Blodgie Rodriguez may have her hands in many community activities, but she is one who seeks little spotlight. The Bakersfield Realtor is often behind the scenes helping put events together and fundraise for worthy local causes. And even though her typical day may begin early in the morning and end late in the evening between her job and community involvement, Rodriguez can always be seen with contagious smile and an uplifting sense of optimism and humor.

For those reasons and more, Rodriguez will be among eight local businesses and professionals who will be recognized 6 p.m. Feb. 1 at the Bakersfield Marriott downtown as part of 29th annual Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Installation and Business Awards Dinner.

Both Jay Tamsi, KCHCC's CEO and president, and Denise Ornelas, past chair of the chamber's board, said selecting candidates for the annual business awards is always difficult, as there are many deserving individuals. The awards go to individuals and businesses that have contributed to the community and assisted in the vision of the Hispanic chamber by supporting its business members, Tamsi said. However, Rodriguez has gone beyond her call in helping with various facets of the Hispanic chamber, from its business arm to the flourishing foundation that benefits Latino college students and local small businesses, among other things.

Rodriguez will receive the KCHCC annual Chairperson's Award.

The other honorees are as follows: Sandra Serrano, Kern Community College District chancellor, will receive Businesswoman of the Year; Mayor Harvey Hall will be recognized Businessman of the Year for his business, Hall Ambulance Services Inc.; Wells Fargo Bank has been named Corporation of the Year; and C&A Motors was selected as the Large Business of the Year. Norma Diaz of La Rosa Fruit Bars will be honored as the Small Business of the Year, and United Way of Kern County will receive the Non-Profit of the Year. Karen Goh of Garden Pathways and a former county supervisor will be recognized with the Community Service Award.

In addition, the 2014 board will be installed at the dinner. They are Realtor Rodriguez, chairwoman; Mari Perez-Dowling of Bright House Networks, chairwoman-elect; Adam Alvidrez of Chevron, vice chairman; David Alanis of EDD-America's Job Center of California, secretary; and Ornelas of AAA and La Bonita Tortilla Co., past chair. Fortunately, I have been selected to serve as the board treasurer. The board of directors are Ernie Pineda of Wells Fargo; Nick Ortiz of Western States Petroleum Association; Sal Brito of State Farm; Dr. Rebecca Rivera of Bakersfield Center for Women's Health; Les Clark of Independent Oil Producers' Agency Inc.; Gabriel A. Godinez of Godinez Law; Carlos Navarro of Bakersfield Marriott; Eva Ramirez of Kaiser Permanente; Ed Rodriguez of PROS Well Testing Inc.; Donna Hollingsworth of AltaOne Credit Union; Ed Herrera of Edward J. Herrera Insurance Agency; Donna Hermann of American Cancer Society; and Joe Serrano of Serrano Investigative Services.

Tamsi said the event is open to the public and tickets are $75 a person, or $700 for a table. More information or sponsorships: or 633-5495.

GRAPES OF WRATH: I know I have mentioned this before but make sure you attend any of the celebrations honoring the 75th anniversary of John Steinbeck's novel, "The Grapes of Wrath" this year. Cal State Bakersfield is heavily involved in such activities. Its School of Arts and Humanities and Public History Institute will kickoff the yearlong celebration on Feb. 7 at the Fox Theatre. The gala event will feature a concert by music artist Dave Alvin, followed by a screening of the 1939 film "The Grapes of Wrath," according to Irma Cervantes, CSUB's public affairs coordinator.

A VIP pre-party will be held from 5:30-6:45 p.m. at the Hayden Building on 19th street with food, drinks, and meet-and-greet with Alvin, Cervantes said. The pre-party will also include an auction with items, such as a guitar signed by Alvin, and all proceeds benefit CSUB and The Ronald McDonald house, Cervantes said. Afterwards, guests will walk about a block to the Fox Theatre for the concert by Alvin at 7 p.m. The screening of the "The Grapes of Wrath," directed by John Ford and starring Henry Fonda, will begin at 8:15 p.m.

Tickets for the event are $75 for VIP pre-party and concert; and general concert admission is $30, $20 for students/seniors, Cervantes said. Admission to the screening is free and will be based on number of seats available after event tickets have been sold. Tickets are available through Vallitix locations and at

RIO BRAVO RUMBLE: Much kudos to Brian Monroe of Glinn & Giordano Physical Therapy and others who helped organize the 10th annual Rio Bravo Rumble Saturday. This is one event the community should rally around each year as proceeds benefit Bike Bakersfield. The event featured a mountain bike race, biathlon (bike and run), and 5k/10k/half marathon races. But the neatest feature is the kids race. Kids between the ages of 3 and 12 got to compete in different categories; however, it's all in good fun and designed to promote fitness and healthy lifestyles.

Olivia Garcia is editor of Bakersfield Life and BWell magazines, and a columnist of The Bakersfield Californian. These are her opinions, not necessarily those of The Bakersfield Californian. Send her tips at

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.