Community News

Sean Van Maanen Obituary

Sean Donald Van Maanen or Sean Don as his family called him 26, of Bishop California died February 11, 2019 at his home. Sean was born April 3, 1992 in Sonora California and then moved to the Bishop area shortly after with his family. Sean attended Bishop Elemtary, Home Street Middle School and JKBS. Sean enjoyed working, riding and working on his bike, and hanging out with his friends and family.

Sean is survived by his Mother Brenda Van Maanen and her husband Bobby Shunkwiler of Bishop, his Father Donald Goss and Candy Cotton of Long Beach, his Biological father and step mother Robert and Pam Ferguson of Apple Valley. His Brothers and Sister, Jason Park, Julie Park, Jonny Park, Casey Van Maanen, Scott Van Maanen and Thomas Van Maanen all of Bishop. His sister and Brother in laws Jenny Park, Brandy Park, Rachel O’Leary, Stu Butterfield and Tom Smith of Bishop. His Neices and Nephews Michael Maxey-Park, Brandon Bissel, Jason Park, Lexi Park and Hailey O’Leary. The love of his life Jackie and her 4 beautiful children Dominick, Kirsten, Scarlet and Layla. Aunt and Uncle Verna and Chris Zak. Cousins Laura, Brad and Tyler and their children. Step brothers and sisters Lisa and Chris Johnston, Sierra, Starla and Ashley Shunkwiler. Step neices and nephews Darren, Levi, Hunter, Delaney, Chet, Demi, Ruby, Kaiya, Draiden and Brinley. And numerous great aunts and uncles aross Iowa, Idaho, Washington and Wisconsin.

Sean was preceaded in death by his grandparents Garret and Birdy Van Maanen, Elmer and Ester Goss, step father Raymond Charlie, Step brother Danny Charlie, cousin Ryan Temeyer and his nephew Robert Bar.

Celebration of life will be held on March 2nd 2019 at 1:00 at Izaak Walton Park in Bishop.

Tia Barfield Dominates Master’s Wrestling Tournament

Last week, two of the five wrestlers on the Bronco wrestling team competed in 2-day Master’s tournaments in Lemoore. In Master’s tournaments, the top wrestlers qualify for the state tournaments, which are this week.

Senior Mark Mayhugh wrestled in a very tough weight class at 128 pounds, where there were 10 ranked wrestlers, including the top two ranked wrestlers in the state. Mark got a tough draw right off the bat, facing the Number 2 ranked wrestler and although he
wrestled well, he lost. In the consolation bracket, Mark won a match and then faced another tough wrestler and lost by a score of 0-2.

Coach Hodges said, “Mark went out there and wrestled his best. He is a great kid and one of the best wrestlers Bishop has ever had. He is planning on wrestling in college, which will be a first for Bishop as we have never had someone continue wrestling at college.”

Senior Tia Barfield, wrestling at 162 pounds, stormed through her Master’s tournament with no points scored against her. On the first day, Tia pinned her first two opponents in 29 and 44 seconds respectively. On the second day, Tia met the same two girls she saw
last week at the CIF tournament. She scored pins in both matches, finishing off her opponent in the finals in just 45 seconds. Tia becomes the second Master’s Champion wrestler from Bishop; the first was Randy Rogers back in 1985.

Coach Mark Hodges said, “Tia became eligible only in late December. Even so, she has a record of 25 wins and 1 loss. Tia impresses everyone with her wrestling prowess. Unlike many wrestlers, her goal is not to ‘make it to state’, but rather to win the state championship. Tia will be competing in the State Tournament in Bakersfield starting Thursday, where she is currently seeded #4 in the state. Tia and Mark become just the 5th and 6th Bronco wrestlers to ever make it to a Master’s tournament, which is testament to how good they are.”

Broncos Streak Past the Scorpions in the First Round of CIF-CS Play

The Bishop Broncos Boys Basketball team have advance to the second round of the CIF Playoffs for Division 5. Bishop beat the Desert Scorpions in their third meeting of the year against the team from Edwards Airforce Base. It was a battle between the second and third placed teams in the High Desert League, with the lower seeded team upsetting the Scorpions 68-62.

Bishop’s Boys Team played perhaps their best game of the season last night. The main concepts that Bishop executed well yesterday were passing, movement off the ball, defense, and scoring off of turnovers. One player who epitomized all of those traits in the first round of CIF was Blaine Spoonhunter, who was constantly in motion, active on the defensive end, and set up his teammates for assists during all four quarters.

Perhaps Spoonhunter’s best play of the night came when he turned the ball over on a pass to the left wing, and sprinted back to block a clear-cut layup. After the rejection, the ball was quickly thrown down to the offensive end, and Spoonhunter scored on a layup from the right side.

Bishop began to pull away at the beginning of the third quarter, getting their lead up to fourteen at one point. The Broncos were able to capitalize off of some bad Scorpion passes, which led to easy buckets.

The large lead slowly dwindled as the Broncos were scoring two pointers, and the Scorpions were answering with three pointers. About midway through the fourth quarter, Bishop lost the lead, and trailed 56-55. The Broncos lost their lead because of Desert point guard, Jaleel Walker, who hit back to back three pointers. On Walker’s second three point attempt, he had enough focus to drain a three from the right wing while being run off the line by a charging Bronco player. The Junior point guard converted the four point play, and the game was tied up. The Broncos then lost the lead a few plays later, but ended up assuming control of the game late thanks to Cal Omohundro’s clutch free-throws.

Bishop will now head to Firebaugh to take on the Eagles in the seocond round of CIF Central Section play. We will have the coverage of this game on 1230 AM KBOV at 7:00 PM Friday night.

Mark Mayhugh, Tia Barfield Win CIF for the Broncos

Last week, two young ladies on the Bronco wrestling team competed in the girl’s 2-day CIF divisional playoffs in Tulare. Freshman Renee Ashworth wrestled at 123 pounds while senior Tia Barfield wrestled at 162 pounds. On the first day, Renee went 0-2 while Tia, who was seeded #1, pinned her first two opponents in 12 and 17 seconds respectively. On the second day, Tia pinned her next opponent in the semifinals in 1:29, which put her into the finals. In the finals, Tia dominated her opponent by a score of 13-0 before pinning herin the second period, earning her a first place finish.

Coach Mark Hodges said, “Tia’s record is now 30-1 and I was not present when she lost earlier in the season. In fact, I had yet to see a point scored against her. For this reason, I was surprised when she was taken down in the semifinals match, where she quickly did a reverse and then pinned her opponent. It was only after the match that I found out she had slipped.”

Tia will compete in the Central Section Master’s Tournament in Lemoore next week, where she hopes to qualify for the State Tournament the following week.

Also last week, the three boys on the Bronco wrestling team competed in the boy’s 2-day CIF divisional playoffs in Bakersfield. Senior Mark Mayhugh wrestled at 128 pounds, Freshman Billy McKinzey wrestled at 140 pounds and Junior Scott Hennarty wrestled at 154 pounds.

Both Billy and Scott went 0-2 while Mark, who was seeded #1, pinned his first opponent in the first period. On the second day, Mark went up against the #4 seeded wrestler in the
semifinals. Mark was in control the entire match and won by a score of 5-1, which put him into the finals where he met his good friend and rival from Desert High School. Again Mark prevailed, winning by a score of 4-2, making him a CIF champion. In the awards ceremony, in a vote by all the coaches, Mark was voted the MVP of the lower 7 weight classes!

Coach Mark Hodges said, “I am so proud of all 5 wrestlers on the team; they all wrestled their best, which is all any coach could ask for. To have 2 CIF Champions on a team of 5 incredible and a credit to their hard work. I was so happy for Mark when he won the MVP
award, of course I thought he was the best wrestler there, but I didn’t know so many of the other coaches felt the same way.”

Like Tia, Mark will compete in the Central Section Master’s Tournament in Lemoore next week, where he also hopes to qualify for the State Tournament the following week.

James “Jim” Tatum (1958-2019) Obituary

James “Jim” Tatum, age 60, passed away on January 27th. He was surrounded by family at his home in Bishop as he concluded his courageous battle with cancer.

Jim, a lifetime Bishop resident, was an incredible husband, father, brother, and community contributor. His love of the local community was evident in all of his professional and personal endeavors where he always went above and beyond to do for others. His accomplishments were numerous across his career: as a rancher, in his 20-year tenure as the CEO of the Tri-County Fairgrounds, as the Inyo County Deputy Public Works Director, and most recently as the Bishop City Administrator. His generous and make-it-happen spirit could also be seen in his roles as a Bishop Little League and Bishop Union High School Baseball Coach, a member of the local school board, and the beloved “tractor man” at the California High School Rodeo State Finals and other fair arena events. He was also known for his witty and playful sense of humor, optimistic attitude, and that unmistakeable whistle while he walked. His impact on the community will be enduring, but his presence will be sorely missed.

Jim’s loving family will continue to carry forward his memory, values, and commitment to community. They include his wife, Donna Tatum; daughter and son-in-law Kelsie Tatum Martinez and Jaime Martinez; son and future daughter-in-law Keith Tatum and Sara Galligher; brother and sister-in-law Von and Jayne Tatum; brother Lee Tatum; his family in-love, Polly, Larry, and Robert Renfro and Linda Holcomb; and many nieces and nephews. Jim was preceded in death by his parents, Don and Betty Tatum of Bishop.

A Celebration of Life will be held for Jim on Sunday, February 10th at 1pm at the Tri-County Fairgrounds in Bishop. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you consider making a donation in Jim’s memory to either the Bishop Union High School Jim Tatum Memorial Scholarship (301 North Fowler Street, Bishop, CA 93514) or the Friends of the Tri-County Fair Jim Tatum Memorial Fund (PO Box 607, Bishop, CA 93515).

New Principal Joe Garza Discusses Challenges for LPHS Students at Lone Pine Chamber Installation Mixer

Joe Garza, the new principal of Lone Pine High School was introduced to the citizens of Lone Pine Wednesday night. The Lone Pine Chamber Board of Directors were additionally installed at the same meeting.

Key members of the Lone Pine community, including Kathleen New and Jacque Hickman initiated the proceedings, with Principal Joe Garza being asked what he felt was the most important issue facing students of Lone Pine High School.

“I want my kids fully involved in the community and being active.” Garza said to attendees. “We have allowed our kids to be raised by television and the internet instead of by strong parenting. The responsibility relies on us to be more involved in our children’s lives.”

Garza went on to discuss the importance of unity when it comes to the community saying, “Bridges need to be mended in our town. Issues have been neglected with different sectors of the community who are in disputes. What we need is for the hospital [Southern Inyo Hospital], the chamber [Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce], everyone to come together for the collective good.”

When asked if there was anything that Garza needed assistance with, he discussed problems with the school’s library. “We have a library, nobody uses it and nobody check out books. Kids still read, but it isn’t the way we read. There are tons of interactive resources we have that are going to waste.” Garza expressed how serious he takes the issue of an empty library. “I will be there every day at lunch, encouraging kids to visit. We have air hockey tables, video games, and other things for the students to enjoy.”

Although Garza is doing his best to get students visit the library, he said that he cannot do it alone. “Labor contracts will not allow me to be in the library after school from three to four in the afternoon. I need somebody there to help me and help these kids. We need to get involved and help these students have positive experiences. I need volunteers Monday through Friday in the library.”

Garza was not the only point of focus during the event Wednesday night. The Lone Pine Chamber introduced their not-so-new Board of Directors. All members on the board had previously served on the Lone Pine Chamber Board. The list is as follows:

David Blacker – Death Valley Historical Association – Chairman

Chris Ellis – Coso Operating Co. – Vice Chairman

Bette Sisson – retired – Treasurer

Kathi Hall – Mt. Whitney Restaurant – Secretary

Loretta Dorame – Director

Chris Kostman – Adventure Corp – Director

Kurt Pauer – retired – Director

Valerie Diggs – Alta One Credit Union – Director

Billy Swaim – Dow Villa – Director

Boulder Creek RV Resort owner, Jaque Hickman welcomed the board members, saying that the Lone Pine Board of Directors are an example to all of us when it comes to service in the community.

“We should attend our government and community meetings.” Hickman expressed. “You can get a sense of how things are going in the community if you attend these events. If you disagree with things that are happening around you, it is important to get moving and do it yourself in order to foster meaningful change.”

Famous Motorcyclist Struck by Golf Cart in Death Valley

Famous motorcyclist, Malcolm Smith was struck by a vehicle on Friday and sustained major injuries. On January 25th, at approximately 1:30 in the afternoon, Bishop CHP responded to an accident taking place at the Furnace Creek Golf Course in Death Valley.

Malcolm Smith was with is his friend, Greg Lang of Redlands, CA playing golf, when the accident occurred. The famous motorcyclist walked behind the golf cart being operated by Lang, who thought the golf cart was in drive, but was actually in reverse. Lang accelerated the rearward moving cart and struck Smith, which subsequently knocked him to the ground.

Malcolm Smith was quickly transported via ambulance to Desert View Hospital in Pahrump, Nevada. As a result of being hit, Smith sustained major injuries.

Bishop CHP is currently investigating the collision.

Smith is considered by many to be a motorcycling legend. He has won the Baja 1000 six times, and the Baja 500 four times. The motorcyclist won the Baja 1000 three times driving a motorcycle and three times in a car.

The famed biker was inducted into the Off-road Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1978, the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1996 and the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1998.

Revenue Shortfall Pushes NIHD Reorganization

Northern Inyo Healthcare District is undergoing staff reorganization as the direct result of a shortfall against projected revenues in its 2018-2019 budget. The three-phase restructuring began Friday, Jan. 18.

District leadership, faced with a $1.2 million shortfall against its projected revenues, felt it was necessary to make milder adjustments now rather than be faced with more drastic changes in next year’s budget.

Chief Executive Officer Kevin S. Flanigan, MD MBA, stressed the District is early enough in its projections that small changes can have a big long-term impact. “If the District waits until the next budget year, the District will have to both make up for this year’s deficit and cut to prevent another deficit year,” he said.

Dr. Flanigan also stressed that deficit is against budget projections and is not currently a situation in which current expenses are exceeding current revenue. He noted, however, that if something is not done now, this could very quickly become a matter where revenue does not cover costs.

The reorganization calls for a hiring freeze for all non-clinical positions, a re-alignment of responsibilities among these departments, a reduction in non-clinical workforce, and the potential for an offer of early retirement where possible. These changes, to be clear, do not affect any health care providers or clinical staff. These changes affect support staff in administrative areas.

This move does not mean the District is in financial trouble from a cash-on-hand basis,” Dr. Flanigan said. “We currently can pay our bills, and our expenses are matching what we budgeted. However, we are experiencing fewer surgeries and fewer hospitalizations than we projected.”

A reduction in hospitalizations was anticipated, just not to the degree NIHD experienced in the first six months of its fiscal year.

As people will recall, the District was moving toward a care model that emphasized improved health rather than critical illness,” Dr. Flanigan said. “We’ve seen an increase in our outpatient clinic visits. Our Emergency Department visits are consistent with budgeted numbers even with the addition of our Same Day Care services. Our transfers out of the area are only up slightly while our surgeries and hospital stays are down markedly. This means that the improved outpatient access and our focus on improved service have kept people healthier; thus less likely to need surgery and less likely to have to stay overnight in the hospital. However, this also means that the District is receiving less revenue.”

Dr. Flanigan said District leadership has met with staff members during the past few days outlining in detail the current situation, including plans for moving forward. As always, Dr. Flanigan maintains an open-door to those staff who may wish to meet with him privately.

Customer Water Leaks Identified by MCWD’s Advanced Metering Infrastructure

During the summer of 2014, the Mammoth Community Water District (District) upgraded to new meters that wirelessly transmit data using remote collectors. This advanced technology allows the District to see hourly usage of all water meters on the distribution system. Utilizing software developed by WaterSmart, a data analytics company, the District is able to run a report that details leaks and alert customers accordingly.

“We are thrilled to have the ability to help our customers protect their property and save an exorbitant amount of water,” said Irene Yamashita, Principal Analyst. “It has been a learning experience to determine what size leaks should be flagged, what patterns are associated with various sources of leaks and how to best introduce the information to the customers.”

Typically, the District calls two to five customers or property managers a day with leaks ranging from 15 to 1,500 gallons per hour. “About 80 percent of leaks we call on are caused by toilets. Customers are usually surprised to learn that leaking toilets can waste 600+ gallons per hour (over 14,000 gallons per day), ” described Betty Hylton, Administrative Analyst. “In winter, we find a number of leaks caused by shedding snow that turns on or breaks hose bibs and frozen pipes that break. Despite the cause of the leak, customers are generally very grateful that we have this capability and take the time to notify them.”

The District recommends that customers (or property managers) look and listen for the leak first. If unable to identify where the water is leaking, then call a plumber. The District has offered two Leak Detection courses for plumbers and property managers to learn the most efficient process for leak detection and maintains a supply of coloring dye tabs to check for toilet leaks.

The Mammoth Lakes community is limited to local surface and groundwater resources in our basin. The leak detection program conserves water that would otherwise be wasted and develops positive relationships with our customers. The District is proud to have this advanced capability, however customers remain responsible for identifying water leaks at their property. An online customer portal is available to provide customers the ability to look at their hourly water use from their computer, and receive high usage alerts by signing up for WaterSmart here: https://mcwd.watersmart.com/index.php/welcome

Death Valley National Park to Restore Accessibility and Resume Limited Visitor Services

DEATH VALLEY, CA – Death Valley National Park announced today that some recently closed areas of the park will once again be accessible to visitors in the coming days. Some visitor services, including campgrounds and the Stovepipe Wells Contact Station, will also reopen using revenue generated by recreation fees. Visitors should go to the park website at nps.gov/deva while planning their trip to get the latest information on accessibility and available services.

• Dantes View, Artists Drive, Natural Bridge, Harmony Borax Works and Mustard Canyon, Salt Creek, Keane Wonder Mine, Mesquite Sand Dunes, and Historic Stovepipe Wells Roads.

Because of the distances and complexities involved and unknown nature of all issues, the opening of these sites may take a week or longer. Scotty’s Castle remains closed due to flood damage. Mosaic Canyon Road remains closed in association with water utility work or Stovepipe Wells Village. Upper and Lower Wildrose Roads are closed due to snow and ice.

National Park Service officials have determined that by using Federal Land and Recreation Enhancement funds to immediately bring back park maintenance crews to clean restrooms, remove trash, and remove health and safety risks park staff will be able to restore accessibility to the park.


Through generous donations from the Death Valley Natural History Association, the Furnace Creek Visitor Center will remain open. Entrance fees and camping fees will not be collected and ranger programs will not be offered.

“We greatly appreciate the generous contributions of park partners who have provided support during the lapse in appropriations,” said park superintendent Reynolds. “Their efforts have contributed significantly to our ability to maintain access and limited services to Death Valley National Park.”