Community News


Cancer awareness fundraiser is part “Students Supporting Cancer Awareness” campaign

Posted by Seth Conners

According to a press release from Bishop Union High School, students of Bishop Union High School are hosting a fundraising carnival to support the ESCA (Eastern Sierra Cancer Alliance).  The community is invited to the family, fun event that will take place tonight from 5:30pm to 7:00pm in the mall at Bishop Union High School.


The Bishop Unified School District is running a district wide “Students Supporting Cancer Awareness” campaign from March 27th to April 7th.  During this 2 week period, students will have many fun and creative activities on each campus to help raise money and awareness for cancer.  All funds raised at the carnival will go towards Bishop Union High School’s contribution to the Eastern Sierra Cancer Alliance.  The ESCA is a grassroots, non-profit organization that helps many Inyo and Mono county residents by providing resources, financial aid, and gives moral support for those battling cancer.  


The carnival will feature a variety of classic games such as mini golf, frisbee toss, Nerf Gun shooting range, hoop shoot, ring toss, and football toss.  Prizes will include a photo-shoot with Mike McDermott, a photo-shoot with Steve Dutcher,  and Toys donated by J. Rousek Toy Company; a food booth will be hosted by the Bronco Booster Club.  



Join us for a celebration of life for our beloved Dink, as we send him to that stage in the sky.  Share your memories and join us for a potluck.  Drinks will be provided.

DATE:  April 7th, 2017

LOCATION:  Owens Valley School Multipurpose Room

ADDRESS: 202 S. Clay Street, Independence, Ca

TIME: 4:30 PM

Dink’s former band mates will be honoring Dink With a live performance.  Please bring your own chair.


Yosemite Conservancy provides $12 million dollars to Yosemite National Park

Posted by Seth Conners

According to Scott Gediman from Yosemite, Yosemite Conservancy is providing $12 million in support to Yosemite National Park for 34 projects in 2017 including building a new trail to the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias along a historic stage-coach route, restoring bee, butterfly and hummingbird habitat, and studying species in Ackerson Meadow, the newest area of the park.


“Incredible work is being done in Yosemite to protect habitat and wildlife and to make it an even better experience for visitors through our successful partnership with Yosemite National Park,” said Frank Dean, Yosemite Conservancy president. “Gifts from Yosemite Conservancy donors make this important work possible.” In recent years, the Conservancy has funded 570 completed projects with more than $113 million in grants.


“Yosemite Conservancy’s generous support provides ways for us to protect and learn more about the park’s natural environment so we can be even better stewards of this national treasure,” said Yosemite National Park Acting Superintendent Chip Jenkins.


In 2017, funding is going toward a variety of grants. One grant is funding a new trail to be built from the park’s South Entrance to the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. Crews will begin converting remnants of the historic Washburn Road, which was built in 1879 as a stage-coach route from Wawona to the Grove, into a trail by building creek-crossing bridges, constructing a new picnic area and repairing walls made by 19th-century Chinese laborers. The new trail is scheduled to open in 2018. Funding for the trail is in addition to the $20 million provided by Conservancy donors as part of a $40 million project to restore the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. Yosemite National Park is providing $20 million in support for the restoration project. The Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias is expected to reopen to the public this fall.


Among the research projects funded is a study of Monarch butterflies, one of the most prolific international migratory animals, and now a candidate for the Endangered Species List, and other pollinators to help determine why their numbers are declining. Funding also will restore bee, hummingbird, butterfly and other pollinators’ meadow habitat in the park that is losing ground to invasive grasses, meadow fragmentation and other factors. Yosemite is a refuge for pollinators, which play an essential role in healthy ecosystems but are experiencing worldwide declines due to habitat loss. As part of a multi-year project, scientists will release more Western pond turtles and red-legged frogs in Yosemite Valley and additional yellow-legged frog populations at alpine lakes to aid efforts to restore those species. Another grant will study species like the great gray owl and willow flycatcher in 400-acre Ackerson Meadow, which became part of Yosemite in 2016 with major support by Yosemite Conservancy donors.


The Conservancy’s arts, cultural and theater programs forge deeper connections with park visitors of all ages to create lasting memories and encourage life-long stewardship. Dozens of accomplished artists teach Yosemite Conservancy’s art workshops. Yosemite Theater performances at the Valley Visitor Center entertain and educate visitors from around the world. Sales from Conservancy bookstores, which sell items like trail maps and educational books and videos, are poured back into Yosemite. At park Wilderness Centers, Conservancy staff provides bear canister rentals and backcountry permits. Yosemite Conservancy Outdoor Adventure programs are a unique way to see, learn about and experience the park, and inspire people to care for one of the world’s natural treasures.


Learn more at or call 1-415-434-1782.

Photo provided by Yosemite Conservancy



Single vehicle rollover leaves one dead and two injured on Highway 6

Posted by Seth Conners

According to CHP in Bishop, on March 26, at approximately 5:30 am, CHP Bishop Communications Center was notified of a single vehicle rollover collision on US 6, south of the Nevada State Line. Personnel from White Mountain Fire/Rescue, Symon’s Ambulance, Mono County Deputies and the California Highway Patrol responded to the scene. Upon arrival, White Mountain Fire/Rescue personnel located the vehicle occupants in various levels of injury, including a juvenile passenger lying in the road unresponsive. These personnel rendered aid to the occupants until relieved by Symon’s Ambulance personnel. Despite a valiant attempt by all first responders to resuscitate the unresponsive passenger, He succumbed to his injuries as a result of the collision.

According to the report, a preliminary investigation of the evidence at the scene by CHP Officers indicated that the Ford and trailer were traveling southbound on US 6 at the stated 60 miles per hour. At approximately 0530 hours, for an unsubstantiated reason, the Ford and trailer crossed over the northbound lane of travel, onto the northbound dirt shoulder and struck a paddle marker. The driver turned the Ford and trailer to the right, onto the roadway and lost control of the vehicle. The Ford and trailer began to slide sideways until rolling over at least one time in the southbound lane and came to rest on their wheels facing east. None of the vehicle occupants were wearing their seat belts and three of them were ejected during the rollover sequence.

The cause of this collision is currently under investigation by the Bishop Area CHP.



LADWP to get started on the replacement of a water pipe crucial to agriculture on the Big Pine Paiute Reservation

Posted by Seth Conners

According to a press release from Amanda Parson at DWP, at Tuesday’s Los Angeles Board of Water and Power Commissioners meeting, a number of members of the Big Pine Paiute Tribe and other tribal advocates appealed to the board members to take action to repair a failing 75-year-old irrigation pipe that provides water to tribal lands in the Owens Valley during the general public comment portion of the agenda. Leaks along the 1300 foot, 18 inch line, constructed around 1940 by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, have greatly diminished the line’s ability to provide water for irrigation of the tribe’s reservation land. Issues over ownership of the line and future responsibility for its repair and maintenance had slowed addressing the situation. Although in recent months, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) had agreed to make the repairs pending resolution of these issues.


During the course of the public comment, Commissioner Christina Noonan was so moved by the heartfelt stories and concerns for the welfare of the tribal members that she offered to personally cover the cost of the pipe repair in order to make water available this irrigation season. She commented, “As a long-time representative of the City of LA on the LA-Inyo Standing committee, I understand both sides of the issues, and I am concerned that poor communications between the parties is prohibiting much needed action, so I am ready to resolve this today.” As the issue was not on the Board agenda, no action by the Board was able to be taken on the matter.


Following the Board meeting, LADWP General Manager David H. Wright directed staff to take immediate steps to fix the failing pipeline without using the Commissioner’s generous donation. Wright said, “Both the LADWP and the Big Pine Paiute Tribe of the Owens Valley are concerned that the pipeline be repaired as quickly as possible to prevent another year of major losses due to leakage. While LADWP had already previously offered to pay to fix the pipe as part of a mutual agreement, it is clear that we cannot wait to resolve broader issues surrounding future responsibilities quickly enough. In the spirit of cooperation, we will expedite the repair or replacement of the failing portions of the irrigation pipe at our own cost, as we had originally offered. We will continue discussions with the tribe and the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs regarding the underlying ownership, maintenance responsibilities and other issues at a future time.”


Inyo County Free Library closed for automation

Posted by Seth Conners

Inyo County Free Library will be temporarily closing the branches in Big Pine, Bishop, Independence and Lone Pine from Thursday, March 23 through Thursday, March 30, 2017 in order to apply about 13,000 barcodes to books. Librarians will be moving from branch to branch to complete this work.

We regret the inconvenience to our Library patrons, and appreciate your patience during this necessary closure. Big Pine, Bishop and Lone Pine Branches will resume normal operating hours on Friday, March 31, 2017. The Central Library in Independence will reopen on Saturday, April 1, 2017.


Bishop Union High School to host open house next Thursday

Posted by Seth Conners

According to Kathleen Stout at Bishop High, Thursday, March 30th – Bronco Pride Night will take place in the Bishop Union High School mall, or “quad”, from 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm. At 5:30, you will meet in the Auditorium in the main building, then head out to the mall to meet coaches, teachers, and club advisors. Following the Bronco Pride event will be performances by the BUHS Spirit Squad and Native American guests, and the BUHS fashion show from 6:30 pm – 7:15 pm, then the night will end with Open House from 7:15 pm – 8:00 pm.


Bronco Pride Night is an event for incoming freshman to get to know the school and the classes and courses we have to offer. It is also a chance to sign up for any clubs or sports you may be interested in. Bronco Pride Night is not mandatory and is not limited to only incoming freshman, parent and siblings are welcome as well. This event is a resource for new high school students so they can see what being a Bronco is all about! It also offers a perfect opportunity for any student interested in BUHS to come and see what the school has to offer, ask questions, and meet many of the faculty and staff. And if you’re feeling hungry, the Bronco Boosters will also be serving food!


From 6:30 pm – 7:15 pm, the BUHS Spirit Squad will perform, and following we will have a fashion show hosted by the fashion class. Every year at Open House, fashion teacher, Annette Holland, puts on a fashion show for some of her students to show off what they have created throughout the school year. For the closing performance, we will have Native American guests performing some of their cultural and spiritual dances and music.


Open House is an event for parents to see how their students have progressed during the year, see what their students learning environment is like, and to meet the teachers and staff that have been helping their student reach their greatest potential. During the Open House, an art show held by the BUHS art class will take place in the newly refurbished tech center for parents and incoming students to see what our art students have been creating.



Burglary in Olancha

Posted by Seth Conners

 Early this morning at approximately 2:45am, the Sheriff’s Office was notified of a burglary at the Ranch Motel in Olancha and attempted theft of a vehicle from the Mobil Gas Station in Olancha.

 The suspect broke into one of the rooms at the motel by kicking the door in, ransacking the room and stealing bedding. The suspect then attempted to steal a vehicle that was parked at the Olancha Mobil; however the vehicle was only able to be driven about 200 yards before it stopping running. The suspect then fled on foot northbound on Highway 395.

The Mobil was able to capture three photos on the security camera of the suspect. Based on the images we believe the suspect is a white male, around 5’8” with short dark hair with a potential bald spot on the back of his head. He is believed to be wearing a long sleeve green shirt and tan pants. If you have any information that may assist in the location of this suspect please contact the Sheriff’s Office at 760 878 0383.


NIHD has a new Chief Nursing Officer

Posted by Seth Conners
According to Barbara Laughon at NIHD, veteran registered nurse Tracy Aspel, perhaps best known in the community for her role in establishing the Rural Health Clinic alongside Dr. Stacey Brown, is now Northern Inyo Healthcare District’s Chief Nursing Officer.
Prior to being named CNO, Aspel served as Director of Nursing Practice and Interim CNO. As Chief Nursing Officer, Aspel is responsible for overseeing and coordinating NIHD’s nursing team and its daily operations.
“Tracy has a strong rapport with our nurses and has earned the respect of NIHD’s entire team for her tireless dedication to improving healthcare outcomes whether as a nurse, at the RHC or as an administrator,” said Dr. Kevin S. Flanigan, NIHD’s Chief Executive Officer. “She also brings a strong leadership ethic to this position, which will well serve the District, its nurses, and ultimately its patients.”
Aspel served as the RHC Director for 14 years before stepping into a nursing administrative role a little over a year ago. She was asked to be the Acting Chief Nursing Officer in 2016. Dr. Flanigan said Aspel more than proved her abilities to take on the demanding role in a full-time capacity.
“I love this hospital and our community,” Aspel said. “I have worked the majority of my career at Northern Inyo, where I have gotten to provide nursing care to my neighbors and be a part of an amazing team. Nursing is a wonderful career, where what you do matters each day. “
Aspel and her husband, Greg, live in Bishop and have two daughters.
In another leadership change, Maria Sirois, NIHD’s Chief Performance Excellence Officer, announced her resignation effective March 17 after three years of service. Sirois cited her desire to pursue her doctorate as her reason for leaving NIHD.
“We appreciate Maria’s service to the NIHD community and wish her well as she starts the next chapter of her academic and professional career,” Dr. Flanigan said. “We will miss the energy and passion for continuous improvement that Maria brought to our organization.”
Flanigan went on to say that during her tenure at NIHD, Sirois improved survey readiness and actively led and participated in Joint Commission and regulatory activities. She also built a team and a culture that is committed to improving processes and service for patients and their families.
Recruiting efforts are underway to locate a new leader for the risk and quality departments.
In other NIHD news, the District signed on to participate in Caltrans’ Adopt-A-Highway program and will be responsible for the two-mile stretch of U.S. 395 which serves as Bishop’s Main Street, and a similar area near Warm Springs Road.
The Adopt-A-Highway program, which began in the state in1989, is one of the truly successful government-public partnerships of modern time. More than 120,000 Californians have cleaned and enhanced more than 15,000 shoulder-miles of roadside.
Participation can include removing litter, planting and establishing trees or wildflowers, removing graffiti and controlling vegetation. Caltrans solely administers the Adopt-A-Highway Program. Adoptions usually span a two-mile stretch of roadside, and permits are issued for five-year periods.



Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti declares state of emergency to address unprecedented snowmelt in the Owens Valley

Posted by Seth Conners


According to a press release from DWP, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has declared a local State of Emergency to protect the lands and communities near the Los Angeles Aqueduct from flooding, as this year’s historic Eastern Sierra snowpack begins to melt into the Owens Valley.

This year’s snowpack in the Eastern Sierra is 241% above normal, and once spring sets in, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) expects the snowmelt to send up to 1 million acre-feet of runoff into the Owens Valley.

This runoff — nearly twice the amount of water Angelenos use in a year — will likely threaten local communities, hydroelectric power plants, and dust mitigation infrastructure in Owens Lake with destructive flooding. Mayor Garcetti’s Emergency Declaration will trigger City rules that enable LADWP to act quickly in response to the threat, and begin the process of requesting assistance from the state and federal governments.

“I am declaring a local State of Emergency today because we have a responsibility to protect Angelenos and the people of the Owens Valley — we must act quickly to address this threat,” said Mayor Garcetti. “I have also requested that Governor Brown help us coordinate our response with state agencies.”

“This emergency reminds us that climate change is not a problem for the distant future — it is already causing harm, and we know there is more to come. That’s why it’s critical for us to continue investing in infrastructure that makes our City more sustainable and resilient, and continue pushing to reduce our carbon emissions,” he added.

Mayor Garcetti is committed to making the City more sustainable, and combating climate change. His administration’s Sustainable City pLAn outlines ambitious goals for water conservation, carbon emission reduction, climate resiliency, and expanding the use of renewable energy. This historic snowpack directly after a historic drought is an example of the extreme climate patterns modeled in many climate studies.

Today’s Emergency Proclamation will help LADWP respond to the immediate threat of flooding in the Owens Valley by triggering special City rules that enable the utility to contract for the goods and services it needs more quickly. Since it is intended to last longer than seven days, the declaration requires approval by the City Council.

LADWP is already taking steps to prepare for this year’s snowmelt, and Mayor Garcetti’s declaration will enable the utility to act more quickly. For example, the agency is spreading water along the length of the L.A. Aqueduct system — so that the excess water can be used to replenish underground aquifers — and maximizing flows throughout the system, using more Aqueduct water to supply Los Angeles. It is also shoring up existing flood control infrastructure and emptying reservoirs along the Aqueduct to prepare for the snowmelt and protect its hydroelectric power plants and critical endangered species habitat from flooding.

In Owens Lake where the City has spent more than $1 billion on dust mitigation over the last two decades, LADWP is building new infrastructure to guide the flow of excess runoff away from its dust control operations and prevent them from destruction.

“Public safety is among our core values as an organization,” said LADWP General Manager David H. Wright. “LADWP has made a commitment to the residents of the Owens Valley to control dust emissions that can be harmful to breathe, and have spent over $1 billion on infrastructure to mitigate this dust. As storm waters threaten to destroy much of this investment, we must honor our commitment to the residents of the Owens Valley to reduce this form of air pollution, just like we honor our commitments to rate payers in the L.A. Basin. This Declaration by Mayor Garcetti today allows us to bypass lengthy supply procurement regulations to ensure that we can immediately continue to keep particulate matter from being blown off the dry lake playa during periods of high winds.”