The 2015 Beautiful Bakersfield Awards were awarded Saturday night to local individuals, organizations and businesses that have worked hard to better the community. The gala was held at the DoubleTree Hotel, where the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce announced the 14 award winners.
Active adults (an individual or group age 60 or older that exemplifies meaningful contributions, strength of character and commitment to our community)
Sandy Morris: Helped start Kern County’s Christmas for Seniors, which with a team of volunteers helps deliver cards, wrapped presents, gift certificates and more to more than 1,800 low-income, isolated or homebound seniors across the county. In 2014, the program was expanded to help seniors all year long.
All-America city tradition — civic/nonprofit (the coordination of efforts that have enhanced the quality of life in Bakersfield)
Downtown Business Association: This organization continues to enhance the visibility of downtown Bakersfield by partnering on projects such as Third Thursday, Amazing Race, Taste of Downtown and the Mural Wall Street Alley project.
Architecture (the completion of a new design integrating the environment with space and materials)
Quest Imaging at San Joaquin Community Hospital: The new three-story, 60,000-square-foot building is across from San Joaquin Community Hospital’s main campus on Chester Avenue. The building features an imaging center, laboratory, breast center, café and medical office space.
Lionakis/Itani Design Concepts, architect; Swinerton Builders, contractor; San Joaquin Community Hospital, developer and owner.
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 College — Edward J. Simonsen Performing Arts Center: This project included interior and exterior improvements to enhance cultural programs for the college and community. The auditorium and outdoor amphitheater, audio/visual equipment, acoustics and sight lines for performances were upgraded.
BFGC-IBI Group Architecture Planning, architect; S.C. Anderson Inc., contractor; Kern Community College District, owner.
Education (efforts that promote or benefit education in our city at all levels)
Science for Kern: First piloted in early 2014, this program gave more than 5,000 fourth- and fifth-grade students at 40 schools hands-on science education in their classrooms. Jan Karnowski, a veteran science teacher, currently travels throughout the county implementing the program.
Environmental (an individual, group or organization that promotes preservation and conservation of our local environment)
Tree Foundation of Kern: The organization, along with employees from the IKEA Distribution Center, planted 63 drought-tolerant, native trees at Panorama Park, with a goal of adding beauty and cleaning our local air.
Health (an individual, group or organization that has made a significant contribution toward healthy living in Bakersfield through education, prevention or medical services)
Outreach, Enrollment, Retention and Utilization Committee (OERUC): The development of the “My Path to Good Health” booklet, which was created in Kern County, has customizable toolkits that will help newly enrolled health insurance consumers know what their coverage entails and how to best use these benefits.
Humanitarian — individual (an individual whose personal effort has contributed to the community as a whole)
June Murray: Inspired by her son’s New Year’s resolution, June made 10 lunches a week, and handed them out to homeless men and women around Bakersfield, with the help of her young sons. June also collects clothes, blankets and other necessities for local homeless residents.
Humanitarian — group (a group whose combined efforts has contributed to the community as a whole)
Tuesday Night Ministry: Dozens of volunteers spend money and time ministering, praying with and serving food to the homeless living at The Mission at Kern County every Tuesday night.
Performing arts (excellence or achievement by an individual or group in any of the following: dance, music, musical theater and theater)
Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County — Music Fusion: This dance troupe helps young people cultivate their talent, and allows them to provide free performances for various nonprofit and civic organizations.
Public/private partnership (the use of public/private funds in a partnership effort to enhance the quality of life in our community)
Henrietta Weill Memorial Child Guidance Clinic — Marley’s Mutts — Chevron — Beale Memorial Library: Barks and Books Reading Program: The program pairs rescue dogs with local students to provide a therapeutic environment to help develop reading and social skills, trust and confidence.
Visual arts (excellence or achievement by an individual or group in any of the following: ceramics, drawing, literature, painting, photography and sculpture)
Mark Ramsey/Design Mark + Associates: Serving as creative director and designer for more than two decades, Ramsey crafted all visual graphics used in the 2014 Bakersfield Jazz Festival, donating his time to help make it a premier music event.
Youth (an individual or group 20 years old or younger who, through personal involvement and endeavors, has answered the call of good citizenship)
Stockdale High School’s National Honor Society: With more than 500 members, this group participates in numerous community service projects across Bakersfield, including the Welcome Home Project, Keep Bakersfield Beautiful and numerous runs benefiting local charities.
Chairman’s award (this award is given to the project that has earned the highest score of all nominations and is recognized for overall excellence)
The Outlets at Tejon: The first new outlet center built in Central California in more than a decade, the 365,000-square-foot center features more than 70 premier retailers. The center also opened 100 percent leased, which is extremely rare.
McIntosh & Associates, architect; Layton Construction Co. Inc., contractor; Tejon Ranch Company and The Rockefeller Group, developer; TRCC/Rock Outlet Center LLC., owner.