Communication is a key aspect of a successful community. That is the message Kiwanis members heard from Key Budge, community engagement specialist for the City of Tehachapi. He strives to encourage an informed community using a variety of resources.
When Budge was in high school and college, he developed a passion for radio and journalism. He was able to pursue this line of work for a while, but serving as a deputy sheriff gave him the financial security he needed. After 25 years in that role, he retired and began working for Tehachapi News and for radio station KUZZ.
When Tehachapi decided to hire someone to help with communication, he eagerly applied and was hired. Having lived in the area for 13 years, he was familiar with the city and willing to accept the part-time job.
Budge says social media is one of the best ways to communicate with younger people, and he posts information on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other sites. He writes newspaper articles about relevant topics.
Much of the information is in regard to safety with advice about road work or incidents that require attention. He puts out a monthly newsletter called "Talk It Up," which may be read in print or on a cell phone. He assists the police department and other city officials in their interactions with media.
Budge welcomes comments and questions about any articles he writes or information he posts. He believes that to be successful we must be informed and work together as a community.
Kiwanis meets at noon on Wednesdays at the Community Room in the Tehachapi Police Department. After some club business, there is always an interesting speaker. Guests and prospective members are welcome. Call 822-5379 for information.
Phyllis Belcher is a longtime Tehachapi resident, and is involved in various volunteer organizations.