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Felix Adamo / The Californian

Cyclists begin to gather at dusk on the bike path at Beach Park for the monthly Full Moon Ride sponsored by Bike Bakersfield.

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Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

Gene Tackett looks through the books of the first Wendy's Words Library in the front yard of Susan Reep's home in 2012. The libraries honor Gene Tackett's wife, Wendy Wayne, who died earlier that year.

It's time again to recognize the city's best at the 2014 Beautiful Bakersfield Awards Banquet. The event, presented by the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce and Kern Schools Federal Credit Union, honors the efforts of local individuals, groups, businesses and organizations. The May 31 ceremony at the DoubleTree by Hilton will also be streamed at Bakersfield.com.

Active adults

An individual or group age 60 or older that exemplifies meaningful contributions, strength of character and commitment to our community.

Bakersfield Memorial Hospital Auxiliary: Volunteers run the gift shop, which contributes sales back to the hospital to continue serving the community.

Tom Burch: Formed the Retirees Pickup Group, which meets weekly to pick up litter and to date has picked up more than 18,000 pounds of litter.

Pat Johnson and Susan Reep: In honor of Wendy Wayne, this pair founded Wendy's Words Libraries to encourage literacy and benefit the community by allowing them to borrow books for free.

Katherine Jordan: This recipient of the 2013 Lois Tinson Human Rights Award encourages families about the importance of literacy through performing arts and reading programs, such as Read Across Bakersfield, Read Across America and Grandma Whoople.

Kern Division California Retired Teachers: More than 1,200 retired educators contributed 81,293 volunteer service hours in 2013 for projects such as the Kern County Spelling Bee, scholarship events for students entering the education field and mini-grants to new teachers.

Rosewood Retirement Community volunteers: More than 70 residents make their mark through music, health care, prayer, gardening, library services, offering gifts and caring for others.

Lois Rosas: Helps others by teaching B-Fit exercise classes five days a week at Glenwood Gardens; knits blankets, hats and scarves that she sells to aid needy seniors.

Nettie Thielscher: Tirelessly gives back to our community by volunteering, including 39 years at the Guild House, and sponsoring the Make-A-Wish Race at Bakersfield Speedway.

All-America city tradition --civic/nonprofit

The coordination of efforts that have enhanced the quality of life in Bakersfield.

API San Joaquin Valley Chapter: Guided more than 800 valley members in community service projects/endeavors that included awarding $78,000 in scholarships to 53 students, and other donations to organizations that support education.

American Red Cross -- Kern Chapter: Proudly serving Kern County since 1917, it mobilizes the power of volunteers and donations to aid in preventing human suffering during emergencies and has served Bakersfield through numerous programs, projects and disaster response efforts.

Bakersfield Downtown Business Association: Making significant strides to promote, improve and rebuild our downtown, through such activities as the Taste of Downtown, Third Thursdays, the Christmas Parade.

Bakersfield Homeless Center: The Job Development Program has been a cornerstone for services and succeeded in providing entry-level job opportunities for 42 homeless or at-risk individuals to achieve stable employment and housing.

Bike Bakersfield: This group advocates for better bicycle infrastructure, educates the community on bike needs and riding skills and promotes and encourages a better and healthier lifestyle.

California Veterans Assistance Foundation Inc.: Its annual 2013 Stand Down resource fair provided direct service to local veterans and dramatically improved the lives of more than 400 veterans.

City of Bakersfield -- Sister City Gardens: With designs unique to the five cities represented, these public gardens enhance Bakersfield in a setting representative of the culture of our Sister Cities.

Community Action Partnership of Kern: CAPK and GET bus teamed on the annual Stuff the Bus Food Drive to spread hunger awareness and provide food locally, collecting more than 41,500 pounds of food.

Dignity Health Memorial Hospital: The 34th Street/Homaker Park Neighborhood Transformation partnership with Memorial Hospital and Garden Pathways gives neighborhoods and more than 75 residents a fresh start through community cleanups, gang intervention, employment, life skills and mentoring.

Historic Union Cemetery: Worked to restore the historical site by taking over the management of Potters Field; developing The Garden of Innocence for burial with dignity of abandoned babies; and constructing Heritage Pavilion, a committal chapel and columbarium.

Kern County Museum Foundation: Held the first Kern County Nut Festival, celebrating the culinary delights and health benefits of Kern County nuts, which drew more than 10,000 attendees from throughout the state.

Make-A-Wish Central California: Granting wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions, the organization surprised 15 year-old Raymond Lara, who was born with cerebral palsy and is battling mitochondrial disease, with the gift of a Tobii Eye Gaze, a technology that allows him "to communicate" with those around him.

PathPoint: Provides training and support services for people with cerebral palsy, epilepsy, autism, Down syndrome and other disorders or disadvantages; staff and clients volunteered more than 8,648 hours on such projects as Project SEARCH, Integrated Work Program, Life Skills Plus Program and External Situational Assessment Program in 2013.


The completion of a new design integrating the environment with space and materials.

Gazelle Transportation: The corporate office building boasts an open-space floor plan with cutting-edge technology and a full gym, while the shop has four full truck bays, one half-bay and a fleet maintenance department to offer a professional and employee-friendly environment.

Kern County Fire Department Station No. 65: The northwest station blends into the community with a Spanish style and an innovative design with separate living quarters for each firefighter, an exercise room, a training classroom and drought-tolerant landscaping.

Riverlakes Ranch Community Center and Park: This 26,000-square-foot facility features a state-of-the-art gym with 12 basketball hoops, a multipurpose room, district support offices and outdoor recreation facilities, including a half-court basketball court, two playgrounds, open turf areas and three large picnic shelters.

Sister City Gardens, Phase B: Incorporating innovative and specialized materials for this phase, the downtown amenity reflects a unique blend of architecture and design to represent the culture of our Sister Cities Amritsar, India, and Santiago de Queretaro, Mexico.

Commercial remodel

The completion of a renovated design that upgrades an existing structure and/or incorporates the use of landscaping to enhance the aesthetic value of the property.

Bakersfield City School District Education Center: Revitalizing the city's oldest business district with an exterior renovation, fresh paint, new flooring and landscaping that incorporates a period-appropriate design highlighting the building's 1930s heritage.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County: Renovation of the 17-year-old Armstrong Youth Center included a games room makeover with a larger stage, ceiling-mounted projection equipment and sound system, new wall cubbies and a much-asked-for recording studio benefitting the nearly 750 boys and girls who are a part of the club's programs.

Centre for Neuro Skills: The 24,000-square-foot facility features a curved waterfall at the entrance, modern decor, winding hallways with motivational words and artwork, state-of-the-art therapy equipment, an indoor therapy pool and a relaxation room.

Frosting Ink Bakeshop: A beautiful and innovative remodel combining old brick with upscale Tiffany blue walls, a splash of damask wallpaper, chandeliers and photos of Audrey Hepburn for a sophisticated look to this downtown business.

Jim Burke Ford: A remodel of the 37-year-old Oak Street dealership included a new exterior facade of the quick lane and collision buildings, a modernized showroom, an exterior "brand wall" and entry tower.

Kern County Animal Shelter: Upgraded and refurbished vacant metal buildings to include new kennels, floors, water, sewer, heating and air conditioning, ventilation systems, an attractive interior space for staff and visitors, a complete exterior facelift and landscaping, accommodating the entire County Animal Services Department office and adoptable animals.

Rio Bravo Ranch: Converted a pre-existing former office space to a deli shop and picturesque venue, providing a place to enjoy the beauty of the Rio Bravo Ranch and the foothills.

St. Francis of Assisi Parish Church: Constructed a grotto of the Virgin Mary with landscaping and a water feature to bring peace and serenity to those who visit the beautified church grounds.


Efforts that promote or benefit education in our city at all levels.

American Red Cross -- Team Firestopper Program: This fire prevention and mitigation program targets areas in the community that are at high risk for home fire, and in 2013 canvassed 6,350 households.

Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra: Through a series of partnerships, the Young Peoples Concert was formed, bringing together elementary students to entertain and expose them to orchestra.

Kevin Crosby: To reinforce the science curriculum, Crosby helped the Falcon Autistic Solar Team to travel to other schools teaching solar energy and helping high school students gain a concrete understanding of environmental science.

CSUB Natural Science, Mathematics and Engineering: A core group of faculty and administration led the effort on a program that led to the creation of the Bachelor of Science degree in engineering science.

Moneywise Guys: This radio show offers valuable financial information to the community, for free, and has educated thousands on financial literacy, making a difference in Bakersfield.

Henrietta Weill Memorial Child Guidance Clinic -- Tutor Time After-School Education Program: This non-clinical mentoring program aids 38 elementary school students through volunteers who assist with one-on-one homework assistance and educational tools.

Wendy's Words Libraries: Credited to Wendy Wayne's amazing legacy, this project promotes reading and encourages literacy through 13 little libraries throughout Bakersfield.

West Kern Petroleum Summit: Taft College Foundation hosted this one-day summit to bring together leaders, experts and policy makers to help solve an industry issue and build a pipeline of education-qualified professionals for Kern County.

Kim Woolf: As an educator for 23 years, Woolf engages more than 160 students, exposing them to a variety of energy sources and careers that help expand STEM knowledge.

Katie Young: Young has gone above and beyond to provide services and support for special education students at North High School and helps solve their individual needs through compassion and dedication.


An individual, group or organization that promotes preservation and conservation of our local environment.

Aera Energy LLC: Green Team created the Bike Friendly Campus Program, providing employees access to bikes, helmets, safety vests, bike education and safety as an alternative form of transportation to promote environmental responsibility.

FedEx Ground Package System Inc.: As a green business and 2013 green award recipient, FedEx Ground Facility partners with the city and Keep Bakersfield Beautiful for a composting program and volunteering.

Kern Green: Presents an annual awards program recognizing businesses and individuals for their efforts to perform green and sustainable practices, organizes community recycling events, works with schools on recycling programs and other programs to environmental impacts.

No Butts Left Behind Campaign: Designed to raise awareness about tobacco waste littering and its environmental impact, the project involved Nsele Nsuangani leading volunteers in picking up, counting and storing tobacco waste product, accumulating a total of 15,888 butts from parks.

Assemblyman Rudy Salas: Answered the needs of concerned citizens and led the efforts to improve the Rexland Acres Park by collecting trash, removing graffiti, installing new light posts, repairing sidewalks and removing dead trees.


An individual, group or organization that has made a significant contribution toward healthy living in Bakersfield through education, prevention or medical services.

AIS Cancer Center: Within its first year, AIS proudly cared for more than 400 patients with both cancer and benign blood disorders, expanding access to oncology care for area patients.

American Heart Association: Embraced a year-round effort to help save lives by raising awareness about heart disease and educating the community about prevention and symptoms.

Dignity Health Mercy and Memorial Hospitals: Started the HeartCaring Program focusing on gender-disparities in cardiovascular care for women.

Kelly Giblin: After losing her own hair to alopecia, Giblin started Lemonade Locks Wig Boutique to counsel patients experiencing hair loss.

Kaiser Permanente of Kern County: Partnered on a diverse farmers market with more than 30 vendors, serving more than 2,000 people weekly.

Nature's Food Market and Juice Bar: Sspecializes in serving the community through their food market, juice bar and education programs on health and wellness.

Poise Pilates + Barre Studio: Provides clients with an exercise regimen that helps attain and maintain a uniformly developed body, making Bakersfield a healthier community.

Humanitarian -- individual

An individual whose personal effort has contributed to the community as a whole.

Amber Beeson: The founder and executive director of The Giving Tree Project works to inspire and transform Bakersfield with community, school and residential gardens.

Jack Brigham: Brigham has dedicated himself to developing students in governance and constitutional principles through the "We the People" program and has given $20,000 in scholarships to needy and deserving students.

Cathy Butler: Butler is known for being downtown's ultimate cheerleader and an enthusiastic volunteer through community events such as Third Thursday, Taste of Downtown and developing the Downtown Business Development Corporation.

Jason Cohen: Cohen actively participates on the Boys & Girls Club board of directors and numerous other local organizations.

Holly Culhane: Culhane's "Joy of Giving" ministry at Laurel Glen Bible Church, which invites families together on Christmas morning to provide gift bags to senior citizens, has to-date visited 5,000 seniors since its inception in 1998.

Vikki Cruz: Under Cruz's leadership, Bakersfield Museum of Art has opened 16 exhibitions, enhanced visibility through events like Via Arte, all while she actively participated in Leadership Bakersfield, Arts and Advisory Board at CSUB and Arts Council of Kern.

John Enriquez: The chairman of the Beautiful Bakersfield Anti-Litter subcommittee has led numerous freeway litter cleanups through partnerships with the clients of Bakersfield Homeless Center, inmates from Kern County jails and hundreds of volunteers.

Chelsea Esquibias: Esquibias led drives for organizations, volunteered on boards/committees, tutored and mentored English-as-a-second-language students, raising donations and conducting a personal initiative to feed 365 homeless people per year (one for each day).

Carol Moss: The 2013 president of Bakersfield AGLOW Ministries implemented two new programs to help women 18 to 40 by providing mentoring to their children and seniors who are experiencing life changes, health issues, financial obstacles or logistical challenges.

Mari Perez-Dowling: Through programs like "crew of the week," "class of the month" and "Nuestras Voces" radio segments, Perez-Dowling helps underserved school teachers, farmworkers, economically disadvantaged families and communities.

Scarlett Sabin: The director of the Ronald McDonald House provides a "home away from home" to families of hospitalized children and has engaged the community through volunteerism and created a capital campaign to further enhance the RMD House.

Humanitarian -- group

A group whose combined efforts has contributed to the community as a whole.

Bakersfield Association of REALTORS: Raised $124,793.93 and volunteered 1,456 hours for numerous community organizations, given $6,000 to a scholarship trust fund and partnered with more than 12 local organizations.

Bakersfield Condors: Strives to serve the community through programs that reach across sectors, ages and situations, generously giving $350,000 to more than 300 organizations.

Bakersfield Elementary Teachers Association: Serves more than 1,300 children and parents through Read Across Bakersfield, Read 2 Children Day, Bakersfield Family Picnic, DBA Third Thursday and Green Expo.

Bakersfield Jockey Club: Recognizing more than 300 students, this group of five volunteers spends a minimum of 15 hours a week hosting award luncheons to honor local high school and college athletes.

Bakersfield LGBTQ: Works to empower through advocacy, education, social support and networking to make the city more welcoming of diversity and the minority LGBT community.

Beautologie Medical Group Inc.: Dedicates weekends to offer free tattoo removal clinics to patients in need of a fresh start.

CSUB Athletics Department: CSUB athletes have completed more than 5,000 community services hours in various organizations.

Chevron: Holds itself to "the Chevron Way" with 375 employees volunteering more than 7,705 hours with 120 local nonprofits.

FedEx Ground Package System Inc.: Donates food, clothing, adopts families for the holidays and provides financial support and volunteers in numerous community outreach organizations.

Glenwood Gardens: Partnered with Christmas for Seniors for 5,000 volunteers to bring 1,841 low-income, homebound and isolated seniors a holiday they would never forget. Teamed with the "Wish of a Lifetime" organization to grant lifelong wishes to seniors, aiding four residents in 2013.

Golden Empire Youth Football: Created the annual Youth Shriner Football Bowl Games, attracting more than 3,000 attendees with proceeds benefiting Shriner's Childrens Hospital.

Kern County Animal Services Department and community volunteers: Teamed on the massive relocation of 1,700 stray animals saved through the efforts of 70 staff members and volunteers who donated 1,042 hours of in-kind services.

Marley's Mutts Dog Rescue: Saving dogs' lives through training, healing and housing and has implemented a community outreach program.

Rotary Club of Bakersfield Breakfast: Feeds the hungry, lays wreaths on headstones to honor military, aids in roofing homes and treats students in need to a 12 days of Christmas program.

Performing arts (individual/group)

Excellence or achievement by an individual or group in any of the following: dance, music, musical theater and theater.

Kevin Birkbeck: Taught beginning ukulele music lessons to more than 700 public school fifth- and sixth-graders students and an ensemble of about 20 students participated in performances for the school chorus programs.

Sheila McClure: One of the founding member of the Dream Factory Foundation directed the first production of "Les Miserables" at Golden Valley High School, which more than 500 people attended, with most of the proceeds aiding scholarships for those pursuing a college degree in the theater arts.

Mento Buru: Performed "Cinco de Mayo at Buck Owens' Crystal Palace," providing a forum for Latin music and Latino culture.

Ron Saylor: The Gold Medal Award-winning magician, produced his seventh season of "Celebrities of Magic," drawing some of the biggest names in magic.

Public/private partnership

The use of public/private funds in a partnership effort to enhance the quality of life in our community.

Keep Bakersfield Beautiful -- Freeway Litter Cleanup Program: Provides jobs cleaning up litter on local roadways, improving lifestyles for about 250 Bakersfield Homeless Center clients and their families.

Kern County Superintendent of Schools -- Do the Math: Over 12 seasons, this interactive TV show has provided 1,000-plus students with math homework assistance from credentialed teachers as well as increased state test scores.

Kern County Veterans Service Department and Rio Tinto Minerals: Created a unique system providing IDs at no charge to veterans to use as proof of honorable military service so that they may access discounts at local merchants.

Leadership Bakersfield Class 2013 -- Team 3 and Meet Your Neighbors: Developed the Howdy Parade providing a unique setting for people living with all types of disabilities to engage with the public and one another.

San Joaquin Valley Quality Cotton Growers Association: Established a collaboration between Bakersfield College's agricultural department and CSUB's engineering department, providing students with an opportunity to work with scientists in the discovery of solutions to ag problems.

Kern County Supervisor Mike Maggard and Jaclyn Allen, Certified Farmers Market manager -- Oildale Farmers Market: Providing the community access to fresh fruits, vegetables, and other offerings at an affordable price while supporting local farmers.

Visual arts (individual or group)

Excellence or achievement by an individual or group in any of the following: ceramics, drawing, literature, painting, photography and sculpture.

Bakersfield Museum of Art: Enhances the community members through cultural events including Via Arte Italian Street Painting Festival, Altares de Familia, educational programs and art exhibitions.

Mary Bradford: The North High art teacher created the "Beautiful Oildale Art Show" bringing together students, staff and the community of Oildale.

Aliza McCracken: Has uplifted and inspired the hearts of many through her vibrant artistry with universal themes of love, hope and faith.

Al Mendez and Sebastian Muralles: Collaborated on painting a colorful three-part downtown mural outside Front Porch Music highlighting Bakersfield's rich music history of locally made guitars.

Sandy Mittelsteadt and Judy Salamacha: Joined together with illustrator Jody Salamacha-Hollier and historian Chris Brewer to create the biography "Colonel Baker's Field: An American Pioneer Story."

Youth -- individual

An individual 20 years or younger who, through personal involvement and endeavors, has answered the call of good citizenship.

Mickey Cushine: Implemented the "Flight for Friends" program in which disabled children learned about flight, had the opportunity to see, touch and sit in the cockpits of real planes and fly a full-motion flight simulator.

Jaxon Evans: Through his weekend Kool-Aid stand, the 8-year old collected $1,000 in toys and raised $3,300 to purchase toys for a Christmas party at the Bakersfield Homeless Shelter.

Cecilia Osorio: The president of the American Red Cross Club at Highland High School led volunteers in the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, handing out pamphlets in English and Spanish on fire safety and the importance of fire alarms.

Kylee Windes: Donated her time as well as birthday and Christmas gifts to kids in group homes, organized a Halloween costume drive collecting more than 160 costumes for children at the Homeless Shelter and ran the Lemonade Stand, which benefits the Jamison Center.

Youth -- group

A group 20 years or younger that, through personal involvement and endeavors, has answered the call of good citizenship.

Bakersfield Police Explorer Post No. 521: Seventy-eight young women and men donated 10,629 hours through a variety of community service projects such as Neighborhood Watch programs, National Night Out, the Christmas Parade and Safe Halloween.

Boys & Girls Club of Kern County -- KidzArt artists: Donated 22 of their paintings and pastels to the Boys & Girls Club's annual fundraiser ArtFest, raising more than $10,000.

DreamCatchers: More than 75 members from Centennial, Frontier, Liberty and Stockdale high schools provided lasting memories to hospice patients and their families during the last precious moments of life by granting patients' dreams.

Girl Scout Troop 2043: More than 30 fourth-- to seventh-graders saved and donated their own money to contribute, organize and fill toiletry boxes, make cards and help deliver gift boxes for the Christmas for Seniors program.

Golden Valley High School -- Interact Club: Helped Rotarians cook for their pancake breakfast serving the east Bakersfield community, participated in highway cleanups, raised funds to purchase and deliver a Build-a-Bear stuffed animal to the Jamison Center and more.