Community News

July 4th Accident

Benton woman injured, arrested

The California Highway Patrol has released details from a July 4th traffic accident north of Bishop.  The report indicates the single vehicle crash occurred at approximately 10am this past Saturday with 31 year old Benton resident Crystal Lawrence behind the wheel of a 2001 Dodge neon.  According to the accident report, “On Saturday, at approximately 10:00 AM, Crystal Lawrence was driving a 2001 Dodge Neon westbound on Five Bridges Road near Fish Slough Road.  The vehicle collided with a guard rail.  Lawrence fled the scene after the collision and failed to notify authorities of the collision.  During the course of the investigation, Lawrence was located at a residence in Benton,  and she was found to have sustained major injuries from the accident and she also exhibited signs and symptoms of being under the influence of alcohol.  Lawrence was transported to Mammoth Lakes Hospital and she was placed under arrest for Driving Under the Influence of alcohol and for Hit and Run.”

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Brown is the new Green

MCWD says “Brown is the new Green”

Mammoth Community Water District Joins California’s Conservation Efforts with the “Brown is the New Green” Lawn Sign Campaign.

Free lawn signs with the new message available to customers

The Mammoth Community Water District (MCWD) implemented Level 3 Water Shortage Conditions this year in early April when the runoff year started with just 2 percent of normal conditions. Reducing irrigation demand is critical to ensure they meet their 30% reduction target and have a reliable potable water supply. With irrigation starting up and water resources at critical levels, the MCWD is hoping lawn signs sporting the new conservation message, “Brown is the New Green” will encourage more customers to reduce landscape water use. The current irrigation schedule of 2 days a week with significantly reduced times, should allow for enough water to keep landscapes alive, but customers should expect to see some signs of stress.

“We’d like our customers to make sure their irrigation systems are running efficiently and find ways to cut back on their irrigation consumption where possible,” said Pat Hayes, General Manager at MCWD.

Simply turning back the run time for each cycle will likely do the trick. For example if you are running 10-minute cycles, dial it back to 7 minutes. Betty Hylton, GIS Specialist with MCWD, added, “If a customer is letting their lawn turn a little brown or die this summer, they can advertise their commitment to conservation with our new signs. We are hoping our customers evaluate whether their lawn is necessary and consider replacing it with plants that don’t need spray type sprinklers and use minimal water. These conversions will conserve our water resources every summer, not just during the drought.”

The District is stepping up water conservation enforcement. Customer data is reviewed daily and those who are not following the time of day and day of use requirements will be issued violation notices. After two violations, those not in compliance will be faced with a $50 per day fine and ultimately have water restrictors or shutoff occur.

To encourage and support customers decreasing irrigation during the drought, the MCWD is making a limited number of lawn signs available free to its customers. Ms. Hylton remarked, “the first ‘Brown is the New Green’ lawn sign will be planted in MCWD’s previously green lawn.”


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Mono County Budget Meetings

Mono County Sets Town Hall Meetings

Mono County leadership is encouraging folks to get involved in the County’s Budget process. Town hall budget and strategic planning meetings will be held in Crowley, Bridgeport, Walker, Chalfant, June Lake, and Mammoth. The sessions will include a look at the Mono County economic outlook, a budget overview and a discussion of the status of Mono Counties strategic plan. Public comments are encouraged and responses will be incorporated into the budget hearings in August.

Meeting Schedule.
Monday, July 6, Crowley Lake Community Center.
Tuesday, July 7, Bridgeport Memorial Hall.
Thursday, July 9, Antelope Valley Community Center.
Monday, July 13, Chalfant Community Center.
Thursday, July 16, June Lake Community Center.
Tuesday, July 21, Mammoth Lakes at Minaret Mall, suite Z.
All meeting are set for 6-8pm.

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July 4th Celebration in Independence

4th of July, Independence style

The theme of this year’s Fourth of July Celebration, “Keep on Trucking”, ties in with our Fourth of July Grand Marshals, John and Philip Baxter. The Baxter Family has been a part of the history of Independence and the Owens Valley since the late 1800’s. The Baxter name is even on one of the Sierra’s rugged mountain passes – Baxter Pass.

John Baxter’s iconic 1968 Chevy Flatbed truck is pictured on this year’s one-of-a-kind t-shirts. Many of us have enjoyed Baxter Honey throughout the years, and if you look closely at the t-shirts, you will see the bee hives stacked in the back of the truck.


July 3rd Music & Dance – Dehy Park 8:00 PM until Midnight.
July 4th opens with Flag Raising Ceremony at 6:15 AM.
Pancake Breakfast 6:30 – 9 AM at Dehy Park.
Historic Independence Walking Tour, Meet at Dehy Park at 8:30 AM, Tour leader – David Woodruff.
4K/4 Mile Run/Walk registration at 6:30 AM and starts at 7:30 AM.
Have Breakfast at the Park!
Arts and Crafts Show is at 8 AM on the Courthouse Lawn.
Parade begins at 10 AM and goes both North and South on Highway 395.
Pie Social is at Noon at Dehy Park, followed by Spelling Bee at 12:30 P.M. and Old Time Kid’s Games at 2 PM.
Deep Pit Barbeque is from 4 – 6:30 PM at Dehy Park.
Grand Finale Fireworks Display begins at dusk at the Independence Airport.
OV School pool open for free swimming from 1 – 6 pm July 4th and July 5th.

For more information, including parade entry forms, race entry forms and the Arts and Crafts show vendor application forms, please contact 760-878-2046 or email

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BLM and FS Fire Restrictions

BLM Bishop Field Office & Inyo National Forest Announce Fire Restrictions

Effective midnight on Sunday, June 28th, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Bishop Field Office and the Inyo National Forest are implementing fire restrictions.
The restrictions are in effect on all BLM public lands managed by the Bishop Field Office and all Inyo National Forest lands.
“Ongoing drought conditions and well below average rain and snowfall this past winter have led to very dry conditions for this time of year,” said Inyo National Forest Supervisor, Ed Armenta. “These conditions can create an active fire season here in the Eastern Sierra.”
Beginning June 29th, and until further notice, the following restrictions will be in effect:

NO CAMPFIRES, briquette barbeques, or stove fires are allowed outside of designated developed recreation sites and specifically posted campsites or areas. A list of designated campgrounds and recreation sites is available at local Ranger Stations and Visitor Centers, and on the Inyo National Forest website,

Persons with a valid California Campfire Permit (available free of charge at any Ranger Station or Visitor Center) are not exempt from the prohibitions but are allowed to use portable stoves or lanterns using gas, jellied petroleum, or pressurized liquid fuel.

NO FIREWORKS. It is prohibited to possess or discharge any fireworks.

NO SMOKING, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable material.

NO WELDING or operating an acetylene torch with open flames, except by permit.

NO USE OF EXPLOSIVES, except by permit.

Inyo National Forest wilderness areas which are exempt from this order are Hoover, John Muir, Ansel Adams, Boundary Peak, White Mountains, Golden Trout, and South Sierra. Resorts, pack stations, recreation residences and other sites operated under special use permit from the U.S. Forest Service or BLM may be exempt from the special orders, as long as any fire activity is conducted in compliance with their permit. Special use permit holders should contact their permit administrator to make sure they are on the list of exempt sites, or check the information for special use permit exemptions on the Inyo National Forest Website,
Steve Nelson, BLM Bishop Field Manager and Ed Armenta urge the public’s cooperation in helping to prevent wildfires in this year of very high fire danger, and they remind both residents and visitors that fireworks, even “Safe and Sane” are not allowed at any time on public lands.

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Be Safe this Weekend

Smoke, Lightning, and Heat

Inyo and Mono County Public health Officer Dr. Richard Johnson is passing along an important message.  Several risk factors are in play this weekend, high temperatures, thunderstorms, and smoke from wildfires.  Please take note and be safe.

From Dr. Richard Johnson:

Below is a summary of key points to keep in mind for the next few days —

  • Smoke — with fairly light winds today smoke from the various fires will tend to ooze around in various directions. Degraded air quality is likely in communities throughout the Eastern Sierra. After settling into the valleys at night where concentrated areas of thick smoke are possible, wind projections suggest a slight westward movement though again winds are light so the smoke will tend to move randomly/slowly. Advice — Communities with outdoor events should have contingencies in case the smoke becomes thick enough to impact health, and monitor statements from Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District at:

  • Thunderstorms — moisture aloft working into the region will lead to buildups Thursday afternoon followed by decent chances for thunderstorms each day Friday through early next week. Confidence is still medium due to uncertainties in how isolated or widespread storms may be.
    • Friday/Saturday – fast moving storms over the Sierra and far western Nevada are likely to be dry with potential for new fire starts from lightning, and particularly strong and unpredictable outflow winds. Fire suppression efforts would be impacted by these microbursts. 
    • Sunday/Monday – we’re likely to see a transition to wetter storms with an increased risk of flash flooding. Be aware of your flash flood hot spots and have a plan. Important — Areas around and downstream of fires are at enhanced risk of seeing flash flooding and debris flows if storms develop overhead Sunday/Monday.
  • Heat — confidence remains high in a heat wave impacting the region, with the core of the hottest temperatures Thursday-Saturday, possibly lasting into Sunday for western Nevada. 100-107 in the western Nevada Valleys and 85-90 in the Sierra at Tahoe and Mammoth elevations, which are near or exceeding daily record highs. Advice — keep an eye on those prone to heat illness. Extra heat precautions should be considered for outdoor events and fire suppression activities Thursday through the weekend. Also – have a thunderstorm/lightning plan…

As temperatures rise over the next few days, we are reminding residents and visitors that heat-related illnesses can be deadly and are urging people to take precautions to avoid them. There are simple steps people can take to keep risk at a minimum.

1. Drink Plenty of Fluids – Even If You Don’t Feel Thirsty

Increase your fluid intake regardless of your activity level. During heavy exercise in hot weather, drink 2-4 glasses (16-32 ounces) of cool fluids each hour.

2. Stay Cool Indoors–The most efficient way to beat the heat is to stay in an air conditioned area. If you do not have an air conditioner or evaporative cooling unit, consider a visit to a shopping mall or public library for a few hours.

3. Stay Cool Outdoors

Plan activities so that you are outdoors either before noon or in the evening. In the hot sun, a wide-brimmed hat will keep the head cool. While outdoors, rest frequently in a shady area.

4. Monitor Those at High Risk

If you are 65 years of age or older, have a friend or relative call to check on you twice a day during a heat wave. If you know anyone in this age group, check on them at least twice a day. When working in the heat, monitor the condition of your coworkers and have someone do the same for you.

5. Pace Yourself

If you are unaccustomed to working or exercising in hot weather, start slowly and pick up the pace gradually. If exertion in the heat makes your heart pound and leaves you gasping for breath, stop all activity, get into a cool or shady area, and rest, especially if you become lightheaded, confused, weak, or feel faint.

6. Use Common Sense

Do not leave infants, children, or pets in a parked car. Bring your pets indoors with you to protect them. Give your outdoor animals plenty of fresh water, leave the water in a shady area, and consider wetting the animal down. Those at highest risk of heat-related illness are the very young, the elderly, and those who must work outdoors in extremely high temperatures. Sudden rise in body temperature and dehydration can lead to heat stroke or heat exhaustion. If not addressed quickly, brain damage or death can result. “High temperatures like those we expect in the next few days and throughout the summer can have serious health consequences.” People can avoid lots of problems if they just use a little common sense such as: never leaving infants, children or pets in a parked car, as temperatures can soar rapidly and cause severe brain injury or even death; drinking plenty of fluids that don’t contain caffeine or alcohol (these cause dehydration); staying indoors preferably in an air-conditioned environment such as libraries, stores, or restaurants; and, limiting strenuous activities between noon to 6 p.m., when temperatures tend to be highest.

cover photo by Gary Young.  Haze in Bishop from the Washington Fire near Markleeville

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Big Day in the Bishop City Park

Celebrate July 4th at the Bishop City Park

Free swimming, Baseball, pie and ice cream! America!

The City of Bishop will be hosting their Annual “Big Day at the Park” on Saturday, July 4th. Everyone is welcome to enjoy a day at the City Park to celebrate the Fourth of July with activities starting at 11:00 AM and ending at 4:00 PM.

Starting at 11 AM – For the spectator, come and watch an exciting Exhibition Baseball Game at Diamond Four; For some exercise, bring your tennis rackets and balls and play on the city tennis courts or check in at the City Pool Office to check out a bocce ball set or a volleyball to get started on a game of bocce ball or get some digs in this summer in our volleyball sand courts!

To cool off – come and join us at the City Pool free of charge from 11 AM to 4 PM! Live music will begin at 2:00 PM and FREE watermelon, ice cream, and pie will be served from 2 PM to 4 PM.

Don’t miss out on the fun! If you need more information please call Bishop City Hall at (760) 873-5863.

cover photo, fun times at the Bishop City Park

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Fireworks at Crowley Lake

Town of Mammoth Lakes  hosting Fourth of July Fireworks spectacular at Crowley Lake

From the Town of Mammoth

Mammoth Lakes, CA – The Town of Mammoth Lakes in partnership with Crowley Lake Fish Camp is proud to once again host the annual Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular at Crowley Lake. The Independence Day fireworks show promises to be a bright and striking display of color in the Eastern Sierra night sky. This year’s “Sky Concert” will propel over 737 shells into the Eastern Sierra sky for a mesmerizing 20 minutes beginning at approximately 9:15 p.m. (weather permitting). Funding for this year’s Fourth of July show was generously donated by individual community members and business owners, second homeowners, L.D.C. and from the Town’s general fund.
Since incorporating in 1984, the Town of Mammoth Lakes has been celebrating Independence Day with a spectacular fireworks show. The Town contracts Pyro Spectaculars by Souza to light up the sky above Crowley Lake. Souza is well known for doing some of the largest and most spectacular fireworks displays in the world.
Admission to the Fourth of July Fireworks Show is once again only $25.00 per car, RV, or truck (excludes camping), and $5.00 per individual/bike (walking/riding).
Prior to the spectacular fireworks show, kick back on the Crowley Lake Fish Camp lawn and enjoy live music playing from 4:30 – 8:30 p.m. The new Crowley Lake Fish Camp restaurant: Pelican Point Grill will be serving BBQ and Holiday specials including cold beverages from Noon – 8:30 p.m.
Camp permitting at Crowley Lake Fish Camp for the Fourth of July begins Thursday, July 2, 2015 and ends Monday July 6, 2015. The entire lake shore at the South Landing of Crowley Lake is open for camping, and the fee is $125 per vehicle including the fireworks show for the 5-days. The North Landing/North Shore of Crowley Lake will be closed beginning at 12:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 2, 2015, thru 12:00 p.m. Monday, July 6, 2015.

To ensure a safe holiday experience for everyone, please observe the following:

1. No personal fireworks are permitted within Mono County, including the Inyo National Forest (INF), and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands. Be smart; leave the fireworks to the professionals!
2. Due to EXTREME FIRE DANGER, the Mammoth Lakes Fire Protection District, Long Valley Fire Department, Mammoth Lakes Police Department, California Highway Patrol and Mono County Sheriff will enforce a “zero tolerance” policy with respect to the possession and use of fireworks. Fireworks violations will be strictly enforced.
3. Please obey road closure and no parking signs. Parking is NOT permitted along Highway 395 or Crowley Lake Drive at any time. Do not park in fire lanes.
4. The Mono County Sheriff’s Office will be patrolling on Crowley Lake during the fireworks show. Do not boat within 100 yards of the fireworks detonation site at Hilton Bay and proper night-time navigation lighting is required.
5. Help us keep Mono County clean. Please use designated trash facilities.
6. Do not drink and drive. Please use a designated driver or plan to camp at Crowley Lake Fish Camp.

Please enjoy our national holiday in a safe and responsible manner. For more information, please contact the Town of Mammoth Lakes Recreation Department at (760) 934-8989 ext. 222, or visit

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Level 3 Restrictions Remain for MCWD

Mammoth Community Water District Level 3 Water Shortage Conditions Still in Effect

Rain in May Helped Conservation Efforts But Fail to Replenish Surface Water Supplies.

Statement from the Mammoth Community Water District:

Conservation, cooler temperatures and rainfall in May contributed to a significant reduction in water consumption by Mammoth Community Water District (MCWD) customers compared to May 2013.  Unfortunately, not enough rain fell to raise Mammoth Creek flows to levels that would allow MCWD to store water in Lake Mary or to divert water to customers.  As a result, MCWD would like to remind customers that water supplies remain at a critical level as we start the summer irrigation season.
May water demand from MCWD customers this year was 54 percent lower than May 2013, saving 55 million gallons of water.  This reduction exceeds the MCWD’s Level 3 reduction goal of 30 percent.  Although this May received an inch more rain than in 2013, the savings is still significant.  General Manager Pat Hayes remarked “Our customers are keenly aware of their environment and are seeing the effects of the drought.  It seems this connection is translating into turning down the spigot.”  The year 2013 is being used as the baseline for comparison purposes by the state and MCWD.
The MCWD has been almost entirely dependent on groundwater supplies since last year.  Surface water has been limited or unavailable as Mammoth Creek flows have been too low to divert for drinking water supplies.  These limits to storage and diversions are embedded in MCWD’s water right permit and licenses to protect Mammoth Creek resources.  Fortunately, the MCWD can turn to their nine groundwater production wells this summer to supply the community.  MCWD is keeping a close watch on groundwater levels this summer as we transition into the irrigation season.  For MCWD customers, Level 3 Water Shortage Restrictions remain in effect until conditions improve.  All customers are encouraged to visit the MCWD website for a list of the restrictions.

cover photo courtesy of the Mammoth Community Water District

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FBI investigating June Lake letter

Suspicious letter delivered to resident in June Lake

Mono County Sheriffs Department statement:

On Wednesday, June 24th, 2015, at approximately 5:00pm, the Mono County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch Center received a call from a resident of June Lake regarding a suspicious letter that was received.

A resident of the community of June Lake received a suspicious letter containing a white powdery substance. The resident contacted the Mono County Sheriff’s Office requesting assistance. Deputies and Mono County EMS were dispatched to the residence in June Lake. Several people, including a first responder, were potentially exposed to the white powder and were transported via ambulance to Mammoth Hospital for observation.

A Unified Command was established with Mono County EMS, June Lake Fire Department, Mammoth Lakes Fire Department, Mono County Health Department and Mono County Sheriff’s Office. Decontamination and proper Hazmat procedures were followed and all clothing and materials were secured for further analysis. The Mono County Sheriff’s Office requested the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) regional laboratory to assist in the testing of the white powder. Preliminary test results from the FBI laboratory show the white powder is not a hazardous substance. Final test results are still pending.

We would like to remind the public that any suspicious letter or package could be a serious threat. If you receive anything out of the ordinary or suspicious, contact law enforcement immediately and leave the letter or package alone until authorities arrive.

We will continue to provide updates on this case as they become available. – Jennifer M. Hansen, Public Information Officer

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