Community News

Saline Valley Warm Springs Management Plan Update

Record of Decision for the Saline Valley Warm Springs Plan

DEATH VALLEY, CA – The National Park Service announces the availability of the Record of Decision (ROD) for the Saline Valley Warm Springs Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (plan/EIS). The Record of Decision outlines the agency’s actions for managing visitor use, natural resources, cultural resources, and facilities at this backcountry site.

The selected alternative will allow for the continued recreational use of the warm springs, while balancing the protection of natural resources and historic and ethnographic values. The selected alternative incorporates community engagement through Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with interested organized groups.

Saline Valley Warm Springs are located in a remote northwest corner of Death Valley National Park, 35 miles from the closest paved road. The springs have been important to the Timbisha Shoshone Tribe since time immemorial. Recreational users developed soaking tubs and art installations starting in the 1950s. The site was managed by the Bureau of Land Management until it was transferred to NPS with the California Desert Protection Act in 1994.

The NPS started working on a management plan for the site in 2012. Inyo County, the BLM, and the Timbisha Shoshone Tribe participated in the plan as cooperating agencies. Several organizations were heavily involved in providing comments, including the Saline Preservation Association and Recreation Aviation Foundation.

The National Park Service posted the completed Saline Valley Warm Springs plan/EIS on May 10. The Record of Decision is the formal approval of the plan and makes it effective as of June 14.

Get Ready for Higher Water Rates in Inyo County

Water rates are changing for Lone Pine, Independence, and Laws.

County Administrative Officer, Clint Quilter, 1st District Supervisor Dan Totheroh, 4th District Supervisor Mark Tilemans, and 5th District Supervisor Matt Kingsley were in attendance at Wednesday’s water rates workshop along with Mike Errante and Chris Cash from the Public Works Department to field questions on the proposed rate changes.

“The water system needs attention.” Public Works Director, Mike Errante told a concerned group of citizens on Wednesday night. “We are falling way behind on improvements, and this is a way to catch up.”

County officials stated that the rate increase will reflect costs of delivery of water rather than the actual water itself.

Deputy Director of Public Works, Chris Cash discussed how getting water from the source to homes and businesses is not as simple as one may be led to believe, noting issues with pressure, purification, equipment, delivery methods, staffing, and adequate quality.

After Errante and Cash were finished answering questions, they introduced Vice President of public utility consulting firm, Raftelis, Sanjay Gaur. Gaur began the PowerPoint presentation highlighting the nature of water systems, fees and taxes, the current financial plan, and proposed rates and billing.

Gaur discussed how the Inyo County water system does not pay for its water, however, they pay for the ability to use water to 24/7. Additionally, water is not taxed in California, but is treated as a service from the county to the public.

According to Gaur’s presentation, Inyo County’s revenue from water systems equates to an average of $370,164 per year. While their total operating budget for fiscal year 2018 is $436,588 which equates to a loss of -$66,424 for that year. Gaur argued that each year the system is not renovated using the aforementioned numbers, the net loss over five years is projected to reach -$176,229.

However, with the increased water rates, the county’s total capital improvement plan would be increased by $150,000 each year after 2021. Having a capital improvement plan will allow Inyo to build up a budget for necessary projects such as renovating the water system.

Two scenarios were proposed at the meeting to assuage the county’s lack of funds, with both equating to the same amount of money being added to the water system. The first scenario would have an up-front water bill increase of 30%, with the rest of the increase going up 10% each year until 2024. Scenario two, which is the one the county promoted more to the audience has a 50% increase in rates starting in 2020, then in 2021 it would increase by 10%, and afterward the bill would increase by 5% each year until 2024.

Scenario one would increase most residential water bills from the current quoted rate of $28.38 then move up to $38.45 in 2020. At the end of this rate increase cycle, most residential units will be paying $56.31 by 2024.

Scenario two would see an extreme jump of $44.36 per month for most residential properties during the first year. After the initial hike, the rates would moderately increase until they reach $56.51 per month in 2024.

On top of the already high bills residents will be paying, those who live in Independence can expect a surcharge of $6.34 per month to help make up the difference of an emergency water line that was installed. The cost of that line was $150,000 and the proposed rates will help pay off the county’s loan.

According to the PowerPoint regarding excess water usage, “Independence, Lone Pine, and Laws each have a water use threshold.If water is pumped above the threshold, there is an additional cost from LADWP.”

The water rate alteration is the first significant change for this utility since 2004. After the five year span of raising the rates, don’t expect them to go down. When asked by an individual in the crowd about a potential decrease in utility payments, Sanjay Gaur was quick to shoot the notion down saying, “No, the rates will stay the same after 2024 but they will not go down. The Golden Gate Bridge is constantly being painted. A water system is just like that in the sense that there is constant maintenance and upkeep.”

Inyo County Commercial Cannabis Application Window Set to Reopen

Inyo County Agricultural Commissioner Nate Reade announced that the county will again be accepting applications to operate cannabis businesses within the unincorporated portions of Inyo County beginning on June 10, 2019. The license application window will remain open to potential business owners at least until August 9, 2019. Once the application window closes, scoring of applications will occur with a final determination made by the Inyo County Board of Supervisors at a public meeting. Application fees will remain $2,711.89. License fees, which will be charged if an applicant is successful, are set at $8,850.00. A list of available license types by licensing zone is posted on the both the Inyo County and Inyo County Agricultural Commissioner’s websites.

The business license is one component necessary for a cannabis business to be legal in Inyo County, the other being a conditional use permit for the property where the business activities will occur. Interested individuals can find more information at the Inyo County website, www.inyocounty.us, or at the Inyo/Mono Counties Agricultural Commissioner’s site at www.inyomonoagriculture.com

Every Senior for 2019 Class Set to Graduate in KIBS Coverage Area

Graduation season is here in the Eastern Sierra and West and South Central Nevada. With all of the schools saying goodbye to the class of 2019, parents can be proud of the numbers.

Bishop Union High School will be seeing 122 students receiving diplomas, with no seniors ineligible to walk. The valedictorian of of Bishop High School will be Ariana Pope, who is scheduled to study at the University of Nevada, Reno.

As for south of KIBS/KBOV studios, Big Pine High School will see their class of five seniors walk, with the top student of the class, Cassandra Meza also attending University of Nevada, Reno.

Owens Valley School will have their two seniors walk on June 6th, with Steven Mather being crowned as Valedictorian.

Lone Pine have sixteen seniors slated to graduate depending on how finals go, with the valedictorian still undecided.

Up north in Mono County, Lee Vining will see six graduates walk with two co-valedictorians. The two girls atop the class are Caelen McQuilkin, and Sophia McKee.

Mammoth High School will see ninety-nine seniors graduate, which is one of their largest classes ever. The valedictorian is Guy Laborde.

Over in Tonopah, Nevada, the senior class has already graduated. Thirty-eight students walked with no seniors ineligible to receive their diplomas. The valedictorian for Tonopah High School is Delaney Friel. Currently, she is undecided as to where she will attend college.

Lastly, Round Mountain High School had thirteen graduates walk last week.

Congratulations to the class of 2019!

Bishop Massacre Foothill to Win the Championship

A Trojan Horse entered through the gates of Troy Tuesday afternoon as the Bishop Broncos slaughtered the Foothill Trojans to take the CIF Division VI Championship.

However, this Trojan war didn’t last nearly as long as the one featured in ancient mythology. Instead of a war which lasted for ten years, it seemed like this one lasted for ten minutes.

Playing the role of the Greeks were the Bishop Broncos, who caught their opposition by surprise when they scored nine runs in the first inning, which ended the game before it had even begun.

Braeden Gillem got a lead-off double, which put him in scoring position. Michael Kubiak was then walked and now Bishop had two on base, setting up the perfect opportunity for the next batter to drive a few runs in.

Senior, Cal Omohundro hit a two RBI double his first time at the plate, giving the Broncos a 2-0 lead early.

The next player to get a piece of the action was Jalen Watterson, who knocked in a few more runs, which made it 4-0 with nobody out.

As the inning dragged on for the Trojans, they finally got two outs, and just when it felt like they were going to find a way to salvage part of the first inning, they loaded the bases for Michael Kubiak.

Uh oh…

Kubiak crushed Sal Peru’s ball to dead center field, which kept traveling until it reached it’s final destination at 350 feet. The senior hit a grand slam, after launching one out of the park in the last week against Lindsay.

The first inning finally came to a close and the Broncos had a 9-0 lead.

Playing the role of Odysseus in this game was Cal Omohundro, who had 7 RBI’s in the championship. When it was the big guy’s turn for his second at-bat, he obliterated a ball to left-center field for a three run home run, which gave the Broncos a 15-0  lead.

The innings continued, and more runs were piled on until the game finally ended 25-2. The margin of victory was the second largest the Broncos had all season, with the first being a 25-1 win against the lowly California City Ravens, who finished second to last in the High Desert League.

As for Foothill, the championship game was the worst defeat they have suffered all year.

Bishop finished their season with an 18-4 overall record and are the 2019 CIF Central Section Division VI Champions.

 

Photos courtesy of Gary Young Photography

Rodger Guffey Obituary

Rodger Guffey, born 5/18/1943, passed away unexpectedly on 5/17/2019. He was born in Kansas City, Kansas and played football and studied architecture at Kansas University. Thanks to the Beach Boys, he moved west to Manhattan Beach where he worked as a toy designer for Ravel. His desire to ski brought him to relocate in Mammoth Lakes, Ca. in 1969. He skied every year since. In 1971 he started, owned and operated Perry’s Pizza, later renamed as Perry’s Italian Café, which he eventually sold to different owners. He owned and operated restaurants up until his passing including Pucchetti’s, Guiseppi’s, Tiger Bar, McDuffys, and Grumpy’s. As if we wasn’t busy enough, he was intimately involved in running a variety of events. He was a charter member or Rotary and past president and became the “go-to” person for any and all barbeques or water stations to support athletic contests, Disabled Sports of the Eastern Sierra Events, and the Mono County Sheriff Search and Rescue Golf Tournament. He coached MHS softball and AYSO soccer. He was integral in running and managing the Gold Rush Days and the Mammoth Lakes Jazz Jubilee. On most days, you would find him meeting with friends and other business owners early in the morning for breakfast or the Lunch Bunch on Tuesdays. He is survived by his precious wife Carol Guffey, daughter Megan Guffey, son Ryan Naranjo, granddaughter Reyna Naranjo, and his brother Ron Guffey.

As I think back on my dad’s life and our life as a family, I couldn’t have been more blessed. He truly was an amazing man. He was selfless, put others first, always serving and supporting others, especially his wife. He was completely loyal and faithful to my mother and family. He always encouraged us and was kind. He never raised his voiced or put us down. He was diligent and worked hard so that he could play hard, and even never missed an athletic contest or music event I played in, including college and while I coached. He pursued the little things to bless, uplift, encourage, and set others up for success. He believed that one should work hard, do it well, and be proud of the work one did. When a situation seemed overwhelming, he was so even keel and tackled the looming task with one step at a time. He always sought ways to make things work. He was patient yet firm. He was humble yet confident. Diligent yet fun loving. For as long as I can remember, we never left each other without a hug and an “I Love You,” even if we were only going to be gone a few minutes. He also loved and believed in Jesus as the author and finisher of our faith, our strength in times of weakness, our gentle and loving savior who gave his life so that others may live. He may not have vocalized it much, but his faith sure was visible in his serving of others and his character.

A public graveside service will be held Saturday June 8th at 12 pm at the East Line Cemetery in Bishop.

In lieu of flowers and gifts, please make a donation in loving memory to Chamber Music Unbound, POB 1219 Mammoth Lakes, Ca. 93546 or Disabled Sports of the Eastern Sierra, POB 7275 Mammoth Lakes, Ca. 93546-7275.

Pearl Hartless Obituary

Our Dearest Pearl left us on May 12,2019, to be with our Lord. Pearl was a homemaker, wife, mother, sister, Grandmother, Great Grandmother. She love fishing, family outings, cookouts and just being with family. She was originally from Missouri, move to Virginia where she met her husband of 70 years Tom. Moved around from Oklahoma, to California, eventuality settling in Bishop. She is survived by her husband, Tom, three sons, Gary, Wayne, Jeff, and one daughter, Barbara Florian. One sister, June Verburg, and one brother, Larry Walker. Grandkids, Shawna Graves ,Jason Hartless, Traci Hartless, Matt Hartless, Michael Hartless. Great grand kids, Devin Florian, and Reese Hartless.

She will be truly missed. May God bless, and she rest in peace.

Mono County DA Arrest Alleged Child Sexual Predator

On May 16, 2019, Mono County District Attorney Investigators,with the assistance of Mammoth Lakes Police Department,arrested Jorge Romero Espitia for 19 felony charges, including alleged sexual acts with minors and providing methamphetamine to minors. He is currently in custody with bail set at $500,000.

There is reason to believe there may be other victims. If you or someone you know has information concerning Mr. Espitia and potential sexual acts with minors or furnishing illegal drugs to minors please contact Mono County District Attorney Chief Investigator Chris Callinan directly at 760-858-2127.

You may also walk in during normal business hours to the Mammoth Lakes branch of the District Attorney’s office located in the Sierra Center Mall at 452 Old Mammoth Road.

Suspect Wanted by Authorities After Possible Kidnapping in Bishop

Authorities are looking for a possible kidnapping suspect in the Bishop Area. At 12:46 PM on May 16, a 911 call was received to report a dispute between a male and female at the Arco in Bishop on South Main Street.

A Hispanic male and Hispanic female were screaming at each other, and after arguing, the male suspect was seen by witnesses dragging the female into what was reported as a white Ford Pickup truck with two Pitbulls in the back.

The male was also seen reaching into his waistband, but witnesses could not identify a weapon.

A few minutes later, a second report came into dispatch stating that the female jumped out of the car on Barlow and West Line Streets to escape the male. The driver then chased the female with the pickup truck, which was reported this time as a White Chevy Truck.

The California Highway Patrol, Bishop Police Department, and Inyo County Sheriff’s Department are all investigating this matter and looking for the Hispanic male suspect.

Carl Pearce Obituary

Carl Pearce was a cowboy, rodeo contestant, rancher, dude wrangler, horseman, chef, farmer, athlete, college graduate, soldier, aviator, coach, paratrooper, restaurateur, investment broker, Rotarian, insurance broker, family man, local philanthropist, cancer survivor, confidant, friend, father, husband, and self-made man.

Carl was born in Portland, Oregon on March 15, 1935 and passed away May 15, 2019. He graduated Bishop High school where he was actively involved with the agriculture program and where he excelled in football and basketball. He could consistently sink a basketball from half court and was often called upon in clutch situations to bring the team to a win. He participated in rodeo winning many awards, including the 1952 Bishop Homecoming calf roping contest and the wild cow riding championship at the Cow Palace in San Francisco.

After High School graduation Carl attended a year at Pierce Junior college where he played basketball. He transferred to UC Davis and graduated in 1958. He was in the top of his Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program class which provided unique opportunities afforded to the best in the military. Carl entered the United States Army in 1958, and completed infantry training, along with Army Ranger, Airborne, and Aviation schools. While in the Army he married Arlene Brierly and they moved to Fort Lewis, Washington where Carl served with the 4th Aviation Division. He flew the tandem rotor H-21, known as the flying banana, and was the first group of Army aviators to transition from piston powered helicopters to turbine helicopters receiving training in the historic Huey Helicopter. He survived 3 helicopter accidents during his flying career. Two of those accidents were significant, and one was a minor accident. He flew helicopters in Alaska as part of the government’s concern over potential invasion by Russia through Alaska. Carl was honorably discharged from the Army as a Captain in 1963 when he returned to Bishop with his family Arlene, Mark, Hugh, and Rob to work for the Brierly Ranch.

Carl worked several years on the Brierly Ranch, farming, irrigating, and working cattle. During that time, he decided to move on to other opportunities and joined New York Life Insurance Company in 1966. He also later went into business with Johnny Morris at the Embers Restaurant. He was an agent with New York Life Insurance Company for 50 years. He achieved many awards with them over the years including President’s Council and Million Dollar Round Table.

Carl was actively involved in the local community through the Rotary Club where he served as President. He coached youth basketball and football, was involved with the Foundation for Excellence, and was in short “a huge part” of the local community. He served as Inyo County Cattlemen’s president and was a California Cattlemen’s Association Director. He gave freely of his time and money to many local causes and people in need.

Carl loved life, he enjoyed entertaining people at his home, dining with friends, and helping people in need. He relished fine dining and a good glass of wine. He loved animals; his Emmy Lou and Rachel were his constant companions.

He was proceeded in death by his son Hugh Pearce, grandparents Thurman and Grace Wilkerson, father Frank Pearce, mother Alma Mack, step father Gerald Mack, step mother Macel Pearce, and brothers Frank and Stan. He is survived by his wife of 59 years Arlene; sons Rob and Mark; daughter in-law Lee Ann; siblings Eddie and Anne; nieces and nephews Vickie, Cole, and Joan; grandchildren Mario and Marina, and many other cousins and shirt tail relatives.

Special thanks go to Crystal, Norma, Silvia, and Lala, who helped care for Carl in the last part of his life when he was in ill health. Special thanks to Terri Dean for many years working with Carl and being a close part of the family. They all are part of the family.

Carl lived an honorable and good life. He was the epitome of a self-made man. He came from very humble beginnings, worked hard to obtain an education, and built a successful business, raised a family, served his country and community, and was a good friend to many. He will be missed.

Graveside services will be held at the Pioneer (West Line Street) Cemetery, Wednesday May 29, at 11 AM. A reception lunch will follow. The reception location to be announced at the service. The family requests in lieu of flowers donations be made in Carl’s memory to the Laws Railroad Museum (Bishop Museum and Historical Society), P.O. Box 363; Bishop, CA 93514.