2013 Regional Award Of Merit Recipients

January 17, 2014

Organization: Kern Council of Governments
What: Regional Awards of Merit Ceremony
When: 6-9 p.m. Thursday, March 6, 2014
Where:  1401 19th Street, Suite 300, Bakersfield, California 93301

Kern Council of Governments will honor 12 individuals, organizations and programs for making major contributions to this area’s quality of life through innovative, cooperative efforts during its annual Regional Awards of Merit Program on March 6, 2014.

Regional Awards of Merit recipients, as decided by a Kern COG Board subcommittee, are divided among nine broad categories and include:

Local Government:

  • The City of Tehachapi for its progressive General Plan 2035, with a focus on development design.


  • Rebecca Neipp of the Ridgecrest News-Review for her dedication to a range of issues affecting the community, including a specific focus on accomplishments at the Naval Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake.

Community Involvement:

  • The Kern County Museum for planning and delivering Kern County’s first Nut Festival.
  • Pastor Bill Lewis of the Griffith Avenue Baptist Church in Wasco for his work organizing the city’s only homeless shelter.
  • The West Side Health Care District for its continued service as the only urgent care provider in Kern County’s rural, westernmost region.
  • The West Side Recreation and Park District for innovative programs on a limited budget that bring some fun to residents in the 400 square miles surrounding Taft.


  • Caltrans District 6 – Bakersfield and Bodfish crews for their efforts to keep traffic flowing after rock slides on State Route 178 through the Kern River Canyon.
  • City of Bakersfield/Thomas Roads Improvement Program for delivering the Westside Parkway, which represents the first five miles of new free built in Bakersfield in nearly 40 years.

Richard A. Maxwell Public Safety:

  • Bakersfield City Councilmember Bob Smith for his work to improve bicycle safety and to educate the public about the importance of sharing the road.

Darrel Hildebrand Distinguished Leadership – Public Group or Individual:

  • Karen Goh of Garden Pathways for developing programs to mentor, train and educate our region’s at-risk youth.

Ronald E. Brummett Lifetime Achievement – Public Official:

  • Shafter City Manager John Guinn for his 30 years of service to his city and the surrounding area, and for making Shafter one of the most economically prosperous small cities in California.

Chairman’s Award of Regional Cooperation:

  • Louis Gill, executive director of the Bakersfield Homeless Shelter, for his dedication to and advocacy of the region’s most vulnerable residents.

Kern COG  is celebrating 23 years of recognizing those programs and people in our region whose ideas and hard work have made life in Kern County better for us all.

The awards banquet will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 6, 2014 at the Petroleum Club on the 12th floor of the Stockdale Towers, 5060 Stockdale Highway in Bakersfield. Cost is $45 per person, which includes a dinner buffet. Reservations are due by noon Tuesday, March 4, 2014 by calling (661) 861-2191 or emailing lcollins@kerncog.org.  No money will be accepted at the door.

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