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CONTENTS 6 CSUB cuts update Proponents for Cal State’s Latino Studies department are hopeful.
14 Giving back ‘09 This season of giving, we profile people who give from the heart.
8 Got gifts? Check out our Gift Guide for unique regalos with a cultural touch.
10 Latino-style latte Your favorite Tres Leches dessert can be transformed into latte form ... yum!
18 In step Panamanian fitness instructor finds zing in Zumba!
RESPECT. IT’S JUST PART OF WHAT YOU’LL EARN FOR A LIVING.
STAFF EDITORIAL Olivia Garcia VP/Content firstname.lastname@example.org Teresa Adamo Associate Editor email@example.com Matt Muñoz Staff Writer firstname.lastname@example.org Sandra Molen Staff Writer/Copy Editor email@example.com
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS NOE GARCIA, LISA KIMBLE, DENISE ORNELAS, RAY PRUITT, DEBORAH RAMIREZ, GABRIEL RAMIREZ, EDDIE RONQUILLO
ON THE COVER: Condy Burdick — who is originally from Panama — teaches Zumba, exercise set to Latin tunes. In our fitness section, Burdick tells of her journey to the U.S. and the opportunities that resulted. See story, page 18.
Working for the U.S. Air Force has its
PHOTO BY: Tanya X. Leonzo
do something important with your
DANIELA GARCIA, JOSEPH GOMEZ, JOHN HARTE, TANYA X. LEONZO, JESSICA MONCRIEF, GREG NICHOLS, SAVANNAH WOOLEY
Jaime de los Santos Sales Manager firstname.lastname@example.org 716-8632
Glenn Hammett Design Editor email@example.com
Marisol Sorto Office Administrator firstname.lastname@example.org 716-8640
04 | MÁS December 6, 2009
rewards. Respect, for one. Not to mention a good salary, great benefits, a quality lifestyle and the chance to
life. All in all it adds up to quite a benefits package. To find out more, call 1-800-423-USAF or visit airforce.com.
CROSS INTO THE BLUE
A season of giving hen December arrives, I am often reminded of my abuelas, Juanita and Sophia, both strong mujeres in their own right. I am fortunate to have my paternal grandmother, Sophia, in my life. My maternal grandmother, Juanita, passed away of cancer when I just started college. But both have influenced me in many ways. One area: giving. They always found the means to put others’ needs before their own. Their doors were always open for those seeking advice, a
place to stay or a few extra bucks. They’d drop what they had to do in a second to help someone else. No questions asked. No favors in return needed. Always positive, encouraging women, no matter how bad the person’s situation seemed to be. That’s just how they were wired, and I am fortunate I carry that in my blood. It’s probably why I am excited about this issue, which is our “Giving Back” edition. Inside MÁS, you will read about people who are making impacts through their community efforts. They include peo-
ple like local businesswoman Sylvia Mendez; Manuel Carrizalez of Stay Focused Ministries; and Belinda and Robert Singleton of The Bakersfield Burrito Project. Also inside this issue, we feature our regular line of MÁS columnists. Ay Mujer, aka Deborah Ramirez, asks what it takes to get through heaven’s gates. Returning contributing columnist Ray Pruitt gives our readers tips on holiday safety. And don’t forget to catch up with the latest of the Hispanic Chamber by checking out their newsletter that’s inside.
December 6, 2009
MÁS | 05
CSUB’s Latino Studies program gets reprieve — at least for the time being By Matt Muñoz MÁS staff
s questions about the future of the CSUB Modern Language Department continue, local college educator Jose Reyna remains hopeful. This comes after colleagues, students, alumni and community members rallied last month after hearing of campus discussions to make major cuts in some of the school’s most popular programs, including Latina American Literature, Latin American Studies, and Chicano Literature and Spanish — a program that’s boasted
more than 87 majors in 2009 alone. CSUB officials continue to review potential cuts needed to meet an $8.3 million budget reduction next year. Although no official decision has been made as to whether Spanish, or other programs or staffing under the department, will be cut, Reyna said he recently attended a CSU Board of Trustees meeting in Long Beach to share concerns. In a letter to the community, Reyna, who is chair and professor of Spanish at Cal State Bakersfield, wrote: Recently, “the CSU faculty union (California Faculty Asso-
ciation) asked (Modern Language professor) Dr. Joanne Schmidt and me to attend the CSU Board of Trustees meeting in Long Beach yesterday to voice our concerns. “To paraphrase my talk, I began by reminding them that Kern County is César Chávez country, Dolores Huerta country, United Farm Workers country. I then emphasized the large percentage of Hispanic enrollments in the Kern High School District—schools in Bakersfield and surrounding towns like Arvin, Delano, McFarland, Shafter, Wasco. Hispanic enrollment at Arvin High School, for example, is 95
Grad bucks cultural stereotype — Courtesy of CSUB
rowing up in a single parent household and working in the fields alongside her mom, Jasmine Banuelos learned the importance of hard work early on. But in opposition to cultural beliefs that a woman should remain at home cooking and cleaning, Banuelos’ mother instilled in her a desire to go to college. “My dad left when I was 5 years old, so I think my mother knew it was important for me, as a woman, to shape my own future and be more independent,” said Banuelos, who received a bachelor’s degree in business Nov. 30. “It was never a question that I would go to college and get an education. It was always a given.” Despite those desires for her daughter, as sometimes happens in the teen years,
06 | MÁS December 6, 2009
Banuelos conflict between Banuelos and her mother forced Banuelos to move out at age 17, while she was still attending Ridgeview High School. She moved in with her boyfriend, finished high school and enrolled in California State University, Bakersfield’s College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP).
After she came to campus, Banuelos immersed herself in student life to get the most out of her college experience. She became involved in MEChA and student government, working hard to increase her responsibilities and build a network of support. “Marina Avalos-Kegley, student activities director, and Maria Escobedo, CAMP program director, have mentored me all along and are huge influences on my life,” Banuelos said. For the future, Banuelos’ immediate goal is simple: “First, I need a car. I am saving and should have enough by February. I have never had my own vehicle, so I cannot wait,” Banuelos said. “I will enroll in the master’s program fall quarter and continue working toward my goal of impacting others and leading by example.”
percent. These schools are our feeder schools and to close any university program would deny most of these students access to the ‘comprehensive regional university’ which CSUB purports to be,” Reyna wrote in the letter. Since then, Reyna said he’s learned from CSUB administrators that “as of this date, … it appears that our BA program will not be cut next year—i.e., no ‘moratorium.’” However, the fate of the Spanish master’s program remains unclear. — MÁS Magazine will continue to follow this story as it develops.
Spanish theater production in Fresno Dec. 11-12 The Club Latinoamericano will perform “Mi Viuda ya no me Llora” (My Widow No Longer Cries For Me) at The Sanctuary Theater, 2336 Van Ness Ave. in Fresno. The play opened Dec. 4 and will continue Dec. 11 and 12 at 7 p.m. This is a Spanish theater production by Roman Sarmentero, under direction of Maria Mora. The Club Latinoamericano has been producing theatrical plays in Spanish since 1999. The goal behind its Drama Arts Committee is to promote the Spanish theater productions in the Central Valley. “Mi Viuda ya no Llora” is produced in association with Arte Americas as the main sponsor. For more information, contact Vice President Lina Contreras at (559) 836-7589 or Committee Chairman Cesar Culqui at (559) 917-4873.
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A sense of
hope Project 316 reaches out to at-risk youths & sets them on a better path By Gabriel Ramirez Special to MÁS
hen Flor Reyes started her freshman year at Arvin High School, she found herself as an outcast, alone, without any sense of trust and ridiculed by her fellow students. This soon led to what Reyes admits was a bad attitude that would eventually get her kicked out of school that first year and placed into the Community Learning Center. “I thought I was going to end up in the streets or in jail,” said Reyes, now 18, who also copped to being a “bad girl,” involved in some gang-related matters. Reyes’ sense of loneliness continued, and so did her negativity on life in general — until she met Christine J. GutierrezPadilla, an educational associate with the Kern County Superintendent of Schools. Gutierrez-Padilla approached Reyes with an opportunity that would change her life, though the teenager still wasn’t sure about the offer. “I didn’t trust Mrs. Padilla at first, but she never gave up on me,” Reyes said. Gutierrez-Padilla hooked Reyes up with Project 316, a program that reaches out to atrisk youth — who are attending
the Community Learning Center — in an attempt to place them on a path to a successful future. Project 316 is managed by Victor Garcia — who founded the program in April — and Raully De La Rosa. It was named after the Bible passage, John 3:16, which refers to second opportunities/chances. “When I first met Flor, she was always on the “I didn’t defense trust Mrs. and, many times, felt Padilla at discouraged by life’s first, but she never challenges,” GutierrezPadilla said. gave up “However, on me.” because of the influ— Flor Reyes ence as a mentor that Victor Garcia had in conjunction with myself, she had complete encouragement, and was able to regain her sense of hope that she could be successful ... (She) now has a different perspective of life and she is empowered with the tools she needs to handle the trials and tribulations that we are sometimes faced with.” The combination of that encouragement and empowerment motivated Reyes to return
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Continued on page 13 December 6, 2009
MÁS | 07
Holida Holid Holiday ay Gift Guide
Go global! This holiday season, give a regalo with a Latino twist By Gabriel Ramirez Special to MÁS
Here to lend their opinions on what to give to your familia this year are four local businesses that specialize in gift items with that cultural twist:
es, it is that time of year again, when Black Friday, overKuka’s Folk Art crowded stores and Owner: Ruth Darrington busy streets remind us it’s Location: 1609 19th St. Christmas. Phone Number: 325-0000 But to bring the true holiday Web site: www.kukasfolkart.com cheer into our season, we Hours: Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., spend more time with Saturdays family, decorate our homes and eat tons Item #1: Clay Nativity scene hand made in Ecuador by of tamales, verdad? artist Michael Ayala. However, Composed of 10 as much pieces, each piece as we is signed by the want to artist, while the garments worn by admit the figures that swiping represent different our debit and credit parts of Ecuador. cards isn’t what the Price: $549.99 holiday season is “It symbolizes what Christmas is about. That’s about, the reality why we celebrate it, of it all is that we because of the birth of love to buy gifts Christ.” for our families Item #2: Milagro and friends. crosses, which are Buying a given to someone who gift for somehas received a miracle or is in need of one. one takes There are many time and different kinds. thought, Milagro crosses are available They are made of unless you at Kuka’s for $20-$200 wood and iron. are going to Price: $20-$200 go the route of gift cards — and “The crosses represent the miracle of the birth of hey, I am guilty of that, too. Christ.” There is nothing wrong with it. Item #3: But if you are tired of the Handbags same old scarf from the handmade in department store or the next Lima, Peru. electronic gadget, you might The bags are think of trying to give somehandembroidered, thing that reflects your cultura very colorful or the culture of those you are and some have buying for. tin flowers that Let this year be less about are handPrada and more about handpainted. made bags with the words Handmade “Danger Educated Latina” on handbags of them. You can easily turn your Peru at Kuka’s run-of-the-mill gift into somefor $80 & up. thing with fuego and flair.
08 | MÁS December 6, 2009
Mariachi figures: $28$55 at Casa Martinez
Price: $80-$370 “For myself, I always like to buy something I would like. The bags are just a good gift to give.”
price is right, and it’s a great way to commemorate the upcoming celebration of 100 years of the Mexican Revolution in 2010.”
Casa Martinez Owner: Fernando Martinez Location: 1609 19th St. (inside Kuka’s) Phone Number: 325-0000 Hours: Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturdays
Item #2: Poster titled “Desnuda” by Diego Rivera, colorful image of Mexican woman’s back with white calla lilies in the background. 24-by-36 inches. Price: $15 “This poster celebrates the Mexican culture, done by famous Mexican painter Diego Rivera.”
Item #1: Mariachi band decorative figures. These mariachis are made of clay and are very colorful. Price: $28-$55 “Mariachis are always involved in Christmas, and they bring joy to Christmas through their music.”
Item #3: Chicana/Latina black canvas bag with “Danger Educated Chicana” or “Danger Educated Latina” in front. Price: $15 “Empowers women to education.”
Item #2: Dining room table with six chairs. Table and chairs are rustic and are made in Mexico out of solid wood. Price: $1,200 Quote: “It is a gift that would benefit the whole family by bringing them closer together for their Christmas dinner.” Crafts by Amistad Owners: Eva & Joaquin Patiño Location: email@example.com Phone Number: 588-0586 Web site: www.craftsamistad.com Item #1: Poster titled “Mexican Revolution of 1910” by Gonzalo J. Plascencia. Poster includes a collage of people involved in the Mexican Revolution. 24-by-36 inches in color. Price: $15 “The
Casa Bella Rustic Furniture and Décor Owners: Rosa Orozco & Olivia Sanchez Location: 6721 White Lane Phone Number: 833-1800 Hours: Tues-Fri, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday. Item #1: Rustic style pottery made in Mexico. Price: $20-$200 “The pottery adds a nice accent to the house and a bit of culture to your home décor.” Item #2: Handmade rebozos in a variety of colors. These rebozos made in Michoacan, Mexico can serve as scarves, sashes or table runners. Price: $35 “They are a good price and very traditional.” Item #3: Hispanic-themed books, which range in topics from cooking using tequila, how to design Mexican-style guides and books about religion. Price: $15-$50 “These books teach a lot about culture, religion, food and décor.” — And finally, a Chicano/Latino Christmas Bazaar event will take place Dec. 12-13 at the Golden State Mall. Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday.
R AY P RU I T T
Holida Holid Holiday ay Safet S Safety afety y
‘Tis the season for holiday safety tips he holiday season is a special time of year. It is a time to celebrate with family and friends, and look forward to the New Year. Unfortunately, statistics show that crime increases during the holiday season. Many people become hurried, careless and vulnerable, which increases their risk of becoming a crime victim. Please share the following tips with family, friends and neighbors. The Kern County Sheriff’s Office wishes you a safe, happy and peaceful holiday season.
Shopping: 1. Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings. 2. Park in well lit areas, and
secure your vehicle. 3. Don’t leave packages and boxes visible in your vehicle. Lock them in the trunk. 4. Don’t carry large amounts of cash. Pay with checks or credit cards. 5. Keep your purse close to your body. Put your wallet in Ray Pruitt your front pocket. 6. Avoid wearing expensive jewelry. 7. Be aware of strangers approaching you for any reason. 8. Have your keys ready when approaching your vehicle. 9. Ask a store employee to escort you to your vehicle.
10. Use the buddy system when shopping, shop with a friend or relative.
Online shopping: 1. Only shop with companies you are familiar with. 2. Make sure the company complies with online security standards. 3. Do not respond to requests for your password or credit card information. 4. Do not respond to online solicitations, you initiate the transaction.
At home: 1. Always keep your home locked and secured.
2. Leave several lights and a television or radio on when you are gone. 3. Do not display presents in a window where they can be seen. 4. Never give out personal information over the phone. 5. Do not allow anybody you don’t know into your home.
Children: 1. If possible, leave children with a baby sitter when shopping. 2. Teach your child to go to a store clerk if they get lost. 3. Never allow children to make unaccompanied trips to the restroom. 4. Never leave a child in a vehicle unattended. 5. Teach your child to never talk Continued on page 12
December 6, 2009
MÁS | 09
Holiday Holid Holida ay Comida Comida
Tres Leches in latte form … mmm! — Courtesy of Got Milk?
he holidays are just around the corner and many of us are already thinking about how they can make their celebrations unique, not only with the dishes they serve but with the drinks as well. While alcoholic beverages are top of mind during the holidays, two-time National Barista Champion Heather Perry has partnered with GOT MILK? to give drink enthusiasts another option to toasting the holidays with family and friends. Perry’s homemade latte recipes — including a Tres Leches Latte — are not only economical compared to ordering drinks from coffee houses. The main ingredient in the
National Barista Champion Heather Perry.
lattes, milk, also contains the vitamins and calcium needed for strong bones, muscles, teeth, hair and nails. “Lattes are flavorful, festive and easy to make,” says the 2007 and 2003 United States Barista Champ. “Serving lattes during the holidays is perfect because they bring comfort to guests as family and friends reminisce on memories of the past year.” Perry, a California native, says people don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on an espresso machine to make the perfect latte. She says making a strong brewed coffee with a coffee press or moka pot is all that latte enthusiasts need. Plus, people can easily find the basic latte ingredients such as coffee, choco-
Traditional Mexican Cuisine We use the freshest ingredients to create the most delicious meals you will ever have. Take a short drive to see why so many of your friends consider El Pueblo their favorite Mexican restaurant. Serving the community for over 19 years.
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10 | MÁS December 6, 2009
Exquisite Mexican dishes, including seafood, and a fully stocked Cantina.
Continued on page 31
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to strangers, or go anywhere with a stranger, and to tell you if a stranger bothers them. 6. Teach your child their full name, address and phone number.
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are drinking. 4. As the host, drink responsibly. 5. Do not allow guests to drive if they are intoxicated. — Ray Pruitt is the Crime Prevention Coordinator for the Kern County Sheriff ’s Office. If you would like further information on holiday safety tips, or are interested in other crime prevention topics, please contact the Kern County Sheriff ’s Office Crime Prevention Unit at 661-391-7559.
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to her regular high school. “I knew I wanted to go back to high school after talking to Victor,” Reyes said. “Mrs. Padilla and Victor were very supportive and helped me return to high school and reach my goal of graduating.” Perhaps the most important piece of advice Reyes received from Victor was to never let anyone pull her down, she said. Reyes took that advice, and as a result, is now looking into a military career with the Air Force. Also, as a way to “pay it forward,” Reyes is using the support she got from Project 316 to ensure her nephews stay out of trouble, too. Reyes is just one of the many individuals that have been touched and helped by Project 316. It’s hoped that such success stories will continue to spread the word of Project 316’s power to change troubled kids into productive members of our community.
“I wanted to provide an atmosphere where change could occur through training, mentoring and creating opportunity for hope to grow.” — Victor Garcia
“I love kids that society calls a challenge,” Garcia said. “I wanted to provide an atmosphere where change could occur through training, mentoring and creating opportunity for hope to grow.” It’s an opportunity that Garcia didn’t receive as a young person, though it could have made the difference for him. Garcia grew up in east Bakersfield and spent nearly half his life in prison. “Every decision seemed to have a negative effect on all my choices — then one day, a prison guard told me that God loved me and gave me a Bible in a prison
cell,” Garcia said. “I read a portion that jumped out the pages that read (John 14:1-6) ‘Let not your heart be troubled: believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I come again, and will receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go, ye know the way. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not wither thou goest; how know we the way? Jesus said unto him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no one cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Garcia said the passage changed the course of his life, and since then, he has committed his life to loving others and helping others avoid the wrong way. Helping him on this mission is De La Rosa, project coordinator. “I have always had a passion for working with at-risk youth,” De La Rosa said. De La Rosa hopes to see the
program change lives and show people that just because they have been in trouble, doesn’t mean they can’t change their path. Gutierrez-Padilla is thankful for Project 316. She believes that if programs like it didn’t exist, many students would fall off the radar. “I believe what I do is truly helping out children of our society first and foremost, providing a safe and trusting environment, which leads to establishing a trusting rapport with our students, Gutierrez-Padilla said. “I have worked with many students in the past three years, and must say that there are some students who have truly been able to see the light, that there is hope.” — If you would like to help Project 316, you can do so by volunteering services, spreading the word in the community about 316 or making a small contribution to sustain the program. For more information, 661-872-1184, 661-444-9248 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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MÁS | 13
GIVING BACK IN 2009
Sylvia Mendez: Turning moment inspires nonprofit group for youths By Olivia Garcia MÁS staff
GOALS FOR 2010
here were innocent moments but enough to tremble the world of Sylvia Mendez.
The local businesswoman had put on an ice-skating benefit last December to raise money for abused and neglected children who were part of the CASA program and Jamison’s Children Center. About 300 children, separated from their families during the holiday season, were able to spend time with each other and ice skate for a day. But the turning moment came when Mendez saw an 8-year-old who spotted her brother in the crowd. She hadn’t seen him in four months as they had been placed in different foster homes with no way to contact each other. Overwhelmed, the little girl rushed over to hug her brother tight, unsure when she would see him again. Then, another child tried returning a jacket to Judge John Brownlee after he finished ice-skating. The boy thanked the judge for letting him borrow the coat. No, it’s yours to keep, donated through the fundraiser, Brownlee explained. “Really? I’ve been praying for a jacket,” said the humble boy, who didn’t have a jacket to call his own. Now he did. And in a way, Mendez now had something to call her own: It was a mission to expand this little ice-skating benefit into something bigger and grander this year. On Saturday, Dec. 12 at the Rabobank Arena, Mendez hopes she will be able to reach about 2,800 court-dependent children. The plan is for them to ice skate for a day, learn from mentors, watch a Condors game and just be a kid. “When you look at it in the larger scheme of things, we only touched 300 kids last year. That’s not enough when there’s almost 3,000 kids in the system,” Mendez said. “I had to raise the bar. (Me and my husband) believe in mentoring, in making a difference.You have to inspire.” As part of her inspiration, she has formed the new nonprofit group, Children Joining Children for Success in partnership with the Condors.
14 | MÁS December 6, 2009
• Expand the nonprofit group, Children Joining Children For Success • Establish the Junior Board, made up of local youth, for the group • Count on an even bigger and successful benefit for 2010
PHOTO BY CASEY CHRISTIE
H.A. Sala, and his wife, Sylvia Mendez. She’s even “recruited” her husband, well-known criminal defense attorney H.A. (Beto) Sala (well, his free time, if he has any), and she has enlisted volunteer board members Dr. Rebecca Rivera, Dr. Dennis Martinez, attorney Silva Lopez, Kern County Deputy District Attorney Wendy Avila and Dee Slade of the AfricanAmerican Network. There are three things she needs to accomplish right away, she says, and she needs the community’s help. First, Mendez is looking for 28 mentors who overcame a troubled childhood. The second item off Mendez’s checklist is tracking down owners of the Rabobank Arena suites. Mendez said she’d like to ask if some, or all, of them could donate their space Dec. 12, so the mentors can meet with the children in 20-minute sessions. Mendez said her childhood — she grew up in a violent home with an alcoholic father — motivated her for this effort. “When I was 10, I used to drive my brothers and sister to the bus stop to get to school, which was out in the country in Delano,” Mendez said. “My mother would leave early to go pick grapes at 5 a.m. and
we would have to fend for ourselves. “Our lives were nothing like the privileged life our children have today,” said Mendez, referring to her daughters. “My husband and I have made a pledge that our children will learn to have compassion, tolerance, and be there for children who need help.” The third item is, of course, finding sponsors and selling tickets to the hockey game. Ticket prices are $10 and $16. She is currently working with schools, such as Downtown Elementary, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, and high school forensic teams, including Bakersfield Christian, Centennial, Bakersfield, East, Ridgeview, Garces Memorial and South. “Although the CASA program and Jamison Center stand to benefit, the participating schools and children’s organizations will receive a percentage of the proceeds they raise in ticket sales to help them support their own school programs ...,” Mendez said. A junior board of the Children Joining Children for Success consisting of youth from the high school forensic teams, CASA and Jamison Center will be formed. The goal is to get the youth to mentor courtdependent children. It’s hoped to create “leadership among our academically successful youth,” Mendez said. Meanwhile, Sala says he’s never seen his wife so determined and focused on helping children caught in our system. “You just don’t know when you impact a child,” Sala said. But you do know when a child impacts you. — For more information, e-mail Sylvia Mendez at: sylviamendez@ cjcfs.org. Or call 631-2904. The Web site is: www.cjcfs.org.
Manuel Carrizalez: Focused on saving kids By Lisa Kimble Special to MÁS
GOALS FOR 2010
Few in Bakersfield know the depths of despair that young people, caught in the menacing grip of gangs and drugs, feel the way Manuel Carrizalez does. Before the founder of Stay Focused Ministries turned his life around and surrendered to his faith, he served hard time behind bars for what he thought was a life on Easy Street — but was actually the mean streets of drugs and violence. Hell-bent on not becoming another statistic, Carrizalez put his faith into action 19 years ago and has saved countless lives along the way with his renowned ministry that provides a safety net for youngsters in Kern County and across the country. It’s his way of giving back. The hallmark of the Stay Focused program has been its rallies that lure thousands of at-risk kids. With a captive audience, an impassioned Carrizalez scares them straight while promising them a faithwoven safety net of hope. For these kids, Carrizalez knows that trust is everything. “We don’t ever break that trust,” he said. Stay Focused has also never left the area. “We are always in the mix of the madness,” he added. “We have stayed in the
• Strengthen and build on what has already been accomplished in neighborhoods • Help more kids stay in school • Continue to do four or more weekly outreaches in at least four different areas • Expand school rallies and Reach 4 Greatness program & Thinking 4 Change (T4C) classes
trenches and we haven’t changed. We have stayed true to everything we have said we would do.” The ministry’s outreach into the community is on both small and grand scales. Weekly events and school assemblies are held to empower youngsters to make positive life choices. Among the four large outreaches held each year was September’s One By One event. An estimated 6,000 people attended the event, where 2,500 hot meals were handed out and 20 tons of groceries were distributed. Just three years old, Stay Focused’s Reach 4 Greatness mentoring program — kids with one or more incarcerated parent
PHOTO BY JOSEPH GOMEZ
are matched with a student mentor — now serves 300 youths, ages 5 to 18 — kids who might otherwise begin to fall through the cracks. For Carrizalez and Stay Focused Ministries, 2009 was another year of making a difference, one life at a time. For more information, contact Stay Focused Ministries at 322-HOPE (4673).
Harley-Davidson riders send-off recruits with style & patriotism By Joseph Mendez III Special to MÁS
On Nov. 1, several young men and one young girl from different branches of the armed forces met at the recruiting station on Panama Lane. Ben Patton and his ex-military, Harley-Davidson riding “Band of Brothers/Sisters” arrived to escort these brave young recruits. Patton called everyone to prayer and made sure that these young men and women knew that they were not alone, and their actions to enter service to protect freedom and the liberty of all Americans was
much appreciated by Bakersfield residents. It was a very moving and sad moment for the parents, grandparents, sisters and brothers sending their loved ones off to their respective military bases. We thank Ben Patton and his Harley-Davidson riders, who made this sad time into a very patriotic moment that lifted everyone’s spirits. The family of James Villaloboz (Marine Corp) wish to thank all the ex-military Harley-Davidson riders for giving their time to make these young people and their parents feel special and very proud to be
From left: Ben Patton and James Villaloboz. an American. We know our fam- Patton and his organization to ily — John and Leah Villaloboz extend a military welcome or — speaks for all the families escort, you can reach him at the that were present. Harley-Davidson dealership of — If you have a homecoming Bakersfield, 661-325-3644. or recruit send-off and want Ben December 6, 2009
MÁS | 15
GIVING BACK IN 2009
The Singletons: Burritos for the homeless fill stomachs & souls By Matt Muñoz MÁS staff
Belinda and Robert Singleton are out to help Bakersfield’s homeless, one burrito at a time. As the founders of The Bakersfield Burrito Project, their passion for giving back is a part of everyday life. Formerly involved with another local homeless food project, Food Not Bombs, the Singletons set out to start a new Sunday mission. “I’ve been feeding homeless people for the past two years,” said Belinda. “It’s like second nature to me now. I found out about the ‘LA Burrito Project,’ and thought it would be good for Bakersfield, too. We have no agenda, religious or political affiliations. We just want to feed people.” This local Burrito Project began in July and the distribution usually begins at Central
GOALS FOR 2010 • Expand the project to include free clothing when available • Grow the team of volunteers • Continue the mission of giving
Park, though volunteers now also venture to areas where local homeless people live and hide from the public. The Singletons accept public donations of uncooked pinto beans, rice and other staple foods. Busily preparing the ingredients on Saturday nights, Sunday mornings are all about the “burrito assembly line,” building the meals for free distribution. Tortillas and foil wrap are the group’s only small, out-of-pock-
PHOTO BY SAVANNAH WOOLEY
et expense. “We do have volunteers who help,” she explained. “We’ve had two, four, up to 20 people fill and wrap burritos before we head out.” After their transports are full, it’s off to sections of the city to set up shop: a portable table and Igloo drink container filled with iced tea. Meeting with regulars and anyone in need of a meal, the couple — along with their helpers — know the importance of keeping bellies full. Humbled by what they’ve collectively experienced, the Singletons plan to keep the free operation going strong. “Everyone gets hungry,” said Robert. “It doesn’t matter why they’re homeless to us. It’s all about giving.” — For more information, go to: www.myspace.com/bakersfieldburritoproject
Mike Vallejo: Gardener cultivates kindness By Deborah Ramirez Special to MÁS
It’s seven o’clock on a Christmas morning and you’ll find Mike Vallejo, his family and close friends on the corner of Baker and Sumner streets — not due to circumstance, but because it’s his gift to those less fortunate. For 14 years, and at his own expense, Mike, his family and friends have provided breakfast for the homeless, having served some 3,500 people over the years. “It started with me and Jessie Sepulveda just wanting make a nice Christmas for people not having the same as us. Now, it’s my family’s tradition. Everyone (local community) helps out, but no one’s doing anything on Christmas morning. Before my
16 | MÁS December 6, 2009
family opens our presents, we gather a traditional Christmas morning — Mexican breakfast, clothes, toys, and candy to take to give away. We don’t advertise; we just show up to feed and give to people,” said Mike, a father of seven and grandfather of seven. He’s a man who doesn’t mince words and shies away from accolades. He owns a local landscape and gardening business with a long list of clients who appreciate his commitment, hard work and sometimes, even his humor. In 2006, he was diagnosed with liver cancer. “You know, it’s been hard, but not as hard as others have it, so it’s not that bad,” Mike said. In 2009, he’s most proud that he battled his cancer to the point of being healthy enough to
GOALS FOR 2010 • Stay healthy • Take care of his family • Continue feeding the homeless marry his longtime love, Monica, alongside many beloved family and friends as well as his loyal and spoiled dogs, Bowser and Pixie. In 2010, his goal is to maintain his health and to take care of his family. “I got what I need. I don’t need any more than that,” he said. — For anyone wishing to help with the Vallejo Family Baker Street Christmas Morning Breakfast for the Homeless, you can contact Mike at (661) 979-3049.
PHOTO BY JESSICA MONCRIEF
Jose Arredondo: Charity work immune to tough economy GOALS FOR 2010 • Develop new way to reach students in need • More sorority recruiting efforts • Spread Latina Youth Conference awareness
By Lisa Kimble Special to MÁS
PHOTO BY SAVANNAH WOOLEY
Maria Delgado: Keeping Latinas on the right path By Matt Muñoz MÁS staff
When it comes to education, Maria Delgado’s motherly instincts shine brightly. As a Founding Mother and Campus Adviser for CSUB’s Theta Sigma Chi Latina Sorority, communication is her key to being an effective teacher. But overseeing a tight-knit group of intelligent young Latinas is just one part of Delgado’s mission in helping to keep those seeking higher knowledge on the right path — on and off the campus. “We’re not your traditional sorority,” explained Delgado of Theta Sigma Chi’s function away from the national university set. “We do a lot of different types of activities, but keep everything inside our community.” Atop the list of the list of “giving back” activities is the sorority’s annual Latina Youth Conference. Held each spring at CSUB, the conference features inspirational guest speakers from all over the nation. “We talk about issues ranging from health, volunteering, to communication, among other important topics relevant
in the Latino community,” Delgado said. Since the successful conference requires funding to organize, Delgado and the sisters raise money the old-fashioned way: selling tamales. “Our annual tamale selling drive helps us to make money for yearly activities,” she said. “A lot of hardworking people and effort goes into keeping things going, plus we have fun.” Delgado stresses that although they don’t discriminate against gender for conference attendees, she knows that Latinas often face the biggest barriers. She believes this problem is due, in part, to miscommunication between parent and child — the value of a college education may not be completely comprehended. It is through the annual conference Delgado hopes to break down traditions detrimental to their sisterhood, so that they can one day give back to this community as well. “As educators, it’s often hard to reach a student,” she explained. “Parents need to understand the message, to ensure the importance of higher education is passed on.”
2009 has not been a banner year for giving back in some sectors of Kern’s business communities. So no one would blame local auto dealers like Jose Arredondo of Delano Family Motors for drastically scaling back their giving during an economy especially challenging for car dealerships across the country. But despite tough times that have tightened belts community-wide, for Arredondo — along with his brother, Sergio and sister, Laura, co-owners of Delano Family Motors and dealerships in Bakersfield — charity work is business as usual, just as it has been for 17 years. From scholarships to food giveaways, though supply and demand have never been more out of sync, the family business has not strayed from its singular philanthropic goal of giving back. In homage to their Mexican roots, the Arredondos again this year provided weekly lunches to Delano and McFarland farmworkers from May through October. Every week, hundreds would line up to pass under a small canopy and receive food provided by the Arredondos and their dealership. The family members, who hail from Coalcomán, Michoacan, Mexico, easily recall the pangs of hunger that poverty in their native Mexico brought — a memory that serves as motivation to help others. The Arredondos’ Thanksgiving dinners and annual harvest celebrations in the North Kern County community also extended their commitment to helping farmworkers as they did years ago in the San Fernando Valley, when they col-
PHOTO BY HENRY A. BARRIOS
GOALS FOR 2010 • Continue Summer Harvest lunches • Continue & expand gunreturn program • Expand outreach programs in Delano lectively vowed to earn enough money to retire their mother from cleaning houses. “In the end, just being there for others and being able to make a difference in their lives is what all this is about,” Jose Arredondo said. Equally gratifying and satisfying to Arredondo was this year’s gun-return program with the Delano Police Department. The gun-cash exchange program back in January rang up a $20,000 tab Arredondo says he was more than glad to cover. After 17 years of giving back to the community, not a week goes by that Arredondo doesn’t encounter someone whose life has been affected by his generosity. “It is so gratifying to hear how I have impacted their lives through the scholarships we have given out over the years,” he said. “We are going to continue to contribute in every way possible, on any level to those less fortunate.” December 6, 2009
MÁS | 17
Panamanian Zumba instructor grateful for opportunities here in Bakersfield By Deborah Ramirez Special to MÁS
n an early Saturday morning, the line begins to form 30 minutes before class.
As time nears the start of class, there are so many waiting to get in, you can’t move across the room without bumping into someone. “Good morning, good morning, I have a new CD for you today. You’re going to love it,” says the energetic, petite-sized Zumba instructor, Condy Burdick. Zumba markets itself as, “Ditch the workout, join the party!” and has become a popular fitness craze. Zumba began purely by accident in the late 1990s, when celebrity fitness trainer “Beto” Perez showed up to teach aerobics without his exercise music so he grabbed what he played in his car — Latin dance music. For class that day, Beto combined a variety of Latin dance steps with his regular exercise routine and his students loved it so much, Zumba was born. Currently, there are more than 30,000 certified trainers in 35 countries and we have one of the best right here in our own backyard — Burdick, a charming 38-yearold Latina mother of three, who knows how to energize her students. Her students couldn’t agree more. “I’ve never seen her with no energy or not want to help someone improve themselves,” said Monica Cantu. Angelica Moreno, a regular Zumba class attendee and soon-to-become Zumba
18 | MÁS December 6, 2009
PHOTO BY TANYA X. LEONZO
Condy Burdick’s passion is fitness. She has a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology. instructor, added: “She has it so together. I don’t know how she does. I just hope to be like her one day.” Originally from Panama City, Panama, Burdick arrived in the U.S. at the age of 17, shortly after Operation Just Cause, the United States invasion of Panama. As the youngest child of a large familia, she was sent to live with a sister in Maryland because “ the (Panamanian) government closed my school.” She recalls that the invasion “wasn’t a good thing but necessary.” Burdick goes on to say that Panamanians remember the U.S. invasion with memorials and media coverage recounting the historical day, much like the U.S. recounts historical days that changed the
lives of the country’s people. One good thing that came out of the invasion was that former general and the military dictator, Manuel Noriega went to jail, but “now, the bad is he’s getting out,” she said. Not long after arriving in Maryland, she moved with her sister’s family to Hawaii, where she completed high school and earned a full ride scholarship to Brigham Young University, Hawaii, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology. “When I came to the U.S., I didn’t speak any English. I had to learn quickly,” she said. Learning English allowed her to pursue her passion, fitness. “I get so much energy from helping others get out of their comfort zones and
achieve their fitness goals,” she said. “I want to help other people feel good about themselves and teaching fitness is the best way.” While in college, she met her husband and after having their first child, they moved to California, where she used her degree to work as a lactation counselor assisting breast-feeding moms. “This was the best job for me because after having my second child, who was severely autistic, I was able to work at home while still doing what I liked to do — help people,” she said. In 2007, Burdick and her family — now three boys, Aaron, Anthony, and Austin — moved to Bakersfield because it offered the benefits of nearby family and good programs for children with autism. “It was stressful to have three young children, one with autism, and no help around. I was stretched to my limit. I knew this wasn’t a good situation for my family. I needed to find a good program for Antho-
ny, good schools for Aaron and Austin, and be able to work outside of my home. Bakersfield had this for me, and you don’t understand how thankful I am,” she said. Burdick’s motivation comes from the inspiration she gets from her 81-year-old mother and 85-year-old father, who still reside in Panama. “Honestly, I don’t have energy for doing laundry, but I always have energy for fitness, family and friends,” she said. Not too long ago, she lost one of her three brothers to lung cancer and one of her nine sisters just had a heart transplant and will soon have a kidney transplant. In December, Burdick plans to have a two-hour Zumba fundraiser to help her sister pay for the cost of her organ transplants. “I don’t want her to worry about the money; I want her to get well,” she said. “My sister means so much to me. I’m hoping my community will come out and help me.”
PHOTO BY TANYA X. LEONZO
Burdick leads an energetic Zumba session. A goal for 2010 is to have her own workout studio. Until then, she works independently as a personal trainer, a Zumba and spin instructor in town and has started a pay-asyou-go Zumba class on Thursday mornings at Studio 9 on Easton Drive.
She also gives a 45-minute cardio only class for low-income women Friday mornings at Stiern Park. “They pay what they can and that’s usually a dollar, but that’s OK because I’m helping, and they’re feeling better about themselves,” she said.
Cashew Nut Chicken
Sweet and Sour Chicken
Spicy Garlic Sauce With Pork
3 different styles of chow mein: Pork Chow Mein w/ Pan Fried Soft Noodle
Beef With Broccoli
Spicy Kung Pao Chicken
Spicy Orange Chicken
Sweet and Sour Pork
Egg Foo Yon
Pork Chow Mein w/ Crunchy Noodle
Cantonese Pork Chow Mein
December 6, 2009
MÁS | 19
Network Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
All fun & sun at great KCHCC golf tourney!
SAVE THE DATE DEC. 9 Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Holiday Membership Appreciation Mixer @ The Nile 1721 19th St. 5:30 -7:30 p.m. (661) 633-5495
DEC. 25 Merry Christmas Chamber office closed
DEC. 31 PHOTO BY JOE SERRANO
PHOTO BY JOE SERRANO
First Place — Univision: Robert Mendez, Jim Valencia,
Second Place — Blue Cross: Anthony Morales, Andrea Franco, Paul Ochoa, Cameron Harper
New Year’s Eve Please drive carefully
William Garfield, Mike Carfet — Courtesy of the KCHCC
t was all fun and golf, as the popular Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Golf Tournament returned this year. The event was held at the Sundale Country Club and over 25 teams participated. Everyone had a great time, food and drinks were excellent and the weather couldn’t have been better. Proceeds from the tournament go toward the business and membership services of the chamber. The Hole-In-One was sponsored by the Family Automotive, other tee-spon-
20 | MÁS December 6, 2009
sors included First Mortgage, Chevron, Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream, Golden West Casino, Edward Jones, Gotta-Go-Bailbonds, Gem Care, Ranch Market, Hillcrest, State Farm, KBAK, Kern Schools Federal Credit Union, the Margarita Man, Anthem Blue Cross, and Miragrafx. Event sponsors were: Wells Fargo Bank, MÁS Magazine, KERO23, AZTECA 42, KGET 17, Telemundo KKEY 11, Univision 39, Chevron, State Farm, AT&T, Golden West Casino, Tejon Ranch, Brighthouse, Los Molcajetes, and Bill Lee’s Bamboo Chopsticks.
JAN. 1, 2010 HAPPY NEW YEAR! Chamber office closed
FEB. 6, 2010
PHOTO BY JOE SERRANO
Third Place — George Chavez, Robert Zuniga Sr., Raul Castillo, Pepe Morales
KCHCC Installation & Awards Banquet DoubleTree Hotel 3100 Camino Del Rio Ct. 6 p.m. Cocktail Hour 7 p.m. Dinner 8 p.m. Awards and Dance
KERN COUNTY HISPANIC CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Letter from the chairman Thank you to our membership renewals and welcome to our newest members. We appreciate your support.
RENEWALS Thank you for renewing your membership! • Alzheimer’s Disease Association
• Mercado Nuevo (MÁS Magazine)
• California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
• Mid State Development Corporation
• Chevron Corporation
• Terrio Therapy
• Oasis Air Conditioning
• WestCare California
NEW MEMBERS JULY 2009 Anthem Blue Cross Contact: Shirley Franco 11308 Champion Avenue Bakersfield, CA 93312 (661) 829-2642 (888) 370-1421 Bakersfield Carriages/Maryann’s Country Contact: Maryann 18940 Palm Avenue Bakersfield, CA 93314 (661) 589-4435 Christy’s Brundage Florist, LLC Contact: Ompaul Dosanjh 3050 Brundage Lane Bakersfield, CA 93304 (661) 323-7924 J.J. Leon Construction, Inc. Contact: Johnny Leon
P.O. Box 118 Grover Beach, CA 93483 (805) 489-8925 Marty Paaren Insurance Services, Inc. Contact: Marty Paaren 327 Chester Avenue Bakersfield, CA 93301 (661) 324-6368 Toll free (866) 577-2566 Plaza Iglesia Cristiana Contact: Cesar Salazar 2600 Wilson Road Bakersfield, CA 93304 (661) 374-4415 TeleNetworks Contact: Michael Fisher 6551 Lowry Street Bakersfield, CA 93307 (661) 472-8278
Dear Members and Friends, re you all ready for tamales, posole and great memories? Well, that’s what comes with the Holiday Season around my familia and I sure look forward to all of it! Our November Mixer was hosted by the DoubleTree and what a turnout we had! Thank you goes to Todd Simons, Josie Martin and their team at the DoubleTree for doing an outstanding job and making it a great event! In case you missed the mixer, we announced our 2010 Board of Directors. Congratulations to all those coming aboard! Coming up in December, you will all want to mark your calendars for our holiday member appreciation mixer at The Nile. You won’t want to miss that one! And right around the corner, after the first of the year, we will be back at the DoubleTree for our 2010 Board Installation Dinner. The theme will be in honor of our 25th Anniversary ... that’s right, 25 years! Our Chamber was established in 1985, and we are all looking forward to celebrating our milestone with all of you, so get ready for a great evening of fun and excitement. Sponsorship information and table reservations will soon be out. As I wrap-up, all I can say right now is ... what a year! Thank you all for your support, your generosity and participation with the KCHCC in 2009. I can’t begin to tell you how much it is appreciated! We have one more month in the year, so why don’t we finish it off the way we started it ... together with friends and strong to the end! So let’s toast in 2010 and all of the new challenges and opportunities it may bring to all of us. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Joe Jimenez Chairman of the Board Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Chain | Cohn | Stiles
KCHCC BOARD Mission Statement:
2009 Executive Board
2009 Board of Directors
To create, promote and enhance business opportunities for our membership and provide business, cultural and resource linkages with emphasis on the Hispanic community.
CHAIRMAN: Joe Jimenez VICE-CHAIR: Jay Tamsi TREASURER: Jesse Bonales SECRETARY: Jan Bans CHAIR-ELECT: Ramona Herrera PAST-CHAIR: Fernando Aguirre
For more information visit: www.kchcc.org or call the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce office at 633-5495.
December 6, 2009
MÁS | 21
KERN COUNTY HISPANIC CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
DoubleTree Mixer a hit! — Courtesy of KCHCC
early 100 people attended the chamber’s annual General Membership meeting and business mixer in November. The meeting was held at the DoubleTree Hotel located at 3100 Camino Del Rio Court. An excellent presentation of a variety of appetizers, desserts and refreshments were served all catered by the DoubleTree. Chairman of the Board, Joe Jimenez, facilitated the meeting and extended a warm welcome to everyone. He introduced the members of the Board of Directors that were present, and introduced Todd Simons, Director of Sales and Marketing of DoubleTree. Simons also welcomed everyone, introduced his staff, and spoke of their many hotel accommodations and services. Jimenez then introduced Ramona Herrera, the incoming Chair for 2010 who, in turn, announced the Board of Directors for 2010. In accordance with the chamber bylaws, a General Membership meeting is held once a year in November to report to the members and announce the Executive Board and Board of Directors for next year. We encourage everyone to save the date — Saturday, Feb. 6 for the 2010 Installation and Business Awards Banquet at the DoubleTree Hotel.
DoubleTree Hotel Bakersfield History In October 1983, the property opened as the Red Lion Hotel Bakersfield. A privately held Hotel Company, Red Lion owned and managed 53 properties in the Northwestern region of the United States. Red Lion brought to Bakersfield a new standard in hotel and dining unlike any hotel in the city. The first full-service hotel to open in some time, the Red Lion offered 262 oversized rooms, two restaurants (Lobby Bar, Misty’s Lounge) and the largest banquet facilities in the city. In 1996, Red Lion took the hotel public and ventured in the Stock Exchange to raise capital and build the brand. This didn’t last long, for DoubleTree Hotels recognized the value in the Red Lion Brand and acquired the hotel chain, bringing DoubleTree to have properties from ‘Coast to Coast.’ This too was short lived for, in 1997, Promus Hotel Corporation, with property flags to include the Harrison Conference Centers, Embassy Suites, Hampton Inn, Hampton Inn & Suites, Homewood Suites acquired the DoubleTree Hotels. In 1999, Hilton
22 | MÁS December 6, 2009
PHOTO BY JOE SERRANO
DoubleTree Executive Staff
acquires Promus Hotel Corporation, expanding its portfolio to nearly 1,700 hotels in the United States. The Hilton Family of brands includes Hilton Hotels, Conrad Hotels, DoubleTree, Embassy Suites, Hampton Inn, Hilton Garden Inns, Hilton Grand Vacations, Homewood Suites by Hilton and the Waldorf Astoria Collection. On July 29, 2004, Hilton Hotels Corporation sold the DoubleTree Hotel Bakersfield to Integrated Capital, LLC. Integrated Capital contracted with Hilton Hotels Corporation to manage the property. In 2005, Integrated Capital added many features to the property during the first of a multi-phase renovation project. With an investment of $4 million, this phase included high-speed Internet access in all of our guest rooms, Sweet Dreams® by DoubleTree Sleep Experience which in addition to Standard amenities also feature extended work desk with task lighting, refrigerators, deluxe bath amenities and alarm clock with MP3 connectivity. Guests can enjoy worldclass entertainment and information with their new Lodgenet system. Expanded television lineup features two CNN channels, three ESPN channels, TNT, USA, HBO, interactive games and more. In 2007 Integrated Capital invested an additional $1 million dollars to renovate their public meeting space. The DoubleTree Ballroom is 7,560 square feet and can accommodate up to 1,000 attendees. This room can be divided into three equal parts
and be arranged to fit any meeting configuration. Their public space also features up to six, breakout rooms. The hotel has a unique “Courtyard Gazebo,” which is used primarily for wedding ceremonies.
Bed and Breakfast Offer A dreamy getaway is yours with their Bed and Breakfast offer. Upon arrival, you will be welcomed with a warm chocolate chip cookie from their attentive staff. Guests will enjoy their refreshing DoubleTree experience throughout their stay — plus a delicious breakfast each morning. Sweet Romance Getaway There’s no time like the present to rekindle romance. Escape to breakfast in bed, sparkling wine on ice and deluxe accommodations with this romantic weekend getaway package from DoubleTree.
Weddings at DoubleTree With Doubletree, planning your wedding is simple and stress free. From booking a block of guest rooms to creating the ceremony of your dreams, DoubleTree is dedicated to providing you with personalized attention and superior service. Relax and enjoy your fairy tale wedding. DoubleTree vows to help make it perfect. Learn more about planning your wedding at Doubletree. Book your next wedding, celebration, event or a comforting room at the DoubleTree Hotel by contacting 323-7111 or visit their Web site at: www.doubletree.com.
KERN COUNTY HISPANIC CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Year-end planning for business owners By Jose Guerrero KCHCC member
t is not uncommon for business owners to frantically call their accountants and attorneys the week between Christmas and New Year’s in an effort to minimize their tax burden for the current taxable year. Unfortunately, this is often a call placed too late. While business and tax planning should be done periodically year-round, the beginning of the fourth quarter is not a bad place to begin. So, what should you do?
Good data It starts in your own accounting department. It is critical to have good systems and processes in place to quickly and accurately deliver reliable information to your accountant. Too often, a business owner will deliver the proverbial “shoe box” of receipts, and that simply will not be enough. The more accurate the information delivered, the better the advice you will get.
Seek the advice of a professional In the age of TurboTax and other self-help resources, it is easy to attempt to navigate this process on your own. However, this year is particularly confusing in terms of what tax benefits the legislators are enacting, extending or sunsetting. Seeking the assistance of a qualified tax adviser is important. Before you arrive at your adviser’s office, develop a list of questions and issues you would like considered. For example, are you thinking about buying another business to help you grow, or merging with a competitor in an effort to survive? These questions should be part of your discussions since the answers will certainly have tax implications for your business.
Take advantage of generous 2009 business tax breaks Several favorable business tax provisions have a limited shelf-life requiring action taken between now and year-end. The following are examples that may be relevant to you: • Larger Section 179 Deduction. Your business may be eligible for the temporarily increased Section 179 deduction. Under Section 179, an eligible business may be able to claim first-year depreciation write-offs for the entire cost of new and used equipment and software purchases. For tax years beginning in 2009, the
maximum deduction is $250,000. Unless Congress takes further action, this benefit may not be available in 2010. Note that various limitations and exceptions apply to the Section 179 deduction privilege. • Fifty Percent First-year Bonus Depreciation. Your business may also be able to claim first-year bonus depreciation equal to 50 percent of the cost of most new (not used) equipment and software acquired and placed in service by the end of 2009. This bonus depreciation benefit is scheduled to expire at year-end unless Congress takes further action. More traditional tax planning strategies may be used in any given year • Defer Income. Depending on your circumstances, it may be wise to defer some taxable income from this year into next, especially if you expect to be in a lower tax bracket in 2010. For example, if you are in business for yourself and a cash-method taxpayer, you can postpone taxable income by waiting until late in the year to send out some client invoices. That way, you won’t receive payment for them until early 2010. • Prepay Expenses. You can also postpone taxable income by accelerating some deductible business expenditures into this year. For example, businesses may be able to prepay some or all of its 2010 rent, workers’ compensation premiums and other expenses. Be careful with this strategy because not all prepaid expenses qualify for full deduction in 2009. • Charitable Contributions. If you give to an eligible charity (i.e. a 501(c) (3) organization), your contribution will be 100 percent deductible from state and federal taxable income. The last thing anyone wants is an unexpected tax bill. Being proactive will help you avoid this problem and allow you and your advisors time to think through the potential ramifications of your decisions, also giving you the opportunity to enjoy that week between Christmas and New Year’s! — José A. Guerrero is a partner with the law firm of Klein, DeNatale, Goldner, Cooper, Rosenlieb & Kimball, LLP. His practice focuses on business counseling and transactions for clients in the California Central Valley. Mr. Guerrero is a member of KCHCC and speaks Spanish fluently. Note: The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of a qualified tax adviser.
KCHCC joins Thanksgiving meal event By Fernando Aguirre KCHCC Past Chair
ast Bakersfield Community Collaborative is a grassroots collaborative made up of residents, business owners, nonprofits, churches, lawenforcement personnel and schools working together to improve the East Bakersfield Community. One of the main collaborative events each year is to help provide a Thanksgiving dinner to residents in the community during the Thanksgiving Holiday. From its first year, the event has provided meals to hundreds of residents each year with 600 meals served last year. Six years ago, the Rotary Club of Bakersfield East provided the funding for all the meals served and has continued its support of the event each year since. This year, the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce joined the East Bakersfield Community Collaborative and its many community partners in making this a successful event. The event was on Nov. 21 the Boys and Girls Club located at 801 Niles St. The chamber was honored to be a part of this collaborative effort.
December 6, 2009
MÁS | 23
A promise fulfilled to La Virgen de Guadalupe By Vicki Adame Special to MÁS
here’s a saying, un dicho, in Mexico: “Si no crees en la Virgen de Guadalupe, no eres en realidad Mexicano.” (If you don’t believe in the Virgin of Guadalupe, you aren’t truly Mexican.) Last year I fulfilled una manda, a promise I had made to La Morenita. I had promised her I would thank in her person if she would intercede on my behalf. I had asked her help so that someone I knew would be granted a work visa so he could leave his country. I made my petition with a novena in November 2006. And on Dec. 30, 2006 he was aboard a plane, exit visa in hand. So, now I had a promise to fulfill, which I did, although it
24 | MÁS December 6, 2009
took me two years due to unforeseen circumstances. I arrived in El Distrito Federal Dec. 10, following an overnight flight from San Francisco. I had intended to visit the Basilica Dec. 12, the anniversary of the miracle of Tepeyac, but after talking with a couple I met at the Guadalajara airport while waiting for a connecting flight, I decided to go on the 11th. Good thing, too, for what I encountered at the Basilica was beyond anything I could have imagined. With the streets surrounding the Basilica closed to vehicle traffic, the taxi driver dropped me off a few blocks away. I walked the four or so blocks to the Basilica. I made my way among the countless souvenir stands, which sold everything from rosaries to T-shirts to images,
PHOTO BY VICKI ADAME
A people-mover vehicle passes slow enough in front of the image of La Virgen that you can get a photo of her and the Mexican flag. both painted and sculpted, of La Virgencita. Finally, I emerged from the stands and joined the throngs of people slowly winding their way up the road to the main entrance of Tepeyac, the hill on which the Basilica was built. When I finally stepped through the open gates I was awestruck, everywhere my gaze fell were peregrinos. The majority carried paintings or statues of La Morenita. I made my way into the cathedral that is home to Juan Diego’s tilma with the image of la Virgen de Guadalupe, patroness of Mexico and all the Americas. The church was packed. Taking a spot in the back, I decided to stay for the Mass. During this time of year, Masses are held every hour. Young girls walk around with baskets filled with small cards bearing the image of the La Virgen, which are sold for 10 pesos. When the Mass ended, I joined the never-ending sea of humanity that shuffled toward the front of the church to pay homage to La Virgen. It took more than an hour to
reach the front of the church, which was covered in red roses — gifts brought by the faithful. Before I knew it, I was getting ready to step onto one of five or so people-movers that slowly pass in front of the image of La Virgen with the Mexican flag draped below it. As I gazed up at her, I couldn’t help but remember how my Papa Nato would send money to the Basilica every December. He would also send a “gift” whenever he asked for her intervention. I silently thanked her for all she has done for me, and told her this would not be my last visit. I snapped a few photos before stepping off the peoplemover. I spent the entire day on the grounds of the Basilica de Santa Maria de Guadalupe. Tepeyac is home to the new Basilica, la Basilica Antigua — which, during my visit, was undergoing renovation and shrouded in scaffolding — and numerous other chapels as well as numerous statues. All of it awe-inspiring. But what struck me most were the people. The majority Continued on page 27
How do you get into heaven? y Mujer, you don’t get into heaven for being stupid and that’s on good authority. I was fortunate to teach in a Catholic school and also attend a Catholic university, so I was privileged to have opportunities to speak with men of the cloth, women of devotion, and those committed to the writings, philosophies, and beliefs of the Bible. I’ve often struggled with God’s reasons and truthfully, while having to accept His wisdom because in remaining sane that’s all I’m left to do, I’ve often been disappointed in God. Yes, a confession on my part, but it’s not a sin to be disappointed in God, or I don’t think so ... What I do know in all of my conversations with those who know much more than I on the
“Ay Mujer” is written by Deborah Ramirez, a proud Chicana de Bakersfield. topic of God is that you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to get through heaven’s gates, but you do need enough smarts to know when you’ve done some-
thing wrong. I was once asked if I know what I’m going to say when I reach the Pearly Gates. At the time and age, I could only think to say, “I’m sorry.” But now, I’ve prepared a dissertation on the reasons why I should be allowed through the gates. And so, as we enter Jesus is the Reason for the Season, I began to wonder about those who just don’t “get it.” Where do they go — hell, purgatory, limbo — exactly where? Maybe I should qualify “those” — they’re people who use the Bible to thump other people over the head when they believe you’re acting immoral, but then use God to justify their own poor behavior. Stupid! When this happens, Carlos Mencia goes off in my head, saying “I’m not stupid too?” Maybe
I’m just overly influenced by my Welita because she’d tell me that there are more people sitting in the pews on Sunday morning that are hypocrites than true followers. She based her observation on the fact that she came from a very small Texas town where many of the town’s people would go out the night before to smoke, drink, gamble and carouse, then show up at Mass the next morning, acting as though they hadn’t done a thing wrong just hours before. But strangely, I’ve come to realize that Jesus was a Capitalist. Capital is not just measured in monetary value, capital is a matter of your full worth, verdad? During his time, Jesus was bountiful with very little. Jesus Continued on page 27
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First Annual Children Joining Children for Success Benefit At the Rabobank Arena • Saturday, Dec. 12. Ribbon-cutting starts at noon for a Private Session with Mentors, CASA and Jamison Center Children with Condors Game at 7pm. Admission: $10 and $16 By Purchase or Donating a $10 Ticket You Have an Opportunity To Make A Difference in a Child’s Life. (Tax Deductible) The Benefit will raise money to help court-dependent children of the CASA program and Jamison’s Center. Activities include Condors hockey game, ice skating and mentoring for the children. Sponsorships are still available! Please contact Sylvia Mendez, founder of the nonprofit Children Joining Children for Success, at 631-2904 or e-mail email@example.com For a complete list of our sponsors, please visit www.cjcfs.org Want to mentor or be a part of the group? Make a difference by signing up to be a mentor at the event. Own a Rabobank Suite? Make a difference by donating your suite for the day so mentors can speak to the children
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Continued from page 24
had traveled untold miles by foot, others by bicycle, some came on their knees, still others with large paintings of La Virgen strapped to their back. There was the man dressed in the white shirt and pants, reminiscent of a peasant from a bygone era who was on his
Continued from page 25
was generous and in generosity — wealth and wellness occurred not just for Him, but others around Him. Isn’t that the foundation of Capitalism, make more out of little and in having more, wellness occurs for you? I don’t understand how taking care of others isn’t beneficial to all. I don’t understand how being kind can’t be bountiful. Maybe that’s Catholic school naïveté, idealism and
knees and blindfolded, aided by women on either side who guided his every step. These words cannot do justice to the feelings and emotions that I experienced while there. I do know I’ll never forget that visit. And as I told La Virgencita, it was only my first of what I hope will be many visits.
optimism all wrapped up into me. Pero, I’d rather believe in the goodness of others than be depressed by selfishness and narcissism. What I do know is that I’m good with God and when I get to the Pearly Gates, I’ll hand Him my dissertation and say, “I’m sorry.” Sorry, not for the length of my dissertation, but for all that I’ve done wrong because, in the end, it’s between me and Him. It’s my spirituality that carries me, not my religion.
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November 1, 2009 Held at Bakersfield Museum of Art Photos by Tanya X. Leonzo
October 18, 2009 Held at Bakersfield Sports Arena Photos by Daniela Garcia
From left: Ursula Ybarra, Julio Alvarez, Victor E. Alvarez, Arminda Alvarez, Dimas Obed Alvarez, and Dimas Alvarez Sr. Ballet Folklorico dances La Guelaguetza.
Ericca Chavez and Heather Lucero with an altar for Ricky Montoya.
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