Bakersfield College has announced the appointment of two new deans of instruction.

Rebecca Flores and Stephen Eaton are replacing positions left vacant due to one retirement and one promotion in the last year, according to the college. The two will be responsible for maintaining and building programs, curricula and courses. They will also monitor student enrollments, provide budget control and development and supervise the preparation of faculty and class scheduling.

Flores will be dean for departments of academic development, English, English as a second language, foreign language and American sign language. She starts Oct. 11.

Before BC, Flores, a native of Australia, served as chairwoman of the English and philosophy department at Del Mar College in Texas. She has more than 10 years of experience teaching English at Texas A&M University and Del Mar College.

Eaton will be dean of the departments of art, behavioral science, communication, performing arts, philosophy and social science. He starts Oct. 4.

Before BC, Eaton served as dean of occupational studies at Mid Michigan Community College. Eaton brings nearly 30 years of teaching and administrative experience.

East High School has gotten a facelift.

One of the oldest schools in town recently underwent $18.6 million worth of major upgrades and modernization including new paint on the exterior buildings, hallways and classrooms, upgraded parking, walkways and restrooms that provide better access for individuals with disabilities, and upgrading the school bell, intercom, fire alarm and phone system.

Other upgrades: new softball field, new outdoor basketball courts, redesigned and reconstructed industrial arts building with a new wing with 10 classrooms, a new computer lab, a new drafting classroom, a new art lab, new metal shop, a new woodshop class and a new building for the special education mobility program.

The modernized labs have been upgraded with industry standard equipment that will give students hands-on experience with machines and techniques used in the construction industry.

Construction began in May 2008 and will continue until early November. It's being funded by state modernization funds, bond measure money and other grants.

Projects still in the works: new HVAC system for the gym and some classrooms, replacement of roof on one building, more fencing to provide safety and security for students and more landscaping around the perimeter of campus.

East High School opened in 1938 as the second high school built in Bakersfield.

Local college students, staff, faculty and community supporters are holding the first "AB540 College Students Scholarship Fundraiser" from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday for college students whose immigration status is unresolved and do not qualify for federal financial aid.

The fundraiser, endorsed by nonprofit Unidad Popular Benito Juarez Inc. and United Now for Immigrant Rights, a new Cal State Bakersfield group, will take place at El Mercado Latino shopping center at East California and Mount Vernon avenues.

Tickets are $30. Food, live music, poetry readings and personal stories from students are included. The money will be used to pay for textbooks and tuition for disadvantaged students.

Organizers wrote in a flier: "Many of these students strive to become first generation college graduates ... they possess the resiliency, drive and perseverance to accomplish their goals: they stay enrolled, get high grades and have survived thus far. But they do need our help."

Students looking to enter Bakersfield College's pre-registered nursing or pre-vocational nursing programs are invited to an open house from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday in the fireside room in the campus center.

Students will be able to meet with faculty and graduates of the program, and learn more about what it takes to be a nursing student at BC. The open house is free.

Cal State Bakersfield and Kern County libraries will kick off the "One Book, One Bakersfield, One Kern" community read of "Burro Genius" 11 a.m. Thursday at Beale Memorial Library, 701 Truxtun Ave.

The book by Victor Villasenor is a memoir of the author's experience as the child of Mexican immigrants growing up in Southern California during the 1940s and 1950s. In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, there will be at least 18 community events over two months, including cultural, historical, educational and entertainment programs.

Community members will speak at the kickoff, including Mayor Harvey Hall, CSUB President Horace Mitchell and others. With a donation from local attorney Tim Osborn, CSUB will place 15 copies of the book at each Kern High School District campus.

A conference on Thursday will focus on which substance abuse prevention strategies work and how schoolwide activities can be built around them.

The "Kern County Drug Free Youth Summit" will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at University Square downtown.

Teams of teachers, advisors and students in grades six through 12 will take part in this substance abuse prevention youth leadership conference sponsored by the Kern County Superintendent of Schools and Kern County Mental Health Department's Friday Night Live Partnership office.

Teams of five, including one staff and up to four students, will learn ways to get peers on their campuses involved in planning meaningful and creative activities during Red Ribbon Week. Discussions will include prevention strategies to help schools address trends in drug, alcohol and tobacco use. Demonstrations will include creative and fun strategies that encourage students to make a difference on their campuses.

Fundraisers aimed at getting life-saving Automatic External Defibrillators inside of schools will be held in coming weeks.

Corinne Ruiz, along with the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association, will host a car wash Saturday at the Sonic Drive-In on White Lane and Ashe Road. All proceeds will go to raising money for AED placement in the schools and to get a local SCAA chapter started in Bakersfield.

Ruiz's daughter, Olivia Hoff, died six years ago at age 14 of sudden cardiac arrest. She suffered, without anyone's knowledge, from Long QT Syndrome, a heart disorder that silently kills thousands each year.

After her death, it became Ruiz's goal to inform as many people as possible about heart syndromes affecting kids and also get AEDs -- a device that helps increase chances of survival during sudden cardiac arrest -- in schools throughout Kern County.

Recently, she donated an AED to Rosedale Middle School, where Olivia once attended. Rosedale became one of the first (and possibly the first) public schools in Kern to have one on campus. The goal is to get two more AEDs in schools this year.

A poker tournament will also take place at 5 p.m. Nov. 6 at 18355 Buckaroo Court. Proceeds from donations and a raffle will go toward cardiac training and AED placement in local schools.

A golf tournament is being planned for the spring. More information: or 589-5307.

Local educators, law enforcement and students will participate in a training session to produce a new or update existing "safe schools plans" for their campuses from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday in University Square downtown.

The "Safe Schools: A Planning Guide for Action" session will feature Bakersfield police Sgt. Joe Grubbs, Kern High School District Police Chief Steve Alvidrez and Mojave Unified School District's Susan Wiggins.

Training will include an overview of education code, legislation, dealing with community issues, analyzing existing school plans, sharing prevention and intervention strategies, and reviewing grants and other funding sources.

Students at Berkshire Elementary School recently donated $400 to the Bakersfield Homeless Center by selling kites they made in class.

Gretchen Skrotzki's fourth-grade class learned practical job skills -- interviewing, applying for and managing a job -- by running their "kite factory" in class. Through a $1,000 grant, the class purchased supplies including a cash register.

Each student interviewed for a job with school leaders and were appointed tasks in the kite factory. They then sold each kite they made for $5.

Cal State Bakersfield will host a free public workshop on carbon capture and sequestration technologies as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Oct. 1 in the student union’s multipurpose room.

The all-day workshop will feature experts and local business leaders. The technology captures carbon dioxide from power plants and other industrial sources and stores it in geologic formations deep underground, preventing the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

"This is an important topic for Kern County because the region's oil fields are a suitable location for underground storage of carbon dioxide," said CSUB geology professor Dirk Baron in a statement. "As an added benefit, the gas can enhance the recovery of residual oil, thus enhancing oil production from mature fields."

There are two projects proposed in Kern County, one by Hydrogen Energy California near the Elk Hills oil field and another by the West Coast Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership on Kimberlina Road north of Bakersfield.

"These projects could have a significant economic impact on the region and the workshop's goal is to inform the public about these technologies," Baron said.

Pre-event registration is required to attend the free forum, which includes lunch. Free parking will be available in Lot K. More information or to register:

Bakersfield College's "fall career day" featuring employers from area businesses will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 7 in the campus center.

Career day gives BC students the chance to explore a variety of careers and job opportunities now and in the future, said Denise Crawford, from BC Job Placement Center, in a statement.

"An industry may not be hiring right now, but they may be hiring two years from now when the student is ready for full-time employment," Crawford said.

Employers participating are from areas of human services, child care, education, corrections, healthcare, hospitality, food service, military, retail and others. More information: 395-4659.

-- Jorge Barrientos, staff writer

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