Community News

Death Valley Set to Open All Camgrounds

DEATH VALLEY, CA – Stovepipe Wells and Texas Springs Campgrounds will open on November 14. At that point, all of Death Valley National Park’s 785 front-country campsites will be open.

Campground fees range from free to $36/night. Eighteen sites at Furnace Creek Campground offer RV hookups.

All campgrounds are first-come, first-served, except Furnace Creek Campground. Campers can reserve for Furnace Creek four days to six months in advance at or 877-444-6777.

The Oasis at Death Valley, Stovepipe Wells Resort, and Panamint Springs Resort also offer camping.

Bishop Advance to the Second Round of CIF CS

Photos by Gary Young

The Broncos advanced to the second round of the CIF Central Section Division Six playoffs Friday, beating Boron 13-0.

This was not the same game that took place just three weeks ago in which the High Desert League Champions won 56-6. Boron were better prepared for Bishop this time, and did a good job containing the team’s dangerous rushing attack.

On Friday, Bishop had 178 total yards rushing with one touchdown, compared to the 307 yards and six touchdowns the Bobcats surrendered back in late October.

Nearly two quarters in, the game remained scoreless until Luke McClean punched in a touchdown on a run up the middle inside Boron’s five yard-line with a minute left before the half. The easy score was set up by a beautiful pass from Luke McClean to Steven Paco which was caught for thirty yards and put Bishop deep into enemy territory .

Later on in the game, McClean demonstrated his ability to throw yet again, when he found team receiving leader, Joe Weaver on a pass up the middle for fifty-two yards, making it 13-0 in favor of Bishop. The Junior finished the game with three receptions for ninety-five yards and one touchdown.

The senior quarterback would finish the night with 180 yards passing and one touchdown.

Bishop’s defense had another outstanding performance, shutting out their opponent for the second straight game. Kennedy Bachelder led the unit in tackles with a total of ten along with seven tackle-assists, while the defensive line plugged up Boron’s running lanes.

The Bobcats were able to get ninety yards on the ground on thirty-nine attempts. Tristan Valle led the defensive line in tackles with six. Three of his tackles were tackles for a loss.

Up next for Bishop is a match-up against the Foothill Trojans, who are the number eight seed in the playoffs.

The Slim Princess Locomotive Party Was a Big Hit

About 200 people came out to celebrate the return of the Slim Princess Locomotive #18 to the Eastern California Museum in Independence.

Visitors from throughout the region and all across Inyo County enjoyed the day-long Welcome Home Party for #18 on Nov. 2. The day started early when the all-volunteer crew from the non-profit Carson and Colorado Railway fired up historic, narrow gauge steam engine. Dozens of people watched the start-up process and enjoyed photographing the handsome locomotive as it traveled up and down the short stretch of track on the Museum grounds. A steady stream of train enthusiasts, including plenty of families, then got an “up close and personal” view of how the vintage, 1911 steam locomotive operates by taking a “cab ride.” The volunteer train engineers and brakemen explained the complex controls and answered questions during the rides

Carson and Colorado President Dave Mull was also on hand to answer questions about the nearly 20 year effort to get the locomotive running after its career with the Southern Pacific Railway traveling from Laws to Keeler. In the 1950s the engine was retired and donated to Inyo County and placed in Dehy Park in Independence before being brought back to life by the CCRW group.

The Slim Princess recently came back to its Independence home after a nearly year-long “visit” with the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. Randy Babcock, the Chief Mechanical Officer of the Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, and Vice President of the CCCRW, presented a slide show and talk on the engine’s time in Durango. Babcock also signed copies of his recently completed book, “SP Narrow Gauge 18 Steams Anew.” The book relates SP #18 was taken apart and then put her back together with clear, concise writing and more than 100 photos and maps.

The Friends of the Eastern California Museum sponsored a silent auction featuring dozens of books and other merchandise related to the history of the Eastern Sierra. The Friends also hosted the afternoon tri-tip dinner on the Museum grounds, with Dugan Whistler’s mouth-watering tri-tip beef and beans. Students from the Owens Valley School helped serve the meal, and the crowd was entertained by the Black and White String Band, featuring local musicians Nina Weisman on mandolin and Howie Schwartz on guitar, playing bluegrass and “old time music.”

The Slim Princess is “home” in the Larry Peckham Engine House at the Eastern California Museum,  at 155 N. Grant St., just three blocks west of the Historic Inyo County Courthouse in Independence. For more information call 760-878-0258. For more about the Carson & Colorado Railway group, see

40-Year Old Hiker Found Deceased

NORTH LAKE (INYO NATIONAL FOREST), CA. November 7, 2019 – On November 4 (evening), Inyo County Sheriff’s Office received notification of a missing hiker. The reporting party said that Alan Stringer, a 40-year old man from Huntington Beach, had planned on hiking somewhere out of the Bishop area on Sunday but failed to return home on Monday.
Stringer, who was described as an experienced hiker, did not disclose his hiking plans or potential routes. However, he recently purchased and ice ax and crampons, and participated in mountaineering training courses. Stringer was equipped for day-hiking only; he had an InReach device that he hiked with, but it was never activated. After checking trailheads throughout the Bishop area, Sheriff’s Deputies located Stringer’s vehicle at North Lake shortly after midnight on Tuesday morning.
On Tuesday a forensic analysis of Stringer’s cell phone activity revealed only one call very early in the morning from downtown Bishop on Sunday November 3 (before his planned hike). Inyo Search and Rescue used aerial support to fly the areas near and around North Lake.
On Wednesday ground teams searched the areas of Paiute Pass, Lamarck Col and Mt. Emerson. Aerial reconnaissance with night-vision capability was used Wednesday night.
Today ground teams will continue to scour the areas near and around North Lake, paying extra attention to Wonder Lake Basin, Lamarck Col, Mt. Lamarck summit, and Mt. Emmerson.  Aerial support will be used again today (H-40 out of Fresno). Sequoia and Kings National Park is running a joint operation concentrating on the following locations: Darwin Canyon and Darwin Peak.
If anyone from the public has seen Alan Stringer (particularly on Sunday November 3) and can provide us with a more conclusive hiking route please call 760-878-0383 option 4. We do not have a conclusive description of what he was wearing but he could potentially be wearing a bright green “puffer” style jacket or a dark green light-weight jacket. His ice ax is lime green. Stringer is 6’04”, 230 pounds with brown hair and hazel eyes.

UPDATE– On Nov 7 around 2:30pm Sequoia and Kings National Park located Alan Stringer deceased at the top of the Darwin glacier, near the base of the notch to go up Mount Darwin. Sequoia and Kings will be conducting the investigation and recovery.

Search photos for Stringer SAR
Alan Stringer has been missing since Sunday Nov 3 out of the North Lake area. Tips can be reported to Inyo SO at 760-878-0383 option 4.

Donations Sought for the Annual Eastern Sierra Shop with a Cop

Law enforcement officers and public safety staff from law enforcement and criminal justice agencies throughout Mono and Inyo Counties are busy planning the Annual Shop-with-a-Cop event, which will be held Saturday, December 14, 2019.

This is a very special day where our local law enforcement brings the true spirit of Christmas to families in need throughout the Eastern Sierra and Owens Valley. Children are selected by various local law enforcement agencies from nominations received by area schools, community groups and individuals. On Saturday morning, the children are picked up at their homes by their law enforcement “partners” and taken to pancake breakfast sponsored by the Bishop Lion’s Club. After breakfast, the officers and children respond Code 3 (lights and sirens) through Bishop to K-Mart to start their shopping extravaganza. Each child is given $200 to shop for gifts for their families. After all the gifts have been purchased, local volunteers wrap the gifts, and the officers and children travel home where an early holiday celebration begins!

Their goal for the 2019 Shop-with-a-Cop event is to provide Christmas to 70 children and their families. This event is completely donation driven. Let’s start getting into the holiday spirit and donate to this great event today! Donations can be dropped off at the Mono County Sheriff’s Office, Inyo County Sheriff’s Office, Bishop Police Department and Mammoth Lakes Police Department. Please make checks payable to ESPOA (Eastern Sierra Peace Officers Association) with “Shop-with-a-Cop” written in the memo line. ESPOA is a 501(c)3, and your donation is tax deductible.

California Seizes Nearly One Million Marijuana Plants in Raid

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced earlier this week that the statewide Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP), a multi-agency law enforcement task force managed by the California Department of Justice, has thus far this year eradicated 953,459 illegal marijuana plants from 345 grow sites across the state. The CAMP operations were led by the California Department of Justice and included local, state, and federal agencies. Agents were divided into three teams that encompass the Northern, Central and Southern California regions, with teams covering 35 counties in the state.

This year’s CAMP teams’ effort have been successful in protecting public resources against misuse and in safeguarding public land and water from illegal pesticides. Of special concern to water managers – and those who use and consume California’s water – are the use of banned pesticides such as carbofuran, methyl parathion, aluminum phosphate, and illegal fertilizers, discharged in large quantities from illegal marijuana grow sites and ultimately find their way into the waterways of California.

“Illegal cannabis grows are devastating our communities. Criminals who disregard life, poison our waters, damage our public lands, and weaponize the illegal cannabis black market will be brought to justice,” said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. “This year, our CAMP teams worked tirelessly across the state to vigorously enforce California’s laws against illegal cannabis activity. The California Department of Justice (DOJ) is extremely proud of our partnership with federal, state, and local agencies and we look forward to continuing this necessary work.”

The CA DOJ’s partnerships with other enforcement agencies has included U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, California National Guard, California State Parks, California Department of Fish and Wildlife and dozens of local police and sheriff departments from across the state. This year’s CAMP program raided 345 grow sites across the state.

“USDA Forest Service law enforcement in California commend the collaboration and continuing efforts of our task force of partners in the yearly fight against illegal marijuana grows on public lands. This multi-faceted team approach is how we stay successful in mitigating these trespassers and the harmful destruction they intend on our land, water, wildlife and communities,” said Don Hoang, special agent in Charge of United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Region.

CAMP was founded in 1983 with the primary objectives of “reducing the supply of marijuana to the illegal drug trade by eradicating the large marijuana crop sites; increasing public and environmental safety by removing marijuana growers from public and private lands; investigating indoor growing operations; deterring potential growers; and promoting public information and education on marijuana.” Although California voters legalized marijuana in 2016 (Proposition 64) and the law became effective in 2018, legalized growth of marijuana must adhere to strict regulations and seek the appropriate permits.

“Although cannabis has been legalized for use in California, there is still a large unlicensed black market,” said Robert Paoletti, coordinator colonel, California National Guard Counterdrug Task Force. “Our participation works to prevent this illegal market in order to promote a fair market place for those growers, producers, and vendors who choose to operate within the system that the voters approved.”

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Katie Kolker Appointed as Interim Superintendent of BUSD

Bishop Unified School District has a new interim superintendent as of November 4, 2019.

Katie Kolker, who is the principal at Palisade Glacier High School will assume the role of heading up the school district after the board of trustees elected to part ways with ex-superintendent, Jon Ray.

The meeting opened up with public comment from concerned citizens who praised the board for their decision to part ways with Mr. Ray. One individual in the crowd said, “Thank you for making such a difficult decision. I believe parting ways with Mr. Ray is the perfect move to go forward.” The statement was met with thunderous applause from a room filled with about fifty people.

Other talking points included the desire for better input and transparency when selecting a new superintendent.

Also, multiple people in the crowd requested that the board do everything in their power to not hire another person with a similar style to Ray.

After the closed session ended, the board reported that they unanimously approved Mrs. Kolker as the interim superintendent, a move which was also met with applause.

Dr. Taylor Ludwick of the Bishop Unified School Board spoke on Kolker’s approval glowingly. “We are thrilled Katie stepped up to the challenge of leading the school district. She is the perfect person to calm the waters.”

Kolker spoke next remarking, “I appreciate the support from all of you. I will do my best to lead us into a positive direction.”

The Palisade Glacier Principal will be the interim superintendent for the rest of the year.

Although it appeared as though mostly everyone in room approved the appointment of Kolker, there was still concern relating to how much it cost the school district to part ways with Jon Ray.

When the public comment period opened for the second time, two individuals asked the board how much they would have to pay the former BUSD Superintendent. This question was stonewalled by the board, with Dr. Ludwick replying, “The cost of the settlement are in the terms of the agreement.”

The nebulous statement sparked more curiosity among the crowd, with one person pointing out that the money used to pay Mr. Ray was public money, therefore, the board should be transparent and let the public know how money was paid to the previous superintendent.

Board member, Kathy Zack told the attendee, “Our legal council has said that we cannot comment on this matter.”

Another person asked if BUSD will ever disclose the amount paid to Ray, to which the board did not give a clear and definitive answer.

Bishop Win Defensive Battle to Claim First League Title Since 2012

Photography by Gary Young Photography

It wasn’t easy, but the Bishop Broncos got revenge on the California City Ravens. The game was a rematch of last year’s High Desert Championship which finished 28-14 in favor of the Ravens. Big plays were rampant in that game, however, this year that was not the case.

Both teams found themselves in a defensive slug-fest with just seven measly points scored between the two highest scoring teams in the league.

Although there may not have been much that happened offensively, that does not mean it wasn’t an entertaining game. Neither team was giving an inch defensively, with the opening first down coming late in the first quarter.

Just like last year, Cal City dared the Broncos to throw the ball. Stacking the box proved to be effective against Bishop early on. Standout running back, Steven Paco along with quarterback, Luke McClean discovered that there were no lanes to run through.

Midway into the second quarter, the deadlock was broken after Cal City had to punt from deep in their own territory. The kick was a poor one, which went high in the sky, but just ten yards. The Broncos took over at the Ravens twenty-five yard line. After having good starting position, Bishop were still having trouble moving the ball. Things got even worse for Arnie Palu’s team, when a penalty moved the chains back to put them twenty yards away from the sticks.

However, McClean proved to the Ravens that he could throw the ball when he threw a 25 yards pass on the near sideline to Junior wide receiver, Joe Weaver who snagged the fifty-fifty pass out of the air to get Bishop inside the five. Two plays later McClean punched it in for the three yard score, which made it 7-0 after the Dan Sudki .

Going into the second half, Bishop relied heavily on their stout defense to win the game. Defensive coordinator, Rick Beall had his side prepared for anything the Ravens had to offer. The Ravens offense amassed just sixty-nine yards of total offense. California City quarterback, Jeremiah Neal who came into the game with ten passing touchdowns and 1,270 yards threw for negative-six yards on the day.

Bishop kept High Desert League receiving-leader, Kwamain Ross in check as well. Ross had just three catches and negative yardage on the day.

Defensively, the Broncos finished with one sack, fifty-eight tackles, nine tackles for a loss, and one interception.

Perhaps the best play the defensive unit made was to end the game, when Neal fired a ball twenty yards down the middle of the field to Marquis Mackenzie. However, the ball did not reach it’s target, as Luke McClean was able to intercept the ball with less than two minutes remaining in the game.

With the victory, Palu’s team has clinched the number one overall seed for the CIF Central Section Division Six playoffs. Bishop will be squaring off against Boron for the second time this year in the first round of playoffs on Friday.

David Lewis Jones Obituary

David Lewis Jones was born August 13,1938 in Weirton, West Virginia and passed away peacefully at his home in Bishop, California on October 27, 2019 after living with COPD and heart failure for a number of years. David graduated from Chaffey Union High School in Ontario, California in 1956 and enlisted in the Navy where he served as an Air Traffic Control Operator. In 1960 he married Paula and they enjoyed 59 wonderful years together. David was a resident of Bishop for 33 years and retired in 1992 after 32 years with Southern California Edison. David enjoyed golf, fishing, playing bridge, and spending time with family. He and Paula also loved traveling to destinations with beautiful golf courses. 

David leaves behind his wife Paula, daughter Janell (Scott) Cote, son Brian (Cleland) Jones, four grandchildren, Jenna, Allison, Emily, and Blaise, two great-grandchildren Peyton and Connor, sisters Sally Bruhn and Jackie (Dave) Zweck, sister-in-law Dixie (Pat) Dooley, and many other family members.

David’s kindness and gentle nature will be missed by all who knew and loved him. At his request there will be no services. A private family interment will be held at a later date.

Death Valley Prepares for Fee Free Day for 25th Birthday

DEATH VALLEY, CA – Death Valley National Park is waiving park entrance fees on Saturday, November 2 in celebration of its 25th birthday. Superintendent Mike Reynolds notes: “Saturday is the culmination of anniversary events with a number of interesting programs. It’s an opportunity for visitors to learn about the significant resources of Death Valley and have a great day of fun!” 


On November 2, the public is invited to join Superintendent Mike Reynolds for a 5 kilometer fun run/walk at 8:00 a.m. Wish the park happy birthday with cupcakes at noon. Neighboring organizations and partners will have exposition booths set up at 12:00-1:00 and 3:00-5:00. Former Death Valley superintendents will answer questions and speak about the California Desert Protection Act from 1:00-3:00. Wildlife biologist Jason Wallace will present “Reptiles of the Mojave Desert” from 4:00-5:00. All events meet at Furnace Creek Visitor Center.


Death Valley was first protected as a national monument in 1933. On October 31, 1994, President Bill Clinton signed the California Desert Protection Act, which created Death Valley National Park, designated over 90% of the park as wilderness, and added 1.3 million acres to the park. The Act also redesignated Joshua Tree as a national park and established Mojave National Preserve.


For more information about anniversary events, visit