Gary Girard

Gary Girard.

A second meeting was to take place this month of agencies and citizens interested in working toward a solution for the area’s homeless.

About 15 people attended the first gathering, Art Armendariz, representative for Supervisor David Couch, reported. Armendariz said the Community Partnership in Action Committee would learn if any volunteers had been gained to survey those in the Delano area who might be considered homeless.

Volunteers for a team of three would be needed, said Armendariz, to seek out homeless from 4 to 9 a.m. in Delano with the same need in the McFarland area.

Those willing to join the survey teams should contact the Delano Chamber of Commerce office at 661-725-2518.

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Armendariz, by the way, was recently sworn in to another term on the board of trustees of the Delano Joint Union High School District.

He and wife Bonnie joined their daughters, Vicky and Monica, and their children to view a recent Delano High and Exeter High boys basketball game. A son of Vicky’s plays for Exeter’s varsity basketball team. Both Vicky and Monica are graduates of Delano High School where they were cheerleaders.

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On a recent stop at the chamber of commerce office to check with Ginda Adkins for news articles, I ran across Ross Hampton speaking with Ginda.

Ross (and this was a few days before Christmas) had his right arm in a sling. I told him that my left arm had pained me for weeks but was improving, and I said I was glad that it had not been my right arm.

Ross was supposed to be the auctioneer for this month’s chamber of commerce crab feed, but he was going to need surgery, probably later this month.

He reported that it was a rotator cuff injury along with some other damage in his arm. I asked him how many Delano Junior Livestock Shows he had been the auctioneer for. He said the show began probably in the mid 1950s and he did not become involved until 1994.

For years, Ross said, he has been an auctioneer up and down the state. He is Delano’s only auctioneer over this time, as far as he knows. He predicted that Cris Wright would probably step in and handle the task for the chamber crab feed.

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On a recent phone call from Victoria Gracia (her name when she was an English honors student of mine in the 1980s) the call spanned more than an hour as we recalled the past.

She was in the only honors class that I ever taught, and I believe it was sophomore English. I don’t recall all the class members, but I do recall Cynthia Arroy, Mandi Rose, Kim Chin, Joe Magana, Norbert Labugen, Lucinda Gutierrez and Denise Gutierrez. If I checked out a yearbook, I think I could have recalled more of the class.

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Delano High’s student newspaper, the Live Wire, reported that Delano High did very well on the latest results provided by the California Dashboard, an online tool that shows how local educational agencies and schools are performing in the state and local indicators included in California’s school accountability system.

To see a copy of the DHS report, readers may go to California Dashboard website at caschooldashboard.org.

Another Live Wire item dealt with seniors Xavier Duran and Rebecca Garcia being selected to attend the Ivy League Project during spring break. The project was founded in 1992 by Martin Mares to encourage economically disadvantaged students to apply to the most prestigious universities in America.

Joe Garcia, president of the Central Valley Farmers Association, was impressed by the hard work of the students and again this year has pledged to pay the way for the two students to attend the Ivy League Project.

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The other day I approached Valeria Rodarte, the first-year athletic director at Robert F. Kennedy High School and reported to her that I was contacting the local high schools to seek clothing items for the raffle for the 55th annual Delano Sports Dinner.

As with all others that I approach, I had to give a “lesson” as to what the sponsoring Delano Youth Foundation is.

Ray Frederick was an educator/coach who came to Delano in 1932 and served Delano High for more than 40 years as football and baseball coach along with being on occasion the athletic director, vice principal in charge of attendance, dean of discipline, U.S. history teacher — you name it. He had either coached, taught or been in contact with nearly every person in Delano.

So when he launched a campaign to raise $30,000 to light Delano High’s baseball diamond, he knew who to approach. He never asked for donations! He simply told people how much they as a business owner or citizen could mail in as a contribution, and the public followed through.

He also named a committee of community leaders to lead the way. I believe that Dr. Robert Aguilar, then the head DHS baseball coach or at least in the coaching program at the time, and I are the only committee members still alive. Ray selected me because he wanted publicity in the newspaper.

After the funding for the lights was accomplished, Ray suggested that a youth foundation be formed, similar to that in Fresno of his old sporting goods friend, Soup Carouthers. Delano’s foundation is still alive, but the Fresno foundation has fallen by the wayside.

What started as a Hotstove Dinner in Delano in 1965 is now a "sports" dinner. What was once a “men and boys’ event only” is now open to the public. The $15 dinner fee hardly covers the cost of the event, but the some 50 sponsors furnishing $150 each make up most of the income. The sponsor fees combine with the $25 annual memberships (which have fallen more than 200 percent in recent years) for $7,000 to $9,000 over the past few years which funds youth and youth projects in the community.

This has included financial support for youth football and baseball leagues, summer sports at the three high schools that cannot be financially supported by the schools by law, cheerleading groups at the schools, two $500 scholarships at each of the public high schools, and other programs. Add it up since the 1960s and probably $350,000 or more has gone to local youth.

The way for the public to help is to send in a $25 membership fee to Delano Youth Foundation, P.O. Box 135, Delano, CA 93216.” And/or buy a $15 steak dinner and program ticket from any director, maybe Ginda Adkins at the chamber of commerce office.

This year’s speaker will be Tony Mendez, boys soccer coach at Cesar E. Chavez High School whose teams the past two years have captured section championships. Previously he coached a section championship team at his alma mater, Delano High School.

A “Person of the Year” will be named to recognize contributions to local youth, as well as a Special Award winner.

Eddie Espitia and all directors have been busy gathering items for the annual raffle which this year will have at least 50 items, including a large screen TV and at least two bicycles.

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After for some reason my fridge of some 40 years went out, I waited one day for delivery and it finally came. As I went to move my van from the garage, I heard a voice yell that Gary Girard must be getting a new fridge. It turned out that it was a former student of mine and longtime State Market owner Michael Young who must have been golfing with my neighbor, Mario Vasquez.

The two young men unloading the fridge I did not recognize. When I began talking (I never stop that!) the first gentleman to speak said that he was from the Los Angeles area but that I might know his uncle, a Mr. Zatarain.

It just so happened that when I stopped at a Browning Road signal days before, I saw the name Zatarain on a trailer that passed through the intersection. I also knew that a Zatarain was a past football star at Robert F. Kennedy High and this year had been approved as a volunteer coach at RFK. Just days before, I had taken a photo and wrote a brief item on two Kennedy cheer girls, one being a Zatarain. Sure enough, that was the correct family.

I did not recognize the other young man until he told me his name was Javier Esparza. Immediately, I recalled that he had been a couple of years back a star defensive back or linebacker at Cesar Chavez High.

Anyway, now I have a refrigerator and don’t have to walk back and forth from a back room fridge to haul food to the kitchen!!

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Many award winners for fall sports at Delano High have been announced by athletic director Albino Duran.

In volleyball, Karissa Jones and Alexandra Hernandez shared the Most Valuable Player award for the varsity team. Mia Madrigal was the Most Valuable and Lizbeth Hernandez recipient of the “Tiger Award” for JVs and Karoline Quezada and Esmeralda Magana both received “Tiger Awards” for the frosh team.

Edel Policarpio was Most Valuable and Janelle Fontanilla the Most Improved for girls golf.

In cross country, Omar Gutierrez was varsity boys’ MVP and Arturo Villa the service award winner. For varsity girls, Jennifer Gutierrez was Most Valuable and Mirtha Vidal the girls’ service award winner. Frosh-soph MVP honors went to Emily Bautista for girls and Miguel Lorenzano for the boys.

Jodi Picar was Most Valuable for girls’ varsity tennis and Jennifer Ruiz the Most Improved.

Karmen Dee Rodriguez was Most Valuable for girls’ JV tennis and Roseville Calasian the Most Improved.

Gary Girard is a longtime resident of Delano. He can be reached at 661-725-8803.

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