Gary Girard

Gary Girard.

Vivian Han, a senior at Cesar Chavez High School, has become the first Presidential Award winner at her school and probably the first in the Delano Joint Union High School District.

At a district school board meeting she was presented a certificate, medal and letter signed by President Donald Trump recognizing her award for volunteering.

She has worked at a local nursing home, “when I get a chance” away from her academics, which include calculus, English literature, physics, and a dual enrollment English class.

Her ultimate goal, to become a doctor, grew out of her interest at a young age. “I admired a doctor in Los Angeles and decided I wanted to become a doctor and help save people’s lives,” she said.

She came to Delano from Los Angeles in the third grade and attended Harvest Elementary and then La Vina Middle School before entering Cesar Chavez, where she is ranked 24th in her class and carries a 3.9 grade point average.

Han is a National Honor Society member, is president of Anime Club, which focuses on learning different cultures, and is in the Get Lit poetry club. Last fall she was chosen the school’s outstanding girl golfer.

A sister, Jessica, is majoring in a science related field at UC San Diego. They are the daughters of Gilbert and Elizabeth Han of Delano.


Saturday often is a day “off,” but not for Delano resident Claribel Gutierrez. That is the day that she motors around Delano, Earlimart and McFarland to find her usual “clientele” to whom she distributes a sack lunch of chips, cookies, an orange, water, and peanut butter and jelly sandwich.” Each Saturday she delivers about 130 of the “brown bags.”

The day before Christmas 2017, she began her third year of reaching out to the homeless.

“I have always been inclined to help others since I myself recovered from substance abuse and have been ‘clean’ for 18 years. God gave me the opportunity to change my life. After I did a church mission, I decided to help out in the county and then decided it was best to just do something for the local community,” she said.

Her referrals come from such places as schools, her own First Assembly of God Church, Community Connections and the Delano Kiwanis Club.

She thanks the donors who include individuals, organizations and businesses. By the way, she says that donations may always be left at the Delano Chamber of Commerce at 918 High St.

For volunteers, she reaches out and has received help from the local “S" clubs which are affiliated with the “parent” Soroptimist Club of Delano as well as associated student body members from all three local public high schools.

She says she has become alerted to needs of those she finds in backyards, alleys and automobiles. Another way, she says, is that one homeless person passes along the information on the brown bags to another homeless person.

No doubt she is known for her good heart throughout the area.


Junior girls interested in taking part in the Distinguished Young Woman scholarship program have been contacted by committee member Arleen Villaruz-Gonzales at all three local high schools.

Deadline for candidates who wish to take part is Feb. 9. Call 343-3379 to take part. They may also contact their junior counselor. Saturday morning practices will start in February and continue up to the April 28 show.


An excellent source of Delano information is Ricardo Chavez, the city clerk. When Phyllis Kraft retired last summer after being deputy city clerk and then for 17 years the city clerk, Chavez took over the post on Aug. 7, 2017.

He graduated from Delano High in 2004 and since then has served eight years on the City Council, including 2011 and 2016 when he was mayor of Delano.

Chavez uses his background in public service to coach the Robert F. Kennedy Mock Trial team, which Jan. 27 competed in the Kern County competition.

Chavez assisted in Mock Trial for four years at Delano High and has been the coach at RFK all 10 years of its existence at Delano’s newest high school.

RFK’s teams won fifth place in back-to-back years, and Chavez was hopeful that “maybe this year we can break into the top three.”

Chavez reports that the Maya Theater in the Delano Marketplace is scheduled to open to the public on March 14. Delano at one time had as many as four theaters but for several years has had none. The new theater will reportedly have more than a dozen screens.

The current City Council will remain intact until at least the fall. Terms of council members Ruben (Ruby) Hill and Liz Morris will expire and they and/or other candidates will take part in the November 2018 elections.

Chavez provided a city calendar that lists upcoming council meetings for Feb. 5 and 20, March 5 and 20, and April 3 and 16. The city planning commission meets the second Wednesday of each month, also at 5:30 p.m. at the council chambers.


High school and lower level students wishing to compete for scholarships through the Delano Music Memorial Association have until Feb. 2 at 5 p.m. to return applications to their music teachers.

Adjudications of candidates is planned Tuesday, Feb. 6, at the First Assembly of God Church, 2222 9th Ave. Piano and instrumental will be judged at 6:30 p.m. and vocal at 7:15. Arnold Morrison is faculty adviser for the program.

Later in February will be the annual Music Memorial concert.


A sad message was called to me by former student Robyn (Fortier) Dykhuizen of Eagle, Idaho. She was a good friend and both she and Jennifer (Crockett) McDonagh were journalism students of mine at Delano High in the late '60s.

Jennifer was writer/photographer for the school paper at Delano High and established the girls’ diving record that still stands before going on to UCLA. In high school she won a state 4-H competition at the San Francisco Cow Palace. In 1971, she earned a B.S. in kinesiology. She acquired the research “bug” and stayed on to earn an M.S. in 1972.

She moved to Tucson, Arizona, and in 1979 earned her Ph.D. degree in physiology at University of Arizona. She met Paul McDonagh at University of Arizona and they married in 1978. Their first child, John Glen, was born in Tucson in 1979 and together they sought fame and fortune as migrant academics. A second child, Denise Anne, was born at Yale-New Haven Hospital in 1980. In addition to raising two children, Jennifer worked as a research assistant at Texas Tech (1983-1987), earned a B.S. in physical therapy (1989), served on the faculty at Texas Tech School of Health Sciences (1985-1989) and taught physiology at Northeastern University in Boston (1989-1991).

At Texas Tech, she had earned the Quest for Excellence Award (1989). Back at Tucson, she worked as a research assistant professor (1992-1996), served as an associate professor of physical therapy at the Arizona School for Health Sciences (1997-2004) and there she taught the neuroscience course and directed and mentored PT students in their research thesis projects. She received awards for outstanding teaching and the President’s Technology Award (1999) for her innovative use of computers in teaching and mentoring. Survivors include two grandchildren and a sister, Gwen, of Houston, Texas.

Even in high school I was sure that she would achieve something special in the future, but when I saw her obituary information I was surprised at how much she achieved during her life. Her infectious smile and caring will be missed.


Neighbors Henry and Rachel Mendoza informed me that a recent reunion of Delano High classes of 1956, 1957, 1958 and 1959 at the Bakersfield Doubletree drew about 200 people. Music was furnished by the Rhythm Kings, a popular band formed in the late 1950s by students of those days.


Dr. Terri Nuckols, superintendent of the Delano Joint Union High School District, has been on medical leave since last fall but reports that by the end of February she hopes to be back at work at least on a part-time basis.

The high school board of trustees meets next on Feb. 13 and then March 13. When November comes around, voters will cast votes for three school board members. It is not known if Art Armendariz, Lionel Reyna, or Eloise Carrillo will seek re-election as their terms expire in the fall.


Delano’s annual City Walk — co-sponsored by the city and Chamber of Commerce — is scheduled Saturday, March 24. “Walkers” will gather at Memorial Park and trek to Delano’s Cecil Avenue Park where there will be Health Expo and Relay for Life booths and a car show. Relay for Life teams will have booths to promote their April 14-15 local event.

People of all ages who wish to walk may sign-up at Memorial Park at 8 a.m. for the walk that starts at 9 a.m.


A pan of 10 cinnamon rolls for $10 is the latest fundraiser for cheerleaders of Robert F. Kennedy High School who are raising funds for their appearance in the United Spirit Association Nationals Feb. 22 at the Anaheim Convention Center.

Kennedy’s squad scored 90 percent and placed third in the varsity show cheer novice division at the USA regional meet recently at Del Campo High School in Fair Oaks in northern California.

It was quite an achievement, reported coach Natalie Fragoso, especially since the dozen squad members included one girl who tore the ACL in her knee the day before the competition after another girl had torn a ligament in her elbow three days before the competition. Both were integral members of stunt groups for the 12 competing cheerleaders in the competition routine.

“We just went through the regular routine without certain stunts the two were involved in, and one of the girls even took part — injury and all,” said Mrs. Fragoso, who is also a school counselor and is in her fifth year of coaching the cheer squad.

The coach is also encouraging the public to frequent the squad’s barbecue scheduled March 3 for $10 for a chicken leg quarter, rice, beans, roll and drink. Volunteer chef for the event is classified staffer Eric Schroeter, who has about 40 years service in the district and “keeps on giving.”

Walk-ups will be available as the meals are passed out in the school parking lot from 4 to 7 p.m. All funds raised will assist in paying competition fees and travel expenses.


Delano’s Relay for Life has several fund-raising events planned before the actual Relay April 14-15 at the Delano High School quad area.

A team/vendor garage sale is set Saturday, Feb. 3, at the Delano High parking lot along Cecil Avenue. Anyone wishing to donate or to take part in the yard sale for a slight charge may contact Glenda Muldrow, 661-370-7586.

On Thursday, Feb. 8, at Tony’s Pizza, a “Paint It Love Relay Paint Night” is scheduled, starting at 6 p.m. A $25 ticket allows a person to paint and donate to the Cancer Society as persons do “Brave Hearts” paintings. Muldrow says the charge is about half of the usual “inside painting fee.”

A survivor social is scheduled Saturday, Feb. 10, with the luncheon at the Scarlet Oak room at Delano Regional Medical Center.

A Relay for Life skate night Feb. 11 at the Rollerram West will provide skating from 4:30 to 7 p.m. for Relay members from Delano, Wasco, Shafter and Bakersfield.

“Just show up and pay the $10 fee which covers skating,” said Ms. Muldrow.

Next meeting of Team Captains for Relay for Life is planned Tuesday, Feb. 2.

(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.