The Big Thirst Comes To CSUB


By Alberto Muro

On the evening of October 27, the president of Cal State University Bakersfield Dr. Horace Mitchell invited investigative journalist and author of The Big Thirst Charles Fishman to the 10th annual “One Book, One Bakersfield, One Kern” readers program. Dr. Mitchell  spoke about the success of  “One Book, One Bakersfield, One Kern” saying “It promotes literacy to Kern County students.” Every year students throughout Kern County read enticing works of literature and participate in events that are relevant to the book. Students also get the opportunity to meet the author of the book.


After Dr. Mitchell spoke with the students, he introduced Charles Fishman to the stage. Mr. Fishman was greeted by a round of applause and wasted no time getting into the details of the book. “I’m the guy that ruined your fall semester,” Mr. Fisher stated as he lifted a copy of his book. His statement was met with laughter.

Mr. Fishman also thanked “One Book, One Bakersfield, One Kern” for inviting him to speak with students about water. California is currently in the midst of a drought,  and The Big Thirst is the perfect book to enlighten student readers about the importance of water. Mr. Fishman explained the simplicity of his book by saying, “The more water we have, the happier we are. That’s the entire book in less than eighty characters.”

Charles Fishman

The Big Thirst discusses  the  water problems on a global scale rather than domestic. Mr. Fishman explained  his overall objective for writing the book by  studying water from around the world. “I spent 5 years traveling the world trying to understand the water problems,” Mr. Fishman said while mentioning his trips to Italy, India, Australia, and the United States for his project.

During the panel, Mr. Fishman brought up some grueling statistics that served as an eye opener to students. “Four out of ten people don’t have access or have to walk 3 km to get clean water,” he said while talking about his trip to an impoverished region in India. Mr. Fishman did in fact walk 3 km to experience first hand the struggles of obtaining clean drinking water.

Mr. Fishman also says the  lack of clean drinking water in India is the result of “failed policies from elected officials promising the Indian people access to clean drinking water.” There are talks of clean water initiatives in every election cycle, but the Indian government contributes very little towards the cause. As a result, people are forced to traverse long distances for clean water.

At the end of the panel, Mr. Fishman encouraged students to ask questions pertaining his research towards his book. Students lined up and began asking questions regarding water conservation methods, traveling experiences, and  his overall message to students. One question lingered in reference to his statement “four out of ten people don’t have access to clean water.” “Good evening Mr. Fishman, you mentioned that there is lack of clean water in locations,  I assume they are poverty stricken” “Yes, that’s correct,” Mr. Fishman replied. “The United States has a strong economic infrastructure, yet there are cities experiencing contaminated water”; “Mr. Fishman, if money is not the problem, then what is?”

Fishman signing

Mr. Fishman began explaining that funding is usually not the reason for lack of clean water, but instead it all boils down to politics. As Mr. Fishman explained earlier, “Leaders in India, for example, do not use their political influence towards clean water.” He also talked about the contaminated water in Flint, Michigan, and how the lack of political intervention lead to negligence towards a clean water system and the result was tragic.

Line for book signing


For his closing statement, Mr. Fishman thanked the students and faculty for being involved in the “One Book, One Bakersfield, One Kern” and hopes his book informed everybody about the importance of water so that one day we may stop taking it for granted. He then asked students to form a line for his book signing; following this statement, the stampede sound of students gathering around Mr. Fisher could be heard through out the gym.

4th Annual Feed The Zombies Food Drive

By Joshua Rivera

From October 29th to October 31st, the Feed the Zombies Food Drive was held at 5510 Lombardy Court. The Food Drive is a non-profit event that was created by Kern County resident Cherie Willis to help the homeless in Kern County.

This is the fourth year that Willis has hosted her food drive. Every year she usually receives over 300 canned good items from people in the Kern County community wanting to receive a good scare at her haunted house. On the 30th, Willis had already received over 144 cans of food and was expecting a lot more on Halloween. Every year she has a different theme for her haunted house, and this year’s theme seemed to center more on clowns and the circus.

Willis says she hosts this event to try and show people that Halloween should be “looked upon as a celebration” like Christmas or Thanksgiving because not many people decide to celebrate Halloween anymore. She also does this because more holidays are coming, and not many people will be able to celebrate with food.


Willis says she also decided to do this because she received canned goods from the community when she was younger, so she likes to do the same thing for families that are in a similar situation. Even when her house burned down earlier this year and she lost all of her props for the haunted house, she decided to redo everything and still host the event.

Willis usually donates her canned goods to nonprofit organizations, but this year decided to make gift baskets and give them directly to the Bakersfield Homeless Center/Bethany House. She says, “I would like to feed thirty people in one day, then feed ten people overtime.”

Willis’ haunted house is a big success every year that is usually advertised on Kern County’s website for events, Facebook, and even the news. Willis is doing good work for the community and encourages Kern County residents to check out her haunted house and get involved with donating canned goods.

The Great California Shake Out


By Joshua Rivera

If an earthquake were to happen right now, most people would know to stay indoors until the shaking stops, drop down to the floor and find cover, cover their heads and necks to protect themselves from any debris, and hold onto their cover so they can move with the earthquake until the shaking stops.

To remind students of the proper procedures, Taft College participated in The Great California Shake Out. The Shake Out was held on October 20th, 2016, at 10:20 AM. Students and staff indoors were told by a phone call or email when the Shake Out would start and what to do.

The Shake Out lasted for a few minutes, and students and staff received another phone call or email telling them that the Shake Out was over.

In California, over ten million people in school’s state wide participated in the Shake Out, and over fifty million people participated in a Shake Out nationwide

Students under desks

Students under desks



It was important for Taft College to be involved in the Shake Out because California has a higher risk for experiencing an earthquake than any other state in the country.

The Shake Out is an annual event that allows people to practice procedure while also informing others that are not familiar with what to do in an earthquake, so they can avoid serious injury.

The Shake Out will be held again next year, and hopefully, even more schools will participate in this event that keeps people safe.img_4159

Water Conservation Obstacle Course

Group tries course

Group tries course

By Joshua Rivera

The average Californian uses 181 gallons of water a day. With a population of over 30 million, California uses over five billion gallons of water each day. Bakersfield alone uses over 83 million gallons of water a day. This amount of water that California uses has been slowly declining since 1980, but California has still found itself in a severe drought.

California mostly gets its water supply from surface water, but gets a small percentage of water from groundwater. Since California has been in a drought for five years, we have seen the use of groundwater increase exponentially.

Kern County has done a great deal to conserve water by putting restrictions on what Kern County residents can and cannot do when it comes to water. The Kern River has seen improvement because of this, but it’s still not enough.

Taft College decided to start raising awareness on the issue and held a Water Conservation Event on October 19, 2016, to raise awareness to students on campus and the Kern County community.

An obstacle course was set up at the school’s quad where groups of three would try and complete the course without popping a water balloon. Student participants as well as spectators at the event thought this was a fun way to inform students of the need to conserve water while also getting them involved.

Taft College hopes to host more events that raise awareness on the issue of water conservation and hopes that students will spread the word as well.

Group tries course

Group tries course

ASB Halloween Costume Contest

By Bailey Vega

The Taft College Associated Student Body hosted a costume contest in the quad on Halloween.

Students, faculty, and children who were dressed up lined the steps of the amphitheater for a chance to win a $10 Starbucks gift card or a gift basket.

Photo of costume contest participants  Photo of costume contest participants

An ASB officer asked each participant to introduce themselves and identify their costumes, which included an array of iconic characters and creative renderings. The ensembles included Disney, movie, and comic book characters; storybook protagonists; creatures ranging from mystical to eerie; creatively portrayed objects; and even specific body parts.

Photo of costume contest participants

Photo of costume contest participants

Photo of girls dressed as minions.


The contest was judged by the audience members, who voted by show of cheering and applause. The costumes that received the loudest ovations were kept in the running until, after several rounds of voting and elimination, just four groups of contestants were left: a pair of minions from the animated film Despicable Me (one malevolent and purple, the other goofy and yellow), two ornately dressed gypsies, a pair of breasts, and a group that included a baby Cinderella and her fairy godmother accompanied by a child dressed as a blue hot air-balloon.

Photo of a baby Cinderella, her fairy godmother, and a hot air balloon child.

A baby Cinderella, her fairy godmother, and a hot air balloon child.

Photo of the two gypsies.


Since these costumes were all equally appreciated by the crowd, the ASB members decided to have the participants engage in a dance-off to “The Monster Mash.” The options were narrowed down to Cinderella and company and the gypsies, and the crowd’s final consensus determined the two gypsies to be the winners.

4th Annual Halloween Baseball Game

By Mark O’Connor


The whole cast

The typical sporting event consists of athletes wearing identical uniforms and referees that are true and honest to both teams. That was not the case on Friday at Taft College’s baseball field.

The 4th Annual Taft College Halloween game featured characters like Captain Underpants, Princess Peach, and even both major 2016 presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.



Princess Peach (Tyson Canfield)


Captain Underpants (Seth Sorensen)


“It’s a fun event that is good for the chemistry of the team,” said Nick Kawano, third year sophomore.

The two teams, the Ghouls and the Goblins, fought it out in a short exhibition game mostly for bragging rights. In this game the pitchers were not TC’s everyday pitchers, instead they were the position players. The regular pitchers were given their one chance to swing the bats and flash the leather on the field.

As expected, the game was not played as intensely as a normal game would. The umpire, “Crooked Hillary,” made a handful of poor calls and was showered by boos from both dugouts. However, there was still a fair share of nice fielding plays and a 3-run home run off the bat of Richard Ortiz, who dress up as a monk.


Crooked Hillary (Coach DeFreece)

The game was meant for nothing more than a few laughs and a good time. Those who sat in the stands on that cloudy afternoon got just that.




Donald Trumps (Kyler Shifflet, Coach Maiocco)


TIL Program Open House

Vicky Waugh presents info on the TIL Program

Vicky Waugh presents info on the TIL Program



Taft College Transition to Independent Living Program representatives offered tours of their facilities on Friday, October 24. The tours started with general information given to the attendees in one of the classrooms by Susan Wells and John Dodson who explained the components of the program and details such as eligibility and procedures to apply.


John Dodson

The TIL Program is for adults that have developmental or intellectual disabilities. The students receive instruction in many areas including functional, social, and career skills they will need to live on their own. The program’s freshmen live in the dorms on campus and then transition to off campus housing their sophomore year.

After completing the program, students are helped to find their own living accommodations and employment to be as self-supporting as possible. Some may be fully self-supporting while others may need more help. The students have classes that cover everything from how to manage finances to how to cook to how to take public transportation with the goal being lifelong independence.

Participants in the tour included educational professionals who attended to understand if some of their students or clients might be a good fit in the TC program. Vicky Waugh took the participants on a tour of the TIL facilities that included a visit to a typical dorm room, the laundry room, day room, and cooking area all the while answering questions from the attendees.

Ricardo Cornejo, Vicky Waugh, Mark Schweer, and Michelle Mills on the tour

Ricardo Cornejo, Vicky Waugh, Mark Schweer, and Michelle Mills on the tour


Two attendees, Michelle Mills, program specialist, and Mark Schweer, psychologist, both from Stockdale High, were very impressed with the facility. Schweer stated, “I could live in this dorm room,” commenting on the livability of the housing.

San Andreas Regional Center Service Coordinator Ricardo Cornejo said, “This might be the right next step for some of my clients.” Cornejo was also pleasantly surprised with winning one of the welcome raffle prizes.

Ricardo Cornejo accepting his prize from Vicky Waugh

Ricardo Cornejo accepting his prize from Vicky Waugh

Anyone interested in finding out more information on the program, can find it online on the TC website or simply contact TIL.