Coin Wash Burglarized – Closed Until Caught

CoinWash Male Tatoo neckApril 14: The Mojave Coin wash was burglarized twice last week – once on Saturday April 5th, and again on Monday April 7th, and will be closed until the suspect is brought to justice. Both burglaries were carried out by the same male pictured here, as captured by surveillance video, and occurred in broad daylight around 11:30 a.m. The suspect was seen on video beating the coin dispenser with a crow bar for about 17 minutes on Saturday, stealing approximately $245 worth of coins. The suspect returned again on Monday and continued to beat one of the washer machines late in the morning until it yielded $160 worth of coins.

CoinWash Male Tatoo armThe suspect appears in the surveillance video to have light or Caucasian skin, in his 20s, shaved head or buzz cut, muscular build, and tattoos on his forearms, hands and neck. He was wearing a light blue polo shirt with black horizontal stripes and sun glasses over his head, and changed into a white long-sleeved shirt, and again into a black hoodie. During the burglary he carried a reddish backpack with plaid pattern, buttoned in the front. The suspect was also seen interacting with passers-by outside the store and is believed to either live in Mojave, or at least know people who live in Mojave.

CoinWash Female+BackpackThe suspect also had some help. There was a female in the coin wash acting as a lookout. She is described as being Caucasian, in her 20s, with red hair, thin, and wearing a pink-ish shirt with a floral pattern. There was also a secondary lookout stationed outside the Coin Wash, who was either African-American or Hispanic, on a bicycle, in dark clothing.

CoinWash Male Black Hoodie

The Coin Wash, a Mojave landmark, will be closed until the suspects are caught. The owner of the Coin Wash and Mojave Chamber of Commerce are offering a $1500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any of these individuals. Residents are asked to contact the Sheriff with any information at 661-824-7130, or the owner of the Coin Wash, Christy, at 661-803-7982.

The Mojave Foundation takes this theft personally, and considers it an assault on our residents who rely on this coin wash for their children and families, and our businesses who have invested in our community. We will work tirelessly to bring these suspects to justice, and encourage all residents to volunteer with our local Sheriff’s office through in our Citizen Service Unit (CSU). We are also fundraising for a community surveillance system and street lights centered on the intersection of K Street and Inyo. Anyone interested in supporting our efforts can make a tax-deductible donation on our website, or click here to fill out an application for CSU.

Curb & Gutter Begins in Mojave

Curb & Gutter MachineApril 7: Projects have begun all over our downtown area to install curbs and gutters. The project will include curbs and drainage systems to dispose of storm water, but will not include sidewalks. The project, sponsored by Kern County, is expected to cost about $550,000, according to the Kern County project page, and will include over 260 cubic yards of concrete, and will involve excavating 930 cubic yards of dirt and asphalt. The bid available online reserves 22 cubic yards of cement for sidewalks, but the workers on site are not scheduled to install sidewalks at this time, despite the fact that only 1 out of 14 streets in our downtown area have navigable sidewalks. To see the bid online click here.

Miss Mojave – Merysa Rangel

Merysa RangelMarch 22: Our new Miss Mojave, Merysa Rangel, was crowned Saturday March 22nd at Mojave Elementary School. Rhaylene Joaquin is our new Little Miss Mojave, and our new Junior Miss Mojave is Ana Marquiz. The Mojave Foundation would like to congratulate all the young ladies and contestants for representing Mojave with such grace and poise, especially former Miss Mojave, Hailee Reinke, recently profiled in the AV Press as one of the future leaders of the Antelope Valley to watch for.

Demolition on K St – Revitalization Begins

15946 K St demolitionMarch 24: Another demolition occurred on K Street, marking the sixth hazardous structure in Mojave to be demolished by Kern County Code Compliance since November. The building on the 15900 block of K Street was one of the most widely-known trouble spots, frequently used by vagrants and drug users passing through Mojave. It was also an obstruction for future development, lowering property values as the property steadily continued to deteriorate over the years. The house suffered water damage caused by a hole in the roof, and sustained substantial fire damage after a homeless man started a fire in the property two years ago.

?????????????????????The abandoned building next door is also targeted for demolition, and should come down by April, breathing new life into a strategically significant block with incredible potential. Located in the center of our downtown area between Inyo and Cerro Gordo, these buildings are straddled by Spaceport Court on one side, a highly reputable apartment complex, and KCROP on the other, a county-sponsored organization providing custom teaching and vocational programs. With these two hazardous structures removed, Mojave can finally start having serious discussions about developing these areas, and putting new homes or businesses in those spaces.

Code Compliance, historically limited in budget and resources, was recently injected with additional funding by District-2 Supervisor, Zack Scrivner, and the department has dramatically increased their scope and efficacy in unincorporated areas like Mojave. Demolitions, cleanups, and boarding of abandoned structures are still charged to the property owner in the form of a lien, but at least now the most urgently blighted structures can be removed quickly when they pose a danger to the public. The Mojave Foundation is grateful to Supervisor Scrivner and the leadership and staff at Code Compliance, and is proud to help coordinate with the county to make this possible.

Local Family Sponsors Car Wash to Remember Loved One Passed

Sarmiento Car WashSarmientoMarch 23: The Sarmiento Family sponsored a car wash at the Elks Lodge today to raise money for the funeral Ines Elaine Sarmiento, who died unexpectedly two weeks ago of a massive heart attack at the age of 63. Ms. Sarmiento was a long-time Mojave resident, but to the family Ines was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, and friend. The Sarmiento family is raising funds to put this loving woman to rest, and asks to please call Angie Sarmiento at (661) 675-5158 for more information. Thank you for your support.

Demolition Continues – Mojave Thinks Development

Demo BelshawMarch 11: “Another one bites the dust” remarked one excited resident, marking the fifth hazardous structure to be demolished in Mojave since November. The trailer was demolished by Sturgeon Services in Bakersfield, as part of a recent push by Kern County Code Compliance to remove derelict structures and raise housing standards in Mojave. This trailer was one of the most inviting structures for vagrants and drug users in Mojave, conveniently hidden behind trees and completely wide open and inundated with trash and drug paraphernalia. The adjacent utility shack will be torn down in the next several days or weeks, and the next door trailer will be boarded up and secured, ensuring that this property will no longer be a sanctuary for drugs and crime in our community.

Demo Belshaw CraneRemoving these derelict structures from our streets is the first step to changing the unsightly image of Mojave, and creates the necessary space to allow the community to have a serious discussion about community development. These trailers were the first thing visitors saw when entering the Mojave Air & Space Port on Belshaw Avenue, and now the drive into the airport is a little less foreboding. The Mojave Foundation is proud to contribute to the organization and coordination with Code Compliance to remove these hazardous structures, and we look forward to serious discussions with housing developers to bring clean, quality housing to working-class families downtown.

Mojave Marathon – Sunday April 6

Marathon LogoThe Mojave Marathon is back for the second year in a row. Runners and bikers of all ages and ability levels are encouraged to come to Mojave on Sunday, April 6th and run, bike, walk, skip… and have fun! “A couple of friends of mine ran a marathon in 2012 because we couldn’t make the London Marathon” says event organizer, Julia Tizard. “In 2013 we ran it again and 30 people joined us running various distances.” Tizard, a Mojave resident who works at the Mojave Air & Space Port, is a running enthusiast, and trying to bring more esprit de corps to a growing fitness movement in Mojave. The Mojave Marathon has a Facebook page, and participants are encouraged to sign up at Eventbright.