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September 2013

Cinco de

“Sirena Con Sus Pajaros” by Alberto Herrera

Latination Annual exhibit at Metro Galleries

Bakersfield’s 16 Most Eligible Bachelors & Bachelorettes

The Man Issue • Guy-centric hangouts • Men creating legacies for their families • Local longtime lawyer’s thirst for adventure

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F E A T U R E S September 2013

BAKERSFIELD’S MOST ELIGIBLE Meet eight local men and eight local women who are single and ready to mingle.


THE MAN ISSUE Explore this testosterone-filled issue of men-focused features, including local family leaders and the best local places to root for your team, drink merrily and to capture a little freedom and camaraderie. But that doesn’t mean the women of Bakersfield can’t enjoy this issue. Get the inside scoop on the other half.

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CINCO DE LATINATION What does Latin mean to you? See how local artists answer this question with their creations in the fifth annual Latination art exhibit, “Cinco de Latination.”

64 Bakersfield Life Magazine

September 2013

D E P A R T M E N T S September 2013

13 30 32 34 38

Up Front It Manners a Lot Kelly Damian Food Dudes Food and Wine

102 104 110 114 118

Our Town Community Neighborhood Spotlight Guys Who‌ Personality

Celebrating 19 Years of Caring! Darlyn Baker, RN - Owner

ASSISTED CARE Personal Assistance Hospital Sitting Companionship Light Housekeeping Bathing Shopping Preparing Meals ...and much more!

42 42 Foodie 46 Entertainment 50 Hometown Hero 52 On the Road 57 Why I Live Here 58 All-Star Athlete 60 Talk of the Town 62 For a Cause 90 Business Profiles 94 Pastimes 98 Home and Garden 100 History

HOME HEALTH RNs/LVNs Physical Therapists Home Health Aides Wound/Ostomy Care


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Bakersfield Life Magazine


September 2013

Joe Cornejo worked with Advance Beverage Company for 37 years before retiring. The name of the company was misspelled in an article on Page 114 in the July 2013 issue.


Bakersfield’s Premier City Magazine Sept. 2013 / Vol. 7 / Issue 12

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO AT THE KERN COUNTY FAIR? “Funnel cake with extra powdered sugar and lots of napkins!” — Mark Nessia, contributing photographer and writer

“It’s a time of the year we can eat food that we dismiss any other time, like the fresh-baked cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting. It’s highly unhealthy, but amazingly delicious. At least it’s not fried.” — Jorge

“My son just turned 6, so I’m looking forward to experiencing the fair from his perspective. My mom took us to the fair every year as kids, and I’m hoping to pass on those great memories.” — Kevin McCloskey, contributing writer

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. To advertise, contact Lisa Whitten at or 395-7563. Publisher Ginger Moorhouse President/CEO Richard Beene Senior Vice President Revenue and Marketing John Wells Vice President, Administration and Operations Nancy Chaffin Interactive Sales Manager Gunter Copeland Advertising Sales Manager Lisa Whitten Advertising Traffic Manager Shauna Rockwell

Barrientos, assistant managing editor

Marketing Manager Mira Patel

“We look forward to the Basque Club each year. Great food. Great people.” — Katie Kirschen-

“People watching, a cinnamon roll and maybe this year getting dressed up for an Old West photo!” — April

mann, contributing writer

“The firefighters booth: the Philly cheesesteak sandwich. It’s always a must-stop for my family. That and the rides for the boys, a trip to the livestock area, and La Villa Festival, where I always find my friend Luis Aguilar of El Pueblo serving up dishes and margaritas.”

Massirio, photographer

“The entries of homemade desserts, handmade quilts and quirky collections of things like dolls and marbles — slices of Americana!” — Lisa Kimble, contributing writer

“I’ve been in Bakersfield for nine years, and I still have yet to visit the Kern County Fair. So this year I’m planning on attending to sample the terribly unhealthy foods (like the cinnamon rolls) and maybe catch a free concert.” —

— Olivia Garcia, editor

Hillary Haenes, specialty publications coordinator

Distribution and Marketing Representative Patrick Wells Editor Olivia Garcia Assistant Managing Editor Jorge Barrientos Specialty Publications Coordinator Hillary Haenes Editorial Assistant Estella Aguilar Art Director Glenn Hammett Photography Felix Adamo, Sally Baker, Henry A. Barrios, Casey Christie, Gregory D. Cook, Michael Fagans, Alex Horvath, Kirby Lee, Michael Lopez, April Massirio, Kevin McCloskey, Paul Natkin, Greg Nichols, Mark Nessia, Autumn Parry, Earl Parsons, Gabriel Ramirez, Carla Rivas, Carol Rosegg, Turner Rouse, Jr., Scott Sloan, Jan St Pierre, Cyllavan Tiedemann Contributing writers Sally Baker, Gregory D. Cook, Kelly Damian, Ken Hooper, Lisa Kimble, Katie Kirschenmann, Marissa Lay, Stephen Lynch, Kevin McCloskey, Earl Parsons, Gabriel Ramirez, Chris Thornburgh Interns

“My favorite thing about the fair is going to see all the animals. I was involved in 4-H when I was a kid, and I think those programs, including FFA, are so important for kids in Kern County. Of course, the food is an added bonus!” — Emily Claffy, contributing writer


Bakersfield Life Magazine

September 2013

Scott Camp, Thomas Harlander, Kaelyn De Leon, Andrea Vega On the cover “Sirena Con Sus Pajaros” by Alberto Herrera, who is one of the artists taking part in “Cinco De Latination,” premiering Sept. 6 at Metro Galleries.


TO THE MEN IN OUR LIVES Olivia’s picks ParentVUE Parents of teenagers, here’s another way to keep track of your kids. The Kern High School District has a mobile app for the Android and iPhone called ParentVUE. This app allows you to keep track of your teen’s grades, attendance and class schedule. You can also use it to contact your teen’s teachers. I love it. Visit for more info.

Anson Mount

‘Hell on Wheels’ This is not your typical family TV show, but “Hell on Wheels” is great for fans of the American West. Available on AMC, “Hell on Wheels” is set in the 1860s and centers around a former Confederate soldier who becomes chief engineer in the construction of the First Transcontinental Railroad. Among my favorite actors on the show: Anson Mount and Common.

Mophie phone cases The Mophie Juice Pack is a great iPhone case and charger all wrapped up in one. I use it on vacation, and on long runs when I need to have extra juice for a dying battery. Available at the Apple store and Best Buy.


Bakersfield Life Magazine


or our September issue, Bakersfield Life is proud to provide a salute to the men in our lives. Many of them represent the fine qualities of being leaders, providers, teachers, supporters, planners, helpers and much more. We thought it only made sense to profile such great individuals in this issue. One of our key feature packages is about fathers who have shared their of labor of love with their sons and daughters. Here, you will learn about Morgan Clayton and his successful Tel-Tec security business that he runs with his grown children at his side. You’ll meet the Mears family, who were “born” into the exciting arena of professional racing. Or catch up on the Dunn family, and listen to their tale of running a longtime skating business in Bakersfield. There’s plenty of other feature stories on local men who are succeeding in our city. Fellow runner and writer Katie Kirschenmann shares how make sure the men in our lives eat a bit healthier. Also, read about a group of men who are a part of our thriving oil community. And when we refer to the men in our magazine, we mean young and old. There’s Blake Haney, for instance, the local high school cross country star runner who is making headway across the state, country and even globally. What a talented ultrafast athlete we have in our community, and we can only expect greater things to come from him. He shared his experiences, hopes and health tips with writers Stephen Lynch, and local health guru and runner Sally Baker. Aside from our focus on men, our magazine also shined

September 2013

the spotlight on local singles. Are you single and looking for companionship or friendship? Then turn to our singles feature where you will meet some attractive, funny and smart individuals. A special thanks to everyone who entered our “Singles” contest and sought the opportunity to be featured in our magazine. There were tough calls, by all means. And another thanks to Stephanie at Oral & Facial Specialists for opening her doors to us for our singles photoshoot. September is also a busy month with lots of local happenings, and our magazine highlights a number of interesting events in our community. Read all about “Cinco de Latination,” the juried art exhibit focusing on Latininspired art, and learn about some of the artists featured in the show that kicks off formally on First Friday, Sept. 6. Bakersfield Life is a proud sponsor of the fifth Latination, which is spearheaded by Don Martin, who tells me that a “youth category” will be featured this year. And expect the usual great food and drinks courtesy of Luis Aguilar of El Pueblo Restaurant in Lamont. Talk about a very genuine and giving business owner. Of course, I could be a little bias since his restaurant is one of my favorite Mexican food spots in our area. Lastly, we can’t forget the fair, and we give you the inside scoop on some new fair food and offerings. Plus, learn about the local country band, Lucky Ned Pepper, which will be performing at the fair. My family loves the fair, and I always encourage friends and family to explore it all. It’s truly a Bakersfield tradition.

Olivia Garcia Editor 395-7487 •


WORD ON THE STREET Compiled by Gregory D. Cook


Carl Young

John Roach

“Hey, didn’t you and I go to different high schools together?”

“You just look at the girl and say, ‘Hey girl,’ and give her a wink.”

“You remind me of the alphabet, if only we could put ‘U’ and ‘I’ together.”

Sandra Perez

Michael Stratton

Emily Brunett

“Did it hurt when you fell from heaven? Because you look like an angel to me.”

“A simple ‘Hello’ always seems to work. Or something like, ‘You have the most beautiful eyes.’”

“Are you wearing space pants? Because you are out of this world!”

Laura P.

Ashley Ruff

Traci Chase

“So, do you come here often?”

“I lost my phone number. Can I have yours?”

“Is it hot in here, or is it just you?”

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THE BIG PICTURE Photo by Felix Adamo

LIGHTS SHOW, FOUNTAINS FLOW With the Kern County Administration building in the background, the fountains at Rabobank Arena flow into the early evening.


Bakersfield Life Magazine

September 2013






tinson’s, a local retail institution for more than six decades, is named after its founder, Ben Stinson Jr., whose father and family patriarch, Ben Stinson Sr., first established a business presence in the community in 1916. Ben Sr. came to California from Amarillo, Texas by train. On his way from San Diego to San Francisco, he got off at the Bakersfield depot, and according to his grandson, thought it resembled Amarillo. “He said he thought Bakersfield looked and felt like home,” recalled Ben Stinson III. The original Stinson Grocery Co. was at the corner of Chester Avenue and 17th Street and served the community for more than two decades before the Depression sealed its fate. Before then, Ben Sr. came up with the concept of mini-markets, and at one time had six grocery stores, including in Wasco and Shafter. The east Bakersfield mart was known as Stinson’s Groceteria. The senior Stinson lived on San Emidio Street in the Oleander area and had five children. Their second oldest, Ben Franklin Stinson Jr. attended Kern Union High School and Bakersfield College and graduated UC Berkeley with a business degree. He returned to his hometown to teach and was among the first educators at the newly opened East High. After serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, Ben Jr. came back to Bakersfield where he met and married Mary Elizabeth Miller, also a teacher, in 1946. They moved to Tehachapi where Ben Jr. taught business skills at the women’s penal colony. But Mary Stinson thought her husband’s business degree should be put to better use and encouraged him to do something more lucrative. Ben Sr. tried to dissuade his son from leav-

Stinson’s Groceteria in the 1920s was one of Stinson’s first stores in Bakersfield. 16

Bakersfield Life Magazine

ing the security of his teaching job, but Mary prevailed. In October 1947, Stinson’s Stationers held its grand opening as the first tenant in the Lemucchi family’s Tejon Theater building on Baker and Monterey streets. Ben Jr. delivered office products on his lunch break and on his way home. His father joined the operation, which had became so successful that in 1952, having outgrown its original location, moved to the southwest corner of Baker and Kentucky streets. The move allowed for a warehouse and delivery services. Ben Jr.’s first delivery vehicle was a 1954 Chevy. Ben Jr. and Mary had three children: Sally, Liz and Ben III. Ben Sr. died in 1965. The following year, Stinson moved again, this time to its current location on Baker Street. In nine years, the company had gone from 3,500 square feet to 25,000. Mary Stinson retired from teaching in 1977, and established her presence Ben Stinson III and creative buying touch within the business. Two years later, Ben Jr. invited his son to join the family business, and in 1981, Ben III became president of the nowincorporated Stinson Stationers. Ben Jr. died in 1983. Today, the company, known simply as Stinson’s, has survived the dramatic changes that revolutionized the office supply industry. Upwards of 70 percent of its business comes from online sales. The company includes the massive distribution center and an office furniture showroom in the southwest and employs more than 40 people. Among the employees is Ben III’s son Mark, who spent his summer home from college helping with the Stinson business plan. In 2011, Ben III was inducted in Cal State Bakersfield’s Hall of Fame, and in September, he will receive the prestigious 2013 John Brock Community Service Award from CSUB’s School of Business and Public Administration. — Lisa Kimble

September 2013




f you’re single, you have fantastic opportunities that your married counterparts don’t. You have complete control over your income and finances, but you also have no one to blame for your mistakes but yourself. Here are a few smart financial tips for a successful future. Married folks, you can still learn from these, too.

seems so far off. Other obligations seem more important, like student loans, car payments and a mortgage payment. Retirement should be just as high a priority. The general rule is to save at least 10 to 15 percent of your gross income for retirement regardless of employer matching contributions. Start early so you don’t have to catch up later.

WATCH YOUR CREDIT AND BILLS SET GOALS, AVOID “SOMEDAY” Wish you could buy a new car or own a home? Need to save for a wedding or a welldeserved vacation? Maybe it’s retirement in your dream beach house? Estimate what you’ll need to save to meet your goal. Set a specific date and stick with it — you’ll never reach “someday.”


Singles often say they’re too busy and don’t see the payoff of tracking expenses. With various phone apps, it’s actually fun and easy, and the payoff is huge. You’ll be surprised how many purchases are non-essential — dollars that could be used for saving. is a popular onthe-go app that helps you track expenses. But computers and smartphones aren’t necessary to track expenses. For a month, carry a small notebook and write down every dollar you spend. More than 90 percent of people say they changed their spending habits after tracking expenses.

SET AUTOMATIC SAVINGS AND A CUSHION What you don’t see, you don’t miss. Set up an automatic deduction that goes straight from your paycheck into a savings account. If you lose your source of income, you need a cash cushion. Six to nine months of income is a good rule of thumb, though estimates vary depending on individual circumstances.

SAVING FOR RETIREMENT IS IMPORTANT It’s easy to procrastinate when retirement

If used wisely, credit cards help build good credit and prove useful in emergencies. But if you’re maxing out credit cards and ignoring bills, you might not realize the effect it has on your credit. Credit card payments and level of debt impact your credit score. Mess up in these areas, and your credit score plummets. Even if your payment is only a week or two late, a credit card company can still disclose your missed payment to credit reporting agencies, damaging your credit score. What’s the big deal? Poor credit will cost you more than you may realize. Since many businesses now judge you based on your credit score, having bad credit can cost you employment. A landlord may deny your application to lease an apartment. Even renewal of a cell phone contract requires good credit. If you’re lucky enough to get a loan, it can unnecessarily cost you thousands more in higher monthly payments.

GETTING MARRIED? Talk to your honey about money before you tie the knot. Is she or he a spender and you a saver? Money is the No. 1 reason couples fight, and the root of many failed marriages. Bottom line: Take care of your money now, so your money can take care of you later. You may be single, but when it comes to planning, you don’t have to go it alone. A good certified public accountant and financial planner can get you on the right track. — Chris Thornburgh is a CPA and partner at Brown Armstrong Accountancy Corp. Contact her at or 3244971.



Gerald Haslam



ildale native and acclaimed author Gerald Haslam will again be recognized for writing about what he knows best — California and its people. The American Association of State and Local History will present Haslam and his editor and wife, Janice, with the “award of merit” on Sept. 20 as part of the association’s program that recognizes those who excel in preserving state and local histories. He is being honored for his book, “In Thought and Action: The Enigmatic Life of S.I. Hayakawa,” which chronicles the life of the Canadian-born college president turned U.S. senator. Other works of Haslam, a retired Sonoma State professor, include “Working’ Man Blues: Country Music in California,” and “The Great Central Valley: California’s Heartland.” — Scott Camp



n the Unites States, one person every 14 minutes commits suicide. These are deaths that likely could have been prevented, argues the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. In attempt to shed light on the issue locally, the nonprofit’s Los Angeles and Central Region chapters will host the fourth “Out of the Darkness Walk” at 9 p.m. Sept. 14 at Beach Park. The three- to five-mile walk is aimed to raise awareness, prevent suicide and raise funds for suicide prevention programs and research. To sign up or make a donation, go to and find “Kern County.” — Kaelyn De Leon 18

Bakersfield Life Magazine

September 2013



aving recently retired after 13 seasons in the National Football League, 36-year-old Joey Porter, a Bakersfield native, will be inducted into the Colorado State University Hall of Fame on Nov. 1. Porter, a Foothill High School grad, played for Colorado State before his professional football career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Miami Dolphins and the Arizona Cardinals. He earned a Super Bowl ring in 2006, when the Steelers defeated the Seattle Seahawks. And he was a three-time Pro Bowl selection. Porter retired last year. Recently, Porter was hired as an Joey Porter undergraduate student assistant coach at Colorado State, where he is also working toward his liberal arts degree with a focus on social studies. — Thomas Harlander






or 29 years, Cal State Bakersfield’s Hispanic Excellence Scholarship Fund has helped academically excellent students afford higher education. In fact, more than $2.7 million in scholarships have been given to more than 1,500 students. This Sept. 21 marks the program’s 30th scholarship awards program — at 6 p.m. in CSUB’s Dore Theatre — and with it, another 50 students will receive nearly $100,000. The scholarships are courtesy of some of Bakersfield’s most prominent community leaders, and the program has risen to become one of the top scholarship organizations of its kind. Since 1984, the fund has aimed to support the future leaders in the community, and past recipients have pursued local careers in education, business and government. The public is invited to attend. For ticket information and more, visit, email or call 654-6754. — Scott Camp



he annual One Book, One Bakersfield, One Kern community reading and discussion project will focus on Rebecca Skloot’s “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” through a series of local events. The book examines Henrietta Lacks, a poor black tobacco farmer from whom cell samples were taken without permission in 1951 and became a tool for medicine, cloning and gene mapping, organizers say. For younger readers, a companion title will be “An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793,” by Jim Murphy.

Scheduled events include:

• A CSUB Kegley Institute Fall Lecture, featuring author Dr. Otis Webb Brawley, 7 p.m., Oct. 9, at the CSUB Dore Theatre • Meet the Lacks Family, 7 p.m., Oct. 17, at Dore Theatre. • Science Symposium, sponsored by the Bakersfield City School District, 9 a.m., Oct. 19, at Stiern Middle School. • A Skloot visit and book signing 7 p.m. Nov. 6 at CSUB’s Icardo Center. Stay updated through the “One Book, One Bakersfield, One Kern” Facebook page or — Thomas Harlander


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o honor and support adults and children diagnosed with cystic fibrosis — a disease that scars the lungs and suppresses the immune system — the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation will host “An Evening at the Art Museum Cocktail Mixer” on Sept. 13 at Metro Galleries in downtown Bakersfield. In addition to music, a silent auction, hors d’oeuvres, desserts and, of course, cocktails, the fundraiser will feature artworks Tiffany Fischer created by those affected by cystic fibrosis — patients, family, friends and supporters of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The lineup includes art by Tiffany Fischer, chairwoman of the event, who suffers from the disease. The event will take place 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. at Metro Galleries, 1604 19th St. Tickets are $50 each and $80 for couples. For more information or sponsorships: 323-939-0758 or — Thomas Harlander 20

Bakersfield Life Magazine




akersfield native Jason Colbert gradutoy. ated from the Kern County Sheriff’s Favorite food: Yesko gets dry food every Office academy in March 2007 and day, but if he was to have it his way, he would has been a deputy since. In October choose to eat uncooked hot dogs. 2010, Colbert was assigned to the K-9 Talents: Yesko is crossed-trained in patrol unit, and he was introduced to his new partwork and narcotics detection. His patrol work ner, a 4-year-old German Shepherd named consists of area searches, building searches, Yesko. tracking and obedience. He is trained to detect “The first day with him, I spent about 12 hours talking to him and feeding him uncooked hot dogs,” said Colbert, a North High grad. “Ever since that day, we have been best friends.” Today, Colbert and Yesko, now 7, work together to keep our communities safe. Our careers: Yesko had a prior career as a sport dog in Germany. The sport is called Schutzhund. Yesko received the title “Schutzhund 3” six times, which is the highest title that can be earned in the sport. I never renamed Yesko due to his age, and I did not want to confuse him. We went to P.O.S.T. Basic Academy for two months before being on patrol with each other. I know my pet is moody when… Yesko places his head on the ground and lets out a big sigh. He then looks at me to Kern County Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Colbert make sure I am watching and his K-9, Yesko. him. What makes my pet five different narcotics. happy: Yesko loves his job. He knows that Favorite moment: Early in our careers when the patrol car starts, it’s time to go to together, Yesko and I were searching for a burwork. Once he hears that car, he howls with glary suspect in the Rosedale area. Yesko was excitement and spins his body in circles. Yesko able to locate the suspect hiding in a flower wants to go to work every day. bed, and the other deputies and I were unable Five words to describe my pet’s perto see the suspect hiding. This was Yesko’s first sonality: Strong. Energetic. Friendly. Smart. successful real-life search. Happy. — Bakersfield Life Magazine Favorite game: Tug of war with his tug PHOTO BY FELIX ADAMO


September 2013

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non stop music on five different stages. VillageFest will be from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Kern County Museum. As usual, money raised will support the nonprofit Children’s Advocates Resource Endowment, or CARE, which focuses on the needs of children in Kern County. For more information or sponsorships:

he numbers add up to one heck of a time. That’s 60 breweries, 30 restaurants, 25 wineries and 17 local and touring bands featured during the 18th annual VillageFest on Sept. 7. A $68 ticket to the festival entitles attendees to unlimited samples from some of Bakersfield’s best restaurants and, on top of that, 15 beer or wine samples of your choice. The 17 bands will provide

— Thomas Harlander






rnie Zarra has worked in private and public education for 34 years and is currently in his 14th year of teaching government and economics at Centennial High. He also teaches as an adjunct professor at Cal State Bakersfield. He’s authored books and journal articles and is a professional development leader for Kern High School District. His latest book is “Teacher-Student Relationships: Crossing into the Emotional, Physical and Sexual Realms.” His book explores romantic and sexual relationships between educators in public and private schools and their students. He and his wife, Suzi, both New Jersey natives, have been married 37 years and have two adult children. What I’m currently reading: “The Art of Deception: An Introduction to Critical ThinkErnie Zarra ing” by Nicholas Cappaldi and “How Doctors Think” by Jerome Groopman. Have you ever wondered how relationship misunderstandings occur, either personally or professionally? The proper uses of evidence in argumentation and the ways human brains form knowledge have always intrigued me. Favorite author: This is a little like asking the Italian in me, “What is your favorite Italian food?” Avid readers have favorites across genres. Specifically, non-fiction favorites are anything on brain 22

Bakersfield Life Magazine

September 2013

research, ethics and law, the Cold War period, theology and political philosophy. Three of my favorite authors are Dallas Willard, Condoleezza Rice and C. S. Lewis. Book v. tablet: Definitely both. My personal library has nearly 3,000 hand-selected books, and who can escape the digital revolution as an educator? I live in the best of both worlds! Book’s I’ve read more than once: The Bible; anything by C. S Lewis; “The Great Game of Politics” by Dick Stoken; “Know Why You Believe” by Paul Little; “Bowling Alone” by Robert Putnam; “The Intellectuals Speak Out About God” by Abraham Varghese; “Closing of the American Mind” by Alan Bloom; and “Enriching the Brain” by Eric Jensen. Where I enjoy reading: I enjoy reading in my personal study, the beach and even on airplanes — you name it! Also, as a teacher, I scour the Internet daily for good current event reading material on topics. While at home, I look forward each morning to the early delivery of The Bakersfield Californian. The book that’s been inspirational in my life: Definitely the Bible. Its timeless and unchanging truths comprise the foundation of Western civilization and culture. It has changed my life!

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akersfield’s aspiring young Picassos will be showcasing their works of art Saturday, Sept. 21, during the Boys and Girls Clubs of Kern County’s annual flagship fundraiser, “ArtFest.” The event allows children and professional artists alike to submit their works for silent and live auctions, and all of the proceeds will support the Boys and Girls Clubs’ art programs. Organizers say this is a huge accomplishment for many of the participating children to not only display their pieces to the public but have a role in supporting the club. “It’s become a fun tradition for them to have their work chosen by staff to be a part of ArtFest, where they see their creations sold for hundreds of dollars,” said Jason Gutierrez, of multimedia and design agency Enigma, which is helping organize the event. “This has really boosted the kid’s self-esteem and belief in their talents.” ArtFest will feature dinner, wine-tasting, and drinks provided by Lengthwise Brewing Co. Tickets are $75, and sponsorships are




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being accepted at various levels. It will be held from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Morea Banquet Centre, 8700 Swigert Court. For more information, visit or call 325-3730. — Scott Camp

HISPANIC CHAMBER TO CELEBRATE BUSINESSES, CULTURE IN ALL-DAY EVENTS n Sept. 15, one day before the anniversary of Mexico’s independence from Spain, the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce will host the 19th annual business and consumer trade show. Hundreds of community members are expected to gather at Central Park at Mill Creek to celebrate the all-day event, which will feature live performances of traditional Latin American music and dance, as well as food, vendors and 60 exhibitors. Foodies will also have the chance to showcase their salsa-making talents in a cook-off that will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Following the trade show, at 9:50 p.m., will be a reenactment of the “Grito de Dolores,” or “Cry of Independence,” performed every year to commemorate the rallying call first cried out by Father Miguel Hidalgo during the Mexican War of Independence in 1810. The events are an opportunity to not only highlight Hispanic businesses in the area, but educate locals about the history of Mexico, Hispanic chamber president Jay Tamsi said. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit — Scott Camp







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Country duo performs.

Rick Russell and Josh Graham are Lucky Ned Pepper.


Photos courtesy of Lucky Ned Pepper


reat country musicians have been debuting out of Bakersfield for decades, with Buck Owens and Merle Haggard being the pioneers. It’s no surprise that another act from Bakersfield is breaking pavement in the music industry. Bakersfield’s Josh Graham and Rick Russell, former members of the Bakersfield country group Smokin’ Armadillos, are on yet another musical journey together as country duo Lucky Ned Pepper. “It was an amazing blessing to be able to do it one time but twice — awesome!” said Graham, who plays acoustic guitar. When the Smokin’ Armadillos said farewell in 2005 after a 13-year stint, the band members went their separate ways in life. Graham went on to do sound engineering and Russell centered his life around his family.


Bakersfield Life Magazine

September 2013

“Deep down, I always knew that I would record a solo album just to see what it sounded like, but at that point when the farewell show ended, I just really started focusing on my kids,” said Russell, lead vocals, on Lucky Ned Pepper’s website, “Then I just kept getting the itch. I really wanted to get in there and record again.” Russell sought out help from longtime bandmate Graham with putting together a solo album. In a matter of time, the idea of becoming a duo intrigued the two. “I got back in the frame of mind that it would be fun to make music with Rick again because for 13 years, that’s all we did together,” said Graham on the website. Named after Robert Duvall’s character from True Grit, a 1969 John Wayne film, Lucky Ned Pepper performed for the first time in February 2011. They released their debut CD, “Get Lucky,” in September 2012. “It was pretty strange and even uncomfortable at first,” Graham told Bakersfield Life. “There’s a certain amount of freedom that comes with only two of us calling the shots, but I noticed quickly how much I relied on all the other members of the band for so many things once that safety net is gone. I’m much more comfortable now, and it really has been fun to get a chance to do it again and recreate ourselves musically.” With hit songs like “I Remember the Music,” written by some of the greatest songwriters in the country music industry, Ashley Gorley and Wade Kirby, Lucky Ned Pepper will soon be a household name. “It’s an adventure and a pleasure,” Graham said. “Rick and I have always gotten along very well, and he’s an amazing talent as well as a good friend. I wouldn’t want to do this with anyone else.” The group has played numerous shows throughout California this year and also in Bakersfield, including at Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace and the Kern County Nut Festival. See them next Sept. 13 at the Tulare County Fair and on Sept. 25 at our very own Kern County Fair. Music from the band can be found and purchased on their website (, or purchased on iTunes. — Do you know someone from Bakersfield who is finding fame, or is representing Bakersfield while in the spotlight? Email us an idea at with the subject line: Finding Fame.

Favorite Deli! BAKERSFIELD’S




• 177,800 singles living in the greater

• 201,755 men live in the greater Bak-

Bakersfield area.

ersfield area.

• 63 percent have never been married. • 44 percent own homes. • 9 percent have college degrees. • 10 percent attend Bakersfield Condors hockey games.

• 1 out of 4 single adults are planning to go back to school.

• 60 percent have household incomes of $40,000 or more.

• 69 percent of men are employed. • 27 percent are white collar workers. • 42 percent are blue collar workers. • 49 percent have children in their household.

• Singles are 35 percent more likely to see a movie on the opening weekend than non-singles.

• Single men outnumber single women 3 to 2 in the age group 18 to 39.

• 1 in 4 single men were previously married.

• 16 percent have college degrees. • 35 percent cycle, ride bikes. • 32 percent jog or run. • 14 percent play basketball. — Source: Scarborough Research 2013 R1 (percentages,num bersare rounded),Base:GreaterBakersfield.Adultsin GreaterBakersfield:393,100.

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Find more community events at or submit yours via email:

HAPPENINGS: Can’t-miss events in September Tues. 3 Guild House is open for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Also. live music, food, wine on Sept. 6, $10. 325-5478 or

Thur. 5 to Sun. 8

ends Tour, 6 p.m. Kern County Raceway Park, 13500 Raceway Boulevard. $8-$45. Email or 835-1264. VillageFest afterparty, music by Mento Buru, 10 p.m. On the Rocks, 1517 18th St., 327-7625 $5. 21 and over only.

Sun. 8

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus at 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 11 a.m., 3 and 7 p.m. Saturday; 1 and 5 p.m. Rabobank Arena, 1001 Truxtun Ave. $20-$75. or call 800-7453000.

63rd annual Harvest Festival, noon to 5 p.m. at Sacred Heart Church, 9915 Ramos Ave. Free to attend. Serving barbecue beef meal, music, rummage sale, etc. 831-6223.

Fri. 6

Fri. 13

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

“Let Us Feed You So We Can Feed Others” Barbecue to benefit the Golden Empire Gleaners, 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the parking lot of Stockdale Towers. $25 per person. Tickets available at the Petroleum Club, Imbibe and the Gleaners or call Pam Fiorini at 324-2767. Anjelah Johnson, 8 p.m. Fox Theater, 2001 H St. $30.50. or 322-5200.

Fri. 6 to Sat. 7 41st annual Greek Food Festival, music, dancing, children’s games, shopping, 4 to 11 p.m. Friday; noon to 11 p.m. Saturday. St. George Greek Orthodox, 401 Truxtun Ave. $5 adults; children under 12 are free. 325-8694.

Sat. 7 44th annual Wasco Festival of Roses, pancake breakfast, parade, rose field tours, fun run, art show and faire, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Barker Park, 1280 Poplar Ave. in Wasco. or 7582614. NASCAR, Spears SRL Southwest Tour with SRL S2, SRl Leg-

Sat. 14 Stockdale Stampede 5K Run/Walk, 8:30 a.m. at River Walk Park. Proceeds benefit senior scholarships and student benefits. $25 preregistration; $30 day of. Visit bakersfieldtrack to register. Fourth annual Bill Brannon Memorial Car Show, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Buttonwillow Park, Highway 58 and Meadow Street, Buttonwil-

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus

Sheryl Crow and Gary Allan low. Free for spectators. $25 vehicle registration by Sept. 2; $30 after. Proceeds benefit those who have Multiple System Atrophy. 332-5498. Yokuts Park Fun Run, practice racing and earn points, 7 a.m. Yokuts Park, Empire Drive off Truxtun Avenue. Free. or 203-4196 or 3917080.

Sun. 15 Sheryl Crow & Gary Allan “Free & Easy Tour,” guest Drake White, 7 p.m. Rabobank Arena, 1001 Truxtun Ave. $33-$73. or 800-7453000. The Ultimate Bridal Event, vendors, fashion show, door prizes, food and cake sampling, games, entertainment, noon to 4 p.m. JC’s Place, 1901 Chester Ave. $10-$15. Visit or 900-2480.

Bakersfield Life Magazine

“Best in the West” Kern County Fair featuring carnival rides, entertainment, concerts, food, exhibits and more. Kern County Fairgrounds, 1142 S. P St. $9 adults; $8 seniors (62+); $5 children 6 to 12; $5 parking. 8334900.

Sat. 21

September 2013

registered car entry fee by Sept. 20; $40 at the door. Proceeds benefit Bakersfield Senior Center. 3251113. Kenny Loggins, 7:30 p.m. Fox Theater, 2001 H St. $59.50 to $99.50. or 322-5200. NASCAR, Pro Late Models 100, Spec Mods, Legends, Bandoleros, Mini Dwarfs, 6 p.m. Kern County Raceway Park, 13500 Raceway Boulevard. $8-$45. Email or 835-1264.

Wed. 18 to Sun. 29 Sun. 22

Friends of Seniors Car & Bike Show, entertainment, food, games, 50/50 raffle, awards, health fair, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Bakersfield Senior Center, 530 Fourth St. Free for spectators; $35 pre-


Wasco Festival of Roses

Sixth annual Bakersfield Comic-Con, meet comic creators, charity raffle, panels, gaming, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Marriott Hotel, 801 Truxtun Ave. $5; children under 8 are free. $2 off admission if you come in costume. Visit

Sat. 28 “Autism on the Run,” 5K; 9 a.m. CSUB, 9001 Stockdale Highway. $45-$50. Email or 397-4777. Ninth annual “Tee It Up” golf tournament, presented by Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; shotgun at noon, Bakersfield Country Club, 4200 Country Club Drive. $125 per person; $500 for a team of four. 633-5495.


Hey, that’s my dad! I enjoyed the article on Bakersfield College’s anniversary (“100 years of Higher Education,” August 2013), especially the photo from 1928. My dad was in the front row, fourth from the right. What a nice way to start my day. Thank you. — Tim Pearson

Different view of ‘conservationist’ Your usually strong “Real People” profile missed the mark with the “Stewards of the Sequoias” (“Conservationist” Q&A, August 2013). The article failed to uncover what this group is really about. Here, to quote the late Paul Harvey, is “the rest of the story.” First, the spokesperson said he saw “the writing on the wall” years ago and had to “speak up” so trails would not be closed. Now, who was being shut out from those trails? Hikers, hunters, anglers, equestrians, picnickers or bird watchers? None of the above. It was relentless damage from illegal off-roading, which caused the closure of some trails to motorized recreation. But there is no mention of that. Second, praise is heaped on Stewards for “maintaining” trails and building bars to “stop erosion.” But how were those trails damaged in the first place? Fauns with steel-belted hooves? Galloping turtles? Perhaps tree-felling bird-watchers? No, again, the damage was created by illegal off-road riders, bringing increasingly sophisticated vehicles into sensitive areas never authorized for their use. What Stewards is really about is providing public relations cover for the off-road community without one word of criticism for the trespassers in their midst. The “writing on the wall” image originates in Book of Daniel 5:25 where ghostly fingers write “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin” on King Belshazzar’s wall. The prophet’s translation works as well for Stewards as it did for the King: “You are weighed on the scales and found wanting.” — Mesonika Piecuch

‘A great magazine’ I want to let you know how much I enjoy the Bakersfield Life magazine, especially this August edition. I teach at Bessie Owens Primary (“Ladies Who” included Addonica Stanley of Owens Primary and Michelle McLean of Arvin Union School District and former Owens School vice principal) and I know Christine Frazier (“What I’m Reading”) — all are awesome supporters of the best practices for our Kern County kids! Then, it was so neat to read about the Taft restaurant, Asian Experience. I have been craving the tom yum soup since the unveiling of the Oilworker Monument (my son, Ben Victor, is the sculptor). Ben took me to that restaurant, and I think that their tom yum, with all that seafood and perfectly spiced broth, is my favorite of all soups! I am always interested in artistic accomplishments of young people, so the article on Adam Mull was a real inspiration. Thanks for working hard to put together such a great magazine! — Joyce A. Victor




TIM DOBBS Compiled by Hillary Haenes


Bakersfield Life Magazine



or as long as Tim Dobbs can remember, he has always been curious about limos, and often wondered who was riding in the stretched car with blacked-out windows. He wished to one day own his own limo. Well, that opportunity came 11 years ago for Dobbs, who owns Distinctive Limousine and Chauffeur Service and Executive Car Service of Bakersfield. Now, the 42-year-old enjoys starting each day knowing he’ll meet a new client or catch up with a regular as they drive together. “In my dreams, I was always riding in the back of the limos, not driving them,” he joked. “I should have been more specific in my dreams.” 1 My father is my mentor — I have always looked up to him. 2 Pet peeve: If you are driving slow, get out of the fast lane. 3 I graduated from auctioneer school in 1993 and still do charity auctions. 4 I do not belong to a gym, nor do I have any plans of joining one. 5 I didn’t get the way I am by eating healthy and exercising. 6 I’m very spontaneous — if it sounds fun, let’s do it. 7 I get up early every morning. I enjoy the quiet before the traffic jams, phone calls and hectic schedules that are the norm of this business. 8 I enjoy going to Dodgers games. 9 I want to own a Corvette. 10 I have two border collies who are like my children that I never had. 11 As a child, I raised lambs at the Kern County Fair. 12 My favorite meal is a rack of lamb ... not sure if that was the intention of 4H. 13 I’m interested in running for political office in the near future. 14 The century-old olive grove at Rutherford Ranch Winery in Napa Valley is my favorite place to enjoy a picnic and a bottle of cabernet.

15 I enjoy working in my backyard. 16 I barbecue about four times a week. 17 I will procrastinate my office work as long as possible. 18 I would wear shorts every day if my job would allow it. 19 I would like to travel but not in a car driving myself. 20 I have always been open to new ideas in business. Unfortunately, they don’t always work out, but I believe in learning from my mistakes. 21 I have been known to pull a few practical jokes, and yes, I can take one.

September 2013

22 I am one of the largest limousine operators in Kern County.

23 I donate blood regularly to Houchin Community Blood Bank and think everyone should. I’m now in the twogallon club. 24 My girlfriend is amazing and helps to make me a better person. She has taught me to stop and look at the whole picture before assuming. 25 At the end of each day, I’m fortunate that I have a profession that allows me to interact with some wonderful people while doing something I truly enjoy.

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here is a great chasm between the social conduct of today and that of a century or more ago. Men no longer wear white- or cream-colored gloves for the evening or at all, for that matter. Some don’t even see the need for a shirt or belt in public either. And referring to another person by their first name in public isn’t considered impolite as it was in the 1800s, according to “Civil War Era Etiquette: Martine’s Handbook and Vulgarisms in Conversation,” originally published in 1866 as a man’s guide to gentlemanly behavior. Imagine how horrified the author would be to hear some of the profane-laced greetings exchanged now? These days, if it doesn’t have a hash tag or .com associated with it, most young men aren’t even aware of their breaches of politeness. And the same goes for some grown men who are old enough to know better. Theodore Roosevelt once said that “courtesy is as much a mark of a gentleman as Lisa Kimble courage.” I couldn’t agree more! Raised by a gentleman, married to one and in the midst of trying to raise another, I am reminded that though a lot of what was once de rigueur back in the day is now viewed as archaic and hilarious. Thankfully, some tenets of manliness have survived the great divide. Chivalry may seem like it is on life support, but it is not dead — yet. For some men, the mere mention of being a thoroughly millennial gentleman makes the hair on their neck stand up, fearing a wrestling match with the “F” word — feminism. Get over it! Hold the door open for a lady — it is the commonest of courtesies. Don’t go ahead of her and let it slam in her face. In a restaurant, let her be seated first before you sit down. When a



lady stands or enters the room, get up! If there is no place for her to sit, offer her yours. Real men don’t let little old ladies stand against the church wall staring at guys in the pews. Good heavens! If a woman drops something, pick it up. If she is struggling to load something into her trunk, or hoist a suitcase into the overhead bin of an airplane, give her a hand. Courteous is still synonymous with gentlemanly. Google it. Always help her with her coat. And in conversation, strive to be more interested in what she is saying than worrying about being perceived as interesting. Remember there is a big difference between networking and name dropping. Gossiping isn’t conversing, it’s being a boor. Likewise for braggers — a gentleman isn’t showy. Don’t boast about your money or possessions. Truly, no one cares except other social climbers. Most people become tone-deaf once someone starts blathering about money. That person you are talking to may still be nodding, but he or she isn’t hearing a fabricated, embellished word of what you are saying. It’s a conversation dead-end. Real men are considerate of everyone, regardless of their economic strata, because it doesn’t matter to them. Take your hat off indoors. This is a touchy subject in the land of tri-tip and potatoes, but inside a place of worship or restaurant, remove your hat. Your mama may not be around to swat you, but the stares from patrons and fellow worshipers, not to mention the wait staff, will be piercing. Tempting as social media is to air dirty laundry and unflattering photos online, don’t be a cad! New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner didn’t utter a word, but his behavior in sext-gate was the triple crown of bad form: His wife, child and loyal supporters took a hit in one fell swoop — or tweet, or text. The gentlemen of lore and yesteryear — Heathcliff, Cary Grant and Fred Astaire — weren’t perfect, but they were the perfect gentlemen in the most polite, honorable and suave sense of the word. As the Roman emperor and philosopher Marcus Aurelius said, “Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.” — Agree, disagree? Send your questions, comments or topics you’d like to read about to me at or visit

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Bakersfield Life Magazine

September 2013

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t’s time to take the threat of idling seriously. My youngest daughter recently started kindergarten. No longer left behind by her older sister, she, too, will be privy to the mystery of the interior of the school bus and the complex workings of the cafeteria. She will write her numbers to 100 and will learn the intricacies of playground diplomacy. Unfortunately, along with these social and academic skills, my 5-year-old will also end up absorbing something else during her days at school — many toxins from idling cars. Every day prior to dismissal, a line forms. Car after car pulls up to the curb to wait for the afternoon bell to ring. Most people keep their vehicles running while they pass the time. The air conditioner blows a cool breeze. They listen to the radio or check their phones. They get a few minutes of peace in an otherwise hectic day. That peace, however, takes its toll on the children on other side of school gates. Car exhaust is heavy Kelly Damian with pollutants. When it comes out of our tail pipes, it is not whisked away to magical cleaning erasers in the sky. It hangs around, low to the ground and is inhaled. Children are more severely affected by dirty air for a variety of reasons. They take more breaths per minute than an adult does, and the alveoli in their lungs are still developing. Of the more than 1,000 compounds found in vehicle exhaust, carbon monoxide is probably the most familiar. A car that idles for one minute produces more carbon monoxide than the smoke from three packs of cigarettes, according to the “Clean Air at Schools: Engines Off” program. To turn that into a word problem: 20 cars idling in front of a school for 10 minutes puts out the same carbon monoxide as smoking 600 packs of cigarettes.

When my daughter skips around the playground, being a cowboy, pony, or mermaid — or any combination thereof — she will unknowingly inhale the carbon monoxide from these cars. As it enters her bloodstream, the carbon monoxide will hitch onto her hemoglobin, disrupting the delivery of oxygen to her cells. She might feel dizzy for a moment or light-headed, and she just won’t know why. Consistent exposure to carbon monoxide can lead to asthma and bronchitis. Where carbon monoxide passes through, the fine particulates PM10 and PM 2.5 will lodge into her body and stay. Tiny enough to bypass the filtering system in my daughter’s nose and mouth, this complex mixture of particles and droplets will nestle deep into her lungs, causing irritation of the airways and coughing. As she grows up, those fine particulates will cause low-grade pulmonary inflammation, accelerating the development of atherosclerosis, making her susceptible to heart disease as she ages. Car exhaust also contains nitric oxides, ozone, benzene, formaldehyde, arsenic and lead, along with many other chemicals. I could go on about the health effects of each, but I have neither the page space nor stamina. People who leave their cars running, often do so because they believe it is better for the vehicle than stopping and starting it. This line of thinking belongs in the same category as slathering butter on a burn. Frequently restarting a car has minimal impact on the engine components, but when a car idles extensively, it leads to a build-up of fuel residues on cylinder walls that can damage engine components and lower gas mileage. Also, keep in mind that two minutes of idling uses the same amount of fuel as driving one mile. Living in Bakersfield, we hear so much about poor air quality that we can become numb to the problem — call it “particulate fatigue.” We see how the air obscures the mountains, while forgetting that our own actions contribute to that veil of pollution. This school year can be a time to form new, healthier habits. We can walk our kids to school. We can send them on the bus. If we get to their school early, we can turn off the car and stand in the shade. These things take a bit of planning and exertion, but the positive results will make the small amount of effort well worth it. — To read more, visit, or follow Kelly on Twitter @kellydamian2.

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September 2013



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From left: Food Dudes Vin Dang, Derek Abbott, David Leon, Rick Hudgens and Rick Kreiser with the Harmon Rocket II in front of the Rocket Shop Cafe.

ROCKET SHOP CAFE, SPORTS BAR & NASCAR STORE Restaurant by the runway serves homestyle comfort food for breakfast, lunch and dinner Photos by Greg Nichols


his month’s outing brought us Dudes to the Rocket Shop Cafe, Sports Bar & NASCAR Store, located on the west side of the Bakersfield Municipal Airport. The Rocket Shop Cafe is the brainchild of John Harmon, a local celebrity among the aviation community. In 1975, Harmon built the very first RV-3, a single


Bakersfield Life Magazine

September 2013

seat, homebuilt experimental aircraft. He went on to build the Harmon Rocket I in 1986, and the Harmon Rocket II in 2000, which has been featured in the Reno Air Races for years. Entering the Rocket Shop, the first thing you notice is the breathtaking view. A full wall of windows looks out to the runways and the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains. Although no commercial flights use the airport, about 140 private planes are hangared there at any given time. Our hosts for the evening were John and his wife, Lynn, as well as their son, Michael, who helps run the place. They explained the cafe’s history: John has a long history of building airplanes at the Bakersfield Airpark, but when the old Skyway Coffee Shop burned down in 2001, he said he had nowhere to eat. With the help of his supportive wife, John created his own vision of the airpark restaurant — a place where people could gather, eat, drink and socialize. When we asked John how he came up with his menu, his response was, “We make food that I like to eat” — comfort food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Open since December 2007, Rocket Shop Cafe has a spacious layout that’s conducive for quick bites or large gather-

Rocket Shop Cafe, Sports Bar & NASCAR Store Location: 2000 S. Union Ave. Phone: 832-4800 Website: Hours: Open seven days a week! 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays; 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays; 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays; 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays. Hungry for more? Check out additional food photos on

Bacon-wrapped shrimp

ings. With numerous big screen televisions throughout the restaurant, the Rocket Shop is also a great place to catch a game or a NASCAR race. In fact, there is a NASCAR store inside the cafe that carries shirts, hats, jackets, flags, decals and diecast collectables. Also, a banquet room partitioned by the large hangar door can be brought down, which is ideal for a club meeting or private party. But the real treat is the view. During the course of our meal, John took the Harmon Rocket II to Tehachapi and did a quick fly by the cafe. It felt like we were in a scene from “Top Gun.”

APPETIZERS AND SOUPS Rick H. and David on the homestyle potato chips: The thinly sliced potatoes are fried until golden brown with a nice, crispy texture similar to Hawaiian chips. These were served with a tangy chipotle ranch dipping sauce that had enough kick to create a hearty, unique appetizer. Vin on the bacon-wrapped shrimp: The jumbo-sized shrimp were wrapped with crispy applewood smoked bacon. The little smokey and woodsy flavor complemented the shrimp well. Vin on the chicken fried bacon: Based on Rick H.’s recommendation, this appetizer was a must. The same batter as the chicken fried steak is used with a deep fried slice of applewood bacon. The batter is lightly breaded to not overpower the bacon flavor. A savory gravy sauce is added for dipping. Derek and David on the bottlecaps: The appetizer that wowed us the most was the bottlecaps. Freshly sliced verdant green and bright red jalapenos, lightly breaded in a premium draft beer batter and fried, so they emerge golden brown and glistening with oil. If you like heat, pop one of these morsels in your mouth and crunch down, you’ll realize that you’ve just swallowed Harmon Rocket fuel in solid form. With the slightly searing spice awakening every last taste bud from its long slumber, this appetizer will get you moving! For those who

Fish and chips possess more timid preferences, drench them in the chipotle ranch dipping sauce. Rick H. on the creamy potato cheese soup: Frothy, rich, creamy cheese goodness adorned with tiny carrot pieces, bacon bits and chunks of flavorful potatoes. The soup was thick and hearty and was unbelievably flavorful. This could truly be a meal in itself. Vin on the chicken gumbo: A super tasty, homestyle

Continued on page 36


St. Louis ribs

Continued from page 35 soup, it’s one of the best I have ever tasted. Consisting of okra, chicken bits, celery and a secret ingredient that the cook would not divulge. A bit of a spicy kick, just enough to add another level of flavor to this soup.

ENTREES Derek on the juggernaut philly: I can’t help but love a perfectly-proportioned sandwich. The juggernaut is served on a hoagie roll, ideally sized to hold what’s inside.

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661-410-1010 36

Bakersfield Life Magazine

September 2013

The sandwich doesn’t come out sloppy with the fillings all over the plate, and it doesn’t eat sloppily either. The hoagie holds up, and you can trust it to take your tight grip on this meatwich, perfectly covering and enclosing tender thinly-cut angus beef, sauteed red onions (until they’re almost clear — just right), and red bell pepper strips, all topped with creamy swiss cheese that hangs over everything as it melts. Rick K. on the fish and chips: A couple of legendary eateries known for their famous fish and chips around town set the bar pretty high in my book. When I saw the description on the menu (“almost two feet of fun”), I was sold! My delicacy arrived in short order, and, fortunately, it was served in neatly arranged, manageable, hand-cut slices of cod, coated in their signature Sea Dog Pale Ale batter. I opted for an accompaniment of sweet potato fries to go with the standard side of house coleslaw. The cod was tender and flaky, and the beer batter was a great choice to bring out the flavor of the fish, without being overwhelming. I prefer my fish and chips to be on the crispy side, and the Rocket Shop was on the mark in its preparation. The equally generous portion of tartar sauce hit the spot and provided just the right zing for the main event. David on the meatloaf: Meatloaf is the ultimate comfort food for me. The Rocket Shop’s meatloaf dinner consisted of two large patties of meatloaf, and an ample help-

ing of mashed potatoes smothered in dark gravy with a side of steamed vegetables. I was in heaven (and it was just as good the next day when I had the leftovers for lunch). Rick H. on the chicken fried steak: A large scrumptious portion of beef steak deep fried, crispy, peppery and incredibly tasty. I enjoyed this healthy heaping of chicken fried steak, and with just the right amount of breading like the chicken fried bacon, topped with creamy white gravy, and surrounded by mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables. It was a homestyle delight of which all must indulge. Vin on the St. Louis ribs: The St. Louis ribs are made of slow-cooked pork ribs with your choice of curly fries, sweet potato fries, mashed potatoes or a baked potato. I chose the curly fries because I have a soft spot for seasoned ones. The pork ribs were quite tender and cooked well. The serving portions are very generous, so come hungry or be prepared to take some food home.

vanilla beans all slowly melting into a morass of marvelous. Whatever ails you, this is the cure.



Rick H. and David on the salted caramel vanilla crunch cake: Of the three desserts Lynn recommended, this

The Dudes learned a bit of airplane history, and we deeply enjoyed delicious food while being captivated by a fabulous view. The service was top-notch and the aura and atmosphere was nostalgic, sending you in a time machine back to the 1950s, somewhere in the Midwest. Although we were there for dinner, we’ll soon return for breakfast, especially since Rocket Shop Cafe offers it all day long!

was undoubtedly the best. With its excellent blend of sea salt, ripples of caramel, light, yet buttery vanilla cake and creamy custard, it offered the ideal juxtaposition of sweet and salty. Derek on the bananas foster: Warm sauteed bananas, rich caramel, premium vanilla ice cream with flecks of real

Salted caramel vanilla crunch cake



THE FAIREST OF FAIR FARE Indulge in traditional, new food at this year’s Kern County Fair By Kevin McCloskey and Thomas Harlander



he Great Kern County Fair is fast approaching, and fans throughout the valley are eagerly anticipating those two fall weeks filled with fun, farm animal exhibits, and, of course, food. “Food is the No. 1 draw for fairgoers,” said Michael Olcott, chief executive officer of the “Best in the West” Kern County Fair. Gates will open at 1 p.m. on weekdays this year starting Sept. 18, just in time for a late lunch. Businesses and volunteer groups that line the concourse will be back to deliver your traditional favorites, new dishes and a few unusual items to try out.


Bakersfield Life Magazine

September 2013

What’s new? Kern County Fair CEO Mike Olcott gave Bakersfield Life a rundown on a few new and exciting elements of the fair this year.


• New ride: The new 100-foottall Vertigo tower ride accommodates 24 riders in seats that hang from a rotating circular center. As the ride gets underway, the center spins and rises up to the top of the tower, twirling riders high above the lights and colors of the fair.

No visit to the Kern County Fair is complete without an ear of corn from the Kiwanis Club.

• Beer garden: Also new this year is a beer garden fundraiser for Friends of the Kern County Fair near the Belle Terrace entrance, complete with TVs and a selection of draft beers. Money raised will go toward infrastructure, scholarships, FFA and 4-H programs, and capital improvement programs.


• Contests: In the realm of competition, check out the new home-brew beer and wine contests, the grilled cheese contest and the homemade salsa contest.

Cooks are busy feeding fair visitors.


With so many clubs and nonprofits coming back year after year for the nearly two-week annual event, it’s easy to fall into a routine of returning to your favorite vendors. For many longtime attendees, a trip to the fair is synonymous with a lamb dip or pickled tongue sandwich from the Kern County Basque Club, followed by a funnel cake from across the street. Or maybe a corn dog from DeMolay and a cinnamon roll with nuts and icing for dessert. TradiFair time! tions are a When: Sept. 18 to Sept. 29 strong part Where: 1142 South P St. of the fairgoing Opens: 1 p.m. Monday through Friday; 12 p.m. experience Saturday and Sunday because (10:30 opening on Sept. 20) they are Closes: 10 a.m. Sunday wrapped through Thursday; 11 p.m. up with Friday and Saturday. our good memories of previous years. It may be that time you had Boy Scouts’ baked potatoes with your grandfather, or the year you first discovered chile verde from La Villa Festiva. The musical acts are different every year, and so are the livestock featured. A new thrill ride usually debuts, but your annual pilgrimage to the Kiwanis Club for corn-on-the-cob will make the year complete and set you straight for the coming winter.

• Pan for gold: For the first time, guests will have the opportunity to make like 49ers and pan for gold. Potential prospectors will sift through water and sand, in hopes of striking it rich.

NEW, FRIED FARE Every year, attendees of the fair have come to expect something new, unusual, or just plain weird in the arena of fried food, and 2013 is no exception. Keep your eyes and arteries open for the following deep-fried items: pickles, baked potatoes, grilled cheese sandwiches, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, batterdipped chocolate-covered strawberries, and something called a deep-fried cow patty — a

• Fair for free: Get into the fair for free and do some good with the Houchin Community Blood Bank’s “Pint for a Pass Blood Drive.” Until Sept. 11, blood donors can receive a free pass to the fair. Set an appointment at 616-2505. Also, look for the “Feed the Need” canned food drive Sept. 24, put on in partnership with the Community Action Partnership of Kern. Admission is free between 1 and 9 p.m. with a donation of canned food. For more information, including concert and other entertainment schedules:

— Thomas Harlander

Continued on page 40


Shows at the Fair All shows start at 8 p.m. at the Budweiser Pavilion unless otherwise noted. More shows at La Villa Festiva area. More information:

Wednesday, Sept. 18: Uncle Kracker Wednesday, Sept. 18 (in the Coors Grandstand Arena; tickets at Luis Miguel Thursday, Sept. 19: REO Speedwagon Friday, Sept. 20: Zendaya Saturday. Sept. 21: Jo Dee Messina Sunday, Sept. 22: Starship with Mickey Thomas Monday, Sept. 23: Los Lobos Tuesday, Sept. 24: The Four Tops Wednesday, Sept. 25: Dustin Lynch and Lucky Ned Pepper Thursday, Sept. 26: Kutless Friday, Sept. 27: Hollywood Stones Saturday, Sept. 28: Lonestar Sunday, Sept. 29 (7 p.m.): Banda La Costena and also Ana Victoria

Pickled tongue sandwich from the Basque Club.

Continued from page 39 chocolate funnel cake topped with chocolate pudding and covered with chocolate whipped cream. And cross your fingers for the return of Twinkies, which will also spell a return of this original treat in the deep-fried category. Also found on the unusual fair food docket will be bacon-wrapped hot dogs smothered in jalapenos, pork chops on a

stick, and chocolate-dipped bacon. The firefighter’s booth will be featuring a hot beef sundae this year, which consists of mashed potatoes topped with beef, gravy and a cherry. Look for a new Mexican food vendor that specializes in seafood dishes, including ceviche, near Margaritaville and the livestock exhibits.

Don’t miss Bakersfield’s party of the year!

A ccommodate U p TTo o1 00 P eople Accommodate Up 100 People

Sat., Sept. 7th

5123 Ming (Ming & New Stine)• 836-0100 40

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September 2013

Win free tickets at

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ADMISSION adults . . . . . . . . seniors 55+ . . . . ages 6 –12 . . . . . ages 5 & under . active & retired military with id . parking. . . . . . . .

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OPENING/CLOSING TIMES monday–thursday . . . . 1 –10 fri, sept. 20 . . 10:30 am – 11 fri, sept. 27 . . . . . . . . . 1 –11 each saturday . . . . noon–11 each sunday . . . . . . noon–10

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Purchase tickets by phone at

322-5200 or 888-825-5484 and at or at the Grandstand after 4pm on day of event until sold out.


kids 5 and under are FREE


WED. 9/18 THURS. 9/19

uncle kracker

TUES. 9/24 the four tops

reo speedwagon

WED. 9/25 dustin lynch

with lucky ned pepper

FRI. 9/20 zendaya

THURS. 9/26 kutless

SAT. 9/21

jo dee messina

FRI. 9/27

hollywood stones

SUN. 9/22 starship

with Mickey Thomas

SAT. 9/28 lonestar

MON. 9/23 los lobos

SUN. 9/29

banda la costena with special guest ana victoria



Robert Alimirzaie, executive chef of Petroleum Club of Bakersfield, prepares a summer salad to go with grilled lamb. 42

Bakersfield Life Magazine

September 2013

Alimirzaie’s interest in food started at an early age.

Summer salad

For this German-born executive chef — of the Petroleum Club of Bakersfield — creating a memorable dining experience is an art form Compiled by Hillary Haenes


Photos by Michael Lopez

erman-born Robert Alimirzaie, executive chef at the Petroleum Club of Bakersfield, developed an interest in cooking at the young age of 8 when he started an apprenticeship with Chef Giuseppe Pinna at a restaurant called Pinocchio in Mönchengladbach. “It was in a professional kitchen (where) I learned how to wash dishes by hand after a busy lunch. Chef Giuseppe taught me then how to make pizza dough,” Chef Robert recalled. At 16, he began another apprenticeship at the Fairmont Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten (Four Seasons) in Hamburg, Germany for three and a half years. He’s now been a chef for 30 years. Through his culinary experiences, he has viewed cooking as more than just creating a meal for customers. “It has been my opinion that a great dining experience, wherever it might be, provides comfort and happiness, and a

Alimirzaie’s grilled lamb.

memorable guest experience is the art,” he said. Working with his superb culinary team at the Petroleum Club of Bakersfield, Chef Robert is able to provide an unforgettable experience for each club member and guest, who have high standards.

COOKING ADVICE How often I cook/entertain for family and friends:

Any opportunity I get ... I just avoid the cleanup.

Continued on page 44


and food and drink pairings.

Continued from page 43 How I find inspiration to create a new dish: On trips and eating with friends, talking about their experiences. I rock at making: It’s hard to point out one item, but I enjoy cooking seafood. I buy this in bulk: Fruit and vegetables. One of my cooking secrets: Use seasonal ingredients. Everything goes better with: Toasted artisan bread. One ingredient that I love to use in my recipes: My homemade seasoning blends — it makes your dishes tastier.

TOOLS OF THE TRADE My favorite piece of cooking equipment: The oven. I think it is the one piece of equipment that allows me to use different cooking methods when feeding large groups. Spice cabinet necessities: Salt, pepper and saffron. Favorite cooking show to watch: “America’s Test Kitchen,” and “In Julia’s Kitchen with Master Chefs.” Ingredient that I dislike: Still looking to find one that I don’t like to use. Dream kitchen appliance: Cleaning robot.

If I could spend a day with a famous chef or fellow foodie, it would be: Throughout my career, I worked with


some big names in this business, so there are no dreams of meeting anyone. But these are my favorite foodies to hangout with: Chef John McFee, former head chef at the Bell Tower Club; David Dobbs, owner of Imbibe Wine and Spirits Merchant; and Alfredo Lorenzo, vice president at J&E Restaurant Supply. Alfredo knows all the fun and great places to eat, and Chef John and David have greatly trained palates. I always enjoy learning from the three of them. Advice I would ask them: Current industry trends

anything barbecue.

Favorite cuisine: It changes with the season. Now it is Best food memory: My grandmother’s soups are unforgettable and unmatchable. Best culinary destination: The Petroleum Club of Bakersfield and the Mediterranean. Most expensive meal: A five-course meal in Tokyo where the main course, fugu fish, cost $1,000 per person. Weirdest food I like: A grilled eel sandwich. Most surprising food I’m not crazy about: Grilled tenderloin.

Authentic Flavors, Affordable Elegant Dining





10 Unique Beers Accompanied With Great Thai Cuisine



Bakersfield Life Magazine

September 2013

Now Is The Time To Make Your Holiday & Catering Reservations

A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS Always in the fridge: Butter. I’m addicted to: Butter. Farmers market finds: Milk

and cream from Top O’ The Morn Farms from Tulare. Drink: My wife Melvin’s lemonade, shakes and smoothies. Local restaurant and my order: Valentien has a great

cheese selection; Kan Pai has great eel; Chef’s Choice Noodle Bar’s pho; and Moo Creamery’s Spanish burger is fantastic. Breakfast spot: My favorite breakfast place is 24th Street Cafe. The guys in the kitchen are amazing and cook perfect eggs. Family recipe: Persian rice with crispy potato.

Robert Alimirzaie has been a chef for 30 years.

The single tastiest thing I’ve eaten this month: Choco-

late milk from Top O’ The Morn Farms.

Entertaining, meeting, working or just relaxing ...with impeccable service and style.



BROADWAY IN BAKERSFIELD The 2013-14 season includes six acclaimed shows sure to entertain By Kaelyn De Leon

When: 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 14 Be a fly on the wall for one of the greatest jam

Million Dollar Quartet 46

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September 2013

American Idiot





ix fun, entertaining and acclaimed shows will sing and dance their way onto the Rabobank Theater’s stage beginning this fall thanks to Rabobank and Chicago-based entertainment company Jam Theatricals. Learn a little about Mercy and Memorial Hospital’s “Broadway in Bakersfield” 2013-14 season here and get your tickets today. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit




The Addams Family

sessions in history. The Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, “Million Dollar Quartet,” brings together rock ‘n’ roll legends Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins to a single night in 1956, when Sam Phillips united the four at Sun Records in Memphis to make some of the greatest music of all time.

THE ADDAMS FAMILY When: 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 2 Everyone’s favorite devilishly delirious family comes to the stage in this new musical comedy. When Wednesday falls in love with a “normal” boy, the family is turned upside down and it all comes to a head on one fateful night when the two families unite. As the saying goes, “Come meet the family. They’ll leave the lights off for you.”

Sponsored by: Randy Jelmini, DMD

Aug. 16, 17, 18, 23, 24, 25, 29, 30 & 31 September 5, 6 & 7

Coming Soon!!! OPENING NIGHT September 27th

Reserve your seats today!

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HELLO, DOLLY! When: 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014 Ten time Tony Award-winning Broadway musical “Hello, Dolly!” has been charming audiences for nearly 50 years. With an irresistible story and musical score, see the strong-willed matchmaker, Dolly, travel to Yonkers, New York to find a match for the “well-known unmarried half-a-millionaire” Horace Vandergelder.



Continued on page 48


Continued from page 47


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RAIN: A TRIBUTE TO THE BEATLES When: 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 27, 2014 This internationally acclaimed jukebox musical delights crowds with the full range of songs made famous by the legendary British foursome. Watch as “Rain” gives a totally live, note-for-note performance of your favorite Beatles classics and reminds you that “all you need is love.”

AMERICAN IDIOT When: 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 20, 2014 Based on Green Day’s Grammy Award-winning, multi-platinum album “American Idiot,” this musical takes Broadway where it’s never gone before. Watch the story of three friends as they are forced to choose between their dreams and the safety of suburbia in a post9/11 world. Contains adult content and strong language.


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September 2013

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JEFF NALESNIK Lieutenant colonel, U.S. Air Force


Jeff Nalesnik is the chief of urology at Kaiser Permanente.


eff Nalesnik M.D. proudly served in the U.S. Air Force for 17 years and completed his service with the rank of lieutenant colonel. He is a surgeon, the current chief of urology at Kaiser Permanente, and also operates at Bakersfield Memorial Hospital and San Joaquin Community Hospital, using the robotic da Vinci Surgical System. Nalesnik, 42, attended medical school on an elite Air Force scholarship and was selected as one of two urology residents annually trained by the Air Force. His wife is a Bakersfield local, and together, they have three sons.

Former Assignment: Chief of Urology, Air Transportable Hospital, 332 Air Expeditionary Wing in Balad, Iraq; and Chief of Urology, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Landstuhl, Germany. Where I was stationed: Iraq, Germany, Texas, Washington D.C. Why I joined: As a son of a U.S. Marine, I was raised with a strong sense of pride in my country and a passion for service to others. Also, from an early age, I have had an interest in things that move fast, physical fitness and the God-given miracle that is the human body. Becoming a U.S. Air Force flight surgeon allowed me to pursue all of these interests. My greatest military accomplishments: Swearing in as a lieutenant colonel in front of my father, flying in F-16 fighter jets, learning robotic surgery and having served our wounded warriors from the global war on terror on a daily basis. 50

Bakersfield Life Magazine

September 2013

Jeff Nalesnik, here with his family, served in the U.S. Air Force for 17 years.


Compiled by Andrea Vega

My greatest challenge: Taking care of the severely injured soldiers in both Iraq and those that came through our base in Landstuhl, Germany. What I enjoy most about my current job: I love the field of urology and especially robotic surgery. Through my position with Kaiser Permanente, I have been given the opportunity to introduce many new robotic and minimally invasive surgery techniques to our community. I also currently serve as director of robotic surgery at San Joaquin Community Hospital. Favorite activities to do in Bakersfield: I love shooting skeet and sporting clays, exercising, and most of all, spending time with my wife and three sons. I also really enjoy how Bakersfield is in a perfect location for day trips to the mountains and the beaches. Since moving to California, I have taken up an interest in surfing and stand up paddleboarding. My favorite memory of the Air Force: The feeling of pride, love and accomplishment I felt coming off of the plane, after arriving back home after a long deployment, and having my wife and kids run out to greet me. What I love about Bakersfield: The frequent moves, living overseas, being away from extended family and deployments makes me love the hometown feel of Bakersfield. I love the people here, our church, our membership in the Basque Club and the people we meet through our children’s school and activities. I also love the feeling of continuity it gives my children, as they have the opportunity to be involved with their grandparents here, and even attend the same school that their uncles and grandfather did (St. Francis). As my wife was born and grew up here, we have enjoyed reconnecting with her dearest lifelong friends and have made great new friends as well. Valuable advice I learned while in the military: Every day is a gift, take nothing for granted and always fly five minutes ahead of your airplane. — Do you know a Kern County resident who has served honorably in the military, or is currently serving? Email us at with the message subject line: Hometown Hero. Please include an email, phone number and/or Facebook link to reach the nominee.


IT’S YOUR TURN TO TEST DRIVE. Three models to choose from. Starting MSRP $69,000. Jaguar F-Type, F-Type S and F-Type V8 S. 495hp 5.0 liter V8 Supercharged Engine. 0-60 in 4.2 seconds.

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Bakersfield Life's assistant managing editor Jorge Barrientos and wife Carla get ready to ride in the 2014 Jaguar F-Type.

Hear it roar: New model is a thrilling blend of style, performance and luxury By Jorge Barrientos

Photos by Michael Lopez


ou may have seen the commercial for the all-new 2014 Jaguar F-Type, where hundreds of people line up on a city street to take it for a spin. Well, that commercial is not far from reality. One look at this sports car, and you’ll want to take it for a ride, too. But a fair warning: This beauty of a vehicle is not for the introvert. If you are one, you won’t be for long. People will stare and wonder what movie you starred in. They’ll ask if they can take it for a spin. They’ll pull alongside you and either try to race you, or ask you what kind of car it is and what’s under the hood. If you take them up on the race challenge (please don’t), you’ll smoke them — easily. If you’d like to respond to their questions, you tell them this: The 2014 Jaguar F-Type is a beast. My test-drive model, a V8 S, has a supercharged 495horsepower engine, with 460 pound-feet of torque and tops out at 186 mph. It hits 0-60 mph in 4.2 seconds. The model is brand-new for 2014, and it’s the first time Jaguar has released this type of sports coupe since the 1961 EType, a car that is permanently a feature at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.


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September 2013

The 2014 Jaguar F-Type features a luxurious and high-tech interior that goes well with the power under the hood. Three F-Type models debuted in May nationwide, all automatic (a manual version may come later) with soft-cover convertible. They include the V8 model described above; the F-Type with a 340-horsepower, V6 engine that tops out at 161 and 0-60 in 5.2 seconds; and the F-Type S with a 380-horsepower V6 engine that tops out at 171 and 0-60 in 4.8 seconds. Its competitors — if you want to call them that — include the likes of the Porsche 911 and Boxster, the Mercedes SLK 305 and the Chevy Corvette. As dozens pulled next to me to race, I simply let the exhaust’s roar speak for me and laughed. There was no need to waste the gas. Even Joe Hay, Jim Burke Ford Lincoln Jaguar vice president, warned me to watch my speed. With so much power

The Jaguar F-Type flaunts superior speed, as well as braking.

It’s all in the details 2014 Jaguar F-Type's engine roars from the exhaust.

behind the wheel, speed is definitely something you have to be cautious and conscious of while driving. Mike Houser, a sales consultant with Jim Burke Jaguar, and other local Jim Burke staff were lucky enough to preview the FType at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home of the Indy 500. It was a boyhood dream, Houser said. Former pro driver and Formula One racer Roberto Guerrero was among the testers who commented on the car’s flawless tight turns, acceleration, quick shifting and incredible brakes, Houser said. The F-Type’s “dynamic mode” really gives drivers peak driving performance. The consensus: the V8 F-Type is just as, if not more, powerful than competitors but $20,000 less than them. The V6 model is the best overall package for its handling characteristics. “It was simply a monster,” Houser said. But the car’s driveability is only half of the F-Type’s story. All the other features also make this star shine. The shifter, called a SportShift Selector, is modeled after a F16’s, Houser said. It has keyless entry, where handles pop out for access when you get near. With the Intelligent Venting, air vents hide and retract automatically into the dash. And a rear spoiler deploys once you hit 60 mph. The V8 model comes with 20-inch alloy wheels. All models come with backup camera, navigation with a 8-inch touch screen display, a stellar Meridian 10-speaker system, blind-spot recognition and LED tail lamps, Reviews of the F-Type been nothing short of stellar. Los Angeles Times said the F-Type “has clearly scored with a gorgeous machine that is capable of shouldering the brand’s heritage of performance and sex appeal.” Wall Street Journal said the “refined yet thrilling new ride may just be the best way to spend $100,000 on a sports car today.” And Edmunds says the F-Type is “a thrilling blend of style, performance and luxury.” My experience in the Jaguar F-Type can be summed up with this: It was the most fun I’ve had driving a vehicle — ever.

Mileage: F-Type, 28 mpg EPA estimated; F-Type S, 27 mpg; F-Type V8 S, 23 mpg. Price tag: F-Type, $69,000; F-Type S, $81,000; F-Type V8 S, $92,000 (test drive model: $98,000 What makes the 2014 Jaguar F-Type stand out from others? Arguably, it’s one of the best looking and best pure driving machines on the market today. 5 best features 1. The F-Type is powerful and light: 0-60 mph in 4.2 seconds. 2. Incredible handling from near perfect 50-50 weight ratio. 3. The F-Type is unique and distinctive in looks. Nothing else on the market even resembles it. 4. Behind the steering wheel is a very pleasant place to be. 5. Jaguar sums it up best: “This engaging driver’s car will connect and thrill — an The 2014 Jaguar F-Type exciting addition to the V8 S has a supercharged model lineup that perfectly 495-horsepower engine. embodies the Jaguar ‘Alive’ brand message.” Target customer The pure sports car segment. Jaguar also hopes to attract the customer from the Roadster segment, as well including Mercedes SLK and BMW Z4 drivers. The 2014 Jaguar F-Type is perfect for… a day trip to the coast (Highway 58 west would be a blast!). Also any of the great mountain roads here in Kern County. Three words that define the 2014 Jaguar F-Type Agile. Distinctive. Alive. What do you like most about the 2014 Jaguar F-Type? Jaguar didn’t cut any corners on this car. It is truly worthy of a spot in the Jaguar sports car heritage: The C, D, E and now F-Type. Source: Michael Houser, gold certified sales consultant, Jim Burke Jaguar;




Bakersfield Life editor Olivia Garcia showcases the 2014 Q50 Hybrid.

The 2014 Infiniti Q50 Hybrid packs plenty of power, technology, surprises By Olivia Garcia

Photos by April Massirio


here is something to be said about the way a car can make you feel. Take the 2014 Infiniti Q50 Hybrid Sport, for example. Now, let me clarify that the Q50 comes with a choice of gas engine or hybrid. Both models are available at the Infiniti of Bakersfield dealership, but I chose the hybrid model given my interest. Both John Puryear, Infiniti of Bakersfield general manager, and Richard Lugo, certified product specialist, had been prepping me to expect an ultra experience. But it wasn’t until I stepped into the Q50 and spent a few days with it that I truly understood what they were getting at — the Q50 is like no other. It will impress you and make you feel powerful, classy, stylish and in total control. It’s smart, yet beautiful. Men’s Journal called it “refreshed and refined” with its dramatic makeover. All eyes will be on you, as was the case when colleagues, coworkers and friends stopped to check out the Q50. Now, I have test driven many cars, but the Q50 spoiled me. I could go on and on explaining why, but let me first touch on a few factors:


Bakersfield Life Magazine

September 2013

TECHNOLOGY Imagine having car that comes with a personal assistant to handle all your needs. Yes, a personal assistant. The 2014 Q50 offers one that you can access in your car, and using a mobile device app. For instance, I used my iPhone, downloaded the app (I had to complete some personal information), opened it and was given the option to call my assistant or send a request. I decided to call my assistant and ask for a wake-up call before a long run and check on airline flights from Bakersfield to Washington D.C. for an upcoming marathon. The neat thing about the Personal Assistant App is that you can have it call you back, text you or email you the information. And it does many things, Puryear explained: book your travel reservations, tell you the nearest locations of popular restaurants, check your email and calendar, help plan a party or event on your behalf, and more. It’s Apple’s Siri at a whole new level. “It’s your personal assistant, and it’s 24/7,” said Puryear, who also offered the chance to use its mobile Personal Assistant app for free as part of a 60-day free trial to anyone who test drives an Infiniti at the Bakersfield dealership. But the personal assistant feature wasn’t the only technological feature I loved. The Q50 won my heart with its 14-speaker Bose system. Even greater were the dual touch screens, one 7 inches big and the other 8 inches. One is for your navigation needs and

The 2014 Q50 is powerful, classy and stylish, while offering plenty of technology perks.

the other you can use to adjust your temperature, scroll through your music preferences (AM, FM, XM Radio, or Bluetooth music from your phone) and more. A software update will also deliver even more choices, and work better with your mobile phone.

The 2014 Q50 boasts two touch screens, one for navigation and the other for temperature and music preferences.

PERFORMANCE AND SAFETY The Q50 Hybrid I test drove came with a 360-horsepower, 3.5liter HEV engine (V6). Stand-up highlights are the Infiniti Q50’s adaptive cruise control and active lane control features that make the car feel “driverless,” boasts a recent article in USA Today. Lugo, from Infiniti, noted that the steer-by-wire system and Direct Adaptive Steering provides a strong steering response, and it is the future of cars. And I was impressed with the Active Trace Control, which will keep the car from swaying when big gushes of wind fly by on busy highways. I know I have had to deal with one too many of those instances. I drove the Q50 on Highway 99 the day before the first day of school, as cars were scrambling to get on the Ming Avenue on ramp and avoid a nearby closed ramp. I was impressed how it easily maneuvered through the awkward traffic, staying very much in control. Of course, it might have helped knowing that Formula 1 champion Sebastian Vettel played a role in developing the performance of the car, according to

LUXURY AND ECONOMY Can those two words actually work together? Yes, they can. The Q50 Hybrid offers 29 city, 36 highway mpg, a completely better offer than what my current SUV gives me. But that’s another story. And, of course, there’s much to be said about the appearance of the Q50. At the birthday dinner my friend Jay Tamsi, CEO and president of the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, I ran into another friend, Dr. Rebecca Rivera, who quickly noted that she spotted me the other day driving the Q50 downtown and was impressed. Now, if the car can wow someone as classy, tasteful and beautiful as Becky, then I think we’re on the right track.

It’s all in the details Mileage: 20 city, 29 highway mpg on Q50; 29 city, 36 highway mpg on the Q50 Hybrid

Price tag: Starting at $36,700 on the Q50 3.7-liter model What makes the 2014 Infiniti Q50 stand out from others? Unique styling, low cost of ownership, compelling technology.

5 best features 1. Safety shield, which includes back-up collision indicator, predictive-forward collision, as well as blind-spot warning and intelligent cruise control. 2. The Infiniti InTouch (or Intuition) in dash tablet-style pad to launch all your favorite apps like you have on your iPhone. 3. Active Lane Control keeps the Q50 in the driving lane with a steady feel on the steering wheel when high winds or even big trucks pass. 4. Scratch Shield Paint-Self healing paint (repairs itself from small scratches). 5. Infiniti Studio on Wheels by Bose 14 speaker premium audio system. Target customer: Anyone, 25 to 58, who is employed in a profession that blends creativity and business, and loves a perfect blend of luxury and performance! The 2014 Infiniti Q50 is perfect for… anyone looking for a high-performance luxury sedan.

Three words that define the 2014 Infiniti Q50: Exhilarating. Re-defined. Luxury.

What do you like the most about the 2014 Infiniti Q50? It’s all-new aggressive look and performance feel.

Source: John Puryear, general manager of Infiniti of Bakersfield


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JIM ESCALLE Local author — Bakersfield transplant via Visalia — chronicles life of military uncle in new book Compiled by Bakersfield Life Magazine



im Escalle is the author of the recently released, “Unforgotten Hero: Remembering a Fighter Pilot’s Life, War and Ultimate Sacrifice.” In it, Escalle tells the captivating life story of his uncle, Second Lt. Jimmy L. Escalle, a U.S. Air Force fighter pilot who became missing in action during the Korean War. Escalle, the military man, was born in Fresno, grew up in Earlimart in Tulare County, and graduated from Delano High School in 1947 and Bakersfield College in 1950. He was the first-ever jet pilot from the Delano-Earlimart area. About the author’s book: When I was about 8 years old, I was told that I had an uncle who fought and died in the Korean War. At the time, I had been fascinated with anything related to World War II, especially the air war. I liked to watch movies on the subject, along with reading just about every book I could find. I also enjoyed going to local air shows and seeing airplanes, such as the P-51 Mustang and P-47 Thunderbolt, going through their amazing aerial maneuvers. But it wasn’t until I began the research on my uncle’s life and his involvement as a fighter pilot in the Korean War that I came to appreciate the sacrifice my uncle’s generation made for our country. My newly released book not only pays tribute to him but to every airman who fought and died over the skies of Korea. Age: 53 Hometown: Delano How I ended up in Bakersfield: I was living and working in Visalia, as well as working in Delano (substitute teaching), when my parents asked me to come live in Bakersfield. They had moved from Delano to Bakersfield in 1998. I’ve lived here for 10 years. About my job: I’ve been employed as a substitute teacher at three school districts (Norris, Rosedale Union, Rio-Bravo Greeley) here in Bakersfield for the last 8 years. I also subbed in Delano for 25 years. What I thought about Bakersfield before moving here: Having grown up in a smaller community only 30 miles away, Bakersfield was never just an oil town to me, but rather the “big city” where we went to the Valley Plaza mall to shop or went to eat dinner at a restaurant. Now, the city is even bigger, more diverse, yet, it still maintains a small-town flavor. What surprises me most about Bakersfield: It’s location. You are only hours away from Los Angeles, the mountains or the beach. My neighborhood: Northwest, very quiet and neighborly. How I relax in Bakersfield: Working out at the gym (Fitness 19). Where you will usually find me eating lunch or din-

Jim Escalle with his recently released book. ner: If I go out to eat, my favorites are In-N-Out Burger and Black Angus. Also Mauricio’s on Rosedale Highway. What I enjoy most about living here: The conservative, family-friendly environment. Bakersfield is famous for: Its “Okie” heritage. Also, it’s the hometown of Frank Gifford, who is mentioned in my book. Bakersfield’s best-kept secret: California Living Museum on Alfred Harrell Highway. It’s a treasure trove of local natural history. The positive list I think Bakersfield would rank near the top: The friendliness and hospitality of the people who live here. When I want to get out of town, I go to: The Central Coast, usually Morro Bay or Cayucos. Perfect date night in Bakersfield: I would have to go with a movie at Edwards Theater followed by ice cream at Dewar’s. In my opinion, they have the best chocolate malts around.



BLAKE HANEY Stockdale High distance runner is breaking records across the globe

Blake Haney of Stockdale completes the sweep, winning the 3,200 and 1,600 meters to become the first ever Central Section runner to win both CIF championships.

By Stephen Lynch

Photos by John Harte


ocal high school standout.” It’s a descriptor that is no longer lofty enough to fit Stockdale High’s Blake Haney. This past year, Haney has taken his track and field distance running exploits far beyond the borders of Kern County and into the state, national and global spotlight. Haney, 17, capped off the 2013 track season this past spring by becoming the first male runner in Central Section history, and second ever in California, to win the 1,600meter and 3,200-meter state titles in the same year. A month and a half after that historic sweep, Haney competed in his first-ever international competition, placing fifth in the 1,500-meter race at the IAAF World Youth Championships in Ukraine. His time of 3 minutes, 44.69 seconds and finishing position set a new American standards record for the biennial event. Perhaps even more impressive, his time was the ninth fastest in U.S. history for his age group. “The overall experience was amazing,” Haney said. “The racing in general was something I’d never experienced. It really helped me grow as a runner. I really didn’t have many expectations going into the meet because I had never raced through the summer before ... so I just went out there and tried to compete, and it worked out.” Haney’s junior year of track featured several other major highlights. In April, he set a new Central Section record with a time of 8:48.58 in the 3,200 at the Arcadia Invitational. Later in the year, he set new section marks for 58

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September 2013

the 1,600 (4:06.69) and mile (4:07.78). The second of those record-setting runs came at the Dream Mile in New York City. All of Haney’s record-breaking performances occurred despite the fact that he suffered a strained Iliotibial band in his right knee just prior to the start of the school year while training for cross country. That injury significantly hampered his fall training schedule. Normally, Haney logs 55 to 60 miles of running per week. The lack of practice time, due to the injury, caused Haney to place 66th in the Division I boys race at the CIF State Cross Country Championships. Not deterred by the setback, Haney’s knee steadily improved, and he began focusing on the impending track season. “I had a really good winter of training,” Haney said. “I was really motivated to do well.” Wanting desperately to be the fastest distance runner in California, Haney was overjoyed when he finally accomplished that goal with his double-gold performance at the state meet. “It’s one of those things where I would think about in practice how cool it would be a double state champion. To actually go and do it, is unbelievable,” he said. “It’s such a great feeling knowing that all my hard work had paid off.” His magnificent junior year now completely behind him, Haney is hoping to cap off his high school career in a big way. Some of his goals for his senior campaign include winning a state cross country title, running a sub four-minute mile and defending his two state track titles.

Blake Haney Born March 29, 1996 in Hobbs, New Mexico Parents are Ken and Laura Haney. Has one sibling, an older sister named Carolin. Carries a 3.8 grade point average at Stockdale. Chosen as The Bakersfield Californian’s Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year for the past two years in a row.

Haney runs with the pack before pulling away and cruising to a CIF championship. Breaking the four-minute mile barrier is something that particularly intrigues Haney. Though he would have to shave nearly eight seconds off his mile personal record, Haney believes he has a shot to do it. And with good reason. His time in 1,500-meter race at the world championships translates roughly to a 4:02 mile. “I know it’s not going to be easy, but I’m going to give it my best try and see if I can get it,” Haney said. While attempting to set records and break time barriers keeps Haney motivated, one the things that he enjoys the most about being an elite distance runner is that it gives

Ranked top 10 nationally in both the 1600 and 3200 this past year. Called “the greatest distance runner in the history of the Central Section” by Stockdale High track coach Dave Lonsinger. Undecided on what college he will attend next year, but the frontrunners are Oregon State University, Stanford University, Arizona State University, Georgetown University and UCLA. For more on Haney, including how he prepares for a race and his inspirations, read the “Fit and Fresh” section on page 124.

him the means to travel to exotic places and meet new people. “The different places I’ve gotten to go and experience are amazing,” Haney said. “… I feel really fortunate.” Haney acknowledges that he wouldn’t be able to any of it without the help of some key people in his life. “I’m really fortunate to have such great coaches and a support system, like my family and my friends and my community,” Haney said. “They really support me a lot.”




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ANDY VIDAK Republican cherry farmer shares his thoughts following a hard-fought election victory Compiled by Scott Camp


herry farmer and Hanford Republican Andy Vidak recently won California’s 16th State Senate district seat — which encompasses portions of Bakersfield and Kern County — defeating Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez after a hard-fought and contentious campaign. Despite having to face off against a Democrat supermajority in the State Senate, Vidak has voiced his promises to ensure job growth, better education and to rectify the current water crisis that affects the Valley. He answered a few questions for Bakersfield Life following his victory: How did you celebrate your win? The celebration was really a “thank you” to all the folks who volunteered in our grassroots campaign with the swearing-in ceremony in the district. My mom, Kathy, even baked dozens of cookies and served them to show our gratitude for everyone’s support. I was also very proud that former Democrat Assemblywoman Nicole Parra joined Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff as well as Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway and witnessed me take the oath of office in our Senate district. Now it’s time to roll up my sleeves and do the job that I was elected to do.

To what do you credit your success? We had a common-sense message that had no party lines. But most important, I had hundreds and hundreds of volunteers make phone calls and knock on doors because they agreed with me that our Valley can no longer be shortchanged by Sacramento politicians. 60

Bakersfield Life Magazine

September 2013

Andy Vidak


How and why did the race get so heated? Some might call it a heated race, but I think what you saw from my campaign was passion and a commitment to let the people of the Valley know that they deserve better. I will fight every day to bring more opportunity and great prosperity back to our Valley.

How do you think your agriculture background will play into your role in Sacramento? I have a story to tell with firsthand knowledge about issues facing the agricultural community in California, and Sacramento needs to hear us loud and clear. In the Valley, we have high unemployment, a water crisis and the need to improve career education, as well as provide more affordable health care. We can do better for our Valley. What inspired your interest in politics? In 2010, when we were facing another water shortage, I saw friends I knew — proud people — stand in food lines and be given cans of carrots from China. I display one of those cans in my home to remind me every day what I am here to change. The state is headed in the wrong direction, and I saw our district being left behind. What about your district do you most hope to improve? Jobs, jobs, jobs. We need a reliable supply of clean water and we must tap the God-given energy resources that are right below our feet. We need to get government to help with these critical needs rather than put roadblocks in front of us. What do you do in your free time when you aren’t farming or campaigning?

Try to catch up on my sleep. No seriously, I go hunting, fishing and most important, spend time with my family and friends. Now that I represent the people of the 16th Senate District, my focus will be on serving them. What’s something people might be surprised to know about you? I was the Easter Bunny during the break at the Sequoia Mall in Visalia for a couple of years during high school. I held lots of crying babies! What do you most enjoy about the district you represent and its constituents, and about Bakersfield in particular? This is a district of family-oriented, hard-working people. In Bakersfield, I admire the diversity of people from all walks of life who work together to improve this great Valley city. Plus, Bakersfield residents love what I so enjoy, and that’s really good country music! Any other messages for Bakersfield? I want to express my deep and heartfelt thanks to all the people that worked so hard and voted to put me in office. It is an honor and a privilege to serve the 16th Senate District. My door is always open.




Taft College Foundation hosts its annual casino night, which benefits the college’s nationally-recognized Transition to Independent Living program.

Taft College Foundation annual fundraiser supports award-winning program By Scott Camp


hen Cooper Christensen finished his last year of high school, he watched idly as his friends parted from their hometown of San Diego to attend college. Despite his eager desire to follow suit, Cooper was held back by his disorder, along with the fact that he was unable to receive a high school diploma. Christensen was born with sotos syndrome, a rare genetic disorder, otherwise known as cerebral gigantism, that hinders cognitive and social development. Although Christensen’s options at the time seemed rather bleak, today, Cooper holds a certificate in marketing and a job at Frito-Lay. And it’s thanks to Taft College’s Transition to Independent Living program. The program, TIL for short, is a post-secondary program that helps students with intellectual disabilities in developing the social, career and cognitive skills to help them lead 62

Bakersfield Life Magazine

September 2013

Cooper Christensen celebrates his graduation from Taft College’s Transition to Independent Living program.



to a more self-governing and operative life. About 50 students between the ages of 20 and 24 with disabilities, ranging from autism to down syndrome, enroll each year. While residents of Kern County receive top priority, TIL has included students from all throughout California and out of state. Raye Grafe, Cooper’s mother, emphasized the profound impact the program has had on her son and other students. “There aren’t any words to describe how much this program changes these kids’ lives,” Cooper’s mother Raye Christensen said. “If I had a million dollars, I would give every single penny to TIL.” And every penny helps. On Sept. 28, those willing to help the TIL program can shoot dice and stack chips during the

fifth annual “casino night” fundraiser, benefiting the program and students like Cooper.

AWARD-WINNING PROGRAM TIL’s curriculum fosters the development of basic functional skills like communication, personal care, conflict resolution, transportation and food preparation, which are instilled in the students throughout two years of training. Students like Cooper spend the first school year living in dorms — previously used to house members of the now-retired Taft College football program — where they grow accustomed to living alone, and taking on more responsibilities. Students spend their second year living in apartments, where they are in charge of their own grocery shopping, paying electric Transition to bills and handling laundry. Independent Living Subsequent to graduation, Casino Night each student is awarded a cerWhen: Saturday, Sept. 28 tificate and is assisted by the Where: Dignity Health Event school in finding a job and Center, 1400 Norris Road acquiring housing. Tickets: $200; Sponsorship The results of the program prices range from $2,500 to $10,000 boast success, according to More information: Taft ColCalifornia Community College Foundation Office at leges Chancellor’s Office — 95 763-7952 or 763-7936. percent of those who graduate live independently, and 89 percent have jobs. Since its start in 1995, and thanks to funding from the Kern Regional Center, TIL has provided opportunities that might not otherwise be available for students with certain conditions. And that service has not gone unnoticed. In 2010, former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice awarded TIL for its altruism with the Dr. John W. Rice Diversity and Equity Award, a statewide honor that recognizes programs and instructors of community colleges that excel in promoting staff diversity and student equality.


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CASINO NIGHT KGET-TV Channel 17 news anchor Jim Scott and Dignity Health’s Robin Mangarin will emcee “Casino Night,” which will take place at the Dignity Health Event Center. It will feature a Texas hold ‘em tournament, craps and blackjack, along with silent and live auctions. Wine, food and music will also be included. The minimum for a table is $2,500. In five years, Casino Nights have already helped raise close to $450,000, said Sheri Horn-Bunk, executive director of the Taft College Foundation. In the past, donations have helped support the construction of the Taft College Center for Independent Living, a 25,000square-foot building that now houses the program. This year’s fundraiser will continue to support the center, which is still in need of lighting, computers and other things. Horn-Bunk said the program’s success can be credited in part to its donors including Chevron, Grimmway Farms, Paramount Farms, B&L Casing Services and Oxy, among members of Bakersfield’s community who have given generously to support TIL. “Without the contributions from our local ag and oil businesses, none of this would be possible,” Horn-Bunk said. “I can’t express how grateful we are for all of our donors.”



Bakersfield Life Magazine

September 2013


Bakersfield artist Alberto Herrera in his home art studio.

Cinco de

‘What does Latin mean to you?’ Local artists answer this question through their art in the fifth annual ‘Latination’ exhibit

Susan Roussel received an award for this piece in last year's Latination.

By Scott Camp


akersfield continues to evolve from its humble beginnings as a small agricultural hub into an ever-expanding metropolitan city. Upheld by a strong community, that transformation has shaped an area replete with its own unique and diverse culture of art, food, music and people. Be it our city’s own sub-genre of country music, our agricultural-based economy, or beloved local restaurants like Mama Roomba and Mexicali, much of that is thanks to our Latino community. Don Martin, president of Metro Galleries, one of our city’s downtown purveyors of art, continues to celebrate that influence in the annual “Latination” exhibition, which invites local and statewide artists alike to showcase their finest works. Having lived in Arvin and Bakersfield, Martin said he has always been exposed to and admired Latin culture, and this was a way for him to show his appreciation. Artists are permitted to submit up to four pieces of art, whether those come in the form of a painting, sculpture, mosaic or photograph. In the past, Martin

has added a theme to exhibits, but this year’s “Cinco de Latination” — opening during First Friday at 5 p.m. Sept. 6 at Metro Galleries — is about freedom, leaving the artists to create whatever comes to mind when they hear the question: “What does Latin mean to you?” To some artists, it’s local farmworker advocate Dolores Huerta. To others, it’s Día de los Muertos. “We’ve left the door to their creativity open,” Martin said. “Show us what is ‘Latin’ life. What is Latin food? Who are the leaders? What does the Latin community look and feel like? That’s the passion we want to see from the artists. We want to know who they are and what they feel.” Latination has brought in as many as 2,500 visitors to each unveiling to peer at the works on display. But what makes this Metro Galleries’ flagship event special is the juried exhibit. Martin chooses 15 members from throughout the Bakersfield community to cast their votes in the categories of “Best in Show,” “Best New Artist,” as well as first and second place

Continued on page 66


Continued from page 65 overall. “This truly is a community event more than anything,” he said. “It brings a lot of people together.” This year will also feature works submitted from child artists whose works will be contributed from local organizations, like the Boys and Girls Clubs of Kern County. Also, live music will be performed by the eclectic Mento Buru band, and food will be provided by Luis Aguilar of El Pueblo Restaurant from Lamont. Locally renowned artists such as Alberto Herrera, Betty Leonor, Susan Roussel and Jesus Fidel are returning participants who exhibit various styles of their own to help make “Latination” an anticipated annual event. Learn more about these artists, their art and their Latin influences here.

Alberto Herrera Alberto Herrera is a three-time “Best in Show” winner in the Latination exhibit and

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September 2013

is one of Bakersfield’s most well-known artists. Herrera, 60, began painting as a child, and when he isn’t creating pieces of his own, he’s teaching others as an art instructor at Fruitvale Junior High, or working with migrant children who don’t otherwise have access to art education. “It’s a perfect job because I get to do what I love, and I get to make more artists out of my students,” he said. Herrera describes his work as contemporary, spontaneous and abstract. His work utilizes a broad palette, combining all colors, keeping the viewer’s eyes racing all throughout the canvas. When Herrera is taking a break from art, he’s playing drums or working on his second children’s book. Herrera said he enjoys seeing the different works on display at Latination alongside his own. “There’s a lot of talent here,” he said. “The competition is fierce.”

Betty Leonor works in her studio.


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Betty Leonor Betty Leonor paints what she knows. As a self-described realist, she has a way of finding passion and emotion in the details of everyday life. “Painting for me started as an escape. When my friends were going out, I was painting,” Leonor said. “Each work represents a different stage in my life.” Leonor first put brush to canvas 22 years ago as a way of coping with an emotional breakup and has been painting ever since. After arriving in Bakersfield in 2007, she soon ditched her job as a financial consultant and her business background to pursue painting full-time in 2008. Today, she specializes in oil and acrylic portraits that exhibit a certain mood. As a self-taught artist, Leonor draws inspiration from herself and herself only, becoming an expert in her own right. When asked what she does when she isn’t painting, she simply

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event, she won an award for her work where she turned an old Aunt Jemima cookie jar into a Día de Los Muertos-themed piece. Roussel said what she enjoys most about Latination is that it brings people together from all walks of life. “Because of this event, people are rubbing elbows with those who they might not otherwise

Continued from page 67 said, “I’m always painting.” Leonor spends her time booking visits at her home studio and putting on solo exhibits at venues like Metro Galleries and Reiter Gallery. This is Leonor’s second year participating in Latination after winning the “Best in Show” award last year. Coming from a Latin background herself (she’s of Dominican heritage), much of Leonor’s work is inspired by her time spent in the Dominican Republic and New York City. “This exhibit is great for new artists,” Leonor said of Latination. “It has opened new doors for me. It’s also great to see the differing perspectives on the same subject from differing artists.”

Susan Roussel Born and raised in Sacramento, Susan Roussel brought her talents to Bakersfield more than 20 years ago. Her exposure to art began in singing, opening for country stars like Ricky Skaggs and Bobby Bare. Roussel now specializes in ceramics, namely the practice of slip casting, which entails creating pieces by pouring liquid clay into a pre-shaped, plaster mould. She has been involved with Latination for the past four years and in last year’s

be rubbing elbows with,” she said. Roussel has also used her talents for more practical purposes, serving as an artist for the Bakersfield Recreation & Parks Department and participating in Pismo Beach’s annual “Pumpkin on the Pier” event. Roussel said she has always been fascinated with the Latino culture of Bakersfield, and she draws inspiration from artists like the famous Frida Kahlo. “I’m a day dreamer. I look what’s going on around me and things comes to mind.”

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Jesus Fidel Jesus Fidel, 30, has always enjoyed the challenge that painting offers. He was born in Long Beach and began painting in the first grade. When he isn’t spending three to five hours per day churning out his next piece, Fidel is curating art shows as the gallery director of The Empty Space, a local nonprofit theater and art gallery. Fidel incorporates the use of heavy black lines and “wild” colors, creating an intriguing contrast, which he most likely gets from favorite artists, like Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin. “I consider myself an expressionist,” he said. “Mainly, the style of expressionism is to take natural forms and exaggerate their properties, using intensified colors and shape to portray the artist’s emotions.” Fidel, in his second year participating in Latination, said the exhibit is a great opportunity to demonstrate all of what Latino culture offers. It also “gives people of our community a chance to remember that there is an enormous world beyond our city lines, and that our nation is going to be forever made up of all walks of life.”

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Bakersfield Life Magazine

September 2013


Cindy Harper, 53

Bakersfield Life’s

Most Eligible Bachelors & Bachelorettes Looking for true love Compiled by Hillary Haenes


Photos by April Massirio

e all deserve to find that one special person who makes us happy, laugh and loves us unconditionally. Fortunately, for these 16 local singles, Bakersfield Life partnered with California Singles, a new matchmaking company in town that personally helps individuals find companionship. After receiving several submissions, the Bakersfield Life staff narrowed down the selections to just eight bachelors and eight bachelorettes, as difficult as it was. We presLike what ent them to you here. you see? View more photos If you are single of them, on and looking for . romance, and are interested in connecting with any of our singles, there are two ways to do so. You can go through California Singles and sign up for their services by calling 349-4343. Or, you can email with the message subject line of the name of the single you want to contact, and your message will be forwarded to that person.

Kristin Price, 27 Reporter/Weather Anchor at KGET TV 17 Birthplace: Tarzana, Calif. Status: Never been married. Hobbies: Working out, hiking, wakeboarding, snowboarding and keeping up with current events. Something quirky about me: I hate blue pens. My style: I love wearing dresses and getting dressed up for work. On my days off, I usually don’t wear makeup, and I like to be comfortable. Best quality: Motivated. Hidden talent: I can do my hair and makeup in under five minutes. I don’t leave the house without: Sunglasses. No. 1 on my bucket list: Create a nonprofit organization. Guilty pleasure: Reality TV. How I stay fit and healthy: I’ve always enjoyed being active. When I was younger, I played sports (even though I wasn’t very good.) In high school and college I was a cheerleader. I recently started doing crossfit, which is awesome. What inspires me: Knowing there is so much I have yet to experience. Turn-ons: People who are motivated, adventurous and don’t take themselves or me too seriously. Turn-offs: People who try too hard, or aren’t themselves. Dating deal-breaker: I won’t date anyone under 6-feet, 2inches tall, which I know is ridiculous. I’m trying to get over it. Favorite movie: “American Psycho” — I love Christian Bale. If I could invite any three people to dinner, it would be: The president, Brian Williams and Marilyn Monroe. If I was given $100 to spend on a date, I would: Buy my favorite wine and snacks, and go on an awesome hike. Three items I would want on a deserted island: Food, sunscreen and a camera. My idea of the perfect date: I would rather do something fun and adventurous than go to a cliche dinner. The secret to a great relationship: Respect. If you respect someone, all bases are covered. Also, having fun is important.


Mark Nessia, 27 Owner of Mark Nessia Photography

Michelle Alves, 25 Healthcare administrator

Richard Goldberg, 53 Senior Cyber Infrastructure Engineer

Donna Collins, 51 Specialty Publications Account Executive, The Bakersfield Californian

Mitchall Patel, 26 WIC Vendor Liaison at Community Action Partnership of Kern Birthplace: Inglewood, Calif. Status: Never been married, no kids. Hobbies: Troublemaking, mischief, bike riding, traveling and exploring. Something quirky about me: I hate peas but love pea soup. I have to stop at Pea Soup Andersen’s and get a bowl when heading North. My style: Business casual with unique socks. My favorite pair have fancy mustaches on them. Nickname: My co-workers call me Calcutta Heat. Best quality: Friendliness. I always try to be positive, polite and open. Spontaneous or planner: I’m a planner, but the most fun I’ve had is when something wasn’t planned out. Phobias: I have an unrealistic fear of mountain lions and when someone says, “We need to talk,” it’s hardly a positive outcome in either case.


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No. 1 on my bucket list: Complete a Century ride (100-mile bike ride). Guilty pleasure: Spending too much free time looking at memes and reading random articles on my phone. How I stay fit & healthy: Eating in moderation, riding my bike, taking a hike and exploring. What inspires me: People who are passionate about what they believe and take action on it. Turn-offs: Don’t care for ridiculous, rude people. “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” Favorite band: The Arctic Monkeys — I saw them put on an amazing show a few years ago. Favorite local restaurant and my order: I’m into the Cuban Cafe and order arroz con pollo with fried plantains. Favorite place to travel: I’ve been around the world, but nothing beats California, especially trips to Los Angeles with good friends. If I was given $100 to spend on a date, I would: Have dinner in LA. Three items I would want on a deserted island: My music collection, books and a solid knife.

September 2013

Cindy Harper, 53 years young Senior Mortgage Loan Consultant at Guild Mortgage Co. Birthplace: Kansas City, Kansas Status: Never been married, no children. Hobbies: Reading, swimming, playing the piano, traveling, public speaking. Celeb look-alike: Many people mistook me for Sade when I lived in Los Angeles years ago when she was super popular. Best quality: Positive attitude. A secret about me that few people know: I would rather dance than eat. No. 1 on my bucket list: African safari. Guilty pleasure: Carrot cake from Sweet Surrender. What inspires me: Life. Turn-ons: Integrity, making your dreams a reality, a giving person, and a positive attitude. Turn-offs: Negativity, lack of integrity, disregard for time, cheap, selfish, bad listener and someone who talks nonstop about themselves.

Favorite singers: I love party and dance music — Earth Wind & Fire, Maroon 5, Adele, Robin Thicke, Rick James, Tina Marie and Beyonce. Favorite athlete: Serena Williams. Favorite local restaurant and my order: Cafe Med — glass of pinot grigio, fish special with vegetables and pita bread with dip. Favorite place to travel or vacation: Different destinations all over the world. I take one trip out of the country each year to a new place. If I could invite any three people to dinner, it would be: Oprah Winfrey, Benny Hinn and Pitbull. Three items I would want on a deserted island: Bible, cellphone and food. Typical Saturday morning: Sleep in, read, swim 100 laps in my pool in the summer and eat a delicious brunch. My idea of the perfect date: A man picking me up and surprising me with a gift of something that he knows I like, having a delicious and leisurely dinner at a nice restaurant where our attire is dressy casual, and a classy place to dance afterwards.

Coy Alexander, 30 Account Executive at Buckley Radio Status: Never been married, have two boys ages 5 and 3. Birthplace: Glendale, Calif. Hobbies: Golf, fishing, beach trips and anything outdoors. Something quirky about me: I’m a goof. My style: Professional and classy. Best quality: My kindness. Hidden talent: Reading people. Spontaneous or planner: Spontaneous. No. 1 on my bucket list: Travel Europe. Guilty pleasure: Golfing. What inspires me: My children and their future. Turn-ons: Confidence, loving heart, grounded, witty, intelligent and beautiful energy. Turn-offs: Negative-minded, no self-confidence, too serious and bad energy. Dating deal-breaker: Doesn’t want children. Thoughts on dating someone of an opposing political party:

Mark Nessia, 27 Owner of Mark Nessia Photography Birthplace: Cebu City, Philippines Status: Never been married. Hobbies: Taking pictures with a camera and browsing Something quirky about me: I make up a lot of words. My style: Extremely simple and casual — Chive T-shirt, shorts/pants and shoes/flip-flops. My nickname: Dat. My football coaches in high school started calling me “Dat” after Dat Nguyen, an Asian linebacker who played for the Dallas Cowboys at the time. I, too, am Asian. I also played linebacker. And, my favorite team just happens to be the Dallas Cowboys. Best quality: My laid-back, easygoing personality and sense of humor. A secret about me that few people know: I cut my own hair. I don’t leave the house without: Chapstick. I’ve left without my keys and wallet but never Chapstick.

Not a problem. Favorite movie: “Benjamin Button” — It’s just a great movie about life and love. Experiences are what make life so great. Favorite song: “All you need is Love” by The Beatles. Favorite sports teams: Los Angeles Dodgers, Oakland Raiders and Los Angeles Lakers. Favorite local restaurant and my order: Mexicali, Tahoe Joe’s and Los Tacos De Huicho. Favorite place to vacation: Santa Barbara. Specialty in the kitchen: Breakfast. If I was given $100 to spend on a date, I would: Go miniature golfing and have dinner. If I won the lottery, I would: Not tell a single soul, quietly take care of my family and go on living a normal life, but with more travel time! Typical Saturday morning: Golfing and hanging with the kids. My idea of the perfect date: Something fun to limit awkward moments, and maybe some dinner or a drink. Thoughts on love at first sight: I’m a believer, and certain it happens all the time.

No. 1 on my bucket list: Photograph the Super Bowl. Guilty pleasure: The four C’s: The Chive, Chipotle, “Call of Duty” and “Civilization V.” Favorite song: “Room 410” by Call the Cops. What inspires me: Being a better me than I was yesterday. Turn-ons: Someone with a great sense of humor who’s comfortable in her own skin. Turn-offs: Smokers and foul language. If I was given $100 to spend on a date, I would: Take her out for sushi, go to a movie, grab dessert, then go into a food coma. My idea of the perfect date: Going out to dinner and talking until they ask us to leave. Thoughts on love at first sight: You don’t fall in love with someone because they’re attractive. It’s their personality, morals and beliefs that really make a difference. The secret to a great relationship: Enjoying one another’s company, whether you two are out and about or at home doing absolutely nothing.

Donna Collins, 51 years young Specialty Publications Account Executive, The Bakersfield Californian Birthplace: Bakersfield Status: Divorced. Something quirky about me: I don’t like to eat anything I can make a pet out of. Celeb look-alike: Young Teri Garr (from “Mr. Mom” and “Young Frankenstein”). My style: Trendy fashionista. Best quality: I can find humor in every situation. Spontaneous or planner: I spontaneously plan. Phobias: Feet! People touching mine or someone else’s feet touching me. I don’t leave the house without: Getting all dolled up because you never know who you’re going to run into at the grocery store or gas station. No. 1 on my bucket list: Visit Ireland. How I stay fit & healthy: I don’t workout a lot, but my job keeps me active. I also play with my 5year-old granddaughter Alana —

Michelle Alves, 25 Healthcare administrator Birthplace: Ontario, Calif. Status: Never been married Hobbies: Working out, going to the movies and hanging out with friends. Something quirky about me: I’m a nerd at heart. That’s what a biology major will do to you. My style: Comfy lounge. I’m a jeans and a T-shirt with flip-flops type of girl. Nickname: MeShell. My parents speak with an accent, and that’s how they pronounced my name. Best quality: My kindness and understandability. Hidden talent: I can touch my nose with my tongue. No. 1 on my bucket list: Live in Australia for a year. Guilty pleasure: Häagen-Dazs coffee ice cream. What inspires me: Hardworking people. Turn-ons: Someone who can make me laugh. Turn-offs: Smoking. Dating deal-breaker: When

she keeps me young. What inspires me: My son, Anthony. He’s given me strength in tough times and is the most amazing young man and an incredible father. Turn-ons: Funny, intelligent people. Turn-offs: Hairy men in tank tops. Dating deal-breaker: If someone is rude to wait staff. Favorite musician: I love Pink. I love that she doesn’t care what people think; she is who she is, she’s real and so very talented. Favorite sports team: The Seattle Seahawks. They have the prettiest uniforms. Favorite place to travel: The Bahamas — I’ve been there twice. Specialty in the kitchen: Shrimp tacos and mango margaritas. Three items I would want on a deserted island: Sunscreen, a toothbrush and a plastic surgeon. Typical Saturday morning: Snuggling with my dogs, a good cup of coffee and The Bakersfield Californian. Thoughts on love at first sight: I’m no longer disillusioned about love at first sight, but I do believe in lust at first sight!

someone won’t stop talking about themselves. Favorite movie: Anything that has Johnny Depp in it. Favorite musician: Bob Dylan. Favorite sports team: San Francisco 49ers. Favorite local restaurant and my order: Flame & Skewers. Chicken shawarma sandwich with a Greek salad. Favorite place to travel or vacation: Terceira, Azores to visit my family. Specialty in the kitchen: Baking cookies. If I was given $100 to spend on a date, I would: Fill up with gas and drive to the beach for the day and have a picnic in the sand. Three items I would want on a deserted island: Bug spray, a tent and Captain Jack Sparrow. My idea of the perfect date: A night filled with talking and laughing, while having a continuous smile on my face. Thoughts on love at first sight: Doesn’t exist. Love at first sight means that you simply love a person for their looks and not their soul. You can never judge a book by its cover.


Anna Schrader, 54 Kimberly DunhamChester, 38

Third-grade teacher for Bakersfield City School District

Second-grade teacher

Rick Van Horne, 52 Teacher at East Bakersfield High School

Richard Goldberg, 53 Senior Cyber Infrastructure Engineer Birthplace: Bakersfield, but I lived in Santa Cruz for a long time. Status: Widowed, has two boys. Hobbies: Computers, major foodie, cooking and exercising. Something quirky about me: Even though I am a nerd, I raced motocross for a time. Celeb look-alike: I get two from my early years — John Travolta and Ben Stiller. A secret about me that few people know: I speak, read and write fluent Spanish. Spontaneous or planner: Spontaneous. No. 1 on my bucket list: Propose to the girl of my dreams. Guilty pleasure: Crisp applewood smoked bacon. How I stay fit & healthy: Boot camp and biking. What inspires me: Passion. Turn-ons: So many things — a mischievous twinkle, a bare neck, a cute smile, a soft touch and


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kissing. Turn-offs: Silent treatment. Dating deal-breaker: Holding a grudge and unforgiveness. Thoughts on dating someone of an opposing political party: Adds another viewpoint. Favorite movie: “Star Wars.” Good and evil, hope and love. Favorite singer: Adele. Favorite sports team: San Francisco 49ers. Favorite local restaurant and my order: Uricchio’s chicken piccata with alfredo ravioli and a Caesar salad. If I could invite any three people to dinner, it would be: Mila Kunis, Albert Einstein and Bobby Flay. If I was given $100 to spend on a date, I would spend it by: That’s enough for some Brighton but not some Tiffany & Co. If I won the lottery, I would: Make memories with friends and family, and pay it forward face-toface with those I could help. Three items I would want on a deserted island: The love of my life, food and a mansion to live in.

September 2013

Kimberly DunhamChester, 38 Second-grade teacher Birthplace: Bakersfield Status: Divorced, have kids. Hobbies: Working out, snowboarding, dancing and riding quads. Something quirky about me: I sing “Happy Birthday” in Donald Duck’s voice to my second-grade students on their birthdays. Celeb look-alike: Demi Moore and Courtney Cox. My style: I love to dress up for a date or any event. I dress professional at work and casual on my vacation days. Best quality: People tell me that my best quality is my smile. Hidden talent: Acting, and I still remember how to play the piano a little bit. A secret about me that few people know: I used to be in show business and did commercials, TV shows and movies. Phobias: Enclosed places. No. 1 on my bucket list: I want to go parasailing in Hawaii.

Turn-ons: Nice-looking guy with a good career and goals in life, who loves to be active, athletic, is great with kids and has an outgoing/fun personality. Turn-offs: A guy with multiple tattoos, who is lazy, doesn’t interact with kids and has no goals in life. Dating deal-breaker: Someone who doesn’t talk during the date, can’t carry on a good conversation, or talks about his ex the whole time. Favorite movie: “Top Gun” because it has action, suspense, romance, humor and Tom Cruise is one of my favorite actors. Favorite song: “The Dance” by Garth Brooks. Favorite place to vacation: Lake Tahoe. Typical Saturday morning: Sleep in, have a cup of coffee, make breakfast, workout or swim. The secret to a great relationship: Communication, honesty, trust, being best friends, laughing together, and being there for each other. I also believe two people need to have common interests and beliefs.

Anna Schrader, 54 Third-grade teacher for Bakersfield City School District Birthplace: Hollywood, Calif. Status: Widowed, have two older kids. Hobbies: Cycling, spinning, shopping Something quirky about me: I’m very competitive. My style: Modern, up-to-date. Best quality: My determination. Hidden talent: I can speak in an Irish accent. A secret about me that few people know: After college, I enrolled in acting classes. Spontaneous or planner: Spontaneous. I never leave the house without: Sunglasses. No. 1 on my bucket list: Visit the Galapagos Islands. Guilty pleasure: Ice cream. How I stay fit and healthy: Exercise, and I try to eat healthy. What inspires me: People who overcome adversity. What makes me laugh: Life. Turn-ons: Intelligence, humor and thoughtfulness. Turn-offs: Inconsiderate. Dating deal-breaker: Not family-oriented. Thoughts on dating someone of an opposing political party: Makes things more interesting. Favorite movie: “You’ve Got Mail” — I’m a hopeless romantic. Favorite singer: Carrie Underwood. Favorite local restaurant and my order: Sorella Ristorante Italiano — chicken salad. Favorite place to travel or vacation: Anywhere new. Specialty in the kitchen: Parmesan chicken. If I could invite any three people to dinner, it would be: Robin Roberts, Katie Couric and Liam Neeson. If I was given $100 to spend on a date, I would: Take a day trip to Santa Barbara where we would have clam chowder for lunch and explore the town. Then have a nice dinner, watch the sunset and end with a romantic stroll on the beach. If I won the lottery, I would: Take a fabulous vacation with my family. Three items I would want on a deserted island: The person I love, a good book and coffee. Typical Saturday morning: Cycling or spinning and coffee. My idea of the perfect date: Something considerate and unexpected. The secret to a great relationship: Friendship and passion.


Kim Richardson, 39 Deputy District Attorney

Julie Johnson, 47 Executive Director of Bakersfield SPCA

Kim Tran, 31 Buyer for Action Sports

Jesus Acosta, 40 Teacher

Rick Van Horne, 52 Teacher at East Bakersfield High School Birthplace: Bakersfield Status: Divorced. Hobbies: Watching college football and writing books. Something quirky about me: I collect tennis shoes. My style: Coaching contemporary. Spontaneous or planner: Planner. No. 1 on my bucket list: Attend a Super Bowl. Guilty pleasure: Not golfing. How I stay fit and healthy: Try and get to the gym three or four times a week. What inspires me: New projects. Turn-ons: Punctuality. Pet Peeves: Dropped passes and waiting in line. Dating deal-breaker: Taking a


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call on your phone. Favorite movie: “The Outlaw Josey Wales.” Favorite musicians: Michael Jackson, Elvis and Hall & Oates. Favorite athlete: Muhammad Ali. Favorite local restaurant and my order: Luigi’s pickled tongue sandwich. Specialty in the kitchen: Chicken. If I could invite any three people to dinner, it would be: John Wooden, Muhammad Ali and Elvis. If I was given $100 to spend on a date, I would spend it on: Lunch at Luigi’s. If I won the lottery, I would: Give some to family and friends. Three items I would want on a deserted island: Electricity, a house and a boat. Typical Saturday morning: Have breakfast with my breakfast gang. The secret to a great relationship: I haven’t figured it out yet.

September 2013

Jesus Acosta, 40 Teacher Birthplace: San Jose, Calif. Status: Never been married. Hobbies: I enjoy camping, jogging, wine-tasting and the fine arts. I never leave home without: My iPhone and some pocket change. No. 1 on my bucket list: Short term — I would like to learn different types of salsa dance steps. Long-term — Hang glide. How I stay fit & healthy: I enjoy fitness, sports and cycling. What inspires me: Old and young people. Older people are wise, and young people are spontaneous. Turn-ons: Confidence and femininity. Turn-offs: I dislike bad table manners. Dating deal-breaker: Smokers.

Favorite movie: I have many, but I do like action, romance and dramas. Favorite music: Even though I live in Bakersfield, I do not listen to country very much. I prefer R&B and classic rock. Favorite sports team: Any California teams. Favorite local restaurant: A good steakhouse. Favorite place to travel: The Cayman Islands. If I could invite three people to dinner, it would be: Linda Carter (The original Wonder Women ), WWE wrestler The Rock for workout tips, and Prince William and his wife seem interesting. If I was given a $100 dollars on a date, I would spend it on: Parasailing. A typical Saturday morning: A light run or jog. The secret to a good relationship: Communication.

Kim Richardson, 39 Deputy District Attorney Birthplace: El Paso, Texas Status: Divorced, have kids. Hobbies: Home improvement projects. Something quirky about me: I frequently clean my carpets… usually every few weeks. My style: Conservative but fun. Best quality: Loyalty. Hidden talent: Makeup artist. Spontaneous or planner: Little bit of both. Phobias: Fear of heights. No. 1 on my bucket list: Travel to a European country. Guilty pleasure: Starbucks, chocolate and ice cream. How I stay fit & healthy: Workout and swimming. What inspires me: My kids. Turn-ons: Fun with a sense of humor, yet down to earth. Turn-offs: Smoking cigarettes. Thoughts on dating someone of an opposing political party: As long as his beliefs are not so opposite that there’s constant debate. I do enough of that all day long.

Julie Johnson, 47 Executive Director of Bakersfield SPCA Birthplace: San Jose, Calif. Status: Never been married, but have a child who is 26. Hobbies: Cooking, reading, skiing and kayaking. Celeb look-alike: Sandra Bullock and Jill Zarin from “The Real Housewives of New York.” My style: Casual and comfortable. Nickname: Jules. Best quality: Loyal. Hidden talent: I sing. Spontaneous or planner: Both. No. 1 on my bucket list: Live in Italy for a year. Guilty pleasure: The Real Housewives shows on Bravo. What inspires me: My friends, family and the SPCA staff inspire me every single day. Turn-ons: Great humor and an open mind. Turn-offs: Overly sarcastic, demeaning to people and someone with no empathy. Thoughts on dating someone of an opposing political party: Fine by me.

Favorite movie: “National Treasure.” It’s a fun, creative story of hidden treasures buried in our country’s history and the Founding Fathers. I enjoy American history. Favorite sports team: New England Patriots. Favorite local restaurant and my order: Uricchio’s— just about anything. Favorite place to vacation: A beach, anywhere. Specialty in the kitchen: Pouring the wine. If I could invite any three people to dinner, it would be: Nancy and Ronald Reagan, and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. If I won the lottery, I would: Pay for my children’s college, and buy vacation homes in several locations. Three items I would want on a deserted island: Coffee, shoes on my feet (just one pair is sufficient), and sunscreen. My idea of the perfect date: Whatever it is that we are doing, hours go by unnoticed. Thoughts on love at first sight: It can absolutely happen. The secret to a great relationship: Chemistry, honesty, commitment and lots of laughs.

Favorite movie: “Any Given Sunday.” Favorite sports team: San Diego Chargers. Favorite local restaurant and my order: Benji’s — the broiled lamb chops ... I actually dream about them. Favorite place to vacation: Palm Springs; Quebec, Canada; and Puerto Vallarta. Specialty in the kitchen: My lasagna and beef Wellington. If I could invite any three people to dinner, it would be: Winston Churchill, Teresa Caputo and Martina McBride. If I was given $100 to spend on a date, I would: Cook a great meal at home. If I won the lottery, I would: Take care of family and friends, and spend the rest on charity. Three items I would want on a deserted island: Toothbrush, a lighter and a fishing pole. Typical Saturday morning: Wake up early, read the paper and then go shopping. My idea of the perfect date: Waiting to find out! Thoughts on love at first sight: It can happen.

Marc Castro, 32 Marketing, Sales and Personal Trainer

Marc Castro, 32 Marketing, Sales and Personal Trainer at Fit for Life Gym; Marketing for Keleher’s Certified Shorthand Reporters Birthplace: Bakersfield Status: Never been married. I have an 8-year-old son named Jackson. Hobbies: Cycling, camping, fishing, hiking, downhill mountain biking, skateboarding, going to concerts, beach days, golfing and hanging out with friends and family. Style: I love to be in shorts, a T-shirt and slip-on Vans, but can cleanup nicely for an evening out. Nickname: Bubba. My dad, mother and sisters know me as this. Best quality: I love to help people, whether it be to pick something up, or lend a helping hand. All I need is a call and ask for nothing in return. Hidden talent: I am pretty great at math. I consider myself a mathematician. No. 1 on my bucket list: To

go on two-week backpacking expedition through the Eastern Sierras and fish for anything and everything. Turn-ons: Educated, smart, funny, spontaneity, nerdy, someone who can hold a conversation, and most importantly a gal with a relationship with God. Turn-offs: People who put themselves before others, smokers, liars and cheaters. Favorite movie: “Field of Dreams.” If I could invite three people to dinner, it would be: Jessica Alba, Barack Obama and my new date. If I was given $100 to spend on a date, I would: Purchase a bottle of red wine, some appetizers, an entree and throw out a blanket in the park and share a nice romantic dinner with conversation and some music in the background. Three items I would want on a deserted island: Matches to make a fire, an unlimited supply of Newcastle Brown Ales and a radio to pass the time.


Kim Tran, 31 Buyer for Action Sports Birthplace: Taft, Calif. Status: Never been married. Hobbies: Snowboarding, archery, motorcycles, bicycles and fixing/making things. Something quirky about me: I have a lot of hats. My style: I’m pretty relaxed with my style. I like to wear a hat, T-shirt, jeans and Vans. Nickname: I have a lot of nicknames. My friend’s kids call me Kimbo. Some call me KPT (Kim Phat Tran). Best quality: My friends say I’m generous and genuine. A secret about me that few people know: I think I might have OCD with organization and where my things are placed. Spontaneous or planner: I’m a spontaneous planner. No. 1 on my bucket list: Heliboarding in Chile and Canada. Guilty pleasure: Zombie and kung-fu movies. What inspires me: My family, especially my parents for all that they have gone through to get the family where we are today. Turn-ons: A good smile and fun attitude. Turn-offs: Too much makeup and a pessimistic outlook. Dating deal-breaker: Smoking. Favorite bands: Radiohead, Metric, Metallica, Shiny Toy Guns and The Sounds. Favorite place to vacation: Lake Tahoe. Hike, fish and stand up paddle boarding in the summer. Snowboard in the winter. Specialty in the kitchen: Not much of a cook, but when I do, it’s usually some sort or barbecue or baked chicken. If I won the lottery, I would: Invest it and take care of my family and friends, buy a couple companies and an island or two. Typical Saturday morning: Drink green tea, clean around the house, and see what the friends are up to, then hangout or go for a ride. The secret to a great relationship: Honesty, communication and keeping it fun.


Bakersfield Life Magazine

WHO IS CHARLEE BROTHERTON? Meet the face behind California Singles, and learn how the matchmaking service can help Bakersfield singles find love


oming from a family of entrepreneurs, Charlee Brotherton said she was destined to run her own business. This accountant-turned-matchmaker grew up in Fresnoand eventually moved to Oklahoma, where she worked for years as a CPA and in human resources. One day, Brotherton responded to an ad for a fun, unique business for sale. When she found out it was a matchmaking service that was started in 1979, she thought it had potential to grow and was a perfect fit because she could relate her human resources skills to matchmaking love seekers. Brotherton bought Singles Station in January 2000 from its second owner. And with the success of her first office in Tulsa, Okla., Brotherton said she knew she could offer this service all over the country. She has since expanded her business in the past decade to total 75 employees, working in 20 different offices, in 10 states. “After Tulsa, we went to Oklahoma City, and it slowly branched out,” Brotherton said. “We had an opportunity to branch to California in 2009, and now I have seven offices in California.” Offices opened in Modesto and Fresno, and in March, Bakersfield’s office opened. “Bakersfield just made logical sense,” she said. “When we open a business, we like to keep going.” Brotherton explained that California Singles likes to open new offices about an hour and a half outside of already established

California Singles 5201 California Ave., Suite 210 349-4343

September 2013

offices to cross-match clients with someone from the next nearest office. “People are out there randomly meeting people, and they don’t know the other person’s background or relationship goals,” Brotherton said about the dating scene. By knowing ahead of time, you understand what you are getting into. It’s important to be with someone who shares the same values, so that you aren’t wasting six months to a year together as a couple before realizing the relationship won’t work, Brotherton said. “Our service works with relationship-minded people, not people who are just dating to be dating,” she said. What makes California Singles special is that the personal matchmakers meet in an office with every member face-to-face to learn what each person is looking for in a relationship, and a background screening is performed to ensure safety. “We are like your friends,” Brotherton said. “We get to know about you and your family and friends. It’s like friends setting you up on a blind date.” Members come from all walks of life — there are doctors and lawyers, teachers and nurses, and factory workers. “It doesn’t matter how old you are, or what you do for a living, you want to be loved,” Brotherton said. With an 85 percent industry success rate that you will meet someone compatible, why not give love a try?

• 3 Dimensional Designing • Full Service Remodels • Cabinetry • Countertops / Backslash • Flooring – Tile / Hardwood

Project Notes · Barbara’s favorite color orange – a must have · New light glaze cabinets · Open up floor plan

“My work is my passion.” - Rick Sorci

We have lived in our current home since 1976.We wanted new appliances and some major design changes in our kitchen area.With Rick’s flare for design we realized the potential a remodeled kitchen would have to update our home. Rick removed our old bar between the kitchen and the dinning room which opened up the whole north end of our home. Before he completed the initial design for the kitchen, we were convinced and ready to sign up for the major remodel.We ended

up with our ‘dream’ kitchen, dining room, laundry room and a new bathroom.The whole north end or our house is now like a new home. He did a fantastic job from beginning to the end. I guess you could say we became very satisfied customers who would gladly recommend Stockdale Kitchen and Bath to everyone. Thank You, Hardie & Barbara


Bakersfield Life Magazine


In 1974, Omar Dunn, middle, and wife Dolores became the proud owners of Skateland. Daughters Natalie Fries, right, and Leslie Dunn-Meyers say they started working there “as soon as we could follow directions.”

September 2013

Father’s Footsteps Meet four local men who are creating a local legacy, and leading their children along the way

By Bakersfield Life Magazine


raditionally, they’ve been the head of the household, leading families to bigger and better things. They’re men and fathers. In this year’s “men’s issue,” we highlight four local families where the men have created a legacy for their children to follow. From professional race car drivers to restaurateurs and local business owners, here are just a few men making their families and Bakersfield proud.



mar Dunn started coaching artistic skating in Fresno before being offered a coaching job at Skateland by then-owner Jim Huber. Shortly after, he was offered a managing job. That was in 1959, and since then, Omar Dunn has been working at the skating rink in south Bakersfield. By 1974, Omar and wife Dolores were the proud owners of Skateland. Daughters Natalie Fries, 56, and Leslie Dunn-Meyers, 48, say they started working “as soon as we could follow directions,” beginning with small jobs as coat check girls, cleaners and penny counters and rollers. Before long, the daughters began working the snack bar, managing public sessions and coaching private lessons. Working at Skateland proved to be beneficial for both daughters as Natalie and Leslie are both artistic roller skating champions. “They are on their skates several days a week and can still carry a tray full of sodas on skates,” Omar Dunn, 78, said. Both daughters said they decided to

continue working at Skateland after reflecting on their own childhood experiences and realizing Skateland would be an ideal environment for raising their children. And they admire their father. “He has a great work ethic,” Leslie Dunn-Meyers said. “He is fantastic at managing money and fixing things himself. He works like he is 25 years old, usually starting at 4:30 a.m.” Working together is “great most of the time,” they joke, and they’ve learned each other’s strengths and weaknesses. The best thing about working together is watching their families grow up, they say. On their days off, they still get together to cook, entertain and travel. “The girls have taught dad how to cook, and he is pretty good,” Dolores Dunn, 77, said. Omar Dunn doesn’t skate anymore, he said, but “I probably still could do it.” — Andrea Vega

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Continued from page 81



Bakersfield Life Magazine

September 2013

Morgan Clayton, founder of Tel-Tec Security Systems, considers his staff and his customers as family.



hirty-one years ago, Morgan Clayton acted on his dream to establish a security systems company, beginning the arduous process that brought Tel-Tec Security Systems, Inc. to Bakersfield. It required intense devotion and a strong work ethic. “I was not focused on eight hours a day; I was focused on 24/7, 365,” Clayton said. But Clayton does not work alone. Initially, Tel-Tec was run by Clayton himself and two others, but in time the company grew to include scores of employees, including his family. Clayton’s daughter, Tasha Clayton, works under her father as vice president of administration, but the family ties extend beyond their father-daughter relationship. Other family members that are a part of the Tel-Tec team include Kevin Clayton (social media), Tyson Clayton (research and development), Bruce Clayton (commercial sales) and Chris Clayton (retail and residential sales). “Having all of these family members, in addition to our corporate family members, we have a legacy and a strategic direction to build a very strong future in the security industry,” Morgan Clayton said. The strength of these familial ties within the company is part of the Tel-Tec culture, Morgan said. He emphasizes the importance of regarding the entire Tel-Tec team, as well as customers, as family. “The Tel-Tec work culture is focused on family values,” Clayton said. Tel-Tec Security Systems provides full-service security to homes, businesses, hospitals and schools here in Bakersfield, and throughout California and Nevada. Morgan Clayton said seeing the young people grow into their roles at the company is the most rewarding result of his family’s involvement in the company. “The real value for me has been in watching and observing as the new young leaders begin to mature and shape the future of Tel-Tec.” — Thomas Harlander


Casey Mears gets a hug from dad Roger Mears in 2003 after Casey raced his way into the Daytona 500.


Roger Mears Jr. at Mesa Marin Raceway in 1999.



n race car driving, a checkered flag is the sight of the finish line and possible victory. But to the Mears family, it could also serve as a coat of arms or family crest. The Mears name has been known throughout the world, particularly as some of most successful professional race car drivers. From Bill to Roger and Casey to Roger Jr., the Mears for years have followed in their father’s tire tracks.

‘BORN INTO RACING’ For Roger Mears, racing was all he ever knew. Originally from Wichita, Kan., Roger grew up watching his father, Bill, race all throughout the state before moving the family to Bakersfield in 1956. “My brother and I were born into racing. It’s what we did. It’s what we all did” Roger Mears jokes. “We didn’t have a choice! And my boys didn’t have a choice either!” After starting the “Mears Gang” logo, having an impressive career in NASCAR and an even more impressive career in off-road racing, Roger retired from racing and relocated to North Carolina. However, as fate would have it, this was not the end of racing for the Mears Gang. Both of Roger’s sons, Roger Jr. and Casey, found a love

for the race track at an early age. Roger Jr. had the privilege of racing side-by-side with his dad many times throughout his career. He raced throughout the 1980s and 1990s before retiring from the racing world and settling down in his hometown of Bakersfield with his family. Stockdale High grad Casey Mears is the lone active professional race car driver of the Mears Gang. He currently races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, driving the No. 13 GEICO car.

INSPIRATION It’s no surprise that the Mears sons say they get their inspiration and motivation from their father “When he used to race, I remember how hard I would pull for him to win, as if I was in the car with him,” Casey said. “And now, he’s doing that for me. That’s unconditional support.” Roger Jr. added: “When we used to race together, to me, he was the best race car driver in the world.” Although the sons may have looked to their father for inspiration, today, it’s Roger Sr. who watches with wonder. “They inspire me!” he said. “It’s hard to put into words how proud I am.”

LOCAL LEGACY The Mears have built a local family legacy, not only of hard-working, champion racers, but also of good, humble people with roots established right here. “I thank my lucky stars we ended up in Bakersfield. It’s the best thing that ever happened to us,” Roger Sr. said. “It opened up opportunities that let us turn this hobby into a livelihood. It will always be home for us and we’re proud to say we’re from there.” — Kaelyn De Leon

Continued on page 85



Pedro Aguilar, middle, works with his two sons, Evan and Danny, inside of their family-owned restaurant, Taco Fresco.




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Taco Fresco’s menu includes an eclectic array of Mexican dishes.



ntrepreneurial spirit and a strong work ethic run deep in the Aguilar family, who own and operate Taco Fresco on the corner of California and Chester avenues. Founder Pedro Aguilar, who came to the United States from Cuba in the 1980s, along with 1.2 million other Cubans fleeing Fidel Castro’s regime, has been in the restaurant business since he set foot in the states. Today, he runs Taco Fresco with the help of his two sons, Evan and Danny. Taco Fresco is a casual lunch and dinner option that boasts an eclectic array of Mexican dishes, including flavorful marinated meats like pastor and barbacoa, as well as an extensive seafood menu including ceviche and camarones rancheros. Since they were old enough to work, Evan and Danny have been involved with their father’s restaurants, bussing tables and manning cash registers. Today, they help oversee human resources, payroll, marketing, as well as manage Casa Royal Banquet Hall, the family’s next-door establishment used to host quinceaneras, weddings, birthdays and anniversaries. Evan, 23, is a graduate of University of Southern Californian with a degree in business administration. When he’s not busy with his day-to-day grind at the restaurant, he spends his free time developing an online business that sells custom boxing shoes. Working with his father and family has been an invaluable privilege and a tradition that Evan hopes to carry on, he said. “I really enjoy the level of comfort that the three of us have with each other,” he said. “Whether it is business or personal matters, we have a very open dialogue with each other that makes the work environment very comfortable.” When the father-son trio isn’t busy learning the ins-and-outs of its next venture, their at home relaxing, watching Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. — Scott Camp


Continued from page 83

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DUDE DIVES These local hangouts offer a bit of freedom, camaraderie for men Story and photos by Kevin McCloskey


ometimes you just want to go where a guy can be a guy, a place where you can raise your voice to root for your team without reservation. A place where you can discuss cars, women, football, and the finer points of stouts versus ales without feeling like you are excluding half the room. I’m talking about the kind of place where a guy can go and not be constantly hit on and objectified by the fairer sex (excuse me, ladies, my eyes are up here). In days gone by, guy hangouts included fraternal organizations, social clubs, gyms, billiard halls and barbershops, to name a few. Here are a few local places where you can still capture a little sense of that freedom and camaraderie.

SPORTS BARS Opened in April 2009, Firehouse Restaurant houses 18 pool tables, an arcade, skeeball, shuffleboard, darts, 22 flat-screen TVs, and five megascreens on which to watch your favorite team. “We have everything you need for a night out with your friends without the intense experience of a nightclub or singles bar,” says general manager Jacob Cadena. With NFL football starting up, Firehouse has the capacity for several fan clubs (keep it civil, guys), amusements to keep you busy at halftime and between games, and great food and beer. In short, it’s a sports guy nirvana. 86

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David Dobbs, owner of Imbibe Wine and Spirits Merchant, offers an impressive inventory of cigars, a male-centric indulgence. September 2013

Imbibe has one of the largest inventories of craft beers in Bakersfield.

Firehouse has “everything you need for a night out with your friends ...,” says general manager Jacob Cadena.

“We’ve linked up with one of the local Dallas fan clubs called ‘Cowboys 661,’ and these guys are serious. They brought in 200 people for a pre-season game. These are true Cowboys fans,” Cadena said. Firehouse offers a full menu until 1 a.m. While it may not be the best idea to enjoy a rib-eye steak and all the fixin’s at midnight, if you make that call, Firehouse is the place you can get it done. For more, visit

GOLF AND THE 19TH HOLE CLUBHOUSE Golf has certainly become a co-ed pastime over the last few decades. After all, what’s not to like about walking 18 holes of manicured grassland on a beautiful day. It is still, however, more common to see a male foursome on the links than a mixed-gender group or all women. The appeal to the male psyche may boil down to a few basic elements: You are outdoors with your buddies, driving electric carts, beer may be involved during the game or after, you can razz your friends about bad choices or terrible shots, and you get to hit stuff. And whoever first came up with the clubhouse or 19th hole really kicked it up a notch. Whether you belong to a private club or enjoy the many public courses across Kern County, the clubhouse provides the perfect place to relive the highlights of the day, reminisce about great games of the past, and make the good times last just a little bit longer. For great public 19th hole hangouts, try Buena Vista, Kern River and North Kern golf course clubhouses, among others.

CIGAR BARS Cigars are another male-centric indulgence. I’m not talking about the skinny cigars with the plastic mouthpiece. I refer to the eight-inch Churchill style that requires the skill to

Matthew Ruiz, chairman of the Briar’s Club, hangs out at the Irish Heritage Club, which offers plenty of guy-centric events and activities

keep it lit, time to savor the experience, and the desire for a big, bold flavor and an aroma that may just chase off anyone not enjoying one of the same. Located on Truxtun Avenue at the eastern mouth of the newly opened Westside Parkway, Imbibe Patrons hang out and play darts has an impressive at the Irish Heritage Club. inventory of cigars, as well as a patio to enjoy them with a pint of your new favorite craft beer or a glass of port. For aficionados, Imbibe offers cigar lockers inside their classic humidor that can hold up to 250 of these black gold treasures. For those who are new to the experience, or looking to expand their knowledge of the subject, owner David Dobbs has three “Cigar 101 Smokers” sessions scheduled for late fall and the beginning of winter. In addition to brand introductions and product information from local distributors, these sessions will also cover proper ways to cut a cigar, how to light one, relight one, cigar etiquette and how to get the most out of the experience. The first session is scheduled from 5 to 8 p.m. Sept. 28 with follow-ups on Oct. 19 and Nov. 23. For more information or reservations, visit Imbibe also has one of the largest inventories of craft beers in Bakersfield, and once a month it hosts a meet-andgreet event with a brewery representative or brewmaster. Six

Continued on page 88


Continued from page 87 craft beers are on tap at all times with a rotating selection of options. The shop also stocks about 300 bottled craft beers to take home, or to enjoy in the lounge or outdoor patio. “Craft beer is the hottest category in the liquor business right now,” Dobbs said. “... And craft beers are typically a male indulgence.”

LIVE SPORTS Watching your favorite team from a big screen TV is far more practical than hitting the road for the season, but nothing beats the live experience of sitting in the stands with an enormous beer cup, dropping your peanut shells where you sit, standing up and cheering for the big plays, and jeering the missed calls. Bakersfield may not have a pro sports team to rally behind, but we certainly have our share of hometown teams. In the big four sports alone, we have the Bakersfield Blaze for baseball, Bakersfield Condors for hockey, Bakersfield College Renegades for football and the Cal State Bakersfield Roadrunners for basketball, among others. Or you can check out a Friday night high school football game. Alumni at some schools easily outnumber the students and player’s parents. If you didn’t go to high school here, just head down to the nearest one and sit with the home team. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you can make friends when you’re all cheering for the same team.


Bakersfield Life Magazine

September 2013

CLUBS AND ORGANIZATIONS The Irish Heritage Club is far from a male-only organization, but it does have some guy-centric events and activities that deserve a mention on this list. Having just moved twodoors down to a larger and much cooler location, at 3129 Chester Lane, the club hosts monthly meetings of the Briar’s Club, a sub-group of members interested in pipe smoking. Named after the briar root that many pipes are made from, this group was started by the club’s chairman of philanthropy, Matthew Ruiz. “I started the Briar’s Club in 2012, to give pipe smokers an opportunity to get together and share knowledge and techniques, as well as a place to get together and enjoy smoking indoors,” said Ruiz. “After working in the tobacco industry for over 10 years, I realized that there wasn’t an established resource for new pipe smokers to draw on and get more enjoyment out of the their pipes, so I created one.” The group meets at the Irish Club on the second Friday of every month. Ruiz also organizes the occasional Irish movie night at the club, and a Scotch tasting event is in the works for November. Founder Kenny Mount adds two more male-centric attractions to the club’s calendar: Darts tournaments and the club’s man cave, an Irish pub you can rent for a night. “Stock it (yourself) with food and drinks, and invite (your) friends down for a private, pub-night experience,” Mount said. For more information visit

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Braun Electric Co. leadership: CEO Ed Ott, foreground, and vice presidents Kevin Blankenship and David Reed.

BRAUN ELECTRIC CO. Photos courtesy of Braun Electric Co.

WHO IS BRAUN ELECTRIC CO.? The Braun Electric Co. has been in the electrical contracting business since 1945. Braun is a merit-shop electrical and instrumentation contractor, proud of its workforce and team, and also enjoys one of the highest employee retention rates in the area. The company was founded after recognizing a need to do quality driven electrical and communications work, safely and properly. From there, the company grew into a premier electrical contractor in Kern County, keeping the staple foundations in place of safety, innovation and people.

WHAT SIZE IS THE CURRENT TEAM AT BRAUN ELECTRIC CO.? Currently, the team boasts more than 370 electricians, and more than 400 total team members. The company is continuously expanding and hiring new talent on a regular basis. Braun prides itself on providing expansive leadership and training. Over the past year, the company invested heavily in leadership training that now more than 200 people have gone 90

Bakersfield Life Magazine

September 2013

through. The widely popular leadership training — EntreLeadership — developed by a leading business expert, has been a great investment and opened a new door to business and team development. And more than 95 percent of staff “feel that the leadership is great at Braun Electric Co.,” according to a recent employee survey done throughout the company. “We would rather invest in each and every team member by providing continued training and safety instruction and risk them leaving; versus not investing in them and guaranteeing they stay,” explained CEO Ed Ott. People at Braun Electric Co. believe they are a part of the company, not just an employee, as more than 95 percent “feel that their job is important to accomplishing the company’s goals,” and nearly 90 percent feel their job is very secure. Ed continued, “We offer competitive wages, 401k retirement plans, and great benefit packages, but most importantly, more than 95 percent of our team knows that safety is first, and because of our priority on safety, they will be home each and every night to enjoy their families.”

WHAT KIND OF SERVICES DOES BRAUN ELECTRIC CO. OFFER? The company’s primary services include heavy industrial electrical work, overhead construction and instrument controls. Braun provides engineering support to many compa-

nies — primarily within the oil industry. The company continues to innovate and expand rapidly with the times to incorporate new and better ways to utilize efficient and safe business practices. Braun maintains the position as a benchmark organization by investing in its people and business resources. Braun has implemented advanced technology into business management and is radically changing customer expectations. “Our goal remains to always strive to push the expectations of our customers to new levels, where we, Braun Electric Co., rise to meet the challenge to exceed expectations, meet goals and timelines, and innovate to better business practices,” said CEO Ed Ott.

WHAT IS BRAUN ELECTRIC CO. KNOWN FOR? Braun strives to have a specific reputation to customers that stems on quality and innovation, while the focus on the team is on safety and leadership. Our team sees, first and foremost, our commitment to safety and how we provide a positive environment for each and every person. While all business has some turnover, we are pleased to see a high number of those who do leave, come back relatively shortly after trying their career elsewhere. Many team members have said it wasn’t until leaving that they truly realized the value we place on our employees, and Braun CEO, Ed Ott what a difference “the Braun difference” is. Here, they are a part of something — not just a piece that makes it all work, but rather an intricate detail to an overall picture accomplishing set goals together. After conducting our most recent employee survey, it was noted that 99 percent of all current team members said, “Braun Electric Co. understands their customers needs” and puts them as a priority in all the company does. Ed reminds them, “It is for our customers that we are here and because of them that we will succeed, and we never take that for granted.” Our customers know us for leadership, safety and having an established well-rounded workforce representing them each day in the field, resulting in unparalleled quality. Customers understand our rule-based behavior. However, it is because of how our team sees us, and how vested our company is in our team, that allows us to do what we do for our customers every day. The more we care about our team, the more they care about our customers.

HOW HAS THE BUSINESS CHANGED OVER THE YEARS? In the beginning, our growth was steady and slow, much like other industries of the time, but it wasn’t until the mid- to late ’90s and throughout the last 20 years that our company has really seen significant growth and expansion. In 1993, the company had 24 employees, and here we are 20 years later with more than 400. Beyond team numbers, we have also seen significant changes in equipment, technology and opportunity for advancement through modernization.

Braun Electric Co. has been in business since 1945. In the most recent years, we have been prominent in developing higher expectations, through innovation, new and advanced equipment, and enhancing client focused opportunities. As a result of research, and understanding client needs, we have reviewed and implemented technology to make communications internally as well as with clients, more efficient, timely and accurate. We have rolled out very intelligent customized wireless digital tools to each site, so each and every person has access to immediate communications and reporting. As technology advances, so will we. Efficiency, accuracy, timeliness and safety continue to stay at the forefront of all we do.

WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR BRAUN ELECTRIC CO.? We are very optimistic about the future. We see many more expansions and growth as well as great opportunity in utilizing technology to better communicate and organize information. We have plans to expand on our client-focused goals and better business practices, as well as continue to invest in leadership throughout the company. We will never be complacent, but rather always invest in the future, and continuously improve the status quo. “When you become complacent, you become defeated. To stay relevant you must revitalize and reinvest in the company inside and out,” said Ed Ott. Braun Electric Co. welcomes the future and invites customers and team members to celebrate their nearly 70 years of work in Kern County. All this enables us to continue our investment in the local and state community in a variety of ways. Braun Electric Co. — Your Premier Electrical Contractor in Central California.



Gary and Greg Flanagan of Econo Air.



cono Air, The Energy Store, was founded in 1977 with the idea to help consumers save money on their rising energy bills. Now, 36 years later, Econo Air continues that tradition through their diverse offerings of high-quality, energy-efficient products. Econo Air was opened by Gary Flanagan and Al Bennett. After a successful career as salesmen at Montgomery Ward, Al Bennett retired in 2005, and Gary brought his son, Greg, on board to help service their expanded customer base. Econo Air was established as a HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) company that specialized in residential installations with custom sheet metal work. However, Econo Air has diversified and currently has four divisions. HVAC Division: The heating and cooling is still the largest division. Econo Air specializes in selling and installing the highest quality and highest efficient HVAC systems. They still custom fabricate all of 92

Bakersfield Life Magazine

their sheet metal work with each installation, which is very rare these days. The “V” stands for ventilation in HVAC, which is why Econo Air offers and usually installs an indoor air quality product with almost every installation. The equipment they sell is already moving the air in the home, so it is ideal to clean the air while doing it. This also helps protect the equipment by cleaning it to microscopic levels before it hits the equipment or duct system.

September 2013

Econo Air’s 4,000 square-foot showroom.

Hearth Division: Econo Air has been selling hearth products for more than 25 years. Originally, they were selling mainly wood stoves and wood inserts. However, these days, gas is king. Gas inserts, gas fireplaces and stoves are actually more efficient than wood stoves and much easier to control. The remote is your t-stat. You set a temperature on the remote and the heater rated fireplace products will adjust flame height to maintain your comfort level in the room. Gas products are not subject to the “no burn days” and the air district will even provide a $500 incentive program that pays people to convert their inefficient wood-burning fireplace with a high efficient heat-rated gas insert. Outdoor Division: Econo Air has been selling high quality barbecues for more than 20 years. They currently offer a diverse array of barbecue grills and accessories. They have an amazing selection of Weber gas and charcoal grills as their primary freestanding grills. However, if it is a complete outdoor kitchen you are after, then Econo Air is still your destination. They have a large selection of built-in grills and accessories. They started manufacturing outdoor kitchens in 2006 to be able to offer a custom outdoor kitchen from start to finish with all the components one would need. Solar Division: Econo Air started installing solar PV systems about five years ago. They offer SolarWorld the best quality 100 percent American-made solar panels. Solar is a great fit for Econo Air since they are able to address both the solar and the HVAC. It is usually more cost-effective and less money for the customer to upgrade the air conditioning system to a high-efficient system to decrease kilowatt usage prior to installing a solar system. Econo Air, The Energy Store, continues to offer the highest quality products and services for its customers in Kern County.





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LIFE OF A ‘SNEAKERHEAD’ Local athletic shoe enthusiast shares love of rare sneakers with Bakersfield By Jorge Barrientos


Mike Lopez operates Must Be the Sole consignment sneaker boutique. 94

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September 2013


hen Michael Lopez was in seventh grade, he wore out his sneakers so bad that he burned a hole right through his shoe. His mother couldn’t afford to buy him another pair, he said, but his uncle, a drug addict at the time, had stolen some new size 13 sneakers and gave them to him. He was a size 10 at the time and had no choice but to wear them. Soon, the front of the size 13 sneakers curled up like clown shoes, and one day, while riding on a school bus with older students from Bakersfield High, the entire bus laughed until he could take no more. “I got off the bus, put my hoodie over my head and just cried my way home,” Lopez, now 40, recalled. “I told myself, ‘Never again will anyone laugh at me about my shoes.’”


Michael Lopez’s Top 5 Sneakers

And so begins the life of a “sneakerhead.” Over time, he’d set aside money to purchase shoes and at one point, Lopez owned roughly 100 rare, expensive and collectable sneakers, many of them Air Jordans, branded after one of the greatest basketball players ever to play, Michael Jordan. Many of the rare sneakers are worth several hundred dollars, but the rarest can fetch a few thousand. Today, it’s Lopez’s goal to cater to the evergrowing population of “sneakerheads” in Bakersfield.


Air Jordan 3 Black Cement

Lebron 9 China

Lopez lists his top five favorite sneakers. Topping the list are his all-time favorite shoes, the Air Jordan 3 Black Cements. “I couldn’t get them as a kid. They were so limited,” he said. “Only rappers had them in the 1980s. They are just pretty.”

Air Jordan 3 Black Cement Air Jordan 3 was originally released in 1988, after Jordan received his first NBA Most Valuable Player award, and was the first Jordan shoe to showcase the “jumpman” logo. Released: November 2011 Retail: $400-500

Lebron 9 China Colorway of LeBron’s ninth signature model Released: December 2011 Asking price: $400-500

Air Jordan 10 Chicago

While doing research for an independent film on sneakerheads, Lopez, a local multimedia artist and professional photographer, discovered a subculture of sneakerheads, people like him, through social media, including the Facebook group, Sole 661. Of course, they were fans of basketball, Michael Jordan and even hip-hop culture, but there was something else. “Most ‘sneakerheads’ never had the money to buy these shoes when they were growing up,” Lopez said. “But now that they’re older, they can.” Donald Glenn, for example, first fell in love with Air Jordans when he was in the second grade at Stella Hills Elementary. New to the school and not allowed to play basketball with the older students, he watched from the sideline. The best player, he said, wore teal Air Jordans. “I thought, ‘It has to be the shoes,’” he said. “They stood out more than any other sneaker.” But his parents could never afford the shoes, so he worked for them. At age 15, he cut lawns at $5 a pop and eventually bought Air Jordan 15, in white and Carolina blue. He struck gold when he landed a job at FootAction in the mall, starting a cycle of selling shoes to buy shoes.

Air Jordan 10 Chicago



“That’s where it took flight. It was like heaven,” Glenn, 28, said. “Most of my check went to shoes. I just love them with a passion.” Today, Glenn has about 250 pairs, though he said he hasn’t counted them in months. His favorite is the Air Jordan 8, and his most expensive is the Nike Air Yeezy 1, worth about $3,000. Then there’s Francisco Garcia who also couldn’t afford the shoes when he was younger. Today, he spends about $500 per month on shoes and owns about 50 pairs, which he said is a small collection. The fascination with the shoes, he says, is similar to coin, comic book and car collections. You want to have the rarest of the rare and let

Continued on page 96

Released in 1994-95 after he returned to the basketball court following a brief stint in baseball. Released: 1995, 2005 and January 2012 Asking price: $275-400

Air Jordan 4 Fire Red Originally released in 1989; seen in commercials with Spike Lee as Mars Blackmon. Released: August 2012 Asking price: $500-650

Air Jordan 4 Thunder This shoe was released along with the “Lightning” shoe, sporting black and “tour yellow.” Released: August 2006, December 2012, May 2013 Asking price: $900 (retro $225-350) Sources:,,


Continued from page 95 everyone see, too. “I like walking into the mall, for example, knowing I’m wearing a pair of shoes nobody else has on,” Garcia said. “They’re head-turners.” Sneakers have been a part of urban culture for decades. And just like the urban, hip-hop culture, the love of sneakers for years has spread exponentially throughout the world.

MUST BE THE SOLE The interaction with fellow sneakerheads led Lopez to begin selling some of his collection, stepping into an untapped market locally. “There’s a huge sneakerhead community, and it’s growing all the time,” he said. “I didn’t know much about the retail business, but I love shoes and so do countless others. I said, ‘Why doesn’t Bakersfield have a store?’ So I just decided to open my own.” On his 40th birthday in March, Lopez opened Must Be The Sole on the second story of a downtown Bakersfield building. His high-end, exclusive sneaker store is perhaps the only one of its kind in the Central Valley. The small shop holds several dozen new and slightly used hard-to-find sneakers (yes, even some used shoes are worth money) in a posh, high-end display. There are no hours of operations and no window shopping (you can find it online at m ). Instead, Lopez sends out messages on social media with opening hours, and you must

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Bakersfield Life Magazine

September 2013

be buzzed in to enter the store that’s next to lawyer and business offices. Lopez sells from his collection, but he also serves as a consignment shop. Enthusiasts typically get the most exclusive shoes first through raffles by shoemakers that are nearly as hard to win as the lotto, or through high-end exclusive shops in Los Angeles and New York, like Flight Club. You won’t find shoes from Lopez’s shop available at the mall, and they usually don’t come in size choices. What’s displayed is all there is. Shoes without original boxes and dust bags are worth a fraction of those with them. And counterfeits are always a concern, but he and his advisers are trained to tell the difference. While Lopez’s investment is working out, he says he’s not in the business to make money. His true reward is taking photos of smiling customers with their newly purchased shoes in front of his store sign. “Simply, I enjoy helping people find shoes,” he said. His customer base is ever-growing, with some coming from Fresno and Los Angeles. But more than a place to buy and sell shoes, Lopez’s venue serves as a hangout for sneakerheads to chat shoes — for people like Glenn, for example, who said, “I can talk about shoes all day and all night.” Garcia, too, pops in the store nearly every weekend to talk shoes, and maybe buy a pair. “There’s just nothing else like (Must Be The Sole) around,” he said. “I’m glad it’s here.”

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Cal State Bakersfield professor Virginia Dallas-Dull tends to the Walter Stiern Rose Garden, while Jean Childers of CSUB 60+ Club and science professor Ted Murphy, in the background, have a conversation.

COLORFUL CAMPUS ROSES Cal State Bakersfield’s rose garden blooms over decades thanks to volunteers Story and photos by Earl Parsons


spectrum of colors greets the eye as you step into the garden next to Cal State Bakersfield’s Dore Theatre, where a vibrant array of red, white, yellow and lavender roses are surrounded by emerald green leaves swaying in the breeze. In the 40 years since the first buds were transplanted to the campus, the CSUB Walter Stiern Rose Garden has grown into a place where students, faculty and community members can admire nature, catch up on homework or quietly reflect. “It’s more than just the flowers,” said Virginia Dallas-Dull, the Action Network coordinator of CSUB 60+ Club, a senior citizen outreach group that tends to the garden. “It’s a tranquil place.” The volunteers tending to the roses encourage visitors to take a few for themselves or loved ones, and the garden is a


Bakersfield Life Magazine

September 2013

popular destination for CSUB graduates during commencement ceremonies every June. Walter Stiern, a former state Senator instrumental in CSUB’s inception, donated the roses from his late father’s garden in 1971, said Ted Murphy, a retired professor and CSUB 60+ Club member who researched the garden’s history. Stiern’s father, Walter Stiern, Sr., taught classes in agricultural mechanics at present-day Bakersfield High School and kept a rare collection of hybrid tea roses. With the help of CSUB founding dean Ken Secor, Stiern dug up his father’s roses and planted them on campus, where they were eventually moved to their present location. Until CSUB 60+ began taking interest in the garden in 1992, university groundskeepers kept the roses in unceremonial cornrows, and few people visited the area. “It was a real highlight of the campus,” Murphy said, “even though few people knew anything about it.” The project to redesign the garden was spearheaded by Fred Krauter, a dairy farmer, electrician and lifelong Arvin res-

t ively a Exclus rie Fab s r Jewele

What’s in the CSUB Walter Stiern Rose Garden • A majority of the various species at the Walter Stiern Rose Garden are in the hybrid tea family, which are characterized by their large buds and tall, straight stems, CSUB 60+ Club garden coordinator Jean Childers said. Hybrid tea roses often have the potential for repeat-flowering every year. • While the garden receives assistance with fertilizing and weeding from the Rose Society of Kern County, CSUB 60+ handles all of the routine maintenance on the flowers, Childers said. This includes pruning dead leaves and a process called “deadheading,” which entails removing a portion of the growing stem down to a set of desirable buds to stimulate flower growth. • CSUB 60+ encourages anyone to come to the garden and pick roses for themselves or loved ones, but Childers said that the group would prefer for people to bring their own clippers and cut their roses at an angle near the budding nodule of the rose stalk to encourage continued growth.

Possibilities Day Information about interest groups and volunteer activities offered by the CSUB 60+ Club will be available during “Possibilities Day” from 9 to 11 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 12. The free annual event that kicks off the club’s 2013-14 year will be held in the multiple purpose room of CSUB’s Student Union. Parking is available in Lot K via Stockdale Highway and Don Hart Drive East. No parking permit is required. David Melendez, the university’s vice president of advancement, will guest speak. Membership in the club is open to anyone who is retired or age 60 and older. Dues are $40 per year. No previous college attendance is required. More information: 654-3211.

ident who learned agricultural mechanics from Senator Stiern’s father at Kern County Union High School, Murphy said. Krauter cared for the roses until his death in 2010, and a rose garden committee commissioned a sundial in his honor. All of the roses had to be moved during recent parking lot construction behind the Dore Theatre, and a group of students, faculty, alumni and volunteers successfully petitioned CSUB administration to keep the roses at their current location. Since being replanted, the rose garden has enjoyed an increase in visitors, Dallas-Dull said. CSUB even receives frequent requests for wedding receptions and other social gatherings in the area. While the volunteers encourage anyone in the public to come to the garden, a difficult barrier for entry is the daily $5 CSUB parking pass cost, Dallas-Dull said. CSUB 60+ is working with CSUB administration to install parking meters for the public, and the group is seeking a $12,000 endowment through the CSUB Foundation for memorial plaques, and annual fertilizing and weeding. “The rose garden was under the radar for a long time,” DallasDull said. “Now that this has become more popular, we need to step up to the plate.”

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Xxxxx xx x xxxx xx xxxxx Kern County’s exhibit in the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.

‘THE CROWN OF THE SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY’ Kern County’s exhibit in the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair was among the most popular By Ken Hooper


an Diego County had its “Pyramid of Raisins,” while Ventura County’s “Bean Pagoda” competed with Los Angles County’s “Orange Globe.” But Kern County built a mighty bridge — a replica of the Ponte di Rialto Bridge that spanned the Canal Grande in Venice, Italy — for the Chicago World’s Fair in the spring of 1893. Kern County had a population of nearly 10,000 people in 1891, when the California State Legislature authorized counties to create fair exhibits representing the products of California to be displayed in the California’s Exhibit Hall at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. The 100

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Chicago World’s Fair, as it was commonly known, was created to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the New World. It evolved into one of the greatest historic showcases of architecture, industry, consumer goods, technology and agriculture that the world had ever seen. Some of the products displayed for the first time were Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, Cream of Wheat cereal and Juicy Fruit chewing gum. But the biggest draw for fairgoers was the new 264-foot-tall Ferris wheel. Due to its small population, Kern County was only permitted to draw $7,500 from the general fund to create a showcase exhibit. The more populous counties were permitted to draw $50,000. Not wishing to be outdone by other counties, Kern County supervisors authorized a Kern County World’s Fair Association, where individuals could join for a yearly membership of $1. The Daily Californian newspaper boldly stated: “Sign your name to the list; pay your dollar; become an active member and be sure to be on hand at the mass meeting, and help organize the Kern County World’s Fair Association. It’s going to be organized whether you are there or not.” And organize they did. By the time the exhibit was completed, $12,725 was spent in the collection, construction and maintenance of the Kern County exhibit. The Kern County Land Co., which saw the fair as an opportunity to sell ranch and farm land to a world audience, contributed $5,000 to the

Kern County Historical Society The Kern County Historical Society is a countywide, nonprofit organization founded in 1931, as an outgrowth of the Society of Kern Pioneers. Today’s membership is open to all people who are interested in history, and Kern County history in particular. Our current membership includes people from many diverse occupations, as well as retired people, longtime residents and more recent residents. The society is devoted to preserving, publishing and distributing information related to the history of Kern County. Society meetings are held monthly between September and May, with the exception of December. Programs feature speakers on subjects pertaining to county history, historical sites and Kern lore. Field trips are led by experts wellacquainted with the sites. Programs and field trips are open to members and guests. More information on membership and programs: or search “Kern County Historical Society” on Facebook. Upcoming programs for 2013-14 include: September: Speaker, The Beale Park Band and the evolution of the musician’s unions from 1906-2000. October: Field trip, Colonel Vernon Saxon Aerospace Museum in Boron. November: Speaker, archeology in Kern County. January: Speaker, Basques of Kern County, Part II. February: Walking tour, historic downtown Bakersfield. March: Speaker, prohibition era in Kern County.

effort. The final report of the California World’s Fair Commission in 1894 stated that the Kern County exhibit “consisted of an arched bridge 25feet long, 13-feet high and 4-feet wide, one end resting on a hemisphere inscribed Orient, the other resting on a similarly constructed base inscribed Occident. The intention of the design being to convey the thought that Kern County bridges the world in the wide range of her products.” The report also described “large banners of scarlet satin, with bullion fringe, descend from horizontal poles on the north and south sides of the exhibit, reaching from side to side and bearing in letters of gold the words, ‘Kern County, California,’ and over the arched entrance to the reception room is stretched another banner, bearing the legend, ‘Kern County. The Crown of the San Joaquin Valley.’” More than 75 farms, ranches and individuals had the honor of having their fruits and vegetables displayed under the arches of the bridge. Fairgoers were invited inside the exhibit to sit and rest on couches and chairs and sample the products of Kern County. Shipments of fresh fruits and vegetables were sent biweekly to Chicago by train as they ripened in the fields, on the vines and in the trees across the county. This harmonious atmosphere made the Kern County exhibit one of the most popular places in the California State Hall.

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In addition to having been Kern County’s first female homicide detective, Betty Finch is also an expert gourd sculptor.

Girl Scouts to honor three local women who inspire our town By Kaelyn De Leon


ince 2009, the Girl Scouts of Central California South has been honoring women in our community who inspire girls to be successful leaders and believe in themselves. The honorees are dynamic women who have shown exemplary achievements in their areas of expertise, displayed outstanding leadership qualities that have allowed them to overcome obstacles, and served their community while continually making a difference in people’s lives. Each year, they are honored during a luncheon that also benefits a Girl Scouts program for economically disadvantaged girls. Meet this year’s honorees here.

BETTY SHANEYFELT FINCH Betty Finch was the first female homicide detective of Kern and opened the door to promotions for women in local law enforcement. Betty came from humble beginnings. In 1974, she escaped from an abusive husband and found herself homeless. She found her way to Bakersfield where she enrolled in Bakersfield College, worked as a waitress and slept in a park bathroom. After working as a commercial artist, she found herself in a 25year career with the Kern County Sheriff’s Department where she worked her way through the ranks, blazing the trail for future women in the department. Today, she is a gourd artist and founder of the Kern County Gourd Society. 102

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CYNTHIA POLLARD Cynthia Pollard is a Bakersfield native who didn’t seek out to become a role model or inspiration. Instead, she said, it’s just something that happened on her way to becoming herself. Pollard serves as the president and CEO of the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce, a position she earned after an impressive career in business and public relations, working for PG&E, Walt Disney Productions, and in her own public relations firm, Cynthia Pollard Communications. Pollard said she believes in supporting the community that has given her so much, and as a former Cynthia Pollard Girl Scout, Pollard PHOTO BY FELIX ADAMO


Though never being a Girl Scout herself, Finch said the true honor and value of this award is the opportunity to share insights with many young girls. “Having a positive influence on the lives of adolescent girls as a role model is a rewarding way to add purpose and meaning to your life,” Finch said. “Coming from humble beginnings should not be used as an excuse. Challenges build character. You expect less and will work harder in difficult conditions, use this to your advantage and ultimately you can accomplish more.”

JOAN DEZEMBER Joan Dezember, along with her husband, Ray, are known throughout our community for their local volunteer work and philanthropy. Joan has dedicated herself to the betterment of Bakersfield, which she has called home since 1956. Today, Joan serves on the board of Garden Pathways,

Flood Bakersfield Ministries, Inc. and CSUB Foundation while holding true to her belief that volunteerism is the greatest asset to the community. For Joan Dezember, the award is not only a great honor, she said, but a humbling experience as well. She has served as a Girl Scout, helped her daughter’s troop, and witnessed her granddaughter receive the Joan Dezember Girl Scouts “silver award.” “Young girls need to have women who will love them and listen to them and their concerns,” she said. “It is important for girls to know they are loved and are free to accomplish any dream ... I would love to pass on the importance of serving and encouraging one another, as the outcome is always a positive one.” PHOTO BY CASEY CHRISTIE

knows the importance of having positive role models. “It is extremely important that girls have strong role models so that they can see the possibilities that lie ahead for them in terms of education, careers and life in general,” Pollard said. Her advice to young 2013 Women girls: Inspiring Girls “Be who you want Bakersfield to be,” she said. “Don’t When: Friday, Oct. 4 let others determine Where: Valley Baptist who you are. Always be Church, 4800 Fruitvale Ave. true to your dreams Tickets, donations, more and set your goals. Aim information: $35 each, $250 high ... be prepared to for table of 8; $20 to help pay work hard and don’t let for a Girl Scout to attend — hard work deter you. Anything worth doing is worth doing well.”



From left: Rick Valdez, Colleen McGauley, Justin Salters, Karina Capellino and Devin Reiser are part of “Wine, Women & Shoes.”

THE TREMENDOUS TRIO ‘Shoe guys’ to help with ‘Wine, Women & Shoes,’ benefiting CASA of Kern County By Kaelyn De Leon

Photos by Mark Nessia


or many women, nothing goes better together than great wine and fabulous shoes — unless you add men into the mix. That is exactly the premise behind Wine, Women & Shoes, an annual event held Oct. 5 that once again will benefit Court Appointed Special Advocates of Kern County. 104

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DREAMS INTO REALITY CASA of Kern County aims to find a permanent and safe home for children who have been neglected, abused or abandoned. These children have found themselves in the juvenile dependency system because their caretakers have been unable to provide a safe environment, forcing social services and the legal system to intervene. CASA volunteers are sworn officers of the court and aim to provide the judge with an independent assessment of a child’s circumstances. By establishing a personal relationship with the child, these volunteers represent the interest of the child and dedicate sometimes more than three years to finding a permanent home. With weekly visits and many months of building trust, CASA of Kern County volunteers are able to change the lives of children, and give them a reality where they “can dream, can learn to share those dreams, and where their very own CASA tries to turn those dreams into a reality,” said Amy Raddatz, resource development manager for CASA of Kern. “The most common dream of our children is, ‘I want a family,’” she said.


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R GIRLS DAY OUT With Wine, Women & Shoes, CASA of Kern hopes to raise $130,000, enough to provide 65 children with an advocate. The event is the perfect girls day out, event officials say, and features sips on world-class wine, shopping for the latest shoes and accessories, bidding on one-of-a-kind auction items, and kicking up your heels for a fashion show. One of the top features of the event, however, are the “shoe guys.� Handsome men, who have generously donated their time to the day’s event, will carry around the latest shoe fashions. About 30 local prominent men from our community, turned wine and shoe experts, will be assisting to reach the goal. “They’ll happily explain why a strappy silver sandal goes well with a sauvignon blanc, or how a cabernet sauvignon pairs with a black stiletto pump,� Raddatz said.

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MEET THREE ‘SHOE GUYS’ • Justin Salters: 25-year-old Bakersfield native and representative of policy, government and public affairs for Chevron. • Rick Valdez: Bakersfield native and director of quality control for ARB, Inc. • Kevin Reiser: Arrived in Bakersfield after graduating from Iowa State University. He works in the human resources department for Aera Energy.

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Why did you agree to be a shoe guy? Justin: What would you say if you were asked to be one of the guys serving wine and showing off shoes to hundreds of women? Did

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Continued from page 105 I mention it’s for a good cause? And have you ever tried to say ‘no’ to (CASA of Kern executive director) Colleen McGauley? Rick: It was my wife’s idea to sign me up for this, but I really have enjoyed what it represents. Wine, Women & Kevin: First and foremost, CASA Shoes serves an excellent cause; and secondly, When: 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5 where else can a man go and be surrounded by a bunch of beautiful Where: Old Stockdale Estate of Lee and Krystyna Jamieson women? Tickets: $125; VIP is $175 (front row seating with appetizers and drinks served during the program) More information, purchase tickets:

What does supporting a cause like CASA of Kern County mean to you? Justin: Supporting CASA of Kern is about supporting our community’s children. It’s not just a good thing to do — it’s the right thing we must do. Rick: It is not hard to support CASA of Kern County. Children are the future of our community, and it is heartbreaking to think about a child without a safe place to call home or a family to love. CASA’s goal is to find these children a forever home. How can I not support this? Kevin: I have two wonderful daughters, and I cannot imagine what their lives would be like without someone they could turn to when in need of an adult advocate.


Bakersfield Life Magazine

September 2013

What do you know about women’s shoes? Justin: They come in pairs, and I haven’t met a woman who says she has enough. Rick: I find my wife and daughter’s shoes all over the house. Does that count? Kevin: I know that if the bottom of the shoe is red, they are expensive. Isn’t that all I need to know? If you had to wear women’s shoes for a whole day, which would you prefer: high heeled stilettos or a nice wedge? Justin: Stilettos all the way. Bring on the power shoes. Rick: A nice wedge. Why would I want to be stuck in stilettos? Kevin: Neither, I would go for sneakers. Could you tell the difference between a Manolo and a Jimmy Choo? Justin: You’ll have to ask me in October. And, I’ll even offer a wine suggestion to pair with your shoe selection. Rick: Who? What? No! Maybe it’s best that I don’t know because my wife probably has a pair, and I don’t want to know how much they cost! Kevin: I’m sure if I met them, I would know them the next time I saw them. Just kidding. I am assuming these are both shoe designers, and I do not know them.

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SISTER OF COMPASSION Sisters of Mercy’s Judy Morasci honored as Plank Foundation ‘humanitarian of the year’ By Andrea Vega

‘A GIVING COMMUNITY’ Growing up in San Francisco, Morasci learned from the Sisters of Mercy and was greatly influenced by their love of the poor and spirit of hospitality, she said, as well as their care for women and children in education. Sisters of Mercy was founded in 1831 by Catherine McAuley, whom Morasci said she strongly admires. After receiving her teaching credentials, Morasci made her first vows in 1962 and came to Bakersfield two years later as a sister and educator, though she also taught in the Bay Area as well. Locally, she served as the principal at Our Lady of Guadalupe, founded by the Sisters of Mercy. In 1994, she became vice president of mission integration at Mercy Hospital and has been there since. “I’ve come to love this community. To me, it’s a giving community,” she said. Today, Morasci is involved in various community organizations, including Bakers108

Bakersfield Life Magazine

Sister Judy Morasci is this year’s Plank Foundation “humanitarian of the year.”

field Breakfast Rotary Club, American Cancer Society’s community board, Friends of Mercy Foundation, American Association of University Women and the Kern County Probation Auxiliary board.

CARING AND COMPASSION Lloyd and Patty Plank and the Rotary Club of Bakersfield East established the foundation in 1985 to help the less fortunate in Kern County through health care, hunger and humanity projects, as well for local cancer care, cancer treatment and hospice needs. Its mission is to ensure terminally ill patients get quality care, assistance for patient’s families, and to help eliminate cancer in our community. Organizations supported by Plank Foundation include American Cancer Society, Links for Life, Florence R. Wheeler Cancer Center, San Joaquin’s AIS Cancer Center, Optimal Hospice and Hoffman Hospice. It’s no wonder that the “humanitarian of

September 2013



t’s the mission of the Sisters of Mercy to serve the local poor, sick and uneducated through Mercy Hospitals of Bakersfield. Now a part of Dignity Health, the group of women and hospital also strive to provide compassionate, quality, familypatient centered care to make end of life a positive experience for others. They are all values held dear for Sister Judy Morasci, she said. “Every human being deserves kindness, compassion and understanding in our world today,” she said. “I feel privileged. It’s not so much what I’ve done, but what others have done for me — what others have given to me. It’s God’s grace that inspires me.” For her work, Morasci is this year’s recipient of the Plank Foundation’s “humanitarian of the year” award for making a difference in giving back to our community.

the year” award this year is going to Morasci, “known throughout the community for her compassion and her ever-present smile,” said Bob Parker, president of the Plank Foundation. Past recipients of the 15-year award include Mayor Harvey Hall, news anchor Jim Scott and Dignity Health’s Robin Mangarin, philanthropist Ray Dezember and musician Buck Owens, among others. “Men and woman who have received the award before are people I admire, and I am honored to follow in their footsteps,” Morasci said. “Lloyd and Patty Plank are wonderful people.” The award will be given during a dinner following the annual Plank Classic Golf Tournament, at 6 p.m. Oct. 7 at the Bakersfield Country Club. The dinner is primarily for the golf participants, but guests can be accommodated upon request. The golf tournament is $200 per golfer, and $125 for a tee sponsor sign. Sponsorship levels range from $5,000 and under.


A line of houses along Saddleback Drive in the Quailwood neighborhood.

QUAILWOOD: SCHOOL SUCCESS AND FAMILY LIVING Family-oriented neighborhood rallies around park, award-winning school By Emily Claffy

Photos by Mark Nessia


he Quailwood neighborhood in southwest Bakersfield is a well-established community that offers affordable homes in a family-oriented atmosphere with a highperforming school and a neighborhood park. The neighborhood was built in the mid-1970s to early 1980s, with many homes that have seen their second and third owners. In fact, Kevin Palla, of Prudential Tobias, Realtors, bought his first Bakersfield home in the Quailwood neighborhood in 1984 from its original owner. “I bought in Quailwood for the reasons that still attract buyers today,” said Palla. “The neighborhood is centered around two very family-oriented landmarks, Quailwood Elementary School and Quailwood Park.” Many of the homes today have been updated and improved over the years, Palla said, including new paint and the replacement of wood shake roofs with tile or composition shingle. 110

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Emma Fox, center, and her friends play a game of “swing tag” at Quailwood Park.

Rosedale R osedale Hwy. Hwy.


Tr u

n xt u

Stockdale S tockdale Hwy. Hwy.

e. Av

California Av e.

Kern River

N. E Ell Rio Dr. Dr.

Coffee Co ffee R Rd. d.

Quailwood Quailwood neighborhood

1/2 mile

• 623 single family homes • 64 percent of the households have incomes of $75,000 or more • 81 percent are homeowners • 75 homes have a market value of $250,000 or more • 80 percent of the head of household are 50 or older

Source: The Bakersfield Californian Market Research Department

Sticking with the neighborhood theme, many of the street are named after birds. “No, no ‘Duck Dynasty Way’ here,” Palla said. “But you will find Pheasant Avenue, Chukkar Lane and Bobwhite Court.”

AWARD-WINNING SCHOOL Quailwood Elementary is part of the Fruitvale School District, the highest performing district in Kern County. The school has earned the California Distinguished Schools award several times, the state’s top award for public schools. It has also won the National Blue Ribbon award, the nation’s top award for schools. Fruitvale Superintendent Mary Westendorf said she believes that the school’s success can be attributed to neighborhood support and

Continued on page 112


Continued from page 111 the consistency of school staff. The school has been in operation for more than 30 years, has a relatively low turnover rate, and has had only two principals — Kay Antongiovanni and Steve Duke. The school’s parent club is active and helps support the school financially and with volunteer time. Additionally, the school hosts many family centric events including back-toschool night, open house, first grade’s “I Love Show,” the monthly “best in the west” honor assembly, events for grandparent’s day, father-daughter and mother-son events, and a Veteran’s Day program that honors Quailwood family members who have served the country. “Quailwood is unique that they benefit from the excellence of the Fruitvale School District and the desire of the close-knit Quailwood neighborhood to support an outstanding school,” said Westendorf. “When schools are fortunate enough to have both of these two major support groups, students benefit and are successful.” Steve Duke, current principal at Quailwood Elementary School, also credits the school’s success to the combined effort of a dedicated staff and supportive families. “There have always been high expectations, not only for every student, but the entire Quailwood staff as well,” principal Duke said. “Being the best you can be means hard work

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every day and a commitment to good moral character. Learning to make good choices and setting the right example receive a great deal of emphasis.”

PERKS AND PARKS Another perk of the neighborhood, residents say, is Quailwood Park, which has mature trees and safe streets for dog walking. Suzy Eves-Casida and husband Jon Casida, Quailwood residents of 17 years, enjoy the quiet, friendly atmosphere of the neighborhood and like being close to the bike path, stores and churches. Brenda Tremaine, supervisor of personnel services for the Fruitvale district, has lived in the Quailwood community for 24 years, which she said in not very long compared to many residents in the neighborhood. Tremaine moved into the neighborhood because of the great things she had heard about the school. “The school is such a big draw for the neighborhood but so many people have remained in the neighborhood long after their children are grown,” Tremaine said. “The really fun part now is to watch those children moving back into the neighborhood to raise their own children. They consider it home and want their children in the same environment they grew up in.”

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Bakersfield Life Magazine

September 2013

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... ARE OIL MEN These three petroleum industry leaders share what it’s like to work with one of our area’s vital resources Compiled by Thomas Harlander Photos by Mark Nessia


ern County produces more oil than any other county in the state, and these are the guys who find their calling making sure we take advantage of that resource. Through them, the local economy reaps the benefits of the oil business. Take a peek into the lives of some of Bakersfield’s oil men and the work they do.

DAN STOTLER Dan is the owner of Stotler Company Inc., an oil field equipment sales, service and rental business founded in 1975. How did you get into the oil business? I was hired in the sales field. My family and friends were involved in the petroleum industry so I figured, why not? And 40 years later, I’m still around. What is an average day at your job like? I start around 5:30 a.m., answering any emails we may have gotten overnight, cleaning up loose ends from the day before, working on projects for customers, checking with the field making sure things are being taken care of, and working on any new projects, quoting and designing. What do you enjoy about your job? The people and the challenges. What is a significant work challenge you’ve had to overcome? Keeping up with the changes and new innovations in the industry. What is something you’ve learned from working in the oil industry? 114

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Dan Stotler

Brad Elliott

Every day is a new day. Nothing stays the same. What do you like to do when you’re not at work? Be with our grandchildren and travel. Any misconceptions people have about your job? There’s a lot of pressure involved with the safety of your employees and the people around you — making sure everyone goes home safe each day.

BRAD ELLIOTT Brad is responsible for all California operations as the vice president of the west division for Seneca Resources Corp., one of California’s largest oil producer with operations in and around Kern County. In 2012, it was named “California Operator of the Year” by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. How did you get into the oil business? Growing up in Texas, the oil business was always a big part of the culture. I liked math and science as a kid and wanted to be an engineer, so as a freshman at the University of Texas I decided to major in petroleum engineering. What is an average day at your job like? I am mostly in our Bakersfield office. I converse with our engineers, geologists and operations staff on our current activities and look for new opportunities to grow our business.

What do you enjoy about your job? Every day is different. Seneca has almost 2,000 wells in California, and they all present unique challenges to solve. What is a significant work challenge you’ve had to overcome? I transferred to Bakersfield in 2003 with Seneca and didn’t know anyone here, but the oil business is like an extended family and helped me quickly settle in and become active in the local industry. What is something you’ve learned from working in the oil industry? We have the most hard-working, dedicated group of people who work in our industry. What do you like to do when you’re not at work? I like to spend time with my wife and two kids, play golf and watch sports. Any misconceptions people have about your job? People don’t understand how complicated the oil industry is. It’s not easy to extract oil and natural gas from a mile or two miles below surface. It takes a well-trained group of people working together to make that happen.

Continued on page 116


Steve Layton

Continued from page 115

STEVE LAYTON Steve is the president at E&B Natural Resources, a Bakersfield-based oil and gas company that produces throughout California and across the country. E&B is one of the largest privately owned oil and gas companies in California. How did you get into the oil business? I am a third-generation oil producer. My grandfather ran an oil business. When he died, my grandmother took over until her three sons, including my father, were old enough to run the business. I started working in the oil fields when I was 12 years old. What is an average day at your job like? E&B has oil operations in multiple states. A fair amount of my time is spent travelling to our different locations to see our different properties and meet with the employees who don’t work at our main location. What do you enjoy about your job? The best thing about my job is the opportunity to meet and talk with so many different people — people with different interests, areas of expertise and backgrounds. I have learned much from the great people that I interact with on a 116

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daily basis. What is a significant work challenge you’ve had to overcome? The biggest challenge in my line of work has been planning for and dealing with the challenges related to “boom/bust” cycles that are part of history of the oil industry. What is something you’ve learned from working in the oil industry? The importance on maintaining a positive outlook and to always be open to new ideas. Any misconceptions people have about your job? People assume that members of the oil business don’t care about the environment, when really we know that not only can oil be recovered in a safe and environmentally responsible manner, but that the revenue generated from the production of oil can and does accomplish great things. Revenue from oil production can in fact help provide the funding necessary to build the bridge to a future beyond a hydrocarbon-based economy. What do you like to do when you’re not at work? When I am not at work, I enjoy spending time with my family and playing golf.



Bakersfield attorney Timothy Lemucchi.

Longtime lawyer, with deep local roots, leads a life of adventure

Much of the newspaper clippings and photographs that adorn the walls of the popular eatery chronicle the early years of Tim Lemucchi: an East High School star athlete and member of its Hall of Fame. He went on to Stanford University where he played football and basketball, and then headed to Georgetown University’s law school.

By Lisa Kimble




lint Eastwood in the film “Magnum Force” once said, “A man’s got to know his limitations.” That obviously doesn’t pertain to Bakersfield attorney Timothy Lemucchi, who in nearly a half-century of legal work, and 76 years young today, is in a league of his own with a remarkable life that has known no boundaries. The grandson of Italian immigrants, Lemucchi’s father, Louis, took over the family cafe and grocery store in Old Town Kern in the early 1900s. Luigi’s Restaurant & Delicatessen eventually was cemented in the hearts and appetites of locals and visitors. 118

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It is hard to imagine that Lemucchi, with more than 230 jury trials, some sensational, and representing thousands of clients in nearly five decades of practicing law in Kern County, was not initially enamored with the profession. “I hated law school,” he said laughing. “But after my first year, I came back to California and worked as a clerk in the State Assembly.” He continued: “When I got to see how the law worked, something clicked. When I finished law school and started practicing, I took to it like a duck to water.” Inspired by “wonderful” criminal law and torts professors, Lemucchi began practicing alongside Morris Chain in 1965, trying some of Kern County’s most headline-grabbing

“Today’s technology with good old-fashioned integrity”


cases. “Back then, people didn’t specialize as much, but as the law developed, I gravitated to criminal and personal injury work,” he said. Throughout the years, Lemucchi has represented criminal defendants in local notorious, sensational and high-profile cases, including Offord Rollins and Robert Tyack (Rollins was exonerated of the 1991 murder, and Tyack pleaded in 1982 to involuntary manslaughter). Lemucchi’s office is filled with reminders of a remarkable career. “They all have interesting stories,” he said. “Most of the people I represent, they are not hardcore. Usually, they are people who screwed up badly, fairly decent people who at some point made a giant error.” When he isn’t in the After 30 years at courtroom, Lemucchi can Chain-Younger Law usually be found outdoors. Firm, Lemucchi started his own practice in 1996. In 2009, he was named a Southern California “Super Lawyer,” given to outstanding lawyers who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. For nearly the past two decades, he has focused almost exclusively on personal injury litigation, winning millions for injured clients. “With personal injury, you have an opportunity to help someone who has a life-altering injury,” he said. “Most people who are catastrophically injured face a daunting future, and it is a real challenge to help them with future income.” Having a front row seat to the sweeping changes of the practice of law, Lemucchi himself is amazed. Technology made a huge difference. The amount of work you can do and handle is incredible,” he said. “It was such a difficult task even to make copies of things [decades ago]. When I joined Chain-Younger, there was no dictation. Shorthand was it.”

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THIRST FOR ADVENTURE Quiet and unassuming, Lemucchi’s mild manner belies an extraordinary life as an athlete and outdoors man. An all-American triathlete and Ironman triathlon world champion in the 45 to 55 age groups, he immersed himself in the competitions in the 1980s. “The triathlon was the natural progression,” he said. Lemucchi has scaled Mount McKinley, climbed peaks in Soviet Central Asia, kayaked more than 300 miles along Alaska’s Noatak River, dog-sledded in northern Alaska, and skied from Yosemite to Mammoth and along the perilous crest of the Eastern Sierra in the winter, which he called a “great adventure.” “It is a privilege to do it, and it can be stunningly beautiful.” But it is a plaque on a bookcase that best defines Lemucchi’s unquenchable thirst for adventure. The memento includes a piece of fuselage from a crash in 1980 while heli-skiing — off-trail, downhill

Continued on page 120


Continued from page 119 skiing accessed by a helicopter. “We were lucky because it had snowed a couple days before the accident happened, so we crashed in fresh snow,” he recalls. He credits his mother’s family for his spirit of adventure. “I definitely get it from my ancestors,” he said. “My grandfather and his brothers rode horses to California from Missouri in 1843.”

TREASURE TROVE A history buff and gifted writer, several years ago Lemucchi put together a book for Luigi’s centennial celebration. And now, he finds himself with more rich lore thanks to longtime friend and private investigator Leonard Winters, who died two years ago. “Leonard knew a lot,” he says as his face lights up. “Leonard had a lot of colorful stories about people in this town when the law and law enforcement was different.” Perhaps the most colorful involved Western musician Spade Cooley, a swing musician indicted and tried in the beating death of his wife near Tehachapi in 1961. Morris Chain first represented Cooley. Winters, and his tape recorder, tagged along. Among the treasure trove of local memorabilia Lemucchi

sifted through as executor in the wake of Winters’ were the tape recordings of Cooley on the night of his wife’s death. Cooley’s legendary life and surprising end are the makings of songs and screenplays. Lemucchi has completed a manuscript of the Kern County murder episode, and Hollywood is reportedly interested in the project. “It has been really fascinating,” Lemucchi said of his work transcribing the tape recordings and Winters’ notations.

WHAT’S IMPORTANT When he isn’t climbing the world’s highest peaks, or retreating to Mammoth Lakes, Lemucchi spends time in the oasis-like home he and his wife, Margaret, share on the banks of the beloved Kern River. “The Kern River is an integral part of my life,” he said. “I have been to the beginning where it is a dribble, and all up and down it many times on horseback and on foot. It is a wonderful place.” An advocate for the legal profession — and admired by his peers in the legal community — Lemucchi often writes op-ed articles underscoring the role of the judicial process in society. “People ought to try walking in the shoes of an injured person before casting criticism at them,” he said. He added: “I love practicing law. As you get older, you have more wisdom and you don’t sweat the small stuff, but concentrate on what is important.”

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Bakersfield Life Magazine

September 2013

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Andrew Mason Orlando, or AMO as he’s known by his racing family, is a 9-year-old Senior Mini Dwarf Division driver.

Andrew’s goal is to move up to the next division, where he’ll be driving a bandolero race car. He and his parents recently answered a few questions for Bakersfield Life.

KID RACE CAR DRIVER 9-year-old is excelling in ‘mini dwarf’ races while family cheers him on By Andrea Vega

Photos by Michael Lopez


ndrew Mason Orlando, or AMO as he’s known by his racing family, is a 9-year-old Senior Mini Dwarf Division driver, driving cars that go up to 50 mph. He began his rookie season when he was 8 years old and raced at four different tracks to gain the skills to race with experienced drivers. The work has paid off, as he’s finished in the top five as a rookie. Andrew moved to Bakersfield in 2011 and he lives with his grandparents while his father is stationed in Santa Maria as part of the U.S. Army and his mother, a West High grad, works as a traveling nurse in California. He attends McAuliffe Elementary School.


Bakersfield Life Magazine

What do you like about racing? Racing cars is so unpredictable and very exciting at the same time. I have driven over other cars, pushed tires around the track, tangled up with other drivers, and even been pushed over on my side during a race. I look forward to the next race wondering what will happen. Oh, and my family and fans in bright orange shirts cheering me on in the stands.

September 2013

What do you think about when you’re out on the track? I always think about speed, getting to the front of the pack, and my favorite song running through my mind, “Shoot to Thrill” by AC/DC, because it gets my adrenalin pumped! How do you balance your schoolwork and racing? Sometimes it is difficult because some races conflict with my school schedule and traveling to several race tracks make Fridays a very busy day for me. I must be very organized to excel in school and have a successful racing season at the same time. This year, I will begin the GATE program in school so my school work will be more demanding, and the competition on the track gets tougher all the time.

Who inspires you? My grandfather inspires me because he’s the one who taught me how to drive, and he makes sure my car is perfect for each race. My grandfather is the best crew chief any mini dwarf driver could ever ask for because he has so much racing experience. What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned so far? To beat my friends or get beat by my friends; after the checkered flag waves, we’re still friends.


ndrew’s parents, Yvonne Alvarez-Orlando and Tony Orlando, met when they were both stationed together in the U.S Army in 2003. They later married and gave birth to Andrew at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. Andrew spent seven years in Fort Bragg, NC while his father deployed overseas twice. Tony was injured in 2009 in Afghanistan and received a Purple Heart. What do you think about Andrew racing? We are happy AMO has the opportunity to be a part of such of a sport that not too many children have the chance to do. It has allowed AMO to come out of his shell and learn to be competitive and passionate about the sport.

Continued on page 124

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Continued from page 123 How did you learn about the sport? AMO’s grandfather, Tony Alvarez, is a racing fanatic with a history of off-road racing as a co-driver for Roger Mears Racing, and he drove his own street stock at Mesa Marin. When AMO would visit his grandparents from North Carolina, grandpa would take him to the races. The first time AMO saw the mini dwarfs race, he immediately turned to grandpa and said, “I want one of those.� In 2011, when AMO relocated to Bakersfield, grandpa built him a track and had AMO practicing for the 2012 racing season. What do you hope Andrew takes away from this experience? As parents we want to see him excel in everything he does, and we hope he continues to strive to be the best at everything he does. We want him to continue his journey of hard work and dedication that he displays every weekend on the track. What do you attribute to his success? AMO has come a long way in a short time. As a military child, the life of constant moving, changing schools and living apart from the ones he loves most is difficult, but AMO has the natural ability to adapt to every situation that our unique lifestyle paves for him. He continues to overcome the challenges of a military child and shows that he can overcome and succeed anything he puts his mind to.


Bakersfield Life Magazine

September 2013


Learn how a star distance runner prepares for races and how to keep the entire family healthy

1. Lay on your back with lower legs on the ball.

By Sally Baker and Katie Kirschenmann

EXERCISE OF THE MONTH: HIP LIFT WITH HAMSTRING CURL ON BALL Lay on your back with your lower leg on the ball. Lift hips up off ground, creating a straight line from ankles to shoulders. Keeping hips lifted, curl the ball into towards glutes. Roll back out again. Think “up, in, out, down.” Repeat 10 to 15 times, preferably three times a week. This exercise helps strengthen and balance hips and hamstrings. Demonstrated by Jack Wainwright — Sally Baker

2. Lift hips off of the ground.

SEPTEMBER EVENTS • Coastal trail run: Get out of town Sept. 7 and visit this beautiful part of our central coast, at Montana de Oro, for this free event hosted by Sole 2 Soul Sports. Choose your distance, from just a couple of miles to 20-plus miles and enjoy a guided run on trails with fabulous views. Lunch will follow at Sylvesters in Los Osos. More information: • Stockdale Stampede: Stockdale Posse parent club presents the Stockdale Stampede 5K run and walk each year to raise funds for scholarships. It will be held at 8:30 a.m. Sept. 14 at The Park At Riverwalk. Pre-registration before Sept. 7 is $25, and $30 on race day. More information: 319-4911 or • Autism run: MAPSS (Multilevel Applications and Positive Support Services), a behavioral health provider, is organizing the “Autism on the Run” 5K family event — 10 a.m. Sept. 28 at Cal State Bakersfield — to help raise awareness of the issues with autism. Register, more information: or contact Isabella Borreli at or 397-4777. — Sally Baker

3. Curl ball toward glutes

CONVINCING DAD THAT ‘RABBIT FOOD’ IS YUMMY A “fit and fresh” lifestyle is a family affair. Whether I am waging the ongoing vegetable war with my 5-year-old, pureeing fruit and veggies for my twins, or cutting red meat out of my husband’s diet, maintaining a healthy lifestyle hinges on family. At times, finding balance inside the tornado that is often 126

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September 2013

4. Roll back out and repeat.



Part of the“daddy diet:” Garlic, tomatoes and dark leafy greens.

Continued on page 128


created by five individuals living together can be challenging. It can be easy to lose track of the specific needs of one person. Sometimes, we busy moms forget about dad. My husband, like so many others, is a very busy guy. He comes home tired and often neglects his own needs while working hard for his family. Though he complains arduously, I serve what he refers to as “rabbit food” for dinner more than a few times a week. For clarification, my husband defines any dish not containing meat or potatoes as “rabbit food.” Just as there are specific dietary needs that my children require, the same is true for my husband. Men’s health is supported by specific requirements that can be incorporated into your overall family menu. While there is no silver bullet, there are definitely foods that support prostate and heart health. Here are my top five ingredients for the “daddy diet,” some of which are not eaten by rabbits. 1. Garlic: Research has shown that garlic and vegetables from the allium family (garlic, onions, chive and shallots) may have an impact on warding off prostate cancer. Plus, they taste great on potatoes. 2. Tomatoes: Roasted, sliced, stewed or stuffed, tomatoes are rich in lycopene, which can help of some types of cancers, particularly prostate cancer. 3. Salmon: There are countless ways to prepare salmon.

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This fish is high in essential oils that are heart healthy and undoubtedly delicious. 4. Dark leafy greens: OK, so technically this is rabbit food. But dark green leafy vegetables are powerhouses filled with a nutritional punch of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, which help to keep the colon healthy. The darker the green, the higher the nutrient content. 5. Love and support: Perhaps the most important ingredient in the “daddy diet” is love. Dad is more likely to eat rabbit food prepared with love because he knows that we care about his nutrition and want him to live a happy and healthy lifestyle. — Katie Kirschenmann



our years ago, I noticed a lanky young eighth grader competing at a small, friendly local track meet. He was smooth, light and floated around that track, impressing me with the ease he competed. Continuously gaining strength and speed, he quietly dominated, along with a couple of teammates from Stockdale High School, as he moved through his high school cross country and track career. Blake has completed his junior year of high school, and what a fantastic year it has been. (For more in his stellar sea-


Bakersfield Life Magazine

September 2013

son, go to the “All-Star Athlete” section on page 58). In addition, he answered a few questions here for our “Fit and Fresh” section: Since returning from ‘worlds,’ are you taking some time off? Haney: Yes, about 10 days or so. (I haven’t) been running much. Blake Haney placed fifth in Looking forward to the 1,500 meters in 3:44.69 your senior year, do in the 2013 World Youth you have specific Championships in Ukraine. goals? Haney: Just work hard, stay injury free, and do well at state level and beyond. With regard to daily training, before a long run, do you eat? What is your favorite meal? Haney: Yes, I like to eat something before a long run, maybe a granola bar, or cereal or gel bloks. We don’t really go out to eat much, so I just eat good home-cooked meals mostly. PHOTO BY KIRBY LEE

Continued from page 127

Do you ever take supplements or protein shakes? Haney: No. Do you have a preference between cross country and track? Haney: I love them both, but probably track as I’ve had a little more success there. Do you do any strength training, weights or yoga? Haney: Some core work, using a medicine ball, but minimal, really. Do you look toward anyone for inspiration? Haney: Galen Rupp and Matt Centrowitz (both U.S. Olympic distance runners). How do you balance school and training and traveling to events? Haney: It is sometimes hard, but my teachers have been great, and it’s really not been too stressful. Athletics are in the forefront, but everyone has been helpful and supportive regarding academics. For any young, talented athletes reading this, do you have any words of encouragement or motivation for them to enhance their upcoming cross country season? Haney: Enjoy the support and friendships of your team members. Work hard, trust your coaches and trust yourself. Among them, Haney credits track coaches David Lonsinger and Bill Johnson, cross-country coach Josh Lewis and Haney’s father Ken Haney. — Sally Baker

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After working with dead weights, Danielle Smith continues on the rings.

CRAZY FOR CROSSFIT Fitness enthusiasts to compete in local CrossFit tournament By Thomas Harlander

Photos by Felix Adamo


f you’re proud of yourself for having RX’d this morning’s WOD, then you are likely part of the CrossFit cult, and you probably don’t need to be told about the “Throwdown in the Valley” CrossFit competition 7:30 a.m. Sept. 14 at our very own CrossFit Bako. (RX meaning doing the WOD “workout of the day” as prescribed). But for those who are not fitness junkies, CrossFit may seem a bit foreign. “Throwdown” organizer and CrossFit enthusiast Quin Miller, sales manager at FRS Healthy Performance, explains: “CrossFit is basically trying to prepare you for life,” Miller said. “You want to be as fit as possible, so it actually combines different things — gymnastics, endurance, speed training and olympic weightlifting.” In short, the goal of CrossFit is to make you a fitness Renaissance man or woman, with well-rounded physical abilities and the capacity to face any challenge life might send


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September 2013

your way. According to CrossFit, Inc., the program “specializes in not specializing.” Hourlong group sessions centered around a short, highintensity workout-of-the-day are designed to get your full body exercised. Add to that a pre-workout warm-up, a time for focusing on specific skills and strengths, and a postworkout stretch, and you have a typical day at the “box” — what CrossFit junkies call a CrossFit gym. With a lively culture of competition promoting more intense workouts, CrossFit is, essentially, “the sport of fitness.” The sport has become immensely popular in the last several years, and thousands of CrossFit dedicated gyms have popped up throughout the United States. You may have even seen the “CrossFit Games” on ESPN. Six independently-owned CrossFit affiliates operate in Bakersfield, according to And that leads us to why CrossFit Bako is putting on a full-fledged fitness tournament. Embracing the competitive nature of CrossFit, local workout enthusiasts will have the chance to prove — on their home turf — that they are the fittest of the fit in our area. “None of the workouts will be more than 10 minutes, but they will be very high intensity,” said Miller. “We have different scoring systems, and that’s based off different things like the time that you finish, and the way that you’re lifting.” Tournament proceeds will benefit the Bakersfield Police Activities League. More information:

Throwdown in the Valley What: CrossFit competition benefitting Bakersfield Police Activities League When: Saturday, Sept. 14, statrs at 7:30 a.m. Where: CrossFit Bako, 6611 Meaney Ave. More info: Registration: Late registration ends Sept. 4 Price: $65 late registration

End Of Summer Rafael Guijarro is a trainer and one of the owners of CrossFit Frenzy.

The CrossFit Language Box: a CrossFit gym WOD: Workout of the day AMRAP: “As many repetitions as possible” within a time limit RX: “As prescribed,” doing an exercise with the suggested weight and number of reps RM: Repetition maximum, the most weight you can lift for a set number of reps

PB: Personal best Kettlebell: A round iron weight with a handle on top Pood: A Russian unit of measurement used for kettlebells (1 pood = 36 pounds) Burpee: A type of exercise. Drop to the ground, do a pushup, jump into a squat position, jump up. Kipping pull-up: A type of pull-up that utilizes momentum generated by the legs and hips HSPU: Handstand push-up


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CrossFit Workout of the Day Here are a few sample CrossFit benchmark WOD’s (used to measure fitness progress over time) Workout: “Fran” • 21 thrusters with a 95pound barbell and 25 kipping pull-ups. • Another round with 15 of each. • Another round with 9 of each. Perform for time; record your time; and compare it to your previous time. Workout: “Angie” • 100 pull-ups • 100 push-ups • 100 sit-ups • 100 squats

Perform for time; record your time; and compare it to your previous time. Workout: “Benchmark” • 500-meter row • 40 air squats • 30 sit-ups • 20 push-ups • 10 pull-ups Perform for time; record your time; and compare it to your previous time. Workout: “Helen” • 400-meter sprint • 21 kettlebell swings (1.5

pood) • 12 pull-ups • Repeat twice Perform for time; record your time; and compare it to your previous time. Workout: “Lynne” • Bench press (weight should equal your bodyweight) • Pull-ups Perform for time; record your time; and compare it to your previous time. Source:

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Before arriving at Juneau, the cruise ship takes you through the Tracy Arm Fjord glacier.


My hope is to provide you with a set of tips in case you consider a cruise to Alaska. It’s worth the experience. One tip to start: you should pack a variety of clothes and be ready to dress in layers. Also, be ready to have sunlight some days until midnight. And don’t forget to just relax and have fun.

Explore the best of the 49th state via cruise ship


Story and photos by Gabriel Ramirez


Totem pole at Totem Bight State Park, which is the first port stop. 132

any of us love to travel, escape and explore different parts of our country and world. As a traveler myself, I decided to venture north — to Alaska, that is. I knew Alaska had more going for it than just being the largest state in the union and the birthplace of 2008 vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. I found out what the 49th state really had to offer. My method of travel? Cruise ship — the Golden Princess cruise ship to be exact, which I booked through The seven-day cruise — which leaves from Seattle and visits three cities in Alaska and one in Canada — will set you back between $499 and $1,299, depending on your comfort needs.

Bakersfield Life Magazine

September 2013

The seven-day voyage provides two complete days at sea, but no matter the day and what port you arrive at, you are guaranteed something is happening on board the ship. The trip is family-friendly with activities ranging from movie nights under the stars, an arcade, magic shows, an outdoor sports area, musical performances, buffet-style meals and a 24-hour pizza restaurant. For the adults, you can expect a casino with card games and slot machines, a variety of bars to choose from, a nightclub, bingo games, comedy shows, formal dining restaurants, a gym, karaoke nights and competitions and a spa. While you make your way to the four ports you will visit on this trip, you will be spending the majority of your time on the ship, but you will find there is always something new to do or explore. You will find your seven days will quickly breeze by, so enjoy everything the ship has to offer!

KETCHIKAN The first port you will visit is in Ketchikan. Known as the “salmon capital of the world,” Ketchikan offers a variety of excursions for you to explore the city and the surrounding areas. When leaving the ship, you can choose to explore the city on your own or choose from the variety of travel excursions, which range from a tour of Totem Bight State Park, ziplining, wildlife explorations, crab feasts, snorkeling and kayaking. Indigenous art works fascinates me, so I chose to visit Totem Bight State Park. The park is surrounded by abundance of trees and features many traditional totem poles, each with its own story explained to you by your tour guide. The trip to the state park allows you to return to port with enough time to take a walk through the city and do some souvenir shopping.

The first port on the Alaskan cruise is Ketchikan, known as the “salmon capital of the world.”

JUNEAU Before arriving at Juneau, the ship takes you through the Tracy Arm Fjord. You will be amazed by the blue icebergs and massive glacier. After the sightseeing at sea, you make your way to Juneau, the capitol of Alaska, and the only state capital in the United States that can only be reached by plane or boat. Once in Juneau, you can visit the capitol building and

the governor’s house. In Juneau, you can pick from a variety of excursions, including a visit to a salmon hatchery, a salmon bake, gold mine tours, dog sledding, whale watching, salmon fishing and more.

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Continued on page 134

Steve Woods

5025 Wible Rd • (661) 833-9998

4125 Peachy Canyon Rd., Paso Robles

6 miles west of Paso Robles | Weekends & By Appt. | 805-239-1668


SKAGWAY Your last port in Alaska will be in Skagway, a one-mile town that was home to many Americans during the Alaskan gold rush, but it’s also Sarah Palin’s childhood home. In Skagway, you can take a city tour, go dogsledding, go gold panning, ziplining and more. I took a streetcar city tour, where I learned about the troubles of those seeking riches during the gold rush, the history of how the city became a boomtown, and the city’s connection to Hollywood.

VICTORIA Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

Continued from page 133 I visited a dog sled summer camp, which houses dogs that have competed in the Iditarod dog sled competition. The camp houses fully grown sled dogs, as well as puppies being bred for future competitions. At the end of this excursion, not only do you get to play with some of the pups, but you are also taken on a dog sled ride around the camp.

On the way back to Seattle, you will stop at Victoria, British Columbia in Canada. Although the stay at the port is short, I was able to take a city tour and visit the city’s landmarks including the Mount Tolmie, Chinatown and Craigdarroch Castle. The city boasts spectacular architecture, beautifully integrated green spaces and a wonderful living environment. An Alaskan cruise is definitely a trip to consider if you wish to explore several areas throughout a few of days. It may seem a distance away from Bakersfield, but it’s easy to do. Check with a local agent, or explore prices online. And, “bon voyage.”

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Bakersfield Life Magazine

September 2013


1 Cuadra Boots Come see us at Ilitchi Boutique and get your Cuadra Boots, just in time for the Kern County Fair. Get 20 percent off these one-of-a-kind boots in September only. 205 E. 18th St. 369-1609,

Ilitchi Boutique

2 Sports fans Creation Craze carries a wide variety of sports-themed banks and beer steins. Come in and we can help you design something with your favorite team logo. All inclusive studio. Never a sitting fee. 9680 Hageman Road, Suite D; 588-7107


Creation Craze Studio

3 A touch of France New decorative pieces for your home. Come in and see our fleur de lis canister set at Uniquely Chic Florist & Boutique. 9500 Brimhall Road, Suite 701, 588-7997,


Uniquely Chic

4 A true piece of American history


Framed antique 45 star flag. Dates from 1896-1906 and measures 54 inches by 84 inches. Handmade locally and sold exclusively at Full Bloom. 4909 Stockdale Highway. 831-1751,

Full Bloom

5 Adult ceramic painting classes This “Pastel Partridge Pig” is just one of the many projects you will paint in Beverly Frick’s Brushstrokes classes this fall. Wednesday evenings at Color Me Mine at The Marketplace, 9000 Ming Ave., 6647366,

Color Me Mine at The Marketplace

6 Rustic and colorful One-of-a-kind wooden crosses with various decorations. Available in several different colors and sizes with tin and wooden sacred hearts covered with small milagros. 1609 19th St., 325.0000,

Kuka’s Folk Art

7 Re-purposed tires Re-purposed tires transformed into awesome baskets and candle holders. 8200 Stockdale Highway, Suite B-2.


Greenshops 136

Bakersfield Life Magazine

September 2013



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Central Valley Lactation Assoc. fundraising dinner July 19 Held at San Joaquin Valley College Photos by Greg Nichols View these photos and more online at

Mike Seguine and Mary Stanley

Jacob and Jennifer Lamb and Alexis and Jorge Rodriguez

Jeremy and Erica Meighan

Martha and Noel Meza

Leah Elliott and Pennie Ward

Cherif Guirguis and Jon Staricka

MaryEdith Carter and Kody Duey

Bob and Tennie Pomrey and Suzanne Chernabaeff

Ed Ruiz and Stephaine Costello

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Latinas Leading the Way July 12 Held at Bakersfield Marriott Photos by Jan St Pierre View these photos and more online at

Manuel Barrera and Paula De La Riva-Barrera

Nora Garza and Maria Hernandez

Leticia Arevalo and Laura Romero

Larry Fields, Sandra Lara and Kendra Mahan

Vivian and Raul Ramos and Desiree and Art Bermudez

Roy and Gloria Perez

Lupe Carrillo and Jose and Lucia Gonzalez

Amelia Herrera-Robles, Anna Dapelo-Garcia and Erica Cabrera

Mateo Garcia and Savannah Aborqui

People & Pets Walk for Valley Fever Aug. 10 Held at Kern County Museum Photos by Carla Rivas View these photos and more online at

Trish Froehlich, Bonnie Lyday, Jarrett Froehlich, Adrienne Bowman and Janzen Froehlich

Lori Crown and Adean and Malcolm Valenzuela

Shelly Yagers and Stu Jenkins

Sister Marie Francis Schroepfer and Brenda Heideman

Linda Toelle and Natalia Corres with Logan the dog

Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Your Pets Amanda Choyce and Denise James

Karen McGee and Heather Bertrand

(661) 589-9900 2720 Calloway Drive, Suite E 140

Bakersfield Life Magazine

September 2013

Michele, Dylan, and Zack Newell and Kathy Daniel with Sam the dog

Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Equality Day Aug. 4 Held at Seven Oaks Country Club Photos by Carla Rivas View these photos and more online at

Monique and Shanikka Hawkins

Kathy Laba, Barbara Kelley, Linda McDermott, Linda Aron, Pat Paynea and Kathy Still

Beth Robin, Jan Webster and Dee Whitley

Bernadette Mayer and Ann Kyles

Pattie Otts and Donna Bauer

Beth Davisson and Lucinda Soria

Paula De La Riva and Manuel Barrera

Terri Stanton, Melva Taggart, Laurie Stanton, Cheri Steed and Irene Heath


Cesar Chavez Foundation Concert Aug. 18 Held at Kern County Fairgrounds Photos by Carla Rivas View these photos and more online at

Angel, Rosa, Nick and Sharon Garcia

Joel Jauregu and Alexandria Penaloza

Sonia Gonzalez, Angelica Avina and Rosario Ortiz

Open To Public Memberships Available Banquets & Weddings Available Lighted Driving Range Fully Stocked Golf Shop

Araceli, Carlos and Stephanie Herrera

Peter Celedon, Chris Salazar, Julie Contreras, Dulce Aguilar and Melissa Chairez

Crystal Arevalo and Ana Garcia

Michael Pou and Margie Ramirez

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5201 Riverlakes Drive Bakersfield, CA 93312 (661) 587-LINKS 142

Bakersfield Life Magazine

September 2013

Angela Santos, Gustavo Yanez, Steve Nunez and Leslie Orantes

Trinkets, Treasures and Trades yard sale and craft fair

Jeanine Crist and Jocelyn and Jillian Dunnegan

Yvonne and Brigette Bonnet

Ashley Robison and Susan Dunlap

Taylor Ross, Dale Stolte and Sandy Ross

Emily Hicks, with Ed, Chris and Gavin Combs

Aug. 17 Held at Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Club of Bakersfield Photos by Greg Nichols View these photos and more online at

Fred and Sherree Paggi

Diwanna and Gary Hinds

Lou Dunkin, Kathy Worthing and Patty Golembefskie


JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes Family Team Kickoff Aug. 17 Held at San Joaquin Community Hospital Ice Center of Bakersfield Photos by Carla Rivas View these photos and more online at

Amy and Ryder Whittington and Kelly Story

Alyssa and Denise Botello

Cori Collins and Maurina Montoya

Olivia Carrillo, Jax Lara and Amaya Carrillo

Caleb Brown, Cody, Amanda, and Kayson Hanly and Christine and Keith Brown

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Bakersfield Life Magazine

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LA ROSA FRUIT BARS & ICE CREAM Hand-made iced treat has become a refreshing local staple By Andrea Vega

Photos by Casey Christie

Lidia Cruz and her brother Carlos peel mangos side by side at the La Rosa plant.

HISTORY Jesus and Rosa Diaz established La Rosa Fruit Bars & Ice Cream in 1980 because they wanted to share a taste of Mexico. So, they decided to create a delicious fresh fruit treat that has become a beloved staple in Bakersfield. With idea in hand, Jesus and Rose Diaz visited friends in

La Rosa frozen fruit bar carts in their warehouse on Niles Street. Chicago to learn the ice cream-making process. They ventured to turn this into a business in Bakersfield with their children. “Bakersfield was the perfect spot, and the response from our beautiful city was astounding,” said current owner Norma Diaz. La Rosa, Spanish for “the rose,” is named after Norma’s mother. Rosa would even deliver the product herself to be sold in stores, and the fruit and ice cream bars are still made using the same traditional process to maintain the integrity of the classic flavors. The main difference between then and now is that now, La Norma Diaz Rosa has a loyal local following of Kern County residents who are always ready to enjoy the fresh taste.

FACTS • Currently La Rosa offers 26 fresh fruit flavors. • Lemon-lime is the No. 1 best-seller among fruit bars. • Coconut cream is No. 1 best-seller among ice cream bars. 146

Bakersfield Life Magazine

September 2013

• La Rosa is available in more than 100 convenience stores throughout Kern County including at Costco, Walgreens and Rite Aid. • The wrapping machine is the only machine used in the creation process. Everything else is done by hand. • They are handmade daily, so La Rosa bars purchased are always fresh. • La Rosa produces up to 6,000 bars per day with options for more according to demand. • Bars are made with fresh, natural ingredients. • La Rosa is available for all sorts of events including company picnics, birthdays, and weddings. Cart rentals are also available for any event. • Bars can be made in 1-, 2-, 3- and 4-ounce bars. • Provides a healthy alternative to chocolate, candy and cookie dough fundraising for schools, with special prices available. • La Rosa makes custom bars for special orders with the ability to create any flavor. • Seasonal flavors include chocolate peppermint, pumpkin pie and Sticks are placed eggnog. in each bar before • For the recent they freeze. Kern County Nut Festival, La Rosa created walnut, chocolate cherry almond and vanilla chocolate almond flavored bars.

LA ROSA • Factory is located on 1317 Niles St., where Rosa Diaz also has her cake-making business, “Cakes For All Occasions.” • More information, or to find your nearest La Rosa vendor: 323-6877. Source: Norma Diaz, owner of La Rosa Fruit Bars & Ice Cream

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We have some exciting news… Barber Acura is under

NEW MANAGEMENT! As a “thank you” for your patronage, we are offering our customers a Service Department Oil Change Special. This Event will be for a limited time, so hurry in to Barber Acura, located at 4625 Wible Road, in the Bakersfield Auto Mall. Call 398-4260 for an appointment or simply come by and we will take care of getting you in and out quickly.

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Includes Oil Change, Filter, Tire Rotation & MultiPoint Inspection Reg. $44.95 *Excludes diesel. Valid 8/19/13 thru 8/31/13 only at Barber Acura, Bakersfield CA.


4625 Wible Road


Se Habla Español



Bakersfield Life Magazine September 2013  

Bakersfield Life Magazine, September 2013 . The Man Issue, Bakersfield's Most Eligible, and Latination.

Bakersfield Life Magazine September 2013  

Bakersfield Life Magazine, September 2013 . The Man Issue, Bakersfield's Most Eligible, and Latination.