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April 2014

bakersfieldlife.com

Get ready for

Spring Organize, decorate, accessorize your home and garden

Food Dudes go big at Hungry Hunter Maintain your garden while conserving

our precious water $3.95

Rick Kreiser and his dog, Ubu, in the backyard of his Tuscany home.

On top of the world Local homes with breathtaking views


F E A T U R E S April 2014

The Home and Garden Issue Celebrating spring in the beautiful places we call home. • Take a look at some spectacular views of Bakersfield. Page 66. • Get ready for spring with tips from local organizing and home décor experts. Page 72.

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• Check out gorgeous locally made home and garden goods. Page 78. • Learn how to garden consciously and conserve our precious water. Page 82.

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82 78 Clarifications

A courtyard gate fabricated by Adrijon Ironworks Fabrication of Bakersfield.

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April 2014

• A photo of Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace in our March issue should have been credited to the Buck Owens Private Foundation. • Marci Cunningham’s horse Aul Ablaze is 13 years old.


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DRodriguezLaw


SERVICES

D E P A R T M E N T S

Oilfield and Environmental Services Since 1983

April 2014 MTS Stimulation Services offers a variety of oilfield services for: • Oil Production • Disposal and Injections Wells • Well Maintenance Treatments • Hydrogen Sulfide Removal and more! We currently offer the traditional and green chemicals for the oil field industries. Our product line of Green chemicals are acids, caustics, xylene and more. Hydrofluoric Acid is coming soon. For more information or a green acid demonstration, please contact us.

MTS Environmental Solutions is committed to improving the health and safety of our community by offering a full line of our community by offering a full line of Safe, Green, and Clean products. Our revolutionary new line of synthetic acids and caustics were created for sustainable agriculture and food industries, and replaces traditionally used chemicals. MTS Stimulation Services www.mts-stim.com M T S E n v i ro n m e n t a l S o l u t i o n s www.mts-es.com

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Up Front Bakersfield Matters

90 32 32 36 40 46 48 50 55 56 58 62 86 90 92

Food Dudes Food and Wine Foodie Entertainment Hometown Hero On the Road Why I Live Here All-Star Athlete Talk of the Town For a Cause Business Profiles Inside Story Pastimes

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96 Home and Garden 100 History 104 Our Town 110 How To 112 Streets of Bakersfield 114 In My Closet 116 Personality 120 Real People 124 Fit and Fresh 128 Health and Wellness 130 Trip Planner 134 Summer Fun 138 Prime Finds 140 SNAP! 150 Last Word

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Reward your sense of intrigue.

THE 2014 LINCOLN MKZ

Curious about the new 2014 MKZ? Experience it for yourself with our no-obligation Lincoln Date Night test drive offer. Enjoy driving the 2014 Lincoln MKZ for up to 48 hours, courtesy of Jim Burke Lincoln. Plus, receive a gift card toward dinner for two at one of our upscale local restaurants ($100 value). The new 2014 MKZ is changing perceptions, and we believe once you drive it you will see why. To make your reservation call Jill Villa at 661-837-6400.

JIM BURKE LINCOLN Open ever yday & weeknight s ' til 8pm 661 - 837- 6400 • jimburkelincoln.com 5300 Gasoline Alley, Automall


S TA F F S H A R E S

WHAT ONE FEATURE/AMENITY WOULD YOU HAVE IN YOUR DREAM HOUSE?

“Just one? An indoor swimming pool!” — Lisa Kimble, contributing writer

“A very large closet to fit all of my clothes, shoes, purses and jewelry comfortably with space in the center for a love seat and a grand crystal chandelier overhead.” — Hillary Haenes, specialty publications coordinator

“A basement man cave in the style of an Irish pub. It would need to be soundproof so the band doesn’t keep the kids and neighbors awake, and I’d better add an outside entrance and some additional parking. Dream zone inspectors can be sticklers.” — Kevin McCloskey, contributing writer

Bakersfield Life™ magazine is published by The Bakersfield Californian. The magazine is inserted into The Bakersfield Californian on the last Saturday of every month. To subscribe, please call 392-5777. To advertise, contact Lisa Whitten at lwhitten@bakersfield.com or 395-7563. Publisher Ginger Moorhouse

“An indoor lap swimming pool with a glass ceiling overhead,” — Rachel Cook, assistant managing editor

“A handmade brick, wood-fired pizza oven big enough to handle multiple pizzas similar to what you see in high-end restaurants like Chez Panisse in Berkeley.” — Richard Beene, president/CEO “Hands down, without a doubt in my mind, a clawfoot bathtub. They’re classic, they’re beautiful, and a bath never feels better than when in a clawfoot bathtub.” — Chelsea Brewer, contributing writer

Bakersfield’s Premier City Magazine April 2014 / Vol. 8 / Issue 7

“A full-length basketball court.” — Stephen Lynch, contributing writer “A fish tank in my wall.” — Heather Hawkins, advertising account executive “I would love a monstrous Viking range and a six-foot long butcher block island. (How very geographical!)” — Kelly Damian, contributing writer

President/CEO Richard Beene Senior Vice President Revenue and Marketing John Wells Vice President, Administration and Operations Nancy Chaffin Interactive Sales Manager Gunter Copeland Advertising Sales Manager Lisa Whitten Advertising Traffic Manager Shauna Rockwell Marketing Contractor Mira Patel Distribution and Marketing Representative Patrick Wells Editor Olivia Garcia Assistant Managing Editor Rachel Cook Specialty Publications Coordinator Hillary Haenes Editorial Assistant Estella Aguilar Art Director Glenn Hammett Photography

“A fully stocked gourmet kitchen… or Oprah’s carved, green onyx bathtub!” — April Massirio, contributing photographer “I’d love to have a big library like the one in “Beauty and the Best.” So amazing!” — Emily Claffy, contributing writer

“My dream home has to have an antique clawfoot tub. There is something so majestic about that tub’s depth, clean lines and ornate feet. Bathing in one of those tubs is like taking a trip back in time. You are in your own little old world and if your bathroom door locks, no one can bother you.” — Miranda Whitworth, contributing writer

Felix Adamo, Sally Baker, Silvia Bell, Henry A. Barrios, Casey Christie, Lois Henry, Katie Kirschenmann, Daniel Martinez, April Massirio, Mark Nessia, Greg Nichols, Carla Rivas, Jan St. Pierre, Rod Thornburg Contributing writers Robert Alimirzaie, Sally Baker, Chelsea Brewer, Sylvia Cariker, Emily Claffy, Rachel Cook, Kelly Damian, Olivia Garcia, Hillary Haenes, Lois Henry, Lisa Kimble, Katie Kirschenmann, Stephen Lynch, Kevin McCloskey, Mark Nessia, Jeff Nickell, Katy Raytis, Chris Thornburgh, Miranda Whitworth Interns Ryan Barrera, Amanda Dixon, Alana Garrett, Eric Garza, Paul Rivas On the cover Photograph by Henry A. Barrios. Rick Kreiser and Ubu enjoy the late afternoon view from Kreiser’s Tuscany neighborhood home. The light seems to change every minute from dramatic to pastel colors and everything in between as a gentle, cool breeze invites the night.

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It’s in our Nature Halfway between LA and San Francisco, Morro Bay offers fresh ocean breezes, beautiful beaches, a calm bay, a fishing harbor, great dining, activities and more. And there is also a rich wine region, just minutes away. In Morro Bay there’s a wide variety of lodging to meet everyone’s needs, especially during mid-week travel.

Natural Morro Bay.

Visit our web site morrobay.org for more information


EDITOR’S NOTE

MEET OUR CONTRIBUTORS Greg Nichols is a photographer who has been taking pictures in the Bakersfield area for nearly 28 years. He attended Cal State Bakersfield and Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara. He worked for 21 years with The Bakersfield Californian and currently freelances for Bakersfield Life Magazine and owns Greg Nichols Photography. Greg also substitute teaches at local school districts. Through his work, he has met a lot of great people and seen some terrific places. Bakersfield is a wonderful town, and it has a lot to offer. Documenting its diversity has been a very interesting and rewarding experience for Greg and he knows the best is yet to come. After turning her passion into her profession, Sally Baker has enjoyed training, teaching and helping people of all ages and levels reach their personal fitness goals. As a National Academy of Sports Medicine certified trainer with a special focus on both youth and senior fitness, Sally enjoys working with a diverse group of clients. With a background in adaptive yoga, Sally can share those benefits with many, especially those with physical limitations, such as stroke, post cancer, arthritis, fibromyalgia, and hip and knee replacements patients. Sally also manages and teaches in the pool program at Total Woman. Running training is still a large part of her work, and she spends many hours on local trails with clients. Coaching high school distance runners is another rewarding part of her job. Sally is married to Rob, an almond farmer, and has four great kids. She loves living life on the north banks of the river. She proudly calls Bakersfield her hometown but Katie Kirschenmann was born and raised in Birmingham, Ala. She ventured north of the MasonDixon line to attend the Rhode Island School of Design where her studies took her to Italy. After receiving a degree in fine arts, Katie traveled across the country to develop her calling as a landscape painter. Her trek took her to Mammoth Lakes, Calif., where she met her husband, Brian Kirschenmann. Katie moved to Washington, D.C., where she worked in design and exhibited artwork in several galleries. But a life in Bakersfield always loomed on the horizon as Brian’s farming heritage called him home. Embracing her new community, Katie joined the Junior League of Bakersfield and her love of volunteerism led her to become president of the group. Katie’s life is full as mother to her children, Chase, 5, and Annabelle Rose and Clara Ellen, 17 months.

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SPRING: A TIME OF RENEWAL AND REBIRTH

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ith spring arriving, my husband and I found ourselves, clearing out the clutter that covered my office desk at home and the nearby cabinets. The completion of the task gave us a refreshed feeling, a clearer head and a readiness to start anew. Interesting how small steps like these can rejuvenate us. Last year, Psychology Today listed a few rituals for spring renewal, including de-cluttering your living space, clearing out your emotional and mental state, simplifying your life and starting something new. These are great pieces of advice that fit perfectly with the theme of our April edition, which is about the center of your universe — your home. Our Spring Home and Garden issue touches on ways you can declutter, reorganize and redecorate your humble abode and gathering space. As I reviewed some of the features, I found myself nodding in agreement or taking personal notes of things I need to accomplish this season. Take a look for yourself and let me know what’s on your to-do list this time of year.

MOTHER’S DAY CONTEST We can all agree that our mothers’ support is something we’ve grown to expect without question. Now here’s your chance to thank your mother for everything she’s done. We here at Bakersfield Life want to hear what makes your mom special. Tell us in a short statement (100 words or less), and you’ll be entered into a drawing for dinner for two at a local restaurant. Email your entry to bakersfield-

life@bakersfield.com, and title the subject of your message “Mother’s Day Contest.” In addition to your description of your mother, please include your name, contact information, your mother’s name, and a picture. The winner will be announced in our May issue.

20 LOCAL PEOPLE TO WATCH It’s also the time of year to nominate local individuals who are under the age of 40 and make Bakersfield a better place. Bakersfield Life will honor 20 young leaders who have shown leadership qualities in their personal life, career, community or academics. But we need our readers help finding these cream-ofthe-crop stars. If you know someone who is deserving of such recognition, please go to bakersfieldlife.com to nominate him or her. The deadline is 5 p.m. April 18. Last year, we received many entries of well-deserving people. We hope to receive more again in our second 20 under 40 contest. A judging committee will review all the submissions and select the top 20, who will then be featured in a future issue and honored at a special ceremony. If you have any questions, please contact me at bakersfieldlife@bakersfield.com.

Olivia Garcia Editor 395-7487 • ogarcia@bakersfield.com


UP FRONT

WORD ON THE STREET Compiled by Mark Nessia

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE, OR LEAST FAVORITE, THING ABOUT SPRING CLEANING? Adam McGill “I like getting rid of old stuff.”

Janet Chaudoin “I hate windows.”

Leif Davisson “What’s cleaning?”

Leslie DeArmon “What’s my least favorite part about spring cleaning? Everything!”

Mario Martinez “I don’t like the deep cleaning and dusting.”

Jeremey Doucette “I don’t do spring cleaning because I clean all year.”

Kevin Sanders “I like when everything is clean and organized so I can find everything, but I don’t like the actual cleaning.”

Patti Johnson “I don’t like the time it takes to clean, but now we’re clutter free.”

Claire Castro “I have a housekeeper.”

SHORT TAKES

GALA HELPS KERN ADULTS GAIN LITERACY SKILLS

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iteracy is a life skill that most people take for granted and an asset that many adults in our community make do without. Bakersfield ranked dead last in Central Connecticut State University’s 2013 ranking of America’s most literate cities. For the adults in our community who struggle with the ability to read, write and speak English, the Kern Adult Literacy Council is here to help. And now it’s the community’s turn to help the nonprofit. The organization will host its Read for Life Gala from 6 to 10 p.m. April 24 at the Petroleum Club of Bakersfield. The event is the nonprofit’s biggest fundraiser of the year. The Kern Adult Literacy Council provides tutoring and classes for adults. It’s a small organization with passionate volunteers who are dedicated to helping men and women gain the literacy skills they need. “Without the volunteers, this organization wouldn’t exist,” said Jeff Nickell, the executive director of the Kern Adult Literacy Council. Fran Hershkowitz, a retired county employee who has vol-

unteered at the Kern Adult Literacy Council for little more than a year, enjoys helping people and is delighted by the selection of resources available to help her teach. “To see the light bulb go on over someone’s head is rewarding,” Hershkowitz said. From a student standpoint, Alan Hungerford is thankful to be part of the program. In 1973, Hungerford was injured in a car accident and had to learn how to read, write, speak, and even how to eat again. “I had to be taught everything,” said Hungerford, who also has epilepsy. Hungerford has been receiving help from the council for about two years, assistance that has made him more independent. April’s event to support the council’s programs will include hors d’oeuvres, wine tasting, and dessert. Silent and live auctions will offer tantalizing items, including an African safari. Tickets are $75 per person or attendees can reserve a table for eight for only $1,000, which includes a complimentary bottle of wine and recognition signage. For information, call Gabriela Gamboa at 324-3213. — Bakersfield Life bakersfieldlife.com

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THE BIG PICTURE Photo by Mark Nessia

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HIT ‘EM HIGH A Bakersfield Condors fan pounds on the glass as an Idaho Steelheads player fights for the puck during a game at Rabobank Arena on March 2. The Condors jumped to a 5-0 lead 10 minutes into the first period and cruised to a 7-1 win, their largest margin of victory since Feb. 14, 2010.

bakersfieldlife.com

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NAMED AFTER

By Lisa Kimble

Photos courtesy of Nancy Frey Stacy

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link and you’re liable to miss an unassuming street sign along 7th Standard Road between Shafter and Buttonwillow that reads “Tracy Avenue.” The sign’s modesty belies one of the most fascinating and storied farming histories in Kern County. The street and nearby Tracy Ranch are named after the Tracy-Selvidge-Frey family, one of only a handful of multigeneration families still farming the land first cultivated by their ancestors more than 150 years ago. In 2012, the Tracy Ranch celebrated a rare sesquicentennial milestone, as well as the trials and tribulations of five generations. It began on an unremarkable parcel of land homesteaded in 1862, a piece of land that today is part of the successful family-held operation Buttonwillow Land & Cattle Company, which produces everything from cotton and potatoes to wheat and cattle. Ferdinand Tracy was born in Wilkesbare, Penn., in 1829, but lured to California in 1850 by the prospect of gold. As mining lost its charm he began raising livestock. In 1962, Ferdinand joined Wellington Canfield to form CanfieldTracy, a leading range land cattle operation. In 1875, Ferdinand married Ellen Malverson Baker, the widow of Col. Thomas Baker who died three years earlier. They had two children, both of whom died as infants. Ferdi-

TRACY AVENUE AND RANCH

Edgar Vernet Tracy's stable. nand's nephew William Tracy was born in 1866 near Galt, Calif., and poured his young energy into teaming on the large ranches in Colusa County. It was there that he developed a passion for mules and the Belgian draft horse. He was 25 when he came to Kern, homesteading a mile east of Wildwood Road on his uncle's range, joining his brother 16

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April 2014

Ferdinand Tracy

William Tracy

Theodore as superintendents of their herds. Seven years later, William moved his homestead cabin a mile west toward the setting sun, establishing the family compound that still stands and serves as ranch headquarters and historical park shaded by giant eucalyptus trees. In the beginning, Belgian draft horses were raised there and, later, ostriches. William married the daughter of another pioneering rancher family in 1904, Fannie Rowlee. She taught at the Wildwood School nearby. A true pioneer woman, when Fannie was denied access to the ranch kitchen by the Chinese cook, she began planting eucalyptus seedlings in the yard. Not one to sit around, Fannie also became enchanted with the prospect of raising ostriches, and she and her husband formed the Tracy Stock and Ostrich Farm in 1906. By 1910, the flock had increased to 174, and the Tracy Studio of Design and Manufacture in Bakersfield was producing fashionable plumage and boas created by Fannie and her sister Hazel and worn by women around the world. Soon Fannie was being called “Bird Lady of Buttonwillow.” The Tracys had six children — Cecil, Darrel, Frances, “Teddy,” Martha and Tilton. Cecil struck out on his own to become a range cowboy for cattle barons Miller and Lux, and later became a professional bull rider. By 1928, the ostriches were gone and the ranch had shrunk to less than half of its peak acreage. William suffered a stroke in 1930. His health continued to worsen. By the mid-30s, the ranch had fallen on hard times and William was an invalid. Cecil spent most of his time caring for his father and tending to the ranch. William died July 4, 1941 at the age of 74. His widow summoned their children and spouses back to the ranch to help save the property that had struggled to weather the 1920s, several failed business ventures and the Great Depression. With the urgency of World War II, the Tracy Ranch transformed from an equine center to a mechanized farming outfit. Today, the operations include property in the Texas Panhandle and a combined 55,000 head of cattle, and spans some 9,000 acres.


MONEY MATTERS

CLAIMING THE HOME OFFICE DEDUCTION WITHOUT RED FLAGS

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ill a home office deduction trigger an audit? The answer is generally “no.” However, there are many misconceptions and numerous individuals miss out on the deduction, while others really don’t qualify. Changes in the rules several years ago made it easier for people who work out of their homes to qualify for the home office deduction. Here’s what you need to know:

TWO IMPORTANT WORDS TO QUALIFY To deduct home office expenses, you must use the area exclusively and regularly, either as your principal place of business or a setting to meet or deal with clients, patients or customers. “Exclusively” means the space is used just for work. It doesn’t need to be an entire room, but your work area needs clear boundaries. The IRS is serious about the exclusive-use requirement. If your children also use the office to do their homework or play video games, you violate the exclusive-use requirement and lose the chance for home office deductions. There are two exceptions. The exclusive-use test does not apply if you use part of your house to provide day care services or for storage of inventory.

PRINCIPAL PLACE OF BUSINESS The “principal place of business” test is significantly easier to meet than years ago. A home office will qualify as the principal place of business if: • you use the office to conduct administrative or management activities of a trade or business, and • there is no other fixed location where you conduct substantial administrative or management activities of the trade or business. As long as you use the home office to tackle your administrative or management duties and you don’t substantially use another location, you can pass this test. This rule

makes it much easier for salespersons and tradespeople who do most of their incomeearning activities elsewhere to claim home office deductions.

EXPENSES YOU CAN CLAIM There are two types of deductible expenses, direct and indirect expenses. Direct expenses are costs associated specifically with your home office, including painting the office or buying a work computer, office supplies or phone line used just for the homebased business. Indirect expenses are those paid for running your home and are prorated based on the percentage of the home used for business. Typical indirect expenses include rent or mortgage interest, utilities, insurance, association fees, security, home repairs and depreciation. Non-deductible personal expenses are converted to business write-offs for your legitimate home office.

SIMPLIFIED METHOD THIS YEAR In a rare move to simplify life for taxpayers, the IRS created a new, simplified optional home office deduction for 2013. Instead of going through long calculations and keeping receipts, the new home office rules let you claim $5 per square foot of your home office, with a maximum write-off of $1,500 (based on a maximum of 300 square feet). While the simplified option may be preferred, the longer form option may yield a higher deduction. Do a quick calculation under both methods to see which one yields the bigger write-off. If the long form seems to give a significantly larger deduction, then go through the effort of finding all the receipts for your direct and indirect home office expenses. You should never shy away from taking a deduction you are legally entitled to claim. IRS Publication 587 contains all of the rules and regulations you need to know in order to properly claim your home office. For additional assistance, see your tax professional. — Chris Thornburgh is a CPA and partner at Brown Armstrong Accountancy Corp. Contact her at cthornburgh@bacpas.com or (661) 324-4971. Thornburgh bakersfieldlife.com

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SHORT TAKES

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

GIVING THE GIFT OF BIKES BY CYCLING

Good luck to CHS Mock Trial Team

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oin Finish Line bike shop as the business hosts the Second annual Finish Line Bike Fest ride on April 19. Proceeds from the event will help give underprivileged kids bicycles this holiday season. Upon registration, bikers can choose from three different paths, all of which start and finish at the Finish Line shop parking lot at 8850 Stockdale Highway. The first path is a 10-mile course to Yokuts Park, the second is a 20-mile ride to Darrell’s Mini Storage on Alfred Harrell Highway, and the third one is a 50-mile loop to Round Mountain. In addition to the bike ride, participants and spectators can stick around for music, bicycle vendors and prize drawings. Register online at finishlinebikes.com or at the Finish Line store. Cost is $35 to pre-register and $45 at the event. For information, contact Alan Bradley at 8336268. To volunteer, contact Lauren Franconi at 565-5276. — Eric Garza

In light of the Mock Trial State Competition Finals, we wanted to wish the Centennial High School Mock Trial Team good luck (the team was heading into competition March 21 through 23 as Bakersfield Life was heading to the printer). “It is an honor to work with these amazing students and with Brett Dobson, their outstanding instructor. I am grateful to the other coaches and teams for such a professional atmosphere, to our community for all the support, and finally to fel-

HATS OFF TO KERN CASA’S DERBY PARTY Bring out your best and biggest hats, Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children of Kern County will host the Third Annual CASA Derby Party on May 3 at Gardiner Ranch. Guests will enjoy live music, dancing and derby-inspired dining while sipping mint juleps. CASA is a nationwide, nonprofit organization that recruits mentors to help represent abused children. “There is always a waiting list of children needing an advocate,” said Tami Champman, board member and volunteer for CASA. “My vision is that we have a list of advocates waiting to be assigned to a child.” The event raises money to train volunteers help to children in need. Tickets are $150 and can be purchased on CASA of Kern County’s website, kerncasa.org. For more information, call 6312272. — Eric Garza 18

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April 2014

BARC SERVES UP STYLE WITH CELEBRITY WAITERS EVENT

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akersfield ARC is going glamorous this month with its Celebrity Waiters Event. The lavish luncheon presented by San Joaquin Community Hospital and National Certified Insurance will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 23 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Bakersfield. The event is a luncheon, fashion show, shopping experience and raffle wrapped into one — perfect for anyone who enjoys glamour and food. Tables

low coach Chris Puck, who did the lion's share of coaching this year.” — David Wolf, Deputy District Attorney and volunteer mock trial coach “It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to talk to the Centennial High School Mock Trial Team. They were attentive, engaged, interested, and I am certain the Mock Trial experience will contribute to their future successes.” — Mayor Harvey Hall “The mock trial program is a result of community support in Kern County. Teachers get so much help from their volunteer attorney coaches. There were 16 teams in the (county) competition this year, each with at least one attorney coach. We were lucky to get help from Christopher Puck and David Wolf from the DA’s office this year. We are so grateful to the Kern County Bar Association, Chevron, and so many other businesses and organizations for their support. The competition in Kern County is outstanding. There is never an easy round of competition. It takes a great deal of hard work to win the county competition with teams like Stockdale, West, BHS and others working just as hard to win each round.” — Brett Dobson, teacher and coach

will be hosted by local television personalities, politicians and business owners. In addition to gifts and raffle prizes, there will be centerpieces featuring Brighton Jewelry from Christine’s Brighton. Proceeds from the event will benefit the mission of BARC, which aims to provide essential job training, employment and support services for the intellectually and developmentally disabled and their families. For information or reservations, contact 834-2272 or visit www.barcinc.org for a registration form. Tickets are $45, $500 for a table of eight with sponsorship, or $600 for a table of 10 with sponsorship. — Bakersfield Life


Laura and Russell are making memories in their new home with their beautiful little girl and are proud to call Bakersfield their home. Congratulations and welcome home from your friends at Premier Realty. In this ever changing market, we work hard to make sure each and every one of our clients get the home of their dreams. Premier Realty stands for

“Pride of Ownership and Pride in our Community.”

“We’re Not National, We’re Your Neighbors” Not a franchise company • CalBRE# 01357148 • Real Estate Broker - CA Dept. of Real Estate 3977 Coffee Road, Ste. C (Behind Chicago Title) • 661.588.6600

• www.gopremierrealty.com bakersfieldlife.com

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MY PET Compiled by Bakersfield Life

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any eighth-graders have pets but not many have animals they can ride. For Ray Bermudez, making trips to the store on the back of his pet horse Pinto is normal. The boy and his horse met when Ray was 8 years old. Now 13, Ray continues to enjoy Pinto’s companionship. For fun, Ray and Pinto like to take long rides together. Taking care of a horse is a big responsibility and Ray, who is a student at Greenfield Junior High School, gets plenty of help from his father, Art, to keep Pinto healthy and happy. I named my horse Pinto because: That’s the name that stuck with me when we got him. That’s the type of horse he is. In English, his name is “paint,” just a beautiful horse. My pet is happy when: My dad and I feed him corn oats. My pet in five words or less: Active, fast, hyper, happy horse. A typical day for me and Pinto: Take him out for a walk or a run, bathe him and brush him, mostly on the weekends. I know my pet is moody when: (He) jumps up, and when I want to ride him, he gets upset and just wants to go back to his pen. Jumping and standing on two feet, and wants to take off. Favorite food: Whole corn. Talents: Dancing to Spanish music (corridos). Favorite moments: I have so many, but I’d have to say when I go on long walks with him with my dad.

Ray Bermudez with his horse Pinto.

PHOTO BY APRIL MASSIRIO

RAY BERMUDEZ AND PINTO

SHORT TAKE

SEEKING APPS FOR ‘SENIOR REPS MODELING PROGRAM’

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rue beauty comes from within. That’s the message photographer Makenzie Barefield is trying to teach local high school girls with her Senior Reps Modeling Program, which inspires teen girls who are heavily involved in their school, church and community — young ladies Barefield calls “ambassadors of beauty.” “The goal of this program is for the girls to be constant reminders to their peers at school and people in the community that beauty is more than just your outer appearance — it’s how you treat people and Some of the girls in the Senlove yourself,” said Barefield, 22. ior Reps Modeling Program. She developed the program

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last spring as a way to give back and inspire young girls to step out of their comfort zone by getting in front of a camera and feeling confident. Barefield hopes that she can someday give the girls a scholarship to help with college tuition at the end of the program. “A lot of the high school seniors that I Makenzie Barefield photograph struggle with self-image and don’t realize how beautiful they truly are. I wanted a way to remind girls that they’re beautiful,” said Barefield. “I feel like it is my responsibility and honor to show them how stunning they really are!” Makenzie Photography is seeking new applicants for the program. Applicants must attend a high school within Bakersfield and be preparing to graduate in 2015. The teens selected for the program will have their senior photos taken for free. The deadline to apply is April 18, and the models will be announced May 2. Individuals interested in applying can fill out a form online at makenziephoto.com under the “Senior Reps” tab. — Hillary Haenes


SHORT TAKE

t ively a Exclus brie Fa rs Jewele

KICK OUT THE COBWEBS, IT’S SPRING CLEANING TIME

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et ready for the big kahuna of sanitation, the pinnacle of purification - spring cleaning. This type of cleaning is a top-to-bottom scouring affair and often begins on the first warm days of spring, according to Jill Taylor of Jill’s Maid to Order Housekeeping Service and Connie Koen from Dana’s Housekeeping. “Springtime is typically a time when the weather gets better and the sun shines in the windows, all the dirt and dust magically appears,” Koen said. Whether you take on spring cleaning yourself or enlist the help of a professional, it’s a great way to start the season feeling fresh and renewed. Here are some tips to inspire you to roll up your sleeves and get scrubbing.

SPRING CLEANING TIPS 1. Start by eliminating unwanted items from your house; cleaning out the clutter helps you get organized. 2. Clean from top to bottom. For instance, start with a ceiling fan and work your way down.

3. Banish winter mess from beds by washing and hanging quilts and comforters. Flip the mattress and wash the sheets. 4. Clean out inside cupboards, drawers, shelves and closets (meaning everything out). Clean the items inside and put them back, and scrub the outside as well. 5. Clean windowsills, tracks and baseboards. Vacuum the furniture, removing pillows and couch cushions. 6. Wash and iron curtains, bedding and blankets. 7. Try using vinegar and water to clean windows, mixing onequarter cup of vinegar to one cup of water. Use a squeegee if you have one. 8. Does the microwave looks like a bad science project? Try heating a cup of water and letting it sit to loosen the grease and grime (this may take a few tries).

Sources: Dana’s Housekeeping, Jill’s Maid to Order Housekeeping Service — Bakersfield Life

4560 Coffee Road

661-588-7503

Coffee & Hageman Vons Shopping Center fabriejewelers.com

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SHORT TAKES

WINE AND DINE TO SUPPORT BC STUDENTS AND PROGRAMS

Attendees enjoy the wines at last year’s Red and White Wine and Food Festival.

PHOTO COURTESY OF TOM MORAN

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he Bakersfield College Foundation’s annual wine and food tasting event will have a centennial spin this year as BC celebrates 100 years since its establishment in 1913. The college’s Red and White Wine and Food Festival starts at 5 p.m. April 11. This wonderful event is filled with wine tasting from a host of wineries and food provided by the students and chefs Patrick Coyle, Suzanne Davis and Alex Gomez in the culinary arts program. The Bakersfield College Jazz Program will deliver a jazz ensemble to bring the entire event together with some smooth music. “The event is filled with good people joined with food and wine on a nice spring evening,” said Mike Stepanovich, executive director of the Bakersfield College Foundation. Tickets can be purchased for $50 in advance and $60 at the doors. Call the Bakersfield College Foundation at 395-4800 for tickets. Proceeds from the event support the Renegade Fund, the culinary arts program and the jazz program. — Ryan Barrera

WHAT I’M READING

ROBERT TAFOYA Kern County judge shares his lengthy reading list

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hen he’s not on the bench, you might find Kern County Superior Court Judge Robert Tafoya reading or listening to a book. Before he was appointed to the bench in 2002, Tafoya practiced law for 23 years and was a certified family law specialist. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history and economics from California State University, Sacramento and a master’s degree in education from the University of Southern California. He taught high school for two years before he attended law school. One of 11 children, Tafoya is married to Sandra Serrano, former president of Bakersfield College and current chancellor for the Kern Community College District. They have two children, Galen, 38, and Christina, 33. What I’m currently reading: In the past three weeks, I have read “The Bully Pulpit: Robert Tafoya Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft and the Golden Age of Journalism,” by Doris Kearns Goodwin and “The Things They Carried,” by Tim O’Brien, a fictional account of the experiences of young soldiers who fought in the Vietnam War. Quite compelling.

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I am currently reading the biography “Ho Chi Minh: A Life,” by William J. Duiker. Sandra and I are traveling to Vietnam... and I am curious about the life and times of this former leader of the Vietnamese people. I am also currently reading “Last Chance in Texas: The Redemption of Criminal Youth,” by John Hubner. (The topic) is of interest to me since I work with troubled boys and men as a judge. I also listen to audio books on a daily basis... I am finishing up the book “The Invisible Gorilla: How Our Intuitions Deceive Us,” by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons. It is a fascinating study of the human mind and how our intuition can mislead us. Finally, I am reading “Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess,” by Bobby Fischer, Stuart Margulies and Donn Mosenfelder. I am a lousy chess player and am trying to improve my game. Favorite authors: David McCullough, Khaled Hosseini, Doris Kearns Goodwin, David Brooks and Isabel Allende. Favorite book: Whichever one I am reading at the time. Books I have read more than once: “This Flowing Toward Me: A Story of God Arriving in Strangers,” by Marilyn Lacey, R.S.M. and “The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment,” by Eckhart Tolle. Other materials I like reading: The Bakersfield Californian, The Atlantic Monthly and The Daily Journal. Where I enjoy reading: In bed, on the couch, before a fireplace, at In-and-Out Burger, practically wherever I find myself.


COOKING WITH CHEF ROBERT SHORT TAKES

CHEF’S CHOICE CHEF SHARES SPRINGTIME SEAFOOD DELIGHT

CAMP OUT TO KICK CANCER

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hen cancer strikes, fight back! Come and support families in need by joining the Kern County Cancer Fund’s Campout Against Cancer on April 4 and 5 at the State Farm Sports Village. The campout will raise money to help local cancer patients pay for medical-related expenses. Since last year, the Kern County Cancer Fund has helped more than 100 Kern County residents. The campout will feature team games, a recognition for survivors and a closing dinner. Registration costs $150 per team, teams can have 10 to 50 members. Team members are also encouraged to set their own fundraising goals. Team members that raise at least $200 will get free entrance into the Extreme Challenges! Registration forms for team captains, team members, survivors and sponsorships

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hef Preeda Piamfa at Chef’s Choice Noodle Bar manages to surprise his guests with beautiful and great dishes using seasonal ingredients. I always enjoy his colorful creations. Chef Preeda is originally from the east coast of Thailand, a region known for plentiful fresh seafood and that great balance of flavors which Thai cuisine is famous for. This dish features the seafood the chef grew up with and the flavors he loves to accentuate in his cooking. It’s also one of my personal favorites for spring. are available at campoutagainstcancer.org. Donations can be made through PayPal and you can also donate $25 for a Lantern of Hope. For information, call 616-6430. — Bakersfield Life

THREE LOCALS NAMED TO REGIONAL GIRL SCOUT BOARD OF DIRECTORS

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hree local women have been named to the Girl Scouts of Central California South’s new Board of Directors. Maria Escobedo The local members of the board are Maria Escobedo of Cal State Bakersfield, first vice president; Nancy Chaffin of The Bakersfield Californian, member at large; and Fiona Lytle of Kern Economic Development Corporation, member at large. The women were elected in February at the organization’s annual meeting in Hanford. “We’ve inducted 10 professional individuals who are prepared and passionate and ready to help girls give back to their

Nancy Chaffin

Fiona Lytle

community, help others on a daily basis, and build themselves to be all they can be,” said Cathy Ferguson, Girl Scouts of Central California South’s CEO, in a news release. Girl Scouts of Central California South serves girls in Kern, Kings, Madera, Fresno and Tulare counties. For information visit www.girlscoutsccs.org. — Bakersfield Life

Deluxe Spicy Mixed Seafood Salad Ingredients: 4 large scallops 4 shrimp 2 calamari tubes cut in rings 4 salmon cubes cut one inch by one inch 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice 1 teaspoon light-colored fish sauce 1 teaspoon palm sugar 2 tablespoons chopped scallions/shallots/cilantro 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper 1 fresh chopped Thai chili pepper (may use jalapeno to substitute) Romaine lettuce, red onions and cashews for garnish Directions: Steam all the seafood separately as each has a different cooking time, slightly under cook. Melt one teaspoon of palm sugar over low heat, turn off the heat then add light fish sauce (light in color, no fragrance), 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice, 1 crushed red pepper and Thai chili to taste. Toss seafood in the sauce and mix with a bouquet of chopped shallots, cilantro and scallions. Serve over a bed of romaine lettuce, garnish with red onions and cashews.

— Robert Alimirzaie is the executive chef and operations manager at the Petroleum Club of Bakersfield. bakersfieldlife.com

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SHORT TAKE

SHOW YOUR LOVE FOR THE EARTH

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t’s time to show your love for Mother Earth — Earth Day is April 22 — and one of the best ways to express your affection is to recycle. Luckily for Bakersfield residents, there are a plethora of recycling places to take your scrap metal, cans, glass and plastic bottles. Here are a few locations to consider: • Western Scrap, 7200 Downing Ave. • Sierra International Machinery, 1620 E. Brundage Lane. • SA Recycling, 2000 E. Brundage Lane. Another way to celebrate Earth Day is to stop by the second annual “Earth Day — Conserving in the Workplace” luncheon put on by the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. The luncheon will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 22 at the Bakersfield Museum of Art, 1930 R St. The event is free but space is limited, so RSVP by calling 633-5495. The event will feature speakers from Kern Green, Bakersfield ARC and Keep Bakersfield Beautiful. — Ryan Barrera

ON THE WEB

BAKERSFIELD LIFE MAGAZINE’S 20 UNDER 40 PEOPLE TO WATCH

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o you know someone who is a: • Champion in our community? • Successful up-and-coming leader? • Game changer in his or her professional career or school? If you do, nominate him or her for Bakersfield Life Magazine’s 20 Under 40 reader-submitted competition! For the second year, Bakersfield Life is celebrating the excellence of 20 local individuals between the ages of 18 and 40 who are achieving greatness in their career, community or academics. We are asking our readers to nominate individuals, and Bakersfield Life, along with our special partners, will judge and select 20 stars under the age of 40 who represent the “Best of the Best” in Bakersfield.

NOMINATION PERIOD Bakersfield Life Magazine is accepting nominations until April 18.

Submissions will be only accepted by completing the online nomination form, available at bakersfieldlife.com. A photograph of the nominee must be uploaded with the nomination form as well, 300 dpi is preferred. There is no limit to the number of entries each firm or person can submit, and there is no entry fee.

Mother’s Day Contest Moms are always there for us through thick and thin. But how much recognition do moms get for their steadfast support? Here’s an opportunity to recognize your mom for all she has done. We want to hear what makes your mother the best mom around. How does she inspire you? How does she manage to juggle everything in her

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WHO’S ELIGIBLE? You can nominate anyone between the ages of 18 and 40 who is a trailblazer in his or her career or school, gives back to our community in special ways, exhibits leadership qualities, and serves as a role model for our town. The nominee must currently live in Bakersfield. You can nominate an employee of your firm, a colleague, relative or friend. You can even nominate yourself (the nominator isn’t made public). We love detail so please be descriptive when you make your nominations! An independent group selected by Bakersfield Life will judge the nominees based on the candidate’s professional or academic experience, leadership skills and community service. Individuals selected will be featured in the July edition of Bakersfield Life Magazine. Deadline for nominations is 5 p.m. Friday, April 18. Winners will be notified in June. Names of the selected individuals will not be made public until the 20 Under 40 section is published on Saturday, June 28. Bakersfield Life encourages a diverse pool of candidates for its 20 Under 40 competition.

QUESTIONS? Email us at bakersfieldlife@bakersfield.com.

life without one complaint? Why is she your hero? Tell us at bakersfieldlife@bakersfield.com. Title the subject of your message “Mother’s Day Contest.” Please include your name, contact information, your mother’s name, a picture, and a short statement (100 words or less) that says what makes your mom special. Your submission will be entered in a drawing for a dinner for two at a local restaurant.


FINDING FAME

DENISE WINSTON By Kelly Damian

Photos courtesy of Denise Winston

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uring her long career in the banking industry, Denise Winston worked with money on just about every level — from counting out bills to making decisions on multi-million dollar loans. Years of reviewing bank account histories, loan applications and credit reports gave her a unique perspective on how people interact with money. “It was a great way to see how people handled their money in their day-to-day lives and how the rich got richer and the poor got poorer, and why,” she writes in the forward of her book “Money Starts Here! Your Practical Guide to Survive and Thrive in Any Economy.” In particular, Winston noticed time and again that people who got bad financial advice upgraded their lifestyles to unsustainable levels. She saw the very real effects of this misinformation during the financial crisis of 2008. So in April 2009, after 25 years in the industry, Winston left her job at Chase Bank to strike out on her own as a financial educator. While her banking experience lends weight to her advice, it is her rough-and-tumble upbringing that Winston believes helps her to genuinely connect with people. “I’m not a talking head,” she said. “I’ve been in the trenches. I understand what it’s like to not have anything.” Winston jokes that if it were possible, she would have been voted ‘least likely to succeed’ when she graduated from Shafter High in 1984. Winston’s mother — who committed suicide — struggled with mental illness. And Winston said her father provided little stability for her and her older sister. As a result, she describes her young self as “a handful.” At 16, Winston moved out of her family’s home and began supporting herself, working four jobs in addition to attending high school. Since launching her financial education business, Winston has, by her count, reached millions of people with her advice on how to improve one’s credit, get organized and save money. But her bid to promote her message beyond Kern County has not been without obstacles. The workbooks and DVDs that she designed did not sell as vigorously as anticipated and after three appearances on a satellite radio show, Winston was told she would no longer be invited back after answering a question in the wrong way. “I look for validity in criticism,” said Winston. “Painful experiences help you grow.” These days Winston can be found delivering workshops around the country and weighing in as a financial expert for national magazines, newspapers and radio shows. Her television show “Money Made Easy” is broadcast on a variety of cable channels. In addition to her work with the media, Winston is developing a line of products designed to help customers organize their finances. But even as she branches out and expands her

Denise Winston on location with Bill Nelson of Nelson Media shooting a nationally syndicated segment for NPN Media.

Denise Winston shooting a segment for KERO 23 with news reporter Kristina Zverjako. business, there is one thing that Winston wants to continue doing: teaching young people. For the past 20 years, she has taught financial literacy and job skills workshops to Kern County high school students. She often is approached by past students. Recently, Winston was shopping at Marshalls when she was stopped by a young woman working in the dressing room. “I remember everything you told us,” the young woman said. After hearing Winston speak, the young woman had been tracking her credit score, budgeting her money, and saving a little bit from each one of her paychecks. “You can’t put a price tag on that,” Winston said, smiling. “That kind of feedback is divine compensation.” bakersfieldlife.com

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UP FRONT

Find more community events at bakersfieldlife.com or submit yours via email: bakersfieldlife@bakersfield.com

HAPPENINGS: Can’t-miss events in April Wed. 2 “Springfever,” presented by Bakersfield Community Concert Association, 7:30 p.m., Rabobank Theater, 1001 Truxtun Ave. $40 for two concerts. bakersfieldcca.org, 205-8522 or 589-2478.

Thur. 3

Space, 706 Oak St. $15 adults; $10 students and seniors. 327-7529.

Sat. 5 Dave Mason’s Traffic Jam, 8 p.m., Bright House Networks Amphitheatre, 11200 Stockdale Highway. $12.50, $40 for season pass (four concerts). ticketmaster.com or 800-745-3000.

Bakersfield Amazing Race

Bakersfield Blaze vs. Modesto Nuts, 7:15 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, noon Sunday, Sam Lynn Ballpark, 4009 Chester Ave. $7 to $12. bakersfieldblaze.com or 716HITS. “Dreams of the San Joaquin” concert, with Randy Sharp, Jack Wesley Routh, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Bakersfield Museum of Art, 1930 R St. $5; $4 seniors; $2 students; free for children 6 and younger. 323-7219.

Fri. 4 Campout Against Cancer, fundraiser to provide financial support for medical-related expenses of Kern County cancer patients, Friday and Saturday, State Farm Sports Village, 901 Ashe Road. $150 per team. campoutagainstcancer.org or 6166430. “Wonder of the World,” 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, The Empty

Aziz Ansari Aziz Ansari, 7 p.m. or 10 p.m. Bakersfield Fox Theater, 2001 H St. $44 to $54. vallitix.com or 322-5200. Real Heroes Benefit: Kern Red Cross, presentation by selected heroes. No host bar, dinner, silent auction, entertainment, vintage cars, 5:30 to 10 p.m., Moorea Banquet Centre, 8700 Swigert Court. $75. 324-6427.

Sun. 6 Bakersfield Youth Symphony Orchestra, 4 p.m., CSUB, Doré Theatre, 9001 Stockdale Highway. $10 adults; $5 students. Visit bysorocks.org.

Wed. 9 Arlo Guthrie, 7:30 p.m., Bakersfield Fox Theater, 2001 H St. $45.50 to $131. vallitix.com or 322-5200.

Thur. 10 “Optimal Cares Concert Event,” featuring music by Ry Bradley, hors d’oeuvres, silent auction, 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m, The Nile, 1721 19th St. $60. Proceeds benefit Optimal Hospice Foundation. Call 716-8000.

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Fri. 11

Sat. 19

“Steel Magnolias,” 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Bakersfield Community Theater, 2400 S. Chester Ave. $15 adults; $12 students, seniors, active military; free for children 5 and younger. 831-8114. “Zorro Strikes Back,” 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m., Gaslight Melodrama Theatre & Music Hall, 12748 Jomani Drive. $12 to $23. 587-3377.

NASCAR racing, 7 p.m., Kern County Raceway Park, 13500 Raceway Blvd. $8 to $15; $40 family pass, includes two adults, two seniors or children. 835-1264.

Sat. 12 Bakersfield Amazing Race, scavenger hunt, part obstacle course, teams of two to four people, cash prizes, costume contest, check-in 9 a.m., race 10 a.m., Stewards Inc., 2211 H St. $40 by March 1; $45 after. Proceeds benefit Stewards Inc. Visit bakersfieldamazingrace.org. Festival of the Baskets by the Womans Club of Bakersfield, doors open 10:30 a.m., luncheon at 11:30 a.m., 2030 18th St. $30, $20 for children 12 and younger, 325-7889. The Macaroni & Cheese Festival, wine and beer tastings, gourmet food samplings, entertainment, 2 to 6 p.m., CSUB Amphitheater. $45 at eventbrite.com. 21 and older only. Visit macandcheesefestbakersfield.com or 805-781-2750. Underwater EGGStravaganza, all ages and all swimming abilities receive a goody bag, 11 a.m., McMurtrey Aquatic Center, 1325 Q St. $5 to hunt; $10 for T-shirt only; $15 hunt and T-shirt. 852-7430.

Sun. 13 Bakersfield Condors vs. Las Vegas Wranglers, 4 p.m., Rabobank Arena, 1001 Truxtun Ave. $8 to $30. Tickets: Rabobank box office, bakersfieldcondors.com or 324-7825.

Thur. 24 Bakersfield Women’s Business Conference, keynote speakers Randi Zuckerberg, Shira Lazar, 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Rabobank Convention Center, 1001 Truxtun Ave. $95. Register online at bakersfieldwomen.org, email bakersfieldwomen@gmail.com or call 3784707. “Company,” 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Stars Dinner Theatre, 1931 Chester Ave. Adults dinner/show: $54 to $60; $38 show only; students dinner/show: $39; $23 show only. 325-6100. “Ice Worlds,” 7:30 to 8:30 p.m., Bakersfield College Planetarium, Math and Science Building Room 112, 1801 Panorama Drive. $6.50; $4.50 seniors/children ages 5 to 12. Tickets will not be sold at the door. 395-4326.

Sat. 26 Vino Amoré hosted by Bakersfield East Rotary Club Foundation; 50/50 drawing, silent and oral auctions, 6 p.m., Garces High School, 2800 Loma Linda Drive. $75; $400 table of six. Visit vinoamore.info.

Sun. 27 Gavin DeGraw, guests Parachute and Nick Gardner, 7:30 p.m., Bakersfield Fox Theater, 2001 H St. $35 to $55. vallitix.com or 3225200. “Rain: A Tribute to The Beatles,” 7 p.m., Rabobank Theater, 1001 Truxtun Ave. $30 to $5 plus fee. ticketmaster.com or call 800-745-3000.


BY THE NUMBERS

GARDENING AND HOME IMPROVEMENT 57 percent of Bakersfield Life readers garden as a pastime or hobby.

More than 25,000 Bakersfield Life readers attended a home and garden show in the past 12 months.

37 percent of Bakersfield Life readers buy locally grown food.

More than 39,000 Kern County adults remodeled their kitchen in the past 12 months.

More than 6,500 Bakersfield Life Readers installed or replaced their home’s roof in the past 12 months.

More than 86,000 Kern County adults buy organic foods.

More than 55,000 Kern County adults installed or replaced their home’s flooring in the past 12 months.

More than 28,000 Bakersfield Life readers spent $3,000 or more on home improvement in the past 12 months.

More than 36,000 Kern

More than 54,000 Kern

County adults installed or replaced their home’s air-conditioning or heating system in the past 12 months.

County adults remodeled a bathroom in their home in the past 12 months.

— Source: Scarborough Research (2013 R2)

bakersfieldlife.com

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UP FRONT

MY MOBILE LIFE

ALYSSA KNIGHT Compiled by Bakersfield Life Magazine

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or real estate agent Alyssa Knight, apps are essential for taking care of business. “With my smart devices, I now take my office with me wherever I go,” Knight said. “This allows me to quickly respond to my clients’ questions and needs. Finding property information is literally one tap away!” To stay connected, Knight keeps her Samsung Galaxy S4 and iPad 4 close by. A California native, Knight has been living in Bakersfield for almost 40 years. She and her husband had a chance to move to Seattle in 2002, but stayed put for the sunny weather. Knight has been in the real estate business for more than a decade. When she has a moment to spare, she likes working in her garden, and enjoys cooking and photography.

Pinterest I admit it, I am completely addicted to this app! It allows me to find and save info about any subject that I’m interested in. It is easy, fun and educational! My top pins include gardening, tech tools and home improvement.

Any.Do This add-on to Evernote is one of the best to-do lists that I have ever used! It is easy to edit and a breeze to use. Allows for quick sorting by importance or category. Quick search lets me find anything I am working on.

Lose It! This app helps me with my fitness goals. It’s easy to keep track of what I eat each day, with bar code scanners for packaged foods and easy to find food descriptions. It also accounts for my exercise schedule.

Evernote This has changed the way I conduct my business. All of my files, notes and audio recordings are now in one easy place to find on all of my devices. Plus, I can share files with my clients.

Chicago Agent 2.0 I use this daily on my iPad, PC and Android phone. It allows me to quickly calculate the costs to buy or sell a home. It uses local tax and insurance rates. It also compares the cost to buy versus renting. Most of my clients use this app.

Keller Williams Realty Search With one tap, I can find all listed properties for sale or rent, along with nearby restaurants/shopping, etc. It also allows for specific searches by using the drawing feature. I use it when shopping with a client so that they know about all properties in an area that may not be on our list of homes to see. More importantly, this allows buyers and sellers quick access to listing

Zite Love this! After entering my favorite subjects, it pulls articles, blogs and videos about the topics that I am interested in. This is just as addicting as Pinterest. Shush! Ringer Restorer This utility is a real life saver! Now when I silence my phone for a meeting, I can set the exact time for the ringer to turn back on. No more missed calls. 28

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GoodNotes 4 I use my iPad and Good Notes when showing properties. Instead of wasting paper, I save each listing in my client’s folder. I make notes directly on the iPad and, best of all, I can insert photos taken while in the home. I love that feature! This great note taking app is best used with a Bluetooth pen.

Zillow Digs This has endless home design ideas that can be found by room, style, color or price. This allows me to share staging tips with my sellers, and home improvement ideas with my buyers.


• 3 Dimensional Designing • Full Service Remodels • Cabinetry • Countertops / Backsplash • Flooring – Tile / Hardwood

Project Notes · · · ·

Rustic Knotty Maple Cabinets Rich, Bold Granite selection Must save the floor Custom hood with tile backsplash design feature

“My work is my passion.” - Rick Sorci

We did not know how or where to begin but decided our 14 year old kitchen needed an update. Then we saw a Stockdale Kitchen and Bath advertisement in the Bakersfield Magazine and decided to give them a call. We have to say that right from the initial contact we were pretty impressed. Everyone was so nice and the whole kitchen remodel experience, which we thought would be stressful , was actually quite fun and went very smoothly. Rick Sorci’ experience and knowledge along with his professional design program was very impressive. He was able to provide us with an actual visual of our dream kitchen which was very exciting. In addition to Rick’s help with the design of our kitchen, he

actually went shopping with us to help us find the right products including kitchen appliances, cabinetry, granite and lighting. We enjoyed Rick’s whole crew. Everyone was so helpful and friendly. We can’t say enough about Jeff, the lead foreman, who physically removed our old kitchen and completed the construction of our remodel. Jeff was not only dependable and hardworking but obviously took pride in his work which showed in the final remodel of our kitchen. We love our new kitchen! We would highly recommend Rick Sorci and Stockdale Kitchen and Bath to everyone.

Tom and Dotty Binion


B A K E R S F I E L D M AT T E R S By Lisa Kimble

BROKERING A DEAL WITH HUNGER

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ow can it be possible that here in Kern County, the food basket of the world, there are so many adults and children going to bed hungry? It is a paradox that has eaten away at Bakersfield produce broker and native Bret Sill for years. “I had seen a lot of waste early in my career when I would make store checks back in Atlanta,” he said. “There are a lot of people who live in poverty here — one of the richest ag regions in the country, but one of the poorest in food insecurity households.” The numbers echo his concern. According to the Food Research and Action Center’s Food Hardship in America 2012 report, Bakersfield is the most challenged metropolitan statistical area for food hardship in the nation. According to Community Action Partnership of Kern, 21 percent of those living here are food insecure and 58 percent of local food bank recipients are children. Like many young philanthropists with the mind, means and connections to spring into action, Sill has decided to do his part to take a big bite out of hunger and broker what may be the most important deal he’ll ever make. Last summer, he launched Morning Star Food Ministry, a nonprofit aimed at fighting hunger and feeding souls by purchasing quality meats from a local butcher, fresh fruits and vegetables from local farms, and repacking them into a family food box distributed once a month. “It has grown exponentially since our first distribution back in September,” the 44-year-old added. “What I have done is give families a healthy, nutritious option with my connections to fresh local produce and meats.” A descendant of the Sill farming family, Bret graduated from Garces and Cal Poly where he studied agribusiness. After college, he worked for a local produce company that transferred him to Atlanta to be closer to their processing plant around the time bagged salads and greens were growing in popularity. Sill said he grew dissatisfied with the corporate world, so he opened his own office there and partnered with Glory Foods. “After about 12 years, I decided to come back so we could have our kids grow up with their cousins,” he recalled.

THE FIVE ES OF BICYCLING

ENGINEERING ENCOURAGEMENT ENFORCEMENT EVALUATION & PLANNING

EDUCATION

EXPLORE EDUCATION OPPORTUNITIES AT bikebakersfield.org

Sill and his wife, Shawn, moved back in the summer of 2012 and almost immediately he began to think of ways to make a difference with the hunger problem here. “I had been thinking about it as far back as 2010. It really is a grassroots effort,” he said. “I wanted to help needy families and give them Jesus. It’s not about my legacy in the produce industry, but how can we all share love and our hope of Jesus.” Raised a Catholic, Sill joined a non-denominational church in Georgia and now attends the Bridge Bible Church. Partnering with other nonprofits and using referrals from churches, Sill’s first delivery in September reached 32 families. Four months later, deliveries had more than quadrupled to 132 families, and in February 150 needy families received a box, and so did other churches and Catholic charities. A $35 monthly sponsorship fills a box with 10 pounds of chicken, pork, beef and other meats and 15 pounds of seasonal fruits and vegetables. “We deliver, we pray with them, and we also try to empower these families that they can do something to make things better,” Sill said. Already, local businesses and area growers are hopping on board. “Morning Star’s passion for taking care of the families in need in our community compelled me to get involved,” said Pat Brown, developer of the supplement program the Pat Brown System. “Bret’s focus on using local growers to help feed and provide for families less fortunate struck the right cord with me.” While most young men his age are still climbing corporate ladders, Sill, who is used to negotiating big produce deals to send Kern crops to the far reaches of the earth for Billingsley Produce Sales Inc., knows that brokering this kind of deal is the most meaningful transaction of all. “My hope is that it doesn’t just become another food ministry but a ministry of hope,” Sill said. Sign me up. It may be the best $35 any of us can spend. For more information on how to volunteer or sponsor a food box, visit www.msfministry.com. — Agree, disagree? Send your questions, comments or topics you’d like to read about to me at itmannersalot@bakersfield.com or visit itmannersalot.blogspot.com. Lisa Kimble

Greenacres Community Center Mon, Wed 5:30pm

Riverlakes Community Center Tues, Thur 9:00am Sat, 8:30am

Uniglobe Travel Tues, Thurs 5:30pm

For more info:

589-8950 or Jazzercise.com

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FOOD DUDES

HUNGRY HUNTER STEAKHOUSE Big meals for hearty appetites

Hungry Hunter takes pride in “serving the best prime rib in town.” 32

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Hungry Hunter

Food Dudes, from left, Chris Berry, David Rous, Vince Fong, Robert Rodriguez and Jay Tamsi were not hungry after an evening at Hungry Hunter.

Photos by Greg Nichols

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f you’re looking for a dining experience that will satisfy your appetite with mouth-watering appetizers, fantastic entrees and amazing desserts, then pay a visit to Hungry Hunter Steakhouse on Rosedale Highway. Longtime patrons may remember Hungry Hunter as a chain restaurant, but the Bakersfield location has been locally owned and operated since October 2008 by Kevin Lawless, a Bakersfield High School graduate. With a focus on providing great food along with courteous customer service, Kevin and his knowledgeable staff have certainly achieved success. Hungry Hunter prides itself in treating its guests like family, and we encourage you to bring your loved ones to experience this friendly atmosphere for yourself.

Address: 3580 Rosedale Highway Phone: 328-0580 Website: hungryhuntersteakhouse.com Lunch Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Dinner Hours: 5 to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday; 4:30 to 10 p.m. Saturday; noon to 9 p.m. Sunday. Hungry for more? See more food photos on bakersfieldlife.com.

the pool of spicy goodness. After devouring the shrimp, the crispy baguettes were perfect for sopping up every last drop of sauce. Jay on the sampler platter: You can’t go wrong with a trio appetizer, especially with crab-stuffed mushrooms, potato skins and calamari. My favorite of the trio were the slices of half-spherical potatoes garnished with melted Monterey Jack cheese, bacon bits and scallions. The platter was indulgent and plenty for an entire family to split before their main course.

ENTREES Every entree includes a choice of the soup du jour, Caesar

Continued on page 34

APPETIZERS While we were only able to taste a small sampling of appetizers on the menu (we were saving room for our entrees), what we did enjoy had us craving more. Robert on the mini babas: Lamb chops for an appetizer? Yes, please! These charbroiled New Zealand chops were incredibly tender, and I loved the spiciness from the Cajun seasoning. Four chops are served on a plate and I could’ve eaten the entire thing, but we had to share! Chris on the hot and spicy shrimp: This was my favorite appetizer of the evening: Six jumbo shrimp sauteed in homemade Louisiana pepper butter and served with toasted baguette slices. What exactly is Louisiana pepper butter? Think cayenne pepper sauce, butter and Cajun seasoning combined for just the right amount of kick. The shrimp were plump, which made them ideal for dipping into

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Honey citrus swordfish Vince Fong, left, and Jay Tamsi discuss the entree selections at Hungry Hunter Steakhouse.

Continued from page 33 salad or a table side salad bar that is tossed and prepared right in front of you. This is a nice touch that ensures your salad hasn’t been sitting waiting to be delivered to the table. One of the things we learned during our visit was that pretty much everything at Hungry Hunter is made that day, including the small loaf of oat bread served with whipped honey butter. As soon as you sit down, you are greeted with a warm loaf, but be careful not to fill up before the rest of your meal arrives! With every entree, you also get a choice of two sides: garlic red skin mashed potatoes, red skin potatoes, rice pilaf, a baked potato, crispy fried onion rings, steamed broccoli, seasonal vegetables, cottage cheese or crispy onion-battered green beans. Robert on the black and blue rib-eye: My main dish was the black and blue rib-eye steak served on a bed of garlic mashers and covered with stringy fried onions with a side of veggies. My favorite cut of meat! My steak was blackened with Cajun seasoning and topped with blue cheese. The spice from the seasoning and tanginess from the cheese danced perfectly together with every bite. The steak was juicy but not overpowered by the seasoning. The mashers were a garlicky creamy goodness, but what made them even better were the drippings from the steak that infused throughout them. Mmmm! David on the herbed vinaigrette halibut: I sometimes get nervous at restaurants when not ordering the house specialties, and this was no exception. Hungry Hunter has a reputation as an incredible steakhouse, and here I was getting seafood. I was rewarded for my choice by a tasty and wellprepared grilled halibut. It was flaky, but not dry and the portion was generous. I was wise to get the baked potato and vegetables — the potato was moist and reasonably sized, while the steamed seasonal vegetable medley (zucchini, squash, carrots and broccoli) was not overly buttered as it often is at other restaurants. Jay on the prime rib: I always enjoy the prime rib at Hungry Hunter — it’s one of the best I’ve tasted in Kern County. 34

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Their motto, “Serving the best prime rib in town” meets my expectations every time. I ordered the standard cut, which is enough for two people. According to Kevin, the beef is handselected from only the finest Midwestern corn-fed beef. The beef was prepared and seasoned to my liking, slowly roasted with a unique taste. The beef was not tough at all; it was so tender that I could use my fork to cut through it. The prime rib was garnished with ruby port au jus and horseradish sauce with a side of mashed potatoes and delicate rice pilaf. Chris on the bone-in rib-eye: I decided to order off the menu and go with the highly recommended 20-ounce bonein rib-eye special. Each well marbled steak is hand-carved and marinated for 24 hours in a mixture of Jim Beam and cabernet wine. It is then cooked to order and comes topped with fresh sauteed mushrooms and garlic. I ordered mine medium well, and the first thing I noticed was its enormous, Flintstone-like size. The surface had a nice crispy sear, while the inside was pink and succulent with hints of bourbon and red wine in every bite. The dish was served with a side of seasalted baby red potatoes and fresh vegetables. I was tempted to gnaw the final bits of meat right off the bone, but I refrained out of fear of being photographed. Vince on the honey citrus swordfish: While the obvious choice at Hungry Hunter would be to go with its signature steaks or prime rib, I decided to try an entree that I have not had before. Grilled and marinated with a sweet and spicy glaze and topped with sesame seeds, this dish was so good that I would definitely get it again. I chose to go with the rice pilaf and the fried green beans, which was a great pairing. If you like green beans, having them fried makes it that much better.

DESSERTS Robert on the brownie supreme: I probably should have saved more room for this baby. It’s a chocolate lover’s dream! You get a huge, delicate brownie smothered in a chocolate espresso fudge sauce topped with butter pecan ice


A cup of coffee was the perfect complement! Vince on the carrot cake: If you like

Black and blue rib-eye cream! As if that isn’t enough, a hole is purposely made in the center of the brownie and filled with even more fudge sauce. The richness of the brownie is tamed by the creamy ice cream. Chris on the Mountain High Mudd Pie: I really had no room for dessert, but I couldn’t help trying Hungry Hunter’s signature Mountain High Mudd Pie. The name is fitting for the size of this enormous dessert. It combines an Oreo crumble crust, layers of butter pecan ice cream, fresh whipped cream, candied almonds and a delicious mocha fudge sauce.

carrot cake, you cannot pass up this dessert. Topped with a cream cheese frosting made fresh that day, it’s simply excellent. Because the portion is huge, you can eat half the cake and take the rest home to savor the next day.

A MEMORABLE DINING EXPERIENCE

Some of the desserts offered at Hungry Hunter, clockwise from upper left, decadent chocolate cake, carrot cake, brownie supreme and turtle cheesecake.

While “hungry” may be in the restaurant’s name, you certainly won’t feel that way after your visit. If you’re looking for an enjoyable place for lunch, happy hour or just a nice dinner, Hungry Hunter is the place to go. With a menu filled with delicious appetizers, steaks, seafood, salads, pastas and desserts, there’s something for everyone’s palate.

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FOOD AND WINE

Jennifer and Rachelle Hunt recently went vegan and try to shop at the Brimhall Farmers Market every weekend. The Brimhall Farmers Market is the place to go for the freshest selection of produce as farmers select items on Friday to sell on Saturday.

TO MARKET WE GO Enjoy spring’s freshest fare at these two farmers markets Story and Photos by Mark Nessia

W

hen it comes to produce, it doesn’t get any fresher than those fruits and veggies found at a farmers market. But the Brimhall Farmers Market and Haggin Oaks Farmers Market take going to the market to a whole new level. The Brimhall Farmers Market, located at 9500 Brimhall Road, is held every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and offers

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customers first pick on the freshest produce from local farmers. The Haggin Oaks Farmers Market, dubbed “Sunday Funday,” is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Sunday at 8800 Ming Ave., and features a little more flare. The Haggin Oaks Farmers Market makes grocery shopping a fun and interactive experience with bike valet, live entertainment, arts and crafts, barbecue, massages and more. The Hens Roost manages both farmers markets and partners with Kaiser Permanente to put on the Haggin Oaks market. Both farmers markets are held year-round. Many of the vendors can be found at both locations throughout the year, though some are seasonal. Whether its fresh milk from a Tulare dairy or baked goods from Los Angeles, there’s always something new to discover and plenty of reasons to come back for more.

Continued on page 38


Six-year-old Benjamin Hayden eats a cherry danish from France Bakery at the Brimhall Farmers Market.

Two-year-old Lola Wells, center, gives Julie Haney a highfive after Haney purchased some honey from the Tinney Family Bees booth at the Brimhall Farmers Market.

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Continued from page 37

Brittany Koenig and Ezekiel, Violet and Django Hughes check out the wide assortment of fresh vegetables from Gold Coin Farms at the Haggin Oaks Farmers Market.

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Martin Chavez of Martin's Meats & Catering mans the grill at the Haggin Oaks Farmers Market.

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FOODIE

CHEF NATHAN VASQUEZ

Chef Nathan Vasquez in his kitchen chopping the lettuce for the plated presentation. 40

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April 2014


Chef Nathan Vasquez turns up the heat making grilled asparagus.

Living his childhood dream By Hillary Haenes

S

tarting out as a bus boy and quickly moving up the restaurant ranks to prep cook, Nathan Vasquez already knew he was destined for a career in the kitchen at only 17 years old. This self-taught chef, who owns NV Cafe & Catering, credits his father, Ernie, for teaching him the basics of cooking at a young age. After graduating from West High School in 1999, Vasquez decided to pursue a career as a chef right away. He landed a job at the Bakersfield Marriott at the Convention Center (formerly the Holiday Inn Hotel) as a line cook, which is where he acquired most of his fine dining skills as well as the knowledge to prepare and serve banquet dinners. At age 22, Vasquez became a kitchen manager at the Original Roadhouse Grill. Through the years, he worked with independent caterers and at steakhouses, hotels and even retirement homes, where he learned to cook for different dietary needs. Four years ago, Vasquez began catering for close friends and family members, who encouraged him to open his own catering business for birthdays, weddings and parties. His wife, Jessica, has been his biggest supporter. “My wife and I are high school sweethearts. She is my biggest critic and sometimes it can hurt, but it’s because she knows what I am capable of doing. It’s truly amazing to be able to have met my soulmate at such a young age and to bring her into my dream,” Vasquez said.

Braised lamb chops

In September, Jessica quit her longtime job as a medical biller at Bakersfield Memorial Hospital to help her husband open the quaint, retro chic NV Cafe, located at 1510 F St., next to the railroad tracks. She does the bookkeeping for the cafe, while a few employees who have worked with Vasquez for more than nine years help with cooking, prepping and serving breakfast and lunch at the cafe. The catering side of the business still takes up a majority of the couple’s time — Jessica is the catering coordinator and her husband takes care of the kitchen operations. But no matter how busy the Vasquezes get, they make time for family. “If I’m not in the kitchen, I spend every minute with our kids. They also love to cook — from Xavier (13) grilling on the barbecue to Damien (9) baking sweets for family dinners, and little Jazlynn (4) just likes to help with anything,” Vasquez said.

COOKING ADVICE How often I cook/entertain for family and friends: No matter how many hours I spend in the kitchen, I will still cook for my friends and family on a daily basis. We can come off a horrendous 16-hour day of catering and I will come back to the kitchen and cook dinner for my team. Everything goes better with: My homemade salsa. I always mess up: Everyone’s diets by feeding them too much good stuff! I rock at making: Creative entrees out of whatever I find in the refrigerator.

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Damien and Jazlynn Vasquez help out in the kitchen frosting and decorating Easter cookies with their mother, Jessica Vasquez.

Continued from page 41 My go-to ingredient: My own mixture of seasoning blends and fresh garlic. I buy this in bulk: Italian dressing (I marinade everything in it). How I find inspiration to create a new dish: My wife is a huge inspiration. And every time I meet with a new client, they (inspire me) to get more creative to provide a unique menu setting for their event. If I could spend a day with a famous chef, it would be: Bobby Flay because of his talent in homestyle cooking and making food from many different cultures.

TOOLS OF THE TRADE My favorite piece of cooking equipment: Char-Broil grill. Must-have kitchen tools: J.A. Henckels knife and tongs are all I need. Go-to cookbooks: “Cooking” by James Peterson is my cooking bible! Spice cabinet necessities: Paprika, cumin, cayenne, chili powder and black pepper. Favorite cooking show: “Hell’s Kitchen,” “Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives” and “Chopped.” I actually tried out to be on “Hell’s Kitchen.” I remember coming out of the first interview with my golden ticket (like on “American Idol”). I went back to do the video interview, and they loved me! It hit me deep when I didn’t get the final call back. I didn’t read the fine print that stated I couldn’t own my own business. I think things work out as they should because that experience gave 42

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April 2014

me more drive to work harder for my future. Ingredient that I avoid: White pepper. Dream kitchen appliance: Salamander broiler. Favorite item in my kitchen: Food processor.

A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS Food memory: Our family tries to go camping every year and, of course, I cook all the meals — breakfast, lunch and dinner. By the second day, our camping neighbors stopped by and asked if there was a restaurant nearby because they could smell all the goodness. Cuisine: Grilled rib-eye with grilled shrimp. I’m a meatand-potatoes guy! My wife says I cook homestyle with a gourmet touch. Always in the fridge: Red meat. I’m addicted to: Monster Energy Drinks — it turns me into “Chef NV” for my catering events. Weirdest food I like: I know it’s bad for a chef, but I love ketchup on everything! Alcoholic drink: Any wines and Stella Artois beer. Comfort food: French fries. Barbecue side dish: I’ve been told I make a killer homemade mac and cheese. Party/event appetizers: Tri-tip bruschetta, stuffed mushrooms, and our hand-designed cheese and cracker platters. My splurge at the grocery store: USDA choice-grade meats and organic vegetables. The single tastiest thing I’ve eaten this month: Cajun rib-eye with a cognac cream sauce.


Braised lamb chops Ingredients 6 racks of lamb ½ cup olive oil ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce ½ tablespoon of salt ½ tablespoon of coarse black pepper 2 tablespoons of minced fresh garlic 3 tablespoons fresh rosemary 1 tablespoon onion powder 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, chopped 1 pound of sliced mushrooms 1 10.5-ounce can beef base ½ cup Marsala wine ½ cup corn starch Directions Cut racks of lamb into individual chops. Combine olive oil and Worcestershire sauce and mix using a whisk. Toss chops in a bowl and marinade. Once evenly coated, slowly sprinkle on dry seasonings until all chops are seasoned. Let the chops marinade while making the

sauce. In a four-quart pot, take 8 ounces of beef base mixed with one quart of water and bring to a boil. Add Marsala wine, 1 cup chopped tomatoes and sliced mushrooms. Feel free to add some of the dry seasonings used to marinade the lamb chops. Whisk for a good mixture. In a separate bowl, mix 1 cup of water and corn starch. Slowly add corn starch mixture to your pot, while slowly whisking sauce. Add corn starch until sauce is the consistency of a gravy. Reduce heat for 5 minutes, then turn off the heat. Prepare and preheat barbecue grill. Place marinated lamb chops on a medium-high heat and grill each side for 2 to 3 minutes for grill marks, this will help sear the flavor of the seasonings in the lamb. Preheat oven to 400 F. Once both sides of the lamb have been seared on the grill, place the lamb in a deep baking dish. Slowly add sauce until chops are almost fully covered. (It’s always good to save some of the sauce to add to your final plating of the dish). Cover pan with foil and bake in oven for 30 minutes until soft and tender.

Continued on page 44

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Continued from page 43

Roasted red potatoes Ingredients ½ cup olive oil 2 tablespoons fresh minced garlic 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley 1 tablespoon sea salt 1 tablespoon coarse black pepper 1 tablespoon onion powder 2 1/2 pounds red potatoes (cut into wedges) Directions Preheat oven to 410 F. In a large bowl combine oil and potatoes and toss until potatoes are evenly coated. Place potatoes on a sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes. After roasting the potatoes, take them out of the oven and toss with all the seasoning ingredients. (We do this halfway Roasted red potatoes through so the seasoning

doesn’t burn or blacken). Place potatoes with seasoning back in the oven for 25 minutes or until potatoes are golden brown and tender.

Grilled asparagus Ingredients ¼ cup Italian dressing 1 teaspoon coarse black pepper 1 teaspoon sea salt 1 teaspoon onion powder 1 teaspoon granulated garlic 1 teaspoon minced garlic 1 teaspoon paprika 1 bundle of asparagus Directions Preheat grill. While grill is heating up, cut a quarter-inch to half-inch off the bottom tips of the asparagus. (This part is very hard and chewy). Toss the asparagus with the Italian dressing, then toss with the seasonings. When the grill is ready, place asparagus on grill laying the opposite direction of the grill grates on medium heat. Slowly rotating asparagus every 1 to 2 minutes for about 6 to 8

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Video game professional and writer James Portnow, standing, spoke to a packed room at the 2013 Gamer Education Day at CSUB.

A NIGHT WITH SUPER MARIO: GAMER EDUCATION DAY 2014 Join Cal State Bakersfield’s Campus Gamers as they invite pros from the video game industry to share the tricks of the trade By Eric Garza

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ove ‘em or hate ‘em, video games and their eclectic characters have been buzzing around our heads for quite awhile. With the recent release of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, it’s hard to escape the reach of the gaming world. And though gaming systems are used as entertainment pieces in many households, they have become embedded into the leisure life of many. But most people don’t have an inkling of the real work that goes into making a video game and the educational value games can hold. Bakersfieldians can get a peek inside the industry on April 4 as Cal State Bakersfield’s Campus Gamers club host Gamer 46

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April 2014

Charles Martinet, voice actor for the Super Mario series will be a guest.

PHOTO COURTESY OF CAMPUS GAMERS

PHOTO BY DANIEL MARTINEZ AND TOC

E N T E R TA I N M E N T

Education Day, where special guests from the video game industry share insights on how the video game industry works and the educational aspects of games. It’s the third straight year Campus Gamers has put on the event, which drew in about 500 people in its first year and almost 700 guests last year. Ed Webb, founder of Campus Gamers and lead organizer for the gathering, was inspired to start Gamer Education Day after he visited West Coast gaming expos. He was impressed by all of the panel discussions he saw on everything from education and religion, to violence and bullying.


PHOTO BY ERIC GARZA

Gamer Education Day 2014

From left to right, Christopher Tin, Grammy-winning video game composer, Cal State Bakersfield music professor Jim Scully, and Jack Wall, video game composer for the popular "Call of Duty: Black Ops II," at the 2013 Gamer Education Day.

“The game industry isn’t represented in Bakersfield except by retailers, so it’s like this whole aspect of games is invisible,” Webb said. “Students, and the public in general, will have a better idea what games are all about if they have a larger view of the big picture.” This year, Campus Gamers will welcome a very special guest, Charles Martinet, who is perhaps best known for being the voice of iconic video game character Mario in the Super Mario series. Composer Jason Hayes will also speak at the event. Hayes has composed music for popular Blizzard

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Where: Cal State Bakersfield, Doré Theater When: April 4, doors open at 6 p.m. Cost: Free, parking is $5 For more information: find Campus Gamers at CSUB on Facebook or email csubcampusgamers@gmail.com.

Entertainment titles, such as World of Warcraft, Starcraft, and Diablo series. In addition to industry speakers, the event will offer an ode to the sounds that help make games enthralling with a choir and orchestra performance of video game music. And those who like to dress up as their favorite avatar can don their best gear for a video game cosplay (costume) contest at 6:30 p.m. On top of the chance to learn about the gaming industry, attendees will have an opportunity to win a Nintendo 3DS bundle autographed by Martinet and other prizes.

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HOMETOWN HERO

JENNY FRANK E-4 Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps Compiled by Bakersfield Life

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enny Frank’s tour of duty with the Marine Corps ended long ago, but her service to her fellow veterans hasn’t slowed since. In 1989, Frank graduated from Foothill High School and headed to boot camp. Her tour of duty started in Okinawa, Japan during Operation Desert Storm. After four years in the Marine Corps, Frank returned to Bakersfield in 1997 to pursue an associate’s degree in human services. As office manager at the Bakersfield Vet Center, Frank assists veterans struggling to return to civilian life. The 42year-old Bakersfield native is also the chair of the Kern County Veterans Collaborative and helped organize the first Kern County Women Veterans Stand-Up in March. “I have been out of the Marine Corps for just over 20 years, but I continue to try to do my part for those who serve,” Frank said.

Jenny Frank

Jenny Frank with her M-16 while qualifying at the rifle range in Okinawa.

Rank achieved: E-4 Corporal Occupation: When I was in the Marine Corps I was a welder. Why I joined: I admired the dedication to country of those who serve. Their patriotism was so admirable. I wanted to be a part of that tradition and the dedication to our country. I joined the Marines specifically, because of all of the service branches, they had a reputation of being the toughest. Where I served: I went to boot camp at Parris Island, S.C. I went to MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) school at Camp Lejeune, N.C. After I completed school, I was stationed at Camp Kinser in Okinawa, Japan. I was due to spend a 12-month tour there, 48

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but because we entered Operation Desert Storm, I was extended six months. Upon leaving Japan, I was stationed with 7th Motors Transport Battalion at Camp Pendleton, where I spent the remainder of my tour. Favorite place visited as a service member: I really enjoyed Japan. Getting to live amongst another culture is something every young person should experience. Challenges of serving: Definitely being away from my family was the most difficult challenge for me. Valuable lesson learned while serving: Serving in the Marine Corps, I learned to be confident in myself on many levels. Completing Marine Corps boot camp in itself will cause a person to hold their head a lot higher. Being part of ‘the few and the proud’ is not easily accomplished. This confidence has helped me throughout my life. If I can be a Marine, there is little else I set my mind on that I can’t do. Favorite memories: Some of my favorite memories of the Marine Corps were when I was stationed (in Japan). With other Marines, I volunteered to help make repairs to a local orphanage. During Christmas time, we helped a large party for the children of the orphanage. It was a great experience to be able to put a smile on the faces of those children who had so little.


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ON THE ROAD

Bakersfield Life editor Olivia Garcia drives the BMW 428i Coupe.

2014 BMW 428i COUPE Stunning BMW 428i to wow loyal base, new buyers By Olivia Garcia

Photos by Michael Lopez

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ust when you thought it couldn’t get any better, BMW returns with a surprise. Say hello to the 2014 BMW 428i Coupe, which is part of the new 4 Series that expands on features that have worked great with the 3 Series. And many are noticing. The New York Times says the BMW 428i Coupe’s design makes it sleeker and alluring. “While some rivals have closed the performance gap, the 4 Series reminded me yet again that BMW still knows how to make a fast, hugely entertaining car,” wrote Lawrence Ulrich for the Times. CNET editors gave it a four-star rating. Wayne Cunningham, Senior Editor at CNET, added that, “The all-new 4 Series exhibited exquisite balance at the turn apexes and, pushed closer to the limits, the rear walked out in a nicely controlled slide, just enough to help rotate the car through the corners.

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The BMW 428i Coupe comes with the Harman Kardon audio system and the 10-inch iDrive information system. This is the kind of driving I live for.” There are many things to love about the BMW 428i, but my personal favorite has to be its performance. Now I wasn’t too sure if I would get much power when Nick Cavazos of BMW of Bakersfield told me that the engine was a twin-turbo four-cylinder engine (you can request a six cylinder). But just like Cavazos said, this baby has kick. I was pretty jazzed about its ability to pick up speed and easily glide in and out of busy traffic. I tried out the coupe at different times on the freeways and during busy traffic times


The sleek front end of the BMW 428i Coupe.

It’s all in the details Five best features about the 2014 BMW 428i: • Lowest center gravity • Great handling car • Extremely quiet ride • Very comfortable to drive • Good looking car Mileage: 22 mpg city; 35 mpg highway Price tag: $42,000 to $65,000

The 2014 BMW 428i is perfect for: Great daily driver for a car enthusiast.

What makes the 2014 BMW 428i stand out from others?

around town. The 428i delivered. There is much to be said about the twin-turbo four-cylinder engine when it can pack a punch without hesitation, while also saving you gas money. Who doesn’t like that sweet spot? “Just drive it and you will see for yourself,” Cavazos told me of the twin-turbo engine. “It makes it more powerful.” My runner-up favorite features in the 428i are the Harman Kardon audio system and the 10-inch iDrive information system, which easily connects to your smartphone through Bluetooth and showcases the album artwork/cover design of the music you are streaming. The rearview camera and the maintenance system that keeps you on notice of the car’s needs, such as tire pressure, are also bonuses. “The car is very smart,” Cavazos said. “It will tell you what’s wrong with it before you know it. A service coordinator will even give you a call before services are needed.” Cavazos noted that a cool plus of the navigation system is its points of interest search, which can be broken down by category at current location. This feature is great for traveling or driving through a new area of town. But there are a couple of other awesome features: the wheelbase is expanded, the throttle response is much more direct, the car sits lower, and the stance of the car gives it a more sporty feel. Already, the bold, stunning body of the BMW 428i is enough to get second looks from oncoming motorists (but

Looks, performance, ride and price. Target customer: The 18 to 80-years-old car enthusiast who wants a fun car for an affordable price. Three words that define the 2014 BMW 428i: Ultimate handling machine What do you like the most about the 2014 BMW 428i? Everything, especially that BMW offers a 4-year/50,000-mile warranty that comes standard with every new lease and purchase. Souce: Ali Bakoo, Director, Marketing & Public Relations for BMW of Bakersfield

such is the reputation of BMW, isn’t it?). “The styling is a lot more aggressive,” Cavazos said. “It stands out a lot more.” No need to argue about that. My teenager sons clamored at the opportunity to hop in the car when I took it for a spin. I didn’t realize the comfort level of the backseat until my much taller-than-me son and his friend sat in the back with ease. No need to cram; they had plenty of leg room. The base price of the 428i is about $41,000 and that’s pretty attractive for a BMW line. Cavazos expects the model will draw in 3 Series owners who want to move up or new customers who want the BMW coupe experience. There are different driving modes, including sport, comfort, eco pro and sports plus. One thing to keep in mind is that the 428i is just one variant of models unveiled in the 4 series and is part of BMW’s plan to combine “performance with efficiency,” Cavazos said. So there is more to love and to share with this series. bakersfieldlife.com

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ON THE ROAD

Xxxxxx x x xx x xxxxx

Bakersfield Life assistant managing editor Rachel Cook drives the 2015 GMC Yukon SLT 4WD.

2015 GMC YUKON SLT 4WD Redesigned Yukon offers a wealth of features, smooth ride By Rachel Cook

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on’t expect the ordinary from the 2015 GMC Yukon. The SUV is totally redesigned with a strong exterior, comfortable interior and a host of new features that will have families lining up to pile into one of these vehicles. “Everyone in Bakersfield wants it,” Richard del Rosario, sales manager for Motor City Buick GMC, said of the Yukon’s loyal local following. Walking me through the Yukon’s new perks, Del Rosario said a big change that’s sure to please customers is the power programmable rear liftgate. This nifty feature allows you to set how high you want the back gate to go when it opens, thus avoiding pesky scratches caused if it bumps into the top of your garage. Getting ready for family road trips is also easier with the 52

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The 2015 GMC Yukon’s telescopic steering wheel makes it a breeze to adjust the wheel to any driver’s desires. new Yukon and its power-folding seats. The back row quickly folds down with the press of a button, as did the middle two seats in the model I drove. This new feature quickly opens up more storage space in the Yukon without the hassel of hauling seats in and out of the SUV. The Yukon can also pull quite a load, with a max trailer towing capacity of 8,500 pounds for the two-wheel drive version and 8,300 pounds for the four-wheel drive model. The model I drove had seating for seven, but you can up that to eight by adding a bench seat in the middle. Inside, there are six USB ports that you and your passen-


Power folding second and third row seats make it easy to instantly open up more storage space in the 2015 GMC Yukon.

gers can plug into to charge your phones or stream music from your mobile devices. All the new Yukons are outfitted with an 8-inch screen and backup camera. But you can still adjust your radio and AC/heating the old-fashioned way by easy-to-reach controls below the screen. The latest Yukon also comes with five years of OnStar RemoteLink Key Fob, which allows you to lock and unlock, remote start, and activate the horns and lights all from your smartphone. Up front, the comfort and convenience of dash and center console design are hard to beat. The center console is so roomy that I could stash my jacket and purse in it on a trip to the gym. The SLT model I drove also had the perks of a leather interior and a power-tilt and telescoping steering wheel. For such a big vehicle, the Yukon is surprisingly drivable, fitting into parking spaces and easing between lanes with a grace I didn’t expect. I also enjoyed the view from above most of the traffic around me in the days that I drove the Yukon. The ride is also remarkably The 2015 GMC Yukon’s power proquiet, but not by accident. grammable rear liftgate lets you According to GMC’s website, this decide how high the gate lifts. Yukon is built to cut down on cabin noise through details including acoustic-laminated windshield and front-door windows, triple-sealed doors and a valved exhaust system to cut noise and vibration. The lane departure warning with safety alert seats and forward collision alert comes in handy in the Yukon, particularly for drivers like me who aren’t accustom to maneuvering big vehicles everyday. The gentle vibrations are a good reminder to keep you from drifting out of your lane on the highway or in the city, or creeping up on other cars in traffic. All around, the 2015 GMC Yukon is great choice for road trips or shuttling the family around town.

All 2015 GMC Yukons come with an 8-inch screen.

It’s all in the details Mileage: 16 city/23 highway for two-wheel drive, 16 city/22 highway for four-wheel drive as tested Price: $60,465 as tested. 2015 GMC Yukon SLE 2WD starts at $47,330, 2015 Yukon SLT 4WD starts at $58,730.

Five Best Features: 1. Power-folding second and third row seats 2. Power programmable rear liftgate 3. Lane Departure Warning with Safety Alert Seats 4. 8-inch LCD ColorTouch Navigation system with IntelliLink 5. Improved Fuel Economy with the all new EcoTec3 Engine Target Customers: Those who want to transport up to eight passengers in comfort, safety and style! Three words that define the 2015 GMC Yukon: Refined, Efficient, Smart

What do I like most about the 2015 GMC Yukon: I love all of the new technology that they packed into the Yukon. Technology that improves safety like Lane Departure Warning, SafetyAlert Seats and Front/Rear Park Assist. The phone connectivity with the new IntelliLink system is amazing, too. So my favorite part of all the new changes would have to be all the new technology that they have added to the all new 2015 Yukon. Source: Richard del Rosario, Sales Manager for Motor City Buick GMC

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A L L-S TA R AT H L E T E

GRANT WATSON Former Centennial pitcher continues to bring the heat as one of college baseball’s top pitchers By Stephen Lynch

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Born July 2, 1993 in Bakersfield. Parents are Stacy and Kelly Watson. Older brother, Drew. Three-year varsity letter-winner in baseball and basketball at Centennial. Went 9-1 with 2.02 ERA senior year with the Golden Hawks, earning numerous accolades including Cal-Hi Sports second team All-State, All-Area first team, and Southwest Yosemite League Pitcher of the Year. Averaged 20.5 points per game for Centennial basketball team as a senior. Was selected freshman All-American in 2012. Last year was named to the NCAA Los Angeles Regional All-Tournament Team. Has compiled an 18-5 record and 3.72 ERA in 181.2 innings during two years at UCLA. Majoring in geography/environmental studies. Favorite pastime is playing basketball.

PHOTO BY SCOTT CHANDLER

oming off a year when he pitched extremely well and helped UCLA win the College World Series, Grant Watson doesn’t have to worry about proving himself to anyone anymore. The former Centennial High standout, who began his UCLA career two years ago as a non-scholarship, recruited walk-on, demonstrated last season that he’s one of the top pitchers in college baseball. The 6-foot-1, 181-pound junior lefthander posted a 9-3 record and sparkling 3.01 earned run average as the Bruins’ Sunday starter in 2013. Watson credits his success to a strong work ethic and a desire to prove his ability to play at one of the top baseball programs in the country. “I felt like I had a pretty good drive (to succeed) coming in,” Watson said. “And then as a recruited walk-on, I felt like I had something to prove for myself. I knew I had the capability to do well in (NCAA) Division I baseball. I was given the opportunity so I just ran with it.” Watson was the winning pitcher in both UCLA’s regional clinching victory over San Diego and a College World Series defeat of North Carolina that sent the Bruins to the CWS finals. “It was amazing,” Watson said of winning the College World Series. “My freshman year, we also went, but we lost so there was disappointment within our team. When our team came back (last) year, we had more of a purpose toward trying to win it all.” Watson’s stellar sophomore campaign wasn’t much of a surprise. His first year in Westwood, he tied the UCLA single-season record for wins by a freshman with 9. Watson’s eye-opening stats his freshman year (9-2 record, 4.45 ERA) caused UCLA to put him on scholarship. Watson, who on a good day, can hit 91 miles per hour with his fastball, believes his biggest strength as a pitcher is his ability to mix pitches. “I have a very good command for all my pitches,” Watson said. “So it’s not like I just have one out-pitch. I feel like all my pitches can do it in any count.” The seemingly unflappable former two-sport (baseball and basketball) star at Centennial doesn’t have any specific goals set for the 2014 season. “I’m just trying to take it game by game and try to improve myself as a teammate and an individual player,” Watson said. “What I really want is to help our team win games and stay in games.

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LEON JONES Local cabinetmaker brings beautiful music to Bakersfield

Leon Jones in his home recording studio.

PHOTO BY FELIX ADAMO

WHY I LIVE HERE

Compiled by Ryan Barrera

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or Leon Jones, Bakersfield’s family-oriented atmosphere and relatively good weather make this city an ideal place to call home. Jones grew up in Bakersfield and owns his own business, Leon’s Cabinets & Building Supplies. Besides bringing beautiful cabinets to Bakersfield, Jones also shares his musical talents with the community. Jones earned a degree in music from Cal State Bakersfield, where he served as vice president of the jazz band. After college, Jones toured and recorded with music legends, including Ishmael Wadada Leo Smith, a world-renowned trumpeter and recording artist. Jones continues to use his talents to enrich the art and entertainment community in his hometown. He recently participated in a local production of the acclaimed play, “The Good Negro.” Using all his connections and experiences, Jones developed and opened an arts school called The Institute of Higher Learning and Improvement. “We intend to bridge the gap between the inspiring heart and the accomplished professional,” Jones said. Tell us about your business. The name of our business is Leon’s Cabinets & Building Supplies. Our main function is building cabinets for residential and commercial properties. We build custom cabinets, which means we build them from scratch and customize to fit the occasion. Why do you live in Bakersfield? I was born here in Bakersfield and as a child, I remember it 56

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to be quite different from how I know it now. Because I grew up here, I progressed along with it and became a part of it. I live here because I have become a part of Bakersfield, and Bakersfield has become a part of me; it’s home. What do you enjoy most about living here? Besides the weather, I enjoy friendship and family, and Bakersfield seems to prioritize both of them. What made you stay here? There have always been economic opportunities for me here. I don’t remember ever having a hard time finding a job or starting or maintaining a business. The answer to the question is probably that I am quite content here. Favorite place to relax in Bakersfield? I like going to the wonderful parks made available to us here in Bakersfield. I also like spending time at home doing yard work, writing songs, creating music and recording in my studio. Creativity is a form of relaxation for me. What makes Bakersfield stand out from other towns? Bakersfield is very kind, compassionate and generous. Many people hold Christian values in very high esteem, which makes Bakersfield still a very sociable and safe place to live. What’s Bakersfield best-kept secret? The friendliness of the people. What surprises you about Bakersfield? Its growth.


TA L K O F T H E TO W N

Matt Towery, owner of Towery Homes and president of the Kern County Home Builders Association, inside one of his newly framed houses in the Olive Glen Community off Olive Drive.

COMING BACK STRONG After taking the hits of the Great Recession, homebuilder Matt Towery reflects on the rebound By Ryan Barrera

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uring the economic nose dive of the recession, local homebuilding took a hard hit. Homes and neighborhoods that would have been finished and inhabited with families went unfinished and empty. Now, Bakersfield’s homebuilding is booming, thanks to low interest rates and inexpensive lots. Matt Towery, owner of Towery Homes and president of the Kern County Home Builders Association, shared his thoughts on the rebound with Bakersfield Life this month. 58

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MAKING A COMEBACK Homebuilding is on a comeback. The recession hit us really hard. Bakersfield was building about 2,200 homes per year until the market went crazy. In 2006, the permit count was over 5,000. In 2011, it was down below the 600 per year mark, which is the lowest on record from before World War II. During the recession, Bakersfield continued to grow. We were in the top five (economically) producing cities in California during that time. Oil and agriculture has been strong but getting better with advanced technologies. Distribution has become a large and growing industry as seen by the distribution center growth at the Grapevine with Tejon Ranch and 7th Standard Road in Shafter. Thirty-one million people can be reached from Bakersfield in one day, and we are the perfect “in between” for trucking from the Bay Area, L.A. and Long Beach. There has been growing demand not only from local generations of kids becoming adults and moving into the homebuying market, but also from the many people moving here because of industry growth. Bakersfield still has relatively low land costs so we are still one of the most affordable areas to


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live in California. And finally, the interest rates are still unbelievably low. With prices good and interest rates so low, this is a great time to buy or build a new home.

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TRENDS AND ISSUES FACING BUILDERS AND BUYERS The trends seem to be smaller homes as we climb out of the recession. We are seeing that although the size of the home isn’t huge, buyers are focusing on the kitchen amenities (granite, appliances, cabinets) as well as other features that increase the livability of a home. Buyers want choices and quality workmanship. There are several issues that builders face that new buyers will also have to face. Regulations continue to choke us. Homes are really energy efficient now. Some of the proposals coming from the state will add so little to the overall efficiency that the cost will by far overshadow the savings. Fees continue to climb: traffic impact, water and sewer connection and school fees. A 1,500-square-foot home is saddled with $30,000 in permit fees before the home is trenched. The fees associated with land development are up as well, so

For Membership Information and to Schedule a Tour, Call 324-6561

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third phase of Seven Oaks. They have done an excellent job of learning about Bakersfield… Castle and Cooke has done a great job over the past 25 years, but Woodbridge Pacific will take us to another level.

WHAT BUYERS WANT AND WHAT THEY NEED TO KNOW

“Buyers are aware of so much that they demand much when they purchase a home. Oak cabinets, white walls, tile and appliances don’t cut it anymore, even for the first-time homebuyer,” — Matt Towery

Continued from page 59 the cost to develop the dirt continues to climb... One of the most exciting local events is the development of Belcourt at Seven Oaks. Woodbridge Pacific Group has come to Bakersfield and has bought and is developing the

There seems to be a high demand for homes that look and function like model homes do or examples set by other media, such as (HGTV) on television… Buyers are aware of so much that they demand much when they purchase a home. Oak cabinets, white walls, tile and appliances don’t cut it anymore, even for a first-time homebuyer. A buyer needs to meet with a lender to look at their economic picture (credit scores, wages, etc.) to get a starting point for what they will qualify for and what they can afford. For our company, we refer buyers (when they come to our models and are interested in buying) to one of several mortgage companies. We refer to these lenders because, like our subcontractors, they have a history of providing a great service to our buyers and if the buyer qualifies, they get them through the process and into a home with the best experience possible. Also, if a buyer has credit issues, a good mortgage lender can set up the buyer with a plan to clean up the credit prob-

If you are looking to make a change in your lifestyle, I am qualified to assist you. Seniors Real Estate Specialist® Call for a free consultation...

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Ken Tate, left, holds his grandson Nico Rubio while sitting next to his wife Jeanne Tate, right, and their daughter Theresa Rubio, (back) holding her son Vincent Rubio, Nico’s twin brother, during a Bakersfield Relay for LIfe kickoff event in Bakersfield in January.

PHOTO BY CASEY CHRISTIE

FOR A CAUSE

JOURNEY TO WELLNESS, JOURNEY TO SURVIVAL Cancer survivors share their stories as Bakersfield Relay for Life draws near

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he road to surviving cancer can be long or short; it can be unpleasant or tortuous, but it’s rarely a road traveled alone. Cancer patients and their caregivers become an army of two in the fight for survivorship, although the army sometimes stretches to three. That was the case for Donna Hicks, a 17-year breast cancer survivor. Hicks was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 32 with a toddler at home and a divorce on the horizon. As if her plate wasn’t already full, six months before her cancer diagnosis she was diagnosed with full-blown Type 1 diabetes. Hicks’s caregivers were her parents, Roy and Petricia Sterling of Sacramento. “I had to move in with them, and they were my cooks, they took me to and from the doctor,” Hicks said. “My mom, bless her, sat with me during chemo and dad took care of my son. They were my rock.” 62

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Cleanup underway following last year’s Relay for Life event in north Bakersfield. She was off work for 10 months, and her employer put her on disability and then matched the amount. “They paid the difference so I had the same pay and kept my insurance going so I could have insurance. They were just great,” Hicks said.

PHOTO BY JOHN HARTE

By Sylvia Cariker


PHOTO BY CASEY CHRISTIE

Cancer survivor Lucas Alexander runs joyfully up the stairs at a Relay for Life kickoff event.

Donna also received help and support from the American Cancer Society and participates in the Bakersfield Relay For Life with her family team Cherished Angels.

SOMETIMES, IT TAKES A VILLAGE Diane Biswanger, the manager of the education department at Mercy Hospital, is celebrating her 40th year as a registered nurse. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001. She went through six months of chemotherapy, two months of radiation and two lumpectomy procedures. Her caregivers could have populated a small village. “I was divorced at the time with three children, ages 14, 12 and 10, so they couldn’t help. It was really all my friends and people I worked with, my Bunco group, everybody kind of pitched in,” Biswanger said. Friends and co-workers called and visited to check up on her, brought food and helped keep her spirits up. Human resources staffers worked out her schedule so she could take days off after chemo and return when she felt better. And it certainly didn’t hurt that she worked with medical professionals. “I found my lump on a Friday night, so I had to go through the weekend and then on Monday, I called my insurance company. They told me it would take two weeks to get a mammogram appointment and basically told me over the phone that cancer is not an emergency,” Biswanger said. “I was sitting in my office, hysterical, and one of the directors of nursing just walked by at that moment. She got on the phone, and I had a mammogram and an ultrasound within an hour.”

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Continued from page 63 Biswanger has been cancer free for 13 years. She pays it forward as a member of the board of directors for Links for Life, a local nonprofit that provides free mammograms and biopsies for uninsured or under-insured women. The 23rd Bakersfield She’s a sympathetic ear for anyone Relay For Life who is newly diagnosed and relates as Begins on May 3 with the tradia breast cancer survivor. For those tional survivor lap, followed by a conversations, her RN credentials caregiver lap to recognize and don’t come into play and didn’t when honor the importance of each to the other. Local cancer survivors she was diagnosed either. are encouraged participate by reg“You stop being a nurse when you istering online at hear those words. I was just as unsure relayforlife.org/Bakersfieldca or by and frightened as everybody else,” attending the Relay survivor she said. reception from 4 to 6 p.m. April 10 at St. Philip the Apostle Church, 7100 Stockdale Highway.

COMPELLED TO HELP

Forty years ago, Howard Pollard was one frightened 4-year-old after his grandmother noticed and felt a lump in his throat. His doctor sent him to a Bakersfield hospital, where a surgeon “thought” he could do a necessary surgery, but that wasn’t enough to satisfy the boy’s grandmother.

An intern suggested the family try a Beverly Hills surgeon with an impressive resume. Accompanied by his mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, Pollard made the trip south to hear the words “I can do this” from the doctor. To pay for the surgery at Cedars-Sinai, Pollard’s grandmother had the papers drawn up to refinance her house, but when she went to pay the bill, she was told that it had already been settled by the surgeon. Pollard’s grandma rushed out to buy pricey Beverly Hills flowers as a thank you. She told her story to the gal at the flower shop and was soon handed a large expensive looking bouquet. “They only charged her $25,” Pollard said. “And when she took them to the hospital and finally handed them to the surgeon she asked, ‘Why did you (pay for the surgery) when you don’t even know us?’ The surgeon told her, ‘I just felt compelled. In all my years of practice, I’ve never seen such love for a child.’” Pollard still tears up at the memory. Pollard returned after six months, then every year, then every other year until he was finally declared cancer-free. Today, Pollard works at San Joaquin Community Hospital. He was a member of their Bakersfield Relay For Life team until he stepped up to volunteer for the Relay itself, joining the Logistics team. He, too, felt compelled.

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Rick Kreiser and his dog, Ubu, sit out in his backyard in the Tuscany neighborhood, where they can see rolling hills as the late afternoon sun touches them with light. Every minute the light seems to change, as the sun drops lower in the sky. 66

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Views OF

Bakersfield From mountains to orchards, a look at our town’s loveliest vistas

By Bakersfield Life Magazine

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he views of Bakersfield may not be exactly the same as they were when the Joad family first laid imaginary eyes on our valley in John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath,” but our city continues to afford its residents stunning panoramas of orchards, fields and mountains. Here are just a few of our favorite beautiful views of Bakersfield. More great views on pages 68-71 bakersfieldlife.com

PHOTO BY HENRY A. BARRIOS

“They drove through Tehachapi in the morning glow, and the sun came up behind them, and then — suddenly they saw the great valley below them… The vineyards, the orchards, the great flat valley, green and beautiful, the trees set in rows, and the farm houses.” — The Grapes of Wrath

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Rick Jelmini enjoys a walk in his almond orchard in full bloom. His house, pictured behind him, is in the northwest Bakersfield area and has enchanting spring views of the blossoms. 68

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PHOTO BY CASEY CHRISTIE

The lush view from Kristi Barnhard’s backyard looking out at hole one of The Islands at Seven Oaks Country Club. Barnhard said the view of the two lakes is incredible. “It’s just so serene back there,” she said of her view.


PHOTO BY FELIX ADAMO ®

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The Kern River gently flows past Timothy and Margaret Lemucchi’s backyard offering a spectacular vantage. Margaret said the beauty and quiet are her favorite parts of living on the river. She also enjoys the wildlife - hawks, owls and raccoons - that they share the view with. 70

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NEW LOGO, BUT AS GROUNDED AS EVER. At Bank of the Sierra, community matters most. We’re here to stay, so we decided it was time to freshen up our brand. Our new logo features our familiar mountain range in vibrant, cheerful colors to reflect the warmth and optimism we feel for this place and the people we serve. Our new slogan – Keep Climbing – sums up our commitment to keep pushing just a little higher to help you achieve financial success and live life to the fullest. Let’s keep climbing and

PHOTO BY FELIX ADAMO

get to these shared goals together, side by side.

Bankof theSierra.com

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Get organized. Get customized. Get decorated. Local experts share tips on how to welcome spring with pizzazz

By Miranda Whitworth

Photos by April Massirio

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he birds are singing, the trees are in bloom and the temperature is on the rise. It’s springtime in Kern County, and that means it’s time to say goodbye to the cozy sweaters and winter bric-à-brac and hello to streamlined looks. We’re all familiar with spring cleaning. It’s a tradition that dates back centuries with its earliest origins linked to preparations for the Jewish Passover and the Chinese New Year. Those observances focus on the elimination of bread crumbs and bad luck from the previous year. Present-day spring cleaning leans more toward spending a weekend stashing away winter clothes and putting the paper shredder to good use. What if you could make your efforts go farther? What if you could get more bang for your cleaning buck? We chatted with experts in clearing out and cleaning up, and got their advice on how to streamline your home while bringing a little style to the table.

Professional organizer Sherry Frith in front of her favorite wall displaying her children’s artwork.

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Professional organizer Sherry Frith shows how to keep clutter in check with her organized donation and storage boxes.

Sherry Frith loads a donation bin.

Get Organized The first step in cleaning up for spring is accepting that you may have a problem with organization. It can be easy to let junk drawers fill and collections get out of hand, but it’s not always easy to eliminate the mess and move on. Sherry Frith is a professional organizer, and she’s not afraid to roll up her sleeves and help families with the tough task of letting go. “A lot of times, it’s kids hiring me to help their parents. They need to downsize for a retirement home or the kids show up and don’t realize that their parents have this big mess on their hands,” Frith said. Frith is an expert at speaking frankly while showing compassion. She knows how to empathize with a client who’s reluctant to de-clutter and she’s not afraid to be honest about the items people cling to. “Don’t try to clean your whole house in one day. It didn’t get that way in one day. So pick a project, complete it and move on to the next,” she said. Frith also suggests separating the mess. Arrange boxes that will belong to certain family members or areas of the house. The trick is having a final box labeled “I don’t know.” According to Frith, this can be the handiest tool on the way to the dumpster. “If you have that last box, you can put it in the garage and go back in a week and take a look at it. People can go back to that box and just say, ‘Let’s get rid of it; there’s nothing in that box that I want,’” Frith said.

Clutter in the bedroom closet can be another story. Jennifer Maddern is the reigning Mrs. Bakersfield and owner of Snappy Casual Consulting. The beauty queen is a down-toearth mom who prides herself on her ability to wade through even the most dangerous closet. Like Frith, Maddern knows the best way to get organized is to get real about what you have — including clothes that are too small or items that you just don’t like. “When you look at things that don’t fit you anymore, it demotivates you; it brings you down and it makes you feel bad. It really is better to just take them out of your wardrobe,” Maddern said. Another closet culprit is purchases gone wrong. “We leave tags on things that we don’t love and those things make us feel guilty, too. It’s OK. You made a mistake. You bought it, it doesn’t work, and it’s time to get rid of it,” she said. Maddern says every person should separate their clothes into two categories: an “Active” and “Inactive” wardrobe. Your “Active Wardrobe” is made up of the clothes that fit now, work for you now and that you love now. “Inactive Wardrobes” would be the bulky sweaters and winter jackets that are being pushed to the side as the warm weather rolls in. “Gather those jackets up and if you are lucky enough to have a second closet, get them in there. If not, put them all together and put a garbage bag over them,” Maddern said. Another trick for keeping the closet under control is hangers. For Maddern, purchasing slim felt-covered hangers can transform a closet — opening up more space and keeping hard to hang items off the floor. “If you are going to buy anything for your closet like bins or new shelving, just start with the hangers and see what a

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Continued from page 73 difference they can make. They reduce bulk and the felt is sticky so you can even hang strappy camisoles and they won’t fall off,” she said. Just because you are getting rid of the clutter doesn’t mean you can’t bring a little springtime freshness into your wardrobe. Maddern says a maxi dress that worked for summer last year can be paired with a light denim jacket. Add a couple of new accessories and your spring outfit is made. “Add some color like teal, mint or royal blue. Coral also works great with a ton of skin tones. Even if you just add a scarf, they are so lightweight and affordable, it’s a great way to add color without adding to the bulk of an outfit or your closet,” she suggested.

Get Customized For some, a spring cleaning to-do list includes a lot more than a good purge. If you are looking to take a big step and make a major investment, cabinet customization may be the key to unlocking your organizational issues. If you have a kitchen that boast falling pots and pans or a bathroom with a counter caked in clutter, it may be time to get out the checkbook and call the experts. Annette Mercado and Michele Waugh of Blue River Cabinetry, Kitchen and Bath

work to make the lives of homeowners easier and it all has to do with making spaces as useful as possible. For Waugh, a productive kitchen starts with the right design. “You can have a beautiful kitchen with all of the right elements, designed as a full project that goes together and you can make it look expensive by making the right choices,” she said. When it comes to style versus substance, Mercado and Waugh try to encourage their clients to invest in the cabinet infrastructure, not the hardware and fancy finishes. According to Mercado, the old cliché holds true: What really counts is on the inside. For some high-quality inserts, the ladies recommend including drawer runners with a limit of 125 pounds. That way you can store your pots and pans and access them easily. Waugh also recommends a little forethought when designing a kitchen and bath. This includes adding power outlets inside the cabinetry where small appliances will be housed. “We have a cabinet with stainless steel trays that will hold your curling iron and blow dryer. They always stay plugged in and you can pull the drawer out to you and then push it back in when you are done,” Waugh said.

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ized, it’s time to welcome the new spring season with a fresh look. If your spring cleaning includes a change of décor, there are a few very simple changes you can make that are easy on your wallet and big on return. Robert Moseley of House of Moseley says, keep it simple. “Today’s design is about cleaner surfaces and spaces. With spring, you start removing those layers and let the sun shine in,” Moseley said. During the cold winter months, homeowners have a tendency to bring out the jewel tones, pillows and cozy throws for the couches. Moseley says it’s time to eliminate those trappings and the other items you picked up over the holidays. Moseley isn’t suggesting you throw gifts away, but he is an advocate of rotating your décor. You can pack up items and bring them out for special occasions or different events. But it is important to identify your individual style and establish a couple of key pieces that exemplify it. “I always keep my core pieces, play with my table top pieces and I put things away. I always change my dining table and my pillows on my sofa and I do that seasonally without having to redo all of my looks all of the time,” Moseley said. Sarah Ward, a designer at Red Door Interiors for a decade, has seen the seasons come and go, and with them, countless trends. For spring 2014, Ward is on the same page as Moseley. It’s important to keep things simple and make the right

Colorful spring pillows at House of Moseley.

Continued on page 77

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A colorful Easter piece on display at House of Moseley.

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Bakersfield Life Magazine

April 2014


Continued from page 75 changes for the best impact. “Spring is about de-cluttering, freshening up and bringing in lighter colors. Changing out pillows and area rugs is a great way to make a difference without spending a lot of money,” she said. Lighter colors capture the springtime mood and will make any space feel bright and airy. Ward says a few of the hot colors for this spring pay homage to trips to the beach. “There’s a lot of teal, a lot of blues, a lot of linen and a lot of clean fresh colors,” she said. If ditching the dark pillows and deep colored rugs is not in your budget, opt for replacing floor coverings or recovering cushions with fabrics in shades of teals, blues, or even whites. If you are looking to make a big splash without spending a dime, Ward suggests you invest in some elbow grease and get moving. “It’s fun to just move your furniture around. Find a different arrangement, repurpose things and breathe life into your old furniture. Even opening up those French doors and bringing the outdoors in a little bit will make a big difference,” Ward said.

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Lovely locally made products for your

home

and garden Check out these custom creations from local craftsmen By Hillary Haenes

H

ave you been searching for the perfect piece of furniture to revamp your home or are you antsy to replace that old shed in your backyard? If so, then look into these locally owned businesses that build unique products for your home and garden. These talented craftsmen have been creating beautiful ironwork, custom furniture, artwork and barns (yes, barns) for many years. To add a special touch to your home, consider supporting these local businesses. Continued on page 80 78

Bakersfield Life Magazine

April 2014

An ornate staircase rail fabricated by Adrijon Ironworks Fabrication of Bakersfield for a home in Concord.


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PHOTO COURTESY OF ADRIJON IRONWORKS FABRICATION


Courtyard gate

PHOTO COURTESY OF ADRIJON IRONWORKS FABRICATION

Artistic interior gate separates rooms in home.

PHOTO COURTESY OF ADRIJON IRONWORKS FABRICATION

Continued from page 78

Wrought iron creations

home’s decor. Interested customers can watch Cipriano work the business’ showroom. 2231 N St.; 327-0077; adrijon.com

Cesar Cipriano, blacksmith and coowner of Adrijon Ironworks Fabrication, stumbled upon his skill when he enrolled in a metal sculpting class at age 13. Cipriano gained expertise from art museums and professional mentors in his hometown of Mexico City before moving to the United States. He now does custom, hand-forged wrought iron work for homes, businesses and even parks. This Old World trade is time-consuming, but the quality of the finished product shows all the labor and love that Cipriano puts into each piece. Cipriano has created gates, windows, fences, furniture, security entry doors, balconies, stair railings, arbors, trellises and other decorative accent pieces. Along with his many creations, Cipriano also forges many of his own tools, which he uses daily, such as hammers, tongs, stands, mallets, chisels and forges. Wrought iron never goes out of style and fits in with just about any

Custom furniture High-quality home furnishings with a casual, elegant feel are what Alder & Company specializes in, said Bryan Shimp, president and co-owner. A distressed finish is what gives Alder & Company a unique, signature look. Everything is made-toorder and usually takes eight to 10 weeks to build. Most items can be customized to accommodate the customer’s requirements. Since 2004, this locally owned company has been manufacturing everything from bookcases, beds, barstools and benches to armoires and accent tables. But you won’t find these deluxe pieces sold in Bakersfield. The company’s traditional country English, country French and Italian designs are displayed in showrooms in big cities across the country. 412 Wallace St.; 326-0320; alderandco.com

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Mlayus@bakersfieldmagic.com


PHOTO BY TODD MCCABE

Dry Creek Mini Barns built this 40-foot high barn garage in Caliente with a full stairway to the second floor and a 12-foot side porch. bakersfieldlife.com

PHOTO COURTESY OF DRY CREEK MINI BARNS

If you enjoy giving thoughtful, treasured gifts, consider a framed antique flag or vintage, reproduced map from designer Todd McCabe’s line Nicholas & Riley, which is named after his children. These pieces of American history make up a majority of McCabe’s business and are sold at high-end retail stores like Rooms & Gardens in Santa Barbara and Santa Monica; Cisco Home throughout Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York City; and Full Bloom in Bakersfield, which McCabe owns. Each finished frame is done by hand and can take a couple of weeks to complete. The American flags McCabe seeks date back from 1891 to 1907 and must be either wool or cotton with allsewn construction, patina and have some kind of labeling such as a person’s handwritten name or label. McCabe purchases the maps from a gentleman in Oregon who has access to national archives. Most of the maps are of California and California cities from 1857 to 1911. These conversation starters are the perfect office wall decor and are popular with local ag and oil companies. 4909 Stockdale Highway; 831-1751; Facebook: Full Bloom-Bakersfield

Brothers Willard and Curtis Martin grew up in Pennsylvania where they were taught the fine art of craftsmanship from their father, Isaac, who has been in the construction industry since the 1960s. The brothers moved to Kern County in 2002 and opened Dry Creek Mini Barns in Arvin in 2004. With numerous styles of barns, sheds, playhouses, wood and vinyl gazebos, chicken coops, garages and steel barns, this local company doesn’t have that typical industrial shed look. According to Willard, president of Dry Creek Mini Barns, his family-owned business offers upgrades, such as the cedar, log, fiber cement, board and batten siding, and roof dormers, overhangs and many window styles to give customers the options to create a unique shed that will add to the beauty of their backyard or landscape. 6601 Rosedale Highway; 615-6062; drycreekminibarns.com

ABE MCC TODD

Framed flags and maps

Barns, sheds and playhouses

O BY PHOT

PHOTO COURTESY OF ALDER & COMPANY

Alder & Company’s Italian trestle dining table and chairs.

Nicholas & Riley framed antique flags and vintage reproduction maps are sold locally at Full Bloom.

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BLOOM where you are planted

A butterfly rests on a marigold, an annual plant that grows throughout the summer. 82

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April 2014


Local nurseries offer tips on conserving water, gardening during drought Story and photos by Mark Nessia

S

pring is the season of rebirth. The warm weather brings new life to plants as they sprout and blossom, adding a touch of color to the world around us. But plants cannot bloom without water. Water is the lifeblood of any garden. Following one of the driest winters on record and an even drier start to 2014, it has become more important than ever that residents do what they can to conserve it while taking care of their plants. “We have been lucky to live in a country that when we turn on a faucet, water comes out,” said Sasha Windes, Kern Green program manager. “We’ve never really seen the importance of conservation until now, though we are continually draining water supplies. This drought is real, and it can get worse, so we all need to buckle down and do our part.” Fortunately for home gardeners, local nursery experts have plenty of advice to help us maintain a healthy garden and lawn while still being water savvy. The easiest solution is the most obvious: Use less water. According to Eric White of White Forest Nursery, 80 percent of residential water use comes from landscaping and over watering is the most common mistake in lawn and garden care. When left unattended, convenient tools like automated sprinkler systems can lead to the same amount of watering in winter as summer and on days when it rains. “People need to pay attention to their soil,” said Kathy Robinson of Robby’s Nursery. “If it’s wet, it can’t get wetter.” Overwatering can lead to disease, especially at night, attracting insects and allowing fungus to set in. Slow watering for longer periods of time, a few days a week, can be more effective than

Continued on page 84 bakersfieldlife.com

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Continued from page 83 watering every day as it allows the water to reach deeper into the soil, where it can be accessed by water-wise plants with deep root systems. If multiple waterings are required, watering in the morning and at dusk helps minimize water loss through evaporation. Simple observation can also make a big difference. Gardens are meant to be admired for their above ground assets, but paying attention to what’s going on underneath the plants can save water and money. A plant’s growth starts with providing a good environment for the plant to live in — the soil. A good foundation allows plants to thrive from the very beginning and mulching the soil helps retain water. “The more you mulch, the better water retention you have,” Robinson said. “Every time you plant a plant, you should always plant with mulch.” Using drought-tolerant and perennial plants can Pansies are spring-blooming annuals. also cut down on water

usage. Drought-tolerant plants require less water and perennials are “permanent” and don’t have to be replaced like annuals. “Annuals give you lots of color for three to four months, but then they’ll die out,” Robinson said. “They also require more water to get started.” A garden of drought-tolerant plants and perennials doesn’t have to mean sacrificHardy gerbera is another drought-tolerant perennial. ing color. In the landscape design competition at the 2014 Bakersfield Home & Garden Show, Olga See and her crew at O. See-Em-Bloom Nursery & Landscaping won the “People’s Choice” competition with their drought-tolerant design. Using only drought-tolerant plants like Teucrium, lavender, kangaroo paw and Jerusalem sage, See and her team con-

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The African daisy can add vivid color to your garden, and it possesses drought-tolerant qualities. structed a landscape design that was both visually appealing and colorful. “It’s proof that you can have a beautiful garden that’s California friendly (water-wise),” See said. “That’s what surprised a lot of people.” See said it’s important to pay attention to where plants are planted. Placing plants with similar water and sunlight needs together is key. Plants that require shade will burn if placed in direct sun, while plants that require lots of sunlight will wilt when placed in the shade. Either scenario can lead to

overwatering, which can hurt the plant further when the plant doesn’t need more water, just a change of location. As temperatures rise, adjustments must be made accordingly, but that doesn’t automatically mean The New Zealand tea tree watering more. is colorful and requires little water. Products like Garden Max and Turf Max increase the surface areas of roots 100 to 1,000 times in about four weeks, making them more drought resistant. “If you only have roots that go one or two inches, once the water goes past that (point) the roots no longer have access to that water,” White said. “In four weeks, you have 18 to 24 inches (of root surface area). You’ll have to water a whole lot less. Watering less prevents fungus from coming when it stays wet overnight. There’s just a whole range of benefits to getting a better root system,” See said.

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BUSINESS PROFILE SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

THE DOCTOR IS IN Mercy Southwest Hospital welcomes new chief medical officer

A

s Mercy Southwest Hospital’s chief medical officer, Dr. Hemmal Kothary always has quality on his mind. Born in Mombasa, Kenya and raised in England, Kothary moved to Orange County when he was a ninth-grader. Originally a philosophy major, Kothary took an entrance exam for medical school on a bet with a college buddy. He passed and attended medical school at Ross University. Kothary, who is also the president of Premiere Family Practice Associates, brings his pride for fostering relationships and his passion for helping people to his job. What inspired you to practice medicine? “Marcus Welby, M.D.!” I used to watch that television program as a kid. I loved the idea of being in a small town and taking care of people.

What does your job as the chief medical officer for Mercy Southwest Hospital entail? My job is to engage physicians, nurses and staff at all levels in providing quality care to patients. I also facilitate physician relationships with hospital leadership and oversee quality, patient safety and patient experience initiatives. In addition to my responsibilities for the hospital, I am a working doctor who continues to see patients every day, so I know how important patient family centered care is and how to best address the needs of the patient and the hospital. What makes Mercy Southwest Hospital special? Mercy Southwest has seen tremendous growth, and it is exciting to be a part of a premiere organization that focuses on patient-centered care and quality. This hospital is uniquely positioned to facilitate care for those living in outlying areas who are without access to advanced health care, such as Shafter, Taft and Buttonwillow. I want people in those communities to know we’re here for them when they need us. What are your goals as Mercy Southwest Hospital’s CMO? One goal is to ensure that any patient coming to our facility receives the same care that I would expect for my own family. Another is to see this campus grow and expand its family of services. There are tremendous possibilities for 86

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April 2014

Dr. Hemmal Kothary

PHOTO BY FELIX ADAMO

What do you enjoy most about your work as a physician? The most rewarding thing for me is knowing that I helped someone. It’s that simple. Whether a patient has a cold, flu or a chronic health condition, being there to help someone get better and maintain a healthy lifestyle is key to the work I do and for future generations of physicians.

expansion at our Southwest campus, and it’s the right thing to do for our growing community. When you aren’t hard at work at the hospital, what do you do to relax? I am an amateur boxer. I also love reading, watching movies and cooking. What else would you like potential patients to know about the care offered at Mercy Southwest Hospital? Every day, we try very hard to do two things — listen to the needs of our patients and then treat them in a way that makes them feel valued. I pride myself on the relationships that I have built over the years both inside and outside of my profession. I will never take them for granted, and I will work very hard to make sure patients and physicians see that attention to quality care in this hospital as their new chief medical officer.


BUSINESS PROFILE

CORNERSTONE COMMUNITIES The new name for quality in Bakersfield

Cornerstone Communities has developed, mapped, and constructed more than 15,000 homes in more than 60 developments throughout California and Nevada.

C

ornerstone Communities prides itself on providing the full spectrum of housing needs, from entry-level attached to custom single-family detached homes. With a commitment to customer service, innovative and award-winning product design and fiscal efficiency, Cornerstone has positioned itself as a stable force in the California, and now Bakersfield, residential industry — and it all starts with a dedicated and experienced team. The Bakersfield Management Team is lead by Carrie Williams, division president, and Jeff Chaddick, construction manager. Williams has been in the homebuilding industry for more than 25 years and brings considerable experience to Cornerstone. After starting with Kyle Carter Homes in 1991, Williams joined McMillin Homes in 2003, and earlier this year, she transitioned into her new role at Cornerstone Communities where she continues to lead the Bakersfield team. Chaddick has been in the industry for nearly 20 years, beginning with Kyle Carter Homes and serving as the Vice President of Construction for McMillin before transitioning into his current role as the Construction Manager for Cornerstone. Williams and Chaddick, and the rest of the Bakersfield team, are the same experienced staff from McMillin Homes. They joined Cornerstone when the company acquired McMillin’s Bakersfield projects, including the Sanibel at Bridgeton. You can visit the team at the newest Cornerstone premier community: Sanibel at Bridgeton. This beautiful community of 190 homes showcases exteriors influenced by Craftsman, Tudor and Ranch-style architecture. Sanibel offers five-floor plans ranging from 2,028 to 2,700 square feet. All home sites start at 10,000 square feet and all homes feature a three-car 88

Bakersfield Life Magazine

April 2014

PHOTO COURTESY OF CORNERSTONE COMMUNITIES

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

garage and 20-year, pre-paid solar power system. Nestled in the heart of northwest Bakersfield, the location of this community offers easy access to the popular Northwest Promenade shopping area, the freeway and excellent schools in award-winning Norris School District. Cornerstone is proud to enter the Bakersfield market and establish a long-term commitment to the area. The homebuilder is projecting to develop several new home communities and has already begun the process of acquiring land for these community projects. Cornerstone will offer Bakersfield residents a variety of home options including first-time homebuyer communities and semi-custom homes. Cornerstone is committed to providing homebuyers with efficient, comfortable, environmentally-sound homes at the best value. The homebuilder incorporates environmental considerations and resource efficiency into every step of the homebuilding process. Green building starts with land planning and lot development, and continues through the home design, construction and energy efficiency of your home. Cornerstone Communities is based in San Diego and is comprised of a seasoned group of development and building professionals possessing over 150 years of combined experience in the homebuilding field. Cornerstone has developed, mapped, and constructed more than 15,000 homes in more than 60 developments throughout California and Nevada. The homebuilder has won numerous awards and Professional Builder magazine heralded the group as one of the nation’s Building Giants. For more information, visit us at 10008 Jersey Shore Drive in Bakersfield, call us at (661) 391-2779 or visit our website at www.cornerstonecommunities.com.


INSIDE STORY

GARGOYLE STAINED GLASS Story and photos by Mark Nessia

G

argoyle Stained Glass is where Peggy Waldon’s two childhood interests collide. Waldon has collected gargoyles, which ward off evil spirits, since grade school and has been working with stained glass since 1978. Her shop at 4100 Easton Drive, Suite 15, carries handmade pieces including windows, plates and bowls, jewelry and home decorations. Custom orders are accepted — just bring in a photo of your idea. Waldon offers one-on-one classes for anyone interested in working with stained glass. Some of her students have gone on to start their own stained glass businesses. Gargoyle Stained Glass also carries supplies for stained glass and fusing.

Gargoyle Stained Glass isn’t just a name. Owner Peggy Waldon’s infatuation with gargoyles is evident throughout the shop. 90

Bakersfield Life Magazine

April 2014

A stained glass rose.


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PHOTO BY MARK NESSIA

PA S T I M E S

After adding spices to the bottom of the jar, Peggy Dewane-Pope prepares asparagus for the container.

URBAN FARMERS By Kelly Damian

I

t’s no secret that we live in the age of convenience. All of our household necessities are produced, processed, packaged and then delivered to the corner store where we can buy them at almost any hour of the day at reasonable prices. It is all remarkably easy for the consumer, but amid this ease, is something lost? Meet three Bakersfield families who have opted out of the world of maximum convenience and instead take the time and effort to grow, process or make their own household goods.

KITCHEN CANNING “We live in one of the richest valleys in the world,” said Peggy Dewane-Pope. “You’ve got to take advantage of all that 92

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April 2014

Peggy Dewane-Pope pulls out the finished product out of the pot.

PHOTO BY MARK NESSIA

Local families stock their pantries with staples they made and raised themselves

good food.” And take advantage of it she does, by canning everything from salsa to pluot jelly. She started canning 20 years ago when a very productive apricot tree in her backyard gave the family more fruit than they could eat. “I was raised by Depression-era parents,” Dewane-Pope explained. “You don’t waste things.” On the night I visited her, Dewane-Pope was canning


PHOTO BY HENRY A. BARRIOS

Although they were first bought as pets for Jill Pickett’s son, the family’s hens have become productive, sometimes laying enough eggs to give away.

PHOTO BY HENRY A. BARRIOS

asparagus. The large pots steaming on the stovetop lent her kitchen a laboratory feel. “I only use produce that’s cheap or reasonable,” she explained, immersing clean jars into boiling water for sterilization. With tongs she lifted one out, tossed in peppers and spices with asparagus spears and filled the remaining space with a mix of vinegar, salt and water. Finally, Two of Jill Pickett’s four she used a towel to wipe the lip of hens run around their pen. the jar. “There should be nothing between the lid and the seal,” she worth the reward. said, returning the full jar back to the boiling “It’s exciting for a kid to see the life water. cycle,” Pickett said. After 10 minutes, Dewane-Pope pulled And, added bonus, the family hasn’t the jars out, and we listened for the sharp bought eggs from the grocery store in two crack that announces a sealed lid. Once years. cooled, the asparagus is stored in a cabinet “I think if anyone has the space to do it, along with jars of salsa, jalapenos, olives, (raising chickens is) great,” Pickett said. pears, apples and jellies, which are assemRaising chickens has been a learning bled each Christmas in intensely-coveted process for the Pickett family and they have gift baskets for friends and family. gotten advice from the Internet, how-to

BACKYARD CHICKENS Two years ago, when their son Tom turned 8, Jill and Keith Pickett got him chickens for his birthday. Initially the tiny, fluffy chicks required a lot of caretaking, but the effort has been

books and neighbors’ wisdom. The Picketts live on a large property near Lamont, so space is never an issue, though the safety of the chickens is. Loose dogs and coyotes are always on the prowl, so the family keeps the birds in an outdoor pen during the day and

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PHOTO BY ROD THORNBURG

Chunks of frozen goat’s milk, grape seed oil and shea butter are a few ingredients for soap making.

Continued from page 93 in the barn at night. But when they stop laying, are these chickens destined to become Sunday dinner? “There’s no way I could eat them,” Pickett said. “They’re pets to me.”

HOMEMADE SOAP When the Lane family sits down to eat, most of what’s on

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the table comes from their own backyard. They have a summer and winter garden, egg-laying chickens, meat chickens, goats and ducks, as well as one very protective dog. The Lanes make their own cheese and soap, and food that can’t be eaten immediately gets canned, dehydrated or frozen. They grow their own food for health as well as spiritual reasons. “I have a strong conviction that God gave us everything we need,” Ona Lane explained. I joined Ona and her 15-year-old daughter, Tabitha, for a lesson in soap making. Tabitha wore a long-sleeve shirt, safety glasses and gloves for the undertaking. “You have to show respect for the lye,” Ona said. First weighing the lye (to check the proper amounts she referred to a soap calculator app on her iPad), Tabitha then added it to a small pan of water. After the magic of chemistry caused the lye to heat up the water, Tabitha added large chunks of frozen goat’s milk. Carefully Ona poured the lye and goat milk mixture into a pot of melted shea butter, grape seed oil and coconut oil. Then came the long process of mixing everything together with an immersion blender. Once the mixture was the thickness of custard, Tabitha quickly poured it into soap molds. After aging for four to six weeks, the soap will be ready to be used by the family or passed out at church as gifts.

Bakersfield Life Magazine

April 2014

Look for the #6 or “EPS” inside the recycling symbol

Requirements Must be clean. Remove any tape or labels.


Ona Lane and her daughter, Tabitha Lane, complete the final step of soap making, pouring the mixture into molds.

bakersfieldlife.com

PHOTO BY ROD THORNBURG

PHOTO BY ROD THORNBURG

Ona Lane carefully pours lye and goat milk mixture into a pot of melted shea butter, grape seed oil and coconut oil.

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HOME AND GARDEN

By Chelsea Brewer

Photos courtesy of Tonya Davidson

O

wning a piece of vintage property is a popular goal. From the original hardwood flooring to the arched doorways, a vintage home is filled with charm and uniqueness. “From a green standpoint, how can you be more green than recycling a whole house?” said vintage homeowner Bernadette Ferguson. She has owned and restored two different homes, both built in the 1920s. But what is it about an older home that makes them so desirable? “We chose to purchase an older home because of the charm and character you don’t get in newer homes.” Ferguson explained. “I love homes from the ’20s as they have big molding everywhere. The quality of construction is superior to that found in newer homes. Both our houses survived the 1950s earthquake. They just don’t make them like they used to.” For Rob and Tonya Davidson, updating a 1940s house in downtown Bakersfield was a “labor of love.” “The home had a lot of charm and potential,” Tonya said. “Some of the motivating factors to buy it were the price, the location (corner lot), recent upgrades by the previ-

VINTAGE REAL ESTATE

Living in (and fixing up) a piece of history

The existing kitchen in Tanya Davidson’s 1940s house had pressboard cabinets, Formica counters and dated appliances.

This area was completely gutted. The kitchen and the pony wall and coat closet were removed.

After remodeling, the new cabinetry goes all the way to the ceiling, and the layout is much more functional. New quartz countertops and white subway tile created a clean, contemporary look. 96

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April 2014


To give the space a more open feel, header beams and partial walls between the rooms in Davidson’s house were removed.

ous owner, including new roof and windows.” But, of course, with all the coziness and character of a lovely antique home, a little rain must fall. After all, some homes are 100 or more years old and not without their problems. One thing for homeowners to keep in mind is plumbing. Older homes were originally built with galvanized pipes, which would pick up interior scaling. “Galvanized piping is not rust proof, and it slows down the process,” says Everett Gray from DreamMaker Bath and Kitchen. “These pipes tend to deteriorate the inner line. Also a scale builds up, reduces the inside diameter and causes low water pressure. Re-piping a house only takes a few days. Copper pipes have been replacing galvanized pipes for years, but the joints in copper piping have been known to breakdown. A newer, flexible plastic pipe can replace both galvanized and copper piping. It’s pricier than copper piping, but Gray said it’s worth the expense. “It’s more expensive, but its failure rate is almost non-existent,” Gray said. Another problem that could arise in older homes is electrical system troubles. Older homes had fuse boxes, but modern homes have their own breaker systems. There was also electrical wiring in the walls and attic called knob and tube that often caused fires and should be replaced immediately if found in an older home. Angela Hupp knows this well. She owns a rental property built in 1922 and lives in a home built in 1949. “I had to bring all the electric up to code,” she said. “All the appliances were upgraded. I didn’t want to modernize it too much, though. I liked that vintage feel.” Tonya and her husband also encountered electrical issues, as well as other surprises as they set about gutting and redoing their new find. “There had apparently been numerous sub-standard electrical and plumbing repairs over the years, which our contractors upgraded and dealt with as they were discovered,” Tonya said. “We added all new plumbing fixtures and lighting.” There are plenty of projects that a vintage homeowner can do to modernize a home without losing that antique charm: adding double- or triple-paned windows, restoring the original flooring, or installing insulation, which most older homes were built without. “A professional came in to sand down to the original floors. All the old linoleum was removed and replaced with new tile. I added a back deck and front porch,” Hupp said of her renovation projects.

Continued on page 99 bakersfieldlife.com

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Before the remodel, the bathroom layout was very impractical, considering the house has only one bath.

Tanya Davidson and her husband revamped the bathroom in their vintage home. New tile floors, tiled shower and chrome shower enclosure were added. The old vanity was painted and resurfaced with a custom quartz top.

During the renovations, floors were removed to repair water damage and reconfigure the placement of fixtures.

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Continued from page 97 “It’s ongoing. I like renovating, it’s enjoyable. It’s a good retirement project!” Gray from DreamMaker recommends calling professionals in when dealing with overlooked but serious issues that can accompany an older home. “Any asbestos buildup needs to be removed in an environmentally correct way. And any houses built prior to 1978 could have lead paint,” he cautioned. But even with the quirks that come with an older property, renovating a vintage house to turn it into your family’s home can create a timeless reward. “There is something to be said about reviving a home that is almost 100 years old,” Ferguson said. “There’s a sense of satisfaction. You look at the beauty of each home in a vintage neighborhood and you see individuality, craftsmanship and homes that have stood the test of time. I would do it again a thousand times!” Tonya also found that the challenges of updating an older home paid off — she and her husband just finished the overhaul of their older home in February. “The process was a bit trying at times, to our patience and our pocketbook! Plus, it took a bit longer than we anticipated,” Tonya said. “However, looking back, I’m glad we took our time, and did things the right way. The home is now producing income as a rental, and our new tenants are thrilled with their home.”

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HISTORY

HISTORIC UNION CEMETERY Union Cemetery serves as the resting place for local historic figures By Jeff Nickell

O

ne can tell a great deal about a city by its cemeteries. Twenty-four local teachers encountered such opportunity firsthand by exploring cemeteries in Boston, Washington, D.C., Gettysburg, Philadelphia, and New York City as part of a special project. Many of the teachers were already enamored by the historic tellings of cemeteries. But it was right here in Bakersfield that wowed them the most thanks to Dr. Thomas Connors of Northern Iowa University who led a seminar on cemeteries, mausoleums, parks, and the like (not all places where people are buried are referred to as a cemetery). During his stay in Bakersfield, Connors spent time in the archives at the Beale Library, the Hall of Records, and Historic Union Cemetery researching the story behind some of the people buried at, as well as places within, the cemetery. In just a few days, he made the Historic Union Cemetery a treasure trove for the teachers. Some fun facts he learned: • Charles Averill Barlow, born 1858 and died 1927, originally from Cleveland, Ohio, was a farmer and businessman.

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Headstones in Union Cemetery.

COURTESY OF THE KERN COUNTY MUSEUM USED BY PERMISSION

Members of the NJROTC perform a flag folding and escort to the monument during a Pearl Harbor Day Remembrance Ceremony at Historic Union Cemetery.

Submit your best photos in three categories: historic graves, memorial beauty and creative eye. Entries may be submitted from April 1 through May 31. Judging will take place in mid-June. First through third place and an honorable mention will be awarded in each category. The four awardees in each category will be featured in Historic Union Cemetery’s 2015 calendar. Visit www.UnionCemetery1872.com for the full list of rules. For information, call 324-9648.

PHOTO BY CASEY CHRISTIE

Historic Union Cemetery presents the “Forever in Focus” photo contest

He entered the political arena becoming a member of the California State Assembly in 1892, serving only one term. He was chairman of the California Populist Party State Convention in 1896 and was elected as a Populist to the 55th United States Congress in 1897. His home in downtown Bakersfield is now the Guild House run by volunteers to raise funds for the Henrietta Weill Child Guidance Clinic. • One headstone in Potter’s Field reads, “Here sleeps an unknown mother and her infant son mysteriously murdered April 18, 1923 and sympathetically buried by residents of Kern County.” A potter’s field is a place for burial of unknown or indigent people, a term that comes from


COURTESY OF THE KERN COUNTY MUSEUM USED BY PERMISSION

Veterans Day at Union Cemetery in 1965.

X Matthew 27:7. • Connors emphasized learning about history in a cemetery is not just about looking to the long-ago past. He conducted research on Vivian Prunty Tucker who was born December 14, 1929 and passed away in 2007. Connors found out what many longtime residents and most historians already knew (that she was teacher before entering a career in television, becoming the face of Kern County history). These are just some examples delving into the significance of the cemetery where Col. Thomas Baker was laid to rest in 1872 — the same year that Union Cemetery was established. The 141-year-old cemetery continues today and is generally bounded by East Fourth St. and Virginia Avenue to the south, E. Potomac Avenue to the north, S. Tulare Street to the east, and S. Owens Street to the west (although a smaller section does sit just north of Potomac Avenue). But, if you are interested in the old history of Bakersfield, you will want to visit Pioneer Section in the southwest corner of the main cemetery. Union Cemetery is home to many local historic figures and founding fathers. There are so many worth discovering, but here is a small glimpse into who is buried there: • Benjamin Brundage was the Kern’s first Superior Court judge and, of course, Brundage Lane is named to honor him. But, did you know he was born on a farm in Ohio in 1834 and moved to California to practice law? He presided over the ‘water wars’ between the Kern Jim McKinney County Land Company (Haggin and Carr) and Miller and Lux, among others. He also helped wrest the county seat to Bakersfield from Havilah. Judge Brundage died in 1911. • The lawmen who fought in what many now consider the last ‘Old West Shootout’: City Marshal Jeff Packard, Deputy Sheriff Will Tibbett, and Bert Tibbett. These brave souls tracked down the murderous Jim McKinney and an inferno of gun-fire erupted. Packard and

Continued on page 102 bakersfieldlife.com

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Continued from page 101 Will Tibbett were killed by McKinney and his fellow outlaw Al Hulse. Bert Tibbett then killed McKinney and Hulse was jailed for murder, eventually committing suicide while waiting on a court appeal. The battle took place at 22nd and L streets in downtown Bakersfield after McKinney led lawmen/possies throughout the west and Mexico after he had gone on a killing spree in Porterville. McKinney was buried in his family’s plot in Porterville. • Nearly 100 Union Civil War veterans are buried mostly near the Civil War monument near the lower southwest quadrant of the Pioneer Section at Union Cemetery. There are 17 Confederate soldiers buried throughout the site. Kern County would become a haven for many Southern sympathizers, including Asbury Harpending (not buried in the cemetery but the person who is credited for naming Havilah, the first government seat of Kern County). Today, all of the Civil War veterans, as well as those of other wars, buried at the cemetery are recognized annually as part of Memorial Day celebrations. • Captain Elisha Stephens, born 1818 in St. Louis, Miss., was an early California explorer who led the first wagon train safely over the Sierra Nevada Mountains. He was a trapper and farmer, but his exploits of conquering the mountains to allow for wagon travel is what makes him one of Bakersfield’s most famous pioneers.

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Writer’s Note: Information for this article came from the Historic Union Cemetery, as well as an interview with General Manager Dave Hepburn, Noriega Hotel, and past articles the author has written on Kern County Pioneers. Writer Jeff Nickell is executive director of the Kern Adult Literacy Council. If you would be interested in becoming a volunteer tutor, please call 324-3213.

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• Faustino Noriega was born in France in 1856. He was part of the Basque immigration to the United States and particularly to the southern San Joaquin Valley. After being a sheepherder throughout California, he made East Bakersfield his home, or what was then known as Sumner. Most will know him by the restaurant and hotel he and Fernando Etcheverry established in 1893. Noriega Hotel is a true landmark that still serves family-style Basque food and is recognized as the last Basque boardinghouse/restaurant in the world. Local historian John Codd has given many tours of the cemetery and the cemetery itself has a wonderful brochure showing the locations of grave sites. From April 12 through October 11, the cemetery will start day and night tours the second Saturday of each month. The tours will last approximately 90 minutes. The Bakersfield Historic Preservation Commission designated the cemetery as a city historical place in October 2012. A contest is also planned to capture the beauty of Union Cemetery. See infobox for more details.

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OUR TOWN

HONORING AN ALL-STAR Bakersfield High School dedicates baseball field for alum Ernie Aguirre By Emily Claffy

Photos by Casey Christie

O

n a gray Saturday morning in February, Bakersfield High School baseball enthusiasts gathered at the field at 2nd and P streets for the school’s annual Driller Baseball Alumni Game. But this year’s event was more than just a game; it was an opportunity to honor Ernie Aguirre, a former Bakersfield High School baseball star and professional athlete. On Feb. 8, the field was dedicated in his name. BHS baseball coach Logan Street said the Aguirre family,

Photos of Ernie Aguirre playing with the BHS drillers and the Philadelphia Phillies’ minor league system, right, were on display during the Driller Field dedication. Pat Skrable, a longtime friend of Aguirre’s, was the main speaker at the event. 104

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A sign atop the backstop proclaiming the site “Ernie Aguirre Field” was unveiled at the field's dedication in February. the Kern High School District, BHS administrators and BHS baseball supporters worked together to make the Feb. 8 event special.


“We wanted to tie in the alumni game with the field dedication to bring the community together to celebrate a great man,” Street said. Ernie graduated from Bakersfield High School in 1966 and was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies straight out of high school. He played for the team’s farm system for about a year until he sustained an injury that ended his professional baseball career. But Ernie remained active after the injury and eventually returned to Bakersfield High School as a campus supervisor and baseball coach and earned the love and respect of many he encountered. Ernie still holds BHS’ record for triples in a single season. He died in 2006 at the age of 56 from a brain tumor. At the event honoring Ernie, the bleachers were filled with current and former Bakersfield High School baseball players and Ernie’s friends and family. Ernie’s close friend Pat Skrable spoke to the crowd,

Continued on page 106

Ernie Aguirre in his Philadelphia Phillies uniform.

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Pat Skrable, longtime friend and teammate of Ernie Aguirre’s, spoke during a field dedication to Aguirre, a 1966 BHS graduate and standout athlete. After the unveiling of the new sign for the Ernie Aguirre Field, Bakersfield High School principal David Reese hugged one of Ernie’s daughters, Amy Courson.

Continued from page 105 recounting stories of he and Ernie’s young lives together and how they grew together through their experiences on the BHS baseball team and with the Spartanburg Phillies, where they

remained teammates. “A true friend is worth more than silver and gold. A true friend is a gift from God to make us a better version of ourselves. Ernie was that and more to me and many others,” Skrable said. “Ernie was an exceptional athlete who loved baseball and the Drillers. He was quiet, humble and a great friend. He wasn’t perfect by any means, but as a ball player, teammate and friend, he was the very best.”

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Ernie Aguirre’s grandson, Dylan Courson, wore a BHS Drillers jersey with his grandfather’s name and number on the back. Annette Mercado General Contractor, C.K.D. License # 865925

Jennifer Aguirre, Ernie’s wife, reflected on Ernie’s humility and sense of humor. “When Ernie and I first started dating, he told me the only thing he was sorry about was never hitting a home run,” Jennifer said. “And the whole time he was laughing behind my back because he had hit so many.” Ernie’s three daughters, Allison Aguirre, Shannon Aguirre-Weaver and Amy Courson, also attended the celebration. “It’s a very big honor that they chose my dad to represent the Driller baseball field, and it’s a huge tribute to my family,” Amy said. “It’s special to know that our kids’ kids can come here and show that this is our family,” Allison added.

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The 2014 Bakersfield Women’s Business Conference executive board.

BAKERSFIELD WOMEN’S BUSINESS CONFERENCE Celebrating the next 25 years By Hillary Haenes

T

he Bakersfield Women’s Business Conference has a lot to celebrate this year. Not only is it the 25th anniversary of when the founding board of women first gathered, but it is a time to inspire future generations to get involved. “This conference is about the next 25 years — investing in yourself and others. It is an opportunity to be re-energized, be inspired and learn new ways of doing business. Everything from our workshops, keynote speakers and exhibitors is designed to prepare this generation of professionals — both women and men,” said Kathryn Mears, chairwoman of the 2014 Bakersfield Women’s Business Conference and academic adviser at University of La Verne. Keynote speaker, Randi Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Zuckerberg Media and editor-in-chief of Dot Complicated, will highlight the April 24th conference’s futuristic theme. Opening the conference is energetic Shira Lazar, host and executive producer of the Emmy-nominated live interactive daily show “What’s Trending,” and the closing speaker is Kim Flynn, a workshop leader for entrepreneurs and small busi108

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PHOTO SILVIA BELL

OUR TOWN

ness owners. “The BakersThe Night Before field Women’s Premiere Event Business ConferWhen: 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. April 23 ence legacy conWhere: Rabobank Arena Theater tinues to provide Cost: $20; Free for conference information, skills attendees development and encouragement 25th annual for women at Bakersfield Women’s every point of Business Conference their professional When: 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 24 life,” Mears said. Where: Rabobank Arena Theater Even if you are & Convention Center at the unable to attend Marriott Hotel the conference, Cost: $95 you won’t want to Information: miss The Night bakersfieldwomen.org or Before Premiere bakersfieldwomen@gmail.com from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. April 23 at Rabobank Theater for a chance to network and mingle. This event will roll out the teal blue carpet with a step and repeat, a photo booth, anniversary awards for longtime sponsors, live music by local jazz singer Kama Ruby and company, a fashion show, cooking demonstrations, a shopping bazaar and hors d’oeuvres from restaurants including The Petroleum Club and Chef’s Choice Noodle Bar. For information or tickets, visit bakersfieldwomen.org.


PHOTO COURTESY OF BAKERSFIELD WOMEN’S BUSINESS CONFERENCE

Shira Lazar

A CHAT WITH SHIRA LAZAR, HOST OF “WHAT’S TRENDING” Shira Lazar has established herself in the online community and beyond. This 30-year-old digital trailblazer is the host and executive producer of the Emmy-nominated “What’s Trending,” a live interactive daily show and 24-hour cyber spot for news. She hosts “Partners Project,” a talk show she created to interview popular YouTube stars. You may also spot her appearances on Bloomberg TV, CNN, and Fox News Channel talking about digital trends. This ambitious entrepreneur has even been called “the Ryan Seacrest of web TV” and has interviewed some of the biggest names in Hollywood like Larry King, Joan Rivers, Snoop Dogg and Mark Cuban. Growing up in Montreal, Lazar had a spark for performing and acting at a young age. She created fake interview questions to study and memorize information for tests. She studied communications at Boston’s Emerson College and graduated with honors in 2004. After college, Lazar moved to Los Angeles and started networking with the right people. She was hired by Wireimage.com to do celebrity interviews at red carpet events. Using her growing list of contacts, Lazar started working for other websites for free to gain experience. “I became the go-to person in L.A. for website and digital content,” Lazar said. Lazar joined the CBSNews.com team in 2009, where she launched her blog and video blog called “On the Scene.” She conducted video interviews on her phone and brought something intimate in real time to viewers. She even pitched this idea to networks as a new beat, finding out what famous people are doing in the digital realm. This led to “What’s Trending,” which she outlined later that year. “Instead of just blogging about these people, I wanted to bring them to life on a show. We wanted it to be super high quality because shows at that time were not. We didn’t want to do it half-ass because it was such an innovative idea and a territory that had not been covered yet,” Lazar said. It took a year to get a sponsor, but in 2011, Lazar launched the digital show. She continues to grow her business and aspires to create a global multi-platform media company in the future. Lazar wants to be everywhere and share what’s trending around the world. “I’m passionate about this type of programming and passionate about evolving it for the next generation,” Lazar said. Check out more of the interview online at bakersfieldlife.com

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HOW TO

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ave you considered how much energy is being wasted in your home? The average air conditioning system is 58 percent efficient. If you could get the full potential out of your system or at least 90 percent, why not have an energy audit performed? An energy audit will pinpoint where energy is being lost and how to save money. The average home has an air leakage equivalent to a two-square-foot hole. That’s like running your air conditioning system with the window halfway open 24 hours a day. If you could pinpoint the leaks and seal them, that would save you 5 percent to 30 percent on utility cost, and that’s just the beginning. The audit will determine what home performance enhancements would be most beneficial to you. The auditor will analyze your energy bills, learn about

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A blower door test is part of an energy audit. your needs and wants, explain the audit process, conduct an energy inspection, assess the electrical for safety, perform a blower door test and analyze the finding to create your home performance evaluation. Visit www.322cool.com for more information.

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A thorough energy audit includes a duct test.


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STREETS OF BAKERSFIELD

BRIMHALL ROAD AND CALLOWAY DRIVE Story and photos by Mark Nessia

F

rom international fare to active life accoutrements, the businesses near the intersection of Brimhall Road and Calloway Drive offer an array of tasty goods and services. Stop by to pick up anything from a floral arrangement to new biking gear or drop in to grab a delicious dinner or a couple bits and bobbles to adorn your home.

PHOTO BY MARK NESSIA

1 Sushi Moon

The Sushi Moon Special

Calloway Dr.

Harvey Ct.

(1120 Calloway Drive, Unit 100) is a new-age fusion sushi restaurant with a warm, inviting and modern atmosphere. The sushi menu offers nearly 100 different types of regular, fresh, tempura and baked rolls to go, along with combo plates and daily specials. There is also an extensive selection of wine and sake designed to perfectly pair with any entree. Fresh ingredients paired with artistic presentation make every dish a feast for the senses.

7

N

Action Sports has an extensive selection of bike, snow, swim and climbing gear.

2 Victor’s Mexican Grill

(9500 Brimhall Road, Suite 504) dishes up restaurant-style food with a fast-food concept. Victor’s Mexican Grill is where casual dining meets healthy eating. With nearly 30 ingredients to choose from, including low-calorie options like brown rice, wheat tortillas, cactus and tilapia, customers can create unique burritos, bowls, tacos, salads and quesadillas while remaining health conscious. Breakfast is available Monday through Saturday from 8 to 10:30 a.m. and a special “ghost” menu is available to those Victor’s Mexican Grill who know where to look.

3 Action Sports 42 3 5 6 8 9 Brimhall Rd.

1

(9500 Brimhall Road, Suite 400) specializes in bike, snow, swim and climbing gear and accessories, but this is more than just a sporting goods store. Full labor departments keep equipment running smoothly. Twelve inhouse physical exercise classes are taught each week, and the store offers a rock wall with instructors who give pointers at no extra charge. The sports nutrition department teaches people how to eat properly for sports-related activities and a juice bar is coming soon to serve up gelato, coffee, smoothies and light snacks.

4 Sugar Twist Bakery

(9500 Brimhall Road, Suite 507) is a doughnut café that serves up sweets with a unique twist. Sugar Twist doesn’t just make glazed doughnuts; they throw freshly cooked bacon on them. A maple bar for breakfast? That’s not enough. They stuff it with sausage, bacon, eggs and cheese. Then there’s the doughnut bar, which allows customers to create custom doughnuts with their choice of frosting and toppings. There’s also a wide variety of cupcakes, pastries and custom cakes.

PHOTO COURTESY OF LAINE ALEXANDER

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Sugar Twist’s Make Me Happy sandwich


PHOTO BY MARK NESSIA

6

Beladagio (9500 Brimhall

Road, Suite 705) is where beautiful homes begin. From home furniture to accessories, fabrics and gifts for every occasion, Beladagio delivers a delightful shopping experience paired with extraordinary personal service. Greeting cards and complimentary gift wrapping make it a great one-stop shop for gifts. Exclusive items like Trollbeads, Sid Dickens memory blocks and Uno de 50 jewelry are unique gift options. Beladagio Beladagio also offers complete interior design services, including creating custom furniture, space planning, in-home accessorizing and more.

ates relaxing, eco-friendly environments for residential and commercial properties. The addition of See’s Garden Caffé offers visitors gourmet coffee, smoothies and snacks while they look around or relax in the patio area. Classes such as rose pruning, water gardens and bonsai trimming are also available.

8 Privato Salon & Spa

(9500 Brimhall Road, Suite 306) is a full-service salon and spa that specializes in creating a private atmosphere for clients. Salon services include balayage, facials, manicures and pedicures, waxing and massages, including Swedish, deep tissue, hot stone to pre-natal. Privato is Oribe-exclusive and a L’Oreal Professionnel Salon.

PHOTO BY MARK NESSIA

O. See-Em-Bloom Nursery & Landscaping

Privato Salon & Spa

9 Uniquely Chic Florist & Boutique

(9500 Brimhall Road, Suite 701) specializes in creating custom floral designs that are, as the name suggests, unique and chic. Whether it’s for weddings, special events or just to say, “I love you,” the design team ensures every arrangement is carefully selected and designed and guaranteed to exceed expectations. Grab-andtake arrangements are also available for those on the go, as well as a selection of potted plants. Uniquely Chic’s gift shop has an extensive selection of crosses and fleur-de-lis and also features Tyler Candles and inspirational plaques and signs.

O. See-Em-Bloom 7 Nursery & Landscaping

(1416 Calloway Drive) has everything customers need to spruce up their home garden or build a design from scratch. This boutique nursery carries specialty plants that thrive in Bakersfield’s climate. Full-service landscaping cre-

PHOTO BY MARK NESSIA

Jezabelle’s offers high-end men’s and women’s apparel.

(9500 Brimhall Road, Suite 303) brings L.A. fashion to Bakersfield via high-end clothing with a personal touch. Clothing made from high-quality materials like bamboo cotton, Italian denim and silk ensures high durability with unmatched comfort. Jezabelle’s also carries classic, elegant pieces of jewelry from select L.A. designers, as well as purses and fragrances.

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PHOTO BY MARK NESSIA

PHOTO BY MARK NESSIA

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IN MY CLOSET

THEO DOUGLAS Vintage style at its best By Hillary Haenes

Photos by April Massirio

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ooking the part of an old school reporter, Theo Douglas arrives to work dressed pretty spiffy every day. Typically clad in a suit and tie, the 43-yearold, who covers the city government beat at The Bakersfield Californian, has certainly gained style cred in the newsroom. Although it may appear that Douglas wears a lot of vintage threads to work, he’s mastered mixing classic pieces with newer finds inspired by the 1950s and 1960s. “I try to wear a suit or separates and a tie because I think it demonstrates a certain respect and reverence for what I do... Many people have low expectations for reporters — I regularly encounter sources who will say something like ‘Oh, just make it up,’ when I ask them for information,” Douglas said. “Legally and ethically I can’t and I won’t, and I believe the way I dress reflects my commitment to what I do. That’s my hope, anyway.” Douglas enjoys bargain shopping for vintage pieces with his wife, Cristina. On one such excursion, they went to a closing sale at a costuming warehouse in the San Fernando Valley and discovered a pair of gray 1960s sharkskin pants and a pair of patent leather Gucci loafers that

The Bakersfield Californian city government reporter Theo Douglas always keeps it classy with his vintage-inspired wardrobe. 114

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Vintage Western shirt


were probably from the ’60s or ’70s. Another one of Douglas’ favorite finds was a vintage 1950s Duke Kahanamoku Hawaiian shirt he purchased for $2 and resold it for $150. Talk about a sweet deal!

may not be vintage, but are still made to sort of echo that sense of style. On keeping up with the latest trends: I try to be aware of fashion because I see it as part of the news. I am a reporter, after all, but I’ve never really wanted to be trendy. My ultimate goal is to simply be well dressed and not stand out too much for any reason or for the wrong reason.

Five prized possessions in my closet: A vintage blue 1960s suit with a metallic thread running through it that I was told is handmade. 1960s suit with I think Western shirts look really metallic thread cool. They’re kind of costumey, but that’s My favorite designers or brands: I’m not really not always a bad thing. My first concert was fixated on brands, but I think H&M does some nice suits — Bob Wills’ band, the Texas Playboys, at the legalthough they don’t waste an inch of material. Nordstrom is a endary Palomino Club in North Hollywood, so good store, of course. I miss Banana Republic catit’s probably an understatement to say I’m a fan of alogs from the 1980s. It is a totally different vintage country, folk and rockabilly. Somewhere in the ripple, store now, but I still think Banana Republic I got into vintage Western wear, too. has some good pieces. And I’ve had good A vintage Navy peacoat with anchor experiences wearing Kenneth Cole buttons. My dad always wore a peashoes. coat when I was growing up, and it makes me think of him when I wear Where I shop: Aside from the it. stores mentioned above, I’ve been A pair of black-and-white on eBay as a buyer and seller spectators I don’t wear much, since 1999, so I am able to find a but again, they’re vintage, lot of things there. pointy, and I think they look good. My biggest fashion A 1950s Clicker car club faux pas: Wearing way too jacket by Lakeland. This is litermuch vintage! ally what car club members were wearing during the 1950s and 1960s — One staple every Black and white spectator shoes the only difference being that no one man should have in his from a club ever owned this one, so it closet: Good pairs of dress never got a car club logo. Years ago when I covered Orange shoes in black and brown ... County for OC Weekly, the guys at the RVCA sportswear comand a shoeshine kit that Navy peacoat with pany in Costa Mesa borrowed this jacket from me to gets used. anchor buttons inspire one they were working on. Fashion advice: My personal style: In previous years, I Dress like you’re serious and don’t be afraid to be nicely wore a lot of vintage, and I was much dressed or even a little over-dressed. more interested in the way people There’s a ton of guys out there dressed in the 1940s and 1950s. When whom I’m sure are afraid of dressI came to Bakersfield nine months ing well because they don’t ago, I was moving in the direction understand it and think it’s of 1960s suits — two- or threeuncomfortable and too button jackets, skinny lapels, expensive. You can do it slim cut and skinny ties — my without spending too favorite suit style. This is much money. And if you where the style is right now wear a suit and tie to — although cuts are getcourt, there’s always ting fuller again and the chance the bailiff lapels are getting will think you’re an wider. I wear suits, attorney, which has jackets and pants Lakeland Clicker happened to me. that many times

car club jacket from the 1950s

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PHOTO BY HENRY A. BARRIOS

PERSONALITY

Harry Love is the president of the Kern Audubon Society.

LEADER OF THE FLOCK Retired teacher glides into leadership with the Kern Audubon Society By Lisa Kimble

K

ern Audubon Society president Harry Love has heard just about every bird pun and joke around. And it doesn’t ruffle his feathers one bit. In fact, Love welcomes any conversation involving birds. “Think about it. Nobody every says anything bad about birds,” he said. “You will never be bored with a bird. That bird is providing me with enjoyment, visually, and with its sounds. You have a commitment to make sure it is back again tomorrow to be able to be seen again.” Love assumed his leadership role with the local Audubon Society back in September but sees his job and the task of the 116

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group’s members as more about good stewardship. “Our mantra is ‘Birds matter.’ Birds are built in our culture, phrases and sayings so let’s take advantage of that, follow through and protect them,” Love said. Named after American woodsman John James Audubon, at one time this country’s preeminent wildlife artist, the organization’s mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds and other wildlife and their habitats. Likewise, Love, as local ambassador, sees the membership of the society as the protectors of policy and custodians of local habitats. “Our goal is that the county, city, state and national government provide policies that can sustain and protect habitats and that is our big concern locally,” he said. Of equal concern is wind energy, of which Kern County is a major producer. “Where do you place wind turbines?” Love asked. “There is a balance, the location where turbines are placed and also an area where birds are. The location is important for the producer of the wind power and the protectors of eagles, raptors.”


The Kern Audubon Society, which was established in 1973, is about 480 members strong and growing, according to Love. “We have members who don’t even have binoculars (and) people who can hear a bird and instantly identify it,” he said of the makeup of the membership. Now in its 41st year, the local chapter was the sixth established in California. These days, members call themselves “computer environmentalists” who lobby electronically for many environmental issues. “Our main objective is to get information to the decision makers before public hearings The Kern Audubon Society meets at 7 p.m. are held,” Love said. “We are on the first Tuesday of citizen scientists, we educate every month at the Kern our members, and they take County Superintendent that information and educate of Schools building at 17th and L streets. others.” A native of Los Angeles, Love came to Kern to interview for a teaching job with the high school district. “I figured I would stay one year, and that would be it, but 47 years later, I’m still here,” he laughed. Love met his wife, a fellow teacher, here and together they raised three boys.

Continued on page 118

PHOTO BY FELIX ADAMO

An Eared Grebe spotted at an Kern Audubon Society outing drifts by the reflection of brush at the Kern National Wildlife Refuge.

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“Our goal is to (reach out) to younger people and educate them, not just about birds, but about the environment.” — Harry Love

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Continued from page 117 Nine years ago the social studies instructor retired, but he wasn’t content to sit idle. “I don’t want to sit at home and watch TV. As a retired teacher, I have a duty to use my knowledge and skills in the community,” he said emphatically. “Everyone should volunteer, especially retirees.” Love is also involved with the We the People and Mock Trial high school programs and describes himself as a ‘beginning birder.’ He counts the hummingbird among his favorite birds. With Love as its leader, the local society is reaching out to younger audiences as well. “Our goal is to (reach out) to younger people and educate them, not just about birds, but about the environment,” Love said. Much of that education takes place at the pristine Panorama Vista Preserve below the Bluffs. The society recently held a science camp for students from Edison at the preserve, and the society has plans to conduct more educational programs targeting urban centers with the greatest need. “We have an urban message and it starts at home. The more you can do in your own backyard, the better life is,” Love said.


REAL PEOPLE

TREES’ COMPANY Certified Arborist Conway Lopez of General Tree Service, Inc. Compiled by Kevin McCloskey

B

akersfield native, Conway Lopez has been in the tree business most of his life. Owner and operator of General Tree Service, Inc., Lopez continues to run the business his father began in 1945, handling tree care, trimming, removal and just about everything else in the tree industry. A graduate of East High in 1979, and Bakersfield College after that, Lopez is the proud parent of four children, including twin 7-year-olds, with his wife, Elizabeth. He is an active member of the St. Francis Church and a board member of the Tree Foundation of Kern, a nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing our community by planting trees and keeping them healthy.

GETTING INTO THE BUSINESS

THE FAMILY TREE My father started the business in 1945, and at its peak he had 19 employees with me as the

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Arborist Conway Lopez with his dog, Bowser, next to a chipper used by General Tree Service workers.

PHOTO BY CASEY CHRISTIE

I have been a certified arborist for 11 years and worked in the arboriculture industry since I was 6 and old enough to pull branches. On a day-to-day basis, we’ll trim trees, cut and structure, prune dead wood, remove diseased or hazardous trees, and do replants. If you have a tree that is sick, I’ll diagnose the problem and recommend treatment. We have different challenges every day. To become certified with the International Society of Arboriculture, you have to have a minimum of three years working with a tree company, a nursery, or similar business in the arboriculture industry, pass a 200-question exam, and abide by a professional code of ethics. We have training and safety meetings in the office every morning, and continuing education is an important part of the work. A true arborist will go out on a limb to save and protect your tree, instead of just trying to get into your pockets.


Conway Lopez’s picks for trees to plant in Bakersfield

Chinese elm

Chinese pistache

Flowering pear

Raywood ash

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Continued from page 120

TAKING ON CHALLENGES

youngest. Over the years the business began to consolidate, but I stayed on, and took over when my father passed away in 1986. I was 25 at the time, and I modernized the company with myself as the only employee. Now we are back up to more than 20 employees. Most of our work is here in Kern County, but we have traveled as far Louisiana and Florida after the devastation from Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Ike.

Probably (the most difficult problem I’ve handled was) when a regular customer called and asked me to get their cat out of a tree. I climbed the tree and made the mistake of putting the cat in my jacket. I will never try that again.

WATCHING OUT FOR THE TREES OF BAKERSFIELD Wind is one of our big issues in Bakersfield. We often have two to three big windstorms every year that take out trees and fences. When the trees are too dense, they can easily split or fall over. To prevent these problems people should have their trees inspected once a year to make sure they are not too heavy or in danger from a good windstorm. Depending on the type of tree, they should probably be pruned every one to three years. We have some new diseases and pests that need to be dealt with. In the last year, we’ve seen oleanders, one of our hardiest plants in Kern County, being attacked by verticillium wilt. To save the oleanders, you have to remove the diseased parts while trying not to infect the healthy wood. It’s tricky.

WHAT TO PLANT IN BAKERSFIELD The Chinese pistache is very low maintenance, has great fall colors, and it doesn’t have many diseases or pests. I also recommend the Raywood ash, the flowering pear and the Chinese elm. I would avoid eucalyptus trees, birch trees, and especially redwoods. The redwoods require too much water, and they are difficult to keep healthy in our climate. Overwatering is one of the biggest problems I deal with that causes trees to decline, especially in our clay soil. Watering your trees too much will cause root rot and actually reduce the amount of water being drawn up into the tree. It will also increase the likelihood of diseases and insects that will damage the tree. Another problem we have is from homeowners hiring an unlicensed tree service who will often “top” their trees making them more susceptible to secondary problems like disease and insect infestations.

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FIT AND FRESH

SPRING INTO CLEANING THIS SEASON Tips for DIY cleaners, organizing your home By Sally Baker and Katie Kirschenmann

W

hen you’re scrubbing away for spring cleaning, it’s tempting to rely on harsh cleaners like ammonia and bleach to do the job. If you have someone sensitive to bad air living in your house, try to avoid harsh cleaners altogether. DIY cleaners pack a powerful punch and smell great. Try these five ingredients for DIY cleaning. Baking Soda: The staple deodorizer your mom kept in the fridge is also a gentle scrub and polishes shiny surfaces without scratching. Distilled Vinegar: Vinegar disinfects, breaks up dirt and grease, kills mold and cleans up mineral deposits. Essential Oils: Aromatic plant oils like tea tree, eucalyptus and lavender are natural disinfectants. A few drops added to DIY cleansers will add fragrance and cleaning power. Lemon: The acid in lemon juice can actually act like bleach. Avoid using lemon juice on stone and porous surfaces. Use a half a lemon with salt to clean wooden cutting boards and butcher-block countertops. Follow with a quick wipe down of olive oil to condition the wood. Castile Soap: Good ole Dr. Bronner’s castile soaps can be found just about everywhere these days. Dr. Bronner’s is an old school all-purpose soap. If DIY cleaning solutions aren’t your thing, 124

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ed 5 tomatoe s (the kind on the vine) 1/2 cup sp , chopped inach, cho p p ed 1/4 cup cila ntro, chop ped 1/4 cup red onion, cho pped 1 teaspoon flax oil 1 teaspoon ground fla x seeds 1/4 teaspo on chili po w der Juice of 1/ 2 lemon 1/4 cup hu mmus Bell peppe r, red or ora nge, chopp Salt and p ed epper to ta ste Put all ingre together, ke dients together in a b eping the hummus chowl and blend Enjoy as a unky. dip with ch crusty who o le grain bre pped vegetables or with a ad.

PHOTO BY KATIE KIRSCHENMANN

Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day products and a multipurpose cleaner from Trader Joe’s provide powerful cleaning. Trader Joe’s reusable kitchen rags hold up well.

there are great, easy-to-find products that are natural and clean very effectively. Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day products are awesome. Mrs. Meyer’s smells amazing and is super effective. Find Meyers at Target, WinCo Foods and Vons. Trader Joe’s sells a sage and cedarwood all-purpose cleaner that is less expensive but gets the job done. Trader Joe’s also sells the best reusable kitchen rags. They work and hold up to strenuous cleaning.

SPRING CLEANING, NATURALLY Spring is here, ushering in that time of year when we feel compelled to clean, organize and straighten out our homes. With three little ones, two of whom are toddlers, it is so important for our home to be clean and organized. But chaos inevitably encroaches in cupboards, closets and drawers. All of us have an inner hoarder forcing us to hold onto meaningless objects and scraps of paper. And then there’s the teenager within us that throws clothes on the floor and shoves laundry into drawers when we are scrambling to get out of the house or make dinner. Disarray happens. The best way to keep a house orderly is to sincerely enjoy organizing and cleaning. When the clutter is cleared away, your attitude is fresher, your mind is quicker and your home is happier. Don’t roll your eyes; it is possible to enjoy cleaning. There is no better feeling than opening a neat drawer or pantry and actually finding what you are looking for. Here are five tips to keep your space clutter-free all year round: Put a lid on it

Group objects, toys and utensils in containers, mason jars

PHOTO BY SALLY BAKE R

CHUNKY A VOCADO HUMMUS 2 avocado s, chopp

and baskets. But be careful not to fall prey to the “out-of-sight, out-of-mind” trap. Be thoughtful of what you’re putting away, always group and organize by function and use. Birds of a feather

Rather than spreading things around, put like objects together. Pull all your books together in one place. Place bowls, wooden spoons and other kitchen objects together. Not only does it look great, it also keeps things in order and easier to find things. Edit

When in doubt, get rid of it. Avoid holding on to things. If you haven’t used it, worn it or seen it in a year, you don’t need it, but chances are there is someone else who does. Donate what you don’t need to Goodwill or the Assistance League’s Bargain Box. You’ll free your life of excess stuff while helping others. Color coordinate

Try grouping colors together. Organizing objects and books together by color is magical! It makes things look instantly put together. Not only is this a good organizing trick, it’s also a fabulous design trick. Five minutes a day

Spend five minutes a day organizing a space in your home. Even if it’s just the junk drawer, it will be five minutes well spent conquering clutter and keep your household happy and fresh!

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Continued from page 125

SPRING INTO THESE APRIL EVENTS: April 5, CASA Superhero Run • 5K/10 mile/2K walk, family fun activities. • 10 miler at 8 a.m., 5K at 8:30 a.m., 2K at 9 a.m. • Location: Rio Bravo Ranch, 15701 Highway 178 • Cost is $35 10 mile/5K, $25 2K run/walk, $10 children on race day. • Visit www.kerncasa.org for information and entry form. April 12, 5K for The Mission at Kern County • Registration 6:30 to 7:30 a.m., race starts at 8 a.m. • Location: CALM, Alfred Harrell Highway, same course as Bakersfield Track Club Summer Series. • Cost is $25 for students age 10 to 19, $30 for 5K, $35 after April 11. • Sign up at UltraSignup.com. Contact race director Jamie Durham at jdurham@themissionkc.org. April 19, Bena Road Time Trial • 20K or 10K for beginner cyclists, a fun race with a fast pace. • Location: 3.5 miles east of Comanche Drive on Edison Highway/Bena Road. • 8 to 8:50 a.m. registration, race start at 9 a.m. • Cost is $20 per racer. Contact allactionracing@gmail.com. April 26, Poker Run/Walk 5K • Location: CALM, Alfred Harrell Highway • 8 a.m. race start • Cost for preregistration is $20 for Bakersfield Track Club members, $25 for non-members, $12 for students.

• Race day registration is $25 for Track Club members, $30 for non-members. • Race is a benefit for the East Bakersfield High School Scholarship Fund. • Runners will receive envelopes at mile one, two and three. Runners will turn in their envelopes to reveal their poker hands and awards will be given to the best poker hand. • Call 872-9554 or email race director Leslie King at runless@gmail.com.

EXERCISE OF THE MONTH: SKATER CROSS REACH Start with the left foot and right fingertips on the floor next to each other. Hop the right foot way across to the left foot behind you. Switching sides, jump the right foot back to start line and hop the left foot way behind and over to the right, placing the left fingertips next to the right foot. Reach as far over as you can with that back foot. Keep this exercise going for one minute, trying to hop lightly from one side to the other. You will find it is high cardio. If you can do it for one minute a day without being too out of breath, work up to 90 seconds, then 2 minutes. This exercise strengthens legs beautifully, but most specifically glutes. You may feel a good pain in the butt the next day! This is a good exercise for runners who frequently have hamstring issues.

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H E A LT H A N D W E L L N E S S

KEEP CALM AND YOGA ON Finding tranquility within through yoga By Chelsea Brewer

Photos by Felix Adamo

Y

oga is certainly not for the weak of heart. Most of us are on our mats, dripping sweat and readjusting our ponytails for the 17th time. But once you’ve settled into Corpse Pose (or Savasana for you yogis out there) and that wave of relaxation settles over your body, you might notice that not only does your body feel great, but your mind also feels like it’s been stretched and toned. “Yoga, for me, is like getting a massage, a chiropractic adjustment, taking a nap, getting a workout, and going to church, all rolled into one,” said Kimberly Oliver, Inner Bodyworks Yoga Studio instructor. “Over the years, I’ve tried lots of ways to calm down, to quiet my mind, but yoga is the one I’ve stuck with, the one that works for me.” Yoga is well-known to be a reliever of highblood pressure and anxiety. It can also help with depression, anger, and even a broken heart. It is an excellent way to achieve an overall sense of calm and relaxation. So roll out your mat and get comfortable. Here are a few tips to achieve some inner peace through yoga: • Yogic breathing, or Pranayama, is essential to a good practice. Steadying and regulating your breath while moving your body into poses helps focus the mind and quiet excess noise in your head. “Using the breath consciously is, in and of itself, what yoga is all about. The poses are all

Instructor Tara Delis leads a class at Inner Bodyworks Yoga Studio. 128

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Students stretch in class at Inner Bodyworks Yoga Studio, a place where people can build strength, increase flexibility, and rejuvenate.

about facilitating the conscious movement of the breath through the body,” Oliver said. If you find yourself breathing too fast, slow down. Don’t allow your breath to speed up or get out of your control. Keep it even and rhythmic, and it’ll help create that warm and welcoming feeling of calm. • There are several poses you can do that are known to help achieve a more meditative or serene state. Forward bends are a good way to calm the mind and quiet any disruptive thoughts you might be having. Inverted poses are helpful for this too. But the most basic ones are Child’s Pose or Corpse Pose. By taking any one of these poses and breathing nice and steady, a person can really chill out and get in the zone. • Another fantastic benefit of yoga is the emotional release that one can experience during practice. We hold a myriad of built-up emotions in different areas of our body. By allowing our bodies to move through poses, we can release that stored negative energy and start healing emotionally. Many yoga students have mentioned

feeling overwhelming sadness or anger suddenly seeping into their minds in the middle of a session. It’s more than likely a past hurt making its way up to the surface and finally releasing. Keep breathing, it will pass. • You don’t have to do an entire hour of yoga to achieve inner peace. In fact, you’ll feel just as much tranquility in daily 15- to 20-minute sessions as you will in weekly hour (or more) sessions. What’s important is that you’re doing something to help shed some negative energy and stress. “I think the concept of hour-and-a-half classes is the way yoga was brought here and taught from India,” said Tara Delis, Inner Bodyworks Yoga Studio owner. “I think it works in the format of the way yoga is offered in the States but can perhaps set people (up) for feeling like a ‘failure’ if they don’t practice yoga for X minutes a day X times a week. I think setting aside 15 minutes of your day to do a few poses or take some time to consciously breathe or sit in stillness can be powerful.” Namaste.

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TRIP PLANNER

Baldassare Forestiere was very religious and created a courtyard in his underground gardens especially devoted to the Holy Trinity.

AN ENCHANTING LOOK UNDERGROUND Forestiere Underground Gardens is a quirky, cool tourist attraction Story and photos by Lois Henry

I

can’t believe I grew up in Fresno and never went to the Forestiere Underground Gardens until recently. It’s really an amazing place that is a must-see for all valley residents. It’s a short drive up Highway 99 and then less than a quarter mile east on Shaw Avenue. I remember driving by it when I was in college and thinking, “Hmm, wonder what that is?” What a dope I was for not letting my curiosity get the better of me. Oh well, better late than never. I suppose I thought the underground gardens would be kind of kooky. The legacy of an eccentric. No way. Baldassare Forestiere wasn’t an eccentric. He was a visionary who I think we can still learn from today. He came to the United States from Italy in 1902 with nothing and made his way to Fresno in 1904. He ended up with 700 acres of what he thought was

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Forestiere’s well, also underground, where he drew water for his many plantings, his shower/bath and even his aquarium.


Conversation with Lyn Kosewski, great niece of Baldassare Forestiere and co-owner of the tour business Was it fun growing up and being so closely associated to the gardens? A: Yes, it was a fun place to play if there was time to play, but (my five siblings and I) actually viewed it as a lot of work. We ranged in age from 2 to 15. We were the landscapers, painters, tour grounds cleanup crew, plant waterers and pruners, lawn mowers, sign makers, and fruit pickers. My Lyn Kosewski sister and I gave tours (I was 15, she was 13). We were open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the summer and on weekends. Did you know how special this place was from a young age? A: Not really. It wasn’t until we had grown in wisdom and maturity that we realized what a gem this place was, one-of-a-kind and so worthy of every protection we can afford to give it. Baldassare’s legacy was not monetary, but rather a pure example of the American dream, which, when he was alive meant, if you can dream it, you can do it here in America.

Alison Henry, the author’s niece, skips down the trellis-covered entrance to Forestiere’s Gardens.

Forestiere built his underground world with every amenity in mind, including this room, which held an aquarium with a glass bottom.

going to be fertile ground, but he hit hard pan, soil that’s basically as hard as cement. Of course, you can guess from the name of his legacy what he did next. He dug through the hard pan and used it to build room after room underground. He left many rooms open to the sky and planted citrus trees, pomegranates, pears and some trees of his own making. The tops still stick up above ground looking like stubby shrubs from the road. He dug some rooms down to 35 feet below the surface, though most are only about 10 feet down. Aside from his living quarters, kitchen and a sitting room for guests, he had a small glass-bottomed pool where he could look up from reading and watch fish glide about. He made his own chapel, had a well below ground and even built an auto tunnel.

Continued on page 132

Did you ever spend the night in the gardens? Have friends over for birthday parties? A: We had my high school winter formal there and one of my brothers was married on-site many years ago. A year or two ago we did have our kids there — the cousins — for a sleepover. We do have more family and friend get-togethers now than when we were youngsters. If you never met Forestiere as a youngster, do you feel like you really know him after your years working at the gardens? A: The only person in my family who met Baldassare was my dad, who used to work with him sometimes as a kid. He has told us some stories about those work experiences, which we share on tour with our visitors to give them some insight into what (Forestiere) was like. Obviously, he was a freethinker and a doer who had a skillful eye, a deep work ethic and lots of energy! But he was also a lover of nature, who had a great respect for his God and his fellow man, especially the downtrodden. As a laborer himself, he would often let other laborers in fields nearby come rest and cool off in his rooms during the hot summer days. Or he would give away fruit from his groves to those in need, especially during the Great Depression era.

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Continued from page 131 And that’s just what’s left after development took several acres of the gardens. He hoped to create a full-scale resort underground where Fresnans could get out of the heat and relax. Forestiere spent the better part of 40 years working on his incredible gardens all with mostly hand tools — a pick, shovel, wheelPlanning your trip barrow and a small scraper pulled by Before you head up the road, two mules. check the Forestiere Gardens I’m telling you this place is really website — undergroundgarcool! Literally. It’s a minimum of 10 dens.com — for hours and degrees cooler in Forestiere’s rooms, other tour information. which he also engineered to maxiAdmission is $15 for adults, $13 for seniors age 60 and older, $7 mize breezes and diffuse light. for children ages 17 to 5, free Imagine if the horde of housing for children ages 4 and younger. developers who came after Forestiere had incorporated just a few of his ideas. Maybe we wouldn’t owe our lives to PG&E during valley summers! Unfortunately, Forestiere died of pneumonia 1946 and his resort never came to fruition. Even so, the portion that he did complete is fascinating and well worth the trip.

Baldassare Forestiere had a fully stocked, working kitchen underground complete with a pantry.

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Bakersfield Life Magazine

April 2014


Wayne Long & Company 1502 Mill Rock Way, Suite 200 Bakersfield, CA 93311 (661) 664-0909 FAX (661) 664-0915

www.welcpa.com


SPECIAL ADVERTISTING SECTION

SUMMER FUN!

I

t’s still spring but the days are rapidly approaching when school will be out and youngsters will be free to laze away their summer days.

But if you are looking for a more engaging way for your kids to spend their summer, check out these great activities for youth of all ages.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County

CSUB Extended University Summer Camps

Spend your summer with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County. Our Day Camp program provides the quality, enriching experience your children are looking for Monday–Friday, 7am–6pm. We offer weekly themes and activities, in addition to field trips, arts and crafts, and outdoor games. Our programs are designed with age appropriateness in mind, and we work hard to meet the individual needs of our members. Families love that we provide a traditional summer camp experience within the context of a traditional Boys & Girls Club setting. To register your child, please call the Armstrong Youth Center (801 Niles St.) 325-3730, the Stockdale Club at 663-8733 and the Suburu Club 205-1909.

2014 Summer Camps from June 16 to July 10, Monday through Thursday, morning session 9 a.m. to noon, choose from Reading Camp (1st to 6th grade) or Art Camp (2nd to 6th grade); afternoon session 1 to 4 p.m., choose from Math Camp (1st to 6th grade), Art Camp (2nd to 6th grade) or Creative Writing (8th through 12th grade, must be under 18 years of age). Sign up for half-day or all-day. Lunch time supervision is included for those attending all day. To register or for more information, visit our web site at www.csub.edu/extension or call 6542441. Registration starts April 1. Registration deadline is June 2.

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SCICON Summer Academy Mountain Biking, Rock Climbing, Archery, Camping & Survival Skills, Fishing, Nature Study, Art & Crafts, Computer Programming, Robotics, Video Game Programming, Wildlife Studies. Two sessions (Sunday – Friday): June 15-20 and June 22-27, $345 per student; limit of 75 students per session. Students must be entering the sixth, seventh or eighth grade for the 20142015 school year. For more information and registration materials, go to www.tcoe.org/sciconsummeracademy or call (559) 539-2642 SCICON and the Summer Academy are operated by Tulare County Office of Education.


Buena Vista Museum of Natural History and Science The only museum in Central California to offer exhibits of anthropology, archaeology, anatomy, astronomy, biology, geology, paleontology and a hands-on interactive science center all in one location. The museum offers a wide variety of science-based educational programs, fun, interactive summer science camps, workshops, field excavation and much more. Located at 2018 Chester Ave. in Bakersfield. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. Call 324-6350 or visit www.sharktoothhill.org.

Garces Memorial High School summer school Garces Memorial High School offers summer school for students in grades 5 through 12. The summer curriculum is a combination of academic, athletic and enrichment classes offered in a fun, relaxed atmosphere. Most classes are individualized to meet the needs of students from different educational backgrounds. Some of the newer courses offered are water polo, anime, mini sports camp, college essay workshop, swimming, tennis lessons and several enrichment classes, like ceramics and drafting. Visit garces.org or call 327-2578 for more information.

Galaxy Gymnastics Summer Camp Reach for the stars with Galaxy Sports Group this summer! Galaxy offers tumbling, gymnastics and cheer classes for children of all ages. Galaxy also offers a sports camp during holiday and summer breaks for children 5 to 12 years old. The camps run from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Campers will enjoy a variety of indoor sports and games, tumbling classes, arts and crafts, movies and more. Space is limited. Please call 829-7908 to reserve your child’s space today! Additional information is listed on our website at galaxysportsgroup.com.

Harmony Road Music School

Jump for Less Party Rentals Bakersfield has a hot summer! What better way to cool off with your kids than at home with a jumper or a refreshing waterslide! Fun for everyone, adults and kids can enjoy; we have single and double style waterslides. Try the X Factor Double Slide and Double Pool! Book now we have the best prices in town, 3805708, Facebook @jumpforless.

Kern County Museum Science Day Camp The Kern County Museum features science day camp programs for children ages 4 to 11 for 10 weeks this summer. Half-day and full-day camps will begin on June 2. Find out how learning science can be fun with the following themes and more: Robotics; Superhero Science; Earth, Wind, and Fire; Urban Engineering and Design; and CSI. For more information, call 437-3330 ext. 209.

Do something musical with your child this summer! Our early childhood music and movement classes for children from 16 months to 4 years old include singing, movement, playing with rhythm instruments, songs with balls, scarves and hoops, rocking/cuddling songs, and piano keyboard activities. Group piano classes are available for kids ages 5 to 12 years old and feature singing, ear training, movement and rhythm instruments. Want a fun musical arts/crafts morning camp? Kids ages 4 to 6 years old will love Junior Music Camp that offers a different musical theme each day. Check out our website for details: www.harmonyroadbakersfield.com  or call us today at  665-8228. Harmony Road Music School, 5381 Truxtun Ave., Bakersfield, CA 93309.

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Pump It Up Enjoy the indoor arenas with gigantic inflatables. In addition to private birthday parties, Pump It Up has several public events. During the summer, Pump It Up will expand their Open Jump hours for kids 34 inches tall through 12 years old. Pump It Up has Jump-N-Jam for kids 10 to 15 years old and Sensory Jump Time for our guests with autism or special needs who are at least 34 inches tall. Call us at 392-8800 or visit the website at pumpituparty.com

Stockdale Christian School

Battlefield LIVE Bakersfield

Stockdale Christian School is hosting our annual summer program at 4901 California Ave. from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, June 2 through Aug. 8. Our morning program includes academics in the areas of Language Arts and Math, as well as Bible lessons, and P.E. in an air-conditioned gym. Afternoons are full of fun with games and crafts and other activities. Each week we’ll learn about a different career. Our older students will learn how to start a business and will run their own business by the end of the summer! For information, contact the school office at 327-3927 or come by for a registration packet.

This is a completely mobile live gaming laser combat adventure serving Bakersfield and all surrounding areas. Imagine your very own battlefield in your backyard or local park. If you ever wanted to play paintball or airsoft but were afraid of getting hurt, now you can experience the thrill in a safer atmosphere. Our team will do everything possible to make sure your event is unique and unforgettable. Games can be played indoors, outdoors, rain or shine, day or night. Book your next birthday party, corporate team-building, school carnival, or special event today. Ready… Aim… Fun! Contact: 979-1650, website: www.bliveb.com.

Make It Happen Services

Color Me Mine

Sign-ups for Academic Summer “Gap” Camps have begun! Our highly qualified credentialed teachers will work to bridge gaps created by new common core standards, while maintaining academic progress through fun hands-on learning! K-12 camps are offered June 2 to July 25 with morning and afternoon sessions available. Our two-week rotational session subjects include reading, math, science, high school level personal statement/college prep assistance and SAT I prep. Call 472-6600 to sign up or visit makeithappenservices.com for more information! Limited space available!

When it’s hot, hot, hot, what a great way to stay cool by creating functional or just-for-fun ceramic pieces — no SPF required! Color Me Mine offers one-day and four-day multi-media workshops, kids night out events, and mommy-andme story time and painting classes for toddlers and preschoolers, too. Or just bring in your kids and paint a memory together. Ceramic painting is a wonderful activity that kids, moms, dads and grandparents can all have fun doing together! No reservation required. Open daily at The Marketplace, 9000 Ming Ave. Call 664-7366 or visit bakersfield.colormemine.com.

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Country Christian School’s summer school programs One of our programs is a concentrated six-week reading-only course in Simply Phonics for children in kindergarten to sixth grade. This program is recommended for children struggling with reading and spelling. We also offer a three-in-one, six-week course incorporating reading, math and computer lab for first through sixth graders who need to maintain their academic progress and have a love for learning. These courses are 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday, June 2 through July 11 at 2416 Dean Ave.; 589-4703.


NOMINATE SOMEONE WHO IS A: Champion in our community | Successful up-and-coming leader Game changer in their professional career or school ACCEPTING NOMINATIONS MARCH 10 TO APRIL 18 Bakersfield Life will celebrate the excellence of 20 local individuals under the age of 40 who exhibit leadership qualities in their personal life, career, community or academics and who represent the people to watch in Bakersfield. Submissions accepted at bakersfieldlife.com during the nomination period only.


PRIME FINDS

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Kuka’s Folk Art Spring is here, and it’s time to dress up your patio. Start with this sweet metal angel created from a 55gallon oil drum, 34 inches by 16 inches and ready to hang. Other items for your patio include various sun designs. Come in early for the best selection. 1609 19th St., 325-0000.

Farm Girls Vintage Finds Farm Girls Vintage Finds is located at 7200 Shafter Road in Bakersfield. We are south of Taft Highway between Ashe and Gosford roads. Open 10 a.m to 4 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, noon to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday. www.facebook.com/farmgirlsvintagefinds

Victoria’s Victoria’s proudly brings you Brighton’s Vera Collection. Vera Neumann was an inspirational artist, world traveler, and one of the most successful female entrepreneurs of her time. The Marketplace, 9000 Ming Avenue; 665-8300.

Color Me Mine at the Marketplace Kids of all ages will want to help paint this “egg-stra” special egg platter, sure to make your Easter celebration special. Paint your own Easter eggs, baskets, bunnies, chicks, Seder plates and more. The Marketplace, 9000 Ming Ave.; 664-7366; www.bakersfield.colormemine.com.

Unique Chic Florist & Boutique Fill your garden this spring with our Cross and Fleur de Lis garden decorations. They are a perfect accent for your spring blossoms. 9500 Brimhall Road, Suite 701; 588-7997; uniquelychicflorist.com

Sugardaddy’s Best known as a leader of trend jewelry, Treska is hand-designed and comprised of a base metal that is lead and nickel free. Common components include glass, ceramic, stone, acrylic, resin and other stylish components. Treska is always cutting edge of trends and fashionable. 5512 Stockdale Highway, 325-8300.

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Kamnation Clothing Spring is here! Check out our collection of Women’s and Children’s vintage inspired clothing and accessories. www.etsy.com/shop/KamnationClothing.

And discover how easy Dry Carpet Cleaning is, you will be amazed at the results!! Stop in today for a demonstration.

Ilitchi Boutique Come see us at Ilitchi Boutique to find your spring dresses that are perfect for any occasion. We have many new spring styles just in, like this beautiful layered lace dress pictured here. 205 18th St, near Union Ave.; 396-1609.

Accessories sold separately Try an Oreck risk-free for 30 days. If you don’t love it, you don’t keep it.® No matter what.

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Aunt Mae’s Sweet Tooth Fine handmade mouth-watering English toffee made by Aunt Mae’s Sweet Tooth. Available at Luigi’s, Sweet Surrender Bakery, Café Med, Flourishing Art and Sullivan Petroleum stores. 725-5200; auntmaessweettooth.com.

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Feb. 8 Inaugural Roadrunner Baseball Hot Stove Dinner Held at KC Fairgrounds Photos by Carla Rivas View these photos and more at bakersfieldlife.com

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1. Michael and Brooke Wilkins 2. Sawyer Broussard, Emily Johnson, Emily Pierce, Justin Salters, Jamie Poteete and Justin Rowe 3. Vickie Raisler and Greg Osbourne 4. Robert and Cathy Lee and Roger Fessler 5. Lizet Vazquez and Brynn Conapitski 6. Tammi Harker, Gina Pettit, Denise Skracic and Robin Rossi 7. Jacque Othart, Andrew Taffera, April Nuckles and Michael Pettit

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IT’S HERE! 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray Coupe

460 V8 horsepower, EPA Est. MPG 29 highway


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1. Jeniffer Ramirez and Sean Kenny 2. Julie Garcia, Victor Evangelista, Jennifer Owen, Candace Wistritch and Anton Reyes 3. Ruth Ayala and Janie Dyer 4. Rosemarie Borquez, Juan Duran, Sarai Kress, Maria Jaime and Ariana Chavez (front) 5. Terry Kirkindoll, Nancy Chaffin, Kevin Keyes, Daryl Thiesen and Rylee Keyes (front) 6. Kelly Walters, Brian Ruff and Judy Snyder 7. Dr. Oscar Streeter and Tamira Smith-Lopez

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Feb. 12 Fight for Air Walk Kickoff Luncheon Held at Four Points Sheraton Photos by Casey Christie View these photos and more at bakersfieldlife.com

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Can you handle the precision? With its tightly sculpted lines, lightweight space frame and 7-speed transmission with Active Rev Matching, the all-new 2014 Corvette Stingray will make you forget every car that came before it.

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1. Gabe Ulloa and Craig Bolen 2. Mary Highfield, Charley Clark and Stacey Catlin 3. Joe Raymond and Jeff Tensley 4. Annie, Bryce, and Anthony Vlach, Rylee Jorgenson, Allie Vlach and Aubrey Jorgensen 5. Jeff and Sara Kreiser 6. Vern Marcois, Matt Thompson and Randy Raymond 7. Esther Ibarra and Jill Vallejo 8. Jan, Nick, Brad and Bob Helton 9. Jeri and Tamara Baker 10. Debra Green and Kevin Lake 11. Caleb and Kristen Chicca and Tamaira, Chuck and Charlee Leptich 142

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1. Christina Fanucchi and Bob Mestmaker 2. Venita Relerford-Hunt and Gerry Crawford 3. Makayla Lara, Vicky Woods and Tiffany Williams 4. Megan Heise and Lindsay Nordyke 5. Brenda Austin and Muriel Kelleher 6. Linda Phillips, Aime Perez and Krissy Cormier 7. Laurie Wright and Rachel St. Claire 8. Shai Gordon and Hassan Halevy 9. Luda Fishman, Linda Cohen and Caryn Claiborne 10. Renate Patty, James Whelden and Davina Norried-Murphy

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Feb. 28 SPCA Furry Paws and Foggy Nights Held at The Petroleum Club of Bakersfield Photos by Carla Rivas View these photos and more at bakersfieldlife.com

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1. Chuck Nordstrom and Julie Johnson 2. Kathryn and Steven High 3. Kay and John McElwee 4. Mitch and Kristi Townsend, Cathy Haberman and Debbye Ackerman 5. Raul and Raye Bugnosen and Diane and Scott Thatcher 6. Dr. Robert Duquette, Conor Ferguson and Dr. Rose Rakow 7. Anita and Greg Powell 8. Tricia and Dr. Barry Berman 9. Jan Minot, Frank Zarzana and Jane Burford


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Feb. 15 Purple Heart Military Ball

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1. Toni and Ismael Gonzales 2. Scott and Heather Steinbeck, Jessica and Ryan Ferenci and Donna and Ray Chaffee 3. Keith and Janis Lundin 4. Cecilia and Duane Hartman 5. David Leal and Rose Herrera 6. Ben Palmer and Elvira Groom 7. Jean and Leon Thomas, Wanda Moore, Colonel Tommy Tunson and Mickey and Hillorie Thomas

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1. John and Karen Wells 2. Josette and Tim McCrary 3. Larry and Stacy Briscoe 4. Brittany Louey, Jamie Swetalla and Jennifer Maddern 5. Mickey and Judy Garone 6. Angelo and Mary Mazzei 7. Taylor and Jeff Smith 8. Joey and Dusty Osso 9. Carole Dapice and Tom Christenson


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March 6 Kern Unit of the California Trucking Association Annual Lamb Fry Held at Wool Growers Photos by Jan St Pierre View these photos and more at bakersfieldlife.com

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1. Norman and Tina Cofield 2. Tanis Smith and Wendy Dotson 3. Bill Burgemaster and Crystal Knight 4. Ted Cummings, Shiloh Smith and Tom Pruitt 5. John and Stacy Knight and Ed Martin 6. Jon Watson and Walt Snedegar 7. Lana and Gary Grace 8. Scott Perkins and Jimmy Clark 19th & N Street, Downtown Bakersfield www.emporiumwesternstore.com 148

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LAST WORD

By Katy Raytis

A

while back, I took my daughter to a birthday party with a candy shop theme. The girls made candy necklaces, the favors were giant suckers, and instead of a birthday cake, they had cupcakes with a buffet of Skittles, M&M’s, and Jolly Ranchers to decorate the sweets. It was very cute, and I complimented the mother on such a clever party idea. “I found it on Pinterest,” she told me. Pinterest. I should have known. Where did ideas even come from before Pinterest? Pinterest, for those who don’t know, is like a cesspool of pointless crafts, impossible baking suggestions, and falsely-advertised-as-easy home improvement projects. I am pretty sure that if you spend more than an hour on the website, Amazon automatically sends you a glue gun and some sandpaper. I’m not crafty. And I’m not a baker. And I’m also not into refurbishing an old barn door into a super-cool, shabby-chic headboard in a single afternoon, where it can sit next to the Mason jar lamp and homemade lavender candle that Pinterest says I can make in less than two hours. For many of us moms out there, browsing through Pinterest will fill you with the same sense of resigned inadequacy as the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. In fact, I probably have a better chance of making it into Sports Illustrated than I do of ever making a train cake that actually gives off smoke and moves, or turning old spoons into coat hooks for the entryway, or making homemade placemats out of Christmas cards and used wrapping paper. And yet, craft-challenged as I am, even I found a project on Pinterest that I could do. And I did it. And I loved it. And that’s why it’s worth sharing. Here’s what you have to do: Put a jar on the counter. That’s it. The idea is this: The jar sits on the counter and every time something funny happens or something silly or something happy, you write it down and put it in the jar. Then, at the end of the year, you pull out all those little pieces of paper and relive the happiest moments of the year. It’s easy. And so, last year, I took a jar and set it out on the counter. It was my first (and only) successfully-completed Pinterest project. Little by little, our jar started to fill up. The year flew by, as years tend to do, and by the end of December, our jar was full. A couple of months ago, we sat down over dinner to read

FINDING SOMETHING SWEET IN A PINTEREST PROJECT

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Katy Raytis’ father, Gene McMurtrey, on a visit to Disneyland in December with grandchildren, clockwise from McMurtrey, Lily Raytis, Hannah Hurst, Griffin Hurst, Jack Denison, Sophia Echeverria, Evy Raytis, Henry Echeverria, Mimi Raytis, and Lauren Echeverria. our recap of 2013. There were big events — “Disneyland Trip” — and smaller things — “Girl sleepover in the den.” There were notes in kid handwriting — “we saw monstir yunavercity today” and “I got up on 2 weels!” There were impressive accomplishments — “Half Marathon” and “Daddy coaches Mimi’s volleyball team to 1st place in Taft Tournament”— and even more impressive accomplishments — “Found new home for rescued kitten.” And then there were 12-months’ worth of silly things that the kids had said — “Evy called dad a ‘little loser’ at dinner” and “Evy told Mom, ‘You look badder than a rat.’” It was a happy night. What that jar really held were the smiles and memories that, in all likelihood, would have been forgotten and overshadowed by the year’s larger moments; those precious little pieces of life that get lost in the big picture. And we sat over dinner reliving them all, one folded piece of paper at a time. I may not be as brave as my friends who are willing to try out a Pinterest party theme, or as crafty as the people who can make soap wreaths or sew dog clothes out of napkins, but even I can find a Pinterest gem or two. And in the case of our Jar of Joy, at least, Pinterest really did come through in a sentimental, nostalgic, and very sweet kind of way. I’d say even as sweet, if not sweeter, than a birthday party in a candy shop. Katy Raytis was born and raised in Bakersfield. She graduated from Garces High School and later attended UC Berkeley for both college and law school. In 2001, Katy returned to Bakersfield, where she currently resides with her husband and three daughters. Katy is a practicing attorney and a partner in the law firm of Belden Blaine, LLP. She also serves as in-house counsel for Worklogic.


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Bakersfield Life Magazine April 2014