Carlsbad Hi-Noon Rotarians went in force (14 people) to the Barrio home of Bruce and Katherine Balino Rowan, a disabled family. This taskforce, spear headed by Mike Bardin, Community Chair, came to clean, trim, mow and cut-back five years’ garden overgrowth.
Rob Woodard, on a high ladder, tried to eliminate all the vines that had been trying to take over the neighbor’s yard.
For Susie Sherry of Oceanside, and her helper, it soon became apparent underneath the debris there were a couple of healthy fruit trees loaded with fruit that had been overlooked in the morass of trash and weeds (Santa Rosa plums and dead blossoms on a loquat).
A new white sparkling clean mail box, freshly and colorfully painted was installed by Sara Cates of Rotary’s High School Branch, “Interact”. Sara and her father also helped with the pruning and clean-up.
“Cactus Killer”, Mike Bardin, worked long and hard at digging out and cutting up a huge prickly pear cactus, a type that will take over the entire barrio if allowed to grow freely.
The Rowan home is a center where others can pick the tasty and desired Latino food staples, prickly pear fruit (tunas) and tender new leaves (nopales). So, it is very important to the Latino Community to maintain this cactus Delta Collins, on this committee and the writer of this article, is an Anglo reared next to Mexicali. When in season, these foods are always in her home.
Other persons participating were, Bud Carroll, Bob Fenner, of San Marcos Richard Gann, Patrick Hurley, Dave Kulchin, Mike Metts of Vista, Harry Peacock and Walt Waggener. Ken Ryan of Coast Waste Management kindly donated three trash bins which were overflowing long before the clean-up was finished.
HI-Noon Rotary was particularly pleased to help them as Katherine Balino’s family is a reflection of Carlsbad’s beginnings.
Her family dates back to a huge influx of people coming to the barrio around 1919. Pablo and Librado Ramirez, Katherine’s grandparents, came at that time when Carlsbad vitally needed workers in the avocado groves.
It was also a time when the people needed to escape from Mexico’s bloody revolution. Nick and Rose Balino, Katherine’s parents, were next in the generational family chain.
Julio Rameriz, Sr., Katherine’s uncle, had a son Julio Rameriz, Jr. (Katherine’s cousin) who is President of the Mexican American Association and very well known in the community. Latinos have very strong family values and cultural and family ties that may account for the fact the last Balino family reunion had more than 450 attendees.
The names of many well known families in or from the Barrio are a large part of Carlsbad’s history. They are the very stable substructure of the beginnings of the City of Carlsbad.
This story was submitted by Delta Collins of the Carlsbad Rotary Club.