23.05.2018 Views

Bakersfield - It's the People and a Whole Lot More

A full-color, photography book showcasing Bakersfield, California, paired with the histories of companies, institutions, and organizations that have made the city great.

A full-color, photography book showcasing Bakersfield, California, paired with the histories of companies, institutions, and organizations that have made the city great.

SHOW MORE
SHOW LESS

You also want an ePaper? Increase the reach of your titles

YUMPU automatically turns print PDFs into web optimized ePapers that Google loves.

Bakersfield

Photography by Greg Iger

Text by Mark Corum

It’s The People,

And A Whole Lot More

A publication of the

Office of Bakersfield Mayor Harvey L. Hall


Thank you for your interest in this HPNbooks publication. For more information about other HPNbooks publications, or

information about producing your own book with us, please visit www.hpnbooks.com.


Photography by Greg Iger

Text by Mark Corum

Bakersfield

It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

A publication of the

Office of Bakersfield Mayor Harvey L. Hall

HPNbooks

A division of Lammert Incorporated

San Antonio, Texas


÷

Previous page: The famous Bakersfield Arch welcomed travelers on the old U.S. Route 99 for fifty-years. After falling into disrepair, Caltrans feared it would collapse onto the road and wanted it removed. Buck Owens worked with Samson Steel

to build a new arch supported by towers resembling the Beale Memorial Clock Tower. Located on Sillect Avenue, next to the Crystal Palace, the city’s most recognizable image once again remains visible to motorists traveling on State Route 99.

Above: Left to right, a panoramic looking west from downtown shows the Bakersfield Police Department, City Hall North, First Presbyterian Church, the Bakersfield Californian Newspaper and the Padre Hotel.

First Edition

Copyright © 2016 HPNbooks

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, without permission in writing from the publisher.

All inquiries should be addressed to HPNbooks, 11535 Galm Road, Suite 101, San Antonio, Texas, 78254. Phone (800) 749-9790, www.hpnbooks.com.

ISBN: 978-1-944891-19-0

Library of Congress: 2016955375

Bakersfield: It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

photographer: Greg Iger

assistant photographer: Ryan Cunningham

author: Mark Corum

designer: Glenda Tarazon Krouse

contributing writers for Bakersfield partners: Garnette Bane, Joe Goodpasture

Credits and acknowledgements.

County of Kern Department of Agriculture and

Measurement Standards, 2014 Kern County Agricultural

Crop Report; Kern Economic Development Corporation,

2016 Kern County Market Overview & Investor Directory;

David Lyman, manager, Visit Bakersfield; Kristie Onaindia,

Kern County Basque Club; North American Basque

Organizations; Michael Trihey, news director, KGET.

HPNbooks

president: Ron Lammert

project manager: Daphne Fletcher

assistant project managers: Anita Andersen, Jennifer Folkert

administration: Donna M. Mata, Lori K. Smith, Melissa G. Quinn

book sales: Joe Neely

production: Colin Hart, Evelyn Hart, Tim Lippard, Tony Quinn, Christopher D. Sturdevant

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

2


Contents

Legacy Sponsors ...............................................................................................4

Introduction by Mayor Harvey L. Hall ............................................................6

City of Bakersfield City Council........................................................................8

County of Kern Administrative Center ..........................................................10

Chapter 1

A Diversity of Interests, a Style All Its Own..........12

Chapter 2 Bakersfield Life ...................................................................56

Chapter 3 Bakersfield Works ...........................................................100

Bakersfield Partners .....................................................................................142

Sponsors ......................................................................................................300

About the Photographer ..............................................................................302

About the Author..........................................................................................303

CONTENTS

3


LEGACY SPONSORS

Through their generous support, these companies

helped to make this project possible.

Metropolitan Recycling, LLC

2601 South Mount Vernon Avenue

Bakersfield, California 93307

661-836-8380

Dignity Health

Mercy & Memorial Hospitals

California State University Bakersfield

9001 Stockdale Highway

Bakersfield, California 93311

661-654-CSUB (2782)

www.csub.edu

Memorial Hospital

420 34th Street

Bakersfield, California 93301

661-327-4647

Mercy Hospital Downtown

2215 Truxtun Avenue

Bakersfield, California 93301

661-632-5000

Kern Federal Credit Union

1717 Truxtun Avenue, Bakersfield 93301

4180 Coffee Road, Bakersfield 93308

661-327-9461

www.kernfcu.org

Mercy Hospital Southwest

400 Old River Road

Bakersfield, California 93311

661-663-6000

www.dignityhealth.org/bakersfield

San Joaquin Community Hospital

2615 Chester Avenue

Bakersfield, California 93301

661-395-3000

www.sjch.us

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

4


Omni Family Health

4900 California Avenue, Suite 400-B

Bakersfield, California 93309

1-800-300-OMNI (66 64)

www.OmniFamilyHealth.org

Chris Bertolucci Construction

9721 Rosedale Highway

Bakersfield, California 93312

661-589-4567

www.bertolucci-construction.com

Bakersfield Adult School

501 South Mount Vernon Avenue

Bakersfield, California 93307

661-835-1855

bas.kernhigh.org

KS Industries, LP

6205 District Boulevard

Bakersfield, California 93313

661-617-1700

www.ksilp.com

Bakersfield Family Medical Center

4570 California Avenue

Bakersfield, California 93309

661-327-4411

www.bfmc.com

San Joaquin Veterinary Hospital

3441 Allen Road

Bakersfield, California 93314

661-588-3299

www.sanjoaquinvet.com

LEGACY SPONSORS

5


Introduction Mayor Harvey L. Hall

Much has been said, songs have been sung, and articles and books written

about this city we call home. The obvious can be stated about us; that Bakersfield

is currently the ninth largest city in California, that agriculture and oil fuel the

local economy, and that music feeds our souls…but what is readily apparent

cannot alone tell the story.

Bakersfield: It’s the People, and a Whole Lot More, is a book about us, the

people who live here, in or near Bakersfield, in the southern end of California’s

Central Valley. The people in our part of the world identify with Bakersfield, even

if they are not technically within its city limits. Ask someone from Lamont, or

Weedpatch, or Oildale where they are from, and the response is very likely to be

“close to Bakersfield.”

Our forefathers arrived from other states and other countries. They may have

come on horseback, in wagons, or in beaten up old vehicles that held all their

worldly belongings. Some of our parents made the choice to make this home, and

some of us are here because we decided that this was a good place to plant our

roots. What Bakersfield is not, is exclusive. We are a community of people taking

care of family, work, and one another.

This book pays homage to how we live, how we earn a living, how we play, our

natural resources, and it uniquely captures the variety of places in our community,

from the rugged shores of the picturesque and infamous Kern River, to the roar

of the Kern County Raceway; from the revitalized jewel of the Padre Hotel

downtown, to the to the sprawling campus of our prized California State University

Bakersfield. Tucked carefully between the pages is the essence of what transforms

Bakersfield from ordinary, to extraordinary: the folks that live here.

In a state where cities tend to be either very young or very old (at least by

American standards), we are firmly middle-aged. The hospitable Colonel Baker

arrived in 1863, and word soon spread that travelers would be welcome to rest at

‘Baker’s field.’ A hundred and fifty-three years later we are a city of nearly 380,000

people, over half a million if you count the unincorporated areas adjacent to the

city. And, we are still welcoming our visitors, the ones that come to hear the music

made famous by Buck and Merle, the ones that come to learn about baby carrots

and pump oil, the ones that come to race cars and boats, the ones that come to

watch their boys wrestle and the girls play basketball, and the ones that come

and decide to stay.

Over the last seventy-some years I have been a proud member of the Bakersfield

community, and for nearly sixteen years it has been my honor and pleasure to

serve as its mayor. As I reflect on what has been, and on what lies ahead, I am

confident that Bakersfield will rise to meet the future as she has dealt with the past,

with innovation, optimism and unity. Bakersfield: It’s the People and a Whole Lot

More pays tribute to who we were, who we are, and what we have built together.

—Mayor Harvey L. Hall

City of Bakersfield

2001-2016

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

6


÷

Harvey L. Hall, Bakersfield’s twenty-fifth

mayor, with a statue of Colonel Thomas Baker,

from whom the city’s name was derived.

INTRODUCTION

7


City of Bakersfield

City Council

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

8

÷

Left to right, Bakersfield City Council Members: Terry Maxwell (Ward 2), Ken Weir (Ward 3), Vice Mayor Harold Hanson (Ward 5),

Mayor Harvey L. Hall, Jacquie Sullivan (Ward 6), Bob Smith (Ward 4), Chris Parlier (Ward 7), and Willie Rivera (Ward 1).


÷

A downtown Bakersfield nightscape highlights the Old Church Plaza with its bell tower, which stands seventy feet tall. Built in 1931 as the First Baptist Church, the

building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and represents a “fusion of two historical styles of architecture...Romanesque and Mission Revival.”

CITY OF BAKERSFIELD CITY COUNCIL

9


County of Kern

Administrative Center

÷

Right: Left to right, County of Kern Board of Supervisors, David Couch

(District 4), Leticia Perez (District 5), Chairman Mick Gleason (District 1),

Mike Maggard (District 3), and Zack Scrivner (District 2).

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE COUNTY OF KERN PUBLIC HEALTH DEPARTMENT.

Below: County of Kern Administrative Center.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

10


÷

The leaves of trees lining the banks of the Kern River change

colors as the temperature cools going into late fall.

COUNTY OF KERN ADMINISTRATIVE CENTER

11


Chapter

1

A Diversity of Interests,

a Style All Its Own

Choose any weekend in Bakersfield, and chances are there are any number of activities from which to choose—whether

the arts, sporting events or live music.

Bakersfield people love to socialize and attend functions and events, particularly when there is a good cause tied to it.

Dozens of nonprofits host fundraising events that draw the masses.

We work hard and play harder, and if by chance, you don’t find us out and about, we are likely at a park, or in our backyard

grillin’ and chillin’ with friends and family. In fact, Bakersfield boasts fifty-nine parks throughout the city, each with unique

amenities including water parks, skateboard parks, and outdoor amphitheaters.

We embrace our central California lifestyle, keeping it casual, but we don’t mind dressing to the occasion, or donning our

favorite pair of cowboy boots, and a cowboy hat to keep with our western heritage.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

12

÷

The Bakersfield Amazing Race includes a

scavenger hunt through downtown, infused

with trivia while clad as your favorite

costume character. The event benefits

disabled persons in our community.


CHAPTER 1

13


÷

Above: Using pavement as their canvas, artists converge each October for the Via Arte Italian Street Painting Festival.

Crowds build throughout the weekend in anticipation as fine art emerges.

COURTESY OF ART SHERWYN.

Right: Renowned metal-sculpturist Betty Younger’s Sun Catcher is among her dramatic works of public art that can be

seen throughout downtown Bakersfield.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

14


÷

Since receiving a complete renovation the Padre Hotel has become

a destination boutique hotel, and is a top choice for musical artists,

actors, and business people staying in the city. The Padre’s storied

history is something of urban legend, yet most of it is true.

CHAPTER 1

15


BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

16


÷

Opposite: Gas-filled glass tubes in a full-spectrum of colors keep

iconic Bakersfield establishments aglow. Neon signs reached their peak in

the 1960s, but in recent years have transformed into a form of public art. The Kern County Museum

has dedicated The Neon Courtyard to preserve and display these hidden gems of businesses gone by.

Above: Merle Haggard and Buck Owens.

INSETS COURTESY OF BUCK OWENS PRODUCTION CO., INC.

Left: Legend has it that Buck Owen’s might have acquired this 1973 Pontiac Grand Ville, originally

built for Elvis, in a poker game with the famed western tailor and car builder Nudie Cohn.

The roots of our music is a reflection of the Okies, Arkies, and Texans who

moved here in the ’30s and ’40s as Dust Bowl Immigrants. Our honky tonks

became the proving grounds for not only Merle Haggard and Buck Owens,

but a handful of talented performers including Cousin Herb Henson, Bill

Woods, Billy Mize, Oscar Whittington, Red Simpson and Gene Moles—all

who played a role in pioneering the genre of music that would eventually bear

our city’s namesake—the Bakersfield Sound.

CHAPTER 1

17


÷

Above: For fifty years, the Bakersfield Fiesta has kept

square dancing, a form of American folk dance, alive with

their annual event at the Kern County Fairgrounds.

Inset: Carol and Fred Noel have participated in every

Bakersfield Fiesta since 1989.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

18


Today, music aficionados can enjoy live music as varied as the venues themselves. One of the last remaining honky

tonks is Trout’s Bar in neighboring Oildale, which offers live music, line dancing and karaoke most nights of the week.

Part museum, part concert hall, part restaurant, Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace is enshrined with memorabilia from

the performer’s musical career, while hosting today’s hottest up and coming country acts.

The Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame is a recent addition to concert venues, offering a more intimate setting with

superb sound quality as it also serves as a state-of-the-art recording studio. The Hall of Fame often plays host to

Rick Kreiser’s Guitar Masters @ Studio A Series, bringing top-notch talent to perform in a showcase atmosphere.

÷

Top, left: The John Jorgenson Quintet performs at the Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame.

Top, right: Raised in Bakersfield, Monty Byrom has never ventured far from his

hometown sound, while fronting ’80s rock bands Billy Satellite, and New Frontier.

He penned several hits for Eddie Money, including I Wanna Go Back. He returned to

his roots as the lead singer of Big House, earning the group an Academy of Country

Music nomination for “Top New Vocal Group of the Year” in 1998. Byrom periodically

performs with the Buckaroos. He is currently fronting Monty Byrom & the Road Pilots,

an Americana-style five-piece that released 100 Miles South of Eden in 2015.

Left: The festive sounds of Mariachi ring out at a Cinco De Mayo celebration at

Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace.

CHAPTER 1

19


÷

Left: CSU Bakersfield’s outdoor amphitheater provides the perfect venue for the

annual Bakersfield Jazz Festival, featuring live music performed by local and

well-known performers from around the world.

DRONE SHOT COURTESY OF RYAN CUNNINGHAM, IGER STUDIO.

Opposite: Bakersfield changed the sound of music again, in the early 1990s when

multi-platinum, Grammy Award winning artists KoRn forged its own distinct metal

brand of rock and roll. The city has paid homage to the band at Rabobank Arena with

a KoRn Row street sign, off N Street, just north of the train tracks.

COURTESY OF WARNER MUSIC INC.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

20


However, the twangy-country emitted from a Fender Telecaster

is not the only musical style originating from Bakersfield. In the

early 1990s, KoRn redefined heavy-metal by forging a new genre

of post-grunge, alternative metal that was devoured by fans thirsty

for something different and hard-hitting.

CHAPTER 1

21


÷

Concert goers enjoy an outdoor concert on a perfect Bakersfield

early-summer evening at the Bright House Amphitheatre,

located at The Park at River Walk.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

22


÷

Right: Banshee in the Kitchen performs at the Bakersfield Sister City Gardens during World Friendship Day.

The talented trio plays Celtic music infused with the fiddle, hammered dulcimer and accordion.

Below: For eighty-four years, the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra, comprised primarily of local musicians, has delivered

an exceptional musical experience to its audiences. In 2015, Stilian Kirov, became the BSO’s youngest conductor.

CHAPTER 1

23


÷

The 1,500 seat Fox Theater designed by famed Los Angeles architect S. Charles Lee, opened on

Christmas Day in 1930, premiering the sci-fi tale Just Imagine. The theater’s silver screen entertained

scores of residents for forty-seven years before going dark in 1977. In 1994, the nonprofit Fox Theater

Foundation was created to begin a massive restoration effort. Today, The Fox Theater is recognized as a

community treasure for its fine acoustics and is the only remaining Fox with its rare Skouras signature

interior intact. Beginning at the sidewalk on a rainbow of polished terrazzo and inside amid towering

gold leaf, she is an exquisite blend of Spanish Colonial and Art Deco.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

24


Bakersfield has an active performing arts community including the Bakersfield

Community Theatre, California’s oldest continually operating community theatre.

Stars Theatre Restaurant combines fine dining with exceptional musicals and

comedy performances, while The Empty Space is one of just a few donationbased

theatres in the United States, fostering a creative environment for local

actors, directors and designers to refine their craft.

÷

Top, left: West Side Story production at the Bakersfield Music Theatre.

Top, right: The Gaslight Melodrama offers live theatrical performance complemented by a piano player who

sets the mood for the audience to boo the villain, cheer the hero and awww at the sweetheart.

Left: Nearly two-dozen acoustic and electric guitars are set up on the stage of the Fox Theater for a solo

performance by Jackson Browne.

CHAPTER ONE

25


÷

Hair, makeup, and costume collides

with fantasy at Glamour Fatale:

Battle of the Salons.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

26


÷

Keeping our city’s rich Scottish

heritage and cultural traditions alive

at the Scottish Games and Gathering.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF RYAN CUNNINGHAM,

IGER STUDIO.

CHAPTER 1

27


÷

Above: Members of the Kern County Basque Club pay homage to the traditions of the coastal fishing villages of the Basque Country who

rely upon the generosity of the sea for their living. The ladies are performing the “Mateola” or Lapirdi’s fish basket dance to celebrate an

abundant catch and the return of their men from the sea. Bakersfield is host to the largest Basque Club in California and second in the

nation to Boise, Idaho. The annual Basque Festival celebrates the heritage of this unique culture.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

28

Opposite: A young Klika drummer joins with his elders at the Basque Festival. According to North American

Basque Association, the Klika tradition reaches back to the Napoleonic era two centuries ago, when young Basques

were drafted into the French army. Their reputation as noted singers, dancers and musicians made them almost

automatic picks for the military brass band in their respective units. After leaving the military, they took these

talents and turned them into a Basque celebration of music. The Bakersfield Klika was formed in 1975.


CHAPTER 1

29


÷

Churchill Downs meets good ol’ Bakersfield roots

with guests donning traditional Kentucky Derby wear with

festive hats, or their country best for CASA’s Boot Scootin’ Derby,

benefitting foster children’s rights to safe, permanent, and nurturing homes.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

30


÷

Over 2,400 Harris Ranch New York Steaks and 800 teriyaki chicken dinners are served at the annual CSU Bakersfield Spring BBQ by Gary and

Adam Icardo and their crew. John Giumarra, Jr., has served as chairman of the event since its inaugural event was held at the Bakersfield Police

Pistol Range, in 1972. This rite of Spring benefits the Roadrunner Scholarship Fund by paying for education costs of CSUB student-athletes.

CHAPTER 1

31


BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

32


÷

Left: Without a doubt, Luigi’s is Bakersfield’s gathering spot, where you always run

into old friends and never meet a stranger. The walls are adorned with snapshots of

high school athletes dating back to Kern County Union High School, and hometown

heroes who made it to the big leagues.

Below: You scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream. Nothing beats a scoop of

ice cream during Bakersfield’s scorching summer heat. Yet, you will find the more

refined ice cream connoisseur opting for Dewar’s delectable Black & White—a scoop

of vanilla ice cream topped with hot fudge, a scoop of chocolate ice-cream topped

with whipped marshmallow topping and dressed with your choice of toasted almonds

or walnuts, or George’s Special, an addictive blended concoction of vanilla ice cream,

walnuts, bananas and chocolate syrup.

÷

Opposite: There are more Mexican-inspired restaurants in Bakersfield offering

flavorful south of the border delicacies than any other cuisine. Most of the restaurants

are family-owned and serve up entrees reflective of their family’s heritage from the

various regions of Mexico.

CHAPTER ONE

33


÷

Above: The bounty of Kern County and the

San Joaquin Valley’s harvest is featured at the

Haggin Oaks Farmer’s Market. Seasonal fruit and

vegetables fill the tables, with the farmers eager to

share samples that are the result of their hard work.

Opposite: The aroma of fresh-baked sourdough bread emanates early each morning from Pyrenees French Bakery in Central Bakersfield. The bakery which was

originally called the Kern City French Bakery, began in 1887 under the proprietorship of Marius M. Espitallier. In December 1944, Pierre and Juanita Laxague

purchased the bakery and changed its name to Pyrenees in honor of their native province. The distinct flavor of Pyrenees French Bakery sourdough bread comes

from its French sourdough style recipe based on a sourdough starter that has been maintained for almost seventy years. Their sourdough features a more

subdued sour taste as compared to some typical San Francisco-style doughs, and is finished off with a hearty crust as a result of being baked in brick ovens.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

34


CHAPTER ONE

35


BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

36


Good food, brew and vibes are common underlying themes of

Bakersfield’s numerous beer festivals—each capitalizing

on America’s fascination with craft beer brewing.

CHAPTER 1

37


÷

The shimmer of Mustang silver bounces

off the helmets from the Friday Night Lights

of high school football.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

38


Bakersfield loves its hometown sports, starting with high school, college and professional teams. During

the fall season, high school football dominates the conversation, with generations of alumni returning to

their alma mater on Friday nights to cheer on their team. In Bakersfield, we do not care as much about where

you obtained your college degree from, but if you are local, we want to know what high school you attended.

÷

The Bakersfield College Renegades.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF FRANCIS MAYER.

CHAPTER 1

39


÷

Above: CSU Bakersfield Basketball Coach Rod Barnes

discusses strategy with the players of the Runners’ team.

Left: CSU Bakersfield Runners’ Forward Kevin Mays

sinks a basket against Portland State.

Following a five-year transition to NCAA Division I

Status, CSU Bakersfield moved to full membership status

in 2010-11. It has not taken long for CSUB Athletics

to make a name for themselves on a national level with

four programs securing Western Athletics Conference

Championships (Baseball: 2013-regular season, and 2015;

Volleyball: 2014; Men’s Basketball: 2016; Softball: 2016

(tournament championships).

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

40


Bakersfield has played host to the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF)

State Boys Wrestling Championship since 2004. The annual event attracts 560 wrestlers from

across the state to compete in fourteen weight classes in the double-elimination tournament.

More than 1,100 matches take place during the two-day Championship.

CHAPTER ONE

41


÷

The CSUB ‘Runners were the 2015 Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Tournament

Champions advancing them to their first NCAA Tournament Appearance.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

42


Bakersfield is home to the Bakersfield Condors, who joined the American

Hockey League in 2015/16, after becoming affiliated with the Edmonton

Oilers. The organization has created a buzz for itself over the years through

creative marketing and fan engagement opportunities.

÷

Condorstown fans go crazy with the annual Teddy Bear Toss 13:55 into the first period when

Ryan Hamilton scores the first goal—7,908 stuffed animals hit the ice—it is a sight to behold.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF RABOBANK ARENA.

CHAPTER 1

43


÷

Above: The Bakersfield Triathlon makes good use of the environs northeast of Bakersfield earning a

reputation as one of the most challenging triathlons in the U.S. The USA Triathlon Sanctioned Event

features a 1.5k swim across Lake Ming, a 40k bike up the Panorama Bluffs and a 10k run up

Rattlesnake Grade to Bastard Hill.

Opposite, inset: Area high school leading golfer Madi Daniel (right)

and her friend Rachel Levi, assistant pro at Stockdale Country Club,

enjoying a day on the greens.

Opposite: On the eighteenth green at Rio Bravo Country Club.

Bakersfield’s climate is conducive to year-round golf at one of the

city’s private country clubs including Stockdale, Bakersfield, and

Seven Oaks, or public courses like The Links at RiverLakes Ranch.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

44


CHAPTER 1

45


Motorsports in Bakersfield remain a huge attraction whether on dirt, asphalt or

on the water in the case of the boat drags at Lake Ming. Kern County is host to

Bakersfield Speedway, which locals call the “Okie Bowl” and is known as the West’s

Fastest 1/3 Mile High Banked Clay Oval.

Kern County Raceway Park offers dirt, moto-x, and is home to the NASCAR

Whelen All-American Racing series as well as the season opener for the NASCAR

K&N Pro Series West.

Drag Racing enthusiasts consider Famoso Raceway hallowed ground, converging

in the Fall for the Hotrod Reunion, and each Spring for the March Meet.

÷

Above: Racing runs deep in the roots of Bakersfield’s motorsports community, with multi-generations of family

members competing. NASCAR Late Model driver Buddy Shepherd fist-bumps a pint-sized fan during the drivers

autograph session at Kern County Raceway Park. His father, Dick Shepherd, had a successful racing career on the

dirt at Bakersfield Speedway, and on the asphalt in the mid-1990s at the former Mesa Marin Raceway where he won

two track championships.

Right: The smell of nitro, burning rubber and the roar of pure horsepower has drawn thousands of spectators every March

since 1959, when the Smokers Car Club hosted the inaugural U.S. Gas and Fuel Championships at Famoso Raceway.

PHOTOGRAPH TOP OF THE PAGE AND RIGHT ARE COURTESY OF THE FAMOSO RACEWAY.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

46


÷

Bakersfield’s passion for racing is not just limited to asphalt. The roots of drag

boat racing goes back to November 26, 1956, when the Kern County

Boat and Ski Club held a race on a small lake in Hart Park.

Sixty years later, the National Jet Boat Association

hosts a series of races on the liquid

quarter-mile at Lake Ming.

CHAPTER 1

47


÷

Below: For thirty years, Bakersfield has played host to the Western Street

Rod Nationals. Chrome, flames and tuck and roll upholstery abounds as

1,700 street rods, customs, and muscle cars converge on the Kern County

Fairgrounds each Spring. Mayor Harvey L. Hall judges this ’32 roadster

for consideration of the Mayor’s Trophy at the Western Street Rod Nationals.

Inset: Mayor Harvey L. Hall is surrounded by a sea of hotrods and

muscle cars at the Western Street Rod Nationals.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

48


÷

Left: Welcome to the Kern County Fair.

Below: Thrillseekers pack the midway of the

Great Kern County Fair. Beyond the carnival

rides, the fair features great entertainment,

blue-ribbon contests, and livestock events.

The one-hundred-year-old Kern County Fair

was originally located where the Kern County

Museum resides on Chester Avenue.

CHAPTER 1

49


÷

Rodeo royalty parade their way around the arena at the annual

Stampede Days Rodeo at the Kern County Fairgrounds.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

50


÷

Left: The Sikhs first came to California from the Punjab Region of India in 1899.

The Pacific Coast Khalsa Diwan was formed in 1911 near Stockton. These

non-violent, peace-loving people believe in the equality of all human

beings while promoting gender equality. Bakersfield solidified

its relationship with the Sikh community by forging a relationship

through the Bakersfield Sister City Project Corporation with

Amritsar, India, which is considered the Holy City of the Sikh religion.

Everybody loves a parade, and Bakersfield hosts a

number of them, including the Veterans Day Parade,

Bakersfield Christmas Parade, the Black American

History Parade, and the Peace Parade organized by

the community’s Sikh population.

÷

Right: Bakersfield’s patriotism and appreciation for all who have served

in the United States Armed Forces is visibly apparent at the annual

Veteran’s Day Parade in downtown Bakersfield. The American Legion

Post 26 has hosted the annual parade since 1919.

CHAPTER 1

51


More than three million LED lights are used to create colorful

animated displays during the Holiday Lights at the California

Living Museum (CALM), complete with snowflakes. The event

has become an annual Bakersfield tradition, with more than

450,000 people experiencing the magic since 2002.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

52


÷

Inset: Mr. Christmas aka Mayor Harvey L. Hall

brought back the Bakersfield Christmas Parade

and served as coordinator for twenty-years.

Aglow in holiday lights, the Bakersfield Fire Department’s

hook and ladder participates in the annual

Bakersfield Christmas Parade held

in downtown Bakersfield.

CHAPTER ONE

53


÷

Left: Plein Air artist Art Sherwyn gets inspiration along the banks of the Kern River.

Below: Lone lupines stand out in a patch of poppies off of Highway 223, heading towards the

Tehachapi Mountains.

If experiencing the great outdoors is more your style, Bakersfield

serves as a gateway for adventurers. The southern end of the Sequoia

National Forest is in our backyard offering hiking, mountain biking and

river rafting for adrenaline-seekers.

The foothills of Bakersfield lends itself to some of the most spectacular

arrays of wildflowers in the state. For a few short weeks in the spring,

poppies, lupines, and owls clover transform the landscape while the

grass turns from lush green to golden brown.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

54


CHAPTER 1

55


Chapter

2

Bakersfield Life

When it comes to quality of life amenities, our city draws from its roots and the vision of Colonel Thomas Baker,

who offered weary travelers a place to rest in his field. His generous hospitality seems to have been embraced by

many who decided to stay and grow our city—to over a half million people today.

÷

Right: Colonel Thomas Baker’s statue at city hall keeps a watchful eye on downtown as night falls.

Below: Artists Al Mendez and Sebastian Muralles pay homage to the Bakersfield Sound, and music's impact on the southern San Joaquin Valley with

this mural on the side of Front Porch Music. Of note are several Mosrite guitars manufactured by Semie and Andy Mosely in Bakersfield, and

played by artists ranging from the Ventures to the Ramones.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

56


÷

Reach, teach and empower—Agapeland is an urban private

Christian School that provides a multi-cultural learning experience.

CHAPTER 2

57


÷

Left: The Beale Memorial Clock Tower was built in memory of Truxtun Beale’s mother, Mary Edwards Beale.

Dedicated on April 2, 1904, the clock tower was located at the intersection of Chester Avenue and Seventeenth

Street. It was demolished as a result of a series of earthquakes in 1952. A restoration committee was formed and a

replica of the clock tower, including the original clock works, bell, and iron works, was reconstructed and dedicated

at the Kern County Museum on December 13, 1964.

Bottom, left: Downtown’s First Friday events provide a showcase for local artists, performers, and artisans to display

their talents in a family friendly setting.

Below: Artist Tom Zachary pays tribute to Lady Liberty and the men and women who served in World War II with

his patriotic mural located at Twentieth and Eye Streets.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

58


÷

Right: With a personality as big as her heart and passion for downtown Bakersfield, Cathy Butler has

devoted a lifetime to invigorating our city center. Always the promoter, she works tirelessly with merchants,

artists, restauranteurs, businesses and community groups for the benefit of downtown.

Below: A festive performer dances at the Metro Galleries during a Latination exhibit.

Bottom, right: The Mark Restaurant offers a unique dining experience pairing outdoor seating with

live entertainment.

CHAPTER 2

59


÷

Opposite, top: Snow-capped Breckenridge Mountain peers over Bakersfield at

a 7,548 foot elevation. This photograph, taken during a wet year, highlights

the flow of the Kern River, Truxtun Lake and the Carrier Canal.

RIGHT AND BOTTOM PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF MARK CORUM.

Beautification of our city is something every resident can get behind,

including Mayor Hall, who personally joined and encouraged residents,

volunteers, and business leaders to pick up litter along the on and

off ramps running through Bakersfield as part of the Mayor’s Freeway

Cleanup. Hall was also instrumental in creating the Great American

Cleanup through Keep Bakersfield Beautiful, which celebrated its fifteenth

anniversary in 2016. To celebrate, Keep America Beautiful President and

CEO Jennifer Jehn came to Bakersfield to honor Mayor Hall’s efforts of

leading by example, which earned him the Iron Eyes Cody Award in 2011.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

60


CHAPTER 2

61


BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

62



Opposite: Cancer survivors and their family members participate in team challenges at the Campout Against Cancer event.

Funds from the growing annual event stay right here in Kern County to help local cancer patients.

Above: Mayor Harvey L. Hall addresses a sea of purple at the twenty-fifth anniversary opening festivities of the American

Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. Since its inception, the event has raised nearly twenty-five million dollars as attendees

celebrate, remember, and fight back against cancer.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF MARK CORUM.

Bakersfield’s quality of life is very much driven by the people who call it home.

Our sense of community shines when we pull together to support a need, cause, or

celebration. There are a countless number of organizations dedicated to improving

the quality of life for our residents, each who do commendable work.

For twenty-five years, families have come together to celebrate and remember

cancer victims and survivors through the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life,

raising more than $24 million dollars.

CHAPTER 2

63


The health, wellness, and vitality of our people is of

utmost importance. Our city offers a vast network of

healthcare providers from urgent care centers and clinics,

specialists, hospitals and a regional trauma center to care

for your loved ones.

Dignity Health’s Mercy and Memorial Hospitals specialize

in cancer care, heart and vascular, neurology, orthopedics,

pediatrics, surgery and women’s care. Memorial Hospital

is home to the Grossman Burn Center, renowned for

its pioneering techniques to assist burn survivors in

their recovery.

Adventist Health’s San Joaquin Community Hospital has

been serving the community for more than 100 years and

offers specialized care through its Brain and Spine Institute,

AIS Cancer Center, Quest Imaging, and The Burn Center.

÷

Opposite, clockwise starting from the top left:

Clinica Sierra Vista.

Kern Medical.

Mercy Southwest.

The Guild House serves gourmet lunches with proceeds benefiting the Henrietta Weill Child Guidance Clinic—200

active members volunteer their time to cook, serve customers, or wash dishes. Established in 1958, the Guild has

raised over $2 million for the clinic which provides outpatient mental health services for children and their families.

Bakersfield Memorial Hospital.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

64


Kern Medical is an acute care 222 bed teaching center

affiliated with UCLA and serves as the area’s advanced

trauma center.

Bakersfield Heart Hospital specializes in the diagnosis

and treatment of heart and vascular disease, but also cares

for a wide range of other medical and surgical patients.

Part of the recovery of any major health episode is medical

rehabilitation. HealthSouth offers comprehensive inpatient

and outpatient rehabilitation services.

CHAPTER 2

65


Honoring America’s “Greatest Generation’, is the goal of Honor Flight of Kern County, working to

recognize the approximate 46,000 veterans in Kern County, including over 8,000 who served in

World War II and the Korean War. This patriotic group sends veterans to Washington, D.C. to see the

memorials built in their honor for their service to our great country—at no cost to the veteran. They

receive a hero’s send-off from Meadows Field, and during their flight receive cards and notes of appreciation

from schoolchildren thanking them for their dedication and sacrifice to protect our freedom.

÷

ABOVE: PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF KEVIN FAHEY.

Right: For ten years, Ben Patten and the Armed Forces Support Riders have provided motorcycle escort for new recruits entering

active duty.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF ART OCHOA PHOTOGRAPHY.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

66


CHAPTER 2

67


Another uniquely Bakersfield effort is KGET TV 17’s

Compassion Corner which started out twenty years ago

as a collection point for people to donate money or

items for a cause. Today, thirteen drives are organized

each year benefitting the Alliance Against Family Violence,

the Bakersfield Homeless Center, canned food drives for

the Golden Empire Gleaners and the CAPK Food Bank,

fans for senior citizens, and pet adoptions.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

68


From early childhood education through graduate programs,

Bakersfield embraces local education opportunities.

A number of private schools are prevalent in the area, including

Garces Memorial High School, Bakersfield Christian,

and Heritage Academy, which offer a faith-based curriculum.

Gaining increased popularity with many parents and

their school age children are charter schools, such as

Valley Oaks Charter School, which is ran through the

Kern County Superintendent of Schools. The tuition-free

program provides greater choice and flexibility for students

who do not thrive in a normal public school environment—

where parents, teachers and the community work together

to educate one student at a time.

÷

Above: The Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County offers several reasons to jump for joy, including outstanding after school and day camp summer programs from its

main location serving east Bakersfield and numerous satellite school-based locations throughout the community.

Left: This little free library was created in remembrance of Wendy Wayne, a dedicated advocate for children and humanity. Neighborhood children can borrow a

book from the tiny library for free.

CHAPTER 2

69


Regional

Occupational

Center

Meeting the demand for a skilled and prepared workforce is of the highest

priority for area learning institutions. The Kern High School District’s Regional

Occupational Center is a public education/technical training facility offering a

variety of programs to those interested in developing or improving job skills.

Juniors and seniors can select from more than two-dozen program options,

including, animal care, law enforcement, pharmacy tech and 3D animation

and video game design.

÷

PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF THE REGIONAL OCCUPATIONAL CENTER.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

70


÷

Top, left: Bakersfield High School.

Top, right: Liberty High School.

Left: The first grade flutophone band performs at the Little Red

School House’s kindergarten graduation.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF MARK CORUM.

CHAPTER 2

71


Bakersfield College is one of the nation’s oldest continually

operating community colleges and serves 20,000 students

from its 153-acre campus in northeast Bakersfield, and two

satellite locations.

Other four-year universities in Bakersfield include Fresno

Pacific University and University of Phoenix, both of which

offer teaching certification, undergraduate, and graduate

degrees, and University of Laverne offering undergraduate

and graduate degrees.

÷

Students from the Bakersfield College Culinary program put their skills to work

creating a savory entree at Garden Fest. The program emphasizes quality food

production and service in commercial and institutional food service operations.

Students gain real world experience working in the campus restaurant, the

Renegade Room.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

72


÷

Left: Located on a 375-acre site in southwest Bakersfield, CSU Bakersfield

serves more than 8,720 students and counts over 40,000 alumni from

its programs: arts and humanities, business and public administration,

natural sciences, mathematics and engineering, and social sciences and

education. CSUB offers undergraduate, graduate, post-graduate and

credential programs. In addition, CSUB’s Extended University offers

professional development, certificate, and degree programs.

÷

Right: Established in 1913, Bakersfield College is one of the oldest, continuallyoperating

community colleges in the United States. Over 20,000 students are

served from the 153 acre main campus, the Weill Institute in downtown

Bakersfield, and the Delano Center located thirty-five miles north of the city of

Bakersfield. BC offers a number of associate degree and certificate programs

from nearly fifty subjects.

CHAPTER 2

73


BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

74


The Bakersfield Police Department provides for the safety

and welfare of the citizens of Bakersfield utilizing effective

law enforcement systems, including crime prevention,

patrol and traffic enforcement, criminal investigation

follow-up, crime analysis, vice and narcotic engagement,

gang suppression and community relations.

÷

Opposite: The Bakersfield Police Activities League helps keep kids on the right path by engaging them in healthy

activities, homework assistance, and the encouragement to be a leader and not a follower.

Above: Old Glory flies high above Truxtun Avenue as residents and the public safety community gather to honor

the fallen officers of the Bakersfield Police Department. The Bakersfield Police Memorial was dedicated in May 1998,

during National Law Enforcement Week. It features the names of those officers who lost their lives in the line of duty.

CHAPTER 2

75


The Bakersfield Fire Department provides fire suppression,

emergency medical services, heavy and technical

rescue, hazmat mitigation, and water rescue to the people

of Bakersfield. BFD is an insurance services office (ISO)

rated class 2 fire department, placing them in the top

1.5 percent of departments in the United States.

÷

Above: The Firefighters Fishing Derby.

Right: Bakersfield Fire Department’s Station 1 is located

at the corner of Twenty-first and H Streets.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

76


Hall Ambulance Service, Inc., is the 9-1-1 paramedic

provider, which works collaboratively with its public safety

partners to deliver medical aid when someone falls victim

to sudden illness or injury. The company also provides

air ambulance service for the most traumatic and lifethreatening

calls where a time savings of ten minutes or

greater exists; as well as critical care transport services

between hospitals in our city and throughout the state.

Within metropolitan Bakersfield, there are several county

pockets with fire and law enforcement services handled by

the Kern County Fire Department and the Kern County

Sheriff’s Office.

Keeping our highways safe are the officers of the California

Highway Patrol.

÷

Above: CHiPs for Kids is one of several organized toy drives in Bakersfield to ensure no child goes without being remembered at Christmastime.

Below: Harvey L. Hall commissioned artist Chuck Caplinger to produce this nine-foot by sixty-foot mural depicting his company’s forty-five year history as a pioneer in

modern EMS.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF MARK CORUM.

CHAPTER 2

77


÷

The Shops at River Walk offers a variety of

brand name stores, specialty boutiques, and

restaurants, in close proximity to the Kern

River Bike Path and the Park at River Walk.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

78


Bakersfield is a shoppers paradise whether your taste is to explore the small boutique

stores of downtown, spending a day at Valley Plaza Mall which is anchored by JCPenney,

Macy’s, Target, and Sears, or the upscale shops offered at the Marketplace and the Shops at

River Walk in the southwest portion of town.

If you cannot find something closer to home, The Outlets at Tejon are located twenty-five

minutes south of town and offers upscale designer fashions and home good brands at

value savings from such well-known retailers as Brooks Brothers Factory Store, Calvin Klein,

Coach Factory Store and Pottery Barn.

÷

A shopper’s paradise lies minutes away from Bakersfield at the Outlets at Tejon, featuring brand names at discounted prices.

The area is also host to major distribution facilities including IKEA, Famous Footwear and Caterpillar.

CHAPTER 2

79


÷

Above: Monsignor Craig Harrison, pastor of St. Francis Parish

takes time to visit with the Saint Francis Girls Basketball Team.

Left: Pastor Oscar Anthony and Assistant Pastor Ralph Anthony

lead a bible study group with community leaders at St. Peters.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

80


÷

Clockwise, starting from the top left:

Dr. Roger Spradlin is co-pastor of Valley Baptist Church, which is affiliated with the Southern

Baptist Convention.

Temple Beth El and Congregation B’nai Jacob created the Jewish Food Festival to share their culture

and traditional cuisine such as falafel, rugelach, and kosher brisket sandwiches with the community.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help (OLPH) serves the community with its parish and school offering an

education based on Catholic principles.

CHAPTER 2

81


÷

÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷ ÷ ÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷

Above: Sikhs gather for worship in a temporary Gurdwara prior to the start of their annual Peace Parade.

Opposite: Members of the African Association of Kern County participate in the Black American History Parade.

The parade promotes unity and integrates all aspects of black history, from culture and music to heritage and art.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

82


CHAPTER 2

83


÷

The Marketplace in southwest Bakersfield transforms into the town square on

most Friday and Saturday nights, with families catching dinner and a movie,

shopping, and the popular Concerts by the Fountain summer series.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

84


÷

Above: The mighty Kern River with its North Fork originating in the Sequoia National Park,

west of Mount Whitney, flows almost due south to Lake Isabella, eighty-three river miles away.

Its flow runs through a glaciated valley that may be the longest such valley in the nation.

The South Fork originates in the Golden Trout Wilderness, and parallels thirteen miles

of the Pacific Crest Trail.

Right: Water rushes through the Kern River Canyon making its way towards Bakersfield.

CHAPTER 2

85


÷

The Kern River Parkway runs from the mouth of the Kern River Canyon to Buena Vista Lake, and includes the

primary and secondary floodplains. This natural treasure features a 32-mile bike path and horse trail, 9 Bakersfield parks,

and 4 Kern County parks encompassing 1,400 acres of wetland preserves and natural riparian areas for a total of

6,000 acres of public space.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

86


÷

Students gather at the Panorama Vista Preserve to learn about the revegetation of native plant species taking place to broaden the wildlife habitat along the banks of the Kern River.

Native trees include the California Sycamore and the Cottonwood with the area roamed by coyote, beaver, jackrabbits, cottontail rabbits and bobcats. The preserve, which is private

land held in a trust for public use, runs from the Beardsley Canal and oilfields to the North, Oildale to the West, Godron’s Ferry to the East and the Panorama Bluffs to the South.

CHAPTER 2

87


÷

Clockwise, starting from the top left, a covey of quail, a roadrunner sits amongst

the almond blossoms, a house finch peers from a wood plank, and a wild

‘Hart Park’ parakeet.

Opposite: In search of the Summer Tanager, a Willow Flycatcher, or the Yellow-billed Cuckoo, members of The Kern Audubon Society delight in the number of species

that traverse through Kern County as part of their regular migration route. Kern County is home to 438 native bird species due to the area’s convergence of several

bio-regions including great basin, wetland, desert, montane, riparian, chaparral, and grassland habitats.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

88


CHAPTER 2

89


BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

90


÷

Opposite, clockwise starting from the top:

The Tule Elk State Natural Reserve works to grow the number of tule elk, once in danger of extinction. Today, nearly 4,000 tule elk are back roaming the foothills

and grasslands of California.

Fiddleneck Fern.

Springtime means abundant wildflowers attracting photographers like honeybees to capture the flowers for the brief moment of time that they are at their grandest.

Top, left: Wild filaree.

Above: Iva Fendrick helps a workshop participant refine their creative side during a watercolor class at the Bakersfield Art Center.

CHAPTER 2

91


BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

92


÷

Opposite, left: The trails on the hills of the Kern River Canyon provide numerous opportunities for recreation including

hiking and mountain biking.

Opposite, right: Stormy sunset on Shadow Hills and the Kern River.

Right: Visitors to the California Living Museum (CALM) can view over eighty species of unreleasable animals including

raptors, reptiles and black bear in natural exhibits.

Below: Thrill-seekers test their mental and physical limits at the thirty-two foot climbing tower which is part of

Condor Challenge, a recreational exhibit at the California Living Museum, featuring high and low obstacle elements.

CALM,

California

Living Museum

CHAPTER 2

93


BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

94


÷

Left: The Kern County Soccer Park offers twenty regulation-sized fields spread over eighty-six acres,

and is home to a number of leagues including AYSO Region 181 and the Bakersfield Soccer League.

Below: League of Dreams goes beyond, “take me out to the ball game” by placing young people with

developmental disabilities in the game.

CHAPTER 2

95


÷

Bakersfield boasts fifty-nine parks each with unique amenities and character. The Park at River Walk offers visitors

mountain retreat aesthetics featuring river rock wall buildings, foot bridges, two lakes and a stream. The cornerstone

of the Park at River Walk is Bright House Amphitheater, a 4,000-person outdoor venue which hosts a summer

concert series attracting a variety of musical acts ranging from Ziggy Marley, the Beach Boys, and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

96


CHAPTER 2

97


÷

Sunset falls on the United States Federal Courthouse reflecting on the Kern Island Canal

as it meanders through Mill Creek Park, offering a respite of peaceful tranquility.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

98


Bakersfield lends itself well to a diverse culture where we share an appreciation for what makes us unique. We celebrate

this through community events, food and music festivals including the Black American History Parade, the Menudo Cook-off,

the Scottish Gathering and Games, and the Greek Food Festival.

Our admiration for learning about other cultures is enhanced through the Bakersfield Sister City Project Corporation, providing

an opportunity for cultural, educational, municipal, business and technical exchanges between six sister city relationships. These

include Wakayama, Japan (1961), Cixi, China (1996), Santiago de Queretaro, Mexico (2005), Bucheon, Republic of Korea (2006)

and Amritsar, India (2011).

To honor these relationships, the City of Bakersfield created the Sister City Gardens where Mill Creek Linear Park crosses

Eighteenth Street. Each garden showcases a variety of native trees, plants, and flowers to their country as well as their native flags.

CHAPTER 2

99


Chapter

3

Bakersfield Works

The city seal for Bakersfield features a cornucopia filled with fruits, vegetables, and grains, and serves as a metaphor

for our abundant economy. For decades, oil and ag have remained the mainstay commodities fueling and feeding the world.

Kern County is the number two oil-producing county in the nation; yielding 145 million bbl of oil and 132 billion CF of gas

annually, according to 2014 DOGGR data. These amounts represent 71 percent of California’s oil production and 10 percent

of the total U.S. oil production.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

100


÷

Sprawling pumping jacks cover the Kern River Field, where in May 1899

the discovery well was hand-dug. As of 2014, the Kern River Field is still

going strong as the nation’s fifth largest oilfield, yielding 70,000 barrels a day.

CHAPTER 3

101


BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

102


÷

Opposite: Kern County is the number two oil-producing county in the nation;

yielding 145 million bbl of oil and 132 billion CF of gas annually.

Source: DOGGR data, 2014.

CHAPTER 3

103


÷

Left: Our region’s commodities of ag and oil seemingly collide with a vintage

wooden oil derrick in the middle of a cotton crop.

Opposite: Fifty-five percent of all roses grown in the United States are grown in

and around neighboring Wasco. The city celebrates each September with its

Festival of Roses.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

104


CHAPTER 3

105


÷

Opposite: The Pima and Upland cotton varieties thrive in the southern

San Joaquin Valley due to the warm temperature and long growing season.

The region produces a special Upland variety known as San Joaquin Valley

Acala, which is among the highest quality Upland cottons in the world.

As of 2014, cotton ranks number nine in Kern County agriculture

commodities with a value of $117,568,000.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

106


CHAPTER 3

107


BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

108


Ag commodities are equally impressive, as Kern County produced $7,552,323,690 in 2014.

The top five commodities as of 2014 are grapes, almonds, milk, citrus, and cattle & calves

which make up more than $5 billion or 66 percent of the total value.

CHAPTER 3

109


÷

Above: Processing grapes in the varietal development lab at

Sun World International.

Left: Grapes are king in the southern San Joaquin Valley, where growers offer a

number of varieties of this crisp sweet tasting treat that pops in your mouth.

Opposite: The art of wine can be attributed to the propagation and grafting of

grape nursery stock nurtured by Sunridge Nurseries a reputable grapestock

supplier to California wineries.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

110


CHAPTER 3

111


÷

With their early Spring arrival, almond blossoms are a symbol of new life.

Kern County almonds ranked number two in 2014, at a value of $1,488,182,000.

California growers provide the nutritious nut to some ninety countries worldwide.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

112


÷

Pistachios ranked number six in Kern County’s

ag commodities in 2014 valued at $401,049,000.

CHAPTER 3

113


The “baby carrot” is a phenomenon that was cultivated

here in our region in 1986. Experimenting with an industrial

potato peeler and green bean slicer, Bunny Luv Carrot

Farmer Mike Yurosek is credited with producing the first

versions of today’s baby carrot. He sold his company to

rival Grimmway Farms in the early 1990s, which has since

become one of the largest carrot producers in the world by

positioning baby carrots as a healthful snack and packaging

it in ways that make it easy to pack into lunch sacks for

children and adults around the world.

In the past decade, there has been a movement afoot

for local agribusiness producers to brand and make

fruits and vegetables cooler than their junk-food rivals.

Marketing campaigns such as Bolthouse Farms 2010

“Eat ‘Em Like Junk Food” thrust baby carrots into mainstream

popularity. The same holds true for the company’s

line of twenty-seven varieties of juices and smoothies, which

they make available in single-serve bottles.

÷

Left: Grimmway Farms is considered to be one of the largest carrot producers

in the world. Baby carrots have become a popular anytime snack for young and

old alike. Carrots rank seventh in Kern County’s commodities with a total value

of $288,063,000.

Opposite: Rows of potato crops spread across fertile ag land. Kern County

growers have moved away from russets in recent years to focus on red, yellow,

and white potatoes.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

114


CHAPTER 3

115


÷

Left: Workers process plums harvested fresh from the field.

Bottom, left: Farm laborers pick elongated red sweet peppers fresh from the field.

Opposite: Just three seasons into production, the Wonderful Company’s Halos are

the number one mandarin brand in the country. Tangerines marketed under the Halo

brand have found popularity as an easy to peel treat for kids and adults alike.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

116

The Wonderful Company did the same when it aired a commercial

promoting its pistachios in Super Bowl XLVII, featuring

South Korean rapper Psy of Gangnam Style fame.

Wonderful next turned its attention to mandarin oranges by

creating its Halo brand of the easy to peel, seedless citrus. By the

end of its third season, Halos remains the number one mandarin

brand in the country with over fifty percent market share.


CHAPTER 3

117


BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

118


÷

Opposite: Granite Station, Southern San Joaquin Valley.

Above: Cattle on Rancheria Road. Cattle rounds out the top five of Kern County’s ag commodities with a value of $428,854,000.

CHAPTER 3

119


BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

120


÷

Sheep graze on a grassy plain at the mouth of the Kern River Canyon.

CHAPTER 3

121


BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

122


÷

Opposite: A close-up study of California’s state flower, Eschscholzia californica.

The poppy’s four petals close at night or in cold or windy weather.

Above: Horses grazing in the meadow pasture at Rankin Ranch in Walker Basin.

The 31,000-acre ranch has been family-owned and operated since 1863.

They opened their picturesque property to the public in 1965 and have been

warmly welcoming guests ever since. Today, the fourth, fifth, and sixth

Rankin generations are the heart of the operation.

CHAPTER 3

123


Our geographic location, places us at the center of the state’s population, making us prime

real estate for major distribution centers. More than fifty distribution centers are in the region

including Men’s Warehouse, IKEA, Caterpillar, Target, and Nestle/Dryers.

÷

Above: A crane lifts massive tilt-up panels during construction of the IKEA Distribution Center at Tejon Ranch.

Left: A worker assembles Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches on the assembly line at the Nestlé

Bakersfield Ice Cream Facility.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

124


÷

The bakers of Bakersfield:

Left: Since 1945, Smith’s Bakeries has been putting smiles on cookies and customer’s

faces alike with their signature cookies, cakes, donuts and pastries.

Below: Sweet Surrender is another locally-owned bakery and boutique, and is home

of the Matterhorn Cake, featured on the Food Network’s, The Best Thing I Ever Ate,

with Giada De Laurentiis.

CHAPTER 3

125


÷

Left: Clients of Bakersfield ARC (BARC) assemble parts for a manufacturing

company. The organization provides essential job training, employment and

support services for the intellectually and developmentally disabled.

Opposite: A technician checks the specs of a knee brace manufactured by

Townsend Design. Located in southwest Bakersfield, the company produces a

variety of knee brace and orthopedic solutions aimed at enhancing the quality of

life for individuals, and keeping athletes in the game.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

126


CHAPTER 3

127


÷

Left: A manufacturing facility uses an automated plasma cutting robot to supply

pipelines for oil and agriculture.

Opposite: A fabrication shop continues production late into the evening to satisfy

demand for a variety of industrial applications.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

128


CHAPTER 3

129


÷

The Bakersfield Amtrak Station is the southern terminus for the passenger train’s San Joaquin route,

which extends to Stockton before splitting to Oakland or Sacramento.Thruway motorcoach service

provides connections to southern California’s Union Station, the high desert and the Central Coast.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

130


÷

The downtown Bakersfield skyline meets the Kern River Oilfields

leading to the Greenhorn Mountains, a part of the Sequoia National Forest.

CHAPTER 3

131


BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

132


Another benefit is our multimodal transportation hub including ground, air,

rail transportation. Within a two-hour drive are the ports of Los Angeles and

Long Beach, and within four hours are the ports of San Francisco and Oakland.

÷

Opposite: The Grapevine is a forty-mile stretch connecting the southern San Joaquin Valley to southern California.

According to Caltrans, 70,000 vehicles travel this section of the Golden State Freeway on a daily basis, with 19,000 being big-rigs.

According to the Ridge Route Preservation Society, the grapevine got its name from the wild Cimarron grapevines that grew in the area.

CHAPTER 3

133


In additional to Meadows Field (BFL), we are in close proximity to Los Angeles

(LAX), Oakland (OAK), San Francisco (SFO), Ontario (ONT), and the Southern

California Logistics Airport, located in Victorville.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

134


÷

Opposite, top: A winding line of freight trains make their way through a tunnel near Caliente.

Opposite, bottom: The William H. Thomas Passenger Terminal at Meadows Field Airport (BFL) was

opened on February 27, 2006. Located seven miles north of downtown Bakersfield, the airport features

daily flights to Denver and San Francisco by United Airlines, and service to Phoenix via American Airlines.

Right: The STEM class at Fruitvale Jr. High School.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF CHEVRON.

Bakersfield has a bright future when it comes to developing and expanding its workforce. The Bureau of Labor Statistics

ranks the Bakersfield MSA #1 for the fastest-growing workforce, and we are appealing to a new generation of workers.

Millennials are finding the area offers the amenities they most want, with Forbes ranking the Bakersfield-Delano metropolitan

area as the second fastest millennial job growth rate in the nation from 2007 to 2013, at 11 percent.

More good news is that educators and employers are working together to create relevant training in the areas of science,

technology, engineering, and math (STEM), essential for global competitiveness. For example, since 2010, Chevron has

invested more than $1 million in STEM funding resulting in more than 1,700 classroom projects, and reaching nearly 127,000

students throughout the region. The Brookings Institution ranked the region #4 for STEM jobs.

CHAPTER 3

135


÷

Wind turbines dot the eastern side of the Tehachapi Mountains. As the valley heats up,

it pulls the air across the mountain range driving the blades on the towering wind

turbines which convert kinetic energy into mechanical power or electricity.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

136


With 272 days of sunshine, it is no wonder Bakersfield is rising to prominence on California’s

clean energy stage when it comes to harvesting the sun’s rays into solar energy. Multiple solar projects

are popping up around the outskirts of the city, with several bordered by agricultural land.

÷

Above: Fresh fallen snow covers Bear Mountain, which peaks at 6,916 ft., and the Tehachapi Mountain range dividing the southern

San Joaquin Valley and the Mojave Desert.

Left: The Sun Edison Regulus Solar Project covers 660-acres, which is the equivalent of 500 football fields, incorporating 248,000

individually produced panels generating enough electricity to power about 25,000 average California homes.

CHAPTER 3

137


Helping local businesses thrive are the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce,

the Kern County Black Chamber of Commerce, the Kern County Hispanic Chamber

of Commerce, and the North of the River Chamber of Commerce. Each provides

leadership and economic development opportunities to benefit small business owners

in our community.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

138


÷

Above: Downtown Bakersfield is seeing a number of new infill construction

projects including Mill Creek Village, a 63 unit apartment complex for seniors,

and the luxury 44-unit 17th Place Townhomes, targeting millennials yearning

walkability and proximity to the amenities downtown has to offer.

Right: A construction worker concentrates on the exterior of a downtown

Bakersfield building whose facade was covered by stucco for decades.

The building was slated for demolition before being purchased by an investor,

who discovered the original architecture intact during a renovation process.

CHAPTER 3

139


÷

Light cascades through trees and foliage along the Kern River.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

140


CHAPTER 3

141


÷

Top, left: A close-up study of California’s state flower, Eschscholzia californica. The poppy’s four petals close at night or in cold or windy weather.

Top, right: The rush of water slows outside of the Kern River Canyon, creating a colorful pool where the river recedes in late Fall.

Bottom: A carpeted mix of wildflowers covers the ground, leading to Bear Mountain.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

142


Bakersfield Partners

Profiles of businesses, organizations

and families that have contributed to the

development and economic base of Bakersfield

Quality of Life ..................................145

The Marketplace ...............................215

Building a Greater Bakersfield................249

Family Portraits ................................291

BAKERSFIELD PARTNERS

143


÷

Bottom: Wind swept clouds at sunset over Hart Park, reflect the delicacy of an artist’s brush.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

144


Quality of Life

Healthcare providers, school districts, universities

and other institutions that contribute to the quality of life in Bakersfield

Dignity Health Mercy and Memorial Hospitals..........................................................146

California State University, Bakersfield ..................................................................152

Omni Family Health.............................................................................................156

San Joaquin Community Hospital ...........................................................................160

Kaiser Permanente...............................................................................................164

Golden Empire Transit District ..............................................................................166

Bakersfield Christian High School ..........................................................................168

Bakersfield Pathology Medical Group ......................................................................170

Hoffmann Hospice................................................................................................172

Bakersfield Family Medical Center

Heritage Physician Network

Heritage Provider Network .........................................................................174

Kern Community College District ...........................................................................176

Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired ..............................................................178

Advanced Center for Eyecare (ACE)........................................................................179

Bakersfield College ..............................................................................................180

Kern County Fair ................................................................................................182

Kern County Superintendent of Schools ...................................................................184

Bakersfield Adult School .......................................................................................186

Clinica Sierra Vista .............................................................................................188

Historic Union Cemetery.......................................................................................190

San Joaquin Veterinary Hospital ............................................................................192

Centre for Neuro Skills.........................................................................................194

Bakersfield Fire Department..................................................................................196

Bakersfield Professional Firefighters Local 246.........................................................198

Bakersfield Heart Hospital ....................................................................................199

GEMCare ...........................................................................................................200

Greenlawn Funeral Homes-Cremations-Cemeteries ....................................................201

Houchin Community Blood Bank.............................................................................202

Alpha J. Anders, MD, FCCP ..................................................................................203

Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame..............................................................................204

Kern Patriot Partnership ......................................................................................205

Fox Theater Foundation........................................................................................206

Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra ............................................................................207

Garces Memorial High School ................................................................................208

Kern County Veterans Service Department ...............................................................209

Petroleum Club of Bakersfield................................................................................210

Hall Ambulance Service, Inc..................................................................................211

Links for Life......................................................................................................212

Boys & Girls Club of Kern County..........................................................................213

QUALITY OF LIFE

145


DIGNITY HEALTH MERCY

AND MEMORIAL HOSPITALS

÷

Top, left: Construction of a new Mercy Hospital is made possible by a

$45,000 donation from W. S. DeGana, who asks to remain anonymous until

his death. Fundraising efforts led by William Howell, Sr., and Alfred Harrell

finance additions. The new thirty-six room, three-story hospital officially

opened on November 9, 1913. It was considered to be the most advanced

hospital of its day and featured the city’s first passenger elevator. A seventyfoot

dome tops the building with a gold leaf cross illuminated by a lantern at

its apex. The hospital, which is visible from a distance of ten miles, was

known as the “beacon of light.”

Top, right: Standing in front of the rubble of Mercy Hospital after the 1952

earthquake, these physicians, along with community leaders raised money

to rebuild Mercy Hospital. Although the earthquake did not destroy it, the

hospital was so damaged it had to be taken down. Pictured from left to right

(according to Dr. Robert Sheldon) are: Admiral Bill Hall (Navy),

Dr. Lefty Osell, Dr. Romain Clerou, Dr. Rod Ogden, Dr. Carl Moore,

Dr. Willis Semenger, Dr. Francis Gundry, Dr. Keith McKee and

Dr. Robert Sheldon.

Right: Financial supporters and well-wishers gathered for Greater Bakersfield

Memorial Hospital’s groundbreaking ceremony on August 25, 1954. The

vision of transforming a dusty seventeen acre empty lot on Thirty-fourth

Street near Union Avenue into a field of dreams where Kern County residents

could benefit from the life-saving healthcare services of a community-owned

hospital was realized on October 1, 1956 when GBMH opened its doors to

the first patients.

Dignity Health Mercy and Memorial Hospitals is Kern

County’s premier healthcare system with three acute care

hospitals in Bakersfield and a growing number of medical

facilities to meet the needs of our community. With a reputation

for providing award-winning care and state-of-the-art

services in a compassionate, caring environment, citizens of

Bakersfield and the surrounding area know they have access

to some of the most advanced medical care available between

Los Angeles and Fresno. Our family of services range from

our beautiful birth and family care centers to specialized

centers of excellence such as the Sarvanand Heart and Brain

Center, Grossman Burn Center, the Lauren Small Children’s

Center, and the Orthopedic, Spine and Hand Center.

As the largest healthcare organization in the western

United States, Dignity Health is committed to the health and

wellbeing of local residents. We also care for the thousands

of Mercy and Memorial Hospital employees who call Dignity

Health home. As Kern County’s third largest employer,

we have much to offer our more than 3,000 employees.

Competitive wages and excellent benefits, along with a

host of continuing education and career advancement

opportunities, make Dignity Health one of Bakersfield’s

most sought out workplaces. Delivering on our promise to

provide quality, compassionate care is why more than 600

affiliated physicians and specialists choose our care centers

for their patients. In addition to our three hospitals, Dignity

Health Bakersfield provides a growing number of healthcare

facilities to meet the needs of the community, including

Millennium Surgery Center, Dignity Health Infusion Center

at the Comprehensive Blood and Cancer Center, and the

Dignity Health Medical Group in Bakersfield.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

146


Mercy and Memorial’s Department of Special Needs &

Community Outreach impact the lives of thousands through

wellness programs, health screenings, community events,

educational programs and other services. Together, this

dedicated team operates more than seventy programs in

Kern County including the Beyond the Walls Program,

which received the 2015 Achievement Citation from the

Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA) for

remarkable contributions to our community.

Mercy and Memorial Hospitals are also nationally and

locally recognized for excellence in healthcare and for

our contributions to the improvement and enrichment of

the communities we serve. Our nationally certified stroke

centers are recognized by the American Heart Association/

American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines

Program, receiving the organizations top Achievement

Awards for excellence in stroke care. Memorial Hospital is an

accredited Chest Pain Center and a Mission Lifeline STEMI

Receiving Center, meeting the nation’s highest standards

of care for the most severe type of heart attack. Mercy and

Memorial Hospitals have also received many Healthgrades ®

quality achievement awards including the Patient Safety

Excellence Award two years in a row. Locally, Mercy Hospital

Southwest is consistently voted as Bakersfield’s Best Hospital

year after year in The Bakersfield Californian’s “Best Of” poll

and we are honored to be the recipient of numerous Beautiful

Bakersfield Awards including the 2016 Bakersfield Chamber

of Commerce Chairman’s Award for the Kern County Builders’

Exchange’s Hope House at Memorial Hospital.

Our three Dignity Health Bakersfield hospitals are

nationally recognized centers for quality care and medical

excellence with a human touch.

Our services include the internationally-renowned

Grossman Burn Center, the Sarvanand Heart and Brain

Center, the Lauren Small Children’s Center, and the

Orthopedic, Spine and Hand Center.

Dignity Health Mercy and Memorial Hospitals are Kern

County’s trusted leaders in comprehensive heart care. From

education and rehabilitation, to innovative nonsurgical

treatments and advanced cardiac procedures, our cardiac

experts treat all stages of the disease.

÷

Above: Hospital leadership, donors and volunteers break ground on Mercy

Hospital Southwest in 1990. Like its sister hospital downtown, the hospital

has established a reputation for superior healthcare since opening in 1992.

Mercy Hospital Southwest is the only hospital west of Highway 99 and is

adjacent to California State University Bakersfield.

Left: Rose Zey Dow is registered as the first patient at Bakersfield Memorial

Hospital in 1956. Rose was also the hospital’s first surgery patient. According

to the newspaper, Rose said being the first patient at Memorial was

“as exciting as moving into a new home.”

QUALITY OF LIFE

147


÷

Above: The Lauren Small Children’s Center at Memorial Hospital offers

comprehensive, state-of-the-art pediatric care to our community’s children

right here, close to home. The Lauren Small Children’s Center includes

the Bolthouse Family Pediatric Department and the Helen Taylor Cobbs

Children’s Healing Garden, the area’s only Pediatric Intensive Care Unit,

a Level II NICU, pediatric burn care at the Grossman Burn Center, and the

Robert A. Grimm Children’s Pavilion for Emergency Care (opening 2017),

Bakersfield’s first emergency department dedicated exclusively to treating

pediatric patients.

Right: Bakersfield cardiologist and director of the Sarvanand Heart and Brain

Center at Memorial Hospital, Dr. Tommy Lee, with the area’s only Bi-plane

Interventional Suite at Memorial’s Sarvanand Heart and Brain Center.

Established in December 2012 the Sarvanand Heart and Brain Center was

made possible in part by a $2 million donation from the Munger Family and

was used specifically for the expansion of cardiovascular services at

Dignity Health Memorial Hospital.

The Sarvanand Heart and Brain Center at Memorial

Hospital is the premier facility located between Los Angeles

and Fresno for the treatment of most heart and vascular

conditions, including congenital heart defects, congestive

heart failure, heart attack and stroke. The Center has the

area’s only Bi-Plane Interventional Suite and the Southern

Valley’s first fellowship-trained Neuro Endovascular

Specialist. It is also home to the area’s first Transcatheter

Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) program. The Central

California Heart Institute (CCHI) at Memorial delivers the

highest caliber of cardiovascular care to cardiac patients.

Through the Institute’s research programs, physicians are

trained in leading-edge treatments utilizing the most

advanced practices and technologies.

The Lauren Small Children’s Center at Memorial Hospital

is the only medical-surgical unit in the area dedicated

exclusively to pediatrics. Dignity’s specially trained pediatric

doctors, nurses and allied health

professionals have devoted their

careers to caring for children. This

state-of-the-art medical facility offers

superior technology in a child-friendly,

healing environment close to home.

The Lauren Small Children’s Center

includes the area’s only Pediatric

Intensive Care Unit, a Level II Neonatal

Intensive Care Unit, the Bolthouse

Family Pediatric Department, high-risk

infant follow-up program, the Helen

Taylor Cobbs Children’s Healing

Garden, InQuicker online emergency

room waiting service and pediatric

home health programs. Opening in

2017 the Robert A. Grimm Children’s

Pavilion for Emergency Care will be

Kern County’s only emergency department exclusively for

pediatric patients with specially trained doctors and nurses.

In May 2016, Memorial Hospital became Kern County’s

first designated Baby-Friendly Hospital, the highest accreditation

for birth centers. Baby-Friendly hospitals are recognized

worldwide for being the gold standard concerning infant

bonding and breastfeeding practices in their birthing units.

Visitors in need of respite can visit the Helen Taylor Cobbs

Children’s Healing Garden and families traveling more

than twenty-five miles from home may request overnight

accommodations at the Ronald McDonald House ® .

Memorial Hospital is proud to partner with Children’s

Miracle Network Hospitals ® (CMNH), which raises funds

for 170 children’s hospitals across North America. Each

donation helps support research and training, fund

equipment purchases, and provide uncompensated care for

local kids.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

148


Dignity Health Bakersfield offers a comprehensive range

of cancer treatments and therapy options close to home, so

those facing cancer can focus on recovery with the support

of friends and family.

In 2012, Mercy and Memorial Hospitals partnered with

Comprehensive Blood and Cancer Center (CBCC), the leader

in cancer treatment and care in the Southern San Joaquin

Valley. Our partnership brings together an experienced team

of caregivers committed to providing high quality care for

the mind, body, and spirit. Unique to our program, our

Cancer Patient Navigator is there to guide patients and their

families through every step of treatment.

CBCC is one of the nation’s largest freestanding cancer

centers and is home to advanced options for the treatment of

cancer. CBCC is one of only a few centers on the West Coast

to offer CyberKnife, a revolutionary non-invasive alternative

to surgery for the treatment of tumors anywhere in the body.

CBCC is part of the UCLA

Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer

Center’s Translational Oncology

Research International (TORI)

network. This partnership allows

our patients early access to the

latest clinical trials without

having to travel to UCLA.

Mercy Hospital Downtown is

home to the area’s only inpatient

oncology unit, which brings

patients with cancer together

with specialized nursing care

in a single dedicated space.

This enhancement allows for

improved coordination of care

and a better overall experience

for our patients and their

families. The inpatient oncology unit at Mercy Hospital

Downtown has Oncology certified nurses who have

knowledge and experience caring for patients experiencing

the complex problems that can be associated with cancer.

Memorial Hospital offers specialized surgical options for

the treatment of cancer, including daVinci robotic-assisted

surgery, pediatric cancer care, and The Infusion Center located

at CBCC.

The Grossman Burn Center at Memorial Hospital delivers

the highest level of care for burn survivors available close to

home. World renowned for its pioneering techniques that

help burn survivors recover faster, the Grossman Burn

Center at Memorial offers advanced, plastic surgery-based

medical treatments from expert surgeons, combined with

dedicated care from psychologists and child life specialists

to meet emotional needs, leading to better outcomes for

burn patients in Kern County.

÷

Left: Dignity Health and Comprehensive Blood and Cancer Center—

together, we are outsmarting cancer. In 2013, Dignity Health Bakersfield and

Comprehensive Blood & Cancer Center (CBCC) announced a partnership

that has enhanced cancer care services throughout Kern County, aligning the

renowned cancer services of Dignity Health’s three hospitals with CBCC’s

advanced technology, groundbreaking clinical trials and prominent cancer

care specialists.

Below: Opened in 2014, the inpatient oncology unit, located at Mercy

Hospital Downtown, brings patients with cancer together with specialized

nursing care in a single dedicated space. This enhancement allows for

improved coordination of care and a better overall experience for our

patients and their families. This special unit is Bakersfield’s only hospitalbased

inpatient cancer unit.

QUALITY OF LIFE

149


÷

Above: On March 17, 2016, Dr. Peter H. Grossman and a team of

Grossman Burn Center physicians gather with hospital leadership and donors

to announce the partnership between the internationally recognized center

and Memorial Hospital. The new partnership was made possible by a

$1 million donation from S. A. Camp Companies of Bakersfield. Left to right,

Dr. Matt Young, Kurt Richards, Dr. Alexander Majidian, Jim Camp, Beverly

Camp, Jon Van Boening, Dr. Peter H. Grossman and Dr. Brian Evans.

Below: In October 2015 the newly expanded Orthopedic, Spine and

Hand Center at Mercy Hospital Southwest opened. This state-of-the-art

facility offers patients leading expert care for diagnosing and treating bone,

joint, and muscle injuries and conditions as well as musculoskeletal and

spinal disorders.

Bringing the Grossman Burn Center to Memorial was

made possible by a $1 million donation from S. A. Camp

Companies. The new burn unit at Memorial includes a

seven-bed intensive care unit, catastrophic burn care, pediatric

intensive care burn services, hyperbaric oxygen therapy,

plastic surgery and reconstruction, a dedicated surgeon and

operating suite, psychological support services, in addition

to an outpatient ambulatory clinic.

Having a larger unit offering this level of comprehensive

care in Bakersfield means more burn survivors can be treated

locally, reducing the need to transfer to hospitals out of

the area.

Mercy and Memorial Hospitals have long been leaders in

orthopedic care. Our hospitals feature renovated facilities for

added patient comfort, as well as state-of-the-art surgical

technology for enhanced accuracy and improved patient

outcomes. Patients receive exceptional support throughout

their care experience, including post-operative care from

specialized orthopedic nurses and therapists.

The Orthopedic, Spine and Hand Center at Mercy

Hospital Southwest is Bakersfield’s premier center for

orthopedic care, offering patients expert care and the latest

in advanced technology to treat a full range of orthopedic

conditions, trauma, and diseases.

The new state-of-the-art 22,000 square foot center has

forty exam rooms and the most advanced diagnostic

imaging equipment available, allowing physicians to see

images immediately, and treat injuries and condition faster

so patients can get back to their old selves.

Established in 2009, orthopedic services at Mercy Hospital

Southwest have rapidly grown. The group now has 7 surgeons:

3 hand, 3 general/sports, and 1 spine. The new clinic allows

enough space for three additional surgeons, and other

specialized services such as physical therapy.

Caring for our community for more than a century, Mercy

and Memorial Hospitals have a rich history rooted in

kindness and founded on the belief that all people deserve

medical care, regardless of their background, ethnicity, or

circumstances. The mission and values are as alive today as

they were in 1910 when four Sisters of Mercy were sent to

Bakersfield to care for the sick at a new fifty-bed facility

named Mercy Hospital. The most technologically advanced

hospital in the state at the time, Mercy was the first to have

call lights for patients to summon nurses. The facility even

had the city’s first passenger elevator.

In 1951 a group of dedicated community members decided

Bakersfield needed more medical services to keep up with

the city’s sprawl. “The Victory Campaign” was launched to

raise the $1 million dollars in private funds needed to build

a new community hospital. In October 1956 the Greater

Bakersfield Memorial Hospital opened with 112 beds. From

the moment the first patient registered, Memorial Hospital

has been in a constant state of upgrading, improving and

expanding. Today, it is Kern County’s largest acute care medical

center with over 400 beds and offering some of the most

advanced medical services and treatment options available.

As businesses grew and more industries moved into the

area, the need for a new hospital in Bakersfield’s busy southwest

became imminent. In 1992, Mercy Hospital Southwest

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

150


opened, providing a modern high-tech facility for residents

west of Highway 99. The Mercy Southwest expansion, expected

to open in 2019, consists of a 108-bed patient care tower

that will expand medical services and specialties in neuroscience,

cardiovascular, oncology and more.

As members of the fifth largest health system in the

nation, our family of Bakersfield care facilities has strengthened

its commitment to keeping the human person at

the forefront of modern medicine. Today, the mission and

values we were founded upon remain the same. Through

teamwork and innovation, faith and compassion, advocacy

and action, we endeavor every day to keep our patients

happy, healthy, and whole.

The Bakersfield Memorial Hospital Foundation was

formed in 1981 to support the healing ministry of

Bakersfield Memorial Hospital. The Foundation’s mission

is to contribute to the quality of life for people in our

community by funding healthcare technology and services

at Memorial Hospital.

Generous community donors have contributed more than

$30 million since 1981 to support outstanding projects such

as the West Tower construction, the Lauren Small Children’s

Center, the Sarvanand Heart and Brain Center, the Robert A.

Grimm Children’s Pavilion for Emergency Care, The Helen

Taylor Cobbs Healing Garden, The Monsignor Craig

Harrison Interfaith Chapel and the S. A. Camp Companies

Burn Unit at the Grossman Burn Center.

Donors support the Foundation in many ways, including

major gifts, planned gifts and annual giving. The Foundation

also has two active donor societies; The President’s Circle

and The Miracle Society, comprised of young community

leaders, who focus their annual donations on support for

children’s services at the Lauren Small Children’s Center.

Since being established in 1988, the Friends of Mercy

Foundation has raised $30 million in support of state-of-the-art

equipment and technology as well as services that meet

the needs of the underserved. Continuing the legacy of

giving started by Mercy Hospital’s first benefactor, William

Howell, Sr., generations of Kern County families support

the Foundation’s fundraising efforts and 100 percent of

every gift goes directly to the project being supported.

Donors who have made gifts totaling $10,000 and above

are members of the Founder’s Circle; those who have named

Mercy in their estate plans become members of the Heritage

Society. The Foundation’s annual giving program consists of:

Catherine McAuley Society, a women’s philanthropic group;

the William Howell Century Club, a men’s philanthropic

group; The Legacy Circle at Mercy, a philanthropic group of

young emerging community leaders; and the Spirit of Giving

Club, an employee giving group. Each group chooses a

hospital project to support using their annual cumulative gift.

For over one hundred years, we have believed in the healing

power of human connection, providing accessible, compassionate

health services for our community. Our mission

includes serving and advocating for the poor and disenfranchised,

and partnering with others in the community to

improve quality of life. We put our mission into practice in

part through community health and prevention programs,

actionable health needs assessments and strategies, and

community grants, donating $3,562,678 to sixty

different local not-for-profit agencies since 1990.

Treating patients and each other with respect,

dignity, and kindness is more than a marketing

campaign or even a brand. It is a promise to our

community that kindness is the best medicine.

At Dignity Health, we hold the belief that

kindness helps to heal the whole person—body,

mind, and spirit. We strive to incorporate this

into the care we provide our patients every day.

Hello humankindness.

÷

Above: In June 2013, Country musician legend and Bakersfield native

Merle Haggard dropped by the Ronald McDonald House at Bakersfield

Memorial Hospital to sign a few of his guitars for auction at the annual

Larry Carr Memorial Golf Tournament.

Below: In honor of the community kindness shown in helping rebuild Herbert

Jackson’s home after a fire, Mayor Harvey Hall, Supervisor Leticia Perez and

Senator Andy Vidak’s office named August 13, 2014, “Humankindness Day”

in Bakersfield. An appreciation lunch was hosted by Dignity Health Mercy

and Memorial Hospitals in an effort to recognize all who donated time,

resources, and services to this meaningful event.

QUALITY OF LIFE

151


÷

CALIFORNIA STATE

UNIVERSITY, BAKERSFIELD

Bottom, left: CSU Chancellor Dr. Glenn Dumke (1962-1982);

CSUB President Dr. Paul Romberg (1967-1973); Senator Walter Stiern;

Governor Ronald Reagan at groundbreaking ceremony.

Bottom, right: Sheep graze near Faculty Towers in the early years.

Opposite, clockwise starting from the top, left:

Science III Building.

Antelope Valley Center.

Flags fly at CSUB main entrance.

California State University, Bakersfield is a fast-growing

regional comprehensive public university committed to

transforming the lives of its students and community

through excellence in academics, diversity, service, and

community engagement.

Strolling today’s beautiful and vibrant campus, it is

difficult to imagine the campus was a beet field surrounded

by undeveloped land covered in brush less than fifty years

ago. Senator Walter Stiern’s bill to establish a college in

Kern County was approved by the state legislature on

January 11, 1965, with a $20,000 appropriation from the

state general fund.

When Dr. Paul Romberg, the school’s first president,

arrived in Bakersfield in August 1967 all he had was a

document from the chancellor’s office saying he was

authorized to start a college. Assisted by Dr. Ken Secor,

who became vice president for administrative services,

Romberg had to locate office space, equipment and staff.

At first, the small staff worked out of an old grocery store

on Kentucky Street in Old Town Kern, then relocated to

state-leased offices on California Avenue.

Kern County Land Company donated a 375-acre parcel

of land along Stockdale Highway for the new university

campus. The board of trustees approved plans for the initial

buildings in the spring of 1969, leaving only a year-and-ahalf

for the first phase to be built in time for the anticipated

opening in fall 1970. Skeptics scoffed at the time frame,

insisting a campus could never be developed in such a short

time. After much careful planning and hard work, California

State College, Bakersfield welcomed its first class in 1970.

Dr. Jacob Frankel became president in 1974 and

Dr. Tomás Arciniega came to the presidency in 1983. The

college gained university status in 1987 to become

California State University, Bakersfield.

Dr. Horace Mitchell, then vice chancellor for business

and administrative services at UC Berkeley, was appointed

president of CSU Bakersfield in 2004. Building on institutional

values of excellence, partnerships, and community,

President Mitchell has led the university to national recognition

with a vision to extend the excellence and diversity

of faculty and academic programs, enhance the quality of

the student experience, and strengthen the university’s

community engagement.

With a strong tradition of working collaboratively to

advance its vision for excellence, CSUB has been in a

constant mode of transformation since 2004, reinventing

itself to provide twenty-first century teaching and learning

for student success in a global society. The university has

reached significant milestones through collaboration

among faculty, administrators, staff, and the engagement of

students, alumni, community partners, and support groups.

Today, CSUB serves more than 9,200 students at the

Bakersfield campus and Antelope Valley Center in its four

schools—arts and humanities; business and public administration;

natural sciences, mathematics and engineering;

and social science and education. The university’s faculty is

committed to providing a quality education to prepare

students for success. Seventy-five percent of CSUB faculty

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

152


members hold the highest degree in their fields. The university

offers more than sixty undergraduate and twenty-one

graduate degree programs culminating in bachelor’s and

master’s degrees, teaching credentials, post-baccalaureate

certificates, or the doctorate in educational leadership.

CSUB’s Extended University serves students and the community

by offering professional development, certificate,

degree, and international study abroad programs. With more

than seventy percent of its 47,000 alumni remaining and

working within Kern County, CSUB supports ongoing social,

cultural and economic development throughout the region.

CSUB’s faculty and staff of more than 1,000 include

respected academic experts, published researchers, and

engaged community leaders, as well as dedicated educators

who genuinely care about their students’ success. The

university’s excellent and diverse staff reflect the cultural

richness of the community and students it serves. Students

should be able to see themselves reflected among the faculty

who teach them. As faculty members serve as role models

and mentors, they can have significant influence in how

or whether students find and navigate the pathways to

academic success.

Responding to the needs of the community, the university

added new degree programs such as computer engineering,

electrical engineering, and engineering sciences (including

emphases in biosystems and agricultural engineering; engineering

management; and petroleum engineering); agribusiness,

healthcare management, occupational safety

and health management concentration, and a doctorate in

educational leadership, among others, including additional

online classes.

To position the university for the future and enhance

student success, CSUB converted its academic calendar

from quarters to semesters, with the semester calendar to

begin in fall 2016. In so doing, faculty in almost seventy

percent of the academic programs took a once-in-a-career

opportunity to completely transform the goals and content

of their curricula to ensure they would address the twentyfirst

century needs of our students and communities. At the

same time, faculty redesigned and strengthened general

education as a cross-disciplinary program to align it with

university-wide student learning outcomes, integrating the

themes: quality of life, revolutionary ideas and innovations,

and sustainability and justice.

QUALITY OF LIFE

153


÷

Above: “Rowdy Run” welcomes new students at soccer game half-time.

Right: Men’s basketball team wins 2015 Western Athletics

Conference (WAC).

CSUB’s academic programs have achieved national recognition

through a series of quality accolades. The Economist

listed the university #10 best economic value of degree;

Top Nursing Schools College Atlas ranked CSUB the #5 nursing

school in California; the Washington Monthly listed the

school’s master’s degree programs among the Top 25 in

the nation; and Time magazine ranked CSUB #39 among

top colleges and universities in the nation. In addition,

the Carnegie Foundation has awarded CSUB its elective

community engagement classification; Hispanic Outlook

listed the university at #54 among the Top 100 colleges for

degrees granted to Hispanics, and #8 on its Best Bang for

the Buck Colleges; and Brookings Institute placed CSUB at

the ninety-fifth percentile for expected student earnings. The

university has even been named a bicycle friendly university

by The League of American Bicyclists.

CSUB added several new academic buildings with

classrooms, labs and faculty offices, e.g. Science III, the

visual arts center, engineering complex with labs, and broke

ground on a humanities complex and the replacement of

Faculty Towers. All classrooms have been converted to smart

classrooms. The CSUB Fabrication Lab (“Fab Lab”) is an

advanced digital fabrication laboratory with equipment

protyping machinery that can be used to fabricate just about

anything. The Fab Lab is a community resource open to

the public as well as to the university community and is an

important step forward for science, technology, engineering,

and mathematics (STEM) education in the Central Valley. A

collaboration of the Fab Foundation, MIT, Chevron and

CSUB, it is the only Fab Lab among CSU and UC campuses.

Several initiatives and programs were undertaken to

advance student development, enhance the quality of

student and campus life, and increase student retention,

success, and graduation. As an outcome of a student fee

referendum in 2005, CSUB transitioned its athletics

program to NCAA Division I. Men’s sports include baseball,

basketball, golf, soccer, swimming and diving, track and

field and wrestling. Women’s teams include basketball,

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

154


each volleyball, cross country, soccer, softball, track and

field, swimming and diving, volleyball, and water polo. The

athletics program is a member of the Western Athletics

Conference (WAC). In the last two years, four athletics

teams have won WAC championships and participated in

NCAA post-season tournaments.

The school adopted its first-ever alma mater “Long Live

CSUB” and fight song “CSUB Victory” in 2005. A 75,000

square foot, state-of-the-art student recreation center helps

promote physical health and wellness. Residential students

moved into a newly constructed 500-bed student housing

complex in January 2015. Students can become engaged

in more than eighty-five student organizations and clubs

and eleven fraternities and sororities.

New students are formally welcomed into the community

of higher learning at a new student convocation each fall.

The ceremony expresses the university’s expectations for student

learning, collective commitment to facilitating students’

success, and inspires students to look toward graduation from

the university and the culminating commencement ceremony.

The CSUB Alumni Association boasts more than 47,000

alumni. The university’s most notable alumni include former

heavyweight wrestler Stephen Neal (‘99), winner of two

NCAA National Championships, a multiple gold medalist

in the World Freestyle, USA Freestyle, and Pan American

games. Neal played in the National Football League for the

New England Patriots and helped win three Super Bowl

titles. He was inducted into the Bob Elias Kern County

Sports Hall of Fame. U.S. Congressman Kevin McCarthy

(‘89, ‘94) was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in

2006 as representative for California’s 23nd Congressional

District. He is a CSUB Alumni Hall of Fame inductee. Started

in 2006, the hall of fame recognizes alumni who have made

significant contributions in their chosen field of endeavor

and/or community, and whose accomplishments and careers

have brought honor and distinction to CSUB. Honorees are

inducted at an annual black-tie gala.

CSUB has a long and distinguished history of community

engagement. The university collaborates with partners in

the community to increase the region’s overall educational

attainment, enhance its quality of life, and support its

economic development. Students greatly benefit from

the generosity of donors, alumni, industry partners, and

friends of the university who give to support student

scholarships, research, and the enhancement of the school’s

academic programs.

Each year, CSUB contributes more than 2,000 new alumni

to the community’s educated and skilled workforce. The university

has a powerful $1.64 billion economic impact on Kern

County’s economy annually, consisting of $505 million in local

expenditures and $1.125 billion in economic enhancements.

The Bakersfield community benefits from the energy,

expertise, and enthusiasm of CSUB students, faculty and

staff. The university continues to help shape the future of

Kern County through student internships, research, campus

institutions, and community events.

The university’s master plan builds out the entire campus

to accommodate 18,000 students. Plans to develop the

remaining land include additional student housing, and

public-private partnerships such as a children’s interactive

educational museum and a hotel and conference center.

The university also has approval from the board of trustees

to develop a university office park on the south side of the

main campus. Tenants will be required to have an affiliation

with the campus, such as providing student internships.

CSUB will continue to provide access to quality and

affordable academic programs and cocurricular experiences

that are transformative to make significant differences in

the lives of its students, their families, and communities,

and raise the level of educational attainment in the region.

÷

New graduates pose at commencement.

QUALITY OF LIFE

155


OMNI FAMILY HEALTH

÷

Right: In 1978, a staff member lays the foundation of Omni Family Health’s

first health center in Buttonwillow, California.

Below: Local television crews film the groundbreaking ceremony for

Omni Family Health’s Buttonwillow Health Center on January 5, 1979.

By the look of Omni Family Health today, one would

never guess that this national award-winning network of

state-of-the-art health centers began in the tiny town of

Buttonwillow in rural Kern County, California. In 1978, a

small but determined group of community leaders broke

ground on the Buttonwillow Health Center, a small health

facility that would later become known as Omni Family

Health. At that time, the Buttonwillow Health Center was

formed with the goal of providing a full range of primary,

preventative care and support services to an area whose

remoteness had previously made such services unavailable.

The focus was to ensure quality medical services were accessible

to rural agricultural workers—an overlooked segment

of the population whose occupational contribution was central

to the legacy of the San Joaquin Valley. Those involved in

bringing Buttonwillow Health Center from a dream to reality

rallied the community under a primary slogan that conveyed

the vision of the founders in 1978—“Health for All.”

At the time Buttonwillow Health Center began operations

in the late 1970s, the innovative concept of communitybased

healthcare had also taken root across the country

in medically underserved inner

city neighborhoods and rural

areas. What became known as

Community and Migrant Health

Centers, or C/MHCs, targeted the

roots of an inadequate healthcare

system by establishing easily

accessible healthcare facilities in

medically underserved areas,

eliminating barriers and delivering

health services for everyone

in the community regardless of

race, age, gender, socioeconomic

status, or ability to pay.

This emerging model of healthcare was greatly needed in

rural Kern County. Much of the economic development driving

Kern County into the twenty-first century was based

around the agricultural industry that took advantage of the

fertile lands throughout the San Joaquin Valley. As business

boomed, the surrounding communities expanded to meet

the needs of farmworkers and their families but rural

resources, especially healthcare, were scarce. Unfortunately,

the late 1970s brought a widespread drought that lowered

crop volumes in the face of rising production costs, leading

to a historic decline in the value of cotton—a huge blow to

a community that was nicknamed “Cotton Country” due to

the abundance of the crop.

Even in the face of mounting uncertainty surrounding the

agriculture industry, the small group of founders pushed

forward in the quest for quality healthcare for agricultural

workers in rural Kern County, making the decision to

embrace the national community healthcare model. Among

the many leaders responsible for launching the Buttonwillow

Health Center was Clarence “Dutch” Houchin, a renowned

community leader who aided the health center by leasing

the property to the center for a token one dollar per year.

The Houchin family later generously donated the land and

building to the organization.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

156


The faith that had been placed in the Buttonwillow

Health Center was quickly rewarded as the facility saw

increases in the numbers of patients seeking healthcare.

When a second facility nearby became necessary, the

community again sprang into action. The health center

location at Lost Hills began in a temporary double-wide

trailer in 1980—it was not glamorous, but the team believed

in the mission of the organization despite tough challenges

during the early years of operations. To this day, staff

members still recall wading through thick mud to reach the

trailer to provide care to their patients!

It was that level of dedication that allowed Omni to grow

and open the third addition to the organization in the city of

Wasco in 1990, followed in quick succession by health

centers in Taft and Delano. The Taft location began in 1991

as a Teen Clinic in the basement of a hospital, while the

origins of Omni’s Delano facility are entwined with the

history of the United Farmworkers of America (UFW), who

graciously allowed the health center to operate from its

headquarters known then as the “40 acres.” Also during

that time, the small network of health centers transitioned to

the National Health Services, Inc., brand in the community.

Between 1978 and the early 2000s, Omni had grown

from one small facility in Buttonwillow into eight health

centers dedicated to serving the rural communities of Kern

County. In 2002, Omni celebrated its first location in the

greater Bakersfield area when the Oildale Community Health

Center opened its doors to the public. Since then, new

Omni facilities have opened in the rural towns of Ridgecrest

and Tehachapi, along with many locations throughout

Bakersfield. In all, Omni now operates eighteen state-of-theart

health centers that provide medical and dental services

along with behavioral health, chiropractic care, full-service

pharmacies and a range of specialty care services.

In the decades since the first Omni health center opened

in 1978, a great deal of change has come and gone, but like

the unchanging and steadfast mountain ranges that encircle

the San Joaquin Valley, Omni’s mission-driven focus has

never wavered. The success of the organization can be

credited in large part to exceptional leadership that has

found a natural balance between strategic business goals

and a mission-driven culture of compassion.

The continuity of the organization’s legacy in the

community was assured when Francisco L. Castillon, MPA,

became Omni’s CEO in 2010, bringing more than twentyfive

years of experience in C/MHCs. In addition to his

professional acumen, Castillon was a key community figure

÷

Above: Today, Omni Family Health operates eighteen state-of-the-art health

centers that provide medical, dental, behavioral health, chiropractic,

pharmacy and specialty services to the community.

Left: Left to right, community board members John Ogborn, Tommie Fowler,

Gloria Selvidge, Rosie Watkins, Julien Parsons (back row), Pete Ramirez, Jr.,

Aurelio Nunez and former CEO, Dr. Wagih H. Michael, gather at the

Buttonwillow Medical/Dental Center in early 1999.

Below: Omni Family Health’s Chief Executive Officer Francisco L. Castillon

addresses the crowd during the Brimhall Expansion Grand Opening on

December 8, 2015.

QUALITY OF LIFE

157


÷

Right: Each year, Omni Family Health publishes its Community, Economic

and Tax Impact Report which illustrates the positive outcomes Omni delivers

to the communities it serves.

Below: The National Association of Community Health Centers

honored Omni Family Health with the 2015 Outstanding Migrant Health

Center award.

who worked side-by-side with well-known figures Cesar

Chavez and Dolores Huerta in the UFW and was responsible

for negotiating the arrangement of Omni’s Delano facility

on the “40 acres” property. With his personal knowledge of

Omni’s history and a strong vision for the future, Castillon

led the 2012 campaign to rebrand the organization from

National Health Services, Inc., to the Omni identity of

today. Consistent with the organization’s mission, the name

“Omni” was selected for its meaning of “all” and “inclusive,”

because of our philosophy of providing quality healthcare

to all members of the family, from infants to the elderly, and

all residents of the community.

In addition to this monumental rebranding, Omni continues

to experience unprecedented growth in the community.

Over the course of the 2012-2015 Strategic Plan, Omni

opened 4 new health centers, expanded services at 4 health

centers, and saw a fifty-two percent increase in exam rooms,

significantly increasing patient access to high quality healthcare

throughout Kern County. Omni also became certified

as a Patient Centered Health Home in 2015 and renewed its

accreditation by The Joint Commission.

As a result of the board of directors and executive

management team’s dedicated and visionary leadership,

which has guided Omni’s successes and positive reputation

at both the local, state and national levels, the organization

has received, for the first time, two major national awards.

Both the Migrant Health Center of the Year designation

and the Outstanding Achievement Award were presented

by the National Association of Community Health Centers

(NACHC) in 2015.

Omni’s network of health centers has a major impact on

the populations they serve. Annually, nearly 82,000 patients

are seen at Omni health centers in the communities of

Bakersfield, Buttonwillow, Delano, Lost Hills, Ridgecrest,

Shafter, Taft, Tehachapi and Wasco. Overall, services

provided by Omni represent over $100 million annual cost

savings to the healthcare system in Kern County.

Omni Family Health centers operate with annual budget

of over $55 million, including over $8 million in federal

funding. In 2015 alone, Omni was the recipient of numerous

federal and local grants to aid the organization’s efforts to

minimize barriers to healthcare services for the citizens of

Kern County. Omni’s tremendous impact on local economies

totals nearly $65 million annually, in addition to a total

tax impact of nearly $8.5 million. The 450 (and growing)

full-time jobs directly generated by Omni supports an

additional 194 jobs in other industries. Fifteen employees

currently working for Omni have been with the organization

twenty years or longer. Looking ahead, Omni projects an

increase of approximately 110,000 annual patient visits to

its health centers in 2017, a nearly thirty-five percent

increase in patient access to care.

Omni Family Health has developed invaluable working

relationships with local community-based organizations,

private agencies and public institutions. By working together,

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

158


the agencies mobilize combined energies and experience to

better serve patients and support programs and initiatives

that address healthcare and access problems. By focusing

on community building, the organization helps to facilitate

problem-solving for a wide range of difficult social and

health issues and removes barriers to care by serving

communities that otherwise confront geographic, language,

cultural and other barriers. This results oriented approach

goes beyond traditional methods and serves to maximize

both resources and effectiveness.

One of the many ways Omni gives back to the communities

it serves is through a scholarship program for graduating

high school seniors within its service area. Up to seven $1,000

scholarship awards are distributed each year to qualified

graduating seniors pursuing a career in the medical field.

Additionally, the Omni mission promotes a deep sense of

social responsibility to the local environment, and concerted

effort to incorporate “green” best practices in the daily

operations at every facility. In 2015, seventy-five percent of

waste generated at Omni construction sites was diverted

from landfills and sent to a recycling center. Within the

existing facilities, conservation efforts resulted in a fifty-three

to sixty percent decrease in energy consumption.

At the grassroots level, Omni and its employees also

participate in many community activities such as local

Health Fairs, Affordable Care Act enrollment events, parades,

health screenings and the Cuadrilla program, in which

Omni employees go into the farming fields to provide

agricultural workers with lunch and information on available

health services. Employees also enjoy giving back to the

community during the holidays, providing food and gifts

to health center patients.

After nearly forty years of serving Kern County, Omni

Family Health remains committed to being the leading

provider of quality healthcare throughout Kern County and

the Central Valley by improving health, one patient at a time,

through compassion and individual attention to everyone.

Omni’s mission statement is supported by its Core Values:

• Helpful—We pride ourselves on being helpful to our

patients, listening to their needs and doing everything

we can to aid their concerns.

• Excellence—We demand more from ourselves than our

patients do from us.

• Accessibility—We provide access to quality healthcare

for everyone who seeks it.

• Leadership—We lead our patients, families, and community

in being passionate about their health.

• Teamwork—We work together to meet common goals

by encouraging and supporting one another.

• Honesty—we are committed to the highest ethical standards,

demonstrating honesty and fairness in every action.

Together, these core values spell H-E-A-L-T-H, the guiding

principal for Omni Family Health from day one until present

day, and for years to come.

Our mission: Omni Family Health is committed to improving

the health of our communities by providing the highest quality

healthcare to everyone.

÷

Omni Family Health Board of Directors, CEO and executive management

team is joined by Bakersfield Mayor Harvey Hall at the latest White Lane

health center groundbreaking ceremony December 8, 2015, in recognition of

Omni’s continued investment in Kern County and beyond.

QUALITY OF LIFE

159


SAN JOAQUIN

COMMUNITY HOSPITAL

÷

Above: Two young nurses help provide needed healthcare services to the

booming community of Bakersfield.

Right: San Joaquin Hospital, c. 1935.

Ensuring the community receives the best healthcare

possible has been the guiding spirit of San Joaquin

Community Hospital throughout its history. This vision

inspired the hospital’s founders more than a century ago,

and this same commitment remains embedded in the

hospital’s mission today.

Bakersfield and Kern County were still considered

the Wild West” in the early part of the twentieth century,

but farmers were beginning to realize that the county’s rich

soil would produce bountiful crops, and the discovery of oil

became a magnet for workers from throughout the nation.

With a population of nearly 18,000, Kern County was

booming in the early 1900s, bringing with it a growing need

for adequate healthcare. This need attracted the attention of

two young nurses—Margaret Quinn and Mary O’Donnell—

who shared a passion for caring for the sick and injured.

They became nurses at the small St. Clair Hospital at

Sixteenth and H Streets in Bakersfield.

Seeing firsthand the need for more adequate healthcare,

the two nurses began shaping a vision for improved hospital

facilities. Each woman had a nest egg of $500, but this was

far short of the amount needed to build a new hospital.

However, encouraged by friends and doctors, they soon

developed a plan to make their dream a reality.

Mary persuaded her family to contribute $6,000 to the

project and Sol Mack, manager of the Bank of Bakersfield,

took out a loan for $5,000. The note was co-signed by

J. A. Hughes, owner of a drug store at Nineteenth and

Chester, and Cora St. Clair.

Mary and Margaret purchased a quarter-block site at

Twenty-Seventh and Eye Streets and began construction of

a three-story building that would house twenty-six patients.

They named the new institution San Joaquin Hospital.

The first patient, thought to be a railroad or oil field worker,

was received on October 6, 1910. The patient’s name has

been lost in the mists of history, but the physician who

treated him was Dr. Samuel Franklin Smith.

Margaret, who had impressive business skills as well as

boundless energy and determination, assumed the role of

administrator, while Mary concentrated on patient care.

Margaret developed a methodical plan to pay off the

hospital’s indebtedness, purchase additional land and

enlarge the hospital. In just a few short years, the hospital

doubled in size, adding a new surgery room, men’s and

women’s wards, and a kitchen.

In 1914, Margaret bought out her partner, Mary, and

assumed duties as business manager, nursing supervisor,

anesthetist and laboratory technician. The hospital continued

to grow and serve the Kern County community, and

was indispensable during the disastrous flu epidemic of

1918-1919.

By 1929, Margaret, aging and suffering from cataracts,

realized it was time to sell the hospital. The hospital was incorporated

and sold in equal shares to Doctors N. M. Brown,

William P. Scott, George Buchner and F. A. Hamlin.

The hospital was sold again in 1937 to Dr. Joseph Smith,

who envisioned the hospital as a professional medical and

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

160


surgical institution. The hospital continued to develop

under his leadership. In 1964, Dr. Smith urged a group of

public spirited citizens to take over management of the

hospital as a nonprofit entity. Impressed by the care he had

personally received from an Adventist hospital, Dr. Smith

specifically requested that members of the hospital board

be members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

The name of the hospital was changed to San Joaquin

Community Hospital (SJCH) and a new age began. In 1987,

SJCH became a member of Adventist Health; a not-for-profit

healthcare system comprised of twenty-one acute care facilities

and affiliated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

The new board of directors surveyed the area’s health

needs, looking for innovative ways in which to serve the

people of the Southern San Joaquin Valley. One fact soon

stood out: the single greatest health hazard in America in

the 1960s was heart and vascular disease. Among males,

two out of three would ultimately die from some sort of

heart vessel disease; yet Bakersfield had no modern heart

catheterization laboratory. Nor was open heart surgery

available in the area. Heart patients in the valley had to

travel hundreds of miles to receive proper care.

There was clearly a pressing need for cardiac care. In

1972, SJCH opened the area’s first catheterization laboratory,

using a then state-of-the-art 35mm film format. A month

later, doctors at SJCH conducted Bakersfield’s first open

heart surgery. The heart team was headed by Dr. Neil

Arbegast, a surgeon who had trained under world-famous

cardiac surgeon Dr. Michael DeBakey. Also practicing at

the hospital were additional cardiovascular surgeons and

other specialized personnel capable of performing any heart

or vascular procedure.

The creation of a skilled heart surgery team required the

latest and most sophisticated equipment, which the hospital

provided and has continued to provide to this day.

SJCH remains Kern County’s leader for heart care. In

2016, Healthgrades ® , an online resource for information on

physicians and hospitals, recognized SJCH as one of

America’s 100 Best Hospitals for Cardiac Care and Coronary

Intervention. SJCH was one of only two hospitals in the

entire state of California, and the first in Kern County, to

receive both of these recognitions. SJCH is now working to

create a comprehensive Heart Institute that will provide

Bakersfield and Kern County with cutting-edge procedures

and advanced technology in an environment that promotes

healing and privacy.

÷

Above: San Joaquin Community Hospital pictured here in 2007, after the

completion of the new patient tower, which tripled the size of the emergency

department, created a nine-bed NICU and all new surgical unit.

Below: In 2015, San Joaquin Community Hospital became the first

Kern County hospital to be named a Distinguished Hospital for Clinical

Excellence. The award put SJCH in the top five percent of hospitals

nationwide. SJCH achieved the recognition again in 2016.

From left to right: Bakersfield City Councilman Terry Maxwell;

Bakersfield Mayor Harvey Hall; SJCH President and CEO Doug Duffield;

and SJCH Chief Operating Officer Sharlet Briggs.

QUALITY OF LIFE

161


÷

Above: Dr. Donald Cornforth was the co-founder of Quest Imaging,

which was acquired by San Joaquin Community Hospital in 2010.

In addition to serving as the chief medical officer for SJCH, Dr. Cornforth

and his wife, Edna, donated $1 million towards the new AIS Cancer Center.

Right: Dr. Brandon Freeman serves as the medical director and plastic

surgeon for The Burn Center at SJCH. In just seven years, The Burn Center

has treated more than 3,000 patients, with nearly forty percent

being children.

Heart care was not the only area in which SJCH made

advances through the years. In 1973 a new 166-bed hospital

was opened across the street from the original facility.

The addition housed a new intensive care unit featuring

the best available equipment, including telemetry units

that monitored a variety of vital functions and provided

instantaneous reporting of each patient’s condition.

Then in May 2007, SJCH opened a much-needed

130,000 square foot patient tower. The new five-story

building expanded the Intensive Care Unit, Emergency

Department and operating areas; provided a convenient

patient drop-off and loading area; tripled the size of the

maternity care center; and added a nine-bed neonatal

intensive care unit. Once the new tower was completed,

the existing hospital building was retrofitted to meet new

seismic regulations and renovated to create more private

patient rooms.

The new tower provided SJCH with the necessary

resources to offer state-of-the-art services previously unavailable

in Kern County including advanced stroke care. In

2008 the hospital opened the county’s first nationallycertified

stroke center. To become nationally certified, the

stroke center underwent a rigorous, on-site evaluation by

The Joint Commission, which accredits and certifies healthcare

organizations and programs throughout the United

States. The Joint Commission assessed the stroke program’s

processes, quality performance, and its ability to improve

care. Healthgrades ® now ranks SJCH among the top five

percent of hospitals nationwide for stroke care. The program

has also earned the American Stroke Association’s Gold Plus

Award—the highest award for stroke care—for multiple years.

Another way in which SJCH has met the needs of San

Joaquin Valley residents is through creation of a nationally

recognized burn center. Although hundreds of burns occur

in the area each year, patients previously had to travel north

to Fresno or south to Los Angeles to receive the specialized

care required for serious burns. In 2008, SJCH announced

its intention to bring a burn center to Bakersfield, and the

center opened in 2009.

In just the first six months of service, The Burn Center at

SJCH treated three times the number of anticipated patients.

The Center now treats 400 to 500 burn victims each year

and has received enthusiastic support from local industries.

This includes a $200,000 endowment fund established by

Chevron and a $300,000 donation from Aera Energy.

The Burn Center is a clear example of SJCH’s commitment

to serving its community. Although The Burn Center operates

at a financial loss each year, and is supported through

philanthropy and hospital operations, SJCH recognizes that

it is a vital service that is urgently needed.

SJCH also serves the community through its mobile

immunization program. Immunizations are one of the most

important public health interventions in the United States.

By immunizing children at an early age, SJCH Children’s

Mobile Immunization Program decreases the occurrence of

many dreaded childhood diseases.

Since the program began in 1996, more than 55,000

children have been immunized against dangerous diseases

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

162


such as polio, measles, mumps, rubella and Hepatitis A and B.

When the program began, only 39 percent of Kern County’s

children had up-to-date immunizations. Today, that figure is

95 percent and continuing to grow.

As healthcare has changed, so has the need to diversify

services and programs. In 2010, SJCH began developing a

robust network of outpatient services with the purchase of

Quest Imaging. The most significant outpatient project to

date has been the 60,000 square foot AIS Cancer Center,

which opened in the spring of 2013.

The AIS Cancer Center was made possible through the

largest fundraising effort in the hospital’s history. The SJCH

Foundation raised more than $6 million for the building, led

by a $2 million gift from Advanced Industrial Services (AIS),

in whose honor the center was named. The center’s motto of

“You Can. We Can. Beat Cancer.” emphasizes the community

partnerships that have been so meaningful in developing this

top-notch facility.

As only the second cancer center in the community, The

AIS Cancer Center helps ensure that most cancer patients

receive treatment without leaving Bakersfield. The center

features advanced technology in a soothing environment,

exemplified by the beautiful water feature in The Cornforth

Family Pavilion. Affiliated with the UC Davis Cancer Care

Network, The AIS Cancer Center provides medical and

radiation treatment. Its teams include highly trained,

board-certified oncologists, certified oncology nurses and

radiation therapists.

SJCH is one of the largest employers in Kern County.

As of 2016, the hospital had nearly 2,100 employees and

651 affiliated physicians, in addition to approximately

287 volunteers who contribute thousands of hours of

service each year.

SJCH has seen many changes and enormous technological

advancements since it admitted its first patient in 1910.

What has remained constant is the hospital’s commitment to

quality healthcare. This dedication is rooted in the hospital’s

Christian heritage, which dates back to 1866, when the first

Seventh-day Adventist healthcare facility opened in Battle

Creek, Michigan. Today, inspired by a belief in the loving

and healing power of Jesus Christ, SJCH and its clinics

bring physical, mental and spiritual health and healing to

people of all faiths.

÷

Left: Cutting-edge technology has been a hallmark of San Joaquin

Community Hospital throughout its storied history. The Philips Ambient

experience—located in The AIS Cancer Center—allows patients to choose

colors and scenes of their choice during their imaging experience.

Below: The Cornforth Family Pavilion showcases a two-story water feature

that creates a healing environment for cancer patients and their families from

the moment they walk in.

QUALITY OF LIFE

163


KAISER PERMANENTE

÷

Above: Kaiser Permanente’s first employees and physician hired in 1987.

Below: Stockdale Medical Offices.

Kaiser Permanente’s mission

is to provide highquality,

affordable healthcare

services to improve the

health of its members and

the communities it serves.

This mission is accomplished

through market-leading performance

in quality, service

and affordability.

Kaiser Permanente provides

healthcare services to

more than 105,000 members

in Kern County at thirteen locations with nearly

1,000 employees and physicians. Since entering the

market in 1988 with one medical office building and

4,000 members, Kaiser Permanente has grown to be an

anchor institution in the community.

There are three very important

factors that make Kaiser Permanente

special—care and coverage together,

convenience and choice, and care

you can trust. Kaiser Permanente

brings together healthcare and coverage

with connected teams of doctors,

nurses, pharmacists and other

professionals. At Kaiser Permanente

locations, everything is under one

roof—visits, labs, radiology and

pharmacy—so it is easy to take care

of several healthcare needs in a single

visit. Patients may manage their

health on-line, anytime, anywhere.

Patients also have their choice of

great doctors and may change their

doctor at any time for any reason. With Kaiser Permanente,

patients have the support of an entire care team who work

together and are closely connected through electronic health

records, insuring the right care at the right time. From

preventative screenings to specialty care and treatment

for serious conditions, Kaiser Permanente members receive

the top-rated care they need to help them be their healthiest.

Kaiser Permanente is also known for its technology and

innovation, which are used to provide care to members via

a Mobile Health Vehicle that brings a range of primary

care services to outlying communities. Kaiser Permanente’s

Care Corner is a retail-based program designed to provide

convenient and affordable access to primary care services

and wellness programs. In addition, Kaiser Permanente

offers tele-health video and telephone appointments to meet

the needs of its members in an easy and convenient manner.

Kaiser Permanente also invests directly in improvements

to community health by working to increase access for the

underserved, funding safety-net agencies, disseminating care

improvements, conducting research, educating healthcare

workers and consumers, and informing public policy.

To support these priorities, Kaiser Permanente operates a

number of Community Benefit Programs in Kern County.

Among these are the award winning Educational Theatre,

which uses live theatre, music, comedy, and drama to

inspire children, teens, and adults to make better decisions

about their well-being. Kaiser Permanente believes good

health is a fundamental right shared by all and its work

in the community brings together financial resources, the

talent and commitment of its people, and more than seventy

years of healthcare and health plan experience. In Kern

County, Kaiser Permanente has contributed several million

dollars through grants and sponsorships to support people

in need through a wide range of community programs

and organizations.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

164


Henry J. Kaiser, an industrialist who was considered one

of the nation’s greatest business leaders of the twentieth

century, and Dr. Sidney R. Garfield, a noted surgeon, worked

together to pioneer the medical program that changed

the face of U.S. healthcare. Under the leadership of these

visionaries, Kaiser Permanente was born out of the challenge

of providing Americans with medical care during the Great

Depression and World War II, when most people could not

afford to visit a doctor. Kaiser Permanente applied a number

of innovative ideas, including prepaid insurance to spread

the cost and make it more affordable, and group medical

practices where physicians could maximize their abilities to

care for patients. This medical delivery system was organized

to put as much care as possible under one roof.

Kaiser and Garfield were bold, innovative individuals

who made a dramatic impact on the contemporary shape

of U.S. medicine and community health. Kaiser, who

revolutionized shipbuilding during World War II, is

remembered for his role in building the great dams of the

West—Hoover, Bonneville and Grand Coulee. His global

enterprises included automobiles, steel, cement, aluminum,

engineering and mining. Garfield was both an acclaimed

surgeon and a visionary. In 1933, Garfield opened his

Contractor’s General Hospital in the Mojave Desert.

This hospital was set up to provide medical care for

the 5,000 workers on the Metropolitan Water District of

Southern California’s aqueduct, which was designed to

bring water from the Colorado River to Los Angeles.

His ideas helped define the basic principles of a healthcare

system, focused as much on prevention of illness as

caring for the sick. In the 1950s, his revolutionary

hospital designs drew international praise for their

innovations. And, in 1960, he was in the vanguard of

physicians who embraced the computer as a tool that

could radically improve the delivery of medical care.

Today, Kaiser Permanente operates the largest private

electronic medical record system in the United States.

Garfield’s ideas resonated with Kaiser, who was

‘greatly restless and restlessly great’ for a new healthcare

system. Together, they founded Kaiser Permanente for

the employees of Kaiser Industries

in 1942 and opened the health

plan to the public in July 1945.

The guiding principles of

Kaiser Permanente, developed

over more than seven decades,

include the belief that everyone

should have the opportunity to

be healthy, preventing illness is

preferable to curing after the fact,

quality drives cost down, and

partnership creates synergy. These

principles will continue to guide

Kaiser Permanente in the future as

it continues its mission to improve

the health of its members and the

communities it serves.

÷

Above: Discovery Plaza Medical Offices.

Below: Chester Avenue Medical Offices.

QUALITY OF LIFE

165


GOLDEN EMPIRE

TRANSIT DISTRICT

The Golden Empire Transit District (GET) provides safe,

accessible, reliable, courteous and affordable public transportation

to diverse customers in the greater Bakersfield area.

Although GET was officially created in 1973, Bakersfield

was served by public transit as early as 1874. That year,

Southern Pacific Railroad informed the city that the company

would not serve Bakersfield unless it was granted two blocks

of land on either side of the tracks. The city refused and the

train station was built two miles to the east of the city at

what now is the corner of Baker and Sumner Streets.

This situation created a problem for travelers and a profit

for stage drivers who charged $1 per trip between Bakersfield

and the train station. Today, the fare for a single trip on a

GET bus is $1.50, so $1 was a considerable fee for a single

ride in 1874.

Public transit was provided by private companies until

the mid-1950s when the growing popularity of the automobile

caused a significant drop in ridership and revenues. The city

took over operation of the public transit system and, in 1965,

created a transit authority.

In 1972, voters within the proposed transit district borders

approved the formation of the district by a two-to-one margin.

GET’s boundaries include the Bakersfield area. A five member

board of directors was appointed in 1972, and, in 1973, the

district began operations and was named the Golden Empire

Transit District.

Over the next five years, GET acquired twenty-five air

conditioned buses, established 300 stops and developed

a new system of routes. Ridership increased 167 percent.

The base fare was twenty-five cents.

÷

Top: Southern Pacific Railroad Station located at the corner of Baker and

Sumner Streets, 1874.

Above: One of twenty-five air conditioned buses to hit the streets in the

mid-1970s.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

166


In 1979, GET initiated a curb-to-curb service called

GET-A-Lift, which provides service to customers unable to

use the fixed route services due to disabilities.

In an effort to improve air quality, GET purchased the first

compressed natural gas (CNG) buses in 1998. In addition, a

CNG fueling station was built by GET. By March 2006, GET’s

entire fleet of buses was converted to compressed natural gas.

Today, GET has a fleet of eighty-eight compressed national

gas buses equipped with wheelchair lifts and bike racks.

GET services sixteen routes, most operating seven days a

week. More than 6 million passengers are transported each

year in the fixed route buses. In addition, GET operates

nineteen compressed natural gas GET-A-Lift buses.

In October 2012, GET implemented a new system of

routes designed to provide faster, more efficient service. GET

also added trip planning to its website at www.getbus.org.

In 2013, Golden Empire Transit District began a study of

its environmental policies and processes with the goal of integrating

sustainability practices into all aspects of its operations

through clean technologies, renewable resources and recycling.

GET adopted an Environmental Sustainability and

Management System (EMS) as a formal commitment to mitigate

environmental impacts, build and maintain a healthy and

safe workforce and ensure fiscal stability for years to come.

In addition to helping reduce pollution, the EMS program

has resulted in energy savings, fuel savings, and environmental

disaster avoidance. All of these things add up to

reduced risk and increased financial savings.

In 2015, GET added a Real Time Information System for

customers. The new system provides arrival times if a bus for

that route is due within thirty minutes. Each bus stop has a

number and a QR code. Customers may use the QR code if

they have smart phones or use the automated voice system

at 661-869-2438 if they want to call in and give the bus stop

number. Customers may also use computers and tablets to

get arrival information by going to www.getbus.org.

÷

GET buses are equipped with wheelchair lifts and bike racks and are

powered by compressed natural gas, thereby reducing pollution and

saving money.

QUALITY OF LIFE

167


BAKERSFIELD CHRISTIAN

HIGH SCHOOL

÷

Above: Stephen Dinger (president 2011 to 2016), Mayor Harvey Hall

and Jack Pandol (board chair) cut the ribbon to open the 8,506 square foot

student union on May 6, 2016, while David Spalinger (board member) and

Bob Smith (city council member Ward 4) watch the momentous occasion.

Founded in 1979, Bakersfield Christian High School is a

dually accredited, nondenominational, college preparatory

high school that seeks to develop each student’s mind, body

and spirit to his or her fullest potential through challenging

coursework, state-of-the-art technology, visual and performing

arts, competitive athletics, and spiritual training.

Four students made up the first graduating class and the

school turned out fourteen graduates by 1983. In contrast,

today’s classes typically produce between 100 and 120

graduates, and classes are expected to grow in coming years.

Enrollment has more than doubled to about 500 students

since moving in 2003 to the current forty-seven-acre campus

located in the growing west side of Bakersfield. The facility

features highlights such as a Library/Media Center, Student

Union, Fine Arts Center and a Sports Center, which houses

one of the largest high school gymnasiums in Kern County.

BCHS has a wide range of curricular offerings, which

challenge and nurture the intellectual life of each student.

Students take a college preparatory curriculum designed to

meet the subject requirements of the University of California

and California State University systems.

Most students, however, go beyond these minimum

entrance requirements, completing more than the required

number of credits and taking advantage of the school’s

Scholars Program and/or the numerous honors and

advanced placement courses. BCHS graduates are accepted

to highly competitive universities such as UCLA, USC, UC

Berkeley, Cal Poly, Pepperdine, Baylor, Georgetown, Georgia

Tech, Johns Hopkins, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, Yale, and the

U.S. Air Force and Naval Academies.

BCHS is equally committed to bringing the knowledge

of Jesus Christ and the truth of scripture to prepare students

to outthink their culture from a Christian worldview. It

is out of this commitment to academic excellence, which

honors God, that the individual character of the students

develops, thus producing behaviors that nurture a healthy

school culture where students can soar.

Beyond the commitment to educate, engage, and equip

students in the classroom, BCHS also places emphasis on its

arts and athletic programs as well as through student life in

the development of the whole student.

Visual and performing arts are essential for students

to receive a well-rounded education that covers more

than the full spectrum of academics. All students need the

experience of producing in the arts. BCHS offers a variety

of courses to not only meet the graduation requirement

credit hours but to help students learn and demonstrate

their God-given talents in music, art and theater.

Athletics at BCHS is a vital part of the life of the school.

One distinction that sets athletics at BCHS apart from other

high schools is the fact that the foundation on which teams

are built is Jesus Christ. The athletic field is approached

as an extension and complement to the classroom,

thus, student athletes are challenged to be outstanding

representatives of Christ in their work ethic, commitment

and citizenship on and off the athletic courts and fields.

This challenge has been met with great success including

more than 130 titles in the South Sequoia League and

more than forty titles in the California Interscholastic

Federation Central Section. Both the boys’ and girls’ tennis

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

168


teams combined have earned nearly fifty of these league

and section titles and tennis continues to be one of the

school’s most successful sports programs.

In 2006, BCHS won the Division V State Volleyball

Championship and the volleyball team has made frequent

return trips to state play-offs. In 2013 the football team won

the Division IV Southern Regional title. That game marked the

first state play-off game played in Bakersfield for any division.

÷

Far left: BCHS students show their Eagle pride as they cheer on the

volleyball team.

Above: Some BCHS alumni from the classes of 2008 to 2012 pose in

sweatshirts from their respective colleges.

Below: Lorryn Carter (class of 2018) prepares a sample to investigate the

various types of cells and vascular tissue of a starfish during her honors

biology dissection lab. BCHS students log approximately twenty lab hours in

each science class.

In accordance with the school’s philosophy of education,

the student life program seeks to provide opportunities for

BCHS students to mature in, and take responsibility for

their own intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual

growth. Therefore, all aspects of the student life program

are designed to foster a learning community.

In seeking to create an environment fertile for spiritual

growth, BCHS sets aside time throughout the year for

prayer, fellowship, worship and service. With this in mind,

the school has established various programs to help its

students cultivate a life of discipleship, which will in turn,

reflect the nature of God Himself.

Complementing the emphasis on spiritual formation is

the development of student activities that encourage a

relationship among the student body as well as with

teachers and administrators by creating avenues through

group-centered activities and competitions. BCHS is a

fun place. In addition to the activities like homecoming,

powder-puff, spirit weeks, prom, winter formal and other

quintessential high school milestones, BCHS is known for

its unique activities such as the three-day Hume Lake retreat

and a day filled with a series of crazy contests toward

the end of each school year known as Boondog Olympics.

The consistent theme throughout every decision, every

class and every relationship at BCHS is to align with the

school’s motto of honoring God and helping students soar.

For additional information about Bakersfield Christian

High School, please visit www.BakersfieldChristian.com.

QUALITY OF LIFE

169


BAKERSFIELD PATHOLOGY

MEDICAL GROUP

÷

Right: Left to right, Dr. Ellen F. Bunyi-Teopengco, Dr. Steven P. Fogel,

Dr. Lilibeth Guinto Miranda and Dr. Steven R. Jacobs.

Bakersfield Pathology Medical Group provides pathology

and clinical laboratory services to doctors and their patients

in office, surgery center, imaging service and hospital settings.

Pathology is the branch of medicine that deals with the

laboratory examination of body tissue samples for diagnostic

and forensic purposes. For example, if a skin cancer is

removed, the report will describe the type of cancer, and

whether the cancer was completely removed or not.

Although a patient does not have direct interaction with

the pathologist, the information generated by a study of

tissues and other specimens has a tremendous impact on

patient management.

The Bakersfield Pathology Medical Group was founded

by Myron A. Fisher, M.D. in 1987 when he became director

of the laboratory at Mercy Hospital. Dr. Fisher came from

Valley Hospital in Fresno. He was soon joined by Lilibeth

Guinto Miranda, M.D., who was already in practice in

Bakersfield. The two doctors developed a vision of pathology

services for the community to include surgical pathology

and gynecologic cytology. Frank Virgil, M.D. joined the

group shortly thereafter and Steven R. Jacobs, M.D. joined

the group in 1989.

In the early days, the pathology laboratory was located

on the ground floor of the Mercy Medical Plaza building in

a space about the size of a doctor’s office. “We jammed a

lot of equipment into a small space but managed to process

tissue specimens and generate reports in an efficient and

timely manner nevertheless,” recalls Dr. Jacobs. “When cancer

specialists began to practice in town, we went to their offices

and gave Tumor Board conferences onsite, which allowed

them to become accredited cancer programs.”

In addition to the service work for Mercy Hospital, the

group established a thriving outpatient pathology practice,

which involved serving most of the gastroenterologists in the

community; doctor’s offices, especially dermatologists; and

radiology (imaging) facilities. Additionally, the group was a

key resource in graduate medical education for physicians

training at Kern Medical Center by holding a joint Clinical

Pathologic conference with KMC staff.

The special skills and qualifications in cytopathology possessed

by Drs. Miranda and Jacobs resulted in an increase in

the use of thin needle biopsies of internal organs such as

lung, liver and kidney, as well as the introduction of stereotactic

brain biopsies locally. The group also participated in

the training and education of clinical laboratory scientists

from the California State University, Bakersfield program.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

170


When Mercy Hospital developed its own cancer program at

the newly constructed Florence Wheeler Cancer Center, the

group was instrumental in providing direct support by charitable

donations from its members. The group also participated

in weekly Tumor Board conferences, which resulted in accreditation

of the program by the American College of Surgeons.

The group has provided pathology services to Mercy

Southwest Hospital, as well as Bakersfield Memorial Hospital

and West Side Hospital in Taft.

Steven Fogel, M.D. joined the group in 1995 after serving

as chief resident at USC, and Ellen F. Bunyi-Teopengco

joined in 2001 after completing subspecialty training in

hematopathology at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Her

additional training became an invaluable asset for local

patients with cancer and blood disorders. Dr. John W. Reyes,

who formerly served as the director of pathology of Green

County Memorial Hospital in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania,

joined the practice in 2005. Dr. Jacques Dorce joined the

group in 2015 after serving a surgical pathology fellowship

at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.

The group began to provide service to San Joaquin

Community Hospital and Bakersfield Heart Hospital in 2002.

The group was the first to provide liquid-based analysis of

gynecologic cytology specimens in Kern County, and this

technology was instrumental in study of HPV in patients.

During this time, the group moved its operations to an old

medical office building at 2828 H Street, but the group soon

outgrew this space and a larger 6,400 square foot building

was developed on Sillect Avenue across from Bakersfield Heart

Hospital. The modern new facility was occupied in 2008.

By providing outsourced pathology services to San Joaquin

Community Hospital and Bakersfield Heart Hospital, those

institutions do not have to operate their own pathology

laboratories. The group is one of the few freestanding

independent laboratories in the country that provide

outsourced anatomic pathology and clinical laboratory

services and is wholly owned by local doctors.

The Bakersfield Pathology Medical Group currently

employs twenty-nine people, including six physician

pathologists. The group supports a number of local charitable

activities, including American Cancer Society, Relay for

Life, San Joaquin Community Hospital Foundation, Friends

of Mercy Foundation, Stockdale High School Medical

Academy and others.

The group has grown consistently and has become the

largest pathology organization in Kern County in terms

of size an activity. “These are challenging times,” Dr. Jacobs

comments. “The number of private practitioners is decreasing

but we intend to aggressively market to doctors new to the

area, as well as establishing and maintaining relationships

with large HMOs such a Kaiser Permanente. Medicine is

increasingly specialized and so is pathology. We hope to

bring doctors with special board certification and/or training

in gynecologic pathology, gastrointestinal pathology, and

blood banking to Kern County.”

QUALITY OF LIFE

171


HOFFMANN HOSPICE

÷

Top, left: In December 2015, Hoffmann Hospice completed construction

on and opened Kern County’s first and only hospice home. The 25,000

square foot home complete with eighteen private suites and patios is designed

to provide a homelike setting to hospice patients requiring a higher level of

care than what can be provided in their own residence.

Top, right: The home also includes a beautiful chapel for quiet prayer time.

Below: Hoffmann Hospice staff helps pediatric patient Ava Weeks celebrate

her first birthday, complete with her very own cake and balloons.

Tom and Beth Hoffmann were busy business owners in

1990 when a young AIDS-stricken mother turned to their

home-health agency for help. They referred her to what was

then Bakersfield’s only hospice agency, but she was denied.

The Hoffmanns cared for the woman until her death in 1994.

Deeply touched by the experience of caring for the mother

and her two HIV-positive children, the Hoffmanns founded

their nonprofit hospice agency the following year with a pledge

that no hospice eligible patient would ever be turned away,

regardless of their illness or ability to pay.

The early years were a test of fortitude as the Hoffmanns

labored to establish their agency in the Bakersfield healthcare

community. They opened an office in east Bakersfield, sharing

space with Hoffmann Homecare, the family business.

Now the oldest and most respected hospice agency in

Kern County, Hoffmann Hospice offers the highest quality

end-of-life care to hundreds of terminally ill patients each

year and recently served its 20,000th patient. The agency

strives for continued excellence in medical, bereavement

and spiritual care, earning its accreditation through the

Community Health Accreditation Program (CHAP), the

highest accreditation in the healthcare community.

“Hoffmann Hospice was born out of servicing a need that

was not being met in the community, and it comes from the

core of Tom and Beth Hoffmann’s values and principles and

what they wanted to provide the community,” explains

Gretchen Daughtery, the organization’s director of marketing.

Hospice patients are provided with physician services,

pain and symptom control, medical equipment and medications,

twenty-four-hour access to on-call hospice nurses,

social services, spiritual care, home health aides, and specially

trained volunteers.

Patients are served by a staff of over 130 including doctors,

nurses, licensed social workers, spiritual counselors, home

health aides, administrative staff, and more than a hundred

volunteers. The volunteers provide such direct patient

needs as respite care, which allows caregivers time for

their personal needs. Volunteers may also read to a patient

or simply help them talk about their lives. “One patient

loved to watch old westerns on television and one of our

volunteers spent hours watching the shows with him,” Beth

says. Other volunteers help with the behind-the-scenes

office work such as filing and answering the phone.

Feeling it is important to capture every moment, patients

are encouraged to compile a ‘bucket list’ of things they would

like to do in the time remaining to them. This list might

include such wishes as watching a grandchild graduate or

something as simple as sitting on the patio in the sun.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

172


Patients are helped to celebrate such milestone events as an

anniversary, birthday or other special occasion.

Hoffmann Hospice also focuses on the special needs of

veterans and is committed to enhancing its programs for

veterans. Its ‘We Honor Veterans’ program has earned the

highest level of certification from the National Hospice and

Palliative Care Organization.

Other services include private transportation, pet therapy

that includes regular visits from the affectionate and

well-trained ‘Hoffmann Hounds’, a soothing massage from

a licensed massage therapist or home health aide and,

most recently, a specialized ‘Starlight’ pediatric program

that addresses the needs of critically ill children.

One of Hoffmann Hospice’s long time volunteers, Claude

Greenhaw, ended up enrolling for hospice services himself.

The agency organized a Celebration of Life for Claude while

he was still living and invited all his friends and family, as

well as the hospice staff. “It was one of the most special

moments we have shared as an agency,” says Beth. “It was

like a memorial service, but before his passing.”

Some hospice patients are referred by physicians when

there is a terminal diagnosis, whether it is the patient’s

primary care physician or a physician caring for them in the

hospital. Others are referred by family or friends.

“In hospice care, we take care of the patient and family

at the same time,” explains Daughtery. “We also have a

bereavement program that helps families cope with the

death of their loved ones, including the only program in

Kern County that serves the families of pediatric patients.”

The programs provide support for up to thirteen months,

or eighteen months for families of pediatric patients.

The Hoffmanns and their staff and volunteers continually

seek new ways of serving Kern County. For many years, their

vision for the future included a free-standing hospice home

where patients would have a warm and comforting place in

which to spend their final days. This vision became reality

in 2014 when ground was broken for a 25,000 square foot,

eighteen bed facility in the Seven Oaks Business Park. The

new facility opened in December 2015.

After more than twenty years of service, Hoffmann

Hospice remains committed to its mission of celebrating the

sanctity of life, providing compassionate end-of-life care

and comforting the grieving.

For additional information about Hoffmann Hospice, see

their website at hoffmannhospice.org.

÷

Above: Hoffmann Hospice Spiritual Counselor and Veteran Wayne Meade

proudly salutes 104 year old patient and WWII U.S. Navy Veteran

William A. Kehoe. Hoffmann Hospice collaborates with the U.S. Department

of Veterans Affairs to serve the unique needs of our Veterans and their

families and help them celebrate their finest military hours.

Left: Hoffmann Hospice nurse accompanies patient Gilberto Hinojosa and his

wife Rosa as they fulfill a bucket list wish to see their daughter graduate from

Bakersfield High School.

Below: Longtime Hoffmann volunteer Claude Greenhaw shares a hug with

Co-Founder Beth Hoffmann during his Celebration of Life. Claude passed

away while under the care of Hoffmann Hospice.

QUALITY OF LIFE

173


BAKERSFIELD FAMILY

MEDICAL CENTER

HERITAGE

PHYSICIAN NETWORK

an Affiliated Medical Group of

HERITAGE

PROVIDER NETWORK

In today’s increasingly complex medical care system,

Bakersfield Family Medical Center/Heritage Physician Network

has pioneered the future of medicine.

Recognized regionally and nationally as an innovator of

health delivery systems, Bakersfield Family Medical Center/

Heritage Physician Network sets a standard for excellence in

healthcare for its patients in settings that promote wellness

and preventive medicine.

Bakersfield Family Medical Center was founded in 1984,

but the Heritage Provider Network actually began in 1979

when Dr. Richard Merkin was asked by a local health

plan to start a medical group in an underserved area. The

group succeeded far beyond expectations as Heritage’s

comprehensive approach to care management proved to

be exactly what was needed to provide top quality, cost

effective healthcare for its membership.

The success of the innovative medical group caught

the attention of other health plans who requested that

Heritage duplicate its success at other locations, including

Kern County. Bakersfield Family Medical Center/Heritage

Physician Network was the fourth medical group started

under the umbrella of the Heritage Provider Network.

BFMC has designed and implemented programs that

provide members with the highest quality healthcare

available anywhere. Dr. Merkin was the first to introduce

such programs as Physician Hospitalists (physicians

assigned to members while inpatient), Priority Care

(high intensity case management for high-risk patients),

and Choices (an end-of-life program). BFMC has brought

more than 150 physicians and providers to the community

and is currently contracted with over 225 primary care

physicians and specialists in Kern County alone.

Bakersfield Family Medical Center was originally located

at 515 Truxtun Avenue, but by 1986, Dr. Merkin realized

the office did not provide the adequate space needed

to accommodate patients and the facility was moved to

4580 California Avenue. At the time, BFMC had fewer than

thirty employees.

Dr. Merkin opened the first Urgent Care Center in Kern

County within a couple of years after moving into the

4580 California Avenue location. As the managed care

membership and the demand for medical care continued

in Kern County, Dr. Merkin opened the current location at

4570 California Avenue to accommodate the growing needs.

In 1992, BFMC expanded into Tehachapi by opening

Oak Tree Medical Group at 432 South Mill Street. In 2004

the BFMC Northwest location was opened at 3400 Calloway

Drive. BFMC expanded in 2006 into San Luis Obispo and

Tulare through its sister company, Coastal Communities

Physician Network (CCPN). The BFMC Northeast facility

was opened at 5601 Auburn Street in 2007.

Heritage Physician Network is an Independent Physician

Association (IPA) with locations throughout Kern County.

These IPA physicians are contracted with BFMC to provide

medical care to BFMC members, although they maintain

their own offices. Members who select Heritage Physician

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

174


Network physicians will see their doctors in their

conveniently located private offices. All members of

BFMC/HPN may access the full range of services, programs

and specialists offered by Bakersfield Family Medical

Center. Bakersfield Family Medical Center/Heritage

Physician Network began with approximately thirty

employees, including six physicians. Today, there are

more than 350 employees serving over 70,000 lives in Kern,

SLO and Tulare Counties.

BFMC/HPN is contracted with more than 75 primary

care providers and 150 specialists. CCPN-SLO is contracted

with over 70 primary care providers and 275 specialists,

and CCPN-Tulare is contracted with more than 30 primary

care providers and 30 specialists.

Bakersfield Family Medical Center/Heritage Physician

Network takes great pride in the Kern County community

and is involved with a number of charities, including the

American Heart Association, American Cancer Society and

the American Red Cross. BFMC/HPN is a platinum sponsor

of Kern County Christmas for Seniors, a program that

provides gifts and hygiene items during the holiday season

to low-income and/or isolated seniors in the community.

For more information about the Bakersfield Family

Medical Center/Heritage Physician Network, visit the website

at www.bfmc.com.

QUALITY OF LIFE

175


KERN COMMUNITY

COLLEGE DISTRICT

÷

Right: Grace Van Dyke Bird (center front row) with faculty. This dynamo of a

woman led Bakersfield College through remarkable development until 1950

and helped to see that a new campus would be built.

Bottom, right: Bakersfield College won the Junior Rose Bowl Championship

and became the 1976 National Community College Football Champion.

Below: This historic official Record of Junior College Students contained

record cards for all students of what would eventually become Bakersfield

College. This card shows the record of the second year for the college’s first

graduate, Josephine Chase. The card notes that she transferred to Berkeley.

Kern County Community College District (KCCD) serves

40,000 students each year from a district that spans nearly

25,000 miles, geographically one of the largest community

college districts in the nation.

The community colleges in the district offer courses for

associate’s degrees, certificates, and for transfer to four-year

colleges and universities. In addition, the colleges provide

workforce skills training, and they partner with businesses

and governmental entities to advance economic development.

The roots of the Kern Community College District were

firmly planted in 1913 with the creation of Bakersfield

College. Originally called Bakersfield Junior College, the

institution served fifteen students in an experimental program

for those wanting to complete requirements for the

University of California. The program was conducted on the

campus of Kern County High School, later renamed

Bakersfield High School.

As Kern County and the number of students grew,

Bakersfield College became large enough to command

a campus of its own. Constructed and dedicated in

1956, the Bakersfield College campus is located on

Panorama Drive.

Community growth also spawned change in secondary

and post-secondary governance. The Board of Trustees

jointly administering Bakersfield College and the community’s

high schools divided into separate boards for each level

of education. The year 1968 saw the establishment of the

Kern Community College District. Eventually, two other

colleges joined the district—Porterville College, founded

in 1927, and Cerro Coso Community College, opened in

1973 to serve residents of Ridgecrest and other areas of

eastern Kern County.

Grace Van Dyke Bird, perhaps the first woman to lead a

public community college in California, served Bakersfield

College for twenty-three years. She joined Bakersfield Junior

College as a teacher in 1927 and was appointed dean of the

college five years later. The title of dean evolved into college

president. Bird was awarded the posthumous title of

President Emeritus, granted by the Kern County Community

College District Board of Trustees in 1976. Bakersfield

College’s Grace Van Dyke Bird Library is named in her honor.

The district’s colleges host centers and outreach sites

offering classes in Delano, downtown Bakersfield,

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

176


Tehachapi, the Mammoth and Bishop areas, Edwards

Air Force Base and the Kern River Valley. These centers

provide convenient, localized instruction for thousands of

residents. Kern Community College District’s commitment

to distance learning and other technological advances creates

increased opportunities for education through online

instruction to individuals across the district’s service area

and beyond. Additionally, the district’s partnerships with

area high schools provide dual enrollment opportunities

where high school students complete college courses on

their high school campuses while simultaneously working

toward their high school diploma.

Fee-based community education provided by Kern

Community College District delivers a broad spectrum

of short-term, not-for-credit courses designed to teach

a skill, grow a hobby, or fulfill a desire for learning.

Community education courses afford local residents

of Bakersfield College, Cerro Coso Community College

and Porterville College service areas the opportunity to

make friends and learn something new in a welcoming

environment. Courses run the gamut from wine tasting to

watercolor painting, from community choir to computer

essentials and everything in between.

The student headcount in the KCCD colleges for 2014-15

was 28,910. In addition, 81,089 enrollments were logged

in various training and community education programs.

In the 2014-15 academic year, 1,063 students transferred

to four-year colleges and universities, 1,854 earned associate

degrees, 555 received achievement certificates, and 716

were presented with job skills certificates.

Kern Community College District operates with an

annual budget of $188.5 million and is governed by a sevenmember

Board of Trustees elected by constituents in five

counties, including Kern, Tulare, Inyo, Mono and San

Bernardino. The chancellor of KCCD is Sandra V. Serrano, J.D.,

and current board members

include Dennis Beebe, Kay

Meek, Mark Storch, Romeo

Agbalog, Kyle Carter, John

Corkins and Richard Wright,

Ed.D. Colleges in the district

employ over 1,400 people,

including more than 380

full-time faculty members.

The Kern Community

College District Board of

Trustees adopted a 2015-2018 five-point strategic plan to

guide the district’s colleges in the future. Goal one is to maximize

student success by increased completion, improved

milestone achievements and increased student engagement.

Goal two is to close achievement gaps. Goal three calls for

ensuring student access by optimizing student enrollment

and becoming a higher education option of first choice.

Strategic goal number four calls for enhancing community

connections by providing workforce and economic development

programs that respond to local industry and reflect the

communities served by the district. Goal number five is to

strengthen organizational effectiveness by providing effective

professional development, meeting and exceeding internal

and external standards and requirements, increasing trust

and creating a collaborative culture, and improving facilities

and maintenance.

The Kern Community College District remains committed

to its vision of being recognized as an exemplary educational

leader, partnering with communities to develop potential and

create opportunities. The colleges in the district believe that

successful students will strengthen their communities and,

along with faculty and staff, become life-long learners.

For additional information about Kern Community

College District, check its website at www.kccd.edu.

÷

Left: Sandra V. Serrano is the first female and first Hispanic to become

Chancellor of Kern Community College District. She is a former Bakersfield

College President.

Below: This is the Renegade Knight mosaic pylon. It was designed and

constructed by art professor Clayton Rippey and became the official depiction

of the Bakersfield College Renegade Knight. It is located at Haley and

Panorama on the Northwest corner of campus.

QUALITY OF LIFE

177


CENTER FOR THE BLIND

AND VISUALLY IMPAIRED

÷

Above: Chief Executive Officer Justin L. Cave, MPA..

For more than sixty-five years, the Center for the Blind

and Visually Impaired (CBVI) has enhanced the lives of

the blind and visually impaired citizens of Kern County. As

the only public benefit blindness facility within 110 miles

of Kern County, CBVI provides education, advocacy, peer

counseling, assistive technology education, independent

living skills education and other services for the blind and

visually impaired.

CBVI, then known as Kern County Braille Center, began

in 1950 at the St. Mark’s Methodist Church. CBVI was

founded as a volunteer-run organization to provide a

place where blind and visually impaired individuals could

enjoy fellowship and participate in educational and craft

programs. The organization’s first permanent facility at

1124 Baker Street was opened in 1982. Services were

provided at this location for nearly thirty years.

CBVI moved to its current location at 1721 Westwind

Drive in 2010. At that time, the organization was about

to close because of a lack of funding, but Justin L. Cave,

MPA stepped in and took over the management so that the

center stayed open and continued to serve the community.

Cave, who now serves as CEO, is focused on providing

services to help clients regain independence and enjoy a

better quality of life. CBVI also partnered with the

Advanced Center for Eyecare in the same year to strengthen

the partnership and build up its capacity for serving

the community.

In 2015, CBVI provided top-notch services for its

clients that included adjustment to vision loss training,

independent living skills training, orientation and mobility

training, Braille, job coaching and many other services.

Five hundred seventy-one Kern County residents, many of

whom have been employed or are enrolled in educational

institutions, continue to live independently and have learned

to manage their daily lives and gain independence because

of CBVI’s training and services.

Over the years, CBVI has hosted a variety of fundraising

events, including Abalone Adventure, Monster March,

Pancake Breakfasts, and a Holiday Bazaar. CBVI’s current

fundraisers are Appetite for Sight and Tainted Love Concert

that are well attended and exclusive fund raising events

in Kern County. CBVI’s educational campaigns continue

to raise awareness of the blind and visually impaired, eye

disease, and its management in all of Kern County.

The Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired is passionate

about its commitment to raise the independence

and quality of life for the blind and visually impaired and

looks forward to expanding its much needed services in

satellite service areas and classrooms in the rural areas of

Kern County.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

178


Imagine waking up and finding that even though you

open your eyes, you cannot see the wonderful world around

you. Imagine what this would do to your ability to care

for yourself or your loved ones. This is a scenario that may

be easily avoided with the proper preventative eyecare.

However, if you are one out of every five Kern County

residents who live below the poverty line, eyecare is most

likely an impossibility.

Advanced Center for Eyecare (ACE) was founded in 2010

by Daniel H. Chang, M.D. and Joseph H. Chang, M.D. as a

way to provide high quality eyecare to the uninsured and

underinsured residents of Kern County. In 2011, the ACE

Board of Directors hired Justin L. Cave, who has a graduate

degree in Public Administration and Nonprofit Management,

as the executive director who became the catalyst for the

efforts that have driven the organization’s growth from a zero

operating budget to the abundance of eyecare services and

benefits for Kern’s underserved individuals today.

One year later, ACE implemented its Kern 20/20 Vision

Project, where they were able to open their first location and

started seeing patients 5 days a week. The Kern 20/20 Vision

Project continues to provide high quality eyecare services to

the underprivileged today.

In 2012, ACE Chief Executive Officer Justin L. Cave, MPA

and Board Member Vin T. Dang, O.D. formed a relationship

with OneSight, a nonprofit organization dedicated to

improving vision for those in need through outreach,

research and education. OneSight’s outreach programs

include the delivery of vision care and eyewear to those

most vulnerable and in need.

Statistics from 2015 confirm the tremendous impact ACE

has had on the community. During the year, ACE performed

9,697 direct patient encounters and provided 1,777 school

aged children with free eye screenings and free eye glasses

through a partnership with OneSight.

One of ACE’s annual fundraising events, Appetite for

Sight, which began in the fall of 2011, has become one of

Bakersfield’s most premier events. ACE’s spring fundraiser,

Tainted Love Concert, began in the spring of 2015 and is

also very well attended. ACE also receives generous private

contributions notably from the Don C. and Diane Lake

Family, Marjorie Nixon, Donald E. and Earlene Barnes and

corporate contributions from Dignity Health, Chevron,

Kaiser Permanente and Mercedes-Benz of Bakersfield.

The team at ACE treats each patient with uncompromising,

top quality medical and surgical eyecare. Thanks to the

generosity of this community, ACE is able to continue its

mission of serving all residents of Kern County, by building

an optical dispensary for eye glasses as well as establishing

satellite school based optometry clinics, beginning in 2016

with three schools in the Greater Bakersfield area.

ADVANCED CENTER FOR

EYECARE (ACE)

QUALITY OF LIFE

179


BAKERSFIELD COLLEGE

For a community as steeped in pride and heritage as

Bakersfield, there may be no city institution more intensely

connected with those decades of tradition as Kern County’s

educational crown jewel: Bakersfield College.

Perched on 153 acres atop the scenic

Panorama Bluffs overlooking the Kern

River in northeast Bakersfield, BC boasts

a student body of more than 18,000

students, earning two-year associate’s

degrees in over 140 different career

disciplines and training programs. In

addition to the Panorama campus, BC

Renegades also receive instruction at two

BC satellite sites: Weill Institute in

downtown Bakersfield, and the Delano

Campus in Delano, thirty-five miles north

of Bakersfield.

Bakersfield College’s roots in Kern

County stretch back nearly as far as the

city’s own origin. In 1913, shortly after

Bakersfield’s own incorporation, the need

for higher education options led the

forward-thinking Kern Union High School

Board of Trustees to open Bakersfield

Junior College.

Sharing a campus with the previously

established Bakersfield High School and

sporting an inaugural class of thirteen

students, the decision to open BC not

only created Kern County’s first advanced

learning opportunity, but the college

was an immediate trailblazer among the

pioneering first wave of California’s

community college explosion during

the 1910s.

By the 1950s, Kern County’s hunger for education swelled

the booming junior college’s student body over 1,400,

requiring major action be taken to accommodate the

continued growth. Economic depression and World War II

stalled previous efforts to move the campus, but strangely

enough, it was the deadly Kern County earthquake on

July 21, 1952 that ultimately led to BC’s final relocation.

In the wake of the 7.3-magnitude quake, voters approved

a $17 million bond for earthquake reconstruction, which also

included funds for a new Bakersfield College campus.

Construction began at the Panorama Bluffs site in 1955; and

the following year, students eager to receive degrees from the

new “college on the hill” returned from 1956 spring break

to take their final courses in Bakersfield College’s glorious

new facilities.

More than 100 years after first opening its doors, Bakersfield

College remains one of the nation’s oldest continuallyoperating—and

most respected—community colleges. BC’s rich

history has cemented the college’s place in the fabric of Kern

County, contributing to generation after generation of county

residents receiving degrees and furthering their professional

opportunities as Bakersfield College graduates.

Under the direction of current Bakersfield College President

Sonya Christian, BC has reaffirmed its commitment to not

only providing a premium educational experience to its

large and diverse student body, but focusing heavily on

addressing the educational needs of Kern County’s most

under-represented population segments.

With over sixty percent of Bakersfield College’s student

body of Hispanic or Latino descent and more than half firstgeneration

college students, BC’s highly skilled team of

administrators, counselors, faculty and staffers have extensive

experience addressing the specific educational issues faced by

nontraditional students and crafting individual plans for

seeing each student achieve their academic goals.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

180


Just as it did 100 years ago, Bakersfield College’s low costhigh

return approach to improving its community through

education continues to be recognized today. In 2015 the

college was ranked first in California and sixth nationally

among other two-year institutions in the mid-career earnings

of its alumni, according to a study conducted by the

prestigious nonprofit Brookings Institute. Bottom line—no

community college in the state did more to improve the

economic value of each graduate’s career throughout his or

her lifetime than Bakersfield College.

Heading boldly into its second century, BC continues to

explore new methods in offering comprehensive education

and career training opportunities to Kern County residents,

in areas like expanded online courses as well as more

dual enrollment opportunities allowing area high school

students to receive college-level credit for high schoolbased

coursework.

As part of a state pilot program, Bakersfield College

became one of the first California community colleges offering

a full four-year degree program in 2015, allowing students

in Science in Industrial Automation the chance to complete

their Baccalaureate studies at BC.

Bakersfield College remains Kern County’s shining “college

on the hill,” both a fully realized manifestation of the region’s

thirst for top-flight academic opportunity and a fully

attainable example of the brighter future available to any

Kern County resident with the drive and determination to

achieve it.

QUALITY OF LIFE

181


KERN COUNTY FAIR

÷

Below: “KC The Bull”.

PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF LORRIE ROBERTS.

The Kern County Fair was officially born on August 5,

1916. Although there is record of county fairs dating

back to 1892, the Kern County Agricultural Association is

the only one that has lasted. Unlike other County Fairs, the

Kern County Fair is actually a part of the 15th District

Agricultural Association that is governed by an official

board. These board members are each appointed by

the governor.

If you attended the Kern County Fair in 1892, you had

a much different view compared to our present day fair.

Not only would the grounds be full of tents rather than

buildings, you would be at a completely different location

than where the Kern County Fair currently stands.

Originally, the Kern County Fair was located on 106 acres

off of Chester Avenue, two block north of Thirty-Fourth

Street and just south of the Kern River Bridge. This is

where the Kern County Museum, the Clock Tower, and

Sam Lynn Ball Park now reside.

Twenty thousand county school children accompanied

by a total of 65,000 patrons passed through the gates

during the six-day fair in October 1925. Throughout these

six days, the public enjoyed activities like parachute

jumps, aerialists, balloon ascension, motorcycle races, and

a fifteen-mile sweepstakes horse race. Howard K. Dickson,

also known as “Mr. Kern County Fair,” also spearheaded an

effort to organize the first youth livestock auction at this fair.

On September 24, 1930, the Sixth Annual Kern County

Fair opened their gates to 14 community exhibits, 112 Kern

County school exhibits, and 100 individual commercial

exhibit buildings. However, during the depression in the

1930s, the fair closed their gates for two years. It was

then moved from the North Chester location to the current

location in 1952. The first fair at the current location was

only a five-day event. Nevertheless, throughout the years,

the Kern County Fair continued to extend their event until

they reached their current twelve-day stint starting in 1983.

Today, the Kern County Fair consists of 168 acres,

five large exhibit buildings, auction barn, livestock show

rings, grandstand, horse arenas, outdoor theater, several

community stages, and a large, well-groomed outdoor area

where they host over 400,000 people throughout the

twelve-day event. People can still enjoy many of the same

exhibitions, sales of food, livestock, and entertainment,

just in a larger, more updated scale. The grounds stay

maintained throughout the year with blooming flowers

and various foliage to host over 120 private interim events

with an estimated attendance over 700,000.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

182


QUALITY OF LIFE

183


KERN COUNTY

SUPERINTENDENT

OF SCHOOLS

÷

Below: Student leaders from Kern’s AVID program.

Opposite, top: Kern County Superintendent of Schools Christine Lizardi

Frazier (2009–present) visits a Ready to Start preschool classroom.

Opposite, bottom: Fish Derby for Richardson Center students.

As advocates for children, the Kern County Superintendent

of Schools provides leadership, education and support for

students, school districts, and the community through

programs, services and fiscal accountability.

California’s public education system consists of three

levels—state, district, and county. Regulations, funding and

fundamental policies are established at the state level, while

the day-to-day education of students is the responsibility of

individual school districts. County offices of education

are the third level and provide an important support system

for local schools and districts. Kern County Superintendent

of Schools (KCSOS), Kern County’s office of education,

does not oversee or govern any one Kern County district,

but rather serves and supports them all.

Specifically, KCSOS audits and approves district budgets,

helps formulate new curricula, and assists with staff development

and training programs in addition to a variety

of other services. KCSOS also has the responsibility of

monitoring districts for adequate textbooks, facilities and

teacher qualifications.

KCSOS provides support to Kern County’s forty-seven

local school districts in addition to serving students

that other districts cannot serve, including students in State

preschool, Alternative Education, and Special Education.

Among its many other responsibilities, KCSOS transports

students throughout the county and services vehicles for

other districts. The Superintendent of Schools also operates

KETN, Kern’s educational television station.

KCSOS operates the California Living Museum, Kern

County’s native zoo and wildlife rehabilitation center, and

Camp KEEP, which provides hands-on learning in natural

environments for students of all ages.

The history of KCSOS dates from the very early days of

Bakersfield. When Colonel Thomas Baker and his family

moved to what would later become known as Bakersfield in

1863, there were only five houses within a mile of the city’s

present day downtown. Soon after arriving at her new

home, Baker’s wife, Ellen, started a school in her home and

education in Kern County was born. KCSOS was formally

established on April 2, 1866, with the purpose of adopting

textbooks and establishing rules and regulations governing

the conduct of schools.

Kern County’s first Superintendent of Schools was

Joseph R. Riley, a twenty-seven-year-old physician who

served only three months before moving on to a long and

successful medical career in Bakersfield. One of the most

influential early superintendents was Lewis A. Beardsley, a

former principal and teacher at Bakersfield School, who was

elected to the post in 1874. Enrollment in county schools

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

184


grew under his leadership and a bond issue was approved

to fund a new $5,500 schoolhouse. Sixty-five of seventy-six

eligible voters approved of the bond issue.

Perhaps the individual who had the most impact on

education in the county’s early days was Alfred Harrell,

publisher of the Bakersfield Californian. Harrell was elected

Secretary of the Board of the Kern County Superintendent of

Schools in 1886. During his tenure, he developed a modern

course of study, lengthened the school year, and started

personal visits to schools throughout the county. He was

elected to three additional terms before retiring in 1898.

By 1896 there were fifty-six school districts in Kern

County, serving 2,644 students. By 1918, due to the oil

boom, there were 108 school districts. Currently, there are

forty-seven school districts serving almost 180,000 students.

Today, Kern High School District is California’s largest high

school district, serving some 37,000 students. Bakersfield

City School district is California’s largest elementary school

district, serving 30,000 students. Blake is one of California’s

smallest school districts, serving only eight students.

In more recent years, Kelly Blanton, who served as superintendent

from 1986 to 1999, created statewide subsidiaries

to serve hundreds of school districts throughout California

today. For example, Self-Insured Schools of California (SISC)

provides insurance services to districts, and the Fiscal

Crisis Management Team (FCMAT) helps California’s local

educational agencies fulfill their financial and management

responsibilities by providing fiscal advice, management

services, and training.

Larry Reider, superintendent from 1999 to 2009, helped

create the Target Reading First Collaborative, Kern County’s

first comprehensive approach to addressing illiteracy rates.

He also helped organize the Ready to Start program, a public/private

partnership that prepares children with little or

no pre-school experience to be ready for kindergarten.

Current Superintendent Christine Lizzardi Frazier,

who began in 2009, is the first elected female County

Superintendent of Schools. Dr. Frazier has reorganized

Kern County’s Office of Education to meet the districts

future needs and support the development and oversight

of Local Control Accountability Plans (LCAPs) at each

district to honor local stakeholder input and prioritize

funding for targeted services. She has also created a countywide

effort to approach a renewed focus on Career

Technical Education strategically so the school districts

can create meaningful partnerships with local industry to

help student get real jobs in the community.

Ever since state lawmakers created the office of County

Superintendent of Schools nearly 165 years ago, the primary

mission of the County Superintendent has been to tailor

local solutions that best meet the needs of the students.

This approach will continue to govern KCSOS as it meets

the challenges of the future.

QUALITY OF LIFE

185


BAKERSFIELD

ADULT SCHOOL

Adults who are ready to open the door to their future

turn to Bakersfield Adult School (BAS), where they learn

English, study the history and culture of the United States,

strengthen their employability skills, or complete their high

school diploma. To help students thrive in the new digital age,

BAS also provides innovative technology to insure students

achieve digital literacy. Adult students return to school

because they know education is the key to their success.

BAS began operation in the basement of Kern Union High

School in 1917. Bakersfield Adult School celebrates its

centennial anniversary in the 2016-2017 school year. Since

then, more than 500,000 adult students have earned a

bright future through classes at BAS, which is part of the

Kern High School District.

BAS moved its main campus to its current site on South

Mount Vernon Street in 1985. The forty-nine-acre main

campus is adjacent to the Regional Occupational Center,

Adult Based Life Experience (ABLE), and Tierra Del Sol

Continuation High School. A satellite campus is located on

‘F’ Street, and adult education classes are also held at the

Lerdo Correctional Facility, BARC, and throughout local

school sites. In the fall of 2016, the school will open a

Culinary Arts program and a working café in conjunction

with Americans Job Center. In January 2017 a ‘One Stop Job

Spot’ will open in South Bakersfield to help train and serve

adult learners in that rapidly growing area.

BAS has been blessed with strong leadership throughout

its existence. Wallace Webster was named the first principal

of Bakersfield Adult School in 1957. Webster was followed by

Daniel Soelberg in 1982 through 1984. In 1984, Clint Osthimer

became principal and oversaw the construction and move of

the main campus to its current home on South Mount Vernon

Street and Highway 58. Dr. Dennis Scott took the reins at BAS

in 1994. At that time, the campus was serving more than 20,000

adult students per year, making it one of the largest adult

schools in California. Karen Christiansen became principal in

the fall of 1996 and served until the spring of 1998. Boyce

Caffee became principal in 1998 and grew enrollment to its

all-time high of nearly 28,000 students. Susan Handy became

principal in 2002 and developed the award-winning Health

Careers program that is currently located on ‘F’ Street in

downtown Bakersfield. Mark Wyatt was appointed principal in

2010. The Adult School took a new direction under Wyatt,

focusing on innovation, on-line learning and Career Technical

Education for rapidly changing local job and industry sectors.

The school has become a leader in tablet technology, not only

within its own district, but throughout the state.

The school currently serves approximately 12,000 students

each year in and around greater Bakersfield. BAS currently

grants about 300 high school diplomas each year, along with

an additional 250 GEDs and certificates for approximately

150 medical career students, including vocational nurses.

During the economic downturn and recession of

2006-2008, adult school funding was cut drastically and

many adult schools were forced to close or cut programs.

The Kern High School District maintained funding and

showed incredible foresight in riding out the storm until

the economic turnaround of 2014. Enrollment held steady

from 2010 through 2016.

BAS is part of Kern High School District (KHSD), the

nation’s largest 9 to 12 high school district, serving more than

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

186


35,000 students with 4,000 employees. KHSD campuses

comprise nearly 3,500 square miles, about forty-three percent

of the total area of Kern County.

Founded in 1893, KHSD includes 18 comprehensive

campuses, 5 alternative education campuses, 2 career

technical education sites, 4 special education centers, and

2 adult education center.

Through its students, faculty and staff, BAS is involved

with a number of community organizations, including Kern

Adult Literacy, Kern Economic Development, Kern County

Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Kern County Chamber of

Commerce, Kern County Black Chamber of Commerce, and

Kern AEBG Consortium,

The future looks bright for adult education in Bakersfield.

Bakersfield Adult School has evolved into an efficient

educational institution with the ability to focus on the needs

of the community and the adult learners it serves. The

school is prepared to give its twenty-first century students

the very latest in technology and job readiness. BAS has built

stronger relationships with its local business partners and

higher education institutions in order to focus on transitioning

students to work and educational opportunities. Bakersfield

Adult School remains a critical factor in the economic

development within the Southern San Joaquin Valley.

To learn more about Bakersfield Adult School, check the

website BAS@kenhigh.org or on Twitter @BAS4yourfuture.

QUALITY OF LIFE

187


CLINICA SIERRA VISTA

÷

Right: Migrant and seasonal workers at work in the fields.

PHOTO COURTESY OF ISTOCK PHOTO.

Below: Dr. Anuradha Rao with one of her many patients.

Clinica Sierra Vista (originally called the Kern Liberation

Movement, then Clinica de los Campesinos), was established

in 1971 to provide healthcare services to poor migrant and

seasonal farmworkers who harvest the lush agricultural fields

in the southern San Joaquin Valley. Clinica’s service area

now encompasses several thousand square miles of rural

farmland, urban centers, desert, and mountains in Kern,

Fresno and Inyo Counties. Clinica serves a geographically

dispersed, low-moderate-fixed income, ethnically diverse,

frontier-rural-urban-migrant-homeless patient population.

The service area is challenged by a host of unfavorable

socio-economic conditions—poverty, high unemployment,

increased high school dropout rates, low literacy rates, high

teen pregnancy rates, high crime rates, lack of access to fresh

quality foods, and serious environmental conditions. Among

Clinica’s patient population, nearly 70 percent live below

the federal poverty level; 90 percent live below 200 percent

of the federal poverty level. The poor health indicators facing

our communities include diabetes, hypertension, obesity,

dental caries, tobacco and substance abuse, as well as many

other conditions. The service area also suffers from a persistent

shortage of primary care physicians, in comparison to

other parts of California and the nation. Clinica’s core mission

is to provide healthcare access to the most medically

vulnerable people and improve the quality of life for

low-income, underserved community residents of all ages.

Clinica Sierra Vista is a federally-qualified health center

(FQHC), providing primary care, health education and

prevention services, perinatal care, social services, case management,

WIC, and enrollment assistance to underserved

populations and other marginalized and isolated groups. The

organization provides its patients with high-quality services

at the most efficient cost, regardless of a person’s ability

to pay. In addition to primary medical services, Clinica

provides comprehensive dental and behavioral healthcare

services. Additionally, the organization operates two fortyfoot

mobile units that are capable of providing both medical

and dental services in a variety of locations. Clinica has been

accredited by The Joint Commission, the standard-bearer

of quality for healthcare facilities, since 1998. As of 2016,

Clinica Sierra Vista provides its services in over seventy

different sites throughout its service area.

The organization has grown substantially since its inception—from

one storefront clinic in Weedpatch, California, to

one of the largest comprehensive community/migrant health

center systems in the nation. Over the course of its history,

Clinica has responded to emerging health needs by

establishing services in impoverished and often isolated

communities. As an example, one of the health centers, the

McFarland Community Health Center, was established in

direct response to a childhood cancer cluster that was

identified in the 1980s. Clinica has been responsible for

bringing much-needed healthcare services to communities

that previously had no access to care, including Frazier Park/

Lebec, Arvin, Delano, Lake Isabella, Wofford Heights, and

Shoshone. In 2008, Clinica absorbed a failing community

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

188


÷

Left: Ribbon cutting at the Baker Street Village Community Health Center.

Bottom, left: Adan Romero Lopez and Arlenis Barroso Perez,

resident physicians.

Below: The Elm Community Health Center.

Bottom: The East Niles Community Health Center & Dental Center.

health center (Sequoia Community Health Foundation)

located in Fresno. Had Clinica not stepped up, more than

40,000 low-income children and adults would have lost

access to their medical and dental homes in the greater

Fresno area.

In addition to providing direct patient care services,

Clinica Sierra Vista began the Rio Bravo Family Medicine

Residency Program in 2014, in order to participate in the

training of new physicians to help meet the great need in

the Valley for primary care providers. This “Teaching Health

Center,” accredited by the ACGME, is affiliated with the

UCLA School of Medicine.

Clinica Sierra Vista is a nonprofit organization, governed

by a community, patient-based board of directors. The

organization is consistently recognized locally and nationally

as a model of excellence. Among its accolades, Clinica

received the nation’s Migrant Health Center of the Year

award in 2010.

Clinica Sierra Vista has always embodied the characteristics

of a medical home, providing accessible, continuous,

coordinated, comprehensive, family-centered, compassionate,

and culturally-appropriate services to its special patient

populations. Clinica’s staff members are from the communities

it serves, and we are deeply rooted in our mission that

no one is denied services based on who they are, where

they live, or what they earn. Our high-performing team of

professionals has built a sustainable system of care, serving

as an anchor organization and a catalyst for making overall

changes to the improving quality of life of both our patients

and the greater community, becoming a bridge of opportunity

and hope. Wherever our patients are, we speak your

language, honor your traditions, value your experiences,

and want you to be well.

QUALITY OF LIFE

189


HISTORIC UNION CEMETERY

The oldest cemetery in Bakersfield, Historic Union

Cemetery, was established in 1872 with the burial of Colonel

Thomas Baker, the founder of Bakersfield. Colonel Baker

moved to Kern County in the middle of the nineteenth

century and ultimately settled in what was then known

as Kern Island. A prosperous lawyer, politician, and

businessman, Baker hand-selected the parcel of land as

the place he wanted to “Lay (his) bones.”

Baker’s grave in 1872 marked the beginning of Union

Cemetery, which for nearly 150 years, has been the resting

place of thousands of pioneers and settlers, Civil War

soldiers, prominent local families, cowboys, farmers, bankers

and builders—remarkable men and women who have

shaped the community’s history.

Union Cemetery is so named because, in the late 1800s,

both the City of Bakersfield and the City of Sumner had

old, neglected and rundown cemeteries. The newspaper

complained about them so much that when Colonel Baker

was buried at the present location, the townspeople wanted

that area to become the new cemetery. The

county bought the property and the name

of Union Cemetery was adopted when the

two cemeteries were united as one. The term

‘Historic’ was added to the name in 2012

in recognition of the history and heritage

preserved here.

Union Cemetery is owned and managed by

the Union Cemetery Association, a nonprofit

organization that has cared for the property

continuously since 1904. Union Cemetery

continues to serve area residents with a wide

variety of burial and cremation properties at

the eighty acre, one-of-a-kind memorial park.

The most recent additions to the park are

the new Heritage Pavilion featuring a beautiful

selection of cremation niches and an outdoor all-faiths

committal chapel, and the Garden of Innocence, a moving

and solemn burial place for unidentified infants that have

been abandoned.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

190


PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF GREG IGER.

QUALITY OF LIFE

191


SAN JOAQUIN

VETERINARY HOSPITAL

Dr. Tom Willis grew up in the Lamont area of Bakersfield

and even after earning his veterinary degree and working

in the northern part of the Central Valley for fifteen years,

he always dreamed of moving back home.

Dr. Willis was raised on the family farm his father

established in Southwest Bakersfield after his return from

World War II. In addition to farming, Stanley Willis served

as president of the Kern-Delta Water Association as well

as serving on the Arvin-Edison Water Board.

Growing up on a farm exposed Dr. Willis to a variety of

animals and by the age of thirteen, he had his mind made

up—he wanted to become a veterinarian, although he was

not exactly sure what a vet did.

After graduation from UC Davis, Dr. Willis began

practicing veterinary medicine in the northern part of the

Central Valley. His main practice focused on large animals

and dairy medicine.

With deep roots and a long family history in the area,

Dr. Willis and his wife, Linda, nurtured the idea of returning

to Bakersfield. After fifteen years away from home, they

began traveling to Bakersfield at least twice a month to scope

out the best location for starting a mixed animal practice.

“The area had changed tremendously since Tom had lived in

Bakersfield, but there were still the familiar family spots—

Luigi’s, Woolgrowers, and, of course, Dewars,” Linda says.

“The first place the Lord led us to was a ten-acre parcel of

land farthest west of Bakersfield. It turned out to be the ideal

location. The projected growth rate in the area was phenomenal

and it certainly lived up to and beyond expectations.”

Groundbreaking for the new veterinary hospital at

3441 Allen Road took place at the beginning of 2000 and

the building was ready for occupancy in June.

“The first day we opened our doors, we had three client

files on the shelf,” Linda recalls. “Each time the front door

would open or the phone would ring, we answered in

anticipation of greeting another future client. We were in

a rather remote area of Northwest Bakersfield that hadn’t

seen its full growth yet, but as the years have passed the

area has become vibrant with homes and businesses and is

still growing.

“Upon arriving in Bakersfield, we discovered the

Marketplace on Ming Avenue. It was the gathering place for

shopping, moving and eating. The Northwest Promenade,

a wonderful asset to the area, had yet to be built, nor had

the Shops at River Walk. We were so thrilled at the prospect

of being in a new, thriving and growing area,” explains

Linda, who now serves as the hospital’s practice manager.

As with any new business, the early start-up times were

demanding, frustrating and fretful. The new veterinary

hospital would be empty one moment and full of clients

the next. Through advertising, but especially through word

of mouth, the practice grew steadily to its current status.

“We feel truly blessed to serve the hardworking people

of Bakersfield who have allowed us to be a part of their

pet’s care,” Linda says.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

192


San Joaquin Veterinary Hospital began in 2000 with

three clients and currently serves more than 16,000. The

facility provides full-service animal medicine and surgery,

including routine care, sick and injured treatments, dentals,

emergencies and orthopedics. The practice also cares for

equine, pocket pets and farm animals and livestock.

Boarding and grooming services are also available.

When Dr. Willis learned Kern County had an unfortunate

reputation for having a ‘high kill’ rate in its county animal

shelters, he decided to do something about it. The practices’

mobile veterinary hospital was utilized to provide spay

and neuter surgeries in many outlying areas of Kern County.

The mobile unit was set up in Maricopa, Buttonwillow,

Arvin, Lake Isabella, Tehachapi, and Portersville. Kern County

is now fast becoming a ‘No-Kill’ area.

“We love working with the many nonprofits that promote

animal welfare,” Linda says. “We have strong relationships

with local shelters that also team with some of the nonprofits

to provide spay and neuter services to dogs and cats, which

are then placed in ‘forever homes’. Through the years, we

have been able to donate our time to spay or neuter more

than 3,000 animals.”

San Joaquin Veterinary Hospital has been the consulting

veterinarian for the California Living Museum (CALM) for

many years, working with the museum’s staff to provide care

to their animals indigenous to California. This experience has

included providing x-rays for a four-month-old mountain lion.

Dr. Willis and Linda are proud of their fabulous

staff, some of whom have been with the practice since it

opened. “Our receptionists, technicians and kennel staff

are exceptional in their care of the animals they tend to.

They go above and beyond—even after hours—to provide

the best medicine possible,” Linda explains.

The Willis’ two children have also been involved in caring

for the animals. Their son, Tommy, is currently attending

Kansas State University in the pre-vet program, and their

daughter, Natalie, is a sophomore at the local high school.

“We have found Bakersfield to be a great place to raise

our children and grow our practice,” Linda says.

QUALITY OF LIFE

193


CENTRE FOR

NEURO SKILLS

÷

Right: Dr. Mark J. Ashley, founder, president, and CEO of Centre for

Neuro Skills.

Below: The Centre for Neuro Skills flagship clinic is located on Ashe Road

in Bakersfield.

In 1980, when Dr.

Mark J. Ashley founded

Centre for Neuro Skills

(CNS), he had just three

patients. All people in

need of care are vital to

him, but one in particular

was extraordinary. It was

his older brother, Steve

Ashley, who had suffered

an aneurysm while serving

in the military.

The previously gregarious Steve could not speak, walk, or

eat without assistance. He had lost control of his ability to

move and respond to his environment. Stricken by a brain

injury, he struggled to do the simple things most of us take

for granted.

In Steve’s hospital room, the Ashley family looked on in

hopelessness. The only sign of life was his chest moving up

and down as a machine kept him breathing. They knew that

the life he once lived was over.

“At the time, treatment for brain injury was very limited,”

Dr. Ashley recalls.

Steve’s stark disability triggered something in Dr. Ashley.

That something has evolved into CNS, a world-renowned

post-acute neurologic treatment facility that has provided

intensive therapy for thousands of people with brain injury.

“I’m not someone you say ‘No’ to,” Dr. Ashley says of his

tenacity. “Conventional wisdom was that Steve’s brain would

never send signals to the muscles of his body.”

But Dr. Ashley defied conventional wisdom and opened

CNS with a staff of ten. He was twenty-three years old at

the time.

Today, the corporate headquarters are in a state-of-the-art

clinical facility in Bakersfield, a 28,000 square foot building

that includes a therapeutic pool with water current features,

advanced therapeutic technology, specialized research

equipment, medical offices, counseling suites, a patient computer

and education training center, and executive offices.

The company has grown to 750 employees, and now

has locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Dallas.

CNS provides medical and rehabilitative treatment to

people who have sustained a brain injury from trauma,

hemorrhagic and ischemic stroke, tumors, lack of oxygen,

and infections.

Dr. Ashley’s personal experience of caring for and treating

his brother created a family culture at CNS that extends to

staff, patients, and relatives of patients. In fact, his passion

for treating people with brain injury has inspired many

members of his family to join the company.

Sue Ashley, Dr. Ashley’s wife, is the Executive Vice

President of Clinical Services. Two of Dr. Ashley’s sons also

work with the company. Matthew J. Ashley, M.D., J.D., is a

Consulting Neurologist and Nicholas A. Ashley, J.D., is the

General Counsel.

Other relatives serve in key roles as well. They include:

Vice President Ellen Katomski, Clinical Services; National

Project Manager Steve Katomski; Controller Lindsay Ashley;

Neuroscientist Jessica Ashley, Ph.D; and Case Manager

Assistant Victoria Katomski.

Many employees have been with the company for more

than thirty years.

A crucial and unique aspect of CNS treatment focuses

on neurobehavioral intervention for patients struggling

to manage their emotions and behavior. This intensive

treatment helps people develop appropriate responses, communication

and skills that support successful community

re-entry. Staff behavior analysts are specially trained and

licensed, and work with patients daily to correct aggression

and difficulties that may impede a return to normalcy.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

194


Brain injury impairs the ability to carry out simple

duties, such as self-care, safety practices, cooking, shopping,

cleaning, learning to budget, hygiene, managing medications,

integrating into the community, and returning to work. Many

patients participate in the CNS residential rehabilitation

program, which helps individuals to regain mastery of these

meaningful skills in a home-like setting near each clinic.

This emphasis on independence is a treatment philosophy

as well as a driving force behind CNS’ success. It can

be summarized in a core company ethic—“Patients Don’t

Plateau.” All employees live by this credo.

A highly skilled, trained, and educated clinical staff

provide individualized treatment planning focused on

skill-building, achieving patient goals, and independence

post-injury. Treating the complexities of brain injury require

an interdisciplinary team that specializes in the therapy

domains of cognition, physical, occupational, speech, education,

counseling, and medicine.

CNS also has a respected research department, led by

neuroscientists whose work appears in such esteemed publications

as the Journal of Neurotrauma. Their articles focus on cost

effectiveness and traumatic brain injury care, growth hormone

deficiency in patients, and neuropathology and exercise,

among other topics that advance understanding of brain injury.

In his thirty-five years as a thought leader and patient

advocate, Dr. Ashley has become a noted expert in the field

of neurotrauma, having lectured globally on treatment

outcome, best practices, and neurodegenerative processes.

He authored Traumatic Brain Injury: Rehabilitation, Treatment,

and Case Management, now in its fourth edition.

Both the Ashleys and CNS staff are clearly driven

to accomplish great things. But as a family-owned and

operated company, CNS has never

strayed from the memory of Steve

Ashley. Having walked the path of

devastation, the Ashleys make sure

that patients’ loved ones are honored

and cared for.

“Brain injury is a shock to the

family,” Dr. Ashley says. “It disrupts

the entire home structure. The oncecompetent

parent, executive, student,

or coed is now shattered—unrecognizable

in some instances—and the

entire family must heal.”

CNS family counseling helps loved

ones acknowledge the injury and

rebuild together.

“Every one of our patients is a

Steve Ashley,” he observes. “We treat

everyone as if they are family.”

÷

Above: Two therapists demonstrate use of the ZeroG Gait and Balance

System, which helps patients to regain skills of walking and balancing.

Left: CNS’ Bakersfield clinical facility has a state-of-the-art therapeutic pool

with water current features, which helps patients regain strength and agility.

QUALITY OF LIFE

195


BAKERSFIELD FIRE

DEPARTMENT

÷

Below: BFD steam fire engine #2, c. 1900.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE BAKERSFIELD FIRE DEPARTMENT.

Below: BFD Heavy Task Force #1.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE BAKERSFIELD FIRE DEPARTMENT.

The Bakersfield Fire Department (BFD) is a multi-dimensional

public safety organization, and includes an “all-risk”

approach in its emergency service delivery system. The BFD

provides fire suppression, emergency medical services,

heavy and technical rescue, hazardous materials mitigation,

water rescue, arson investigation, fire code enforcement,

emergency medical dispatching, public service and

assistance, and other life safety services around-the-clock

to a growing community of over 370,000 citizens.

The Bakersfield Fire Department was formally established

on May 13, 1877, as the official fire department of

the then unincorporated City of Bakersfield. The department

has been in continual operation since that inception

date, and has been in operation longer than any other fire

department in Kern County.

After suffering several disastrous conflagrations in 1890,

1898 and 1904, local leaders decided they would never

allow the community to be devastated by another massive

fire again. From that point forward, the BFD began its rise

as a progressive and respected west coast fire department.

In the early 1900s, the

Bakersfield Fire Department

served the community with a

fleet of “steamer” fire engines,

hook and ladder trucks, chemical

fire engines, and hose wagons.

These early firefighting machines

were faithfully pulled by at least

twenty-five noble BFD fire horses

with names like Prince, Ned,

King and Mike. The last BFD fire

horse made its final alarm run

and was sent out to pasture in

1914, the year the department

was completely motorized.

In the 1920s and 1930s, the department grew to four

central fire stations serving a commercial core and residential

perimeter. The firefighting fleet consisted of many

state-of-the-art apparatus, including early motorized fire

engines that pumped thousands of gallons of water through

massive deck guns.

City firefighters protected the young but urbanized

Bakersfield, stopping major commercial blazes in the

downtown area through sheer will and a barrage of water

from brass nozzles. BFD Firefighters routinely found

themselves in harm’s way due to exposure to clouds of

noxious smoke and collapses of unreinforced masonry

structures that were prevalent in the central district.

Progressive chief fire officers began to rise through the

ranks and implement improvements to fire suppression

and fire alarm systems that would set the standard for

future fire protection in the City of Bakersfield. In 1956

the Bakersfield Fire Department was awarded the highest

ISO rating in the United States—and a “class 1 fire department”

designation.

Today, the Bakersfield Fire Department operates with

240 sworn, support, and reserve personnel deployed from

fourteen fire stations located throughout the city ready to

meet challenges within the community, region and state.

The BFD is an insurance services office (ISO) rated class 2

fire department, residing in the top 1.5 percent of fire

departments nationwide.

The men and women of the Bakersfield Fire Department

are among the finest the community has to offer. Newly

appointed BFD Recruit Firefighters attend the academically

rigorous and physically challenging twenty-four week BFD

Fire Academy. BFD Recruit Firefighters that are successful are

then assigned to BFD Probationary Firefighters status, and

spend a year working in the field under the guidance of

tenured BFD Fire Officers.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

196


BFD Firefighters spend a significant amount of their career

training for the complex, three-dimensional life safety problems

they will be called upon to deal with in the local urban environment.

The department is proud to offer a diverse workforce

of dedicated personnel possessing a variety of skills,

talents, and abilities. BFD personnel are motivated public

service professionals, dedicated to serving their community.

The Bakersfield Fire Department participates in regionalized

fire services and jointly operates the Emergency

Communications Center (ECC) and the Olive Drive Fire

Training Facility (ODFTF). Additionally, the BFD operates its

own Southeast Live Fire Training Site with state-of-the-art,

computerized, clean-burning, fire-fueled props that allow for

environmentally friendly and safe firefighting training sessions.

As a participating agency in the State Master Mutual Aid

System, the BFD deploys firefighters to numerous largescale

incidents across California every year. BFD Firefighters

assist, along with many other agencies, in mitigating fires

and other disasters threatening communities that require

reinforced, statewide assistance.

The BFD also provides a wide array of non-emergency

services related to fire prevention, fire safety education, fire

code inspections, and disaster preparedness. The department

values community alliances and public participation as part

of its service delivery process through collaborative mitigation

efforts with the Salvation Army and Red Cross, partnerships

with various community groups, nonprofit organizations

and governmental agencies. The BFD Community Services

Office assists with many media and public access requests,

as well as providing the timely dissemination of public

information and social media engagement.

The Bakersfield Fire Department is the parent organization

to numerous BFD nonprofit organizations that serve

the community including the Bakersfield Firefighters’

Burn Foundation (BFBF), Bakersfield Firefighters’ Relief

Association (BFRA), Bakersfield Firefighters’ Historical

Society (BFHS), and Bakersfield Professional Firefighters’

Local 246 (BPF).

The Bakersfield Fire Department is a dedicated local public

safety agency and widely respected fire service organization.

The men and women of the BFD are proud and honored

to be part of a tradition of city fire service that began over 140

years ago, and look forward to carrying out their very important

mission in this century as “Bakersfield’s Firefighters.”

÷

Above: BFD engine firefighters engage a brush fire.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF TREY SPOONER.

Top, left: BFD truck firefighters deploy hoselines.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF DAN MILLER.

Left: BFD engine firefighters in structural firefight.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF ROY PEÑA.

Bottom: BFD truck firefighters ventilate.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF DAN MILLER.

QUALITY OF LIFE

197


BAKERSFIELD PROFESSIONAL FIREFIGHTERS LOCAL 246

BPF is a nonprofit organization and collaborates with other

nonprofit organizations that are affiliated with the Bakersfield

Fire Department, including the Bakersfield Firefighters Relief

Association, the Bakersfield Firefighters Burn Foundation and

the Bakersfield Firefighters Historical Society. Collaboration

with the other Bakersfield Fire Department affiliated nonprofit

organizations has allowed BPF members to participate

in numerous charitable events such as “Fill the Boot” for

Muscular Dystrophy, Firefighters Creating Memories,

“Fill the Helmet” for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and a

local “Trunk or Treat” event, just to name a few.

÷

Above: BPF Station tours.

Right: BPF members support MDA Fill-the-Boot Drive.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF TBC MEDIA.

Bakersfield Professional Firefighters Local 246 (BPF)

represents more than 170 uniformed personnel employed

by the Bakersfield Fire Department. BPF works in close

coordination with both the staff of the Bakersfield Fire

Department and the city manager’s office to ensure that the

highest quality of service and protection are provided to

the citizens of Bakersfield.

A majority of firefighters enter the profession because

they have a profound desire to help others and be a part of

solutions to some of life’s greatest crises. This desire to help

others often transcends into the lives of many firefighters

away from the job, compelling them to continue with their

sense of service. BPF members are a great example of the

civic minded, helpful people that many associate with being

a firefighter.

Information about the Bakersfield Professional Firefighters

may be found at www.bakersfieldfirefighters.com.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

198


Bakersfield Heart Hospital, Kern County’s heart and

vascular leader, is focused on providing the latest and most

effective technologies and treatments for its patients. By specializing

on the nation’s number one killer, Bakersfield Heart

Hospital gives patients the benefits of advanced technology

while also providing services to meet their individual needs.

The concept for a specialized heart hospital began

in 1995 when a group of local physicians organized an

ambitious project to bring a new standard of heart and

vascular care to Bakersfield. A partnership was formed and

the concept of a forty-seven-bed hospital dedicated to

patient-focused care began to take shape.

During construction of the center at 3001 Sillect Avenue

many of the first employees were actually housed across

the street in the Stevenson Building. Staff members created

policies and procedures, ordered supplies and got everything

ready to open as they watched the facility being constructed.

Staff members were used during ‘trial run’ exercises to

be sure the staff, equipment and supplies were ready prior

to opening. Some of the staff even served as mock patients

during training exercises. Bakersfield Heart Hospital opened

its doors to the community in 1999.

BHH provides 47 private in-patient beds, 3 operating

rooms with complete facilities for heart and vascular surgery,

4 cardiac catheterization labs with 1 lab equipped for

electrophysiology, 11 outpatient surgery beds, an 8-bed

emergency department, and the most technologically

advanced cardiovascular equipment.

The original focus of BHH was on cardiac care, but other

services have been added through the years to meet

the needs of the community. A Women’s Heart Center was

added in 2012 to provide education about the unique

symptoms of heart disease among women. The women’s

center provides information about heart disease risk factors

and early detection of heart disease.

A Center for Wound Healing was added in 2014 because

Kern County has a high incidence of diabetics who must

contend with wounds that will not heal. The center has two

hyperbaric chambers and podiatrists and plastic surgeons

are available for consultation.

BHH also has a Joint Replacement Program that provides

a ‘Joint Camp’ where patients and family members learn

about the procedures and hear first-hand from the care team

what to expect before and after surgery.

Bakersfield Heart Hospital is very active in the community.

Staff members participate in the Go Red for Women and

Heart Walk each year. The hospital partners with Central

Cardiology physicians to present heart health topics to various

groups, clubs and businesses. BHH also offers screenings

for businesses and has partnered with Olivia’s Heart Project to

screen teens and young adults for heart related abnormalities.

BAKERSFIELD

HEART HOSPITAL

QUALITY OF LIFE

199


GEMCARE

÷

Above: GEMCare’s Comprehensive Care Center.

Below: The GEMCare main office on California Avenue.

Today’s complicated and confusing medical care system

makes it difficult for patients to choose the best medical care

available for their particular need. Navigating today’s world of

healthcare is not easy, but GEMCare Medical Group is providing

an option for more and more individuals and businesses.

GEMCare has served the community since 1992 and now

offers a variety of plans and benefits, including more than

130 highly rated primary care centers and 200 specialty care

physicians. GEMCare serves members in Bakersfield and

the outlying communities of Arvin, Delano, Lake Isabella,

Shafter, Taft, Tehachapi and Wasco. Members have access to

Dignity Health, Mercy and Memorial Hospitals, as well as

available treatment at five urgent care locations. Equally

important is access to care management and wellness

services to keep you and your family healthy year-round.

GEMCare was first organized in 1991 when a group of

physicians saw the need for another healthcare option in

Kern County and organized as an Independent Practice

Association (IPA).

In 2010, Bakersfield Memorial Hospital and Mercy

Hospitals, in a joint venture with GEMCare physicians, created

a new organization known as GEMCare Mercy Memorial

Health System (GMMHS). This organization was formed to

provide an integrated healthcare delivery system that would

ensure a comprehensive approach to total patient care.

A key component in the integrated system is the

Comprehensive Care Center (CCC). The CCC was formed to

improve the quality of care for members through a holistic,

patient-centered, team-based collaboration of medical and

allied professionals. This clinic for medically high-risk

patients has received the highest level of national recognition

as a NCQA Patient Centered Medical Home is located near

downtown Bakersfield.

The NCQA seal is a widely recognized symbol of quality.

For consumers and employers, this seal is a reliable indicator

that an organization is well-managed and delivers high

quality care and service.

GEMCare has gathered the finest group of medical

providers, including a Physician Board Certified in Internal

Medicine and Geriatrics, Nurse Practitioners, RN Case

Managers, Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Clinical

Pharmacists and health educators. All work together to

enhance delivery of member’s healthcare. CCC members

have a thirty-five percent reduction in emergency room visits

and a twenty percent reduction in admissions to the hospital.

Patients are extremely satisfied with their healthcare,

averaging 4.8 on a 5-point scale.

GEMCare is leading the way to a new model of care delivery

by remaining true to its core values of responsibility,

compassion, education, and support.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

200


The historical documents of Greenlawn Memorial Park,

founded in 1931 by Ed Helm (1891-1952), begin with

this creed:

“We believe in Life Eternal—a life supremely happy. We

believe that those of us left behind should be glad in the true

belief that those gone before have entered into that happier

life. We believe most of all, in a God who smiles and loves

you and me. We therefore know the cemeteries of yesterday

are obsolete and that they depict an end, not a beginning.

They have consequently become antiquated places that do

nothing for humanity save a practical act.

“We therefore prayerfully resolve that we shall endeavor to

build Greenlawn Memorial Park as different, as unlike other

cemeteries as sunshine is unlike darkness, as Eternal Life

is unlike Death. We shall endeavor to build at Greenlawn

a great park, devoid of misshapen monuments and other

customary signs of earthly Death, but filled with sweeping

lawns, majestic trees, cheerful flowers, splashing fountains

and beautiful, winding roads and pathways. We

believe these things add to the general betterment

of the community.

“Greenlawn shall become a place where lovers

new and old will want to stroll and watch the setting

sun, planning for the future and reminiscing

of the past, where the sacred bonds of marriage

are solemnized; a place where children romp and

play; where artists study and sketch; and where

the sorrowing will be comforted because it will be

God’s garden. A place that shall be protected by

an adequate Perpetual Care Fund, the principal

of which can never be expended.”

With the Ed Helm Monument Company

established in 1927, Ed forged ahead with his

dream. After the opening of the cemetery

overlooking the Bluffs in Northeast Bakersfield,

construction began on a mortuary office in 1941, making

Greenlawn the first in Bakersfield to provide both the

undertaking and cemetery services in one location. After

Ed’s death, his son, Marshall Helm, carried on the vision.

The business opened a location in Hemet, California, in

1975, and the expansion continued on Panama Lane in

the Southwest part of Bakersfield with Greenlawn Southwest

Memorial Park opening in 1974 and Greenlawn Southwest

Mortuary in 1978. The groundbreaking in 2011 of the

Celebration of Life Center further expanded the Southwest

location with a chapel that seats over 500, a flower shop, and

a reception area. Greenlawn acquired Wood Family Funeral

Service in Tehachapi in 2007, and The Woods Pavilion, An

Outdoor Event Center, was opened in the summer of 2014.

Representing the third generation, Ed’s grandchildren

are involved in what is now known as Greenlawn Funeral

Homes, Cremations and Cemeteries, and the dedication to

the families of Kern County continues.

÷

Left: The Greenlawn Memorial Park Fountain of Chimes.

Below: Ed and Lucille Helm.

GREENLAWN

FUNERAL HOMES-

CREMATIONS-CEMETERIES

QUALITY OF LIFE

201


HOUCHIN COMMUNITY

BLOOD BANK

In times of illness or accident, a safe and adequate blood

supply is essential to a patient’s treatment and recovery.

Since 1953 the Houchin Community Blood Bank has

collected and provided this precious supply of blood for

residents of Kern County. Blood collected from volunteer

donors is manufactured into multiple products, including

red blood cells, platelets and plasma for human transfusion.

The Blood Bank serves eleven hospitals, cancer, burn and

transfusion centers in Kern County.

The organization’s history traces from the early 1940s

when a group of local physicians and interested residents

met at the offices of Doctors Coker, Crawley and Varney to

discuss the need for a nonprofit community blood bank.

Because of the lack of blood supply in Kern County, blood

had to be shipped from Los Angeles or San Francisco and

these deliveries could not meet the critical need for blood.

At the time, Kern General Hospital—now Kern Medical—

was the only facility equipped to draw and test blood.

In 1951, members of the Kern County Medical Society

called a meeting with C. Elmer Houchin, also a member of

the group, to discuss a permanent location for a future

community blood bank. Houchin donated a location on

G Street in downtown Bakersfield in memory of his mother,

Sarah Alice Houchin. Additional donations and endowment

funds allowed the blood bank to open in April 1952.

In the early days, there were no mobile collection buses

and blood drives were set up on tables at businesses,

churches and other locations. Most blood was collected

at one donor center in glass bottles, which did not provide

a long shelf life. Donors were scarce and sometimes had

to be called on in the middle of the night to meet urgent

patient needs. A variety of ‘donation clubs’ such as the

‘10 Gallon Donor Club’ were used to increase interest

in donations. Today, the Blood Bank has more than

1,200 donors who have given ten gallons or more.

A new donor center was constructed at 5901 Truxtun

Avenue in May 1988. Followed by a new headquarters

at 11515 Bolthouse Drive on land donated by the William

Bolthouse family in February 2013. More than a hundred

people are employed at the two locations. Greg Gallion

serves as president and CEO.

More than 18,000 volunteer donors are greeted each

year at the Truxtun and Bolthouse Donor Centers and at

mobile drives held throughout Kern County. As a result of

these generous donations, Houchin Community Blood Bank

is able to supply more than 8,000 platelets and 30,000 units

of red cells for patient needs annually as it continues to live

its motto: ‘People Live when People Give.’

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

202


It takes a special kind

of physician to treat patients

with pulmonary (lung)

diseases, and Alpha J.

Anders MD, FCCP of

Bakersfield, California, is

that type of doctor. He

opened his private practice,

Comprehensive Pulmonary

and Critical Care Associates,

seventeen years ago. He

takes pride in delivering state-of-the art personal care

to patients with various pulmonary diseases along with

Heidi He DNP, MSN, FNP-C. “We get to know our patients

personally. We have the latest diagnostic, treatments, and

technology available; at our office a human being actually

answers the telephone,” he says, smiling.

Dr. Anders, a diplomat of the American Board of Internal

Medicine in critical care, pulmonary and internal medicine,

treats any lung disease from asthma to chronic obstructive

pulmonary disease (COPD) and other lung disorders

in between. Heidi He, a certified nurse-practitioner, who

obtained her doctorate in the science of nursing, assists

him with treating and educating pulmonary patients about

their diseases. They adhere to the practice’s mission of

“Where caring is an art and healing is a science.”

Lung diseases make it hard for patients to breathe; therefore,

Dr. Anders is a proponent of avoiding cigarettes and

other chemical irritants that can cause lung disease years

following exposure. “Pulmonary patients should check local

news outlets for poor air quality that can aggravate their

conditions and make breathing more difficult.

“Some patients aren’t aware they have lung disease until

they develop a cough or feel out of breath walking, climbing

stairs, or exercising. Still, exercise is a vital component for

anyone suffering from lung disease. But, it takes a special,

structured-type of exercise,” he adds. “With many chronic

lung disorders, the airflow is disrupted in and out of

patients’ lungs and reduces functionality. Many (but not all)

patients use oxygen to breathe. My practice is centered

on helping patients achieve optimal health and maintain a

good quality of life.”

Dr. Anders is triple board certified in pulmonology,

critical care, and internal medicine. He is a member of

Healthgrades’ Honor Roll, never having received board

action, sanction, or adverse malpractice issues. He has been

on the organization’s honor roll eighteen times, and received

seven Healthgrades awards.

He has served as chief of staff at both Mercy Hospitals,

and president of the Kern County Medical Society. He has

been a mentor to physicians in training. A graduate of

Cornell Medical University, he served his residency in

Denver, followed by a pulmonary fellowship at USC.

Heidi obtained her nursing degree in Bakersfield. She

holds a Master of Science degree from UCLA and a Doctor

of Advanced Nursing Practice degree from San Jose State.

She is the coordinator of the Nurse Practitioner program at

California State University Bakersfield.

÷

ALPHA J. ANDERS, MD,

FCCP

Above: Dr. Alpha J. Anders, MD, doctor of pulmonary, critical care and

internal medicine.

Below: Dr. Anders and his nursing staff.

QUALITY OF LIFE

203


BAKERSFIELD

MUSIC HALL OF FAME

Bakersfield is a city full of music history and the

Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame is dedicated to promoting

and cherishing it, from its Dust Bowl roots to its contemporary

manifestations. The Hall of Fame, located in the city’s

beautiful downtown arts district, celebrates legends like

Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, Susan Raye, Billy Mize,

Hank Thompson, Bonnie Owens, Tommy Collins and Red

Simpson, to name a few. But Bakersfield is not just country.

Artists such as Lawrence Tibbett, star of the New York

Metropolitan Opera; blues great Luther Davis; jazz virtuoso

Mary Osborne; and chart-topping thrash-metal-rap act

Korn have also made their marks. Now Bakersfield has a

place specifically dedicated to recognizing them for their

contributions to our musical city.

The Hall of Fame is more than that, though. It is a

musical venue built with great, detailed workmanship. It is

a state-of-the-art performing arts theater built with sound

and lighting standards that will please the most discerning

and adventurous listener. One of the Hall of Fame’s primary

goals is to help nurture and establish up-and-coming

hopefuls, much like what the Bluebird Café has done for

musicians and songwriters in Nashville, Tennessee. Two

fully equipped recording studios capable of producing

top-caliber recordings are producing everything from

commercial jingles to music in the finest tradition of the

true Bakersfield Sound. The Hall of Fame’s founders,

Bakersfield country singer Kim McAbee and her husband,

Kyle Carter, one of Bakersfield’s finest homebuilders,

together have brought a unique and heartfelt venue to the

music community of Bakersfield.

The original building, once used by a shipping company,

is over 100 years old. The original architecture of concrete

walls, exposed ceiling trusses, exquisite hardwood floors

and wood stained slats creates the right ambiance. The

original charm is intact, but renovations have created an

intimate, up-close concert setting. Each month the Hall of

Fame hosts new performers and events; artists make their

way into one of the studios; and the gift shop bustles with

local folks’ music, books and other merchandise. Whatever

the occasion—weddings, birthday parties, anniversaries,

business conferences or social mixers—the Hall of Fame

is equipped to host it. Memberships are available to all,

whether they are musicians or music enthusiasts. This is

an establishment that will surely continue to add to

Bakersfield’s legacy of great music. Folks are already

stopping by from all over the world and you will surely

want to see the transformation as well. History is once

again in the making! For more information, visit the Hall

of Fame’s website at www.bakersfieldmusichalloffame.com.

Or call (661) 864-1701.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

204


No one deserves to be hired more than our nation’s veterans.

To help connect veterans with jobs, Chevron has partnered

with the Kern County Veterans Service Department

to design, develop, and implement the Kern Patriot

Partnership. The partnership provides an online portal to

match the skills, knowledge, and dedication of our veterans

with high quality employers who are willing to give veterans

a first look when they are looking to hire good people.

First discussed in an interview with The Bakersfield

Californian in December 2012, and again in the August

2013 issue of the Kern Business Journal, the Kern Patriot

Partnership is an idea that developed out of the Kern County

Veterans Service Department to unite veterans and businesses.

Businesses cite the strengths of veterans as very appealing

to them when seeking employees. Some of those strengths

include a strong work ethic, a sense of duty, working

well as a team, demonstrating self-confidence, and having

the ability to follow through on assignments, even under

difficult or stressful circumstances, to name a few.

A common concern among business leaders and human

resource managers is that the current process seems to be too

cumbersome or even nonexistent. The goal of the Kern Patriot

Partnership is to address those issues using innovation, technology,

good old-fashioned hard work, and proven mentorship.

Kern Patriot Partnership’s vision includes the goal of

providing as many job opportunities as possible for veterans

and transitioning military personnel. We provide personalized

service to help translate military skills to civilian terms

that hiring managers understand. Our team empowers transitioning

U.S. military members and veterans to succeed in

the civilian workforce through personalized career coaching

and employment preparation counseling. Our services are

provided at no cost to the transitioning military member and

veteran. You will be individually partnered with a highlytrained

program specialist who works collaboratively with

you to: Create a tailored civilian resume that effectively highlights

your skills and achievements; Translate military experience

into civilian terminology; Learn effective job search,

strategic networking and interviewing techniques; and get

connected with companies who want to hire veterans.

Our services are available to all honorably-discharged

U.S. military veterans, regardless of separation date and

term of service. Whether you are looking for full-time or

part-time work, internships, or training opportunities, our

team is here to help you.

We define success as helping transitioning military

members and veterans meet or exceed their employment

goals, one veteran at a time. Across America, employers are

discovering the value of hiring veterans of the United States

military who possess the training, leadership skills, and

strong work ethic they require. Each of our veterans has

made profound sacrifices to protect freedom and democracy

and to keep us safe. Pledging support to veterans is one way

to express heartfelt gratitude. We ask interested businesses

to join our Kern Patriot Partnership, not to guarantee jobs

for veterans, but to make a pledge to give veterans a first

look when their businesses are preparing to hire.

We encourage veterans seeking employment and businesses

who would like to join our Partnership to visit our website

at www.KernPatriot.org. You will find links for “Veterans”

and “Employers” along with other useful information

and resources.

KERN PATRIOT

PARTNERSHIP

÷

Above: As military members transition into civilian life, Kern Patriot

Partnership stands ready to assist our veterans seeking employment and to

connect them with employers seeking to hire and are willing to give veterans

a first look when they have job openings.

QUALITY OF LIFE

205


FOX THEATER FOUNDATION

In the early days of the motion picture industry, magnificent

theaters were built across the nation to reflect the

glamour and excitement of the movies. One of the most

opulent of these grand movie houses was the Fox Theater in

Bakersfield, where generations of movie goers enjoyed the

latest Hollywood movies and stars, from Humphrey Bogart

and Lauren Bacall to Gone with the Wind, as well as stage

performances by the most popular entertainers.

The Bakersfield Fox Theater was constructed at 2001 H

Street for Fox West Coast Theaters and opened on Christmas

Day, 1930, with the feature film, Just Imagine. Designed by

S. Charles Lee, the Fox was built as both a performing arts

theater and a movie theater. The theater featured an atmospheric

Mediterranean interior with 1,575 seats. It was one

of the most beautiful theaters of its type ever constructed.

In 1953, as television began to bite into movie theater

attendance, the Fox was modernized in an effort to lure

audiences back to the theater. Renowned designer Charles

Skouras was hired to create a new identity for the Fox and

designed the lavish Art Deco interior that still exists today.

The new design featured ornate ceiling murals in the lobby

and mezzanine, breathtaking gold leaf plumes and acoustic

cloud in the auditorium, and a blue atmospheric ceiling

with twinkling stars. The Art Deco makeover also included a

one-of-a-kind marquee with hundreds of feet of flashing

neon tubes announcing the latest attraction.

The Fox continued to prosper into the 1970s but

the arrival of multiplex theaters and continued growth of

television—combined with a decline of the downtown

area—led to the closing of the Fox in 1979.

In an effort to preserve the historic landmark, the

Fox Theater Foundation was formed in 1990 to purchase,

restore and operate the Fox Theater for the benefit of the

citizens of Bakersfield. After many negotiations over price,

the owners of the long abandoned theater finally agreed

to sell it for $500,000. A huge ‘Save the Fox’ campaign

helped raise the necessary funds and the property was

acquired in 1994. After extensive renovation to preserve

the priceless Art Deco interior, the Fox Theater reopened

in 1995.

The Fox has become a vibrant part of a renewed

downtown and is once again a magnet for children and

families wishing to enjoy popular movies, concerts, or

entertainment that cannot be seen anywhere else. The

eighty-five-year-old civic treasure also serves as a venue

for graduations, weddings, and special events.

The movies, shows and private events occurring year

round at the Fox provide an economic stimulus for

downtown, including opportunities for area businesses to

provide services to Fox audiences. Thanks to community

support, the historic Fox Theater continues to thrive,

contributing to both the vitality and livability of Bakersfield.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

206


The Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra (BSO), long considered

a ‘community treasure’, is now in its eighty-fifth season

of performing some of the world’s greatest music for enthusiastic

audiences in the Central Valley. In the 1930s, concert

music in Bakersfield was found largely in churches, high

school bands, and the occasional group of touring artists.

The seeds for what would become BSO were sown at a

piano recital in January 1932 when it was announced the

High School Musician’s Club would sponsor a concert

series by a symphony orchestra drawn from members of

the community. The inaugural concert of the Bakersfield

Community Orchestra occurred on November 22, 1932.

This was the beginning of a community’s love for wonderful

music while engaging the local talent. As an example of this

deep commitment to the BSO, one of our recently departed

patrons, Margaret Urner, attended the first concert in 1932 and

virtually every performance until her passing in January 2016.

With the exception of a hiatus during World War II, the

orchestra has filled the air with timeless and vibrant music.

In 2012 the BSO Board of Directors hired Bryan Burrow

as president/CEO to revitalize the organization. The next

four years experienced increase in average attendance of

sixty-seven percent, expansion of its student outreach,

diversification of its patrons, broader visibility within the

community, and additional concerts to the lineup. During

this exciting time, the BSO transitioned to a new conductor.

Throughout the 2014-2015 season, the Bakersfield community

participated in choosing the next conductor from

the six finalists, which were the top candidates from a

pool of 160 worldwide applicants. As the youngest music

director in the orchestra’s history, Stilian Kirov was appointed

music director of BSO beginning in the 2015-2016 season.

Kirov, a graduate of the Julliard School in orchestral

conducting, has won numerous awards and prizes for

outstanding achievements. His electric style of conducting

and strong connection with audiences propelled him as an

immediate favorite within the community.

The BSO performs an

impressive six season concerts

annually, as well as

several Pops style concerts.

These Pops concerts

reach out to all demographics

in the community.

Examples of the BSO’s

Pops concerts include:

movie themes, chamber

programs, as well as concerts

showcasing holiday

and cultural favorites.

Whether at our season

concerts or Pops concerts,

soloists have joined the

BSO from as far as the four corners of the globe to as close

as Kern County.

Outreach is an important part of the BSO’s mission.

The Young People’s Concerts hosts over 12,000 students

each year for fun and educational concerts as they add

culture and art to their curriculum. The most recent and

very successful program is called BSO Next. The BSO Next

program provides Kern County students tickets to season

concerts through the generosity of donors. This impacts over

3,000 students annually. Another program, Kid’s Discover

Music, sends BSO musicians into classrooms for a close

up interaction with the professional musicians. Finally,

the Health and Healing program hosts musicians at local

hospitals soothing the hearts of patients, families, and staff.

To learn more about the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra

and its upcoming schedule, please check the website at

www.BSOnow.org.

BAKERSFIELD

SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

÷

Left: Music Director Stilian Kirov with members of the Bakersfield

Symphony Orchestra.

Below: NEXT Students attending the last concert of the season, May 2016.

QUALITY OF LIFE

207


GARCES MEMORIAL

HIGH SCHOOL

÷

Above: The Padre Garces Statue. The Kern County Historical Society,

chaired by Dr. P. N. Root, commissioned John Palo Kanga, a well-known

sculptor, to create a statue of Father Garces for the front of the school.

On November 27, 1949, the statue was unveiled and dedicated. Sheriff

John Loustalot presided as master of ceremonies and County Superintendent

of Schools Jesse D. Stockton was the guest speaker. Dr. Root unveiled the

monument and Monsignor William MacLaughlin blessed the statue.

Below: Father Garces was moved from his street location to the current

location, making him the focal point and landmark at the main

campus entrance.

For the past sixty-nine years, Garces Memorial High School

has fulfilled the mission of the church by developing students

spiritually, academically and socially in Kern County.

Garces Memorial traces its origins to the very early days

of Catholic education in Kern County. In 1910 the Sisters

of Mercy founded St. Frances Elementary School in the

basement of St. Francis Church on Truxton Avenue. In 1926

a new two-story school building was built next to the

convent. As the years passed, Pastor Leo Beacon and the

Sisters began planning a high school that would utilize a

vacant second floor in the school building.

A 9th grade was added in 1940, followed by 10th and

11th grades the following two years. The addition of a senior

class for the 1943-44 school year marked the beginning of

a fully functioning high school and generated tremendous

excitement in the community. Students made their first

strides in competitive athletics and mounted a successful

comedy production. A new science lab was outfitted and

biology was added to the curriculum. A business department

was started with classes in typewriting, and the students

enjoyed several dances.

The need for a central Catholic high school serving all of

Bakersfield soon became evident and a decision was made to

build and conduct a high school modeled on the success

of San Joaquin Memorial High School in Fresno. The Sisters

would teach the girls and the Brothers of the Christian

Schools would teach the boys.

In 1945 the Kern County Land Company sold the

diocese a forty-acre plot in a new residential area called

La Cresta for the sum of five dollars. Ground was broken

for a new central Catholic high school and, in 1947,

Garces Memorial High School opened as a co-educational,

interparochial high school with an enrollment of 150

students. The new school was named for Padre Francisco

Garces, a Franciscan missionary who was the first European

to enter the area known today as Bakersfield.

The high school continued to grow and develop for a

number of years until a major crisis developed in 1970.

Because of a drastic decrease in vocations, the Christian

Brothers announced they could no longer staff the school.

Due to the anticipated cost of filling this void with lay

staff, it appeared that the school would be forced to close.

However, a committee of concerned parents and other

members of the Catholic community committed themselves

to keeping the school open.

The school has continued to advance in recent years, both

academically and by expanding and modernizing its facilities.

Garces Memorial High Schools remains committed to its

mission of instilling in every student the courage to act with

faith, knowledge, compassion and justice.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

208


Getting veterans what they have earned is the mission

of the Kern County Veterans Service Department. The

Department provides no-cost services to veterans, their

dependents and survivors. These services include counseling,

advice, and assistance regarding rights, benefits, and

privileges available to veterans under federal, state, and local

laws, regulations and policies.

The Kern County Board of Supervisors established

the Veterans Service Department in 1944, during World

War II. The goal remains the same today as when it

was established—assist veterans, their dependents, and

survivors in obtaining the benefits they earned through their

military service.

“Because we see about 1,000 to 1,500 clients a month, we

know what strategies work and what strategies don’t work

when it comes to helping a veteran,” explains Dick Taylor,

the county’s Veterans Services Officer, who serves as director

for the Department. Taylor, a Bakersfield native who served

in the U.S. Marine Corps, adds that with the help of his

department, veterans can reduce the likelihood of having

to redo a claim.

Another service offered by the Kern County Veterans

Service Department is help with education for the families

of veterans. The California College Fee Waiver Program

benefits the children of U.S. veterans who have a service

connected disability. Students meeting the eligibility criteria

may get their college tuition-type fees waived if they attend

a California community college, a California State University,

or a University of California campus.

The Department can also provide information about

nonservice-connected ‘Pension with Aid and Attendance’,

a needs-based benefit for war-era veterans or their surviving

spouses. This benefit provides income for those in need

of assistance with the activities of daily life, whether through

in-home care or an assisted living facility. Not all will qualify,

but for those who do, it can be a life changing benefit.

The Department also assists veterans with many other

issues, including compensation for the veteran and family,

pensions for war-era veterans, death benefits for survivors,

dependent allowances, requests for military records and

decorations and much more.

Veterans, by nature, grow accustomed to moving through

life without complaints. Duty, sacrifice and suffering in

silence are all heroic qualities, yet also can keep veterans

from receiving support they need, deserve and earn. The

Kern County Veterans Service Department reaches out

with open arms to the distinguished veterans in our area.

“Everyone that works in this office truly has a servant’s

heart and wants to help veterans,” Taylor says. “We really

love to serve in that capacity; it’s really a joy and an honor.”

The Kern County Veterans Service Department is located

at 1120 Golden State Avenue in Bakersfield. For additional

information, visit the website at www.co.kern.ca.us/veterans.

KERN COUNTY VETERANS

SERVICE DEPARTMENT

÷

Left: Ceremonies commemorating significant events are held at the Kern

County Veterans Service Department. Our community is very supportive of

our veterans as shown in this photo from our November 10, 2015,

commemoration of the Marine Corps birthday.

Below: The Kern County Veterans Service Department was established in

1944 during World War II to serve our veteran community. The office sits

on the same parcel of land as the original building, and now occupies the

structure which was once the Kern County Personnel Office in the 1970s.

QUALITY OF LIFE

209


PETROLEUM CLUB

OF BAKERSFIELD

÷

Above: The Stockdale Tower, in Bakersfield, California.

Below: Thomas J. Fitzgerald was the Petroleum Club’s first president.

The Petroleum Club of Bakersfield has a

rich history with ties not only to the oil

industry, but the agricultural, financial, and

legal community as well. The club is the

gathering place of leaders from young to

mature, with a philosophy that reflects a

commitment to excellence in all facets. The

Petroleum Club is a group that gets things

done—with people you can count on.

The club was formed in 1952 by founding

board members George L. Bradford, a landman

and real estate developer; geologists

William D. ‘Bill’ Kleinpell, John H. Beach,

and Everett W. Pease. Thomas J. Fitzgerald,

a geologist and engineer with Gene Reid

Drilling, was the club’s first president.

The primary purpose of the club was to aid in the

association and fellowship of men connected with

the petroleum industry and to encourage and sponsor

new ideas, which would benefit the oil industry as

a whole and provide men possessing special talents

with recognition.

The club originally held its meetings at the Bakersfield

Inn from 1952 to 1969. The club then moved to the

Elk’s Lodge at 1600 Thirtieth Street next to the Garces

Circle, meeting there from 1970 to 1985. From 1985 to

1993 the club was located downtown in the Bell Tower,

a converted church in Old Church Plaza. From 1993 to

2002 the club was located in the old Cask & Cleaver

Restaurant on Truxtun Avenue. In 2003 the move was made

to the current location on the top floor of the Stockdale

Tower, the tallest building in Bakersfield.

“The club truly is a point of light for the city,”

comments current President Dave Plivelich. “I’ve lived in

Bakersfield since 1981 and the one thing that always

amazes me about this community is how connected the

people are here, and how down to earth it is.”

Prior to the move to the Stockdale Tower, club membership

totaled around 200. By 2014, membership had risen to

1,140. Weakness in the oil economy dropped membership

to around 950 in 2015, but the club has begun to see

an increase because of a wider variety of associations in

its membership.

Under the leadership of Plivelich, the club has become

the center point for all community leaders and represents

not only the oil industry but a wider variety of associations,

people and businesses. The Petroleum Club is extremely

supportive of local nonprofits and also hosts an annual

golf tournament, which provides scholarships for future

petroleum engineers. The club hosts many civic service

clubs’ meetings, including Rotary, Kiwanis, and Petroleum

Wives of Bakersfield, as well as serving as a premier location

for wedding receptions, class reunions, celebrations and

business presentations.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

210


The prologue leading to Hall Ambulance Service’s fortyfive-year

history started on a dare—literally. Working as an

orderly at Mercy Hospital in 1960, Harvey L. Hall ran into a

friend employed as an ambulance attendant. A conversation

ensued and the acquaintance dared Hall to go for a ride

along. The experience was so exhilarating; he changed his

career path and for the next ten years learned every facet of

the ambulance industry.

Hall yearned to establish his own service based on his

expectations and vision for building the best ambulance company

in America. This included how a customer should be

treated; why it is important to present yourself in proper uniform;

arriving at the medical aid request in an ambulance that

is showroom clean; and how you can make your customer’s

day better by exhibiting compassion for their situation.

With a $15,000 bank loan, two ambulances, and his

personal residence serving as headquarters, Hall Ambulance

Service commenced business on February 10, 1971.

As a Bakersfield-based company, Hall Ambulance has

purposely limited expansion to Kern County, so that they

may fully serve those in their immediate community. For

Hall, it comes down to a commitment that there never be an

unmet need for emergency medical transportation services

in the communities served by his company.

This philosophy has worked well for Hall Ambulance

Service, with several communities inviting him to become

their 911 paramedic provider, often times, when the previous

company would cease operations. Other opportunities

came through acquisitions.

Looking back at forty-five years of EMS milestones,

you can see the progress of the company split across

the decades. The 1970s brought an elevated level of care

when Hall launched the first mobile intensive care paramedic

program in Kern County. His first expansions took place

in Arvin (1975), Lamont (1976), Frazier Park (1978), and

Tehachapi (1979).

The 1980s saw the implementation of specially

configured EMS vehicles to support ambulance

operations. This included the deployment of the

first paramedic field supervisor units (1984), and

the county’s first private mobile medical communications

unit (1985).

During the 1990s, Hall Ambulance expanded its

footprint across Kern County, with service to the east

Kern communities of Mojave, Rosamond, California

City, and Boron (1994). Hall purchased Taft

Ambulance (1995), followed by Shafter Ambulance

(1999) when their respective owners retired.

Perhaps the key milestone for the company

occurred in the summer of 1999 when Hall

Ambulance became Bakersfield’s sole 911 paramedic provider

after purchasing Golden Empire Ambulance’s EOA 5 permit.

As Hall entered the twenty-first century, the company

focused its efforts on embracing technology to save lives,

and the addition of air ambulance (2001) and critical care

transport services (2009).

In 2014, Hall Ambulance expanded service towards the

northwest portion of Kern County, with the acquisition of

Kern Ambulance, serving the city of Wasco.

To commemorate Hall Ambulance’s forty-fifth anniversary,

artist Chuck Caplinger produced a nine by sixty-foot

mural depicting highlights of the company’s history, which

celebrates the accomplishments of Harvey L. Hall, widely

respected as a pioneer of modern EMS in California.

÷

HALL AMBULANCE

SERVICE, INC.

Top, left: The forty-fifth anniversary paramedic ambulances feature a

commemorative paint scheme that includes each of the company’s service

areas featured in the checkerboard design.

Above: Founder and President Harvey L. Hall, and his wife, Lavonne,

celebrate forty-five years of providing exemplary paramedic ambulance

service to Bakersfield and the majority of Kern County.

QUALITY OF LIFE

211


LINKS FOR LIFE

÷

Right: Sharyn Woods, founder and volunteer CEO from 1992 til 2010.

Below: Lace’n It Up for Links for Life to kick-off Breast Cancer

Awareness month.

What began with

a golf tournament to

raise funds for mammograms

has grown into

a solid organization,

which assists thousands

of Kern County women

and men with breast

cancer issues each year.

Links for Life was

established in 1992 by

a group of ten local

women who wanted to

create an organization

catering to the specific

breast health needs of

women (and men) in Kern County. The driving forces

behind creation of Links for Life were Sharyn Woods and

co-founder Carol Barraza. Sharyn served as the unpaid,

volunteer CEO of the organization for eighteen years before

passing away from pancreatic cancer.

Links for Life provides funding for clinical breast services

for any underinsured or uninsured person under the age

of forty. Additional support programs include a wig

boutique, breast cancer support groups, and a cancer

resource library. Links for Life also provides breast cancer

health education and outreach throughout Kern County.

Many of these programs target rural areas and minority

populations in order to provide early detection, treatment,

and general breast health information.

Links for Life has provided more than 3,500 wigs, funded

3,600 mammograms and 5,600 ultrasounds, and 442 needle

biopsies for underinsured and uninsured women in Kern

County, diagnosing thirty-seven women with breast cancer

who would otherwise had gone without treatment.

When state health officials made significant cuts to

breast screening services for low income women in 2009,

changing the coverage for breast screening from the age

of forty to fifty, Links for Life Executive Director Jennifer

Henry decided to do something about it. She urged the

board of directors to dedicate an additional $100,000

toward mammograms ultrasounds, and needle biopsies for

Kern County women.

Eleven months later, “The state reinstated the ‘Every

Woman Counts’ program to provide diagnostic screening

for women over forty,” Henry says. “That means Links for

Life is able to use our funds to pay for mammograms

for women under forty.” While the funding was frozen for

women in their forties, Links for Life diagnosed eleven

women with breast cancer. With the diagnosis they were able

to receive treatment.

Education and awareness of breast health and early

detection of breast cancer are key to improving survival rates

from breast cancer. Links for Life’s education and outreach

volunteers are passionate about educating the community

about the importance of breast health and go throughout

the community speaking and educating the public.

A breast cancer support group which meets on the first

Tuesday of each month averages twenty-five women who range

from those newly diagnosed to twenty-plus year survivors.

Links for Life is supported by contributions and revenue

from the Sharyn Woods Memorial Pro-Am Golf Tournament

and Gala, Lace’n It Up walks, the Paint the Town Pink fashion

show, grants, and donations from many philanthropic

local businesses. Links for Life is the only breast cancer

organization located in Kern County, where 100 percent

of funds raised stay in Kern County to assist women and

families facing this dreaded disease.

For more information about Links for Life, check the

website at www.linksforlife.org.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

212


The Boys & Girls Club of Kern County provides academic

support, enrichment, and social bonding activities through

after-school programs and summer camps. The club is

focused on an established youth development strategy

based on five core programming areas: character and

leadership, education and career development, health and

life skills, the arts, and sports, fitness and recreation.

More than 600 youth development professionals work

with over 7,000 school age club members on a daily basis.

Participants come from a broad socio-economic level; from

children living in homelessness to affluence.

The organization was initially established in 1966 by

local community leaders as the Boys Club of Bakersfield to

serve young men in the community. The activities were

hosted in a small warehouse and served twenty-five boys

with such activities as pool, ping-pong, and craft classes.

As the program evolved and served more young men, the

activities moved several times, finally settling down in a

small church in East Bakersfield in the late 1970s.

Recognizing the club also served the sisters of many of the

young men, the name was formally changed to the Boys

& Girls Club of Bakersfield in the mid-1980s.

The club was initially operated with a ‘gym and swim’ for

boys philosophy. In fifty years, it has transformed to be the

largest Boys & Girls Club in the nation with programs that

enrich, educate, and sustain lives. Statistics demonstrate that

‘Club Kids’ score higher than their peers in both

reading and math, and 100 percent of the teens

graduate from high school with a plan for the future.

In 1995 the club secured a $1 million grant

from the California Youth Authority and raised

another $650,000 to build a new facility to house

its growing membership. A local couple—Jack

and Monica Armstrong—invested thousands of

dollars of their own money to purchase land for

the club to ensure members had access to such amenities

as computer lab, art studio, library and teen center.

The Jack and Monica Armstrong Youth Center opened in

1997 and continues to be the hub of the club’s operations,

serving more than 200 children daily.

In 2000 a partnership was established with Bakersfield

City School District to deliver programs on school campuses

when school is not in session. The programs grew exponentially

over the next years and the Lamont Boys & Girls

Club was established with seed money from Kern County.

The next club established was the Boys &

Girls Club of Frazier Mountain. The club

was then asked to organize programs with

the Delano School District and, at this point,

the name was officially changed to Boys &

Girls Clubs of Kern County.

As of 2016 the Boys & Girls Club facilitates

sixty-two after-school programs at separate

locations in partnership with Bakersfield

City School District, Lamont School District,

Arvin School District, DiGeorgio School

District, Vineland, General Shafter, Beardsley

and Standard School Districts.

The main headquarters is at 801 Niles

Street. The club also hosts freestanding club

houses in Southwest Bakersfield and Lamont.

BOYS & GIRLS CLUB

OF KERN COUNTY

QUALITY OF LIFE

213


÷

It is not a fiesta without a mariachi band to fill the air with the folkloric sounds of Mexico.

Performers dress in traditional Charro attire and in place of a bolo tie, wear a large red bow on their chest.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

214


The Marketplace

Bakersfield’s retail and commercial establishments offer an impressive variety of choices

Kern Federal Credit Union...................................................................................216

Tel-Tec Security Systems, Inc. ..............................................................................220

Luigi’s Restaurant & Old World Delicatessen ..........................................................222

Canteen of Coastal California, Inc. .......................................................................224

Galbraith Van & Storage .....................................................................................226

Young Wooldridge, LLP ........................................................................................228

Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce .............................................................230

Kern County Black Chamber of Commerce ..............................................................231

North of the River Chamber of Commerce ...............................................................232

Visit Bakersfield.................................................................................................233

Bakersfield Downtown Business Association.............................................................234

Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace .................................................................................235

Carney’s Business Technology Center .....................................................................236

Kern Schools Federal Credit Union ........................................................................237

Guitar Masters ..................................................................................................238

Hodel’s Country Dining .......................................................................................239

Bakersfield Condors ............................................................................................240

Valley Gun, Inc. .................................................................................................241

Dewar’s Soda Fountain and Fine Candies................................................................242

Emporium Western Store......................................................................................243

Valley Republic Bank...........................................................................................244

KGET, Telemundo and the CW Bakersfield ..............................................................245

Smith’s Bakeries .................................................................................................246

Gregory Iger’s Photographic Art, Inc.

dba Iger Studio .............................................................................................247

THE MARKETPLACE

215


KERN FEDERAL

CREDIT UNION

Kern Federal Credit Union was organized in February

1949 by a small group of county employees looking for a

better way to save, borrow and invest their money.

The effort to establish a credit union was led by Howard

Delamore, who had recently retired as a Kern County

firefighter. Two years earlier, Delamore had successfully

organized the first Firefighters Union in Kern County,

a forerunner of the IAFF Local 1301. He was recruited by

several of his colleagues to investigate the possibility of a

credit union.

The first ‘vault’ for the credit union was the trunk of a

Kern County Sheriff’s Department cruiser and all operations

were done by volunteers on weekends around a kitchen

table. Deposits were taken and loan decisions were made by

county employees for county employees and their families.

Formation of KFCU provided employees of Kern County

with a strong financial foundation and the ability to borrow

for such large ticket items as homes and automobiles. It also

provided a safe place for them to save for their future.

KFCU was founded on the core principle of people

helping people, following the lead of a network of grass

roots financial institutions across the county, giving buying

and saving power to the common individual.

A credit union is similar to a bank in that it offers

financial services and savings that are federally insured.

However, there are a few key differences: credit unions

are owned by their members, like a co-operative, while

bank customers do not own any shares in the financial

institution. Credit unions are run by a volunteer board of

directors. Credit unions also are not-for-profit, which

means KFCU works to put profits back in the pockets

of its members—in the form of low rates on loans and

special discounts.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

216


In February 1980, KFCU moved into a building at

1717 Truxtun Avenue, the current home of the credit

union’s downtown branch and administrative operations.

KFCU’s first and—so far—only female CEO, DeAnn Straub,

began as a teller in 1972 and was one of only thirteen

employees at the time. She took over as CEO in 1994

after then CEO Fred Doering’s battle with cancer forced

him to leave the credit union. Straub retired in July 2015

after forty-three years of continuous service.

KFCU offers a wide array of checking and savings

options for its members, including basic, plus, and fresh

start checking, savings accounts, money market accounts,

share certificates and IRA accounts. Loans are available for

homes and autos, along with lines of credit, MasterCard

credit cards, home equity loans, and home equity lines

of credit.

Kern Federal now has $232 million in assets. It has

20,000 members and employs sixty-five people. In addition

to the main location on Truxtun Avenue, there is a

Riverlakes branch at 4180 Coffee Road.

KFCU is governed by a board of directors composed of

a volunteer group of members elected by the membership

to determine basic policies and plan for the credit union’s

future direction. The current board is comprised of Chairman

Steve Long; Vice Chairman Margo Raison; Treasurer John

Devlin; Secretary Jackie Denney; and Directors Guy Greenlee,

Glenn Basconcillo, and Debbie Stevenson.

THE MARKETPLACE

217


A supervisory committee—also a volunteer group—is

responsible for ensuring that government regulations and

Board polices, as well as good business and accounting

practices, are followed by the credit union. Lito Morillo is

chairman of the supervisory committee and Bret Black and

Ginny Krebs are members of the committee.

The CEO of Kern Federal is Brandon Ivie, who assumed

the position in 2015. Ivie is a graduate of the University of

Oregon and has worked in credit unions for twenty-five

years, starting as a part-time teller while in college. “I never

believed I would stay in credit unions once I graduated from

college, but I was offered a position in the accounting

department while still in school and since I was a starving

college student and it was more money, I jumped at it,”

he recalls. “I soon realized that I loved the family atmosphere

of credit unions and had found my calling.”

Ivie worked for three of the largest credit unions in

Eugene, Oregon, and later in Sacramento as he moved up

in his career. He joined Kern Federal in 2013 as CFO.

Ivie and his wife, Mercedes, have two children, Mercedes

(named for her mom) and Daniel.

Kern Federal Credit Union takes pride in its commitment

to Kern County. With strong alliances with the Kern County

Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the North of River

Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of

Commerce, the Kern County Black Chamber of Commerce

and the Downtown Business Association, KFCU is prepared

to support business owners in the area and improve the

financial wellbeing of the consumers who make the local

economy run.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

218


KFCU is also dedicated to financial literacy and devotes

countless hours each year to teaching high school students

and young parents the ins-and-outs of household finance.

The credit union has donated hundreds of thousands of

dollars to local charitable institutions whose missions are

to improve the welfare of Kern County residents. The credit

union is a strong supporter of CASA, the Kern County

Museum, Dress for Success, Cal State University

Bakersfield, Community Action Partnership of Kern County,

the Dolores Huerta Foundation, CARE, Relay for Life and

dozens of others. The mission is to improve the county

and to support charities and organizations that do the

most good.

KFCU is passionate about serving Kern County and all its

residents and feels it is imperative that its membership reflect

the county’s diverse and growing population. Kern Federal

will not let language, socio-economic status or city of residence

be a barrier between potential members and their

ability to receive low cost financial services, education, and

counseling. Through community outreach, financial education,

a strong online presence, and a diverse and welcoming staff,

KFCU pledges to be a financial haven for every resident of

Kern County. Kern Federal Credit Union is truly here to serve.

To learn more about the Kern Federal Credit Union and

details of the many programs it offers, check the website at

www.kernfcu.org.

THE MARKETPLACE

219


TEL-TEC SECURITY

SYSTEMS, INC.

÷

Above: Tel-Tec Security Systems' executive team (left to right): Vice President

of Technology, Owen Freeman; Vice President of Operations and Finance,

Patrick Bergin; President Morgan Clayton; and Director of Operations,

Brian Humes.

Below: Morgan Clayton in the beginning years.

A passion for design and determination to do more was

the driving force behind the vision for Tel-Tec Security

Systems, Inc., a Bakersfield security firm specializing in

custom security designs and integrating systems.

Tel-Tec Security Systems, Inc., was founded in 1982 by

Morgan E. Clayton, who possessed the energy and dedication

to make his vision a reality. Several key individuals joined

in Clayton’s journey, including Virgil Correl, Steve Park,

Bruce Clayton, Pat Bergin, Chris Taylor and Owen Freeman.

“An action plan with a mission and the right people was

a requirement for survival during the inception of the

business,” Clayton explains. “Failure was not an option and

the key words were ‘follow through’. The development of the

brand was essential and it was imperative a good impression

was left with each customer. Customer development was

accomplished by referrals, which had to be earned. I’ve

always believed that people do business with people they

know, they like and they trust.”

Today, Tel-Tec is an independent security firm, which

provides security solutions for thousands of clients. Tel-Tec

designs, installs, services and maintains enterprise level

security and life safety solutions. All products sold in relation

to fire, burglary, access control and cameras are installed with

the discretion of certified and experienced designers.

“Our goal is providing quality security, service and peace

of mind,” Clayton says. “We are a full service company and

we monitor the products we install through our 24/7 UL

listed monitoring center. With more than thirty-four years in

the security business, we have the competency and proven

past performance to manage various security projects.

“Our streamlined organization provides efficiency through

clean, simple and effective processes and communication,”

Clayton continues. “We have flexibility and adjust quickly

and dynamically to unanticipated requirements. We are a

local business with capabilities and experience that rivals the

performance of much larger firms.”

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

220


Tel-Tec has never been a job for Clayton; it is a lifestyle.

Putting his vision into action was never something that could

be evaluated by calculating the number of hours he invested.

Clayton showed up daily to live and share his passion with

others. He believes “there is no such thing as retirement when

you are passionate and love what you do each day.”

The success of his security business has allowed Clayton

to have greater involvement in the community and he serves

on a number of local boards and sponsors events to aide local

nonprofits that serve youth and families.

In 1998, Clayton attended the Bakersfield Business

Conference, an annual conference where nationally known

speakers discuss the business and political issues that

affect our world. After hearing General Colin L. Powell speak

on the story of America’s promise, Clayton developed

the visionary idea of founding a local youth conference

planned by young people for youth to give them a

voice and provide a forum in which to discuss issues

that impact teens. Planning for the Leaders in Life Youth

Conference began in 1999 with about fifty students

and adults. In 2000 the first conference was held with

approximately 500 students. The sixteenth annual Leaders

in Life Youth Conference was held in 2015, with more than

2,000 students attending.

Conference participants are educated about issues that are

important to them so they can make healthy and informed

decisions regarding drug and alcohol use, future career

exploration, and youth advocacy. The students are motivated

to help others make positive decisions.

Looking to the future, Tel-Tec Security Systems will

continue to reinvest in the community while building upon

its vision to expand with the demands of the industry. Its

creative and talented team of security experts who are

dedicated to the mission of providing peace of mind will

continue to propel the vision of a quality product backed by

quality service.

÷

Above: President of Tel-Tec Security Systems, Inc., Morgan Clayton.

Below: Morgan Clayton with his family.

THE MARKETPLACE

221


LUIGI’S RESTAURANT &

OLD WORLD DELICATESSEN

Luigi’s and Lemucchi Grocery has been at its present

location since 1910 and is one of Bakersfield’s oldest

continuously family-operated businesses. Joe Lemucchi, the

founder of the business, came to California from Lucca,

Italy, and started his original café on Summer Street in

1905. Joe’s nickname was ‘Biondo’ or Curley, and the

business was first named Curley’s Café.

Joe married Emelia Deguili, also an Italian immigrant,

and the couple moved in 1910 to the present location of

the business at 725 East Nineteenth Street. The original

store had family quarters in the rear where the couple’s four

children; Louis, Lena, Harry and Helen were born.

The early business featured a grocery, café, bakery, and

gasoline station. Nineteenth Street was the main thoroughfare

between Bakersfield and the then town of Sumner. The

streetcar line from Bakersfield extended east on Nineteenth

Street and terminated at the Southern Pacific Depot on

Baker Street. East Nineteenth Street also ended at the

Lemucchi Store, merging into Edison Highway, which

became the main highway exiting and entering Bakersfield

on the east side. Joe catered to the many Italian immigrant

families who came to Kern County in the early 1900s.

Some lived in the immediate neighborhood while many

were engaged in farming and drove in for their groceries.

The grocery store featured domestic and imported goods.

At the rear of his store, Joe constructed several small

cottages or apartments, which were rented by bachelor

Italian immigrants. Late afternoon and weekends would

find groups of immigrants out back of the store under

the grape arbor discussing the latest news and world events

in Italian.

The café and grocery store were always lively places

with visiting and shopping being conducted in several

languages. The now famous Luigi sandwich originated in

the café where Joe and Emelia always had fresh stew, pasta,

and minestrone for hungry customers. Small, but intimate

in the back corner of the grocery, the café was always a

popular gathering spot.

After Joe’s death, Emelia and her son, Louis (Luigi) continued

the business. The bar was added next to the old store

and the restaurant expanded into a building to the east.

In the 1920s and 1930s, the concrete and steel structure now

housing the restaurant was rented by Shell Oil Company

and at one time was their Kern County headquarters.

The newly expanded bar and restaurant were name

‘Luigi’s. Luigi was an incessant collector of photos and

sports memorabilia and he covered the walls of his business

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

222


with photos of local athletes spanning more than eight

decades. The photos displayed on the walls constitute

only a small portion of Luigi’s pictorial collection. The

pictures in Luigi’s are a constant attraction to multiple

generations of Kern County patrons who return frequently

to view favored photos with a friend, relative or member of

a new generation.

Since the death of Luigi in 1989, Luigi’s has been operated

by a new generation of the Lemucchi family: Tonia

Valpredo; Monte Valpredo; daughters, Monica and Lanette;

and son, Gino are the third and fourth generations of the

family to operate the popular East Bakersfield establishment.

“We’ve tried to continue the atmosphere and delicious

food that have made Luigi’s so popular over the years,” says

Gino. “We’ve tried to update the facilities but keep the

traditional feel of the family restaurant.”

A walk-in wine cellar was added in 2001, and the

Wine Shop at Luigi’s has become a popular destination for

knowledgeable wine enthusiasts. Lanette Valpredo Caratan,

a certified sommelier, runs the Wine Shop and is always

available to help customers select just the right wine to pair

with various menus. Lanette’s passion is old-world Italian

wines, but she is also an expert on the many fine California

wines produced in the region. Wine dinners and weekend

wine tastings are a popular feature of the Wine Shop.

Another popular section of Luigi’s is an authentic,

old-world delicatessen reminiscent of the store operated

by Joe a century ago. The deli features genuine Italian

prosciutto and salami, along with

dozens of other selections and seventyfive

different types of cheese. “All the

food is fresh and never pre-packaged,”

Gino explains. “We try to emulate the

great delicatessens you would find in

San Francisco or New York.”

Luigi’s is open for lunch Tuesday

through Saturday, and the Deli and

Wine Shop are open the same days

from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. In the

evening the restaurant is available for

special events or private parties, with

delicious food and drink catered by

Luigi’s chef and staff. Off-premises

catering is also available.

Luigi’s currently employs forty-five

people including five descendants of

Joe and Emelia. Several members of

the staff have been with the restaurant

for twenty-five years or longer.

Gino and others members of the

family feel an obligation to continue the

tradition established by their ancestors

110 years ago. “We preach consistency

in the kitchen and we are all focused

on customer service,” comments Gino.

“We take pride in keeping Luigi’s among

the most popular restaurants, delis and

wine stores in Bakersfield.”

THE MARKETPLACE

223


CANTEEN OF COASTAL

CALIFORNIA, INC.

Canteen of Coastal California, Inc., a full-line vending

service company, is a family operated business with an

emphasis on excellent customer service.

The company was founded by

Gerald A. ‘Scotty’ Scott, a native

of Nebraska. He served on a mine

sweeper in the North Atlantic

during World War II. After the

war, he met and married Dorothy

Blizzard in Maryland and they

moved to California.

In 1951, Scotty began working

for a vending machine company

called Canteen and this

job led to his life-long career.

Although he was not highly educated, he was able to work

his way through the ranks of Canteen Corporation through

his work habits, attitude, honesty, and integrity, eventually

becoming the general manager of the Bay Area operation

in northern California.

In 1972, Scotty bought a small vending franchise, moved

his family to Oxnard and named his fledgling business

Canteen of Coastal California, Inc. The operation began in

one-half of a two-car garage with only thirteen accounts,

but Scotty enlisted his family’s support and the business

began to grow and moved to a warehouse in Ventura.

As a full-service vending service company, Canteen of

Coastal California, Inc., can meet all its customer’s requirements

including soft drink vending machines, vending machines for

coffee, candy and other snacks, as well as vending machines

with healthy food and beverage alternatives. Micro Markets are

the newest innovation in refreshment services and provide a

convenience store environment right in your place of business.

Canteen of Coastal California, Inc., with more than 1,300

accounts, 4,700 vending machines and nearly 100 Micro

Markets, has grown to become the largest vending operation in

Kern, Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo Counties.

The success of the canteen company has allowed the

Scott family to become very active in local philanthropies

and civic organizations. Long before there was a campus—

or even a name—for Ventura County’s four-year public university,

the Scott family was championing it. Early supporters

of the university since the 1970s, Scotty and Dotty passed

that zeal on to their children; Jerry, Mark, and Andrea.

Today, the family is a major sponsor of scholarships, events

and other gifts, providing assistance personally and through

their business. “Cal State Channel Islands is an asset to the

community,” says Dotty. “When you support the university,

you’re supporting the entire community.”

“As business owners, we have a stake in creating a

healthy community and business environment in Ventura

County,” adds Vice President and General Manager Jerry

Scott. “By investing in CI, we can be part of the effort to

create a more highly skilled, educated workforce and to

attract and retain businesses to our region.”

The Scotts and Canteen of Coastal California, Inc. are

keen contributors to CI, providing everything from scholarships

and sponsorship funds to water, sodas and snacks for

campus relays and other events. They also recently became

the lead donors for the Founder’s Court, CI’s newest

fundraising initiative to launch an intercollegiate athletics

program. Avid golf and sports enthusiasts, the family looks

forward to contributing to another significant step in

CI’s advancement.

“An athletic program is something that will really promote

health and wellness and build on CI’s culture of camaraderie

and community partnership,” Jerry says. “We love

seeing how beautifully the campus has transformed and

knowing that something tangible is happening as a result of

our involvement.”

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

224


Along with their three children, Scotty and Dotty established

the Scott Family Endowed Scholarship, which

sponsors students in their studies at CI.

The Scott family supports causes ranging from children’s

charities and food banks to cancer research, cultural institutions

and education. The Scotts want to make educational

opportunities available to deserving students in the community.

Among the organizations supported by the Scotts are

AAKP, American Cancer Society, Big Brothers & Big Sisters,

Boys & Girls Clubs, Channel Islands, Camarillo Healthcare

District, Camarillo Family YMCA, Carnegie Art Museum,

Casa Pacifica, Cato Institute, Dave & Bob’s Foster Children’s

Fund, Dogs for the Deaf, Easter Seals, Food Share,

Foundation for Retarded Citizens, Hospice, Intercollegiate

Studies Institute, Interface Family Services, Katrina Relief

Fund, KCET-TV, La Rena High School, Meals on Wheels,

Military World Games, Moorpark College Baseball Team,

Mount Vernon and the Rotary Club of Camarillo.

Jerry is a committed member of the Camarillo Rotary

Club and served as its president. The Scott family

established the Rotary Vocational Scholarship in Scotty’s

honor to help others who share the same desire to prove

that through perseverance, hard work and dedication,

they also can become successful.

Scotty passed away in 2006 after a long illness but the

business is still family-owned and operated. His wife, Dotty,

is still involved in daily operations, and their sons Jerry

and Mark, daughter, Andrea, and daughter-in-law, Loretta

are all involved in the business. Their grandmother, Nellie

Blizzard, worked in the office until she was ninety-seven.

THE MARKETPLACE

225


GALBRAITH

VAN & STORAGE

÷

Right: A vintage horse-drawn wagon used by Bekins Moving and

Storage Company.

Below: The original building of Galbraith Van & Storage.

Galbraith Van & Storage was founded in 1912, the same

year New Mexico and Arizona were admitted to the Union,

the first streetcars took to the streets of San Francisco,

and the Titanic set sail on its maiden—and final—voyage.

Galbraith Van & Storage has been family owned and operated

for over 100 years and is now in its fourth generation.

Things were far different in 1912 when George H.

Galbraith started his moving company with horses and

wagons and two ‘auto trucks’. “George used to move

commodities to the railroads with a team of horses and

wagons when everything began,” explains the company’s

current owner, Ben Geissel.

Much of the company’s early business involved transporting

agricultural products but Galbraith was soon ready to

branch out into other areas and decided to get into moving

and storage. Galbraith became the first company to sign on

as agents for Bekins Van Lines, which became the industry

leader for several decades.

George managed the business for some time before passing

it on to his son, Jack, following World War II. Jack had

been a prisoner of the Japanese during the war and somehow

managed to survive the infamous Bataan Death March.

During the time Jack was running the company, the first

Geissel family member entered the picture—Ken Geissel,

who was married to Jack’s niece, Sue. Ken was working

as a draftsman for Standard Oil when he decided to take

some time off to investigate the opportunities in the moving

and storage business. Ken liked what he saw and never

returned to Standard Oil. Ken eventually became a partner

in the company. Sue also joined the company, serving as

bookkeeper for many years.

“She was the bookkeeper, but basically did anything that

needed to be done,” Ben recalls. “The same thing went for

my dad. He was president and head of operations, but he

was also the truck maintenance guy when they needed it,

the broom pusher, you name it. At one point, they were the

two people holding the business together.”

Over time, Ken and Sue managed to build a strong staff

of dedicated employees and the company developed a

family-like atmosphere that continues today. Debbie

Fullerton has been with the company more than thirty

years. An integral part of the company, Ben has seen a lot of

changes over the years.

“When I started, there were only two warehouses and

now we have three,” Ben remembers. “One of the traditions

that will always hold true for Galbraith Van & Storage is

that everyone is treated like family. If anyone is struggling,

we try to get everyone to chip in and help out. Holidays

and birthdays are always celebrated; we know each other’s

children and have watched them grow up together. We are

definitely more like family than co-workers,” Ben remarks.

Galbraith Van & Storage was the agent for Bekins Van

Lines nearly seventy-two years, but became North American

Van Lines agents twenty years ago in 1995.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

226


Galbraith Van & Storage is a professional, full service

moving company, offering relocations from any point in

Bakersfield, Kern County, the U.S., or anywhere in the

world. Over the years, Galbraith has helped thousands of

families and businesses move to a new home or relocate to

Bakersfield. The firm was one of the major movers for State

Farm Insurance when the company opened a regional office

in Bakersfield. Galbraith was the firm entrusted with moving

the Kern County Hall of Records, and Galbraith moved the

Bakersfield National Cemetery administrative offices on the

day of its dedication by the Secretary of the Interior in 2011.

Galbraith also stores sensitive documents for doctors,

lawyers or anyone who needs reliable, safe keeping of

their records.

Galbraith Van & Storage has Pro Mover status with the

American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA) and is an

accredited business with the BBB, enjoying an A+ rating.

Galbraith is deeply involved in the community and takes

its responsibilities very seriously. The company has

partnered with United Way of Kern County and the

Bakersfield Condors for fifteen years to collect and transport

the stuffed animals that are donated at the annual

‘Teddy Bear Toss’. The company also partners with Habitat

for Humanity to move Habitat families into their new homes

and hauled truckloads of Ikea goods from the distribution

center to Habitat’s Restore facility.

Galbraith has also partnered with Guarantee Shoe Center

for twenty years, helping with the annual shoe drive that

helps the Bakersfield Homeless Center. For twenty years,

the firm has donated cartons and material annually to the

American Legion for their holiday food baskets and has

delivered 26,000 pounds of clothing and supplies donated

by the city of Bakersfield for the victims of hurricane

Katrina in Louisiana. Galbraith has also moved veterans of

Kern County gratis in partnership with the Wounded

Heroes of Kern County.

Sue was chairman of the board of the California Moving

and Storage Association (CMSA) in 1996. Ken and Ben

both served on the board of directors of the CMSA for

many years and through this association the company has

supported the Special Olympics of Southern California.

After more than a century of business, the success

of Galbraith Van & Storage is clearly explained in the

company’s motto: “People Make the Difference.”

÷

Left: A Large Galbraith Van & Storage moving truck parked outside of a

home in a residential neighborhood.

Bottom, left: A side view of a Galbraith Van & Storage small moving van.

Below: Ken and Sue Geissel.

THE MARKETPLACE

227


YOUNG WOOLDRIDGE, LLP

÷

Clockwise, starting from the top left:

Co-founder John Young in the late 1950s. Young, with a farming background,

represented a number of local agricultural clients and played a key role in

establishing the firm’s water department that now represents over twenty-five

water districts and public agencies throughout California.

Co-founder Joe Wooldridge working in his office in the late 1950s.

Wooldridge’s practice focused on representing Kern County businesses.

Young Wooldridge, LLP has been located on the fourth floor at

1800 Thirtieth Street since 1993. The firm has been practicing law in

Bakersfield, California, since 1939.

Left to right, Business Attorneys Chris W. Hamilton, Jerry W. Pearson,

Jefferson X. Eberhardt, Robert J. Noriega and Michael A. Kaia in 2016.

The business department handles a wide range of legal matters on behalf of

Kern County businesses including formation, transactions, litigation,

employment and labor law, taxation and more.

In 1939, newcomer Joseph Wooldridge had just passed the

California State Bar examination and was working downtown

in the Haberfelde Building as an insurance adjuster. When

Wooldridge arrived, Bakersfield was a typical small town, rich

in family values and community pride. Agriculture and oil

created many jobs and offered a solid economic foundation

for the city and Kern County.

Kern County native John Young, an attorney, had an office

down the hall from Wooldridge and the two met while

pursuing a claim for an injured client. The two men quickly

discovered they shared one powerful idea about the practice

of law—that it should be, first and foremost, a public service.

When the case was settled, Young and Wooldridge became

partners and their vision of the legal profession and their

friendship became the foundation for one of Kern County’s

oldest and largest legal institutions.

Young, born and raised on a farm just south of Bakersfield,

developed a circle of agricultural clients while Wooldridge

represented businesses in Kern County. Their efforts reflected

a deep understanding of the county’s economic base in

agriculture and oil and the legal needs of its residents.

For more than seventy-five years, Young Wooldridge has

represented business and corporate clients, public agencies,

families, and individuals in a broad range of legal matters.

The firm’s services include water, special districts and

public agency law, business transactions, business and

civil litigation, employment and labor law, oil and gas law,

real estate law, complex tax matters, estate planning and

probate, personal injury and wrongful death.

As the firm began to expand following World War II,

several additional attorneys joined the firm. A. Cam Paulden,

known as ‘Cam’ joined the firm in the mid-1950s and

became a partner by 1959. Robert Self joined in 1961 and

became partner within a year, and G. Neil Farr joined the

firm in 1970 and became partner in 1971.

Paulden, Self, and Farr added balance, additional expertise,

and even more energy to an already motivated and

growing organization. The firm’s practice continued to be

based on the belief that clients deserve service above and

beyond what is required.

Young and Paulden played a key role in establishing

and developing an expertise in the complex areas of water,

public agency, and land use law when State and Federal

water projects were being constructed in Kern County in

the late 1940s through the 1960s.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

228


The Water Department at Young Wooldridge continues

to build on the knowledge of Young and Paulden and has

assisted—among other things—with the development and

formation of several state water banking programs. Currently,

Young Wooldridge is general counsel to more than twentyfive

water districts and public agencies throughout California.

By the mid-1970s, the firm was known as Young,

Wooldridge, Paulden, Self and Farr. The practice continued

to evolve with new attorneys and partners throughout the

1980s and early 1990s. In 1993 the firm moved to its

current location at 1800 Thirtieth Street and reverted to its

original name, Young Wooldridge.

Today, Young Wooldridge, LLP is a mid-sized law firm

with vast experience, extensive legal expertise, and a warm

personal approach to working with clients. Though services

have expanded, the firm’s basic values remain unchanged.

The personal touch that the firm’s founders brought to

the practice of law is still part of the everyday operation.

Many of the firm’s clients are third and fourth generation,

a testament to the quality, integrity, and warmth of the

attorneys and staff.

The firm has been voted as a Favorite Law Firm in the

Bakersfield Californian’s ‘Best of Readers’ Choice Poll’ for four

consecutive years, each year since the category’s inception.

As of summer 2016, Young Wooldridge is home to thirtyeight

employees and fourteen attorneys who practice across

a variety of areas. The eight partners are Larry R. Cox,

Ernest A. Conant, Scott K. Kuney, Michael A. Kaia,

Steven M. Torigiani, Gregory A. Muir, Jerry W. Pearson and

Ned Dunphy.

Young Wooldridge is actively involved in supporting Kern

County businesses and industries. The firm supports local

chambers and organizations throughout the area including,

but not limited to: Kern County Bar Association, Greater

Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce, Kern County Hispanic

Chamber of Commerce, NOR Chamber of Commerce, Society

of Human Resources Management, Water Association of Kern

County, Kern County Farm Bureau, Kern County Builders

Exchange and Taft College Foundation Petroleum Partners.

In addition to supporting our local industries, Young

Wooldridge believes in giving back to the community in

which it serves. The firm supports numerous local efforts

benefitting education and the arts, health and humanitarian

services, public safety and community development.

Attorneys and staff have worked on various community

boards in leadership positions including: Rotary Club of

Bakersfield–Downtown, South and Breakfast, Friends of

Mercy Hospital Foundation, Bakersfield Memorial Hospital

President’s Circle, San Joaquin Community Hospital

Foundation, board of directors of the Kern County Fair

Board, Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra, Henrietta Weill

Child Guidance Clinic Board of Directors, Brain Injury

Association of California, Kern Citizens for Sustainable

Government and Kern County Historical Society.

Young Wooldridge’s commitment to education is demonstrated

in a number of ways. Attorneys at the firm have

participated as coaches and judges in local mock trial programs

and the firm has sponsored the annual Hometown

Sports Scholar Athlete of the Year scholarship, in partnership

with television station KBAK, for over twenty years.

One of the firm’s favorite annual events supports the

American Red Cross—Kern Chapter. Each year, Young

Wooldridge hosts a reception to introduce the Heroes of

the American Red Cross, recognizing local citizens for

their heroic acts of kindness, selfless action, and exemplary

behavior in the community. The heroes go on to be

recognized at a dinner and award presentation hosted by

the American Red Cross.

For more information about the attorneys and services at

Young Wooldridge, LLP, visit www.youngwooldridge.com.

÷

Above: Left to right, the firm’s personal injury department in 2016

includes Attorney Thomas A. Brill, Investigator Frank Wooldridge, Attorney

Scott D. Howry, Attorney Gregory A. Muir and Attorney Ned Dunphy.

Below: Estate planning Attorney Larry R. Cox and Paralegal Dee Fringer.

Fringer has assisted Cox in the estate planning department for over

thirty-five years.

THE MARKETPLACE

229


GREATER BAKERSFIELD

CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

The Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce has

been a strong advocate for local business since 1920.

The chamber works to engage, enhance and empower

its members by providing programs, services, and events

that will help take member’s businesses to the next level.

Whether it is meeting with lawmakers about issues that

impact local businesses, providing

opportunities for members

to connect, or working tirelessly

to keep members up-to-date

about the latest business trends,

the chamber prides itself on

being a lobbying firm, publicist

and HR department for all

its members, all rolled into

one package.

The chamber, then called the

Bakersfield Civic Commercial

Association, held its first meeting

on November 26, 1920. The

association’s main goals were,

“The appropriations of funds

to alleviate flood conditions,

housing needs, taxation to effect

a more efficient government,

highways, parks, education,

economic development and

transportation.” The chamber’s

first officials were President

Louis Oclese, Vice President

C. W. Newberry, and Treasurer

Arthur S. Crites.

The chamber has been at

the forefront of a number of

civic improvements over the

years. According to a history of Bakersfield by author

Richard Bailey, the chamber organized the campaign

that established a city manager form of government during

the early 1940s. During the 1960s, the chamber strongly

supported construction of the Civic Auditorium, which

brought conventions, trade shows, sporting events and

other activities to the city.

Currently, the chamber is known for its strong advocacy

efforts to ensure a healthy business climate for everyone.

The Government Review Council (GRC) meets weekly

to discuss and debate issues affecting the local business

community. Members may also support important political

campaigns and issues by contributing to the chamber’s

Political Action Committee.

The chamber provides several professional development

opportunities for its members, including the Leadership

Bakersfield program that provides key business and

community leaders a different perspective on what makes

Bakersfield tick. In addition, the chamber has sponsored

the Beautiful Bakersfield Awards since 1990. These awards

honor individuals and businesses that help Bakersfield

realize its slogan of ‘Life as it should be.’ The chamber

also sponsors After Hours Mixers to provide opportunities

for networking and hosts the annual Business Expo, the

region’s largest business-to-business trade show.

The chamber has more than 1,100 members, representing

nearly 3,000 member representatives. The chamber has

seven staff members who work to provide high-caliber

programs, events and services for its members. President

and CEO of the chamber is Nicholas Ortiz.

The Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce is located

at 1725 Eye Street in the heart of downtown. The chamber’s

former home on Truxtum Avenue is now home to the

Rabobank Arena, built in 1998 as an addition to the

Bakersfield Convention Center.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

230


Kern County Black Chamber of Commerce provides unique

opportunities for small and African American businesses in

low and moderate income communities to grow their business

and fulfill their business diversity, advocacy, access, and

socialization needs. The services provided by the chamber

are designed to guide small businesses to the next level of

potential wealth building through economic development.

The need for a chamber of commerce to address the

specific needs of African American businesses in Kern

County became evident in the early 2000s. Although efforts

were being made to organize a chamber in the northern

part of the valley, it was felt that a focus on Kern County

was needed. Ali and Earlena Morris and other officers of

the San Joaquin Valley Black Chamber of Commerce, based

in the Fresno area, worked with interested business owners

in Bakersfield to establish the local organization.

KBCC was founded by Ali and Earlena on July 11, 2002.

Other important leaders in the effort were Albert Prince,

Art Powell, Jeffery Palmer, Jerry Johnson, J. R. Hester,

Mary Palmer, Nate Williams and Vivienne Stanford.

Early meetings of the chamber were held in the dining

hall of St. John Missionary Baptist Church. After meeting

in several other locations, the chamber moved into its

own offices at 1222 California Avenue in the fall of 2005.

The organization’s ‘coming out’ was the first annual

Black History Luncheon.

KCBCC, currently located at 1309 L Street, has a

membership of 200 and operates with a team of five staff

and dedicated volunteers. In addition, the chamber has

an Ambassador program composed of twenty community

individuals who promote and advocate the work of the

chamber. The Board of Directors is comprised of fifteen

professionals from different industry sectors.

The California Junior Black Chamber of Commerce–Kern

County Chapter was organized in 2008 and soon began the

first Junior Black Apprentice competition. The Junior

Chamber also hosted a radio show entitled ‘Real Talk:

The Urban Life’, which played on 95.3FM Roots Radio.

Other activities of the junior chamber included the Young

Entrepreneur program as well as a series of youth forums.

In 2012, Ali retired as president of the organization and

Nick Hill took over as interim executive director. Fred Prince

became the new board chair. In June 2015, Tomeka Powell

became the new president/CEO of the organization.

The KCBCC Development Foundation, founded in 2006,

serves as the chamber’s charitable arm. The Foundation provides

a number of youth development programs including

the Junior Chamber, STEM education for kids, financial

literacy, small business development, self-esteem programs

and Leadership Empowerment for Girls.

For more information about the Kern County Black

Chamber of Commerce, please check their website at

www.kcbcc.net.

KERN COUNTY BLACK

CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

÷

Below: Junior Chamber Advisory Board.

Bottom: Kern County Black Chamber of Commerce Board installation.

THE MARKETPLACE

231


NORTH OF THE RIVER

CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

For more than eighty-eight years, the North of the River

Chamber of Commerce has worked to advance the general

welfare and prosperity of the North of the River area. The

members share a mutual dedication, passion and enthusiasm

for expanding business and employment opportunities for

residents of Kern County.

North of the River Chamber of Commerce was founded

on October 17, 1928, as the North of the River Club and

was responsible for many public utilities and institutions

in the area. The organization eventually evolved into the

chamber of commerce it is today.

In the early days, membership in the club was limited

to men only. Among the prominent members were

Ralph Gifford, head of the Oildale Mutual Water Board;

Don Silvus, teacher and counselor at Standard School;

Dock Hatcher, Realtor ® and member of the water board;

and Jack Scoles, secretary/treasurer of the Retail Clerk’s

Union and member of the NOR Municipal Water Board.

Judy Scoles, a retired aide in the Standard School

District, often attended meetings with her husband and

notes that she was always the only woman in attendance.

She recalls asking several questions during one of the

meetings in the early-1970s and the members, impressed by

her questions, asked her to join the club. The next meeting,

two more women attended and joined and the organization

has been open to both men and women since that time.

The ‘Oildale Men’s Club’ as the organization was sometimes

known in its early years, supported the recreation

and parks department efforts to organize the annual

Christmas Parade. The club worked with such organizations

as the Lions, Kiwanis, Optimist, and Rotary Clubs to support

the needs of residents and businesses in the Oildale area;

helping to raise funds for the North Chester Bridge, street

lighting, street numbering and creation of the entrance sign

to Oildale in 1985.

In the early 1990s, one of the NOR Chamber’s fundraisers

were to host an annual Honorary Oildale Mayoral

Race. Votes cost $1 and the organization raised an average

of $4,000 annually.

The NOR Chamber cosponsored the Graffiti Removal

Project with the Optimist and Beardsley Junior Optimist,

North High students and the Interact Club, along with the

Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The North of the River Chamber kept offices in director’s

homes for many years. It now operates from a small office

within one of the member’s office.

The chamber is currently run by one part-time employee

who serves as executive director/office manager, a sixmember

board of directors and nine board members.

There are 150 members who include local businesses, nonprofits,

schools, other local chambers and the downtown

business association.

The North of the River Chamber’s annual fundraising

projects now include a business expo, golf tournament, economic

conference, football booklet and Oktoberfest. These

annual events support local students through a scholarship

program for graduates of North, Liberty, Centennial and

Frontier High Schools.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

232


Bakersfield was founded on hospitality. In the mideighteenth

century, Colonel Thomas Baker was known for

offering travelers a place to rest in the area he settled. It

was called “Baker’s Field.” From the town he plotted in 1869

to the city of more than 150 square miles today, Visit

Bakersfield, formerly the Bakersfield Convention and Visitors

Bureau, welcomes visitors to do as much—or as little—as

they would like: explore the city’s world-renowned music,

unique food, dynamic agricultural products, museums and

arts community, and exciting outdoor activities.

Bakersfield is a city of festivals, where there always seems

to be one going on—from mac and cheese to nut, bluegrass

to jazz, Greek to Scottish, Celtic to Basque, and craft beer

to wine. Bakersfield also is a city of music. While “The

Bakersfield Sound” is popular worldwide, the city’s association

with various other types of music means there are actually

Bakersfield Sounds (plural), all waiting for you to explore.

This southern gateway to California’s fertile Central Valley

is perfect for a weekend trip or week-long stay. Explore

the Bakersfield Museum Trail, a driving route that connects

four unique and family-friendly museums: Bakersfield

Museum of Art, Buena Vista Museum of Natural History and

Science, California Living Museum (CALM), and Kern

County Museum. Check out Bakersfield’s thriving arts scene

and First Friday ArtWalk downtown. With more Basque

restaurants than any other city in the

nation, indulge yourself with Bakersfield’s

unique and memorable food experiences.

Bakersfield has countless ways to

enjoy the outdoors. These include the

Kern River Parkway, the Panorama Vista

Preserve, the Panorama bluffs walking

trail, Lake Ming, and Wind Wolves

Preserve. With “‘field” in its name,

Bakersfield and sports are synonymous:

catch Bakersfield Condors AHL hockey, Bakersfield Blaze

baseball, Cal State Bakersfield Roadrunners (now competing

at the NCAA Division I level), and Bakersfield College

Renegades. Racing fans can watch the action at Bakersfield

Speedway, Auto Club Famoso Raceway, and Kern County

Raceway Park.

Bakersfield is in the middle of one of

the largest agricultural producing areas

in the world, and what is grown here

finds its way to points all around the

globe. For example, did you know that

almost ninety percent of California’s

carrot crop is grown around Bakersfield?

The friendly staff at Visit Bakersfield

is ready to make your stay enjoyable

with free maps, personal assistance, and

coupons for some family-friendly local

attractions. The visitor center is in

downtown Bakersfield, in front of the

Amtrak station, next to the Kern

Veterans Memorial, and just a few blocks

from the Convention Center.

One thing is certain: Bakersfield continues to deliver

more than visitors expect. That is why we say that in

Bakersfield there really is…“More to Explore!”

VISIT BAKERSFIELD

÷

Left: Visit Bakersfield is ready to welcome visitors at 515 Truxtun Avenue in

downtown Bakersfield.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF SCOTT HISLOP.

Below: Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace, 2800 Buck Owens Boulevard,

is Bakersfield’s premier live entertainment venue and top tourist attraction.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF VISIT BAKERSFIELD.

THE MARKETPLACE

233


BAKERSFIELD DOWNTOWN

BUSINESS ASSOCIATION

÷

Below: Concerts at the creek, band performs at Third Thursday.

While Bakersfield has gone through an unprecedented

period of growth and expansion over the last two decades, there

is a renewed focus inward, toward developing the city’s center.

Some of the city’s most noteworthy historical structures

call downtown home, as do several financial institutions, city

and county government offices and two hospitals—Mercy

Hospital and San Joaquin Community Hospital—which

contribute so much to our community as well.

But when the office buildings close, an entire other side

of Downtown is just getting warmed up.

Downtown is the heart of Bakersfield’s dining scene. From

fine dining and steakhouses, to diners, food trucks and burger

joints. Local award-winning food from Chinese, Sushi, and

Thai cuisine, to Caribbean, Latin American, and Italian,

not to mention an assortment of pizza parlors, sandwich

shops, juice bars, BBQ and more. They are scattered all over

the downtown map, with around fifty

restaurants to choose from on any given day.

The museum, arts and entertainment

scene flourishes as well with the Bakersfield

Museum of Art, which includes not only

rotating exhibitions but a botanical garden.

The Buena Vista Museum of Natural History

houses an impressive collection of fossils

and displays highlighting Bakersfield distant

past. The new Bakersfield Music Museum

aims to capture the past and present music

scene. Downtown also features several galleries

and theaters both intimate and large.

The Rabobank Theater is home to the Bakersfield

Symphony, off-Broadway performances and concerts. The

9,000 seat Rabobank Arena houses concerts, conventions

and sporting events, including the Bakersfield Condors

hockey team. The two venues combine to bring hundreds

of thousands of people into downtown each year.

Bakersfield’s history comes alive in the heart of the city

as well with the Fox Theater, a Spanish Colonial Revivalstyled

theater built that opened in 1930. The DBA played a

major role in re-opening the Fox in the mid-1990s, and

today is one of the primary venues for live entertainment

in the city. The Padre Hotel, built in 1928, dominates the

downtown skyline and is one of the epicenters of social

activity in the city.

Central Park at Mill Creek sits as an oasis on the edge

of downtown, lined by palm trees and an expansive lawn,

it includes a fountain-filled waterway and hosts events

such as the DBA’s Third Thursday, with live entertainment,

art, vendors and more. It is also flanked by the beautiful

Bakersfield Federal Courthouse.

The DBA has recently launched a 501(c)(3) nonprofit

arm, the Downtown Bakersfield Development Corporation,

to help attend to the city’s redevelopment needs. By focusing

on the community’s desires to create a safe, secure and welcoming

city center, the DBDC will help take downtown and

the DBA forward into a new generation of growth. Turning

its sights on an urban design plan, and effecting change in

the lives of those in need among the downtown community

by fostering partnerships within the nonprofit sector.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

234


In the summer of 1969, Buck became co-host of Hee Haw,

which became one of the top syndicated television successes

of all time. In 1989, Buck had a resurgence in popularity

with a new younger group of fans and scored a number one

hit with Streets of Bakersfield a duet with his friend, Dwight

Yoakam. Subsequent generations rediscovered his music and

now keep his name shining as one of the great innovators

and true legends of country music.

BUCK OWENS’

CRYSTAL PALACE

÷

Top, left: The Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace in Bakersfield.

Left and below: Buck Owens.

Born in Sherman, Texas in 1929, Buck Owens came West

with his family in the great “Grapes of Wrath” migration of

the 1930s. By 1951, he settled into Bakersfield, California,

and found himself playing guitar and singing in the local

honky-tonks. He quickly became a local favorite and then in

1953, Buck got a break by playing for the then hot Tommy

Collins. He started playing lead guitar on Tommy’s records,

and during the next few years became a popular session

player for Capitol Records in Hollywood. After making a few

records of his own on the Pep label, Buck signed as a solo act

with Capitol in 1957. For the next five years his hits were

steady and his star was rising, but in 1963 his career really

took off. Buck Owens & His Buckaroos had seventeen

number one hit singles over the next six years, including

Act Naturally, Together Again, Tiger By The Tail, Crying Time,

and Love’s Gonna Live Here, which stayed in the number one

slot on Billboard for sixteen weeks straight! By the late 1960s,

Buck led a huge organization based in Bakersfield, including

publishing companies, several radio stations (KUZZ AM/FM,

KCWR, and KRJK FM), television, newspapers, and more.

In 1996, Buck opened the Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace

in Bakersfield. Since then it has become famous worldwide

as an important venue of country music. Buck & His

Buckaroos played there Friday and Saturday nights until his

passing in March of 2006, and hundreds of country music

stars have graced the stage of the Crystal Palace including the

Dixie Chicks, Garth Brooks, Brad Paisley, and Taylor Swift.

An all-in-one restaurant, museum and theater focusing

on the rich history and sounds of West Coast Country

Music, the Crystal Palace has been on national television

specials, and honored as night club of the year multiple

times by the Academy of Country Music. It features outstanding

food, fascinating memorabilia and great live

music...an amazing place to visit!

THE MARKETPLACE

235


CARNEY’S BUSINESS

TECHNOLOGY CENTER

÷

Right: From left to right, Rick, Chris and Jeff Kreiser.

Below: Our first office in 1978, from left to right, Red LeCain, Kris and

Rick Kreiser and Bob Carney.

Building on a successful career in office equipment sales

and management for other Kern-based businesses,

Bob Carney made the decision to go out on his own in

December of 1977. In a spare bedroom of his northeast

Bakersfield home, and armed with little more than a strong

reputation for providing superior customer service, Bob

realized his entrepreneurial vision and Carney’s Office

Equipment was born.

With the support of his family and loyal customers, sales

grew steadily during the fledgling company’s first few

months. In July 1978, Bob was joined by his son-in-law,

Rick Kreiser, and their first official showroom was opened

on Easton Drive. Quality products and reliable service

attracted new customers and, within two years, additional

space was needed. The company moved just across the

parking lot to larger space to accommodate their growing

business. That location served the company well until it

moved to its current home at 2001 Westwind Drive.

As the growth of technology exploded and businesses

increasingly relied on IT services, Carney’s official name was

changed to Carney’s Business Technology Center to reflect

the new direction.

“If you are like most business owners, technology is

something that you obviously need, but don’t necessarily

want to have to think about. After all, you have a company

to run,” says Rick. “Chances are, if you are thinking about

your IT infrastructure it’s because something is not working

as it should, or it’s holding your company back. We help our

clients protect their assets and improve effectiveness, efficiency,

productivity and profitability by using technology.”

Over the past nearly four decades, Carney’s has represented

best-in-class products and services from a range of top

technology partners. More than simply ‘vendors,’ Carney’s

works hard to identify the right products and solutions for

the markets it serves. Once the solution has been engineered

and installed, the effective support programs made possible

through Carney’s partner relationships keep the project

delivering results well beyond client’s expectations.

Carney’s leadership is transitioning to a third generation

as Rick’s sons, Chris and Jeff, continue to chart the company’s

direction with a keen eye on future trends while keeping

true to the values upon which the business was built.

Kern County is a great place to live and work and

Carney’s believes that giving back to the community helps

strengthen the business environment while achieving a sense

of personal fulfillment. To this end, Carney’s leadership

and team members support business, professional, and

community service organizations at a variety of levels.

Among these organizations are the Greater Bakersfield

Chamber of Commerce, the Bakersfield College Foundation,

Kern Economic Development Corporation, Bakersfield West

Rotary, and the Friends of Mercy Foundation.

Over the years, Kern County has experienced explosive

growth and technology has changed every aspect of the way

we live and do business. But one thing remains the same as

it did on that winter day some forty years ago—Carney’s

commitment to the Kern County business community.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

236


Kern Schools Federal Credit Union has served the needs

of its Members and the entire Kern County community for

nearly eighty years. Since its humble beginnings in 1938,

when a small group of dedicated and concerned teachers met

to form a financial cooperative for school employees and

their families, Kern Schools has embodied the credit union

philosophy of, “People Helping People.”

Originally known as Kern County School Employees

Federal Credit Union, Kern Schools was granted a federal

charter in 1940. The first Kern Schools “office” was actually

a small room located in the library of Bakersfield High School.

A single volunteer conducted all the operations for the Credit

Union, with Member transaction receipts kept in a shoe box

and locked in a desk drawer after hours. By the end of its

first year, Kern Schools had 141 Members, approximately

$1,300 in assets, and was well on its way to serving the school

employees of Kern County with a lifetime partnership through

quality financial products and services.

Although the name was shortened to Kern Schools Federal

Credit Union in 1969, the goals of the organization remain

the same: helping people throughout the community achieve

their dreams.

Membership does make a difference! Unlike a conventional

bank, which is driven by shareholders and profit, a credit

union is a not-for-profit entity designed to assist the financial

needs of its members through smaller fees, higher dividends,

and lower loan rates. Similarly, a credit union board of

directors consists of unpaid volunteers, as opposed to large

shareholders, who are elected by the membership to lead

the organization.

Today, Kern Schools is the largest member-owned financial

institution headquartered in Kern County, with more than

150,000 Members and $1.3 billion in assets. The Credit

Union is open to all Kern County residents.

From a single volunteer, the Credit Union has grown to

more than 400 team members whose sole purpose is to

provide the best Member service possible. With ten branch

offices and more than seventy ATMs, Kern Schools provides

a wide array of products and services, including extensive

home and auto loan programs, the latest in online and

mobile technology, as well as wealth management services.

Kern Schools is ready to serve Kern County for another

seventy-eight years and beyond.

Come find out why Kern Schools has been voted “Best

Financial Institution in Kern County” for more than twenty

years in a row. Members of Kern Schools experience personal

service and attention each day and every time they visit

because, “Together, we have something special.”

To learn more about becoming a Member of Kern Schools,

please visit our website at www.ksfcu.org.

KERN SCHOOLS

FEDERAL CREDIT UNION

÷

Left: Warren Hall located on the campus of Bakersfield High School.

Below: Kern Schools Federal Credit Union’s administration building located

at 11500 Bolthouse Drive.

THE MARKETPLACE

237


GUITAR MASTERS

÷

Above: Tommy Emmanuel.

Right: Frank Vignola and Vinny Raniolo.

Guitar Masters, LLC, an ongoing community concert

series, was born of a simple desire to present the finest musicians

in the world—primarily guitarists—in an intimate ‘listening

room’ environment.

Guitar Masters began in 2011 and grew out of local

businessman Rick Kreiser’s love for guitar music and

performances. “In the summer of 2010, my wife Lorie and

I decided to take in something called a ‘house concert’ in

Los Angeles featuring an exceptionally talented musician,

Paul McCartney’s former lead guitarist, Laurence Juber,”

Rick explains. “I looked around the room, counted the

number of seats (forty-six), did some simple math (door

donations times the number of people) and thought—

we could do this! So I asked the artist if he would consider

performing in Bakersfield. He said he’d love to.”

Rick soon realized there was no way he could fit fifty

people into his house for a concert, so he started looking for

a private, music-friendly venue and settled on an old church

turned social club called The Bell Tower.

There was no budget for publicity, so they tapped

the power of social media—and the phone—to contact

everybody they could think of, and nearly 150 people

turned out for the very first Guitar Masters show. Today,

most of the shows are sellouts in the beautifully reimagined

Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame.

“We’ve learned a few things along the way,” Rick says.

“Key among them is the fact that almost all musicians live

to play for appreciative audiences. I don’t know of a single

artist who wouldn’t jump at the chance to return to

the Guitar Masters stage. They know they will be well taken

care of and every detail of their show will be handled

with professionalism.”

Rick emphasizes that the success of the Guitar Masters

concerts has been possible only through the faithful support

of sponsors, patrons and guest musicians. He also credits

the encouragement of his family. “My sons, Chris and

Jeff, capably operate the family business so I can pursue

this passion, and my daughter, Katie, captures each show

with her beautiful photography. And, Lorie’s friendly smile

greets visitors at each performance.”

The mission of Guitar Masters goes deeper than just

providing outstanding and unique musical offerings to the

community. Whenever possible, the artists are invited to

give a short lecture or guest clinic at one of the high schools

or colleges during their stay.

“Perhaps the most important measure for us is the

increasing number of dedicated patrons and sponsors,”

Rick says. “Over the past five seasons, we have provided

the highest quality live performances for more than

7,000 fans.

“Guitar Masters will live on as long as artists want to

play for us and patrons want to be there to hear them.

We keep our ticket prices reasonable by design, allowing

guitar fans from around the central valley (and beyond)

to gain an appreciation for world-class music.”

For more information about Guitar Masters, check the

website at www.guitarmasters.org.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

238


a Bakersfield institution for fifty

years, is a story of achieving success through perseverance,

hard work, and a strong faith in God.

Today, Hodel’s is a multifaceted operation on Olive Drive

in Bakersfield where people up and down the state enjoy

the savory flavors of Hodel’s fine food. With banquet rooms

seating ten to 400 people, Hodel’s restaurant provides many

organizations and groups a quiet and pleasant atmosphere

with exceptional service and delicious food. Hodel’s also

caters many large local events, receiving high marks for the

quality of food and creative presentation.

The story of Hodel’s begins with Lydia Bartel Hodel,

whose determination to persevere despite enormous obstacles

created the culture that still guides the organization

today. Lydia’s life began in hardship when she lost her mother

during the flu epidemic of 1917. Lydia was only eleven

years old but had to take over the cooking, cleaning and

bottle washing for her family, which included nine children.

Beginning with this experience, ‘Mom Hodel’ lived a life of

service to others.

Her family escaped the dust bowl of Oklahoma and

moved to California in 1921 and Lydia found a job cooking

for hay harvesting crews. In the late 1920s, she and her

sisters became domestic help in Bakersfield. One of her

employers was property investor Arthur Crites, an accomplished

amateur chef, who sensed Lydia’s natural abilities as

a cook and taught her many helpful teaching techniques

including sharing recipes from the White House.

Lydia married Sam Hodel in 1928. The couple settled in

Bakersfield just in time for the Great Depression of the

1930s, when jobs were hard to come by. Lydia found a job

with the Gettle family and when they decided to move to

Beverly Hills they offered Sam a job as chauffeur if Mom

Hodel would continue as cook and nanny. Mom Hodel

prepared many fine meals for the Gettle family and their

distinguished guests, who included department store founder

JCPenney. Their three children, daughters Beverly and Darlene

and son Bob were born during their stay in Beverly Hills.

The family returned to Bakersfield in 1942, where

Sam earned the reputation as a quality custom hay bailer.

Mom Hodel went to work as manager of the new Greeley

School cafeteria, a position she held for twenty-one years.

At the school, she produced such delicious and nutritious

meals that the federal government investigated to determine

how she could meet the dietary requirements at a cost

of only fifteen cents per student. Upon her retirement,

she received a lifetime membership in the PTA with the

statement: “We are glad you are retiring because we are

tired of the children asking why the food is better at school

than it is at home.”

Mom Hodel retired in May 1967, but when her son

Bob opened Hodel’s Valley Plaza Restaurant in September,

she joined the family business and

worked for another twenty-one years.

During the 1970s, several other

Hodel’s Restaurants were developed,

including the very popular Hodel’s

at Northridge Fashion Center Mall

for a nineteen year run.

There is much more to the story

and heritage of Hodel’s but it

is important to understand the

values and standards of the original

staff and the example set by

Lydia and Sam. The Hodel family

is thankful for its heritage and

firmly believes that its blessings

have come from God’s grace. They

continue to seek His blessings in

their future endeavors.

HODEL’S COUNTRY DINING

THE MARKETPLACE

239


BAKERSFIELD CONDORS

This is Condorstown. For nearly two decades, the top

sports draw in Bakersfield, and one of the best outlets for

FUN in all of Kern County, has been the Bakersfield Condors.

The Condors began play in 1998 and have earned a

reputation in Kern County as one of the top draws for

family friendly entertainment, and nationwide for their

attention-grabbing promotions.

Nearly 4 million fans have passed through the turnstiles

to see the Condors since 1998. The team’s commitment to

the community is at its core, contributing nearly $5 million

in cash, goods and services to local schools and nonprofits

during their history. Annual events, such as Tip-A-Condor,

golf tournaments, and Jersey Off Our Backs auctions inject

needed funding into the coffers of local charities and connect

the players to the fans.

No event embodies both Condors community involvement

and the passion of the Condorstown fans like the annual

Teddy Bear Toss. Held each year on the Saturday after

Thanksgiving, fans are invited to bring stuffed animals to the

game and when the Condors score their first goal, throw them

onto the ice. The teddy bears are collected by the United Way

and distributed throughout the county to dozens of agencies

in need throughout the holidays and beyond. Teddy Bear Toss

is annually the biggest game of the season, and over 100,000

stuffed animals have been collected in the event’s history.

Meanwhile, the Condors have proven to be second to

none in generating nationwide—or even global—attention

for their promotions. Famous for offering Canadian-born

pop star Justin Bieber a contract, bringing out a live condor

on the ice (and the bird getting loose from her handler),

hosting a Charlie Sheen Night, or sporting a slew of

extraordinary specialty jerseys, the Condors have never

taken themselves too seriously, nor missed an opportunity

to steal a moment of the spotlight.

It was just that international recognition, and the team’s

support from the community, which led to the purchase of

the team in 2014 by the five-time Stanley Cup Champion

Edmonton Oilers of the National Hockey League. Already

having graduated a dozen players to the NHL from the

“AA” level, the Condors on-ice product was about to receive

an unexpected boost from the top of the sports world.

In October 2015 the Oilers made the Bakersfield

Condors part of a newly-created Pacific Division of the

American Hockey League—the primary development

grounds for the NHL. The new division included five

teams from California, and brought the AHL right into the

backyard of the West Coast NHL teams.

The AHL is the proving ground for hockey’s future stars,

with nearly ninety percent of players in the NHL first

learning the ropes in the AHL. The role Bakersfield is to

play in building hockey’s future was evident immediately,

with nearly twenty players moved back and forth between

Bakersfield and the NHL in the team’s first AHL campaign.

The reception from the fans followed suit, with the Condors

posting their highest attendance in five years.

Keeping their eyes on the prize on the ice, combined with

a spirited connection to the community off the ice, is sure

to make Bakersfield remain Condorstown for years to come.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

240


A gun shop that began in a little shack more fifty-three

years ago has grown to become the favorite destination for

Kern County shooters. Valley Gun, Inc., Kern County’s only

existing second generation, family-owned gun shop, has

become successful by providing services others do not and

by treating clients the way they would want to be treated.

Valley Gun, known originally as Valley Gun Shop,

opened for business in 1963 in a small, wooden building at

301½ East California Avenue. The business was organized

by Gene Wamble, an accomplished gunsmith, and Maylon

Quarnberg, who had a love and fascination for firearms.

“My dad only worked in the business part-time at first,

because he had another full-time job. So, Gene ran the store

until it was able to support both men,” explains Maylon’s

son, Ken Quarnberg. After about a year in business, the

shop moved to a building at South Chester and Ming,

where it shared space with a coin shop. Soon after, Valley

Gun moved into its own building at 1614 South Chester.

In 1971, Gene and Maylon opened a second location at

2728 Chester Avenue and for several years, the partners

operated two stores with Gene running the South Chester

store and Maylon operating the downtown location.

The partnership between Maylon and Gene was eventually

dissolved, although the two remained friends.

When Maylon retired in 1999, his son, Ken, took over

the operation.

Ken, who says he ‘grew up in the business’, starting working

at the shop part-time while still in high school and

learned the business alongside his dad. His sister, Jan, also

joined the staff and still works at the shop.

Since taking over the shop, Ken has channeled his energy

into providing superior customer service, providing a

large selection of quality firearms and accessories and

hiring an experienced staff dedicated to the best customer

service possible.

Valley Gun’s wide selection of new and previously owned

firearms fulfills a variety of needs for all types of sportsmen,

collectors, law enforcement, military and general firearms

enthusiasts. In addition to its extensive stock of new and

used firearms from some the most respected manufacturers

in the industry, Valley Gun carries a large selection of ammunition,

optics, gun safes, cases, holsters, knives and hunting

and shooting accessories. The shop also carries vintage and

antique firearms.

As a certified arms appraiser, Ken is able to help clients

with firearms appraisals for estates, firearms sales and

insurance purposes.

Valley Gun and its eight employees are involved in

a number of organizations, including Friends of NRA,

California Deer Association, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation,

California Waterfowl Association, Tulare Basin Wetlands

Association, Breakfast Rotary Club of Bakersfield, Kern

County Fair Junior Livestock, Wounded Heroes Fund,

Small Miracles Foundation, SJCH’s Cancer Center, Honor

Flight and Sportsman’s Night.

VALLEY GUN, INC.

÷

Left: A vintage shot (left to right) of Maylon Quarnberg and his business

partner, Gene Wamble, in front of the 1614 South Chester Avenue location.

c. mid-1960s.

Below: Ken Quarnberg, his sister, Jan Koch and Buddy the labrador. Buddy is

often seen in the store and has become one of Valley Gun’s attractions.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF BILLY SIMKINS.

THE MARKETPLACE

241


DEWAR’S SODA FOUNTAIN

AND FINE CANDIES

÷

Right: In 2009 Dewar’s celebrated their 100th year anniversary.

Below: J. H. Dewar behind the counter at the Chester Avenue location.

Bottom: Baker Street location.

George, Michael and Heather Dewar are dedicated to

preserving a Bakersfield institution—the delicious, delectable

candies and ice cream produced by their family for more

than a hundred years.

Dewar’s Soda Fountain and Fine Candies is one of the

very few family businesses still being run by the third

and fourth generations. It all began in 1909 when James H.

Dewar and his brother, George, opened The Chocolate Shop

located at 1665 Chester Avenue, the first door north of the

Hall of Records.

Dewar’s world famous taffy chews were first introduced

in 1909. The tasty one-inch long chews were hand rolled,

cut, and then hand wrapped. Ice cream and chocolates were

introduced in 1930. The ice cream was hand cranked with

salt brine and the chocolates were hand dipped.

Locations changed frequently as the first generation built

the business from the ground up. The business finally ended

up at 1120 Eye Street in 1930, where it still operates today.

James A. Dewar, the son of James H., took over the

business in 1947 and expanded the sales market share in

fountain, ice cream, chocolates and candy, and the Dewar’s

chew became even more popular.

George C. Dewar joined the family after college in 1965,

working alongside his father. Working together, they

mechanized the production of chews, increasing chew

production from individually hand cut and wrapped, to

two machines that produced 180 chews per minute.

The company continued

to grow and gift items

were introduced to the

product list sold at Dewar’s

Candy Shop in 1986. A

faster and more efficient

machine was purchased to

keep up with the demand

for Dewar’s chews and production per minute soared from

180 per minute to 450 per minute.

With the addition of Michael, the fourth generation,

the chew production was moved to a much larger facility

and chew production was doubled. Chocolate production

was also moved to the manufacturing facility, with the

exception of hand dipped chocolates that were made

by second generation daughter, Rosie. Dewar’s became

computerized in 1994 and a wholesale market was

launched in 1995. With the anticipation of future locations,

ice cream production was fully renovated in 1999 to allow

for the production and storage of more ice cream.

Heather Dewar joined the business in 1999 as the company

continued to grow. A new warehouse was constructed,

the first satellite retail location was opened in Riverlakes and

Sugar Free chews were introduced, along with ten new

flavors. A new 6,400 square foot retail facility was opened on

Calloway Drive in 2012 and won the Beautiful Bakersfield

award for architecture. More recently, a Dewar’s Express

drive-thru was opened and the company joined the food

court at The Outlets at Tejon.

Dewar’s provides nearly 115 jobs for the community and

donates products to many causes and fundraisers.

Dewar’s goals for the future are to produce the best

product possible, serve its customers with the best service

possible, and continue to appreciate the team of professionals

that make all these things happen.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

242


The Emporium Western Store, a familiar local landmark

now located at 1031 Nineteenth Street in Bakersfield, was

founded in 1909, although the name of the original owner

is lost to history. The store started as a true ‘emporium’

or general store in the heart of downtown Bakersfield and

has serve valued customers ever since.

In 1928 the store was purchased by Isaac Rubin, grandfather

of the current owners, and has remained in the

family through three generations. In 1946 operation of the

store passed to Rubin’s daughter and son-in-law, Rose and

Al Goldwater.

It was in 1948 when Al began to convert the store

into a specialty western clothing store, one of the first in

California, and changed the name from ‘Emporium’ to

‘Emporium Western Store.’ Currently, the store is owned

by the Goldwater’s two children, Stephen Goldwater and

Carol Goldwater Durst.

Over the decades, hundreds of wonderful employees

have worked at Emporium Western Store. Besides family

members, including the fourth-generation children, notable

long-time employees include: Juanita Clark (credited with

being the one to convince Al to go western in the late 1940s),

Charley Brown, Herman Sohl, Louis and Jessie Barraza,

‘Big Al’ Gonzales, Danny Lipco, Deborah Baker, Micky Moya

and Fred Mungia.

Emporium Western Store is a well-known institution in

Kern County as well as in the Western industry. In fact, it has

been recognized frequently by manufacturers and others

as being the best in the country. The store has won awards

such as the Wrangler PRCA Dealer of the Year, Justin

Boot Company Dealer of the Year, and the Resistol Hat

Windy Ryan Award. In 1995 the Emporium Western Store

was the first Western store outside the State of Texas to

win the Western Image Award ‘Retailer of the Year’ for a

single-location store. Locally, it has been voted the Best

Western Store in Kern County every year since 1908 when

The Bakersfield Californian started its annual reader’s poll.

The strengths of the Emporium Western Store over the

years have been its service, selection and value. You can find

a wide selection of boots, hats, jeans, shirts and belts, as

well as all the other favorite Western accessories and gift

items. Customer service is old fashioned at the Emporium

Western Store, where many customers are welcomed by

name as they enter the store. Longtime local families have

shopped at the store for three or four generations and

friends are always running into each other while shopping.

The Emporium Western Store prides itself in being the

oldest and largest locally owned, full-service Western store

in Kern County, the store where the real cowboys shop.

EMPORIUM WESTERN STORE

÷

Left: The second location of the Emporium, at 1316 Nineteenth Street,

during the 1930s.

Right: Second generation owners, Al and Rose Goldwater, taken in the

early 1950s in front of the third location of the store after it moved to

1219 Nineteenth Street.

THE MARKETPLACE

243


VALLEY REPUBLIC BANK

÷

Above: Valley Republic Bank’s corporate headquarters is located on

California Avenue in Bakersfield.

Below: Board Member Greg Bynum; Chairman of the Board Eugene Voiland;

President and CEO Bruce Jay; Vice President, Loans Janet Hepp and

Executive Vice President Philip McLaughlin..

In 2009, the right people came together at the right time,

at the right place, and established Valley Republic Bank. The

twenty-four founders believed bank customers deserved a

local financial institution that could respond to them quickly,

efficiently, consistently and personally.

Valley Republic became profitable after only eighteen

months of operation and has recorded unprecedented

growth quarter after quarter. By early 2016 the bank’s total

assets exceeded $500 million.

Valley Republic officials credit the bank’s phenomenal

success to providing a high level of confidence and service

to local professionals and the business community. The

entire team at Valley Republic lives in Bakersfield and

has raised their families here. The bank’s board, under the

leadership of Eugene Voiland, is composed of successful

local business people who have a finger on the pulse of the

community and know the needs of Kern County customers.

The management of Valley Republic has assembled one

of the highest quality teams around. The bank consciously

selects Bakersfield’s ‘best and brightest’ with every new hire.

As a result, customers can count on an experienced, focused

group of professionals who provide uncommon service that

is second to none.

Customers say they appreciate the bank’s ‘local flavor,’ its

quick loan decisions, personal meetings, and the policy of

‘no 800 numbers’. When customers

visit a Valley Republic Bank branch,

the employees know them by name.

Managers understand that banking is

a people business and are committed

to a community that values relationships.

Valley Republic is fully invested

in the success of its client’s businesses

and considers itself a partner in their

future growth.

This ‘relationship banking’ approach provides customers

with competitive products and services, the latest technological

conveniences and a sincere appreciation for the customer’s

business. Valley Republic tries harder than anyone else to

stay one step ahead—in every regard.

Valley Republic’s main branch is located at 5000 California

Street. In 2012, a second branch was opened in the Grand

Island Village at the corner of Ming Avenue and Buena Vista

Road. Located in the heart of the Seven Oaks area, this

branch provides convenience for businesses and professional

customers in the surrounding neighborhoods. In 2016 the

Riverlakes branch was opened in Northwest Bakersfield.

Valley Republic posted its ninth consecutive quarter of

record earnings for the quarter ending March 31, 2016.

Quarterly earnings exceeded $1 million, with net income up

34 percent, net loans up 26 percent, deposits up 7 percent,

and total assets up 9 percent.

“At Valley Republic Bank, we recognize that our business

is critical to the economic fabric of Kern County,” says Bruce

Jay, president and CEO. “We believe we have a responsibility

to do what we can do to make our community a better place

in which to live and work. As an organization, we financially

support numerous organizations and our staff is involved

in various nonprofit organizations. We are committed to

Bakersfield and Kern County. It is our home.”

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

244


For news, entertainment and public service, residents of

the Central Valley have relied on KGET, Telemundo, and

the CW for nearly six decades. Nexstar Broadcasting Group

operates the three television stations from a single broadcast

center in downtown Bakersfield.

The three stations, under the leadership of Nexstar Vice

President and station General Manager Derek Jeffery, offer a

mix of news and entertainment in English and Spanish on

broadcast frequencies, online, and on social media.

As the local NBC affiliate, KGET is home to dozens of

popular drama, reality and sports shows. Telemundo offers

a similar lineup in Spanish, and the CW network offers a

variety of first-run and syndicated programs.

The stations’ mottoes—in both English and Spanish—are,

“In the Spirit of the Golden Empire,” which reflects the

company’s commitment to the community it serves. That

commitment is demonstrated through the dozens of

nonprofits aided each year through no-cost public service

announcements and by providing emcees for events. The

stations have conducted so many fundraising drives that

nonprofits have nicknamed the station’s parking lot,

‘Compassion Corner’. The stations’ fundraisers brought in

more than $300,000 in monetary donations in 2015 alone.

For more than a decade, KGET has been the number one

local news station in all time slots in Kern County. The

morning newscasts anchored by Maddie Johnson and Jason

Galvin and evening newscasts anchored by Jim Scott and

Tami Mlcoch have become traditions in thousands of Kern

County households. Kevin Charette provides dependable

Pinpoint forecast to morning viewers, and Chief Meteorologist

Alissa Carlson does the same in afternoon and evenings.

In the last three years, KGET has won eight Edward R.

Murrow Awards for investigative and breaking news

reporting. In 2014 and again in 2016, the station received

the Edward R. Murrow Overall Excellence Award, the top

honor among stations in California, Nevada, and Hawaii.

KGET news has also been honored with seven Emmy

Awards since 2013.

Telemundo/Valle Central offers the fastest growing and

only Spanish language newscast in the county, providing

information and community service for a formerly underserved

community.

The success of both stations

is built on a culture of honest,

honorable reporting on topics

that affect the county’s nearly

one million residents.

KGET’s predecessor station—

KLYD—was founded as an ABC

affiliate by local businessman

Ed Urner in 1959. The original

studios were on Eye Street

near the present-day San Joaquin

Community Hospital. Call letters,

network affiliations and corporate ownership

changed several times over the years

until 1984 when the station became

KGET, led by Vice President and General

Manager Ray Watson who coined it

Kern Golden Empire Television. Since

then the stations have been owned by

the Ackerley Group (1984-2002), Clear

Channel Communications (2002-2007),

Newport Television, LLC (2008-2012) and

the current owner, Nexstar Broadcasting

Group, Inc. (2013-current).

Telemundo/Bakersfield went on the

air in 2004 and expanded to Telemundo Valle Central in

2015. The CW station was added in 2006 as a joint venture

between Warner Bros. and CBS Corporation.

KGET, TELEMUNDO AND

THE CW BAKERSFIELD

THE MARKETPLACE

245


SMITH’S BAKERIES

Loyal customers have made Smith’s Bakeries

a Bakersfield tradition since 1945. Customers

rave about Smith’s baked goods, particularly its

mouth-watering champagne birthday cake and

the famous ‘smile face’ cookies. One customer

said, “We have come to rely on the quality and

consistency that Smith’s Bakery offers.” A happy

newlywed wrote to say, “The wedding cake

designed for our special day was a work of art.

We loved it!”

Smith’s Bakeries has been a well-known

Bakersfield landmark since it was founded as a market/bakery

at the corner of Third Street and Chester Avenue in October

1945 by Howard Smith and Roy Balmain. Their goal was to

produce the best possible baked goods for the community. In

1985 the business was sold to Roy’s son, Jim, and his wife,

Jacque, and they have continued to build on the bakeries

reputation for unique products and exceptional quality.

Jim has now worked for Smith’s more than fifty-eight years.

Generations of Bakersfield families have grown up

munching on Smith’s cookies, doughnuts, and cupcakes.

The bakery is famous for its delicious and unusual wedding

cakes, some of which have been at tall as ten feet. Smith’s also

makes unique cakes to celebrate such special occasions

as birthdays and anniversaries. The popularity of Smith’s

baked goods is based on the tradition of making all its

products by hand, the old-fashioned way. Jim and Jacque

are committed to carrying on the high standards set by

the company founders.

Smith’s Bakeries still operates from its location at

2808 Union Avenue, founded in 1956. Satellite bakeries are

located in Grand Island Village at 11400 Ming Avenue;

Brookside Market at 4700 Coffee Road; Brookside at the

Marketplace, 8803 Camino Media Boulevard; and White

Oaks Plaza at 6401 White Lane.

Currently, Smith’s Bakeries has forty-seven employees

who serve a customer base that reflects all aspects of

the Bakersfield community. The bakery is very active in

supporting civic organizations and numerous charities.

After more than seventy years in business, Smith’s

Bakeries remains committed to producing the finest breads,

pies, cookies, cakes, cupcakes, Danish, coffee cakes and its

legendary wedding cakes.

To learn more about Smith’s Bakeries, check their website

at www.smithsbakeries.com.

BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

246


In 1971, Greg Iger

returned to Bakersfield from

service in the U.S. Army,

and a stint in Los Angeles

as a news photographer for

United Press International.

Hollywood was home and

his career took him to

shooting movie set publicity,

“red carpet” openings and

models’ portfolios.

His training was at

Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara. He

started “Photographic Art” on a shirt-tail budget, but soon

became one of the best-known photographers in the area.

He specialized in commercial photography and created a

new look for portraiture in his outdoor studio. Some of his

clients were large oil companies like Shell, Aera, Occidental,

Chevron, and Tenneco. Other large farming, land and produce

corporations like Grimmway and Bolthouse Carrots,

Tenneco West, Dole and Castle & Cooke were staples for

the business, as well as many local entities.

During his many years in Kern County, Iger spent a lot of

time honing his landscape photography skills which

spawned two books on Kern County, Buena Vista—a pictorial

view of Kern County and Buena Vista II—Landscapes of

Kern County. Iger Studio is now located at 211 H Street near

downtown Bakersfield. Large photographic images for

wall décor are now the mainstay of the studio, with clients

at offices, hospitals and doctors’ lobbies, as well as peoples

homes and art galleries.

Iger Studio continues to be a popular favorite for business,

personal and family portraits, as well as product, aerial, architectural,

construction, oilfield and agricultural photography.

Come in for a visit or call 661-327-2768. Iger Studio is

also located on the Internet at www.igerstudio.com.

÷

GREGORY IGER’S

PHOTOGRAPHIC ART, INC.

Left: Greg Iger.

DBA IGER STUDIO

THE MARKETPLACE

247


BAKERSFIELD—It’s The People, And A Whole Lot More

248


Building a Greater Bakersfield

Bakersfield’s real estate developers, construction companies, heavy industries,

and manufacturers provide the economic foundation of the region

Varner Brothers, Inc. ..........................................................................................250

Varner & Son.....................................................................................................251

Metropolitan Recycling, LLC ................................................................................252

Superior Sanitation.............................................................................................253

Price Disposal....................................................................................................254

Howard’s Garbage Service, Inc..............................................................................255

Ray Scott ..........................................................................................................256

California Water Service .....................................................................................258

Chris Bertolucci Construction ...............................................................................262

The Towery Companies ........................................................................................264

Hall Letter Shop, Inc. .........................................................................................266

Griffith Company ...............................................................................................268

Kern Asphalt Paving & Sealing Co., Inc. ................................................................270

Castle & Cooke California, Inc. ............................................................................272

KS Industries, LP ...............................................................................................274

Bowman Asphalt, Inc...........................................................................................276

Mazzei Injector Company, LLC .............................................................................278

Townsend Design ................................................................................................280

M.D. Atkinson Company, Inc. ...............................................................................282

DB & Company ..................................................................................................283

Malouf Family ...................................................................................................284

Loyd’s Aviation dba Bakersfield Jet Center & Loyd’s Aircraft Maintenance ...................285

All American Glass .............................................................................................286

Martha Johnson Team..........................................................................................287

Bakersfield Association of Realtors ® /Golden Empire Multiple Listing Service, Inc./

Bakersfield Association of Realtors ® Charitable Foundation..................................288

B&B Surplus, Inc................................................................................................289

BUILDING A GREATER BAKERSFIELD

249


VARNER BROTHERS, INC.

The Varner Brothers, Inc., story began in 1939 when the

eighth Varner child, Bill, bought a garbage truck after

working for James Clyde “Pat” on his garbage route. The

company was originally named “Independent Sanitation” and

when Pearl Harbor was attacked, Bill enlisted in the Navy,

along with brother John. Brother and world-class boxer,

Claude was left to run the business, with the youngest brother

E. L. “Skeet”, before Skeet also, went to war.

After the Allied Victory, Bill and Skeet re-joined Claude in

the operation, and soon they were all married and having

children. John joined the operation in 1952. Garbage collection

was tough business and the family could not survive on just

that work. To make ends meet, the family hauled sulfur from

mines, raised hogs, took odd-jobs, ran the L. A. Byproducts

recycling facility and collected tin cans with self-built magnet

cranes at the burn dumps. Skeet even had a muffler shop.

In 1957, Kern County came to the decision that in the

best interest of public health and safety, they would establish

non-exclusive rubbish hauling franchises with expiring terms.

In conjunction with this system and under the oversight of

attorney and judge Roy Gargano, the brothers helped form the

Kern County Rubbish Association, with Claude serving as the

first president. Also, in 1957, the operation moved to its current

site on the 1800 block of Roberts. Also around this time, VBI

wrapped its contract with the City of Bakersfield on Pierce

Road into the newly formed Kern Refuse Disposal partnership.

In 1963, tragedy struck when Claude perished after his

vehicle was hit by a train at Snow Road.

In 1970, Varner Bros. was incorporated when brother

Bob brought his own hauling operation into the group with

Bill, John and Skeet. Bob retired in 1977, and Bill and John

retired a few years after.

Skeet’s responsibilities shifted in 1986 when Governor

Deukmejian appointed him to the California Waste Board,