SPORTS ridgecrestca.com p! ALS ew O wne rshi SP ECI Und er N ING Who’s been reeling them in this NEW PEN week? Check out the latest edition NDO GRA • Photos oss Acr m Fro n of “Catch of the Week.” A13 • Video Video ki Bas ins 5 Rob • Blogs 6-030 eca l • News ) 44 rD n o Set Keeping (760 esig ull to You Connected sh D F pon Cou ial Bru th New g in Brin ive Sp ec To Each Other! reeWalk-ins W00 me Air Wi e Rec unts elco .00 off isco D F . off $3 and Tuesday, August 7, 2007 $2 ents s Stud ouse For itary Sp Vol. 81 – Edition 157 • www.ridgecrestca.com .00 off Full Mil 0/07 $2 9/3 ire 0 ular Exp 75 cents Reg ew Set 7 hite N 09/30/0 ite C &W Exp ire . Su Pink ew Set /07 N ma St Nor 0 9/3 ire 0 Exp N. 995 GOOD MORNING! YO U R R I D G E C R E S T A R E A N E W S S O U R C E S I N C E 1 9 2 6 Mostly WATER sunny and hot today, temperatures approaching Some residents ‘alarmed’ by 93 degrees. See Page A12 Opinion Glad base is looking out for our plan to boost best inter- ests. See pumping Page A4 On Aug. 13 the Water District Board of Directors are scheduled to vote on this plan. In order to help in- form the public, The Daily Independent will be speak- ing to a number of experts, reviewing several hydrolo- News DAILY INDEPENDENT PHOTO BY JESSICA SHILLINGS gy studies and will conduct numerous interviews with New poll The setting sun cast a distinctive red glow over Ridgecrest Sunday. This anomaly was caused by the presence of a variety of water agencies. available on- smoke in the air, which scattered the rays of light emitting from the sun. This is the first in a week-long series on water is- sues and the District’s proposed pumping project. Al- line at so see today’s comments on the topic by the Water Smoke in IWV, but no fire www.ridge- District manager and hydrologist consultant on page crestca.com. A3. See BY LAURA DOBBINS Page A5 Executive Editor firstname.lastname@example.org BY NATHANIEL LIEDL est, “is at least 25 miles from the south- The fire, which was human caused, Staff Reporter west corner of Kern County and the like- began on July 4, according to InciWeb, Sports lihood of the fire reaching the county is Alarming. email@example.com an interagency wildland fire incident in- That’s how some describe the local water remote,” said KCFD Public Information formation management system. The fire agency’s plan to boost their water pumping ca- Though the 67,000 acre Zaca Fire in Officer Tony Diffenbaugh. pacities. is currently 68 percent contained but full Santa Barbara County has been very visi- “Should the fire eventually become a Currently all water supply is from groundwa- ble to Kern County residents for the past threat to Kern County, it would take sev- containment is not expected until early September. ter — used by about 850 wells. Of that number, few days, it is not a threat to the County, eral days and local residents would re- 34 wells are owned by five major water produc- according to the Kern County Fire De- ceive ample warning of any threat.” The lack of access and rugged terrain ers. partment. Eight firefighters from KCFD are cur- have made fighting the fire difficult, ac- The fire, in Los Padres National For- rently assigned to the Zaca fire. cording to InciWeb. WATER / A3 Burros running through camp A16 Base badge ‘He was regulations News See all the latest com- change again like a big brother...’ munity events. Badge requirements to access the Naval Air Weapons Station are tightening once again in See response to ongoing threat assessments. Effective immediately, if one person in a Page A6 vehicle has a DOD common access card or BY RUTH JUSTIS military ID, then others in the car entering the Staff Reporter Station don’t have to have a badge. firstname.lastname@example.org Employee badges (blue and brown) and Control Area Access Badges, such as vendor Ridgecrest lost a very special young and community badges (including civil service man when Eric Blackwell was killed as News the result of an explosion at Mojave Air- What was BADGE / A5 port on Thursday, July 26. that siren? Eric was employed in the SpaceShipT- See the latest wo program at Burt Rutan’s Scaled Com- CONTRIBUTED PHOTO police log. See In appreciation posites Company. Always a meticulous and cautious per- son, Eric was selected to work on the Eric Blackwell at work at Mojave Airport. said. Eric attended classes at Pierce Ele- “He worked as a mechanic for awhile, and then got his degree as an A&P air- rocket ship project at Scaled Composites Page A2 of our teachers because of his skills and careful attention to details. Investigators have yet to deter- mine the cause of the tragedy. mentary and Murray Jr. High School. He graduated from Burroughs High School in 1987, and joined the U.S. Army in Au- craft mechanic from the University of Alaska at Anchorage. He was in Alaska about 12 years, and worked on a lot of BY JOHN V. CIANI While authorities struggle with what gust that same year. He served with the different types of aircraft,” Pam said. Index Staff Reporter happened, family and friends grieve and Army until February 1989. What brought Eric back to the desert email@example.com remember the special person he was. He played soccer in 6th grade and was the love of a certain young lady Editorial A4 Pam Blackwell met Eric when he was football in high school. He was active in named Kim. The two first met in 6th Classified Second-grade teachers Pete and Kathleen 8 years old and became his step-mother martial arts from Junior High through his grade. During high school years, they Konopak said they spent approximately when he was 11. The family moved to Army years. He also loved snow skiing, dated a bit, worked together at McDon- A9-A11 $1,000 each out of their pockets during the Ridgecrest in 1980, where Eric’s father, fly fishing, camping, and riding his Tri- alds, and attended the prom as a couple. Lottery A2 2006-07 school year on supplies for their umph motorcycle — anything outdoors, After graduation, he went off to the Dean Blackwell, worked for Southern Movies A2 classrooms. California Edison. even just sitting and looking at the stars, Army and she to college in Minnesota Obituaries Third-grade teacher Sue Marvin also spent “Eric became one of my own. He was Pam said. and they drifted apart. About three years about $1,000. In addition the Las Flores Ele- a very sensitive and gentle person, al- After he was honorably discharged ago, Eric and Kim got back together and A2 mentary School Parent-Teacher Organization from the Army, Eric headed to Alaska, magic happened. ways caring for others. He was like a big Sports gave each teacher at the school $200 for sup- brother to his friends, always helping and where he stayed with an aunt, to find em- A14 plies. guiding them to do what was right,” Pam ployment. BLACKWELL / A5 Nation and STAPLES / A5 World A3 E-Z PAY SAFE • SECURE • RELIABLE WHAT IS EASY PAY? Easy Pay is a direct debit from YOUR credit/debit card for YOUR sub- REE The Daily Independent scription to The Daily Independent. YOU have one less bill to write, 3 F vie * and you save money. One less headache – one great value. Call 375- Mo ets 375-4481 4481 for more information. Tick Offer limited to new E-Z Pay subscribers and E-Z Pay conversions.* Any conversion or new subscription received before August 31, 2007 will receive 3 FREE movie tickets. Customer service that’s E-Z PAY – that’s why... TUESDAY, AUGUST 7, 2007 NEWS PAGE A5 Staples donation of $3 for every eli- New online poll available A new online poll is Family Fun Day held Continued from A1 In recognition of these sac- rifices, Staples the world’s gible ink or laser toner car- tridge collected. “Tighter budgets mean teachers are spending more of their own money to keep their classrooms stocked,” now available at The largest office-products com- said Staples Executive Vice pany, is hosting a Teacher President of Marketing Shira Daily Independent’s Appreciation Day Saturday, Goodman. “In an effort to Web site. Cast your Aug. 18, from 9 a.m. to 1 make starting the new school ballot now – the poll p.m. at locations across the year easy for teachers, Sta- will only be available country. Public-, private- and ples stores are kicking off the home-school teachers are in- back-to-school season with a for the next seven vited to participate. Teacher Appreciation Day days. The local event will be and giving educators tools to Question: Will you held at the Ridgecrest Staples keep them organized. Staples store at 923 S. China Lake is pleased to dedicate a day be or are you excited Blvd. solely for educators, and it’s to see Barry Bonds Each year, teachers spend our way of letting them know break baseball’s home an average of $475 of their how much they are valued.” run record? own money on classroom Staples Teacher Rewards materials and supplies, ac- is another way to help teach- Yes cording to a report, Teacher ers who spend their own No Buying Behavior 2006-07, money on school supplies. Make your voice from Quality Education Data, By enrolling, teachers can heard. Visit The Daily Inc. earn up to 5 percent back in The first 200 teachers will rewards when they spend Independent online at receive a Staples polybinder $200 or more in a calendar www.ridgecrestca.co that will include a legal pad, quarter. During back-to- m to cast your ballot. paper clips, highlighters and school’s Teacher Bonus Sea- index flags, among other son, July 15 – Sept. 15, every The final poll results back-to-school accessories $1 Staples Teacher Rewards will be shown in next and discount coupons. members spend will count as Tuesday’s paper. Teachers will also have the $2 toward earning rewards. Last week’s Ques- opportunity to preview new Staples Teacher Rewards products, learn more about members also get 20 percent tion: Is Ridgecrest a the Staples Copy and Print back in Copy and Print Cen- safe place to live? Center and enroll their school ter purchases – up to $200 DAILY INDEPENDENT PHOTO BY BRYAN HERBERT in Recycle for Education, a Yes 234 votes, No per quarter. Teachers may en- 65 votes Kids throw softballs in an effort to dunk their friends at First Baptist Church’s Family Fun program that has raised more roll at any Staples store or Day, held Saturday morning in Ridgecrest. than $2 million for schools online at www.staplesre- nationwide through a Staples wards.com. Shop Ridgecrest Badges If nobody in the vehicle has normal working hours to pick a.m. to 3 p.m. a common access card or mili- up a day pass. Day passes will As always, everyone needs Merchants First tary ID, then everyone over the be given out by the gate guards proper area access to enter into Continued from A1 age of 16 will need to show the only when the Visitor Center is any of the secured areas on www.kerncowboy.com retiree badges), will not be ac- proper identification when en- closed. The Visitor Center is base. cepted as the sole source of tering the Station. People who open Monday through Thurs- Questions can be addressed identification for a vehicle with do not have a badge must stop day from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. and to the Public Affairs Office at more than one person. by the Visitor Center during on non-flex Fridays from 6 (760) 939-1683. Equine Services, Products, Classifieds and more him. We never left the house in Thursday morning how I Composites the same day Eric Blackwell the morning without a huge, warm hug to each other and a kiss goodbye. I left little notes thought Eric was going to die — I would have said motorcy- cle accident, eaten by a bear, or did in 2005, and was basically his partner for the next year or two. Continued from A1 for him in his lunchbox and he old age. To think he would die “Eric was the hardest worker “Kim was the love of his left sweet messages on our at work? Never. He was too I’ve ever seen. He was a very life,” Pam said. “He moved bathroom mirror and put cards careful for that. I just keep back to the desert to be with under my pillow. After work, honest person, a loyal friend coming back to one word to de- her.” we would walk together or just scribe this — surreal. Words and willing to go out of his way With the assistance of sit on our porch swing, to really can't explain it. We all for anyone. The company often friends, who owned the Rands- watch the world go by, hand in miss him,” Kim said. sent new employees to Eric and burg General Store at the time, hand. With his background as an me to help them learn the Eric set up a very unique mar- “When I hear people say he A&P mechanic, the job at ropes. Eric was always eager to riage proposal. died doing what he loved, I Scaled Composites was a natur- teach someone new,” Josh said. “Mike and Jan Hillenbrand cringe. It's an acid jolt to my al for Eric. But, his life at work was not owned the store and were good system. He did indeed enjoy “Eric was picked to work on what made Eric who he was. friends of Kim’s — she used to working on rocket systems and the rocket ship because of his “The most important thing is come help in the store when we enjoyed his co-workers, but it aircraft skills and his meticu- his life was his wife and family were really busy,” said Theresa wasn't his true passion or love. lous nature. The fabrication — they meant everything to Worthing, employee at the He would have much preferred jobs he did for Scaled — mak- General Store. “They helped to die old near me, his family, ing the foam forms, bonding him. He loved spending time Eric string up a big banner over and his close friends. and tooling — he called arts with Kim and taking their trips the street with “Kim, will you “Eric was always doing what and crafts. The rocket propul- to Mammoth. He was an avid marry me?” on it. It was really he was supposed to do. He nev- sion project was a challenge for skier and mountain biker and sweet.” er even had a speeding ticket him and one of the other men enjoyed being outdoors,” Josh That was Valentine’s Day and he earned a good conduct was encouraging him to go said. 2006. Two weeks later, the medal in the Army. He was so back to school and get an engi- couple pledged their vows to each other in a small wedding conscientious about everything he did. His death is a huge loss neering degree,” Kim said. Pam agreed. “Eric was al- Visit Our New Website at ceremony at the Valley of Fire near Las Vegas. The family celebration came later. to the community — he was working hard to keep people safe. If you had asked me ways ready to tackle new chal- lenges and he did it well.” Josh Bates hired on at Scaled www.diamondmotorscjd.com Kim has her own cherished memories of the unique man, Home of the..... who was her husband for such a short time. “Eric showed me more love Salon & Spa in the few years we had togeth- er than most people receive in a • Aqua Massage Bed! $1 per min. lifetime. His proposal to me was so perfect, so thoughtful, • Spray on Tan! $50 See dealer for a copy of limited warranty and details. so romantic, and heartfelt. I • Dream Catchers Hair Extensions! Non-Transferable. Not available on SRT, diesel vehicles. never had any doubt that he Sprinter, Ram Chassis Cab, ad certain fleet vehicles. loved me as much as I loved • Inverness Ear Piercing Walk-Ins Welcome On new vehicle purchases beginning 7/26/07. 205 Balsam St. • 384-FOXY (3699) one We Now Accept Visa and ‘07 Dodge NOW! at this Mastercard! 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