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December 2012


Happy Holidays • 2012 Gift Guide • Guys who are Santas • 12 days of Christmas in Bakersfield

• The man behind CALM Holiday Lights • Neighborhood Spotlight on Haggin Oaks

You’re Invited!

Sunday, December 9, 2012 Community Dedication Event

It’s a wrap! Please join us as we “unwrap” Kern County’s only comprehensive, hospital-based cancer center: The AIS Cancer Center. COMMUNITY DEDICATION EVENT Date: OPEN HOUSE Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012 Time: Drop by any time, 3 to 7 p.m. Location: 2620 Chester Ave., Bakersfield, CA Health fair, facility tours, family activities A special, outdoor light show extravaganza at 5:30 p.m. with encores at 6, 6:30 & 7 p.m.! Light refreshments will be served. ALL EVENTS ARE FREE & OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. FREE PARKING available in two public parking garages on 28th Street, between H Street & Chester Avenue Scan to see video progress of The AIS Cancer Center!

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Bakersfield Life Magazine

December 2012


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Bakersfield Life Magazine

December 2012

Count down the holi-days with our “12 Days of Christmas” feature. Or read about the significance of holiday ornaments for readers. And get some gift ideas with the 2012 Holiday Gift Guide. Almond orchard near McFarland. Kern County’s 2011 almond harvest was valued at more than $725 million. PHOTO BY CASEY CHRISTIE

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13 Up Front 30 It Manners a Lot 32 Kelly Damian 34 Dining Divas 38 Food and Wine 44 Entertainment 46 Foodie 50 On the Road 54 Hometown Hero 56 All-Star Athlete 58 Talk of the Town 62 For a Cause 92 Pastimes 100 Why I Live Here 102 History 104 Our Town 106 Community 112 Neighborhood Spotlight 116 It’s a Guy Thing 120 Ladies Who‌ 124 Personality 128 Real People


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Bakersfield Life Magazine

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For the record: “Team Work� in the Big Picture section of the November issue was photographed by Mark Nessia. His name was inadvertently omitted.

December 2012


December 2012

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What do you enjoy/not enjoy about the holidays? “I enjoy trying to be creative in the gifts I give to loved ones. I also really like to decorate my home with my wife and teenagers.” — Jeff Nickell, contributing writer

“I’ve worked in retail for most of my college career. I think it’s safe to say that Black Friday is my least favorite day of the year.” — Emily Claffy, intern

“We have a huge family and everyone comes together for Christmas. It’s the best kind of mayhem. I dislike getting fat from all the delicious food.” — Katie Avery, contributing writer “How can you not love driving around neighborhoods and looking at Christmas lights? It never gets old.”

Wonderful Life” and “A Christmas Story,” and taking my sons to see the first “Hobbit” movie on Dec. 13. — Kevin McCloskey, contributing writer

“I don’t like how abruptly they end. I need a cool-down period where the TV still shows holiday commercials here and there, and Christmas trees are still visible in front windows.

— Mark Nessia, contributing photographer

— Allie Castro, contributing writer

“I looove the holiday parties, family time and peppermint mochas I get to consume, just not the winter weight gain/lack of gym motivation that the holidays bring!” — Jessica Frey, con-

“What I enjoy the most about the holidays is being able to get together with my family to make tamales! It’s a great way to bond, catch up on the latest gossip and most importantly: eat!

tributing photographer

— Crystal M. Alvarez, contributing photographer

“It’s a great time of year to spend some quality time with family and friends. I least enjoy the crowds at the stores.” — Jorge Barrientos, assistant managing editor

“I enjoy eating all of the homemade goodies that my family makes. I don’t enjoy that in January; it shows that I have eaten all of those goodies.” — Jeneal Wood, intern

“My husband’s awesome holiday meals, family gatherings, the holiday movies like “The Polar Express” on heavy rotation, and football. Plus, Santa always pays us a visit each year.” — Olivia Garcia, editor

“I'll enjoy spending more time with family, first and foremost, but I also look forward to catching “It’s a 10

Bakersfield Life Magazine

“The crowds, the grumpy people and all of the commitments that come along with the holiday season — it’s exhausting. It seems as if the true meaning of Christmas has been totally lost.” — Shauna Rockwell, advertising traffic manager

“What’s not to love? The beautiful holiday cards; the tree (no two years are alike even though the ornaments remain the same); the hustle and bustle (I never cease to be amazed at how much we are able to do in such a short period of time); and traditions. Seventeen years ago my husband and I inherited my side of the family’s Christmas Eve celebration. It is the touchstone of the season for our relatives and extended family. — Lisa Kimble, contributing writer

December 2012

Bakersfield’s Premier City Magazine December 2012 / Vol. 7 / Issue 3 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. To advertise, contact Lupe Carabajal or 395-7563. Publisher Ginger Moorhouse President/CEO Richard Beene Senior Vice President Revenue and Marketing John Wells Vice President, Administration and Operations Nancy Chaffin Director of Display Advertising Roger Fessler Interactive Advertising Director Sally Ellis Interactive Sales Manager Lisa Whitten Advertising Sales Manager Lupe Carabajal Advertising Traffic Manager Shauna Rockwell Marketing Manager Mira Patel Distribution and Marketing Representative Patrick Wells Editor Olivia Garcia Assistant Managing Editor Jorge Barrientos Specialty Publications Coordinator Hillary Haenes Editorial Assistant Marisol Sorto Art Director Glenn Hammett Photography Felix Adamo, Crystal Alvarez, Dior Azcuy, Sally Baker, Henry A. Barrios, Jaclyn Borowski, Casey Christie, Gregory D. Cook, Ashley dePencier, Frank Domingo, Brian Drake, Michael Fagans, Jessica Frey, Lois Henry, Alex Horvath, Reed KaestnerMichael Lopez, Shelby Mack, April Massirio, Tony Moreno, Greg Nichols, Mark Nessia, Carla Rivas, Lisa Sottile, Jan St Pierre, Brian N. Willhite Contributing writers Vicki Adame, Katie Avery, Sally Baker, Allie Castro, Gregory D. Cook, Kelly Damian, Breanna Fields, Lois Henry, Lisa Kimble, Katie Kirschenmann, James Licea, Stephen Lynch, David Luter, David A. Milazzo, Alyssa Morones, Kevin McCloskey, Jeff Nickell, Gabriel Ramirez, Michael Russo, Chris Thornburgh, Brian N. Willhite Interns Emily Claffy, Matilde Ruiz, Tyler Stevens, Jeneal Wood On the cover “Winter Time” by Christina Sweet, executive director of The Foundry Art Gallery, 1608 19th St. The painting will be on display and for sale during First Friday, Dec. 7, in downtown Bakersfield. More information: or reach Sweet at

Editor’s Note


Holidays bring us closer

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Ornaments A Christmas family tradition in our household involves buying clear ornaments that each of us can craft into our own masterpiece filled with holiday meaning and art. We finish it by adding our names and the year. It’s a beautiful way to decorate your tree.


Bakersfield Life Magazine

December 2012



s I looked over the list of stories and photographs planned for the December issue, I couldn’t help but feel a little warm and fuzzy in my heart. This month is an opportune time for many of us to get together with friends and relatives, and celebrate the true meaning of the holiday. Inside this issue we highlight plenty of wonderful ways in which the holiday is being celebrated locally. Writer Allie Castro even counts down 12 ways to celebrate December in Bakersfield. Be sure to read the grand finale review by our Dining Divas, Molly Clark, Katie Price, Lisa Verdugo, Amanda Meszaros and Tammara Newby, who visited the Petroleum Club. Thank you, ladies for your commitment. Also, I want to personally thank Food Dudes Don Martin, Gary Frazier, Ray Pruitt and Matt Munoz for contributing their time in writing restaurant reviews for 2012. I am sure you are now wondering, “Who will be the next Divas and Dudes?” Well, stay tuned and look out for them in the January

2013 issue. In the meantime, Merry Christmas friends and readers.

Olivia Garcia Editor 395-7487 •

Up Front

WORD ON THE STREET Compiled by Brian N. Willhite

What is your Bakersfield holiday tradition? Michelle Millar “Having the whole family come over for Christmas and exchange gifts.”

Mike Bivens “Enjoying entertainment and a movie at The Marketplace with my family.”

Bill Gilden “Look at the lights out at California Living Museum and drive around town to see the decorations.”

Don Vendert “Having wonderful parties with the family and giving gifts away.”

Cassidey Conway “Get some Starbucks and go look at the lights in Haggin Oaks.”

Cody Blackburn “Go to CALM and check out the lights on display.”

Ariana Ibarra “Looking at the lights with the family downtown.”

Wayne Fields “Going out and watching the parade.”

Kim Stacy “Shopping (for) all the great deals that are out there — and CALM, too.”

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Up Front



Local business chambers mix together for the holidays

College planetarium to feature ‘Season of Light’ holiday show

The Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce is hosting its annual holiday mixer from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Dec. 20 at the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce, 1725 Eye St. And for the second year, the chamber has invited four other local chambers — North of the River Chamber of Commerce, Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Kern County Black Chamber Of Commerce and Downtown Business Association. Pauline Bartlett, project manager for Greater Bakersfield Chamber, said last year went so well, the chamber had to plan it again. The chambers have mixers throughout the year, but the holidays require a little more festivity. “Everyone is going in so many different directions,” Bartlett said. “It’s nice to get together all at once instead of everyone doing their own thing for the holidays.” The mixer will feature food, drinks, networking and prizes. Also, because it is the end of the year, awards will be given to key people in the organizations. A chamber of commerce is a nonprofit association that works with all types of businesses to better the city’s economy. At times, the various chambers work together or attend the same events, including ribbon cuttings and mixers, and also cross-promote with each other. Bartlett said she is grateful the chambers can work together. “We all get along, so that’s nice,” she said. “We all have our own niches, but it’s nice to work together and join forces.” The holiday get-together will allow everyone to talk and exchange ideas away from work. Greater Bakersfield Chamber officials are hoping this will become a tradition. — Jeneal Wood — By Jeneal Wood


Bakersfield Life Magazine

December 2012

The William M. Thomas Planetarium at Bakersfield College is presenting “Season of Light” starting Nov. 29, a show focusing on holiday traditions and holiday-themed astronomy. The show begins with a tour of the evening sky using the planetarium’s new Goto Chronos digital star projector, followed by Loch Ness Productions ’ “Season of Light,” using Bakersfield College’s Spitz SciDome projector, a dome video system. “Season of Light” will give an account of the historical religious and cultural rituals practiced during the time of winter solstice, as well as other traditions: gift giving, Christmas songs and kissing under the mistletoe. Planetarium Director Nick Strobel said the presentation “traces the history and development of many of the world’s most endearing holiday customs.” “All of which involve lighting up the holiday season — from the burning Yule log, sparkling Christmas tree lights, and candles in windows, to lighting the luminaries in the American southwest and the traditional ritual of the Menorah,” Strobel said. The astronomy part of the presentation will include a selection of Northern Hemisphere winter constellations, and audiences will discover why there are seasons by following the sun’s path across the sky throughout the year. The last quarter of the show will explain the history and mystery of the Star of Bethlehem. “Season of Light” will run from 7:30 to 8:45 p.m. on Nov. 29 and Dec. 6 at the planetarium, math and science building Room 112, 1801 Panorama Drive. Tickets are $6.50 for adults, and $4.50 for students and seniors. Children must be over the age of 5 to attend. Tickets will not be sold at the door. To buy tickets, call the BC ticket office at 395-4326. — Jeneal Wood


Renowned ‘Moscow Ballet’ to perform at Fox Theater Renowned dancers, astonishing routines and dazzling theatrical settings will light up the Fox Theater stage at 2 p.m. Dec. 24, when Moscow Ballet’s features its 20th anniversary production of the Great Russian Nutcracker. All new Russian-made costumes will complement the ballet this year, which will also feature falling snow, silk puppets, custom backdrops and a Christmas tree that grows to seven stories tall. Each year, local children are given the opportunity to audition for the performance and dance beside 40 dancers. “This is a great opportunity for children to dance next to professionals,” said Sally Michael Keyes, director of public rela-

tions for the Moscow Ballet. The 20th anniversary of the ballet will also feature the new “Dove of Peace” routine, where two dancers become one dazzling bird. Some of the featured danseurs and ballerinas for this year’s production have been recognized for their performances and notable resumes. Principle artist of this year’s production will include Karyna Shatkovskaya, a multiple award-winning soloist. Vladimir Tkachenko, who graduated with honors from the prestigious Perm State Ballet and Choreography School in Russia, will be alongside Shatkovskaya during the production. For tickets, visit — Tyler Stevens

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Up Front



Hot • Bakersfield Blaze owners reveal proposed plans for new stadium with an area for restaurants and shopping. • Time change and cool weather — what else can we ask for? • Operation Blankets for Love holds blanket drive for abandoned cats and dogs at local shelters.

Not • Drinking and driving: Bakersfield experiences another tragedy on its roads with alcohol seemingly being the cause. • The doping controversy surrounding Lance Armstrong and cycling has prompted companies and cities, to take action; including Bakersfield, which perhaps may not be a host for next year's Amgen Tour of California.


Bakersfield Life Magazine

December 2012

Hard to believe that the land giant that is Tejon Ranch at the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley — the largest working ranch in California with 270,000 sprawling acres — was named after a small animal and distant relative of the raccoon family. “Tejon” is the Spanish word for badger. Father Francisco Garces made the first discovery of the original pass area in 1776, when he came upon the land that snaked through the Tehachapi Mountains, connecting the central and southern parts of California, about 15 Gen. Edward miles northFitzgerald Beale east of what motorists who travel Interstate 5 today consider the Tejon Pass. But it was 30 years after Garces’ discovery that Lt. Francisco Ruiz named the area El Tejon, along Tejon Creek, after his soldiers found a dead badger at the mouth of the Tejon Canyon. Ruiz also named “Canada de las Uvas” — Grapevine Canyon — because of the abundance of grapevines there. In 1843, Tejon Ranch was established through Mexican land grants. A decade later, the old pass route was surveyed for suitability for a railroad and was deemed nearly impassable. By 1864, the old pass faded into obscurity except for the occasional explorer who preferred the less-traveled route. A more favorable wagon route was established through Grapevine Canyon farther west. Gen. Edward Fitzgerald Beale is widely credited for the ranch’s survival through many turbulent years. Management of the property was passed on to his son, Truxtun, in 1893, at the time of his death at the age of 72. Truxtun Beale sold the ranch in 1912, and Tejon Ranch Co. incorporated in 1936. The property giant reaches far beyond farming and ranching. In 1939, it donated

Looking north into the San Joaquin Valley from Tejon Ranch.


Tejon Ranch

land to the state to create the Fort Tejon State Historic Park. In 1957, land was donated for the El Tejon School. The ranch property has also been home to global environmental art and engineering fetes. In 1971, then-California Gov. Ronald Reagan started the first pump at the Edmonston Pumping Plant during a ceremony heralding the first deliveries of water to Southern California by way of the California Aqueduct. In 1991, famed artist Christo unveiled his “Umbrellas” project on Tejon Ranch land. The Bakersfield National Cemetery sits on 500 acres donated by Tejon Ranch. A travel plaza and the Tejon Ranch Commerce Center have been created and have grown steadily in recent years. Planned communities are in the works, and 90 percent of Tejon Ranch lands will be protected forever as a result of the 2008 Tejon Ranch Conservation and Land Use Agreement. — Lisa Kimble


Local girls collect toys for Alliance Shaina Looker and Sierra Moore put the S’s in the “S&S Christmas Toy Drive.” The middle school girls started the now annual toy drive — benefitting the Alliance Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault — when they were in the fourth grade. Four years after starting the fundraiser, the seventh-graders are still eager to help the community, said Monique Looker, Shaina’s mother. What started out as a way to earn a bronze medal in Girl Scouts — the highest honor a Girl Scout Junior can achieve — soon became a holiday tradition they didn’t want to end, even after they had earned their medal. All of the donations benefit the Alliance. Parents there choose a gift for their child, wrap it and give it directly to their own child. “It’s a way for the parents to feel like they can provide something

special for their child,” Monique said. The girls attend Norris Middle School, where they are active in school government. Shaina is the vice president for the student council and plays club soccer. Sierra is the class representative for student council, plays club softball and golf. Both girls are straight-A students. Last year, the girls collected more than 100 toys, which exceeded the previous year. To participate in the event, bring a new, unwrapped toy from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 5 to Rollerama West, 7850 Brimhall Road, and you can skate for $2. — Jeneal Wood


End-of-year tax-saving tips When you think of the holidays, Uncle Sam comes to mind first, right? I hope not! But with just days left in 2012, it’s not too late to lower your tax burden. Here are a few last-minute tax-saving ideas. • Pay donations by credit card. Payments made by credit card are deductible in the year they are charged, so you can donate to your favorite charity by year-end and not pay the bill until 2013. • Clean out your closets, and make room for new. Donate to charity and make a list of the items and their values. Value guides can be found at and Your tax deduction may pleasantly surprise you. • Maximize contributions to qualified retirement plans. Catch up on contributions to your 401(k) or 403(b) by increasing your deduction on your last paychecks of the year. You’ll lower your taxable income and possibly qualify for additional tax breaks based on certain income limits. Employer restrictions may apply. • Prepay tuition. The American Opportunity Tax Credit expires Dec. 31. If you pay higher educational expenses and have not maximized qualified expenses totaling $4,000, prepay 2013 educational expenses before the end of 2012. • Consider prepaying fourth quarter state income tax payment. If you pay your taxes quarterly instead of withholding, you may lower your taxable income by paying your state income tax by Dec. 31. If you are in “Alternative Minimum Tax,” this trick won’t work.

• Bunch deductible expenses. If your 2012 itemized deductions will likely be just under or over the standard deduction amount, consider bunching expenses every other year. For example, prepay your 2013 property taxes by Dec. 31 and claim both 2012 and 2013 property tax payments on your 2012 return. If you’ll be paying a higher tax rate next year, claim the standard deduction this year and bunch your itemized deductions into 2013 where they offset higher taxed income. • Harvest winners or losers. Review investments to determine if there are gains or losses you want to take this year. Take advantage of favorable capital gain rates of 15 percent to 0 percent tax by Dec. 31. If you only have losses, you can deduct up to $3,000 against other income on your tax return. Look at both 2012 and 2013 when strategizing, especially with the looming tax cliffs. Any strategy must consider the entire financial circumstances — never let the tail wag the dog. — Chris Thornburgh is a CPA and partner at Brown Armstrong Accountancy Corp. Contact her at or 3244971.


Up Front


Holiday shopping guide for tablet PCs Give high-tech toys this season By David A. Milazzo


David A. Milazzo is the founder and principal of Macroscopic, an Apple enterprise technology consultancy. Macroscopic develops OS X, OS X Server and iOS technology solutions for businesses, schools, agencies and independent professionals throughout the United States. You can follow Milazzo’s musings on technology via Twitter @davidmilazzo or “like” Macroscopic on Facebook.


f all the electronic gizmos and gadgets vying for your attention this holiday season, tablet PCs will likely rank at the top of most wish lists. And while Apple has paraded the iPad since 2010, until recently, the challengers had a tough time catching up. Now in its fourth generation, and with an iPad mini riding shotgun, the iPad platform has never been stronger. However, the competition is finally starting to heat up: Amazon and Google both offer compelling devices. So which do you buy? In this holiday guide, I’ll point out some pros and cons of each platform to help you pick the tablet to jump on.

Amazon Kindle Fire ($159 to $614)

For the budget conscious, the Kindle Fire collection provides some serious bang-foryour-buck. The base model 7inch Fire at $159 is a steal. And while the plastic casing and lower resolution screen may not be topnotch, the price point coupled with access to Amazon’s vast library of media makes a persuasive case. If you pony up an extra $40, the Fire HD sheds some weight and brings increased screen resolution, more storage and a host of real-tablet amenities like a camera, Bluetooth and gyroscope. The real claim-to-fame of the Fire series is the simplicity of media enjoyment. So if you’re primarily looking to read a few bestsellers, watch movies, browse the web and do some online shopping, this device is a perfect match. However, if you think you may want to delve into business and productivity apps as well, you’re better off choosing from one of the other vendors.

Bakersfield Life Magazine

December 2012

Google Nexus ($199 to $499)

The 7-inch Nexus is Google’s answer to the Fire. It’s fairly inexpensive and offers a wide array of Google’s strongest features: Gmail, Google+, Maps, Chrome and Voice Assistant. Plus the Google Play store is loaded with apps and media — not quite as large as Apple’s App and iTunes stores, but growing all the time. And though the Nexus may remind you of the Kindle Fire HD in size and price, it’s so much more. The $199 Nexus is a fully operational tablet, with all the bells and whistles you would expect with connectivity, a camera, gyroscopes and GPS. But one caveat: Apps for your Android tablet are in most cases merely enlarged smartphone apps. This will improve over time, but most Android apps have yet to take full advantage of the tablet form-factor.

Apple iPad ($329 to $829)

Apple’s tablets are the best-built devices you’ll find — but you pay a premium for that quality. With an enclosure made of aluminum, not plastic, these devices will hold up to rigorous use. Not only is Apple’s iOS App Store jam-packed with 275,000 apps made specifically for iPad’s larger screen, their media ecosystem is enormous. And from a business perspective, iPads can securely access corporate files, edit Microsoft Office documents, implement digital forms and provide your sole link back to the office. The iPad lineup is comprised of two models: The full-size 9.7-inch iPad; and a new smaller, thinner 7.9-inch iPad mini. Both offer the full feature-set, the main difference being the screen size and resolution. If consuming media is your thing, pick up a Kindle Fire HD. If you want the full-tablet experience at a low price, the Nexus 7 is hard to beat. But if you’re looking for the all-around champ, great at every task with top-shelf hardware and software design, go mini or go maxi — the iPad is the only way to go.

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Up Front


Rabbi Cheryl Rosenstein Compiled by Hillary Haenes


he’s been the spiritual leader of Temple Beth El since July 1993. And Rabbi Cheryl Rosenstein certainly loves her job and serving the Jewish community. “I get to be present with them to celebrate the joys in life and to comfort them in times of sorrow. I love praying with my community and teaching them Torah,” Rosenstein said. “I love to encourage them to own their Jewish identities and to be literate in our tradition...”

Nova hatchback with “cast iron” bumpers.

2 I got my first traffic citation while speeding to my local Jewish community center to help set tables for a Passover Seder.

3 I had piano lessons as a child. Like most kids, I quit before I was any good.

4 I worked at Disneyland while I was in high school.

5 Despite growing up in Long Beach, I have only visited the Queen Mary twice and never saw the Spruce Goose.

6 I began voice lessons at age

My husband is a great cook!

16 My culinary vices are sweet potato fries, ice cream and dark chocolate. Not that chocolate is really a vice ...

17 I am a yoga junkie. 18 I am also a frozen yogurt junkie.

19 I enjoy hanging out with my two teenage daughters.

20 I love the beach. My favorite day trip destinations are Cambria and Ventura.

21 I call my mother, who lives in town, almost every night.


22 Biggest job perk: I get to be

7 I was the cantorial soloist

faculty at the Jewish summer camp in Santa Rosa every summer!

for the overflow High Holy Day services at my home synagogue during my senior year of high school.

8 I majored in sociology at UC Santa Barbara — Go Gauchos! 9 I didn’t learn to ride a bike until my freshman year of college. It was sort of a necessity at UCSB.

10 I keep kosher (follow the Jewish dietary laws) at home. Outside, I opt for vegetarian fare, salmon or certain kinds of sushi (no shellfish, eel or squid).

11 I really miss Elaine’s (the downtown vegan restaurant that closed).

12 I met my husband dancing Israeli folk dances at UCLA.

13 I have lived in California, Jerusalem, Ohio and Minnesota.

14 My first student pulpit was at China Lake Naval Weapons Center Hebrew Congregation — Temple Beth Torah. I drove there from Los Angeles every other weekend for most of the year. 20

15 I have my own personal chef.

Bakersfield Life Magazine

23 Second-biggest job perk: Holding newborn babies, sometimes even before grandma and grandpa arrive at the hospital. 24 I come from a family of voracious readers. Two of my favorite books are “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini and “The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse” by Louise Erdrich. 25 For my 18th anniversary at Temple Beth El, the board of trustees gifted me with an iPad. We call it my “ChaiPad.” Chai — pronounced with guttural “ch” — is the Hebrew word for life.

December 2012


1 My first car was a 1972 Chevy

Rosenstein decided to become a rabbi halfway through college. She was trying to decide on a college major when one day, while working at a Jewish summer camp, someone suggested the idea. She began interviewing rabbis to learn more about the process. “I usually say that someone hit me on the head with a two-byfour,” joked Rosenstein, explaining why she began the process. “It wasn’t until I sat down and wrote the essay for admission to the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion that I came to realize my whole life’s trajectory had been aimed in that direction.”


‘The Christmas Clock’ Kat Martin’s 2009 tale “The Christmas Clock” is a light romance that is perfect for the holiday season. It’s a quick, uplifting novel of a young boy whose quest to buy his ailing grandmother a special gift sets in motion a series of events that forever change his life, and the lives of those around him — a Christmas miracle, if you will. The book’s themes of healing, home and family, set against the holiday backdrop, make this an engaging escape from those busy holiday excursions, which seem to fill our December days. The question and answer, along with book group discussion questions at the end of the novel, give us further insight into both the story and its author. By Michael Russo, coAnd speaking of the author, owner of Russo’s Books at The Marketplace with more than 50 titles and 12

by Kat Martin

million books in print, Martin — who once lived in Bakersfield — is among the nation’s elite romance and romantic suspense novelists. Now living in Montana, she still visits Bakersfield often. Martin is an international favorite — having been published in 20 countries — and most definitely a local treasure. “The Christmas Clock” by Kat Martin is available for $5.99 at Russo’s Books at The Marketplace, 9000 Ming Ave.

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Up Front TM




Great article (“Drivers: Watch your demeanor behind the wheel,” November 2012)! I hope you are reaching the right people. However, bad drivers also tend to be opinionated ... about their rights on the road. Pedestrians have the right of way at all intersections whether or not there is a marked crosswalk. This is a common misunderstanding on the part of many who think they can blow by pedestrians because they are crossing at an intersection without painted crosswalks. About four or so years ago, there was a pedestrian versus car case reported in The Californian where the motorist learned this fact the hard way. Anyway, lack of consideration by many drivers not only puts people and property at risk, and it contributes to congestion and delay of the movement of traffic. In traffic, as in life, we should think more in terms of the "we" rather than the "I.” — Stephen Montgomery

Dear Editor, I just finished reading the article in Bakersfield Life about saving pets (“Saving Bakersfield pets,” November 2012). It was fine as far as it went, but I cannot believe you didn't have the Bakersfield SPCA. I think you should have Katie Avery go to the SPCA


and see what they do every day. The SPCA is a private, nonprofit, no-kill shelter. When they have room, they accept strays and owner turn-ins. They give the animals all their shots and spay/neuter them. They then keep the animals until they are adopted. In 2012, they have adopted out almost 1,000 animals. They check all animals brought in for microchips and have returned hundreds of animals to their owners. They periodically have microchip clinics so more animals will be able to be returned to their owners if they get out. — Diane Ackley

Dear Editor, About six friends came together to decorate another friend’s artificial tree with a month’s worth of encouraging notes. We received the notes from friends of our friend (who has breast cancer) and rewrote them, folded up the notes like a scroll and tied them with pink ribbon. We put lights on the tree and someone placed pink artificial flowers that adorned the top. The tree had a month’s worth of encouraging notes with the name of the friend (on each note). We gave it to her in December 2011. She was so delighted with the tree, she wrote each day’s note in her journal. We — her friends — loved getting together to do something positive for our dear friend. I got the idea from an article on Wendy Wayne. She mentioned ... that one of her children wrote notes to encourage her on her journey through cancer. Thank you for a great magazine highlighting Kern County. — Veronica White



The Bakersfield Californian publishes Bakersfield Life magazine monthly. If you have any questions or comments regarding our magazine, write to us at Bakersfield Life, P.O. Bin 440, Bakersfield, CA 93302, or email 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, P.O. Bin 440, Bakersfield, CA 93302. For email, send letters to the editor to


Bakersfield Life Magazine

December 2012

Up Front


Carlos Navarro Email

Compiled by Hillary Haenes Photos by Henry A. Barrios


s general manager of one of the largest hotels in Bakersfield, Carlos Navarro depends on his Galaxy SIII smartphone a lot. There are many major local events that take place at the Bakersfield Marriott at the Convention Center, and Navarro stays organized with the help of various applications, including Microsoft Outlook. His cellphone acts as a mini computer, he joked, and has replaced his PC. When he’s not at his desk, Navarro does most of his work with his phone. “It’s sad to think I depend so much on my telephone,” Navarro said. “Microsoft Outlook is my lifeline to know at all times how the hotel is doing — daily reports, reminders, VIP arrivals, groups coming to the hotel, occupancy numbers. And it’s an important way to communicate with the rest of my team.” His phone comes in handy in his personal life, too. He takes lots of pictures, checks for updates on his favorite sports teams and keeps his little ones entertained with their favorite games.

I stay in constant contact with my team, as well as guests who reach out to me. I also use it to monitor various aspects of the hotel.

Calendar This is the second most used app on my phone. It’s important to stay organized with appointment and deadlines reminders as well as birthdays.

Evernote This is becoming a greatly used app for my daily list of reminders. When I have to take notes at a meeting, I rarely write down anything — I simply just type them into a note. Also, I add to my grocery list of items we may need at home.

Marriott This app allows me to make quick reservations at many Marriotts when I travel. I am also able to make reservations for friends who often ask me for a discount when they travel.

Hotel Management In my industry, it’s very important to stay up to date with new changes, and I enjoy reading what the competitors do to stay current.

LinkedIn As a professional, I look to friends for advice in decision-making, as well as what has worked for them to be successful.

ESPN ScoreCenter I’m often unable to watch every game. It has been great to keep up with scores at the end of the day and see news on how my team performed.

Wells Fargo

NFL Mobile It’s football season!

NBA Game Time I know the season just started, and my Lakers are getting used to working with each other; plus their defense is not where it can be. I remain hopeful they will turn it around soon and once again be championship contenders.


Bakersfield Life Magazine

December 2012

Managing investments and finances is very important to do on a daily basis. With this app, I can make sure my accounts are balanced and bills are taken care of without having to write a single check.

Up Front


Celia Kelly By Breanna Fields

Photos courtesy of Celia Kelly


oday, many recent college graduates are looking to land jobs, which is a difficult task in today’s economy. Celia Kelly, a 2010 Cal State Bakersfield graduate, opted to take a different route. She flew to Bristol, Conn., where she landed an internship with renowned sports station ESPN. And this would be far from an ordinary internship — no coffee runs or unimportant roles in projects. This was the real deal: a seven-month internship in the production assistant trainee program with duties, such as prompting, cutting voiceovers and highlights, and producing teases and small features.

Celia Kelly met several celebrities including, Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire on the set of “Sesame Street.” 26

Bakersfield Life Magazine

December 2012

This experience proved to be an opportunity of a lifetime for some interns and bittersweet for others. At the end of the sevens months, interns were evaluated and offered a job, or in some cases, shown the door. Fortunately, Kelly made the cut and has been promoted to content associate with tasks that include producing content for specialty teases and features. She’s had the opportunity to work remote on location in Indianapolis for the 2011 Super Bowl and interview New York Yankees’ second baseman Robinson Cano, New York Knicks’ small forward Carmelo Anthony and New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady, among a long list of other prominent athletes. Now, a two-time Emmy-nominated producer, Kelly encourages students from places like Bakersfield to apply for internship opportunities outside of their hometown. “I didn’t expect someone from such a small school like CSUB to be able to compete with the big universities with bigger programs,” said Kelly. “I hope more people from smaller schools apply for things like this.” Growing up in Bakersfield, Kelly participated in basketball and track during her high school years. After an injury from playing basketball, she turned to coaching and refereeing games. “Being such a fan of sports definitely makes my job more enjoyable, and it’s something I wanted to do all my life,” Kelly said. “I just didn’t realize it would be in this capacity.” When Kelly was a freshman in college, she was still uncertain of her career path. Her major changed from history to English and a number of others before she decided on communications, with an emphasis in journalism and philosophy. Her passion was writing, but as she found herself in a changing industry where newspaper staffing has decreased, she dedicated her time to a local internship with KBAK and found her true calling — television. “In the future, I want to own and operate my own media company,” Kelly said. “I want to produce long form pieces and (documentaries) and show them around the world at film festivals. Right now, I want to just keep growing and perfecting my craft … ESPN is providing me with the opportunity to do so.”

Up Front

Find more community events at or submit yours via email:

Happenings: Can’t-miss events in December Sat. 1 Christmas Bazaar Craft Show,

Mon. 3 Taft Christmas Parade, begins

Sat. 15 Breakfast with Santa, sponsored

with many vendors, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Kern County Fairgrounds, Harvest Hall. Entrance at Gate 40. Free. 549-1201. Craig Morgan, 8 p.m., Fox Theater. $23.50 to $44.50 plus fee; VIP $129.50 plus fee. or 322-5200. CSUB Guitar Art Series: Carlos Perez Concert, 7 p.m., CSUB, Dore Theatre. Free. 654-2511. Fifth annual Holiday Craft Boutique, benefiting the 2013 Relay for Life; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Comprehensive Blood & Cancer Center, parking lot. 862-8518. Holiday Lamplight Tours, with Old West encampments and costumed interpreters, minstrels, carolers, horse-drawn wagon rides and Santa’s workshop. 4 to 9 p.m., Kern County Museum. $5 to $10. 868-8400. New Life Christian School’s Holiday Craft Fair, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., New Life Christian School. Free; interested vendors pay for space. To participate call 8316252. Santa Breakfast, sponsored by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10859 Rosedale & Ladies Auxiliary; 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., NOR Greenacres Community Center, 2014 Calloway Drive. $5. Bring camera for photo with Santa. 588-5865. “Straight No Chaser,” 8 p.m., Rabobank Theater. $32.50 to $49.50 plus fee. or 800745-3000.

on the west end of Center Street at 6 p.m. Taft. 765-2165.

by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10859 Rosedale & Ladies Auxiliary; 8 a.m. to noon, Norris Road Veterans Halls, 400 W. Norris Road. $5. Bring camera for photo with Santa. 588-5865.

Thur. 6 30th annual Bakersfield Christmas Parade, parade will begin at 6 p.m., at 22nd and L streets. 6372323.

Fri. 7 Adam Carolla: “Not Taco Bell Material Tour,” 8 p.m., Fox Theater. $32.50 to $47.50 plus fee. or 322-5200.

Sat. 8 “An Irish Christmas,” 7:30 p.m., The All-American Boys Chorus World AIDS Day Candlelight Vigil, 7 p.m., Liberty Bell, 1415 Truxtun Ave. Email or 7423611.

Sun. 2 “The All-American Boys Chorus,” presented by Bakersfield Community Concert Association, 3 p.m., Rabobank Theater. $80 for six remaining concerts. or 2058522 or 589-2478. CSUB Concert Band, a Christmas concert with all the “fixins,” 3 p.m., CSUB, Dore Theatre. $10; $5 students; CSUB students w/ ID are free. 654-2848.

Bakersfield Life Magazine

mas Rocks!,” 8 p.m., Fox Theater. $35 to $75. or 3225200.

Wed. 26 X, with guests Jonny Two Bags, Salvation Town, 7 p.m., Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace. $18.50 to $24.50 plus fee. or 322-5200.

Sun. 9 29th annual Bakersfield Toy Run & Food Drive, with door prizes, food, trophies for best Christmas decorated bike, car and kart, starting at 7 a.m. at Beach Park, 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. Annual Public Menorah Lighting and Celebration, with Hanukkah gifts, treats and live music, 5 p.m., The Marketplace. Free. or 835-8381.

Thur. 13 Uncle Kracker, 7 p.m., Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace. $26.50 to $33.50. or 322-5200.

Fri. 14 Christmas Concert, with Lydia Ranger, Lonely Avenue, 7 to 9 p.m., Rabobank Theater. Free but donations will be accepted, benefiting Valley Fever America’s Foundation. Visit or 831-2727. Covenant’s Fostering Hope Christmas Party, food and passing out gifts to foster children and former foster youth served by Covenant Community Services, 6 to 7:30 p.m., Valley Baptist Church. Free. 829-6999.

Kwanzaa 2012 Celebration

Fri. 28 Kwanzaa 2012 Celebration, African folktales, cultural poetry, refreshments, various vendors and more, 1 to 5 p.m., Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, 1000 S. Owens St. Free. 319-7611.

Mon. 31 New Years Eve Party 2012, Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace. Dinner tickets plus show $75; showonly $40. Plus fee. or call 322-5200.

Craig Morgan


Fox Theater. $36.50 to 56.50. or 322-5200.

Thur. 20 “Brian Setzer Orchestra Christ-

December 2012


Bakersfield’s holiday sweets Dewar’s

41,000 pounds of peanut but-

45 chews per pound 40 calories in one chew 103 years taffy chews have been

ter-flavored chews sold during the holidays


pounds of chews sold during the holiday season

made by Dewar’s

3 flavors of sugar-free chews 14,250 pounds of peppermint

Smith’s Bakeries

5 different Christmas cookies are made

taffy chews sold during Christmas season

135,000 pounds of taffy

See’s Candies

chews sold annually (on average)

100+ varieties of candies made 0 preservatives and high fructose

6 red stripes that make up a peppermint chew

75 minutes to make a 50-pound

sugar are used in products

batch of peppermint taffy chews

weeks of shelf-life of candy after opening

17 different flavors of taffy chews $12.99 for a box of taffy chews


(average price)


It Manners a Lot By Lisa Kimble

All I want for Christmas is kindness, thoughtfulness


till polishing off Thanksgiving leftovers? Set aside the drumstick and buckle up: The Christmas season is here with all the hustle, bustle and whiplash. It will be a bruising experience out there in the toy aisles and long lines. Civility will probably take a real beating. Although I’m too old to make wish lists for presents, I’ll never outgrow being eternally optimistic that social graces will remain relevant, and will shine brighter than the North Star, especially in the days ahead. More than a Miracle on 34th Street, new front teeth or a white Christmas, “It Manners a Lot” longs for a sleigh full of kindness and thoughtfulness. So, from my keyboard to Santa’s ears, here’s a holiday wish list that really “manners” a lot! • A kinder, gentler social media. Just when you thought tweets and postings couldn’t sink any lower, a new bottom appears on the screen featuring someone who is partially nude, impaired or touting something offensive. Let’s all lose the vitriolic, nasty edge that is so common on Twitter and Facebook today. Think before you tweet. Remember that old adage, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all?” The same should apply to Tweets and posts. • A rise in popularity of the use of the trash can. It is heartbreaking to see such a flagrant disregard for our community.

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Diapers, wrappers and other trash belong in garbage cans, not on the center median of Highway 178. Imagine the savings in tax dollars used to clean our roadways. Not only is it a violation of the law, but aren’t we as a community better than that? So many people have invested countless man-hours and tremendous resources to make Bakersfield a beautiful place. Trashing it is beneath all of us. • Politics aside. It’s been an election year many would rather forget. But let’s remember that voters have spoken with their ballot. Let us all, with our words and actions, help in the transition of powers that lies ahead. These are tough times. But in the immortal words of Ronald Reagan, may it be “morning again in America.” Moving forward united in spirit is a good start. • An avalanche of random acts of kindness. Why not let another car pull in front of you in the school drop-off lane, or let someone with one or two items leap ahead of your shopping cart. Paying it forward pays dividends to the recipient and the giver. This is the time of year that people will tend to loosen the faucet of generosity. Hopefully, it will spill over into the New Year, too. Give of your heart, time and talents, and dole out more compliments than complaints. • Simmer less, appreciate more. Everyone’s patience will be tested in the coming weeks. But that is no justification for being inconsiderate and ugly. Counting blessings has a way of taking the edge off any momentary angst. So who cares if half of the lights on the tree don’t work? Can you imagine being victimized by a super storm and being without power? • Good sportsmanship. From Little League to the National Football League, young people are modeling after us and the athletes they worship. Be a good sport. Anyone can win. How graceful we handle defeats and disappointments speaks volumes about character — our own and the ones we’re responsible for molding. • Replies and thank-yous. If someone calls and leaves a message, return the call. If someone communicates electronically, respond. A dissertation isn’t necessary, but the courtesy of a reply shouldn’t be brushed off. Nor should a thank-you note. It only takes a few seconds to write, address and affix a stamp. — Agree, disagree? Send your questions, comments or topics you’d like to read about to me at itmannersalot@bakers or visit

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Bakersfield Life Magazine


December 2012

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Our river is a gift to be appreciated


very once in a while, I get the perfect gift for someone. I remember a need expressed or an object admired. I track down the item and squirrel it away for weeks. Then I wait in giddy anticipation for that look on the face when the person realizes that he or she is the lucky recipient of that one perfect gift. I hit this sweet spot only once every couple of holidays. Most of the time, my gifts are in the “this is mildly pleasant” category. But when I do give someone a great present, it feels good to know that it will be valued and cared for — that the item that took so long to procure and deliver on my part will be appreciated on their part. In the same way, our city has been given a gift, one that has taken considerable time and effort to come to us. Centuries in the making, it is something that other hot, dry towns covet. It is the river. After a recent trip to Hart Park, I have to wonder if we deserve it. Here is a short list of items I found during a walk along the banks of the Kern River, which flows through Hart Park: Styrofoam containers of various sizes, three-foot long heavy plastic tubing, crushed beer cans, a marijuana pipe, dog feces, a pair of rubber boots, countless plastic bottle caps, cellophane chip bags, plastic spoons and a full women’s outfit — a shirt, pants and bra all in a tangled pile. Not having grown up here, I don’t remember the zoo, paddle boats

and natural hot springs at Hart Park. Even without the nostalgia, the park is heavy with a ghostly essence. It aches for something lost. It has become a place where it is OK to spray paint not only the pillars and fences but also the living trees. Should we care? Does Hart Park matter? Is the river relevant? Yes, yes and yes. A series of studies from the University of Rochester came to the conclusion that spending time in nature improves people’s physical and mental well-being. Time outdoors, researchers found, was connected to higher energy levels and an increased sense of wellbeing. Considering the hard fact that Kern is ranked as one of the most unhealthy counties in California, we would be foolish not to take advantage of the acres of natural health therapy at our disposal. Will walking along the river cure all that ails you? No. Will it improve your health? Yes. This year, Outside Magazine’s September issue featured the best river towns in the United States. Each town’s story was different. One city’s river was brought back from noxious levels of pollution. Another town’s waterway ran alongside Main Street, giving the river an urban flair, while others relished the fact that their river was wild and untamed. What they had in common was that each river was a point of pride for its city. What about us? Are we proud of our river? When a few minutes of walking yields a garbage bag full of trash, I would say, “No.” But this problem is an easy one to fix. The river is a gift to you. It is valuable. Treat it well. To read more, visit or follow Kelly on Twitter @kellydamian2.





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Bakersfield Life Magazine

December 2012

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Dining Divas

Petroleum Club of Bakersfield Divas dine at the posh business and social club Photos by Greg Nichols


he Bakersfield Life staff promised us Divas a special dinner for our final review of the year, and they certainly kept their word. We gals got all gussied up and headed to the Petroleum Club of Bakersfield, a private business and social club on the 12th floor of the Stockdale Tower. We were treated to a beautiful view of the city from the wine room, which can be reserved by club members for special occasions. We took our seats at the elegant table and felt like we were dining with the gods as we overlooked the dazzling city lights below. Not only was the ambiance special, but executive chef Robert Alimirzaie also made us feel like royalty. Robert trained as a chef in Hamburg, Germany, and has worked at several Orange County restaurants. He landed at the Petroleum Club in 2004 and said that aside from the heat, he has grown to love this town. Not only did Robert come out before each course to explain what we were sampling, but our waiter John “Coop� Cooper pampered us with water refills and excellent service. The Petroleum Club menu changes twice a year, and we were given a sneak peek at the fall menu, which was just about to make its debut for the year.

Petroleum Club of Bakersfield Location: 5060 California Ave., 12th Floor Phone: 324-6561 Website:


Bakersfield Life Magazine

Chocolate lava cake

December 2012

Video Hungry for more? Check out the video of the Dining Divas’ visit to Petroleum Club of Bakersfield on

The Dining Divas, from left, Molly, Lisa, Tammara, Katie and Amanda, at the Petroleum Club of Bakersfield.

To begin the evening, we were treated to a couple of very special appetizers. Molly on the cheese plate: Cheese happens to be one of my favorite things, so I was very excited to enjoy what chef Robert had created for us. We had several different types of cheeses accompanied with seasonal fresh fruit. This included fresh strawberries stuffed with Boursin — a cheese similar in taste and texture to cream cheese. I wouldn’t normally pair grapes with cheddar, but I must say that this chef knows what he’s doing when it comes to matching cheese with fruit. It was excellent! Another delicious pairing was the dates stuffed with Cambozola — a blue Brie. The final pairing was pears covered with chocolate ganache and topped with Stilton cheese — an English cheese known for its strong smell and taste. The sweet pear and chocolate toned down the pungent taste a bit, which made for a wonderful combination. Amanda on the seared shrimp and scallops: Chef Robert had my mouth watering even before presenting us with this appetizer. The thought of pan-seared shrimp and scallops sauteed with Robert’s two favorite girlfriends — Brandy and Sherry — served with a citrus pesto and mango mint sauce sounded beyond amazing. All of my anticipation was right on target when I tasted this scrumptious appetizer. The scallops melted in my mouth, and the shrimp was perfectly cooked. I even dipped my bread into the leftover pesto sauce because I absolutely loved it!

We just knew the main course would be something special ... Katie on the flat iron steak: If you’ve made a point of carefully reading each and every Divas’ review, you know that I love shrimp. But I also love a good steak, and here it was. This was a fantastic steak that was cooked to perfection (a true medium rare) and served with risotto and broccoli with a peppercorn sauce. To say it was good just doesn’t do it

Grilled adobe salmon

justice. Another unique part of the meal for me was the orchids. Yes, I said orchids, as in flowers. I don’t make a habit of eating bouquets, but I thought I would give it a shot. And, as anyone who knows me knows that I like salt. So, of course, I salted my orchid. It was so yummy! Tammara on the grilled adobo salmon: I am a fish lover, and by luck of the serve, I was given the salmon. Each flaky piece was moist and tasty with just the right amount of seasoning. Topping the salmon was an avocado salsa with marinated cucumbers and bell peppers lightly seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic. Tender broccoli and a herb Basmati white rice rounded out the dish. Lisa on the Hawaiian reef bass with lobster ravioli: Since I don’t eat red meat, Robert whipped up this special dish for me. And it was definitely special. The bass was delicate, tender and moist. The lobster ravioli, which is a knuckle claw filled with ravioli, was excellent. These generously filled

Continued on page 36


cherry sauce, which added just the right amount of sweetness. It was served with seasonal veggies and English pea risotto, which also happens to be one of my favorite side dishes. Amanda on the grilled rack of lamb: The rack of lamb was flavored with North African spices and served with a mango mint coulis, basmati rice and broccoli. Lamb is not an item I would typically order, but since chef Robert served it to me, I knew it had to be good. And yes, it was very good. The flavors were delicious.

As we let our food settle, we looked forward to the final phase of our meal — dessert. Roasted duck breast

Continued from page 35 pasta rounds were amazing, and I loved the lobster bisque sauce on top of the dish. It was delightful and not too heavy. Molly on the roasted duck breast: I was very happy to be served this dish for my main course, as I am a huge fan of duck. It was very tender, topped with a black

Lisa on the creme brulee and blueberry cobbler: When ordering dessert, I always ask the waiter if they make their desserts in house. Many times the answer is no. But at the Petroleum Club, chef Robert personally makes every single sweet creation. I was served two desserts. Creme brulee is one of my favorites and this one didn’t let me down. It was made with real cream, as opposed to custard. As for the blueberry cobbler, the crust on top was warm and flaky and topped with gooey delicious blueberries and homemade vanilla bean ice cream. Tammara on the lemon curd forest berry cheesecake: This cheesecake was phenomenal. It featured a light

cheesecake with a raspberry topping and a final topping

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December 2012

of lemon curd and whipped cream. The graham cracker crust was moist, but not soggy. Molly on the baked Alaska flambe: The menu describes this dessert as “simply wonderful” — and it was! Served in an individual size, the amount was perfect for one person. It had Neapolitan ice cream in the center, which was different because most baked Alaska is served with vanilla ice cream. I must say that it was a very pleasant surprise. Amanda on the chocolate lava cake: I was the winner when it came to dessert choices for the evening. The chocolate lava cake is the most popular dessert at the Petroleum Club, and now I know why. This small cake is packed with so much flavor that it’s best you share it with a friend. It was warm, smooth and literally melted in my mouth. The chef adds a melted chocolate truffle to the inside, so that it oozes out when you cut into the cake. It was very rich, but the homemade vanilla bean ice cream on the side toned down the richness. Katie on the overall dining experience: The Petroleum Club, is a members-only club celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, but chef Robert assures us that the price to join is much less than what you may expect. And the benefits of membership go far beyond just being able to dine on the 12th floor. Members have rights at the exclusive bar and are able to request special menu items in the case of dietary restrictions or dieting. With nearly 900 members, chef Robert considers himself to have 900 bosses.

Baked Alaska flambe

If you’ve thought of joining the Petroleum Club, you can call ahead for a guest pass. Also, the club serves breakfast every morning to members and nonmembers alike for just $4. As we 2012 Divas deliver our final review, we are thankful that we were given the opportunity to sample some amazing Bakersfield food over the past 12 months. We not only met some wonderful restaurant owners, waiters and waitresses and other folks along the way, but we also got to know one another.

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Food & Wine

Comfort foods, recipes Make these holiday comfort foods a part of your family tradition

Lauren’s red soup

Compiled by Kevin McCloskey

Photos by Crystal Alvarez


inter months, holidays and comfort foods go hand-in-hand-in-hand with family gettogethers, home cooking and spending quality time indoors — cozy and warm. But true comfort foods don’t just fill you up and keep you warm, they play an emotional role. They bring about feelings of togetherness, nostalgia and fond memories with loved ones. Food plays an important role in family history, too, including here in Bakersfield, where these traditions have laid a strong foundation. Here are some local family recipes from members of our community. Give them a try and they may become part of your tradition.

Lauren’s red soup Contributed by Cecilia Quebral, RDAEF, Capital Dental Group — The recipe was inspired by Olive Garden’s pasta e fagioli soup. When my daughter, Lauren, was little and could38

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December 2012

n't pronounce the name, she always called it “the red soup.” I've been making it for about 10 years, and Lauren is now a freshman in high school. Around the holidays, my nephews start requesting the soup, and it makes me feel good they enjoy it so much. Since our office is open seven days a week and everyone has the same lunch hour, we frequently enjoy family-style lunches in our bistro kitchen. This recipe is a favorite among the staff during the winter months. I’ve eliminated the pasta from my first attempts — it soaks up Quebral too much of the broth — and continued to add different vegetables throughout the years. I usually serve this soup along with garlic and olive oil toasted French bread. Ingredients: Olive oil 1 pound ground beef

3 cloves of garlic (smashed) 1 small onion, diced 3 stalks of celery 1/2 cup shredded carrots 1 small bag of green beans (frozen) 1/4 bag corn (frozen) 1 small zucchini, diced 1 can diced tomatoes (plain 14 ounce) 1 can diced tomatoes (Italian spices 14 ounce) 1 can tomato sauce (6 ounce) 1 can kidney beans, rinsed 1 cube of beef bouillon 1 cube chicken bouillon Salt to taste Directions: Saute garlic and half of the onion in olive oil for about one minute. Add beef and beef bouillon, and brown for about five minutes. Set aside. Heat the oil and saute onions, carrots, celery and zucchini in a stock pot for about five minutes. Add green beans, corn and kidney beans with a little chicken bouillon. Cook for another five minutes. Add all tomatoes and tomato sauce. Add meat and water (water is twice the amount of vegetables), salt and bouillon to taste. Bring it to a boil then simmer for about 10 to 20 minutes.

Braised short ribs Contributed by Steve Roach, president and CEO of Quantum Data Systems, Inc. — The primary inspiration for this recipe comes from the Balthazar Restaurant in New York. Shorts ribs are served there every Saturday night, and I’ve been making this dish or variations of it for nearly 10 years. I usually make it when all my kids come back to town. This kind of comfort food really needs cold weather, so I usually make it in the Steve Roach and his fall or winter. Everydaughter Sara one loves it. The aroma it produces is half of the appeal, and friends swear you can gain weight just by inhaling the fumes. I also like to mix up the root vegetables using parsnips and turnips, or substitute brandy for the sherry to tweak the flavor a little bit. I usually serve the shorts ribs with the braised carrots, a white bean puree and some really crusty artisan bread for sopping up the gravy. Ingredients: 3 pounds short ribs 6 carrots, peeled and sliced into 2-inch segments 2 onions, roughly chopped 3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped 1 celery rib, halved 1 sprig each of rosemary, thyme and bay leaf 6 cups veal or beef stock (preferably homemade) 1 bottle cabernet sauvignon 1-1/2 cups Madeira sherry 1 tablespoon tomato paste 3 tablespoons all purpose flour

Braised short ribs

2 tablespoons vegetable oil salt and pepper Directions: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Bind the rosemary, thyme and bay leaf between the two celery halves using kitchen twine. On high heat, bring the oil to temperature in a large, oven proof pan. Season the short ribs on all sides with salt and pepper. Sear the ribs until brown on all sides (three to five minutes per side). Using a slotted spoon, remove the ribs to a plate and set aside. Reduce the heat on the Dutch oven to medium and saute the onions, garlic and carrots. Once the onions are golden brown, add the flour and stir until dissolved. Add the tomato paste and stir until fully incorporated. Deglaze the pot with the cabernet. Add the herb bundle and reduce the wine by 2/3. Add the stock and reduce by half. Return the short ribs to pot, add the sherry, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover the Dutch oven and place it in the oven and braise for 2.5 hours, turning the ribs at least once. Return the Dutch oven to the stove top and reserve the short ribs and carrots. Discard the herb bundle. Strain the remaining liquid and return it to the Dutch oven. Reduce until thick enough to coat a spoon (30 minutes). Return the short ribs to the Dutch oven and heat through.

Beef Burgundy (JD’s version) Contributed by Jim Darling, owner of Jim Darling Public Relations — After I graduated from college, I was not making much money, so I had to get creative with my meals. I could buy chuck steak inexpensively and slow cook it until tender. I did a lot of free wine-tasting while attending Sonoma State, and I always had Charles Krug Burgundy in the house, so one day I decided to cook the beef stew in wine. My Darling

Continued on page 40


Mom’s party potatoes

Beef Burgundy

Continued from page 39 roommates and I loved it, and I have been enjoying this version of beef Burgundy ever since. Now my wife and kids ask me to make it for them. I have yet to find anybody that didn’t thoroughly enjoy this recipe, unless, of course, they were a vegetarian. Ingredients: 2 pounds lean, blade-cut beef chuck, cubed 1 large red onion, quartered 1 bottle of house red wine 6 red potatoes, quartered 1 tablespoon powdered garlic 1 tablespoon pepper 1 tablespoon table salt Dash of Tabasco Directions: Pour a bottle of red wine in a two-quart pot. Add meat, onion and spices. Bring to a boil and cover, simmer for 90 minutes. Add six quartered red potatoes. Cook for another 30 minutes. Serves six hungry people. Do not shorten the cooking time. Add a nice green salad and enjoy with a glass of red wine.

Mom’s party potatoes Contributed by Tim Grahek, account executive for Lamar Advertising Company The recipe originally came from my mother-in-law, but I’ve been making it for more than 12 years for all types of occasions. It goes great with tritip, turkey, ham, burgers and deep pit. I make this dish for everyone, and they typically ask me for the recipe. I have made a deal with neighbor who makes the best ribs. We exchange at most get-togethers — he brings the ribs and I bring the potatoes. I usually follow the recipe to Grahek the letter, but you can use onion powder as a replacement for those picky sister-in-laws who hate real onions. Ingredients: 32-ounce bag of frozen hash browns


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December 2012

16 ounces sour cream 2 cans cream of chicken soup 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese 1/3 cup butter 1 medium onion or 1 teaspoon onion powder 1 teaspoon marjoram 1 teaspoon dry mustard 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste 1/2 teaspoon pepper, or to taste Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt the butter. Mix all ingredients except for the hash browns. Then stir in the hash browns. Spread in a 9-by-12 inch greased pan. Bake for 1.5 to 2 hours. Enjoy!

Heavenly hash Contributed by Beth Hoffmann, director of operations and cofounder of Hoffman Hospice — This is a recipe my mother fixed only at Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. When I was growing up, I would help my mom prepare the holiday meals and Heavenly Hash was always on the menu. While it is deliciously rich in flavor, the main reason I consider it comfort food now, is from the memories of those special times with my mom. I have Hoffmann continued the tradition of only fixing this dish at the holidays, and now my daughter, Tori, helps me in the kitchen. The Heavenly Hash is always requested by family members; it’s one of those dishes that everyone enjoys and looks forward to each year. Ingredients: 1 can Eagle Brand condensed milk 1 small can black cherries 2 lemons, juiced 1 cup whipping cream 1 cup pecans 1 box vanilla wafers Directions: Mix Eagle Brand milk and lemon juice, and let stand until firm. Drain the cherries and cut into halves. Chop the pecans. Whip cream. Fold into the milk and lemon mixture with the chopped pecans and cherries. Line a Pyrex dish with crushed vanilla wafers, and pour the mixture over the top. Sprinkle with more vanilla wafer crumbs. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Continued on page 42

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Pumpkin squares Contributed by Pat Mount of Jane’s Jewelers — Ingredients for squares: 4 eggs 1-1/3 cups white sugar 1 cup vegetable oil 2 cups pumpkin 2 cups all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

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Pumpkin squares 42

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December 2012

1 teaspoon salt Ingredients for frosting: 3 ounces cream cheese, softened 1/2 cup softened butter 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 cups sifted powdered sugar Directions for pumpkin squares: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin in medium bowl with mixer until light and fluffy. Stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt until thoroughly combined. Spread batter evenly into an ungreased, 10-by-15 inch jelly roll pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until done. Cool before frosting. Note: You can also sprinkle chopped pecans or walnuts on top. Directions for frosting: Combine all ingredients and beat until fluffy.



Local singer Kelly Jean Sarratt Since moving here, Sarratt has been hitting high notes around town By Gabriel Ramirez

Photos by Mark Nessia


ocal singer Kelly Jean Sarratt, 44, has been singing professionally since she was in high school. She recently moved to Bakersfield last year and has begun hitting our local restaurants — you may have seen her most recently at the The Mark. Sarratt, who is often accompanied by her band The Hit Machine, enjoys singing everything from R&B and country to jazz and “old standards” from the 1930s. Sarratt shared a little more about herself with Bakersfield Life. Where else have you performed? Most of the places we perform are private events, like charity fundraisers and corporate parties at country clubs and event centers. In recent years, we have played events for Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rudy Giuliani, Chuck Norris, Southern California Edison ... and the Ronald Reagan Library. Some of the most fun events are for the fair and festival crowds. I have also performed the national anthem at several sporting events, which is always fun. I’m looking to add Cal State Bakersfield basketball games to that list this year. How did you get involved with singing? My favorite childhood memories are of my daddy singing and playing his guitar. As soon as I could speak, he was teaching me to sing his favorite songs with him. I loved to harmonize with him, singing to the radio in the car to the The Beach Boys, The Beatles and Jan and Dean. When I was in junior high school, I founded my first “garage band.” When I was 17, in 11th grade, I did my first performance with a real band, “The Bottom Line,” in the quad at lunchtime at my high school. What has been the most challenging aspect of establishing a singing career? Honestly, it was only challenging when I was young and naive about the music industry, and I was sure I was going to be the next Madonna. As an adult, I let go of my grandiose 44

Bakersfield Life Magazine

December 2012

Kelly Sarratt, who goes by Kelly Jean when performing, sings at The Mark Restaurant.

dreams of being a famous pop star and learned to enjoy singing and performing whenever I could. I have been blessed to be surrounded by a group of brilliant and accomplished musicians who have become my family. They introduced me to a whole different world of music. The latest “challenge” has been moving here to a new town and trying to find my place among the local Bakersfield music scene. Who is your favorite singer? Don’t laugh, but my daughter, Karianne, is my favorite singer. She is incredible, so much better than I was at her young age of 21. She has begun what is to be an incredibly bright future in music. Already famous singers I admire are Ella Fitzgerald, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Etta James, Christina Aguilera, Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, and

that little girl who came in second on “American Idol” last year, Jessica Sanchez. That girl has serious pipes! Can you tell us about a memorable moment in your singing career? More recently was the time I saw legendary singer Paul Anka sitting in the front row during a performance at the Sherwood Lake Country Club last year. After the set, I was introduced to him and I said, “Excited to meet you sir, I’m such a fan!” He replied, “Well, now I am a fan of yours as well!” What is life like off the stage? In my day job — as a Placer Title Company sales representative — I spend my days meeting with the real estate community in Bakersfield, Frazier Park and Pine Mountain Club. In my free time, I enjoy working out at the gym, gardening and hanging out with my family. This summer I married my best friend, Jeff, bought a house and started my new job as a sales rep. I am the mother of two awesome kids, and I also have two fantastic stepchildren. How would you describe the music scene in Bakersfield? The music scene in Bakersfield is rich and diverse. It seems like there is always somewhere to find great live music any night of the week. I am excited about the opportunity to work with some new people. I am so glad I moved to a place that has such a sincere appreciation for music. What are your hopes for the future of your career? Just to keep on singing. Continue to travel with the band, and work some of the cool venues here in town with the fantastic talent I’m finding in Bakersfield. I would love to play with a band at the (Buck Owens’) Crystal Palace someday. How can people get a chance to hear you? Most of my upcoming gigs are private events. But, I just had an absolutely fantastic night at The Mark restaurant downtown. I love this venue and hope to be a regular on their calendar. We are also working with the management at Cafe Med and Padre Hotel to book some dates for the band. Feel free to get in touch with my manager and husband, Jeff Sarratt, for booking availability: And friend me on Facebook, and you can find Hit Machine at Myspace for a few samples.


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Leanne Ferris A vision of biscotti, salted caramels and cake pops dance in her head

Leanne Ferris with a display of her holiday sweets. 46

Bakersfield Life Magazine

December 2012

Compiled by Hillary Haenes

Photos by April Massirio


rom the perfectly frosted Christmas tree-shaped sugar cookies to the melt-in-your-mouth mini peppermint meringues, it’s easy to see that Leanne Ferris certainly knows how to get into the spirit of the holiday season — and make Santa’s good list, too! Ferris, 27, vice president of Technical Wire Line Service Inc., is one impressive baker who always has sweets to offer family and friends when they visit. “The holidays are a perfect opportunity to share the things I love with the people I love,” Ferris said.

Cooking advice My first experience in the kitchen: I was always curious about the goings-on in the kitchen, but didn’t start my own experimenting until high school. Even then, I mostly stuck to simple cakes and cookies, but after I got married, cooking and baking became more of a priority. I want to be able to provide home-cooked meals for my husband and family, so I’m always looking to improve and learn new skills in the kitchen. What I like to have on hand when family and friends come to visit: I will either have a cake (usually chocolate with chocolate frosting), chocolate chip cookies or sugar cookies with poured fondant icing or some homemade caramels (because I’m obsessed). Everything goes better with: Chocolate! I always mess up: Bread. I love making bread, but I have yet to master the right consistency. I rock at making: Cookies and cake. I can whip those up in a pinch! One of my cooking secrets: Be confident and don’t fuss too much. How I find inspiration to create a new recipe: I browse blogs, Pinterest or one of my many cookbooks. If I could spend a day with a famous chef, it would be: Ree Drummond of “The Pioneer Woman,” because I like her style of cooking and she seems very personable. She doesn’t tend to use a lot of off-the-wall ingredients, and therefore makes it easy to experiment with her recipes. She seems like she would be a great teacher. Advice I would ask her: I would love to know where she gets her inspiration and her favorite thing to make. Also, I would be interested to know what she’s not good at making and why. Baking is important to me, especially around the holidays because: The holidays are a perfect opportunity to share the things I love with the people I love. I mostly bake for friends and family for parties or as gifts. Around the holidays I like to make chocolate covered toffee, peppermint bark and caramels and then anything new that sounds like fun (holiday cookies, cinnamon rolls, pie, etc.).

things up, especially a double or triple batch of something. Must-have kitchen tools: A good selection of whisks, spatulas, wooden spoons, knives, measuring cups and spoons. Spice cabinet essentials: Garlic salt, sea salt, whole black pepper to grind, basil, parsley, thyme, cinnamon and vanilla. Go-to cookbooks: I probably go to Pinterest more than my cookbooks. Ingredients that I dislike: I don’t like mushrooms or most seafood, and I’m not a huge fan of steak. I buy this in bulk: Flour, sugar, powdered sugar, brown sugar, eggs and butter. Thank you, Sam’s Club! Cooking show I watch: “The Pioneer Woman,” “Good Eats” and “Cake Boss.” Dream kitchen appliance: I would love to have a gourmet kitchen!

Pomegranate Sparklers Makes 10 servings 1 bottle (750 ml) sparkling rosé wine, chilled 2-1/2 cups chilled pomegranate juice 2/3 cup pomegranate seeds Sugar for glass rim Apply sugar to rim of glass by wetting the outside rim with a fresh lime wedge. Then fill a saucer or bowl with sugar, hold the glass parallel to the table and dab the rim in the sugar while slowly turning the glass. Shake off any excess sugar over the sink. Pour sparkling wine into champagne flutes or tall glasses, leaving room for the pomegranate juice. Add 1/4 cup of pom juice to each glass. Garnish each glass with 1 tablespoon of pomegranate seeds.

Globe-trotting Favorite neighborhood restaurant and my order: That would have to be Benji’s French Basque Restaurant. I always order the set-up. Favorite specialty food shop: I recently discovered a

Continued on page 48

Tools of the trade Favorite piece of cooking equipment: My KitchenAid stand mixer because it’s so much quicker and easier to mix

Ferris sugaring the tops of the linzer cookies.


Continued from page 47 wonderful chocolate candy shop in Spokane, Wash., called Spokandy. I can’t wait to go back and sample more of their delicious candies. Favorite bakery: I don’t have just one, but I can say that I really enjoy bakery hopping in Solvang.

A few of my favorite things

Frosting the chocolate cupcakes.

Favorite meal to make: Homemade pizza is one of my favorite things to make. I love making the dough from scratch (preferably thin crust) and coming up with different topping combinations. I'm pretty sure my husband is sick of pizza now. Always in the fridge: Eggs, milk and butter. Best pick-me-up snack: A spoonful of peanut butter or a banana. I’m addicted to: Plain, chocolate covered or salted caramels. Favorite Christmas dessert: My mother-in-law’s chocolate pie. My go-to holiday cocktail: I’m more of a wine girl. Comfort food: My mom’s recipe for pot roast. Splurge at the grocery store: High quality chocolate to bake with. Favorite food discovery of 2012: Salted caramels!


Bakersfield Life Magazine

December 2012

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On the Road

Riches on the road 2013 Lexus LS460 likely to spoil drivers

Bakersfield Life's assistant managing editor Jorge Barrientos and wife Carla take a cruise through The Marketplace in the 2013 Lexus LS.

By Jorge Barrientos

Photos by Michael Lopez


here is a danger in test driving a brand new car that has all the bells and whistles. And the danger is that after you’re done driving it, and if you don’t buy it, you have to return to your own car. For me, that’s a 2006 Honda Accord. It’s a fine car — one that is good on gas, clean, and low maintenance; it gets you from point A to point B just as good as any other car. But my car doesn’t sync up with my phone as soon as I approach it and doesn’t start playing my music instantly. My car doesn’t unlock automatically as I touch the door handle, and it doesn’t start at the push of a button while the key is still in my pocket. My car doesn’t have leather seats that feel more like a recliner. And it doesn’t make it feel like I’m hovering over the road as opposed to driving on it. 50

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The 2013 Lexus LS460 does all of the above, and much, much more. I drove it for a few days, to and from work and out to dinner a few times. The LS is an upgrade from the 2013 Lexus ES that Bakersfield Life editor Olivia Garcia reviewed for the November issue — and overall, it’s bigger and roomier than the ES, with a few more features. Both flaunt the new Lexus redesigned, sportier body. And the features are aplenty: • Sensors throughout the exterior of the car to make sure you never bump anything — and they are always aware of activity in your blind spots. • Tons of tech features that are easy to figure out and useful in your day-to-day life, including a navigation system on a 12.3-inch split screen, high-resolution multimedia display. The display also features the Lexus Enform App Suite that allows

Take control of the Lexus LS with a hands-on steering wheel and a multimedia display.

It’s all in the details

Sensors throughout the exterior of the Lexus LS warn drivers of any close danger.

you to connect to Bing search engine, iHeartRadio and Pandora, order movie tickets and make dinner reservations. The display is manueverable with an easy-to-use joystick tool in the middle console. The car comes with several free services for a year, including an S.O.S. connect for emergencies. • And the LS is powerful, sporting a 4.6-liter, 386 horsepower V8 engine. Even with so much power, the ride — on 19-inch wheels no less — is as smooth and silent as can be. It offers several driving modes including “eco” for fuel efficiency, “sport” to really push the engine, and comfort for a smoother ride. “You get spoiled with all of the little things in the car,” said Motor City Lexus product specialist Heidi Hierlmeier. “There’s a lot you can do to make your life easier.”

Mileage — Price Tag 24 mpg highway rating — $71,990

Three words that define the 2013 Lexus LS460: Like no other.

Target customer? Quality conscious auto enthusiasts who enjoy the finer things in life.

What do you like the most about the 2013 Lexus LS? I love how the LS represents the “new” look of Lexus. The latest rendition of the LS engages a new interior, innovative new technology and outstanding quality that reinforces our reputation.

What makes the 2013 Lexus LS460 stand out from others? It’s a luxury sedan with design, detail, engineering and quality that sets it apart from the competition. And it shows in every aspects of the LS — technical, design and assembly that illuminate the attention Lexus has lavishly given to this sedan.

The vehicle is perfect for ... Letting your impulses drive! They are seen and felt. Source: Lezley Pumphrey, Marketing Manager, Motor City Auto Center

Continued on page 52


Continued from page 51 Another example, the steering wheel — crafted with Shimamoku Japanese wood to match the grain used throughout the interior trims — puts all vital car controls literally in the palm of your hands. And by vital controls I mean hands-free phone functions, music volume and track changing. And perhaps my favorite feature — the 19-speaker, 450-watt Mark Levinson Premium Surround Audio System. Warning music lovers: factory settings have the bass and treble at the middle levels. I wasn’t having that. First thing I did was turn them all the way up and blast away. The sound was golden. One downside: the car’s computer system calculated that I averaged 14 mpg while driving throughout Bakersfield in stop-and-go traffic. That’s not great, but what else would you expect from a V8 engine? I chauffeured the wife a bit while she tested the back seat, which could fit my tallest passengers comfortably. She especially liked that mirrors came down from the roof for each backseat passenger, much like on sun visors in the front seats. The LS also comes in a powerful hybrid model, too — one that goes from 0 to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds, according to Lexus.


Control the Lexus LS with various driving modes, and an ergonomic joystick for the multimedia display.



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Hometown Hero

Matthew Johnson United States Navy Compiled by Emily Claffy

Photos courtesy of Matthew Johnson

Age: 22 Assignment: Patrol Squadron Eight Stationed: Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Fla. I have been in the military for: 3 1/2 years Why I decided to join: I wanted to better my life. I was seeking a solid direction and career path, which the Navy has provided me. I also wanted an opportunity to experience different parts of the world. I have been fortunate enough to experience different cuisines, ways of life and traditional customs in the different places where I have been deployed.

Why I continue to serve: I love my job, and what I do for my country. I love to fly, and all other aspects of what my job entails. I recently earned my wings and am now a Naval air 54

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December 2012

crew warfare specialist. I was an electronic warfare operator on a P-3C aircraft — a radar operator that employs other sensors in a multi-role environment including anti-submarine warfare surveillance and reconnaissance, and search and rescue. Valuable advice I have learned while in the military: Everything comes with a price. Things that are important are always worth working for. It has taken almost three years to complete my training from start to finish, with countless hours studying, preparing and training for different situations that may arise while performing my duties. What I like most about my job: I love to fly. I have been deployed to: South Asia, Bahrain, Guam, and Okinawa and Misawa, Japan. While I have never been stationed at any of the locations, our deployments usually ran about six months. What I learned during my deployments: I learned that even though communicating back home is difficult, you'll always find a way. I love talking to my wife and son even though it is difficult to watch him grow up so quickly. I talk with my grandparents and parents, but not as frequently as I would like to, or should for that matter. What I miss most about Bakersfield: I have family that I miss in Bakersfield, but I also miss my wife, Lindsey, and my son, Tucker, back home in Jacksonville, Fla. My favorite activity to do while I’m home is: I miss those lazy days on the couch with my wife watching sports. I stay connected with friends and family by: Facebook, email and FaceTime are all great ways to stay in touch while I’m away. My greatest military accomplishment so far is: Earning my gold “aircrew wings” warfare device. This year, I would like to accomplish: I would love to go back to school and finish earning an associate or bachelor’s degree, although I am currently undecided in what course of study to pursue. When I return home: The first thing I will do when I step off that plane is hug my wife and new baby and kiss them both. Those are the moments you just want to last forever.

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All-Star Athlete

Alyssa Gammel

By Stephen Lynch

Photo by Michael Lopez


lyssa Gammel is back to playing her style of volleyball. And the results have been impressive, to say the least. After starting out her college career at Virginia Tech, the former Centennial High standout, is now happier and playing better than ever since transferring to Boise State. The 5-foot-9 outside hitter was one of the Broncos leaders in kills and kills per game during her recently completed sophomore season. “We have been playing really well,” Gammel said in an interview toward the end of the season. “The games that we have lost — a lot of them — have been … by two points. It’s been a fun season with these girls. We’re working hard every day in the gym to do better. And I feel it’s been a growing season for us. It’s been a fun year.” Gammel came to Boise State in January after competing for Virginia Tech in the fall last year. That decision was based mainly on a playing style preference. Gammel liked the players and coaches at Virginia Tech but didn’t care particularly for the Hokies’ slower-paced offensive approach. “It had to do with their style of coaching, too,” Gammel said. “I love the coaches there on a personal level, but it wasn’t what I was looking for.” The move to Bose State wasn’t a difficult one since Gammel had been recruited by the school out of high school and already knew the coaches there. Gammel adapted to her new surroundings almost overnight. “I was able to make the transition fast because I’m used to the style of play here,” Gammel said. “And with the girls on the team, it was really easy. The seniors that are here were freshman when I took my recruiting visit. I stayed in contact with one of them (Liz Harden). It was really easy to get to know all the girls, which made connecting with people on the court and playing with everybody just as easy.” The immense athletic ability and volleyballs skills that Gammel is now showcasing at Boise State are something that made her one of the top high school players in the history of Kern County. Gammel racked up countless awards and accolades during her prep career at Centennial High School. She also led the Golden Hawks to a pair of Central Section championships. Recently she got to return home and play in front of her hometown fans again when on Oct. 6, CSU Bakersfield hosted a match against Boise State. “It was nice because we had a little team dinner at my house,” Gammel said. “I got actually go home and visit with

It was really easy to get to know all the girls, which made connecting with people on the court and playing with everybody just as easy.

Alyssa Gammel was a two-time Californian All-Area Player of the Year at Centennial. 56

Bakersfield Life Magazine

December 2012

my sister and parents and my dogs and stuff. It was nice to be able to play in front of the people in town that have supported me growing up through middle school and high school and then through club.” An honor roll student at Centennial, Gammel is now majoring in social sciences. “Right now, I just plan on getting my degree in that and seeing what kind of career opportunities open up to me,” she said. “But I do want to be a personal trainer, along (with) whatever career I decide to go with. I really like working out and I like pushing people to work out, also. “I want to be active in my career. Growing up being in a gym basically every day, I’ve just grown to love it.” Gammel said the reason she enjoys volleyball so much has to do with how much teamwork is involved in the game. “I love knowing that you all have to work together in order to win,” Gammel said. “You can’t just rely on one person. It takes everybody.” A devout Christian, Gammel said one of her favorite things about playing collegiate volleyball is being able to interact with kids and be a positive role model for them. “Knowing that you’re having a positive influence on younger kids just by being yourself and going out and having fun playing a sport that you play, I think that is a big highlight for me.”

Alyssa Gammel facts Born Nov. 1, 1992 in Bakersfield. Family includes parents Tim and Kristy Gammel and

sisters Ensley and Bailey. Ensley plays softball at the University of Florida. Four-year varsity starter at Centennial High. As a freshman helped the Golden Hawks win the Central

Section Division II championship. Senior year was named first-team All-State after leading

Centennial to Central Section Division I title. Averaged 4.8 kills per game her final season at

Centennial High. Two-time (2009-2010) Bakersfield Californian All-Area

Player of the Year. Played seven years of club volleyball for Club Jamba in

Bakersfield. Selected to the all-tournament team for the USA

Junior Olympic Tournament. Recorded 32 kills, 26 digs and seven blocks in her

collegiate debut.


Talk of the Town

Politics Elected officials give glimpse into personal thoughts Compiled by Bakersfield Life Magazine


oo often we know our elected officials too little. We asked a few winners from the recent election to share a little about themselves by answering some questions — ones they normally wouldn’t have been asked in a debate. Here’s how they responded.

Kevin McCarthy U.S. House of Representatives, District 23 Winner What's on your playlist? I have a little bit of everything from Adele to Johnny Cash to Mercy Me, everything in the 1980s, to Train and definitely U2. What’s the first thing you do in the morning? Judy and I take our dog Mac out for a run. I’m great at: Being optimistic. I’m lousy at: Sticking to my diet. What’s your current state of mind? Despite our nation’s economic challenges, I remain optimistic on our nation’s future. We have to get back and reapply the principles that make our country exceptional — freedom, opportunity and free enterprise. What’s your most treasured possession? Our kitchen table. Some of the most meaningful conversations have taken place there. Our kids grew up around that table. What is your greatest fear? That my children will not have the same opportunities that past generations have had. When and where were you happiest? When Judy said “I do” and when Connor and Meghan were born. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I would like to have a better singing voice.

Bob Smith


Bakersfield City Council, Ward 4 Winner

McCarthy 58

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December 2012

I’m great at: Seeing the big picture. As a civil engineer I’m forced to work out all of the small details, but my natural inclination is to focus on the big picture. It seems to work out well as most problems you need to understand the big picture and then break it down into manageable parts. I’m lousy at: Keeping my desk cleaned off. I like to have everything at my fingertips. What has been your favorite journey? My life with Pammy, my lovely bride. She was my high school sweetheart and we have now been married for 38 years. We have grown up together and discovered all the joys and challenges of life together. What’s your current state of mind? An overwhelming sense of gratitude for every day, and the adventure that it brings. I am thankful for the life that I have been given and try to give joy to others as I have been given joy. What’s your most treasured possession? My health. I understand that it is a gift and I work hard at doing my part to keep it. I work exercise into the flow of everyday by bicy-



cling for almost all trips in town. I eat lots of fruits and vegetables. I’m kind of boring that way (I also like dessert). Great life accomplishment? Maintaining a passionate

marriage and raising four wonderful children. I realize that even when you do everything “right,” things can go wrong. But I have worked hard and stayed focused and it has worked well for me. On what occasion do you lie? I used to tell big lies during Christmas season about how the presents got under the tree. Not so much anymore. When and where were you happiest? Here and now. Life has different seasons and I try to enjoy every moment of every one. Which living person do you most admire? I most admire my wife Pamela Gaylene Smith. She is truly a remarkable person. She is a loving wife and a wonderful, intentional mother. As life brings us different seasons she joyfully (with some anxiety) dives into our new challenges and opportunities. The most recent: running for City Council.

Shannon Grove 34th Assembly District Winner Fictional hero: Tonto from The Lone Ranger What are your talents? Not sure it’s a talent, but I love helping people — whether it’s finding a job or some personal need they have. It probably makes me happier than the person I’m helping. What's on your playlist? Jeremy Camp, David Crow-

Continued on page 60

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Rudy Salas 32nd Assembly District Winner Fictional hero: Clark Kent, Superman

What are you reading? “Reinventing Government” by David Osborne and Ted Gaebler. What’s on your playlist? The Beatles, Ramon Ayala, Blink 182, Johnny Cash, Fito Olivares and Rihanna. What’s the first thing you do in the morning? I brush my teeth, check email and read the news. What do you most value in a friend? Loyalty and a great sense of humor. I’m great at: Listening and Salas helping solve problems. I’m lousy at: Picking a winning fantasy football team. What’s your current state of mind? Focused on helping improve the lives of those in our community. What’s your most treasured possession? A gold cross pendent that was a gift from my grandparents. What is your greatest fear? Not having the impact I know can have by bringing people together. What or who is the greatest love of your life? My family. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I would not give in to my sweet tooth so often and order more healthy salads. PHOTO BY FELIX ADAMO

Continued from page 59 der, Third Day, Passion Worship Band What’s your weakness? My granddaughter Presley. And my dog Lilly. What’s the first thing you do in the morning? Kiss my husband and read my Bible. What do you most value in a friend? Trust and loyalty. If you could change one thing about yourself, Grove what would it be? Taller and a better listener. What is your motto? Do it today, do it now. Delay only means you’re behind. What is your greatest fear? Our children and grandchildren’s future. Will they be safe and secure and able to provide for their families in the next 20, 40 years? What has been your favorite journey? Life.



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Bakersfield Life Magazine

December 2012

For a Cause

Christmas for Seniors Give the gift of volunteering this season

By David Luter

Photos by Gregory D. Cook


hat started out as a single box of donations seven years ago, has grown into a program that served 1,480 Kern County seniors last

Christmas. Bakersfield Police Department’s Christmas for Seniors program has one goal in mind: To make life a little easier for the elderly in our community by providing basic everyday items that seniors cannot afford to purchase. This program focuses on providing seniors products that most people take for granted — items like two-ply toilet paper, books, bedding and food are often a luxury item to them. The gifts are distributed to low-income, homebound or isolated seniors, especially veterans. Sandy Morris, BPD’s community relations specialist, started the program after doing several “Stay Safe in the Neighborhood” presentations. That program connected her with seniors in and around Bakersfield, and she learned that quite a few of them do without some of the most basic needs. And they never ask for anything.

Where is the program headquartered? Initially, the program was started at the Bakersfield Police Activities League hall, but it soon grew too big to operate the program from, so the program was moved to the Carriage House Estates, which as of last year, also became too small. This year, the program has a new home at the East Hills Mall, which was generously provided by the mall management. All wrapping, sorting and preparing is taking place at Santa’s Workshop from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday this season.


Bakersfield Life Magazine

December 2012

Sandy Morris, who heads the Bakersfield Police Department’s Christmas for Seniors program, displays the contents of one of the gift boxes that will be given out.

Who can help? Everyone can help, and sponsors are needed. The BPD, PG&E, Tel-Tec, Albertsons and The Bakersfield Californian are but a few of the generous sponsors that have helped in this endeavor every year. Albertsons sells “Turkey Bucks,” and the money generated from the turkey dollars is used to make a complete turkey dinner that is then delivered to the seniors. Last year, Albertsons was able to give 900 Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners to seniors in need. PG&E does fundraisers and has stepped in to hold a mid-year event, “Christmas in July,” that gives gifts seniors will enjoy during those hot summer months.

What can we do to help?

Volunteer Christina Galindo wraps one of the many gift boxes that will be filled with donated sundries and gifts.

Every year the group strives to reach more and more seniors and lend a helping hand. To do this requires an army of volunteers. Jobs like creating ornaments, collecting gifts, wrapping them, writing letters and delivering the gifts to the seniors takes more people every year. Getting started is easy! Each senior has an ornament with his or her name on it. They can be found at the BPD offices at 1601 Truxtun Ave. or 1301 Buena Vista Road; Carriage House Estates at 8200 Westwold Drive; Storage One at 4500 Panama Lane; and Santa’s Workshop at the East Hills Mall. These ornaments and gifts need to be returned by Dec. 3. If you’ve missed that window and you want to give something, call

Continued on page 64

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Volunteers from Pacifica Senior Living decorate envelopes for gift cards.

Continued from page 63

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Bakersfield Life Magazine

December 2012

and see what can be brought into the workshop. Every year we have special needs, and this year one of those needs is batteries for a motorized chair. Other gifts like jigsaw puzzles, and crossword and word search books are welcome. Kitchen items like sponges, dish towels and dish soap are useful and in demand. Blankets, pillows, sheets, bath towels and wash clothes are often overlooked, but needed. Items that the seniors really crave are gift cards to grocery stores and pharmacies. If you decide to bring in gift cards, please remember to tape a receipt to the back of the card and remove all of your credit card info if it is on there. If donating your time is something you would like to do, we have a lot of work that always needs to be done. Come and spend some time at the workshop. The helpers strive to have fun while sorting, preparing and wrapping the gifts. Bring your kids or grandchildren, and help teach them the value of giving to the community, especially if they need to fulfill service hours for a school or church project. If you don’t feel like wrapping, but want to get out there, take on the role of deliveries. All these gifts need to get out somehow! Some local car clubs — like the Model A Ford Club of America, Bakersfield Chapter — makes a day of it going to the different locations dressed in period clothing, handing out the gifts, and meeting the recipients. Some of the seniors see the old cars and get a twinkle in their eye, and a wry smile forms across their face. Who knows what memories you will stir as you hand them a gift? All in all, this could be one of the most rewarding projects you have ever been a part of.

12 items seniors often go without 1. Two-ply toilet paper 2. Dryer fabric softener sheets 3. Shaving cream, disposable razors 4. Cleaning supplies 5. Quality shampoo, cream rinse and lotions

6. Body soap, deodorant, powder 7. Paper towels 8. Laundry detergent 9. Lip balm, lipstick and make-up 10. Kleenex 11. Brushes and combs 12. Hand sanitizer

Dates to remember Dec. 3: Deadline to have gifts back to adoption sites, East Hills Mall or the Bakersfield Police Department Dec. 5: 5 p.m. Community gift wrap at churches at East Hills Mall Dec. 8: 5 p.m. Community gift wrap at East Hills Mall Dec. 10 to Dec. 16: Delivery of gifts to the centers and individual homes

Christmas For Seniors Workshop Address: East Hills Mall, 3000 Mall View Road, Suite 1125 (west end near Hope Christian Book Store) Phone: 703-8893 Email: Facebook search: Bakersfield Christmas For Seniors

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Bakersfield Life Magazine

December 2012


Terry Nachtigall manages 140 acres of almonds and 35 acres of alfalfa.

nuts Kern County’s

By Kevin McCloskey

Terry Nachtigall Terry A. Nachtigall Farms Fresno-native Terry Nachtigall began his career as an elementary school teacher then switched to agriculture after “marrying the farmer’s daughter” and moving to Wasco in 1983, he said. With 140 acres of almond trees, Nachtigall Farms produces almonds for the wholesale market. About 22 percent of the almonds grown in California come from Kern County.

Terry Nachtigall cleans out residue in the irrigation system in his orchard.



f you think Kern County is full of nuts, you don’t know the half of it. We are the prime region for California nut production, and California is the No. 1 nut provider in the nation. And with export markets increasing, nuts show no signs of slowing down. Here are some of the people and places in town leading the way.

“And we are very fortunate that we have the climate to grow them so successfully,” Nachtigall said. There are challenges to growing nuts for a living, including the availability of water for irrigation, the cost of fuel for the equipment and the unpredictable elements of nature,

Continued on page 68



California • Our state grows 98 percent of the nation’s pistachio crop, and the United States is the second largest producer in the world, after Iran. • About 99 percent of the nation’s walnuts are harvested from California trees, which account for nearly three-quarters of the world’s walnuts. • About 99 percent of our national almond harvest comes from the Golden State, and is more than 80 percent of the global supply. Kern County • In 2011, our almond harvest was valued at more than $725 million, our second-highest agricultural commodity, just behind milk. • Pistachios ranked sixth at $389 million, down slightly from the 2010 record of $533 million. • About 147,000 acres here are devoted to almonds, and 62,800 acres for pistachios. SOURCE: American Pistachio Growers, California Walnut Commission, Almond Board of California, 2011 Kern County Agricultural Crop Report


Bakersfield Life Magazine

Jennifer Rogers Etcheverry on the family’s 200-acre farm.

Continued from page 67 Nachtigall said. One bad windstorm at the wrong time of year can knock blossoms off the trees and substantially reduce the year’s harvest yield. But unlike cotton, which Nachtigall farmed for 20 years, almond trees don’t have to be replanted every season, and they can continue to produce well into their 20s. With all the research being done on the health benefits of almonds, Nachtigall said, “It’s really fun and satisfying to grow something that’s good for you.”

Jennifer Rogers Etcheverry My Husband’s Nuts

Jennifer Rogers Etcheverry, also known as “The Farmer’s Wife,” married into the farming business in 1989. As the Etcheverry’s new almond crop matured, the market declined. In a moment of frustration, she said to her husband, “What do I have to do, go sell your nuts for you?” Jennifer’s brother suggested they name the new business “My Husband’s Nuts,” and the rest is retail history. Out of a modest 200-acre farm, the Etcheverrys still package and label all products by hand, and are December 2012


Nuts: By the Numbers

currently selling in 20 states. The almonds come in four flavors: butter toffee, natural smoke, chili con lemon and onion garlic, as well as raw. Jennifer’s focus on the retail side of the business has created for her a side job as a public speaker, and she continues to be amazed and grateful for the support of the people in Kern County, she said.

Yurosek Farms Yurosek Farms has been growing pistachios in Kern County for more than 25 years. From the tree to your table, Yurosek takes special care of its product every step of the way, including slow roasting the old fashioned way to ensure the quality and flavor of their gourmet pistachios. In addition to salted and unsalted, Yurosek Farms has three varieties of flavored pistachios: garlic, jalapeno and chili lemon. Pistachios are one of the heart-healthy nuts that may help to reduce the risk of heart disease. And with 49 nuts per ounce serving, they are a filling and delicious source of fiber, vitamins and minerals. As an added benefit, shelling and eating pistachios one by one forces you to slow down while eating, and feel full faster. Nutritionists call this the “pistachio principle.”


Kern County Nut Festival

Yurosek Farms has been growing pistachios in Kern County for more than 25 years. This coming June will mark a new chapter in Kern County agricultural history with our very own nut festival. It will be modeled after Gilroy’s annual garlic event, and will focus on the popularity of our biggest nut crops, and their health benefits. It’s no secret that nuts are nutritious. Studies rave about the health benefits of nuts and nut products: Almonds may reduce heart disease; walnuts may improve memory and brain function; pistachios may reduce your cholesterol. Nuts are most nutritious when eaten raw or roasted and unsalted. The event will be held June 14 and 15 at the Kern County Museum. A portion of the proceeds will go to the nonprofit groups who staff the festival with volunteers.






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Military athlete Local student readies for athletic, academic future through Air Force prep school By Stephen Lynch


Bakersfield Life Magazine

December 2012



yler Harris has wanted to play NCAA Division I basketball since he was about 5 years old. Harris, a 2012 Bakersfield Christian High School graduate, is currently pursuing that goal in a way not typically expected — not even by him. Instead of attending one of the several four-year colleges that expressed interest in his basketball playing ability, the 6-foot, 3.5-inch guard is attending the U.S. Air Force Academy Prep School in Colorado Springs, Colo. “It’s a school where you come and prepare both militarily, academically and physically for the Air Force Academy,” Harris said. “I was recruited ... to play basketball, but they thought it would be beneficial for me to come down here and play for a year.” Harris, who had 3.1 GPA at Bakersfield Christian High, became comfortable with his decision after talking to Air Force Academy recruiters. “When they asked me how I thought my study skills were and how my time management was, I told them honestly that it really wasn’t that good,” Harris said. “So when they heard that, and the fact that I never had a military background or anything like the military involved in my life, they felt it was better if I came here for one year and improved myself, so I’d be completely ready for freshman year.” During the first 18 days at the Air Force Prep School, he and all the other cadet candidates had to take an oath of enlistment and go through vigorous basic military training. “It was basically like boot camp. Everybody wakes up at 4 a.m., and does what they tell you to do until about 10 o’clock at night … You get yelled at all the time,” Harris said. “They’re basically trying to introduce you to how the military works.”

Tyler Harris, who played for Bakersfield Christian High School, shoots over a Tehachapi High defender, last January. Harris, who is now at the U.S. Air Force Academy Prep School, scored 41 points in that game

While in basic military training, Harris was only allowed to call his family — parents, Donald and Leticia, and younger brother, Tanner — a total of two times, for five minutes each time. But Harris did have the comfort of having a newfound friend beside him. Former Bakersfield High standout wrestler Natrelle Demison is also attending the prep school in hopes of wrestling at the Air Force Academy next year. The two Bakersfield natives live in the same dormitory and go to dinner together on a regular basis. “I didn’t really know him that well, but kind of made a friendship before we got here,“ Harris said “So the fact that I already had a friend before I came is really cool.” The two like to hang out together when they have free time, and also help each other with homework. “I help him with his English and he helps me with my math,” Harris said.

School and basketball Besides juggling schoolwork and other military commitments while at the prep school, Harris will also play basketball there. Even during his short time there, Harris has already noticed a big difference from high school basketball, where he thoroughly dominated the competition: aver-

Tyler Harris takes part in basic military training in July at the U.S. Air Force Academy Prep School in Colorado Springs, Colo.


Family and friends

aging 23.9 points, 9.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.9 steals per game as a high school senior. “Obviously everybody here is better,” he said. “It’s college and I expected it. This is kind of the best of the best.” Harris said he thinks playing a year at the Air Force Prep School will help him next year at the academy since both schools run the same offense, and it will give him a

Continued on page 72


impact as a freshman if they give me the opportunity to play right away.”


Waiting for his chance

Former Bakersfield High standout wrestler Natrelle Demison is also attending U.S. Air Force Academy Prep School.

Continued from page 71 chance to mature physically. Plus he’ll get a chance to get used to playing at the high altitude of Colorado Springs. “Playing against bigger and more talented guys is only going to make me better,” Harris said. “I’m preparing myself for the academy, so I can go ahead and make an

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Harris certainly hopes that he gets that chance. He’s been waiting for the moment since he was a young child. “A lot of people don’t believe me that I wanted to play Division I basketball since that young, but it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do,” Harris said. “The fact that they recruited me, and that other Division I schools recruited me, was like a dream come true. So when I got the chance to come here, even though I had to spend a year at the prep school, I couldn’t turn it down.” Before Harris can go to the Air Force Academy next year, he will need to secure a nomination from one of California’s two U.S. Senators, or U.S. Congressman Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield. He plans on studying acquisitions next year at the academy, which is similar to a business management degree. Harris isn’t sure about his long-term plans yet, but said he is certain that the road he is on will provide him with the best opportunity for future success. “(The Air Force Academy) is probably one of the most rigorous colleges that you can think of,” Harris said. “It is very stressful and very demanding on you, but the rewards and the benefits that you get while serving your country and moving up in the military rank, it’s unleveled by any other college ... I couldn’t pass that up.”

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December 2012

You’re invited to come and enjoy Bakersfield’s only WINTER PLAYGROUND. Holiday fun for everyone including:

• Face Painting • Ice Staking • Craft Room • Holiday Music • Visit with Santa • The most festive atmosphere in town!



t’s safe to say that the lyrics to the classic “12 Days of Christmas” carol are a bit of a mystery to us all. Sure, we all know those “fiiiive golden riiiiings,” but as for the other gifts? There’s something about leaping drummers, right? With all of the unknown surrounding this carol, Bakersfield Life wants to make sure that for

Dec. 1 Kern County Museum Holiday Lamplight Tours While the museum is open year-round for visitors hoping to catch a glimpse into the lives of the early Kern County settlers, the museum really turns on the charm for the holidays with a warm, authentic atmosphere. Visitors can tour the grounds by lamplight, hear stories told by costumed interpreters, purchase goods from street vendors or listen to carolers. Other highlights include a Victorian tea, Santa’s Workshop and theatrical performances.


Bakersfield Life Magazine

12 (nonconsecutive) days leading up to Christmas, you know exactly what’s going on. With so many great activities to do and memories to make, we’re taking the guesswork out of this month’s activities — leaving you with plenty of time to memorize that maddening, yet addicting, and downright lovable song.

Dec. 6 Bakersfield Christmas Parade With 20,000 spectators expected this year, we know you don’t need our recommendation to attend the annual event. However, we love it so much that we’re going to make sure you’re 100 percent sold. This free event is an all-ages crowd pleaser with a few new features this year. Along with the traditional parade of floats, marching bands, carriages and local performance groups (all honoring this year’s theme of “An American Christmas”), there will be a new Christmas Square marketplace where guests can sample food from local vendors, purchase products from local businesses and take the kids to the children’s activity center.

December 2012

Dec. 7 The Nutcracker Catch the classic ballet — performed by the dancers of Civic Dance Center and accompanied by the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra — at one of four showings this weekend at Rabobank Theater and Convention Center. This year’s ballet marks the 35th anniversary of the two talented groups’ collaboration and promises to be every bit as good as you (and Clara!) have dreamed.

Dec. 8 Chez Noel Tour some of Bakersfield’s finest homes, and most decked-out halls (and living rooms, kitchens and foyers). A ticket will get you into the doors of the three homes that have been selected for this year’s event. During the self-guided tour, docents — and often the homeowners themselves — will gladly answer questions about the elegantly decorated spaces. After the tour, guests are welcomed to the Assistant League of Bakersfield’s headquarters where they can enjoy a cup of coffee and browse the gift shop. All proceeds go toward Operation School Bell, which provides clothing to underprivileged children and Operation Hugs, which supplies teddy bears to children who are sick.

Dec. 9 Bakersfield Toy Run

Dec. 10 Color Me Mine’s Paint with Santa

For the 28th year in a row, anything loud and on wheels will be driving from Beach Park to the Kern County Fairgrounds where participants drop off toys to be delivered by the Salvation Army. Last year, between 4,000 and 5,000 motorcycles (with another 300 off-road vehicles) were on hand to help make the holidays a little easier for those in need. Riding four motorcycles wide, it took an estimated 18 minutes before the parade of vehicles all made it out of the park en route to the fairgrounds. Start your engines and your holiday season off right.

Who better to make holiday gifts with than the head toymaker himself? Color Me Mine Bakersfield will be hosting its Paint with Santa party where little artists and Santa Claus can collaborate on a handpainted handprint plate. The store will also host several other holiday events instore during December, including Santa’s Secret Workshop (perfect for gift making) and the Paint Me a Story Snowmenthemed event.
















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Dec. 12 Volunteer your time and give back In the famous carol, the 12th day of Christmas was the biggest gift-giving day of them all. To celebrate the giving spirit, donate to one of the countless number of local programs designed to help those in need during the most wonderful and, let’s face it, financially stressful, time of the year. A quick search will find a Toys for Tots drop-off location on nearly every corner, and the Salvation Army is in need of non-perishable food items and toys for kids up to 12 years old. Salvation Army items can be dropped off at the distribution center at 4417 Wilson Road on or before Dec. 17, with boxes of goods being distributed to families on Dec. 19.

Dec. 15 Go skating in a winter wonderland The San Joaquin Community Hospital Ice Center will create an indoor Winter Wonderland, complete with a 30-foot Christmas tree and snow on the ice each Friday and Saturday from now to Christmas Eve. Director Scott Hay said that Santa Claus is flown in each of these days to hang out with the kids, who in addition to ice skating, can play in the snow, make holiday crafts in the craft room, listen to holiday music or enjoy some hot chocolate and cookies at the snack bar.

Dec. 16 The Christmas Story at St. Paul’s Church It’s almost like the Peanuts Christmas special, but this time, the cute little kids are real and the production doesn’t go awry. The kids of St. Paul’s Church will be retelling the Christmas story for this one night-only event. Expect costumed kids (the lamb and angel costumes are always particularly adorable), lots of singing and tons of “awwws.”

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Dec. 20 The Brian Setzer Orchestra Christmas Rocks! Extravaganza with Totsy The Fox Theater will host this threetime Grammy-winning artist and his 18-member band for a night of new twists on classic Christmas music. Known for his blend of rockabilly, jazzy, swing and blues styles, Setzer will host a high-energy show with a complementary blend of innovation and oldfashioned rock that is sure to please the most discerning of music fans. For those who are weary of Victorian-style arrangements, this is a must-see.

Dec. 21 Lastminute shopping

Dec. 23 See the lights

We do it every year; the date never changes, but with only a few days left to go, we are still searching for the perfect gift. Try heading to the Marketplace where the Hoffman Hospice tree and storefront decorated windows will keep you in the holiday spirit as you browse through boutiques like Kaur and Bella, stores like Russo’s and Williams-Sonoma or pick up that lastminute card at Anna’s Cards & Gifts.

There’s no ideal way to do it, but the various transportation choices help ensure that everyone in the family can enjoy looking at the light shows that Bakersfield’s homes have to offer. For those who want to gaze in style, try a local limousine service to cruise through the streets around the Westchester area, which have some gems in otherwise dark neighborhoods. For those who want to stay active (and get a jump on burning off all those holiday calories), try biking through the streets of Haggin Oaks where you’ll see some of the most consistently well-decorated homes in town. And CALM Holiday Lights always makes for a good leisurely stroll.

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This do-it-yourself Christmas ornament ball is made from decorative tape, plastic leaves and berries, and colorful rhinestones.

Holiday ornaments Readers share the significance of ornaments they hang during the holidays Story and photos by Brian N. Willhite


andcrafting your own ornaments is one way to commemorate this holiday season, and share some quality time with loved ones in the process. Viola Buday, who teaches ornament crafting at Beverly’s Fabrics & Crafts, said making your own ornaments is inexpensive and easy to do. And the possibilities in what to use and how to craft them are endless. One of her favorite ideas is to use clear glass ornament balls to design herself. • Take an empty glass ball and water down some glue, and pour it around inside the ball until it is completely coated. • Add glitter and shake it up until the inner surface is coated. Dump out the excess glitter, and let it dry. • You can then decorate the exterior, too. Buday said making ornaments with children can be a great family event. Clay is a good material for children to work with because it’s easily malleable and good for painting. “Kids can have a ball making ornaments with clay,” Buday said. “Anything from a handprint to star cutouts to whatever they want.” The secret to a great ornament, she said, is the gratuitous use of glitter. “You can take just about anything and make an ornament out of it,” she said. “Just use a lot of glitter.” We wanted to know what ornaments held special significance for some of our readers. Here's what they shared: 80

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December 2012

Phyllis Hansen Phyllis Hansen’s favorite ornament is a testament to her love of God and country. Her homemade glass ball ornament pays tribute to those who gave their lives on 9/11. She crafted her ornament with some friends at church who wanted to commemorate the occasion. Inside each ball is a plastic slip that has an American flag on it with an inscription that reads, “One Nation” and “God Bless America.” A while back, Hansen had an opportunity to visit the memorial site at ground zero, and while there, she also visited the nearby fire station that had a wall with photos of the people who lost their lives in the event. A firefighter came to greet her and com-

Phyllis Hansen holds out her 9-11 commemorative ornament that she made with her friends to celebrate and remember the lives of those lost during the attacks.

fort her as she looked at the wall. “I stood there and started crying, and he said, ‘Honey, it’s OK, we’re doing fine,” said Hansen. “You know,” she said to the fireman, “People in Bakersfield, we sat there, just sat there, because there was nothing we could do but pray.” Hansen said the fireman looked at her and told her, “That’s all we needed.”

Judy Owensby For Judy Owensby, her favorite ornaments are a set of three small Christmas-themed ceramic mice, and particularly one with a red hair bow and pink pajamas. It reminds her of her daughter as a little girl, she said, and the memories of their Christmases together. Owensby’s boss made the ceramic ornaments and when she saw them, she knew she had to have them. “This always made me think of her because it had the little pink footy pajamas and she had a pair just like those,” she said. Every year she would have a moment each Christmas where she and her little girl would sit and reminisce about those footy pajamas, no matter how old she was. Now, 30 years later, she still looks forward to hanging them on the tree and reliving all those memories. “I always look for them as one of the first ones to put up because it’s just good memories of her being a little girl and growing up.”

Ariel Morrow Ariel Morrow’s favorite Christmas ornament is gold star tree topper, one that takes her back to the first Christmas she and her

Continued on page 82


Continued from page 81 husband shared together as a family with their daughter. It was about six years ago, and the young trio had just moved into their first place, and couldn’t really afford much. But her mother-in-law gave them a small Christmas tree about 18 inches tall, so they could have a tree that year. They had no ornaments, so they decided to see what they could find. “We had seen this star we liked, and it was almost as big as the tree, but it was that one particular thing that stood out, so we bought it,” Morrow said. The large metal star weighed heavy on the tree but it didn’t matter to them. Their Christmas tree was complete, and since then, the star has been a fixture for their tree each year. “It reminds me of where we started off and it meant so much to us, too,” she said. “It was also something that our daughter thought was very special, so we’ll keep it with us to remind us of that first year we had Christmas together as a family.”

Odessa Powers Judy Owensby holds the three ceramic mice ornaments that she purchased 30 years ago. To this day she keeps them safely put away until it's time to put them on the tree.

For 88-year-old Odessa Powers, her favorite ornament reminds her of the bond she shared with a wonderful friend who passed away. Nearly 30 years ago, her friend handcrafted two angels from old magazine pages. She has admired them ever since and uses them to decorate her fireplace mantel

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Odessa Powers with the hand-crafted angels that her best friend made for her nearly 30 years ago out of old Reader's Digest magazines and craft supplies.

every Christmas. “I thought it was so unusual that you could make that pretty of an ornament out of some Reader’s Digest books,” she said. Powers said through the years, the angels have been a great conversation piece because people want to know about their origins. As she discusses how they were crafted, it also brings back fond memories of her dear friend, which always brings a smile to her face. “They mean a lot to me because she thought a lot of me to make something like that and give it to me,” Powers said. “And I've just treasured them all these years.”

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Battlefield Bakersfield Paintball, airsoft, laser tag: These local live shooting games will keep your adrenaline pumping By Katie Avery

Photos by Gregory D. Cook

Want to take part in a realistic battlefield experience without the risk of actually getting too hurt? There are plenty of options close to home. From paintball to laser tag to airsoft, these live shooting games can provide you and your friends with adrenaline pumped exercises here in Bakersfield. Go after each other, or defend your territory from zombies, for example. Here are a few places to go for some fun shooting action.

Paintball The original first person shooter

Airsoft enthusiast John Sebreros III peeks around a building with his pistol ready during a Gorilla Airsoft operation. 92

Bakersfield Life Magazine

December 2012

Every weekend at Poso Creek — about 15 miles northeast of Bakersfield — you can relieve the stress from your workweek by shooting people with a paintball gun. People come from all throughout Kern County to participate in this entertaining sport. Paintball is solely about force-on-force elimination, where teams shoot each other until there is a winner. It’s also one of the few shooting games that have real-life consequences — if you get hit with a paintball, you can feel it on your skin and you can see it on your clothing. That’s what separates it from its gun sport counterparts, and also makes it a lot harder to cheat. Professional paintball team L.A. Collision practices at Poso Creek Paintball for tournaments. The team competes nationally. Players from L.A. Collision said they started playing young, loved it and have been playing ever since. They like going to Poso Creek Paintball, they said, because of its location — the middle ground for players who are spread throughout California. This paintball team has hosted one-on-one tournaments open to all, where players face off individually, and the last one standing wins $1,500. The tournaments give local players the chance to be pitted against professionals from

throughout the state and has brought some attention to the paintball community in Bakersfield. Poso Creek Paintball has seen a rise in interest recently from recreational players, and expect to see even more people join in cooler weather. Poso Creek Paintball — at 24587 Round Mountain Road — is open to the public every weekend from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The minimum age for paintball is 12 years old.

Poso Creek Paintball has several fields available to challenge players of all levels.

Since the Battlefield Live weapons fire a harmless, eye-safe infrared beam, games can take place almost anywhere.

Laser tag Create your own adventure Laser tag arenas have graced our city for many years, but somehow just don’t seem to last. That all changed when Battlefield Live came to town. Battlefield Live is a new mobile laser tag unit that can be setup anywhere. Since the crew comes to you, the battlefield can be completely customizable. Battlefield Live began in 2007, and has gained popularity ever since. The crew sets up the field where you want it, teaches players how to play and programs each game. It provides a variety of weapons programmed with different sounds and languages. It also has a long list of various games or missions to play, including “capture the flag,” “last man standing,” “Civil War” and “Terminator.” Some of the most popular games include “zombie apocalypse,” “VIP escort” and “enemy lines.” They can also recreate airsoft and paintball games and missions from video games. “No two parties are the same,” said Steve Bennett, owner of Battlefield Live. Bennett said he was a fan of regular laser tag but thought, “There has to be more to it than this.” So, he set out to find a way to make it even better. With a mobile unit, he said, “My field can be anything I want.” Bennett said laser tag is most popular with birthday parties, but has hosted bachelorette parties, team-building exercises and Fourth of July family picnics, among other

events. Parents like it, too, because laser tag is safe — no projectiles are used in the games. “There’s no bruising, there’s no pain; it’s more skill,” Bennett said. Since Bakersfield Live can customize equipment, adults can play with 6-year-olds, making it an even field where multiple generations can join. Battlefield Live also offers water tag during the summer, which is similar to laser tag, but uses water guns instead. Bennett said he seeks to have a new adventure with every party. “That’s what we want to hear from everybody, ‘That was the best party ever,’” Bennett said. Battlefield Live showcased at the Kern County Fair last fall, with a full battlefield for the public. For more information on Battlefield Live, visit

Airsoft The rising star of shooting sports Airsoft is a shooting game derived from paintball, where players shoot at each other with soft pellets that don’t break the skin or cause injury, in a series of games and military exercises. It’s different from other shooting sports because it is closer to military simulation, and fans enjoy it for its reality. The guns are heavy, and the tactics and missions are the same as in combat. Jerry Ross, who owns Gorilla Airsoft in Bakersfield, said that airsoft is similar to real military simulations. “It’s realistic ... like playing army,” he said. Gorilla Airsoft is hosted at Poso Creek every other Sunday

Continued on page 95


At Havok Airsoft & CQB in southwest Bakersfield, airsoft enthusiasts play out a variety of scenarios in an indoor warehouse setting, practicing their close-quarters battle skills against one another.

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Continued from page 93 for a series of games open to the public. It starts with basic games like “force-on-force,” where one team tries to eliminate the other. It progresses to difficult games like “capture the flag,” “seek and destroy” and various other strategy games. Ross said he finds airsoft to be a great father-son activity, and sees a lot of families coming to play together. “It’s a good combination of nerdiness and jockness,” said gun technician Willi Reithofer, who works at Gorilla Airsoft. Airsoft uses missions seen in video games and real-life combat to draw a range of gamers. Parent Doug Kiernan was confident about letting his 13-yearold son into the airsoft games. “I left it all up to him,” he said. “He got shot a lot at first but loved it.” And that’s what keeps them and their friends coming back for more. For more information on Gorilla Airsoft, visit For another airsoft experience, try Havok Airsoft & CQB, an indoor airsoft arena at White Lane and Gosford Road. Havok is designed for a close quarters battle experience. It has man-made barricades set up, and even cars and sofas to hide behind. It is open to the public Wednesday through Saturday, and equipment can be rented or purchased here. For more information, visit

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Tina Cummings, aquatic director at Bakersfield College, practically grew up around the BC pool.

Bakersfield College swim clubs A lifelong hobby to enjoy year-round By James Licea

Photos by Henry A. Barrios


ina Cummings has been involved with swimming her entire life, and has even made it part of her career. As a child, Cummings — now the aquatics director and health instructor at Bakersfield College — was practically raised around the pool. “My mom had my job when I was a kid,” she said. Following in her mother’s footsteps, her entire family is now involved in swimming. Her three children help out 96

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December 2012

around the pool, and swim. Her husband, Charlie Pike, was the head swim coach at BC for several years, and currently assists with BC swim clubs, and helps maintain the pool there. Cummings is passionate about her job, she said, and argues there is a need for more pools in the area. When she first came to Bakersfield in 2001, neither of the local high schools had pools, and the public pools were starting to shut down. She began working at BC 11 years ago. Slowly, the number of swim clubs and programs offered in Bakersfield started to increase. “We basically have a program for everybody,” Cummings said of the Bakersfield Aquatics Club at BC. “I can’t think of a person who could walk onto this deck that I would say, ‘Oh, I don’t have anything for you.’” Cummings works with various age groups, from children to adults. One of her favorite parts of her job, she said, is leading adults in beginning swim classes. They are usually apprehensive about swimming at first. And when they start to learn to swim, they get excited.

The club hosts other programs for kids and adults — programs for fun, for aspiring athletes, or for someone who has been advised by a doctor to exercise. The club also offers individual training and seasonal water polo. On a typical day, the BC club can have about 200 children swimming around. Cummings said locals should be aware that the BC pool is open to everyone. Growing up around a pool her entire life has given Cummings and her family a hobby to share together, she said. Unlike other sports, “Swimming is something you can do for the rest of your life, and something that can be done year-round,” Cummings said. Many who take part in pool activities at BC early on in life make their way back later in life, Cummings said. Kids who were in clubs, for example, end up swimming for the BC swim team or working at the pool. “It’s like a big giant family,” Cummings said. “And if you come here and you’re involved, you’ll become part of the family.” For more information on swim programs at BC, visit or call 395-4663.

Members of the youth aquatics program swim laps at the BC pool.

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Christmas carolers Fa la la la la: ’Tis the season to sing By Allie Castro

Photos by Felix Adamo


hey are featured in numerous Christmas movies, festively dressed in old-fashioned costumes, spreading harmonious holiday cheer in neighborhoods. Carolers certainly do their part to unite the community by celebrating the season with song. And the Bakersfield community is no exception to this. During the holidays, several groups that have been singing around the city for years have managed to keep this

Robert Provencio, director of choral and vocal studies at Cal State Bakersfieldjoyful tradition alive. Robert Provencio, director of choral and vocal studies at Cal State Bakersfield, has been taking small groups comprised of CSUB Singers to carol to the masses for more than 20 years. This tradition was made possible because of the school’s quarter system — students would wrap-up with school at Thanksgiving, and the new semester would not begin until January. This meant the CSUB Singers missed out on one of the most popular genres amongst choir members — holiday music. The solution was to fit in a few extra rehearsals with interested singers, and take to the streets to carol. It didn’t hurt, either, when they realized that any funds earned by caroling could go toward the group’s extensive touring schedule. Through the years, small groups of CSUB Singers — about four per group — have dressed up in what Provencio calls an “approximation” of the traditional Victorian garb, and headed out to various community events. The carolers are not aiming for historical authenticity, but rather setting the mood for the festivities, he said. “The fellas go out there in tuxedos and we add gloves, scarves and hats. The women are in hoop skirts and capes with scarfs as well,” Provencio said. The Singers have visited — Robert Provencio local rotary club meetings, commercial office parties and family gatherings as well as the standing tradition of singing at the Town and Country Village tree lighting ceremony after Thanksgiving. This group carols up to 35 times per season, and the repertoire includes crowd favorites such as their jazzy rendition of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” The CSUB Singers also sing classics like “Silent Night,” as well as other arrangements with a more sophisticated choral sound. The CSUB Singers are not alone in their love of Christmas music and caroling. The ladies of Montage — a group of 22 women comprised mostly of retired Sweet Adeline singers — didn’t want to miss out on their favorite time of the year. “We didn’t have the time to rehearse year-round and go to competition, but we’re a group who likes each other and likes to sing,” said co-founder Jeanne Cathaway. “We don’t charge a fee at all; we just want to get out there and sing.” Like the CSUB carolers, Montage events run the gamut from office Christmas parties and private home parties, to church luncheons and performances in retirement homes. The group boasted more than 20 performances last year. And though they too like to sing traditional carols in fourpart harmonies, they also mix in a little bit of barbershop

There’s just a certain wonder when the group is singing and you see a busy shopper stop and pause to listen to the beautiful music.

Robert Provencio is director of choral and vocal studies at Cal State Bakersfield. 98

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Provencio’s CSUB Singers perform up to 35 times each year. singing. Now in their third year, they even have a couple of signature pieces, like the church choral-style “Christ is Born” and the jazzy “Jinglebell Jazz.” Aside from their love of singing (holiday music in particular), both groups agree that the best part of caroling is seeing the faces in audience members. “All the joy comes out of this,” Provencio said. “There’s just a certain wonder when the group is singing and you see a busy shopper stop and pause to listen to the beautiful music.”



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Why I Live Here

Ernie Pineda 50, senior vice president of Wells Fargo Bank, market area president, South Valley market.

Compiled by Vicki Adame

Photo by Jessica Frey

I have lived in Bakersfield: Since April 2011. I wasn’t born in Bakersfield, but I ended up here:

Through a promotion at the bank. I live in: Northwest Bakersfield. Three words that describe my neighborhood: Quiet,

family-friendly, pet-friendly. Favorite Saturday activity: By the pool during those hot summer days or visiting relatives in Valencia or Palmdale. Favorite community event during the holiday season:

We really enjoyed the CALM HolidayLights event last year. It was cold but fun. Favorite local restaurant: We have more than one. For sushi we love Miyoshi Japanese Restaurant; Steak & Grape restaurant and bar for steaks; and for Mexican we love La Mina and Mexicali Mexican restaurants. How I relax in Bakersfield: We visited the Kern River a few times during the summer, and even spent a couple of nights camping out there. The water was cold! Best place for a family outing: Ventura Harbor. We lived in Camarillo, so it’s nice to go back and feel the ocean breeze every now and then. Best-kept secret in Bakersfield: Still looking for it. When I want to get out of town I always go to: We’ve had a few outings to San Francisco, Monterey and Pismo. Anything on the coast for a couple of days is nice. Favorite funny story or memory about Bakersfield:

Before accepting the job here, my wife and I made the two100

Bakersfield Life Magazine

December 2012

Ernie Pineda with his son Bobby in their northwest Bakersfield home.

hour trip to scout the area. We stopped at a local restaurant for a cup of coffee. We continued on our journey of getting to know Bakersfield, and as we were getting ready to go back, my wife noticed she didn’t have her purse. We called the restaurant where we had been, and they told us to come in and see the manager. They asked my wife for a description of the purse, took all the precautions, and subsequently handed her the purse. They said that the people that were sitting at the next table noticed she left the purse, and immediately turned it into the manager. Best of all, the people had actually waited for us to make sure the right person got the purse back. That really made an unforgettable impression of Bakersfield for us. What I like most about Bakersfield: The convenience of how close everything is. We’ve been to a couple of concerts at [Rabobank Arena], and can’t believe we can make it home in 10 minutes. I also like the “customer service” attitude that people have here. We have the most polite service-oriented businesses in Bakersfield. My family's holiday tradition: Gather the family at the house; the kids stay up until midnight to open the presents; and we rush to midnight Mass. Bakersfield often gets negatively ranked on lists. The positive list I think we should rank near the top on is:

Having a small-town atmosphere with all the big-city amenities and conveniences. The perfect place for date night in Bakersfield is:

Steak & Grape. I’ve taken two very important people there: my wife and my boss. Valentine’s dinner was just delicious.

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A driving tour of Kern County historical landmarks By Jeff Nickell

Discover some of the state’s landmarks in Bakersfield with a short drive



here are many historical landmarks throughout Kern County that people drive by each day, though others are in not so well-traveled areas. This article will take you to some of those places with the idea that you can have a fun day driving to them while learning about how the area came to be what it is. These are abbreviated versions of their history to lure you

to actually go see them. • The first California State Historical Landmark on the drive is Rio de San Felipe, which is east of Bakersfield at Highway 178 and Rancheria Road driving toward the Kern River Canyon. One mile from this place is where Padre Francisco Garces crossed the Kern River, or what he called Rio de San Felipe. • The second landmark is Gordon’s Ferry on the Kern River. It is on the southwest side of the river if you travel on North Chester Avenue and make a right on China Grade Loop. If you pass the “Bakersfield” directional sign leading you up the bluffs, you have gone too far — after the sign, the road turns into Round Mountain Road. Instead, turn right at the “Bakersfield” sign, and you will see the marker on the right-hand side just as you cross the river. Gordon’s Ferry was an overhead cable-type of ferry operated during the 1850s by Maj. Aneas Gordon. Gilbert Gia writes in an article published in 2010: “As a term, Gordon’s Ferry first appeared on April 20, 1852, as an entry in the Tulare County Franchise Book. ExOfficio Tulare Recorder Major Aneas B. Gordon, 36, had been granted a tax-free, eight-month license to operate a ferry and sell goods and liquor on the Kern River.” The pertinence of this being listed in Tulare County was


Bakersfield Life Magazine

December 2012


that Kern County was not created until 1866; Tulare County was formed in 1852. • Not far from Gordon’s Ferry is the site of the famous Discovery Well of May 1899. Head back to China Grade Loop, which turns into Round Mountain Road. Make a right, and the site is only about seven-tenths of a mile up the road, on the right-hand side. An appointment is needed to gain access to the marker — call 3932200; otherwise, you will only get a view from the road. The Discovery Well was hand dug. About 400 feet to the north is the site where Kern River Oil Field’s first commercial well was drilled. This discovery led to the creation of more than 200 oil companies forming in just a matter of months. • Heading back into town, go south on North Chester and make a left on West Columbus Avenue to drive to the historical marker in honor of Elisha Stephens. The marker will be on the northwest side of West Columbus and Isla Verde streets. The story of Elisha Stephens is quite remarkable as outlined in an article by local attorney Timothy Lemucchi. Lemucchi’s greatElisha Stephens


Two of the earliest wells drilled in the Kern River Field, near the site of the Discovery Well.

grandmother was on the wagon train known as the Stephens-Townsend-Murphy Party. Stephens was the leader of the wagon train, which departed near Council Bluffs, Iowa in 1844, and crossed the Sierra Nevada Mountains two years before the ill-fated Donner Party. The trail was later used by John Fremont, who received credit for opening up the West. Lemucchi indicates that Stephens “observed bitterly that Fremont ‘found’ the path that he had made.” • The last stop is the Kern County Museum at 3801 Chester Ave., to see the landmark in honor of the Jewett Family, particularly Solomon and Philo. The marker is in front of the Beale Memorial Clock Tower. The Jewett brothers were giants in the early stages of our city. They were pioneers in oil, agriculture, water and banking industries, and they opened the first bank in Bakersfield, the Kern Valley Bank. They owned a huge section of land where Kern County Museum, Sam Lynn Ballpark and Bakersfield Memorial Hospital now stand, to name a few. What you won’t find on the historical marker plaque is that in his diaries, Philo claims to have been the person who suggested our town be renamed from Kern Island to Bakersfield. So find a friend or friends, and enjoy your tour through a small portion of Bakersfield. But if you don’t feel like driving, you can always read about the landmarks online. Or make your own special tour. To view all of the historical landmarks in Kern, go to


Our Town

A few other ways to connect with loved ones this holiday season. • Email and social media: These networking tools are not just for kids. Free accounts including Facebook and Twitter are useful. Either party can send private messages, multiple group messages and upload pictures. • Skype and video calling: Skype is a free video phone service that allows you to call anyone with a Skype account. You can also make calls to landlines and cellphones for a fee. Google has a similar video service for Gmail members. • WhatsApp, Textfree and other texting programs: If you and your loved one has a smartphone or tablet device, several text messaging applications can be used with Wi-Fi and cellular services to send texts internationally for free. • International calling cards: Soldiers serving overseas don't always have the time or the means to get on social media or use computers; some fall back on landline phone calls. Calling cards are relatively cheap to purchase, and there are services available that will donate calling cards to soldiers. • Letters postcards and packages: Everyone loves getting an old fashioned letter. It gives any message a personal touch. And sending packages can be a part of gift-giving this season. Just be aware of postage rates and customs requirements for sending overseas.

Jim La Mar is the president of Greenlawn Mortuary.

Holiday greetings overseas Local mortuary, technology allows families to connect with military men and women By Katie Avery

Photo by Gregory D. Cook


t’s always nice when the entire family can get together for the holidays. But what do you do when you have a loved one serving overseas? With technology and a little help from one local business, it’s possible to stay in touch with those who are far away. Jim La Mar, president of Greenlawn Mortuary, has a special way to connect locals with their family members overseas this holiday season. For those deployed halfway around the world, even social media may not be readily available. So La Mar came up with 104

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what he calls a “living Christmas card” — a short video that can be emailed wherever. The folks at Greenlawn use a webcasting service to film funerals, which allows people who can’t attend services to still pay their respects. La Mar had the idea to extend this service to military families last year when he wanted to do something for the troops, he said. “We just figure for us, it’s a service we already provide for; why don't we open it up to people who serve our country?” he said. Families who want to take advantage of this service can call Greenlawn, setup a time and film their greetings. Then families are given a password-protected link to the video that can be emailed to loved ones, so they can see your face and hear your voice. Each family member can say something personal. The video is also archived and accessible at any time, allowing loved ones around the world to view it at their convenience as many times as they want. La Mar will be contacting local veterans to participate in the “living Christmas card” this year to give them a chance to thank those currently serving. Veterans already participate in military funeral services where they personally thank the families for their sacrifice. La Mar said there is a kindred spirit between military service members, and that a veteran can truly say, “I know what you are sacrificing.” This video card service is free and available to anyone who has family serving their country. “If it (makes) a difference in those people's lives, then it's worth it,” La Mar said. Call 397-9541 to setup an appointment.


HolidayLights shines at CALM

By Matilde Ruiz

Photos by Casey Christie


isiting the HolidayLights at California Living Museum has become a seasonal tradition for many locals. This year is particularly special as CALM will celebrate the 10th anniversary of HolidayLights. In the last decade, the event has helped raise funds for the zoo. “The HolidayLights at CALM has become a great family tradition,” said Steve Sanders, chief of staff at Kern County Superintendent of Schools, which manages CALM. “I always like to tell folks that attendance can be a tradition to families, and the event helps support CALM year-round.” The zoo is home to about 250 rescued animals — bears, felines, birds, reptiles and more — that are native to California but can no longer be returned to the wild. CALM, which opened in 1983, depends on donations and the revenue from the HolidayLights to keep running throughout the year. Donations from last year’s HolidayLights, for example, helped CALM build a new exhibit for the desert bighorn sheep, which opened Nov. 15. CALM officials hope to build other exhibits with financial support. 106

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“All the fundraisers help CALM continue to grow and thrive,” Sanders said. The seasonal attraction showcases a variety of animal displays encompassing about 2 million lights throughout the zoo; some lights are being replaced with brighter LED lights this year. The credit for these beautiful displays goes to Josh Barnett’s “Lightasmic” and his team that work with CALM every year to make the event truly shine. (Read more on Barnett in the sidebar.) Also this year, HolidayLights will use brand-new pink LED lights, and new displays including a crab reef. Families and children can also enjoy the free carousal and the Central California Children’s Railroad, which visitors can ride as many times as they’d like. While enjoying the attractions, visitors can walk through the snowy pathway. Teen Challenge, a nonprofit rehabilitation program, will provide apple dumplings, kettle corn, apple cider and other popular treats. CALM was voted “best attraction” in Bakersfield Life’s “Best Of” poll in 2012. Last year, about 51,000 visitors attended HolidayLights — a record for CALM. Officials are hoping that number increases this year.

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Josh Barnett’s Lightasmic You may not have heard of Josh Barnett before, but you most likely know his work. Barnett, a Bakersfield native, is the man behind the wonderful creations at CALM HolidayLights, decorating the grounds with millions of lights. Since the age of 6, Barnett has had an interest for Christmas lights, even writing a letter to Santa asking for lights — a letter Barnett’s father still has today. He began decorating by his “nana’s” bushes, followed by a spectacular display in his parents’ front yard in high school. Light decorating came natural to Barnett, and the passion turned into a job in 2002, with Josh Barnett’s “Lightasmic.” Barnett That same year, he was filmed for the NBC show, “America’s Greatest Christmas Decorations.” “It has just been something I have always done and continue to be very passionate about even at age 30,” said Barnett, who works

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Continued from page 107 on the holiday lights throughout the year. Working with CALM has been a great experience for Barnett, he said, and that job opened the door for many more opportunities. He especially liked the positive impact HolidayLights creates for the community, one that “brings families together and ... transform(s) the night into something exciting.”

“Working with CALM ... allowed me to follow my dreams of creating these larger than life experiences,” he said. Barnett shared with Bakersfield Life a little extra about himself and his work: How do you get inspired when creating displays? The inspiration comes from different places. A lot of times I will have a small spark of an idea, and then after doing renderings and talking about it, that small idea often times turns into an entire land at a park. How long does it take you to build a display? A display can take anywhere from a few hours to several weeks depending on its size and complexity. What would you say has been the best display you have created and why? We started using a new technique last year that I call “filled in.” Our traditional displays were silhouettes, but with this new technique, we take LEDs and fill in the entire display. These are fast becoming some of the most stunning displays we have created. This year at CALM, we have filled in the brontosaurus, tyrannosaurus rex, stegosaurus, triceratops, six flamingos and four elephants. What was your first creation? My first creations were plywood cut-outs. Do you attend the HolidayLights at CALM every year? Yes, my family and I attend every year.



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California Highway Patrol and several local businesses are teaming up in the nonprofit â&#x20AC;&#x153;CHiPs for Kids,â&#x20AC;? which aims to gather and donate holiday gifts to impoverished children of Kern County.

CHiPs for Kids Highway patrol, local businesses partner to collect toys for children in need By Tyler Stevens

Photos courtesy of Lezley Pumphrey


orking for California Highway Patrol can be challenging, and for some officers, it can be flat out dangerous. But enriching the lives of less fortunate children in the community is among the most rewarding parts of their job, CHP officers said. The nonprofit, CHiPs for Kids, has aimed to gather and donate holiday gifts to the children of Kern County for more than three years. The children receive a brand new, unwrapped toy, such as NERF guns for the boys or Barbie dolls for the girls. To help them as they serve the community, CHP needs your help this holiday season in the CHiPs for Kids toy drive. With the support of the Bakersfield community, impoverished children will receive a heart-warming Christmas gift they may never forget. 110

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December 2012

A Motor City Auto Center truck is filled with toys that will be donated by CHiPs for Kids.

CHiPs for Kids has been operating throughout California for more than 10 years. CHP collects toys for under-privileged kids who are up to 16 years old. With so much work involved in serving as many children as possible, the CHP has partnered with other community groups to assist. This toy drive has teamed up with The Bakersfield Californian, Keller Williams Realty of Bakersfield and Motor City of Bakersfield. These businesses have opened

California Highway Patrol public information officer Robert Rodriguez shows a gift to a little girl.

their doors during the holiday season to serve as toy drop-off locations. Martha Johnson, realtor for Keller Williams Realty and representative for KW Cares, said business officials were excited about this year’s toy drive. “Keller Williams believes in giving back to the community,” Johnson said. Because times are usually tough throughout the holiday season, CHP hopes to collect more than 3,000 toys this year, even more than the 2,500 toy count last year. The more people who participate in this event, the more hearts will be touched during this holiday season, organizers said. “Our goal is to be a blessing to the needy kids during Christmas time,” said Robert Rodriguez, public information officer for the Bakersfield-area CHP. “If we can put an enormous smile on the face of the kids who come to our toy drive, then we’ve done our job.” CHP also hopes to be a blessing and an inspiration to the local children of Kern County, Rodriguez said. Join the CHP and the Bakersfield community by donating a new, unwrapped toy to any drop-off location between now and Dec. 12. CHP officers will distribute the toys to children the week of Dec. 16.

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Neighborhood Spotlight

Extravagant holiday light displays, community events draw locals to the area each year By Emily Claffy


he light displays in the Haggin Oaks neighborhood in southwest Bakersfield are a well-known attraction for Bakersfield residents during the holidays.

But few people who enjoy driving through the neighborhood to view the lights are aware of all the groups and individuals involved in making the attraction a Bakersfield tradition. It’s not exactly clear when the tradition began, but residents Sue Thomas and Martha Miller agree that it has been at least 25 years. Haggin Oaks homes were built in the mid1980s. “When we first moved in, we were a little worried about keeping up with all the lights,” said Miller, who has lived in Haggin Oaks for about 20 years. “We never felt any pressure.

Although one year, we put up lights around the pillars but the fuse box went out, so we decided it was too much.” Thomas said she didn’t know about the light display tradition when she and her husband, Ed Thomas, moved into the neighborhood 26 years ago. One of her favorite things about the Haggin Oaks tradition is seeing the children enjoy the lights. “It’s part of their Christmas tradition,” Thomas said. “We are really glad it’s going on.” For Miller, the event brings families together, including her own. “We love the lights at Christmas and nearly every year that we’ve lived here, there are usually horse wagon rides through the neighborhood,” Miller said. “One year we took my parents when they were in their 80s. We took the kids, and my dad just loved it. I think it reminded him of when he was a boy.” The tradition comes with a cost, however. The Thomases said their energy costs can increase as much as four times than normal during the holidays. “We have these huge trees in our front yard,” Sue Thomas said. “They’re 50-foot redwoods and we decorate them. Last year we used LED lights so it helped a little bit with the energy costs.” But an increase in electricity isn’t a huge concern if it makes the children happy, Miller said.

Haggin Oaks has a long-standing tradition of going all out decorating for the holidays. 112

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December 2012


Haggin Oaks neighborhood


Bike Bakersfield annually rides through the Haggin Oaks neighborhood to view the holiday lights.

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Neighborhood bike ride Children aren’t the only people who appreciate the lights in the Haggin Oaks neighborhood. Bike Bakersfield, a local nonprofit bicycling advocacy organization, regularly plans a ride through the neighborhood. The group’s focus is getting people to use bicycles for everyday transportation, said Bike Bakersfield’s membership and communications coordinator Brad Swanlund. He finds that sometimes people are nervous about riding through city streets. The slow pace of the ride through Haggin Oaks provides a great opportunity for those people. “Aside from the goals of Bike Bakersfield, I think riding a bicycle is a wonderful way to view the holiday decorations in Haggin Oaks,” Swanlund said. “A comfortable speed by bicycle is the ideal speed for this type of sightseeing. The community aspect of the ride is also a big draw for me. It’s always nice to get together with the bicycle community. I enjoy rides that draw in all types of bicycles and bicyclists.” Randy Dickow has been involved with Bike Bakersfield for three years and has participated in the ride through Haggin Oaks twice. “It’s fun, and a great way to see all the decorations,” Dickow said. “Traveling slow, but not blocking traffic that wants to go by allows one to really ‘smell the roses’ so-to-speak. The annual decorations are a community asset and appreciated by most — a great gift to the community.”

Dustin’s Diner Light displays and a nice bike ride aren’t the only attractions the Haggin Oaks community offers during the holidays. Dustin’s Diner is a holiday-only, resident-ran neighborhood carhop that opened in 1993, started by Dustin Kilpatrick, a former Haggin Oaks resident. Proceeds of the diner are donated to the Bakersfield Homeless Center, said diner volunteer Kim Mishkind. Kilpatrick raised $200 the first year it opened. Even though Dustin moved away, Dustin’s Diner continues to thrive. “Last year we raised almost $13,000, bringing the total donated to (the homeless center) to more than $175,000,” Mishkind said. Barbara Paulson, basic needs manager at the Bakersfield Homeless Center, has visited the diner the past seven years. “I have seen such a sense of compassion and joy come from the


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From left: Mark, Kim, Laura and Sarah Mishkind help with Dustin's Diner.

Continued from page 113 people who not only host this, but also all the families in that neighborhood who participate by volunteering,” Paulson said. “It’s a great lesson for the kids as well as they enjoy helping other kids and feel so prideful in doing so. They are all amazing! We are fortunate to be the recipients of this grand effort.”

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The Haggin Oaks community coordinates the diner’s operations, and residents volunteer and enlist the help of the children in the neighborhood. Maria Torpey, a fifth-grader at McAuliffe Elementary School, said she enjoys volunteering because she is able to spend time with her friends while helping the homeless. “My friends and I take people’s orders and deliver their cookies and hot drinks to their cars,” Torpey said. Sarah Howard, a ninth-grader at Stockdale High School who also volunteers her time to Dustin’s Diner, became involved when she was in third grade by tagging along with her mother to help. Now, Howard volunteers as many nights as she can, and her family hosts one night for the diner. “My dad dresses up as Santa, and we line up all the volunteers for the night,” she said. Howard’s many duties include singing songs to onlookers to encourage donations for the homeless center, to buy cookies and hot chocolate, assist people who drive up to the diner, and fill up cups of hot chocolate and apple cider. “I enjoy volunteering at Dustin’s Diner because I am giving back to my community, and doing that makes me feel good,” Howard said. — Have a particular neighborhood that you want us to feature? Email us at with the message subject line: Neighborhood Spotlight. Please include why the neighborhood deserves a spotlight.

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It’s a Guy Thing

Bakersfield’s Santa Claus Compiled by Tyler Stevens Photos by Jessica Frey


ou can find him throughout Bakersfield in December in malls, schools, hospitals, charity events and even on street corners or in front of department stores. He’s Santa Claus. Here are four locals who help share the Christmas spirit each year as Jolly Old Saint Nicholas.

Randy Boggs Boggs, who is Santa in the Bakersfield Christmas Parade, has been ho-ho-hoing for the last 11 years.

How long have you been Santa Claus? I became Santa after our “Downtown Santa” — Edwin Goodwin — passed away. I have been representing Santa and the spirit of Christmas for the past 11 years. I come from the North Pole every year at the beginning of December and participate in children’s programs throughout the month. What is the most memorable gift request a child has asked you for? Every child has a special gift that they want for Christmas. It has been everything from a horse to world peace. I think the most memorable request was from a young girl who wanted her dad to come home from his tour of duty in Iraq and spend Christmas with her and her mom. She knew he had to go, she just wanted him home for Christmas. What is most enjoyable about being Santa? The most enjoyable thing about representing Santa is the children. The innocence and true belief from a child is awe-inspiring. There is no agenda, no ulterior motive, no design, just the desire to see and speak with Santa and tell him what they want for Christmas. They will talk about mom and dad, 116

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Randy Boggs brothers and sisters, and what they want for Christmas. I very much enjoy making the children happy. I try to reinforce the spirit of Christmas for the children. Where can people find you this holiday season? During the holiday season, Santa can be found in many places. I will be in the Bakersfield Christmas Parade this year. I will be attending many of the nonprofit organization’s Christmas gatherings — Society for Disabled Children, Muscular Dystrophy Association

and Fraternal Order of Eagles, just to name a few. What do you like most about the holidays? The holiday season seems to bring out the giving spirit and goodness in people. If you take a real close look at the people of Bakersfield and Kern County, you will see a very selfless and giving community. I have observed, during my trips south, that this community is always willing to help those less fortunate and in need, especially during the holiday season.

John Fowler This school crossing guard started by playing Kris Kringle in theater in “The Miracle in 34th Street,” and now can be found at various functions throughout town.

How long have you been Santa? This will be my eighth Christmas in the red suit. I began my Santa career on stage at The Spotlight Theatre as Kris Kringle in “The Miracle in 34th Street.” I began to receive requests for home visits, and it just built from there.

Charles Neukom

Charles Neukom Neukom performs as a clown 11 months out of the year but said being Santa on the 12th month is “my calling.” He combines the two jobs together — performing magic and making balloon animals as Santa.

How long have you been Santa Claus? As a professional clown — Chuck OH! — I attended my annual clown convention about five years ago, and came in contact with a vendor who was a Santa and sold Santa suits. He suggested that it complements a clown business since December is one of my slower months. I bought the suit and the rest is history. Since then, I came in contact with fellow clown Claydoh, and we are Santas at the Bakersfield’s Winter Playground from Thanksgiving to Christmas. We skate and interact with all the kids, moms, dads and grandparents and take as many pictures as they want. It is great fun, and since the temperature is 50 degrees, it’s a great place to wear a Santa suit. What is the most memorable gift request a child has asked you for? The little 5-year-old girl who only wanted mom and dad to be together for Christmas. All I could say was, “Yes,” and went I home that night and prayed that it would come true.

What is most enjoyable about being Santa? Being a clown most of the year, I find being Santa a revered position. All kids of all ages love Santa. After all, he is a patron saint of children. As a clown, I have to deal with the collateral issues of Stephen King and Hollywood, and the depiction of scary clowns. I fight that perception one kid or adult at a time, and have turned more than one kid or adult over from a scare to a hug at the end of a performance. It is a blessed thing to be a saint for 30 days out of the year.

What was the most memorable gift request a child has asked you for? Amidst the usual requests for jewelry, Xboxes and PlayStations, I remember a little boy who wanted me to be sure that his sister got the doll she wanted. He was very earnest. He even said he would give up his present so she could get hers. And one evening in November a couple of years ago, my wife and I went out to dinner at a local eatery. I was wearing Levi’s with my red suspenders and my red cap. As we walked into the restaurant, it got real quiet. We ordered

Continued on page 118

Where can people find you this holiday season? See me at the Winter Playground. It is the Rockefeller Plaza of Bakersfield. Skating, snow play, hot chocolate and pictures with a skating Santa — what more do you need to get into the holiday spirit? I also advertise in the The Bakersfield Californian for home visits, company parties and day cares. What do you like most about the holidays? Joy, smiles and unconditional giving from little girls or boys who want love, and moms and dads together. It might be trite, but it is about family.

John Fowler


Nearly everyone buys into the idea of Santa, even those who are the scoffers. I really like to see how people turn their attention toward kindness. Where can people find you this holiday season? I will be available for home visits, office parties and corporate events all through the season. What do you like most about the holidays? The fact that people take time for each other, despite the frantic nature of the holidays.

Scott O’Neil O’Neil and his wife perform each year as Mr. and Mrs. Clause. You can find him on the streets of Bakersfield this December pushing a sleigh on his Harley-Davidson.

Scott O’Neil

Continued from page 117 our food and sat down to eat. Across the room I saw a little boy peeking over at me. He finally came over and stood by me and told me his Christmas wish. He and his family left soon thereafter. As they walked out the door, the family in the next booth began laughing. The man in the group told me that when that little boy saw me get out of the car, he told everyone in the place to be quiet because “Santa’s coming in.” He was precious. What is most enjoyable about being Santa?

How long have you been Santa Claus? This is my forth year. Back in September 2009, Jim and Debbie Harmon — cofounders of the Bakersfield Toy Run and Can Food Drive for the Salvation Army — asked me and my wife, Katie, to become Santa and Mrs. Claus. What was the most memorable gift request a child has asked you for? Last December, while I was playing Santa in the garage for a good friend, a 7-year-old girl sat down on my knee. Without me asking, she said in a clear loud voice, “Santa! I want my daddy home from the Army!” Her mother was taking pictures and overheard her request. Mom said, “He’s in Afghanistan and not due back

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Bakersfield Life Magazine

December 2012

until this summer.” I told her that her daddy has a job to do, but Santa’s going to send her a new swim suit this summer and your daddy will come with it. Her eyes got big and she smiled from ear-to-ear. She jumped off my knee and told her mother in that same loud voice, “Santa’s giving me a new swim suit!” I got up and gave her a candy cane and gave mom a big hug, turned to sit down and wiped the tears from my eyes. She ran back and gave me a hug and whispered, “Do you think you could give me a Barbie, too?”


What is most enjoyable about being Santa? I think all Santa’s helpers will tell you the children make the job worth all the efforts. But when I’m out and about pulling my sleigh behind my Harley-Davidson, it’s the adults in their cars or walking along the sidewalks that bring to me a big smile. They wave, honk their horns or just give me a big thumbs up along with a warm smile. Even in these hard times, the sight of Santa rolling down the street brings back the Spirit of Christmas, if for just a brief moment. Where can people find you this holiday season? Just keep your eyes open for a big, silver Harley-Davidson pulling a sleigh full of toys around the streets of Bakersfield. But if you can, do Santa a favor: Let your passengers take the pictures. What do you like most about the holidays? It’s the reason for the season. Let’s not forget that we are celebrating Christ’s birthday. It’s that time when we give from the heart to family and friends. But we should never forget those we don’t know, and give to your favorite charities. I love Christmas in Bakersfield because of the big hearts that live here. This community keeps giving past the holidays, 365 days of the year. What do you do when your not playing Santa? I’m retired, so I have the time to pay back all of my blessings. I’m part of the Masonic family, and that alone can keep a man very busy. My second passion is motorcycling. Through this, I have the opportunity to participate in the fight against cancer, worked for Muscular Dystrophy Association and the Shriners Hospitals for Children. I’ve also been able to ride with the Patriot Guard Riders, American Legion Riders, Harley Owners Group, and many other motorcycle clubs and groups here in Bakersfield that escort for new military recruits leaving for boot camp, and “welcome home” rides at the airport for returning veterans. Then there are the funerals of our fallen heroes.




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Ladies Who…

... Lead local bicycling groups Compiled by Matilde Ruiz


hese ladies bike for fun, for a cause, for health and to simply enjoy the outdoors. They are ladies who are leaders of local cycling organizations. Through their groups, they promote and encourage others in the community to share in their passion of cycling.

Lori O’Lin Kern Wheelmen Bicycle Club Lori O’Lin is this year’s president of Kern Wheelman — a nonprofit cycling organization dedicated to providing cycling activities for all levels and ages on a weekly basis — and has been involved with the club since 2009.

How old were you when you discovered your passions for riding bikes, and how did it happen? I always remember having a bike when I was a kid, but I really started riding in 2005, when I wanted to do my first triathlon. I did quite well, but knew I could do better, and that’s when I started getting serious on the bike. In fact, of the three triathlon events, biking is definitely my stronger discipline. What do you enjoy the most about bike riding? Scenery and exercise. I love the outdoors, and it’s faster than hiking and slower than driving. Honestly, I consider cycling to be training. I bike to race. I’ve always enjoyed competitive sports, so cycling and triathlon allow me to continue racing and competing at my age. I enjoy setting goals and working


Bakersfield Life Magazine

December 2012

Lori O’Lin

toward accomplishing them. What is the one thing you must take with you when bike riding? Fluid of some sort depending on length of ride. Although, I always have my phone, a spare tube, patch kit, carbon dioxide cartridge and adapter, and a lever. I also have a road identification bracelet, and I think that’s a good idea to have with you as well, in case I truly become one with the road. What is your favorite cycling event and why? Well, speaking as the Kern Wheelmen president, the Spooktacular, of course. This event is truly a challenging and well-supported event that displays

the beauty of cycling in and around Bakersfield. We have such great courses around town and this particular event involves parts of four of my favorite rides: Breckenridge, Lions Trail, White Wolf Grade and Rattlesnake Loop. What is your favorite local ride route? Most everyone that rides with me knows that Lions Trail is my favorite route. It starts in Caliente, and then travels up over Lions Trail to Rankin Ranch, and then follows Walker Basin Road to Twin Oaks, and from Twin Oaks back to Caliente. It’s a short 44-mile loop, but a beautiful one with great roads and the descent is broken up into sections.

makes the ride that much better. What do you enjoy the most about bike riding? Riding a bike gives you a sense of freedom from everything that’s going on in your life. When I am on the bike it is just pure joy — the wind in your face and the freedom of space all around you. What and where is the farthest you have ridden on your bike? I did a race through the desert a few years back that was 508 miles. I did not finish the race; however, I did manage to ride my bike 412 miles in about 40 hours. It was an awesome experience. I have also been part of a two-person team that finished that same 508-mile race.

Susan Bowen Tina Chapa

Tina Chapa Bike Bakersfield Since January 2009 Tina Chapa has been executive director of Bike Bakersfield, a nonprofit bicycle advocacy group that promotes safe, fun and environmentallyfriendly bicycling.

What is your favorite cycling event and why? Bike Bakersfield Downtown Criterium. However, I am also a fan of all those area rides that get regular people out on bikes to experience the fun. There are many century, half century and shorter rides to benefit different causes and different cycling groups in and around the area that are so much fun. What is your favorite local ride route? My favorite ride, now that I don’t do long distance very often, is from my house, out and around Lake Ming, and back home — about a 20 to 25 mile ride. It gives me a varying degree of challenges. The best part is stopping on the back side of the lake in the early morning or just before the sun sets and watching the bird life on the lake, listening to the sounds away from the city, enjoying the cool breeze — it just

Southern Sierra Fat Tire Association Susan Bowen is president of the association and has been riding mountain bikes with them for about six years.

How old were you when you discovered your passion for riding bikes, and how did it happen? Like most people, I’ve always liked riding bikes. But about eight years ago, I tried mountain biking and found that it was a perfect fit for me. I like the adventurous nature of it. I like being out in the mountains or foothills much better than riding on blacktop. Also, I’ve enjoyed working on the bike handling skills required for mountain biking: rolling over obstacles, making tight turns and learning how to navigate different types of terrain. In addition, I’ve really enjoyed the down-to-earth camaraderie of the mountain biking community. What and where is the farthest you have ridden on your bike? Well, it’s not much to brag about. I rode about 23 miles in Idyllwild last year. I’m not a high mileage mountain biker. But there are some very impressive riders in the club who can ride fast, far and sometimes take flight. What is your favorite cycling event and why? My favorite cycling event is the

Susan Bowen

Keyesville Classic MTB Stage Race because it’s been the club’s race for many years; it’s a great course, and it’s the first race I tried. But the Foothill Classic XC MTB Race is a close second. It’s a great hometown event on a very fun course in the foothills. What is your favorite local ride route? The Kern River Trail that starts in Keyesville and winds 20 miles down the Kern River corridor to the bridge. The club plans to ride the newly cleared Whiskey Flat Trail this year, and that might become a new favorite.

Kim Barker Team Go Ride Kim Barker is the founder of Team Go Ride, founded in February 2011, and created to support the mission of the American Heart Association, and to get the community involved to promote heart health.

How old were you when you discovered your passion for riding bikes and how did it happen? I grew up in the cycling-friendly community of Boise, where riding bikes was a part of our every day lives. My family spent weekends on the Greenbelt watching bald eagles along the

Continued from page 122


Continued from page 121 river, chasing each other down and repairing a lot of flats. But it wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized my passion for cycling, when I discovered that it was the single most fun way to improve my fitness. What is your favorite cycling event and why? Breathless Agony — 100-plus miles of some serious climbing with breathtaking views. It is the one ride that almost broke me. I remember counting down the distance, one-tenth of a mile at a time. I am totally lying — I hated that ride. But I was serious about the views. What is your favorite local ride route? Although I have only ridden the Woody Crossover twice, it is challenging, peaceful and the road surfaces are great. It is long enough to get in some endurance training and away from the busier city roads, but close enough to town that I can get back to my kids in just a few hours. What is the best tip you have for riders out there to experience a better ride? Don’t worry about being the fastest, the strongest, or the best rider out there. There will always be someone faster. Just go out to enjoy your bike.

Kim Barker

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Bakersfield Life Magazine

December 2012



Remarkable Stan Moe Retired career lawman is carrying on Pylesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; legacy


Bakersfield Life Magazine

December 2012




By Lisa Kimble

Photo by Jessica Frey


ormer Kern County Sheriff’s Commander Stan Moe has seen it all in a crime-fighting career that has spanned decades: murders, corruption, despicable acts of evil — all experiences that would harden most. But it would be “just another routine assignment” back in 1981, that would eventually change his life, soften his heart and reroute his retirement years. “It is very special to me,” Moe said of the nonprofit R.M. Pyles Boys Camp, where he now serves as executive director. “I owe Pyles for the relationship of father and son I now have.” Pyles Boys Camp began as a living monument to a beloved oilman from Huntington Beach. It was created at a site along the banks of the cool Kern River, high above the valley in the Sierras east of Porterville. A young Robert “Bob” Pyles, for whom the camp is named, moved to Randsburg in 1905 as a boy and attended school there until the eighth grade. War thwarted his academic goal, but he went on to become an admired and respected businessman who had no other ties to Kern County other than the oil industry in which he had made his fortune. But Pyles loved to retreat to the area where the camp is now located. It was an escape from the demands of business. When his oil cronies approached him about establishing a living legacy, they didn’t have to look far. Founded in 1949, with the help of his peers, Pyles believed all young men should have the opportunity to be challenged by the wealth of experiences that nature offered. From the outset, the camp became a “haven of hope” for the underprivileged Pyles sought to help. Like Pyles, Moe lost his father when he was young. “I learned quickly the importance and need for hard work,” he said. It took 18 years, but Moe earned his college diploma while holding down a job and raising a family. “I realized that the best way to prepare for tomorrow, or reaching that long-term goal, was to do today’s work exceptionally well,” Moe said. “You can do anything you want if you work hard and apply yourself.” When the Pyles Camp assignment landed on Moe’s desk in 1981, he didn’t give it much thought. “No one else wanted it when it was handed off to me,” he recalled. “Every time I got promoted, I took the program with me.” And he’s been doing it ever since. Two years after taking on the project for the department, Moe’s eldest son Kevin attended the camp.


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It is very special to me. I owe Pyles for the relationship of father and son I now have.

Continued on page 126


Continued from page 125 Father and son clashed, they weren’t communicating well, and his son was rebellious, he said. The experience proved invaluable and the change in Moe’s son was palpable. “I wouldn’t have the father-son relationship I have today without Pyles,” he said, adding that the program saved his family. “I am driven, and I was trying to make a 12-year-old kid into an 18-year-old man.” Pyles allowed him to learn and understand the concepts of hard work and goals. Every summer, 500 boys are selected from six southern California counties, tapped by law enforcement and educators, to spend two weeks in the wilderness riding horses, shooting bows and arrows, and hiking and backpacking with the promise of a return the next summer, possibly the year after and a shot at a college scholarship. For many boys, it is the first time they have ever learned about respect. Since its inception, more than 26,000 at-risk and disadvantaged boys have gone through the program at no cost to them or their families. Those who return to perilous conditions, some in gang-infested neighborhoods, are still tethered to their counselors by a phone call. “These kids need someone pointing them in the

right direction,” Moe said. “We teach them the core values of honesty and integrity.” Unlike a traditional boot camp, these boys want to attend. With an annual operating budget of more than $1 million, the program relies solely on donations, fundraisers and outside support. The core values established by Bob Pyles remain the same, but some things have changed throughout the years. There is now a road to drive in on. In 1992, President George H.W. Bush visited and named the camp one of “1,000 points of light.” Ten years ago, 66-year-old Moe left the sheriff’s department and stepped into retirement, but he didn’t relinquish the reigns of Pyles Boys Camp. He is still actively involved in the selection of campers, has served as a counselor, and for the past 17 years, has served as author and lead instructor for the Pyles leadership training for future counselors. For Stan Moe, what was Bob Pyles’ legacy is now of his own crafting. It is a labor of love involving three generations, including his oldest grandson, Colby. “I have seen as many people at risk, in the upper echelons, who have not been given guidance as I have at the other end of the socio-economic scale,” he said. “Pyles Boys Camp saved my family.”

Bakersfield’s Past Meets the Future


With his title earned during service to the Iowa Iowan Territorial Militia, Col. Thomas Baker had ha become a distinguished political figure in Iowa. But in the 1850s, seeking new opportunities op out west, he moved across the plains to the Bay Area, then to Stockton, S then to Visalia. While there, he purchased land along the Kern River for development...and a place for his future home. That place became known as “Baker’s Fie Field,” and was widely regarded by travelers as a waypoint at which to enjoy the Colonel’s generous hospitality. A true visionary, Col. Baker also selected

a parcel of land for his own final resting place, writing: “Here at last I have found a resting place to lay my bones.” A slender obelisk marks Baker’s personally-selected gravesite at Union Cemetery, the start of a 140-year Bakersfield tradition.


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Bakersfield Life Magazine

December 2012

All of us want to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas! Have a safe and happy holiday season!

Karen Vanderhurst

Louie Gregorio

Beauty Beduya

Amy Short

Sonia Sides

Lezlie Chaffin

Ronda Chaffin

Richard Rivera

Rhonda Anderson

Rhonda Lewis

Kym Plivelich

Jim Knapp

Kathy Keener

Stacy Harrison

Marvin Bush

Gayle Hafenstein

Leann Newfield

Rachael Newell

Sang Dang

Eva Martinez

Dottie Patterson

Jackie Putman

John Machado

Ann Olcott

Cathie Paulovitz

Bob Levesque

Adoree Roberson

Wade Aldean

Diana Aronson

Joe Roberson



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Real People

Mike Grigg works the live auction at the Petroleum Club to raise money for the Honor Flights fundraiser.

Auctioneer Mike Grigg Going once, going twice, sold! By Hillary Haenes

Photos by Henry A. Barrios


ince he was a kid, Mike Grigg, 31, has enjoyed entertaining an audience, so it was only natural when his dad asked him to be a part of an auction company. “When my dad approached me almost 11 years ago with the opportunity to be part of a real estate auction company we would build from the ground up … I was all 128

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December 2012

in,” Grigg said. “I knew that I wanted to be our auctioneer, and that it would be a good fit for me.” Their real estate auction company, Elite Auctions, has now conducted hundreds of auctions all throughout California. About six years ago, Grigg started Mike Grigg Auctions, which primarily services nonprofit organizations and private schools with fundraising events. And Grigg has become the face at local events supporting nonprofits such as Make-A-Wish Foundation, CASA of Kern County and JJ’s Legacy. Grigg gave a Bakersfield Life a peek into the life of a live auctioneer: Why is it that auctioneers talk so fast? Is this something you had to learn or is it a natural talent? Auctioneers talk fast or chant for a couple of reasons. First, more items can be sold in a shorter period of time. And secondly, the speed creates urgency, which results in

competition, which results in higher prices. Plus, the audience always loves to see a good auctioneer in action because itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fun! I am always practicing to get better. Many times I find myself chanting while I drive and upping the increments as I pass each telephone pole or even chanting to the beat of a good song. I obtained my basic skills by going to auction school, and now every auction I do improves my skills further. I have also entered many bid calling competitions to go head-to-head against other auctioneers. As an auctioneer, youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re also an entertainer. What is one of the craziest things you have done to get the audience to bid higher? I love to make people laugh and try to take a slight stand-up comedian approach to my bid calling. I think most people and organizations appreciate this and respond by raising their card more often. One of the craziest things Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve recently done to get the audience to bid was by selling a glass of ice water to the highest bidder to benefit a local nonprofit organization. Needless to say, I sold one to the highest bidder and one to the backup bidder for $1,500 each! That is $3,000 raised in less than a minute that the organization never would have seen.

Continued on page 130

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Continued from page 129 At the beginning of the auction, do you get a sense of what the night will be like and how generous people will be? If the organization did their job and recruited the right audience (members who have the capital and passion for the cause), then the night will always be spectacular. However, you can never predict how awesome a night will be. I was recently a part of a $1.7 million night for one of my clients in the San Diego area, which was $300,000 more than they made in the previous year. Sometimes organizations think they had a good night without using a professional auctioneer and they don’t realize how much they actually left on the table. Professional benefit auctioneers know all the secrets in the business to maximize the event’s profit.

Grigg thinks bidders respond positively to humor.

What’s the secret to your success? There are three major secrets to my success: being fair, honest and knowledgeable with my clients. When nonprofits come to me and need my help to improve their results, I have the training and knowledge to take their events to the next level, and many times, double or triple their previous results. Many people ask me what my fees are, but they should be asking, “What will it cost not to hire a professional benefit auctioneer?” My training will

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Bakersfield Life Magazine

December 2012

Comfort is...Giving a gift that will last

show you spectacular results at your fundraiser. You must be exhausted after an event. How do you relax? I am generally exhausted after an event, but I love what I do and wouldn’t change it for anything. I love to wind down by playing golf whenever I can and just hanging out with my wife, daughter and dog. A little vacation mixed in never hurts as well! I’m a firm believer in work hard, play hard.


What has been your favorite auction? I have called hundreds of auctions and raised millions of dollars over the years, so it is impossible to have just one favorite auction. The best auctions are the ones where my clients are happy with the results and hire me back for next year. I have had some very unique experiences over the years dealing with many celebrities like Pamela Anderson and Rudy Giuliani and even selling props from “Star Trek,” “Iron Man” and “Battlestar Galactica.” You recently published a book, what’s it about? My book is titled, “Maximizing Your Charity Event’s Bottom Line,” and was written to assist all of my clients and anyone interested in improving their fundraiser’s profit. It tells some of my secrets and helps organizations to streamline their current process so they can get the best bang for their buck. It is available for purchase on or you can visit my website and input your email address for a free eCopy of the book.

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Fit and Fresh


Bouncing back from baby

Healthy holidays Runs, rides, homemade energy bars By Sally Baker and Katie Kirschenmann

Mr. Toad’s Wild Run Mr. Toad’s Wild Run offers 5K and 20K trails in Hart Park starting at the shooting range. This year, the popular and fun event will take place Saturday, Dec. 1. The race is hilly and can be muddy if we get a little rain, but for all those trail runners out there, this is always great way to start December. For more information, go to

A.B.L.E. 5K run-walk This new event will take place at 8:30 a.m. Dec. 8 at California Living Museum. Proceeds from the race will go to purchase adaptive fitness equipment for special education programs. Entry price before Dec. 1 is $25, and $30 after Dec. 1 or on race day. For more information, call Jessica Acevedo at 396-4420.

Full Moon Ride This is a casual and social, slow-paced ride averaging 10 to 12 mph. It meets at 7:30 p.m. at Beach Park. The group will travel six miles to The Marketplace to enjoy a light refreshment and to allow riders to sit and relax by the fountain and shops before returning to Beach Park. Contact Brad at for more information. 132

Bakersfield Life Magazine

December 2012

Kirschenmann: If your name isn’t Beyonce, you don’t need your pre-baby body back only one month after giving birth. It feels as though every time I turn around there is some celebrity strutting her post-baby body. Well good for you, Reese Witherspoon! If I had a live-in personal trainer lifting me out of the bed in the morning to workout, I might be able to achieve your miraculous transformation as well. But, for those of us who live in the real world, we know that losing baby weight is not easy. In fact, it can be downright challenging. My twin girls were born on Oct. 10 (10-11-12). We are happy and healthy, and adjusting to a rigorous schedule at home. Part of my schedule is devoted to taking care of myself as well as my babies. Since this is my second time around fighting the battle of the baby bulge, I know what to expect. With Sally’s help, I have put together five guidelines to follow during the first six weeks, post baby. • Be kind to yourself: Caring for an infant is demanding. Fatigue, anxiety and a roller coaster of emotions are ever present. Self-inflicted pressure to rock a bikini has no place in a world ruled by a newborn. Taking each day as it comes during the first six weeks is critical for mom and baby. Most importantly, if you are feeling down or blue, talk to your doctor immediately. Postpartum depression is nothing to fool around with — there are many support services in place to help moms cope. It is important to remember that physical fitness begins with emotional health. • Keep an open dialogue with your obstetrician and your pediatrician: Exercise is not an option until six weeks after birth. For women who have had a cesarean section, that time may be even longer. Exercising too soon after giving birth might actually put the road to fitness farther out of reach. Speak frankly with your health care providers and listen to the advice they give. Your doctors want you and your baby to thrive, so no question is too small or insignificant. • Lose the word “diet” from your vocabulary: Do not think about dieting; think about making healthy choices for you and baby. Breast-feeding demands well-balanced meals full of leafy greens, lean proteins, whole grains and an average of 500 extra calories per day. Stay away from sugars, processed foods and refined carbohydrates. Keep plenty of healthy snacks on standby. I make sure to keep the fridge stocked with yogurt, roast turkey slices, cheeses, apples, grapes and my favorite, instant oatmeal. Oatmeal aids lactation, tastes great and keeps me full. • Water, water, water: Staying well-hydrated will help with any fatigue and keep water retention at bay. When stress inevitably makes an appearance, brew a comforting cup of decaffeinated tea. Avoid beverages that will ultimately cause dehydration, like sodas, coffee and especially alcohol. • Avoid the temptation to become a couch potato: On this topic I’m speaking from significant experience. Once captured by the couch, it is difficult to escape. While someone is watching baby, go sit outside or walk around the block — make sure to check with your doctor first. If recovering from a C-section, walk around the house when possible. Keep busy mentally as well as physically. Turn off the television and pick up the phone to enjoy a good conversation with a friend. Attempt to rest as much as possible without becoming sedentary.

Homemade energy bars Baker: I have been tinkering with recipes for my own special bar for many years, trying to get just that right combination of nutty, chewy, nutritious and flavorful bar that freezes well and travels well on the bike ride or long run. I don’t usually take food on the run unless it’s more than two hours. At that time, a homemade snack sure tastes great and helps you get to the finish line. I like to make a batch about every other month, wrap each one individually, and store in Ziploc bags and into the freezer. It’s simple to grab one, pop in your pack, and hit the road. Each batch is a little different as I utilize what I have in the pantry, trading raisins for cranberries or chopped apricots, almonds for peanuts, or applesauce for honey. The recipe is versatile — feel free to play with different fruits and cereals.

Oatmeal, nutty, fruity energy bars 1/2 cup honey 1/2 cup peanut butter 4 tablespoons maple syrup or golden syrup 1 tablespoon canola oil 1/4 cup brown sugar

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1 teaspoon vanilla 2 cups rolled oats 2 cups All-Bran cereal (or high fiber cereal) 1/4 cup wheat germ 1/2 cup chopped nuts 1/2 cup raisins, chopped apricots or cranberries 1/2 cup flaked coconut 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional) Directions: Spray bottom of pan. Place first five ingredients in saucepan and heat until melty and a little bubbly, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Put the remaining ingredients in a large bowl, and stir together. Taking a spatula, pour the warm peanut butter mixture into the dry ingredients, gently stir together until all mixed in. Place in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares. Wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Store in Ziploc bag and in freezer.

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Trip Planner

Highway 126 roadside stands Shops along the route — between Bakersfield and the coast — offer more than just fruit Story and photos by Lois Henry


dmit it, you’re curious. You’ve always wanted to stop at some of those roadside shops along Highway 126 as you flit back and forth to the coast. But when you’re headed there, you’re in a hurry to arrive; and on your way back home, you’re too tired, broke or you spent so much time lollygagging at the beach that your boss is already sniffing around your cubicle to see where the heck you are. Have no fear. I made a trip planner specifically for roadside shopping, to see what those places are all about. Yes, some are regular fruit stands. But others defy such minimalist labels. They are the true, old-school roadside attractions.

Roadside shopping Chief among them is the Loose Caboose, just east of Santa Paula. Sure, the shop has fruit in the small, open-air storefront section, but that’s not all.

A girl tries one of the many flavors of honey in the tasting room at Bennett's Honey Farm. You can get koi fish, koi ponds, koi pond bridges, trees, sculptures, decorations for almost every holiday known to man, knickknacks, antiques, and, yes, even birds. Then there are the seasonal carnivals complete with rides. They also serve barbecue. And true to its name, there is a real live caboose on site. The historic Fillmore train also makes regular stops. No matter what you’re in the mood for, it seems the Loose Caboose has it covered. There’s no price for admission. I bought a couple of Reed avocados and a gigantic beefsteak tomato as my way of saying, “Thanks for the entertainment.”

Wine and honey

Shoppers look over the citrus selection at one of the many fruit stands that dot the sides of Highway 126 between Santa Clarita and Ventura.


Bakersfield Life Magazine

December 2012

I cruised into Fillmore, saw a sign for a winery and cranked the wheel to the left where I found Giessinger Winery about a block away from Highway 126 on Santa Clara Street. The tasting room is an old, vine-covered building that’s quaint and relaxed. The wines aren’t too pricey either. Most were a little sweet for my taste, but rest assured, I found a bottle or two to take on my way. The tasting room and grounds provide a great shady place to stop even if all you want to do is sit on the patio and

watch the old train chug out of the station. Down the road past Fillmore, I stopped in at Bennett’s Honey Farm, which has a honey tasting room that I’ve always wanted to visit. The amount and variety of honey and bees wax products are staggering. What don’t they make out of this stuff, I wondered? And the main attraction, tasting the honey, was totally worth the stop. I couldn’t imagine that honey tasted that different from one variety to the next, but I was dead wrong. Flavors included eucalyptus, buckwheat, orange, wildflower and several others. And they really do taste different. The honey isn’t infused with the flavors. Rather the bees are kept in areas where those plants grow and their honey just naturally tastes different. Totally cool, huh?

Fruit and cactus I hit a few more fruit stands along the way, getting things like dragon fruit and a mystery fruit that had a light grapefruit taste but pear texture that I don’t normally see here in Kern County. Then I stopped at the Cactus Mart. From the highway, it doesn’t look that big. But it stretches on and on with every kind of cactus you can imagine: big

A few stops on Highway 126 Giessinger Winery: Bennett's Honey Farm: Loose Caboose Garden & Gift Emporium:

Cactus Mart offers an endless variety of cactus. and small. I have a thing for cactus plants. They’re so odd and scrappy. I admire their survival instinct; except after I buy them, of course, which seems to trigger their suicide instinct. That didn’t stop me from buying three little cactus babies. I hope they make it. But if not, I know where to get more.

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Coast Travel

Drive through ‘WineCoastCountry’ Central Coast route captures region’s admired attractions


isiting the Central Coast just got a whole lot easier and enjoyable. Dubbed “wine coast country,” this central coastal region, midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, is a favorite vacation spot for many local families and couples. And thanks to the newly launched “WineCoastCountry Discovery Route,” local residents will have plenty to explore, especially during winter and holiday breaks. The route features 101 miles of Pacific coastline that takes visitors on a drive through 10 destinations. “(It) is the ideal way for visitors to get the most out of WineCoastCountry’s 10 distinct regions. It helps them figure where to go, what to do and how to get there,” said Cheryl Cuming, chief administrative officer for San Luis Obispo County Business Improvement District. “People who come here fall in love with this area of California, and the Discovery Route just makes their experience that much better.” The northernmost point of the route begins at Ragged Point-San Simeon and runs to the southernmost point in the Nipomo farmlands. Driving along the route, visitors will be treated to majestic views of rugged Pacific coastline, relaxing beaches, lush rolling farmland and renowned vineyards. 136

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Travelers can partake in locavore dining, wine-tasting, farms visits, outdoor activities, cultural exhibitions and festivals. History buffs will love the historical points of interest, including San Simeon’s famed Hearst Castle, Avila Beach’s 1890 Point San Luis Light House, and Nipomo’s archeological site from Cecile B. DeMille’s epic 1932 film “The Ten Commandments,” among others. Outdoor enthusiasts can partake in hiking, biking, horseback riding, kayaking and surfing at the nearby state parks, nature reserves, estuaries, beaches and trails. Unsure where to begin? Here is a three-day travel itinerary for you to consider, beginning at the northernmost point of the Discovery Route in Ragged Point.

Day One San Simeon Cove Enjoy sea kayaking in the natural harbor of San Simeon Cove at the southern end of the 60-mile stretch of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Paddle the pristine waters that are home to wildlife such as sea otters, harbor seals, sea lions, whales, dolphins and much more. Kayak

Nestled among towering pines and the shimmering pacific coast, Cambria is a picturesque village with an abundance of charming shops and wonderful dinning options.

Day Two • Cambria Fiscalini Ranch Preserve offers a rare expanse of nature and solitude. It offers a back county experience all within walking distance of visitor accommodations.

Outfitters, W. R. Hearst State Memorial Beach, 805-927-1787,

Head south on the Discovery Route to the quaint town of Cambria. Begin with breakfast at The French Corner Bakery for a cup of coffee, fresh pastry and handcrafted bread. Spend the morning wandering the charming streets, filled with some neat art galleries and studios, including the world-renowned Seekers Glass Gallery. Next, take a walk to scenic Moonstone Beach. The French Corner Bakery, 2214 Main St., 805-927-8227, Seekers Glass Gallery, 4090 Burton Drive, 800-841-5250, Moonstone Beach, Moonstone Beach Drive, 805927-3859,

• Cayucos-by-the-Sea

Try lunch at Sebastian’s General Store, a local favorite with some of the best sandwiches and burgers around and a great wine tasting bar for Hearst Ranch Winery. Old San Simeon/Sebastian General Store, Hearst Ranch Winery Tasting Room, 442 San Simeon Road, 805-927-3307,

Travel to the picturesque town of Cayucos-by-the-Sea for lunch at Schooner’s Wharf. The menu features fresh seafood, steak and the house specialty Bloody Mary. After lunch, stroll the historic pier, browse the many antique shops, and stop by the Brown Butter Cookie Co. Brown Butter Cookie Co., 98 N. Ocean Ave., 805-995-2076, Schooner’s Wharf, 171 N. Ocean Ave., 805-9953883,

• Hearst Castle

• Montana de Oro State Park

Spend the afternoon touring the historic Hearst Castle, a renowned landmark known for its extensive art collection dating back to the third century. Reservations required. Hearst Castle, 750 Hearst Castle Road, 800-444-4445,

Explore trails in Montana de Oro. Travel south to Los Osos-Baywood Park for a hike in an admired state parks. The park is six miles southwest of Morro Bay and seven miles south of Los Osos-Baywood Park on Pecho Road. 805528-0513,

• El Chorlito Mexican Restaurant

• 10th Street Grill

Enjoy dinner at El Chorlito Mexican Restaurant, offering California-New Mexico style cuisine, with house specialties such as homemade vegetarian salsa, lamb shanks in a mild tomato sauce and the famous “Margaritas De Vino” made with Los Cabos Agave Especial Wine. El Chorlito Mexican Restaurant, 9155 Hearst Drive, 805-927-3872,

After a fun-filled day of activities, have a relaxing dinner at 10th Street Grill in a cozy atmosphere. 10th Street Grill, 2011 10th St., Los Osos-Baywood Park, 805-528-2011,

• Sebastian’s General Store

Continued on page 139


WineCoastCountry • Comprehensive visitor site featuring interactive itinerary planning with detailed listings for activities, eateries and points of interest. For a wide range of enjoyable vacation lodging options, visit • Interfaced with Google Maps to create a downloadable map; printout or send to a smartphone, or other mobile device. • Social media:

WineCoastCountry Discovery Route • Includes special promotions and packages, a downloadable map, a mobile travel guide and a travel video. • For a chance to win a four-day trip for two to WineCoastCountry — through Dec. 30 — go to slo/win-the-ultimate-road-trip/.

In the heart of wine country, explore country roads lined with tasting rooms and vineyards, rolling hills, a light breeze, and blue clear skies.

Your hearing is our

1 priority


at WALL’S. At Wall’s Hearing Aid Center, we’re committed to our customers and dedicated to ensuring your satisfaction. Come to us and you’ll get the personal attention, superior service and advanced, customized solutions you need to keep you hearing your best. Just like all our customers have, since 1946.

Call to schedule your FREE screening and hearing evaluation today!

Kenneth V. Wall Board Certified in Hearing Instrument Sciences

The Original Hearing Aid Center of Bakersfield

4800 Easton Drive, Suite 108 Bakersfield, CA 93309

(661) 368-9865 © 2012 Starkey. All Rights Reserved. 5/12 09801-12 S9351


Bakersfield Life Magazine

December 2012

Continued from page 137

Day Three Good Tides Coffee Organic Bistro Take your coffee and meal at Good Tides Coffee Organic Bistro. Good Tides Coffee Organic Bistro, 1326 Second St., Los Osos/Baywood Park; 805-528-6000;

Edna Valley Wine Trail After breakfast, follow the Discovery Route to the country on the Edna Valley Wine Trail, stopping to taste at Tolosa Winery, the charming tasting room of Claiborne & Churchill, and onto Baileyana for great wine and a game of bocce ball. Edna Valley Wine Trail Map, Tolosa Winery, 4910 Edna Road; 805-782-0500; Claiborne and Churchill Vintners, 2649 Carpenter Canyon Road, 805544-4066, Baileyana, 4915 Orcutt Road, 805-597-8200,

Old Edna Visit the historic Old Edna townsite where Sextant Winery tasting room is located. Enjoy a nice lunch in a serene country setting with local wines and cheeses and farm fresh

Continued on page 140

Take the Ultimate VACATION for the REST OF YOUR LIFE Remember when being on vacation meant no cooking, cleaning or yard work? And you enjoyed most of your meals in great restaurants. From now on, every day can be a vacation day for you. Our staff will take care of the cooking, cleaning, transportation, maintenance and other services. They will also serve you fresh, delicious meals — all prepared by a professional chef. We do the dishes, too! Your job is just to enjoy life with organized activities, day trips, extended travel, exceptional service, comfortable living, fine dining and the availability of any care you may need in the future. It’s the ultimate vacation for you!

Call (661) 587-0221 to schedule your personal tour. ˜`i«i˜`i˜Ìʈۈ˜}ÊUÊ*iÀܘ>ˆâi`ÊÃÈÃÌi`ʈۈ˜} â…iˆ“iÀ½ÃÊEÊ i“i˜Ìˆ>Ê >ÀiÊUÊ,i…>LˆˆÌ>̈œ˜ÊEÊ-Žˆi`Ê ÕÀȘ} 350 Calloway Drive, Bakersfield, CA 93312

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Continued from page 139 fare from the Old Edna Gourmet Deli. Old Edna Townsite, 1653 Old Price Canyon Road, 805-544-8062, Sextant Winery, 1653 Old Price Canyon, 805-542-0133,

Arroyo Grande Valley After lunch, head to the Arroyo Grande Valley to Windmill Farms and walk through an area featuring succulents and roses, and an assortment of pottery, fountains, garden art, a barn filled with fruits, vegetables and gourmet delights. Don’t forget to visit the animals at the Critter Corral. Arroyo Grande Valley, Windmill Farms, 1275 N. Thompson Ave. 805-489-1000,

Laetitia Vineyard & Winery Take a lovely drive to Laetitia Vineyard & Winery to enjoy the picture-perfect view from the hilltop setting, gourmet food shopping and award-winning sparkling wines. Laetitia Vineyard & Winery, 453 Laetitia Vineyard Drive, 805-481-1772,

Jocko’s Steak House Finish the day with a classic Central Coast-style barbecue dinner at Jocko’s Steak House in the charming town of Nipomo. Jocko’s Steak House, 125 N. Thompson Ave., 805-929-3565, —


Bakersfield Life Magazine

December 2012

Avila Barn is a favorite spot to stop off and get ice cream on the way to or from Avila Beach with locally grown fruit and vegetables, freshly baked treats, magical pumpkin patch, and friendly farm animals to visit.



HealthSouth Bakersfield Rehabilitation Hospital Sandra Hegland, CEO Address: 5001 Commerce Drive Phone: 323-5000 Website:

HealthSouth Bakersfield Rehabilitation Hospital provides physical, occupational and speech therapy. What makes that different from other places patients go to get rehabilitation? Because HealthSouth is a hospital, patients also get other care needs met by a team of trained rehabilitation nurses and physicians. In addition, patients spend about three hours a day in therapy, five days a week. The time is broken up throughout the day and the treatment is individualized according to each patientâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s needs. Does that really make a difference in a patientâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s outcome? Yes, it does. The difference is that most of the patients transition to home and they are better able to care for themselves. As a matter of fact, HealthSouth Bakersfield was given 142

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an award this year because of the stellar patient outcomes. Compared to about 800 other rehabilitation hospitals across the nation, the Bakersfield hospital had better outcomes (patients going home more functional) than 93 percent of the others. What are you most proud of accomplishing this past year? Inpatient Pulmonary Rehabilitation! We developed the program several years ago due to the poor air quality and the high number of people in the area with lung disease. We have enhanced the program every year, and in the spring, we received Joint Commission accreditation for the program. Bakersfield is the first rehabilitation hospital to gain this certification in California. So what does the future look like for HealthSouth Bakersfield? Sandra Hegland We are growing in response to the needs of the community. We opened six new beds a few weeks ago to give a total bed count of 66. Plans are being submitted to build a 20-bed wing by the end of 2014. Our mission guides our future endeavors: To continually grow while providing patient-centered, community-focused, quality-driven rehabilitation services.

Houston Jewelers

merchandise that you see at Houston Jewelers. Christine, my wife (and full-time buyer), and I have had the distinct honor of being invited to many “invitation only” international jewelry shows to preview the upcoming trends. We always want to feature what is new in the jewelry industry and take pride in bringing progressive designs to Bakersfield. We appreciate our client base, and we buy with them in mind.

Steve Houston, owner Address: 4717 Stockdale Highway Phone: 835-3530 Website:

What are some unique aspects that set Houston Jewelers apart from other jewelry stores? Houston Jewelers is unique in several ways — we have the largest store in the area, which allows us the room to display a diverse selection of necklaces, rings, bracelets, watches and other items from designers such as David Yurman, Jack Kelege, Mémoire, Omega and A. Link. The diversity of our brands allows us to offer various price points so every customer can find a beautiful piece at a price they can afford. We also offer private showings that range from simple presentations to special events. Perhaps most importantly, Houston Jewelers is locally owned and has been serving this community for more than 38 years. What’s the most important thing to consider when purchasing jewelry? Of course quality and price must be considered, but to me, the most important thing to remember when choosing fine jewelry is the fact that there is emotion connected to it. “Does it speak to me?” is the question you should ask yourself when picking out a piece of jewelry. Does it represent what is loved about the person you are buying it for? Is this the perfect gift for the event you are celebrating? Jewelry represents and signifies a special moment like an engagement, birth of a child, birthday or anniversary. Memories are what make jewelry timeless! Houston Jewelers enjoys the opportunity to share in these special events with our clients. How do you select your inventory? We travel all over the world, from New York to Europe, to find the 144

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December 2012

Once an item is purchased, what can a customer expect from Houston Jewelers? At Houston Jewelers, we have a graduate gemologist, two jewelers, a certified appraiser, artists and a team of loyal and qualified staff members, including some who have been with us for more than 25 years. Our customers can expect the very best service, advice and value in Bakersfield! We offer on-site repair services for all types of jewelry, including watches. Our in-house certified gemologist offers expert advice from counsel on purchases of fine jewelry to appraisal services. Caring for and insuring your jewelry are two things you can do to ensure that your items last for generations. We recommend that you bring your jewelry in to be inspected and cleaned at least twice a year and that fine Swiss-made watches be serviced by our expert technician every three to five years. If a customer simply has an idea or dream regarding a design, how can Houston Jewelers make it a reality? If you have an idea, our in-house artist and design consultant can work with you to create that special, custom-designed piece of jewelry — a work of art made exclusively for you! We can also redesign vintage pieces or make simple modifications to items you already have. Our professional staff is happy to help you with everything, from appraisals to selecting high-quality gemstones to providing exceptional advice regarding style and fashion. Earning our customers’ trust with professional advice and knowledge about their jewelry purchases and providing excellent service makes Houston Jewelers the premier jewelry store in the area.

Empire Eye and Laser Center Daniel H. Chang, M.D. Address: 4101 Empire Drive Phone: 325-3937 Website:

Should I consider LASIK? If you’ve ever imagined life without glasses or contact lenses, you might benefit from a vision-correction procedure like LASIK. Safer and more advanced than ever, the blade-free, all laser LASIK procedure has given countless patients good vision without glasses. Even if you’ve previously not been a candidate, new technologies may offer options that could benefit you. Am I a candidate? The only way to know if you are a candidate is by having an evaluation by a surgeon specializing in vision correction. Dr. Daniel H. Chang will determine your overall ocular health, as well as make advanced measurements, such as corneal curvature mapping and whole-eye wavefront measurements. Dr. Chang will then discuss your visual needs and determine whether LASIK — or a different vision-correcting procedure — may be right for you. Why choose Dr. Chang? Dr. Chang is a board-certified ophthalmologist with advanced training in cornea and refractive (vision-correcting) surgery. He has performed thousands of successful LASIK and refractive surgical procedures. Patients have traveled to Bakers146

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field from out of state and even from other countries just to have Dr. Chang as their surgeon. Dr. Chang is globally recognized for his state-of-the-art surgical procedures and his diligent research in vision correction technology. He has been invited to lecture and teach surgeons around the world. In addition to employing the same technology used by the U.S. Navy on our “Top Gun” fighter pilots, Dr. Chang will personally examine you before and after your procedure to ensure that you get the vision you expect. What if I am nervous or dislike things near my eyes? To help calm your nerves, a mild sedative is available prior to the procedure. Dr. Chang will then calmly talk you through the procedure and put you at ease. The eye is readily anesthetized with drops, and most patients note little to no discomfort both during and after LASIK. The procedure is safe, takes less than 10 minutes per eye and most patients can return to work the next day. Dr. Chang has never aborted a procedure due to patient anxiety or discomfort. What about cost? The cost of your LASIK or vision-correcting procedure depends on your eyes and refractive needs. When thinking about costs, consider the financial cost of renewing your glasses and contact lenses (and solutions) regularly, as well as the time costs of finding your glasses, packing spare glasses, taking care of your contact lenses and getting contacts to sit in your eyes comfortably. Great financing options are available; so better vision without glasses may be one of the best investments that you can make!

Daniel H. Chang, M.D. CATARACT AND REFRACTIVE SURGEON CORNEAL SPECIALIST EMPIRE EYE AND LASER CENTER ADVANCED CENTER FOR EYECARE (ACE) B.S., California Institute of Technology M.D., Duke University Ophthalmology Residency, Emory University Refractive Surgery Fellowship, Minnesota Eye Consultants

MEET YOUR SURGEON Board Certified Ophthalmologist with advanced training in refractive (vision correcting) surgery. Performed thousands of successful LASIK and refractive surgical procedures. Lectures at prestigious professional meetings and universities throughout the United States and worldwide. Teaches surgeons the knowledge and skills needed to perform vision correcting surgery. Years of innovative and cutting-edge research in laser vision correction and advanced lens implants.


He is YOUR surgeon to help YOU to achieve YOUR personal best vision.


Mr. Mattress James Whitton, owner of Mr. Mattress Address: 806 Wible Road Phone: 396-1000 Website:

10 things you must know about getting a good night’s sleep Avoid greasy foods at night. Sometimes it may feel like you’ve eaten a big, greasy meatball and it’s sitting in your stomach. No matter which way you turn, you can’t get relief or comfort. After tossing and turning for hours, you get up and take an Alka-Seltzer. What a relief! Just think that if you had skipped the late-night greasy meal, you would have had the blissful sleep that you deserve. Try playing relaxing music. There is an old wives’ tale about drinking warm milk at bedtime to help you sleep. Milk has a small amount of melatonin, so it will help you slip into a deep sleep. Avoid coffee or any drinks with caffeine late at night. Don’t eat late-night snacks. You might think that you’re hungry, but you’re probably just bored, especially, if it’s late at night. When you eat and then go to bed, it’s harder to digest your food. Snacking late at night, may lead to heartburn or acid reflux. Eat a small dinner. A small dinner before bedtime can help in more ways than you might think. You won’t feel sluggish and in need of a pick-me-up, and you won’t blow your diet! Smaller meals are typically easier to digest and will prevent any problems from disturbing a good night’s rest. Get a comfortable set of sheets. One of the best feelings in the world is slipping into a bed that has a new crisp, clean pair of sheets. Sheets are categorized by the thread count. A higher thread count means softer and more luxurious sheets. Lower thread counts tend to be much cheaper but can also be a problem because they will develop fuzz balls over time. This alone can disturb your sleep. If sheets remain soft and smooth — not to mention clean — you will sleep better. Sleep on a supportive mattress One of the easiest ways to ensure that you have a great night’s sleep is to have a really good mattress. I 148

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happen to sell very good mattresses at very good prices. We are a family-owned business and use a no-commissions sales staff, which means all of us are here for the purpose of giving you the best value in your sleep products. Come to my store, and don’t be shy; lie down on any of our mattresses. I have been helping people get the best sleep for more than 40 years. Turn down the thermostat. At night, sweat can interrupt even the best night of rest. To avoid late-night hot flashes, turn the thermostat down a couple of degrees in the winter. If it’s summer, keep it at a suitable temperature that isn’t too hot or too cold. Have a different thickness of blankets to layer across your mattress so that you don't have to get up and go to the linen closet. REM sleep. REM sleep is the deep sleep. This is where your brain re-energizes itself. This typically happens two to three hours a night. REM stands for rapid eye movement. REM sleep is also when most dreams occur. Whether we remember them or not, most people dream every night. Follow a routine. Establish a routine and try to follow it every day. Following your routine will help your mind settle into a pattern. This way, your mind will understand the information it has been working on, and you will sleep much better. Read a book. Select a book that is peaceful. In other words, choose a book that does not involve James Bond or nuclear thermal warfare that are scary and/or adventure books. Reading those will cause your mind to be over stimulated. This is a quiet time to relax your mind and body. Focus on what you’re reading. You will fall asleep much faster and be in a more relaxed state of mind.

December 2012

Bakersfield businessman explains how you can...


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Bakersfield Hyundai Patrick Beck, general manager Address: 5300 Wible Road Phone: 834-5300 Website:

How does Bakersfield Hyundai stand out among other local dealerships? Clearly, it’s our people. Without question, the hard-working team of people I’m surrounded by daily have the finest attitudes out of any group of people I have ever worked with. This is evident at every turn. Our technicians, our detail department, the parts department, our office employees, our sales and service professionals and, of course, our receptionists — these people are high quality. One of my primary functions as general manager is to ensure that I am only hiring people with stellar attitudes, who uplift our team and provide excellent customer service daily. Our long-term success is dependent on repeat business. We believe that our customers will return to do business with people who are great. Bakersfield Hyundai has great people. What is America’s best warranty? Hyundai Motor Company has coined that name to describe the evidence of faith and confidence in their worldclass products. After Hyundai announced this warranty 12 years ago, it forced them to build cars that could stand up to it. America’s Best Warranty is a five-year or 60,000-mile basic warranty and a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty. Toyota, Honda, Chevrolet and Ford only offer a three-year or 150

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36,000-mile basic warranty. What are the advantages of purchasing at Bakersfield Hyundai? You will never be taken for granted here. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve our valued customers. In addition, our 72-hour exchange policy, lifetime free nitrogen, car washes, multi-point inspections, full-service Saturdays, trade-in guarantee and above all, better cars at better prices. Why should Kern County residents buy locally? First, it’s price. We will always be less expensive all things considered. When you see an ad and it seems like it’s less than what you could get locally, it’s either not correct, or it’s just part of the puzzle. Second, it’s service. Your local dealer will always service your vehicle most efficiently, effectively and conveniently. Third, it’s your precious tax dollars. Do you drive on the roads here? Do your kids and grandkids go to school here? Do you want the police and fire departments here to be supported, or those in L.A.? Fourth, it’s philanthropy. We can be certain that there have been exactly zero dollars donated to local churches and charities in Kern County by L.A. area car dealers, probably ever. Our group of dealers supports local charities and churches to the tune of thousands, possibly millions, of dollars each year. By purchasing your next vehicle locally, you are not only getting the best deal, but helping your community flourish. It just makes sense. You can find Patrick Beck, general manager, at Bakersfield Hyundai. Beck also serves as the president of the Greater Bakersfield New Car Dealers Association.

Holiday Poinsettia Campaign Kickoff Oct. 10 Held at Kern Federal Credit Union Photos by Tony Moreno View these photos and more online at

Jarrod McNaughton

Principal, Donna Smith and Students from Our Lady of Perpetual Help

Holiday Poinsettia Site Coordinators


Bakersfield Life Magazine

December 2012

Reneee and Steve Varner

Maddie Janssen and Carol Jarrett

Sheila Archibald and Lisa Romero

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Cody, Emma, Bryanna and Dennis Bossaert

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Oct. 27 Held at Yokus Park Photos by Jan St Pierre View these photos and more online at

Mathew Heath and Daniel and Juliana Jiminez

Teresa and Anne Wright, Crystal Moncado, Tricia Tembreull, Michael and Tina Dauterive and Bunny Tembreull

Shrinerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Club Chili Verde Cookoff Oct. 28 Held at Noble Park Photos by Frank Domingo View these photos and more online at

Valentine, Yvonne and Robert Torres

Barbara, Jake and Ron (Hog) Newton

Phil Trybul and Gary Sampley

Bob Bryant and Kathy Baehr

Mike and Bob Bennett

Miros Hernandez and Carlos Pena

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661-589-8950 â&#x20AC;˘ 800-FIT-IS-IT 154

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19th & N Street, Downtown Bakersfield

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Walk to End Alzheimerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Disease Nov. 10 Held at The Park at Riverwalk Photos by Casey Christie View these photos and more online at

John, Jenna, Kapena and John Taylor

Pam Walker, Robert Morris and Jennifer Celedon

Christian Yubeta, Mia and Aimee Gallardo

Cynthia Childers, Susan Owens and Susan Childers

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Dreaming Beyond the Stars Nov. 2 Held at The Padre Hotel Photos by Greg Nichols View these photos and more online at

Karen and Tony Bonanno

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Tour Includes: • Motorcoach to/from LAX • Airfare to Quebec/from Toronto • 8 nights accommodations • 8 breakfasts, 4 dinners • 2-night stays in each city • VIA Rail • Maid of the Mist cruise


Do Good CASA of Kern County art auction Nov. 2 Held at Metro Galleries Photos by Carla Rivas View these photos and more online at

Andreas Somogyi and Gina Long

Brad Cordova and Jennifer Williams

Micky Heppe and Amy Raddatz

Mark Waller and Dawna Macgillivary

Madeline and Mike Parra

Sandy Rudnick and Sue Bickford

Justin Brooks and Jay Ignacio

• Photo Mugs • iPhone Cases • Woven Photo Blankets • Pillows • Puzzle and much more

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Nathan Perez, Lauren Sablak and Beth Creswell 158

Bakersfield Life Magazine

December 2012

(855) 393-2840

Walk to Cure Diabetes

Noah and Manny Dockins and Bobbie Benavidez

Isabel Juarez and Tarah VanHooser

Derick Walker, Caedenn Easton, Veronica Pilkinton and Karla Lyons

Caroline Collins, Megan Pittman and Christy Herrera

Jake Fortnum, Jenifer Wilbur, Melissa and Skip Hardy

Caden and Vickie Williamson, Kristie and Linda Evans and Nikole Williamson

Nov. 3 Held at Yokuts Park Photos by Carla Rivas View these photos and more online at

Kim Bush, Megan Darcy, Mike Bush and Trudie Gregory

CaraLynn and Nathan Hogan, Anna Henson and Shane McDanell

Mary Claggett, Rosalyn Horn, LaMeka Ross, Karla Young and Diane Washington


Covenant Coffee wine tasting Oct. 18 Held at Imbibe Wine and Spitis Merchant Photos by Carla Rivas View these photos and more online at

Marilyn and Ken Bergevin

Susan Saint-Marie, Richard Holden and Marci Lingo

Kim Weinberg and Michelle Martin

Rose and Chuck Shannon and Nancy Parker

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21,000 Square Foot Showroom

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(661) 324-6484 1723 18th Street BAKERSFIELD 160

Bakersfield Life Magazine

December 2012

Katie Whittington, Diane Shaffer, Krisi Hereford and Denise Haynes

Inside Story

Christmas Around the World Compiled by Emily Claffy

Photos by Gregory D. Cook

History • First opened in 2008 on the second floor of Timeless Furnishings. • Established by Sherrie Lewis, who has a love for Christmas and a desire to educate people about the Christmas traditions of other countries. • Receives donations and consultations on traditions from local ethnic groups including Filipinos, Mexicans, Swedes, Egyptians, Peruvians, Germans and Koreans. • The nonprofit organization, Foundation for Christmas Around the World, seeks sponsors to provide admission for disabled individuals, foster children, at-risk youth, Boys & Girls Clubs and MakeA-Wish Foundation.

This nativity is one of more than 3,000 nativity pieces that can be seen at the annual Christmas Around the World .

What you’ll find • Christmas displays from 43 different countries; Hungary, Romania and Ecuador are

new to this year’s display • 150 decorated Christmas trees covering 15,000 squarefeet • 3,000 nativity items including nativity scenes, framed cards and ornaments • 1,000 international dolls • More than 800 nutcrackers in the Germany display • A section for vintage decorations • A gingerbread replica of Saint Basil’s Cathedral made by Manuel Rodriguez, who died of Lou Gehrig’s Disease in 2011 • A gift shop with Christmas items • Punch and cookies

Preparation Christmas Around the World has added two new countries to the display this year.

• Lewis receives help from family and friends to clean and update displays. • Volunteers start cleaning and decorating toward the end of October and through November until the site is open. • This year, Ryan Cheney’s Eagle Scout project included painting shelving units and walls, as well as moving light fixtures for the event. • Lewis receives decoration donations from locals, and attends estate and yard sales to scout new decorations.


Bakersfield Life Magazine

December 2012

Sherrie Lewis, designer of Christmas Around the World.

Christmas Around the World • Second floor of Timeless Furnishings, 1918 Chester Ave. • Nov. 23 until Dec. 29. • Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday • Closed on Sundays, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day • Prices: $20 for a family of four, $8 for adults, $7 for seniors 65 and older, $5 for children and free for children 5 years old and younger

Special events • “Light a Light” from 6 to 7 p.m. Nov. 30. The event will honor Karen Goh and Kathy Butler for their community service. • “Deaf Awareness Days” from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 8. Tours in sign language for deaf and hard of hearing individuals. Last year’s event featured a signing Santa for 85 attendees. • “Latin Fiesta” all day on Dec. 15. Day includes dancing, singing, storytelling, as well as costumes from Guatemala, Ecuador, Columbia and Mexico. • “Music Festival” all day on Dec. 22. Live musical accompaniment will be played for Christmas Around the World patrons.

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Bakersfield Life Magazine December 2012  
Bakersfield Life Magazine December 2012  

Bakersfield Life Magazine December 2012