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April 2019

Capturing Kern Plein Air Festival paints portrait of county

Dining with Dre Muertos wows with food, vibe

Bakersfield Oilers Hockey for specialneeds athletes

Jerry’s Pizza grows up $3.95



5:01 PM



MADE IN BAKERSFIELD City produces more than just oil and ag Temblor Brewing Company’s Streets of Bakersfield IPA


to be a three straight year selection to the Southern California Super Lawyers Rising Star list (top 2 ½% of lawyers in California) and is recognized as one of Southern California’s “Top Attorneysâ€? as published in Los Angeles Magazine.

He is honored to be designated an “ACS-CHAL Forensic Lawyer-Scientist� by the American Chemical Society having obtained the highest student score on the examination among all California lawyers.

PRIOR TO BEING RECOGNIZED as California’s Top Lawyer-Scientist,

Mr. Brehmer received specialized training and further education in standardized Ă?HOGVREULHW\WHVWLQJJDVFKURPDWRJUDSK\VROLGGUXJGRVHDQDO\VLV'1$DLUZD\ gas exchange, and is the only Kern County Defense attorney to be trained in drug recognition examinations. He is routinely asked to consult with both private and public attorneys throughout the country on issues of toxicology and pharmacology.

MR. BREHMER IS HONORED TO have presented multiple times to the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, the American Chemical Society, state and local public defender associations across the country, state defense bar conferences, law schools, and others associated with the forensic and legal community.


JEREMY BREHMER FELLOW AAFS In February 2016 Mr. Brehmer was recognized by the President of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences for his substantial contribution to the Academy.



CO-AUTHOR OF SIX BOOKS RQWR[LFRORJ\UHODWHGVXEMHFWVLQDGGLWLRQ to other publications and those in process Mr. Brehmer has authored chapters about forensic science in criminal cases, search and seizure, pharmacology, drug detection limits, and discovery in several Aspatore/Thomson Reuters books. He is a contributing author on a blood alcohol analysis for West publishers, the co-author of the feature article for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers publication, the Champion, and is co-editor/author of Medicolegal Aspects of 0DULMXDQD&DOLIRUQLDHGLWLRQE\/DZ\HUVDQG-XGJHV3XEOLVKLQJ


APRIL 2019


Open Nominations UNTIL APRIL 14

The 20 Under 40 contest selects 20 locals who are under the age of 40 and are considered a trailblazer in his or her professional career or schooling and known for giving back to our community in special ways. Winners will be honored in our July issue and at a special get-together. TO NOMINATE: Visit and click on the 20 Under 40 banner from now until April 14. Submit a few comments about nominee and a photo. If you have any questions, contact Mark Nessia at


Bakersfield Life Magazine

April 2019


Made In Bakersfield Generally we are known as an oil and agriculture town, but there are actually a host of other products produced here. Some you know and others may surprise you.

58 Best-kept secret: The Gardens at Monji What was once a typical landscape construction yard and nursery is now a sprawling 2 acres of everchanging gardens.

Your taxes are due. Now What?

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45 Years of Serving our Community

4200 Truxtun Avenue #300 | Bakersfield, CA 93309 | 661.324.4971 |

APRIL 2019


Find out what legendary rock tribute band will be playing at the first-ever American Cancer Society benefit concert on Page 12.

Eat & Drink

“Dining With Dre” visits Muertos Kitchen & Lounge to try out some very satisfying dishes on Page 16. Feast your eyes on the foods of India on Page 22.


The Valley Children’s Ice Center of Bakersfield has taken the NHL’s “Hockey is for Everyone” initiative to the next level on Page 30.

Go & Do

This is a great time of year to visit Palm Springs. Read about things to do when you visit on Page 36.


B Well


Up Front 10 Editor’s Note 11 The Big Picture 12 Short Takes 14 Happenings

20 Best Thing We Ate This Month 21 Dining Guide 22 Bites 25 Where We’re Eating

Eat & Drink 16 Dining With Dre

Lifestyles 26 Money Matters

Bakersfield Life Magazine

April 2019




Find out what the Wasting Hunger Not Food program is doing to help relieve hunger in Bakersfield and Kern County on Page 46.

30 28 Home & Garden 30 Pastimes 31 Love & Life Go & Do 32 Arts & Culture 33 Entertainment 34 Out & About

36 Trip Planner B Well 38 Ask the Doctor 42 Your Mind 44 Your Body 46 Feature – Wasting Hunger, Not Food

People & Community

Meet the duo behind the city’s newest music store, Bakersfield Sound Co., on Page 70.

People & Community 62 Business Profile 64 Bakersfield Matters 65 Be in Bakersfield 66 Study Hall 68 Our Town 70 Personality

72 74 78 83

History All-Star Roundup SNAP! Last Word

The Marketplace 76 Prime Finds

STAFF Bakersfield’s Premier City Magazine April 2019 / Vol. 13 / Issue 7 Bakersfield Life™ Magazine is published by TBC Media

SHARES What’s your favorite thing to do in Bakersfield in the springtime?

Associate Publisher Virginia Cowenhoven

Springtime in Bakersfield is so spectacular that I will power through the pollen in the air just so I can enjoy a family bike ride through our beautiful city. – Nina Ha, contributing writer

Editor Jim Lawitz Advertising Director

On the Cover

Cliff Chandler

Temblor Brewing Company’s Streets of Bakersfield IPA is one of the many products proudly made in Bakersfield.

Assistant Managing Editor

Photo by Greg Nichols

Art Director

Mark Nessia

Glenn Hammett

Coming up next … 2019 Best Of

Art & Marketing Manager Holly Bikakis Specialty Publications Intern Abbigail Kovac

Advertise, contact Cliff


Chandler at cchandler@bakersfield. com or 395-7521.

Felix Adamo, Henry A. Barrios, Kristine Jacobson, Mark Nessia, Greg Nichols, Carla Rivas

Subscribe to

Bakersfield Life Magazine for your home or office, go to www.tbcoffers. com/deal/blifeintro.

Contributing writers Asha Chandy, Michelle Corson, Nina Ha, Lisa Kimble, Stephen Lynch, Rob Meszaros, Jennifer

Partner with us

Olague, Melissa Peaker-Whitten,

for your next event. Email Mark Nessia at or call 395-7383 for more information.

Julie Plata, Robin Robinson, Andrea Saavedra, Chris Thornburgh, Liarida Yoakum

Connect with us – Instagram/bakersfield_life


Bakersfield Life Magazine

April 2019

Cycling along the Kern River Bike Trail. As we progress further into spring, more water will flow along the river and the scenery will only get prettier. – Mark Nessia, assistant editor Walking up and down the bluffs at Panorama Park. It’s green, it’s lush and everything is in bloom. Plus, the view after a spring rain is spectacular. – Holly Bikakis, art & marketing manager Get outside, be it cycling, hiking, playing a round of golf or working in the yard. The sun is warm, the hills are green, wildflowers are blooming and the air is clean. – Glenn Hammett, art director My favorite thing to do in the springtime in Bakersfield Is going to Hart Park. It’s very beautiful and perfect for a family barbecue or picnic. It’s great for enjoying nature. – Abbigail Kovac, specialty publications intern I love taking walks with my pups down to riverwalk and wind wolves. Also love visiting the local farms to see all the amazing baby fruits and veggies. – Andrea Saavedra, contributing writer

We want to hear from you – Send comments or letters to the editor to Mark Nessia at mnessia@bakersfield. com. Please include name, city and phone number. We reserve the right to edit letters for clarity and to excerpt them.

Contact us – 3700 Pegasus Dr. Bakersfield, CA 93308 661-395-7500

Trying to decide whether to remodel your home or build a new one? Michelle and Tim Hardt can take your “napkin ideas� and create three-dimensional images of what your ideas will look like! Whether you want a home remodel, kitchen or bathroom renovation, or the design and build of a new home, we do it all. Hardworking and creative staff are the backbone of our success as a longtime local residential contractor.

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Bakersfield Life Magazine

April 2019

A couple of months ago, I had the privilege of being a member of a panel for the Kern Economic Development Foundation’s first-ever Aspire Conference, speaking to about 220 high school juniors and seniors who were on track to graduate high school and head off to college – some of them being the first in their family to do so. The theme of the event was “Success In and Beyond High School” and the panel talked about why Kern County is a great place to start a life after finishing one’s education. At the beginning of the panel, the attendees were asked a simple question: “How many of you plan on staying or returning to Kern County after finishing school?” Very few rose their hands. While disappointing, in truth, the response wasn’t that surprising. After all, most kids who grow up in one place for the majority of their lives naturally yearn to see what else the world has to offer. It was no different than my hometown of Simi Valley, where all my friends couldn’t wait to pack up, leave and never come back. Even though I didn’t mind staying, I, too, packed up, left and never came back. But that’s because the place I relocated to was Bakersfield. Bakersfield grows on you, whether you want it to or not. The community is unique and you can forge your own path and come into your own here.

Bakersfield allowed me to reach my potential. When I moved here, I was soft-spoken and timid. Now … well, let’s just say some people probably wish I was still soft-spoken and timid. Bakersfield provided me with opportunities I would never have dreamed of had I been anywhere else. It’s really hard to imagine where I’d be had the road taken me in a different direction. I think that many of those students will realize what they had in Bakersfield as soon as they leave it. That’s why so many who didn’t raise their hands will eventually come back. But it’s unrealistic to expect everyone to stay or return, so I encouraged those who do leave to be proud of where they come from – to have pride in their hometown. They will be the ones who put Bakersfield on the maps of strange friends and friendly strangers in places far and wide, so let us speak highly of it to help change the narrative surrounding our city – to be advocates for the place many grew up in and many others call home. Some of us were made by Bakersfield. But all of us make Bakersfield.

Mark Nessia Assistant Editor 395-7383


Find out what’s “Happening” in April on Page 14.

T h e B i g P i c t u re / Sh o r t Ta ke s / O n T h e We b / Ha p p e n i n g s

SPRING NATURE FESTIVAL At Wind Wolves Preserve’s sixth annual Spring Nature Festival, guests enjoyed free activities like guided nature hikes, reptile talks, educational exhibits and more. Photo courtesy of Wind Wolves Preserve



Short Takes

SCIENCE MEETS JOB FAIR DURING THIRD ANNUAL KERN COUNTY STEMPOSIUM The third annual Kern County STEMposium returns to the Kern County Fairgrounds, 1142 S. P St., April 10, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The “science meets job fair” brings together students of all ages and connects them with working professionals in STEM fields. High school students will demonstrate STEM projects while businesses will display equipment and demonstrate skills needed to be successful in the industry. Speakers will deliver informative talks throughout the day benefitting students, educators and businesses alike. For school sign-ups, event sponsorships and more information, contact Cheryl Scott at 661-862-5162 or

LOCAL ARTIST TO HOST PAPERCUTTING WORKSHOP AT BMOA TRIBUTE TO LEGENDARY ROCK BAND HIGHLIGHTS FIRST-EVER AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY BENEFIT CONCERT The American Cancer Society will hold its first-ever benefit concert April 4 at the Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame, 2230 Q St. Queen Nation, a tribute to the music of Queen, will headline the show. Tickets are $75 for individuals and $140 for couples with 100 percent of the proceeds benefitting the American Cancer Society. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7:30. For more information and to buy tickets, go to

Artist Liz Sherwyn will host a paper-cutting workshop April 27, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at the Bakersfield Museum of Art, 1930 R St. The workshop is ideal for beginners interested in the art of papercutting, using X-Acto knives to explore techniques in drawing and composition and leaving with their own work ready to be framed. Sherwyn has been working in the paper-cutting medium for 10 years, hosting various exhibitions and receiving numerous awards for her work. Admission is $65 for members and $75 for nonmembers and includes materials. For more information, go to


Happy that women’s heart issues are getting good press in your magazine. Blocked arteries are hidden, silent killers and many women have no outward symptoms. I had no visual symptoms – no shortness of breath, I exercised regularly and I was not overweight. I went to my husband’s appointment with cardiologist Dr. Bhambi and while there, Dr. Bhambi asked me if I had ever had a calcium scan. I replied no and he said today is your day. After the scan, Dr. Bhambi said I was in serious trouble –


Bakersfield Life Magazine

April 2019

I had several arterial blockages. Fast-forward, I have had five angiograms, six stents and two balloons. My arteries are open and healthy. I credit Dr. Bhambi with saving my life. There are more women out there who desperately need the calcium scan. I share with every woman I meet. Thank you again for the coverage. – Gail Schweikart


Short Takes

MISSION AT KERN COUNTY HOSTS ANNUAL 5K AT CALM The Mission at Kern County will host its sixth annual 5K run/walk April 20, from 8 to 10 a.m., at CALM, 10500 Alfred Harrell Highway. The event features a pancake breakfast, T-shirts and medals for participants. Last year, nearly 500 runners and walkers enjoyed a day of fitness, food and fun and this year, up to 600 are projected to attend. The Mission at Kern County helps individuals struggling with chronic homelessness and addictions and is over 92 percent donor and volunteer driven. Preregistration tickets are $30 and late/day-of registration is $35. For more information, call 661325-0863.

ON THE WEB We asked readers what their favorite “Made in Bakersfield” products are. peanut butter chews!!! – lindawitham @beautologie has an amazing prescription grade skin care line developed and formulated in Bakersfield! – roknrobn228

Dave’s Tacos! The best tacos in Bakersfield!!! – Carrie Swidecki Sweet surrender matterhorn cake – Kara Kinsey Heath Fachin bees honey. – Nicole Rainbolt

Happy Jack's peanut Butter Pie!! – Yvonne Escalera-Salazar

Bolthouse farms juices.. so good.. and their baby carrots!!@ – Lisa Del Rio

Wonderful Citrus, Wonderful Pistachios, Paramount Farms – Victoria Haner

La Rosa because I am partial, but you know I’m right. – Laura Diaz-Winterset

Our local craft beer!! Lengthwise, Great Change, Bakersfield Beer Company, Dionysus, Crusader… Defiantly can't pick a favorite – Tasha Carlson Califia Farms products.. love the creamers – Liz Gonzales La bonita tortillas local products – Meche Torres Old River Sod – Javier Lesaca






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PBR Bakersfield Buckoff

April 6

The Empire Strips Back: A Burlesque Parody, 8 p.m. What: A “Star Wars” parody production for guests 18 and older. Where: The Fox Theater, 2001 H St. Admission: $27.50-$145 More info: 2019 Casa Superhero RunWalk & Festival, 8 a.m. What: 2K, 5K and 10K run/walk Where: The Park at River Walk, 11298 Stockdale Highway Admission: $20-$35 More info: www.kerncasa. org/run/ Aliza McCracken book signing, 2-5 p.m. What: Special book signing by local inspirational author and artist. Where: Barnes & Noble, 4001 California Ave. Admission: Free More info: 661-631-2575 PBR Bakersfield Buckoff, Pendelton Whisky Velocity Tour, 7 p.m. What: For one night, some of the best bull riders in the world will battle the sport’s fiercest bovine athletes. Where: Rabobank Arena, 1001 Truxtun Ave. 14

Bakersfield Life Magazine

The Long Run Admission: $15-$150 More info: www.raboban-

Scottish Games Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra: The Gypsy Fiddler, 7:30 p.m. What: Special guest Robyn Bollinger is one of the most brilliant up-and-coming violinists in the world today. Where: Rabobank Arena, 1001 Truxtun Ave. Admission: $20-$45 April 2019

More info:

Get Messy Event, 10 a.m. What: For families and kids of all ages to come and participate in a hands-on experience to see what’s going on this summer and year-round in Bakersfield. Where: Kern County Museum, 3801 Chester Ave. Admission: $5 More info:

April 6, 7 24th Annual Kern County Scottish Games & Gathering Festivals, 9 a.m. What: Family friendly event featuring music, food, demonstrations, jousting, athletic competitions and more. Admission: Children 5 and under, free; children 6-11, $1;

adults $20; two-day combo tickets, $35 Where: Kern County Fairgrounds, 1142 S. P St. More info:

April 7

9th annual Lowrider Car Show and Super Hop, 11 a.m. What: Event includes cars, food and fun for the entire family. Where: Kern County Museum, 3801 Chester Ave. Admission: Adults $15, children 10 and under free More info:

April 8

Teen Challenge 24th Annual Golf Classic & Awards Banquet, 7 a.m. What: Double shotgun format. Lunch, prizes, games, live

Mac and Cheese Fest auction, dinner and awards. Where: Seven Oaks Country Club, 2000 Grand Lakes Ave. Admission: Individual $225, Foursome $900 More info: 661-399-2273

of, $70; VIP, $100 More info:

April 8, 9

Ron Saylor – Magic & Illusion, 7:30 p.m. What: Family friendly magic and illusion show. Where: The Gaslight Melodrama, 12748 Jomani Drive Admission: $25 More info: 661-587-3377 The Long Run, A Tribute to the Eagles, 6 p.m. What: Live music Where: Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame, 2230 Q St. Admission: Presale $30, tickets at the door $35, VIP tickets $35 More Info:

April 13

April 21

Garden Fest, 9 a.m. What: Food, arts and crafts, seminars, kids carnival, cooking competition and plant sale. Where: Bakersfield College, Renegade Park, 1801 Panorama Drive Admission: Free More info:

April 27

Central Coast Wine Tasting, 5 p.m. What: Live jazz and DJ, appetizers and silent auction. Where: Imbibe Wine and Spirits, 4140 Truxtun Ave. Admission: $65, VIP $85 More info: vipwineclassic. or 661-4721007

Links For Life Gala, 5:30 p.m. What: Fundraiser to support local breast cancer survivors and their families. Where: Seven Oaks Country Club, 2000 Grandlakes Ave. More info: www.linksforlife. org or 322-5601

April 20

April 29

6th Annual Mac and Cheese Fest 2 p.m. What: Delicious food, savory wine and beer tastings, local music and entertainment. Where: California State University, Bakersfield, 9001 Stockdale Highway Admission: Presale, $50; general admission, $55; day

Links For Life Memorial Golf Tournament, 7:30 a.m. or 1 p.m. What: Fundraiser to support local breast cancer survivors and their families. Where: Seven Oaks Country Club, 2000 Grandlakes Ave. More info: www.linksforlife. org or 661-322-5601



Dining With Dre




injects life into classic American fare

The Angelo burger

By Andrea Saavedra

Many of us are raised with two basic rules: Don’t talk to strangers and don’t go down dark alleys. So when I heard about a restaurant that I had to try that was down a dark alley in downtown Bakersfield, I had to break some rules. I was pleasantly surprised upon arriving to Wall Street alley. This wasn’t a traditional alley filled with trash bags, stray animals and questionable faces. This alley had friendly walls filled with mural street art, wrought-iron gates and is even lined with potted trees. On the north half of the alley was Muertos Kitchen & Lounge, nestled 16

Bakersfield Life Magazine

April 2019

inside a breathtaking brick building that was once Bakersfield’s firehouse and stable. Once I walked through the door, I was immediately greeted and seated by none other than the restaurant owner herself, Shawna Haddad Byers. Once I was seated, I took a look around and saw that the walls inside of Muertos were just as vibrant as the street art outside. Family photos, awards, music memorabilia and electric guitars were just a few of the items that decorated the brick walls. The menu is short and to the point, with a variety of apps, salads, burgers, tacos and dogs. It sounds simple but is definitely not for the weary. I saw flavorful, large portions and three hours at the gym in

The Angelo burger was probably the best burger I’ve had in all of Bakersfield – if not ever. – Andrea Saavedra

Left: The sport dog Below: The serrano dog and beer-battered mushrooms


In the first episode of the “Dining with Dre” web series, Andrea Saavedra chats with Muertos owner Shawna Haddad Byers and discovers the inspiration behind the popular downtown restaurant. Watch at

my future. I tried the Angelo burger, sport dog, serrano dog, beer-battered mushrooms and the almost sushi tacos. All the dishes passed my visual presentation test. All the ingredients were vibrant and colorful, which also showed the freshness of the preparation. However, there were two items that just fell short flavorwise. The beer-battered mushrooms were perfectly fried and the perfect consistency, but I would have loved to taste more of the beer from the batter. I would suggest a beer with more hops or darker ale beer to remedy this, as well as a touch more salt. The almost sushi tacos looked beautiful with the ahi nicely crusted and seared pink. However, they fell flat for

me due to a lack of seasoning and citrus to make a vibrant bite. A dash of salt and fresh herbs would do these tacos justice. On the bright side, the hots dogs were a grand slam. These all-beef dogs were large and topped with a mountain of aromatic ingredients that had me salivating and reaching for my fork and knife. With chilis, onions, mustard and peppers topping these dogs, an ice-cold beer is a must. Lastly came the Angelo burger. Looking at the menu, the Angelo seemed like a straightforward all-American Continued on Page 18



Dining With Dre

15% OFF


24oz Fountain Drink

Meat Department Items

with the purchase of any Sandwich Expires 4/27/19

Expires 4/27/19

1927 20th Street Bakersfield, CA. 93301

661-325-DELI • 661-325-MEAT

Almost sushi tacos Continued from Page 17

to try a restaurant that was down an alley but I’m glad I did. Muertos has a colorful history that is timeless and cuisine that is delicious. Its modern American menu takes the cake with all your favorites that are just a cut above the rest.

burger. Toppings consisted of cheddar cheese, pickles, grilled onions, tomatoes and spread. Nothing out of the ordinary, right? Wrong! The Angelo burger was probably the best burger I’ve had in all of Bakersfield Andrea “Dre” Saavedra – if not ever. The burger was is a food and beverage juicy, flavorful and perfectprofessional with 10 years ly seasoned. The star of the of experience. Follow her on burger was the thick allInstagram @diningwithbeef patty and dre_. The views the toasted sweet expressed are her brioche bun. The own. toppings were minimal, which was a perfect MUERTOS KITCHEN & complement. Yes, LOUNGE YES and YAASS! Andrea 1514 Wall St. I was a little Saavedra 661-324-2557 hesitant at first 18

Bakersfield Life Magazine

April 2019


Best Thing We Ate This Month


The folks behind The Barnyard at Match Point Grill opened Angry Barnyard BBQ across the street from Cafe Smitten only a couple of months ago but the food has already gotten the attention of patrons looking for some great barbecue in downtown Bakersfield. While the inspiration may be Southern, Angry Barnyard doesn’t limit itself to one style of barbecue. Its menu and sauces showcase flavors from all over the country, from Santa Maria style to Texas and more. The Big Hoss is a mountain of brisket topped with house-made Southern pimento cheese and barnyard pickles inside a soft, buttery bun. Side options include chili beans, fried okra, coleslaw, potato salad and more, but getting mac and cheese and putting it in the sandwich is highly recommended. Angry Barnyard also features four different barbecue sauces, highlighted by the unique “Alabama white” that pairs beautifully with pork and chicken. For a more traditional sauce with some tang and heat, go for the “sassy Southerner.”


Bakersfield Life Magazine

April 2019


Dining Guide

THE BLVD The BLVD has a thoughtfully crafted menu featuring gastropub-style farmto-table cuisine. Shared plates include items ranging from ahi tuna poke stack to bacon jalapeno wontons. Guests who are interested in larger meals can choose from dishes such as our signature hearth-oven pizzas with made-from-scratch pizza dough, beer-battered fish and chips, and handcrafted burgers! Available Monday-Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the signature lunch menu features eats for $10 or select two items for $15.

Thai chicken salad

The BLVD 3200 Buck Owens Blvd. • 661-873-4477

BANGKOK STREET FOOD Come enjoy some fantastic Thai food at Bangkok Street Food! With our family’s recipes, we use quality ingredients to serve you great food at affordable prices. Try our spicyand-sour tom yum noodle soup with your choice of noodles or our special, flavorful drunken noodles. Pair your dish with some of our amazing drinks, such as the Thai iced tea and you’re all set!

Bangkok shrimp

Bangkok Street Food 6300 White Lane, Suite F • 661-885-8588

REMIX ASIAN KITCHEN ReMix Asian Kitchen is renowned for its quality comfort food with an Asian twist. ReMix serves modern and traditional favorites like prime Korean barbecue, Hawaiian plate lunches, fresh seafood and a dizzying variety of specials. The menu is constantly evolving and they’ve now added a new ramen menu. It’s something they've been refining for a while and it just might be the best in Bakersfield!


Promotional Content

ReMix Asian Kitchen 9450 Stockdale Highway 661-847-9331




Tastes of

Zaika Indian Cuisin e O BAR

SHRIMP COC0NUT CURRY + MANGO CHICKEN + GARLIC NAAN & RICE These dishes are like manna from heaven. The sauces are a bit sweet, a bit savory with a bit of heat. What makes them so appetizing are Indian spices like cumin, coriander, black mustard, garam masala, cardamom and turmeric. They make for strong flavors, but very pleasant tasting. Pour these rich, creamy sauces over your rice and sop them up with some garlic naan for a delicious meal. For an appetizer, try one of their most popular dishes, the Zaika assorted vegetarian sampler, with an assortment of their most popular vegetable appetizers, including samosas, vegetable pakoras, paneer pakora and aloo tikki. – Zaika Indian Cuisine O BAR, 5123 Ming Ave.


Bakersfield Life Magazine

April 2019

Taj Mahal

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MUSHROOM BHAJI + NAAN BREAD Mushroom bhaji is either a simple Indian stir-fry dish or a vegetable-filled fritter similar to pakora. At Taj Mahal, the elder statesman of local Indian restaurants, it is the former, with mushrooms simmered with tomatoes, onions, green peas and Indian spices. The peas add a hint of sweetness to this otherwise spicy dish and the succulent texture of the mushrooms is complemented by the crisp onions. It makes a delicious, satisfying dinner paired with an order of basmati rice, garlic naan and one of the handful of Indian beers the restaurant offers. – Taj Mahal, 5416 California Ave.




New Taj Palace

CHICKEN TIKKA Ming Plaza is home to a variety of ethnic restaurants, from Greek, Mexican, Vietnamese and more, but the star of the area has to be New Taj Palace and its amazing array of traditional and regional Indian dishes. The chicken tikka, served on a sizzling-hot skillet, is flavorful and juicy with the perfect amount of char. Garnished with green peppers, lemon slices, onions and cilantro, it serves as a great entree to eat alongside warm naan or pilau rice. – New Taj Palace, 3805 Ming Ave.


Bakersfield Life Magazine

April 2019


Where We’re Eating

SHOYU SUSHI Shoyu Sushi is a hidden gem of northeast Bakersfield. Tucked away in a strip mall across from BC’s Memorial Stadium, the interior is clean and tasteful, the menu is deep and the food quality is high. Looking for a light vegetarian lunch, I ordered seaweed salad and the vegetable roll. The salad consisted of crunchy seaweed layered on top of shredded crisp daikon radish, topped with sticks of celery and a carrot flower and sprinkled with sesame seeds. It is served ice cold and is incredibly refreshing. The vegetable roll featured avocado, cucumber, carrot, pickled radish and bean sprout wrapped in a thin layer of seaweed and tender sticky white rice. The ingredients were incredibly fresh and the roll was exquisitely crafted. It is served with pickled ginger and wasabi paste for those who like it spicy. – Glenn Hammett, art director

SHOYU SUSHI 3605 Mt. Vernon Ave. 661-573-0123

MAMMA ROOMBA This downtown Cuban-style restaurant offers a unique island taste to Bakersfield. I had seen a Food Network show featuring empanadas and I knew I had to find who served them here and immediately get down there to try them out. At Mamma Roomba with their tapasstyle menu you get to try lots of great food, a few bites at a time. Not only did I try empanadas don Isaac “Chilean style,” but also the skillet shrimp “soul style” in a spicy cream sauce and their sweet potato fries. The sauces that come with these dishes will make your mouth water. Enjoy a sangria with your meal and feel like you’re on vacation. – Holly Bikakis, art and marketing manager

MAMMA ROOMBA 1814 Eye St. 661-322-6262

MODERN GRUB I feel like I’m one of the few people who was actually excited about the time change. That extra hour means more light for a late bike ride after work in pursuit of that summer bod that’s eluded me since – well, since birth. In fact, I bought a new bike to celebrate! But all that pedaling means nothing if you’re eating sodium-filled, high-calorie, greasy meals – something I happen to be really good at. That’s where Modern Grub comes in. This is meal prep for those who don’t meal prep, with an everchanging menu of clean, healthy meals that taste great. Eating healthy has never been so easy – just grab, heat up and enjoy. – Mark Nessia, assistant managing editor

MODERN GRUB 1100 Calloway Drive 661-695-9006



Money Matters



By Chris Thornburgh

Bakersfield’s list of successful “homegrown” businesses rivals most cities. Have you ever wondered how the founding entrepreneurs of these flourishing businesses got started? Some would-be entrepreneurs spend years searching for the “perfect idea” to start a business and never pull the trigger. If you are thinking about launching a business, there’s a lot to consider. Here’s an overview of what you need to make it happen.

Refine your idea If you have a business idea, balance it with reality. Be able to solve a problem, fulfill a need or offer something the market wants. Ask yourself who else is doing it and how you can do it better. Be prepared to explain a short “elevator pitch” to an investor.

Build a plan There are no limits on who can become an entrepreneur. You don’t necessarily need a college degree or a ton of money, but you definitely need a plan. A business plan is your roadmap for how you will run your business. The Small Business Administration is a helpful resource at as well as our local Small Business Development Center at CSU Bakersfield.

Assess finances Now that you’ve mapped out your plan, you have a clearer picture of how much it will cost to get started. Do you have available funds or will you need to borrow money? If you’re planning to leave your current job to focus on your business, do you have money socked away to support yourself until you turn a profit?

Select your business location This is an important decision. Whether it’s a physical location or an online presence, your choice could affect your revenue, taxes and legal requirements.

Choose your business structure There are a number of ways you can set up your business. You can be a sole proprietorship, a partnership, a limited liability company or a corporation. Each type has various tax and legal implications. You may choose an initial business structure and then re-evaluate and modify your structure as your business grows and needs change. It’s smart to consult with a business attorney or CPA to ensure you are making the right choice. 26

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Your business name plays a huge role in every aspect of your business, so make it a good one. If you use a fictitious business name, apply with the county clerk’s office at

Register your business If you’re working with an attorney, they’ll help you through necessary registrations, licenses and permits. If navigating on your own, there’s a wealth of resources to tap such as the California Business Portal at www. Licenses, permits and certifications vary depending on your business type, so check out

Build your team A business is only as good as the people behind it. Fill the gaps of your limited experience with strong team members. Consider your hiring or outsourcing needs. Hiring is fraught with regulations. This may be an area where you lean on experts or seek training.

Track your finances Separate business from personal and open a business bank account. You’ll want to track income and expenses at a minimum. QuickBooks is widely popular with small businesses for its ease of use and valuable reporting features.

Protect yourself You’ll need insurance for the risks you’ll face. A reputable insurance agent will help determine appropriate coverage for your business. Depending on your needs, common insurance policies include general liability, professional liability, commercial property, workers’ compensation, employment practices liability, product liability, home-based business and commercial auto insurance.

The bottom line Turn your idea into a revenue stream. With a little homework, you may be the next booming Bakersfield business.

Chris Thornburgh

Chris Thornburgh is a CPA and partner at Brown Armstrong Accountancy Corp. Contact her at or 661-324-4971. The views expressed are her own.


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Home & Garden

FABULOUS FAUX Transforming ordinary into extraordinary By Holly Bikakis

Above: Artist Dagmar Alexandersson poses with one of her faux-finished cabinet doors.

Left: Dining set with faux finish and Venetian plaster wall. Above: Accent wall with custom wallpaper.

German schmear


Custom wallpaper

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April 2019

Furniture detail

Faux painting is a timeless art form. It is the art of recreating the look and feel of natural materials. It can turn new walls into old-world European castle walls or it can turn old furniture into new treasures. The possibilities are endless. There is not a single technique, but a collection of techniques and products meant for different looks. Artists can transform items to resemble something else. These projects can be DIY or you can call in a professional. Bakersfield is home to such an artist – Dagmar Alexandersson, also known as the “Queen of German Schmear.” Born and raised in Heidelberg, Germany, she moved across the pond to the Bay Area where she had a flourishing faux finishing business for 20 years. A few years back, she moved to Bakersfield to be close to family. Her European heritage combined with her sense for arts and interior design make her an ideal faux finisher. Her company, Dax-Studio, specializes in custom kitchen cabinetry, furniture faux finishing, custom wallpapers and stenciling. Dagmar has attended creative workshops around the world and has worked on everything from a 500-yearold castle to a movie star’s home. Her company provides full-service solutions, from preparing the walls by professional, licensed painters to faux finish artists all the way to interior design suggestions.

WHAT YOU CAN TRANSFORM Kitchen cabinets. Turn your dark, dated cabinets into a French gourmet-looking kitchen without the cost of brand-new cabinetry. Accent walls. Transform an ordinary room into something wow with an impact wall. Dagmar uses various techniques like sandstone application, Venetian plasters, color wash treatments and custom-painted wallpapers to give the space a completely different feel. One of their most popular finishes is their Italian villa finish. Fireplaces. Today’s look is light and airy. Turn your dated brick fireplace into a charming room centerpiece. This design treatment is achieved by spreading wet mortar over the bricks, then removing some before it dries. It’s similar to whitewashing with diluted paint, but using mortar creates a rustic and distressed appearance. Powder rooms. Custompainted wallpaper is wonderful to use in small spaces to create high impact. Any color, pattern and texture can be created for the desired look. Furniture. Old, distressed furniture can be renewed through faux finishing on the frame and then reupholstered. For pickers out there, this is a great way to turn your vintage find into a timeless treasure.

Dax-Studio Instagram and Facebook @dax-studio 650-766-4366




Bakersfield Oilers hockey team

HOCKEY IS FOR EVERYONE Program makes sport available to special-needs athletes free of cost Story and photos by Mark Nessia

The air inside Valley Children’s Ice Center of Bakersfield is frigid and piercing, amplifying the sounds bouncing off the venue’s walls. On the north end of the rink, skates and sticks scrape and clank against the frozen surface as hockey players skate in circles. That is until a commanding voice cuts through the cold. “Andy’s coming!” Immediately, bodies hit the ice, motionless and silent. Scott Hay can’t help but smile as he skates past his “lifeless” players recreating the iconic scene from the movie “Toy Story.” This is his favorite drill. Among those playing dead are kids as young as 8 and adults in their late 20s who make up the Bakersfield Oilers roster, the latest entry in the hockey programs offered by the Ice Center made possible with the help of the American Special Hockey Association and funding courtesy of Valley Children’s.

More Information The team practices every Saturday at Valley Children’s Ice Center of Bakersfield, 1325 Q St. For more information, contact Scott Hay at 661-852-7401 or

The program takes a literal approach to the National Hockey League’s “Hockey is for Everyone” initiative by teaching the 30

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game of hockey to athletes with special needs free of charge. The first practice took place in October 2018 with about four kids on the ice and has grown to a dozen participants. “There’s so much about the game – the speed, the activity, playing it, watching it, cheering it on,” said Hay, the team’s coach and former Bakersfield Condors player. “It’s a good, strong hockey community.” Among the participants of the first practice were Katheryn Vodopija and her 8-year-old son Eli. Katheryn learned about the program through Eli’s special needs class at Almondale Elementary School and thought it was too good to be true – the flyer telling parents and kids to “just show up, we’re going to teach them to play hockey” at no cost. They decided to give it a shot anyway and Eli, who never really had an interest in organized sports, loved it. “It’s been a dream,” she said. Matthew Castellano and his twin 9-year-olds Kaine and Beau were also there on the first day, where Kaine and Hay formed an instant connection. “They’ve tried baseball. Beau plays soccer. Kaine has tried different sports but they’ve never really stuck,” Matthew said. “This is actually the first sport he’s really enjoyed and he wants to come back so it’s really cool that they’re doing it.” The team consists of athletes with physical disabilities as well. Sharing the ice with Eli, Kaine and Beau is 28-year-old Charlie Alvary IV. Alvary was paralyzed from the bellybutton down after he was struck by a stray bullet from a drive-by shooting when he was 4 years old. But that hasn’t prevented him from playing a variety of sports, like hockey, basketball and tennis – even trav-

eling all over the country to compete. “Once I found sports, I was determined to do different things and not just be a bum in a chair,” he said. “The team brings me back. The camaraderie keeps me going. It’s what I love to do.” The team is currently gearing up for the Special Needs Athletes & Peers Hockey Festival April 27-28 in Valencia, which will strengthen the bond between players, coaches and parents even further and put the athletes’ skills to the test. “The effort they put in is unbelievable,” Hay said. “We deal with a lot of great kids and a lot of great hockey adults but this group specifically is the best hour of the week for all-around general hockey experience. It gives me that boost to go through next week and look forward to them.” Parents benefit from the experience as well as they have seen noticeable improvements in their kids’ confidence, self-esteem and mood while giving them the opportunity to interact with teammates of different ages and backgrounds. “I think (Eli) does like being with the older guys,” Katherine said. “It seems like he’s looking up to them. I think it’s giving him a sense of pride and accomplishment that he’s never really experienced before. He puts an hour on the ice and then he comes home and it’s like he learned something new, he did something different and when he scores a goal, the rest of the day is a good day.”


See the Bakersfield Oilers in action and find out what coach Scott Hay has to say about the benefits of hockey and why it’s for everyone. Watch at


Love & Life


IN BAKERSFIELD “The living presence of Jesus awakened joy and set people free.” – Brennan Manning, “The Ragamuffin Gospel” “Is it really that easy?” The caller on the other end was noticeably angry. No volunteering required? No minimum donation needed? No mandatory acts of service? He had spent his whole life believing that salvation was something to be earned, not a gift to be accepted. “Yes, it is.” Life FM DJ Jon Engen, who happens to be a former pastor, reassured the man and encouraged him to go to church. There, he could learn more about how Jesus died on the cross to forgive the sins of the world and give everlasting life to anyone who believed. That’s it.

“I’m humbled that I get to do this, seeing how people are changed and affected by the songs we play.” – Aaron Perlman

That elementary premise is the message behind 88.3 Life FM, Bakersfield’s only local Christian radio station that began more than 25 years ago on South Montclair Street. Listeners have tuned in over the years for inspiration or a quick pick-me-up between errands. One of the most popular programs on KAXL is “The Afternoon Joy Ride” with Matt Pelishek and Aaron Perlman from 2 to 7 p.m. on weekdays. Pelishek is the baseball-hat-sporting, martial arts enthusiast half of the AJR duo who is in charge of the

Aaron Perlman and Matt Pelishek, hosts of “The Afternoon Joy Ride.”


By Nina Ha

fails and microphones need replacing. station’s programming. Perlman is its The station is also in desperate need of a church-worship-leading, equally comnew building where safety, especially for ic-book-loving director of music. Together, they test out weird food over the female staffers at night, isn’t an issue. While they’ve raised $50,000 for airwaves, play silly games with their a new transmitter so their signal listeners, and put on faith and family doesn’t go down each time it rains, events throughout the community. the need is still great. But don’t write them off just yet. “The buttons on the soundboard Their wacky and unpredictable will stick,” Pelishek said. “Sometimes, on-air formula is actually a well-balwe’ll get a short in the studio monitor. anced and intelligent creation that Our mics aren’t operating at full catakes years of friendship, immense trust and unbridled joy to forge. Their pacity. When your content is how you sound, that’s not a good thing.” love for radio ministry is palpable. Perlman added, “We need new Pelishek said: “When the phone equipment to give the best joy possirings and you hear, ‘Hey, I had a crapble.” py day today. You guys just made me The station’s website, wwlaugh and I needed that.’ The way it, features online brings joy into people’s lives is big.” streaming, information on how to Local viewers will recognize Eyewitness News weather forecaster Perl- support their endeavor and even a man, the squeaky-clean John Travolta prayer room for anyone who needs extra spiritual help. look-alike sans hair. He’s been a DJ As for the caller who just couldn’t for six years now, a dream that he and believe faith could be that simple, he his twin brother had been working asked questions, prayed and by the toward since they were kids. end of the call, had accepted the gift “I’m humbled that I get to do this, of Christ. seeing how people are changed and Through a small affected by the songs we Christian radio station play,” said Perlman. in Bakersfield, he found Pelishek, Perlman and forgiveness, salvation and the rest of the Life FM famia little bit of joy. ly recently held a banquet to raise much-needed funds. Opinions expressed in After a quarter of a centuthis column are those of ry serving Kern County, Nina Ha. transmitters die, equipment Nina Ha



Arts & Culture



For the past five years, the Plein Air Painting Festival has captivated the best painters from around California to capture Kern County through the eyes of an artist. The festival name is derived from the French term “en plein air,” meaning “in the open air.” And, over the course of five days, 15 artists will take to the outdoors in and around Kern, set up a blank canvas and capture the best that it has to offer. The handpicked painters will complete three paintings of various city- and landscapes within the county to enter into a juried competition and sale. Plein-air painting is a world-renowned event and David Gordon, executive director of the Arts Council of Kern, made it a possibility for visitors statewide and local to enjoy and appreciate the beauty that many call home. “We have such a huge county, from mountains, rivers, streams, fields … small towns, bigger towns, big buildings, farms. We have all the subject matter, so why Over the course can’t we have one?” said of five days, 15 Gordon, an experienced plein-air artist. artists will take Participants have to the outdoors in painted scenes up and down the area, from and around Kern, iconic landmarks like set up a blank the Kern River, Padre canvas and capHotel, Fox Theater, Wind Wolves Preserve and ture the best that Tejon Ranch to obscureit has to offer. but-eye-catching spots like the corner of Union Avenue and Fourth Street. The painting festival took years before it came into fruition. “We support art and artists, and so what better way than to highlight our county, bring fine art in and people that do it for a living?” Gordon said. Gordon, never having met a number of the artists in person, invited the artisans based solely on their work. Eight newcomers will present their pieces at the fifth 32

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By Liarida Yoakum

Attention to detail! Artist Anette Power of Newberry Park, CA is closed to finishing her oil of a tractor at the Tracy Ranch for the Kern County Plein Air Painting Festival.

annual event with seven returning from previous festivals. The majority of the professionals reside in California, with a few bringing their talents from the Western United States. The group of painters will not only bring years of experience to the canvas, but engage viewers as they paint Kern County one portrait at a time. The festival kicks off with a reception at the Kern County Museum, 3801 Chester Ave., April 8, from 8 to 11 a.m., where guests can enjoy Covenant Coffee, meet the artists and watch them paint at the museum. On April 11, from 2 to 5:30 p.m., the artists will paint on the sidewalks of 19th and Eye streets in downtown Bakersfield followed by a meet and greet from 5:30 to 7 at the Bakersfield Art Association, 1607 19th St. The event wraps up with the Plein Air Awards and Sales Gala at the Betty Younger Sculpture Garden at 1330 Truxtun Ave. April 13, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Admission is $45 and can be purchased at

Kern County Plein Air Painting Festival April 8 through 12 – Plein-air painting April 13 – Awards and Sales Gala



No longer just a hot spot for teens and rock music,



By Abbigail Kovac

Jerry’s Pizza has been the go-to spot in Bakersfield since its founding in 1992 by Jerry Baranowski. Jerry’s became an institution in the downtown area, developing a reputation for its live shows. Over the years, notable bands such as Paramore, Senses Fail, Korn and more have taken to the stage in the restaurant’s basement. It has been roughly a year since Baranowski has retired and new owners Corina and Ernesto Topete bought the restaurant. It is has been their dedication and passion that has brought new innovations to keep Jerry’s alive. Ernesto and his wife, Corina, have been very fond of Jerry’s and its live entertainment for many years. Ernesto used to work at Jerry’s when he was 16 years old and saw the life of Jerry’s pizza at its youngest stage. When Jerry was ready to sell, he called Ernesto and asked if he was interested. Corina responded with: “Why

Left: Corina Topete, owner of Jerry’s Pizza in downtown Bakersfield. Above: Asada fries

not? I love a challenge.” Ernesto witnessed Jerry’s in its youth and now he’s able to see Jerry’s all grown up. “It’s a good feeling,” he said. “It’s nice to use to work here and now own it.” Jerry’s was often seen as a teen hang out spot, but with the new ideas from the new owners, its scenery is maturing to bring in a wide variety of customers and entertainment. There is now a wider music genre at Jerry’s, such as country music, classic rock, blues, rock, Spanish rock and more. They’ve even added a show called “Grown Folks Music,” which is every first Friday of the month where they play ’90s R&B. There also has been a new renovation to Jerry’s basement. The original bar in the basement, which was taken down, has been resurrected by the new owners. The menu has even had a some new additions, now offering more variety and better quality. Some new additions include chili verde fries, carne asada fries, street tacos and chicken calzones. All meats are

smoked, cut and marinated in-house, offering a better quality and freshness to the menu. Not everyone was for the changes, however. Some patrons took to social media to voice their displeasure over the broadening of live entertainment options, sending messages via Facebook to express their concerns. But the new owners were undeterred. “We are still here for music and local bands who want to make their mark on Jerry’s Pizza,” Corina said. The owners went on to explain that rock and punk are still well and alive at Jerry’s; they are just adding more variety to bring in more customers. As Jerry’s Pizza experiences new changes, it has grown up into an environment teens and adults can enjoy – a warm and welcoming place for a variety of live entertainment in the heart of Bakersfield. As Corina Topete said: “You don’t have to leave Bakersfield to find good entertainment.”



Out & About




By Jennifer Olague

Connections among the community can make for stronger bonds and allow for deeper discussions on hard topics. Moments of vulnerability are rare but the Resilience in the Face of Homelessness portrait exhibit offers a chance to see past circumstances and see people for who they are. Normally, Words Come to Life puts on a single poetry-inspired art event but due to the subject matter, project director Diana Ramirez decided to make it a three-part series that concludes April 19 at 6 p.m. at the Idea Hive. Ramirez realized that the subject of homelessness could provide a deeper discussion on an issue that tends to be ignored. “It’s a big topic, especially in the last few years – something that people notice more, something that people talk about more,” said Ramirez. “It’s something we should worry about as a community and should be concerned about. We’ve built this barrier between us and them but we’re all humans. In my opinion, it’s become a kind of de34

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April 2019

humanization. I wanted to bring in people that have faced homelessness or are currently facing homelessness so that they can share their stories. This is the perfect opportunity for them to connect. This is what this event is all about – making connections for people to be heard.” The process of getting the portraits is a delicate one. Sam Valdez, the photographer for the exhibit, makes sure that his subjects do not feel exploited. Instead, he hopes they feel safe. “My goal is to sit there and just chat with them,” said Valdez. “I know they’re going to write their stories down – that they’re going to get their stories out either way – but while they’re with me, I want to just talk to them. Just treat them like people. Hear their stories and try to draw out an emotion.” The topic of homelessness hits close to home for him as his girlfriend’s mom is currently battling homelessness. The same can be said for Ramirez, whose friend has faced homelessness. “I wanted him to share his story because he’s not in that place anymore. It’s important for people to know

that you can thrive post homelessness. That you can succeed in life; sometimes it takes motivation,” Ramirez said, believing

We’ve built this barrier between us and them but we’re all humans. In my opinion, it’s become a kind of dehumanization. I wanted to bring in people that have faced homelessness or are currently facing homelessness so that they can share their stories. – Diana Ramirez, Director of Words Come to Life

that motivation comes from being given a platform.

Ramirez has set up writing workshops at The Mission at Kern County to open dialogue and give people a chance to open up and be vulnerable in anticipation for the portraits being taken. However, she soon realized the benefits of these workshops had beyond the purpose for the event. “I’m hoping to have more writing workshops or perhaps art workshops for those adults that have a second chance at life because art and poetry are therapeutic. I thought this is a perfect way to integrate art,” said Ramirez. The exhibit is giving those who have faced, or are currently facing, homelessness a chance to share their stories. It allows for a platform to connect with others and motivate them through art. Both Valdez and Ramirez hope to inspire the community to see themselves in their stories. The event is free and opened to the public.

Resilience in the Face of Homelessness April 19, 6 p.m. Idea Hive, 1910 19th St. Free



Trip Planner

Bermuda Dunes Golf Course



Nine cities. One oasis. Endless experiences. That’s Palm Springs’ tagline and rightly so. It’s an international destination filled with fashionable hotels and restaurants, chic shops and boutiques, a vibrant artist community, fun entertainment options and a dynamic downtown. There is something for everyone here. Located about 3 ½ hours from Bakersfield, Palm Springs has embraced its Rat Pack/Hollywood celebrity past and turned into a thriving modern, yet retro playground.

THINGS TO DO Golfing: The Greater Palm Springs area is a golfing destination with more than 120 irrigated golf courses. It’s home to five of the top 30 courses in California. Many are designed by legendary architects like Arnold 36

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April 2019

Palmer, Pete Dye, Jack Nicklaus and Greg Norman. Casinos: There are several casinos to choose from in the general area. We went to the Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa in Rancho Mirage. The casino is over 71,000 square feet of slots, video poker and table games. Plus it has multiple dining options, a spa and resort-style pool area. As luck would have it, we did walk away with some extra dollars! Hiking: Trails are abundant around Palm Springs as it is situated right next to the San Jacinto Mountains. We chose to do the Indian Canyons, which includes a couple of different areas to hike. The first one we took was the Andreas Canyon Loop Trail. This 1-mile hike follows a mountain stream up the canyon, which is lined by palm trees and magnificent rock formations jetting up out of the earth. From there, we went over to the

Murray Canyon Trail, which leads you through a forest of palm trees where you have the option of two paths – one down by the creek and one up in the hills. The early Agua Caliente Indian tribe chose this area to settle in and I can see why. Gorgeous views and probably very cool in the hot summer months. Palm Springs Aerial Tramway: A visit to Palm Springs is not complete without a tram ride to the top of San Jacinto Peak. It’s at an elevation of 8,516 feet and takes about 10 minutes to get to the top. On our visit, even though the base was a nice 60 degrees, the top was 9 degrees with snow flurries and the wind blowing, so plan well with what you wear. The top lodge area has two restaurants, a museum and multiple observation decks. Many locals buy passes and take advantage of the 50-plus miles of hiking trails.

LODGING No matter where you stay, there will be a gorgeous mountain view and a sparkling pool nearby. Accommodations vary from luxurious golf resorts to swanky hotels to retro retreats. In booking our hotel, I learned there’s mid-century modern hotels from the ’50s with bright-colored paint jobs and there’s mid-century modern hotels new and nice. We stayed at Alcazar Palm Springs, a Spanish-style boutique hotel with a modern twist and fully enjoyed our time there.

Palm Canyon Drive


Lulu California Bistro

Palm Springs tram

Palm Springs Art Museum

Agua Caliente Casino

Palm Springs is a foodie’s delight. There are several types of restaurants to choose from, like swanky and colorful, modern chic to charming European bistro. I would recommend these locations on Palm Canyon Drive: Lulu California Bistro is the quintessential Palm Springs place to eat. It’s glitzy, colorful and fun. Also try Cheeky’s, a Palm Springs institution known for its breakfast. The menu changes weekly and is praised for its farm-to-table cuisine. Lastly, Las Casuelas Terraza has been serving up authentic Mexican cuisine for more than 60 years. A great place to relax after a day of shopping and enjoy a margarita under their massive palapa bar.


Frank Sinatra’s Twin Palm Estate

Indian Canyons

The heartbeat of Palm Springs is Palm Canyon Drive. It’s dotted with local stores to national retailers, numerous restaurants and hotels. The south side is more of the tourist-type shopping and the north end is known as the “Uptown

Design District” with home furnishing stores. To fully appreciate the Palm Springs lifestyle, some appreciation needs to be put toward the mid-century modern looks. Several stores offer vintage, colorful retro-looking home decor items from the original to today’s twist on mid-century. Stores like Victoria’s Attic Antique Mall, Christopher Kennedy and Just Modern are fun to look around in.

ARCHITECTURE The city of Palm Springs is noted for its many examples of mid-century modern architecture. Many well-known architects have given Palm Springs its unique look, dating back to the early ’30s with Lloyd Wright, son of Frank Lloyd Wright. Whole neighborhoods are mid-century modern style with many of them lovingly restored and updated, complete with desert landscape yards. Celebrities have flocked here for years and tours are available to see the likes of Frank Sinatra’s Twin Palms Estate to Elvis’ Honeymoon Hideaway and more.

ART For a town of its size, Palm Springs has a wonderful art museum downtown on the strip with three levels of interactive exhibits, Indian culture artifacts, modern art pieces to a full-size modern house to walk through. Your admission fee also gets you into the Palm Springs Art Museum of Architecture just a few blocks away. Mid-century modern architects are revered here. Their hand drawings, models and architecture photos are on display here.



Ask the Doctor

OSTEOARTHRITIS MORE THAN JUST THE PAIN When Dr. Timothy Galan joined Mayo Clinic as an adult reconstruction fellow, he was involved in research looking into what causes pain in patients with knee osteoarthritis and how a knee replacement surgery can improve quality of life. He recently joined Dignity Health and sees patients at Mercy Hospital Southwest and Truxtun. His focus is to improve patient outcomes utilizing new techniques and technology. This includes nonoperative management of hip and knee osteoarthritis. And when the surgery is the last resort, Dr. Galan utilizes computer navigation and robotics assistance to ensure operation is accomplished with precision and accuracy. Dr. Galan is an experienced orthopedic surgeon specializing in hip and knee osteoarthritis and joint replacement procedures. Dr. Galan is fellowship trained in adult reconstruction, but he also specializes in lower extremity injuries and fracture care.

Symptoms to watch out for Osteoarthritis is the most common joint disorder in the United States. Among adults 60 years of age or older the prevalence of symptomatic knee osteoarthritis is approximately 10 percent in men and 13 percent in women. Osteoarthritis is also the most common reason for total hip and total knee replacement. Common symptoms of osteoarthritis are: • Pain. • Tenderness. • Stiffness. • Loss of flexibility. • A grating sensation when you use the joint.

Diagnosing the problem History and physical examination of the patient as well as simple radiographs are all it takes to diagnose osteoarthritis. Patients typically endure pain for several months or even years before seeking medical attention. Osteoarthritis is a progressive disease when the cartilage that cushions the ends of bones in your joints gradually deteriorates. In osteoarthritis, the slick surface of the cartilage becomes rough. Eventually, if the cartilage wears down completely, you may be left with bone rubbing on bone.

Knee and hip replacement surgery – also known as joint arthroplasty – can help relieve pain and restore function in severely diseased knee and hip joints. The procedure involves cutting away damaged bone and cartilage and replacing it with an artificial joint (prosthesis) made of metal alloys, high-grade plastics and polymers. “For most people, knee and hip replacement provide pain relief, improved mobility and a better quality of life. And most joint replacements can be expected to last more than 15 to 20 years,” said Dr. Galan.

When surgery becomes necessary

Proceed with caution

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease that worsens over time. Joint pain and stiffness may become severe enough to make daily tasks difficult. Some people are no longer able to work. When joint pain is this severe, doctors may suggest joint replacement surgery. People who need joint replacement surgery usually have problems walking, climbing stairs, and getting in and out of chairs. Some also have knee pain at rest.


Dr. Timothy Galan, M.D., Orthopedic Joint & Revision Surgeon

Bakersfield Life Magazine

April 2019

Dr. Galan’s strongest piece of advice is not to wait until the condition is very debilitating and severe joint deformity is present. If you are experiencing symptoms of osteoarthritis, talk to your primary care physician. It does not mean you will need surgery. Other nonsurgical alternatives to osteoarthritis can be utilized at early stages. Quality of life is important at any age, especially since we are able to improve and maintain it with modern medicine.

Promotional Content

Dr. Tim Galan, M.D.

Orthopedic Joint & Revision Surgeon Dr. Galan is a fellowship trained orthopedic surgeon specializing in an array of minimally invasive techniques in joint replacement, preservation and revision. He has had comprehensive training in the field of adult orthopedic joint reconstruction. Prior to medical school, Dr. Galan worked as a nurse for four and half years. Dr. Galan obtained his post graduate education at the University of California San Francisco Fresno where he completed his orthopedic surgery residency. It was at UCSF Fresno where Dr. Galan served as the orthopedic surgery Chief of Trauma. He participates in several ongoing research studies on the evaluation and treatment of total joint replacements of the hip and knee and is credited in several peer review publications. Education and Accomplishments: • Rochester Community and Technical College, Rochester, MN – Associates of Science Nursing • University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, MN – Doctor of Medicine • University of California San Francisco, Fresno Program, Fresno CA – Orthopedic Surgery Residency • Mayo Clinic Jacksonville – Adult Reconstruction Fellowship • American College of Surgeons – Resident Member • American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons – Resident Member • American Association of Hip & Knee Surgeons – Candidate Member After completing his orthopedic surgery residency, Dr. Galan went on to complete his adult reconstruction fellowship at the world renowned Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville Florida where he studied complex total joint reconstruction and revision surgery. Dr. Galan is new to the Bakersfield community and enjoys sports, travelling, community involvement, and spending time with his family. He also enjoys learning about history, different cultures, cuisines, and art. He is looking forward to providing comprehensive orthopedic care alongside his colleagues at the Mercy Orthopedic, Spine & Hand Center.

Specialties: • Hip and knee arthroplasty (Total Joint Replacement), featuring robotics and navigation techniques • Minimally invasive techniques in joint preservation and replacement, including anterior total hip arthroplasty • Failed total joint arthroplasty • Revision of total hip and total knee replacement • Non-surgical management of lower extremity (hip and knee) arthritis • Fracture care • Joint preservation

Mercy Orthopedic, Spine & Hand Center 300 Old River Road, Suite 200 Bakersfield Ca, 93312 661.664.2300 661.663.6711


Ask the Doctor

Jonathan Tammela, MD, FACOG Gynecologic Oncology


GYNECOLOGIC ONCOLOGY Kern County’s only full-time minimally invasive robotic-assisted gynecological surgeon now at Comprehensive Blood & Cancer Center What is gynecologic oncology? Gynecologic oncology is a subspecialty focused on the diagnosis and treatment of all types of cancers affecting the female reproductive system such as cervical, ovarian, vaginal, uterine and vulvar cancers.

How many robotic surgeries have you performed? I have performed almost 1,000 robotic surgeries and have established the first full-time robotic gynecologic oncology program in Northeast Wisconsin over 10 years ago, becoming a proctor and instructor in robotic surgery.

Why have you chosen to practice in the Central Valley? This region of California is significantly underserved for my specialty, and my hope and goal is that patients and their families no longer need to travel great distances to be treated with cutting-edge gynecologic cancer care.

How is robotic surgery an improvement over conventional laparoscopy? There are quite a number of improvements with robotic surgery over conventional laparoscopy. For example, the camera optics allow 3D depth perspective viewing. Plus, the surgeon is able to maintain complete control of the camera and multiple different instruments, while conventional laparoscopy depends on assistants to control the camera. “Wristed� instruments mimic real hand movements with a greater range of motion to allow operating at sharper angles, moving safely around anatomic structures. Most importantly there is a lower rate of converting to a larger open-abdominal incision for more difficult procedures. All of these benefits lead to a higher chance of success of the procedure with faster recovery and less pain.

Does robotic surgery mean that a robot is performing the surgery? No, the surgeon is always in total control; the robot is merely a tool to enhance the work of the surgeon. These tools allow for greater precision, flexibility, control and a greater detailed 3D view, all through tiny incisions. This results in less pain, lower risk of infections or complications, less blood loss and less scarring for a faster return to normal life for the patient.


Bakersfield Life Magazine

April 2019

Promotional Content


Your Mind



Civil rights activist Audre Lorde’s most famous quote is “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence; it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare.” The world demands too much of all of us with too little time to do everything required, so it is a radical change in behavior to perform simple acts of self-love and mindfulness. “Anxiety disorder is the most common psychiatric disorder of any age group, from teenagers, adults, to geriatric patients,” said Dr. Mohammed Molla, joint chair of Psychiatry for Kern Medical and Kern Behavioral Health and Recovery Services. “Fear is something that is a known threat. Anxiety is dealing with unknown threats and these thoughts can be rational and sometimes irrational. When anxiety becomes overwhelming to a point, it will conflict with your personal, interpersonal, social and work life.” “Stress and anxiety are the foundations that lead to bigger issues like muscle tension, headaches, panic and restlessness,” said Roger Perez, public information officer for Kern Behavioral Health and Recovery Services. “The more you can do in the prevention realm, you’re actually saving on health care costs because you are taking care of the problem before it becomes a larger one.”

Molla suggests scheduling the time to worry, even prescribing relaxation techniques to patients. “Sit down for an hour, not before bedtime, and try to think about the problems you are trying to solve,” he said. This allows you to engage with your feelings and then disengage when worry time is up. During this time, ask yourself: “What exactly am I feeling? What externally is making me feel this way? What in my past do these stressors remind me of?” The act of verbalizing or even writing down these ideas can be both a therapist and a remedy. Learn and teach others how to be in touch with current feelings “Mindfulness means living in the current situation. Most of the time we are worried that something is going to happen next,” said Molla. Expecting a certain outcome will lead to disappointment and frustration, but without expectations, you will always be satisfied. “If you are smelling a flower and if you go in with zero expectations, whatever you smell you will enjoy,” Molla said. “Walking into each situation without expectation will keep you in a calm place.” Molla says that children learn everything from the adults in their lives and social learning theory explains how anxious behaviors can be passed

down. “If the parents are worried, the kids learn how to worry about minor things,” he said. Parents who take the time to relax are more likely to have children who cope in the same healthy ways. Treat your body like the temple it is by adapting small lifestyle changes. Exercise is the best medicine by far, and Kern Behavioral Health is working to improve patient outcomes through yoga. “It is pretty well-documented that exercise and yoga really help to reduce stress and anxiety,” said Perez. “We push yoga practice and are giving pre- and post-stress tests to our clients. You can see levels of stress going down with just one session of yoga, but that applies to any kind of exercise.” Vigorous exercise not only pumps mood-boosting endorphins through your body, putting yourself through a rigorous workout can teach you how truly strong and resilient you are. Exercise is taking the time to care for yourself, and your mind and self-esteem get stronger as well as your body.


Don’t feel bad giving yourself a time out, but be sure you use that time wisely. Listening to music is a short-term relief for stress or anxiety. Set your phone timer for anywhere between five and 10 minutes and just zone out. Breathing exercises are an act of mindfulness that also decrease blood pressure and anxiety. Try the “Ujjayi” yoga breath to practice measured breathing. Use only your nostrils to fill your chest cavity and push your stomach out as far as it can go. On the exhale, open your mouth slightly so you can easily control the speed of your exhale. Try a soft hum or whisper while your core shrinks. The end goal is to be able to exhale twice as long as you can inhale, so start in 2 or 3 second increments. 42

Bakersfield Life Magazine

April 2019


Your Body


They don’t have to be an all-or-nothing endeavor By Asha Chandy

Plant-based diets offer a wide variety of health benefits including preventing the risk of certain cancers and weight-related chronic diseases and can even prolong life, according to Harvard Health. Professor of nutrition at Bakersfield College and registered dietitian Leah Carter supports the plantbased diet because “there are a lot of nutrients in plants that are not in animal products, especially fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. People are concerned that they will be malnourished if they do not eat enough meat, but people that don’t eat enough plant foods can be malnourished, too.” “To have a healthy diet, you should not eliminate any food group because each food group offers needed nutrients,” said Carter. When choosing foods, ask yourself if the product you’re choosing exists in nature in this form. Whole foods have more nutrients than processed foods. Fresh fruits are more nutrient-dense than a sugar-infused juice – and much cheaper, too. We should choose foods based on nutrient density, choosing foods high nutrients and lower in calories. Whatever your reasoning for trying a plant-based meal or diet, 44

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April 2019

it is important for any dieter to be meaning they are high in calories but satisfied with their meals to continue great for light but hearty preworkout eating healthier. snack. Blend nuts like cashews with “Even if you are not willing to lemon, spices and herbs to create a change your entire diet, at least focus light and creamy Alfredo dressing on adding healthful foods such as for pastas, salads and more without vegetables to your diet,” said Carter. butter or flour to use as a thickener. You are more likely to succeed Colorful root vegetables like sweet this way than banning foods from potatoes and cassava are filling, your shopping list. high in fiber and named “dietary Adding one serving of vegetables powerhouses” by Harvard Health. per day is a small Despite their but important nutritional “Even if you are not willing step, as well as value, be wary to change your entire diet, expanding your of the high palate by cooking carbohydrate at least focus on adding with uncommon content of healthful foods such as vegetables and some starchy vegetables to your diet.” fruits you find root vegetables, especialin the produce – Leah Carter, registered dietician ly potatoes. A section. A local example of this is Better Bowl’s sweet potato is more nutrient dense barbecue jackfruit bowl, which is a (and worth the calories) than a russet delicious play on a pulled pork sandpotato. wich paired with whole grains in a If you are not yet convinced to power-packed and filling meal. try a plant-based diet or even to try Legumes/beans are energy-rich one plant-based meal per day, start and packed with fiber, protein and replacing foods with relatively low vitamins, so adding one serving of nutritional value with flavorful, collegumes per day instead of meat can orful and nutrition-centric foods that greatly improve health outcomes come from plants. while leaving you feeling full and satCarter’s best advice: “Make one isfied. Beans, chickpeas, peas, lentils change at a time and it doesn’t have and soybeans are also in this family to be all or nothing.” of low-glycemic index foods. Even one small step toward a Nuts are high in protein and have healthier diet is better than no forhigh concentrations of nutritious oils, ward momentum at all.

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Wasting Hunger Not Food

Tackling issues surrounding hunger, food waste in Bakersfield and surrounding areas By Michelle Corson


unger lives next door. Bakersfield ranks first in the nation with the most people in a metropolitan area who can’t afford to buy the food they need. One in 4 children in Kern County goes to bed hungry every night. Ironically, 40 percent of all food produced in America is wasted, and wasted food consumes 21 percent of all freshwater, 18 percent of all cropland and 21 percent of all landfill volume. Led by the Kern County Department of Public Health Services, Waste Hunger Not Food strives to make a change in these somber statistics. “We developed this program in an attempt to help our neighbors who are hungry by rescuing and delivering healthy, wholesome food that would otherwise be thrown away” said Matt Constantine, director of Kern County Public Health Services. Thanks to grant funding from CalRecycle and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, Kern County Public Health launched this innovative program late last year and oversees the transport of donated surplus food from local restaurants, schools and markets to distribution sites where the food will be made available to local residents in need. “It’s been an incredible partnership” said Eric Sabella, nutrition services director with Bakersfield

City School District. “The kids really seem to understand how important it is to donate their uneaten food instead of throwing it away in the trash.” BCSD helped pilot the program late last year with five schools participating and has recently increased to 15 schools. Edison, Fairfax, Fruitvale, Greenfield and Kern High School districts are also donating food, making a total of 28 schools currently participating. Sully’s markets, Frugatti’s, La Costa Mariscos and Subway are also donating food to the program. Three refrigerated vans are deployed daily to rescue food around Bakersfield. Drivers, also known as food rescuers, are participants in Kern County homeless shelters’ job development programs. They themselves have experienced hunger, oftentimes homelessness, and now are given an opportunity to be employed and part of a communitywide effort to feed the hungry. Each driver is trained by Public Health’s Environmental Health Division on proper food handling and transport and are learning other important job skills like customer service and data entry.

So where is the food going? Waste Hunger has partnered with CityServe and dozens of community churches in an attempt to deliver food directly into neighborhoods and into the hands of those in need.

“Some churches receive a delivery of fresh food and then volunteers walk directly into the neighborhood with signs reading ‘free food’ and the families are so blessed, often crying because of their appreciation,” said Pastor Robin Robinson, CityServe Kern County coordinator. The donations are healthy products like milk, juice, fruit, vegetables and other wholesome foods. The goal is to bring food directly into neighborhoods rather than residents having to ride a bus or walk a long distance to get the food they need. Each church is trained by Public Health to ensure that food is stored and distributed properly. Waste Hunger Not Food is just in its infancy and has already rescued more than 110,000 pounds of food. Currently operating in Bakersfield, the intent is to expand to other Kern County areas in the coming years.

One in 4 children in Kern County go to bed hungry every night.

Michelle Corson is the public relations officer for the Kern County Public Health Services Department. For more information on health resources and programs, go to www.

Learn how you can get involved by visiting


Bakersfield Life Magazine

April 2019


The Waste Hunger Not Food team at Sully’s Kitchen.


hough Bakersfield is generally known as an oil and agriculture town, there are actually a host of other products produced here, some of which are carried in stores throughout the area and others that are marketed and distributed around the globe. The list of locally produced product on following pages is by no means complete or exhaustive. If you know of something that you think should have been included, let us know about it by sending an email to



Anatomy Farms

Agriculture Autonomy Farms – Meats, eggs and produce grown PHOTO COURTESY OF REDHOUSE BEEF

using sustainable, natural and humane agricultural practices.

Cotton Candy Grapes – Created by Bakersfield’s International Fruit Genetics and grown and marketed exclusively in the U.S. by local company Grapery, Cotton Candy grapes are available from approximately Aug. 10 to Sept. 20.

Grimmway carrots – Grimmway Farms is the world’s largest carrot grower and grows 65 varieties of organic produce that are shipped around the world.

Kern Honey – Pure, local honey sold in

Redhouse Beef – Local 100 percent grass-fed and grass-finished beef.

Nature’s Food Market and Lassen’s. Kern Honey

Redhouse Beef

My Husband’s Nuts – Flavored almonds sold at retail stores nationwide.

Sunridge Nurseries – Propagation and grafting of grape nursery stock for the wine industry.


Wonderful Halos – The Wonderful

My Husband’s Nuts 50

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April 2019

Company is the largest citrus grower in North America and has the world’s largest citrus processing plant. Other Wonderful products include, Wonderful Pistachios, Wonderful Almonds, Pom Wonderful, JUSTIN Wines and Teleflora.



Cotton Candy grapes taste remarkably similar to cotton candy and have generated a lot of media buzz, being featured on national TV shows like “Good Morning America” and “The Today Show.” Distributed nationwide, they are available locally at Sweet Surrender and Sully’s during harvest.



Dewar’s began making peanut butter taffy chews in 1909, when brothers James and George Dewar opened The Chocolate Shop on Chester Avenue. Today, they are sold worldwide and are available in an array of flavors, including peppermint, caramel, almond, pistachio and chocolate almond caramel. 52

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April 2019

Water-air cooked beet, sweet potato and carrot chips are on the horizon.

Great Change Brewing – West Coast-style beers known for being hoppy and clean.

La Bonita – Maker of fresh tortillas, spices and other

Temblor Brewing Company


Mexican food products, since 1958.

Bowen’s Whiskey

La Rosa Ice Cream and fruit bars – Frozen treats sold out of rolling coolers and in numerous stores throughout Bakersfield.

Lengthwise Brewery – Bakersfield’s oldest craft

Food and drink

Nestle – Ice cream plant located on District Boulevard

Baker’s Outpost – Artisan microbakery.

Paleta Company – Frozen treats and pop bars.

Bolthouse juices – Prominent national brand of

Prodonuts – Gluten-free, protein-rich donuts.

juices, smoothies and salad dressings.

Bowen’s Whiskey – Small-batch whiskey aged in barrels made from fire-charred oak trees from the nearby Piute Mountains.

Califa Farms – Plant-based milks creamers, coffee drinks, yogurt and juices sold worldwide. Crusader Brewing – The most recent addition to Bakersfield’s craft beer scene.

Dewar’s chews – These taffy chews have been featured in Food Magazine, Food Network and at the red carpet at the Oscars.

Dionysus Brewing Company – Local craft brewery famous for its barrel-aged sours.

Frito-Lay snack foods – One of the snack giant’s more than 30 plants in the U.S. is located just west of town. Calfia Farms


Gino’s Gelato – Handmade Italian ice cream Go Free potato chips – Water-air cooked instead of fried, they have 70 percent less fat and 25 percent fewer calories than traditional potato chips.

producing a wide variety of frozen treats.

Pyrenees bread – Authentic French sourdough found in stores and restaurants across the country.

Shepherd’s Seasonings – Gourmet barbecue seasonings.

Temblor Brewing – Craft brewery/ restaurant whose beer is found in stores throughout Kern County.

Tibbs beef jerky – Five flavors of hand-crafted jerky. Go Free potato chips


Sports and entertainment Bakersfield Condors – Professional AHL hockey team affiliated with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. music made popular by Buck Owens, Merle Haggard and others.

Derek Carr – Bakersfield Christian High School alum and current Oakland Raiders quarterback.

Kevin Harvick – North High grad is one of the biggest names in NASCAR racing.

Cody Kessler – Centennial graduate now plays quarterback for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Cody Kessler


Bakersfield Sound – Influential genre of country

Gregory Porter – Two-time Grammy Award-winning jazz singer and songwriter.

Tyrone Wallace – Former BHS Driller is now a Los Angeles Clippers guard.

Korn – Pioneer alternative metal band that helped

Kevin Harvick

Korn 54

Bakersfield Life Magazine

April 2019

Gregory Porter



bring the nu metal genre mainstream.


Chosen in the 2016 NBA draft by the Utah Jazz, Tyrone Wallace was picked up by the Los Angeles Clippers in 2017. With his positive energy, outstanding defensive skills and ability to score inside, Wallace has been a solid contributor to the team’s success this season.


Townsend Designs knee brace

Calmini Products

Slagle’s Mattresses

Other Bakersfield Twang note cards – Features photos of local landmarks by longtime Bakersfield Californian photographer Felix Adamo.

Calmini Products – Aftermarket performance truck suspension products. vacuum systems.

Pioneer Paint – Manufacturer of high-quality paint products for architectural, industrial, agricultural and institutional applications.

Slagle’s mattresses – Premium handcrafted mattress sets made to order.

Townsend Design knee braces – Orthopedic braces worn by professional and college athletes. 56

Bakersfield Life Magazine

April 2019

Bakersfield Twang note cards


M.D. Central Vacuum – Manufacturer of central

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THE GARDENS AT MONJI Photos courtesy of The Gardens at Monji

Since 1953, the Monji name has been synonymous with designing, creating and caring for beautiful gardens throughout the Central Valley and beyond. The family’s company, Monji Landscape Co., has been responsible for some of the most recognizable landscapes throughout Bakersfield. Recently, they have taken this passion for building one-of-a-kind environments in a completely new and exciting direction by creating a spectacu-


Bakersfield Life Magazine

April 2019

lar wedding/event venue: The Gardens at Monji. What was once a typical landscape construction yard and nursery is now a sprawling 2 acres of everchanging gardens. The designers and construction professionals at Monji Landscape worked tirelessly to create an environment that makes guests feel as though they have discovered a hidden oasis within the heart of Bakersfield. Visitors are surrounded by majestic trees, blooming plants and the soothing sound of falling water from dozens of beautiful fountains and waterfalls. The cornerstone Continued on Page 60


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Continued from Page 58

of these features is a huge 40-foot-long fountain wall that is simply breathtaking to behold. The main outdoor wedding space is a lush and expansive synthetic lawn area that is perfect for ceremonies or outdoor receptions. Beyond the beautiful gardens, the property boasts a bridal suite that is simply the best in the Central Valley. It’s spacious, with mirrors galore and true salon chairs to make getting ready as fun as the big day itself. Even the groom is catered to at The Gardens at Monji, with a handsome groom’s lounge complete with plenty of leather couches and a big-screen TV. There is also the modern, industrial-inspired grand hall for events big and small. Just outside the roll-up glass doors, guests can sit underneath the shade and comfort of a massive outdoor pergola, making this the perfect inside/outside event experience. Whether you’re planning a wedding, a corporate luncheon, a place for family photos or simply looking for an afternoon escape, we suggest a visit to one of Bakersfield’s best-kept secrets: The Gardens at Monji. The Gardens at Monji are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.

Left to right Designers: Robin Gauthier, winner Michael Bennett, Linda Lincoln, Jocelyn Duran 60

Bakersfield Life Magazine

April 2019

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Business Profile

PERFECT PATIO COVERS As the weather heats up in Bakersfield, residents are always looking for ways to cool down. Jarret Jamieson, owner of Perfect Home Products, answers questions about patio covers. His services include customizable patio covers, seamless rain gutters, patio drop-down shades and window solar screens. What are the most frequently asked questions that you get about patio covers? The most common question we are asked is whether Alumawood patios are better than wood patios. Alumawood is aluminum that looks like wood. The color is a baked-on enamel, so you truly have a lifetime product as opposed to regular wood where you would have to apply fresh paint every three years. My personal preference is Alumawood. It is long lasting and requires no maintenance once it’s completed. How long do your projects typically take? From the initial call and request for your free in-home estimate to the completed project, the process can be completed in as little as two weeks. Typically, the entire patio installation can be completed in one day maybe two. Are there any extra costs that can be avoided when starting a patio project? Everything is priced out during our free in-home estimate, so once the price is confirmed at your appointment, there are no surprise costs. It is helpful to consider what type of electrical work you would like to have done. We can take care of all of your needs at the time of installation so that you won’t need to have an electrician come out later. Are there permits that need to be considered when building a patio? Yes. All permitting is taken care of through our services. We can also help to complete any confusing home owners association applications. What are some of the benefits of having a completed patio? Our patio covers provide shade and comfort for outdoor spaces. Adding a patio cover also increases the value of your home significantly. What sets you apart from your competitors? We have a strong record of customer satisfaction. We offer great quality and excellent service. We also back up all our work with a lifetime warranty. If there is ever a problem, we will come back and fix it for free — covering labor and materials. This gives customer the peace of mind of knowing that if there is ever a problem, we are happy to take care of it. 62

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April 2019

What do you want the readers to know about your products? How beautiful our products are and how much they can complement your home. Once the project is finished, it is maintenance free. We are the only company that offers a full showroom so you can see our patios, as well as the various choices and options you have to complete the design and inspiration for your home. There are also photographs on our website,, of every service that we provide. You can also easily request a free in-home consultation and estimate for your project on the site. What are some compliments you have received from customers who have used your services? The most common compliments we receive are that we show up on time, we communicate well with our customers, and the job is perfect once it is completed. Customer satisfaction is the greatest compliment a business owner can receive. It is what helps us stand apart from everyone else. What else would like our readers to know about you? We started in Kern County and I have owned the business for over 12 years. We take great pride in our work. Our team is experienced and will work to get your project completed on schedule and stay on budget. We have a beautiful showroom and are happy Perfect Patio Covers to come out for 7800 Meany Ave., #E a free in-home 661-800-4866 consultation and estimate at your convenience. Promotional Content

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Bakersfield Matters



BAKERSFIELD High-schoolers celebrate locals with new book By Lisa Kimble

With the exception of a few, the 36 locals featured in Bakersfield’s latest best-seller are not household names. But their passions are – Smith’s cookies, organ donation, art, tennis and table grapes, to name a few. The 40-page glossy picture book “Greetings from Bakersfield – A Celebration of our People” is the brainchild of one of this year’s Jim Burke Ford Education Foundation’s Dream Builders student leadership classes. Back in August at the start of the school year, the team of eight high school seniors identified 36 people to profile for the project. The only criteria was that they have had a positive impact on the community. While there are some big names, like Mayor Karen Goh and Assemblyman Vince Fong, there are also small-business owners and individuals who are less familiar to most, like Bakersfield Museum of Art curator Rachel Magnus and table grape grower Marko Zaninovich. “They are a good reflection of what is good about Bakersfield,” said Bakersfield Christian High School senior Jessica Stump. “This focuses on Bakersfield’s positive culture and turns the stereotype on its head.” They also set out to showcase the passion and diversity within our vibrant community that Grab Your Copy distinguishes itself The “Greetings From Bakersfield” coffee from other cities. table book is available for $25 at the Kern “We hope to County Museum gift shop located at promote pride in 3801 Chester Ave. where we live and improve Bakersfield’s image as well,” said Bakersfield High School senior Margo Kuney. With a $500 donation from Aera Energy, the students set out to interview and photograph their subjects in the settings most familiar to them – City Hall, St. Francis Church, a vineyard. Advisers like Jeff and Jenny Vaughan helped the team navigate the daunting task of taking their collective work and publishing it. “These students were so excited about this idea from the start,” Jenny said. “They love their town and wanted to share with others what they find so special about Bakersfield. I think they have knocked it out of the park. When 64

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April 2019

you read their interviews, you will be amazed at the stories and accomplishments of your fellow Bakersfield friends and neighbors.” Completed in February, just weeks before a book-signing event where their creation was unveiled, some of those profiled mingled with the authors. Turning the pages in awe, local immigration attorney and Poland native Edyta Grant marveled at the quality, wondering in jest how she made the cut. But it was Mira Monte senior Karen Hinojosa, who profiled Grant, who was impressed. “I got to engage with people about how they got to Bakersfield,” Hinojosa said. “In my future, I want to come back and make a difference like they did.” Since 2003, the Dream Builders program, along with its yearlong sister curriculum for high-achieving high school seniors Ford Dimension, focuses on civic responsibility, life skills and leadership development through the creation of significant service projects. In 15 years, teams have developed 57 civic projects ranging from cookbooks to health education. Next week, the four teams will present their projects to an audience of parents and other invited guests. They will be judged by a panel of four community members and the winners will receive a check to be given to the charity of their choice. In the book liner’s notes, Team Aera challenges future teams to continue the project. “We hope it is a gift to the community and know it has been a gift to us.” Full disclosure: I thoroughly enjoyed helping these students edit some of their profiles of interesting individuals living in our midst. Like team leader and Liberty senior Jack Waite, it was a treat to “pull back the curtains,” as he wrote in the book, and find a true appreciation for the town we grew up in. Proceeds from the sale of the $25 book will support the Kern County Museum, which in turn will order additional printings should demand necessitate it. I think it will. This gem should be on every local’s book shelf or coffee table. Hurry up and grab yours before they are gone. Lisa Kimble

Opinions expressed in this column are those of Lisa Kimble


Be In Bakersfield


For the last 31 years, I’ve had the privilege of connecting with people who are broken and hurting for many different reasons. Most of them have let their life circumstances keep them from living an intentional life that was intended for them. But I’ve had the opportunity to give some of them hope. Because of some of my personal struggles growing up, I recognize that a broken state – loss of hope – can lead to desperate pain and poor choices. I had a lot pain in my life because of a broken household. I turned to drugs and alcohol to find joy and fulfillment, which was a downward spiritual and psychological spiral. However, my life turned around so it’s been a blessing for me to bring hope to others so their lives can be different, regardless of their circumstances. For me, it started with a simple thing called kindness – people showing me loving kindness when I was unlovable.

Just the Facts Be in Bakersfield is a grassroots movement aimed at changing the conversation around Bakersfield and activating positive change within our community. Find more information at or on Facebook and Instagram @ beinbakersfield.

I am the community development and church engagement director at CityServe. CityServe empowers the local church to reclaim its missional mandate by supplying it with goods in kind and equipping it with training so it can overcome brokenness


By Robin Robinson

with compassion and kindness. The has been very effective and other local people who reached out and helped organizations want to be a part of it. me in my time of need changed the We have a partnership with the Kern trajectory of my life. This is the effect County Department of Public Health we have seen through CityServe. and its Waste Hunger Not Food program. CityServe has also assisted the This all started with a large Department of Human Services, Love abandoned building, known to many Incorporated, Bakersfield City School of us as the old Montgomery Ward District, The Dream Center and the building. When it was gifted to us, we Kern Adult Program. Most recently, didn’t know exactly how we would Dignity Health Mercy and Memorial use it but knew it would be used to Hospitals has partnered with Cityserve the community in some way. In Serve with a lead gift of $25,000. collaboration with large national and After only a little over a year, Cityinternational nonprofits and national Serve is now in Fresno, Victorville, retailer chains, CityServe was born. San Diego and other cities. National Several times a week, CityServe efforts are underway. receives shipments of goods in kind We’ve started something here that from large national retailers that are has never been done before. As we like-new returned merchandise or considered overproduction goods. We model this for other cities, I personally don’t think there could be a better get a plethora of food and household place for a grassroots effort to be items. These items are distributed to birthed. Bakersfield is filled with peolocal churches to help hurting people ple who show kindness in ways that in their neighborhoods. Through show the heart of who we are. CityServe, kindness looks Be kind in Bakersfield. like tangible items of goods in kind that meet real felt Robin Robinson is a needs of people. These Bakersfield native with a needs are met through the deep passion to see Bakerslocal church and Bakersfield be the kindest city in the field has a church in almost country. The views expressed every neighborhood. Robin Robinson are her own. This structure of giving



Study Hall

Michael Del Mundo


OF HIS OWN Harvard freshman attributes success to experience at Stockdale High School By Melissa Peaker-Whitten

When Michael Del Mundo first started playing water polo at the age of 9, he was less than enthusiastic. But in the end, his mom’s sink-orswim approach paid off. “My mom kind of made me,” said Del Mundo. “She made my brother do it (too) because she wanted us to swim.” During his first game and the eight-lap warm up, he got out of the pool crying, but his mom encouraged him to get back in – and he’s glad now that she did.

“It’s given me a lot of opportunities,” said Del Mundo, who played for the Stockdale High water polo team, 66

Bakersfield Life Magazine

April 2019

as well as nine years of club polo. During his sophomore year of high school, he reached out to the coach of the Harvard water polo team. They don’t give athletic scholarships to the oldest college in the country, so he had to work extra hard from an academic standpoint in order to get accepted. “(The coach) told me that he couldn’t get me into the school, but if I got in, he’d give me a spot on the team,” said Del Mundo. Initially waitlisted for admission, he wrote extra letters, hoping to tip the scales in his favor. He was at a valley swim meet with Stockdale High School when he found out he’d been accepted. Now in the second half of his freshman year, he’s considering which major he will declare this time next year. “I’m thinking of a concentration in human developmental and regenerative biology – stem cell research,” said Del Mundo, who plans to go to medical school after he finishes his undergrad degree. “I’m excited to take stem cell and regenerative biology – one of the main classes for my major. From a young age, I was always better at science and math.” A resident of Weld Hall, the same building where John F. Kennedy once

lived, he shares a suite with four other students. As for living on the East Coast, he says one of the main differences from California is walking everywhere, and, of course, the weather. “It’s 20 degrees right now,” he said at the time of this interview in January. In addition to playing water polo in high school, Del Mundo was the Drum Major for the Stockdale High marching band. “It was a great experience,” he said of his alma mater. Great teachers and great staff (who were) always willing to help. I attribute my success to that.” He started playing saxophone in the fifth grade and still enjoys playing when his roommates aren’t around. He also took piano lessons when he was younger and is trying to learn a little more now. “There are pianos in the freshman halls and I’ll sneak away and go down there and play a little,” he said. He’s enjoyed exploring the East Coast and learning about its history. Cambridge, where the college is located, is slower paced than the nearby big city of Boston, so it offers the best of both worlds. He wants to have the full experience while in college, and his parents have always encouraged him to get a well-rounded education.


Our Town



Giving clients opportunity to experience milestone school tradition

For the past three years, Valley Achievement Center has provided its clients the chance to experience a school tradition that they may otherwise miss out on. Valley Achievement is a nonprofit organization that provides services for children and adults with autism and other disabilities. VAC has been servicing the community for over two decades and currently has four locations in Bakersfield. The Winter Ball is a fairly new tradition at VAC. In its third year, it has a seen growth and has filled a need that has instilled hope and excitement into the community. “A regular prom isn’t doable for them, either from their disabilities or them not getting invited or feeling like they’d stick out,” said Kurtis Parker, business developer for Valley Achievement Center. “It’s really a time for Valley Achievement Center to hold it for them at no cost to them or their loved ones. We provided all the food, entertainment and the venue. It’s just our way of giving them thanks and showing them we love them – let them have a good time without feeling judged,” Though the event has already passed, the lasting effect on its participants goes beyond the dance itself. The Winter Ball represents something more. According to Parker, it gives them a sense of belonging. “They always feel like they’re different. This event really makes it stand out that everyone who’s there – we’re all the same,” said Parker. Parker expressed the way this event can at times mean more to the 68

Bakersfield Life Magazine

April 2019


By Jennifer Olague

parents than the clients. It’s a different sense of joy seeing their child happy and dancing carefree in an environment that is safe. Melissa Morgan, mother of 10 year-old Liam, is one of those parents. “I think it’s very special for them to do this for the kids,” she said. “Typically, kids with autism aren’t able to go to regular-functioning events or dances. For my son, he would get too overstimulated and it’s harder when he’s feeling like nobody understands him. When we go to things like this, it makes him feel special and he gets to run around and be himself with his friends.” Morgan expressed the love she has for VAC and everything they do

for its clients, like accommodating clients’ individual needs at the ball. Liam is gluten-free and they provided

him the proper foods. From taking into account Liam’s dietary needs

The Winter Ball is a fairly new tradition at VAC. In its third year, it has a seen growth and has filled a need that has instilled hope and excitement into the community. to Xclusive Salon providing clients with fresh haircuts before the ball, VAC goes above and beyond and heightens the importance of the Winter Ball.

“It shows them that they matter,” said Parker. “That people are looking out for their best interest. That Valley Achievement Center isn’t just a day care. We’re so much more than that.” VAC hopes to continue to meet the needs of the community. After all, the Winter Ball began as a void some teachers felt needed to be filled. “The idea came from the teachers that noticed that our students in regular schools weren’t going to proms or formals. So that’s where all this started. Everything with VAC starts from the parents seeing the need somewhere and addressing it to us and call it to action, making it happen,” said Parker.

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Bakersfield Sound Co. co-owners Thomas Freckleton, left, and Drew Martin


Bakersfield Life Magazine

April 2019



By Liarida Yoakum Improving the musical culture in town and encouraging more people to play was the inspiration behind Bakersfield Sound Co. Co-owner Drew Martin hopes to inspire the community and to make a change. Martin and his business partner Thomas Freckleton bring decades of experience to the music store located at 10715 Rosedale Highway. The new business owners started out as employees of Guitar Center and immediately became fast friends – with a sense that they would make a

“We want our community to know that we’re here, to know we’ll help them. Bakersfield is in our name; we’re just about the community.” – Thomas Freckleton, co-owner Bakersfield Sound Co.

difference for the future of music. “We knew we wanted to own something and be our own boss, but we didn’t know it would be a music store,” said Freckleton, who also plays bass and sings vocals for metalcore band Silent Planet.

The choice to take on ownership was quick, going from a 10-year-old plan to a three-week decision to commit. “It just feels like divine intervention that God’s like, ‘This store belongs to you guys and we’re going to keep you around for a purpose,’” said Martin, who’s the worship leader at Discovery Church. Martin reflects back to a tragedy that nearly cost the life of Freckleton. “He should be dead,” Martin said. One evening, five years ago, what started as an easy bike ride to a friend’s house turned into shattered bones and a very real possibility of being paralyzed. Freckleton rode his bike on Hageman Road at 9 o’clock at night and woke up to an officer informing him that he was just hit by a vehicle going 65 miles per hour, pushing him forward 165 feet into the air. The doctors told Freckleton that he wouldn’t walk for six months, but his love and drive for music had this traveling musician walking at two months and back on tour in five. “I’m a very determined person,” said Freckleton. A real moment that drew the two to a brotherhood. “Music is our life,” said Martin. “We’re musicians.” “We want our community to know that we’re here, to know we’ll help them,” added Freckleton. “Bakersfield is in our name; we’re just about the community.”

Grand Opening

Bakersfield Sound Co. will host a grand opening celebration April 6, from 2 to 6 p.m. featuring live music, food trucks raffle prizes, ribbon-cutting and more. There will be a chance to win a new guitar and the first 50 customers will receive free tacos. For more information, follow Bakersfield Sound Co. on Facebook and Instagram @bakersfieldsoundco.

For more info call 661-437-3330 • Price: Online $25 - At the Door $30 Ticket online:





Dewar’s current location on Eye Street opened in 1930.

By Julie Plata

It is said that food flavors can evoke memories and many of Dewar’s flavors take us back to childhood. During the lives of every current generation in Bakersfield, Dewar’s has been a part of the community’s fabric. That is exactly what the Dewar brothers intended when their ad in the Dec. 19, 1921, edition of The Californian read, “No matter how large the demand or how great the factory will grow to be, Bakersfield will be the home of Dewar Chocolates, that will forever be a Kern County Product.” Family owned and operated since 1909, Dewar’s has prided itself on the best quality candies, chocolates and ice cream. This is something that current generations are familiar with, but let’s go back to Dewar’s earliest years. Not long after the turn of the 20th century, brothers James (known as JH 72

Bakersfield Life Magazine

April 2019


The place you go back to

Dewar’s Candy Shop in 1909. Standing on the left is James H. Dewar. Dewar’s was located at 1665 Chester Ave. until it relocated to 1120 Eye St. in 1930.

or Harvey) and George Dewar moved to Bakersfield. JH had experience as a baker, but when it came to the art of candymaking, neither brother had any experience. But that was not going to stop them as they immediately jumped into the chocolate-making business like longtime pros and soon built up quite a reputation. The Dewar brothers opened The Chocolate Shop in 1909 at 1665 Chester Ave. In one of their first ads in the Aug. 26, 1909, Bakersfield Morning Echo, potential customers were informed: “We make the finest chocolates you ever tasted. They are pure and fresh. We are expert candymakers and we know our business.” By 1913, the Dewar brothers were making their own ice cream and ice milk. Using the latest state-ofthe-art machinery, they installed a motorized ice cream churn that had a 200-gallon capacity. An April 22 Californian article further praised

the enterprise for the use of milk and cream from their own dairy ranch on Rosedale. Around the same time, they were placed in charge of Kim-

“No matter how large the demand or how great the factory will grow to be, Bakersfield will be the home of Dewar Chocolates, that will forever be a Kern County Product.” – James and George Dewar

ball-Stone Drug Co.’s soda and candy counter. As the business continued to grow, they moved to a new location on Baker Street. Although there had been some changes to the business, such as selling The Chocolate Shop, working

Dewar’s advertisement Nov. 16, 1936, in The Bakersfield Californian.

for the Kern Candy Factory and briefly moving to Ventura, the Dewars never gave up completely on the candy business. In fact, not even World War I or Mrs. George Dewar’s brush with the Spanish flu could keep the Dewar family from continuing to create their delicious treats. By 1921, Dewar’s famous chews were a city favorite and JH had taken over business operations. In 1927, the candies went international when they were sold during Christmas in London, England. Finally, in 1930, Dewar’s Candy and Ice Cream shop was opened at 1120 Eye St. Dewar’s has continued to thrive and expand under the loving care of generations of Dewar family members. What started as a small family business turned into one of Bakersfield’s longest family-run enterprises. James and George could only dream and hope that the prediction they made in that 1909 ad would come true when they stated: “Our candy business is growing every day. … Once you try our candies you will always come for more.”

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All-Star Roundup


Edward “Squid” Turner, Foothill High School

By Stephen Lynch

The past month was an extremely fruitful one for local athletes and sports teams. Kern County athletes shined in a variety sports, winning championships and earning numerous accolades.

Basketball The Foothill Trojans boys basketball team became just the third high 74

Bakersfield Life Magazine

April 2019


Garces soccer team

school basketball team from Kern County to win a state championship when they defeated Mt. Shasta for the CIF Division V crown March 8 at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento. It’s the first state title won by a Bakersfield high school basketball team since East claimed a D-II championship in 1994. Sophomore guard Jaden Phillips scored 25 points for Foothill in the state title game. Elijah Seales tallied 22 points and eight rebounds and Edward “Squid” Turner chipped

Soccer In March, the Garces boys soccer team won the CIF Southern California Division V Regional Championship, beating Pasadena-Marshall, 2-0, at Sam Tobias Field. Junior striker Ebubechukwu Ekpemogu scored both goals (his 42nd and 43rd of the season) while senior goalkeeper Jaime Tiscareno recorded his 19th shutout of the year for the Rams (26-2-4).

Hockey The Bakersfield Condors have been red-hot for the past three months. The Condors went on a historic 17-game winning streak starting in mid-January, vaulting them into first place in the Pacific Division of the AHL. The 17 wins in a row is tied for the second most in AHL history.


in 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Trojans, who won all five of their state playoff games by 12 or more points. The McFarland girls basketball team came up just short of winning a state title, falling to Oakland High, 5135, in the CIF Division III State Championship game. It was the Cougars’ first state championship game appearance and only third ever by a Kern County girls basketball team. Neli Diaz scored a game-high 13 points for McFarland, which finished the season with an impressive 31-6 record.

Wrestling CSUB’s Sean Nickell won the second Pac-12 title of his college career, earning an automatic berth into the NCAA Wrestling Championships. Nickell, who won a Pac-12 title at 125 pounds as a redshirt sophomore two years ago, defeated Stanford’s Mason Pengilly for this year’s 133-pound Pac-12 championship. Eleven local wrestlers (four girls and seven boys) took home medals from the CIF State Wrestling Champion-


ships held at Rabobank Arena in late February. South High’s Shareni Donis(fourth place at 150 pounds) was highest placer among local girls. Frontier seniors Ryan Morphis (138 pounds) and Trent Tracy (182 pounds) both took third place – the best finish for any local boy.

Track and Field Liberty sophomore Reese Renz posted the fastest girls 300-meter hurdles time (44.65 seconds) in the state during the Kern Invitational on March 9. During the same meet, Stockdale senior Marcus Mota recorded the second fastest time of the year in the state in the boys 3,200 (9:18.27).

Reese Renz, Liberty High School


Condors winger David Gust


Shareni Donis, South High School



Prime Finds

Unique, custom-designed jewelry Raul Zavala does diamond resizing and most repairs done in one day while you wait. Inside Lucky’s Boutique at 5009 Stockdale Highway. 661-663-2278

Shafter landmarks now available Original watercolors to delight the eye. Call to see. Four oil paintings on display at AltaOne Federal Credit Union, 11211 River Run (off Buena Vista). Watercolors on display from France at The Art Center, 1607 19th St. To contact the artist, Charlotte White, call 661-330-2676.

Hoffmann Hospice Veteran to Veteran Volunteer Les Weller (5th from left in group photo) salutes and celebrates Hoffmann Hospice patient and fellow veteran Walter Jones.

CARING FOR EACH OTHER Celebrating National Volunteer Month 2019 Compassionate skilled volunteers like Les Weller are the heart of Hoffmann Hospice. Volunteers are matched to meet the unique needs of each patient and develop a relationship of care and comradery. To become a volunteer, visit

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April 2019

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Bakersfield Life Magazine

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Last Word


WEEK AT CAMP KEEP The Kern Environmental Education Program – better known as Camp KEEP – is celebration its 50th anniversary this month. Since April 1969, KEEP has been a rite of passage for so many young people in our community. In fact, it’s estimated that approximately a quarter-million students have benefited from the program over the years. I had an opportunity to visit KEEP as a counselor with my son and his Stockdale Elementary schoolmates in early February. What an experience! Here, the classrooms have no walls and instead of book work, there is plenty of footwork exploring the land and life that make up California’s central coast. KEEP’s naturalists led us on two educational hikes per day, packed with engaging, hands-on science lessons. We learned about the various ecosystems and geology on our treks to nearby tide pools, sandy beaches, mountains, creeks, sand dunes and the Morro Bay National Estuary. There are also lasting social benefits. Students and counselors share the enriching experience of living in cabins together, eating community meals, playing science games by starlight, singing songs around a campfire and falling asleep to the sounds of nature. There are plenty of life lessons to be found as well at KEEP. For many students, it’s the first time they are away from their parents for an extended period. Nothing tests a young person’s independence and confidence more than some time away from their nest. The schedule at KEEP is finely oiled. Everything is so well orchestrated with each meal, day hike and activity

KEEP celebrates 50th anniversary To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Camp KEEP, the KEEP Foundation is hosting its annual Wine Camp for KEEP fundraiser at the Alexander residence, located at 404 Mt. Lowe Drive in the Olde Stockdale neighborhood. The event will take place on Saturday, April 27, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $50 and include dinner, wine tasting, craft beer, a blind wine pull, a commemorative wine glass, entertainment, and a host of opportunity baskets and raffle prizes. All proceeds raised will help send kids in need to KEEP.


By Rob Meszaros

Stockdale Elementary student Luke Meszaros at a recent visit to Camp KEEP.

flowing seamlessly together. The kids are highly engaged and it’s exciting to witness the joy that various aspects of the program bring to the students. For some, it’s the first time they have the opportunity to see the ocean, hold a snake or climb to the top of a mountain. Each evening culminates with everyone gathering around a blazing campfire for an hour of songs and storytelling at KEEP’s amphitheater. Then, it’s lights out. It was a long, exhausting week, to be sure. But I survived and in hindsight, it will go down as one of the best, most memorable weeks ever. It was transformational on many levels for both the students and me. If you ever have an opportunity to visit Camp KEEP as a counselor – take it! In the meantime, to learn more about Camp KEEP and its rich 50-year history, visit 50years.

Advance tickets are required and can be purchased at

Rob Meszaros

Opinions expressed in this column are those of Rob Meszaros.


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Profile for TBC Media Specialty Publications

Bakersfield Life Magazine April 2019  

Made in Bakersfield issue

Bakersfield Life Magazine April 2019  

Made in Bakersfield issue