Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

Meet Your New Neighbors

Hilltop Welcoming Service

It was her new position with Tehachapi Unified School District that brought Lisa Villalpondo and her husband Richard to Tehachapi after having lived in Shafter for many years. They arrived in the middle of summer, just in time to settle in before the beginning of the school year. Lisa is the new sixth grade English teacher at Jabobsen Middle School. Richard is a self-employed General Contractor and, as a result, can work from almost anywhere although for now much of his work is still in the Bakersfield area.

Lisa said she was born in Bakersfield, but was raised in Shafter with her two sisters. Richard was born and raised in Bakersfield. He and Lisa met through a mutual friend.

Richard and Lisa now have three boys, Caleb age 18, Isaiah age 12 and Lucas age 7. Caleb is attending Taft College online and is looking to eventually continue studies in kinesiology. He enjoys playing basketball and golfing with his dad. Isaiah attends Jacobsen Middle School and Lucas goes to Cummings Valley.

In whatever free time she has, Lisa is a crafter. She says that she likes all kinds of crafts but macramé is her current favorite. One look around her living room will attest to that fact.

The family is forever-entertained by their two very active dogs. Ike is a boxer-mix with "the fastest tongue in the west" and Cassius is a beautiful red Doberman.

Welcome to Tehachapi to the entire Villalpondo family.

Ben and Denise Chavez moved into their new Bear Valley home in July after many years in Oxnard. For some time they had been coming to Tehachapi to visit friends who had moved here and were encouraging them to retire here as well. When they finally retired, they found the perfect house and made the move.

Ben was born in Compton, but was raised mostly in Cerritos. He is the middle child between two sisters. He spent six years in the Army and for part of it he was stationed in Germany, "when there was still a Berlin Wall." Following his time in the military, Ben joined the police force and said that by the time he retired, he had been a police officer for 30 years working mostly in Ventura and Oxnard.

Denise was born and raised in Oxnard. She is the oldest of five and has two brothers and two sisters. She also is retired from the Oxnard Police Department where she was what Ben calls "head jailer," a position that she held for 26 years. Denice said that much of her early training was in customer service and Ben always called the jail inmates her "customers."

The couple has four children. Danisha is the oldest and is mother to 17 year old Danni, their only grandchild to date. They live in Carpenteria. James and Benjamin II still live in Oxnard. Michael has taken a position in Wisconsin to be near his favorite football team, according to his father.

For the last two years, Ben has had the companionship of a Labrador /Golden Retriever named Nepal. Nepal is a Canine Companion for Independence (CCI) hearing dog who assists Ben with his diminished hearing. It was through his friendship with Tehachapi residents and CCI puppy raisers Mike Van Atta and Jeff Kermode that he was able to have Nepal who was trained here. Ben traveled to Tehachapi for all the training sessions with Nepal. Ben had met both Mike and Jeff while working in Ventura and the friendships had endured. Ben and Nepal are now almost inseparable.

Ben loves to ride his Harley Davidson whenever he can. I asked Denise if she had ever ridden with him. She said that she went with him once and then told him to go on and enjoy riding, which is what he does, without her. Denise is a crafter. She likes working with silk flowers and making arrangements – anything with glue, she says.

Having been in Tehachapi for only a little over a month, Ben and Denise have already started to settle into their new community. Welcome to both of you and we'll be seeing you around town.


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.