Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

Meet Your New Neighbors

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Ellen Hayes and Jared Ehlers moved into their Bear Valley home in January. Jared had actually bought the home in 2015 but had never moved in. He met Ellen who was living in Clovis, and that stalled his move to Tehachapi.

Jared was raised in Hanford. He has a brother there and a sister who now lives in Costa Mesa. He worked for the Forest Service for some time before signing onto his present job with Kern County Fire. He is currently completing his Bachelor’s Degree online. He is into cars and woodworking and has plans to show his 1967 Chevy Chevelle at Thunder on the Mountain during Mountain Festival in August.

Ellen was raised in Clovis. She has a brother attending UCLA and a sister living in Texas. She had attended Fresno City College and Fresno State University. She is one semester away from her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. She said that she will either complete her degree at CSUB or online. In the meantime, she has a permit to teach preschool and had worked for the Clovis School District for seven years teaching ESL in elementary grades. She also was an elementary STEM advisor. It is no surprise that TUSD offered her a job in the district office and as a substitute teacher. She loves animals and DIY projects. Maesie the cat is her constant companion except when she has visitors; then she hides.

Ellen and Jared met on eHarmony. They immediately discovered that they had a couple of family connections. Her mother used to baby-sit for his mother and her uncle went to school with his grandmother. Talk about a small world! The couple has a wedding planned for September in Clovis.

Welcome to Tehachapi, Ellen and Jared and we wish you both the very best.

Emily Reelitz also moved to Tehachapi in January with her boyfriend Michael. They were tired of the noise and congestion of San Bernardino. A number of years ago, Michael had gone to school at Airstreams and remembered the quiet seasonal beauty of the area. It sounded great to Emily.

Emily was born and raised in West Palm Beach, Fla. She has one brother and one sister and is the youngest of the three. Over the years she had started more than one career. She once went to bartender school and actually worked as a bartender for a while. She was studying cosmetology when she met Michael. They moved to California in 2014 and Emily went back to school to finish her cosmetology training. School was interrupted when she had an accident on the 10 Freeway that kept her out of school for six months. When she went to take her California Board certification, she found that they would not accept her Florida courses so it’s back to the drawing board as they say.

Looking for a job here, it wasn’t long before she heard that the Dog House Saloon and Savannah’s in Old Town needed a bartender. In short, she applied and was hired. When she’s not working, she is home with Zapp Cattigan, a one year old kitten who thought that my “Welcome Bag” was great fun to chew on and climb into. It was the best entertainment I’d had all day. She and Mike are also parents to Bear, a Rottweiler Labrador mix who is in training to be a service dog.

Welcome to all of you.

Welcome also to Bret Flanders from Lancaster. Bret is a new local contractor and engaged to local gal Kristi Behnke . Her father, Bill, said that Bret actually came to him and asked for Kristi’s hand in marriage. Bill was impressed and, of course, gave his permission.

Bret was born and raised in Tennessee. He has spent time in the US Army and served a tour in Iraq. He is a licensed psychologist and has done therapy counseling. Following his military service, he ended up in Lancaster where he met Kristi who was working and living there. Now he is delighted to be working in Tehachapi with his future father-in-law. He also loves fishing and camping.

Kristi now works with her mother, Teresa, at First American Title in Tehachapi. She had previously worked in the homicide division of the police department in Anaheim. She has a sister who lives in Lancaster and, according to her family, she loves camping and hates shopping.

Bret and Kristi plan to be married soon at the Rose Garden Estate in Cummings Valley.

Welcome to Tehachapi, Bret!


If you have moved to the Greater Tehachapi Area within the last six months and would like to know more about your new community, call (661) 822-8188. We will be happy to make an appointment for a hostess to come by and give you lots of helpful information, some valuable coupons, gifts and much more. Many families and individuals who come to the area are pleasantly surprised with the amount of knowledge they gather about their new home. Publishing your welcome article is completely voluntary and is not a requirement of being welcomed.