Gary Girard

Gary Girard.

When the Delano Joint Union High School District Board of Trustees meets on Tuesday, Feb. 13, it is expected that an announcement will be made on the new head football coach at Robert F. Kennedy High School.

Dennis Moody, a Porterville product who turned around the program from its dismal start since the school opened, said “it was time” in regard to his resignation. He plans to complete the school year and then move with his family to Oregon in pursuit of a teaching position there. He says he does not wish to coach unless it’s a requirement to get a teaching position, and even then he says he does not want to be a head coach.

Moody took over the RFK post before the 2014 season. Kennedy had an overall record of four wins and 46 losses over five seasons. His first season the Thunderbirds posted a 9-3 record and won the section Division VI title. In 2015 the T-birds were 10-4 with a second straight section crown in Division VI.

Kennedy in 2016 lost in the semi-finals and the past season they fell to eventual champion Caruthers in the second round after moving up to Division V for the past fall.

Moody leaves after notching a 31-19 coaching record and a 7-3 playoff record. He will leave behind 25 returnees including 14 starters who include third-year starting quarterback David Estrada and 1,400-plus-yard running back Tyreak Walker.

A member of Moody’s staff is expected to be approved as a replacement.


Fernando G. Sanchez, son of Fernando and Angelica Sanchez and older brother to 6-year-old Orlando and 1-year-old Trinidad, has added a prestigious music honor to his resume.

The 13-year-old Cecil Avenue Math and Science Academy eighth grader has been selected to the California All-State Jr. High Concert Band. He is believed to be the first student from Delano Union School District to earn a position in the ensemble.

He was selected by submitting an audition via the Internet in November and learned Jan. 6 of his selection from more than 2,000 students who sought the honor.

A music lover all his life, he has already won selection to the Kern County Honor Band in sixth and seventh grades and the Delano Honor Band for his last four years.

Fernando began playing trumpet in third grade at Fremont School with Arnold Morrison, has attended numerous music camps, plays in the school band with Mrs. Perry-Reed, the district jazz band, and has taken part in the district Mariachi group. He has received private trumpet lessons from Frankie Estrada, a Robert F. Kennedy High School graduate who is now studying music in San Diego.


Jan. 6 was the funeral service for Tim Sheehan, longtime co-owner of R&S Tire Shop in Delano and then of the Wasco Tire Center. He had lived recently near sons Dennis and Tim Sheehan in the Los Altos area before passing way at age 94. I know of him as he was Delano Youth Foundation president while I was a director and because our interest in local sports was the same.

Tim’s oldest son, also named Tim (but not Jr., according to Dennis) was a second-team all-league tackle at 5-11 and 185 pounds. He went on to Bakersfield College and buffed up to 6-2 and 245 and became a JC All-American center. He then started at Stanford University and took part in the East-West Shrine football game.

Dennis was a two-time all-valley center for Delano High — and was a league wrestling champion and shot put nearly 57 feet. He went straight to Stanford where he also became a starting center. Dr. Dennis Sheehan now runs his own clinic in the Oakland area.

The minister at Tim Sr.’s funeral asked the crowd at Greenlawn Cemetery in Bakersfield how many were from Wasco, Delano and other particular spots.

The Delano crowd that I recognized included Robert Shewcraft, who told the crowd he had gone to school with Tim, attended his wedding, and the two were among five Delano High seniors who left after the first semester and moved to the Bay Area to work three months in the shipyards. Then they returned to Delano and soon after, “the President sent a special message to both Tim and me” — their draft call — and they both enlisted in the Navy.

Other Delanoans or those with Delano connections included (but I am sure I missed some) Steve and Cathy Hocking, Dwight and Judy Todd, D and Maryann Billings and Maryann’s mom, Ana Zaninovich, John Zaninovich, Andy Zaninovich, Joe and Jana Campbell, Louie Caric, Nolan Shaffer, Mr. and Mrs. Dave Turnipseed, and Michael Turnipseed.


Another recent death I noted was that of Vinnie (Vincent) Dulcich. I believe I had him in a study hall early in my 1962-2001 Delano High teaching career. For years I have seen Vinnie cooking for many of the events hosted at the Delano Elks Club, including the annual Delano Sports Dinner, which raises funds for local youth projects through Delano’s Youth Foundation.


Construction continues on the 11th Avenue Community Center in Delano. Parks and Recreation Director Sumeet Batth indicated that since the current Ellington Community Center and the rebuilt Jefferson Center have street names that the 11th Avenue Center being named after a street was consistent.

The new center is funded through Section 108 of the Community Development Block Grant. A loan has allowed the construction, and a grant will be used to furnish the center and do infrastructure work.

In addition to a full-size gym with wooden floor, the center will include a rec room that will include video games and seating with TVs on the wall. Traditional board games, air hockey table, and ping pong are other games for public use.

There will be a dance room where yoga and fitness classes can take place, for example, and will be provided with charge for instruction minimal, said Batth.

The city also has received $527,000 in an urban greening grant from the state to construct a walking path and pay for greening and irrigation. The greenery will be the type that has a lower watering requirement.

A swimming pool adjacent to the center is in its initial design phase. The city is applying through a land and water conservation fund grant from the state. The $2.6 million from the state would be matched by the city’s Measure A fund money.


Tai Chi is one of the new classes offered through the city Parks and Recreation Department with classes Tuesday and Thursday from 5 to 6 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1009 11th Ave. The charge per class is $3 with open enrollment.

The class, instructed by sensei Dominador “Domi” Tomate, helps people learn to relax in action and release stress, to unite the mind with the body, to develop balance and coordination, to build stamina and strength, to promote lifelong vitality and to improve concentration.

The recreation department is also sponsoring a free “Trivia Night” Thursday, Feb. 22, starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Aviator Casino, 1225 Airport Drive.

There is free entry limited to the first 10 teams. There is a minimum of two and maximum of six people per team. There will be 7-10 question rounds. The “question hardness level” is for ages 18 and over. A prize will be awarded to the winning team.


The Robert F. Kennedy baseball program is sponsoring two fundraisers. One is the current sale of RFK baseball apparel. The other is a sale of business advertising banners that will be put up prior to each home game near the entrance to varsity and JV diamonds. Charge is $500 for a 4x8-foot banner. Renewal fee in the future will be $200 per year.

Head coach Jacob Fragoso says the goal is to raise $4,000 for a new pitching machine, called “Iron Mike,” to be placed inside the program’s batting cage.


Nobody has ever responded to his call to the public or local organizations to provide help for Kennedy track and field meets, but head coach Tony Medina says he is asking again.

Simple jobs of recording or raking pits or measuring distances in field events will require a large number of volunteers to aid with the third annual Kennedy Invitational track and field meet Friday, March 23. Volunteers may call Medina, 340-2566, to inquire about positions that need to be filled. Organizations or businesses that wish to help would also be welcomed.

Medina, the meet director, says he expects about 15 schools to take part on the RFK track, which is an all-weather track and boasts the first artificial turf infield in Kern County.


Delano and Cesar Chavez high schools have traditionally met in volleyball, basketball and soccer in home-and-home athletic events which allow each school to be host for one of the two events.

Basketball boys are scheduled on Saturday, Feb. 10, for a rematch of the three teams. The freshman game will start at 3 p.m., JV’s about 4:20 p.m. and varsity about 6 p.m. The early start is being followed since a Noche de Gala school dance is the same evening.


The annual Noche de Gala is to be sponsored by the Delano High student body from 7 to 11 p.m. Feb. 10 at the city Armory on Lexington Street.

The dance is open to students from all three public high schools in Delano as well as to students from Wonderful Prep Academy and McFarland. Permission slips must be obtained by all who plan to attend. Students out of high school may not be older than age 19. Persons may pay the $15 fee at the door but must present the permission slip in order to be admitted.


A fundraiser for Delano High’s baseball program is being offered by the DHS Baseball Booster Club. A drawing for two firearms — a Maverick 88/security shotgun and a Smith and Wesson 9mm — will take place at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16 at Tony’s Firehouse on County Line Road.

Tickets for $10 each are available from Booster Club members or may be purchased by contacting Mike Cardenas 661-474-9546, or Rose Jimenez, 559-303-0989.

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

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