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July 2012







Stories of remarkable men Guys with high-end hobbies Big Mike’s barbecue secrets Food Dudes land at

The Aviator Casino On the Road

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Bakersfield Life

July 2012


The Man Issue


Food Dudes


Grapes a plenty

From our second annual man contest to features on hunting and men’s extravagant hobbies, this issue is filled with lots of malecentric stories, which even our female readers will find enjoyable.

These lucky men paid a visit to The Aviator Casino in Delano where they hit the jackpot in the food department. The Dudes feasted on an assortment of appetizers and for the manly main course: rib-eye steak, pork chops and burgers.

Kern County is home to many ag producers, especially grape growers. Read the history of the first grape farmers to settle on our soil and harvest grapes, along with several well-known families in our community.

Photo by Jessica Frey

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Bakersfield Life

July 2012

13 28 30 36 40 44 50 52 54 59 86 94 96

Up Front It Manners A Lot Kelly Damian Food and Wine Foodie

102 It’s A Guy Thing … 106 Ladies Who … 112 Personality 116 Real People 118 Fit and Fresh

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Staff Shares


July 2012 / Vol. 6 / Issue 10

How do you beat the Bakersfield heat? “I don’t — the heat beats me! Entering the heat wave protection program helps, relocating for 60 days also works, and when all else fails: Spend July and August horizontal on a pool raft!” — Lisa Kimble, contributing writer

“By doing some traveling during the summer. Last year, my wife and I went to Chicago for a week in July. The year before, we took a trip to New York City in June.” — Stephen Lynch, contributing writer “Rosemary’s, Rosemary’s and more Rosemary’s!” — Mark Nessia, contributing photographer “If I need a mental break from

Bako’s heat, a downtown Mexicali margarita is a favorite way to unwind and cool off. On the rocks with salt!” — Chris Thornburgh, contributing writer “I don’t beat it. I join it by playing tennis, cycling, etc., and staying well hydrated. Sweat is good!” — Jeff Nickell, contributing writer “My favorite thing to do to escape the summer swelter is to go to the movies. Theaters are always chilled and relaxing, plus there are a lot of big summer movies that come out, so there are plenty of reasons to go and spend time with

Bakersfield Life™ magazine is published by The Bakersfield Californian. The magazine is inserted into The Bakersfield Californian on the last Saturday of every month. To subscribe, please call 392-5777. Publisher Ginger Moorhouse President/CEO Richard Beene Senior Vice President Revenue and Marketing John Wells Vice President, Administration and Operations Nancy Chaffin Director of Display Advertising Roger Fessler Interactive Advertising Director Sally Ellis Interactive Sales Manager Lisa Whitten Advertising Traffic Manager Shauna Rockwell Marketing Manager Mira Patel Distribution and Marketing Representative Patrick Wells Editor Olivia Garcia Assistant Editor Stefani Dias

friends and family for a few hours and be entertained.” — Brian N. Willhite, contributing writer and photographer “Going for a swim at McMurtrey is the best.” — Myriam Valdez, intern

Specialty Publications Coordinator Hillary Haenes Editorial Assistant Marisol Sorto Art Director Glenn Hammett Photography Felix Adamo, Larry Aronat, Sally Baker, Henry A. Barrios, Jaclyn Borowski, Casey Christie, Gregory D. Cook, Kevork Djansezian, Jessica Frey, Lydia Gonzalez, Greg Iger, Tanya X. Leonzo, Shelby Mack, Paul Moseley, Greg Nichols, Mark Nessia, Jose M. Osorio, Jan St. Pierre, Lefteris Pitarakis, Carla Rivas, Joel Rogers, Victor Sailer, Randy Wilder, Brian N. Willhite Contributing writers Vicki Adame, Sally Baker, Gregory D. Cook, Kelly Damian, Breanna Fields, Lois Henry, Lisa Kimble, Katie Kirschenmann, Stephen Lynch, Mateo M. Melero, Kevin McCloskey, Jeff Nickell, Omar Oseguera, Gabriel Ramirez, Mike Russo, Georgina Stassi, Chris Thornburgh, Michael Wafford, Brian N. Willhite Interns Paola Becerra Myriam Valdez Advertising Lupe Carabajal, 395-7563 On the cover Randy Martin, founder of Covenant Community Services. Photo by Jessica Frey


Bakersfield Life

July 2012

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Editor’s Note

The Fourth of July is a time to celebrate our country’s independence with loved ones by having barbecues and watching firework displays. There are a few patriotic events happening around town to keep the entire family entertained. New this year is the free citywide The Fourth at River Walk Celebration at Bright House Networks Amphitheatre. Six local bands, including The Rick Copus Band, Tracy Peoples & The Left Coast Groovies, 1916 and Foster Campbell & Friends will take the stage to perform from 2 to 9 p.m. at The Park at River Walk. Food and beverage vendors stationed around the park will be selling barbecue chicken, ribs and hot dogs, tacos, kettle corn, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and apple pie. Patrons can pay for children’s activities, such as bounce houses, slides and a dunk tank. For those who like to spend holidays watching sports, the Bakersfield Blaze play against the Stockton Ports at 7:45 p.m. at Sam Lynn Ballpark, with a fireworks show after the game. This game is guaranteed to sell out, so make sure to get there early! The 23rd annual Fourth of July parade in the downtown Westchester neighborhood will start at 9:30 a.m., in front of the “Christmas house” on Elm Street and will end on 20th and Elm streets. This event is thrown by families and neighbors to bring the people of Bakersfield together, so whether you live in the neighborhood or not, everyone is invited to celebrate. ­— Paola Becerra 12

Bakersfield Life

Welcome to the Man Issue


fter closing the books on the second annual Bakersfield Life man contest, I can say the editorial staff left feeling warm and fuzzy. With nominations spread across our conference table, we spent one afternoon reading aloud every reader submission and sharing comments. There are definitely some lucky women in Bakersfield, and we are fortunate to have men who unconditionally love their spouses, children and parents as well as those who make a difference in our community. Read about all these great guys and find out who won in this issue. With the contest wrapped up, we are well into planning our August issue, which will focus on Kern County, and we would like to hear from our readers on what they love the most about our county. Specifically, we’d like to know your thoughts on this question: Who or what is the most iconic place in Kern County for you? Please send your comments to

Also, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to be entered into a random drawing for a $25 gift card to The Garden Spot. Deadline: noon July 11. A community is made of memorable places and, more importantly, memorable people. With that in mind, I ask readers to send thoughts and prayers to the family of Wendy Wayne, a beloved local activist who died after a long struggle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma on Father’s Day. In an April 2009 interview, writer Lisa Kimble interviewed Wendy about a year after her diagnosis. She commented about the outpouring of support of well-wishers and pay-it-forward generosity: “That has been a gift that very few people get to receive, the opportunity where they might die and people share with you how they feel while you are alive.” Rest in peace, Wendy. You were a beautiful woman, inside and out, who embodied the true definition of community, giving and inspiration.

Photo by Tanya X. Leonzo

Patriotic celebrations you don’t want to miss

Olivia Garcia Editor 395-7487

This month I’m loving ... Rolex Submariner

For the stylish gentleman who loves a sleek look, consider the Rolex Submariner. There is one particular model that comes in steel and yellow gold. Pretty snazzy! Visit The American Jewelry Co., 3200 21st St.; Suite 500; 3255023; amercanjewelrycompany. com. Prices vary. July 2012

G-Shock watches

Looking for a watch for the active, on-the-go guy? Consider Casio’s G-Shock, known for its shock protection and water resistance. As a wife and mother of teenage boys, I have learned that this brand is another favorite one for the guys. Prices vary.

Spotify app

I am a big music lover, and I was looking for an app that went beyond my music playlist. Spotify can tune into your favorite artists, music playlists created by users, other cool music apps and even (for the premium deal) access your iTunes music library away from your computer. $4.99

Up Front Word on the Street Compiled by Brian N. Willhite

What is your favorite action movie and why? “‘Live Free or Die Hard.’ It was thrilling the whole time and there are lots of car chases and explosions.”

“‘Enemy at the Gate.’ I love movies that have to do with war, especially ones with a lot of historical content.”

— Yesica Lemus

— Paloma Esparza

“‘Death Race.’ Every scene was mindblowing throughout the whole movie.”

“‘Marvel’s The Avengers’ because of the Hulk!”

“‘Jaws.’ It’s a very suspenseful and thrilling movie — it has everything.” — Susan Lovato

“‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.’ I like the treasure hunting and the thrilling chases in the movie.”­

— Cory Phillips

— Justin Vasquez

— Joseph Lovato ­


“‘Star Wars.’ The whole sci-fi, futuristic and lightsaber battling stuff — all that draws me in.”

“‘The Transporter.’ It’s a nonstop, action-packed thrill movie.”

­— Erik Blancada

— Elizabeth Grosso

“‘Braveheart.’ I like the plot and about how there was a strong message about fighting for a cause and for love. It’s very inspiring.” — Casey Thompson

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Up Front Short Take

African American Network honors local youth The African American Network of Kern County honored five graduating high school students who dedicated 1,000 hours of community service in Kern County through their participation in the “Each One Teach One� program. Students Abigail Arredondo, Braxton Fitts, Albert Leung, Margarita Martinez and Kailla Watson were introduced to the nonprofit by friends or school counselors and became absorbed in the process of community service. The network seeks to educate minority business owners and mentor youth in they community. The group supports programs designed to educate, create economic parity, promote job opportunities and encourage positive role models in such communities. Through giving their time to their community, the five students selected this year also received guidance and experience that has allowed them to grow. The organization’s executive director, Dee Slade, hosted the event, praising youth for their time and thanking the families for supporting them in their endeavors. While working with Slade, students participated in Children

Joining Children for Success, an annual event for foster children. The students also worked on projects such as the maintenance of the Pinkney House with the Kern County Museum or attended local business mixers. At the event, the students gave speeches to a room of tearyeyed teachers, mentors and parents. Leung’s mother, Karen Tran, said, “I’m proud that he’s involved in this organization. I think this organization is helping him out. I’m proud of him going to college because I never got a bachelor’s degree. I never went to college. I’m proud that he’s the first in the family going to college.� The network also honored Sylvia Mendez-Sala of Sylvia Mendez & Associates for her contributions to the group. “The children are amazing; they have so much potential, and they are hungry to learn about people, business, making contacts within our community and one day coming back to our community as leaders,� Mendez-Sala said. Four of the five honorees plan to attend college, while Arredondo has enlisted in the United States Navy. — Michael Wafford

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Bakersfield Life

July 2012





It’s Named After

By Lisa Kimble

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Brundage Lane Judge Benjamin Brundage, for whom Brundage Lane is named, stands tall in the history of Kern County as a pioneering giant who had a major influence as both a founder of this county and as jurist presiding over a landmark legal challenge of riparian rights. Universally loved, Brundage was a self-made man who helped to define the ambitious spirit of the early settlers. He was born in McCutchenville, Ohio, in 1834, to a farming family. Gifted with a brilliant mind, Brundage taught school while studying law and was given early admittance to the practice of law. At the time of Morgan’s Raid during the Civil War, he enlisted, serving as a private in a regiment of the Ohio Militia. Immediately after receiving an honorable discharge, Brundage headed west to California, settling first in San Francisco where he worked as an insurance agent before coming to California’s newest mining town, Havilah, in 1865. Brundage opened an office there and was a key player in the formation of Kern County in 1866. He served as trustee for Havilah School where his future wife, Mary Lively, worked as one of the school’s first teachers. They married in 1870, and had three sons: Ben, Frank and George. In 1874, when the county seat moved to Bakersfield, the family followed. In January of the next year, their son Frank died at the age of 5. In 1878, as a member of the Constitutional Convention, Brundage took an active role in Sacramento, crafting the new constitution. He became the first judge of the Superior Court, a seat created to take the place of district judge. In 1881, after two years of arguments, Judge Brundage issued the first ruling in

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Benjamin Brundage the controversial water rights case Lux vs. Haggin, noting that an unqualified defense of riparian rights will “condemn to perpetual barrenness”

the majority of California’s Central Valley, and therefore, “appropriation” rights, previously awarded to industry, must be granted to farmers. Brundage served on the bench for five years before returning to private practice. He was active in Democratic Party politics and was Bakersfield’s first Masonic Lodge master. The family home was located on H Street where the Padre Hotel stands today. He died there, smoking a cigar, in 1911 at the age of 76.

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Letters to the Editor



SOCIAL NETWORK VOICE YOUR OPINIONS in periodic web-based surveys and polls





Bakersfield Life

July 2012

Dear Editor, In the southeast area of greater Bakersfield, there is a unique program that benefits the lives of its residents. The South Oswell Neighborhood Watch is comprised of independent volunteers. It offers safety meetings, as well as an anti-litter and graffiti removal program. The organization was formally organized in September 2009, by founder and director David Collins, but had its conception in the spring of 2006, when Mr. Collins moved into the Tyner Ranch neighborhood. The neighborhood watch is associated with the Bakersfield Police Department’s Neighborhood Watch program and the City of Bakersfield’s Keep Bakersfield Clean Committee with whom they have signed a contract to provide a minimum of at least one major cleanup every three months. In addition to the quarterly litter service, they patrol the area between four to six times per week to remove or report unsightly trash and graffiti. As an additional benefit to their members, the organization provides an email system, which sends regular messages to update members on abatement progress, crimes reported in the neighborhood, pending events and urgent or emergency alerts. As of May, the cleanup totals for The South Oswell Neighborhood Watch are as follows: 453.57 volunteer hours, 660 bags of litter picked up, 572 pieces of graffiti removed, 216 graffiti pieces reported to the city, 34 neighborhood watch meetings, 184 e-alerts, 43 thank-you letters handed out, 32 flash cleanups, 11 major cleanups and 142 weeks of cleanup coverage for the South Oswell community. — Dee Collins Dear Editor, I just read Lisa Kimble’s recent Miss Manners column in Bakersfield Life, and I think it (commencement behavior) is a much needed topic to address. In fact, Lisa has done a great job on the information she includes on each subject I have read. People in today’s society need better behavior. I am also impressed with her approach and delivery of the information. You’re doing great work, Lisa. Keep it up. Have a great one! — Phyllis Reischman

The Bakersfield Californian publishes Bakersfield Life magazine monthly. If you have any questions or comments regarding our magazine, write to us at Bakersfield Life, P.O. Bin 440, Bakersfield, CA 93302, or email us at bakersfieldlife@bakersfield. com. We’d love to hear from you.

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

To advertise Please call Lupe Carabajal, retail advertising sales manager, at 395-7563 or

Up Front The Big Picture

Wearing different hats Photo by Gregory D. Cook More than 2,100 graduates were awarded their four-year degrees during the 2012 commencement ceremonies at Cal State Bakersfield, marking the most graduates in the university’s 42-year history. Many of the graduates customized the mortarboards of their caps with messages of pride and celebration of their achievement.


Bakersfield Life

July 2012


Up Front

Facebook contest

What are your plans for summer vacation? Sheila Kerber Staying in New York City for the month of July to visit my daughter and having friends visit me along the way!

William Rodgers Work, work and more work! Jolie Brouttier Teaching pre-K for five weeks (it’s called the Ready to Start Program), so I guess you can say my plans are singing songs, fingerpainting and molding the minds of our future! Then enjoying the house to myself when the parents head off to Paris. While the parents are away, this little lady shall play!

Guinevere Phd Seattle to visit my sister in medical school and Canada for my husband’s family reunion. And then back home to teach theater to young actors!

Andi Cerda Sorry to say I don’t have the luxury to take any summer vacations, so I will be working as usual. Lakhi Garewal Going to Atlanta to visit family and then off to Disney World for two weeks!

Jamie Butow We’re visiting family in San Diego for a whole week! I can’t wait to relax and do nothing! Plus we’ll be hitting the So Cal theme parks. My 8-year-old got tickets for them as his birthday gifts from my family.

Russo’s Read

‘Full Classrooms, Empty Selves’ “Full Classrooms, Empty Selves” is an extraordinary book destined to fuel the national debate on education. Bakersfield High School teacher and Cal State Bakersfield adjunct-professor Jeremy Adams confronts the current state of his noble profession, using his life experiences as a jumping off point to observe and comment on today’s student. He paints an engrossing picture of the modern classroom that is filled with both high idealism and steady realism. A book written by the recently named “Kern County Teacher of the Year,” this young education professional is at the top of his game, but still “a teacher who feels off track.”

Mike Russo 20

Bakersfield Life

by Jeremy Adams

To that end, Adams pulls no punches. He takes on lackadaisical teachers, bloated bureaucrats and self-righteous students, but he also puts himself up against his own demanding standards. His keen insights, amusing anecdotes and engaging writing style make this a book for all. To witness the transformation of a teacher, a father and a man in such stark and deeply personal terms ultimately gives the reader hope, even as the prose is tempered by his maturing sense of what he can — and cannot — affect from his position behind the lectern. — Mike Russo, co-owner of Russo’s Books at The Marketplace

“Full Classrooms, Empty Selves” is available for $19.98 at Russo’s Books at The Marketplace, 9000 Ming Ave. Jeremy Adams will be signing copies of his book from 1 to 3 p.m. July 8. July 2012

25 random things you didn’t know about …

Compiled by Hillary Haenes The Bakersfield High grad has traveled all over the world for wrestling (a sport he’s been doing since age 6). On Aug. 13, Jake Varner will give it his all when he competes for the U. S. Olympic team in the 96-kilogram freestyle wrestling tournament in London. Bakersfield Life caught up with Varner, 26, to find out some personal (and random) facts about this icon. Support his career by purchasing the first official Jake Varner T-shirt or stay updated on his success at


I don’t drink alcohol, never have and do not plan on it.

2 3 4

I don’t do drugs.


I don’t go to bars. I love to fish and have recently taken up fly-fishing, as well as golf. My favorite baseball team is the Yankees, after hearing my dad tell me all about them as a kid.


While growing up, I played football, baseball, basketball and swam competitively, along with wrestling.


I have three sisters who all went to college on athletic scholarships (throwing events).


I have one sister who is trying out for the Olympic team in the discus.

9 I like being alone. 10 My favorite foods are pizza and marshmallows.

11 My favorite drink is orange Gatorade. 12 My favorite television shows are “The Big Bang Theory” and “The Office.”

Giving a TV interview

Photo by Casey Christie

Photo by Casey Christie

Qualifying for the 2012 Olympics

Californian file photo

Jake Varner

13 I love to quote movie lines. 14 My favorite movies are “She’s Out of My

League,” “Happy Gilmore” and “Billy Madison.”

15 I am a huge fan of Mike Tyson. 16 When I was little, the tip of my baby finger was cut off by my sister who shut the door on it.


I broke my arm at 6 when I fell out of my grandpa’s tree.

18 I was the student body president of my eighthgrade class at Rio Bravo-Greeley (also student of the year that year).

19 My favorite wrestler is Cael Sanderson who is now my coach.

20 I went to Russia after my eighth-grade year

to serve on a Christian sport mission and to wrestle.

21 I have a white boxer named Mya. 22 I chose to wrestle for Iowa State over Oklahoma State and Iowa.

23 I took third at the last Olympic trials at 84-kilogram (185 pounds).

24 My favorite countries that I have visited so far are Turkey and Azerbaijan.

25 I love God; my country; my family (including my 95-year-old grandfather, who has traveled to Denmark and Turkey to watch me wrestle and will also be traveling to London); my girlfriend, Brittany; and my dog, Mya!


Up Front Money Matters

Hiring your kid for summer work Save money while teaching your kids the value of work and responsibility — impossible? Parents, it’s never too late to instill great values in your kids. Employ them this summer. Paying your child a reasonable wage to work in your small business provides them with valuable knowledge and tax savings. Income tax savings

Reasonable wages you pay your child to work are fully deductible as a business expense, reducing your taxable income. Likewise, your child can earn up to $5,950 without incurring a tax liability. Excess earnings are taxable but likely lower than your tax rate. Payroll tax savings

Payroll tax savings can be significant for a self-employed parent. If your business is unincorporated, wages paid to a minor child are not subject to Social Security and Medicare taxes. Additionally, wages paid to a child under 21 are exempt from federal unemployment taxes. Other savings

Your child can contribute their earned income to a traditional or Roth IRA, up to $5,000. Roth IRA earnings grow tax-free and can be withdrawn penalty-free in special circumstances, including college

Edward Manager






funding and first-home purchases. Know the requirements

To qualify for the deduction, you must meet the requirements. Treat your child like any other employee and keep good records. The work your child performs must be necessary for the business and wages must be reasonable for the type of work performed. Pay your child by check at same intervals as other employees and issue a W-2 at year’s end. Don’t make any exceptions for your child. While everyone’s financial situation is different, considerations should be taken for college-bound children if you decide to pay them. Consult your tax adviser. — Chris Thornburgh is a CPA and partner at Brown Armstrong Accountancy Corp. Contact her at or at 324-4971.

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Finding Fame

Tomas Alvarado

Career He explained that young opera singers, especially men, are often not viable until an older age. “It takes years of training and, in part, just age for the vocal chords to completely develop in order to be at the caliber necessary to perform on the stage of major opera houses here in the United States,” said Alvarado, 25.

May, he performed the role of Belcore in Donizetti’s “L’Elisir D’Amore” at the Soka Performing Arts Center in Orange County.

Photo courtesy of Tomas Alvarado

Early life The musical journey of opera singer Tomas Alvarado resonates much like the sound of his voice, creating an inspirational tale for those who have set out to pursue their dreams. From high school stages to opera festivals in Italy, Alvarado’s determination to become an opera singer stemmed from his youth after discovering the sound of a church band. A saxophone player was present that day, inspiring 8-year-old Alvarado to pick up the alto saxophone and play in the concert band at Harding Elementary. He continued to play in band and sing in the choir while at Compton Junior High. Alvarado’s transition into opera came when he entered East High, where he began working with choir director Timothy Williams. It was Williams who would later ask Alvarado to sing in the chorus alongside him for a performance of George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah” at Cal State Bakersfield. The following year, he was invited to perform Giuseppe Verdi’s “Requiem.” “This was the definitive moment in which I knew that I wanted to be an opera singer,” said Alvarado. “The music set forth by Verdi touched me in such a profound way that I could not get enough of it.” After being involved in marching, concert and jazz bands, choir and theater throughout high school, he graduated and moved away to attend USC where he was a part of the Trojan marching band. He completed his bachelor's degree in music in 2009 from the USC Thornton School of Music and later received his master's degree, also in music, from the Chicago College of Performing Arts through Roosevelt University.

Photo courtesy of Tomas Alvarado

East High grad hits high notes in Italy

As a member of the Trojan marching band, Alvarado had the opportunity to travel to Italy where a few summers were spent performing at the Tuscia Opera festival in Viterbo. His resume of performance boasts an impressive list that includes frequent shows at the Teatro Unione and a number of cities in Italy while performing Mozart’s “Die Zauberflöte” on tour. He sang at the Crooked Tree Arts Center in Petoskey, Mich., and in

Future Although the local opera scene may never compare to Italy’s, we can take pride in the opportunities we have to see the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra. For those who want to experience the culture of classical music but are unable to afford a trip to New York, the Metropolitan Opera can be viewed live from Edwards Cinema on certain dates. As for the future of opera singer Alvarado, who currently resides in Chicago, the sky is the limit. Now that he is finished with school, he will prepare for auditions in the fall and spring. According to Alvarado, the next step will be to get accepted into a residency program with an opera company or begin a two-year artist diploma program at a university. “Experience and practice are really important in this industry,” said Alvarado. “It takes years of that to get anywhere.” — Breanna Fields


Up Front My Mobile Life

Compiled by Paola Becerra After graduating from Cal State Bakersfield, David A. Milazzo headed to the Big Apple to attend grad school at New Actors Workshop. In 1977, while in New York City, he founded Macroscopic. Being an Apple Enterprise IT consultant, he provides Apple technology services to businesses, agencies, schools and

independent professionals throughout the United States. Initially, his focus was Mac products, but with the increase in mobile devices, he now works with the iOS platform. If you have any Mac questions, Milazzo is the guy to contact — his office at 1330 22nd St. Here are some of Milazzo’s favorite apps he uses on his new iPad with Verizon 4G.

Photos by Felix Adamo

David A. Milazzo

Evernote It is my go-to app for taking meeting notes or recording quick thoughts. It’s cloud-based, so my notes and voice memos are waiting at my desk even before I get back to the office. iTeleport This little gem gives me no-hassle remote access to my desktop computers and the ability to connect to my clients’ machines from anywhere in the world. It’s very useful when I’d like to be in two (or three) places at once. Mactracker As an Apple consultant, I’m frequently tapped to recall minute specs about hundreds of devices Apple has developed over the years. Mactracker is a simple database app that provides the updated nitty-gritty on every Mac, iDevice and peripheral ever shipped since the first Mac in 1984. The Bakersfield Californian I’ve always enjoyed reading The Californian, but the paper version was rarely at hand when I was ready to dive in. Never again will I be without my hometown paper. Regardless of where I may be traveling, I’ll always have the latest edition. Expedia I travel a fair amount and of all the hotel-booking apps I’ve come across, I love Expedia’s interface. Its simple, map-based layout makes it easy to find the right place in the right part of town. TED TED talks have become my source of inspiration when the well runs dry. With its signature 20-minute sessions on topics ranging from technology and medicine to entertainment and design, there’s always a great speaker to give me a new idea for the day.

iTunes U The barriers to learning are falling rapidly. One place you can witness the revolution is inside this free app. With lectures and course work available from top universities, iTunes U brings worldclass education to anyone with an iPad.


Bakersfield Life

July 2012

Spotify For an avid music lover, Spotify is simply remarkable. Imagine an app that grants you access to more than 13 million songs — classics, new artists and everything in between — to play as often as you like. Welcome to Spotify.

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Up Front

Find more community events at or submit yours via email:

Sun. 1-3

Tue. 3

Reach for the Stars Crusade, 4 to 9 p.m.; comedy night, hip-hop improv, live music, talent show, firework and toy giveaway, game booths, hot meal. Harding and N. Chester Avenue. Free. Operationsoulwinner. org or 348-1002.

Music Fest 2012, with Kris Tiner Quartet, 7 to 8:30 p.m., Silver Creek Park, 7011 Harris Road. Free. 326-FUNN.

Tue. 10

Tue. 10

Sat. 14

Sat. 14

Reverend Horton Heat, with guests Supersuckers, 7 p.m., On the Rocks, 1517 18th St. $23. 327-7685.

Music Fest 2012, with Thee Majestics, 7 to 8:30 p.m., Silver Creek Park, 7011 Harris Road. Free. 326-FUNN.

“Amelie,” Cinema Saturday, begins at sundown, Valentien Restaurant & Wine Bar, 1310 Truxtun Ave., Suite 160. 864-0397.

Summer Bazaar, craft show and sale, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Kern County Fairgrounds, 1142 S. P St. 3465870.

Sun. 15

Tue. 17

Demi Lovato, 7 p.m., Rabobank Arena, 1001 Truxtun Ave. $29.50 to $69.50 plus fee. or 800-745-3000.

Yanni, 7:30 p.m., Rabobank Theater, 1001 Truxtun Ave. $56.15 to $164.90. ticketmaster. com or 800-7453000.


Wed. 4

Thur. 5

Independence Day Concerts by the Fountain, oldies, funk, Latin, and country with Thee Majestics, 7 to 9 p.m., The Marketplace, 9000 Ming Ave. Free.

Thur. 19 Fri. 20 Concerts by the Fountain, modern country, blues and rock with Good Question, 7 to 9 p.m., The Marketplace, 9000 Ming Ave. Free.

Movies in the Park, presents “Puss in Boots,” begins at dusk, Siemon Park, 3300 Redlands Drive. Free. 326-3866.

Thur. 26 Fri. 27





Happenings: Can’t-miss events in July

Concerts by the Fountain, the blues with 3 Guys Playin’ the Blues, 7 to 9 p.m., The Marketplace, 9000 Ming Ave. Free.

Bakersfield Life

July 2012

Movies in the Park, presents “Kung Fu Panda 2,” begins at dusk, Beale Park, 500 Oleander Ave. Free. 326-3866.

Sat. 7

Sat. 7

“Midnight in Paris,” Cinema Saturday, begins at sundown, Valentien Restaurant & Wine Bar, 1310 Truxtun Ave., Suite 160. 864-0397.

Roller Derby for Heroes, 5 p.m., Rabobank Arena, 1001 Truxtun Ave. $18 plus fee. or 800-745-3000.

Sat. 21

Sat. 21

Third annual Kids Design Club, create a dog in a basket made of flowers, 10 to 11:30 a.m., Log Cabin Florist, 800 19th St. $35, includes T-shirt. 327-8646.

“Dr. Strangelove,” Cinema Saturday, begins at sundown, Valentien Restaurant & Wine Bar, 1310 Truxtun Ave., Suite 160. 864-0397.

Sat. 28 “Yojimbo,” Cinema Saturday, begins at sundown, Valentien Restaurant & Wine Bar, 1310 Truxtun Ave., Suite 160. 864-0397.

By the Numbers

McMurtrey Aquatic Center Compiled By Paola Becerra

120 Number of employed lifeguards 637,472 Gallons of water the competition pool holds 158,028 Gallons of water the activity pool holds 618 Occupancy for the competition pool 427 Occupancy for the activity pool 147 Participants on average who do the Polar Bear Plunge 355 People on average who attend the Polar Bear Plunge 2 to 8 Hours a high school swim meet lasts at McMurtrey

164 (50­meters): Length, in feet, of the competition pool 2,000 Approximate number of people who participate in lap swimming per month

$3 Cost of daily lap swimming 871 Number of people who have joined the 100 Mile Club 48 Inches in height one must be to ride the water slide 1 to 5 p.m. Busiest hours

Photo by Lydia Gonzalez

Sources: Ja’Nette Beck, recreation specialist; and David Stricker, recreation supervisor

It Manners a Lot

Put civility on cruise control at high altitude By Lisa Kimble


he forecast for summer travel this year, according to the airline industry, is as blazing hot as a July afternoon in Bakersfield. Millions of people are expected to take to the oft-unfriendly skies between now and Labor Day. Wherever you are heading, buckle up and brace yourself for the possibility of some bruising on the civility jet-way. Because at some point, patience, like onboard food, may be running on empty, and the level of incivility may become frustrating. But here’s hoping good manners this summer are cruising at high altitude, because “it manners a lot!”

Love thy neighbor

Case in point: Even columns (like this one) can be hijacked from their original itinerary. This column went south somewhere between MEM and LAX on a recent flight home. What are the odds, I wondered? The young man to my left, clearly enjoying his iPod, turned his thighs into conga drums. My seat felt like a malfunctioning massage chair at a nail salon. Behind us, a 5-year-old seemed intent on breaking the sound barrier from 33,000 feet! Her disinterested mother neither apologized nor attempted to pacify the child for nearly five hours. We paid for this privilege, my husband reminded me. Surely Ashton Kutcher was going to emerge from the cockpit to tell us we’d been “Punk’d.” He didn’t, but it underscored the fact that while we may be able to select our seats, we cannot choose our neighbors on these trips. A Facebook friend wisely suggested that airlines, already submerged in fees, should charge a nuisance fee, and credit others with a tolerance refund. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Board with stamina

These days, getting to the tarmac not only involves patience, but a carry-on filled with stamina and endurance, too. If you are lucky, the zigzag security line will take less time than the wait for Splash Mountain. Don’t

Lisa Kimble

forget, those bins where you disrobe and purge your pockets of their contents don’t move themselves onto the conveyor belt. If it is taking you awhile to undress, let the person behind you move forward. And if someone is desperately trying to make their flight and asks to cut ahead, don’t be stingy. By all means, wave them on.

Lights out

If you are planning to take a red-eye (code for shut thy eyes), don’t shanghai the evening and ruin the slumber party for others around you by keeping the overhead light on. Even vampires know that on these flights, the unspoken rule is take your seat, buckle up and call it a night. Some people like meeting strangers, but after 10 p.m., forget about it. This isn’t summer camp or a deposition. Save the small talk for the landing at daybreak. If you must read or work, opt for a small personal book light instead of the overhead beam. Don’t hog the overhead bins either. Your family of five may have 11 carry-ons between you, but don’t be the airplane version of the Joad family in “The Grapes of Wrath.” When traveling with young children, bring along snacks and plenty of things to keep them busy like small toys, doodling paper, crayons and markers.

This is not a restaurant

Remember, too, that flight attendants are not waitresses. Pestering them for odds and ends is just plain inconsiderate. Food, or the lack of it, is a sensitive area on board these days. Keep in mind that in confined spaces, the pungent tuna sandwich you can hardly wait to bite into may cause everyone else to lose their appetite. Just because the person next to you says hello, don’t assume they want to visit from take-off to landing. Polite chitchat is one thing, but talking incessantly and so loudly that everyone else within 10 rows can hear you babble about your family reunion in Arkansas is thoughtless. Agree, disagree? Send your questions, comments or topics you’d like to read about to or visit


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Bakersfield Life

July 2012

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Kelly Damian

Welcome to Bakersfield, where everyone knows your name


eing an outsider (I am coming up on six years in Bakersfield, how long exactly does outsider status last?), I’ve noticed that when people in this town meet for the first time, they will trace each other’s past until they hit a point where their histories overlap. Whether it is closely: “That’s right. We sat across from each other in that sophomore history class,” or peripherally: “My mom used to cut your aunt’s hair,” there is a need to find an old peg on which to hang this possibly new relationship. An assumption is at work in this exchange: I know you, we are connected somehow. This feeling of knowing people is a strange one for me. When I was a kid, we moved from Utah to Oregon. Once in Oregon, we tried the city, then the suburbs, then the country. From there, we headed south to California and lived in Lancaster, Tehachapi and Torrance. With graduation, came Irvine, Spain and Oakland. I am used to being new, not being known. I always enjoyed shaking the dust of an old town off my shoes (a person can get addicted to new beginnings), but constantly being the new girl in town ends up being emotionally draining. By the time you hit your 10th new school, it feels as if you’re presenting yourself like an item on a shelf. “Authentic Kelly Damian, now with two times more jokes! Integrates seamlessly with your current friend network!” In a close-knit community like Bakersfield, where many people have been palling around since day one, people don’t have to package themselves. There’s no point really. No matter how hard you try to present the new-and-improved version of yourself, everyone remembers that you were the one who poured sand down your pants in kindergarten. So what are the effects of this togetherness and history? Are we more accountable to each other? Are we more accepting of people’s differences? When we know each other so well,




Bakersfield Life

July 2012

do we take better care of each other? Or do close quarters breed contempt? Does knowing each other’s business make us more likely to pass judgment? Whatever the results, humans crave connection. As Karma Ura, the head of Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness Organization, says, “There is no such thing as personal happiness. Happiness is 100 percent relational.” A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with a friend who is at a transition point in her life. Everything that has tied her to this town for so long — kids, marriage, job — has changed. She has been handed her pass, her permission slip to go elsewhere to somewhere more urban, more exciting, to a town that seduces the imagination instead of being so stubbornly grounded in reality. She picked the city of her dreams. She sent out job applications. She flew out to investigate the neighborhoods. And finally, she decided the place she most wanted to be was Bakersfield. Sometimes an organ planted into a new body thrives and sometimes the host does not recognize it, won’t nourish it and it withers. Bakersfield doesn’t look great on paper. No matter how loudly we protest, in measures of health, air quality, literacy and pedestrian safety, we reliably languish at the bottom of the bar graph. But there is something that keeps people here, and there is something that keeps people coming back. I think it is more than just affordable home prices. People want to be known. They want to feel like they have a place. Anonymity is liberating, but it is awfully lonely.


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Food Dudes

The Aviator Casino

Aviator food and casino experience takes off with flying colors Photos by Greg Nichols


he Food Dudes hit the casino for this month’s review, and if you haven’t been to The Aviator Casino in Delano, then you need to pay it a visit for a great night of gambling chips, food and entertainment. Our fellow Food Dude, Don Martin, who was not able to make this visit missed out, that’s for sure. Nonetheless, we made up for his absence and have plenty to share with our readers! From the moment we walked into The Aviator Casino, we knew this was going to be anything but an ordinary visit for the Food Dudes.

Aviator management pose with the Food Dudes, from left: food and beverage director Hady Harraka, owner Al Adler, Gary Frazier, Ray Pruitt, general manager Chris Gearhart and Matt Munoz.

The right kind of atmosphere Ray: When I walked into The Aviator Casino Bar & Gril, I was immediately impressed. The inside is

Shrimp cocktail and carne asada and chicken lettuce wraps 32

Bakersfield Life

July 2012

well-decorated in a very modern decor. The atmosphere seemed like a big party. There are tables for eating

in the bar area, but the restaurant is located off to one side discreetly separated from the bar and casino area, which is a great idea for families who want to eat at the restaurant but don’t necessarily want the casino or bar experience. There is also a large patio right outside the restaurant. Gary: This was one of the most interesting Food Dude adventures yet, starting with the flight from Bakersfield to Delano that “almost” happened. Matt Munoz and I (the other Dudes chickened out) were scheduled to fly to The Aviator Casino in a private jet that was to be piloted by the owner of the casino, Al Adler, thus the name “Aviator.” However, a dust storm forced us to change our plans and drive. Transportation aside, The Aviator Casino was

Pork chops Location: 1225 Airport Drive, Delano Phone: 721-7770 Website: Hours for The Aviator Casino Bar & Grill (same as casino): 10 a.m. to 4 a.m. Monday through Wednesday, all day Thursday through Sunday.

Boot ratings (out of five)

Atmosphere Food

impressive from the time we stepped through the door. All patrons are welcomed by a hostess and waitresses dressed in stewardess uniforms, men and women in pilot’s uniforms managed the card tables and some of the furniture was made from airplane parts. They’ve done a great job staying true to the theme while maintaining the classy decor of an upscale Vegas casino. Matt: The staff at The Aviator Casino greeted us at the door in style, which put me in a good mood right away. I had to do a double-take for a second and ask myself if we’d been transported to Las Vegas. What a gorgeous-looking place. You can feel the energy resonating from the game tables. As we were personally escorted to the bar & grill, just a card’s throw from the main game room, I was impressed with the stylized aviation-themed motif throughout.

From the airplane window panel to the hollowed-out jet turbine engine designed into their information desk, owner Al Adler took great care creating many eye-catching details. Even our hosts were dressed in airline attendant uniforms. How cool is that?

Appetizers that hit the mark Ray: For appetizers, we tried the pot stickers, carne asada and chicken lettuce wraps, shrimp cocktail and calamari. They were all amazing. The calamari was moist and the tempura batter was flavorful without being greasy. The potstickers were served with a hoisin-honey sauce that was out of this world, while the Louisiana shrimp were tossed in a spicy cocktail sauce and served in a chilled martini glass. Very cool! Gary: Like Ray said, they offered an eclectic menu of appetizers … and we tried



them all! My favorites were the calamari and the lettuce wraps. They used very large cuts of calamari dipped in tempura batter and fried golden brown for a unique and delicious taste that went very well with tartar sauce. The lettuce wraps were also of the nontraditional type; they were basically low-carb street tacos but with a twist. Try carne asada with sweet chili sauce wrapped in green leaf lettuce and you’ll understand the meaning of guilty pleasure, minus the guilt. Matt: My personal choice was also the lettuce wraps, but I couldn’t take my eyes off the crispy fried calamari. I’ve had plenty variations of this dish over the years and normally you’re served up something that always resembles onion rings. Not the case here. Each portion was meaty and light on the tasty tempura batter. Pretty amazing portions, and on the appetizer scale, get a Continued on page 34


Hundred dollar hamburger

Continued from page 33

perfect “10.” Another plus was the chili mayo dipping sauce, which will forever replace basic shrimp sauce normally served on the side.

Tasty salad Matt: The BLT wedge was another winner in the post-appetizer phase of our Aviator feast. A freshly cut iceberg wedge with bacon and blue cheese, it’s a simple combination packs the flavor. And since when does anything not go with bacon? I recommend this not only as a pre-entree salad, but also for a quick lunch when you’re on the run.

Pork chops, burgers, rib-eye and the secret fish and chips! Ray: For starters, I also tried the BLT wedge salad, and I’m glad I did. The salad was served with two wedges of chilled iceberg lettuce, real bacon bits and blue cheese crumbles. For my entree I chose the hundred dollar hamburger (which is priced at a reasonable $9.25) because for some reason I was craving a hamburger. Great choice! The Aviator uses 100 percent Angus chuck beef for its hamburgers, and it showed. I ordered it with aged cheddar and hickory bacon, and it also came with lettuce, tomato, pickles and onions. I am an amateur hamburger connoisseur, and I have to say The Aviator serves one of the best hamburgers in Kern County. The beef was moist and very flavorful, and the aged cheddar really made the burger. For my side dish, I chose the garlic french fries. The fries were perfect, crunchy on the outside and moist on the inside, served with just the right amount of garlic. Next time I see a “best hamburger in Kern County” article, the Aviator better be on it! Gary: This time I ordered two entrees, one for me and the other for the Dudes to share. My personal entree was a 13-ounce rib-eye steak with mashed potatoes. If there’s steak on the menu, I have to try it. The other entree I ordered has a bit of a story behind it. You see the best part about being a Food Dude is that we sometimes get 34

Bakersfield Life

July 2012

Matt at the blackjack table the behind-the-scenes scoop on what’s really good at the restaurants (even items that aren’t on the menu). The food and beverage manager Hady Harraka originally worked for nine years at Westchester Bowl where he perfected the fish and chips that Bakersfieldians continually rave about, so I ordered The Aviator Casino fish and chips and onion rings — what can I say, they were slammin’, slammin’ and more slammin’! Matt: The number of entrees on the menu couldn’t be more impressive. From chicken to pasta, beef and seafood, there’s nothing like seeing a menu with so many tantalizing choices, that you’re literally stuck midair (pardon the pun, but this is The Aviator.) After a few moments and some suggestions from food and beverage director Hady, my eyes flew toward the pan-seared pork chop. For my two sides, I went with mashed potatoes and sauteed mushrooms to stick with tastes traditionally paired with pork dishes. The pork chop was every bit as excellent as the earlier raves I’d been hearing from the room. The seasoning was immaculate, the meat tender and the mashed potatoes and sauteed mushrooms had me flying out of my chair. You didn’t expect me to sit quietly and test out the other dishes in my presence, did you? Of course I did. Ray was nice enough to share some of his rib-eye with Gary and I. It matched the level of perfection of my pork chops.

Dessert Gary: You’re probably wondering how we have room for dessert after eating so much food. Well … we don’t. But we eat dessert anyway. We tried the dulce de leche cheesecake, the raspberry brulee cheesecake and the Kahlua chocolate mousse cake. All were very rich, smooth and delicious. By the end of the meal, one of the things I noticed is that many patrons walk right past the casino action to come directly to eat at the restaurant; no offense to Texas Hold’em, but that speaks volumes about how good the food is here. Matt: Laced with caramel sauce, the dulce de leche cheesecake

sealed the deal for me. I also took a few more bites of the Kahlua chocolate mousse cake, which had a nice balance of richness for all the chocolate lovers out there.

The staff Ray: What impressed me most about The Aviator (aside from the great food) was the customer service. I noticed during our entire visit that our waitress, Cynthia Nieves, assistant manager Juanita Henry and food and beverage manager Hady Harraka were continuously talking to customers to make sure they were having a good experience. It is little touches like that kind of service that can make a really good dining experience memorable. Hopefully, Bakersfield will wake up and find this restaurant, which is only about 30 minutes north and well worth the drive. Matt: Following our meals, general manager Chris Gearhart gave us a tour of the casino and introduced us to members of the staff — including the proud chefs who cooked our meals. Strolling through the area, I was feelin’ lucky and tempted to join in some of the games, especially at the table with Al, who seemed to be having a winning streak. According to the staff, they also host many of the championship UFC matches and pay-perview fights on one of their 23 flat-screen TVs. Combine that with the fancy bar and you have an oasis smack dab in middle of the Central Valley. I highly recommend The Aviator for its excellent dining experience. It’s only a short drive from Bakersfield and I guarantee you’ll be back after your first visit.

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Food and Wine

Santa Maria barbecue

Barbecued tri-tip, Santa Maria-style, from The Hitching Post.

The Hitching Post gives its secret to this popular style of meat By Myriam Valdez


Photos courtesy of The Hitching Post

he summer months beg a retreat to Santa Maria, a favorite Central Coast getaway for some Bakersfield residents. In nearby Casmalia, The Hitching Post has made a name for itself as a restaurant hot spot for its world-famous Santa Maria-style barbecue. Known for this traditional barbecue and generous full-course dinners, the Ostini family has been serving up this mainstay meal for 60 years. The restaurant’s success has lead the Ostini family to open up a second location, The Hitching Post II, in nearby Buellton. However, as Terry (Ostini) Stricklin, manager of the original Casmalia location says, success hasn’t always come easy. But along with a commitment to serving some of the best Santa Maria-style barbecue, the Ostinis’ dedication to family as a pillar of their business model keeps Bakersfield residents coming back for more. In celebration of the The Hitching Post’s 60th anniversary, the Ostini family will run a series of specials all summer long, 36

Bakersfield Life

July 2012

so there’s no better time to treat yourself to a true Santa Maria barbecue.

Five questions for Terri Sticklin:

There has been a debate at Bakersfield Life over what defines a Santa Maria-style barbecue. Can you set the record straight?

The Santa Maria Chamber of Commerce considers Santa Maria-style barbecue to be: “prime top sirloin, about three inches thick, cooked over a fire of coals from the Santa Maria Valley red oak wood. Salt, pepper and garlic salt are the only seasonings used.” What we do a bit different is brush our steaks with a vinegar and oil baste along with our seasoning. This recipe has been in our family since 1952.

Why does using red oak wood make the difference in The Hitching Post’s steaks?

It’s the flavor! This wood only grows in our area. There are many different oak woods all across this country, but none that produce the distinct flavor like this wood. I’ve had people from all over the world tell me that since I started in 1969. Mesquite is probably the closest thing to red oak but still falls short.

What is your favorite item on the menu as well as the most ordered dish from customers?

My favorite meal starts off with our grilled artichoke with

special sauce (see recipe on page 38), our most popular appetizer on the menu. I also like our filet mignon with some grilled veggies or a baked potato. On special occasions, I love our western Australian lobster tail. We used to sell more filet mignon than anything, but the rib-eye has been battling for the top spot since its introduction to our menu a couple of years ago. And you’d be amazed at the amount of fresh fish this steakhouse serves.

Santa Maria barbecue defined According to the Santa

Lots of Bakersfield residents love visiting the Central Coast. What can you say about your Bakersfield customers?

We have a tremendous customer base from Bakersfield. Some who drive over just for dinner and go home that night. Many of our longtime customers, and I’m talking over 30 years, come from there. And we love ’em too, because they seldom need directions to our “remote” location. I always tell people, “It’s worth finding!”

Do you have any tips on how people can cook a Santa Maria-style barbecue in their own home?

One of the biggest mistakes people make when barbecuing is over-cooking their meat. If you’re cooking tri-tip or big chunks of top sirloin, take your time. Of course use red oak wood, even if you have to come over to the coast and buy it, and our

Maria Chamber of Commerce’s website, a traditional Santa Mariastyle barbecue consists of: Top sirloin top block, tossed green salad,

The Hitching Post has been serving Santa Maria-style barbecue for 60 years.

pinquito beans, salsa, toasted French bread with sweet butter, macaroni and cheese, a simple dessert

HP seasoning would be icing on the cake. (Our seasoning and baste are available at hitchingpost1. com.) The most important thing to remember when slicing tri-tip is to slice against the grain, otherwise your perfectly good piece of meat just got tough.

(strawberry shortcake) and a bottle of Santa Maria Valley wine.

See recipes on page 38


Continued from page 37

Hitching Post salsa

Hitching Post grilled artichoke 2 to 3 artichokes 1 to 2 teaspoons butter Hitching Post seasoning salt (or seasoning of your choice) Hitching Post artichoke sauce (or dipping sauce of your choice) Directions First, clean the artichokes, trim the leaves and pull the small bottom leaves away. Then steam them for about 20 minutes. After cooling, slice the artichoke in half and pull out the thorny leaves in the center. Refrigerate artichokes until you’re ready to grill. Depending on the temperature of your fire, grill about two minutes on each side. Baste them with butter and season with Hitching Post seasoning salt and serve with our HP artichoke sauce, mayonnaise or dipping sauce of your choice.

Did you know?

Although tri-tip has become what many think of as “Santa Mariastyle barbecue,” it actually was a cut of meat local butcher, Bob Schutz, popularized in the 1960s. Bob Shultz’s niece, Mickey



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4 medium fresh tomatoes, chopped ½ cup finely diced brown onion ½ cup finely chopped green chiles ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce ¼ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon pepper ½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce Yields 4 cups

Wilhite, a close friend of the Ostini family, lives in Bakersfield. The top sirloin cut is truly the traditional Santa Maria barbecue. However, because of the popularity of the tri-tip cut, Santa Maria has become known nationally. — Terri Strickland


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Bakersfield Life

July 2012

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Mike Ariey This barbecue master believes charcoal is best By Hillary Haenes

Photos by Greg Nichols


ike Ariey, former NFL offensive tackle who played for the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants, has been barbecuing since he was a student at San Diego State. After a few years in the league, Ariey came back home to Bakersfield and opened a retail athletic store that he co-owned with his mother and one of his brothers. But he found his true calling when he was asked to cater a wedding reception for another brother in 2003, which turned out to be a huge success. Ariey, 48, is owner and head chef of Big Mike’s Ragin’ BBQ, a local catering business he started seven years ago. When he’s not barbecuing tri-tip, chicken or pork ribs, Ariey enjoys working out, wine tasting and visiting the Central Coast with his family. “Cooking created a new challenge for me. It never gets boring, and I love creating new dishes. On a beautiful day, barbecue is the way to go,” said Ariey.

Cooking My first experience on a grill: It was at San Diego State as a student athlete. We grilled whenever and whatever we had; money was tight. I grill at home: At least twice a week with a good red zinfandel.

Mike Ariey prepares the salad for a 125-guest wedding reception in northwest Bakersfield. 40

Bakersfield Life

July 2012

Favorite piece of cooking equipment: My rubber gloves — they are flexible on the grill and can sure handle the heat. My ideal summer barbecue: Baby

back ribs, garlic chicken, Big Mike’s Ragin’ beans, assorted salads and grilled vegetables. Also, fresh baked honey cornbread, raspberry tea, lemonade and a frosty Cadillac margarita. Must-haves in the kitchen: A sharp knife, garlic press, saute pan, whisk, Thermo Spatula and Cuisinart. My go-to cookbook: The Internet. Everything goes better with: A nice glass of red zinfandel. Always in the fridge: Gatorade, Diet Pepsi, assorted cold cuts and yesterday’s take out. Disaster barbecue story: I did not put the coal out properly, so on the way home I thought the vehicle was on fire!

Ariey directing his staff on the mobile grill.

Marinade or rub: Always start with a great rub! Garlic and brown sugar are a great starting point. Continued on page 42

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Ariey prefers charcoal to wood for grilling meat.

Continued from page 41

Charcoal or wood: Charcoal with a small amount of mesquite. Charcoal burns evenly and mesquite adds to the flavor profile. They are a great combination. OLDE STOCKDALE SPANISH VILLA! Faces golf course, 200 yards to first tee and main clubhouse! Newer built custom home with wonderful Great Room for big family gatherings or entertaining friends. High ceilings, lots of windows! Granite island kitchen, Swedish hardwood floors, plantation shutters, . First floor Master Suite with His & Her walk-in closets, spa-jetted bath, steam shower + gym. Large laundry/office/project room. Two upstairs guest bedrooms. Private--no homes at rear. Low maintenance.

I always mess up: Trying to do everything myself. I rock at making: Bacon-wrapped jalapeno shrimp and garlic chardonnay-grilled chicken. One of my barbecue secrets: Let the meat be the star of the show — always leave sauce on the side. I can never find: A clean apron! They don’t last long and disappear with the help.

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Spice cabinet must-have: Granulated garlic, salt and pepper, chili powder, oregano, paprika and dry parsley. Ingredients I dislike: I am a food guy. I like everything! Items I buy in bulk: Beef and poultry products, charcoal, beans, salad and paper goods. If I could spend the day with a famous chef, it would be: Anthony Bourdain because people say we resemble each other.


Bakersfield Life

July 2012

Sausage fresh off the grill.

Advice I would ask Bourdain: Should I focus on opening a new restaurant or continue a successful catering career?

Eating Favorite local restaurant: Uricchio’s Trattoria! I order osso bucco, garlic mashed potatoes and green beans.

Best food memory: Seven-course meal at Cafe Firenze, an Italian restaurant and martini bar in Moorpark. Best culinary destination: Tuscany, a region in Italy.

Favorite cooking show to watch: Ina Garten — she makes cooking look so easy! Most surprising food I’m not crazy about: Lamb. Weirdest food I like: Anchovies … great on pizza. My go-to cocktail: Bill Lee’s 747... Wow! How I like my steak: Medium rare. Favorite barbecue sauce: Big Mike’s Ragin’ sauce. Favorite condiment: Hot Irish mustard and anchovy paste. I’m addicted to: Grilling oysters with Highland heather honey.

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My comfort food is: Cioppino — a seafood stew. Local restaurant I want to eat at that I haven’t yet: Eureka!Burger. Splurge at the grocery store: Anything sweet. Ideal midnight snack: Root beer float. Single tastiest thing I’ve eaten: Mussels at Luigi’s.

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Our Town

Olympic success

Former Taft High star Billy Nelson leads the pack over the barrier at the 2011 USA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore.

By Stephen Lynch


ll eyes will be tuned into the Summer Olympics. It’s the dream of athletes all around the globe to compete in the Olympic Games. Swimmers, runners, wrestlers, gymnasts and many others practice countless hours and make numerous untold sacrifices for a once-in-every-four-years shot at ultimate sports glory. Many start on the path, but only a few survive to see their ambitions of performing on the world’s biggest athletic stage ever reached. Just to qualify for the Olympics is truly an amazing accomplishment. To earn a medal is almost as difficult as winning the lottery. Despite the long odds, Kern County has produced several Olympians in recent years. In 2004, it was swimmers Larsen Jensen and Gabe Woodward, along with canoe racer Rebecca Giddens and rower Joey Hansen. Four years later, the local Olympic contingent consisted of Jensen and Taft High alumnus Billy Nelson (steeplechase).


Bakersfield Life

July 2012

Photo by Victor Sailer

Local former Olympians reflect on their athletic achievements

All but Nelson, who is currently training in Colorado with an eye toward London this summer, won medals. For all of them, the Olympic experience is something they’ll never forget.

Rebecca Giddens

Giddens, who won a silver medal in white-water slalom kayaking, certainly won’t. “It’s just an amazing experience for sure,” Giddens said. “It was something I had dreamt about since I was about 12 years old. You train for a long time and the Olympics only come once every four years, so it’s a huge deal to make it that far.” Giddens, a Green Bay, Wis., native began training in Kernville four years prior to competing in Athens. After the Olympics, she and her husband, Eric, a member of the 1996 U.S. Olympic team, moved there permanently. Giddens, a five-time national champion, will never forget standing on the podium and having the silver medal placed around her neck. “Getting up on the stage and receiving an Olympic medal is a pinch-me-I-must-be-sleeping moment,” Giddens

Larsen Jensen

Just like Giddens, Jensen also brought home a silver medal from the Athens games as he narrowly lost to Australia’s Grant Hackett in the finals of the 1,500-meter freestyle swimming competition. The son of Bakersfield almond farmers, Jensen

Photo by Lefteris Pitarakis via AP

said. “I was like ‘This can’t be real.’ It’s an experience that I couldn’t have even dreamed up in my mind. For me, I could have been in third place and been just as ecstatic. Obviously, a gold would have been absolutely amazing, but I was happy with the performance and how I did.” Giddens’ fondest Olympic memory is that of looking out in the audience and seeing her husband and group of 16 friends and family members there to support her. Giddens has no regrets at all about finishing second. “I did the best that I could on that day,” she said. Giddens and her husband, who served as her coach for the 2004 Olympics, currently keep busy taking care of their 1-year-old daughter and running their business, Kern River Brewing Company. They’ll take a break from their brewpub to make the trek to London later this summer, as he is going to be part of NBC’s Olympic whitewater and flatwater broadcast team.

Rebecca Giddens competing at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

earned a return trip to the Olympics in 2008, won a bronze medal in the 400 and placed fifth in the 1,500 free. “Obviously they’re both very special experiences,” Jensen said. “Anybody who has had the honor to represent our country at the Olympics will tell you that.” Continued on page 46


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Larsen Jensen is congratulated by teammate Michael Phelps after Jensen received his silver medal in the 1,500-meter freestyle at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

Jensen was only 18 when he competed in 2004 Olympics. “Being a little bit older I was able to comprehend a little bit better the meaning of the Olympics (in 2008) and how it relates to the American people and the sense of pride they get from their athletes that are over there competing for the country.� Jensen grew up watching the Olympics on TV and dreaming of one day competing in the games. But it wasn’t until late in high school when he started posting times competitive with the top national marks that he thought the dream might be realized. “At that point, it became much more of a reality so I was able to focus in on it,� Jensen said. “I suppose like any job or career or any dream you have in your life, when you can almost taste it is when that determination really kicks in to the next level.� Jensen, a University of Southern California graduate, set a new American record in the 400 free (3:43.23) during 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials. Later at the 2008 Games, he competed in front of Presidents George H. Bush and George H. W. Bush. Afterward, he metthem both. Jensen credits the support he received from his hometown for helping him do well during his time at the Olympics.

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“To have the city of Bakersfield and Kern County behind you is really remarkable,” Jensen said. “…Giving everything you got to make everyone back home proud; that for me epitomizes the Olympic spirit and really gives me goose bumps to this day.” In 2009, Jensen joined the Navy. He currently lives in San Diego but returns to Bakersfield whenever he can to visit family and friends. One of the people Jensen frequently sees when he’s home is fellow swimming medalist Woodward. Woodward, who was born and raised in Bakersfield and went to Stockdale High School, won a bronze medal in the 4x100 meter freestyle relay in Athens. “It was a dream come true making the Olympic team and swimming in the Olympic Games,” Woodward said. Woodward started swimming at age 4 and later began to really excel at the sport when he reached high school. While at Stockdale, he won four Central Section titles. From there, he went on to race for USC where he was a four-time All-American. Right after that, Woodward took a two-year break from competitive swimming and studied for his Master’s degree in biblical counseling at The Master’s College in Santa Clarita. “The Lord was working on my heart, and I needed more figuring out what mattered to me in life, if you will, I guess,” said Woodward, a devout Christian.

Joey Hansen at the start of the FISA World Rowing Championships in Milan, Italy, August 2003.

Photo by Joel Rogers

Gabe Woodward

In 2003, Woodward ended his swimming sabbatical and began training again under the guidance of Dave Salo, who at the time was the head coach at Irvine Novaquatics. It didn’t take long from that point for Woodward to start posting career-best times, leading to a spot in the U.S. trials Continued on page 48


Stockdale High graduate Gabe Woodward is a 2004 Olympic bronze medalist who missed a spot in the 2008 team by a tenth of a second.

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Bakersfield Life

July 2012

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Continued from page 47

and then on the Olympic team itself. Woodward posted a solid 49.9-second leadoff leg during the Olympic prelims of the 4x100 relay but was pulled from the finals in favor of 100 meter butterfly world record holder Ian Crocker, a move that Woodward believes was completely political since the U.S head coach was the Texas coach and Crocker was a Texas swimmer. Despite that, Woodward looks back at his Olympic experience with fond memories. “I’m a very humbled and excited to have gone to the Olympics,” Woodward said. “It’s been such a blessing and it continues to be.” Woodward missed making the 2008 Olympics by a tenth of a second and could have competed in this year’s U.S. Olympic Trials based on some of his times from 2010 races but decided to forgo the opportunity. Earlier this year, Woodward was inducted in the Bob Elias Hall of Fame. “To be recognized by your hometown is encouraging,” Woodward said. Woodward, who works as a financial adviser with Wells Fargo and is married with four children, recently purchased Bakersfield Swim Academy. “I’ve always enjoyed teaching,” said Woodward. “I’ve taught swim lessons my whole life and love swimming. I thought it would be a good way to give back to the community.”

Woodward isn’t doing any of the teaching at the academy but is training the instructors.


Billy Nelson

Unlike Giddens, Jensen, and Woodward, Nelson’s Olympic dream isn’t over. Currently an assistant coach at the University of Colorado track team, the 27-yearold hopes to compete in the steeplechase in London later this summer. Nelson, who runs professionally for New Balance, didn’t make it out of the prelims four years ago in Athens. That didn’t keep him from enjoying the Olympic experience. “For me, the best part was just being there wearing a USA jersey and competing at the highest level of our sport and representing America in my field of work,” Nelson said. A Taft native, Nelson hit his athletic stride midway though high school. He set a Taft High School record in the two mile as a junior and then really hit his stride a year later, continuously getting faster and faster. That led Nelson to be recruited by several top colleges and moved his long-standing Olympic aspirations closer to reality. “It was always an ultimate goal of mine,” Nelson said. “But I was actually shooting for 2012. Making it four years earlier than I hoped was a dream come true.” Nelson took in all that the Olympic experience had to offer. He walked in the opening and closing ceremonies. “It was amazing,” Nelson said. “We had around 500 people or more walking in the opening ceremonies. It was something that we all did together. We did it as one team. We were team USA.” Nelson walked directly behind U.S. flag bearer Lopez Lamong during the opening ceremonies and can be seen in a couple of Olympic-themed commercials currently running on TV. During his stay in Beijing, Nelson got to meet fellow USA Olympians Kobe Bryant and LeBron James along with both President Bushes. Nelson, who is married with two children, knows he’s got his work cut out for him if he’s going to earn an Olympic medal later this year. But like so many others athletes around the world, he continues to chase the dream. “Anything can happen on any given day,” Nelson said. “If I ever was able to medal on that level of my sport it would be phenomenal. I don’t think there are words that could explain how happy I would be.”




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For a Cause

Police Activities League

Jorge Ruiz, 10, listens to advice from his coach between rounds at the Police Activities League boxing tournament.


Bakersfield Life

July 2012

Photo by Jaclyn Borowski

Local nonprofit center keeps youth active

By Brian N. Willhite


ow that the the last class bell has rung, the summer vacation frenzy takes over Bakersfield’s youth. For parents looking to keep their children active and involved in a safe and kid-friendly environment during summer break, check out the Bakersfield Police Activities League’s summer day camp program. All youth ages 8 to 17 are invited to participate in the summer-long event. The day camp starts June 11 and ends July 26, runing 11:15 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday, at the Bakersfield PAL Center at 301 E. Fourth St. There is also a nonrefundable fee of $20 per child that is good throughout the duration of the camp. “We are going to do different activities in regards to recreation, sports, arts and crafts,” said Naomi Zavala, assistant director for Bakersfield PAL. Zavala added that keeping cool in the heat can be a lot of fun, too. “Every other Thursday, we do a water day and the fire department comes out and wets the kids – it’s just something fun to do,” she said. The day camp will also feature a nutrition and exercise program as well as school lunches provided by the Bakersfield City School District. To enroll into the program, parents will need to fill out a registration form and bring proof of age for their child to the activities center. Enrollment will be open through this month. The nonprofit seeks to provide a safe and fun alternative for children while establishing positive relationships with police officers and the community. All volunteers go through background checks to ensure the safety of the children at the center. There are also two law enforcement officers on site. The Bakersfield PAL also offers yearround, after-school activities, most of them free, including karate, boxing, team sports, arts and crafts and tutoring. To learn more, call 283-8880 or visit


All-Star Athlete

By Stephen Lynch


rica McCall’s size and athletic ability are just part of the reason for her immense success on the basketball court. The 16-year-old Ridgeview High School standout also has several other important things going for her, including a strong family background in the sport and a burning desire to keep improving. All of that being the case, it’s no wonder why McCall is coveted by virtually every NCAA Division I women’s collegiate basketball program in the country, including Cal State Bakersfield, where her father, Greg McCall, is the head coach. This past Valentine’s Day, Connecticut women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma traveled 1,500 miles out of his way to watch McCall play a high school game. Per NCAA bylaws, the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame member wasn’t allowed to speak to her at the time since college coaches can only talk to high school juniors if the player calls them. Her status as one of the elite prep players in the country helped McCall be named to the 2012 USA Women’s U17 World Championship Team back in May. “It was a great experience,” she said. “I really enjoyed it. It’s a real physical challenge but playing with the elite top girls is just an honor.” This summer, she’ll do even more extensive traveling as her USA U17 team is slated to play some scrimmages in Italy before heading to the Netherlands for the games that count. McCall, who is still growing, is friendly and hard-working, on and off the court. She is also a good student, giving her the option to pick almost any college she wants to attend. So far, McCall isn’t tipping her hand to what school that might be but she has already made visits to UConn and Stanford. Though CSUB is considered a long shot at best, McCall says she hasn’t totally closed the door on the idea of playing college ball 52

Bakersfield Life

July 2012

for her dad. “I’m pretty open right now but probably in the mid-summer I’m going to start closing in and get a list out,” Erica McCall said. “I’ll look at Cal State. I’d love to play for my dad. He knows how to coach me the best.” If she did choose CSUB, she would be following in the footsteps of her dad, who was a team captain on the Roadrunners’ 1991 Division II Final Four team. “Dad is always going to be on the list,” a laughing Greg McCall said when asked about CSUB’s chances at signing her. But before heading off to college, McCall still has one more season of high school basketball to fine-tune her game even further. “I’m looking to work more on my guard skills and see what I can do,” McCall said. “Get some more assists. That’s what I’m looking for, assists and steals.”

Erica McCall facts Born on Aug. 21, 1995, in Bakersfield. Three-time Bakersfield Californian AllArea Player of the Year. Led the Wolf Pack to a section title her sophomore year. Has started 94 games in three varsity seasons with the Wolf Pack. Is already the Ridgeview school record holder in points (1,876), rebounds (1,391), and blocked shots (672). Averaged 25.8 points, 16.7 rebounds and 7.1 blocks per game while shooting 58-percent from the floor this past season. Scored 15 or more points in every game

McCall will begin the 2012-13 season, holding nearly every Ridgeview girls basketball school record. In the future McCall hopes to play in the Olympics and the WBNA. “I’d love to play in the WNBA, but if that doesn’t work out I’d just like to do something with law,” she said.

Photo by Henry A. Barrios

Erica McCall

last high school season, including a careerhigh 46 against San Pedro-Rolling Hills Prep in late January. Played on the United States team that went undefeated and won a gold medal at the FIBA Americas U16 Championship tournament in Mexico. Is the No. 16 recruit nationally in the class of 2013, according to ESPN. Immediate family members include dad Greg; mom Sonya,;12-year-old brother, Justin and sister DeWanna Bonner, a former Auburn basketball standout, who currently plays in the WNBA for the Phoenix Mercury. Wears the No. 24 because that’s her sister’s number.

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On the Road

Iron Man of cars Jaguar XJL Portfolio packs power, class Jaguar’s sleekest fleet yet.

By Olivia Garcia

Photos by Mark Nessia


ow do you describe a dream car? That’s how I see the Jaguar XJL Portfolio, powered by a 385-horsepower engine, which I enjoyed for my most recent test-drive escapade. (There is also the Jaguar XJ, but the XJL Portfolio offers nine inches of more space and legroom.) It’s easy to live the dream with the XJL Portfolio, which comes equipped with an aerodynamic, classy body style; panoramic glass roof; super-soft suede and leather interior; high-end technology for driving and listening; and massage controls built into the seats. It had me at massage seats. Imagine getting into your car at 5 p.m., stress flowing after a deadline-driven day, slid-


Bakersfield Life

July 2012

Jaguar’s virtual instrument panel is a major plus.

Luxe suede and leather interior.

ing into your seat and starting your car then, with the touch of a button, the massage system begins. Nice, right? But that’s not the only thing this car has to offer. Consider the virtual dashboard. The Jaguar XJL Portfolio comes with a Thin Film Transistor screen, which displays a number of gauges, such as gas meter, speedometer and RPM, and conveys a three-dimensional look, according to brochure materials. Call it the Iron Man of cars. Technology is raised to a new level. Aside from that, there's an eight-inch touch-screen in the center console that is home to the navigation system, musical choices, climate control and car information. The voice-activated Bluetooth system is heaven for geeks like me. Luckily, I was able to connect my iPhone not only for calls but also for my music. There’s nothing like being able to stream your favorite tunes or playlists from Pandora, 8tracks or Spotify. Even better is that the car will remember where you left off if you run in and out of the car. And the sound? Meet Bose’s European counterpart: Bowers & Wilkins. The company’s 1,200-watt stereo system is simply dreamy. The pop-up aluminum JaguarDrive selector rising out of the center console is pretty snazzy as well. This has been the second Jaguar

Plenty of rear-seating features and controls.

It’s all in the details: Five best features about the Jaguar XJL Portfolio: Looks are definitely the top of my list. State-of-the-art European sound system.

that I have test-driven, and it’s always been a beyond-expectation experience, from the wonderful staff that I deal with to the quality of cars. And believe me, Jaguars never lack for passengers. It was an easy sell for my teenage sons to hop in. My husband was impressed as well, especially when he discovered that the battery was placed in the back, below the trunk space. According to David Gates of Jim Burke Jaguar, the battery placement helps with better weight distribution of the car. Also improving drivability and safety are the XJL Portfolio’s snow mode, which provides better traction in winter conditions; sport mode; better suspension; and the Auto Speed Limit, which won’t let you go over a certain speed limit. The eight airbags provide peace of mind although what’s not to feel peaceful about the Jaguar XJL Portfolio. Once you step in, you don’t want to step out.

Inside and out, the 2012 XJL is stunning: Intuitive technology, particularly the Virtual Instrument Panel; all-aluminum body, which drives better fuel economy and is 85 percent recyclable; glass panoramic roof, which floods the cabin with natural light; and massaging seats!

Mileage and price tag: 15 mpg city, 22 mpg highway; starts at $85,575.

The Jaguar XJL Portfolio is perfect for: Someone who wants to experience a truly distinct luxury car that stands apart from the crowd.

What makes the Jaguar XJL Portfolio stand out? The XJL’s long wheelbase offers 44 inches of legroom to rear passengers, and a sense of unparalleled comfort and peace on the move. Rear seats heat and cool, and there are four-zone climate control, side window blinds and reading lamps.

Target customer: The XJL Portfolio customer is distinctive. They appreciate a beautiful car that offers a definitively British take on contemporary luxury. Three words that define the Jaguar XJL Portfolio: Beauty, dynamism, confidence. What do you like the most about the Jaguar XJL Portfolio? The incredible lease offers available through Jaguar Financial; as tested, the XJL leases for $899 a month. Source: Joe Hay, general manager, Jim Burke Jaguar


On the Road

Pride and joy Nissan Maxima brings plenty of comfort, style

The popular Maxima maximizes user-friendly features.

By Olivia Garcia

O Operate Maxima’s virtual parking assistance system, as well as its navigation and audio controls, with ease.


Bakersfield Life

July 2012

Photos by Mark Nessia

ne of the perks as editor of Bakersfield Life is that I get to test-drive a new car (or two) each month and write about my experience. But another rewarding part of this assignment is that I get to meet new people who are not only passionate about their businesses but also take part in the community in quiet ways. Take the staff of Nissan of Bakersfield, for example. I met with the employees prior to picking up the 2012 Nissan Maxima. During my meeting, I learned about a few cool community activities that staffers are participating in: Crew of the week Working with Radio Campesina, Nissan of Bakersfield employees select a work crew, go out to their job site and provide them lunch at no charge. The activity happens every Thursday, said Nissan’s Joseph Guerrero, who

Maxima's easy-to-navigate dash system.

showed me pictures posted on the dealership’s Facebook page. Dollar drawing sale About every three months, Nissan of Bakersfield discounts a majority of their used cars and two go for $1 as part of the drawing, which tends to draw as many as 400 people. These kinds of activities make the job rewarding, Guerrero said. Of course, selling a car to a first-time buyer, second car holder or repeat customer is equally rewarding for Guerrero and fleet manager Dario Hernandez. Every time a car is sold, they post the buyer’s picture with their car on the Nissan Facebook page. Nissan’s flagship car is the Maxima, a 290-horsepower engine that boasts strength but also efficiency with its mileage of 26 miles per gallon on highways, said Hernandez. “It’s our pride and joy,” Hernandez said. The Maxima has plenty to offer. Need seat warmers for those winter days? No problem. What about cooling seats? Yep, the Maxima has the answer. The voice-activated system helps drivers stay safe and on track by making answering important calls easier and providing proper traffic directions. A neat feature is the backup camera that serves as your rear-view monitor. The virtual parking assist yellow lines make backing out a lot

Maxima offers great mileage and style.

It’s all in the details: Plenty of trunk space.

easier. Given that there is often more than one person in the household with a smartphone, the Bluetooth system can pair up to five phones. Hernandez said the Maxima comes with a three-year, 36,000 basic warranty; a five-year, 60,000 power train coverage; and a five-year unlimited miles on corrosion (rust, paint), a common warranty in the Bay Area. My mother, Eva, is a proud Nissan owner, so I am familiar with the brand. As a health care manager who is travels for meetings with staff and clients, my mom has found her Nissan to be loyal and great on gas. I also enjoyed having the Maxima around. My husband and I attended two community events on the same night using the Maxima, and thanks to the dual climate control, he adjusted the temperature on his side to his preference and I kept my side dialed in at mine. Of course, we also enjoyed the dual panel moon roof once it cooled down in Bakersfield.

Five best features about the 2012 Nissan Maxima: It’s powerful — 290-horsepower V6 engine. It comes with the intelligent key and the In-Dash Hard Drive Navigation System. It offers a dual panel moon roof and air-conditioned seating.

Mileage and price tag: 19 mpg city, 26 mpg highway; starting at: $32,420. The Nissan Maxima is perfect for: Any driver who doesn’t just get behind the wheel because he has to but because he wants to.

What makes the Nissan Maxima stand out from others? Its performance-packed drive train in a gorgeous body.

Target customer: Car enthusiasts of all ages looking for a vehicle that will stand the test of time while providing an incredible driving experience. Three words that define the Nissan Maxima: Performance, style and prestige.

What do you like most about the Nissan Maxima? Getting the best of both worlds with a comfortable ride and horsepower to spare. Source: Joseph Guerrero, Internet manager, Nissan of Bakersfield





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Hometown Hero

Joel Morales Chief Warrant 2, United States Army Compiled by Myriam Valdez Age: 36 Assignment: A Company, Second Battalion 25th Aviation

Regiment, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade Stationed: Wheeler Army Airfield, Hawaii I have been in the military for: 10 years Why I joined: On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, I was

in the shower when my wife ran in saying, “We’re under attack! We’re under attack!” I remember asking her, “What do I do?” We both felt a calling to serve, so that November I signed up as a UH-60 Blackhawk crew chief. Why I continue to serve: Our first duty station after my

crew chief training and airborne school was Wheeler Army Airfield, Hawaii. I asked for Fort Bragg, N. C., but they sent us to Hawaii instead, and we were not complaining! When my commitment as a crew chief came to an end, my family and I decided that we were not done with our service. To advance my career and improve my family’s well-being, I applied to go to flight school. I got accepted and after attending flight school in Alabama, we were once again stationed in Hawaii. In a couple of years from now, I will be at the end of my commitment as a pilot. There will be a lot of praying and many family discussions on whether we continue to serve after that. In the end, I continue to serve because of God, my family and my country. Valuable advice I’ve learned as a soldier: Work hard,

work together and nothing is impossible. The great thing about this advice is that I learned it growing up from my parents and through sports. It has definitely been validated though through my experiences as a soldier. What I like most about my job: My office is the front

seat of a Blackhawk! I have been deployed to: Currently I’m deployed to Afghanistan, and this is my second tour here. I have also completed two tours in Iraq. What I’ve learned while being deployed: While deployed, and just being in the service in general, I’ve learned that freedom isn’t free. Unfortunately, there are some great sacrifices given for our freedom. I have had the honor and

privilege of working with some who have made that ultimate sacrifice, and I will never forget them. What I missed most about Bakersfield while being deployed: Without a doubt, my family — immediate

and extended! Also menudo, barbecues, In-N-Out Burger, Dewar’s and Jake’s Tex-Mex Cafe (it’s my wife’s favorite place, and it’s awesome). It’s more than just the great food that I miss; it is the great memories I have of time spent there with my family and friends. My favorite activity to do in Bakersfield is: I love the game of golf. How I stay connected to family and friends back home: The lines of commu-

nication have improved by leaps and bounds since my first tour in 2003. During my first deployment I talked to my wife maybe once a week. Not only did I have to wait in line just to talk for a limited 20 minutes, but there was a huge delay. We spent most of our time trying not to talk over each other. Now I have better access to the Internet, so between Facebook and email, I’m able to stay pretty connected with everyone. My best military accomplishment so far: Physi-

cally it would be completing Air Assault School last year, and professionally it would be becoming a pilot in command. Something I’d like to accomplish this year:

My next career goal is to become a maintenance test pilot. I would also like to complete another marathon (I ran the Honolulu marathon last year). When I return to Bakersfield, the first thing I’m going to do is: Pick up my family and

bear-hug them until my arms fall off! After that, we will be busy going to all the places we love.



Photo by Mark Nessia

Mike Cushine in the press box at Sam Lynn Ballpark. Cushine was chosen as the winner of the Danby Kegerator from Urner’s.


Bakersfield Life

July 2012





xtraordinary men can be found throughout our community, but often their hard work and accomplishments go unacknowledged. To honor these familiar faces, Bakersfield Life asked readers to nominate the man in their lives who works hard, and serves as a role model for our children and is an inspiration to us all. These nominations introduced us to soldiers, police officers, teachers, heroes, wonderful husbands and great dads around Bakersfield who deserve recognition. All the nominations warmed our hearts — making it difficult to determine a contest winner — but we decided to award Mike Cushine, “the teacher,” who has been educating elementary kids for about 16 years. He currently teaches sixth-grade GATE at Stockdale Elementary School. Not only has he been calling games for Cal State Bakersfield and the Bakersfield Blaze for the past several years, he has helped out at fundraisers including CASA and the International Festival for St. Philip’s Catholic Church. Read his nomination along with several other remarkable men who make our community better.

Continued on page 62



Continued from page 61

The teacher

Mike Cushine My best friend and wonderful husband is Mike Cushine. He leads by example: He is a teacher, host of Do the Math and a public announcer for CSUB and the Blaze all while still lending his voice to fundraisers and educational events. Even with his busy schedule, he is always there for his family and friends. He is the reason our two teenage children are turning out to be motivated, caring and

A good man

The architect Chris A. Addington Bakersfield native Chris A. Addington graduated from Foothill High. He went to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and graduated with a B.A. in architecture. Chris returned to Bakersfield where he started his own architecture practice, Addington & Associates, in 1977. Some notable projects include Buck Owens Productions building, the Crystal Palace and the Bakersfield College library. Recently, Chris retired and now works as a consultant and mentors architects. His side hobbies include oil painting, photography, customizing vehicles, working with stained glass and bowling. His love for fabricating parts for cars was showcased with his 1969 VW Karmann Ghia, “Rodbuster,” which he showed extensively throughout the U.S. and Canada in the mid-1980s in the International Show Car Association circuit where it won best custom. Since then, he has built a 1957 Porsche 356 Cabriolet, 1934 Ford Vicky, two 1933 Ford Roadsters and a 1950 Mercury Sled. He also enjoys giving back to our community, founding the Bakersfield Car Club Council. He has also worked with the U.S. Marine Corps for Toys for Tots and most recently with the Society for Disabled Children. — Bette Addington, wife


Bakersfield Life

July 2012

responsible young adults as well as excellent students. Our family has been afforded so many opportunities because of Mike’s warm and very outgoing nature. Mike rocks! — Maggie Cushine, wife

Tom Hoffman The real test of a good man is time. I have been married to my husband, Tom, for 31 years and because he is a man who keeps his promises, I can’t wait for the next 31. He promised to love me, and he does. He promised to love his children, and he does. He promised to take care of us, and he does. He promised to never give up, and he hasn’t! Oh yes, and he promised to kiss me each evening when he comes home, and he does. — Beth Hoffman, wife

Everyone’s friend Bob West According to a survey that was conducted, there are 10 traits that make a stellar individual. The qualities listed were as follows: loving, patient, caring/compassionate, humorous, peaceful, honest, integrity, joyful, good listener and having faith. Bob West exemplifies these qualities

whether it is a work situation, meeting someone for the first time, or with family and friends. (He’s a talker, but that wasn’t on the list.) Have a single encounter with Bob, and you would swear you’ve been friends forever. Quality in character and disposition seem less noticeable these days, so I wanted to acknowledge and commend someone who demonstrates kindness and caring every day in various ways. — Jill Grover-West, wife


The protector

No. 1 Dad

Timothy Tyson Davis Tyson is my 27-year-old grown-up boy, but more than that, he is a sheriff’s deputy working full time. He started at 20, always knowing he wanted to protect his community. He puts in extra time to work the SAL (Sheriff’s Activities League) program for the kids in Wasco, volunteers, is an entrepreneur and still finds important time for his friends and family. Tyson would be there for anyone in a time of need, no questions asked. Everyone knows Tyson as a guy you can count on. I’m so proud of the man he has become. — Gina Davis, mother

Bernard Brouttier My dad is my one and only. He’s the only man in my life to never let me down. He has been my coach, tutor, bedtime storyteller, mechanic, superman, smile on a sad day, life of every and any party and my best friend in all my 24 years of living. He puts his three children — who are now successful adults — first and continues to display the true meaning of love and romance, sharing 35 years of marriage with my mom. Once an orphan boy in France, now and always, my No. 1 man. — Jolie Brouttier, daughter Continued on page 64

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The romantic

Ernest Trussell The special man in my life is my husband. We have been married for 34 years. He is a great provider, an awesome dad and grandpa. We’ve been raising our three granddaughters for eight years and he’s a wonderful papa. They call him Dad. He is very romantic and writes me love poems and picks me flowers always. He protects and loves me with his entire heart. He was right by my side when I got cancer and took care of me the whole time. He has such beautiful blue eyes, and I love to hold his hand while walking. — Stephanie Trussell, wife

The hero

Jeremy Staat Please allow me to submit my nomination for my wonderful husband, Jeremy Staat. I am sure you, along with many in his beloved hometown of Bakersfield, have heard that the Jeremy Staat Foundation team recently completed the Wall to Wall Cross Country Bicycle Ride, a 100-day journey across the country to raise awareness for veterans’ issues. Numerous veterans, families of veterans and children in communities all across the country showed their support for these great men who simply wanted to thank those men and women who came before them. The culmination of the long 100 days of blood, sweat and tears was not only in the moment of Jeremy touching the Vietnam Memorial Wall, it was as Wesley (Barrientos) visited Fort Campbell to see a memorial of his many brothers who never made it back home; the hugs and heartfelt greetings from the Honor Flight WWII veterans; and the moment when Wes and Jeremy laid flags that were given to them from those that have loved ones on the Vietnam Wall. This takes my breath away when I stand back and realize that this all came from a man who I spend my life with, someone who inspires me beyond words, a retired Marine, Iraq War veteran, my husband, and father of the baby that we will be blessed with in August. — Janelle Staat, wife


Bakersfield Life

July 2012

The role model

Today, my dad is 86 years old, and still works from his home office as an architect and has been married to my mother for 63 years, Jeri Garcia. So proud of our dad, our hero and our mentor. I love you, Dad. — Debi Garcia-Alvarez, daughter

Super Sam

gifted athlete (he rode with a professional cycling team in Europe when he was younger) with two wonderful children. His wife, Andrea, is an elementary school teacher. Sam is the unofficial ambassador for cycling and outdoor fitness, but his reach across our community is far and deep. He is also an accomplished musician and has a side business repairing violins. Add to that he is a serious gourmet cook, having worked for years at Lengthwise Brewery. Prior to that, Sam worked as a manager at the Crystal Palace. On a personal level, he is kind, considerate and the personal characterization of customer service. For pastimes, he is an avid hunter, archer, mountain and road bike rider. — Richard Beene, friend

Frank Bueno Garcia Frank Bueno Garcia is not just our dad but a grandfather and a foster parent. We are all very blessed to have had him touch our life in some way or another. Our dad was strict growing up. When I reflect on my childhood, I realize the importance of having a strong figure that always exercised discipline. He taught us respect, work and family values and the meaning of love. My dad is a World War II vet. He was among the first Hispanic draftsmen in Bakersfield. He is a graduate of Cal State Northridge, whose career consists of a geological engineer, photographer and record producer. He produced El Chicano’s first record album. My dad, through his financial hardship and life’s lessons, taught us to appreciate wealth.

Sam Ames Sam Ames is the store manager of Action Sports off Calloway and Brimhall. He is a

The little man

Peter Tomas Lango My little man is my best man! He has a big heart and is full of life. He inspires me with his positive attitude. He’s already had some challenges confront him, but he didn’t let that get him down. He’s always upbeat and hopeful. There isn’t a kid at his school that doesn’t know him or wants to be his friend. He always has a joyful greeting and big smile for everyone. He’s a reminder of another best man in my life, my grandpa, Tom. He’s my gift that makes all the difference in my life. — Debbie Tinoco, mother Continued on page 66



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The soldier

Joshua Levy Sgt. Joshua Levy is an active duty soldier in the United States Army and is currently serving in Afghanistan. He is an amazing husband and father of two children. Everyone who knows him would say he is one of the most honorable and polite people they have ever met. He keeps himself in top shape by running over 20 miles a week. He is living proof that handsome, respectful, well-mannered men do exist! His humor and quick wit can make anyone feel at ease around him. He is selfless and has a big heart. — Britney Levy, wife


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Bakersfield Life

July 2012

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Second Amendment Sports owner Matt Janes poses with an elk he brought down while hunting with a bow.


Whether with a rie or a bow, local hunters enjoy the thrill of the outdoors 68

Bakersfield Life

hunt is on July 2012

By Gabriel Ramirez


eady to be challenged? Then discover the sports of hunting and archery. Both require physical stamina but, most importantly, a lot of patience. We spoke to local experts who shared tips on the sports.

It isn’t as easy as ‘Duck Hunt’ Justin Karr Owner/president Ole Boy Outdoors, 587-4457

Where can people go in town to sign up for hunting? We can help anyone with proof of hunter’s education obtain a hunting license using the California Department of Fish and Game automated licensing system.

What can people expect when they go hunting? It requires a lot of patience and some physical exertion. Expect to go home without a kill.

What are some preparations that people should do before going hunting? Proof of the hunter’s education course is required for a hunting license, so start with the course. The classes are offered locally at our facility once a month, 6 to 9 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, now through August for $15 (cash or check). Once the hunter’s education is completed and a certificate is received, you can obtain a current hunting license, including applicable tags using their ID or driver’s license information. Prior to the hunt, one should inspect equipment, sight in scopes and get some target practice. Proper clothing, hunting gear and lead-free ammunition is important, and we can help with that. Be sure to break in those new boots!

What are some spots for hunting close by? Locals can check out the Kern County Mountains D-9 or High-Desert X-9A areas to hunt. A good hunter never gives away his honey spot!

What do you hunt? Upland game and birds like dove, pheasant and quail, pigs, wild boar, bear, and predators, like bobcats and coyotes.

When do you hunt? Fall through spring. Sept. 1 kicks it off starting with the start of dove season. Ole Boy is closed on dove opening day for the staff to go hunting.

What are the seasons for hunting? There are specific seasons for upland/small game, waterfowl and

Photo by Gregory D. Cook

At indoor shooting ranges like this one at Ole Boy Outdoors, shooting enthusiasts can practice shooting, sight in their weapons or try their hand with different rental pistols and rifles in climate-controlled comfort.

big game. For the 2012-13 dates, look at the California Department of Fish and Game website: Some seasons are year-round but generally, fall through spring.

What do you enjoy about hunting? We enjoy the chance to get away from it all, plus a good challenge and bragging rights!

What are some misconceptions about hunting? Hunting originated more than 11,000 years ago and is defined as the practice of pursuing any living thing, usually wildlife or animals, for food, recreation or trade. Hunting was present in hunter-gatherer societies before the domestication of livestock and the dawn of agriculture. Most opponents view hunting as just killing innocent animals for sport or trade, or poaching.

And the pros of hunting? Hunting is necessary for wildlife management. For example, varmint hunting aids in pest control and game hunting helps with overpopulation. There are many organizations founded by hunters and by those interested in preserving wildlife populations and habitats. Hunting in America stimulates the economy and generates more than 600,000 jobs. Sportsmen continue to contribute nearly $8 million daily toward conservation. Hunters provide more than 75 percent of the annual funds of the 50 state conservation agencies, paying for programs that benefit all Americans and wildlife, according to recent statistics released by the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

How popular is hunting locally? Very popular. Whether it’s local or across the United States, people of all different backgrounds go hunting.

Which is the right gun? Generally, shotguns are used to hunt upland game and waterfowl and rifles are used for varmint hunting, big game and predators.

What’s the best thing about hunting? Spending quality time with the family and friends, thrill of the chase, and adrenaline rush before making the kill. Also, being able to stock the freezer with meats.

What is the hardest thing? Waiting … and going home with nothing but what you came with. Continued on page 70


Continued from page 69

You don’t need a gun to go hunting

What can people expect when pursuing archery? Target archery and archery hunting are two very different things. Target archery is a challenge between your ears. Archery hunting is challenging your skills against your quarry's senses.

Matt Janes vice president Second Amendment Sports 323-4512

What do you like about archery?

Where can people go in town to sign up for archery? To shoot and to hunt, Second Amendment Sports.

The up-close aspect. It is much more of a drain on your emotions than hunting with a firearm.

Where do you do your archery? Wherever I can get a tag. It's a lottery system in most Western states, so tag first in everything. That is why I apply in almost all Western states for mostly every species.

How popular is archery? Not nearly as popular as hunting with firearms.

How does one go about selecting equipment? What should someone look for?

In Second Amendment Sports’ in-shop test range, customers can test fire bows, and receive tips on proper posture and technique from the store’s expert staff.

Photo by Gregory D. Cook

Fit. Having a bow that is set up for you specifically is most important.

Is archery a dying sport? Neither archery nor hunting is dying. It is more what I consider static. Since the recruitment and retention of lifestyles are typically passed on through family or close friend activities, it is very generational. So almost when one is getting out, they are bringing the next one in.

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Bakersfield Life

July 2012

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Men and their toys A jet, a bike, a motorhome, a super stock dirt car and … one very fast lawnmower By Hillary Haenes


any men enjoy simple pastimes like golfing, hunting, watching sports or fixing up old cars. Meet five men who take hobby time a bit further, investing time (and money) into such pursuits as flying, cycling, traveling and boating, stock car racing and tricking out a lawnmower.

Local attorney Matt Clark stands in front of his collection of bikes. 72

Bakersfield Life

July 2012

Photo by Jessica Frey

Cycling enthusiast Whether he’s going for a 70-mile social ride with friends or racing competitively, one thing’s for certain, Matt Clark, 36, partner with the law firm of Chain Cohn Stiles, is ready for any type of cycling adventure. He’s got a bicycle for basically every need: two road racing bikes, a time trial bike, a cyclocross bike and an “around the neighborhood bike.”

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“I used to ride a lot as a kid growing up in Bakersfield. As an adult, I started riding with my dad. At the time, he was riding to stay in shape, and he talked me into getting a bike and riding with him to keep him company. Many years, and a whole bunch of bikes later, it is a real passion of mine,” Clark said. The loyal Action Sports customer holds Kerry Ryan and Sam Ames largely responsible for his multi-bike habit. As for the amount of time and money invested in his hobby, Clark rides a few times a week, which he estimates to be equivalent to 6,000 to 7,000 miles a year. But in terms of cost, “I have no idea, and I don’t want to know. However, I’m sure my wife has it figured out somewhere.” Being an avid cyclist, Clark enjoyed watching the professional riders speed by during the Stage Five Amgen Tour of California in May. “I have ridden the time trial route here in Bakersfield, many, many times, and, needless to say, the pros humbled me. That confirmed that cycling can remain my hobby, and I’ll stick with my day job,” Clark said. For those interested in joining the fast-paced weekday and weekend group rides, visit Continued on page 74

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Sequoia Paint Co. owner Jim Elder likes to travel in style. Continued from page 73

Jet setter For Al Adler, flying is not just a hobby but also an important part of his job. The ABA Energy Corp. president and CEO and owner of The Aviator Casino in Delano travels in his Cessna Citation jet for business trips and family functions. “Flying became a necessity, as well as a passion. It also


Bakersfield Life

July 2012

makes for a quick trip to Vegas or to bring my girls to a dance or cheer competition,” Adler said. His dream of flying began when he was 7 years old. Now 50, this pilot has been soaring in the sky since 1984, when he bought his first plane (a Cessna 152). Since then, Adler has purchased and owned a half-dozen aircrafts, including his first pressurized plane, a six-seater Piper Malibu he purchased in 2000. Although Adler loved this plane, it didn’t have a large weight capacity, so he couldn’t carry a lot of people and a full tank of gas a long way. “After six years of flying it, I decided to fulfill a dream and sold the JetPROP and bought my first jet, a Cessna Citation. Learning to fly it was challenging, yet very fun and on my first FAA flight test, I earned the single pilot certification allowing me to fly it without a co-pilot,” he said. Adler has shelled out about $2.4 million into this luxurious jet (including the avionics upgrade) that seats eight, cruises at 420 mph and has the ability to fly about 1,300 miles nonstop at 41,000 feet. If you head to The Aviator, look up and you may spot Adler in flight, as he does so about four times per month.

Luxurious motorhome As owner of Sequoia Paint Co., Jim Elder knows a thing or two about working hard but playing harder. Elder, 84, moved to Bakersfield in 1962, and opened the paint store Continued on page 76

Lee Jensen sits on his super street stock car.

Photo by Mark Nessia

Continued from page 74

that’s made him quite the successful businessman. Almost every other weekend he travels out of town, mostly to Oxnard where — up until last month — he docked his 45-foot Hunter sailboat for the past 10 years at Pacific Corinthian Yacht Club. Boating is in his blood (he’s owned several boats since 1985), but it is Elder’s most recent purchase, a 32-foot Southwind Fleetwood deluxe motorhome, that’s captured his attention nowadays. “I’ve always enjoyed traveling and being able to just get up and go whenever I felt like it, so having a motorhome was the perfect answer. I love the comfort of traveling in a motorhome, especially since we live within two hours of the coast,” Elder said. He purchased his first motorhome in 2000, which is nestled on his 120 acres in Sugarloaf. Even though he’s fully capable of maneuvering his newest toy himself, Elder said he prefers to hire professional drivers to take him out of town. “It’s the most relaxing thing I’ve ever done; it gives me a break from the everyday pressures of running my own company. I can get in the motorhome and choose a variety of places to go instantly without having to make reservations and such. I’m proud of how far I’ve come considering my very humble beginnings,” Elder said. Entertaining customers and family members has Continued on page 78



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Continued from page 76

always been a big part of Elder’s life, so he’s already scouting his next extravagant boat, which he said would be the best one yet.

Gary Guinn holds his first place Hoosier Lawn Mower Points Series trophy in front of his converted Montgomery Ward 1956 riding lawnmower.


Bakersfield Life

July 2012

Photo by Mark Nessia

Stock car racing Lee Jensen, welder fabricator for Pavletich Electric, has enjoyed racing as a hobby most of his life. He used to race motorcycles with his dad but transitioned to racing a stock car as he aged. The 41-year-old usually races a couple of times a month at either Bakersfield Speedway or Santa Maria Speedway. If he wants to hit the track more, Jensen also travels out of town with his crew to locations that includes his racing division on their schedule. Jensen said he’s fortunate that he doesn’t actually own the car, which has 550 to 575 horsepower and is worth more than $15,000. That’s because racing is such an expensive hobby that requires a lot of time and money to keep the car up and running. “I’m proud that our team wins races without having a top-of-the-line budget. There are newer cars and bigger engines that we race against, yet I feel we have just as good of a shot to win as anyone out there with us,” said Jensen, who currently drives No. 72 for Larry Blake in Barstow. Fortunately for Jensen, his family enjoys going out to the races to show support, and his kids have even raced

their mini dwarf car.

World’s fastest lawnmower Here’s another guy who has always had a need for speed and has been racing his entire life, whether it has been boats, cars or … a souped-up lawnmower. Garry Guinn, 76, president of Guinn Construction, set the world record in 2008 at the Bonneville Salt Flats for the fastest lawnmower, clocking in at 85 mph. “It can get really violent; it started dancing around. It was trying to change ends, so I held onto it and got through it. I pulled the shoot, so it wouldn’t loop and spin out,” Guinn said about his record-breaking achievement. Guinn’s lawnmower, which is powered by a four-cylinder Kawasaki 550 cc engine has earned him bragging rights. Since shattering the record by 6 mph, Guinn has modified his lawnmower to better handle racing on a circular track in Glennville. “I’ve lowered it down about three inches to get to where it will handle the turn, it doesn’t sit as high, and I’ve also changed the gear ratio to go for about a mile. We run eight laps around that (track),” said Guinn, who was the champion a couple of years ago. There is quite a following for Central Valley lawnmower racing, with about 32 people currently active, according to Guinn. Men come from Kernville, Visalia and Fresno to take their turn on the track. When asked if he plans to make his lawnmower go any faster, Guinn replied, “I’ve been there and done that. I had fun, so I am just going to leave it at that.”

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On rich soil

Kern County families provide grapes aplenty By Jeff Nickell


ern County is known for its variety of agricultural products, including grapes. There are many family-owned grape producers who have been providing the delicious fruit for years. The first person to come to the San Joaquin Valley (Delano to be exact) and began growing grapes was Marin Caratan. He was the first in a long line Croatians who came to America for freedom and the American Dream. He arrived in 1923 and was followed by his brother Anton in 1926. According to the 1973 accounting of the history of Delano, Anton, Vincent and Marko Zaninovich came to the area in 1933. But, there were many others who came to America with virtually nothing and built successful companies and in some cases empires.


Bakersfield Life

July 2012

Vineyards at the Di Giorgio Sierra Vista Ranch in Delano, 1920.

A story about Kern County grapes must include Joseph Di Giorgio and provide more information on Marin Caratan other than he was the first Croatian to come to the area to grow grapes. “Joe Di Giorgio got the ball rolling,� said Mark Zaninovich who is the current owner of Sunview Vineyards and its subsidiaries, but it is also fair to mention the Carics, Jakoviches, Radoviches, Bozaniches, Buskas, Sousas, Kovacaviches, Bidarts, Sandrinis, and Paviches. Even this, though, is a partial list.

Photo courtesy of Kern County Museum

Marin Caratan As mentioned, Marin Caratan came to Delano in 1923. His brother made the move three years later. According to the Columbine Vineyards website, Marin Caratan was born in Hvar, Croatia on Nov. 18, 1883. He came to the United States at the age of 30, settling in San Francisco where he began farming to earn a living. Caratan saved enough money to buy his first land in Delano, and in 1926, his first crop of grapes was harvested. He knew how to grow grapes from his work in his homeland. The first ranch covered 160

acres. “My grandfather leveled the whole field by himself with a mule team,” said grandson Marty Caratan. Third- and fourth-generation Caratans now run the company Marin created. The Columbine Vineyards website also states that Marin’s children, Ina, Luis, and Milan, were raised in the vineyards with dad teaching his sons proven techniques and encouraging them to develop their own skills not only in farming, but business and marketing as well. Luis and Milan’s hard work throughout the years Continued on page 82


Continued from page 81

paid off with their father giving them control of his company prior to his death in 1979. Today, the leadership of the company has transitioned to Martin and Chris Caratan who indicate they “maintain their grandfather’s vision, and Luis and Milan’s momentum.” All the while they are showing their own dedication to the grape industry in Kern County Marin Caratan helped start all those years ago.

Joseph Di Giorgio When you had a town and school named after you – well, you must have been a major player in something. The Di Giorgio school was originally named Rockpile but later renamed in Di Giorgio’s honor since the fruit producer donated land and money for the school’s construction. By the time, he invested in Kern County, he had already built a name in the fruit industry and was a major trader on the East Coast. His first foray into California was when he purchased fruit shipper Earl Fruit Company in 1911. Joseph’s given name was Giuseppe when he was born in 1874 in Cefalu, Sicily. He came to the United States in 1888 and began selling fruit for growers. In 1904, he created the Baltimore Fruit Exchange (some sources show it as Monument Fruit Exchange). He would go on to own controlling interests in the Baltimore, New York, and Pittsburgh fruit exchanges. Eight years after purchasing the Earl Fruit Company, Di Giorgio purchased 5,845 acres near Arvin and eventually purchased another 5,000 acres north of Delano. This was after he acquired land in Florida where he began growing citrus. In Kern County, however, Di Giorgio bought even more land and produced many different fruits from grapes to apricots and peaches. In a March 11, 1946 Time Magazine article, Joseph Di Giorgio was labeled the “Fruit King.” The 82

Bakersfield Life

July 2012

Photo courtesy of Kern County Museum

Di Giorgio grape pickers on their lunch hour, 1925.

article indicates that “at the age of 21, he started the Atlantic Fruit Company” (another company name). From there, he continued to diversify his interests leading to all sorts of companies – from airlines, to wineries, drug companies and the like. Many of these were sold off in the 1980s as the company restructured itself under new leadership, but Di Giorgio had turned the reins of the company over to his nephew Robert some years before this occurred. Time Magazine also revealed that Di Giorgio was building what would be the largest winery in the world near Arvin. Furthermore, it stated Di Giorgio got his start in the wine industry by trading grapes for wine that would be purchased back by the Italian Swiss Colony after prohibition ended (he hedged a bet there and won). He ended up taking the profits to buy a small winery for $250,000 that he would later sell for $7 million. A February 1937 Kern County Chamber of Commerce pamphlet from the Bancroft Library at U.C. Berkeley indicates a ceremony was held in Delano honoring Di Giorgio and the Kern County Board of Supervisors naming Feb. 2, 1937 as Joseph Di Giorgio Day. People from all over the country came to the celebration, including the Gov. Frank Merriam and Robert Rossi of the Italian Swiss Colony at Asti. “The visible achievements of Joseph Di Giorgio in his various enterprises during a long and strenuous career are concrete evidence of mental power and upstanding character applied to whatever his hand found to do,” said David Anderson who authored the historical section of the program handed out to attendees. After several stock buyouts, mergers, etc., the remnants of the Di Giorgio Fruit Company is called White Rose Food – the largest food distribution company in “New York City and New Jersey metropolitan areas.” Its website is and is based in New Jersey.

Giuseppe Giumarra, otherwise known as “Papa Joe,” emigrated from Ragusa, Sicily with his father in the early 1900s. His family grew grapes in his native Sicily. By 1910, he was selling produce from a push cart in the Toronto Market. In 1920, he began selling produce in a small Los Angeles stall at the Wholesale Produce Market on 7th Street. In 1922, he was joined by his brothers George and John. Subsequently, Dominick Corsaro married the brothers’ sister, Esther. In 1939, they purchased their first property just north of Bakersfield. This was the birth of Giumarra Vineyards. By the 1950s, the company started making wine. However, they did not give up their wholesale dealings in Los Angeles, which by 1960 was being managed by Dominick’s son, Don Corsaro. Their grape label, GrapeKing, became famous throughout the world for quality table grapes. In fact, the worldwide demand was so great that by 1979, they formed a new company, Giumarra Distributing. They moved their wholesale business into the brand new Los Angeles Wholesale Terminal in 1986. In addition to grapes, the Giumarra Fruit Company grows a variety of fruits in Kern and Tulare Counties, as well as apples in Wenatchee, Washington. They also import grapes, peaches, plums, blueberries, avocados, pears and kiwi from Chile and are one of the largest produce importers in the United States. The company is now run by the third and fourth generations of the Giumarra family. “Papa Joe’s” son Sal is presi-

Cesar Chavez applauds as John Giumarra Jr. holds a copy of the Union Label during a meeting of the United Farm Workers in Delano in 1970.

Californian file photo

Giumarra family

dent of the company and works with brother Al, cousins John, George and Bob, along with fourth-generation family members Joe, David, LeRoy, Todd, Mark, John III, Randy and Jeff to manage their many businesses. John Giumarra Continued on page 84

Bakersfield’s Past Meets the Future

AFTER TRAVELING THROUGHOUT THE WEST, COL. BAKER FINALLY PICKED THE PERFECT SPOT TO SETTLE DOWN. BOTH IN THIS WORLD AND THE NEXT. With his title earned during service to the Iow Iowan Territorial Militia, Col. Thomas Baker had ha become a distinguished political figure in Iowa. But in the 1850s, seeking new opportunities op out west, he moved across the plains to the Bay Area, then to Stockton, then to Visalia. While there, there he purchased land along the Kern River for development...and a place for his future home. That place became known as “Baker’s Fi Field,” and was widely regarded by travelers as a waypoint at which to enjoy the Colonel’s generous hospitality. A true visionary, Col. Baker also selected

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

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Jack Pandol, right, with Jack Pandol Jr.

Continued from page 83

Jr. states “the third and fourth generations of our family are hands on and work closely with our employees in the fields and throughout our business.� The Giumarra family also bottles Monster and Rock Star energy drinks, as well as Arizona Teas, and manages ocean marinas in Dana Point and Channel Island, Oxnard, California. From fruit push cart to a mega agricultural company. Not bad for a small Italian family from Ragusa. And it only took 100 years.

Pandol family According the Pandol Company web site, Steve Pandol immigrated to the United States in 1906 at the age of 17. He emigrated from what is now Croatia and set roots in Fresno, where he farmed collectively with other Croatians. In 1921, he married Margaret, who hailed from Steve’s hometown in Croatia. They had three sons, Steve Jr., Matt, and Jack. It was really in the 1940s that Pandol & Sons began when Steve and Margaret purchased 160 acres near Delano where they only produced potatoes during World War II in order to serve the war efforts. Jack served in the war while high schoolers Matt and Steve Jr. worked on the family farm. The three sons worked in the family business and assumed full time roles in the day-to-day operations. Jack handled the administration and sales while Matt directed labor crews and irrigation. Steve, Jr. was responsible for the equipment and chemical applications. The family planted their first grapes in 1949. The company grew through the hard work and dedication of the brothers (and their workers). They sold grapes via auction. In 1957, Pandol Bros., Inc. was established to market to 84

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July 2012

retail chains as well. The company also expanded operations by importing grapes from Chile and Mexico to take advantage of year-round growing. In the 1960s, the company began sending grapes in refrigerated trucks to the East Coast. They also started producing other fruits and vegetables. The 1970s saw the company start production of their own grapes in Chile and are now one of the largest producers and importers of grapes from that country. During the 1980s, the family increased development of other permanent crops, including apples, kiwis, Asian pears, and persimmons in California. However, they never strayed from their primary focus of providing delicious table grapes. From the 1980s to present, the Pandol Family has continued to grow and diversify with third and fourth generations now helping to run the company. In the last few years, the company has worked diligently building a new indoor state of the art packing facility and continues a breeding program to produce new varieties to enjoy.

Zaninovich Family Another Croatian family making its way to Kern County was the Zaninoviches. Anton, Marko, and Vincent came to the area in 1933. Anton separated from his brothers first, and then in 1937, they split into two different companies: Sunview Vineyards in Delano and VBZ Grapes in Richgrove. Sunview and VBZ are still in business and operate by second and third generations of the family. The Sunview Corporation has several businesses: Sunview of California, Inc., Sunview Shandon, Sunview Marketing International, Casa Cristal Nursery, and ASV Wines, Inc. Mark Zaninovich mentioned that the wine operation began in 1981. Sunview practices combine the wisdom of tradi-


tion with the most recent technological advancements available. Decades of practical experience have resulted in clear knowledge of the soils, ground water and particular vineyard microclimates. “Sunview’s constant analysis of their vast database combines with daily field evaluation to allow each variety to reach its full potential. Cooperation with and support of the University of California and State University systems also provides the company with valuable insight on new innovations,” said Mark Zaninovich. VBZ Grapes began its run in 1940 and was operated by Vincent Zaninovich and his sons John, Andrew, and Antone until Vincent’s death in 1959. Vincent worked hard to make the VBZ label widely known and respected. His sons continued the legacy and purchased more land. Today, the company is still family-owned and operated with third and fourth generations working in nearly all aspects of the business to ensure its success. These agricultural families have many things in common. The first is the emigration from across the Atlantic to settle in Kern County. The next is knowledge of growing grapes and marketing their products for the masses. They also still share something successful businesses must have: hard work and dedication to make sure a job is well done. Finally, they are looking to the future to improve the products they provide people worldwide. “Grapes from Kern County have a billion dollar farm gate value each year,” said Mark Zaninovich, explaining that the “gate value” is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s valuation when the commodity leaves the farm. That fact alone shows the importance the grape industry to Kern County.

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George Culver looks at a portion of his sports memorabilia collection he's accumulated throughout his professional baseball career.

Sports fans and their memorabilia Local men share prized baseball and football collections Story and photos by Mark Nessia


es Bradford received his first signed baseball at a very young age. After a week of playing catch with the ball, the signatures were ruined. In 1971, he received a baseball signed by Willie Mays during an exhibition game at Sam Lynn Ballpark. Bradford had learned his lesson with his first baseball, so this time around, he hung onto the ball and his sports memorabilia collection was born. Today, Bradford has approximately 150 signed baseballs from big-name players like Tony Gwynn Sr., Ken Griffey Jr., Sandy Koufax and Joe DiMaggio. 86

Bakersfield Life

July 2012

Wes Bradford sits in his office surrounded by 49ers memorabilia he has collected over the years.

George Culver holds a pair of shoes worn by Willie Mays. Among his collection are shoes belonging to Steve Carlton, Mike Schmidt, Tug McGraw and Pete Rose.

Born and raised in Bakersfield, Bradford attended East High School and Bakersfield College. He has owned Clifford & Bradford Insurance Agency since 1987, where half of his collection lines the shelves and walls of his office. Collecting is merely a hobby for Bradford, who said the best part is donating items to fundraisers to be auctioned off. Items have sold for as much as $2,500 to $3,000 with the money benefitting youth sports. “There’s just not any money in these programs anymore, so if we can raise a little money to help them out, we’ll do that,” Bradford said. “That’s the best part about [collectWes Bradford, on donating items to auction off at youth sport fundraisers ing]. Every once in a while, you’ll get something that you don’t want to give up.” Among those items is an original LeRoy Neiman painting of “The Catch,” and a Willie Mays bat that Bradford received from fellow collector George Culver. Culver, who attended North High School and BC, played Major League Baseball for nine years. He started collecting in the late ’60s, early ’70s, though at the time, Culver did not have a sports memorabilia collection in mind. “While I was playing, I envisioned someday having a home with

“There’s just not any money in these programs anymore, so if we can raise a little money to help them out, we’ll do that.”

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Continued from page 87

a room to put all the stuff on display for my own memories,” Culver said. “But I’m not really what you would call a collector.” Over the course of his career, Culver has acquired baseball bats from Willie Mays, Mike Schmidt, Pete Rose, Johnny Bench and Steve Carlton, as well as shoes from these players. Culver said he played with or against 40 to 50 Hall of Famers during his career. “I passed up a lot of opportunities to get a lot of stuff because I wasn’t thinking about collecting,” he said. The two items Culver always wanted were the two things he never got: a bat from Sadaharu Oh, the world record holder for home runs on a professional level, and Hank Aaron. Like Bradford, Culver is active in the local youth sports scene, whether it is through fundraising, coaching or just being a fan. “I follow all the kids,” Culver said. “I’ve had a few kids I worked with playing pro baseball now. It’s a fun thing to watch.”

Collecting is just a hobby for Wes Bradford, who said he enjoyes donating items for auctions at fundraisers.

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Gentlemen who brew The art of making beer at home By Kevin McCloskey


Photos by Jessica Frey

hile the history of making your own beer stretches back for many years, the homebrewing hobby has really hit its stride within the last 20 years. The proliferation of the Internet for easy access to a wealth of information, combined with the spirit of sharing in the beer-making community, has helped to bring about a renaissance of backyard brewing. The American Homebrewers Association estimates the number of homebrewers in America to have surpassed 1 million in 2011. Bakersfield is certainly no stranger to this phenomenon, as Don Bynum, Craig Rickett and Tom Maxwell share how they stumbled upon their recipe for happiness. It’s evident these three gentlemen have all been bitten by the brewing bug.

Brewing basics During a 2010 trip to Belgium and Munich’s Oktoberfest, Don Bynum, vice president of marketing at Gregory D. Bynum and Associates Inc., was first introduced to Belgian beer by his friend Patrick Wade. Upon returning home, Bynum dove into the Internet information pool and began making full-grain batches. Wade was learning to brew with Bynum and had noticed his neighbor making beer several times in his garage before introducing himself. The trio began brewing together, sharing their knowledge and labor, which is how the group formed. Wade’s neighbor Craig Rickett, CPA for Brown Armstrong, began brewing with his brother-in-law four years ago. Beer starts 90

Bakersfield Life

July 2012

Friends and neighbors with a passion for beer-making: front, Craig Rickett, back, from left: Don Bynum, Tom Maxwell, Patrick Wade, Cyrus Mojibi and Scott Black.

with grains, milled to crack the husks and soaked in hot water in the mash tun (a brewing vessel with a false bottom) to remove the sugars. Once it is done steeping, the water with the sugars and proteins is transferred to the kettle for boiling, leaving behind the husks. Hops are added at various stages during boiling, according to the desired

bitterness and aroma. This liquid, or wort, is boiled for about 90 minutes, and then brought to room temperature as quickly as possible. After the boil, the wort is transferred to carboys (similar to water-cooler style water bottles), yeast is added along with an airlock and then put into the beer fridge for

two weeks. With a minimum of 21 days from grains to glass, most beers benefit from aging, “and you could be drinking a much better ale by waiting another two months,” Rickett said. Alcohol content is a factor in aging, with the lower alcohol beers being ready to go at three or four weeks, while higher alcohol beers can continue to improve with up to a year or more of aging. While Rickett has the equipment to store and dispense his beers by keg, Bynum prefers bottling his brew. Doing so requires bottleconditioning, or adding a sugar-water mixture to the beer just prior to bottling. Carbon dioxide is created within the bottle from the remaining yeast eating the additional sugar solution in this step. “This is how beers were originally carbonated,” Bynum said. Bottling his concoctions also provides the creative opportunity to label each batch. His delicious golden ale label features the entryway to a fantastic Belgian bar, “Poatersgat,” which translates to “The Monk’s Hole,” that he and Wade discovered in Brugge, Germany. Another friend, Tom Maxwell, CPA and owner of Fisher, Keathley & Ross, came to Continued on page 92

Craig Rickett looks on while Cyrus Mojibi uses a hydrometer to measure the gravity of the beer.

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Continued from page 91

brewing from his love of cooking. “The science behind (beer-making) is really interesting to me as someone who likes to mix things up and make something new. For me it’s about not only making something that tastes good, but creating something that no one’s ever done before,” he said. The experimental aspect of cooking lends itself well to brewing beer. Maxwell has also completed the first stage of study as a cicerone, similar to becoming a sommelier for wine, which involves knowing the histories of beer from different countries, their various styles and how they should be served.

Peer beer Brewing with a buddy can be very helpful, especially when moving large amounts of liquid from one stage to another. “Brewing is a social event where friends get together and talk about the things they like and dislike about their creations. It makes for a fun afternoon,” Maxwell said. Equipment costs are much more reasonable when divided by two or more. A starter kit can cost around $160, plus the additional cost of the grains. Grain for a batch of beer can range from 50 cents to a $1 per beer, depending on the alcohol level: More alcohol equals more grains. Bynum recommends that first-time brewers take a trip to Whole Hog Brewing Supply in southwest Bakersfield. The store can ensure that you have all the needed equipment, recommend a book or website with step-by-step instructions and answer any questions

you may have. “The least intimidating way to learn about homebrewing is to find a friend, or friend of a friend, who is on homebrewing or into this hobby and hang out with them to purchase brewing during a brewing session and just watch,” supplies, visit Whole Bynum said. Hog Brewing SupThe local brew club, Big Brew Theoply, 4500 Shepard ry, is another great source for information, St., or give them a trading tips and recipes while making new call at 834-2739. friends in the Bakersfield brewing scene. You can also visit “It’s great when people take (a recipe) that to get tips or ask you have given them, tweak it a bit, and these beer brewers you can taste the difference those changes questions. made,” said Rickett. “I think this hobby is fun, but everyone who does it seems to be on the same page as far as sharing recipes and information.” The club meets every second Friday of the month at Whole Hog. Many of Rickett’s recipes have come from books on beermaking as well as his brother-in-law. He uses a software tool called BeerSmith to keep meticulous notes, which is crucial when recreating a favorite beer, or knowing what modifications were made from batch to batch as he strives for the perfect ale. Plus the hobby is very scalable in terms of cost and effort, depending on how simple or complex you want it to be. It all boils down to the beer, and if the quality creations made by these gentlemen is any indication, they have definitely hit the sweet spot.

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Why I Live Here

Laura Arredondo Hispanic Media Group owner Compiled by Vicki Adame Age: 51 I have lived in Bakersfield for: 17 years I wasn’t born in Bakersfield, but I ended up here because: My family. And home is where the heart is, and my heart is in Bakersfield. I have lived in: For the 17 years that I have lived here, I’ve been living in the Southwest.

Photo by Felix Adamo

Three words that describe my neighborhood: Safety, clean, close to family. Favorite Saturday activity: The one hour talk radio show which informs the Hispanic community. Favorite community event: Proyecto de Compasion. It helps families that are in very difficult situations. Favorite local restaurant: Jacalito Grill on Panama I relax in Bakersfield by: Being in my office doing what I love to do best — helping other businesses to be successful with their marketing, such as writing a script for Leticia Perez who was recently elected as Fifth District county supervisor. I keep cool during the summer by: Spending time in my brother Sergio’s back yard in the pool. 94

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July 2012

Best place for a family outing: Again, my brother Sergio’s house. Best-kept secret in Bakersfield: None, there are no secrets in life. When I want to get out of town I always go to: L.A. to see the rest of my family and friends that I still have there. Favorite funny story or memory about Bakersfield: I came here with my mother, who passed away eight years ago, so I have great memories of her in Bakersfield.

What I like most about Bakersfield: It is very family-oriented, no traffic and great family values. Bakersfield often gets negatively ranked on lists, the positive list I think we should rank near the top on is: For being rich in oil and agriculture; for the beautiful lakes and sunsets; and the people in general. The perfect place for date night in Bakersfield is: Valentien Restaurant & Wine Bar.


Thanking our own Honor Flight Kern County sends local veterans to Washington, D.C. By Mateo M. Melero


Photos by Gregory D. Cook

akersfield resident Erwin Waite was only 18 years old when he joined the U.S. Navy during World War II and found himself as an engineer on a naval destroyer. It was Waite’s job to manage the ship’s speed. “I was in the forward engine room with the throttle,” said Waite. “So when the old man wanted to go faster or slower, he’d ring down the forward engine room and I’d call the fire room and get the boilers going.” During kamikaze and Japanese Zero attacks, Waite’s general quarters called for him to man a 40mm gun. “Those barrels would get red hot. (But) it was a good experience for a kid, one I’d soon not of had.” Such memories were shared when, as a beneficiary of the Kern County’s local Honor Flight Network chapter, Waite, along with other local World War II veterans, took flight Memorial Day weekend to visit the war memorials in

Charlie Wilmont, center, a Vietnam War veteran himself, poses with George Sandy, left, and Bob Fowler, right, two WWII veterans he sponsored on Kern County’s first Honor Flight. Washington, D.C. There the group toured the Vietnam, Korean, Navy and Air Force memorials, watched the changing of the guard at the Arlington National Cemetery, visited the Iwo Jima Marine facility, and met with Congressman Kevin McCarthy at the Capitol. “It was wonderful,” said Stanley Schwartz, who was an U.S. Army Air Corps B-25 turret gunner. Leaving from Bakersfield, the group was given a water cannon send off, and landing in Baltimore, they were greeted by what Waite’s said was, “500 to 1000 people thanking us and shaking our hands.” Upon returning home, the group was received at the

Veterans of WWII gather for a photograph with Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, far left, at a meet and greet at American Sound Recording Studios. 96

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airport by cheerleaders, family members, fellow veterans, and bagpipers. As a national program made up of volunteers and sustained by donations, Honor Flight devotes its self to sending Veterans to visit the memorials at the nation’s capital. Focusing currently on World War II vets and those with adverse health issues, Honor Flight gives the veterans a chance to experience their memorials. Two weeks before their scheduled flight, the veterans and their volunteer assistants for the flight gathered inside American Sound Studios to hear the details of their upcoming trip and record a testimony of their lives for future generations. “I was a sophomore in high school when Pearl Harbor happened, and it wasn’t too long after that the whole country was gung-ho,� said Robert Fowler who served as a sergeant in the U.S. Army Air Corps. “They had gasoline rationing, they had sugar rationing, everyone went out and collected metal and they had war bonds drives and everyone participated. Everybody was on the same page then. It’s a little different now.� While attending a Bowing B29 school in Seattle, Washington, the bomb was dropped in Japan and the war soon ended, but his military career didn’t end there. Fowler was sent to Alaska after the war where he flew top-secret mapping missions over the Arctic Ocean at the start of the Cold War.

“It was an amazing time,� said Fowler. Having survived D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge, former Army Staff Sgt. John Grenek was given a furlough to marry his wife in England on March 6, 1945, and soon after he was sent back to Czechoslovakia. When he was discharged and returned to the States, it would be another year before he was united with his wife. The testimonies and memories recorded that day will be sent to the Library of Congress, as well as given to local Kern County Schools. While visiting the Arlington National Cemetery and reliving some of the memories, Waite said that it was difficult and, “It is very touching when you realize some of your comrades are buried there and some of them are not; some of them are out in the sea.� With its first meeting being held last November, HFKC has gotten off the ground quickly, and an additional flight is planned for October with a goal of taking between 100-to125 veterans. With HKFC providing free full accommodations to the veterans, the organization relies on donations to fly. The cost for a veteran is in between $1,500 to $2,000 per flight. Honor Flight is still accepting applications for veterans, volunteers and donations. For additional information, call 544-VETS.

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Colby Lewis during spring training in March.

Boys of summer Bakersfield baseball standouts playing on the national stage By Stephen Lynch


akersfield natives Colby Lewis and Brent Morel both began the 2012 Major League Baseball season with similar goals: to stay healthy and help their respective teams win the World Series. So far Lewis, a pitcher for the Texas Rangers, has managed to stay on track to reach both objectives. The former


Bakersfield Life

July 2012

Photo by Paul Moseley


North High and Bakersfield College standout has stepped up to the role of being the Rangers’ No. 1 starter in a big way, posting impressive stats and helping Texas jump out to an early lead in the American League West division race. For Morel, a Chicago White Sox third baseman, things haven’t gone nearly as well so far. He injured his back during spring training and struggled at the plate once the regular season began. After realizing that he wouldn’t to be able to fully heal while trying to play through the injury, the White Sox placed Morel on the disabled list in late May. Lewis’ season began with a bang. After being chosen opening day starter by Texas manager Ron Washington, he went out and struck out nine as the Rangers claimed a 3-2 victory over Morel’s White Sox in front of 49,085 fans at Rangers Ballpark at Arlington. Lewis hasn’t slowed down much since then, posting an impressive 3.38 earned run average and stellar 1.09 WHIP (walks and hits allowed per innings pitched) through his

Photo by Jose M. Osorio

first 12 starts. “My MO is to go out and eat up innings and put up a lot of quality starts for my team,“ Lewis said. “All I’ve tried to do the last couple years is put my team in position to win every time I go out. That’s what I’ve kind of been trying to follow along this year and it’s kind of working out.” His early season success on the mound has helped the two-time defending AL champion Rangers get closer toward their goal of reaching the post season again. Coming off losses in the Fall Classic to the San Francisco Giants in 2010 and the St. Louis Cardinals last year, Lewis believes its World Series championship or bust for Texas this season. “I think we have as good if not better team this year than we have had the last two years,” Lewis said. “…We definitely want to get back there (to the World Series) and take that championship and quiet doubters. I think everybody knows that we have a great team. The bull’s-eye is on our back and we like it there.” In Morel’s case, getting healthy enough just to be able to play is the No. 1 priority. Sent by the White Sox to Class AAA Charlotte on a rehab assignment, Morel went 8-for-30 in eight games before re-injuring what was diagnosed as a lumbar back strain.

Brent Morel has been plagued by back problems this season. As of mid-June, his status for the remainder of the year was unclear. The 24-year-old Centennial High and Cal Poly prodContinued on page 100


Continued from page 99

Photo by Larry Aronat

Liberty High grad Brent Peterson was a 12th-round Reds pick for the recent draft.

uct came into the season with high hopes after smashing eight home runs and collecting 19 RBIs and 15 walks during the final 27 games of 2011. “It was nice,� Morel said. “It was the last little adjustment period there.� But it was obvious from the very start that the 6-foot2, 220-pound Morel wasn’t the same player this year. Hindered by the injury, he was batting just .177 with no home runs when Chicago finally put him on the disabled list 39 games into the season. “In spring training, I had to sit out some games,� Morel said. “I think that had to do with the performance, just not being able to rotate and stuff like that. It was just kind of wearing on me.� Lewis, who was 3-0 with a 1.93 ERA in the month of April, dropped to 4-5 after a pair of hard luck early June losses in front of home state fans in Anaheim and Oakland. Despite those two setbacks, in which the Rangers’ offense scored a total of just two runs, Lewis has been a source of consistency for his team. The 32-year-old Lewis’ shortest outing through his first 12 starts was 5 1/3 innings. He is on pace to pitch more than 200 innings and strike out between 150-200

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batters. Lewis is quick to point out that his success comes with much support from his wife and two children. “They are my backbone and my rock,” Lewis said. Lewis and Morel are currently the only active Major League players to hail from Kern County. However, that could soon change as numerous local prep stars, along with players from Bakersfield College and CSU Bakersfield, have been drafted by pro teams over the past several years. Former local prep and BC standout Brent Peterson was picked in the 12th round of last month’s Major League Baseball draft by the Cincinnati Reds. The Blaze are the Reds high Class-A affiliate, so if all goes well, the young shortstop could be back playing his homes games in Bakersfield within a couple of years. “I can’t wait to get out there and start my career and see where it takes me,” Peterson said. Peterson has dreamed of playing professional baseball every since he was a young child. “We built a field in our back yard when I was a kid,” Peterson said. “This was the ultimate goal. I finally achieved it. I couldn’t be more excited. I’m just so happy.” Peterson’s ultimate goal, though, is to follow in the footsteps of Lewis and Morel and make it to the Major Leagues. “I’ll be working towards that, giving 100 percent,” Peterson said.

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It’s A Guy Thing …

Scientists Compiled by Omar Oseguera Photos by Gregory D. Cook

Q What is your current

role as a scientist?

Stuart: Being the laboratory director at BC Labs, I manage the facility in all capacities. I ensure results are accurate, legally defensible, and regulations are being met for the safety of the community. I work with consultants, municipalities, and government agencies across California. Some days I am going over reports and paperwork in my office, while other days I am out meeting with clients, officials, and everyday people who just have concerns about what’s going on around them. Being with the company for more than 25 years, I also am fortunate to have a working knowledge of every instrument we run in the lab. This means some days, I am also getting my hands dirty. Michael: Currently, I work for Grimmway Farms, a fantastic company, by the way. I am the director of quality assurance and food safety for their Fresh Processing Division. My job is to establish those policies and procedures that help to assure our customers are receiving the best quality of carrots possible. This can span the entire gamut from when the carrot is in the ground all the way through the processing and packaging phase. Additionally, those responsibilities also include assuring that our carrots are processed in a safe and sanitary manner. Andrei: As the technology adviser for the Applied Reservoir Management team, I lead a team of bright scientists researching new technologies for the development and optimization of oil and gas reservoirs. 102

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Stuart G. Buttram Laboratory director, BC Laboratories Inc.

Nathan: I am a geologist with Occidental of Elk Hills, Inc. where I build computer models of the geology in the subsurface. I use these models to plan and drill wells and evaluate development and recovery scenarios.


Can you recall the moment in your life when you decided you wanted to be a scientist? Stuart: High school was when I discovered

Michael Riccomini

Director of quality assurance and food safety, Grimmway Enterprises Inc.

my passion for chemistry. My father was a petroleum engineer/geologist, so science was always a topic growing up. But it was Merle Wood at Bakersfield High School, my chemistry teacher that really got me interested in chemistry as a career. I couldn’t thank him enough.

Michael: I think I knew I wanted to be a scientist even before high school. When I was a child, my parents bought me a chemistry set. I thought it was so cool. I set it up in our garage on an old card table and I instantly had a little laboratory. The chem-

me at an early age. I discovered geology in junior high while on a field trip to Cal State Fullerton where we listened to scientists talk about their profession. I signed up for three sessions with geology being the first. I was immediately hooked and never made it to the other sessions.


What rewards would you say were directly associated with becoming a scientist? Stuart: I have been fortunate that my field of expertise crosses over into everyday life with my family. Not just safety issues regarding raising my children here in Kern County, but our world environment as a whole. It has also been a great opportunity to be able to help my kids with science projects, as well as some family friends and their kids as well. I enjoy watching them light up when they discover something new.

Andrei Popa

Unconventional resources technology adviser, Artificial Intelligence Solutions at Chevron North American Exploration & Production

Nathan Reish

Geologist, Occidental of Elk Hills

istry set had an instruction book with all of these “experiments” to perform. Well, I had completed every experiment and then some. Soon, I was supplementing the chemical reagents in my set with any chemical I could find: household cleaners, swimming pool chemicals. I even disassembled one of my father’s road flares to watch how the powder would burn.

leum mines in the world. While working 600-feet underground, with oil dripping down from the ceiling of the mineshaft, the realization struck me that I was in the heart of the reservoir. Seeing the oil flowing in different patterns through various rocks incited a curiosity of how this movement can be modeled so that oil production and recovery can be accurately predicted.

Andrei: I was a student in my third year of college and had the unique opportunity for a summer internship at a petroleum mine in Bustenari, Romania, one of the few petro-

Nathan: I have wanted to be a scientist for as long as I can remember. My dad, a farmer by profession, instilled a strong curiosity about the world around

Michael: I was fortunate enough to have a number of different jobs in a variety of industries here in Bakersfield. Unfortunately, many of those companies had to shut down and I was forced to move on and look for employment elsewhere. The training I received in college allowed me to apply my scientific skills over a broad spectrum of industries and I was able to rebound rather quickly. Consequently, I have been able to maintain a steady income and provide a sense of stability for my family. Andrei: I arrived in the U.S. in 1997 with $117 in my pocket. My father, a math professor, sold his car to purchase my airfare so I could come to acquire my master’s degree in petroleum engineering at the West Virginia University. Now, just 15 short years later, after completing my doctorate degree, also in petroleum engineering, I work for a great company and travel throughout the Continued on page 104


Continued from page 103

U.S. and internationally presenting technical papers. I also have the opportunity to teach several university courses. But, most rewarding is the opportunity I have to travel home to Romania for a few weeks each year to visit my parents.

Nathan: A challenging yet satisfying and lucrative career that has taken me to five continents. On a personal level, I met and fell in love with my wife who is also a geologist while working in Houston, Texas.



Has the growth of new technology impacted you as a scientist over the years? Stuart: Exponentially! When I started in the early ’80s, an analysis could take hours to run and process, not including prep time. Those analyses can now be done in minutes. This means we are faster and more accurate, and have more comprehensive results in a fraction of the time. The same can also be said for the other half of the process — data, paperwork, and reports are being generated and processed faster, thanks to modern technology. Michael: It most certainly has. For example, I have seen many analytical tests evolve from classical “wet” chemistry tests into automated instruments that perform the same test in a fraction of the time. Also, many of these bench top instruments have further evolved into handheld battery-powered instruments. The scientist or technician can now take the analytical testing out of the lab and into the field. Testing can be performed in real time with the ultimate advantage of having the decision-making process taking place now rather than later. Also, it goes without saying that the computer, or more specifically the internet, has had a tremendous impact on my profession. The sheer amount of information that is instantly available at your fingertips is priceless. Andrei: Yes, breakthroughs in other areas of science, such as neurology, computer science and electrical engineering have contributed to the advancement in the study of artificial intelligence and its application in the petroleum industry. For example, we are living a time where we are drowning in data; however, advancements within computer science allow us to “mine” the millions of data points and extract information and knowledge to optimize our operations and become more efficient and competitive. Nathan: Absolutely. Computing power and advancements in software allow us to analyze and interpret more data to identify opportunities for development and drilling. The cycle time from idea to action keeps getting shorter.

Q What is your favorite aspect about

your profession?

Stuart: I enjoy meeting with others I encounter in all fields of science. Being able to get together with them and problem-solve/ troubleshoot is extremely rewarding. Whether it's regarding methodologies, procedures, or the latest instrumentation, it is the most rewarding and fascinating career I could imagine. Paving the way for future generations is just a bonus! Michael: Every day seems to bring a new adventure. I have a 104

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July 2012



Reish unique perspective in that I can observe the entire lifecycle of our product from planting, growth, harvesting, processing and eventually packaging. The logistics involved in getting a product out of the ground and into a consumer’s hand halfway around the world is truly amazing. Knowing that I had an important contribution that hopefully delighted one of our customers is very rewarding.

Andrei: I have the opportunity to work in a team that creates solutions to problems that, using conventional tools, were previously unsolvable. Nathan: I get to do geology every day applying what I learned in school and what I’ve learned on the job. Working closely with other geologists and engineers who challenge my ideas and interpretations makes the job especially rewarding.

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Ladies Who …

Ride Harley-Davidsons Motorcycles aren’t just for men anymore Compiled by Myriam Valdez


Photos by Jessica Frey

hey overcame accidents, personal struggles as well as financial and physical limitations, yet these brave women never look back on their challenges. With a combined 60-plus years on the road, these women are expert riders. Whether it’s the allure of independence on the road, the romance of riding with a companion, or the thirst for adventure that motivates these lady-riders, each ride their Harleys with a confidence and joy.

Q What kind of Harley do you ride? Amy: I started on a Kawasaki 750 that my husband gave me one year as a Valentine’s Day present. He taught me how to ride. I rode that bike for about eight or nine years while I saved for my dream bike — a Harley. I saved bottles and cans for more than five years to use toward my down payment as I did not want to sacrifice the household budget while the kids were still small. I now ride a purple Harley Fatboy. Charlotte: My first bike was a 1999 Softail Standard and now I ride a 2005 Heritage Softail Classic. My license plate says “MA HOGG” — yep, that’s me! The color is teal and ivory with goldflake pinstriping. My husband David’s plate says “PA HOGG.” We have also bought a starter bike for our girls and the youngest daughter, Sara, rides it. We want the licensce plate to say “LIL HOGG.” June: I have a 2011 apple green 103 Street Glide (the only one in town). His name is Gat (green apple tini). I recently got a helmet painted to match. Stormi: I ride a 2001 Dyna Super Glide Harley Davidson.

Q: What got you into riding Harleys? Amy: I have always loved riding motorcycles and can remember going for rides with my uncle when he would be around with his motorcycle. Charlotte: My husband, David, got me started. He had ridden motorcycles all of his life and we bought the first Harley, a 1999 Softail Standard, in April 2000. We rode it together for a couple of years, and then I decided I wanted to ride my own. June: I was in class and the professor told the class that we need 106

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July 2012

to think out of our own self health care. As up-and-coming therapists, we will be hearing other peoples’ issues along with some traumatic events. We need to find a hobby or some type of outlet. I happened to hear a motorcycle go down the street. I thought, “Hey, my brother has a Harley, so why not?” I really don’t need to buy too much equipment, and I can go any time or any day I want.

Stormi: I started riding on the back of a Harley with my boyfriend and soon after, I knew I wanted my own! I grew up riding dirt bikes, so I knew I could do it.

Q How long have you been riding? Amy: I have been riding motorcycles for 23-plus years.

Charlotte: I have been riding for about 10 or 11 years. I did take a break from riding for five to six months while I recuperated from my accident, but I was riding by myself again in August. June: I have been riding for about 26 years off and on. I first started riding motorcycles when I was 19. Stormi: I’ve been riding for three years.


What have you had to overcome to continue to ride? Amy: The only obstacle is that I am only 5-feet 1-inch tall and most bikes are made for taller people. With the help of the Harley dealer and the parts department, I was able to lower the bike to make it just the right size for me. Charlotte: On the morning of Feb. 9, 2008, my husband and I were riding to Visalia to the Harley shop in Goshen. Just after we took off, a car coming toward us made a left turn in between us, almost catching the back of David’s bike, but hit me. The accident necessitated that my leg be amputated. I now have a store-bought leg. I have a tattoo on it that didn’t hurt, and I can change it as often as I like. I have a little bling on the inside of my ankle that shines in the sunlight. I even have toes with toenail polish and can wear flip-flops if I Velcro them on. I just need to get a toe ring on it still. I have a swimming/shower leg that allows me to get it wet, so I can go to the ocean and boogie board, surf or just dance in the rain if I want. I go to an amputee support group meeting once a month at HealthSouth, and I feel like it has helped me and that maybe I have helped someone else. June: Marriage. He preferred me riding on the back than getting Continued on page 108

Amy Razor

56, registered nurse, cardiac floor at San Joaquin Community Hospital

Charlotte Kendrick

52 (29 at heart), instructional materials clerk for Panama-Buena Vista Union School District

June E. Martinez

45, therapist trainee and recovery specialist aid

Stormi Raines

48, bus driver for special needs children for Kern County Superintendent of Schools


Continued from page 106

my own. Once he was gone, I could become me again and in the driver’s seat.

Stormi: I just had to work up the confidence!

Q: What inspires you to ride? Amy Razor

Charlotte Kendrick

Amy: In the future, we would like to ride to Washington, D.C., to the Vietnam Wall to donate my POW/MIA bracelet to the missing soldier whose name is on the bracelet. Charlotte: I love to ride just about anywhere, anytime. I don’t really care where we ride, just as long as we ride. I prefer to follow behind my husband when we ride, that way I don’t have to think about what road we are on and where we need to turn. I can just follow the lead dog, or Hogg, and I will get there, too. Sometimes we just ride to breakfast or lunch somewhere and then ride home. June: I’m dating myself here, but the Fonz from “Happy Days” inspires me. I thought it would be cool to ride a motorcycle instead of driving a car. I thought that would be cool for a girl to pull up in a parking lot and everyone would say, “Hey that’s a girl, not a guy.” I do get those comments and many (and I mean many), women giving me the thumbs up. Motorcycles are not just for men anymore.

June E. Martinez


Bakersfield Life

Stormi Raines

July 2012

Stormi: We get comfortable doing just the same things in life. For me, riding a motorcycle makes me feel empowered. As a woman in her late 40s, it’s just cool to be a lady rider.

Q: What would you like to tell someone

who has always wanted to ride a motorcycle but might be scared or intimidated?

Amy: The best advice I can give is to take a motorcycle safety class and then practice, practice, practice. Charlotte: There is a safety course held at the Shafter airport. That is a good class to take. My daughter, Sara, took it when she got her license. They teach you a lot there. The more you ride, the better you get. Start out with a starter bike and be prepared to fall. Never ride faster than you feel safe. If you are holding up traffic, let them go around. You’ll get there a little later than them, but at least you’ll be safe. Remember that your bike has the power to throw you off, so you have to pay attention to your surroundings. But you don’t need to rush; slow down and enjoy the ride. That place you’re heading ain’t going nowhere and will still be there when you get there. June: I get this all the time. To those ladies who want to ride but are scared, I say, “There is nothing to fear but fear itself.” If your main fear is dying, riding is not for you. If your fear is falling, all it takes is practice. Once you have fallen a few times, you will learn what not to do. It takes some skill to ride. Riding a motorcycle is like riding a bicycle, but no peddling, just shifting. Stormi: For those ladies who want to be riders: It’s not easy. It takes a lot of riding to build the confidence that you’ll need to be that safe and responsible rider. Continued on page 110

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Continued from page 109

Q: What have you gotten out of riding?

can. When the time comes that you can’t ride yourself, get a sidecar and ride with someone else.

Amy: I find that going for a ride is very relaxing and gives you lots of time to enjoy what God has created for us. Being out in the open, in the wind, and being able to smell all the different flowers and trees is an experience you cannot get in a car.

June: Harley riding has led me to HOG (Harley Owners Group), where I have met some wonderful people. I can be with other women riders and have a good time. Most of all, riding gives me a peaceful mind.

Charlotte: I’ve learned to just enjoy the ride. It’s kind of hard to explain as it’s a feeling that a lot of people just don’t understand if they haven’t ridden a motorcycle. Life is short and sometimes it’s shorter than it should be. Enjoy it while you can and ride when you

Stormi: Riding a motorcycle also gives you that chance to make a difference. There are several fundraiser rides that go on in Bakersfield every year, like the ride for autism. So for me, riding a motorcycle is so much more that just riding around looking cool!




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Bakersfield Life

July 2012

Q: Where is your favorite place to ride? Amy: My husband and I spend most of our vacations riding to different places. We have gone to Canada twice, North Carolina and Wisconsin. Charlotte: I like to ride through the mountains and canyons and up or down the coastline. We like to ride with a group sometimes or ride just the two of us. I feel like I ride a little slower because I am so not in a hurry anymore. Also, I have to take breaks often sometimes because my leg just gets uncomfortable and we don’t want to hold

up the group. We ride on a lot of the poker runs and fundraiser rides around town and are riding with the HOG (Harley Owner Group) and LOH (Ladies Of Harley) groups more often. It’s fun just to get together and ride to the theater for a movie night. That’s a lot of chrome on the parking lot! They can hear us coming from far away!

June: Back roads. I really don’t have a favorite place. Riding on a back road enjoying the scenery and sights. There is noting like cruising down the road with no hurry to get anywhere, letting the troublesome thoughts and every day stress go. That is my favorite place. Stormi: I love riding in the mountains. The curvy roads are fun and challenging.

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Brewing hope for city’s foster youth Randy Martin devotes life to helping kids in need through Covenant Coffee

By Lisa Kimble


Photos by Jessica Frey

f Bakersfield’s Randy Martin could bottle up hope, he’d have his own reservoir. Instead, he’s brewing it, one cup of java at a time, as another way of mentoring abused and neglected children trapped in the foster care system. Covenant Coffee in Oildale, which opened a month ago, is the brainchild of Martin, an effusive cheerleader for the underdog, if ever there was one. Martin, 44, oversees Covenant Community Services, a nonprofit in Bakersfield that’s focused squarely on serving the needs of foster children. The coffee house restaurant, which offers coffee blends from around the world, is serving freshly ground life experiences through employment and job skills to foster youth. Coffee is sold in one-pound bags for approximately $14 each, and that money can make a significant difference in supporting Covenant foster care youth programs, said Martin, who is the CEO, aka chief encouragement officer, for Covenant Community Services. There are upwards of 3,000 kids in the foster care system in Kern County. Every year, as many as 200 foster youth turn 18 and transition out of the cycle of entitlement and dependency, almost all of them woefully unprepared.


Bakersfield Life

July 2012

Covenant Coffee is just one part of Randy Martin’s effort to help local foster youth.

Covenant’s mission is to help foster youth with job training, educational services, housing support, counseling, mentorship and more. A sign above the entrance to Covenant Coffee reads ‘Hope Lives Here.’ Martin believes the organization is the headquarters for optimism. “Some of these kids have horrendous back stories,” Martin says. “For them to think life can be any better is a huge step. We want to bring to the top of their mindset the ideas of hope and the expectation of a positive future.” Martin, a self-described eastsider who had never lived east of Bucknell Street and the youngest of six kids in a loving family with no connection to foster care, says it all began quite simply. “I raised my hand at a church service,” he laughs. He was 27 years old and a member of Canyon Hills Assembly of God congregation when he volunteered to spend a week at Royal Family Kids camp for foster youth as a counselor. The week was life-changing, he says. “I came back home a different person. I had this breakthrough ‘ah ha’ moment. I had no idea about abuse and neglect, people who had no concept of God who instead of playing with toys were already parentified, and that one week could make such a difference.” The following year, his wife Kim attended the same camp, returning with similar experiences. “I decided this is what I am going to do with the rest of my life,” he says. From 1997 to 2011

the Martins served as camp directors. Today they serve as national trainers with the organization. Bothered by what he says were too many people doing foster care for the wrong reasons, he believed he had found his calling. “If you invest in that kid, they respond,” he adds. “Here we were dangling hope in front of them for a week but I thought we should do something more, take the camp concept and extend it to an organization.” Statistics are stacked against foster kids who yearn for stability and consistency. With the help of Canyon Hills, Covenant was launched as a full-time program and for a time was a sub-office of a Central Coast family care network. Then it became locally run in 2001. Today, the Covenant umbrella of services covers the coffee house, a horse program involving mentorship and a media arm. It is also establishing building blocks to transitional housing. Local businesses support his program by purchasing or ordering his coffee. Local places like Luigi’s and Brookside Deli are known to carry Covenant Coffee. Donors also make a big difference. By partnering with churches, businesses and individuals as well as other organizations, the goal is simple, according to Martin: restoring lives and transforming generations. “Because the community has responded, we are getting kids placed in jobs,” Martin adds. “Our message to them is one of hope, that you can do it, we believe in you and you can change your life.” Continued on page 114

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Continued from page 113

In the 17 years since the epiphany of the first camp experience, Martin is convinced, more than ever, that there is a better purpose for the youth than living in fear. His proof is in the confidence on the faces of some of the young people he has mentored whose pictures he proudly shows off on his iPhone. Youth who once hid their shame and guilt in silence behind a frown, now open up about their dreams and goals. “Take a chance on a kid, hire them, donate furniture to help them transition into living on their own,� he says. “We are all caring for our neighbor. Our piece of the pie happens to be foster care.�

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Bakersfield Life

July 2012

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Real People

Bakersfield’s repo couple Jimmy and Maria Wray Compiled by Myriam Valdez


eing a repo agent isn’t easy. There’s no such thing as a “typical day” in the world of repossessions. But as Jimmy and Maria Wray demonstrate, it’s better when you have a reliable partner in this tough line of work. Meet the brains and brawn behind Cornerstone Recovery and Investigative Services.

When did you start your business?

June 2008 with only an old tow truck, a phone, fax machine and a prayer. We took every cent we had believing in our dream of owning our own business..

Can you tell me about the first time you repossessed something? Jimmy: Our first repo in business was a Mini Cooper for a local lot. I just had shoulder surgery so I was working with only one arm. Thank goodness my wife was right in there with me and doesn’t mind getting her hands dirty. Maria: Better yet, I can tell you about our first date. Jimmy would come into my place of employment to pay his water bill. One day he came in and asked me if I would like to go out and repo with him that night. We’ve been repoing together ever since.

Jimmy: I enjoy the daily challenges and the freedom to set my own schedule even though that schedule requires a lot of hours. Maria: I’ve always wanted to be a business owner and employer. We are the employers that we always wanted. We have built a great repo family in the community, and we desire that our employees not only enjoy coming to work, but have the opportunity to reach their highest potential. We’ve got an awesome team in 116

Bakersfield Life

July 2012

Photo by Felix Adamo

What do you enjoy most about your work?

Jimmy and Maria Wray of Cornerstone Recovery and Investigative Services and their yard dog, Bo.

place — we really appreciate them!

What’s the most unusual item you’ve repossessed?

We’ve recovered everything from scooters to big rigs. We would like to work our way up to recovering planes.

What’s the most challenging part about being a recovery agent?

Jimmy: One of the most challenging parts is the schedule. We work all hours of the day and night. Also, communicating with hostile debtors and working to de-escalate the situation is challenging. We’re always thankful for the nice people we deal with. Maria: For me, it’s dealing with hurting people. We can empathize with them. Jimmy and I have both had our financial struggles. We have both had to give up a car in the past. I’ve also lost a home. I understand the wide range of emotions and grief that go with losing something I’ve worked so hard for. I don’t ever want to become callus toward others hardships.

Does your occupation expose you to dangerous situations? Yes, we never know the mindset of the person/people we may dealing with and what their life situation is at the moment. One specific incidence? We’ve had everything from hostile encounters with knives and guns to the heartbreaking situations of people who are in real need.

What do you do to maintain your safety?

Contrary to what people see on television, the repossession industry is not a “reality show.” These shows have actually made our work much more difficult and have increased the risk factor. (So, the) most important safety tool a recovery agent has is his instinct and his ability to remain calm when a potentially dangerous situation arises. Also, we work in pairs when we feel there is potential for a hostile situation.

Do you ever feel guilty about repossessing something?

No, borrowers usually have the chance to work with the lender or voluntarily surrender their vehicle. We’re not hired until the lender has exhausted all their efforts to resolve the situation. Just as there are law enforcers, we are contract enforcers.

What has surprised you most about being in the repossession business?

Maria: There have been many, many people who have been respectful and friendly towards us. They understand the nature of our job. We’ve even had borrowers send us a thank-you note for treating them kindly and professionally, and we’ve even been invited to dinner by some. But what has surprised me the most is the negativity that can be expressed towards us. I want to be clear that not all the people we deal with are like this but there have been quite a few.

Repo agents sometimes get a bad rap. What do say to those who may not understand your business?

We are just average people trying to make a decent living. What many people don’t understand is that when they sign the sales contract, they are making a promise to pay and when they fail to meet the terms of their agreement, it requires lenders to hire professionals like us to recover their assets. Many people have a mindset that the vehicle is theirs when in actuality it belongs to the lender until paid in full.

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Fit and Fresh

Health alert: Potatoes are good for you

Herb roa sted Bak ersfield baby


atoes Preheat oven to 4 0 0 F 1-½ poun By Sally Baker and Katie Kirschenmann per and li ds g baby potaassorted olive oil. C htly drizzle with toes* hop the g 5 to 6 clo c arlic lo v es and ves It’s harvest time in Kern County. It (add as m of garlic Toss the p add to the pan. u o is amazing how much produce is grown in and around garlic as y ch or as little mix all th tatoes well to e enjoy a lo ou wish — I them in th flavors and put Bakersfield. Our valley is a cornucopia. My husband, t of garlic them afte e oven. Remove .) Olive oil Brian, grows potatoes and, like most of our farmers, and toss r 30 minutes Salt and th pepper tinue to ro em again. Conhe is harvesting full steam ahead right now. Recently, 2 tablesp they are b ast them until oon he took our son, Chase, to dig up some baby potatoes thyme ** s chopped cooked th rowned and for Mommy. Of all the varieties that Brian grows, Chunk th mediately rough. Serve ime . halves or potatoes into the small baby spuds are my favorite. They roast up *Local Ba q ke to make a uarters (try potatoes rsfield baby crisp, sweet and full of flavor. Potatoes have recently the same ll the potatoes at our largcan be purchased suffered a bad rep. The popumarkets a er name brand roast eve size so they n farmers ms well as local a baking ly) and put into larity of low-carb diets arkets. p **Thyme Remove than or sheet. has vilified the humble abundanc is growing in from their e thyme leaves it yourself e right now. Grow little potato. Besides chop. Sca stems and o tter thym if they have r ask a neighbor the potato e over some gro being tasty, they are T e h s e ; wing. s th easo ym them wit this dish ce I am using in h salt and n full of nutrients a m pepe from Sally garden. ’s


and vitaminrich. Good starches in moderation should be a part of a healthy diet. So support the humble little potato. Diet and health are more important to me now than ever. Our little family is growing by two as my husband and I are expecting twins. I make sure everything I eat is fresh, homemade, full of nutrients and most importantly,


Bakersfield Life

July 2012

it satisfies my cravings. The potato dish I’m sharing with you is my go-to dinner side dish. My roasted potatoes are simple and can be modified with any fresh herbs you please. Summertime is fresh herb season as well as baby potato season, so I encourage you to take advantage of the bounties of our community.

Photo by Sally Baker

Sally: In the garden. The vegetable patch is coming along wonderfully. The tomatoes are having a wonderful season so far and promise an abundant crop. Check back next month for a nutritious and delicious recipe to utilize our tomatoes. My daughter Maggie constructed a sturdy “green bean teepee” from bamboo canes and seeds — both from the Dollar Store, proving growing your own produce does not need to be costly. For less than $2, we shall soon be harvesting fresh, organic green beans. Kern River rafting. For the adventurous, why not try something fun and exciting and stay cool, too? Check out the wide variety of trips offered by Kern River Tours, 1-800-844RAFT (7238). Family days are Tuesdays and Wednesdays when children receive a 25 percent discount with an adult paying full fare. Pack a picnic and sunscreen and head up the canyon for something different. Summer fun with Bakersfield City Recreation and Parks Department. Get ready for Family Fun Night from 6 to 9 p.m. July 20 at McMurtrey Aquatic Center. For ages 12 and up, it will follow a pirates cove theme. Price is $3 per person. Also check out the Summer Bowling Camp at Southwest Lanes, ($60), or the Skateboarding Camp at Beach Park, ($60). For dates and further information about these events, call 326-FUNN (3866) or visit the website at

Maggie’s green bean teepee

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Talk of the Town

Debbie Moreno Outgoing president/CEO of the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce Compiled by Brian N. Willhite


or the last 22 years, Debbie Moreno has served as a member of the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce, advocating for local businesses and strong economic growth. Since 2004, Moreno has been leading the chamber as the president/ CEO but has recently announced that she will be retiring. Moreno shared with Bakersfield Life some of her thoughts of her time with the chamber well as what she is looking forward in retirement.

What do you feel are some of your greatest achievements?

Having our chamber recognized as the California Chamber of Commerce Advocacy Partner of the Year, thanks to the work of our Governmental Review Council, board and the chamber’s Political Action Committee. Bringing Walt Disney World’s Business Institute Training to our town and allowing us to offer some of the most outstanding business education to more than 800 chamber members Operating a nonprofit like a business, one that has remained strong even through the economic challenges of the last few years.

How do you feel your time as CEO has impacted your life?

Since I am not a lifetime resident of Bakersfield, being at the Chamber, and especially in the CEO position, has given me the opportunity to learn so much about this community, and to be engaged in so many important community efforts. Even though this has been my job, I feel so good that I have been able to give back to Bakersfield working on projects that better our economy, and our quality of life.

Photo by Brian N. Willhite

What sort of things will you miss the most?


Bakersfield Life

July 2012

Well, probably not the early morning and late evening meetings and events. But I will miss the people: a terrific and hard-working staff, volunteer leaders who know truly know how to lead a business association, and the hundreds of chamber members who volunteer their time and talents to help this organization be successful – even though they have their own “day jobs.” After that, I will miss doughnuts at GRC, singing off key at staff birthday

celebrations, and office celebrations after successful programs.

What are you looking forward to doing upon retirement?

A little bit of work for the chamber industry, facilitating board planning retreats, some consulting for local nonprofits, and a little bit of business training, but mostly, enjoying my family and reconnecting with friends. I’m also really looking forward to having more time to ride on the back of my husband’s Harley and to go snow skiing during the week when the mountains aren’t so crowded.

Three pieces of advice you have for the new President/CEO?

1. Since the chamber engages in public policy and political actions on behalf of business, there are often times you are on the opposite sides of issues with others. So my first piece of advice would be to always be respectful of others. Even when you disagree, keep the lines of communication open. 2. Love this community and what it has to offer because you are selling it all the time. 3. This job is part “community leader” and part “roll up your sleeves and work.” Do both well!


Trip Planner

Visitors view the newly renovated open sea exhibit.

Monterey Bay Aquarium Breathtaking experience requires a return visit By Lois Henry


forget sometimes how much I like Monterey. Especially the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Then I make a trip and think, “Why don’t I come here all the time?” It’s always nice and cool in Monterey. You can roam around all day and never need a car or cab. And it’s just flat-out gorgeous. Not that Bakersfield doesn’t have its, uh, charms. But let’s face it, we’re not even in the same


Bakersfield Life

July 2012

league as the ugly stepsister when it comes to Monterey. Besides, it has practically every attraction known to man. Pick your thing — history (it was California’s first capital under Spain, Mexico and the U.S.), shopping (from tchotchke to swank), activities (biking, kayaking, paddleboarding, surfing, whale watching, hiking, etc.) and food (more clam chowder than you could eat in two lifetimes!). The aquarium is the main event, of course, and very worth the trip all on its own, but let’s come back to that. This is a tourist town, so there are tons of great places to stay. Most recently, I stayed at the Portola Hotel & Spa, which, for me, was perfectly located on the plaza in “old town.” It’s far enough away from the hubbub of Cannery Row to be quiet and relaxing. But close enough to be in walking distance of all the sights. Plus the Portola is really beautiful with an airy, welcoming atrium that serves as the lobby, great restaurants and super comfy, quiet rooms. For a family, rooms run around $250 to $300 a night, but check out the packages that include aquarium tickets and other deals online. You might be surprised at what you

can swing, particularly if you want to take the kids to the aquarium. And the aquarium is an absolute must do. I freely cop to being a geek when it comes to almost any kind of museum. Even information plaques along a walkway catch my attention, and I have to read every word. So, admittedly, any aquarium is an easy sell for me. But the Monterey Bay Aquarium is not just any aquarium. It’s incredible. No matter how many times you go, it’s always breathtaking, fun, interesting and new. Tickets for kids, ages 3 to 12, will cost $21.95 and for adults, it’s $34.95. Again, though, check with your hotel. There are deals to be had! And it might be worthwhile to buy a family membership. They have one for $195 that covers two adults, plus children. If you go more than once a year, you’ll practically be making money off the aquarium. Even if you have to save all year though, it’s worth it. But you should go in with a strategy though because now that it’s summer, it will be packed. Do your research online a couple of days before your trip so you know the aquarium layout (it’s big!) and all the feeding times for the animals (that’s the most exciting) and any other special

© Monterey Bay Aquarium/Randy Wilder

© Monterey Bay Aquarium/Randy Wilder

© Monterey Bay Aquarium/Randy Wilder

Northern sea nettle on exhibit in “Jellies: Living Art.”

The otters provide endless entertainment.

events that may be going on. The website is full of great. If you go If you don’t feel like doing all that work, here’s my recomMonterey Bay Aquarium mendation: Get there right at opening, which for summer is 9:30 a.m. 831-648-4800 Go straight to the second floor to the left of the entrance. Portola Hotel & Spa Do not get stuck in the sponges, you’ll be there forever, and you can see them later. 831-649-4511 The second floor is where they have the super fun touching exhibit so you get to actually touch some real sea creatures. You can also see the upper story of the kelp forest, which has slinky tiger sharks and fish that were unidentifiable even with a key on the windowsill. The second floor is also where the penguins are. After you’ve Continued on page 124


touched all the slimy things and looked at the sharks, it’ll be time for the penguin feeding at 10:30 a.m., which is unbelievably cute. Unfortunately, that’s the same time as the otter feeding. But frankly, the otter viewing area is so cramped, you likely wouldn’t get a good view anyway. Besides, they’re so playful that they’re fun to look at any time. Go after the penguins on your way to the other side of the aquarium. After you’ve gotten your otter fill, you have to see to the open sea exhibit. I was mesmerized by the hammerhead sharks and sea turtles gliding by. It’s really hard to break away. But you absolutely must see the jellies! It’s a new exhibit, and it’s stunning. These creatures just do not seem real. Each jellyfish exhibit was more fantastic than the one before it. Mere words cannot do them justice. You have to see them in person. Then, of course, there’s the seahorses, the puffins and the octopus, and I haven’t even raved about how cool it is to hang out on the deck and use the telescopes to spy otters playing in the bay! It’s a lot to take in and all so fun and interesting. I was there for several hours and still didn’t feel like I saw enough. I guess that means I have to make another trip. Oh well!


Bakersfield Life

July 2012

Beautiful lined seahorses are featured in the “Secret Lives of Seahorses” special exhibit.

Monterey Bay Aquarium/Randy Wilder

Continued from page 123




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Get Out of Town

Discover Pismo Beach this summer By Georgina Stassi


ith more than 23 miles of white sandy beaches, surrounded by verdant rolling hills of vineyards, lush with pinot noir and chardonnay, Pismo Beach is where the waves of the Pacific meet the Central Coast wine country, making it a beautiful, friendly and affordable getaway location. It’s a scenic trip, and travelers will enjoy Pismo and/or San Luis Obispo as a nice getaway. Given that summer is here and many are planning trips to the Central Coast, here are some things to add onto your Pismo/SLO exploration list.

Luxurious, oceanfront resorts offer gourmet cuisine, spas, kids clubs, pet friendly rooms, infinity pools, beach access and more. Resort vacations are possible for every budget: The Cliffs Resort, 2757 Shell Beach Road, Pismo Beach; 800-826-7827; Ocean-front hotel, 160 units including 27 suites, Restaurant Marisol, fitness center, pool, spa, beach access, conference facilities,kKids club and pet friendly. Dolphin Bay Resort & Spa, 2727 Shell Beach Road, Pismo Beach; 805-773-4300;­Ocean-front resort, 62 luxurious suites, equipped kitchens, Lido Restaurant, La Bonne Vie full-service day spa, kids club and pet friendly. ­ Cottage Inn by the Sea, 2351 Price St., Pismo Beach; 888440-8400; With 80 units, ocean views, fireplaces, pool and Jacuzzi, cliffside gardens, beach access, complimentary continental breakfast and pet friendly.

2. Sands and water Sandcastles and welcoming the family dog on the beach is what makes Pismo Beach enchanting to most people. Also spot dolphins off the coast daily or take a stroll on the 126

Bakersfield Life

July 2012

Pismo Beach attracts a lot of people with a variety of interests.

Photo by Casey Christie

1. Resort escapes

beach in the evening for a romantic sunset.

Pismo State Beach,

3. Wine tasting With more than 30 world-class wineries in Edna Valley and fabulous tasting rooms downtown, Pismo Beach offers the perfect pairing of wine and waves. Local restaurants feature locally grown wine country-inspired cuisine complemented by their extensive wine lists and cellar collections. Claiborne & Churchill, 2649 Carpenter Canyon Road, San Luis Obispo; 805-544-4066; Small, family-owned and operated winery, in the heart of the Edna Valley specializing in premium wines of riesling, gewürztraminer, pinot gris, pinot noir, dry muscat, chardonnay, syrah,

Pismo Beach is where the green hills of the Central Coast meet the Pacific.

2011 Best of Show: Alberto Herrera- Angel of Fall . Acrylic/Pastel on Canvas . 60x48


cabernet sauvignon, sparkling brut rose and port-style wine. Chamisal Vineyards, 7525 Orcutt Road, San Luis Obispo; 805-5419463; This historic, picturesque property is the first vineyard planted in the Edna Valley producing pinot noir, chardonnay, pinot gris, grenache and syrah wines. Tastes of the Valleys, 911 Price St., Pismo Beach; 805-773-VINO; Premium tasting room, open daily with more than 650 wines by the glass and more than 200 wineries represented. Ventana Grill, 2575 Price St., Pismo Beach; 805-773-0000; Stylish dining room sits perched on coastal bluff, treating guests to an endless ocean view, lovely cuisine and sunsets. Reservations recommended.

4. The adventurer Outdoor enthusiasts always find something new. Golf next to the ocean on three courses, hike and bike the wine country roads, ride horseback on the shore, pier and surf fish, surf, kayak and kite surf. Pismo State Beach Golf Course, 25 W. Grand Ave., Grover Beach; 805-481-5215; Oceanside nine-hole, three-par public golf course is open daily. Pismo Beach Surf Shop, 470 Price St., Pismo Beach; 805-773-2089;­Full-service surf shop. Rentals and lessons for surfing, kayaking, SUP surfing and diving.

4N Latinati fiesta! o Opening First Friday September 7, 2012 $25 per entry (max 4 entries) Jurried by a group of community members Awards for Best Of Show, 1st & 2nd place, Best New Artist For more info:

Pismo State Beach North Beach Campground, 800-444-7275; The campound is within walking distance from the Monarch Butterfly Grove and has 103 units, showers and restrooms and a fire ring. Pets are allowed and it gives senior citizen discounts.

5. Festivals and culture There’s always something to experience in Pismo Beach. The farmers market is every Wednesday on the historic pier where farmers offer their seasonal produce and artisanal foods. Art In the Park, from local artists and craftsmen is the first Sunday of the month from May through November.


E Aveda Salon|Spa Address: 10930 Stockdale Highway, Suite 104 Number: 654-0317 Email: Website:

How is E Salon|Spa different from other salons and spas around town? E Salon|Spa is the only full-service salon, spa and beauty boutique in Bakersfield operating in partnership with Aveda, which was founded more than 30 years ago with the simple premise: “Beauty is as beauty does.” To us, environmental responsibility and caring for the people and world we live in is the essence of beauty. The goal is always to provide beauty industry professionals with high performance, botanically-based products that are better for service providers and their guests, as well as for the planet. What does Aveda mean? Aveda (pronounced ah-vay-da) means “all knowledge” in Sanskrit and is inspired by the ancient Indian healing art of Ayurveda. Rich in essential oils and rituals, botanical ingredients and earth-friendly practices, Aveda strives to bring peace to the body and senses. What are some of the unique services E Salon|Spa offers? As part of our heritage, we believe treating the whole person leads to greater balance and well-being, so with each service experience we consider the effects of our products not only on hair or skin, but on body, mind and emotion. 128

Bakersfield Life

July 2012

Photo by Felix Adamo

Business Profile

E Salon|Spa recently introduced Aveda’s new Stress-Fix product collection, hand and foot treatments and body massage. Containing ecocert-certified organic fresh lavender, lavandin and clary sage, it is not only clinically proven to relieve feelings of stress, the line smells and feels amazing. Also, with each and every visit, guests are given the unique choice of receiving two free-of-charge Aveda rituals, such as chakra balancing aromatherapy, a neck and shoulder massage, hand and arm treatment, finishing touch makeup application or facial refresh for men. How does E Salon|Spa give back to the environment? In pursuit of environmental sustainability, Aveda promises green ingredients. Our collective standards have made us a pioneer in the green cosmetic world. Now, 90 percent of Aveda’s essential oils and 89 percent of its herbal ingredients are certified organic. Aveda uses only 100 percent post-consumer recycled packaging materials and is the first beauty company manufacturing with 100 percent certified wind power. We partner with nonprofit organizations around the world whose work supports our commitment to social and environmental improvement. Locally, and in association with Aveda’s global Earth Month campaign, last month we worked to raise awareness and protection of clean water — a basic human right that nearly 900 million people around the world fight for daily. Our campaign targeted clean water for children at home and around the world. Eyewitness News KBFX and the students of Saint Francis School helped us communicate the message and raise campaign funds with a silent auction and clean water themed art exhibit. We are most proud of these efforts and pledge to keep the cause alive in our daily words and actions.

Business Profile

Synergy Lifestyle Center Radio personality Danny Hill lost more than 60 pounds in five months with Synergy Lifestyle Center Address: 4100 Empire Drive, Suite 120 Phone: 878-9100 Website:

How long have you battled with your weight? I started to gain weight in middle school and was overweight for 15 years after that. As a former obese person, I will battle with that every day for the rest of my life. I’m just glad I’m battling from the skinny side! How difficult was the Synergy Lifestyle Center weight loss program? The program itself is easy! It’s made for dumb people like me. I never understood the “drink four shakes then eat a reasonable meal.” If I knew what a reasonable meal was, I wouldn’t have been overweight to begin with! Synergy Lifestyle Center maps every meal out for you. There’s no guessing or wondering, just simple weight loss. I know with your early work hours you must be tired, plus you sit all day. Did that make it challenging for you? No, it’s easier with a busy lifestyle. It’s made for dummies: Drink a shake, go about your day; drink a shake, go about your day; drink a shake, go about your day. It’s pretty easy stuff.

Did you have to work out a lot? The first 30 pounds I did nothing but the diet. But as I discovered, when you lose weight, you get more energy. So I started to go to the gym to exercise and relieve stress. What did you like best about the program at Synergy Lifestyle Center? The staff is friendly and non-judging, the food is great and Dr. Jan Trobisch is genuinely concerned with your well-being. He knows the secret to weight loss and that’s something they will teach you at Synergy Lifestyle Center. They want you to succeed — it’s a team effort! 130

Bakersfield Life

July 2012



Photos courtesy of Synergy Lifestyle Center

Danny Hill, co-host on the Danny & Niki Morning Show on Kelly 95.3FM, lost more than 60 pounds in just five months with the help of the medical weight loss program at Synergy Lifestyle Center.

Has it been difficult to maintain your weight? No, I just continue to do what I was taught to do! I continue to get up to do my morning show on Kelly 95.3 with Niki, and I eat at the set times, so I know what my body needs to live healthy. The entire experience has been amazing! Synergy Lifestyle Center has been there from the first step to the last. What is the best part of losing weight? I no longer wait 15 minutes to park up close at the grocery stores. I just park and walk the extra 15 feet! Would you recommend Synergy Lifestyle Center to your friends and family? Funny you should ask. I don’t have a choice! Everyone asks me, “How did you lose the weight?” I tell them all the same thing: I tried to lose weight my entire life and the only person who could help me was Dr. Jan Trobisch. He helped me learn new ways to eat and a new way to live.

Business Profile

Advanced Health Care of Bakersfield, Inc. Yakdan Al Qaisi, M.D. Address: 820 34th St., Suite 201 Phone: 363-6800

Are lowered testosterone levels a common problem for men? Yes, this is a very common problem for men. Since I started testing my patients, I have been amazed by the number of patients who have low testosterone and how my patients benefit from replacement therapy. What are the signs of lower testosterone levels? Fatigue, depression, weakness and erectile dysfunction. 132

Bakersfield Life

July 2012

At what age does this occur? It usually starts around age 35, but if you are having symptoms earlier, we can test you. What can men do to correct this? Contact my office to schedule an appointment, lab tests will be ordered and appropriate treatment will be prescribed. What are testosterone pellets and what are the benefits? Testosterone pellets are a slow release testosterone that can be inserted under the skin by a simple procedure and will continue to release testosterone for an average of three months. Do these pellets make a big difference? The patients who have received the pellets notice a huge difference in the way they feel, and it can change the patient’s quality of life and make them feel amazing again.

Advanced Health Care of Bakersfield Inc A Family Care Practice

Yakdan Al Qaisi, MD Sarwa Aldoori, MD • Women’s Health

• Weight Loss Programs

• Men’s Health

• Orthopedics Non-surgical

• School and Sports Physicals

• Diabetic Care

• Testosterone Replacement Treatment

• Immunization

• Osteoarthritis Treatment

We accept Medicare and PPO insurances. Cash patients welcomed, New patients welcomed.

820 34th St. #201 • (661) 363-6800

On the Rocks Bar & Grill Riverwalk Cafe Downtown On the Rocks Bar & Grill

Riverwalk Cafe Downtown

Address: 1517 18th St. Phone: 327-7625 (ROCK) Website:

Address: 1525 18th St. Phone: 325-3988 Website:

Jon Whitener, general manager

On The Rocks Bar & Grill offers a fun nightlife with great food, drinks and live entertainment? What’s the atmostphere like? On The Rocks (OTR) offers weekly live entertainment with local bands to national acts. We’ll have acoustic night and comedy night soon. The vibe is diverse — we get all walks of life. The atmosphere is nice but still has a young party life. I’m a sandal and hat type of guy, but my wife likes to get dressed up, both are welcome at OTR. I like everyone to be themself and not have to dress up or pay high dollar to get into a Bakersfield bar. Dinner is served from 5 to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and weekends the kitchen is open until 11 p.m. We like to have dinner music playing and then nightlife starts at 10 p.m. Explain why On The Rocks isn’t your average bar. OTR is an awesome place to enjoy great food. We have a burger called the badass burger, which is deep-fried. We have beautiful looking steaks and the best hot wings in town. Our cold storage where our kegs are kept is only one degree above freezing to make a delicious cold beer. Every inch of the bar was specially designed to make OTR stand out. Our customer service is outstanding, from 134

Bakersfield Life

July 2012

Photo by Shelby Mack

Business Profile

servers to bartenders and my security who holds the door open. OTR looks really nice and feels very safe. Our stage was positioned so the crowd has a great view, and our sound was engineered by Pac-West to fit our exact room for the best listening experience possible. We have a killer happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m. We also offer a free taxi service for our customers who have had too much to drink. They don’t have to worry about leaving their car in our parking lot over night because our security will monitor the vehicles. We have a private downstairs catering room with a private bar that can be rented for birthday parties, wine tasting and more. We also have a VIP area to rent and it comes with a cocktail server. Downtown Bakersfield’s Riverwalk Cafe serves both breakfast and lunch. How else does it differ from nearby eateries? What do you recommend? Riverwalk Cafe serves made-to-order breakfast burritos and biscuit and croissant sandwiches until 10:30 a.m., then it’s lunchtime. None of our products come pre-sliced or pre-cooked; we prepare everything here. Our premium meats are gluten-free and don’t contain antibiotics or added water. We make all of our special sauces for our sandwiches such as spicy garlic mayo or honey mustard. Our prices are cheaper than our competitors, the food is almost double in size and the quality is amazing! Any of our signature sandwiches are recommended (especially the Monterey chicken club) because it’s something we have put a spin on and made it our own. All of our salads are made in house — try the avocado caprese salad — it’s our best-selling salad.

Prime Finds 2.


1. Happiness is…

It’s a hand-painted personalized dog or cat bowl made by you at Color Me Mine. Enter it in our annual dog bowl painting contest for a chance to win prizes sponsored by Peanuts or just take it home for your best friend’s food or water. 9000 Ming Ave.; 664-7366;

Color Me Mine at The Marketplace

2. Custom big screen TV center

While you are watching your sports on the big screen, why not make it look like it blends in with your furniture? At Munoz Cabinetry, we can make a custom center for any size TV. For custom work for any cabinet job, contact us at 836-8747 or



Munoz Cabinetry

3. Inspirational designs

Uniquely Chic Florist has Bakersfield’s brand names for flowers and gifts, too! Fleur de lis, crowns, inspirational plaques, picture frames, crosses and much more! 9500 Brimhall Road, Suite 701; 588-7997; or

Uniquely Chic Florist

4. Refreshing yogurt

Beat the heat with some healthy yogurt. Sixteen flavors daily with a total of 40 different flavors. More than 45 toppings, including fresh fruit to add to your delight. We also carry no sugar-added yogurts. 8200 Stockdale Highway; 3962000;

Tutti Frutti

5. Canine cooler

Creates a soft, cool and comfortable place for your pet to lay down! Prices start at $60. 1617 19th St.; 321-9602.

Biscuit Boutique & Doggy Spa


Bakersfield Life

July 2012


Fundraising banquet for the Bakersfield Young Marines May 19 Held at American Legion Hall Photos by Brian N. Willhite View these photos and more online at

John Gonzales and Ed Marzolf

Edward Anaya, Noemi Martinez, Victor Daugherty, Lori and Daniel Hernandez and Deborah and Greg Cluff

James Terrazas and Juan Romero


Bakersfield Life

July 2012

Sandra Herrera, Marcus Jimenez and Rachel Marquez

Whitney and Josh Benson

Tanice Copeland and Robert Brewster

Kathie and Tim McMahon

(855) 393-2840

MARE Evening at the Races May 19 Held at McBurnie Estate Photos by Jan St. Pierre View these photos and more online at Erica and Ellen Renick

Debbie Durkin and Diane Hopkins

Jerry Peer and Robin Cook

Patti Allen and Darlene Beals

Brad and Pauline Singleton, Penny Beaver and Janni and Richard McBurnie

Tisa and Johnny Kelley

Randy Wilson and Rick Hopkins


Bakersfield Symphony Some Enchanted Evening May 19 Held at CSUB Amphitheater Photos by Jan St. Pierre View these photos and more online at Christine Dawson and Mia Carranco

Brad and Sharon Higbee

Rick Kreiser and Lorie Stites

Kevin and Christa Burton

Merry and Steve McCalley

Melissa Fortune, Davida Delis, Penny Fulton, Stacey Vergano and Maria Biernat

- Rosemary Abarca Attorney at Law

Special Services Include: • Colonoscopy • Endoscopy • Video Capsule Endoscopy • ERCP • Cancer Screening Esophageal pH & Motility Study • Treatment fo Liver Diseases • Ambulatory Endoscopy Center 9870 Brimhall Rd. #100 Bakersfield, CA 93312 (661)588-8725 Fax (661)588-8749

20041 Hwy 202, Valley Blvd., Unit 3, Tehachapi, Ca 93561 (661) 822-0377 Fax (661) 588-8749 140

Bakersfield Life

July 2012

Specializing in Social Security Disability Law (661) 322-1761 901 Tower Way Suite #202 Bakersfield CA 93309

Night of the Renegade May 19 Held at the home of Joe and Byron Campbell Photos by Carla Rivas View these photos and more online at Ken and Shalynn Ouellette

Mark and Teresa Hitchcock, Jennifer and Todd Casberg

Vanessa and Ryan Thompson

Jana and Addie Campbell and Shea Shelton

Bob and Tori McBride

Ask Mr. Snead “Why Bakersfield Is Better” list: • Itʼs a dry heat.

• If you donʼt like crowds have we got a mall for you.

Ashley Waterman, Mike Anchordoquy, Christine and Chris Travis, Jennifer Orsi and Andy McBride

Real Men Don’t Clean Their BBQ Grills -

They Have Someone Else Do It. Let Healthy Grilling Professionally Clean And Renew Your BBQ Grill

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Because YOU don’t want to do it!

Bakersfield, CA

• We donʼt need no stinkinʼ Krispy Kreme.

• The “River Walk” is never really wet enough to be considered slippery.

• Our Mayor not only dresses well, he knows CPR. Make a lousy situation better, shop Sneadʼs summer attire. Town & Country Village corner of Stockdale & Coffee Open Sundays Find us on Facebook • In-house alterations


Fallen Heroes May 24 Held at Cafe Med Photos by Carla Rivas View these photos and more online at

Leon Thomas, Barbara Tongate and Joe Colombo

Holly, Chuck and Nick Bikakis

John Carrillo, Ann Hirose and Richard Enns

Diane Cogdal and Sandy Sons

Eloise Jones and Dan Walker

Clint and Jennifer Baird, Lewis Hicks and Barbara Betti

Laura Valenzuela, FNP

Personal care in a family-friendly atmosphere Se habla Español

3941 San Dimas Street, Bldg 101

(661) 327-3821


Bakersfield Life July 2012

“Why stress over Your to-do list? Errands, Shopping, Tasks & More Browse list of services at MYERRANDGIRL.COM

CALL TODAY for $10 off YOUR first service: 661.809.9001

(855) 393-2840

Native Daughters of the Golden West 86th Birthday Celebration

Sandee Senior, Joan Hall, Marilynn Rodriguez and Darleen Carpenter

Bobbi Rayl, Helen L. Smith and Mary K. Shell

Ruth Jacobus, Lurine Webb, Marilynn Rodriguez, Nancy Jacobus and Mary Pritchard

April 23 Held at Hungry Hunter Photos by Brian N. Willhite View these photos and more online at

Phyliss Hensley, Barbara Miner, Chris Kildare and Marilynn Rodriguez

Cora Johnson, Norma Jackson, Helen Acord, Herwanna Wohlgemuth and Kathy Puryear

Call Crosby & Crosby Insurance Services today 661-327-5531


Barbara Powers, Marilynn Rodriguez, Jenelle Wilcox, Bea Hastings and Maryann Griffin

Get a quote online at www.crosby&


Grand Opening of Poise Pilates+Barre June 7 Photos by Carla Rivas View these photos and more online at Theresa Trigueiro and Nicole Stanford

Christine Travis and Callie Spitzer

Jacob and Nicole Panero

Terrie Wattenbarger and Andi and Julie Beechinor

Kelli and Phil Gruszka

Hoffmann Hospice

Gina Martinez, Cathy Butler, Karen Goh and Melanie Farmer

Lorraine Dauwalder made sweet music in her Bakersfield home as a Hoffmann Hospice patient until her death on July 24, 2008.

At the end of life, every choice matters. ­ÈÈ£®Ê{£ä‡£ä£äÊUÊ


Bakersfield Life

July 2012

Nancy Brady, Dana Leonard, Christine Rice, Viki Baggs and Kathy Anderson

(855) 393-2840

CSUB Athletics ROWDYs Awards June 6 Held at the Dore Theatre Photos byJan St. Pierre View these photos and more online at Horace and Barbara Mitchell

Jackie Kegley and Thomas Wallace

Samantha Pena, Taylor French and Kayla Guy

Aaron and Jolene Shepardson and Lindsay Long

Jillian Charlesworth and Janelle Shelby

Tired of struggling with tax problems? New liberalized Offer in Compromise program!

Dylan Lym, Daniel Richardson, Jason Errecart and Patrick Bell

Founded in the Central Valley in 1985, Tax Crisis Institute is the local leader in tax representation. Our local, family business takes pride in helping you get a fresh start in you financial life. Remember: there’s no such thing as a hopeless tax case!

A+ Rating

If you have: liens levies unfiled taxes audits or owe over $25,000 with any Federal or State tax agency, call today!

Joao Foresto, Gabriel Bertrand, Jake Priest, Kevin Ravago, Jordan Singleton and Deniz Bilgin

4900 California Ave, Tower B-210 • Bakersfield, CA 93309


Officer of the Year Awards Dinner June 8 Held at Stockdale Country Club Photos by Carla Rivas View these photos and more online at

Git Patel and Leslie Knox

Mari Gonzalez, Steve Schmick and Tommy Tunson

Jon Busby and Sheriff Donny Youngblood

Jay Busby and Kevin Zimmermann

Sgt. Doug Jauch and Priscilla and Joe Garcia

Ray Dezember, Lynn Watkins and Joan Dezember

Donʼt you deserve a Dr. Yeoman smile? SECOND SMILE DENTURE CARE

Onsite lab for same day repairs & relines 3301 19th Street • • (661) 325-1263 146

Bakersfield Life

July 2012

Joe Mullins, Jorge Gomez and Rene Chow

Summer Exhibition opening June 14 Held at Bakersfield Museum of Art Photos by Carla Rivas View these photos and more online at

Chris and Clare Rossetto

Antonie Boessenkool and Kellie Schmitt

Dacey and David Villarreal

Jimmy, Maverick and Amanda Sisneros

Sarah Stokes, Liz Sherwyn and Maja Feldman

Jonathan Allen, Jason Gutierrez and Amy and Christopher Millis

Laurie and Gregg Townsend, Christina and Shelby Sweet, Alycia Townsend, Emily Sweet 148

Bakersfield Life

July 2012

go ahead... let them dream.

Letting go and letting them learn is easier than ever with Bright House Networks. When they can be the explorer with TV that goes anywhere on just about any device and High Speed Internet that keeps them connected—even in a tree house—you can bet they’re on their way to great heights.

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Call 1-855-222-0102 today! Serviceable areas only. Some restrictions apply. Products and prices subject to change. Expires 7/30/2012.

Inside Story

Bakersfield Masonic Temple Over the years, the Free has included 14 presidents, astronauts Buzz Aldrin and John

The auditorium

Glenn, and

Photo by Felix Adamo

Masons’ roster

actors John Wayne and

Photo by Felix Adamo

The Masonic library

Photo by Felix Adamo

The exterior

Photo by Felix Adamo

Jimmy Stewart.

The lodge room

Compiled by Gabriel Ramirez The Bakersfield Masonic Temple was built in 1924. The temple is located at 1920

18th St. The temple has three floors and

a full basement. Inside the temple are a number

of meeting rooms, a couple of libraries, a full kitchen and a full theatrical auditorium. You can rent out rooms for meetings by calling 322-2848. 150

Bakersfield Life

July 2012

There are 1,000 Free Masons in

The earliest Bakersfield lodge

have their own charter from the state lodge, which allows them to hold lodge meetings. The Free Masons is the oldest and largest fraternal organization in the world. The Free Masons’ mission is to take good men and make them better.

of the Free Masons was started in 1873. There are five lodges locally that

Source: Steve Worford, facilities manager

the Bakersfield area. They meet weekly. One of their local programs is

the child ID program, where they go to the schools, photograph the children and help parents fill out the necessary forms.


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Special APR offer valid on new and unregistered 2012 Ridgeline Models from May 1, 2012 through July 9, 2012, to well qualified buyers on approved credit by Honda Financial Services through participating dealers. Must take new retail delivery on vehicle from dealer stock by July 9, 2012. Not all buyers may qualify. Higher rates apply for buyers with lower credit ratings. Example for 2012 Ridgeline: 1.9% for 37 months financing at $28.16 a month for every $1,000.00 financed. Dealers set actual prices. See your Honda dealer for details.

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Bakersfield Life Magazine July 2012  
Bakersfield Life Magazine July 2012  

Bakersfield Life Magazine July 2012