Kern COG Announces 2011 Regional Award of Merit Recipients

December 15, 2011


Organization: Kern Council of Governments

What: 20th annual Regional Awards of Merit ceremony

When: 6-9 p.m. Thursday, March 1, 2012

Where: The Petroleum Club, 5060 California Ave, #12 in Bakersfield

Kern Council of Governments will honor 14 individuals, organizations and programs for making major contributions to this area’s quality of life through innovative, cooperative efforts during its 20th annual Regional Awards of Merit Program on March 1, 2012.

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

Local Government:

  • City of Tehachapi & the Tehachapi Heritage League for their work to expand the Kawaiisu exhibit and the Tehachapi Museum.
  • The City of Taft for sustainability measures in the Taft General Plan.


  • Ruth Justis, for her contributions to the Ridgecrest Daily Independent newspaper. 

Community Involvement:

  • Price Disposal’s “Greater Bakersfield Green Expo” program for engaging high school students in recycling through a recycled material art contest.
  • The Kern River Valley Revitalization Committee’s “Living Green Kern River Valley Festival” for teaching environmental stewardship and resource conservation.


  • Caltrans District 6 Interim Director Sharri Bender Ehlert for her commitment to the Thomas Roads Improvement program. 
  • Caltrans District 6 Design and Environmental Team for its efforts to complete the State Route 99 widening project from Wilson Road to State Route 119 under budget and on an early deadline. 

Ken Volpe: Environmental Resources:

  • Falcon Autistic Solar Team at Independence High School for teaching students how solar energy works.

Richard A. Maxwell: Public Safety:

  • Tehachapi Police Chief Jeff Kermode for his success in developing such programs as the Volunteers in Policing, Police Explorer Program, Horse Mounted Patrol, and the K-9 officer program. 
  • Kern Co. Sheriff’s Sgt. James Craig for commitment to making Wasco a safe and secure place to live.

Darrel Hildebrand Distinguished Leadership – Public Group or Individual:

  • Bob Hampton of Westside Waste Management for his volunteer work in Taft clean-up projects.
  • Bakersfield Mayor Harvey Hall for his leadership and commitment to keeping Bakersfield beautiful.

Lifetime Achievement – Private Citizen:

  • Ridgecrest resident Bruce Auld of Bruce Auld Consulting for his dedication to improving educational services in the Indian Wells Valley.

Lifetime Achievement—Public Official:

  • Taft Police Chief Ken McMinn for his dedication to public service and the community.

This the 20th 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.

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, February 28, 2012 by calling (661) 861-2191 or emailing No money will be accepted at the door.


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