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Tuesday, Jan 01 2013 12:00 AM

July to Dec. 2012 Year in Review: Crime, curriculum and commercials

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President Barack Obama greets attendees at a ceremony creating the Cesar E. Chavez National Monument in Keene in October. The presidential visit went smoothly, despite thousands of visitors crowding into the tiny town. File photo by Henry Barrios, The Bakersfield Californian

The Tehachapi Event Center was inaugurated this year with a bullriding event on July 4, followed by the Tehachapi Mountain Rodeo during the 49th Annual Tehachapi Mountain Festival in August. Through an agreement between the rodeo association and the City of Tehachapi, improvements will continue and additional events will be held at the facility. Photo by Nick Smirnoff

An aerial fireworks display sponsored by the City of Tehachapi was the highlight of the traditional July 4 celebration that included the Hot Dog Festival in Central Park. Photo by Nick Smirnoff

Tehachapi was spared the devastating wildfires that plagued it in 2010 and 2011, but there were a number of smaller wildland fires. Also during 2012 the county purchased the former Monroe School near Monolith, turning it into a wildland fire center. Photo By Ed Gordon / Tehachapi News

Tehachapi residents, like others throughout the state, enjoyed the final flyover of the Space Shuttle Endeavor, pictured here flying over the Tehachapi Mountains. Photo Courtesy of NASA

Downtown Tehachapi was again the site of filming when a Chevy commercial was filmed downtown; earlier a feature film, Hangover III, was filmed near the windmills. Photo By Nick Smirnoff

Local boy hosts bone marrow drive

Six-year old Nicholas Sharp and his friends and family hosted a bake sale and swab fundraiser, raising $1,200 and taking 83 potential donor samples to help a two-year old Clovis boy who was diagnosed with Leukemia receive a bone morrow transplant.

FIELD graduates seven in first class
Seven local residents received their high school diplomas from the Farmworker Institute for Leadership and Development Learning Center. They were part of the 25 students who were enrolled in the local high school diploma program.

Tehachapi's new Junior Miss
Alexis Schoenberg was named the 39th winner of the Tehachapi Junior Miss title in 2012. Ten contestants competed in the event, which was judged on scholastic achievement, talent, fitness and self-expression. Second Runner Up was Madison Jacobson and First Runner Up was Kayleigh Jarrett.

Tehachapi celebrates Fourth of July
Tehachapi celebrated Independence Day in traditional style, beginning with a 5K Bun Run, and a pancake breakfast in Central Park. There was also a children's parade and a hot dog festival before the night sky was filled with fireworks over Coy Burnett Stadium, to the soothing sounds of the Tehachapi Symphony and Symphonic Chorus.

Wall of Valor
Tehachapi's American Legion Auxiliary Unit 221, the Tehachapi News and the City of Tehachapi teamed up to honor active duty military and those who died for freedom, with a "Wall of Honor" in the gazebo at Central Park. Photos and names of service persons connected to Tehachapi were on the wall.

Refurbished rodeo host 'Bad Bulls'
The Tehachapi Mountain Rodeo Association showed off its newly refurbished digs on Independence Day with its annual "Bad Bulls" event. Over 3,000 fans packed the new stands to watch bullriders compete for nearly $18,000 in prize money.

Relay for Life sets record
Tehachapi's 9th Annual Relay for Life set a new record by raising $169,498.The Lehigh Cement took top honors for raising the highest amount a team has ever fundraised in any Tehachapi relay, while Jim Thomas of team Mardi Gras raised the most by an individual.

Bear Valley GM terminated
After being out on sick leave for over a month, the Bear Valley CSD directors voted to terminate General Manager John Yeakley and appoint Assistant General Manager Sandy Janzen as interim director.

Tehachapi Little League

Tehachapi Little League Baseball junior all-stars fought their way to a championship after winning District 51 with a thrilling Game 3 victory over visiting Monte Vista. For some, it was their last game on the Tehachapi Little League fields.

Old dairy structures, 'SS Minnow' victims of fire
Sparked by a blown tire, a part of Tehachapi history burned when a fast moving brush fire destroyed structures on what was once the Cameron Dairy Ranch near Sand Canyon. When the smoke cleared three days after it began, the "Sand Fire" charred approximately 1,428 acres, leveling one bridge, 21 power poles and burned local landmark the "S.S. Minnow," — an old boat on the former dairy property.

Tehachapi has new 'Idol'
Local real estate agent Adonae Milerop was named "Tehachapi's Idol" following her winning performance in front of a full house at the 4th annual Tehachapi Idol contest at Pacino's Spaghetti Factory. Adonae took home $3,000 and studio time.

Annual Old Timers Picnic

Put on by the Tehachapi Recreation and Parks District, the 53rd Old Timer’s Picnic went off without a hitch with some of Tehachapi’s long time residents gathering for an old fashioned barbeque. The oldest resident on hand was 97-year-old Everett Simms.

Shooting and stabbing in downtown
A 16-year-old Tehachapi male was stabbed and a 55-year-old Good Samaritan from Oregon who tried helping the victim was shot on Tehachapi Boulevard when the juvenile got into an argument with an unidentified man. Both men survived and the suspect who ran from the scene hasn't been found.

TUSD approves new K-5 curriculum
Nearly 100 people packed the meeting room as Tehachapi Unified School District the Board of Trustees approved the new curriculum for grades K-5, as mandated by an agreement in a settlement with federal authorities related to the 2010 death of 13-year-old Seth Walsh.

TVRPD gets interim district manager
The Tehachapi Valley Recreation and Parks District approved the appointment of former Woodward West GM Debbie Williams as the new interim general manager.

Jawbone fire
Ignited by lightning, 1,200 fire personnel fought the 1,987-acre Jawbone Fire, which raged for six days, destroying three NextEra Energy Resources’ wind turbines, and forced the closure of the Pacific Crest Trail from Highway 58 to the Sequoia National Forest boundary.

Workshop for revised wind map
Tehachapi residents got their first glimpse of the County Planning Commission’s revised wind farm boundary map that would be used as a guideline for future wind energy projects. The areas deemed acceptable to the east of Tehachapi towards Rosamond and Jawbone Canyon were sent to the County Board of Supervisors for its approval.

Pilot survives small plane crash
David Robins, 29, of Tehachapi survived the crash of his small experimental KR-2 plane that went down in a field near the intersection of Dennison Road and Tehachapi Boulevard. Robins had recently returned from a cross-country flight that stopped in many cities, including stops on the east coast.

Duane Moats appointed to hospital board
The Tehachapi Valley Healthcare District Board of Directors appointed local Certified Public Accountant Duane Moats to the board to replace Dr. Susan Hall who resigned in June.

New ‘royalty’ for Tehachapi Mountain Rodeo
Rodeo Queen Heather Ross, Junior Queen Amanda Hop, Princess Paisley Kaiser and Tiny Princess Capri Cummings were chosen to represent the Tehachapi Mountain Rodeo Association for 2012.  

Local woman turns 100 years old
Centenarian Helen Parkers a resident of Tehachapi since 1997, celebrated her 100th birthday with a surprise party at La Quinta Inn with friends and family.

Mountain Festival
The 49th Tehachapi Mountain Festival was a big hit, the weather was beautiful and plenty of activities took place at Central Park that included live entertainment, 20 food vendors, a gem and mineral show, rodeo, car show and carnival.

Walmart EIR is scuttled
The proposed Tehachapi Walmart was officially halted as the Tehachapi City Council set aside its approval of the project’s Environmental Impact Report and the related findings by a Kern County judge who issued a judgment and writ of mandate that instructed the city to address concerns over water supply, noise and traffic.

Apple season opens
Apple season arrived a little early in 2012 with some orchards opening in early September. Tehachapi orchards grow about 20 different apple varieties and the year’s crop was good.

No opt out for TUSD
The Tehachapi Unified School District’s Board of Trustees learned from its attorneys that there would be no ‘opt-out” feature for the new curriculum required by its agreement with federal agencies. Parents would not be allowed to have their students excused.  

Donkey rescue relocated
Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue relocated to San Angelo, Texas, citing the costs over productivity of its Sand Canyon facility didn't justify its existence. The land in was put up for sale.

Fires one year later
A year had passed since Tehachapi was ablaze with three major fires, and some residents were still trying to pick up the pieces. Nearly 55,000 acres burned at a cost of more than $21 million.

School approves charter for Abernathy
Just one month after it received a petition from a group of local families seeking to establish a charter school, the Tehachapi Unified School District Board of Trustees voted in favor of allowing the AbernathyCollegiate Charter School to operate within the district.

Railroad double tracking traffic concerns
The so-called “double tracking” — also known as the Tehachapi Rail Improvement Project — drew concerns from residents and city officials primarily over issues regarding traffic. Residents were allowed to view copies  and make comments regarding the EIR document as well as the technical studies conducted.

Hollywood returned to town
It’s hard to keep a secret in a small town, and it wasn’t long after film crews arrived that the word began circulating around Tehachapi that the film "Hangover III” was being filmed at the Western Wind property on Cameron Canyon Road and Tehachapi-Willow Springs Road.

SWAT Standoff
A half dozen homes in Stallion Springs were evacuated for seven hours when the Kern County Sheriff's SWAT team assisted Tehachapi Police in an investigation of a home invasion robbery that occurred within the City of Tehachapi. The suspect was taken into custody without incident.

Master Plan Workshop held
Nearly 50 residents put in their two cents in an effort to improve Tehachapi’s parks and recreational needs at a Master Plan Workshop.  Ideas that came about included more walking and biking trails, a teen center, outdoor pool and a driving range.

Endeavor fly-over
Residents lined up along Tehachapi Boulevard to catch a glimpse of history as the space shuttle‪ Endeavour ‬made its low-altitude pass over the Tehachapi Valley on the way to its new home at the Science Center in Los Angeles.

Judge denies petition to stop hospital
The construction of the new Tehachapi Hospital was back on track after a Kern County Superior Court judge tossed aside a suit brought against it by the Tehachapi Critical Landuse Issues Group, contending that the hospital’s board violated several areas of the California Environmental Quality Act when it filed its environment impact report.

Stanley Sentenced
William Stanley was sentenced to six years in Wasco State Prison after pleading “no contest” on two charges of assault with deadly weapon other than a firearm with bodily force.  The charges stemmed from a domestic violence incident in February.

CPUC gives final word on Golden Hills sewer
The California Public Utilities Commission approved rate increases for the flailing Golden Hills sewer system. The hikes were set at $89 per month, much less than the anticipated $267 residents were bracing for.

Parks and rec two new directors
The Tehachapi Valley Recreation and Parks District welcomed to new additions to its board of directors upon the appointments of Brian Duhart and Monroe High School Principal Paul Press.

Old West Ranch homicide

Larry Dale Reagan, 45, was gunned down and left to die on the side of a dirt roadway in front of his residence on Old West Ranch. Reagan's body was located by individuals hunting in the area near the 17200 block of Summers Drive. No one has been charged.

Benz makes plea agreement
The owner of a local sanitation company Paul M. Benz of Benz Sanitation agreed to pay a $2.375 million fine and leave the company he started in 1974 after pleading guilty to lying about the source of trash his company dumped in Kern County landfills to avoid millions of dollars in fees.

Celebration of Flight a success
The 10th Annual Celebration of Flight at the Tehachapi Airport attracted visitors from all over the state and beyond who came out to see several vintage and experimental planes on display. Other events included a car show and model airplane demonstration, as well as bi-plane rides.

President’s Keene visit
Thousands listened, including a few hundred Tehachapi school children, as President Barack Obama announced the establishment of the Cesar E. Chavez National Monument in Keene. Obama's visit, which took place during the United Farm Worker’s 50th anniversary year, was special for many who lined up before dawn to board buses that transported them to Keene to hear the President’s message.  

Home hit by nine bullets
Residents in the small trailer park at the end of West "J" Street, just north of downtown, were left shocked by a drive-by style shooter that pumped nine bullets into their trailer home, narrowly missing a 64-year-old women and her sister. Police also investigated another gunshot into a window of a unit at The Village apartments, and said both may be linked to the murder in Old West Ranch in September.  

More commercials filmed in Tehachapi
Tehachapi cemented its position as a Hollywood hotspot when Cooper Tire used the Indian Point Ostrich Ranch as a backdrop for a documentary style commercial, and Kelcy’s Café provided the set for a 2013 Chevy car commercial.

Another shooting death
James Earl Motts, 54, was shot to death outside his home in the 49500 block of Michael Avenue. The fatality was the second in a string of five separate shooting incidents that took place over a 30-day span, including the murder of Larry Dale Reagan of Old West Ranch on Sept. 28.

THS celebrates Homecoming
Tehachapi High School students Jenna Hall and Christopher Boyd were crowned King and Queen and the Warriors beat the North High Stars at the annual Homecoming celebration.

Hospital plans move forward
Hospital directors wasted little time after their victory in court over the Tehachapi Critical Landuse Issues Group, and moved forward with the construction of the new Tehachapi Hospital by hiring a project management service.  Stacy Pray of SHP Project Development of Pasadena got the job.

New motel appealed
A local airport hanger owner filed an appeal with the city of its approval of the Motel 6 in Capital Hills, stating concerns that the flight path of the airport passes over the site. Less than a month later, he was refunded his appeal fee as the developer withdrew his proposed motel plan, giving the city the opportunity to modify the application to build a Motel X on the same plot.

Miss Tehachapi pageant
Tehachapi received new "royalty" as the Miss Tehachapi pageant crowned Chrissie Archuletta as Miss Tehachapi 2012, Delaney Shafnitz as Jr. Miss Princess 2012 and Jamie Moser as Jr. Miss Princess 2012.

Terry Edwards' milestone

Dubbed the ultimate Warrior fan, Terry Edwards was honored for attending 400 consecutive Tehachapi High football games, dating back to the early 1980's. At halftime during the Warriors final game of the season against Garces, Edwards received a plaque commemorating his streak, with his son, Brian, a command sergeant major for the U.S. Army in Afghanistan, in attendance.

Local construction boom
The city of Tehachapi continued to grow citywide as new construction included the Four Seasons retail center, a remodel of the Best Western Mountain Inn and Chevron on East Tehachapi Blvd., as well as the Tehachapi Boulevard enhancements between Robinson Street and Hayes Street. Not to mention the opening of the new 58 Restaurant earlier in the year.

Warriors' football postseason ends
After falling to Garces in the Southeast Yosemite League championship game, the No. 6 Warriors opened the Central Section Division II playoffs with a 31-13 loss against No. 11 West to conclude the season, 8-3.

Warriors' volleyball reach win 30; lose in CIF semis
Tehachapi High volleyball reached a milestone in only their first year in the Yosemite league ranks, notching 30 wins before losing to Lemoore in the CIF semifinals.  Tehachapi finished the season 31-3. Helping to orchestrate those wins were seniors Kayleigh Jarrett, Tiffany Short and Danielle Simpson.

THS honors vets
Tehachapi High School students gave thanks to veterans at its 5th annual Veteran's Day program. Keynote speaker Lt. Colonel Larry Thompson, retired U.S. Marine Corps addressed the crowd.

Incumbents win big on Election Day
Tehachapi's Election Day races didn't provide many surprises with the majority of incumbents holding onto their seats. Many voters approved Gov. Jerry Brown's Prop. 30 and the same went for a proposition to revise one of the harshest three-strikes law in the nation.

Wildland fire camp opens
County Supervisor Zack Scrivner, Kern County Fire Chief Brian Marshall and Tehachapi Mayor Ed Grimes cut the ribbon at Wildfire Camp 8 at the old Monroe High School site. The 13-acre facilitywas purchased by the fire department for $504,000, and will be used as a wild fire base camp and training facility.

Tehachapi's Margie Owen passes
Margie Owen, a well-loved Tehachapi citizen passed away following a prolonged illness. Margie's roots went deep in Tehachapi as both a descendent of the pioneering Leiva family and as co-owner of the landmark Kelcy's Cafe.

Best of Tehachapi revealed
The results for Best of Tehachapi 2012 were finally revealed with favorites in 12 categories. It was the third year for the contest that allows the public to nominate their favorite individuals, businesses and organizations.

Hospital director race finally decided
Nearly a month after the general election was over, challenger Henry Schaeffer beat out incumbent Bill Steele take his seat on the Tehachapi Valley Healthcare District board of directors with a final separation of just 135 votes. The upset unseated the longest serving incumbent on the district's board.

Wastewater plant upgrade

After nearly two years, the City of Tehachapi completed its wastewater treatment plant upgrade. The upgrades included new maintenance and administration buildings, new monitoring equipment, pumps and a new $400,000 sludge dewatering press.

Tehachapi holiday spirit
December's First Friday Art Walk in downtown Tehachapi kicked off the holiday spirit, which was followed by a visit from Santa, who had breakfast at the West Park Activity Center before making an appearance at the Depot. The weather also cooperated for the 12th annual Christmas Parade and the ceremonial Tehachapi Tree Lighting.

City moving forward with Walmart EIR
The Tehachapi City Council appointed consultant Curtis Zacuto to prepare the Supplemental Environmental Impact Report, which will move the Walmart Supercenter project forward. Zacuto previously handled the EIR that was rejected by a Kern County Superior Court judge.

Council approves downtown memorial
The city got one step closer to having a dedicated downtown memorial to honor veterans with the council’s approval of the Tehachapi Freedom Plaza to be located at the corner of Tehachapi Boulevard and Curry Street.

Another small plane crashes
The unidentified pilot of a two-seat Citabria received an early Christmas present as he walked away from crashing his light single-engine airplane onto a field about two miles from the Tehachapi Airport runway. The pilot lost control on approach after being overtaken by the fog.

Warrior Park gets flagpole
Mayor Ed Grimes and members of the Gunderson family raised the flag on the new flagpole in Warrior Park, which was erected in honor of donor Lavon Gunderson’s late husband, Robert, who served in the Navy during WWII.

Curriculum nears completion
The Tehachapi Unified School District's 6th through 12th grade Safe and Inclusive Schools Curriculum inched closer to completion after a specially selected Parent Committee made revisions to the lessons, which came under fire by parents after the District Curriculum Committee rolled it out for public comment last year.

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