by Sam Overton
Everyone knows that there is a shortage of water in California, but the majority may not be aware of the lack of court reporters currently in the state. According to Kimberly Shaw, a local court reporter working in Bakersfield, “A reporter working in the court is actually in the courtroom and takes down testimony of everything that is said the entire time the Judge has you on the record. You are writing down what everybody says and then can, later on produce a transcript of it.” Mrs. Shaw certainly knows what she’s talking about when it comes to court reporting. Not only has she been working as a reporter for almost 27 years, she is also married to Gary Shaw, a Program Manager at WESTEC, a partner of Taft and Bakersfield College. WESTEC specializes in vocational training and offers degrees for court reporters.
The National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) projected around 5,500 new jobs for court reporters as of September 8, 2014. That is around 5,000 jobs that need certified court reporters that are going unfilled, and the numbers have only grown since then. The NCRA has even gone on to state that “court reporter jobs available in the U.S. with the greatest demand occurring in California, Texas, Illinois, and New York.” That means that this state stands at the top of the list with a large amount of its job positions unfilled throughout the whole of the state. When asked about why this shortage has occurred, Mrs. Shaw says that “The average age of a court reporter is approaching 50, and most of them are nearing their retirement.” This means that what little reporters we have right now, they are nearing retirement. This means that soon they will be gone, leaving the courts filled with recording devices.
Recordings have been used in courtrooms for several years now as a way to bypass the use of a court reporter. This allows everything that is said in the courtroom to be recorded and stored electronically for later listening. Although some might think that this is just the “evolution” of our society (after all, one of society’s biggest fears is not being able to work because a robot can do what we can, better than we can), but in reality, it’s a detriment to our current judicial system. When asked about the recording system in courtrooms today, Mr. Shaw was vehemently against them, saying that reporters are “more accurate” when it comes to what they write while electronic recordings are “unreliable” due to technical difficulties that can cause “inaccurate transcripts.” With the decrease of new reporters in the state, the use of recordings has become a common practice and one that is not exactly fool proof. So, what can we do to help the justice system that we rely on so heavily?
There is a school right here in Bakersfield, California. The school that Mr. Shaw is an instructor at is WESTEC. The school helps to train and teach new court reporters to meet the qualifications and prepare them for certification to be a professional in the world of court reporting. He boasts that his school has a 100% job rate for students who graduate as well as most of his students being hired within the first week after graduating. At the same time, the school networks with other businesses that need court reporters to alert them of upcoming graduates so that they can hire them as soon as they are out of school. If you are thinking of becoming a court reporter or possibly unsure about your career path, consider this as your profession. Consider yourself someone who is desperately needed by the justice system to help ensure that it runs smoothly.
Ten Bouts at the Sportsmen’s Lodge
By Hector Gutierrez
Tension rises as the announcement for the first fight is made.
Solo Boxeo hosted its Tecate sponsored Fight Night, Saturday, September 19 at the Sportsmen Lodge in Los Angeles. The night featured four preliminary fights before the main event and five swing bouts to conclude the night.
The first bash began at 6:30 pm and featured two up and coming, foreign fighters: Ramon “Nino de Oro” Ayala of Tlaxcala, Mexico vs. Lenny Zappavigna of Leppington, Australia. “Nino de Oro” appeared obliterated within the first three rounds until finally being knocked down by Zappa in the fourth. He continued the struggle against the Australian and managed to at least finish the fight. Zappavigna did not fail to impress in his debut bout after signing with Top Rank which expands his record to 34-2 with 23KO’s.
The first televised bout was that of Pedro “Lil Pete” Duran who faced off with Erick Orozco of Tijuana Mexico. Orozco had no chance as he depended on the ropes throughout the first few rounds to support the dynamic blows delivered by Duran. Without a doubt one of the fastest rising stars of Top Rank, “Lil Pete” continues to soar through the ranks expanding his undefeated record to 12-0 with now 9 KO’s.
As the tension rose in anticipation of the main event, the preliminary bout between Brian Holstein of Ohio and Trevor McCumby of Phoenix, Arizona, shifted the energy of the crowd as both boxers continuously landed their punches. It may have been Holstein’s eagerness to deliver a knockout blow that caused him to receive an unexpected counter hook by McCumby. The Phoenix native took advantage of Holstein’s hungry fighting habits and took the fight by knockout in the fifth round.
Finally, the main event began at 9pm and featured two well-known foreign fighters: Ramon “El Tigre” Jimenez (20-4, 13 KO’s) vs Jose “Josesito” Felix Jr (30-1-1, 24 KO’s). The intense bout did not disappoint as “El Tigre” of the Dominican Republic managed to knock down “Josesito” in the first round. It looked as if the first round was his for the taking but Felix Jr of Los Mochis, Culiacan, Mexico turned the corner on the round and also knocked down his opponent in the same round. Although there were no more knockdowns in this fight, Jimenez and Felix, Jr. displayed a terrific example of impeccable boxing. In the end, the judges’ score cards ruled in favor of Jose Felix Jr. to the surprise of the fans.
The swing bouts presented many young talents initiating their careers. The bout that loomed from the rest was that of Stephon McIntyre of Jonesboro, Georgia vs Edwin “The Hitman” Sandoval. Sandoval, once an Olympic hopeful, had the home field advantage which was evident in the crowd’s display of affection. The support influenced The Hitman to take the fight in all four rounds and widen his record to five wins without a single loss. A great start to a promising career, Sandoval is attracting the attention of big name promoters such as Golden Boy Productions.
Sandoval works McIntyre to the corner to convince the judges of an easy decision. (Photo taken and provided by Peter Politanoff)
To catch a night of hard-hitting action along with food and drinks, the Top Rank advertises their events at valleyfightnight.com and tickets start at $40 for all ages.
By Alberto Muro
Returning for its 16th year at the Kern County Museum, Village Fest once again returns to quench the thirst of its patrons all in the name of charity.
During the month of September, an estimated 4,000 attendees came together and sampled the taste of California breweries and the majestic food provided by the local restaurants. Founder Raul Peace has changed the face of local festivals dedicated to glorious beverages; as locations changed and names transitioned so has the reputation of the festival; as the turn-out demonstrates, it is an undeniable success.
The Kern County Museum gives patrons the “out of town” experience as it is transformed into 16 acres of fun, great music, and interesting people. Lengthwise employee and volunteer Dustin describes the event as “a wonderful opportunity for us to help with great charities for the community since village fest contributes to multiple charities that benefit the children.” Aside from their drink selection, Lengthwise also provided their delicious foods such as macaroni and cheese, French fries with garlic spread (known as stinky fries), and their annual roasted pig.
Volunteers work at the Fest
Aside from restaurant owners, the volunteers also consisted of local fans showing their appreciation towards the charitable event. Currently, in his 6th year volunteering, Jesse D. volunteered with his 2 daughters and 1 son; without a doubt, he is taking proper safety measures to ensure that people do not get out of line. When asked what can people expect out of the Village Fest experience, he responded, “Normally, people tend to take it for what it is and get drunk and party, but over the years, I begun to notice the people are becoming more appreciative towards the charitable factor that lies within the event.” Jesse, along with the other volunteers are there to ensure that everyone at Village Fest is safe and responsible by providing information booths and free water bottles . The warm weather provided some discomfort, but the incoming clouds were sufficient enough to cool down patrons and their attitudes, so there were no bad vibes from anyone waiting to enter the venue.
Local bands provided some great tunes for those who wanted to dance or simply rock out. I spoke with the guitarist of the local band “The Aviators” to get his input on the festival itself. One important question I asked William about his views on the charitable factor of the event while packing his guitar he said, “It’s great to see people come out and enjoy great music while enjoying their beverages. Since it’s for a charitable cause, it’s also an honor to be playing our music on behalf of an organization that is all about giving.” Local acts came from all over Bakersfield to spread their tunes and dedicate their time to those attending Village Fest.
As a native of Bakersfield, one would have expectations towards Village Fest to accommodate the locals, but what people don’t know is that through out California people flock from all over the state to partake in the glorious festivities. A visitor from Orange County by the name of Kayla drove with her siblings to attend Village fest, and as a first time visitor she gave a positive description about Village Fest “This was my first year but I definitely plan on going again.There was Plenty to choose from and the lines moved pretty quick so that was cool. The cost was decent for everything you’re getting and the live music was fun”. Kayla was also not hesitant to show her support in the acts of charity that Village Fest brought under the name of diversity, “As long as it’s going to a good cause then it’s an astounding feeling to be spending time with friends and family”. with that said, Village fest succeeds in not only bringing a town together, but showing California that acts of charity come from small towns with big hearts. As another Village Fest concludes, it should come to no surprise if your neighbor decides to go next year because not only is it a fantastic social gathering, but also unites a community under one ideology; to give back to the community that loves you.
By Ashley Renteria and Jonathan Celiz
Loud punk music, shouting, grunts and thuds. These are a few of the normal sounds you would hear while at a roller derby game. If you didn’t already know about Taft’s local women’s roller derby team, you will now. The not-for-profit team was started two years ago by Terra Bullard, whose derby name is “Das Booty.” Bullard started the Westside Wreck Hers because she was a member of the derby team in Bakersfield along with several other local Taft players and wanted to make a team here for her town. Today, the Wreck Hers are the first and only Taft roller derby team with 19 girls on the team who travel out of town to play in tournaments against teams from other cities.
On Saturday September 12th, the Westside Wreck Hers Roller Derby Team held a rip-roaring, full contact game at the Rec-n-Yard at 6 pm. The theme of the match-up was based on Superheroes and Villains; teams on each side showcased a Justice League and Legion of Doom. Members from both teams arrived dressed in costume, hair and makeup matching their superhero/villain alter ego. The excitement didn’t stop at the costumes however, as there were multiple raffle ticket opportunities, a half-time contest, food and vendors sold items such as Tupperware, beauty boot camp positions, and liquor tickets for the Beer Garden which were distributed by none other than the Oildorado Maids of Petroleum.
Bullard “Das Booty” gets tough with teammates.
Energy filled the Rec-n-Yard as the DJ for the Wreck Hers; Shantel Waldo, played 70’s punk rock to pump up the players and lively crowd during warm-ups and routine equipment inspections. As the game began, the girls fought hard in order to assist their jammer and score points, thus enabling tension to rise between comic rivals. The DJ switched up the mood from rowdy punk rock to cool 90’s East Coast hip hop giving the girls a fresh second wind. After 45 minutes of sweating, falling, jamming and endless scoring attempts to put the Legion of Doom villains in the lead, the half-time whistle blew and allowed the Wreck Hers a much needed break to rest and strategize their next moves. Half-time fun consisted of a costume contest where male volunteers had to get dressed in Wreck Hers outfits as quickly as possible, resulting in the winner being awarded with a Wreck Hers tee shirt. Raffle tickets were called out and the crowed re-energized with nachos and drinks.
Superheroes and Villains scramble to assist their jammer and block opponents.
The Superheroes and Villains were called back to finish off the game with the villains in the lead by just 16 points. The Justice League tried to make a swift comeback but couldn’t quite keep up with the Legion of Doom villains. As the score got closer the end of the game was near and the Superheroes were not able to defeat the Villains. The Villains were victorious on Saturday night’s game, having won by just 7 points. The Wreck Hers next home game will be on October 10th as part of the Oildorado celebration. Come show your support for the tough girls of Taft’s roller derby!
Superheroes and victorious Villains come together for a friendly after game shot.
By Etelvina Castillo
If you have never been to a pumpkin patch, you are seriously missing out on the fun. What better way to welcome fall than by going out to the Banducci’s Family Pumpkin Patch.
The pumpkin patch is family owned and has been open to the public for the past 25 years. Nancy Banducci and her husband began harvesting a few pumpkins for their kids to sell and for them to make some money of their own. They started off by selling pumpkins in their front yard, but as time went by, more and more people would show up to purchase pumpkins, and they eventually had to expand. Since then the family has been harvesting pumpkins for the public. After the husband passed away nine years ago, their twin boys Adam and Alan have taken over the farming.
The family begins preparations for the pumpkin patch early in June. It takes about three months to grow pumpkins and to get them ready for the public. There are about ten different pumpkins grown at the Banducci’s Family Pumpkin Patch such as the polar bear, the Cinderella, the bumpy, canon balls, and of course, Jack O’Lanters.
“It is family time together looking for a pumpkin having fun though the corn maze” Banducci said. Besides the pumpkin patch, there is also a corn maze for people to go and play around in. If lucky enough, they might have ponies for kids to ride.
Get ready to join the Banducci’s family this fall October 5th. Free admission to the pumpkin patch and lots of fun for family and friends. The pumpkin patch is on Taft Highway by Buena Vista Road. Hours are Monday through Saturday from 9:00 am-7:00 pm and on Sundays from 10:00 am-6:00 pm.
Banducci’s Family Pumpkin Patch: 10747 Taft Hwy. Bakersfield, California 93311
By Nick Fequiere
The Bakersfield Nut Festival has once again come and gone, enjoying another successful weekend despite facing a bit of stiff competition from another community stalwart, the Bakersfield Jazz Festival. As always though, the Nut Festival provided plenty of good times and good food to nut enthusiasts and casual fans alike throughout Kern County.
The third annual festival was once more held at the Kern County Museum, which has been open since 1941 and has remained a hub for education and entertainment. The nut festival’s brief history and association with the museum has only served to further cement the lasting legacy of the Kern County Museum within the community.
The festival was originally thought up as a way to simultaneously show appreciation for a beloved food and generate income for the local economy. It’s safe to say that festival organizers have succeeded on both fronts, offering open spots to both sponsors and vendors who are all gladly willing to partner with the event.
The nut festival has quickly become one of Kern County’s favorite annual events, due to the sheer amount of cooking demonstrations, live musical performances, games, and other great activities that organizers set up for festival goers. Last Saturday marked another successful installment in what appears to be an event destined to become a longstanding tradition for many Kern County residents, much in the vein of the Jazz Festival.
By Nick Fequiere
The Wind Wolves Preserve is located about an hour southeast of Taft. As described by the official website, the preserve “is an ecologically unique region where the Transverse Ranges, Coast Ranges, Sierra Nevada, western Mojave Desert and San Joaquin Valley converge.” This coalescence makes for uniquely beautiful and natural scenes that Kern County isn’t typically known for. However, Wind Wolves isn’t simply revered for its beauty; the preserve boasts a sizable 93,000 acres of land, making it the largest non-profit nature reserve on the west coast. Hardcore outdoor enthusiasts and families alike can look forward to the many hiking trips and wildlife tours offered at the preserve, as well the various activities and events for children.
Wind Wolves features an array of ecological systems and varying altitudes, ranging anywhere from 640 to 6500 feet. This makes for an interesting combination of flora and fauna throughout the preserve’s expanse. The locale enjoys tule elk, kit foxes, California condors, and blunt-nosed leopard lizards, as well as blue oak, valley oak savanna, juniper, and ponderosa pine.
Despite the already enormous amount of land claimed by the preserve, The Wildlands Conservancy ownership group has aimed to more than double those 93,000 acres and eventually call the surrounding 230,000 acres the new Wind Wolves Preserve. They’ve gone all in on this proposal, even going as far as to hire experts and analysts who could vouch for the plentiful benefits of expanding the preserve. This commitment to ecological preservation has been the foremost priority of The Wildlands Conservancy at Wind Wolves as well as their other preserves.
All of the programs, events and activities at Wind Wolves are provided free of charge. These activities include hiking, bird watching, painting, and even movie showings for children in the canyon. One of the most exciting offerings include the full moon and black out night hikes, which are great for stargazing and learning about the constellations. Outdoor survival demonstrations are available for parents and their children and there are plenty of opportunities to learn about the history of the area as well.
Taft locals searching for some affordable fun this summer should look no further than the Wind Wolves Preserve. Couple a variety of fun and engaging activities for kids and adults of all ages with a relatively close location and there’s plenty of reasons to keep coming back all summer long.
By Nick Fequiere
The Bakersfield Blaze, Kern County’s Minor League Baseball team, is off to a less than stellar start this season. Despite finishing last year with a 78-62 record and ending up with a First Half Championship under their belts, it seems they’ve been unable to capitalize upon last year’s success, reflecting a pattern of inconsistency in recent years.
However, the Blaze still boast a passionate fan base and a slew of fun events for the entire family to enjoy during those long summer nights to come. Even while on the road, the team offers many ways for fans to stay connected and engaged with away games.
Manager Eddie Menchaca has so far led his ballclub to a 14-18 record, where they’re currently in third place in the race to win the California League North division. The team is slogging their way through a five game losing streak and will have to contend with two tough teams, the High Desert Mavericks and the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, in the next week and a half.
Despite their recent struggles, Menchaca and the Blaze organization are maintaining a positive outlook and a hope that they can still reverse their fortune. After all, the season is still young and the team is tied for third place in the division. They look poised to potentially make a run and overtake their rivals in the coming weeks and months.
For those who just can’t get enough of the Bakersfield Blaze while on their frequent road trips, bakersfieldblaze.com offers nightly play by play broadcasts so fans can keep up with every minute of the action. Sam Lynn Ballpark, home of the Blaze, also offers many incentives and promotions for fans who do make the short trek into downtown Bakersfield. The organization offers group discounts and has many partnerships with local businesses who buy up tickets for lucky employees.
The park itself has much to offer fans young, old, and in between, from fun zones for children to the beer zone and picnic tent for the slightly more mature crowd, as well as a merchandise store which affords fans the opportunity to represent their team no matter where they go. The park has plenty of seating options, all of them being quite affordable and offering a great view of all of the on-field action.
In addition to all of the features and benefits that the Bakersfield Blaze enjoy in their home stadium, they recently signed a two year partnership with the Seattle Mariners to become the team’s minor league affiliate. Add to that the failure of a venture aimed at building a stadium for the team in Salinas and Blaze fans have plenty to be excited about. While the team may be mired in a slump at the moment, the future is still bright for the Bakersfield Blaze.
By Nick Fequiere
The 29th annual Bakersfield Jazz Festival has once more come and gone, leaving no shortage of jazz fans already yearning for next years performers. The festival took place last weekend and likely saw thousands of Kern County residents arrive at California State University Bakersfield’s campus to enjoy good jazz, good food, and good company. Over the last three decades, many have enjoyed the Jazz Festival and all that it has to offer. However, many may not be aware of the incredible benefactors who made this staple of Kern County’s community possible.
Doug and Adele Davis were the originators and organizers of the Bakersfield Jazz Festival, beginning twenty nine long years ago. Doug Davis is a professor of music at CSUB and his wife, Adele, enjoyed a long and successful career as an elementary school teacher. Sadly, she passed away earlier this year due to complications stemming from an abdominal surgery. Though she is gone, the Jazz Festival continues her lifelong legacy and keeps her spirit alive.
While Doug has been instrumental in the festival’s continued success, he would be the first to admit that Adele was the lifeblood of the event and continued to organize the various staff members and booths with precision. Although the couple had stepped back and taken a more relaxed approach to running the festival in recent years, they still maintained a healthy involvement and ensured that the Jazz Festival would remain capable of providing entertainment to those who wanted it and opportunity to all those who deserved it.
Over the years, the festival has been responsible for raising tens of thousands of dollars in scholarships for aspiring musicians who attend Cal State Bakersfield. This past weekend alone, the 29th annual festival raised anywhere between $26,000 and $30,000 in scholarship money. This benefit, coupled with the fact that many alumni relish the chance to give back to their community by playing at the festival, show young students just how far they can go in their field provided they work hard enough. That was Adele Davis’ mission in life, to ensure the success of every child that crossed her path.
Even more remarkable than the Davis’ resolve to help students in any way they could, was Adele’s ineptitude as far as music was concerned. She could not read a note of music, nor could she play an instrument, but that did not hinder her passion for education and altruism.
The Bakersfield Jazz Festival has thrived for nearly thirty years and looks poised to continue its successful run, hopefully earning the chance to outlive and exceed the dreams and expectations of its generous founders, Doug and Adele Davis.
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By Michael Clites
On Saturday May 9th, a very special guest visited the Westside Parks and Recreation District in Taft. This special guest is a legendary sports broadcaster for the Los Angeles Dodgers. This special guest was none other than Vin Scully, the voice of Dodger baseball.
The reasoning for Scully’s visit was to honor the new Scully Field that was dedicated to him. The field is described as a “mini Dodger stadium.”
The legend’s appearance drew in very large crowd of Dodger fans of all ages, making the stands around the new field looking like a sea of blue.
The crowd was mesmerizing for Scully as he stated,” I will remember this crowd far more, much deeper than any crowd I have ever seen.”
But not only was it an honor for Scully to be accommodated by his fans, but it was an honor for his fans to be in the presence of him. Some of these fans drove hours just to get a glimpse of the legend himself.
It truly is an amazing thing that the City of Taft did in honor of Scully, guaranteeing that his name will surely never be forgotten for years to come.
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