Community News

120 Closing Thursday

Caltrans closing 120 Thursday for Maintenance

SR 120 West – Tioga Pass Road to close for Maintenance
on Thursday, April 30th, 2015.   The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) would like to inform the traveling public that SR 120 West (Tioga Pass) from the junction of US Hwy 395 to the Yosemite Park gate will be closed on Thursday, April 30th, 2015.

For the safety of Caltrans crews and the public, the one day closure is required to allow crews to address rock falling onto the roadway and to perform routine maintenance as a result of last weekend’s storm.  The closure will begin at 7:30 am and end at 3:30 pm.

For the latest in highway information please visit Caltrans QuickMap site at or call our Road Condition Hotline at 1-800-427-ROAD (7623).

caltrans, tioga pass road, eastern sierra news, mono county news

LADWP shutting off irrigation May 1

LA cutting off water to lessees Friday

The Inyo Board of supervisor invited everyone to the table to talk water.  A water workshop was scheduled as part to their regular meeting Tuesday.  Monday night Inyo supervisors were made aware of notice passed along to local LADWP lessees that irrigation would halt Friday, May 1st.  The Los Angeles Department of water and power giving lessees less than a weeks notice of their directive.  Inyo County Administrative Officer Kevin Carunchio responds.

“ Most of the LADWP lessees in the area, received communication that all irrigation water, weather supplied by surface water like creeks, canals, or pumped from the ground, will be shut off May 1st. Obviously that spells nothing but disaster, economic, agriculture and environmental disaster. For the lessees and for the wildlife that lives on those leases, and for the ascetics of the Owenes Valley.”

The Inyo County CAO and the board of supervisors see the move by the LADWP as a clear violation of the long term water agreement.

“Yesterday the board met and authorized correspondence and appropriate legal action. The board did move forward with the workshop, and had a spirited, constructive, and heart felt conversation about how to use the water the dwp has said it will leave in the valley.” Said Caruchio.

Inyo Supervisor Rick Pucci opened yesterdays workshop by questioning the LADWP’s willingness to work cooperatively in light of their bold step to cut irrigation waters.  Carunchio sees the move as an unfair blow to Owens Valley agriculture.  “Everyone there yesterday recognizes the need for reductions of water use, that’s just a reality in this type of drought year, but to heap it all on agriculture does not seem wise or fair. When you look at it, some of the ag leases are the biggest win,win situations out there in terms of environmental enhancement, wildlife habitat, dust control and economic influx”

Citing pending litigation, LADWP officials did not comment directly on the topic at Tuesdays workshop.

cover photo by Gary Young.

inyo county news, drought 2015, kevin carunchio, rick pucci, ladwp

Raptors Presentation

A Second Showing: Raptors of the Eastern Sierra

When: Wednesday, May 6, 7:00pm (doors open at 6:30pm)
Where: USFS/BLM, Bishop

The first presentation of Raptors of the Eastern Sierra was such a hit that we were able to schedule another program to include those of you that missed the first one! This will be a repeat of the same presentation that was given in February of 2015.

There are 17 different raptors that are typically found in the eastern sierra. Ron Oriti will cover the basics of each species – their natural history and the differences between males, females, and immatures, but the highlight of the presentation will be the wonderful photos (if anything, come for the photos!). You will love seeing these raptors up close.

Ron Oriti is a retired Planetarium Director and astronomy teacher. He was a research assistant in meteoritics at UCLA, and has co-authored a textbook on astronomy for beginning colleges students. His love of nature, and the outdoors brought him to the eastern sierra. With the aid of the digital camera, he has specialized in photographing local landscapes,wild​flowers, dragonflies, butterflies, lizards, raptors, and other birds.

We hope to see you then and spread the word! For more information see our website: or call: 760.920.8541

Photos by Ron Oriti

American Kestrel
American Kestrel
bald eagle
bald eagle
eastern sierra news, raptors of the eastern sierra, ron oriti

Council Honors Kellie Hallenbeck

Bishop City Council Honors Hallenbeck

Monday evening the Bishop City Council made a presentation to outgoing Park and Recreation commissioner Kellie Hallenbeck.  The council thanked Hallenbeck for her years of service on the commission noting her specific contribution to improvements at the city park and expansion of services.


Hallenbeck pinned a letter to city of Bishop staff.

I am delighted to have been part of the Parks and Recreation Commission and considered it an honor and privilege to have been chairperson the last two years. My favorite accomplishment was being a part of the Tree Committee.  Together we agreed on new street trees for sidewalk improvement projects and with fellow Master Gardener, Alison Collin, we were able to choose every tree for the Warren Street Project.  Best of all having an approved Arboretum in the city park is helping Bishop to be placed on the map of ‘Tree City USA!’   My hometown of Sacramento is considered the ‘City of Trees’  for California so helping the high dessert become a tree city is truly magical for me. I also enjoyed helping fund the tile mural wall at the Inyo County Library and the Bishop Dog Park through yard sale profits and many many meetings.  I am satisfied with the additions of the community garden, the outdoor gym, new fields and improvements throughout the park.  I’m excited to know a shade structure will be in place for the playground and the walking path is scheduled to circle the park and after years of trying I hope to visit one day to see a community building filled with liveliness. I joined the commission because the city lacked activities for kids but now the children of Bishop are certainly blessed with programs to meet all of their needs thanks to the City of Bishop’s Parks and Recreation Department’s awesomeness and volunteer efforts!  Thank you for all you do!May your children and their children forever be and feel safe at Bishop City Park.”

Hellenbeck and her husband Tom, former Caltrans district 9 director, are relocating to Sacramento.

Cover Photo, Dan McElroy, Parks & Recreation Supervisor and Kellie Hallenbeck.

city of bishop, bishop news, kellie hallenbeck, warren street

Mike Murphy

Mike Murphy

Mike Murphy, a resident of both Beijing, China and Vancouver, BC, died unexpectedly on April 8th, 2015 at the age of 45 at his home in Beijing.
Mike is survived by his mother, Carol Murphy; his lovely wife, Tara Murphy; his two beautiful children, Bowen Murphy,10 and Ingrid Murphy,9. His three brothers and one sister; John(Carolyn)Schuler, Stan Schuler, Roger(Rhonda) Schuler and Bonny Lent(Jessie), as well, as a large extended family. He is preceded in death by his father, Mikeal Murphy and his Uncle, Leroy Phillips.
Mike was born in Yerington, Nevada on March 3rd, 1970 to Mikeal Murphy and Carol Murphy. At the age of 4, Mike and his family moved to Bishop, California. He spent his early years in Bishop as a landscaper, graduating from Calvary Christian High School and then on to graduate from Pacific Life Bible College in Vancouver, Canada. After college, he married Tara, his college sweetheart. Shortly after, Mike and Tara welcomed their two children in to the world who were the most important parts of his life.
Mike was a devoted husband, father, son and brother. He enjoyed hiking and backpacking. Mike was an avid traveler who had been to over 40 countries before arriving in Beijing with his wife, Tara. He continued that tradition with his children, taking them to many parts of the world. Mike was the very definition of a self-made man. From very humble beginnings, Mike broke the mold and traveled the world on his own. It was his wife and his incredible sense of adventure and tenacity that led him to China and took him from selling Christmas trees in a car park in Shunyi to the owner of a great business with over 150 employees. He was a spiritual man and was involved in many church activities. He will be deeply missed by his friends, family, and all who knew him.
A Celebration of Life will be held at The Oasis of Grace Church, 528 Central Ave., in Bishop, California on Saturday, May16th at 1:30pm. A reception will follow at the Bishop Elks Lodge at 2:30pm. This will be a great time to eat, talk and remember Mike.
mike m

Bishop Parks and Rec Vacancy

City of Bishop Parks and Rec Vacancy

Notice is hereby given that the City Council of the City of Bishop announces an unscheduled vacancy on the Parks and Recreation Commission.  This appointment will be in effect until the end of the term on October 28, 2015.  All interested persons interested in serving on this City Commission may contact Bishop City Hall, 377 West Line Street, Bishop, (760) 873-5863.  Applications and descriptions of duties and responsibilities of the commission are available at City Hall and on the City’s website at   Applications will be accepted until the close of business at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 6, 2015.

city of bishop, bishop news, eastern sierra news

Inyo Supervisors Talking Water

Inyo Supervisors hosting water workshop

The Inyo Board of Supervisors are holding a workshop during Tuesday’s meeting titled “Talking Water Workshop” to discuss water availability. In light of the severity of present drought conditions and the dire shortfall in water for in-valley uses proposed in LADWP’s Proposed Annual Operations Plan, the Board desires input from all segments of the community concerning Owens Valley water availability and use. The Board is inviting representatives of the Department of Water and Power, the Tribal Councils, signatories to the 1997 MOU concerning the Inyo/Los Angeles Long-Term Water Agreement, local water districts, LADWP lessees, State and federal agencies, parties participating in the Owens Lake Master Project Advisory Committee, and the public to join the Board in their discussions.

The workshop is scheduled for Tuesday, April 28th at 1:30 p.m., in the Board of Supervisors Room, at the County Administrative Center in Independence.

The Board encourages those who are interested in learning about and providing information concerning the impacts and mitigation of reduced water availability in Inyo County to attend the workshop and share with the Board your comments and ideas.


inyo board of supervisors, drought 2015, eastern sierra news, ladwp

Eagle Rescued, Released, and Reunited


submitted by Eastern Sierra Wildlife Care, Cindy Kamler.
photos by Peggy Hankins

The Golden Eagle waits impatiently for the carrier door to open. To the west, a wind-swept sky forms a deep blue backdrop behind the mountains and the early spring sun floats warm and big overhead.
Two months earlier, Inyo residents Steve Toomey and Glenn Clark observed this same Eagle on old County Road standing on a roadside boulder. The large raptor did not fly off when their vehicle passed closely and noting this lack of response, they stopped. The Golden Eagle jumped from the granite to the desert floor and began to run. Something was wrong!
Glenn and Steve drove to the nearby Big Pine Animal Shelter and told their story to staffers Julie Richardson and Katie Bird who followed them to the site, located the bird, and set the two men on watch, and drove to Eastern Sierra Wildlife Care’s Center at Keough’s. Cindy Kamler and Kelly Bahr quickly assembled an eagle-size carrier, thick gloves and nets and headed south down the old road.
Glenn and Steve knew just where the Eagle was and Assistant Director Kelly Bahr soon reached the weakened Eagle and secured his powerful legs and talons. Kamler assisted her in getting a safe hold on the bird and he was soon in the carrier and off to ESWC where he was given a physical exam; fluids were administered to combat dehydration. He was badly underweight but no injuries were found. On a follow-up at Bishop Veterinary Hospital, Dr. Janice Pfeiff and her assistants X-rayed the ailing bird of prey. A healed—or nearly healed—fracture of the humerus was seen but needed no treatment.

Back at the ESWC hospital, the mature male Eagle was gradually introduced to solid foods and placed in the only cage large enough for him to spread his wings fully. He soon was flying the much-too-short space end to end and it was arranged to transfer him to WildCare in Marin County where he could work out in their 100-foot flight cage. ESWC volunteer Roberta Noel drove the bird to San Rafael and transferred him to their care. After his first flight, WildCare Assistant Director Cindy Dicke called ESWC to report that he had easily and eagerly flown over 80 feet in his first attempt—and would have gone farther if he hadn’t run into the end of the cage!
Ten days later, ESWC volunteer Peggy Hankins transported the fully recovered Golden Eagle back to ESWC and his original cage where he could recover from nearly 8 hours in a carrier and adjust to the elevation change.
Now, two months after his rescue, on a high-wind, gusty day, the carrier door is opened and he bursts out in a long, low flight toward a rocky outcrop where he lands smoothly and examines his surroundings. He is only a few hundred yards from where he was found and rescued. A handful of ESWC staff and volunteers watch as he works his way up and over the outcrop and disappears into the gully behind. Kelly Bahr runs down and sights the eagle working his way upward toward the end of the outcrop. Onlookers gasp as he emerges into the open, flying strongly, swooping and soaring in the wind. Smiles and cheers break out as we watch; then, further excitement: “There’s a second eagle!!” Yes, the male Eagle’s mate has shown up! The two magnificent birds are flying together across the face of the mountain. A raven tries to break up the fun (probably has a nest in the area) and the female chases it away.
Now begins a series of flights: one Eagle remains on the ground while the other flies upward in a aerobatic courtship display, dancing in the wind, then returns to the ground while the second Eagle rises and performs its own dance. The couple alternates several times as the onlookers watch through binoculars, camera lens or naked eye as the reunited mates renew their bonds and prepare for a long-delayed mating in the near future. In a finale that brings smiles to our faces, the happy couple stand together wing to wing, then exit stage right behind a large boulder.

For further information, call Cindy Kamler at 760-872-1487.

The male’s mate joins him
The male’s mate joins him
Golden Eagle soaring
Golden Eagle soaring
Golden Eagle prepares to lift off
Golden Eagle prepares to lift off
Golden Eagle surveys the area following release
Golden Eagle surveys the area following release
eastern sierra wildlife care, golden eagle, bishop news, eastern sierra news, cindy kamler

Got Wood?

Inyo National Forest Announces Firewood Season

The Inyo National Forest announces that the opening of personal use fuelwood season starts Friday, May 1st. Fuelwood permits will soon go on sale at local U.S. Forest Service Ranger Stations and Visitor Centers beginning Wednesday, April 29th.

Maps showing areas open to cutting are available with a purchased fuelwood permit. Fuelwood permits are still $15.00 per cord with a two cord minimum purchase.

Initial supplies of firewood can be found at Hartley and Reversed Peak Forest Management Areas located on the fuelwood map. Other areas may be opened later this season.

To better serve visitors, the U.S. Forest Service is requesting those persons interested in purchasing fuelwood permits do so between the hours of 8:00 am-11:30 am and 12:00 pm – 4:30 pm. Fuelwood permits may be obtained at the following locations: 

Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center (SAVC) in Lee Vining, (760) 647-3044

Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center in Mammoth Lakes, (760) 924-5500

White Mountain Ranger Station in Bishop, (760) 873-2500

Interagency Visitor Center in Lone Pine, (760) 876-6222

Mono Basin SAVC will be closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays until May 17th. The White Mountain Visitor Center, currently under remodel, is expected to re-open by April 29th. Please call ahead to your local visitor center to confirm hours of operations.

Permit holders are advised to check in with their local U.S. Forest Service Ranger Stations and Visitor Centers for current conditions and accessibility. The Inyo National Forest will institute shut down days (for chainsaw use) based upon daily Project Activity Level. Permit holders can call (760) 873-2555 for information on activity levels.

The Fuelwood Strategy, developed with public participation in 1998, continues to be implemented this year.  Large ends of all downed logs (those portions greater than 30 inches in diameter) are required to remain on the forest floor for wildlife habitat and recycling of soil nutrients.  The majority of funds collected from permit sales are directly returned to the forest for continued implementation of this program.  Comments on this Strategy and Fuelwood program are always welcome. For further information on the fuelwood program, contact your local Ranger Station or Visitor Center.

inyo national forest, fire wood, eastern sierra news, bishop news, mammoth news

NASCAR Legends Heading to Tonopah

Kyle Petty and Friends coming to Tonopah

Annual motorcycle tour that benefits children with chronic illnesses will travel from Santa Cruz, Calif. to Branson, Mo., with a stop in Tonopah, Sunday May 3rd.

Tune in to KIBS/KBOV for interviews and details.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. March 2, 2015 – The Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America has announced the route for its 21st Anniversary motorcycle trek, taking place May 2-8, 2015. NBC Sports NASCAR analyst and former NASCAR driver Kyle Petty will lead 200 motorcyclists along the 2,500 mile-route, stretching from Santa Cruz, Calif. to Branson, Mo., to raise funds and awareness for Victory Junction – a camp created to enrich the lives of children with chronic or life-threatening illnesses.

“Each year, we select a route that’s full of breathtaking scenery, while also allowing us to spread the word and build excitement around our mission along the way,” said Petty. “Year after year, the Ride creates lasting memories for our riders, most importantly, it provides life-changing opportunities for children at Victory Junction.”

Spectators, visitors and locals along the 2015 route are encouraged to attend one of the Ride’s eight overnight stops or daily fuel stops to greet Petty and the riders, purchase Ride memorabilia or make a donation to Victory Junction.

The 2015 Kyle Petty Charity Ride Schedule:

  • Day 1, Saturday, May 2 – Santa Cruz, Calif. to Bakersfield, Calif.
  • Day 2, Sunday, May 3 – Bakersfield, Calif. to Tonopah, Nev.
  • Day 3, Monday, May 4 – Tonopah, Nev. to Bryce Canyon, Utah
  • Day 4, Tuesday, May 5 – Bryce Canyon, Utah to Moab, Utah
  • Day 5, Wednesday, May 6 – Moab, Utah to Colorado Springs, CO.
  • Day 6, Thursday, May 7 – CO. Springs, CO. to Hutchinson,KS.
  • Day 7, Friday, May 8 – Hutchinson, Kan. to Branson, Mo.

As a result of the Kyle Petty Charity Ride, 7,815 children have attended Victory Junction at no cost to their families. The camp has served as the Ride’s primary beneficiary since its establishment by Kyle Petty in 2004 in honor of his late son, Adam.

This year, many celebrities plan to participate in all or part of the 21st Anniversary Ride, including: NASCAR Hall of Famer and seven time champion Richard Petty; NASCAR driver Matt Kenseth; NASCAR legends Harry Gant and Donnie Allison; former NFL great Herschel Walker; Harley-Davidson, Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer Matt Levatich; NBC Sports NASCAR analyst Rick Allen; co-host of History Channel’s Top Gear America and NASCAR personality Rutledge Wood.

“When Kyle started this Ride 21 years ago, I don’t think any of us realized just how special it would become,” said Kyle’s father Richard Petty. “Riding across our beautiful country on two wheels with great friends and family is incredible, but knowing you’re doing it to help others makes it the ride of a lifetime.”

The 2015 Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America is made possible by presenting sponsor Manheim, as well as Coca-Cola, Dodge, Harley-Davidson Motor Company, Racing Electronics, FLUIDYNE Racing Products, WinCraft Racing, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, the Petty Family Foundation, Headbands of Hope, Original Bike Spirits and the Beef Jerky Outlet.

To follow Kyle Petty and the riders live, visit, or on Twitter and Instagram, @KPCharityRide.

About the Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America (KPCRAA)
Led by former NASCAR driver and racing analyst Kyle Petty, the KPCRAA is an annual cross-country motorcycle trek that raises funds and awareness for Victory Junction. The KPCRAA is one of the most successful and popular charity events in the country. Now in its 21st year, more than 7,500 riders have logged 11.1 million cumulative motorcycle miles and raised more than $16 million for Victory Junction and other children’s charities.

About Victory Junction
Victory Junction is a year-round camping environment for children, ages six to 16, with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses. Co-founded by Kyle Petty family, in honor of his, son Adam Petty, the camp is located in Randleman, N.C. Victory Junction exists to provide life-changing camping experiences that are exciting, fun and empowering, in a safe and medically-sound environment, always free of charge. As a not-for-profit organization, the camp operates solely through the support of generous individuals, foundations, organizations and corporations to provide this experience at no charge to children and their families. Since the camp’s inception, more than 21,500 children and families have received not only a circle of support but experiences thought to only be possible by healthy children. Victory Junction is a member of the SeriousFun Children’s Network of Camps founded by Paul Newman, and is accredited by the rigorous guidelines of the American Camping Association. To learn more, please visit

tonopah news, kyle petty, eastern sierra news