THE PET ISSUE
Love for our four-legged friends
Local leaders, familiar faces share hopes for the new year
DINING DIVAS Off to Coconut Joeâ€™s for best fish and chips in town
A 28-page special wedding planner
HEROES AMONG US Blood donors save lives
Castle & Cooke has a holiday gift for you. And you get to choose it! The weather outside may be frightful, but the savings during our
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My pet and me
From Mayor Harvey Hall and his sneaky eaters to trainer Diana Mestmaker whose dog greets clients with a smile, we’re a community of dedicated pet owners. Noted Bakersfield pet owners share tales of their furry friends.
New Year’s resolutions
For many, 2009 was a tumultuous year, and hopes are high for what the new year will bring. Bakersfield Life talked to several local leaders and familiar faces to get their thoughts on the year ending and what they’re planning for 2010.
You’ve got the dream wedding in mind; now make it a reality with our special section, packed with tips for planning the perfect nuptials.
Blood that binds Kern
January is National Blood Donors Month, so there’s no better time to thank Kern County blood donors for helping save lives. We have the stories of three residents, like Jeff Lemucchi, shown at left, whose lives were forever changed by a generous donation.
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D E PA R T M E N T S 18 Real People
Trainer Sherry Davis' love of dogs is evident in everything she does.
If you’re interested in Kern’s past, learn more about the Kern County Historical Society.
24 Food and Wine
Columnist Paul Ulrich shares where to get a local taste of wine events.
26 Dining Divas
Our ladies swear by the fish and chips and other fresh flavors at Coconut Joe’s.
Late-night art gallery/studio the latest addition to the downtown arts scene.
32 Going Green
Photo by Greg Nichols
Easy ways to reduce your pet’s carbon paw print.
34 On the Red Couch
These ad agency women are sold on Bakersfield and they’re ready to convince you as well.
38 Home and Garden
Uncover the often-hidden dangers your pets face in your home and yard.
Whether it’s doggy day care or the latest fashion, businesses cater to indulgent pet owners.
54 Health and Fitness
With everybody ready to work off the holiday pounds, we have tips to get you started.
56 Guys On The Green
These four trainers are pumped for 2010 and helping you meet your fitness goals.
Businessman with local roots has made a career of seeking oil abroad.
67 Why I Live Here
The Ornelas family share what they love about Old Stockdale.
68 Trip Planner
There’s a lot to see and do in Solvang, California’s own bit of Europe.
Bakersfield Life’s cameras were at some of the city’s top events last month. Check out who was snapped there.
82 Last Word
Local author and artist Aliza McCracken shares her hopes for the new year.
Bakersfield’s Premier City Magazine
Bakersfield Life™ magazine is published by The Bakersfield Californian. The magazine is inserted into The Bakersfield Californian on the last Saturday of every month. To subscribe, please call 392-5777. Publisher Ginger Moorhouse President/CEO Richard Beene Vice President Sales, Marketing, Circulation & Operations John Wells Advertising Director Bryan Fahsbender Vice President of Content Olivia Garcia Assistant Editor Stefani Dias Art Direction Glenn Hammett Photography Felix Adamo Henry A. Barrios Casey Christie Michael Duffy Jessica Frey Chelley Kitzmiller Greg Nichols Tanya X. Leonzo Jan St. Pierre Rodney Thornburg CoCo Walters Contributing Writers Teresa Adamo Jenny Bachman J.W. Burch IV Sean Kenny Gabriel Ramirez Evelyn Dorman Lisa Kimble Chelley Kitzmiller Dana Martin Jeff Nickell Vicky Thrasher Paul Ulrich Advertising Lupe Carabajal firstname.lastname@example.org 395-7563 Reader Inquiries Bakersfield Life magazine P.O. Bin 440 Bakersfield, CA 93302-0440 BakersfieldLife@bakersfield.com 395-7492 On the cover Tom and Diana Mestmaker have had their Yorkies Rocco, left, and Izzy since they were 8 weeks old. Photo by Henry A. Barrios
We love our pets like family My three, fourlegged “daughters” (as my husband likes to say) would be proud to know that we dedicated this month’s edition as the “Bakersfield Life Pet Issue.” 2010 — ready, set, go! Like many locals, we know that our furry little guys (in my case, German shepherds) aren’t just pets. They are part of the family. Just ask Mayor Harvey Hall, attorney Timothy Lemucchi, Diana Mestmaker, Bonnie Tomlinson and Rudy Carvajal. Read about them and their pets inside. But there’s more. Writer Vicky Thrasher offers tips on how to make your home and yard safe for pets, and Gabriel Ramirez explores how to convert your pal into an ecofriendly pet. A new feature in our magazine is the “Why I Live Here.” In this section, we profile a couple or family who shares or brags about what makes their neighborhood so special. If you have a neighborhood that deserves a spotlight, please email us at: bakersfieldlife@bakersfield. com and tell us why. In this issue, we profile Old Stockdale and the Ornelas family, along with plenty of their young friends, who show us just how great their neighborhood is. The New Year is just around the corner. Many of us are outlining goals we want to accomplish in 2010. Writer Dana Martin spent some time with local leaders and familiar faces and asked them to share their thoughts for the New Year while reflecting on 2009. Among the group: Congressmen Kevin McCarthy; Kern Community College
Photo by Tanya X. Leonzo
January 2010 / Vol. 4 / Issue 4
District Chancellor Sandra Serrano; community activist Wendy Wayne; Kern Community Foundation Board Chairwoman Judi McCarthy; Bakersfield Police Department Assistant Police Chief Lyle Martin and Captain Greg Williamson; Miami Dolphins linebacker Joey Porter; and Oakland A’s outfielder Grant Desme. On the path to better health and fitness for 2010? Check out our “Guys on the Green” section, where we interview local trainers — Roland Brown, Tim Gojich, Patrick Brown and Joe Petersen — who have plenty of motivation to
share with you. And if you need more inspiration, then check out our fitness piece, where we outline steps to help you shed a few pounds. This edition is definitely a keeper for couples who are making wedding plans in 2010 with the help of friends and relatives. We have plenty of tips for you, from picking a unique venue and selecting the right wedding planner to finalizing your checklist (yes, this means you, too, future husband) and making your special day eco-friendly. And if you aren’t sure how to go about selecting the right theme for your big day or need advice for reining in your wedding costs, then read on. Not sure how to express gratitude to people who played different roles on your wedding day? We’ve got it covered.
Olivia Garcia Vice President of Content 395-7487 email@example.com
UUPP FRONT FRONT
It’s Named After
By Lisa Kimble
The imposing presence of the giant limestone statue of Padre Francis Garces in downtown Bakersfield befits the Franciscan priest and missionary who blazed an epic trail across the Mojave Desert through California in the 18th century and became the first European to meet the Mojave Indians. Born Francisco Tomas Mermenegildo Garces in the province of Aragon, Spain, in 1738, Garces joined the Franciscan Order at the age of 15 and was ordained a priest 10 years later. It was shortly after his ordination that he broke the first overland trail between New Mexico and the California missions. Garces explored the Gila and Colorado River valleys down the Colorado to the Gulf of California and up the river to the Grand Canyon. His home base was the frontier mission in Sonora near presentday Tucson, Ariz. Along the way he established two mission churches on the Colorado, including Mission La Purisima Concepcion de la Virgen Santisima in Arizona. Father Garces was the first recorded non-Indian to visit the Kern region. He came to the area via the Tejon Pass in April 1776 in search of a new route into California. His journey from the Mohave village near what is now Needles covered more than 2,000 miles of uncharted wilderness and opened trails that later became highways and railroads. After arriving here, Garces described the La Cresta hills in his diary as “beautiful hills for the situation of a mission.” The “beautiful hills,” 170 years later, became a mission-style Catholic high school
Photo by Henry A. Barrios
Garces Circle and Garces Memorial High School
— Garces Memorial — named in his honor. The famed statue, State Historical Landmark No. 277, was erected in 1939. It stands 15 feet tall and was carved by John Palo-Kangas as part of the Federal Art Project of the Great Depression. Garces died a martyr at the age of 43. He and two other men were killed July 19, 1781, at Mission San Pedro y San Pablo de Bicuñer during the Yuma uprising.
The Pulse: What’s hot and what’s not this month in Bakersfield
Spotlight Cafe Closing
The wait is over. The historic building, reopens with as a 112-room hotel with restaurants, a lounge and more.
With the holiday behind us, it’s time to treat yourself to super deals.
In the National Journal’s latest Insider Poll, congressional insiders ranked the Bakersfield Republican the GOP member with the “brightest future.”
The new year
2009 was tough on everybody. All signs point to improvements in 2010.
The eatery is the latest victim of the recession, striking a blow to the downtown arts scene.
Over the Thanksgiving weekend, 56 people were arrested at a checkpoint for driving under the influence. There’s enough stress during the holidays without these dangers.
New data shows California groundwater is much lower than expected, worrying scientists.
It’s time again for that Tule fog to roll in, leading to danger on the roads and plenty of delays.
EVENING OF WISHES OVERHEARD
After a successful kickoff year, the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central California returns with the second annual “Evening of Wishes” at the Petroleum Club. All proceeds from the Jan. 30 formal dinner dance go to granting wishes of children with life-threatening diseases in Kern County and the Central Valley at large. All funds raised by the foundation are used in the eight counties it serves: Fresno, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced and Tulare. The Central California chapter has granted more than 1,200 wishes since it was founded in 1986, and due to the growing number of wishes in Kern County, a satellite office opened in Bakersfield to reach out to the generous business community and individuals.
Like last year, the foundation promises guests a great evening of gourmet food, silent and live auctions, and dancing to the sounds of Wayne Foster Entertainment. The evening starts at 6 p.m. with emcees Lisa Krch and Kurt Rivera from KBAK-TV/FOX 58, which returns as a media partner for the event. Also returning is presenting sponsor Grimmway Farms, which helped the event get off the ground with its donation this year and last. Other sponsors include Citizens Business Bank, Bea and Scott Mahlmann, Shelly and John Owens, Elite Auctions, Tejon Ranch, Mercy Hospital, Memorial Hospital and Kern Trophies. For more information, please contact Angene Grigg at 2046431.
While the rest of the state is hemorrhaging, we are holding our own. We can take some comfort in the old adage: In the land of the blind, the Cyclops is king.
— Richard Chapman, president and CEO of Kern Economic Development Corp., on the local economic outlook.
Monarch Butterfly grove If you needed another reason to head to the coast, it’s the perfect time to catch a glimpse of the myriad western monarch butterflies settled in their winter home in Pismo Beach. Each year from October through March, thousands of monarchs, having traveled more than 2,000 miles — some flying from as far east as the Colorado Rockies and as far north as Canada — take shelter in the mild coastal climate of Pismo Beach (as well as Pacific Grove and Morro Bay). Head to the Monarch Butterfly Grove, a
beachside cluster of eucalyptus trees on Highway 1, where the trees offer shelter and protection for thousands of the colorful insects. During the migration season, knowledgeable docents are on hand to answer questions and give tours at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. daily. There is also an information kiosk set up to provide information about self tours. Visit monarchbutterfly.org or classic california.com for more details or call 805-773-4382 or 800-443-7778 to plan your trip.
BY THE NUMBERS: OWNING A PET
percentage of Bakersfield adults who own a pet (54 percent own a dog and 23 percent own a cat)
Number of Bakersfield adults who shopped for pet supplies in the past 12 months. (Wal-Mart was the top stop at 35 percent.)
Age at which a dog needs to be licensed
$30 - $40 Cost to adopt a cat from Animal Control
Sources: Scarborough Research Survey 2009 R2, sample of 1,200 Bakersfield adults; Kern County Animal Control
So You Want To ...
Pick a veterinarian 1. Ask around Like numerous other searches in your life, start off by asking around. Talk to friends and fellow pet owners, and find out what they think of their veterinarian. If you want to get more specific, ask someone who has the same breed as you or contact a breed club.
2. Study the style Investigate a veterinarian’s treatment style. Pet owners should request to speak with a few current patients for a reference. Also consider a brief interview with the veterinarian to get a better idea of the vet’s style and treatment philosophies. A veterinarian’s personal style and interaction methods are very important. Find one who is adept at offering explanations on a pet’s care.
3. Off to the office Ask about office hours, standard office visit fee and who covers when the vet
is away. Watch how the veterinarian and the vet technicians interact with each other. If they are polite and cordial with each other, this reflects a happy work environment, which will translate to better care for your pet.
4. In case of emergency Consider the office's distance from your home in the event of an emergency. Find out how emergency calls are handled during regular office hours and after regular office hours. If your pet has to stay overnight, look into the office's care plan and that there are staff to monitor your pet.
5. Go with your gut Your pet is relying on you to make the best choice for its care. Do the research and visit several practices before you make a decision. Take the time to choose the right veterinarian for your special pet. www.BakersfieldLife.com
2010 Polar Bear Plunge, 11 a.m., McMurtrey Aquatic Center. $5 plunge; $25 plunge and sweatshirt. 852-7430.
Merle Haggard, 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace. $60 to $75. 328-7560.
Condors vs. Ontario Reign, 7 p.m., Rabobank Arena. $7 to $25. 324-7825 or bakersfieldcondors. com.
Find more community events at BakersfieldLife.com or Bakersfield.com/calendar.
FLICS presents “Happy Go Lucky,” 7:30 p.m., Fox Theater. $5. 325-4815 or flics.org.
Tommy Castro, No Stinkin’ Service Charge Blues Series, 6:30 p.m., DoubleTree Hotel Ballroom. $25. 831-3100
Condors vs. Stockton Thunder, 7 p.m., Rabobank Arena. $7 to $25. 324-7825 or bakersfieldcondors. com.
Nearly Wholesale Sale, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Kern County Museum. 852-5000.
The Ultimate Bridal Event, noon to 4 p.m., Rabobank Convention Center. $8 to $15. 835-1305 or ultimatebridalevent.com.
Gabriel Iglesias, doors open at 6 p.m., show at 7, Fox Theater. $41.50. 3241369 or vallitix.com.
Nearly Neil and the Solitary Band, 7:30 p.m., Rabobank Theater. $60 for season. 205-8522.
Mose Allison and his trio, presented by Legends of Jazz, 8 p.m., Dore Theatre, Cal State Bakersfield. $8 to $18. 654-2293.
Arts & Ivories, featuring solo pianist Louis Landon, 7 p.m. Bakersfield Museum of Art. Fundraiser for the Henrietta Weill Child Guidance Clinic. $75. 322-1021.
“Sound of Music,” 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, also runs Jan. 22-24, 28-30, Stars Dinner Theatre. $50 to $54; show-only tickets $25. 325-6100.
FLICS presents “My Father, My Lord,” 7:30 p.m., Fox Theater. $5. 325-4815 or flics.org.
Condors vs. Victoria Salmon Kings, 7 p.m., Rabobank Arena. $7 to $25. 324-7825 or bakersfieldcondors. com.
Voices of Latin Rock, doors open at 7 p.m., show at 8, Fox Theater. $23 to $38. 324-1369
Can’t-miss events in January
An Evening of Opera Scenes, 7:30 p.m., Dore Theatre. $6 to $10. 654-2168.
Condors vs. Idaho Steelheads, 7 p.m., Rabobank Arena. $7 to $25. 324-7825 or bakersfieldcondors. com
Second annual Evening of Wishes, Make-A-Wish fundraiser, 6 p.m., Petroleum Club. $125. 204-6431.
Home. It seems a “simple” enough concept. Home is the foundation of our lives. And while it can come in many colors, shapes and sizes, home is always bigger than the house it is surrounded by. For 103 years, our agents have helped people find the houses they call home. And now more than ever, it’s important we never stop moving.
1820 Westwind Drive
9100 Ming Ave., Ste1
3820 Coffee Rd., Ste 1
Photo by Casey Christie
Sherry Davis and her dog, Frankie.
Dogged dedication Sherry Davisâ€™ love of dogs is evident in everything she does By Jenny Bachman
or some, loving dogs is not just a feeling but a way of life. Sherry Davis is definitely one of these people. She juggles teaching one-on-one dog lessons, visiting hospitals with her dog, and writing a weekly column about dog obedience. Sherry Davis owns CSI 4 K9s, a business dedicated to helping problem dogs and sometimes-problem owners live in peace together. Davis says the name,which started 18
as an inside joke among friends, has now turned into a thriving business. As Davis explains, she enters a dog ownerâ€™s home and must investigate the scene of the crime. Once she is able to locate the origin of the problem it is simply a matter of training the dog and the owner. Davis interviews possible clients over the phone and then assesses whether to work with the dog and owner at the client's home or at an off-site location, depending on their needs.
“Owners have a tendency to project human values and emotions onto their dogs and are disappointed when the dog doesn’t respond to them as they wish. No two situations are alike, and it is important to think 'outside the box.'” explains Davis, who schedules one-onone appointments six days a week. When Davis is not working with clients individually, she also finds time to teach group classes at Biscuit Boutique & Doggy Spa downtown. Davis also spends time at Memorial Hospital with her dog Frank. Currently Davis is helping Optimal Hospice set up a therapy dog program. Another important aspect of Davis’ career is her work as a certified evaluator for the American Kennel Club's Canine Good Citizen test and for Therapy Dogs International. She conducts tests in Bakersfield and Los Angeles on a regular basis. American Kennel Club records registrations for dogs and is the governing body supervising licensed dog shows and performances. The column Davis writes for The Bakersfield Californian is dedicated to helping dog owners solve common pet behavioral problems with the ultimate goal of preventing a dog from being sent to a shelter. From a column to classes, Davis' day is full of nonstop activity. “My days are never boring, I go from a private appointment, to a volunteer visit at the hospital, to a few minutes on my article, to another appointment, then a class,” said Davis. “I have the greatest clients and meet the best dogs and have made wonderful lasting
friendships.” Davis says that her proudest achievement is being certified last month with Frank as Kern County’s first Disaster Stress Relief team. First used after the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 and again after the Sept. 11 attacks, teams of therapy dogs and volunteers reach out to victims and relief workers, easing stress and offsetting the emotional impact of disaster. It is clear that helping dogs and dog owners is what keeps Davis busy all day. Her efforts are a great example of giving back to the community using knowledge and good will.
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Society members Joyce Bailey and Lester McDonald at the historical marker at the Buttonwillow Tree.
past Embracing our
Kern County Historical Society dedicated to preserving local history
By Jeff Nickell, Director, Kern County Museum Photos courtesy of the Kern County Museum
he Kern County Historical Society believes the past is the light that will illuminate our future. So if you’re interested in Kern’s past, then this group is interested in you. The countywide nonprofit organization, founded in 1931 as an outgrowth of the Society of Kern Pioneers, is open to all who are interested in history and Kern County history in particular. Its current membership includes people from many diverse occupations as well as retirees and both longtime residents and more recent comers. Supported by membership dues and contributions, the society is devoted to preserving, publishing and distributing information related to the history of Kern County. Preservation of Kern County's heritage is the society's principal goal. Especially noteworthy are the group’s publications — a long line of brochures and books — invaluable in their coverage of early days and early activities as well as in their awareness of the impact of history on how we live today. In addition to making this outstanding material available to the public, this nonprofit organization:
“Your Family’s Partner for Home Care” Our Quality Home Care Services Include: The historical marker at Fort Tejon, seen here in the spring of 1969. The Kern County Historical Society was one of the organizations that helped get Fort Tejon designated a State Historic Landmark. • sponsored the placing of landmark marker throughout the county; • worked with the California Division of Parks and Recreation in the restoration of Fort Tejon; • cooperated through the years with chambers of commerce and boards of trade to help insure high standards in publicity pamphlets; • is the parent sponsor of the Kern County Museum, which features a 16-acre site that Alfred Harrell includes historic structures ranging from 1868 through 1936. Members receive the society’s illustrated quarterly, Historic Kern, as well as Kern Grapevine, a monthly newsletter offering information about upcoming events. Numerous prominent residents have served as its president starting with Bakersfield Californian founder Alfred Harrell. Others who have lead the organization include Jesse Stockton, Clarence Cullimore, Eugene Burmeister, “Viki” Araujo, John and Jerry Ludeke, Mary Ming and Betty Cook, just to name a few. Continued on page 22
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Shh…Do you know age is just a number? Continued from page 21
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Old Bakersfield Sites and Landmarks, speaker Lynn Hay Rudy
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Meetings of the Kern County Historical Society are held monthly between September and May, with the exception of December. The meetings feature speakers on subjects pertaining to county history, historical sites and Kern lore. Field trips are led by experts who are well acquainted with the sites. Meetings and field trips are open to members, guests and the general public. Members of today’s Kern County Historical Society carry on the torch to ensure that residents of our great county know the history that has brought us to this point in time. I encourage you to learn more about our county’s history and share it with our youth so that they too will be aware of our wonderful heritage.
Field trip to Rio Tinto Borax Mine Visitor's Center, Twenty Mule Team Museum and Saxe Aerospace Museum in Boron
April 17 The Epsom Salt Monorail, speaker Rebecca Orfila
May 15 Kern County Pets and People, speaker Sarah Woodman
Historic publications The society has published a long line of local history books by a number of noted historians, including the late Dr. Harland Boyd, who was a history professor at Bakersfield College and the dean of Kern County history. He headed up the publication committee for several years and insured that the society put out reliable and accurate information as well as serving as a mentor to many local historians. Whatever the question, Dr. Boyd was always willing to share his expertise. Here are some of the books: “Curtis Darling's Postcard Collection,” by Donald Arnot and Jeff Nickell “Basques to Bakersfield,” by Mary Paquette “Kern County Place Names,” second edition, by Curtis Darling “Historical Site Markers — Kern County,” by William G. Hample and Robert E. Crabtree “Chinese in Kern County 1857-1960: Based on pioneer oral histories,” by William Harland Boyd “Stagecoach Heyday in the San Joaquin Valley 1853-1876,” by William Harland Boyd “Lower Kern River Country 1850-1950,” by William Harland Boyd “Kern County Wayfarers,” by William Harland Boyd “Kern County Pioneer Recollections,” Nicholas Patrick Scanlan, editor “Land Policies in Kern County,” by Paul W. Gates
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Photo by CoCo Walters
FOOD AND WINE
Don Grimes owns Wine Me Up on Coffee Road and hosts about two special wine events per month.
A taste of local events There are lots of places in town to sample fine wines all year long By Paul Ulrich Wine Columnist
pportunities to attend wine tastings, winemaker dinners, and food and wine events have really opened up in Bakersfield over the past few years. Whether youâ€™re interested in trying something new, or simply want to enjoy a nice dinner paired with some special wines, thereâ€™s an event for you.
Bakersfield Wine Society The Bakersfield Wine Society has held winemaker dinners for quite some time. To discuss the upcoming calendar, I talked to Mike Stepanovich, who is a leading source of information regarding wines and winemaking. He also serves as a judge in state and national
wine competitions. The society hosts five events every year; some of their dinners are held in conjunction with Bakersfield College as a fundraiser for the college (a very worthy cause). The Sterling Silver dinner is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 29 at the Collins Campus Center. Please call 395-4273 to purchase tickets or for more information about the dinner. Details for the society can be found at winecountrygourmet.net. The society also has a Facebook page, or you can contact Stepanovich at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bakersfield Friends of Wine Another group that has been around for a while is the Bakersfield Friends of Wine. Klaus Hoeper, another local legend, provided
some information about their group. They host tastings or dinners every other month (alternating with the Bakersfield Wine Society). Most are held at the Petroleum Club. They also have a Summer Festival in June at Rio Bravo Country Club, with about 35 wineries present and a tremendous variety of food to accompany the wine. Contact the group at 871-6463.
Wine bars We are fortunate to have two retail wine establishments that also have a wine bar for tasting wines. Imbibe has a special selection of wines, usually a flight of six, on Friday evenings and Saturdays. These wines, which vary in type every week, are chosen by co-owner David Dobbs and have a common theme. There are also many winemaker visits and other events every week at Imbibe. Check out their Web site at Imbibewine.com for the latest information. The site is kept current, and you can sign up for e-mail updates. Wine Me Up hosts about two special events every month. Owner Don Grimes said that they try to vary the events to keep them interesting. He is also including craft beers in some of the tastings. Its Web site is winemeupbakersfield.com, and the business maintains an e-mail list to inform customers of their current offerings.
Restaurants Some of our local restaurants also host wine tastings and special dinners. Valentien has a special food and wine pairing every Wednesday, a good opportunity to try some different wines you may not have considered in the past. The restaurant host winemaker
Photo Henry A. Barrios
Café Med holds a wine tasting with appetizers on the last Friday of each month.
dinners, although the schedule has not been set at this time. Attendance is limited to 16 for the winemaker dinners, to insure a quality experience for all. The best way to get information regarding the schedule is to sign up for the e-mail updates. Call 864-0397 for more information. Café Med, and its Gourmet Shoppe, has had wine tastings for years. There is a wine tasting hosted with appetizers on the last Friday of every month. The restaurant also has winemaker dinners, and a fabulous wine list for everyday dining. Check out the Web site at cafemedrestaurant.com for current information. Luigi’s schedules a large wine tasting — which normally sells out quickly — about three times a year. There are also wines available to taste in the deli on Friday and Saturday. Call 322-0926 to get the latest information. A common factor uniting these events is the presence of food. The underlying purpose of a wine tasting is to learn about new wines, enjoy some great food, and have fun with a group of friends. There is a big difference between tasting a wine and drinking wine. These functions are not intended to be drinking contests. Responsible consumption cannot be overemphasized. I would encourage anyone to try to take the time to participate responsibly, enjoy the experience, and learn more about food and wine. Note: This is by no means a complete list of every event in town. I will try to include some other items of interest in future columns. Please contact me at email@example.com if there are other events that I should know about. www.BakersfieldLife.com
D I N I N G D I VA S
The Dining Divas — Aimee Williamson, Lori Ritchie, Whitney Rector and Wendy Horack in front of Cocconut Joe’s.
Way to go, Joe’s Divas make a getaway for fantastic fish and chips, homemade flavors Photos by Greg Nichols
Hello, Joe ... and Jeff
Whitney: We meet the brains behind Coconut Joe’s and his name is Joe. Then we meet the manager Jeff, the other half of Joe. They were both incredibly kind and fun-loving! They brought us up to date on the changes made to what was once The Getaway Cafe (now Coconut Joe’s). They’ve added new menu items and are continually making changes to the decor. Aimee: Joe and Jeff are so excited and passionate about what they do every day: deliver fun, healthy (with a few exceptions), fresh and delicious food to the lucky people of Bakersfield. Not only are the people of Bakersfield happy to have Coconut Joe’s as part of our city, the state of Hawaii is too! Coconut Joe’s received a huge congratulation from the governor of Hawaii on their 20th anniversary!
Aimee: Coconut Joe’s has had many transformations over the past few years. Joe accounts the changes to his various loves: Indiana Jones, Jim-
Fish and chips
my Buffett, tiki lounges and finally the family-friendly beach-surf scene. As our weather is cold and gloomy, it is always a day in paradise inside Coconut Joe’s! When you step inside you feel like you have joined the set of “Beach Blanket Bingo” and know Frankie and Annette could be sighted at anytime. Wendy: If you are lucky you might see the Boat Yard truck in the parking lot. It has the catch of the day in the back! A large great white shark nearly crushes the old truck. My kids get excited every time we see it driving down the road. Whitney: Aimee asked if their surfer car is outside and can we get our picture taken next to the car. I don’t think Joe could answer fast enough; Aimee was already up and running outside, mumbling she knows exactly where she wants to pose. We walk outside and Aimee is up on the hood of the car next to the shark. I asked Lori, "How does she do this kind of junk in four-inch heels?"
Tri-tip with beans and cole slaw
Continued on page 28
Two-piece mesquite chicken meal, above, and the mesquite chicken salad, left.
The man behind Coconut Joe's, Joe Coughlin, and his wife Leah
Continued from page 27
Ready to order?
Whitney: I’m not even in the door to Coconut Joe’s and Wendy announces that she is ordering the tri-tip. She informs us that Coconut Joe’s is known for its tri-tip and because she loves tri-tip, it only makes sense that she has first dibs on it. She’s stating this in a singsong kind of way and smiles at us. You just can’t make her up! Wendy: I knew what I wanted to order long before we got there. My favorite dish at Coconut Joe’s is the tri-tip with beans and coleslaw. I think they've got the best tri-tip in town. It is coated with a special seasoning and barbecued perfectly. I can never get enough of it.
Off the grill
Aimee: Everything we ate was fantastic! I loved the mesquite chicken salad. It is made with fresh mixed greens with a large portion of fresh diced chicken breast. The homemade oil and vinegar dressing was perfect. It would make a meal in itself. But my favorite by far was the Huli Huli burger! Huli Huli means “to flip” and you will definitely flip over this burger! It has a huge beef patty served with jack cheese, grilled pineapple, lettuce, tomatoes and a sauce to die for. I really hated to share it, but I am trying to be more like Lori (she is still by far the nicest Diva!). Joe and Jeff were surprised how much the four of us could put away, but 28
with food like this we just couldn’t stop! Whitney: I’m just getting over the typhoid flu and I needed something mild and easy on the stomach, so I ordered the original two-piece mesquite chicken meal. It’s exactly what the doctor ordered. Very tender, flavorful pieces of chicken that have been marinating for hours in fruit juices before being thrown on a grill. It came with a choice of two sides. Do yourself a favor and order the coleslaw. If you don’t toss the chunky salsa on top of the chicken, there is something wrong with you! Thank you, Joe, for putting fries on the menu. Joe wants a healthy menu and didn’t always offer fries. Say it ain’t so, Joe! Fresh-cut potatoes, seasoned perfectly, absolutely has to go with the Huli Huli burger.
What a catch
Wendy: Joe asked us if we had heard that he had added fish and chips and clam chowder to his menu. I remembered that my in-laws had just told me they had tried the fish and chips and said it was better than another local popular fish and chips spot in Bakersfield. I think Joe knew there might be a fight at the table over the fish so he was kind enough to bring out a sample platter. The other girls gave me such a hard time. The fish is lightly coated — “just how I like it” — and fried (Joe doesn't like that word) in oil with no trans fats. He stressed this as the foundation of his restaurant is about
Aimee: Even though we were stuffed,
we forced ourselves to try a bite (or three) of both the banana nut cake and Joe & the Chocolate Volcano cake! Both are made with what they call Flow Frosting. They pour the frosting over the whole cake and let it flow over the sides; each bite has the perfect amount of cake and frosting. I loved both of them! I could have eaten a whole piece of each! Lori: Chocolate cake and banana cake were the desserts we all shared — homemade, of course. Real chocolate and real banana taste just like making it in your own home. Desserts are a must so save room. Whitney: I haven’t been able to stop telling people about the banana nut cake since our visit. Joe, can I order it in a large for parties? I think I can and will. Jeff told us that his cakes are baked daily at 4:30 a.m. They have a patent on their cake frosting. It’s called the Flow Frosting and, baby, it flows all over the cake. We know how to enjoy good food and apparently so does Joe. His last comment to us before we got up from the table was, “Dang, you girls can flat eat!”
4158 California Ave. 327-1378 or coconutjoes.com Open daily 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
RSFIELD CALIF OR N
O ’ C H O IC E P
good healthy food. Lori: If anyone is having a craving for fish and chips, no need to head to Pismo, just go to Coconut Joe’s. The fish is an Alaskan true cod fillet, hand-cut right at the restaurant. The batter is homemade and is very light and is cooked in zero trans fat oil. The tartar and cocktail sauces are both homemade. Nothing is pre-made or pre-packaged. Most Fridays people love to go somewhere for clam chowder, but now they don't have to wait: Coconut Joe’s is serving clam chowder every day of the week. The clam chowder is thick and a little spicy, made the way Joe used to get as a kid in Alexandria, Va. The clam chowder is hand-mixed to a perfect consistency with a bunch of clams, served in a Pyrenees sourdough bread bowl or a la carte. Whitney: Joe searched high and low for the perfect clam chowder and I think he found it! It beats Splashes at Pismo Beach clam chowder all to heck. It’s creamy, thick and full of the good stuff!
The Divas talk tri-tip and more with owner Joe Coughlin, left, and manager Jeff Salters.
Thank you ld Bakersfievoting
ain for once ag e best us as th taurant s e r e s e n a Jap s! for 12 year Mon-Thurs Lunch 11:30-2pm Dinner 5-9:30pm Friday Lunch 11:30-2pm Dinner 5-10pm Saturday Dinner 5-10pm Sunday 5-9pm
4154 CALIFORNIA AVE BAKERSFIELD CA 93309
(661) 326-1860 www.BakersfieldLife.com
E N T E R TA I N M E N T
Artist Johnny Ramos at work on his piece, "The Envy."
Stylish synergy Downtown arts scene set to shine with ‘late-night art gallery studio’
By Evelyn Dorman
he seeds of downtown development are starting to sprout and hold root. Witness the established arts corridor and rebirth of the Padre Hotel. But the growth of new businesses is not just confined to 19th and Eye streets and west of Chester. A new art gallery and combined Web/graphic and furniture design studio opens in mid-January featuring the abstract art of Johnny Ramos and expertise of Web designer Kynan Chambers of Fluxor Studios. The new bossanovastudios joins Fluxor nestled next to Goose Loonies Cafe at 814 18th St. and expects to bloom with more busi30
Photos by Felix Adamo ness dealing in art, furniture and design. Speaking of flowers, it’s the 8-foot-tall abstract floral paintings that won Ramos initial recognition after gallery showings at Metro Galleries. Considered an emerging painter of the 21st century, Ramos prefers to use the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s as his muse for his abstract art, furniture and design. Inspired by Metro and other galleries, Ramos decided to partner with Chambers to bring his bossanovastudios out of cyberspace in the form of a gallery. But just as Ramos is not a traditional artist, neither is his gallery space. His paintings will be displayed up in the front of the sleek, modern, renovated 1913-era building. When one enters, a corridor leads to offices where clients
"The Golden Empire" by Johnny Ramos. can meet with Chambers and consult on Webbased graphic and furniture design. Upstairs is a furnished loft for clients to “experience art in a normal setting,” Ramos said. The loft with an arched window that replicates the exposed arched steel tresses in the ceiling overlooks Ramos’ studio. Once up and running, Ramos and Chambers plan on keeping later hours than most art galleries, especially on Friday evenings, they said. “It will start at 7 p.m. and stay open until 5 a.m. or until the disco ball breaks,” Ramos jokes. The art gallery will only exhibit Ramos’ work exclusively. “It will be the late-night art gallery studio,” he said. “The florals will do better here,” says Ramos, who plans to display his creations so that passers-by and clients are exposed to it. “You can come to the studio gallery and see all my work and choose what you want. I’m one who will go to your house and do a custom painting for you — I want to give people the art they want. “This is not going to be a normal gallery where everyone stands around with nowhere to sit. It’s going to be more like New York urban chic. It’s like an art studio Andy Warhol would have had,” Ramos said. Chambers, who does the bulk of the graphics, Web design and marketing, believes the new studio is slowly bringing San Francisco- and L.A.-style architecture to Bakersfield. He initially bought the building back in 1997 and has been renovating it over the past year and a half. It has a barrel roof and high ceilings, exposed brick and hardwood floors. Since 1997, Chambers has worked in digital design and computer engineering thus turning “art into digital design.” It’s like “an old-world L.A. art gallery that I hope will
Johnny Ramos be a showpiece for my design work,” Chambers said. “We want to brand everything with Johnny’s art. Johnny does the opposite of what I do with his abstract paintings. He turns the digital and changes it to analog.” Chambers said. Plans call for working on a clothing line and putting Ramos’ art on laptop covers and in other design forms. “It’s a great partnership of working together. I can compliment his artwork on the World Wide Web,” Chambers said. In the back of the building is Ramos’ studio – bare except for his larger-than-life canvasses and alternating paint cans lining the whitewashed brick walls. The area is unfinished but already feels like an artist’s lair with splattered paint on the floors making an artistic statement all their own. “I’ll always do the florals, but my passion is using bold Japanese brush strokes to create my pieces,” Ramos says.
Reduce carbon paw print with these green tips
By Gabriel Ramirez
o you’ve decided to go green. You’ve purchased energy-saving light bulbs, recycled everything you possibly can and perhaps even invested in a solar energy system, but you still feel you can do more. You might be asking yourself how you can get your four-legged pals to contribute to saving the planet. How can you reduce your pet’s carbon paw print? According to Jennifer Jordan, owner of Green Shops on Meany Avenue, helping your pet go green just takes a little thought and some trial and error. “After that it will become a habit and you will know that your pet is healthier for your changes and the planet will thank you as well,” Jordan said. Bonnie Tomlinson, owner of Biscuit Boutique & Doggy Spa in downtown Bakersfield, said one of the easiest things to start doing is recycling pet food bags and cans and using biodegradable bags to clean up waste.
“Pet owners can buy foods with no byproducts and preservatives and switch to organic and holistic foods,” Tomlinson said. “Also another way to help the environment is to use Business Bags by Spike. These are poop bags that biodegrade in 45 days.” Jordan suggests that going green doesn’t have to be expensive. You just have to pay attention, do your research and follow the three Rs — reduce, reuse and recycle. “For us total pet lovers, our pets are just as important as our children and one of the family members. I myself started on my green path because of my dogs. I have two adorable yellow Labs and one of them was getting sick a couple times a week,” Jordan said. “I could not figure out what was making her ill and started to do some research. I learned that the toxic chemicals that I was using to clean my floors were incredibly toxic for my dogs as well. Once I switched out my cleaning products, my dogs were cured, and I became even more intrigued about this lifestyle change. We hear similar stories like this in our store on a weekly basis.”
Jordan believes that the use of products with toxic chemicals is one of the most environmentally hurtful thing pet owners do. “Our waterways and oceans do not need our chemicals and our pets certainly do not either. Would you want to lick bleach off of your hands after cleaning? I would hope the answer is no,” Jordan said. “To me, this is the most harmful thing we can do to our pets, children, ourselves and the planet.” Some more suggestions from Tomlinson and Jordan: Use biodegradable bags for animal waste and to line cat boxes and birdcages. Stay away from the plastic bags and reduce your dog’s carbon dioxide emissions. If you want to ditch the bags altogether, consider composting. You can compost all of your dog’s waste with a pet composter, which converts the waste into fertilizer. Look for toys that are organic or made from recycled materials. Also try making your own toys from old fabric, yarn, socks or materials that you find around your home. This will not only help the environment but also your pet, which won’t be licking away at a petroleum-based product. Have pets spayed or neutered. Pet overpopulation takes up valuable resources and contributes to pollution. Buy organic pet food that is free of hormones and chemicals that may be toxic to your pet. Recycle household materials for bedding. Some of the family’s old blankets or towels work well as do old pillowslips stuffed with foam packaging peanuts. Clean up pet messes with natural items like baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, or natural biodegradable soaps.
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ON THE RED COUCH
Sold on Bakersfield These three know a lot about Bakersfield and how to reach audiences. They share more about the local ad game with us.
Photos by Henry A. Barrios
How did you get started in advertising? Linda: I was first introduced to advertising when I was hired as an account executive for KGEO/ KGFM radio 20 years ago. After working in the radio business for several years, I was hired as an advertising executive for KBAK-TV. As my love for the ad business grew, I decided to expand into print and spent a year studying graphic design before starting my business.
Marlene B. Heise Heise Media
Marlene: I chased my dream job (marketing/advertising) from Wisconsin to Bakersfield — yes, I’m a cheesehead and Packer fan — to work at KGET-TV. Michelle: My degree is in communications and it something I always wanted to do. That is, after I decided I would probably never be the next Oprah. Right after college I worked at the Chamber of Commerce (best job ever) and then I was hired at my first ad agency.
What’s your favorite thing about your job? Linda: That’s easy — the creative process. There is nothing more gratifying than a client’s expression when I deliver a logo or ad campaign that is more than they imagined. Marlene: Great clients, great employees, and there is always something new and different every day. Michelle: I love being creative and I love meeting new people. It is the perfect job for me. 34
Linda Burton Ad Class Advertising Agency
What’s been your funniest moment on the job? Linda: A few months after starting my business, I was hired by a prestigious retail store in southwest Bakersfield to help them promote their move to the downtown area. In a broad media mix campaign, the clients let me run with the idea of gangsters who were going to “blow the joint.” After the first ad break, one of the clients phoned very upset by the lack of response. I was certain I’d be fired and my new business doomed. The next day when I arrived at the store, the clients gave me a box of my favorite See’s candy. Apparently, the media machine had driven traffic into high gear by the end of the first day and they were very pleased. All in all, it was a successful campaign and one we still laugh about today. Marlene: All the copy we write and ideas that we come up with that can’t be published! Michelle: I have had so many funny moments — it would be impossible to pick. I have worked with so many great people and we have always used laughter as a stress relief! Humor is good for the soul.
Why do you say to the businesses that don’t think they need to advertise/promote themselves? Linda: I tell them advertising is an important part of every successful business. If they choose not keep their name out there, they can rest assured a competitor down the street will. My axiom is: The one who speaks the loudest and most often wins!
Michelle Mize Mize Agency
Marlene: There is proven data that supports that those businesses that advertise and market themselves grow exponentially. How did Coke get to be Coke, Apple to be Apple without a superior product and a consistent exceptional advertising and marketing campaign? Michelle: If you don't tell people that you are in business, how do you expect them to come? I understand cutting back in this economy, but to stop advertising altogether is a huge mistake. When the economy comes back, your consumers will assume you are no longer in business if they never see you advertise! Continued on page 36 www.BakersfieldLife.com
Continued from page 35
How do you market your clients for the Bakersfield audience? Linda: I keep in mind that every client and situation is unique, then I start with the basics: identify the client’s needs and goals, determine their target customer, set a budget, formulate a media plan and design a winning ad campaign! Marlene: Every client’s needs are different depending upon the target market that we are trying to reach to sell/market their product. We choose various mediums, whether it is radio, TV, social media or even newspaper to get the right media mix and person viewing the right message – no cookie cutter approaches. Michelle: I am a fan of all forms of advertising. When people say, “What works best?” I say, "I can make anything work." It is the message and the delivery ... oh yeah and a big budget helps! I am a heavy consumer of advertising.
Marlene B. Heise 36
Michelle Mize January 2010
What has been your most creative campaign/promotion? Linda: Some years ago, I was working with two builders to promote their new upscale development in the northwest. I happen to be communications chair for the American Heart Association at the time, and they were looking for a prominent venue for their first Celebrity Celebration Dinner. Perfect! The black-tie gala was a successful fundraiser for the AHA and a lovely setting in which to showcase my client’s homes. I was honored to have been a part of it. Marlene: I take great pride in everything the Heise Media does on behalf of our clients. However, the one thing that I am proudest of is my 24-year-old son, Nicholas, who is an exceptional young man that graduated with a B.S. in chemistry from UC Riverside and works for Halliburton in Bakersfield. Michelle: Too many to count — I have been doing this a long time.
HOME AND GARDEN
A safe home for pets Take steps to address hidden dangers in home, yard
By Vicky Thrasher tâ€™s often been said that having a pet is much like having a rambunctious 3-year-old in the house. Few topics shed light on those similarities the way safety issues do, as creating a baby-safe house and a pet-safe house are more alike than they seem. Here are a few tips to keep your home and yard a safe and enjoyable space for you and your four-footed friends.
At home Appliance and electronics cords can be a hazard when animals choose to chew on them. Cord protectors, sold in home improvement stores, can safely keep cords hidden from young pets. Made of plastic, they house cords behind their plastic shell and can be 38
secured against the wall or along a floor area. Another option is to spray cords with chew deterrents, such as Bitter Apple, which has a harmless but unpleasant taste to discourage mouthing. Houseplants are another potential hazard, as there are several that can induce serious illness or death. The Humane Society of the United States publishes a guide of indoor and outdoor plants that are hazardous to pets, including which parts of the plant place your pet at risk. The guide can be downloaded at hsus.org. Another easily overlooked area is medication storage, including vitamins and mineral supplements. Cats can easily knock pills or pill bottles off of counters or shelves. Medium- and larger-sized dogs can reach tabletops and take prescription bottles in seconds,
and child-safe caps have nothing on a determined dog’s teeth. Medication should be safely stored within cabinets and well out of reach of curious paws. While we’re on the subject of counters, keep dishrags well out of reach. Dogs may find the aroma of food scraps hard to resist and if ingested, the dishrags may become lodged in their digestive system, creating a blockage that can quickly become a veterinary emergency. In the bathroom, keep the toilet lids down to prevent pets from drinking toilet water, especially if you use continuous cleaning chemicals like those once-a-month toilet treatment tablets or hanging tank cleansers. “Think small” when pets are involved. Items like paper clips, rubber bands, bottle caps, string, toothpicks or twist ties don’t seem like much to us, but for pets they can cause serious issues, including choking, perforation and blockage hazards. Keep smaller, easily digested items stowed safely out of the way.
In the yard A secure fence is a must for keeping dogs safe when they are outdoors. Make sure your fence is tall enough that your dog cannot easily jump or climb over it and that they cannot dig or squirm under it. Small dogs can navigate through some tight spaces, so patrol the perimeter on a regular basis to identify and repair any potential escape routes. Outfit your gates with auto-close hinges so if someone accidentally leaves the gate open when leaving your yard, the gate will swing closed to avoid an accidental escape. Gardening products can also be a source of danger. Some snail
bait products have an odor that dogs find attractive, causing accidental poisoning if eaten, so consider exchanging toxic baits for one of the more pet-friendly brands like Sluggo or Safer’s Slug and Snail Bait. Your local certified nursery will be happy to assist you with safer gardening options. General pest control is another area where caution is urged. If spraying for pests yourself, be sure to speak to a professional about products that are safe to use around pets. If you have a service, let them know you have animals and request pet-safe chemicals in areas where your pets roam. Be sure to move any outdoor toys to a safe location on the days when your services comes so they are not accidentally sprayed. Antifreeze is a potent poison that has a sweet smell dogs and cats find very attractive. If your pets frequent areas where your vehicles are also located, consider switching to one of the more pet-friendly antifreeze products in the marketplace. With a little vigilance, a couple of preventative measures and a few simple changes, you and your pets can have a safe and happy life.
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CSUB Athletic Director Rudy Carvajal walks his Samoyeds, Sierra, left, and Kodiak, daily in the Country Club neighborhood.
pet me My
Noted Bakersfield pet owners share tales of furry friends By Lisa Kimble
hether they be feline or canine, miniature or mammoth in size, pure-bred or halfbreed, pets all enter our lives by way of our heart, and we are all the richer for it. Five local notables who would agree share their pet tales with Bakersfield Life.
Mayor Harvey Hall Bakersfield’s first family — Mayor Harvey Hall and his wife, Lavonne — has an equal-opportunity pet home with three dogs and two cats. Their cats, 2-year-old Jasmine and Aladdin, were strays that the Halls adopted. Dixie, the couple’s Goldendoodle, a mix between a golden retriever and a poodle, is 4 years old and came from Wisconsin. The Halls’ two Saint Bernards round out their menagerie. Five-year-old Abby came from Norway, and 6-year-old Madison is from Crescent City. “We have had them all since they were puppies or kittens,”
Mayor Hall said. One thing their cats and dogs have in common is their affection for their owners. “They are all very affectionate, and at the end of the day, they are happy to welcome you home with plenty of happy slobber,” Hall added. Adding to the mess, it is not unusual for the three dogs to go straight to the mud on trips to the park, he said. Dinnertime is chow time for the Hall dogs, who enjoy eating the leftovers off the Halls’ dinner plates. “You cannot leave any food out. (The other night) my granddaughter’s pizza disappeared.”
Timothy Lemucchi When local attorney Timothy Lemucchi refers to “the girls,” friends and family know he is not referring to his wife, Margaret, or daughter Lisa. These girls, as they are affectionately known, are the Lemucchis' third set of cocker spaniels, Roxy and Rosie. The pair, both 5 ½ years old, succeeded the couple’s second set, Blondie and Blossom, who joined the family after their first set of cocker spaniels, Penny and Peaches, died. Continued on page 42 www.BakersfieldLife.com
Photo by Greg Nichols
Photo Courtesy of Timothy Lemucchi
Attorney Timothy Lemucchi hiking up Tioga Pass with his cocker spaniels.
Mayor Harvey Hall and his wife, Lavonne, have a big household with two Saint Bernards, a Goldendoodle and two cats.
Continued from page 41
“Blondie was a super dog. When she passed on, Blossom took over, but didn’t live too much longer,” Lemucchi said. Overcome with sadness after Blossom’s death, the Lemucchis decided they weren’t going to bring any more dogs into their home. The decision was short-lived when Margaret Lemucchi saw an ad in the paper. On her way out of town she entrusted Tim with the job of going to see the dogs. “There were five dogs, and I came home with two,” he laughed. It helped that there was a striking resemblance to Blondie and Blossom. “From day one they have been a part of the family,” said Lemucchi, who later that same day took the dogs with him to the High Sierra. Lulu, an abandoned Jack Russell terrier mix, has now joined the family. Initially frightened and timid, she eventually warmed up to her new owners. Her arrival, though, brought five surprises for the Lemucchis at their riverfront retreat. Lulu had crawled under a tool shed on the property and given birth to puppies. “The space was so tight I had to get a long bamboo pole and lasso the five little puppies.” Fortunately, the Lemucchis were able to find homes for all five. Roxie, Rosie and Lulu accompany Timothy on his daily 42
morning walks, as well as hikes in and around Mammoth Lakes. “They are a part of your family and they do everything with us. They are a lot of fun to be with.” The feeling is probably mutual. The dogs can often be seen riding with Lemucchi in his car with the personalized license plates 4MYDOGZ.
Diana Mestmaker Personal trainer Diana Mestmaker has taught countless local men and women how to get into better shape over the years. But her best student may well be husband Tom’s Yorkshire terrier, Rocco, whom she taught how to smile. Rocco was trained to smile at Mestmaker’s clients as they walk into her home studio. “He is a great door greeter,” Diana Mestmaker said. “The clients laugh as they enter the training studio at the sight of Rocco’s really super big smile, lips turned back, and pearly whites showing. It sets the stage for a really fun workout.” Rocco’s female counterpart, Izzy, is also a Yorkie. The Mestmakers have had the pair, now 6 years old, since the dogs were just 8 weeks. The Mestmakers and their pets are part of a small group of local certified therapy dog handlers who take their dogs to Memorial Hospital every week to interact with pediatric patients.
Photo by Henry A. Barrios
Photo by Greg Nichols
Tom and Diana Mestmaker hold their Yorkies Rocco, left, and Izzy.
There is a lot of preparation involved with being a therapy dog handler, she said. Mestmaker credits Sherry Davis, the international program’s local evaluator and trainer, with readying the dogs and their handlers for the visits. “When we go into the hospital, we are there for the patients, the personnel and the Bonnie Tomlinson, owner of Biscuit Boutique & Doggy Spa, with her four Cavalier King Charles spaniels. patient’s family,” she said. “The nurses and aides are glad to have a break. And we know that petting dogs lowers blood presFergie is especially attached to her master. While visiting sure and puts a smile on your face.” with her granddaughter via a webcam while on a recent HawaiBack home, the Mestmakers treat Rocco and Izzy like their ian vacation, Tomlinson said Fergie was able to connect with own children. “They are my kids,” Diana said. “Since my her as well. “She (Fergie) heard my voice and was ecstatic,” she kids are grown and aren’t at home anymore, they are like my added. At home, Andy, Eddie, Fergie and Sophie have comchildren. They want to be loved.” They are also great companions for each other. “When I’m not here, they have each other.” pany: Tomlinson also owns a 140-pound mastiff, Stella, who is Mestmaker, who enjoys the fact that her own personal “greeter” also part of the therapy dog team. welcomes everyone with his big smile, is still waiting for Rocco Rudy Carvajal to flash the same wide grin with the patients he visits at the The sight of Cal State University Bakersfield Athletic Direchospital. But she says, with a smile, that it is just a matter of tor Rudy Carvajal walking his two big, white Samoyeds — Kotime until he does. diak and Sierra — most mornings near his northeast Bakersfield Bonnie Tomlinson home, is a striking one. Despite their powerful presence, the Like the Mestmakers, Biscuit Boutique & Doggy Spa owner 6-year-old brother and sister maintain a calm, gentle presence Bonnie Tomlinson makes the weekly therapy dog visit to Memo- that characterizes the easygoing, friendly breed of work dogs. rial Hospital with her 2-year-old Cavalier King Charles spaniel, Carvajal and his wife also have a third Samoyed — their Andy. The rest of the week Andy, along with 4-year-old Eddie, daughter’s – named Lambeau. The Carvajals have had the dogs 3-year-old Fergie and 1-year-old Sophie — all Cavaliers — join since they were puppies. “We have had this breed before,” Tomlinson at her downtown store. “This breed loves to be with Carvajal said. “These dogs are great with kids. It has been a dog you.” Originally bred by King Charles to lay on the back of his the kids were safe with.” They also love the mountains and the neck to help with his arthritis, Tomlinson says the breed has been snow, he said. “Anything moving and these dogs will certainly making a comeback in popularity in recent years. “They are all bring it to your attention. Once I got on cross-country skis and a part of our family, are like your children,” said Tomlinson, who had them pull me. Unfortunately, they split, taking me into a has three grown children and four grandchildren. tree,” he laughed. www.BakersfieldLife.com
HOPE FOR THE NEW YEAR Local leaders, familiar faces share their wishes for 2010 By Dana Martin
y any standard, the first decade of the new millennium presented change. From the global war on terrorism to the unsettling economy to the inauguration of America’s first black president, change wove itself into the fabric of our nation’s history and swathed us with both uncertainty and pride. Though we close the book on 2009 with weighty national issues left unresolved, we tend to view the new year as an opportunity for a fresh start — a confident leap away from old problems with 365 days to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. To many, the new year signifies hope for a better future and carries the inherently pleasant prospect that things can only get better. Bakersfield Life asked several familiar folks to reflect on 2009 and give us their thoughts on the upcoming year.
Photo by Felix Adamo
Captain, Bakersfield Police Department Candidate for Bakersfield police chief
Wendy Wayne Community activist
A little blue box was my lodestar in 2009. In December 2008, my non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma returned despite eight rounds of chemotherapy and a declaration of remission in the summer of 2008. It was clear that chances of survival were slim if I didn’t begin treatment once again and move forward with a stem cell transplant. It was the gift of the “little blue box” that had a hundred tiny strips of paper, rolled very tightly that kept me motivated. The messages were created by family members and close friends. Each strip had a reason that I should move forward with the stem cell process: mentoring young women, hugs and belly laughs, Sunday-morning family breakfasts, celebrating my granddaughters’ birthdays, eradicating polio, growing tomatoes, sharing memories. There were many times during 2009, particularly during the stem cell process, that I opened that blue box to be reminded of why I was “going through this” and “not giving up.” In remission again, my resolution for 2010 is to remember and fulfill each of those messages in my little blue box and to continue to commit random acts of kindness as so many people have done in my honor over the last 20 months.
In 2009, the Police Department was challenged with unprecedented economic conditions. We continued to make great strides while improving relationships with the community. The community has had great impact on the department’s ability to prevent and suppress crime. The BPD is the city’s first line of protection and is truly concerned with the safety and well-being of every citizen. I’m proud to be a member of the BPD, not only as a police captain but as a member of a community where I know my family and I are well-protected. 2010 will bring new challenges. With Chief Rector and Assistant Chief Lynn retiring, the department will lose about 60 years of law enforcement leadership. I wish them both well. The department will continue to develop our employees into future leaders and work with the community to eliminate crime and gang violence while improving the quality of life in this great city. My wife, Aimee, and I will continue to work on our professional and personal development while trying to sneak a vacation or two in somewhere. My son will be graduating from high school and moving onto college. My daughter will continue as a cheerleader, and whatever else she wants to do as a high school sophomore. Lyle Martin Assistant police chief, Bakersfield Police Department Candidate for Bakersfield police chief
When asked to reflect on 2009 and look at my “hopes” for 2010, the heart of this community comes to mind. I am always humbled by the giving spirit of Bakersfield. Rotary and all service clubs for that matter seem to gain momentum when they are needed most. From Houchin Community Blood Bank to the Bakersfield Food Bank, people of this community step up without hesitation and I am truly thankful for that. I reflect on how blessed I am to be loved by my family and friends. These pillars of support give me the strength and guidance I need to go out every day and try to make a difference in our community. I give all the glory to God for his mercy and grace. I know the heart of this Bakersfield community will continue grow into 2010 and will be fruitful if we just trust in him. Continued on page 46 www.BakersfieldLife.com
Continued from page 45 Christine Frazier
Kern County Superintendent of Schools
On July 1, I became Kern County’s 20th Superintendent of Schools. As an educator, I welcome the opportunity as I view every day as the right time to educate our children. Looking ahead, my commitment is to work with schools, business and community partners to ensure fiscal and academic progress. Most importantly, I resolve to continue to advocate for children, their parents and the teachers who guide them. As a mother of three, who was blessed by having each graduate from schools in Kern County, I’ve learned that parents can’t do it alone. I am very fortunate to be called to work with parents, schools, business and community partners to ensure that all of our children excel academically and in their life pursuits. In doing so, I am resolved to continue to advocate for children, their parents and the teachers who guide them by asking more questions and considering more answers, to never let things that matter most be at the mercy of things that matter least. And finally, to remember that laughter (and chocolate) must always be something to seek and savor every day.
Over the past year, our nation has faced and endured tremendous challenges — both at home and abroad. Our neighbors and friends have experienced economic struggles. As unemployment continues to rise and jobs remain scarce, the need to get our country’s financial house in order remains. Let us also remember our soldiers, who are away from their families defending our liberty, and give thanks for their courage and pray for their safety. With all these troubles, this new year is an opportunity for reflec-
Horace Mitchell President, Cal State Bakersfield
I am not big on making New Year’s resolutions, but two things come to mind when I think about 2010. First, while I have "talked about" finding time to get more exercise — that just has not happened. So, I am now “resolving” to set aside time for playing tennis more often and to taking advantage of our new Student Recreation Center by starting to play full-court basketball again. My second resolution is to take time to join my wife, Barbara, more often in attending activities of our five grandchildren, especially the two who live here in Bakersfield. Grant Desme
Reflecting on the past year I have a lot to be thankful for. My family and I are healthy, I was able to make some quality friendships, and I was blessed with a successful season. My hope for the next year is that my family and I will continue to grow in our faith and charity. I usually am not too big on making New Year’s resolutions since they rarely make it the full year, so I would like to continue to work hard every day on improving myself and growing in my faith. 46
Photo by Felix Adamo
Outfielder for Oakland A’s
tion as we rededicate ourselves to our families, friends and neighbors. Personally, it’s amazing to think another year has passed, my son is now learning to drive, and my daughter has grown taller than my wife. My hope for the new year is that we recommit ourselves to the values and faith that make America great. We have never shied away from challenges in the past, and as more and more people are getting involved in our community, my hope is that together we can begin to unleash America’s ingenuity so that we can get back on the right path to prosperity. Rabbi Cheryl Rosenstein Temple Beth El
Looking back on 2009, I am grateful to be a citizen of this country and to enjoy its many liberties, especially freedom of speech and freedom of worship. I am grateful for the love and support of my family, friends and congregation. I give thanks for the eternal wisdom of my faith, which, as I am called to teach
others, continually instructs me in how to better serve God and my community. This year, I pray for an end to the all conflicts that plague our world, that the world’s children may know peace and prosperity. I pray for an end to hatred and injustice of all kinds. I pray for the return of civil discourse, that people may disagree without rancor. And I pray that my prayers lead to actions that help bring these things to pass, as we are taught: “Pray as if everything depends upon God; act as if everything depends upon you.” Judi McCarthy Chairman of the board, Kern Community Foundation
In 2009, I became chairman of the Kern Community Foundation. From this vantage point, I am witnessing philanthropy’s cause and effect in Kern County. Some examples: Kern River Valley citizens establish numerous funds for their communities, which lack services that we in Bakersfield take for granted; a Brighton Parks giving circle annually fundraises within itself to support grants benefiting women and girls; a grieving family creates a fund to build awareness about post-traumatic stress disorder, which took the life of their loved one; a philanthropist donates the legal rights to Continued on page 48
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a piece of land so that he can support faith-based charities with its proceeds; and a generous donor perceives value in the community foundation model, supporting both our operations and permanent endowments. I am inspired. For 2010, I resolve to shine light on good work in troubled times. To connect generous people with community needs. To let others’ acts of philanthropy motivate my own. To remain inspired … by all of you.
“American Idol” finalist
Dr. Ravi Patel Oncologist, Comprehensive Blood & Cancer Center
As an oncologist I have had an opportunity to realize how valuable life is. The wonderful patients, their families and friends I have met over the years have taught me many things with the way they have lived their lives. They are my models and heroes. Meeting them has been like living many beautiful lifetimes in a single life. Each year I am reminded of this again and again. For the coming year I hope I can live my life as they do. Recognizing that it is the simple things in life that matter the most, accepting what life brings to you, spending time and helping those who have no support when they need it the most, remembering that life is too short to be “little” and looking at the good in all people and situations. Finally be humble enough to accept that I am not perfect and continually try to improve in helping others. Kat Martin New York Times best-selling author
The year 2009 brought unexpected hardships when my husband of 25 years, L.J. Martin, a native of Bakersfield and a writer of a number of books set in Kern County, fell ill. It was a difficult time, with painful treatments that took us to the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. I am happy to report that the treatments were successful and my husband is well on the road to recovery. As in all of life’s experiences, there was a lesson to be learned — a new appreciation for living to the fullest, appreciating each other, and enjoying every day we are here on this earth. In 2010, both of us plan to eat healthier, get more exercise, visit our hometown of Bakersfield more often, and relax and enjoy the wonderful life we are able to live here in America. 48
My overall objective for 2010 is to be the best version of myself that I can be: as an instructor, as an artist, as a friend and partner, and most important to me, as a mother. I am set to release my first solo album next year and am excited to be back on the road performing. I look forward to continuing my partnership with Garden Pathways to mentor children through the arts, and hopefully change lives by showing them that no matter where you come from we all have gifts. On a personal note, I will make sure to not let the iPhone get in the way of me reading my son a daily story or two. As I take the time to reflect upon 2009, I am thankful that my partnership with Garden Pathways was a success and that in opening Amy Adams Voice Studio I have been able to influence some of the lives in this wonderful community. I am thankful that my son is kind and has manners, and I’m most thankful that I have had the chance to slow down and spend some true quality time with my family. Nick Dunn Kern County fire chief
In May I became only the 11th fire chief in the proud history of the Kern County Fire Department, and two months later my wife, Sharon, became principal of Loudon Elementary School in the PanamaBuena Vista School District. Our lives will never be the same! We have each spent countless hours devoted to our professions, and while neither of us would change a thing, we only hope the next year will be a little less hectic. It is an honor to serve as fire chief even during one of the most difficult budget periods in our history. My duty is to serve and safely protect the citizens of Kern County and the men and women of the Kern County Fire Department. My challenge for 2010 will be to continue that mission and ensure the KCFD continues to be recognized as one of the premier fire agencies in the state of California and the nation. Rachel Legan Morning talk show host
If years were disposable I would have trashed 2009 before it even began. When January arrived it was apparent that 2008 wasn’t through with me yet, hovering like a bully in the schoolyard of life. Fortunately in my 35 years I’ve been on both sides of the “bully stick.” I know that that mean kids can make weak kids stronger just like mean years can toughen an adult. Like so many people, my husband and I suffered the loss of his employment this year and the devastating effects that followed that
Photo by Dan Ocampo
loss. Together we discovered that sometimes rainy days become hurricanes that wipe out your savings, your house and plans. Luckily we recently learned he will start the new year with a new career. As for me in 2010, I hope to stop fighting against and instead embrace two facts I’ve known since childhood: Everything is temporary and the sun will come out tomorrow. Gary D. Frazier Vice president of business development, Bakersfield Memorial Hospital
“New” was the theme in 2009. I became a VP at a prominent hospital and moved from Long Beach to Bakersfield. Adjusting to a new job and a new city was stressful at times, but overall the transition has been very positive. Memorial Hospital’s year has been equally as exciting as my own, with the opening of the new patient tower, a new neonatal intensive care unit and the new Ronald McDonald House. Now as a new member of the Bakersfield community I am vested in ensuring that Memorial continues to create programs and services that meet the community’s needs in 2010 and beyond. Memorial’s New Year’s resolution is to address the needs of the children in our community by opening the only Pediatric Intensive Care Unit in Kern County. Our sickest kids will receive the care they need close to home, reducing the risks associated with transporting our children out of town. Joey Porter Linebacker for Miami Dolphins
Each year brings new challenges to people everywhere and in all walks of life. Bakersfield is no different. 2009 has presented some real financial challenges in many people’s lives. I have seen and lived it through my own friends, family and community. What I have also seen is that opportunities and hope arise from hardship and adversity. Hard work, unselfishness and persistence do pay off. It may not just be at work, but in your personal life. I believe that having less money can change people’s priorities, and that can be a great thing. Maybe we don’t worry as much about that new iPhone, or the new clothes and going out, but take more time to work on relationships with family and friends. Treat the people closest to you best
… don’t take them for granted. It’s time to focus less on ourselves and how much “we” are suffering, but to look around and see what we can do to help others. Prioritize the things in life that matter. That’s what I am working on and will continue to do in 2010. I hope we, as a community, can too. Pastor Ron Vietti Valley Bible Fellowship
As I look back on 2009, I have a lot to be thankful for, being a two-time cancer survivor. I had an awesome year in regards to my health, and the church had some good solid numerical growth. I think that one of my major disappointments that I want to improve on in 2010 is the creating of more margins in my life. A margin is the space between your load and your limit. I lived with too much stress in my life in 2009, by taking on too many small things and being the proverbial "Jack of all trades and the master of none." I want to make my life more about people than things, and by God’s grace I think I can do that. I want to wish all my Bakersfield friends and family a great and fantastically prosperous new year. Sandra Serrano Chancellor, Kern Community College District
2009 has been a year of ongoing financial crisis and political turmoil, punctuated by a public health emergency and other adverse consequences of nature. Nonetheless, the year is ending with some positive indicators; the Dow closed above 10,000 for the first time in a year and the H1N1 influenza public health emergency is in decline. As I reflect on the past year and look to the future, what comes to mind is a quote by Mahatma Gandhi: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” To be the change I wish to see in the world, in 2010, I resolve to have a heart for youth development and adult literacy because giving another encouragement and assistance to become self-supporting can be life-changing and promote community development. In addition, to create the change I wish to see in myself, like millions of others, I resolve to exercise more and weigh less, as well as to always do my best, but try to do better. www.BakersfieldLife.com
D E S T I N AT I O N
Isabella Lake In 1953, the U. S. Corps of Engineers built earthen dams across two forks of the Kern River to create the Isabella reservoir, Kern Countyâ€™s largest body of water year round with a surface area of 11,200 acres. The communities of Wofford Heights, Lake Isabella and Kernville now bustle with outdoor enthusiasts: fishermen, boatmen, hikers and campers. Kernville, just to the north on Highway 178 beside the north fork of the Kern River, boasts a historic past as an 1850s gold rush camp. The town pays tribute to its rip-roaring past with its Whiskey Flat Days and the exhibits in the Kern Valley Museum.
Photo by Casey Christie
PA S T I M E S
Pampered pets Whether it’s doggy day care or the latest fashion, businesses cater to indulgent owners By J. W. Burch, IV Photos by Felix Adamo
o many people, pets are more like children than animals. They require special care, attention and treatment, spare no expense. Indeed, it is because of this attitude toward pets that many businesses thrive. Designers such as Paul Mitchell, Ed Hardy and Juicy Couture all have products designed for pets, upgrading the quality of life for pets. Such products include shampoo, clothing, collars, carrying bags and more. “We spoil ’em … that what we do,” Brenda Bryson, an employee at Cowen’s Pet Resort, said. “We are willing to accommodate almost any need an animal might have — from special foods to medications.” Aside from the more basic amenities, there are other services provided around town. For example, since many tend to treat they pets like children, it would only be logical that a business would think to include a day care for dogs. Biscuit Boutique & Doggy Spa is one such company. For the same reasons many people have their children in day care, Biscuit’s Doggy Day Care offers pet owners some time away from their dog, and vice versa. “We get people who are getting work done on their house and want to keep their dog away from it,” owner Bonnie Tomlinson said. “ Or people who just want to bring in their puppies for socialization.” “Dogs go home exhausted from playing with other dogs,” Tomlinson said. “We have gotten calls
Left to right, Gus, the English Mastiff; manager Chris Brownlee and kennel tech Veronica Wilson at Cowen’s Pet Resort.
from people asking, ‘Did you drug my dog?’ and we have to explain that they are just tired.” Ambient music plays overhead and the space is painted to depict a calming atmosphere — outdoor scenes and windows on the wall, brown floor and a cloud-filled ceiling. All this with the white fence that keeps the canines away from the entrance gives the air of an outdoor environment, one which the dogs should thoroughly enjoy. “We have no cages, so the dogs can run around and play with each other,” Tomlinson said. “We just let the dogs be dogs and enjoy themselves.” Beside day care and grooming, Biscuit offers numerous products for purchase, including everything from clothes and beds to collars and food. “Most people want clothes, especially this time of year, because of the holidays and the cold weather,” Tomlinson said. “People usually buy sweaters or coats in the winter, and some shirts in the summer. All of our food is made in the U.S. with no wheat or corn, the two main ingredients that dogs have an allergic reaction to, and it is all made with human-grade ingredients. The food also has no preservatives or byproducts.” Whether you need your dog watched and cared for a few hours, or a few days, there are
those who provide quality service and treatment. Cowen’s Pet Resort, located near I-5 on Stockdale Highway and Enos Lane, boards dogs for any given amount of time. Cowen’s offers boarding for cats and dogs and has even boarded ducks and other birds. There is also a full-service groomer on staff. “We try to make it as easy and enjoyable for the pet as possible,” Bryson said. “All the runs have doghouses, there are misters on all of them and in the summer we put swimming pools in each of them.” For smaller dogs, Cowen’s offers heating pads and swamp coolers to help counter the elements of any particular season. “It’s comfortable, we treat every animal that comes in as if they are our own,” Bryson said. “We have plenty of customers who say once they pull in the driveway, their dog gets excited because they like to be here.” Some people may look at this as an incredible anomaly, and perhaps an absurd notion to treat pets in such a high-quality manner. But there are logical reasons for it. “The reason the dog industry is so lucrative, or has been in the past, is because you have empty nesters, whose dogs are now their children,” Tomlinson said. “And you have young professionals who aren’t having children at an early age, so their dogs are their children.”
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H E A LT H & F I T N E S S
A new year, a new you Get moving now with these tips to get in shape
By Sean Kenny
he holidays are over and 2010 is the year you will manage your weight and improve your fitness. You have said that every January, but this year you really mean it, really. Really? It is often the start that stops most people, so you have already overcome a big obstacle simply by starting a fitness program. Now let’s look at ways you can continue that motivation.
Set realistic goals Even though it may feel like it, you didn’t gain weight overnight, so don’t expect to lose it overnight. Set a realistic and measurable plan. Just like in business, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Without a definite number, your goal will be too abstract. 54
Put a realistic number on your target. It may help you to know that according to the National Strength and Condition Association, safe weight loss is no more than 1 percent of your body weight per week. Anything more tends to be water or muscle, which you don’t want to lose. Slow and steady weight loss is the best way to insure long-term success.
Focus on the process Maybe weight loss isn’t your fitness goal. Maybe it is to run a 5K, reduce your stress, sleep better or increase your energy. Maybe those are all your goals. If it sounds confusing or overwhelming, just focus on one thing: consistency. No matter what your goal, focus on just working out day by day, week by week. Regardless of your goal, if you are consistent and break it down into small,
quality workouts, everything else will fall into place.
aling” is a wonderful self-awareness tool and really creates accountability. In addition, it can be a source of motivation when you’re feeling like you are making little progress. Simply look back at your initial numbers and you will see how far you’ve come.
Reward your effort If you focus on consistency, reward yourself with something like a new outfit, CD or (healthy) dinner out. Make a “contract” with a spouse or friend to take you out when you achieve a small victory such as a few pounds lost or two weeks of never missing a workout. Take small steps and make games you can win.
Recruit a friend With a good friend, your joys are doubled and problems are halved. Enlist the aid of a friend to help you work out. Knowing someone is waiting for you at the gym or bike path for that workout will help keep you accountable and on track. Likewise, on days when they don’t feel up to a workout, you can help them along.
Lose the ‘write way’ A landmark study in 2008 showed that writing down your goals — along with docu-
Some additional tips to help keep you on track:
Sean Kenny is a certified fitness trainer and nationally published author and lecturer on health and fitness. In addition, he is currently the wellness coordinator for local hospitals. Sean lives in Bakersfield with his wife, Stephanie.
menting your workouts and nutrition — was these best way to not only lose weight, but keep it off as well. Weight loss for those recording their data was twice as much as those who didn’t. Keeping a workout log or “journ-
• Exercise in a group if you need the support and motivation. • Even a short workout is better than no workout at all. • Write down your goals and share them with a close friend. • Don’t get depressed over a missed workout, learn from it and move on. • Exercise should be fun, it is your time and you deserve to feel the benefits. You don’t have to be in shape to start, but you have to start to be in shape. Put the above tips to use and you will really reach your goals this year, whatever they may be. Really.
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GUYS ON THE GREEN
Pumped for 2010 Many people start fitness regimes in the new year, but these four make healthy activities a year-round goal. Need motivation? These trainers are here to help.
What is the most satisfying part of your job??
Roland: Teaching. Today’s biggest impediment to most people getting and staying fit is the overwhelming abundance of “health and fitness” information. It’s my responsibility to distill all that “infomercial clutter” into practical, useful, directed instruction that produces results. Tim: As a trainer you get used to seeing your clients in workout clothes and usually looking their worst. Then when you see them outside of the gym looking and feeling good and showing a newfound confidence, it makes you as their trainer feel great. When people regain their confidence in themselves, they become better at everything that they do. To have been a part of that makes me feel pretty good about what I do. Patrick: Making a connection with my clients. Watching my clients become stronger, healthier and aesthetically look better. It is truly satisfying to witness my clients take control of their nutrition and adhere to a consistent workout program. I train one on one, small groups, or large groups. I love it when the gym is filled with positive energy and my clients support each other. I love taking my clients to the limit! Joe: Having a job that has such a huge impact on people’s lives is a blessing in and of itself. Being able to take someone with the desire to make themselves healthier and show them the best way to reach their individual goals is very rewarding. The ultimate reward is watching the transformation that takes place, and seeing the accompanying benefits of good health: improved strength, endurance, confidence, self-esteem, energy and vitality.
Roland Brown Jr. Owner, Roland’s Personal Fitness
Tim Gojich Owner, Fit For Life Personal Training
Photos by Michael Duffy Summit Photography
Where’s your favorite place to exercise locally (outside the gym)?
Roland: Playing tennis at the Bakersfield Racquet Club! Tennis is an awesome sport, and you can play it for life — I’ve played with guys in their 90s — plus it’s both social and competitive. Tim: I play basketball weekly. I also love snowboarding. I train hard in the gym to keep my body functional so that I can do what I love outside of the gym without getting injured. Patrick: Outside of the gym, I have a power-walking group that meets at my house or the bike path early in the morning twice a week. Bottom line: Come rain, heat or fog, I am out there every week.
Patrick Brown Owner, Lifetime Fitness
Joe Petersen, Owner, Building Better Bodies Fitness
Joe: I find that Yokuts Park has the best variety of terrain, is less crowded, and is centrally located, making it ideal for outdoor training. The bike path also makes it easy to travel in either direction for longer runs and outings. Continued on page 58
Continued from page 57
Share your best client story
Roland: One of my favorite client stories involves a young man I was training for football in the mid-'90s. Ryan Hansen played offensive line for BHS. When I started working with him, he was 6 foot 7 inches tall but only 225 pounds — way too light for college ball. We trained together for two years while he played at Bakersfield College. At the start of his second season he weighed 305 pounds with only 15 percent body fat. After the 1998 Potato Bowl, Ryan was offered a full scholarship to play at the University of Pittsburgh. He played starting right tackle both his junior and senior year. The really cool part was because of his scholarship his parents were able to use his college fund to fly back East every weekend to watch him play. Tim: I have been training for 15 years, so I have a lot of really good success stories. It would be hard to pick one. One of the things that I am really proud of is Get Fit Boot Camp. It started with five people and today we average 200 people every six weeks. I had a client when I was first starting out that really boosted my confidence as a young trainer. This client was a professor at Cal State and I trained him for about a month when he pulled me aside and said, “I don’t know if personal training is what you will pick as your career, but if you do I think that you will be successful.” It was one of those little moments that gave me the confidence to pursue training as my career.
Roland Brown Jr.
my boot camps, or in my circuit classes that I find newsworthy. It’s what my clients do with their newfound fitness. I encourage all my clients to seek out activities and challenge themselves. The most important muscle in the body and most often overlooked is the heart. Running, cycling, hiking, dancing, skating, etc., are all fun activities that improve our cardiovascular fitness. I spent three weeks talking up a lo-
cal running event — Thanksgiving Day Pie Run — and at 6 a.m. I fully expected to see at least five or six diehard clients running with me. Much to my surprise (and joy), the count was 20. Twenty people came out and began their holiday celebration unlike they had ever done before. My clients are why I’m here doing this. Life is a celebration, and getting healthy and fit should be fun!
Patrick: I have a lot of good stories, but there is one that really stands out. Many years ago, I trained a husband and his wife at their home. They were no longer just my clients; we became great friends. Such good friends that he stood up in my wedding and his wife became a personal trainer. She and I worked together and formed a partnership for several years at Lifetime Fitness. Although she decided to pursue other avenues, I hope that I left a long-lasting impression on them as much as they have on me. Joe: It’s not what happens in my gym, at 58
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National Blood Donors Month provides opportunity to thank Kern County blood donors for saving lives
Photo by Casey Christie
Cancer survivor Michael Ryan and his granddaughter, Grace Ryan, on the shore of Isabella Lake. Ryan is thankful for Houchin CommunityBlood Bank because of the many transfusions he has received over the years.
Heroes among us By Dana Martin
anuary is National Blood Donors Month, so who better to recognize Kern County’s many diligent donors than the local beneficiaries of these magnanimous gifts? Here are just three stories of lives saved because this caring community donated blood. Just across from the bike path on Truxtun extension, right as the asphalt road straightens out for quick progress to the heart of downtown Bakersfield, the glittering, ultramodern Houchin Community Blood Bank’s mirrored glass blinks off the setting sun as a reminder to 40,000 daily commuters to donate blood. But most won’t donate. National statistics find that only 5 percent of eligible donor candidates actually donate blood. Those who 60
don’t donate say they are afraid of needles, too busy, or more commonly, they just don’t think about it. Well, Jeff Lemucchi thinks about it. In 2007, Lemucchi, 53, suffered from an illness that hospitalized him and depleted his body of five units of blood (that’s nearly half his total volume). Kern County needs a lot of blood. One Bakersfield mother lost so much blood during childbirth that she required 60 units of blood and 250 units of platelets. So, where do patients get all of this replacement blood? Blood cannot be manufactured. It can only come as a gift from people. Each unit Lemucchi received symbolized one person who do-
Photo by Felix Adamo
Savanah Bean, right, and her mother, Sherry Graves.
nated a pint of blood. Consequently, with the help of five strangers (and excellent medical care), Lemucchi received five units of blood and was on his feet again and back to work as a local news anchor. A few days later, something happened. “I hadn’t felt well during my 7-to-9 shift, so I went home to lay down. I felt myself sinking into the bed and knew that if I didn’t get up right then, I never would.” So, that’s when he got up, then blacked out. Lemucchi was rushed by ambulance to the hospital, where he received an additional six units of blood. Doctors discovered a bleeding ulcer that left untreated would have cost Lemucchi his life. “If I hadn’t been transfused, I wouldn’t be here. Eleven units of blood — 11 acts of kindness is I guess what you would call it,” said Lemucchi, who’d been a blood donor in the past but hadn’t realized the magnitude of the gift until half of his own blood supply had been replaced — twice. Michael Ryan of Lake Isabella realizes the gift. At 50 years old, Ryan was diagnosed with lymphoma. Through the years, Ryan has repeatedly received the “gifts” of more than 300 people. At one point, Ryan’s blood supply was so low that had he not received an immediate transfusion, he would have died. “I have never had to wait for blood,” said Ryan, with a tip of the hat to the community for its constant and generous blood donations. “I can never thank those hundreds of people. If it hadn’t been for them, I wouldn’t be here and happy as I am today. I wouldn’t have seen my first grandchild, Grace.” But Ryan, now 61, does a pretty decent job extending his grati-
tude. One morning after dining out for breakfast, he discovered he was parked beside a truck bearing the evidence of a Houchin “10 gallon club” blood donor. Most people would take note of it and drive away. Not Ryan. “I went back inside (the restaurant) and started asking every customer if they owned the white truck outside. When I finally found the owner, he was worried something was wrong. I just wanted to thank him for his blood donations. He was shocked.” If effusive gratitude is a hallmark of blood donation recipients, imagine being the parent of the beneficiary. In the spring of 1999, Sherry Graves noticed that her daughter, Savanah Bean, wasn’t feeling well. She was pale, listless, and losing weight rapidly. After a blood test reflected some irregularity, Savanah’s doctor sent her to UCLA Medical Center. After receiving three blood transfusions, Savanah responded positively, which lured her family into a false sense of well-being. It seemed that easy — three units of blood and their daughter was well. Not so easy. As it turned out, 8-year old Savanah had leukemia. “Our worlds were rocked,” said Graves, who added that over the next seven years her daughter would experience three relapses and the eventual diagnosis that only a bone marrow transplant would save Savanah’s life. Bone marrow is another charitable human gift. It’s the flexible tissue found inside large bones that acts as the headliner in new cell production. Continued on page 62 www.BakersfieldLife.com61
Photo by Felix Adamo
Blood transfusions saved Jeff Lemucchi’s life.
Continued from page 61
Over the next several months, the national donor registry could not produce a match for Savanah, who was undergoing chemotherapy/radiation protocol to put the cancer in remission. Finally, the stars aligned. In 2006, Savanah’s cancer went into remission and a bone marrow match was found. “A baby was her donor,” said Graves, marveling that a newborn’s umbilical cord could provide a perfect match for Savanah. The bone marrow transplant was a success. Savanah, now 20, is a student at Bakersfield College and is thriving. “I cannot begin to tell you how many units of blood she’s received — countless!” said Graves, who indicates she’s always been a proponent of blood donation and the medical advances that saved her daughter’s life. “This is all very good science that doctors of the world are embarking on in curing cancer. I think the world of people who would take time out of their day for blood donation.” Greg Gallion, CEO of Houchin Community Blood Bank, estimates the number of daily blood donors to be around 115. That number could be higher on any given day. Houchin’s records reflect that 30,000 different volunteer blood donors make successful blood donations yearly — some more than others. “George Kimm has almost 31 gallons and Margaret Delfino has (donated) 25,” said Gallion. “If put into context, it’s a lifetime commitment to saving lives.” Well, saving lives is the business of heroes. And to those of the blood-donating ilk, it’s all in a day’s work. 62
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Oilman’s global odyssey Businessman with Bakersfield roots has made a career of seeking oil abroad
Photo by Felix Adamo
By Lisa Kimble
akersfield resident William “Bill” Hatcher is used to being mistaken for his well-known father, the other Bill Hatcher and retired Kern High School District superintendent. He is also accustomed to the inevitable question of why he chose not to go into the family business of education, a path his parents, sister and wife have taken. Still, the self-described “global gypsy,” whose oil exploration career has become an international odyssey, is often tapping into his inner educator, albeit a world away. “In dealing with young engineers in Kazakhstan I really enjoy teaching them,” Hatcher said. “You encounter things the normal person does not encounter.” For Hatcher, work often involves the most primitive of conditions. Modern transportation may be a 1960s Russian biplane, an old Jeep or a camel. Being offered a lamb’s eye for consumption is considered a supreme compliment. Such is the oil explorer’s life that has taken him from Asia to Nigeria and Trinidad, as well as many ancient and exotic ports in between, all the while still calling Bakersfield home. “To be able to maintain roots in Bakersfield and still get a lot of opportunities to enjoy the world outside Bakersfield has been a great experience.” As senior vice president of operations for Condor Petroleum Inc., an international oil and gas exploration and production company with active operations in Canada and Kazakhstan, Hatcher is involved in helping the company manage three Kazakhstan territories currently being explored, an area in excess of 12,000 square miles. It has been a nomadic adventure for the 48-year-old who just 10 years ago had not even been to Europe. “If you had mentioned to me in high school that I’d be working for the Chinese government and directly for the Russians, that would not have crossed my mind at all.” Hatcher’s family moved to Kern County when his father was recruited by KHSD. A North High grad, he attended Bakersfield College
before transferring to the University of Southern California where he graduated with a degree in petroleum engineering. Fresh out of college, he went to work for Getty Oil, staying on when Texaco bought it out. He joined Santa Fe Energy but returned to Texaco in 1997. Four years later it was bought out by Chevron. The following year Hatcher was packing his bags and leaving Kern’s rich oil fields for the unknown prospects of Kazakhstan, whose neighbors include Russia, China and Turkmenistan. “When you are living in a remote area, you are working in a camplike environment,” he said. “The time you spend with your co-workers, you really have to get along. You develop some strong friendships.” In 2003 that project was purchased by Chinese National Petroleum Company. “I decided to stay and actively went to work as a consultant for CNPC,” he said. “It was a really interesting work environment with the cultural differences,” he said. Soon Hatcher was packing again, this time for Nigeria. Nearly two years ago, Hatcher and four friends formed Bayfield Energy, a privately held UK company with exploration in the waters off Trinidad. Hatcher spent the next 18 months raising capital and finalizing matters with the Trinidad government. The venture paid off: Today Bayfield produces 1,000 barrels of oil a day in the West Indies off the Venezuelan coast. But the experience strained family ties and the friendships of the investors. “The collaboration of upper management became a bit strained. I decided this past July this wasn’t fun,” Hatcher said of the period he considers a “challenging
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time.” Hatcher opted out of the group, though he says he maintains significant equity in the company and provides technical guidance when needed. Within days of that decision, Condor was calling. Hatcher has been able to be home more and the fit with CPI appears to be a good one. “I wasn’t home a lot,” he said of the time in Trinidad. “And before that, when I was rotational, you would miss Christmases, birthdays. You know what you are going to miss and not, but when you are home, there is no worry the office is going to call.” Despite the rigors and challenges of the work and the 30-hourflights home, Bill, his wife — former Kern County and UCLA track star Linda Goen — and their two children have been afforded passports to the world. “The lifestyle we live, we love it. I get more frequent flier miles than you could shake a stick at,” he laughed. “We have the best of both worlds with our family and friends and support network here and a good group of friends around the globe.” Hatcher credits his wife with keeping the family intact. For now, he admits he’s still working on his Russian, though he long ago broke the collaborative work barrier. “We as Americans — and Bakersfield is no exception — we can have differences viewing the world outside our sphere,” said Hatcher. “I spent 18 years working in Bakersfield. I enjoy the opportunity to work with people who see the world with a different set of glasses than I do. After all, we are living in a very global world.”
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Vows 2010 WEDDING PLANNER
Roles and responsibilities of the bridal party
Music for ceremony, reception best not left to chance
Gifts of Gratitude
Ways to say thank you on special day
Piece of Cake
Wedding cake can reflect coupleâ€™s taste and sense of style
Bakersfield Life 2010 Vows
Vows Photo by Jessica Frey
2010 WEDDING PLANNER
On the cover
12 Groomâ€™s checklist
Photography: Jessica Frey
Brides, make it easier for your future husband to play a role with this plan
Model: Juliane Torczon
14 Piece of cake
Flowers: Amanda Sanders from House of Flowers, 1611 19th St. ahofdesigns.com, 326-7000.
Start life together with something sweet, memorable
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An integral part of both the wedding ceremony and the reception
16 Music sets the mood 18 Green wedding
Make your wedding eco-friendly
5 Wedding consultants Take the stress out of planning
6 Change of venue
Themed weddings have grown in popularity
Modern brides seek out locations with unique vibes
22 Cutting costs
10 Wedding party
24 Gifts of gratitude
What to expect from family and friends
20 Personal twist
Bakersfield Life 2010 Vows
Rein in wedding expenses There are many ways to say thank you on the special day
Bakersfield Life 2010 Vows
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Consultants Take stress out of planning
You have just gotten engaged and your brain is swarming with all of the future plans you will soon be making. Perhaps you’ve already started dreaming about your perfect wedding — or maybe you have had ideas since you were young. Although your wedding is special and unique to you, if you marry during popular wedding months you will soon find you’re competing with many other couples for the perfect location, DJ, photographer, limousine service, and so much more. Hiring an experienced wedding consultant could be a very smart move, saving you time and stress where wedding planning is concerned. In today’s wedding market there are many independent wedding consultants whose No. 1 priority is helping bridesand grooms-to-be navigate the often confusing world of wedding details. There are also wedding consultants who are tied to particular reception venues and may offer abbreviated services, which can still be of much help. Once thought of as a luxury for the wealthy, hiring a wedding consultant can actually be an economically smart
decision. A professional plans weddings for a living and will know the ins and outs of the process, including where to get the best deals. One of the biggest advantages to hiring a wedding planner is having a person available who can answer all of your questions and be on call whenever one of these questions may surface. A wedding consultant doesn’t control your plans, but simply ensures they are moving along smoothly. He or she understands that brides are busier than ever these days with careers and even families, and may not have all the free time in the world to sit and plan their wedding. Therefore the consultant serves as a “project manager” and ensures that no detail is overlooked. He or she may touch base with vendors to make sure everything is moving according to schedule, and likely guides the bride and groom on some decisions. When you plan ahead and hire a wedding consultant, you help ensure that some stress has been lifted and you can enjoy all of the nuances of your special day.
Bakersfield Life 2010 Vows
Photo by Greg Nichols
Surface Gallery offers a clean and unique space for the big day.
Dare to be different Modern brides seek out local venues with unique vibe By Teresa Adamo For many of today’s brides, long gone are the days of the wedding reception in an ordinary hall out behind the church or lodge. In fact, many modern brides want much less “hall” and much more “style.” And why not? It’s certainly available; whether it’s a local art gallery, museum, historical home or — gasp! — a hall that aims not to feel like a hall. Whatever the venue, one thing is clear: The demand for different is here to stay.
Artistically speaking For brides who are the artsy type, why not surround your
Bakersfield Life 2010 Vows
self with real art as your wedding décor? It’s easily accomplished when you choose an art gallery or museum as the setting for your wedding reception or even the nuptials themselves. “It’s for people who look for more contemporary-looking spaces,” said Don Martin, owner of Metro Galleries on 19th Street in downtown Bakersfield. Event hosting in the gallery — which can accommodate 200 seated guests and up to 310 when incorporating the mezzanine space for a lounge area as well — was part of Martin’s business plan from the beginning. “I knew I couldn’t make it on just selling art, although that would be nice,” said Martin, who opened Metro Galleries in February 2006.
Photo by Greg Nichols
The interior of Moorea Banquet Centre is stylish and elegant.
Since then, a wide variety of events have taken place at Martin’s gallery, including weddings, baby showers, birthday parties and business social events. The different styles of wedding décor selected by today’s brides also run the gamut, according to Martin. He’s seen everything from Chinese lanterns to aquariums with live fish in them accentuate Metro’s space. All the while, whatever art is exhibited at Metro Galleries at the time just adds yet another unique element to the occasion. To better serve people wanting a larger facility, Martin now also offers event hosting at Westchester Hall on F Street. Calling this satellite location “Metro Special Events at Westchester,” this space can accommodate as many as 700 guests. Nearby Surface Gallery offers a modern space for the bride who wants that clean, streamlined look for her big day. Co-owned by Vikki Cruz and Yvonne Cavanaugh, the gallery on 20th Street opened in September 2008. Since then, it has been welcomed with open arms into the downtown Arts District. Its art exhibits have featured paintings, sculptures, photographs and even ceramics — all of which serve as an artistic backdrop for special events like bridal or baby showers, engagement parties or wedding ceremonies/receptions. “The art on the walls does become a part of the experience. We know in advance (six months at least) what artists or artist we will be showing, so we are able to give anyone interested in renting the space an idea as to what the gallery will look like during their event,” Cavanaugh said. “We also change the color of the back wall to benefit the current art exhibition, so that is another element of the gallery that alters the feel of the space. Because the art and wall color changes, a wedding or bridal shower in March will look very
different from one in November.” Just as each of the artists and their work shown at Surface is distinctive in their own way, so, too will the memories of events held at the gallery, Cavanaugh said. As artists themselves, Cruz and Cavanaugh also paid great attention to their space’s lighting and other interior details that appeal to those brides who want their event to stand out from the crowd. “Weddings are a day long remembered by all who attend, and if you have yours in a place that is original, it will enhance that memory,” she said. Over at Juliana’s Art Studio & Gallery on 18th Street, a stone pathway leads to a combination indoor-outdoor space—featuring hand-hewn beams, oak floors, exposed brick walls and brick fireplaces, wrought iron gates and a koi pond — offers a cozy, rustic feel for an intimate wedding reception, ceremony or both. “We’re for the bride who is the creative type, who thinks outside the box, but still wants something pretty and wants to be surrounded by the beauty of art,” said Juliana Bernier Dooley, a Canadian-born sculptor, who relocated to Bakersfield and opened her studio in 2007. There is a sizeable patio out back at Juliana’s that doubles as a concrete dance floor and inside, a built-in bar located just on the other side of the kitchen facility works nicely as a buffet area. Restrooms and a dressing area also add additional conveniences for brides. Recorded music can be piped in through the building’s built-in sound system, while sunlight floods in through the French doors and skylight, providing flattering lighting for those precious wedding photos. Of course, for Dooley, the best photographic aid is hanging right Continued on page 8
Bakersfield Life 2010 Vows
VOWS 2010 Continued from page 7
on her gallery walls. “You’re just surrounded by impeccable art — how can that not be a beautiful setting for a beautiful bride?” she said.
Photo courtesy of Metro Galleries
Going for grandeur
Metro Galleries has hosted everything from weddings to business events.
Bakersfield Life 2010 Vows
Mother-daughter team Patrice Black and Alysia Wilson opened Moorea Banquet Centre in June 2008 with a central goal: offer people a stylish place to host special events. Yes, technically, Moorea — named after a favorite family vacation spot in the Tahitian islands — is a hall. But this isn’t your typical “hall.” With its soaring, 18-foot ceilings and hip cocktail area, this venue greets guests into a truly grandeur space. For Black and Wilson, “elegance” is Moorea’s theme of choice with its two-toned stained, high gloss, concrete floors and fresh, chic atmosphere. “The goal was to create a venue that not only accommodated large groups, but also had a contemporary, yet classic, feel,” Wilson said. “We did our best to accomplish this, while still allowing room for the bride to create her own look.” The 9,000-square-foot facility helps fill a need Black and Wilson perceived in the local venue market. “We knew that Bakersfield needed additional options that could accommodate more than 200 people, so we wanted to have a place that could meet that need and do so in a very beautiful way,” Wilson said. Moorea can hold 360 people and still have room for round tables, DJ area and dance floor and food line. Black’s husband, Jim Black, built the Palm Island Plaza, where Moorea is located and where the 40-foot palm trees serve as handy geographical markers. The Black
Photo by Felix Adamo
Juliana Bernier Dooley in her gallery at 501 18th St.
Construction office is also in the same development on Swigert Court in southwest Bakersfield. Though both Black and Wilson each continue their work in radio sales and marketing, the pair’s past event planning experience helps tremendously in providing superb service to clients. “Whatever we can do to make someone’s special day even more special, that’s what we’re here for,” Wilson said.
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Bakersfield Life 2010 Vows
Bridal party What to expect from friends, family As weddings have become less regimented and more expensive, the traditional bridal party is often pared down to a best man and a bridesmaid or two. Their roles, however, have remained constant through the years. Whether the wedding you’ve got in mind is large or small, formal or casual, conventional or original, it’s helpful to have a sense of the roles that bridal party members have played through the years. Maid of honor — Usually the closest friend of the bride and sometimes a relative. A married, divorced, widowed, or older woman might be called the matron of honor. She assists with the details of the wedding plans, like shopping for the bridal gown, addressing invitations and choos10
Bakersfield Life 2010 Vows
ing flowers. She arranges the bridal shower in conjunction with the bride’s family, is in charge of coordinating the bridesmaids and organizing fittings, and typically signs the couple’s certificate of marriage or wedding license as a legal witness. At the reception, she should stand immediately after the groom in the receiving line. Best man — Perhaps the most well-known responsibilities of the best man are organizing the bachelor party and giving the toast at the reception. But the best man, who is typically a brother or best friend of the groom, also has a slew of other responsibilities. In addition to helping the groom choose his tuxedo and get dressed before the wedding, the best man coordinates the couple’s gift from the groomsmen and takes care of the newlyweds’ transportation
to the airport after the reception or the next morning. The best man may also hold onto any payment that’s due to the reception site or the donation for the house of worship, and take care of any final financial details. He also holds the bride’s wedding ring during the ceremony. Groomsmen — Groomsmen are the male equivalent of the bridesmaids, typically having nearly identical responsibilities. Sometimes, groomsmen can act as ushers for guests arriving at the ceremony. Groomsmen walk in the wedding processional and attend and help organize the bachelor party as well. Bridesmaids — Along with walking in the wedding procession, bridesmaids attend the shower and contribute to the bridal gifts. Bridesmaids, who are typically sisters or friends of the bride or groom, also dance with the groomsmen during the reception. To be further involved, each can be given specific roles, like reading a religious passage at the ceremony, providing assistance with choosing wedding vendors, or helping to address wedding invitations. Flower girl — If the bride has a sister who is especially young, that sister typically fills the role of flower girl. Since most flower girls are very young, their responsibilities are generally limited to carrying a basket of flowers during the processional and, depending on the bride’s preference, tossing flower petals on the ground to mark the bride’s entrance.
Ring bearer — Like the flower girl, the ring bearer is a very young member of the family, only the ring bearer is a male. The ring bearer’s role is to carry a pillow with the rings sewn on it during the processional. Some couples choose to have the ring bearer and the flower girl walk next to one another during the processional. Parents of the bride — The bride’s parents may be responsible for hosting the wedding, if they will be completely financially responsible for the event. In some cases, the father of the bride escorts his daughter down the aisle alone, but in other instances or in religious ceremonies, both parents may accompany the bride. In all cases, it’s her preference. The mother of the bride may help fund or contribute to the planning of the bridal shower if the Maid of Honor needs assistance. These parents may also foot the cost of an engagement party or dinner to meet the groom’s family. Parents of the groom — The groom’s parents should host a rehearsal dinner prior to the wedding. They may also choose to contribute to the wedding if they desire. In most cases, the groom’s parents have limited responsibilities, but can be involved as much as the wedding couple would like. Traditionally, the groom’s mother confers with the bride’s mother on what color gown she is wearing, so as not to go with the same shade. The groom’s parents may walk down the aisle in advance of the rest of the wedding processional and take their seats.
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Bakersfield Life 2010 Vows 11
Groom’s Checklist Brides, make it easier for your future husband to play a role with this plan Six to 12 Months Ahead • Choose a wedding date • Pick out a reception location: Get a jump on this, because these places get booked up very early. Especially if your wedding in the summer months. • Choose your best man, groomsmen and ushers. • Work with fiancee on the guest list. • Meet with a priest, rabbi or justice of the peace, the choice is yours. • Choose the music: a band or disk jockey. Discuss the options with your fiancee. • Planning for your honeymoon. Apply for a passport if you’re traveling out of the country • Shop for wedding rings • Check requirements for blood tests and the marriage license • Secure transportation to the ceremony and reception
Three Months Ahead • Get fitted for tuxedo along with best man and groomsmen. • Book your honeymoon. • Last chance to go over the guest list, with everyone involved for approval. • Go to the jeweler and get your fingers measured for your wedding bands. Decide on inscriptions. Order them.
• Meet with the person performing the ceremony to finalize details. • Plan rehearsal dinner with your parents. • Work with fiancee on flower arrangements.
One Month Ahead • Buy your bride a wedding gift. Make sure it’s a per12
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Photo by Jessica Frey
Two Months Ahead
sonal and memorable gift. • Schedule final fittings for tuxedos, and make sure all wedding attire has been ordered. • Pick out the groomsmen gifts. These men will be doing a lot of work for you on wedding day. Make sure you get them something they might enjoy. • Take care of business and legal affairs. Add bride’s name to insurance policies, medical plans and checking accounts.
Two Weeks Ahead • File for your marriage license with your bride-to-be. • Bachelor party • Pick up your wedding rings and check to make sure everything is spelled correctly.
One Week Ahead • Go over final details with fiancée • Pick up the tux, try it on and check yourself out. • Make sure best man and groomsmen get their wedding attire • Reconfirm all honeymoon reservations. • Get a haircut • Make sure your attendants are at the rehearsal and know their duties • Bring your wedding license to the officinal at rehearsal. Be sure it is filled out properly so it can be signed and returned to you after your wedding. — GroomsOnline.com
Specializing in Wedding Receptions, Quinceañera, Bar Mitzvahs, Retirement Parties, & Anniversary Dinners. Please call our Marriott Certified Wedding Planner for more details.
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Tradition states that wedding cakes are to be tiered masterpieces featuring white cake and white frosting. However, today’s modern couples are going in decidedly different directions with their wedding cakes. Often the dessert is as varied and unique as the couple themselves. Wedding cakes can be created to match couples’ individual styles and tastes, as well as the color scheme of the wedding. Shapes and sizes can be mixed and matched depending upon what the bride and groom envision. Working closely with a skilled cake artist can yield a truly exceptional confection. Here are some ideas for embellishing wedding cakes and making them mirror the personality of the wedding. Consider a different shape other than standard round or square tiers. How about something that ties into your theme, such as a seashell or a sandcastle for a beachside wedding? There are many decorating styles available and you may not have to go with the traditional buttercream icing. Rolled fondant can be cut and shaped into a variety of embellishments. Talk with the cake designer about his or her specialties in cake design, and ask to see a look-book of past cakes created. Be sure the person whose work you are reviewing will be the actual person doing your cake. Consider matching the flowers in bouquets and table settings on the cake. Skilled decorators can create sugar or piped flowers that rival the look of the real thing. Base the cake on the style of the bride’s wedding gown. A cake artist may be able to mimic the look of lace, beading, appliques and more. A photo of the gown may be all the inspiration the professional needs. Who says you need to have vanilla? Today’s cakes come in so many flavors, including chocolate fudge, banana, carrot, caramel, pumpkin, and so many more. Ask about the cake flavors and filling offerings. Can’t decide? Find out if you can have multiple flavors, where each tier is a different option. Save your appetite. Consider skipping the extensive dessert bar so guests can truly savor your cake. 14
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Photo by Jessica Frey
Sweet start to life together
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Music Set the mood for bliss
Music is an integral part of both the wedding ceremony and the reception. Music often conveys emotions that are difficult to put into words. Additionally, songs and music help us to remember certain key moments more easily. That’s why we often associate rites of passage with the sound track of that time in our lives. Because music is such an important part of the wedding, you want to take the time and necessary precautions to avoid wedding day music slip-ups. As with most parts of the wedding process, preparation and planning — as well as some reputable word-of-mouth recommendations — can make selecting musicians and song choices for your wedding much smoother. Consider the following:
The ceremony Can you picture the bride and her attendants walking down the aisle without any music? Many couples give careful consideration to the reception music and leave the ceremony music to chance — not a good idea. Ask your house of worship if they have any rules regarding song selections, as well as regulations on house or outside musicians. Then work your music selections according to these guidelines. While traditionally brides enter to “Here Comes the Bride,” stricter houses of worship may not allow this tune, or brides simply may prefer something else. Classical, hymnal or other processional music is often appropriate. Just keep in mind the tempo and length of the song so that it will match the gait and size of the wedding party. Chances are the ceremony musicians will be different from those who are playing at your reception. Therefore this 16
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may require a little extra planning. If your house of worship provides the musician(s), arrange to sit down with this individual to talk about styles and what to expect. Also arrange to have payment or a tip provided for his or her services.
The reception You will likely have more wiggle room with your choices at the reception, depending upon the venue. Brides and grooms usually use live performers or DJs who play prerecorded music. Some performers offer a combination of both. Consider the style of your wedding. Will it be formal or informal? Traditional or contemporary? Aim for music that suits the style or theme of the wedding. A full-piece orchestra may seem out of place at a casual party. When you are choosing music, consider your tastes, but the tastes of your guests as well. While you won’t be able to please each and every person, the wider the range of music you have available, the greater the chance of people getting up to dance and enjoying themselves. Be sure to ask friends, relatives and others for musician recommendations. When you attend weddings, take the cards of performers you enjoyed. Contact prospective performers early on to ensure your wedding date is available.
Contracts Once you decide on your ceremony and reception musicians, it’s important to sign a contract and work out payment agreements. Having the information in writing protects you in case the musicians don’t deliver what was expected.
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Photo by Jessica Frey
Go green Make your wedding eco-friendly If you have a hybrid car parked in your garage, recycle rain water to irrigate backyard plants and have replaced just about every bulb in your home with compact fluorescents, there’s a good chance that you’re environmentally conscious. But what if you’ve just gotten engaged and want to impart some of these green ways of thinking to the wedding? What can you do to be earth-friendly when tying the knot? Wedding industry insiders say that the trend of going green with weddings is growing exponentially. David Cooperrider, a business professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, says that going green is one of the great business opportunities of the 21st century, and there 18
Bakersfield Life 2010 Vows
is much potential for the wedding industry. He offers that wedding vendors that are not going green will be at a competitive disadvantage to those who do. Going green for your wedding day doesn’t mean you have to compromise on the elements that will make the day special. It just means you can take a look at the details and the bigger picture and develop strategies that will minimize the impact on the planet. Go local: From food to flowers, choose vendors that use locally grown and raised products. This reduces the amount of smog generated and fuel consumed to bring items in for your wedding. Many caterers are now collaborating with lo-
cal farms and other vendors to offer organic, locally grown menu items. It pays to ask about availability. Go to your guests: Figure out where the greatest number of your guests reside and then hold the wedding nearby. For example, a couple from the Northeast who has relocated to the West Coast, but has all of their family still in the East, may want to hold their wedding in the East. It is less expensive and more environmentally friendly for the couple to simply fly to the wedding, rather than having hundreds of guests drive or fly west. Be mindful of wardrobe choices: Choose items that really can be worn again. Skip the rented tuxes and ask groomsmen to wear a similar styled suit that they can add to their work wardrobe. Bridesmaids can wear a simple black cocktail dress so that theyâ€™re not left with a taffeta creation that will only hang in the closet afterward. If you decide to go more traditional with wardrobe, find out if gowns can be recycled or donated so that they can be reused in another way. Choose recycled materials for wedding invitations and announcements: There are an increasing number of suppliers creating invitations from recycled materials. Some will do all the assembly for you; other less expensive items may be more hands-on. Cut down on further use of paper by creating a wedding Web site where you post directions, maps, party times, and other essential information so you avoid extra slip-in sheets with your invitations. Create car-pool options: Bus guests to your venue to save on gas. It is also a safer option for those who will be indulging in
alcoholic beverages at the party since they wonâ€™t have to drive on the return trip home. Investigate ecologically responsible wedding jewelry: According to Greenkarat, purveyors of ecologically responsible engagement rings and wedding bands, 2,500 tons of gold are mined each year, even though there is enough gold above ground (already mined) to satisfy all demands of the jewelry industry for the next 50 years. Much of it sits in bank vaults and in the form of old and unused jewelry. See if you can recycle old jewelry into something new. Or embrace the sentimental hand-me-down rings from a grandmother or other relative.
Bakersfield Life 2010 Vows 19
Themes Give big day a personal twist
Fairy tale wedding or modern twist? Many brides- and grooms-to-be have been thinking about their ideal wedding for years. Some may have strong ideas about wedding ideas, complete with scrapbooks featuring color schemes and wardrobe choices. Themed weddings have grown in popularity — as couples want to do what they can to set their event apart from the scores of other weddings guests have attended. The key to themed weddings is to create a balance between tradition and elements that tie into the theme. This way the wedding is classy instead of over-the-top ... unless, however, overthe-top is what’s desired. Decide on your theme: Develop a clear idea of what you’d like the theme to be. Themes can range from tie-ins to seasons to specific interests, such as sports or hobbies, to a particular color scheme. Once you have a firm concept of your theme, you can plan and shop around it. For the purpose of illustration, let’s use a winter theme as an example. 20
Bakersfield Life 2010 Vows
Introduce your theme with stationery: Your save-the-date cards or wedding invitations will present the theme to your guests, and could be the building block for the entire wedding. A winter-themed wedding may feature a whimsical font of swirly patterned type evoking the feel of winter wind. Delicate polka dots could hint at falling snow. Avoid snowmen and ski boots. Keep it simple: A winter theme may be achieved simply with color. Draperies, flowers, seat covers, table linens, etc. in a frosty blue, silver or white will touch upon the feel of winter. There’s no need to clutter up the space with knickknacks that make the theme overwhelming. Remember, you want the event to still be traditional, with touches of the theme throughout. Choose an accent: There may be one concept of your theme that you’d like to build upon, such as snowflakes. However, instead of paper snowflakes hanging from the ceiling, which would be more reminiscent of a class-
room instead of a reception room, think about other subtle ways to incorporate the accent. Delicate doilies under the china could hint at snowflakes. Italian pizzelle cookies dusted with powdered sugar look like snowflakes and are very tasty. Instead of Jordan almonds in favors, use large nonpareils. Ask the venue to create a signature cocktail that’s white and frosty. Rely on flowers and lighting: Flowers, foliage and other natural accents can add a special touch to your wedding. Nature provides so many different hued and shaped flowers that can work effortlessly into your theme. Hydrangea or snowball plants (also called Guelder rose) form large puffs of flowers that resemble snowballs and are aptly named. Delicate alyssum and even the common baby’s breath can be tucked into floral arrangements to add a snowflake appeal. Lighting is something couples often overlook. Famed party planner David Tutera often uses lighting to set the mood at the events he plans. Changing the color or the scope of the lighting for different parts of your reception can create different moods. Choose festive foods: Foods don’t necessarily need to look like themed elements (mashed potato ski slopes). However, you can touch on the theme by using seasonal foods such as winter squashes, hearty foods or seasonal fruits. Creating a theme doesn’t have to be ostentatious or evoke feelings of a kids’ birthday party. Subtle touches that are cohesive will provide the desired mood.
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Bakersfield Life 2010 Vows 21
Photo by Jessica Frey
Expenses Rein in wedding costs What bride and groom hasn’t envisioned doves launching into the air while trumpets herald their union; horsedrawn carriages; a Vera Wang gown; and a guest list of 200 or more? Many couples want a dream wedding full of extravagance and fun ... that is until they realize how much it will cost. According to recent statistics, weddings in the United States cost between $20,000 and $30,000. The Knot Wedding Network says it’s about $28,000 on average. Most couples’ budgets are typically 30 percent to 40 percent less than what they actually spend on the occasion. That can leave newlyweds in a financial bind after the festivities, especially if guests’ gifts do not cover the extraneous spending. 22
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With every penny counting these days, it is even more important to stick to a wedding budget and determine how and where to keep costs down. Here are some ideas. Timing counts: What day of the week and at what time you have your wedding can shave a large amount off of your costs. The wedding reception can be one-third of your total wedding expenses, so timing it for savings is key. Friday night, Saturday afternoon and Sunday weddings will be less than a Saturday night affair. Guests have grown accustomed to weddings on different days of the week, so don’t hem and haw about a non-Saturday event. Realize priorities: If you’re a couple who’s more interested in having fun and mingling, consider a reception
heavy on the cocktail hour and light on the main meal. There’s no rule that says you have to have a three-course, sit-down dinner. A cocktail party is perfectly acceptable. Just be sure to note the type of party on the reception card of your wedding invitation so guests can plan accordingly. Reception halls often try to upsell different packages and “extras.” Resist the urge to add on to the event —unless you really have your heart set on something. For example, do you need the gourmet cheese platter or the extended dessert bar? Why not skip the flambé? There will be plenty of food and guests will be satiated even if you skip these goodies. Rein in the open bar: Alcoholic beverages can be a large expense at a wedding reception. Instead of having guests pick up the tab for their own drinks to save money, offer a limited bar of only wine, beer, soft drinks and perhaps a signature cocktail. It can cut costs dramatically. Also, eliminating the champagne toast can rein in costs. Rent instead of buy: There are many ways to save money by renting wedding components instead of buying them outright. Groomsmen already have the right idea by renting formal wear. The bride and her bridesmaids can rent gowns as well. Some brides wonder why they should pay several hundred dollars for a gown they’ll only wear once and then have sit in the attic.
Did you know you can even rent wedding cakes? Some bakeries will provide a Styrofoam cake that’s decorated to perfection, which can be placed on display. Then a less aesthetically pleasing sheet cake is substituted, which is cut into slices for the guests. Flower power: Another budget-eater is flowers. Choosing inseason flowers can help cut costs, but so can reducing the ratio of flowers to other fillers. Consider mixing flowers with greenery or even fruit in centerpieces, which will be much less expensive. Tell your florist what you want to spend and make sure he or she sticks to that budget. Reassess the guest list: You certainly may want to invite every third cousin once removed. However, it’s simply not practical if you’re trying to keep expenses low. If you haven’t spoken to someone in years, do not feel obligated to invite him or her to the wedding. Also, talk with your parents about keeping their contribution to the guest list within reason. Their personal friends and business associates may need to be limited if it means making room for immediate family. These are just a few suggestions for marrying on a budget. Another way to keep expenses in check is to hire a wedding planner. While it may seem like a luxury expense, he or she can actually help keep costs down, and may have insider information as to where to save money with certain vendors.
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Bakersfield Life 2010 Vows 23
Ways to say thank you on special day It is customary for the bride- and groom-to-be to show their gratitude to all of the people who will make their wedding day special. Weddings today feature people who have roles that go beyond the traditional, like interior decorators and musical soloists. It’s important to remember to thank everyone who contributes to the celebration. Thank-you gifts should be something thoughtful and enduring. Avoid fad or gag gifts. These gifts should be presented at a pre-wedding occasion. It’s customarily done at the rehearsal dinner. Crafting personalized remarks is a nice way to call attention to the unique tasks of each wedding participant. Don’t simply pass the gifts out in one fell swoop. This way the gift will have more meaning through a personal message. Don’t let thank-you gifts be forgotten. Start thinking of gift ideas early on and plan for any extra time for engraving or other personalization. Groomsmen — When selecting gifts for groomsmen, think about a gift they would like but probably wouldn’t buy themselves. This can be cuff links, a fine watch, money clip, or a high-quality wallet. Feel free to splurge a little more on the best man. 24
Bakersfield Life 2010 Vows
Bridesmaids —Traditional gifts for bridesmaids are different types of jewelry. Monogrammed stationery, a spa treatment or other pampering session are also good options. As you have with the best man, feel free to bestow a little more thanks on the maid of honor with a more lavish gift. Younger bridal party members can get a similar gift, but one in scale with their ages. Clergy — Many couples choose to make a financial donation to their house of worship. Additional tipping or monetary gifts for musicians, alter boys/girls, etc. can also be a thoughtful gesture. A donation toward an officiant’s vestments may also be appreciated. Parents of the bride and groom — The couple may choose to bestow a gift on their parents, which can be especially meaningful if the parents are taking care of the financial responsibility of the wedding. Jewelry or fine gifts in similar scope to that of the bridal party are good ideas. Consider engraved picture frames that can house a wedding portrait down the road. Others — Readers, soloists, ushers, etc. can be given a small token of your appreciation, like a gift card or a personalized memento.
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