KIBS/KBOV Announcements

Jury Finds Bencoma Guilty-Sentencing Set

Inyo County District Attorrney:
Jury Finds Bencoma Guilty
Sentencing Date Set
September 8, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
On September 6, 2017 an Inyo County Jury convicted Bishop-area resident Raymond Bencoma of four counts of felony assault with a firearm arising out of an incident that occurred in the early morning hours of August 26, 2016. Under California law, these charges are classified as serious felonies. Mr. Bencoma was charged under a specific section that alleged assault on peace officers with a firearm. “It appears that the jury, based on the evidence in the case, did not believe that Mr. Bencoma knew or reasonably should have known that the individuals he was assaulting were peace officers—but they found beyond a reasonable doubt that he was assaulting human beings, and knew it”.
The evidence presented showed that the officers approached Mr. Bencoma during the course of a domestic violence investigation. It was dark, and for officer and public safety reasons, they did not announce their presence as police officers, and used minimal lighting. This is well-accepted police practice for approaching a known dangerous individual suspected of a violent crime, but it may have created some doubt about the identity of the individuals assaulted.
On September 7, following the jury’s guilty verdicts, the case returned to court for a court or bench trial before the Honorable Brian Lamb on the issue of whether or not Mr. Bencoma had suffered three prior convictions of serious and/or violent felonies. The Judge found those allegations to be true, and the matter set for sentencing on October 19, 2017. Final sentencing decisions are always made by the presiding judge, but Mr. Bencoma is facing a potential sentence of 25 years to life on each of the four assault with a firearm counts. Mr. Bencoma was previously convicted of being an ex-felon in possession of a firearm and an ex-felon in possession of ammunition.

Suspicious Person in Crowley Lake Area-Mono County Sheriff’s Department

The Mono County Sheriff’s Office has identified a suspicious person frequenting the Hilton Creek, Crowley Lake, Long Valley, Aspen Springs and Tom’s Place communities. This person has a criminal history but is currently not wanted for any crime.

A person matching the description of the known person was seen by a homeowner peering into garages. The person of interest stated he were looking for a delivered package and stated he lived at a location nearby. The homeowner thought this suspicious and knew his statement to be false.

The person of interest is a male white, 67 years old, brown hair and brown eyes, 5’8”, 165 pounds. He is usually riding a road bicycle, often at a slow pace, and will stop and feign taking photographs. He is believed to be camping in the area.

These communities are advised to keep their garage doors closed, doors locked and vehicles secured. Community members observing any suspicious activity are encouraged to call the Mono County Sheriff’s Dispatch at (760) 932-7549, option 7.

CAL FIRE Suspends Burn Permits in Inyo County and Mono County

INYO & MONO COUNTIES – After a wet winter, warming temperatures are quickly drying out the abundant annual grass crop. The increasing fire danger posed by the high volume of dead grass and hotter, drier conditions in the region is prompting CAL FIRE to suspend all burn permits for outdoor residential burning within the State Responsibility Areas of Inyo County and Mono County. This suspension takes effect 6:00 a.m. July 31, 2017 and bans all residential outdoor burning of landscape debris such as branches and leaves.

“We are asking that residents not be lulled into a false sense of security on the heels of an exceptionally wet winter,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, CAL FIRE director. “The abundant dead grass will only serve as a fuse to the heavier vegetation still suffering the lasting effects of 5 years of extreme drought.”

CAL FIRE’s Unit Chief for San Bernardino, Glenn Barley said that “while winter rains have significantly improved drought conditions across California, fire is an ever-present danger across the state and especially in Southern California where even in wet years significant, damaging fires can occur.”

Since January 1, 2017 CAL FIRE and firefighters across the state have already responded to over 3,222 wildfires. While outdoor burning of landscape debris by homeowners is no longer allowed, CAL FIRE is asking residents to ensure that they are prepared for wildfires by maintaining a minimum of 100 feet of Defensible Space around every home and building on their property.

Here are some tips to help prepare homes and property:
Clear all dead and or dying vegetation within 100 feet of all structures.
Landscape with fire resistant/drought tolerant plants
Find alternative ways to dispose of landscape debris like chipping or hauling it to a biomass energy or green waste facility

The Department may issue restricted temporary burning permits if there is an essential reason due to public health and safety. Agriculture, land management, fire training, and other industrial-type burning may proceed if a CAL FIRE official inspects the burn site and issues a special permit.

The suspension of burn permits for residential landscape debris does not apply to campfires within organized campgrounds or on private property. Campfires may be permitted if the campfire is maintained in such a manner as to prevent its spread to the wildland. A campfire permit can be obtained at local fire stations or online at http://www.PreventWildFireCA.org

For additional information on how to create Defensible Space, as well as tips to prevent wildfires, visithttp://www.ReadyForWildfire.org.

Attempted Murder-Lone Pine Inyo County Sheriff’s Department

Attempted Murder – Lone Pine

On Tuesday May 23rd, Inyo County Sheriff’s Dispatch was contacted with a request for a deputy to conduct a welfare check on an individual who had not shown up to work. After responding to the residence on Post Street in Lone Pine, deputies discovered a male subject inside that was the victim of a shooting. The victim was transported to Southern Inyo Hospital and later flown out for further medical care; he is currently listed in critical condition.
Evidence at the residence indicates that this was not self-inflicted. The case is being handled as an attempted murder. Sheriff’s Investigations believe the shooting took place between Monday May 22nd and Tuesday May 23rd.
Anyone with any information that can assist in this investigation is asked to contact the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office at 760-878-0383.

Search & Rescue Tragic End

At noon, on Tuesday, May 23rd,  Dongying “Cindy” Qiu was located by SAR, deceased at the base of a frozen waterfall near Outpost Camp on the Mt Whitney Trail west of Lone Pine. It is believed that she fell approximately 60 feet through a snow chute at the top of the waterfall (located on the southwest side of Outpost Camp, about a quarter mile off trail). Ms. Qiu went missing on Sunday, May 21st while hiking the Mt. Whitney Trail with two
companions.

“This is an incredibly tragic situation and based on the extreme
snow conditions in the backcountry, this could have happened to
anyone,” stated Inyo County Sheriff’s Corporal Nick Vaughn. “The
entire search crew and the Sheriff’s Office extend their most
sincere condolences to the Qiu family and friends during this very
difficult time.”

This was the second day of searching for the missing hiker.
Support for the search was provided by Sierra Madre SAR, San
Bernardino SAR, China Lake Mountain Rescue Mountain Rescue Group, Inyo SAR and aerial support provided by Army National Guard and CHP helicopter H-80.

Bishop Community Workshop May 10th

The Bishop City Council invites the community to participate in a community workshop on Wednesday, May 10th from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm at the Executive Conference Room in City Hall to help the City draft a values statement reflective of the Bishop community.
The City Council considered preparation of a values state at their meeting on April 10th, after several members of the community attended previous meetings requesting the Council adopt a statement in essence stating all people are welcome. The Council hopes that a workshop will be a more welcoming environment for a broader demographic of the community to give their input on a shared values statement representing the community.
The workshop will include interactive stations focusing on the importance of a values statement, major themes, and the opportunity to draft a personal version for consideration by City Council for adoption. Everyone is encouraged to come by at any time between 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm on May 10th to share their vision of Bishop’s values as a community.

LO INYO SCIENCE LAB DEDICATED

05/04/17

It was a joyous affair as four beloved school teachers which collectively hold 120 years of teaching experience teaching students in Inyo County, were honored with the new Science Lab at Lo Inyo School was dedicated in their names by the Inyo County Superintendent of Schools and Lone Pine Unified School District last Thursday. Inyo County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Lisa Fontana, hosted the event, joined by the LAPUSD Superintendent Heidi Torix and members of both board of trustees.

Many of those attending the dedication were former students, now adults, under both couples’ tutelage and clearly hold them in great affection.

The ICOE Board of Trustees approved $200,000 to the project last October, which was first proposed by former Inyo County Superintendent Dr. Terry McAteer.

The Langleys, Sandy and Chris, met while working in the Peace Corps in rural Iran. Afterwards they move to Lone Pine where they taught several subjects at Lo-Inyo School including English and Social Studies for 30 years.

Nancy and Mike Prather began their teaching careers in Death Valley before joining the Lo-Inyo staff in the early 1980’s. Nancy taught primary grades until 2004 along with stating thee primary computer lab. Mike taught middle school science along with creating the annual Catalina trip until 2002. Both remain very active in the community.

The plaque to be posted in the new Science Lab reads, in part:

Both the Langleys and Prathers were actively involved in tutoring and assisting local tribal youth throughout their teaching careers. Moreover, the Langleys and Prathers continued in the working careers and in retirement to give back to the Lone Pine community through a variety of interests.

GROUP PHOTO: (L to R)

Cheryl Howerton. LPUSD Board member

LeeAnn Rasmuson, Inyo County Office of Education Board member

Mary Kemp, Inyo County Office of Education Board member

Dr. Lisa Fontana, Inyo County Superintendent of Schools

Chris Langley, Honoree

Mike Prather, Honoree

Nancy Prather, Honoree (with granddaughter Kestral)

Marjianne Yonge, LPUSD Board member

Heidi Torix, LPUSD Superintendent

Scott Kemp, LPUSD Board member

BLUE ANGELS

CHINA LAKE AIR SHOW TAKES FLIGHT IN MARCH.

By Seth Conners

The worlds most famous jet team, The Blue Angels, will headline the 2017 China Lake Air Show.  Several of the team’s aviators met with officials during a visit to China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station on January 9th, in advance of the upcoming air show.  The Blue Angels will be the featured performers at the air show, set to take place on March 18th and 19th.  The much anticipated event will be the first air show at the China Lake base in 23 years.

The Blue Angels are known for their precision formation flying and are a crowd favorite throughout the world.  At the show, they will be flying their six, distinctive, blue and gold FA-18 Hornets.

Details about other show performers, static displays and additional features are being announced soon.  Event general admission and parking are free.  Also, there are a limited amount of premium seating options available, including box seats and a Flight Line Club where spectators enjoy the most exclusive seating, private amenities, and the best view of the show.  High-resolution images and b-roll of the Blue Angels are available from the Blue Angels website.

WINTER SAFETY TIPS

WINTER SAFETY TIPS

In light of the snow and rain accumulation that has occurred within the Town of Mammoth Lakes during the last week, the Mammoth Lakes Fire Department wishes to remind residents of several life saving items.  These include the accumulation of large amounts of snow/ice sitting on roofs, the blocking of vents by snow accumulations, maintaining clear emergency egress doors and windows, the maintenance needed to safely use propane in snow country, and request for residents in own to keep hydrants available for use.

With the large accumulations of snow, especially very wet snow, the roofs in the local community are supporting a tremendous load. Occupants need to determine if the weight of the snow that is resting on their roofs should be dealt with. Also, when temperatures increase, roofs are going to experience sliding or icicle buildup. Tremendous amounts of weight can come cascading off of a roof without any warning. The public is advised to avoid areas of roof deposition and falling icicles when walking and carefully chose your parking spots.

Also, with the increasing snowbanks around town, be very careful with where children play, as the snow slides off the steep banks and snow removal equipment will be working the streets and may not see children playing in the banks. Also, intersections are becoming difficult to see approaching vehicles and pedestrians, please proceed with caution at each intersection.

The Fire Department wishes to remind everyone the Fire Code requires all bedrooms to have two means of exiting. If you own a complex or live in a rental/commercial unit, the owner is responsible to keep these exits open. The Fire Department will also be looking for infractions of this code violation. For those homeowners that use propane, keep the top of the tank dug out to allow quick access to the shutoff valve, make sure that vents are clear and able to function properly, and if you should smell propane, immediately evacuate the structure and call 911.

Lastly, there are fire hydrants located throughout town that are used by the fire department in the event of a fire. The fire department is requesting interested individuals to routinely shovel out the hydrant nearest to their homes to help out. If you would like any additional information on these topics, please feel free to call the Fire Station at any time at 934-2300.

 

 

CITY LETTER TO LADWP

CITY SUBMITS LETTER TO LADWP

By Seth Conners

City Leaders met Monday night in Bishop. At the meeting, the City Council approved sending a letter to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Commissioners, outlining some needs and concerns regarding lease agreements in the Owens Valley, and specifically, the town of Bishop. For the last twelve months, the City of Bishop has acted as an informal Liaison between DWP and local lease holders, concerning the lack of lease transfer-ability and a desire from locals to purchase properties owned but not being used by DWP and Los Angeles.  It’s felt by many in the community that longstanding agreement practices between LADWP and locals in Bishop  have worked well in the past, but are now being tossed aside because they’re considered to be at odds with competitive bidding requirements in the Los Angeles City Charter. The letter addresses and outlines several key issues deemed crucial by locals to help develop more comprehensive land use policies that support the people of the Owens Valley and the economy of Inyo County moving forward. To view a draft of the letter, click on the link below.

Item_12C