October 30: 100 mules, celebrating the 100 year anniversary of the Los Angeles Aqueduct, arrived an the new Community Center at Mojave Air & Space Port Wednesday afternoon. The stop in Mojave marks about the half way point between the aqueduct’s main diversion dam about 10 miles north of Independence, and the Los Angeles Equestrian Center in Griffith Park, which the animals are expected to reach on November 11. The wranglers and animals began the 240-mile voyage on October 18, and are approximately 13 days into a 27-day voyage. The historical and artistic event is the project of Lauren Bon, of Metabolic Studios, and designed to foster conversations about water and water consumption in the Ownes Valley and California. The physical walk will also be accompanied by an artistic audio transmission of water running at the source of the aqueduct, that will be performed at stops along the way. The animals will be available for public viewing on Thursday, October 31, from 12 to 2 pm.
October 27: A film crew Los Angeles came to Mojave last Friday to shoot an action scene for a small independent film. The film, about a video game that comes alive, featured a team of military special operations forces as they jump through smoke and move with technical and tactical precision. The actors were all former Army Rangers and Navy Seals, with multiple combat deployments, and now work in Hollywood on feature films and video games. The film crew consisted of over 20 young film makers and college students, working on a shoe string budget to produce a project they felt passionately about. The scenes were filmed in an abandoned aluminum extruding plant in Mojave, offering one of the most unique locations for a film that is supposed to take place in a war zone. “You can’t find stuff like this anywhere” said the movie’s director, Karl Richter. “This warehouse and the desert backdrop… this location was just perfect.” One actor even suggested that land owners in Mojave advertise their properties in Hollywood, and that Mojave start a catalog of interesting locations here in Mojave. The Mojave Foundation would like to thank Mr. Richter, Russell Greene, and all the staff and actors who came to Mojave to film this movie, and we look forward to helping other film makers find interesting locations here in Mojave to make their movie magic.
October 22: The Mojave Foundation launched its first Entrepreneurship Workshop on Tuesday night, featuring Raimone Roberts of the Small Business Development Center for the Antelope Valley. The event was standing-room-only as over 60 residents packed into Anthony’s Grill in Mojave late into the night. The higher than expected turnout is evidence of the intense desire for more businesses and amenities in Mojave, and the incredible energy and enthusiasm among local residents trying to start their own businesses. Mr. Roberts, a sucessful entrepreneur in his own right, has helped hundreds of people throughout the Antelope Valley start their own business.
The meeting covered a variety of small-business basics that will help any aspiring entrepreneur or existing business owner be more successful: “what is my business plan, who is my market, how can I work with limited capital, how am I going to make money?” The meeting also covered 10 specific business plans desperately needed in Mojave, such as a coffee shop, restaurant/lounge, storage facilities, mobile laundry/dry cleaning, movie theater/drive-in, solar-panel-cleaning and contractor services. Some residents brought their own ideas, or thought of new ones, and Mr. Roberts helped to refine these ideas into viable business plans, and even covered funding options to help residents turn their ideas into reality. “Im ready to get started TOMORROW!” said Keith Parks, a local resident intent on starting a mobile car wash. With 2,500 engineers and professionals on the Mojave Air & Space Port, and 20,000 vehicles traveling Sierra Highway every day, we see plenty of opportunity for Keith and other businesses to get started.
This marks the first of a series of bi-weekly Entrepreneurship Workshops which will cover a specific aspect of business, such as marketing, or finance/fundraising, pricing strategies, or perfecting an elevator pitch. Future meetings will include Mr. Roberts, as well as other small business experts such as Jay Thompson of the Small Business Development Center at CSU-Bakersfield. The next meeting will be on Wednesday, November 6 at 6pm, at Anthony’s Grill in Mojave. Anyone interested in attending should RSVP no later than Monday, November 4th by emailing Todd Quelet at “Todd@MojaveFoundation.org”.
The Mojave Foundation recognizes that there is an incredible opportunity for entrepreneurship and prosperity in Mojave, and we are convinced that we have the talent, and drive internally, to create a new generation of small businesses in this community. Our objective is to put the tools in the hands of local residents to pursue and capture their dreams, and develop local talent to generate greater economic activity.
The Mojave Foundation is proud to sponsor a series of Entrepreneurial Workshops, starting Tuesday, October 22 at Anthony’s Grill (next to Stater Bros) at 6 p.m. Raimone Roberts of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Los Angeles is our first guest speaker, and will explain the basics of starting your own business: how to write a business plan, submit the documentation, insurance, taxes, etc. There are several business opportunities in Mojave that are desperately needed right now – a coffee shop, a cleaning service, a restaurant, a bakery, a day care, plumbing, etc. – but the paperwork and legal requirements can be daunting. Raimone will de-mistify a lot of the technical hurdles, and put the tools in your hand to confidently start your own business. We will also discus how startups can pool their resources through a “small business incubator” to take advantage of economies of scale while their idea grows and matures. Raimone is a former Air Force officer, and owner of his own consulting firm. Raimone is an expert on small business start-ups in the Antelope Valley, and has helped hundreds of small businesses get started.
This kicks off a series of bi-weekly meetings supported by Raimone and fellow SBDC expert, Jay Thompson of CSU Bakersfield. Jay is a long-time business leader in Kern County, and owner of his own financial services consulting firm. Jay is a respected leader in Kern County, and has helped numerous businesses get started here. Jay and Raimone will alternate hosting bi-weekly meetings, and each meeting will cover a different aspect of entrepreneurship – marketing, financing, taxes, business plan writing, etc. These meetings are open to ALL residents and business owners in Mojave, and designed to help entrepreneurs to start thinking about the kinds of businesses they want to start or expand into. The Mojave Foundation is working closely with the Chamber of Commerce and the Revitalize Committee to bring critical amenities and lifestyle businesses back to Mojave, which is critical to support a thriving and healthy community.
October 3: Park Palace apartments, located on the west side of town on H Street, have been hosting weekly campaign meetings to promote the parcel tax measure this November 5th, which will generate enough revenue to keep our school open for another five years. This sign, produced by children residing at Park Palace, is intended to promote the voter registration drive happening at Park Palace all week. Park Palace has made a greater effort to get more involved in community activities, and we applaud their effort to save our school.
Mojave residents are going door-to-door trying to pass a parcel tax measure in next month’s election that would allow Mojave to keep its high school open indefinitely. Early this year Mojave Unified School District (MUSD) was faced with closing Mojave High due to systemic budget cuts and funding shortfalls from the state of California. After much public outcry, the school board elected to keep the school open one more year through a combination of salary cuts and deficit spending. But now the money has run out and the school is faced with closing at the end of this school year.
To keep the school open indefinitely, the board has arranged for a parcel tax to be placed on the ballot this November 5th. Measure “C” would assign a $42 tax on each parcel in Mojave, and would funnel enough revenue to keep Mojave High open indefinitely. The measure would allow Mojave High to continue teach “A through G” curriculum, and keep some of the new academic programs, such as vocational, medical, and solar training. The measure would not impact residents in Cal City in any way, nor residents over 65 years old. “We’re looking for residents to help go door-to-door to help get out the message” says Paul Carol, a 4th grade teacher at Mojave elementary school, who is leading the parcel tax drive. The Mojave Foundation is not affiliated in any way with this or any political measures, but we recognize how critical a high school is to maintaining the health and vibrancy of any community.
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.