Local News

BLAKE JONES CANCELLED

Heavy water flow in the Owens River leaves no choice but to cancel the derby.

Posted by Seth Conners

According to Tawni Thomson, The Bishop Chamber of Commerce regrettably announces cancellation of the 2017 Blake Jones Trout Derby which was scheduled for March 11th. A unique set of circumstances beyond the chamber’s control led to the decision.
On Friday, February 24th Los Angeles Department of Water and Power rescinded its permission to hold the event at Pleasant Valley Reservoir due to public safety concerns. Strong winter storms have caused extremely high water level in the reservoir and dangerously high water flows in the Owens River. The chamber immediately began working with LADWP, Inyo County, and California Department of Fish and Wildlife seeking other options. Millpond was suggested as a safe alternative; however, on Monday, February 27th CADFW informed the Bishop Chamber that Millpond is not a viable location. According to CADFW regulations, Millpond is not open to trout fishing this time of year.
“Since LADWP issued the public safety warning for PVR and the Owens River, and no safe alternative is available, the Chamber’s Executive Committee has no choice, but to cancel the event for this year,” explains Tawni Thomson, Bishop Chamber CEO.
This is not a decision taken lightly. The chamber had been making plans for many months and invested several thousand dollars in advertising and prizes. They also understand the financial impact to the local economy; however public safety must be the highest priority.
The 2017 event was to be the 50th Annual Blake Jones Trout Derby and the Bishop Chamber had many new and fun activities planned to celebrate the milestone. “We’ve decided not to view this as a total cancellation. We will still have the 50th Anniversary, it will just be in 2018,” says April Leeson, Chamber Event Coordinator.
While the chamber is disappointed, they are not upset with LADWP or CADFW. “It was wonderful to see representatives from all agencies working so hard to try to save the derby,” Thomson states. “We really appreciate everyone’s suggestions and sincere efforts.”
Preregistered derby contestants will have all fees returned. “It will take us a few weeks to process the refunds and we appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding,” explains Thomson.

 

BLAKE JONES TROUT DERBY CANCELLED

Press release from Tawni Thomson, Bishop Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau.

The Bishop Chamber of Commerce regrettably announces cancellation of the 2017 Blake Jones Trout Derby which was scheduled for March 11th. A unique set of circumstances beyond the chamber’s control led to the decision.
On Friday, February 24th Los Angeles Department of Water and Power rescinded its permission to hold the event at Pleasant Valley Reservoir due to public safety concerns. Strong winter storms have caused extremely high water level in the reservoir and dangerously high water flows in the Owens River. The chamber immediately began working with LADWP, Inyo County, and California Department of Fish and Wildlife seeking other options. Millpond was suggested as a safe alternative; however, on Monday, February 27th CADFW informed the Bishop Chamber that Millpond is not a viable location. According to CADFW regulations, Millpond is not open to trout fishing this time of year.
“Since LADWP issued the public safety warning for PVR and the Owens River, and no safe alternative is available, the Chamber’s Executive Committee has no choice, but to cancel the event for this year,” explains Tawni Thomson, Bishop Chamber CEO.
This is not a decision taken lightly. The chamber had been making plans for many months and invested several thousand dollars in advertising and prizes. They also understand the financial impact to the local economy; however public safety must be the highest priority.
The 2017 event was to be the 50th Annual Blake Jones Trout Derby and the Bishop Chamber had many new and fun activities planned to celebrate the milestone. “We’ve decided not to view this as a total cancellation. We will still have the 50th Anniversary, it will just be in 2018,” says April Leeson, Chamber Event Coordinator.
While the chamber is disappointed, they are not upset with LADWP or CADFW. “It was wonderful to see representatives from all agencies working so hard to try to save the derby,” Thomson states. “We really appreciate everyone’s suggestions and sincere efforts.”
Preregistered derby contestants will have all fees returned. “It will take us a few weeks to process the refunds and we appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding,” explains Thomson.
##
Bishop Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau
690 N. Main Street
Bishop, CA 93514
760-873-8405
execdir@bishopvisitor.com

LION ENCOUNTER

Mountain lion attacks hunter near Mono Lake.

Posted by Seth Conners

According to Lt. Bill Dailey at the CDFW law enforcement division, on Feb 24 2017 at approximately 1500 hours a hunter who had been hunting near the north
shore of Mono Lake for coyotes had a mountain lion encounter. The hunter was wearing
camouflage clothing lying on his stomach on top of a small knoll blowing on a distressed rabbit
call when he heard a noise behind him. As the hunter looked over his shoulder he saw a
mountain lion had jumped in the air and was coming toward his head. While lying on the
ground the hunter threw up his arms in order to protect his head. The lion landed on the
hunter’s head, sprung free and ran towards the north. The hunter, being in fear for his life fired
two shots striking the lion. He then returned to his vehicle and notified DFW Officers.
The hunter sustained a minor injury to the back left side of his head that did not break skin.
The hunter sought medical treatment from Mammoth Lakes Hospital and initiated the rabies
shot series. Evidence from the scene was collected and sent to DFW’s Wildlife Investigations
Lab in Sacramento. The lion will be necropsied and tested for zoological diseases including
rabies.
An analysis of the tracks found at the scene of the incident left a very clear picture of the event
and how it unfolded. It appeared the lion was responding to the distressed rabbit call and the
encounter resulted in the hunter possibly being mistaken for prey by the lion. Given the
circumstances, the lion likely mistook the hunter for an injured rabbit and given the suddenness
of the attack the hunter responded in fear for his life.
The Department will not be filing any charges for the take of the mountain lion.

LADWP

LADWP to maximize local water spreading

Posted by Seth Conners

According to a press release from LADWP’s Amanda Parsons, During the Inyo County/Los Angeles Standing Committee earlier this week, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) announced plans to maximize the spread of water in the Owens Valley this year to levels not seen since the wettest year on record, 1983-84.

The above average snowpack levels, registering north of 200 percent of normal to date, are expected to provide ample water supply for both the Eastern Sierra region and the LA Aqueduct. Runoff calculations from the Eastern Sierra are anticipated to be in the range of 900 to 1 million acre feet (AF) of water.

Due to the ample water supply, LADWP will be able to meet all water needs throughout Long Valley and Inyo County. The spread of this water is expected to improve local vegetation and groundwater levels, representing a significant recharge of the Owens Valley aquifer. Given the abundance of water, LADWP will conduct no discretionary pumping in the region – only necessary pumping for town water systems and Enhancement and Mitigation projects which always operate using groundwater, such as fish hatcheries and pasture irrigation.

“To date this winter we’ve spread 8,000 acre feet of water in the Owens Valley and we expect to spread a lot more,” James Yannotta, Manager of the Los Angeles Aqueduct for LADWP said. “We anticipate matching if not exceeding the amount spread during our wettest recorded winter.”

The wet winter is also expected to assist ranch lessees who will receive at least a full allotment of water this year, a much welcome reprieve from the   past five consecutive years of drought.

In all, the Department expects to release water to Long Valley and throughout the Owens Valley in Laws, Bishop, Big Pine, Independence and areas further south.

“In terms of water supply, this winter is good news for everyone – both the Owens Valley and Los Angeles,” Richard Harasick, Senior Assistant General Manager of Water System for LADWP, added. “There is ample water to go toward both our environmental commitments in the Eastern Sierra and supplying our ratepayers in Los Angeles.”

Also in the Standing Committee Meeting, the parties from both Inyo County and Los Angeles agreed to formally adopt revisions to the vegetation monitoring protocols outlined in the Green Book. The adoption of these revisions represents the end of a monitoring discrepancy that has been in place since 2005.

The new method strengthens existing practices by developing a more consistent sampling program. The new protocols allow Inyo County and LADWP staff to divide pre-determined monitoring parcels rather than separately monitoring the same areas, reducing overlap and streamlining the process.

Vegetation monitoring in Inyo County is required by the Inyo-LA Long Term Water Agreement and must be able to compare vegetation cover and composition to the vegetation cover and composition obtained during the initial vegetation inventory which occurred between 1984 and 1987.

The Technical Group approved the new monitoring program at its meeting of February 9, 2017. Today’s approval by the Standing Committee makes the new protocols official.

BUILDING PERMITS

Inyo County and The City of Bishop now issuing building permits from the same place.

Posted by Seth Conners

According to Michelle Rhew at the City of Bishop, Earlier this year Inyo County and the City of Bishop consolidated the
building permit staff for each agency at one location at Bishop City Hall.
The consolidation was done to improve service and reduce cost.
Inyo County’s Building and Safety staff are now based in the Public Works
Office at Bishop City Hall, 377 West Line Street. The county staff now
perform building permitting and inspection for the city as well as the county.
Inyo County Building and Safety staff are available during regular City Hall
hours, 8 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday, excluding city holidays.
They can assist with building permitting throughout Inyo County including
the City of Bishop.
Although the county staff has moved to city offices, they can still be
reached at the usual county phone number 760-873-7857. For projects in
the city they can be reached at the city phone number, 760-873-8458. Their
mailing address is the same as City Hall, 377 West Line Street, Bishop,
California 93514.
Inyo County and City of Bishop have appreciated the public’s patience
during the move to City Hall and appreciate patience as details of the
consolidation are worked through in coming months. Comments and
suggestions on building permitting and the consolidation are always
welcome by both agencies.

BISHOP PARKING

The City of Bishop looks to improve parking in the downtown area.

Posted by Seth Conners

According to Elaine Kabala from The City of Bishop, The City of Bishop will hold an open house from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm on Wednesday March 1st to review the draft parking plan update being considered for implementation by Bishop City Council. The open house will be in the executive conference room in City Hall, 377 West Line Street. Community members are invited to drop in anytime during these hours to learn about the proposed parking update, provide feedback on the proposed plan or offer other ideas on how to make downtown parking better. Anyone concerned about downtown Bishop should attend.

The proposed parking plan update was developed based on input received from the public at the community workshop held in 2015. The parking plan update focuses on downtown Bishop, including City owned parking lots, and proposes modifications to timed parking spots, generally extending parking limits from two hour parking to three hour parking. In addition, the draft parking plan also identifies spaces appropriate for RVs, provides more spaces to accommodate elderly and disabled residents requiring ADA spaces, consolidates public safety vehicle parking, and allows for efficient enforcement by the Bishop Police Department. The parking plan update also proposes new standards for the City owned lot located on Sierra Street.

The open house will have maps that show the current parking situation and proposed parking modifications, as well as informational and comment sheet for public input on proposed parking plan.

Public participation is important to make the most of this process and the open house on March 1st in City Hall will be one of the best chances to have your voice heard in the process. If you can’t make it to the open house, come by City Hall to see the maps and provide input. The proposed parking plan maps are also available on the City’s website at http://www.cityofbishop.com/BishopParking2017.pdf . Input is welcome by phone and email as well. The open house will be followed by another workshop with City Council before changes are implemented. Contact the City of Bishop Department of Public Works at 873-8458 or ekabala@cityofbishop.com for more information about parking in downtown Bishop.

 

GUIDE DOG

Local guide puppy headed to advanced training.

Posted by Seth Conners
According to a press release from Betsy Thomsen in Mammoth Lakes, Guide Dogs for the Blind puppy-in-training Fuller, raised in the Eastern Sierra by Mammoth Lakes resident Anne Parkes, will soon be taking the next step on his journey to become a Guide Dog.

Fuller has been recalled to the organization’s campus in San Rafael and will begin his formal guide work training in late February.

Fuller has lived with Parkes for the last 15 months, and has become a familiar sight in and around Mammoth and Bishop. The handsome yellow Labrador wearing the green “Puppy in Training” vest was socialized in many restaurants and retail establishments, community and sporting events by Parkes and other members of the local puppy raising club, Eastern Sierra Guide Puppies.

“Socializing the puppies is an important part of our job as puppy raisers,” said Parkes. “We expose the puppies to all kinds of environments and situations to prepare them for their future jobs as Guide Dogs.”

Puppy raisers also teach the dogs basic obedience, and attend meetings and outings with the puppy raising club. Guide Dogs for the Blind uses yellow and black Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers and Lab/Golden crosses as guides. The puppies are born at the Guide Dog kennels in San Rafael and placed in the homes of volunteer puppy raisers when they are 8 to 10 weeks old.

The pups are returned to Guide Dogs for formal training when they are 14-18 months old. Following the completion of the training, the dogs are matched with their visually impaired partner. The new person-dog team completes an intensive course culminating with a graduation ceremony at which the puppy raisers present the dog to the dog’s new visually impaired partner.

Fuller is the fourth puppy Anne Parkes has raised with Guide Dogs for the Blind.

For more information on raising a Guide Dog puppy, please contact club leader Betsy Thomsen at 760-920-8891 or Anne Parkes at 760-920-0762. More information on Guide Dogs for the Blind may be found at www.guidedogs.com.

 

MAMMOTH LAKES AWARD

Mammoth Lakes Tourism is receiving some much deserved recognition.

Posted by Seth Conners

Mammoth Lakes, Calif. (February 20, 2017) —According to Lara Kayler at MLT,  Mammoth Lakes Tourism (MLT) was recently awarded Best Destination Marketing Organization (in an area with under 25,000 population) by California Meetings +Events Magazine, during its annual Best of California competition.

California Meetings +Events Magazine is a quarterly publication targeting corporate groups. Each year, the magazine features the Best of Awards, where readers vote on 29 categories in the industry ranging from Best Golf Resort to Best Holiday Venue. Mammoth Lakes Tourism beat out Visit Laguna Beach and Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau for the honor.

“Mammoth Lakes Tourism is truly honored by this award that recognizes our efforts in event marketing over the years,” said MLT’s Executive Director John Urdi. “Mammoth Lakes has seen a tremendous pop in our event numbers over the past five summers and we are proud to be part of that success.”

MLT was recognized in the Best of 2016 feature article in the Winter 2017 issue of California Meetings + Events Magazine, which is published in print and online.

MAMMOTH ARREST

Mammoth PD makes an arrest in stolen vehicle and burglary cases.

Posted by Seth Conners

Mammoth Lakes, CA –According to Hannah DeGoey at Mammoth Lakes Police Department, Javier Apodaca Sanchez, 23, of Mammoth Lakes was arrested Saturday, February 18, 2017, in connection with multiple stolen vehicles and serial burglaries.   

A recent series of vehicle thefts and burglaries with similarities over a one-week period triggered an investigation by the Mammoth Lakes Police Department. On Saturday, February 18, 2017, officers observed one of the stolen vehicles and identified the suspect as Javier Apodaca Sanchez. A vehicle pursuit followed with Sanchez attempting to evade officers, which led to a foot pursuit and his subsequent arrest. Officers were able to identify and recover three vehicles and a large amount of property.

Sanchez was transported to the Mono County Jail and is being held on charges of burglary, possession of stolen property, and two counts of vehicle theft.

LOCAL BOOK SIGNING

HISTORY PROGRAM AND BOOK SIGNING AT THE EASTERN CALIFORNIA MUSEUM IN INDEPENDENCE

Posted by Seth Conners

“On Saturday February 25th, The Eastern California Museum in Independence will be hosting a history program and book signing event with local authors and Owens Valley residents David and Gayle Woodruff introducing their new Eastern Sierra history book; Tales Along El Camino Sierra. The Woodruffs have lived, worked and vacationed in the Eastern Sierra for over 50 years. They have compiled historical photographs and documents through extensive research, using a variety of educational and informational resources to publish their 3rd book on Eastern California history.
According to David Woodruff, El Camino Sierra was the name first given to the original Highway 395 in Inyo and Mono Counties. In 1910, intent on getting their share of the first state highway construction bond measure, members of the Inyo Good Roads Club coined the name El Camino Sierra as a marketing tool to help draw the attention of the state decision makers in Sacramento, to this lightly populated area of the state. Their tireless and effective promotional efforts even brought the first sitting governor of the State of California to the land of Inyo and Mono.
Three-ninety-five…this magical ribbon of blacktop has been taking people on a sentimental journey for over 100 years. Rarely does a roadway invoke such nostalgic memories as “The Mountain Highway”. Tales Along El Camino Sierra is a collection of little known stories involving people, places and events that have taken place over the years, in the beautiful lands of the Eastern Sierra. These engaging and often amusing narratives bring to life the area’s rich human history, that has not only helped shape the social and cultural fabric of this cherished region but has often created an enduring impact upon the human psyche as well.
The history program and book-signing event will be held on Saturday February 25th at the Eastern California Museum in Independence from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. In addition to the book signing, the Woodruff will have on display ephemera, photos and memorabilia from their personal collection. Light refreshments will also be served. For more information you can call 760 878-0258.