Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

Meet Your New Neighbors

Hilltop Welcoming Service

Rick and Mara Workentine arrived in Tehachapi from Colorado Springs in June when Rick began work at Edwards Air Force Base. His new position at Edwards is Environmental Compliance Permitting Manager. According to Mara, Rick, a chemical engineer, tells people he is basically responsible for taking care of the bugs and the bunnies on the base. Actually, he is responsible for air and soil testing to be sure the base is in compliance with state regulations. Mara also added that Rick has a cousin who lives in this area who is a “real rocket scientist.”

Mara is continuing in the position she held previously in Colorado. For the last seven years, she has been working in the finance department at Integrity Music, part of David C. Cook Christian Publishing and will continue working remotely with the Colorado Springs publisher.

Keeping them company in their new home are the family pets, a Rottweiler mix named Toby and a three-legged tortoise-shell cat named Lola. The pair quickly made themselves quite at home here.

The couple reconnected about a year ago at a high school reunion in Sturgis, South Dakota. They had known each other in high school and had been in plays together. Rick’s father, who is now 90, had been Mara’s favorite teacher. After high school, both had gone on to live their separate lives.

Mara was born in Ohio and moved to South Dakota when she was 12. After high school, she attended and graduated from North Central Bible College in Minnesota. She married and lived in Minnesota for 30 years. She has a grown daughter, Kelcy, and a son, Logan.

Rick was born in North Dakota and moved to South Dakota as a five-year-old when his father took a teaching position there. He attended the South Dakota School of Mines and then spent 30 years in the Army Reserves. He has a son, Jacob, who is a student at Wichita State University in Kansas.

Rick loves “off-roading” in our local mountains and Mara loves cooking but both of them love to travel. They have a long list of cruise destinations and know it will take a long time but intend to hit them all.

Welcome to Tehachapi Rick and Mara. Enjoy your new hometown.

When asked what brought them from Taft to Tehachapi, Sharon and Oscar Schnaidt said that they moved here to downsize. They had lived in Taft for 57 years where Oscar taught math at both Taft High School and Taft College. They raised their four children there. Their daughter, Dixie, now lives in Tehachapi. Oscar said she has traveled and worked all over the world. Now retired, her last job was with the Forest Service in Idaho. She has also downsized, said Oscar.

Sharon and Oscar met in North Dakota where Oscar was raised. Sharon was raised in Nebraska but her father worked in North Dakota for the REA (Rural Electrification Administration) created by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It was the government program charged with bringing electricity to all rural areas of the United States during the 1930s.

Oscar said he was visiting a friend and they went to the local drive-in when he was very taken by the waitress who turned out to be Sharon. He and Sharon were married and lived in North Dakota until one winter when he was trying to drive in -50 degrees and the car froze. Soon after that they moved to Wyoming. “It was still cold but prettier,” said Oscar.

Oscar said that he was drafted during the Korean War, was trained as a paratrooper and sent to Japan. As an airborne ranger, he said he spent more time playing basketball than actually seeing action. After Oscar’s military service they moved to Oregon where he got his Master’s Degree in Mathematics. They moved to Taft soon after.

Sharon loves to read and knit in her free time so has plenty to keep her busy. Oscar is still trying to get used to all the free time. Once springtime comes around, he’ll find a lot of that free time will disappear.

Welcome to Tehachapi, Sharon and Oscar. Enjoy your new home and your new community.


If you have moved to Tehachapi within the last six months, Hilltop Welcoming Service has a bag of information about the Greater Tehachapi area, its activities, events, government and facilities. There are always a few coupons and gifts, as well. It is a great way to learn about your new community. Being part of this column is strictly optional. If you would like a visit from the Welcome Hostess, contact our office at (661) 822-8188.