Magazine

ing the plant close to nose level, where it’s easier to enjoy. Now’s the time to set up some creative and colorful seating areas in your backyard. That way, you can enjoy the outdoors all summer long. n


By Lynn Pitts What does this famous phrase mean? “Nam et ipsa scientia potestus est.” A) “What you don’t know can’t hurt you.” B) “Knowledge is power.” C) “I drink no more than a sponge.”


f you said B, you are correcto mondo (and old enough to remember when Latin was a language requirement in school)! It wouldn't be an overstatement to apply this old adage to plants. Knowledge truly is power in our Bakersfield gardens, especially if you have children. It’s important to know the names of toxic plants. It’s also worthwhile to understand how plants have influenced world events, if only to entertain dinner guests. Let’s take a “power walk” through the garden. First of all, it would be great if the list of poisonous plants was short and sweet. It isn’t. Some plants affect us if we eat them; some if we merely touch them; some have toxic sap, but the leaves are safe. Sometimes, the fruit is poisonous raw, but not when cooked. The most important advice Mrs. P can give you is: don’t panic. Try to learn the names of your plants and their potential toxicity. Teach your children from an early age not to put plants in their mouths. Know your poison, keep plant labels, write down plant names and where they are planted, and keep the list near the phone. Keep the Poison Control Center number handy. In Bakersfield, the number to call is (800) 876-4766.

You can also buy a reference book to learn more. Three books I’ve seen are: Common Poisonous Plants and Mushrooms of North America by Nancy J. Turner and Adam F. Szczawinski; BabySafe Houseplants and Cut Flowers by John I. Alber and Delores M. Alber; and Know Your Poisonous Plants by William R. James and Wilma Roberts James. Keep bulbs and seeds away from children. Many of them are poisonous. Mrs. P assumes you know about the “Big Ten” toxic plants, but it’s always good to refresh our little gray cells. Oleander, tomatoes, potatoes, rhubarb, delphinium, boxwood, pyracantha, fig, foxglove, and castor bean can be as welcome as skunks at a garden party. All parts of oleander are poisonous if eaten. Wear gloves and long sleeves when pruning oleander. I speak from experience in telling you that the sap from this beautiful shrub can cause a mighty itchy rash. Don’t even get me started telling you what will happen if you get the sap into your eyes! Oh, the memory of that sorry experience still makes me shudder. Dispose of oleander cuttings in your brown can, not the green waste can. The city trash collectors have rules about oleander which you must follow diligently. Almost everything on a tomato and potato plant is poisonous except the actual tomato and potato. Rhubarb’s leaves are toxic and should be cut off before the stalk is cooked. Delphinium and boxwood are toxic. The leaves and sap of fig trees cause dermatitis. Foxglove (digitalis) leaves help regulate heartbeats, but the effective dose >>



M/ O.CO / Summer 2011 89

Gardening with Mrs. P

It’s almost impossible to avoid all poisonous plants in a garden. This is why you should arm yourself with the power of knowledge. fully, there are very few fatalities. Most of the children don’t even have to make a trip to the hospital. Poison centers have experts in toxicology to advise you about antidotes. The small number of people who do die tend to be adults who have eaten mushrooms. In fact, consider all mushrooms poisonous unless purchased from a grocery store. If you see mushrooms sprouting in your garden, it’s a sign you are watering too much. Put on a pair of disposable gloves and remove the mushrooms to your green waste trashcan. There are myths about berries, which can be especially confusing to children. They know they can eat blueberries, so why not eat those blue berries on the ivy or Texas waxleaf privet? Many adults still follow the old myth that says if berries are white you should leave them alone. If the berries are red, maybe they’re okay. If they’re blue, it’s fine to eat them. Not so! Those berries on the ivy and privet, if eaten, can definitely ruin your day. It’s almost impossible to avoid all poisonous plants in a garden. This is why you should arm yourself with the power of knowledge. Your motto should be “awareness” rather than “avoidance.” Now that you’ve become more enlightened about harmful plants, Mrs. P would like to share how some plants have contributed to world history. Can you name five plants grown in Bakersfield that were found in King Tut’s Tomb? Try bachelor buttons, papyrus, olive, willow, and oleander. Could the young king have been poisoned by oleander? Hmmm. 90 Bakersfield Magazine

Three plants were instrumental in causing wars. Do you know them? Hint: one is a major crop in Kern County. The first was tea, a symbol of taxation without representation. The Boston Tea party set the stage for our American Revolution. The second plant to cause a war was cotton. We’re so used to seeing machinery harvest our excellent Kern County cotton, it’s easy to forget that slaves were used to handpick this crop in the Old South. The world-wide demand for more slaves to pick more cotton set the stage for the Civil War. The opium poppy was behind the Opium Wars (1839-42 and 1856-60) with England and France on one side and China on the other. In truth, the world is still fighting over the pods of this beautiful flower. What two plants helped spread the ideas and philosophies of major civilizations? That would be olive trees and papyrus. Olives and olive oil were the chief export of ancient Greece and, through their trade, the Greeks spread ideas that became the foundation for Western civilization. Mediterranean natives, olive trees are trademarks ©

and lethal dose are scarily close. Castor bean (Ricinus communis) is an amazingly attractive shrub that reaches 15 feet tall with colorful leaves and darling husks. The husks contain seeds. Commercial growers chemically extract the castor oil from the seeds. You, on the other hand, could end up dying if you eat the seeds. Nefarious people have concocted the poison “ricin” from this plant. Need I say more? Poison centers receives thousands of calls a year from anxious parents. Thank-

THEY’RE NOT ALL BAD. Corn continues to be the world’s most widely distributed crop!

along streets and gardens in Bakersfield. Olives and olive oil have been important crops in California since the Spanish introduced them. Green or black, olives are inedible unless pickled in brine or pressed into oil. Not many people know this, but Mrs. P has actually cured her own olives and they were delicious. Some years ago, after an especially violent wind storm, my next door neighbor and I noticed all the olives from our trees had been knocked to the ground in one fell swoop. Not wanting to waste such a bounty, we gathered them up and called our University of California Cooperative Extension for information on

how to prepare them for eating. It wasn’t difficult, but time consuming; changing the brine constantly, rinsing, re-brining over and over. After the last brining, we packed them with fresh herbs and olive oil into sterilized glass canning jars. We thought we’d have plenty of jars to give away as gifts, but, honestly, we ate most of them ourselves! The Egyptians and Phoenicians made paper from papyrus and this ready source of writing material helped promote and spread literacy in the ancient world. Usually seen growing locally in water gardens, they make a striking form in pattern iron planters and pots. Be careful with papyrus as it can become invasive in the ground. I made a huge mistake not keeping my papyrus contained and spent way too many years continually digging up the new clumps. And, finally, what indigenous grain of the Americas is the most widely distributed crop in the world? Corn. Native Americans taught the Pilgrims how to grow corn and it saved their lives. Columbus introduced corn to Europe. One of the traditional Native American methods of growing corn is called “three-sisters gardening.” It’s a wonderful space-saving technique combining a mixed “hill” of corn, beans, and squash. We can use the three-sisters approach this month in our Bakersfield gardens. Here’s how to do it. Plant four corn seeds in one quarter-sized hole on a mound of soil 15 inches wide and 4 inches tall. This is your “hill.” When the corn is up about a foot, plant four pole bean seeds on the shoulders of the corn mound about halfway in. Next, plant winter or summer squash seeds around the perimeter. The beans use the corn as poles to climb on and store nitrogen in the soil to feed the squash crop that follows. The large leaves of the squash shade, lower moisture loss, and cool the soil. Genius! Use half garden soil and half compost for building your mound. You have my permission to deviate from the original Native American practice of burying a dead fish under the corn. Feed your “three-sisters” with a liquid fish fertilizer and they won’t know the difference. In closing your plant history lesson, what plant is the greatest boon to humanity? No contest. It’s the product of beans from the Theobroma cacao tree. Chocolate! Class dismissed. v


Switch on the burner, grease up the skillet, or spark up the coals, it’s time to get eating. It’s not hard to eat a meal fit for a king—we’ve done the research for you. Whether you’re searching for juicy new recipes to thrill dinner guests with or looking for a new, exciting place to dine out with family, our Food Section has all the spice and flavor you’ll need.



We’ve got reviews, recipes, entertaining tips, and more! This is the place to explore local eateries that have good food and good service, find out which ones cater to your budget and your taste buds, and get culinary inspiration to bring back to your own kitchen. Sumptuous, mouth-watering meals await you whatever your mood— grab your apron and peruse these pages for your favorite recipe. Bon Appétit. / Summer 2011 91


louie lou-ahh

Crab Loui e ~Dressing~

Chef Adolfo Chavez 24th Street Cafe


easy to m

WHEN WE CHALLENGED MARK HUGGS, OWNER OF 24TH STREET CAFE, TO WHIP UP A SPECIAL DISH JUST FOR OUR READERS, WE HAD NO IDEA HE HAD SUCH A SENSE OF HUMOR. The requirements for our chefs and restaurant owners is that the dish has to include local ingredients and it needs to be something not currently on their menu, but when Huggs told us he’d be preparing his version of Crab Louie for this feature, and that the crab came from the Kern River, more than one of us in the editorial department scratched our heads. Surely he hadn’t discovered some mystical bank of the Kern River chock full of delicious crab. Turns out, he was just trying to adhere to the guidelines. “You told me it had to be local,” he quipped with a smile. Crustaceans aside, Huggs has wrangled up produce from locally-owned Tesch Farms for this recipe, so he’s won us over, not only with his joke, but with this recipe. On a warm summer night, nothing hits the spot quite like a fresh salad, especially one with “Kern River” crab. n 92 Bakersfield Magazine

1 tbsp. fresh lemon jui ce • 1 garlic clove, mi nced 1 cup mayonnaise • 3 tbsp. ketchup 1 tbsp. sweet pickle rel ish • 1 tsp. Tabasco 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce • 1/4 tsp. swee t smoked paprika 1/4 tsp. chili powder • Salt and freshly gro und pepper


d~ 1 lb. crab meat, prefer ably Dungeness • 3/4 lb. asparagus Two 6- oz. romaine he arts, cut crosswise 1/2 inch thick One 6- oz. seedless cu cumber, thinly sliced or cut into spears 4 large radishes, thinl y sliced 4 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges 4 hard- cooked eggs, cu t into wedges

First, prepare the dressi ng. In a bowl, whisk th e mayonnaise with the ketchup, relish , lemon juice, garlic, Ta ba sco, Worcestershire sauce, paprika , and chili powder. Th en , season with salt and pepper. Let sta nd at room temperature for 15 minutes. While the dressing is sta nding, assemble the sa lad . Fill a medium saucepan with salted water. Bring to a boil and then cook the aspa ragus until tender. It us ua lly takes about three minutes. Then dra in and cool. Arrange the lettuce, cu cumber, radishes, tomato es, eggs and asparagus on a platter in a decorative fashion. To p with large chunks of the crab meat and serve with dressing on the side.

CUISINE: exquisite fare



By Mike Stepanovich


The New Orleans-inspired Muffaletta at Mill Creek Deli will blow you away. For a real treat, pair it with the White Bean Salad, a recipe fans of old Maison Jaussaud’s will recognize.

TANCE LEAGUE OF BAKERSFIELD, AND HER COLLEAGUES, DISCOVERED THE MILL CREEK DELI SHORTLY AFTER IT OPENED IN NOVEMBER 2009. And what I heard about most was the Muffaletta. The Assistance League ladies would walk up to the small restaurant for their lunch break, have their sandwiches, then stroll back. Carol would describe this wonderful sandwich, and before long she started suggesting that I schedule a lunch there, too. I was intrigued that a local deli would be offering a version of the classic New Orleans sandwich, so eventually we set a lunch date. My only disappointment was that I didn’t get there sooner. But I’m getting ahead of myself... We arrived at the quaint place at the corner of 18th and R streets. A few people were ahead of us in line waiting to place orders. A large chalkboard on the left wall behind the counter has the menu. On the wall in the dining area is a mural featuring numerous Bakersfield landmarks and logos. A young Buck and Merle are depicted. The Bakersfield sign that for so long spanned Union Avenue but is now at the Crystal Palace is on there. Same with the Bakersfield Inn, Beale Clock Tower, Andre’s Drive-in, Maison Jaussaud’s, and more. Step through the doorway into the bar, and you’ll find another mural featuring more of Bakersfield’s history. In the hallway are pictures of circa 1920s Kern County High School football teams with legendary coach Goldie Griffith. Outside, at the 18th Street curb is a 1936 Dodge Brothers “Humpback” panel truck, so called because the back humps up above the cab’s roofline. It’s painted yellow and white with the deli’s logo and phone number on the side. It has the original wire wheels, though the ignition indicates that a modern motor sits under the hood. >>

CUISINE: a pinch of N’awlins / Summer 2011 93

Cuisine: a pinch of N’awlins I haven’t even made it to the counter and I like the feel of this place already.

ham, hard salami, provolone, lettuce, tomatoes, on-

A couple minutes later, we’re at the counter, and

ions, pickles, pepperonci-

Robin Henkel, who it turns out is the owner’s grand-

nis, mayo, mustard, and oil

daughter, greets Carol with a beaming smile and a

and vinegar on a deli roll. It

“Hey! How ya doin’? What can I getcha?”

is so moist and delicious!

Carol explains that I’m a rookie here, and that

I also opted for one of the

we need two Muffalettas ($6.75 each). “You got it!”

side salads, trying the Italian

Robin exclaims. We pay, get our drinks, and find a

pasta salad ($2). It’s penne

seat. A few minutes later, John Bell, a grandson of the

Owner Brenda Sharp has deep culinary roots in Bakersfield—and she brings them to Mill Creek Deli, not only with the décor but with the menu (like the lasagna).

owner, delivers our sandwiches. The sandwiches are about six-inches around, and have

Her recipes are part of Bakersfield lore:

been grilled in a sandwich press. Inside, you find ham

n The

and hard salami (Mill Creek Deli, in deference, perhaps, to

other exceptional dish. “My grandmother used to

West Coast tastes, also offers a turkey Muffaletta), home-

make that at Banducci’s.”

made tapenade, provolone, lettuce, onions, tomatoes,

n The

and mayonnaise. Simply put, the sandwich is divine! No

recipe. I make it myself. I buy the tongue fresh; cook

wonder Carol was raving about this all these months.

it; then skin it; thinly slice it; and pickle it in garlic, oil,

The freshness, the flavors—absolutely delicious!

and vinegar. I sell it by the pound in addition to the

Italian sausage sandwich ($6.75) is an-

pickled tongue. “That’s Maison Jaussaud’s

I’m so taken by my lunch that I vow to return soon.

with black and green olives, red and green julienned

pickled-tongue sandwich ($6.50).”

And a week later, I’m back. The Muffaletta was so good, I

bell peppers, herbs, onions, olive oil, and a little

n The lasagna is her specialty. Saxophonist Richie Perez,

reason, the other sandwiches must be good, too.

wine vinegar. This is a cut above your average pasta

who has dropped by, raves about it. “It’s love at first bite,”

salad—it’s full of flavor, moist and tasty.

he says. Hmmm, maybe I should have listened to Robin.

Robin is there again, and tells me I should try the lasagna lunch special. She gestures with her thumb toward a

I caught up with owner Brenda Sharp the day after a

smaller chalkboard behind her that lists the week’s spe-

Third Thursday event sponsored by the Downtown Busi-

Jaussaud’s recipe, too.

cials: cheeseburger on Mondays ($5), meatloaf sandwich

ness Association that left her beat. But her sunny de-


on Tuesdays ($5.50), lasagna on Wednesdays ($5.95),

meanor shines through, despite her tired feet and knees.

here with me since day one and prides herself on the

grilled Polish sandwich on Thursdays ($5.50), and tuna-

She’s a ‘61 graduate of South High, that school’s first

or egg-salad sandwich on Fridays ($5.50). I have my heart set on a grilled Polish sandwich, but since I’m there on a Wednesday, I pay full price ($6.75).


The Basque white bean salad. That’s Maison The meatloaf is Robin’s speciality. “Robin’s been

meatloaf; she makes the meatloaf.”

graduating class, and Mill Creek Deli “is my little dream.

n The cheeseburger is something, she said. “I hand-

I always wanted a place of my own.”

pat the patties, and use fresh lettuce, onions, tomatoes,

She founded the business knowing what she was get-

pickles, but it’s the secret sauce that makes it special.”

I also grab a bag of California Chips, a small potato-

ting into. “I have a lot of professional cooks in my family,”

She said the secret to her success is the best qual-

chip maker in Oxnard. Turns out the potatoes are from

she said. Her aunt was at Banducci’s on Edison Highway

ity ingredients. “I buy the best quality meats, and

Bakersfield, the sunflower oil used to fry them is from

years ago, and Brenda worked at the legendary Maison

Pyrenees Bakery delivers our bread fresh each day. I’d

Northern California, and the sea salt is from San Francisco

Jaussaud’s on South Union Avenue (it’s now Golden West

rather have quality; it pays off.

Bay. Just another reason to like Mill Creek Deli.

Casino) a dozen years or so. And “my grandmother’s hus-

My sandwich is splendid! The sausages are sliced lengthwise with a wedge of dill pickle in the trough between the sausage halves on grilled rye. Some mustard and Swiss cheese make this a great lunch.

band was Spanish Basque, a true sheep herder.” So Mill Creek Deli is a blend of Italian and Basque, with some French influences tossed in as well.

Brenda’s making changes slowly as business picks up. “I’m soon going to get a fryer and do fish and chips. I’ll only use Alaskan cod. And I’m going to have fried green tomatoes.”Eventually she plans on adding a dinner menu.

She owned Gazebo beauty salon “on the other side of

This delightful family-owned and staffed restaurant

The following week I try the Italian sub ($6.95). I’m

town”for about 20 years before selling it, which “gave me

is a great lunch destination: the food’s great and the

three for three, because this cold sandwich is every

enough money to buy this building.” The building previ-

atmosphere’s terrific. Find out for yourself weekdays 10

bit as good as the others. It’s sort of a cold Muffaletta:

ously housed a beauty shop and The Silver Fox bar.

a.m. to 3 p.m. Call (661) 328-9999 for take-out. n

94 Bakersfield Magazine


get your game on!





By Tom Xavier


Board games offer a sense of timeless comfort reaching back to childhood, when summer nights and rainy Saturday afternoons were spent indoors playing Clue or Mouse Trap. And with so many people relishing the old-fashioned joy of sitting around the table and playing cards, a game night is sure to become a staple of your entertaining repertoire. There are some things to remember so that you don’t spend your entire evening setting up. Choose games everyone will enjoy. Drug stores often stock inexpensive games to add to the routine lineup. It’s not about the game itself, but about the event. Select simple games to avoid spending your evening reading directions and confusion during the game. Before you start playing, give a quick read-through of the instructions. Check that your board games have all necessary pieces. If not, improvise (substitute a large button or poker chip for a missing checker, for example). If the gathering is multi-generational, plan to create adultchild teams. The evening can hold some “fun” surprises when the kids aren’t paired up with their parents. Here are my suggestions for great family game nights. Chutes and Ladders is always fun because you can move up the board in one move, so it’s easy to win. But you can lose big too; it’s a gamble.

• • •

Cranium. It’s got a lot of different aspects. You work with clay, you sing a song, and there’s trivia. There are a lot of different options and you can play with a lot of people. Yahtzee, because it’s intense. You don’t know what is going to come up next. It’s a game of chance and luck. Twister, because it’s interacting with people and it’s fun to see what weird positions you can get yourself into. Other good party games include: Catchphrase, Scattergories, Balderdash, Scene It, Taboo, and Trivial Pursuit. At a dinner party, the host may need to pop up and down, plating the next course, refilling guests’ glasses, and clearing dishes. But when game night is on the agenda, all the preparations are done in advance, with cocktail refills chilling in the fridge and guests serving themselves. Present the meal on a buffet table, sideboard, or nearby kitchen counter at the start of the evening, letting guests help themselves to a few bites of this and that at their leisure. This way, everyone at the table is equally engaged in the game, and guests are not halting play to >>

CUISINE: with a side of fun! / Summer 2011 95

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The homes being built in the development called “Lakeview at Rio Bravo” are being built with the highest levels of attention being paid toward energy efficiency. Located within walking distance of the Kern County Golf Course, the Kern River, Lake Ming, and numerous hiking trails. Come and see the extensive list of standard features! Brand names such as Pella, Trane, KitchenAid, energy Star are all standard. We have custom knotty alder doors, cabinets and trim, and more... 11200 Lake Ming Rd.

CUISINE : with a side of fun! wait while you’re preoccupied with other things. Make food satisfying and yet easy to prepare, serve, and eat. That means lots of finger foods, simple to nibble on between rolls of the die, and a hearty main course to provide sustenance as the night—and the games—linger on. With a few pantry staples, such food can be prepared on a whim. These are fun recipes (with appropriate names!) for you to try at your next game night.

Taboo Punch (Non-alcoholic)

6 cans lemon-lime soda • Quart of fruit punch • Pint of lime sherbert Mix fruit punch and soda in a large punch bowl with ice shortly before guests arrive. When people are ready to start sippin’, spoon large scoops of sherbert into the punch.

The Game

2 oz. light rum • 1 oz. triple sec • Cranberry juice Combine all ingredients in a martini shaker. Pour over ice, garnish with a cherry.


2 oz. Aftershock • Orange juice • 1 oz. Yukon Jack Combine all ingredients in a highball glass with ice. For More Information Call: 661.281.6107 | License #908949 Find Out For Yourself What Everyone Is Talking About.

It’s a good idea to have fresh veggies like celery and carrot sticks for healthy munching, but you can also cut up some fresh fruit and put out a cup of caramel dip so people can nibble on some sweets between platefuls of these great game night recipes.

High Roller Cake

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6 cups all-purpose flour • 4 cups sugar • 3/4 cup baking cocoa 4 tsp. baking soda • 2 tsp. salt • 4 cups water • 1-1/2 cups vegetable oil 1/4 cup white vinegar • 4 tsp. vanilla extract • 3 cans (16 oz. each) vanilla frosting 10 cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Add water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla; mix well. Pour into two greased and floured 13-in. x 9-in. baking pans. Bake at 350° for 28-33 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Cut two 6-in. squares from each cake (save remaining cake for another use). Spread the frosting between layers and over top and sides of cake. Split sandwich cookies apart; arrange on the cake (filling side down) for die spots.

High Roller Cake

96 Bakersfield Magazine

800. 314.6243

Hogs in a Sleeping Bag

Hogs in a Sleeping Bag 1 (16-oz.) package polska kielbasa 2 sheets puff pastry, thawed and lightly rolled out • 1 egg • Dipping sauces Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut kielbasa into six (4-inch) pieces. Cut puff pastry sheets into thirds (six strips). Roll each piece of kielbasa in puff pastry and place on a baking sheet. Beat egg in a small dish and brush generously over pastry. Bake until pastry is golden brown and puffed, about 20 minutes. Serve with mustard, barbeque sauce, or jam, if desired.

Par-Cheesy Pizza 1 lb. frozen bread dough • 4 thin slices salami • 1 to 2 medium onions 1 to 2 large sweet red peppers • 3/4 cup pizza sauce 1-1/2 cups (6 oz.) shredded mozzarella cheese 4 to 6 pimiento-stuffed green olives, halved Thaw dough according to package directions. Cut onions and red peppers into 2-inch by 1/2-inch strips. On a lightly greased baking sheet, roll dough into a 12-inch square. Spread with pizza sauce. Sprinkle with cheese. Arrange the salami, onion, and pepper over top to resemble a Parcheesi board. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until crust is lightly browned and cheese is melted. Top with olives.

Checkerboard Cheese Sandwiches 1 (10-oz.) block extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated 1 (10-oz.) block Swiss cheese, grated • 1-1/4 cups light or regular mayonnaise 1 (4-oz.) jar diced pimiento, drained • 1 tsp. dried onion flakes 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper 20 thin white bread slices • 20 thin wheat bread slices Garnishes: grape tomatoes and black olives, secured with wooden picks Stir together first six ingredients. Spread half of mixture evenly on 10 white bread slices; top with remaining white bread slices. Spread remaining half of mixture evenly on 10 wheat bread slices; top with remaining slices. Remove crusts with a serrated knife; cut each sandwich into 4 squares. Arrange, stacked in pairs, on a serving plate in a checkerboard pattern, alternating white and wheat. Garnish, if desired. Once you’ve put together a game night-themed menu, your guests can bring the rest (you know, chips and dip, etc). My final tip would be to make sure you’ve got enough chairs for everyone! Once you’ve done that, the only thing left to do is roll the dice. n / Summer 2011 97


Jeff and Stephanie Pickering PA R T N E R S





eshert.” Jeff Pickering offers up the Yiddish word, meaning “it was meant to be” to answer a question about how he became president and CEO of Kern Community Foundation. “I first learned of the opportunity in 2009,” says Jeff of the national search to find a new leader for the growing foundation.“I had spent my entire professional career in the nonprofit sector, including four years at the Community Foundation of Central Florida, and I wanted the opportunity to run a community foundation. I never could have predicted Bakersfield was where I’d get my shot.” Jeff liked what he learned about Kern County and its similarities to the Central Florida community where he grew up. “Although I knew I might be perceived as an outsider, I felt comfortable pursuing the job knowing Kern County is a lot like home.” And home is what Kern County has become for Jeff and his family. Together he, his wife Stephanie, and their two children, Colin, 7, and Olivia, 5, have found a real sense of belonging.“The people here are what make this community special,” says Stephanie.

“…Kern County is a lot like home.” —Jeff Pickering

The generosity of local residents is another reason why the Pickering’s feel at home.“We were both raised in families that taught us the importance of giving back,” says the couple.“The people in this community are some of the most generous we have ever met.” Which is good news for Kern Community

Foundation, an organization that serves as a home for local philanthropists. “I enjoy learning of the causes our donors are passionate about, then helping them create or leave a charitable legacy that makes a difference,” says Jeff. The Foundation holds more than 90 named charitable funds established by local donors with assets of nearly $14 million. “We are a young foundation, with a smart, dedicated Board that knew what we wanted to achieve,” says Gene Voiland, treasurer of the Board of Directors. “Jeff has helped us figure out how we do it.” “With Jeff at the helm and a dedicated Board,” says Chairman Keith Brice,“the Foundation is positioned for substantial growth over the next two years. And with the launch of our new Nonprofit Search—an online tool developed to help donors find, learn about and give to hundreds of local charities—Kern Community Foundation is becoming one of the most knowledgeable philanthropic resources in our community.” Jeff Pickering invites you to join the growing community of donors who have established a charitable fund at Kern Community Foundation. Founded in 1999, the Foundation helps local donors practice smarter giving to achieve greater impact from their philanthropy. The Foundation offers a variety of giving options and accepts a wide range of assets for maximum tax benefit, such as: cash, appreciated securities, real estate, life insurance, IRAs, partnership interests and bequests.

Fo r m o r e i n f o r m a t i o n , c a l l 6 6 1 . 3 2 5 . 5 3 4 6 o r v i s i t w w w. k e r n f o u n d a t i o n . o r g

98 Bakersfield Magazine


vino amour

By Mike Stepanovich

FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO THOUGHT THE DAYS OF SMALL, FRIENDLY, FAMILY-OWNED WINERIES IN NAPA VALLEY WERE ANCIENT HISTORY, I HAVE GOOD NEWS! YOU CAN STILL FIND SOME. EVEN BETTER NEWS: THEIR WINES ARE REASONABLY PRICED. Two such wineries underscored for me how passion, commitment, focus, and great grape sources combine to make fabulous wine. Surh Luchtel Cellars and Selene Wines exemplify what happens when those qualities converge. Surh Luchtel is a partnership of Don Surh and Gary Luchtel. The two met in college and became fast friends. They then discovered a mutual love of all things wine. Luchtel and his wife, Ellen, also have their own label, Fortunati. Selene Wines is the creation of Mia Klein, a Napa Valley veteran who’s been making wine there for more than 30 years. She has been a consulting winemaker for some of Napa’s most famous labels, including Dalla Valle, Spottswoode, Viader, Araujo Estate, and Chappellet. Here’s a closer look at two small wineries whose wines are a very big hit. SUHR LUCHTEL CELLARS Gary Luchtel set out for San Francisco back in the 1970s from Iowa in a Volkswagen Bug that guzzled more oil than gas. “I’d pull into a gas station and say, ‘Fill the oil and check the gas,’ ” he said. After arriving on the West Coast, he enrolled at San Francisco State University, where he met Don Suhr. The two shared a house and a love of wine. They began as home winemakers, and eventually started making wine together in 1992 using grapes they obtained from various North Coast vineyards. Their first Luchtel is a larger than life character. He’s big, burly, and gregarious. His salt-and-pepper hair is evidence of a few spins around the block. He’s funny; the life of the party, as attendees at a recent tasting in Bakersfield can attest. He and his wife, Ellen, poured wines paired with


commercial vintage for Suhr Luchtel was in 1999.

some of Valentien’s incredible edibles. Their passion for what they do was evident in their enthusiasm and in the glass. The couple met 27 years ago. “I knew nothing about wine,” said Ellen, originally from San Diego. “Gary would pick up a bottle of wine, leave it in the bag, then open it and ask me to identify it. We’re still enjoying wine 27 years later.” >>

WINE: affordable flavors / Summer 2011 99

wine: affordable flavors Their Fortunati label is a play on Gary’s nickname. “Fortunati means ‘Lucky’ in Italian,” Ellen said. “Gary’s nickname is Lucky.” photo courtesy suhr luchtel Cellars

The wines they poured in Bakersfield included the Fortunati 2010 Syrah Rosé ($16 suggested retail), 2010 Viognier ($27), 2007 Pinot Noir ($36), the Surh Luchtel 2007 Mosaique meritage blend ($32), and 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon ($45). Gary said he hadn’t planned to make a rosé, but that was before Ellen “traveled to Australia and fell in love with dry rosé. She came home and said, ‘Honey, can you make me some dry rosé?’ ” He did, and it’s delightful. Their viognier is also an achievement, a wine light on the palate with subtle, del-

wine. She enrolled at the University of California, Davis where she graduated with an enology degree in 1983, and just hoped to land a job. photos courtesy suhr luchtel Cellars

She did, signing on as assistant winemaker at Chappellet, working for renowned winemaker Cathy Corison, who today owns her own winery. It was about that time that she also met winemaker Tony Soter, with whom, some years later, she partnered in a highly sought-after consulting firm. From Corison and Soter, she said, she learned a couple of important things: n

“You need to get it right in the vineyard,” she said. The relationship between

the vines, the soil, and the microclimate is critical to producing good fruit. n “It’s about consistency. It doesn’t matter whether it’s an eight-dollar wine or an

Gary and Ellen Luchtel of Suhr Luchtel Cellars

eighty-dollar wine, when you find a nice one, wow! That’s an is

icate flavors of tropical fruits. The grapes

art. It’s about communication.”

are from the Luchtels’ estate vineyard in

During the early stages of her career, she developed a keen interest in

Napa valley. The grapes weren’t particular-

two varietals: merlot and sauvignon blanc. “Merlot, cabernet franc, and

ly attractive when harvested. “The grapes

sauvignon blanc interested me a lot,” she said. “I worked with merlot at

looked bad, but I knew they would make

Chappellet, and when I was at Robert Pepi Winery, I made sauvignon

good wine,” Gary said.

blanc at a time when not much sauvignon blanc was being made.”

The Pinot Noir is a complex wine with three different clones of grapes in the

In 1991, she decided that “in order to have absolute creative free-

blend. Its classic aromas, good structure, and forward flavors make it a fine choice.

dom,” she needed to start her own brand, so she launched Selene.

I also enjoyed the mosaique and cabernet. The mosaique is a blend of 45 percent

“I got access to a really good merlot vineyard; I had some money

merlot, 25 percent cabernet sauvignon, 20 percent cabernet Franc and 10 percent malbec. The cabernet is sourced from Mount Veeder, the valley floor, and Calistoga. Both were rich, bold expressions of California’s most famous wine region. Check Suhr Luchtel out at

Mia Klein became aware of the symbiotic relationship between food and wine at an early age.

SELENE WINES Mia Klein became aware of the symbiotic relationship between food and wine at a young age growing up in Manhattan Beach in Southern California. “I had a job the recent Yosemite Vintners’ Holidays. “I got the leftovers,” bottles left behind by patrons. “That got my wheels turning.” When her family moved to San Francisco her senior year in high school, she landed a job in a retail wine shop that intensified her desire to learn more about 100 Bakersfield Magazine

photo courtesy selene wines

as a cook in a fish restaurant, and during that time discovered wine,” she said at


saved up so I bought some grapes. The next year, I was offered some sauvignon blanc from the Hyde Vineyard, and I bought that.” Klein likes the varietals because both have a wide range of styles. “Sauvignon blanc can be a rich Bordeaux or a lean

Twenty-five years experience in professional management of investment properties. Specializing in office buildings,

Sancerre,” she said, referring to the regions in France

shopping centers, and office/

best known for their expressions of sauvignon blanc.

warehouse facilities.

Perhaps because of the 1991 60 Minutes segment

Stockdale Property Management, Inc.

“The French Paradox,” that attributed the significantly lower rate of heart disease among the French to their regular consumption of red wine, merlot styles have been all over the board as vintners in the early ‘90s rushed to get an easy-to-say, easy-to-drink red wine •

t, I n c .






Blanc (her highest priced wine is $50).


M a na g e

for the Selene Merlot and $28 for the Selene Sauvignon

Full suggested retail price for these two wines is $35

p P ro er t y

with both power and finesse.


to market. Klein focuses on a stylish, consistent merlot

kd t o c al e



While those are her signature wines, she’s also

5001 California Avenue Suite 100 Bakersfield, CA Tel: 661.323.7830 Fax: 661.323.9008 Cheryl L. Miller, CPM® President mail

added a cabernet sauvignon and a Bordeaux blend


to her portfolio. The cabernet is from selected Napa Valley vineyards, while the cabernet Franc-based blend is called “Chesler,” a tribute to Klein’s mother, Eileen Chesler, and features a picture of her mother waterskiing in the late 1940s. In all her wines, Klein said, “I always ask what the wine wants.” In other words, she doesn’t try to force

over 60 years local service

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piest is when someone calls to say how incredible our wine was, and how it made a difference for an anniversary or other occasion.”


Check Selene out at n Mike Stepanovich is an award-winning journalist who has been writing his Life is a Cabernet wine column since 1985, and reviewing restaurants for Bakersfield Magazine since 1997. Stepanovich has taught wine and food pairing classes for many years, and teaches a wine appreciation and history class for Bakersfield College. He began judging wines in 1987, and now judges at major international wine competitions throughout the United States. A home winemaker, Stepanovich resides with his wife, Carol, in Bakersfield.


Get Healthy Now! Anthony Cisneros

Independent Team Beachbody Coach


717 East 21st St. 322-7159 / Summer 2011 101


FIREHOUSE Year Established: 2009 QUICK FACTS Located: 7701 White Lane

Happy Hours: 3-7 Mon-Fri

fire it up


The Green Machine

Sweet and Sour Mix Pineapple Juice Absolut Citron Malibu Rum 99 Bananas Midori

FIREHOUSE HAS A TOP-TESTED DRINK THAT IS NOTHING SHORT OF INTRIGUING. The name: the Green Machine. The number of ingredients: six. The flavor: surprisingly light and perfect for summer. General Manager Trevor Crowder explained, “it’s got the best of both worlds,” in reference to the alcohol to taste ratio. The proof may be high but it’s not evident in the faintly sweet and refreshing flavor. The Green Machine is a drink that Crowder has worked with long before Firehouse and he hopes it will be a successful addition to the menu. “Everyone who has tried it loves it,” he added. The firehouse décor and red suspenders donned by the servers in this mega sports bar are in place to pay homage to the Bakers-

Firehouse is coming out with an entirely new drink menu and

field Fire Department. And that overarching restaurant theme is

the Green Machine will make its debut. Crowder said his fa-

obvious in this concoction’s curious name.

vorite thing about the drink is, “when I make it, I know people

“The Green Machine” plays into the notion of firetrucks and machinery, you know, guy stuff. Plus, Crowder added, “anything that rhymes is cool.” 102 Bakersfield Magazine

are going to have one of the best drinks they’ve ever had.” n

DRINK: summertime sipper

Pappy’s “Down South” BBQ & Catering Luigi’s Restaurant & Italian Delicatessen “Real BBQ cooked slow and low.” You don’t have to head too far south to get a taste of amazing, Southern-style BBQ—just head to Pappy’s. With Championship Brisket, tender tri-tip, pulled pork, hot links, chicken, and ribs, there’s a meat for everyone at this local BBQ joint. In addition to flavorful side dishes like sweet potato fries, potato salad, and chili beans, Pappy’s cooks up some killer “pappytizers,” including fried okra and fried pickles (a southern favorite). Plus, every Thurs-Sat, Pappy’s is serving up 14 oz. ribeyes. They also offer catering for your next event, corporate meeting, or social gathering (minimum of 20 people). Call for details. 4725 Panama Ln. D-13. (661) 735-3984

Camino Real Restaurant & Bar

Mexican Inspired dishes with California love! Camino Real is a breath of fresh air! It has just what you’re looking for in a local restaurant and much more! From the assorted appetizer dishes such as the queso spinach dip, Mexican pizza, & fresh guacamole to the delicious signature entrées with steak, real chicken, and various vegetarian options to choose from, we offer a variety of recipes. It’s traditional Mexican dishes infused with what we call California love. Join us for a deliciously prepared margarita or our famous happy day specials daily from 11am-7pm at the bar. Everything is prepared with our freshest ingredients and flavors that can’t be matched! We also offer a lunch buffet and Sunday brunch. Open daily 10am-10pm, 3500 Truxtun Ave. (661) 852-0493

Valentien Restaurant and Wine Bar

French Cuisine Fused With California Freshness Seafood, Poultry, Beef, Exotic Game, Vegetarian. A welcoming environment in the tradition of a neighborhood bistro. Extensive Wine List and Craft Beer Selection. Coffee Program Featuring Siphon Brewers and Sustainable Sourced Beans. We believe in preparing food from scratch with the freshest ingredients available. We source locally and organically as often as possible. Enjoy the bounty of Kern County’s Agriculture! Open for Lunch: Tue-Fri 11:30am-2:00pm. Open for Dinner: Mon 5:00-8:00pm & Tue-Sat 5:00-9:00pm. All major credit cards are accepted. Reservations recommended but not required. 3310 Truxtun Ave., Ste. 160, 93301 (661) 864-0397 / Summer 2011 103

The Dining Guide

The Crest Bar & Grill

If you are looking for one of Bakersfield’s best-kept secrets, you’ve found it. Nestled inside the beautiful Bakersfield RV Resort, The Crest Bar and Grill is the perfect place to relax after a long day, or get a quick bite to power you through the rest of your busy day. Our well-trained staff will ensure that your dining visit with us is memorable. Our kitchen proudly serves quality Chicago Stockyard steaks, delicious pastas, classic sandwiches, and crisp salads with homemade dressings. Tour our new Banquet Facility—it’s media equipped for any presentation desired, catered by The Crest, and has seating for 150 people. Visit us and enjoy what luxury RV living is all about. Hours 7am-9pm daily. Located at 5025 Wible Rd. (661) 833-9998

Enjoy an old world Italian delicatessen since 1910 with over 200 wines to complement your lunch. From sandwiches to Pasta Bolognese, you’re sure to find flavorful choices to make everyone happy! Don’t forget to shop the gourmet delicatessen for unique gift ideas, wine and authentic foods. Restaurant Hours: Tue-Sat 11am-2:30pm, Deli Hours: Tue-Sat 8am-4pm. 725 East 19th Street. (661) 322-0926

Izumo Japanese Restaurant & Sushi

The Dining Guide

Variety and style is what you can expect at Izumos. Experience our casual atmosphere where you have your choice of dining experiences. Visit us to enjoy the teppan-yaki, sample the sushi bar, or our more conventional order-off-the-menu setting. The teppan-yaki comes one dish at a time as the chef prepares it in front of you - they will amaze and impress with their skill and expertise. Our relaxed dining gives customers a chance to really enjoy our food and friendly service. Hours: Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm, Mon-Sun 5-10pm. Reservations accepted. Visa, MC, AE. 4412 Ming Ave. (661) 398-0608

P.F. Chang’s China Bistro

P.F. Chang’s China Bistro is conveniently located at the Shops at Riverwalk, 10700 Stockdale Hwy. Visit us for food and drink specials during our Happy Hour everyday from 3-6 pm. You can also make a reservation or place a take-out order on-line at We serve lunch and dinner from 11am-10pm Sun-Thu, and 11am-11pm Friday and Saturday. We also offer an extensive menu that meets the needs of both vegetarian and gluten-free guests. We look forward to seeing you soon. (661) 663-8689

Uricchio’s Trattoria

Now Offering Curb-side To-go Service! Nestled in the heart of Downtown in the historical Haberfelde Building. Steaks, chops, seafood, and classic Italian dishes, complemented by an extensive wine list, have made Uricchio’s a mainstay for over a decade. Uricchio’s San Francisco style setting is family owned and operated, and the perfect spot for a business lunch, or a romantic dining experience. After your meal save room for the fabulous desserts from LaMousse of Beverly Hills. Hours: Lunch Mon-Fri 11am-2pm, Dinner Mon-Thu 5-9pm, Friday & Saturday 5-10pm. Reservations recommended, lunch reservations for large groups only. 1400 17th St. Downtown. (661) 326-8870

Cactus Valley Mexican Restaurant

With their famous, award-winning salsa, Cactus Valley Mexican Restaurant is the local spot for fine south-of-the-border flavors! Their menu is a diverse mix of traditional Mexican dishes including sizzlin’ Fajitas, which you can order with lobster, shrimp, steak, or chicken; and savory Chile Verde. Taste their San Francisco Bay Enchiladas: surimi and jumbo shrimp sautéed in tomatillo and cilantro sauce stuffed in two flour tortillas, folded and filled with cream cheese! Since they are open for breakfast, indulge in a breakfast burrito, beef machaca, or huevos rancheros to jump-start your day. Cactus Valley is home to the best margaritas in town and Happy Hour is 4-9pm daily. Open 11am-9pm Sun-Thu. 10:30am-10pm Fri-Sat. Located at 4215 Rosedale Hwy, just west of Hwy 99. (661) 633-1948

Frugatti’s Italian Wood-Fired Oven

Real Italian by Real Italians! Whether dining in or al fresco on our patio, come in and enjoy our new menu that’s bursting with flavor for lunch, dinner or just dessert. You’ll love our steaks. We use only the highest quality Certified Angus Brand® Beef. You’ll also love our chicken, seafood and pizzas cooked in our imported Italian wood-burning oven. We also offer a wide selection of pasta dishes and other Italian favorites. For dessert try our homemade New York cheesecakes or Tiramisu. Come experience our friendly atmosphere. Hours: Mon-Thu 11am-9:30pm, Friday 11am-10pm, Saturday 11:30am-10pm, Sunday 11:30am-9pm. All major credit cards accepted. 600 Coffee Rd., corner of Truxtun and Coffee. (661) 836-2000

104 Bakersfield Magazine

Jake’s Tex-Mex Cafe

After 25 years still going strong, this Bakersfield icon is “Tex Mex Grub” but geared toward loyal “Bako” patrons. Pit style beef is the king here, but the salad choices, Taco Salad, Salad Lites, and, of course, the Famous Chocolate Cake dominate. Known as a lunch joint, but Bako finally getting into dinner. Open Mon-Sat 118pm. Closed Sunday. 1710 Oak St. (661) 322-6380

Grandview Asian Cuisine

Take a trip to the Far East in this amazing restaurant located on the corner of Ming and Ashe. Try Grandview’s for a delicious variety of Asian cuisine and a relaxing atmosphere. Dine on some of the best Dim Sum Bakersfield has to offer while listening to the gentle splash of a waterfall. Whether you have a craving for fine Asian dining, or desire a place to unwind after work, Grandview Asian Cuisine provides the perfect place to get away. Hours: 10am-9pm daily. Visa, MC, AE, DC. 2217 Ashe Road, Bakersfield. (661) 832-2288

Bull Shed Bar & Grill

If you’re looking for a great place to hang out, grab a bite to eat, and have a good time, it’s high time you grabbed the bull by the horns...literally! At the locally-owned and operated Bull Shed Bar & Grill, you’ll be able to dig in to great food at great prices, while waiting your turn to ride “Dolly,” the mechanical bull! Sink your teeth into their Tri-Tip Sandwich, a cowboy roll stuffed with marinated tri-tip, onions, and mayo or test your stomach with the Big Bad Bull Shed Burger—a burger that weighs in at 2.5 pounds and is served with 2.5 pounds of fries. Eat it all in 45 minutes and get it a Bull Shed shirt! Open Mon-Fri 3pm-2am; Sat & Sun 12pm-2am. 2300 Camino Del Rio. (661) 327-0681

El Portal West

We invite you to enjoy our newest Mexican Grill and Cantina, El Portal West. We offer a great selection of appetizers, soups & salads, seafood, and our specialties are chicken, steak and shrimp fajitas. Our full service bar features the best margaritas in town! Happy Hour Mon-Fri 3-7pm (bar only), Lunch specials everyday, 11am-2pm. Fabulous Sunday Brunch, 10am-3pm, reservations accepted. 1100 Calloway Drive. (661) 829-2737 / Summer 2011 105

The Dining Guide

Milt’s Coffee Shop

We’re celebrating our 46th anniversary! Join us for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and you won’t be disappointed. Everything on our menu is made from scratch giving a meal at Milt’s that fresh, homemade taste you can’t find anywhere else. Plus, all our deli sandwiches are served with your choice of soup, salad, fries, potato salad, chips, fresh fruit, or cottage cheese, making the perfect lunch. And the variety doesn’t stop there. Try the Texas Chile Size—a burger loaded with chili and topped with cheese and onions. Dinner is a belt-busting affair with steaks, trout, pork loin, and honey stung fried chicken on the menu. We’ve also got fare for the calorie-conscious. “We are a happy place for hungry people.” Open seven days a week from 6am-10:30pm. 6112 Knudsen Dr. (661) 399-4975

Benji’s French Basque

Benji’s offers something a little different from Bakersfield’s Basque fare. In addition to traditional Basque entrées of lamb, chicken, veal and beef, Benji’s has pan-fried frog legs with garlic lemon sauce, lobster tail, roasted duck, escargots and calf liver. And the beef isn’t just tri-tip; Benji’s serves a scrumptious filet mignon and New York steak with pepper cognac sauce. All dinners are served with the customary Basque family style set-up. Don’t forget Benji’s specialty soufflés flavored with Grand Marnier, raspberry, chocolate or lemon. Basque family owned and operated for 25 years. Banquet facilities available. Conveniently located 2 blocks west of Highway 99 at 4001 Rosedale Hwy. Open daily 11:30am-2pm and 5:30-9:30pm except Tuesdays. Lounge opens 11am. (661) 328-0400

Café Med

The Dining Guide

NEW LOWER PRICES! For a cozy, intimate setting and fine dining with a unique atmosphere, Café Med is the place to go. Choose a selection from our extensive menu and your taste buds will surely be satisfied. Start off with an appetizer-perhaps you might try our Grilled Shrimp Cocktail or Hummus with Lamb Meat-a house specialty. Then choose from a variety of entrées including Mediterranean salads, steaks or even pasta. An excellent dish to try is our Fisherman’s Pasta-a mix of shrimp, scallops, mussels, clams & the catch of the day sautéed in a tomato, basil and mushroom cream sauce. Come by Café Med today. Open 7 days a week 11am-close. Live music on Friday & Saturday nights. Reservations accepted. Visa, MC, AE, DC. 4809 Stockdale Hwy. (661) 834-4433

RedBrick Fire-Roasted Gourmet Pizza

For the ultimate gourmet pizza, you’ve just got to head over to RedBrick Pizza. Every pizza is fresh, fabulous, and fire-roasted in just three minutes inside a 1,000-degree brick old-world Italian tradition. Start your epicurean adventure with a Chinese Chicken or Greek Chopped Salad, made with heart-healthy ingredients. Then dive into a speciality pizza. They’ve even got gluten-free crust for those on special diets. In the mood for something different? Wrap your mouth around one of their fire-roasted Fhazanis, a savory Italian sandwich topped with chilled greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and house dressing. And don’t forget a bowl of creamy, rich Gelato before you go. Open Mon-Thu 11am-9pm; Fri & Sat 11am-10pm; Sun 11am-9pm. 9500 Brimhall Road, Ste. 301. (661) 829-1010

Que Pasa

Come for the freshest Mexican food...stay for the wide selection of handmade, agave nectar margaritas! Que Pasa is the place to be when you’re in the mood for authentic flavor. As part of our Platillo del Dia (Plate of the Day), we’re looking to treat your palate to fantastic flavors every day of the week. On Tuesday try the Tacos En Comal, made with thinly-sliced 100% Angus rib eye steak. On Sunday, sample our Molcajete Supremo, a mixture of shrimp, chicken, steak, and chorizo in a Yucatan green sauce. Our diverse menu and exciting atmosphere are second to none! Valley Plaza Location, 2701 Ming Ave # 219, Hours: Mon-Thu 10:30am-10pm; Fri-Sat 10:30-11pm; Sunday 10:30am-9pm, (661) 832-5011. Marketplace Location, 9000 Ming Ave # F4, Hours: Sun-Thu 11am-10pm; Fri-Sat 11am-11pm. (661) 664-1400

106 Bakersfield Magazine

Willow Ranch Restaurant

For those coming off the trail hungry and hankering for some western fare, Willow Ranch Restaurant is a favorite destination. You’ll have a hard time selecting just one thing off the menu when this place serves amazing Mesquite BBQ ribs, chicken, Certified Angus Beef® steaks, seafood, and savory grilled sandwiches. The centerpiece of the Willow Ranch is the distinctive house BBQ sauce. Travelers and barbeque lovers from all over have enjoyed their secret recipe and they regularly ship it nationwide. Thankfully, Willow Ranch also caters all types of events, so if you can’t make it to them, they’ll bring the grub to you. Open every day from 7am-10pm. Just a short 25 minute drive west of Bakersfield. 27770 Lagoon Dr., Buttonwillow. Visit (661) 764-6605

Champs BBQ & Catering

Champs uses only the best ingredients and freshest meats available, using a secret recipe of dry rubs along with apple and citrus woods in our smoker to deliver that award-winning Champs BBQ flavor. We have perfected BBQ’d Tri-Tip, Pit Beef, Pulled Pork, Spare Ribs, Baby Back Ribs, Chicken, Turkey, and Hot Links. Our HUGE salads are a must try. Our salad dressings and BBQ sauce are homemade and the recipes are sought-after daily. Check out our daily specials, including Catfish and Jambalaya, Sliders, Wraps, incredible Burgers, Clam Chowder, and Tri-Tip Chili. Try our food and become a Champs fan for life. Voted Kern County’s best. WE CATER! 35315 Merle Haggard Rd., Ste. 110. Open Mon-Fri 10:30am-8pm. (661) 391-8334

Caesar’s Italian Delicatessen

A Bakersfield tradition since 1970, Caesar’s Italian Delicatessens have been serving fine Italian food for over 35 years. Our family owned Delis serve quality Sandwiches, Soups, and Salads. We are a full service deli and carry a wide variety of cheeses, meats, and specialty items. We have a large variety of Salads including our famous Pickled Tongue. Pastas are prepared in house using sauces from Nonna’s (grandma’s) Old Italian Recipes. Come in and pick up a tray to take home. Catering is also available for your next event, small office parties, large events & weddings, and includes Party Trays, Pastas, Sandwiches, Tri-Tip Deep Pit Beef, Chicken, or just Appetizers. Ask for a catering menu. 2828 Niles St. (East Bakersfield) (661) 873-0270, or 9500 Brimhall Rd. #304 (Rosedale area) (661) 588-7004

Asia Market -Teriyaki Bowl

Asia Market & Teriyaki Bowl carries a wide selection of all Asian foods, including Chinese and Japanese favorites! The best part about our store is that after you have chosen your favorite item, you can either take it home and prepare a meal for yourself, or you can come into our restaurant and have us prepare a delicious meal for you using your selection! We have a full-service store and restaurant, so you can come in for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Join us today for excellent food provided by a friendly staff in a great atmosphere! Hours: 9am-9pm daily. 7701 White Lane. (661) 837-0982

Jacalito Grill – Downtown Location

In the mood for authentic Mexican dining? There’s no better place than Jacalito Grill. With three convenient locations, you’ll always discover a reason to drop by for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Let the traditional flavors wow you with each dining experience, whether it be their savory Huevos Rancheros, Chile Verde, Pork Ribs in Salsa Roja, or Enchiladas de Mole. The seafood lover will rejoice at Jacalito Grill where a long list of succulent shrimp and fish dishes await. Everything from Camarones Borrachos (shrimp sauteed in tequila sauce) to their delectable Fish Fajitas. Each of their menu combinations are served with tender rice and beans. Open Sun-Thu, 11am-9:30pm; Fri-Sat 11am-11pm. 4803 Panama Ln., (661) 8345834; 10618 Hageman Rd., (661) 679-7920; and 900 Truxtun Ave. (661) 325-2535

Lorene’s Ranch House Coffee Shop

Where Everything’s Homemade! If you’re in the mood for an early morning breakfast, lunch, or a casual evening dinner, stop by Lorene’s for a hearty meal you won’t forget. Our extensive menu includes traditional breakfast skillets, country fresh eggs and omelettes, and a large selection of pancakes and waffles. For lunch or dinner try our South-of-the-Border section or one of our charbroiled burgers. We also serve great steaks and numerous seafood entrées. Stop by today for family-friendly dining. Hours: 6am-9:00pm daily, Visa, MC, AE, DC, accepted. Two locations to serve you: 1531 23rd & Eye St. (661) 322-6887 and 6401 Ming Ave. (661) 831-9250 / Summer 2011 107











108 Bakersfield Magazine

Take the First Step to a Heart-Healthy Community










The Bakersfield Heart Walk is a great way to help fund the life-saving mission of the American Heart Association. Build a company team or start a team of your own whatever you choose, you can make a difference in people’s lives - including your own!

Saturday, October 22, 2011 California State University, Bakersfield Amphitheater • (661) 327-1173

When was the last time you were truly hungry?







Entertainment and Education...

Save the Date:

November 5th

“A Harvest Celebration” at the Gleaners Warehouse

(661) 324-2767

Golden Empire Gleaners








This ad has been made possible by our Exclusive Print Media Sponsor:




Nationally Sponsored By:


Join Us In Our Mission To Help Alleviate Hunger In Kern County. This year, The Gleaners have: • Distributed ½ million pounds of food • Fed 70,000 people • Coordinated 3,500 volunteer shifts • Spent $0.90 of every dollar donated directly on food programs


2011 Bakersfield Heart Walk


Summer Day Camps 6/13-17 Super Duper Science Sampler 6/20-24 Crime Scene Investigation 2 6/27-8/1 Chemistry is Cool! 7/11-22 Geology Rocks!/Kitchen Science 7/25-29 Mad Science! 8/1-5 Superhero Science—Kapow! 8/8-19 Hmmm...That’s Weird!!/ Kitchen Science

To register or for information, call Lili: 852-5050 Register EarlyCamps Fill Quickly! / Summer 2011 109











110 Bakersfield Magazine


with a Purpose Lisa Plank and Linda Hartman (back row, left to right) are thrilled with the fantastic, unique artwork done by BARC clients in the Art With a Purpose Program.

ing bright beads onto shaped wire and then attaching it to a stake that, when stuck into soil, adds flair to potted or garden plants. The stepping stones are a truly industrious form of art as clients work with concrete and broken up tile acquired from the Habit for Humanity ReStore. It’s all teamwork as the clients mix the concrete, add the desired coloring, then shovel it into a form where several hands move in cooperation to press the mosaic of colorful glass and tile into the drying concrete. The result is beautiful, handmade, garden stepping stones and each one is unique. A turning point for the program was at last fall’s Bakersfield Business Conference where Art With a Purpose had a booth in the arts tent. BARC was able to debut its notecards, mouse pads, and posters that feature clients’ drawings and paintings to the community. The exhibit received such positive feedback from businesses wanting to sell the art that Hartman and other directors knew the program would only continue to grow. They understand that the retail aspect gives the clients a new sense of pride and self-expression knowing that they can create something people will want to buy. BARC client Donald Campbell explained how the program is a new way for the mentally disabled to express themselves to the community saying that without it, “we wouldn’t be able







Bakersfield Association for Retarded Citizens




to have that communication with the rest of the world.” “It doesn’t matter where you fall on the scale of functioning or abilities, every one of our clients can produce art. Every one of our clients can be creative,” said Lisa Plank, director of public relations and community affairs for BARC. Clients from different levels of functioning being able to work together is unique to

It’s an invaluable program for clients who are finding excitement and expression through art. Art With a Purpose and is a reason why this program is so exciting for BARC. Hartman added, “What’s happening with this program is they get to interact with each other more...there’s a real sense of ownership.” The camaraderie reflects the fun spirit of the program. Originally an additional fundraising effort for BARC’s services, the Art With a Purpose Program’s money from sales now goes back into developing the program. This circular flow of funding is limited but helps the program develop itself without complete dependence on donations. Plank explained that “the cost is minimal compared to the benefits.” The word “purpose” is a pervasive one at BARC. Their motto is “Giving People Purpose.” And the purpose of >>

BARC • (661) 834-2272 • / Summer 2011 111

community partners

“What I really love about this program is that clients are so proud of what they’ve done, they just can’t wait to show it off,” said Linda Hartman, executive director of Bakersfield Association for Retarded Citizens (BARC). It’s a sense of pride and deep caring that defines the attitude of the directors of BARC as they discuss the bourgeoning Art With a Purpose Program. What began with a few ceramic bowls and some paint has become a runaway success for this organization. Art With a Purpose is bringing new smiles to the clients and staff. The initial creations under the Art With a Purpose Program were ceramic bowls that clients painted, which were then glazed and fired at Color Me Mine. The bowls were such a hit with community members that BARC saw fit to expand its repertoire to include colorful yard art, several different types of pottery, as well as garden stepping stones. The yard art is something that BARC on the Move clients, who are often severely disabled, can create. Clients make colorful garden stakes by string-

the new program is just that; to give the clients another sense of purpose. But it does more. As the program continues to blossom, the benefits become more apparent and diverse. The projects are helping to break up the working clients’ duties. Campbell agreed saying, “It’s a very wonderful program to be part of. It gives us a little relief from what’s going on in the back.” What goes on in the back is BARC Industries many departments from recycling to its wood shop. He added, “we can show them what we can do and maybe that would lead to the possibility of new positions out in the community.” The program is a vehicle for BARC to show the community “what our clients are capable of doing,” said Plank. And for the clients, the art has become something other than their work that they can take pride in. Drawing is BARC client Eric Locke’s passion. Locke works in the printing shop at BARC and loves to draw snakes and dragons.

“I just love drawing pictures,” he said with a smile. When asked by Hartman if he enjoys the Art With a Purpose projects he replied, “Honestly, I’m hungry for another one.” Locke also said he wants to learn to draw portraits. So bringing in people with arts experience to teach the clients is just one of the many things BARC would like to do with the program as it grows. The staff also plans on converting a large garage space into an Art With a Purpose studio so that the clients will have a creative space

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Art with a Purpose



dedicated to art projects and fun. BARC has acquired two kilns and several molds so that staff can help clients glaze the pottery themselves. The directors are always on the lookout for new project ideas. While there are plans to expand the program and give it an online storefront on the BARC website, the organization is always looking for support through donations. Whether it be money, supplies, or time, it’s all valuable to the grateful clients at BARC. Art With a Purpose is developing into an invaluable program for the clients who are finding new excitement and expression through art. The program is serving the BARC mission to instill purpose in all of the clients and through these works of art, this organization is bringing together its community with the greater community of Bakersfield. “Sometimes people don’t know just how great these people are,” Hartman added. “When you get to see them in this environment, you see a whole different side of things.” If you’d like more information on Art With a Purpose or any of BARC’s other great programs, call (661) 834-2272 or visit n

Time Capsule Seeing is believing, but it’s still hard to imagine. years, she said there has been a constant struggle to keep people invested in the success of the museum. Not to mention the effort it takes to raise funds. “It seems like some people have the attitude that once they’ve been to the museum, that’s it. But we are always adding new collections,” Hancharick elaborated. “Every year, I work toward completing a major change.” And every year, groups of schoolage children march all over the four floors of BVMNH and have their eyes opened and their minds expanded. “The whole goal of the museum is to educate people, especially children, and help them think critically,” she continued.

SPOTLIGHT Buena Vista museum of natural history Shark Tooth Hill and excavate fossils. All shark teeth (including any megalodon teeth) can be kept. The funds from these digs go to help BVMNH stay open. “The whole museum is always in need of something, but somehow, some way, we’ve been able to stay alive and floating.” The museum’s exhibits did take a major hit last year when, after the passing of one of its major donators, Bob Ernst, many of the fossils were repossessed as part of his estate and put up for auction. “We tried to raise as much money as we could to buy the fossils back,” Hancharick explained. “We were able to

(L to R) Koral Hancharick, Brittnie Smith






That’s why Hancharick is so thrilled with the response to the Discovery Center, BVMNH’s kid-friendly science exhibit. “Unlike some of the more delicate fossil exhibits, everything in the Discovery Center can be touched and explored. It’s a great place for school and family field trips.” Another amazing opportunity offered by the museum are its Paleo Digs, where members of the museum can pay a small day-fee to trek up to


And there’s nothing like the feeling of standing next to a cast of a triceratops’ skull or seeing artifacts from local Native Americans. Hancharick and the volunteers at BVMNH have spent years slowly improving the museum, exhibit by exhibit, collection by collection, to further educate the public on the amazing history of our planet. But it hasn’t been an easy 16 years. And while Hancharick has only been with the museum for a little over six

come up with about $36,000 total and we’ve been slowly buying fossils back, but we have at least another $5,000 to come up with to pay for more.” The Buena Vista Museum of Natural History truly is a valuable educational and entertaining resource for the community. But it needs the community’s support to stay open. In addition to funding, Hancharick says the museum needs an updated computer system and network and, more importantly, a permanent home. If you’d like to show your support for BVMNH, take a trip into the past and visit. It’s open Thursday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit FIELD MAG RS S h a r k To o t h H i l l . o rg or call (661) 324-6350 M for more information. n U AR / Summer 2011 113

community partners

It’s been said before that taking a trip to Buena Vista Museum of Natural History is like taking a trip back in time. That’s definitely true. But it’s also the only place in town where you can see just how small you are in relation to a Megalodon’s jaw. This fact cannot be understated. It’s really big. But there happens to be a lot of other “big” things you can admire while visiting our only natural history museum. “I think people tend to forget we’re more than local fossils,” explained Koral Hancharick, executive director. “We have an extensive collection of African, Asian, and North American big game animals on display—most of which have been donated by generous locals.”











114 Bakersfield Magazine

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116 Bakersfield Magazine


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akersfield Magazine is working to preserve the history of Kern County through stories of its proud and fascinating past! From Colonel Baker to Buck Owens and beyond, Kern has been homegrown by generations of residents. is an online chronicle of over a century of the Golden Empire’s longstanding families, businesses, and entertainment-filled community. It’s a modern way to discover days gone by but days not forgotten.

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Religious Schools & Worship Services Directory

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Kim Moreno, Diane Williams, Teena Kelly-Franco & Callie Redfern

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Greater Bakersfield Green Expo

The Greater Bakersfield Green Expo and Great American Cleanup came together as crowds of people donned the Expo’s bright orange T-shirts and enjoyed admiring renewable energy business booths as well as the high-school Green Art exhibition and contest. The kids enjoyed bounce houses and obstacle courses while parents and friends of the earth alike enjoyed great barbecue and entertainment.

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March for Babies

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Bakersfield family teams and solo walkers laced up their kicks and hit the trail to promote the March of Dimes’ role in our community. It was a day for celebrating as folks gathered for a healthy breakfast, picnic lunch, and a fun T-shirt contest. The funds raised will benefit March of Dimes’ research which aims to put an end to premature births.

Jessica Leutger & Ann Masengale


Jennifer Sholey, Yulidia Allen & Dawn Gonzalez


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Daisy Vargas & Angela Bivins / Summer 2011 119




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Women’s Business Conference

Over a thousand women packed Rabobank Theater and Convention Center for the 22nd Annual Women’s Business Conference. This year’s theme was “Believe. Inspire. Dream,” and the women of Bakersfield did just that as they attended workshops, networked, heard an empowering keynote speech from world-renowned attorney Gloria Allred, and enjoyed a tasty lunch. Another amazing Conference!

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120 Bakersfield Magazine

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BARC Luncheon

Deborah Wogan & Beverly Flores

BARC’s 3rd Annual Celebrity Waiters Luncheon was a great success. Guests were served by local celebrities including TV personalities and politicians. The sumptuous meal was followed by a trendy fashion show sponsored by local boutiques and a rousing unveiling of raffle ticket winners and amazing prizes that had been donated by area businesses! Proceeds benefit BARC’s programs.

Nina & Sherrie Anderson, Toni Draeger

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Kern County came together in a big way for the American Lung Association’s annual Fight for Air Walk. More than 700 residents gathered at Yokuts Park to raise money and raise awareness for the American Lung Association’s mission! Walkers enjoyed a hosted breakfast, lunch, raffle, live auction, DJ, and there was plenty of children’s entertainment. Nearly $80,000 was raised!

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St. Jude Dream Home

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Lucky locals showed up for a peek of the St. Jude Dream Home giveaway home. Guests got a chance to tour the beautiful Tiburon home, enter the grand prize drawing, enter for a $5,000 furniture shopping spree at Urner’s and a bonus prize of one year of groceries from FoodMaxx valued at $3,000, all while enjoying a festive taco dinner. Proceeds benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.



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Andy Barkate / Summer 2011 121

the foxtail rangers at the site of peter lebec’s oak tree, 1889.

Photo courtesy kern county library

bakersfield’s sound

he mysterious message found carved into the bark of an oak tree read: “Peter Lebeck [sic] Killed by a X Bear Oct 17 1837.” The discovery of Lebec's famous epitaph by the Foxtail Rangers was not the first, but was definitive proof that Lebec once lived and was struck down by a grizzly and buried below the tree that bears (pun intended) the inscription. The Foxtail Rangers were outdoor enthusiasts. This group of Bakersfield men, women, and children embarked on an excursion in 1889 to Fort Tejon that would become a part of history. While the Rangers were gathered around a shady oak for a picnic, Ella Houghton, a school teacher, noticed a split in the bark where she could see a distinct letter cut into the tree. They pulled back three big pieces of bark and uncovered the carving; the bark had a mirror image of the letters. With the permission of Truxtun Beale, whose father was General E. F. Beale and owner of Tejon Ranch at the time, the group carefully exhumed the remains of Lebec in 1890. Four feet below the ground, they found the skeleton of a man, about six feet tall and missing his hands and feet (presumably removed by the grizzly in the attack). Conferring with the local Native Americans, they concluded that the skeleton fit the description of the storied trapper and that the “X” in the carving refers to the x-shape of light hair found on the back of grizzly bears. After 53 years and a proper reburial, Lebec went from mythical character to a very real legend. After the Foxtail Rangers' fascinating discovery, the speculation began as to who Lebec was before that fateful day in 1837. Books were written and stories of one Pierre Lebeque, friend of Napoleon and romantic conqueror became part of the mystery. After generations of trying to trace the identity of Lebec, for whom the small town is named, almost nothing is known. The most likely theory is that he was indeed a fur trapper, but not with a French Canadian company as was also suspected. It would appear that he was more likely a part of Jean-Baptiste Chalifoux's gang of trappers and horse thieves from New Mexico who were known to be in the area in 1837. But local lore prevails. To this day, a Peter Lebec Rendezvous is held each year to honor the mysterious frontier trapper. One thing is for sure: Lebec's unfortunate encounter with a grizzly made him Kern County's most famous mountain man.

the story of bakersfield is all around us, you just have to look — and listen. 122 Bakersfield Magazine

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