On Sunday, August 25th, 10 volunteers from last week’s cleanup effort watched the ball game from the corporate suite at Jethawks stadium in Lancaster, compliments of the Mojave Air & Space Port (MASP). The airport donated the suite to all the volunteers and businesses who contributed to last week’s cleanup efforts, as a token of appreciation for the positive contributions to the community. On the weekend of August 17 these volunteers eliminated the single biggest drug & crime magnet in Mojave when they cleaned and boarded up an abandoned 10-unit apartment complex on K Street. “We all have to help each other out” said Dorothy Galton, who initiated last week’s cleanup efforts “and this is just the beginning”. The project could not have been sustainable without the contributions from Highway Glass, who boarded up the structure for free, and Karl’s Hardware, who donated the materials.
Donating the corporate suite to the volunteers was a good way for MASP to engage the community and show their appreciation for the positive efforts being made in Mojave. “These volunteers deserve credit for achieving results” said Karina Drees, the Assistant General Manager at MASP. The efforts must be catching on because home owners all over town are cleaning up their properties, particularly on K Street. On Friday, John Davis even cleaned up the empty lot west of the Post Office on his own time. “I just like to do it”, said Davis, “I can do it quickly, and it makes me feel good.”
Saturday, August 17: Within 30 minutes of the last board going up on the apartment building cleaned up by local volunteers over the weekend, 3 men tried to pry open the boards and enter the building. But the neighbors apparently like the new look of the property, and immediately called the Sheriff’s Department. Within five minutes, four squad cars arrived on the scene, and one gave chase. Two suspects were temporarily detained, and the building has not been disturbed since.
We are starting to gather inertia behind these cleanup efforts, and it is encouraging that the neighbors are starting to take pride in their community. But the gains are fragile, and it’s important that we prevent the neighborhood from slipping back into disrepair. The Mojave Foundation intends to consolidate these gains through a campaign to reduce blight and improve the attractiveness of our community; but ultimately it’s the residents themselves that must take ownership of their own neighborhood. If you see a building that poses a health or safety risk to the community, let us know. If you see criminal activity in your neighborhood, call the Sheriff. Pride is a fragile thing, and we must nurture it at all costs. We cannot be silent anymore.
On Friday August 16, determined Mojave residents spontaneously assembled to clean up and secure an abandoned apartment complex in our downtown area, which had been the largest single source of drugs and crime in town. “The Sheriff was called to this property over 40 times in one month” according to a neighbor. Now the entire structure is boarded up and Mojave is safer and healthier for having it off the street.
The cleanup was initiated by local resident, Dorothy Galton, who was tired of seeing all the problems emanating from this property. “Why don’t we Revitalize this?” Dorothy asked provocatively. Within 24 hours 7 volunteers stepped forward to tackle the problem, and several more joined in while walking by. Their efforts were match when a local business, Highway Glass, offered to board up all 10 units in both buildings. Karl’s Hardware even donated the materials. The speed with which this project took shape was impressive and powerful, and goes to show what a handful of highly-motivated volunteers and concerned businesses can accomplish. The Mojave Foundation is proud to be part of this spontaneous effort, and we are hopeful this can serve as a model for future intra-community cooperation.
Perhaps the best part about this cleanup is that it ensure that children will no longer be abused and neglected in this building. “People were raising children in there,” according to one volunteer, “we pulled baby formula and diapers out of the same piles of trash with hypodermic needles and human waste”.
The Mojave Foundation will continue working to ensure that every child in Mojave has a safe and healthy environment to grow up in. Our Children are our greatest resource, and each one is entitled to grow up with dignity and happiness.
There are over 200 positions being filled in Mojave right, including everything from high skill engineers to low to medium skill customer service and maintenance. “We’re always looking for technicians, service writers, and parts counter help” says Brenda Segal of Desert Truck Service on Highway 58. This summer, Virgin Galactic is looking to hire up to 100 full time technicians and engineers, and other companies on the airport are hiring up to 100 fabricators and engineers. “We would rather pull from Mojave” according to Lisa Holden, Human Resource Director at Virgin Galactic. Mojave suffers from 26% unemployment, but many Mojave residents are simply unaware that so many companies in town are short staffed. “We’re even willing to train new people” says Brenda, “and we have a profit sharing bonus plan, which has paid out 6 of the last 7 months”.
Sergeant Steve Williams said that the Mojave Sub-station now has 17 deputies, at the last Neighborhood Watch meeting on August 5th. This is up from 12 only a few months ago. The community appreciates the extra investment KCSO is making in Mojave, and the Mojave Foundation looks forward to strengthening the partnership between the community and the Sheriff’s office when Citizen Service Unit (CSU) stands up in October.
Mojave launched its first ever “National Night Out” designed to get residents and businesses downtown on a beautiful summer evening to learn about security and safety in Mojave. Deputies from the Kern County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) were there, as well as several members of Citizen Service Unit (CSU), which recently stood up a volunteer force in Mojave. Also in attendance was California Highway Patrol (CHP), who just opened a new office on Hwy-58, and the Fire Department. Highway patrol is increasingly becoming an integral part of the security force in Mojave. “CHP often backs up the deputies in Mojave, especially when local deputies are on call in another town”, said Darlena Johnson, public affairs officer at Mojave’s CHP office.
Houchin Blood Bank collected 50 pints of blood this Wednesday during our second blood drive this year. “This was a very successful drive” says Christina Scrivner, who heads up Houchin’s activities in east Kern County. Houchin set up 2 large air-conditioned buses right outside the Voyager Restaurant on the Mojave Air & Space Port. There were food and drinks, and very friendly nurses who are highly-trained and very good at taking your blood! Most donors were in and out in less than 30 minutes. Houchin plans to be back in December, and this time, we’re shooting for 100 pints! Contact Tenina at 661-824-2433 to donate or get involved.