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July 2020


Brehmer Law Corporation attorneys Jeremy C. Brehmer, left, and Jared M. Thompson

Attorney Profiles

Local lawyers highlighted

Front-line workers Juggle work, family life during pandemic

A connection of a lifetime

Local nonprofit provides support, resources for families with specialneeds children


Dining with Dre

Dine-in services resume throughout the city


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-Scientistâ€? 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              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.

WWW.BREHMERLAW.COM | 447-4DUI www.brehmerlaw.com

                American Academy of Forensic Sciences annual meeting in Florida.

CO-AUTHOR OF SIX BOOKS        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    Â?Â? Â?   Â?    ­ 

AS A DIRECTOR AND COMMITTEE CHAIR for the national DUI Defense Â?        € ‚ƒ „Â…      believer that a rising tide lifts all boats. It is for this reason that he dedicates much of                    Â…          1200 TRUXTUN AVENUE, SUITE 120 | BAKERSFIELD, CA 93301 (661) 447-4384

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STAFF July 2020


Brehmer Law Corporation attorneys Jeremy C. Brehmer, left, and Jared M. Thompson

Bakersfield’s Premier City Magazine July 2020 / Vol. 14 / Issue 11 Bakersfield Life™ Magazine is published by The Bakersfield Californian

Attorney Profiles

Local lawyers highlighted

Front-line workers Juggle work, family life during pandemic

A connection of a lifetime

Local nonprofit provides support, resources for families with specialneeds children


Dine-in services resume throughout the city

On the Cover

Cliff Chandler

“I sometimes tell the kids that future me traveled back to that very moment in time while they’re still little and living in our home. It reminds us how blessed we are to have each other.”

Mark Nessia Specialty Publications Designer Julie Mana-ay Perez

Brehmer Law Corporation attorneys Jeremy C. Brehmer, left, and Jared M. Thompson.

Photography Alex Horvath, Jennifer Johnson, Julie Mana-ay Perez, Mark Nessia

— Photo by Mark Nessia

Contributing Writers Erin Auerbach, Maude Campbell, Anna Marie Frank, Alex Garzaro, Emerald Guthridge, Nina Ha, Lisa Kimble, Julie Plata,

Coming up next …

Andrea Saavedra, Basil Zuniga

Kern Life issue

Advertise, contact Cliff

Chandler at cchandler@bakersfield. com or 661-395-7521.


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

Partner with us

for your next event. Email Mark Nessia at mnessia@bakersfield.com or call 661-395-7383 for more information.

Connect with us – www.bakersfieldlife.com facebook.com/BakersfieldLifeMagazine Instagram/bakersfield_life twitter.com/BakersfieldLife


Bakersfield Life Magazine

What is your favorite moment with your family?



Dining with Dre


July 2020

— Nina Ha, contributing writer “We had a massive family reunion in the Philippines in 2016. It was two weeks filled with long-overdue hugs and catchups and first-time introductions to new members of the clan. There’s no telling when it will happen again, if it does happen again, so it will forever hold a special place in my heart.” — Mark Nessia, editor “Just spending time together. Adventures in our backyard, swimming, playing board games and cards.” — Anna Marie Frank, contributing writer “A couple times a year, my entire family will come together to have a big potluck filled with laughs, karaoke, Mwonopoly and swimming. Those are the days I look forward to and look back on.” — Julie Mana-ay Perez, specialty publications designer

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



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40 | A connection of a lifetime

HEARTS Connection aids families with special-needs children with support, resources and friendships.



43 | Attorney Profiles

Requiring the services of an attorney often comes during a time of need. Bakersfield houses some of the best law professionals around. These attorneys specialize in a range of fields, from personal injury to family law, civil litigation and more. The profiles featured will help you find the right attorney. 6

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July 2020

JULY 2020


14 16 30 34

Up Front

8 Editor’s Note 9 The Big Picture 10 On the Web 11 What We're Streaming

Eat & Drink

62 19

Go & Do

28 Entertainment 30 Arts & Culture 32 Trip Planner 34 Out & About

Healthy Living

38 Let’s Get Physical 14 Dining with Dre 39 Peace of Mind 16 Bites People & 19 What We're Eating Community 20 What's Cooking 58 Bakersfield Matters 21 Best Thing We Ate 59 Study Hall This Month 60 Our Town Lifestyles 62 Personality 24 Pastimes 64 History 25 Love & Life 66 Last Word 26 The Marketplace





Parents, children and their dogs participate in last year's Fourth of July parade.

A TIME FOR FAMILIES Family time. I’m sure the phrase has taken a whole new meaning over the past couple of months. With stay-at-home orders in place, many families had no choice but to spend time together. The results have been interesting, to say the least. Memes, videos and TikToks documenting the experience of being stuck at home with family have been a source of entertainment across all social media platforms. But all jokes aside, many will agree that while the circumstances are less than ideal, the opportunity to spend more time together has been a blessing. Because time is a rarity. It is the one thing we all share, yet none of us own. Time is free, yet it’s priceless. We can give it, but we can never take it back. To make the decision to spend time with someone is to consciously devote a portion of your life with them, which makes it an extremely powerful gift. Of course there will be tension and disagreements — that’s just what families do — but that just creates stronger bonds and greater levels of understanding. Even as the city slowly reopens, families are continuing to stick together, bucking the notion that members will distance themselves the first opportunity they get. Families continue to go out for bike rides and walks, hang out at parks, learn new skills together and connect on a deeper level during times when they would normally 8

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July 2020

be separated by work, school and other life obligations. There is a newfound appreciation for living life at a slower pace, as it allows you to enjoy the sights and sounds around you and embed them into memory. Years down the road, we will look back on this opportunity to earn a little extra quality time with those we care about most and be thankful that it happened. Writer Lisa Kimble summed it up perfectly, when she found her empty-nest home full of little birds again, as those who had flown the coop over the years returned: “In our house, 2020 will be remembered for the year nearly all our grown children returned to the nest. When controlled chaos ruled the day. An almost-reunion we’d never planned. When the universe forced us away from our frenetic lives. I’m grateful for it all, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.”

Mark Nessia Editor 661-395-7383 mnessia@bakersfield.com PHOTO BY JENNIFER JOHNSON

THE 661

T h e B i g P i c t u re


O n t h e We b


W h a t We ' re S t re a m i n g

Due to the ongoing stay-at-home order, events taking place in July have been postponed or canceled. For up-to-date information, go to www.bakersfield.com.


Groups of bikers cruise the streets of Hart Memorial Park.




THE 661

On the Web


The Rogers family

The Portillo family

The Arnold family

The Brouttier family 10

Bakersfield Life Magazine

The Larson family July 2020

THE 661

What We're Streaming

MOVIES, TV SHOWS, MUSIC & BOOKS Daily Lift (Spotify Playlist) “Daily Lift is a playlist full of feel-good music, all within the indie pop genre. They’re my goto songs to get my day started and when I’m going to bed. It’s important to me to start my day and end my day with positive and mellow music and this playlist will do just that for anyone.” — Julie Mana-ay Perez, specialty publications designer

“The Vanished Birds” (Kindle Store) “While technically not something you stream, this was a digital book I read on my Kindle, which is close enough. Nia Imani lives most of her life in space, outside of time. She travels from system to system through “the fold,” where years are condensed into months. Friends and lovers have all aged past her. Her only companions are her small crew and her work, living for the next paycheck. That all changes when a mysterious boy enters her life. Like her, the boy is also broken. The two form an unlikely bond as they find in each other something they’ve never really had — a family. “The Vanished Birds” is a captivating debut sci-fi novel by Simon Jimenez that explores how our life choices, both good and bad, shape who we are, as well as the impact we leave on those we come across.” — Mark Nessia, editor

Movies “Love Birds” (Netflix): A laugh-out-loud comedy that follows a couple who attempts to navigate a rocky relationship, all while trying to evade a no-nonsense dirty cop. “Invisible Man” (Amazon): An edge-of-your-seat thriller that will cause you to question the main character’s mental fragility up until the very end. “The Heartbreak Kid” (Netflix): What happens when you are on a honeymoon with an unhinged woman? That’s easy: fall in love with someone else. Watch as Ben Stiller comically falls head over heels for a woman who is certainly not his wife.

TV Shows “Chambers” (Netflix): For a young woman, receiving a new heart meant a second chance at life. But soon she comes to realize that her life is no longer her own. “Blood & Water” (Netflix): When a young girl begins attending a new private school, she sets out to prove that the popular girl is in fact her older sister who was kidnapped at birth. — Emerald Guthridge, contributing writer www.BakersfieldLife.com



D i n i n g w i t h D re / B i t e s / W h e re We ' re E a t i n g / W h a t 's C o o k i n g / B e s t T h i n g We At e T h i s M o n t h


Moo Creamery's Stella sundae consists of a butterscotch brownie topped with vailla bean ice cream, whipped cream, salted caramel sauce and chocolate-covered toffee. Turn to Page 16 to explore more chilled treats.




E AT & D R I N K

Dining with Dre

Krista Gonzalez and Toni Morales enjoy lunch at Pyrenees Cafe, which has had a strong customer flow and a renovated dining room. Family style dining has been temporarily suspended.



For most local restaurateurs, the thought of reopening their dining rooms may have seemed unthinkable when we’ve been locked down for so long. But the time to reopen has come, just in time for summer hangouts and celebrations with the family. Believe you me, as much as I understood why we were all locked down, I couldn’t wait to go to a restaurant again. Culinary and local public health organizations have drawn up guidelines and protocols for recreating the American dining room as a safe space while still acknowledging the risks. The first step for many restaurants in the return back 14

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was setting tighter standards to protect workers and diners. Food safety is always at the top of a restauranteur’s mind but with so many new risks, many locations needed to do an overhaul of retraining of staff and even redesigning. Here are some things to expect when dining out with the family this summer: Modified hours: Make sure to call ahead or check restaurants’ websites or social media before heading over to your favorite spot. Chances are their business hours may have changed to accommodate personalized safety standards. Limited seating: Public health laws are require restaurants to seat no more than six people per table and are PHOTOS BY ALEX HORVATH


Gables Residential Care Homes

The Meadows • 10702 Four Bears Dr. RCFE No. 157204176

Ricki Peace, Lillian Burst and Julie Sanders share a laugh while dining at Two Goats & The Goose.

Spruce Gardens • 13303 Nantucket RCFE No. 157206898

Customers dine in at Pyrenees Cafe.

encouraging outdoor seating, so if you have a large crew you might want to consider takeout or understand that your party might get split up. Plexiglass: Not all restaurants are participating in the measure, however it may be one that you see placed between booths and cashiers for extra protection. Face masks and gloves: It is up to the establishment to require patrons to wear masks, but I don’t see this being done everywhere. However, public health laws require all service staff to wear masks when in presence of other patrons or co-workers and while handling your food. Though these protocols may seem extensive, it is all to protect each other, our families and children. Honestly, I’m just glad I can eat somewhere else other than my living room. Not all restaurants are open yet but be sure to be on the lookout for your favorite spots and support the locations that are. They could all use the love! I’m so excited that things are starting to reopen so we can begin our new normal. I’m also looking forward to next month when I will be resuming my restaurant visits to share with all of you! See you all soon! Andrea Saavedra

Opinions expressed in this column are those of Andrea Saavedra.

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In these elegant, family homes, you will find: • Comforts of home in a beautiful surrounding • Caring and competent staff on duty 24 hours a day • Only six residents in each home – companionship with others • Personal assistance with activities of daily living – bathing, dressing, grooming, meals, medication supervision, transportation – whatever is needed. • Delicious, home-cooked meals and snacks • Lovely patios and secure walking paths • Alzheimer’s/Hospice Waivers

661.631.2036 www.BakersfieldLife.com




Col d Ice Heart Cre am

Tres Maria Cold Heart Ice Cream’s tres Maria is served with a scoop of walnut banana, mazapan and vanilla ice cream; drizzled with strawberry, caramel and chocolate sauce; and topped with almonds and coconut shavings for a crunchy taste. Cold Heart Ice Cream tops it off with whipped cream and a maraschino cherry enclosed in a waffle bowl and 16

Bakersfield Life Magazine

July 2020

three Gamesa Maria cookies. Tres Maria is the perfect sweet dessert for a hot summer’s day. Cold Heart Ice Cream 2695-B Mount Vernon Ave. 661-742-1464 Currently offering in-store pickup.




Sno Shack

Acai bowl With 11 locations in Bakersfield, this establishment is popular among family and friends during the summer months. Though Sno Shack serves a variety of shaved ice flavors, Sno Shack Restaurant serves smoothies, mini doughnuts and acai bowls. Their acai bowl starts with a base of acai, then layers on sliced bananas, strawberry and kiwi. Granola and coconut sit on top to give this cool dish some crunch and is drizzled PHOTO BY JULIE MANA-AY PEREZ

with honey to give everything a sweet flavor. Sno Shack Restaurant 11000 Brimhall Road #S 661-587-4778 Currently offering curbside pickup. www.BakersfieldLife.com




Moo Cream ery

Stella sundae Moo Creamery’s Stella sundae is a sensory overload. It’s cold and warm; creamy, chewy and crunchy; and sweet, salty and tangy all at the same time. The base is a warm butterscotch brownie topped with a generous scoop of vanilla bean ice cream that’s covered with fresh whipped cream, drizzled with salted caramel sauce and sprinkled with 18

Bakersfield Life Magazine

July 2020

chocolate-covered toffee. A “perfect bite,” containing every ingredient, is as rewarding as they come. Moo Creamery 4885 Truxtun Ave. 661-861-1130 Currently offering dine in, takeout and curbside pickup. PHOTO BY MARK NESSIA


Where We're Eating

Barrington’s Jamaican Kitchen Frugatti’s As far as restaurant slogans go, Frugatti’s arguably has the best — “Real Italian by real Italians.” And Bakersfield seems to agree, with the community voting it Best Italian Restaurant in the 2020 Best Of Readers’ Choice Poll. Frugatti’s has been family owned and operated since 1990 and draws inspiration from owner Ralph Fruguglietti’s upbringing in Grumento Nova, Italy. Doing it his mother’s, or “Nonni’s,” way, Frugatti’s uses authentic equipment, like a wood-burning oven from Milan, Italy,

and high-quality ingredients to bring their Southern Italian dishes to life. The menu runs the gamut of traditional pasta dishes, wood-fired pizzas, steaks, seafood, burgers, salads and more, topped off with an extensive dessert selection. — Mark Nessia, editor Frugatti’s 600 Coffee Road 661-836-2000 Currently offering dine in service, takeout and curbside pickup.

Barrington’s Jamaican Kitchen is one of Bakersfield’s hidden gems located on Ming Avenue. Only serving six items on their menu, Barrington’s is as authentic as they come. Barrington’s serves up dishes like jerk chicken, curry chicken, curry goat and brown stew chicken. All plates are served with a side of steamed cabbage, rice, black beans and fried plantains. Barrington’s also throws in a complimentary drink for their customers. With Barrington’s being a small location, customers are able to order through their drive-thru. Not only

does their food stand out, but so does their friendly small staff, which includes the owner himself. Barrington’s Jamaican Kitchen is the kind of place where customers can experience authentic Caribbean cuisine and a friendly staff behind tasty food. — Julie Mana-ay Perez, specialty publications designer Barrington’s Jamaican Kitchen 4120 Ming Ave. 661-427-6431 Currently offering takeout.

Grill ’N Burgers When hunger strikes, you can’t go wrong with a good burger, and that’s what you get at Grill ’N Burgers. The southwest Bakersfield restaurant delivers exactly what it promises, with a straightforward selection of burgers, sandwiches and hot dogs fired up on the grill. Burgers are 100% certified Angus beef and the hot dogs are all-beef franks. There are a variety of fries and shakes to choose from

as well and everything is made to order. The double Swiss mushroom burger and chili fries (pictured) are highly recommended. — Mark Nessia, editor Grill ’N Burgers 3880 Gosford Road 661-473-1420 Currently offering takeout and curbside pickup.




What's Cooking


INGREDIENTS: • Skirt or hanger steak • Monterey Jack cheese, shredded • Sharp cheddar cheese, shredded • Flour tortillas • Vegetable oil • Salt • Pepper • White onion, chopped (optional) • Green peppers, chopped (optional)




Cooking tasty food doesn’t always require a lengthy list of ingredients and fancy equipment. In fact, some of the best foods to make at home are easy and extremely versatile. In its most basic form, quesadillas require only three ingredients — tortillas, cheese and meat of choice. You can even add eggs and turn this into a breakfast item.


Bakersfield Life Magazine

DIRECTIONS: Start by seasoning the steak with salt and pepper on all sides. Oil a cast-iron skillet on medium-high heat and add the steak, cooking each side for 3–5 minutes or until it reaches your desired level of doneness. Remove the steak from the heat, cover in foil then let it rest for up to 10 minutes. If you wish to add vegetables, such as chopped onions and green peppers, to your quesadilJuly 2020

la, cook them in the same skillet as the steak to take advantage of the fond that’s collected inside. Cut the steak into strips, then place evenly across one side of a flour tortilla. Layer with veggies, then top with a generous amount of cheese before placing in a lightly oiled pan on medium heat. Flip after a minute or until the tortilla is golden brown and repeat on the remaining side. Then slice and eat. PHOTO BY MARK NESSIA


Best Thing We Ate This Month


Great barbecue is hard to find. There’s a lot of good barbecue out there, but the great ones are few and far between, so when you find some, you savor every last bite for great barbecue is a magical dining experience. Porkchop & Bubba’s is great barbecue. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, but the brisket and ribs really steal the show. We’re talking brisket so tender that even looking at it too intensely can cause PHOTO BY MARK NESSIA

it to fall apart. It quite literally melts in your mouth the second it touches your tongue. The ribs are equally tender and juicy, the bones sliding clean off with little effort. No sauce is needed, as everything is perfectly seasoned with its own special rub — a true sign of great barbecue. That’s not to say the barbecue sauces aren’t worth checking out, because they just make a great thing greater.



Rick Sorci CKD Shawna Sorci General Contractor #905759

PROJECT NOTES: • Waypoint cabinetry, 740 F Painted Square in Hazelnut and Cherry Spice • Countertops: Typhoon Bordeaux • Appliances: all KitchenAid 36” cooktop, 30” double wall oven, Counter depth refrigerator, and microw owav ave drawer, draw a er,, and aw and Zline an Zlinee microwave copp co pper er hood. hoo ood. copper Back Ba ckksp splash: la 2x4 2x4 x4 Mediterranean Meeddititeerrrraan ane neaann • Backsplash: B igge beveled Be beve be vele ve leed brick bric rick icck Beige

Rick Sorci, CKD

Bakersfield’s most experienced certified Kitchen Designer & General Contractor. #905759

In 2014 we had Stockdale Kitchen and Bath remodel out three bathrooms. All three came out beautiful, each with their own unique design that met our needs. This year we decided to remodel our kitchen. Our decision on who to use was very easy, we knew that Rick Sorci and his team at Stockdale Kitchen and Bath would do an excellent job. Rick used a 3 Dimensional design, with his experience he guides you in developing what you want and need in your remodel. Working with Rick is easy, he is very enthusiastic about his job and his main goal is to give the customer what they want in their remodel. We wanted to make the room larger and to be more open, we wanted to improve the quality of the components and add some color. The job is now complete and we are again very happy with the results. The granite, the cabinets and the attention to detail is awesome. I want to thank Rick, his wife Shawna and the entire team at Stockdale Kitchen and Bath for their professionalism and the quality of their work for completed the kitchen that meets and even exceeded out expectations.

Thanks, Dave and Sandy Champion


Who Will Be Next? Call Today!

661-834-3333 661 834 3 4500 Shepard Street, Ste B2 www.stockdalekitchenandbath.com


L o v e & L i fe

/ T h e M a r ke t p l a c e


Thirteen-year-old Raul Perez beats the heat of a 100-degree day by jumping into Hart Park Lake.







As temperatures rise, local families are left with a few options: keep the activities indoors inside air-conditioned buildings or brave the elements outside. Luckily for the latter, Lake Ming provides an opportunity to stay cool while enjoying the outdoors. The recreational lake located between Hart Park and the California Living Museum (CALM) is primarily a motorboat and water-skiing lake, with campsites and picnic tables found throughout the surrounding area, making it a popular destination to spend the day or perhaps a weekend.

Benji Rosales and Andrea Garcia go after a loose beach ball Lake Ming.

Edgar Luna catches a football while playing catch in Lake Ming.

Oscar Garcia and Edgar Luna splash each other while swimming in Lake Ming. 24

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July 2020

Roger Hewson and his son Holland test stock outboard racing boats. PHOTOS BY ALEX HORVATH


Love & Life

The Ha family


“You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book.” — Dr. Seuss “Hi, everyone. Welcome to Virtual Storytime with the Superhas!” Our family is dressed as superheroes soaring over Bakersfield, reading to kids we can’t see and doing it all in the middle of a school day. It’s not something anyone could have ever predicted — a time when handshakes, hugs and high fives feel like a distant memory. COVID-19 has drastically changed the world’s social and economic landscape seemingly overnight. The emotional stress, social isolation and financial hardships that many of us have faced can be especially challenging for children. For many families, days that used to be filled with school pickups and drop-offs, sports practices, music lessons and trips to the grocery store suddenly turned into days that stretched into subsequent nondescript days. As a mom, I wanted to find a way to do something proactive and fun during the pandemic to help other families with young children. So the kids and I began reading books every weekday, which later turned into a live event. It gave families a platform for connection and, at times, parents a chance to take a break. My husband, a local family physician, would occasionally join in when he wasn’t caring for patients. PHOTOS COURTESY OF NINA HA

We experimented with greenscreens, costumes, music and picture-in-picture. This unforeseen detour gave our children an opportunity to practice public speaking while reading books that we once read to them to other kids. Laughing through silly books such as “I Need a New Butt” and crying through old favorites like “The Kissing Hand” was a blessing we never expected. We didn’t realize that what began as a desire to help was simply our family’s way of coping with stress and uncertainty. During this difficult time, we’ve all been forced to make changes, create new routines and find ways to survive. Some people bake, others renovate and some sew. For many, it’s a challenge just to make it through the day. There’s no right or wrong path through this pandemic. We’re all taking the necessary steps that we need to get by. But perhaps we can emerge from this experience with more grace for others and more kindness for ourselves. When things are better, and that time will come, we can all share unique stories about our lives in the time of COVID. Opinions expressed in this column are those of Nina Ha. Nina Ha www.BakersfieldLife.com



The Marketplace

Bakersfield Art Association

Promotional Content

Celebrate your home or office 1607 19th St. 661-869-2320 www.bakersfieldartassociation.org Facebook and Instagram Art on display and for sale. Classes for adults and children. Paintings, prints, digitals, photography, sculpture, stained glass, dyed silks, crafts, woodwork and gourds. Artist: Vicki Meadows, "Venice Canal," acrylic painting


Bakersfield Life Magazine

July 2020

Now is the time to commission a watercolor or oil painting of your home or office. Contact artist Charlotte White at 661-330-2676.


E n t e r t a i n m e n t / A r t s & C u l t u re / Tr i p P l a n n e r / O u t & A b o u t


A windrower works a potato field and a digger harvests on the Moore Farm in Arvin. The Moore family farms 250 acres of potatoes for clients like Lay's potato chips and In-N-Out Burger.








By Julie Mana-ay Perez

Downtown Bakersfield comes alive every second Saturday of the month, highlighting the businesses in the area to create a fun family friendly experience. Second Saturday organizer Shannon LaBare said Second Saturday is a way for people to explore the downtown area scene. “It was a blitz of excitement when it started in 2017. It was mostly to contribute and patronize all the cool downtown businesses. We wanted to elevate the idea that the downtown was extremely walkable,” she said. Since the coronavirus pandemic began, LaBare said that she and her team discussed the future of Second Saturday and decided to go virtual. “The core about Second Saturday is about being with people and gathering. When those two things are not safe, there’s so many different ways that businesses are approaching (the pandemic),” she said. LaBare said with many businesses still open and offering new products, their online platform would help businesses present something to their audience. Traditionally, Second Saturday maps out 20–30 businesses in the downtown area for people to explore. LaBare said “Second Saturday Takeover” was an easy opportunity for downtown businesses to still reach the community through Instagram Live. The takeover is divided into timed segments, depending on the business. Just like a traditional Second Saturday, people can still participate from touring an art studio, participating in a yoga session or learning DIY projects. LaBare said their takeover on Instagram Live still brings businesses and keeps viewers involved and connected. “Our goal is to support downtown businesses. We want to see what we can do to help so they don’t close and it’s not forgotten about,” she said. With businesses slowly reopening in Bakersfield, LaB28

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July 2020

A screenshot of May's Second Saturday Takeover. Second Saturday went virtual to give downtown businesses the opportunity to get the exposure they needed.

are said she would like to continue their Second Saturday Takeover and their actual event. “I loved the ability to have the dynamic to change every month. We might do a hybrid (of traditional and a virtual Second Saturday). We want to be creative and show that our downtown is a creative hub of opportunities,” she said. As the coronavirus pandemic affects many local businesses, LaBare said she wants to continue to help local businesses get the exposure they need. Viewers can find more information about the next Second Saturday Takeover on Instagram @bakersfieldsecondsaturday. “We’re still here for our downtown. That’s a win for us and we’re confident moving forward,” LaBare said.


Sound California News Media Group has established a $750,000 Grant Fund to assist locally owned businesses with marketing during these challenging times. As a locally operated business, we are committed to supporting our local partners and helping them reach customers and relaunch their business.

Sound California News Media

Community Marketing Grant

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW • We will provide up to $750,000 matching advertising dollars. Grant funds can be used toward print or digital advertising in your local publication. • Open to locally owned and operated businesses impacted by coronavirus. Applications must be submitted via our online form.

• Grants are available for a minimum of $250 and a maximum of $10,000 of matching funds each month. • Grants will be awarded in June, July and August. The matching grant must be used within the month.

Visit www.bakersfield.com/community-grant


June 4 - 10, 2020

‘Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted’ – WHAT DRIVES US And he likes We are proud of the support our newspapers are able to provide their communities and local businesses. We constantly strive to it that wayinto the preserve the best of our newspaper’s century old traditions while adapting to the modern innovations that will carry them

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Thursday, June 4, 2020

“Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted” future. opens its second season Sunday on National Geographic. Our websites are some of the busiest local websites in their markets. During this pandemic, we have seen traffic rise exponentially as you rely on us for accurate and timely news and information. Our social media traffic has greatly increased as well. Thank you for trusting us and relying on us to get it right and keep you informed.


The Bakersfield Californian


Arts & Culture

The Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra holds mini-concerts designed to connect community members and musicians.


While the status of today’s world is ever-changing, there are many things that we are called to hold onto to ensure and maintain some semblance of normalcy. Through this separation, staying connected is of the upmost importance and what better way to not only stay connected but rediscover a true pleasure of life than through music? Whether for a special occasion, such as a birthday, graduation, anniversary, Father’s Day, etc., or simply to “break up the monotony of isolation,” as expressed by Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra Executive Director Holly Arnold, look no further than BSO’s socially distanced performances, also known as their “mini-concerts,” customizable performances designed to meet the specifications of both the individual and the occasion, with the option to choose the number of musicians, time frame and specific music, be it classic, contemporary, jazz, music for kids and even movie themes. “The mini-concerts have allowed us to grow our audience by reaching members of the community who weren’t 30

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aware that Bakersfield has its own symphony orchestra,” Arnold said. “We are building relationships between the attendees at our mini-concerts and our musicians.” The socially distanced performances began just before Mother’s Day and received widespread attention, from posts on social media to moving phone calls in which many individuals have expressed being “touched by the experience.” With a powerful ability to bond a community through their emotional shared experiences, it is no surprise that Arnold feels the performances will continue to grow even after the quarantine restrictions have been lifted. “Our musicians love to play, and for them to be able to see how their music impacts people, from sheer pleasure and joy to tears of emotion, it’s been a really great project and I believe it will continue to grow and morph as restrictions lift,” she said. Health and safety remain a priority during the performances. Arnold said the musicians “are careful to follow social-distancing protocol, for everyone’s safety, including calling and texting instead of ringing doorbells and knocking on doors.” Performances generally take place in PHOTO COURTESY OF THE BAKERSFIELD SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

front yards, which has allowed neighbors to venture out and enjoy the music as well. While there is no maximum number of individuals allowed to be present, it is of great importance that all who attend follow the proper social-distancing guidelines. Mini-concert performances are to be booked at least three business days in advance, with prices starting at $35 for a single musician. Forms to book a performance can be found at www.bsonow.org or email info@bsonow. org for more information. As Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra has shown, music can uplift and unit a community even during a challenging time. And though the concerts may be mini, the experiences are grand.

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Trip Planner


ESCAPE TO SANTA MARIA VALLEY FOR $500 OR LESS Let’s get together again in Santa Maria Valley. When you’re ready to escape to a wine country destination unlike any other, we’re here to welcome you back like an old friend. This Santa Barbara County wine region is full of genuine experiences, in an uncrowded setting, begging to be explored. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the Central Coast and enjoy remarkable wines, iconic barbecue and endless outdoor adventures — safely and responsibly. You can take a three-day getaway for less than $500. Unwind in a picturesque setting with our renowned Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah and more from Santa Maria Valley’s wineries. Many tasting rooms are opening their doors to the public once more while taking extra steps to ensure guest safety. Enjoy wine and food tasting flights paired with vineyard views. Be sure to pick 32

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July 2020

up an extra bottle to enjoy at home. Don’t miss the chance to experience a true California tradition: Santa Maria-style barbecue. This 150-year-old culinary style dates back

to the 1800s, when Spanish settlers would host feasts for vaqueros after cattle roundups. Santa Maria-style barbecue consists of meat, usually tri-tip, seasoned with a simple mix PHOTOS COURTESY OF SANTA MARIA VALLEY

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of salt, pepper and garlic and grilled over red oak. The red oak grows natively on the Central Coast and helps to give the meat a hearty, smoky flavor. The meat is then paired with savory sides, including pinquito beans — a small pink bean that grows only in the Santa Maria Valley. Other sides include buttery garlic bread, a fresh green salad and salsa. Uncork relaxation or choose your own adventure, with outdoor activities abound in and around the valley. Trek on or trail off with one of 24 hiking trails within a 30-minute drive and plenty of room to wander. Explore the hillsides and take in stunning panoramic views at Los Flores Ranch Park. Or, follow the boardwalk right to the Pacific Ocean at Oso Flaco Lake. Dig your toes into the sand at one of 15 nearby beaches. Play on the sandy-white dunes of the Rancho-Guadalupe Dunes Preserve. Or, play with your pups at Fisherman’s

Beach, fondly dubbed “Dog Beach” by locals because dogs are allowed off-leash there. Strap the bikes to the car and put the pedal to the Pinot by cycling through the vineyard-lined hillsides of the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail. Or, explore the diverse Pacific Coast terrain on one of dozens of other cycling trails near the valley. Wherever you adventure outside, you’re sure to see an abundance of native flora and fauna. Bird-watching enthusiasts may spot more than 130 species of birds in and around the Santa Maria Valley, and fishermen can purchase a day license online to catch and release at parks and beaches throughout the region. Visit SantaMariaValley.com/Getaway to learn more about our valley and book your next getaway. Do all of this with your favorite travel companion for $500 or less. Uncork and unwind, #SantaMariaStyle. www.BakersfieldLife.com



Out & About


With an increased interest in cycling across the country, bike shops have been swamped with service and repair requests, resulting in wait times that can range from a few days to a few weeks. But bike maintenance isn’t overly complicated and many of the most common issues can be addressed at home, keeping the downtime to a minimum.

ABC CHECK Checking to see if your bike is fit to ride is as simple as ABC — air, brakes and chain. Check the air in the tires to ensure they are properly inflated and there are no leaks or punctures. Test the front and rear brakes to make sure they engage correctly and smoothly. Inspect the chain to see if it’s adequately lubricated, and if your bike has gears, test them to make sure they shift properly. Brake maintenance can be overwhelming for most novices, so a trip to a local bike shop is recommended. However, maintaining your tires and chain can easily be done at home.


Finish Line owner Alan Bradley builds a Giant Contend AR2 for a customer. 34

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July 2020

Knowing how to fix a flat tire is a must for serious and even casual cyclists. Flats are inevitable, but if you’re prepared, you’ll be up and riding again in no time. All you need to fix a flat are a set of tire levers, a spare inner tube and a handpump, which can and should be taken


or replace it with a brand-new one. To install the inner tube, add a little bit of air so the tube holds its shape. If using a patch kit, this is a good opportunity to check for additional leaks. Start by inserting the valve stem through the rim’s valve hole, to position the tube inside the tire. Once the tube is inside the tire, work the tire back onto the rim by rolling the bead away from yourself and toward the center of the rim. Try not to use tire levers during this process as they can accidentally puncture the tube. Once the tire is fully seated, inflate the inner tube to your desired pressure and you’re back on the road. Bike mechanic Mitch Giem checks the shifting and makes derailleur adjustments on a bike.

with you on every ride. You can find what size inner tube you need on the side of the tire. Start by removing the wheel from the bike. Once the wheel is removed, let all of the remaining air out of the inner tube. Using a tire lever, hook the rounded end under the bead, or outer edge of the tire, to unseat it and fix the other end to a spoke to hold it in place. Use the second lever to hook under the bead, then drag it around the rim until one side of the tire is off. Once the tire is loose, pull the old inner tube out. With the punctured inner tube removed, check the inside of the tire for the source of the flat. If a thorn, piece of glass or other sharp object is still left behind, it can potentially puncture the new inner tube. From here, you can use a patch repair kit to seal the puncture on the old inner tube

BASIC CHAIN MAINTENANCE A bike’s drivetrain consists of all the parts that allow the rider to push it forward and the component tying it all together is the chain. Proper chain maintenance is key to bike performance and it’s as simple as keeping it clean and lubricated. This is essential if a bike hasn’t been ridden in a long time or is ridden frequently. Start with chain degreaser, which can be found at any bike shop. Apply it to the chain per the manufacturer’s directions and give it time to dry before applying a drop of lubricant to each chain link, wiping off the excess when finished. Dry lube is ideal for riding in Bakersfield conditions, though a wet lube is recommended for rainy periods. Not only will the bike run smoother, you’ll find that a clean and lubricated chain will silence many noises coming from the drivetrain. When in doubt, head to a local shop. But you’ll find that these simple tips will be enough to keep you riding more and waiting less.

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Nominations end July 5 The 20 Under 40 feature selects 20 locals who are under the age of 40 and are considered trailblazers 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 September issue and at a special get-together. TO NOMINATE: Visit bakersfield.com/bakersfield-life/20-under-40/ and click on the 20 Under 40 button. If you have any questions, contact Mark Nessia at mnessia@bakersfield.com.

HEALTHY LIVING L e t ’s G e t P h y s i c a l / P e a c e o f M i n d


Three-year-old McKenzie McGee tries to eat bubbles from a bubble machine set up at a plaza off Brimhall Road.





Let's Get Physical


We hear the word metabolism a lot when it comes to hitting weight loss goals. So before we can talk about how to rev up your metabolism, you must first understand its nature. Metabolism is the chemical processes that occur within a living organism in order to maintain life. In layman’s terms, it is the process in which your body breaks down foods and liquids to generate energy. Calories inside foods and liquids will combine with oxygen to release the energy our bodies need to function. For this reason, reaching your fitness goals is as much science as it is physical. Having a speedy metabolism is the holy grail for anyone who is trying to lose weight. Some people are naturally born with a speedy metabolism. Men will naturally burn more calories than women, even when resting. For most people, like you and me, our metabolisms will start to slow down after the age of 40, making it even more difficult to hit our weight loss goals. We may have no control over age and genetics, but there are ways we can rev up our metabolism. The first is to start lifting weights. Muscles will burn six calories just to sustain themselves whereas fat will only utilize two calories. This difference will add up over time, not to mention that after a strength training session your muscles will be fired up and accelerate their burning rate. Not into weight lifting? No problem. A high-intensity workout, like a burst of sprints while walking or workouts that increase and lower your heart rate, will not just rev up 38

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your metabolism but keep it going an hour after the training session ends. Be sure to hydrate during your sessions, as well as all day long, because signs of dehydration in the body will slow down the metabolism. Other liquids known to boost your metabolism and help your body to burn more calories for energy are black coffee and green or oolong tea. My personal preference is a warmup of oolong tea before consuming any foods. Researchers have proven that drinking two to four cups of tea can boost your body to burn up to 17% more calories during a training session. Just as consuming these specific liquids will rev up metabolism, so will eating spicy foods and protein. Your body will actually burn more calories digesting protein than it will carbs and fats, which is why keto and paleo diets work so well. However, not enough carbs and fats can jeopardize your energy levels, so just because you will burn more calories, protein, carbs and fats still have a role to play in the body. Unless prescribed by your doctor, research suggests not to leave them out of your daily diet. How do you know which one will work best for you? My suggestion would be to pick one of the above and try it for 14–30 days while monitoring your progress. Alex Garzaro is a lifestyle strategist, weight loss expert for women and transformational speaker. The views expressed are her own.



Peace of Mind


Juggling old obligations combined with our new and ever-evolving obligations can be very overwhelming. This may leave you feeling like you are on the verge of burnout. However, were you on the urge of burnout before this pandemic? The new anxieties around our health, our families health and the future of our economies can leave one feeling very worried and scared. Combine this with the fact that boundaries have been blurred between parenting and teaching and work life and home life. All scrambled together with a multitude of other concerns. Concerns like are our kids falling behind? Are you falling behind at work? Will you have a job next week? How do I file for unemployment? Will my business make it through this? Will my marriage make it through this? The worry game of questioning has spread as quickly as this pandemic. But it is time we get intentional about being mindful during this uncertain time. We must be present with this state of uncertainty and face it head-on. But how do we do this? How do we face the cray without losing our way? It is going to be the little actions done consistently over time that will yield us the greatest results. This is a true practice for any time in our lives but especially now. If you have not begun to acknowledge the little things you are doing, day in and day out, it’s time that you shift your attention to these daily actions. And before we jump into daily actions that can help you with these anxieties, let me just remind you that in times of stress we can be led into periods of great value. When we are stressed, that is the time we can have the greatest involvement. The greatest growth. Stress forces us to look within, to make changes and to shift. Stress helps us evolve when we look inward. Are you ready to look inward? I think the biggest challenge regarding our current stressor is the fact that this stress was a stressor that went way beyond our imagination and was the opposite of what many of us were planning for beyond New Year’s Day. The pandemic is not some-


thing we can change, but we can change how we view and deal with this pandemic. We can choose to respond versus react. We can choose to use compassion versus criticism. We can choose to listen versus blame. We can CHOOSE what we want in terms of our thoughts, actions, and emotions. We have way more control over our well-being than we are led to think. So, let’s look inward at some actions we can take to stay mentally, emotionally and physically resilient. Only put in your mind what you want to be a part of. If you don’t want to be a part of the blaming game during this pandemic, shift your news and shift your social media feed away from the negativity. Shift your conversations and actively control your narrative. Treat your body like a temple. When you are taking care of your body and nurturing it with the right foods, water, rest, and supplements, you will feel amazing. Your immune system rises and your energy lifts up. So, limit the junk or even eliminate the junk you feed your body. Take the time to intermittently fast and nourish your body with quality foods that fuel you. Focus on only the things you do have control of. Your home, a hobby, your fitness, your children, your mindset, minutes in your day, your finances, etc. Breathe! Take time every day to clear your mind, focus on what is going on within you, and breathe in love and light, exhale any tension and stress. Remember, stress can serve us and the stress of this pandemic may already be serving you. Maybe you have found a new way of being, a new way of working, a new way of viewing things that sits with you in a happier space. Let’s shift our mindset from, “This stress is bad,” to “This stress is pushing me to grow.” Look inward to what blessings this pandemic has provided and choose what is good. Anna Marie Frank is a brain health and wellness expert, author, lecturer and human-potential coach. The views expressed are her own.

Anna Marie Frank



HEARTS Connection holds a Buddy Walk as an annual fundraiser.


HEARTS Connection program assists families with special needs By Julie Mana-ay Perez 40

Bakersfield Life Magazine

July 2020


HEARTS Connection Director Susan Graham, resource specialist Elva Darrett and receptionist Grace Cruz


elp, encouragement, advocation, resources, training and support are the essence of what HEARTS Connection has been to Kern County for the past 30 years. The program serves families by providing support groups and training to better aid their special-needs child. HEARTS Connection also provides training on the transition children make when entering and leaving high school. HEARTS Connection is made up of five staff members who work remotely around Bakersfield, Delano, Tehachapi, Lake Isabella and Ridgecrest. HEARTS Connection Director Susan Graham said many of the parents who connect with the program want to talk to another person who can relate to their struggles. “One of the things that is very unique about HEARTS Connection is that our employees are either the parent of a child with a disability or they have a close relative that has a disability. That gives us a unique perspective. When parents call us, we have that personal connection,” said Susan. Susan herself has not only been a part of the organization for 21 years, but is a founding parent of HEARTS Connection. “My daughter was born with Rett syndrome. I wasn’t big on support groups because I thought I wasn’t going to meet someone with the same thing my child has. HEARTS Connection started with a retreat and I met parents whose child had the same disabilities. It was a great bonding experience,” said Susan. Parent and Wasco resident Alma Acosta has been a part of the HEARTS Connection program for four years, advocating for her 12-year-old autistic son, Daniel. Alma admitted that before seeking help from the orga-

HEARTS Connection fundraisers are a way for families with special- needs children to get together to support one another.

nization, she would sit through Individualized Education Program meetings with Daniel’s school and not fully understand what their plan was to help Daniel. “When I came into the group, I wasn’t the only parent going through the same thing. I found the support and resources for my son. It has created a bond for me and friendships,” said Alma. Another parent, Delano resident Michelle Ruiz, describes the everyday struggle to raise a special-needs child. Michelle raised Leo, an autistic 22-year-old. Leo is also a stroke victim and has hydrocephalus, a condition that occurs when fluid in the brain cannot drain away into the bloodstream because the usual pathways are blocked. “(Leo) is a 4-year-old in a 22-year-old body. Every day is hard. People on the outside don’t understand what we have to deal with. They don’t learn like the typical child. It took Leo seven years to get off diapers. He had to walk with a walker until he was 5 years old. It takes time and patience,” said Michelle. Michelle said most special-needs children are not able to verbalize what they need and that HEARTS Connection taught her how she was able to help Leo throughout the years. “You have to have patience with this. It’s your basic thing we do every day that we take for granted. Kids who are born different, they have a lot more struggles in life and have to work 10–20 times more than a typical child,” said Michelle. Just like Susan, Michelle and Teresa Olivares, Alma agrees that HEARTS Connection became more of a family Continued on Page 42 www.BakersfieldLife.com


Alma Acosta and her son Daniel

Michelle Ruiz, her son Leo and husband Leopoldo Ruiz

HEARTS Connection Director Susan Graham, right, walks with parents and children during their annual Buddy Walk. Continued from Page 41

than just a monthly support group. “It’s like we found our tribe. We finally found people that understood who we were and that we were all looking for resources because there wasn’t the internet at the time,” said Susan. Bakersfield resident and single parent Teresa Olivares raised two special-needs children, 24-year-old Teresita, who has cerebral palsy, and 5-year-old Lupito, who has autism. Teresa said it was challenging to raise two disabled children alone but since joining HEARTS Connection, she has gained patience, progress and a team of people behind her. “They feel alone and they feel isolated. Even if they have family 42

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July 2020

members, they don’t know that there’s another world out there. There’s a whole community. When they come to us, we get into their diagnosis and see if we can get that help and go further and how they can learn,” said HEARTS Connection resource specialist Elva Darrett. Though it seems every day of being a parent to a special-needs child can be a challenge, Susan admits there are moments of joy parents share when raising their children. “You don’t have to meet another parent that has the same disability as yours. There’s so much more you have in common than what a disability is. It’s exciting when parents share accomplishments with their child,” said Susan. Michelle shares that establishing

Teresa Olivares and her son Lupito

repetition and a routine for special-needs children help them learn, like turning on electronic devices on their own. “(Leo) surprises me every day with new things he knows how to do. He’s constantly showing me he knows how to do something. Those are the things we get excited for — the small, little things,” said Michelle. Teresa said that because of the support from HEARTS Connection, she is able to understand Teresita's and Lupito’s needs. “It’s a blessing from God raising two disabled kids because he doesn’t give it to just anybody. HEARTS Connection was able to help me. It’s not easy until you’ve been through it,” said Teresa. Susan encourages other special-needs parents to connect with them so they can better understand their child. “The resources you can learn from other families are so valuable. Some people never knew we existed and wished they knew sooner. When your child is first diagnosed, you think about what you need to do and how you’ll get through the week. You don’t reach out but that’s valuable,” said Susan. Susan hopes for HEARTS Connection to grow farther in areas of Kern County and to be able to reach more families who need help with their special-needs child. HEARTS Connection is sustained by grants and donations. Visit www.heartsfrc. org to find out more information and different ways to help.

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Bakersfield Life Magazine

July 2020

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Guerrero Mears LLP JOSÉ A. GUERRERO, ESQ. Mr. Guerrero represents some of the largest farmers, farm labor contractors and medical groups in the Central Valley. He specializes in complex corporate and real estate transactions, as well as advising startups and businesses with entity formation, buy-sell arrangements, corporate governance and general transactional matters. He began his legal career in Silicon Valley working in the securities and José A. Guerrero venture capital industry. Mr. Guerrero later moved to Bakersfield in 2003 to work for a large law firm in Bakersfield, where he became a capital partner. He quickly became one of the leading transactional attorneys in Kern County, and soon established his own law office in 2012. Mr. Guerrero delivers a superior work product on a timely basis that strives to satisfy his clients’ goals the first time around. In January 2020, he partnered with Mr. Mears to form Guerrero Mears LLP. Together, they are without question Bakersfield’s top law firm with respect to transactional and estate planning issues.




BAKERSFIELD TOP ATTORNEY, BUSINESS LAW, 2018, BAKERSFIELD LIFE MAGAZINE Mr. Mears is a Bakersfield native and represents businesses, lenders, developers and individuals in a wide range of business, real estate and estate planning matters. With his background in tax law, he specializes in structuring complex business and real estate transactions, as well as designing Nicholas C. Mears and implementing estate and succession plans for both large and small estates. Mr. Mears also advises on partnership, corporate, income, estate and gift tax issues. He possesses a deep level of skill and experience from handling numerous and wide-ranging business and real estate transactions, and he is regarded as one of the Central Valley’s top estate planning attorneys. Prior to forming Guerrero Mears LLP, Mr. Mears was an equity partner with a large Bakersfield law firm. With the combination of Mr. Guerrero and Mr. Mears’ respective practices, Guerrero Mears LLP provides their clients the highest level of expertise and value in a boutique firm setting.



Promotional Content XM Garcia, Attorney at Law • 1670 M St. • 661-322-5295 • www.xmgarcialaw.com



XM Garcia, Attorney at Law I am a Kern County girl, born and raised. I went to local schools and am a proud Arvin High School alum. I attended Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego where I was able to further my passion for debate through courtroom litigation and discovered a passion for family law. I wanted to help people move through the most emotionally difficult periods of their lives. I accepted a position with Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance Inc. With GBL Inc., I developed projects to assist indigent self-represented litigants in their property and family law matters. During this time I was able to assist in securing well over a million dollars in grants to assist indigent litigants and helped in the establishment of the Landlord-Tenant Assistance Center that utilized mediation to prevent homelessness. In 2013, I opened my own office and later partnered with Karen Gual Wallace to create the Gual Wallace Garcia law firm and by 2016, XM Garcia, Attorney at Law was born. The practice is limited to the areas of family and property law. With my deep ties to the local and legal communities I am in a position to address the growing needs of families in Kern County. The first has earned the reputation of providing personalized, client-focused, thorough and aggressive representation to achieve favorable outcomes for our clients.

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ATTORNEY AT LAW XM Garcia’s areas of practice: • Family Law Mediation • Interstate and International Child Custody and Visitation Proceedings • Paternity Proceedings • Family Law Litigation • Divorce • Custody and visitation Support • Property Division • Domestic Violence • Guardianship • Step-Parent Adoptions • Domestic Partnerships 1670 “M” Street, Bakersfield, CA 93301

(661) 322-5295 • Fax: (661) 322-7675 www.xmgarcialaw.com 46

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July 2020

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You don’t have to choose between world-class lawyers and local attorneys for your injury case. Chain | Cohn | Stiles, the Bakersfield-based personal injury and workers’ compensation law firm, is ranked in the “Best Law Firms” list by U.S. News & World Report, recognized for “professional excellence with persistently impressive ratings from clients and peers.” Chain | Cohn | Stiles has two attorneys selected in the “Best Lawyers in America” program, which is the oldest and among the most respected attorney ranking

services in the world. David K. Cohn and James A. Yoro join the top 5% of practicing attorneys in the United States in being selected and are the only two attorneys in the greater Kern County area to be listed. David Cohn is one of the most respected lawyers in the Central Valley. He is a Martindale-Hubbell AV preeminent-rated trial attorney, has been named to the Southern California Super Lawyers list



and was selected to join the International Society of Barristers. Over the course of his career, which spans 45 years all at Chain | Cohn | Stiles, Cohn has obtained numerous multimillion-dollar results on behalf of his clients, and his cases have led to workplace, roadway and vehicle safety measures. James Yoro is a Certified Workers’ Compensation Professional in California and is one of the most veteran and most respected workers’ compensation lawyers in the state. He is the former president of James A. Yoro the Kern County Bar Association. He has argued cases in front of the California Supreme Court, and for nearly 40 years has fought day in and day out for the rights of injured workers. The law firm includes attorneys David Cohn, James Yoro, Matt Clark, Chad Boyles, Beatriz Trejo, Tanya Alsheikh and Doug Fitz-Simmons. To learn more about each attorney and the firm, visit www.chainlaw.com.



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McKnight and McKnight Law, APC • 305 Truxtun Ave. • 661-325-5977 • www.mcknightattorneys.com


McKnight and McKnight Law, APC WHAT TYPE OF LAW DO YOU PRACTICE? I represent injured people and their families in injury and accident cases, including auto, motorcycle and truck accidents. I also handle wrongful death, defective product and negligence cases.

WHY DID YOU GO INTO THE FIELD OF LAW? I was raised in a family of lawyers who loved their work and their ability to help their clients. I am a compassionate person and truly enjoy helping people through difficult times. I find great satisfaction assisting injured clients and their loved ones, meeting them and giving them the personal attention they deserve. The insurance claims process can seem complicated, frustrating and overwhelming for an injured party to handle on their own. I utilize my 35 years of experience to give guidance, advice and counsel to my clients. I handle all aspects of the legal process so that they can focus on getting better. I’ve successfully represented clients against major insurance companies and corporations and have achieved outstanding results on behalf of my clients. There is no better feeling than when I resolve a case and I see the relief on my client’s face to have a difficult time in their life made better, turning a corner as a result of my assistance with their matter.

WHAT IS YOUR LEGAL BACKGROUND? After graduating from the University of Southern California Law School, I was recruited and began my legal career working for a large 100-plus attorney law firm in Los Angeles, where I received excellent training and experience. I returned to my hometown, Bakersfield, to join my father and brothers at McKnight, McKnight, McKnight and McKnight Law Firm for 30 years. I now serve clients as McKnight and McKnight Law, APC. My focus is representing injured people and their families in major personal injury and wrongful death cases. I have been selected to speak at the Statewide Consumer Attorneys of California Convention on topics including accident reconstruction and jury selection. I served as a past board member of the Kern County Bar Association.

WHAT DIFFERENTIATES YOU FROM OTHER LAWYERS IN YOUR COMMUNITY? I was born and raised in Bakersfield, attended local schools and worked summers in the oil fields, which helped develop my strong work ethic. Because of my deep roots in Bakersfield, I know the people and values of our community. When a poten48

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Benton McKnight

tial client calls my office about an accident, I am very familiar with the local roads and highways, as well as the companies and the people of Kern County. My father instilled in me the values of hard work and integrity and I hold to those values firmly.

CAN YOU GIVE US A BRIEF BIO? I graduated from Biola University and USC Law School. I have been married for 36 years to my wife, Denise, who is a teacher. I have been blessed with three children and six grandchildren, whom I enjoy spending time with immensely. Two of my children reside in Kern County and are employed in education and agribusiness. My wife and I have been actively involved for many years in our church. I volunteer on the Advisory Board of Kern County Teen Challenge and serve on the Board of Hume Lake Christian Camps. I enjoy fly-fishing, travel and spending time in the outdoors.

ANYTHING ELSE WE SHOULD KNOW? I offer a prompt and free consultation regarding your injury matter and will give you an honest evaluation on whether I can help you. If I can’t, I’ll do my best to point you in the right direction.

Experience Counts! Accident and Injuries After An Accident, You Need

A TRUSTED LEGAL ADVOCATE ON YOUR SIDE We are committed to guiding you and your family through the challenges that lay ahead

Cleve McKnight (Of Counsel)

Benton McKnight

Hardworking local attorneys known for excellence and integrity. Car Accidents • Truck Accidents • Motorcycle Accidents Wrongful Death • Oil Field Accidents Insurance and Uninsured Motorist Claims



MCKNIGHT AND MCKNIGHT LAW, APC Attorneys - at - Law 305 Truxtun Avenue • Bakersfield, CA 93301 www.mcknightattorneys.com

Promotional Content Torres | Torres-Stallings and Associates • 1318 K St. • 661-326-0857 • www.lawtorres.com



Torres | Torres-Stallings and Associates

Alekxia Torres-Stallings was recently made a law partner. The name of our firm is now Torres | Torres-Stallings and Associates, a professional law corporation. Our firm will continue to provide legal services in the areas of criminal defense and personal injury. Our firm has maintained a federal law practice for over 30 years, much longer than any other firm in this county. We have represented some of the more high-profile federal matters over the years with great success. Our firm continues to provide representation in all federal matters to include major narcotics and complex white-collar cases whether the filing is in California or out of state. We are in court daily on our state criminal defense cases. Our firm is not afraid to take a case to trial if necessary. Over the past years, our firm has tried numerous cases involving homicide, gang allegations, DUI, vehicular manslaughter, major narcotics and white-collar matters with success. Famed criminal defense attorney Clarence Darrow once said, “You can only protect your liberties in this world by protecting the other man’s freedom.” Over the past 32 years, our firm has aggressively protected the freedoms of the accused, whether litigating a Fourth Amendment violation by law enforcement for their execution of a search warrant or excluding a statement

illegally obtained in violation of the Miranda ruling, and, as of recent, defending protesters arrested for practicing their First Amendment rights. We will continue to protect your liberties in the courtroom Alekxia Torres-Stallings and and out. David Torres Our firm also handles personal injury cases representing individuals injured in auto accidents and wrongful death cases. With years of success behind us, we work aggressively with you in mind to achieve the best results. Torres | Torres-Stallings continues its dedication to you and to our community through our profession and our service with both nonprofit and professional organizations.

Over 30 years experience,


ALEKXIA TORRES STALLINGS & DAVID A. TORRES Our office has over 30 years of trial experience in handling misdemeanors and serious felonies in both state and federal courts. This includes all matters from DUI, gang charges, homicide, and all complex federal indictments filed either in California or out of state. We also represent individuals injured in auto accidents or families who have lost a loved one through wrongful death

• You Have The Right to Remain Silent • You Always Have The Right to a Lawyer • It is Legal for the Police to Lie to You • If You Want to Leave and Can’t You are Under Arrest • The Police Have No Power to Promise You Anything • You Do Not Have to Talk to Anyone Without a Lawyer • The Police Do Not Have to Read Your “Rights” to Arrest You • Anything You Say Can and Probably Will Be Used Against You • Say Nothing, Sign Nothing, and Always ask for a Lawyer First

Criminal Defense, State and Federal, Personal Injury. 2019

Best Lawyer 1318 K Street Bakersfield www.lawtorres.com Ofc: 661-326-0857 Cell: 661-301-0123


Bakersfield Life Magazine

July 2020

Promotional Content Burtchaell Law, APC / Bakersfield Law Group LLP • 1430 Truxtun Ave., Fifth Floor • 833-225-6529 • Blake@BurtchaellLaw.com


Burtchaell Law, APC / Bakersfield Law Group LLP Blake “Blakersfield” Burtchaell back in Bakersfield? For the past two years, Mr. Burtchaell has made courthouses across the state of California his second home, collecting in excess of $11 million in 11 trials. But Mr. Burtchaell has missed Luigi’s and Bakersfield College’s tri-tip sandwiches too much, so he has decided to come back home. Mr. Burtchaell’s legal practice focuses on catastrophic injuries and wrongful deaths of folks minding their own business before careless drivers decided to rewrite the final chapters of his clients’ lives. These cases take years of dedication, investigation and grit while holding the big bad insurance companies accountable — and BIG TIME! “My sole focus is finding good people who have had bad things happen to them. My job from that point forward is simple: fight as hard as I can to do the right thing and keep fighting until my clients say to stop.” Mr. Burtchaell is the sole owner of Burtchaell Law, APC, and is a partner at Bakersfield Law Group LLP, created to provide access to justice in Kern County. Mr. Burtchaell is also a trial attorney with the Simon Law Group in the surrounding Los Angeles area. Free consultations anytime and no fees until the bad guys pay!


Blake Burtchaell




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BLAKE@BURTCHAELLLAW.COM www.BakersfieldLife.com


Promotional Content ATTORNEY

Young Wooldridge LLP • 1800 30th St. Fourth Floor • 661-437-3932 • www.youngwooldridge.com


Young Wooldridge LLP


STEVEN TORIGIANI Partner | Environmental and Water Law Steve is a managing partner at Young Wooldridge LLP and has been a member of the firm’s Water Law and Special Districts Department for 27 years. Born and raised in the farming community of Buttonwillow, Steve has unique life experience that he has combined with great technical abilities in the legal and regulatory areas of agriculture, eminent domain, the Endangered Species Act, CEQA and other environmental laws, public agency law,

KEVIN DANLEY Attorney | Estate Planning and Business Law Kevin is an attorney in the firm’s Estate Planning and Business Departments. A Bakersfield native and West High School graduate, Kevin received his B.S. from California State University, Bakersfield. He later earned his Juris Doctor from UC Davis School of Law and was admitted to the California

State Bar in 2003. Kevin practices in the areas of estate planning and business transactions and focuses his time on estate planning and probate matters, as well as business formation and planning. Through his estate planning practice, Kevin helps families protect themselves, their children and plan for future generations. Kevin is passionate about education, having previously worked as both an instructor and administrator for the Kern High School District. He is a regular presenter at the Valley Strong estate planning seminar series and educates members of the credit union and other local organizations on current estate planning information. He provides personalized consultations by phone, video or in-person appointments.

BRETT STROUD Attorney | Water Law and Special Districts Brett joined Young Wooldridge LLP in 2018 and is a member of the firm’s Water Law and Special Districts Department. He now uses his prior experience as a real estate litigator and appellate advocate to serve public agencies and other water user clients navigating the complex challenges of California water.

LAUREN NAWORSKI-SMITH Attorney | Business Law Lauren Naworski-Smith joined Young Wooldridge’s Business Department in 2019. She is a Bakersfield native and graduate from Garces Memorial High School. She went on to UC Santa Barbara, double majoring in political science and communication while minoring in professional writing. 52

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water rights and transfers, and water quality laws. Steve’s specialized practice has focused on working with numerous water agencies locally and throughout the state. Steve provides both general counsel and litigation services for his clients, which include water districts, SGMA Groundwater Sustainability Agencies and Joint Powers Authorities, with groundwater banking projects and surface supplies from various rivers and the state (SWP) and federal (CVP) water projects. Steve likes staying active in the local community. He is a graduate of the Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Bakersfield program, a past board member of the Italian Heritage Dante Association and a member of the Board of Directors for the Water Association of Kern County.

Brett represents the firm’s clients in a wide range of litigation matters, including water rights disputes, CEQA challenges, bond/assessment validations, Prop 218/26 challenges, eminent domain actions, federal takings cases and general business litigation. He also advises clients on, among other things, water rights, groundwater management, reclamation law and public agency law. Brett is active in the legal community. He has served as an adjunct professor of law at Trinity Law School in Santa Ana, where he taught civil procedure, and as a volunteer judge for various moot court competitions.

Following graduation, Lauren split her gap year interning for Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s office in Washington, D.C., and then interning for a private law firm before receiving her Juris Doctor from Pepperdine University. While in law school, Lauren was an active member of the Pepperdine Law Review Journal and interned for both the Arizona Diamondback’s legal department and United States District Judge Hon. Frank R. Zapata. Lauren is proud to be back in her home community, where she is developing her practice in business law.

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Middlebrook & Associates • 8501 Brimhall Road, Suite 404 • 661-636-1333 • www.kerncountydui.com

Middlebrook & Associates tried over 200 DUI trials, with only eight losses in 25 years in practice. Mr. Middlebrook is the only attorney in California who has been named: • Super Lawyer (2012–2019) • AV-Rated by Martindale Hubbell (highest rating available) • Perfect 10 Client Rating on AVVO.com • ACS-CHAL Lawyer-Scientist Designation He is also a founding or sustaining or specialist member of every organization focused on DUI defense in the state of California and nationally.

BUT WHY DO TRIALS MATTER? This is perhaps the best indicator of the experience, quality and knowledge of your attorney. The defendant’s only advantage in negotiations with the prosecution is the ability to take the case to trial successfully. If your attorney constantly threatens but never actually puts their proverbial “money where their mouth is,” they quickly become no threat to the prosecution because the DAs know they will always just “give up” when push comes to shove in a courtroom.

CHECK THE REVIEWS? Yes! Make sure the reviews of your lawyer come from actual clients. Here’s what some of our ACTUAL clients have to say:

Richard Middlebrook

The ABC’s of hiring an attorney when charged with driving under the influence:

AREN’T ALL ATTORNEYS THE SAME? No. It takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at anything. However, in a day of internet marketing, billboard advertising and wordsmithing, any attorney can claim to be “the best” or “agressive” or “trial tested” in about 10 seconds.

LOOK FOR AN ATTORNEY WHO: • Focuses solely on DUI defense • Successfully tries DUI cases • Is a leader nationally in educating lawyers and scientists in the science of intoxication Mr. Middlebrook is the preeminent DUI defense attorney in the Central Valley of California and his practice focuses exclusively on DUI cases. He graduated from the University of California, Davis, School of Law. He has handled more than 6,500 DUI cases and 54

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July 2020

“I called and spoke to several attorneys in Bakersfield before choosing one that was cheaper than Mr. Middlebrook. Shortly afterward, I happened to meet a Bakersfield police officer at a community event who told me that most of the attorneys in Kern County have never even won a DUI trial but, even more importantly, they’ve never actually tried a DUI case before. He recommended that I call Richard Middlebrook. He has 20-plus years of experience in trying hundreds of cases and won a vast majority of them. For me, my future, family and job were on the line and I couldn’t afford not to hire him. I came so close to putting my life in somebody’s hands that didn’t have the experience to handle it!” — Shannon “I was arrested for DUI. I retained an inexperienced lawyer that just wanted to collect a few thousand dollars and plead me out to first offense DUI. It was clearly evident during the DMV hearing I made a serious error in the attorney when I went the cheap route. I spent over 30 years in statewide law enforcement and retired as a chief. I recognized flaws in my case and wanted someone who not only believed in me, but was willing to aggressively attack the prosecution’s case. The prosecution took the case to trial and could not prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. My faith in Mr. Middlebrook kept an arrest for DUI from becoming a conviction for DUI and all that goes with that. Think twice before you go to just any attorney for a DUI case. If you are like me and feel the trauma and fear of the unknown about a DUI arrest, then choose wisely. The police and the prosecutor are not on your side. He will always be on your side and provide the best defense possible from the DMV hearing to trial.” — Bob

A leader in DUI defense throughout California, Richard Middlebrook has been named to the Southern California Super Lawyers list for five years. He remains the only lawyer in California to have also been honored with the Martindale-Hubbell AV rating, an Avvo perfect 10 rating and the ACS-CHAL lawyer-scientist designation. By exclusively assisting those accused of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, Middlebrook dedicates all resources to obtaining unmatched results. He handles each case personally, with the assistance of a dedicated team of attorneys and staff. “Unless we believe we can make a significant difference in your case, we won’t waste your time and resources,” says Middlebrook. The focus on helping one client at a time overcome one of the toughest hurdles in their life has always remained. “We are simply about helping people when they need our help the most,” says Middlebrook.

8501 Brimhall Road, Building 400, Suite 404 Bakersfield, CA 93312 PH: (661) 636-1333 | FX: (661) 636-1343 kerncountydui.com

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Norris Middle School Principal Ryan Carr announces Brookline Sparks' name as she exited her parents' vehicle and collected her diploma.





Bakersfield Matters



My husband and I were 2 ½ years into our well-earned membership in the Empty Nest Club when the Category 5 CoronaStorm hit. We always knew it was subject to change. But never could we have imagined that it would shift in such an unforeseeable way. We were minding our own business, living our regularly scheduled hectic lives, with a spring breaker and a weekend skier drifting through, when our winter of discontent would morph into a lifeless spring, and like a game of musical chairs, wherever we all were at that moment in March was where we would stay, like it or not, for weeks on end. The hourly changes to our daily routines began to give us whiplash. Coronavirus, not a part of anyone’s vocabulary months earlier, now shared sentences with words like “unprecedented” and “social distancing.” Eternally optimistic, we still held out hope that the trip of a lifetime and a graduation would go on as planned. 58

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In the blink of an eye, our nest filled back up. I went from cooking for two to appeasing the finicky interlopers whose ill-fated timing found them cornered once again in their childhood bedrooms. I was now a short-order cook, fighting the rising tide of dirty dishes that never seemed to find their way to the sink, let alone the dishwasher. The washing machine and dryer, in virtual retirement with just two adults in the nest, were jolted out of their slumber as loads of laundry and towels stacked up like trucks on the interstate. It seemed Cinderella and Snow White preferred to use towels just once before discarding them. Only missing our adult son, who sheltered in place at ground zero in Seattle, suddenly it was 2009 again. The grocery list alone with special dietary requests now ran longer than a roll of high-priced and highly sought-after toilet paper. It was a good thing my social calendar had been wiped clean. I now needed every waking hour to stand in line at the supermarket, waiting to get inside

and snake my way through aisles in one direction with other masked-and-gloved zombies wiping down shopping carts like we were washing the car. I’d be lucky to be back home before nightfall. Our newly redecorated living room was doubling as the Bakersfield office of an LA-based company while our middle daughter worked from home. Our kitchen, and this writer’s humble “office” long before the storm, now served as both a makeshift “break room” and a virtual college classroom. Corona-frenia was taking over. I began to wonder whether all the cleaning was even essential. Their childhood home, the one they were averse to inviting groups of friends to in high school, was suddenly their Taj Mahal. But this corona-cane had silver linings. Conversations became longer and more insightful. Walks together through our neighborhood became routine. We played board games, met characters like Joe Exotic, and watched movies and television shows we might not have otherwise. Life had never felt more fragile. But the universe forced us all to stop and smell the roses, and suddenly, life was a little more fragrant. We were thrown together on an uncharted journey to a deserted island. We checked in on loved ones riding the tempest out in solitary confinement. We FaceTimed when we couldn’t hug in real time. Our patience grew, even if there was often congestion at the intersection of the dining room and kitchen. Our family, and our sheltered-in-place son, were gifted an unsolicited amount of time. We used it to read more, connect more and appreciate more. The unexpected reunion, with 2-of-3 back in the nest, recalibrated our priorities and reminded us of what is most important: our health and each other. Thankfully we still have both. In our house, 2020 will be remembered as the year nearly all our grown children returned to the nest. When controlled chaos ruled the day. An almost-reunion we’d never planned. When the universe forced us away from our frenetic lives. I’m grateful for it all, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Opinions expressed in this column are those of Lisa Kimble.



Study Hall

Idea Lab Kids instructors assist their students on their projects.

Idea Lab Kids students



As the education world explores different ways to equip students with knowledge and training, Idea Lab Kids provides an emphasis on STEAM — science, technology, arts and math. “Idea Lab Kids is an after-school enrichment program for kids between kindergarten and eighth grade providing a STEM-based curriculum, like science, technology, engineering and math,” said owner Herbert Liu. Liu said he wanted a jumpstart program for kids to get an early experience before they attend high school and college, where STEM programs usually begin. Liu has also integrated an art program into the curriculum so his students can begin generating creativity. “Art fosters imagination and creativity. When you’re doing innovation, art requires that. You need to be able to stimulate that side of your brain as well,” he said. Though the staff members at Idea Lab Kids are not specialized in a certain area of STEAM, Liu said it’s important for teachers to connect and collaborate with their students. “Even though they’re certified teachers, it’s more important that our staff members work well with children and can engage with them. The kids get more fun out of it,” he said. Liu mentions all projects given to their students are result-oriented so it encourages them in the long run. “There’s a lot of great programs out there geared toward a certain part of STEM. What I like about this program is that


we’re very encompassing in providing (courses) for everything. It gives a chance for kids to try everything out,” said Liu. Idea Lab Kids offers hands-on classes like investigative science, cooking different recipes from around the world, 3D printing and program building. Since the coronavirus pandemic, Liu said the Idea Lab Kids facility has been closed but shifted toward an online program so kids are able to continue to enrich their learning experience. “We put packets together so the kids can meet online through Zoom. It’s an interesting development,” he said. The educational facility reopened to the public on June 1, but with new health guidelines to make it a safe and clean environment for their students, like taking their temperatures upon arrival, running small class with limited students and sanitizing objects before and after use. Parents are able to select the classes they want or choose a monthly membership. Liu hopes to take Idea Lab Kids further by partnering with the school districts so that all schools have a STEAM program for their students. “I’d like to be integrated into our school Idea Lab Kids systems so that kids will get to stay after school 3559 Allen Road, Suite# 104 and give them the 661-339-2413 chance to enrich their www.bakersfield.idealabkids.com minds,” he said.




Our Town

Stuffed animals occupy unused tables at Chef’s Choice Noodle Bar as the restaurant’s dining room operates in limited capacity to adhere to social-distancing guidelines.



After two long months, Bakersfield began showing signs of life. Little by little, restaurants and retail stores reopened their doors and soon after, family entertainment centers, gyms and fitness studios, bars and wineries, and more followed suit. Then came the customers. Kern County entered Stage 3 of California’s four-stage economic reopening plan in early June, marking a huge step toward normalcy during the coronavirus pandemic. While the dining, shopping and entertainment experience may be different due to social-distancing guidelines, it is a welcome change for quarantine-weary residents and business owners. “This has been a whirlwind to say the least,” said Heather Abbott, who owns Bella at The Marketplace. “It has definitely taken me on a roller-coaster ride of emo60

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tions. I have had to talk myself through this situation every step of the way and make strategic short-term decisions to ensure long-term security for my business. It does warm my heart and make me feel so lucky that the community, and more specifically, my customers have been so supportive through all of this. That gives me a lot of drive.” Bella at The Marketplace closed its doors on March 20 and reopened on May 22, offering in-store shopping, backdoor curbside pickup and private shopping appointments to appeal to different types of shoppers. Abbott said she plans to continue to offer backdoor curbside pickup and local delivery because it appeals to some of her customers and makes their shopping experience more convenient. The Bakersfield Racquet Club not only closed its doors, in late March, it was forced to cancel its annual pro tournament, the Bakersfield Tennis Open, three days before it PHOTO BY MARK NESSIA

was scheduled to begin. Director of Tennis Mark Fredriksz said reopening back in May has been a blessing. “We feel we can add a bit of normalcy to people’s lives in a safe way,” he said. “It helps people deal with anxiety and exercise is a great way to help people deal with stress. We play an important role in people’s well-being.” Chef’s Choice Noodle Bar was able to stay open during the stay-at-home order, offering takeout, curbside pickup and delivery while the dining room was closed. Owners Nick and Pum Hansa said they felt it was vital to keep their staff working and receiving their income. Staffing started at 50% of their regular hours in the beginning, but were supplemented with weekly “food care-packs.” Through continued community support, they were able to restore hours to 85% for kitchen workers and 65% for front-of-house staff. Chef’s Choice reopened its dining room on May 20, two months after closing it to the public, adhering to capacity limitations and adding a “fun touch” to the social-distancing guidelines by filling empty booths with large stuffed animals. “Customers have enjoyed some light moments and rediscovering the restaurant dining experience,” Nick said. Despite the uncertainty that lies ahead, Shelby Gerber wasted no time after Kern County allowed bars and wineries to resume operations. The owner of Bottle Shock Wine + Brew in downtown Bakersfield opened her doors for the first time ever on June 8, the culmination of a twoyear journey.

“We were well on our way to finishing so we had to push through,” Gerber said, adding that they would have opened in April had the stay-at-home order not taken place. Gerber understands that customers may be hesitant to visit at this time, but assures them that they are doing everything they can to ensure their safety through frequent hand-washing and cleaning, social distancing and accommodating special requests. “This is going to be our new normal,” Gerber said. “We have to adapt to it.” While business owners say the past two months have been extremely challenging, they have seen continued, as well as newfound, passion for supporting local businesses within the community. They understand that many may still be hesitant to return to their regular routines, but they will be there for them when they are ready. “I believe the current situation has affected customers in a couple of different ways,” Abbott said. “For some, I’ve noticed a focus on supporting local businesses. Though many of these customers were always conscientious about supporting local, this situation has made them even more considerate and passionate about doing so. I am personally eager to return to my prepandemic ways, but I respect that others may not necessarily feel the same way. Though I have made special accommodations at the shop to provide a safe shopping environment, I would rather have someone stay home if they are uncomfortable with the idea of being out and about.”

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Officer Lloyd Galutira of the Delano Police Department



By Erin Auerbach

Registered nurse Sara Lobre commutes more than an hour each way to work in the intensive care unit at Adventist Health Bakersfield. She used to stay with her mother-in-law between shifts to eliminate at least one long round trip to and from her home in Kernville. COVID-19 has changed that. “Before the pandemic, she would also watch my daughter,” Lobre, 39, said. “My poor mother-in-law is lonely, but I can’t risk her health.” Avoiding contact with extended family members, constant cleaning and disinfecting, sometimes sleeping and showering at work, and trying to reassure worried children. Those who serve on the front lines of health care and public safety during the COVID-19 pandemic have had to rethink routines and adjust to new protocols to keep themselves and their families safe. Before emergency room Dr. Kian Azimian, 44, leaves from each of his shifts at Bakersfield Memorial Hospital, he uses disinfectant wipes to clean his phone and stethoscope. 62

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“When I get into the garage at home, I strip down and everything goes into a bin,” he said. “I walk straight to the shower. The first thing I touch is the shower knob.” His three young children know the house rule: No one goes near him until he is clean. Delano Patrol Officer Lloyd Galutira, 38, showers at the police department before going home to his family. He places any uniforms worn or equipment used in a separate bag to sanitize. “I constantly clean and disinfect my hands, the interior of both my patrol vehicle and personal vehicle,” he said. “I practice social distancing from people outside work and home groups.” FAMILY COOPERATION AND SACRIFICE In 18 years of practicing medicine, Azimian has never seen anything quite like this. When it became clear in March that the pandemic would have an impact everywhere, he told his wife, Carrie, that the availability of masks for every single person who came to the hospital might be an issue. So she and her sister Kelly Youngstrom reached out to multiple groups in town and they worked toPHOTOS BY MARK NESSIA, COURTESY OF DIGNITY HEALTH

Bakersfield Memorial Hospital's Dr. Kian Azimian

Adventist Health Bakersfield ICU nurse Sara Lobre

gether to sew more than 2,000 cloth masks, which they brought to the hospital for all nonmedical personnel and visitors. “Every single mask was used,” Azimian said. Ensuring physical safety isn’t the only task. He also has to comfort his children, one of whom expressed her fears that he would contract and die from the virus. “My kids understand enough to be scared and concerned,” he said.

patients helps the medical staff use their personal protective equipment more wisely and efficiently, which Azimian explained is a top priority now.

MAKING ADJUSTMENTS During this time of pandemic, Galutira explained that police officers in Delano are required to wear masks or face coverings when they interact with members of the public and wash their hands thoroughly on a regular basis. The city of Delano provided masks for all of its officers. All urgent calls that are a matter of life and death or are crimes in progress must be answered in person. Less urgent matters are now handled telephonically. Galutira, who has been a police officer for 14 years, said that wearing all the personal protective equipment is an adjustment. “But as police officers, we have to be agile and adapt,” he said. To assist employees who fear putting family members at risk, Adventist Health set up a quiet area in its facility’s meeting rooms with cots and linens. Lobre has slept there occasionally. In the COVID units, they wear N95 masks, face shields, surgical bonnets to cover hair, isolation gowns, booties to cover shoes and sometimes, what they call a bunny suit, which Lobre explained is an additional coverall to protect scrubs. “What a lot people don’t realize is that N95 masks are not one size fits all,” she said. “If you lose 10 pounds, the mask may not fit properly anymore.” Since the pandemic took hold locally, Azimian said the Memorial Hospital has limited the number of visitors. Everyone who walks in — be it patients, visitors or workers — has to get their temperature checked. And everyone has to wear a mask. Separating the COVID patients from the non-COVID

HUMANITY IN THE DIGITAL AGE Health care professionals have had to make another challenging adjustment in the face of the novel coronavirus crisis. Lobre, who has been a registered nurse for more than seven years, said: “I would say the hardest thing for us has been the family visitation restrictions. As an ICU nurse, we’re used to having difficult conversations face to face. Now we have to do it virtually with people who have a lot of uncertainty and fear, which has probably been the most difficult for all of us. It’s not just the COVID-19 patients, it’s everyone in the hospital without the virus. Because of the concerns, we’ve had to restrict visitation for those patients as well.” Like many living through these uncertain times, Azimian uses digital technology to stay in touch with friends and extended family. He also likes chatting with fellow doctors around the country to see how their practices have been affected and adjusted in the face of the pandemic. Azimian’s shifts have actually been shorter because there has been less overall traffic in the ER since the pandemic became a local threat. Returning to the higher number of patients would actually be a sign to him that things are returning to some semblance of normal. But that will not happen overnight. Nor should it, he contends. He hopes that people who want to learn more about the virus and how to stay safe will utilize reliable sources for information. “Coronavirus has become very political. The virus doesn’t care which political party you’re a part of. Your political affiliation won’t protect you,” Azimian said. “If your car was broken, you wouldn’t go to Facebook to fix it. You would go to a mechanic. Please, don’t use (opinions people post on) Facebook and social media as your source of info. Go to the (Centers for Disease Control) or World Health Organization.” www.BakersfieldLife.com






Life at Jameson Ranch Camp has brought joy to generations of children from Kern County and beyond for over 86 years. Just as the camp may be a summer tradition for many, for the Jameson family it represents a living legacy. Jameson Ranch Camp has been a part of the Jameson family since 1934. The Jamesons are one of Bakersfield’s pioneer families dating back to the early 1870s. The family patriarch, William T. Jameson, first settled in Kern County in 1874 in Glennville and in 1876 the family moved to Bakersfield. His son, Frank H. Jameson, was the father of Virginia, Roderick, Muriel, Rex, David and Donald. The camp had humble beginnings. Under the direction of Miss Virginia Jameson, the camp hosted its first group of guests during the summer of 1934. Located on the summit of Greenhorn Mountain, the number of campers was limited to just a dozen children between ages 6–12. Miss Jameson would continue to run the camp until 1938 when her brother Roderick graduated from the University of California, Berkeley. Eventually, Roderick and his wife, Catherine, would take over operations and under their direction the camp would continue to thrive and grow. In fact, it did not take long for the couple to expand the camp when, in 1941, they purchased 500 acres of land. But this was not just any piece of land as it had historical significance to the family. The land that Jameson Ranch Camp continues to sit upon, according to the June 10, 1966, Bakersfield Californian, “once belonged to Jameson’s grandfather, Henry Bohna, son of Christian Bohna, who built the first house in Bakersfield.” On June 7, 1942, Jameson Ranch Camp opened its doors to a new (and the current) location 7 miles from Glennville and about 47 miles from Bakersfield. The couple, along with their 3-month-old son, Connor; Mr. Jameson’s mother, Christine; and others helped host the campers at the new site. While the number of campers continued to grow, so, too, did the variety of activities offered. The most popular was horseback riding, but the children also enjoyed wagon journeys, drawn by two favorite horses named Sage and Jack. They also enjoyed hikes, informal nature study, chores and jobs around the ranch, picnics, cookouts and swimming. Jameson Ranch Camp added a winter session in 1945. Open to boys in grades first through eighth, the winter camp, which took place during the school term, offered a boarding-schooltype ranch program. Activities included horseback riding, caring for the ranch’s animals and winter sports. The Dec. 31,


Bakersfield Life Magazine

July 2020

Jameson Ranch Camp has been a part of the Jameson family since 1934.

1949, Californian informed readers that “the winter camp is especially popular for children of working parents and for those who need routine ranch living or extra tutoring.” Eight decades after welcoming its first guests, Jameson Camp Ranch, now under the direction of Roderick and Catherine’s granddaughter, Erica, along with her parents, Ross and Debby Jameson, and family friend and past camper Caitlin Latta ensure that the family legacy continues to be home for generations of campers to come. CALIFORNIAN FILE PHOTOS


April 2020



Love & Life

The art of Chinese calligraphy

Last Word

Ethnic studies used as a portal for peace


Dining with Dre Visits Vatos Tacos

Around the World in Kern County

Explore the different cultural festivals throughout the area


February 2020




January 2020

November 2019



Dining with Dre

Riding for a cause

Unwraps The Tasty Lunchbox

Fitness journey

A guide for newbies and natives

Dining with Dre Visits Pita Paradise $3.95

Undergoing a lifestyle change for better health

Rhythm & Roots

A community comes together to support those in need

Innovation Lab

Local influencers make their mark

Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride connects community in support of men

Best year ever!

The art of making beer Homebrewing with Temblor

Dining with Dre

How to make 2020 a year based on selflove, self-respect and positive thinking

2020 Car profiles

Latte love with Cloud 9 Coffee Company

Meet some of Bakersfield's



Program unites passionate individuals to redefine, revitalize city’s urban core



SUVs, sedans and more available at local dealerships


Dr. Ravi Patel of Comprehensive Blood & Cancer Center is helping lead the way to better health and wellness for Bakersfield residents. Patel was voted “Best Specialty Doctor” in the 2019 Best Of Readers’ Choice Poll.




September 2019

July 2019



Wrinkles 55 and over on stage

Fun zone Top family attractions, activities

Garces grad

Boots & Bachelors Auction benefiting Homeless Center $3.95

From left, senior partner Matthew Clark, managing partner David Cohn and senior partner James Yoro of Chain | Cohn | Stiles.

social media scooter star

Attorney Profiles Local lawyers spotlighted

Dining with Dre at the

Arizona Cafe $3.95

Dre tastes Dot x Ott

A MAGAZINE MADE FOR YOU. TO ADVERTISE 661-395-7500 advertising@bakersfield.com www.bakersfieldlife.com

TO SUBSCRIBE www.tbcoffers.com/deal/blifeintro

20 40 UNDER

20 Under 40 class of 2019 gather at Tlo Wines Tasting Room.

This year‘s rising stars in the community


Last Word

The Zuniga family



Closing in on 50 years of marriage, we have periodically been asked, “Do you folks know you have a big family?" I was an only child. My father passed away when I was 4 years old and I never thought about having a large family until I met my wife, Marcelle. We’ve always been open to the transmission of life. In 1972, Marcelle and I welcomed our first child. From then on, until 1999, we had eight children total. Yes, that is a lot of children, but “big family” is my point of view. Marcelle has a vision for what she wants in heaven. She wants to be sitting in a rocking chair circled by all of her eight children at the same age. We traveled to St. Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula once because child No. 4 was exploring her educational opportunities. We met with the financial aid counselor. Hoping for assistance. We explained that there were eight children in our family. We were caught off guard by the response: “Well, eight children is on the small side for many of the families who send their kids here.” We never thought that someone would construe our family as on “the small side.” As a one-income family, money was always an issue for us. No, it’s not that we had too much. However, looking back, we can see how God was always there providing for 66

Bakersfield Life Magazine

July 2020

our needs, not our wants. Marcelle has been a constant reminder to me that things will work out. She’s also been a source of amazement through the years. We had two home births and home-schooled our children. Marcelle and I knew they were going to grow up and move away. Some of our children have moved on to Wisconsin, Texas, Oregon and Virginia over the past years, but our nest has never been empty. Three of our 14 grandchildren and our youngest daughter live in Bakersfield. Having a big family comes with a natural dynamic that our nest will never be empty. We always had children in our home. Our family of eight just happened. Seeing our kids move on came naturally to us. Through our entire married life, Marcelle and I had two weeks alone at home. Our lives were always changing and busy, so Marcelle and I were spared the bittersweet moments. Looking back at raising the kids, it wasn’t easy but it was really fun. We all got to be together at the same time, so we can’t wait for heaven. Basil Zuniga grew up in Wasco, and after spending six years serving the U.S. Coast Guard, he moved to Bakersfield in 1979. He is a husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. The views expressed are his own.

Basil Zuniga


We’re ready when you’re ready. Scheduled services and procedures have resumed at Mercy & Memorial Hospitals. If you’ve been waiting to get care, don’t put it off any longer. We’ve increased our safety measures to help protect you during your visit. You can also access the care you need through these convenient options:

Virtual Visits Talk with a specialist or primary care physician over the phone or through a video visit. To get started, go to dignityhealth.org/ourdoctors and click on the ‘Video Visits’ button.

Online Waiting Room Choose an estimated ER arrival time online and wait from the comfort of your home*. Visit dignityhealth.org/ER and select Memorial Hospital, Mercy Hospital Downtown, or Mercy Hospital Southwest. Regardless of how you decide to get care, we’re here now— however you need us.

* Online Waiting Room should not be used for life-threatening emergencies or children under the age of three. Call 9-1-1 immediately for more serious conditions.

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Trust the Locally Owned Dealer who’s been Serving Kern County for over 65 Years!

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1-888-503-8891 Se Habla Español


Profile for The Bakersfield Californian Specialty Publications

Bakersfield Life Magazine July 2020  

The Family / Attorney Profiles issue

Bakersfield Life Magazine July 2020  

The Family / Attorney Profiles issue


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