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February 2011

Divas at the Padre

Pets & their people The special bond we share with our four-legged pals

Hockey guys

Financial health

Locals hit the ice for fitness, camaraderie

12-page special section






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It ‘Manners’ a lot

Contributing community writer Lisa Kimble debuts her column to teach you a thing or two about manners and proper etiquette. This inaugural column offers advice on how to deal with kids (and adults) who are glued to their cell phones during inappropriate times.

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Pets and their people

Several well-known residents share their tales about their furry-tailed companions and what their relationships are like with those pets.


Bakersfield Life

February 2011

Single in Bakersfield

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, we found 13 single people who are ready to mingle. Find out who these singles are as well as their dating deal-breakers, what they like to whip up in the kitchen and their idea of a perfect weekend.


Finance: This month, we help you learn how to downsize after retirement, how to select the right life insurance plan for you and your family and how to rebuild your credit, along with other advice to free you from financial fiascos. Also, read how three local businesses continue to succeed during troubled times.

Photo by Michael Lopez















O R S’ C H O I C E P

It seems a “simple” enough concept. Home is the foundation of our lives. And while it can come in many colors, shapes and sizes, home is always bigger than the house it is surrounded by. For over 100 years, our agents have helped people find the houses they call home. And now more than ever, it’s important we never stop moving. 327-2121

1820 Westwind Drive


9100 Ming Ave., Ste1


3820 Coffee Rd., Ste 1

2 0 1 1


Page 62

Photo by Greg Nichols

34 Food & Wine 38 Why I Live Here 40 On the Red Couch 62 It’s a Guy Thing 

Bakersfield Life

February 2011

Photo by Tanya X. Leonzo

12 Up Front 16 Letters to the Editor 22 Happenings 24 On the Road 28 Real People 30 Dining Divas

67 Tech Watch 68 Community 72 Talk of the Town 74 Pastimes 76 Personality 78 Health and Wellness 80 History 82 Trip Planner

88 Snap!

Photo by Henry A. Barrios


Photo by Jessica Frey




Bakersfield’s Premier City Magazine

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. Publisher Ginger Moorhouse President/CEO Richard Beene Senior Vice President Revenue and Marketing John Wells Advertising Director Bryan Fahsbender Editor Olivia Garcia Assistant Editor Stefani Dias Features Associate Hillary Haenes Editorial Assistant Marisol Sorto Art Direction Glenn Hammett Photography Felix Adamo Henry A. Barrios Casey Christie Brian Drake Jessica Frey Maria Ahumada-Garaygordobil Lois Henry John Harte Alex Horvath Michael Lee Greg Nichols Tanya X. Leonzo Michael Lopez Jan St. Pierre John Reyes Jose Trevino Contributing writers Jennifer Baldwin Gene Garaygordobil Lois Henry Lisa Kimble Dana Martin Alyssa Morones Jeff Nickell Gabriel Ramirez Steven Van Metre Advertising Lupe Carabajal 395-7563 Reader Inquiries Bakersfield Life Magazine P.O. Bin 440 Bakersfield, CA 93302-0440 395-7492 On the cover A peaceful moment for chiropractor Courtland Keith and his rambunctious Akitas, Sachi and Kiyoshi. Photo by Jessica Frey


Bakersfield Life

February 2011

Lots of love in this issue “If you would be loved, love, and be lovable.” — Benjamin Franklin


Editors are not supposed to show favoritism, but I have to say that I love this edition. It has to be one of my all-time favorites. And it has much to do with all the furry little guys and girls that we are featuring this month. If you are a pet owner or animal lover in general, then you will understand what I’m saying. Our pets are part of our family. They are there when we want a hug, company, protection or fun. They’re even great listeners when we feel humans just don’t get us. My dogs, for instance, get me and my love of climbing hills despite my relatives thinking I’m a bit nuts. They are my partners, ready for anything, for they love me and I “heart” them. My husband likes to joke that since we never had any daughters, our German shepherds are our daughters. So I encourage you to read all about our pet feature. Writer Dana Martin interviewed many pet owners and uncovered what makes their relationships so special. There are plenty of other interesting stories inside — and just in time for Valentine’s Day. We profile loving, successful couples such as Ray and Joan Dezember and Marvin and Nadene Steinert. Be ready to be inspired and feel the love. And for the singles out there, we’ve got something for you, too. Meet 13 local bachelors and bachelorettes in our light-hearted look at the single life. We only asked for a few details about what makes them tick, so if you want to know more, you've got to look them up. Find out more in our singles feature inside. As we settle into 2011, many of us are listing our priorities to accomplish for the year, including financial goals. Make sure you spend some time on our Financial Health section where local experts weigh

Photo by Tanya X. Leonzo

February 2011 / Vol. 5 / Issue 5

in on some key issues to consider in 2011. And a special thanks to all of those who submitted nominations for our “manliest man” competition. We received plenty of entries, and there are some great selections and stories to share in the March issue, so stay tuned. Reader Ernest Fuentes, a local barber, sent me the following when describing characteristics that he felt defined a “manliest man.” “Respect, honesty, and bravery. Respect is something you earn by treating people the same. Honesty. There are people who lie to others just to get over them; they take their money or cheat on a simple domino game. (You must not be good if you have to cheat!) Last but not least is bravery. This one is simple, but there are people who get this mixed up. Just because you are out with your buddies and one of them is running his mouth and you don't get involved, that doesn't mean you’re not brave. And I always say, ‘Just act brave. No one can tell the difference.’ I work at Big Ed’s Barber Shop and I have seen it all. Believe me!” I believe you, Ernest.

Olivia Garcia Editor 395-7487

Bakersfield Life contributors talk about their pets

“Straw and I love to explore. As the leader of our five-horse herd, he is dependable, compassionate and courageous, unless elk appear on the trail!” — Ginger Moorhouse, publisher

“My ‘pet’ Blue is special because he requires little to no maintenance and he doubles as a neck pillow for those long road trips! You’re my boy, Blue!” — Lupe Carabajal, local retail sales manager “Emmy showed up on my doorstep and rescued me more than a year ago. This little fur ball has given me lots of laughs and smiles with her sassy, yet sweet attitude. My favorite time to spend with her is naptime when we snuggle.” — Hillary Haenes, features associate “Holly is the best, if only for the reason that she answers to her name. Ingenious, affectionate and too curious for her own good, she's one in a million.” — Stefani Dias, assistant editor “Ninja is my youngest of all dogs. We have three German shepherds, and I love them all to death.

But Ninja’s personality is much like mine: goofy, silly, always ready for some fun, runs and is clever. And when it comes down to it, she will kick some tail if she needs to. She’s very protective.” — Olivia Garcia, editor “I was a dog person until I met my first kitten, and after that, I saw the light. Forrest Gump is a wild-haired, sweet spirited feline who was born at a day care facility and grew to love (and expect) human connection. Like a toddler, Forrest requires attention and will not be ignored.” — Dana Martin, contributing writer “Kayla has been my fur-baby for six years and is such a great loyal companion. She’s been by my side during two deployments while my husband was in Iraq, and makes a great snuggle buddy! She’s also constantly allowing me to take photos of her and is a great model who can go off of a leash!” — Jessica Frey, photograher “Though he weighs in at only five pounds, Coleman Wells is the ultimate alpha male in the Wells household! This Yorki-Poo backs down from nobody and is affectionately known in the neighborhood as ‘The Colemanator!’” — John Wells, senior vice president


UP FRONT It’s Named After

By Lisa Kimble



The westside Kern community of Buttonwillow, named after a bush, traces its roots back through the massive acquisitions by land and cattle barons Henry Miller and Charles Lux in the late 1800s to the Yokut Indians. Located 26 miles west of Bakersfield, the area first served as a meeting place and Miller dance ground for the Yokuts who lived along the shores of Buena Vista and Kern lakes. There was a lone buttonbush that marked their gathering spot. They called it Hahlu, the Yokut word for buttonwillow. The bush, (Rubiaceae Cephalanthus occidentalis), which bears small white flowers and resembles a willow, flourishes in the region. By the late 1800s, large-scale farming and ranching was needed to supply restaurants and grocery stores in fast-growing cities, like San Francisco and Los Angeles. Miller and Lux had purchased enormous areas of land throughout the West to control the supply of cattle for their San Francisco butchering operation. They donated the town site in 1893. Two years later, they established their Kern County ranch headquarters and store in the vicinity of present-day Buttonwillow. The original town site was laid out, and the first post office opened. When the McKittrick Asphalto railroad branch line station passed through the area from Bakersfield, it was that same lone button bush that served as a makeshift landmark for stockmen on the old trans-valley trail.

Though the town was first called “Buena Vista” after the agricultural partners’ settlement, the name “Buttonwillow” eventually prevailed with the development of another town site map in 1921. (The current site map was laid out by C.E. Houchin and recorded in 1927.) Today, the Buttonwillow tree, still standing a mile north of town on Buttonwillow Avenue, is listed on the California Historical Landmark registry. The survey office built by Miller and Lux in 1906 and later used by the Buena Vista Water Storage District was donated by the Chamber of Commerce to the Kern County Museum in 1966. Now a major rest stop along the Interstate 5 corridor, there is very little urban sprawl unlike its neighbor to the east, Bakersfield. But cotton is king, as well as carrots, potatoes, almonds, pistachios and alfalfa, which are grown in the region and distributed around Buttonwillow the world.

The Pulse: What’s hot and what’s not this month in Bakersfield

What’s hot

What’s not

Incoming House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy said he is honored to serve the people in the 22nd District.

While rising gasoline prices may lift Kern County’s economy, it is hurting consumers’ budgets. Some oil consultants have predicted fuel prices to reach $4 by the summertime.

Local leading the way

Money to feed city

Bakersfield will receive $100,000 to fight local hunger after placing sixth in Walmart’s national online competition.

New home decor store to open

HomeGoods, where you can find fabulous home furnishings at affordable prices, is scheduled to open in late February on Stockdale Highway.

Cracking down on truancies

Parents who don't keep their children from cutting class could end up in jail under a new state law cracking down on chronic truancies (unexcused absences equal to 10 percent or more of the school year). Kern County currently has a 30 percent truancy rate, while the state’s rate is 24 percent.


Bakersfield Life

February 2011

Rising gas prices

Dismal housing outlook

According to a recent Rockefeller Institute study, former housing boomtowns like Bakersfield could potentially take decades to recover. The study warns that foreclosures in neighborhoods outside of metro districts can create run-down areas, which will complicate recovery efforts.

Rain, rain, go away

This winter weather has been a mixed blessing. The record rainfall has helped boost roofing companies’ business, but has unfortunately caused damaged roads and homes, leaky roofs, potholes all over town and left many travelers stranded in gridlock traffic on the other side of the Grapevine.

By the Numbers

Lil B’s Sweet Tooth Last year on Valentine’s Day weekend…

1000+ Total 20 Pounds of red, 3 Dozen heartgourmet chocolates pink, white Jelly Bellys shaped suckers sold sold

700 Number of heart-shaped gourmet chocolates sold

537 Estimated number of shoppers

100+ Boxes of conversation hearts


12 Giant

1-2 p.m. Busiest hour of the day

Hershey Kisses sold


Pounds of red and white salt water taffy sold

1proposals Number of


80 Approximate number of Valentine gourmet chocolate candy boxes sold

20 Pounds of red, pink and white M&Ms sold

1 Number of yeses Sources: Jon and Eric Baker, managers of Lil B’s Sweet Tooth in The Marketplace


UP FRONT Short Takes

Hispanic chamber event to feature Latino jazz musician Louie Cruz Beltran The Louie Cruz Beltran Latin Jazz Ensemble will provide a special performance at the 26th annual Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce annual installation banquet and business awards Feb. 5. The event, highlighting the 2011 board members and business award recipients, will be held 6 p.m. Feb. 5 at the Bakersfield Marriott at the Convention Center. A Bakersfield native, Beltran is looking forward to performing in his hometown with his band, officials said. One of the event’s highlights will be to award local businesses and individuals who have made a difference in the community. The awards are: Business Man of the Year, Dr. Carlos Alvarez of Valley Medical Group; Woman of the Year, Maria Hernandez, Univision; Small Business of the Year,

Mission Family Mortuary; Large Business of the Year: Personal Express Insurance; Corporation of the Year, Bakersfield Family Medical Center; Chair Recognition, Jay Tamsi; Community Service, Norma RojasMora, president of Latina Leaders of Kern County; and Nonprofit, Sheriff’s Activities League. The 2011 board will be Jay Tamsi, Risto Rubio, Ramona Herrera, Olivia Garcia, Blodgie Rodriguez, David Alanis, Ed Taylor, Carlos Navarro, Jose A. Guerrero, Sheri Miller, Donna Hollingsworth, Ruben Gonzales, Joe Serrano, Nick Ortiz, Denise Ornelas, Donna Hermann and Shirley Franco. Tickets are $60 per person, and $500 for a table of 10. To RSVP, e-mail KCHCC Executive Director Maggie Ortega at or call 633-5495.

Louie Cruz Beltran

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Bakersfield Life

February 2011

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UP FRONT Letters to the Editor Heartfelt thanks from foster youth of Kern County Dear Editor,

My name is Bria Sherrod, and I serve on Children Joining Children for Success' foster youth board. On Dec. 11 at our annual foster youth event, I had the extreme privilege of being a mentor along with Hon. John Brownlee and attorney H.A. Sala. Having the privilege to work with such wonderful people has made me realize how blessed I truly am. Never in a million years would I have expected to be in such close contact with these great people of such high caliber. Working with both Brownlee and Sala has given me a new perspective on my life, my future and my educational opportunities and abilities. Not just the youth walked away changed on that day, I also walked away with the thoughts of what I could become in the future. I have so much respect and admiration for the dedication and love that both Brownlee and Sala have shown to the youth of this organization. I would like to thank both Brownlee and Sala for all they have done for Children Joining Children for Success, and I encourage them to return next year to continue impacting the lives of the foster youth of Kern County. Sincerely, Bria Sherrod Dear Editor,

I just wanted to thank the Children Joining Children for Success organization for giving me and Leaders in Life an opportunity to be a part of something so grand and inspiring. I had a great time helping with this event. From teaching some of the children energizers to our session, it was amazing. If you ever need my help with anything, contact me. Thanks again! These types of events give me so much hope about the future. Sincerely, Navjyot Gill Golden Valley High School junior cocoordinator for Leaders in Life, president of the AWARE club at Golden Valley, and governmental affair director for the California Association of Student Councils for region 8


Bakersfield Life

February 2011

Dear Editor,

As a business owner and court reporter for 25 years, I learned my survival instincts as a child who once faced very sad and dangerous conditions growing up in a violent home. In an era of my life very long ago, I trembled in fear as I witnessed my alcoholic father, who when sober could be very caring, transform into a mean and unstoppable brute while intoxicated. When not home causing chaos, he was serving prison sentences, where my co-dependent mother took her four children to visit their father … until the fateful day when we watched her take her last breath. We buried my mother, and my father went on to yet his third prison stint. For the first time in my life, I was, oddly enough, at peace. I tell my story to foster children at Children Joining Children for Success events so they understand that separation from their parents was intended to give them stability and a chance for a successful future. I tell them these things: I have reached personal and professional success; I am now married to a wonderful and caring husband, attorney H. A. Sala, and we have two beautiful little girls. They must dream big, work hard, have faith and hope; their sadness is only temporary. The fortitude and resilience they build now will carry them into adulthood to do great things in life and help society make sense of our problems through their precious little eyes. Be proud of who they are; they are only responsible for their actions, not of anyone who has ever caused them harm. Many thanks to all our sponsors, judges, mentors and more than 600 volunteers for caring and joining together to empower and inspire our most vulnerable children. Sylvia Mendez Sala Founder/CEO of Children Joining Children for Success Dear Editor,

I can’t say thank you enough to Sylvia Mendez and Children Joining Children for Success for inviting me to participate in the CJCFS project as a mentor on Dec. 11 at the Rabobank Arena. I showed up with the expectation that I would primarily share my professional experiences to motivate foster youth to strive for higher learning and success. However, during our first group

session, it was clear that these children would benefit more from practical real-life experiences that go beyond my professional training. For the first time in a long time, I was forced to reflect on my childhood experiences and the people, places and things that changed my life (for the better). Imagine how difficult it must be as a 12- or 13- year-old to envision a pathway that goes from middle school to graduate school. It’s a challenging endeavor for any kid regardless of the family situation — but doing this as a foster child must be especially difficult. That’s why the CJCFS program is so great! For these kids, it has provided the people, the place and the things that may change their lives for the better. Sincerely, Gary D. Frazier Vice president, strategy and business development, Bakersfield Memorial Hospital

The Bakersfield Californian publishes Bakersfield Life Magazine monthly. If you have any questions or comments regarding our magazine, write to us at Bakersfield Life Magazine, P.O. Bin 440, Bakersfield, CA 93302, or e-mail us at bakersfield 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. E-mail should include the writer’s full name and city. We reserve the right to edit letters for clarity and space. Please submit letters to Olivia Garcia, Editor, Bakersfield Life Magazine, P.O. Bin 440, Bakersfield, CA 93302. For e-mail, send letters to the editor to bakersfieldlife@ Calendar events: Please submit information in writing to Marisol Sorto, no later than the first of the month, two months prior to the month in which the event will take place. Contact her at Snapshots: Please submit event information for coverage consideration to Olivia Garcia and Glenn Hammett at least one month prior to the event. Send event name, date, location, time, name of contact person and phone number to

To advertise

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

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UP FRONT Short Takes

What is the sweetest thing you have done for your Valentine? “I presented our house on Valentine’s Day to my wife. It was a surprise.” — Carlos Gasca

“I bought ComicCon tickets and took my boyfriend to the event.” — Jina Fong

“I pampered my awesome, hot husband and prepared a nice candlelight dinner for him. Ooo la la.”

“It begins with 11 years of marriage, and I am still in love with the man I married.” — Alexandra Bayaca

“I put signs on my husband’s work fence that said I loved him with all my heart. Then I filled his office with two dozen roses.” — Suzanne Garcia “Dinner, roses and a bear.” — Jerry Ralls

— Melissa Peralta “I made a photo album with pictures of us together, our family and friends, and our son.” — Stephanie Torres

“A cabin at Big Bear.” — Hugo Padilla

“The sweetest thing I’ve done on Valentine’s Day was cook a nice dinner and put together a basket of love filled with lots of fun goodies.” — Alex Gilman “I took him golfing at the Spyglass (Hill) Golf Course in Monterey.” — Connie Taylor

“The sweetest thing is that we’ve been together for six years.” — Lianne Snyder, referring to her sweetheart, Michael Riban


Bakersfield Life

February 2011

Bakersfield Art Association The Bakersfield Art Association is having its second annual Mardi Gras Gala fundraiser on March 4 at the Petroleum Club to provide scholarships for students from kindergarten through college seeking to realize their artistic potential. The nonprofit organization has dedicated itself to enriching and empowering Kern County artists since 1944. The group offers members the opportunity to learn and share the excitement of art and the creative process to local youth and adults. The group is also known for building one of the most enduring art treasures in Bakersfield, as the association began fundraising and built the Cunningham Memorial Art Gallery in Bakersfield’s Central Park in 1956. Today, that gallery is known as the Bakersfield Museum of Art, formed by some of the group’s original members, who preferred to expand into the art world outside of Bakersfield. The association has quite a vibrant past. In 1944, the first organizational meeting was held and the Bakersfield Art Association was established. Current member Beverly Carrick was at that original meeting with her mother as a teenager. “I remember Daisy Urner and (Iva Cross Fendrick’s mother) Vina Cross were there,” Carrick said. “Everyone was so excited!” The association’s first “home” was the family home of Ben Bolt Jr., who recorded the early history of the group. The Bolts sponsored exhibits in their home where budding artist Harry C. Smith taught. Members who wanted to work with and exhibit local artists, assist students in area schools and offer classes to Kern County residents continued as the Bakersfield Art Association. After operating from East Hills Mall for 15 years, the association moved to its 1817 Eye St. location in March 2010. Known as The Art Center, it continues to offer its programs and activities. — By Caroline Reid

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

Ben LeJeune He’s a local theater actor who caught his big breaks last year when he was cast as a guard in the Red Queen’s court in Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland,” then landed a minor role as Brian the drummer on ABC’s “Modern Family,” which he will make a return appearance on this season. During the summer, the 22-year-old began filming “Secret Weapon,” an Internet series targeted toward video gamers. Up next, he's attending Bakersfield College and going on auditions.

is a rare condition in which two senses are mixed together. One sensation is usually caused by the other. Although approximately 1 percent of the earth's population has this condition, I have the most common form: Sight is triggered by sound. I literally see the music I hear. I didn't know this was unusual until 2007, when I’d discovered it had just been discovered.

2. I collect coins from any time period and any location.

3. I have a collection of four-leafed clovers.

4. I have a fear of riding in elevators. Stop laughing!

5. I donated a gallon of blood by

the time I was 19. (My type is A+ if you need any.)

ing is the ability to control your dreams and what you do in them. This is a practice that took me about seven years to perfect.

14. I found

a fourleafed clover at a donkey sanctuary in Ireland. Talk about lucky!

15. My favorite donkey at the sanctuary was named Tinsel. Under the name Tinsel Donkey, I made a music MySpace account to support the sanctuary. 16. My favorite feature about me is my eyes.

17. I can moonwalk. 18. I'd rather the weather be too cold than too hot.

6. I’m a direct descendant of an

19. I love the rain and the

7. I was born in New Or-

20. I love shopping. 21. I love when

Irish king. leans.

8. I can wiggle one ear

at a time and cross one eye at a time, but I can't lift one eyebrow at a time.

9. I understand ABC's "Lost."

10. I had a pet rat named

Chimp and he was the best rat in the world. Long story.

11. My favorite band is Rush. 12. My favorite number is 133. 13. I can lucid dream. Lucid dream-

ozone smell it creates.

I can face my fears.

22. If I were

born a girl, my name would have been Bethany.

23. My first

name is not Benjamin.

24. I love find-

Photo by Alex Horvath

1. I have Synesthesia. Synesthesia

ing and creating palindromes!

25. I used to do judo and ballet in New Orleans.



Call them on it New good manners column addresses how cell phones allow you to disconnect


By Lisa Kimble It has become the Great American Aggravation — the decline of good manners and the rise in bad form in today’s society. From teens fixated on their cell phones like aliens devoid of any other form of human contact to the now-popular disregard of the still all-important RSVP, social graces have been in a state of painful demise for some time. This column was born out of that frustration of trying to practice what my parents preached, while being buffeted about by discourteous behavior in public. This, and its companion blog,, were created to respond in an engagingly thoughtful and courteous way, if not occasionally wrapped in humor, to why social graces have gone so awry, and how each of us can help put our wheels back on track, one bad example at a time. I’m an imperfect yardstick who struggles daily to practice what I advocate, and while I don’t profess to be the certified expert that descendant of etiquette high priestess Emily Post’s greatgreat-granddaughter Anna Post is, I strive for her standards every day. As should we all. Our hurried society no longer places a premium on courteous behavior toward one another, bit it still does matter, a lot! The disappearing act of good manners is long my personal soapbox. I hope you’ll join me on this mission to erase impoliteness and polish etiquette as we once knew it. Visit me at itmannersalot.blogspot. com or e-mail me at with your questions and comments. Q: Our niece and nephew never stopped playing with their cell phones on their recent visit to our house over the holidays. Should we have said something to them? A: This new-age conduct ranks pretty high up on my list of my personal best-of-the-worst bad behaviors. In the blink of a blood-shot eye, the Christmas holiday has come and gone, and in its wake, more plugged-in and rewired kids (and adults) than ever before. Like the wall of television monitors at Best Buy, everywhere you look, it seems our smiles and acknowledgements are greeted by a blank alien nation of heads drooped downward at their iPod or cell phone that Lisa Kimble


Bakersfield Life

February 2011

surely has them connected to Mars or beyond, but completely absent from real time interaction. When did we become a divided society of those connected, and everyone else disconnected from human exchanges and conversation? As tempting as it is to walk over to the next table in a restaurant and slap the sense back into the parents of the youngsters drunk in their digital gaze, sadly, those parents are just as clueless to this lapse in social interaction. And while their little droids will only set their mesmerizing hand magnets aside long enough to inhale their meal, it is not our place to call out their bad manners to them. Nor would it have been your place to have done so with your niece or nephew either. Last time I checked, playmates sat on the sidewalk and talked to each other, like Beaver Cleaver and Opie Taylor, not communicating by thumbs to a new virtual friend in the outer bands of Saturn with an inanimate object smaller than a Pop-Tart. But pointing out someone else’s bad manners is the height of bad form. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Social graces are all about making one another comfortable in each other’s presence. Calling someone out on it isn’t going to change the offense or the offender like a magic wand, but it will make a situation even more unpleasant. As the hostess though, you would absolutely have been within good boundaries to privately suggest to their parent that the kids ignore their device for awhile and participate in the conversation. It is then appropriate for their parent to quietly and privately instruct the child to power the cell phone off without embarrassing the youngsters. To let them do otherwise is inconsiderate and a great disrespect of your time together as a family, especially for a special occasion. The message your niece and nephew were telegraphing, although probably unintentional, was that your company was less desirable than their digital distraction. And the same goes in a house of worship and on dates. Prayer may be divine, but it shouldn’t be digital in church. If “Mr. Right” can’t put any distance between the menu and his BlackBerry, he is most definitely “Mr. Probably Not.” Cell phones have advanced our society technologically beyond description, but placed in young hands without basic do’s and don’ts is setting back an entire generation to the dark ages in the civility department. So disconnect and re-engage, because it does “manner” a lot! Photo courtesy of Lisa Kimble


Find more community events at or submit yours via e-mail:

Thur. 3

Fri. 4

Fri. 4

Sat. 5

Sat. 5

Sat. 5

“Discovering Passion: Seizing Opportunities,” program 8:15 to 11:45 a.m., DoubleTree Hotel, 3100 Camino Del Rio Court. $85; $750 for table of 10. 861-1346.

FLICS International Cinema Society, presents “Winter’s Bone,” 7:30 p.m., Bakersfield Fox Theater. $5. or call 428-0354.

First Friday Downtown, featuring live music, art openings, specialty shops, galleries and boutiques, artists will set up their artwork, 5 to 9 p.m., Downtown Arts District. 634-9598.

15th annual Casino Night & Auction, Las Vegas-style gaming, includes dinner, 6 to 11 p.m., CSUB, Icardo Center. $30 advance; $35 at the door. Must be 21 to attend. or 654-3473.

Grand Hollywood Gala — A Love Story, gourmet cuisine, auction, music, The Petroleum Club, 12th floor, 5060 California Ave. $150. 327-7827.

CALM Docent Training, become a volunteer docent, 9 a.m. to noon, CALM, 10500 Alfred Harrell Highway. Interested individuals also need to attend Feb. 12, 19, 26, March 5, 12, 19. 872-2256, ext. 15.

Thur. 10

Thur. 10

Fri. 11

Asleep At The Wheel, 7 p.m., Buck Owens' Crystal Palace, 2800 Buck Owens Blvd. $15.50$22.50. or 322-5200.

Brian Regan, doors open at 6:30 p.m., show at 7:30 p.m., Fox Theater. $39.50 plus fee. or 322-5200.

Valentine’s Super Love Jam 2011, 8 p.m., the theater at Rabobank Convention Center, 1001 Truxtun Ave. $33.95 to $45.70. or 800-745-3000.




Can’t-miss events in February

Mon. 14

Fri. 18

Fri. 18

Valentine’s Day

“Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, The Empty Space, 706 Oak St. $15 adults; $10 students/seniors. 327-PLAY.

FLICS International Cinema Society, presents “The Square,” 7:30 p.m., Bakersfield Fox Theater. $5. flics. org or 428-0354.


Wed. 23 Sat. 26 The Rat Pack is Back — Broadway in Bakersfield, 7:30 p.m., the theater at Rabobank Convention Center, 1001 Truxtun Ave. or 800-745-3000.


Mon. 28


Harlem Globetrotters, 7 p.m., Rabobank Arena, 1001 Truxtun Ave. $28.30 to $120.45. ticket or 800745-3000.

Bakersfield Life

February 2011

Sat. 26

Jackson Browne Kids Free Day, CALM, Solo Acoustic, doors 10500 Alfred Harrell open at 7 p.m., show Highway. 872-2256. at 8 p.m., Bakersfield Fox Theater. $35 to $60. or 322-5200.

The All-New 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee 速

Crafted right, right from the start.

Bakersfield Chrysler Jeep | (661) 832-3000 | 3101 Cattle Drive | Bakersfield, CA 93313


Step into luxury and durability 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee has plenty to offer

By Olivia Garcia


Photos by Tanya X. Leonzo

I’ve always admired Jeeps. They convey this rugged persona, a sort of toughness that you see in people like rock climbers, soldiers and cowboys. It’s no wonder Jeep drivers carry this sense of confidence and comfort as they haul boats or other outdoor equipment, or maneuver through whatever nature throws at them. Rain, snow or a dusty gust — bring it. These Jeeps were made to charge through anything. I felt that attitude when I test-drove the 2011 4x4 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited Edition. I’m usually a worrywart when it comes to driving in bad weather. I turn into a rather slow, overly cautious driver with my face practically touching the front windshield and my hands gripping the steering wheel as if my life depended on it. You’ve probably passed me up, shaking your head and wondering what goofball gave me a license to drive. The recent rains had me worked up. It was a good thing

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is ready for your next adventure, wherever it takes you. 24

Bakersfield Life

February 2011

The Selec-Terrain system allows drivers to select from five different driving modes.

The special features of the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee impress even young passengers.

I was driving the Jeep Grand Cherokee. I wasn’t straining; by contrast, I felt pretty relaxed, even a bit bold. “Go ahead, rain, give me what you got,” I said to myself. “I’m in a Jeep Grand Cherokee. Fear no more.” There are two things to know about the 2011 Grand Cherokee. One, it’s still built as robust as it’s always been. Two, it looks a bit sleeker, easily competing with smaller luxury SUVs. With that in mind, the Grand Cherokee could easily serve a bachelor or a married couple — with or without kids or pets — who love the dual lifestyle: having a car that is professional and stylish by day and ready for the rugged outdoors on the weekends. More than appeareances, one of my boys was more interested in the backseat power hook-up. With the 115-volt power outlet, you can easily power a laptop or video game system and chill in the back seat. He already imagined playing his Xbox 360 on family road trips. Even sweeter are the wireless headphones. Parent translation: We could listen to our music, news or sports station of choice in the front seat while the video game noise happening in the back would be contained by your teenager’s headphones. That could be pretty handy. A neat safety feature is the backup camera and sensor. I’m not the greatest parallel Continued on page 26

It’s all in the details: Five best features of the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited Edition:

Standard Keyless Enter-N-Go system, which allows the driver to keep their car key in their pocket, without ever needing to take it out. Dual pane front glass with a noisecanceling material sandwiched between the two layers. An optional Garmin-based touch screen navigation system with MyGig that allows the driver to not just navigate through real time traffic updates, but can also save 30 gigs of music and photos right from a CD or a USB drive. It will even rewind and replay up to an hour of live satellite radio! The Quadra-Lift air suspension system allows the ride height of the vehicle to be adjusted up to four inches with five height settings. Finally, the Selec-Terrain system allows the driver to select from five different driving modes: auto, snow, sand/mud, rock and sport.

Mileage and price tag:

The fuel mileage ranges from 13/19 (city/ highway) to 16/23, depending on engine and drive options. The starting price for the Grand Cherokee Laredo is $30,995, the Grand Cherokee Limited, $37,495, and the top-of-the-line Overland starts at $39,190, all after destination.

The 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited Edition is perfect for:

Anyone who wants a refined, comfortable, daily-driven vehicle; combined with legendary Jeep capability and attention to detail.

Jeep Grand Cherokee’s ideal driver: The Jeep Grand Cherokee has always been targeted to those who want the perfect balance of off-road capability and on-road prowess. The demographic for the all new 2011 has been broadened immensely and can now appeal to the more discerning, upscale consumer. This does not mean that we have forgotten our loyal, core, off-road Jeep enthusiasts, however.

Three words that define the Jeep Grand Cherokee: Utility, value and craftsmanship.

— Source: Peter Dekeles, sales associate of Bakersfield Chrysler Jeep


Continued from page 25

parker. Most times, I avoid the challenge. But since I was late to meet with the Dining Divas at this month’s review (the Belvedere at the Padre), I knew I had to find a parking spot fast. So there it was, the open parallel spot, waiting for my move. “OK, I can do this,” I told myself. Once I hit reverse, the backup camera turned on and gave me the insight via the front 6.5-inch touch screen. A bonus was the virtual lines that appeared on the screen, showing me how much space I had to back in and leaving enough cushion for the car behind me. If I went too far, it would let out a sound, instructing me to readjust. It was by far one of my easiest parallel parking experiences. If you love music like me, you’ll enjoy the system in the new Jeep Cherokee. Sure, passing motorists off the 99 looked at me sort of funny as I sang Kings of Leon’s “Use Somebody” at the top of my lungs. But hey, if you could feel the beat jump out of the seat like I did, you’d be my singing partner. Thank you, Jeep and Sirius/ XM radio. You have to appreciate the Alpine audio system of nine speakers, subwoofer, 506watt amp and surround sound. Sometimes we just need to let our inner voice out.

The backup camera makes parallel parking a snap for any driver.

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Bakersfield Life

February 2011

My name is Michael, and this is my take… Defense Lawyer Michael Lukehart defends his clients everyday. But, during a heart attack this past August, he was the one who needed life-saving intervention. “From the receptionist to the doctors in the Cath Lab to the nurses treating me during recovery, I had the feeling that every person at San Joaquin Community Hospital truly cared about my well-being. I never once felt like I was alone.

For the rest of the story, visit


2010/2011 CONSUMER CHOICE #1 Bakersfield’s Most Preferred Hospital

Photo by Henry A. Barrios


Sheila Heninger frosts cupcakes at her shop Frosting Ink.

The shop around the corner Local bakery owner achieves the American Dream, one cupcake at a time


Bakersfield has its own “Shop Around the Corner,” and although the quaint bakery may not boast the same romantic mayhem depicted in both the 1940 version of the movie and in its contemporary remake, “You’ve Got Mail,” store owner Sheila Heninger’s production, Frosting Ink, has set the stage as downtown Bakersfield’s fun, funky and fabulous stop for baked goods and sweet treats. Heninger didn’t plan to own a bakery; it just happened. She didn’t take out a new 28

Bakersfield Life

February 2011

Photo by Felix Adamo

By Dana Martin

Heninger was featured on the Food Network program “Cupcake Wars.”

business loan, and she didn’t get deep into debt to open her own shop. She started baking (and selling) cookies right from her own kitchen, an endeavor that soon turned into a cupcake brand so unique that the confines of her humble home could no longer service her needs. “I wanted to get out of the work force, so to speak,” she said. Growing up in a family of business owners, the entrepreneurial spirit was in her blood. “I never minded working for other people, but ultimately, I knew I wanted to work for myself.” After high school, Heninger worked as both a legal secretary and a preschool teacher. She said she always loved to bake and experiment with cooking, but her real love for baking didn’t fully materialize until she started her family. “That’s when I decided to bake. Being around kids all the time, doing crafts, being a room mom and doing things like that made me realize what I really wanted to do,” said Heninger. “When my oldest daughter was in kindergarten, it was my first year being room mom, and for Halloween, I wanted to do something wacky and crazy, so I made little cakes inside cauldrons. Everybody loved it. After that, baking was a calling.”

Heninger began making cookies, modifying favorite recipes handed down from her aunt and grandmother (and later, she said, from her mother-in-law). Heninger gave away the cookies freely, never expecting that anyone would actually pay for them. Soon large orders started rolling in, and she had no choice but to bake them at home. “Sometimes I’d meet clients in the Target parking lot to deliver their orders,” she said, laughing. It didn’t take long for Heninger to realize that she couldn’t fill all the orders from her home, so she moved her burgeoning business to her mother’s sandwich shop, where she said she began selling cookies and cupcakes from a small glass display case. “A lady came in and asked me if the cupcakes were for sale. I said, 'Yes.' She bought one, and then she came back the next day and bought 60 cupcakes for a birthday party. Everyone at the party loved them, and suddenly I started getting orders.” Heninger spent three years baking from her mom’s sandwich shop, Sub Station in downtown Bakersfield. “I would have to bake before my Sheila Heninger mom opened and bake after she closed. I did my first wedding there.” Finally, she said, when her cookie and cupcake business was taking on a life of its own, Heninger’s mom gently suggested that it was time for her to open her own shop, and, within a day, she found her current location at 1818 G St. Frosting Ink officially opened its polka dot doors in 2007 and has been moving full steam ahead ever since, providing 50 different flavors of cupcakes and planning to expand this year with a candy shop featuring retro, unique candies. Heninger starts her day early but with a little help from a special person. At 4 a.m., her husband, Alan, arrives first at the bakery to make the frosting and get the mixers warmed up and the cupcake pans lined before he heads to his own job. At 6 a.m., Heninger begins her day making all the cupcakes and cookies, getting everything ready before the shop opens at 11 a.m. She then spends the remainder of the day filling special orders or shopping for supplies. She returns home around 7 p.m. Exhausting work, yes, but paying off, evidently, because Heninger’s business caught the eye of Food Network executives looking for contestants to participate in “Cupcake Wars.” Heninger and 19-year-old daughter Alexis baked and battled in a wedding planner challenge, making it halfway toward the $10,000 prize. The episode first aired in January and can be seen in reruns. If you missed it, that’s OK. Heninger would be happy to share more details with you on G Street ... at her own “shop around the corner.”

“I never minded working for other people, but ultimately, I knew I wanted to work for myself.”



Belvedere Room at the Padre Hotel

The Divas — from left: Kim Jessup, Sofia Ronquillo, Sofie Zimmermann, Robin Noble and Lois Henry — raise a glass at the Padre Hotel. Photos by Greg Nichols

Heel ratings (out of 5) Overall: Atmosphere: Truly sumptuous

Wow! Splendid, fabulous, delicious, surprising, perfection, exceptional, divine, superb.

Service: Great staff

The basics

Pricing: Reasonable for such a fancy place

Food: Would go higher if we could! How to dress: Dressy. Business or evening dressy. Definitely not jeans or shorts! 30

Bakersfield Life

February 2011

Belvedere Room inside the Padre Hotel 1702 18th St. 427-4999. Hours: 5 to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 5 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday Online: belvedere.php

Extras: New executive chef Brad Wise. He’s only in his 20s, but knows his way around a kitchen and isn’t afraid to try new flavors and exciting combinations.

What they had Since they got to try just about everything on the menu, listing each item would take too much room, so we'll let the Divas tell you all about it in their own special way.

New menu wows Divas Kim on the wine: (Oh my, the wine!) This wine diva was given the night off as Eric McConville, food and beverage manager, did all the pairing with the chef’s new menu. What else should a Diva expect? Each wine paired beautifully with the flavor structure of the dish. It was spot on. The wine list at the Padre has something for everyone, from the novice to the experienced palate. If you just don’t know what you like, ask for a few tastings. The menu delivers on varietals, price and offers a nice selection by the glass. We had: Schramsberg Sparkling Blanc de Blanc 2006 ($100) Curran Grenache Blanc 2007 ($34) Au Bon Climat Chardonnay 2004 ($48) Nicolas Potel Pommard 2006 ($93) Peter Michael L’Esprit Des Pavots 2007 ($175) (On a side note, don’t forget about the Belvedere’s half-price Wednesday nights where you can get any bottle from $40 to $200 for half off. Perfect for a ladies night out!)

Robin on the soup and salad: My challenge is to not fill up too soon. Impossible with these dishes. Soup: All I can say about the cheddar beer soup ($8) is “bowl-lickin’ deliciousness!” It has a creamy, rich texture with perfectly blended smoky, sharp cheddar and malty beer flavors. It’s topped with mustard pretzel morsels and presented in a nicely warmed bowl. A cold Newcastle on the side would be quite fine. Salad: The persimmon salad ($9) is a winter masterpiece. Seasonal ingredients included watercress, Hachiya persimmons, red onion, Medjool dates and spiced, toasted

hazelnuts tossed with a sweet sherry vinaigrette. Served with a fresh, house-made focaccia (more a crouton texture than a bread) topped with a thick slab of triple-cream Brie on a chilled plate. Perfect.

Baked Brie cheese

Sofia on some of the starters: Yes, I’m a virgin again. I have never, nor would I have even thought to try scallops ($12), but so glad I did! Delicately seared, tender and sweet with a little kick of chili oil. The baked Brie cheese ($9) is a triple cream brie baked in phyllo dough with walnut chutney and a light balsamic vinaigrette. Wow. I was trying just to sample the Brie because I had so much more to try but it was so good I ate the whole thing.

Kim on more starters: It was a pleasure covering dishes on the starters portion of the menu, where one can graze on a variety of flavor choices. The wild mushroom risotto ($10) was divine. Creamy texture, trio of mushrooms, parmesan cheese, black summer truffles and a drizzle of truffle oil — scrumptious and savory. Next on the tarmac, lamb lollipops ($14). The sweet and tender New Zealand lamb was lightly coated with a dijon glaze and a panko crust with a hint of mint. Accompanied by Anjou maple pears with a red wine demi-glace to finish. This dish made believers out of two non-lamb-loving Divas, singing their praises of “best lamb ever!” The stuffed Vermont quail ($14) was the surprise flavor fusion of the evening. The quail was stuffed with white rice, cilantro

Persimmon salad

Veal osso buco

Continued on page 32

Trio of creme brulee Neapolitan


Lamb lollipops

Ricotta and spinach ravioli

Continued from page 31

and queso Oaxaca cheese then pan-seared and oven-finished. Placed on top of a lightly spiced Andouille gumbo. This was a party in my mouth, with the Latin-Cajun combo beautifully married with the delicate quail.

Robin on the salmon: OK, I’m full but must soldier on to my main course, grilled

Raspberry cheesecake

salmon ($26). The moist, perfectly seared fish was served with potato gnocchi and fava beans and drizzled with a ginger-infused cream. What a surprising and lovely combination. Can I give six heels?

Sofia on the ravioli: After I devoured the soup, salad and appetizers, I couldn’t suck in my tummy enough. A tight, fitted dress was not a great idea! Then along came my entrée, ricotta and spinach ravioli topped with wild mushrooms and a buttery cream sauce ($21). I thought, “There goes my New Year’s resolution.”

Sofie Z. on the veal osso buco: Osso buco is Italian for “bone with a hole”— a reference to the marrow hole at the center of the crosscut veal shank — and I admit to being no real fan of veal prior to the Belvedere experience. But the Belvedere completely made me change my mind. The meat was braised for three hours with aromatic vegetables and herbs, which caused the tender meat to melt in your mouth. The entree ($33) was accompanied by a soft mascarpone polenta (a velvety fine grain), baby carrots and citrus gremolata. My initial reservations about eating veal were quickly put to rest by the combination of powerful flavors. Like everything else we had at the Padre’s Belvedere Room — phenomenal!

Lois on the mahi mahi: This was fish? Who knew? It was so fresh, delicate, well seasoned and accompanied by jasmine rice, artichoke, grilled eggplant and chili butter. All I knew was it was a flavor fiesta of uber yummyness ($27).

Kim on the steak:

Auction winner Barb Teach enjoyed dining with the Divas. Of her Dining Divas adventure, auction winner Barb Teach said, "Thank you so much for such a great dining experience! The Divas are so fun, and I felt so welcome." 32

Bakersfield Life

February 2011

We had the 20-oz. prime bone-in New York strip steak ($38). It was served with mashed potatoes and pinto beans with ham hock. Sauce of choice was green peppercorn au poive. We snarfed this up even when we felt like we couldn’t eat another bite. The steak had a crisp crust and was perfectly medium-rare inside. Sliced for us, this could be shared between two people, very high-end steakhouse style. Very flavorful. Also with the Off The Grill menu, you have a choice of cut, rub, sauce and two sides, so, yes, in true Diva fashion you can have it your way!

Sofie Z. on desserts: We were treated like such Divas at every turn and it was plain to

see why the Belvedere is so well attended. Every dish (and believe me, there were many) was to die for. My prominent sweet tooth makes me a natural for covering desserts. I think it’s a love-hate relationship … I know I don’t need the extra calories but some things are just too good to pass up. And pastry chef Jeremy Harville did an outstanding job. Each dessert was sinfully delicious. Mocha pot de creme and beignets with creme anglaise ($7): In English, “coffee and doughnuts." I’ll start with the beignets. Too yummy to properly explain. Instantaneously I was 7 again; remember real doughnut holes sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar? This was even better. A dense soft center with a crispy exterior covered with the perfect amount of cinnamon and sugar. It was complimented with an amazing baked mocha creme (halfway between pudding and creme brulee). Each portion of the dessert could be its own standalone treat. Served together, they were an edible piece of heaven. I was forced to use considerable self-control to repress my desire to “double dip.” Trio of creme brulee Neapolitan ($6): This was a dessert featuring vanilla, strawberry and chocolate creme brulee. Talk about a menage a trois of creme brulee! For creme brulee lovers (Me!) this is a must-have. The dish was smooth, rich and well caramelized. I tried to pick a favorite but fell for them all. Raspberry cheesecake with a Grand Marnier raspberry coulis ($7): Hands down, the best cheesecake I have ever tasted! Light and fluffy, it was delicious start to finish, and the Divas were actually fighting for the last bite! (OK, that might have been the wine.)

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Created with Decadent desserts paired with delicious drinks

Valentine cookies from Cafe Med

W By Hillary Haenes

Photos by Michael Lopez

Whether you decide to dine at a romantic restaurant or cozy up in the comfort of your home with a candlelit take-out meal for two, make this Valentine’s Day special for both your sweetheart and your sweet tooth. From chocolate truffles, velvety cakes and rich pastries, the commercial Hallmark holiday requires indulgence in sweets of some sort, so treat yourself and your loved one to a divine dessert from a local eatery. Several restaurants play Cupid’s advocate by sharing the perfect Valentine’s desserts paired with either a nice glass of wine, a flute of champagne or an alcoholic coffee beverage to enhance the mood. From a slice of chocolate decadence cake from Cafe Med Restaurant, Deli & Bakery to the zabaglione from Frugatti’s Italian Eatery, the options are endless this Valentine’s Day.

Zabaglione with Lunetta Prosecco

Frugatti’s Italian Eatery, 600 Coffee Road Owner Raffaele Giovanni Fruguglietti described zabaglione as a “velvety, rich and creamy” Italian pudding made with Marsala wine. Frugatti’s tops its recipe with raspberries and a chocolate-dipped cookie wafer. “Valentine’s Day is about celebrating relationships and what better way to celebrate than combine a rich and creamy dessert with red raspberries and a great sparkling wine to toast your love,” Fruguglietti said. Lunetta Prosecco is the wine that pairs well with the zabaglione because of the crisp, fruit flavors and clean finish. Incredible smells of steaks, pizza and garlic fill the restaurant, while red balloons and the romantic sounds of Bob Iorio playing the accordion puts guests in a playful mood, Fruguglietti said. “I think it is a great way to finish off a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner. You can share one and enjoy sips of Prosecco as you stare deeply into each other’s eyes. At this point we have done our part and leave the rest of the evening up to you,” he said. 34

Bakersfield Life

February 2011

Coffee and espresso layered cheesecake with Cossart Gordon Madeira

Country Rose Tea Room, 163 H St. Three words owner Bonnie Thomson used to describe this dessert are subtle, creamy and addictive. “The coffee appeals to our men while the chocolate ganache meets the chocolate requirements of most Valentine’s desserts. The perfect dessert for every couple,” Thomson said. This light cheesecake entices with soft layers of espresso and coffee liquor, while the thin bittersweet chocolate topping smells heavenly. The light sweet notes of dried fruit, orange peel, brown sugar and baking spices of the Cossart Gordon Madeira complements the dessert without overpowering the coffee and chocolate flavors. According to Thomson, Country Rose has undergone a recent makeover that is much more comfortable and inviting for its

male customers. “This year’s Valentine’s Day dinner promises romance, an intimate setting with soft music and candlelight,” she said. And

how could this restaurant not keep that promise, especially, when the menu offers couples a choice between a lobster tail with tiger shrimp, osso buco or duck confit.

Creme brulee cheesecake and Groth chardonnay

The Orchid Thai Fusion, 9500 Brimhall Road This light, clean and scrumptious cheesecake is a simple, but perfect dessert for a couple to share, especially when you sip a glass of Groth chardonnay. “The dessert is a true fusion of my two favorite desserts: creme brulee and cheesecake. It’s smooth texture and light vanilla bean flavors are supreme,” said Kyl Meger, manager. “There’s a good chance you’ll smell the caramelized sugar when you're by the dessert counter. The wine follows it up perfectly with a creamy mouth feel and crisp, clean finish.” If you and your significant other feel like dining out, call for reservations in advance. The Orchid will be decorated in a romantic fashion and will be serving its full menu, which now features some of the best sushi around town. Continued on page 36


Continued from page 35

Tiramisu with a Mama Tosca cappuccino

Mama Tosca Italian Restaurant, 9000 Ming Ave. The fine Italian desserts — tiramisu and zabaglione — have been staple items on the menu since Mama Tosca opened in 1982. The tiramisu is layered with Italian ladyfingers, a rich mascarpone cream, espresso and sprinkled with dark chocolate cocoa. The Mama Tosca cappuccino complements the dessert with its steamed milk, dash of Bailey’s Creme de Cacao and chocolate cocoa topping. “Tiramisu, zabaglione and the Mama Tosca cappuccino are favorites of our customers because they are all incredibly tasty and contribute to the enhancement of a special evening,” said manager Luigi Rienzo. Mama Tosca’s romantic atmosphere is especially lovely for a Valentine’s Day dinner. To make the night exceptional, the restaurant will offer several specials from the menu.

Chocolate decadence cake with Laurent-Perrier Cuvee Rose

Cafe Med Restaurant, Deli & Bakery, 4801 Stockdale Highway If you want to be wined and dined, Cafe Med’s soft lighting and live music add to the romantic ambiance. And for couples who want to spend Valentine’s Day at home but don't want to cook, Cafe Med is a one-stop-shop that offers a few options for a special take-out dinner, which includes your choice of steak, shrimp, lobster or a combination of two with a salad, vegetables, twice-baked potatoes, pita bread and dip. You can also pick up bottles of bubbly and lots of sweets. From assorted chocolate truffles, chocolate-dipped strawberries, heart-shaped cookies and the chocolate decadence cake (with a layer of creme brulee and a chocolate ganache covering), there’s no short supply of chocolate. Oh, and don’t forget about the chocolate-covered wine bottle (three layers of chocolate coated on a wine bottle that’s decorated in a Valentine’s Day theme). “The popularity of the decadence cake is its intense chocolate denseness and flavor. It’s just a unique cake that’s not done anywhere else,” said marketing director Kathy Brown. The deli offers many kinds of wines and champagnes, but the one Brown suggests for this special day is LaurentPerrier Cuvee Rose, an elegant color-changing rose champagne with intense flavors of strawberries, red currants raspberries and Morello cherries.


Bakersfield Life

February 2011

Sinfully sensational red velvet cake with Rosenblum Desiree Chocolate Zinfandel

The Petroleum Club, 5060 California Ave. While it may be exclusive, The Petroleum Club offers guest passes to sample the fine dining experience. This Valentine’s Day, be prepared for a rich and decadent dessert because executive pastry chef Ray Ingram will prepare sinfully sensational red velvet cake paired with Rosenblum Desiree Chocolate Zinfandel. This wine is like a liquid dessert infused with chocolate. It is meant to be sipped and savored. “Chef Ray trained with world-famous pastry chef Jean-Philippe Maury, so everything he makes is unbelievable. But, he particularly enjoys the special occasions that allow him to create something brand new and extra amazing for our members and guests,” said Lili Marsh, front house operations and catering manager. The club will celebrate with a special dinner menu on both the Saturday before and on Valentine’s Day. “The Petroleum Club affords absolutely the most stunning and romantic setting in Bakersfield. You just can’t find views of the city lights and mountains anywhere else. If you are interested in a guest pass, please contact the club,” Marsh said.

The Valentien opera cake with Koda premium dessert wine

Valentien Restaurant and Wine Bar, 3310 Truxtun Ave. “As there is nothing like a touch of sugar to keep your senses alert, the menu will feature sweets in three different places. In keeping with the sensory theme, our menu will also make use of caffeine and a few reputed aphrodisiacs,” said co-owner Jennifer Sanderson. For those who do not save room for dessert, try nibbling on Valentien’s box of assorted chocolate truffles with a cup of Covenant Coffee’s Mexican Nayarita. Sanderson suggested taking the truffles home to share at a later time and extend the romance another day. “Chocolate on chocolate is the only way to go,” said Jeramy Brown, co-owner and sommelier. The chocolaty goodness that Brown mentioned is the restaurant’s take on opera cake with Billings Ranch almonds featured in a chocolate almond sponge cake, layered with espresso buttercream and chocolate ganache, then garnished with raspberries and house-made whipped cream that he chose to pair with Koda, a premium chocolate-infused dessert wine. “Almonds and chocolate have been described as foods of the heart. In fact, some say chocolate is better than … well, we will leave that to your imagination. Using a bit of caffeine in the dessert wakes you up after a long meal and prepares you for later activities,” Sanderson said.



South San Lauren


There’s so much to love about our town. From the Panorama bluffs to the streets of Rosedale, each neighborhood has its supporters. This month, Bakersfield Life asked couple Cesar and Vanessa Barrientos what makes living in the South San Lauren neighborhood special. The Barrientos household consist of:

Cesar, Vanessa and their two dogs, Sampson and Penelope. They're also expecting a baby girl in February. How long have you lived in South San Lauren?

We made this house our home in 2005 after Cesar purchased it in 2002. Three words that describe your neighborhood:

Friendly, growing and vibrant. Best neighborhood memory?

We have not experienced our best neighborhood memory yet, but our best home memory was in 2006 when Cesar proposed to Vanessa during their New Year’s party. What is your favorite neighborhood activity?

Every morning Vanessa walks Sampson and Penelope through the neighborhood. On the weekends, Cesar joins in on the walks. What do you like most about your neighbors?

We love how friendly and family-oriented everyone is. Everyone smiles and waves as we pass one another. A lot of our friends are surprised with how well we know our neighbors. We feel knowing them is very comforting. What attracted you to the neighborhood?

We’re conveniently located to downtown Bakersfield and the Rosedale Promenade. We are also looking forward to taking advantage of the highly recognized Fruitvale School District in the near future. What would you change about your neighborhood?

There isn’t much we would change. The neighborhood continues to build its own character as the families here keep growing over time. What do you like best about your home?

Cesar and Vanessa Barrientos at home in the South San Lauren neighborhood with their dogs, Penelope and Samson. 38

Bakersfield Life

February 2011

Photo by Felix Adamo

We love that it is located in a cul-de-sac. Because of this, there is less traffic and it attracts a lot of the neighborhood children to play without worry. Also, because we are the original owners, it gives us the opportunity to establish our own roots, traditions and special memories. Best-kept secret about your neighborhood that you’re willing to share:

This is not much of a secret anymore, but we have a great park with a lot of accommodations including a dog park and Frisbee golf. We also find it to be a great place to meet other people from the neighborhood.

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A rose by another name ... Four florists blossom in their field

Angie Verdugo Owner of Accent Florist

Dorothy Holland Owner of Green Thumb

How did you get into the florist business? Holland: You could say I was “born into it.” My parents had a florist/nursery for over 20 years. I grew up learning about flowers and plants. My weekends and after school hours consisted of working for my mom and dad. In 1998, I was doing floral design on the side of my full-time job and looking for a change in direction. That is when I decided to open the Green Thumb. The business actually started in my garage and evolved. Graham: I purchased White Oaks Florist from Sharon Nelson, whom retired six years ago. Her hard work of 25 years established White Oaks Florist. I’ve continued the hard work and take a lot of pride in the ownership of a flower shop. The creativity of designing and the beauty of flowers make my job most enjoyable. Baumgarten: I always wanted to be a florist, but got side tracked in college with psychology and ASL classes. After deciding my true calling was floral, I attended and graduated from the Herron Preston School of Floral Design in Pasadena. My first job out of design school was at Log Cabin Florist in Bakersfield for Jerry and Terry Beckwith. They must have been good mentors because after five years, I was sure I knew enough to open my own shop. In 1980, I opened Sunnyside Floral Design on Mt. Vernon Avenue. The true test in endurance is owning a small busi40

Bakersfield Life

February 2011

Photo illustration

Jami Graham Owner of White Oaks Florist

Dawn Baumgarten Owner of Log Cabin Florist

ness. I used to say that I got to work half days, the first 12 hours or the last. After 10 years on Mt. Vernon, I merged my business with Log Cabin Florist and became their marketing director. Today, I am the owner of Log Cabin Florist, as Jerry and Terry have retired and commute back and forth to the coast.

Verdugo: I have always enjoyed working with flowers, and I was helping some friends in their floral shop and really enjoyed it. I became more interested in this business when they wanted to retire and they were selling their floral business. I jumped at the opportunity to buy their shop. So, now here I am, four years later, still running and loving my flower shop.

What do you love about flowers? Holland: Aside from beauty, flowers can create an atmosphere, mood, make a day, set a tone, etc. I love the fact that I have a business that has that ability. Graham: Flowers amaze me. The varieties, colors, fragrance, etc. They make me happy. Baumgarten: Everything. I love to see how each flower is unique; each trip to the flower grower holds a new surprise. After 35 years in the business, flowers are still a real joy for me. Verdugo: Everything! The color combinations, the beauty of them, the smell. I really enjoy being creative and putting them together and watching a beautiful arrangement coming together. But, most of all, the joy of seeing the client smile and thanking us for a job well done. Continued on page 42


Continued from page 41

What’s the best love card you have seen created? Holland: We had a customer that gathered pictures and special mementos and put together a “book” for her sweetheart. It was incredibly sentimental and heartfelt. Graham: The mushiness that comes out of men when they’re in love (or in trouble). That's the best. Love it. Baumgarten: This is about high school sweethearts who, after moving on with life and leaving their first relationship behind, discover each other via searching the Internet. But the search wasn’t easy and a twist of fate eventually brought them together. A woman in Taft saw his message and recognized the name of the woman, which just happened to be a friend of her daughter. She contacted the daughter, who then called the long-lost love. A second chance at love began several states away. Verdugo: A lot of them are personal, and we like to keep it that way.

What’s the most memorable flower setup you have seen given to a sweetheart? Holland: One of the best flower setups would have to be a husband that sent his wife flowers every day for a week straight. She was so happily overwhelmed; he phoned back the following week and requested floral arrangements for her on a weekly basis. That was four years ago and she still gets her flowers every week. Graham: One hundred roses in one arrangement.

Dorothy Holland 42

Bakersfield Life

Dawn Baumgarten February 2011

Baumgarten: For me, it would have been the customer that came in and asked how much I would take for all the arrangements in the whole cooler. Of course, I thought he was joking, but he convinced me that he wasn’t. He wanted to overwhelm the new girlfriend with flowers. It took three delivery drivers to deliver all the arrangements to her at work; they opened the door to the business and the arrangements just kept coming. I am sure it was a day she will never forget. Verdugo: There was an older couple that was celebrating their 40-year anniversary and he wanted to send her 40 roses — one for each year they have been together. This comes to mind because her husband just passed last year and they were both wonderful people.

What is your favorite flower and why? Holland: Only one? That is tough. Peonies are a hands down favorite. However, each season I think, this is my favorite. Dahlias, tulips, hydrangeas, paper whites, I could go on and on. I appreciate them all for their color, fragrance and beauty. It is difficult to limit myself to one. Graham: Orchids are my favorite. They come in so many varieties and colors and are fun, romantic, tropical and exotic. Baumgarten: I am not the best one to answer this question because I get to enjoy them all. Even the simplest carnation that has a unique color or fragrance can be my favorite for the day. I have the opportunity to enjoy them before the customer gets to enjoy them. Verdugo: Coxcombs (monkey brains) are beautiful and they come in vibrant colors that are really eye-catching! But any flower is my favorite because, after all, they are flowers.

Angie Verdugo

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Melissa Vreeman with Shelby the Weather Dog 44

Bakersfield Life

February 2011

Pets people



By Dana Martin Photos by Jessica Frey


It isn’t easy loving a pet. Well, loving them comes naturally — but the idea that humans outlive so many of their precious pets makes the bond a double-edged sword. In few areas of our lives do we invest so wholeheartedly in a relationship we know to be temporary; we enable our hearts to love without deadlines and trick ourselves into imagining that our dogs or cats will live forever. Whether you read the book “Marley and Me,” watched the movie or avoided the experience entirely because someone warned you about the emotional ending, almost everyone knows what it’s like to love an animal. Dogs are innocent, guileless and unconditional in their affection; cats, while more discriminate, are equally

A heartwarming peek into the private lives of public figures and their furry families

treasured by those who prefer their quiet and reserved companionship. In either case, pets carve a permanent place in our homes and hearts and establish themselves as family members as surely as their human counterparts. Bakersfield Life selected eight familiar faces from around town and a Tails of Bakersfield “Pet Idol” winner and asked them to tell us about their relationship with the animals in their lives. Some came across their pets by accident; some rescued them. One pet found his home by mistaken identity, another came with the new house. No matter the road they took, each pet profiled in these pages found a permanent, loving home. Here are their stories. Continued on page 46


Continued from page 45

Melissa Vreeman KERO-TV morning weather anchor

Shelby the Weather Dog Whether you know Melissa Vreeman personally or just feel like you know her from watching her daily weather reports on KERO-TV, you’ve undoubtedly discovered that she travels as a twosome. Vreeman rarely goes anywhere without Shelby, her 2-year-old border collie, and if she does try to sneak away, Shelby knows. “She’s in the house quite a bit. Sometimes, if I’m just going out for a short trip, I’ll put her in the backyard, but she sticks her face under the fence when she hears me, and I can’t leave her like that,” so Shelby rides along, Vreeman said. Vreeman, who has been at her job for three years, said that bumping into Shelby was pure fate. Originally, she and fiance Brian Dignan were at the Glennville Rodeo a couple of years ago, and while they had talked about adopting a dog, they hadn’t made any decisions. Vreeman said she was ready to go home before the auction (a staple event at the Glennville Rodeo), and as they were leaving through the exit, they came across a woman with an adorable border collie puppy on a leash. That was Shelby. “I picked up the dog and she cuddled her head right in my neck,” said Vreeman, and before she knew it, she was heading back inside. Needless to say, Vreeman and Dignan won the auction, and Shelby had her forever home. Unlike for most jobs, Vreeman’s alarm clock jolts her awake at 2:30 a.m. each day so that she can be at work and ready for her 4:30 a.m. call time at the studio or on location. Arriving to work before sunrise, Vreeman said that Shelby has proven an invaluable source of protection. “I open the car door and tell her, ‘Check the fence line, Shelby!’ and she runs along the fence to make sure it is safe,” said Vreeman, who added how lucky she’s been that the management at her work has welcomed Shelby. “If I thought a particular location was pet-friendly, I’d bring Shelby along,” she said, “and sometimes she even went on air with me in the studio. She just became known as Shelby the Weather Dog.” Shelby accompanies Vreeman rollerblading, horseback riding, and on numerous trips with Dignan to Washington, the San Juan Islands, Avila and Lake Isabella, and adds that she enjoys having such a smart and active breed as the border collie. “She’s changed my life.”

Richard Beene CEO and president, The Bakersfield Californian

Latte Sometimes, the decision to add a pet to a family involves a conscious, well-developed plan that takes into account factors relevant to the animal’s eventual success as a contented family member. Research is done. Questions are asked. Breeds are studied. Information is gathered and assimilated to ensure that the pet 46

Bakersfield Life

February 2011

Richard Beene and Latte. will make a smooth transition to its new home. Other times, fate has other plans. The Bakersfield Californian’s CEO and President Richard Beene knows about fate. As his long-term marriage was winding down and Beene was searching for a new norm, a 1909-built house in Westchester caught his eye for its bungalow feel, the quaint, tree-lined street and its proximity to work and downtown. What he didn’t expect was that the house came with a permanent houseguest. “The previous owners asked if I could watch their cat that sleeps under the house,” said Beene, adding that the couple and their small children would be staying with a relative until their new house was out of escrow. He agreed. That’s when Beene met Latte, a run-of-the-mill tabby with a more than average penchant for human connection, who, indeed, slept under the house but didn’t seem to mind that a different owner was living inside. She made herself at home with Beene. Immediately, Latte slipped into a routine that included drinking water from the inside faucet and sunning on the roof. It didn’t take long for the cat to learn Beene’s schedule or recognize the sound of his car. Latte was soon lounging inside and establishing herself as Beene’s roommate; they developed a relationship.

Courtland Keith with Sachi and Kiyoshi.

After a month, the previous owners called to say their escrow had fallen through and asked if Beene would mind keeping Latte a little longer. Two months after that, Beene still had the cat. “Three months into it, I felt like I couldn’t let go,” he said, describing how the cat and her daily routines had comforted him during the new stage in his life. At one point, the owners finally stopped by their old house and asked Beene if he wanted to keep Latte forever. He said yes. “I feel blessed by the previous owners; Latte was one of the first blessings of this new chapter in my life. I need her to stick around for a while.”

Courtland Keith Chiropractor

Sachi and Kiyoshi Ever since he was a young boy living in Ridgecrest, everyone who knew Courtland Keith considered him the Dr. Doolittle of the desert. Even now, he said, he’s an animal magnet. “They love hanging around me. As a little kid I’d go to people’s houses, and the dogs and cats would attach to me.” Today, Keith is a real doctor (a chiropractor), has been married five years (to Heather) and is the proud owner of two long-coated Akitas. Not standard among the breed, these two have long, thick coats in comparison to what the typical Akita looks like.

But the Keiths don’t breed their dogs. Besides finding time to breed these two would be another full-time job as Sachi, the youngest, is an enormous handful. “She is a counter-surfing beast. Her resume of food that she’s stolen off the counter is monumental,” said Keith as he checked off a list of edibles that include persimmons, avocados, 10 pounds of frozen chicken, a three-pound homemade cheesecake and dozens of cookies. “She now has a taste for bananas. She’ll grab a banana, take it to the backyard and will peel it. She actually peels it. We haven’t seen her do this, but she will leave the peel on the ground for us to find.” Sachi, 4, was the Keith’s second Akita, a sister to Kiyoshi, 6, who seemed to need a friend. “My wife decided we needed another dog, and the breeder had a long-coated puppy. So, Heather got herself a Valentine’s present, brought the dog into my office and dared me to say no.” Clearly, Keith gave in, and now said that the two female Akitas have beaten the odds and live in peaceful harmony. Akitas, said Keith, are supposed to be aloof and aggressive, and two females aren’t supposed to co-exist well in the same house. No one explained that to Sachi and Kiyoshi. “The two dogs are completely inseparable and can’t have fun without the other. They play rough but are attached.” Continued on page 48


Lisa Green and Fred.

Continued from page 47

But does the elder Akita have the same penchant for food thievery? “Kiyoshi has an acquired taste for cat food. I built up and fortified a food station for our cats, but she has found a way to thwart the system,” Keith said. Turns out that Akitas are quite smart, too.

Lisa Green Kern County district attorney

Scott Cox and Hawthorne. 48

Bakersfield Life

February 2011

Fred Public figures, police, politicians — most people consider them only in their official capacity and forget that after hours, off the clock, and away from the rigors of public service, they are parents, spouses ... and animal lovers. Lisa Green, the newly sworn “top dog” at the prosecutor’s office, said that she and her Labrador retriever, Fred, have a longstanding tradition most people don’t know about. If it’s a Sunday during football season, there’s only one place you will find the Kern County district attorney’s dog: running after a ball. Fred has an unusual habit of playing ball any time the Buffalo Bills are on television. “He instinctively knows that on Sundays I will throw his ball across the pool,” over and over, said Green, in between doing laundry and watching the family’s favorite football team. Green, who hails from Buffalo, N.Y., explained that she is a huge football fan — and so, therefore, is Fred. But, at 11 years old, Fred isn’t as spry as he used to be. His heart is there, noted Green, but she has to be the one to stop throwing the ball. “Now that he’s older, he has trouble with his hips.

He’ll run after the ball until he comes back limping.” Fred’s relationship with the Green family has been solitary; he’s the only dog they’ve ever owned. Lisa said she had boxers and a Great Dane growing up and that her husband, Jeff, had mostly small dogs, but Fred is like their fourth child (they have three human kids, too) and a pillow-sleeping, 60-pound canine that’s been all they ever needed in a pet (besides the occasional hamster or fish). Green said she suspects that Fred loves her husband best. When Jeff sends Fred to get the morning newspaper off the driveway, he returns with it promptly; when it’s Lisa’s turn, Fred takes off with the paper and drops it down the street, forcing Lisa to retrieve it (and the dog) herself. A stranger to no one, Fred gave his people a scare a few weeks ago. The Green family was out to dinner when they received a text message that their gate was open and Fred was gone. The district attorney looked at her son and asked him to leave early and please go search for their aging dog, while disturbing visions of their wayward Labrador went through her head. Thirty seconds later, another text arrived. “My son’s friend said never mind. He found Fred, opened his car door, and Fred jumped inside,” said Green. “He just loves everyone.”

Scott Cox KERN Radio personality

Hawthorne Hawthorne was never the name Scott Cox wanted to give his dog, but by the time he adopted the canine from a breeder south of town, the dog already had a name. “I wanted to name him Samuel L. Jackson,” said Cox, “because he’s black and he’s awesome!” Hawthorne is a 175-pound Newfoundland, a dog known for its giant size, tremendous strength, calm disposition and loyalty. Cox said Hawthorne is wicked smart and a neat dog, but a robber could dismantle his house brick by brick and the dog wouldn’t do a thing. Luckily, Hawthorne isn’t his only pet. “We have Hawthorne, a little stupid dog someone dumped in our neighborhood, and then we have a German shepherd for proper guard dog duty, because you actually have to have a dog that will bite someone.” Cox said he first learned of the breed when he visited Janice Anderson, who runs Anderson Acres in Bakersfield, world-class breeders of Newfoundlands. “There was a litter of puppies and I fell in love with them. I told Janice I could never afford one, but that if she ever got a defective one to let me know.” By “defective,” Cox was referring to any imperfection that would cause the dog to lose points in a dog show, such as a notch in the ear or, as in Hawthorne’s case, a one-eighth-inch overbite. “You and I would never notice the flaw, but if it’s going to cost a show dog points, then it’s a big deal,” said Cox, who said he’d never show his dog anyway. Cox said that Hawthorne doesn’t realize how big he is and sometimes will knock people down just by putting paws on them. Last year after a windstorm blew down the fence around Cox’s house, Hawthorne got out, and even though the dog is playful as a

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Continued on page 50


Don Martin and Boo.

Continued from page 49

cocker spaniel, his size and color alarmed the neighbors. “Someone called 911 and said there was a black bear walking down College Avenue,” Cox said. As far as a family pet, Cox said he wouldn’t trade Hawthorne for anything. He loves to swim, play ball, and is a constant source of entertainment. “Hawthorne is the best dog I’ve ever had,” Cox said. “My other dogs can’t read and won’t see this. He is the ultimate pet. You will want one.”

Don Martin Owner, Metro Galleries

Boo Sometimes relationships with pets can be prickly, a delicate balance between caring for the pet and wanting to strangle them. When Don Martin’s loving, affable white Persian cat Boo died in his arms after 13 years, he waited one year before sticking his toe in the pet ownership pool again. And when he did, he wanted a precious replacement for his deceased cat and went in search of another Persian, which led him to find a kitten in the classified section of the newspaper. He named her Boo Too. The new Boo, an 11-year-old blue-point Persian, was just 8 weeks old when Martin brought her home, and it didn’t take long for this Boo to establish how their relationship was going to go. She was not going to behave like her namesake. “She is the classic independent cat,” said Martin. “She’ll hide Continued on page 52 50

Bakersfield Life

February 2011

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Donny Youngblood and his posse.

Continued from page 50

under the bed all day. She might walk out, but she won’t make eye contact with me. Her ears will be down. At first, I thought it was a kitten thing going on, but about a year later I thought, ‘OK, this is going to be our relationship.’” Independence, though, is one trait Martin most enjoys about cats. “You can do whatever you want with dogs and they still love you,” he said, “but with cats, you have to earn it.” Earning Boo’s affection is an uphill battle. Once Martin was house-sitting for a friend and inadvertently locked Boo in a room for 24 hours. When he went to check on her, she cried to let him know where she was. After purring and showing initial gratitude for springing her, Boo soon decided to punish Martin for his perceived negligence. “There are days when we don’t speak,” he said. Martin will host parties at his home, and when guests see Boo, her elegant fur and beauty seem an invitation too great to avoid, but Martin warns that she isn’t what she seems. “People will come over to parties, and she might come out. She’ll be lying graciously on the bed and will allow herself to be touched, then she’ll hit them and leave.”

Donny Youngblood Kern County sheriff

Trigger, Pete, Beetlejuice, Rocketman and Puppy When you think of the sheriff’s posse, inevitably images of strapping deputies on horseback come to mind, and if you were watching the 2011 Rose Parade, you would have seen Sheriff 52

Bakersfield Life

February 2011

Donny Youngblood and his Mounted Posse in their first-ever New Year’s Day appearance. Tall in the saddle and astride a quarterhorse named Mia, Youngblood was proud to represent his hometown. This posse, however, does not consist of horses but rather five Chihuahuas that Youngblood has adopted, rescued or found on the job, a ragtag bunch of misfits for which he has opened his home and his heart and offered a second chance. Sheriff Youngblood has two homes, he said, and the dogs share residence among them both, but he never planned to have so many dogs at all. He blames it on his soft spot. “I can’t make eye contact with dogs,” he said. “I’m a sucker for animals.” He found Pete, he said, in the middle of Alta Vista, shot in the chest and barely alive. He took Pete to get medical attention and never let him go. Rocketman (named for his overactive bladder) was living alone in the stables where Youngblood boards his horses, and so Rocketman became part of the family, too. Beetlejuice got lucky, plain and simple. After seeing an ad in the newspaper for a Chihuahua at the pound, Youngblood sent his girlfriend to get the dog “or else they were going to kill it.” When she arrived, that dog was already gone, so she picked out another instead. Enter Beetlejuice. As if a star rose over Youngblood’s house as a beacon to guide weary, homeless Chihuahuas, another hapless dog took residence in the alley behind Youngblood’s house for several months. One day, a neighbor arrived at the sheriff’s door, holding the vagrant dog. Continued on page 54

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Heidi Nicoll Owner, Bella at The Marketplace

Heidi Nicoll and Willemina

Larry and Beach Ramos

Continued from page 52

Tails of Bakersfield “Pet Idol” winner

“I said, ‘Why are you bringing this puppy to me?’ And he said, ‘Well, you’ve been feeding it for four months, so here you go!’” With that, the sheriff had another dog, and the name “Puppy” had stuck. The fifth dog at Chateau Youngblood is Trigger, who owes his good fortune to a case of mistaken identity. As Sheriff Youngblood was driving to work one day, he saw a familiar dog in the alley. “It looked just like Pete, and I thought he must have gotten out.” So, he made some calls to get Pete back where he belonged. When he returned home that night, he was in for a surprise. “‘That’s not Pete!’ I said. There was a different dog lying on my couch.” Pete was there, too, safe and sound, but Youngblood had another new dog. He named this one Trigger. All five dogs get along great, he said, but he isn’t looking for more anytime soon. Just keep your eyes down and keep walking, sheriff, and everything will be OK. 54

Bakersfield Life

Willemina “Where’s Willie?” If you’ve ever driven down Coffee Road or Oak Street and happened to glance up and see a billboard with a perfectly coiffed Yorkshire terrier advertising a boutique for fine women’s clothing, then you know Willie. But owner Heidi Nicoll said that it never ceases to surprise her when a complete stranger walks into her boutique at The Marketplace and asks to see her dog. Her dog, Willemina, is a 7-year-old Yorkie that Nicoll said has been a regular fixture at the store since she was born. Nicoll had wanted a companion dog and decided that since she owned her own business, she could bring the dog with her if she wanted. “From day one, Willemina started coming with me. She works full time,” said Nicoll, who has ensured Willie’s suitability in a public place by training her with local pet behavior magician Sherry Davis. “We’ve done lots of obedience training. Sherry has her trained so that we can have the door open and Willie won’t walk out,” said Nicoll, who allows the small dog to walk around the shop at will. Willie does bark, however, but not at men. “She loves men. She’s with so many women all day that I don’t know if men are just a novelty or what,” said Nicoll, laughing. Willemina enjoys being the queen bee of the house, too, but Nicoll said that she has a “little brother” now, and while she and her husband, Thomas, were initially worried about how the little Yorkie would adjust to a new baby in the house, their concerns were unfounded. She’s been great to Scott (6 months), even though the breed is known for being a little hard-headed at times. Growing up, Nicoll said she had a Siamese cat and a Labrador retriever, so loving animals is nothing new. However, Willemina has been a constant companion for Nicoll and she doesn’t know what she ever did without her.

February 2011

Brat Some people consider themselves “dog people” and others adamantly favor cats, but pet owners Beach and Larry Ramos said they’ve been impartial animal lovers for years. “We had outdoor dogs and cats. Cats pick who they like and are independent. They have more freedom,” said Beach Ramos, who decided that having one cat was great, but everyone likes a little company. For the southwest Bakersfield residents, adding another cat to their family was a conscious decision. They needed another pet to keep their 3-year-old cat, Snickerdoodle, company when they left to see their grandchildren in Idaho for three to four days at a time. They saw an ad in the newspaper for a Persian and knew the little fur ball would be a perfect fit. It didn’t take long for the kitten they named Ding-Dong to establish herself as head of the household. On her first day, she hissed at her new roommate and let everyone know she was there

Larry and Beach Ramos with Brat.

to stay. She began dominating the relationship with Snickerdoodle. “We began calling her Brat,” said Ramos, because the shoe fit. Eventually, the name stuck. “I finally called the vet and had them change her name. She answers to Brat.” Brat isn’t always a brat, and is, in fact, very lovable. She comes when the family calls her (like a dog, they said) and even established herself as a likeable patient. “When we took her to the vet to get spayed, they called back and told us they had never had a cat that purred before and after surgery,” Ramos said. But there is the reason for More her name. She tumbles into “Pet Idol” her brother and shoves him See page 90 for out of the way when she sees more photos of Tails fit, but the Ramoses said that of Bakersfield "Pet no sibling rivalry exists. Idol" winner. “He’s good with her. He can take a lot of her ‘stuff.’ He puts up with her even though he’s twice her size. She just wants to play.” But there is the matter of her name. “We have what Larry calls ‘Brat-ruptions,’” said Ramos. “About three or four times a night, she will smash her face into us because she wants attention.”


Ashley Welch

Chris Clayton

Single in Bakersfield Meet 13 of the most eligible bachelors and bachelorettes in Bakersfield By Gabriel Ramirez

Having trouble finding someone? Or maybe you think all the good ones are taken? That’s not the case! Bakersfield Life Magazine introduces you to a group of great singles who have plenty to offer the right person.

Shawna Roundtree 56

Photos by Michael Lopez

Chris Clayton, 34 Consultant for Tel-Tec Security Dating deal-breaker: A smoker. Favorite day-trip destination: Beverly Center. The perfect weekend should always include: Good conversa-

tion, lots of laughing and some good food. My best trait: My personality and sense of humor. Something quirky about me: I'm a little goofy and a prankster.

Bakersfield Life

February 2011

Ashley Welch, 23 Accountant The perfect weekend should always include: Loud music, strong drinks and

Specialty in the kitchen: My specialty in

the kitchen is cooking authentic Mexican food. I love cooking!

good friends. My best trait: Personality. In high school, I was: a cheerleader. Phone, text or e-mail: E-mail. Specialty in the kitchen: Anything spicy!

more than three sentences in my text, then I would phone. In high school, I was: a basketball player and track hurdler. Favorite day-trip destination: The beach. Dating deal-breaker: Texting during dinner. Specialty in the kitchen: Tacos and Spanish rice.

Shawna Roundtree, 29 Credentialing specialist The perfect weekend should always include: Ice cream and someone to talk to. My best trait: I am very caring and always

willing to help others out. In high school, I was: a loner-type person,

but known as this crazy runner. Phone, text or e-mail: Text. I’m much

better in person or texting. Specialty in the kitchen: Spaghetti, I love pasta.

Kelle Vontz

Kelle Vontz, 26 Teacher The perfect weekend should always include: Equal parts of relaxing and fun. My best trait: My personality and my

sense of humor. In high school, I was: kind of a nerd,

yearbook editor and a tennis player. Phone, text or e-mail: E-mail. Specialty in the kitchen: I can cook any-

thing that goes in the microwave.

Martha (Bebe) Perez

Martha (Bebe) Perez, 38 Clinical laboratory technician The perfect weekend should always include: Lots of laughs and adventure with

great company. Dating deal-breaker: Dishonesty. In high school, I was: very outgoing and


Tina Watkins

Phone, text or e-mail: I prefer a phone

call only because texting can take too much of each other’s time. And it's always nice to hear a voice on the other end.

Tina Watkins, 33 Computer technician Phone, text or e-mail: Texting. If it’s

Andrae Gonzales

Andrae Gonzales, 28 Executive director of Stewards Inc.; and school district clerk pro tem/trustee Dating deal-breaker: When a woman reveals she did not do what might be the worst possible thing a person can fail to do: vote. Favorite day-trip destination: The Grove in Los Angeles is a fun day-trip. My heart melts when: A girl tells a funny joke. I love to laugh and love hanging out with women who have a good sense of humor. My best trait: My best trait is that I am pretty outgoing and enjoy meeting new people. Something quirky about me: The most peculiar thing about me is that, for some reason, I can never resist the power of a karaoke machine. And, with the microphone in hand, I’ve been known to channel Neil Diamond. Continued on page 58


need to be tied up and entertainment gets organized by genre. I’m not a clean freak, but I am tidy.

Josh Anderberg, 37 Project coordinator at PCL Industrial Services Perfect weekend should always include: The beach, good food and great

conversation. My best trait: If I’m one thing, it’s loyal.

Once you’re a friend, you’re forever. In high school, I was: an introvert. I didn't

come out of my shell until I was 22. Phone, text or e-mail: Phone or e-mail

works for me. Specialty in the kitchen: I don't have

just one specialty in the kitchen. I love to cook and can cook anything. But my favorite is my barbecue tri-tip.

Audrey Sherman My heart melts when: The person I'm

dating does small sweet gestures to show they care. My best trait: Friendly personality. Something quirky about me: I love playing Scrabble and Boggle.

Jennifer Stevens and Josh Anderberg

Dicky Mulyana

Continued from page 57

Dicky Mulyana, 30 Jennifer Stevens, 36 Teacher Dating deal-breaker: I dislike people who

chew with their mouths open. Favorite day-trip destination: Disney-

land. My heart melts when: My niece and

nephew smile at me, even more so when my niece copies my actions. It reminds me that they see everything I do and that my actions impact their lives. My best trait: Over the years, many friends have told me that my willingness to go anywhere and do anything is my best quality. I'm open to what life has to offer. Something quirky about me: I like to be neat and organized. I believe everything has a place, for example, power cords 58

Bakersfield Life

February 2011

boot camp instructor/insurance agent Dating deal-breaker: Vegans and inconsiderate people. Favorite day-trip destination: Santa Monica (Third Street Promenade). My heart melts when: My volunteer work makes a difference in someone's life. My best trait: My spiky hair. Something quirky about me: I’m a night owl and an early bird, and, yes, I know martial arts, too.

Audrey Sherman, 35 Process and controls accountant Dating deal-breaker: Being flaky. Favorite day-trip destination: The beach.

Antony D. Hernandez

Antony D. Hernandez, 25 Therapeutic massage therapist Dating deal-breaker: Someone who doesn’t know what they want in life. My heart melts when: I meet beautiful females from South America. My best trait: I really am a sincere guy and do things from my heart. Something quirky about me: I laugh at all my jokes — well, I think they’re funny. Favorite day-trip destination: Going out of town to go eat at a restaurant that I've never eaten at before.

Brian Karlsson

Brian Karlsson, 26 U.S. Marine The perfect weekend should always include: Time with

people you love. My best trait: My eyes. In high school, I was: the kid who played all sports, but

secretly played video games and programmed Java. Phone, text or e-mail: I prefer text because I have a busy

schedule, and I prefer not to be the loud annoying person talking on a cell phone at a store or office. Specialty in the kitchen: Grilled salmon and homemade mac and cheese.

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‘The last gal I saw’ Married for 68 years, the Steinerts now face their toughest challenge


Oh what William Shakespeare might have penned had he known Bakersfield businessman and philanthropist Marvin Steinert and his wife, Nadene, when he coined the phrase “love is blind.” The Steinerts were young and in love when they vowed to remain together in sickness and in health 68 years ago. Today, the couple’s love has been tested by that clause in their marriage vows in a way neither could ever have imagined. Whether it was love at first sight when they first met matters little now. About 18 months ago, virtually overnight, it became love at last sight when Marvin awakened the morning of Aug. 18, 2009, and couldn’t tell whether it was day or night. “She was the last gal I saw,” the 88-year-old said of his bride and the last image he saw before closing his eyes the night before. Steinert was diagnosed with temporal arteritis, which the National Institutes of Health describes as a rare condition that causes inflammation and damage to the blood vessels that supply the head area, particularly the large and medium arteries that branch from the neck. His only symptom was difficulty chewing, which he attributed to old age. Marvin’s condition came on the heels of Nadene’s recovery from a slight stroke. Now, at 89, she is his caregiver, helping him through the “in good times and bad” clause of their vows as well. 60

Bakersfield Life

February 2011

Nadene and Marvin Steinert have been married 68 years.

Photo by Felix Adamo

By Lisa Kimble

“I have to be right beside him,” Nadene said. Unable to flip through the many photo albums or appreciate framed family pictures on the walls of their den alongside mementoes of a lifetime of world travels and distinguished work and giving, she is his window to their world. “I am now his eyes,” she said. “There are lots of times we sit and watch a football game on television, and I will describe to him what is going on down on the field, what colors the teams are wearing.” Their courtship began on a hot afternoon in 1940. “My friend and I were sitting at the Frontier Days Rodeo at the old fairgrounds when these two boys came up and asked if we wanted a soda,” Nadene recalled. “He asked if he could take me home, so I asked my father, who was on a horse at the time in the parade.” She was just 18. They married two years later and Marvin, knowing he would be drafted, quit his job at Union Oil that morning to enlist in the Army Air Corps. Their honeymoon lasted just 11 days before Marvin left to serve in the 13th Armored Division. “We had to do it the hard way, with him in the service, being together, and then apart,” she said of the challenges of early married life. “But our faith in Jesus has helped us.” It also helped that the pair didn’t believe in divorce. Their union was blessed with three sons, two of whom live in town and work with Marvin, as well as six granddaughters and 12 greatgrandchildren. “If we had differences, we looked at the good side of things,”

he said. “If we had an argument, we would get together and forget about it,” Nadene added. “We wouldn’t know what to do without each other.” Over the years, the ups and downs of commercial real estate investment, raising a family and running a household only reinforced the commitment these best friends had made to one another. “Nadene has a good, even temper and she does everything she can to please me, which is not the easiest job in the world,” he laughed. Their key to longevity, besides their mutual fondness for cruises, has been to balance the other. “We try not to both get upset at the same time,” Marvin said. “One is a leveler for the other. The state of marriage is scary these days. It doesn’t seem like it is sacred anymore.” Despite Marvin’s health crisis, they spend their days as they promised back in 1942, to love each other in ‘joy as well as in sorrow’ for as long as they both shall live. “She has a terrible job, and it is awful for me just sitting around,” Marvin said. A helper comes in to assist Nadene who still drives Marvin to the office one day a week where his granddaughter helps him on the computer and reads the newspapers to him. Whether it be blind faith or their unbreakable bond, although everyday is a struggle, Marvin Steinert said he is making the best of it with his devoted wife’s help, and holding out hope for divine intervention. “The only thing we are waiting for is a miracle,” he added.

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Guys who aggressively glide on the ice This dynamic group of four shares a passion for hockey. They practice their slap shots at Bakersfield Ice Sports Center where they play in the adult league on The Bears. Photos by Jessica Frey


How did you get started in what is typically thought of as an East Coast sport? Roland: I always liked watching the game, and I was a good roller skater. Playing a sport and skating at the same time sounded like a perfect match. My friend, Brett Sakamoto, had some old sticks, so we laced up the skates and started passing the puck around on anything smooth we could find. We soon found more guys like us, including Charley, and eventually, we drove up to Fresno to try to play on the ice — been there ever since. Sakamoto: Always been an NHL fan, attended my first Kings game in 1972, started playing street hockey in my parent’s driveway in high school, then roller hockey and now ice hockey. We’re so fortunate to have an ice rink in town! Chiang: Being a sports fanatic back then, I watched a lot of ESPN, and hockey was on all the time, especially during the playoffs. The speed of the game was and still is breathtaking.


Bakersfield Life

February 2011

Kevin Bartl

David Roland

Vice president of communications for the Bakersfield Condors

Physical education teacher at Tevis Junior High School

Bartl: Growing up in Rochester, N.Y., I went to a ton of AHL and NHL games when I was a kid and watched it on TV. Hockey is obviously much bigger back there. The minor league team in Rochester has been around since the 1950s, and so many players and coaches went through there on their way up to the NHL. Every high school has a team, and just about every town has a rink. But, I didn’t really

get hooked on it until I was in junior high when my buddy and I took our skates down to this guy’s house we knew, and we went out on a frozen pond in his parent’s backyard and were out there for hours. Then I had to have the equipment and try it for real. And, of course, once you put the pads on and get out and play the game, I dare anybody to stop. It’s an addictive game. It gets in your blood.


Fights: Love them or hate them?

Roland: Fighting is part of hockey and is sometimes necessary.

Charley Chiang

Brett Sakamoto

Systems analyst/programmer for the Kern Community College District

Business manager for Kern County Child Support Services


Finish this sentence: The Condors are ...

Roland: A great way to watch live professional hockey right in our own arena. Sakamoto: Entertaining. Chiang: And always will be the Bakersfield Fog to me.

Bartl: The No. 1 choice for family entertainment in all of Kern County. (For tickets, call 324-PUCK!) On a serious note, I feel very fortunate to have worked with the Condors for so long, calling games and traveling with the teams, helping to grow the game in Bakersfield, seeing so much hockey history in this town, and being part of an organization that’s an important part of the community.

Sakamoto: More neutral — hockey in the Olympics is probably the most entertaining to watch for its speed and skill, and has no fighting, yet a good fight is fun to watch too. Chiang: Hate ’em. Besides being illegal in amateur hockey, goalies don’t usually fight — too much gear to take off.

Bartl: Love them. I’ve never actually been in one on the ice myself though although I’ve been close a couple times. For some reason, I seem to make people want to punch me when I’m on the ice. Continued on page 64 www.BakersfieldLife.com63


Continued from page 63


What’s your greatest hockey accomplishment?

Favorite hockey teams?

Roland: The Los Angeles Kings. Sakamoto: L.A. Kings.

Roland: Being accepted and respected by my hockey peers.

Chiang: Bakersfield Fog.

Sakamoto: Not losing any teeth or breaking anything.

Bartl: I have a lot of them — New Jersey Devils, L.A. Kings, Anaheim Ducks, Minnesota Wild and Carolina Hurricanes. Working in the hockey business has given me the chance to know players and staff over the years with a lot of different organizations, and it’s easier to root for their success and harder to root against teams as well.

Chiang: Being the backup goalie for the Fog against the Russian Red Army, and playing the final two minutes of a game between the Vegas Aces and the Bakersfield Oilers. Bartl: Every time I score a goal, it’s an accomplishment. Every shift is exhaustive, you spend 90 percent of your time on the ice without the puck in constant movement, and when you score, everything stops. It’s one of the greatest feelings in the world. Plus, I’m not very good, so I never know when my next one is going to come.


Hockey is a fast game. How much longer do you think you’ll play?

Roland: I will play as long as I can skate. Sakamoto: A few more years, as long as my legs cooperate and no major injuries. Chiang: I have a couple of 50-year-old teammates, so I think I can at least play till I turn 50. Bartl: As long as I can keep up with everyone. It’s an unbelievable workout. If I skip a week, I feel sluggish the next time I play and, by the end of the game, I’m sucking wind. But to be out there on the ice, breathing in the cold air, getting banged around, it’s hard to imagine not playing each week.

Kevin Bartl 64

Bakersfield Life

Charley Chiang February 2011


Any hockey-related injuries?

Roland: I had my lip opened up pretty good one night, and a few black eyes, but nothing major. Sakamoto: Nothing major. Chiang: Only one, but my wife says I get hurt all the time because I lay on the ice whenever anyone bumps into me. I learned that from watching soccer. Bartl: Hockey injuries are the coolest in sports. I’ve gotten stitches on my face. Countless fat lips. The occasional wrist, groin, shoulder or ankle injury. I got hit by the puck in my thigh playing roller hockey over a month ago and I still have a bruise. (That one hurt.) I cracked my elbow when I was 16, and it still aches sometimes. And, I think I’ve had one or two concussions. The older I get, the injuries become less specific and more or less turn into an all-over pain.

Brett Sakamoto

David Roland



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Health Recipes for success

Bank or Local eateries share credit their business secrets union? Retirement planning

Are boomers prepared?


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Three local businesses share their

recipes for success


By Alyssa Morones

n these tough economic times, many small businesses find themselves at the mercy of a hurting market. Onceprosperous shopping centers have devolved into retail wastelands, with empty parking lots and abandoned stores. However, some local businesses have continued to grow and thrive among the ashes of their failed counterparts. While these businesses are varied, they are all founded on similar principles of respect and service — it is this firm grounding from which sprouts success.

Local restaurant Coconut Joe’s just completed its best year in its 20-year history. This is a feat, especially considering the devastation surrounding its location, with former anchor stores Mervyn’s and Circuit long gone. Coughlin attributes his company’s success back to his employees. With the phrase “una familia” (one family) as their mantra, all Coconut Joe’s employees have a true passion for their jobs. “They’re passionate about what they do,” Coughlin said. “Our employees don’t just work at Coconut Joe’s. The employees are Coconut Joe’s.” One recently hired employee told his boss, “I thought I was just getting a job. I didn’t realize I was getting a whole new group of friends.” The owner does an admirable job of maintaining this kind of work environment for his employees through group activities, including an annual hike at Half Dome and group trips, such as a recent one to Los Angeles to see a Broadway play. But community support is key. 

Bakersfield Life 2011 Financial Health

A passionate staff, lead by owner Joe Coughlin, keep things running smoothly at Coconut Joe’s.

“Local support is huge in our success,” Coughlin said. “But I wish that people would tune in more to the importance of local business. Nobody wants to see Bakersfield become ‘Anytown.’ We need to protect Bakersfield’s sense of place during the recession. Our small businesses give us a sense of who we are.” Hungry Hunter: Tailoring service to Bakersfield’s standard of excellence The Bakersfield Hungry Hunter has

Photo courtesy of Coconut Joe’s

Coconut Joe’s: We are a family

long made a name for itself both locally and nationally as a successful steakhouse. And while the Hungry Hunter chain didn’t survive the recession, the local, privately owned Hungry Hunter kept on cooking. Owner Kevin Lawless said the Bakersfield restaurant is unique both in its ownership and business practices. When he purchased the restaurant in 1998, he immediately set about making his own changes to the restaurant, tailoring it specifically to the community. Because of its private owner-

ship, Lawless explained that he was able to focus more on Bakersfield needs instead of national appeal. “We improved the quality of the atmosphere, changed the menu, and added custom items that were wanted in Bakersfield,” Lawless said. Hungry Hunter takes pride in the support its local ownership garners. “Local support has been really good to us, because of the recognition of local ownership,” Lawless said. He makes sure to advertise that the restaurant is locally owned and operated.

Smith’s Bakery: Longtime business adheres to its founding principles Bakersfield favorite Smith’s Bakery has been a local dessert staple since its founding in 1945. Owner James Balmain purchased the popular confectionary from founders Howard Smith and Balmain’s father, Roy, in 1985. Balmain attributes his business’ success to the maintenance of the principles upon which Smith’s Bakery was founded:“to provide good quality bakery goods and service to the people of Bakersfield.” Smith’s prides itself in always using the best ingredients, instilling in its employees the importance of making every product correctly the first time, and always putting its employees and customers first. Additionally, Balmain explained the importance of learning to “stay current with new ideas, while, at the same time, caring for the tastes of your long-term customers.” Local support acts as the pillars buttressing Smith’s success. “Without loyal customers, no business can survive,” Balmain said. “The support

Photo by Felix Adamo

Smith’s Bakery prides itself on its quality ingredients and customer service. is built by trying to treat your customers as you would like to be treated and by making products that are consistent and of good quality.” One thing is clear. These businesses all carry strong leadership — an important key to any business’ success, according to business consultant Derek Edwards. “A top inefficiency in businesses, more than any other, is a lack of accountability at all levels,” Edwards said. “If the leadership of an organization has selfish motivations, then this mindset will very quickly flow down to the employees. This will result in an organization where no one communicates or shares key ideas, which, in turn, will lead to the organizations stagnant growth or worse.” Showing a deep respect for employees as shown in these businesses is in alignment

Photo by Brian Drake

Maintaining a strong local connection has helped Hungry Hunter thrive in tough times.

with advice given by Edwards. “Many organizations forget the importance of placing their employees first, their customers second and their management third,” Edwards said. “What this means is that if the employees are happy, they will be more likely to go the extra mile for their customers, which, in turn, will result in more profits and/or efficiency for the organization, which ultimately is the goal of any organization’s leadership.” While these businesses are financially successful, it is in other ways that these businesses shine the brightest. “Success is more than the bottom line,” Coughlin said. “The only measure of success in my view is lifestyle. If you’re happy, fulfilled, if your family is functioning, then you’re a successful businessman, regardless of your bank account.” Bakersfield Life 2011 Financial Health

Photo courtesy of Steven Van Metre

Hope for baby boomers Among those hardest hit by the recession, those nearing retirement don't have to go into it financially unprepared

Steve Van Metre has some tips on how boomers can still work to become financially ready for retirement.

By Steven Van Metre


hey have been called the “pig in the python.” They are the baby boomers – born from 1946 to 1964 — who swelled the historically “flat” U. S. demographic line as they grew out of diapers, overwhelmed American schools, consumed the job market and drove the world’s economic engine. Now, as the first of these boomers hit the “traditional” 65-year-old retirement age, this generation is now labeled the “Silver Tsunami.” With an estimated 79 million boomers now expected to live longer, their need for health care services will skyrocket, swamping the already struggling Medicare system. Most boomers will be financially unprepared for retirement, with the AARP Public Policy Institute predicting only 25 percent will be set financially and another 25 percent who will live their remaining

Bakersfield Life 2011 Financial Health

years in poverty. According to the Pew Research Center, for the next 19 years, about 10,000 people will turn 65 years old every day. Olivia Mitchell, executive director of the Pension Research Council and director of the Boettner Center for Pensions and Retirement Research at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, has been one of many industry experts sounding the alarm. “The situation is extremely serious because baby boomers have not saved very effectively for retirement and are still retiring too early,” Mitchell lectures. If you are a Bakersfield boomer, the description might fit you. Certainly you have friends and associates who you fear will head into retirement unprepared and maybe even destitute. It’s not simply a matter of people being undisciplined and self-indulgent, “failing” to save for their retirements. The reality is that boomers have been slammed by the recession, which turned

stock market-dependent 401k tax-deferred savings plans into 201k plans and rendered homes relied upon as “retirement nest eggs” into properties worth less than what is still owed on them. Many boomers have lost their jobs and simply can’t find new ones. They have been forced into early retirements and living on reduced Social Security checks. The days of their parents’ “defined benefit” pension plans are long gone in the private sector. According to a study by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, 51 percent of early boomer households (ages 55 to 64) face a retirement with lower living standards. AARP analysts have concluded that too many boomers have ignored or underestimated their worsening financial outlook. It’s a little late to say “tsk, tsk, you should have prepared better.” It also ignores the fact that many of today’s boomers are financially hurting through little or no fault of their own. And when the full force of this

Silver Tsunami is realized, it won’t be an individual problem — it will be everyone’s problem. Luckily it’s not too late for boomers to make course corrections that will improve the financial situation for some of the youngest — 47 years old — and some of the oldest turning 65. Here are some steps you can take right away: 1. Take advantage of the “payroll tax holiday,” implemented as part of the two-year extension of the Bush-era tax cuts. The “holiday” reduces your withholding for Social Security from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent for 2011. Since this amount will be taxed as income, increase your 401k deduction by 2 percent for 2011. According to the “Smart on Money” website, this could be $1,000 a year savings that can go right into your retirement account. 2. Shop your home and auto insurance. Many are unaware that their home and

auto are provided by different insurers. By combining coverage under one provider, a solid discount often can be realized. 3. Create a budget. Most people are unaware of how much money they spend each month and what they spend it on. A simple budget can help you track expenses to see what areas you may be able to trim. 4. Strategically pay off credit cards. Many people pay extra on their cards each month, focusing first on the higherinterest rate cards. This is smart. What also works well is to pay off the lowest balance card first, rolling that payment into the remaining cards. This can save thousands in interest payments depending on how much you have to pay off. 5. Use the money you receive from your tax return to pay off debt, create an emergency fund, increase 401k contributions, or start a Roth IRA. 6. Consider dropping “extra” insurance policies funded through payroll

deductions. These often include accidental death and dismemberment insurance policies, which are rarely used. The odds of a worker dying in an accident are 1 in 36. Cancer policies are also popular. Although one in seven people die from cancer, most do not die from it while on the job. A better use of the money would be to buy a policy that covers any death, or simply save your money by not purchasing the policies. 7. Eating out every day for lunch is fun and great for the local economy, but the cost can add up quickly. At $10 to $15 for lunch, with tip, a person can easily spend $200 a month or more eating out. By bringing leftovers twice a week, you could save $80 a month. Cut dining-out costs by clipping coupons and taking advantage of restaurants’ promotional discounts. ­— Steven Van Metre is a Bakersfield financial planner. Visit his website,

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local nurse who attended a retirement planning course I conducted through the Levan Institute for Lifelong Learning at Bakersfield College, came into my office recently seeking a second opinion regarding an investment. Two years ago, she bought one of the most expensive investments on the market that had management fees in excess of 3 percent a year. It was a variable annuity with a living benefit. It also had a large exposure to the stock market. Upon discovering its deficiencies, the nurse wanted out of the investment. I cautioned her that before she made any decisions, she should develop an “income plan” for her retirement. That would allow her to see what her income would be and determine if it would be sufficient to sustain her in retirement. The plan also would allow her to develop strategies, which might include eliminating her costly investment. I likened her position to that of a doctor treating a sick person. He wouldn’t begin treatment with any old medicine he had in the office. First, he would have a good nurse check the patient’s vitals. He

Bakersfield Life 2011 Financial Health

would then review medical records, conduct tests and maybe even consult other doctors to confirm a diagnosis. Those are cautious steps that should be taken regardless of their costs. After putting her income plan together, I created a few alternate plans to see how her retirement might look if she exchanged her costly investment for another. The result: No alternative was better. So I set out to see if I could make lemonade out of this lemon of an investment. By utilizing her other investments, I was able to maximize the benefits of her expensive investment to create more income for her. Granted it was less income than if she had not purchased the expensive investment in the first place. Maneuvering through the land mines of this economy and dodging the sometimes deceptive “good investments” that are being marketed complicate creating a financially sound retirement. It just doesn’t happen. It takes planning and discipline. People can and must take control of their retirement futures. Knowledge is the key. Classes, such as the one I teach through the Levan Institute, hold the keys. Go online to bakersfieldcollege. edu/levaninstitute to sign up. Saturday sessions will be held Feb. 26, and March 5 and 12, from 9 a.m. to noon in Bakersfield College’s Weill Institute, 2100 Chester Ave. Thursday evening sessions will be held Feb. 24, and March 3 and 10, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Stockdale High School, 2800 Buena Vista Road, Room 106. Cost is $50 for either the Saturday or Thursday sessions. — Steven Van Metre is a Bakersfield financial planner.

Bank vs. credit union By Alyssa Morones

A simple but important decision for managing your personal finances is the choice between a bank and a credit union. Wendy Cleveland, vice president of marketing and business development for AltaOne Federal Credit Union, explained the key differences between the two institutions. “Credit unions are not-for-profit cooperatives. This means they are owned by their members, known as customers at a bank. Profits are returned to members in the form of better rates and fees and increased services, after regulatory reserve requirements are met.” Credit unions' only source of capital are profits held in reserve, so their reserve requirements are typically higher than banks. At a credit union, the board of directors consists of volunteers, elected from within by the members. Each credit union is limited in who they can serve. For instance, many credit unions serve a defined geographic area, such as

counties, while others serve only certain employers or employer types. Therefore, potential members must qualify to join the credit union to take advantage of its services. “In contrast, banks are either privately held or publicly traded via stocks,” Cleveland said. “They serve customers and return profits to their stockholders/owners unless strategic decisions are made to reinvest profits into improvements or expansion of the business.” Like credit unions, banks are typically required to maintain reserves for safety and soundness; however, since they can raise capital from investors, it is often not as much for banks, she said. “The board of directors at a bank may be paid and/or may hold ownership in the bank,” Cleveland said. “Banks are not limited in who they can serve.” There are benefits to both banks and credit unions, depending upon the type of services you are looking for and the type of investment you are making.

Benefits of a bank One key benefit of being part of a

national bank is the convenience of many branches and ATMs. “Banks offer the full range of deposit and loan products in addition to online banking services,” said Mike Olague, area manager of Bank of the Sierra. “Banks provide the financial capital to small- and medium-size business that assists the growth of local communities.”

Benefits of a credit union Credit unions are great for those individuals looking for more personalized service. “They cater to consumers and sometimes small-business owners,” Cleveland said. “Except for the smallest credit unions, they typically offer standard technology services and a full line of deposit and loan accounts. Rates may be better and fees lower. Account selection and terms may be simpler.” What should individuals take into account when making this choice?: The individual’s decision should center on individual preference and banking needs, Olague said.

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Michael W. Olague, senior vice president of Bank of the Sierra's Ming Avenue office, has an optimistic outlook on investing for 2011.

Things look better for investing for 2011 — if you don’t mind the risk By Gene Garaygordobil

nvesting was once a world that many people dabbled in with little help from financial advisers when returns were strong, and any risks were usually ignored. All that changed starting in 2007, when investors starting losing billions in not only high-risk ventures but even low-risk 401k and other retirement accounts. That’s when investments dropped by nearly 50 percent, said Michael W. Olague, senior vice president of Bank of the Sierra’s Bakersfield Ming Avenue office. “It was a challenging time,” Olague said. “Investors had to make a choice: Do I stay put and continue to invest or pull out?” “What a number of them did was stay in lower-risk investments and work with their financial advisers. Baby boomers who had always been more risk-tolerant now became more conservative by getting into bonds or Treasury notes, and therefore got less in return,” Olague said. Olague said there is a secret to smart investing. “You need patience, and you need to be in for the long haul,” he said. 10

Bakersfield Life 2011 Financial Health

Photo by MariaAhumada-Garaygordobil

A brighter year ahead

Banks and some bonds and Treasury notes will give you a 1 percent to 2 percent return for a minimum $10,000 deposit. Those are usually federally insured accounts, and usually you must leave the money there for at least two years. And for the rough three economic years we’ve had, that is enough for some people. But others don’t mind a risk to get a higher return. Still, for many making large returns on investments have become a secondary issue to safety, Olague said. “Return was the primary driver before,” he said. “In the heyday, you could get 20-plus percent, but you were taking risks, but people were more tolerant. That changed to really trying to keep people from losing any more money from non-bank investments. He said 2010 started off badly, with the first quarter proving an “unstable environment,” with “people still getting hurt and companies still not profitable.” The second and third quarters we began to experience a “better economy,” and people were more stabilized and they “started to get a modest return.” “In 2010 people have diversified into conservative investments that may have reached an 8 to 15 percent return,” he said. He said investors were getting “whole again” by staying the course, diversifying into conservative investments, allowing for adequate returns and coming close to the levels of 2007. For 2011, a key concern is whether the future will bring some kind of normalcy.

With the recent election, Olague said there is hope for optimism. Consumers have always been the No. 1 driver of the economy and economic recovery. “We are very optimistic in the banking world for 2011, that the economy is starting to take a turn, and money is coming back into the system,” he said. “Yet, we have to be realistic that it won’t be 2005, but it will be better than 2010.”

Tips for investing: Sit down with a reliable financial adviser. Find out where you have money invested now. Evaluate risk profile from: high risk to zero risk. Use patience. Invest for long term, not short term. Make sure you can afford your investments. Educate yourself on the stock market, and one day you may manage your own investments. Follow up on your investments and review them periodically.

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iWant an iPad, too

Monsignor Craig Harrison of St. Francis Catholic Church describes himself as technologically handicapped, but after receiving an iPad as a gift he has found it useful in ministry.

So you’ve been eyeing the iPad? Or maybe you're already part of the exclusive club that owns Apple’s latest device. Whether or not you’re on the Apple bandwagon, no one can deny what a technological splash the iPad has made. But what makes it such a big hit? Well, we had to do some soul-searching for that answer. Then we realized what better person to give us the answers than our beloved priest, Monsignor Craig Harrison of St. Francis Church. Father Craig is an iPad owner. Yep, he’s that cool. He took time from his busy schedule to share some of his iPad apps and tricks. What led you to buy the iPad versus the Kindle or Nook? I received the iPad as a gift. How long did it take to learn how to use your iPad? I am still learning — reading “The Complete Idiot's Guide to iPad.”

Five cool apps? Words with Friends, the Weather Channel, Universalis (all the Catholic prayers you need), Talking Carl and Bakersfield Now. What are three cool features of the iPad? It’s easy to work — I am technologically handicapped. It’s also great to store pictures, and there’s a big screen for Words with Friends app. How does the iPad make life easier in general? I can get e-mails, news, etc. at the touch, and it’s great when traveling out of the country. Where have you traveled with your handy tablet? Italy and Russia. If you could add any features, what would they be? Why? A beeping device so I remember where I left it.

This is an expensive gadget, how many times have you misplaced your iPad and where did you find it? I have misplaced it about five times and found it under my backseat, under the couch, in a suitcase, between the cushions on a chair and in the gym. The iPad comes in various memory sizes, what's the best one? I don’t know, but mine remembers a lot. Which is best — the iPad 3G or iPad wifi? I have 3G, but I thought that meant God used it. How does the iPad make life easier for a priest? As priests, we pray five times a day. The Divine Office app (set of prayers for people) is on the iPad. The books of those prayers come in four volumes and hundreds of pages each, so a thin iPad contains all four volumes and is light and compact. The books are big and bulky, especially when on the road or traveling. Same with e-mails. www.BakersfieldLife.com67

Photo by Casey Christie


Christine Frazier

Amazing alumni CSUB honors its 2011 Alumni Hall of Fame stars


The California State University, Bakersfield Alumni Association will induct its fifth annual class of accomplished alumni into the Alumni Hall of Fame on Feb. 19 during a black-tie ceremony at the Petroleum Club. “The Hall of Fame event recognizes alumni who have made significant contributions in their chosen field of endeavor or in their community, and whose accomplishments and careers have brought honor and distinction to the university,” said Nancy Chaffin, CSUB alumna and chair of the Hall of Fame committee. “The 2011 CSUB Alumni Hall of Fame class members are role models. They have made a significant and lasting impact in their pro68

Bakersfield Life

February 2011

John Hefner

Photo courtesy of CSUB

By Jennifer Baldwin

ent," Frazier said. "My only regret is not having my parents share in this moment."

Ben Stinson III

Photo by Jessica Frey

John Hefner

fessions and in their contributions in our community.” This year's four inductees are:

Christine Frazier Frazier received her teaching credential in 1984 and her master's in education in 1985, both from CSUB. On June 9, 2009, Frazier was named Kern County’s 20th Superintendent of Schools. Frazier has worked in education for more than 30 years — as a teacher, principal and school district superintendent. She taught in Arizona and Northern California before moving to Shafter in the early '80s where she taught for 12 years. She joined the Superintendent of Schools office in 1996, and from 2005 to 2009, was the associate superintendent. Her career has involved both instruction and fiscal management. Her priority is to encourage more youth to view high school graduation not as an end to classroom instruction but rather a first step toward higher education. "CSUB gave me the preparation that I needed to be able to serve students learning a second language and also to be able to pursue leadership opportunities in administration," Frazier said. "I would not be Kern County Superintendent of Schools today if not for the preparation provided me at CSUB.” Frazier was humbled by the recognition. "I can think of many who are much more deserving of receiving this award, but I am thrilled while humbled, and most of all appreciative of being selected as a CSUB 2011 Alumni Hall of Fame recipi-

“It is a great privilege to be selected for this very special honor," Hefner said. "I have always been proud of the association between CSUB and Fruitvale Jr. High through the student teaching program, where new teachers came to my campus for their student teaching. I even have hired many who have become great teachers.” Hefner received his teaching credential in 1976 and his master's in education in 1983, both from CSUB. He retired from Fruitvale School District in 2007 after 30 years of service. During his tenure he received numerous recognitions, some of which include: Middle School Principal of the Year by West Kern ACSA in 2004; ACSA Region 11 Administrator of the Year Awards for 2003-2004; Constitutional Rights Teacher of the Year for his History Day successes; Leader of the Year by Kern Political Education Center; Beautiful Bakersfield Award for the World War II Memorial fundraising drive, which included an invitation to him and four students to the White House by President Clinton. Hefner was a “110 percent” supporter of the CSUB Facility for Animal Care and Treatment (FACT) for over a decade working countless hours with Dr. Ted Murphy. He received an award for his work with FACT in 2001. Hefner is also a vice president of the Bakersfield Sister City Project. “CSUB has provided me an opportunity to earn a master’s and my administrative credentials in my own community," he said. "I have been very proud of my long association with CSUB and the many opportunities it has provided to interact so positively with the community. "My years as president of Friends of F.A.C.T., for example, represents a wonderful time of my life working with Dr. Ted Murphy and being involved closely with this outstanding CSUB program.”

Ben Stinson III "What a big surprise to join the CSUB Alumni Hall of Fame," Stinson said. "When Alumni Association board members John Nilon, Bryan Burrow and Nancy Chaffin asked to meet with me, I assumed they wanted to discuss some sort of sponsorship. "When John finally got to the verb, I almost fell out of my chair. I was shocked! Me? Are you sure? I am grateful and humbled by their consideration of choosing me for such an honor." Stinson is a 1979 graduate of CSUB, with a degree in business administration. A Bakersfield native, Stinson is president of Stinson Stationers, a family-owned business that started as Stinson Grocery Co. in 1916 by his grandfather, Ben F. Stinson Sr. Transferring the lessons learned from his father, son Ben Jr. established Stinson Stationers in 1947. By 1952, the business moved to the corner of Baker and Kentucky, where extra square footage allowed for the addition of a warehouse and delivery service. In 1966, the business grew to its current location, with expanded delivery to offices throughout Kern County. "My CSUB education enhanced the foundation that was created by my parents, my sisters and the many tremendous teachers that I was so fortunate to have had prior to attending CSUB," he said. "My CSUB experience solidified my desire to be a lifelong learner. It formalized a lot of concepts that my father had taught me and it allowed me to be more organized and more specific in my goals for Continued on page 70 www.BakersfieldLife.com69

Continued from page 69

our company and the company’s involvement with the community." In 1981, Ben III became president of the now-incorporated company. The spirit and tradition continues today as Stinson’s celebrates 60 years of service to the community. Stinson is also involved with CSUB as a foundation board member and also serves on various boards in the Bakersfield community.

“Being asked to be inducted into the CSUB Alumni Hall of Fame was quite a surprise to me," Van Boening said. "I am delighted and honored to accept this recognition. Not only will this mean I am joining a great group of honorees this year as well as those of past years, but I can take part in a really fun night at the annual Hall of Fame dinner!” Van Boening is a native of Bakersfield and received his master's in health care management from CSUB in 1992 and his pharmacy doctorate at University of the Pacific. He is a registered pharmacist and president and chief executive officer of Bakersfield Memorial Hospital. Van Boening is married to Phillis and they have four children. Van Boening also serves on the CSUB Foundation Board. “Receiving a Master of Science Administration, Health Care from CSUB was essential for me to attain my goal of changing professions and career in midlife," he said. "Moving from a practicing pharmacist and pharmacy owner into hospital administration is almost impossible without a master’s degree." He feels fortunate to gave earned his education from the local university. "CSUB was my choice for many reasons," he said. "Not only did

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I want a true classroom university experience, but CSUB was by far the most recognized and accredited university available to me locally for the education and credential I was seeking.“ Chaffin said the CSUB Alumni Association is pleased to recognize the four outstanding graduates. "Christine, John, Ben and Jon exemplify professional success as well as personal integrity," Chaffin said. "Each has excelled in their chosen field and has been generous in their commitment of time and resources to the community and the campus. We couldn't ask for a more distinguished group of individuals to represent CSUB.” The community is invited to join in celebrating these distinguished alumni on Feb. 19. Individual tickets are $100; a table of eight is $700. A social hour starts at 6:30 p.m., with dinner and the program beginning at 7 p.m. Sponsorship levels range from $500 to $10,000. Proceeds from the event benefit the CSUB Alumni Scholarship Fund.




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Bakersfield Life

Photo courtesy of Memorial Hospital

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February 2011

Open Tues. - Sun. at 11:15 am

Painting by Charlotte White



Karen Goh

M By Alyssa Morones

How will your past experience influence how you approach your role as Kern County’s 5th District supervisor? I grew up in a home that modeled the values I believe are shared with many of the residents of the 5th District. My parents did not immigrate to this country with much financial resource or any connection with people of influence. But I lived a childhood around core beliefs in the value of family, the significance of education, always working your hardest to seek to produce excellence and the call upon all our lives to serve others. At the center of all these other values was our faith — and that faith remains for me at the foundation of my personal perspective and choices. From my earliest years, my mother instilled in me the value of being prepared. She planned ahead, anticipated every possible need and contingency and tended to every detail. Her example, and exceptional work ethic, taught me to embark on every undertaking with thorough research, analysis and planning. Preparation brought its rewards in the corporate world. It enabled me to move up the ladder quickly and garner broad-based leadership experience in strategic thinking, innovation, process improvement and building highly motivated teams. During my formative years, I lived in Bakersfield. I grew to love this community that has shaped my perspective and values. I also grew through my experience of living in New York City. In particular, ethnic, social and religious diversity is part of every part of everyday life “in the big city.” When we respect and enjoy how we are so different, we can live together, work together, and learn together. When we impose our perspective and expectations on others, we become a weaker community through isolation. We may be very different. However, when crisis hits or tragedy strikes, we also learn that we are very much the same. The horrid experience of having witnessed the tragedy of 9/11 from my Manhattan office window heightened my awareness of the uncertainty that tomorrow would be at my disposal to do what I did not act upon today. As I watched the reactions of people on that dreadful day when


Bakersfield Life

February 2011

Photo by Henry A. Barrios

Motivated by a passion to serve her community, Karen Goh brings her wide breadth of knowledge in government, business, and service as Kern County’s newly appointed 5th District Supervisor.

power, academic degrees, and wealth became meaningless, I more fully realized how similar we all are on the inside. The impact of 9/11 deepened over time and caused me to re-evaluate my priorities and purpose in life. The experience subsequently impelled me to give my life in service to others and fulfill the great commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” For the past five years, I’ve had the privilege of serving the marginalized, the hurting, and the impoverished — meeting basic needs first, offering love and igniting hope, and then guiding and encouraging them toward educational advancement and self-sufficiency. I’ve learned the importance of addressing the root issues of poverty. I’ve grown to love the seemingly unlovable. I’ve learned to look inside and find the “hidden gold.” Throughout my life I’ve been able to rely consistently on the faithfulness of God to exchange His wisdom for my lack of understanding, His strength for my weakness, and His power for my inadequacies. These combined experiences have given me the confidence to lead. They have deepened my passion and resolve to unite with others to find effective and sustainable solutions to the challenges of our community, and to improve our quality of life. What are five things your constituents should know about you? The more important question to me is, “What things should I know about my constituents?” But here are five things about me: I’m immensely grateful for a blessed life and thankful for the many people who have given me opportunity. I’m unabashedly and contagiously passionate about changing lives from the inside out. I study all sides of every issue and always do my homework. I ask lots of questions — lots, lots, lots. I’m not afraid to surround myself with people who are smarter, wiser, and have greater expertise in any given area than I (and many people readily fall into this category!). What will be your No. 1 priority while in office? Why? Jobs. A job is an incredibly important thing for a person and the family. Foremost, a job means “I have value. I am using my hands, body and brain to produce a product or service that other people find valuable. If I have a job, I don’t have time to hang out on a street corner. I can’t get high or I won’t be able to work. I have responsibilities.” Government, including our county, cannot create jobs because it does not produce products or services that it can sell for a profit. The best thing any government agency can do to help create jobs is get out of the way of the job creators and let them work — eliminate red tape and

support job creators by being as efficient and as helpful as possible in clearing the hurdles. What are the five biggest issues facing the 5th District? Unemployment, gangs/crime, drug/alcohol abuse. the lack of education/job skills and family instability. How do you plan on achieving your goals? By being available and listening to the residents of the 5th District and others. By communicating, focusing on a few clear goals, setting forth plans that people buy into, collaborating with government agencies, businesses, churches, schools and nonprofits to maximize use of available resources. By being detail-oriented and following up, I will ensure the task gets done. By seeking and relying on divine wisdom. Why are you the right person for this job? I care deeply for our community, I want to serve, and I'm motivated. I have the experience to understand what needs to be done and to know the value and limitations of various government solutions, as well as the opportunities to bring business innovation and problem-solving to bear on issues and to further utilize faith- and community-based organizations and nonprofits. Who do you look to as a role model? Mary K. Shell. Would you consider working in public office in the long term? Why or why not? First, before being able to answer that, I will have to see whether I like doing this job once I get further into it, and see whether I am effective. In general, I don't think people should stay too long in an elective job. I think people who are elected should spend a reasonably short time in public office, then go back to regular private jobs and live under the laws they made. What inspires you? People who overcome great difficulty to achieve something worthwhile that they allowed themselves to dream. People who love and encourage those people through many hours and many setbacks but never give up. People who take responsibility even when they have very little to work with except their own character that tells them to do what is right. People who are courageous and who do what is necessary even though they know the danger, and even though they are scared. The unconditional love of God.

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Salvatore Tecci in goal for the Junior Condors. 74

Bakersfield Life

February 2011

Photos by Michael Lee

The Bakersfield Junior Condors is not just a group of local athletes; in fact, many aren’t local at all, and having athletic prowess is only half of what makes the team unique. The Junior Condors are an elite team made up of talented 16- to 20-year-olds, some who’ve traveled as far as Sweden and Slovakia to “play at a higher level,” according to their coach, Jaime Cooke, a 42-year old former pro and Bakersfield Condor. “It’s an opportunity and great experience to play at a high level at a younger age and play in the United States against bigger, stronger players,” he said. Cooke began his professional hockey career drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in 1988, played college hockey at Colgate University in upstate New York and then pursued a hockey career for the next 11 years. In 1998, he received an opportunity to travel to Bakersfield when the Bakersfield Fog reinvented itself as the Bakersfield Condors and he ended up playing for almost six years. He’s made Bakersfield his home ever since.

Remaining home games played at the Bakersfield Ice Sports Center Jan. 29 Jan. 30 Feb. 4 Feb. 5 Feb. 11 Feb. 12 Feb. 13 Feb. 18

Idaho vs. Jr. Condors Idaho vs. Jr. Condors Valencia vs. Jr. Condors Valencia vs. Jr. Condors Arizona vs. Jr. Condors Arizona vs. Jr. Condors Arizona vs. Jr. Condors Valencia vs. Jr. Condors

7:05 p.m. 9:30 a.m. 6:50 p.m. 7:05 p.m. 6:50 p.m. 7:05 p.m. 9:30 p.m. 6:50 p.m.

Admission is $5.

Junior Condor Travis Momon in a recent game. After earning his teaching credential, Cooke was teaching science at Valley Oaks Charter School and coaching the pee-wee and bantam divisions for the Bakersfield Dragons, a local hockey travel club, when he learned that the team’s president, Lori Miller, was pursuing access to the Western States Hockey League. Joining the USA Hockey-sanctioned Junior “A” Tier III ice hockey league, which has teams in the Southwest and Western United States, would be a local boon for the Bakersfield hockey community, as it provides an opportunity to watch great, young talent and afford players a chance for colleges to see them play. Cooke agreed to coach beginning in the team’s second season (from September through February). “I had put together a program to train athletes and hockey players when I was called to train the Junior Condors. As it turned out, they were interviewing for a new coach,” said Cooke, who quickly got the job. Only in its second year, the team roster wasn’t full when he took the team, and Cooke said they played the first half of their season “short.” That meant while other teams had four full lines, the Junior Condors played with just a little over two lines. “They played hard and did what I asked them, but it would have been a lot different if we’d had more players and they weren’t going into the third period so tired,” Cooke recalled. In December, the Junior Condors traveled to Las Vegas for the four-day WSHL Showcase and played well in the big tournament for college recruiters, he said. “It was great to see the response from college coaches, who made some contacts with the players,” Cooke said. “I got great feedback from college coaches who say that the level has improved. Word has gotten out in the hockey world.” The hockey world may acknowledge the conference boasts fine athletes, but to Cooke and club owners David and Lori Miller,

producing great citizens is as important as developing top-tier athletes. “We have the same philosophy. It’s not just about being on the ice but having these guys get out in the community,” said Cooke, who loved the Condors’ philosophy of being out in the community when he was a player and also wanted to implement that same spirit with the Junior Condors. Cooke had the players selling Christmas trees for Flood Ministries, serving lunch at the Bakersfield Homeless Shelter, and has even changed their training schedule at the last minute to accommodate a great chance to give back. “I canceled one of our ice times during training camp, because we had an opportunity to attend a Make-A-Wish car wash, and I felt it was a great way for the players to get to know each other and for me to get an idea of who I have on my team. It was a great opportunity for them to do something for the community.” For some players, Bakersfield is just a temporary community, a calculated itinerary of five months, where they can play in an environment that improves their chance one day of making it in professional hockey. Besides the young men from Slovakia and Sweden, the current roster also has players hailing from Ohio, Texas and two from Colorado and Canada, as well as four local Bakersfield athletes. Many moved from their hometowns or countries to pursue a chance to play better hockey, but not without careful consideration and usually a phone call to the team’s head coach. “I think the idea that I’m a teacher puts parents at ease fairly quickly. We talk about values and the experience I have to hopefully convey to their child,” said Cooke, who also acts as the initial liaison between high schools when school-aged players enroll at local Bakersfield campuses. “I talk to their school counselors in their hometowns and make arrangements so that the classes they take (in Bakersfield) are transferrable.” Out-of-area athletes stay with host families until the end of February, when their season ends and they head back home. “These kids are at a pivotal point in their lives. I was fortunate at 18 to play hockey. You’re becoming an adult. My job is to make sure these players commit to the team — and not just to themselves,” said Cooke, who has seen some amazing transformations that indicate he is doing his job on — and off — the ice. “Every so often I see something that gives me hope.”


Photo by Henry A. Barrios


Ray and Joan Dezember Couple known for a legacy of giving


By Lisa Kimble It has been said that a community’s strength is its pillars: the movers and shakers who shape and better their town. If so, then Bakersfield is rock-solid, thanks to the generosity of Ray and Joan Dezember. The longtime civic promoters and philanthropists have left imprints of benevolence on nearly every organization in town since they moved here 56 years ago. “We have a favorite saying that ‘To whom much is given, much is expected,’” Joan said. “We have been very blessed, that is a gift from God, and I believe we are to give to others.” Ray echoes his wife’s sentiments. 76

Bakersfield Life

February 2011

“We do what we can to help, whether in the schools, churches. We think everybody ought to do well in your job and profession, and participate in your community,” the retired longtime banking executive said. “Bakersfield is a strong community that looks after the fundamentals and is an incredible city in the sense that there is a strong feeling of support for local businesses and a feeling of real unity.” Born in southern Indiana and raised in Arizona, 80-year-old Rayburn Dezember met his college sweetheart and future wife at Whittier where he later served as trustee and helped raise millions for the school’s capital campaign. The college bestowed an honorary degree on Ray and named its alumni house in the couple’s honor. As one of Kern County’s most prominent and respected business figures, Ray first went into business with his father-in-law in the ready-mix concrete industry. “As a young man I thought that was pretty neat, working with truck drivers and machine operators and loaders, things we used to play with as kids.” In 1964, Ray oversaw the startup of American National Bank. He went on to serve as a director of Wells Fargo Bank and Cal-Mat Inc., the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, and Visa U.S.A.

Highly regarded and sought after for his keen business acumen, his input on the growth and development of Bakersfield has been invaluable, business leaders say. The business success the Dezembers enjoyed during their fiveplus decades here enabled them to embrace the social needs of the community close to their heart. The Bakersfield Homeless Center, the Red Cross, United Way and the Boy Scouts are but a few of the organizations that have benefitted from their gifts of time and money. “We owe this place a lot, and so we try to participate where we can and where we are needed,” Ray added. Major benefactors of CSUB’s Walter Stiern Library, a reading room there is also named after the Dezember family. Although no longer involved in day-to-day business decisions, Ray has watched the economic downturn of the last few years from the sidelines with great interest. “I think the economy’s engine was running too fast, and in this case, it overheated and has slowed,” he said. “There is an old saying in business, that ‘No matter what you do or how you do it, you must always pay attention to taking in a little more Ray Dezember than you pay out,’” he advised. “Now just imagine, what if California did that?” These days, the couple enjoys the satisfaction volunteer work brings. “You get to my age and you do a lot of volunteer work, which is much different from being in the competitive profit-making environment,” he said. “And it is no 9-to-5 job. When people find out you want to volunteer you won’t have trouble finding jobs,” he laughed. Like Ray, 76-year-old Joan, with her modest and low key, yet upbeat and positive demeanor, delights in the work they are doing with Garden Pathways, and The Flood helping the homeless. “It means that people will feel better about themselves, be a part of our community, be able to learn and be wonderful citizens. That is a hope of mine and Ray’s.” And although Ray has often been called “Mr. Bakersfield” by friends, Joan said her husband has never been comfortable with the moniker. “The other day someone addressed him as that and Ray said, ‘Mr. Bakersfield is dead,’” referring to his friend, the late Jim Burke. But the Dezembers’ role in the growth of Bakersfield is indisputable. Four children, 11 grandchildren and a lifetime of distinction and accomplishments behind them, Ray and Joan Dezember remain as committed to their community as they were the year they arrived. “If people don’t participate, you don’t have the community you should,” Ray said. “Life is more fun when you participate.” No question Bakersfield is all the richer for their participation.

“You get to my age and you do a lot of volunteer work, which is much different from being in the competitive profit-making environment.”

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Polga Newest exercise routine combines yoga and pole fitness


By Lisa Kimble

Photos by Casey Christie

It’s a secret pole dancers have known for ages: that behind the showmanship, there’s a great workout. But the secret’s out now as this regimen has caught the attention of the exercise world. Fitness instructor Diana Herman has introduced the practice to Bakersfield with the opening of Polga Fitness, and hopes to fuse traditional yoga and pole work and embolden women in the process. Herman’s new studio in southwest Bakersfield also offers Zumba, belly dancing, hip hop hula, and burlesque. But it is the pole fitness, or Polga, that she said she developed and specializes in that has attracted great interest. Herman, a 34-year-old certified yoga instructor, has been teaching fitness since her late teens. She says it was Jazzercise that hooked her. But eight years ago, after suffering a late-term miscarriage, she turned to yoga. “I didn’t want to stay in that dark tunnel,” she said. Today she credits her own personal fitness evolution with helping her raise her autistic child. Polga and the playful manner in which it is taught may evoke images of Déjà Vu, but this is a long way from a strip club. The classes instruct women on how to build up not only their core strength and flexibility, but more importantly, Herman said, their own self-esteem. With her legs suspended from what looks like a firehouse ladder, Herman hangs upside down over a large interlocking gray mat, upbeat music blaring, while offering encouragement. Emily Mouton, 25, has been a stu78

Bakersfield Life

February 2011

Instructor Diana Herman works on some of the more complicated moves during her Polga Fitness class in her studio on Ming Avenue.

Herman shows her students, including Zina Rose, right, some enthusiasm after their workout on the pole.

dent of Herman’s Polga for nine months. “I have already lost a pant size,” she said. “This is a lot of fun and the girls are all really supportive.” The steel rod, encasing two other poles, is attached to the ceiling and floor. Herman says the key is to use the anchored pole to support one’s own body weight. “We are also teaching them how to regain their balance, which is so important to everything else that they do,” she said. Like traditional yoga, proper breathing is essential, and there is a cool-down period, though much shorter. There is no incense or chanting, but plenty of clapping and high-fiving inside the small workout area. In addition to the main prop of the pole, pillows and wide elastic bands are also used to achieve poses like the chair, the speed bump and the tuck. Herman makes it look effortless. She estimates a 90minute session will burn 800 Diana Herman to 1,500 calories. Already, she counts close to 80 students in her classes with her oldest being a 69-year-old. “Polga can be very spiritual, too,” she added. “As you look up to the pole, you are also looking up in that you have to have the heart to do it. Then think about the love you have for yourself, your family.” Diana Herman said she understands the initial impression this new form of exercise may give. “It is a stigma we are trying to fight, but we aren’t taking our clothes off. There is nothing wrong in Polga,” she said. “This is about empowerment and selfachievement through a unique way of building up body strength. “I am trying to inspire women with confidence,” Herman said. “That is what Polga is all about, a big ‘yay.’”

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If you think last December’s flooding was bad ... Historical accounts show that this winter’s rain was a drop in the bucket


By Jeff Nickell, Kern County Museum director Photos courtesy of Kern County Museum The flooding that occurred in December left Bakersfield city and Kern County workers scrambling to make sure our streets were not flooded and homes were saved. I can say firsthand that crews in my neighborhood worked hard to rid the roads of the water that built up from our record rains. I can also say that my son and daughter enjoyed the flooding: my son riding his bike in it and my daughter having her

The flood of 1914 took place in late January.

mother take a picture of her sitting in the middle of the flooded roadway (they are both high-schoolers and, yes, they both showered afterward). And I must admit to having fun driving my truck through the two- or three-foot waters. But what we experienced was nothing compared to the floods in 1867-68; Feb. 10, 1893; and others that happened before the Isabella Dam was constructed. And, from what history shows, there were many throughout the course of time. Photographs in the museum’s collection show floods decade after decade. Even though most people think of Bakersfield as being desert-like, I think chaparral is the correct term as this area was once

marshland before the reclamations of Col. Baker, Haggin, Carr, Miller, Lux and the like. In Richard Bailey’s “Illustrated History of Bakersfield” (published in 1984 about a year after his death), he states that during the flood of 1893: “Cowboys dashed from house to house to wake citizens with cries of flood, flood, flee for your lives.” Bailey cites pioneer Rush Blodget as his source for that quote. The flood covered Chester Avenue with several feet of water and filled cellars with mud. Bailey goes on to say that, “Schoolboys let out of classes had a fine time poling rafts up and down the street never worrying about the financial loss to the merchants.”

This winter's flooding was nothing compared to the damage of the Feb. 10, 1893 flood. 80

Bakersfield Life

February 2011

Posing in floodwaters is nothing new, as seen in 1893.

But I don’t think anything can compare to the flood of 1867-68. Note that I indicate 1867 and 1868 because it began in December and lasted into the new year. The rest of what I write is mainly taken from Wallace Morgan’s “History of Kern County,” published in 1914 with a few of my comments throw in. Morgan indicates that before the rains came, the area had been in severe drought, making the trees in the mountains above the Kern River susceptible to being uprooted by torrential rains. In fact, he states that the rain “caused whole sections of wooded slopes to plunge down into the river canon.” Further he indicates, “When the impounded waters broke away they came down the rocky gorges in a churning, thundering torrent, adding to the roar of the water itself the crash and shriek of thousands on thousands of trees, sixty and a hundred feet, and up to three or four feet in diameter, tumbled end over end in narrower parts of the canon and rolling and swirling with the current in the wider reaches of the stream.” The interesting part of this flood story is that the little town of Kern Island (now Bakersfield) had no idea what was about to hit them. The rain in Kern Island had stopped for two days before the flooding occurred. As you can imagine Kern Island was not very populated at the time, so the monetary loss was not high and there were no deaths. But Morgan does say that when the flooding was over, trees had made their way down a mile-wide path past old Kernville, through the canyon, past Panorama

Heights, and were spread as far as the Bellevue Ranch (near the location of Cal State Bakersfield) and the Barnes settlement, 10 miles from the town site. The story goes that wood from the flood was used to build the Barnes log cabin at the Kern County Museum. Morgan’s writings also show a bit of a humorous, albeit scary, story. When the floods first reached Kern Island, Richard Hudnut, who had an adobe house near 24th and G streets, was awakened by the noise of the water. He went outside to investigate and ended up climbing a tree to flee the flood and yelled toward the house to warn his bride and sister-in-law. They were trapped in the house and climbed on the bed, but the roof kept coming closer to them … in part because of the rising water and also the fact the adobe was deteriorating. The sisters realized they had to get out and waded into the floodwater and then “scrambled onto the roof ” (a ready-made raft). All three stayed put until they were rescued by men who picked them up in a boat. Col. Baker decided to make the most of the trees the flood had delivered and built a mill to process lumber — always the businessman was our city’s namesake. I will end with this quote from Wallace Morgan: “Those who have seen the steep, narrow rock-walled gorge through which the Kern River emerges from the mountains … can form some guess of their own concerning the steady, increasing, rolling thunder with which the coming flood heralded it approach on the sleeping citizens of infant Bakersfield.” www.BakersfieldLife.com81


The Peak is calling China Peak resort is back in style!


Story and photos by Lois Henry

The Peak is back! I’m talking about China Peak, the ski resort “in the middle of nowhere” just outside of Fresno. Not only is the original name back, the resort is also under new ownership, and the skiing is better than ever this season. If you’re like me and grew up skiing China Peak, the corporate sounding “Sierra Summit” never seemed to fit right, even after 27 years. New owner Tim Cohee, who bought the resort last year, agreed, and changing the name back to China Peak was one of his first command decisions. Ironically, he was a driving force in naming it Sierra Summit back when he worked for former owner Snow Summit in the early ’80s. They had hoped the name would lure Southern California skiers, more familiar with Snow Summit near Big Bear Lake, to the central Sierra resort. It didn’t work, and Cohee readily admits the name change was a mistake as was overlooking the resort’s most obvious markets — Fresno and Bakers-


Bakersfield Life

February 2011

Approaching the top of the lift on Chair No. 1 on a brilliant December day.

field. Yes, Bakersfield. “Bakersfield is huge for us,” he said. Indeed. On a recent pre-Christmas visit, one of the first people I ran into at the top of a lift was from Bakersfield. Hey, we get around, you know? Fresno is, of course, the resort’s main market but Cohee said Bakersfield is a major secondary target. (In other words, they want us!) And they know we have options (Mammoth, four and a half hours away, for hard-core skiers and Alta Sierra, just one and a half hours away for beginners). So they’re looking for ways to make sure China Peak (about three hours away) is the top choice for Bakersfield skiers and snowboarders. It’s more challenging than Alta Sierra. And it’s closer, less expensive and way less windy than Mammoth, Cohee noted. But the biggest thing China Peak has going for it is variety, he said. “There’s nothing this mountain lacks.” If your group’s skill levels range from never-saw-a-snowflake to never-saw-a-jump-I-wouldn’t-try, China Peak has a run for that. Rather “shred the gnar” than stem Christie? China Peak has got a great new run for that as well. Tucked away in a corner of the resort was a little used T-bar on a wide, isolated slope called Firebowl. It sat unused for many years even though every expert who ever saw it proclaimed it was the absolute perfect spot for a snowboard park. Oh yeah, Cohee, thought, it’s more than perfect. He had the boarding structures taken out of their old spot — an area where several runs converge creating what I always thought Continued on page 84

The new sign at the entrance of China Peak Mountain Resort. The name was changed back to China Peak in 2010 after 27 years as Sierra Summit.

Jenny Cameron 661-703-6386

Lynne Wright 661-477-8468 DRE #01328107

Visit online at DRE #01886687 www.BakersfieldLife.com83

Continued from page 83

was a dangerous mix — and put them in Firebowl, where he built a premier terrain park with boxes, rails, hips, spines and a hikeable jib. (If you know what any of those terms mean. then Firebowl is the place for you!) For boarders just starting out, they’ve built a less-challenging area called the Burton Progression Park, which gives beginners smaller jumps to start with and progresses to the harder stuff. For the truly green — especially little kids — there’s a new learner’s hill with a “moving carpet” to help you to the top. It’s on the side of the resort closest to the main parking lots. That’s also where the Mainstream Lodge is and, in another smart move, Cohee used about a quarter of that space to set up another rental shop. Now families don’t have to schlep all the way from the parking lot to the day lodge for rentals then back again to the learner’s hill. The hotel, bar and restaurant have all been revamped and the menu, while not exotic, has something for everyone. Lots of View of a wintry Huntington Lake from the top of Chair No. 1 on China Peak pastas, chicken, steak and salmon. Mountain Resort.


Bakersfield Life

February 2011

“There's nothing this mountain lacks,” owner Tim Cohee said of the resort.

China Peak Mountain Resort Website: Get detailed information about prices, conditions and more at Tickets: $59 for all day adult ($62 on holidays). They also have info on deals and discounts online. Rentals: Cost varies depending on how much equipment you need, for everything, it’s $37 for all day. Lodging: You can stay at the China Peak Inn for anywhere from $99 a night (economy nonholiday) to $499 (family suite nonholiday). Prices often include either free lift tickets or coupons for free food, so be sure to ask. The bus: China Peak offers bus services to bring skiers up from Fresno on the weekends. Cost is $25, or you can get a bus and lift ticket for $65. Call 559449-7535 more information and reservations.

“We wanted to do food that we knew we could do really well,” Cohee said. If skiing isn’t your thing, what about sitting in the fresh mountain air enjoying music? That’s right, for the first time ever, China Peak will be open during summer and besides mountain biking, hiking and weddings, they’ll also offer concerts. The first one will be July 2 with Elvin Bishop. For a resort “in the middle of nowhere” China Peak is definitely the place to be. www.BakersfieldLife.com85

PRODUCTS AROUND TOWN Say it with pottery!

This year, try painting a personalized gift to melt the heart of your loved one! Color Me Mine has the perfect item for your spouse or sweetie, mom or dad, teachers or co-workers. And if you’re looking for something different to do on Valentine’s Day, consider “Paint by Candlelight!” They are turning down the lights and turning up the romance for an extra special Valentine’s Date Night on Feb. 14. Color Me Mine at The Marketplace, 9000 Ming Ave., 664-7366, bakersfield.

Valentine’s Day gift ideas

What something special for the lady in your life? Divaz Desirez can help you select the perfect gift to show her how much you care. Our associates can help you choose a complete outfit, handbag, pair of shoes, jewelry, or one of our signature lotions and creams that is sure to put a smile on her face. If you’re not sure of what to get her, a Divaz Desirez gift certificate will certainly light up her Valentine’s Day. Stop by and see us at 4560 Coffee Road (Coffee and Hageman in the Vons center) 679-7278.

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Petunia Pickle Bottom Sashay Satchel

The Sashay Satchel diaper bag is the newest revelation from Petunia Pickle Bottom. This lightweight satchel-style bag defines modern style moving effortlessly from satchel to backpack, and from diaper bag to handbag. The Sashay Satchel features clever pockets for storage when straps are not in use, including a large front magazine and cell phone pocket, four bottle pockets, a zipper pouch and key clip. Made from certified organic cotton, this earth-friendly diaper bag includes a removable, wipeable changing pad and PPB-monogrammed wipes case. Don’t miss the splendor and style of the Sashay Satchel from Petunia Pickle Bottom available at JM’s Just for Children, 930 Wible Road in Bakersfield.

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Waxing Poetic has something special for your valentine!

The status stamp for your valentine is a charming rubber stamp replica cast in brass and sterling silver with four adorable sayings to announce her status to the world: “Sweet,” “Loved,” “4Ever” and “Taken.” Another compliment to your loved one is an antique brass charm with delicate script initials cast in brass and set in a sterling bezel ($48 to $60). We have a wide variety of gifts for your valentine, male or female! Fashionista, 2007 H St., 327-4466.


Handmade English toffee

Antonette and Diane started out making Aunt Mae’s fine handmade English toffee for close family and friends, and once friends tried it they were hooked. The special combination of ingredients and the cooking process results in a rich candy that is mouth-watering, delectable and crunchy. This delicious English toffee, available from October to May, can be found at Luigi’s, Flourishing Art, Olcott’s and Sweet Surrender in Bakersfield. Call 725-5200 or visit for direct orders, other locations and information. Gorgeous gift boxes are available in various sizes.

Aunt Mae’s Sweet Tooth


Bakersfield Life

Show your pup some love

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Give your special pooch some extra love this holiday! Dress them in an adorable Valentine-themed sweater and let them enjoy a special dog-friendly cookie, too! Biscuit Boutique & Doggy Spa carries a wide variety of items for your dog, large or small. The experts at Biscuit are also ready to pamper your pooch with a special spa day! Call for more information. Biscuit Boutique & Doggy Spa, 1617 19th St., 321-9602,

Biscuit Boutique & Doggy Spa February 2011

Sweets for your sweetie!

Remember your sweetheart or friends by treating your loved one to a delicious gift from Lil B’s Sweet Tooth. Customize a gift basket for that someone special by selecting from a variety of Valentine’s candies and gifts. From award-winning heartshaped gourmet chocolates to dazzling chocolate roses, it‘s a very tasty way to show them just how much they mean to you. Lil B's Sweet Tooth at The Marketplace, 9000 Ming Ave., Suite H4, 665-8500.

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Prime Time Face and Eyelid Prime Seal: The perfect Valentine's Day gift

Use Prime Time for Eyes, which was designed for bareMinerals Eyecolor and extends wear and prevents creasing. Enlarged pores? Uneven texture and flaky dryness? Prime Time Foundation Primer prepares your skin for bareMinerals SPF 15 Foundation. Apply it first for a smooth complexion. The only place to shop for all bareMinerals products is at Lashes and Mustaches in the Stockdale Tower, 5060 California Ave #100. 836-9775.

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The Laurel Burch Collection

The Laurel Burch Collection of artistic handbags and totes, from Sun N Sand, are extremely versatile. All are original art from the world-famous artist Laurel Burch and printed on durable canvas. Guarantee Shoe Center has a great selection.

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Holiday Giving Event for Garden Pathways Dec. 11, 2010 Held at the home of Janis Varner Photos by Jan St. Pierre View these photos and more online at

Janis Varner and Karen Goh

Deborah Reed and Carole Cohen

Patti Brokken and Betty Herndon

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Lisa Mendez and Melinda Jacobs

Virginia Guerrero and Madelaine Gifford

Sheila Kaye and Carmen Garcia

Nimisha Amin, MD, FAAP Agatha Guidace, Janet Rickard and Leona Guidace 88

Bakersfield Life

February 2011

Bakersfield Art Association meeting Dec. 14, 2010 Held at The Art Center Photos by José Treviño View these photos and more online at

Bakersfield Art Association members

Karen King

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Tails of Bakersfield “Pet Idol” winners View these photos and more online at

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Bakersfield Life

February 2011


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Latina Leaders of Kern County Holiday Social Dec. 21, 2010 Held at the home of Wendy Avila Photos by John Reyes View these photos and more online at

Yannie Perez and Paula De La Riva

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Buyers Sellers Rentals


nic Orga e e c n r a ne Emi Skin C

(661) 873-4001

Tr Gard app Pri en C vate andl es

1910 19th Street #13 • Full Service Spa/Salon 92

Bakersfield Life

Kathryn Lomely, Wendy Avila and Sandra Lara

February 2011

The St. Clair Family of businesses have been providing real estate services to Bakersfield residents for over 40 years. The St. Clair Family Business maintain the highest level of service and quality of living for their residents and highest level of service to their customers. For information on Rentals, Buying or Selling, call St. Clair Realty today @ 661) 834-4202

Rio Bravo Rumble Jan. 15, 2011 Held at Rio Bravo Ranch Photos by John Harte View these photos and more online at

Mikali Chapa, Jenny Chapa, Alex Chapa, Austin Burchett and Tina Chapa

Ivan Robles, David Rous and John Parson

Joe Covington and Adam Hensley

Chelsea Hopkins, Patty Blackburn and Jimmie Blackburn

Angela Chavez, Hillary Blackburn and Greg Cohen

Zac Griffin and Enrique Trujillo

Curt and Martha Van Inwegen

Daryl Moore, Nitika Dhamankar, Stephen Christanto and Cindy Preciado

Brian Monroe, Diana Mestmaker, Becky Hall and Tracie Monroe 94

Bakersfield Life

February 2011

David Luna (front), Bree Gage, Cameron Gage, Melissa Varela, Candice Harvick, Brianna Nusbaun, Kim Tiner and Kelly Hammett

Special Appreciation Staff Month Top Seller of HUD homes in Bakersfield CA Since 1990 If you qualify: 1% down payment HUD pays closing costs Ask about additional Down Payment Assistance Programs!

We specialize in short sales and foreclosures.

Ron Lutz

Social Service Director “Our Captain” For his incredible dedication, commitment, and loyalty.

Call “People Realty” for a FREE Pre-qualification showing 7 days a week! Come by every Friday for a free HUD list at 3861 Stockdale Hwy!

Lesley Sharp For her continuous excellence and leadership.

Call 322-4085 to book a tour and meet our entire team of amazing staff.

Wellness Health Day Program (ADHC) for Adults* with Special Needs (*Adult is 18 and over)

Some of many services include: • • • • • • • • •

Medical Monitoring Occupational and Physical Therapy Weight loss Life Skill Training ADL Training Nutritional Education Fun social activities Community Integration Program Volunteer Program For More Information Visit our website 661-322-4085 P 323-1059 F 824 18th Street ,Bakersfield, CA 93301 Funded by Medi-Cal, Kern Regional Center or Private Pay

8200 Stockdale (Stockdale & Gosford) 834-7467


Children Joining Children for Success Dec. 11, 2010 Held at Rabobank Arena Photos by John Reyes View these photos and more online at

Caroline Wilson and Dena Brashear

Darlene Beals and Carla Frost

Denise Barnes, Linda Quinones Vaughan and Sonia Vera

Risto Rubio, Rachel Gonzales and Andrae Gonzales

Lizette Bazan and Lileanna Lopez

Judge Louie Vega, Danielle Smith and H.A. Sala

Little Life Preschool New Life Christian School • 15 students to a classroom promotes plenty of hands-on application Bronze

Choose from:


New vanity, vanity light, faucet & paint.





Bronze package, plus re-tile tub surround Silver package, plus floor tile & new toilet



Gold package, plus new bathtub

LK Home Improvements (661)345-4047


Bakersfield Life

February 2011

Lic. 945537

• Embracing diversity with an emphasis on individual attention • Committed to academic, physical, moral and spiritual development For more information please call: 831-6262 Preschool Director: Tomi Baze ~ 2 years-Pre K School Administrator: Ginger Martinez ~ K-8th

4201 Stine Road

on the corner of Stine Road & White Lane

WE’RE LOOKING FOR YOU. E AVEDA Salon| Spa will open at The Shops at Riverwalk Spring 2011. We are currently recruiting for qualified hairstylists, colorists, barbers, shampoo assistants, estheticians, massage therapists, nail technicians, salon and spa supervisors, sales manager and associates, accounting and inventory clerks, booking agents, and marketing assistants. Those interested in applying should attend the E AVEDA Salon| Spa JOB FAIR on Feb. 3rd from 10am to 6pm at 10930 Stockdale Hwy. Bring your resume and portfolio. First round interviews will be conducted on-site. E AVEDA Salon| Spa offers a competitive wage, bonus, and great benefits. We are an equal opportunity employer M/F/D/V. For more information or to submit a resume, please visit It’s modern. It’s chic. It’s redefining beauty. And, it’s waiting for you.




Ed Shuler Ed Shuler is a retired senior executive of the Getty Oil Company (now Chevron), a former president of the downtown Rotary Club of Bakersfield, and a longtime member of downtown First Presbyterian Church who has spent 26 years on the board of directors of Memorial Hospital. Best Rotarian story: I was president of Rotary in 1978 to 1979. We met at Freddie's on the Hill. There were only five clubs in Bakersfield at that time, and we joined together in bringing Christina Crawford (author of “Mommie Dearest”) to Bakersfield as our special speaker. Christina worked in PR for Getty Oil at that time, and had interviewed me for an article later included in our company magazine.

Photo by Felix Adamo

Oil fields can be dangerous; what was your most difficult and dangerous job? In 1968, we experienced a major gas well blowout in a field called Aliso Canyon on the Porter Ranch in L.A. County. I was district production manager at that time and was responsible for getting the fire out and the well under control. We called the Red Adair Company and, as a result, I got very well-acquainted with Boots and Coots (later involved in controlling the sabotaged oil wells in Kuwait during Desert Storm). We did bring the well under control. Something you wish you knew at 27 that you now know at 87: I thought I knew it all at age 27. At age 23, I was the executive officer of a Minesweeper in WW2 and the next year, as a civilian, a member of the U.S-sponsored Bikini Scientific Resurvey in 1947. I learned a lot more about life after that. What is your greatest treasure? My family without a doubt. Your philosophy in life: I'm not sure I have a philosophy. It is probably something like, recognize your opportunities when they occur and do something about them. And supporting that, a Bible verse that has stood me in good stead: “Trust in the Lord with all thy heart and lean not on thy own under98

Bakersfield Life

February 2011

standing. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.” How has faith shaped your life? Faith in the Lord is probably my No. 1 asset. God has been the center of my family from its very beginning, and I would not have changed a thing. My four kids would wholeheartedly agree. What is your fondest memory of

living in Bakersfield? I was transferred to Bakersfield in 1973 as vice president and general manager of Getty’s Western Oil and Gas Division. I knew a lot of people here, but at the time, did not consider it a great place to live. After living here almost nine years, that opinion changed. When I retired in 1984, we bought our house back and moved back to Bakersfield, because that’s where our friends were. That hasn't changed.

Say Aaaaahhhhhhhh.


Good news for the kids of Bakersfield—You’re going to be OK. Now that the brand new Children’s Medical Center at Bakersfield Memorial Hospital is open, Kern County kids can get state-of-the-art pediatric care close to home—and their parents can breathe a sigh of relief. We provide a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for newborns and preemies. We have specially trained pediatricians here 24/7, along with compassionate nurses and staff to care for kids. This summer, we’ll open the only Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU)

for infants, youngsters and older children in the area. So, whether it’s simple or more serious, with Memorial’s new Children’s Medical Center you can rest assured…your kids are going to be OK. PEDIATRIC RESOURCE GUIDE P For a free 16 page guide on F kkids health and wellness, call: 1-877-854-4BMH 1 (1-877-854-4264). (1

Memorial Physician Referral & Resource Line 1-877-854-4BMH Become a fan on Facebook Health Information Library: Access our free health information library at or You’ll find hundreds of health topics of interest to read about.

PRE-REGISTER TODAY! Save time and be better prepared for an emergency or hospitalization by pre-registering your child at or call (661) 327-4647 ext 4866.

420 34th Street Bakersfield, CA 93301

Save Your Tax Money NOW!

it’s back!

Zero due at $ lease signing


down payment




security deposit


first-month payment



due at lease signing

Lease the New 2010 Fit 5sp AT

Lease the New 2011 Pilot LX 5sp AT 2WD

Lease the New 2010 Accord Crosstour 2WD EX V6








35 month lease

FEATURED SPECIAL LEASE: Closed end lease for 2010 Fit 5 Speed Automatic (GE8H2AEW) available from 01/05/2011 through 02/28/2011, to well-qualified lessees approved by Honda Financial Services. Not all lessees wil qualify. Higher lease rates apply for lessees with lower credit ratings. MSRP $16,450.00 (includes destination, excludes tax, license, title fees, registration, documentation fees, options, insurance and the like). Actual net capitalized cost $16,151.90. Net capitalized cost includes $595 acquisition fee. Dealer contribution may vary and could affect actual lease payment. Total monthly payments $6,650.00. Option to purchase at lease end $9,376.50. Must take new retail delivery on vehicle from dealer stock by 02/28/2011. Lessee responsible for maintenance, excessive wear/tear and 15¢/mile over 12,000 miles/year for vehicles with MSRP less than $30,000, and 20¢/mile over 12,000 miles/year for vehicles with MSRP of $30,000 or more. See your Honda dealer for complete details.







35 month lease

FEATURED SPECIAL LEASE: Closed end lease for 2011 Pilot 5 Speed Automatic 2WD LX (YF3H2BEW) available from 01/05/2011 through 02/28/2011, to well-qualified lessees approved by Honda Financial Services. Not all lessees wil qualify. Higher lease rates apply for lessees with lower credit ratings. MSRP $28,825.00 (includes destination, excludes tax, license, title fees, registration, documentation fees, options, insurance and the like). Actual net capitalized cost $28,214.57. Net capitalized cost includes $595 acquisition fee. Dealer contribution may vary and could affect actual lease payment. Total monthly payments $13,300.00. Option to purchase at lease end $16,718.50. Must take new retail delivery on vehicle from dealer stock by 02/28/2011. Lessee responsible for maintenance, excessive wear/tear and 15¢/mile over 12,000 miles/year for vehicles with MSRP less than $30,000, and 20¢/mile over 12,000 miles/year for vehicles with MSRP of $30,000 or more. See your Honda dealer for complete details.

4500 Wible Road

834-6632 Se Habla Español

Offers valid from 1/5/2011 through 2/28/2011.

35 month lease

FEATURED SPECIAL LEASE: Closed end lease for 2010 Accord Crosstour 5 Speed Automatic 2WD EX V-6 (TF1H3AJW) available from 01/05/2011 through 02/28/2011, to well-qualified lessees approved by Honda Financial Services. Not all lessees wil qualify. Higher lease rates apply for lessees with lower credit ratings. MSRP $30,450.00 (includes destination, excludes tax, license, title fees, registration, documentation fees, options, insurance and the like). Actual net capitalized cost $27,691.54. Net capitalized cost includes $595 acquisition fee. Dealer contribution may vary and could affect actual lease payment. Total monthly payments $11,200.00. Option to purchase at lease end $16,747.50. Must take new retail delivery on vehicle from dealer stock by 02/28/2011. Lessee responsible for maintenance, excessive wear/tear and 15¢/mile over 12,000 miles/year for vehicles with MSRP less than $30,000, and 20¢/mile over 12,000 miles/year for vehicles with MSRP of $30,000 or more. See your Honda dealer for complete details.

at the Entrance to Bakersfield Automall



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Bakersfield Life Magazine February 2011