Community News

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.”

Rosemarie Martha Thornton Obituary

Rosemarie Martha Thornton 1931-2019

Rosemarie Martha Thornton 87, of Big Pine passed on January 3, 2019 of a massive stroke .

Rose as her friends knew her was born to Joseph J. and Catherine Mayer on January 21, 1931 in Los Angeles Ca.

She was married to Charles ( Chuck ) Thornton on February 4, 1949 . Chuck and Rose spent 30 years in Norwalk CA. before moving to Big Pine CA. in 1988 .

Rose was preceded in death by her husband Charles Thornton on March 5, 2001 .

She is survived by her daughter Lisa and husband Patrick Perkins of Bishop where Rose spent her last year of her life.

She is also survived by her grandson Jason Perkins of Carson City NV., and Alex and wife Jordan Perkins and two great-granddaughters Madison 8 and Kielei 6 of Virginia.

She is survived by her brother Steve, twin sisters Barbra and Beatrice and many nieces and nephews.

A luncheon will be held at the United Methodist Church in Big Pine on Saturday, January 19, 2019 at 11:00 am, followed by a graveside service at 1:00 pm at Big Pine Cemetery 600 West Crocker Ave. Big Pine CA. 93513

Caltrans winter driving tips

Caltrans winter driving advice

submitted by Caltrans:

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and the California Department of Highway Patrol (CHP) want you to get where you’re going safely this winter.  The following are some driving tips that will help you prepare for winter driving conditions:

Winterize your carCheck your brakes, windshield wipers, exhaust system and heater/defroster to make sure they are in good working condition.  Check your radiator fluid level and add antifreeze/coolant as needed. Replace wiper blades if needed.  Add a winter formula windshield wiper fluid. Make sure your tires are properly inflated and the tread is in good condition

Check road conditions frequently –During Storms, call 1-800 ROAD (7623) or check the internet at http://quickmap.dot.ca.gov

Carry in your car – a flashlight with extra batteries, blanket, extra clothing, water and snacks, towel, gloves, ice scraper/deicer, shovel, small broom, spare key, sand/kitty litter.

Allow enough time  – Slow down.

 

Don’t panic – If you begin to slide while driving on snow or ice, slowly take your foot off the gas pedal and steer your vehicle in the direction you wish to travel.  If you must use brakes and your vehicle is equipped with anti-lock brakes (ABS), apply firm steady pressure.  If you do not have ABS brakes gently pump the brake pedal.  Do not allow the brakes to lock up.

 Black Ice Black ice is nearly invisible. The temperature doesn’t have to be below freezing in order for ice to form on road surfaces.  Ice can form, especially when it’s windy, when the air temperature drops below 40 degrees.   Low or shaded areas surrounded by landscaping or with a nearby source of water, such as bridges and underpasses, can have icy spots. 

 Be observant Do not pass snow removal equipment unless the operator directs you to.

 Stay with your vehicle – If you become stranded stay with your vehicle.  Conserve fuel while maintaining warmth and be aware of possible exhaust or carbon monoxide problems.

 ChainsAll vehicles, including those with four-wheel drive and snow tires are required to carry chains when traveling in areas that have chain control.  Make sure they are the correct size for your tires and in proper working order.  Chains must be installed on drive wheels.   Know if your vehicle has front or rear wheel drive.  Cable chains are acceptable, but may not provide as much traction as traditional chains. The speed limit when chains are required is 25, 30, or 35 MPH: it is posted and enforced.  Chain installers may be available to help install your chains.  They are not Caltrans employees.  They are independent business people who are licensed to install chains.  If you choose to use their services ask for a receipt that includes the installer’s badge number.  Chain installers are not allowed to sell or rent chains.  When removing chains or installing chains, drive beyond the signs reading “Chain Control/End Chain Control.”  Pull over out of the lanes of traffic.  

 Chain Control Information:
R-1 – Chains or snow tread tires with a tread depth of 6/32” and a “M&S”, “MS”, “M+S”, or “M/S” imprint on the tire’s sidewall.

R-2 – Chains required on all vehicles except four-wheel or all-wheel drives with snow tread tires on all four wheels.  Engage the four-wheel drive in the 4-high.    

R-3 – Chains required on all vehicles; no exceptions.

Tires – To find out if your tire tread depth is at least 6/32”, place a quarter into several tread grooves across a tire.  With George Washington’s head upright, if the bottom of his neck completely disappears, your tread depth is at least 6/32”.  If you can see any part of the bottom of George Washington’s neck, your tread depth is at or below 6/32” and should be checked.  Remember to check to make sure the tires have the imprint “M&S”, “MS”, “M+S”, or “M/S” which indicate the tire is rated for mud/snow conditions.  You may also see the mountain snowflake symbol on the tire. 

High winds and blowing snow often cause zero visibility conditions.  To protect travelers, the CHP may close the road temporarily until conditions improve.  During winter storms spinouts and accidents happen closing the highway.  Heavily traveled routes are particularly vulnerable to such closures.   Caltrans may meter traffic during the storm, letting fewer vehicles into the area reducing congestion and giving motorists the option of turning around and waiting out the delay in a warm place.

Cover Photo by Gary Young

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Mary Mae Kilpatrick to lead NIHD Board of Directors in 2019

The Northern Inyo Healthcare District Board of Directors named its 2019 slate of officers during its December board meeting. Long-time Bishop area educator and school administrator Mary Mae Kilpatrick was elected Board President with retired county Heath and Human Services Director Jean Turner being named Vice President.

Kilpatrick represents Zone IV of the Healthcare District, covering the greater West Bishop area. A 61-year resident of Bishop, Kilpatrick also serves on the NIH Foundation Board of Directors.

“I am honored to work alongside everyone at NIHD,” Kilpatrick said. “We have such an outstanding group of people at the District. Our staff’s continuing priority is to always put our patient’s care and safety first. On top of that, they are compassionate in the care they provide, and they are also a very giving team who do their best to live up to NIHD’s mission of ‘improving our communities, one life at a time.”

Turner represents Zone II, which covers the Northern Bishop area. Her experience includes extensive administrative oversight of various health and human service programs providing care to children, adults, families and senior citizens.

Robert Sharp, who represents Zone III, which covers a large portion of the downtown Bishop area, will serve as Board Secretary. As Vice President of Eastern Sierra Community Bank, Sharp manages and develops the Bishop, Mammoth Lakes, and Bridgeport branches.

Local attorney Peter Tracy, Zone I representative, will serve as Board Treasurer. Tracy, perhaps best known for his 33-years of service as legal counsel to the City of Bishop, represents the West Bishop, McLaren Lane, Rocking K, Starlight, and Aspendell areas.

Outgoing Board President and Zone V Director MC Hubbard, who represents parts of southeastern Bishop, Wilkerson, Big Pine, and Aberdeen, will serve as the Member-At-Large. Hubbard is a retired banking executive.

At the board meeting Dr. Kevin S. Flanigan, MD MBA, the District’s Chief Executive Officer, congratulated each of the new officers. Later, he described the role of the Board as one of governance, noting they are charged with setting the strategic goals; overseeing the progress toward those goals; and, ensuring the continued access to local healthcare services for their constituents.