Star lights up in blaze of Christmas glory

Linda Saholt

News Review Correspondent

Star lights up in blaze of Christmas gloryThe B Mountain Star is fully operational again! In a ceremony held Monday evening, those involved in the star restoration project met just after dark to officially throw the switch. The star blazed into glory in the night.

“Look to the east — behold the star,” said Pat Farris, star enthusiast and Exchange Club member.

“It is absolutely gorgeous. It’s much brighter than the old one. It just really looks beautiful,” said Ridgecrest Exchange Club Star Project Organizer George “Andy” Anderson, on hand for the lighting.

That new brightness is not an illusion. According to Robert E. “Bob” Dickson, owner of R.E.D. Electric, Inc., who, along with Darryl Grace of South Bay Electric, donated labor and materials to complete the restoration project, the newly renovated star has increased wattage.

Each compact fluorescent lamp in the star uses 42 watts of power to produce 200 watts of output. There is literally more light being generated.

In addition, the star has been restored to its original design, with an inner design that was not visible in recent years. In the various mends and patches over the years to keep the original star going, only the outline was maintained.

Now the whole star is again visible as it was originally designed.

Dickson and Grace had all the work done except the installation of the lights when the story was last reported in this newspaper. The bulbs came in early, and the pair, along with Boy Scout Aaron McCain and a group of scouts and volunteers, went up to the site on B Mountain and spent Dec. 8 installing all 390 bulbs.

“Once we got the lights in, they got all excited and wanted to get it lit right away,” said Dickson. “The light has returned.”

“They got the lights up on Saturday, so they scheduled a star-lighting get-together on base. The captain, the admiral, the master chief, the scout and his folks, the scoutmaster and the two electricians who donated their time and materials — they were all there,” said Anderson.

“We had a little countdown at 5:30 p.m. and bingo! It came on.”

He added his thanks to the many people who participated in making it happen.

“I’m just amazed at the people in this community. I got in harness to raise the money, and things sort of fell out of the sky and it all came together. Give the people of this community a project and they always come through. It was almost too easy.”

The Exchange Club had raised over $17,000 for the project at the time that Dickson and Grace made their extremely generous offer. The club will manage the funds in two parts — one fund for yearly maintenance and one set aside to fund the eventual replacement of the star. The new one is expected to last about 25 years before it needs to be replaced.

Dickson was driving on Highway 14 Monday evening after the star was lit. “You can see the star clear up there. You could be on top of Walker Pass and see it easily up there. It will get brighter after it’s lit, as the lamps get warmed up,” said Dickson.

“Ridgecrest has a new navigation beacon for the planes.”

For pictures of the event and the work that went into it, see www.facebook.com/bmountainstar.

Story First Published: 2012-12-12