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December 2011

Holiday traditions brighten the season Dining Divas farewell at


Ways to get

your pet in the spirit



gift guide

Three French Hens…Two Turtle Doves…

 And a $7,500 Gift Card!  Put Castle & Cooke at the top of your wish list and wake up to a really special gift on Christmas morning: A $7,500 VISA Gift Card! Castle & Cooke is giving one away with every inventory home* purchased in December. But that’s not all! Every Castle & Cooke home comes with its own exciting Master Planned community, neighborhood parks, outstanding recreational amenities, beautiful community landscaping and more.

To get your $7,500 VISA Gift Card make sure one of these Castle & Cooke communities is on your list!


Gated Community Homes from the low $200’s Stockdale Hwy. & Renfro Rd. 661-387-6427

UNIVERSITY PARK Gated Community Homes from the high $100’s Ming Ave. & Gosford Rd. 661-663-3810

BRIGHTON PARKS Gated Active Adult Community Homes from the low $200’s Stockdale Hwy. & Jewetta Ave. 661-829-1775

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Silver Creek Master Plan Homes from the mid $100’s Panama Ln. & Ashe Rd. 661-836-6623

THE VILLAS at Seven Oaks

Gated Community • Homes from the mid $400’s Ming Ave. & Grand Lakes Ave. 661-665-0683

Visit our new website

Offer valid on homes purchased during December 2011 only. Prices, amenities and square footage are subject to change without notice. See sales associate for full details on all offers. Offers may not be combined with any other offer. Buyer must finance through Castle & Cooke Mortgage. *Inventory home must close within 30 days. CA DRE #01254164

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(661) 871-3556 CENTRAL

4130 California Avenue

(661) 325-4717 NORTHWEST

4750 Coffee Road

(661) 588-4700 SHAFTER

139 N. Central Valley Hwy.

(661) 746-9244







Presents for your pets

SPECIAL 2011 holiday SECTION gift guide

Everyone has his or her own reasons to love this jolly season. Find out Mayor Harvey Hall’s favorite Christmas movie, what well-known Realtor Mary Christenson’s wish is this Christmas and what comes to mind when David Perkins, Urner’s marketing director, thinks of Christmas.

This holiday season make sure to think of your pet, too. Whether it’s that adorable sparkly collar, festive Christmas sweater or even a simple bath for relaxation, show your four-legged companion some love.

Family holiday traditions

Three local families share special recipes and stories on what the holidays are like in their households. Read why tuna sandwiches are a must-have dish on Christmas Eve for the Castro family, discover the meaning behind the eightday celebration that is Hanukkah with the Schlangers and the importance of Noche Buena with the Leyva bunch.

Turn to our gift guide that’s packed with more than 40 local finds and give that special someone something that will surely make them smile.

Photo by Felix Adamo


3615 Mount Vernon Ave.

What Christmas means to me



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Photo by Jaclyn Borowski


Page 92

Offer Valid Until 12/24/11.


1231 18th Street UIBOE-4USFFUT

Phone: (661) 323-2500

44 48 62 67 68

Up Front Happenings It Manners A Lot Kelly Damian Real People

Why I Serve It’s a Guy Thing Why I Live Here Our Town

Dining Divas Entertainment Food and Wine Sports Legend

Phone: (661) 587-1600



Phone: (661) 665-9990


765 West Herndon Avenue


Phone: (559) 323-0330 See our full menu and order online at




Photo courtesy of the Quarry family


9160 Rosedale Highway 5BSHFU4IPQQJOH$US

89 Pastimes 98 Personality 100 Health and Wellness 102 Talk of the Town 104 Trip Planner 106 Get Out of Town 112 Snap! 122 Inside Story

On the Road

Photo by Jessica Frey


12 20 22 24 26 28 32 36 42

78 82 84

Foodie Home and Garden Going Green

For the record: Thompson Fitness Boot Camp's contact information is 379-0004 and Thompson Fitness Yoga can be reached at 379-0003 or Incorrect information ran in the November issue.

Photo by Casey Christie

The Perfect Holiday Gift from Bakersfield’s Favorite Deli!



Bakersfield’s Premier City Magazine December 2011 / Vol. 6 / Issue 3

Publisher Ginger Moorhouse President/CEO Richard Beene Senior Vice President Revenue and Marketing John Wells Advertising Director Bryan Fahsbender Editor Olivia Garcia Assistant Editor Stefani Dias Specialty Publications Coordinator Hillary Haenes Editorial Assistant Marisol Sorto Art Director Glenn Hammett Photography Felix Adamo Crystal Alvarez Henry A. Barrios Robert Bejil Jaclyn Borowski Casey Christie Jessica Frey Jeremy Gonzalez John Harte Jimmy Hickey Tyson Hofsommer Roger Hornback Alex Horvath Jenn Ireland Tim Kupsick Greg Nichols Tanya X. Leonzo Mark Nessia Jan St. Pierre Ashley Reyes Carla Rivas Brian N. Willhite Zuma Press Contributing writers Vicki Adame Allie Castro Kelly Damian Gene Garaygordobil Lois Henry Lisa Kimble Stephen Lynch Mateo M. Melero Mark Nessia Denise Ornelas Melissa Peaker-Whitten Gabriel Ramirez Annie Stephens Bill Trivitt Michael Wafford Brian N. Willhite Advertising Lupe Carabajal, 395-7563 On the cover Dogs get into the holiday spirit. From left: Meyer, Angus, Bear Bear and Jack. Photographed by Mark Nessia




Share your love story


My husband, Julio, and I recently celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary, and I was reminded of the day he proposed to me. It was a rainy night, but he still wanted us to go out and have dinner. I didn’t think much of it until we sat down for dinner, and he started acting a bit weird, or perhaps overly nervous is a better description. He wouldn’t stop talking about random things: when we first met, when we had our first serious talk about our dreams or how it’s been great getting to know each other. I kept thinking something was up. I began to anticipate some sort of bad news: He was getting stationed to another state or country. (He was a young Marine at the time.) Or worse, we were breaking up. We went through dinner, but no “big news” came up, leaving me a bit confused as I walked into the rain and rushed to the car. “All these memories make me realize something, Olivia,” Julio told me as he rushed to open the passenger door for me. “Oh yeah, what’s that?” I asked, as I jumped into the car and reached over to unlock the driver’s side before turning back to shut my door — except I couldn’t shut the door. Under the pouring rain, Julio was on his knees, holding a ring and leaning against the door. There, he finished his point: “It’s made me realize how much I love you, and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Olivia, will you marry me?” I accepted, covered with tears and rain. Julio later told me that he was planning to propose inside the restaurant but just couldn’t find the right moment. No matter. It was the perfect proposal for me. For the next issue of Bakersfield Life, we are asking readers to share their sweet, interesting or romantic wedding proposal stories. The wedding proposal stories could be used in our next edition that will be devoted to weddings, engagements and more.

Photo by Tanya X. Leonzo

Bakersfield Life™ magazine is published by The Bakersfield Californian. The magazine is inserted into The Bakersfield Californian on the last Saturday of every month. To subscribe, please call 392-5777.

If you have a beautiful or funny proposal story to share, please email it to Please include in the subject line: Wedding Proposal. We are looking for 50 to 100 words. Include a high-resolution photo if you have one, as well as your contact information. The deadline is 5 p.m. Dec. 7.

Olivia Garcia Editor 395-7487

UP FRONT Letter to the Editor

Not a fan of Kelly Damian I want you to know, I love your magazine. I can’t tell you how thrilled I was when it came out. We live in a world where it seems all we ever hear is the bad. We also live in a town where outsiders are frequently making fun of our choice to live here, and where we are forced to defend that choice often. I have never minded defending our wonderful town to people who don't live here; in fact, I enjoy it. It’s always nice to tell people who don’t know all of the wonderful things about our community that only we — its citizens — know about. If they shake their heads in disbelief, I get to smile and walk away and find humor in their ignorance, knowing that it’s good for our town to have some special secrets ... After all, if it didn’t, people might move here by the droves and ruin everything. You can imagine my disappointment then in your choice to hire and publish Kelly Damian. How sad that a magazine I once loved and looked forward to receiving has now become one that I leave on my kitchen counter without reading for weeks because I know when I read her article I am going to be filled with anger and frustration. What a shame that a magazine created to inform our citizens of the hidden jewels of our wonderful town has chosen to employ someone who is having to work so hard to find any value at all in our community. I know I’m just one person, and this won’t mean anything to you, but I’m giving up your magazine. I can’t in good faith read about and then visit the businesses advertised when I know that a portion of the proceeds are going to fund additional articles from Kelly Damian. I would suggest that Kelly Damian actually read the magazine her article is published in, and then go pay a visit to some of the places or events mentioned. Maybe, just maybe, she would start to realize some positive benefits to our wonderful town. Then, after thinking about it, having to prove our value to Kelly Damian seems demeaning. Bakersfield and the value of life in Bakersfield can stand on its own two feet. I had thought that a magazine called Bakersfield Life would already know that. In fact, I thought that was the reason the magazine was created in the first place. Having Kelly Damian’s articles published in Bakersfield Life validates the opinions of outsiders that Bakersfield is something so horrible that it takes getting used to ... and if you ever do fall in love

In memory of Gary Branker Bakersfield Life wishes to express our sympathy to the family and friends of Gary Branker, who graced the cover of Bakersfield Life magazine in March. The world has lost one of its shining stars. He was one of the most tenacious men when faced with adversity and lived life to the fullest. Branker was featured in part of all-in-the-name-of-fun spoof of Bakersfield’s “Most Interesting Man.” Friends say being on the cover really lifted his spirits as he had been struggling with health issues. Branker passed away Nov. 7. Thank you, Gary, for being a part of our magazine. — Bakersfield Life staff 12



with it, you love it like “a three-legged dog, because someone has to.” Could she (and you, by choosing to publish her) get any more demeaning toward our citizens? My guess is she can, which is why I won’t be reading the magazine any longer. If, in the future, I want to hear about how horrible Bakersfield is, I will call my friends from Northern California who have never lived here. I should send them Bakersfield Life magazine. They would think it’s hilarious since they have been asking why I live here for years! I can’t tell you how amusing they would find a Bakersfield Life magazine publishing anti-Bakersfield articles. When, and if, you ever come to your senses and give Kelly Damian a pink slip, please give me a call. Seriously, I would love to go back to reading the magazine I once loved and looked forward to receiving. — Cherie Payne The Bakersfield Californian publishes Bakersfield Life magazine monthly. If you have any questions or comments regarding our magazine, write to us at Bakersfield Life magazine, P.O. Bin 440, Bakersfield, CA 93302, or e-mail us at We’d love to hear from you.

To submit material

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

To advertise

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

Word on the Street By Ashley Reyes

What was your best Christmas present as a child? A poisonous lizard that my aunt adopted for me from CALM.

A lowrider bike. It was my brother’s and he gave it to me.

When I was 5, I got a Barbie dream house. They tricked me and wrapped it in a different box.

— Leilanie Banales

— Cody Jones

— Yvette Agcaoili

My two-story Barbie town house.

My first Cabbage Patch doll.

— Cheryl Bugge

— Deidre Albert

My mother’s friend was a vet and he gave me a cocker spaniel puppy.

A Barbie car.

— Dr. Sze K. Ho

— Coral Rector

My Barbie makeup vanity, when I was 8 years old. — Kailee Tozzi

My first pair of UGG boots! — Andi Shears

It’s Named After

By Lisa Kimble

Woody Nestled beneath grand oak trees in the bucolic foothills 1,200 feet above and about 35 miles northeast of Bakersfield lies the unincorporated community of Woody, named after one of Kern Island’s earliest settlers, Dr. Sparrell Walter Woody. The town's charming history is characterized by the pioneering spirit of those, like Dr. Woody, who were drawn to the prospects of bounty in the Golden State. Woody was born in Virginia in 1826. Nine years later, he moved with his parents to Boone County, Mo. He received his medical education at St. Louis Medical College, and had been practicing medicine for a year when gold fever lured him out west. He came to California by way of an oxen-drawn wagon in 1849. He mined along the American River and later ran a hotel and livery stable in Auburn before settling on the present site of Bakersfield in 1860 where he raised corn, potatoes and grain. There he met Sarah Louise Bohna, whose family already lived at Kern Island. They married in 1861. The following year, the great flood of 1862 washed away the Bohna family crops and they moved to Oregon. The Woodys decided to move to higher ground and settled at the foot of Blue Mountain, northeast of Bakersfield. At one time, Blue Mountain had a prosperous gold mine, but it eventually fell on hard financial times and was sold to the government. The inside was

dynamited and its entrance sealed off. Local lore has it that outlaw Joaquin Murrieta once had a hideout there, although no cave has ever been found. Dr. Woody gave up his medical practice and became a fulltime farmer and rancher, hauling grain and corn to Visalia on trips that took five days using a team of horses and wagon. The Woodys also raised livestock on their 4,000-acre ranch. In the late 1880s, a small community sprang up three miles from the Woody ranch. Around 1889, the town was named in the doctor's honor and the first post office was opened. But two years later, it was renamed Weringdale for Joseph Weringer Sr. who discovered copper bearing ore and ran the nearby Diamondback Copper Mine. Weringer was so optimistic about the prosperity of the mining and ranching community that he recorded a town-site in 1909, built a nine-room hotel and dining room and a general store across the street. But the name “Weringdale” never caught on, and it was eventually changed back to Woody. The Woodys had five children, several of whom were born in the log cabin on the ranch. Sarah Woody died in 1909, and the following September Dr. Woody passed away at the age of 84. They are buried in the family plot at Blue Mountain Cemetery near the town that bears their name.


UP FRONT Short Takes

Wreath laying to honor veterans This holiday season, honor a loved one or show support for our military veterans by participating in Bakersfield’s third annual Wreaths Across America event Dec. 10. This national project was founded in 1992 when Morrill Worcester, owner of Worcester Wreath Company, donated wreaths for Arlington National Cemetery. While this event has taken place around the country for years, the Bakersfield Breakfast Rotary Club introduced it locally a few years ago when Bakersfield National Cemetery opened. This emotional but joyous patriotic event is designed to place a wreath on every United States veteran’s gravesite at our national cemeteries on the second Saturday of December. Join hundreds of people at Bakersfield National Cemetery, 30338 E. Bear Mountain Blvd. (three-quarters of a mile south of the intersection of Highways 58 and 223, at the base of the hill coming down from Tehachapi). Music will start at 8:30 a.m., the brief program will commence at 9 a.m., followed promptly by the laying of wreaths on approximately 1,350 graves by all members of the public who wish to participate. For more information or to make a $15 wreath donation, contact Mary Jo Pasek at 301-1074 or visit — Hillary Haenes

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

UP FRONT Short Takes

keepsake, and ornaments and decorating supplies are provided, along with refreshments. For more information on any of the events or Hoffmann Hospice, please call 410-1010. — Stefani Dias


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As we gather this holiday season, it’s easy to get caught up in celebrating and cherishing time with loved ones. But this is also an important time to remember those who have passed away. With this in mind, Hoffmann Hospice returns with Light up a Life, its annual remembrance ceremony, which it holds at three locations. The first event takes place Nov. 29 in Bakersfield at The Marketplace, 9000 Ming Ave. At the ceremony, which is free and open to the public, guests may honor or memorialize a loved one by placing a symbolic light on the tree. Those who wish to do so are asked to make a minimum $10 donation per each individual they honor. Those who donate $100 or more will receive a commemorative ornament. Events continue into December with a similar ceremony at 5:30 p.m., Dec. 1 in Kernville’s Circle Park. Refreshments will be served after at the Big Blue Bear, 100 Piute Drive. The year’s final Light up a Life is at 6 p.m., Dec. 6 in Lancaster, at the intersection of Date Avenue and Lancaster Boulevard. Another local opportunity to honor your loved ones is with the ornament decorating party from 4 to 7 p.m. on Dec. 1. Taking place at Hoffmann Hospice (8501 Brimhall Road, #100), the event offers adults and children a chance to create a memorial ornament. Guests can bring a special photo, lock of hair or other special

Photo by Henry A. Barrios

Light up a life: Remembering loved ones


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

Chris Thornburgh, CPA Being great at math and having a passion for numbers, Chris Thornburgh knew she wanted to be an accountant since the seventh grade. Following her dreams and being fiercely focused, Thornburgh achieved her goal. This 40-year-old is now a successful CPA and partner at Brown Armstrong. Mentored by her partner, Pete Brown, this year she took over as Brown Armstrong’s tax department chair and health care service leader. When she’s not solving tax and financial matters for her clients, we found out this professional woman has a very personal side with a touch of wit. Thornburgh enjoys traveling, cheering for her kids at their sport’s games and using the left side of her brain for interior decorating.

1. Growing up in a military family, I have a great appreciation for the brave men and women fighting for our country and freedom. 2. My little brother was a pest, but he grew up and now I look up to him in more ways than one. 3. I moved to Bakersfield on a wing and a prayer 22 years ago. I didn’t know anyone but the man I fell in love with, George Thornburgh. He’s my husband of 21 years. 4. I love people with a sense of humor. You live longer if you laugh. 5.

I am blessed with two children, Austin and Alyssa — ages 13 and 10 (going on 16).

6. My teenage kids know it all already. If I had a dollar for every time I heard, “I know Mom...”

13. When I need a good laugh, Chevy Chase in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” does it every time. Gotta love Clark and Cousin Eddie! 14. As a young girl, I had pet cats and rats. Kitty, the rat, was the smartest. She came when you called her by name — here Kitty, Kitty, Kitty! 15. I was afraid of black cats until I adopted two when I turned 18. Face your fears and get over it! 16.

My favorite season is football season! Love the Chicago Bears!


I always wanted to play high school football.

18. Retail therapy is the best medicine. 19.

I love the people of Bakersfield. I’ve lived all over the U.S. and have never met more kind-hearted, generous people.


My favorite restaurant is Wool Growers, where they treat you like family.

21. I met Oprah when my husband and I were guests on her show. (Her husband, George Thornburgh, gave up his lucrative oil service company and went back to school to become a teacher because he loved to coach kids.) 22.

I’m a parrothead to the end — I love Jimmy Buffet!

7. My favorite color is leopard. 8. I get quite a bit of mail ad-


St. James Club in Antigua is heaven and a family favorite.

dressed to Mr. Chris Thornburgh. They sure are surprised when they meet me for the first time!


I’m a perfectionist and self-disciplined. I probably drive my kids nuts but it’s with great love.


When I grow up, I want to be like my Grandma — spunky and forever young at heart.


11. I have a pet bulldog, Sophie — a sophisticated name for an absolutely unsophisticated dog. 12. The beach is my escape, though I steer clear of Pismo. There is no way half of Bakersfield is going to see me in a swimsuit! 18



Photo by Casey Christie

My favorite cocktail is one of my own recipes and is a party favorite. (It certainly has an interesting name. Ask her about it, she may tell you.)

25. The best part of being a CPA is my clients. Helping them energizes me and builds lasting friendships.

By the Numbers

HolidayLights at CALM 2 million

Photo by Casey Christie

the number of lights used at HolidayLights at CALM


the number of light structures at HolidayLights the number of


the price in dollars of admission for an adult


the number of acres covered by the event



the number of years HolidayLights at CALM has operated


the number of days HolidayLights will operate

the price of admission for a senior or youth 13 to 17 years old

the price of admission for children 3 to 12 years old


the length of the train ride track in miles



the number of hours HolidayLights operates a night Source: California Living Museum


FULL BLOOM Photo by Roger Hornback


visitors last year

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Find more community events at or submit yours via email:



Can’t-miss events in December Thur. 1

Fri. 2

Fri. 2

Fri. 2-4

Sat. 3

29th annual Bakersfield Christmas Parade, “Joys of Christmas,” parade will begin at 6 p.m., at 22nd and L streets. 637-2323.

CASA Celebration Kick-off Party, 6 to 9 p.m., Motor City Lexus Dealership, 5101 Gasoline Alley Drive. $60. or 631-2272.

First Friday Downtown, 5 to 9 p.m., Downtown Arts District. Email don@ themetrogalleries. com or 6349598.

“Boar’s Head Festival,” 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 4 p.m. Sunday, St. John’s Lutheran Church, 4500 Buena Vista Road. Free. 665-7815.

Holiday Lamplight Tours, with old west encampments and costumed interpreters, minstrels, carolers, bell choirs, horsedrawn wagon rides and more, 3 to 8 p.m., Kern County Museum, 3801 Chester Ave. $3 to $10. 868-8400.

Sun. 4

Wed. 7

Thur. 8

Sat. 10

Jo Koy, 7 p.m., Fox Theater, 2001 H St. $29 plus fee. vallitix. com or 322-5200.

First Wednesday, special events and refreshments, 9:30 to 11 a.m., Bakersfield Museum of Art, 1930 R St. $4 nonmembers. 323-7219.

Joe Bonamassa, doors open at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m., Fox Theater, 2001 H St. $49 to $79. vallitix. com or 322-5200.

Merle Haggard, 8 p.m., Fox Theater, 2001 H St. $40.50 to $90.50. or 324-1369.

Sun. 11


Sun. 11


Bakersfield Toy Run and Food Drive, staging at 7 a.m. at Beach Park, 3400 21st St., parade of toys leaves park at 10 a.m. to Kern County Fairgrounds. Fee is $20 or $20 worth of food and toys. 319-3666.

Cookies at the Clock Tower, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Kern County Museum, 3801 Chester Ave. $5 adults and children 3-12; members and children under 3 are free. 868-8400.

Colt Ford, 7 p.m., Buck Owens' Crystal Palace, 2800 Buck Owens Blvd. $17.50 to $25.50. or call 322-5200.



Merle Haggard




Wed. 28

Sat. 31

X, 7 p.m., Buck Owens' Crystal Palace, 2800 Buck Owens Blvd. $18 to $24 plus fee. or 322-5200.

Bob and Tom Comedy All-Stars, 7 p.m., Fox Theater, 2001 H St. $30.50 plus fee. or 3225200.

All of us at Premier Realty wish you and your families the blessings of the Holiday Season. 3977 Coffee Road, Ste. C

Jackie Putman

Lea Bush

Wade Aldean

Kathy Keener

John Machado

Sonia Sides

Eva Martinez

Rhonda Anderson

Judy Smith

Ronda Chaffin

Richard Rivera

Tammy Gatson

Ann Olcott

Grant Armstrong

Leann Newfield

Penny Boeman

Dottie Patterson

Lezlie Chaffin

Louie Gregorio

Rhonda Lewis

Diana Aronson

Bob Levesque

Lois Brehmer

Stacy Harrison

(Behind Chicago Title)


Adoree Roberson

Joe Roberson

Cathie Paulovitz

Gayle Hafenstein

Marvin Bush

Karen Vanderhurst

Sang Dang

Kym Plivelich

Jeanie Gray

Beth Shanley

Joyce Hanson

Amy Short


Rachael Newell



Give the gift of civility this holiday season


By Lisa Kimble If you made it through Thanksgiving and the day after with nothing more serious than some indigestion, congratulate yourself on sprinting over the hurdle that is Black Friday. Even if you didn’t wait outside a big box store in the pre-dawn darkness wrapped in a blanket, teeth chattering like a popsicle in the sub-freezing temperature, your trip back into a department store in the coming weeks is inevitable. As Andy Williams sings, it really is the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also be the most unnerving. Whether you stroll, or drag your heels into a store this holiday season (aka the season of rudeness), take pause, check yourself and your manners, and stand at attention like a nutcracker ready to sand down the roughness the weeks to come will bring. Before you swoop down on a newly hired seasonal worker with a bombardment of questions and requests, remember that your clerk is not an air traffic controller. Their abilities to serve you will be limited. Nor is she a wizard who is able to speed the passage of time. Patience really will be a virtue this month, and into the after-Christmas, returns and clearance seasons too. And decorum should be a virtue as well. Be prepared to wait out the long lines with composure and courtesy. Resist the temptation to channel Scrooge and become agitated! The first shopping days of the Christmas season needn’t be black and blue. But they should be wrapped in cordiality, thoughtfulness and respect. As for what you wrap and gift, one of the most surprising changes in social acceptances of the last two decades has been embracing the practice of regifting. You know, the taking of that gaudy Egyptian-themed set of holiday glassware you received from Cousin Eddie that you know will never see your kitchen’s light of day, and rewrapping it to give to someone else. Once considered a social no-no other than at the office party’s white elephant gift exchange, today it is such a commonly-accepted act (a staggering 60 Lisa Kimble

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percent of people reportedly approve of it) that there is a (gasp!) National Regifting Week and a Web site dedicated to the recycling of someone else’s thoughtfulness. Even etiquette columnist Peggy Post has copped to the practice! The popular “Seinfeld” series gifted the notion into pop culture and there’s no question the economy and environment have also made it easier for regifting to gain mainstream popularity. I’m seriously out of step on this one, but I have never been a fan of the re-gifting concept. My manners-meter has always pointed to tacky on this idea. Instead, that crocheted apron and the plaster platter of Elvis have gone the way of the grow-your-own-cactus set and rope-trimmed picture frame — to charity! In the next few weeks, that donation pile will be joined by yet more vanilla-flavored jars of wax, mini Christmas-stocking coin purses and hard-as-nails fruitcakes. I’ll accept them graciously, and give them away later to Goodwill or St. Vincent de Paul. Sans the fruitcake of course! I know I am outnumbered by elves and the regifting train has left Santa’s station. Although I won’t hop on board, I’m offering a few suggestions on how to regift with tact if you are among the 60 percent: First, be realistic about the item and its intended recipient. Will your 85-year-old Aunt Clara really want or wear that Justin Bieber T-shirt? Make sure you rewrap the item with new paper and ribbon! Nothing undermines your stealth mission like patches of torn paper still taped to the box from the first go-around. Never regift something that has been used. Those items shouldn’t go anywhere else but to charity. Doing otherwise would be off the tacky Richter scale. Finally, be mindful of the retailer of origin. It’s been several years since Gottschalks closed up shop. Regifting a crystal dish from its shuttered china department may not elicit the desired effect with your mother-in-law. After all, while it is the thought that counts, it really does manner a lot. Agree, disagree? Send your questions, comments or topics you’d like to read about to or visit


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Compassion for all creatures this season


I am not a cat person. I refuse to see the play “Cats.” I have never bought a cat calendar or a cat T-shirt. When I go to the home of someone who has a cat, we sense our mutual dislike and keep a respectable distance. Enter into this situation a certain curly headed daughter of mine who, through some mutation during her development, morphed into a cat person. It started a few months ago with a sort of gooey, over-excitement at pictures of cats. Then she became a cat herself, meowing her answers instead of talking, waving at us with kitty paws, insisting that we address her as "Kitty." Things came to a head when she began chasing down feral cats in the neighborhood, desperately calling invitations to play while the cats hissed and ran. And that, my friends, explains the calico cat who is sitting on my desk this very moment, batting at the keyboard and chasing the cursor as it spits out words across the screen. I will not be subscribing to Cat Fancy anytime soon. However, I do admit that our new cat is charming and wonderful. She listens with contemplative peace to my 3-year-old’s monologues. With the true spirit of a hunter, she is merciless when attacking feathers and LEGOs. And she remains utterly unimpressed by my dachshund’s attempts to intimidate her. We got Jezebel from Cause 4 Cats, an organization that adopts out of Petco on the weekends. In the process of adopting our kitten, I was struck by the dedication and passion of the people in this group. According to Lolette Robrahn, the head of the organization, the average volunteer will spend about 10 to 15 hours per week helping the cats. Among other things, they find foster families for litters of unwanted kittens, and feed, water and clean up after the animals at their shelter. They spend their weekends at the adoption days, and they trap abandoned cats so that they

can be neutered or spayed. Frankly, this boils down to a lot of time spent picking up poo and getting scratched. It is not unusual to hear criticism of people who rescue and house animals; that with so much human suffering in the world, the time and energy spent on rescuing animals could be better spent on rescuing humans, alleviating human pain, ending human suffering. This argument suggests that there is a finite amount of compassion in the world, that once the empathy bucket is empty, there’s no replenishing it. While it is true that we must help our fellow humans, we cannot ignore the animals around us. As Proverbs 12:10 says, “The just man takes care of his beast, but the heart of the wicked is merciless.” And we humans are complicated, aren’t we? Will my help make the receiver feel ashamed? Will my help be put to good use? Will it be wasted? Will I make things better or worse? It is impossible to give to humans without expectation. If we donate our time or energy or money, we want to see results. Sometimes when those results don’t materialize the way we would like, we can become bitter, angry or resentful. Helping animals is a chance to practice love without expectation: I will feed you simply so you will not feel hungry. I will house you for life. All I ask is that you not pee on my floor or tear up my stuff. The Christmas season is here along with food, clothing and gift drives. As I drop change into the buckets of the Salvation Army bell-ringers, I will be thinking of another group of people that embodies the spirit of Christmas. They are sitting in folding chairs at tables in Petco every weekend. They are scaling eight-foot walls with kittens in their pockets and are disentangling themselves from barbed wire. They are feeding the hungry and caring for the sick. This season, Cause 4 Cats reminds us of the spirit of Christmas with their passionate commitment to the small and unwanted lives around us.

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Ricardo Salazar Drive to work as a kid led to full-time career as MLS referee


Ricardo Salazar is part of an elite club. Actually, it’s more like an elite duo. Salazar is just one of two full-time employees of U.S. Soccer, where he serves as a referee for such organizations as Major League Soccer, FIFA and international “friendlies” (pre-season exhibition games held in the United States between teams like Manchester United and Barcelona). How did the Highland High graduate make it into this exclusive club? A lifetime of soccer playing, and the (somewhat) atypical drive to find a job as a kid. “When I was younger and growing up playing soccer, my parents didn’t allow us to work. Our focus was school and playing soccer and just kind of staying out of trouble. We bugged them to go work — I don’t know why — so my dad said, ‘You can go to the referee class and after you play on Saturday, you can stay around after your games to ref to get to know the game better.’ It was decent money,” Salazar said. He began refereeing at 13, continued through high and college — even as he juggled his own soccer-playing schedule. “When I was in college, I was making good money just doing something I enjoyed. I didn’t realize I was halfway decent at the time,” Salazar said. However, Salazar’s reputation preceded him, and he was soon asked to travel to Florida to ref an international youth tournament. Salazar, who was in Chicago attending school and playing soccer for Judson University (and picking up two national championships to boot), took the offer. “I went to the tournament down there and just did well and got invited to another tournament, then to preseason that year, and a year later I was in the pros,” he said.




Referee Ricardo Salazar confers with New York Red Bulls defender/midfielder Rafa Marquez at an MLS match at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J.

© Will Schneekloth/Southcreek Global/Zuma Press

By Allie Castro

Salazar warns Sporting KC midfielder Roger Espinoza in a recent match against the LA Galaxy.

© Tyson Hofsommer/Southcreek Global/Zuma Press

He says of his job with US Soccer “We’re contracted out to MLS, FIFA, and our region CONCACAF, but our bread and butter is MLS. For most guys, they have another job, and this is a hobby for them; I’m one of the fortunate ones this is what I do.” Even more fortunate — at press time, Salazar was preparing to referee the Major League Soccer Finals on Nov. 20, between the L.A. Galaxy and the Houston Dynamo at the Home Depot Center in Carson. How many games do you ref each month? Depending on the month, I probably do three to five games every month, and every game is a minimum of three days of travel.

© Jimmy Hickey/Southcreek Global/Zuma Press

New York Red Bulls goalkeeper Greg Sutton argues with Salazar while receiving a yellow card.

We’re contracted to get into the city the day before the game, do the game, and we’re usually out first flight the following day. Internationally with FIFA, we’re usually there two or three days prior to the game. There’s a lot more to those games and we have technical meetings beforehand. We’re contracted to about 35 games a year, though we usually exceed that, which is a good thing because it’s performance based. The better you do, the more games you get, and the greater the financial reward as well. This year alone, I’m probably close to 40 games already. That’s including league games and international friendly games. Do you have a favorite team? I get asked that quite a bit because I see the best teams in the world. My response to that is I don’t really have a favorite team, I have favorite players and you have on all of the teams guys that are great guys. There are lots of great guys in the league who are easy to deal with, and are your go-to guys when you’re having issues or problems with their teammates and they help you out. We have to do our job with a clear vision of fairness of making sure that it’s fair across the board for both sides. What’s the best match you’ve ever called? At this level, all of the games are important and big games. But during qualifying for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, there was a game on the last day of qualifying that

was pretty cool. Here in the CONCACAF conference, one of the biggest rivalries in our region is Honduras and El Salvador. Historically, they’ve had three wars break out based on this game alone. I was fortunate enough to be in charge of that game this year in El Salvador. Honduras needed to win to go through to the World Cup. They actually needed help from the U.S. — they needed them to beat or tie Costa Rica — and the U.S. won and Honduras won and passed through to the World Cup. It was unbelievable, the two countries are bordering countries so there were lots of visiting fans, home fans and the stadium was sold out, and, really, that was probably the most at-stake game in a long time. How would you feel about adding instant replay capabilities to the sport? That’s another good one we get asked a lot. Technology is coming into our game more and more, and if there’s a way to add that into our game that won’t take away from it — meaning that our game is free-flowing and part of the enjoyment of our game is that the stoppages are minimal, the game’s constantly going — if there was a way to add that where it didn’t take away from our game I would be all for it. Like anybody, (refs) want to get the decisions made on the field right. If there’s something we could use to help us that would be welcomed with open arms as long as it doesn’t take way from the game. What would you say to those interested in becoming a ref? There are over 100,000 refs of all different levels here in our country. Youth soccer is probably one of the biggest and most participated sports in the U.S. Those games need referees as well. Probably not all of them aspire to do what I do, but some of them do. Advice I can give to them is when you’re not reffing games, watch games. It’s how I learned. In a lot of the forums I teach, I ask how many want to ref in MLS, and most of the time the majority of the room will raise their hand. My follow-up question to that is how many have been to an MLS game, and now it’s getting better and better, the response has gone up tremendously, but it used to be minute. You can’t expect to work at this level if you don’t know what a live game looks like. There are lots of things that go on off camera. Take in a game, get in the atmosphere, no comparison; you can’t get that feeling anywhere else.



Benji’s French Basque Dining Divas — Kim Jessup, Sofia Ronquillo, Lois Henry and Sofie Zimmerman — along with guest Diva Kim Barrett raise their glasses in farewell toast with Benji’s owners, from left, Benji Arduain, Bernadette Duhart and Rene Arduain.

Dining Divas say adieu, but not before a final night out Photos by Greg Nichols

Heel ratings (out of 5) Atmosphere: Big open rooms that are nice and airy but can get a bit loud when it’s busy. Service: Bernadette is the best!

Pricing: You get serious bang for your buck here. Food: So, so good! How to dress: This is a traditional Basque place, built for the working man, or gals on the town. Your choice! 28




So sad! This is our little Diva group’s final fling, so to speak. The new Divas will appear in the February issue of Bakersfield Life. It’s been so much fun, but a true Diva mustn’t overstay her welcome. Never fear, though, wherever good food, wine and beautiful people are gathered, the Divas will be there in spirit. Kisses everyone!


For our final Diva dinner, we chose Benji’s French Basque Restaurant and loved every last bite! Brothers Bernard and Rene Arduain, along with their sister, Bernadette Duhart, moved to the U.S. from Osses, France in 1968, bringing their scrumptious style of food with them. They opened Benji’s in 1986 on Union Avenue and moved to their Rosedale Highway location in 1992. This is a low-key place where the food is an absolute delight with its unique flavors and attention to detail. If you think you know Basque, trust us, Benji’s will surprise you!

Clockwise, from top: frog legs, scampi and escargot.


Address: 4001 Rosedale Highway (Rosedale and Gibson) Phone: 328-0400 Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Sunday through Monday. Closed Tuesdays.

What we had Kimmy on the wine

House Burgundy ($12). As they say “When in Rome…” The house wine comes slightly chilled in a screw-top bottle with no label. Its simplicity was great with every dish the Divas experienced. Benji’s offers a nice wine list and several wines by the glass, as well as a full bar if you prefer. Something for everyone! Sofia on the setup

The setup comes with each entree or on its own for ($13.75). The setup was fantastic! Bread, beans, salsa (yum!), salad and vegetable soup (plus clam chowder on Fridays) were all great. The clam chowder was smooth and bursting with savory clam goodness. Can’t forget the tongue. All the Divas agreed that Benji’s has the best tongue in town! Guest Diva Kim B. on appetizers

Escargot ($8) Wow, what can I say? The escargot had a great flavor! Cooked with mushrooms and herbs in a wine lemon butter sauce, extremely tender perfectly prepared. Scampi ($11; also served as an entrée for $12)

New York steak with pepper cognac sauce

The best scampi in town! It’s prepared with garlic, light butter and lemon. Rich flavor, tender and sweet. Gone in 60 seconds! Sofie Z. on the frog legs:

This is served as an entree for ($21), but you can ask your server for the appetizer price. My husband has been trying to get me to eat this for some time. He orders it every time we go to Benji’s. He is a culinary daredevil. Tripe, squid, eel — he loves it all! I’m a bit more hesitant. But Divas must be daring, so in I dove. These were tender, petite frog legs pan-fried with a light garlic lemon sauce and a hint of sweetness. Delicious! Who would have guessed? I now consider myself a, “frog fan” and am happy to announce that Benji’s frog legs come with my full recommendation. Kimmy on the fried chicken ($18)

Come to Mama! This Diva knew exactly what she wanted. A fellow Diva (Lois) teased that they had run out or she had secretly canceled my order. Not nice! When the plate arrived, it was filled with glorious fried chicken! Crispy golden skin outside, tender juicy goodness inside. If that wasn’t enough to send you over the edge, add a heaping spoonful of chopped garlic in olive oil and parsley over each piece for the ultimate finger lickin’ experience!

Chocolate souffle

Continued on page 30


The bread is yummy, but no more pictures, please.

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Continued from page 29

Sofia on the stuffed veal scaloppini ($21)

The veal was stuffed with ham, cheese and mushrooms. It was absolutely delicious, flavorful, perfectly prepared, and so far, my favorite dish as a Dining Diva. And this dish has a history. Rene Arduain once worked for a chef who had served as executive chef in the White House during the JFK administration. This was a dish he used to serve at state dinners! The Divas were excited and pleased to be eating like heads of state! (Which is how every dinner should be for the Diva in us all.) Guest Diva Kim B. on the scaloni ($20)

The scaloni is a must-have. This is a specialty at Benji’s, abalone and scallops pounded into a filet and grilled to perfection with a light lemon and butter sauce. So good! Sofie Z. on the New York steak ($25)

By far, one of the best steaks I have ever had! And that’s saying something because I’m a sucker for steaks. Prepared medium rare with a pepper cognac sauce, perfect! Beautiful cut of meat, charcharred to lock the flavor into every bite. Savory and just the right amount of pepper flavor without overwhelming the steak. We all loved it ... yummy. I could have eaten till my buttons popped but I had to be a nice little Diva and share. Lois on the halibut steak ($22)

I had it with the lemon sauce but you can also order the Basque tomato sauce if you prefer. Either way, the fish was fantastic — flaky, moist and light. As I pretended not to notice the other Divas asking for bites, I wondered how the heck they cook

“HEY, NO ONE READ ME MY MIRANDA RIGHTS!” “I was not read my Miranda rights, so my arrest must be illegal.” This is a common statement that many people make and believe. Unfortunately this statement is not correct. If an officer does not advise a person of his or her Miranda rights, it does not make the arrest illegal. The only time Miranda waiver is needed is during a custodial interrogation. What that means is that a person must not be free to leave based on the circumstances, which can occur in someone’s own home. At the time that you are not free to leave, an officer must be questioning you. If both factors are not present, your Miranda rights are not violated. If both factors are there, it does not make the arrest illegal. However, it makes the information that the officer received based on the unlawful interrogation inadmissible in court. The law and the protections that citizens are afforded under the law are complex. That is why it is important to consult with an experienced Attorney, who understands the law and your rights.


Butterfinger pie

it so perfectly. Hmm … maybe I could put a little spy cam in the kitchen. Eh, or I could just come back for another dinner! Sofia and Sofie Z. on desserts

Sofie Z.: One of my motivations to visit Benji's with the Divas was the wonderful selection of house-made desserts (all $4 each). They are on a different level. We were lucky enough to have Rene bring out creme brulee, Butterfinger pie, creme caramel flan and chocolate mousse! Oh Lord, have mercy! I really did have all that food and then four desserts! Hey, now, I wasn't alone, the rest of the Divas were right there with me! Benji's creme brulee was out of this world! Of course, creme brulee is by far my favorite dessert ever. This one had a nice sugary crust, not too thick but perfectly crisp. Inside was the unbelievably light and decadent creme custard. One word came to mind: silk! After three days, I was proud that I had yet to go back for more. But believe me, I thought about it! OMG! One of the best Butterfinger pies in town! It was unreal. One Diva rolled her eyes when the pie was brought out. In her defense, we do eat a lot of this pie. But one bite later she was singing its praises. What a perfectly dense ice cream, with just the right amount of Butterfinger candy chopped up and mixed in, on a perfect crust. Next up, old-style Basque flan with a light vanilla flavor. OK, now me being the little “spanorita” I am, I have tasted all kinds of flan but this is my new favorite. Really I was all-in at "old style Basque." This was light, not too sweet Basque custard, set in light sugar syrup. Texture, consistency, flavor, all to die for! Sofia: Luckily I was wearing loose fitting clothes because after the setup, appetizers and main dishes I was so stuffed I couldn't suck in my stomach. Still, I managed to try (over and over) the chocolate mousse. It was so light, fluffy and delicious how could it have any calories?

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5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Tips for planning that perfect New Year’s Eve celebration


It’s hard to believe, but another year has flown by. Many of us will be looking forward to ringing in the new year surrounded by family and friends. I can remember spending New Year’s Eve with my grandma Bunty and grandpa Ernie, learning to dance on his feet at the Moose Lodge, as a young little girl. I’ve gotten a lot older since then, but like many of you, I am looking forward to celebrating New Year’s Eve in town. This New Year’s Eve might even be a bit more special since it falls on a Saturday. If you are planning to head out that evening, here are a few ideas of where you might




By Denise Ornelas

Photo by Felix Adamo

Last year, The Padre drew a long line for their New Year’s Eve party.

want to celebrate your special night out. One of Bakersfield’s famous spots, Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace is offering a ticketed event on Dec. 31. The Crystal Palace will feature two bands, Duck Soup and Buddy Alan Owens and the Buckaroos. Tickets for this event are on sale at the Crystal Palace, and reservations can be made. If you are interested in the music only, tickets are $60 per person, but if you want dinner, tickets are $105. For more information, call 328-7560 Many of you are familiar with the southwest Bakersfield restaurant and bar B Ryder’s, which has been known to feature a number of local bands. Among them are Bakersfield favorites Mento Buru and Velorio. Catch the bands at B Ryder’s Dec. 31 with a cover charge of $15. Another fabulous party will be at the Padre, one of Bakersfield’s familiar buildings and popular place to be. The Padre will offer a three-course dinner, which will be followed with a minimum of two bands and DJs. Of course, the night wouldn’t be New Year’s Eve unless it ends with an actual big ball drop! The Padre is offering New Year’s Eve packages, starting in the $80 range (includes dinner). Another option includes a room for overnight stay. Please call 427-4900 for

more information. For parents who are planning to involve their children in the celebration, here are a few suggestions: Of course, everyone has to love the legendary Wool Growers, where dinner is served family style and reasonably priced! For reservations, you can call 327-9584. Another family-friendly restaurant that is always beautifully decorated is Mexicali, which has two locations and is reasonably priced. For dinner reservations at the downtown location, please call 327-3861 or for Mexicali West, please call 327-5201. Four years ago, my husband and I started a new tradition for New Year’s Eve. It began when our son, Gabriel, and our daughter, Jessica, came to us at ages 9 and 10 and asked, “Why can’t we go? We are old enough to go to a fancy restaurant and behave!” How could we argue with that? That leads me to my final and favorite New Year’s Eve suggestion with or without your children: Café Med. Although Café Med is wildly popular year-round, New Year’s Eve is extra special! Café Med owners Meir and Kathy Brown are preparing for a fancy dinner buffet that will most likely

Continued on page 34


include a prime rib carving station and chocolate-dipped strawberry dessert. Café Med is offering two prices: The first price is $39 and will run from 4 to 8 p.m. for the early birds, and the second price is $49 and starts at 8:30 p.m. It will include live music and a champagne toast at midnight. For reservations, please call 834-4433. Having a dinner out with your family then returning home to await the clock strike midnight can be one memorable way to celebrate the start of another great year. (Our little tradition of four has grown into a party of 25, for instance). Whatever place you choose to celebrate your New Year’s Eve,

Photo by Henry A. Barrios

Continued from page 33

Café Med will be offering specials on New Year’s Eve.

please do so responsibly by having a designated driver, calling a taxi or using other sources, such as DDI, a company that will pick you up as well as drive your car back home safely. The number for DDI is 431-3854, and its Web site is

For those feeling extra fancy, you may want to check out the local limousine services, such as Vintage Limousine (say hello to my favorite driver, Danny). Many limo services have a variety of options to consider. Cheers!


















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Delectable delights Local merchants offer array of sweet holiday treats By Kelly Damian Photos by Crystal Alvarez


Nothing says Christmas like the smell of freshly baked cookies filling the house. Or, in my case, nothing says Christmas like the sound of mommy cursing Martha Stewart while patching together dismembered sugar cookies with frosting. Let’s face it, for some of us baked goods bring more cheer for everyone when they are pulled out of a pink cardboard box rather than from our own ovens. I love my friends who bake. It is a real treat to come to work and find a beribboned cellophane bag on my desk sitting on top of all that late paperwork. Since I lack the baking gene, I need to find other ways to return the favor. Luckily for me, there are many merchants around town who provide treats of all kinds for the holidays.

The magical beans of Christmas

Pumpkin spice latte and gingerbread white mocha from Dagny’s. 36



You know Dasher and Dancer, and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid, and Donner and Blitzen. But we all know the most vital of Santa’s helpers is caffeine. When I want to get coffee from someone who is not wearing a headset, I head downtown to Dagny’s. During the winter season, Dagny’s offers a pumpkin spice latte ($4.20) as well as gingerbread white mocha ($4.75). Both drinks come topped with an abstract swirl in the foam that looks like a cross between a heart and a peacock feather. The pumpkin spice latte, with its subtle, toasty flavor, will appeal to those who prefer unsweetened coffee. Those who like it sweet will not be disappointed by the gingerbread white mocha. If you are accompanied by someone who you’d prefer not to caffeinate, such as your seven-year-old, then I recommend the toffee nut steamer ($2.55) with its lattice work of

Thomas Fogarty 2008 Gewurtzraminer, Conundrum 2010 white wine blend, Illumination 2010 Sauvingnon Blanc, Jenner 2010 Pinot Noir, McManis 2010 Zinfandel, Dautz Champagne and Schramsburg Brut Rose Champagne from Imbibe.

caramel or the peppermint hot chocolate ($3.30). Both drinks will result in a warm belly and a nice, foamy mustache. Dagny’s Coffee Company 1600 20th St., Bakersfield 634-0806

Good things come in tall bottles Some of us prefer our holiday treats to be fermented rather than baked. David Dobbs, owner of Imbibe, has several recommendations for wine that is good for both the novice and the sophisticated wine drinker. Thomas Fogarty’s 2008 Gewürztraminer is not only fun to say, but at $12.99 is also fun to buy. This wine is dry with a potpourri smell. If you are looking for a happy medium between dry and sweet, try the blend of California white wines found in 2010 Conundrum ($17.99). Illumination ($38.99), a Sauvignon Blanc from Quintessa, is one of Dobbs’ favorites. In my non-professional wine opinion, I would like to add that it has a very pretty label. “Pinot Noir,” Dobbs said, “is the wine of kings. The wealthiest men in the world collect it.” Well, if it’s good enough for kings, it’s good enough for me. Dobbs recommends the 2010 Jenner ($17.99) with its hints of raspberry and cola, and the 2010 McManis Zinfandel ($10.99) for its flavors of dried berries and pepper. And for New Year’s Eve, try the Deutz Champagne ($39.99) or the Vintage Brut Rose from Schramsberg ($38.99). While Dobbs agreed with me that opening champagne with a sword is the most dramatic way to pop a bottle, he does not recommend it. Instead, loosen the cork. Then keep a firm grip on the cork while you rotate the bottle. Doing this will get you the maximum amount of bubbles with a minimum amount of glass shards. Special orders are welcome at Imbibe, but place your order a week in advance. Imbibe 4140 Truxton Ave, Bakersfield 633-9463

Cupcakes-N-Crema’s peppermint cupcakes.

Holiday cupcakes During the holidays Cupcakes-N-Crema features chocolate peppermint cupcakes as well as pumpkin cheesecake cupcakes. Banish all thoughts of those wimpy, over-sweet cupcakes you’ve eaten before. These little cakes are sturdy and moist with a chocolate flavor Continued on page 38


Luigi’s cannoli

Continued from page 37

that is more hearty than sugary. The chocolate peppermint comes topped with crushed peppermint candies which leave your mouth clean and minty well after the cupcake is gone. If you are one of those brave and blessed souls who will be cranking out two hundred cupcakes for the scout troop, the second grade class and the work holiday party, the owner of CupcakesN-Crema, Sharon Brandon, recommends you bake the cupcakes ahead of time, and freeze them in an airtight container. They can then be defrosted and decorated on the day of the event. As for decorating, if you are a novice, then she recommends cupcake toppers for a quick and easy way to make your cupcakes look more festive. Cupcakes are $2.85 a piece or $32 a dozen. If you are placing a large order, a four day lead time is necessary. Cupcakes-N-Crema 4715 Coffee Road, Bakersfield 588-1800

Buon natale! If you want something different this year, pick up a tray of canoli or a pan of tiramisu from Luigi’s. The canoli are cinnamon flavored pastry shells filled with a dense, sweet cream. Buried in the cream like little jewels are bits of candied orange peel and chopped pistachios. The tiramisu from Luigi’s is topped with a layer of finely shaved chocolate. Tiramisu, with its layers of cream and chocolate and espresso-soaked cookies, is a good way to end a meal or a nice treat to have with coffee. Ok, fine, you got me. It’s also delicious for breakfast. The cannoli are $3.50 each and can be ordered by the dozen. They come dressed for a party in a cellophane wrapped tray tied with a bow. The tiramisu is $40 for a pan that feeds 12-15 people. Luigi’s is open until 2 p.m. on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Cannoli can be ordered one day ahead of time and tiramisu needs 38



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Pies and peanut brittle When Sue Hicks’ grandmother moved to Bakersfield from Oklahoma, she brought her pie recipes with her. Today, when you eat a slice from Momma’s Pies, Cobblers and Sweets, what you are getting is a taste of an old-fashioned diner pie of the sort that was served years ago at The Duck In Café in Muskogee. Momma’s Pies, Cobblers and Sweets is a family business. Every Friday night Hicks and her helpers Laura and Addie bake pies and cobblers for the next day’s farmers market. Laura is unequivocal in her description of their pecan pie. “There is no better pecan pie than ours. None.” I am going to have to agree with her. The pecan pie is a masterpiece. The filling is pleasantly spicy, not just sweet, and the pecans, which sit on a layer of crust that tops the filling, hold their crunch. Of course the crust is as flakey and light as a self-respecting crust should be. According to Hicks, you can avoid the common pie mishaps of burnt crust and boiled-over filling by turning down your oven. She always bakes her pies several degrees lower than called for in the Continued on page 40

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recipe, and waits to brown them at the end. Among the other desserts, Momma’s makes a wonderful peanut brittle. It is sweet and porous and crumbles under your teeth. The peanuts taste roasted and salty and every piece is a light golden brown. Can you buy her peanut brittle, put a bow on it and pass it off as your own? I won’t tell Momma if you don’t tell Momma. Fruit pies are $11. Pecan pies are $13. Small cobblers and small pecan pies are $7 and a half pound bag of peanut brittle is $7. Momma’s Pies, Cobblers and Sweets Brimhall Farmers Market, 9500 Brimhall Road 333-5063

The North Pole in the southwest Remember when you were a kid and you fantasized about jumping into the Candy Land board game? You can get pretty close to living out that dream with a visit to Sweet Surrender. To bolster a flagging holiday spirit, spend some time with the gingerbread houses, giant snowflakes, and yards of garlands that drip from the ceilings of the shop. And don’t miss the display of Christmas mermaids, they are surprising and fun and will make you say Mele Kalikimaka. If you want to be the favorite guest at your next holiday party, arrive with a pan of cinnamon raisin or double chocolate bread pudding ($38). This pudding is cozy and delicious with nice chunks of bread and rich chocolate or caramel sauce. If you are a fan of things minty and delicious, then try the peppermint cheesecake ($45). The crushed peppermint candies go nicely with the sweet tang of cheesecake, but what sets this cake apart is the generous chocolate ganache that covers the top and drips down the sides. For the home baker, there is a way to avoid that ugly crack down the center of your cheesecake. Kim Fiorini, the owner of Sweet Surrender, says the secret is in the last few minutes of cooking time. Instead of relying solely on the timer, she recommends you jiggle the cheesecake to test for doneness. When the center is almost solid, turn off the oven and let the cheesecake finish baking in the cooling oven. Holiday orders are welcome as early as Dec. 1. Sweet Surrender 6439 Ming Ave. 835-8530 40


Sweet Surrender’s peppermint cheesecake December2011

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Jerry Quarry Local product battled the greats during boxing’s golden era

A By Stephen Lynch

A tough and talented boxer, Jerry Quarry had all the tools necessary to become a heavyweight world champion. However, the Bakersfield native never quite accomplished that feat, losing several title fights during a distinguished professional career that spanned from 1965-1992. Quarry was a notorious tough guy in and out of the ring. His vicious left hook and granite chin made him unbeatable to all but the very best fighters of his generation. Unfortunately for Quarry, the peak of his career coincided with that of some of the greatest heavyweights of all time. Despite never winning a heavyweight championship belt, the handsome Quarry was extremely popular among boxing fans. Among his admirers were several celebrities including Elvis Presley, who hung a portrait of Quarry at Graceland. Quarry parlayed his success in the ring into one in front of the camera. He acted in several television shows and worked as a sports broadcaster while still an active fighter. But sadly there was no happy ending for the man that once reportedly busted Muhammad Ali’s jaw and had George Foreman afraid to fight him. 42



Jerry Quarry lands a right hook to the head of former Heavyweight Champion Floyd Patterson during a fight in 1967. Shortly after retiring from boxing, Quarry was diagnosed with a boxing related form of dementia that left him unable to care for himself. He eventually died in 1999 at the age of 53. His legend and exploits remain alive though as Quarry is undoubtedly the greatest boxer to ever hail from Kern County.

Jerry Quarry facts Born May 15, 1945 in Bakersfield. First put on a pair of boxing gloves at age three and was a Junior Golden Gloves champion just five years later. Nicknamed “Irish” and “The Bellflower Bomber”

Patterson, Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, twice each and Ken Norton and Jimmy Ellis one time apiece during pro career. Despite never winning a world title, earned $2.1 million as a professional fighter. No. 1 ranked heavyweight in the world six times. Was rated as the most popular boxer in the world by The Ring magazine (1968-1971) and Boxing Illustrated magazine (1968-1970). Acted in several television shows including Batman, Adam 12, and I Dream of Jeannie. Also worked as TV sports broadcaster. Was saved from nearly drowning in 1968 at Newport Beach by California surfer Randy LaDow. Retired with a professional record of 53-9-4 with 32 knockouts.

Stood 6-foot tall and weighed 195 pounds during his prime.

His life story is chronicled in Steve Springer’s book - Hard Luck: The Triumph and Tragedy of “Irish” Jerry Quarry.

Managed early in his career by father Jack Quarry.

Inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1995.

Younger brothers Bob and Mike Quarry were also professional boxers.

Chosen for inclusion in the Bob Elias Sports Hall of Fame in 2000.

Won National Golden Gloves Championship in 1965

Died on January 3, 1999 in Templeton after being hospitalized with pneumonia just days earlier. Is interred at Shafter Cemetery.

Fought World Heavyweight champions Floyd


The sleek design of the QX56 gives it a refined, yet aggressive look.

Infinitely perfect Luxury SUV QX56 offers safety, power, lots of space and more

D By Olivia Garcia

Photos by Jaclyn Borowski

Driving around in the 2011 Infiniti QX56 felt like flying first class. Hop in the sleek, black four-wheel drive that I recently test drove, and you will understand what I mean. OK, maybe it’s because I am short or the 22-inch special wheels, but the QX56 definitely gives you a feeling of being elevated. And that’s not counting the open-air indoor feel you get behind the wheel or the comfy leather seat (leather comes standard) and you seriously wish you could just take them with you everywhere. Plus, you feel like you have plenty of space, and for families of six like mine, that’s something high on your wish list. This marks the second year for the QX56, a luxury size SUV that can seat up to eight passengers and stands to compete with the Cadillac or Lexus SUVs of the world, although it might be more cost




The camera system can be set up to allow you to see around all areas of the car.

Leather seats come standard in the Infiniti QX56.

effective and offer a longer warranty (five years or 60,000 miles), said Cherif Guirguis, General Manager of Infiniti of Bakersfield.

Making its presence known The QX56 comes from the Infiniti family, which returned to Bakersfield about a year ago after being away for about 17 years, Guirguis said. The original Infiniti dealership was located near Oak and 19th streets. The new Infiniti dealership is located at 5200 Gasoline Alley Drive at the Auto Mall and is working on building relationships with local drivers shopping around for new cars. Infiniti of Bakersfield offers a line of models, including the G37 Journey, the M37 and three types of SUVs, the EX, FX and the QX. Since I got to test drive the QX56, I had a chance to check out some of its trendy features.

All eyes on me One of my favorite attractions of the QX56 is its full-view camera system that not only lets you see what’s behind when you back up, but allows you to check out what’s in front of the car or on yours or the passenger’s side. Four tiny cameras (you can’t even notice them unless they are pointed out to you) are strategically placed to cover all areas of the car. And if that wasn’t enough, the QX56 comes equipped with sensors to alert you if are you getting too close to another car. This is handy for drivers like me who, well, aren’t so great at parallel parking.

I got the power Luxury SUV owners can appreciate driving a vehicle that packs power. The QX56 comes with a 400-horsepower V8 engine. Of course, even with its toughness, the QX56 is super quiet on the road. I drove through different parts of town, running errands with my son and his friends the car, and although it has lots of kick, this SUV felt like a sweet ride.

In style It’s hard to imagine that a driver can be spoiled by a car, but that’s how I felt in the QX56. Here’s a SUV that comes with rain-sensing wipers (basically, if there’s a drizzle, it will handle it for me) or a power rear lift gate. With the touch of a button, the rear door popped up or locked back

It’s all in the details: Five best features of the Infiniti QX56: • One of the best-looking SUVs on the market • Combines the space with the factor • Priced below both competitors in its class • The best warranty in its class at 5 years or 60,000 miles full coverage • Being the newest thing in town, why drive the same SUV as everybody else?

Mileage and price tag: Mileage is 16 city and 22 highway. Price start at $58,700 plus destination.

Finish this sentence: The Infiniti QX56 is perfect for the active family that is looking for comfort, style and space.

What makes Infiniti QX56 stand out from other similar vehicles? Too many to list all, but we start with a longer warranty than Lexus, BMW and Mercedes Benz; another advantage is the price, which is lower than the Cadillac Escalade and the Lexus LX470. Also it is one of the most technologically advanced cars with a great reliability record.

Who’s the target consumer for this model? An active family with two or more children, or an executive that transports clients from one meeting to another.

Three words that define the Infiniti QX56: Bold, comfort, and unique.

What do you like the most about the Infiniti QX56: The most affordable luxury SUV on the market. Infiniti has only been back in Bakersfield for only one year now, but the buzz is catching up to all the luxury car buyers. The car is unique, and the cost of maintenance is very inexpensive compared to the rest of the luxury car competitors. Source: Cherif Guirguis, General Manager

Continued on page 46


The QX56 is engineered to handle all types of weather conditions.

Continued from page 45

into place without me lifting a finger. Another button will power fold the third-row seat for me. In Bakersfield, we definitely get our share of four seasons, and that’s why it’s great to know that the QX56 offers cooling and heated seats — and a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel and heated outside mirrors. The side-view mirrors even have a tilt feature for backing out. The design of the QX56 gives it a refined, yet aggressive, look. But my favorite feature of all had to be the weather alerts and dual air filtration system. The weather alert gives me weather advisories (such as high winds that are a couple of miles away or flash food warning) and the filtration system circulates and filters the air to get rid of any bad odor, such as food or sweaty football players. The same goes for driving near cow pastures or other not-so-great smelling places. You won’t get any of that smell in the QX56. That’s way too cool for a busy mom like myself who is always on the go.

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Michael David Meek First lieutenant, U.S. Army Age: 41 Assignment: 142nd FLE S3 OIC. Bottom line, my team provides

sustainment throughout the capital of Afghanistan (Logistics officer). Stationed: Kabul, Afghanistan I have been in the military since: On May 23, 2008, I handed

Why I joined: Just

prior to graduating high school, I was meeting with a recruiter. I had been kicked out of my high school and was attending a continuation school. I had strugThe Meek family gled most of my life in school. As I walked off stage, my principal from Vista East (Fuchsia Ward) offered me $200 to enroll at Bakersfield College. I failed the first two years, but continued to work hard. I eventually graduated with my B.A. and three master’s degrees. My heart was always burdened because I did not join. It was never a secret in my home. My wife and I had met with officer recruiters over the years. However, the schools I was involved with needed my full attention. I felt I had not earned the blanket of freedom I pulled to my chin each night. I knew as the years passed, it would be a regret I would have to carry. My wife and I had worked hard and built some financial security through property investments. As the 2007 school year began, my heart was growing deeply unsatisfied with the direction I was heading. I resigned from my role as principal that fall but finished the school year. Serving has brought something in my life I would not have gained in the civilian world. I have been privileged to work with people from all walks of life from many countries. Regardless of people’s opinions about war, my soldiers and I know we are executing the mission we have been ordered to complete. Bakersfield Life has traveled around the world with me, 48



Photo courtesy of Michael Meek

Photo courtesy of Michael Meek

my oldest daughter, Jessica, her high school diploma (I was serving as a high school principal), and less than 24 hours later, I was in basic training with soldiers the same age as those I had handed diplomas to the night before.

when I received the magazine, I felt: Many times there are stories of people and businesses I am connected to in some way. It is always bittersweet to read them. The days are long here. The pictures in the magazine often remind me of those warm nights out with my wife and friends. Something I’d like to accomplish this year: I want to complete

my doctorate. I would like to start it before 2012. When I return, I would like to complete another Ironman Triathlon or run the New York Marathon again. My favorite activity to do in Bakersfield is: I have been running with the Bagels and Blenderz group for almost 15 years. I really miss my runs with friends. I miss going out with my wife and friends to dinner.

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

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Bakersfield Life

December 2011

Photo by Tanya X. Leonzo

David Perkins

We asked some community members to share their holiday favorites, traditions and wishes By Vicki Adame

David Perkins Title/Occupation: Marketing director, Urner’s Inc. Christmas brings out the magic in everything: The word "magical” comes to mind. In so many ways, Christmas becomes a very magical time of year. The world, or maybe our perception of the world, seems to change. The weather changes, the stores change, even the music and messages at church change. The flavors, aromas, and sounds of the season all change, too. We slow down to pay attention to what really matters, family and friends, taking time to build lasting memories with both. We relish in the wonder and delight of the season in the eyes of our children and grand children. And when all is quiet and we focus on the real meaning behind this season, we recognize the magical, or more like the miracle, of Christ’s birth and what a real gift that is to all of us. Continued on page 52


Mayor Harvey Hall

Photo by Henry A. Barrios

Photo by Jessica Frey

Mary K. Shell

Continued from page 51

breakfast table.

I can watch it over and over: Most guys would probably pick the classic, “A Christmas Story” with Ralphie and his Red Ryder BB gun as their favorite Christmas movie, but I grew up on the Frank Capra film, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I’ve probably seen it 50+ times. And I’ll probably watch it another 50+ times. It’s probably because it speaks to my underlying "Pollyanna-ish" outlook on life. I have a tendency to believe the best in people, and this movie has always fed that belief quite well.

The best gift in life is time: My Christmas wish this year, as in

Our family tradition: Growing up, our family enjoyed an expan-

sive buffet of foods that we wouldn’t normally enjoy other times of the year (including my dad’s signature homemade fudge). I carried that traditional buffet concept with me into my own family. But now that my own kids have grown, with kids of their own, traditions change along with the ever-growing families. These days, it has become much simpler to gather everyone together for a Christmas morning breakfast "buffet". And now, my son has taken "ownership" of this new tradition, opening up his home for our annual Christmasmorning breakfast "buffet". It’s fun to watch how these traditions grow and change over the years. It’s time to open gifts: We open gifts with my wife’s side of the

family on Christmas Eve, and with my side of the family on Christmas morning, right after we get done stuffing ourselves at my son’s 52



most recent years, is for time. The best gift I can ever enjoy is time ... with my wife, my kids, my grandkids, my family, and our friends. There is simply no gift that I can unwrap that compare with the gift of time with those I love.

Mary K. Shell Occupation: Retired (former mayor and county supervisor) When I think of Christmas, the first thing that comes to mind is: Two things come to mind, the birth of Jesus Christ and my

family. Count your blessings: My favorite Christmas movie is “It’s a

Wonderful Life” because it reminds us to count our blessings, that each life is special and each person is important to someone. Family traditions: There are a few special Christmas traditions

in our home: the Advent Wreath, Christmas tree and having either turkey or roast beef for dinner. The best time to open presents: Christmas morning. Always thinking of those who matter the most: My Christmas

wish this year is that God bless our country and help us preserve the

freedoms we enjoy for future generations of Americans.

Harvey L. Hall Occupation: Mayor, city of Bakersfield Christmas spirit: The spirit of giving the season brings inspires. Live, love and laugh this Christmas:

Christmas Vacation is my favorite Christmas movie. It is an hour-and-a-half of pure entertainment. It makes me laugh! Our holiday tradition: Every year on

Christmas Eve we watch Christmas Vacation because we like to laugh!

Photo by Jessica Frey

The best time to open presents: Our tradition is to open packages on Christmas morning.

Judi McCarthy

My Christmas wish: I hope that business continues to improve and prosper; that homelessness in our community be reduced; and that the Bakersfield community continues its tradition of giving to those in need. Continued on page 54

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Mary Christenson

Continued from page 53

Judi McCarthy Occupation: Community volunteer – Kern Community Foundation When I think of Christmas, the first thing that comes to mind is: My first thought is personal – my family – gathering, sharing

gifts, cooking a feast for them. In a more spiritual vein, I consider Christmas as God’s love made human, brought first into a family unit.

this, Santa stops by Louise’s house, leaving over-filled stockings as well as special gifts for any young believers. One year, the youngest grandchild tested his theory that Santa didn’t really exist, and he nearly refused to participate in the whole Christmas carol tradition. This resulted in a terse letter from Santa, which some argue was written by an older cousin or two. By now, all kids are back on track. The most important Christmas wish: I have three: I wish that

our kids (extended family) will be happy, purposeful, and compassionate young adults. I wish good health for a loved one struggling with a serious illness. I wish for wisdom in our government leaders and processes.

The Ralphie movie: My favorite Christmas movie, I hate to admit it, but it’s “A Christmas Story,” or “the Ralphie movie,” as we’ve always called it. “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid!”

Mary Christenson

Our special Christmas tradition: Well, with the McCarthy clan,

Occupation: Realtor, Watson Realty ERA

it’s all about the food. We gather at my mother-in-law Louise’s house on Christmas Eve. She cooks for everyone, a large group that includes “in laws and outlaws,” including as many of the younger cousins as we can gather. Her specialties include Swedish Cream and Grasshopper Pie, so those are among our traditional desserts. I cook dinner on Christmas night, so the same group gathers again for a second huge feast, including a whole new array of desserts. We believe in Santa (keeping with the response above):

After Christmas Eve dinner, we go next door to the house of Tom and Judy Franconi, where their own extended family gathers. We serenade them with two or three horrible renditions of Christmas carols (they are very tolerant people, obviously). While we’re doing 54



Perfect time of the year: I love the holiday spirit of giving and

sharing with family, friends and clients. Favorite Christmas movie: Christmas Story. My special Christmas tradition: Putting up all of my gorgeous

Christmas stockings that I’ve personally made for each family member and finding special little presents to fill them with. Two special moments for opening gifts: For the grown-ups, it is on Christmas Eve – but only a few presents. For all the kids and grandkids it is on Christmas morning. My holiday wish: To have our extended family all together!

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Don’t forget your

this holiday season 56

Bakersfield Life

December 2011

Photo by Mark Nessia

FOURFOOTED companion

Photo by Felix Adamo

Bonnie Tomlinson, owner of Biscuit Boutique & Doggy Spa.

Shops offer a variety of items for the furball in your life By Annie Stephens

The holidays have gone to the dogs. Maybe your pooch needs a new holiday outfit, or just a good bath to be ready for holiday guests. Or with all the stress, maybe they need to blow off some steam by romping with their brethren. These stores offer that and a whole lot more. Fashion has gone to the dogs — literally Biscuit Boutique & Doggy Spa, located downtown at 1671 19th St., has just about anything you can imagine for any type of dog. Besides the doggy daycare and grooming, Biscuit has a large variety of shopping supplies that will make your dog look phenomenal. If you’re looking for holiday gifts for your pup, the boutique offers everything from costumes, to outfits, hats to collars and leashes. They even offer a variety of designer products by Juicy Couture and Ed Hardy. “There’s nothing like it in town,” said Bonnie Tomlinson, owner of Biscuit. The boutique is constantly keeping up to date on today’s fashions and is always able to make your dog seem like a celebrity pup. Continued on page 58


Continued from page 57

If a bonding experience is what you’re looking for this winter then check out the Self Serve Pet Spa located at 2816 Calloway Dr., where your dog will receive the bath of a lifetime. What can first time customers expect from Self Serve Pet Spa? “A splashing good time!” said owner David Sidhu. Sidhu first started the pet spa business with his wife, Amy, when they realized the mess their two large dogs made every time they tried to wash them. “There had to be an easier way to get them clean without spending a ton of money. We thought it would be neat if there was a place you could wash your pet and leave the mess behind,” Sidhu said. Self Serve Pet Spa provides everything you need to clean your dog including a waist-high tub, allowing you to stay dry. On top of it all, Self Serve Pet Spa allows you to rent hair trimmers and also does nail trimmings every third Saturday of the month.

Chelsey Roberts bathes her chocolate Lab/springer spaniel, Coco, at Self-Serve Pet Spa.

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Self Serve Pet Spa can also provide you with all natural pet food that can keep your dog healthy. “All our pet food does not contain any wheat, corn, gluten, soy, unknown byproducts, artificial coloring or preservatives. We are the only pet store in Kern County that carries natural pet foods like Orijen, Acana and Petcurean,” Sidhu said

David Lyman is reunited with his dog, Addie, at Fur & Feathers Pet Resort after a two-day business trip.

Photo by Mark Nessia

New friends and a chance to have fun Stop by Fur and Feathers Pet Resort to pamper your dog while giving it the gift of friendship and the chance to play and interact with other dogs. Business partners Pam Shockley and Sarah Stevens own Fur and Feather Pet Resort and have more than 35 years of combined veterinary experience. No matter if you’re leaving for work or just want your dog to have fun for a day, Fur and Feathers Pet Resort prides itself on providing safe indoor and outdoor playing areas that allow dogs to socialize and be active. “Dogs are inherently social creatures so they like being with other dogs. It’s just a fun

Continued on page 60

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environment for them and they get a lot of exercise and a lot of interaction,� Shockley said. Fur and Feathers Pet Resort gives only the best quality care by providing each dog with its own suite, giving them adequate exercise and also showing each dog individual attention, she said. “We are the only facility of its kind in Bakersfield,� Shockley said. Fur and Feathers Pet Resort also has a photographer who comes in and takes photos of your dog, making that just one more gift to cross off your list this holiday season. Fur and Feathers Pet Resort is located at 3329 Allen Road. Headed out of town this holiday season? Don’t worry about leaving your pup behind, and take it over to Sczyr Kennel and Cattery where your dog will have a safe, secure and clean area to stay in. The Sczyr Kennel and Cattery business has been up and running since 1969 and offers quality customer service. Francis Reynolds, owner of Sczyr Ken-

Photo by Mark Nessia

Hotel for dogs

Phylis Castaneda grooms Pushkin at Sczyr Kennel and Cattery.


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nel and Cattery, said caring staff will go to any length to make sure your dog will feel comfortable. “Sometimes the dogs are shy and so I’ll usually sit down with the dogs and let them come to me. I try to treat all the dogs as if they were my own,” Reynolds said. Besides boarding, Sczyr Kennel and Cattery also does grooming, obedience training, and, for no extra charge, will exercise your dog for you.

Californian file photo

The SPCA offers dogs of all sizes and breeds for adoption. Sczyr Kennel and Cattery is located at 7950 Brundage Lane.

Love comes in many four-legged varieties If you’re looking to give the gift of love this holiday, adopt a dog in need, or purchase a gift card if you’re looking for someone else. The SPCA even has purebred dogs that are in need of a happy home. “One in four dogs in our shelter and in

all shelters across the country are purebreds. Many of the dogs that we receive here came from a breeder that didn’t know how to take care of them,” said Julie Johnson, the executive director of the Bakersfield SPCA There are many dangers when purchasing a dog from breeders, Johnson said. “We really encourage people to research the breeds that they’re looking for, and make sure they adopt instead of shopping from a breeder. A lot of the dogs that come from certain breeders do have certain parasites or certain medical conditions that a person might not be aware of,” she said. The SPCA is also doing a special holiday care program where children will get to adopt a dog for a week and learn the importance of taking adequate care of the canine. “They’re learning how to train them, groom them, socialize with them, and what they need to eat. We also teach them about the importance of spaying, neutering and vaccinating their pets,” Johnson said. No date has been established for the holiday care program, but for more information contact the Bakersfield SPCA, 323-8353.

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Fantasy football

Mike Burton

56, senior vice president at Electrical and Instrumentation Unlimited of California Inc.

Bryan Nolan

62, teacher at Munsey Elementary School

Photos by Jessica Frey

Fantasy football offers fans a chance to draft and manage their own teams. These strategic planners have been playing for several years, making sure to carefully pick the best quarterbacks and running backs available. These guys want to wind up with the ultimate team, so they have a chance for the playoffs and to win the Benjamins at the end of the season.


How did you get started in fantasy football?

Burton: My son-in-law, Chris Klassen, got me started back in 2006. The league consisted of a bunch of his college buddies from 62



Jason Alire

35, sales and leasing consultant, Nissan of Bakersfield

Cal Poly SLO and family members, and still does today. My first year I finished in dead last at 2-12, and I thought I was the man when it came to sports! It’s been quite the learning curve.

Alire: A friend of mine started a league and asked me to join. At first I wasn’t a fan of fantasy football, but once I played, I was hooked. Nolan: There were a few of us who had played some fantasy football, so we decided to start our own league. That was about 18 years ago in the dark ages of fantasy football. Fantasy websites hadn’t caught on yet, so we sat around with archaic devices called calculators and pencils. Thank heavens for websites. Ronquillo: I was invited to join by a friend about 10 years ago.


What’s your team’s name? Burton: My team name in my Yahoo league is Old

Fantasy football is all about tracking player statistics.

Q Eddie Ronquillo

40, correctional sergeant, North Kern State Prison

Bald Eagle Burty, although it was That’s How I Roll up until three weeks ago when I was 0 and 3. I am now 5 and 3! My other team name is That’s How I Roll Burty, which I am in first place today. Burty was my old baseball nickname in college, which has stuck with me over the years.

Alire: Alire13. Nolan: My team is the Muckrakers. We have more interesting names such as Mad Cows, Pink Ladies (yes, ladies are always welcome in our league) and Tax Dodgers (from the guy who prepares taxes). Ronquillo: I’ve had a few, my first team name was Seabiscuit, but the last few years it’s been a mixture of my last name and Godzilla, “Ronkzilla.”

How many hours per week do you dedicate to playing?

Burton: Playing and researching are two different things. On game day, my Sundays start at about 6 a.m. with ESPN and NFL Ticket, and watching NBC on the Sunday night game, which ends about 8:30. Then a little ESPN highlights and on to bed. Kind of like a regular day at the office. Researching consists of listening to XM Fantasy during the week as I travel throughout Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley. Then some time in the evenings and the weekends are spent reviewing Rotoworld, CBS and other Internet sites. All in all, probably about 20 hours a week! I know a little obsessive, but I have a lot of passion for sports and competition. Alire: Only about one to three hours per week. A very productive one to three hours, I must add! I know a lot of guys spend hours and hours on their teams. I work too much for that. Nolan: I don’t spend that much time on a weekly basis. I look for players who I can pick up or trade. I spend more time preparing for the draft before the season starts. Ronquillo: Not much, maybe two to four hours.


Do you put a computer next to you as you watch the games?

Burton: I have my computer and my iPad next to me, one on the TV stand and one

on my end table next to my recliner! StatTracker is going the entire day. A very nice set up for the entire day!

Alire: Yes, I work most weekends. So I pretty much watch the games on my computer, via live streams. I usually have a set of tiled windows running, games and my team reports. Nolan: No, but I try to check it two or three times on Sunday. I spend more time with it on Monday night if my opponent and I still have players. Ronquillo: Yes, on certain occasions I’ll have my PC running, my laptop and Direct TV Sunday Ticket.


For those unfamiliar with fantasy football, why is it fun?

Burton: It’s all about the competition for me, and the fact that I am a true sports fanatic. I love Sunday football and I enjoy the bantering that is a part of fantasy football and the bragging rights waking up on Tuesday morning, pulling up the website and seeing your name at the top. The whole thing is very, very addicting. Between my nephew Jordan calling on the weekend wanting to go over his line up and my son-in-law Chris, who is in my league reviewing his waivers or trade options, it provides for a lot of family bonding! Hell, I’m like a little kid in the candy store on Sunday morning. I can hardly wait to get a good cup of coffee, hook up the computers and away we go!

Alire: It makes watching football 10 times more fun. For a football and sports fan in

Continued on page 64


Continued from page 63

general, like myself, it’s interactive. Oh, and it’s also nice if you win the money pot at the end of the year!

Nolan: If you’re a football fan, fantasy football gives you an entirely different perspective. No longer will you be just a Raider fan or a 49er fan, but you’ll also be a fan of Aaron Rogers, Adrian Peterson or even someone unlikable like Terrell Owens. Ronquillo: Because it is a good way to network, socialize and if you are a Raiders fan like me and your team isn’t doing very well, it gives you a reason to still enjoy the football year.


How many titles have you won or do you consistently make the playoffs?

Burton: Over the last few years, I have consistently made the playoffs. The first few years were very difficult and quite frustrating for a guy that prides himself on football knowledge. Goes to show you that you must prepare and do your homework if you want to be successful in the game. We are currently a 12-team league, so eight make the playoffs. My other league is a 10-team league and four make the playoffs. You would not think it would be that difficult, but there is a lot of luck involved and it always involves the match ups. Alire: Only in my third year. I made playoffs in all but one league




over this time. Still in search of that elusive title! That’s another reason why it’s so addicting.

Nolan: I’ve won four titles in the 18 years of our league. Eight out of 12 teams make our playoffs, so most teams get into the playoffs. Ronquillo: In 10 years, I’ve won three times and been to the playoffs three times.


What player do you try to draft first each year?

Burton: Always the best player available based on average draft positions and the type of league I am in. As an example, my one league is a keeper league (a league that carries NFL assignments over from year-to-year), and I have Rice and Foster, both running backs. I still drafted running back, Frank Gore. In my other league, it was quarterback, Phillip Rivers, because the scoring system is completely different. Alire: The best running back available, whoever that may be on a given year! Nolan: I would like to get Aaron Rogers, but he’s never been available when I draft. For the last three years, I’ve wound up with Tom Brady as my first pick. He’s not a bad consolation prize. Ronquillo: Running backs, they usually get plenty of rushing attempts and have the best potential to earn you big points.

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Bakersfield Life

December 2011


Favorite community event: Chinese New Year with the Chinese American Association of Kern County I love this event because it is a large gathering of Bakersfield Chinese ,and we enjoy Chineselanguage performances by the students of Bakersfield Chinese School, where my children study the language. Favorite local restaurant: It has to be Uricchio’s. I’ve loved to dine there since it first opened. It’s a special dinner place for my husband, Charley and me, and a great lunchtime getaway for my best friend, Hannah and me. I don’t think I’ve ever ordered anything different. Mozzarella Marinara, followed by the Chicken Piccata with Ravioli Alfredo and finished with Strawberry Cheesecake. Yum. Now I’m hungry. I relax in Bakersfield by: Relax? Those who know me say I don’t know how to relax. Really. I keep cool during the summer by: Whining and complaining about the heat. Actually, the real answer is I stay indoors or just leave town. We don’t have a swimming pool at home. Good thing about the heat is that I can dry laundry outside quite fast!

Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Bakersfield College

Age is nothing but a number: Do I have to share my age? Ugh. 37 B-town gal: I have lived here for a total of 21 years. First, until I was two years old, and then I came back when I was 18. On returning home: I was born here and came back in 1992 upon graduating high school to help my family, who had also just moved back. I’ve stayed because I like Bakersfield. I currently live in Rosedale but

Amber Chiang claims that the Renegade Room is Bakersfield’s best-kept secret. She boasts about the Italian Cookie Cake, a dessert developed by a student at the College.

Photo by Alex Horvath

Amber Chiang

lived in south Bakersfield when I was born. Favorite Saturday activity: College football at Chili’s or Chuy’s. I’m a football nut. and I love both those restaurants for that very reason. The people know my family, are friendly, and welcome us. Our favorite server at Chili’s knows our order before we place it. Plus, they are two places I know every game will be on and I don’t have to worry about shushing my kids!

Best place for a family outing: Has to be Westchester Bowl! We start there on Sunday morning and head to Crystal Palace for brunch. My kids, Nicklas and Kariya, love to bowl. Usually, we do it when my husband, Charley, is playing hockey at the Bakersfield Ice Sports Center. Best-kept secret in Bakersfield: The route I take to get from Bakersfield College to northwest Bakersfield during rush hour - 20 minutes or less, usually! And no, I’m not telling! Favorite funny story or memory about Bakersfield: My favorite funny about Bakersfield is how my colleagues around the state call it Bakertucky, like we’re a different state or something. Bakersfield is a whole place unto itself, I know, but that doesn’t make us backward. What I like most about Bakersfield: I love where Bakersfield is, physically. I can live in a small town and travel to the big city. We can go to San Francisco or Los Angeles or Las Vegas without flying.



The Leyva family back row, from left, Yadira, Temo, Joslyn, Andrea, with Alexander and Juventina in the front row.

Many ways to celebrate Local families find special ways to keep holiday traditions alive By Gabriel Ramirez People around Bakersfield might celebrate the winter holidays in a variety of ways, but whether it is with gifts under a Christmas tree, a nativity scene in the front yard or a lit-up Menorah, winter holidays are a time to spend with family, friends and great food. Three local families talked with us about how 68



they celebrate and keep their traditions alive.

can all celebrate together.

Feliz Noche Buena

Celebration begins on Christmas Eve We start by making the house really festive with Noche Buena flowers everywhere, then we pick the right tree, and I set up my nativity scene by the fire place for all to see, minus the baby Jesus, who gets placed right at midnight on Christmas Morning. Of course the Christmas shopping also makes it special because I try to buy special gifts for all my loved ones. The thing that makes it different from celebrating Christmas is that our celebrations start on Christmas Eve, with Mass, dinner and festivities, and extends into the early hours of Christmas morning.

Noche Buena is about more than gifts and food for the Leyva family. Juventina Leyva enjoys the night before Christmas because her husband, sons, daughter-in-law and her nieces and nephew come together to celebrate the birth of El Niùo Jesus. We spoke with Juventina about the importance of Christmas Eve Mass, the presence of tamales at the table and traditions that date back to the Aztecs. A Noche Buena tradition Noche Buena is about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ (El Niùo Jesus) and his importance in our lives. All my family in Bakersfield gets together for Christmas, and since we aren’t that many whenever friends have no plans I always invite them over so we

Must-have Noche Buena dishes The two must dishes for Christmas are tamales and posole. Tamales are a must because everyone loves them, especially for

Photo by Felix Adamo

Photo by Felix Adamo


the holidays, and posole is also a must in the winter time, which is a traditional Mexican soup/stew that everyone enjoys for its spicy taste and flavors. These dishes have been some of the dishes that my family in Mexico would make when I was growing up, and that I am able to make for my family here. Posole is a traditional plate that goes back all the way to the Aztecs, and was a ceremonial dish for celebrating life. Our Noche Buena routine For Christmas, which we usually celebrate on Christmas Eve, so once I have everything ready for dinner, we head out to Mass at 7 p.m., where we sing Christmas songs, and celebrate the birth of El Nino Jesus where the community goes to kiss the blessed baby Jesus saint that we have at the church. Once we get back home, we all have dinner and play games with the little ones

with music playing in the background. Once it gets closer to midnight we bring out the baby Jesus for the nativity scene and when the clock hits midnight, Christmas morning, we cradle him to sleep with the traditional Christmas song, and welcome him to the nativity scene. After that we all wish each other Feliz Navidad with hugs and kisses, and begin our gift exchange. A childhood Noche Buena memory One of my Noche Buena memories is of my parents cooking our favorite dish of bacalao fish with potatoes and a beet salad. Just remembering being with my parents and my siblings as a child are the best Christmas memories, especially because my parents passed away when I was very young. The perfect Noche Buena My perfect Christmas would be to have all my loved ones together celebrating the birth of Christ while we remember the loved ones that have passed on. Just being able to be with my family and all of us being healthy, happy, and together, is the perfect Christmas. Posole

Put water to boil, and once it starts boiling add garlic, onion and salt. You then add the hominy corn and pork meat right after; boil for

two hours. As we wait for the ingredients to cook to create the avor-filled stew we then start to prep the toppings that we add to the posole when it is ready to eat. Some favorite toppings are sliced up radishes, shredded cabbage and limes. Of course I make everyone's favorite red salsa that gives the posole the finishing avor. The salsa is made from garlic, red arbol chiles, tomatillos and salt. The tomatillos and red arbol chiles are toasted on the stove and then everything is put into a blender with the garlic, salt and with water. Tostadas are also a must to accompany the stew and salsa.

Happy Hanukkah To Esther Schlanger and her family Hanukkah is a light in a world that is at times dark. With chocolate coins, a Menorah and her family by her side Schlanger celebrates the miracles experienced by the People of Israel in a time of oppression. We talked with Schlanger about potato latkes, the dreidle and chocolate coins enjoyed by her children and the meaning behind the eight-day celebration of Hanukkah. A celebration of light over darkness Hanukkah is an eight-day festival celebrating the triumph of light over darkness. More than 21 centuries ago, the Syrian Continued on page 70


Continued from page 69

Greeks who sought to forcefully assimilate the People of Israel to the Greek culture ruled the Holy Land of Israel. Against all odds, a small band of faithful Jews defeated the mightiest armies on earth, drove the Greeks from the land and reclaimed their Holy Temple in Jerusalem. When they sought to light the Temple's Menorah (the seven branched candelabrum) they found only a single cruse of olive oil that had escaped contamination by the Greeks, miraculously, the one day supply burned for eight days, until new oil could be prepared under conditions of ritual purity. To commemorate these miracles the Jewish sages instituted the festival of Hanukkah. A Menorah is lit nightly for eight nights, a single flame on the first night, two on the second evening and so on till the eight night of Hanukkah when all the eight lights are kindled. Hanukkah customs include eating food fried in oil - latkes (potato pancakes) and donuts, playing with the dreidel (a spinning top on which are inscribed the Hebrew letters nun, gimmel, hei and shin, an acronym for Nes Gadol Hayah Sham, "a great miracle happened there"; and the giving of Hanukkah gelt, gifts of money, to children.

Favorite tradition I make sure the whole family is present every night for the Menorah lighting. I make it a family affair. My favorite tradition is singing the beautiful Hanukkah melodies and following the kindling of the Menorah. A must-have Hanukkah dish Potato Latkes, of course. We eat the latkes to remind us of the miracle of the oil. The fact that they had only enough oil for the Temple Menorah to last one day but a miracle oc70



Photo by Henry A. Barrios

Rabbi Shmuel Schlanger, not pictured, his wife Esther and their children from left, Mendy, Shimshy, baby Gisa, and Leh and Chaya will celebrate the Jewish tradition of Hanukkah with the lighting of the Menorah.

in Jewish homes all over the world. My children are still young so we use chocolate coins, which, of course, makes the game doubly as sweet. The greatest Hanukkah gift ever My son was born two days before Hanukkah three years ago. It was the greatest Hanukkah “gift” one could ask for.


Illuminating the light in your home and within you The lights of the Menorah are what really inspire me. We live in a world today that sometimes seems so dark and oppressed. However, when I stand in front of the Hanukkah lights they symbolize the message of the triumph of freedom over oppression, of spirit over matter, of light over darkness. Such tiny flames can wipe away so much darkness. The Hanukkah lights remind us in a most obvious way that illumination begins at home, within oneself and one’s family, by increasing and intensifying the light of good deeds in the everyday experience, just as the Hanukkah Lights are kindled in growing numbers from day to day.

curred and the oil lasted for eight days! Dreidel brings families together After the lighting of the Menorah, we sit around and play driedel. Playing with the dreidel is a traditional Hanukkah game played

Traditional Latkes

5 large potatoes, peeled 1 large onion 3 eggs 1/3 cup flour 1 tsp. Salt ¼ tsp. pepper ¾ cup oil for frying Use: 10-inch skillet Yields: 4 to 6 servings Grate potatoes and onion on the fine side of a grater, or in a food processor; or put in a blender with a little water.

Merry Christmas

Photo by Jaclyn Borowski

Judy Castro is the family matriarch and during the holiday season her husband and three children look to her for traditions, tales and tuna sandwiches. We talked with the Castro family to find out what traditions they are holding on to, what their favorite Christmas tale is and what is up with the tuna sandwiches.

Judy and Leo Castro and their children Allison and Ben with a copy of The Night Before Christmas, a family favorite. Strain grated potatoes and onion through a colander, pressing out excess water. Add eggs, our, and seasoning. Mix well. Heat ½ cup oil in skillet. Lower ame and place 1 large tablespoon batter at a time into hot sizzling oil and fry on one side for approximately five minutes until golden brown. Turn over and fry on other side two to three minutes.

Remove from pan and place on paper towels to drain excess oil. Continue with remaining batter until used up, adding more oil when necessary. Serve with applesauce on the side. Variation: Zucchini or Carrot Latkes: Substitute five medium zucchini or five medium carrots for potatoes.

The meaning of Christmas Christmas is about family and friends together celebrating Jesus' birthday, family time and tradition. Christmas is first about the religious aspect, but to me it is also a time of year, more than just a day, to continue with traditions, family, friends, gatherings and celebrations. Keeping it children-focused I try to make it special by continuing with traditions, even those that started when my kids were little and are children-centered, and by making time for us to share them together. My favorite tradition is when my three kids sit with me right before we go Continued on page 72


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Photo by Jaclyn Borowski

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“World famous” tuna sandwiches

Continued from page 71

to bed on Christmas Eve and we read “The Night Before Christmas.” They sleep on the floor in our room that night too, to insure that nobody peeks at the gifts before the others in the morning. The elves did it My favorite recent memory was when we were able to get my daughter's piano delivered when we went to Christmas Eve Mass she was convinced that the elves brought it in early!!! Must-have Christmas dish Oddly enough, it is “world famous tuna

Allison Castro received her piano as a Christmas present several years ago. sandwiches” made by my husband. The story is that when the kids were small I was sick on Christmas Eve and had to stay in bed. Leo had to do everything that year, play Santa, wrap presents, decorate cookies (to keep the kids occupied) and he ended up making tuna sandwiches that night and convinced them that it was a world famous

recipe. They have remembered that since then. After we go to Mass on Christmas Eve, we always have friends over for snacks and they insist on having the sandwiches. Christmas child memories As a child, I got a “Barbie’s Dream house” that I never thought I would get. It

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was all put together under the tree in the morning!! My Dad later told me he referred to it as “Barbie’s Nightmare” because putting it together was so difficult. Leo’s Choice

1 large can of sweet potatoes 1 small can of pineapple (I use crushed) Brown sugar 1 cup chopped pecans Large marshmallows (enough to cover dish) Drain the sweet potatoes Mash/chop potatoes to a smaller size and put in ungreased baking dish (I usually use a glass one) Mix with about 3/4 of the can of DRAINED pineapple Cover with brown sugar and gently mix with pecans Cook at 350 until bubbly Cover with large marshmallows and broil until marshmallows are brown (be careful not to burn)

Eat what you want.

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Bobbi’s Hallmark celebrates 25 years


by Melissa Peaker-Whitten

Owner of Bobbi’s Hallmark, Carol Rodgers, helps a customer with some Christmas gifts.

Photos by Casey Christie

Tom and Carol Rodgers know the reason they have had a successful business is due to the people of Bakersfield. Their business, Bobbi’s Hallmark, celebrates its silver anniversary this year, and it couldn’t have been possible without the support of Bakersfield’s residents. In fact, they say it was the people that made them want to make Bakersfield their home in the first place. The Rodgers first came to Bakersfield when Texaco brought Tom out for a yearlong assignment. But they liked Bakersfield so well, they asked the company to transfer them back here if they ever had an opening. A year and a half later, they were back in Bakersfield – this time permanently. “We loved the people, the friendliness of the area, it felt like home,” said Carol. “We found a wonderful church, great friendships and when the year was over we just hated to leave.” While still living in Oklahoma, the couple learned of an opportunity with the Hallmark Corporation through a friend. They opened their first Hallmark store in Fayetteville, Arkansas in 1976. They went on to open a second store in Ft. Smith, Arkansas. They eventually sold that store and moved the Fayetteville store to their home town of Tulsa, OK. They sold the store when they moved to California. 74



Once settled in Bakersfield, their friends Bob and Bobbi Williams asked if the Rodgers would like to partner with them in opening a Hallmark store here. This is where the name Bobbi’s originated. The store opened its doors on Sept. 15, 1987 at the Stockdale location where it’s still flourishing today. Along with the Williams, they also operated two Hallmark stores in the Valley Plaza for several years, eventually selling them and expanding their current location. After 10 years partnering with their friends, the Williams retired and sold their share of the corporation to the Rodgers. When they opened the 8,500 square foot store, it was the largest store in the Hallmark family at that time. And Carol’s goal was to make it a destination store. A place where people could come and find the things they needed for all of life’s celebrations. “Our slogan is ‘We’re more than just a great Hallmark store,’” said Carol. “Most people will walk into our doors and tell us they’ve never been to a Hallmark store like this.” Some customers come from out of town, making a special trip just to come to their store. While some Hallmark stores are company owned, others are independently owned, but have an agreement with the company to carry their products. Bobbi’s is owned and operated by the Rodgers which is part of the reason it is so unique.

Tom and Carol Rodgers, owners of Bobbi's Hallmark know the people of Bakersfield are the reason they have been so successful.

Along with the Hallmark line, the store carries a wide variety of gift items, from spa products and robes, to scented candles and giftware, and specialty clothing for babies and toddlers. They also have items for the home, as well as their unique candy counter. An accountant by trade, Tom has always done the book-keeping and accounting for the store. Now that he’s retired he also accompanies Carol on some of the buying trips. Their three daughters have also been involved in the business over the years. Their middle daughter, Kim Yeomans, is the store’s decorator and also helps with the buying. And now the third generation is involved in the business as well. Their granddaughter, Chelsea Yeomans, is in charge of receiving for the store. Although Carol had some retail experience when they opened their first store, her knowledge has continued to grow over the years. “I feel like I’m still learning today,” said Carol. “I don’t know it all; I don’t pretend like I have arrived at any great level of knowledge—retail is evolving all the time, it’s always changing. Because of that, you have to stay very current with the markets and the news of what’s happening within the retail world.” When she goes to markets, Carol says she spends the first day just looking at color and fashion trends. “Some trends I see in market never really emerge—other things do well—you

have to read a lot of trade magazines and articles and listen to people in the industry,” said Carol. “If you’re going to keep up with the market you have to work at it.” Carol relies on others as well to help her make decisions. Her daughter and granddaughter offer a different perspective when buying, because they see things differently. She also asks her employees what customers are asking for. She puts in at least eight hours a day at the store, usually a split shift, and sometimes more, depending on the season. In addition she does the bulk of the buying for the store as well as all of the re-ordering. “It’s a tough business to be in, you always have to be looking for the newest thing, the best thing coming out,” said Carol. As Tom once observed while at a market, customers only see about 10 percent of what buyers see. “My job is to bring the best of that to them. That’s my passion, trying to see what I can do to make the store better and improve—always trying to evolve,” said Carol. Although she puts in a lot of hours in the office, Carol also makes time to be out on the floor and talk to her customers. “We appreciate very much the support that we have received from the people of Bakersfield and how they’ve supported us through the years as we have grown,” said Carol. “The fact that we have been so well received and supported by the city has caused us to enjoy the ride.”

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’Tis the season for giving Local charities prepare to make holidays bright for less fortunate Young Marines hustle to carry toys to waiting families during the annual Toys for Tots giveaway held at the Marine Corps Training Center on Chester Avenue.

W By Michael Wafford

With the holiday season just around the corner, local organizations are gearing up and asking members of the community to give a little something to help brighten Christmas for someone facing hard times. These charities are looking for donations that will help families and children around Kern County. From the Halls of Montezuma to various locations around Bakersfield The Bakersfield Marine Corps Reserves began its annual Toys for Tots toy drive on Oct. 1. Just like it has done for 63 years, this annual event helps make it a Merry Christmas for children in Kern County. Last year, the Marines provided more than 26,000 toys to more than 8,400 local children, according to First Sgt. Gonzalez. While the local community has been very generous in donating toys, there is a huge need for age appropriate toys for children ages 0-2 and 8-10 years of age. The Marines would appreciate toys for those age groups as well. Donation boxes, about 100, will be placed in locations through76



out town including all Wal-Mart stores, Coldwell Bankers, KEERO 23 and all schools in the Bakersfield City School District, Greenfield Union School District and Standard School District. Monetary donations are also accepted and can be handed to a Marine with a red box at one of the toy drop-off sites, by mail to the local Marine Corps Reserve Unit or online at CHP will hand out more than speeding tickets this Christmas The California Highway Patrol kicks off its second annual Kids Toy Drive in Kern County on Nov. 21. The CHP will be collecting toys for children ages 0-16 until Dec. 12. New, unwrapped toys can be dropped off at the CHP office, 4040 Buck Owens Blvd. Last year, the CHP collected more than 2,000 toys for needy kids, said Officer Robert Rodriguez. “This year we’re gathering as many as we can,” Rodriguez said. He noted that older kids tend to get left out during toy drives, so donations for teenagers would be appreciated. While monetary donations will be accepted, toys and gift cards are preferred.

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Mary Christenson Motorcycles roar through town in annual Bakersfield Toy Run Now in its 28th year, organizers of the Bakersfield Toy Run hope to surpass last year’s event when more than 4,000 toys and $40,000 were collected. Event organizer Don Oldaker hopes more people show up this year to help someone have a Merry Christmas. Last year, more than 6,000 motorcyclists showed up The event will be held December 11 and begins at 10 a.m. at Beach Park and ends at the Kern County Fairgrounds. For those who arrive early, there will be food and beverages for sale. Price for admission into the event is a donation of $20 worth in toys or perishable or non-perishable food items. Oldaker encourages the public to remember the older children and consider bringing in donations for older children who often get overlooked. The Bakersfield Toy Run is looking for sponsors to provide prizes for raffles during the event. Donations can be made prior to the event by going to The Bakersfield Homeless Center and Alliance Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault The Bakersfield Homeless Center will once again be collecting toys for the families living at the homeless shelter. Last year, together with the community, the BHC collected 1,400 toys according to executive director Louis Gill. Besides collecting toys for the children living at the shaelter, the BHC is also collecting toys for families in the aftercare pro-

Photo by Alex Horvath

This year’s Bakersfield Toy Run will take place at 10 a.m. on Dec. 11.

S pecializing

gram. This program works to alleviate the stress of the holidays for families who were recently receiving assistance from the center by providing them with gifts for Christmas. “During this time of year any assistance is appreciated,” Gill said. “At Christmas we need everything from warm clothing to food and of course monetary donations are helpful.” Donations can be made at 1600 East Truxton Ave., donations should be brought to the warehouse. Donors will receive receipts for tax purchases The BHC and Alliance Against Family Violence will also be working with KGET for its annual 17 days of Christmas Event which begins in December. Be a child’s secret Santa this Christmas The Kern County Department of Human Resources begins its 24th annual toy drive on Nov. 22. Known as the Holiday Cottage, it will operate out of the Ice House, 3401 Chester Ave. with a grand opening scheduled for 10:30 a.m. The toy drive benefits foster children in Kern County. During the grand opening, former Holiday Cottage gift recipients will speak and Santa will make a special appearance to listen to children’s Christmas requests. “The Holiday Cottage differs from other toy drives in that the community is given the option to choose who they will donate to and are told what the child wants. It’s a really personal way to give during the holidays,” said Heidi Carter Escudero. The Holiday Cottage will be open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily until Dec. 11.

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Sue Benham Sue Benham prepares a Spanish tapas gambas a la plancha (shrimp marinated in olive oil, lemon and sea salt) for her dinner party guests.

Dinner: Time meant to treasure with loved ones

B By Hillary Haenes

Photos by Jessica Frey

Bringing family and friends together and sharing stories around the dinner table is something Sue Benham holds dear to her heart. Although she stays busy as vice president and chief development officer at Bakersfield Memorial Hospital and representing Ward 2 on the Bakersfield City Council, Benham feels the pangs of an empty nest. She and husband Herb Benham, Californian columnist who has provided readers with advice along with laughs from his life’s lessons through the years, know it’s even more important to unite their family, especially during the holiday season. When their four children — Katie, Herbie, Sam and Thomas (now in their 20s and living out of town) — were younger, they were resistant to meeting for dinner. Now they appreciate it because they realize that not everyone was raised with home-cooked meals and family-bonding time. “When they were growing up, we had family din-




ners every night, even though the kids were involved in sports, theater, music lessons, etc. It was very important to me that we gather together at the end of the day,” she said. Benham still prepares meals almost every night, and while she doesn’t watch cooking shows to generate ideas, she gets inspiration from the different cuisine she’s tasted from the countries she’s traveled to like France, Italy, Spain and Argentina. “I love good food and the best way to enjoy it every day is to become a good cook,” she said. Among the meals she loves to cook is a Christmas feast of boeuf bourguignon and potato gratin. Some of Benham’s favorite foods include salmon, scallops and asparagus but, being a foodie, she finds it difficult to pick an ideal dinner menu, although it would definitely start with champagne. “For me, the menu is determined by the season and by the family and friends who are at the table.”

Tapas, ready to eat: foreground, smoked salmon and creme fraiche, background, roasted peppers with manchego cheese.

Cooking How did you develop an interest in food and cooking? I remember going to a French restaurant in New York when I was in high school, and loving the food and ambiance. I started cooking when I was in college, living in a big old house in Philadelphia with five friends. What would you cook in college? I remember making a cheese and eggplant casserole from the original “Vegetarian Epicure” cookbook. For the holidays, what’s on your menu? Do you prepare traditional family recipes or like to try new ones? I make some traditional favorites, but I also like to try new recipes. My son Thomas has become a fantastic cook, so I like to enlist him. Katie and Herbie are good cooks, too. Sam likes having everyone cook for him. What is one ingredient you love to use in your recipes? I can’t imagine cooking without garlic. My favorite special ingredient would be saffron because of the fragrance and flavor. What is your favorite piece of cooking equipment? A large Calphalon sauté pan, which I’ve had for about 30 years. I have prepared countless family meals with it. What is your favorite meal to cook? I love making boeuf bourguignon when my kids Cooking, continued on page 80

Sliced pork tenderloin with a spice rub cooks in a cast iron skillet.

On eating When you and Herb traveled to Spain, what was it like eating in the Basque country? The Basque region of Spain, especially in and around San Sebastian, is renowned in international food circles for being the home of innovative and exquisite cuisine. We didn’t eat in the most highend restaurants, but the food in the family restaurants and pintxos (tapas) bars was spectacular. What was your favorite meal in Spain? We had two dinners at Arraunlari in Hondarribia. Menu highlights were the calamari, monkfish and a luscious dark chocolate dessert. How did the food compare to local Basque restaurants in Bakersfield? The food we had in San Sebastian and Hondarribia is completely different from what we enjoy locally. Fish and seafood are prominently featured. The vegetables and seasonings

are extremely fresh and original. What is your favorite local restaurant and what do you order? Sorry, I can’t choose just one. For dinner, chicken piccata at Uricchio’s, the salmon at Luigi’s and shrimp Vallarta at La Costa Mariscos. For lunch, the salmon salad at Mama Roomba and the arugula/manchego salad at Moo Creamery. What is your favorite cuisine? French cuisine is my favorite, but I also love Spanish and Italian. I can’t possibly choose just one dish. How many cookbooks do you own? What's the title of your favorite one? 75. “The Bistros, Brasseries and Wine Bars of Paris” by Daniel Young. I love it because it transports me to Paris. The cookbooks I’ve used most often in recent years are the “Barefoot Contessa” books by Ina Garten. Eating, continued on page 80


Dinner: a time for gathering at the end of the day, and a time for wine.

Eating, continued from page 79

Cooking, continued from page 79

What has been your most expensive meal? Dinner at the French Laundry in Yountville. I think the price was $250 per person, which I realize sounds ridiculous. Guests don’t order individually; everyone is served a nine-course tasting menu.

are all home for Christmas. I love cooking salmon with a spice rub in the summer, especially at the beach. I always make pasta alla carbonara when Sam comes home.

What is your favorite meal to eat: breakfast, lunch or dinner? Dinner, because I love gathering at the end of the day. Also, because dinner’s the time for wine. Is there a certain source or place you get ideas from for new recipes? I like to check out the New York Times food section online, especially the columns by Mark Bittman and David Tanis. My friend, Esther, and I often discuss menu ideas on our walks when we need inspiration for dinner. What is your most memorable meal? One that comes to mind was dinner at a small inn where we stayed in Brittany, when we were traveling down the Atlantic Coast of France. It was a stormy night and we were in an old stone farmhouse. The innkeeper had been a chef in Paris and the meal he served, with food from their garden, was simple and perfect: sorrel soup, swordfish on a bed of polenta, and for dessert, pain perdu (aka French toast) with caramel sauce and raspberry sorbet. 80

Bakersfield Life

December 2011

Tell us about wine pairings with your meals: We like to try different wines, but we keep the pairings simple. I love it when a good restaurant suggests pairings. My favorite wine is a chardonnay, but with heavier dishes I love a nice pinot noir. Do you have a disastrous cooking story? I made a beautiful three-layer, raspberry cream layer cake, covered with pink whipped cream, for Katie’s third birthday. As I was carrying it to the table, it slid right off the cake plate onto the hardwood floor. Everyone gasped and looked at me, awaiting my reaction. Fortunately, I just started laughing because I was so surprised. We have really cute pictures of Katie and Herbie with big smiles, eating the cake off the floor. If you could spend a day with a famous chef or fellow foodie, who would it be and what advice would you seek? Alice Waters. I have admired her since the 1970s, when I first read about her founding of Chez Panisse in Berkeley. I would love to visit a farmers market with her and watch her shop. I also would ask her to tell me about secret places in Paris where she loves to dine or shop for ingredients. Then I would thank her because my youngest son, Thomas, works at Chez Panisse.

A selection of tapas, carefully prepared by Sue Benham.

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Hydroponics Who says you need soil to plant a garden?


Story and photos by Brian N. Willhite Green thumb enthusiasts and horticulturally curious hobbyists looking for a more efficient and eco-friendly alternative to traditional gardening have a new option – hydroponics a soilless alternative preferred for indoor gardening. Plants grown using the hydroponics method do not use soil to distribute nutrients. Instead, an automated system pumping nutrient-enriched water from a reservoir to feed the plants is utilized. As the Latin translation indicates, hydroponics is "water working" to manage the garden. Because there isn't a need for soil, growers have a wide variety of mediums to choose from in which to place their plants as a substitute for the loss of structure that was previously provided by soil. Patrick Odle, owner of Green Leaf Hydroponics, said these mediums are referred to as inert media and are essentially anything that doesn't have a nutrient content of its own. Some common types of inert media include perlite, vermiculite, Rockwool, and sand and clay. Constructing a hydroponic garden may sound like a daunting task. However, hydroponics only requires a few necessities to get the self-sustaining system up and running, said Daniel McCormick, owner of Kern Hydroponics. "When you’re growing indoors, you gotta replicate some of the things you'd have outside," McCormick said. "You’d have to have a good light source that’s intense enough for growing plants and then you would have the hydro system itself that usually consists of a reservoir that holds your nutrients, a timer that would turn on the pump to administer those nutrients, and then 82



Ornamental peppers being grown hydroponically at Green Leaf Hydroponics.

some type of tray to hold those plants that will also gather the water." Creating an environment that the plants can thrive in is essential for success, Odle said. "The idea is to set up an ecosystem that can kind of balance itself out, where you're providing optimal growing conditions,” he said. Once the initial setup is complete, there isn't a whole lot the grower needs to do, except keep the system operating by regularly maintaining the water supply. "I tend to claim that hydroponics makes

it to where, instead of working for your garden, you can get the garden working for you," Odle said. One of the things Odle has noticed with customers that are new to hydroponics is that they tend to want to be involved with their garden more often and walk in and see things working and happening. He likens the process to the operations in a factory, where the idea is to get it up and running smoothly. The ease of maintaining a hydroponic garden is an attractive incentive that Odle and McCormick feel is inviting to anyone

interested in gardening, but there are more benefits for the grower including cleaner cultivation, more control over the products being fed to the plants and faster yield times. "The biggest thing with hydro is that typically it's a little quicker. Plants usually take off a little faster and finish a little faster with quicker ripening times," McCormick said. Because nutrients are being administered several times a day through the hydro system, and because the plants are able to absorb those nutrients more often and at purer doses, the turnaround is faster for the plants or food being grown, according to McCormick and Odle. Without soil absorbing or blocking some of the nutrient content, more air and space surrounds the roots, allowing for a purer and cleaner concentration of enriched, filtered water to be absorbed in the synergetic system. But not all benefits are scientific; some are socially responsible and environmentally friendly, too. Water conservation is important to helping Kern County's ecosystem, and hydroponics allows for more efficient use of water than conventional gardening as well as large-scale commercial farming, which employs highly efficient methods to

To learn more Green Leaf Hydroponics 3903 Patton Way, Suite 103 588-8269 Patrick Odle Kern Hydroponics 2408 Brundage Lane 323-7333 Daniel McCormick

The Aquafarm watering system

recycle conserve water, according to McCormick. The cultural shift toward a more healthconscious lifestyle has also led some consumers to consider options like hydroponic gardening to substitute their dependency on store-bought produce because of the uncertainty of the chemicals and methods used to grow those products, Odle said. If you're interested in getting started in

hydroponics, introductory kits are available and have everything you need to start growing right out of the box for about $100 - $200. But, more savvy or adventurous consumers may want to explore their local shops to get a feel for the types of plants and edible crops available, as well as the variety of hardware and growing supplies to uniquely personalize the hydroponics experience.


Western Scrap Saving the environment one piece of scrap metal at a time

S By Michael Wafford

Since 1989, Western Scrap has been making a positive impact on the environment while providing a location for the surrounding community to dispose of their waste in environmentally friendly ways. According to manager Chris Rogers, the amount of people recycling has increased over the years. “People are realizing the benefit of recycling both to the environment and the monetary return to their pockets,” Rogers said. Western Scrap handles recycling for some 400 Kern County businesses, according to Rogers. These companies account for 80 percent of their business, with the other 20 percent comes from recycling done by individuals and demolition contracts. The relationships between Western Scrap and the businesses it serves are symbiotic. The businesses receive government incentives for recycling their used materials and Western Scrap is able to recycle and sell those materials. Between the 400 businesses and private individuals bringing in scrap, Western Scrap recycles approximately 65 million tons of steel a year, Rogers said. In addition, it also recycles large amounts of other materials such as aluminum and plastic drinking containers. There are, of course, other benefits to recycling besides monetary gain.




Western Scrap manager Chris Rogers poses near stacked piles of aluminum bales at the company’s recycling center.

Photo by Brian N. Willhite


“The process of recycling metal is very beneficial to the environment,” Rogers said. “For every one ton of steel that gets recycled one ton of steel will be created whereas to create one ton of steel from natural resources the process requires around 2,500 pounds of iron ore and 1,500 pounds of coal with half of the material going to waste.” The process of recycling steel also lowers the amount of environmental damage caused by mining and coal burning. Rogers himself began recycling 15 years ago over concerns about overfilled landfills. Western Scrap provides schools with a tool for teaching about the process and benefits of recycling by hosting field trips for local elementary schools to teach students the value of recycling. Classes that visit the facility get a tour and information on recycling and the ultimate destination of the materials at the facility. While the business is lucrative now, the recycling market does ebb and flow and competition has become fierce in recent years. Rogers said although competition has increased the business is going fine financially. Western Scrap has been able to stay afloat for 22 years surrounded by competition by preparing for the rough patches. “[We] have to save for a rainy day. (We) want to retain our skilled workforce. We make a big investment in training our employees.”

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Live Ball Work up a sweat with this fun, extreme version of tennis


By Hillary Haenes

Photos by Greg Nichols

It’s the fast-paced, cardio-intensive game of doubles tennis known as Live Ball that will leave you gasping for air. The brave group of 20 or more men and lone lady player meet Mondays at Stockdale Country Club to battle on the courts. The two players left standing in the champ’s position on court one are the winners, however, everyone should be considered a champion with the amount of non-stop sprinting and shuffling to get to those hard-hit tennis balls. The game was introduced over the summer after Hank Pfister, director of tennis and fitness at Stockdale, was exposed to Live Ball at UCLA during the Farmers Classic men’s ATP tour event in July. “It’s a great workout that’s not for the faint of heart. Guys are just dying for breath. They’re grabbing their knees after they get caught going a little fast,” Pfister said. Don’t sweat it if you haven’t picked up a racket in awhile and feel a little rusty; head out to Live Ball and get in on the action, which will quickly improve your game. Depending on how many people show up on Mondays, this crazy doubles game can have anywhere from six to eight players on a court, with up to four courts in play. On one side of the court stand two champs, while there are two to four pairs of challeng-

Play is fast and fierce during Live Ball at Stockdale Country Club.

ers. The game starts when a pro (who stands behind the Live Ball champs) feeds the ball to the When: 6:30 p.m. Mondays challengers at the baseline. Where: Stockdale Country The challengers must return Club Tennis Courts, 7001 the first ball across court and Stockdale Highway play out the point. In one Cost: $8 members; $10 nonrally, the challengers must members win four points before the Information: Contact Hank champs win two in order to Pfister, director of tennis and fitness, at 832-0310, ext. 117 become the new champs. or hankpfister@stockdaleIf the challengers defeat the champs, then they have to sprint to the other side before the pro begins another rally with a new pair of challengers. The champs keep track of how many points they win during each fiveminute round, of which there are several. At the end of each round, players calculate how many points they won on the champ side, with the top-scoring pair moving up a court. The game lasts about 45 to 50 minutes and burns hundreds of calories because you’re constantly moving, and bantering with the other players. Continued on page 90 89

Up to 20 or more players gather each week for a challenging game of Live Ball.

Continued from page 89

“As soon as you start getting tired, your feet stop moving,” said Garrett Ming, who organized the doubles group a few years back. After Live Ball was introduced, the doubles group grew. This activity is perfect for United States Tennis Association teams who are at levels 3.5 to 4.5, but any level player can give it a shot. Pfister suggested it would be an excellent workout for high school teams or for beginners to get them moving. “It’s a lot of fun. It’s very competitive — that’s what I like. The Stockdale staff does a great job in motivating and challenging the players. They are very welcoming. I feel like one of the guys,” said Eileen Lua, the only female player, who the men agree is the all-star out there. For those looking for a great unique workout, contact Hank Pfister with your Live Ball questions or let him know that you want to attend to ensure there is an even number of people playing any given Monday.





Karaoke From first-timers to seasoned pros, karaoke keeps them coming back

T By Hillary Haenes

Photos by Jaclyn Borowski

The first time I stepped on stage to sing karaoke this summer, I was nervous. Over the past few months, I have learned how to work the crowd, not because of my vocals — I can’t carry a tune — but rather my song selection and the fact that I get caught up in the music and make the most of the moment. What started out as a one-time experience has turned into a fun once or twice a month get-together. (I’ve even reunited with old friends and befriended new ones by singing.)

First timer

The music was loud, the lights were dim, and the LED rotating disco ball lamp flashed rays of colors upon the lively Wednesday night crowd at Rockstarz Party Bar. And by the end of the night, I would be able to check karaoke off my list of fun experiences to try. I walked in and joined my friends in the corner of the bar for karaoke night. Several minutes went by, and one of my




friends, a regular karaoke-goer, jumped on stage to sing Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues.” Impressed by her strong vocals, the crowd cheered and watched in awe as petite Kim Ruiz belted out the classic country song. A tough act to follow (she made it seem effortless and easy), the crowd needed a little encouragement, so bartender Bobby Wilhelms hopped on stage to sing one of his favorites, AC/DC’s “Shook Me All Night Long.” It did the trick and more acts followed suit, including Ruiz’s boyfriend, Beau Banducci, who sang Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love a Bad Name” — a song he selected earlier in the week. Next, Heather Abbott and Kelle Vontz got the crowd laughing with their usual hip-hop Tigra and Bunny duet performance of L’Trimm’s “Cars That Go Boom.” Enjoying the range of eclectic vocals, the pressure was on for me to take the mic. My name was called and I knew I had to make a decision, which isn’t easy for me. I love music and know a lot of different songs, almost word-for-word, but I was stumped on what to sing. I wanted to carefully choose a song that one, people would know; and two, would get people to sing along with me. This was sort of a challenge, but I finally decided to attempt No

Hillary Haenes and Patrick Wells sing “Hotel California” at The Prime Cut's karaoke night.

Bartender Bobby Wilhelms performs during karaoke night at Rockstarz Party Bar.

Members of The Swingers softball team perform at Rockstarz Party Bar karaoke night after their game.

Doubt’s “Just a Girl.” Feeling nervous, I made Abbott come up on stage with me for moral support and to energize the audience with her dance moves. As soon as people recognized the first few notes, their attention was turned toward me and they seemed pumped for the song. I didn’t want to let them down, so I gave it my all. After I had made it through the chorus, I knew I was hooked. When the song ended, the audience cheered, clapped and congratulated me on my off-key, but enthusiastic performance. Walking back to the table, I received high-fives from patrons and my circle of friends. Sitting down, I was happy to have surpassed my first-time karaoke expectations and was brainstorming my next song. Our group ended the night with Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back,” which was a crowd pleaser. With a couple of songs under my belt and a growing passion for karaoke, I knew I’d be back to grace the stage with my group of rock stars.

Rockstarz Party Bar

Sometimes on Wednesday nights, teammates from The Swingers make

a post-game stop for karaoke. “We just kind of stumbled upon it one night after a softball game. We’ve been going religiously,” said Ruiz, 26, about Rockstarz serving as a gathering place the past couple of years. This group sure knows how to keep the audience smiling and laughing as well as encouraging others to go up and perform their favorites. “I am definitely lacking in singing talent, so my dancing and performance makes me feel more entertaining to the crowd,” said Abbott, 29 (aka Hot Mess Heather because of her karaoke performances). “I always have fun there. I feel like I’m singing in my living room with a bunch of friends.” When she’s not singing Tigra and Bunny with Abbott, Vontz prefers upbeat songs like Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation” and Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl.” “I’m not trying to prove anything and I try to pick songs that don’t require much singing ability,” said Vontz, 27. If patrons are scared of taking the stage, Wilhelms, who used to run karaoke at Rockstarz, will get up and make a fool of himself to lighten the Continued on page 94


Continued from page 93

floor.” And, if someone gets up to sing for the first time, nobody is going to judge them, which has made the couple comfortable about performing. “Nick says I walk around like I own the place. Karaoke is a very good confidence builder,” Lemming said. The bond they share is evident, especially when Hunter and Lemming sing, since it’s always together to their favorite numbers like Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets,” Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” or Weezer’s “Undone — The Sweater Song.”

mood. “I’ve sang so many songs. I try to sing ones that I don’t know, so I mess up to get people up there. I’ll make myself look like a fool, so everyone else has fun,” said Wilhelms, 30, who’s been singing karaoke for several years.

The Prime Cut

Ruiz, Vontz and Banducci take a night off but then they’re usually back in action on Fridays at The Prime Cut, which draws a larger crowd and is a bit more intimidating with a spotlight shining on performers. “I was shaking profusely. I could feel my knees hitting together, but once you’re up there and you’re halfway through the song, it’s an adrenaline rush,” said Ruiz. “It’s my own mini ‘American Idol’ moment.”

Bellvedere Cocktail Lounge

The Old River Monte Carlo

For one young couple, karaoke has become a regular spot for date night twice a week. In fact, it’s what brought them closer together. “Most couples want to have their movie night and fancy dinner, but we just go to a dive bar every Thursday and Sunday. It’s a really cheap way to have a date night,” said Nick Hunter, 24. Over the past year, Hunter and his girlfriend, Emily Lemming, 21, have become regulars at the “Bell” (as they call it), which is almost like a home away from home. “It’s our second family. It was the first bar I ever went to,” said Lemming. “There are a lot of other bars in town who do karaoke, but not like the Bell.” What makes the bar so great is that it welcomes a diverse mix of people, has friendly bartenders and, according to Lemming, “a pretty good dance

An old gem hidden along Taft Highway is a surprisingly popular spot for all ages to gather and sing karaoke on Thursday evenings. What started as a group of 10 to 15 people has grown to entertain anywhere from 25 to 50 people, depending on the night. “That’s the thing with the Monte Carlo. I probably wouldn’t be running karaoke if it wasn’t for the Monte Carlo — it’s like being at home having a drink,” said Cody Ballard, who works for Wild West Entertainment, occasionally running the bar’s karaoke. “If you come out once, you generally come back.” Rock and country songs are mostly requested at this bar, but the karaoke company Ballard works for has a library of up to 50,000 songs that is updated monthly. A group of regulars that Ballard calls the Seven Oaks Crew try their hardest to make it each Thursday. “We usually golf, then we do happy hour on the patio of Seven Oaks Country Club, then we move out to the Monte Carlo,” said Donna Scurlock, 48. She and her husband, Bruce Scurlock, 51, invite their kids and friends for an enjoyable evening with Bruce performing Eagles’ hits and Donna Continued on page 96

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A few of Bakersfield’s karaoke hot spots For more places to be a star, look inside The Bakersfield Californian’s Thursday’s Eye Street pages. Hot spot locations

Karaoke hours


A taste of the tunes

Bellvedere Cocktail Lounge (3090 Brundage Lane)

9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Thursdays and Sundays


“Don’t Stop Believin,’” “We Are the Champions,” “Pork and Beans”

Hourglass Restaurant & Bar (1120 Calloway Drive)

9 p.m. to midnight Thursdays


"Sweet Caroline," "Wonderwall," "99 Problems"

The Old River Monte Carlo (9750 Taft Highway)

8:30 p.m. Thursdays

All ages

“Brown Eyed Girl,” “Friends In Low Places,” “Hey Jude”

The Prime Cut (9500 Brimhall Road)

9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Fridays


“Folsom Prison Blues,” “Bennie and the Jets," “Shoop"

Rockstarz Party Bar (7737 Meany Ave.)

9 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Wednesdays


"Under the Bridge," "Sin Wagon," "Like A Prayer"

Be a big star

Continued from page 94 singing to Carole King or Patsy Cline. “They come out here to just blow off steam and have a good time. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them not having a good time,” said Ballard, 24, about the lively crew who like singing their signature songs week after week. “It’s really laid back and a lot of locals go out there. It’s like Cheers — everyone knows your name out there,” said Donna’s son, Darin Buoni, 28.

It doesn’t matter your age or singing ability because everyone is accepted and applauded at karaoke. While you’re home for the holidays visiting with family or planning a night on the town with buddies, stop by one of these karaoke bars for a fun-filled night. If you can’t muster the courage to perform solo, take your date by the hand or grab a friend and lead them to the stage for a duet. When your adrenaline kicks in and you realize karaoke is a blast, you’ll be back for more, too.

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Adam Alvidrez Oil company exec engaging community through opportunities

M By Lisa Kimble

Much is made of the brain drain that communities like Bakersfield face, when their brightest leave for higher education and never return. Chevron executive Adam Alvidrez, is the polar opposite, a homegrown product educated here and bound to Bakersfield and its betterment. For 35-year-old Alvidrez, a native of Wasco who grew up in a tough neighborhood in Shafter where disadvantages seemed to overshadow any glimmer of hope, the road to success has always been about seizing the opportunities that have come his way. As policy, government and public affairs representative for oil giant Chevron, Alvidrez is charged with engaging the community in innovative ways, capping the education drain and inspiring the next generation of engineers. “We really care about California’s future and we are committed to that,” Alvidrez said. “I am in the relationship-building side and we want to make a lifelong impact.” The first in his family to attend college, avoiding becoming a statistic wasn’t easy, he said. “I surrounded myself with family and friends who cared about the people around them,” he added. And he shot a lot of hoops. “My brother and I would play for hours. In high school, Michael Jordan was my idol, not just for what he did on the basketball court, but for his community too.”




Photo by Brian N. Willhite


But college wasn’t part of the daily dialogue in his tight-knit family. “It was rough for me because that environment [college] wasn’t familiar to me.” He said his best friend recognized the potential for leadership and pushed Alvidrez to attend Cal State Bakersfield where he received an undergraduate degree in psychology with a minor in marketing, and a master’s degree in public administration. After college, he returned to his roots, sharing his story with students at his alma mater, Shafter High. “I want young people to know that college is achievable,” he said. “I try to tell kids that surrounding yourself with mentors is important and that things in our life are just barriers to work around.” Aldvidrez’s foundation of policy and government affairs experience was built at agencies like Kern County Mental Health and First 5 Kern. He joined Chevron a little more than three years ago. He said he’s proud of the partnership the company has formed with the community, investing more than a million dollars in education funds for classrooms, mini-grants, Cal State and community colleges. “We believe the very best way to look out for Kern County is through education.” Chevron employees have logged some 5,000 volunteer hours and donated nearly a half-million dollars of their own money, he said. Through Cal State’s REVS-UP program for science, technology, engineering and math studies, and the STEM activities center, Alvidrez said the company is hoping to inspire future generations of engineers

through science and technology. Recognizing the need for more engineers, Chevron is also reaching into high school and middle school classrooms. Its Gateway to Technology program and Pathway to Engineering curriculum are part of their Project Lead The Way, a nonprofit educational project providing students with the fundamentals of science and engineering, lighting a fire of interest in the profession. Project Lead The Way began in 2009. This year 300 local students have been engaged in the projectbased curriculum. “It is a great feeling to know we are making an impact by being leaders in our community,” said Alvidrez, a father of four. He has used his leadership skills with the Kern Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and as past president of the Kiwanis Club of Bakersfield. “It doesn’t matter what club you are involved in, it is about ADAM ALVIDREZ leadership and making a difference in your community.” For Alvidrez, achieving success wasn’t necessarily a slam dunk, but he credits the sport of basketball which he played throughout high school for teaching him the fundamentals of problem-solving, failure and teamwork, and the importance of providing a chance for others. “Increasing the opportunities for others is really what it is all about.”

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Surviving the holiday food overload Sampling not splurging is key

W By Bill Trivitt

Well, the season is upon us, and if your family is anything like mine, the holidays revolve around the dinner table. Ever since I was a small child, I have always looked forward to the big turkey dinners and fantastic desserts that my aunts and grandmas could cook. They could whip up anything and everything and not worry a bit about the fat content, sugar, or salt that was in the food. They didn’t have to plan around anyone’s diet or health issues. They just fixed delicious food and everyone ate it. These days we are uber-health conscious and with the obesity problem in this country we should be. My wife and I are here to offer you a few tips on avoiding the overindulgences of the holiday and at the same time enjoy yourself.





Don’t arrive on an empty stomach Skipping a meal before a holiday party is the wrong tactic. Have a healthy snack before leaving, like fresh fruit or low-fat cheese. Feeling hungry when you arrive will send you charging to the buffet table.

2. Offer to bring a healthy dish

We all know how hectic preparing a holiday meal can be. Offering to bring a healthy dish can also help to make your choices easier and may also take some pressure off your host. Your favorite dish can be transformed by utilizing organic ingredients and reducing the fat and sodium content.


Survey the buffet before you fill your plate Before attacking the buffet line you should always do a little reconnaissance. If you don’t have a plan of attack you will have a plate overfilled, which will turn into you being overfilled.


Sample not splurge: stick to small portions Try to avoid large portions when filling your plate by using the “sample not splurge” rule. There are always too many choices to fit on my plate during holiday meals, especially my wife’s sweet potato casserole. By keeping your portions small you are able to sample more things.


Avoid excess alcohol Be careful with holiday libations. Going to excess can result in creating excess you. With the addition of alcohol one’s judgment can be hampered resulting in a heaping plate of goodies or heaping headache in the morning.


Eat slowly The year goes by way too quickly and so do the holidays. Slow down and enjoy your meal, savor Mom’s turkey and Grandma’s pumpkin pie. Put your fork down between bites. You don’t have to have a death grip on it.


Leave the table when you are done Remember to enjoy your meal, but don’t hang around the table after you are done. This only tempts you to continue eating. Move to the family room and continue your conversations.


Get some exercise Maintaining your exercise program can be very difficult during the holiday season. Do your best to keep it up, but there are always alternatives to the gym. Go for a walk after dinner, play catch with the kids in the back yard. Utilize one of the new Xbox Connect or Wii interactive games. It seems every time my wife and sistersin-law are together they battle it out on one of those dancing games on the Xbox Connect. To really kick up the health levels for your holiday meal try going organic. There are several farmers markets around town that have locally grown organic produce. You can find seasonal fruits and vegetables that have that fresh from the farm flavor. Another great source for organic foods is Lassen’s Natural Foods. They have an amazing selection of organic and gluten-free products. If you need a quick side dish to an entire meal, try Lassen’s Deli. It has become one of my recent favorites. The quality and health benefits of chemical and hormone free produce and meats are just the ticket for a healthier you. So with the holiday season upon us, keep a healthy mind and body. Remember to have a game plan for holiday eating. Keep the “sample not splurge” rule in mind to help keep portion sizes under control. Don’t forget to get some exercise, even if it is just playing with the kids outside or trying the latest Wii game. Have a great Thanksgiving, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. — Bill Trivitt is the one of the original Bakersfield Life food dudes and will be writing pieces on food, lifestyle and more in Bakersfield Life. His wife, Michelle Trivitt, contributed to this report.


Kern County Farm Bureau Vice President Greg Wegis and Jenny Holterman from Young Ranchers and Farmers co-chaired the inaugural Bounty of Kern County event.

Greg Wegis Partner with Wegis and Young and vice president of the Kern County Farm Bureau Compiled by Vicki Adame How long have you been part of the Farm Bureau? 5 years. I'm vice president of the Kern County Farm Bureau and a board member, which is a volunteer position. I got involved because I felt an obligation to contribute to an organization that has the potential to be very effective in being a strong voice for Kern County Agriculture and to make a difference. The Kern County Farm Bureau is important because it is the only organization in place to fight for Kern County-specific agricultural issues. Many times, there are specific issues that affect Kern County agriculture differently than other counties, and we are the voice to speak out on behalf of our members. How has Kern County fared so far this year in agriculture? Almost all commodities in agriculture are doing well in 2011. Alfalfa prices are at $240 to $300/ton; this is double 102



Photo by Henry A Barrios


from a year ago. Cotton prices are $1.00-$1.60/lb. depending on the variety and time of sale. These are excellent prices as far as cotton goes. Corn and Wheat prices are very high. Also enjoying high yields and good pricing are grapes, almonds and pistachios. Dairy and milk production have extremely high input costs but are seeing $17-20/100 weight prices that are keeping them profitable. Also doing well this year is beef, pork and lamb production. And exports are up on almost all commodities. What are the biggest issues facing the local ag industry? There are three: Water conveyance and storage, over regulation and E-verify. These issues have huge financial impacts on Kern County and statewide agriculture. Water will always be our No. 1 issue until we get a more stable and reliable water supply for the county. And the only way to do that is through additional conveyance, water storage flexibility and more infrastructure. We all know we need common sense regulation, but ‘over regulation’ is not common sense. Our businesses become overburdened with paperwork from frivolous lawsuits and politicians writing policies and having no idea how those policies manifest into becoming anti-job policies. What I mean is that agriculture cannot thrive in an overly regulated environment, which limits employment opportunities. E-verify is a law that will make all agriculture verify the legal status of employees without offering a solution to the real problem and which

is being voted on at the state level. The solution to our illegal immigration problem in California is not E-verify. It is a more comprehensive plan that addresses the legality of employment and, at the same time, offers a legal solution for employment that makes sense with the seasonal or year-round demands of farm labor. There must be a comprehensive plan that addresses the issue of illegal immigration along with a solution that provides a legal, reliable workforce that agribusiness can depend on. E-verify is not the answer and will cripple the ag industry. Three interesting facts about the local ag industry: 1. Kern County Agricultural grossed $4,757,260,700 in 2010. This was a 31 percent increase from 2009 and a difference of $1,141,687,700. This was mainly due to increased acreage in vegetables and tree fruit crops. 2. Kern County’s top five crops in gross income are, in order: Grapes, Almonds, Pistachios, Milk, and Citrus. Together they make up $2.8 Billion or 60 percent of the total gross value of the $4.7 billion. 3. Kern County Water Agency, started in 1961 (50 year anniversary this year), has played a major role in shaping water policy and created one of the world’s most advanced water management and ground water management systems. How did you get into the field of agriculture? I was born into it. I’m a fifth-generation family farmer. My great-great-grandfather, Anton Wegis, started farming in California after emigrating here from Germany. He came with his two brothers, Frank and Gebhardt, in 1892. He bought 120 acres in Rosedale near Wegis Road. Anton's son, my great-grandfather Tony Wegis bought 150

acres in Buttonwillow in 1926 and that is where our Buttonwillow heritage began. Our family now farms and manages over 20,000 acres of farm ground and 10,000 of that acreage is in Kern County. We farm and manage almonds, pistachios, corn, wheat, cotton, alfalfa, tomatoes, bell peppers and cherries. We have also started two subsidiary companies Water Associates and REDtrac. Water Associates is an OEM Cummins Diesel engine sales and service business primarily. REDtrac is a software monitoring/tracking company that also has custom reporting features such as immersions reporting. Tell us about Bounty of Kern County: The inaugural Bounty of Kern County, which took place on Oct. 22, was put together by the Kern County Farm Bureau and Young Farmers and Ranchers as a fund raiser and membership Drive. We thought the best way to do that would be to get the ag community involved in providing locally grown foods for our guests to enjoy. So we had many local producers donate the fruits of their labor to Bord-APetite, a local caterer, to prepare for us. We also had three wineries donate their wine and poured at our event. For entertainment we had many derby races that our guests could bet on with fake funny money that was given to them. The event was chaired by Jenny Holterman from Young Farmers and Ranchers and myself and over 300 people showed up. There was a lot of positive feed back on the event from our guests. Many said they had a lot of fun and that was our intention. We wanted to raise awareness of all that Kern County ag provides for our community such as food, tax dollars, supporting business opportunities, and jobs.



Xxxxxx xx x xxx x xx xxx

Hearst Castle’s assembly room, with its 400-year-old French mantel fireplace.

Hearst Castle after dark Nighttime tours give lavish estate added allure, intrigue

L By Lois Henry

Photos courtesy of Hearst Castle/California State Parks

La Cuesta Encantada (the enchanted hill) may be packed with hundreds of rooms, priceless artifacts and invaluable art, but the thing I’ve always loved best about Hearst Castle is that pool! I’m talking about the Neptune pool at the front of the “Casa Grande” with the Roman colonnades along the sides and the view of San Simeon and the Pacific Ocean that stretches for miles. THAT is the symbol of luxury that sticks in my mind and sends me to the corner store for my Lotto tickets every week. Now that I’ve seen the Neptune pool at night, I’m even more enraptured! Course, it’s no longer heated at night as it was back in the day so that might put a damper on my lounging in the water, champagne in hand gazing at the fog shrouded coast fantasy…sigh. Hearst Castle State Park began their evening tours in October and




they’ll run through December on most Friday and Saturday nights. Then you’ll have to wait until springtime for them to resume, so don’t miss out. We went in the later evening, but they also have tours timed to catch the spectacular sunsets. And starting in December, the park staff decorates the mansion to the hilt so keep that in mind if you’re planning a little getaway during Christmas break. No matter how many times you’ve visited Hearst Castle, it’s always awe-inspiring. The amount of money it took to build and maintain this place is just breathtaking. And to think this was just one of his estates…wow. Being in the newspaper business, you’d think I’d know Hearst’s story backward and forward. But his world is pretty far removed from that of the average schmo reporter, such as yours truly. I wanted to read up on him a little since I’d just spent a couple hours roaming around his house, checking out his kitchen and even his closets. Alas, that is one minor gripe I have about the evening tours — the gift shop was closed by the time we got back to the visitor center! If you take the later tour, my advice is to build at least an hour into your schedule so you’ll have time to browse around the gift shop. Even with that small wrinkle, the tour is fantastic. Seeing that incredible mansion lit up at night is really magical. And even though other tours are rambling all around, somehow it feels more intimate at night, not as “theme parkish” as during busy summer days.

The vestibule of the Assembly room.

The Neptune Pool at night.

I was able to thumb through a book about Hearst later and thought I’d pass on a few gems. First, he wasn’t a self-made man. His dad, George Hearst, really got the family fortune going through his many mining ventures. He bought most of the Hearst properties including the San Francisco Examiner, which he

gave to William Hearst. Oh, and an interesting Kern County connection with George Hearst, two of his mining partners were James Ben Ali Haggin and Lloyd Tevis. Most Bakersfieldians recognize them as the namesakes for Haggin Oaks and Tevis Ranch. They were also partners in the Kern County Land Company, which owned

major Kern River rights, which eventually ended up in the hands of the City of Bakersfield for our drinking water. Why, that practically makes us Hearst cousins, right? — Check out the many tours and other amenities here:

Lamplight Tours

The village is beautifully decorated throughout with the soft glow of lanterns.

Saturday, December 3rd, 3 to 8 p.m.

Cookies at the Clocktower A family day with cookies, hot drinks, crafts, games and activities.

Sunday, December 11th, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.


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Winter escape OHV enthusiasts need not wait for summer to hit the sand dunes

Groups gather on Oldsmobile Hill to race one another at one of the largest dunes in the Imperial Sand Dunes park.

Photo Alex Horvath



By Mateo M. Melero Avoid getting locked inside this winter. With several state and federal off-highway recreational areas within easy access, there’s no reason why you should. So, go ahead and switch on that neglected 4x4 option, muddy-up that stored ATV and tear up some sand with that prized buggy. With several parks within hours of Bakersfield that offer a variety of terrain, moderate day weather, camping and epic scenery, the outdoors can still be explored and appreciated without having to wait for the blistering summer.

Nestled in the southeast corner of California, two hours east of San Diego, the Imperial Sand Dunes are the largest dune structure in California, and offer various sequences of dunes for off-highway vehicle use. Located off Highway 78, Glamis offers hills suited for all rider levels and campsites with and without bathrooms. In the farthest northern point, Mammoth Wash offers an alternative to the more frequented Glamis region. And to the south, off Interstate 8, rests the more novice and family-friendly Buttercup Valley. The Imperial Sand Dunes also offer a variety of areas to explore, with or without motorized vehicles. In between the Glamis and Mammoth wash areas lies the North Algodones Dunes Wilderness, providing visitors a chance to explore the undisturbed desert environment by foot or by horse. To the south near Buttercup Valley lies the ghost town of Tumco-Hedges which can be explored by vehicle. — More information: recreation/ohvs/isdra.html 106



Hungry Valley is located just an hour south of Bakersfield, near Gorman.

Photo by Jenn Ireland

Make it a long weekend and head to Imperial Sand Dunes

Photo by Casey Christie

Many campsites are available at Hungry Valley State Vehicular Recreation Area

An hour’s drive south on Interstate 5 takes you to the Hungry Valley State Vehicular Recreation Area. Located 10 miles north of Pyramid Lake and just outside of Gorman, the park is open to OHV’s from Oct. 1 to April 30, and features its own obstacle course for four wheel drives. Trails come in all shapes and sizes, and vary in difficulty, scenic value, and elevation. Practice tracks for those who want to feel it out before putting the pedal to the metal are also available. Visits to the park are recommended during the transition seasons due to adverse weather in the summer and winter. During the spring visitors can check out the wildflowers that bloom in the park, and explore some of the trails and hikes off limits to motorized vehicles. Camp sites are available on the west side of the park. — More information:

A variety of experiences await at Red Rock Canyon, Jawbone Canyon and Dove Springs Situated on the back of the El Paso and Sierra Nevada Mountains on Highway 14 in the Mojave Desert, Jawbone Canyon offers adequate acreage and trails for the off-road enthusiast. With an open OHV area for general use, as well as a vast network of trails that can lead you up sage covered hills, abandoned mines, or along the Los Angeles Aqueduct, Jawbone offers a unique ride for those looking for diversity in their trails. The open area of Dove Springs just north of Highway 14 traveling down Aqueduct Road, offers a more dune like experience for those who crave some sand. Visitors who get their fill at Jawbone can hop over to the neighboring Red Rock Canyon. Located two miles northeast on

Photo by Tim Kupsick

A day trip to Hungry Valley

Weekend adventurers prepare to return to the dusty hills of Jawbone Canyon for some offroading fun.

Highway 14, Red Rock Canyon also offers opportunities for the off-road enthusiast. Licensed OHV use is permitted in the state park but only on paved and designated trails. During sunset and sunrise, Red Rock can offer a spectacular show as the cliffs glow with pinks, blues and oranges. Camping is allowed anywhere in the Jawbone Canyon and only in predestinated spots in Red Rock. Continued on page 108


Photo by Casey Christie

Traffic can get congested at Oceano Dunes.

Continued from page 107

— More information: jawbone_open_area.html;; html

For the serious OHV aficionado head to Dumont For those looking for some serious sand, and who don’t mind a long highway burn from Bakersfield to Barstow, then Dumont will offer you some competitive dunes. Located on the southern perimeter of Death Valley, and about 31 miles north of Barstow, Dumont offers large, steep dunes for the advanced rider, and smaller, more novice friendly dunes, for the beginner. Competition Hill at Dumont boasts a 1,200 foot elevation, and is the place to meet and congregate with other dunners. During holidays and weekends visitors might be able to catch Vendor’s Row, which offers a variety of dune memorabilia. Scenery for Dumont can include snow in the winter along the Kingston Range Wilderness, and wild flowers in the spring. Hiking and exploring can be had in the wilderness areas away from the dunes. — More information: Who says the beach is just for the summer? Roughly three hours due west of Bakersfield are the Oceano Sand Dunes. Located directly on the Pacific Ocean, these dunes offer prime real estate for on-beach camping and access to the dunes. This site is open year-around to OHVs but susceptible to closed areas due to seasonal wildlife and environmental concerns. Alternative activities while visiting the dunes include fishing, clamming, hiking and surfing. Coastal town shopping and gift store raiding can be had in downtown Pismo Beach, about 10 minutes north of Oceano. — More information: 108



Quads and motorcycles are popular on the dunes at Oceano.

Photo by Casey Christie

Dunes and the ocean all in one at Oceano

Photo by Casey Christie

Campers flock to the Oceano Dunes near Pismo Beach on most weekends, but the crowds swell around holidays.



Ta v e r n & G r i l l


IN TOWN ” – Pete Tittl





Essentiels Spa Et Beauté and Medical Aesthetics Address: The Marketplace, 9000 Ming Ave., Suite K7 Phone number: 654-0321 Website: Email: How long has Essentiels and Medical Aesthetics been around and what has business been like over the years? Essentiels Spa et Beauté has been operating for nearly 11 years as a full-service salon, day spa and beauty boutique for women and men. Under the direction of Dr. Carlos Alvarez, who has been successfully practicing in the community for over 25 years, Medical Aesthetics joined Essentiels at the Marketplace earlier this year. Essentiels has evolved over the years to become an exclusive service provider and retailer of some of the highest-quality product lines typically reserved for the best salons, department stores and skincare institutes in the country, including Kerastase, Shu Uemura, L’Oreal Professional, and SkinCeuticals. What services do the two businesses offer? With the city’s largest, most accredited team of hair stylists, estheticians, massages therapists and makeup and nail artists, all working together to promote the well being of others, Essentiels offers a full menu of hair, nail, skin, cosmetic, massage, body treatments, and specialty services. Medical Aesthetics compliments Essentiels service offering with Botox, fillers, medical weight loss, bioidentical hormone therapy, sclerotherapy, a host of micropeel services and other medical grade cosmetic procedures and treatments. What is the atmosphere like at your salon? At Essentiels, we aim to provide an authentic European Spa experience in an urban chic setting. The salon and retail boutique areas boast 110



Standing, left to right: Helen Haymond, Deana Barrera, Dara Burton and Julie Knowles. Front: Vanessa Enriquez.

high energy and activity where the latest hair and cosmetic styles and color trends are tested and created. The spa area,on teh other hand, is a setting where luxury, tranquility and comfort awaken the spirit while allowing you to relax, unwind and rejuvenate your mind and body. To this dual atmosphere, Medical Aesthetics adds another layer of skin and general healthcare expertise, as well as convenient, affordable access to advanced cosmetic enhancements, all backed by medical authority. What special events and promotions does Essentiels and Medical Aesthetics offer? Both Essentiels and Medical Aesthetics are sensitive to the current economic climate and offer regular promotions on the services people want, without compromising quality or delivery. Promotions and special events are routinely posted and updated on Essentiels website We encourage people to visit the site often. Currently, Essentiels is selling the Holiday Bliss Spa Package for $149 ($110 off regular price) that includes both a 60-minute facial and massage, SkinCeuticals enzyme peel, eye brow wax and shaping, Opal eye and lip treatment and chocolates and champagne. Medicals Aesthetics is also offering Botox, Juvederm, SkinCeuticals MicroPeels, Weight Loss and Energy Shots at reduced rates through the holidays with flexible payment options available. Those interested in services and have questions are always encouraged to take advantage of Essentiels and Medical Aesthetics complimentary consultations. They may be scheduled any day of the week. What are the three most popular procedures? For Essentiels, its hair coloring services, variety of facials, and expert massage treatments are client favorites. Medical Aesthetics is also quickly becoming known for its result-driven MicroPeels, convenient Botox services and its multi-vitamin formulated Energy Shots.

Bakersfield Elementary School Swim Meet Oct. 22 Held at Bakersfield College Photos by Ashley Reyes View these photos and more online at Jennifer Painter and Ruscel Reader

Mia Barron and Ethin Guzman

O.L.P.H. swim team with coach Ali Champness

Thorner swim team, with coaches Ryan Farrer and Mat Prasser

Downtown swim team with Principal Jennifer Painter

Chavez swim team with coach Kailyn Feola

(855) 393-2840

Kern Adult Literacy Council Read to Succeed Brunch

Tammy Russell, Donna Hylton, Lisa Krch and Clayton Montgomery

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Oct. 20 Held at Aera Energy Photos by Casey Christie View these photos and more online at

Matthew Jeffries, Monica Jeffries and Ann and Bruce Batchelder

Shelby Hopkins, Janet Hopkins and Kristen Doud

Elaine Estrada, Allan Avila and Lisa Price

Altares de Familia Nov. 2 Held at Bakersfield Museum of Art and Mill Creek Park Photos by Carla Rivas View these photos and more online at

David and Suzanne Leon, Mai Giffard

Sandra Romero, Margie Pimentel and Jane Ferdinand

Barbara Loudin and Sherrie Hess

Alison, Emily and Jo Norris

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Bakersfield Life

December 2011

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Junior Diabetes Research Foundation walk Nov. 5 Held at Yokuts Park Photos by Carla Rivas View these photos and more online at

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Painting by Charlotte White


Bakersfield Life

December 2011

Kern River Parkway Foundation Patio Concert Oct. 30 Held at the home of Phil and Janada Shepard Photos by Carla Rivas View these photos and more online at Michael and Marty Weinberg

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Bakersfield Life

December 2011

I’m with the Band Fundraiser Nov. 12 Held at Metro Galleries Photos by Robert Bejil View these photos and more online at

Rose Carbajal and Ric Ash

Isis Barron and Camille Fulton

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Bakersfield Life

December 2011

home sweet home Nothing is as sweet as home. N e. ŒŽ‘Ž’‰ “ˆ”  ‡‘ “”‹‹Ž’ ˆ•• ‡‘ ‘ˆŽ“ ŒŽ‘ ‘ˆŽ ˆ’–




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Deck the halls Robert Moseley of House of Moseley and Co. shares 10 tips for holiday decorating


Robert Moseley’s philosophy regarding design is that a home should represent those who live within it. His Christmas decorating tips below will help you in creating a space that not only represents your personality, but also elicits hospitality and enjoyment of the holiday. He and his staff wish you joyful celebration.



Photo by Henry A. Barrios

Renee Pasternik, foreground, Matthew Flanagan, left, and Robert Moseley owner of House of Moseley interior design prepare for Christmas at the store. December2011

Fragrance 1. Utilize live tree boughs as garland to add the scent of Christmas to your home. 2. Burn scented candles or place vessels of potpourri throughout your home. Tablescape 3. To add height and sparkle, use stemmed glassware placed upside down as candle bases. 4. Utilize natural elements such as magnolia branches to add interest and texture. We recommend painting the backside of the leaves with metallic paint for added sparkle. Tree 5. Utilize lots of lights, setting them deep in the branches. 6. Use an unexpected item as the topper combined with branches and/or glittered limbs to create a substantial focal piece. 7. Mix size and shape of ornaments. Create groups of like items with fishing line or oral wire and place the groupings on the topside of tree limbs. Entry: 8. Welcome visitors and show your spirit by dressing the front door with pine boughs and lots of tree lights. Food 9. Keep quick and easy-to-serve foods on hand for unexpected guests (such as pita chips and hummus from Trader Joes). Place the delicious treats on fun and festive serving pieces. Fun 10. Host a party to enjoy the company of family and friends!

Comfort. Quality. Value.

Our gift to you this season. Free Delivery plus 12% off all in-stock Flexsteel brand furniture* or NO Interest for 24 months on your Flexsteel brand furniture purchase of $3500 or more. Interest will be charged to your account from the purchase date if the purchase balance is not paid within 24 months or if you make a late payment*

White Lane and Wible Road rXXXVSOFSTDPN Mon–Fri, 10am–8pm, Sat & Sun, 10am–6pm Pero le atendemos en espaĂąol.

Sofas Etc. *Offer good on qualified Flexsteel purchase of $3500 or more, made 11/26/11-12/31/11. Not applicable on prior purchases or clearance items. Finance offer on approval of credit by Wells Fargo Financing. See store for complete details.


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FEATURED SPECIAL LEASE: Closed end lease for 2012 Civic LX Automatic (FB2F5CEW) available from 11/1/2011 through 12/15/2011, to well-qualified lessees approved by Honda Financial Services. Not all lessees will qualify. Higher lease rates apply for lessees with lower credit ratings. MSRP $19425 (includes destination, excludes tax, license, title fees, registration, documentation fees, options, insurance and the like). Actual net capitalized cost $14573.75. Net capitalized cost includes $640 acquisition fee. Dealer contribution may vary and could affect actual lease payment. Total monthly payments $3475.08. Option to purchase at lease end $12626.25. Must take new retail delivery on vehicle from dealer stock by 12/15/2011. Lessee responsible for maintenance, excessive wear/tear and 15¢/mile over 12,000 miles/ year for vehicles with MSRP less than $30,000, and 20¢/mile over 12,000 miles/year for vehicles with MSRP of $30,000 or more. See your Honda dealer for complete details.

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FEATURED SPECIAL LEASE: Closed end lease for 2011 CR-V LX Automatic (YF3H5CJNW) available from 11/1/2011 through 12/15/2011, to well-qualified lessees approved by Honda Financial Services. Not all lessees will qualify. Higher lease rates apply for lessees with lower credit ratings. MSRP $22705 (includes destination, excludes tax, license, title fees, registration, documentation fees, options, insurance and the like). Actual net capitalized cost $18155.27. Net capitalized cost includes $640 acquisition fee. Dealer contribution may vary and could affect actual lease payment. Total monthly payments $5791.68. Option to purchase at lease end $13850.05. Must take new retail delivery on vehicle from dealer stock by 12/15/2011. Lessee responsible for maintenance, excessive wear/tear and 15¢/mile over 12,000 miles/ year for vehicles with MSRP less than $30,000, and 20¢/mile over 12,000 miles/year for vehicles with MSRP of $30,000 or more. See your Honda dealer for complete details.


FEATURED SPECIAL LEASE: Closed end lease for 2012 Accord LX (CP2F3CEW) available from 11/1/2011 through 12/15/2011, to well-qualified lessees approved by Honda Financial Services. Not all lessees will qualify. Higher lease rates apply for lessees with lower credit ratings. MSRP $22950 (includes destination, excludes tax, license, title fees, registration, documentation fees, options, insurance and the like). Actual net capitalized cost $19648.58. Net capitalized cost includes $640 acquisition fee. Dealer contribution may vary and could affect actual lease payment. Total monthly payments $6949.80. Option to purchase at lease end $13770.00. Must take new retail delivery on vehicle from dealer stock by 12/15/2011. Lessee responsible for maintenance, excessive wear/tear and 15¢/mile over 12,000 miles/ year for vehicles with MSRP less than $30,000, and 20¢/mile over 12,000 miles/year for vehicles with MSRP of $30,000 or more. See your Honda dealer for complete details.

  4500 Wible Road


834-6632 Se Habla EspaĂąol


Years of Serving Kern County

Offers valid from 1/11/2011 through 12/15/2011.

Bakersfield Life Magazine December 2011  
Bakersfield Life Magazine December 2011  

Bakersfield Life Magazine December 2011