The final countdown is near for the second annual Delano Community Thanksgiving Luncheon that will take place Thursday, Nov. 26, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Tony’s Firehouse Grill on County Line Road.

Anthony Martinez Jr. of Tony’s, wishing to continue the event in memory of his late father, is working with a committee of volunteers plus the Delano Union School District, the city of Delano, the Delano Joint Union High School District, Kiwanis Club of Delano, Supervisor David Couch, Adventist Health of Delano, DADD, Delano Harvest Holidays and Delano Community Alliance.

The turkey and trimmings meal is free to the public, but donation checks made out to Delano Community Alliance or cash will be accepted in the serving line.

Those attending are especially reminded that they should take the Cecil Avenue exit to Glenwood Street next to Starbucks and drive north, curving slightly to Ellington Street and then proceeding north to the west side of Tony’s Firehouse Grill, where the serving line for the drive-up event will be set up.

Drivers will have meals given at their vehicle windows, and driving up to County Line Road they will be required to turn east or toward the railroad tracks in order to not create a traffic problem.

At the Nov. 4 luncheon meeting there still had been no rolls donated for the event, but Martinez said he would be working with many vendors of his Kern County locations of Tony’s Pizza businesses. He has already purchased all the turkeys that will be needed for the meal.

“Shredding of the turkey will require volunteers the morning of the event,” said Martinez. Portable smokers will be set up at the serving line along the roadway, blocking off all entry and exits to the Tony’s parking lot.

Because there can be no volunteers under age 18, those 18 and older wishing to help in the Nov. 25 setup or on the morning of or the actual serving or cleanup of the event should call Art Armendariz, 586-2001, or Claribel Gutierrez, 778-3265. Gutierrez will arrange early delivery to many homeless in the area and senior citizens.

Martinez reported that plans are to prepare 800 meals for serving.

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Coaches and athletic directors of Delano, Cesar Chavez and Robert F. Kennedy high schools were not counting upon a large turnout of prospects as athlete conditioning drills began at the three schools on Monday, Nov. 9.

Athletic packets available online at each school site must be turned in and a physical form completed by a doctor before prospective athletes will be allowed to enter their respective practice areas.

At Delano High, for example, football candidates at varsity, JV, and freshman levels will be admitted to the practice area at two gates on the Cecil Avenue and Princeton Street grassy area.

Volleyball candidates will enter from the sliding gate on the Norwalk Street side of the campus to condition at the softball field. Cross country prospects will be admitted at a gate entering the track area off of Norwalk.

Cheerleaders will enter a gate between the library building and auditorium. Other high schools will also have specified entry points.

Practices are 4 to 6 p.m. or shorter periods, according to the decision of the specific coach.

Prospects must wear masks, bring their own water bottles, report in their appropriate practice gear, remain throughout the drills six feet or more away from other persons and not loiter before entering or when leaving the practice area. Athletes will be required to sanitize their hands at the start and close of the drills.

Before they can enter the designated area, candidates must have their temperatures taken and answer a few questions as roll is being taken each day, and the procedure is followed at each practice. During conditioning, prospects will be divided into pods that will be the same for each day of conditioning.

Coaches have always been required to complete several online tests, which this year include added information on dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Turnout may not be large at the start, athletic directors believe, as athletes must arrange and receive their physical exams from a doctor. The ADs have been working to arrange on-campus physicals.

The school district is not providing any transportation to or from the drills, and coaches are not allowed to furnish transportation.

Most affected will be Delano High, as about half of its athletes reside in Earlimart. First actual practices where regular workouts start are set for mid-December, leading up to the seasons for the sports starting in early January.

If schools are allowed to launch their seasons in January, Delano’s first football game would be at home against Cesar Chavez High on Friday, Jan. 8, for the start of the originally planned 10-game schedule.

Freshman teams would start the season Jan. 7. It is not expected that fans will be allowed entry, but arrangements are being considered for reporting the games online.

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Loran C. Wren, a longtime popular elementary school teacher in Delano, died in his sleep Oct. 26 in Cushman, Ark., where he and his wife had retired.

I believe he graduated from Delano High in the mid 1950s, and I recall that he was an outstanding swimmer for Delano. His days as a football player were interrupted by many injuries, one being falling from a tree!

For many years he and another local educator, Al Watts, now of Porterville, traveled together Friday nights in the fall to “scout” football teams that Delano High would be playing the following week. Each Friday night they returned late to the Delano High campus to turn over pages of scouting reports to longtime Delano head coach Gene Beck. Nowadays schools just exchange films of their games.

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I was interested in viewing the Delano Life reports online, especially the one that related to the dollar amount of contributions to candidates for City Council.

The three who received the most in contributions among the seven candidates also were the three voted to the City Council.

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The Kern County Board of Supervisors has approved funding for a homeless shelter in Delano. The $225,000 state grant to Flood Ministries for the Delano Navigation Center will help provide sleeping arrangements for up to 30 homeless individuals at 531 High St., a building occupied by the Delano Association for the Developmentally Disabled during the day. The facility will shelter only 15 people during the coronavirus pandemic.

My understanding is that persons will not be allowed to stay for an extended period.

At one of the Delano Thanksgiving Luncheon meetings chaired by Art Armendariz, formerly an official with the state prison system and now a field man for Kern County Supervisor David Couch, I asked Armendariz if it were practical to consider the closed-down Delano prison as a site to provide longer service for more of the area’s homeless.

Art seemed interested in the idea and noted that when a facility is closed that toilets still need to be flushed on a regular basis and pipes used regularly to maintain service. Much of the prison setup would fit well for use by the homeless, such as a rec room, meeting room and offices.

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I am sure that all Delanoans are proud of the new “International Community, Working Together” sign at High Street and Cecil Avenue that replaced a damaged sign.

I was especially pleased that city staffers were wise enough to arrange Ray Navarro, the “master,” to complete the masonry work.

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Let’s put our two hands together for applause for the police department and city recreation for putting together the safe recent Trunk or Treat event for Delano children!

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Just a few brief notes:

Apparently the annual Christmas parade the first Tuesday of December will not take place this year due to the pandemic.

Businesses, organizations and/or individuals wishing to “adopt” a building or facility at Heritage Park should call 661-725-6730 to make their choice of a facility to decorate for Christmas on the Saturday morning two days after Thanksgiving.

To join the Delano Youth Foundation for 2021 by the close of January, persons/businesses/organizations may mail $25 checks to Delano Youth Foundation, P.O. Box 135, Delano, CA 93216. OR you can call 725-8803 to arrange to have your check or cash picked up.