Category Archives: Community News

Evening Under the Round Valley Stars

Stars align in support of the Round Valley School

Submitted by the Round Valley School STEP foundation
May 2, 2016

The STEP Foundation will host its most important fundraiser of the year, an ‘Evening Under The Stars’ dinner and auction; as the organization continues to support the educational enrichment of the students at the Round Valley Joint Elementary School.

An ‘Evening under the Stars’ is the crown jewel of STEP fundraising efforts.  The 12th annual event will be held on Saturday, May 14 at its traditional location, the Arcularius Ranch, 225 N. Round Valley Rd.   It’s the “don’t-miss” event of the Owens Valley, with a full western BBQ dinner, silent and live auctions, plus live music, all set in a spectacular outdoor setting. At 5:00 p.m. the extravaganza will begin with a happy hour, appetizers, music from local favorite band “Last Chance” and a silent auction; then a delicious down-home dinner catered by Mammoth Mountain Catering and “Holy Smoke” Texas Style BBQ restaurant, served at 6:30, and followed by a live auction and more music at the foot of the Eastern Sierra and under the evening stars.

The Round Valley School is a special place for children to go to school, being recognized as a California Distinguished School and also a ‘School of Choice’. Established in 1871 on land donated by the Arcularius family the school serves families in both Mono and Inyo Counties. With only 130 children from kindergarten through 8th grade, the kids there truly become a family.

The Round Valley School’s Student Enrichment Program Foundation (STEP Foundation) was formed by passionate parents who wanted to enrich the educational adventure for students (and teachers). As state and county budget cuts have taken a toll on programs, equipment and staff; the STEP Foundation has supplemented the school’s budget through donations and fundraising events.
“The STEP Foundation has upgraded the school’s computer technology on an annual basis; plus provided everything from funding music and art programs, paying for a librarian, bringing in special assembly speakers and supporting classroom programs and equipment, such as a trout farm for the elementary school and dissection material for science class” said Kevin Mazzu, STEP Foundation – President.

Fundraising events generate the bulk of the donations that STEP uses. “STEP raises funds in unique ways that include event dinners, wine tastings and a holiday movie theater experience”, said Karen Marshall, principal/superintendent and STEP board member. “All funds provide educationally and developmentally enriching in-class and extracurricular opportunities that benefit Round Valley School’s students and teachers”.

“This year, we hope to reach the $250,000 mark (since STEP’s 2006 inception), with the bulk of our money coming from events like this” Marshall explained. “We want to thank the community for their ongoing support of this unique and special school”.

Tickets for this adults-only event are on sale now at $50 per guest, $90 per couple and $320 for a reserved group of eight.

STEP Board Vice-President Nick Whirl said, “A big part of living in this valley is remembering its past and educating people about the rich history that is present everywhere. The Round Valley School started as a country school house. It has a rich history and an intimate setting. It’s one of the first and best schools in the Owens Valley!”

According to, STEP honors that rich history by continuing to supplement state and local tax school funding so that students can receive “the highest quality education (by enriching) the educational adventure of students and teachers… wherever possible.”

For information about STEP, and to purchase ‘Evening under the Stars’ tickets, contact STEP Foundation board member Lis Mazzu at (760) 784-5461 or or purchase tickets online at

Cover Photo by Gary Young

round valley school, round valley step foundation, round valley california

Not So Fast route 120 West

Caltrans Postpones the Opening of California State Route 120 West

Mono County – Due to storm activity, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has decided to postpone the opening of the lower gate on State Route 120 west to the Yosemite National Park entrance.  Caltrans will reassess the weather and road conditions next week to determine if the highway is safe for the traveling public.

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

Dr. Johnson, Hantavirus season is here

Tis the season for Hantavirus

April 28, 2016
Submitted by Inyo and Mono Public Health Officer Dr. Richard Johnson

Although mice carry the hantavirus all year, this is the start of the season when humans typically begin activities that put them at risk of being exposed to the hantavirus.  Spring cleaning activities, such as opening up closed buildings that have been unused overwinter, often provide habitats for deer mice and become sites for human exposure to the hantavirus.  Although hantavirus infections are relatively rare, it is not unusual for us to have several cases per year in the Eastern Sierra. Deaths have already been reported this year from Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico. The risk of death is significant. Individuals cleaning areas where the mice may be present are well advised to heed the recommendations below in order to avoid exposure.

Hantavirus is carried by certain species of rats and mice, and especially the deer mouse.  Infected rodents shed the virus in their urine, droppings, and saliva.  The virus can be transmitted to people when infected mouse urine, saliva, droppings, or nesting materials are stirred up, temporarily aerosolizing the virus, which can be breathed in by humans.

We recommend the following precautions:

  • seal openings that may allow mice to enter homes and workplaces;
  • remove brush, woodpiles, trash, and other items that may attract mice;
  • tightly close garbage cans, pet food containers, and other food
  • wear protective gloves to handle dead mice or to clean up nesting areas, urine, or droppings;
  • before cleaning up nests or droppings found inside, open windows and doors to ventilate the area for at least 30 minutes;
  • do not stir up nests by sweeping or vacuuming. Dampen areas before clean-up;
  • use a disinfectant or 1-to-10 bleach-water mixture to clean up dead rodents, nests, urine, and droppings.


    Early symptoms of hantavirus infection include fatigue, fever, and muscle aches. These symptoms may be accompanied by headaches, dizziness, chills, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Later symptoms include coughing and shortness of breath. If hantavirus is suspected, people should contact their health care provider immediately. Remember, infections with hantavirus may feel like the “flu”; however, it is no longer flu season!

Manzanar Pilgrimage this Weekend

47th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage is this Weekend

April 28, 2016
Submitted by the Manzanar National Historic Site

INDEPENDENCE, CA—Manzanar National Historic Site invites visitors to participate in special events surrounding the Manzanar Committee’s 47th Annual Pilgrimage this weekend. All are welcome and the events are free. This year, the Pilgrimage coincides with the Sesquicentennial of Inyo County and the Centennial of the National Park Service (NPS).

This Friday, April 29, the Friends of Eastern California Museum will host a public reception from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. at the Eastern California Museum. Located at 155 Grant Street in Independence, the museum’s exhibits include Shiro and Mary Nomura’s Manzanar collection, the Anna and O.K. Kelly Gallery of Native American Life, the “Life on the Lake” photo exhibit, and many other aspects of local and regional history. Eastern California Museum is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The Manzanar National Historic Site Visitor Center is open 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily. On Saturday, April 30 and Sunday, May 1, the center will extend hours by opening at 9:00 a.m. The center offers extensive exhibits and an award-winning film, as well as special Junior Ranger activities for kids. In addition to the book store, Manzanar History Association is hosting Selected Artists from the Henry Fukuhara Annual Alabama Hills and Manzanar Workshop art show and sale through mid-May. A 1943 mural painted by Tamekichi Carl Hibino, on loan from the Eastern California Museum and recently conserved by the National Park Service, will be displayed on the auditorium stage.

Just outside the Visitor Center, Block 14 features a restored World War II-era mess hall and two reconstructed barracks. The barracks exhibits offer an in-depth exploration of the challenges and changes people faced in their daily lives at Manzanar. The mess hall exhibits highlight the logistics and politics of food in Manzanar.

Some of Manzanar’s most impressive archeological features are Japanese rock gardens. From 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 30, Madelon Arai Yamamoto and volunteer archeologist Mary Farrell will be at the restored Arai family fish pond in Block 33 to greet visitors and share stories about the pond’s discovery and excavation. Recent archeological work, completed with the help of 40 volunteers, uncovered numerous features in the administration area where most camp staff lived and worked.
The Manzanar Committee’s 47th Annual Pilgrimage Ceremony begins at noon, Saturday, April 30, at the Manzanar Cemetery. UCLA Kyodo Taiko drummers will kick off the event at 11:30 am, followed by the procession of camp banners at noon. Daion Taiko from Orange County Buddhist Church will also perform during the program. The theme for this year’s Pilgrimage is “Kodomo No Tame Ni: For The Sake Of The Children – Liberty and Justice For All.”

Dr. Cathy Irwin, educator and author of Twice Orphaned: Voices from the Children’s Village of Manzanar, will be the keynote speaker. Manzanar’s Children’s Village was the only orphanage in all ten camps, and home to 101 Japanese American children. Some were orphans before the war, others because of the war.

Maytha Alhassen, a Ph.D. candidate in American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California, and a contributing author to I Speak For Myself: American Women on Being Muslim, will be a featured speaker.

Owens Valley native and former Inyo County Fourth District Supervisor Robert “Bob” Gracey will be honored with the 2016 Sue Kunitomi Embrey Legacy Award. The award, named for the late founder of the Manzanar Committee, recognizes Gracey’s efforts to manage the environmental clean-up and transfer of the historic Manzanar Auditorium to the National Park Service. Gracey’s work made the auditorium’s restoration into the current Manzanar Visitor Center possible. Gracey also facilitated a land exchange expanding the national historic site to its current 814 acres, protecting key historic resources.

The Pilgrimage program concludes with the traditional interfaith service and Ondo dancing, after which park rangers will offer walking tours to those wishing to explore Manzanar.

The Manzanar At Dusk program begins at 5:00 p.m. Saturday at Lone Pine High School located at 538 South Main Street (Hwy. 395) in Lone Pine. The program offers participants opportunities for intergenerational discussions and sharing. The program is co-sponsored by the Nikkei Student Unions of Cal State Long Beach, Cal Poly Pomona, UCLA, and UCSD.

At 10:00 a.m., Sunday, May 1, Dr. Cathy Irwin will present a special program on the history of the Children’s Village in the West Theater of the Manzanar Visitor Center. Dr. Irwin will be available to sign Twice Orphaned: Voices from the Children’s Village of Manzanar in the book store Saturday as well as after her program Sunday morning.

With the exception of Friday evening’s reception and Saturday evening’s Manzanar At Dusk program, all events will take place at Manzanar National Historic Site located at 5001 Hwy. 395, six miles south of Independence, nine miles north of Lone Pine, and approximately 230 miles northeast of Los Angeles. There is no food service at Manzanar. Please bring a lunch or snacks and water. Wear sunscreen, a hat, comfortable shoes, and dress for the weather.

Merry Fishmas

Eastern Sierra General Trout Season opens Saturday

April 28, 2016
Submitted by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife

The general trout opener in many counties throughout California will commence on Saturday, April 30, one hour before sunrise.

Because of the popularity of this annual event with the angling public, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is making every effort to stock trout in all accessible waters approved for planting prior to the season opener. Because of the increased rains this winter, CDFW expects most lakes to be open and available for fishing.

Most lakes, rivers and streams have a limit of five trout per day and 10 in possession. However, regulations differ on season opening and closing dates, bag limits, minimum and maximum size limits and gear restrictions.

Anglers are advised to check specific area regulations and opening dates in the 2016-17 California Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulation booklet ( for regulations specific to each body of water.

In 2012, CDFW regional staff created the Eastern Sierra Back Country Fishing Guide to provide anglers with a quick, informative and accurate account of the distribution of fisheries in back country high elevation lakes. This guide does not address front country waters, defined as lakes and streams that are accessible by vehicle. Most of the lakes lie within U.S. Forest Service lands managed as wilderness and usually require back country permits for overnight use. Most back country fisheries are based on self-sustaining populations of trout and do not need regular trout stocking to maintain fish populations. The guide can be found at (under Hunting, Fishing, Education).

Crowley Lake in the Eastern Sierra is expected to be one of the most popular opening day destinations for anglers from around the state. In past years, an estimated 10,000 anglers have turned out for the opener, and approximately 50,000 trout are caught during the first week of the season. Typically Crowley is planted with hundreds of thousands of small and medium sized trout, and because of excellent food sources in the 5,280-acre reservoir, these trout grow to catchable sizes and weigh at least three-quarters of a pound by the opener. About 10 percent of the trout caught at Crowley during opening weekend weigh over a pound and a half. These fish are from stocks planted in previous years or are wild fish produced in Crowley’s tributary waters.

Anglers are asked to be particularly vigilant when cleaning fish and fishing gear at Crowley Lake and in the upper and lower Owens River Drainage. The New Zealand Mudsnail was discovered several years ago in the Owens River Drainage, and CDFW would like to prevent mudsnails from spreading into other waters. To avoid spreading New Zealand Mudsnails and other aquatic invasive species to other waters, anglers are advised to dispose of their fish guts in bear-proof trash cans, rather than throw them back into the water. Wading gear should be properly cleaned before using in new waters.

All persons age 16 and older must possess a valid California fishing license to fish within state lines. Freshwater fishing licenses can be purchased online at or at regional CDFW offices or other license agents. Anglers no longer have to display their license visibly above the waist but they must have it in their possession while fishing.

cover photo, KIBS/KBOV News/Sports director Arnie Palu

Bishop Union hires Palu

Palu accepts teaching position at Bishop High

April 27, 2016

Bishop Unified School District Statement

The Bishop Unified School District is pleased to announce that Mr. Arnie Palu has been hired as a teacher at Bishop Union High School.  Mr. Palu will be working in the Career Technical Education department at BUHS teaching classes related to the Arts, Media and Entertainment and marketing industry sectors.  His position will include journalism, media production, and student leadership.  Mr. Palu will also take the helm as Head Varsity Football Coach for the Broncos. 

Principal Randy Cook believes, “Arnie Palu will have a tremendous positive impact on our students both in the classroom and on the football field for years to come.”

Mr. Palu shared, “”I’m beyond excited for this new opportunity at Bishop Union High School. Covering BUHS athletics for 15 years at KIBS/KBOV and being a part of the Bronco football program has allowed me to build strong relationships with students and now this move will enable me to focus my full attention on working with young people. Leaving KIBS/KBOV is not easy, but joining the staff at BUHS will allow me the opportunity to pass along my passion for journalism. As we begin this new adventure I would like to thank my friends and family for their support.  This transition would not be possible without the love and encouragement of my wife.  Kelliann and I are in this together to help make a positive impact.  We are eager to get started. Go Broncos!”

We are extremely excited to begin working with Arnie Palu here at Bishop Unified and we know he will be a great addition to an already outstanding staff at BUHS.  Go Broncos!

Barry Simpson

Palu, a native of Nebraska, is a graduate of the University of Nebraska, Lincoln and has served as news and sports director at KIBS/KBOV since September of 2001.  Palu has been a member of the JV football staff at Bishop Union for 8 seasons including 5 seasons as head coach.

ap and kel
Arnie and Kelliann.
Arnie and Andy Watt.
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Jeanette Bartlett

Jeanette Frances Bartlett 1948-2016

Jeanette was born June 12, 1948 in San Pedro CA. to Nick and
Frances Gargas. She passed away on April 21, 2016 after a lengthy
battle with rheumatoid arthritis with her beloved son Nick by her
Jeanette married Gregory Bartlett, also of San Pedro on October 7,
1967. They raised three children Nick, Gina, Andrea along with
two grandchildren Nicky and Anthony Salas all from Bishop
Jeanette and Greg moved to Bishop in 1985 after Jeanette had
worked 20(+) years as an administrator at Anderson, Bennell and
Croft Medical Group, which serviced the merchant seaman
community out of the Port of Los Angeles. Jeanette had many
interests that included owning and operating a boutique in Bishop
while working full time at Northern Inyo Hospital for 23 years.
She also raised cutting horses for 30 years with her husband and
son, producing more than 100 quality animals which went on to
compete in the cutting and reined cow horse arenas.
Jeanette was preceded in death by her husband Greg Bartlett and
her Father Nick Gargas, also her great grandson Julian Salas.
Jeanette fought hard to overcome all of life’s obstacles and never
let anything prevent her from accomplishing her goals and living
out her dreams. She was expertly cared for by Bart White PA and
Dr. Tim Crall of Sierra Park Orthopedics as well as their caring and
respectful staff.
Jeanette is survived by Mother Frances Gargas, sister Patty Gargas,
son Nick and daughters Gina and Andrea, grandsons Nicky and
Anthony Salas, Sean Brown and the apple of her eye, youngest
grandson James Doll, and finally her partner in crime, her
Chihuahua Betty Marie. Betty misses Jeanette greatly and is lost
without her.
Family was Jeanette’s primary focus and priority number one. She
will be sorely missed and never forgotten. Services will be held at
11:00 AM, Saturday, May 7, 2016 at Brune Mortuary, Bishop.

120 west opening to the Yosemite Gate Friday

CalTrans says 120 West will open to the Yosemite Gate this Friday

April 26, 2016
Submitted by CalTrans

Anticipated opening of California State Route 120 West to the east Yosemite National Park Entrance Gate is scheduled for Friday, April 29th at Noon.

 Mono County – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has been working on clearing snow, removing rocks, and repairing the road to open State Route 120 West to the east Yosemite Park entrance gate.  It is anticipated that the road will reopen from winter closure on Friday, April 29th, 2016 at noon, weather and safety permitting.  Caltrans’ number one priority is safety for the traveling public and highway maintenance crews.    State Route 120 west will remain closed at the Yosemite Park entrance.

This partial opening is dependent upon favorable weather and verification that the highway is safe for users.  If the area is impacted by inclement weather Caltrans may not be able to open the highway as anticipated.  Please check local highway conditions before planning to use SR 120 west.

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

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Charter Bus Crashes near Little Lake

BUHS Charter Bus goes off highway 395

April 25th, 2016 (edited at 10:30am to include school statement)
By Arnie Palu

A Charter Bus traveling northbound on Highway 395 drove off the roadway sending the driver and several passengers to area hospitals.  The Charter bus was returning to Bishop after a weekend trip to San Diego.  Bishop Union High School Avid students and chaperons were passengers on the northbound bus.  A total of 9 students and 2 chaperons were transported to medical facilities for treatment.  The driver, 38 year old Edgar Perez of Moreno Valley, was transported to Ridgecrest Regional Hospital with minor injuries.  The collision remains under investigation.

CHP Collision Report
“On April 23, 2016, at approximately 3:38pm, Edgar Perez was driving a charter bus, occupied by five adults and 45 juvenile students, northbound on U.S. 395, approaching Little Lake Road, in the #2 lane at approximately 65 mile per hour.  Due to an unknown reason, Perez allowed the bus to drift to the right, traversing the asphalt shoulder and driving down a dirt embankment.  The bus struck a wooden support beam and a barbed wire fence.  This collision resulted in minor injuries to several of the occupants, who were transported to nearby hospitals for treatment.  This collision is still under investigation by the CHP.” 

Statement from BUHS

On Saturday, April 23, 2016 a charter bus carrying approximately 44 BUHS students and five chaperones and staff members was involved in an accident on HWY 395, approximately 10 north of Pearsonville, California near Little Lake. My office has been in contact with representatives from the charter bus company. According to  officials from the Tour Coach Company, the driver of the bus was experiencing a medical emergency and blacked-out. The bus went off the road and eventually came to an abrupt stop after hitting an anchor cable off of the highway. The driver has undergone surgery for issues related to the symptoms he experienced while driving the bus.
Following the accident nine of our students were transported to the Lone Pine and Ridgecrest Hospitals as precautionary measures for minor injuries and were released that evening. Two BUHS employees were also transported to the hospital for treatment one was released that evening and the other was admitted.
The Bishop Unified School District occasionally uses charter bus companies to transport students for special events. The students on this bus were part of the AVID program at BUHS and were returning from an annual trip visiting college campuses in Southern California. The students had fund-raised the money that was used to contract with the charter bus company.
We are extremely grateful that there were no serious student or staff injuries. My office is working directly with the Tour Coach Company which has already set up an accident claim. We will work with each of our families to insure that all claims are filed properly. Again, we are very thankful that all of our students and staff  members are safely home.
Any further questions can be directed to my office at 760-872-3680.
Barry D. Simpson
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Work Begins to open Lakes Basin and Reds Meadow Roads

Crews being clearing Lakes Basin and Reds Meadow Roads

submitted by the Forest Service
April 21, 2016

The Inyo National Forest, in cooperation with the Town of Mammoth Lakes and Cal Trans, is beginning work to open the Lakes Basin and Reds Meadow roads.

These areas are popular recreation destination for visitors and locals alike and provides access to the Devils Postpile National Monument, trailheads that access the John Muir Trail and destinations such as Agnew Meadow, Thousand Island Lakes, Rainbow Falls, and the Minarets. Fishing, camping, horseback riding are also popular with visitors.

Work in the Lakes Basin will begin on April 25th. The walking and bike paths will remain closed while work is underway since there will be heavy equipment removing hazard trees for the next several weeks. This will create unsafe conditions for pedestrians and cyclists. Snow removal and routine maintenance (pothole repair, culvert clearing, etc.) will also be underway. The expected opening date is May 10th.

Work on the Reds Meadow Road will begin on May 10th. Similar maintenance work and hazard tree removal is also required on this road and the road will be closed to pedestrians and cyclists while this work is underway. It is anticipated that this road will open by mid-June.

“The opportunity to complete this important safety work now will allow providing safe public access throughout the summer,” said Jon Regelbrugge, Mammoth and Mono Lake District Ranger. “We appreciate your patience while this essential work is completed.”

Expect campground in the Lakes Basin to open in early June and campgrounds in the Reds Meadow Valley to open in mid-June.

Reds Meadow Valley, Mono County news, Mammoth Lakes Basin, Inyo National forest, Town of Mammoth Lakes