Adventist Health as of Jan. 1 took over operation of the Delano Regional Medical Center. David Butler is president of DRMC which will have an official name change after approval is given by the California Department of Public Health.

A ribbon cutting and prayer dedication was part of a Jan. 7 celebration in a heated tent outside the Garces Highway facility.

The celebration begins a new chapter in the history of the hospital.

As I approached the facility from the parking lot on an overcast afternoon, I spotted Feliza Medina, a friend of mine, and the always busy marketing director Matt Cauthron. And there was Andrew Mendoza, carrying ladders, extension cords and “you name it” to help in the set-up of the sound system.

Back to Feliza. I had to get her correct mailing address because the Christmas card I sent her came back to me.

Feliza, who took care of my late mother for six months during her final months with cancer, worked as a certified nursing attendant from the opening of DRMC in 1974 up to the fall of 1995.

During that period she also trained to become an LVN while working at the same time.

At the hospital gift shop she began volunteering in 1983 and since her retirement has donated at least two days a week to working in the shop. I asked her how many hours of service she had donated. When awards were given some five years ago she had nearly 4,000 hours at that time — helping at no pay.

Along the way the Earlimart resident has also been an advocate for many in the area. The 89-year-old community leader has been active in programs in both Earlimart and Delano and is a past Grand Marshal of Delano’s Philippine Weekend.

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On the phone the same day as the hospital event, I made a call to Elizabeth Velasco-Ramirez to gain some information on the annual spring Distinguished Young Women event that involves junior girls from the greater Delano area.

This is the 25th year of the program which first began as Junior Miss.

Girls who reside in Delano, Earlimart or Richgrove and/or attend school in Delano, have at least a 2.0 grade average and are a citizen can apply online at Delano.ca.distinguishedyw.org.

Deadline to apply, said Liz (my former school newspaper editor at Delano High), is Feb. 8. There will be information sessions for interested girls at the local high schools and later an orientation.

The actual event open to the public will take place April 25 at the Delano High School auditorium.

By the way, I also asked about Liz’s sister, Elsie, who lives in Minnesota and is, according to Liz, still working on collecting information to write a book about her late father, Leonard Velasco, who became the first Filipino mayor of Delano and was for years sort of the official greeter with his now-widowed wife, still an active Delano resident, the welcoming party for dignitaries visiting Delano.

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Back in December, I was informed there were expected to be some 20 candidates for the vacant head football coaching position at Delano High School. Later I was told the “goal” was to have the new coach introduced to prospective players when school resumed Jan. 14.

Now the report is “We want the coach to be introduced as soon as possible,” but at presstime the next DHS coach had not been announced.

You might be interested that the next coach will be the 29th person to take the varsity football reins at Delano High.

The longest serving coaches were Ray Frederick, who headed the program from the 1932 season through the 1954 campaign, and Gene Beck, who was head coach from 1960 through 1979.

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Efrain Rodriguez has been re-elected president of the Board of Trustees of the Delano Union School District.

Suzanne Villaruz is the new clerk of the board, which had its last meeting and the first of the new year on Jan. 13. The next meeting will be Feb. 24.

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The registration deadline is Jan. 31 for the co-ed third and fourth grade basketball league operated by the city of Delano recreation department.

Cost for the eight game season starting Feb. 24 is $40.

The league flyer describes the program as a competitive league where scores are recorded while officials and scorekeepers enforce league rules and regulations.

All basketball league participants play at least half the game, no matter their skill level. A rating day is planned for 6 p.m. Feb. 4 and a mandatory parent meeting at 6 p.m. Feb. 6.

Game days and times are from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday to Thursday.

More information is available by contacting www.cityofdelano.org or by phone (661) 721-3335.

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A youth cheerleader clinic for youngsters ages 3 through 12 is being sponsored by the Robert F. Kennedy High School cheerleaders who are coached by Natalie Fragoso.

Anybody wishing to register a youngster should call Fragoso no later than today at 661-333-5082.

Instruction will take place from 5 to 6 p.m. Feb. 3-7 for ages 3-5 and from 6:15 to 7:15 p.m. for ages 6-12.

The charge of $45 includes a T-shirt and a Kennedy home basketball game.

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Delano High’s Athletic Hall of Fame committee met recently to go through old yearbooks to find photos of inductees for the coming June 13 induction ceremonies in the cafeteria.

Inductees who are considered difficult to track down are David Fernando, Don Fipps, Mark Taylor, Edwin Comer, Ken Watkins, Willie Jenkins, John Beck, Doug Klinchuch and George Alvarez.

Anyone with an address or phone number should call me, 661-725-8803, or Monte Marshall, 725-7541, or committee members Jerva Winn, Roger Gadiano, Roger Andreas or Henry and Rachel Mendoza.

Others who will be inducted but whom are considered easy to track down are Larry Percy, Jack Pandol, Jr., Mario Millan, Tony Carbajal, Ryan Basconcillo, Jorge Mariscal, John Hooks, Jr., Ron Hill, Robert Markham, Herman Santaella, Jerry DeLa Rosa and coach Jaime Robles.

Inductees or their families will receive two free tickets with the public invited to purchase $40 tickets for the dinner and ceremonies.

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Events coming up are Ash Wednesday on Feb. 26 and Easter Sunday on April 12.

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If you have not had a chance to see the Cesar Chavez and/or Delano High School varsity boys basketball teams in action, the season is quickly drawing to a close before the playoffs. Both schools by this date should be heavily in the race for their respective league championships with their best teams in years.

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