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December 2019

In sickness and in health Family has reason to celebrate the holidays

Dining with Dre Dre’s favorite restaurants of the year


2019 reader highlights Readers share their favorite moments

Holiday activities for the family

Simple ways to spend quality time together

Victor Barrera, Sasha Barrera, and their children Catherine Barrera and Victor Barrera cherish every moment they have together after Victor survived two life-threatening illnesses in less than a year and a half.


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

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

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

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

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


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



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



The Holidays

Over 50 Stores, Restaurants, Boutiques & Spas Stockdale Hwy. & Calloway Dr.




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Thank you for voting us “Best of ” seven years in a row.


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December 2019

In sickness and in health Family has reason to celebrate the holidays

Bakersfield’s Premier City Magazine December 2019 / Vol. 14 / Issue 3 Bakersfield Life™ Magazine is published by The Bakersfield Californian

Dining with Dre Dre’s favorite restaurants of the year


Holiday activities for the family

2019 reader highlights Readers share their favorite moments

General Manager Cliff Chandler

Simple ways to spend quality time together

Victor Barrera, Sasha Barrera, and their children Catherine Barrera and Victor Barrera cherish every moment they have together after Victor survived two life-threatening illnesses in less than a year and a half.

Editor Mark Nessia Specialty Publications Designer

On the Cover

Julie Mana-ay Perez

Victor Barrera, Sasha Barrera, and their children Catherine Barrera and Victor Barrera cherish every moment they have together after Victor survived two life-threatening illnesses in less than a year and a half. Victor uses his gift of life to inspire others.

Specialty Publications Intern Jocelyn Sandusky Contributing Copyeditor Maude Campbell Photography

– Photo by Mark Nessia

Nina Ha, Alex Horvath, Lisa Kimble, Julie Mana-ay Perez, Mark Nessia,

Coming up next …

Greg Nichols, Carla Rivas, Jocelyn




Sandusky, Rod Thornburg, Rudy

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

Contributing writers

Subscribe to

Ha, Michelle Hardt, Lisa Kimble,

Katie Cornford, Gary Flanagan, Anna Marie Frank, Alex Garzaro, Nina

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

Stephen Lynch, Julie Plata, Andrea Saavedra, Rudy Valdivia, Kristen Beall Watson

Partner with us

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

Connect with us – Instagram/bakersfield_life


Bakersfield Life Magazine

December 2019

SHARES What are your holiday traditions? “In addition to watching Christmas movies and looking for our mischievous elf, our family car gets a makeover. It’s decked out in a ‘carstume’ of antlers and a big red nose!” – Nina Ha, contributing writer “My holiday traditions include a morning run (Pie Run and Polar Bear Run), dinner at my in-laws, wearing stretchy pants, taking a holiday nap, FaceTime with my Michigan family, playing card games and baking cookies. All shopping is done online.” – Anna Marie Frank, contributing writer “Of the many holiday cards we receive, the vast majority of them are photo cards. I hang wide plaid ribbons in our entryway and attach the cards with a paper clip for all to see. Knowing how much effort some put into those cards, I leave them up until Valentine’s Day. It’s a tradition I inherited from my mother.” – Lisa Kimble, contributing writer “I have a large family, so we usually like to get together and have a Christmas Eve dinner. After dinner, we find ourselves doing karaoke to end the night.” – Julie Mana-ay Perez, specialty publications designer “Every Christmas morning, my family and I go to a restaurant for breakfast and we follow up our meal with a trip to the theater to watch an Oscar-contending film.” – Jocelyn Sandusky, specialty publications intern

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

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




Bakersfield Heart Hospital wishes you and your family a happy and healthy Holiday Season.





A Reason to Celebrate the Holiday Season Victor Barrera shares his miraculous story of suffering two life-threatening illnesses and realizing the importance of life and family.


Holiday Crafts with the Whole Family


Spend time with the family this holiday season with activities like baking to board games to decorating.

Holiday Gift Guide Find some ideas for your holiday shopping list with these local items for the most wonderful time of the year.


2019 reader highlights We asked and you delivered! Bakersfield Life Magazine readers share their favorite moments of the year.

50 8

Bakersfield Life Magazine

December 2019

Together, unstoppable. Let’s beat cancer. You bring the determination. The courage. And the spirit to fight. We bring the very latest technology and a caring team of oncology experts. The Adventist Health AIS Cancer Center is here to lead you through every step, all without having to leave the community you love.

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A holiday bike ride, a Jingle Bell Run and more take place in December. Find events starting on Page 14.

Eat & Drink

Andrea “Dre” Saavedrea shares her 12 favorite eateries in town. Page 18.


Amazing holiday gifts don’t need to break the bank. Page 30.


Go & Do

42 Up Front 12 Editor’s Note 13 The Big Picture 14 Short Takes 16 Happenings Eat & Drink 18 Dining with Dre 21 Best Thing We Ate This Month 22 Bites 26 Dining Guide 10

Bakersfield Life Magazine

28 Where We’re Eating Lifestyles 30 Money Matters 31 Pastimes 32 Home & Garden 34 Love & Life Go & Do 36 Entertainment 38 Trip Planner December 2019

B Well

New columnists Alex Garzaro and Anna Marie Frank discuss fitness plans for the holidays (Page 44) and about coping with loneliness during the holiday season (Page 46).

People & Community





“Million Dollar Christmas” brings back rock ’n’ roll legends at the Ovation Theatre. Page 36.

40 Arts & Culture 42 Out & About B Well 44 Let’s Get Physical 46 Peace of Mind 48 Feature – How to Have Fun, Stay Healthy During the Holidays People & Community 64 Business Profile

Read about Central Valley high school teacher Diego Monterrubio as he teaches kids to achieve big dreams in a small town on Page 68.

66 Bakersfield Matters 68 Study Hall 70 Our Town 72 Personality 74 History 76 All-Star Roundup 78 SNAP! 86 Last Word

Meet Our Insurance Professionals

Aaron Uribe

Brenda Thomas

Cedric Perez

Clay Koerner

Clint Phillips

David Anderson

Jaime Ritchie

Jason Findley

Jason Mills

Jim Hardy

Josh Wall

Michael Moore

Mike Hay

Monique Eubanks

Ron Burcham

9 Years

34 Years

11 Years

32 Years

17 Years

32 Years

27 Years

19 Years

31 Years

48 Years

6 Years

16 Years

17 Years

14 Years

47 Years



DON’T FORGET TO ENJOY THE VIEW It’s that time again. No, I’m not referring to the holiday festivities that take place throughout the month to wrap up 2019. I’m talking about when people reflect on the passing of another year. It’s especially notable this time around as we close out one decade and start another. More often than not, you’ll hear others talk about how a period of time was not so great and that they’re looking forward to the future because it will be “their year.” Hardship is inevitable, but it will also be accompanied by stretches of happiness. The problem is many of us have a tendency to focus on the negatives. Even if we went on an epic vacation, got a promotion or became a first-time homeowner, 2019 may be remembered as the year we broke up with a significant other or experienced the death of a loved one. It’s not a matter of blocking out the bad, but rather not letting ourselves forget the good. Life is an ongoing series of peaks and valleys. To put it all in perspective, my fellow mentor at East Bakersfield High School, Monique Moreland, introduced our group of seniors to what she called a “life chart.” A life chart can come in various forms, but Monique showed us a version that looks very much like a line graph, going back as far as when you were born and highlighting events and experiences that have taken place since. A positive experience resulted in an upward line, how good it was determined how high the line rose, and a negative experience resulted in a downward line, the severity deciding the degree of decline. Drawing it all out, it’s easy to see how one’s life has played out thus far – and I’m willing to bet that the number of ups exceed the number of downs. The reason negative experiences dwell in our minds is because they are, for the most part, rarer occurrences. Take airplanes for example. Thousands of flights take off and land


Bakersfield Life Magazine

December 2019

safely every day, but if a plane crashes, that’s all everyone talks about and remembers. It may be tough to admit, but we’re all guilty of taking good times for granted. We enjoy them and move on. But when adversity comes our way, we often slow to a crawl or come to a halt. When you’re in a valley, it can be difficult to see the top. But we can’t let that stop us, because the best views often come from the hardest climbs, so we must push forward so we can find ourselves at the summit again. And when we get there, don’t forget to enjoy the view. Commit it to memory so you may revisit it whenever you like. Make sure to look back as well to see how far you’ve gone and all that you’ve overcome. Everyone here and now has survived 100 percent of their worst days, so keep your heads up and know that another peak is just around the bend.

Mark Nessia Editor 661-395-7383


Find out what’s happening in December on Page 16.

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

SALUTING OUR VETERANS Members of Honor Flight Kern County participate in the 100th annual Veterans Day parade in downtown Bakersfield. – Photo by Alex Horvath



Short Takes


JINGLE BELL RUN FOR TOYS FOR TOTS AT THE PARK AT RIVER WALK The Bakersfield Jingle Bell Run for Toys for Tots will be held at The Park at River Walk on Dec. 15 at 9 a.m. The run will feature Christmas-designed sweatshirts and jingle bells to all registered participants. After completing the race, participants can expect to be treated to Christmas cookies and beverages. This run/walk welcomes all ages to participate. The event’s donations will benefit Toys for Tots, so participants are encouraged to bring a new or unwrapped toy to donate. For more information, go to 14

Bakersfield Life Magazine

December 2019

Carlos Vera plays Truxton Beale during “Stories on the Sidewalk.”



A holiday spectacular awaits as Mechanics Bank Arena hosts “Cirque Dreams Holidaze” on Dec. 16. Founder of Cirque Dreams Neil Goldberg has searched the world to gather a phenomenal group of cirque artists, singers and dancers to mesmerize the audience with their holiday theatrical innovation. This holiday spectacular features unforgettable performances that are both a Broadway musical and new cirque adventure wrapped into the perfect holiday gift for the entire family to enjoy. “Cirque Dreams Holidaze” will feature holiday favorites like “Deck the Halls,” “Winter Wonderland” and “Jingle Bell Rock.” Tickets vary from $35 to $65. For more information and tickets, go to

ACTORS WANTED FOR ‘STORIES ON THE SIDEWALK’ The Arts Council of Kern is looking for actors for its next “Stories on the Sidewalk” event, which will take place Feb. 8-9. Available roles include: middle-aged African-American men, middle-aged white men, middle-aged white women and Chinese men. Actors will be paid $300 for the event, plus $100 for props. “Stories on the Sidewalk” is an educational walk through history with actors portraying some of Kern County’s most famous – and infamous – residents, with stories written by local writers and performed by local actors. Resumes can be sent to There will be mandatory practices.

The Mendiburu Compassion Awards will be held at Wool Growers Restaurant.


Think catering? Think …


Bike Bakersfield will host a holiday bike ride as participants ride through the Haggin Oaks neighborhood.


The annual Mendiburu Compassion Awards will be held Dec. 11 at 6 p.m. at Wool Growers Restaurant, 620 E. 19th St. The Nancy Ann Mendiburu Compassion Award recognizes individuals who have made lasting contributions to the cause of empathy and compassion. The award’s namesake, Nancy Ann Mendiburu, left a legacy of kindness and the Mendiburu Magic Foundation’s highest honor is awarded in four categories: Innovative Cancer Research Program, Outstanding Medical Social Work, Outstanding Youth Development Program and President’s Award for Outstanding Community Contribution. For more ticket prices and more information, go to


HOLIDAY LIGHTS BIKE RIDE It’s a wonderful time to ride with Bike Bakersfield as they present the Holiday Lights Bike Ride on Dec. 14 at 7 p.m. To participate in the ride, meet at the Kaiser Permanente parking lot east of The Marketplace and ride through Haggin Oaks. Participants are encouraged to decorate their bikes to get into the holiday spirit. On the ride, participants can expect to admire the lights and holiday decorations while winding their way through the Haggin Oaks neighborhood. This event is free and open to the public. For more information, go to



Happenings Powered by



Find more community events at Post your event there or submit via email to

Dec. 1-Dec. 31

Nov. 30-Jan. 1 Guitar Masters presents Christmas with The Cranktones, which benefits the Kern County Cancer Fund.

Dec. 5 Christmas Treats & Wine Pairing, 6 p.m. What: Pairing Christmas-themed treats from Cornerstone Bakery with luscious wines. Where: Wine Me Up, 3900 Coffee Road, #2 Admission: $25 More Info:

Dec. 7 4th Annual Michelada Festival, noon


Bakersfield Life Magazine

Bakersfield Christmas Town


HolidayLights at CALM What: HolidayLights features dazzling musical tree shows and colorful lights. Where: CALM, 10500 Alfred Harrell Highway Admission: $6-$12, kids under 3 are free More Info:

What: The “biggest winter party in Bako” showcasing the best micheladas in town. Where: Stramler Park, 3805 Chester Ave. Admission: $22-$60

December 2019

Local band The Akoustiks will host its third annual Toys for Tots Ugly Sweater Bash. More Info:

Dec. 12 Christmas with The Cranktones, 7:30 p.m.



Bakersfield Christmas Town, 5:30 p.m. What: Santa Claus makes his way to the Kern County Museum where there will be a St. Nick's lighting spectacular, a holly-jolly hayride, an under-the-mistletoe skating rink and more. Where: Kern County Museum, 3801 Chester Ave. Admission: $20, children under 2 are free More Info: Coffee with a Cop, 8 a.m. What: Coffee and conversation with local police officers. Where: University of Phoenix, 4900 California Ave., Suite 100 Admission: Free More Info: 661-326-3196

What: Season eight finale for the Guitar Masters concert series, with proceeds benefiting the Kern County Cancer Fund. Where: Buck Owens’ Crystal

With very special guest: 14-time Grammy winner


Jerry Douglas

HolidayLights at CALM Palace, 2800 Buck Owens Blvd. Admission: Suggested donation of $50 for a reserved seat More Info:

Dec. 13 The Akoustiks 3rd Annual Toys for Tots Ugly Sweater Bash, 6 p.m. What: A family fun night featuring an ugly sweater contest, live music, raffle and a visit from Santa. Where: Crusader Brewing Company, 5880 District Blvd., Suite 18 Admission: $8-$10 More Info: www.eventbrite. com

Dec. 14 Natalie Grant & Danny Gokey Celebrate Christmas Tour, 6 p.m. What: Natalie Grant and Danny Gokey perform in Bakersfield during the Celebrate Christmas Tour. Where: Canyon Hills Assembly of God, 7001 Auburn St. Admission: $29.95-$45 More Info: www.eventbrite. com

Dec. 17 KCBA’s Annual Holiday Party & Awards Banquet, 6 p.m. What: The Kern Bridal Association hosts a Hawaiian-themed holiday party and

awards banquet. Where: Coconut Joe’s Banquet Hall, 4158 California Ave. Admission: $25-$200 More Info: www.eventbrite. com

Dec. 19

Presented by:

“A Charlie Brown Christmas” Live On Stage, 7:30 p.m. What: A holiday classic comes to life at the Fox Theater, featuring Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the gang. Where: Fox Theater, 2001 H St. Admission: $35-$95 More Info:

Dec. 21 Saving Our Sisters, 10:30 a.m. What: An afternoon of empowerment, real talk, laughter and sisterhood. Where: Stockdale Country Club, 7001 Stockdale Highway Admission: $45 More Info: www.eventbrite. com

Give the gift of music Season tickets and gift cards available

Dec. 31 Arabian Nights NYE 2020, 7:30 p.m. What: Ringing in 2020 with the magic of “Arabian Nights.” Where: Sol Y Luna, 11420 Ming Ave. Admission: $125 (adults only) More Info: 661-412-4939




Dining with Dre

‘12 FAVES OF DRE’ An end-of-the-year collection of local favorites Cloud 9’s version of a pumpkin spice latte. By Andrea Saavedra

Happy holidays, Bakersfield! I have officially been exploring the town to find all things fantastically foodie for 12 months now and it has been an honor to share my thoughts with ya’ll. As we are officially in the swing of the holidays, I have been jingle bell rocking the holiday jams and have been enjoying much more than just “door bells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles.” So instead of highlighting one specific place for the month of December, I thought I’d share with you the “12 faves of Dre.” These are my go-to places that satisfy my cravings, from breakfast time to the


Bakersfield Life Magazine

December 2019


Filet mignon with cognac cream sauce, baked potato and sauteed mixed vegetables from Horse in the Alley.

after-dinner sweet tooth. Grab a pen and paper, as you probably will want to remember these places for your next craving!

FAVE DATE-NIGHT SPOTS As my husband and I are expecting our first bundle of joy this month, date spots have been our go-to as of late to enjoy a night alone while we still can! My favorites are Dot x Ott, Mama Tosca’s, Pyrenees Cafe and Horse in the Alley. Not that these places aren’t kid friendly – they just ooze the ambience that you crave for an intimate night away from the hustle and bustle of the week. Dot x Ott and Pyrenees Cafe host live music weekly and all of these restaurants boast dinner specials on the reg that do not dis-


Dot x Ott features farm-fresh seasonal ingredients in all of its dishes, like the Baja bowl.

appoint. Some of their dishes are so incredible that you’re bound to forget about that laundry mountain back home.

Hands down, Old River Grill on Brimhall Road is my favorite place to go for that weekend “brunchfest.” I usually go on an early Saturday morning, post-workout, with my pups. They have a dog-friendly patio, a vast menu that has something for everyone, an innovative rotating specials menu with brunch cocktails and, to WEB EXCLUSIVE top it all off, they have an extremely friendly and Go to for a efficient staff. special holiday episode of “Dining Old River Grill is with Dre!” exceptionally well-managed, and they even have a coffee bar and a bubble machine out front for patrons waiting for their tables. Keep in mind, though, this place is popular, so it comes with a bit of a wait time. However, you will never wait that long as this place is a well-oiled machine of breakfast and lunch goodness. Plus, if you visit their Yelp page, you can jump on the waitlist from wherever you are. Genius!

FAVE WORKING LUNCH SPOTS • Ike’s Love & Sandwiches • Panini Kabob Grill

Tutti Frutti has an array of flavors that rotate depending on the season.



• Nature’s Food Market and Juice Bar For lunch, I’m definitely a “Four S” girl – sandwiches, soups, salad and smoothies. I’m a sucker for any of these items at any time of the day, but most especially for lunch. All of these establishments above have an online ordering system, perfect for a quick pickup to get back to the office on time. Ike’s has great sandwiches that are extraordinarily Continued on Page 20



Prosciutto egg cups at Old River Grill.

Continued from Page 19

unique and are perfect for a nice lunch by the fountain at The Marketplace. Panini Kabob Grill by the mall has a soup-and-salad combo that I can’t live without and I can order ahead for pickup or via DoorDash to deliver right to my day job. Nature’s

Food Market and Juice Bar downtown is perfect for a quick drive-by for a ready-made salad or sandwich. Or, if you’ve got some time, they’ll whip you up a fresh juice to detox your day.

FAVE ASIAN CUISINE SPOTS “12 Faves of Dre” Fave Date-Night Spots Dot x Ott, 930 18th St., 661-3247112 Mama Tosca’s, 9000 K2-K3 Ming Ave., 661-831-1242 Horse in the Alley, 1421 17th Place, 661-843-7982 Pyrenees Cafe, 601 Sumner St., 661-323-0053 Fave Weekend Breakfast Spot Old River Grill, 9500 Brimhall Road, #301, 661-368-2440 Fave Working Lunch Spots Ike’s Love & Sandwiches, 9000 Ming Ave., Suite H4, 661-412-8588 Panini Kabob Grill, 3111 Ming Ave., Suite 470, 661-396-9010 Nature’s Food Market and Juice Bar, 2000 H St., 661-327-4430 Fave Asian Cuisine Spots Rolls and Grill, 3803 Ming Ave., 661735-5830 Sushi Time, 4715 Coffee Road, Suite D, 661-587-8900 Fave Sweet-Tooth Spots Cloud 9 Coffee Co., 5060 California Ave., Suite 130, 661-374-8985 Tutti Frutti, 8200 Stockdale Highway, M2, 661-396-8000 20

Bakersfield Life Magazine

• Rolls and Grill • Sushi Time There are many sushi spots and Far-East-inspired places to chow (mein) down here in Bakersfield. However, these two places take the cake (and most of my weekly takeout budget) for when I’m in need of the best pho or a kicking spicy tempura tuna roll. Rolls and Grill is a pretty cool spot that has the most amazing pho, spring rolls and Thai iced tea – hits the spot! They also have incredible ’80s music videos playing on the overhead TVs that’ll make your inner karaoke star want to come out and play. Sushi Time, hands down, has the best sushi rolls and sashimi. Though Umi Sushi in the south runs a close second for me, Sushi Time always has specials going on and has affordable prices. Their rolls always taste so fresh and are not drowning in eel sauces and spicy mayos like many other places here in town. It’s always a good time at Sushi Time!


December 2019

• Cloud 9 Coffee Co. • Tutti Frutti I am not usually a dessert person

or prone to sweet things. However, my pregnancy cravings have had me exploring my sugary side as of late. Luckily, these two spots do not disappoint. Tutti Frutti on Stockdale is (to me) the best froyo spot in town. They always have amazing flavors and rotate them depending on the season. They have all the best toppings – sprinkles, carousel cookies, gummy bears, tapioca, chocolate-covered pretzels, etc. I think I feel a craving coming on. I need to go back ASAP. Though I just wrote about Cloud 9 Coffee Co. last month, they don’t just stop at the coffee. They also have this amazing “Saturday only” situation where they serve THE BEST cinnamon rolls. If you don’t get there early, they will sell out. Saturdays are for the girls and cinnamon rolls. That’s it for the “12 faves of Dre.” I hope you “simply remember my favorite things” and check these places out! Thank you so much for following me on my foodie adventures these past 12 months. I can’t wait to share even more next year! Lastly, from my little family to yours, I hope you and your loved ones have yourselves a holly jolly holiday season and a very happy new year! See you in 2020! Andrea Saavedra


The kalbi Korean barbecue plate from Rolls and Grill.


Dining with Dre


Best Thing We Ate This Month


Poke is one of those foods that you have to try. It’s deconstructed sushi in a bowl, so what more can you want. Salt Water Poke serves poke bowls and açai bowls. You can either order a large or small bowl for your poke. This bowl had a brown rice base with tuna, crab and shrimp as the protein, topped with corn, fried garlic, avocados, eggs, edamame, cucumbers and dried seaweed. On top of all of that, it was drizzled with spicy mayo and eel sauce. With every bite, you're able to taste the crunchiness of the fried garlic, the saltiness of the seaweed and the sweetness of the eel sauce. At Salt Water Poke, it's hard not to leave with a smile on your face thinking about when your next visit might be.




Comfort food cravings Milt’s Coffee Shop

‘BEST FRIED CHICKEN EVER!!’ When it comes to comfort food, few are more popular than fried chicken. So going down the list of entrees at Milt’s Coffee Shop, it’s hard to pass on an item listed as the “Best Fried Chicken Ever!!” (that’s right, two exclamation marks). The recipe is straight out of the pages of Bon Appetit magazine, which claims the recipe for Southern fried chicken is “the only one you’ll ever need.” Battered and fried in a skil22

Bakersfield Life Magazine

December 2019

let, the breast, wing, leg and thigh that make up the entree come out hot and crispy with a side of mashed potatoes and steamed carrots. Make sure napkins are at the ready because the crunchy exterior gives way to an unbelievably juicy interior with each bite. It’s a dish that lives up to its name. – 6112 Knudsen Drive, 661-339-4975

Spencer’s Cafe

POT ROAST The pot roast at Spencer’s Cafe is for those moods when you feel deeply deserving of a good comfort meal. The pot roast meal comes with a choice of two sides, mashed potatoes and chili beans being two of them. Spencer’s pot roast was easy to cut through and a filling dish. The gravy and sauteed mushrooms smothered on top give the roast an even more comforting and savory flavor.

Pot roast is known to be tender, but Spencer’s Cafe makes sure its meat is marinated with juicy flavor and will melt in your mouth paired with its gravy. – 7800 McNair Lane, 661-832-3313 – 3401 Mall View Road, 661-8723520 – 10437 Rosedale Highway, 661589-0658




J’s Place

CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS As temperatures continue to drop, many of us tend to turn to foods that warm us up from the inside out. That’s why comfort food is so, well, comforting – it is as soothing as it is delicious. Even though J’s Place specializes in comfort food, the Thursday special – chicken and dumplings – takes the crown during the winter months because it is the culinary equivalent of a big, warm hug. Juicy chunks of chicken, “pillow-like” dumplings and


Bakersfield Life Magazine

December 2019

veggies swim around in a steaming bowl of broth. It’s a satisfyingly filling meal, even without the two sides that come with it. While there are over a dozen sides to choose from, the white rice and gravy comes highly recommended as it can be mixed in with the main dish for an extra level of lip-smacking goodness. – 2681 Calloway Dr., 661-587-8420

2019 Kern County’s Honorees

Jay Tamsi

Gabriela Mello H.A. Sala, Attorney at Law

Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Wells Fargo

Executive of the Year

Legacy Award

Central Region Small Business of the Year

Elected Officials: Congressman T.J. Cox; Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh, Assemblyman Vince Fong, Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, Assemblyman Rudy Salas, CHCC President/CEO Julian Canete


Dining Guide



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

Holiday Parties Packages

The BLVD! has a thoughtfully crafted menu featuring gastropub-style farm-to-table cuisine. Shared plates include items ranging from nachos, sliders, mozzarella steaks and bacon jalapeno wontons. Guests who are interested in larger meals can choose from dishes such as our hearth-oven pizzas, beer-battered fish and chips, artisan burgers or craft their own pizza, calzone, pasta or burger! Available Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. is the Lunch Lane menu featuring eats starting at $8 or create a combo for $12.


Venue for Special Occasions Office Gatherings Everything thi g made d ffrom ffresh h tto order d daily. From the Wings to Ranch Sauce Call today to reserve your

“Happy Event”

8 8200 Stockdale Highway Ste. K-4 #BLFSTàFME $"r #B B 661-282-5223 26

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December 2019

www.bakersfi w Promotional Content

Promotional Content



Where We’re Eating THE HENS ROOST The Hens Roost is a small, vegan pop-up shop in downtown Bakersfield. It serves a variety of vegan dishes, like vegan burgers, corn dogs and tacos. A standout dish at The Hens Roost is its Thai fries. These fries are not just ordinary fries. The Thai fries are made in-house and hand-cut daily, topped with sea-saltspiced peanut sauce that gives a burst of sweet flavor, cilantro, red onions, riced cauliflower, carrots and chili garlic. Thai fries are a perfect concoction of something crunchy on the outside, mushy on the inside, and sweet and spicy in taste. The Hens Roost provides a different spin on vegan food that’s definitely worth a visit. – Julie Mana-ay Perez, specialty publications designer The Hens Roost 1916 G St. 661-864-7048


BONNIE’S BEST CAFE If there’s anything Bonnie’s Best does different, it’s their take-home casseroles. Bonnie’s Best offers different take-andbake casseroles throughout the month that can serve two to four people. The creamy mushroom chicken is as simple as they come. It was served with a white rice base and topped with a light, creamy mushroom sauce with tender chicken mixed in. It also comes with a side of salad and a side of wheat bread. This casserole perfectly hits the spot, especially when you dip the bread into this casserole. Make sure to call ahead of time because this is a casserole you don’t want to miss out on. – Julie Mana-ay Perez, specialty publications designer

– Mark Nessia, editor

Bonnie’s Best Cafe 1900 21st St. 661-323-7224 28

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When it comes to spice, many restaurants play it safe. After all, if it’s too hot, people won’t order it. Bucky’s Hot Chicken bucks that trend (pun most certainly intended). Offering four heat levels – mild, medium, hot and extra hot – Bucky’s medium is made with habanero peppers and is the equivalent of most restaurants’ spiciest option. The hot is made with ghost pepper (208 times hotter than a jalapeno) and the extra hot is made with Carolina Reaper (300 times hotter than a jalapeno). Be warned: Carolina Reaper, the world’s hottest pepper, is no joke. Those brave enough to try it can get it as two sliders, which are more like regular-size sandwiches; chicken tenders; or three whole wings (Wednesdays and Saturdays only). All options come with fries.

Bucky’s Hot Chicken 1125 Coffee Road 661-567-4195 December 2019

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Money Matters

FRUGAL GIFTING Amazing holiday presents don’t have to break the bank

“Where’s my refund?” cried a client last March. We heard this refrain so many times during the 2019 tax season that the phrase begged to be set to music. How do tax professionals define a tax refund? It’s the result of an interest-free loan to the government – from you! Many people are accustomed to “saving” by having far too much withheld from paychecks, resulting in large tax refunds in February. These refunds are frequently used to pay off large credit card bills. And then the cycle repeats. When the withholding tables are changed and the refunds shrink, it’s time to cue the panic music. I majored in business administration (accounting, specifically), so I am trained to look for the source of a business problem, identify the problem and propose a solution. A not-sodeep dive tells me that the source of the problem is overspending on holiday gifts. And my proposed solution: JUST. STOP. After years in the gift giving and receiving game, I’ve realized that the best gifts are not the most expensive gifts. Amazing gift-givers have the eagle eye to capture gifts in unlikely places to score unique gifts that are a perfect fit for the recipient. What is the key to top-tier giver status? Watch, listen and learn. Familiarity with the recipient is helpful but not completely necessary. The internet opened a new world to the gift champions. A child is obsessed with the presidents? Presidential portrait placemats and president playing cards are less than $5. Did a guest break a plate of heirloom wedding china at Thanksgiving? A quick search found five new dinner plates of the circa-1963 pattern for $15 with free delivery. And they were in mint condition! The champion of all frugal gift 30

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By Rudy Valdivia

givers will go unnamed to keep his Facebook friends list under 500. A world traveler and expert couch surfer, this guy scours thrift stores wherever he travels. While he doesn’t live in Bakersfield, he visits often and claims that the Bakersfield thrift stores are the best for variety and price. But his mother lode of amazing things? The lost-and-found store at the Stockholm subway headquarters. Examples of his incredibly unique gifts are a high-quality polo shirt embroidered with the insignia of the Stockholm Cemetery maintenance crew. Adopted a dog? Expect a CD collection of dog-vocal music such as “howl-o-ween tunes.” A T-shirt from your now-shuttered junior high makes an amazing conversation starter. A notepad from your elementary school reminds you of the wonderful memory of taking notes for the first time. His sweetest present was made to a 95-year-old. She grew up on Bunker Hill in Los Angeles. Her gift was a watercolor of Angels Flight, found at a garage sale in Monterey. Do you think your occupation is boring and there are no cool coffee cups to celebrate your calling? Take a look at the cup in the photo. That’s a 50-cent find from a St. Vincent de

December 2019

Paul store. Champion gift-giving requires attention to detail and continuous searching. Never limit a search. Don’t just look at your own size; look through the racks for your family and friends. Love to wrap presents and wake up to a big pile under the tree? Here’s a suggestion: When your family leaves something at your house, wrap it up and put it under the tree. Nothing says Christmas like: “I was looking for that sock!” But don’t take this suggestion too far. Medication, hearing aids and cell phones are off-limits. So, this shopping season, think personal, think funny and think frugal. Then that paltry tax refund won’t seem so painful. Happy shopping and happy giving! Rudy Valdivia is a senior accountant with Brown Armstrong Accountancy Corp. He can be reached at 661324-4971. The views expressed are his own.

Rudy Valdivia



UNPARALLELED GIVING Bakersfield Toy Run participants possess hearts of gold

Santa Claus is the generous, jolly and merry figure that many children look to for gifts during the holiday season. They would never expect a large, tall, stoic and tattooed man to be under the red suit. But under their rough exterior, the motorcyclists who participate in the Bakersfield Toy Run find fulfillment in seeing children from struggling families light up when they experience a brief moment of bliss. For the last 35 years, Bakersfield Toy Run Inc. has delivered toys, canned food and monetary donations to the Bakersfield Salvation Army. The event on Dec. 8 ensures that every family selected by the Salvation Army has enough toys, food, cash and other necessities to alleviate the stress of financial setbacks during the holiday season. Though it started small, in recent years the event has attracted 4,000 to 6,000 bikers in a single day, making it Kern County’s largest motorcycle event, according to board member Ben Patten. To put into perspective how many motorcyclists are on the streets of Bakersfield at one time, Patten said: “We’ll start on Beach Park. … The first bikes will be pulling into the (Kern County Fairgrounds) as the last bikes are pulling out of the park.”

Bakersfield Toy Run Dec. 8. Staging, 7 a.m., parade, 10 a.m. Start: Beach Park, 3400 21st St. End: Kern County Fairgrounds, 1142 S. P St. Entry fee at Kern County Fairgrounds: One unwrapped toy and one canned food item equal to $20 per person or $20 cash. Children 12 and under are free with paid adult.


By Jocelyn Sandusky

A Bakersfield Toy Run participant, who only wanted to be identified as “Santa Claus,” sits on a Harley-Davidson Freewheeler and shows off this year’s raffle prize, an IRONE electric-powered balance bike valued at $700.

Such a huge spectacle is a sight to see. Every year, community members line the streets of the event route to take in all of the sights and sounds that accompany 6,000 motorcycles being in one place at one time. The magnitude of the event has helped raise a substantial amount of money for the Salvation Army and it all goes back to the people in need in the Bakersfield community. Patten says that the biker community helps out the less fortunate for the right reasons and they do not look for recognition. In fact, they avoid the spotlight. According to a participant who would only identify himself as “Santa Claus,” “We give the Salvation Army … around $30,000 and also enough toys to give each child three toys. Last year was 280 families.” The event’s participation has been so substantial because of Bakersfield’s willingness to give. With sponsors like Walmart, Sam’s Club and Target donating thousands of dollars in a single year and single households donating whatever they can, receiving parents

do not have to worry about giving their kids the holiday experience they deserve. Patten has witnessed this community’s generosity firsthand. “This community steps up. When somebody has a need, they step up. I’ve seen it from personal experience. My son lost his home in the Camp Fire last year. This community stepped up and helped my kid out,” he said. Now Patten is doing what he can to pay that kindness forward. Patten and his fellow Toy Run participants may be intimidating and standoffish, but at the end of the day, they will do anything to make sure families experience the excitement and happiness of the holidays that they would otherwise miss due to their financial situations. “These guys look like they do, they dress like they do, they ride the bikes that they ride. They’re loud, some of them leak oil, some of them are dirty. But when it comes to helping little kids, they step up on the second Sunday in December and have (been) for 36 years,” Patten said.




Home & Garden

The double-island open living concept combines the kitchen and family room into one functional space with the island as a main design feature.


Years ago, the kitchen was relegated to a nondescript part of the home. Its utilitarian purpose was for meal preparation and dish washing. Today’s kitchen is the beating heart of the home and serves as a gathering place for family and friends. Changing social dynamics and technological advances have given rise to the ever-evolving design of the modern kitchen. So, what trends will drive the look and feel of kitchens in 2020? Let’s take a look at some trends we expect to see more homeowners use in their new and remodeled kitchens during 2020.

OPEN CONCEPT DESIGN The open living concept is an earlier trend that will continue into 2020. It combines the kitchen and family room into one functional living space with the kitchen island as the main design feature. This creates an easy family gathering place for food and fun. In remodels this frequently requires the removal of a full or partial nonload-bearing wall. And since the open concept is big, appliances need to either be hidden, or have some design or color to make them pop.

LARGE KITCHEN ISLANDS There’s been a move toward larger and more complex kitchen islands. In order to make them stand out as the main focal point of the home, new features include special countertops made from a wide selection of natural or manmade materials and waterfall edges. Touches like a fresh herb trough, wine rack or book shelves make it unique. Many also have extra storage spaces, plus appliances like cooktops, 32

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sinks or hidden microwaves, and room for seating. In the end, it’s really about having a wide-open space to enjoy with family.

STATEMENT SINKS Kitchen sinks have moved up in importance from the hohum days of plain white cast iron. Now that homeowners can find faucets in a wide variety of colors and finishes, sinks have followed suit sporting different shapes, colors and functionality, with built-in accessories like bowls and cutting boards. This dramatically influences the overall design of the space. Farmhouse sinks remain popular and come in a wide variety of materials, such as porcelain, soapstone, fire clay, copper, stainless steel and more.

FLOORING Waterproof and environmentally responsible flooring is the hottest trend. Porcelain and ceramic tile are increasingly popular, as are engineered wood, vinyl and laminate. People want easy upkeep and flexibility with their floors. This helps drive the demand for luxury vinyl because some patterns are printed. If a homeowner decides to add more later, they won’t have to worry about color matching.

LIGHTING The effect of lighting in 2020 will evoke a feeling of light, fun, airiness with lots of geometric shapes, natural elements like woven shades to help bring a natural look inside the home and black finishes. We’re seeing a harkening back to the mid-century-modern style, but with a fresh new look that makes it new. Essentially, what’s old is new again. Michelle Hardt oversees design services for Bakersfield-based Hardt Construction Services. Promotional Content

Kitchen Trends 2020

The open living concept is perfect for entertaining or easy family fun and living. Kitchen and family room are combined as one functional space with the island as a main design feature.

Sinks have moved up in importance with different shapes and colors. Farmhouse sinks remain popular and come in a wide variety of materials. Trying to decide whether to remodel your kitchen or build a completely new one? In 2020, there will be lots of exciting trends to consider! Michelle and Tim Hardt can take your ideas scribbled on napkins or saved on Pinterest, and create three-dimensional images of what your ideas will look like before construction begins. Whether you want a home remodel, kitchen or bathroom renovation, or the design and build of a new home, we do it all. Hardworking and creative staff are the backbone of our success as a longtime local residential contractor. Give us a call today!

Tim and Michelle Hardt

Waterproof and environmentally responsible flooring are in demand. Porcelain and ceramic tile remain popular, as does engineered wood looking flooring.

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Love & Life

The Ha family.

“At one time, most of my friends could hear the bell, but as years passed, it fell silent for all of them. Though I’ve grown old, the bell still rings for me, as it does for all who truly believe.” – Chris Van Allsburg, “The Polar Express”


They still hear the bell. As much of an anomaly as it is for 12- and 14-year-olds to still believe in Santa Claus these days, our children still do. Perhaps we’ve done too good a job at hiding gifts and keeping up the lore. One year, Jolly St. Nick appeared in a photo by our Christmas tree with a little Photoshop magic. Even though the younger one suspects, he still puts pen to paper each year to craft his annual letter. The once-dictated correspondences, which later became adorable scribbles, are now written in completely legible handwriting. Perhaps Zach, our mischievous elf on the shelf, surprised them each morning in poses too silly and antics too unruly to ever leave room for doubt. Perhaps Kris Kringle’s wellknown affinity for sweets is confirmed each Christmas morning by a half-empty mug of milk and mere 34

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crumbs left from cookies the kids joyfully baked for him the night before. Perhaps our tradition of cuddling up to watch “The Polar Express” each year helped give them comfort and security to see the world with immense hope and a loving naivete that only comes with youth. Looking back at our Christmas photos through the years, it’s amazing to see how they’ve grown. From our first family portrait holding our toddler and infant to our most recent photograph where they’re poised to surpass me in height, God has blessed us more than we could ever deserve. In a few short years, our daughter will be leaving for college and our son will be in high school. After that, we’ll be joining the brave club of empty nesters who have to find a new normal without the sounds of little ones in their homes. The real world knocks too eagerly at the door of childhood. The time will come very soon for us to let go of

December 2019

the hands we’ve held so tightly for so many years. Sharing the truth about Santa will be heartbreaking for all of us, but I pray that our children will know just how much they are unconditionally loved. Perhaps they’ll understand one day when they have kids of their own. Perhaps they’ll have their own elf, their own advent calendars to fill and their own meaningful family traditions. Wonder isn’t something you can ever put back into the eyes of a child. So, until that day comes when we have to break the news gently, I’m looking forward to one last magical Christmas together with striped jammies, innocent wonder and the sweet sound of a ringing bell. Opinions expressed in this column are those of Nina Ha.

Nina Ha

From Everyone in Our Homes To Everyone in Your Home

HAPPY HOLIDAYS! From Castle & Cooke & Highgate at Seven Oaks


“Million Dollar Christmas” is a production based on The Ovation Theatre’s “Million Dollar Quartet.”

‘MILLION DOLLAR CHRISTMAS’ AT THE OVATION THEATRE Production brings musical legends back to life By Julie Mana-ay Perez

The Ovation Theatre turns last year’s “Million Dollar Quartet” musical into a sequel, bringing more music and excitement to the theater scene. Loosely based on a true story, “Million Dollar Christmas” is a narrative about three famous people in rock ’n’ roll music – Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Sam Phillips. The musical is a sequel to last year’s “Million Dollar Quartet,” a true story of the night Presley, Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins all united at Sun Records. “What if our show takes place an hour before the Christmas special and (Cash) is struggling with the death of Elvis?” said Tim Adamson, director of “Million Dollar 36

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December 2019

Christmas.” “We wanted it to be this kind of reconciliation of Christmas. It’s supposed to be a time to reflect on the ones we lost and a time we realize that they’re still with us.” Adamson admits that though there is confrontation with the death of Elvis, the storyline is much more lighthearted than it seems. “Sometimes we focus on the negative, like Christmas is a hard time of year, but what if there’s a way where we could make that a positive thing?” he said. Because the main cast of “Million Dollar Quartet” is all men, Adamson wanted to make this production more lively to diversify the cast by pulling in other celebrities tied to the 1977 story of Cash, Presley and Phillips. Adamson said the plot revolves around Cash and look-



wrote the script from that point to weeks before the show would begin. Jeff Ingle, the band leader of “Million Dollar Christmas,” worked closely with the music The cast from “Million Dollar Quartet” will return to the and Adamson stage and reprise their roles in “Million Dollar Christto get the songs mas.” right. “We created ing back at Elvis and his encounters this out of nothwith Aretha Franklin and June Carter. ing and both Jeffs (Ingle and Ardray) Though this is Adamson’s first have sat down with the music, writing solo directing job, he is no stranger down all the chords. A lot of energy to the theater community in Bakerswent into the band and getting the field. From acting to stage managing music right,” Adamson said. to assistant directing, it’s no wonder The production’s cast and crew are he was fit to not only play director made up of Bakersfield’s own musito “Million Dollar Christmas” but cians, like Ingle; Ardray, who portrays reprise his role as Sam Phillips from Carl Perkins; Dominic Demay, who “Million Dollar Quartet” as well. plays Elvis Presley; and Joey Boone, Adamson took over as the producwho will play Johnny Cash. tion’s director sometime in June and Adamson said the audience can

look forward to music and a heartfelt show about Christmas. “At the end of ‘Million Dollar Quartet,’ the story is shorter to make room for the concert that are all hit songs. We’re going to do that again but with more people. It’s that moment for us and the audience to have fun,” he said. “Million Dollar Christmas” will run from Nov. 29 to Dec. 22 at the Ovation Theatre. Tickets are $35 per adult, $30 for students and $15 for children under 12. To find more information, go to www.ovationtheatre. com.

“Million Dollar Christmas” Runs through Dec. 22 The Ovation Theatre, 1622 19th St. Admission is $15 to $35 For more information, go to



Old Mission Santa Barbara was founded in 1876. In this museum, visitors can find a garden and antiques.

ONE DAY IN SANTA BARBARA Sights to see when you’re on short time By Julie Mana-ay Perez

Santa Barbara is perfectly burrowed between the sea and the mountains and has something to offer any visitor. A day trip to the city gives you beaches, coastal escapes and areas of mountainous wilderness. When I think of Santa Barbara, I think of beautiful weather, excellent ocean views, stunning architecture and great local food and that’s what I got during my visit.

THINGS TO DO The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is a 78-acre attraction that visitors need to see. The garden is dedicated to the conservation of California’s native plants. Throughout the garden are playhouses designed with nature in mind, so it’s a perfect place for kids and family to explore. The playhouses are constructed with plant-based materials to encourage everyone to play in nature while sharing the importance of plants. All throughout this botanical garden are trails that 38

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December 2019

The Paseo Nuevo shopping center is located in downtown Santa Barbara.


Trip Planner

The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is dedicated to the conservation of California native plants.

lead to different landscapes that replicate California’s various environments, like the desert, which features cactuses, yuccas and agaves; the redwoods, which feature towering trees; and more. Admission is $14 and children ages 2 and under are free. While adventuring in Santa Barbara, another must-see destination is the Paseo Nuevo shopping center located in the heart of the downtown area. Not only does the shopping mall provide over 50 shops, but walking through Paseo Nuevo gives you an essence of the Santa Barbara lifestyle. Just a few streets down, you can find Old Mission Santa Barbara, where two bell towers and a lush garden make this old building stand out. The San Ynez mountains also stand in the background, which make Santa Barbara a scenic landmark. When you walk through this old building, you can see history come to life as you explore the grounds and on-site museum. While admiring its architecture, visitors can explore the garden and look out on the expansive view of the city itself.

THINGS TO EAT I’ve always wanted to have a meal beachside, so I went to the Boathouse at Hendry’s Beach, located on Arroyo Burro Beach County Park. It’s arguably the most beautiful restaurant setting in Santa Barbara. There’s an outside patio and inside dining with wide windows for a beachside feel. Because I was near the coast, I wanted to see how fresh the seafood was and I was not disappointed. The shrimp tacos had to be one of the best meals I’ve had. This colorful dish was well-seasoned and gave a small kick of spice. The dish was plated with two butterflied shrimp tacos topped with purple cabbage, pickled shallots and cilantro with a side of Spanish rice mixed with black beans and corn and guacamole and chips. For an average dish, it was an extraordinary taste. I also recommend ordering the lobster and truffle mac ’n’ cheese. The dish was made up of cavatappi pasta, lobster, black truffle, gruyere cheese, leeks and bread crumbs sprinkled on top. Obviously, the lobster was the best part of the dish, but I couldn’t get over how light, creamy and rich all the flavors were paired with one another. While the waitlist may be long at the Boathouse at Hendry’s Beach, it’s worth the wait to sit beachside.

The shrimp tacos served by Boathouse at Hendry’s Beach.

The lobster and truffle mac ’n’ cheese served by Boathouse at Hendry’s Beach.



Arts & Culture




1 40

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3 2 FESTIVAL AWARD WINNERS 1. Best in Festival / People’s Choice Award – Kayla Bryant 2. Best Use of Color – Team Sherwyn-Hyatt 3. Best Technique – Danielle Fowler 4. Best Rendition of a Master – Kevin Hardin


High school groups





1. Best Rendition of a Master – Centennial High School 2. Best Use of Color – East Bakersfield High School 3. Best Technique – Wasco Independence High School 4. Best Overall High School – Centennial High School




Out & About

The Civic Dance Center’s first production of “The Nutcracker” featured 50 dancers. Today, the show stars 169 performers with participants spanning multiple generations.



For many Bakersfield residents, going to see the Civic Dance Center’s rendition of “The Nutcracker” is an annual tradition. Ann Conrad realized this firsthand when her parents saw that tickets were on sale and weren’t informed by their daughter, who happens to be a director and choreographer for the production. Conrad has been involved with the show for 32 years, both as a dancer and working behind the scenes, and her daughters have danced in the ballet as well. Now that they are in college, this marks the first year that no family members are performing onstage, so Conrad wasn’t sure if her parents still wanted to attend. 42

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“Yes, of course we’re coming,” Ann’s mom told her. “We always go to ‘The Nutcracker.’” Civic Dance Center debuted “The Nutcracker” 42 years ago to give students an opportunity to perform in front of an audience. Owner Cindy Trueblood said the production was “more for dancers who

“The Nutcracker” Dec. 13, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14, 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 15, 1 p.m. Mechanics Bank Theater, 1001 Truxtun Ave. Orchestra ticket pricing: Adults, $40; students 7-18, $20; kids 6 and under, $12 Terrace ticket pricing: Adults, $38; students 7-18, $19; kids 6 and under, $10

The Civic Dance Center debuted “The Nutcracker” 42 years ago to give students an opportunity to perform in front of an audience.

were pushing themselves a little farther, the cream of the crop of the dance school back in those days,” with parts available by audition only. The first year featured 50 dancers. Today, the show stars 169 performers, with participants spanning multiple generations, like the Conrads. “I actually went away for one year and danced up north in San Francisco and I just knew I wanted to come back because it’s just not the same,” Ann said. “It’s like a family. You grow up and this is part of your family. I also knew that I wanted my kids to be a part of that family, too. “My last performance (in 2002) was my oldest daughter’s first performance. We went straight from one generation to the next.” The reactions from kids when they receive their parts and the family traditions of being involved in the show, whether as a performer or volunteer, inspire the team to keep the show going, despite all the work that goes into putting it all together. For many students at the Civic Dance Center, it is a primary goal to be in “The Nutcracker.” “Right in the middle of a rehearsal, one of the young boys came up to me and said: ‘Miss Cindy, I just want to tell you thank you so much for casting me. This is the most fun ever,’” Cindy said. Another family recorded a video of their daughter receiving her part. It was her first year getting into “The Nutcracker,” and while the part was a simple one, “it was the biggest thing in the world” for her, Ann said. She was ecstatic, and the whole family was excited. “When we hear stories like that, it inspires us to keep going,” Cindy said. “Otherwise, we would have given up years ago.” Fundraising efforts are currently underway to have the Shafter Symphony Orchestra perform Pyotr Ilyich

Tchaikovsky’s classic score, a rarity among smaller dance companies nowadays. According to Cindy, somebody did research and found out that there were only 11 “Nutcracker” ballets left in the country that featured a full symphony, excluding big companies like the New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and San Francisco Ballet, because the costs are too great. Despite the financial hurdle, the Civic Dance Center’s “Nutcracker” production has gone only two years without an orchestra. “For us, for Bakersfield, to have had that all those years is absolutely incredible,” Cindy said. “The energy coming from the pit, you can’t even describe what it does for the dancers. The sound’s amazing and for the dancers to be able to dance with a live symphony orchestra, you can’t even put a price on that.”

Orchestra Fundraising Shafter Symphony Orchestra founder and music director Stephen Penner is heading up the fundraising efforts to bring a full orchestra experience to this year’s rendition of “The Nutcracker.” The full cost of funding the orchestra is nearly $60,000. “The performance and its Young People’s Concerts (abbreviated and educational performances) reach thousands of students annually with art that touches the lives of those who might not otherwise recognize ‘The Dance of the Sugarplum Fairies,’ he wrote in a letter to community members. “Our collaboration shows our audiences and our community what beauty is possible when we create, work and play together. When we do this, our differences become assets that strengthen us and inspire new talent within our community.” To donate or for more information, call 661-664-6718 or email




Let’s Get Physical

MERRY FITNESS AND HAPPY NEW REAR Creating a workout plan for the holidays By Alex Garzaro

I can already smell the pies, the rolls and the pumpkin spice, which are not always very nice to my thighs. Oh, how the holidays can take over our lives and throw us off track from our goals. I get it. Mama’s cooking is too good to miss, and through all the laughter and walks down memory lane, you are three plates in before dinner even starts. It happens. We become mindlessly consumed with all the stimulation from relatives visiting to the holiday cheer and the good old traditions. You are stuck on a holiday roller coaster. You have created habits over the years to justify not making time for your workouts, overeating and indulging more than usual. There is nothing wrong with enjoying a piece of pie every now and again, but do you really need the whole apple pie on Christmas Day? 44

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It’s time to wake up, Sleeping Beauty, and start to acknowledge what you are doing. You are stuck in an unconscious cycle and going through the same motions every year. The first step to breaking your holiday cycle and break free from your poison apple of holiday weight gain is to acknowledge the habits you want to change. Here are a few ways to get through the holidays fit and step into the new year with a new rear.

CREATE A WORKOUT SCHEDULE No need to try and create an unrealistic plan of trying to hit the gym six days a week for two hours. Try picking one hour, two to three days a week, so you can be consistent. If possible, schedule the days for the same time, e.g., Mondays and Wednesdays at 5 p.m. or Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8 a.m. Once you’ve set your two to three days a week, make

these days/times nonnegotiable. No canceling on yourself, no substitutes, no excuses. If you get in more days than what you schedule, those are bonus days.

MINDFUL, NOT MINDLESS, EATING It’s OK to enjoy the holiday treats, but do your best not to eat mindlessly. Enjoy that cookie, piece of pie or pumpkin roll. Do not beat yourself up for living life. What you can do is learn to balance your meals for the day, so if you know your dinner is going to be high in carbs, start your morning with a high-protein breakfast. My go-to is salmon-and-egg-white tacos – 4 ounces of salmon, four to six egg whites and some veggies scrambled in two to three corn tortillas topped with ¼ avocado (optional).

STICK WITH THE PLAN Stay true to yourself and your goals. It’s not rude to say, “No thank you,” to the peer pressure from friends and co-workers to join in on the holiday treat fest. Your peers are not trying to sabotage you; they are just trying to be courteous. It is up to you to help them become aware of your changes through your consistent actions. Show them your results instead of talking about your goals. Alex Garzaro is a lifestyle strategist, weight loss expert for women and transformational speaker. The views expressed are her own.

Alex Garzaro

Meet Alex Garzaro Alex Garzaro is a lifestyle strategist and weight loss expert. She has spent the last decade teaching women to create time for their overall wellness, rewire their perspectives about their abilities and help transform not just their physiques but their psychology. Her unconventional methods of coaching have helped women to tap into their full potential, resilience and turning their limiting inherited beliefs into possibilities. She is the founder of The Grind Bodyshop, an all-women’s training facility in Bakersfield, and creator of the “Grind Babe” podcast, a platform for women who grind in the gym, in business and in life. She is a mother of two amazing boys, a wife to her high school sweetheart and an advocate for living life as your highest self. Her mission is to help a thousand women lose a thousand pounds in both physical and mental weight. She utilized fitness as her foundation and her lifestyle strategy sessions as the building blocks to help women transform their bodies, businesses and lives.

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Peace of Mind

BEATING THE HOLIDAY BLUES How not to get turned upside down this holiday season By Anna Marie Frank

The holiday season is supposed to be a joyous time. Advertisements abound with pictures of the “perfect” family surrounding a beautifully decorated dinner table or gathered around a Christmas tree. The message is that this time of year brings only joy and wellness to everyone. Of course, we all hope that’s true, but, truth be told, the holiday season can be filled with sadness, anxiousness, loneliness and stress. Expecting the “perfect holiday” weighs us down. We don’t all get to be with friends and family during the holiday season. Changing routines can throw us off. Healthy eating habits might decline while spending increases – yikes! Our unrealistic expectations for this holiday season are enough to make us want to crawl into a hole and hibernate until spring comes. But there is help. Here are some tips that will protect you from getting turned upside down this holiday season: Don’t try to make everything perfect. Maybe, as a 46

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child, the holiday season seemed perfect. Maybe it wasn’t and you are determined to make it so. Either way, worrying will stress you out, lowering your immune system. Shoot for the idea “less is more.” Simply enjoy what you have. Stop trying to do it all. Delegate tasks! Downsize! Ask guests to bring specific dishes. The sister-in-law you don’t get along with? Ask her to bring her favorite dish. When cooking, set timers! If you must send holiday cards, send them only to people you’re in touch with. Post your family photo on Facebook for everyone. Take time for yourself. Don’t be too busy to give yourself what you need. It’s not selfish to take time for you. Get a massage, take a bubble bath, get your workout in. Say no to parties you’d rather not attend. Let go of the catastrophic story in your head about what could happen at the gathering with your dysfunctional family that’s causing you more stress. Those thoughts trick your body into raising your stress hormone. Don’t do that to yourself! If you’re experiencing loneliness, consider inviting a

group of friends over. Maybe a PJ party with holiday movies and board games. Pick up the phone and call those you haven’t spoken to in a while. This will lift your spirit! Make these your daily non-negotiables throughout the holiday season: • Drink ½ your weight in ounces of H2O. • Get 15 minutes of exercise every day. (Dancing in your kitchen counts!) • Go outside for 10 minutes for some sunshine. • Breathe! Take three to five minutes each day to just focus on your breath. If a thought pops into your head, discard it. Enjoy the stillness. Remember: This is a time for family and friends. More people will remember how you made them feel rather than what food you prepared, the gift you gave them or your decorations. Be there emotionally for yourself and others this season. I wish you a stressless holiday. Anna Marie Frank is a brain health and wellness expert, author, lecturer and human-potential coach. Her mission is to abolish mental health stigmas and help people upgrade their minds and bodies through lifestyle choices. You can find her @HappyWholeYou on social media. The views expressed

Meet Anna Marie Frank A Michigan native, Anna Marie Frank has spent over 18 years in the wellness industry. She 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. Anna Marie struggled with depression throughout high school and into her early 30s, then experienced severe postpartum depression. She was able to overcome these terrible and exhausting bouts of feeling miserable by using natural methods rather than depending on pharmaceutical drugs. Now her single goal is to share this knowledge with others. Experiencing a full life as per her formula, Anna Marie loves spending time with her family and keeping in touch with friends. She enjoys running regularly and rollerblading on the bike path. As a 14year resident of Bakersfield, Anna Marie thinks our community is amazing. You can follow Anna Marie and find her information on how you can become your best self at @ HappyWholeYou on Instagram and Facebook.

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By Katie Cornford

Do you find yourself eating too much and exercising too little during the holiday season? You’re not alone. The holidays can get us off track with our health and fitness goals – but it is avoidable! The best way to have a healthy holiday is to make some healthy traditions with your family and friends. Here are some fun and easy ways to be active and eat healthy, while still enjoying the holiday festivities.

GET ACTIVE TOGETHER One easy way to have healthy holidays is to get active with your family and friends. There are many ways to spend quality time together while also getting in some exercise. Make memories having fun and being active together by starting some healthy holiday traditions like: • Family flag football game at the park. • Walk your dogs together. • Neighborhood soccer match or kickball tournament. • Family walks around the neighborhood to look at the holiday lights. Register for a fun run in town to run or walk with your family and friends. Here are some local races you can register for: • Bakersfield Santa 5K, Dec. 1 • Mr. Toad’s Wild Run, Dec. 7 • Hanukkah 8K, Dec. 8 • Jingle Bell Run for Toys for Tots, Dec. 15


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December 2019



Cooking at home together is another way to be healthy during the holiday season. You can spend quality time with your family by cooking healthy versions of your family’s favorite holiday dishes. Making recipes from scratch is often healthier than buying dishes from a store. As a general rule, you can eat healthier by eating more colorfully. Add fruits and veggies to your meals. Also, avoid adding sugar and salt to the dishes you are cooking. Here are some healthy ideas for holiday dishes. • Roasted sweet potatoes with cinnamon and nutmeg. • Sauteed green beans with ginger and slivered almonds. • Mashed cauliflower (a low-carb alternative to mashed potatoes). • Roasted butternut squash with pumpkin pie spice and candied pecans. • Kale, apple, pecan and dried cranberry salad.

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With all of the yummy foods and holiday festivities, it can be easy to overeat. Though tempting, overindulging is avoidable. Here are some strategies that can help you eat healthier portion sizes. Breakfast matters. By eating a healthy breakfast, you are kick-starting your metabolism in the morning. That way, your body is better prepared to digest a big holiday meal and you will have more energy to spend with your family. Order matters. By eating salad or veggies first, you will get full quicker, feel full longer and be able to digest the rest of your food better because you are getting your fiber and nutrients up front. Portion size matters. If your eyes tend to be bigger than your stomach, then try using smaller serving utensils to monitor your portion sizes and avoid adding too much food to your plate. Instead of using your biggest serving spoons for all of the yummy holiday side dishes, try using smaller serving utensils. By getting smaller scoops, it is easier to get smaller portions of all of the foods that you want to try. Use smaller plates. Research has shown that we feel more full after eating from a small plate, relative to eating the same amount of food from a big plate. Limit second helpings. Commit to trying small amounts of every dish that you want, but only return for a second helping of your favorite. You’ll often realize that you’re already pretty satisfied from what you’ve already eaten. Hydration matters. Drink a big glass of water before eating a big meal – it helps you digest the food better and can help your body recognize that you’re full quicker. This can help you avoid the sluggishness and stomachaches that come with overeating. Mindfulness matters. Take your time to enjoy what you’re eating. Research shows that eating slower and appreciating the taste of your food leads to feeling fuller and more satisfied with your meal.

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As the year ends, we can’t help but reflect on the moments we created this year. We did a callout through social media to gather our readers’ 2019 highlight moment of their year. The highlights our readers’ shared reflect what stood out to them.

Paige Curtis

Kristine Whitbey In February 2017, I became a grandma. My son lives in Denver, so being there for any of this joy was basically lost. We have shared a lot on Facebook and through text messages, shared photos and even a few videos. Watching her grow up long distance is tough but I am grateful I was able to do all of that!


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December 2019

Getting engaged, planning my wedding and GETTING MARRIED NEXT WEEKEND.

Annie Russell The highlight of 2019 for me was visiting my friend in Chicago. It was during the winter and still snowing. The city was brilliantly diverse with art, food and culture. But being there with my friend made it even more extraordinary.

Cassandra Rector Picking my husband up from the airport! He was away for a month doing training for a new job. He was missed! Our son thought a funny sign would make it more fun picking him up. My hubby is doing amazing at his new job!

Crystal Hernandez

Esther Reed Shelton Shellie Billings Shellie with dogs Abby and Dakota at Sawmill Summit in the Chumash wilderness.

Our family camping trip in Ocean, California, was my 2019 highlight. My family (from left): Ray, Raynaldo, Manuel, Benjamin, Breyona, Eleazar, Francisco and Ralphie.

My highlight moment of 2019 and my life was holding my grandson for the first time – my first grandbaby, born on Oct. 10.


Amanda Brummer One of our highlight moments from 2019 was a dream trip to Greece with dear friends! We visited Athens, Mykonos and Santorini. The weather was incredible, the food was delicious, the history was fascinating and the people were lovely!

Steve Hollick I think the highlight moment was turning 60 and staying fit. I wanted to prove that age is a number and that you can still achieve fitness goals at any age.

Nicolas Fequiere The highlight of my year was being able to visit my company’s headquarters in Milwaukee this past September and have access to amazing speakers, workshops, and new professional and personal connections.

Cari Cowling 2019 Kern County Fair!

Jolie Brouttier My highlight for 2019 would be taking a leap of faith and changing schools and grade levels within my teaching career. After seven years teaching kindergarten at McKinley Elementary School, I acted on an opportunity to teach first grade (yes, I finally graduated on up) at Downtown Elementary. I’ve learned and grown so much in doing so and feel blessed every day to do what it is I was born to do.


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December 2019

Rayna Luna My biggest accomplishment of the year was losing 25 pounds and then going to a BTS concert, where we rocked out all night long cuz that concert was da bomb.

Tyrah Majors My highlight moment of 2019 was becoming the morning reporter at KBAK/KBFX Eyewitness News. In this position, I’ve been so fortunate to meet various community members every day and learn about all of the fascinating things going on around town. My goal is and will always be to give those who go unnoticed a spotlight, as well as make people smile as they wake up in the morning.

Aliza McCracken Shanelle Aguayo My highlight so far in 2019 was when my family went to Hawaii and all but my 2-year-old daughter climbed all the way up Diamond Head Trail. It was rough for me being out of shape and having asthma, but I did it and it was so worth it. The views from up there are amazing!

Among all of the wonderful contributors, I felt humbled and honored to be nominated for the 2019 Beautiful Bakersfield Award in the Arts and Culture category. It is always a joy to share my passion for life and love with such an amazing community. As an artist and author, my hope is that you will be refreshed and inspired along life’s journey. Together, I believe we can create a beautifully positive impact. The arts connect us all, and for this my heart is truly grateful.

Cynthia Hansen My name is Cynthia Hansen of Cynthia Hansen Photography and my highlight of 2019 was attending a photography workshop here in town ran by some of the BEST local wedding photographers. We discussed art, technique, business, finances and gained insight into ourselves and our craft. It was educational, uplifting, inspiring, creative and fun!

Oryanna Bravo This year I went to Ensenada, Mexico, with my dad to go see La Bufadora. It was amazing and I had so much fun.

Esperanza Gama I have always had a fear of heights but being in a plane flying was the biggest fear of mine. In 2019, it changed thanks to the lovely man in my life. In July, he decided it was time to face my fear and cruise through the sky. While extremely nervous, yet excited, we boarded the plane and it wasn’t that bad. I could do again, while holding his hand in a death grip of course.


for the whole

By Jocelyn Sandusky

The holidays can be fun instead of stressful. In a time where materialism is prevalent, the focus of the holidays has shifted from spending quality time with loved ones to buying and receiving the best gifts. As we grow older, the thrill and anticipation of the holiday season diminishes and we replace it with anxiety. To reignite the cozy and relaxed ambience of the holidays, local residents shared their favorite traditions and pastimes to do with their family and friends. These activities are fun, stress-relieving, soothing and can be enjoyed throughout the entirety of the holiday season with people of all ages.


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December 2019

Recipe courtesy of Mike and Kim Weddle

Ingredients • 1 cube of butter or margarine • 1 package of peanut baking chips • 1 cup of peanut butter (smooth or crunchy) • 1 cup of milk • 3 cups of powdered sugar Steps • Melt one cube of butter or margarine in a large pot on low heat. • When melted, add one package of peanut butter chips and stir as they melt. • Add one cup of peanut butter.


Peanut Butter Fudge Kim Weddle has been making fudge for her family, friends and co-workers for 38 years as a way to spend quality time with her busy husband, Mike. If you have a sweet tooth, five simple ingredients and an hour to spare, making Weddle’s fudge can be a great way to bond with friends and family while also creating something delicious.

• Add one cup of milk. • Slowly sift in three cups of powdered sugar, one at a time. • Increase heat to medium temperature and stir the mixture until it comes to a slow boil. • Pour mixture into a mixer (or use a whisk) and beat on low until the mixture sticks to the beaters. • Pour into an 8-by-8-inch dish lined with parchment or wax paper. • Let sit at room temperature or place in the fridge. • Cut into bite-size pieces and enjoy.


DECORATING You don’t have to spend a lot of money to decorate for the holidays. If you’re anything like Dina Franey, you can use your creativity and inexpensive and accessible resources to make anything look festive. Materials • Clear glass vase • Acorns • Glitter spray paint • Miniature ornaments • Battery-operated string lights • Large ornaments • Ribbon Steps • Take a stroll around your neighborhood and find some acorns! • Spray-paint acorns with your choice of glitter spray paint and let dry. • Add acorns to a clear vase. • Gently wrap string lights around the acorns. • Turn string lights on. • Add miniature ornaments to the vase and spread them out evenly. • Wrap 3 feet of ribbon around the base/bottom of the vase. • Place three large ornaments at the front of the vase in a pyramid.


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December 2019


Getting together for the holidays is about enjoying one’s company. An easy way to get people off their phones and tablets is good old-fashioned board games. Here are some new and different family friendly board games beyond the basics you can play this holiday season. Find them these at Otto’s Video Games and More in southwest Bakersfield. Codenames This game is easy to play and only takes about 15 minutes to complete. It is a combination of Memory, Taboo and Password and is appropriate for all ages. A codemaster, or cluegiver, sits across from their teammates and gives them one-word clues, followed by a number. If the codemaster uses “magic 2” as a clue, the guessers will have to figure out which two magic-themed cards the codemaster is trying to get them to pick without choosing the opposing team’s card. The first team to correctly identify their team’s share of cards wins.

Marvel Champions This game takes about an hour to play and would be best suited for players ages 8 and older. It is a cooperative board game that has you play as different Marvel superheroes to defeat a villain deck that the game controls. All players work together to defeat the game.

Easy to learn/quick to play • Catan • Carcassonne • King of Tokyo • Ticket to Ride

Intricate/ extensive • Doom • Twilight • Imperium Cooperative board games • Pandemic • Arkham Horror




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December 2019

Life for Victor Barrera was ordinary. He was working as an IT technician for a company in Shafter and was in a relationship with his hometown sweetheart, Sasha. But during a hiking trip to Yosemite in 2015, Victor began to feel pain through his back and neck. As the pain went on a week later, he noticed little things about his health. “I felt like the back of my head was ripping open. I asked my dad if he could take me to the hospital because I felt like I was dying,” he said. Feeling uneasy, both Victor and Sasha knew something was wrong once doctors examined him. “He said it was the worst pain he’s ever had. From the time the doctors were coming in and out, one doctor finally came in and told him what he has,” said Sasha. Doctors informed Victor that he had caught bacterial meningitis, a bacteria that gets into one’s bloodstream and travels to the brain and spinal cord to start an infection. “My only objective was to survive. I didn’t realize how life threatening my meningitis was. I thought I had the flu. They told me I was dying,” said Victor. Though Victor fully recovered from his illness, he said the support of Sasha and his family kept him going. Moving on with his life a year later in 2016, Victor felt good about where he was and officially married Sasha in September. In the next few months, what Victor thought was the flu during his regular doctor’s checkup turned out to be something more than he expected. When asked if he had a heart murmur, Victor responded that he wasn’t aware but was sent to a cardiologist where he soon found out he needed open-heart surgery. Describing it as an out-of-body experience, Sasha said she felt like the room was spinning and the situation felt unreal. Victor’s doctor informed him that everyone has aortic valves that have three leaflets; these leaflets open and close while allowing blood to flow. His doctor told him that he has 2 ½. “Blood that’s supposed to go in my upper half is draining back out of my heart so it’s not retaining all the blood

The Barrera family (from left): Catherine Barrera, Victor V. Barrera, Sasha Saldana-Barrera and Victor Barrera.

up top,” said Victor. With the help of his best friend at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, Victor and Sasha made the trip to hear a second opinion from a specialty cardiologist. Understanding that their new doctor has performed surgeries similar to Victor’s put his mind at ease, but surgeries like this don’t usually happen around Victor’s age. Going through a difficult time, Sasha didn’t know what to do in regard to preparing for this life-threat-


By Julie Mana-ay Perez

“I never realized in the midst of surgery how much I took for granted, even just being up and outside. Now that I’ve recovered fully and living it up, we go out more and we’re intentional with our time together.” – Victor Barrera

Continued on Page 60


Victor and Sasha at Yosemite in 2015.


Moments after Victor proposed to Sasha in August 2015. She said yes after only a few months of dating.

The Barrera children with Victor and Sasha on their wedding day on September 2016.

Continued from Page 59

Victor in the hospital when he was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis in April 2015.


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December 2019

ening situation. “We had to figure a lot of it out on our own. We found this online community called, which is an online community for all heart patients,” she said. The website is a resource for both patients and caregivers connecting, educating and supporting people. “Maybe it’s not as bad as they’re saying it is. That community helped us a lot and helped us understand it. We made a lot of online friends and they provide resources,” Sasha said. “They told us about coping mechanisms for Vic and prepared for the surgery to make it an easy experience.” From getting married to a few months later discovering he needed surgery, Sasha explains her marriage with Victor has been

Kobe comforting Victor while recovering after his open-heart surgery in June 2016.

Victor in the ICU hours after his open-heart surgery.

an emotional roller coaster. “You don’t think when you get married those vows ‘in sickness and in health’ would come into place so quick,” Sasha said. “ Everything was emotional and seeing him signing all his papers was the hard part.” After waiting long hours, the doctor informed Sasha that Victor’s surgery was a success and he would be here for many more years. “I was so relieved and that day was life-changing,” said Sasha. “It put

Victor recovering after his open-heart surgery.

things into perspective, like OK he’s going to be here; he’s going to be OK.” Victor admits that his recovery was not an easy road. “The tricky part with the heart surgery is that you always have to have compression on the incision so they gave me a heart pillow. When you sneeze, you have to hold it or else your chest will pop,” said Victor. Before his open-heart surgery, both Sasha and Victor came up with a way to cope with life post-surgery and one method was bringing a dog into their lives. Shortly after the surgery, the couple found their way to their golden retriever Kobe. “I focused a lot of my time and energy training Kobe and that really is what helped our family,” said Victor. After the surgery, Victor made changes to his lifestyle by becoming active and consuming healthier foods. “I try to do activities now, like taking Kobe out or playing with the kids. Changing my diet by juicing while having the occasional taco,” he said. “I try to be more mindful of being out and not being confined in the house so much.” Experiencing the surgery made

Victor and Sasha realize many things – one of them being pursuing their photography business full time. “After all that happened, we put things into perspective and it made us think differently. If you weren’t here tomorrow, what would we do and let’s make that happen. Our goal was to go full time with photography so we could be together throughout the day,” said Sasha. Sasha said she and Victor use their story to help others, while Victor occasionally visits the website that helped him and Sasha through their time of need to reassure other people that they will be OK. “I never realized in the midst of surgery how much I took for granted, even just being up and outside. Now that I’ve recovered fully and I’m living it up, we go out more and we’re intentional with our time together,” said Victor. Sasha and Victor make it a point to “live in the now” while focusing on helping others and supporting their family members. “After all that, I gained my faith. I became stronger because of it and I think he did, too, most of all,” said Sasha.


Looking for gift ideas? Why not keep it local? The following page features local items that make wonderful gifts for the most wonderful time of the year.


Bakersfield Life Magazine

December 2019

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Bakersfield has many no-burn days due to poor air quality. That means many homeowners with wood-burning fireplaces rarely get to enjoy them. With a gas fireplace, you can “turn on” a fire any time you feel a chill or if you want to enjoy the ambience of a beautiful, warm fire all winter long. Another benefit is that a gas insert heats the living area, providing zone heating. Most homes have central heating, but with a high-efficiency gas insert, there is no need to keep a blanket on your lap while reading a book or watching TV. You save money on utility costs when heating your primary living area instead of the entire home. Gas inserts are a healthier option for anyone – especially those with allergies or breathing problems. Any time you can smell what you are burning, it means that you are breathing in particles, which can be harmful to your health. No smell means a healthier environment. My own testimonial is that we have a two-story home and we only use our central heating about 15 to 20 hours a year. My wife absolutely loves our gas insert. On the coldest mornings, she may run the central heating just to take the chill off, and then she goes downstairs to turn on the fireplace to heat our main living area. Based on all of our satisfied customers, I truly believe it’s one of the best investments you can make in your home. And right now, the Valley Air District will help you pay for it with a cash back voucher worth $3,000. This is the best incentive we have ever seen! 64

Bakersfield Life Magazine

December 2019

Bakersfield has terrible air quality. Wood-burning fireplaces contribute to our air problems. Burning wood in your home also contributes to your family’s allergy or breathing problems. Therefore, the Valley Air District wants to make gas inserts affordable. It’s better for our air quality and health. Not only are there vouchers available for gas inserts, there are vouchers available for EPA-approved wood and pellet stoves when you upgrade to a cleaner burning device. Everyone that has a wood-burning fireplace or stove in the greater Bakersfield area qualifies for a $3,000 cash back voucher when converting from wood to a high efficiency natural gas insert or stove while funds last. We have been in business for over 40 years and have always strived to maintain the highest degree of customer satisfaction. We have over 30 burning displays to choose from with a variety of faces, we do full fireplace remodels, service everything we sell, we are state license contractors with compensation and liability insurance and we pull permits on all our jobs. To apply and for more information, please stop by our showroom or call us at 661-832-1700 and we can help you with the application process. Econo Air Gary Flanagan: “Your satisfaction is our guarantee.”

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Bakersfield Matters

Mr. and Mrs. Claus wave to the crowd during the 2015 Bakersfield Christmas Parade. This year, the Santa float will be designed by Bakersfield native Roger Upton, fulfilling a lifelong wish of his.

HOLIDAY FLOAT REIMAGINED Local designer fulfills lifelong dream with plumb assignment By Lisa Kimble

In December, when some have visions of sugar plum fairies dancing in their heads, 64-year-old Bakersfield native Roger Upton has dreams of designing the Santa float in the Bakersfield Christmas Parade. Next week, his lifelong wish will finally come true with the plumb assignment of reimagining the float that will carry Mr. and Mrs. Claus through the streets of downtown. “I have wanted to design that float since high school. I had begged Brock’s for years to do it back then,” Upton said, referring to his work on the beloved department store’s holiday window displays. “This is a bucket (list) dream of mine.” And for the first time in the parade’s history, the most important entry will receive a makeover from an


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December 2019

acclaimed designer and prominent fixture on the local theater and interiors scene. Upton, who has been creating costumes since he was a teenager working with the North Bakersfield Junior Theatre, designs garments for Ovation Theatre, The Empty Space, Bakersfield Community Theatre and CSU Bakersfield. Always in high demand, last year alone he was involved in a record 15 productions locally. “I’ve probably done some 800 productions over my career, nearly all of them in Bakersfield,” he said. “I was Roger Upton

always inspired by the gowns designed by Bob Mackie worn by Carol Burnett and Cher on television.” He honed his eye for elegance and detail in the mid1970s while an assistant in the Brock’s display department. By 1981, he was in charge and transformed the store’s sidewalk cases into elaborate animated scenes from the Christmas classic “The Nutcracker Suite.” Back then the budget for just four windows was $26,000 and the arrangements were an annual holiday attraction. Similar to higher-end stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, the window drapes were a rich velvet and the gowns for the 15 animated figurines were ornate. When Gottschalks purchased the store in 1987, nearly all of the display’s contents were sold off. “I never quit loving it. That’s why I kept some,” he said, adding that others are now out at CALM. Meticulous then and in everything he has done since, Upton operated stores downtown until 2013. The following year, he began preparing the windows for Timeless Furnishings, which occupies the space of his former employer. This season he plans to recreate some of the Brock’s Victorian-themed arrangements. When the Christmas parade committee considered doing something new, Upton offered his talents. “When we met with Roger a few months ago and learned this has been a dream of his to create the Santa float, we were so happy to help his dream come true,” said


committee member Cathy Butler. Upton had done floats for the North Bakersfield Junior Theatre, but never something this grand or sentimental. “I first fell in love with floats watching the Rose Parade. The more old-fashioned, the better,” he said. “It made sense. I’m picky, I don’t give up and upping the game is what I do. I’m a theater guy so I knew how to create something that could be stored whole. We have extended the trailer, which gives us more room.” Careful not to spoil the surprise, he did say that the entry will be all white. “I’m a color guy,” Upton said. “In-home design and theaters I’m not afraid of it, but this called for something different.” He has been working closely with Jaguar Wrought Iron to create the Clauses’ giant sleigh caught in a snowdrift with 8-foot snowflakes and trees. “It is half the scale I dreamed of, but it is the pinnacle for me,” he said. Whether you watch in person, on television or stream online, make sure to stick around until the very end so as not to miss the highly anticipated Upton-designed spectacle. Lisa Kimble

Opinions expressed in this column are those of Lisa Kimble.


Your Christmas Budget!

Because of your generous donations, our


50% OFF Sale Continues! Whether it’s gifts you are looking for or that special party dress or suit, you’ll get more bang for your buck at Encore’ and support a great cause at the same time! We have thousands of items to choose from on our sales floors & glamour closet and even more in our prep area downstairs. We’re sure to find some just right for you or someone on your shopping list. We have gift certificates too! And don’t forget - we have a home furnishing space at Timeless Furnishings! Please follow us on Facebook for all our latest fashion posts and sales… Merry Christmas from all of us at Encore’ Boutique and The Mission at Kern County. Thanks for your support – every dollar you spend with us helps to further our ministry of Feeding the Hungry, Housing the Homeless and giving Hope to the Hopeless suffering from addiction.




Central Valley High School art teacher Diego Gutierrez Monterrubio stands next to a portrait of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, which was the first project his students put together.


Study Hall

‘HEY, MAESTRO’ Art teacher fulfills ultimate inheritance by helping students get to college By Mark Nessia

Many teachers aim to take their careers to the next level. While some would consider transitioning from college to high school as a step backward, Diego Gutierrez Monterrubio saw purpose and fulfillment. A professor at Fresno State, Bakersfield College and National University, Diego had never taught a high school class. But when he was told that he would be teaching at a continuation school in Shafter, his interest grew. While visiting Central Valley High School near Shafter High School, Diego asked about the percentage of Latino students. When he was told it was “about 99% Latino kids out here,” he was sold. He wanted to be the catalyst that helped those students transition from high school to college. “I told them, ‘This is my gente – this is my people,’” Diego said. “They need to see someone who looks like them, talks like them, who’s been through the same sort of struggles and not been discouraged and went all the way to college and ended up with a higher degree. That’s 68

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December 2019

my purpose to be out here.” The students at Central Valley High School are those who have been unsuccessful in traditional high school settings, whether it be poor attendance, personal/social barriers, disruptive behaviors or deficient academic abilities. The school’s mission is to prevent these students from dropping out, teaching them to learn from adversity, and earn a high school diploma. But Diego wants more than that for his students. Only a few months into his first semester, Diego helped establish a dual-enrollment class through Bakersfield College, allowing his students to earn college credit while taking high school classes. When the enrollment deadline came, about 25 students signed up. “This is step one,” he said. “As soon as you enroll online and they give you an ID number, you’re a college student. You enroll in my dual-enrollment class, that’s your very first college class. As each one was signing up, everybody in the room clapped for them. That was exciting. I almost wanted to cry. I thought my purpose was fulfilled. That’s why I’m here – to get them to college.” Diego grew up in Lindsay, California, a town of 10,000

Central Valley High School seniors Jesus Beltran, right, and Vincent Herrera recreate the “Scarface” movie poster in Diego Monterrubio’s art class.

“They need someone who looks like them, talks like them, who’s been through the same sort of struggles and not been discouraged and went all the way to college and ended up with a higher degree. That’s my purpose to be out here.” – Diego Gutierrez Monterrubio

people in Tulare County. The son of a migrant worker and a seamstress, he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Fresno State and MFA from the University of Texas. His work and accomplishments up and down the Central Valley were the subject of a PBS documentary filmed earlier this Diego Monterrubio gives senior Faviola Vasquez tips as she recreates Pablo Picasyear. so’s “The Bull.” “It’s neat because I get to tell my terrubio). He’s passed away almost 15 years now. He lives story,” he said. “I get to share how through me and I live through him. Probably my most things began.” The interview was an emotional one because it was the proudest thing is that my mother can watch me become him. culmination of what he considers his proudest accom“When I was a little boy, we’d walk through town and plishment. people would say, ‘Hey, maestro, how are you?’ ‘Hey, “I am fulfilling the life of my ultimate inheritance, maestro, good morning.’ Later on, I became the maestro. I which is art,” he said. “I’ve always considered art my became the teacher.” ultimate inheritance from my grandfather (Victor




Our Town

The Cranktones (from left): Tom Child, Craig Copeland, Chad Wackerman, Carl Verheyen, Jim Cox and John Ferraro.

MUSIC FOR A CURE Christmas with The Cranktones raises money for Kern County Cancer Fund By Julie Mana-ay Perez

Guitar Masters rallied up community members to donate $47,000 last year for its annual Christmas concert for Kern County cancer patients. This year, they hope to raise more money to continue making a difference. Guitar Masters presents Christmas with The Cranktones for its fifth year at Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace. Christmas with The Cranktones is an annual fundraiser that raises money for the Kern County Cancer Fund. Before starting the event in 2015, Rick Kreiser came in contact with Carl Verheyen, a guitarist in a band called Supertramp. After Verheyen did a show in 2014, he and Kreiser hit it off and wanted to continue working together. Verheyen lured Kreiser to a show in Studio City where he met The Cranktones, a band of close friends who are all studio musicians. Verheyen, Craig Copeland, Jim Cox, Chad Wackerman, John Ferraro and Tom Child make up The Cranktones. Kreiser convinced Verheyen and his close friends to come to Bakersfield to put on a show for his hometown. “We’ll have a Christmas show and it morphed into 70

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December 2019

this thing. And then I thought we ought to help somebody during Christmas,” said Kreiser. In 2015, Kreiser wanted to get involved with the Kern County Cancer Fund while still putting on a show for locals, morphing this idea of helping people with their cancer journey. Kreiser mentions his own personal cancer road and how it was never him being a survivor or a patient but a caregiver and friend to his loved ones, like his wife, son, niece and business partner. “Back when we started this, The Cranktones was originally just about the music but when we felt like we needed to make an impact, particularly around the holidays – that’s when it became a benefit show,” he said. Kreiser wanted to be able to positively impact lives and support the Bakersfield community as a business person and member of the community. “While I do support other organizations, this is a problem that doesn’t go away locally. By helping the Kern County Cancer Fund, we can make a bigger impact because it all goes directly to Kern County patients on a needs basis,” he said. Throughout the years, they were able to donate


“While I do support other organizations, this is a problem that doesn’t go away locally. By helping the Kern County Cancer Fund, we can make a bigger impact because it all goes directly to Kern County Cancer patients on a needs basis.”

$125,000 to the organization. With this being Guitar Masters’ fifth year putting on its annual Christmas show, they hope to raise $50,000 with the community behind them. All proceeds from the event will be directly donated to the Kern County Cancer Fund, where profits aid Kern County residents – Rick Kreiser, founder of Guitar when they can’t afford Masters treatment. Kreiser is also doing something different in regard to raising money this year. Admission is a $50 minimum donation but people can choose to donate more and the money goes directly to the Kern County Cancer Fund. The money helps cancer patients access treatments, diagnosis and aid their co-pay as long as they live in the county. Kreiser wants people to have the opportunity to access treatment anywhere they go. Kreiser also said it feels good to help people who aren’t fortunate enough to access the aid they need to access treatments. “It could be your friends next time. We shouldn’t have to make those choices, but some do,” he said. Christmas with The Cranktones will be held at Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace on Dec. 12. “It’s a high-energy show and (The Cranktones) have a hell of a time. They love playing with each other and the

The Cranktones performing at Buck Owens' Crystal Palace.


Kern County Cancer Fund Chair Bruce Jay and Rick Kreiser at Christmas with The Cranktones.

Palace has so much soul,” said Kreiser. “What’s special about it is the whole night is meaningful and celebratory; those guys just love coming here and playing for Bakersfield fans.”

Christmas with The Cranktones Dec. 12, 7:30 p.m. Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace, 2800 Buck Owens Blvd. Admission is a minimum donation of $50. For more information, visit





April Steward started Kathy Lynn’s Kindness Project last year to help her grieve the death of her mother, Kathy Lynn.

TURNING PAIN INTO PURPOSE Kathy Lynn’s Kindness Project gives back to community, honors philanthropic legacy


By Jocelyn Sandusky


When tragedy strikes, the natural, easy and human response might be to wallow and sulk in pain. April Steward, however, took the pain of her mother’s, Kathy Lynn’s, death in 2016 and turned it into something positive to help her through the grieving process. Last year, Steward founded Kathy Lynn’s Kindness Project to honor her mother’s philanthropic legacy by giving back to deserving people in the community. Roughly every three months, Steward recognizes a group of selfless people and rewards them with small and meaningful gifts to show her appreciation for what they

Instead of letting her mother’s generosity die with her, Steward has kept her memory and spirit alive by donating her time, money and resources to deserving strangers. “You can choose to sit in a dark room and cry, or you can go out and you can do something to make it better. I have found for me, helping others, it takes my mind to a different place. I’m in a much better place when I do stuff like this,” Steward said. With Kathy Lynn’s Kindness Project, Steward is carrying on her mother’s unselfish, self-sacrificing and compassionate legacy. According to Steward, Kathy Lynn tried to instill these traits in her at an early age by

Bakersfield Life Magazine

December 2019

encouraging her to help out when she could. “She loved giving. She was the most giving person in the world,” Steward said. In her last project of the year, Steward is giving back to a group of people who are not thanked enough and are often forgotten during the holiday season. In partnership with Operation Gratitude, Steward is putting together a small collection of essential items for care packages that will be sent to troops overseas just before the holiday season. The small goody bags will contain products that troops often need, like pencils, hand warmers and Chapstick. In an effort to show troops that

they are not forgotten while “We are thrilled that our they are away during the servicemen and -women will holidays, Steward will also receive the care packages include personal, handand are happy to serve a made items. Volunteers have small part on the ‘assembly offered to make and donate line.’ We hope this sweet scarves, beanies, letters, picgesture will bring a smile to tures and paintings, among our troops and help them other things. to feel closer to home. Our “We’re going to have participants will pray over some people write letters the care packages and those and draw pictures. And I’m who will be opening them,” a preschool teacher, so I’ll Waldon said. probably have some of my Steward thinks that these students draw them some care packages will encourApril Steward wants to change the narrative that Bakerspictures. We’ll write some age them to keep going and notes. This is stuff they need, field, particularly Oildale, is poor, dirty and unable to give. make it back home to see but that handmade stuff, the their families. handwritten notes, the prayer rocks, those are the types Steward also hopes Kathy Lynn’s Kindness Project’s of things that they’re going to be like, ‘Oh wow,’” Steward contribution to the care package will help people realize said. that Bakersfield residents are caring and thoughtful. She But she is not doing this on her own. For this project, wants to eliminate the misconception that Bakersfield, Steward is working with Independence Through Grace, a especially Oildale, is incapable of giving. drop-in enrichment program for adults with developmen“People say we’re poor, you know, it’s dirty, and all tal disabilities. According to Catherine Waldon, a reprethese things. I really want it to be known that Bakersfield sentative for the organization, participants will help place people, they have a lot of heart, they have a lot of giving. labels on the bags. They’re very generous,” Steward said.

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A sketch of the Bakersfield Ice Arena in 1940.


Long before the floors of the old Bakersfield Civic Auditorium were frozen over and the Valley Children’s Ice Center became the “coolest place in town,” there was the Bakersfield Ice Arena. Located on 24th Street and facing Highway 99, the facility was the first indoor ice rink in the entire San Joaquin Valley. George Haberfelde, one-time mayor from 1923-1924 and local business and civic leader, was the man behind the dream of bringing indoor ice-skating to the valley. The new $150,000 arena had many spectacular features, including a “mammoth rink” that could accommodate more than 1,000 skaters on the 200-by-85-foot rink and had a seating capacity of 2,000. The arena also held the record for the valley’s 74

Bakersfield Life Magazine

largest roof. According to the June 15, 1940, Californian, visitors found themselves standing under a “record-making roof” constructed by Francis W. Kimble. With archrib trusses spanning 134 feet from wall to wall, it beat out the previous record-holder, the Cousins Tractor building, which happened to be located right across the street. Many barrels of paint, all coming from the Ferguson Paint Store, were needed to tackle one of the valley’s largest paint projects to date. The result was a dusty blue mist ceiling complemented by ivory walls with a band of modern green around the perimeter. If skaters worked up an appetite, Tiny’s Drive-in and Dining Room was happy to provide the concessions in their newest location inside the arena. And if you needed new

December 2019

The Bakersfield Ice Arena was the coolest place in town.

The Bakersfield Ice Arena opened on July 12, 1940.

skates, Swanson’s had you covered. Opening day of July 12, 1940, marked the start of Bakersfield’s new ice age. Residents now had the opportunity to have their own winter wonderland yearround, which was especially appreciated during the hot summer months. More than 1,000 people attended the dedication given by Mayor George E. Wilson. The opening event kicked off a three-day ice carnival featuring various comedy acts, ice dancers and the “it girl on ice,” Ardria Thomas. It also served as home to the Bakersfield Oilers, the city’s first professional minor league hockey team. Between 1940 and 1943, thousands of visitors enjoyed skating around the ice arena’s rink or catching a hockey game to cheer on their Oilers. The fun would soon come to an end as World War II was raging abroad and duty called. On Jan. 15, 1943, it was announced in The Californian that the Bakersfield Ice Arena was to be converted by the Army into an assembly plant for the Lockheed-Vega Warcraft. The Bakersfield Ice Arena would still have one more opportunity to provide entertainment to the people of Bakersfield though. In January 1946, it was converted into one of the largest dance pavilions in the San Joaquin Valley, but it would take another 20 years for ice-skating and hockey to return to Bakersfield when the Civic Auditorium opened the city’s next ice rink in 1963.

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Kanyah Patterson of East High School



December is a hectic month for most people. On top of normal daily activities involving work and family, the final 31 days of the year are filled with a plethora of holiday-related things like shopping, decorating and parties. It also happens to be one of the busiest months of the year for local sports action, with a vast array of high school and college winter sports games/competitions scheduled. One of the most popular winter sports locally is high school basketball. This year, Kern County prep hoops fans will have no 76

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December 2019

shortage of exciting players and quality teams to follow and/or watch in person. The Foothill High boys basketball team won the CIF State Division V championship last year. The Trojans graduated two BVarsity All-Area First Team selections (Edward Turner and Elijah Seales) but return high-flying junior guard Jaden Phillips. The 6-foot-2 nephew of former Foothill star and Harlem Globetrotter Reggie Phillips was the Trojans’ second-leading scorer last year, averaging 16.8 points per game. Another local high school boys basketball team to keep an eye on this season is BHS. The Drillers, who went 20-8 overall and 10-0 in Southwest Yosemite League


David Whatley of Bakersfield High School


Noah Taylor of Bakersfield Christian High School


All-Star Roundup

games last season, return a ton of talent. Back in the fold for the SWYL champs are All-Area First Team selection and league MVP David Whatley (11.3 ppg, 9.6 rpg), All-Area Second Team selection Josh Geary (10.9 ppg), and All-Area Honorable Mention choices Kosta Bikakis (10.5 ppg, 3.9 rpg) and Sam Ackerman (8.1 ppg). While Foothill will battle it out in the SEYL and BHS in the SWYL, Bakersfield Christian should be the favorite in the South Sequoia League. The Eagles went 22-8 overall and 9-1 SSL last year. They return a quartet of All-Area Honorable Mention picks in Lendl Henderson, Seth Marantos, Noah Taylor and Ben Yurosek. The outlook for local high school girls basketball this year is just as promising as on the boys side of things. BHS, which went 24-4 and won the Central Section Division II title last season, returns All-Area First Team forward Taylor Linzie. The 5-foot-8 multifaceted standout averaged 9.9 points, 11.8 rebounds and 3.6 steals per game last year. Two other All-Area First Team selections, Kanyah Patterson (East) and Teagan Thurman (Tehachapi), are back for their senior seasons.

Elijah Seales of Foothill High School


Edward Turner of Foothill High School



Addisyn McMurtrey of Garces High School

A year ago, Patterson averaged 18.5 points Catch the Action per game for the North High will be hosting a 1617-win Blades and team boys basketball tournament, the Kern Federal Credit Union had two 30-plusShootout, Dec. 11-14. point games. Arvin High will host a 48-team Thurman was girls tournament, the Arvin Holiday a double-double Showcase, Dec. 26-28. machine last season, averaging 17.8 points and 11.2 rebounds per game for a Warriors team that went 23-8 overall and finished in a three-way tie for the SSL title. A trio of All-Area Second Team selections, Addisyn McMurtrey of Garces (11.3 ppg), Nevaeh Linton of Highland (13.6 ppg) and Ray Vaughn of West (13.0 ppg) bring additional star power to this year’s local high school girls basketball scene. December is a great month to see a lot of the local talent in action.


Snap! Lace’n It Up Run/Walk Date: Oct. 5 Held at: The Park at River Walk Photos by: Greg Nichols

Katelyn Hallmark and Cecilia Velazquez

Alma Zepeda, Nancy Zepeda, Abby Beltran, Monica Suarez and Josie Garcia

John Gundzik and Coleen Gundzik

Marjorie Driscoll and Gerry Richardson 78

Bakersfield Life Magazine

The Bakersfield Californian group

Adventist Health group

Gail Stevenson, Joann Gregorio, Josh Gregorio and Georgina Lorenzi December 2019

Denise Bishop and Dean Bishop

Victoria Kent-Dotson and Karen Chaney

Rebecca Salinas, Danyell Deckard, Stacey Rhynes and Yoana Francis


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Snap! Via Arte Date: Oct. 19-20 Held at: The Marketplace Photos by: Carla Rivas

Manda Wood and Monica Gonzales

Sara Kinsey and Abby Kinsey

Kyle Wylie and Misty Wylie

Luke Hoffmann, Crystal Hoffmann and Layla Hoffmann

Emelie Rhoades and Jamie Rhoades

Andrea Nehesi, Stephanie Nicholas, Michael Nicholas, Jessica Franco and Lydia Provencio

Addison Rivera, Anthony Rivera, Andrew Rivera, Oliver Rivera and Melissa Rivera

Ada Fernandez, Israel Fernandez, Dian Fernandez, Sabella Beck, Janette Beck, Ethan Beck, Camille Fernandez and Aubrielle Beck

Rajvir Kaur, Katrina Coday, Melissa Parks, Amorie Martin and Hailey Parks


Bakersfield Life Magazine

December 2019


Why rent when you can buy!


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Snap! Valley of Hope Date: Oct. 19 Held at: Fischer Family Home Photos by: Greg Nichols

Shari Rickett and Laura Porter

Annaka Torres and Chase Wright

Julie Fisher, Annemarie Ulbrich, Staci Woodward and Callie Jenkins

Claudia Rodriguez, Raquel Vega, Clayton Fowler and Robin Cooper

Bakersfield Life Magazine

Holly Clark, Stephanie Filoteo and Susie Aspeitia

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Tashauna Gray and Jeremy Gray

December 2019

Snap! Toast and Taste the Season Date: Oct. 25 Held at: Buena Vista Edible Schoolyard Photos by: Greg Nichols

Shawn Kennemer, Jeremiah Heitman and Debbie Wise

Ashley Santos and Ray Santos

David Anderson, Debbie Lewis, Sherod Waite and Emely Lewis

Dylan Wilson, Carla Wilson, Dana Wilson and Lena Claire Wilson

Cathy Card, Tiffany August, Summer Clark, Evelyn Steed and Morgan Clayton

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Snap! Kern Energy Festival VIP Reception Date: Nov. 8 Held at: Kern County Museum Photos by: Carla Rivas

Tim Rushing and Annette Ladner

Adam Ward, Ashley Hallene and Larene Stacey

Reba Gerber, David Lancaster and Rhodora Terry

Cindy Marosek, Mark Marosek, Sandi Thorsen and Michael Thorsen 84

Bakersfield Life Magazine

December 2019

Michele Tjepkema and Luke Tjepkema

Sara Brito and Darren Brito

Kassandra Steele and Michelle Vitale

Jeremy Vanderziel, Jenna Vanderziel, Karen Crawford and Tim Crawford

Robert Doane, Erik Krinitt, Lean Huge and Curtis Huge

Snap! Pyrenees Fiesta Date: Oct. 11 Held at: The Station Photos by: Greg Nichols

Claudia Rodriguez and Anthony Galagaza

Russell Sentes and Audra Torres

Gloria Cotter, Kym Plivelich, Dave Plivelich and David Cotter

Erin Auerbach, Olivia Garcia and Julio Garcia

Katherine Whittington and Joseph Whittington

Ariana Mesa and Chris Mesa

Dennis Suburu, Heidi Suburu, Scotty Monroe and Anna Monroe

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Last Word

LOOKING BACK By Kristen Beall Watson

In just a few short weeks, 2019 will come to a close. But before the champagne corks pop and we launch into raucous renditions of “Auld Lang Syne,” I encourage you to push the pause button and digest Kern Community Foundation’s Philanthropy Year in Review. You see, 2019 has been a year of groundbreaking accomplishments and internal reflection at the foundation. We remain committed to “Growing Community, Growing Philanthropy” – supporting local philanthropists with their community giving while simultaneously strengthening nonprofit organizations and increasing educational attainment in Kern County – and to that end, here are some highlights: Rob and Judi McCarthy made the largest gift from an individual or family in our foundation’s history – $2.5 million to the Robert and Judith McCarthy Family Fund. And just this month, they committed $1 million of this historic gift to the foundation’s operating reserves, ensuring long-term sustainability and community giving. Our fourth annual Give Big Kern proved to be the best ever, setting new records in every metric – raising $430,000, engaging nearly 3,000 unique donors and hundreds of volunteers who pledged almost 90,000 in volunteer hours, while also receiving our 86

Bakersfield Life Magazine

first-812ever Beautiful Bakersfield Award in the category for creating “A Better Bakersfield.” Within weeks of the devastating earthquakes that rocked East Kern County in July, the foundation raised and distributed nearly $115,000 to eight deserving nonprofits for emergency-response and social-service infrastructure rebuilding. We remain committed to increasing educational attainment in Kern County, awarding $428,000 to 250 new and continuing college students. Our first cohort of nonprofits successfully completed Jumpstart, a unique fundraising technical assistance grant program in partnership with Network for Good and the Kern County Board of Supervisors, with renewed funding secured for a second cohort in 2020. Last, but certainly not least, Kern Community Foundation celebrated a milestone anniversary this year: 20 years of supporting Kern County’s endless giving spirit! Beginning with a dedicated group of visionary community leaders in 1999, Kern Community Foundation has grown to include more than 160 funds, established by individuals, families, corporations and even nonprofit organizations, totaling $25 million in assets – most of which will be used to make an impact on our community for generations to come. December 2019

The Girl Scouts Council staff is out in force on Brundage Lane to draw people for their fundraiser as part of the Kern Community Foundation Give Big Kern event.



Perhaps even more imGet Involved pressive is our fundholder You, too, can become a grantmaking over the past philanthropic force for 20 years – nearly $24 milmaking Kern County a lion has been disbursed to better place to live, work a wide variety of nonprofits, and visit. Contact info@ schools and religious to nizations, the vast majority learn about our programs right here in Kern County. and opportunities or go to www.kernfoundation. With an eye toward a org. future that looks amazingly bright for Kern Community Foundation, our board Mary Lou Thompson for and staff are committed to the commitment and courpioneering opportunities age to envision something to shift our community’s that could create such lastgiving spirit from transing community change. We actional charity to transare inspired by your leaderformational philanthropy, ship and energized by Kern while remaining grounded County’s response. in the vision of our founding board of directors. Hats Kristen Beall Watson, off to Morton Brown, Bruce Ed.D., is the president Bunker, Noel and CEO of Kern Daniels, Curtis Community FounDarling, Joan dation. She can be Dezember, reached at Kristen@ Claude ball, Ginger or 661-616-2601. The Moorhouse, views expressed are Marjorie Kristen Beall her own. Rump and Watson

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Closed-endd lease for or 202 2020 0 0 AAccord ccordd Sed SSedan Se dan Con CContinuously Contin tinuou uuou ously slyl VVaria Va Variable aria riabl ble Trans ble TTransmission ransmis misi sio i n LLXX aavailable vailab vai abl blele th thr through hroug oughh 01/0 oug 001/02/2020, 1/ 2/ 1/0 1/02/ 2/2020 2/2 / 020 20 ttoo approved a d llessees essees by Honda Financial Services Services. MSRP $24 $24,800.00 800 00 (includes destinatio destination destination; estination;; ex exclud excludes l es tax ttax, title, license, registration, options, insurance). Actual net capitalized cost $21,637.47. Total monthly payments $8,964.00. Option to purchase at lease end $14,632.00. Lessee responsible for maintenance, excessive wear/ tear and up to 20¢/mi. over 12,000 miles/year. Dealer participation may affect actual payment. Dealer sets actual prices. See participating dealers for details.



2019 CR-V

œ˜Ìˆ˜ÕœÕÃÞ Variable Transmission per month 36 mos. 2WD EX $2799 due at signing

2019 Civic Sedan

œ˜Ìˆ˜ÕœÕÏÞ6>Àˆ>Li /À>˜Ã“ˆÃȜ˜8


Closed-end lease for 2019 CR-V Continuously Variable Transmission 2WD EX available through 01/02/2020, to approved lessees by Honda Financial Services. MSRP $28,445.00 (includes destination; excludes tax, title, license, registration, options, insurance). Actual net capitalized cost $25,125.82. Total monthly payments $9,324.00. Option to purchase at lease end $16,782.55. Lessee responsible for maintenance, excessive wear/tear and up to 20¢/mi. over 12,000 miles/year. Dealer participation may affect actual payment. Dealer sets actual prices. See participating dealers for details.




per month 36 mos. $2199 due at signing

Closed-end lease for 2019 Civic Sedan Continuously Variable Transmission LX available through 01/02/2020, to approved lessees by Honda Financial Services. MSRP $21,280.00 (includes destination; excludes tax, title, license, registration, options, insurance). Actual net capitalized cost $17,967.54. Total monthly payments $6,804.00. Option to purchase at lease end $11,916.80. Lessee responsible for maintenance, excessive wear/tear and up to 20¢/mi. over 12,000 miles/ year. Dealer participation may affect actual payment. Dealer sets actual prices. See participating dealers for details.

Get Your Best Deal on a New Honda - Trust the Locally Owned Dealer who’s been Serving Kern County for over 60 Years!

Barber Honda Home of the

20 Year




*See dealer for details

Barber Honda

4500 Wible Road at the Entrance to the >ŽiÀÃwi`čÕ̜>


1-888-503-8891 Se Habla Español


Bakersfield Life Magazine December 2019  

Celebrating the holidays / reader highlights / cover contest winner Victor Barrera shares his influential story

Bakersfield Life Magazine December 2019  

Celebrating the holidays / reader highlights / cover contest winner Victor Barrera shares his influential story