March 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.
March 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.
March 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.
Removing 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.
March 7: Another derelict house came down on the 15700 block of L Street today, the fourth structure to be removed in three months. Another hazardous structure on L Street will be demolished on Monday, and another two houses on K Street in the next several weeks and months. The houses were demolished by Sturgeon Services, a Bakersfield contractor hired by Kern County Code Compliance. Code Compliance has also cleaned and boarded up eight houses since September – on K Street, L Street, M Street, and Mojave Gardens. These buildings are a magnet for drugs and crime, and depress property values in our most vulnerable areas. Demolishing and securing these structures creates space for economic development to take root, and is critical to the future revitalization of this community. The Mojave Foundation is proud to help coordinate and prioritize the county’s demolition and cleanup efforts, and looks forward to raising housing standards in Mojave.
March 4: Deputies from Mojave arrested a suspect after an attempted break-in of an RV in the Denny’s parking lot Tuesday morning. Kern County Sheriff’s officials do not believe that the suspect was connected to the wave of burglaries in the Miracle Manor and Mojave Gardens neighborhoods of Mojave in November, December and January. The suspect was identified as a local Mojave resident who has been arrested 18 times since 2000, mostly for burglary, petty theft, and drug-related crimes, according to Superior Court records of Kern County. The 33 year old suspect was arrested again as recently as October, but KCSO officials claim that this individual is a typical product of the prison-release guidelines presented by AB109, which went into effect in 2011.