Community News

MONO COUNTY DRUG COURT

New program in Mono County showing progress.

Posted by Seth Conners

Mono County Probation was awarded a grant in October of 2015 for the implementation of a Drug Court program.  Drug Court is a collaborative Court that focuses its attention on the participant and their sobriety. The agencies involved in this Court are the Mono County Superior Court, Mono County Probation Department, Mono County District Attorney’s Office, Mono County Behavioral Health Department, and the Public Defenders. These agencies alter their focus and traditional roles to assist people who have entered the criminal Courts due to underlying addictions. The first participant enrolled in the program on July 21, 2015. This participant experienced the expected difficulties that many face while trying to maintain a sober life, completing an intensive program, and dealing with the day to day problems and tasks we all face. On July 19, 2016, he had the courage to go before the Mono County Board of Supervisors and talked about his journey through Drug Court. He was approximately 75% of the way through the program when the presentation occurred. On January 25, 2017, he graduated from the program with 363 days clean from drugs and alcohol. Instead of continuing the “revolving door” process of going in and out of the custody, he now has the tools to remain clean and sober, be a contributing community member, good father, and good husband.
The Mission of the Mono County Drug Court: “To connect defendants who have a substantial substance abuse addiction to treatment in the community in order to enhance public safety, reduce recidivism, to provide alternative dispositions to criminal charges that take into consideration the individuals substance abuse, mental and physical health, and the seriousness of the offense.”

MAMMOTH STORMS

HEAVY SNOW/RAIN TO CONTINUE WITH AREAS OF FLOODING

Posted by Seth Conners
Mammoth Lakes, CA – The Town of Mammoth Lakes is notifying all residents and visitors that a Flood Watch and a High Wind Warning remains in effect through tonight tomorrow, February 9. A prolonged moderate to strong atmospheric river (AR) is bringing heavy snow/rain to the region. It is forecasted to decrease in intensity by mid-afternoon along with the strong winds, however rain/snow showers will continue with the next surge of moderate-heavy precipitation into early Friday morning.
Travel issues
Town crews are responding to areas of concern, particularly flooded roadways and drains. Rockslides are possible along mountain highways caused by torrential snow/rain. Widespread very strong winds continue along higher elevations leading to air/road disruptions, particularly along U.S. Highway 395. Mammoth Lakes could experience power issues, tree damage with excessive winds along the Sierra ridges of 150+ mph.
Be Prepared
The Town advises residents to stay indoors and only travel if absolutely necessary. Be aware of localized flooding and slow down for standing water. Help your neighbors and keep your flood protection measures in place. Persons living along small creeks and streams should monitor the latest weather information and be prepared to take action should flooding occur. Secure outdoor items due to periods of strong winds this week, especially for lee-side valleys and foothills.

Town of Mammoth Lakes
P.O. Box 1609
Mammoth Lakes, CA, 93546
Ph: (760) 965-3600
Fax: (760) 934-7493

MAMMOTH MAYOR ON MOST RECENT STORM

Cleanup crews working overtime to keep roads clear.

By Seth Conners

A note from Mayor Richardson,

The Eastern Sierra is experiencing white-out conditions and our snow removal crews are working overtime to keep up with the extreme conditions. I would ask everyone who doesn’t absolutely need to be driving to please stay where you are and allow our snow removal crews (Town, private, CalTrans and MMSA) to do their jobs unhindered.

If you have to drive, make sure you have chains, drive slowly and heed to all posted no parking signs. Please note that chains may be required even on 4WD vehicles (R3 Chain restrictions).

Our Town employees are responding to a number of public and private concerns. We are requesting additional outside resources and have begun to pre-plan for the next series of storms.

To acknowledge all of the snow removal operators, police officers, fire department personnel and road crews for their exceptional efforts during these challenging times, give them a thumbs up sign when you see them driving by – it will make their day.

Thank you for looking out for each other, we as a community need to work together!

Sincerely,

Mayor, Shields Richardson

HIGH AWARD BESTOWED UPON LIONS CLUB LOCAL

HIGH AWARD BESTOWED UPON LIONS CLUB LOCAL

One of the highest awards a local Lions Club can bestow upon one of its members is the Melvin Jones Fellowship, named after the founder of Lions International in Chicago in 1917. The award is actually an investment made by a local Lions Club through its headquarters in Chicago for international programs aimed at vision and hearing loss prevention and treatment, fighting global diabetes, hunger reduction for needy children, environmental improvement and solving pediatric cancer.

The Bishop Lions Club’s most recent Melvin Jones Scholarship Award is 2013-2014 Past President Bruce Kingsbury. Kingsbury was presented the award by current club president John Wooley. Kingsbury joins 40 other Bishop Lions who have received the award over the club’s almost 60 years of community presence and service. Special Diamond Progressive Melvin Jones Foundation awards have been given to Lions Janet Lowney in 2014 and the late Past District 4L-! Governor Ray Schaaf in 1991.

Kingbury joined the Bishop Lions Club in 1996 while still teaching at Palisade Glacier High School. Following his retirement in 2009, Bruce became more active in the clubs many fundraising activities, including working the food booth at the fairgrounds during Mule Days and the Tr-County Fair.

While working his way up the volunteer ranks within the club, did stints serving on the Board of Directors as 3rd Vice President, 1st VP and President. Kingsbury is a UCLA graduate in education, and is an Air Force veteran 1970-1975. He and his wife Maggie live in West Bishop and work and enjoy community activities and serving Lions International. Members of the public of the public with questions are invited to call President John Wooley at 760 872-3239 or Club Secretary Janey Lowney at 760 873-7060.

FELONY ARREST ON MAIN STREET

FELONY ARREST ON MAIN STREET

February 1, 2017

According to a press release from Bishop Police Department, last night at about 8:30 PM, a BPD Sergeant on patrol noticed an agitated male in front of businesses on the 100 block of S. Main St. Upon contacting the man, the Sergeant recognized him as Benjamin Bloom. While investigating further, the Sergeant determined Bloom was under the influence of a stimulant-type drug.

Bloom sensing an arrest challenged the Officers and began fighting with them. During the intense struggle, the suspect attempted several times to remove the Officer’s gun from its holster. The Sergeant and the Officer sustained damaged equipment and a minor injury.
27-year-old Bloom was taken to the hospital for medical clearance and then booked into the Inyo County Jail on the following charges:
69(a) PC (Felony): Threats or violence to deter police from performing official duty; resisting by force or violence
148(d) PC (Felony): Resisting, attempt to take firearm from Peace Officer
243(b) PC (Misd.): Battery on a Peace Officer
Anyone having witnessed Bloom’s conduct or this event, please contact the Bishop Police Department at (760) 873-5866.

 

SAGE GROUSE

$8 Million Fund Created to Improve Water Quality
and Conserve Greater Sage-Grouse in the Eastern Sierra

By Seth Conners

In a landmark victory for local conservation and the long-term health of the Eastern Sierra, the USDA’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) has created an $8 million fund to support initiatives conserving the Bi-State population of greater sage-grouse and enhancing ranch water quality in the region.
Sage-grouse thrive in wide-open areas with abundant sagebrush, native grasses, and wet meadows – a landscape known as the sagebrush ecosystem, frequently found on working ranches. The RCPP will ensure that sage-grouse, along with other wildlife species that rely on the sagebrush ecosystem, will continue to exist harmoniously on ranchlands for years to come. This funding is available to landowners in the Bi-State area along the California-Nevada border.
Local non-profit Eastern Sierra Land Trust (ESLT) spearheaded the funding request with ten other national, state, regional, and private partners.
“Clean water and ranch stewardship are priorities that span state and party lines, and the Bi-State demonstrates that spirit of collaboration. This award is an affirmation of the work we are doing together and the power of partnership,” commented Susanna Danner, Land Conservation Program Director at ESLT.
Administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the RCPP is a new and highly-competitive program created in the 2014 Farm Bill. The RCPP awards innovative projects across the country that improve the nation’s water quality, combat drought, enhance soil health, support wildlife habitat, and protect agricultural viability.
One of only 88 projects funded nationwide, this investment is a direct result of the Bi-State Local Area Working Group (LAWG), a dynamic, cross-state partnership formed in 2002 to conserve sage-grouse habitat and protect rangeland health. The LAWG is composed of ranchers, conservationists, private organizations, state and local officials, and public land managers. In 2015, this group played a pivotal role in keeping the Bi-State population of greater sage-grouse off the Endangered Species List, effectively working together to solve a problem before additional regulation was necessary.
“This is an outstanding example of what can be achieved when people come together with a focus on solving a problem by harmonizing the diverse interests of all those involved,” remarked Pete Pumphrey, Eastern Sierra Audubon Society Conservation Chair.

What is the Bi-State Sage-Grouse?
When early explorers first surveyed the Great Basin, greater sage-grouse were so plentiful that the sky was said to darken when flocks took to the air. But after facing two centuries of habitat destruction and other threats, sage-grouse are now much rarer in the American West. Once numbering more than 16 million across the western United States, there are now only an estimated 500,000 of these birds left.
Found in eastern California and western Nevada, the Bi-State sage-grouse is a unique population of greater sage-grouse – one that is now considered to be much stronger thanks to years of conservation work by the LAWG.
It is also a bellwether species: the health of sage-grouse populations is indicative of the condition of the land itself. Where sage-grouse are in trouble, it’s more likely that other wildlife – like pronghorn, golden eagle, and more than 350 other species that rely on the sagebrush ecosystem – are in trouble, too.
Building On Success
Eastern Sierra Land Trust and its ten partners have agreed to leverage the RCPP’s $8 million investment by contributing an additional $20 million in funding and in-kind support to bolster sage-grouse conservation and water quality improvements.
According to Steve Nelson, field manager for the Bureau of Land Management’s Bishop Field Office, “The conservation and enhancement of working ranch lands is a fundamental component of the cooperative, landscape scale effort to conserve greater sage-grouse in the Bi-State area of eastern California and western Nevada.”
The impact of this funding will be far-reaching. In the Eastern Sierra, it means the protection of habitat for sage-grouse and other wildlife, clean water for local families, and the conservation of the region’s ranching heritage for future generations.
To Kay Ogden, Executive Director of Eastern Sierra Land Trust, the RCPP award is a major success for the community as a whole.
“From conservationists, to birding enthusiasts, to ranchers, to fishermen – this is a victory for everyone.”
About the Fund
The $8 million fund will be available for five years to landowners in portions of Inyo, Mono, and Alpine Counties of California and portions of Douglas, Lyon, Carson City, Mineral, and Esmeralda Counties in Nevada – an area of 7,000 square miles. Ranchers can apply to receive funds from this pool in order to complete projects that will enhance sage-grouse habitat and improve water quality on property they own and manage. In addition, local organizations such as Eastern Sierra Land Trust will be available to advise landowners and assist them in the application process.
NRCS will implement RCPP conservation contracts through three existing NRCS programs: Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Agricultural Conservation Easement Program – Grasslands of Special Significance, and Wetlands Reserve Easements. Examples of eligible projects include EQIP contracts to restore wetlands, construct wildlife-friendly fencing, prevent erosion by planting native grasses and shrubs, and reduce nonpoint source pollution to creeks and rivers. The RCPP also prioritizes voluntary conservation easements on private ranches and wetlands that provide sage-grouse habitat.
Any landowner interested in pursuing a project that will benefit the goals of the RCPP is encouraged to contact Susanna Danner, ESLT Land Conservation Program Director, at (760) 873-4554 or susanna@eslt.org.

NIHD

NIHD, BUHS DEVELOPING PARTNERSHIP FOR STUDENT HEALTH

By Seth Conners

According to Barbara Laughon at NIHD, a budding partnership between Northern Inyo Healthcare District and Bishop Union High School that could give students access to on-campus healthcare took center stage at Wednesday evening’s NIHD’s Board of Directors meeting.
An unexpected offering of thanks from BUHS Football Coach Arnie Palu set the tone for the evening. Speaking during the public comment session of the meeting, Palu offered thanks to the healthcare district and specifically Orthopedic doctors Mark Robinson and Richard Meredick, who for the past several seasons volunteered their time to serve as the team’s sideline doctors during home games.
“This is one of those services that we’ve had for so long that we get a bit complacent about how fortunate we are to have it,” Palu said. “But when we go to other schools and don’t have a sideline doctor, then we realize how great we have it here, so from all of us at Bronco Football, we publicly want to thank Drs. Robinson and Meredick and the District for their support.”
As for on-campus healthcare, NIHD’s Chief Executive Officer Kevin S. Flanigan, MD MBA, said BUHS and NIHD officials have been discussing an opportunity to develop a program that would place a certified healthcare provider on campus one or two days a week. Students could access the provider throughout those days for state-authorized healthcare issues.
While this already has been discussed at two different BUHS Board of Education meetings, this was the first time it came before the NIHD Board. After the meeting, Dr. Flanigan noted that this was a natural next step. “It is important to get board approval to move from the concept phase to the development phase,” he said.

BUHS Superintendent Barry Simpson told the NIHD Board that the school’s current healthcare clerk can do some things for the students, such as managing diabetes medications and providing First Aid.
“But the idea that we could actually have a healthcare professional on-site where our students can come on their turf and speak to the professional about those things that they are often too afraid or too nervous to talk to anyone else about is an exciting opportunity that we would want to support,” Simpson said.
Simpson noted the school board had made no final decision of any kind on this issue. “This is a big proposition for our community, and we want to do this slowly and make sure our parents are aware of the topics surrounding this idea.”
In an interview following Wednesday’s meeting, Dr. Flanigan said, “NIHD could not be more proud to build upon our mission statement of ‘One Team, One Goal, Your Health.’ Now as we build upon our teamwork with the school district, we gain the opportunity to improve healthcare access to our communities’ adolescents and therefore their health.”

BISHOP CREEK TRANSIT

ESTA SEEKS PUBLIC INPUT ON POSSIBLE BISHOP CREEK ROUTE

By Seth Conners
EASTERN SIERRA TRANSIT
BISHOP CREEK SHUTTLE STAKEHOLDER MEETING
Friday, January 27, 2017 – 10:00am
City of Bishop Executive Conference Room
377 West Line Street, Bishop, CA

The Bishop Creek area represents one of the key recreation destinations for residents and visitors in Inyo County. Given the area’s popularity, Eastern Sierra Transit’s Short Range Transit Plan analyzed and recommended the possibility of providing summer seasonal service along Bishop Creek.

Eastern Sierra Transit Authority is seeking stakeholder input on the possibility of a shuttle service between Bishop and the Bishop Creek area. A stakeholder meeting will be held on Friday, January 27, 2017, 10:00am at the City of Bishop Executive Conference Room (377 West Line Street, Bishop, CA). Anyone with interest in the expansion of public transit is the Bishop Creek area is invited to attend. Comment will also be accepted by email: jbatchelder@estransit.com or by calling 760-872-1901 ext. 11.

CODE RED REMINDER

SIGNING UP FOR CODE RED CAN BE A LIFE SAVER IN THE FACE OF AN ONCOMING EMERGENCY.

By Seth Conners

The Inyo County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind residents and business owners of Inyo County to please sign up for CodeRED. This is especially important if you have changed your phone number or address in the past year, or if you use a cellular phone as your primary number.

CodeRED is a high-speed notification solution that quickly delivers emergency messages to targeted areas or the entire county. Because the notifications are geographically based, a street address is required to ensure emergency notification calls are received by the proper individuals in a given situation.

Signing up for CodeRED is simple. Either click on the CodeRED link on the Sheriff’s webpage, www.inyosheriff.org , or you can stop by any of their substations and pick up an enrollment form (between the hours of 8:00am and 5:00pm).

OHV GRANTS

INF AND BLM TEAM UP TO GATHER PUBLIC IDEAS FOR GRANT APPLICATIONS.

By Seth Conners

According to Deb Schweizer from the US Forest Service, the Inyo National Forest and the Bishop Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management will hold an open house on Thursday, Feb. 2 to gather public ideas for requesting off-highway vehicle grant funds.
The informal open house will run from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Forest Service/BLM office, 351 Pacu Lane, Bishop.
The agencies plan to request grant funds from the State of California Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division (OHMVR) to enhance and manage motorized recreation in the area. Interested citizens are invited to drop in at any time during the open house and provide ideas for projects and opportunities that could be incorporated into the grants. Representatives from the two agencies will be available to answer questions about the grant process and to receive input for developing the grants.
Preliminary grant applications will be submitted to the OHMVR Division by March 6. The public will then be able to comment on the preliminary applications from March 7 to April 3. Final applications must be submitted by May 1. For more information about the state grant process and requirements, visit the OHMVR Division website at www.ohv.parks.ca.gov
For more information, to submit your ideas through other means, or if you have special needs for accommodation to participate in this open house, call Forest Trails Coordinator Marty Hornick at (760) 873-2461; or BLM Outdoor Recreation Planner Sara Manley at (760) 872-5033.