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September 2012


Home Garden I S S U E



• Perfect porches and patios • Spectacular gardens • Local tilers talk flooring and countertops

Food Dudes dine at Chef’s Choice Noodle Bar Latination 4 Celebration of Hispanic culture

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Bakersfield Life

September 2012

Home & Garden Issue


Dream homes


Solar power

We found five Bakersfield houses that you’ll wish you could call home.

Find out how the technology works, the future of solar power and if purchasing solar panels is right for your home.


Spectacular gardens

Transform your yard into a beautiful garden with the help from local nursery experts.


Floors and countertops

Ready to give your house a small updated look? Start with changing out your floor or countertops.


How to profiles

Learn how to choose the right homebuilder, pick an interior decorator or rebuild your roof among other helpful profiles.

Photo by Jessica Frey

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Bakersfield Life

September 2012

13 28 30 32 36 40 44 46 48 50 54 56 58

Up Front It Manners a Lot Kelly Damian

108 History 112 Pastimes 114 Why I Live Here

130 Personality Photo by April Massirio

9160 Rosedale Highway (Target Shopping Ctr.)

Food Dudes Food and Wine Foodie For a Cause All-Star Athlete On the Road Talk of the Town Hometown Hero Entertainment The Arts

116 Community 124 Ladies Who ‌

134 Real People 136 Fit and Fresh 138 Trip Planner 140 Business Profiles 150 SNAP! 158 Inside Story

Like us on Facebook Dr. K Plastic Surgery

Find us on Yelp Ryan Khosravi, MD

Feedback Bakersfield’s Premier City Magazine

Staff Shares

September 2012 / Vol. 6 / Issue 12

What is the most treasured item in your home? “My greatest treasures are my husband and children, but since they aren’t inanimate objects, it’s a toss between the Kimble family Bible, an heirloom at least four generations old; and a relic of St. Therese of Lisieux, which are locked away in a safe.” — Lisa Kimble, contributing writer “My laptop — it does so much for me! I rely on it immensely for school. For my personal enjoyment, I like to use it to access some of my favorite blogs and websites. The function I value most is that it holds all of my music, something I would feel lost without.” — Emily Claffy, intern “It would have to be my 8-yearold Nikon D70. That’s the camera I learned photography with — it taught me how to do more with less. I wouldn’t be the photographer I am today if it weren’t for that camera.” — Mark Nessia, contributing writer and photographer “A large storage box that contains family photo albums, correspondences from relatives and keepsakes from family members who have passed. It is a giant box of treasured memories!” — Lisa Whitten, interactive sales manager “It is the oval glow-in-the-dark rosary that belonged to my grandmother and is placed near the teddy bear I gave her a few days before she died from cancer in 1991. She was a strong Catholic with an enormous amount of faith. I can still visualize her praying before a candlelit altar at home. I miss her.” — Olivia Garcia, editor “An elegant picture frame that holds our family photos. Every day I walk down the hallway and see the wonderful memories and good times that were had over the years.” — Breanna Fields, contributing writer

mother’s Bible. She gave it to me shortly before she passed away. We were very close, so it has great sentimental value.” — Stephen Lynch, contributing writer “At the Wells household from September through February, the most treasured item in our house is our Christian Okoye Kansas City Chiefs bobblehead doll. ‘The Nigerian nightmare’ stands proudly on the center of our family room mantle. Every Sunday morning you must touch his head to bring good fortune to our Chiefs!” — John Wells, senior vice president revenue and marketing

Bakersfield Life

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 Sales Manager Lupe Carabajal Advertising Traffic Manager Shauna Rockwell Marketing Manager Mira Patel

“I have an old camera that was made in 1939. It’s worth about $20 on eBay, but when I think about the history it has seen, it becomes priceless.” — Gregory D. Cook, contributing writer and photographer

Distribution and Marketing Representative Patrick Wells

“Since we are talking heirlooms, the pencil drawings of my family as it has grown (most of them are true pieces of art), my wife’s grandparents’ piano and my grandmother’s pig cookie jar. And I can’t leave out family photos.” — Jeff Nickell, contributing writer

Specialty Publications Coordinator Hillary Haenes

“One of my most cherished possessions is an old-school Underwood typewriter. It was given to me by my husband’s late grandfather. It weighs about 50 pounds, and many of the letters are faded. No matter how often I tell my kids not to, they can’t resist plunking the keys when they pass it, I don’t blame them. It has a satisfying weight and heft that a touch screen just can’t deliver.” — Kelly Damian, contributing writer

“It would have to be my grand10


September 2012

Editor Olivia Garcia Assistant Editor Stefani Dias

Editorial Assistant Marisol Sorto Art Director Glenn Hammett Photography Felix Adamo, Sally Baker, Henry A. Barrios, Jaclyn Borowski, Casey Christie, Gregory D. Cook, Michael Fagans, Jessica Frey, John Harte, Alex Horvath, Tanya X. Leonzo, Shelby Mack, April Massirio, Greg Nichols, Mark Nessia, Dan Ocampo, Mark Pine, Carla Rivas, Jan St. Pierre, Rodney Thornburg, Brian N. Willhite Contributing writers Vicki Adame, Katie Avery, Sally Baker, Maureen BuscherDang, Gregory D. Cook, Kelly Damian, Breanna Fields, Gene Garaygordobil, Lois Henry, Lisa Kimble, Katie Kirschenmann, Megan Luecke, David Luter, Stephen Lynch, Alyssa Marones, Dana Martin, Kevin McCloskey, Jeff Nickell, Mark Nessia, Gabriel Ramirez, Michael Russo, Laura Sverchek, Chris Thornburgh, Bill Trivitt, Michael Wafford, Brian N. Willhite Interns Emily Claffy, Myriam Valdez For Advertising,, 395-7563 On the cover: Inside the home of Bob and Judy Hampton from the dream homes feature. Photo by Jessica Frey

Editor’s Note

Home sweet home is a proud sponsor the annual Latination juried art exhibit, kicking off on First Friday Sept. 7 at Metro Galleries. Don Martin, who spearheads First Fridays and owns Metro Galleries, promises an even better exhibit this year. (He also happens to be one of our Food Dudes!) I hope you enjoy this issue and find new ideas on making your home something more special to you. There is no place like home.

Olivia Garcia Editor 395-7487 •

This month I’m loving ...

Last year, our contractor installed wood flooring in my son’s room. Wood really breathes new life into a room and has me thinking I should add it to other rooms.

Plant a rose garden or a few bushes around your home. When I see roses, I am reminded of my grandmother’s house, which was surrounded by so many varieties. Today, my 5-year-old picks them and gives me one for no reason. Sweet. 12

Bakersfield Life

September 2012

Bakersfield Life is asking readers to submit their favorite recipe for a chance to be entered in a drawing to win a gift card to a local restaurant and see their recipe considered for publication in our next issue! Please email: bakersfieldlife@ and type RECIPE in the subject line of the email.

Wood flooring

Rose garden

Send us your recipes!

Photo by Tanya X. Leonzo


e have all heard the Dorothy Gale-inspired phrase, “There’s no place like home,” and as I was vacationing with my family recently, I realized how very true those words are. Our homes define us. They are our sanctuary, our place for gathering with loved ones, and our center for lifelong memories. In my home, I have watched our boys grow from toddlers to strong, independent teenagers, and it’s where I noticed my first gray hair or two. Because our homes enrich our lives in so many different levels, Bakersfield Life decided to focus this edition on home. Many of us are always looking for ways to improve our homes and outdoor living, so we have asked a number of local experts to provide us with some great advice. One of the features we are most excited about is one that focuses on dream homes — right here in Bakersfield. Talk about breathtaking. Just sit back and imagine as you thumb through the pages. In this issue, we also devoted some articles to local art. Please support our local artists and art galleries. Bakersfield Life

Fair food

If you head out to the fair, you must try a Philly cheesesteak at the firefighters booth. I know we are talking tons of calories, so consider sharing it if you are watching your figure. It is definitely a Garcia family favorite. Plus you support local firefighters and get a chance to meet one.

Send us your recipe with directions and ingredients, a paragraph explaining why you love it and a photo of the finished product. Please also include your name, email address and phone number. Bakersfield Life wants to highlight reader recipes in the next issues, and yours might be among the ones selected! The deadline is 5 p.m. Sept. 4.

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

If you were given $50,000 to improve your home, what would you do? Tara Walsh:

Leticia Harris:

Lupe Garcia:

“I would make a really cool backyard for my kids with an awesome playhouse and a pool.”

“I would redo the kitchen because it’s the main part of the house, and it’s where everyone gathers and memories are made”

“I would add a big patio with a fireplace and new furniture as well as a barbecue pit in the center and a pool — a Jacuzzi, too.”

Don Delfin:

Don Harris:

Irene Montoya:

“I would build a pool house and add a Jacuzzi so that we could have company over more often, and the kids could have a place to play, too.”

“I would redo both of our bathrooms because they’re both 1994 vintage — unchanged since we bought the house.”

“I would expand my living room for all my family so we can have a bigger place to gather.”

Delores Wilson:

Juan Soto:

“I would add a media room because I like to bring my family and friends together. It would be a place to have family activities.”

“I would redo the kitchen because ours is small and sometimes when we have parties, there's not enough room for everyone.”

Christy Scoggins: “I would add on a game room so the kids could have their own area and keep the mess out of their rooms.”

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Up Front Money Matters

Should I convert my home into a rental? Are you a homeowner who needs or wants to move but refuses to sell your home at an offensively low price? Renting your home may be a viable option until the market improves. Before going down the rental road though, consider some pros and cons as well as tax implications of converting your home into a rental. Pros:

• Keep property to sell later at a better price • Rental income covers all or part of your mortgage, taxes, insurance, etc. • Tax breaks offset rent or other income Cons:

• You are the landlord • Tenants may damage your property • Could be taxed on gains if you later sell Tax issues:

Being a landlord offers tax perks for most. You can deduct nearly all out-of-pocket expenses related to owning and managing your rental property. Common deductions include mortgage interest, insurance, property taxes, gardening and cleaning services, repairs, advertising and even transportation costs incurred in the maintenance and management of the property. If you’re in the hole and rental expenses exceed rental income, you can deduct the rental loss up to $25,000 against your taxable income. It is important to note that this tax break phases out for those with annual income exceeding $150,000. Separate rules apply to real estate professionals.

Know your home’s fair market value on the day you convert to a rental. You get a sweet tax deduction for depreciation on the home, which is based on the lesser of its fair market value at the conversion date or your property’s cost basis. The home’s fair market value at the date of conversion also determines tax results when you later sell. Hence, it’s a smart idea to get a market evaluation from a local Realtor for your tax records. If you plan to sell a home you’ve converted to a rental, understand the tax treatment of gains and losses. If you have a large gain on your residence and you sell more than three years after conversion, you forgo the general exemption and your entire gain is taxable. Yet if you sell at a loss, the only deductible portion is the loss that occurred after you converted the house from personal to rental use. Consequently, for those whose renting plans would turn a tax-free gain into a taxable one, it is probably wise to sell instead of rent. There are many angles to consider, so consult a tax adviser. — Chris Thornburgh is a CPA and partner at Brown Armstrong Accountancy Corp. Contact her at or 324-4971.

Short Take

CASA unites ladies with Wine, Women & Shoes Ladies, mark your calendar for an afternoon of fun with friends and fashion at the second annual Wine, Women & Shoes fundraiser. This event will be held Oct. 6. at the Westchester estate of Kyle and Kim Carter. . A boutique marketplace will display designer shoes, purses, sunglasses, jewelry and clothing to purchase. Local men will act as “shoe guys,” pairing wine selections with shoes and jewelry to ensure that your taste buds and desire for style are satisfied. Some of the wineries participating at the event include Art Farm Wine, Flora Springs, 14

Bakersfield Life

September 2012

Senders Wines, Quintessential Wines and Ventana, which will be accompanied by several local food vendors serving savory bites. There will also be a silent and live auction, along with a golden ticket drawing and a key to the closet raffle of goodies such as clothing, shoes, jewelry and fashion accessories. All of the proceeds will benefit CASA of Kern County, an organization that speaks for abused and neglected children during the juvenile dependency process. — Emily Claffy

Wine, Women & Shoes When: 2 to 6 p.m. Oct. 6 Where: Westchester estate of Kyle and Kim Carter Tickets: $125 Information: To purchase tickets or for more information, call CASA of Kern County at 631-2272 or visit bakersfield2012. Sponsorship and marketing spots are still available until Sept. 15.

Short Take

Local author traces family history When retired teacher and librarian Alicia De Laurie began researching her family’s genealogy, she didn’t intend to write a book. “I started researching my family history for fun, to know more about who I am,� said De Laurie. “I started out with a five-generation chart, but then I realized that I could do more. Records tell more than just a name. I was amazed at the Alicia De Laurie information I found.� Hailing from a large family in Texas, De Laurie’s book, “The Cactus on My Forehead,� follows the story of her ancestors that led to the author’s present. The book begins in the 1600s. While going through records, De Laurie found that one of her ancestors was a slave in Mexico who married a Frenchman at age 16. “I asked, ‘How did this happen?’� said De Laurie. “I needed to know more about them and about the history surrounding them. “I wanted to know: What did my ancestors see? What did they

eat? What did they feel? And I found the only way to do that story is through fiction because I could never say those things for sure, but I can have a pretty good idea,� De Laurie added. “Things that I associated with my culture in West Texas all started in Mexico,� said De Laurie. “The amazing thing is that the culture was preserved. I found the strength in my family. We didn’t come to fail. We came to succeed.� In the end, De Laurie’s story is a universal one. “It’s a pioneer story,� said the author. “No matter who you are or where you come from, you can succeed.� “The Cactus on My Forehead� can be purchased on De Laurie will also have a booth at the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s 16th of September Celebration from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Stramler Park. — Alyssa Morones

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Up Front Short Take

Ultimate Bridal Event to feature expert advice

Photo by Felix Adamo

mediately. Check out the website Local couples can get expert and advice on topics ranging from register before the event. setting their wedding date to The highlight of the event cutting the cost of receptions will be the fashion show, which and honeymoons at the Ultimate takes place at 3 p.m., featurBridal Event, co-sponsored by ing the latest in wedding attire The Bakersfield Californian, for each member of the bridal on Sept. 16, at the Rabobank party. Models will show off Convention Center. wedding gowns, tuxedos, lingerie Under one roof, couples will and dresses for bridesmaids, find more than 100 experts, inmothers-of-the-bride and flower cluding photographers, florists, Women are treated to cookies and snacks at the girls. Accessories, hairstyles and wedding planners and caterers, Living Table at the Ultimate Bridal Event in January. makeup and flowers also will be who can apply their years of on display. experience and innovations to Attendees can register for a wide variety of prizes, including an shaping wedding plans to fit any budget. Doors will open at noon eight-day, seven-night honeymoon to any destination in the world. with displays and entertainment. The grand prize is a $10,000 mystery wedding trunk, which is packed Go to to register online for the event and with gifts from more than 120 wedding vendors. Every bride at the prizes. Online tickets are $10 general admission, $8 bride, and $15 event will receive a bag. However, the first 200 brides to walk through bride and groom. Tickets at the door on Sunday are $10. the door will receive a special gift bag. Vendors’ booths will also Brides and grooms can maximize their attendance by bringing decision makers, appointment books and self-addressed labels so you feature giveaways. — Maureen Buscher-Dang can quickly sign up for prizes or cost-saving attractions. Wear nice, but comfortable clothing and shoes. Be prepared to book services im-

Short Take

Legacy Century Ride to benefit local foster care Legacy Behavioral Services is gearing up for its first cycling fundraiser — the Legacy Century Ride being held Sept. 1 at Tejon Ranch. The 100-mile ride will begin at 6 a.m. Sign-in begins at the Double Tree Hotel on 3100 Camino Del Rio Court the evening before the event. Because of the nature of the organization and the reasons behind why many children enter into foster care, Martin Hansen, Legacy Behavioral Services president and CEO, wanted a fundraising event that focused on health and fitness. “I wanted something that fit very nicely with what we are trying to do. I don’t want an event that’s centered around any kind of alcohol. I want something that’s healthy, something that families can do together.” There will be a 100-mile ride, a metric ride of 62 miles, a quarter ride of 25 miles, and a family fun ride of five miles all followed by a barbecue lunch catered by Coconut Joe’s. 16

Bakersfield Life

September 2012

There will also be what Hansen describes as carnival activities like games, bounce houses, a tour of Tejon Ranch and raffle prizes ranging from cycling equipment to family passes to events and places around Kern County and California, including a family pack to the Kern County Fair or the Long Beach Aquarium. To participate in the ride, entrants pay an entrance fee ranging from $10 to $65. Those interested in the non-cycling activities may purchase an adult lunch for $10 and a child’s lunch for $5. Entrance to the event is free to the public. For more information, visit — Michael Wafford

Photo courtesy of Dick Taylor

Short Take

Local youth step up to Devil Pups Challenge The U.S. Marine Corps wasn’t the only organization training at Camp Pendleton this summer. Hundreds of teenagers were there, taking part in the Devil Pups Challenge at the sprawling Marine Corps base and learning about leadership, discipline, courage, confidence, good citizenship and teamwork in a military environment. Of the nearly 300 young men and women who participated in the Devil Pups camp from July 19 to 28, 19 hailed from Kern County. They were Oscar Beltran, Coty Eynaud, Henry Galindo, David Garcia, Michael Gillette, Anthony Gomez, Alex Gonzalez, Drew Ludwig, Nicholas Lyster, Stephanie Malivuk, Jonathan Marsh, Carter Nichols, Jonathan Pharris, Chayse Quezada, Zackery Rice, Kent Sloan, Megan Steele, Robert Wood and Gavin Yourgulez. Additionally, Beltran and Gillette were recognized for scoring in the top 5 percent of the camp’s physical fitness test. U.S. Marines were given the name Devil Dogs in World War I by enemy troops they were fighting due to their accomplishments on the battlefield and never-give-up spirit. The Devil Pups name is derived from this rich Marine Corps history. The program’s goals remain the same today as they were in 1954: to develop better citizens based on the philosophy of “Growth Through Challenge.” And challenge is exactly what they get — reveille at 4 a.m., five-and-a-half mile beach runs, conditioning hikes, a 25-foot tower jump into a swimming pool, close order drill, and the legendary hike to the top of Old Smokey, a menacing mountain overlooking the Pacific Ocean. During the 10-day camp, they also attend classes on first aid and history, listen to role model speakers and learn valuable life skills. This summer, the program graduated its 50,000th Devil Pup teen since its inception. Applications and tryouts for next summer’s Devil Pups camp will begin in March 2013. For more information, visit — Dick Taylor (Taylor is a Marine Corps veteran and Bakersfield native, is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker and the Kern County liaison representative for Devil Pups Inc.)

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Up Front It’s Named After

Goldwave golf tournament to support local swimmers A local swimming group with strong ties to Cal State Bakersfield is gearing up for a special fundraiser, the Goldwave Open Golf Tournament. “Goldwave is a nonprofit organization to help local swimming in Bakersfield as well as a masters swim team, coached by CSUB assistant coaches Vance Elmore and Andy Atzhor,” said Burt Armstrong, committee chair of the Goldwave Open Golf Tournament. The tournament will be held Sept. 17 at the Stockdale Country Club and begins at 10:30 a.m. with registration and an open driving range, followed by a barbecue lunch until noon. At noon, the four-person scramble shotgun will begin and will be followed by food and an awards banquet. Goldwave’s charter states that its mission is to promote and support local area swimmers capable of successful national and international completion. The goal of the tournament is to raise funds to support these goals of the local swimmers. “Most of the capital raised has supported the swim teams of CSUB, especially when they were on their winning streak of 13 NCAA Championships,” Armstrong said. “Other resources for travel expenses to zone meets have been provided to youth swim club members who make national cut times.” Such support is vital for the CSUB swim team. Sponsorship opportunities range from $150 to $10,000. Tournament team entries are $700; single entries are $175. For more information, contact Art Medina, Goldwave marketing chair, at 324-4971. — Gabriel Ramirez 18

Bakersfield Life

September 2012

The Guild House Considered by many to be one of downtown Bakersfield’s grandest houses, the Guild House, at the corner of 18th and F streets, is home to an elegant and popular nonprofit gourmet restaurant — one of but a few all-volunteer eateries in California — as well as an impressive, ongoing community fundraiser. Originally the Barlow House, the registered historical landmark is named after the Henrietta Weill Child Guidance Guild, an organization established in 1958, as a means of providing financial support for the Henrietta Weill Child Guidance Clinic. For the first five years, volunteers held theater parties, fashion shows and even door-to-door campaigns to raise money. In 1963, the group opened a tea room on Chester Avenue, calling it “Guild House.” But within three years, it had outgrown its location. In 1966, Guild member Millie Sudarsky and her husband, Jerry, bought the house from Julia Barlow, widow of Charles A. Barlow, who built the home. The Sudarskys made the purchase with the intention of leasing the property to the Guild as long as the group paid for the upkeep. In 1975, the Sudarskys sold the property to the Guild for the same price they bought it for nine years earlier at $35,000. The two-story house was designed by Bakersfield architect Orville Clark and constructed in 1909. Charles and his first wife, Elizabeth, lived there for several years until her death. He married his first wife’s nurse, Julia Caldwell, and continued to live with her and their adoptive daughter in the grand house. Barlow, a widely respected geologist, was born in 1858 in Cleveland, Ohio, but moved to California with his family. He served in the state Legislature and was highly regarded as an influential force in the oil industry, where he made his fortune. The stately Guild House has retained much of the original woodwork, including a dramatic mahogany mantelpiece and beveled windows custom-made by Gump’s San Francisco. The downstairs dining room features a signed Tiffany glass chandelier and wall sconces with hardwood throughout. Guild House president-elect Laurie Wier

Photo by Felix Adamo

Short Take

By Lisa Kimble

said that, to date, more than $1.7 million has been donated for mental health services for at-risk children. “The dining experience is a win-win situation,” Wier said. “The diner gets a wonderful meal in a beautiful setting and meanwhile helps the children “The diner gets a of Kern wonderful meal in County.” a beautiful setting More than and meanwhile 150 volunhelps the children teers from all of Kern County.” walks of life, — Lori Weir some with more than two decades of service, cook, serve, wash dishes, manage the books and create menus. (Wier added there’s room for more.) Constantly fighting the notion that Guild House is a private women’s club, Wier said the building is open to the public for threecourse lunches from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, September through June, and is also available for booking for bridge parties, weddings, baby and wedding showers and other special functions. Guild House is also now another First Friday destination, offering wine, appetizers and a slice of gracious hospitality and history on the first Friday of each month.

Short Take

Hispanic Heritage Month sparks festival, salsa contest On Sept. 16, the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce will host its inaugural 16th of September celebration, along with its 18th annual Business and Consumer Trade Show, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Stramler Park. Combining both events is in tribute to National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from mid-September to mid-October, said Jay Tamsi, CEO/president of the KCHCC. While the celebration will feature food, music, children’s games and other cultural activities, the trade show will help connect businesses to consumers, he said. The event is just one of many events in Kern County that will be held in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. “There will be an event nearly every day during Hispanic Heritage Month hosted either by us or by other community organizations,” he said. In addition to showcasing exhibitors, the celebration will include folklorico performances and other live enter-

tainment, including Mento Buru and mariachis. But Tamsi feels the inaugural and much-anticipated Salsa Recipe Contest will be the big draw. There are two categories, one for restaurants and one for individual entries. Cash prizes will be awarded to winners. “We’ve been asked to do a salsa recipe contest by several community members,” said Tamsi. “We are really looking forward to holding one here. The celebration, in general, caters to multiple generations and multiple cultures. We want to invite everyone to attend and celebrate with us.” For more information, call KCHCC at 633-5495 or visit — Alyssa Morones

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Up Front Finding Fame

Di Quon Working to balance real life and acting It’s not every day that you get the chance to work alongside some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry. Bakersfieldraised actress and model Di Quon has bragging rights that most females could only dream of, including the title “the most beautiful girl in the world.” But who would be worthy of bestowing this title? Prince, of course! Not a prince, but Prince — the multi-instrumentalist and singer who ranks among the geniuses of the art. With more than 80 million Prince albums sold worldwide, it’s an honor that one of Bakersfield’s own was chosen. After seeing a billboard advertising a contest to find the most beautiful girl, Quon sent in some of her early modeling photos. She was contacted by Prince’s management and was asked to send them a video. From that point, she was flown on location and had the opportunity to work on Prince’s music video for “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World,” which was released off of his 1995 album “The Gold Experience.” Another music-related photo shoot that she took part in was Aerosmith’s “Young Lust.” Quon was featured on the album’s cover, an opportunity that was provided by a photographer friend early on in her modeling career. Other prominent shoots Quon’s modeled for are Ecko Clothing, Undergirl Underwear and Three Stones. Growing up in Bakersfield provided this North High graduate (who also wrote a column for teens in The Bakersfield Californian during her high school days) with the opportunity to grow in her talents and as a person. After living in Bakersfield for 10 years, and traveling back and forth to New York during the summer, she decided to make the transition to the East Coast where she currently lives. Busier now than ever, she has a film pilot on the way, cameos and the biggest venture: marriage. “Balancing real life and acting is important,” she said. Although most of us acknowledge this as true, being a full-time actress does have its perks. For a majority of people, the piercing 20

Bakersfield Life

September 2012

sound of a morning alarm means it’s time to roll out of bed and begin another long day in the office. For others, including Quon, waking up in the morning means getting to work alongside the likes of Adam Sandler and Jennifer Lopez. Now who doesn’t want to wake up to that reality? In 2010, she scored a main role as Rita in the comedy “Grown Ups” with Sandler. It must have been amusing, to say the least, and after three and a half months of filming, an experience that won’t be forgotten. “I got to work with some of the best comedic actors of the time,” said Quon. “A career as an artist of any discipline has a lot of ups and

downs. This made any down time worth it.” Her repertoire also includes “Maid in Manhattan” starring Jennifer Lopez as well as the TV show on PBS called “My Life ... Disoriented,” which Quon starred in and produced. The series was shot in Bakersfield because “it had everything we needed without the jaded attitude of L.A.” “The thing about Bakersfield is that it is large enough for opportunity, but small enough to still feel like a small town with safety. I like supporting the community that supported me so much as I was developing as a person,” Quon said. — Breanna Fields

Russo’s Read

‘The Bakersfield Sound: Buck Owens, Merle Haggard and California Country’ by The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Bakersfield’s colorful history has made its way into many books, perhaps most importantly in regards to the Dust Bowl migration. The resulting labor camps contributed to yet another prominent piece in our collective lore — country music. To tell that story, The County Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville opened an exhibit earlier this year titled “The Bakersfield Sound: Buck Owens, Merle Haggard and California Country.” The exhibit is complemented by the official booklet bearing the same name and is now available locally.

This beautiful edition is a must-have for country music enthusiasts and all who take pride in their hometown. The 96-page, full-color publication features hundreds of photos of personalities and artifacts, including some not highlighted in the Nashville exhibit. It is augmented by three fine feature-length essays: Scott B. Bomar’s historical narrative on the Bakersfield Sound, Randy Poe’s detailed account of Buck Owens and Robert Price’s illuminating piece on Merle Haggard. Interspersed throughout are vignettes on Bill Woods, Tommy Collins, Red Simpson and many others who helped define an era. From the labor camps to the honky-tonks to national prominence, local history has never been so much fun — Michael Russo, co-owner of Russo’s Books in The Marketplace

“The Bakersfield Sound: Buck Owens, Merle Haggard and California Country” by The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is available for $15 at Russo’s Books at The Marketplace, 9000 Ming Ave.

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Up Front

Letter to the Editor Dear Editor, I just finished going through the Kern Life magazine that I received with my Bakersfield Californian today. As a longtime subscriber and having previously been in the relocation industry, I look forward to this publication every summer. Although it is an impressive magazine with some wonderful information about our city and county, I did not see an “arts” category. Not one word about our Symphony Orchestra, Masterworks Chorale (each in existence for 80 years or more), our Youth Symphony (around for many decades), Municipal Band, Wind Ensemble (also very longtime organizations), great art galleries, nor any of the quality theaters we are blessed to have here in Bakersfield. So many people who do not know Bakersfield, wrongly think that our community is devoid of culture. Unfortunately, this edition of Kern Life did nothing to dispel that — such a lost opportunity. With the tough economic times of the past few years, it has been difficult to keep our arts organizations alive. Many are just barely hanging on. A little exposure in Kern Life could have helped a great deal to educate people of the many choices of musical, visual and theatrical arts available in Kern County. We are so much more than oil, ag and honky-tonks. I must, however, compliment you on the cover design by Glenn Hammett. It is stunning. — Ann Olcott 22

Bakersfield Life

September 2012


Favorite year in school At Bakersfield Life, we’re reminiscing about our favorite times in school and want to know: What was your favorite grade/year in school and why? Did you like the field trips in fourth grade or the finality of senior year?

Jolie Brouttier Senior year — I got my high school crush, played my best year on varsity softball, lost 50 pounds, gained great friends, survived the Stockdale High parking lot without a single wreck, had a great relationship with all my teachers. I never missed a day, not even senior ditch day … it was that great! Melissa Howard The year was 1962, and it was kindergarten at Frank West with Mrs. Nighbert. Loved the spring dances around the maypole across the street at Wilson Park. We also went on two great field trips, one to the downtown fire station and the other out to Wayne’s Dairy on North Chester. I’ll always remember the ticker tape at the fire station and since my daddy was a milkman, I was proud to see where he worked!

Winner Scott Garrison Sophomore year — lettered in football and baseball, voted most inspirational player, got my driver’s license and accepted Christ. I found my independence and eternal life all in the same year. Scott Garrison won a $20 gift card to John’s Incredible Pizza. Each month we give away prizes for contests on Facebook and/or Twitter, so be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Cheryl Valenzuela Rodriquez My favorite memory of school would have to be when I got my driver’s license. I was a junior in high school and drove a green Geo Metro. It was the ugliest car, but I had freedom. I remember $20 would fill up my gas tank. Melissa Tipton Elementary school, second and third grade, because that was when I had my favorite teacher. I was also in track and field and almost made it to the state nationals.


Adina Clarke My first year of high school. That’s the year I met some of the best people I know. Still talk to most of them now. Luckily, Facebook is how we all reconnected.

Janelle Webb My favorite year was third grade. My twin sister and I were in the same class. We lived in Los Osos and went to Sunnyside Elementary. Our teacher was from Boston and had a neat accent. I liked math and played tetherball at recess.

April Yeager My favorite memory of school was in high school. I lived in Florida and my sister and I would ride horses during lunch. It was just her and I riding horses around the school, feeling happy and free.

25 random things you didn’t know about …

Dave Rezac Here’s a hint: Mountain Dew, Star Wars and the Greek god Hermes. Each of these subjects is a recurring category during Tuesday trivia night at Sandrini’s Restaurant & Bar. If you haven’t paid this downtown pub a visit on that weekday, you’re missing out on a good time, especially with outspoken Dave Rezac as the host. Trivia night was born when owner Brian Sandrini wanted to do something to bring more business on Tuesdays, which was oth-

1 My last name means “cutter” in Czech. 2 Most people know me as the “quizmaster” of Sandrini’s Trivia.

3 ’m still teaching myself to sew. 4 I hate cleaning. 5 I have one real sibling, my sister, Erica. Being

10 years older than her, I was the built-in babysitter, and I always play the role of the big brother. Don’t ever mess with her … that’s my job.

6 I truly love redheads, Jennifers and redheaded Jennifers. My wife is a redheaded Jennifer.

7 My wife has a great deal of patience and

understanding. If she didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to do the things that make people happy, such as trivia.

8 Mountain Dew and Pepsi products are my favorite.

9 People say I should have become a lawyer because of my propensity to argue my way out of things by using technicalities and twisting the rules to suit my needs.


MacGyver is one of my heroes. I can do just about anything. If I don’t know the right way to do it, I’ll find my own way in a pinch.

11 My son, who is the greatest thing in the world to me, has muscular dystrophy. Spending time with him is how I prefer to spend most of my time away from work. Even though he’s not my progeny, he’s totally my son, and I am totally his dad.

12 A sense of humor is very important to me. If

you make a joke at someone else’s expense, you had better be able to take the same treatment when it comes around.

13 Making friends isn’t a hard task for me, but

my approach is kind of different. I like to push people’s buttons to see what their boundaries are.

14 I love doing things on a whim and being unpredictable.

15 I don’t let many things get to me. I enjoy

erwise a slow bar night. Knowing Rezac’s penchant for trivia and game shows, Sandrini asked him about hosting trivia. In the beginning, Rezac, 35, admitted the format was dry, but the game has grown over the last four years since adding new twists to entice contestants. “I wouldn’t say that trivia itself has been a lifelong passion, but I do try to learn something new each day, and love knowledge for its own sake,” Rezac said. sloughing off anger that’s directed at me with a smile just to watch that person get even more upset.

16 The people who know me best

know that I’m usually among the first in line when they need help. I truly value my friends and family.

17 I can go throughout the better

portion of a day using quotes borrowed from movies and TV (occasionally, an actual book) without ever using my own original thoughts.

18 As much as I enjoy learning new

things, I loathe being forced to learn. This includes mandatory reading. I rarely read literature for my own personal enjoyment, but Edgar Allan Poe is one of my favorite authors.

19 I hate being late, but am rarely early. I want

to literally arrive at my own funeral halfway into the service.

20 I love learning things just to have them in my arsenal — knowing how to do things that most people shouldn’t know, solving problems and games.

21 People often ask what I am. I typically just

say “brown.” The long list includes: Spanish Basque, Czech/Bohemian, Norwegian, Swedish and Polish.

22 I make some damn good martinis. I drink them, too.

23 Games are a big part of my life. I love gam-

bling, board games, card games, video games and head games.

24 When the weather permits, I enjoy having

friends over to watch movies in my backyard on a projector. Think of it as MST3K (“Mystery Science Theater 3000”) with booze.

25 A few of my favorite trivia subjects are from TV, movies and mythology, especially the comparisons between Greek, Roman and Norse mythologies.

Photo by Felix Adamo

Compiled by Hillary Haenes

Up Front My Mobile Life

Photos by Michael Fagans

Kelly Revenaugh

Compiled by Hillary Haenes Meet Kelly Revenaugh, marketing coordinator at Lightspeed Systems, who uses social media (particularly Twitter) both professionally and personally. She connects with many different people such as those in her industry, acquaintances, people with shared interests and community folks. While busy in the office, Revenaugh, 24, signs onto Twitter to see what users have to say about Lightspeed, casually talk with customers and prospective customers, as well as get the inside scoop on the latest industry news. And in her personal life, social media gives Revenaugh a running conversation with friends and family, especially the ones who live out of state. “It’s easy to have a lot to talk about when we meet up every few months since I already know what’s going on in their lives,” she said. She enjoys that Twitter is a real-time newsfeed of topics that interest her like downtown life, technology, marketing and K-12 education. Besides tweeting, check out which apps Revenaugh frequently uses on her iPhone 4. 24

Bakersfield Life

September 2012

Adobe Reader It’s one of my most-used apps for work. I receive tons of PDFs for print ads, email headers/footers and contracts that need to be addressed each day. This app allows me to digitally sign documents, mark up drafts and make comments on the go.

Clear I’m always on the go, so I keep multiple to-do lists to keep things on track. Clear is a simple and intuitive app that allows me to free up time writing my to-do list and spend more time crossing things off.

Grocery iQ This is a collaborative grocery shopping list app. It makes grocery shopping twice as fast; plus, I can sync it with family members to make a collaborative list for summer barbecues or brunch so nothing gets missed.

iTunes I’m planning a trip to Italy this fall, so I use iTunes to brush up on my Italian pronunciation each day during my work commute.

Nike+ Running I use my Nike+ iPod sensor to accurately track runs on the bike path. I love all of the charts to see how I’m progressing each month.

Camera+ The best photo-editing app I’ve found that allows me to adjust brightness, apply filters and effects and share photos with just a few clicks.

Postcard on the Run It’s an easy way to instantly send postcards featuring pictures of my vacation. I love how fast it is to use: Take the picture, upload my message and the address then press send. MLB’s At Bat This keeps me up-todate on how well (or sometimes how poorly) the Red Sox are doing throughout the season. I love the pitch-by-pitch and live radio features.

Up Front

Find more community events at or submit yours via email:





Happenings: Can’t-miss events in September Sat. 1

Sat. 1-2

Randy Houser, 7 p.m., Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace, 2800 Buck Owens Blvd. Free. 328-7560.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus: Dragons, animal open house; shows start 11 a.m., 3 and 7 p.m. Saturday; 1 and 5 p.m. Sunday, Rabobank Arena. $15 to $70. ticketmaster. com or 800-7453000.

Wed. 5

Wed. 5

Fri. 7

Sat. 8

Sat. 8

Sat. 8

First Wednesday, special events and refreshments, 9:30 to 11 a.m., Bakersfield Museum of Art, 1930 R St. $4 nonmembers. 323-7219.

Good Neighbor Day, Log Cabin Florist will be giving away more than 20,000 roses, come pick-up a dozen roses, keep one for yourself and give the rest away to others, 7 a.m., 800 19th St. 327-8646.

First Friday, featuring live music, art openings, specialty shops, galleries and boutiques, 5 to 9 p.m., Downtown Arts District. Email or

Tehachapi Oktoberfest, German music, bratwurst, traditional German food, vendors, polka dancing, noon to 8 p.m., Tehachapi Depot, 101 W. Tehachapi Blvd. $5 per beer. 822-6519.

St. Baldrick’s Foundation Fundraiser, volunteers shave their heads in solidarity with children fighting cancer, 1 to 5 p.m., Chuy’s, 8660 Rosedale Highway. events/bakersfield or 496-4536.

Village Fest, more than 100 different brews, food, 17 bands, 6 to 10 p.m., Kern County Museum, $63; $68, day of show. 21 and over only. bakersfieldvillagefest. com, or 322-5200.

Thur. 13

Fri. 14

Sat. 15

Sat. 15

Sat. 15

Maná, 8 p.m., Rabobank Arena, 1001 Truxtun Ave. $38 to $148 plus fees. or 800-745-3000.

Una Noche Bohemia, with musical group Voces Veracruzanas, 8 p.m., Shafter High School, Starrh Performing Arts Center, 526 Mannel Ave. $15, pre-sale; $20, at the door. 205-5499.

Concert Series with Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra, 8 p.m., Bright House Networks Amphitheatre, 11200 Stockdale Highway. $10. or 800-745-3000.

Sickle Cell Awareness Blood Drive & Run/Walk, in loving memory of Hina Patel, music, henna, clown, face painting, food, sickle cell awareness, 6:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., The Park at Riverwalk. 477-5476.

Eighth annual B-Town Blues Fest, presented by World Records. 5 to 10:30 p.m., CSUB Amphitheater. $25 to $40; 17 and under are free. 831-3100.

Sun. 16

Fri. 21-22 Sat. 22

Sat. 22

Fun in the Sun Car Show, with the Vintage LTD Car Club of Bakersfield, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Kern County Museum. $10, adults; $9, students/seniors; children under 3 are free. or 868-8400.

Bulls & Bikes Bash Event, 7:30 pm. Friday and Saturday, Kern County Fairgrounds, 1142 S. P St. $8, adults; $5, children 12 and under, plus fees. or 322-5200.

Conquer Chiari Walk Across America, 3K to 5K, registration 8 a.m., walk begins at 10 a.m., Beach Park, Free or $25 if you preregister and want a T-shirt. conquerchiari. org, mommie2boys@ or 444-9181.


Fri. 28-29 Fri. 28-29


Kern River Rock n Blues Fest, music 5 to 9 p.m. Friday; 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, Frandy Campground, 11252 Kernville. $5 at the gate. orion.feedom@ or 340-0026

Bakersfield Life

PRCA Rodeo, gates open at 6:30 p.m., begins at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Kern County Fairgrounds, Grandstand, 1142 S. P St. $10 to $15 plus fees. or 322-5200.

September 2012

Boys & Girls Club Artfest, art auction and wine tasting, 6 to 10 p.m., Moorea Banquet Centre, 8700 Swigert Court, #109. $75. 325-3730.

Sat. 29

Sun. 30

Main Street Harvest Full Moon Wine and Beer Walk, enjoy wine and beer tastings paired with appetizers, 6 to 9 p.m., downtown Tehachapi. $25 for 10 tasting tickets, glass and map; $30 day of event. 822-6519.

Fiesta Rodeo, 6 p.m., Kern County Fairgrounds, Grandstand, 1142 P St. $5 plus fees. or 322-5200.

Signature Properties, Signature Service By the Numbers

4-H Club’s livestock at the Kern County Fair Visit the Kern County Fair Sept. 19 to 30

S pecializing

Compiled by Emily Claffy

1902 Year the 4-H program was

1,375 Weight in pounds of last

1925 Year that 4-H was introduced

$35,000 Selling price for last

founded in the U.S.

to Kern County


Number of 4-H clubs in Kern County, including two military clubs

year’s grand champion steer


Weight in pounds of last year’s grand champion sheep

year’s grand champion sheep

250 Number of volunteer leaders for 460 Approximate number of rabbits Kern County’s 4-H Club

expected to show at the fair this year

88 Number of different local 4-H

40 Approximate number of cows ex-


17 Types of animals such as cattle,

swine, goats, rabbits, horses and dogs that are shown at the Kern County Fair

in Luxury Homes, Estate Properties and Golf Course Communities

year’s grand champion steer

1,500+ Number of 4-H members $12,100 Selling price for last

in Kern County

Mary Christenson

pected to give birth at the fair this year

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Record number of calves birthed during the Kern County Fair


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Sources Veronica Slaton, Kern County 4-H program representative; and Katie Stotler, livestock supervisor at the Kern County Fair


It Manners a Lot

Back-to-school civility lesson plan By Lisa Kimble


eorge Washington was a smart cookie and probably a teacher’s pet as well — with good reason. Before the age of 16, with quill pen in hand, when most students his age today would be texting or tweeting, he handwrote a tome as a school exercise that covered legal matters and included a Christmas poem and guideposts for social graces. Show me a youngster who knows what a quill pen is? This Virginia school boy, destined for greatness, compiled a list under the title “110 Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation,” which he based on a 16th century translation of French maxims. Genius. If only there was a way to make Washington’s code of civility part of everyone’s DNA. If you spent a small fortune on back-to-school supplies, teachers will tell you the most important learning tool doesn’t cost a dime. With a new school year underway, It Manners a Lot highlights some of Washington’s finer points with a modern day interpretation. Even more important than those new shoes and backpacks, these timeless suggestions for civilized behavior should be part of every student’s school year lesson plan.

1 Every action done in company ought to be with some

sign of respect to those that are present. Teachers couldn’t care less about the fancy new binder or book bag. But the respect they are shown in the classroom and out on the school grounds will always merit an A-plus in their grade book. They are in charge; it’s their rules, so abide by them. Same goes for updates on social media. Be nice. Share when given the chance. Be a good sport. Go to class, get there on time and participate. Turn off the mobile devices and be respectful of people’s differences. For those in college, don’t be a mooch, constantly borrowing a classmate’s notes or roommate’s food. You'll be “unfriended” in more ways than one.


Lisa Kimble 28

Bakersfield Life

Sleep not when others speak, sit not when others stand, speak not when you should hold your peace, and walk not on when others stop. Pay attention. Listen more and talk less, especially when the instructor is speaking. Feign interest September 2012

if you have to. Respect others, especially teachers and staff, with your words and body language. You may totally get the concept under discussion, but don’t monopolize the class time or interrupt others who are speaking.


Put not off your clothes in the presence of others, nor go out of your chamber half-dressed. Washington could not have imagined what would one day pass for “acceptable” school attire. He’d be horrified if he walked onto many campuses today where kids who are not required to wear a uniform think nothing of wearing saggy pants that are falling off or barely anything at all. Dress with respect, not to distract. Won’t happen, but imagine if schools posted the same signs a lot of eateries do: No shirt, no shoes, no service.


In writing or speaking, give to every person his due title, according to his degree and the custom of the place. This is social media’s worst nightmare: Addressing people on paper or in person, or in cyberspace by Mr. Whatshisname or Professor SoandSo. Spell names and titles correctly. When conversing with teachers and aides, it is the civilized way to engage with others and address them with respect. It’s not being stuffy. It’s being polite.


Use no reproachful language against any one; neither curse nor revile. Talk to one another thoughtfully, neatly, sweetly and politely. Stay out of the gutter. Same goes behind someone else’s back. Those words will reflect more on you than the target of your anger.


Wear not your clothes foul, or ripped, or dusty, but see they be brushed once every day at least and take heed that you approach not to any uncleanness. You may not wear a waistcoat, breeches and boots but take care of your clothing. Wash, dry and iron your garments. Take care of yourself and the image you put out there.


A man ought not to value himself of his achievements or rare qualities of wit, much less of his riches, virtue or kindred. Humility was then and always will be a virtue. Don’t brag or boast. No one cares, really, about what you have done or what you think of yourself. Be humble. Be honest about who you are, tell the truth, and honor the code: don’t cheat. Agree, disagree? Send your questions, comments or topics you’d like to read about to me at itmannersalot@bakers or visit

Kelly Damian

A teacher’s greatest gift


f there is one genre of movie that really bugs me, it is the “inspirational teacher” movie. You know the one. Against all odds and with great self-sacrifice, the teacher inspires his students to reach for the stars! The teacher bucks the system and is a lone voice in the wilderness for his students. These movies annoy me because the reality of teaching is much smaller and much messier than this. I guess making a movie about real teachers who showed up every day and quietly, steadily did their jobs would be a real box office dud. Like every other adult, I’ve experienced my share of teachers. Some were fair; some played favorites. Some were smart, and some would have been lost without the answers in their books. Some were merely tolerable, and some were loved. And like most people, there is one teacher who comes to the forefront of my mind as having made a lasting impression on me. I attended Tehachapi High School through my junior year and during that time, I was in Mrs. Errecart’s English class. Mrs. Errecart did not share personal stories with the class or modify her lessons to accommodate different learning styles. You could try and sweet talk her, but it wasn’t going to get you anywhere. After three straight years of being a relatively quiet and compliant student in her class, I was still sort of afraid of her. Suffice it to say, she was not leaping on her desk shouting “Captain, my captain!” But what she did do was teach us, relentlessly. We read “Faust,” “Antigone,” and “Macbeth.” We studied novels and scanned blank verse. We constructed thesis statements and cranked out five-paragraph essays and then we wrote them again. I’m sure somewhere in that classroom there were expensive textbooks with chopped up and watered down works of literature — textbooks that were written by teams of highly trained curriculum professionals, but in Mrs. Errecart’s class, we used texts instead. Those tattered paperbacks came with a few merciful footnotes and a sprinkling of other students’

The kids are back in school. Drive safely.

penciled-in notes, but if we wanted to understand the ancient Greeks, we had to read the book. We had to listen to lectures, answer questions and write essays. There was no reading a synopsis and getting lucky on a multiple-choice test. At the time, it was just school, and I was just doing what I was supposed to do. But now I look back at the work we did and I see that Mrs. Errecart did not just teach the classics, she taught her students how to think. She taught us invaluable habits of mind: What exactly is the question? What are the best possible responses? What evidence most relates to the task at hand? Imagine. She did all of that with never once delivering a rousing speech that caused the class to erupt in spontaneous applause. So as this school year gets underway, consider this a celebration of all the regular teachers — whether they are old school or cutting edge — the ones who are patient and steady, who walk their students through the mountains of curriculum, teaching them what to attend to and what to disregard and leaving them with a lasting understanding of what is important. This is not for the blustering and bold teachers that Hollywood so dearly loves. It is for the ones who know that the students are the ones who matter in the classroom. To read more, visit or follow Kelly on twitter @kellydamian2

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Bakersfield Life

September 2012

Food Dudes

Chef’s Choice Noodle Bar A delicious piece of Thailand right here in Bakersfield

Boot ratings (out of five)

Atmosphere Food


Bakersfield Life



September 2012

Photos by Greg Nichols

Perfect atmosphere

pened by Dr. Nick Hansa last April, the Chef’s Choice Noodle Bar has rapidly become a downtown favorite. The space was originally Newberry’s Department Store and has seen several incarnations over the past two decades, including an antique mall and more than a few ill-fated bar and restaurants. The space now has been totally remodeled into a contemporary dining room. Bright colors and beautiful art adorn the walls, creating a serene dining experience. The Food Dudes set out to explore this ever-sopopular restaurant on 19th and Eye streets.

Ray: I was excited when I found out our next Food Dudes’ assignment was at Chef’s Choice Noodle Bar. I had been to the Noodle Bar for lunch a couple of times and I have to say, the Noodle Bar has made an impression on downtown Bakersfield already. Each time I had been there for lunch, the place was packed with quite the lunch crowd and understandably so, since the food is great. Gary: Thanks to Dr. Nick Hansa and his lovely wife, Pum, we have a delicious slice of Thailand here in Bakersfield. Chef’s Choice Noodle Bar has become a popular place for lunch and dinner in the heart of downtown for a very good reason — the food here is amazing! On the menu is a


Chef’s Choice Noodle Bar 1534 19th St., Bakersfield 325-1234

Red curry

Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday; 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday.

The Food Dudes at Chef’s Choice Noodle bar, from left, Ray Pruitt, Don Martin, Matt Munoz and Gary Frazier.

wide variety of authentic Thai and Thai/ Japanese fusion dishes all made with no MSG, fresh ingredients and natural spices. With plenty of meat and vegetarian options on the menu, Chef’s Choice can accommodate everyone’s dietary preference. Go! You won’t regret it.

Appetizers, salads delight Food Dudes Ray: The Food Dudes were exposed to a smorgasbord of appetizers on this visit. Our waiter made sure to take care of us and inundated us with the fresh shrimp rolls, ahi poke salad, avocado wonton and the chicken satay. All of the appetizers were great. I particularly liked the shrimp rolls wrapped

in rice paper with lettuce, basil, vermicelli, cucumbers and carrots. Tasty. The chicken satay was also out of this world: chicken cutlets marinated in coconut milk and red curry paste, served with jalapeno, cucumber and sweet onion salad in Thai vinaigrette dressing with peanut sauce and toast on the side. Delicious. Don: I love the avocado wontons. It looks like a flower and is served with sweet sauce. Crispy when you bite into it and then the flavor of avocado is nice. Gary: I agree; the avocado wontons were a crunchy delight. Imagine deep-fried guacamole, add a little lime and Thai spice and, voila, you’ve got a tasty snack to please your palate. Matt: The fresh shrimp rolls are made with fresh shrimp, lettuce, basil, vermicelli, cucumbers and carrots wrapped in rice paper. They make a great hot-weather appetizer or light lunch and are an unbelievably delicious, especially when you dip in

the spicy peanut sauce. Double dip, if you feel the need. The spicy green papaya salad has always been one of my favorite dishes at Chef’s Choice and usually accompanies every meal I have. Traditionally prepared vegetarian style, our server suggested we try it with chicken and shrimp. Once again, he was right. The sweet, sour and roasted flavor combination over the chicken and seafood was a big winner with all of us. The slight heat kick at the end might surprise first-timers, but it’s pretty addicting and so delicious. We finished the plate off quickly. The ahi poke salad is made with super fresh fish, cut and dressed to order so it doesn't get mushy or overly seasoned. It’s such a classic dish, and one of the most popular items on the Chef’s Choice menu. Portions are layered on a bed of mixed greens, carrots and red cabbage topped with wonton chips. Another summer delight. Continued on page 34


Continued from page 33

Don’t be fooled by its name, Noodle Bar offers plenty of meal choices Don: The name Noodle Bar can be misleading as they offer so much more! Chicken, seafood and beef dishes abound, and every Friday night, Chef’s Choice serves a wonderful Thai-inspired prime rib created by Dr. Hansa. My favorites include the drunken noodle. This is a spectacular entree that melds together intense sweet and spicy flavors. I would suggest the flat noodle for this dish. I’m not a fan of real spicy food, but I love this one. I would highly recommend any of the fried rice dishes, my favorite being the pineapple-fried rice. Matt Crab fried rice ordered one of the many soups and it was huge! More than a meal. I ordered the Thai chicken. It was prepared with a sweet Thai sauce and the chicken was so tender it fell off the bone. It came with coconut rice — something you have to taste to understand. It was excellent. Ray: For my entree, I chose the drunken noodle (pad kee maow). The drunken noodles are a popular choice, flat rice noodles with egg, onion, bell peppers and Thai basil. The noodles are stir fried and come with a choice of vegetables and your choice of beef, pork or chicken. You can also add large shrimp, vegetarian duck, or scallops for a couple of dollars extra. I chose the large shrimp. The noodle and shrimp combination was perfect, a little spicy, which is good, and had a good combination of vegetables and shrimp. It was the first time I had tried the drunken noodles, and I’m sure I will be back to have them again. Gary: I love Thai food, and I especially love curry. On the recommendation of our waiter, Jeffery Marure, I ordered red curry with fresh mangoes (which was not on the menu). They brought it to the table in a small caldron steaming with the sweet smell of spices. The curries are served with your choice of white jasmine or brown rice. However, I took it up a notch and ordered the crab-fried rice to go with my curry. The crab-fried rice is one of their special fried rice selections and filled with jumbo lumps of crabmeat, onions and scallions. I’d also like to send a special shout-out to the chef that prepared the Drunken noodles drunken noodles – he’s got the with shrimp 34

Bakersfield Life

September 2012

magic touch! Thai food is one of my favorites and the best in Bakersfield is at Chef’s Choice. Matt: I’m such a fan of noodle dishes; it’s impossible for me to pick just one favorite. That being said, I looked again to our server for guidance. His suggestion: the Thai boat noodles, a source of pride for Chef’s Choice. According to the menu, all broths are original chef creations, plus there are four noodle choices: flat rice noodles, thin rice noodles, rice vermicelli and egg noodles. The special combo of Angus beef slices and beef balls atop a healthy helping of noodles looked appetizing. I took a dip into the broth to test its level of spiciness, before adding some chili paste to bring up the heat. This dish was rich in beef broth and my thin rice noodles kept their consistency while I added sprouts and experimented with a variety of flavors from our spice rack. This dish can be shared. A great deal for this much goodness. Besides noodles, curry should be a mandatory experience at any Thai fusion restaurant. We went with the red curry, mixed with coconut milk, bamboo shoots, bell peppers and basil. With a few scoops of white, steamed rice on my plate, I poured a generous layer over the top and went to town. It’s rich, but oh-so-good. I was tempted to try the other four varieties of curry on the menu, but I held back. It’ll give me yet another excuse to come back.

Savor your meal with different choices in drink selections Ray: The noodle bar has a large selection of beers both bottled and on tap, including a number of very popular microbrews. Spoiler alert, many of the dishes are very spicy, so an ice-cold adult beverage may come in handy during your

meal. There is also a large selection of wines available. Don: Chef’s Choice Noodle Bar also has a large wine selection, and each month on a Saturday, they offer a beer tasting. For under $35, more than 10 beers are offered and paired with several Thai dishes. They also have periodic wine dinners featuring Central Coast wines that can pair quite well with their food. One of my other favorite things about Chef’s Choice is the food presentation — often presented as art on a plate. Take a good look at the other dishes being served around you. I’m sure you’ll be impressed.

Bring on the dessert Don: We were all stuffed but had to try a few of the many dessert options. My favorite was the fried bananas and coconut ice cream. It was beautifully presented and tasted amazing. The crunch of the banana with the softness of the ice cream was great. Matt: Imagine four grown men with just a little room left for dessert. I wasn’t letting these guys out of my sight until they joined me for some coconut ice cream with Thai fried banana. The sticky rice with mango slices was every bit as good and recommended for rice fanatics like myself. Sweet and easy to eat, it’s a traditional ending to a perfect meal.

All around great restaurant staff Don: I’m a regular at Chef’s Choice. One of the best things about dining there in addition to the food is the staff.

All of them are courteous and well trained. They know the menu and can easily recommend dishes and combinations that work well together. Our server was Jeffery Marure, and he was fantastic. He kept up with all of our orders and was able to suggest several items on the menu that were wonderful. Matt: I enjoyed every dish thoroughly. Good prices, creative flavor profiles, and beautiful presentation. Service Coconut ice cream was on point upon our with fried bananas arrival and throughout our visit. If you’re ever in the downtown area, you must check this place out. Lots of room, which I like a lot. The adjoining banquet room can also accommodate large groups and if you’d like a little privacy, request the portable walls for some personal space. There is so much to love about Chef’s Choice Noodle Bar. Bring a date, a group of friends or family and prepare to have your taste buds transported to another part of the world.


Food and Wine

RJ’s Bar & Grill The friendly neighborhood bar and restaurant By Hillary Haenes


he casual dining spot that owners Russell Carter and Jason Cox opened in 2002 is certainly a business to be proud of since this September marks the iconic Rosedale neighborhood bar and grill’s 10th anniversary. RJ’s is also excited about its expansion to a second location on Pine Street at the Bakersfield Racquet Club. RJ’s is much more than a place to enjoy lunch, dinner, weekend breakfasts or watch a sports game with a frothy beer; it takes pride in the Bakersfield community. By being a part of local events, such as the Kern Secret Witness golf tournament and Muscular Dystrophy tennis tournament, and Carter serving on the boards of the Police Activities League and Bakersfield Police Memorial Run, RJ’s gives back to its patrons who support the establishment. This restaurant shares its popular avocado egg roll appetizer recipe, which Carter came up with years ago, and he thinks that the uniqueness of the dish is what makes it one of his restaurant’s best sellers.

Five questions for co-owner Russ Carter

This September will mark your 10th anniversary, how does that feel? How has RJ’s changed over the years? Our 10-year anniversary is just around the corner. It means a great deal to us to be accepted by the community and for their continued support. 36

Bakersfield Life

September 2012

Russell Carter and Jason Cox, owners of RJ’s Bar & Grill.

How does your northwest location continue to stay so busy? RJ’s northwest location is the original neighbor bar and grill in the area. We have been recognized in The Californian’s Best Of Readers’ Poll for our customer service. Quality of food and high level of customer service keeps RJ’s busy.

What is your favorite item on the menu along with some of the most popular dishes that customers order at RJ’s? My favorite item on the menu is our rib-eye steak. This steak is cut to our specification and is the most flavorful of our steaks in my opinion. The customers also agree with me because the rib-eye is one of our biggest sellers. Customers also like the avocado egg rolls, chili verde nachos, our selection of burgers and the blackened chicken tortellini, to mention a few.

You just expanded with a new location at the Bakersfield Racquet Club, how’s that going? Our second location has been doing excellent. We have a great relationship with the Bakersfield Racquet Club, and we have a lot of new activities and events coming up. It will be great for downtown because we are open to the public.

What wines do you recommend to pair with a few of your entrees? My recommendations are based on your food selection. My personal favorites are the bold meritages and cabernets. I guess that’s a natural since the rib-eye is my favorite item on the menu. RJ’s carries a variety of Central Coast and Napa Valley wines.

A big part of RJ’s is being involved in the community, and our staff and customers enable us to do this through their support.

Recipe on page 38

Photo by Greg Nichols

RJ’s Bar & Grill

Northwest location 9440 Hageman Road 587-4723 Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to midnight Friday; 8 a.m. to midnight Saturday; 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday Weekly specials Monday through Friday: Happy hour 3 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays: All-you-can-eat family pasta night and $1.99 kids meals Wednesdays: Full order of wings, any style and any flavor; craft beers on special all day

Thursdays: Barbecue night — best ribs in town smothered in our own barbecue sauce Fridays: Fish & chips and slowly roasted prime rib Sundays: RJ’s is your football headquarters with $3 bloody Marys, mimosas and screwdrivers RJ’s Grill & Catering Downtown location 1660 Pine St. 324-4193 Hours: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday

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Avocado egg rolls Ingredients 16 ripe avocados 8 ounces cream cheese 2 cups sliced sun-dried tomatoes 1 cup pine nuts 1 bunch finely chopped cilantro 2 teaspoons kosher salt 1 teaspoon garlic powder 2 teaspoons white garlic 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper 3 egg yolks (for egg wash) Package of egg roll wraps Directions Chop avocados into quarter-inch cubes and blend very well with cream cheese. In a large bowl, stir pine nuts, cilantro, sun-dried tomatoes and all seasonings. To assemble, coat egg roll wrap with egg wash. Using a rubber spatula, fill the wrap with 2 oz. of avocado mix. To roll, take two corners of the wrap and fold one inch inward. Then take the bottom corner and roll over the filling. Roll wrap completely. The roll should be smooth round and approximately 4 inches long. Deep-fry at 350 degrees until golden brown. Garnish with lettuce and serve with a tamarind sauce. Makes 14 egg rolls.

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Bakersfield Life

September 2012






Pat Coyle has enjoyed teaching students proper culinary skills.

Pat Coyle By Hillary Haenes


Photos by Jessica Frey

fter 33 years of teaching culinary classes at Bakersfield College, Pat Coyle, 60, will retire at the end of this school year. Although he’s looking forward to traveling and relaxing after retirement, Coyle seems excited for his last year in the kitchen of the Renegade Room, which is also where he learned his craft. Coyle, family and consumer education department chair, will take many memories with him, including his proudest moment as an instructor — having his students win two food competitions over the last couple of sum-


Bakersfield Life

September 2012

mers. In fact, what he has enjoyed most throughout his career has been watching his students grow during the semesters from barely being able to hold a knife to food professionals who can run a food station. If you haven’t had a chance to eat at the Renegade Room, then you should pay it a visit soon. Starting Sept. 18, dinner will be served from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, and you can stop in for lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesdays. Check out the Renegade Room’s menu on

Cooking First experience in the kitchen: With my mother making Christmas desserts for the family. How often I cook at home: Two or three times a week in the summer, but not very often during the

Coyle finds pleasure in taking raw ingredients and turning them into a wonderful dish.

My disastrous kitchen story: We were doing a catering event for 500 people off campus and we forgot the sauce for one of the entrees. It was too far to go back to school and return in time for the service to start.

If I could spend a day with a fellow foodie, it would be: The local chefs because when we get together, the knowledge and the fun we have is priceless.

school year.

I often mess up: Yeast breads.

Advice I would ask him/her: How did you make that dish?

Cooking has been important to me because: Food service is the only business where you take raw ingredients and clean, cut, cook, serve and ask your guests for an evaluation of your product. What a rush!

One of my cooking secrets: Organization of events.


I can never find: Equipment in the right place in the Renegade Room kitchen. My students do not put things back in their proper places.

Worst food memory: At a chef conference, the food was so bad that you saw many chefs at the local fast food restaurants directly after the event.

My go-to ingredient: Montreal seasoning.

Best culinary destination: Napa Valley.

One ingredient that I love to use in my recipes: Wine or lemon juice adds a clean taste to your product. Must-have kitchen tool: A French knife. Go-to cookbook: “The Professional Chef ” by the Culinary Institute of America. Everything goes better with: Butter or cream. Always in the fridge: Stock that is either store-bought or homemade.

Spice cabinet must-haves: Salt and pepper. How I find inspiration to create a new dish: Professional magazines and going out to dinner at different restaurants. Ingredient that I avoid/dislike: Squid.

Most expensive meal: Going out with other chefs — I prefer veal or lamb dishes. I’m not crazy about: Fresh tomatoes. Weirdest food I like: Stuffed cabbage rolls. Continued on page 42


Continued from page 41

How I like my steak: Medium rare. I’m addicted to: Blackberry ice cream. When I eat fast food, the drive-thru I prefer is: all of them. My comfort food: a plain Quarter Pounder with cheese. My splurge at the grocery store: Chicken pot pies. My favorite food discovery of 2012: Watermelon and heirloom tomato salad.

Favorites Piece of cooking equipment: Saute pan. Local restaurant and my order: Uricchio’s veal shanks. Family recipe: Gobs (whoopie pies) and walnut horn cookies. Condiment(s) on my hamburger: None, it is always plain. Breakfast: Eggs and sausage. Dessert: Chocolate cake and apple pie.

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Bakersfield Life

September 2012

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For a Cause

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Training for a cure

Delphia Gloss, Jessica Moore and Linda Monje prepare for the bike ride.

By Gene Garaygordobil

Photos by Jan St. Pierre


or Jane Lutz, working out of her home and her car as the lone Kern County employee of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training has been quite satisfying. But you could hear the excitement in her voice when she said that Mercy and Memorial Hospitals are providing her with a part-time office space near Bakersfield’s Florence Wheeler Cancer Center. “We are bare-bones and a grassroots organization —75 cents of every dollar raised goes to cancer research — so we have very low overhead,” she said. Lutz is in charge of recruiting folks to participate in Team in Training (TNT) by connecting people interested in

How to start training • For more information on Kern County services for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training, contact Jane Lutz at 331-2904 or 845-2710 or visit

Upcoming events to support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Bakersfield Light The Night Kickoff • 6:30 to 8 p.m. Aug. 30


Bakersfield Life

• Metro Galleries, 1604 19th St. • To learn strategies for fundraising success, R.S.V.P. by contacting Tracie Glennon at 559-435-1482 or Bakersfield Light The Night Walk • Nov. 4 Festivities begin at 4 p.m., remembrance ceremony at 5:45 p.m.; walk begins at 7 p.m. • The Park at River Walk, 11200 Stockdale Highway • Visit to register for the two-mile walk.

September 2012

conditioning with certified coaches, who then train over a period of time. TNT is the world’s first, best and largest charity sports training program that provides training to run, walk or run/walk marathon and half marathons, or participate in triathlons or century (100-mile) bike rides, Lutz said. Since 1988, there have been 540,000 volunteer participants who have helped raise more than $1.2 billion toward Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s mission: To cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. Created 24 years ago, the TNT program continues to be the industry leader and most successful endurance sports training program for charity, said Becky Brown, TNT campaign director of Central California in Fresno, which Kern County is a part of. With more than 2,300 professional coaches, participants are not only physically motivated but personally challenged to get to the finish line, Brown said. In exchange for the endurance training and support from coaches, participants give back by fundraising for cancer cures. Regardless of the fitness level, TNT coaches will help their participants cross the finish line by establishing a customized training regimen, advice on nutrition, hydration, injury prevention and much more. Participants receive encouragement with weekly group trainings and support from their mentor — a TNT alumni who has been through the program successfully and has come back to help. They will also be supported for their fundraising efforts throughout the season with an online

Cycling coach Larry Miller prepares for the training ride.

fundraising page, numerous clinics and resource guide with everything they need to be successful. Brown said that anyone completing the training “will say it’s a lifechanging experience. Our team-focused philosophy will help get you across the finish line. And we will make this a memorable event weekend for the participant” by providing exclusive VIP events, TNT’s famed inspiration dinner the night before the event and victory after party, as well as weekend accommodations, race entry and travel for most events. In addition to the great local program, there is now an online Flex program offered for those with busy schedules or seeking to be a part of exciting events not offered by the chapter, Brown said. Participants receive all the great benefits of the TNT program with flexibility to fit their schedule. While other large cancer organizations target their mission investment on prevention and early detection, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society invests in cures since most blood cancers (and most common cancers) cannot be prevented or detected early, Brown said. “We are funding impactful research, from discoveries to new treatment approvals,” Brown said. And many blood cancer advances are helping patients with solid tumors and other serious illnesses. Out of 39 new cancer drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration during the past decade, almost half were approved as treatments for blood cancer patients, she added. Lutz pointed out that the remission and recovery rates have doubled and nearly tripled during the past 10 years. “Still, it’s not as many as we’d like,” she said. Although TNT was the first organization to offer training for endurance events to raise funds, during the past two years, participation has stagnated and dropped slightly in some areas because other similar private competitive programs have started. “It is an important way for us to battle cancer because leukemia is still the No. 1 killer of kids,” Lutz said. “Every four minutes, someone is diagnosed with cancer. And every 10 minutes, someone loses the battle. This is our way of helping.”

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All-Star Athlete

Chelby Cooke Central Section singles title his junior year. Lyndsay, a three-time All-Area Girls Tennis Player of the he innate desire to be the very best. It’s an attribute that Year, reached the section singles final three times, finally bringlocal tennis standout Chelby Cooke shares with a lot of ing home the title in 2009. other great athletes. With Aaron off attending Westmont College and Lyndsay away But unlike many of them, Chelby’s competitive at Wheaton College, Chelby spent her final two years at BCHS as nature extends to every part of her life, making her a standout on the lone Cooke in the local high school tennis spotlight. multiple fronts. She made the most of it going undefeated and winning the Chelby recently graduated from Bakersfield Christian High section singles title both her junior and senior year. School as one of the most decorated girls prep tennis players in “She’s a natural athlete and she’s very tenacious,” Thiessen said. “She’s very focused on what she’s doing and when she plays, she plays very intelChelby Cooke facts ligently and she knows what she has to Chosen by the Bakersfield do to win.” Californian as its All-Area Girls Cooke calls the final match of her Tennis Player of the Year for career, a 6-0, 6-2 section championship 2010 and 2011. victory over Garces’ Gracie Jacobs the Finished high school tennis biggest individual win during her time career with 113-3 singles record. at BCHS. Led BCHS girls tennis team to Chelby believes the countless four section championships. hours she spent playing against LyndWas an All-Area Second Team say while growing up helped her tennis selection in soccer as a junior. game immensely. Plans on majoring in commu“My sister and I practiced together nications at Santa Clara. for years,” Chelby said. “She definitely Parents are Jamie and helped me develop my game.” Elizabeth. Has four siblings: Besides being teammates on the brother Aaron, and sisters LyndBCHS girls tennis team for two years, say, Emma and Taylor. the Cooke sisters also played soccer Hobbies include drawing, together for the Eagles for a pair of painting, photography, painting nails, shopping and swimming. seasons. Chelby was BCHS’ second-leading scorer with 20 goals and 11 assists her junior year. But after racking up 33 Central Section history, winning two section singles titles while goals in three varsity seasons she decided to give up the sport to leading the Eagles to four section team championships. concentrate solely on tennis. She was just as impressive in the classroom, posting a stellar Chelby agrees completely with the assessment that she’s 4.4 grade point average. ultra-competitive. For her efforts, Chelby, the daughter of former Bakersfield “I think you kind of have to being the middle child of five,” a Condors’ star Jamie Cooke (1998-2004), earned a scholarship to laughing Cooke said “You got to fight for the attention somethe Santa Clara University where she’ll attend this fall. how.” I’ve definitely always been competitive. I don’t take sport“She’s very competitive in everything she does,” longtime ing events lightly.” BCHS tennis coach Frank Thiessen said. “She expects that when Next up for Chelby is the challenge of playing college tennis. she does something she is going to do it to the best of her ability, “I’m really excited. Unfortunately I just got injured and I had and she thinks she should be No. 1 at everything she does.” to get back surgery so it’s kind of putting it off a little bit. I have The third of five children in her family, Chelby followed her to go through physical therapy and everything but I’ll be ready older brother Aaron and older sister Lyndsay into high school by the time league starts in January.” tennis stardom. Chelby will no doubt be ready if at all physically possible. Aaron was The Californian’s 2006 All-Area Boys Tennis Nothing has ever been able to hold her back from achieving big Player of the Year after posting a 30-0 record en route to the things thus far.

By Stephen Lynch

Photo by Rodney Thornburg



Bakersfield Life

September 2012




3101 Cattle Drive • Bakersfield Auto Mall • (661) 832-3000

On the Road

Chrysler 300 Power, control and lots of bells and whistles

Olivia Garcia, Sofia Ronquillo (back, left) and Denise Ornales take a drive through downtown Bakersfield.

By Olivia Garcia

Photos by April Massirio


he Chrysler 300 had my two teenage sons at Beats — the Beats by Dr. Dre audio system, that is. In a smart and trendy move, Chrysler scores bonus points by offering a Beats audio system, and if any of you have hip teenagers or college kids, you know exactly what I’m saying. The Beats audio system adds a smooth touch to the already stylish ride of the Chrysler 300. Every time I run into readers, I discover how impressed or envious they are of the car test drives I do. My family is no exception, as my husband or sons often join in the experience. Needless to say, the Garcia boys were just as sad as I was to return the Chrysler 300. Step inside and you feel a sense of power 48

Bakersfield Life

September 2012

8.4-inch touch screen provides easy access to all amenities.

Electronic shifter, perfect to handle.

It’s all in the details: Five best features about the Chrysler 300 Chrysler 300 is a head-turner.

and control, even for a woman of my petite stature. My husband will tell you how nervous I get whenever I drive past semis on a busy highway. Don’t ask me why. I just feel they are more powerful than me. In the Chrysler 300, not so. Driving the Chrysler 300 was like driving a car with muscles. Fearless. Call it the Olympic gold winner in weightlifting. This baby has strength. However, the car’s body is neither bulky nor boxy. In some ways, it reminds me a Bentley, and it’s definitely the kind of car that will turn heads. My girlfriends Sofia Ronquillo and Denise Ornelas just loved it. For a minute, we imagined our younger carefree days sans the kids and hubbies — yes, we love you guys — as we drove through downtown for our photo shoot. Even my colleague Lupe Carabajal asked if I could give him a mini tour, prompting fellow colleague Roger Fessler to join in. I could tell Lupe wanted give it a spin, so I handed him the key fob (you don’t need a key to start the engine — just touch a button and go). And that’s what he did as he drove around our company’s parking lot. I think Lupe would have taken the Chrysler for the day — if I had given him the chance. Although I’m not usually stingy, I was that day. I couldn’t help it.

The Chrysler 300 Limited series comes with many bells and whistles, including ventilated front seats — helping you beat the summer heat! — and a dual-pane panoramic sunroof that spans about 70 percent of the roof, offering a great view for you and your passengers. Other perks include heated rear seats and steering wheel, 20-inch aluminum wheels and platinum chrome door handles and exterior mirrors as well as a platinum grille and bars. And hand-stitched leather seats put you in a spoiled comfortable position. Cup holders keep your drink cool or warm when you set your preference electronically. How cool is that? Speaking of electronics, the UConnect Touch system easily guides you through music selection from satellite to local stations, air conditioning preferences, access to your cell phone and mp3s, traffic services, the Garmin Navigation System and more from its 8.4-inch screen. For those who stream music apps from a smartphone, this car is for you. And a great feature for young passengers is the Chrysler’s power backlit sunshade, which pops up in the rear window. OK, Chrysler 300, you have really spoiled me and my boys. With all the perks, it was very hard to let go of this vehicle. My sons will assure you.

Blind-Spot Monitoring System. A package option in our “Safety-Tec” group that gives your 300 a pair of microwave sensors that can detect other vehicles on the road and advise you when they're in your potential blind spot. Adaptive Cruise Control. This system works by using a radar sensor mounted in the front of the car and can detect objects in your path. Set you speed to whatever you like, and if there is a slower car in your way, the 300 will automatically adjust to a safe speed and distance. It will even detect other objects in your path, and alert you if it senses an impending collision. UConnect. No “infotainment” system before comes close to the capability of the new 8.4-inch interface. It can instantly display the contacts in your cellphone, show real-time local gas prices, and even rewind live music. Responsible horsepower. The new Chrysler 300 is one of the most powerful cars in its class and can also be one of the most efficient. The SRT-8 300 produces a massive 470 horsepower and has a 5-second 0-60 time, all with 20 percent better fuel mileage. Our 293 HP V6 engine still has more than enough grunt and delivers 31 MPG highway. Adaptive Forward Lighting is a revelation for nighttime driving. Not only does it point the headlights from side to side to help see around corners, but it also can pivot the headlights up and down to accommodate for heavy loads and hills.

The Chrysler 300 is perfect for: People who want to have their cake and eat it, too.

The Chrysler 300 stands out from the others because: It offers an immense value to the customer. The 300 Luxury Series won Wards Auto’s best interior award for 2012, and, unlike other premium branded cars, our V6 is able to run on low-grade fuel and can roughly go twice as far in between regular servicing than the industry standard. Source: Peter De Keles, Bakersfield Chrysler Jeep


Talk of the Town

MaryAnn Froehlich Vice president of sales and marketing for Froehlich Signature Homes and BrightDesign Homes Compiled by Emily Claffy


aryAnn Froehlich has been in the real estate industry for 28 years. She started her career at Stewart Title, where she held various positions through the years, eventually working her way to Central California region manager. In 2006, she married Ron Froehlich, president of Froehlich Signature Homes and BrightDesign Homes. Although MaryAnn was always “informally” involved in his business, the couple made the decision official this year when she retired from Stewart Title in May and joined forces with her husband at Froehlich Homes.

We feel very honored to be recognized two years in a row! Whether you are buying one of our semi-custom or attainable homes, it’s important to us that every homeowner is truly happy with their decision to buy from us. We never lose sight of the fact that a house is one of the most important purchases you can make, and we stay in touch with our owners long after their homes are finished. Not only do we do a walk-through with our buyers before closing, we have 3050

Bakersfield Life

September 2012

Photo by Alex Horvath

Froehlich Signature Homes has been voted favorite new home builder in The Bakersfield Californian’s Readers’ Choice Poll for the past two years. How do you plan to keep the community happy with your services?

day, 60-day and one-year walks after closing to address any issues that may have arisen. We live in the Bakersfield community and so do our trade partners. We’re proud of what we build and want to ensure the longevity of our homes, as well as our relationship with our homeowners.

What are some obstacles you face as a local builder in today’s housing market? The energy and sprinkler mandates have added another layer of government bureaucracy to the new home construction process. It has added thousands of dollars to the expense of building a home, and most builders have been unable to recoup any part of this expense due to the appraisers unwillingness to add the cost of these systems to the appraised value of the home. Additionally, the traffic impact and air quality fees have made the cost of a building permit unreasonable. For example, a permit for a smaller home of approximately 1,650 square feet can cost upwards of $25,000, while a larger home of approximately 2,800 square feet can cost upwards of $35,000.

What types of trends are you currently seeing in this industry, especially with your new “green” BrightDesign Homes? Are more people opting for energy-efficient homes? There was a time when our buyers were looking for smaller homes, but lately we are seeing home sizes trending upwards. Cost is still a factor, but quality is just as important, and many of our buyers come to us because we’ve been building homes in Bakersfield since 1987 — not too many builders can say that. Energy efficiency is important, and again, that goes back to the quality of the home being built, and trusting your builder is not just following the required guidelines, but exceeding them. Some of the most significant differences between resale and new construction, especially as it relates to being “green,” are reduced energy costs/utility bills, better technology and smart options for wireless Internet, ports for electronic equipment, cable jacks and surround sound speakers, just to name a few. And of course, there are safety issues — all of our new homes have interior sprinkler systems for fire safety.

What are the future plans for Froehlich Signature Homes and BrightDesign? Besides continuing to purchase lots and build homes for BrightDesign, our attainable division, we are gearing up to develop the third phase of Masterpiece Estates, which are our semi-custom homes in the northwest. We are in the design stages of our new model home and should be ready to start construction in October. This home is a beauty with four bedrooms, a study, three bathrooms, a three-car garage, 10-foot ceilings, a gourmet kitchen and more. Going forward, we will continue to buy and develop lots and build homes. We have been building in Bakersfield since 1987, and have been fortunate to work with some of the best subcontractors in the business. We plan on being around for a very long time. For more information, visit

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Talk of the Town

Mike Olcott Kern County Fair Director Compiled by Brian N. Willhite


he great Kern County Fair is making its way back to town, and Bakersfield Life has the inside track into what fair goers can expect to see at this year's annual fun-time tradition. We chatted with Mike Olcott, CEO and general manager of the Kern County Fair, to discuss what newest attractions will be as well as how the fair and the community are working together to make the 87th annual Best in the West event a memorable time for everyone.

What new exhibits or big attractions can we expect at the fair? This year, we have a zip line that will go through a section of the fairgrounds, and a new water ride in our carnival area. Knights of the Realm Jousting and A Bull Riding and Bikes Bash will be two new events in the Coors Grand Stand Arena. The Weiner Dog Races are back, too, along with the elephants and the very popular World Championship Mutton Bustin’.

From Sept. 1 to 15, we are partnering with Houchin Blood Bank and offering a “Pint for a Pass” to the fair and on Sept. 24 and 25, we have partnered with SPCA for “Adopt a Pet Day.” For every pet adopted, we will give two passes to come back to the fair. We are also excited about our “Feed the Need” food drive with Community Action Partnership of Kern. 52

Bakersfield Life

September 2012

Photo by Brian N. Willhite

What type of community outreach programs will be a part of the fair?

Within a specified window of time during the fair, admission will be granted with a donation of three cans of food.

What special guest performances and events are you most excited about this year? The Budweiser Stage will have great entertainment starting with country artist Jerrod Niemann, The Pointer Sisters, The Spinners, Aaron Tippin, Blue Oyster Cult, 38 Special, Jars of Clay, The Charlie Daniels Band and Los Caminantes. Our very own local band Lucky Ned Pepper — formerly of the Smokin’ Armadillos — will also be showcasing their first album.

What makes the Kern County Fair stand out above any other fair? The Kern County Fair is unique in that we have many food concessionaires that are run by local nonprofit groups that generate a large portion of their fundraising during the fair. Also, our Junior Livestock Program is one of the largest junior exhibitors in California. We are proud to host a PRCA-sanctioned rodeo, as well as a special bull-riding event, and, you can always find our talented local performers on one of our outdoor stages. Our fair is fortunate to have one of the best carnivals in the state, presented by Butler Amusements.

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Hometown Hero

Bob Otto World War II and Korean War veteran Compiled by Hillary Haenes


orld War II and Korean War veteran Bob Otto, 90, was recently named the 2012 Veteran of the Year for the 32nd Assembly District by Assemblywoman Shannon Grove. This longtime Veteran of Foreign Wars volunteer still plays the trumpet at veterans’ funeral services. Otto served 20 years with the U.S. Air Force and 30 years as a teacher. He and his wife, Etta, celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary last year.

When did you serve? I joined the Air

Force on July 14, 1942, and served as a basic flight and instrument instructor until 1946. Then I enlisted in the reserves until I was recalled to combat duty where I was based in Iwakuni, Japan. I spent 13 months overseas and completed 56 missions. Photo by Felix Adamo

Why did you decide to serve?

Pride in one’s country. I had a brother in the Navy during WWII. When I look back to 1939-40, it was one’s duty ... all my classmates were there in the service. Valuable advice you learned while in the Air Force? Discipline — I used

my military training all throughout my 30 years in teaching. In 1955 at East High School, I had 207 students in study hall, and I always had the kids’ attention. I never had a problem and always thought they were tremendous. What did you enjoy most about being in the Air Force? I certainly

enjoyed flying and the challenges of having a safe flight. I got to see the country. I flew our private plane crosscountry and taught my wife to land the airplane because I was fearful of my grandchildren being on the plane and me having a heart attack. 54

Bakersfield Life

September 2012

What has been your biggest military accomplishment?

Being able to perform at veterans’ memorial services for 27 years. That comes from the heart, and there is a need for it. Do you have a favorite memory of being in the military? Once

when the aircraft was hit in the dark, we had to land at the nearest base and look at the damage of the plane with a flashlight. Casings broke in our own box of ammo, but our ammo box didn’t blow up. We had angels — one on each shoulder. You are still active in the local

community — what do you do?

I am a member of the Associated Veterans of Kern County and volunteer at veteran funeral services. I wish to certainly thank all the people who have volunteered their time and money. How did it feel to be recognized as Veteran of the Year of the 32nd District by Shannon Grove? It was

really an honor to be given the award, not just the award, but the trip to Sacramento. We went by train. Since I have lived here all my life, I am very familiar with the agriculture. It is an eye-opener to see all the agriculture to Sacramento.


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Broadway in Bakersfield Seven shows make up 2012-2013 season

Compiled by Emily Claffy Photos courtesy of Jam Theatricals


am Theatricals and Rabobank Arena have teamed up to bring our community another successful production of Mercy and Memorial Hospitals present Broadway in Bakersfield shows. The 20122013 season includes seven fun and captivating shows that will make the audience want to sing and dance along! For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

“Cirque Dreams Holidaze� 56

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September 2012

“Straight No Chaser,” 8 p.m. Dec. 1 Formed more than a dozen years ago at Indiana University, this male a cappella group will delight you with an act to remember. “Straight No Chaser” is a group unlike any other of their kind and has reassembled to enlighten the music lover in us all.

“Straight No Chaser”

“Shrek the Musical,” 7:30 p.m. March 11 “Rock of Ages”

“Rock of Ages,” 7:30 p.m. Sept. 20 Five-time 2009 Tony nominee will rock you to the core with music from Journey, Styx, REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sister, Poison, Asia, Whitesnake and more. The story takes place in 1987, on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles where a small-town girl and a big city rocker fall in love to the sounds of the ’80s. “Rock of Ages” contains adult language and material.

“Stomp,” 7 p.m. Oct. 7 “Stomp” is back in Bakersfield with updated content and two new routines. The eight-member troupe will keep you captivated with their use of unconventional instruments such as tractor tire inner tubes and paint cans during their percussive routines. This internationally acclaimed show is one you won’t want to miss!

“Cirque Dreams Holidaze,” 8 p.m. Nov. 24

“Stomp” Craving a holiday experience to tantalize and amaze you? Look no further! Neil Goldberg, creator of the Broadway hit “Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy” is at it again with “Cirque Dreams Holidaze.” The international cast is sure to entertain with balancing acts, dancing and acrobatic feats all while elaborately dressed as holiday character favorites.

“Shrek the Musical”

Based on the DreamWorks film, “Shrek the Musical” brings your favorite characters to the stage. Shrek and Donkey will keep you laughing on their quest to rescue Princess Fiona and return her to Lord Farquaad, a journey that unfolds quite different than how Shrek imagined. Watch the story come to life with theatrical dancing and 19 new songs.

“West Side Story,” 7:30 p.m. April 4 The American musical theater classic of 1957, will be brought back to life as the Jets and Sharks battle again. Watch as Tony and Maria fight for their love while dealing with the prejudice of friends and family. Bernstein and Sondheim’s score features favorites such as “Something’s Coming,” “Tonight,” “America,” “I Feel Pretty” and “Somewhere.” “West Side Story”

“Elvis Lives!,” 7:30 p.m. May 1 If you’re a fan of the king of rock ’n’ roll, this is the show for you. Watch the man who popularized the rock genre that scared parents and enticed fans during the ’50s in a multi-media and live musical tribute to Elvis’ life. The show features finalists from Elvis Presley Enterprises, worldwide Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest as well as a tribute “Elvis Lives!” to Ann-Margret fans.


The Arts

Juliana’s brings culture to downtown Photo by Shelby Mack

New cafe has big plans, featuring healthy eating and art in one place

Juliana Bernier-Dooley chats with her friends Deb McCormack and Gail Johnston who stopped by to check out the cafe.

By Megan Luecke


Bakersfield Life

September 2012

Juliana BernierDooley

Photo by Shelby Mack


ne artist is looking to bring a bit of fun and relaxation to Bakersfield through her downtown cafe. Sculptor Juliana Bernier-Dooley, is bringing new life into her gallery-turned-restaurant by opening Juliana’s Art Cafe. Juliana’s Art Cafe is located in the growing downtown area on 18th Street, within walking distance of Mill Creek Park. It is open from 7:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. The cafe recently celebrated its grand opening on July 21, but celebration doesn’t stop there. There are many new and exciting things that Bernier-Dooley is looking to bring to the cafe. Bernier-Dooley has created a space that she hopes will serve the mind, body and soul. She plans on doing this through the art displayed in the cafe, the serene gardens and the healthy eating and drinking options that they are offering. The cafe is self-serve for the time being, but this isn’t to say that the possibility for more isn’t there. The coolers are stocked with wraps, salads and fruit cups. There are also the croissants, cinnamon rolls, assorted pastries and protein shakes, as well. As far as drinks, count on espresso, frozen yogurt, Aloe Gloe and coconut water, to name a few. Bernier-Dooley has plans to bring in more art, featuring one artist at a time, for three months at a time. Their work would be displayed in the cafe along with sculptures and stained glass work done by Bernier-Dooley. Although

there are no set shows at this time, it’s something that’s in the works. Not only does the cafe feature artwork of the visual type but that of the audio type. Starting in September, the cafe will host a concert. The band has not been finalized but details will be available when it is set in stone. Juliana’s Art Cafe will also offer a healing workshop hosted by a doctor from Northern California. Bernier-Dooley hopes that this will be an option in September as well. For more information on cafe, gallery, classes and events, visit Also look for them on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo by Gregory D. Cook

Giving back

Theresa Grahiola works on her painting at the Boys & Girls Club facility on Niles Street.

Photo courtesy of Aliza McCracken

Artist Aliza McCracken donates proceeds from sales to help beautify where she lives

By Megan Luecke


ocal artist Aliza McCracken has been busy creating work that she says allows her to give back to the community. She began painting at the age of 4 and was acknowledged as a professional at the age of 15. McCracken now spends her time as a painter, creative writer and inspirational publisher, along with many other artistic outlets. When speaking about the community, McCracken said: “There is a wonderful spirit of benevolence, compassion and generosity here.” McCracken is in the process of releasing a new book this fall titled “Celebrating a Beautiful Life: Artistic Expressions from the Heart.” “Every creation that is purchased helps brighten our community and awaken ourselves to the beauty of love,” said McCracken. The community will benefit through the book sales; she says portions of the sales will go to local groups for charity. A book signing and art exhibit will be

held Oct. 4 at the San Joaquin Community Hospital conference room from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Another book signing will be at Russo’s Books from 1 to 3 p.m. Oct. 13. McCracken said she also has a line of greeting cards called “Soul Blossom,” which features a beautiful rose. For more information, visit her website at

ArtFest to auction masterpieces created by local youth By Alyssa Morones


hen you think of the Boys & Girls Club, a night of art and wine tasting isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But the Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County is holding such an event. The youth organization’s annual ArtFest, which takes place from 6 to 10 p.m. Sept. 22 at the Moorea Banquet Center, will auction off select art pieces at its annual art and wine fundraiser. Where does the art come from? It’s provided by student painters — with pieces painted at locations operated by the Boys & Girls Club. The Boys & Girls Club on Niles Street has a flourishing art program. Twentyone students participate in the ArtFest program taught by Bakersfield artist Chris Borbon. In preparation for ArtFest, the students practice working with various mediums and materials to build their artistic abilities. The artists range from ages 5 to 18. The pieces of art selected for auction are typically those with the widest appeal. “I think the art program enables the children to have fun, it enables them to express themselves, it enables them to be creative, and that benefits the Boys & Girls Clubs by opening their doors wider to any kids out in the community that Continued on page 60


need us the most,” said Borbon. Events director Ricki Foster added that the “the really cool thing about ArtFest is the kids get to work on a piece for two weeks, knowing that they’ll get to present it at the auction. They get to see the reactions to their works of art and know that they are helping to support their own program.” Tickets for ArtFest are $75 per person, and the funds will support the Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County, which serves more than 5,000 kids at 51 locations, with two new sites opening in the fall. Along with wine tasting and both silent and oral auctions, the event will feature an outdoor “man zone” with beer and a strolling dinner composed of heavy appetizers. “We encourage our donors and friends to make ArtFest their own party,” said Foster. “They’ll have the opportunity to mix and mingle and meet new folks and to walk around and preview our art.” While ArtFest guarantees a fun time for its attendees, its benefits extend far beyond a single night. “ArtFest gives the children something more than just the craft skills and the great activities we have in the art program; it gives them a feeling of great dedication, accomplishment, and pride,” said Borbon. “Having the kids know that their art piece might be hanging in someone’s kitchen or a hospital, it gives them a feeling of pride that is taken home to them and can never be forgotten.”

Emily Perez is one of the many young artists whose works will be up for auction at ArtFest.

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Bakersfield Life

September 2012

Photo by Gregory D. Cook

Continued from page 59

By David Luter and Kevin McCloskey Photos by Jessica Frey



he concept of a dream home is as personal as your favorite novel or vacation spot. For some, it could be a five-bedroom, five-bath mansion in the foothills with a view of the river, or a four-room cottage with a perfect backyard in a cozy downtown neighborhood. What makes it


Bakersfield Life

September 2012

East Coast charm

Bob and Judy Hampton’s Seven Oaks home mixes traditional with contemporary Bob and Judy Hampton were inspired five years ago to build their ideal home. They sought one of the country’s mostawarded architectural firms, Harrison Design Associates of Santa Barbara, to help them make their dream come true. Based on homes found along the Eastern seaboard, this 5,500-square-foot house features vaulted box beam ceilings, spacious rooms, large picture windows and reclaimed wood for the floors. Tying these rooms together is a long centralized hallway that seems never-ending. The interior style of the home, designed by Judy Hampton, is transitional; the marriage of traditional and contemporary furniture to bring about a classic feel, and colors that evoke a clean, serene atmosphere. Their favorite room is one of their two kitchens. With the white cottage-feel of the cabinetry, the marble countertops and the dark rustic look of the wooden floors, this room is as warm and inviting as the Hamptons themselves.

Homes your dream home are the feelings it evokes when you wake up on a sleepy Sunday morning, or upon arriving home after a long day at work. Those feelings of happiness, tranquility, family, harmony and comfort are all found in these five Bakersfield dream homes and hopefully in your own.


Bauhaus stlye

Milton and Betty Younger’s Bakersfield Country Club estate is a backdrop for Betty’s art Designed by Martha Simpson and Kenneth Wong, this Bakersfield Country Club estate is a rare example of the Bauhaus architectural tradition in this part of the country. Simpson resided here for a year before Milton and Betty Younger moved in, making it their home for more than 30 years. At close to 6,500 square feet on an acre lot, the multi-level design appeals to Milt and blends well with the couple’s period collections of furniture and art. “The house is really a backdrop for Betty’s artwork, which is shown throughout the home,” he said. The centerpiece of this magnificent eightbedroom home is the floor-to-ceiling atrium that captivates your attention as soon as you enter. Along with a rooftop retreat, elegant dining room and basement entertainment room nicknamed “Casablanca,” this stately house is a frequent location for events supporting Cal State Bakersfield, the Bakersfield Symphony and The Arts district. As Milt said, “The house fits in with our lifestyle and desire to be an active part of the community through the arts, politics, music and culture.” 64

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September 2012



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Bakersfield Life

September 2012

Tuscan villa

Bruce and Laurie Maclin worked together to create their Old Stockdale masterpiece In 1988, Bruce and Laurie Maclin collaborated extensively with local architect Thomas Jannino and builder Warren Patterson to create their version of a dream home. The result? A spacious and airy Tuscan villa located off the golf course in Stockdale Country Club that holds the couple’s collections of 17th and 18th century Italian and French antiques, along with California Scene art from the ’30s and ’40s. But the upstairs contains the most extensive collection — an open hallway of floor to ceiling bookshelves and a reading area with a bay window — for Bruce’s books that numbers into the thousands and includes first editions of modern novelists like F. Scott Fitzgerald. Two notable features of this beautiful home are the powder room, lined with a collection of 19th century caricatures and drawings of famous French people, including actress Sarah Bernhardt; and the custom-built palm trees in the entryway that reach the ceiling. As a couple, Bruce and Laurie have worked together on all aspects of the house: colors, art, antiques, materials and the collections. After 42 years of marriage, this collaboration has really paid off!

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Architectural gem

Richard Neutra-designed Westchester home that draws admirers from around the world Built in a time when life seemed easier, this house is considered an architectural gem. Officially known as The Davis House, it was designed by famed architect Richard Neutra, who’s recognized for his Mid-century Modern residences in Southern California. In 1937, Neutra was commissioned to build the Frank and Kathryn Davis house, which has retained its charm through the years. Neutra’s signature design elements of built-in furniture, large windows, wood paneling and open floor plans are represented throughout the house. Another first for Bakersfield was the inclusion of upstairs and downstairs front porches. Many features he used were not in mainstream homes until the ’60s. The large windows surrounding the back of the house gives the impression of being partially outside, an element Neutra always looked to incorporate. Architects, students and architectural buffs are frequently spotted outside the privately owned home staring and studying. Some have traveled as far as Germany and Japan to admire this downtown Bakersfield residence.


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September 2012

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Castle on the Kern

Luxury meets the outdoors in Barry and Pat Rosenfeld’s Rancheria River Estates home The dream home of Barry and Pat Rosenfeld is nestled in the Sierra foothills, just 15 minutes east of downtown Bakersfield. Pat worked with local architect Steve Keike and builder Don Mitchell in 1992 to bring her vision to life. Her castle includes two turrets and a courtyard entrance with a rectangular, chlorinated “moat” crossed by a bridge. This 5,300-square-foot, country French-style home sits on a one-and-three-quarter acre lot, and according to Barry, “Almost every room has a view of the Kern River.” Not surprising on a lot with more than 330 feet of river frontage. A 27-year Rotarian, Barry enjoys the outdoor features of this property: “With the river views and natural vegetation, I just love the outdoor ambience of this property.” Notable features inside this five-bedroom home are an ornate bar/ice cream parlor in the great room, a dumbwaiter between the two floors, a bedroom apartment above the garage, an observation room at the top of the tower and hand-carved wood throughout. If it sounds like this could be your ideal home, the Rosenfelds are looking to simplify their lifestyle, and have currently listed their castle on “We’ve loved our 20 years here and really hope that a nice family can enjoy the next 20 years,” Barry explained. 70

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September 2012





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Porches and patios Explore four relaxing outside yards

By Gabriel Ramirez


Photos by Greg Nichols

eing inside an air conditioned house is typically the prime place people want to be on a hot day in Bakersfield, except maybe if you have a nice covered porch or patio to sit under providing shade and allowing you to enjoy the outdoors. If you’re looking into building a porch or patio, follow the advice from Scott Burud of American Awning Shoppe and Patio, who recommends keeping in mind “city and county permits for sizing and location, future changes in trees and shrubs and the direction the porch will face. The design should blend with the home and look like it belongs.” See how four residents live in style with a glimpse into their beautiful custom outdoor living spaces built by local businesses American Awning Shoppe and Patio, Backyard Creations and Outdoor Galore.

Kathy Zuckerman Four Seasons neighborhood Built by American Awning Shoppe and Patio Kathy Zuckerman sits on her porch sipping either


Bakersfield Life

September 2012

Kathy Zuckerman provides a certain amount of outdoor privacy.

a morning coffee or evening cocktails. She likes the privacy and shade this outside area provides so that she can play with her dogs, while at the same time, allowing her to greet her neighbors as they walk by. “My porch is really wonderful. It is everything we wanted and expected,” she said. “We wanted it to be an attractive addition to the front of the house and have a fan for air circulation.” Zuckerman’s porch has an overall Tuscan look and is accented with colorful potted plants.

Gregory and Loalea Underwood Southwest Bakersfield Built by Backyard Creations Gregory and Loalea Underwood like to spend time on their Earth-toned colored patio reading the Sunday newspaper in the morning, watching the many birds that visit their mulberry tree and relaxing with their greyhounds in the safety of their fenced-in porch. “We wanted a quiet and shady outdoor place where we could relax,” Gregory said. “We wanted to add an attractive structure that has curb appeal, complements the design of the house and welcomes visitors to sit and stay awhile.” The couple’s favorite place to sit is under the covered

The Underwoods wanted to add a shade structure that complemented the design of their house.

double swing, where they admire a potted honeysuckle plant for color and fragrance and the small fountain that’s used by the blue jays. Continued on page 74


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The home of Mark and Cindy Richert welcomes guests with a beautiful open porch. Continued from page 73

Mark and Cindy Richert Kern Island neighborhood Built by Backyard Creations Mark and Cindy Richert spend time on their porch relaxing, reading and talking with neighbors. “We wanted our porch to be a warm and inviting place and a place where walking neighbors could stop and talk comfortably,” Mark said. “It is the perfect vantage point to watch neighborhood life.” Their porch encompasses a Southern country look with

its spindle railing surrounded with a boxwood hedge, hydrangea and lilies. The sitting area of the porch provides a pair of wicker chairs and table to unwind. “The open porch was necessary to complete the welcome and comfortable feeling of our home,” he said.

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Bakersfield Life

September 2012

It’s a steal! “I like to try out different barbecues and grills, experiment with different foods and entertain my friends and family while they socialize by the pool,” Clark said. “I’ve always wanted my porch/patio to be a gathering place where friends and family feel relaxed and can enjoy a swim or the latest sporting event on TV, while anticipating the great food I am cooking on the barbecue.” For Clark, privacy, security, relaxation and comfort were key components he kept in mind when building his porch. His back patio is tucked beneath the shade of his two-story house that boasts a spiral staircase leading directly into the heart of summer outdoor entertainment. Deep-hued stamped concrete surrounds a free-form swimming pool with waterfall, where guests cool off while he cooks on a Lynx grill beneath a circular hut-style, fully-equipped outdoor kitchen. Generously cushioned O.W. Lee chairs, patio heaters (when needed), cooling fans and lush landscaping make Clark’s backyard an ideal retreat for family and friends. “A porch should welcome its guests, have a homey but classy feel to it. When you’re entertaining on your patio, you want guests to feel like it’s as comfortable as a living room, so you need to add ‘inside’ elements to the outside,” Clark explained. “Bakersfield provides weather that encourages people to be outdoors most weekends of the year. In the winter, I put patio heaters out and continue to use the porch in almost any weather.”

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Installation specialist Gabriel Torres of Divine Power USA makes some final adjustments to newly installed photovoltaic panel on a home being constructed in western Bakersfield.

The future looks bright for

solar power

By Kevin McCloskey


Photos by Gregory D. Cook

ern County is best known for its export products of oil and agriculture, but our imports don’t get nearly as much recognition. With approximately 270 days of sun per year, we are a major importer of solar energy, whether we capture and use it or not. Scott Gurnett, majority partner in Divine Power USA, started his business four years ago but has been involved in solar energy systems since the early 1980s. The business has grown substantially over that time, based mostly on referrals. His sales arise from educating his customers on the benefits of solar power and helping find the system that works best for them. Gurnett was trained by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners, an organization dedicated to educating professionals in the field of renewable energy.

How solar works Energy is produced when sunlight hits the solar panels or modules, exciting electrons in the solar cells creating static electricity. The electrons move from positive to negative electrodes, known as the photovoltaic effect, through 76

Bakersfield Life

September 2012

a mesh of aluminum wires, which capture that static electricity as direct current (DC) power. The DC power is moved through an inverter that converts it to alternating current (AC), the kind of electricity that powers our homes, and a standard 40 x 65 inch solar module can produce between 240 and 260 watts per hour. This silicon-based technology has been around since the ’50s, when Bell Laboratories was working with NASA to create power for our space exploration programs, but the efficiencies of this process have increased more than two and a half times with the typical consumer equipment. In cuttingedge technology, the efficiency has more than tripled, and progress continues as industry competition increases.

Purchasing solar Once you settle on a contractor, creating the solar plan and filing the permits begins the solar conversion process and typically takes around 30 days in Kern County. Once that is completed, residential systems can be installed in as little as two days, and most can be completed in under a week. Leasing programs are popular these days because of the no money down entry systems. A credit score in the neighborhood of 650 is usually all that is required. This system will typically save from 5 percent to 25 percent of what you used to pay for electricity, as well as making a positive change to improve our environment.

From left, installation specialist Gabriel Torres and co-owners Scott Gurnett and Dave Macias of Divine Power USA.

Buying outright or financing the system is becoming more and more popular. With our current prices for electricity, purchase plans with favorable finance rates can pay for themselves in as little as five years. And as electric power prices continue to rise, it can shorten this return on your investment even more. Buyers represent just below 50 percent of the residential installs today, with leased systems making up the rest. Continued on page 78

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the only cost to the customer will ideally be around $4 per month for a meter. Some systems are even built for less than the full needs of the home to take advantage of the tier-one power pricing.

The future of solar

When properly installed and maintained, photovoltaic panels, like the ones on this southwest Bakersfield home, can have a dramatic impact on a household’s electricity bill. Continued from page 77

Once the system is installed, PG&E will convert the account to a solar customer, and instead of monthly bills, they supply a “true-up” statement every year on the anniversary of that conversion. Monthly power statements are provided to monitor usage and production. A correctly sized system is one designed to meet the electrical needs of the home, and

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As the price of non-renewable resources (oil, natural gas and coal) rises, traditional energy producers will have to raise their rates accordingly. Germany is the world’s largest harnesser of solar power today, collecting 22 gigawatts per hour, which is roughly the equivalent of 20 nuclear power plants operating at full capacity. Thirty percent of Germany’s homes have solar power systems, while in our country it is less than two-tenths of one percent. The potential growth in this industry is staggering. According to Gurnett, “Only a couple of companies produced silicon wafers in the early ’80s, and now there are over 500. As with the cellphone and computer industries when they first got started, they were expensive, and few companies could manufacture the products. Now that the price is more reasonable and the government subsidies are available, it really makes sense to install solar on a home because the payback, (through energy cost savings) is so quick.” To get more information on going green with solar panels, contact Divine Power USA at 557-0027.

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Bakersfield Life

September 2012

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Growing your perfect

garden Follow the right steps to develop your outdoor space

By Bill Trivitt


This garden designed by Cricklewood made sure there was a large section of grass only for the family to enjoy surrounded by vegetation and larger trees. 80

Bakersfield Life

September 2012

Photos by Casey Christie

his always rings in my head when I walk through a beautiful garden. There are many different types of gardens. Don’t think you need a large yard to pull this off. Gardens can be as simple as multiple potted plants, bonsai, or water gardens. A great resource for gardening is White Forest Nursery. Jere White and his son Eric are second- and third-generation nursery aficionados. They have a huge selection of plants and accessories to help you create the perfect garden. If you are looking for fruit trees, check out White Forests 3-in-1s. This is three varietal of the same fruit in one hole, producing fruits at different times of the

A variety of flowers make this a colorful arrangement.

year. If you have limited space you can plant these in half barrels on plant dollies. That way they can be moved around as needed. Another gem uncovered at White Forest is several varieties of wine grapes so for you craft winemakers, get a planting. According to White Forest, one of the most important aspects of a productive garden is soil preparation. With their five-step “Success Pack” you can supercharge you plants. This will cost extra at the beginning, but is well worth it. Another wonderful resource is Joanna Reed for Cricklewood Design and Accessories for Gardens. Reed has a vast knowledge of garden design and the magic to help you transform your yard into a spectacular garden. Before you start buying plants, fountains and whatnot, you need to stop and take a breath. Don’t jump into a garden before you have a good plan. Known your budget, and, if necessary, build in stages. Your plan should take into account multiple aspects. Know your space and how your space will be utilized. Is it entertaining, relaxation, family games or just enjoying a beautiful view? If you have pets, know their normal path around the yard and incorporate this into your design. Your plants will be doomed if you pooch runs them down. Have a focal point Duranta repens to your garden. This can be a water hang down feature, artwork or even an outdoor colorfully. kitchen. Hey, for any grilling man that is a piece of art.

A quick list for garden planning basics 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Have a good plan and know your space. Know your budget, and it’s OK to build in phases. Have a good irrigation system. Plan soil preparation. Place your trees first. This will dictate the need for shade or sunlight for planting. 6. Stay with the plan. You can wander a bit but stay with the framework. Reed was kind enough to introduce me to a couple of her friends, Steve and Sandra Pryor. The Pryors allowed Reed and I access to Continued on page 82


You can always find surprises in a backyard garden. A simple water fountain can become a focal point of the garden .

Continued from page 81

the backyard oasis. Entering their side yard started the adventure. A beautiful combination of flowers, herbs and fruit trees fills you with garden-y goodness. This leads you into the main yard that sets a spectacular backdrop of Chinese pistachios, Chinese elms, and Japanese maples (one of my favorites). A quaint gravel path meanders through foliage and trees, making a perfect retreat and play area for the grandchildren. All of these elements were key requirements for the pair’s

garden and Reed pulled them off without a flaw. The main feature to the garden is the pergola and outdoor kitchen. The garden is separated from the patio area by a rock wall that doubles as seating during parties. The kitchen has everything a griller could ask for, including the coveted ceramic Green Egg. On the far side of the house is Sandra Pryor’s favorite part of the garden, the seating

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area. It is a small nook with two rattan chairs facing a Romanesque fountain. The fountain is surrounded by vines and various types of greenery. This makes the perfect spot for a cup of coffee and the morning paper. Consider these tips when planning your garden. I know that is has really motivated me to get busy working on mine. I hope this sparks the gardening bug in you.


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Bakersfield Life

September 2012

1723 18th Street • 324-6484

Photo courtesy of DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen

Large floor tiles in darker colors are more easily maintained and show less wear.

Top to bottom Local experts share the scoop on what’s in and out in countertops and flooring Compiled by Gabriel Ramirez


Bakersfield Life

Humberto Quiroz, vice president, Bill Ray Ceramic Tile:

Granite slabs and larger tiles that look like natural stone in a 12- or 13-inch size with a glass and stone mix mosaic for backsplash and counter tops. For flooring, the 18- and 20-inch tiles are the popular choice, and the tile that looks like hardwood is a very hot item for the floor. It is available in porcelain or ceramic with varying textures, colors and sizes. Rick Sorci, owner and designer, Stockdale Cabinetry: In

countertops, I am really liking the quartz countertop and natural stone for the kitchen. Patty Gray, owner, DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen: Limestone is

t is summer, and while many people are shopping for new houses, others are thinking about how they can give the house they have a facelift. Humberto Quiroz, vice president of Bill Ray Ceramic Tile, suggests swapping out your floors and countertops to give your home a more updated look. We talked to three local businesses that specialize in floors and countertops to find out what is hot and what is not. 84

What is hot in terms of countertops and flooring?

September 2012

coming on strong. Limestone’s price point is less, and the more solid patterns work well with multiple color palettes and designs. The downside of limestone is that it is a little more porous than granite, but the density is higher than marble or travertine, making it a more durable product. In flooring, straight edged travertine (non-tumbled) is definitely a hot seller. Laying it in a Versailles pattern, or a square pattern with wood-look in-lays around the tile, gives a beautiful upscale look. Also, laying the straight-edged travertine on a standard square pattern is very popular because the depth and overall char-

Photo courtesy of DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen

Photo courtesy of Bill Ray Tile

Glass and stone tiles combine for an interesting inlay.

acteristics of the material is enough to accomplish a designer look. A straight pattern will help in keeping the labor cost down.

What’s not hot? Quiroz: Smaller size tiles on the counter or floor. Also pastel colors in any size. Sorci: In flooring, what’s not hot are large grout joints. Gray: Solid surface acrylic countertops are definitely out of

the picture for residential use, although it is an excellent product. Laminate flooring is also losing ground due to the fact that it is only a picture of wood grain applied to a thin layer of veneer. They do tend to clap when walking on them, and they do not hold up as well as solid hardwood, stone or porcelain flooring.

What colors or styles are a must? Quiroz: The darker colors are becoming more popular in the

wood-look tile and in the larger tiles. The 12-by-24 inch tiles are a must for any house that wants a custom look whether it’s on the floor or the wall. Sorci: We have seen a wide variety of styles and color, but the trend seems to lean toward simple clean lines with contrasting colors such as light floors, dark cabinets and light countertops.

Which ones should people avoid? Quiroz: Colors that are too light in higher traffic areas, a

medium to dark color will show less wear and tear on a daily basis. Also, the smaller the tile, the more grout you will have to maintain. Sorci: Too much of a pattern. This can date your kitchen and can be tough to live with over the long haul. Gray: Ceramic tile. Every track home in Bakersfield has

ceramic white tile. Ceramic tile chips easily and definitely gives the space a tract-home look. Also, bright, non-designer

Granite countertops are attractive, durable and easy to clean.

colors. Color is wonderful, but finding the right balance can sometimes be difficult for the average person.

Top things people need to keep in mind when it comes to custom countertops? Quiroz: Making the right selection of tile or natural stone to fit the needs and looks of your home. Along with educating yourself on the right products to use and the right way to use them. Learn how to maintain the life of your countertops. Sorci: Durability and ease of living. Some countertops can look great at the slab yard, but can you really live with it in your home day in and day out?

What about custom flooring? Quiroz: Choosing the right size and style of tile for the area you are covering. Also the right color and hardness depending on the area and foot traffic. Sorci: When it comes to flooring, it should be the ease of living with it that really matters. Gray: If considering marble flooring, it is better to stay away from it in high traffic areas. Marble has a much higher polish to it that will show the wear much more significantly than other surfaces. It is given to being sensitive to solvents and also to etching.


Photo by Felix Adamo

By Laura Sverchek and Mark Nessia

an’t find anything in your closet? It may be time to remodel and get that walk-in closet you have always dreamed of. You can design and personalize your closet so that it fits your needs perfectly. From advanced to basic, glass doors or wooden doors, drawers or no drawers “in the closet industry these days the sky is the limit,” said Sheri Eckard, California Closet’s design consultant for Bakersfield. With the help of California Closets and Ideal Closet Co., these Bakersfield homes now have closets to envy.


Bakersfield Life

September 2012

Although this one-person closet has shorter ceilings, the open room and doubling up on shelves and racks gives plenty of space for everything in the closet. The staggered and shorter racks make it easier to organize your clothing. When you have one long rack, it can be hard to find the item you are looking for, but when the racks are broken into sections you can organize by types of clothing and will always know where to find your dress shirts, t-shirts, and pants. Shallow drawers and shelves behind the wooden doors are the best way to organize and find the items that you don’t hang. If you stack clothing in a deep drawer, you’ll end up digging through the drawer to find an item and messing up your stacks. And a stool in the center is an extra touch that makes it easier to put on your shoes. Photo by Felix Adamo

Ideal closets C

One-man show with plenty of room

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With the tall ceiling in this closet, this couple was able to fit three layers of shelving and racks. The top layer can be used for seasonal clothing so that when you don’t need your summer clothes they are out of your way and your fall clothes are down where you want them and easy to reach. Having shelves for your shoes on the wall gets them off the floor and opens up the closet. It makes it easy to find the pair of shoes you are looking for when they are eye level and well spread out. This couple chose to have doors in front of their shoes to protect them from dust and give the whole closet a clean look. The closet also has a drawer for the woman to organize her jewelry and a built-in hamper behind one of the doors. Continued on page 88

Shawn McDonald Musical Guest

Tickets are $35.00 available at the Bakersfield Rescue Mission, Berean Christian Store, or by calling 661-325-0863


Continued from page 87

Your one-stop shop


Bakersfield Life

September 2012

Photo by Mark Nessia

Photo by Mark Nessia

When Jennifer Yester moved into her brand-new home in 2008, her closet consisted of bare white walls, a few shelves and poles that went across three walls. It was dull, boring and did not utilize the space provided. That all changed when she met up with Jason Wayts, owner of Ideal Closet Co. The local business has been creating beautiful custom closets throughout Bakersfield for more than 14 years and Yester’s was no exception. Featuring two built-in dressers, two levels to hang clothes, plenty of shelves and even a space for a built-in ironing board, it is a one-stop shop for getting ready. Wayts incorporated wardrobe pull downs to allow for easy access to clothes on the top rails. The pull downs also allowed Yester to preserve an inspirational saying drawn on one of the closet walls by her nephew Michael Yester that reads, “Make each day your masterpiece.” “He’s like my son,” Yester said. “I wanted him to put something inspirational because this is where you start your day.” While some of these features can be found in other closets, one may be exclusive to Yester’s: a doggy door. Yester wanted to give her dogs easy access to the bedroom, and Ideal Closets was able to accommodate that.

How To: Sponsored by Outdoor Galore

Tips Here are a few tips and ideas from the experts on finding the barbecue island that fits your needs. Are backyard barbecue islands expensive? Not really! Backyard barbecue islands have features suitable for small families, fundraisers or outdoor weddings. My backyard is an odd shape. Can I still have an island barbecue? Backyard island barbecues come in a variety of shapes to fit your yard: straight, Lshaped, U-shaped, curved or corner kitchens. Speaking of appliances, what comes in a backyard kitchen? Backyard barbecue islands feature built-in barbecue grills, side burner griddles, outdoor doors and drawers, sinks, refrigerators, bars and beverage centers, vent hoods and grills jackets. Am I restricted to the type of barbecue I can use? Outdoor Galore can install and recommend what suits your needs. Ask about our “Try it before you buy it” program for barbecues where you try out the barbecue you’re interested in for a weekend! What materials are used on a backyard barbecue island? Tile, granite, quartz and even natural stone — anything inside can be used outside. It comes down to budget. The base of the barbecue island can be comprised of stone, rock or basic stucco.


Bakersfield Life

Decide what you need for your custom backyard barbecue island


growing number of homeowners are dining out. Not at a fancy restaurant, but in the comfort of their own backyards. The trend toward custom island kitchens and dining spaces enables people to head “out to dinner” any time they want. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to have an estate or a seven-figure salary to be able to construct a backyard barbecue island in the yard. The work area can be designed around how much or how little space there is and be customized to different budgets. A backyard barbecue also marries entertaining with meal preparation for the ultimate social occasion. The outdoor kitchen of today can be as intricate or as simple as homeowners desire. There are some elements that can set the space apart, which can be customized depending on design style and budget.

Grill Instead of a simple grate over some coals, think about investing in a grill that has multipurpose cooking aides. These can include a side burner, a rotisserie turner and various temperature-control features. A grill should boast the conveniences of an indoor range and stove with the added benefit of a grill surface.

September 2012

Sink Cleaning produce or washing up is much easier if there is a sink nearby. The closer the outdoor island is to the actual house, the easier (and less expensive) it will be to run plumbing.

Counters Whether butcher block or an expanse of granite, having a workspace available for food prep or as a serving surface can make an outdoor kitchen more convenient.

Refrigerator Some homeowners choose

to install a small refrigerator or wine cooler to keep items chilled for use. This helps promote safe cooking and serving practices.

Entertainment When installing electrical components for lights, consider installing surroundsound speakers that connect to a music player or home theater. Those with larger budgets can explore the options in televisions that can resist some outdoor weather and provide a different ambiance for watching movies. — Metro Creative Services

How To: Sponsored by BSW Roofing

Choose a roofer


eplacing the roof on your home should be left to professionals. When you hire a professional, you are paying for more than just the work. You are paying for their warranty, too, so that if the roof leaks two years later, they are still liable and will have to correct the problem. With that in mind, there are several points you definitely want to check out before selecting a roofer. First, find out how long the company has been in operation A good roofer should offer a guarantee of anywhere from five to 12 years. If you are dealing with a company that has only been in business for two years, you do not know if that guarantee is worth anything. Remember, you are paying for the warranty, so finding a local roofing contractor who has been in business for a while should be a top priority. Secondly, ask family, friends and neighbors if they have any recommendations. Personal recommendations often include advice on who not to use, as well as commentary on the quality of the work and the cleanup. The next step is to contact the roofers to get estimates and ask questions. Getting estimates is obvious, but asking questions is extremely important. Doing so will let the contractors know that you are paying attention to the process, right from the start. Good questions to ask are: 92

Bakersfield Life

Tips Ernest Eloy Montoya opened Bakersfield Shingles Wholesale on May 1, 1971. From the very beginning, Montoya was dedicated to serving Kern County with honest service at fair prices so that even the “little guy� who had a family and a

What they will do if they find damaged decking, whether they recommend standard or architectural shingles, what the warranty is on their work, do they provide the warranty in writing, how long would it take to complete the work and when

September 2012

budget could literally keep a roof over his head. The world has changed a lot since BSW opened for business. Today, his son, Ernest Montoya Jr., runs the company with the same commitment to providing quality products and services for their customers as his father did when he opened the business 41 years ago.

could they start the job. The answers you receive to these questions will give you a basis to decide whether you trust the contractor. You should make sure the contractor is licensed and bonded because they need to able to cover any damages they

cause to your property. Insurance is even more important for roofing contractors because they need to have coverage for their own workers who may be injured repairing your roof. Asking about these kinds of issues will demonstrate to the contractor that you know what you are talking about and will prompt them to be more open with you in discussing the job. Finally, be sure to get a written contract with the roofer you choose. Contracts should always be in writing so there are no misunderstandings about what materials are to be used, exactly what the scope of work is and what the final cost is going to be. — Green Shoot Media

How To: Sponsored by Blue River Construction

Choose kitchen and bath design


esigning or remodeling a kitchen or bathroom can be a challenging experience. If you plan to completely redesign, then you will need to seek the advice and experience of a professional. Something important to keep in mind is considering your design choice. When investing in a kitchen or bathroom remodeling adventure, think about the possibility of how your choices will affect a potential buyer if the time comes to sell your home. One of the most common reasons for redesigning a kitchen or bath is to update the appearance of the room. In the process of updating, there is usually a desire to acquire more space or to find a more effective way to utilize the space you have available. Updating often involves the selection of countertops, flooring and paint. Start by selecting a paint color that will open up opportunities for a variety of decorating options. The countertops and flooring should also be neutral and versatile. Reserve the more colorful items for accent pieces. This will make it easier for you to change your decor and for potential buyers to visualize themselves creating a room of their own in that space. Neutral floor coverings in a sustainable, low-maintenance material are generally a good choice for a kitchen or bath94

Bakersfield Life

Tips The most difficult part of any kitchen/bath remodel is coming up with a design that suits your preferences and needs. The perfect kitchen/ bath must be designed to strike a balance between style and function, trendy and timeless. You’re making a considerable investment.

room. The countertops in both a bathroom and kitchen should be made of durable material. Generally, it is wise to buy the highest quality countertop your budget allows. When selecting a bathroom design, you want to choose a

September 2012

Having an experienced and professional certified kitchen and bath designer to assist you is important and can make all the difference. An experienced designer can help you get the most out of your money, knowing just how to strike that perfect balance to get the best bang for your buck. A great design doesn’t have to be expensive.

plan that will accommodate your lifestyle. It’s smart to acquire as much storage space as possible in a bathroom without making it look small or congested. Your selection of vanity, sink and shower design plays a large role in creating a function-

ally attractive bathroom. When deciding on the design plan for your kitchen, think about the way you plan to use the kitchen. Think about the preparation area you need, the size sink you desire, the amount of cabinet space you need and the type of cabinets that will best fit your need. You will want both your kitchen and bathroom design to coincide with the design of the other rooms in your home and to blend with that decor. Buyers like a large, spacious kitchen with plenty of storage. The appliances you select to replace your old ones should be a color that will easily blend with various decorating styles. — Green Shoot Media

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How To: Sponsored by Mr. Mattress

Choose a mattress


o function at your optimum level, you need the proper amount of sleep. If you are trying to sleep on an old mattress or a mattress that is too firm or soft for your physical needs, you are not getting the restful sleep you need. Sleep deprivation can affect your mood, your job performance and your overall physical health. You should definitely take the time to shop for a mattress that is more comfortable than the old or inappropriate one you are currently sleeping on. A new, better quality mattress can improve both the quality of sleep you get each night and your quality of life each day. Before you decide on a mattress, you should consider the size of bed that is most comfortable for you. If you share a bed with someone, you will need to consider their sleep requirements and physical needs, too. Adjustable beds are ideal for some couples. Keep in mind that the purchase of such a bed is a long-term investment, so the cost may be one that you can justify. Once you decide on the best size of bed, you will need to explore the mattress options available. One of the newest and very popular mattress options is a memory foam mattress, which contours to the body shape of each person sleeping on it. This can be beneficial to people who often lose sleep due to back, neck and leg pain. There is an element 96

Bakersfield Life

Tips Mr. Mattress has cut the frills but not the quality of the furniture and mattresses that we sell. Our “no baloney” concept store allows us to sell furniture and mattresses at a savings of 40 percent to 70 percent off the big-box prices. The big-box stores and chain stores simply cannot compete with our business model. From our

of stability with a memory foam mattress. The movement of one person is less likely to disturb the sleep of the other person. Pillow-top mattresses are popular as well. These mattresses have an extra layer of

September 2012

website, we sell products throughout California with our showroom and distribution center located here in Bakersfield. We service both retail and the hospitality trade. The bigbox stores have big-box overhead … we do not. They have commissioned salespeople … we do not. They have massive television campaigns … we do not. We sell for less and that’s “no baloney.”

softness for additional comfort. They are probably not the mattress for you if you are seeking a really firm surface to sleep on. However, the mattresses are rated on a scale that indicates their level of firmness, which

makes it possible to find the firmest and most comfortable pillow-top for you. A mattress is not an item you want to buy without having the opportunity to personally check it out. You need to be able to touch it, sit on it and even lie down on it to see how it feels to you. If you have physical pain such as back or neck pain or if you have circulation problems, you may want to seek advice from your physician, a physical therapist or a chiropractor concerning the best type of mattress for your specific physical condition. A mattress that contours to your body and adjusts according to your body’s temperature may be the ideal mattress for you. — Green Shoot Media

How To: Sponsored by Red Door Interiors

Choose an interior decorator


hoosing an interior decorator can be as difficult and time-consuming of a task as decorating a home. Meeting your budgetary and style needs with an interior decorator and their personality involves a great deal of research, budget analysis and patience. The first step is to research design styles yourself and know what you want out of your home; you, not your interior is the one who has to live in it. After you have gathered style samples and pictures, familiarize yourself with some basic design terms to go into your quest informed. When you meet with interior designers, having pictures and a common vocabulary will help them meet your design needs.

Budget Particularly in today’s economy, budget is the top consideration in choosing interior designers. Although an established designer may have a better reputation and more recognizable name, a new interior designer has the knowledge and training as the seasoned veteran with more time to dedicate to you and establish a reputation. Be up-front with the interior decorator about your budget. Style comes at all price points, so it is not always necessary to buy all name-brand items. Consider investing your money in original artworks and substitut98

Bakersfield Life

Tips Working with an interior designer on a home improvement project can be time-and cost-effective if you plan and collaborate carefully. But before you start with an experienced interior designer, there are two questions you need to answer: What do I want and how

ing simpler purchases for lamps and other accessories.

Certification and training Certification for interior decorating involves exams, degrees from design schools or design programs, and work experience by interning under

September 2012

much do I want to spend? To find the right designer for you, you need to ask for referrals from real estate agents, along with your neighbors and friends whose homes you have seen and liked. Many designers have websites, so you can check out their style and whether you like what the designer is doing.

an experienced decorator and building a portfolio. By finding someone who is certified, you will be working with someone experienced, rather than someone looking to profit on their hobby or perceived knowledge.

Style Choose an interior designer

who both has a strong personal design philosophy — evidenced through their portfolio and speaking with them — as well as an ability to understand and reflect your style. All interior design work should be custom, not attempting to fit their design style to you. Find a designer who is flexible and easy to communicate with. Someone who does not take new ideas or criticism well is not the person you want to work with. Although it is a daunting task, using a few simple considerations, doing your research and having open channels of communication will help you choose the perfect designer to transform your house into your dream home. — Green Shoot Media

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How To: Sponsored by Scott’s Tree & Landscape

Choose the right landscaper


re you looking to improve the appearance and value of your home? Choosing a high-quality landscaper may be the right option for you. Landscapers and the landscaping companies they own or work for provide a wide variety of services for their clients, and finding one that offers what you want for your home — at the right price, of course — is essential.

Know what you’re looking for When you start to think about hiring a landscaper, look at your neighbors’ lawns and gardens and browse through landscape and garden magazines. This will help you find ways to express how you want your lawn to look and to identify the types of plants, trees and flowers that might best fit your landscape.

Identify the services you need Make a list of your specific needs and decide which services you will require from the landscaping company you hire. Consider the time and effort you want to maintain your landscaping so that you can choose plants and landscaping design that suits your lifestyle.

Know your budget Cost is always a major consideration when hiring a 100

Bakersfield Life

Tips At Scott’s Tree & Landscape, a family-owned and operated business creating beauty for 30 years, our commitment to quality and customer satisfaction is not only reflected in our work but also in our community involvement such as Relay for Life. We are proud to be a Beautiful Bakersfield Award

landscaper, and the best way to stick to a budget is to set one. Know how much you’ll pay for the landscaping services you need and what you can afford to spend annually. This will help you determine which services on your list are truly necessities. Keep in mind that you may need to make sacrifices to stick to

September 2012

winner and contractor for the model homes at the Seven Oaks Country Club. Communication and creativity will ensure you receive the enjoyment and curb appeal that will improve the value of your home. Ask to see work performed through testimonials and referrals. All contractors are listed with Contractors State License Board at cslb., and they will give valuable information.

your budget.

Get referrals Word of mouth is a great form of advertising, and a good landscaper will come with excellent recommendations. If your neighbors have been using a service and you like what you see, ask them which company

they are working with and the pros and cons that they see with the services. You may also want to do an online search for local landscaping companies.

Consider availability One of the first questions that you should ask any landscaper is when they will be able to complete your limited-time projects and how often they will be available for maintenance. If you want to be home when the landscaper is working, be sure that they work in your area when you can be there. Remember, finding the right landscaper for your needs takes knowledge of landscaping techniques and confidence in the company you hire. — Green Shoot Media

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How To: Sponsored by McMillin Homes

Choose a homebuilder


uilding a new home can be a daunting task. A number of issues can come up during the process, which is why choosing the right builder is essential to having a finished home that you can truly appreciate. There are many key factors in choosing the right builder, so start by asking friends and neighbors for recommendations. Find out if the builder started on time, had any delays, kept costs within budget and finished when they were supposed to finish. Also, ask if the crews were professional and cleaned up once the project was completed. Inquire if repairs had to be made after the project was done. Some minor issues are expected, but if there are repairs or minor touch-ups, see if they were handled quickly. You want to make sure they have good follow-up service. It’s a good idea to drive by homes the builder has worked on in the past. You may want to do so on the weekend, that way you can talk to the homeowners. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, even questions that seem insignificant can yield important answers. It’s also smart to contact your local Better Business Bureau and Home Builder’s Association. It is recommended to meet at the site of the building to give the builders an idea of what is required and to bring blueprints. Ask them to bring photos of


Bakersfield Life

Tips With core values rooted in integrity and customer service, McMillin Homes has built a solid reputation as a qualityleader in homebuilding for more than 50 years. McMillin is committed to providing exceptionally constructed and innovatively designed homes that stand the test of time as seen in Saybrook and Sanibel

work they have done. Prepare a list of questions to ask how much of the work is done by their own crews and how much, if any, is subcontracted. Most builders will frame a house, but anything beyond that point is usually performed by

September 2012

at Bridgeton in northwest Bakersfield. You will notice the difference from the moment you drive into this beautiful community: exceptional exterior elevations, spacious 10,000-square-foot home sites, standard three-car garages and solar! McMillin’s team of expert professionals takes pride in providing an outstanding home-buying process each step of the way!

other companies. Ask ahead of time how far they will go with the project and who will do the excavating, siding, roofing, insulation, cooling and heating, etc. Some builders will subcontract out the work for the entire project, which means dealing with

other companies. If they do this, find out which companies they work with, about the quality of materials and an estimate of the total cost involved. Ask if the builder will oversee the work on a daily basis or if they have a project manager who will do this. This applies even if the work is subcontracted. You want to make sure that any possible problem is noticed and addressed quickly. Make sure the builder is open to questions and is good with communication. While choosing the right builder may take time, in the end, the efforts of being selective will result in satisfaction with the finished project. — Green Shoot Media

How To: Sponsored by Window World of Bakersfield

Know what to look for when buying windows


hoosing appropriate windows for a residence or commercial building can be tough. Functionality, aesthetics, placement, cost and efficiency are all factors that must be weighed equally. Plus, window terminology can be confusing, but with just a little education, you, too, can become a fenestration expert.

Window glazing The glazing of a window refers to the actual glass in a window. Today, most structures are built with double-glazed windows, meaning that there are two panes of glass in each frame. Many older buildings and homes still feature singleglazed windows that aren’t very energy-friendly. Triple-glazed windows are the best, and as a result, more expensive.

R-values An R-value measures a window’s thermal resistance, which indicates the amount of heat lost through a window. The higher the R-value of a window, the more efficient it is. Typically, the lowest acceptable value for a residence is R-3.

U-values A U-value — technically known as the overall heat transfer coefficient — measures the level at which windows conduct heat. For residential windows, if efficiency is a concern, it’s important to use windows that let out the least amount of heat. 104

Bakersfield Life

Tips Save up to 35 percent on your heating and cooling bills with replacement windows. • By adding Low-E glass to a standard insulating glass unit, you can improve the energy performance of your window year-round by 24 percent. • By adding argon gas filling

Therefore, the lower the Ufactor of a window, the better.

Low-E Low-emissive, or Low-E, windows are one of the latest innovations in the energy-efficiency market. Simply stated, Low-E glass traps heat. Low-e is achieved by placing a thin

September 2012

to the window, which is a better insulator than normal air, you can increase the efficiency by another 6 percent. • And lastly, by adding the Intercept Warm-Edge Spacer System, you can add another 5 percent! • That’s why your choice of ComfortWorld Windows with the SolarZone Insulated Glass Package is the most energyefficient window product on the market today!

metallic coating on the appropriate pane of a window. In the summer, infrared heat from the sun is reflected away, thus making Low-E windows a good choice for people in warmer regions.

tion can wreak havoc on items inside a home or building by causing furniture and carpets to fade in color. That’s why a window with high ultra-violet blockage is recommended, especially for people who live in hotter climates.

Casement windows If energy-efficiency is of the utmost concern, casement windows are the best option. The simple hinge-and-crank design diminishes air seepage, and when wind pushes against the glass, the window seal becomes tighter, further reducing leakage. Hinged windows must be maintained properly, as the seal erodes over time. If left unchecked, continued erosion can render the window less efficient.

UV factors UV rays from solar penetra-

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“Nina Bailando con Mariachi” by Alberto Herrera


By Lisa Kimble

ou won’t find any dictionary results for the word Latination — a term downtown Bakersfield business impressario Don Martin coined a few years ago when he created what has become one of the arts community’s most celebrated exhibitions. But try finding someone who doesn’t know what the verb-noun-adjective word-blend means. “I came up with the name Latination by just doodling different words on paper. That’s the one I liked the best,” Martin said. Since 2009, when Martin turned his “wild” idea of making an exhibit showcasing the saucy Latino culture as seen through the eyes of artists into a reality, Latination, simply 106

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“The Village in Quiet Anticipation” by Susan Reep

translated, has come to mean beautiful artwork displayed in an ambience rich with great food, music and camaraderie that is the centerpiece of the downtown arts district’s fall First Friday and a full-fledged fiesta. “ I had always wanted to do a Latin-inspired show and something to celebrate the culture and also make it a community event rather than just an art event,” Martin said. He pitched the idea to a potential sponsor over lunch, and the rest, as they say, is history. Fittingly, Fiesta is also the theme of this year’s event, in a departure from previous competitions when there were no restrictions on the subject matter of submissions. Artists using a variety of mediums, from photography and sculpture to paintings and fiber arts, have again submitted a record number of original works created within the past four years, which will be available for sale. The show is a marinade of color, design, heritage and politics, with entrants competing for cash awards. Martin, owner of Metro Galleries and a master at assembling cultural events as a way of attracting people downtown, is especially passionate about Latination, which is among the community’s most well-attended art shows of the year. “It is kind of fun for me that this has now become a looked-forward-to annual event. The opening reception is a party with live music and a great bar and food.” Martin grew up in Arvin and was exposed to the Latino heritage in part by his grandfather, who was of Hispanic descent. “When I was very young I spent a lot of time around the Latino part of the family,” Martin said. “Memories of the culture, the color, the food, the traditions still stir within me.” The upbeat show is Metro’s only monthlong exhibit of the year. Unlike other juried competitions, Martin counts on community members from all walks of life and ethnic backgrounds to evalu-

ate the submissions. “I didn’t want this to be a typical juried art show. Too often, I think those get to be too stuffy,” Martin added. “This is judged by community members from various backgrounds. I always enjoy watching the reactions of the judges during the voting process.” "Spirit Of Fiesta" In 2009, when by Linda Osburn Martin launched Latination, a surprising 60 artists entered. Thirty of them were selected for judging, and the rest were exhibited. The following year, the number of entrants nearly doubled, including submissions from around the state. The amount of participants has risen ever since, as has the response from neighboring downtown eateries and boutiques that will also keep their doors open late for September’s First Friday and Latination. The winning entries will be announced the evening of the show, Sept. 7, at Metro Galleries on 19th Street. El Pueblo Restaurant will once again cater the event, and Mento Buru will perform with their Latin sounds. Latination 4 is co-sponsored by Bakersfield Life Magazine, Grimmway Farms, the Law Offices of Craig A. Edmonston, the Padre Hotel and attorney David Leon.



The carnival area of the 1928 Kern County Fair at its original location on Chester Avenue, where Sam Lynn Ball Park now sits.

The great Kern County Fair Holding onto its small-town appeal By Jeff Nickell


Photos courtesy of Kern County Museum

he history of the Kern County Fair goes back decades. Most people today think of the fair and automatically think of the location that borders South P Street and Ming, Union and Belle Terrace avenues. But, the first fair was held on Chester Avenue in what is now called the Metropolitan Recreation Complex. That’s the location of the Kern County Museum, Sam Lynn Ball Park, Stramler Park, Northwest Bakersfield Baseball (formerly site of Junior Baseball Association), Dave Frye Softball, a BMX track, the batting cages, and the hobby car track. According to the Kern County Fair’s website, the 108

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September 2012

Les Vaughn booth in the Kern County Fair Midway, 1926.

Kern County Agricultural Fair (or 15th Agricultural District Association) got its official start on Aug. 5, 1916. In the beginning, there were no buildings, and tents were used for the festivities. But, the fair has been a community favorite since its inception. Data from the Kern County Fair shows 65,000 people attended the six-day fair in 1925, including 20,000 schoolchildren. Jumping to 1930, the fair had 14 community exhibits, 112 Kern County school exhibits, and 100 individual commercial exhibitors. (Side note: The community of McFarland won best exhibit and went on to represent Kern County at the state fair.) Photos from the fairs from the “old days” show extravagant exhibits. Communities went to great lengths to show off what they did best. A building that partially still stands from the days of the fairgrounds at the Chester Avenue location is the Kern County Museum’s shop building, originally the Exhibition Building. After the fair moved to its new location, the museum shared the building with other county agencies. A fire in the 1980s destroyed 50 percent of the structure. The displays created in that building were amazing. Think of the Beale Memorial Clock Tower perfectly replicated with Kern County products such as cotton bringing it to life. Continued on page 111


Carrie Lou Dickson, Wanda Yager, Jack Bridwell and A.S. Mason pose with the 1968 Grand Champion Market Lamb.


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September 2012

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Continued from page 109

The fair moved to its current location in 1952, the same year as the earthquakes that devastated the town. Compared to the 106 acres it was previously on, the new site provided 160 acres for the growing entity and enough parking to accommodate 10,000 vehicles. The fair now has a new leader in Mike Olcott. Many know the Olcott name from the family’s longstanding business in town. An interesting note about the Kern County Fair compared to other California counties: It has been around longer than those of San Diego, Salt Lake, Marin, Sonoma and Yolo counties.

Vehicle advertising the fair draws interest with pipe organ inside in 1928.

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A touch of nature Plant professor Lindsay Ono shares his passion in environmental horticulture Story and photos by Gregory D. Cook


nvironmental horticulture professor Lindsay Ono is the new chair of the Agriculture Department at Bakersfield College. He is a Bakersfield native and BC and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo graduate. Known as the “plant professor,” Ono is a co-host of The Country Garden, a radio talk show on Kern Radio, Newstalk 1180 AM and a regular lecturer at home and garden shows and garden club events. Bakersfield Life sat down with Ono to learn about his passion for plants.

Could you tell us what environmental horticulture actually is? Environmental horticulture is the art and science of plants and landscapes, especially in the urban setting. If it’s growing around your house, or if it’s growing inside your house, that's environmental horticulture.

So, when did you first become interested in horticulture? Oh, I was raised at the nursery. As a little kid, I would play among the bags of Kellogg GroMulch. That was the family business. My father owned Evergreen Nursery here in town, and I worked for him growing up. Eventually, I got into it in college, and I’ve been doing the plant thing ever since.

What do find the most fascinating about horticulture? Actually, what I like is landscape and design. The neat thing is that you can take an empty yard or space and turn it into a thing of real beauty. I love learning about the little 112

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September 2012

Lindsay Ono, professor of environmental horticulture at Bakersfield College, was recently named chair of the school’s Agriculture Department. nuances like taking a 1,000-pound boulder and changing its position just a few inches or burying half of it because that’s how it would look in nature to recreate that natural appearance that makes people go, “Wow.”

You mentioned growing up in a nursery, but did you ever want to be anything else when you grew up? Well, just before I started college, I

wanted to be a forest ranger. But everybody was saying that there were no jobs in forestry, so here I am.

What’s your favorite plant? My favorite plant is the azalea. That’s what we used to grow at Evergreen Nursery. We raised more than 120 varieties of azalea there. They actually adapt very well to Bakersfield if you have them in the right location and the right soil condition. They are extremely gratifying and beautiful plants, with lots of colors and different varieties to choose from. They can be used in almost any location in the yard.

You also host a radio program that focuses on horticulture. How did you get involved with that? Yes, the Country Garden. It’s a radio program every Saturday morning from 8 to 10 a.m. on Kern Radio, Newstalk 1180 AM. My co-host, Dale Edwards (from Old River Sod), and I have been doing the program for about 10 years now. We have listeners from all over Central California, from Modesto down to Los Angeles and California City over to the Pacific Ocean. We use it as an outreach to promote environmental horticulture to the public.

What are some of other jobs you have had? Well, of course, I worked for my father at Evergreen Nursery and some other nurseries. There was a farm and home store called Fisco, and I got a lot experience working with farm implements and animals with them. I’ve also worked for the Bear Creek Corporation, working with roses out in Wasco, and the Taft Correctional Institution before I came to Bakersfield College about eight years ago.

What did you do out at the Taft Correctional Institution? I was a horticulture supervisor and instructor there. I taught their horticulture classes. Bakersfield College had some classes out there, and I took over teaching them. We would do jobs in Taft and around that portion of the valley and go out with work crews to grow things. The program developed nicely.



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Do you have other hobbies outside of horticulture? Well, I play Caribbean steel drums and trumpet. I like playing music, but lately I just haven't had time to do my favorite thing, which is fishing.

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What is the best piece of advice you could give someone just getting into gardening? Plan before you plant. If you have an understanding of what your purpose is, and you have the knowledge of where it’s going to grow, well, if you plan, then you won’t have to dig it up again, chop it down or have frustrations about planting something that’s not going to grow well here. We see that a lot in the industry when people plant stuff that’s just not designed to grow here, especially when they go to places where they're not informed properly.




David Lyman Manager, Bakersfield Convention & Visitors Bureau

Compiled by Vicki Adame Age: 54 I was born in Bakersfield and stayed here because: I was born at Mercy Hospital and am a proud product of public education: Noble School, Washington Jr. High School (Go Hornets!), Bakersfield High (Go Drillers!), Bakersfield College (Go Gades!), and Cal State Bakersfield (Go Runners!). Both of my parents moved far from where they were born and grew up: my father from Wyoming and my mother from Scotland. I think I stayed in Bakersfield because, well, it’s home.


Photo by Henry A. Barrios

Why I Live Here

Favorite community event: First Friday. It’s fun to bring people who are new to Bakersfield, or do not go downtown much, to this event. Dinner, visit the shops and galleries, then end up at Prairie Fire, the outdoor bar on the second floor of the Padre Hotel. The looks I see from my guests when I bring them up there are always the same: “Wow! I didn’t know this was here.” First Friday also gives me the chance to catch up with people I have not seen in a while and to always have an enjoyable evening. It is an urban community experience.

I have lived in: College Heights, except for a few years in Westchester. I always have lived east of Union Avenue. I am an East Side boy.

Favorite local restaurant: Chef’s Choice for the pad thai or drunken noodle. I don’t look at the menu anymore; I know exactly what I want. I still can’t believe the place used to be Newberry’s. (Does anyone remember Ted’s Bargain Basement next door?)

Three words that describe my neighborhood: Quiet, walkable, convenient. It is not a land of endless cul-de-sacs, look-alike houses, streets lined with blank walls, and communal mail boxes.

I relax in Bakersfield by: Going grocery shopping. I hate to shop for clothes and shoes, but I could troll the aisles of grocery stores all day long. RIP Green Frog on Columbus Street.

Favorite Saturday activity: I don’t know if it’s my favorite, but it’s what my Saturdays usually are: do the wash, change the sheets, clean the bathrooms, and do some yard work.

I keep cool during the summer by: Doing what I always do. I never have understood why the topic of heat is always one of the first ones associated with Bakersfield. It’s the same temperature here as it is in Visalia, Fresno, Modesto, Sacramento, Redding, and everywhere else in more than 400

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September 2012

R miles throughout the Central Valley. I like the response I heard years ago from Mrs. Christina McClanahan: “Of course it’s hot. We grow cotton here. You can’t grow cotton where it’s cold.�

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Best-kept secret in Bakersfield: Abandoned shopping carts do not automatically return themselves to their stores, and yard sales signs do not magically remove themselves from telephone poles. When I want to get out of town, I always go to: Hmmmm. I have only gone on a handful of vacations since 2007. I used my vacation time either to work on my doctoral dissertation or to grade student papers when I taught part time at CSUB. However, count me in for Hawaii again the next time the opportunity arises. Mahalo nui loa. Favorite funny story or memory about Bakersfield: (1) Sliding down the bluffs on cardboard when I was much younger. That may explain a lot about me. (2) When I was growing up, our family saw countless movies at the Tejon Theatre (which is no longer a theatre) on Baker Street but we often arrived after the movie had begun. We sat through that movie, watched the second one, and then watched the beginning of the first movie. When we got to the part where we came in, we left. It only was years later that I learned other people watched movies from the beginning. (3) When I grew up, we took the bus. My sister Donna and I would take the bus downtown to 19th Street and Chester Avenue (where all the buses used to stop), do our Christmas shopping at Ted’s Bargain Basement (which is no longer there), and have lunch at Dave’s Deli, (which is now a parking lot on 19th Street). Gee, I just realized how many of those places from my childhood are gone.


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What I like most about Bakersfield: It’s home. I have been given opportunities and kindnesses here that I could not have received anywhere else. I cannot pay back all of them, but I can “pay them forwardâ€? and provide opportunities and kindnesses to others. That is what makes a city a community. Bakersfield often gets negatively ranked on lists, the positive list I think we should rank near the top on is: “Cities whose positive rankings are always footnotes but whose negative rankings are always headlines.â€? Here are some of recent positive rankings that seemed to have been overlooked: • Bakersfield No. 1 in increase of hotel room sales in California • Bakersfield No. 2 in increase of hotel occupancy in California • Bakersfield No. 4 in rate of new jobs created • Bakersfield named seventh friendliest city in California • Kern County No. 1 in long-term job growth in California and No. 7 nationally • Kern County No. 1 in rate of manufacturing job gains during the past year • Kern County No. 2 in private sector job growth in California • Kern County No. 4 in rate of five-year growth in median household income Can someone explain why these items — which are recent, true findings — do not get column inches or air time?

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Sixell founders and Bakersfield products Kyle Kuhlmann, left, and Jeff Mulock at the company’s headquarters in San Diego.

Spreading the word Sixell uses inspirational message to make world a better place By Breanna Fields

Photos courtesy of Sixell

The inspirational message behind Sixell.

“Live a life of love and love the life you live.”


hese are the words spoken by the founding members of San Diego-based clothing company Sixell. It’s not meant to be a catchphrase or a simple brand logo, but rather a lifestyle that encourages the public to reach out to others and gain a sense of fulfillment through acts of kindness. “It’s our mission to spread the message and one of the cool things about it is that it means something different to each person. We’re trying to inspire people to apply that to their lives and live it out,” said Sixell co-founder Kyle Kuhlmann. Apart from the message, what piques one’s curiosity 116

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September 2012

is the name. So what does it mean? Ideas were generated early on, and Kuhlmann discovered that six L’s were present in their signature phrase, thus, the title Sixell was chosen. Sixell was created by Kuhlmann, along with cofounders Andy Pollock, Jeff Mulock and Matt Krautstrunk. These guys were all born and raised in Bakersfield with the exception of Krautstrunk, who hails from Chicago. They met one another while in San Diego for college, where they got together to collaborate on ideas and formed the seedling of what would become Sixell. Since then it has blossomed into more than a few thoughts scribbled on a piece of paper; it has become a community of people who

thrive to better the world. “If we could have people that go out and do random acts of kindness and use Sixell as a reminder to go do those things, we’ve achieved more than we could have ever expected,” Mulock said. The website’s official launch occurred Memorial Day weekend and has since received positive feedback. In an effort to enable the public to live out its message, Sixell offers “spread the love” bracelets, which can be purchased online. These bracelets come in a set of two, and are meant to be shared with someone who is best believed to represent the message. Through these trinkets of goodwill, Sixell has heard many inspirational tales of how the community continually acknowledges its presence and works toward becoming a living example. “There’s two parts to the phrase ‘Live the life you love and love the life you live.’ It’s our goal to help you love the life you live. We want you to love every second of your life and we think one of the best ways of doing that is living a life of love. We want to inspire people to do those things,” Kuhlmann said. Going back to their Bakersfield roots seemed like a natural transition and ideal test market before expanding further. The Sixell staff has been working arduously to connect with local surf shops and similar clothing stores that would consider carrying the bracelets. They plan to integrate their T-shirt line into shops down the road, but as of now, Bakersfield will have the opportunity to partake in this venture and help spread this meaningful message. Each month a person is chosen as “Sixell-er of the

Sixell is constantly adding new products to their line.

Month” for doing good deeds or living in a way that at times means going against the grain of society. This sentiment remains true of one Sixell-er from Chicago, who quit his corporate job, bought a ticket to Europe and traveled throughout the summer. Other tales of inspiration come from perhaps what some would consider unlikely sources. While visiting Six Feet Under tattoo parlor in Los Angeles, a friend of the Sixell community, who is battling cancer, was wearing their bracelet. Her tattoo artist inquired about its meaning and was graciously rewarded Continued on page 118

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Continued from page 117

with the one that matched. “We want to recognize people who are doing good and not expecting anything in return. We want to let them know that, so we send a T-shirt and a letter recognizing what they do,” Kuhlmann said. International encounters have also occurred along the way as Mulock had the opportunity to spread his company’s message outside the United States on a trip to Spain. A resident of Cologne, Germany, expressed how he had taken Sixell’s message to heart by creating a collage of photos in his travels around Germany while wearing a Sixell bracelet and tee. “We’re not out to make a million dollars, but we want to meet a million people and make a million friends,” Kuhlmann said. It’s likely that a bright future is in store for Sixell, as they continue to expand and share stories within the community. Bakersfield residents should be on the lookout for Sixell products in stores soon. But in the meantime, visit, which is loaded with great T-shirt designs and loads of inspirational tales that define a society that spreads the powerful message of love and promotes acts of kindness.

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Bakersfield Life

Sixell products could be sold in Bakersfield stores soon.


661-859-1294 September 2012


Doing a good turn Girl Scouts of California set to honor three dynamic local women By Gabriel Ramirez


Photos by Mark Nessia

eraldine (Geri) Spencer had an empowering experience at a very young age. It was an experience that would change her and guide her life for years to come. Spencer was a Girl Scout. But this experience didn’t end as the years went by. Spencer continued to be part of the organization as an adult

when she became a cadet leader and helped take a group of girls to have their own life-altering experience when they got a chance to meet and dance with Coretta Scott King. This Oct. 5, at Valley Baptist Church, Spencer, along with two other local women, Judi McCarthy and Peggy Cole Darling, is being awarded the Girl Scouts of Central California South’s Women Inspiring Girls award. “The award honors dynamic women who have distinguished themselves through exemplary achievements in the community, in their professions and as role models for girls,” said Marilyn Deen, chief resource development officer for the Girl Scouts of Central California South. The annual event was started in 2009 and has so far honored 18 trailblazing women from Fresno and Kern Counties — all women who have inspired their communities to try a bit harder, to reach a bit further and to believe in themselves. “A call for nominations is sent out to the local community through the media and Girl Scout communications.

Women Inspiring Women honorees, from left: Geri Spencer, Peggy Cole Darling and Judi McCarthy. 120

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September 2012

A selection panel of past honorees and community leaders meet to review the nominations submitted, and three women are selected based on the award’s criteria,” Deen said. These criteria include service to the community and making a difference in people’s lives, being a role model for girls, overcoming obstacles to attain goals, outstanding leadership qualities and being known as a leader in her area of expertise. “Women Inspiring Girls are women who embody and personify the mission of Girl Scouts of being women of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place,” Deen said. “These luncheons provide funding for the Girl Scouts Connect Program, which every year gives more than 5,000 local girls the chance to become Girl Scouts, learn values and practical life skills and realize their full potential.” Tickets for the event are $50. To get information about purchasing tickets you can call 327-1409. For now, discover what makes this year’s honorees so special.

Peggy Cole Darling Fox Theatre and Spotlight Theatre board member and volunteer for Bakersfield Museum of Art

Why do you feel you were nominated? I don’t know. I’ve just been supporting a lot of good causes. I was formerly on the board of directors of the Bakersfield Museum of Art and Pioneer Village, and I’ve just been active in supporting good causes in Bakersfield. What is your history with the Girl Scouts? As a child, I was a Girl Scout, and as an adult, I was a leader of two different troops. What does being an honoree mean to you? Well I am very honored. I feel like it is a great compliment. I sort of wondered why they nominated me. I am very grateful to them. How do you plan to continue to help the local community? I own a building downtown and I am very anxious to do whatever I can for downtown Bakersfield, which needs a lot of help. I am a member of the downtown business association and my big interest is improving Bakersfield as a community, but mostly downtown. What makes you help? Because I think everyone should do something to make the community better. If you live in a house you want it to

look good and welcoming. If you live in the community you want it to be as good as possible and everyone should do what they can.

Geraldine (Geri) Spencer Retired from Bakersfield Senior Center and retired hairstylist

Why do you feel you were nominated? I would hope that my selection is a testament to my continued concern, dedication and commitment to girls, women and to my community. I have tried to make a difference in girls’ lives not only by example but works and action as well. What is your history with the Girl Scouts? I found being a Girl Scout to be an empowering experience, with the most awesome leader, Stella Hill. Her influence led me to want to become a leader. Once I had a daughter, I did become a leader, and seeing the need for such an empowering experience, at middle age I became a Cadet Leader at the MLK Center. I was able to take this group of girls to a life altering experience, which was a trip to Richmond, VA to an “I have a Dream, Non-Violence Conference,” where we met the King family and line danced in the mall with Mrs. King. What does being an honoree mean to you? I have served in an effort to fulfill my life's purpose without seeking reward — recognition with selfless service. To be honored is an honor that validates those efforts. How do you plan to continue to help out the local community? There are always ways and a need to help in our community. I am concerned about the future of our children, the quality of our schools, the safety of our neighborhood, the homeless or hungry, the elderly and the environment. As long as God gives me good health and strength, I will use it to fulfill my life's purpose in an effort to make a difference. What makes you help? I give special thanks to my parents, the role models in the community in my early years, and my church, which taught me the importance of community service. I have learned that serving changes your life. It has helped me to better understand people and their different perspectives. I've discovered strength I never knew I had. Serving helps me to live a more meaningful life and to become more the person that I was meant to be. Continued on page 122


Continued from page 121

scouting at age 13.

Judi McCarthy Founding chair of The Women’s and Girls’ Fund and member of the board of directors of Kern Community Foundation

Why do you feel you were nominated? I believe I was nominated to represent the Women’s and Girls’ Fund and women’s philanthropy in general. Like Girl Scouting and other organizations such as the Junior League and the Assistance League, the Women’s and Girls’ Fund is an illustration of the collective impact that women and girls can make on their communities. The Women’s Institute of Philanthropy notes “The Six C’s: Women’s Motivations for Giving.” They include Create, Change, Connect, Commit, Collaborate and Celebrate. I believe that these apply not only to philanthropy but also to women’s overall community work. What is your history with the Girl Scouts? I was a Brownie, a Junior and a Cadet Scout and left

What does being an honoree mean to you? This terrific honor gives me the chance to say a few words about work and community service, which I hope will inspire a few Girl Scouts: Find your passion. Stay focused. Give back. Make a difference somehow. As girls go through scouting and school, some will find their passions in academia, some in the arts, some in medicine, and some (like me) in community work. When you work within your passion, for pay or for free, you will find tremendous satisfaction and energy. How do you plan to continue to help out the local community? Along with others on the Vision Committee, I’m committed to the Women’s and Girls’ Fund until 2015. At that time, we hope to transition the Fund to new volunteer leadership, with a $1 million endowment in place that will generate up to $50,000 in community grants every year. What a satisfying legacy to leave behind! What makes you help? I was raised in a Marine Corps family; both my parents exemplified commitment and service beyond one’s self. As a military brat, I moved 17 times. When I moved to Bakersfield as a young bride in 1982, I was grateful to have a home. I’ve been privileged to give back to my “hometown” ever since.

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Bakersfield Life

September 2012



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Ladies Who …

Are interior designers Compiled by Emily Claffy

Photos by Jessica Frey


s we begin to transform our homes from summer to fall and prepare for the upcoming holiday months, this time of the year can feel hectic. Fortunately, we interviewed four experienced interior designers to make transitioning your home this season a little less stressful.

Angela Hessick Project manager at House of Moseley Interior Design After years of working in various other professions and aspiring to be a designer, Angela Hessick realized that dreaming simply would not help her fulfill this goal. About a year ago, Hessick joined the House of Moseley staff upon completing her bachelor’s degree in interior design. Like many in this field, she has practiced her trade since she can remember. “It’s not just a job, it’s what I do and have always done,” Hessick said. Her favorite aspect of this line of work is “watching a design come to fruition and witnessing the client’s reaction to their new space. Each experience is different but always exciting.”

Q: Have you noticed any recent trends in interior decorating? It’s fun to note that wallpaper has made a comeback — in a big way! Manufacturers are producing some fantastic products that offer show-stopping texture and style. A focal wall in this stuff can take a room from now to wow!

Q: How can readers transition

their home from summer to fall? Altering the mood or style of a space does not necessarily have to be expensive or complicated. Utilization of colors


Bakersfield Life

September 2012

Angela Hessick

and fragrances can be very effective for short-term variations to the “feel” of a space. Experimenting with accessories of various sizes and shapes can also prove to be effective. For example, sparkle combined with large elements can bring big drama, great for holiday events, while plush texture with natural elements and color tones can produce a very warm environment, perfect for autumn.

Q: What is the most memorable space you have decorated?

The most memorable space I have

had the pleasure of decorating was the clubhouse and office of a modular home facility in Idaho Falls, Idaho. It was my first professional job as a decorator and required travel to a state I had never visited. I recall simultaneously experiencing both exhilaration and terror as I shopped in unfamiliar territory, purchasing items and praying the client would love my design. Thankfully, they did. I have since provided several design concepts for the property management company who blessed me with that first job and will be eternally grateful to them for that opportunity.

Napier Hill Owner and interior designer of Napier Hill Interiors Becoming an interior designer was a natural fit for Napier Hill, who grew up in North Carolina where she assisted her mother in the family business. Though Hill first had a career in banking, she later added a degree in design art to her business education and started her own interior design firm. She’s been in the business for 29 years now and has developed treasured friendships with clients and partners. “As a designer, you are able to work with wonderful people who care deeply about their surroundings. You incorporate elements of style and good taste that transform living space and bring joy to your clients. It is a pleasure to work with beautiful materials and highly skilled craftsmen to achieve this goal.”

Q: Have you noticed any recent trends in interior decorating?

Kelly Archer

Kelly Archer Designer at Red Door Interiors As a child, Kelly Archer watched her mother decorate their home and soon realized God had gifted her with the same abilities and talents. In 1999, Archer took a course in interior decorating and began designing homes independently, until she eventually landed her current job at Red Door Interiors a couple of years ago. Archer goes to work every day doing what she loves — creating a new space for clients. “Without question, it is rewarding to see the look on my client’s face when the home is completed. I’ve seen tears, laughter, even dancing! Most of my clients become my friends and it thrills me to be a part of their life,” Archer said. She enjoys meeting clients for the first time and the process of getting to know them and their style, then seeing the final vision on completion day. “A home should tell a story of a life lived, and it is a pleasure to be a part of that.”

Q: Have you noticed any recent trends in interior decorating?

Color, color, color! Bold, exciting color!

Recently, natural fabrics like linens have exploded in design with bold colors on accent chairs and pillows. I use colorful leathers on chairs and ottomans and try to incorporate unusual fabrics wherever I can. I always say, “Don’t be matchy-matchy!”

Q: How can readers transition

their home from summer to fall? Try changing the pillows on your sofa, adding beautiful autumn flowers, putting a basket of fresh green apples on your table and draping a textured throw over your club chair. Another good idea is putting natural branches on the mantel or in a colorful vase, and, of course, add a new fall wreath to your front door.

Q: What is the most memorable space you have decorated?

All my clients and spaces are memorable and special. I never forget a space I’ve done! If I had to pick one, it would have to be my church, St. John’s Lutheran. I was blessed to sit on the building committee and now every Sunday I see the end result.

I enjoy seeing new colors, surface materials, textiles, lighting and furniture. One has to be careful about following new trends if the result is a dated look in 10 years. My clients are encouraged to follow the basic tenets of classic design along with the consideration of the architecture of the home. I also advise that they consider their personal needs, objectives and desires for their space during the design process. Our goal is to create a look and space that is comfortable, inviting and personal.

Q: How can readers transition

their home from summer to fall? In Kern County, autumn arrives more slowly than in many parts of the country. It is possible to introduce harbingers of fall even before the temperatures drop. Bowls or compotes of shells can be replaced with nuts and seasonal fruits, such as pears, apples, persimmons, oranges and pomegranates. One dear friend surprises us each year with a beautiful assortment of unusual pumpkins at our front door. This display takes us through Halloween and Thanksgiving. As temperaContinued on page 126 125

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Continued from page 125

tures continue to drop, more items can be added, such as baskets of firewood, board games, afghans, throws placed on ottomans or backs of sofas. I love china and linens, so it is a pleasure to start using Spode’s Woodland pattern and fallcolored table linens.

Q: What is the most memorable space you have decorated?

If I were to identify one memorable space, it would be the remodel and redecoration of the original boardroom at Memorial Hospital. The room hadn’t been touched in many years, and the project required a modernization of appearance and functionality, while simultaneously respecting the hospital’s rich history. This was accomplished by combining modern lighting and ceiling design with traditional furniture and framed historical photographs depicting significant moments in the hospital’s past. Continued on page 128


Bakersfield Life

September 2012

Continued from page 126

Denise Haddock Owner and principle interior designer at Denise Haddock Interior Designs

Denise Haddock’s passion for interior design started at age 10, when she took contact paper and cut out footprints to stick across her bedroom floor. In her late teens, Haddock’s family built a new home and her mother let her be involved in the process of selecting wallpaper for the guest bathroom. And now as an adult, one of her biggest projects was contributing to the Bakersfield Showcase House of Design, which was integral to the beginning of her design career. Haddock enjoys when her clients feel positive about their home space and “They reach out to others by inviting them into their home. The idea that helping in this way is rewarding beyond words.”

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September 2012


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Q: Have you noticed any recent trends in interior decorating?

Yes, I see a move away from the Tuscan and more opulent style. The current trend is toward cleaner lines, less clutter. Even traditional style has a simplified, elegant look. While most of the work that I do in our area is traditional, I also enjoy designing a more transitional, modern space.

Q: How can readers transition their home from summer to fall?

Use home accessories, which are particular to the season. For


example, store your summery bright and light accent pillows. To transition into the season, bring out your warm, rusty color fall pillows that are cozy and warm.

Q: What is the most memorable space you have decorated?

The most memorable space that I have designed and decorated would have to be the annual Bakersfield Showcase House. I enjoyed the opportunity to work with other designers on a design project. Also, it was the chance to have less parameter for how I approached the design of the space.



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The art of design Master landscape artist David Gordon plants himself in new soil

By Dana Martin


rading in his suit and tie for Bermuda shorts and tennis shoes, local artist David Gordon is happy and relaxed in his new post as lead landscape designer at Outdoor Galore in Bakersfield. While Gordon, who received his master’s degree in landscape architecture and minor in horticulture science from North Carolina State University College of Design and studied landscape design at Harvard University, is better known as the former assistant art director at the Bakersfield Museum of Art, his new position provides him an opportunity to put his other talents to use. “When I was at Harvard and working 15 to 16 hours a day on landscape design, I found I really did like it,” said Gordon, 44. “I like the challenge of outside. The outside has a lot of power and influence on the psyche for that time you are going to be there.” For Outdoor Galore, Gordon will consult clients on 130

Bakersfield Life

September 2012

Photo by Henry A. Barrios


achieving the space of their dreams but will use his expertise to direct them. His landscaping philosophy relies heavily on the psyche and what the homeowner plans to do with the space he is designing. “Every house has transitions when you walk up to it, and then the whole thing reverses itself when you leave,” said Gordon. “When you get out of your car, you are in public, but when you move up the walkway, you aren’t in public anymore; you’re on someone’s property, but it’s still public because people can see you as they go by. “Then, as you come into the front door area, that’s semiprivate because you’re about to go into the house. When you go inside, you’re private.” Gordon considers each transition when he’s consulting a client. “You think about those things when you design a landscape. It makes the front yard look even deeper than it is because you set up small little things that make those transitions happen so it’s not like lawn to beds to door, which I

can’t stand.” The backyard also has transitions but presents different challenges to Gordon. “The backyard is just bizarre. It’s a very intimate and personal place for people. Family functions and dysfunctions happen in backyards, memories are made, and friends come over. It’s very intimate. A lot of times, if there’s been an issue someone will say, ‘Let’s go in the backyard and talk' to resolve something or plan a surprise or something.” Gordon believes that backyard landscaping is important in Bakersfield as it is where people are going to be spending most of their time. “I don’t care if it’s 110 (degrees) that day. People section off in yards – some people get in the pool, some people are over at the bar, and they just bump like bumper cars all night long. It’s a very intimate space.” Gordon finds that the basic design of most backyards doesn’t leave anything to the imagination. You shouldn’t be able to walk outside and see the entire yard at once; there should be different levels and areas for privacy. “When you plant with depth and at different sizes and levels, then the yard will feel huge. Adding sound (and) adding small, medium, and large spaces provide distinct views from inside windows and then outside looking back at the house.” Gordon takes in as much as he can when meeting with clients.

“The interview is to get enough information from the client about what they want to see and what they are excited about doing—and mostly, what they don’t like about their backyard. A lot of people will say, ‘Oh can you plant something to hide that,’ and I say, ‘How about I plant something better so that you don’t look at that?’ I don’t necessarily want to put a Band-Aid over a telephone pole sticking up in the corner of your yard. David Gordon How about if we give the Master landscape artist eye something better to look Outdoor Galore at so you don’t even realize 6801 White Lane the telephone pole is there 831-1179 anymore?” Gordon still paints (his art shows typically sell out) and is well connected in the community through associations, such as the Downtown Business Association board, the chamber, Leadership Bakersfield, and CASA (to name a few), but he is excited to use his creativity to beautify people’s lives outdoors, too. “I’m ultimately excited because the people are happy. That’s what I really like, opening people’s eyes to the possibilities. It’s your environment where you spend all your time. It’s so important to your well being and to everything.”

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Zane Smith, director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County, is surrounded by some of the children who daily attend the club.

Zane Smith

more than just reliving his youth vicariously through these youngsters. It is a calling, he says, to improve the lives of others.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County carries key to Smith’s heart

Called to serve

By Lisa Kimble


alk through the doors of the E.L. Jack and Monica Armstrong Youth Center in east Bakersfield, the sounds of children at play bounce off the walls of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County like basketballs. There, in the midst of this controlled chaos, is 46-year-old executive director Zane Smith, himself a kid at heart, who is as old as the organization he is so passionate and driven about. Here, everyone is young or young at heart. “I can’t imagine doing anything else or clocking in at a job,” he says. “We are so fortunate to be in this environment, being able to go back to those magical childhood moments.” But for Smith, overseeing the local nonprofit is about 132

Bakersfield Life

September 2012

Photo by Henry A. Barrios


Smith grew up in a military family in Barstow. The first in his family to graduate college, he put himself through California State University Long Beach. There, he worked with programs serving children living in the projects at a level of poverty he says he had never seen before. “I never experienced babies being born at home. I was shocked by the culture. Bullets from streets would go through the chain-linked fence of the middle school, and I was thinking, ‘These were my third grader babies’,” he adds. “Here is a group of kids who are part of a cycle of poverty where there is no light at the end of the tunnel.” The economic disparity struck a nerve. “The social bonding, getting kids connected, that whole mentorshiprelationship, empathy and human contact. I knew this was my calling.” But Bakersfield was just beginning to appear on his radar. His in-laws had moved here. On a visit, Smith, an artist and avid fan of old railroad stations, took a drive through east Bakersfield. “I remember driving by the Boys & Girls Club here, which was located in a church at the time,” he

recalls. “The club here looked so sad and I thought, ‘This is all there is?’� Smith, who was working at the Garden Grove Boys & Girls Club at the time, envisioned the enormous potential. “Coming from Orange County, we had so much down there. I felt a calling here, and I asked Amy how much she loved me,� he laughs, remembering his conversation with his wife. Smith had helped build 10 clubs in Orange County and was director of operations at the Garden Grove club when the executive director position opened up in Bakersfield. In 1996, the Smiths made the move from Long Beach. Today, they are among Bakersfield’s admired nonprofit power couples. Amy Smith is program officer at San Joaquin Hospital Foundation. Their 17-year-old son Christopher was just a year old when they moved to Bakersfield, and 12-year-old Charlotte was born here. “It seemed like a great place to raise children and it seemed like the right move,� he says.

Planning for success The Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County, founded in 1966 (the year Smith was born), is the second largest in California, with 51 locations, at least two more expected by August and seven different school districts stretching the length of the county. Smith oversees a staff of 400. “It

is such a joy, my job, to recruit people who have the same love and share the same spirit. Our staff is truly invested, and we want to open up opportunities for these kids as well as their hearts and minds.� Ten years ago, Smith, himself a caricature artist trained in fine art, created a fine art program complete with an art studio inside the center. Next on the “to do� list: a rock climbing fitness program and investing in baseball. “It is all about finding a need not being met,� he says. Although there are children here from every walk of life, the affluent to foster care and homelessness, there is no visible disparity inside the center, something Smith is adamant about. He credits relationships with organizations like Youth Connection for the success of Kern County’s clubs. He was inspired by the late community activist Wendy Wayne, whom he had heard speak on the importance of collaboration. “We call it ‘disguised learning,’� Smith says. “We have seen improved scores in academic performance because of the after-school enrichment programs.� Although he had the opportunity to return to Orange County, near the Laguna Beach arts colony, he plans to stay put. “Bakersfield tugged at me. My heart is here. I plan to retire here,� he says. “We’re not done here. There are always new opportunities.�

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Real People

Hip-hop instructor Shannon Najera Compiled by Breanna Fields Photos by April Massirio


urning her passion into a parttime profession, 21-year-old Shannon Najera works as a hip-hop instructor while also studying business at Bakersfield College. Within the past year, she has played an important role in the lives of students attending the after-school performing arts magnet program at Thorner Elementary. She not only provides an outlet for expression, but Najera mentors and encourages her students to never give up. Previously a tap and cheer instructor, Najera has undoubtedly become an inspiration for local youth in their dance-related pursuits.

How did you get your start as a hip-hop instructor?

I’ve always taught hip-hop here and there and made up routines for my high school cheer squad. I knew it was something that I had wanted to do for a long time. with an easy routine and take them through the dance step by step until they get it. I always advise my students to ask questions so they don’t get left behind. When I feel that they get the routine, I’ll move them on to a more difficult routine and repeat the process.

What made you decide to pursue a career in dance? I have always loved dancing! In elementary school, I was in magnet, too. I did everything from jazz, hip-hop, ballet, tap and cheer. Being that little and finding something I was passionate about was the best thing that happened to me. I just knew I always wanted to help people find something that they felt passionate about or help better themselves with dancing.

Is it a rewarding experience to see your students complete a routine?

It’s definitely a proud moment to see your students complete a routine and all of the hard work that they put into learning a new routine, not because they have to, but because they want to. It’s what they are passionate about that makes all the hard work worth it. I definitely like to brag about my students.

What do you enjoy most about instructing hip-hop? I enjoy helping children build self-confidence and seeing my students express themselves through dance.

What’s the most challenging part about being a dance instructor?

Hearing my students say that they can’t — to see them doubt themselves. 134

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What inspires you as a dancer? What are your methods of teaching new students who don’t have prior dance experience? If a student is a beginner, I start them off

When I dance, I get lost in the music and forget about everything else that goes on in my life. Dancing is my little getaway from the world; my passion is for dance and always wanting to better myself.

What is involved in choreographing a routine and how long does a routine typically last?

When making up a dance, you have to find good music that has a good beat and you can dance to. After that, the rest is easy. You just have to dance while making sure all the moves flow together. You can base your moves off the beat and some moves off of the lyrics.

Apart from dance, what are your other hobbies?

Other than dancing, I have two hobbies: traveling — going on road trips to different places and trying new things is always fun! My other hobby is sewing. I’m currently making custom tutus for little girls.

Do you teach students outside of the elementary school program?

I’m always willing to teach those who want to learn. I’m currently looking for a dance studio with room for a hip-hop program, so I can have a stable dancing area and begin teaching classes outside of the magnet program. — If you’re interested in contacting Shannon Najera regarding dance, email her at


Fit and Fresh

Healthy things to do in September Line dancing, anyone?

By Sally Baker and Katie Kirschenmann

For a different and fun kind of exercise, how about trying your hand (or cowboy boot) at line dancing? The final session for the summer runs from Sept. 5 to 26 on Wednesday evenings from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Bakersfield College. Your instructor will be Bobby Watts, and the cost is $25 for all four sessions. Register today at

The Amazing Almond In August, local farmers began the long process of harvesting one of this valley’s biggest commodities — almonds. Did you know almonds are the most nutritious of all nuts? This portable little snack boasts huge health benefits. Just one ounce (about 20 nuts) contains 12 percent

Healthy classes for kids If you have younger children who may enjoy learning how to grow their own food and prepare a healthy meal, consider a couple of classes held at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center. The Children’s Garden class teaches simple techniques of planting, maintaining and developing the garden. This class operates year-round on Tuesdays and Thursdays 4 to 5 p.m. The Healthy Cooking for Kids class teaches children how to prepare simple but healthy dishes using fruit, vegetables and whole grains. This class also operates year round on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3 to 4 p.m. Both are free. Call 322-9874.

Roasted Almonds with olive oil • Heat oven to 350 F • Cover a cookie sheet with foil and spread out almonds • With a brush, spread olive oil over almonds • Bake 8 to 10 minutes • Remove from oven and sprinkle lightly with sea salt

Photo by Sally Baker

Poise Pilates + Barre

of your daily allowance for protein, has no cholesterol, and is high in vitamin E, that powerhouse antioxidant with strong cancer-fighting qualities. Almonds are also full of minerals, such as magnesium, zinc and phosphorous. This humble nut is also a great source of calcium and folic acid — perfect for those pregnant. Almonds are also an effective weapon against heart disease, being a good fat. I have always promoted the almond as a great postworkout snack, during studying or an anytime nutritional snack to carry with you. Keep a small baggie in your car or pack a few in your pocket on a long ride or run. I’m often asked, “How many almonds should I eat per day?” I usually respond with 12 to 15 per day, each day. My almond farmer husband will thank you and so will your body. Roasting almonds brings forth a delicious nutty, aromatic crunch, perfect in salads. 136

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Are you looking to shake up your exercise routine? There is a fresh-faced, dynamic duo in town that can help you achieve your fitness goals. Local women Callie Spitzer and Christine Travis have taken their combined and extensive knowledge of Pilates and “Burn at the Barre” and have created a challenging new insight into the workout experience. Their newly opened Poise Pilates + Barre is devoted to the philosophy behind a uniformly developed body. Spitzer and Travis instruct their clients through a regimen that increases mind-body connection, flexibility, strength and balance all the while coaxing your body into leaner and longer proportions. I recently spoke with Spitzer about the benefits of Pilates and the Barre method. It is her fundamental belief that Pilates is for everyone. She says, “Pilates is dedicated to

Photo by Carla Rivas

Christine Travis, left, and Callie Spitzer opened Poise Pilates+Barre in downtown Bakersfield.

restoring muscular balance, increasing functional strength and flexibility, lubricating and mobilizing joints, improving body alignment and posture, and heightening body control and awareness. It’s not only an exercise; it’s a mind and body experience. Pilates is for everybody — men, women and all levels of fitness.”

Spitzer and Travis are certified “Burn at the Barre” instructors. This class is the newest low-impact way to sculpt your body. Barre class integrates the fat-burning format of interval training with muscle-shaping isometrics to quickly and safely reshape the entire body. All levels are welcome to this class. The Barre class is intense but then again so are the results. Because I am expecting twins, I have officially been sidelined from my previous exercise routine. Running was the first thing that I had to give up. Though I miss it, I know that in a few months I’ll be getting my mileage back up with Sally. Soon enough, I’ll be back on the trails and in the gym, but I’m also going to sign up for classes at Poise Pilates + Barre in order to get my core back to where it was before twin babies. According to Spitzer, Pilates and the Barre method are perfect training bookends for runners and cyclists alike. She advised me that adding Pilates and Barre to my running would help balance my strength and aid in long distance stamina. If you would like to sign up for classes at Poise, Spitzer and Travis are offering a “Fresh and Fit” special: Your first lesson is free, and you will receive 5 percent off your second lesson. Poise Pilates + Barre, 1800 21st St., Suite A, 864-7977,

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Gaze upon the stars Experience Griffith Observatory By Lois Henry


Bakersfield Life

September 2012

As the sun sets in Los Angeles, the moon hangs high above the Griffith Observatory in Griffith Park.

Photo by Lois Henry


ou know how sometimes you get great advice from someone who did everything the wrong way? This is one of those times. I thought it would be fun to head down to Los Angeles to the Griffith Observatory. Short trip, free admission, looking at the stars and a great view of the city lights. All of which was totally true and you need to pencil it on your calendar for a relatively quick and easy trip that can be both educational and romantic. (Plus, you can’t beat the free part!). I decided to go for one of the observatory’s monthly public “star parties.” I like stars and I like parties so what the hey? On the website, it does warn that weekend nights are crowded so plan ahead. Of course I didn’t. Mistake No. 1. It was packed! Don’t leave Bakersfield at 4 p.m. and expect a relatively crowd free evening by the time you get there at 6 p.m. Better to leave around 2 p.m. Yes, you’ll get there long before the sun sets, but there’s plenty to see and do. I wasn’t sure what to expect so I grabbed a bite on the way. Total Mistake No. 2. They have a wonderful lawn and park! Pack a meal and blanket so you spend more time at the observatory. Just make sure it’s light because you might have to park a ways away. Ok, Mistake No. 3. The website also tells you to check out other nearby events because those can really clog traffic. I went the same night the Greek Theater, also in Griffith Park, was featuring Gladys Knight and Natalie Cole! Sigh. It all worked out though. I got there with a

Photo by Lois Henry

Inside, a pendulum uses the earth’s gravitational forces to swing methodically.

The observatory’s lawn was a busy place at the recent Mars landing event.

whole lot of reminders that patience is a virtue. Even before I went into the observatory, the views really knocked me out. You can see forever up there (even if it’s a little smoggy, which really does make the sunset spectacular!) Now here’s my major mistake, which you should not repeat. Remember I said it was a public star party? Well amateur astronomers set up their telescopes on the lawn and offer views of all kinds of things, even the rings of Saturn. The observatory is great, as is the planetarium, which offers all kinds of great lectures plus you really get an education on what you’re looking at up in the sky. But the real action on star party night is on the lawn. So don’t get too caught up in everything else before you allow yourself enough time to peak through all the telescopes.

Photo by Mark Pine, Deputy Director Griffith Observatory

Photo by Lois Henry

A young girl gets a boost from her dad for a close-up look at the moon at the observatory’s monthly star party.

And for sure don’t do what I did, wait in line for two hours on the top of the observatory to get a glimpse through the massive telescope inside one of the domes. It’s cool and everything, but if there’s a long line, go do everything else first and maybe catch the big telescope another time. Oh, and if you’re interested in the park’s namesake, that’s a whole other fun story. First, his name was really Griffith Jenkins Griffith, for real. He was a Welsh immigrant who made his fortune in mines in California, pretended apparently to have been a Colonel, annoyed people with his dandy ways and tried to murder his socialite wife for which he spent several years in prison. He started off as a newspaper reporter. Go figure!



Bank of the Sierra Heather Sullivan, vice president commercial loan officer

Locations: Bakersfield Ming Office 8500 Ming Ave.; 663-3400 Bakersfield Riverlakes 4060 Coffee Road; 587-2069 Bakersfield East Hills 2501 Mt. Vernon Ave.; 873-2000 Website:

You’re originally from the Central Coast, what brought you to Bakersfield and Bank of the Sierra? We were first introduced to Bakersfield when a family job opportunity was presented to us a few years ago. Since moving here, we discovered that Bakersfield has an immense sense of community and we have found it to be a great place to live, work and raise a family. I discovered Bank of the Sierra not long after arriving in Bakersfield. It was an appealing organization to me as it embodies the spirit of a true community bank that is committed to supporting local businesses and the community. Additionally, my degree in agricultural finance from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, my background in commercial lending and the fact that I began my banking career in a community bank made Bank of the Sierra a great fit. Have your business customers been affected by the last few years of a challenged economic environment? A number of our business customers have been affected. In many cases it has allowed companies to re-evaluate their business model and refine it to be more in-line with today’s economic conditions. Largely, the businesses that made these changes have recognized upward trends to their revenues during the last half of 2011. Our customers have shared with us that the challenged economic environment has allowed them to be more efficient and venture out to find new markets to expand their business opportunities. This has given them a good platform for growth over the next few years. 140

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It appears that the Bakersfield market is showing strength. What are your experiences with loan growth at Bank of the Sierra? Many companies are recognizing stabilizations and/or growth in revenues and are taking advantage of the all-time low loan rates and real estate prices. Bakersfield is fortunate to have two vibrant industries in the agriculture and oil sectors, which have a trickledown effect to a number of other industries. The last 18 months has seen significant growth and several businesses have expanded their current facilities or purchased new properties. This has resulted in an increase in overall loan growth, most notably in commercial real estate purchases and refinances utilizing the SBA 504 program. What is the SBA 504 program and what are the benefits of choosing SBA versus traditional commercial real estate financing? Bank of the Sierra partners with the Small Business Administration and is able to offer financing up to 90 percent at low fixed rates. SBA 504 financing is an appealing option to purchase or refinance owner occupied commercial real estate, and is available to most small to medium-sized businesses. Customers we have worked with have found that the low down payment option is one of the program’s biggest benefits. This allows the business to preserve working capital. What do you enjoy about working for a community bank? As a community banker, I have opportunities to develop personal relationships with individuals in all types of industries; and I have a hand in helping my customer’s businesses grow over time. Knowing I play a role in the ongoing successes of our customers makes this a very rewarding career.


Electrical Systems and Instrumentation Inc Address: 6906 Downing Ave. Phone: 587-9322 Website:

What is the most important element to the success of ESI? Our employees are the most important ingredients to our success. We started out as a small company and have grown significantly; and we have done this because we have such a great team working for us. Our expertise includes electrical power, control systems, instrumentation and process control; and we work within many industrial sectors. Because our expertise is so broad, we have built a team of people who are highly-trained, responsible and care about the mission of ESI. Every chance we get we try to tell the employees how proud we are of the hard work they do for us. Specifically, what are some of the reasons that your employees love working for ESI? Even though we are a large company, we still try to maintain an atmosphere that feels like a family. The owners of our company are always on-site and accessible to all 142

Bakersfield Life

September 2012

employees. We believe in a team atmosphere and that each member of the team is just as important as the next. We want our employees to feel like they have a voice, that they matter to our success and that they can influence our company. We have put the employees first, which has translated into a very successful business. We hire people who take our business seriously and they are the heart of ESI. You put a great emphasis on safety at ESI. How does that value translate to your employees? Our values at ESI are safety, quality and value and each of those is important; but safety is first for a reason. The work we do can be dangerous, and we want to make sure that every one of our people makes it home to their families at the end of the day. To our employees, it isn’t just their safety that is important, but also the safety of their team members, too. ESI goes above and beyond the state certification requirements with our training to ensure that each employee is ready for all situations, which transfers into a safer environment for everyone. We proudly have four years without an OSHA recordable injury, which is a terrific accomplishment in our field.


Goodwill Industries of South Central California Ten convenient locations to serve you — now in Porterville and Tulare, too! Phone: 837-0595 Website:

Goodwill plays an enormous role in the community. Tell us more about what Goodwill does to impact our local area. We are very proud of the positive impact we have on our community. One of the ways that we have an impact is by utilizing our transitional employment program. We live by the motto: “Hire — Promote Up — Promote Out.” Employees in the program receive on-the-job training, job support services and intense job development services all designed to help our employees’ well-being. We believe that the best way someone can learn how to work is by giving them the opportunity to work. Our transitional employment program is funded 100 percent through community donations. We receive no federal, state or grant money. Thus, our program is able to thrive only because of the ongoing generous support of the community’s donations of gently-used clothing and household items. That sounds like a great program. How has it gone so far this year? So far in 2012, we have hired 62 new employees. Of those new employees, more than 60 percent have a documented, declared barrier to employment including developmental disabilities, hearing impairments, blindness, homelessness, participants in the welfare-to-work program, veterans and employees who 144

Bakersfield Life

September 2012

have no high school diploma. Internally, we have promoted 26 employees resulting in an average hourly wage increase of 9.2 percent for them. Externally, we have promoted six individuals into community employment, which resulted in an average hourly wage increase of $5.74 for those former employees. All of this demonstrates our commitment to hiring local individuals with barriers to employment, promoting them up within Goodwill through on-the-job training, and then promoting them out into higher paying community jobs so they can better their lives and the lives of their families. Among the obvious benefit to the community, can you tell us why Goodwill is such a great place to work? Of the 240 Goodwill employees, roughly 220 participate in our transitional employment program. So apart from on-the-job training, they also receive job development services, job placement services and a full-range of support services. Also, 97 percent of all Goodwill employees are full-time status, making them eligible to receive our great benefits package that includes 85 percent of the employees’ healthcare cost being covered by Goodwill, a 403(b) retirement plan and a great paid time off (PTO) plan. Our corporate strategic plan calls for the opening of two new stores by the end of 2013, which would bring our total store count to 12. What we are most excited about is that every time we open a new retail store, we create new job opportunities for local individuals with barriers to employment — and battling the unemployment rate is something we can all be proud of.


HealthSouth Bakersfield Rehabilitation Hospital Address: Address: 5001 Commerce Drive Number: 323-5000 Website:

Compiled by Kim Yokoyama Kelly Molloy is a speech therapist and has been with HealthSouth Bakersfield for one year. She is originally from Phoenix, Ariz. Speech therapists assist patients to regain the abilities with speaking, swallowing, and to strengthen memory and problem-solving skills. Michelle Maruca, a native of New Jersey, is a physical therapist and has been with HealthSouth Bakersfield for two years. Physical therapists assist patients with regaining physical strength in order to balance, walk and control motor skills. Ashley Watkins, originally from Detroit, Mich., is an occupational therapist and has been with HealthSouth Bakersfield since May. Occupational therapists work with patients to regain physical strength and coordination in order to carry out everyday skills such as dressing, shaving, folding clothes and cooking. Chris Freeman comes to Bakersfield from Arizona. Chris is a physical therapist and has been with HealthSouth Bakersfield for 18 months. What made you decide to move to Bakersfield and work for HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital? Molloy: “My mom had an arteriovenous malformation that required brain surgery. After the surgery, she was paralyzed on the right side of her body and couldn’t speak. She went to Phoenix’s HealthSouth 146

Bakersfield Life

September 2012

for inpatient and outpatient care. They did a great job and after a lot of hard work, people can’t tell that anything ever happened. I had my bachelor’s degree in fine arts and acting, but realized I wanted to help, too. I got my Master of Science in communication disorders. I knew HealthSouth inpatient was the only place I wanted to work, so I came here when this position opened up. I’m so glad I did. I love it.” Maruca: “I finished my clinical internship here and stayed because of the people I work with and the atmosphere.” Watkins: “I came to work with the variety of diagnosis’ you see here in inpatient therapy.” Freeman: “This is a great place to work; the sense of teamwork with my co-workers.” What does HealthSouth mean to you? Molloy: “A sense of teamwork. I like the patients I work with and how I feel when we get them stabilized; we focus on getting them home. Patients often come back to say hi, and sometimes I don’t recognize them. They look so great. We helped with that.” Maruca: “Making a difference and getting patients back to the highest level of functioning they can achieve.” Watkins: “It’s a fulfilling job. People come in and are not able to do for themselves and they go home able to do what is meaningful to them. You feel appreciated.” Freeman: “All the hard work I put in for years is helping someone else get back to their lives. The quality of the therapy and staff who love what they are doing. We have many staff that have been here for years and years, that’s a testament to the fact they love what they are doing.”

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3. Flowers and more

Uniquely Chic Florist has your brand names for trendy flower arrangements and gifts. Wide selection of crosses, fleur de lis, crowns, inspirational plaques, frames and much more! 9500 Brimhall Road, Suite 701; 588-7997;


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4. Fun for your garden

Color Me Mine carries an extensive collection of paint-your-own interior decor, pet and garden items, including garden gnomes of all sizes! 9000 Ming Ave.; 664-7366;

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5. New Kitchen

Munoz Cabinetry can now take care of all your cabinet needs, new, restoration, refacing and now we also can do counter tops. Call Munoz Cabinetry today, where craftsmanship is our trademark, 836-8747 or

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Bakersfield Life

September 2012


The Tequila and Cerveza Festival July 20 Held at Bakersfield Museum of Art Photos by Carla Rivas View these photos and more online at


Jodi Buford, Kandy Banner, Allison PerkinsThomas, Rhonda Williams, Linda Oliver and Victoria DeLa Rosa

Frank and Lupe Kurz

Carina Gomez, Dalia Luna and Monica Rios

Alex Castillo, Baldo Cisneros and Oscar Prado

Ricardo Gallardo and Marisela Oropeza

Lezley Pumphrey and Leilani Delamines

Rodolfo and Veronica Rodriguez

Glenda and Charlie Marlborough

Bakersfield Life

September 2012

(855) 393-2840

Latina Leaders Awards Dinner July 14 Held at The Bakersfield Marriott Photos by Tanya X. Leonzo View these photos and more online at Mark Martinez and Wendy Avila

Genaro and Francisca Garcia

Jose Gurrola and Alexsis Sanchez

Lucy Zarate and Juan Rodriguez

Vivian Ramos, Desiree Bermudez, Olivia Garcia and Amanda Lopez

Irma Cervantes, Adam Lancaster, and Michaela Dooley

Bill McDougle, Pam Baugher, Ric Van Horne and Rob Arias


Swingtime Under The Stars July 21 Held at Kern County Museum Photos by Carla Rivas View these photos and more online at

Shirley and Bill St. Claire

Nicole, Pete and Yolanda Parra

Ryan Lively and Demi and Frank Hinmon

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661-589-8950 • 800-FIT-IS-IT 152

Bakersfield Life

September 2012

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

Howlin’ at the Moon Fun Run Aug. 4 Held at The Park at Riverwalk Photos by Jan St. Pierre View these photos and more online at David Sullivan and Sharon and Don Brakebill

Tom Burch and Mike and Libby Doolittle

Shannon Hankins, Jessica Carter and Josh Thomas

Octovio Patino, Deb Medina and Erika Pierce

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Courtney Purcell, Casee Welch and Leah Chavez


Walk for Valley Fever Awareness Aug. 11 Held at Kern County Museum Photos by Casey Christie View these photos and more online at

Nemo, Isyss Scott and Helen Richards

Melissa Cotton and Carlos Cruz

Synthia and Orfil Uribe

Ashton Chase and Lori Crown

Araya Graves and Sharon Borradori



Summer Yarbrough, Valerie Parling and Marissa Aguilera

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Bakersfield Life

September 2012

Gwen Dobbs, Sandra Larson, Vince Fong and Bert McCarthy

“Integrity isn’t Expensive, It’s Priceless”

Rhonda Lewis

Richard Rivera

Cathie Paulovitz

Kathy Keener

Marvin Bush

Stacy Harrison

Eva Martinez

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Jackie Putman

Ronda Chaffin

Louie Gregorio

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Adoree Roberson Owner/Manager

Joe Roberson Owner/Broker

“We’re Not National, We’re Your Neighbors” Not a franchise company

3977 Coffee Road, Ste. C (Behind Chicago Title)


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Bakersfield Association for Realtors Casino Night Aug. 16 Held at Moorea Banquet Center Photos by Jan St Pierre View these photos and more online at Jim and Patrice Black

Linda Jay and Kristy Gannon

Mike and Shari George

Alex Hernandez and Stella Bradford

Cesar Marquez and Frank Arreola

Grisel Fonseca and Erika Vallejo

Debi and Phil Roberson

Sam and Nancy Jabuka

19th & N Street, Downtown Bakersfield 156

Bakersfield Life

(661) 325-8476

September 2012

Chereyl Nunn, Daniel Sala and Laureen Stancliff

Inside Story

Sequoia Paint Compiled by Gabriel Ramirez Photos by Shelby Mack

• Sequoia Paint opened in 1962. Ingredients in a typical batch include: acrylic, titanium, water and thickening agents.

• Sequoia Paint’s first customers were painting contractors. Over the years they have diversified to include farming, industrial, schools, government agencies, automotive and a large walk-in trade. • The business makes and sells thousands of gallons of special paint for the cold storage facilities. • Sequoia Paint currently has six employees, all of whom have been with the company for an average of 30 years.

Longtime employee Bruce Barter operates the agitator where paint is mixed at Sequoia Paint. 158

Bakersfield Life

September 2012

They make approximately 365,000 gallons a year. The agitator can make 300 gallons per hour.

Owner and founder Jim Elder checks a batch of paint.

It takes about an hour to make a batch.


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Bakersfield Life Magazine September 2012  
Bakersfield Life Magazine September 2012  

Bakersfield Life Magazine September 2012