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January 2020


Meet some of Bakersfield's

TOP DOCTORS Dr. Ravi Patel of Comprehensive Blood & Cancer Center is helping lead the way to better health and wellness for Bakersfield residents. Patel was voted “Best Specialty Doctor” in the 2019 Best Of Readers’ Choice Poll.

Fitness journey

Undergoing a lifestyle change for better health

Best year ever! Local influencers make their mark $3.95

How to make 2020 a year based on selflove, self-respect and positive thinking

Dining with Dre

Unwraps The Tasty Lunchbox


straight year selection to the Southern California Super Lawyers Rising Star list (top 2½% of lawyers in California) and is recognized as one of Southern California’s “Top Attorneys” as published in Los Angeles Magazine. He is honored to be designated an “ACS-CHAL Forensic Lawyer-Scientist” by the American Chemical Society having obtained the highest student score on the examination among all California lawyers. PRIOR TO BEING RECOGNIZED as California’s Top Lawyer-Scientist, Mr. Brehmer received specialized training and further education in standardized field sobriety testing; gas chromatography; solid drug dose analysis, DNA, airway gas exchange, and is the only Kern County Defense attorney to be trained in drug recognition examinations. He is routinely asked to consult with both private and public attorneys throughout the country on issues of toxicology and pharmacology.



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


CO-AUTHOR OF SIX BOOKS on toxicology related subjects, in addition to other publications and those in process Mr. Brehmer has authored chapters about forensic science in criminal cases, search and seizure, pharmacology, drug detection limits, and discovery in several Aspatore/ Thomson Reuters books. He is a contributing author on a blood alcohol analysis for West publishers, the co-author of the feature article for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers publication, the Champion, and is co-editor/author of Medicolegal Aspects of Marijuana, 2015 California edition by Lawyers and Judges Publishing. AS A DIRECTOR AND COMMITTEE CHAIR for the national DUI Defense Lawyers Association and as an instructor at Trial Skills University Mr. Brehmer is a firm believer that a rising tide lifts all boats. It is for this reason that he dedicates much of his time to help train other lawyers in the scientific aspect of criminal defense to fight that only valid science is presented in American jurispruidence. MR. BREHMER IS HONORED TO have presented multiple times to the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, the American Chemical Society, state and local public defender associations across the country, state defense bar conferences, law schools, and others associated with the forensic and legal community. Mr. Brehmer was recently selected to moderate the final jurisprudence session of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences annual meeting in Florida. 1200 TRUXTUN AVENUE, SUITE 120 BAKERSFIELD, CA 93301 (661) 447-4384


I’m one of those people you hear say, “I’ve never been sick a day in my life.” But when a friend told me about the Heart Health Checkup at the Bakersfield Heart Hospital Women’s Heart Center, I gave it a try. Am I glad I did! I learned a lot about my risk factors for heart disease and how simple changes in my lifestyle could help me avoid a heart attack. Don’t wait like I did, get a Heart Health Checkup at the Bakersfield Heart Hospital Women’s Heart Center today.


Heart Health $ Checkup


Not covered by most insurance plans.


- Screenings - Evaluation - Personalized Report




January 2020

Bakersfield’s Premier City Magazine


Meet some of Bakersfield's

TOP DOCTORS Dr. Ravi Patel of Comprehensive Blood & Cancer Center is helping lead the way to better health and wellness for Bakersfield residents. Patel was voted “Best Specialty Doctor” in the 2019 Best Of Readers’ Choice Poll.

Fitness journey

January 2020 / Vol. 14 / Issue 4 Bakersfield Life™ Magazine is published by The Bakersfield Californian

Undergoing a lifestyle change for better health

Best year ever!

How to make 2020 a year based on selflove, self-respect and positive thinking

Local influencers make their mark $3.95

General Manager Cliff Chandler Editor

Dining with Dre

Unwraps The Tasty Lunchbox

Mark Nessia

On the Cover

Specialty Publications Designer Julie Mana-ay Perez

Dr. Ravi Patel of Comprehensive Blood & Cancer Center is helping lead the way to better health and wellness for Bakersfield residents. Patel was voted “Best Specialty Doctor” in the 2019 Best Of Readers’ Choice Poll. — Photo courtesy of CBCC

Contributing Copyeditor Maude Campbell Photography Nicole Bolinger, Jason Gutierrez, Nina Ha, Alex Horvath, Amber Kelly, Julie Mana-ay Perez, EJ Medellin, Mark Nessia, Greg Nichols, Carla Rivas, Jocelyn Sandusky, Rod

Coming up next …



Contributing Writers

Advertise, contact Cliff Chandler at or 395-7521.

Katie Cornford, Anna Marie Frank, Alex Garzaro, Michelle Hardt, Lisa Kimble, Stephen Lynch, Melissa Peaker-Whitten, Julie Plata, Andrea Saavedra, Rudy Valdivia

Subscribe to

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

Partner with us

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

Connect with us – Instagram/bakersfield_life


Bakersfield Life Magazine

January 2020

SHARES What are your go-to healthy activities? “A quick jog in the morning or turning up Alexa to rock out to a Taylor Swift song while making dinner. I also enjoy a nice brisk walk in the evenings to clear my head and have some ‘me’ time.” — Anna Marie Frank, contributing writer “I love to hike, ride my horses and do spin.” — Michelle Lanham, advertising sales executive “My parents go on a postprandial barefoot walk in the park every day. Our family joins in, although we keep our shoes on. It’s a fun way to build memories and stay healthy!” — Nina Ha, contributing writer “Tennis, kayaking and walking, in that order!” — Lisa Kimble, contributing writer “Cycling gets the endorphins flowing, while yoga helps me recover and prepare for the next ride.” — Mark Nessia, editor “It’s important that I always get my steps in any day of the week, so if I’m not exercising, I usually go out for walks.” – Julie Mana-ay Perez, specialty publications designer “As a busy college student, my health isn’t always at the top of my priority list. Recently, I have been trying yoga to incorporate exercise, relaxation and mindfulness into my daily routine.” — Jocelyn Sandusky, contributing writer

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

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



The world-renowned physicians and research scientists at Southern California Eye Institute and Fritch Eye Care are dedicated to providing you and your family with the highest quality of eye care services. Our work is both evolutionary — building on discoveries that came before — and revolutionary — making quantum leaps that ignite breakthrough solutions. The result: new progress, new possibilities and new hope. We employ a full range of the state-of-the-art technologies, including lasers, novel imaging devices, minimally invasive and complex surgical techniques- all enabling us to develop individualized treatment plans to best nurture the sight of our patients.



• Cataracts

• Herpes zoster

• Blepharitis

• Corneal diseases • Chalazion

• Conjunctivitis (pink eye) • Diabetic retinopathy

• Eyelid conditions (dry eye)

• Glaucoma

• Macular degeneration

• Neurologic eye diseases • Pterygium

• Retinal detachment/ retinal diseases


Founding Director, Glaucoma Specialist Alena Reznik, MD Glaucoma Specialist Jacob Reznik, MD Comprehensive, Cataract and Refractive Surgery Specialist All physicians are Johns Hopkins-trained, performed subspecialty fellowships, and are Diplomates of the American Board of Ophthalmology.

8501 Brimhall Road, Suite 401-2, Bakersfield, CA 93312





59 52 | Doctor Profiles Finding the right doctor is essential to our health. The profiles featured will help you find the right doctor for your needs.


Bakersfield Life Magazine

January 2020

59 | Health is a Journey, Not a Destination Bakersfield Life Magazine team member Julie Mana-ay Perez undergoes a lifestyle change in pursuit of better health.




30 Up Front

8 Editor’s Note 9 The Big Picture 10 What’s Happening 12 On the Web 14 Calendar

Eat & Drink

20 40

18 Dining with Dre 20 Bites 24 Where We’re Eating 25 Best Thing We Ate This Month


28 Money Matters 30 Pastimes 32 Love & Life 33 Home & Garden 34 The Marketplace

Go & Do

38 Entertainment 39 Trip Planner 40 Arts & Culture 42 Out & About

Healthy Living

46 Let’s Get Physical 47 Peace of Mind 48 Feature

People & Community 62 Bakersfield Matters 64 Study Hall 66 Personality 68 History 70 All-Star Roundup 72 SNAP! 78 Last Word




FIND YOUR HAPPY PLACE I get a lot of mixed reactions when I tell people how much I like to ride my bike. Saying I like to ride my bike is an understatement, I’ll admit, considering I logged 286 hours, 38 minutes, in the saddle last year, totaling 4,312 miles and 119,058 feet of climbing over the course of 156 rides. Call me biased, but I think cycling is amazing. It’s something that keeps you active and healthy that you can keep doing into your elderly years because of its low-impact nature. As wonderful as that is, that’s not the main reason I ride as much as I do. I ride because it makes me happy — simple as that. It’s my happy place. Many worries and frustrations have been pedaled away throughout the course of the year, whether it be an organized event like the Tehachapi Gran Fondo, a Saturday outing with the Kern Wheelmen recreational group or going on a leisurely ride with Tina Louise on my back (cycling makes her happy, too). We should all make time to do the things that bring us joy. As busy as our lives can be, I’m sure we can carve out some time to do something that we naturally enjoy. It’s easy to feel inadequate in today’s social media age, with endless feeds showcasing people living their best lives. But we shouldn’t compare our lives to the digital highlight reels of others. Happiness is letting go of what you think life is supposed to look like and celebrating it for what it is. To be content with everything you have rather than yearning for what is out of reach. That is when everything falls perfectly into place. Happiness comes as a result of our own actions — a direct reflection of how we view the world around us. Are our actions dictated by our own desires or to gain the approval of others? Happiness is not striving for perfection, but rather finding beauty in the imperfections, for there can be no happiness without a little bit of sadness. It’s about striving to be better than your previous self, not someone else. What we do should be in pursuit of making ourselves and those we care about happy, for happiness is infectious and we should spread it to as many


Bakersfield Life Magazine

January 2020

people as we can. We all deserve to be happy, so let’s devote more time during the new decade in our happy place with the people we want to be happy with. Most importantly, don’t forget to enjoy being in the moment. Because happiness is found in the experiences that can’t be put into words or captured in a photo.

Mark Nessia Editor 661-395-7383

THE 661

T h e B i g P i c t u re / W h a t ’s H a p p e n i n g / O n t h e We b / C a l e n d a r


Ali Torkaman and his horse Amori rest and enjoy the green grass after climbing the Panorama Vista Preserve on their exercise ride on a Monday morning.



THE 661

What’s Happening

RIO BRAVO RUMBLE HOSTED BY GLINN & GIORDANO PHYSICAL THERAPY It’s time to lace up your shoes for the 2020 Rio Bravo Rumble on Saturday, Jan. 18. The races are set to begin at 9 a.m. at Rio Bravo Ranch, 15701 Highway 178. For 17 years running, Glinn & Giordano Physical Therapy have held this event benefiting Bike Bakersfield, their community advocate for active transportation. The race will hold a 5K and 10K race for $40. Participants 18 and under are $20. Timing chips and bibs will be distributed along with T-shirts on first-come, first-served basis. For more information on the race, visit

ERIK GRIFFIN AT TEMBLOR BREWING WEDDINGS 2020: A BRIDAL SHOW The Kern County Bridal Association presents Weddings 2020 at the Kern County Fairgrounds on Sunday, Jan. 26, at 11:30 a.m. This wedding expo will feature local wedding professionals, vendors, fashion shows, prizes and giveaways up to $1,000. The event connects brides to wedding professionals while taking advantage of discounts during the show. Admission to attend varies from $15 to $45. For more information, visit


Bakersfield Life Magazine

January 2020

American actor, comedian, writer and podcaster Erik Griffin comes to Bakersfield on Saturday, Jan. 18, hosted at Temblor Brewing Company. Griffin is best known for his work as the mustachioed Montez Walker on Comedy Central’s “Workaholics,” as well as being featured in Netflix’s “Murder Mystery” movie alongside Adam Sandler. You can find Griffin performing his standup across the world, but he's seen frequently at The Comedy Store in Los Angeles. Doors are set to open at 7 p.m. and the show begins at 8 p.m. Admission is $20-$40. For more information on ticket pricing, go to www.

WEST COAST STREET FOOD & CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL West Coast Street Food & Craft Beer Festival comes to Bakersfield to host its event on Saturday, Jan. 18, at Stramler Park. The event will begin at 1 p.m., rain or shine. The event will be filled with street food vendors, food trucks and breweries from all over the country. A live music performance by 90s Nation will be in attendance, alongside boutique vendors, art and games. This is a 21-and-over event. Admission for entry is between $10-$69. For more information, visit www.

THE HOUSING AND OPPORTUNITY FOUNDATION OF KERN HOSTS ANNUAL FUNDRAISER The Housing and Opportunity Foundation of Kern presents its eighth annual “A Night at the Oscars: Dreaming Beyond the Stars Gala.” The event will be on Friday, Jan. 31, at the Padre Hotel and will begin at 7 p.m. The event benefits low-income families in Kern County in gaining financial independence and self-sufficiency. The Housing and Opportunity Foundation of Kern helps people by providing the resources, support and environment they need to become independent members of society. With “Oscar night” as its theme, the fundraiser promises gala goers a red carpet, wines and champagnes, live performers, silent auctions, raffle prizes and dancing. Tickets for admission is $100. For more information, go to www.


THE 661

On the Web @BakersfieldLifeMagazine



We asked, you answered on social media! Make sure to follow us to participate in our reader callouts for a chance to win prizes and be featured in the magazine!

Dean Mick Frein I want to work

on my health. I want to get back to a healthy self. Eat healthier, get down to a healthy weight. I have 10 grandchildren as my whys.

Robin Oldemeyer Flores

Being a more patient person

Yolanda Christina Becerra My kids have learned life lessons that adults haven't yet. My goal is to create better memories that outweigh those hardships.

Becky Reagle I want to stay

healthy, happy, spend more time with family, and be open for God's direction for my life..possibly new adventures out of state... kara_heath I would like to accomplish going on a long distance road trip with my kids, take my kids camping, seeing new places and trying new things.

_shaakka_ I would like to be kind to myself.

esquibelangie I would love to start running again and do the Bakersfield Marathon.

katygirl1_4 Pass my GRE exam and enter into the MSW program at Cal State Bakersfield. Wish me luck!


Bakersfield Life Magazine

January 2020

BEST OF VOTING JAN. 20–FEB. 16 Businesses, get ready to promote! Bakersfield, get ready to vote.

The nominations are in, see who’s on the ballot this year!

For the lastest information, visit

THE 661




Powered by

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

Jan. 4

Fog Run, 8 a.m. What: Probation Auxiliary County of Kern hosts the 31st annual Fog Run to support at-risk youth and the Alliance Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault. Where: Lake Ming Admission: $30 More Info: www.runsignup. com The Playground: An Improv Workshop, 6 p.m. What: The Playground is a great way to give improv a try. The event will include a group warmup and improv games to break the ice. Must be 18 years and older to participate. Where: Empire Improv, 1220 Oak St., Suite C Admission: $10–$12 More Info: Willie Nelson & Family, 8 p.m. What: Willie Nelson is on the road again and set to perform his greatest hits and new songs to add to his classic catalog. Where: Mechanics Bank Arena, 1001 Truxtun Ave. Admission: $52–$150 More Info:

Jan. 7–8

Sesame Street Live, 6 p.m. What: The Sesame Street friends are back to make some magic for a family fun night. Where: Mechanics Bank Arena, 1001 Truxtun Ave. Admission: $18–$63 14

Bakersfield Life Magazine

Sesame Street Live is set to perform at Mechanics Bank Arena.

More Info:

Jan. 8

Advanced Line Dancing with Joel, 6 p.m. What: Take your dancing to a new level by joining some of the best line dancers in town. Where: Bakersfield Racquet Club, 1660 Pine St. Admission: $6 More Info: www.allevents. com

Jan. 11

Bakersfield Fit Fest, 10 a.m. What: Attendees will be

January 2020

able to meet fitness experts, discover health and wellness products, and services and shop for a variety of fitness-oriented retail and food products. Where: Kern County Fairgrounds, 1142 S. P St. Admission: $10 More Info:

Jan. 18

The Reunion Beatles Fantasy Tribute, 7:30 p.m. What: The ultimate tribute features soundalike artists performing songs from The Beatles. Where: The Fox Theater, 2001 H St.

George Lopez

Admission: $20–$40 More Info: www.eventbrite. com Women’s March Kern County 2020, 10 a.m. What: Join Women’s March

Kern County for their third annual march and continue to be a part of history. Where: Mill Creek Park, 500 19th St. Admission: Free More Info: Bakersfield Street Food & Craft Beer Festival, 1 p.m. What: A day of street food vendors, food trucks and craft beer. Where: Stramler Park, 4003 Chester Ave. Admission: $10–$69 More Info: www.eventbrite. com

Jan. 23

Selena De Las Flores Paint Class, 6 p.m. What: Join Margaritas and Masterpieces for a fun night celebrating Selena Quintanilla. Attendees can expect food, drinks, painting and Selena’s biggest hits. There will also be a Selena lookalike contest. All ages are welcome to attend. Where: Elements Venue & Banquet Centre, 3401 Chester Ave., Suite H Admission: $44.95–$170 More Info:

Jan. 24

2020 Kern County PointIn-Time Homeless Count, 3:30 a.m. What: Join the Kern County Homeless Collaborative for a life-changing morning of service to the community. Volunteer to conduct a real-time count of all people experiencing homelessness. Where: The Mission at Kern County, 821 E. 21st St. Admission: Free More Info: www.eventbrite. com George Lopez, 8 p.m. What: See standup comedian and actor George Lopez perform on his latest tour. Where: Mechanic Banks Arena, 1001 Truxtun Ave.

Admission: $36.50–$56.50 More Info:

Jan. 25

2020 Top 100 Wine Tasting, 12 p.m. What: Explore 100 different wines from around the world under one roof. The event includes an assortment of appetizers paired with the wine tasting. Where: Imbibe Wine & Spirits Merchant, 4140 Truxtun Ave. More Info: For ticket purchases, call 661-633-9463.

Jan. 26

Weddings 2020, 11:30 a.m. What: The Kern County Bridal Association hosts Kern County’s leading wedding and event expo for all things wedding. The event will include vendors, a fashion show and prizes. Where: Kern County Fairgrounds, 1142 S. P St. Admission: $15–$45 More Info: www.eventbrite. com

Jan. 31

5th Annual Bob Marley Birthday Celebration, 8:30 p.m. What: Celebrate Bob Marley with a night full of reggae music and various DJ performances. Where: The Well, 7401 White Lane Admission: $7–$25 More Info: www.eventbrite. com Wyonna & The Big Noise, 8 p.m. What: Wynonna & The Big Noise perform their biggest hits. Where: The Fox Theater, 2001 H St. Admission: $39–$59 More Info: www.eventbrite. com





To get started, go to:


D i n i n g w i t h D re / B i t e s / B e s t T h i n g We At e T h i s M o n t h / W h e re We ’ re E a t i n g


Capable of satisfying meat eaters and vegans alike, the purepa burger from Vida Vegan features Colombian corn dough stuffed with a Beyond Beef patty, fried plantains, garlic aioli, pickled cabbage and avocado. Find out where else the BLife staff is eating on Page 24.



E AT & D R I N K

Dining with Dre

Shrimp burrito bowl


Happy 2020 Bakersfield! It’s a new decade and we’re all getting back into the swing of things while working on our resolutions for the new year. As some of you may know, I received a promotion last month, which will make 2020 the best, yet probably my most hectic, year ever! I was promoted to the position of 18

Bakersfield Life Magazine

January 2020

mommy on Dec. 11 as I gave birth to my beautiful daughter, Aria. As all you moms and dads out there know, as rewarding and wonderful life is with a newborn, when it comes to, well, surviving, having a home-cooked meal becomes a thing of the past. Takeout, Lean Cuisines and Uber Eats were my best friends and always kept me fed in those first initial sleepless weeks. I knew there was a problem when

the Uber delivery person knew me and my husband by name. That’s when I decided it was time to get serious about some meal prep assistance that supported all of my New Year’s resolutions of getting fit, staying healthy and being the best mommy I could be. I wanted something to help my husband and I jump back on the wagon and not get off. After a quick search on Googled and Instagram, I PHOTOS BY MARK NESSIA

Left: Tasty cobb salad Below: Granola bites

found a few places here in town that help so many people maintain healthy lifestyles without compromising their schedules. After reviewing pricing, convenience and menus, the meal prep service that I chose to order from was The Tasty Lunchbox. The Tasty Lunchbox is a locally owned meal prep service run by Holly Aguirre, a Bakersfield wife and mother whose mission is to change the misconception that healthy food can’t also be delicious! “It doesn’t have to be bland and boring,” she said. “All of my recipes are simple and full of flavor.” Holly’s services are extremely usMore Information er-friendly with The Tasty Lunchbox’s menu items range from its own website $4–$8. The Tasty Lunchbox can be followed (directly linked on Instagram @thetastylunchbox. Place from their Instaorders, view the current week’s menu or view gram account). recipes at All of the dishes she makes are original, organic, gluten-free and homemade to promote clean eating. Also, her recipes are posted along with her weekly menu for recreation at home, should you have the time. Score! Her menu consists of a variety of salads, entrees, side dishes and sweet treats. One thing I love about The Tasty Lunchbox’s menu is that it is simple and to the point. I would love to see more variety but it does take the guesswork out of it. The last thing I needed when I was ordering in between feedings and diaper changes was too many options to sort through. Less is more I always say. Though this new year will be full of new little challenges in my new role, I’m glad to know that The Tasty Lunchbox will have my back for all of my meal prep needs when I can’t get into the kitchen myself for a healthy, wholesome meal that is guilt-free. Wish me luck! I’ll know I’ll need it!

Editor’s Note Dre will return next month with an all-new episode of “Dining with Dre.” Go to to see past episodes and follow Dre’s culinary adventures on Instagram @diningwithdre_.


THINK NOODLE BAR! Call 325.1234 and ask for Nick Panici.

Voted Best Chef Preeda Piamfa

Follow Our Facebook Page

Voted Best Thai Restaurant

1534 19TH STREET • DOWNTOWN • 661-325-1234




Healthy eats Modern Grub

Grilled chicken entree Modern Grub makes meal prep fast, convenient and delicious with a rotating menu of ready-made, clean meals with no added salts, sugars or preservatives — just heat and eat. One of Modern Grub’s most popular meals is off of its “basic entree” menu. The grilled chicken entree is accompanied by brown rice, black beans and a side of salsa. The chicken is seasoned with chili powder, paprika and herb seasoning but it’s the salsa that makes


Bakersfield Life Magazine

January 2020

the perfect condiment for this meal, adding a sweet taste to the dish. This meal is well-portioned, well-seasoned and doesn’t leave you hungry. Most important of all, it’s healthy. Modern Grub 1100 Calloway Drive, Suite 100 661-695-9006


Stay Fit Meals

Big Boy Burger Just because something isn’t low calorie or low fat doesn’t mean it’s not healthy. Take Stay Fit Meals’ Big Boy Burger for example. On paper, a double bacon cheeseburger with a fried egg on top and a side of red potatoes sounds like a cheat-day indulgence. But upon closer inspection, the Big Boy Burger’s double beef patties are lean, the bacon turkey, the cheese reduced fat, the bun thin whole-wheat bread and the ketchup PHOTO BY MARK NESSIA

organic, resulting in a high-protein entree that satisfies the caloric needs of active athletes and fuels muscle building. The burger is surprisingly juicy despite its leanness and not lacking in flavor — a prime example that healthy food doesn’t have to be plain and boring. Stay Fit Meals 3550 Stine Road 661-556-5532




Locale Farm to Table Eatery

Cowboy Tacos Locale Farm to Table Eatery’s cowboy tacos are packed with black beans, corn, avocados, cilantro, diced tomatoes, and red and green onions topped with chipotle ranch, barbecue sauce and sprinkled Fritos. For those feeling healthy, customers have the option to substitute meat for jackfruit. Not only does the jackfruit make this dish healthy and vegetarian friendly, but all 22

Bakersfield Life Magazine

January 2020

the flavors pop from the tang of the barbecue sauce, the sweetness of the jackfruit and the crunchiness of the crushed Fritos. Locale Farm to Table Eatery 1727 18th St. 661-322-9090 PHOTO BY MARK NESSIA

Fit Pantry

Walnut chicken wrap Fit Pantry makes healthy eating easier for people because it’s fast and convenient. Not only do they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner but they have an accessible drive-thru for people on the go. One of their lunch items is the walnut chicken wrap. The walnut chicken wrap is served with small cuts of juicy and tender chicken, spring mix, feta cheese and creamy balsamic wrapped in a spinPHOTO BY JULIE MANA-AY PEREZ

ach tortilla. The dried cranberries and glazed walnuts added into the wrap make the perfect concoction of sweetness, crunchiness and savoriness in every bite. This meal will definitely make you feel healthy and wholesome after. Fit Pantry 519 Calloway Drive 661-679-7684



Where We’re Eating

Vida Vegan Co.

RJ’s Bar & Grill RJ’s Bar & Grill is as traditional as an American eatery can get. The menu boasts a variety of staples like salads, burgers, pizzas, steaks and sandwiches. RJ’s also serves its own handcrafted cocktails. In addition to its food, the establishment has multiple televisions around the dining area and a full-service bar. The service is quick, the staff is welcoming and there’s a variety of traditional American favorites to choose from.

A meat eater walks into a vegan restaurant, orders a burger and walks away completely satisfied. That’s the Vida Vegan experience. The creative geniuses in the kitchen are constantly cooking up dishes that appeal to all, with their fresh take on international cuisine. To top it all off, the sweets from Vida Vegan’s bakery rival their nonvegan equivalents. Vida Vegan will have carnivores saying, “I can’t believe it’s not meat!”

— Julie Mana-ay Perez, specialty publications designer

— Mark Nessia, editor

RJ’s Bar & Grill 9440 Hageman Road 661-615-3738

Vida Vegan 4530 Stine Road 661-573-3202

ReMix Asian Kitchen & Ramen In the culinary world, “fusion” means to combine elements from different types of cuisines to create a dish. But not all fusion restaurants are created equal. Many eateries claim to be fusion but really just serve a wide variety of items spanning different cultures without mixing elements, ingredients or cooking styles. ReMix Asian Kitchen & Ramen is not one of those restaurants. In fact, the modern Asian comfort food establishment takes fusion to another level. Take, for instance, the Hawaiian plate lunch, which offers traditional Hawaiian entrees, like shrimp and chicken, but also includes Korean- and Japanese-based items like bulgogi, spicy chashu pork and ReMix’s take on Korean braised beef. In addition to the Hawaiian plates, ReMix also serves breakfast, highlighted by loco moco, a Hawaiian breakfast item served all day; rice bowls; sandwiches; tacos; ramen; and more. — Mark Nessia, editor ReMix Asian Kitchen & Ramen 9450 Stockdale Highway 661-847-9331 24

Bakersfield Life Magazine

January 2020


Best Thing We Ate This Month


When it comes to satisfying hunger, few foods get the job done better than burritos. You can stuff anything and everything in one, as long as the tortilla holds up, resulting in a delicious package that lets you eat the “wrapper” as well. California Taco Shop knows this and fills its Cali burrito to the limit with carne asada, shrimp, rice, cheese, onions, cilantro, lettuce, avocado dressing and salsa. Surf and turf with avocado? Doesn’t get much more Cali than that! PHOTO BY MARK NESSIA


Meet Our Insurance Professionals

Aaron Uribe

Brenda Thomas

Cedric Perez

Clay Koerner

Clint Phillips

David Anderson

Jaime Ritchie

Jason Findley

Jason Mills

Jim Hardy

Josh Wall 11 Years

42 Years

Mike Hay

Monique Eubanks

Ron Burcham

9 Years

17 Years

6 Years

Michael Moore 32 Years

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48 Years

19 Years

Larry Feil

47 Years


M o n e y M a t t e r s / P a s t i m e s / L o v e & L i fe / H o m e & G a rd e n / T h e M a r ke t p l a c e


Hundreds of plants cover the half-acre backyard of Bakersfield resident Pat Mount. Not only does gardening add an attractive visual element to one’s home, studies show that living in or near green spaces can have numerous health benefits. Find out more on Page 30. For more photos of Mount’s garden, go to




Money Matters


Dr. James Levine, the author of “Get Up!,” is credited with the saying “Sitting is the new smoking.” And let’s face it, accounting is one of the highest seat-time professions. We sit in our cars to come to work, sit at our desks, then stroll short distances to our cars to drive home. The path to this profession involved hours of sitting in classes, followed by stretches of sit-down studying — pencil in one hand, calculator in the other — with “breaks” at the computer screen for hours on end. During college, I ate and sat my way to 190 pounds for the first time. After a short burst of healthy eating and exercise, I lost the extra weight. Confident in my ability to lose the weight at any time, those extra pounds easily found me when I slipped back into my bad habits. Studying for the CPA exam provided the perfect excuse for shifting exercise to the back burner while promoting fast food to the front. My “aha” moment came in 2016 when I bent over to tie my shoe and lost my breath. I channeled my resolve by fasting for at least 16 hours between meals. At first this was not easy, but I kept telling myself the discomfort would pay off after a year had passed. To this day, I still fast intermittently to improve my energy level. For those of us in sit-happy occupations, what can we do to offset the damage caused by the nature of the work? At Brown Armstrong, we invite speakers from Elite Corporate Medical Services to host lunch-and-learn sessions on healthy lifestyle choices. The firm offers free gym memberships to employees and encourages walking breaks. Longtime employees remember 28

Bakersfield Life Magazine

January 2020

the gigantic weekly doughnut boxes and vending machines full of soda and candy. Some of my colleagues tell tales of smoking inside the office “back in the day.” The smoking is long gone and the doughnuts are now reduced to a semiannual appearance. The candy and soda are still around, but trail mix is taking up more space in vending machines and a recent employee survey prompted requests for more candy-displacement with dried fruit, granola bars and high-protein snacks. Hey soda machine! That survey also unearthed requests for flavored water and other noncarbonated beverages, so make room! One millennial-inspired feature of the office is free food. One might think this is counterproductive to a healthy workplace, but the free food is healthy food. As tech companies discovered long ago, on-site food encourages employees to stick around. Loaves of bread, peanut butter and jelly are available at all times and fresh fruit, string cheese and low-fat yogurt make regular appearances. Transitioning from bad health habits to good ones is a sometimes lonely and painful process. Through

my last transformation, I was able to lose 45 pounds and I have kept those 45 pounds off for the past three years. I am passionate about staying healthy, sharing my story and helping others achieve their health goals. One of the most unexpected discoveries along my path to health has been yoga, specifically the practice of placing focus on the present task. Since I began practicing yoga regularly, I have not had a single stressed tax season. Yoga has been my guide and outlet, reducing stress from my life in general. Yoga impacted me so much that I have enrolled in a yoga teacher training course so I can help others. When it comes to healthy living, this piece of wisdom resonates with me: Do not let success stress you. Find habits to deal with the success.

Rudy Valdivia

Rudy Valdivia, CPA, is a senior accountant with Brown Armstrong Accountancy Corp. He can be reached at 661-324-4971. The views expressed are his own. DEPOSITPHOTOS.COM

Made for more duets.

We were all made for more. More weekends. More challenges. More hugs. More happiness. At Adventist Health, we’re all about helping you achieve total health. Because we believe every person’s healthy mind, body and spirit contribute to the health of the communities we serve. For you and all your family’s needs—across every age and stage of life.

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Pat Mount can’t help but smile as she works on her garden. Research supports the notion that living in or near green spaces can improve mood, reduce high blood pressure, increase overall happiness and satisfaction with life, and more.


Bakersfield Life Magazine

January 2020




Pat Mount is a self-professed “plantaholic.” From the first grade, when her mom let her plant snapdragons and in her eagerness to water them she washed the seeds away with a hose, to her current garden, which has been an ongoing project spanning 21 years, plants have always been a part of her life. That’s why when she and her husband had Sam Epps of Epco Homes build their Bakersfield home in the late ’90s, she wanted the backyard to be left bare. They put down a gravel path, leaving the remaining area open for her future garden. “I brought over all my plants in pots and I planted up the front porch first,” Mount said. Eventually, her garden grew and grew until nearly every inch of the half-acre space was covered. Even the gravel path has been upgraded with antique bricks Mount acquired at an estate sale. “I’ve got a lot of roses — at least 300 roses,” she said. “Lots of succulents. Perennials mostly. There are a lot of bulbs that will come up at different times of the year.” Not only does gardening add an attractive visual element to one’s home, research conducted by Charles Hall and Melinda Knuth at Texas A&M supports the notion that living in or near green spaces can improve

mood, reduce stress, encourage physical activity, improve cognition, reduce aggression and improve the well-being of people of all ages. “It’s peaceful,” Mount said. “It’s very peaceful. If you’re stressed, just coming out here with (the sounds of the water), it’s very calming.” Mount admits that since she retired, she likes to be out in the garden almost all day long, except in the summertime, when she gets up at 5 a.m. to start her daily maintenance and is finished by 9. “During the summertime is the least amount of time I spend — between July and August,” she said. “But right now, I can’t wait to get in the yard.” Whether Mount realizes it or not, the time spent in and near her garden is doing wonders for her health and well-being. According to the review data, which was published in the Journal of Environmental Horticulture, spending time in natural settings can help with recovery from mental fatigue, reduces high blood pressure, lowers anxiety and even reduces symptoms of depression. The study concluded that those who interact with nature have been shown to report greater overall happiness and satisfaction with life. “If you’ve got plants, you can take your thoughts away from yourself,” Mount said. “You’ve got to take care of this plant and make it better — help it to grow so you don’t think about yourself so much or the problems that you have.”



Love & Life

From left: Lucy Sperber, Ashley Ha and Camden Grohs hug at the Sierra Montessori Children’s Center, where they learned the “Four Hugs a Day” song.


“Four hugs a day, that’s the minimum. Four hugs a day, not the maximum.” — “Four Hugs a Day,” a song by Charlotte Diamond Our toddlers used to come home from preschool singing the praises of human connection. Their adorable ditty mandating hugs got our family practicing the art of the hug. Family therapist Virginia Satir explained: “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.” Admittedly, I am an awkward hugger. I’m tall so people tend to hug my neck. I’m slightly angular so my hugs aren’t the softest. And I often hang a pair of sunglasses around the top of my shirt so that aviators press painfully against whoever happens to come in for an embrace. That said, I know how it feels to be the recipient of a good hug. Our kids’ first-grade teacher, Jenifer Wilbur, should be honored in the Huggers Hall of Fame, should one exist. She gives just the right amount of squeeze — not too much, not too little. Her warm hugs wrap you in a blanket of kindness, compassion and love. She also smells like fresh gingerbread cookies. I may have made the last part up, but truly she could give lectures on the stress-buffering social support that all hugs offer. When it comes to children, local pediatrician Dr. Iordanka Valkova-Abbas says touch is especially important. 32

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January 2020

“I absolutely believe in it,” she said. “When children feel that warmth from each other, parents, teachers or grandparents, in that second, they feel security, peace and reassurance.” From the moment we’re born, touch is necessary for healthy development. It’s what creates the intimate bond between babies and their mothers or fathers. Michelangelo said, “To touch is to give life,” and ample scientific research backs that up. Human touch directly correlates with greater trust, stronger immune systems and overall well-being. A squeeze of the hand, a touch on the shoulder or a firm hug can release endorphins, which soothes aches and pains; serotonin, which fights depression; and oxytocin, known as the cuddle hormone. Sometimes, just one hug can communicate understanding, empathy and sorrow when tears fall and words fail. I believe that God put us on this earth not to live solitary lives, but to have fellowship with each other and lift each other up. So start off the new year by hugging someone you care about, lightly patting the back of someone you’re friendly with and squeezing the life out of your loved ones. You really can’t underestimate the power of the hug.

Nina Ha

Nina Ha hugs her maternal grandfather who passed away four years ago. The views expressed are her own. PHOTO BY NINA HA


Home & Garden

Promotional Content

This large master bath walk-in shower was designed to create a spa-like atmosphere with multiple showerheads, soft lighting and a rainfall showerhead.

BATHROOM TRENDS FOR 2020 By Michelle Hardt

Homeowners looking to remodel an outdated bathroom — or build a new one — will be pleasantly surprised at the abundant options of new and decorative materials available as we head into the new year. The challenge will be making the best use of stone, wood, ceramics, glass and other materials in one design that reflects their unique vision. Let’s look at some trends we expect to see more homeowners use in their new and remodeled bathrooms during 2020. SHOWERS Larger showers are big news for homeowners looking to remodel their master bathrooms. According to the 2019 Houzz Bathroom Trends Study, 83 percent of renovating homeowners upgrade their shower and 54 percent enlarge the size of their shower during that renovation. The walk-in shower will continue to be especially popular because of versatility in design, materials and tiling techniques available. Natural stone, tiles, pebbles, wood and more are being used on the ceiling, shower wall and floors. Many new walk-in showers are being designed to create a spa-like atmosphere. This includes seating, multiple showerheads, soft lighting and a rainfall showerhead. The creative possibilities are endless. It really comes down to what the homeowners envision. ACCENT WALLS An accent wall provides a visual focal point for a vanity, bathtub or shower. The wall can be painted to add a pop of color or it can be made of different materials to contrast with the remainder of the bathroom. Recent trends we’ve seen that will continue into 2020 include marble, natural stone, mosaic tile and wood. Decorative PHOTO COURTESY OF HARDT CONSTRUCTION SERVICES

items with the same color or pattern help pull the design together nicely. CABINETS Lots of storage is a necessity in any bathroom. Well-designed cabinets or a stylish vanity provide the perfect solution. Trends span the gamut from traditional, elegant classic to upcycled antique furniture, reclaimed wood, farmhouse, industrial and more. Open shelving is frequently coupled with new cabinets. It can be used for storage of towels, extra rolls of toilet paper, or soaps and lotions. And countertops set off the style of the cabinet. Quartz, concrete, tile and natural stones like marble and granite are all popular. HIGH TECH Smart bathrooms are an up-and-coming trend that will only grow. Considering many of us already control home security, lights and temperature with a touch on our smartphones, it’s no surprise. New features with toilets include self-cleaning and antimicrobial seats, motion sensors that will raise and lower lids, LED lights and seat warmers. Digital faucets feature temperature control and tap flow settings and infrared technology that senses when hands are under the faucet so it can turn the water on or off. LCD shower panels let the homeowner program and control water flow, shower temperature, steam, music and even timed teeth brushing. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by so many choices. The important thing for homeowners to remember is to make your new bathroom into something you will absolutely love. Michelle Hardt oversees design services for Bakersfield-based Hardt Construction Services.



The Marketplace

Promotional Content Unique, custom-designed jewelry by Raul Zavala

Bakersfield Art Association

Large inventory of fine jewelry; most repairs done in one day. No job too big or too small. Cash for gold coins, silver, large diamonds or broken jewelry.

1607 19th St. 661-869-2320 Art on display and sale. Classes for adult/children. Paintings, prints, photos, digitals, crafts, sculpture, fabric art.

5009 Stockdale Highway inside Lucky's Boutique & More 661-633-2278

Artist: Donna Bianco

An original portrait of your pet An oil or watercolor painting of your pet would be a great Valentine's gift. Order now for February delivery. Meet the artist from 4 to 8 p.m. every First Friday at the Art Center, 1607 19th St. Commission accepted. To contact the artist, Charlotte White, call 661330-2676.


57 Years!

ADULTS - $75.00 FAMILY (2 Adults, all minor children) - $175.00 FULL-TIME COLLEGE STUDENTS - $34.00 STUDENTS (Through High School) - $24.00

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T j i-W Tajci Waking ki Up In America

Sunday, March 1, 2020, 2:30 p.m.

By 19 years old, Tajci was a pop superstar in her country of Croatia. She achieved platinum status selling a million records and packing sold-out venues. Sunday, February 9, 2020, 2:30 p.m. Tajci and her sister Sanya join acclaimed-pianist, Brian Hanson in presenting a musical cabaret style show of the American Songbook with international flair. Award-winning international artist.

LLoren & M Markk

This International guitar duo is a perfect combination of virtuosity musicality. Their diverse repertoire draws on many influences including Americana, Jazz, Classical, Bluegrass, Gypsy Jazz and more. The pair are best known for their rhythmic finger-style technique, beautiful renditions of classic melodies, electrifying improvisation and stunning vocal duets. Guitar playing like you have never heard!

Name Street City Visa MasterCard Credit Card Number

Bakersfield Life Magazine


January 2020

JJason LLyle l Bl Blackk

Jason’s unique combination of familiar music, comedy and interaction leaves audiences laughing and crying the same night. From his comedic routines like “Songs Not to Play at People’s Weddings” to his upside-down, head-pedaling piano act, Jason wows and engages audiences worldwide. A whirlwind of music and laughs.

For more information call 661-588-3920 or 661-322-7456


Expiration Date Month Email

Sunday, April 26, 2020, 2:30 p.m.

Season Tickets available online at

Mail Checks payable to: B.C.C.A., PO Box 11929 Bakersfield, CA 93389


presented by

Bakersfield Community Concert Association



Type - Season Tickets Number Price (3 Concerts) Subtotal Adult x $75= $ Family (2 Adults, all minor children) x $175= $ Full time College Student x $34= $ Students (through high school) x $24= $ Total $


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HAPPY NEW YEAR Wishing the Best

for You and Your Family

in the Coming New Year

From Castle & Cooke and Highgate at Seven Oaks


E n t e r t a i n m e n t / Tr i p P l a n n e r / A r t s & C u l t u re / O u t & A b o u t


Focusing on improving physical, mental and spiritual well-being, Solitude Healing Arts provides a unique way to improve one’s health. Page 40.







If your goal as we head into a new decade is to finally get in shape, or to just maintain your already active lifestyle, be sure to check out Bakersfield Fit Fest on Jan. 11 at the Kern County Fairgrounds, in Buildings 2 and 3, just inside the main entrance on P Street. This premier event, organized by American General Media, aims to bring the fitness community together, where attendees can meet fitness experts, discover new services, try new products, and receive complimentary information and education from fitness and nutrition experts. The NASPOWER CUP Powerlifting Competition Championship will also take place during the event. Fully accredited by the United States Powerlifting Association, it will feature 50 lifters, including some Bakersfield locals, competing to break state and national records and possibly qualify for the world championships. There will also be an interactive powerlifting area, as well as a kids zone, geared toward fitness for the younger generation. You can also peruse more than 100 vendors, like Better Bowls, Stay Fit Meals and Beast Cookie Co., mak-


Bakersfield Life Magazine

January 2020

er of the world’s first energy cookie, offering everything from healthy meal prep to sports training. “There’s never been anything of this kind in Bakersfield,” said event organizer Katie Barton, who also helped put on the Mac and Cheese Fest and the Brunch Fest. “We wanted to host an event geared more toward the fitness community. It’s a growing dynamic in Bakersfield.” A family friendly event, the Bakersfield Fit Fest is the perfect way to kick off the new year and discover some great ways to get healthy in 2020. For more information, go to

Bakersfield Fit Fest Jan. 11, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Kern County Fairgrounds 1142 S. P St. $10 per person



Trip Planner

The Huntington Botanical Garden is not only a zoo for plants but a library and art museum.


When you find yourself visiting the Los Angeles area, you can’t help but see some of its vibrant culture scenes throughout the year. One place that both tourists and residents need to visit is the Huntington Botanical Garden located near Pasadena. The botanical garden is not only a zoo for plants but a library and art museum. Its property covers hundreds of acres and includes different varieties of plants. Exploring through the garden, there are themed fields throughout that offer their own aesthetic pleasures, like the Chinese garden, the desert garden, Shakespeare garden and more. The Huntington Botanical Garden is a great place to lose yourself in fields of vibrant plants, architecture and great works of art. Another must-stop destination is Salt & Straw, a trendy ice cream shop with inventive and decadent flavors. With a few locations in Los Angeles and Portland, this is one of those places where customers are lined up outside the door. One of their unique flavors is honey lavender, which is made of lavender petals in honey. Aside from serving a PHOTOS BY JULIE MANA-AY PEREZ

variety of unique flavors, they serve vegan options as well. If you’re a coffee or tea lover, you know how important it is to get your dose. And while Los Angeles has many diverse options, nothing beats the king of artisanal coffee: Intelligentsia, a Chicago-based institution that roasts its beverages in vintage equipment. The establishment is known for focusing on maintaining its quality and consistency throughout. Their organic king crimson tea is a caffeine-free herbal blend that creates a succulent, fruity refreshment. Blueberry, raspberry and strawberry are combined with hibiscus to make a scarlet hue color. You may pay a little more at Intelligentsia, but you’ll be drinking one of the best Intelligentsia cups of coffee in the city.



Arts & Culture

Royalty Pole Dance instructor Amanda Baker performs the jade split, her favorite pose.


ROYALTY POLE DANCE, SOLITUDE HEALING ARTS TAKE EXERCISE TO NEW HEIGHTS and you engage your core that builds up your muscles as well,” said Vasquez. Vasquez admits that because pole dancing is different, If you’re looking to change up your routine and some people think the sport as risque and it can be taken bring a whole new sense of fitness into your life, the wrong way. However, Vasquez feels like pole dancaerial fitness and pole dancing are two noning is her gateway sport and has grown in other forms of traditional forms of fitness that help build strength and fitness because of it. flexibility. “I got into other forms of fitness because I wanted to Royalty Pole Dance owner get better at this. People use it as a Carmen Vasquez describes pole very strong form of expression. It’s dancing as a “super-sport” because bold and cutting edge. That’s what “People use it as a very it involves a form of gymnastics, sets it apart,” said Vasquez. dance and coordination. Vasquez strong form of expression. Royalty Pole Dance instructor said pole dancing is similar to other It’s bold and cutting edge. Amanda Baker mentions that she normal workouts because it reThat’s what sets it apart.” has grown as an athlete because of quires strength training, repetitions her pole-dancing experience. and sets. Vasquez and Baker encourage “If you’re doing a lot of the danc— Carmen Vasquez, owner of everyone to try pole dancing and ing part of it, it’s also cardio, too, Royalty Pole Dance move past the stigma behind it bebecause you’re moving around fast

By Julie Mana-ay Perez


Bakersfield Life Magazine

January 2020


Left: Solitude Healing Arts owner Sheila Mauck. Below: Royalty Pole Dance instructor Amanda Baker.

More Information Royalty Pole Dance 10810 Rosedale Highway Royalty Pole Dance offers introduction to pole, flexibility and pole silkii classes. The first class is $15 and there are class bundles that range from $80 to $180. For more information, go to Solitude Healing Arts 9339 Rosedale Highway, Suite E Solitude Healing Arts offers stretch, meditation cocoon and barre classes. Prices vary for members and nonmembers. For more information, go to www.

cause it helps people get in shape, regardless of body type, age and background. “It’s only your mind that holds you back, not your body or anything else. It’s what you tell yourself you can or can’t do,” said Baker. At Solitude Healing Arts, owner Sheila Mauck describes aerial fitness as a low-impact sport with isometric types of techniques and yoga. “It’s an ideal way for people that don’t have upper-body strength to build that strength. It’s different for everyone but it offers the same benefits,” she said. Mauck adds that aerial fitness is spiritual but focuses on community and connecting while disconnecting from the distractions around people. Because it is holistic fitness and is compared to physical therapy, “clients are able to release, recharge and become one with their body,” Mauck adds. “We’re working different components of our body but doing the same thing. Altogether, the classes are small for intimacy and safety. It’s not an easy art to do but it’s something everyone can do,” said Mauck. Gracie Howell, Mauck’s personal assistant at Solitude Healing Arts, said the classes she’s taken have helped her heal physically from her own personal adversity. Though it can be intimidating, both Howell and Mauck encourage people to try aerial fitness because it’s a great way to stimulate the mind, body and soul. “It’s not like exercise. We feed off of each other. We’re all rooting for one another, which is amazing. We empower one another in the class,” said Howell.



Out & About

5K runners take off during the 2019 Fog Run at Lake Ming.


Getting back to civilian life can be hard for people who have been negatively involved with the law because of the prejudice toward ex-cons, according to Probation Auxiliary County of Kern board member Elaine Morre. Instead of labeling these people as criminals, thugs, delinquents or felons, PACK organizes a Fog Run every year to raise money for its array of rehabilitation programs. The aim is to help juveniles and adults who are on or have recently completed probation increase their chances of assimilating into society so they can have a chance at a successful life. On Jan. 4, PACK will hold its 31st annual Fog Run at Lake Ming. People of all ages and athletic backgrounds are expected to participate in the family friendly race, rain or shine, with or without fog. Avid runners, or those interested in channeling their competitive spirit, can work toward placing in the top three of their respective gender and age groups to win a medal in the 5K or 10K race. But helping out a good cause doesn’t have to be an excruciating workout. According to Moore, taking in the beautiful scenery would not take any longer than an average morning walk. “If you were to walk it, maybe 45 minutes to do the 5K 42

Bakersfield Life Magazine

January 2020

— it’s 3 miles or so,” she said. Anyone not interested in participating in the race is welcome to cheer on the participants. “Out on the course it’s a little bit difficult, but they can absolutely be at the start and finish line and cheer for them as they leave in the beginning and cheer for them as they come back,” Elaine said. Though organizers are happy to see a lot of the same runners coming back each year, they are hoping to reach a wider audience by promoting the event on social media, television and radio. While the event attracted more than 600 runners last year, only 30 to 40 people are signed up with just over a month until the race. Money raised through registration fees and sponsor donations will benefit the Takeaway Tattoos program, scholarship fund and Bridges Academy art program. A portion of the proceeds will also go to the Alliance Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault. “The population that we deal with, I think, typically has a stigma and we know that these kids and these adults have the opportunity to be successful members of the community and we want to do everything we can to increase that opportunity for them. We have had some significant success stories with the programs we provide,” Elaine said. “One girl in particular, who started on probation, we worked on her tattoos. She also benefited from PHOTOS COURTESY OF KAREN WEGIS

Team Ibuprofen takes a team photograph at the 2019 Fog Run.

the scholarship program and was going to Bakersfield College and graduated from there.” Anyone interested in registering for the race in advance can do so online at Registration is $30 for the 5K or 31st Annual Fog Run 10K and increases after Jan. Jan. 4, 8 a.m. 1. People may also register Lake Ming at Mechanics Bank at 2700 $30; price increases after Mount Vernon Ave. on Jan. 2 Jan. 1 and Sole 2 Soul on Jan. 3 from 4–7 p.m. The race begins at 8 a.m.


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Jay O'Dell and Debbie Murphy pan for gold in the Kern River on a Wednesday afternoon.




Let’s Get Physical


The hype is real — new year, new me. Resolutions tend to create unrealistic illusions that leave us feeling overwhelmed before we even get started. This is why so many people rarely achieve resolutions. You are just putting too much pressure on yourself to resolve a problem. I don’t see a problem with you or your body. I do, however, see ambition, drive and a desire to improve. Instead of making a resolution this year, try choosing a focus word. And learn to become the tortoise and not the hare in the race of 2020. To recap, the story of “The Tortoise and the Hare” goes like this: The hare was boasting about how fast he was. Tired of the hare’s arrogance, the tortoise challenges him to a race. The hare laughs but accepts the challenge. The hare had every right to laugh that a slow tortoise wanted to race him. The hare had all the tools and generational traits to make him the apparent victor. During the race, the hare was so far ahead he decided to take a nap before finishing, leaving the tortoise on his slow-but-determined pace, which ultimately led him to win the race. So often with these New Year’s resolutions — and with reaching our fitness goals — we get caught up in being the hare. We start our year going from zero to 60, and before we know it, we burn out and stop before we make it across the finish line. Sometimes even watching others pass us by as they reach their goals can cause us to become upset, deciding: “Why bother trying? We have already lost.” Let me tell you: You haven’t lost yet. This will be your year, the year you start crossing your finish lines. In 2012, I decided I was no longer going to take the hare approach. No more trying to create an unrealistic fitness routine that didn’t fit my lifestyle. No more giving myself deadlines, no more resolutions that were going to leave me moving faster than I was ready to, feeling overwhelmed or burned out. Instead, I decided to choose a word to live by for the year — a word that I would use to focus on and ask myself before making decisions. “If I do this, will it get me closer to (insert YOUR word).” The first phrase I ever chose was “weight loss.” This could feel overwhelming, but the key was to keep myself feeling motivated. How did I do that? Well, you see, it didn’t matter if I lost 1 pound or 100, because either way, I had hit my word for the year. I made sure to celebrate every pound I lost. Every single ounce dropped was a big deal. This allowed me to feel victorious and victories tend to propel us forward. By making small, slow strides toward my goal, I was able to start crossing the finish lines, embracing my tortoise mentality. Slow equals fast. 

Alex Garzaro 46

Bakersfield Life Magazine

January 2020

Alex Garzaro is a lifestyle strategist, weight loss expert for women and transformational speaker. The views expressed are her own. DEPOSITPHOTO.COM


Peace of Mind



Hi, I’m Anna Marie, the poster child for mental illness. I have been diagnosed with depression, anxiety, ADD, ADHD and postpartum depression at various stages in my life and put on medications. All these meds made me worse. Am I a mess? Nope! Looking back, I realize that these diagnoses were all simply side effects of the fact that I was not taking care of myself and that caused brain fog, brain imbalances and negative emotions all stemming from a lack of overall good health. So over a decade ago, I took matters into my own hands, deciding to take better care of myself. The result? I have completely rewired my brain and biology. I am amazed that doctors put me on mind-altering medications without ever asking me any of the following questions: Are you eating a balanced diet of healthy fats and high-quality proteins without a lot of sugars and carbohydrates? Do you follow a daily exercise program geared to your brain health? For example, a person with depression can benefit from high-intensity interval training, whereas a person with ADHD may benefit more from 30-minute continuous cardio workouts. How much sleep are you getting? Are you drinking enough water? What are you watching and listening to? What are you filling your mind with? What type of people are you surrounding yourself with? Are you willing to make changes in your life to get better? Do you currently have goals you have set for yourself? Do you take time for your hobbies? How is your financial condition? How do you spend money? I believe these 10 questions are extremely significant when it comes to our brain ­— and overall — health. If I had been taking DEPOSITPHOTOS.COM

care of my whole self, I would not have experienced either the depression or the anxiety that triggered ADD symptoms. When I began to take care of my whole self, everything changed — brain fog lifted, depression faded away and anxiety disappeared. This outcome may not be the same for you, but isn’t it worth a try? Wouldn’t you agree that mental health improves with good nutrition, daily movement, positive relationships, mindful spending — in short, taking care of all aspects of one’s life. According to and the American Heart Association: “An estimated 26% of Americans ages 18 and older — about 1 in 4 adults — suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. … Mental disorders are health conditions that are characterized by alterations in thinking, mood and/or behavior that are associated with distress and/or impaired functioning.” If that’s true, wouldn’t it be obvious that for your brain to function at its best, it needs to have all the elements needed to do so? It would be hard to argue against the fact that how we take care of ourselves impacts our mental health. I do want to make clear that I understand there are some individuals who benefit greatly from medication. However, medication should not be the only intervention. Remember the questions above. Please seek professional help if you are struggling and also look at the areas you could improve. We all have a mental health state. The quality of your mental health is up to you!

Anna Marie Frank

Anna Marie Frank is a brain health and wellness expert, author, lecturer and human-potential coach. You can find her @HappyWholeYou on social media. The views expressed are her own.






It’s that time of year again: New Year’s resolution season! Start the new decade with your sights set on building and sustaining healthy habits. Drop the binge-diet fad — trendy diets are a dime a dozen and lose-weight-get-happy mantras are doomed to fail because they are rooted in self-hate. Reset your thinking. Focus on building healthy habits that you can sustain in the long term. You can set small goals that you can build on over time. Say goodbye to self-hate and commit to developing healthy habits that make you feel good. Tracking your progress is a great way to make the health-centered changes crystalize into long-term habits. When you are setting goals, aim for the sweet spot where you are challenged to meet the goal but not overwhelmed by feeling like it’s out of reach. And be resilient! One of the most common reasons we don’t follow through on our New Year’s resolutions is because we slip up once or twice and decide to just call it quits. It is easy to get discouraged if you are trying to meet a goal that is based on self-hate. Research has shown that it is more sustainable and successful over time to meet goals that are based on self-love, self-respect and enjoying the healthy habits you are creating. Here are five healthy habits to develop for your 2020 New Year’s resolutions. Remember: No self-hate is allowed! Limit social media use. You heard me. Research has shown that extensive social media use contributes to negative mental health and poor self-esteem. Invest in your mental health in 2020 and beat your social media addiction. Studies have found that limiting social media usage to 30 minutes a day significantly reduces feelings of loneliness, depression and anxiety. Here 48

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are some practical tips for setting limits on your social media usage: • Set timers for how long you spend on social media each day. • Be present. Commit to putting your phone away when you’re with company. Focus on the activity, entertainment or conversation you’re in rather than paying half-attention to your phone at the same time. • Mute, unfollow or block any social media pages that negatively affect your mental health or self-esteem. Integrate exercise into TV time. We’ve all heard that “sitting is the new smoking.” Whether you have a Netflix show that you are dying to binge or a show that you watch weekly, you can get in the habit of being active during TV time! Rather than sitting for an hour (or, let’s face it, a five-hour Netflix marathon), you can be exercising. Your body and mind will thank you. Plus, you’ll find that the time goes by quickly because your shows are on! Here are some ideas for adding some exercise to your TV-watching routines: • Walk or jog on the treadmill as you stream your favorite shows. • Make a game of it! Online, there are lots of workout plans based on popular TV shows. For example, do 10 pushups every time Joey says, “How you doin’?” on “Friends” or do 15 crunches every time Jim looks at the camera on “The Office.” • Do a 90-second exercise circuit during commercial breaks. New workout every week. For 2020, try a new form of exercise every week. For your healthy habits to stick, you are going to have to enjoy doing them! As you are trying new things, look for activities that improve your energy level and mood. Try to avoid exercising to “punish” yourself for eating or to “earn” food. Instead, build a healthy relationship with exercise where you do it because you love your body, not in order to love your body. If you take this mindset seriously, you’ll find it is a lot easier to stay DEPOSITPHOTO.COM

motivated and positive about building exercise habits. Here are some fun new exercises to try: • Jump rope. Set timers, count repetitions or have competitions with your family and friends. • Swimming. Set a goal to swim a certain distance or amount of time. You can have races or even just get in the pool with friends and family. • Try a new machine at the gym. Maybe there’s a machine that looks intimidating or that you have never tried — make that your new exercise for the week! • Give yoga or Pilates a shot. Maybe you can try a new studio, a more difficult class or even hot yoga. You can also try yoga and Pilates videos on YouTube, if you prefer privacy during workouts. • Get physical. Have you ever wanted to give boxing a try or take a self-defense class? Give it a shot this week! Cook at home. Cooking at home is a habit that is healthy for your body and your budget. The meals that you make at home are often lower sodium, lower calorie and have less added sugar than eating out! Plus, practicing cooking is building a valuable lifelong skill. Here are some ways you can get excited about cooking at home: • Try new things. The internet is abound with food blogs and recipes. Try to make a new dish every week. You’ll find some dishes that you enjoy and that you can make your specialty! • Make it social. Take a cooking class with friends and family or make a deal with a couple of friends that each of you will cook for each other once a month. It will be more enjoyable and sustainable if it also includes quality time with loved ones. • Keep it simple. If cooking is new for you, then don’t feel like you need to make a big change. Instead, try cooking two nights

a week and bringing the leftovers for lunch! Or find a simple soup, salad or sandwich that you enjoy making regularly. Sleep. Clocking eight hours of sleep each night is proven to lower your risk for physical health conditions and improve your mental health. Research shows that Americans suffer from sleep deprivation. Studies suggest that chronic tiredness reduces your emotional intelligence, self-esteem, capacity for empathy toward others, impulse control and positive thinking. Yikes! Get in the habit of sleeping a full seven to nine hours every night to make healthy changes in 2020. Here are some tips to improve your sleep habits: • No screens in bed. The blue light in computer and phone screens interferes with our brain’s sleep-wake cycle. Cut out screens 30 minutes before you go to bed to have an easier time falling asleep. • Have a routine. It is easier to be in the habit of sleeping properly if you try to go to bed and wake up at consistent times every day. This also means breaking the habit of binge-sleeping on weekends! • Swap TV for a book. If reading isn’t your favorite pastime, try other screen-free habits that you can do before bed. Knitting, journaling, meditation, listening to music or drawing would be good ideas to try!

Katie Cornford

Katie Cornford works in Kern County Public Health’s Waste Hunger Not Food program. She received her B.A. in political science from UCLA in 2016 and her M.A. in political science from UCLA in 2018. She is working toward her teaching credential from CSUB.

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Stem Cell and Exosome Therapy: A natural way to treat degenerated joints and spine Exploring new frontiers in regenerative medicine across the Central Valley 1. What is stem cell and exosome therapy? It is a breakthrough regenerative treatment that promotes the repair of diseased, dysfunctional or damaged tissues. In effect, it is like reversing the age of the affected area. 2. What kind of medical issues do you treat? We typically treat patients with neck, mid back and lower back problems as well as patients with major joint problems, such shoulders, hips and knees. These issues are typically chronic and can occur as a result of degeneration secondary to age and wear and tear. We also treat acute conditions, such as whiplash injuries and strains caused by recent accidents and injuries. But because of the regenerative properties offered by stem cell and exosome therapy, treatments can now be done for conditions such as poststroke recovery, autoimmune diseases and Parkinson’s disease. 3. Why is stem cell and exosome therapy better than traditional treatment options? Typical treatments usually suppress or manage the affected area. For example, in chronic low back pain, you try to minimize the effects of inflammation by using an anti-inflammatory agent such as NSAIDs and steroids. In stem cell and exosome therapy, not only will it control inflammation but it will also repair the damaged joints to bring it back to a stage when they were healthy. 4. What kind of pain relief do patients usually obtain after stem cell and exosome therapy? The effectiveness of any treatment regimen for any pain condition will depend on the severity of the condition, as well as other medical conditions that can affect outcomes or even limit the scope of treatment. Optimal results are not typical and never guaranteed. However, we have had incredible results in our practice, with the vast majority of our patients reporting complete pain relief in the affected areas where they were treated. This is due to the proper application of the treatment, the way they were administered and the experience and expertise of the doctor. 5. What is your take home message to our readers? Recent advances in regenerative medicine has opened up significant options for people suffering not only from spine and joint problems but also for those who suffer from neurological and other disorders. Stem cell and exosome therapy provide a long-term, if not permanent, solution to 56

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January 2020

J.R. Grandhe, MD, Central Valley Pain Management

their ailments. The same advances also mean that these treatments are now within reach by many compared to before. This is the future and it is available now. Central Valley Pain Management 6401 Truxtun Ave., Suite B., Bakersfield, CA 661-327-9300 1805 E. Fir Ave. #104, Fresno, CA 559-321-8510 1663 E. Prosperity Ave., Tulare, CA 559-684-7246

Julie learns various exercises from Diana to develop a routine in the gym.

I started making small changes with the food I was eating. Eating healthy may seem ood health is a state hard but I found a way to make it many people strive easier on myself by meal prepfor, but to attain ping. I ate the food I knew and good health sometimes didn’t try to make fancy recipes requires a journey that with ingredients I wasn’t familiar follows a complicated and with. It’s also hard to let go of the seemingly endless path. foods you want to eat, so there’s a When you’re on that path, constant craving. To keep myself one of the most powerful from eating the food I wish I assets can be the people had, I planned my meals ahead you travel with. of time, I drank more water and For a person who ate more protein to help fight the enjoys sitting down, I cravings. never thought about the Within my first week, I started importance of physical Diana also shows Julie proper formation when doing moving a little more, like goactivity until I began feelweight training to ensure physical safety. ing on a lunchtime walk. That ing sluggish throughout shifted the way I went about my the day and all my clothes day. Within the first week, by just started shrinking. I dreamed of getting back on track but the hardest part is choosing when to start. But if you don’t start now, changing the way I ate and establishing a one healthy activity during the day, I lost 5 pounds. it’ll never happen. Weighing in at 183 pounds, I knew I needed to make a change, but I wasn’t sure how I could break out of the WEEK 2 cycle of work and unhealthy food. This journey is a documentaAfter building a routine, I began waking up earlier and felt tion of my path to a healthier and active lifestyle. energized. I felt this positive momentum where I was finally changing my life the way I wanted. WEEK 1

By Julie Mana-ay Perez



Bakersfield Life Magazine

January 2020


Diana emphasizes the importance of mixing cardio into an exercise routine to help weight loss.

Macronutrients during the first week.

Macronutrients during the last 7 days.

With the help of my trainer, Diana Fernandez at Sculpt 365 Fitness, she was able to help me build a foundation of what I needed to do to accomplish my health goals — become physically active and lose weight. One of the hardest things when trying to lose weight is losing weight the right way. Diana’s goal for me was to focus on my three macronutrients — fat, Food diary on MyFitnessPal app. protein and carbohydrates — that make up a food’s composition and help create energy. “They all play an important role in your diet. It’s important to balance all three to get all nutrients so you can attain all the benefits,” said Diana. WEEK 3 Because Thanksgiving is about family and food, I was worried about falling off track and binge eating the weight I did lose. Diana said it’s important to not restrict yourself from the foods you enjoy but to portion those “treat meals.” WEEK 4 I had the opportunity to mix up my workout by being a part of a group challenge called the “Fitmas Challenge” with other women like myself, determined to make a new change to their lives. I encourage those who are afraid of

Grilled chicken, cherry tomatoes, steamed veggies with a base of quinoa.

jumping into a healthy lifestyle to do it with other people wanting the same thing. Knowing I wasn’t alone in my journey made me feel more comfortable going to a gym and performing workouts I’ve never done before.

WEEK 5 Eating well and exercising will not always result in weight loss by the end of the day. My weight fluctuated often, but it’s important to not feel discouraged by that. My original calorie intake was set at 1,000 calories per day and I set a goal to start eating 1,200 calories per day. Diana emphasized the importance of recording my calorie intake because not having enough calories does not help with weight loss. Eating 1,000 calories or less would lead to muscle loss and a slow metabolism. “If you’re not exercising enough, you’re not stimulating your muscles. If you’re not working on your nutrition and you’re just exercising, you’re not going to see results. Everything is 50-50,” said Diana. Everyone wants to lose big pounds in little time, but we have to look at the big picture realistically. When I first started my journey, I wanted to lose 20 pounds, but losing that much weight in a short timespan simply isn’t healthy. Diana said it was important to make this a lifestyle rather than just a diet. “I want my clients to get long-term results and keep that up,” she said. In the four weeks that I’ve trained with Diana, I’ve lost a total of 7 pounds and 5 inches around my wasit. My journey is more than just numbers on a scale — it’s about transformation in all aspects of my life. I wanted more energy, better sleep and to feel more active. Whether you lose weight or not, you’ll see all those unseen benefits. In the beginning of this, my mental goal was to look good for myself but it became more about taking responsibility for my physical well-being. My results might be small right now, but it doesn’t end here. Everyone’s road to a healthy life will always be different than the person next to them because we’re all tryTips to a healthier you ing to achieve differ• Start small ent things physically. • Find the right activity for Therefore, it’s importyourself ant to understand • Throw out all the processed that your path is the foods and start eating whole only one that should foods matter. Being able to attain a healthy • Be more active in any type of lifestyle is a process way and can’t be achieved • Start a log to record your food overnight but you can and exercise start now.


Wishing you a Happy New Year!

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L a s t Wo rd


Riding with the Bakersfield Trailblazers, Vicki Utt, wife of Army Vietnam veteran Dennis Utt, proudly shares her enthusiasm during the 100th annual Veterans Day parade in downtown Bakersfield.




Bakersfield Matters

Jeran McConnel (@oleanderandpalm)

Keri Lynn Kehoe (@official.keri.lynn)

Krista Horton (@krista.horton)



Once worth a thousand words, a photo, if wellstaged in today’s social media orbit, is worth a thousand likes, generating income for people across the globe, including dozens here in Bakersfield. These influencers have taken their hobby of choice — edited selfies — and turned it into full-time jobs. “I never in a million years thought I would be getting paid for this,” said 33-year-old Krista Horton, whose regular Instagram posts have attracted such a large following that her husband is quitting his full-time job to support her burgeoning career. With 537,000 followers, Horton is widely regarded by her local peers as a big deal and an asset for brands looking to hitch their wagons to social media wizards like her.


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January 2020

“Engagement plays a big part in it. You may have a half a million followers, but only 2,000 people react to it,” she cautioned. “They are hiring you because they believe in your work and creativity.” Once the exclusive domain of celebrities, the idea of promoting a brand has always been around, despite officially being added to the English dictionary just this year. The term now applies to regular people, as well as the famous, posting their ordinary, authentic selves, albeit in heavily edited and filtered Instagram posts. “How are 11,000 people interested in my boring life on Instagram?” laughed Oleander and Palm’s Jeran McConnel, who — with 11,300 followers, more than half of them local — has also managed to create full-time employment out of what began eight years ago when she took pictures of a dish she made and put them on a blog.


The Land of Nod, now Crate & Kids, was among her first clients of what she describes on her page as “simple California living” with beautifully photographed food, furnishings and design. Since 2010, when Instagram launched, it has become an advertising juggernaut with the influencer industry now worth between $5 billion and $10 billion. “This is today’s television commercials and billboards because people are on their devices all day,” Horton added. Five years ago, after the birth of her son, Horton started blogging and posting as an outlet while her newborn napped. “This began as 100% just for fun,” she said. “I was connecting with people, making friends through pictures and writing.” Her glossy photographs could easily be transported to the pages of a national magazine. For Disney, her compensation has been in experiences. Others, like Amazon Prime, which she is under contract with, along with Target and Walmart, send products with specific requests for the posts, their amounts and frequency that they preapprove. On average, Instagram influencers are paid $1,000 per post for every 100,000 followers. Thirty-five-year-old Keri Lynn Kehoe, a former Ms. Kern County and current state titleholder, considers herself a microinfluencer with 24,500 followers of official.keri.lynn. “Some companies prefer a slower audience and they find the engagement more intimate and beneficial,” Kehoe

said. “I’m such a small fish in a big sea.” Together with her young daughter, Kehoe says she works with local companies and niche businesses, including Essentials Spa, Vibe Stitch and Allure Aesthetics. In just three years, it is full-time work that also allows her to heighten awareness of important causes and nonprofit organizations. The trend does have its critics, who say it isn’t real. Yet 70% of teenagers surveyed said they trust influencers over celebrities. “I look at it as an amazing way to collect memories,” Kehoe said. “People can relate to the mommy struggles as they scroll and see happiness. Let people smile.” The days are long, 42-year-old McConnel said, but rewarding. “I work from home and my house is my canvas,” she said. Whether you are Justin Bieber with 121 million followers, this writer with a meager 738 followers or any of the local influencers who are reaping financial success, at day’s end, as Kehoe said, “Everyone has something that has intrigued people enough to listen to what is being said and shared.”

Lisa Kimble

Opinions expressed in this column are those of Lisa Kimble.

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Study Hall

Umoja is a program at Bakersfield College that helps African-American students succeed in the classroom and in life.



“Umoja,” meaning “unity” in Kiswahili, is a community and resource dedicated to strengthening the cultural and educational futures of African-American students. Not only does the program develop students into leaders and role models within their communities, they are each other’s support system and family. The Umoja community began in 2015, but Dr. Paula Parks, Umoja Community coordinator admits the road to establish the program at BC wasn’t an easy one. While attending a conference years ago for Bakersfield College at the University of Southern California, she met with someone from institutional research to analyze equity work and data acquired by race. “I didn’t know the difference in African-American success and the success in other communities. When I saw (the data), I really needed to do something,” said Parks. The idea of establishing a Umoja community at BC came from a Chabot College associate, who was familiar with the program. Driven to make a change, Parks 64

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January 2020

brought the idea back with her to BC but was then rejected by the president at the time. Rejection didn’t stop Parks. The idea was brought back seven years later to BC President Sonya Christian, who was interested in the equity gaps and helping all groups succeed. Parks also mentions the Umoja community has doubled its number of students each year and they have developed more courses strengthening the education of African-American students. Aside from English courses available, the program offers classes in astronomy, math and history. Umoja community membership Chair Kierra Littles said the program has helped her succeed in the classroom and helped further her education by transferring into an HBCU (historically black colleges and universities) next year. “It inspired me to stick with what I’m doing and stick with my schooling,” said Littles. Umoja offers courses that students need to graduate but the focus includes African-American culture. Aside from the courses available, students take advantage of the resources and field trips provided to help them advance in PHOTOS COURTESTY OF BAKERSFIELD COLLEGE

their education. “Students can connect to the content and it’s relative to their life and that’s probably what accounts for the increased success rates. They also have mentors and counselors that keep (the students) on track to graduate,” said Parks. Umoja community Vice President Sha’ron Bradley said the program has motivated her education since BC President Sonya Christian speaks she joined. with students during a gathering. “I would not be where I am now. When I met Dr. Parks, my whole school life changed. I became focused and realized what I wanted to do in life and how I needed to get there,” said Bradley. “The program really motivates you to do better to succeed for whatever you want in life.” The Umoja community at BC sees 50 students every year and students continue to be a part of the program even after graduation. The program holds 18 different practices to lead their students to success. Community, mentoring, mattering and encircling diversity are a few practices Umoja holds high. “Umoja is family. It’s really uplifting,” said Bradley.

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Bakersfield Condors head athletic trainer Chad Drown tapes the wrist of Kailer Yamamoto prior to a game against the Grand Rapids Griffins at Mechanics Bank Arena.


Chad Drown always knew that he wanted to do something involving hockey when he was finished playing the sport after graduating from high school in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. At first, it was working as a referee. But, ultimately, Drown decided to pursue a career as an athletic therapist/ trainer. It’s a decision he’s never regretted. The 31-year old, now in his second year as the Bakersfield Condors head athletic trainer, enjoys just about everything involved in his highly demanding but extremely rewarding job. Drown, who holds a bachelor’s degree in health sciences in athletic therapy from Sheridan College in Ontario and a master’s degree in sports psychology from California University of Pennsylvania, is the person primarily responsible for the health and physical well-being of the Condors players, on and off the ice. “My job is to keep them on the ice,” Drown said. “Keep


Bakersfield Life Magazine

January 2020

them healthy. If they get hurt, to get them back on the ice as quickly and as safely as possible. But at the end of the day, my job is to make sure everybody goes home.” It’s a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week job for Drown. During the season, on days when the Condors don’t have a game but are practicing, Drown arrives at the arena at 6 a.m. His duties include setting up and checking the functionality of all the emergency equipment, preparing the hot tub and cold tub, checking in with the Condors coaching staff to review any specific plans involving limitations or restrictions that certain players might have for that day, setting up hydration (each player has an individually labeled water bottle), doing a combination of treatments on injured players, guiding healthy players through pre-practice exercises designed to alleviate soreness and taping players in preparation for the workout. During practice, Drown is on the bench watching intently since he’s the first responder for any type of injury or medical emergency that occurs on the ice. After practice, Drown does post-workout treatments


Bakersfield Condors head athletic trainer Chad Drown.

on players and then tends to his extensive administrative duties. If a player needs to see a doctor or dentist, he’s the person responsible for coordinating the appointment. “These are hockey players and they put their bodies through a whole lot more than most people could ever imagine,” Drown said. “There’s usually something wrong with everybody. Someone is always going to have something going on. It’s my job to make sure what they’ve got going on isn’t going to get worse and to make sure we’re doing things right to get things better.” Drown grew up in Waterloo, a city of roughly 100,000 people, located about an hour west of Toronto. After learning to skate at age 5, he played youth hockey and then at Bluevale High School. Drown was an aggressive player but not good enough to play beyond high school. Following graduation in 2008, he began refereeing junior hockey. After one year, Drown was hired by the Ontario Hockey League to be a linesman. He eventually worked his way up to be a Level 5 referee. While that was going on, Drown, whose mother, Cathy, is a registered mental health nurse, worked toward getting his bachelor’s degree. At one point, he suffered a concussion while refereeing a game, which caused his educational process to be slowed down. “It was a very trying time,” Drown said. “It wasn’t fun at all. I had to have a lot of different people’s support around me to get me through that. But I was better for it in the end.” Drown, who drove a recycling truck for a waste management company during the summers while he was in college, completed his bachelor’s degree in 2014. By the time he earned his master’s degree in 2016, he was already working as the head athletic trainer for the Guelph Storm of the OHL. Drown spent the 2017-18 season as an assistant athletic trainer with the American Hockey League’s Tucson Roadrunners. He joined the Condors prior to the start of last season. “I love what I do,” Drown said. “I love working with the players. It’s fun. The good times are good and the bad times are challenging. That’s why I like this job. There’s never a day that’s the same. There’s always something

different that happens.” For Drown, working for the Condors is something he enjoys for many reasons. He especially likes getting to travel to new places and work in what he describes as a family type of atmosphere. But the best part of his job is helping injured players return to action. “When you take a guy who you’ve been with since day one through his injury and you’ve been through the sweat and the tears and frustration of rehab and then you see them go out there and smile and do their thing, that’s the most rewarding thing I think,” Drown said.




Swimmers begin the first portion of the 31st annual Bakersfield Triathlon in the waters of Lake Ming.



Swimming in duck poop may not seem like the best start to a triathlon, but that is precisely how the first event of the inaugural Bakersfield Triathlon

began. Triathlons became exceedingly popular in the mid1970s. The first modern event occurred on Sept. 25, 1974, in San Diego. The ultimate in triathlon competition, the Hawaii Ironman, started in 1978 and from there the tri-event competition continued to make its way across America and throughout Europe. Beginning in 1984, the Anheuser-Busch company decided to sponsor the growing sport and initiated the Bud Light Triathlon Series. In 1981 Jim Moran, Bill Easton and Mike O’Haver came up with an idea to organize a triathlon in Bakersfield. Just two weeks later, at exactly 8 a.m. on May 9, 1981, the sound of the starting pistol ran though the spring air as 31 competitors kicked off the first Bakersfield Triathlon. Moran told the May 9, 1990, Californian: “It was a party. Nobody 68

Bakersfield Life Magazine

January 2020

knew what we were getting into.” The one thing they knew, though, was that everyone was there to have fun. The triathlon started on the

A list of winners from the Bakersfield Triathlon’s early years. CALIFORNIAN FILE PHOTOS


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As part of the Bud Light Triathlon Series and official qualifier for the Ironman Triathlon World Championships in Hawaii in the 1980s, the Bakersfield Triathlon course featured a 1.24-mile swim, 25.15-mile bike ride and 9.3-mile run.

grounds of Costerisan Ranch in southeast Bakersfield. Events occurred in an unconventional order, beginning with a quarter-mile swim in Lake Costerisan, followed by a 6-mile run, then concluding with a 20-mile round-trip bike trek. Every year, the number of participants grew, and by 1985, it was a part of the Bud Light Triathlon Series. Sanctioned by the Association of Professional Triathletes and Triathlon Association USA, the event also served as an official qualifier for the Ironman Triathlon World Championships in Hawaii. Known then as the Bakersfield Bud Light Triathlon, it included a winning purse of $15,000, with equal prize money for men and women and airfare and accommodations to compete in the Ironman for the top Kern County finishers. On Saturday, May 11, 1985, 1,000 triathletes began the fierce competition. The three-sport event of swimming, cycling and running now started and ended on the west shores of Lake Ming. The first event was a 2-kilometer (1.24 miles) swim following a triangular course, followed by an arduous 40-km (25.15 miles) ride into town and back via Panorama Drive, Manor Drive, China Grade Loop and Alfred Harrell Highway. The final event, and most daunting of the three, was a 15-km (9.3 miles) run that challenged the triathletes through the many hills surrounding the lake and Hart Park. In those early years, the event also endured some growing pains and almost ceased to exist when, in 1987, the Morans called it quits after the city raised permit fees by $5,500. The North Bakersfield Parks and Recreation District stepped forward to take control and the triathlon lived on through many more changes throughout the years. In 1991 the Bakersfield Triathlon scaled back to a more manageable race in order to attract local participants. Although much smaller and no longer an Ironman qualifier, the event continued to endure. The Bakersfield Triathlon, now under the sponsorship of Action Sports and taking place in October, remains one of the longest-running and challenging triathlons in the United States.

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All-Star Roundup

Cynthia Flores of Liberty collides with Buchanan’s Melia Newberry in the 2018 CIF Central Section D-I title game.


While basketball generally gets the most notoriety, it isn’t the only popular high school winter sport. Boys and girls soccer are also fan favorites in Kern County. And with good reason. Local high school soccer teams have featured a plethora of outstanding players and done extremely well in the playoffs in recent years. Last year, the Garces boys team won the Central Section Division V championship and Southern California Division V Regional championship. Back for the Rams this season is reigning BVarsity All-Area player of the year Ebubechukwu Ekpemogu. The ultra-talented striker tallied 43 goals and 8 assists for Garces, which lost only two of 32 games last season. Ekpemogu is joined up front by another highly dan70

Bakersfield Life Magazine

January 2020

gerous offensive threat, Moises Cisneros, a 2018 All-Area First Team selection who had 28 goals and 18 assists a year ago. Garces’ backline will be anchored this year by a pair of All-Area Second Team defenders, Angel Navarro and Aldo Pantoja. The Ridgeview boys team also returns a couple of standouts in All-Area First Team players Marco Ceja and Osvaldo Navarro. With Ceja (21 goals and 9 assists) and Navarro (20 goals 8 assists) leading the way, Ridgeview made it all the way to the Central Section Division I championship game last year. Foothill beat Mira Monte, 2-1, in the Central Section Division IV boys championship game last year. However, the Trojans graduated their two top players. Regardless, the Trojans, guided by 2018 BVarsity All-Area Boys Soccer Coach of the Year Ty Rose, still have CALIFORNIAN FILE PHOTOS

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plenty of talent to compete for another section title. On the girls side of things, Arvin was the only Kern County team to win a section championship last year. The Bears, led by freshman midfielder Citali Sanchez, downed Fresno Christian 4-2 in the D-VI title game. Sanchez, an All-Area Second Team selection, had 13 goals and 5 assists during her rookie campaign. The East girls team, which allowed just two goals in 10 Southeast Yosemite League games last year, returns two sophomores who were All-Area picks last year. The Blades’ Serena Rodriguez was named the Southeast Yosemite League defensive player of the year, while teammate Laila Baamuer notched a team-high 30 points (13 goals and 4 assists). East is 133-36 (through the 2018 season) and had a winning record every year since Marty Martinez took over as its coach in 2012. The Blades will be trying to knock off defending league champion Highland for the SEYL title. The Scots return senior forward Alyssa Cleveland and senior defender Kylie Lopez, a pair of All-Area performers last year. Cleveland registered 46 points (20 goals and 6 assists) last season. Liberty, the defending Southwest Yosemite League champions, has three returning First or Second Team All-Area players on its roster. Senior midfielder Cynthia Flores, junior midfielder Ellie Gore and senior defender Kassadi Reece provide the Patriots with enough firepower to stand a great chance at defending their SWYL title and make another run at winning a section championship. Last year, Liberty lost, 2-1, to Fresno-Edison in the D-II championship game. The Patriots have dominated the SWYL since 2016, posting a 28-1-1 record in league games, while winning three straight league titles.

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Inaugural Autism Gala Date: Nov. 16 Held at: Petroleum Club Photos by: Carla Rivas Michelle Zoeller and Barry Zoeller

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Scott Badesch, Chris Banks, Curt Warner, Bernard Puget and Jimmy Montoya

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Bakersfield Life Magazine

January 2020

Jessica Mathews and Tony Mathews

Angie Gonzalez, Laura Montoya, Bernard Puget, Ramona Puget, Kaley Hawkins and Nikki Lewis

Shannon Eldridge and Shawnda Collins

Jim VanSickel and Julie VanSickel

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Ellen Baker Tracy Guild Luncheon Date: Oct. 9 Held at: Kern County Museum Photos by: Nicole Bolinger

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Juliet Granger, Jennifer Levi, Ann Bigler and Bee Barmann

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Kern County Energy Summit Date: Nov. 13 Held at: Bakersfield Marriott Photos by: Rod Thornburg

Ronelle Candia and Linda Parker

Anmol Randhawa, Javier Salinas and Paul De La Cruz

Randell Cates, Louis Ramirez and Janice Mayes

Pat O’Brien, Aaron Jacobson and Tori Hopkins

Randy Hoyle, Jesse Sanchez and Randall Tyson

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Mia Rudd and Cindy Maxwell

Torrey Hartman, Jade Thomasy, Rainee Browder and Amanda DiGiacomo

Julieann Byers, Emilianna Rudd and Jocelyn Byers

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Last Word


No one says they want to be a survivor, unless they have to be one. Survivor is a title Natalie Grumet didn’t expect to carry. It was at the age of 27 that she had to face the diagnosis of an aggressive form of breast cancer. After undergoing six rounds of intensive chemotherapy and numerous surgeries, she beat the odds and eventually recovered. Soon after going into remission, she dedicated herself to patient care and rebuilding her life. She is currently a diagnostic ultrasound technician at St. Joseph Healthcare Providence Mission Viejo Hospital in Viejo, California. She became a survivor and inspiration to many through her work and story. During her recovery, Natalie began sharing the coping mechanisms she developed over the last decade to help others break down their walls to realize their full potential and overcome adversity. Living and loving her life, post-diagnosis, Natalie decided to take a trip in 2017 with a group of friends. Little did she know her life, her courage and her title of survivor would be challenged once more. On the evening of Oct. 1, 2017, while attending the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival on the Las Vegas Strip with a group of friends, a gunman opened fire, shooting Natalie in the face, nearly killing her. Natalie recalls that tragic event clearly. She says after making her way to safety at a nearby hotel, she was taken via ambulance to Sunrise Hospital where her jaw was noted to be completely obliterated — her chin fractured in half, facial nerves destroyed, leaving the left side of her face partially paralyzed. She spent 20 days in the intensive care unit and underwent nine surgeries during the first year. After 10 years in remission from breast cancer, Natalie found herself fighting for her life once again. And once again, she became a survivor. “Natalie is an inspiration to me with her dedication to telling her story as being a breast cancer and Route 91 survivor. She is compassionate for those in need and has taken her struggles to assist and advocate for others,” said Jennifer Henry, executive director of Links for Life. It was during Natalie’s fight against breast cancer that she became acquainted with Links for Life. She joined the

Love Links Fundraiser Feb. 13, 11:30 a.m. Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace, 2800 Buck Owens Blvd. Call 661-322-5601 or email for more information.


Bakersfield Life Magazine

January 2020

Natalie Grumet

organization’s support group and was instrumental in forming the “Youngish Support Group,” a group for those diagnosed under 40. After moving down south, she kept in touch with her survivor sisters at Links for Life. Grumet will be this year’s guest speaker at Links for Life’s “Love Links” fundraiser and luncheon held at Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace on Feb. 13. In her downtime, Natalie enjoys spending time by the ocean near her home with her husband of 16 years and their 5-year-old miniature pinscher. She also enjoys gardening, getting lost in a good book, volunteering and she jokingly calls herself a “dessert connoisseur.” Natalie is a survivor and a true warrior. Her message is one of perseverance to help others find their inner warrior to keep fighting and moving forward.  Visit Natalie’s Facebook group, “I Am a Warrior,” where she journals frequently and shares life experiences with her 5,000 followers.


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Bakersfield Life Magazine January 2020  

Health & Wellness / Doctor profiles

Bakersfield Life Magazine January 2020  

Health & Wellness / Doctor profiles