May 23: Residents throughout Mojave joined forces on Friday morning to embark on a massive project to clean up the entire Western Village neighborhood in Mojave. About 30 volunteers, mostly from the affected neighborhood, removed couches, mattresses, and garbage from the streets and alleyways of Edwin, Arthur and Milton streets. Four County agencies contributed to this effort including Code Compliance, Waste Management, County Roads and the Kern County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO). Most of the volunteers were informed of the event during a door-to-door campaign conducted by The Mojave Foundation the previous Monday. The volunteers also inspired many neighbors to come outside during the cleanup with their kids and relatives and start picking up their own yards. The Mojave Foundation is confident that the local residents are now invested in helping to KEEP the neighborhood clean and make this cleanup sustainable.
Friday’s cleanup was a joint effort between The Mojave Foundation, local volunteers and four County agencies. Code Compliance provided the trash bags and gloves, Waste Management provided access to the dump, KCSO proved the CSU volunteers for security, and most importantly, Kern County Roads provided three dump trucks and five drivers, which was critical this event. County Roads employees – some of which are from Mojave – hauled away 11 dump-truck loads in less than 3 hours (equivalent to about 25 pickup trucks full). Under the leadership of Mojave Roads Foreman, Dan Duckworth, volunteers were able to work at maximum efficiency for three hours, removing every mattress, couch, and fire hazard in Western Village. The Mojave Foundation considers this a “force multiplier”, and salutes Mr. Duckworth and his crew’s professionalism and proficiency.
The Mojave Foundation would also like to credit Leon Ryder for conceiving of Friday’s cleanup, and inspiring residents and volunteers all over Mojave to pitch in. Mr. Ryder, who spontaneously decided to paint over some graffiti in his neighborhood several months ago, has inspired a grass-roots miniature revolution in Western Village and all over Mojave. Mr. Ryder and The Mojave Foundation are now working directly with residents and Kern County General Services to remove graffiti immediately and efficiently. The Mojave Foundation salutes Mr. Ryder’s “leadership by example” and countless volunteers who made this and other cleanups possible. For more information on how you can volunteer fill out one of our volunteer forms. Click here for information on how you can donate to the cause.
May 26: Mojave remembered the the fallen on this Memorial Day, in the Mojave Cemetery. The event was organized by Mojave’s own Cathy Hansen, and featured speakers Doug Clipperton, of the Mojave Chamber of Commerce, Flora Belle Reece, who transported fighter planes across the country in WWII, and Captain Todd Quelet, a Civil Affairs Officer and veteran of Afghanistan. Mr. Clipperton described the sacrifices that that his father endured as a B-17 pilot in WWII, and the hundreds of pilots lost in service to their cause. Ms Reece described the events of Pearl Harbor through the eyes of Admiral Nimitz, and despite the thousands of lives lost, how the United States emerged from that tragedy with remarkable luck, perseverance and determination.
CPT Quelet commemorated the service men and women and civilians who have given their last full measure of devotion in the service of their country in Iraq and Afghanistan. He explained how they died promoting “American” values abroad, but that these values are so universal that they transcend any one country, and belong to the world. CPT Quelet went on to call on the living to honor the dead by continuing their work here at home by investing in our own communities. (To see a video of the speech click here.)
February 8: The California Highway Patrol (CHP) branch in Mojave is looking for motivated, community-minded seniors to participate in the Senior Volunteer Program (SVP). CHP will be hosting an orientation and informational-meeting at the CHP Office in Mojave, just east of the Mariah Inn, on February 14th at 10:00 am. Eligible volunteers must be 55 years old, with a clean driving record, and able to pass a background check. Volunteers typically perform a variety of duties that include administrative functions, participation in community events, directing traffic, and assisting officers as needed. They can also ride along with officers, serving as an extra set of eyes in search of vehicle code violations.
The Mojave Foundation is proud to have helped stand up a volunteer police squad in Mojave through Kern County Sheriff’s Citizen Service Unit (CSU), and we will enthusiastically support establishing another volunteer unit through CHP. The Senior Volunteer Program offers a slightly different volunteer experience, geared specifically for seniors, and offers another dimension of citizen participation in law-enforcement. Safety and security are our primary concerns, and the SVP is another opportunity to increase the connectivity between law-enforcement and the community in Mojave. For questions about the SVP, contact Darlena Dotson at (661) 823-5500, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
December 4: Mojave has another Good Samaritan, this time helping children cross highway 58 safely before and after school. Paul Smith, of Mojave Gardens, was so deeply affected by the death last week of Raven Knight that he volunteered to stand post at the crosswalk all day by himself to help pedestrians cross the four-lane highway safely. Mr. Smith got a safety vest and a hand-held stop sign from the school and vows to stay at his post until a street light or safety device is installed to protect the children on their way to school every day. Mr. Smith, a retired truck mechanic, has lived in Mojave only a few months, but long enough to observe Ms. Knight to be a kind and spirited young lady. “We just have to care more about people” exclaims Mr. Smith just before he helps another teenager cross the highway, “we have to take care of them better.”
This is the third “Good Samaritan” we have discovered in Mojave, and we are inspired by the selfless service of these individuals. The Mojave Foundation salutes Mr. Smith and others like him, who do not seek praise, nor compensation – they only implore that the rest of us do more to “take better care of each other”. We encourage all residents to say thank you to Mr. Smith, or better yet, pick up a safety vest and help him stand guard and protect our children.
December 3: The Mojave Foundation is proud to announce that we have received our 501(c)3 status from the IRS. This means that the MF can now receive donations, which the donors can deduct from their taxes! This is critical to our mission to clean up Mojave, and allows us to put real resources behind our big ideas. We have accomplished a lot in 2013 with no money and a highly-motivated group of volunteers – starting a volunteer police squad (CSU), demolishing and cleaning up lots, and launching a series of entrepreneurship and educational workshops. But community-scale infrastructure projects will require substantial investments from both public and private donors. Some of our funding priorities in 2014 are (1) to demolish vacant hazardous structures that blight our downtown area, (2) to increase the public lighting for safety and security, (3) to build a railroad park on the west side of Sierra Highway, as well as community gardens. We believe that this community has the means and the motivation to change this town for the better, and we humbly encourage all residents to get involved – either by volunteering at the school, or the senior center, or with the Mojave Foundation! We intend to match this incredible outpouring of community support with tangible results in a relatively short period of time. We will execute all projects quickly and efficiently, with 100% transparency. Individuals can make general donations to support the Foundation’s operations, or can donate to a specific project; we will work with you to find a project that fits your priorities for the community. To make a tax-deductible donation to the Mojave Foundation, click here!
November 13: After seeing cars whizzing by her street at 60mph, Charlotte Bozman noticed that the children were dangerously close to the road while waiting for the bus in the morning. “I just can’t let those kids stay out there like that” said Ms. Bozman, who lives in the Camelot neighborhood in Mojave. “Especially in the morning when the cars are blinded by the sun.” So Ms. Bozman called the local school district and convinced them to take steps to fix the problem. The school district cleared the bushes on the corner so the children can stand safely away from the road, and installed 2 large yellow signs that read “SCHOOL BUS STOP AHEAD” to warn oncoming traffic. “Maybe we’ll even put a bench and a barrier for the kids to stand behind” said Ms. Bozman, “it’s all about the kids”.
Ms. Bozman, a long time Mojave resident, is heavily involved with helping children in her neighborhood and in Mojave. She organized a food pantry, and provided turkey dinners to feed needy families this Thanksgiving. If you have any questions, or know somebody who needs food, or would like to contribute to her pantry, please call Ms. Bozman at 661-824-3265. The Mojave Foundation salutes Ms. Bozman for her personal initiative and selfless service to children in this community. Her efforts are well timed, considering the tragic incident on November 18th when a young girl was killed crossing route 58 on her way to high school. To make a donation to the family, please contact Kressa Coy at the high school at 661-824-4088, or the Elks Club at 661-824-2240.
October 17: Mojave is fortunate enough to have a local resident who has single-handedly cleanup up six empty lots in the last three months. John Davis, 53, pictured left, cleaned up his latest lot on K Street this week, generating 20 garbage bags of trash and yard waste in the process. Local residents helped take some of the bags to the dump this weekend, but John labored over 2 days to clean, rake and pick up all the trash in this lot. John, who is currently unemployed, typically labors for days at a time – FOR FREE. “I get bored” says John. “I just want my neighborhood to be nice.” Mojave has approximately 45 empty lots in our downtown area, and John has cleaned up or helped to clean up most of them. John’s selfless contributions are critical to preventing Mojave from sliding into disrepair, and setting the stage for future investment. The Mojave Foundation is proud to highlight John’s efforts and work with him on future cleanups. Next time you see an empty lot, you can thank John for keeping it from getting out of control. Next time you see John, go ahead and say thanks! …even better, give him a hand, or give him a job!
October 4: Local motorists on L Street have been frustrated with a menacing pot hole that has grown increasingly dangerous in the past several months. Two local residents finally had enough, and found an innovative way to fix the problem. They found a construction crew repaving another parking lot in town, and managed to scrounge several buckets of asphalt. They loaded the black stuff into a garbage can, transported it over to L Street and filled in the pothole by hand! Shawn and Casey, pictured above, have been living in Mojave for years, and are trying to make the community a safer, more attractive place to live. “We all have to work together and keep an eye out for each other” said Shawn, 30. “Some people just don’t know how to do things the right way” said Casey, 38, as he carefully puts the finishing touches on the final layer of asphalt. The Mojave Foundation commends this kind of selfless service, and is proud to highlight this next generation of can-do residents.
Long time Mojave resident Bill Wilson has been donating his time late into the evening to fix the brick sidewalk and other maintenance projects at his Alma matter, Mojave High. Mr Wilson, 72, has been working silently, seeking no recognition, and very few people probably noticed him working well into the night. The Mojave Foundation took this picture of Mr. Wilson after 8pm one night, as he was replacing bricks that had come lose over the years. “I just like to give back” said Mr. Wilson, “This is my old school… I was on the first ever football team in 1953… I know the school doesn’t have any money, so this is my way of giving back.” Parents and children walk along the carefully laid brick sidewalk every day, but are little aware that Mr. Wilson silently labors long into the night to make the school presentable. Next time you walk along the brick sidewalk at Mojave High, think of Mr. Wilson… next time you see Mr. Wilson, say thanks!