Talent, Dedication and Passion at the Home of the Renegades

Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, October 27, 2018….. a great day to be a Renegade.

In Eugene, Oregon this weekend, wearing my Renegade Athletics shirt and enjoying the soft moisture filled air and fall colors.

Missing the two little ones.

Homecoming Week


Cheer Team serving Ice Cream!

Homecoming exceeded all expectations this year, as Renegade pride was in full force throughout the week.  While the highlight of Homecoming will be at the football game tonight, the weeklong celebration has been an exciting time to be on campus.  Faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community members have come together to honor our history by participating in events like the homecoming parade, student organization competitions, talent show, office decoration party, pep rally, tailgating, and more!

On Thursday, students came out to the Crossroads for “Rally of the Renegades” to get fired up for Saturday’s Homecoming football game .  Carnival games, music, and food got everyone in the mood to celebrate. Our BC cheerleaders served up some delicious ice cream, which was a welcome treat on a warm October day.


Students also enjoyed listening to music as they took  turns playing some carnival games. The bean bag toss presented a challenge as students attempted to toss bags into the mouths of cardboard pigs and cows.

Several students gathered around the miniature basketball hoop, trying to one-up each other to see who could make the longest shot. There were a lot of makes, and a few misses, but fun was had by all. Thank you to all the teams who participated in the festivities and the cheerleaders for dishing up that fantastic ice cream.  Go BC!

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The enthusiasm displayed from everyone who participated in the various events made Homecoming an exciting time to be at BC!


BC Hosts 6th Annual Bioenergy Day

Liz Rozell at Bioenergy Day at BC 2018

Liz Rozell at Bioenergy Day at BC 2018

BC hosted the 6th Annual National Bioenergy Day earlier this week where local renewable energy producers Mt. Poso Cogeneration, Macpherson Energy Corporation and DTE Energy Services were recognized by Mayor Karen Goh, Assemblyman Salas’s office, Congressman McCarthy’s office, Assemblyman Fong’s office, and Supervisor Mick Gleason’s office.  Our Career and Technical Education department co-hosted this event, and works closely with our industry partners. Because of these connections, our students have a better chance of landing jobs, internships or work experience.

Russell Johnson, Common Sense Consulting

Russell Johnson, Common Sense Consulting

Mt. Poso is a great example of this since the types of jobs that are located at the plant are closely related to our Industrial and Transportation Technology pathway. Having a company like Mt. Poso and its partners at our campus gives our students the opportunity to learn about the different type of employment options they can obtain with their degree or certificates they earn at BC.

Companies were represented at Bioenergy Day that generate electricity and heat from wood and organic materials.  Ruth Santos from DTE led a presentation educating attendees on this sustainable, reliable, renewable, and carbon-friendly energy source.

Mayor Goh wrapped the morning up by proclaiming October 24, 2018 as “National Bioenergy Day” in our city. I loved getting to see so many of our amazing community members here on the BC campus!  Thank you to Russell Johnson of Common Sense Consulting for reaching out to host the event here, Norma Rojas-Mora, Tony Cordova, Carlos Medina & Jessica McGrath for your help in organizing this event, as well as Mary Jo Pasek and Leah Prendez for your hard work.  Also, thank you to Stephanie Stuart and her team for providing the lunches! See all the pictures at BC’s Smugmug! 

Tony Cordova, Liz Rozell, Karen Goh, Sonya Christian

Tony Cordova, Liz Rozell, Karen Goh, Sonya Christian

Disability Awareness Day

IMG_1274October is an active month for bringing awareness to many issues. One of those issues is disability employment. National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) begins each October 1st. As part of this movement to “educate about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America’s worker with disabilities,” BC’s own DSPS held a Disability Awareness event. On Thursday, October 25th, DSPS hosted an Exhibitor Fair in the Renegades Crossroads, held a DSPS Awards Ceremony and showed a free movie for the students and employees of Bakersfield College.

Among the exhibitors were the Special Education Department, the LBC Deaf Church, Inclusion Films, the Kern Regional Center, the Independent Living Center, and the Department of Rehabilitation. The Valley Achievement Center’s booth talked to parents about their non-profit school for children with autism. The Sorenson Video Relay Service (SVRS) was there to explain their technology that “enables the Deaf community to communicate with both Deaf and hearing families” through technology, according to their flier. We have really made great strides in aiding the disabled with technology.

Disability Awareness Day Monika and Tamara

Monika and Tamara had to visit the pups.

Of course the scene-stealer and most popular booth was Canine Companions for Independence. At least three volunteers brought their Canines-in-training to Bakersfield College to promote awareness of the impact assistance dogs has on improving the life of a person with disabilities. Volunteer puppy raisers accept a specially bred puppy to keep safe and healthy while they train for about 2 years. Once the pups are raised, they are returned to the Canine Companions and tested to see if they will make a good assistance dog. Those that qualify are then trained as assistance dogs and provided to qualified disabled people. The volunteer puppy raisers are truly amazing people that dedicate two years to the animal to benefit the life of another person. As puppy raiser Barbara Raines said, “it is truly a gift of the heart.”

IMG_4461Another highlight of the event is the awards ceremony where departments, faculty, staff and students are recognized as allies for those with disabilities. These are departments and people that go out of their way to remove barriers and obstacles for our students with disabilities. These employees and students epitomize our mission to provide a supportive learning environment and represent the Core Values of integrity, diversity and community. Thank you Academic Technology Department, Marketing and Public Relations Department, Faculty Matthew Garrett and Eleonora Hicks, staff members Maria Elizondo and Helen Calip, and students Kristen Ponce and Parker Lancaster for being allies to those with disabilities.

Marketing and Public Relations

Marketing and Public Relations


Maria Elizondo and Helen Calip

Parker Lancaster

Parker Lancaster

In the afternoon we were treated to a free movie about Temple Grandin, a child born with autism that grew up to overcome her disability to become a professor of Animal Science, prominent author and speaker. Grandin will be speaking at BC on February 12, 2019 as part of the Distinguished Speaker Series. We will also have Oz Sanchez speaking on November 8, 2018. Sanchez is a Marine, Paralymic and will speak to us about “Know No Limits.”


As a large part of the Bakersfield Community it is important for us to embrace the diversity of our community and bring awareness to our differences and embrace them. I would like to thank Terri Goldstein and the DSPS staff for putting together such an important event to make our students and employees aware of the help available to those with disabilities AND the help that we can give.

BC In the Vineyards Project

In partnership with CVFF, the Central Valley Farmworker Foundation, Bakersfield College Rural Initiatives visited various Farmworker crews to promote higher education in the vineyards. It is incredible to share the programs and services available to these people in our community. The week-long outreach plan will be covered in depth during next week’s blog. Be sure to come back and read the highlights.

BC in the Vineyards (1)

Renegade Report

If you missed watching the Renegade Report live this last Thursday at 11a, check out the segments from this week’s show from the links below. This week’s highlights include segments with Former BC Football Coach – Carl Bowser, Former Renegade QB (and 1988 National Champion) – Stan Greene and local businessman and former Renegade – Paul Pavletich.

Segment with Paul Pavletich

Segment with Stan Greene and Linzy Collins

Segment with Stan Greene, Linzy Collins and John Rose

Renegades of the Week

Renegade Athletics is proud to announce this week’s (10/14-10/20) Wells Fargo Renegades of the Week:


Gabriella Lugo, Cross Country (2nd RotW honor) – Ran a PR of 18:59 to finish 5th overall individually at the WSC Championships and helping the team to a 4th overall finish. Her performance also qualifies her for 1st team All–Conference and ranks her as one of the top ten in Southern California.

Nathan De Jager, Football – 5/5 on field goals (ties school record) in helping team to 22-17 win over Long Beach. Through seven games on the season he is 12/12 on FG’s and 20/21 on PAT’s.  Congrats to Nathan De Jager for being named SCFA Player of the Week.


De Jager was also named The Southern California Football Association (SCFA) National Division Special Teams/All-Purpose Player of the Week for his 5/5 field goal performance in a 22-17 win at Long Beach on Saturday (10/20). De Jager totaled 16 points in the 22-17 win at Long Beach. He was 5/5 on field goals (43yd, 34yd, 50yd, 38yd, 45yd), which ties a school record for most FG’s in a game and 1/1 on PAT’s. Through seven games on the season he is 12/12 on FG’s and 20/21 on PAT’s.

Renegade Athletics Roundup

It was a full week of athletics events for our Renegades teams. Highlights from the week include:

Distinguished Speaker: Dashka Slater

Dashka Slater (3)

Author Dashka Slater spoke to BC students, staff and fellow community members on October 24th about her book The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives, and the lasting impact that it had on not only those involved, but the entire city of Oakland.  On Monday, November 4, 2013, in Oakland California, a 16-year-old junior at Oakland High School, Richard Thomas, set fire to Sasha Fleischman, an 18-year-old senior at a private high school, when both students were traveling on the AC Transit 57 bus. Dashka Slater investigated the story after hearing of the horrifying crime from her neighborhood email list. Her questions: What does it mean to be a gender and how should we think about a teenager who commits a bias crime?

Dashka is a journalist, novelist and children’s book author with nine books under her belt.  She explained how The 57 Bus began as an article for The New York Times Magazine and evolved into a fully-fledged book with numerous accolades.  She spoke with students about the story evolved, and how her past career in journalism helped with investigating the story fully.  Thank you Dashka for coming to Bakersfield College, and thank you to our faculty coordinator Jeannie Parent for organizing this great event! You can read the original article on the NY Times.

Connecting BC Students with Industry to Launch STEM Careers

MESA Students

BC’s MESA Students at the Conference

Talented Bakersfield College students gathered in downtown Los Angeles in a step towards becoming the diverse leaders of tomorrow’s tech and engineering workforce. MESA’s Student Leadership Conference brings together hand-picked engineering and computer science students with industry professionals to develop the next generation of STEM leaders.  Held at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel Oct. 4-5, this year’s conference theme was A Bounty of Homegrown Talent.  

The Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) program guides diverse students from underrepresented backgrounds into STEM careers. Unlike job fairs or speaker-only conferences, MESA students got the unique opportunity to interact one-on-one and in small groups with company executives, engineers and recruiters. Many often leave the conference with internship offers that lead to full time employment. Students participated in mock interviews, communications, team building, emotional intelligence and financial literacy workshops, and watched entrepreneur and alumni panels.

Companies recognize the importance of engaging with and supporting our students — so much so they fully fund the conference with donations.  These enlightened corporate partners understand these are not simply underserved and underrepresented students, they are an underutilized pool of talent that has been long overlooked.  Companies simply cannot afford to ignore this talent pool. This year’s partners and sponsors included: Edison International, Southern California Gas Company and Pacific Gas and Electric as top sponsors and Applied Materials, San Diego Gas and Electric, Cisco, Intuit, California Resources Corporation and Lyft. Miriam Aguirre, SVP of engineering for e-sports company Skillz was the keynote speaker.

Each year MESA serves over 25,000 students at the pre-college, community college and university levels across California. MESA bridges classroom learning with real-world applications, and employ rigorous academics, leadership preparation, a peer community and collaborative problem-solving training to produce highly-skilled college graduates who meet 21st century STEM workforce needs. The White House, the Ford Foundation, and the Silicon Valley Education Foundation have all recognized MESA for its innovative and effective academic development model.

MESA high school students have a 92% college-going rate, as compared to the statewide average of 42%. MESA’s UC acceptance rate: 70% (vs 60% for all CA students); Community college transfer rate into STEM majors: 97%; Graduates with STEM bachelor’s degrees: average of 500 per year.

Accessible Document Training

Aricia Leighton leading web training

Aricia Leighton offering web training earlier this year

While not a part of the Disabilities Awareness activities, I was proud to see June Charles, Jo Ellen Patterson and Cathy Rangel participate in a training on creating accessible documents in Word. Thank you Chris Glaser for facilitating and organizing the training and Aricia Leighton for sharing her expertise. It is so important to learn the little thing that we can do to make our documents accessible to people with disabilities that may need assistive devices to read the document. I appreciate the staff taking the initiative to learn how they can make documents accessible. That is truly disability awareness.

Health Career Fair

Health Career FairOn Wednesday, October 24, the Bakersfield College Office of Student Employment hosted the Health Careers Connection Fair at the Gym Huddle.  Students who were majoring in or considering the Health Science Pathway were provided with an opportunity to connect with various industry employers, learn about available jobs, and gain career insight. Health industry employers also had the chance to meet their future workforce.

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Vendors included Kern Medical Center, Lags Medical Center, Sierra View Medical Center, Davita Kidney Care, Maxim Healthcare Services, Delano Regional Medical Center, Brookdale Senior Living, Valley Children’s Healthcare, HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital, Adventist Health, Kaweah Delta Medical Center, Sendas Northwest Urgent Care, and Bakersfield Behavioral Healthcare Hospital.  Thank you to everyone who came out to make the Health Careers Connection Fair a success!

Agriculture Career Fair

On October 19th, the Agriculture Department and the Kern County Farm Bureau hosted our 2nd Annual Agriculture Career Exploration Day. Over 400 high school FFA students came to Bakersfield College to learn about different career opportunities in the agriculture industry and participate in a Career Fair.

A special thanks to the industry professionals, faculty and staff that hosted each breakout sessions.

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After the breakout sessions, students came to the Renegade Park for a great lunch provided by our BC Food Service. This event was made possible by the support of our amazing agriculture industry professionals, BC faculty and staff, the Agriculture Leadership class, BC’s Agriculture Ambassadors and the amazing Event Staff – Mary Jo and Leah.

A special thank you to our sponsors Kern County Farm Bureau, The Wonderful Company, Kern Machinery, CAPCA and Lynn Citrus Seed for helping to make this event possible.

Elena Rhodes

Elena Rhodes, Wonderful Citrus, Director of Product Management

Seen on Social Media:

Via Arte

Congratulations to the talented professor Diego Monterrubio and his students for representing BC at Via Arte 2018 and receiving an award! Professor Monterrubio said,

As you can see, it takes a lot of integrity and dedication to spend your whole weekend sitting, kneeling, sweating over the hot pavement all for the love of artwork. I have never been more proud as a professor and a human being of these people. The drawing is 12ft × 12ft and consisted of 18 hours of work and it came out magnificent. Thank you very much to the faculty and friends that came out to support me and my students.

Diego Monterrubio, Sonya Christian and students at Via Arte Oct 21 2018

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BC at BYP Street Party!

Last Friday evening, Bakersfield College was well represented at the Bakersfield Young Professionals Annual Street Party; connecting arts, culture and industry. Not only was BC a proud Sponsor but was a highlight of the night featuring it’s automotive and industrial automation departments.

Andrew Haney with BC_s electric car

Professor Andrew Haney with BC’s electric car!

Carpenters Skills Competition

Last weekend I visited the Carpenters Apprenticeship Skills Competition. It was incredible to watch BC students compete in the Olympics of Carpentry, where industry professionals will put their skills to the test in Concrete, Drywall and Scaffold events! Special thank you to Ryan Nance for the personal invitation!


Principal Partners Day at the Job Spot

A team of community member and partners paid a visit to the Job Spot on Wednesday, for KHSD’s Principal Partners Day. This collaborative, innovative space features BC’s one-stop where students can receive full enrollment support and take classes who live and work in south Bakersfield. Special thanks to our Rural Initiatives team, especially Endee Grijalva, seen in the photos below sharing about BC.

Visiting the migrant labor camp in Arvin and La Paz

As part of the grant program, a select group of faculty participants spends each year attending talks like Dr. Wald’s and taking part in workshops to learn about local issues, history, and culture and how to bring those things into their classrooms. This year’s cohort is Nicole Carraso (History), Esmerelda Chapa (Communication), Christine Cruz-Boone (Communication), Jessica Flores (English), Daniel Gomes (English), Rae Ann Kumelos (English), Carolyn Lane (Child Development), Shawn Taro Newsom (History), Isaac Sanchez (English), and Brenda Valadez (Communication).

Andrew Bond, Joshua Ottum, and Oliver Rosales direct the grant and its programming.

visitingsunsetlaborcamp.jpgOn Friday, the faculty cohort, Dr. Sarah Wald, and visiting UCSB scholar Francisco Beltran visited the Sunset Migratory Labor Camp in Arvin to learn about the Okie experience in the site’s historic buildings from community members who lived there in their youth. The site served as inspiration for Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath and is featured in novel as the “Weedpatch Camp.” After that, Mia Woods, Kern Housing Authority’s site manager for the present day migrant labor housing nearby, gave the cohort and visitors a brief tour of one of the housing units rented out to field workers during the annual growing and harvest seasons.

VisitingChavezMonumentSeveral of the attendees went on afterward to visit the Cesar Chavez National Monument and Villa La Paz in Keene. The site is jointly managed by the Cesar Chavez Foundation and the National Park Service, and it features a museum of Chavez’s life and the farmworker movement, buildings and residences on site once used by the United Farm Workers movement, and Cesar and Helen Chavez’s graves. Coincidentally, Andres Chavez, Cesar and Helen’s grandson, was on site that day and took over the tour, speaking with the visitors from BC and their guests while showing them around the grounds.


I’d like to thank the grant directors and everyone involved who helped make these events happen. Our community and its history are important resources for our students, and when faculty share this with their students, it makes BC a better place.

BC Food Services

Fajita Lunch Special Oct 23 2018On Tuesday, I enjoyed the lunch special from BC Food Services, which was chicken fajitas with rice, beans, and salad. I am so proud of our food services team and I continue to be impressed by their skilled and creative work to provide a variety of great meals on campus. From staples like our famous breakfast burritos, salad variety, and sandwiches, to the daily specials, I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever to have such a talented team preparing treats and meals at BC.

There are longstanding traditions at BC Food Services like the famous BC cookies made each and every day, and the BC cookbook has the special recipes used. Students and staff are always able to purchase our crispy chicken tenders, fresh-baked personal pizzas and other regular items, but the Food Services Department also prepares a special soup and entrée for lunch every day.


i-jrwpxg5-x2The staff in our kitchen and cafeteria always greets me with a smile and I’m proud whenever the BC Food Services team is providing catering, because I know each detail will be taken care of by Penny and Pam. The precious details like beads on mirrors or the Renegade Knight lifted above the display of breakfast pastries… it’s amazing!

Exciting things are happening in Food Services starting next year with a kitchen relocation and addition of a new Renegade food trailer called Gades Grub! The unveiling will take place when the semester kicks back up in 2019 with Spring!

It’s the special things which make the Home of the Renegades a true home-away-from-home. Thank you to Stephanie Stuart, Jennifer Sanderson, Theresa Rodriguez, Penny Loos, Deanna Urias, Chad Martin, Diana Murrell, Mirian Fuentes, Rosa Castro, Clarissa Williams, Shannon Worley, Lupe Wheeler, Michael Brooks, and Maria Gastelum for the beautiful meals, warm lunches, and treats you provide to keep students, faculty, and staff satisfied throughout the day.

Latinas Unidas Ribbon Cutting

Latinas Unidas, BC’s newest student organization, commemorated its first meeting with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday afternoon. Elizabeth Sanchez of South Kern Sol reported on the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the club, which aims to provide resources, promote academic development, participation in community service and a support system for Latina students at BC.


“We want to provide a space for women to come together and support each other,” Latinas Unidas president Gabriela Gomez said. “I just want to offer students a support network where they feel wanted and included.”

Gomez said she was inspired to start Latinas Unidas when she noticed that many of her classmates were first-generation students who didn’t know how to navigate the college experience. The club offers study sessions and moral support for Latina students, and future plans include a Thanksgiving potluck on November 15 and an event titled “Latte Latinas” during finals week on December 3-7.

Kern Citizens for Sustainable Government

David Krane, Norma Rojas Mora, and Mike G

David Crane, Norma Rojas Mora, and Mike Giacomini

It was a great to be at the “Evening for Kern County” hosted by Kern Citizens on Thursday evening at the Kern County Fairgrounds. Keynote speaker businessman, educator, and policy expert David Crane is a lecturer in Public Policy at Stanford University and president of Govern for California. Crane served as a special adviser to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and from 1979-2003 he was a partner at Babcock & Brown. He also serves as a director of Building America’s Future and formerly served on the University of California Board of Regents and as a director of the California State Teachers Retirement System, Society of Actuaries Blue Ribbon Panel on the Causes of Public Pension Underfunding, and Volcker-Ravitch Task Force on the State Budget Crisis.

Kern Citizens Group Photo

I was very pleased to see the organization honoring Senator Jean Fuller with the Impact Award. The Bakersfield Californian shared the news in their report “WORTH NOTING: Sen. Jean Fuller receives local Impact Award.” The article mentions, “The Impact Award is given out to people who have demonstrated that they are committed to affordable, efficient government, education and economic development in Kern County and have had success in furthering those efforts.”


McFarland HS welding students and Trustee Romeo Agbalog on the right

The icing and cherry on top for the event was seeing a group of youth from McFarland HS welding program in attendance who designed and produced the award presented to Senator Fuller. It’s always a great day to support community leadership including KCCD Trustee Romeo Agbalog who also serves at the Executive Director of Kern Citizens for Sustainable Government.

Scholarships at BC

Halloween Hands for ScholarshipThe BC scholarship application opened on October 1st and there have been a strong stream of applications coming in bakersfieldcollege.edu/Apply4Money. On Wednesday, October 31st the Scholarship Team will be connecting with students at the Renegade Crossroads from 11:00am-1:00pm and handing out treats and tricks for success. November is National Scholarship Month and on Thursday, November 1st the team will host a National Scholarship Month KICK-OFF Celebration in CSS-151 from 2:00-4:00pm. Students are encouraged to come by for games, prizes, refreshments and most of all help with scholarship related questions. Computers will be available to start the application process. Don’t let it haunt you, apply for scholarships today!

Fun Photos

Last week, I had to chance to meet President of Fresno Pacific Univeristy, Dr. Joseph Jones. You can read about Dr. Jones in the Fresno Bee article “From Pakistan to the Valley

Sonya Christian and FPU President Joseph Jones

Jordaun Bennett, assistant to the President’s Office celebrated her 26th Birthday this week! Happy Birthday Jordaun!

Jordaun Bennetts 26th Birthday

I was also interviewed on Thursday by BC Student, Francis Benavente for his podcast. I suspect it will come out in the coming weeks so stay tuned to find out what makes me the happiest and luckiest college president ever!

Sonya Christian, Francis Benavente

Math Professor, Patrick Serpa was interviewed earlier this week on Lotto fever! Check out the video snippet here!


Professor Serpa being interviewed on lotto statistics and probability!

Deans Andrea Thorson and Steve Waller provided AB705 training for counselors and advisors on Monday morning.

Steve Waller and Andrea Thorson leading AB705 Training

Deans Thorson and Waller leading a workshop on AB705

Mary Jo Pasek is ready for Homecoming!!! Are you?

MJ ready for Homecoming

Did you catch the Industrial Automation program on the news?  Swing by and see them at the Homecoming Game!

Supplemental Instruction Program Manager, Eileen Pierce made me the most beautiful custom shirt. Can you read it?!

We are BC

Sonya Christian Eugene Oct 27 2018


That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

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6 thoughts on “Talent, Dedication and Passion at the Home of the Renegades

  1. Paul Gomez October 29, 2018 at 7:26 am Reply

    Sad to learn about the passing of two stalwart BC faculty members, Ray Gonzales, and Evan Howard. Mr. Howard I knew because I was a member of the BC Veterans Club, 1968-70. Mr. Gonzalez I followed his service in the California Legislature. Both made a difference in the lives of many students. Rest In Peace.

  2. Perry Finzel October 29, 2018 at 10:47 am Reply

    Is there a list serve for the on campus events

  3. Michael G O'Doherty October 30, 2018 at 7:37 am Reply

    Really great idea taking the message to the vineyards.

    • SonyaChristian October 30, 2018 at 8:40 pm Reply

      Great to see you back on Michael. Thank you for always taking time to post a comment.

  4. […] I wrote in last week’s blog, BC was out in the vineyards of Kern County this week. In partnership with the Central Valley Farm […]

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