Now that the New Year has arrived, we take some time to reflect on the second half of 2018.

A lot has happened during this time. Tehachapi was ranked one of the state's top wind energy producing areas, and ground broke for Walmart and a new sixth-grade building at Jacobsen Middle School.

After a 15-year run, Tehachapi's Relay For Life came to an end, while the GranFondo saw 1,200 bicycle riders in its largest event to date.

So much more took place, and today we take a look at the hustle and bustle of the second half of the year.


• A potential buyer for the Horse Thief Golf and Country Club in Stallion Springs expressed interest in the facility that has been closed since February. Tom Pacheco said he planned to invest in the 172-acre lot alongside his brother and sister in an effort to leave a legacy to his children. (July 4)

• Tehachapi Valley Healthcare District considered transforming the old hospital location at 115 W. E St. into a senior care, childcare, or adult day care facility. Strategic planning began to see what how the community wanted the building transformed. (July 4)

• Tehachapi Parks Foundation renamed the All-American Fourth of July Festival to the Ed Grimes Memorial Pancake Breakfast after the passing of the mayor in May. The breakfast, which attracted several community leaders, was held at Philip Marx Central Park on July 4. (July 11)

• Tehachapi Community Church partnered with an HIV shelter in Tijuana, Mexico during a trip in June. Albergue Las Memorias  houses modern "lepers" whom family members and society have abandoned. (July 11)

• Owners of Tehachapi Winery began the process of securing permits so that it can produce its first batch of wine on site in the fall to be exported to Asia. Mike Chan said he already had wholesale buyers overseas waiting for his first shipment. (July 18)

• Kern Transit planned to expand its Dial-A-Ride to compensate for lack of transportation options currently available to Tehachapi residents. The idea stemmed from the county working with the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis. The system could be able to serve two or three times as many people, but adding more hours and days of service would not be an option. (July 18)

• The Tehachapi Unified School District unanimously voted to consolidate several district programs, including Monroe Continuation School and the Tehachapi Adult School, to Tehachapi High School and the former district office building in the fall. District officials said he move would save an estimated $200,000, be beneficial for students and not cause any staff to be laid off. (July 25)

• No charges were filed against two Tehachapi Police Department officers who shot an unarmed man on May 24, 2017. Officers Jared McCombs and Bruce Medina were dispatched to the Holiday Inn Express where William Kollin was shot by the officers after police said he tried to flee and resist arrest. (July 25)

• A group of 250 volunteers collected signatures for the Library Tax Measure, also known as the "Library Initiative for Everyone," advocating for a 1/8 cent sales tax that would double Kern County libraries' funds. The money would help increase WiFi access, upgrade technology in the libraries and expand programs like a job fair. The measure did not make the November ballot. (July 25)

• The Tehachapi City Council failed to appoint one of eight applicants to fill the vacancy on the council left by the death of former Mayor Ed Grimes, due to a 2-2 split from the council vote on the item. This left an empty seat on council until the November election. (July 25)


• The Tehachapi Valley Recreation & Park District board of directors voted July 24 to place a $43 million general obligation bond before registered voters in the district on the November ballot. (Aug. 1)

• Tehachapi was ranked one of the state's top wind energy producing areas. The area generates 2,926 out of 5,454 megawatts from what the entire state produces, according to (Aug. 1)

• Ground broke for Walmart on Tucker Road and Tehachapi Boulevard. Permits were finalized and Eleven Western Builders, Inc. moved equipment on site. (Aug. 1)

• The Kern Economic Development Center launched a website for its new Advance Kern business incentives, which allows eligible businesses to earn tax rebates when they relocate to the county or expand their operations. (Aug. 8)

• July was recorded as the second hottest month on record, with recurring highs in the 90s. The data was recorded by the National Weather Service in Hanford and spanned back to 1892. (Aug. 8)

• A new Tehachapi City Council meeting venue was selected after more residents attended meetings. The Tehachapi Unified School District board room at the Wells Education Center at 300 S. Robinson St. was chosen. Meetings had been held at the Tehachapi Police Department. (Aug. 15)

• Tehachapi's Relay for Life ended after a 15-year run with a final Party for a Cure celebration held at Woods Pavilion. (Aug. 22)

• Advanced Network Solutions held a ribbon-cutting for an IT support company. Global Communications 2000, originally based in Sunset Beach, and Race Communications Inc., originally based in the Bay Area, both moved to the Tehachapi area. (Aug. 22)

• A point-in-time count by the Kern County Homeless Collaborative found no homeless people in Tehachapi. Tehachapi News took a look back on why this happened, why there are limited resources for help, and reasons why some homeless people do not reach out for assistance to change their situation. People who work with the homeless said despite the count's findings, there are, indeed, homeless people in the area. (Aug. 22)

• The Kern County Sheriff's Office narcotics division seized an undisclosed amount of marijuana-related products at a local business called Ashes Tehachapi. Deputies enforced an ordinance prohibiting establishments from selling or distributing commercial medicinal or recreational cannabis. (Aug. 29)


• A former correctional officer, Rigoberto Sanchez, took the stand in his murder trial and testified concerning the events that led up to him fatally shooting his wife's lover, Edwin Lima. Lima and Sanchez's wife also worked at the California Correctional Institution in Tehachapi. Sanchez was later convicted of murdering Lima and received an 80-year-to-life sentence. (Sept. 5 and 19, Oct. 24)

• By this date, six of the 31 food-serving establishments shut down by the Kern County Public Services Department in the last year were in Tehachapi. Tehachapi News took a look back at how food establishments are graded and why these local eateries were shut down. (Sept. 5)

• The Tehachapi Police Department reported vehicle thefts were on the rise, with 40 thefts on record for 2018, with 12 of those during the month of August alone. (Sept. 12)

• More than four establishments in downtown buildings were bought in a short period of time. These buildings had sat vacant for years. (Sept. 12)

• Tehachapi's annual GranFondo saw nearly 1,200 riders sign up for popular event. Cory Lockwood was crowned "king" and remains undefeated with the fastest finish time. (Sept. 19)

• Haliki Green was sentenced to 118 years to life for the March 4, 2016 attack and rape of a Tehachapi woman. Her husband, Russell Higgins, who was accused of hiring Green to attack the woman, was sentenced to 53 years to life. (Sept. 19)

• An off-duty Kern County Sheriff's Office deputy was arrested while on patrol in Tehachapi after he "appeared to be displaying symptoms of recent drug use." Deputy Lewis White was placed on administrative leave pending an outcome of a criminal and administrative internal investigation. (Sept. 19)

• Residents and students spoke up and advocated for agriculture classes to be brought back to Tehachapi High School during a Tehachapi Unified School District board meeting on Sept 11. (Sept. 19)

• A 6-month-old Tehachapi baby girl was hospitalized and recovered from brain surgery after being attacked by a dog her family was temporary housing. (Sept. 26)


• Tehachapi residents looked back at infrastructure, housing and transportation that has dramatically changed in Tehachapi within the last 50 years. (Oct. 3)

• Tehachapi City Council candidates answered questions before the Nov. 6 election. Voters considered candidates for three of the city's districts, plus one at-large member of the council. (Oct. 10)

• Queen Rylee Kingsbury and King Truxton Kingsbury were crowned during the 2018 Tehachapi High School Homecoming game. (Oct. 10)

• Kern County Second District Supervisor Zack Scrivner reported a $500,000 grant was secured from the federal Department of Transportation to be used for the addition of a flight between Dallas-Fort Worth and Meadows Field starting March 3, 2019. (Oct. 10)

• The Kern County Sheriff's Office made an arrest in the shooting death of Cheyenne Watkins, 23, whose body was discovered in an abandoned house June 1. Alejandro Sanchez, 35, was booked on suspicion of murder in the first degree, along with other felonies and misdemeanors including possession of a stolen vehicle. Sanchez later pleaded not guilty in Kern County Superior Court. (Oct. 17 and 24)

• A Kern County Superior Court judge ruled in favor of a Tehachapi prison guard who sued the state prison system for not providing adequate accommodations while she was pregnant, which led to the loss of her unborn child. Tehachapi correctional officer Sarah Coogle said she was denied light duty while pregnant and only given options to continue to work in full capacity, take a demotion or take unpaid leave. (Oct. 24)

• A community garden was slated to open in the Quail Springs Preserve of Golden Hills at the end of the cul-de-sac on Fairway Court. Local resident Steve Shaw joined an informal group of individuals in an effort to open a community garden and eventually a pocket park. (Oct. 24)

• Carlos' Donuts was voted Best Overall Business for 2018 in the Tehachapi News 2018 Best of Readers' Choice Poll. Kohnen's Country Bakery was voted Best Overall Employer and Best Sandwich Place and P-Dubs Grille & Bar was voted Best Restaurant and Best Burger Place. (Oct. 24)

• Joey Sandoval, of Tehachapi, completed hiking the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, a distance of 2,190.9 miles, in five and a half months. (Oct. 24)

• Jake's Steakhouse celebrated 15 years of fine cuisine with a private party at the popular eatery. "I serve food that I like and I think people will like," said owner Barbara Ferrante of her secret to success. (Oct. 24)

• A Tehachapi man and woman were arrested in connection with their infant son's death at their home in the Willow Springs Mobile Home Park. Matthew Norwood, 29, and Brittney Collins, 28, face life terms if convicted of first-degree murder in the death of their two-month-old son, Abel James Norwood. (Oct. 31 and Nov. 7)

• Tehachapi residents attended a public tour at the new Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley hospital in anticipation of the opening the next month. (Oct. 31)


• The new Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley hospital opened Nov. 7. For many services, patients no longer have to drive down to Bakersfield or beyond. (Nov. 7)

• Siblings Layla, 14, and Milo Lujan, 11, opened a soup kitchen at their parents' shuttered restaurant, The Shed Soul Kitchen, every Sunday to feed the community for free. (Nov. 7)

• Three generations of the Napier family were found ringing bells for the Salvation Army this holiday season in front of local stores. "It's amazing the need in this community," said Don "Papa" Napier. "If we can build on the tradition of ringing the kettle, that would be great." (Nov. 7)

• Incumbent Zack Scrivner of Tehachapi kept his 2nd district seat on the Kern County Board of Supervisors in the Nov. 6 election. (Nov. 14)

• Tehachapi Valley Recreation & Park District bond Measure R failed, and the district looked to a new plan to fund facility work that is only in discussion phases from the board of directors. (Nov. 14)

• 5 Heart Quilts celebrated its 25th anniversary. The fabric store is  located at 104 W. Tehachapi Blvd. Asked what her secret to success was, owner Claudia Blodget said, "Perseverance ... and to always be gentle with my customers. I set out every day to see if I could put a smile on somebody's face." (Nov. 14)

• Jacobsen Middle School hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for construction to begin on its sixth-grade classroom building project. (Nov. 21)

• A new Sage Ranch housing development is being planning and is discussed with the city. It could offer a variety of housing styles in the next few years. (Nov. 21)

• The Tehachapi downtown master plan vision becomes reality with few visionary goals left to accomplish. The city of Tehachapi and residents created a master plan in 2003 that outlined what businesses and other establishments were or not wanted. (Nov. 28)


• Thunder on the Mountain transitioned to new leadership as a new chairman took over after the committee stepped down after 21 years. "I'm not going to let it die," said Mike McHenry of the annual car show held each August in conjunction with the Mountain Festival. (Dec. 5)

• Millennium Pacific Greenhouses launched new a business that grows tomatoes on the vine on more than 15 acres in Cummings Valley. (Dec. 5)

• AST announced the STEAM Center, located at Tehachapi High School, was near completion with a private viewing held featuring a true-to-life space shuttle simulator for students to operate. Volunteers and donations are still being sought to finalize the project. (Dec. 12)

• Tehachapi Cancer Foundation continued with its efforts to help local cancer patients curb the cost of transportation and other "hidden costs" of cancer treatment. "It's out there. You just have to know where to go and to ask," said co-founder Jim Wallace. (Dec. 12)

• The inaugural ceremony for Wreaths Across America was held at the Freedom Plaza in downtown Tehachapi. Seven wreaths were laid at the foot of the monuments of local fallen heroes during the ceremony. (Dec. 19)

• Shepherd of the Hills welcomed a new youth pastor, Isaiah Drapinski. (Dec. 19)

• A recount of Tehachapi City Council ballots from the Nov. 6 election ended and the results stood. Pete Graff, who ran for the at-large council seat, had requested the recount. He lost to Michael Davies. Also elected were incumbent Phil Smith for District 1, incumbent Susan Wiggins for District 5, and Joan Pogon-Cord for District 4. (Dec. 19)

• The 412th Test Wing Library at Edwards Air Force Base donated 370 books to Tehachapi schools. (Dec. 26)