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August 2011


Kern Life EDITION Why we love our county Favorite places to eat


Dining Divas at Goose Loonies / Bakersfield Sound legend Jim Shaw / Simkins family’s racing legacy / KEDC’s Richard Chapman / Ladies who coach / Kern River’s wild side

People to know and places to go Fun things to do Our colorful past

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Places to eat in Kern

See what the Dining Divas had to say about Bakersfield’s Goose Loonies, and their adventures in Kernville where they visited three restaurants in one day! Also, check out the tasty dishes the Food Dudes tried at the Keene Cafe near Tehachapi.


People to know in Kern

From city council members to school superintendents, meet the faces of people around the county who are doing big things for their community.



Love for Kern County

Not only is our county conveniently located a short drive from the mountains and coastal regions, but most days we’re lucky to have a favorable climate. We also take pride in the list of outdoor recreational activities Kern offers, such as the recent paddleboarding craze. Find out the other reasons we love Kern County.


Four generations of racers

Read the inspiring story of the Simkins family and their passion for racing cars at the Bakersfield Speedway.


3615 Mount Vernon Ave.

(661) 871-3556 CENTRAL

4130 California Avenue

(661) 325-4717 NORTHWEST

4750 Coffee Road

(661) 588-4700 SHAFTER

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(661) 746-9244

Photo by Jessica Frey

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Bakersfield Life

August 2011

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Favorite Deli!


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Photo by Henry A. Barrios


Page 48


12 Up Front 18 Letters to the Editor 24 Happenings 26 It "Manners" A Lot

130 Real People 132 Home and Garden

1231 18th Street (18th and L Streets) 10:30am - 2:15pm Closed Sundays

Phone: (661) 323-2500


9160 Rosedale Highway (Target Shopping Ctr.) 11:00am - 8:00pm Daily

Phone: (661) 587-1600


9500 Ming Avenue (Just West of The Marketplace)

56 Sports Legend

136 Personality

58 Ladies Who ‌ 62 Why I Live Here 70 Kern Life 126 Communty

140 History 148 Trip Planner 164 Snap! 176 The Last Word

7:00am - 3:00pm Closed Sundays

Phone: (661) 665-9990


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38 Food Dudes 48 Talk of the Town 50 Why I Serve

Thank you, Kern County for your continued support!


Bakersfield Life

August 2011

On the Road



Bakersfield’s Premier City Magazine August 2011 / Vol. 5 / Issue 11 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. Publisher Ginger Moorhouse President/CEO Richard Beene Senior Vice President Revenue and Marketing John Wells Advertising Director Bryan Fahsbender Editor Olivia Garcia Assistant Editor Stefani Dias Features Associate Hillary Haenes Editorial Assistant Marisol Sorto Art Direction Glenn Hammett

Photography Felix Adamo Kim Barrett Henry A. Barrios Maria AhumadaGaraygordobil Jaclyn Borowski Mark Barna Casey Christie Jessica Frey G&S Photography Lois Henry John Harte Alex Horvath Greg Nichols Tanya X. Leonzo Tom Macht Dan Ocampo Jon Paquet Photography Jan St. Pierre Amy Rymer Bob Saberhagen

Joe Simpson Liz Snyder Tonya Sterling Contributing Writers Jennifer Bachman Gene Garaygordobil Lois Henry Lisa Kimble Chelley Kitzmiller Stephen Lynch Amanda Newfield Luz Pena Melissa PeakerWhitten Gabriel Ramirez Ashley Reyes Miranda Whitworth Intern Laura Sverchek

Advertising Lupe Carabajal 395-7563 Reader Inquiries Bakersfield Life Magazine P.O. Bin 440 Bakersfield, CA 93302-0440 395-7492 On the cover Gareth Feldstein paddleboarding in the Kern River. Photo by Jessica Frey


Bakersfield Life

August 2011

Celebrate Kern County


My family and I recently traveled to Texas, driving through California, Arizona and New Mexico. I have never been a fan of road trips that last longer than four hours. I get antsy I suppose, but this drive did provide me with the opportunity to see towns I would not have had a chance to see had we flown. It also got me thinking about where I live. I thought about Kern County and its diverse communities and geography. We have the Sierras, the Mojave Desert, the Tehachapi Mountains and our pristine Kern River. And let’s not forget the economic engines of agriculture and oil. Some people may think I’m weird, but I love driving along the 99 and looking at our agricultural land. I am reminded of my grandparents who worked in these fields and the strength that defines this county. This county that also loves its military, and we are lucky to have Edwards Air Force Base and China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station in our neck of the woods. But there’s so much more that defines Kern County, and it makes me proud to live here. As a salute to Kern County, Bakersfield Life magazine dedicated this issue as our special Kern Life edition. Some of you may remember seeing Kern Life as a separate publication in the past. We decided to do something different this year and have our August issue serve as a tribute to all of Kern County. There are lots of details and features about Kern County that make this place so dear to many. We have a rich history and several famous people, just look inside. We also have some great interesting facts that you might not have known about it. A special thank you to The Californian’s market research team Lisa Beason and Jose Granados and Patricia Marquez of Kern Economic Development Corporation and the Bakersfield Vision 2020 Image Committee for making this possible. Also, thanks to The Mountain Enterprise for suggesting great finds on

interesting South Kern people. If you haven’t explored certain parts of the county, no worries. Inside, you will discover people who live in various parts of Kern and are worth noting. We could go on and on about Kern but, we decided to stick with what we felt was the best. Please let us know what you think about this issue. Did we miss something? Is there something else you would like to know more about? Tell us what you think by e-mailing us at Or if you haven’t done so already, I encourage you to become a fan of Bakersfield Life on Facebook and share your input there: We recently asked our Facebook fans to share some of their Kern County-isms, here is a sampling: Bakersfield Life Facebook Post: You know you’re from Kern County when... Jamie Mae: 1. You wake up in the morning craving Dagny’s. 2. Complain about the summer heat every year. 3. You’re a Mento Buru groupie. 4. You try and try to move away but just keep coming back! Margot Botello Shinn: You believe the motto: “Don’t trust air you can’t see.” Chick-fil-A of Bakersfield: You remember Chick-fil-A of Bakersfield when it was still in the Valley Plaza Mall :) Adrianne Barron: Your kids are born loving NASCAR and KUZZ! Lis Sierra: You know that “I took him a bath” means you gave him a bath!

Olivia Garcia Editor 395-7487

UP FRONT Kern County outlying communities


Bakersfield Life

August 2011

By the Numbers

Wasco Roses 2


The number of years required to produce a bare root rose


The number of varieties of roses grown in Wasco

The percentage of Wasco roses internationally shipped


The percentage of U.S. roses grown in Wasco


The number of rose bushes in millions grown in Wasco


Total value of the 2010 Wasco rose crop in millions of dollars


The month in which the festival of roses is held in Wasco (September)


Furthest approximate distance in miles that Wasco roses are exported

Sources: Weeks Roses, City of Wasco, Department of Agriculture

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UP FRONT Facts and figures

Bakersfield, who knew?

Kern County Arvin • Fastest growing community in Kern County, expected to have more than 20,000 residents by 2015 • Has 18 restaurants and 16 churches California City • Median Income $59,600 • 86 percent of adults are Internet users

• The Rolling Stones, longtime country music fans, sang about Bakersfield in 1978 in their song “Far Away Eyes” on the album “Some Girls.” • Bakersfield is home to seven Basque restaurants, that’s more than any other city in the nation. • Bakersfield Community Theatre, founded in 1927, is the oldest continuous community theater in California.

Delano • Second largest city in Kern County with a population of 51,495 • 38 percent of adults shopped at Valley Plaza in the past 30 days Edwards Air Force Base • Median age is 24 (youngest in Kern County) • 75 percent of adults are married

• Two brothers in Cincinnati, Ohio are planning to open a restaurant called “Bakersfield.” The restaurant pays homage to the Bakersfield Sound and the genre’s “rebel, outlaw” feel. They’ll serve tacos, burritos and other Mexican-inspired dishes. • World-famous guitar maker Fender makes a Merle Haggard Signature Telecaster called the “Tuff-Dog Tele”

Frazier Park • 54 percent of adults are retired • Only 6 percent of adults have children in the household

• Our Amtrak station is home to 1 of 70 Kugel Balls worldwide. It’s a granite sculpture weighing thousands of pounds, but thanks to genius engineering, you can move it with your fingertips!

Lamont • 84 percent of Lamont adults are Hispanic vs. 44 percent of all Kern adults • 13 percent of Lamont adults took an online college course in the past year vs. 5 percent of all Kern adults

• Covenant Coffee, a Bakersfield company which uses 100 percent of their proceeds to support foster youth, will harvest their coffee in the rain forest of Tanzania in Africa next year. They’ll bag that coffee right here on Chester Avenue.

Lake Isabella • 67 percent of Lake Isabella adults are women • 78 percent of Lake Isabella adults own a dog Taft • 25 percent of Taft adults use the Internet for online dating vs. 2 percent of all Kern adults. • 42 percent of Taft adults attended a Condors hockey game in the past year vs. 10 percent of all Kern adults. Sources: Scarborough Research 2011 R1, Applied Geographic Solutions and The Bakersfield Californian Market Research Department

• Bolthouse Farms and Grimmway Farms control more than 80 percent of the carrot market in the nation by selling nearly two billion pounds of carrots a year. • Berean’s Christian bookstore sells more Bibles in its Bakersfield location than anywhere else in the country. • JC Penney sells more men’s underwear in its Bakersfield location than at any other store in the nation. • Paramount Farms is the largest grower and processor of almonds and pistachios in the world. Source: The Bakersfield Vision 2020 Image Committee Who Knew Bakersfield campaign


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Bakersfield Life


August 2011

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Sam and Sue Frantz decided four years ago that they were going to stay in the home that they’ve owned for over twenty years. It was then that they decided to update and remodel their kitchen. After giving much thought about how they wanted to design the kitchen, Sue went to visit a friend who recently had her kitchen remodeled by Stockdale Cabinetry. She was so impressed by their work; she decided to give them a call. After sitting down with Certified Kitchen Designer Rick Sorci, he created a 3 Dimensional design with her input and together they created her “dream kitchen”. After seeing the design, and being able

to actually see exactly how the finished project would appear, they decided to go with Stockdale Cabinetry. One of the key features to the look of the kitchen was the cabinetry with KraftMaidTM Rutherford doors, which is a Stockdale Cabinetry exclusive door. They were very impressed with the fact that Rick was so involved in the process from beginning to end. From picking out the right appliances, to overseeing the project on site, it really took the stress out of the experience and made it very enjoyable. Everything went smoothly and they couldn’t be happier with their new kitchen. The Frantz family are third generation almond growers in Shafter. They have three grown children, and are heavily involved in the community and their church. They’re looking forward to the next 26 years in their beautiful home with their “dream kitchen”.

UP FRONT It’s Named After

By Lisa Kimble

Red Rock Canyon

Photo by Felix Adamo


Red Rock Canyon State Park, the first state park in Kern County, is a stunning display of geology and colorful rock formations that draws thousands of visitors to its spectacular cliffs every year. Located near Cantil on the northwestern edge of the Mojave Desert, Red Rock Canyon is a 70-minute drive northeast of Bakersfield where the southernmost tip of the Sierra Nevada meets the El Paso Mountain Range. Red Cliffs is one of two natural preserves within the park. Like creases and drapery of rock, the tributary canyon walls tower over picnickers and visitors. Wildlife, vegetation and awe-inspiring geological crevices abound in the tranquility of the scenic canyon. Named for the layers of red and white sediment, and pink and black volcanic rock deposited in an ancient inland lake and uplifted by faulting, including the Garlock Fault, streams and rivers later carved the wondrous cliff faces. Red Rock Canyon, once home to the Kawaiisu Indians who left petroglyphs in the gashes of the mountains, sat on the Native American trade route for thousands of years. Around 1850, the canyon was used by survivors of the famous Death Valley trek. Prospecting began in the 1860s and by 1893, miners descended on the area, sifting for gold in the sands of the canyons. The area was also a significant passage for sheepherders, stagecoaches, railroads and later trucks. In 1968, state legislators created Red Rock Canyon State Park, the first in the county.

The park has been a favored location by moviemakers. “Jurassic Park” is among the many motion pictures filmed there. On the west side of Highway 14 is the Ricardo Visitor Center, an old stage station and campground where efforts to protect paleontology sites and the remains of late 19th century mining operations are ongoing. Red Rock Canyon State Park is open from sunrise to sunset for day use. The campground is open 24 hours and sites are available on a first-come basis. Visitor center summer hours may vary.

Word on the Street

You haven’t explored Kern County unless you … “Have eaten the delicious warm meals, made with Grandma love, at The Guild House.” — Nanette Uzzle

“Have been to Lake Isabella: the year-round playground.” — Jeremiah Johnson

“Have seen the Christmas lights at CALM.”

“Have driven by the windmills in Tehachapi.”

— Mario Martinez

— Barbara Sanchez

“Have been rafting or tubing in the Kern River.”

“Have been tubing down the Kern River.”

— Stephanie Tinoco

— Michael McMahan

“Have attended the Gas Light Melodrama.”

“Have visited our 42year-old baseball landmark, the Bakersfield Batting Range.”

— Jeff Mendoza

— Dan Wells

“Have been to the Kern County Fair.” — Stephanie Patterson 16

Bakersfield Life

August 2011


From left to right Roxanne L. Aquino, MD Endocrinology Fernando Fan, MD Pediatrics Janet L. Barnes, RN Care Coordinator Cordell W. Watson, DO Family Medicine

You might run into them at the local farmers market, or at the park playing with their kids. They’re your Kaiser Permanente physicians. And, like you, they’re proud to call Kern County home. For more than 20 years, our physicians have been providing care in the area. And together with our specialists, nurses, and health educators, they’re dedicated to making sure you get the right care for you. You can visit your Kaiser Permanente health care team at one of our eight medical facilities conveniently located throughout Bakersfield. Our doctors are right here, and here for you. To find a Kaiser Permanente facility near you or to learn how to become a member, call us at 661-334-2005 or visit

UP FRONT Short Takes

For families with young ones, it’s a scary experience to leave your kids at home with a babysitter while at work or on a date. Selecting someone who meets all of your qualifications presents quite a challenge. But that no longer has to be the case with the latest local sitting service Web site. To help parents find the right babysitter for their children, Chris Bryski and his wife Abby, opened SeekingSitters, a franchise of a national online company. The proud parents of 21-month-old Cooper started in December 2010. “We’re a babysitting referral service. We do all the work for the family,” said Chris. “The family just needs to sign up online. Once they’re members, they’re able to view the sitters’ profiles and put in their preferences and specific needs.” The referral service is not only a safe, but convenient solution for parents when they’re looking for a trustworthy person to care for their children. Everything is done online from finding and booking the sitters to even paying them.

Photo courtesy of Seeking Sitters

Seeking Sitters child care

With all of the potential babysitters, SeekingSitters conducts extensive interviews, which includes a thorough background check with a licensed private investigator and the Bryskis perform what they call the “Cooper test.” This means if the sitter can’t interact or watch baby Cooper, then they are not well-suited to watch your

Letters to the Editor One thumb up, one thumb down Dear Editor, Thumbs up for a good article in your July issue about Dee Slade and Adobe Krow Archives. Adobe Krow has always been an overlooked gem in Bakersfield. Thumbs down for not including the address of Adobe Krow Archives so your readers could experience it firsthand. — David Lyman

(Adobe Krow Archives is located in downtown Bakersfield at 430 18th St.)

Attorney’s ad unprofessional Dear Editor, I was somewhat dismayed to see the page 79 advertisement for the law offices of a local defense attorney, in which a mock front page newspaper headline 18

Bakersfield Life

August 2011

screams, “BREAKING NEWS,” with the story headline, “Are you Facebook friends with Anthony Weiner? You may need me!” The story is accompanied by a photo of a shirtless male. I should imagine that Anthony Weiner is just beginning to pay the price for his recent indiscretions and, as a public servant and member of Congress, is certainly to be held to a higher standard than hoi polloi. To use this unseemly affair in an attempt to drum up business, particularly by a member of the bar, falls just a bit beyond the pale. While not wishing to likewise embarrass or humiliate the said attorney, we shall hope that in the future he might conduct himself with due professionalism. — Peter Wonderly

child. Besides background checks, the sitters must be 18 years or older and certified in CPR as well as first aid. Chris gave some pointers on how to search for a sitter: • Do a thorough background check and verify references. • Find out their work history to ensure your sitter has the right work experience; remember infants and younger children require more attention like feeding, changing and cleaning than older ones. • Make sure they can meet your special needs like being bilingual or have worked with children with disabilities. • Interview them and have them do a meet and greet with your family and children. Pay close attention to how your children react to the sitter. See how they interact and watch your children. • Don’t look at the price, but look at the quality of the sitter or agency you’re using. If you are interested in finding out more about these services, visit or call 444-4852. — Luz Pena

The Bakersfield Californian publishes Bakersfield Life magazine monthly. If you have any questions or comments regarding our magazine, write to us at Bakersfield Life magazine, P.O. Bin 440, Bakersfield, CA 93302, or e-mail us at bakersfield We’d love to hear from you.

To submit material

Letters to the Editor: We publish all letters that are signed and deemed appropriate for our readership. Letters must be signed to be considered for a publication. Please type or print your name, as well as an address and a daytime phone number. E-mail should include the writer’s full name and city. We reserve the right to edit letters for clarity and space. Please submit letters to Olivia Garcia, Editor, Bakersfield Life magazine, P.O. Bin 440, Bakersfield, CA 93302. For e-mail, send letters to the editor to Calendar events: Please submit information in writing to Marisol Sorto, no later than the first of the month, two months prior to the month in which the event will take place. Contact her at

To advertise

Please call Lupe Carabajal, retail advertising sales manager, at 395-7563 or lcarabajal@bakersfield. com or

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“Hey, they didn’t read me my rights!” Starting next month in Bakersfield Life, a series of articles discussing your rights.

UP FRONT Short Takes

California’s new carbon monoxide alarm law On July 1, 2011, the Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act (Senate Bill — SB 183) went into effect. This law mandates the installation of carbon monoxide alarms in all single family homes with an attached garage or a fossil fuel source (natural gas, propane, etc.). But what exactly is carbon monoxide and why does it pose a danger? What can be done to prevent those dangers? Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas produced when a fuel such as natural gas or wood is burned without enough oxygen. This gas can accumulate in a home if fuel burning appliances, such as a stove or water heater, are not used properly or are malfunctioning. A running car in an attached garage can also create a similar hazard. Blood carries oxygen to all of the organs of the human body. Ninety-eight and a half

percent of the oxygen in blood is carried by special molecules called hemoglobin. Hemoglobin binds to carbon monoxide 200 times stronger than oxygen. When people inhale even small amounts of CO, their blood is unable to provide the needed amount of oxygen. CO poisoning can cause mild symptoms such as shortness of breath, nausea and headaches. More severe symptoms include fainting, vomiting and even death. Carbon monoxide poisoning can be prevented by following a few simple steps: • Install a CO alarm outside of sleeping areas and on every level of your home including basements. Like smoke alarms, CO alarms need to be kept free of dust and debris. • Be sure that CO alarms are plugged into a working electrical outlet and have working batteries. • Have gas appliances inspected by trained professionals prior to every heating season to ensure that they are in good working condition. • Do not run any vehicle or gas powered engines in the house or garage even if doors are open. The dangers of carbon monoxide are nothing new. CO alarms have been in use for years and have saved hundreds of lives. The use of CO alarms and smoke alarms in the home are not only required by law, but they can save the lives of your family. — Victor Cruz Public Education Officer, Kern County Fire Department

Master chef coming to Bakersfield Master chef Martin Yan will be at Kern Medical Center on Aug. 25 to introduce his Pan Asian cuisine and perform a knife demonstration in the hospital’s cafe. Yan will work with the KMC kitchen staff to present his signature recipes and dishes including his Thai cucumber salad, Korean bulgogi barbecue beef, pad Thai noodles with chicken, stir-fried rice, chai tea cupcakes and green tea sorbet. His recipes will be featured in the hospital cafe from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for guests to try. Yan will also perform two knife demonstrations, one beginning at 11 a.m. and the other beginning around noon. “He is a very well-known showman and puts on a really cool show,” said Kathleen 20

Bakersfield Life

August 2011

Martin Yan

Dagg, regional director of operations for Morrison Healthcare Food Services, which is the company that manages KMC’s cafe and food. The event is presented by KMC and Morrison Management Specialists. Yan is an internationally recognized chef by his peers and fans, and he is a certified master chef, food consultant, cooking instructor and author. He has hosted more than 2,500 cooking shows broadcasted on PBS and worldwide and written 26 cookbooks. Yan is also the recipient of numerous awards and honors. The event is free and open to the public. Guests will be able to take pictures with Yan and they can bring the chef’s cookbooks to get signed at the event.

Short Takes

As we go through our daily lives, we see people who have fundraisers for all kinds of different issues. Once in awhile you see one that you know, and you have to get involved. Did you know that CHD stands for Congenital Heart Defect? Did you know it kills more children than all childhood cancers combined? Did you know that hundreds of children suffer from it in Kern County? Did you know that it’s the No. 1 birth defect in children? Well, neither did I. But when my friends Monty and Joy Byrom told me about their son, Jake, I knew I had to get involved. And I knew that the people in Kern County would have to get involved. We are having a fundraiser that will support research and support parents who have children with CHD. This isn’t a defect that occurs only in people who can afford it. The defect is blind to

19th & N Street, Downtown Bakersfield

Photo by Kim Barrett

Fundraiser to help local children with CHD

Monty, Joy and Jake Byrom and Sheriff Donny Youngblood. economic status. So Aug. 11, is the day we can all get involved and help while having a great time. It starts at 6 p.m. at Buck

Owens Crystal Palace. And of course, the voice of Monty Byrom will headline. But we will also get the pleasure of listening to our American Idol, Amy Adams. You never know who else might just show up. These two are worth the price of admission. Tickets are $75 with dinner included. Come enjoy the art of giving. I promise, you will feel great when you leave. We will have a live and silent auction, and we will have plenty of time to take pictures. For tickets, call Joy Byrom 304-2173 or call my office at 391-7771 and Liz Money will help you get tickets. You can also visit where you can learn more about this cause and buy tickets. It’s going to sell out quickly, so don’t wait. Thank you Kern County. — Sheriff Donny Youngblood

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UP FRONT 25 random things you didn’t know about ...

Peter Wonderly Wonderly announced his first sporting event in 1981 as a fluke, stepping up to the mic to make a few announcements at a bicycle race. He has since become the unofficial “voice” of Kern County bicycle, triathlon and running events. He has also DJ’ed hundreds of weddings, parties and corporate events. He is currently becoming more involved with the Bakersfield Track Club and their efforts to promote healthy lifestyles. He spends his days teaching social studies at a continuation high school for the Kern County Superintendent of Schools.

years. I like it so far and may stay.

2. I was a founding member of the Kern Wheelmen Bicycle Club.

3. My favorite casual restaurant is La Costa

Mariscos — enchiladas poblanas! My favorite fine-dining restaurant is Urrichio’s — relaxing in the wine room with friends!

4. My first job was at 15 years old at Bakers-

field 5 Minute Car Wash. I lied to my boss and said I was 16, so I walked six blocks to work.

5. My dad kicked me out of the house when

I was a 16-year-old high school dropout. I got an apartment, (I lied to the landlady and said I was 18) and re-enrolled in school.

6. My wife Patty and I organized and pro-

duced our first Tsunami Relief Concert in 2004, eight days after the tragedy. We also held one this year for the Japanese disaster.

7. I believe if you’re generous to others,

you’ll always have more than enough, and that if you’re selfish, you’ll never have enough.

8. I once purchased a 33-year-old Rolls-Royce,

sight unseen, and drove it 880 miles home without a mishap — defying all odds.

9. My favorite author is English humorist P. G. Wodehouse.

10. My personal trainers are Tory, a Jack Russell/Welsh Terrier mix and Zoey, a purebred rat terrier. They get me up at 5 every morning to run four miles or more whether I need to or not.

11. I believe strongly in the Jeffersonian principle of civil discourse, and most of my letters to the editor either attempt to model or encourage it. 12. I once chased down

an inebriated hit-and-run driver in my car and led police to him.

13. I am right-handed, yet oc-

casionally play drums left-handed, and not especially well. 22

Bakersfield Life

August 2011

14. I’m a bit of a film buff and love foreign films. 15. I developed a speech impediment at age 6. I stuttered while my folks were divorcing.

16. I’ve somehow managed to amass some 400 neckties. 17. At age 4, along with my 5-year-old

brother, I burned the house down to the ground. We only did it that one time.

18. I’m the only man I know who has more shoes than his wife.

19. I once crashed

my bicycle into the back of a car while girl-watching. Although I was single then, it was a bit embarrassing.

20. I once had extremely low blood sugar when having a blood sample drawn during a physical exam. I lost consciousness, stopped breathing and my heart stopped beating. It was apparently quite exciting as they rebooted me. 21. My wife and I were college

roommates. We were married, of course.

22. I cook only a few things,

but I cook them well: spaghetti, tacos and breakfast.

23. I wish I had a list of every book I’ve ever read.

24. I once single-handedly ap-

prehended three youths throwing glass bottles onto the freeway from an overlooking hill, and delivered them unto their parents.

25. I tell my students that the

best way to become a better reader and writer is to spend time every day reading and writing.

Photo by Alex Horvath

1. I’ve only lived in Bakersfield for the past 52


Find more community events at or submit yours via e-mail:

Kern County events 2 0 1 1 August Fiesta Days, Aug. 5-7, Community Park in Frazier Park, Monterey Trail Street and Park Drive,, 431-8260. Kern River Valley Hummingbird Celebration, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Aug. 6, see amazing hummingbird migration, Kern River Preserve, 18747 Highway 178, Weldon.

29th Annual Fall Harvest Fair, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 17 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 18, Railroad Park, Tehachapi, 3308607.

California City Renaissance Festival, Oct. 15-16, California City Central Park, 10400 Heather Ave., California City, 760-373-3530.

Ultimate Bridal Event, noon to 4 p.m. Sept. 18, Rabobank Convention Center, 1001 Truxtun Ave., Bakersfield.

Dust Bowl Days, Oct. 15, Sunset School,, 832-1299.

2011 Kern County Fair, Sept. 21 to Oct. 2, 1142 S. P St., Bakersfield, www.kerncountyfair. com.

Tehachapi Mountain Festival, Aug. 20 and 21, arts and crafts, food, 5K/10K run, carnival, Phillip Marx Central Park, Tehachapi. 822-4180.

October 13th annual Via Arté Italian Street Painting Festival. Oct. 8, The Marketplace, 9000 Ming Ave.

24th Annual Rubber Ducky Races, Aug. 27, Riverside Park, Kernville,, 760-376-4790.


Native American Heritage Day, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 10, Nuui Cunni Native American Cultural Center, 2600 Highway 155, Lake Isabella, 760-3794770.

HolidayLights @ CALM, open daily 5:30 to 9 p.m. Dec. 2 through Dec. 31; closed on Dec. 24 and Dec. 25, CALM, 10500 Alfred Harrell Highway. $12; $10 seniors and children ages 3-17; $6 ages 3-12; under 3 are free. or 322-5200, 872-2256. Christmas in Kernville, parade and classic cars, Kernville, 760-376-2629.

Taste of Home Cooking School, trade show at 3 p.m., cooking school at 6 p.m. Nov. 15, Rabobank Theater, 1001 Truxtun Ave. ticketmaster. com or call 800-745-3000. Festival of Trees, 9:30 a.m. Nov. 19, fashion show and luncheon, Rabobank Arena, Bakersfield, $50, 325-7889.

43rd annual Wasco Festival of Roses, 10 a.m. September 10. Wasco. or 758-2616. Village Fest Party of the Year!, Sept. 10, Kern County Museum, 3801 Chester Ave. 21 and over only. or or 322-5200.


November, 8525000.

CSUB Athletics Fall Barbecue, 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. Oct. 13, CSUB Icardo Center, 9001 Stockdale Highway, dinner and live entertainment., 654-3473. 20th annual California Hot Rod Reunion, Oct. 21-23, drag racing and hundreds of cars, Auto Club Famoso Raceway. Tickets 800-884-6472, Information 399-2210.



Annual Christmas Parade, Nov. 26, Lake Isabella, www., 760-3795236.

December Bakersfield Christmas Parade, 6 p.m. Dec. 1, route will begin at the corner of L and 22nd streets in Bakersfield,, 304-2333. Holiday Lamp Light Tours, 3 to 8 p.m. Dec. 3, Kern County Museum, 3801 Chester Ave.,

Cookies at the Clock Tower, enjoy cookies, hot drinks, family activities, crafts, games, Santa, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 11, Kern County Museum, 3801 Chester Ave. 852-5000. 15th Annual Holiday Classic Jr. Steer & Heifer Show, Dec. 10-11, Kern County Fairgrounds, 1142 S. P St., 833-4934.

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Bakersfield Life

August 2011 Local Owner, Abby Bryski

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2 0 1 2 January Weddings 2012 Bridal Show, doors open at 11:30 a.m. for VIP; noon to 3 p.m. for general public, Jan. 29, Kern County Fairgrounds, 1142 S. P St. $10 general admission; $15 VIP; $3 parking. or 633-9200.

February 55th annual Whiskey Flat Days, Feb. 17-20. For full schedule of events and activities visit htm or 760-376-2629. 26th annual Bakersfield Home & Garden Show, Feb. 17-19, Kern County Fairgrounds, 1142 S. P St. $7; 12 and under free; $3 parking. or 800-655-0655.

March Third annual JJ's Legacy Golf Tournament and Dinner, March 4-5, Seven Oaks Country Club, 2000 Grand Lakes Ave. 45th annual Bakersfield Fiesta, March 16-18, Kern County Fairgrounds, 1142 P St. or call 324-1390. 2012 Bakersfield March Meet, drag racing festival with manufacturer's exhibits and a vintage auto parts swap meet, or 3995351 or 399-2210. 17th annual Kern County Scottish Gathering and

Games, March 31; starts at 9 a.m. Kern County Fairgrounds, 1142 S. P St. $15 to $25; children 10 and under free, Tickets available online at 374-4944. 17th annual Isabella Lake Fishing Derby, fishing derby contest, March 31-April 2, Lake Isabella. (760) 379-5236.


21, Seven Oaks Country Club, 2000 Grand Lakes Ave. 3225601 or 26th annual PRCA Stampede Days Rodeo, Kern County Sheriff's Reserve Association, gates open at 6 p.m., performances at 7:30 p.m. May 4-5, Kern County Fairgrounds, 1142 S. P St. $16 to $18; $12 ages 6-12; under 5 are free; $3 parking. or 399-3159.

18th annual Battle of the Badges, benefiting the youth programs of the Bakersfield Police Activities League, CSUB, Icardo Center. 283-8880. 2012 Great American Cleanup, April 14, Yokuts Park, 4200 Empire Drive. Register at 326-3539 or 20th annual Festival of Beers, Stramler Park, 3805 Chester Ave. $30 advance; $40 at the gate. 21 and over only. 23nd annual Bakersfield Women's Business Conference, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 26, Rabobank Convention Center, 1001 Truxtun Ave. $95. Register online at bakersfieldwomen. org, email bakersfieldwomen@ or call 636-4395.

May 19th Annual Sharyn Woods Memorial Pro-Am Golf Tournament & Gala, Gala is May 19 and Pro-Am Tournament on May

May 12. CSUB, Amphitheater, 9001 Stockdale Highway. Twoday combo $55; students $35. One day tickets: Friday; $32, students $23; Saturday; $35, students $25, children under 12 free. or call 3225200.

June 16th annual Standing Bear Powwow, 5 to 10 p.m. June 1; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. June 2; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 3, Bakersfield College, 1801 Panorama Drive. $6; children under 10 are free. 589-3181 or 589-8414. 64th annual Glennville Rodeo Round-up, gates open at 11:30 a.m., rodeo begins at 1 p.m. June 10, GMVA Rodeo Arena, located at 196 Pascoe Road, Glennville. $15 for adults; $10 children 12 and under.

14th annual Crawfish Festival, live music, noon to 6 p.m. May 12, The Prime Cut, 9500 Brimhall Road. 831-1413. 40th annual CSUB Spring BBQ, 5:30 to 9:00 p.m. May 10, CSUB, Icardo Center, 9001 Stockdale Highway. Proceeds benefit the CSUB Student-Athlete Scholarship Fund. or 654-3473.

Wine Fest 2012, 8 to 11 p.m. June 9, Kern County Museum, 3801 Chester Ave. $60; $750 VIP table of 10. or 852-5020.


Italian Picnic, with games, bocce tournament and more, noon to 6 p.m. May 20, Italian Heritage Hall, 4415 Wilson Road. 831-0867. 26th annual Bakersfield Jazz Festival, gates open at 6 p.m., festival 7 p.m. May 11; gates open at 1 p.m., festival 2 p.m.

2012 Philippine Weekend Festivities, Pork adobo cookoff, basketball tournament, co-ed volleyball tournament, Barrio Fiesta exhibits, booths, traditional dances, live music, and more, various locations throughout Delano. or 375-7177.

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Barbecues, deboarding and more old glory

W By Lisa Kimble

While this column embraces everything from dessert forks to doggy bags, the common thread, or rope here really is basic, common sense. Californian Radio producer Michael “Hop” Hopper packaged it better than I ever could on a recent KGEO Radio AM 1230 discussion about social graces. He retold the gall of a complete stranger who asked him to accompany her underage children into an R-rated movie. For Hop, this went beyond bad manners and poorer judgment into the realm of “What are you thinking?” “Have we sunk so low that we’ve lost our common sense,” he said. “I liken it to the directions on the back of the shampoo bottle. Lather, rinse, repeat. Shouldn’t a lot of this be just common sense?” Well-said Hop. A little common sense will go a long way because it really does “manner” a lot.

Dear “It Manners A Lot”: I am a frequent flier on business. Curious, what is the rule of thumb on plane etiquette when it comes to deboarding? Dear Reader: Like everything else, it seems the friendly skies have become much less so. Everyone is in a hurry, and many passengers are rushing to make connecting flights. It is amusing to watch an entire plane of people rise to their feet once the aircraft arrives at the gate, as if everyone is getting off at once. The common sense our family employs whenever we fly is to disembark in the order we got on, row-by-row. If someone trying to make a tight connection asks politely, I’m happy to let him or her by, so long as it doesn’t compromise our schedule. The row-by-row flow plan is respectful and courteous, and works efficiently if passengers also made sure they stowed their carry-on items close by for easy gathering once deboarding begins.

Dear “It Manners A Lot”: Our family enjoys inviting people over for summer barbecues. Is it OK to ask guests to bring a dish? Dear Reader: Nothing says summer quite like gatherings around the barbecue. If you plan to do a potluck, make it clear on the telephone or printed invitation. If that isn’t specified, a guest should only ask if they may bring something if they are a close friend or family. If the guest doesn’t intend to bring anything to be consumed, it doesn’t mean they should come emptyhanded either. A barbecue is far less formal than an indoor dinner party, but it is still an invitation to enjoy good food and great conversation as a guest at someone else’s home. Don’t forget a hostess gift of some kind. A bottle of wine, a bouquet of summer flowers from your garden, or a small scented candle are lovely, inexpensive gestures of appreciation for being included in the gathering. Lisa Kimble

Dear “It Manners A Lot”: After I read last month’s tips for flag etiquette, I paid attention to a home I drove by that has a large American flag outside and the words “Proud Navy Parents” written in black across it. I appreciate the sentiment and pride, but the method of advertising makes me cringe a bit. Am I correct in feeling that it is a completely inappropriate treatment of our national emblem? Dear Reader: As per the U.S. Flag Code, Title 4, Chapter 1, Section 8 and interpreted by the National Flag Foundation: The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture or drawing of any nature. Agree, disagree? Send me your questions, comments or topics you’d like to read about to itmannersalot@ or visit itmannersalot.

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Bakersfield Life

February 2011


Triple play The Divas find dining bliss in the Kern River Valley


Photos by Jaclyn Borowski What a day the Divas recently had in Kernville! Great weather, great people and truly great food. We visited three restaurants all in one day. But folks, please do not try this at home! Remember, the Divas are professionals. And even with our superior eating and drinking prowess, three restaurants in one day was tough. Especially when all the food was so yummy!

Dining Divas, from left: Sofie Zimmerman, Sofia Ronquillo, Lois Henry, Kim Jessup and Diva guest Kim Barrett head to the Greenhorn Grill.


Bakersfield Life

August 2011

First stop, Greenhorn Grill 10720 Pine Drive, Wofford Heights (760) 376-8900 Once you get to Wofford Heights along the shores of Lake Isabella, look for the signs to Alta Sierra or Highway 155. You take a left up the hill, way, way, way up the hill. Take another left on Alta Sierra Road, left on Pine Drive, and there you are.

Overall Greenhorn Grill is family-owned and operated by Mike and Debbie Hill who opened the place February 2008. Everything is housemade down to the barbecue sauce, which is available for $6 a bottle. Great atmosphere and we loved the classic rock.

Seared ahi tuna

St. Louis barbecue ribs

Kim J. on the wine

Kickass hotwings

Wines from the Central Coast, Paso Robles, Napa and Sonoma regions. There is something for everyone; all your favorite wineries at prices that won’t break the bank. ’08 Clos Du Bois “Russian River” Reserve Chardonnay ($32) ’08 Wild Horse “Unbridled” Santa Maria Pinot Noir ($39) Special grape martini made by our bartender Amber.

hot, medium or mild sauce. Served with bleu cheese dressing or (if requested) a chimichurri sauce. The chimichurri is made from olive oil, garlic and parsley. I love garlic, so for me, this sauce rocked; I asked for it on everything. I had never been a big fan of hot wings, but these wings have become a staple for me on each visit. My new fave! The tender chicken falls off the bone, the sauce is to die for. I can definitely understand why they named it kickass!


Sofie Z. on the desserts

We were one Diva down as Robin, who normally reviews starters, was out on a special mission that day. So, guest Kim Barrett and the rest of the Divas chimed in on starters: Seared ahi tuna ($11) Fresh, fabulous, fantastic, better than most fish restaurants, clean and light. Baked artichoke dip ($10) Baguette nice and crunchy, dip was savory and not overly creamy. The artichoke flavor shined through, a great starter!

50/50 ($5.95) Two homemade sugar cookies, filled with ice cream, caramel sauce and a drizzle of chocolate.You had me at homemade cookie! I am truly a bit of a cookie monster, so this dessert was right up my alley. The warm, freshly baked, soft and chewy sugar cookie could stand on its own as a dessert. Add ice cream and OMG — the Divas were in some serious trouble. The caramel tasted exactly like a piece of melted caramel candy and it provided a very nice contrast. So simple, yet so flavorful. Ridiculously wonderful! Banana split cake ($5.95) Homemade banana bread topped with a chocolate, vanilla and strawberry homemade mousse served with a dollop of whipped cream.

Kim J. on the St. Louis barbecue ribs ($16 halfrack) Pork ribs, slowly smoked personally by Mike Hill and topped with their housemade Joe’s barbecue sauce. Tender-bone-gnawin’-eat-‘till-you-drop kind of ribs! Even one non-rib loving Diva swooned. An added touch were the warm lemon water bowls with napkins to clean up, priceless!

Lois on the jumbo chimichurri prawns ($4 for 2) The two prawns are grilled with the shell on, butterflied, with a houesmade chimichurri sauce. Tender and sweet, while the sauce was rich without being overpowering or too creamy. Easily a meal in itself, that is if I didn’t have a bunch of other Divas demanding a bite.

Sofia on the flat iron steak (12 oz. $23; 8 oz. $19) Like I’ve said before, I love meat. I begged to cover the flat iron steak. It was mouth-watering and that was just as I was cutting into it. I loved every bit, it was cooked to my liking (medium-rare), and the chimichurri sauce brought out the delicious flavor. No wonder it’s Greenhorn Grill’s most popular steak.

Sofie Z. on the Kickass hotwings (full order $10, half order $7) More than 1 1/2 pounds of jumbo wings with your choice of

Continued on page 30

Kern River Brewing Company’s beer sampler


Continued from page 29

My goodness, calorie counting went out the window with this one! The banana bread was moist and sweet. A perfect combination of spices and flavors. The mousse was light and fluffy, and the flavors were very distinct. Hello, my name is Sofie, and I am a baked food junkie. That was fab. But the Divas had a lot of work still ahead of them, so no time to dawdle.

Second stop, Kern River Brewing Co. 13415 Sierra Highway, Kernville (760) 376-2337 If you’re coming from Wofford Heights, you’ll swing through Kernville, over the river and take a left at the stop sign. Slow down, and look on your left. The brewery is just a few businesses up the road.

Overall The brewery is owned by friends, Kyle Smith and Eric and Rebecca Giddens (who you may remember won a silver medal at the 2004 Olympics for kayaking. Hmm ... wonder where she got her skills?) The brewery is straightforward in its approach to success: high quality beer, good food and a fun, comfortable atmosphere.

Kern River Brewing Co. pretzels

Continued on page 32

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Bakersfield Life

August 2011

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Continued from page 30

Kim J. on the silver medal beer sampler ($5) Served in a silver kayak, of course! It includes Isabella Blonde, Sequoia Red, Just Outstanding IPA and Class V Stout going from light to dark, malty to stout. The owners dubbed the Class V Stout “a pork chop in a glass.” It is the epitome of the phrase “go big or go home!” Also available are anniversary beers, as well as guest beers. Something for everyone. “Some people say they don’t like beer,” Eric Giddens said. “They just haven’t had the right beer.” The Divas agree. Diva side note: We were just supposed to sample the beer, but when they brought out a few appetizers, we couldn’t resist!

Lois on the pretzels ($5.50) Soft, chewy and they come with housemade spicy chipotle dip or Class V Stout mustard. Or add the spinach artichoke dip for an extra $2.25. You win either way.

Sofia on the fish and chips ($10.15) Five golden strips of beer-battered cod served with housemade tartar sauce. Beer is good, but even better with fish and chips! The fish was lightly battered and not greasy. The tartar sauce added more flavor to the flaky fish while the chips (fries) were extra yummy. Class V Stout brownie


Bakersfield Life

August 2011

Sofie Z. on the Santa Fe egg rolls ($9.45) Crispy rolls filled with chicken, roasted red pepper, black beans,

corn, cilantro, jalapenos and cheese, served with chipotle dip. Not your everyday egg roll. These were loaded with flavor and the chipotle had just enough spice without being too hot. We all know that the Divas want to be the hottest items in the restaurant. An order of the Sante Fe egg rolls and a nice Isabella Blonde beer was a meal in itself. I had to tell myself, “Self, stop eating all the egg rolls!”

Sofie Z. on the Class V Stout brownie ($4.25) Homemade chocolate brownie made with KBRC’s stout beer, served warm with ice cream and chocolate sauce. That’s right, beer baked right into the brownie. These folks are serious about their beer! It was rich, loaded with flavor, everything a great brownie should be. I loved it so much, I was at risk of sugar OD. This dessert alone was worth the drive to Kernville. Divine! Whew! Deep breaths, Divas, deep breaths! Any lesser group would have stopped right there. While we may be Divas (and oh boy, are we!) we set our sights on the next scrumptious battleground.

Last stop, McNally’s Fairview Lodge & Restaurant HC 1 Sierra Highway, Kernville (760) 376-2430 You take a left out of the brewery parking lot and settle in for a gorgeous drive along the Kern River for about 20 or 30 minutes.

Overall McNally’s (techincally in Tulare County, but we love it so much,

we’re giving it a big Kern County hug and calling it ours) is a restaurant, bar, hotel, general store, burger stand and more. Perfect for a quick weekend getaway. McNally’s has lots of great food, but the steaks are to die for. And the Divas loved our after-meal treat — sitting on the back deck with a glass of wine, next to the river, watching the sun drop over the mountains. Sigh.

Kim J. on the wine All the usual suspects were offered on the wine list at great prices. Wines you love and can easily match with a fabulous meal. ’08 Tobin James “Radiance” Monterey County Chardonnay ($18) Halter Ranch Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon ($36)

All Divas on the starters Crab stuffed mushrooms ($8.95); the sampler platter ($14.25); and potato skins ($7.65) You have to ask your server for the crab-shrooms as it’s not on the menu. The crab is savory and light with a Panko crumb topping in juicy, hot “mm-mmm” mushrooms. Gone in 60 seconds! The sampler platter is a true guilty pleasure of fried mozzarella sticks, jalapeno peppers, zucchini and clams. It was all light and crispy, not greasy or soggy. You could really taste the flavor in everything. The skins were a great comfort food, warm, savory and cheesy. Had to be careful on those little devils as dinner was on its way. Continued on page 34


Continued from page 33

All Divas on soup Cajun black been and loaded baked potato (cup, $2.95; bowl $4.95) The Cajun black bean has a warm southwestern flavor with a hint of cumin, fresh salsa and black beans that were cooked perfectly. Loved it! The potato soup was seriously loaded and seriously yummy. It was scalloped potatoes meets a baked potato for a date.

Kim J. on a variety of steaks Bone in Rib Eye (16 oz., $27.95; 24 oz., $32.95) Porterhouse Steak (24 oz. $32.95) The Logger — a 40 oz. Porterhouse Steak ($51.50) One must have a cowboy appetite for these bad boys. They are all flat grilled to retain all their natural juices and flavor. Did you happen to notice the price on The Logger matches the police code 5150 for crazy? Yep, you would have to be crazy to tackle this behemoth! But people have done it, including one 10year-old boy, our server told us. But if you like, you could share it with the village as there’s more than enough to go around! Each dinner also includes an old school relish tray with housemade bread and butter pickles, cajun black beans or salad, baked potato, rice pilaf or steak fries, along with bread and butter. Guarantee you will not leave hungry. This is a serious meat lovers paradise!

Porterhouse steak

Continued on page 36

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Bakersfield Life

August 2011

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my lobster arrived, I needed a second to collect myself before diving in. In my view, the portion could have easily supported the appetites of two Divas. We all shared and still had to take some home. It was broiled to exquisite tenderness, sweet and succulent with drawn butter and paprika. If you really want to, “wow,” someone with a special date night, this lobster is the ticket. Diva-licious!

Lois on the Fairview special ($30.75) About a 6 to 8-ounce filet mignon, teamed with three butterflied shrimp broiled in butter and fine seasonings. So soft, it was like eating steak- and shrimp-flavored butter. Even with all we’d had that day, this dish caused a Diva feeding frenzy. It’s one of the most popular items on the menu and we could see why.

Divas on the fried shrimp dinner ($27.45) Five, count ‘em five, large shrimp deep-fried to a golden brown, served with house-made tangy cocktail sauce. Light and crunchy while the shrimp stayed tender, moist and flavorful. One Diva was reminded of times her mom and dad let her order anything her heart desired and fried shrimp was it. Though McNally’s version was far superior!

Mud pie

Sofie Z. on desserts

Continued from page 34

Sofie Z. on the 16 oz. lobster tail (market price) The menu suggested, “Generous portions for hearty appetites.” Believe me when I say that it was an accurate description. Let me just start by saying that 16 ounces is a heck of a lot of lobster! When

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Bakersfield Life

August 2011

Mud pie ($7) Being a sweet food junkie, there are very few desserts that have escaped my attention. This mud pie was one of those few exceptions. I assumed mud pie to be a one-dimensional chocolate pie. Boy was I wrong! This was a chocolate and Kona-coffee ice cream pie with a chocolate graham cracker crust topped with whipped cream.

The ice cream was smooth (without being overwhelmingly sweet or strong) with a tasty crust that brought the dish into a class of its own. Ice cream and coffee are two of my favorite vices so, I can only say that I loved it. Snowball ($7) A huge ball of vanilla ice cream, rolled in roasted macadamia nuts and toasted coconut, topped with whipped cream, drizzled chocolate, strawberries and caramel. Lord have mercy! This sinful creation was enormously popular with the entire Diva crew. Talk about a diet buster. What a great combo of flavors. I loved the creativity. Even after eating all day, we could not stop ourselves from going back for “just one more bite.” This was, as my teenage daughter would say, “the boss” of the desserts!

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Food Dudes from left: David Luter, Bill Trivitt, Kevin McCloskey and Dave DuBose in front of the Keene Cafe. 38

Bakersfield Life

August 2011

Chili verde omelet

Country fried steak and eggs

Hidden dining gem Historical Keene Cafe is well worth the trip up the mountain Photos by Greg Nichols

David Luter Roughly 30 miles from downtown Bakersfield sits the sleepy town of Keene. The headquarters for the UFW and Fire Station 11 are here, the entrance to the Tehachapi Loop is here, and one little unassuming cafe. The Keene Cafe has been in the food business since the mid-20s. The only break was a short stint as a boarding house during the ’30s. Then, in the early ’40s a woman named Ethel Stuck had the foresight to turn it back into a cafe, and I’m thankful that she did. Because this is truly one of the hidden gems this county has to offer. As I scanned the menu, my eyes locked onto the chili verde omelet (omelets are my usual). A fan of chili verde in general, the choice was easy. Hash browns, a side of bacon and a biscuit with gravy rounded out this order — it was excellent. The omelet was fluffy, but not smothered in green sauce. It didn’t need to be. The pork was flaky, tender and full of flavor, as it should be. My generous side of bacon was thick-cut with a hint of maple, and cooked to a perfect crisp. The biscuits and gravy were a very pleasant surprise because they use bacon and sausage in the gravy. So few places include bacon in the gravy that I’d forgotten what a difference it makes. Carne asada By far, the best thing I tried was and eggs the homemade bread pudding with rum sauce. Some bread puddings tend to be a little heavy and dense, but not this one. It’s your basic bread pudding, nothing fancy, but 100 percent mouthwatering. And the rum sauce should be bottled up and set on the tables for syrup. I half joked with the

Bread pudding

crew that I needed to take a to-go cup of that sauce back home. We all laughed, but inside, I really wanted to.

Bill Trivitt Being Food Dudes of like-mindsets, I too, love the Keene Cafe. The cafe is warm, friendly and filled with local history. The menu is full of cafe standards like Denver omelets and French dips, but also has a Mexican flare for breakfast and lunch. I had my usual breakfast favorite, country fried steak and eggs. This is a beef fritter topped with homemade gravy with hash browns, biscuits and gravy. The key to this breakfast is freshly made gravy. It was almost as good as Grandma’s, and she was a chief gravy maker. For the Mexican flare, we had to try the chilaquiles. Two eggs mixed with fried tortilla chips, blended with house salsa, Monterey jack and cheddar cheeses, and served with your choice of flour or corn tortillas. After much discussion, we agreed these are breakfast nachos, and I may have a new breakfast favorite. It didn’t have gravy, but I’ll let that pass. The house salsa has the perfect amount of peppers, but if you want a little more heat, the Keene Cafe can hook you up. They have a hot version of their salsa that will keep you burning for the drive home. Without a doubt, the Keene Cafe is a Kern County eatery that is a must-stop for the Food Dudes. Chris Hanson was on vacation when we took this trip, and boy did he miss out. We asked our good friend Dave DuBose to fill in for him as an honorary Food Dude. Dave is a long-time Bakersfield resident, and loves good food. He’s a natural.

Dave DuBose Like many of us, I have driven past the Keene Cafe for years and thought “I should stop the next time I’m by this way,” but I’ve always been in too much of a hurry. Well, I’m glad I had this opportunity to visit; it was well worth the short drive. The first thing I noticed when we arrived was the quietness. Add that to the fresh air, Continued on page 40


Continued from page 39

The staff at the Keene Cafe was friendly and welcoming.

Kevin McCloskey One thing I learned from our first Food Dude road trip is to have a quick bite before getting into the car. Even a 40-minute drive with three seasoned Dudes, one rookie and our trusty photographer, and the conversation will invariably turn to food, which can make for a very hungry ride. Continued on page 42

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scenery and without the usual hubbub associated with going to a restaurant, I knew we were in for a treat. The outside of the building is well-weathered, with outdoor tables to enjoy the morning. Inside it is clean, taken care of, and the walls are covered with local memorabilia. If you ask, the friendly staff will share stories about the cafe, Keene and its history. The menu selection was larger than I expected, and there were several unusual items listed. The Mexican omelet caught my eye and I ordered it with traditional hash browns, sourdough toast and a glass of orange juice expecting the usual thimble-sized serving. To my surprise, the orange juice came in an oversized glass that lasted the entire meal. The three-egg omelet was filled with red onions, jalapenos and tomatoes, and came with refried beans and a garnish of fresh berries. I like my omelets a bit on the hot side, so I was expecting to add hot salsa or Tabasco sauce, but one bite and I knew it wouldn’t be necessary. It had a nice burn. Not enough to overwhelm the omelet, but with enough zing to make it interesting. One of the best omelets I’ve had. OK. That was a full breakfast, but I couldn’t pass on an item I saw on the special’s board, “Tehachaberry pie.” Locally prepared, it had a mixture of berries with a homemade flaky crust. You can even get a version that’s sugar-free. Bottom line: Friendly people, clean restaurant, local charm and good food. It’s the kind of local establishment that I really enjoy. So, take the time for a leisurely drive to the Keene Cafe with friends or family. Relax, decompress and spin down. You’ll be glad you did.

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August 2011


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Bakersfield Life

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Continued from page 40

What first struck me upon entering the Keene Cafe was how friendly and welcoming the staff was at such an early hour. Flatlanders though we are, they treated us like regulars and that is what a good, local restaurant should do. They got it exactly right, and it’s amazing how that simple attitude can alter the entire dining experience. Not that our meals needed the help — everything was excellent. After a very difficult decision from the enticing menu, and some side deals with the other guys, I chose the carne asada and eggs. The marinated tri-tip was some of the best asada I’ve ever tasted, and combined with the eggs, beans, pico de gallo and salsa on a warm corn tortilla, this breakfast taco made me want to investigate properties for sale here in Keene. All of this, along with a perfect side of home fries, and I was already planning my next trip to visit my newest friends. As I was enjoying my breakfast, I noticed the list of fresh pies on the special’s board. The peanut butter chocolate pie jumped out at me immediately, but saving room for it seemed impossible. Who was I kidding? Move over Jell-O, apparently there is always room for pie! Made just a few miles away from the good folks at TehachaPie, this delicious dessert blew me away. If they don’t already have a Bakersfield distributor, I may have to go into the pie business. Like the Keene Cafe itself, they are top of the line. You have probably noticed by now that we all had a fantastic meal at the Keene Cafe, and if you’re not yet planning a trip up there, we have not done them justice. Luckily, they are on the way to all destinations east of Bakersfield, so do yourself a favor and allow a little extra time for a visit on your next road trip to Mammoth, Las Vegas or the Grand Canyon. You won’t regret it. And don’t forget to tell them the Food Dudes sent you.

The Food Dudes’ best bets to eat around Kern County Kevin McCloskey’s picks

Milt’s Coffee Shop 6112 Knudsen Drive in Oildale (661) 399-4975 If you have never been to Milt’s, you might take it for a typical freeway diner, but you couldn’t be further from the truth. One look at the menu and the list of specials should be your first hint that you’re in for something different. When they are “in season,” the carrot cake pancakes have to be tried — you will be pleasantly surprised. The omelets are always perfect, plentiful and the variety will satisfy your hungriest tablemate. The portobello mushroom omelet is excellent, but I can’t wait for my next visit to try the halibut, green onion and garlic. If you’re a late riser, give the chile verde burrito a try, or better yet, the rib-eye steak sandwich. I could really go for one of those right now. Do yourself a huge favor and stop by Milt’s. If it’s your first trip, I can guarantee that it won’t be your last. Cheyenne’s Stage Stop in Kernville 16110 Sierra Way (760) 376-2902 Alongside the raging Kern River, just outside of Kernville, lies another staple of great outdoor mountain dining, Cheyenne’s Stage Stop. After a hard day of rafting or hiking, nothing hits the spot like a big plate of open-flame, barbecue meat, and Cheyenne’s has got you covered. From their ribs to their steaks and tri-tip, you will not be disappointed, and their large outdoor tables are perfect for groups and families. If you’re heading back through Kernville after a day on the river and don’t plan to stop in for a bite, you’d better roll up your windows and hold your breath as you pass by. One whiff of this barbecue, and you’ll be parked and ordering before you know what happened.

David Luter’s picks

Chicken of Oz in Taft 1107 Kern St. #3 (661) 763-5150 Serving fine food since 1989, in the corner of a shopping center, in the bustling town of Taft, sits Chicken of Oz. Opened for lunch and dinner, the seven-page menu will have something for everyone, and the welcoming atmosphere will bring you back. In addition to choices like charbroiled burgers that are juicy and cooked to perfection, sandwiches that include the bacon melt 4x4 and chicken fried steak sandwich or the sensational Oz’s tri-tip, chicken is still fully represented. My favorite is the hot

and spicy chicken pita. If you like some heat, you need to try this. Oz’s also has a fully-loaded salad bar. I’ve eaten at a lot of places that have “salad bars,” but Oz’s has them all beat. For a restaurant that specializes in chicken, I’m glad they’ve learned to specialize in everything on their menu. Knotty Pine Cafe in Oildale 1530 Norris Road (661) 399-0120 An establishment like the Knotty Pine really needs no introduction, everyone in town already knows about it. It is the quintessential coffee shop, serving great food from the moment the doors open until they close. If you’re going on the weekend, be prepared to wait, everyone else is going there to eat too. During the week, say for lunch; go a little early so you don’t have to wait. Breakfast is a no-brainer; the omelets are outstanding, especially my favorite, the taco omelet. The pancakes are always light and fluffy, and those hash browns — no one makes them better. If you go for lunch, you must get the pastrami, it is the best the county has to offer, and is still the best of any restaurant I know. But what stands out the most to me is their willingness to go that extra mile. If you have special needs, or want to customize your food, they’ll do it. Go, eat.

Bill Trivitt’s picks

Giovanni’s Italian Eatery in Shafter 130 Walker St. (661) 746-2000 Another out of the way favorite is Giovanni’s in Shafter. This place is really interesting because not only do they serve amazing pizza, pasta and sandwiches, but they also have Thai food. I haven’t tried the Thai food yet, but it smells fabulous and I hear it is top-notch. My family loves Italian food, so we stick with the standards. Pizza and pasta! My son and I usually share a pepperoni and olive pizza, while my wife and daughter both order spaghetti. The spaghetti is one of my wife’s favorites. The sauce is very flavorful and the noodles are always perfect. The pizza is prepared with lots of pepperoni and olives with sauce that has just the right amount of spices, not overwhelming. A fine crust cooked to perfection rounds out the pizza. If you are ever in Shafter, Giovanni’s is a must to visit. El Pueblo Restaurant in Lamont 9705 Main St. (661) 845-4545 One of my family’s favorite Mexican food restaurants is El Pueblo in Lamont. The drive isn’t too far, but always worth it. The menu is full of classic Mexican dishes like enchiladas, tacos and chile verde. My all-time favorite is the muy grande chimichanga. This huge tortilla is filled with beef, chicken, beans, rice and salsa then deep fried to perfection, and topped with guacamole, sour cream and salsa. When I’m not feeling up to the challenge of the muy grande, I’ll switch to camarones ranchero. Breaded shrimp with a delicious ranchero sauce, I usually get a side of rice and beans to go with it. They also have the best margaritas around, blended with just the right amount of salt. One is never enough!

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Dining Divas from left: Kim Jessup, Robin Noble, Sofie Zimmerman, Lois Henry and Diva guests Lisette Stinson at Goose Loonies.

Goose Loonies


Heel ratings (out of 5)

Goose Loonies delivers the best of Greek cuisine, drinks and fun Photos by Greg Nichols

The basics Goose Loonies Tavern & Grill 816 18th St. (661) 631 1242 Owners: Jim & Becky Katsantonis Opened in 1990 Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday


If you think Goose Loonies is just a 44

Bakersfield Life

August 2011

beer and bar food joint, think again. The Divas were hugely impressed with the range and quality of the dinner menu. Everything is made in house. The Greek dishes are authentic and scrumptious, each with a charming family history that owners Jim and Becky will gladly share. The entire experience was tasty and fun with a capital “F!” Opa! (you’ll hear that a lot in this review!)

Atmosphere: nice, relaxed, can be a bit crowded and loud during sporting events — after all, it is a sports bar as well. Service: fast, friendly and helpful..

Pricing: dinners are a great value.

Food: exceptional and fresh. How to dress: Business to casual, the Goose welcomes all!

Tiropita and spanakopita

Kim on cocktails, beer flights & wine The Divas started the evening with some of Goose Loonies specialty cocktails. First, it was the lychee martini, which is not for the faint of heart with its spicy kick of Tabasco — sassy! The martini was followed by a pomegranate margarita, which quickly cooled you down. Next up, a funky monkey. Think tropical paradise over the rocks. Last but not least, what I call summer in a glass, the watermelon martini, divalicious! Goose Loonies has more than 20 specialty beers, regularly changing the line up. Ask your server to set you up with a beer flight for sampling. The Divas had the fruit beer flight, which included Pear Cider, Widmer Hefenweizen, Blue Moon and Lindemans Framboise — just enough to whet your whistle! Let’s talk Greek wine. The surprise of the evening was the ‘08 Boutari Moschofilero, a crisp white with citrus notes. Refreshing with salads and fish. The Divas enjoyed every drop! Available by the glass ($7) or the bottle ($22.) Our second wine was the Francis Ford Coppola “Votre Sante” (to your health) ‘09 Pinot Noir Sonoma. The Divas toasted and enjoyed this smooth, burgundian-style red. Available by the glass ($8) and by the bottle ($27.) Ouzo, the final, was simply put, fun in a glass. Opa!

Herb-crusted salmon


Greek classics: tiropita & spanakopita. The tiropita is a phyllo pastry filled with Greek cheeses, sun-dried tomatoes and pine nuts. Spanakpita is stuffed with spinach, herbs and feta cheese. Every Diva loved this light, crispy delicious starter. Make room for the Greek kefalotiri (sheep cheese seared in olive oil and flambéed tableside). This unique dish has a warm, smokey flavor due to the flaming brandy with lemon and olive oil. We mopped it up with warm pita. Is there anything better than fried cheese?

Lisette on the Greek salad ($9.99) Field greens topped with vine-ripened tomatoes, red onions, cucumbers, bell peppers, kalamata olives and feta cheese crumbles, tossed in olive oil and oregano. Village-style salad, simple and fresh, the dressing was light with quality olive oil, a


Continued on page 46

Robin on the starters Calamari ($11.99), tiropita & spanakopita ($12.99) and saganaki ($12.99) Once again, this Diva over did it on the starters! The calamari was light and crispy with a refreshing tzatziki dip, a lovely Greek twist. Next up, were two

Greek salad


Continued from page 45

crispy. A tasty topper!

hint of balsamic and fresh oregano, feta was tasty very flavorful. Best Greek salad in town!

Kim on the ouzo shrimp pasta ($15.99)

Robin on the salmon ($16.99) Pan-seared wild salmon served on a berries vinaigrette field of greens and bleu cheese. Perfectly prepared, this is what salmon is suppose to taste like. It had a lovely oregano herb flavor, the pilaf was light and fluffy with a nice lemon hint. So good with the strawberry salad. Salmon lovers rejoice!

Lois on the chicken souvlaki ($12.99) Marinated chicken skewered with peppers and onions served with toasted pita and tzatziki. I was so one with this food, I think I became a skosh Greek that night. How do they get the chicken and vegetables so tender and still hold all their flavor? As usual, not a bite was left over as the other Divas discovered my gem of a meal.

Sofie Z. on the balsamic chicken ($15.99) Marinated breast of chicken filled with bleu cheese, red onions and herbs, served on top of garlic cheddar mashed potatoes and accompanied by seasonal vegetables and onion strings. With its balanced flavors and moist, tender meat, this dish had a real “wow factor.” Well paired with asparagus and broccoli. Opa!

Lisette on the tri-tip ($12.99) Marinated tri-tips charbroiled with a bourbon sauce and served atop garlic cheddar mashed potatoes. Served with onion strings. A hearty savory flavorful meal. A real tri-tip lovers delight, very tender not chewy, loved the bourbon sauce, the onions strings were thin and


Bakersfield Life

August 2011

Summer pasta fabulous! With a generous portion of plump shrimp sauteed with garlic, basil, onions, red peppers and sun-dried tomatoes over rotelle noodles with a light ouzo garlic cream sauce, topped with fresh parmesan and smokey bacon bits. Do I have your attention yet, this was heaven in a bowl. Every bite was sinfully delicious, the divas were singing their praises for this balanced beauty!

Sofie Z. on desserts, baklava and Mother Goose cookie, both ($3.99) Baklava — An ancient Greek 40-layered delicacy. Greek baklava is made with buttery phyllo, toasted almonds, walnuts, cinnamon and sugar. After baking, a sweet citrus amber sauce is poured over the top. It’s a layered explosion of flavor, not overly sweet, like most baklava I have tasted. The citrus syrup had a hint of Grand Marnier, which was lovely, and light enough that you could taste the individual assortment of spices. Just delightful. It was great to see such a traditional dessert on the menu. In my view, we need such diverse places to experience a bit of culture beyond the borders of California. Mother Goose cookie — A fresh, baked deep-dish chocolate chip cookie topped with vanilla bean ice cream, strawberries, blueberries and whipped cream. OMG, oozy gooey madness! As fate would have it, I happen to love cookie dough. This dessert was so delicious, I was compelled to return with my family for a repeat performance. It was just as good the second time around. I am not sure who cleaned the plate faster, the Divas or my 7- and 4-year-old daughters!

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Richard Chapman

Photo by Henry A. Barrios

President/chief executive officer for Kern Economic Development Corporation

What type of economic recovery do you anticipate for Kern County within the next year? Slow to moderate job growth. However, Kern County is projected to be one of the first counties in the state to return to pre-recession employment levels. Higher commodity prices are helping our two largest industrie s — oil and agriculture. In addition, the logistics and healthcare sectors are starting to pick up.

running and what are the contributing factors? Because we are primarily a resource-based economy, our unemployment rates will be dictated by commodity prices. Traditionally, the lowest rates occur during the summer when agriculture-related employment picks up. For the next few years, it is likely that the Bakersfield Metropolitan Statistical Area rate will remain in the 13- to 18-percent range.

What types of jobs seem to be in demand for our area and why do you think so? Positions that require skills in mechanical engineering, servicing, welding, computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM), medical billing and administration will be in demand. Most of our major industries require applicants that have mechanical skills. With the new healthcare reform changes, medical billing and accounting jobs are even more complex. Soft skills are always a critical component expected from employees.

How has the employment rate affected the trust and confidence for consumers and businesses? The main concern of employers is not the unemployment rate, which is traditionally higher than the state and U.S. average, but workforce availability and quality issues. We need to continue to focus on improving the skill set of our workforce to make people more employable. The good news is that in many industries, our turnover rates are very low in comparison to other parts of the country. Kern County residents are known for having a strong work ethic. Consumer confidence is traditionally affected by job stability and credit availability. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that things will return to pre-recession confidence levels any time soon.

What has been the job loss this year for Kern County and how would you compare it to previous years? We have actually made up some of the job losses experienced since 2009. Currently, we are upside-down, about 2,000 jobs, compared to the previous year. In late 2010, we were upside-down over 10,000 jobs. In what direction do you think the unemployment rate is 48

Bakersfield Life

August 2011

How does the outlook for the farm-growth industry look? The good news is that more food processing operations are opening in Kern County. This creates higher-value jobs in the community. In general, harvesting jobs pay less than processing positions. The bad

news is that water supply issues still remain as a potential job killer for the future of agriculture in the valley. What are Kern County's advantages in creating jobs and keeping them local compared to other counties in California? Kern County’s cost of doing business is 88 percent of the U.S. average. In addition, we are one of the most pro-business counties in the state. We have an excellent track record of successfully permitting and completing industrial projects in one-third to one-half the time of neighboring counties. How will the unemployment rates in neighboring counties affect Kern County? Kern County has actually emerged as the strongest and largest economy in the San Joaquin Valley. In fact, Kern was the fastest growing economy among the top 100 metropolitan areas over the last decade. The region benefits primarily from the in-migration of Los Angeles basin residents looking for a overall better quality of life. How will the summer season affect farm employment? Regional farm employment peaks during late summer. The August figures are traditionally double that of March. What kind of tax incentive or other benefits apply to employers to increase employment? Luckily, it looks like the state’s enterprise zone program has remained intact despite tough budgetary times. Several communities like Arvin, Delano and Taft currently have these zones, which have several benefits for new and expanding companies. The primary incentive is a $37,000-plus tax credit over 5 years, for each qualified employee hired by the company.

Spectacular Exhibits Special Events Educational Programs Social and Cultural Gatherings The Bakersfield Museum of Art, the only accredited art museum in the southern San Joaquin Valley, is a hidden gem with an array of California art plus rotating exhibits for every taste. Enjoy a serene, leisurely afternoon, a family outing or a special event. There is something for everyone. Visit Bakersfield Museum of Art for a cultural treat.

1930 R Street Bakersfield, CA 93301 661-323-7219


Alecia Haataia United States Air Force Age: 27 Rank: Staff Sgt., assigned to the 95 Security Forces Squadron Assignment: Operation section Stationed: Edwards Air Force Base Hometown: Beaverton, Ore.

Photo courtesy of Alecia Haataia


I stay connected to friends by: Phone calls, and when I deploy,

with my first child and am due Oct. 3. I will name her Kori.

they all write letters and send care packages. A lot of it is long distance, but every time I go home and get to visit, it’s a homecoming. So everyone makes sure they see me when I can get home.

Favorite activity to do in Bakersfield: I ride dirt bikes with a

My best military accomplishment is: Making it to supervisor

Family: Brother serving in the military in Florida. I’m pregnant

bunch of different families around the area of Bakersfield that all go out camping. I have been deployed: Twice; one of the locations I can’t say

where and the other was in Kuwait. When I’m deployed, I miss: The day-to-day interaction. When

you’re at home you can just call a friend. While you’re away, it takes about 15 minutes to dial a number back to the states. You’re only interacting with the military members and people you work with. I have served in the military for: A little over six years now. Why I joined: Initially, I joined the Air Force because of all the

education benefits and to pay for my college. I have been taking classes now since I joined. They pay full tuition while you are on active duty. Through the military I am studying: Criminal justice. I continue to serve because: It’s one of the most rewarding

lifestyles. There is a lot more pride behind it as far as serving your country. Also, unless I am deployed, I get paid on the first and the 15th, no matter what. And I get to be a cop on top of that. If I had to choose a different career path, I would have become: A cop. I’m a cop in the military and I probably would have

ended up being one outside of the military anyway. 50

Bakersfield Life

August 2011

level. It’s kind of stepping it up in the military. Instead of everyone else telling you what to do, you have to start taking responsibility. Things I say can have an impact on other people’s lives and getting to this step is kind of a lot of work. To get to that level: I served for a certain amount of time and was

tested for a certain amount of general Air Force knowledge. Then, they also send you to a school to prepare you for the position. After my time in the Air Force I would like to: Continue being

a cop. I also want to always be a recruiter, whether or not I am in the uniform. I got my younger brother to join the military. He’s stationed in Florida. I recommend this lifestyle: for a lot of people. This lifestyle is

definitely different, but it’s also very rewarding. I also know it’s not for everyone. But, if they can talk to someone in the military prior to joining, then they have a good head start as to whether or not it would be a good life for them. Before this year is over, I want to: Get started on my bachelor’s

degree. I will hopefully finish within two years, depending on deployment. — Know a Kern County native who is proudly serving in the military? E-mail us at with the message subject line: Why I Serve. Please include an e-mail, phone number and/or Facebook link to reach the nominee.


Striking Sonata hits a home run 2011 Hyundai Sonata features right combination

“Fluidic sculpture” is how Bakersfield Hyundai general manager Patrick Beck describes the Sonata’s body design.

W By Olivia Garcia

Photos by Tanya X. Leonzo

When I learned that my next test drive would be a Hyundai Sonata, I was taken back to my undergrad college days, reminiscing about my four-door Excel. I had saved up money to buy a used car that could get me to college in Fresno and be reliable enough to bring me back home, two hours away, on some weekends. My Hyundai Excel, which my cousin Dina and I liked to call Lisa as a term of endearment (she was a girl after all), was there for me through good and bad times, and she never failed. Driving roundtrip on the 99 through relentless Tule Fog? No problem. How about triple-digit weather? Sure, just turn up the AC. Or, what about when car thieves attempted to break into her, not once but twice, both


Bakersfield Life

August 2011

The Sonata comes with a five-year/60,000 basic warranty, plus a 10year/100,000 power train warranty.

It’s all in the details:

The Sonata has received an all-around five-star safety rating by the NHTSA.

on campus? They only succeeded once, taking my cheesy car stereo, but she survived being taken away. I have been through many cars since then, but I’ve never forgotten about my faithful Hyundai, and I was excited and curious to learn what the 2011 Sonata had to offer. There have been many changes in Hyundai cars since my college days, and all for the better. Again, my Excel was great, but the added improvements just take the 2011 model to a new level. Just ask Patrick Beck, general manager of Bakersfield Hyundai. If there is one thing I appreciate, its people who are passionate about what they do. Patrick is one of them. He’s devoted many years working for Hyundai, and he can tell you every little detail about his cars — and why they are a cut above the competitor. I asked him for specifics, and he rattled off a number of features: • Best warranty. The Sonata comes with a five-year/60,000 basic warranty, plus a 10-year/100,000 power train warranty. Not every dealer will offer power train coverage right out the door, Beck said. • Quality. J.D. Powers put the Hyundai Sonata at No. 1 for quality. Sweet. • Highest safety ranking. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has given the Sonata a five-star rating all around. This is significant since the NHTSA has imposed new rules requiring auto makers to be

What are the five best features of the 2011 Hyundai Sonata? The proximity key, more interior space and cargo room than the Accord or Camry, six-speed automatic shiftronic transmission, steering wheel audio mounted audio, phone and cruise control, and the touchscreen navigation.

Mileage and price tag:

24 city; 35 highway. Prices ranges from $20,200 to $27,800 or $199/month lease.

Finish this sentence: The 2011 Hyundai Sonata is perfect for ... you and your family! What makes the 2011 Hyundai Sonata stand out:

The Sonata has America’s best warranty, guaranteed trade value, overall five-star safety rating, highest fuel economy in its class, and it’s less expensive!!

Target consumer for the 2011 Hyundai Sonata:

The target audience is truly everyone. It competes and wins in one of the largest car segments in the world.

The Sonata’s touchscreen navigation and satellite radio system. clear about their ratings. Previously, dealers could say they have a five-star safety rating, period. Now, they have to specify what rating they got it for, such as rear impact, side impact or front impact, Beck said. There are five measurements. Sonata is fortunate to have a five-star rating for all five. “Better warranty, quality and safety ranking,” Beck

Three words that define the 2011 Hyundai Sonata: A must-have.

What do you like the most about the 2011 Hyundai Sonata:

Improved new look, fuel economy, warranty, safety, performance and the price! I personally love how well it sells, too. Source: Patrick Beck, general manager, Bakersfield Hyundai

Continued on page 54


Continued from page 53

said. • Fuel economy. OK, we can all agree we want to get more mileage for less money. I feel the pain every time I pull into a gas station with my SUV. We spend close to $100 for gas that may last about a week. Yeah, I’m starting to feel the pain now. The Sonata offers 35 miles per gallon, and I can tell you that I drove all over Bakersfield without a worry about mileage, a big change from my usual state where I’m calculating the miles from point A to point B. • Higher resale value. Beck told me that because of the warranty, fuel economy and high ratings, the car’s value is better than most. Now what did I like the most? Well, you know the Sonata had me at gas mileage. But it was more than just that. This four-cylinder packs power and ease of moving between cars on freeways. Its combo leather-cloth interior gives a comfy feel, as does the Nav features and satellite radio. But I loved its body style, which Beck described as “fluidic sculpture.” I test drove it the week I picked up my 16-year-old niece, Lauren Ronquillo, from summer school, and we know how picky teenagers are. She gave me and the Sonata a thumbs up. But so did my hubby. We test drove it on date night when we attended a house concert, featuring Jill Andrews, a singer who blends country/folk/indie and can take your breath away while she is at it. It seemed like a perfect night for Jill and the Sonata.






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Bakersfield Life

August 2011


Johnny Callison By Stephen Lynch

Born during the Great Depression, Johnny Callison didn’t have many material possessions while growing up in Bakersfield during the 1940s and ’50s. But what Callison did possess were all the tools needed to be a great baseball player. Combining a powerful bat, blazing speed and a rocketarm, he went from high school standout to major league star within just a few short years. The sweet swinging lefty posted big offensive numbers during his lengthy professional career. But he was just as impressive with his glove and on the base paths leading his manager Gene Mauch with the Philadelphia Phillies to once remark, “There’s nothing he can’t do well on the ball field.” Well-liked by both teammates and fans, Callison was hugely popular even after retirement. However, five years ago, Callison widely regarded as the greatest baseball player ever to hail from Kern County, passed away at age 67.

Johnny Callison facts Born March 12, 1939 in Qualls, Okla. In 1944, his mother moved Johnny plus his brother and two sisters from Oklahoma to Bakersfield when his father joined the army to fight in World War II.


Bakersfield Life

August 2011

Growing up he picked cotton and grapes to financially help out his family.

Hit for the cycle against the Pittsburgh Pirates on June 7, 1963.

Before graduating from East High in 1957, he married his high school sweetheart Dianne in a small chapel in Las Vegas at 4:30 a.m.

Was selected to play in the Major League AllStar game four times: twice in 1962, 1964, 1965.

At East High School, he excelled at football, basketball and baseball before being signed by the Chicago White Sox for $10,000 near the end of his senior year.

Lifted the National League to a 7-4 victory over the American League in the 1964 Midsummer Classic with a two-out, walk-off three-run home run. Those heroics led him to being named the game’s MVP.

That summer he played his first season of professional baseball in the Class C California League for the Bakersfield Bears, posting an eye-popping .340 batting average with 41 extra-base hits and 31 stolen bases in just 86 games. Played 16 years in the major leagues, which included stints with the White Sox (195859), Phillies (1960-69), Chicago Cubs (197071) and New York Yankees (1972-73). Finished his big league career with a .264 batting average, 226 home runs and 840 runs batted in.

Finished second in NL MVP voting to Ken Boyer following the 1964 season. He led the NL in outfield assists each year from 1962-65. Also led the league in triples twice (1962 and 1965) and doubles once (1966). Was selected to be part of the inaugural class of the East High Hall of Fame earlier this year. Died from cancer on Oct. 12, 2006 in Abington, Pa., leaving behind Dianne, three daughters (Lori, Cindi and Sherri) and eight granddaughters.



Barbara Johnston Hill

Director of tennis at Bakersfield Country Club and varsity boys and girls tennis coach at Garces Memorial High School

Growing up, these ladies admired the men and women who coached and inspired them. That’s why they became coaches — to inspire a new generation of athletes on and off the playing field. Photos by Henry A. Barrios

Marsha Eubank

Athletic director at Taft Union High School

Christina Nance

Physical education teacher, junior varsity volleyball coach and varsity softball coach at Wasco High School


Bakersfield Life

August 2011

Sally White

Physical education teacher at Jacobsen Middle School and varsity volleyball coach at Tehachapi High School


Why did you decide to get involved in high school sports?

Nance: I was raised in a coaching family. My dad coached football, baseball and softball, so athletics have always been a part of our family. I loved playing when I was younger and I want to give my athletes the same opportunity to enjoy competition as much as I have. Eubank: (Known for coaching girl’s basketball.) I had always known that I wanted to coach. In high school, we were required to get up on Saturday mornings to coach a young group of kids from the rec. I had found this very enjoyable and it had sparked a desire for me. I used to see athletic directors at my games, but never really knew what they did until I became one. Now I know that they did all of the grunt work behind the scenes to allow me to be on the court. Johnston Hill: I decided to coach high school tennis because I think that high school age students are still developing their values and philosophies of life. I want to be a positive influence and a good role model for every student I coach. My goals are to teach impressionable young athletes a game they can enjoy for a lifetime, while helping them develop into caring, productive young adults. Coaching at the high school level is bigger than just teaching tennis techniques. White: I decided to become a coach because I learned so many valuable life lessons from coaches that I had. I wanted to become an important influence in young people’s lives, not only in sports, but also in the development of their character and lifelong goals.


What is your coaching style?

Nance: I believe in teaching the fundamentals and knowledge of the game, and teamwork and discipline through hard work. I try to be fair, give everyone a chance and listen to the individual athlete while maintaining team discipline. I encourage the team to perform the best they can and the individuals to work together as a team.

Eubank: At the high school level I was very demanding. I pushed my athletes beyond what they thought they could do. Conditioning and teaching them to read the court were priorities. It was important for me to teach them that they had to learn to work together and that the bench players were just as important as the starting group, which was displayed in our third valley championship game as three starters were on the bench for a good portion of the championship game. As an athletic director, I have great people working with me. I appreciate each of their efforts. I could not do what we do at TUHS alone. Johnston Hill: My coaching style is not too different from my lifestyle and can be summed up in two words, calm and consistent. Students need to know what to expect from me every day and they need to look forward to practice. I try to make sure that the students have fun each day because if they are having fun, they will come back. I try to lead by example on and off the court, and for that reason, I never scream or yell at my students (although I will admit there are times I scream plenty in my head). I have learned that people don’t really care how much you know until they know how much you care. I do my best to demonstrate my respect and concern for my students each and every day. White: My coaching style includes en-

couragement and intensity in the athlete’s conditioning, skill development and game situation practice. Volleyball is in large part a “mind” game where the athlete needs to be focused and confident in order to play their “A” game. When my volleyball players have faith in themselves and their teammates, both physically and mentally we are successful!


What is the best part of being a coach?

Nance: The best part of being a coach is seeing the players gain self-confidence and improve their skills as they become part of a team. As the coach, you have the opportunity to bring individual athletes together to work as a team to achieve the goal to become the best that they can be. There is no bigger thrill than to see an athlete reach her potential. Seeing her excitement when she makes that special play, brings a smile to your face and makes all the hard work worth while. Eubank: Forming a unity with the athletes and seeing them accomplish their team goals by learning to believe in themselves and each other. As an athletic director, the same is true of coaches — seeing them reach their goals. Continued on page 60


Continued from page 59

Johnston Hill: I think the best part of coaching is getting to work with kids. High school students have so much energy and such big dreams. Each day is positive and different. Their impulsivity and excitement keeps me on my toes. I never know what they are going to do or say, which keeps things entertaining. Running a very close second is winning. I love winning matches, league titles and valley titles, but I believe that all of our success is built on a solid foundation of mutual respect and admiration. White: The best part of being a coach is the daily contact with my volleyball players. They are like family to me. I look forward to seeing them daily! Besides the regular practice regime, I enjoy finding out about their day, which includes their classes, activities, social life, family, etc. I use my pre-practice discussions to encourage, teach and challenge each athlete to do their best so that they can plan for a productive future. Then, it is time to practice hard!


Is there a certain coach you draw your inspiration from?

Nance: I played three sports at Wasco High School: volleyball, basketball and softball. I also played softball at California Lutheran University. I would say all of these coaches have influenced my coaching style. However, two coaches have had the most influence on me. My dad, Tom Proffit, a retired high school softball coach,

who not only coached me as a player, but is currently helping me with the softball team as an assistant. The other coach who has inspired me is Millie Pettibone. She is the high school varsity volleyball coach and has given me advice for working with athletes and organizing my programs. Both of them have helped me become a better coach and I often seek their advice.

Eubank: I have been compared to University of Tennessee’s Pat Summit by numerous people. I have always thought of her as an inspirational coach with a lot of passion. Dean Smith is another coach I admired and respected. Johnston Hill: Coaches John Wooden and Mike Krzyzewski. Both of these coaches see the bigger picture. They teach much more than X’s and O’s. Both of these coaches care deeply for the young people they coached. It was because of the connections they make with young athletes that they became successful. If you don’t love kids, I don’t think you could ever be an inspirational coach. I want to teach my kids to play well and to win, but like John Wooden, I want each of them to be good people before, during and after the game. White: I don’t have a particular coach who I draw my inspiration from, however, I am truly inspired by Jerry Rice, the former wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers. He was highly respected for his ethics both on and off the field. He presented himself as a true athlete in the way he trained, the way he performed on the field, the way he dressed, talked and the way he treated others. I expect this for myself as a coach, and I expect this from my volleyball players.

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If you could choose an athlete to coach, who would it be and why?

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Nance: The athlete I want to coach is the one who wants to learn the game, improve her basic skills and who always gives her best whether she is on the bench or a key player. She is the one who listens and is coachable, and who works hard to become a better player for the team. Eubank: The ones I coached because they gave their all as I watched them turn into confident, well-respected individuals. Johnston Hill: I don’t think I would choose an athlete to coach. I would choose a coaching staff. I would loved to have been a part of John Wooden’s coaching staff. It would have been amazing to be around this legend on a daily basis. White: This is an easy question for me! If I could choose an athlete to coach it would be Jasmine Julye, a current volleyball player at Tehachapi High. I have had the pleasure and honor of coaching Jasmine since she was a freshman on my varsity team. She will be a senior this fall and she is every coach’s dream player! She is very talented athletically, however, she has so many more important attributes! She is respectful, polite, encouraging and fun! Her work ethic both at school and on the court is beyond all praise. I would coach forever if my team was filled with players like Jasmine!

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Kern River Valley Cheryl Borthick, 67, owner of Cheryl’s Diner in Kernville for 26 years

By Xxxxxxx xx x x xxxx x xxxx

There’s so much to love about Kern County from the people, nature and community events. Each city offers something unique, so we decided to find a few people to tell us what makes their city special. I have lived in the Kern River Valley for: Thirty-nine years. My husband, three children and I moved here the Christmas of 1971. We have lived in Kernville for 28 years, and spent the first 11 years living in Lake Isabella. I grew up in Downey across the street from my husband to be, and we moved to the Kern River Valley after my mom and siblings settled here in 1964. Since that time, the family has grown to over 50 members and only one does not live in the Kern River Valley.

Three words that describe my neighborhood: The first word that comes to mind is “family” since one of my granddaughters, her husband and baby girl live next door. All the neighbors look out for each other. Since it’s summertime, “shady” and “cool” also come to mind.


Bakersfield Life

August 2011

Photo by Felix Adamo

Three words that describe Kernville: Kernville is picturesque, quaint, friendly and welcoming. (oops, four words).

The canal runs down the street, flowing back into the Kern River at the end of the street. The trees line the street and it’s very smalltown Americana! Favorite Saturday activity: During the summer, I work at my restaurant on Saturdays. After work, the family barbecues (my only grandson loves to barbecue) and it always involves lots of grandkids and great-grandkids. Since there are so many of us in the Kern River Valley, there is always some gathering with family and friends.


Does describe your kitchen?

Favorite community event: I sing with the Sweet Adelines and enjoy performing for different groups and organizations. The fireworks display over beautiful Lake Isabella is a wonderful event enjoyed, with again, lots of family camping at the lake. Whiskey Flat Days in Kernville and directing the Mt. View Church choir at Easter and Christmas. Favorite local restaurant: Well, Cheryl’s Diner, of course. I’ve owned and operated it since my husband built it in 1985 — 26 years ago. We serve good old-fashioned, home-style cooked food just like mom, who started Nelda’s Diner back in 1976. I have a very friendly staff, many whom are related to me: daughters, granddaughters, cousins, good friends and neighbors. How I relax in the Kern River Valley: My backyard is like an oasis in the hustle and bustle of Kernville during the summer. In the winter, I knit some scarves and do lots of singing. How I keep cool during the summer: Our yard has a pool and having the kids over (all the kids — big and little) is so relaxing. Best place for a family outing: Our family loves to camp — river, lake and the high country. The best place for a date night: We love to go to McNally’s — up the river for special occasions. Best-kept secret in the Kern River Valley: The weather — we have four seasons, but they are mild. Our snow usually melts within a day, so there is no shoveling. The fall is absolutely beautiful with trees changing color and the cooler weather. Summer is all about water, and this year we have plenty of that. And what can anyone say about spring? The birds singing, the deer out in the fields and the raccoons in our yard — I’m laughing! My favorite memory about the Kern River Valley: My mind is flooded with memories and probably the best is the last Easter when Mom was well. The whole family was in our backyard — happy and healthy with the first great-great-grandchild.

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What I like most about the Kern River Valley: I love the blue skies, the clean air, the smell of pine trees, the friendly people and the fact that folks who come here to visit wish they could stay. Also, the history of the Kern River Valley and its Western flair. What I would change about the Kern River Valley: I would welcome more recognition for the value of the tourist dollar generated from the Kern River Valley and more consideration for access to the valley i.e., realignment of Highway 178 to Bakersfield as proposed in the ’60s. And of course, more jobs, so other families could stay connected as ours is. What I like about Kern County: It is so diverse — ranching, oil, tourism, agriculture and nice cities with small-town friendliness.

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Shafter John Guinn, 59, Shafter city manager

I have lived in Shafter for: 29 years. I went to high school in Wasco and wanted to raise my children in a small valley town. Shafter adopts you before you adopt it, and the next thing you know, it is home. I can’t imagine living any place else. Three words that describe Shafter: Caring, loving and hard-working. I live in: the Northeast section of town near the high school. Our neighborhood really defines small-town living. It’s quiet, safe, secure, has mature trees and is within walking distance to everything. Three words that describe my neighborhood: Safe, quiet and comfortable. Favorite Saturday activity: Anything with my grandkids. Favorite community event: The annual Community Chest Spaghetti Dinner is a special evening. It is kind of a community 64

Bakersfield Life

August 2011

reunion where people who may have moved away, come back and an evening where Shafter comes together to meet the need of its residents when they are especially in need. Our Community Chest is a unique Shafter community effort. Like so many things we do in Shafter, you get to be around people you love and help each other. Favorite local restaurant: China Cuisine — Friday night catfish. When I go there, I know everyone and the food is great. How I relax in Shafter: Be with friends and enjoy church families. Best place for a family outing: Mannel Park. I think this is the best community park in Kern county. It has mature trees, picnic areas, gazebo, playgrounds and much more. We have everything from weddings to birthdays to reunions in that park. The best-kept secret in Shafter: It’s quiet, safe and comfortable neighborhoods. You can live in a small town and still have

all of the advantages of the larger metro areas of Bakersfield and Los Angeles. This is the safest town where people walk and ride bikes every evening and morning. The sense of security and well being is important and the community is committed to keeping it that way.

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When I want to get out of town I always go to: The coast, mountains, Bay Area or Los Angeles.

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What I like most about Shafter: The values of the people who live here. I like Shafter’s ambition. Our community is committed to being the very best. Not just surviving, but being a place where people and companies want to be. Shafter cherishes its past but is not stuck in it. Our residents obviously don’t always agree, but it is fun to watch the community reach consensus and always move forward in ways that are best for all of Shafter. Shafter has great leadership in its churches, schools, special districts and city government What I would change about Shafter: The things I hear the most about are a need for more local retail shopping opportunities and youth activities. More and more shopping is occurring through the Internet and our proximity to Bakersfield creates challenges in the retailing area. Shafter’s commitment to its youth is very strong. We have a unique and special schools project where the city is partnering with the schools to provide a number of services such as summer reading camp and pre-kindergarten programs. Additionally, a newly remodeled aquatic center and one of the best recreation districts in the valley are improving opportunities for Shafter youth.

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Bob Saberhagen, 67, Pine Mountain Community Post Office operator and Shannon Norris, 38, English teacher at Frazier Mountain High School 66

Bakersfield Life

August 2011

Photo by Jaclyn Borowski

Pine Mountain Club

We have lived in Pine Mountain Club for: Nearly 20 years (married 10 years). We are both city transplants; Shannon a Bakersfield native born and raised, and Bob from the Los Angeles area. Describe Pine Mountain Club: Pine Mountain Club, a pinestudded village of about 3,000 full-time residents, can be found by adventurous seekers nestled high up in the southern Tehachapi Mountains. The picturesque village, reminiscent of an Alpine hamlet, was established by a developer in the early 1970s, as a haven for retirees and for city dwellers seeking vacation homes. Pine Mountain Club rests peacefully in the small San Emigdio Valley where it boasts amenities including a golf course, tennis courts, a clubhouse, a community swimming pool, and a spacious park with ball fields and basketball courts. On the community in Pine Mountain Club: Neighbors rally to help each other. When one family’s home was destroyed by a fallen tree, which killed the couple’s son, residents rallied to raise more than $20,000 practically overnight to get them into another home and back on their feet. Favorite community event: Despite its relative exclusivity as a private community, Pine Mountain Club hosts several annual events open to the public, including its annual Lilac Festival and Oktoberfest celebrations, Wine In the Pines wine tasting festival, Mountain Shakespeare Festival and its Concerts On The Greens series of contemporary music. Our favorite is the Wine Fest, and we really love the outdoor theater, too. Shannon often performs in the annual Shakespeare Festival productions. Favorite local restaurant: The village offers several dining options including the club’s Bistro On The Greens and eateries in the village’s commercial center featuring Italian at the Pine Mountain Pizza Company, Mexican at La Lena, steaks and ribs at the Pine Mountain Roadhouse. The Pine Mountain General Store also offers an array of made-to-order subs along with a great selection of fine wines. We love them all. We’re fortunate to have them. It’s not easy for restaurants to survive in a small community where there are not a lot of visitors. You have to be dedicated. On outdoor activities: If you’re a nature lover, there’s plenty to do on the piney mountain. Outdoor adventurers have several choices of scenic hikes along the creeks, waterfalls, and peak-to-peak treks between the Mount Pinos and Mount Abel hosted periodically by the local Sierra Club Chapter. Best-kept secret in Pine Mountain Club: Given its small town persona, there are few secrets in PMC. Practically everyone knows everyone and rumors sometime grow as tall as the pines. When you hear an occasional ambulance or helicopter arrive, you know it’s for a friend or neighbor. What we like most about Pine Mountain Club: We love the pure mountain air and water, the stunning beauty of unspoiled nature and the stressless mountain lifestyle. Sure you have to shovel some snow occasionally in the winter, but the summers are refreshingly cool. Small town life may not be for everyone, but it suits us just fine, especially here in our little piece of paradise. Even after a couple decades, we still marvel at the good fortune to live in such a wonderful place in the forest, where city dwellers take their holidays.

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Photo by Henry A. Barrios

Tommy W. Tunson, 57, Arvin Chief of Police


Bakersfield Life

August 2011

I have lived in Arvin for: Five years. I applied in 2005 for the police chief position. I moved to Kern County from Riverside County. Three words that describe Arvin: Challenging, rewarding and complex. Words that describe my neighborhood: Quiet, calm, relaxing, nice rural environment and great neighbors. Favorite Saturday activity: A relaxing bicycle ride, golf or visiting my daughter. Favorite community event: Coaching the Arvin High School varsity football team every year. I enjoy mentoring young men and providing vocational guidance. Favorite local restaurant: Logan’s on California Avenue for the baked zucchini and Tahoe Joe’s in Bakersfield. I relax by: Going to Hart Park, Kern River and Lake Ming areas. These locations provide an atmosphere of fresh green trees, running water in the river, wildlife and a calmness not normally a part of 21st century living in Kern County. Best place for a family outing: Movie theaters, the Park at River Walk and Hart Park. Families can come together in this type of environment to educate their children about the serene goodness of Mother Nature and not worry about the daily congestion of day-to-day city living. Best-kept secret in Arvin: The Sycamore Canyon Golf Course

is an outstanding social activity and the best-kept secret in Kern County. Favorite memory about Arvin: Being a part of the 2006 Arvin High Championship football team; and coaching the We the People Constitution team. My favorite moments are speaking to students at the Arvin Union Schools and the Arvin High School. It is important to provide experience, wisdom, direction and motivation to our youth. What I like most about Arvin: The community wants to be cared about, recognized and appreciated. The Arvin citizens have been supportive of the police department over the last five years and I appreciate the community. Most important is the dedication of the Arvin police employees. What I would change about Arvin: I would like to see continued import of financial services, social recreation, an increase of big box stores, chain restaurants and public social services that support this under-represented population. What I like about Kern County: My experiences have included being a volunteer member of county agencies whereby the primary mission is to help people. There are very positive coalitions of people in the education, social services, public safety and medical professions. This is especially true in the criminal justice system from the various types of lawyers in the community to the prosecutors, judges and probation officers. I have observed regionalization of various resources in law enforcement from the federal, state and county levels, resulting in increasing the quality of life in Kern County generally and the municipalities specifically.

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North Kern Northern Kern communities have interesting people doing interesting things By Gene Garaygordobil

Delano’s Joe Aguirre would be a busy man if he was only the director of Facilities Management and Emergency Management at Delano Regional Medical Center. His job description makes most people feel lazy. Add city council member and president of the Delano Chamber of Commerce, and you wonder how he has enough hours in the day. From his office, Aguirre oversees security, property and real estate issues, engineering, disaster and emergency preparedness and safety officers. He is also in charge of every piece of equipment inside the hospital. 70

Bakersfield Life

August 2011

Joe Aguirre

Photo by Maria Ahumada-Garaygordobil

Joe Aguirre, Delano

Field of roses near Wasco.

Photo by Casey Christie

Photo by Maria Ahumada-Garaygordobil

Debbe Haley

“From a defibrillator to an MRI machine, all has to go through this office,” he said. “We look at medication errors down to cash deposits.” Since November 2010, Aguirre has been on the Delano City Council. “I watched a serious matter go before the council with a standing-room only audience, and I saw these five council members vote on what four of five people there wanted, and against the 200 or so people who didn’t want it,” Aguirre said. “That did not register, and I thought to myself, ‘Are we listening to our community?’ So, I decided to run because we need someone to do something about this.” At 45, he has lived in Delano, off and on, for 20 years. In 1995, he started his own Delano-based business, Executive Housekeeper, geared toward medical offices and other local businesses. He continues to help with the business, now run by his daughter and wife. But it

wasn’t his health care or business background that spurred him to join the Delano Chamber of Commerce. “I got involved two years ago because I noticed that locally, National Day of Prayer, was dissolving, and it didn’t appear to be a priority on anyone’s list.” He said the chamber was facilitating it, but with no support. “I wanted to put some synergy into the program, and get people more aware of it,” he said. “That was my sole motivation.”

Debbe Haley, Shafter Debbe Haley of Shafter is president of her town’s Chamber of Commerce too. She runs her own scrapbooking business from her home office, which resembles a downtown business. As a Creative Memories unit leader, Haley offers regular and digital scrapbooking classes. “It’s about telling family stories,” Haley said. “Either with traditional scrapbooking or digital scrapbooking, you celebrate life and your family. And I get to do that for a job. Once you are done, you can pass it down to your other family members, so people feel connected.” The converted-garage served as a family room for the Haleys before they turned it into her “studio.” “The studio is very self-contained,” she said. “So I can make a mess and don’t have to

worry about it.” Haley and her husband are both originally from Fresno, but moved to Bakersfield, and have lived in Shafter for the past 13 years. Quite a few customers still make the short trek from Bakersfield. She also offers home visits as well as scrapbooking parties. She remembers joining the Shafter Chamber of Commerce six years ago, when it was “reorganizing.” “I had been involved with the Bakersfield Chamber, and I knew the value of networking,” Haley said. “So I got involved with the chamber here, and next thing you know, I was president.” Being part of the chamber not only allows for business growth, but personal growth, she said. “I am meeting people I would not have met otherwise.”

Gary Farrell, McFarland Gary Farrell grew up in Shafter, but he has made his mark in McFarland and its Parks and Recreation Department over the past 30 years. After graduating from Chico State University with a degree in business administration and religious studies in 1981, Farrell was pondering his bleak future. “I had planned to do my graduate work at UC Berkeley in religious studies, but I got a call from my parents who told me about a job

Continued on page 72


nearby in McFarland, so I applied and got it.” The rest, as they say, is history. Farrell is now general manger of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department. “I believe it is one of the best recreational facilities in the state of California,” he said. “McFarland doesn’t have arcades, movie theaters or bowling alleys, so it is a challenge to provide entertaining programs that will draw in pre-schoolers to senior citizens.” Although the department’s flagship swimming pool, built a year after he arrived, is nearly three decades old, it remains quite popular with the community. The swimming program draws children from surrounding communities. When it was built, it was the largest pool — at 250,000 gallons — in Kern County. It is now third behind the Cal State Bakersfield and McMurtrey Aquatic Center pools. So what does he love about his job? “Working with the creme de la creme of our city’s youth as coaches, lifeguards, umpires and scorekeepers,” he said. “I am able to mentor them, not only in their jobs but in life as well.”

Photo by Maria Ahumada-Garaygordobil

Continued from page 71

Gary Farrell

He and his wife of 29 years, Elvira, have opened their McFarland-area home to various youth at times, helping them through difficult patches. He said many still refer to his wife

as “Mom.” Farrell worries about today’s physically challenged youth, who are more intent on scoring victories and achievements with

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Bakersfield Life

August 2011

Jerry Scott

Photo by Maria Ahumada-Garaygordobil

video games, than participating in physical activities. “You are inspired by great adventures or explorations on the outside, but also on the inside,” he said. “That’s when you discover what is within ourselves and within our very own souls.”

Jerry Scott, Lost Hills He admits his life may have turned out a lot different had his mother not decided to move the family to Californian from their Arkansas home. Today, Jerry Scott is the superintendent of the Lost Hills School District and has been affecting change for the past decade. Scott’s family moved to Wasco, where he went to high school. He decided to become a teacher as a Cal State Bakersfield senior. “I had planned to be a psychologist for young children. But when I looked at my transcript, I noticed it was much more in line with the college’s teacher credentialing program,” he said with a smile. “I got in it and loved it. Thirty-seven years later, I know I made the right move.” Scott spent 20 years in the Wasco High School District as a teacher, coach and administrator. Being a school superintendent was never a dream or really a thought, he said. While principal of Wasco’s alternative high school, Independence High, he was approached by members of the Lost Hills School District board. “I really didn’t think I had the superintendent experience, but I got it,” he said. His first goal was to get the community involved, and created a “ComJerry Scott munity Cleanup” based on an existing Oildale program. Lost Hills at that time did not have a mandatory trash program. From those cleanups, a “Moving Forward” community committee was formed, which now meets every three months. He also worked to get the students, 99.9 percent of whom are Hispanic, involved in athletics and activities. The school holds sports tournaments each year in track, cross-country, volleyball and football. Another problem he has worked to change was “the inability to keep good teachers.” The district would lose seven to 11 teachers

“We have an excellent school board that supports us and doesn’t micro-manage us, and we really appreciate them.”

Continued on page 74


from its 37-member staff each year. Now, the return rate is around 95 percent, he said. That includes his own daughter, who teaches seventhgrade English, and whose test scores are one of the district’s best. Scott upgraded the school library creating a “real” computer lab. He still has goals he’d like to accomplish before retiring. “We need to make sure we are not in program improvement, and if we do, then I will stay until we are out of it.” He would also like to create a community sporting complex. And finally, he wants to train and develop administrators, so the district can hire from within. “We have an excellent school board that supports us, and doesn’t micro-manage us,” he said. “And we really appreciate them.”

Fred West Jr., Wasco After receiving his degree from UC Berkeley, Fred West Jr. decided his time spent in the Bay Area felt a “little impersonal,” so West moved back to his small hometown. “In Wasco, it’s hard to walk down the street without running into someone you know. We all know each other, and watch out for each other.” He’s been on the Wasco City Council almost continuously for 23 years, and has seen a lot happen to his hometown. West owns a certified public accounting firm, started by his father, who came to Wasco in 1948. His dad was the first accountant in Wasco and on the town’s original utility district and planning commission. West joined Wasco’s planning commission before running for city council in 1988. Except for two years, West has been on that same council, including four stints as mayor.

Fred West Jr.

So, why has he remained on the city council, while running a fulltime business, and having a wife and three children? “I like to see the city develop in an organized manner,” he said. “As an accountant, I felt my services were needed. Running a city is much like running a business.” He has seen his children go to college and start their own careers: one daughter is a CPA in Costa Mesa; another teaches high school math in Taft; and his son is a senior at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, majoring in industrial technology. A lifelong San Francisco Giants fan, West also enjoys golf. In fact, he helped to bring the privately run golf course to town.

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August 2011

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10 things

4. Park Cross the Kern-Tulare counties border and you will

find the Col. Allensworth State Historic Park, about seven miles west of Earlimart. Col. Allen Allensworth and four other settlers established the town in 1908, which was founded and governed by African Americans.

5. Rodeo If rodeo is more your style, and you’d like to stay a

little cooler than our hot valley floor, you can make the trek to Glennville for its annual rodeo, the biggest one-day event of its kind in the United States. It is put on by the Greenhorn Mountain Veterans Association in June.

6. Roses Wasco his host to the Festival of Roses, held the

to see and do in northern Kern County communities Kern County boasts quite a few things to do in its northern communities, including several historic sites. Among them:

Saturday after Labor Day in September. Did you know that 55 percent of all roses grown in the U.S. come from Wasco? Nine major rose companies grow more than 50 million plants.

Photo by Maria Ahumada-Garaygordobil

1. UFW Starting with Delano, not much can be said without

Voice of America transmission station

Photo by Maria Ahumada-Garaygordobil

mentioning the United Farm Workers birth and influence there. And even though the union’s headquarters has long since moved, there is a plot of “forty acres” that still resonates through many people’s souls.

2. VOA Just down the way, Delano also boasts the former

Voice of America transmission station, once its most powerful shortwave broadcast facility. It started in 1943, and shutdown in 2007, because of technology, program cuts and changing political climate. However, it now broadcasts “Radio Marti” — a U.S. government station with an anti-communist agenda — on its shortwave transmitters, beamed toward communist-run Cuba, Canada and Central and South Americas.

Kern National Wildlife Refuge

Photo by Maria Ahumada-Garaygordobil

3. Wildlife You will see

more than your fair share of wildlife at the Kern National Wildlife Refuge, about 20 miles west of Delano. The refuge was created as an 11,249-acre natural desert uplands, a relict riparian corridor, and developed marsh in 1960. Now, a visitor center and office complex welcomes people right where Garces Highway connects with Corcoran Road.

Insect Lore’s Bugseum .

7. Bugseum The city of Shafter is home to Insect Lore’s

Bugseum Visitor Center. Insect Lore was founded by entomologist Carlos White, who wanted to create a kit, so people of all ages could witness the metamorphosis of a real, live butterfly.

8. Minter Field Another Shafter museum is the Minter

Field Air Museum, housed in the airfield’s original fire station build in 1941. Nearly 12,000 pilots received basic training on various aircraft of the day. The museum holds artifacts and photographs of the men and women stationed there, military uniforms, radio equipment and other memorabilia, including aircraft and military vehicle models.

9. Depot Don’t forget the Shafter Depot Museum, which

once served as the community’s “gateway to the world” as the mail, telegraph, express, freight and rail passengers passed through its doors. Shafter residents created a historical society, almost solely dedicated to preserving the building, which was gifted to the society by the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Co.

10. Hotel Finally, Shafter offers its fourth museum, the

Green Hotel, built in 1913 by the Kern County Land Co. to house prospective land buyers. It was Shafter’s first commercial building, and served as headquarters for the land company, and one of the few remaining buildings that represent that era of development. And now, after reconstruction, the Green Hotel has become the hub of downtown Shafter. — Compiled by Gene Garaygordobil



East Kern The Tornado GR4 takes off from the Naval Air Warfare Center China Lake.

By Gene Garaygordobil On the job for just 10 months, Ridgecrest Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Officer Nathan Ahle knows the future is important in building economic development in this community of about 30,000 people. A 20-year resident of Ridgecrest, Ahle got his start right after college at the Ridgecrest Daily Independent working as editor and assistant publisher before becoming the chamber’s CEO. “I’m no stranger to the chamber, having been on its board of directors for three years,” Ahle said “I am familiar with the organization, it was a good fit, and I made the transition. And it has worked out pretty well.” Still being the “day-to-day” guy can be a challenge. “We are looking at a sort of a revitalization of the organization,” he said. “Often chambers become event planners, as a business organization, we want to stress strengthening local economy and creating jobs.” Ridgecrest developed as a “company town” tied directly and indirectly to the nearby Navy base at China Lake. “We’d like to diversify the town as much as the chamber,” he said. “We have 325 days of sunshine, so we have a lot of solar and wind energy to help develop, an excellent opportunity for industry, as well as other industry besides military and to boost retail to provide additional 76

Bakersfield Life

August 2011

Nathan Ahle

Photo by Maria Garaygordobil-Ahumada

Nathan Ahle, Ridgecrest

Photo by Amy Rymer

Photo by Maria Ahumada-Garaygordobil

Patrick Stoliker

sales tax.” That includes the current Super Walmart project in town, which hopes to break ground soon and the secondary businesses that help boost local retail. Ahle said these projects will help keep sales tax revenue local. “We really feel that Ridgecrest’s best days are ahead of it,” Ahle said. “There is a lot of opportunity here.”

Patrick Stoliker, works at Edwards Air Force Base, lives in Tehachapi Patrick Stoliker loves to talk about aeronautics, including making better, faster and greener aircraft, and supporting NASA’s space program. This is a perfect fit for his job as Deputy Director of NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, at Edwards Air Force Base. He assists the center director in the management of the NASA field center, focusing

on strategy, business processes and institutional management. Stoliker’s “aha moment” occurred on a playground as a fourth-grader. “A Mach 3 bomber flew over the playground, and watching that helped put me on my path as an aerospace engineer.” After 10 years working for Northrop, he contacted Dryden officials and started working at the research center in 1992. He wrote computer codes that help control autonomous airplanes. “I love being part of the cutting edge technology in flight research and aeronautics,” Stoliker said. “And I can influence how we are changing that here.” Of course, Stoliker mentions the importance of NASA’s Space Shuttle program. Edwards Air Force Base had the secondmost shuttle landings, 54 active missions, along with 5 test missions. There are challenges, especially with the government spending less money overall, and that includes NASA. “Aeronautics has seen lots of cuts,” he said. “The science of planes is not as mature as some think, and there is lots of room for advancements, just like cars every year.” “NASA is like a big book, and the Space Shuttle program is just like Chapter 3,” Stoliker said. “And Chapter 4 will have an emphasis on commercial usage interest, with Virgin Galactic and the Sierra Nevada Space Systems Dream Chaser.”

The future includes exploring the moon, asteroids, Mars and beyond, Stoliker said. “Dryden continues to be engaged in space,” he said. “And I love my job. I truly have the best job in America!”

Toni Evans, California City Not only is Toni Evans city’s chamber of commerce administrative assistant, she is involved in the Little Miss, Junior Miss and Miss California pageants. Through the California City Community Club she is the pageant director for the younger girls’ pageants, and through the Chamber, she is one of the directors for the Miss pageant. The Miss California City winner goes on to compete for Miss Antelope Valley. Along with her husband, David, they have raised three girls in California City where they make their home. Her pilot husband telecommutes and works once or twice a week in the Bay Area. As far as her work at the Cal City Chamber, she’d like to see the membership, currently at around 50, continue to grow, and the chamber do more things. But with a down economy, she sees the difficulty in recruiting new members. “Right now, we are taking a hit. It’s tough to collect that $100 annual membership fee,” Evans said. “We will grow. But the economy is holding everyone back. So until it picks up, Continued on page 78


we won’t grow much.” Evans also enjoys being a “certifying agent for the President’s Volunteer Service Awards.” “It’s an award you get for volunteering in the community,” she said. And although it is open to all ages, she works with a lot of youth looking to help in their community. So far, she has certified about 20 youth. She sees this as a benefit for these volunteers as well as California City. “I think it is the most important thing I do,” Evans said.

Cathy Hansen, Mojave Cathy Hansen overlooks the flight line before having a bite to eat at the Voyager Cafe at the Mojave Airport. But first she takes a few minutes to visit others at the cafe that day, including her good friend Dick Rutan, sitting nearby enjoying the elk burger special. “Our airport keeps growing, and our community keeps growing,” she said between bites. She points to local companies doing well, such as Cal-Portland Cement, all the wind-

Toni Evans mills -- with hundreds more coming soon. “It is progress and productive,” Hansen said. “We are creating more electricity, jobs and tax revenue for the county. It’s great.” She also talks about the event she has planned at the airport, as part of her monthly

“Plane Crazy” series. For July, it’s a salute to local emergency personnel. But as eager as she is about Mojave and its airport, she is even more dedicated to the goal of The Mojave Transportation Museum, with a dream to create a museum to pre-

Discover hidden treasure Buried deep in the Mojave Desert is one of the biggest and richest deposits of borax on the planet. You will also find the Borax Visitor Center. Travel back millions of years to when the deposit was being formed – see the original twenty mule team wagons we used to carry ore out of the desert in the 1800s – and fast-forward to modern times to watch real mining operations in action. For a map and directions, visit


Bakersfield Life

August 2011

Photo by Maria Ahumada-Garaygordobil

Continued from page 77

serve Southern California aviation, railroad, automobile and animal transportation history and culture. The museum will be home to unique aircraft and ground transportation that

Photo by Maria Ahumada-Garaygordobil

Cathy Hansen

showcase the history of the Mojave area. It will include a library for transportation and aerospace research materials and a theater for a variety of screenings and private rentals

to help offset operational costs. It will help educate the next generation of skilled workers to carry on the unique and groundbreaking engineering tasks performed in Mojave. “We are here because of the airport, and to rebuild airplanes and helicopters,” she said with a smile. Hansen is as every bit as busy and happy as when she moved to California in 1951. “I just like to feel productive,” she said. “I’m getting older, and sometimes my spirit and mind are willing, but the body isn’t. We still do a lot, but we get tired faster.”

Kent Taylor, Rosamond With less than a week on the job, the newest Southern Kern Unified School District superintendent, Kent Taylor, looks very natural behind his desk. “It’s a very interesting place,” Taylor said. “Not much different than the town I came from, just a smaller district.” That district, in the Southern California town of Rialto, had more than 27,000 students. He was area director/assistant superintendent. Taylor, 47, smiles when asked why he chose Rosamond. Continued on page 80


“I have two good friends who work for Kern County schools,” he said. “They told me Kern County was a great place to live, with a very supportive community. Plus there is no rush hour.” He also points to Southern Kern as an “achieving district” with a 709 API score -- a 23-point gain from the previous year. “You can’t accomplish that unless your teachers are working hard,” Taylor said. “The results show that.” Challenges he sees on the horizon are almost all on the fiscal end. But he said the district’s two employee unions have done quite a bit, giving concessions of about $2 million to make sure the district has the funds to be successful. “That is highly commendable of both unions, and it shows leadership and unity of a great district,” Taylor said. “With less state funds and deferred money, we need to prioritize money on students, and the technology for future growth.” First day of classes is around the corner, Aug. 8, and he looks forward to the schools filling with students again. He plans to visit school sites often to see

Photo by Maria Ahumada-Garaygordobil

Continued from page 79

Kent Taylor

his teachers and students in learning action. “There is nothing like watching a teacher deliver a great lesson,” he said. “And these newer teachers find new strategies to get the

job done. “That creativity is key to move children forward in the learning process,” Evans said. “Seeing growth like that is phenomenal.”

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August 2011

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10 things to see and do in eastern Kern County communities

1. NASA Start with NASA Dryden Flight Research Center,

which provides the ideal destination for a field trip to see actual planes from East Kern’s historic aeronautic past. Organized group tours are offered on most weekdays free of charge on a “reservationonly” basis.Regularly scheduled public tours for groups smaller than 15 are available. For more information, call (661) 276-3460. Or you can get information on a public tour by calling the Edwards Air Force Base public affairs office at (661) 277-8707.

2. China Lake Admission into the U.S. Naval Museum of

Armament & Technology is free and open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Here you can learn about the rich air and surface weapon systems development heritage of one of the Navy’s premier weapons research, development and test facilities. Located at the U.S. Naval Air Weapons Station, China Lake, it provides many present and past naval aircraft, weapons and technology for closeup viewing.

3. Tortoises The Desert Tortoise Research Natural Area

is almost 40 square miles of prime natural habitat set aside for the desert tortoise, the official California State Reptile. It lies northeast of California City - a two-hour drive north of Bakersfield. There are many other animals present including the threatened Mohave ground squirrel, desert kit fox, coyote, badger, jackrabbit, desert woodrat, kangaroo rat and a variety of lizards, birds and snakes. Wildlife is best observed in the spring months. There are also more than 160 different kinds of plants.

4. Ridgecrest Regional Wild Horse and Burro Corrals Established in 1982, through cooperation with the

Naval Weapons Station and Death Valley National Park, professional wranglers based from this facility perform roundups throughout the year to keep these herd management areas in ecological balance with their habitat. Captured animals are prepared for adoption which

includes vaccinations, worming and blood tests and branding. On an average year, the corrals will prepare more than 1,000 animals. For more information, contact (760) 384-5764.

5. Jawbone From cross-country play to advanced techni-

cal routes, the Jawbone OHV Area offers more than 7,000 acres of open-use public land where you can ride your offroad machine. Jawbone is also a great starting point to begin to explore the hundreds of miles of trail riding opportunities available in this region and outside of the OHV Open Area. It is located about 20 miles north of the intersection of State Highways 14 and 58 in the town of Mojave.

6. Maturango Museum This museum of the cultural

history, natural history and geology of the Northern Mojave Desert emphasizing the Indian Wells Valley is located in Ridgecrest. Admission is free to the store and information area: Admission to the exhibits and art gallery is free to members; non-members are asked for a donation of $5 adults, $3 students and seniors. Admission to the exhibits and art gallery will be FREE to everyone the second Saturday of each month.

7. Bright Star The Bright Star Wilderness is a relatively

small wilderness encompassing only 9,520 acres of the southern transition ecosystems of the Sierra, protecting much of the Kelso range. Although it lacks designated hiking trails, visitors will enjoy true solitude and an incredible array of birdlife in this notable “Mojave-meetsSierra” wilderness. Its vegetation varies from the familiar Sierra to the brush, chaparral, and Joshua tree habitats of lower elevations.

8. Felines Cat lovers can find The Exotic Feline Breeding

Compound’s Feline Conservation Center, also known as the Cat House, in Rosamond. The desert zoo/wildlife museum provides a variety of wild cat species. The center is dedicated to protecting and preserving the endangered felines around the world. The center is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., except on Wednesdays and major holidays. Admission is $5, seniors $4, children 3-12 are $3, and under 3 is free.

9. Race track Willow Springs International Motor Sports

Park is a 600-acre complex of six racetracks embracing nearly every conceivable motor sport. The original track at the facility, Willow Springs International Raceway, celebrates its 55th birthday this year, and hosted the first two NASCAR events west of the Mississippi and the first kart road racing in America. Spectator amenities include two full-service diners with full bars, a well-stocked gift shop, plenty of spectators seating and parking, modern rest rooms, and outstanding viewing areas.

10. Flight test The Air Force Flight Test Center Museum

collects, interprets, preserves, and displays history of Edwards Air Force Base and the history of USAF flight testing. More than 80 aircraft are in the museum’s collection, on display or in storage or being restored. Exhibits inside the museum also cover the formation of the ancient lakebeds, early homesteading in the area, the first military use of Edwards, flight testing during WWII, breaking the sound barrier, high-speed flight, and the story of Glen Edwards, the base's namesake. — Compiled by Gene Garaygordobil www.BakersfieldLife.com81


South Kern A view of Pine Mountain Club from a nearby ridge.

Diverse geography and intersting people mark the southern portion of our county By Miranda Whitworth

Cynthia Tonkin doesn’t pull any punches when she talks about her first impression of Maricopa. “The first time I came to Maricopa I cried,” Tonkin said. “We had moved here from Glendale and I didn’t know what I was going to do.” But her worries quickly faded as she immersed herself in her children’s school becoming active with the PTA, and then finally joining the city council for the first time in 1988. A native of Turkey, Tonkin first came to the United States on Christmas Eve in 1960. She was a tourist on a six-month Visa and decided she loved the country so much she couldn’t leave. According to Tonkin, the opportunities here were too hard to resist, “If you are willing to work and try to do things, this country will allow you to do it.” Now Tonkin is a mother of three, a former member of the Kern County Grand Jury, a trustee for the West Side Mosquito Abatement 82

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August 2011

Cynthia Tonkin

Photo by Jaclyn Borowski

Cynthia Tonkin, Maricopa

Photo by Bob Saberhagen

Photo by Jaclyn Borowski

Josh Tims

District and is on her third tour of duty on the Maricopa City Council. Her can-do spirit is imperative for someone sitting on the council of a city that has hit hard financial and political times. Recent Grand Jury reports have called into question the actions of the police department and the local government itself. As a former member of the Kern County Grand Jury, Tonkin said while it is painful, she knows the reports are valid. “The Grand Jury taught me a lot of things. You need to investigate, investigate and investigate. Never say anything without proof in your hands. Whatever they said, I think they were 100 percent right.” Despite the troubles ahead, Tonkin said there is always a light at the end of the tunnel, “We have to put our heads together and get ourselves out of this mess collectively. I don’t know how we are going to do it, but we must.”

Josh Tims, Taft Call Josh Tims, Taft’s prodigal son.

“I left Taft at 17 to go into the Air Force. I said I would never come back and would never work in the oil fields. And, I did both. Now I am raising my family out here.” Tims is doing more than that. He is a man on a mission, with a fresh master’s degree in business under his belt, Tims plans to revitalize his community’s entertainment scene as he revamps the Taft Fox Theater. He said a fresh set of eyes and new business plan can bring the landmark back to life, “The previous owner lived at the coast and he was letting kids just run wild. Movie theaters are about customer service and he wasn’t providing that.” In addition to friendlier faces at the box office and a no-nonsense policy on behavior, Tims said he wants to pull people in the doors by meeting residents in the middle, “We are going to offer more competitive pricing and first-run movies. As expensive as gas is these days, why not stay in town to go to the movies?” What qualifies Tims to undertake such an ambitious plan? The oil field worker and 10year veteran of the Air Force said it was his time overseas that ultimately prepared him for life back home. His last year on active duty was spent in Iraq’s Salah ad Din Province where he helped restructure the Iraqi police force, “We were in charge of their billion Dinar budget, developing their purchasing program and distribution plan. It really set me up as to where I wanted to take my life.”

Tims hopes his positive influence on his community will have lasting affects for his family as well. The vet is married with two sons ages 6 and 9. “In the military, I always led by example and that’s the way a father should be. I want to show my boys what hard work and an education can do for you.”

Sheila Clark, Pine Mountain Club On the verge of retirement, Sheila Clark and her husband Bob took a trip to Pine Mountain Club to visit their daughter and fell in love with the town. Now Sheila regards the sleepy mountain community as her center of the world and has created a festival in honor of that mentality. “Pine Mountain Club sits at the bottom of Mt. Pinos, which is one of the last remaining dark skies in southern California. It’s a wellknown spot for stargazers and astronomers and spiritual site for the Chumash Indians. We were inspired by that to create The Center of the World Festival,” Clark said. Created in 2009, the hallmark of The Center of the World Festival is an amateur playwriting contest. The idea was born from Clark’s nonprofit organization California Family Counseling Network that she founded in 1996. The organization provided mental help support and services in the San Gabriel Continued on page 84 www.BakersfieldLife.com83

Continued from page 83

area, and she encouraged aspiring playwrights from the first festival to create works that talked about peaceful conflict resolution. The festival was a hit and last year the theme was ecological. “We invited people to submit plays that addressed our current environmental problems. We had plays coming in from other countries. A writer from Canada sent us a piece about the honeybee population disappearing,” she said. Clark’s goal is to bring social issues into the community spotlight to address problems in an entertaining way that captures a person’s interest and inspires dialogue. She believes Pine Mountain Club is the perfect backdrop to inspire social change as it pertains to the environment and our own human relations, “The Chumash believe that Mt. Pinos is the point where the relationships between human kind, nature, the gods and the heavens are brought into balance.”

The Hollywood Hills are a far cry from Kern County, but the artists that fuel the film industry just can’t seem to stay away from our side of the Grapevine. Case in point: Frazier Park’s Michelle Nosco. Nosco is an artist and community activist who first heard about Frazier Park while working on a film with scenes shot at The Tait Ranch. She visited the town and realized it was a haven for a small group of Hollywood hipsters who were looking to live close enough to the industry to work, but far enough to truly escape at the end of the day. “A lot of actors and filmmakers live up here and commute to Hollywood. It’s funny, on your way home when you hit Castaic, you feel

Photo by Jaclyn Borowski

Michelle Nosco, Frazier Park

Sheila Clark












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like you are entering your own driveway.” Nosco’s time is split between her company Nosco Fine Arts and her Frazier Park based organization the Arts for Earth Foundation. The foundation is multifaceted as it incorporates nature classes for kids. The classes teach wildlife, mountain survival, botany and more, but a major tool in the educational process is art. “We have kids keep a nature journal where they draw the animals and plants that they see and learn about. If you never were interested in the environment through the science of it, then the arts are a great way to learn about nature.” Nosco hopes inspiring a love for nature in kids will lead to environmental change, “You can’t learn about animals and plants if you don’t think about people too. We are in a mountain community and people need to learn to be responsible for their own lives and the world we live in.”

Michelle Nosco

Photo by Jaclyn Borowski

Stephen Hill, Lebec Stephen Hill lives in paradise or his version of it for that matter. The singer, songwriter, musician and teacher settled down in Lebec 15 years ago and has been happy to stay put. Hill lives on a 132-acre ranch with his wife Marla. The pair moved to the mountain community as it was a halfway point between his work in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties and her career in Bakersfield. He has been in the music business since 1972. A decision he said he made at the suggestion of a family member, “I always loved music and my cousin told me there was this thing called a professional musician, and I said, ‘Wow, people can make Continued on page 86

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Continued from page 85

Stephen Hill


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August 2011

money off this?’” In his long career, Hill seems to have done it all. He is a Grammy nominated artist, has toured around the world, has famous friends and has put his talents to good use here in Kern County. Hill is trying to pick up where school budget woes have left off, teaching young and old the art of music. “I had a songwriting class in Frazier Park and I teach guitar and violin. Teaching music is getting more and more important because that’s the first thing getting cut from schools. What basically kept me in high school was the music program” Hill said. He still travels and performs, but can be seen on the weekends playing for Frazier Mountain Community Church in the auditorium at Frazier Mountain High School. When asked if he would ever venture Stephen Hill away from the business Hill said it’s not in the cards, “I’ve tried to farm catfish and crawfish, but it didn’t work out. As many times as I have tried to get out of music, the Lord has brought me back in. So, music it is.”

“I have tried to farm catfish and crawfish, but it didn’t work out. As many times as I have tried to get out of music, the Lord has brought me back in. So, music is it.”

to see and do in southern Kern County communities Kern County boasts quite a few things to do in its northern communities, including several historic sites. Among them:

1. Trails There are many trails of varying difficulty in the

southern part of Kern County for hikers and bikers. In the Los Padres National Forest, take on the Frazier Park Loop or the curvy Mt. Pinos bike trails. For a flatter trail, you can walk or bike along the Taft Sunset Railway Trail, which gives a view of Old Town Taft and the mountains.

soldier’s barracks and officer’s quarters at Fort Tejon State Historic Park in Lebec. Fort Tejon was built in 1854 and was used to protect Native Americans and settlers from other Native American tribes such as the Paiutes and Mojave.

6. Wind Wolves For a sea of grasslands and wildlife, visit

the Wind Wolves Preserve south of Maricopa and north of Pine Mountain Club. The Wind Wolves Preserve is open to the public on weekends for hiking and picnicking, where one may see Tule elk, the California Condor, the endangered San Joaquin kit fox and the endangered Bakersfield cactus. The preserve also offers free outdoor education programs for children.

7. Oil Learn about one

of Kern County’s biggest resources at the West Kern Oil Museum in Taft. The museum exhibits artifacts that show the history of oil in Kern County and the industry’s affects on people and communities, and helps increase public appreciation of the oil industry. The museum sits West Kern Oil Museum atop the Midway-Sunset Oil Field, which is a top oil-producing field in the United States.

Photo by Henry A. Barrios

10 things

5. Fort Tejon See a Civil War enactment or visit a restored

Historic Fort in Taft that was built of adobe bricks in 1940. The fort is a replica of Fort Sutter, which was built in Sacramento in 1840. Now you can rent out a space at the fort for retail shops and business offices or hold a special event like a wedding here.

2. Camping Also in the national forest, Frazier Park offers

dozens of options for a nearby camping trip including the intimate Salt Creek Campground with only two camping sites, Mt. Pinos Campground, Chula Vista Campground and McGill Campground. Campers can bike, hike, horseback ride and picnic.

3. Stargazing Escape the city lights and smog of central

Kern County to see the starry sky. The Chula Vista parking lot on Mt. Pinos is the darkest and clearest place for stargazing and offers the best view. The Chula Vista parking lot can be found at the end of the Mt. Pinos Highway.

Buena Vista Aquatic Recreation Area

Photo by Casey Christie

Mt. Pinos

Photo by Dan Ocampo

8. Historical fort Hold a social event at the three-acre

9. Aquatic recreation To cool down, go boating at the

Buena Vista Aquatic Recreation Area in Taft. The area includes two manmade lakes, Lake Webb and Lake Evans, and was built in 1973. Visitors can camp, picnic, Jet Ski, fish or boat at the lakes.

4. Mountain history For a full history of the mountain 10. Golf Play golf on the spacious hilly greens at the pubcommunities in southern Kern County, visit the Ridge Route Communities Historical Society and Museum in Frazier Park. Here you can see the cabin of the first family to settle in the mountains in the 1850s, and a replica of a 1930s gas station or attend the historical society’s annual picnic.

lic Buena Vista Golf Course in Taft. The course has 18 holes and views of the Buena Vista aquatic recreation area, farmlands and the mountains. — Compiled by Laura Sverchek www.BakersfieldLife.com87


Getting to know Tehachapi Famous for its railroad marvel, Tehachapi offers much to see and do, from outdoor recreation to historic sites

A long freight train heading east winds around the famous Tehachapi Loop.


Courtesy of The Tehachapi News For some, Tehachapi is merely a spot along Highway 58 as they travel toward Las Vegas. For others it is steeped in railroad history, mainly the famous Tehachapi Loop. But it is a hidden gem nestled in the mountains that offers a wide array of outdoor activities, including glider rides, wine tasting, and up-close and personal encounters with alpacas.

Photo by John Harte

The impact of the railroad

An ostrich on Indian Point Ranch in Tehachapi.


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August 2011

The Tehachapi railroad has become an important transportation method in Tehachapi and around the world. Before the Tehachapi railroad was established, a stage line operated from the rail-head at Caliente, east of Bakersfield, to San Fernando. The line was built on a 2.2 percent gradient route to the summit at Tehachapi on a path surveyed by William Hood, who later became the chief engineer. The Southern Pacific Railroad was then extended to Mojave and across the Antelope Valley, reaching Los Angeles through Soledad Canyon and the San Fernando tunnel – the longest railroad at the time. Then in 1899 an agreement between the Southern Pacific and the Santa Fe railroads allowed Santa Fe trains to use the Tehachapi grade. The joint operation continues to this day between successors Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe, resulting in about 50 trains a day climbing the grade of the world famous Tehachapi Loop.

Photo by Casey Christie

The Tehachapi Loop is the most heavily trafficked single track main line in the country and an engineering marvel. Along its winding path up the northwestern slope of the mountains, the track makes horseshoe curves at Caliente, Allard and Keene, and passes through 18 tunnels. At the Loop, the line climbs in a spiral over itself gaining 77 feet of elevation. This engineering feat has been named one of the railroad wonders of the world. In 1955 a monument celebrated the Loop’s designation as a California Historical Landmark, and in 1998 it was honored by the American Society of Civil Engineers as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. Over the intervening years 36 miles of the line have been double-tracked and a project will begin soon to doubletrack more of the line between Tehachapi and Bakersfield.

A Bounty of Apples Tehachapi’s apple orchards share a long history of harvesting a wide variety of the best tree-ripened apples in the country. Each fall brings this crisp and juicy change of seasons that lasts from late August through November, depending on the first frost. Some local growers offer popular “U-Pick” options for locals and visitors, as well as a muchloved fall field trip tradition for many local school children. Several local vendors have small stands with unique gift items including fresh in season produce items. Harvests vary each year so be sure to call ahead. Moessner Farms is one of the many orchards in Tehachapi, with fresh produce, August through November. Apples, tomatoes and various vegetables are available, along with jams, jellies and pastries. For more information call (661) 821-6272 or visit

A box of freshly picked Tehachapi McIntosh apples.

Photo by Dan Ocampo

The Tehachapi Loop

Vineyards The Tehachapi Mountain Valley Wine Growers Association now boasts about 40 acres of thriving vineyards, with another 40 in various stages of planting. Tehachapi could very well be the next Napa, an application for an official “appellation controlee,” designated to the Tehachapi Valleys as a unique wine growing region, is pending before the United States Treasury Department. Souza Family Vineyard is located at 26877 Cummings Valley Rd. Call 822-9233 or visit www.souzafamilyvineyard for hours and information. Triassic Legacy Vineyards is located at 24627 Cummings Valley Rd. Call (661) 822-3478 or visit Continued on page 90 www.BakersfieldLife.com89

losophy and methods of nonviolent conflict-reconciliation and social change. It is open every day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. except for major holidays. Admission is $3 per person. The gift shop is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, (661) 823-6134.

Alpacas abound in Tehachapi

Mortars in lichen-covered sandstone used by the Kawaiisu to crush seeds and acorns.

Photo by Mark Barna

Today, alpacas are raised for their extraordinary coats. Fortunately you don’t need to be royalty to enjoy alpaca fleece, which has many advantages over fibers produced by other animals. It is softer to the touch than cashmere and creates seven times the warmth. Even if you’re not interested in modern textiles, a visit to a local alpaca farm will leave any visitor feeling warm and fuzzy. Most ranches offer a variety of services including educational programs, boarding and breeding services and tours by appointment, so be sure to call first. The animals are unique in appearance, and friendly. Those who come in contact with the herd may wonder if they are the observer or the observed.

Continued from page 89

Tomo Kahni State Historic Park Tomo Kahni State Historic Park, located in Sand Canyon, about 10 miles east of the town of Tehachapi was established in December 1993 to preserve ancient village and ceremonial sites of the Nuwa (Kawaiisu) Indian people of the Tehachapi region. The Nuwa or Kawaiiu people are part of the large Paiute tribal group but have their own language, culture, basketry traditions and creation beliefs. In addition to house rings and bedrock mortar sites, Tomo Kahni State Historic Park also includes the famed pictograph cave, where designs of spiritual significance were painted on the surface inside a natural rock shelter. Visiting the historic park is strictly limited to guided tours. Trained docents lead small groups of visitors. Photography is permitted. Tours are generally three to four hours long and involve a moderately strenuous hike of 1 ½ miles. These tours are given in the spring and fall, usually April through June and September through November. For more information call (661) 946-6092 or visit

Chavez Center The Chavez Center in Keene is located about 10 miles west of Tehachapi along Highway 58 at La Paz, a former tuberculosis sanatorium, which became the California headquarters of the United Farm Workers union in 1971. Set on 187 acres amid oaks and rock outcroppings, La Paz is where Cesar Chavez lived and worked during his last quarter century. Today a visitor’s center, memorial gardens and Villa La Paz Conference Center are open to the public and operated by the Cesar E. Chavez Foundation.The visitor center, built around the renovated wood-framed building where Cesar worked from 1971 to 1993, utilizes diverse communications media, including films and exhibits, to educate people about Cesar’s life, work, and values and his phi90

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August 2011

Brite Lake Brite Lake is open year round for day use, camping and fishing. Passes are now available at the Tehachapi Valley Recreation and Parks District office; 490 W. D St. Season passes are available for $45. Single-day boat launching passes are $15. The day use only fee is $5 per vehicle per day, boat launching $3 per boat per day (no gas engines, electric motors only), day use and boat launching $8 per day. A dump station is available for RVs and the cost is $5 per vehicle for non-campers. Overnight camping is also available with 12 sites with water and electric hook-ups at $30 per vehicle, per night. Dry camping is $20 per vehicle per night. TVRPD does not take reservations for camping. Camping is on a first-come, first-serve basis. Three picnic pavilions are available for group picnicking. Reservations and payment of rental fees must be made at least one week in advance for group pavilions. For more information call (661) 822-3228.

Gliders and Sailplanes A variety of glider rides are available ranging from the scenic, short, and gentle “Granny Sleigh Ride” to a thrilling thirty minute flight in a high-performance, fiberglass sailplane. Regardless of which flight you choose, your glider will be towed to altitude behind a highpowered, single-engine airplane. Upon reaching your desired altitude, you will release from tow and begin to experience the thrill of motherless flight. For those who prefer to enjoy the sights from terra firma, The Raven’s Nest Sandwich shop at Mountain Valley Airport is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., offering an excellent view of the runway and flight-line activities. Bring your RV and camp out at the adjacent RV Park. Services include electric and water hookups, sanitary dump station, restrooms, showers and a laundry facility. For more information call (661) 822-5267, or email

Balloon Rides Weather permitting, Tehachapi visitors can ascend high above the scenic region any time of the year, thanks to Professor Muldoon’s Hot Air Balloons and flying machines. Bob Schaible a.k.a Professor Muldoon, started the company 31 years ago in Tracy, Calif. In July 2009, Schaible began offering rides to patrons in the Tehachapi area. As long as it’s not too snowy, rainy or windy, Schaible said willing participants can ride for about an hour above the Tehachapi Valley 365 days a year, seven days a week. Rides usually begin 30 minutes after sunrise, when

winds are generally calm. There are two balloons in Professor Muldoon’s fleet: one large enough for four riders and a pilot, and one large enough for eight riders and a pilot. After taking in spectacular views, riders land back at the airport, where they toast with champagne (or water, cider, etc) and receive 8.5-by-11-inch flight certificates. Canceled flights can also be rescheduled as necessary. Visit or call (661) 823-7663 for more information.

Pacific Crest Trail The Pacific Crest Trail is a National Scenic Trail that traverses the upper elevations of the western United States from Mexico to Canada. Covering 2,652 miles from border to border, the trail passes through six out of seven North America’s eco zones including high and low desert, old growth forest and arctic alpine country. Thousands enjoy exploring the best of the west including The Mojave Desert, the Sierra Nevada, Mt. Whitney, Yosemite National Park, Marble Mountain and the Russian Wilderness in Northern California, the volcanoes of the Cascades among them Mt. Shasta and Mt. Hood, Crater Lake, Columbia River Gorge, Mt. Rainer, and the remote Northern Cascades. After traversing the arid San Andreas Fault Zone, hikers frequently enjoy a respite in Tehachapi, a mere nine miles from the nearest trailhead.

There are several alpaca ranches in the Tehachapi area.

Photo by Casey Christie

Hunting and Shooting Tehachapi Sportsman Club operates a shooting range just off Sand Canyon Road a half mile north of Highway 58. The range has two trap houses with automatic machines and voice release microphones. Facilities include an outdoor rifle range (50, 100, 200 and 300 yards), outdoor pistol range (7 to 50 yards), and archery targets. For more information contact the club by mail, P.O Box 496 Tehachapi, CA 93561. Continued on page 92


g, RV parkin picnic and restaurant certificates area Gift able avail

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(661) 327-3927


Photo by Henry A. Barrios

An Amur leopard shows its teeth at the Exotic Feline Breeding Compound, in Rosamond.

Continued from page 91

Four Seasons Hunting club, located in the Cummings Valley, offers 400 acres for pheasant, chukar and quail hunting and a five acre pond stocked with bass, blue gill and catfish. 25001 Banducci Rd., Tehachapi, CA 93561 (661) 831-8528 or visit Additional information about shooting and hunting in the area is available at Southern Shooters Supply, 120 E. “F” St., Tehachapi (661) 823-1223.

Wind Farm The Tehachapi area is home to the largest wind resources area in California and spring is the best time to take a self guided tour. In as little as an hour you can see the evolution of the modern wind industry around Tehachapi, which has played an important role in making wind energy one of the fastest growing energy sectors in the world. You may also be treated to a colorful display of a variety of wild flowers from poppies to lupines. Among the highlights of the tour are the four historic wind turbines powering the city of Tehachapi’s water treatment plant. These Danish turbines were installed in the mid 1980’s and still generate power, and if you’re lucky you may see wild horses running free beneath the wind turbines.

Indian Point Ostrich Ranch Nestled in the Cummings Valley the working ostrich ranch is one of the largest ranches in the western United States. Established in 1992, the Indian Point Ostrich Ranch has been “wowing” visitors with its “Os trich-izing” tour for 18 years. They combine fun, education and entertainment in an invigorating environment where you get next to living dinosaur-like birds. The new Ostrich Bonding Experience gives you the unique chance to feed a bird that can grow to be 10 feet 92

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tall and weigh more than 500 pounds. Visit their Web site for more information and visiting hours, which vary seasonally. They also have a wonderful ranch store with their own jerky, edible eggs, ostrich oil and lotions, jewelry, empty and decorated eggs. Located at the end of Giraudo Road in the Cummings Valley area of Tehachapi. For more information call (661) 822-9131 or visit

Feline Conservation Center Exotic Feline Breeding Compound’s Feline Conservation Center, also known as the Cat House, is located in Rosamond, about 28 miles from Tehachapi (allow about an hour for the drive because of road conditions). Cat lovers of all ages who discover this desert zoo/wildlife museum are surprised and amazed at the variety of wild cat species found here. Open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day except Wednesday, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and the day of a special event, Feline Follies, held each August. Admission: $5 general, $4 seniors 60+, $3 ages 3-12, and under 3 free. 3718 60th St. West, Rosamond, Ca. Call (661) 256-3793 for voice, during operating hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thurs.-Tues.). For recorded directions and information call (661) 256-3332. Or visit

Windswept Ranch Windswept Ranch, located just east of the Tehachapi wind farms, also owns alpacas, along with a variety of other exotic animals, including camels and reindeer. They offer petting zoos and other activities that are geared toward allowing children to experience the wonder of these gentle and friendly four-legged friends. The ranch is open Saturdays from March to October (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) with 5$ admission. Call (661) 809-3965 or visit for more information.

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Dick Rutan Photo by Felix Adamo

Co-pilot in the record, nonstop flight around the world with Jeana Yeager in December 1986; a former Air Force pilot who flew 325 combat missions in the F-100 fighter jet.

Who built Kern County? Col. Thomas Baker

Led the movement of farmworkers to unionize. Continued his crusade with the United Farm Workers, headquartered in Keene, east of Bakersfield.

Henry H. Collins Minister was elected to the Bakersfield City Council in 1953, becoming the first black man to serve in such a position in the state.

Mary Holman Dodge

Credited as the founder of Bakersfield, a town named — so the story goes — because the Ohio native made his alfalfa fields available to the horses of travelers passing through what became known as “Baker’s field.”

First policewoman on the Bakersfield force, hired in 1941. Married to the late Charlie Dodge, former Kern County sheriff.

Edward Fitzgerald Beale Best remembered for establishing Tejon Ranch south of Bakersfield.

Truxtun Beale Son of Edward Fitzgerald Beale. Bakersfield’s Truxtun Avenue named for him; he built and dedicated the Beale Memorial Clock Tower in memory of his mother, Mary. 94

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Grace Dorris Elected to the state Assembly in 1918, one of four women to break the Legislature’s gender barrier that year.

Dolores Huerta Former United Farm Workers organizer, the member of the National Women’s Hall of Fame carries on her social justice work through the Dolores Huerta Foundation.

Photo by Dan Ocampo

Who made it the unique place it has become? Here are a few we chose

Cesar Chavez

Alfred Harrell A former Kern County teacher and superintendent of schools who bought The Bakersfield Californian in 1897, setting up a long line of family ownership of the area’s daily newspaper.

Merle Haggard

Photo by Henry A. Barrios

The Oildale native is considered one of country music’s premiere singers and songwriters. Recorded dozens of hits throughout the 1960s and ’70s. Was pardoned by Gov. Ronald Reagan in 1972 for crimes committed in his youth; inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1994.

Celebrating 17 Years of Caring! Darlyn Baker, RN - Owner

2011 Beautiful Bakersfield Award Recipient

Buck Owens Developed and promoted the Bakersfield Sound as its first bona fide national star. Recorded dozens of hits in the 1960s. Costar of the comedy-variety TV show “Hee Haw.” Owned Buck Owens Productions (radio group) and Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace, a museum-dinner-concert venue. Inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1998.

Pete Knight

Mary K. Shell

As an Air Force pilot in the 1960s, the state senator (17th District) flew the X-15 rocket research aircraft to 4,520 mph (mach 6.7), establishing the still unbroken world speed record in a fixed wing aircraft.

Kern County political trailblazer who was Bakersfield’s first woman mayor and a longtime Kern County supervisor.

Sam Lynn Coca-Cola distributor was instrumental in creating the California League in the 1930s and bringing full-fledged professional baseball to Bakersfield.

Bessie Owens Longtime Bakersfield elementary school teacher recognized for her vision and professional skill. Potomac Avenue School was renamed Bessie E. Owens Elementary in 1971.

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Walter Stiern Bakersfield High School graduate who went on to become a respected local veterinarian and 28-year state senator who championed a rare bipartisan approach to service. Co-authored the Master Plan for Higher Education in California, resulting in the establishment of Cal State Bakersfield. Continued on page 96

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Milton “Spartacus” Miller Legendary iconoclast, former Kern County supervisor and longtime owner of Bakersfield’s Padre Hotel. Erected a mock U.S. Army missile atop his hotel and suggested it was aimed at City Hall.

Bill Thomas

Photo by John Harte

Retired Republican congressman chaired the powerful House Ways and Means committee. Former Bakersfield College political science instructor.

Dr. Juliet Thorner Photo by Liz Snyder

Longtime Kern County pediatrician; a performing arts magnet school is named after her.

Chuck Yeager On Oct. 14, 1947, Yeager made aviation history at Edwards Air Force Base when he broke the speed of sound. Yeager had broken several ribs days earlier in a fall from a horse.

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Bakersfield Life

August 2011

Earl Warren Born in Los Angeles, but moved to Bakersfield at a young age. He served as state attorney general and California governor. Directed internment of JapaneseAmericans during World War II, an act for which he later apologized. Named Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in 1953; wrote the opinion in Brown v. Board of Education, which abolished school segregation; mandated use of so-called Miranda Rights.

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Five fun things to do in Kern Explore what the county has to offer By Miranda Whitworth

Soar in the sky Take to the skies of Kern County, whether you are in the mood to free fall or calmly drift. Skydiving and hot air balloon rides are both adventurous activities for very different crowds. Professor Muldoon’s Hot Air Balloon & Promotion Co. has been operating out of Tehachapi for two and half years. Owner Robert Schaible said while those who first enter the balloon may be nervous, the feeling soon wears off, “you just can’t believe how peaceful and calm it is up there. The wind goes around you and through you.” Rides with Schaible start around 6 a.m. and usually last for about an hour. Balloons can hold groups of four and groups of eight, so bring your friends or fly with other adventurous pairs or singles. If you would like to get in and ride, be sure to call a couple of weeks in advance to reserve your spot. For those interested in a major aerial thrill, look no further than skydiving. Skydive Taft is open to almost anyone willing to jump out of a plane. According to Bre Macaulay who runs the Manifest, the young and old are willing to take the plunge, “We take everyone from 16 years old to people who are 85 and 90. We have had paraplegics jump and people who are missing limbs.” It takes about 30 minutes for orientation before boarding the plane. Once you jump, your free fall lasts about 50 seconds before you deploy your parachute and drift for another five or six minutes. Walk-ins are welcome on the weekends, but if you would like to jump during the week, please call 24 hours in advance. Professor Muldoon’s Hot Air Balloon & Promotion Co. (661) 823-7663


Bakersfield Life

August 2011

Photo by Casey Christie

A cyclist pedals down the bike path near Truxtun and Coffee.

Skydive Taft 500 Airport Road in Taft (661) 765-JUMP (5867)

Hop on a bike and ride From the foothills to the valley floor the options abound for those who prefer two wheels to four. Sam Ames is the manager at Action Sports and has been cycling for 27 years, “I am a great all-arounder! Mountain biking, road biking, commuting to work — I do it all.” With a resume like that, he fits in well in Kern County where a major cycling thoroughfare cuts through the county. The Kern River Parkway trail and all of its connections provide more than 30 miles of road to ride on. From the smooth meandering trails around Cal State Bakersfield to the foothills of Hart Park where sandy rolling paths follow the river to Lake Ming, there is something for every ability and skill level. If getting out of the valley and into the higher elevations is more your speed, you can head south to Mt. Pinos near Frazier Park, east to Rancheria Road and Cow Flat along Highway 178 or even up Highway 155 to Glennville where a substantial network of trails with varying terrain awaits. According to Ames, the trails are there for all to use and can easily be found if you know where to look, “The trails are numbered and you can find them on forestry maps. We also carry mountain bike trail maps at Action Sports.” Trail maps and advice Action Sports in Bakersfield (661) 833-4000

Visit casinos You don’t have to go to Las Vegas to get your gamble on! Kern County residents have a couple of options to satisfy their cravings for Sin City. If you like the idea of traveling a short distance out of town, try your luck at Eagle Mountain Casino. Open since 1996, this full service casino has two restaurants, a food court, and offers nearly

1,400 slots, 11 table games, which includes three poker tables. If you're looking for more entertainment, Eagle Mountain hosts intimate concerts with top name artists. The newly remodeled Golden West Casino sits on Union Avenue in the heart of Bakersfield and is open 24 hours a day. Classic table games like Texas Hold ’em, three card poker and baccarat are always available to play, along with a restaurant that serves meals all day and all night. Golden West Casino also bills itself as a great place to throw a party, whether it’s a corporate event or groom-to-be’s last night of freedom. If you like the idea of trying your luck at Kern County’s newest casino, visit the Aviator Casino in Delano. It opened its doors in February and offers classic table games as well as no collection blackjack. This casino got its name because of its proximity to the Delano Airport, which means the establishment has attracted a different type of clientele. “You’ve heard of the hundred dollar hamburger? Pilots who need to keep their flying time up will head out for lunch with their buddies in the plane,” said Kevin Harrer with Ugly Duck Marketing. “They will fly into Delano from the coast or somewhere else, then walk over to The Aviator for lunch. It’s become a destination spot.” Eagle Mountain Casino 681 S. Tule Road in Porterville (559) 788-6220 Golden West Casino in Bakersfield 1001 S. Union Ave. (661) 324-6936 The Aviator Casino in Delano 1225 Airport Drive (661) 721-7770

Take a trip to the snow While many people don’t associate the Southern San Joaquin Val-

Continued on page 100 99

ley with white winters, folks in Kern County can get plenty of snow play under their belts if they head in the right direction. The mountain communities of Kern County like Tehachapi, Frazier Park, Pine Mountain Club and many others boast feet of snow during the winter months, but for snow bunnies, there’s a catch. The Kern County Sheriff’s Department asks those looking to sled or tube the white hillsides to keep their fun to public areas. They also ask people to be mindful of residents who could suffer from tourist overload. Trespassing sledders in the mountain areas is not uncommon in the winter months, that’s why it’s recommended to head to ski areas like Alta Sierra Ski Resort. The resort has a terrain and tube park designed specifically for families looking for wintertime fun. Barry Hibbard, co-owner of Alta Sierra said it’s just over an hour drive from downtown Bakersfield to his facility and the trip is well worth it. “It’s a lot safer than snow play on the side of a road somewhere. We have ski patrol on site and all of the equipment for rent that you need.” Alta Sierra does not allow outside equipment on their slopes because of safety concerns. Staff monitors the tube area, regulating the number of children on the hill and in each tube. The facilities also offer a warming hut with food, beverages and a roaring fire, so snowbirds can thaw out before the trip home. Alta Sierra Ski Resort, Terrain Park and Tube Park (760) 376-4186

Kern River water sports

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Bakersfield Life

August 2011

Photo by Felix Adamo

Continued from page 99

5201 Riverlakes Drive — Bakersfield, CA 93312 — (661) 587-LINKS

or your entire life, you know the Kern River is a magnificent and defining characteristic of our community. For generations, locals have crowded on its banks for family gatherings or hit the water as a way to escape the beating central valley sun. The river can be dangerous and it commands a great deal of respect, but with the proper precautions, there is fun to be had. Olympic hopefuls haul their kayaks up Kern River Canyon to train in the rapids alongside everyday fun-seekers with their own gear, rented kayaks or rafts from companies like River’s End Rafting & Adventure Co. or Sierra South. The heavy rainfall this spring has not only filled the river’s banks, but has brought with it a new form of wet play, paddle boarding. Chad Hoggard, owner of Hoggz Surf Shop is more than happy to provide the paddle boards — they resemble surf boards but are thicker and wider. The rider stands on the board and uses a handheld paddle to propel the craft through the water. Hoggard said the sport is for open water or where the river widens slowly as it winds through town. “It’s great for the bottom part of the river. Guys take off from Yokuts Park and go all the way to The Park at River Walk. With the water running through town this year, it’s something new and fun to do.”

Alta Sierra Ski Resort

Photo by John Harte

Hoggz Surf Shop in Bakersfield 8200 Stockdale Highway, Suite C-2 (661) 865-5200 River’s End Rafting & Adventure Co. 15701 Highway 178 in Bakersfield 1-866-360-RAFT (7238) Sierra South in Kernville 1-800-457-2082



Kern County in the movies


Compiled by Hillary Haenes


Since Hollywood discovered it early on, Kern County has and continues to be a premier setting for shooting films because of its great diversity. Whether the film calls for oil fields, a lush forest, a distant planet, desert or mountainous landscapes, it has the ideal setting. Besides having various backdrops for “Fast Five” movies, the main reason why Kern County gets offered so many projects is due to the fact that filming can be kept a secret. four major motion pictures. Large sections of “People would be stunned at the amount “Priest” were filmed in east Kern while first of production that goes on in Kern County,” and second unit work was completed in the said Dave Hook, executive director and film third “Transformers” movie, and second unit commissioner of the Kern County Board of aerial work was done in Red Rock Canyon Trade. for “Green Lantern.” In 2010, more than The opening scene $16 million was made in in “Fast Five” was commercial filming, and filmed at the base this year, the figures for of the Grapevine. 2011 are ahead of the pace. The movie was By the end of June, the seven weeks economic impact on Kern away from has been approximately release and $8.4 million, according to was shown to Hook. Dave Hook, film commissioner, a test audiKern County Borad of Trade “We’ve had some nice ence who projects. The big thing loved the film, but wanted to continues to be feature productions that cost see how one of the characters a quarter of a million dollars a day. Our bread broke out of jail. In four days and butter is still television commercials at and with the help of 150 people, $25,000 to $150,000 a day,” Hook said. a major stunt was put together that It has been a good summer for Kern included flipping a large bus. County’s Board of Trade with the release of

“People would be stunned at the amount of production that goes on in Kern County,”


Bakersfield Life

August 2011

“Green Lantern”

Made in Kern County Here are some movies that have been filmed here since the 1940s: Transformers: Dark of the Moon (second unit photography only) 2011, Tejon Ranch, out near Edwards Air Force Base Shia LaBeouf, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson Green Lantern (second unit photography only) 2011, Red Rock Canyon Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively Fast Five 2011, Tejon Ranch Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson Priest 2011, Cuddeback Dry Lake Paul Bettany, Cam Gigandet Iron Man 2 2010, Edwards Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Scarlett Johansson Star Trek (prequel) 2009, near Taft (Highway 199 and South Enos Lane) Leonard Nimoy, Wynona Ryder, Eric Bana and Chris Pine Iron Man 2008, Olancha Dunes Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges American Son 2007, Bakersfield Nick Cannon, Melonie Diaz, Tom Sizemore Ocean’s 13 2007, Rosamond George Clooney, Brad Pitt Lucky You 2007, Bena Road, Sand Canyon Road, Tehachapi Boulevard Eric Bana, Drew Barrymore Flightplan 2004-2005, Mojave Airport Jodie Foster Herbie: Fully Loaded 2004, Oak Creek Road Lindsay Lohan, Matt Dillon, Michael Keaton Van Helsing 2003, Cuddy Valley Road Hugh Jackman, Kate Beckinsale Seabiscuit 2003, Tejon Ranch Jeff Bridges, Tobey McGwire, Chris Cooper The Hulk 2003, China Lake NAWS Jennifer Connelly, Nick Nolte, Sam Elliot, Eric Bana Planet of the Apes 2001, Trona Pinnacles

Mark Wahlberg, Helena Bonham Carter K-PAX 2001, Kern River, CalienteBodfish Road Kevin Spacey, Jeff Bridges Behind Enemy Lines 2001, Lake Isabella, Indian Wells Valley Gene Hackman, Owen Wilson Space Cowboys 2000, Edwards Air Force Base Clint Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones Pitch Black 2000, Trona Pinnacles Vin Diesel, Keith David

George Clooney, Juliette Lewis, Salma Hayek Star Trek VII: Generations 1995, Hart Flat William Shatner, Patrick Stewart Speed 1994, Mojave Airport Sandra Bullock, Keanu Reeves Fearless 1993, Arvin Jeff Bridges, Isabella Rossellini Wayne’s World II 1992, Jawbone Canyon Mike Myers, Dana Carvey

Erin Brockovich 2000, Boron Julia Roberts, Aaron Eckhart

Jurassic Park 1992, Red Rock Canyon Sam Neil, Jeff Goldblum, Laura Dern

The Cell 2000, Bakersfield Jennifer Lopez, Vince Vaughn

Thelma and Louise 1991, Fellows, Derby Acres Susan Sarandon, Geena Davis

Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle 1999, California City, Tejon Ranch Jason Alexander, Rene Russo

Psycho II 1983, Bakersfield Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, Meg Tilly

Best Laid Plans 1999, Bakersfield Reese Witherspoon, Josh Brolin City of Angels 1998, Mt. Pinos Meg Ryan, Nicholas Cage Deep Impact 1998, Mt. Pinos Elijah Wood, Morgan Freeman Armageddon 1998, Edwards Air Force Base Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, Steve Buscemi The Odd Couple II 1998, Bakersfield Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau X-Files: Fight the Future 1997, California City, Arvin David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson Wag the Dog 1997, Buttonwillow, Mojave Airport Robert DeNiro, Dustin Hoffman Twister 1996, Tejon Ranch Bill Paxton, Helen Hunt, Cary Elwes Starship Troopers 1996, Red Rock Canyon Casper Van Dien, Denise Richards, Neil Patrick Harris From Dusk Till Dawn 1996, Mojave

Cannonball Run 1981, Mojave

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Burt Reynolds, Farrah Fawcett, Dom DeLuise Any Which Way You Can 1980, Bakersfield Clint Eastwood, Sondra Locke Every Which Way But Loose 1978, Bakersfield Clint Eastwood, Sandra Locke Airport 1970, Edwards Air Force Base Burt Lancaster, George Kennedy, Jacqueline Bisset Five Easy Pieces 1970, Bakersfield Jack Nicholson, Karen Black, Sally Struthers Hell’s Angels on Wheels 1967, Bakersfield Jack Nicholson, Adam Roarke Psycho 1960, Bakersfield Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh North by Northwest 1959, Wasco Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea 1954, Red Rock Canyon Kirk Douglas, James Mason The Grapes of Wrath 1940, Lamont Henry Fonda, Jane Darwell

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Photo by Casey Christie

Getting back to nature in Kern County

California Living Museum curator Don Richardson, holds Willow, a mountain lion that lives at CALM.

T By Chelley Kitzmiller

TV, cell phones and electronic media provide all kinds of entertainment, but they can’t replace the thrill of being on hand when a Monarch butterfly hatches from its chrysalis or when a doe and her spotted fawn cross your path on a hiking trail. If you’re looking for a way to ‘get back to nature’ in Kern County, you don’t have to go far. Here are five ways you can have fun whiling taking your family on a nature outing.

Frogs and bugs and worms — Oh my! Just minutes north of Bakersfield is Insect Lore’s Bugseum Visitor Center. The bugseum is a great place for the whole family to visit. You can see live insect displays that will make you laugh and cringe at the same time. Kids and adults will also enjoy hands-on interactive learning centers and mind-blowing collections of butterflies and insects from all over the world. This is where you and your child can see how a caterpillar becomes a butterfly and where you can learn to identify good spiders from bad spiders.


Bakersfield Life

August 2011

Insect Lore’s Bugseum 132 S. Beech Ave., Shafter Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sundays and holidays closed

Wake up and smell the roses! If you’d rather stop and smell the roses — literally — you need to mark your calendar for the annual Wasco Festival of Roses held every year on the first Saturday after Labor Day in September. The temperatures will have dropped by then making this outdoor nature trek a joy. Informative rose field tours depart every 20 minutes and last approximately one hour during the festival weekend. According to their website, 55 percent of all roses grown in the United States are grown in and around Wasco. More than 50 million plants are grown in the area by more than nine major rose companies. The vast fields of blooming roses in every imaginable color

Photo courtesy of Insect Lore

Insect Lore’s Bugseum

will make photographers and artists shiver with excitement. Wasco’s roses are a must-see for every Kern County resident. In addition to a rose tour, there is an art show and art faire on the shaded lawn of Barker Park, a carnival, a fun run, a parade, a rose queen pageant, a rose show and more. The American Rose Society Show salutes spectacular roses grown in Kern County gardens and provides divisions for school-aged children to show off their entries.

Friendly critters await your visit! Getting up close and personal with Kern County’s native wildlife at CALM (California Living Museum) can be a real back-to-nature experience. CALM offers twilight tours (now until the end of August (5:30 to 8:30 p.m.). It’s during the evening hours that the wildlife feeds and becomes active. The staff invites you to take a leisurely stroll around the grounds and even bring a picnic supper. There are lots of tables and chairs and even some cool grassy areas where you can sit. Native plants border the winding walkways and hundreds of trees provide deeply shaded areas. Also during Twilight at CALM are wildlife presentations and scavenger hunts for the whole family to enjoy. California Living Museum 10500 Alfred Harrell Highway Bakersfield, 93306 Phone: (661) 872-2256 Hours: Daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed on some holidays) Admission $9, adults; $7, 60+; $5, children 3-12; free, children under 3

Discover Red Rock Canyon As a travel enthusiast, I never tire of marveling at the colors run-

Red Rock Canyon

Photo by Chelley Kitzmiller

Wasco Festival of Roses (661) 758-2616 Saturday, Sept. 10 in Barker Park, Poso Drive and Poplar Avenue

ning through those majestic cliffs and buttes. Red Rock Canyon is a great place to camp from September through May. While there are no hookups for the camper, there are great campsites partitioned off by giant outcroppings of boulders. Rock climbers don’t even have to leave their campsite to challenge the boulders. Once the sun goes down and the sky blackens, there’s another side to Red Rock that you have to see to believe. Take your camera, your telescope and/or your binoculars and behold the night! Stargazing at Red Rock is an unforgettable experience. Because there are no towns or cities nearby, the sky is smog free and brilliant with stars. Photographers will not only love taking star pictures but the cliffs and boulders Continued on page 106 105

Continued from page 105

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that make up Red Rock Canyon offer some wonderful nighttime photo opportunities. A visitor’s center provides information on local flora, fauna and wildlife. They also have maps of the stars to help stargazers identify the constellations. The park is open sunrise to sunset to campers, however the visitor’s center is only open Friday through Sunday and hours vary. Guided nature tours are offered on Sunday mornings at 9 a.m. during the spring and fall. Campfire programs are offered Saturday evenings at 7 p.m. Red Rock Canyon The Park is 25 miles northeast of Mojave on Highway 14. More information visit:

Let’s go hiking! Tehachapi offers hikers several great hiking experiences. One of the most interesting is the Cameron Ridge segment of the Pacific Crest Trail, which follows the ridgeline between Willow Springs Road and Cameron Road for approximately 6 miles. When hiking this trail, you will see not only hundreds of wind turbines but Red Tail Hawks, White Pelicans, Western Bluebirds and dozens of other birds and small animals who make the Tehachapi Mountains their home. In the spring, a multitude of wildflowers bloom. Broad Gilia covers the mountain slopes along with poppies, lupine and California Milkweed, which is the plant of choice for the Monarch butterfly. Pacific Crest Trail Association website:

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Edwards Air Force Base East Kern facility has its place in aviation history


Edwards Air Force Base is known for test flights of the newest aircraft and weapons systems before they are delivered to the Air Force for use. Perhaps it is best known for Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier there in 1947. But the history of Edwards AFB goes further back. Edwards AFB got its beginnings as Muroc Bombing and Gunnery Range in 1933 when then Lt. Col. Henry H. “Hap” Arnold established the site as a remote training location for his troops at March Field. In 1942, military officials began

Chuck Yeager at the 2000 Edwards Air Force Base air show.


Bakersfield Life

August 2011

searching for locations to test the military’s first jet aircraft, the XP-59A, and selected Rogers Dry Lakebed. In 1949, the base was renamed in honor of Capt. Glen W. Edwards, who was killed in the crash of an YB-49 Flying Wing. “Edwards’ remote location and unique natural landscape make the base ideal for flight test and evaluation,” said MerContinued on page 110

Photo by Bob Saberghagen

By Gabriel Ramirez

Photo by Felix Adamo

Space shuttle Atlantis touches down at Edwards Air Force Base after being diverted from Kennedy Space Center. n 2007.

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Photo courtesy of U.S. Air Force

A U.S. Air Force Global Hawk unmanned reconnaissance aircraft is shown on a test flight from Edwards Air Force Base.

Continued from page 108

edith Mingledorff, deputy chief of media relations. “With more than 300,000 acres of space, flight test can happen with minimal risk to operations on the ground or disruption to our civilian communities.” Edwards AFB is a joint, integrated team made up of U.S. military personnel from all branches of the services, as well as federal civilians, contractors and national and international partners. According

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August 2011

to Mingledorff, all in all, Edwards consists of more than 10,000 people pulling together for the betterment of U.S. military operations. “Military and civilian personnel come from all backgrounds and walks of life. Many personnel live in southern communities from the base like Rosamond, Palmdale and Lancaster,” Mingledorff said. “While many others live in other surrounding communities like California City, North Edwards, Boron and Tehachapi. This is not all

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encompassing, members commute from many areas both near and far from Edwards AFB.” Mingledorff said the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards is the cradle of modern aviation — the nation’s premier flight test facility. “In addition to the test and evaluation of manned and unmanned systems such as the B-2, F-22A, F-35, Airborne Laser and Global Hawk, the AFFTC has unsurpassed electronic warfare test capabilities,” Mingledorff said. “The center’s expertise in flying operations, maintenance and engineering ensures the successful test and evaluation of a fleet of more than 90 highly modified aircraft.” Edwards AFB also has the Air Force’s only test pilot school and one of only a few Air Force research laboratories. “The Air Force Research Laboratory leads the discovery, development and delivery of affordable war-fighting capabilities. With a technically diverse workforce of about 11,000 employees, distributed across 10 major U.S. research and development sites and 40 other operating locations worldwide, AFRL leverages a diverse portfolio that ranges from basic and advanced research to advanced technology development,” Mingledorff said. “In addition, the Air Force’s laboratory provides a wide range of technical services to joint acquisition, logistics, aero-space medicine and operational communities.” Public tours of Edwards AFB are available twice a month and coordinated by the Civic Outreach branch. More information about tours is available by calling (661) 277-3510.


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Kern we know


By Lisa Kimble

Penning a love letter to Kern County in the dog days of summer is like winning the Mega Millions lottery, only payable in a lifetime supply of pet food. It is no wonder we wear a perma-smirk every year at this time when the triple-digit heat makes it possible to bake dinner in the trunk of our car. Yet our love affair with this community, which at times makes our hearts, if not the sidewalks melt, and can be as steamy as an August night out on the bluffs, is like all good marriages — for better or for worse, in good surveys and in bad.


Bakersfield Life

August 2011

Continued on page 114

Photo by Jessica Frey

Two stand up paddleboarders make their way down the Kern River in southwest Bakersfield. A banner water year has made the Kern River an ideal water sports venue this summer.


Ours is an unspoken pact: let outsiders think what they want about how they perceive us; we adore what we know to be true. So, dear Kern, how do we love thee? In more ways than we can possibly count, but we’ll try! With 8,161 square miles, Kern County is larger than some states. The vastness puts it in proximity to so much within a short drive. Bakersfield’s unofficial motto, ‘two hours from anywhere’ (or a connection or two) couldn’t be truer. A three-hour drive or less will take you to the spectacular Eastern Sierra, the magic of Disneyland, the tony shores of Malibu, mighty Yosemite or the gaming of Stateline. Meadows Field is a hop, skip and puddle jump from LAX and an infinity of airline connections beyond. The next time someone suggests we live in the middle of nowhere — set them straight. Kern County is the portal to anywhere. But given the geographical diversity of Kern County, why leave? Few communities have so much natural splendor in their own back yard. From the Sequoia National Forest and the Carrizo Plains to the Mojave Desert and the majestic, mighty Kern River — the natural splendors are breathtaking. Continued on page 116

Photo by Casey Christie

Continued from page 112

Kern County’s geographical diversity includes the Sequoia National Forest.


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Bakersfield Life

August 2011

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Continued from page 114

California Living Museum

There are some 6,000 acres of horse trails and more than 100 miles of bike path beginning at the mouth of the Kern River Canyon and winding its way 30 miles to the west of Bakersfield. Our wide open spaces also provide some safe havens for unreleasable animals native to California that cannot survive in the wild. The California Living Museum features animals and natural plants of the region and last year celebrated the opening of its wildly popular Cats of California exhibit. The Feline Conservation Center in Rosamond is home to more than 70 of the world’s most endangered cats, and Cal State’s FACT program offers rehabilitation for injured birds of prey. We take a lot of heat for the range of weather here, but the semi-arid climate has helped make Kern County the world’s food basket and an imposing presence on the international agriculture stage. Summer’s withering heat and winter’s blinding fog always seem to outstay their welcome, but ask any golfer and they will tell you the ability to golf here year-round is due to a favorable climate. Against the backdrop of such a medley of terrain, Kern’s outdoor recreational menu
















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Bakersfield Life

August 2011

Continued on page 119

Bakersfield’s Only Locally-Owned Surf & Skate Shop! 661


is enticing. Lake Isabella and Buena Vista Aquatic area offer miles of shoreline from which to cast your line or shove off in a boat for a relaxing afternoon on the water. Eastern Kern County has hundreds of miles of trails for off-roaders and hikers. And when a four-hour drive to Mammoth is out of the question, the slopes of Shirley Meadows at Alta Sierra provide skiers with some good runs and snow fun. All this grandeur alone is enough to call Kern County simply amazing, but it has also afforded us bragging rights thanks to some home-grown talent. Texas Rangers pitcher Colby Lewis, San Francisco 49ers quarterback David Carr, Arizona Cardinals’ Joey Porter, racing’s Kevin Harvick, four-time Indy winner Rick Mears and NFL great Frank Gifford all hail from here. Not surprising, sports reign supreme. The Bakersfield Blaze team showcases amazing minor league baseball talent, as does the Bakersfield Condors out on the ice, while Cal State Bakersfield’s Roadrunners feature some of the finest Division I college athletes. But it isn’t just athleticism that has put Kern County on the map. We can thank the


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musicians who helped pioneer the Bakersfield Sound for that. Legendary Country music star Buck Owens drew inspiration from Bakersfield, as has Merle Haggard and Red Simpson. Last year Haggard was among legendary artists honored by the Kennedy Center in Washington. Kern’s prominence as a leader in the industries of oil and agriculture is indisputable. Everything from cotton to carrots, and more than three-quarters of all the onshore oil in California are produced here. We also dish up a satisfying share of sought-after culinary pleasures like Luigi’s, Dewar’s, Wool Growers and Noriega’s, which all highlight our cultural melting pot of heritages. And unlike some other communities, Kern’s heart is as big as her wallet. More Relay for Life Cancer Society money is raised here than anywhere else in the world. At times we may have a love-hate relationship with Kern, but it will never fail to seduce us with its charm, nor will our fondness for this place we call home ever wane.

Agriculture is a big part of Kern County’s landscape.

Photo by Felix Adamo

Continued from page 116

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Driving Spud Simkins stands with an unidentified girl after a trophy dash win in the jalopy division at Bakersfield Speedway in 1952.

Simkins family speeds with determination, love of racing 120

Bakersfield Life

August 2011

Photo courtesy of the Francis Stewart collection

the family legacy

Photo by Tom Macht

Sunnie Simkins with her dad Billy Simkins in victory circle following her first Jr. Mini-Dwarf win at Bakersfield Speedway. Sunnie got her win a couple weeks after her dad received his first win at Bakersfield Speedway.


By Stephen Lynch

or more than six decades, the Simkins family has endured just about everything imaginable in its pursuit of racing cars at Bakersfield Speedway and other tracks around California. Four generations of drivers, each with his or her own challenge to overcome, have competed on the third-mile clay oval in Oildale. And each one has done so successfully. Currently that list includes Billy Simkins, a third-generation driver and his seven-year-old daughter Sunnie, the first-ever fourth generation driver to compete at the speedway. The pair carries on a family tradition that began with Billy’s grandfather Spud, who began racing at Bakersfield Speedway in the 1940s and went on to win the jalopy track championship there in 1953. He accomplished all of that despite contracting polio as a child and being told by doctors that he would never be able to walk again. Spud Simkins did learn to walk again and even won a dance competition in high school. But the disease did leave a lifelong mark on him.

“He had a really very severe limp,” Billy Simkins said of his grandfather. “He had no use of his left leg. Because of that he had to learn to race with the use of only one leg which meant he never used the brakes.” In 1954, Spud began a five-year run as Bakersfield Speedway’s track promoter. He came back to resume the same position with the track in 1979 after several years of promoting Santa Maria Speedway. Spud’s sons Donny and Danny inherited their father’s love of racing and his immense determination. Danny, Billy’s father, began his remarkable career as a Late Model driver in 1965. A perfectionist in every sense of the word, Danny Simkins became one of the greatest dirt track drivers in California history. During his nearly 30 years behind the wheel, he racked up several hundred victories, A California state championship, and more than a dozen track championships; 10 of them coming at his home track of Santa Maria Speedway plus a couple IMCA regional championships here in the valley. Continued on page 122


Photo by G&S Photograpgy

Legendary dirt track racer Danny Simkins and wife Sandie stand in the victory circle a year after his leg amputation. Danny is the only racer to have his number retired in the Late Models at Bakersfield and Santa Maria speedways.

“My dad was a genius,” Billy Simkins said. “Everything had a solution just like a mathematical equation. That’s how he viewed the world. With racing, there was a wrong and a right way to do things. In his mind, that’s how he figured everything out.” But arguably even more impressive than Danny Simkins’ intelligence and attention to detail was his courage. In 1979, doctors found a cancerous tumor the size of a softball on the back of his right leg. Even after that was removed, Simkins would have to have more tumors cut out every several years until he finally had to have the leg amputated in 1989. Less than two years after that setback, Simkins’ daughter Alicia Craney was killed by a drunk driver while sitting in a parked car along the side of the road. Despite all of that, Simkins continued to race and continued to win. However, by 1993 the liposarcoma had spread to his chest cavity and doctors gave him only six months to live. Knowing it would be his final season of racing, Simkins channeled all his focus on winning one last track championship. With that goal within reach on the final points night of the season, Simkins was so critically ill that the doctor treating him thought there was no way he could even get behind the wheel. Simkins bravely did and not only clinched his 10th Santa Maria Speedway track championship with a victory in the Late Model feature race but also won his heat race and trophy dash that night. “He was the most fiercest competitor you’d ever know,” Billy Simkins said. “Here’s a guy that went out with one leg, a body full of tumors and UCLA doctors telling him he had six months to live, and he goes out there and wins the championship.” 122

Bakersfield Life

August 2011

Photo by Tom Macht

Continued from page 121

Sunnie Simkins (68) races around Bakersfield Speedway her rookie year at the age of 4. Two weeks later Santa Maria Speedway held a special retirement ceremony for Simkins on the same night as its post-season open competition race, featuring the best drivers from all around California. Despite being in a wheelchair and gravely ill, Simkins capped off his storied racing career in style by finishing first in the trophy dash before coming from behind to win the main event in dramatic fashion. “It’s the most amazing story I’ve ever heard,” Billy Simkins said. “It sounds like a movie. You had to see it to believe it. It’s unbelievable.”

Less than a month later, Danny Simkins died. Not long afterward both Santa Maria Speedway and Bakersfield Speedway retired his number 68 in the Late Model division. Among those Danny left behind was his wife and biggest supporter Sandie and his two sons, Mark and Billy. Never having raced while his dad was alive, Billy decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and take up the sport in 1995. “I really didn’t know that much about cars,” Billy Simkins said.

Photo by Tom Macht

In May, Billy Simkins hit the exit of Bakersfield Speedway, destroying the right side of his racecar. Three weeks later, with a rebuilt car, he won his first feature win at Bakersfield in dominant fashion.

“It’s the most amazing story I’ve ever heard. It sounds like a movie. You had to see it to believe it. It’s unbelievable.” Billy Simkins speaking about the final night of his father’s racing career.

“I really didn’t. I kind of felt like there was a void because a lot of the guys I was racing with, their dads were setting their cars up and helping them out and I didn’t have any of that.” Instead Billy had to learn the ropes on his own and with help from his grandfather. “There was a lot of people that told me you won’t be able to do it because I didn’t know anything,” Billy Simkins said. When I first Continued on page 125

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Billy Simkins waves to the crowd during a cancer awareness ceremony honoring his parents and other cancer victims at Santa Maria Speedway.

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Bakersfield Life

August 2011

©2011. Monterey Bay Aquarium Foundation. All rights reserved.

Continued from page 123

started racing, I thought because my dad was one of the greatest racers in California there will be a lot of people out there to help me out. I was waiting but that never really happened. So I came to a point in my life where I was like, ‘Look, if you’re going to do this, you’re going to have to do it. No one is going to do it for you.’ In reality, that’s what my dad would have wanted.” Billy eventually proved all the critics wrong and finished second in the Street Stock points four times at Santa Maria Speedway twice before taking a new job and moving to Bakersfield in 2003. Now his racing focus is split between his Super Street Stock and Sunnie’s Mini Dwarf. The seven-year old is currently the points leader in the 6-8 year old division at Bakersfield Speedway. “It’s cool when we’re both racing because if something doesn’t' go right with my car, she may have a good night and it kind of makes the night OK,” Billy Simkins said. One of Billy’s other passions is raising awareness about celiac disease, a condition that keeps the small intestine from absorbing the food in a way to keep the body healthy. It’s a disease that in retrospect Billy believes his mother suffered from based though she was never formally diagnosed as having before dying from cancer in 2009. Noticing some of the symptoms of the disease in Sunnie, Billy and his wife Nicole had her tested at age six and her blood panel came back positive. By catching it early, they are confident that she will be able to live a normal life and in turn carry on the Simkins familyracing legacy. It’s a legacy that comes with a powerful message. “Don’t let people set your boundaries for you,” Billy Simkins said. “The limits of what you’re capable of doing, you set that. No one else. My grandfather and my dad were crippled, but you would never know that when they were in a racecar. People told me I wouldn’t be able to do it when I started, that really inspired me. I think that’s the message, don’t let people define who you are. Believing is half the battle.” For more information on the Simkins family’s racing story or information on Celiac Disease you can visit Billy’s web site at

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Elk Hills celebrates centennial anniversary 100 years have passed since completion of field’s discovery well

O By Jennifer Bachman

On June 16, Occidental of Elk Hills employees, along with the community, celebrated the 100-year milestone anniversary of the completion of the field’s discovery well, according to the California Department of Conservation Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources. Occidental of Elk Hills is a large oil field located in the northwestern part of Kern County, in the San Joaquin Valley. Discovered in 1911, and having a cumulative production of close to 1.3 billion barrels of oil at the end of 2006, it is the fifth-largest oil field in the state. Occidental Petroleum is the third largest petroleum producer in California in part due to the large amount of petroleum that Elk Hills of Occidental produces. Although Elk Hills is only one field of many in a region of oil fields, it is geographically distinct because its boundaries correspond with the shape of the hills that give it its name. At the recent event, Shawn Kerns, president and general manager of Occidental of Elk Hills recounted the history of the Elk Hills Oil Field with photos and stories that demonstrated Elk Hills’ strategic and economic importance to the nation, the state of California and Kern County. 126

Bakersfield Life

August 2011

Elk Hills is one of the largest oil and natural gas fields in the United States.

Photo by John Harte


Among the highly respected guests was representative of the U.S. Congressman Kevin McCarthy; State Sens. Jean Fuller and Michael Rubio; and Assemblywoman Shannon Grove. In addition, representatives of Taft College accepted a contribution from Occidental Petroleum to the college’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics program. Occidental of Elk Hills employees are proud to be part of such an influential oil field that has not only supported Kern Counties’ inhabitants for many years, but currently employs thousands of people. “Occidental of Elk Hills has been, and remains, a major employer in western Kern County for over 30 years,” said Bill Dixon, environmental engineer at Occidental of Elk Hills. Another employee Joel Hoffman, reserves coordinator, said that every day, more than 4,000 people contribute to working at Elk Hills. “We’ve shown year after year that private industry has worked the oil field better than our predecessor government-run entities,” Hoffman said. Art Gomez, senior automation specialist, added that part of what he takes pride in working at Occidental of Elk Hills is the number of families the oil field feeds through employment. “It also brings many families together. I have spent almost half

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Then president Gerald Ford visits Elk Hills Oil Field in 1975.

of my lifetime out here; it would be hard for me to leave someday. This is my other family,” Gomez said. “Whether in 1911 or 2011, people are at the heart of what has made the Elk Hills Oil Field a success and fantastic place to work,” said Susie Geiger, director of external relations. She said the people who work at Elk Hills are members of our community.

RCFE No. 157204176

Continued on page 128

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“Whether they are Oxy employees in Bakersfield or among the more than 4,000 employees and contractors who pass through our gates to work, they are all members of the community,” said Geiger. Expanding on this fact, Mike Moshier, senior safety advisor, added that as Oxy has changed over time, so has the emphasis on safety and training. “The understanding that we as employees of Oxy are part owners of the company through the investment opportunities is vital. When employees realize their safe work ethics can affect their own income, then this ownership takes a completely new meaning,” Moshier explained. The oil fields are also a tourist and educational attraction for people traveling to California from all over the world. “People come to learn about our processes and our technology, and to gain insight from our expertise,” Geiger said. Thousands of people over the past 100 years propelled Elk Hills Oil Field to where it is today, and thousands more will mold its future. The 100-year landmark will continue to be recognized by people in the community and visitors who want to see the replica of the Associated Oil Company’s “Well No. 1,” that was built to mark the occasion. The 16-foot wooden derrick, along with a bronze plaque, will be permanently located at the Elk Hills Oil Field to honor the explorers who searched for black gold in Kern County in the early 20th century, as well as the many men and women who over the last 100 years, helped to ensure Elk Hill’s legacy as one of the largest oil and natural gas fields in the United States.


Bakersfield Life









FD # 779



NORTHEAST (661) 324-9701




O R S’ C H O I C E P

August 2011

SOUTHWEST (661) 834-8820 FD# 1347

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Photo by Herry A. Barrios


Penelope Suter holding the textbook she co-edited.

A visionary in her field Optometrist helps patients get a clear view of the world


By Melissa Peaker-Whitten Dr. Penelope Suter has been practicing medicine for 26 years, but the recent publication of the groundbreaking book she co-edited proves she’s more than just a doctor of optometry; she’s a visionary. A Bakersfield native, Suter earned her undergraduate degree from Cal State Bakersfield and her medical degree from UC Berkeley. She went into medical school knowing she wanted to practice vision therapy. “While I was going to college here [in Bakersfield], I had a job working with a vision therapist. It was exciting to see how it changed kids’ lives. Seeing the impact that made and how that was going to impact their education and the rest of their lives,” Suter said. Upon completing medical school, she returned to Bakersfield and began her own practice. A few years into operating her practice, she was approached


Bakersfield Life

August 2011

by the Centre for Neuro Skills about working with them to provide vision rehabilitation for traumatic brain injury patients and patients with special vision needs. One aspect of vision therapy is working with children who have a lazy eye, eye turns or other vision related reading problems. “Vision rehabilitation has been kind of a new and growing specialty area,” Suter said. “When we talk about vision rehabilitation, it involves pretty much every aspect of vision care you can think of, [from] health of the eye to the way the vision muscles focus, to the control system involving nerves in the brain, to being able to process and figure out what you’re seeing.” One example is visual spatial neglect, which can occur as a result of a brain injury and is very common in stroke victims. In these cases, a patient is missing part of their visual field as a result of the injury, so neurologically they aren’t able to pay attention to what their eyes are seeing.

“It’s how you use your vision, not just seeing clearly and having healthy eyes; it’s about comfort and function,” she said. “There are all these different aspects of vision that no one ever thinks of. Seventy percent of what comes into our brains is through our two eyes — so being able to react to it, like driving a car or walking down the street, [is crucial].” A vision therapist’s job is to determine what areas have been impacted and how to make those areas work again or compensate for those deficits. “It’s like being a detective to help people learn how to put their world back together,” Suter said. “It’s really an interesting and exciting field, and it makes it really rewarding to be able to help people regain some quality of life.” Neuroscience researchers have mapped 36 different areas in the brain with more than 300 pathways between them that all process vision. But until recently, the science that supports vision rehabilitation had been scattered across a dozen fields. Because she has both a clinical and a research background, Suter felt an obligation to take on the project of combining both the clinical methods and the scientific research involved in vision rehabilitation into one text. “It was an adventure. It was a labor of love for everyone involved. The chapter authors include some of the best clinicians in the world,” Suter said. “Vision Rehabilitation: Multidisciplinary Care of the Patient” was the result of five years of writing, research and editing. “The reason I could get some of the best minds in the world is [be-

cause] we were all in agreement that this book needed to be out there, for the patients and the professionals,” Suter said. “This is our opportunity to help thousands of patients that we’ll never see personally.” Up until now, vision rehabilitation has not been one of the exposures students get in the general optometry program, it has typically been taught in residency programs following the degree. “Because it’s such a growing need it really should be a part of the general optometry program. We’re hoping that’s going to change,” she said. Western University of Health Sciences College of Optometry, which is geared toward serving patients with special vision needs, is using the book as a text for their students. The book is also ideal for those already practicing optometry. “Because of the information made available through the book, a novice optometrist or ophthalmologist can start practicing vision rehabilitation therapy in a very sophisticated way. The book provides fast, evidence-based, therapy-based practice.” Suter and her co-editor, Dr. Lisa Harvey, received the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association’s Founding Father’s award that recognizes extraordinary contributions to the field of vision rehabilitation. Along with running her private practice, Suter is a vision rehabilitation consultant. She also worked as a vision research and development associate at Cal State Bakersfield for 20 years and consulted for the Centre for Neuro Skills for 17 years. Suter is board certified in Vision Development and Vision Therapy. For more information visit Suter’s website at or call (661) 869-2010.

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S AT. 1 0 - 5




Towery Homes Local builder has weathered the real estate bust by offering quality, value

M By Gene Garaygordobil

Photos by Maria Ahumada-Garaygordobil

Matt Towery has earned a nice niche in the Bakersfield building community because of his homegrown ties, and a commitment to building custom-built, economically made homes. He started Towery Homes nearly 10 years ago, when there were more than 65 different builders building more than 15 homes annually in Bakersfield. Within 10 years, and a real estate boom, followed by a bust, that number would drop to only seven builders, including himself. When the dust cleared, the majority of builders are national companies. This year, Towery said all seven builders would likely build only about 300 homes combined, based on building permits pulled. That is a far cry from the pre-boom building of 2,000 to 2,500 homes built in Bakersfield annually. Despite the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, Towery Homes continues to sell and build homes across the spectrum of Bakersfield. Standing in a model home at The Masters of Northwood Ranch in Bakersfield’s northwest side, Towery points to what continues to set his company apart. “We offer semi-custom homes at a production home price,” Towery said. “With these homes, starting in the mid$100,000s, we offer custom features that our competitors don’t at this level.” Such things include a fourth-bedroom, office options, custom front-yard landscaping, mixing and matching one house’s features with another. “With us, what you see in a model home is available with very little sticker shock,” he said, pointing to many features being added just above cost. “Whatever anybody can imagine, we’ll do it.” Born and raised in Bakersfield, Towery wasn’t always in the homebuilding business. He started out in the family air conditioning servicing business with his dad. He also runs that business with the help of one of his two grown sons, the other is in the Navy. He started his homebuilding business after getting a subdivision and starting selling homes. He built strong relationships with subcontractors that continue today, which factors in how he is able to offer homeowners custom features at cheap prices. “We have gone through the good times and the bad times with these subcontractors, so we support each other,” he said. Because of that great workmanship, Towery Homes can 132

Bakersfield Life

August 2011

Towery Homes offer semi-custom homes at a production home price.

offer a three-year standard warranty. Bakersfield residents may recognize Towery, 53, from his creative billboards and commercials where he dresses up as a doctor and a Viking, among others, to catch the homebuyers’ attention. He also stands next to a poster on a sales office wall that states, “Our Way is Your Way,” and shows a house diagram marked up with red pen, showing options that are readily available to make your home, truly your home. Towery Homes current subdivisions are: Northwest: Northwood Ranch, Olive Glen Northeast: Mountain Gate West: Westfield Southwest: Copper Leaf

Model home at Northwood Ranch.

For more information, go to the Towery Homes Web site: or call (661) 587-4665. Continued on page 134

Continued from page 127

Five questions with home builder Matt Towery How do your home neighborhood communities differ from other Bakersfield area builders? We have prime affordable northwest and southwest locations (five locations total) in great school districts. And the way that we build, customized to suit an individual’s needs keep us very distinctive. What do you look for when you are designing a new home? Most people want a solid, well-built home in a neighborhood that will mature well. Our buyers have a variety of needs; our kitchens are open and spacious, our bedrooms are larger and most of our plans are a split wing design. Our front elevations, which are the exterior style of the home, look “current” but not “trendy.” We have a variety of styles that keep the neighborhood looking great and not like the “cookie-cutter” neighborhoods where all the houses look the same. Lasting value is our goal. Do you have a specific type of person in mind for your homes? Many of our buyers have young families so the school district, from elementary through high school is very important. We design our homes with a growing family in mind. Because of our ability to customize, we also have downsizing empty-nesters




6. What’s the most unusual thing a customer has ever asked for? We had a buyer who purchased our smallest plan, about 1,300 square feet, and he made 57 changes to it -- from adding windows and moving walls to redesigning the master bathroom. He built it just the way he wanted it.




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5. There is a national trend that shows most people aren’t looking for “McMansions” any more. Are you seeing a trend toward smaller homes? We are. Price is one reason and flexibility is another. Many buyers want a really nice home but they don’t want to be “held hostage” by it. We build homes that are affordable, elegant and with that one can go and enjoy other activities in life and not be bound by a huge payment.



4. What trends are you seeing in homes now? Our standard amenity level is really high, especially considering that our prices start in the mid $100,000’s. We have maple cabinets as our standard and the darker colors are very popular. Stainless steel appliances, large tile, granite, etc are just some of the options and standard features we offer.


YOU THANK Kern County for voting



who want unique layouts and features. We can provide all needs.

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Snider’s as the Best Bicycle Store!

Great Castle Chinese Restaurant E






2005 OF




rs’ C h oice

20 E




Locally Owned Since 1979





• 100s of Bikes to Choose From • Full Line of Parts and Accessories


















r s’ C h oi c e

32 Years Of Exceptional

Chinese Mandarin Cuisine

Serving Kern County Cyclists For Over 106 Years

“Great Castle can be recommended for a Fine Dining Experience” - Pete Tittl

Bakersfield Life

August 2011








2700 Union Ave Bakersfield 324-4750


2700 New Stine Bakersfield 833-2700

Open 7 Days a Week Gift Certificates Available






410 Union Ave. • Phone (661)325-3311

Photo by Alex Horvath


Jim Shaw, longtime associate of Buck Owens, takes a break in his expansive second-floor office.

Jim Shaw


By Lisa Kimble It is impossible to interview legendary Buckaroo Jim Shaw without being star-struck, even if the musician is disarming and easygoing. The expanse that is Shaw’s secondfloor office at Buck Owens Productions, is filled with Bakersfield Sound memorabilia collected over four decades of working side-by-side with the patron saint of country music. Although hardly angelic, Buck Owens was the king of the country music world in 1970, when the star-struck valley boy’s Cinderella story began to unfold.


Bakersfield Life

August 2011

Shaw, an Iowan transplant and engineering major at Fresno State, was a self-taught keyboardist. There weren’t a lot of country bands around back in 1969, in the rock-and-roll loving valley town, making Shaw something of a rarity. With a steady stream of gigs, he was playing clubs with his own country band by night, and going to class during the day. The following year, on a whim, Shaw asked friend Doyle Curtsinger if he could accompany him to Bakersfield to see Owens’ much-heralded, state-ofthe-art recording studio where Curtsinger was set to record. The chance meeting

Shaw has been a member of the Buckaroos since 1970.

Photo by Jaclyn Borowski

Buckaroo is Protector of Owens Legacy

would change his life as a frustrated Owens was losing patience with Show.” Only in his early 20’s, the shy and private, straight arrow another keyboardist in the studio. gained notoriety with the “Hee Haw” television shows. “The first time I saw Buck, the doors burst open and he asked if I By 1973, Jim Shaw was managing Owens’ Blue Book Music was a piano player,” Shaw recalled. “I was flabbergasted! Buck asked publishing company, the largest country publisher in the world. if I could play the tune. I said, ‘Well, I believe I can.’” “Here he let me, a neophyte, run the company. He trusted me and Good answer. eventually allowed me to start producing records,” he said. “I was very impressed with him. I could When Owens acquired his local television tell he was incredibly shy, immediately. But he station, he knew just whom to turn to. “I rewanted to do it. I knew he could have the ability member him telling me I’d have to start learning if I could get him over his shyness,” Owens told about the television business,” Shaw laughed. The Californian in 2002. “We were lucky, we got to do all sorts of things Shaw began recording with Owens and other and it never got boring.” protégés like Susan Raye. Later that year, the There is a red, white and blue guitar leancountry music star asked Shaw to join the Bucking against Shaw’s office wall, a gift from his aroos. The pair was an unlikely match — there mentor nine years ago with the inscription: “To was a 17-year age difference, and Shaw didn’t my very talented friend Jim Shaw. Play in good share his boss’s love of the spotlight or country health.” music. But Owens’ gregarious personality and By then, especially after the death of BuckaShaw’s quiet and reserved demeanor were a roo Don Rich, Owens considered Shaw his Jim Shaw good fit. Shaw, who was happy to blend into the right-hand man. In a 2002 interview, Owens told background, quickly earned the nickname “Jim The Californian that he trusted Shaw. Owens Shy” from his bandmates. died four years later. “When I dropped out of college, I thought I would do this for a It was the best of times and the most demanding Shaw admitted. few years and then I would go back,” he said. “For sure that meeting changed my life. Buck brought out the best in But he never did. Instead, Shaw continued to work for the couneveryone,” he said. Owens also created an unmatched level of fun, try music icon and tour with the Buckaroos, which took them from but the experience came with a price tag of long hours, little time the White House, through Carnegie Hall and onto “The Ed Sullivan Continued on page 138

“When I dropped out of college, I thought I would do this for a few years and then I would go back.”


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Continued from page 137

off, hard work and sacrificed family time. “I think it would hurt Buck’s feelings if you wanted to take a vacation.”


Bakersfield Life

August 2011

Photo by Jaclyn Borowski

Jim Shaw performs at the Buck Owens Crystal Palace on a recent Friday evening.

Shaw’s career, which includes such highlights as co-producing a duet of Owens’ “Act Naturally” with Ringo Starr in 1989 at the famed Abbey Road Studios, and

writing songs for the likes of Eddy Arnold and friend Garth Brooks, was marred by personal tragedies along the way. He divorced his first wife in 1992 with whom he had two children. Two years later, his daughter Stacy was murdered. The case remains unsolved to this day. In 2009, son Bryan died of an apparent heart attack. Shaw’s music family held him together. “The friends you have in your life, the community, it’s like a family right there.” Away from the glare of the bright lights on stage, the unassuming Shaw also found joy in jingles. He has created hundreds of catchy tunes for everything from car dealers to dry cleaners, locally and across the country. The tiny tunes, created through his JBS Productions, have become an outlet for the musician. “I enjoy arranging and producing different styles, and yet be able to put it all together in 30 seconds. It’s fun and therapeutic, like a hobby really.” Among his most recognizable — “We Treat Your Feet” for Stockdale Podiatry Group, “Hello BANKS, Bye Bye Bugs,” and “In By 11, Ready At 4” for Today Cleaners. Through the years, Shaw has had a front-

row seat to the changes of the country music industry. Like the aquarium in the center of his office bookcase, he said today’s country stars are living life in a fish bowl. Some semblance of anonymity could still be found back in the early days with Owens, he added. “What they are in now is much bigger than our days. With Buck, it was a whole different world,” Shaw said. “The country music world was a much smaller, friendlier world than it is today, and it was easier for us to have privacy.” Today, at 64, Shaw is remarried. Despite a glittering joy ride on country music’s magic carpet, he remains modest and low-key. He performs only on Friday and Saturday nights with the Buckaroos at the Crystal Palace, and manages the intellectual properties and licensing of Owens’ music as an executive with Buck Owens Productions, helping the Buck Owens American Music Foundation preserve the iconic artist’s work. Shaw has worn many hats, or Stetsons, in his 41 years since that fateful meeting in 1970, including helping with the creation of the Crystal Palace and the installation of Owens’ treasured memorabilia. As protector of a music empire and custodian of an iconic legacy, when he flashes his unmistakable “Hee Haw” smile one gets the feeling he still feels like the luckiest person around. “I know where all the bodies are buried,” he laughed. “Our association has been quite a gift.” Not a bad run for the college dropout and self-described jazz freak with no plans to retire. “I don’t kick back very well.”

Thank you for voting for us for the last 16 years, Bakersfield!

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O R S’ C H O I C E P 139


History of Kern County At least 10,000 years ago: Native Americans are known to have lived in the southern San Joaquin Valley.

About 8,000 years ago: Native Americans are known to have occupied the shores of Buena Vista Lake.

1776: On April 26, Franciscan friar Francisco Garces became the first known European to stand on the present site of Bakersfield.

1827: A 17-man expedition led by Jedediah Smith entered the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley, marking the first entry to the area by American explorers from the East.

1853: The first recorded discovery of gold in Kern County was at a rugged area of Greenhorn Gulch, about a mile northwest of the upper Kern River.


1863: Col. Thomas Baker and his family arrived at Kern Island to begin reclamation of swampland from which Bakersfield would evolve.

1865: The first large-scale cotton production was attempted by brothers Solomon and Philo Jewett at their Rio Bravo Ranch.

1866: On April 21, the state Legislature created the county of Kern with Havilah as the county seat.

1872: The first commercial oil activity began in the old Buena Vista district.

1874: Bakersfield displaced Havilah as the county seat. 1874: On Nov. 8, the Southern Pacific Railroad reached

1889: On July 7, fire devastated 15 city blocks of Bakersfield, leaving 1,500 residents without homes.

1893: Kern County Union High School opened its doors for the first time. 140

Bakersfield Life

Beale Memorial clock tower August 2011

Californian file photo

its station at Sumner, later to be known as Kern City and eventually east Bakersfield. Bakersfield leaders were angry it wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t built through their city.

Californian file photo

Kern River oilfield

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1897: Alfred Harrell purchased what would become known as The Bakersfield Californian.

1899: The Kern River oil field was developed seven miles northeast of the city.

1904: Truxtun Beale donated the clock Harrell

tower to the city of Bakersfield in memory of his mother.

1912: Yen Ming, a leading potato grower in Bakersfield, started

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the first school for Chinese students.

1913: A 13th grade was created with the opening of Bakersfield (Junior) College on the campus of Kern County Union High School, later to be called Bakersfield High School.

1920: The highway was paved from Bakersfield to the Grapevine. 1925: The first Kern County Fair was held. 1927: Area cotton growers formed the California Cotton Cooperative Association, known today as Bakersfieldbased Calcot Ltd.


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1933: The U.S. Army Air Corps began using the present site of Edwards Air Force Base for bombing and gunnery training.

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The Dust Bowl

Californian file photo

1934: The major migration of dirt farmers from the southern Plains states began; by the end of the Dust Bowl, the population of Kern County was nearly unmanageable.

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1941: Sam Lynn Ball Park opened, bringing the California League and professional baseball to Bakersfield for the first time.

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Continued from page 141 ern Kern County.

1952: On Aug. 22, a powerful earthquake hit Bakersfield. The face of the city was changed forever.

1953: Two dams on the Kern River were completed to form Isabella Lake.

1956: Bakersfield College opened its hillside campus. 1964-65: Buck Owens, Bonnie Owens, Billy Mize, Kaye Adams and Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz

Merle Haggard led a near sweep for Bakersfield performers at the first Academy of Country Music awards.

1967: Valley Plaza opened at Highway 99 and Ming Avenue. 1970: Cal State Bakersfield opened. 1977: A dust storm with winds up to 200 mph caused millions of dollars in damage.

1980: Mary K. Shell, a former newspaper columnist and political

Bill Cosby at the Rabobank Arena

activist, was elected Bakersfield’s first woman mayor.

1993: A devastating, valleywide seven-year drought ended.

1981: The world’s largest cotton gin began operation in Kern

1993: The Bakersfield Business Conference brought three former


1986: Kern River crude dropped to an all-time, post-deregulation

U.S. presidents (Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and George Bush) to the same podium.

low price of $7 per barrel on July 24.

1994: The Fox Theater, built in 1930, reopened.

1990: Hostilities in the Persian Gulf drove the price of Kern River

1996: Bakersfield rap-metal band Korn followed up its gold-selling

crude to its highest price to date, $27.50 per barrel.

first album with “Life is Peachy,” which debuted at No. 3.

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5025 Wible Rd (661) 833-9998 142

Bakersfield Life

August 2011

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1998: Bakersfield celebrated 100 years as a city. 1998: Comedian Bill Cosby took the stage as Centennial Garden opened for its first show.

1999: A 3-to 6-inch blanket of snow greeted Bakersfield residents on the morning of Jan. 25. It was the biggest snowfall of the century.

2001: Bakersfield Museum of Art opened in its new digs. 2002: Former Stockdale High quarterback David Carr was the first player chosen in the NFL draft.

2003: Bakersfield’s housing market began to take off. percent in the first quarter of 2005 from the previous year.

2006: World-renowned country singer Buck Owens died at 77. His ex-wife, Bonnie, died at 76.

2006: Heat waves, including 15 consecutive triple-digit days, contributed to the deaths of 20 people.

January 25, 1999 in downtown Bakersfield.

Photo by Henry A. Barrios

2005: Bakersfield’s housing market soared. Resale prices rose 41

2007: A January freeze destroyed half of Kern’s citrus crops and put thousands out of work.

2007: The housing market crashed. Kern County experienced triple the national rate of foreclosures.

2008: By June, more than 250 people had paid for seats on Scaled Composites’ SpaceShipTwo, aiming to be the first private flight into suborbital space.

2008: Oil prices soared. Local Midway-Sunset crude traded at more than $126 a barrel.

2009: Swine flu swept through the county, and public health officials stopped testing for and counting confirmed cases.

2010: The county’s unemployment rate soared to 18.3 percent in March, an all-time high in the state’s current record-keeping system. 143

112 Years

Est. 1899

101 Years

Thank You to all our loyal customers for voting Luigi’s…





(661) 322-3051

(661) 822-7300

5060 California Ave., Suite 700

112 East F Street, Suite E

Bakersfield, CA 93309

Tehachapi, CA 93561 75 Years

Est. 1936

Est. 1910




725 EAST 19TH STREET • 322-0926

Everything served in Luigi’s Restaurant can be purchased in our delicatessen


70 Years

Est. 1941

Choose from a wide array of settings as unique as your occasion! • 1928 Chamber of Commerce Grand Hall • 1910 Fellows Hotel • Outdoor Facilities to Accommodate Large Weddings and Company Events

65 Years

Est. 1946

Your hearing is our

#1 priority at Wall’s. Kenneth V. Wall Board Certified in Hearing Instrument Sciences

At Wall’s Hearing Aid Center, we’re committed to our customers and dedicated to ensuring your satisfaction. Come to us and you’ll get the personal attention, superior service and advanced, customized solutions you need to keep you hearing your best. Just like all our customers have, since 1946.

The Original Hearing Aid Center of Bakersfield 4800 Easton Drive, Suite 108 Bakersfield, CA 93309 661-323-1612 © 2011 Starkey Laboratories, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 6/11 03238-11_S9351

Est. 1956

55 Years













BUY DIRECT & SAVE! Thank you Kern County for 55 years of faithful business. Because of you we have once again been voted The Best Tile Store in 2011. We will continue to offer the best selection, prices and best customer service in the Central Valley.


R S’ C H O I C E P

Come by and see us soon.

Quality • Service • Experience

The COMPLETE Tile Store “One of the Largest Selections of Ceramic Tile On The West Coast”

OPEN EVERY DAY (661) 366-3255 • 6301 E. BRUNDAGE LN. BAKERSFIELD, CA Between Oswell & Fairfax Rd.

53 Years

Est. 1958

52 Years

Est. 1959

52 Years

New & Used Pipe

Wire Coils




Est. 1959


Thanking Kern County residents for their business and pledging our continued support of our community and customers. • Steel Service Center • Vineyard and Orchard Supplies • New and Used Pipe • Livestock Equipment • Agricultural & Iron Fencing


39 Years

3530 BUCK OWENS BLVD 661.324.6514 800.423.8016

Est. 1972

Wonder Window Children’s Center

A lot has changed in Bakersfield in 52 years. But one thing that hasn’t changed in the HPS commitment to quality plumbing service. Since 1959 HPS Mechanical, Inc. has proudly served the commercial, industrial and residential plumbing needs of central and southern California. Here’s looking forward to the next 50 years!

10 Years

Est. 2001

We believe that Children are a gift from God.

661-871-7051 License #ʼs 150407255 & 150407569

Dedicated Staff in a Caring Environment! 8001 Panorama Drive

20 Years

We help brides find their dream gown for their special day.

Est. 1991

7921 Rosedale Hwy • 661-834-4288 Monday-Saturday 10-6 & Sunday 11-5

Visit Us Online at:


Wild ride

Photo by Dan Ocampo

Upper Kern River is roaring, making for some mean rafting trips

Due to ths year’s heavy rains and snowpack, the upper Kern rafting season should last through August.


If you were ever gonna do it, now’s the time. I’m talking about rafting down the roaring white waters of the upper Kern River. You all know by now that this is a big water year. What that means to you and your upcoming adventure is that even though the end of summer is in sight, the end of the high water is not. Normally by this time of year, the upper Kern is a dribble and rafting trips are relegated to the lower Kern below Isabella Dam. Still lots of fun, with their own scary, crazy, I-can’t-believe-I-just-didthat-and-lived-through-it kind of fun. (A company called River’s End is super close to Bakersfield, near Rio Bravo, see their website below.) But if you’ve ever had a desire to see what the upper river is really like, it will be flowing strong likely all through August considering the major snow pack and late melt this year. So book your trip now. It’s right in our backyard and such an 148

Bakersfield Life

August 2011

Photo by Lois Henry

By Lois Henry

A string of rafts glide gently after surviving the “rock slot” rapids beneath Ewings restaurant.

easy day trip. Not more than an hour up Highway 178. I went in mid-June and was amazed that I didn’t run into a single B-town person. Lots of LA and Orange County folks, though. Hey, why should they have all the fun on our very own river? Start your trip on the internet and look up one of the half dozen or so rafting companies. You can find them listed on the Kernville Chamber of Commerce website or, conveniently, they accompany this story. OK, I admit I felt a little goofy in the bright blue helmet I was issued and more than a little self conscious in the skin sucking wetsuit I decided to wear at the last minute. And even standing in the shade while Anthony, our guide, gave us the “rafting 101” talk, was getting uncomfortably hot with all that gear. But once we hit the first rapids (baby ones compared to what we’d see later) and icy cold snow melt courtesy of Mount Whitney sloshed over me, all thoughts of

Photo by Lois Henry

A busload of rafters heads back up the river out of Kernville.

looking goofy or being uncomfortable were gone. In fact, most rational thoughts were gone. Even the smaller rapids had this serious WALL-OF-WATER thing going on. The raft bumps around, you paddle, then it dips down and suddenly there it is, a wall of angry water! I mean, I knew it was “safe” but I was unprepared for how wild that river is. I couldn’t keep from hollering “Oooooooooh NNNNOOOOOOOO!!!!” as Anthony steered us expertly into and out of the roiling rapids. My GAWD, I thought after the first set! That water was alive. Whose idea was this? Then came the next set of rapids. I looked down the river at the bunching, twisting, churning water and could not believe we would make it through. But in we went. We slammed into wave after wave, bounced and spun, gasping and laughing when the deliciously frigid water soaked the entire raft. OK, that was fun, I thought nervously. Wait we still have another one? A Class 3?! That’s rafting lingo for how gnarly the rapids are on a 1-to-6 scale, 1 being pond water and 6 being Niagara Falls. On my little day trip, we got up to Class 3. But there are longer trips further up the Kern that get into Class 4 and 5 rapids. Being a beginner, I chose a much tamer trip,

Kern River rafting Eagle Rafting Inc. (760) 376-3648 Kern River Outfitters (760) 376-3370 Kern River Tours (760) 379-4616 Mountain and River Adventures (760) 376-6553 Sierra South (760) 376-3745 WhitewaterVoyages (760) 376-8806 River’s End Rafting & Adventure Company (lower Kern) (661) 326-7003

tame being a very relative term! The last rapid just below Ewings Restaurant on the Kern, a great bar and restaurant in Kernville, is Class 3, which I decided was shorthand for psychotic. It even looks ferocious from a distance. And the chatter among the guides alerting each other to upcoming hazards and surContinued on page 150

prises gave our huddled little group even greater foreboding. Anthony plunged us straight into the maw of the angry beast. This time, I couldn’t even scream. The raft pitched and bucked. “Back paddle!!!!” I heard Anthony holler as we dropped down a sheer cliff of rushing water. I paddled like mad and looked wildly around. A wave knocked me to the floor of the boat. And even though I don’t think my oar was connecting with any water as the river spit our raft out the other side of certain death, I back paddled like my life depended on it! Suddenly, the roar was behind us. People were laughing. I inhaled – alive! We were back at the bridge in Kernville and making for shore. As we clamored out of the raft on shaking legs someone asked how I liked it. “I wanna go again!” I said, grinning like a 12-year-old. And you will too. Each company has lots of different trips for people of varying abilities and experience. I chose a beginner’s package that included two trips down the river. Cost was about $55 per person. They also have cameras and wetsuits for rent.

Photo by Lois Henry

Continued from page 149

Rafting guides pointed out this house on the side of the river as belonging to former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. I highly recommend a wetsuit as the water is very cold even if the weather is warm. But plenty of people were in shorts and tank tops so it’s up to you. Life jackets and helmets are provided by the rafting outfit. And check out all their websites because the companies also offer other amenities besides just rafting. Some have big campgrounds, or mountain biking, rock climbing walls and more. It’s all there waiting for you, so get after it!

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Don’t miss out. Call or visit your Bakersfield AAA branch by August 1. (661) 852-4070 • 1500 Commercial Way, Bakersfield CA 93309 *Savings and offers vary by cruise line and may apply to select departures only. Cruise rates are capacity controlled. Certain restrictions may apply. AAA members must make advance reservations through AAA Travel to obtain Member Benefits and savings. Not responsible for errors or omissions. The Automobile Club of Southern California, AAA Texas, LLC, AAA New Mexico, LLC, AAA Hawaii, LLC and Alabama Motorists Association, Inc. act only as agents for the various travel providers listed. CTR #1016202-80. Copyright © 2011 AAA Club Services, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Bakersfield Life

August 2011

Over 11,249 acres of wildlife habitat including seasonal wetlands, uplands & riparian areas with wintering & migratory birds, aquatic animals, & endangered species including the San Joaquin kit fox, Tipton kangaroo rat and blunt-nosed leopard lizard. Take the auto-tour which is a 6.5 mile route all weather gravel road open daily from sunrise to sunset. Carry binoculars and spotting scopes to get a closer look without alarming wildlife. Hunting is permitted during waterfowl season, Oct. through Jan.

The Kern National Wildlife Refuge is located 20 miles west of Delano, CA., at the junction of Garces Hwy. & Corcoran Road.

For more information call (661) 725-2767

KERN RIVER VALLEY Cheryl’s Diner In The

River Front accommodations

Of Kernville

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ANTIQUE SHOPPING IN KERNVILLE The Mother Lode 16 Tobias • (760) 376-3384

Kernville Antiques & Gifts 13 Big Blue Rd. • (760) 376-2239

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Gourmet Coffee • Espresso • Cappuccino Bar Internet Cafe • Daily Lunch Specials


Photo by Joseph Simpson

Sleep-N-Aire Mattress

Sleep-N-Aire carries the county’s largest selection of mattresses.

Address: 5101 White Lane in Bakersfield Phone number: (661) 835-0203 Website: How long have you been in business? Sleep-N-Aire has been family-owned since we opened in 1932. What brands of mattresses does your business offer? We build our own line of mattresses and have since 1932. We are Kern County’s largest mattress factory. In addition to the mattresses we make, we also carry: Chattam & Wells, Simmons Beauty Rest, Englander, Sping Air and Pure Latex Bliss. How many mattresses do you have on display? We proudly carry Kern’s largest selection of mattress styles as well. If you can sleep on it, you can buy it here at Sleep-NAire: air, water, memory foam, latex rubber, coil mattresses, individual pocked coils, adjustable beds and futons.

What are the future plans for Sleep-N-Aire Mattress? We are always on the lookout for a better location and ways to serve our loyal customers. We ship mattresses to more than 30 states. 152

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August 2011

Photo by Joe Simpson

Based on the feedback from your customers, what is your most comfortable mattress? Our Latex Cloud Mattress. Made here, warranted here and serviced here.

From left to right Larry Plummer, Bart Banuelos, and Shaun Wankier in front of Sleep-N-Aire Mattress.

You’ll probably never meet the person who built your car. You’ll probably never meet the person who built your TV.

At Sleep-N-Aire you CAN meet the guy who made your mattress. We proudly make our mattresses, right here in Bakersfield. 5101 WHITE LN. | (661) 835-0203


Prudential Tobias, Realtors Scott Tobias, owner/broker Address: 1620 Mill Rock Way Phone number: (661) 654-1600 Website: E-mail:

How do you find the time to juggle being a successful businessman, a loving husband and father, and give back to the community? It is about balance. Fortunately, I have a very good staff and our experienced agents are great at helping some of the newer agents. We have a good team, which allows me time with my family as well as industry and community activities. It is really about priorities. This business can be consuming, but I am a big believer in taking time off to keep from burning out. I decided a few years ago that it was time to give back to the real estate industry. The local Bakersfield Association and the California Association of Realtors does an amazing job for our industry. I am also proud to be part of North Bakersfield Rotary. It is my belief that we donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have the right to complain unless we are willing to participate in improving what needs to be improved. Continued on page 156 154

Bakersfield Life

August 2011

Scott Tobias in his office in southwest Bakersfield.

Photo by Felix Adamo

Briefly explain how Prudential Tobias, REALTORS was established: In 2008, our company Scott Tobias Real Estate, acquired the already existing Prudential Bakersfield, Realtors. The blending of the two companies was an opportunity to grow and ultimately move to the location we now occupy near the Marketplace. The Prudential brand offered us an additional dimension with relocation and national name recognition.

Tobias, REALTORS® We Are Local Ownership With The Strength Of “The Rock”

Tammie Albitre

Deborah Alexander

Donna Barnes

David Bradshaw

Belinda Capilla

Ronnie Chassi

Sheila Cherry

Richard Clasen

Jessie Contreras

Jessica Duncan

Mike Dunn

Ryan Fox

Karen Fussy

David Gay

Lynda Grayson

Kristy Whitton-Hoover

Tara Hughes

Anna Juhl

Cindy Isaiz

Barbara Konnoff

Denise Martin

Leslie Miller

Jason Moss

Nora Nord

Lori O’Brien

Lori Ochoa

Diego Padedes

Joseph Ramos

Bradley Reese Jr.

Eddie Resendez

Maribel Resendez

Cheri Romero

Fred Rowan

Ben Ruelas

Angie Sanchez

Donna Schoen

Joel Segrest

Sandy Segrest

Scott Shaw

Frank Simon

Patrick Skrable

Courtney Smith

Randy Steinert

Mike Stott

Darlene Tobias

Dutch Toews

Diane White

Scott Tobias Broker

1620 Mill Rock Way, Ste 100

661 654-1600

DRE #00577493

Continued from page 154

When you have free time, how do you enjoy spending it? I run with my dog every morning that I don’t have an early meeting. At one time, it was a “have to,” now it is something I love to do. I like reading, spending time with my family and going to Dodger Games. Darlene and I go to Los Angeles when we can and ride bikes along the beach. Our passion is travel, which we haven’t done as much as we did before we started the business, but it gives us something to look forward to.

Our company is known for: Our professionalism. Most of our office staff has been with us since we started the company; they are licensed and trained in real estate matters. In addition, our agents are required to meet a high standard of excellence. Our mission statement says: “To provide a world class experience to every individual that encounters our company.” We strive to meet that standard. What feedback have you received from your clients? We have expanded our commercial di The majority of our business is repeat or referral. That in itself is positive feedback. I get letters on a consistent basis letting me know about our agent’s help with challenging transactions. What makes the housing market in Bakersfield different than nearby cities? The Bakersfield market is different than nearby cities because we have more distressed properties, which brought the price down from the peak in 2006, more percentage-wise than other cities. What makes our city attractive in this housing market are the low prices that offers lots of opportunity for first-time home-buyers and investors. I believe we have one of the lowest average prices in California. 156

Bakersfield Life

August 2011

Early morning runs with his dog are part of Tobias’s daily routine.

Why do you enjoy living in Bakersfield? I have lived and worked in other parts of California, but what I love the most about Bakersfield is the people. For me it goes from the network of people in my industry to the clerk at the grocery store. There is a sense of community here that I have not experienced in other places, especially Southern California. Of course, if the heat gets to be too much or you want to get away, the beach is only a couple of hours away. One thing you’re excited about this year: We have expanded our commercial division and recruited some excellent com-

Photo by Henry A. Barrios

How has Prudential Tobias, REALTORS been able to withstand the recession over the past few years? The market has been challenging, but there are still plenty of people who want to buy and sellers who need to sell. I don’t think of it as a recession, it is just a matter of adjusting to the changes in the way we have to do business now.

mercial agents. Richard Clasen has been instrumental in making that happen. I spent time in commercial earlier in my career and enjoy that aspect of the business. What’s next for Prudential Tobias, REALTORS? When we began our company in 2007, it was just Darlene and me and two other individuals. We have grown to nearly 50 agents, even in the toughest real estate market I have ever seen. Our plan for the future is continued growth but only if it does not compromise our quality of service. It is a continuous dedication to improving and growing. That is what makes it fun. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Sam Tran in his Ashley Furniture HomeStore in Bakersfield.

Ashley Furniture HomeStore Sam and Jacky Tran, owners Address: 8915 Rosedale Highway Phone number: (661) 588-7953 Website: E-mail: What is your history in the furniture business? We have been in the furniture business for more than 20 years. We began with a small mom and pop store in San Bernardino, Calif., and built our way up to a large independently owned furniture showroom in Temecula, Calif. in 1996. We worked very closely with Ashley Furniture as a vendor when we managed that independent store, so we knew the product’s outstanding value and exceptional quality very well when we decided to open our first Ashley Furniture HomeStore in Fresno in January 2010. We took over the Bakersfield location from its previous owner in November 2010. What is your business’s target market? Everybody! If you’re a college student looking for a big sectional to fit all your friends in your living room, we’ve got it. Or if you’re a business woman who works from home, we’ve got a beau158

Bakersfield Life

August 2011

Photo by Alex Horvath


tiful home office section. Maybe you’re chic, looking for something with an urban clean-line shape, or maybe you’ve got an eye for the ornate engravings of traditional styles; we’ve divided our showroom into lifestyle selections: Rustic Country, Metro Modern, Traditional Classics and Family Spaces, just to name a few. It just depends on your lifestyle, and what will fit you best. What is the most popular category of furniture you sell? Living room furniture, such as sofas and sectionals, are our more popular items in the store. We also offer the “No Use, No Lose” protection plan option that covers all common accidents and incidents such as nail polish and wine spills, water damage, burn marks, etc. for five years. Families do not have to settle for the darker or more maintainable fabrics. They can choose that eggshell-color sofa and have the peace of mind that their purchase is protected against those common incidents. What are the advantages of operating a furniture business in Bakersfield right now? The advantage of our Ashley Furniture HomeStore in Bakersfield is that we are completely different than any other furniture store in the area. Take a look in our showroom, and you’ll feel a completely different experience than ever before as you browse for furniture. You’re going to feel like you’re stepping into different vignettes or even through walls of different homes, as you walk our showroom. It’s all displayed like it would be in a home, so you can get the actual experience of what it would look like in your own bedroom, living room, home office or dining room.




NO INTEREST IF PAID IN FULL WITHIN 12 MONTHS* On Purchases of $999 or more with your Ashley Furniture HomeStore credit card made between 07/27/2011 08/15/2011. Interest will be charged to your account from the purchase date if the promotional balance, including optional charges, is not paid in full within 12 Months or if you make a late payment. Minimum Monthly Payments Required. Account fees apply.*







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Bakersfield 7 Hills Drive

E Nees Ave

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River Park Shopping Center

Blue Star Memorial Hwy

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e Av A

W Pinedale Ave W Minarets Ave


El Toro Viejo Rd

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Bakersfield, CA 93312 661-588-7953

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Pine Mountain Inn Diana Chase, owner

What are the advantages of owning and operating a business in a small community? It has given me the opportunity to give back to the area I live in, and create a business that hopefully will bring success to all of the businesses around me. When remodeling the inn, it was very important to me to keep all, or as much as possible, of the business local. The guys who worked on this project were local; the lamps, florals and accessories were all purchased locally. The mantles over the fireplaces are logs that were burned in the Day Fire 2006, salvaged and fabricated into beautiful mantles. The best part, all of the artwork on the walls is my photography. Once the project was completed, my multi-talented designer, Alice Peternel decided to open Mountain Mercantile, a store/cafe located right behind the inn. Only in a small community can one create a business and have your best friend right next door with their business. The inn was renovated a couple of years ago, what changes were made to make this inn unique? I purchased the building in April 2009, and immediately launched a yearlong extensive renovation. The building, itself was solid. However, it was in serious need of a complete remodel on the interior and extra attention on the exterior. Every room 160

Bakersfield Life

August 2011

Owner Diana Chase in front of the Pine Mountain Inn.

has its own theme. Upon close of escrow, Alice and I immediately began shopping for antique furniture on Craigslist. I had furniture for eight rooms crammed into my two-car garage for months. Every room has hardwood floors throughout, and our bathrooms have tumbled stone tile and deep-soaking tubs. What does the Pine Mountain Inn offer its guests? What the Pine Mountain Inn offers its guests is, what I like to call “glamping.” While this is not a term I dreamed up, I loved it the first time I heard it. Glamping, short for glamorized camping, is when you have all the comforts of home, while you are “roughing it” in the mountains. Every room in the inn is complete with a king or queen pillow-top bed, 310-count thread sheets, Cashmina sheets (sheets that feel

Photo by Jaclyn Borowski

Address: 16231 Askin Drive, Pine Mountain Club, CA 93222 Phone number: (877) 246-4922 or (661) 242-1982 Website: E-mail: innkeepers@pinemountaininn. com

like a teddy bear) in the wintertime, flatscreen TV with DirecTV, a DVD player, free wireless Internet, a four-cup coffee pot. Some rooms have their own private deck and a fireplace. The “roughing it” part? Most cell phones do not work within Pine Mountain Club. What nearby activities can guests enjoy during their stay at the inn? We encourage our guests to enjoy all of the amenities offered at The Pine Mountain Club such as golf, tennis and swimming. Nestled in the Los Padres National Forest, Pine Mountain Club is surrounded by numerous hiking and mountain biking trails. If you like cross country skiing, Mt. Pinos, just a short drive from the inn, is the place to go. The Pine Mountain Inn is located a brief 45 to 90 minutes from Bakersfield, San Luis Obispo and Los Angeles.


Diamond engagement ring

Show her how much you love her. 1.14 carat in 14K white gold. Was $5,400, now $3,875. Custom-made by Robson-Eilers at The Marketplace, 665-0411,

Robson-Eilers Jewelers

Preserve a Moment in Time

This keepsake plate will help you remember a special milestone. $29 (includes studio time and firing). Color Me Mine at the Marketplace, 664-7366,

Color Me Mine

Make a statement in the kitchen

Stylish tule trimmed, colorful apron with a removable tule flower. Only at Kuka's, 1609 19th St. 325-0000.


Algeria Shoes

Hot new prints in the Professional Collection from Alegria. Stain-resistant uppers and slip-resistant soles make for the perfect nurses shoe! At Guarantee Shoe Center. Where else?

Guarantee Shoe Center 162

Bakersfield Life

August 2011

Custom kitchen cabinets

We also do cabinet restoration & refacing. Call us for a free estimation. 836-8747 or

Munoz Cabinetry

Keep your pet safe

Cozy and Secure Doggy Life Jackets will keep your pet safe on the water! Biscuit Boutique & Doggy Spa, 1617 19th St. 321-9602.

Biscuits Boutique & Doggy Spa

La Mer collection

La Merâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s passion for design, quality materials and simple beauty make these timepieces one of our favorites. $88 - $198. Fashionista Boutique at the Fox 327-4466

Great Plus Size Jeans

LA Idol Jeans in plus sizes up to 21, prices start at $66.00. Divaz Desirez on the corner of Coffee & Hageman in the Vons center. 679-7278.

Divaz Desirez

Fashionista 163

Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce Leadership Bakersfield Graduation June 17 Held at The Petroleum Club Photos by Tonya Sterling View these photos and more online at

Tom Corson and Bryan Burrow

Sheryl Chalupa and David Gordon

Summer and Lance Cunningham

Betty Criner, Sara Stratton and Mickey Ghazarian

Patricia Marquez and Trish Reed

Kathy Miller, Gaurdie and Simin Banister and Michele Newell


Bakersfield Life

August 2011

Tom and Juanita Webb, Mike Grover and Jeffery Burdick

If your child gets sick, it can turn her world upside down.

MOM! Leading edge pediatric care is here. At the new Children’s Medical Center at Bakersfield Memorial Hospital, Kern County kids can get state-of-the-art pediatric care close to home. We provide a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for newborns and preemies. We have specially trained pediatricians on site 24/7, along with compassionate nurses and staff to care for kids. This summer, we’ll open the only Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) for infants, youngsters and older children in the area. So, whether it’s simple or more serious, with Memorial’s new Children’s Medical Center… It’s Ok. We’re always thinking about you.

PEDIATRIC RESOURCE GUIDE For a free 16-page guide on kids’ health and wellness, call: 1.877.854.4BMH (4264). PERSONALIZED E-NEWSLETTER Free & Customized for you! Go to: Select “Every Life Matters” from the menu. Then, click on “Your Health” in the drop down list to request your free subscription.

Memorial Physician Referral & Resource Line 1.877.854.4BMH Become a fan on Facebook Health Information Library: Access our free health information library at or You’ll find hundreds of health topics of interest to read about.

PRE-REGISTER TODAY! Save time and be better prepared for an emergency or hospitalization by pre-registering your child at or call 661.327.4647 ext 4866.

420 34th Street Bakersfield, CA 93301 · 661.327.4647

Light Brigade Golf Tournament June 24 Held at Rio Bravo Country Club Photos by Casey Christie View these photos and more online at

Mike Pensinger and Wil Graham

Teri Graf and Guin Gunning

James Banks, George Culver, and Javier Bermea

James Phelps, Jim Phelps, and Danny Hukill

Nick Solan and Lynn Bumerts

Trevor Flores, left, Kelsey Flores, Julie Hill, Kalee Gentry, and Adam Jones

Bob Gunning, Teri Graf, Travis Adams, Bill Solan, Bob French, Vernon Gunning, and Elaine Solan

• Additions • Remodels • Alumawood Patios • Custom Patios

• Outdoor Kitchen & BBQs • Maintenance • Project Management • Bonded & Insured

Pacific Construction Services, Inc. 661-829-1002 • Lic. #947863


Bakersfield Life

August 2011

welcome home REALTORS® ARE THE BEST SOURCE FOR REAL ESTATE INFORMATION. They are committed to doing business according to strict ethical standards and providing honest, professional service. Working with a REALTOR® gives buyers, sellers and investors

the advantage they need to succeed in today’s market. The Bakersfield Association of REALTORS® proudly supports our members by providing critical resources like educational offerings, promoting a better quality

of life by engaging with our community and encouraging and protecting private property rights. REALTORS® are prepared to answer your questions, show you options and guide you home. Let us help you find your piece of California.




4800 Stockdale Hwy., Suite 100 ����������� �� ����� � ������ ������������ �������������������������


Best of Reception June 16 Held at The Prospect at The Padre Hotel Photos by Greg Nichols View these photos and more online at

Don Billiard, Shauna Rockwell, and Jackie Billiard

Linda Larma and Arnie Carlos

Jim and Jacque Balmain

Kim Busby and Donna Frank

Claire Porter and Mark Elieff

Lana Fain and Lisa Whitten

Pat Evans and Logan Molen

Karen Rummelsburg, Rosco Rolnick, and Susanna Hernandez

Come In And Try Our New Dinner Menu With Handmade Flour and Corn Tortillas

New Delicious Dishes Try our Angus Steaks and Angus Steak Fajitas Valley Plaza The Marketplace 1594 Hilman St. â&#x20AC;˘ Tulare 832-5011 664-1400 559-684-0600 168

Bakersfield Life

August 2011

Rudy Tafoya, Steve Renock, and Jim LaMar

Women With a Heart June 30 Held at Seven Oaks Country Club Photos by Felix Adamo View these photos and more online at

Mary Mazzei, Ronda Mazzei and Joyce Downs

Sunny Scofield, Peggy Darling and Betty Younger

Don Olsson, Judy Olsson and Betty Reneau

Autumn Borden, Pedro Gonzalez and Envy Sanchez

Chanie Smith, Mikayla Feil and Carol Feil

Jill Estrada, Jenny Johns and Jennifer Holloway

Caryl Schweitzer, Kevin Burton and Karen Goh

Fanny Hernandez, Jaiden Marks and Danielle Marks

Amy Smith, Martha Samora, Debbie Hankins, Myrna Beehler and Chris Frank 169

Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce Mixer June 23 Held at The Marriot Photos by Greg Nichols View these photos and more online at

Sean and Jenny Barker

Donna Stanfield and Scott Cox

Helen Denesha and Suzie Cooper

Janice Poncetta and Kellee Wolber

Ed Flickinger and Brad Buckley

Tim Quick, Marisol Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Neil, and Jesse Grewal

Tonya Dretzka, Tonya Sterling, Spencer Schluter, Pauline Bartlett, and Pat Frase.

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Pump It Up is the original inflatably great party place! 100% Private Parties Trained/Dedicated Team of Staff Stress-Free for Party Host Safe & Clean Environment Gigantically Fun Inflatables Brightly Decorated Party Room


Bakersfield Life

The perfect place for birthdays, family reunions, field trips, youth groups, scout groups, and more! 661.392.8800

Pump It Up of Bakersfield 2841 Unicorn Rd., Ste. 103 Bakersfield, CA 93308

August 2011

327 S. CHESTER AVENUE, BAKERSFIELD, CA 93304 (661) 340-2090 or (661) 832-8152

Westchester 4th of July Parade July 4 Held on 20th St. Photos by Greg Nichols View these photos and more online at

Deb, Jackson, and Rhyen Moses, Dawna MacGillivray

Jon and Genesis Vaughn

Laura and Joseph Michael

Matthew and Mary Kim Park

Shawna and Karl Davisson

Learn & play golf at Kern River Golf Course with Jacque Servadio, LPGA.

Join other beginner ladies in a fun, social atmosphere who just want to meet, learn & play with golfers of their level. Events held twice a month â&#x20AC;&#x201C; includes: clinic before golf, green fees, cart & prizes for only $35. Go to for more info

Mike, Gino, Betty, Jennifer, Ellie, and Rosanne Lafever

The FRESHEST most delicious treat for the HOTTEST days! Get yours today!

Lorrie Brown, Susan Bennett, Joel Smith, Haley Hettinger, Valerie and Jeremiah Smith 172

Bakersfield Life

August 2011

Jill Andrews Concert July 17 Held at Metro Galleries Photos by Jan St. Pierre View these photos and more online at

Ashley Donato and Gareth Feldstein

Katy Glentzer, Gina Young and Lorie Stites

Josh Oliver, Jill Andrews and Richard Beene

Tracy Kaiser and Lydia Rowles

John Glentzer, Jim Poteete, Herb Benham, Katy Glentzer and Russ Elrod

Jason and Mai Giffard

Matt and Molly Clark and Christy and Tom Morgan

WATSON Realty #1 Sales Team in 2010

Is your home value up side down? Short Sale -vs- Foreclosure CALL FOR FREE ADVICE Sheeza Gordon 661-472-2761


John and Keri Gless and Stephanie and Jeff Pickering

William Gordon 661-431-5534



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with purchase of 6 windows or more

July 15 Held at Little White Dress Photos by Jaclyn Borowski View these photos and more online at

(restrictions apply)

Sue and Jackie Strong

Miriam Gutierrez and Lo Ochoa

Over 30 Years Of Experience

Hallee and Ann McCright and Joey Buehler

Shelly Smith, Jenny Barker and Kim Clayton

Locally Owned & Operated General Contractors, building usable space for you to enjoy

Lance & Sue England Lic#605344

Visit Our Showroom

Mon-Fri 10-4, Sat 10-2 6600 Suite B District Blvd.

(661) 835-8000

Bakersfield 93313

Yessi Olivares, Oscar Aguilera and Juan Quevedo


Scott Spielman Assistant district attorney, Kern County District Attorney’s Office Best accomplishment: Finding someone to marry me as beautiful and intelligent as my wife, Stephanie. If you ask anyone that knows us, they will gladly tell you she’s too good for me. Marrying her was an accomplishment because she didn’t think much of me at first, but I ultimately won her over.

Best piece of advice someone has given me: “Quit your whining and suck it up,” was told to me by my father throughout my life. It’s good advice because it reinforces dependence on yourself and not others. I give the same advice to my kids every time they complain. I like to think of it as my family’s version of positive reinforcement. Something few people know about me: I threw the javelin in the Army and at Fresno State. I did team sports in high school, but the individual competition of a thrower in track and field was a lot of fun. I have enjoyed following the coverage by The Californian of local track and field throwers like Anna Jelmini (Arizona State) and Cooper Thompson (USC). My favorite getaway: Lake Trinity in Northern California. My family went there every summer when I was growing up. It is a large uncrowded lake in the forest with all the fishing, swimming and skiing a kid could ever want to do. We’ve taken our kids there a couple of times and they’ve loved it. 176

Bakersfield Life

August 2011

Photo by Felix Adamo

Best part of my job: Doing a job that requires me to do the right thing. I recently heard a longtime prosecutor say he thought doing the right thing was the best part of his job, and I agree with him. Whenever tough decisions are made, there are always critics to say we make decisions based on evil motivations. But at the end of the day, there is a satisfaction in knowing you were seeking justice and not just getting the best result for your client. This is especially true when you have achieved justice for victims that thought the system would never help them.

On my bookshelf, you will find: A lot of unread books. When I was in the Army, I would sneak Louis L’Amour books to read when I pulled for guard duty, but I don’t do much recreational reading now. I have to do a lot of reading as a lawyer, so the idea of reading away from work just doesn’t float my boat. I’ll read the paper on weekend mornings and an occasional Reader’s Digest, but that’s about it. My favorite places to have lunch on the weekend: If I’m going to go out to eat, I like Hodel’s or Spencer’s. I like lots of good food and they’ve got what I like. In the fall, my ideal place to have lunch on the weekend is at my home watching football. Most influential person in my life: In shaping my character and personality, my father has been the most influential person

in my life. He is the hardest working man I have ever known, but he also finds enjoyment in his life and work. Both of my parents instilled a strong work ethic and family values in me. The most influential person in my professional life has been Lisa Green. She has a very strong sense of right and wrong and she expects her prosecutors to work as hard as she does for crime victims. She has tremendous drive and energy, and she isn’t afraid to tell me when I didn’t do all that I should on a case. The one thing that defines Bakersfield to me: The people. Whether it’s in the neighborhoods, at work, at church or at community events, you will find nice people with common values. Because of the people I’ve met here, Bakersfield still has a small town feel to it, which I enjoy.


ALPHA Canine Sanctuary P.O. Box 5517, Bakersfield, CA 93388 • (661) 391-8212

Help us save them!

wrap my arms around him and never let go. But he’s right, he needs his own family. Maybe one of you will take him into your family and give him the happiness he deserves. Because the economy is slow, we find ourselves doing more with less. In just over a years’ time, we have held five $10 or free spay/neuter days for the dogs of low income community members.The cost for one of these days is several thousand dollars. Without your support, we couldn’t do it Pet overpopulation is a dreadful problem here in Bakersfield and Kern County.There’s only one solution and that’s to reduce the number of puppies being born. But people don’t spay or neuter their pets when they can barely put food on the table.That’s why it’s crucial that you, our kind hearted supporters, continue to work with us to help them

Mitch “I would give you so much love if you adopt me. It’s nice here at the sanctuary and everyone is kind to me, but it’s not as good as having my own family. I had a home once, for a long time. But then my people went away. After that, I didn’t have food and I got skinny and my skin turned all itchy.

When the economy worsens, many more pets are abandoned. Dogs that once had homes are now on the streets. We try to save as many as possible. For every dog we adopt out, a space opens up for a new one.That’s why, when you adopt from a shelter or sanctuary, you save two lives; the one you adopt and the one who comes in off the street to take his place. ALPHA Canine Sanctuary is a no-kill haven for dogs.The 20 acre ranch is nestled in the foothills above Bakersfield. At any given time, 100 dogs live at the sanctuary. Our basic programs are rescue, adoption, care for life and spay/neuter assistance.

“Finally a kind-hearted animal control officer took me to the emergency veterinary clinic. When I felt better, I came out here to ALPHA. Do you suppose my old family really thought I could survive on my own? I don’t know how they could throw me away. I would never have done that to them.” Mitch is an older Rottweiler, maybe nine or ten. But his legs are limber and he moves around just fine. He loves to be petted and held and loved. Every time I see him, I want to

Make a Difference - Donate Today! We invite you to be part of our life-saving mission. ALPHA is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization. Donations, individual or corporate, to support ALPHA’s programs are tax-deductible. You may give a one-time donation or make the Partner’s Pledge. A partner makes a monthly donation. The pledge is not binding and payments can be missed or even canceled. A reminder is sent each month. Name___________________________________

___monthly partner pledge


___$20 individual membership


___$30 family membership




Use my donation for: ____ Spay/neuter assistance program ____ Sanctuary upkeep and expense ____ Wherever it’s most needed



ALPHA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Our federal ID number is 77-0398635. Our Kern County Commercial Animal Facility Permit number is P116035. ALPHA receives no government funding. Our success is entirely due to you, the caring, responsible members of our community. We are deeply grateful for your trust and support.

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

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

Healing Follows


0.9% APR

2 0 1 1


for 36 months on all New 2011 Pilots

You’ll be ready for almost anything in the 2011 Pilot.

Lease the New 2011 Pilot 2WD LX AT YF3H2BEW

0 Down




* /mo 36 month



FEATURED SPECIAL LEASE: Closed end lease for 2011 Pilot 5 Speed Automatic 2WD LX (YF3H2BEW) available from 07/06/2011 through 09/06/2011, to well-qualified lessees approved by Honda Financial Services. Not all lessees wil qualify. Higher lease rates apply for lessees with lower credit ratings. MSRP $29,130.00 (includes destination, excludes tax, license, title fees, registration, documentation fees, options, insurance and the like). Actual net capitalized cost $27,310.53. Net capitalized cost includes $595 acquisition fee. Dealer contribution may vary and could affect actual lease payment. Total monthly payments $11,900.00. Option to purchase at lease end $16,604.10. Must take new retail delivery on vehicle from dealer stock by 09/06/2011. Lessee responsible for maintenance, excessive wear/tear and 15¢/mile over 12,000 miles/year for vehicles with MSRP less than $30,000, and 20¢/mile over 12,000 miles/ year for vehicles with MSRP of $30,000 or more. See your Honda dealer for complete details.


* /mo 36 month



Closed end lease for 2011 Pilot 5 Speed Automatic 2WD LX (YF3H2BEW) available from 07/06/2011 through 09/06/2011, to well-qualified lessees approved by Honda Financial Services. Not all lessees wil qualify. Higher lease rates apply for lessees with lower credit ratings. MSRP $29,130.00 (includes destination, excludes tax, license, title, registration, documentation fees, options, insurance and the like). Actual net capitalized cost $25,390.48. Net capitalized cost includes $595 acquisition fee. Dealer contribution may vary and could affect actual lease payment. Total monthly payments $10,404.00. Option to purchase at lease end $16,604.10. Must take new retail delivery on vehicle from dealer stock by 09/06/2011. Lessee responsible for maintenance, excessive wear/tear and 15¢/mile over 12,000 miles/year for vehicles with MSRP less than $30,000, and 20¢/mile over 12,000 miles/year for vehicles with MSRP of $30,000 or more. See your Honda dealer for complete details.

4500 Wible Road

at the Entrance to Bakersfield Automall

834-6632 Se Habla Español


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Special APR offer valid on new and unregistered 2011 Pilot Models from 07/06/2011 through 09/06/2011, to well qualified buyers on approved credit by Honda Financial Services through participating dealers. Must take new retail delivery on vehicle from dealer stock by 09/06/2011. Not all buyers may qualify. Higher rates apply for buyers with lower credit ratings. Example for 2011 Pilot: 0.9% for 36 months financing at $28.16 a month for every $1,000.00 financed. Dealers set actual prices. See your Honda dealer for details.

Bakersfield Life Magazine August 2011  

Kern Life issue