Category Archives: Kern County

Mojave’s Downtown Receiving Solar Streetlights This Summer

solar-streetlights-mojaveMojave, CA – Monday, February 15. The Mojave Foundation will partner with Kern County to install up to 50 solar-powered streetlights throughout the downtown area in the summer of 2017. These lights are in addition to the 20 lights Kern County is installing as part of the K street renewal project in March. The goal is for the streetlight installation to coincide with sidewalks being installed through every street in the downtown area. The investment was inspired in part by several pedestrian fatalities involving vehicles after dark. Todd Quelet, Executive Director of The Mojave Foundation said “The lights and the walkways will be the most significant investment in public infrastructure in Mojave in years, and we hope will make the biggest impact to safety and security.”

streetlight-greenshine-brighta-30-dUnder the partnership, Kern County will fund the installation and long-term maintenance of the lights, and the Foundation will purchase the lights with funds raised by donors. “Our partnership with the Mojave Foundation continues a long track record of Kern County’s government partnering with the private sector and non-profits to improve the safety, health and quality of life of our residents,” said Zack Scrivner, Kern County Supervisor, Second District. “I applaud the efforts of all involved to bring this needed infrastructure project to completion.”

The Foundation is working with a solar streetlight vendor, Greenshine New Energy, in Irvine California, who is offering the lights at a discount in support of Mojave’s community development. The Foundation is looking to raise $125,000 by May to purchase the lights, and have them ready for installation by July. “We have already raised about $45,000, thanks to generous donations from residents and local businesses,” said Quelet, “it’s compelling to see such a grass-roots collection of residents and employers investing in the health and safety of our community.”

About The Mojave Foundation:
The Mojave Foundation is a nonprofit 501c3 organization registered in the state of California dedicated to making Mojave a safe and desirable place to live, work and do business. We do this by raising funds through public and private donors to execute community projects quickly and efficiently. We live and work in Mojave, and are committed to making the community a net asset to the incredible aerospace companies who innovate, fly and test here. We are also committed to environmental and economic sustainability, and believe in lasting public-private partnerships where local stakeholders takes responsibility for the future of our community, with critical support from local authorities.

 

8 Break-ins Downtown, 1 Pedestrian Killed, Streetlights Needed More than Ever

Eight businesses were broken into in Downtown Mojave during the week of December 15th, including the Water Department, Keiff & Sons Ford, Union Pacific, Stokens Donuts and El Jeffe Restaurant. Also, in November a mother of four was killed by a vehicle while crossing Highway 14 near Stater Bros, which marks the fourth pedestrian to be killed in Mojave in a year. The driver could not see the woman crossing the highway in the dark at 6pm, according to the Kern County Sheriff’s Office.

Residents lament at the chronic loss of life and property in Mojave. “Nobody is going to open a business or buy a house here as long as there is a reasonable expectation of getting broken into”, says Mojave Foundation Executive Director, Todd Quelet. “Our kids are getting killed in the streets… it’s our priority health and safety issue” (referring to the tragic November 2013 killing of a local school girl while crossing Highway 58).

The Mojave Foundation has a plan to increase the available lighting downtown by installing streetlights in high crime/pedestrian areas. We have arranged a deal with Southern California Edison (SCE) to install a streetlamp and pole for existing customers for only $15 per month (provided the customer sign a 3-year contract and pay the first year upfront, which amounts to approximately $180).

Mojave at NightThe problem is that Kern County will not allow us to shine those lights in the street due to a $30,000 debt that Kern County owes to SCE, which prevents us from installing anything in the County’s right-of-way. The $30,000 debt stems from about 3 years ago when Mojave property owners were asked whether they would accept an $8 annual increase in their property taxes to keep approximately 220 streetlights in Mojave. The parcel tax measure was voted down overwhelmingly, mostly attributed Kern County officials say, by the preponderance of property owners who live outside Mojave (80 percent, according to Kern County Assessors office records). When the parcel tax measure failed Kern County submitted a work order with SCE to remove over half the lights from Mojave, but it took SCE six months to execute the work order. Meanwhile Kern County stopped paying for the lights targeted for removal and accrued the $30,000 debt, which now prevents residents from purchasing their own municipal lights.

Mojave at Night with LightsThe Mojave Foundation is determined not to let this problem prevent us from keeping our children and businesses and residents safe. We have raised enough money thus far to double the current amount of streetlights in Mojave, and we will keep working with local residents and businesses to solve this problem at the grass-roots level if necessary. We will also keep working with SCE and Kern County to resolve this debt issue so that we can restore the municipal lights that were removed three years ago, and install a closed circuit surveillance system in the downtown area for businesses who want it.

We encourage all businesses, church leaders, and residents – former and current – to weigh in on this issue. Contact Kern County and request that they resolve their debt with SCE so we can take responsibility for our own streets. You can also make a charitable donation on this website. Right now we can install a streetlight at the municipal or individual level for about $200. As always, your donation is tax-deductible, and 100% goes directly into the project, not for overhead or unrelated expenses. If you have any questions, contact Todd Quelet at Todd@MojaveFoundation.org

Mojave’s First Community Garden Meeting

20 August 2014IMG_20140820_170325_552

The Mojave Foundation hosted it’s first community garden meeting at the site of the first ever community garden on an active Space Port.  Organizer Joyce Nash, of the Mojave Foundation, welcomed the future gardeners at the 1300 square foot space that will be divided into 10-12 gardening plots for gardeners to grow items of their choosing.

“Where else on the planet can gardeners grow their fruits and vegetables in the shadow of a Rotary Rocket? Or with SpaceShipTwo flying overhead?” commented Marlena Rowley.

“Mojave is a community that strives to be a safe, beautiful and desirable place to LIVE and WORK,” says Nash, “with the realization that The Mojave Foundation will provide direction and attract support for the garden project from long term Mojave residents and airport employees.”

To become involved with the planning of Mojave’s community garden project feel free to leave a comment or call The Mojave Foundation ofIMG_20140820_170342_246fice at 661-749-0940.

Blood Drive Sept 2

Blood DriveIt’s that time again. September 2 (only 2 weeks away) Houchin Blood bank in Bakersfield will be hosting another blood drive at the Mojave Air & Space Port.  Appointments are every ten minutes between 8:30 am and 3:30 pm.  Kern County is in desperate need for blood donors right now, so please take a few minutes out of your day to help save a life.  Everybody who donates will be entered to win a $500 gift card to the Valley Plaza Mall in Bakersfield! If you are interested in donating please call or email Tenina at 661-824-2433 or Tenina@MojaveAirport.com. She will schedule you for an appointment or add you to the walk-in list. If you are unable to donate, please pass this information on to somebody who may be interested and willing.

Mojave Community Garden Survey

Community gardens are pieces of land where plants are grown and maintained by a group of individuals in the community. They are generally divided into plots for individual, family, or group use, and can host a variety of community events.

The Revitalize Mojave Vision Plan outlined how community gardens would add value to Mojave, and address several of its critical needs. The Mojave Foundation, whose mission is to encourage grassroots development of Mojave, is well placed to organize and execute the development and construction of a community garden.

We need your input to develop Mojave’s community garden into a useful and valuable space!

Please follow the link to the following survey.

 

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.

County to Upgrade Crosswalk by End of March

Crosswalk signalFebruary 27: Kern County Road Department Director, Pat Ebel was the featured guest at the Chamber of Commerce meeting at the Mariah Inn in Mojave. Ms. Ebel updated the Chamber on the progress her department is making in cross-walk consolidation and upgrades in response to the tragic death of 16 year old Raven Knight last November while crossing highway 58 on her way to school. The new safety device will include three crossing signs with rapid fire beacons located on the north side, south side, and center median of the the highway. The project will also include a raised median in the center of the road in order to warn drivers and slow traffic. The project should commence “within four weeks”, according to Ms. Ebel during the Chamber lunch.

Crosswalk Diagram.pngMs. Ebel also indicated that the County will eliminate the crosswalk where Ms. Night was killed, in order to funnel pedestrian traffic to the crosswalk just west of The Desert Inn on Highway 58, closer to the school. There is currently no walkway from Mojave Gardens across The Desert Inn, but Ms. Ebel said the County would eventually construct a sidewalk there, but did not provide a time frame. The roads department will also consider upgrading the chain link fence to a block wall in order to provide added protection between pedestrians and vehicles on Highway 58.

The Mojave Foundation appreciates Ms. Ebel coming to Mojave to update the community on the progress, and hope we can work together to resolve many of the chronic safety issues in the community. There were three pedestrians killed in Mojave in the month of November, all due to visibility issues of one kind or another. We appreciate the work that has been done to address the crosswalk on Highway 58, however we feel that this tragedy only shines light on a systemic problem that includes lack of adequate street lighting, poor signage, and excessive vehicle speed in residential areas. We will continue to address these issues with the county and look for alternative ways to make our streets safer immediately.