2012 Regional Award Of Merit Recipients

December 21, 2012

Organization: Kern Council of Governments
What: 22nd annual Regional Awards of Merit Ceremony
When: 6-9 p.m. Thursday, March 7, 2013
Where: The Petroleum Club, 5060 California Ave, #12 in Bakersfield

Kern Council of Governments will honor 16 individuals, organizations and programs for making major contributions to this area’s quality of life through innovative, cooperative efforts during its 22nd annual Regional Awards of Merit Program on March 7, 2013.

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

Local Government:

  • Shafter Schools Project for its impressive dedication to improve students reading and math for Shafter School District.
  • Revitalize Mojave citizen group for its unique private-public partnership and development of a new Vision Plan project that improves Mojave’s physical environment.

Community Involvement:

  • Ridgecrest Military Banner Program, including Jerry Taylor; Ridgecrest Chamber of Commerce (Nathan Ahle); Mediacom (Terry May); and Factory GraphX (Mike Chierotti) for displaying banners throughout the community honoring local residents who are actively serving in the armed forces.
  • East Bakersfield High School, M.O.V.E Program and Peace Freedom and Love Club advisors: Cody Bema, Henri Blane and Don Ott for organizing a Halloween Dance for special education students and breaking down education barriers.
  • Elisabeth Newman of Wasco for her leadership and commitment taking on numerous community projects that have benefited people in need.
  • The Tree Foundation of Kern for its dedication of beautifying Kern County’s landscape, improving air quality and educating citizens about trees and their benefits to the community.
  • Kern Valley State Prison employees for their extensive community involvement and donations to the city of Delano.


  • Golden Empire Transit for its implementation of a new bus route system that has increased public transportation service and speed.

Ken Volpe Environmental Resources:

  • Kern County environmental group Kern Green for its commitment to improve local air quality, reduce waste and increase energy and water efficiency by educating and rewarding local businesses for environmentally friendly practices.
  • The City of Bakersfield’s Solid Waste Department for its recycling program aimed at saving Bakersfield schools money and food waste.
  • The City of Bakersfield’s Recreation and Park Department, Uplands of Kern River Parkway Project for providing a landmark equipped for trail walking and jogging, fishing, horseback riding, and a passive relaxation area.

Darrel Hildebrand Distinguished Leadership – Public Group or Individual:

  • CEO William Michael Leming of District Desert Empire Fairgrounds for his leadership and innovative business sense in coordinating and attaining funding for the Ridgecrest Fair each year.

Darrel Hildebrand Distinguished Leadership – Elected Official

  • Taft Councilman Randy Miller for his honorable public service bettering his community.

Ronald E. Brummett Lifetime Achievement – Public Official:

  • Chuck Michel of Golden Empire Transit District for playing an instrumental role improving the air quality and transportation in Bakersfield.

Ronald E. Brummett Lifetime Achievement—Elected Official:

  • Mayor Garry Nelson of Shafter for his continuous involvement in city projects to promote economic development in the community. 
  • Ridgecrest City Councilmember Steve Morgan, for his instrumental role in city projects to increase employment and help foster a better quality of life.

This is the 22nd year Kern COG has recognized 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 7, 2013 at the Petroleum Club on the 12th floor of the Stockdale Towers, 5060 Stockdale Highway in Bakersfield. Cost is $40 per person, which includes a dinner buffet. Reservations are due by noon Tuesday, March 5, 2013 by calling (661) 861-2191 or emailing lcollins@kerncog.org. No money will be accepted at the door.

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