Community News

Customer Water Leaks Identified by MCWD’s Advanced Metering Infrastructure

During the summer of 2014, the Mammoth Community Water District (District) upgraded to new meters that wirelessly transmit data using remote collectors. This advanced technology allows the District to see hourly usage of all water meters on the distribution system. Utilizing software developed by WaterSmart, a data analytics company, the District is able to run a report that details leaks and alert customers accordingly.

“We are thrilled to have the ability to help our customers protect their property and save an exorbitant amount of water,” said Irene Yamashita, Principal Analyst. “It has been a learning experience to determine what size leaks should be flagged, what patterns are associated with various sources of leaks and how to best introduce the information to the customers.”

Typically, the District calls two to five customers or property managers a day with leaks ranging from 15 to 1,500 gallons per hour. “About 80 percent of leaks we call on are caused by toilets. Customers are usually surprised to learn that leaking toilets can waste 600+ gallons per hour (over 14,000 gallons per day), ” described Betty Hylton, Administrative Analyst. “In winter, we find a number of leaks caused by shedding snow that turns on or breaks hose bibs and frozen pipes that break. Despite the cause of the leak, customers are generally very grateful that we have this capability and take the time to notify them.”

The District recommends that customers (or property managers) look and listen for the leak first. If unable to identify where the water is leaking, then call a plumber. The District has offered two Leak Detection courses for plumbers and property managers to learn the most efficient process for leak detection and maintains a supply of coloring dye tabs to check for toilet leaks.

The Mammoth Lakes community is limited to local surface and groundwater resources in our basin. The leak detection program conserves water that would otherwise be wasted and develops positive relationships with our customers. The District is proud to have this advanced capability, however customers remain responsible for identifying water leaks at their property. An online customer portal is available to provide customers the ability to look at their hourly water use from their computer, and receive high usage alerts by signing up for WaterSmart here:

Death Valley National Park to Restore Accessibility and Resume Limited Visitor Services

DEATH VALLEY, CA – Death Valley National Park announced today that some recently closed areas of the park will once again be accessible to visitors in the coming days. Some visitor services, including campgrounds and the Stovepipe Wells Contact Station, will also reopen using revenue generated by recreation fees. Visitors should go to the park website at while planning their trip to get the latest information on accessibility and available services.

• Dantes View, Artists Drive, Natural Bridge, Harmony Borax Works and Mustard Canyon, Salt Creek, Keane Wonder Mine, Mesquite Sand Dunes, and Historic Stovepipe Wells Roads.

Because of the distances and complexities involved and unknown nature of all issues, the opening of these sites may take a week or longer. Scotty’s Castle remains closed due to flood damage. Mosaic Canyon Road remains closed in association with water utility work or Stovepipe Wells Village. Upper and Lower Wildrose Roads are closed due to snow and ice.

National Park Service officials have determined that by using Federal Land and Recreation Enhancement funds to immediately bring back park maintenance crews to clean restrooms, remove trash, and remove health and safety risks park staff will be able to restore accessibility to the park.

Through generous donations from the Death Valley Natural History Association, the Furnace Creek Visitor Center will remain open. Entrance fees and camping fees will not be collected and ranger programs will not be offered.

“We greatly appreciate the generous contributions of park partners who have provided support during the lapse in appropriations,” said park superintendent Reynolds. “Their efforts have contributed significantly to our ability to maintain access and limited services to Death Valley National Park.”

Rosemarie Martha Thornton Obituary

Rosemarie Martha Thornton 1931-2019

Rosemarie Martha Thornton 87, of Big Pine passed on January 3, 2019 of a massive stroke .

Rose as her friends knew her was born to Joseph J. and Catherine Mayer on January 21, 1931 in Los Angeles Ca.

She was married to Charles ( Chuck ) Thornton on February 4, 1949 . Chuck and Rose spent 30 years in Norwalk CA. before moving to Big Pine CA. in 1988 .

Rose was preceded in death by her husband Charles Thornton on March 5, 2001 .

She is survived by her daughter Lisa and husband Patrick Perkins of Bishop where Rose spent her last year of her life.

She is also survived by her grandson Jason Perkins of Carson City NV., and Alex and wife Jordan Perkins and two great-granddaughters Madison 8 and Kielei 6 of Virginia.

She is survived by her brother Steve, twin sisters Barbra and Beatrice and many nieces and nephews.

A luncheon will be held at the United Methodist Church in Big Pine on Saturday, January 19, 2019 at 11:00 am, followed by a graveside service at 1:00 pm at Big Pine Cemetery 600 West Crocker Ave. Big Pine CA. 93513

Mary Mae Kilpatrick to lead NIHD Board of Directors in 2019

The Northern Inyo Healthcare District Board of Directors named its 2019 slate of officers during its December board meeting. Long-time Bishop area educator and school administrator Mary Mae Kilpatrick was elected Board President with retired county Heath and Human Services Director Jean Turner being named Vice President.

Kilpatrick represents Zone IV of the Healthcare District, covering the greater West Bishop area. A 61-year resident of Bishop, Kilpatrick also serves on the NIH Foundation Board of Directors.

“I am honored to work alongside everyone at NIHD,” Kilpatrick said. “We have such an outstanding group of people at the District. Our staff’s continuing priority is to always put our patient’s care and safety first. On top of that, they are compassionate in the care they provide, and they are also a very giving team who do their best to live up to NIHD’s mission of ‘improving our communities, one life at a time.”

Turner represents Zone II, which covers the Northern Bishop area. Her experience includes extensive administrative oversight of various health and human service programs providing care to children, adults, families and senior citizens.

Robert Sharp, who represents Zone III, which covers a large portion of the downtown Bishop area, will serve as Board Secretary. As Vice President of Eastern Sierra Community Bank, Sharp manages and develops the Bishop, Mammoth Lakes, and Bridgeport branches.

Local attorney Peter Tracy, Zone I representative, will serve as Board Treasurer. Tracy, perhaps best known for his 33-years of service as legal counsel to the City of Bishop, represents the West Bishop, McLaren Lane, Rocking K, Starlight, and Aspendell areas.

Outgoing Board President and Zone V Director MC Hubbard, who represents parts of southeastern Bishop, Wilkerson, Big Pine, and Aberdeen, will serve as the Member-At-Large. Hubbard is a retired banking executive.

At the board meeting Dr. Kevin S. Flanigan, MD MBA, the District’s Chief Executive Officer, congratulated each of the new officers. Later, he described the role of the Board as one of governance, noting they are charged with setting the strategic goals; overseeing the progress toward those goals; and, ensuring the continued access to local healthcare services for their constituents.

Select Death Valley Facilities Closing

DEATH VALLEY, CA – Due to the government shutdown, several sites within Death Valley National Park will be closing for health and safety concerns associated with continuing issues of human waste, trash, vandalism and park resource damage. 

On Friday, January 4, the Furnace Creek and Texas Springs Campgrounds will be closed.  Access roads to Natural Bridge, Dantes View, and Keane Wonder Mine will also be closed. The road to Salt Creek remains closed.

Visitor services are limited due to the lapse in federal appropriations. During the government shutdown, national parks are working to remain as open and accessible to the American people as possible. 

All normal park rules and regulations still apply and violators will be cited. Dogs are not permitted on park trails or off leash.  Off-road vehicle travel is illegal within the park, vehicles must stay on established roadways.  Camping must be in accordance with park regulations. The Stovepipe Wells Campground as well as private campgrounds at The Oasis Furnace Creek Ranch and Panamint Springs remain open and operational.  

Visitors are encouraged to stop and use restroom facilities in the gateway communities before entering the park as there are extremely limited restroom facilities in the park. Visitors are also encouraged to practice leave no trace principles and pack in and pack out waste.     

Additional roads and facilities within Death Valley National Park may close at any time for the health and safety of park visitors.

Thanks to donations from The Oasis at Death Valley, restrooms at the Ryan Junction, Zabriskie Point, Golden Canyon, and Badwater are cleaned and stocked daily.  The Death Valley Natural History Association has also made a donation to have the Furnace Creek Visitor Center open from 8am-5pm daily.  Ortega National Parks LLC. continues to operate the Stovepipe Wells Campground as a donation.

For updates on the shutdown, please visit

Numerous DUI Arrests Processed During Holiday Period

From December 28th to January 1st, the California Highway Patrol conducted a Maximum Enforcement Period (MEP) focusing on impaired driving. During this time, all available officers were on duty, conducting traffic stops and enforcing the law on the highways throughout California.

There were a number of arrests for DUI’s, for the CHP Inland Division. The Inland Division includes the areas of the Inland Empire, Bridgeport, and Bishop.

California Highway Patrol arrested 96 individuals who were driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance in the Inland Division Area. The numbers are up from last year, with 93 arrests occurring during the maximum enforcement period. Additionally, out of the 96 arrests, three were fatal.

Although a substantial amount of people were arrested in the Inland Empire for impaired driving, the numbers were much better when it comes to the Eastern Sierra. There were zero arrests for DUI’s in the Bishop area this year, and only one last year.

The Bridgeport district assisted Mammoth Lakes Police Department during the MEP in the town of Mammoth Lakes, which hosted over 15,000 visitors between December 28th through January 1st. CHP Bridgeport processed 3 DUI’s, while Mammoth Lakes Police Department arrested three more people for driving under the influence. Two out of the three arrests made by Mammoth Lakes Police involved vehicle collisions, however, none of the collisions involved major injuries.

Dennis Robert Jahn Obituary


1946 -2018

Dennis Robert Jahn, 72, peacefully passed from this world to his heavenly home on November 20, 2018 while surrounded by all his loved ones at his home in Bishop. Dennis was born in March 1946 in Los Angeles, Ca., the son of Arnold and Lynn Jahn. Shortly after graduating from Sierra High School in Whittier, Ca. he was drafted and served 2 years in the U. S. Army. Upon discharge he was employed by the L. A. Dept. of Water and Power where he completed the DWP automotive apprenticeship program.

In 1970 he met and married his wife, Bonnie, and in 1977 Dennis, along with his wife and 3 children, transfered with DWP to Bishop where he worked as an automotive mechanic and later became an automotive inspector until he retired in 1998 at age 52. After retiring he worked part time at K-Mart and then was employed as a part time driver for Eastern Sierra Transit until he resigned Nov 1, 2018 due to illness. Dennis and his family loved vacationing in their travel trailer with their 3 children and grandchildren especially camping, hiking, and exploring the Eastern Sierra.

A favorite spot was Lake Siskiyou at Mt. Shasta. He enjoyed many vacations in the pacific northwest and all the northern states eastward to Minnesota. Dennis developed a passion and love for photography. His photos capture God’s beautiful creation. His talent grew to semi-professional and included several photos published in Outdoor Photographer.

He loved photographing the Eastern Sierra. Dennis is preceded in death by his son, Eric Scott Jahn in 2008, brothers Ken and Allan, and parents Arnold and Lynn. Dennis is survived by his wife, Bonnie; daughter, Julie of Bishop; son Chris of Idaho Falls, Idaho; grandchildren, Kaitlyn of San Diego; Dominic, Dawson and Mercedes of Bishop; Trystan of Nampa, Idaho; Cayben of Idaho Falls, Idaho; and great grandchild Jackson of Bishop. Dennis is very much loved by family and friends and will truly be missed. Rest in peace in God’s loving arms, til we are all reunited for all etermity. A celebration of life will be announced at a later date in honor of Dennis.

David Kelly Appointed as Bishop City Administrator

The Bishop City Council voted unanimously to appoint Mr. David B. Kelly as City Administrator at their regularly scheduled meeting of December 10, 2018. Mr. Kelly and his wife, Mrs. Jernon Kelly, were both in attendance on Monday evening and briefly introduced themselves.

Mr. Kelly has worked in the public sector for over 20 years and has served in many roles. Just to name a few, he has served as an assistant public works director, a city administrator, a director for human resources and risk management, and an administrator for county commissioners. He has worked in Colorado, Washington and Arizona.

Mr. Kelly enjoys financial and data analyses and finding unique solutions to solve problems. Mr. Kelly is a graduate of Brigham Young University, with a degree in Economics. He also holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Colorado.

Mr. Kelly has been actively involved in his church and with the Boy Scouts of America in various capacities his entire life. He served a full-time mission and enjoys service projects of all shapes and sizes.
Mr. Kelly has a blended family of six children, four girls and two boys, with three left at home. He and his wife also have one precious granddaughter. Family is a big part of his life! They enjoy spending time boating, fishing, hiking, and camping together. About a month ago his family did their first mud run. Mr. Kelly likes to garden, fix things around the house, and do genealogy.

Mr. Kelly started his new position with the City on Tuesday, December 11, 2018. Mrs. Kelly is currently the Chief Financial Officer of Youngtown, Arizona, and will be looking to continue her career in Bishop.



The Bishop City Council welcomes Mr. and Mrs. Kelly and their children to Bishop!

Mono County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Team Honored

The Mono County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Team is an all-volunteer non-profit organization dedicated to saving lives. When called by the Mono County Sheriff’s Office, the Team responds for searches and rescues at any time, in any weather, for as long as it takes, for free. The Team has responded to 37 calls this year so far and has volunteered 3,410 hours.

Each year the Team holds an Awards Dinner to acknowledge the hard work its members have contributed and to honor members for their individual excellence and public service. The 2018 Awards Dinner was held on Saturday, December 8.

The Team’s highest honor, election to status as a Lifetime Member, is only rarely conferred to a Rescue Member who has made unusual, faithful, and regular contributions to the Team and to the welfare of victims over a significant number of years. This year Barry Beck received this high honor. Barry has served the Team very actively for 14 years. Records show that he has participated in 230 search and rescue missions, 307 trainings, and 243 meetings, for a total of 780 Team events.

This is an enormous voluntary commitment of time and talent to the County and the Team. Barry has faithfully served the Team in a wide variety of roles, including Board member, Training Officer, and currently as the Team President. He is very versatile and dependable and has consistently been eager to accept difficult field assignments in any weather.

The Team’s annual honor for achievement is the Pete Schoerner Rescue Member of the Year award. The award is named in memory of a beloved teammate who died in an ice climbing accident in 1996. The Pete Schoerner Rescue Member of the Year for 2018 is Eric Kaufman. Eric serves the Team as a member of the Board of Directors and is a very active responder to search and rescue calls. Since joining the team in 2017, he has responded to 121 team events.

New members in training are called Candidate Members, who must undergo training, practice, and testing in eighteen skill categories before being considered for advancement to Rescue Member. Examples of these skills include first aid and victim care, tracking, technical rescue,  mountain navigation, helicopter operations, and skill with electronic aids such as computers, radios, avalanche transceivers, and GPS receivers. Completion of all requirements takes a lot of dedication and faithfulness over a period that is typically a year or more.

The Team honors one Candidate Member each year with the Rick Mosher Candidate Member of the Year Award. Rick Mosher is the only team member to have died in the line of duty while searching in a small airplane that crashed during an operation on August 15, 1979. This year the Team selected Mitchell Quiring as the Rick Mosher Candidate Member of the Year. Mitch is very active in many aspects of response to calls, training, and team readiness. Since joining the team in April of this year, he has participated in 51 team events. New members who complete training and testing to advance from Candidate Member to Rescue Member status receive embroidered red Team uniform shirts. Mitchell Quiring received his at the Awards Dinner.

The Team’s history goes back to 1966, and hundreds of members have come and gone as their lives changed. Jim Gilbreath joined the team in 1993 and is only the second member to achieve a 25-year tenure. He has been a key player in many of the Team’s affairs, including serving as a member of the Board of Directors, Vice President, Operations Leader, training instructor, and record keeper and reporter. He was awarded the Golden Carabiner Award for his 25 years of excellent service.

Heidi Vetter received an award for 10 years of service. She has been an active member since 2008 and has responded to 304 team events. She has served the Team as Board Member, Vice President, Operations Leader, Secretary, and training instructor.

“They also serve who stand and wait” is a famous quote by Milton over 300 years ago. In this case it applies to two Team members’ wives – Valerie Case and Jean Gilbreath, who for over 25 years have endured with grace, understanding, and encouragement the hundreds of absences from home by their SAR husbands. They were awarded SAR WIDOW plaques.

The SAR team wishes to thank members of the community for their generous support

Andy Pucio Obituary


1939 – 2018

Born 12/12/1939 Los Angeles, CA – Died 11/25/2018 Renown Hospital, Reno, NV

Andy lived a productive and faithful life in peaceful, quiet dignity. Feeling a need to serve at an early age, he joined the Boy Scouts in Los Angeles where he learned to cherish nature and honor his community.

Taking him throughout the Pacific Ocean, he served as a radio operator in the Navy from 1958-1963 on the ship, “Tulare.” His first job after discharge was with the Pacific Telephone Co. in L.A. for 2 years. Following in his father’s footsteps he then joined the San Diego Fire Department from 1965 -1979, retiring at the rank of Captain. During that time he helped start the city’s first paramedic program.

After retiring from public service, Andy wished to go back to school becoming the first one in his family to graduate from college. He earned a Bachelors degree in Geography from Cal State Fullerton, which further deepened his appreciation for earth sciences and history.

He and his dearest love, Kay, built their dream home (and dream garden) in Bishop in 1994 where he began serving the community. Skilled with his hands, he contributed to the development and restoration of the Brill Car woodwork at Laws Railroad Museum. He was a licensed ham radio operator and patiently taught Kay to pass the tests and become one too.

Daily he tended to his garden and enjoyed long walks along trails in the Owens Valley. He grew vegetables and flowers, built model airplanes, fixed anything and everything, and was always there to lend a helping hand.

Passing the beauty of the Eastern Sierra’s natural and human history to his grandchildren, he taught them to read the clouds, kayak the lakes, appreciate the petroglyphs, fly kites in the cattle pastures, and build snowmen on the occasional white Christmas. To them, he also passed along his obsession for Cowgirl Cookies and sourdough bread from the Great Basin Bakery.

Andy was a member of First Presbyterian Church of Bishop and Treasurer for the Eastern Sierra Flyer Radio Controlled Aircraft club.

He is survived by wife, Kay (Bishop, CA); children, Melanie Foster, husband Scott (Irvine, CA) and Andrew Chaney, wife Chris (Wichita, KS) and his 6 grandchildren, Miranda, Nathaniel, Anastasia, Wyatt, Abigail, and Levi. They will miss his heartwarming “ho ho ho” at Christmas time, his stories of his world travels, and his strong steady hugs most of all. This quiet, gentle man was dearly loved and his memory will be forever cherished.

Services will be Saturday, December 15, 2018 at the First Presbyterian Church, 10 AM, 585 N. Main Street, Bishop. Refreshments will follow & all are invited. Interment will be after, at Pioneer Cemetery, East Line Street, just past the turn off to the airport.

In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Andrew Charles Pucio may be made to First Presbyterian Church, 585 N. Main Street, Bishop, CA 93514.