Community News

Commercial Flights are Coming to Bishop

Inyo County officials met in the Bishop City Council Chambers last night to discuss the environmental scoping process for the Bishop Airport, which is getting ready to host commercial flights to Denver, Los Angeles, and San Francisco in October.

“As far as bringing commercial airport service is concerned, we are on schedule for an October 1, 2020 start. We have had great cooperation from the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), and the thing we are tackling right now is the environmental process.” Inyo County Second District Supervisor, Jeff Griffiths said in an interview with KIBS/KBOV.

Present at the meeting were some key figures in the county including 1st District Supervisor, Dan Totheroh, 2nd Distict Supervisor, Jeff Griffiths, 3rd District Supervisor, Rick Pucci, and 5th District Supervisor, Matt Kingsley. Additionally, County Administrative Officer, Clint Quilter, Public Works Director, Mike Errante, Associate Engineer, Ashley Helms, and Chris Jones, a lawyer from Environmental Associates.

Ashley Helms, who is one of the people in charge of administering this project spoke to a crowd of about fifty people last night. She discussed some of the improvements that are being made in order to field commercial flights. Helms said, “Currently, we are working on renovating the runway. We are making it 7,500 feet long and 100 feet wide. The facilities and pavement will soon be in very good shape.” Helms said.

The taxi rehabilitation project will start in the Spring in order to avoid inclement weather. Other plans include to improve parking. Currently, there is dirt parking at the airport. The plan is to create a small paved parking lot to further improve the facilities according to Helms.

The presentation lasted about twenty-five minutes, and the county subsequently allowed for public comment. Nearly everyone that spoke at the meeting expressed their support for having an airport in Bishop.

However, some speakers expressed concern for environmental health stating that air quality could be inhibited due to jet fuel exhaust. One commentator at the meeting also told the county that allowing for large planes in the region may affect specific reptiles, cattle, alfalfa, and native plants in the area. Due to time constraints, the citizen did not elaborate as to why that was the case.

As far as what airlines are slated to fly out of Bishop, so far there is only one. Supervisor Griffiths said, “Right now we are looking at continuing the service that is currently going on at the Mammoth Airport, which means it will be United Airlines Flights. During the summer it will be a flight once a day to Los Angeles, and then during the winter there will be flights to Denver, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.”

Charles Richard Lippoldt Obituary

Charles Richard Lippoldt; born November 12, 1936 in Okarche, OK, died on January 17, 2020 at his home In Bishop, CA. Charles lived in Inyo County for 43 years and loved to go camping, fishing. He also, likes to travel, watch sports and bowl.

Charles is survived by son Anthony Lippoldt, daughter Kimberly Seguine, sister, Pat Edon, Mary Kate Hicks, Lynn Zucksworth, brothers, David Lippoldt, Dennis Lippoldt, William Lippoldt. He is also, survived by grandchildren, Holly and Boyd Lippoldt. Brendon Frazier, Kristen Pierce, Allene Clark and Ray Seguine III, great grandchildren, Kia Frazier, Parker and Austin Pierce and last but certainly not least Grace Brodbeck ♥.

Services will be held at Brune Mortuary, January 29, 2020 at 11:00 AM, followed by a graveside Service at East Line Street Cemetery.

CHP Bishop Welcomes New Area Commander

On January 2, 2020, the California Highway Patrol Bishop Area welcomed Captain Terry Lowther as the new Area Commander.  Former Captain Javier Dominguez retired at the the end of 2019 after a 30 year career with the Department.  Captain Lowther is a 23 year veteran of the CHP.  He was born to a military family and raised in San Diego, CA.  He started his career with the CHP in the San Diego Area where he patrolled area freeways for ten years.  He promoted to Field Sergeant where he worked the South Lake Tahoe area for six years before transferring to the Office of Assistant Commissioner at CHP Headquarters in Sacramento, CA.  Captain Lowther promoted to the rank of Lieutenant and took on his first command position at the Donner Pass Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Facility in Truckee, CA, where he worked for two and a half years.  He then became Commander of the South Lake Tahoe CHP Office for approximately two and a half years before promoting to the rank of Captain and moving to Bishop,CA.

The Bishop Area is proud to serve the Eastern Sierra region providing safety, service, and security to thousands of residents, commuters, and tourists each day.  As part of the CHP’s Inland Division, our office patrols the CHP’s largest geographical area (approximately 12,000 square miles) in the state.  It consists of nearly all of Inyo County, including Death Valley National Park, and the southern portion of Mono County, extending North 10 miles on US 395 to Tom’s Place and North on US 6 to the Nevada State Line.



NIH Opioid Discussion Helps Families Cope With Addiction

Northern Inyo Rural Health Clinic hosted a discussion about Opioid addiction on Wednesday. The discussion was titled, “How to Help a Family Member With an Opioid Addiction.”

The focus of this discussion was to provide a better understanding of how to better comprehend how addiction manifests itself in a person, and how family and friends can work together to support a loved one who is struggling with a dependency.

About twenty people attended the event. The audience actively participated in the event. Many asked questions and participated in an open dialogue with experts. In total, the event last just over two hours.

Dr. Anne Goshgarian spoke to attendees about the brain chemistry of addiction entails, while Arlene Brown of the Northern Inyo Rural Health Clinic focused on how to support those suffering from addiction. Brown said, “An important topic that we addressed was reducing the stigma around addiction. It was a great community event which empowered friends and family to be better able to help someone struggling with addiction. To me, that was the greatest message on the evening because friends and family can often times feel helpless in those situations.”

Both women answered questions relating to what the warning signs of addiction are, the type of drugs that are in the community, what the difference is in most Opioids, and how to identify if a person is overdosing.

The experts also handed out Opioid Overdose Reversal Kits and discussed treatment options available at Northern Inyo Hospital.

Mono County Civic Center in Mammoth Close to Completion

MAMMOTH LAKES, Calif. – The new Mono County Civic Center office building in Mammoth Lakes is in the final phase of construction and is projected to be ready for occupancy in spring 2020.  Located on Sierra Park Road between Mammoth Hospital and the Mammoth Lakes Police Department, the new Civic Center brings essential County services under one roof, providing easier, centralized access to programs and offices, and a professional setting for public meetings.


Construction of the 33,000 square foot building began just ten months ago in April 2019 and followed an ambitious schedule. The projected opening reflects a slight delay from the original projected completion goal of March 2020.


Stacy Corless, Chair of the Mono County Board of Supervisors and District 5 Supervisor, applauded the efforts of the entire team: “Everyone involved in this complex and demanding project, including the general contractor, subcontractors, consultants and County staff, has been working tirelessly and the finish line is in sight.”


District 1 Supervisor Jennifer Kreitz pointed out that many factors worked in favor of staying on track, including a summer and fall season that was fortuitously warm and dry. “Given the construction challenges faced by any project of this magnitude, particularly at higher elevations, it’s very commendable that we are just shy of the original target.”

Though the construction schedule is approximately two weeks behind at present, County leaders recognize that finishing the project and moving numerous offices will take time, and that the extra time needed for project completion and the move will likely present the need for some County departments to work out of temporary office spaces. Supervisor Corless emphasized that “the most important focus of this move is to maintain vital public services and minimize disruption, as well as to ensure a transition for County employees—and the people they serve—that is efficient, cost-effective and secure.”


To that end, County Administrative Officer Steve Barwick said that County staff is finalizing plans to ensure that all public services continue with minimal interruption in a safe, secure and convenient location.  If temporary office space is necessary for the transition, Mono County’s priorities will be to use available space in the Minaret Mall as well as existing office space in Bridgeport.  The County may also temporarily lease additional space as necessary.

While Mono County has a relatively flexible lease arrangement at the Minaret Mall, the lease at the Sierra Center Mall terminates definitively at the end of March 2020.  Barwick stated, “Despite what is anticipated to be a short delay for move-in to our new building, Mono County is committed to vacating the currently leased space in the Sierra Center Mall by March 31 as the owners are ready to move forward with their plans to redevelop the site into an exciting new hotel property.”

Once open this spring, the Civic Center will be the new home for Social Services, Behavioral Health, Public Health, Environmental Health, District Attorney, Probation, County Counsel, Information Technology, Economic Development, Community Development as well as offices for County Administration and a meeting room for the Board of Supervisors.  Supervisor Corless noted that “the centralized location of the Civic Center, and the fact that all our departments are together in one building, will improve efficiencies in the delivery of County services to the public and will ultimately result in significant cost savings.”


The Board of Supervisors will receive an update on the Civic Center project on January 21, and at subsequent public meetings over the next two months. For more information about the Mono County Civic Center, please visit or contact Steve Barwick, Mono County Administrative Officer.

Inyo National Forest Preparing for Road Renovations

The Inyo National Forest is seeking input on the proposed Road Maintenance and Motorized Mixed use for eight National Forest Road Segments in Inyo County project.

The proposed project would meet two goals: formalize Inyo County’s role in road maintenance along eight segments of Forest Service roads and allow Inyo County to determine whether to allow motorized mixed-use (non-street legal vehicles) on these roads. The Inyo National Forest is considering issuing special use permits and easements to meet these two goals.

The eight road segments being considered are parts of: Death Valley, County, Onion Valley, Foothill, Coyote Valley, McMurray Meadows, Division Creek and Mazourka Canyon Roads. A total of approximately 27 miles are being considered for inclusion in this project.

The project proposal and maps can be accessed on the website:

The White Mountain District Ranger, Philip Desenze, will be hosting a public meeting to provide information and answer questions about the project. The public meeting will be held on January 22nd, from 5:30pm to 7:30 pm, at the Inyo National Forest Supervisor’s Office, 351 Pacu Ln, Bishop, California.

The forest welcomes any input or suggestions the public may have to improve the project, and any concerns with the proposal. You may submit written comments via email to Erin Noesser at, or to Inyo National Forest, Erin Noesser, 351 Pacu Ln., Suite 200, Bishop, CA 93514. While you can provide input at any time, your input would be most helpful by February 18, 2020.

Bishop Destroy Boron for Eighth Win of the Season

The Bishop Broncos cruised to a 69-28 victory over the Boron Bobcats last night in the fourth High Desert League game of the season.

Bishop led the game from the start and never looked back.

Within five seconds, the Broncos were able to score two points thanks to a Johnny Torres steal and score. About ten seconds later, Bishop added to their lead when Sophomore, Kenyan Piper snatched the ball and took it all the way to the basket for an easy pair of points.

The early lead would set the tone for the rest of the night.

Boron made many mistakes when trying to set up their offense. It seemed as though every time the Bobcats tried to send the ball inside, a Bronco was there to either deflect the ball or steal it. The careless passing on the part of the Bobcats allowed Bishop to push the tempo quickly and finish on the break after forcing turnovers.

One major point of concern for the Broncos going in to tonight’s game related to the absence of Blaine Spoonhunter, the team’s best defender, who is no longer with the team. Spoonhunter’s length and hustle will definitely be missed, but if yesterday’s game is a sample of what is to come defensively, the team may end up being able to handle the loss of such a quality player.

The two best defensive players yesterday were Luke McClean and Jaydan Braithwaite. McClean did a nice job of altering shots inside the paint, while Braithwaite demonstrated his quickness, cutting off passing lanes and poking the ball away from the Boron ball handlers.

Offensively, the best player on the court was Kenyan Piper, who has been tremendous all season long. Piper hit four three pointers on the night, and had quite a few nice plays driving inside the paint and finishing.

Another player who stepped up, was Johnny Torres, who made his first start of the season. Torres demonstrated an ability to knock down the mid range jumper all evening. If Bishop have a weakness, it is shooting. Torres will need to continue to show that he can hit his jumper in order to supplement the team’s lack of shooting for the rest of the year.

Up next for the Broncos, a rivalry game against the Kern Valley Broncs, who have a 2-2 High Desert League record. The game will be an away game on Friday at 7:30.

City of Bishop Appoints New City Administrator

After conducting a comprehensive recruitment facilitated by an executive search firm, the Bishop City Council voted unanimously to appoint Ron Phillips as its next City Administrator at the City Council meeting on January 13, 2020.

The recruitment process yielded 14 applicants, which were put through a rigorous screening. The field was eventually reduced to 4 highly qualified candidates for final interviews. Candidates interviewed before two panels comprised of staff and the City Council.

Mr. Phillips holds a Master’s degree in Regional and City Planning and has a diverse career as a City Manager, Planning Director, Engineering General Manager, Transportation Planner and Past President of the Colorado Municipal League. Ron attended the Program for Senior Executives in State & Local Government as a Gates Foundation Fellow in the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Ron has served as Town Manager in Vail, Colorado, Transportation Services Director for Fort Collins, Colorado, principal in his own consulting firm, and most recently as General Manager for six water utility special districts in Wasatch County, Utah.

The Bishop City Council welcomes Mr. Phillips to the City! He is expected to start on February 1st, and we are excited to have him join the City team.

County to Discuss Indian Wells Groundwater Authority Groundwater Sustainability

The Inyo County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to discuss the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority (IWVGA) draft Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) at its regular meeting Tuesday, January 14. Specifically, the Board will receive a presentation by staff and an update from Supervisor Kingsley, Inyo
County’s representative on the IWVGA. The GSP is scheduled for consideration by the IWVGA on Thursday, January 16, 2020. One of the components of the GSP is inclusion of a project seeking to import water into the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Basin via the Los Angeles Aqueduct.

Inyo County is one of five members of the IWVGA, which also includes Kern and San Bernardino counties, the City of Ridgecrest, and the Indian Wells Valley Water District. The joint powers authority was created for the purpose of implementing the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) within the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Basin, which the state determined is in “critical overdraft” due to decades of over- pumping. SGMA is requiring development of a GSP as part of the mandate to halt the overdraft and bring the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Basin into balanced levels of pumping and recharge by 2040. The GSP is
due this month.

“Although Inyo County’s constituency is a relatively small portion of the groundwater users in that basin (i.e., Pearsonville), Inyo County has outsized concerns regarding the future of the basin’s water use due to the intention of our fellow JPA members to import water into the basin via the LADWP Aqueduct,” said Assistant County Counsel John-Carl Vallejo, who serves as Inyo County’s alternate on the IWVGA board.

The Inyo County Board of Supervisors hear the update Tuesday shortly after reconvening from closed session at 10 a.m.

The meeting will be held in the Board of Supervisors Chambers, County Administrative Center, 224 N. Edwards St., Independence.

Sierra Snowpack Measurements Above Average in First Survey

The first snowpack survey of 2020 by the Department of Water Resources (DWR) at Phillips Station provided encouraging news. The manual survey recorded 33.5 inches of snow depth and a snow water equivalent (SWE) of 11 inches, which is 97 percent of average for this location.

“While the series of cold weather storms in November and December has provided a good start to the 2020 snowpack, precipitation in Northern California is still below average for this time of year,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “We must remember how variable California’s climate is and what a profound impact climate change has on our snowpack.”

While promising, electronic readings from 130 stations scattered throughout the State provide a better overall picture of the amount of snowpack than a single manual reading and that news is positive too. DWR’s measurements indicate that statewide, the snowpack’s SWE is 9.3 inches, or 90 percent of the January 2 average.

“It’s still too early to predict what the remainder of the year will bring in terms of snowpack,” said Sean de Guzman, chief of DWR’s Snow Surveys and Water Supply Forecasting Section. “Climate change is altering the balance of rain and snow in California. That is why it is important to maintain our measurements of the snowpack to document the change in addition to having critical information to forecast spring runoff.”

California traditionally receives about 75 percent of its annual precipitation during December, January and February, with the bulk of this precipitation coming from atmospheric rivers. Similar to last year, California experienced a dry start to this water year followed by cold, wet December storms that brought the state up to 74 percent of average annual precipitation for this time of year. On average, the snowpack supplies about 30 percent of California’s water needs as it melts in the spring and early summer.

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