Year in review

JANUARY

DOD Grant seeks

to bring economic diversity to Kern County

CALIFORNIA CITY — Kern County has received a grant of $900,000 from the Department of Defense, which will fund a team to work toward diversifying the East Kern economy, which currently is dominated by the two military bases here.

Plane Crazy Saturday

celebrates 10-year

anniversary

MOJAVE — Last weekend’s Plane Crazy Saturday was not just the first PCS of 2019, it was also the 10th anniversary of the now legendary gathering of some of the most noteworthy pilots and planes, which come together once a month to celebrate all things aircraft and flight related at one of the most iconic places for flight around: Mojave Air and Space Port.

State Sen. Shannon Grove selected as

Republican leader

California State Sen.Shannon Grove, who represents Kern, Tulare and San Bernardino counties, was selected as the Republican State Senate leader Tuesday.

KernCOG brings good news to Mojave Chamber

MOJAVE — Last Thursday’s regular meeting of the Mojave Chamber of Commerce brought forth some good news out of Kern Council of Governments, which is looking into the ways which our regional transportation can be made more efficient and to serve the residents who count on it better.

FEBRUARY

CCPD/Rite Aid team up

CCPD is working in conjunction with Rite Aid’s Kids Cents Foundation in bringing a drop box to CCPD for drop- ping off expired prescription medications in the home. This helps protect children from the medications that may be linger- ing in the household medicine cabinet beyond their usage date.

Kieffe and Sons Ford

closing after 59 years

in Kern County

MOJAVE — Kieffe and Sons Ford is closing its doors on its two locations in Mojave and Rosamond after 59 years in business in Kern County, according to Owner Rick Kieffe.

Construction at

Boron High School

nears finish line

BORON — Construction continues at a quick pace at Boron Junior and Senior High School, with an anticipated finish in the next two months.

Branson announces personal plans to fly to space by July

Richard Branson plans to travel to space himself in four to five months aboard his Virgin Galactic spaceship. The British billionaire made the announcement to Agence France-Presse on Feb. 7.

One year in: A&P aircraft class successfully takes off

MOJAVE — Mojave Unified School District’s Airframe and Powerplant class is now well entrenched in MUSD’s curriculum and bearing fruit after only one year of being offered. A report was presented to the Board of Directors of MUSD at the most recent meeting in Cal City last week by the instructor of that class, Mr. Michael Kirkley.

More history made with latest VSS Unity test flight

MOJAVE — Last Friday’s re-scheduled test flight for Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity not only went off without a hitch, but they also managed to make space history again for the second time in two successive test flights.

Last flight, the two pilots, Mark “Forger” Stuckey and Frederick “CK” Sturckow, were awarded commercial astronaut wings by the FAA in a ceremony in Washington, D.C., for their Dec. 13, 2018, test flight. This time out it was Chief Pilot Dave Mackay and co-pilot Michael “Sooch” Masucci who became commercial astronauts, and the 569th and 570th humans in space.

Partnerships are path to future at Edwards

Edwards Air Force Base is undoubtedly one of the economic engines of the High Desert, but public, business and private community partnerships are the fuel that power the engine, according to Brig. Gen. E. John “Dragon” Teichert.

“We are your neighbors, we are your colleagues, we are your friends and we so deeply appreciate being part of a thriving community that is breaking barriers and making history every single day,” he said at Antelope Valley Board of Trade’s Business Outlook Conference, Feb. 22. “None of

us could get the job done and achieve our mission without you.”

Officials talk about unleashing the future of High Desert

Development and application of cutting edge technology and implementation of innovative practices will continue in the High Desert well into the future. The Antelope Valley Board of Trade highlighted some of these best practices and predictions for the future at their annual Business Outlook Conference held Feb. 22 at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds.

MARCH

Renewbiz is Back! Scrivner brings joy to Mojave Chamber

MOJAVE — Last Thursday’s Mojave Chamber of Commerce meeting brought some very welcome news to the region, as Kern County Supervisor Zack Scrivner told the Chamber and assem- bled that Renewbiz is back after a hiatus due to county budget crisis.

The popular program offers grant money to unincorporated areas like Mojave, Rosamond and Boron. Their website states: “The RENEWBIZ Grant Program assists organizations with the cost of developing or improving commercial and industrial districts within the unincorporated communities of East Kern County. It is a flexible source of competitive funding for a broad range of facade improvement activities.”

Biggest turnout in years at Job Fest 2019 Mojave

MOJAVE - Last Thursday’s America’s Job Center - Mojave Job Fest at Mojave Air and Space Port was the biggest one in recent years, with more than 300 applicants all packing into the massive Stu Witt Event Center on campus at Mojave Air and Space Port.

First parks grant funding meeting held March 15

CALIFORNIA CITY

— Last Friday evening at the Arts and Community building, city and park officials rolled out the latest plan to find funding to restore the crown jewel of California City, that being our Central Park and its 22- acre lake with waterfall that used to be the centerpiece of California City back in

its heyday of the 1970s and ’80s.

Newsom halts executions in California

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday signed an executive order that placed a moratorium on capital punishment in the state, halting executions for 737 inmates on California’s death row.

18-Year old Rosamond Murder Case Conviction

BAKERSFIELD – After 18 long years, a murder conviction in a Rosamond cold case finally has closure.

On March 13, 2019, Kern County District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer and Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood announced that a murder conviction was made in the Aug. 2001 robbery gone bad. 36-year old Cedric Sutton and 42-year old Darnell Wheat were found Guilty of Murder: First Degree, Attempted Murder and 2 counts of Kidnapping to Commit Robbery in a Bakersfield court room. A third suspect, 35-year old Dionna Williams pled No Contest to the charge of Accessory in March of 2017.

County’s dispensary ban could boost Cal City finances

CALIFORNIA CITY – When it comes to sales of medicinal marijuana, Kern County’s loss may turn out to be California City’s gain.

The Kern County Board of Supervisors voted recently to deny appeals from several medicinal marijuana dispensaries to remain open past a May 24 deadline. Three dispensaries in Rosamond were ordered to close even earlier — March 28.

Supes to Trump: Look at Kern County bases for space

In a unanimous move, the Kern County Board of Supervisors on March 19 voted to send a letter to President Donald Trump urging him to consider Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, Edwards Air Force Base and Kern County in general for key roles in the development of his Space Force, including possibly the placement of an installation.

Bequinox 2019 attendees have a hot time in Cal City

CALIFORNIA CITY — Last weekend saw the first outing for the longstanding Bequinox event in its new home in Cal City. Bequinox is an offshoot of The Burning Man events that have been going on in one form or another since 1989.

CCPD raise OK’d

CALIFORNIA CITY - The March 26 City Council meeting produced some very wel- come news for the officers and other employ- ees of the California City Police Department, while a decision on rezoning of properties to allow for commercial marijuana cultivation was tabled until July 23.

Sworn officers of CCPD will receive a pay increase of 27.5 percent over the next three years following unanimous approval by coun- cil for a memorandum of understanding with the association representing them. Members of the Miscellaneous Employees Association will receive a pay increase of 12 percent over the same period, per the MOU with their association.

APRIL

Family, friends gather to remember

CALIFORNIA CITY

— Their loved ones might never have known each other or become friends, but the families of eight crime victims were united in grief and celebration April 11. A memorial for Matthew Lininger, Desiree Thompson, Demetri Thom- as, Robert Austin Tharp, Deverrie Schiller, Philip Pete Hammond, Dr. Bur- dette Thorbus and Charles Pieper brought family members together along with representatives from area law enforcement and victim’s rights advocates.

Three of the cases; Hammond, Tharp and Thompson are still classified as missing persons, while Lininger, Thomas, Schiller, Thorbus and Pieper are unsolved homicides.

Makeover for Boron school: Junior Senior High School ribbon cutting and open house

BORON – The Muroc Joint Unified School District held

a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house for the new halls, classrooms, library and administration building at Boron Junior Senior High School. The event tok place on April 17 and got underway at 2 p.m. on the campus. Dignitaries for the event included Kern County Second District Supervisor Field Representative Michael Clark, President of the Muroc Joint Unified School District Sherman Burkhead, Mojave Area California Highway Patrol Commander Lt. John Williams and Public Information Officer Aaron Maurer, 36th District State Assemblyman Tom Lackey’s Field Representative Bryan Anguiano, the Boron and Central Kern County Community Queens, Chase Cooper who was the supervisor in charge of the project and his crew and several Boron High School Alumni along with current students and staff came out to witness the history.

Scrivner gives update on state of the county

TEHACHAPI – While Kern County is still dealing with fallout from a $44.5 million deficit, Second District Supervisor Zack Scriver said he is optimistic about the future of the county.

“Things have been tough in the county from a budget perspective, we have a lot of challenges that still remain,” he said speaking at the Greater Tehachapi Chamber of Commerce network luncheon April 16. “It’s going to be frustrating as we continue to slog

through it. But we have found, I think, a lot of ways that we have gotten better, that we have gotten more efficient. Once we are out of this fiscal crisis, which I project to be about the year 2020 or 2021, we are going to be very well positioned to take Kern County well into the 21st century and I think we will be one of the most efficient and best run counties in California.”

First licenses awarded: Cannabis storefront and delivery move forward

CALIFORNIA CITY – Two storefront and delivery cannabis dispensary licenses and 10 de- livery-only cannabis dispensary licenses were awarded during a special meeting of the California City City Council April 27.

“This has been a long day coming,” said Mayor Chuck McGuire. “It started back two councils ago. There’s been a lot of work on a lot of areas throughout this community. This is probably the biggest project that has ever been addressed by a lot of different entities for a common goal and I’m excited about today.”

City manager sidelined

CALIFORNIA CITY

- After weeks of speculation and closed session meetings, California City Manager Bob Stockwell was placed on paid ad- ministrative leave Monday pending an investigation. Anna Linn will assume the role of acting city manager.

Weekend of fun at Tortoise Days

CALIFORNIA CITY - The Annual Tortoise Days event for 2019 went off all weekend long, starting with the Tortoise Days Parade Saturday morning starting with California City Boulevard lined with parade watchers and supporters. Tortoise Days was scheduled a week earlier than normal this year. That didn’t stop the crowds from coming out to celebrate the event that brings all of the city together for a weekend of family fun.

Man dies after falling into mine pit

BORON – A Boron man, who had been report- ed missing by his family during the Easter holiday weekend, died after falling into the open pit at Rio-Tinto Borates Boron Operations. Although details are still sketchy, the incident occurred just after 3:30 p.m. on April 22.

Subscription-based solar project topic at chamber meeting

CALIFORNIA CITY

- Representatives from a company with a subscription-based take on the ever-expanding solar energy industry spoke to members of the California City Chamber of Commerce, April 25. Universal Solar Partners are in the planning stages of building a 3 megawatt solar field on the south side of California City Boulevard between Wonder Avenue and the railroad tracks. Shared- SolarCA is the developer for the 20-acre site, being called California Solar I Project.

MAY

Local pilot logs 200th flight milestone

ROSAMOND - The plane lifts off smoothly into a mostly clear blue sky from Rosamond Skypark, at a safe altitude pilot Bob Waldmiller says “you have the controls,” handing

over piloting duties to his passenger. The first-time pilot is encouraged to bank right, then left and right again and make note of the display gauges and instrumentation A short aerial tour of the valley is made, with landmarks and potential obstacles pointed out before Waldmiller takes the controls again and navigates back for a landing.

Platt placed on leave

CALIFORNIA CITY – California City Interim City Manager Anna Linn confirmed that Public Works Director Craig Platt has been placed on paid administrative leave. Because it is a personnel matter, Linn said she could provide no further details.

Virgin Galactic moving to New Mexico

SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO – At a press conferece May 10 at the New Mexico State Capitol Building in Santa Fe, hosted by New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, Virgin Founder Sir Richard Branson announced that Virgin Galactic’s development and testing program had advanced sufficiently to move the spaceline staff and space vehicles from Mojave, California to their commercial operations headquarters at Spaceport America, New Mexico. The move, which involves more than 100 staff, will commence immediately and continue through the summer, to minimize schooling disruption for families.

City manager resigns: Linn appointed as interim

CALIFORNIA CITY – Reporting out of closed session, City Attorney Christian Bettenhausen said the council unanimously voted to accept City Manager Bob Stockwell’s

resignation effective 11:59 p.m. May 14.

“The City Council wish- es to thank Bob Stockwell for his years of service as city manager, not only here but in other cities, and wishes him success in his future endeavors,” said Bettenhausen.

City plans to temporarily waive some fees

CALIFORNIA CITY – In an effort to spur development of new residential construction City Council approved a temporary reduction in developer impact fees and introduction of a fast track permitting process May 28. Council approved the item with a vote of 3-1, with Mayor

Chuck McGuire casting the dissenting vote. Councilwoman Tami Johnson was absent to due illness.

The city will waive residential development impact fees for sewer and water for a period of three years. The city will temporarily waive the $1,649 water impact fee, $1,898 sewer impact fee and the $2,150 residential water connection fee.

Approval given for new state-of-the-art fire engine

CALIFORNIA CITY

– A new fire engine will

be hitting the roads in California City in the next nine months to a year after approval by City Council

May 28.

“Our first out in front line, Engine 19, is tired,” said California City Fire Chief Dave Goodell. “It’s performed well for almost 20 years but it needs to be retired as our primary engine and moved to a reserve stance. We recommend the immediate replacement of our current Engine 19 within Pierce PUC, which stands for Pierce’s Ultimate Configuration, which is a Type One engine. The requested Engine 19 replacement is within the succession plan to guarantee immediate and perpetual apparatus fleet stability, dependability and suitability.”

Mojave East Park could get makeover

MOJAVE - Mojave East Park is one of five Kern County parks which could be getting a makeover through a state program. As with California City, the county is applying for a grant through Proposition 68, the Clean Water and Parks Act.

Matt Howard, general services manager for parks and facilities in Kern County was at the Mojave Branch of the Kern County Library for the first in a series of meetings about the project. The California Statewide Development and Community Revitalization Program grants will be awarded in amounts up to $8.5 million. A series of public meetings to determine community interest and get input for improvements is a required component of the grant process.

JUNE

CCHS graduates celebrate

CALIFORNIA CITY

- With eight valedictorians, California City High School Class of 2019 could accurately be described as overachievers.

“I’d like the class from 2019 to know that we at CCHS believe in each of you,” said Principal John Wheeler. “I believe that you have the potential for an amazing future. I believe that regardless of where do you go to college, or what you do for living, what your goals and objectives are in life, that there are two qualities that can help you make a difference in your life and in the life of others.”

Cheers and tears for Mojave High grads

MOJAVE – After some 15,210 hours of instruction from kindergarten through high school, the Mojave High School Class of 2019 embarked on the next phase of their lives May 31.

Valedictorian and Senior Class President Samantha Escobedo expressed gratitude to teachers, family and friends.

First dispensary inches closer to opening

CALIFORNIA CITY

– The city is one step closer to opening its first storefront retail and delivery cannabis dispensary. On June 4, the Planning Commission unanimously approved a Conditional Use Permit for California City Supply LLC, doing business as Driven Direct.

The company plans to use an existing building at 6508 California City Blvd. currently housing a beau- ty salon and combination security company and gun store - those businesses will also remain on site. After some interior modifications, the gun shop will be reduced in size to about 719 square feet with the dispensary then taking up the nearly 1,000 remaining square feet.

Chamber president reports on convention experience

CALIFORNIA

CITY – California City Chamber of Commerce President Alexia Svejda is cautiously optimistic about attracting new business to the city after attending a recent trade convention.

“In a nutshell, I felt like I was flying blind going into this,” said Svejda. “At the end of day one, I was very happy with the results. What I’d learned and

contacts that I made and the appointments I made.”

School board cuts fees

CALIFORNIA CITY

– The Mojave Unified School District will slash residential developer fee rates nearly 50% follow- ing a vote by the board June 13. Developer fees - also known as impact fees - have been the topic of discussion for both city council and the school dis- trict for several months.

Approval was recommended “In the spirit of cooperation with the City of California City, the unincorporated area of Mojave, and the taxpayers in the communities,” according to the board agenda item.

Perez returns to RCSD

ROSAMOND – The Rosamond Community Services District Board of Directors has chosen a former general manager to lead the district again.

“I am honored that the board has confidence in me to lead the effort for the district,” said Steve Perez. “With my back- ground in public health and safety, this is right up my alley.”

Lackey talks turkey at coffee

CALIFORNIA CITY – “The sky isn’t falling in California, but it is sagging,” California 36th District Assemblyman Tom Lackey said on June 8.

Lackey was speaking at a Community Coffee in the Community Arts Center at Central Park where he provided an update on events in Legislature and answered questions from the audience.

Memorial planned for cold case victims

CALIFORNIA CITY

– Debi Fones, mother of murder victim Deverrie Schiller, is continuing her efforts to keep her daughter’s memory - and those of other victims - alive in the public mind.

Fones is in the early stages of establishing a memorial in Central Park to commemorate her daughter and the seven other unsolved crime victims: Matthew Lininger, Desiree Thompson, Demetri Thomas, Robert Austin Tharp, Philip “Pete” Hammond, Dr. Burdette Thorbus and Charles Pieper.

Celebrating science

MOJAVE – Mojave Unified School District students got to show off their science skills during a celebration and open house to mark the end of the annual Summer Science Academy on June 21.

About 120 first- through 12th-grade students from throughout the district - who were nominated to take part in the program by their teachers - participated in the two week long annual program. As friends, family and other visitors visited each classroom during the open house, students were encouraged to explain the concept of their experiments and demonstrate their effectiveness.

Ground broken for Mojave Transit Center

MOJAVE – Ground was broken for a new Mojave Transit Center on June 27. The facility will be located on the northeast corner of K and Mono streets in Mojave.

“This project to me is another deliverable from the county of Kern for the community of Mojave,” said Kern County Second District Supervisor Zack Scrivner. “We continue to invest in Mojave, we know that we’ve got an asset we need to continue to support in the Mojave Air and Space Port. The county sees Mojave as one of our major economic engines and one we want to continue to support and build and grow.”

JULY

Searles Valley residents talk earthquake recovery efforts, community

SEARLES VALLEY — Hope, gratitude, community, resilience and a little bit of frustration are the buzzwords in the Searles Valley after a pair of earthquakes rocked the area on Sunday morning.

Eric Cartmell sits on the porch of his home on 4th Street in Argus with two of his neighbors and his dog while his son Gunnar volunteers at New Hope of Searles Valley Foursquare Church. Cartmell owns three other nearby homes which he rents out. All homes have significant damage from the earthquakes and are now uninhabitable.

Council to fill seat

CALIFORNIA CITY

– Filling a vacancy on City Council took up the bulk of the July 9 council meeting. The council also tabled action on proposed Off Highway Vehicle program fee increase and discussion of bids for an OHV Program Visitor Center / Equipment Shop.

“During the last three to four months, Council Member (Tami Marie) Johnson experienced some medical problems, her medical problems have continued and her doctors are trying to figure out what is wrong with her,” said Mayor Chuck McGuire. “Due to her medical condition Council Member Johnson can no longer perform her duties as an elected official of this city of California City City Council.”

Smith selected for council

CALIFORNIA CITY

– Ron Smith is filling the position on City Council vacated by Tami Marie Johnson following appointment Saturday. Smith, who is pastor and founder of Victory Baptist Church in California City was one of six applicants vying for the position.

“There were some other great candidates that here and I appreciate appreciate those that put their name their hat,” said Smith following his selection. “I’m honored to be able to serve my city and I certainly hope I will make Councilmember Johnson proud.”

Residents hear Mojave East upgrade plans

MOJAVE – An artificial turf soccer field, renovated baseball field, upgraded concession stand and bleachers and reno- vated tot lot with shade structure and splash pad are a few of the proposed changes for Mojave East Park. Residents got their first look at plans during a meeting on July 19, Kern County is seeking money for improvements through a grant program established by the Clean Water and Parks Act, Proposition 68 an additional meeting will be held at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday outside the Senior Center at the park.

Parcel tax reduction approved

CALIFORNIA CITY – Property owners will see slightly lower annual taxes following action by council July 23. The council ap- proved lowering the public safety parcel tax to $172.50 from its previous $182.50.

First look at budget shows challenges ahead

CALIFORNIA CITY

– The city will require another interim budget and a special meeting was scheduled for Tuesday, July 30 to address the issue. Council met July 24 for a special budget workshop that was mainly a chance for consultant Andy Heath to present a preliminary budget outline.

AUGUST

Finance director fired

CALIFORNIA CITY

– After less than a year on the job, California City Finance Director Diego Ibanez has been fired.

“He was an at-will employee,” said interim City Manager Anna Linn on Wednesday. “The city is going in a different direction. We wish him the best.”

Spitfire wings into Mojave

MOJAVE - A historic aircraft in the midst of a run at the record books touched down at Mojave Air and Space Port Saturday. Silver Spitfire - The Longest Flight is project to fly a newly restored original Spitfire aircraft around the world. The aircraft is in the midst of a 27,000 mile journey.

SEPTEMBER

Henry Ochsner dies at 96

CALIFORNIA CITY

– Longtime California City resident and World War

II veteran Henry Ochsner has died. He was 96.

Ochsner originally belonged to the 321st Glider Artillery Battalion during World War II. He later transferred to the 101st Airborne as a paratrooper in the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, the regiment that was home to Easy Co. of Band of Brothers fame. He landed behind enemy lines on D-Day in support of the Normandy invasion.

Wasteland music and arts festival runs through Sunday

EDWARDS – If every- thing has gone according to plan, civilization as we know it has ended in the North Edwards area as of noon on Wednesday. The end will only be temporary however, as the post-apocalyptic music and arts festival known as Wasteland Weekend concludes Sunday.

A strictly 18 and over only event, Wasteland Weekend draws much of its influence from the Mad Max franchise and requires all attendees to wear appropriately themed clothing.

OCTOBER

Silver Saddle fraud alleged

SACRAMENTO – The Department of Business Oversight announced Oct. 1 that a state judge has granted its request to shut down an alleged investment fraud that collected more than $30 million from illegal land sales and other charges associated with the Silver Saddle Ranch & Club in California City.

Acting on a civil complaint filed under seal, San Diego Superior Court Judge Joel R. Wohlfeil granted the DBO’s request for a temporary restraining order barring further land sales, a freeze of all related assets and the appointment of a receiver to take possession of Silver Saddle Ranch and two affiliated entities, Silver Saddle Commercial Development and the Galileo Commercial Property Owners Association.

First dispensary now open

CALIFORNIA CITY

– As the first legal canna- bis dispensary to open its doors in the city, California City Supply Owners Rick Jones and Amanda Adolf are off to a good start. A steady stream of customers and well-wishers were filing in and out on Oct. 2.

“It’s a soft open to make sure all our computers are running good, just get everything rolling smoothly,” said Jones. “We want to get some more local people hired and trained, then we’ll move on into a full-on opening.”

Council denies OHV center

CALIFORNIA CITY – The city will miss out on substantial funding from grants and be required

to repay a smaller, but also substantial amount, following action by City Council Oct. 8. Council also approved several zone change and General Plan amendments and witnessed the oath of office to new Fire Chief Jeremy Kosick and introduction of new firefighters and recently promoted fire

captains.

Contracts for construction of a proposed visitor center to be built at Borax Bill Park, funded largely through federal and state grants, were not approved. Cancellation of the project leaves the city on the hook to pay back more than $70,000 in funds already received.

California City Police Chief Eric Hurtado retires

After nearly 30 years of service, California City Police Chief Eric Hurtado retired in an emotional last call ceremony in front of the California City Police Department at 5 p.m. on October 5.

“I am honored to have had the opportunity to serve the residents of California City,” said Hurtado. “The citizens are great and supportive. My family has always felt welcomed.

“It has always been my goal to retire when the city was safer. We have a great police force and have been able to keep our crime rate going lower and lower.

“I will miss working with the city’s dedicated first responders. The interim chief is well knowledgeable and I’m certain he will have some great news to give to our community soon regarding some cases he has been working on. I have 28 years of Christmas’s, Thanksgiving’s and birthdays I need to catch up on with my family.”

The speed of relevance: Edwards key to future of Air Force

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE – Innovation conducted and put into the field at “the speed of relevance” are essential to the Air Force’s future and Edwards Air Force Base will play a big part in that future. Air Force Materiel Command Commander Gen. Arnold Bunch., Headquartered at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, is responsible for mission support, discovery and development, test and evaluation, life cycle management services and sustainment of virtually every major Air Force weapon system. He was at Edwards Oct. 18 for a site visit.

Dr. Sri honored with building

CALIFORNIA CITY

– Dr. Thillaiampalam Sri was feted for his many years of service to California City and surrounding communities Oct. 15.

The East Kern Health Care District formally dedicated their building at 9278 North Loop Blvd. as the T. Sri M.D. Medical Building to honor his years of practice in the city. The East Kern Health Care District was established in 1977 to serve the East Kern communities and provides property management for four medical facilities in California City. A board resolution was actually passed in March, but the logistics of getting the plaque and timing right, delayed the ceremony.

Hayes now interim chief of police

CALIFORNIA CITY

– Interim California City Chief of Police Tim O’Quinn resigned from city employment Thursday. O’Quinn had been interim chief since the retirement of Chief Eric Hurtado Oct. 9.

O’Quinn could not be reached for comment, but City Manager Anna Linn confirmed he had left employment with the city. CCPD Sgt. Shannon Hayes has now been appointed interim chief of police.

EZ anniversary at Mojave Air and Space Port

Mojave Transportation Museum’s monthly Plane Crazy Saturday event on Oct. 20 celebrated the 40th Anniversary of Rutan Long-EZ flight at Mojave Air and Space Port. Noting that most in the audience had already heard one or more talks by the trio, brothers Dick and Burt Rutan and Mike Melvill turned the pre-entation into a talk show question and answer format at the Stuart O. Witt Event Center.

Golf course fate in limbo

CALIFORNIA CITY – A quit claim deed turning the Tierra Del Sol property over to California City has been ruled invalid, leaving the fate of the golf course up in the air. The land itself is actually owned by the Silver Saddle Ranch and Club, with the city allowed to use it for the ex- press purpose of operating a golf course.

OHV now part of parks

CALIFORNIA CITY

– With little fanfare and no public comment, City Council voted Oct. 22 to move the city’s off high- way vehicle program from police supervision to parks and recreation and authorized creation of a new OHV manager position. It was the only new business item on the agenda.

Budget passes

CALIFORNIA CITY

– Three months into the fiscal year, California City has officially adopted

the 2019-2020 budget.

A somewhat contentious special meeting Oct. 26 saw the budget approved with a 3-2 vote.

As presented by consultant Andy Heath, the General Fund will show an operating surplus

of $61 - essentially a balanced budget - and includes the integration of the Tierra Del Sol operation, Public Works Administration and a new department for Cannabis Compliance. It includes some $9,330,750 in total city-wide deferred capital projects to reach the balanced budget.

NOVEMBER

Attil Farms ramping up

CALIFORNIA CITY

– Attil Farms is well into the development of its facilities along California City Boulevard, just east of the railroad tracks at Maverick Street.

“It’s going to be cultivation, manufacturing, distribution and retail delivery,” said Consultant Raj Milian.

Ceremony honors veterans

CALIFORNIA CITY

– Veterans, friends and families came together at California City Memorial park for a Veterans Day ceremony Monday. Riders from California City Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9375 and American Legion Post 476 carried the U.S. flag and flags representing each branch of the military and Prisoners Of War and those Missing In Action in a motorcade down California City Boulevard from Neuralia Road.

Rosamond Community Services District breaks ground on new plant

ROSAMOND – A $15 million improvement project was officially kicked off Nov. 8 for the Rosamond Community Services District wastewater treatment plant. The new Rosamond CSD Water Reclamation Plant is expected to be operational in early 2021.

“When considering how many people will benefit from this project, after the ultimate completion, it’s no wonder that it stands well above any other project that could serve the people of this community,” said Rosamond CSD General Manager Steve Perez.

Senior Volunteer Program honors graduates

MOJAVE – Seven volunteer graduates of California Highway Patrol Senior Volunteer Program were celebrated by California Highway Patrol Mojave Area office Nov. 14. The graduates were Judy DeVeaux, Steven Diaz, Jeffrey Lydon, Edna Parks, Samuel Ralston, Steven Ryono and Vicki Schmidt.

Veterans Day at Legacy Park

The annual Veterans Day ceremony was spon- sored by Mojave Transportation Museum Foundation, Mojave Chamber of Commerce and Mojave Air & Spaceport. The ceremony was coordinated and emceed by Cathy Hansen, Mojave Transportation Museum President.

A letter was read from U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy that expressed his appreciation of the chance to honor and recognize our veterans in Kern County communities. The selfless service and contributions made by these valiant soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen is commendable.

Massive solar project eight years in the making debuts in Cantil

Eastern Kern County’s vast renewable-energy potential shone brightly Nov. 15 as corporate and government leaders celebrated the completion of an eight-year, roughly 1,400-acre photovoltaic project designed to generate enough electricity to power more than 150,000 homes in the Los Angeles area.

With a price tag estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars, L.A..-based 8minute Solar Energy’s three-phase Springbok project in Cantil has put the area’s otherwise underused real estate to use creating some 850 construction and maintenance positions, as well as 1,100 indirect jobs.

MASP to get $8 million grant

MOJAVE – Mojave Air and Space Port got a major boost in the form of an $8 million grant it was announced Nov. 21. U.S. Rep Kevin McCarthy announced that the Department of Transportation approved the grant through the Airport Improvement Plan for renovation of a taxiway at MASP.

“From Stratolaunch to Virgin Orbit, Mojave Air and Space Port is leading the way in civilian aeronautics and commercial spaceflight,” said McCarthy. “But in order to continue to take the next steps towards even greater innovation in the industry, it is vital that Mojave Air and Space Port’s infrastructure is revitalized.

This AIP grant will help make much needed repairs to existing infrastructure issues – like pavement cracks – to enhance airport safety. I thank Secretary Chao, the Department of Transportation, and the Federal Aviation Administration for recognizing the importance of this project. This grant will undoubtedly help ensure the longevity of this facility for years to come.”

Bartz-Altadonna to start mobile services Wednesdays

CALIFORNIA CITY

– Residents will have more options for medical, mental and substance abuse services beginning

in January, with mobile services available weekly until then. Bartz-Altadonna Community Health Center was scheduled to offer it’s first mobile health services Tuesday, with regular weekly services to be offered starting Dec. 4.

“The plan is to open the first part of January and to provide full service primary care, mental health and substance use services,” said Bartz-Altadonna Community Health Center Chief of Staff Pamela Griffin. “We plan to add various specialty services as we build up.”

Snow blankets High Desert

While the snow levels varied depending on elevation and location, the California City and sur- rounding areas definitely felt the effects from the Thanksgiving storm front as it moved through the area beginning Nov. 28.

“We had anywhere from six to 14 inches of total snow from California City to Mojave and Rosamond up to Tehachapi,” said National Weather Service Meteorologist Brian Ochs. “It was a colder than average storm system that moved through and it was relatively rare for Thanksgiving.”

DECEMBER

Ed Waldheim dies at 81

Off-roading racer, enthusiast, activist, Friends of Jawbone founder and force of nature, Ed Waldheim died Dec. 9, he was 81. For the last three years Waldheim had been undergoing treatment for stage IV lung cancer, yet as recently as June 25 was in California City to lobby council on behalf of the Off Highway Vehicle program.

“The City of California City OHV Program is vital for us to keep visitors coming to California City,” he said.

$59 million for Edwards school

On Dec. 13, U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy released the following statement announcing a $59 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment for Desert Junior Senior High School at Edwards Air Force Base: “Edwards Air Force Base is home to our country’s most advanced technology. Yet, some of the school facilities are unable to fully support the current needs of the community. This award will go towards expanding the capacity and improving the facilities at Desert Junior Senior High School which will further enrich students’ educational experiences. These enhancements will also help give our base a competitive edge in recruitment efforts by offering military and government civilian families the added assurance that their children will receive the best education possible.”

City to discuss tiny homes

CALIFORNIA CITY – City staff will move forward with drafting an ordinance regarding Tiny

Homes and designating areas for their development following direction from the Planning Commission Dec. 17.

“We want to point out that it’s really great to get to a point of constructing Tiny Homes in California City,” said Community Development Director Matthew Alexander.

Festival of Trees raises funds

CALIFORNIA CITY

– Hacienda Elementary School’s annual Festival

of Trees raised well over $4,000 Dec. 13 to support grade-level and school-wide activities.

“The turn out was amazing and we really appreciate the support of our generous sponsors,” said Birgit Breckenridge. “Many of our sponsors are local businesses that have supported the event for years, however, more recently there have been more and more families interested in sponsoring and decorating a tree for the event.”

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