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Building success in the classroom

Pet Parade

Readers share their favorite pet photos

Advocating for your child

Adding an additional person to your family







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a iends to dventure n r f d ea an r


r G e u m i d m


June 2021

Joys of foster parenting

Jacqueline Arnold, Sara Shouhayib, AJ Zadora and Stella, the golden retriever.


Featured inside: We go on the road with Three-Way Chevrolet!

your votes

Over the past year we have all persevered

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through a challenging time. Through it all, the

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Leading our community in safety. Thank you, healthcare heroes.

safety and care that our healthcare heroes provided to this community remain the same. At Adventist Health Bakersfield we would like to congratulate our entire team for being the only hospital in Bakersfield to receive an A safety rating from The Leapfrog Group eight times in a row. We continue to earn the best safety rating because our nurses, providers and caregivers uphold the highest safety standards, producing results that are among the best. It means you are safe and lives are saved.

Made for more spirit

You were made for more. More moments. More passion. More togetherness. That’s why The AIS Cancer Center brings together oncology experts with the highest accreditations and the very latest technology. We have everything you need from diagnosis to treatment, counseling to healing, all in one location here in Kern County. So you can continue living the life you want, exactly as you see fit.

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Julie Mana-ay Perez PHOTOGRAPHY Brittany Allen Linsee Hennessy Alex Horvath Julie Mana-ay Perez Jacqueline Pilar Rodney Thornburg CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Brittany Allen Josh Bennett Kaleigh Day Carissa Diaz Anna Marie Frank Dianne Hardisty Linsee Hennessy Anthony Jauregui Jessica Jones Lisa Kimble Lyle W. Norton Julie Plata Julie Van Es


FAMILIES. WE ALL HAVE THEM — IN THEIR MANY SHAPES AND SIZES, HOPEFULLY FILLED WITH JOY MUCH OF THE TIME. Our June issue of Bakersfield Life focuses on families, and what better time for that than when we are on the cusp of summer, yearning to spend time with our loved ones and venture outdoors, especially as we emerge bit by bit from our pandemic-induced habits, which kept some — but certainly not all — of us quite close to home. What can we do this summer? Specialty publications designer Julie Mana-ay Perez highlights family adventures both near and far. There’s something for everyone in her list of places to go and things to do. Don’t say nothing’s happening in Bakersfield! What if you’re thinking of adding to your family? Reporter Josh Bennett explores the process of taking a foster child into your family, sometimes with the goal of adoption. What if your child is experiencing difficulty at school? Writer Dianne Hardisty offers a piece on navigating difficult conversations when things aren’t going well in the classroom — for any number of reasons — and also writes about empowering your child to be their own best advocate when that’s a good choice. What if you are preparing for a big move with your family? Realtor Scott Knoeb offers several good tips for making the transition as smooth as possible — because we know it’s not always easy to pick up and plant new roots. But joy

awaits in that new home! What about our pets? Check out our Pet Parade, celebrating the furry felines and canines who bring joy to our lives and are an integral part of our families. (Here’s looking at you, my fabulous felines!) Looking to spend some time cooking? Linsee Hennessy offers a sweet recipe for strawberry-vanilla swirl cupcakes that are sure to please your family. And it’s an activity you can work on together. Ready to send your kids to summer camp? Check out some choices — everything from music to summer learning — for the young people in your life. June is a big time for families. The school year draws to a close. Graduations abound. We celebrate the start of that season, too. It is with our families that we try out our ideas, explore our passions, learn to work with others and sometimes even fail, hopefully with people to help pick us back up. So whether your family is near or far, take some time with them and celebrate what they add to your life.

Christine L. Peterson Executive Editor 661-395-7381

Get social with us! Follow us on social media to get the inside scoop.

LIKE US on Facebook @BakersfieldLifeMag zine FOLLOW US on Twitter @Bakersfield_Lif


June 2021



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June 2021

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JUNE 2021 Vol. 15 / Issue No. 10

UP FRONT Editor's Note Meet our Contributors June shorttakes Pet of the Month What We're Streaming

LIFESTYLES Real Estate Peace of Mind Love & Life Health Feature Business Profil The Marketplace

EAT & DRINK Salty & Sweet Sip & Swirl What's Cooking What We're Loving

GO & DO Entertainment Culture Photo Display

4 10 10 11 12

15 17 20 22 24 26

27 30 34 36



55 56 57

GREAT KERN COUNTY Our Town Personality Bakersfield Ma ters History Giving Back

59 61 62 64 66




A picnic designed by The Picnic Planner Co.'s Cristal Garza features local models AJ Zadora, Sara Shouhayib and Jacqueline Arnold.



June 2021

— Photo by Jacqueline Pilar



Building success in the classroom

Pet Parade

Meet Koda, this year's Grand Marshal, and other pet photos submitted by members of the community!

Advocating for your child's needs in school.

50 Adding to the family

The joys of adoption and knowing what steps to take.


A summer guide

Not sure what activities to do during the summer? Here's a list of places to go near or far!





Anna Marie Frank Anna is a brain health expert, a worksite wellness specialist, published author, lecturer, business owner, and, as if that doesn't keep her busy enough, she's also the mother of two thriving children. Follow Anna and find informa ion on how you can become your best self @HappyWholeYou on Instagram and Facebook.

Lisa Kimble Lisa is an Emmy Award-winning former broadcast journalist who began her career in radio. She's done it all — news anchoring, producing, radio and is one of Bakersfield Life's egular contributors. Lisa has served on countless community boards in Bakersfield such as he Junior League of Bakersfield and has been a Kern County grand ju or, to name a few.

LIFE AND LOVE BY ALIZA MCCARACKEN In Aliza's new book collection is "Life and Love," a story of hope and inspiration to brighten anyone's day. Visit https://aliza-mccracken.square. site for more information.

Lyle W. Norton Lyle is a wine enthusiast and blogger who has written a wine column for 20 years. He incorporates wine into his passion to travel and tries to bring his readers along on the journey. Visit his blog at TRY SCUBA WITH AQUA-NUT DIVERS

Julie Plata Julie is a historian and lecturer at Cal State Bakersfield and Cer o Coso Community College. She has been a contributor to Bakersfield Life Magazine since 2015 and loves to bring the stories of Bakersfiel ’s past to life. When she isn’t digging through the archives, she loves spending time with her family and menagerie of pets.

When: Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021 Where: Bakersfield Raquet Club (1660 Pine St. Time: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. What: Experience an hour and a half under water. All equipment is provided and participants must be at least 10 years old. Cost: $25 RSVP required by email to All proceeds go toward Aqua-Nut divers and their cause to help disabled veterans.

Jessica Jones Jessica is a lifelong resident of Bakersfield, a wife and a homeschooling mom to two teens. She is passionate about her faith, loved ones and our community. Her hobbies include yoga, hiking, fitness, ga dening, thrifting and flipping furnitu e. She loves to write daily in her journal, for her blog, a novel each November for Nanowrimo and now for Bakersfield Life.


June 2021


After the Best Of 2021 issue was sent to print, it came to our attention that the category for Best Of DJ was not included in the May issue. We have added it online. Best DJ DJ Noe G


DJ Danny Hill


DJ Wifey



Partner Content

Pet of the Month


On the cover, we featured a picnic designed by The Picnic Planner Co. owner Cristal Garza (@thepicnicplannerco) along with other small businesses such as Christal Garcia's Sweet n Salty Charcuterie & Cookie Shop (@sweetnsaltyccshop), Chanett Franco's Franco Baked macaroons (@franco_baked) and Jotie Sarao's Deluxx Bites Custom Desserts (@deluxxbites). We also featured many faces like AJ Zadora (@aj_zadora), Sara Shouhayib (thatnewzlady) and Jacqueline Arnold (@witequestrian) all styled by Heather Abbott's Shop At Bella ( And we featured special guest Stella the golden retriever, courtesy of Michele Marie. Location: The Park at River Walk Photographer: Jacqueline Pilar (@jacquelinepilarportraits/@jacquelinepilar)

Breed: Border collie mix ID # A121763 Color: Black and white Sex: Male Weight: 65 pounds

Age: 3 years old Lifestyle: Active Behavior: Friendly to men, women and other dogs. Energy levels: Medium

BAKERSFIELD ANIMAL CARE CENTER 201 S. Mt. Vernon Ave. Bakersfield, CA 9330 661-832-PETS (661-832-7387) Hours of Operation: By appointment only Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.


What We're Streaming


NBC/“Superstore” on Hulu.

Warner Media/“Search Party” on HBO Max.

”SUPERSTORE” (HULU): “Superstore” is a sitcom about a group of strained and mistreated employees working at a multinational retail corporation called “Cloud 9.” The sitcom is not just another workplace comedy, however. It’s brilliant and practical. Stars such as America Ferrera, Ben Feldman, Lauren Ash and Mark McKinney star in this NBC show. Throughout the series, the storylines discuss the reality of the world, like undocumented immigrants, social movements, classism, unionizing and the coronavirus pandemic. Each character carries the show and you find yourself laughing to every scene. Because of the different themes told throughout the series, you see workplace relationships form into a family. All of the employees stand up for each other through each of their tough moments. “Superstore” is a great show for anyone who loves workplace comedies. Every episode is 21 minutes long, and now six seasons deep, you can binge watch this easily. ”SEARCH PARTY” (HBO): I didn’t expect to like this show as much as I did, but in my opinion, I recommend it if you like a storyline with mystery, drama and a lot of dark comedy. “Search Party” is about four young, millennial friends — Dory, Drew, Portia and Elliot — becoming a “Nancy Drew” by attempting to find a missing girl they never personally knew. The story really began with main character Dory just trying to find her purpose in the world while her boyfriend, Drew, worked at Wall Street, Portia achieved her dreams of being an actress and Elliot just being the over-exaggerated gay friend. Dory sees a flyer of a missing person on the street, realizing the person identified on the flyer was her former classmate in college, with whom she never spoke. Dory makes it her purpose to find out what happened to


June 2021

missing girl Chantal as she puts the puzzle pieces together. To say the least, Dory gets herself entangled into Chantal’s disappearance and even gets her friends involved. In the first season, Dory and her friends murder someone thinking they’re protecting Chantal and themselves. In the second season, Dory and her friends experience trauma because of the murder. In season three, Dory gets arrested and feels major guilt. In season four, Drew, Elliot and Portia try to rebuild their lives and move on, but the only one haunted by their past is Dory. A common theme within this series is friendship. As much trouble as Dory has caused, Drew, Elliot and Portia always seem to save Dory and continue to emotionally support each other through their difficult times. “Search Party” is filled with a lot of drama but in between every scene, Portia and Elliot carry the show with their comedic personalities. Every season gets more intense than Warner Media/“Search Party” the last because of the hole Dory on HBO Max. digs for herself. This HBO show is a series worth adding to your watchlist if you’re into dark humor and mystery because the entire time, you don’t know what will happen next and it’ll have you at the edge of your seat.



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LIFESTYLES Partner Content

How to prepare for a big move By Scott Knoeb


AND FOR MANY PEOPLE, MOVING IS AN EXPERIENCE YOU ONLY WANT TO DO ONCE! However, many helpful tips can make your move a lot more enjoyable. The most important tip is to create a checklist and have a folder on hand. The checklist is to make sure you do not forget any of the many tasks you will need to complete, and the folder is to keep all your contracts, receipts and any documentation regarding your move. The next step is to throw away or donate anything you no longer need in your home. Most people live Scott Knoeb in their homes for more than seven

years. Decluttering ensures you do not end up with a pile of trash or unused items at your new home.Utilities are a must! It is best to start these tasks weeks before your move date. You do not want to wait three weeks to have your gas turned on after you have already moved into your new home; it does happen. This is also the time to order movers or a moving truck. The more you prep in advance, the smoother and more satisfying your moving week will be. Now, it is time to start packing up your house. Call your friends and family members who owe you a favor or want to help. The more help you get, the less stressful moving will be. You also want to have cold drinks, breaks, and food for everyone on hand. Once you are ready to go, start with the boxes and then break down the furniture. Ensure every box is labeled; the more information you » See more on home life on PAGE 16



Lifestyles write on your boxes, the more organized you will be when you get to your new home. You will want to inspect each container for damage and make sure they are well taped. The move is on! When packing the boxes in the vehicle or trailer, put the heaviest boxes down first to protect any boxes filled with fragile items. Once you arrive at your new home, begin with the furniture before unloading the boxes. Putting together a bed in a room full of boxes can be frustrating, so make sure you have plenty of room to work. You also want to take your time while setting up your new home. It is much easier to organize your house initially rather than move things around later. Lastly, remember to smile and enjoy the moment. Even though moving itself is not the most incredible experience, buying a new home is. After all, homeownership is the American Dream! Scott Knoeb is a past Chair of the California Association of Realtors Expo Committee and the Kern County Heritage Commission. He serves as Director for the Bakersfield Association of Realtors Charitable Foundation. He has also served as Chair of Strategic Planning and Finance, Chair of the Bakersfield Ronald McDonald House, and Chair for the Kern County Heritage Commission. Following in the footsteps of his father, David Knoeb, Scott is part-owner and Realtor for the family’s business, Frontier Real Estate Services, Inc.


June 2021

Peace of Mind

Why do we hold on? By Anna Marie Frank

» OUR GLASS CAGE. Life is funny. More often than not, we go about life “playing it safe,” which means, repressing your fears. You really give up a lot because you’re handcuffed to your fears that are paralyzing you, all in order to avoid facing those fears. I used to “play it safe” too, and only recently began to grasp the fact that by doing so, I’d put myself in a glass cage. I can see outward but can only go so far. I realize that so many others do the same thing and I wonder: Why do we do this? I guess we think that if we don’t go to certain “dark” or “uncomfortable” places where the fear resides in our own minds, everything will be OK. We just have to stay in the glass cage and not cross certain boundaries. Wrong! The glass cage we have put ourselves in is a false safety zone and we are really not OK. Press too hard on the glass and it will break, and we all know how dangerous cut glass is. But what if we leave the glass cage behind? Maybe we’ll have greater success ... even fly! The fact is that the glass cage doesn’t serve us well. As we become wiser, we realize that the very things we do to “play it safe” and “protect” ourselves are often the very things that harm us! The mechanisms of protection we layer ourselves with are varied. Repressing our fear is one way we try to protect ourselves. Think of how you may have held on to a relationship that no longer served you. Why did you hold on to it? Maybe because you feared the alternative of loss and being alone? But what if by letting go, you soon find yourself in a healthier, more compatible relationship? Interestingly, the truth is that holding on to fear creates blockages in your energy field. It also lowers your vibration, your frequency! Releasing negative energies (toxic people, things, thoughts, emotions) opens you up to receiving people, things, thoughts, emotions and opportunities that vibrate at a higher frequency. We all vibrate at a specific frequency. The lower the frequency, the more heavy and dense the vibration is. The higher the frequency, the lighter and more energetic we feel. The good news is that we actually get to choose our frequency with our thoughts. Positive thoughts create a higher vibration. Negative thoughts and fearful thoughts create a denser, heavier frequency that weighs us down. So, it is no wonder we get stuck in the glass cage. The not-so-good-news is that the longer we stay in the glass cage, the lower our frequency becomes and the heavier we feel. It’s what makes us feel stuck. But we never are really stuck; we just need to start thinking positive thoughts. That will raise our vibration and lighten us up so that we move forward. Let’s take a simple example. Say you trip and fall. (I hope not!) You immediately start complaining. You tell everyone you know, “I started off the morning with a fall. What a crappy day! And I still hurt.” Chances are that as your day continues, it will unfold in the worst way. “I had the worst day today. PHOTO COURTESY OF ANNA MARIE FRANK

The entire day was crap and everything was yucky! It started when I fell.” Soon your coworker is complaining about all the negative things in her life, too. Uhhhhh!!!! Now imagine that you fall and immediately get yourself back up, dust yourself off, grab some ice for your knee, maybe laugh at how clumsy you are. Then you go on with your day grateful that you’re OK and your injury wasn’t worse! This latter thought pattern keeps you vibrating at a higher frequency, which in turn attracts high vibrational energy. After all, like attracts like. If we can all set our fear aside and realize that fear exists at a very low vibration that prevents us from flying high, we can start to break free from the glass cage we have put ourselves in. Over the last two decades I had put myself in a glass cage. I told myself, “Just play it safe; get a job, get insurance, and blah-blah-blah.” But what if instead of just playing it safe, I had told myself, “Do what you love, help others, follow your purpose. Be who you are meant to be and be proud of who you are!” Wowzers! If there had been a class we all could have taken as a kid that taught us to be free of our fears and fly … can you imagine? Instead, what we got was the fears of others projected onto us. So, from a very young age we are all programmed to be safe. “Play it safe, get a job, get insurance, and, by the way, government jobs are really super secure.” That’s the stuff that was programmed into us. It’s what was programmed into me as far back as I remember. Why? Because my parents’ fears were being projected onto me. They feared not having enough, not having job security, not having insurance, and their fear became my fear. “Avoid doing what you love if it doesn’t include all these things!” Barf! Well, I allowed my parents’ fears to drive me all of my adult life — until a few months ago. Now I actively remind myself that working for myself, doing what I love to do, and making a difference in the world, is OK! I mean — geez! — I have to remind myself and give myself permission to be the amazing human I was meant to be! Reprogramming yourself takes time and work! It doesn’t happen overnight but it starts changing as soon as you recognize your glass cage and the programing that has been downloaded into you and your mind. So, please, use this as a reminder to be you, follow your passions, and break through that glass cage. The world deserves to have the true you. To free yourself you must find out who you truly are! The opinions expressed in this column are those of Anna Marie Frank.



Visit your local neighborhood businesses and get to know the owners behind each brand of family-owned and operated favorites like Nutrishop, Lengthwise Pub, Rocket Fizz, and Just Wing It.


Rocket Fizz

Meet Howard and Michelle Kinnick, owners of the Bakersfield franchise Nutrishop. As Bakersfield natives who have always been passionate about health, nutrition and fitness, Howard and Michelle reinvented themselves to what they both felt fit their lives and followed their shared passion together to open Nutrishop Bakersfield in 2018. When visiting the Bakersfield location, customers will find either one or both Howard and Michelle, along with their two dogs, Chance and Shiloh, for assistance. Howard and Michelle love meeting new customers and having a mutual connection of getting healthy. Their best-selling items are the general health and wellness products, the monthly transformation challenges, and the complimentary lnBody Body Composition Analyzer. Customers will experience unparalleled service, with exclusive brands of cutting-edge nutritional supplements and guaranteed low prices. Stay up to date with monthly specials and new product alerts on Facebook and lnstagram, @NutrishopBakersfield. For more information, call 661-885-7444 or visit Located at 9000 Ming Ave Suite T3, Bakersfield, CA 93311.

Meet Enrique and Maritza Ruiz, owners of the Bakersfield franchise Rocket Fizz, who will be celebrating their store's one year anniversary at The Marketplace on June 17, 2021. Prior to opening their business, Enrique and Maritza both served in the United States Marine Corps. They discovered Rocket Fizz through an Undercover Boss episode and decided to visit the national candy store themselves where they immediately fell in love with the experience of going down memory lane and decided they wanted a store of their own. The Marketplace Bakersfield location has over 2,000 different types of candy, over 500 flavors of soda pop including 50 different flavors of Root Beer and specializes in custom gift baskets that can include novelty candy, soda pop, gag gifts, tint signs, and more. Their best-selling items include their extensive variety of saltwater taffy in over 80 flavors, bottled cane sugar soda pop, tin signs, along with nostalgic candies such as Necco Wafers, Pop Rocks, BarNone Chocolate Bars, and Cherry Mash. For more information, call 661-564-8005 or visit Located at 9000 Ming Ave Suite E4, Bakersfield, CA 93311.

Lengthwise at The Marketplace

Just Wing It

Meet Darin Schwicker, co-owner of Lengthwise at The Marketplace, a gastropub that features all the signature Lengthwise Brewery brews and a full, sought-after menu. With a combined 60 years of experience, co-owners Darin and Jeff Williams decided to open their third location at The Marketplace in the fall of 2012. As California State University, Bakersfield alumni, opening a location adjacent to the college campus simply made sense. The two have been lifelong friends with a love for good beer, good food, and great friendships. Decorated in reclaimed wood, stainless steel, and CSUB sports memorabilia, Lengthwise at The Marketplace is the perfect location for grabbing a bite before a movie or after a class. Customers will partake in the mix of handcrafted ales, modern pub professionalism, and Lengthwise's hometown atmosphere. For more information, call 661-665-2537 or visit Located at 9000 Ming Ave Suite T1, Bakersfield, CA 93311.

Meet Jerry and Charlene Stueve, owners of Just Wing It and Bakersfield franchise locations Cold Stone Creamery and Baja Fresh, all located within The Marketplace. The food service industry was a new concept to Jerry and Charlene, so they decided that owning a franchise business was the best way to start. In 2007, they took over Cold Stone Creamery, and Baja Fresh in 2011. In 2015, Jerry and Charlene took over Just Wing It, where they have been able to create customized items such as their family recipe of bacon-wrapped jalapefios which has quickly become a customer favorite. Growing up in Bakersfield, their four children each had the opportunity to work in the family-run businesses gaining valuable work experience and cherished memories along the way. Jerry and Charlene have enjoyed building relationships with the Bakersfield community over the years and are grateful for the patience and tremendous support they received this past year. For more information, call 661-847-9464 or visit Located at 9000 Ming Ave Suite E5, Bakersfield, CA 93311.

9000 Ming Avenue, Bakersfield, CA 93311 •


AT THE MARKETPLACE BAKERSFIELD The Marketplace Bakersfield is where you can find the best local eateries, shops and services. If you are looking to grab a quick bite to eat, enjoy quality time with friends and family, or find the perfect Father's Day gift, The Marketplace has everything you need and more.

Rocket Fizz A Walk Down Memory Lane

Edwards Cinemas Movies are Back!

Relive your childhood with nostalgic candies and pass on the memories to your kids and grandkids. Rocket Fizz has something sweet for all generations.

Celebrate with a friends or family day at the movies and catch the newest summer blockbuster. Sit back, relax and enjoy the show.

Just Wing It Your Go-To Sports Bar Enjoy quality time with friends and family while watching your favorite live sports entertainment. From a variety of menu items including fresh wings, chicken strips, gourmet burgers, flatbread pizzas, and happy hour specials, Just Wing It is an ultimate summer destination.

Lengthwise at The Marketplace Bakersfield's Best Microbrewers With over 20 brews on tap and an extensive food menu, Lengthwise is the perfect location to visit after a long day of shopping, before your movie, or to celebrate a passing grade. Plan your summer nights here and make unforgettable memories with friends and family.

Tahoe Joe's Famous Steakhouse


Dinner for Two for $60

Your Healthiest Summer Yet

Ditch the kitchen and order from his favorite local steakhouse. Start with an appetizer to share, then choose between Joe's Steak, Prime Rib, or Joe's Style Roasted Chicken, and finish with a slice of Nevada Cheesecake.

Enjoy the sun and take your workout outside! Whether you are just getting started with your fitness journey or are an experienced fitness enthusiast, Nutrishop is committed to assisting customers in getting desired results through top-quality nutritional supplements. Home to over 50 great shops and eateries featuring


Bakersfield to 66866 for exclusive offers

Love & Life

Summer Dreamin’ By Jessica Jones


TIME FOR SUMMER, AND I DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU, BUT OUR HOUSEHOLD IS VERY EXCITED, ESPECIALLY OUR TEENS. I think our family is more excited about this summer than any other because, like most things, we didn’t know what we had until it was gone. As we imagine all that summer can hold, I have made my “Summer Fun” list, so I thought I would share a few ideas with you. Our list includes activities and ideas for family time, date night out, and even some solo activities if you enjoy your alone time. The Bakersfield Train Robbers are selling tickets for their summer baseball games, beginning the second week in June. They start at $10 per ticket. And if you buy a 10-pack of tickets, you get an even better deal. Who can forget about our local museums, art galleries, symphony, concerts, ice cream shops, roller rinks and more? City pools and spray parks are opening on time this year. Movie theaters are open and offer summer movies for kids at great prices. The kids and I enjoy going to the library often during the summer. Our local libraries usually have a summer reading program for kids. All they have to do is sign up, read, log their hours, and they’ll get a bag of goodies that often includes local coupons for more free goodies. And who doesn’t love summertime food? Try having picnics with friends at local parks. But instead of lunchtime picnics, because of the heat, have a picnic brunch. Sugar


June 2021

Twist Bakery has a variety of brunch treats. Need to get out of the heat? Take a day trip to the Aquarium of The Pacific, the Santa Barbara Zoo, and the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. They are open to the public and would make a great family outing or date. Just make your reservations online ahead of time to ensure entry. California has so many beautiful and fun beaches. Avila Beach offers hiking near the ocean, Avila Barn for the kiddos, Central Coast Aquarium, and the beach nearby. Morro Bay has a natural history museum. You can take a relaxing kayak adventure around the bay and afterward go to The Shell Shop. The Park at River Walk offers a place for the kids to fish and play. Bakersfield also has multiple lakes to choose from for fishing, swimming, water skiing, and tubing like Ming Lake, Buena Vista Lake, Lake Truxtun and Hart Park Lake. California Living Museum is just a short drive. Surrounding hiking trails near the bluffs make a great early morning adventure, especially if you need an hour or two for yourself to recharge. Yes, we will have many opportunities to get out, have fun, and explore, so it’s also a good idea to rest and take advantage of the long days. I know our family will take time to enjoy new books, lay around the house and pool. For more ideas, check out my blog, The opinions expressed in this column are those of Jessica Jones. PHOTOS COURTESY OF JESSICA JONES


Going for the goal

Stephanie Santos reflects on her fitness journey, helps others find success with their health By Julie Mana-ay Perez


BUT IT’S EVEN MORE DIFFICULT TO ALTER YOUR MENTALITY. Stephanie Santos was one of those people who wanted to introduce a healthy lifestyle in her routine and found more purpose along the way — finding confidence and wanting to help others going through the same thing. The Bakersfield native is an East High School alumna who graduated from Fresno Pacific University. She said her academic achievements were the only way she could stand out from the crowd. Focused on academia, Santos never saw her health as an issue but as she got older, she realized she needed something more in her life other than her career. “I was doing a lot of personal development, like reading a lot of books. I joined book clubs, mastermind groups and attended leadership conferences. I tried to be the best version of myself, but my career can only take me so far,” she said. Santos began looking at her life from a different perspective. She wanted to take her physical and mental health seriously, so she began her weight loss journey in 2018, when she would lose 13 pounds. Similar to others who go through their fi ness journeys and aren’t consistent, Santos gained back those 13 pounds. She began investing her time into running and eventually ran a half-marathon in Ventura. In total, Santos has tackled 13 races. And sometimes, she’s created her own races and finish lines. “It was so scary for me to do that because it was such a huge goal. I learned so much about myself in that training process. After the marathon, I thought that this was great and I did it for myself, but I wanted to help other people do what I did,” she said. Going through her weight loss journey made her realize she wanted to help other people reach their goals. Santos now coaches women in their wellness journeys to alter their mental and physical health.


June 2021

Stephanie Santos

“This is not just about me anymore. I have a responsibility to come alongside other women and help them do the same thing,” she said. “It all started with a small seed of ‘what would happen if I lost 10 pounds?’ and it has evolved to 40 and 50 pounds. How can I help other people do the same thing?” She admits that exercising was challenging, in the beginning, but learning how to overcome the pain would help her grow mentally and physically. “There was a trainer I liked and he would talk about if you have tension and pressure, lean into it. I took that as a mantra in my life. If I have pain, I lean into it because that’s where you grow and become a better person for yourself,” she said. One of the biggest challenges Santos needed to conquer was comparing herself to others. For people experiencing their weight loss journeys, she recommends finding workouts that one would enjoy, like dancing, walking or running. “Be realistic with your goals, too. I knew I only had 30 minutes MORE in the morning and I could do INFORMATION that every day,” she said. “You Follow Stephanie on don’t have to compare your Instagram @stephsantos88 to start your health journey. journey to anyone else’s. This is your own journey. Show up every single day, even when you PHOTOS COURTESY ANDY AND DONNA WAHRENBROCK

don’t want to and trust the process.” Santos said her husband, Daryl Dean Santos, has been supportive and has always inspired her to be the best version of herself. “He would read a lot and he always wanted to be the best version of himself. Now I want all of that. He challenges me to do the marathons. He’s my biggest cheerleader. He’s confident in who he is that he allows me to step out and gives me that self-asStephanie Santos and her husband, surance,” she said. Daryl Dean Santos. Looking toward the future, Santos is interested in doing more races in places such as Hawaii, Southern California and San Diego. For now, her goal is to continue helping other people reach their fi ness goals. “I find so much joy in helping other people do it for themselves by changing their mindset and get them on a plan that works for them. That’s what I’m excited about — giving back and building confidence and self-worth for these people,” she said.


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Promotional Content HOW LONG DOES THE PROCEDURE TAKE AND WHAT IS INVOLVED? The procedure of harvesting your own bone marrow and injecting the bone marrow concentrate that has been prepared by centrifugation and separation of the stem cells from the other components and then reinjection of the product takes about an hour and half. At Pueblo Surgical Center, affiliated with our orthopedic office, we utilize a light general anesthetic so that there is no discomfort to the patient and they generally awaken refreshed and without pain. IS THERE A DOWNTIME LIKE THERE IS WITH TRADITIONAL ORTHOPEDIC SURGERIES? Post-injection patients can resume essentially normal activities with the exception that they avoid strenuous physical activity for 48 hours. FOR WHAT TYPES OF INJURIES OR CONDITIONS DOES STEM CELL THERAPY WORK BEST? Stem cells are used in many different medical specialties. In orthopedics and musculoskeletal medicine orthobiologics (the use of stem cells and PRP) is utilized for arthritic joints such as hips and knees in order to attempt to avoid joint replacements. That also holds true for shoulder and back problems. Rather than injecting steroids for back pain, we prefer to use a combination of BMAC (Bone Marrow Aspirate Concentrate) and PRP, which has stronger anti-inflammatory qualities and potentially long-term regenerative capacity rather than the antimetabolic effects of corticosteroids.

THE SECRETS OF STEM CELLS WHAT EXACTLY ARE STEM CELLS AND HOW DO THEY WORK TO REPAIR VARIOUS BODY TISSUES? Stem cells are cells found in human bone marrow and adipose tissue primarily that have the capacity to transform into other types of tissue that may have been damaged and are in need of repair. We are most interested in their ability to transform into musculoskeletal tissue that has been worn away or damaged. HOW LONG HAS THIS THERAPY BEEN AVAILABLE? Utilizing adult pluripotent stem cells in musculoskeletal problems such as arthritis has been developing for many years. However, the field of orthobiologics, which encompasses primarily the use of stem cells and blood products such as PRP (platelet rich plasma) has been popularized only in the past 10 years.


June 2021

HOW DO YOU DECIDE IF SOMEONE IS A CANDIDATE FOR STEM CELL THERAPY? If an individual is suffering from joint pain or back pain, they are generally likely to be a candidate if it can be determined that the cause is arthritis or degenerative joint disease. Orthobiologics are also useful adjuncts to arthroscopic shoulder surgery in order to hasten the healing of rotator cuff injuries. WHAT DO YOU SEE HAPPENING WITH SCT IN THE NEXT 5 TO 10 YEARS? There has been some reluctance by a part of the orthopedic community to fully embrace orthobiologics as a major tool in the therapeutic armamentarium in part because it eliminates some of the surgical procedures that are the mainstay of an orthopedic surgeon’s livelihood and in part because it is new and the clinical research is still in progress on its efficacy. Once those issues are resolved, I believe that utilization of biologic solutions to address mechanical orthopedic problems will be well accepted and utilized extensively to avoid major surgical procedures. The insurance industry has been slow to embrace this area of medicine, which I believe will significantly change in the not-too-distant future. We are at the early stages in the evolution of harvesting the human body’s own capacity to heal More itself. This area of medicine will information continue to grow and eliminate Scheinberg Orthopedic more aggressive solutions to bone Group and joint problems such as metal 1914 Truxtun Ave. and plastic implants. It stands to 661-430-9050 reason that biologic solutions are better than bionic ones.

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June 2021

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EAT & DRINK Meet one of the owners, Mike Earhart

Elevate your taste buds with Wiki’s Wine Dive & Grill By Brittany Allen, Julie Mana-ay Perez and Julie Van Es

» IF THERE’S A JOINT THAT DAZZLES ITS CUSTOMERS, IT’S WIKI’S WINE DIVE & GRILL. Known for being one of Bakersfield’s best happy hour and brunch spots, Wiki’s has continued to elevate its menu and business to attract more customers. Since opening in April 2013, owners Mike Earhart and Rick Peace have never been afraid to change and adapt,

from introducing different dishes to uplifting Wiki’s dinein experience. Earhart said one of their goals is to set Wiki’s apart from other local businesses. “It’s all about demographics and what your approach is at a restaurant,” he said. “We wanted to incorporate a fine dining experience with live music and a place to bring » See more Salty & Sweet on PAGE 28.



Salty & Sweet


rea i's garlic cheese b


Wiki's Wine Dive & Grill serves up a variety of options from healthy fare to loaded entrees.

and laugh with your friends.” Wiki’s Wine Dive & Grill offers a variety of options from light fare to its entrees and beverages, but the one thing that makes it different from other eateries is its unique twist to every dish and drink. APPETIZERS WIKI’S GARLIC CHEESE BREAD JULIE VAN ES: This pull-apart cheese bread was divine. Cheesy, buttery and a hint of garlic. Need I say more? The toasty bread round is easily a crowd-pleaser. BRITTANY ALLEN: Wiki’s garlic cheese bread is a bread bowl of deliciousness! It’s an amazing appetizer stuffed with a creamy and cheesy garlic filling with a slight kick. And there’s marinara dipping sauce to match the deliciousness. JULIE MANA-AY PEREZ: If there’s one thing I love eating, it’s good bread for the table. Share this entree with your party because it’s a big plate of toasted, garlic, gooey cheese sensation. Try it with a side of the signature marinara sauce and it’s the perfect appetizer to start the night!

Santa fe quinoa salad


June 2021

LIGHT AND HEALTHY FARE SANTA FE QUINOA SALAD JVE: Now, I don’t normally go for quinoa in any of my dishes, but this salad had all of my other favorite ingredients, so I gave it a shot, and boy am I glad I did. The arugula, corn, black beans, avocado and quinoa all meshed nicely with one another and the champagne vinaigrette really brought the salad home. BA: The santa fe quinoa salad is perfect for those who are

Julie Van Es, Brittany Allen and Julie Mana-ay Perez

One of Wiki's specialities is its assortment of drinks.

Julie Van Es and Brittany Allen

Strawberry salad

healthy eaters. It was plated with fresh arugula, quinoa and avocados. It was just the beginning of this deliciously healthy salad. STRAWBERRY SALAD JMP: One of the things I’ve been trying to do is eat healthier dishes at restaurants when I can. Plated with fresh spring mix, sit dried cranberries and strawberries topped with feta cheese and balsamic and champagne vinaigrette. Can you say the perfect pairing? BA: This is something I would never order from a menu, but this was handsdown one of my favorite dishes from the day. The flavor had an amazing pair of sweet and savory. The vinaigrette wine dressing paired perfectly with the sweet strawberries and cranberries. The chicken was tender and juicy. This is the perfect summer salad for those health-conscious people with a sweet tooth. JVE: This salad is the definition of sweet and savory! It was dressed with a beautiful vinaigrette that complemented the spring mix and perfectly grilled chicken. The strawberries were the real treat, making every bite more refreshing than the last. The cranberries and the feta sprinkled throughout completed the dish, making it one of my favorite summer salads. ENTREES CAJUN SHRIMP PASTA JVE: I am a pasta junkie and this Cajun shrimp fettuccine is a pasta lover’s dream dish. It was by far one of the best dishes I’ve had. Every bite was full of flavor. The pasta was cooked perfectly al dente, and the Alfredo sauce had just the right amount of spice and hint of garlic. The sun-dried tomatoes added a wonderful flavor and nice texture to the pasta. The shrimp was perfectly cooked and really topped off this dish. JMP: Just like Julie Van Es, I love anything that has to do with pasta. I never thought to order a pasta dish here. Boy, was I wrong. This Cajun shrimp pasta was one of the best pasta dishes I’ve had in this city. I couldn’t get over the flavor of the Cajun Alfredo sauce with the ten-

der shrimp and yummy noodles. BA: This was such a great dish! I am not a fan of any kind of seafood, but I would order this plate! The sauce is a perfect creation with a slight kick — not too spicy, so even those with a softer palate can enjoy the Cajun flavor, too. There was a generous amount of shrimp without overpowering the dish with a shrimp fl vor. BEEF BOURGUIGNON JVE: This was my first time having beef bourguignon. The plate had a beautiful presentation — loaded with carrots, potatoes and green beans with the beef smack dab in the middle as the star of the show. The beef was extremely tender and melted in your mouth. The green beans gave the dish a wonderful crunch, which was a nice surprise. It was all marinated together with a wonderful wine sauce. BA: The beef bourguignon is pot roast with a twist! The beef was tender and juicy with a side of lightly cooked fresh green beans paired with a delicious wine sauce — everything you want from a pot roast, but so much more. DRINKS LEMON DROP MARTINI JVE: I think Happy Hour was invented with this lemon drop in mind. It had just the right amount of sweetness and still had a bit of a kick. POMEGRANATE MARTINI BA: This drink was full of summer flavor. The tart, sweet pomegranate pairs well with the flavor of tequila. If you want a summer drink that is not too sweet, this is the drink for you! APEROL SPRITZ JMP: One thing I like about Wiki’s is its drink menu. A lot of their drink offerings are fresh, fruity and taste different every time. Their aperol spritz was so refreshing yet had this carbonated taste that’ll make you forget you’re even drinking something alcoholic. PINEAPPLE MIMOSA JVE: This mimosa made me feel like I was on a tropical vacation! The splash of pineapple added to the champagne was a wonderful pairing.

More information

Wiki’s Wine Dive & Grill 11350 Ming Ave., #260 661-399-4547 Wiki’s Wine Dive & Grill also provides live music from Friday to Sunday.


Sip & Swirl

Drew Nenow’s wines honor family and Paso Robles terroir By Lyle W. Norton Winemaker Drew Nenow


DUCERS LIKE SAXUM, TABLAS CREEK AND TH CELLARS FORGED A PATH FOR CALIFORNIA RHONE VARIETALS AND OPENED DOORS FOR THE NEXT GENERATION. One such story comes from an emerging family winery where everyone involved has another full-time job. Following a pedigree in wine production, Nenow Family Wines combines the unique characteristics and skills of a blended family to produce high quality, terroir-driven Rhone blends and varietals. At the core of the effort is Drew Nenow, a young winemaker who believes in exposing what he describes as “the truth of the fruit” and has learned to trust the terroir. Drew currently serves as the full-time winemaker at Onx Wines, another local producer of California Rhones. He is a graduate of the Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo enology program and met his wife, Andie, while he was there. Drew speaks of his close family, knit together through divorce and remarriage. As children, he and his step-sister, Tracie, were always surrounded by family in the wine industry. Following a tradition, Drew and Andie Nenow partnered with Mike and Tracie Roesbery in 2017 to start Nenow Family Wines. Their wine labels honor an ancient art form and also serves as a metaphor for their family. They depict Kintsugi, the centuries-old Japanese art of piecing together broken

Appointment-only tasting room on Peachy Canyon Road in Paso Robles.

pottery pieces with gold and transforming it into something new. A love of Alsatian wines was the inspiration for the 2018 Nenow “Tightrope” Viognier ($30), a vibrant single varietal from the nearby Willow Creek District, rich in limestone. The name pays homage to Tracie, whose life, while raising three children and managing three businesses, is like walking a tightrope.

The Kintsugi-inspired wine labels and the feathers of the “Eleven.”


June 2021


Grenache is Drew’s favorite varietal to work with and is one that I also favor. Fruit for the 2018 Genache Alta Collina Vineyard ($50)is sourced from a highly elevated vineyard with maximum sun exposure and diurnal temperature swings that allow the fruit to fully ripen. The grapes are 25 percebt whole-cluster pressed, which gives the wine a nice mid-palate fruitiness. The flavors and opulent texture are balanced with natural acidity. The Alta Collina Vineyard sources the grenache for the 2018 Nenow Elevens ($45) to blend with syrah and a hint a viognier. Spice and baked fruit aromas lead to concentrated fruit flavors and healthy tannins that remain through the finish. The number eleven, like the wine, is balanced, and serves as a reminder that everyone at Nenow Family Wines has more than one job. The last wine tasted was the 2017 Nenow Bien Nacido Vineyard Syrah ($50), sourced from iconic Santa Maria vines. The smokey licorice notes on the nose are classically Bien Nacido. There is an earthy quality to the palate with balanced flavors of ripened fruit and pepper spice. The family team plans to grow their business with a deliberate and sustainable approach while Drew continues his relentless search for the perfect fruit. They have recently opened a tasting room on Peachy Canyon Road in Paso Robles and their membership program will expand with the growth of their portfolio. Teamwork and Drew’s commitment to liberate the “truth of the fruit” will serve them well. The opinions expressed in this column are those of Lyle W. Norton.

Nenow “Elevens,” "Bien Nacido Syrah" and “Tightrope" Viognier.

Drew, his wife Andie and baby are hard at work.

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Eat & Drink


June 2021


Strawberry-vanilla swirl cupcakes By Linsee Hennessy

INGREDIENTS: STRAWBERRY FILLING: • 2 cups chopped strawberries • 1/4 cup water • 1/3 cup sugar • 2 tablespoons cornstarch • 1 tablespoon lemon juice CUPCAKES: • 1 tablespoon white vinegar • 1 cup milk • 1 cup softened butter • 1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar • 4 eggs • 1 tablespoon vanilla • 2 and 3/4 cup flour • 1 tablespoon baking powder • 1/2 teaspoon salt FROSTING: • 1 cup butter- softened • 4 cups powdered sugar • 2 teaspoon vanilla • 1/4 cup milk or heavy cream






RECIPE: STEP 1: Prepare your strawberry filling. Simmer strawberries, lemon juice and 1/4 cup of water in a saucepan on medium heat stirring often. You may need to mash the berries a bit as they cook. Once the berry mixture appears to have come together, add sugar and cornstarch. The sauce will thicken. Once it has the consistency of a jam, turn off the heat and set aside to let it cool. STEP 2: Preheat the oven to 350 and line two muffin pans with cupcake wrappers. STEP 3: Take 1 tablespoon of vinegar and pour it into a 1 cup measuring cup. Use milk to fill the rest of the 1 cup. Put this mixture aside and let sit for five minutes. STEP 4: In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar together on high until light and fluffy, about three minutes, then add in eggs and vanilla. STEP 5: Combine flour, salt and baking powder into a medium-sized bowl. Add it to the butter/sugar mixture alternately with the vinegar/milk mixture, beating well after each addition. The batter will be thick. STEP 6: Use a 1/4 measuring cup to scoop and pour cake

batter into your cupcake wrappers — they should be a bit more than halfway full. Take a small spoon and scoop some of the cooled strawberry mixture and spoon it into the middle of the cupcake batter. Try to keep the strawberry mixture from touching the cupcake wrapper. Once you have added strawberry to each cupcake, they’re ready to go into the oven. STEP 7: Bake at 350 for 16-20 minutes. Use your judgment and the toothpick method to take care not to over or under-bake. STEP 8: Frosting: Beat butter on high for 5 minutes until smooth. Add in powdered sugar, milk and vanilla. Beat on low until smooth and creamy. If you have extra strawberry, you can choose to add it to the frosting, or you can keep it vanilla flavored and add pink food coloring. If you’re feeling fancy, use a piping bag and an icing tip to frost your cupcakes. But if you like to keep life simple, a butter knife works too! Enjoy!

L in

y ss se e H e n n e

Linsee Hennessy is the owner and operator of Sweet Nine Bakeshop, which offers fresh-baked cookies and take-and-bake cookie dough to the Bakersfield community. Find out more at!


Eat & Drink

What We're Loving Right Now SUMMER TREATS AT AUNT MAE’S SWEET TOOTH By Julie Mana-ay Perez

Feeling a craving for something sweet this summer? When you walk into Aunt Mae’s Sweet Tooth downtown, it’s like walking into a literal candy shop. Every turn you take is a new sweet you want to try. Featured on their menu is a bacon toffee that includes small bits of applewood bacon, Aunt Mae’s gourmet toffee with milk chocolate and chopped almonds. At first bite, the toffee was soft and chewy while the bacon combined with the chocolate produced a savory flavor. The real reason I made a stop to Aunt Mae’s was to taste their ice cream sandwich. In between two soft snickerdoodle cookies is ice cream made by Rosemary’s Family Creamery and chunks of English toffee spread around its edges. It’s a perfect summertime treat! Not only do they serve up toffee, but also a variety of sweets, such as candy apples, rice crispy treats, fudge and nuts.





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Come by and see us soon.


(661) 366-3255 6301&#36/%"(&-/r#",&34'*&-% $" E. BRUNDA(&-/t#",&34'*&-D, CA

Thank You Kern County

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We appreciate your support and are honored to serve this community we call home.

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June 2021

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What’s going on: Join us for a fun-filled musical summe . We will offer several camps and classes for kids, ages 16 months to teens. • Junior music camp for ages 4, 5 and 6. •“Intro to Piano” Camp for kids ages 4 1⁄2 to12. • Toddler music classes (age 16 months to 3). • Summer piano lessons (ages K to adults). Who’s invited? Kids from toddlers to teens. When does the fun start? June, July and August. Where do I sign up? Call us at 661-665-8228 or enroll online at Cost: $125 and up, depending on the camp Location: 5381 Truxtun Ave. (near Mohawk St.)

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Summer Guide

A list for family, friend adventures near and far

The Picnic Planner Co. designs a picnic set for models AJ Zadora, Sara Shouhayib, Jaqueline Arnold and Michele Marie's pup, Stella, the golden retreiver. The photo was taken at The Park at River Walk.

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WHERE TO GO CALM ZOO (10500 ALFRED HARRELL HIGHWAY): Sitting on 14 park-like acres, the beloved California Living Museum Zoo features several animal species and plants. With many businesses reopening this summer after the nationwide shutdown, CALM Zoo, along with other entertainment businesses, is starting to open its doors to the public. CALM Zoo is open from Wednesday to Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Adult admission is $10, seniors age 60 and above are $7, kids 3 to 12 years old are $6, and children under 3 years old enter free, along with veterans and military. Visit calmzoo. org for more details and guidelines.



COLOR ME MINE (9000 MING AVE., H3): Take the kids out for a couple of hours to enjoy their time at Color Me Mine, where they’ll have a selection of pottery items to choose from and to paint however they want. Color Me Mine is located at The Marketplace on Ming Avenue, so when the painting session is finished, take a stroll through this plaza, grab an ice cream from Cold Stone Creamery and finish it with a movie night at Regal Edwards.

n Mi Me

MUSEUMS: Plan a short educational trip by visiting some of Kern County’s historic museums. e Kern County is filled with so much rich and influential history, so why not learn more about the community that surrounds you? The Buena Vista Museum of Natural History & Science (2018 Chester Ave.) reopened in May with several improvements and restoration after a fire. Schedule a tour, register for science camp or take part in their art challenges. Visit for more information on operating hours and admission. Another prominent museum to visit is the Kern County Museum (3801 Chester Ave.) where guests are able to learn about Kern’s important history dating back to the 19th century. The museum is open Wednesday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. And there’s also a

Please see Summer Guide | 42 CALIFORNIAN FILE PHOTOS

Ker n

County Museum


Triassic Vineyards in Tehachapi.

Continued from Page 41 2021 summer camp available! Visit for more information.

BALBOA PARK IN SAN DIEGO: If you like being near the coast, San Diego is known for its beaches, parks and warm climate. Balboa Park is filled with museums, art sculptures, theaters and playgrounds — the ultimate destination for playtime for kids and adults. The San Diego Zoo is in Balboa Park. No matter where you go in San Diego, it’s filled with fun for everyone.


TEHACHAPI’S AWARD-WINNING WINE SCENE: Though I don’t recommend bringing children under the age of 21 to wineries, places like this can be a fun time with older family members and friends. When you think of wine tasting, you might think of places such as Napa and Paso Robles. But why travel that far when there are award-winning wineries in our Kern County backyard? Triassic Vineyards (24627 C Cummings Valley e l t t Teh Road) features achap ine & Ca iW a wine and dine catered scene with live music. Reservations are required. Visit for more

information and operating hours. Tehachapi Wine & Cattle Co. offers a variety of wines. Visit for operating hours and information.


June 2021

Mu rray F ms amily Far

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MURRAY FAMILY FARMS (6700 GENERAL BEALE ROAD): Murray Family Farms is one of those perfect family activities during the summer. Visitors have the choice to pick their own berries depending on what’s harvesting, taking hayrides and enjoying tours. The fun doesn’t stop during the summertime, though; stay up



The BLVD in Bakersfiel

to date with Murray Family Farms events throughout the year to keep on with the family fun. FORESTIERE UNDERGROUND GARDENS IN FRESNO: A beautiful garden and a historical landmark sits at Forestiere Underground Gardens, a subterranean home illuminated by natural skylights. This place dates to the 1900s and offers tours to learn about the landscape, history and nature surrounding the gardens. Though all children are welcome to visit, older children and young adults would enjoy the serenity this place offers.

River rafting is available all throughout Kern County.

THE BLVD (3200 BUCK OWENS BLVD., SUITE 300): If you’re thinking of last-minute ideas to spend quality time with the kids, The BLVD in Bakersfield happens to be one of those places that has a bit of everything — entertainment and food for kids and adults of all ages. The pricing depends on activity but The BLVD offers bowling, a beer garden, an arcade, laser tag, billiards, a ropes course, karaoke and sports viewing if you’re not into physical activities. The BLVD is open Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to midnight. RIVER RAFTING: Get some fun in the sun and sand in your toes with river rafting. The options are endless around Kern County. You’ll find rafting businesses like Kern River Outfitters (6602 Wofford Blvd., Wofford Heights), Sequoia Adventures (43365 Sierra Drive, Three Rivers) and Sierra South Mountain Sports (11300 Kernville Road, Kernville) to name a few, depending on where you’re next destination is. A DAY OUT WITH PICNIC PLANNER & CO.: Who doesn’t want to sit out in the sun on a picnic blanket surrounded by food and the people you love. The Picnic Planner Co. founder Cristal Garza started her business in November 2020. Garza was one of those individuals who loved to travel. One of her favorite memories is having a picnic by the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. She wanted to bring that sense of happiness to Bakersfield and offer an activity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Plan one of these elegant and fun picnics with Garza around the Bakersfield area. Follow her on Instagram to get the latest updates @thepicnicplannerco.

SIGHTS TO SEE (WHILE HIKING, STROLLING) WIND WOLVES PRESERVE (16019 MARICOPA HIGHWAY): Less than an hour away from Bakersfield lies the beautiful Wind Wolves Preserve. This land is home to Tule elk, California A picnic designed by Cristal Garza of The Picnic Planner Co. PHOTO BY JACQUELINE PILAR

Please see Summer Guide | 44


Tehachapi Mountain Park

during the winter season because of snowfall. If you’re looking for a one-day getaway, look no further. The park offers hiking, camping and equestrian trail riding.

Continued from Page 43 condors and kit foxes, just to name a few, as you may encounter them while strolling. Wind Wolves is one of many perfect outdoor activities to do with your family — an affordable day trip to hike, bike, camp, bird watch and picnic. BRECKENRIDGE MOUNTAIN: Just 11 miles southwest of Lake Isabella and at 7,500 feet, Breckenridge Mountain isn’t Kern’s highest summit, but it’s a beautiful vacation getaway. Take your family here for a perfect camping trip; just remember to obtain a campfire permit. Breckenridge Mountain is great for rock climbing, hiking and feeling awe-inspired by the history and sights from the mountain. KERN RIVER TRAIL: Take a nice and easy stroll out on this trail with the family. It lies between Bakersfield and Lake Isabella, where its visitors will have a wondrous view of wildflowers, lavish green trees and an alluring view of rolling hills. SOLVANG: If you’re familiar with the Santa Barbara area, you might have heard of this gem of a town. Solvang falls under the Santa Ynez Valley and is known for its Danish-style architecture and wineries. Traveling there is a bit of a drive, but the sights you see while you’re on your way are priceless. Along with its many wineries, there are boutiques, bakeries and eateries inspired by Danish foods and a whole town to walk around. Being there will make you feel like you’re in “Little Denmark.”

JAWBONE CANYON: If you’re feeling the desert, look no further than Jawbone Canyon near the Mojave Desert. The area was originally a popular location in the late 1800s for gold mining. Now the land covers a beautiful desert landscape with trails for any family to explore freely. UNAL TRAIL: Situated farther away from Bakersfield sits Unal Trail — an easy hike to the crest of the Greenhorn Mountains. The on best time to visit is during the spring and summer Littl y n e Petroglyph Ca seasons, when visitors can see Wofford Heights and the Alta Sierra. When visiting, you’ll see mountain bikers, runners and hikers.

P in e

TEHACHAPI MOUNTAIN PARK (17350 WATER CANYON ROAD, TEHACHAPI): One of nature’s gems lies eight miles southwest of Tehachapi between the San Joaquin Valley and the Los Angeles Basin. The park is generally open year-round, but be careful


June 2021

l ub M ou n t a i n C

PINE MOUNTAIN CLUB: The southwestern area of Kern County hides a private mountain community, where adventure awaits. During the peak of the summer season, people can enjoy a variety of recreation, including golf, tennis, hiking, camping, swimming, horse riding and even summer camps. While taking a nice stroll in the area, remember to enjoy Pine Mountain Club’s surrounding nature from Fern’s Lake, rows of primrose flowers and the wildlife. In Pine Mountain Club’s surrounding area, visitors can view Sawmill Mountain, Mt. Pinos, Westside Mountain Park and Cerro Noroeste.

LITTLE PETROGLYPH CANYON: Located in Ridgecrest at the Coso Rock Art District lies a high desert immersed with rocks, sage and Joshua trees hovered by blue skies. This hidden treasure is spread in the volcanic badlands between the Coso mountains and the Sierra Nevada and it is home of one of the


best preserved illustrations of Native American art in the country. Take a day trip with the family to educate yourselves and appreciate the Native American culture and history. And you get to hike a beautiful view while you’re at it!

WHERE TO EAT BAKERSFIELD SPOTS: There are so many delicious restaurants in Bakersfield but some iconic eateries in this city are Luigi’s (725 E. 19th St.), Frugatti’s (600 Coffee Road), Hodel’s Country Dining (5917 Knudsen Drive) and Dewar’s Candy Shop (2700 Calloway Drive).

Luigi's in Bakersfield

TEHACHAPI SPOTS: If you’re around the Tehachapi area, there are many popular staples such as Kohnen’s Country Bakery (125 W. Tehachapi Blvd.), Red House BBQ (426 E. Tehachapi Blvd.), Steampunk Cafe and Grill (20324 W. Valley Blvd.), Keene Cafe (30256 Woodford Tehachapi Road) and Big Papa’s Steakhouse and Saloon (1001 W. Tehachapi Blvd.). DELANO SPOTS: When you pass through Kern County, you’ll eventually see Delano. Though it’s a small town, you’ll find eateries worth visiting such as Elmer’s Drive-In (1112 Cecil Ave.), Mi Nayarit Restaurant (408 11th Ave.), Generals Cafe & Grill (2343 Girard St.) and La Barca Famous Tortas (1302 S. High St., Suite C). KERNVILLE SPOTS: While traveling through or near national parks in Kern County, visitors will see Kernville. The area is not only known for its prominent nature scene, but also its small eateries, like Ewing’s on the Kern (125 Buena Vista Drive), The Pizza Barn (11401 Kernville Road), Kernville Saloon (20 Tobias St.), Cheryl’s Diner (11030 Kernville Road) and Cracked Egg Cafe (16 Big Blue Road).

Kohnen's Country Bakery in Tehachapi.

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othing is more special than a pup you can’t live without. For Krystal Puls, Koda, a male German Shepard mix, came into her life just three years ago when she stumbled upon his kennel at the Bakersfield SPCA. “Even under the circumstances, he was a happy boy,” Puls said. “I would try to walk away and he would immediately try to look through the fence to find me — that’s when I knew he needed to be ours.” Koda is now 5 years old and Puls can’t remember life without him being in it. “I never want to. If my life altered, it would be the fact that he has changed my life for the better. And he’s improved my mental health an incredible amount,” she said. Koda is the kind of dog who loves to play ball in the backyard, go for walks at The Park at River Walk and take new pictures with his bandanas for his Instagram account. Puls said one of the things she loves most about Koda are his qualities — he’s silly, unique, chomps like an alligator when he’s really excited and he turns any bad day around with just one little smile. Follow more of Koda on Instagram at @thelifeofkoda1.


June 2021







Dakota, Abby and Georgia

Pet Parade






Merle Haggard Kern









Sukie Bella Acosta



Walker Texas Ranger




success in the

classroom Parents, children advocate in local public schools BY DIANNE HARDISTY


or she is encountering on his or her own? Are they able to advocate without the parent? “If not, then the next step up would be to ask is this the type of solution a teacher can address? This would usually be behavioral or related to class environment or grades. If the issue is one of school policy or needing an IEP (Individualized Education Program) then find the appropriate member of the administration. “Finally, if it is a broad topic, like curriculum or wanting to rename a school, as South High is currently doing, then contact a trustee. The biggest mistake is skipping steps, or going straight to a principal,” Adams said, nothing that principals are likely to delegate the call to other staff members. Educators interviewed for this article stressed the importance of parents helping their children become “self-advocates.”

“Help your child's teacher get to know your child —what they like and don't like; how they best learn; what they are interested in; what motivates them; what they are afraid of, etc.”

dvocating for your child in local schools can be a daunting challenge for some parents and a battle cry for others. But the goal should be for educators and families to work together to create successful students. That was the conclusion of several local teachers and school administrators, who were asked to give parents advice as to how to appropriately and successfully advocate for their students. Advocates range from parents of gifted children seeking ways to advance their talented students to parents of children experiencing a variety of physical, emotional and learning challenges. “The best form of advocacy works like a ladder,” said Jeremy Adams, a longtime teacher at Bakersfield High School and adjunct instructor at Cal State Bakersfield. “You start with your own child. Can my student correct or confront the problem he

— Michelle McLean, retired school superintendent


June 2021


“Teach your child from a young age to advocate for themselves,” said Michelle Moses Beck, a longtime teacher in the Panama-Buena Vista Union School District, who now substitutes in the Kern High School District. “If there is a question about a grade, a missing assignment, etc., the child should be the one to approach the teacher first. “Yes, even primary students. It’s very good practice for them to be independent and take responsibility for their own learning. After all, the child is the one enrolled in the class, not the parent. “Practice with your child how to approach the issue. You can say things like, ‘Ask your teacher when he/she is not explaining things to the class,’ or ask your teacher politely using words such as, ‘May I retake that test for a better grade?’ Or, ‘I don’t understand why I got this grade. What can I do to get a better grade next time?’ You don’t need to be the intermediary here.” Students need to be their own advocates as they age. “As kids get older, it is a good idea to teach them to move toward self-advocacy,” said Diana Wentworth Greenlee, a veteran Kern High School District English teacher, who now works as a school psychologist in San Diego. Greenlee recalled that many of her high school students would explain their learning challenges and she appreciated receiving the information. “Most teachers appreciate the heads-up,” Greenlee said. “We want your children to be strong and independent moving forward as they learn to accommodate challenges into adulthood.” Kern High School teacher Whitney Weddell shared a similar sentiment. “Parents should strive to empower their students to advocate for themselves, too, as part of growing into maturity,” Weddell said. Other “parent advocacy tips” given by local educators include:

RELATIONSHIPS “To successfully advocate for a child in school, it is best to get to know the educators,”

said Peggy Dewane-Pope, an eighth grade English teacher at Earl Warren Junior High School. “When we build positive connections — before there are concerns — goodwill is already in place when issues come up.” “Become familiar and build relationships with your child’s teacher and principal even before school begins for the year,” said Michelle McLean, who retired in 2018 as the superintendent of the Arvin Union School District, after a long career in the Bakersfield City School District. “Read the parent handbook and become familiar with the polices and practices of the school. “Help your child’s teacher get to know your child — what they like and don’t like; how they best learn; what they are interested in; what motivates them; what they are afraid of, etc.” McLean urged parents to talk to their children about school events and volunteer, if possible, in school activities. “Respect the rules of the school and the classroom, and teach your child to do so, as well.”

UNDERSTAND YOUR CHILD’S CHALLENGES “Make an appointment with the family doctor to discuss your child’s challenges,” said school psychologist Greenlee. “Ask the teacher, counselor, or administration for a meeting with the student-study team” to develop a plan to support your child, which might involve testing for special education, or for certain health issues that could result in implementing a plan to remove barriers to education.

DOCUMENT YOUR CONCERNS “If a parent thinks a problem is developing, consider documentation,” said Dewane-Pope. “For instance, if it’s a social and emotional concern, note specific behaviors like eating or sleeping pattern changes, self-harming, emotional outbursts, and the like. While data may seem like a cold way to start, a parent armed with statistics gives a clear indication of the problem and how it has changed over time. Parents should clearly note their concerns. Ask yourself, ‘What am I seeing? What data is a concern?’ Often, schools have support services that can be tapped if the concern is clear.”

DON’T GIVE UP! “If the parent is unsatisfied with the response a teacher gives, parents should go up the ladder to a dean, or principal, and then to the school district if necessary,” Weddell said. “Parents should not give up.”


joys The


of being a foster and adoptive



ver the years, the traditional definition of a family has changed from a mother, father and children to include stepparents, stepchildren and foster and adopted children. From July 2020 to April 2021, the Kern County Department of Human Service Adoption Agency has given 126 foster children permanent homes and families through the adoption process. However, there are still plenty more children and teens in the foster care system in Kern County who are seeking a family. Before a foster child can be adopted into a family like the 126 who were fortunate enough to have done so in that


June 2021

nine-month period, there is a long process the child and any prospective foster parent must go through. “Children come into foster care because they’ve been abused and neglected,” according to Jana Slagle, the outreach and communications supervisor at the Kern County Department of Human Services. “There’s a legal process, we go to court, warrants are issued before children come into foster care and when they are deemed to need protected custody, they are placed into a foster home.” While that is an extreme case, the main goal of KCDHS is to be able to return the child back to the biological parents — as long as they follow their generally six-month case plan and legal proceedings to show the proper effort to get their child back. If they don’t, and run out of chances to do so, then the child is eligible for adoption.

Julie Lara, right, holds up her adopted daughter Ava on her adoption day.

STEPS TO BECOMING A FOSTER PARENT Before being accepted as a foster parent, you will have to go through a short but extensive process and will have to complete these steps: 1. Complete Resource Family Approval (RFA) orientation online or register to attend a class at (661) 631-6204. 2. Create an online e-Adopt profile and begin t e application process.

“When you consider the children that are not able to return to their biological families, it’s important that they have stability and children do better in families rather than being in long-term foster care or not having a family, so it’s crucial to having a child that is successful, healthy and stable,” added Slagle. In the meantime, social workers first try to place children with a family member to maintain stability, but if they are unable to, the social workers work hard to place the children in the right home. “Sometimes people come that are relatives,” Slagle said. “We have social workers that locate family members for kids to live with. We always want to put kids with relatives when

Please see Adoption | 52 PHOTOS COURTESY OF JULIE LARA

3. Complete the following: a. All adults in the home need to be fingerprinted b. Request criminal record exemption (background checks) as needed. c. Complete health questionnaire form. A physician will need to approve of you taking care of a child. d. Obtain CPR/First Aid certification and ta e a tuberculosis test. e. Attend pre-service training. 4. Schedule a home and ground inspection with KCDHS to make sure the area is “child-proof.” This includes having enough bedrooms for the number of children you want to take in and making sure the home is safe and up to code. The social worker will help you prepare. 5. You will need three references to vouch for yourself being a good parent. 6. Interviews and an evaluation of you and your family living in your home, as well as a psychosocial assessment to find out ow you were raised and disciplined and your reasons for becoming a foster parent, are conducted. The process takes about three months and after approval, you may be able to take placement of a foster child into your home. For more information, call 661-631-6300.


Julie Lara’s oldest son, Joe, holds up Ava on her adoption day.

Continued from Page 51 we can. Sometimes we can put the children with a relative before they get approved if they meet certain criteria to remove some of the trauma from the child when they get removed from their parents and put them with someone they know.” The process to become approved to be a foster parent takes about three months, according to Slagle, but anyone can apply to become a foster parent and any foster parent is eligible to adopt. “We’re not looking for perfect people,” said Slagle. “In fact, what we’ve found is that people that have been through something difficult in their own lives and have overcome it are much better foster parents than someone that has had the ‘perfect life,’ People that have worked through a problem and made mistakes and can tell us what they did to overcome; those are the kind of people that are good foster parents.” One example is Julie Lara. Lara became a foster parent in 2017 to attempt to foster a family member to prevent her from entering the foster care system. Fortunately for that child, she was placed with another family member, but


June 2021

Lara stayed on course and continued her path to becoming a foster parent. Lara currently has four children, three of whom came to her through the foster system. Her first two foster children, a 4-year-old girl and a boy who is 3, she received when they were 4 months old. She later adopted both. She later gave birth to a son who is now 2 and recently was placed with a 2-month-old daughter in May, who she hopes has a different outcome than her other adopted children. “The goal is always to reunify, but if you can’t, you’re able to adopt,” said Lara. “It’s always good I think to be a part of giving the kid back to the parent. This hasn’t happened to me but you were able to take care of them and give the kid back to the parent, I would love to be a part of that story. I’m hoping I get that story where I am able to say ‘here’s your child back, thank you for allowing me to be a part of their life,’ but only time can tell.” Lara added that the process to becoming a foster parent wasn’t difficult, outside of child-proofing her home and getting it approved by KCDHS, and the potential wait for a call from a social worker, which wasn’t long. “My very first one, the day I signed my paperwork, they told me it could take up to a year to get a phone call and

STEPS TO ADOPTING A FOSTER CHILD When it is determined that a foster child cannot be reunified with t eir biological parent, the child is eligible to be adopted. Here is the timeline for that process, which can take up to 18 months, depending on the age of the child. Biological parents of younger children are only given six months to get their children back, but parents of older children are given more time, depending on the relationship with the child. 1. When family service is terminated, the social worker will request an adoption review to determine the best plan for the child. 2. If adoption is viable, at the time reunification se vices have ended, the court will order a 366.26 hearing to occur within 120 days. 3. Assignment of the child’s case is transferred to the social worker within five days and the worker has 80 days (30 days prior to the hearing) to complete an adoption assessment to submit for approval. 4. The supervisor must review, approve and return the assessment to the worker within 21 days of the hearing so that it can be forwarded to the court worker. 5. The court worker completes the court report, which includes the assessment and the department’s recommendation for the child and submits it 10 days before the hearing. 6. The court continues to review the child’s circumstances every six months until the child is no longer a dependent of the court. 7. If parental rights are terminated and the child is free to be adopted, the social worker will submit a request for adoptive home study within 10 days following the termination. The home study is assigned to a foster agency and is completed in six months. 8. After approval of the home study, the social worker gets Adoption Assistance benefits app oved and has adoptive placement scheduled within 45 days. 9. The adoption final zation hearing is scheduled within 30 days of adoptive placement. The Kern County Adoption Center is located on 3711 Columbus St. You can contact them at (661) 873-2400.

then two days later we got a call and we got this little girl,” said Lara. “It happened so fast. After her adoption, we got a call probably about four months later about a little boy and we took him. He was adopted in November 2020.” While many foster parents tend to take in babies and young children, like Lara who does so for personal reasons, there is a need for prospective parents to take in others. “Sometimes people want to become foster or adoptive parents because they want babies and we have a multitude of people that want to do that, which is awesome, but we need more people to also be open to whatever the needs are,” said Slagle. “Some of the bigger needs are teenagers, sibling groups, because we want to keep kids together when they are taken from their families, and kids with special needs.” For those wanting to foster older children, there is a local resource for them and the parents to use. The Dream Center of Kern County, which is located on 1801 19th St., is a resource for any children and young adults who have

Julie Lara, right, holds up her adopted daughter Ava on her adoption day.

spent at least one day in the foster system to successfully transition into adulthood. “If you’re a parent of a foster youth, you would want your child to come here so they can start to learn to build their resume and start applying for jobs,” said Jayme Stuart, child and family sources coordinator at The Dream Center, who mentioned that they see about 700 to 800 people go through a year to use the numerous resources at hand. “We have advocates here to help with any kind of struggle they’re having with school, we might have clothing, workshops and activities to help them build skills and develop leadership qualities. It’s good for the youth to feel like they’re a part of a community and that they have a big support system available to them.” For anyone considering becoming a foster parent, you don’t need to worry about being rich or having a big house. You just need “love in your heart,” according to Lara, as well as perseverance to stick out the process, giving 100 percent for the child and understanding that they have been through a lot and it takes time for them to adapt. “There’s so many kids in the foster system that need a good, loving home and a safety net. Even if it’s temporary, they need a place to call their home,” added Lara. “I’d love to encourage any parent to get into fostering and take a leap of faith. Everyone wants to feel loved and safe and if you can provide that, don’t worry about anything else.” And for those foster parents who end up having the ability to go through with fully adopting their former foster children? “People who adopt, especially out of foster care, are amazing people,” Slagle said. “You see their lives change and the child’s life forever changes. It’s very inspiring.”


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A concert for a cause Three nonprofits come together to benefit its programs for children, adults, veterans By Julie Mana-ay Perez


EFITING THREE LOCAL NONPROFITS — LEAGUE OF DREAMS, WOUNDED HEROES FUND AND MARE RIDING CENTER — WILL BE HELD JUNE 5 AT KERN COUNTY RACEWAY PARK. Nonprofi s rely on donors and community supporters to keep them afloat. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many nonprofi s and small businesses have been hit severely, either limiting their resources or forcing them to shutter. League of Dreams Executive Director Jessica Matthews said one of the members of one of the three nonprofi s had an idea to create this event to raise money. Because it’s the first event of its kind, Matthews acknowledges organizing a concert is not a small feat. “We came together knowing we got to raise money for the organizations and the programs that we provide for the people that we serve,” she said. “We knew that we had to find a way to make money for our organizations to continue serving our needed clients, but we also knew Kern County specifically wanted to get back to a normal life and be able to do things, so having something outdoors would be the best option for us.” Matthews said Concert for the Cause will be just like any other concert, except there will be additional safety precautions. To ensure guests’ safety, Matthews said all volunteers and staff have been vaccinated and will take an additional coronavirus rapid test the day of the event. The venue will also include sanitizing stations and areas where guests can social distance from others and still enjoy the show. Though it is an outdoor event, masks and social distancing among guests are still enPHOTO COURTESY OF JESSICA MATTHEWS

couraged. Concert for the Causes will include three local performing acts by headliner Granger Smith featuring Earl Dibbles Jr., Joe Peters, Boones Farm Trio and “The Voice” season 19 runner-up, Bakersfield’s own Jim Ranger. The event will local food and merchandise vendors such sa Chef Lino’s Grill & Catering and Dewar’s Candy Shop, to name a few. Matthews said many local nonprofi s rely on donors and sponsors to stay fully funded and provide services to community members. “Nonprofi s are small businesses, too. We’ve suffered just like other small businesses trying to make sure that we provide our program and trying to get back on track for the clients that we serve,” she said. “The comradery between the nonprofi s is a big deal in Kern County and we are setting the stage for future partnerships for nonprofi s to come together to raise money,” Matthews said.

More Information

Concert for the Causes When: Saturday, June 5 Where: Kern County Raceway Time: 4-11 p.m. General admission: $50 VIP admission: $150 Information on reserved tables and sponsorships: https://www.



RYZE mushroom coffee Combating forgetful, groggy days By Anthony Jauregui

» I TRIED ‘SHROOMS DURING QUARANTINE. Not those ‘shrooms but Cordyceps for stamina, Lion’s Mane for focus, Reishi for stress, Shiitake for immunity, Turkey Tail for digestion and King Trumpet for inflammation, all in the form of coffee. During the pandemic I started feeling forgetful, groggy and bloated. I was turning to Starbucks and energy drinks to give me enough energy to focus on work instead of the isolation from working and sleeping in the same room. I really needed a product to help curb the excess sugar and caffeine in my diet along with my forgetfulness, grogginess and bloating. I came across Four Sigmatic mushroom coffee during an ad break for a podcast. Many products advertised on podcasts these days are from companies you’d probably see on “Shark Tank.” The products tend to be healthy, sustainable and they usually solve a problem. Every time I’m introduced to a new product on “Shark Tank,” I search for their Instagram profile to check out their content. If I like it, I follow, but because I searched “Four Sigmatic” on Instagram, I was soon plagued with ads for several mushroom coffee brands. In those ads I discovered RYZE mushroom coffee. I received a direct message from their account offering me a 15 percent-off coupon. RYZE’s product was easy to make, and that coupon made it easier for me to want to try their product. Before I purchased RYZE, I was buying a $5-to-$6 coffee three times a week before work. Since I started drinking RYZE, I’ve bought a coffee maybe five times, and two of those were because I was craving something sweet. I’ve felt less bloated since kicking Starbucks and energy drinks to the curb. The mushroom coffee contains anti-inflammatories, antiit’s a great supplement to combat a heavy dependence on sugar oxidants and adaptogens and is free from additives, artificial and caffeine. I’ve reduced the amount of money I waste on sugars or flavors, dairy and soy. I purchased RYZE’s coffee and the amount of sugar and caffeine I consume. mushroom coffee because it was the easiest coffee to The first time I tried it, I scooped one serving into a make. I wanted a product that I could scoop, mix cup of coffee, and I was up and awake for seven and and drink. I didn’t want to use anything fancy like a half hours. This coffee gives you natural energy an immersion blender. that seems like it comes from within you and not an RYZE is great because you just scoop one aluminum can or venti cup. No crash, no jitters, just serving into your choice of liquid. With 48 mg of a really earthy taste. Add RYZE mushroom coffee to caffeine per serving, you can drink it by itself or as your diet and excommunicate the sugar and caffeine. ui an addition to a smoothie, protein shake, or coffee. An t hony Jaureg You can also add it to a glass of water, but without Anthony Jauregui is a writer from Bakersfield. He curmilk it tastes like an earthy tea. rently works as a report writer for a vocational expert. Although the coffee is earthy and may remind you of dirt,


June 2021


GRADUATION SEASON IS HERE! Garces Memorial kicked off grad season on May 18, June brings many more ceremonies throughout Kern Photos by Rodney Thornburg

Giancarlo Sacco and Gino Antongiovanni fix t eir caps before the graduation.

Grads march to their seats.

Grads prepare for their big event.

Garces Memorial High School Class of 2021 Graduation Garces grads pose and smile for the camera.

Grads give their approval.

Students make their grand entrance. » See more on grad photos on PAGE 58.


Abraham Gonzales poses for pictures with Valley and State rings for soccer and baseball.

Garces Memorial High School Class of 2021invocation is given by Mathew-Riece Baruiz Castanares.

Friends and family clap for the Garces grads.


Grads stand for "The Star-Stangled Banner."

Grads process into the stadium the opening ceremony.


June 2021

School Arvin High Bakersfield dult Bakersfield Hig Career Technical Education Centennial High Continuation high schools/workforce East Bakersfield Hig Foothill High Frontier High Golden Valley High Highland High Independence High Kern Valley High Liberty High Mira Monte High North High Regional Occupational Center Ridgeview High Shafter High South High Stockdale High West High

Date June 11 June 11 June 9 June 2 June 9 June 8 June 8 June 9 June 8 June 10 June 8 June 9 June 8 June 9 June 7 June 8 June 1 June 8 June 9 June 9 June 7 June 10

To view more graduations, visit your school's website for more information.


Tahlia Fischer is one of the founders of All Seated in a Barn, an animal rescue and sanctuary for both animals and humans.

One rescue at a time

Tahlia Fischer saves animals to heal human and animal hearts By Julie Mana-ay Perez

» TAHLIA FISCHER WAS WAS ONLY 4 YEARS OLD WHEN SHE TOOK CARE OF HER FIRST ANIMAL. She spotted an injured monarch butterfly behind a planter in her backyard. Realizing its wing was broken, Fischer’s first instinct was to care for it. With the help of her mom, Fischer created a safe space inside a glass cabinet in her bedroom filled with flowers, sticks, honey and water. “I would take it out and put it on my shoulder and we would go outside so we could get sun and it lived forever,” Fischer said. “It flew around my house and my room. That was my first animal. That’s where it all started.” Fischer has had a connection with animals since an early age, but it wasn’t until she saw a reality television show and “saw the donkey that was going to be shipped to slaughter. I didn’t know anything about donkeys. I just had my two

rescue horses but I wanted to save the donkey,” she said. She said animals are listed through auctions, and she outbids kill buyers who go around the country that try to find horses for cheap prices. Fischer established more than just a horse rescue, though. Fast-forward a few decades later: Fischer is one of the founders of All Seated in a Barn, where their mission is to rescue horses, donkeys and other animals from slaughter, provide them with medical attention and find them a home. Aside from being a horse rescue, Fischer and her team of volunteers use different community programs to further rehabilitate the horses and in return, heal individuals. When All Seated in a Barn began three years ago, Fischer said the cause was small. They started with just 25 horses » See more on Tahlia on PAGE 60.



Great Kern County

Eleanora Kattus and her rescue horse.

Tahlia Fisher with one of her rescue horses.

the first year, and now rehabilitate 127 horses between two properties. Through this local nonprofi , people are able to volunteer, care for the animals and even foster a horse. “People get ahold of us and tell us what they’re looking for. We try to get a good feel of who they are and what their experience level is, what the horse is going to be used for and the size of the rider. That way we can see if we have something that suits them. We want it to be just as successful for the horse as it is for the person,” she said. Fischer saw what rescuing animals can do for the people — heal. And she wants to spread awareness to the community. Eleanora Kattus was one of those people who walked in All Seated in A Barn and watched her life change for the better. Recently, Kattus adopted a horse with Fischer and volunteers at the rescue to receive therapy by just being around the animals. “The boys in the group home come out here and they heal through horses, so


June 2021

do women in sober living, people who suffer from PTSD and anxiety come out here, too” she said. “We want this to be the spot where if you’re having a bad day or going through something, we want them to volunteer at the barn for a little bit and it gives back to you.” “This has been my dream since I was little. Did I ever imagine it would be this? No. Did I dream it? Yes. If people thought about what makes them happy, their quality of life would be so much more. If I could do anything in the world, it would be to rescue animals and give them a second chance,” she said. Fischer plans to expand All Seated in a Barn and involve the community by introducing more programs. “It’s a really special place and everyone is special,” she said. “I want people to see what we do and not just think it’s just a horse rescue, because it’s so much more than that. I want to change that perception. Figuring out a way to see that we’re here for the community and not just a rescue.”

A volunteer at All Seated in a Barn.

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Samantha Creech and her four sons work together to build a home based on happiness and togetherness.

Tiny Houses are Bakersfield s new home goal for happiness and creativity

By Carissa Diaz


MODERN ARCHITECTURE, DECOR STYLING AND A DECENT LOCATION. But for Samantha Creech, togetherness, happiness and positivity is what make a home — not the size or location. That is why she enjoys living in her 18-foot prowler recreational vehicle with her four sons, which allows them to focus on family and what is truly important to them. Creech, a furniture creative and interior designer, is setting


new home goals for residents in Bakersfield with her Tiny House brand. The purpose is to give people the perspective of downsizing their homes to fit heir interests of traveling, happiness, positive energy, or simply enjoying a smaller area. It showcases how someone can turn a compact living space into one of their greatest dreams. “I feel that we all have everything we need within our home — within our grasps,” she expressed. “As we downsize, we’re actually investing in ourselves. Honestly, you’re the one thing you’re stuck with the rest of your life. All that other stuff is stuff. You are the only piece of energy that matters.” The idea sparked from her time spent in the military, traveling for 13 years and soaking up different interior designers, and the everyday lifestyle of living in tiny homes, which the United States isn’t familiar with. She spent some time in Hawaii on several islands, Germany, even across the United States in places such as North Carolina. By becoming exposed to what the world had to bring, Creech felt she needed to bring that to life in her home. “I saw that all these cultures were embracing it and they were happy, and they had their own spin on it,” she said. “For me, growing up in Bakersfield, it was more about the size — more about the American dream. Where for me, (who was) traveling everywhere — you’re not committed to anything.” Her 126-square-foot home is a complete vision of what she loves. In her tiny house, you’ll find murals in every corner, including the ceiling, made by artists from around the world, which are odes to some of her favorite childhood memories and personal stories. You’ll also come across self-refurbished antiques — taught by her grandmother and mother while growing up — rugs made out of T-shirts, curtains made from linen with embroidery by her grandmother and much more sentimental values. “It’s not easy to downsize at all, don’t get me wrong, but you really see what you value,” Creech said. “And honestly, what I value is time with my family, and I have a job, trust me. I work 60 hours a week, so I am a hard worker, but I knew I had to do what was going to make me happy no matter what anyone else thought.” Creech also expressed that Bakersfield is a conservative place to live and many people minimize the idea of living in an RV because of the opinions of others. Residents might be hesitant about it because of the outcome or losing meaningful items. However, she helps refurbish furniture of all sizes and makes it fit erfectly in compact spaces. The Tiny House brand helps customize an RV to fit ne’s liking and comes with solutions for happiness. Creech takes pride in knowing that she’s developed her own living space to fit er perfect idea of what it truly means to be happy. You can find more information on the Tiny House brand at, purchase Creech’s antiques at the Merry Go Round Antique Mall in Downtown Bakersfield and even get her book, “Spiritual to Economical Guide to Furniture.”

Carissa Diaz

Carissa Diaz is an entertainment journalist born and raised in Bakersfield. She covers a range of content from musicians to cultural influences and community stories.


Bakersfield Matters

High School seniors find joy in COVID-era projects By Lisa Kimble


SENIORS SELECTED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE JIM BURKE EDUCATION FOUNDATION’S DREAM BUILDERS PROGRAM, AND ITS YEAR-LONG SISTER LEADERSHIP GROUP FORD DIMENSION, HAVE BEEN CHURNING OUT CREATIVE AND IMPACTFUL SERVICE PROJECTS. The Dream Builders’ motto is “helping Kern County youth excel.” There has been a teen voter registration drive, an anti-vaping campaign, and homelessness efforts. Year after year, the rule remained the same about selecting a topic — don’t repeat a recent project. But for the first time in the program’s history, the rules went out the window as this year’s class convened amid the pandemic. Meetings with the four groups’ mentors were zoomed, and they were


June 2021

assigned a theme. “We have never done this before, but we thought that there had been so much negativity in their lives with the pandemic that the project they would work on for the next five months should not only be something that brings others joy, but something that would give them joy to work on,” said Katie Werdel, director of student leadership with Jim Burke Ford, on the decision to task them with creating something related to joy. Despite COVID restrictions, four teams of eight presented projects they deemed joyful. The winning project, “Nutritious Delicious” from Team Bank of the Sierra, created a virtual cookbook featuring recipes from local culinary experts. The students partnered with the Edible Schoolyard to produce instructional videos that used PHOTOS COURTESY OF LISA KIMBLE

locally sourced produce and nutritious and delicious easy-to-follow recipes. They held Instagram live events with the goal of increasing nutritional eating habits for everyone.

Team AERA’s Full STEAM Ahead’s educated third, fourth, fifth and sixth graders on the opportunities in the fields of science, technology, engineering, art and math. They held a Zoom webinar that included an interactive video taking students through each part of STEAM with the goal of getting more than 100 students on board the STEAM train. The project also included two interactive science experiments. Students on Team Dignity Health created Celebrating You(th)!, designed to make birthday cards for local underprivileged children. The cards, along with birthday goodie bags of treats, were handed out at a card drive. Socially distanced tables were set up for the card-making. Their goal was to get them into the hands of youngsters, sprinkling some joy in their lives. Team Garlic Company developed COVID Creations, an art project celebrating frontline health workers in partnership with art students at the Boys and Girls Club’s Armstrong Youth Center. The students in grades 3 to 6 created works expressing their feelings during the pandemic. The art was placed together in several large mosaics and displayed at Memorial Hospital. The group’s goal was to shine a positive light on the negativity of the pandemic while memorializing the hard work and dedication of local healthcare workers. “I am so incredibly proud of these 32 high school seniors who overcame so many obstacles to ensure they made an impact on the city we love so much,” Werdel added.


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From the files of he Bakersfield Californian, April , 1949.

Stiern Veterinary Hospital

Stiern Veterinary Hospital

Caring for Bakersfield’s animal community for more than 80 years By Julie Plata


LY SERVED THE ANIMAL COMMUNITY OF BAKERSFIELD SINCE 1938, WITH ONLY A BRIEF INTERRUPTION WHEN DOCTORS WALTER AND ROBERT STIERN TEMPORARILY CLOSED THE PRACTICE FOR THE DURATION OF WORLD WAR II IN OCTOBER 1942. They assured their patients in the Oct. 5, 1942 Bakersfield Californian that “we will be ready to serve the community when this war is won!” Walter Stiern knew that he wanted to pursue medicine as a career — he was just not sure what kind. According to an interview he gave in 1987, he realized during the time of the Great Depression there were only two veterinary practices in Bakersfield, which also meant they were the only two serving Kern County. His father suggested, “Had you ever thought of veterinary medicine as a possibility? There are not a lot of veterinarians, and you like animals so much.” To Stiern this seemed an ideal career choice, as he stated, “I just love animals.”


June 2021

After graduating with his degree of Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Washington State College and passing the California state board of veterinary medicine exam, he returned home to Bakersfield to start practicing. It was difficult to find jobs as a veterinarian in town so with the help of his father, they converted a double garage with a pump house into a small office. Stiern stated in his interview that “I worked out of probably the smallest office in the state of California for the first few years of my practice before we got going.” After practicing for 20 years, Stiern felt he had done “all in veterinary medicine that I can do,” and decided to pursue a new career path. In 1958, Dr. Stiern ran for office and although his first love was veterinary medicine, he stated, “I’ve spent a lot of time with animals, and now I want to do something for people.” Although he no longer practiced veterinary medicine, the practice remained open and others joined to continue the care of the animals that Stiern grew up loving.


During the pre-Yelp days, the best way to pay a compliment to a business or individual was through The Bakersfield Californian’s “The Readers’ Viewpoint” section of the editorial page. On April 22, 1973, The Californian published a letter from Mr. and Mrs. James S. Reynolds, Mike, and their dog Scarecrow. It read, “My family and I wish to extend our gratitude and appreciation to those Doctors of Veterinarian Medicine, in particular, Dr. Robertson of Stiern Veterinary Hospitals, in the successful efforts of saving the life of our pet dog after encountering an accident-caused debilitating injury. Our fine furred friend again now meets us with a wag of the tail, a bark of greetings, and maybe even a lap of the tongue at a morning’s beginning and a day’s work ending. Major surgery was performed by Dr. Robertson…to which the profession of veterinarian responded with aid and assistance foremost in mind. Our experience, we are sure, is indicative of the fine animaltarian services provided in our community and we would once again like to commend those instrumental in the fields of treating our much-thought-of and much-attached-to four-legged and fine-feathered friends.” This was most certainly a 5 star review. While Senator Stiern left a legislative legacy for the people of California, Dr. Stiern’s legacy also includes the practice that he started and to this day continues to care for the animals of Bakersfield.

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Great Kern County

LEFT: Painting is one of the activities Kern Bridges Youth Homes provides for the children. TOP: A Kern Bridges Youth Homes mural located in one of its facilities.

Bridging Families By Kaleigh Day


RAL CONCLUSION, MANY OF US ARE LEFT WITH THE OVERWHELMING REALIZATION THAT LIFE IS PRECIOUS AND HAVE A DEEP SENSE OF GRATITUDE TO THOSE WHO HELPED US WEATHER THE STORM. Family, whether biological or brought together through fate, is integral to one’s overall well-being and sense of safety in difficult times. No one knows this better than Kern Bridges Youth Homes, a Bakersfield-based social work organization that aims to link children and young adults with foster and adoptive families. Since opening its doors in 1987, the organization has worked to build upon its practice, expanding from operating solely as a foster family agency to incorporating a short-term residential treatment program and community education program. It is clear that the workers’ dedication to the community has driven this expansion. Despite the rapid evolution of Kern Bridges, it has remained loyal to its mission. When speaking with Carrie Wombacher, the direc-


June 2021

tor of intensive services foster care (ISFC), she remarked that the organization has gained trust within Bakersfield because of close and personal interaction within the community. “When you call Kern Bridges, you will speak to someone here in Bakersfield. Not some recording from an agency based in Los Angeles or Sacramento. That’s what makes Kern Bridges so different from other organizations,” said Wombacher. Even as the pandemic has roared on, the team has done its best to remain active through regular Zoom support groups, with its roughly 35 current resource families and their youth. Additionally, it strives to address the mental and emotional toll the isolation has taken on everyone involved. One aspect of the work done at Kern Bridges that is emphasized by staff and resource parents is the implementation of trauma-informed care. Marina Hernandez, an ISFC social worker on site, frequently works in crisis situations with youth who have


experienced substance abuse issues, school suspensions or expulsions, and several other behavioral challenges. Addressing the root causes of this behavior is paramount to appropriate treatment and training. “Trauma-informed care means realizing the impact of trauma and understanding that we must respond to that trauma delicately and selectively,” said Hernandez. Kern Bridges Youth Home’s services are designed to find families for children while offering comprehensive treatment and training. It is clear that it is an asset that Bakersfield desperately needs. For more information or to reach out about services offered by Kern Bridges Youth Home or becoming a foster or adoptive family, call 661-3962301. Kern Bridges is located at 1321 Stine Road.

Kaleigh Day

Kaleigh Day is graduating Cal State Bakersfield with a bachelor’s degree in English with an emphasis in education. She is a features writer at The Runner and continues to have the privilege of highlighting community figures and organizations.

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Bakersfield Life Magazine June 2021 Issue  


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