Category Archives: Security

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

High Desert Jazz/Blues Concert in Mojave This Friday

ChaiseThe Chaise Lounge Sextet, and the Lori Andrew JazHarp Quartet will be performing live in Mojave this Friday, October 17 starting at 7pm at the Stuart Witt Event Center on the Mojave Air & Space Port. This is a FREE event, open to the public, and all ages are welcome. There will be food available for $15/plate, as well as a raffle, prizes and silent auction. All proceeds go directly to making the community safer and healthier – starting with streetlights in our downtown area.

Lori AndrewsThe Mojave Foundation is proud to work with local sponsors and corporate partners to make this event possible, including S&Y Furniture, Anthony’s Grill, TNR Hobies, and Stokens Donuts. All proceeds will go directly to installing additional streetlights in areas with high crime or pedestrian traffic, especially close to school. Mojave suffered 3 pedestrian deaths last year, and over 50 break-ins and attempted break-ins. The community has identified lighting as a strategic priority for the town, and with this concert we hope to DOUBLE the amount of available lighting in Mojave. The Mojave Foundation is a nonprofit, 501c3 organization dedicated to making Mojave a safe, beautiful, desirable place to live and do business.

Queens Campaign for Cleanup on Friday May 23rd

Mojave QueensMay 19: The Mojave Queens teamed up with the Mojave Foundation and several local volunteers to knock on doors in Western Village, to tell residents about a cleanup in that Neighborhood on Friday, May 23rd at 8:00 a.m. Mojave Queens included Miss Mojave, Merysa Rangel, a junior at Mojave High; Ana Marquiz, Miss Junior Mojave; and Rhaylene Joaquin, Little Miss Mojave. “We all need to pull together to keep this place clean” said volunteer Isaac Martin, a junior at Mojave High, “These guys are trying to do a good thing, and we all need to pitch in.” Mojave’s own volunteer police squad, Citizen Service Unit (CSU), also participated, providing security and overwatch while our volunteers walked door to door.

Before - Edwin-2The cleanup on Friday will target three areas in Western Village that have accumulated garbage and furniture for years, including the desert and alley behind Edwin Street, and the apartments on Milton. The Mojave Foundation is determined to partner with local residents in the affected area to help remove the trash and keep the neighborhood clean once and for all. Volunteers also passed out information on Neighborhood Watch and graffiti consent forms, which allow The Mojave Foundation to remove graffiti immediately with the permission of the property owner. The Mojave Foundation would also like thank Leon Ryder for organizing the door-to-door campaign and the cleanup this Friday.

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.

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.

More Houses Demolished Downtown!

15734 L StMarch 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.