Delano Ramblings by Gary Girard, presented by DelanoNow

Oct. 28, 2023

By Gary Girard, DelanoNow Columnist

Have I ever been surprised to wake up and learn it’s time to get ready to head to school, but it’s DARK outside.   This

has been gradual, I think, but it seems it all  happened in one day!

         I’m not sure and have not taken time to “think this out,” but maybe when Daylight Saving Time ends on Sunday, Nov.

5, it may change a bit.   Just be sure to “set your clocks back one hour.”…..

          No decisions were voted upon at Harvest Holidays’ Oct. 16 meeting because a quorum was not present.   That,

however, does not mean that nothing was accomplished at the meeting.

          Directors of Harvest Holidays Association, Inc., hashed out what improvements could be made in the festival,

how to improve those events, and what special thanks should be given to those who were not directors but were

instrumental in the success of Harvest events.

           One major decision that will be brought up at the next meeting is to establish a chairperson and a co-chair for

each of the Harvest events, to add two committees to cover special festival activities, and to require the chair and

co-chair to develop a step-by-step plan for the events they lead and to present that plan at the March meeting of Harvest

Holidays.  The final result would be a detailed plan for each event to be in a binder that could be passed along

when or if there was a change in the chair and/or co-chair.

            One suggestion was to have both a recording secretary and a corresponding secretary, but that idea was tabled.

It was agreed that thank you letters should be sent to the Delano Joint Union High School District, Delano Union

School District, S Club of Delano High School, Grand Marshal Manuel Perez who helped out in several ways, and

Mr. Montemayor for the loan of a trailer.  All the above contributed in one way or the other to assist in operation of the

78th annual festival…..

             Halloween in Delano hopefully will be safely celebrated, and already  two local events make that possible.

            Delano Police and the city recreation department on Trunk or Treat Night on Oct. 26 were expecting to serve

about 1,400 youth.

            Delano Kiwanis Club coupled with the Delano Union School District and I was told by a friend that he thought

the Pond and Columbine school districts were also involved.    For a week Kiwanians and volunteers handled groups

of visiting elementary schools’ lower grade students being bused to the Heritage Park on Lexington.   Youth were rotated

going to  “stations” including one for story telling and one other where each received a pumpkin.   Thanks to the school districts

for covering the charge for each youth to celebrate Halloween in the right way…..

            Four persons were honored at the Mexican-American Pioneers of Delano 39th annual dinner/dance fund-raiser for scholarships.

            Ruben (Ruby) Hill has served Delano in the local fire department, as a City Councilman, and in coaching numerous

youth sports teams.   He starred in football and track at Delano High School.   Norma Montecino-Dunn is director

of Mission Community Services Corporation’s Kern Women’s Business Center in Bakersfield.   She was a Delano High

student for three years and on drill team and in several clubs before moving.

            Johnny Rodriguez Munoz served in the Navy, was a Delano City Councilman for two terms and active in

Elks, Lions, cemetery district board, and Delano College Foundation.   He opened Delano’s first McDonald’s in 1977.

Gary Girard taught 40 years in Delano schools and has been involved in writing sports and general news since his

high school days.

             Also honored with a plaque was Mary Fernandez who for years served as the attendance secretary at

Delano High School.

            The organization president, Russ McNutt, gave the welcome, Abe Belardo sang the Star Spangled Banner,

the Rev. David Vivas gave the invocation, Jaime Mendoza was master of ceremonies, Brad Barker, Pudo and crew

prepared the tri-tip, Thee Majestics furnished music for dancing, Linda Gutierrez and Angelica Ramirez handled

the photo booth, Hole in One and Tony’s Pizza prepared food, and servers were Dulce Gastelum and S Club

of Delano High School.

             Aiding McNutt are Frank Valdez, vice-president; Gina Villanueva, secretary; Helen Lomas and Adriana

Tovar, treasurers; Margaret Martinez, sergeant-at-arms; Alice Carrillo, historian; and Pearl Rivera,


              At a local market about a month ago, I ran across Mario Nunez and I posed numerous questions I  had

for him as a City Councilman, and he filled me in on a myriad of local happenings.    I just hope  his wife does not

wish to kill me after I kept her husband talking to me in the market aisles for what must have been an hour.

              One “topic” was Delano’s Voice of America old building and possibly incorporating it into a park

when housing enters the area.    Mario said that the building is in such bad shape that it could not be used for

a “museum” but that some “pieces” of the building will be saved…..

               Cesar Chavez rated high in South Sequoia League volleyball this fall and the Titan girls were ranked

No. 2 in Division V that  was to begin playoffs Oct. 24.

            Chavez and Wasco girls’ tennis teams finished 11-1 and co-champions of the South Sequoia League.

Qualifying for the Nov. 3-4 area playoffs in tennis were Chavez players Kavanpreet Kaur, Liauini Ando,

Samantha Valdez, and Clarissa Castrejon.   Kaur and Ando reigned as doubles champions of the SSL.

             Robert F. Kennedy and Cesar E. Chavez high schools were to collide in their rivalry football game at the

Chavez field Friday, Oct. 27.

            Shafter was state runner-up in football in  its division in 2022 and followers of Shafter and Kennedy were

out in full force for their Oct. 20 collision at Kennedy’s Thunderbird stadium.   I do not know the exact seating

for the Kennedy stadium but do know that it is between 4,000 and 5,000.   I estimated about 3,300 fans present for

their match-up, but PA announcer Jaime Mendoza reported he thought the turnout was about 2,500.   In any case,

autos filled the parking lot and neighboring streets.

            Kennedy had scored a touchdown in the final moments of the first half, and with about 3 seconds left in the

half the stadium noise turned to a ‘hush” as the trainer and coaches of Kennedy responded to the “collapse” of

sophomore running back Jace Demacabalin, 6-1 and 205, who had just scored his second touchdown to boost

Kennedy to a 14-7 lead.

            I don’t want to report falsely, but I was told later that dehydration and a possible minor concussion had

been the culprit to his collapse.   As coaches frantically waved to the ambulance crew to come to the Kennedy

bench area, the crowd became super quiet and players from both teams kneeled in respect.

            Later I could see Shafter players in a huddle kneeling and praying.   Then Shafter players/coaches joined

players/coaches from Kennedy near the RFK sidelines in a prayer for Demacabalin.   The Shafter coach in TV

sports news that night said the “brotherhood” of football players—from whatever school—took front and center

for that moment over whatever was taking place on the football field.

            The crowd—both sides—gave an appreciative roar as the Kennedy player was taken from the stadium

by the ambulance.   I heard the report on TV that night that he was in stable condition at a hospital.  Whether he

would be cleared to play against Chavez and/or in the playoffs was unknown as this column went “to press.”….

           I have written this before, but I am doing it again!   The two local school districts and the city of Delano

need to have a discussion and decide YES OR NO to hiring someone to write their respective “histories”

that was last dealt with in detail in the “Where the Railroad Ended” which was published in 1973.

           Also, I would hope that Cal Trans would figure out HOW to light up the entrance for traffic going north

just to the south of The General.

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