Local News

Jeff Hollowell promoted to Undersheriff

Jeff Hollowell sworn in as Inyo’s Undersheriff

Today long time employee of the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office, Jeff Hollowell, was sworn in by Sheriff Bill Lutze as Undersheriff.   Hollowell replaces Keith Hardcastle who retired at the end of 2014.

Jeff began with the Sheriff’s Office in 1987 as a Reserve Deputy; prior to that he served in the United States Army as a member of the Military Police. In 1988 Jeff was hired as a full time Sheriff’s Deputy, since then he has held the following positions: Resident Deputy in Big Pine, Patrol Deputy, Drug Task Force Agent and Commander, Detective, Support Services Lieutenant, and Operations Lieutenant.

jeff hollowell, bill lutze, inyo county sheriffs department, inyo county news, eastern sierra news

Lower Owens River Project Draft Report

LORP 2014 Draft Report Available

This years annual report is now available for review and can be downloaded from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Powers website.  The report can be found at www.ladwp.com/LORP.  The report represents the completion of the eighth year of monitoring and contains the Memorandum of Understanding Consultant’s Adaptive management recommendations.  A hard copy of the report may be reviewed by the public at the LADWP office at 300 Mandich Street, Bishop.  Inyo County and the LADWP will be conducing a public meeting on the draft report at a meeting set for 9am on Wednesday, January 14th at the Inyo County Board of Supervisors Chambers at 224 North Edwards Street, Independence.  The meeting will provide the public the opportunity to offer comments on the draft report and any other LORP-related issues they would like to discuss with staff from the LADWP, Inyo County, and the MOU consultants.

eastern sierra news, lower owens river project, ladwp, inyo county

Warren Street Update

Warren Street Utilities Construction Update

From the City of Bishop Public Works department.
Work on the City of Bishop water and sewer construction project in the Warren Street area will continue through the holidays and into early January.  The contractor has completed most of the waterline work on the project except for fire hydrant work on South Warren Street. Work on two hydrants on South Warren is expected to be
completed over the next week including the days before and after Christmas and New Years.
Once all water work is complete, the contractor plans to construct sewer improvements on Academy Avenue near Main Street and in the intersection of Warren and Lagoon streets. This sewer work is expected to take 1 to 2 weeks to complete. After the sewer work is complete, the contractor will have up to a week of patching and final
cleanup before the entire water and sewer project is complete. Construction of street improvements along Warren Street is expected to start as early as January and last into May 2015.
Road closures are required while work is underway. Temporary water and sewer shutoffs are necessary for some construction operations. Notices of the water shutoffs will normally be
distributed two days in advance. Patience with these closures and shutoffs is appreciated. This construction in downtown Bishop impacts traffic on city streets west of Main Street and will
cause inconvenience and delays. Closures include full intersection closures. Equipment, workers, excavations in the street, uneven pavement, and other hidden hazards will require attention, even when work is not underway. All efforts will be made to maintain access to businesses and to minimize the impacts and restrictions, but drivers, riders, and pedestrians should be cautious, take alternate routes, and be patient.
For more information contact City of Bishop Public Works at
publicworks@ca-bishop.us or cal 760-873-8458.
city of bishop, bishop news, warren street improvements, eastern sierra news

Inyo County Swearing in Ceremony

Inyo County Swearing in Ceremony

The Historic Inyo County Courthouse will be the scene for a swearing in ceremony Monday, January 5th. The event will begin at 12:00 noon in the Historic Courtroom located in the top floor of the courthouse in Independence.
Those set to take part include Superior Court Judge Brian Lamb, Superintendent of School Dr. Terrence McAteer, Supervisor 1st District Dan Totheroh, Supervisor 3rd District Rick Pucci, Assessor Dave Stottlemyre, Auditor Amy Shepherd, Coroner Leon Brune, Clerk-Recorder Kammi Foote, District Attorney Thomas Hardy, Public Administrator Patricia Barton, Sheriff Bill Lutze, and Treasurer-Tax Collector Alisha McMurtrie.

inyo county news, judge brian lamb, dr. terry mcateer, rick pucci, bill lutze

Cerro Coso Winter Recess

Cerro Coso Closing for Winter Recess

All offices and classrooms at all Cerro Coso community college campuses will be closing for winter recess from Wednesday, December 24th, through Friday, January 2nd, 2015.  This includes both the Bishop and Mammoth Campuses of Cerro Coso.
College officials note that online registration will be available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day through the college website, www.cerrocoso.edu.
The College will reopen on Monday, January 5th, 2015.  The spring semester officially starts on Tuesday, January 20th, 2015.

cerro coso college, bishop news, mammoth news, winter recess

Sunday Accident on 395

Single Vehicle Accident Sunday

2014 Bishop Union High School graduate David Gratz suffered major injuries in a Sunday morning accident. The accident occurred just north of Bishop on highway 395.

According to the California Highway Patrols accident report Gratz was traveling northbound on US-395 just south of Sawmill Road. For an unknown reason, Gratz caused or allowed his vehicle to drift to the left, across the center divider and southbound lanes of US-395. The vehicle continued down a dirt embankment where it collided with a barbed wire fence and then into a large tree. Due to the damage sustained to the vehicle during the collision, the roof of the vehicle was removed to assist with extricating Gratz. Gratz was transported to Northern Inyo Hospital where it was determined he would be flown to Renown Medical Center due to the seriousness of his injuries.

The CHP report indicates that personnel from the Inyo County Sheriff’s Department, Bishop Volunteer Fire Department, Symons Ambulance, Caltrans, and the California Highway Patrol responded to the collision scene and assisted with the incident.

Gratz, age 18, just finished his first semester at California Maritime Academy located in Vallejo, CA.

california highway patrol, highway 395, david gratz, bishop news

mammoth mountain land exchange is a go

President Signs Mammoth Mountain Land Exchange Provision

WASHINGTON – Today, President Obama signed into law Rep. Paul Cook’s Mammoth Mountain Land Exchange. The original bill, HR 1241, passed the House of Representatives by voice vote in December, 2013. The measure was ultimately put into the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which was signed into law today.

The Land Exchange allows the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area to obtain the 21 acres surrounding the Mammoth Mountain Inn. This land is currently leased from the National Forest Service. In exchange, the National Forest Service would receive from the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area over 1,500 acres of valuable wilderness along with a monetary offset.

Cook stated, “This is about jobs. The land exchange will allow Mammoth Mountain to start construction, creating jobs to rebuild the Mammoth Mountain Inn. The new construction on the Inn will help facilitate not only new construction jobs during renovation, but will allow the ski area to expand, creating more permanent jobs.”

mammoth mt, paul cook, mammoth mountain inn, national forest service, HR 1241, president obama

CHP Maximum Enforcement Period

CHP Maximum Enforcement Period

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – With holiday celebrations upon us, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) is preparing for this heavily-traveled time of year by educating the motoring public about safety on our roadways. As part of its upcoming Maximum Enforcement Period (MEP) the CHP is reminding travelers to buckle up, adhere to the posted speed limit, avoid distractions behind the wheel, and always designate a sober driver.
The CHP’s Christmas MEP enforcement effort begins Wednesday, December 24, 2014, at 6 p.m. and continues through Sunday, December 28, 2014, at 11:59 p.m. During this period, all available officers will be out on the roadways for enhanced enforcement efforts and assisting motorists wherever needed.
“Our intent with the enhanced enforcement efforts during the holiday season is simply to save lives,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. “We want everyone to have a happy holiday season this year and ensure nobody is forced to deal with the loss of a loved one.”
An anti-DUI effort is aimed at eliminating drunk-driving by educating Californians about the dangers of driving after consuming alcoholic beverages. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 10,000 people are killed annually in America by drunk drivers. In December 2012 alone, 830 people died as a result of a collision caused by an impaired driver. This year, the CHP hopes to eliminate the added danger of intoxicated drivers on our roadways.
During the 30 hours of last year’s Christmas holiday MEP, five people were killed in traffic collisions. Among those killed were two pedestrians, one motorcyclist, and two vehicle occupants who were not wearing seat belts. The CHP made 221 arrests for driving under the influence during the same 30-hour timeframe.
“Have a safe, fun, and enjoyable holiday celebration this year,” added Commissioner Farrow. “Just do it responsibly by making the right and responsible decision before you get behind the wheel and always designate a sober driver.”

chp, maximum enforcement period, dui, joe farrow

Adventure Trails Hearing Re-Scheduled

The Inyo Adventure Trails Public Hearing has been set

The Public Hearing for the Adventure Trails project currently scheduled for December 30, 2014, in Independence has been rescheduled to January 22, 2015, at 10 a.m. in Independence. Due to threats of litigation surrounding the project, the postponement is necessary to provide more time for the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) to provide the County with guidance about the ability of all five members of the Board of Supervisors to participate in the decision making process.
Originally scheduled for December 2nd, the Public Hearing was cancelled and re-scheduled for December 30th when a recent Fair Political Practices  Commission (FPPC) regulation governing conflict of interest determinations for elected officials created uncertainty about the ability of members of the Board of Supervisors to vote on the Adventure Trails project. Out of an abundance of caution, the County cancelled the meeting and rescheduled the Hearing to allow time for the FPPC to provide a legal opinion.
Last Friday, Inyo County Counsel Marge Kemp-Williams was  contacted by an FPPC representative who indicated that FPPC’s due date for providing the County with a ruling is January 12, 2015.
Based on this information, Ms. Kemp-Williams advised that it would be prudent to wait for FPPC guidance. Ms. Kemp-Williams explained that, without a ruling from the FPPC, each member of the Board of Supervisors will need to make an individual decision about their ability to participate in the vote.  If more than two Supervisors declare a conflict and recuse themselves from the decision making
process, in order to ensure a quorum of the Board exists to make the legally required decision, those Supervisors declaring a conflict would have to draw straws to determine which of the disqualified
Supervisors will be selected to create a quorum to participate in the decision despite their declared conflict. The same process will be employed if the FPPC opines that three or more Supervisors cannot vote in the process. As a matter of law, if only three members of the Board of Supervisors – a quorum – are available to vote on a decision, then the decision must be approved by all three
“If it turns out only three members of the Board of Supervisors are able to vote on the Adventure trails project, it will require a unanimous vote, instead of a majority vote,” said County
Administrator Kevin Carunchio. “There is an overriding need to use every opportunity to ensure that each member of Board of Supervisors has the best possible information on which to determine their ability to participate in the decision making process and maintain the integrity of the Adventure Trails project.”
Carunchio acknowledged that nobody was pleased with the need to cancel the December 2nd meeting, and some people did not agree with the decision to schedule the hearing on December 30th.
He also recognizes that there may be others who may not be happy with the need to reschedule the meeting.

adventure trails, inyo county, kevin carunchio, fppc, marge kemp-williams

Prescribed Burning

Prescribed Pile Burning

DATE 12/18/2014
Crews are targeting 11 acres of piles for treatment today.  Smoke may be visible from the Town of Mammoth and Mammoth Mt ski area.

DATE: 12/17/2014
Fire crews are burning piles in the Reds Meadow area today, taking advantage of the recent storms to safely achieve needed fuels reduction. Expect smoke visible from Mammoth Mountain, Mammoth Lakes, and Devils Postpile National Monument. This is part of a dedicated effort to reduce fuels after the tree blow down event of 2011.

DATE: 12/16/2014
The Inyo National Forest is conducting pile burning today east of Devils Postpile National Monument and West of Satcher Lake in the Red’s Meadow Area.  41 Acres  of piles are targeted for treatment today.   Smoke may be visible from the Mammoth Lakes area.

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