Category Archives: Local News

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Hunter Education Class

Popular Hunter Education Course being offered

A California Hunter Education class is being offered August 7th and 8th.  The very popular course will be taught at the Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery, located just north of Independence.  The class will take place Friday, August 7th from 6 to 9pm and Saturday, August 8th from 8am to 4pm.  Lunch will be provided Saturday.  Attendance both days is required.  The cost of taking the class is two dozen cookies per student.

For information call Steven Ivey at 760-878-2370.

steven ivey, california hunter education class, mt whitney fish hatchery, eastern sierra news
CASAquilt

Quilts for Kids

Quilt and Craft retreat benefits Children

Submitted by Wild Iris.

CASA OF THE EASTERN SIERRA QUILTING & CRAFT RETREAT
FUNDRAISER TO BENEFIT ABUSED & NEGLECTED CHILDREN

Inyo and Mono Counties, CA: Quilters and crafters are generous, giving people by nature. If you happen to be a quilter or crafter the CASA of the Eastern Sierra’s first annual Quilters’ and Crafters’ Retreat is a great opportunity for you to benefit abused and neglected children while enjoying the fellowship of like-minded friends, the beauty of the Eastern Sierra, and taking time to complete some of those projects begging to be finished.
CASA of the Eastern Sierra is a non-profit collaboration and partnership between Wild Iris Family Counseling and Crisis Center and the Superior Court of California, for the Counties of Inyo and Mono. The retreat will be Friday, August 21st through Sunday, August 23rd and is being held at the Sierra Adventure Center in Big Pine. Registration includes lodging, meals, snacks, an outdoor evening reception, beautiful hiking, quality time with friends, and classrooms to sew, craft, scrapbook, create and take photos.

Imagine being a child removed from your parents and placed in the home of a stranger. It’s likely you are confused, frightened, and uncertain as to what the future holds. The Eastern Sierra needs CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) volunteers who are trained to identify the needs of children such as these. By building a relationship with the child, as well as teachers, therapists, and others involved, CASA volunteers become a consistent and trusted adult in the child’s life. A CASA is trained to provide the child with a sense of security, as well as serving in the critical role of being an independent voice for the best interest of abused, neglected, and abandoned children in Inyo and Mono Counties.
Please join us at the 1st Annual Quilt and Craft Retreat to benefit CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of the Eastern Sierra. Cost for the entire weekend is $225.00. For more information or to register please call Ginnie Bird or Lisa Reel @ Wild Iris, 760-873-6601, gbird@wild-iris.org, or visit the Wild Iris website www.wild-iris.org to complete a registration form.

cover photo, Wild Iris Executive Director Lisa Reel

wild iris, casa of the eastern sierra, inyo county, mono county, eastern sierra news
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Tri-County Fair Entry Forms Available

Local Rodeo, ATV Rodeo, IMA Idol and Horse Show entries being accepted

Entry forms are now available online and in the Fair office for several Tri-County Fair events. In addition to the regular exhibit entries and contests contained in the Exhibitor’s Guidebook, forms are now available for the IMA Idol Singing contest, the ATV Rodeo, the Local Rodeo and the Fair Horse show. They can be found online at www.tricountyfair.com or in the main office on the Fairgrounds.

The IMA Idol contest has a few new twists this year. Competitors in this event are not subject to an age limit, and can have instrumental accompaniment (within the rules) should they choose. “The biggest change to the IMA Idol contest is that there will be a preliminary contest on Saturday, August 22 that is free to the public to watch, and the top five performers from the preliminaries will go on to compete as the openers for the Austin Webb Concert during the fair,” stated Fair CEO Sally Symons. Cash and fair ticket packages are the prizes for the IMA Idol Contest that is proudly sponsored by The Sound Shoppe and Sierra Wave Media.

We have also changed up the ATV Rodeo a bit this year,” commented Symons. “Last year’s first time go at it was a great success, but ran a little long. We have tightened up the events, added a time trial/ qualifier day, and the great guys from Bishop MotoCross are going to run it for us. This should help to make the show even more entertaining and fast paced for our guests.” There will also be an FMX stunt show prior to the ATV Rodeo featuring locally grown rider Dustin Nowak of Thrashed Kids, Inc. Last year’s participants had a great time and the winners took home cash prizes that were sponsored by Honda Motorsports, which is sponsoring again this year.

The Local Rodeo and Broncs & Bulls is another Fair favorite with entries now open. In addition to the traditional favorites, there have been a few additions to the Junior Rodeo Line-up, and the prize money for the rough stock has been doubled, which should make for a deeper field of competitors.

A popular day-time event during the fair is the Horse Show featuring English, Western, Halter, Hunter /Jumpers, trail and new this year a Versatility Ranch Horse division. Entry booklets for the Horse Show will be available at the Fair Office, Wye Road Feed and Sierra Saddlery. Anyone interested in sponsoring horse show classes can also contact the Fair office at 760-873-3588.

Any questions regarding entry into these events should be directed to the Tri-County Fairgrounds at 760-873-3588 or by emailing ceo@tricountyfair.com

cover photo courtesy of the Tri-County Fair

tri-county fair, bishop news, inyo county news, mono county news, rodeo
Owens Lake Helicopter

DWP using new technology to study groundwater

LADWP conducting Airborne Survey at Owens Lake

Submitted by Amanda Parsons, LADWP spokesperson

LADWP UTILIZING NONINVASIVE STATE-OF-THE-ART TECHNOLOGY TO MAP UNDERGROUND TOPOGRAPHY, PROTECT HABITAT

Bishop, CA – Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) hydrologists are utilizing Airborne Electromagnetic Surveying in a pilot study Saturday, July 25, Sunday, July 26 and Monday, July 27 at Owens Lake near Highway 395 to better understand the groundwater basin beneath the lakebed and protect habitat on the surface during the implementation of the Master Project.

The Airborne Electromagnetic Survey consists of state-of-the-art measuring equipment, resembling a webbed oval dangling 100 feet below a helicopter, sending radio signals into the ground then measuring the returned signal to determine the geological materials. The practice is completely nonintrusive to the landscape and provides scientists with a clearer picture than previously-used underground mapping methods. Traditional underground mapping consists of drilling a series of test holes – up to 1,500 feet deep and up to several  miles apart – across the desired area’s surface, taking samples from deep inside the holes and testing them for a “best guess” look at what lies beneath the surface.

“The data gathered from this pilot study will be useful as we work to better model the Owens Lake groundwater as part of the Master Project,” Eastern Sierra Hydrologist and Project Manager Saeed Jorat, Ph.D. said. “By protecting the landscape while gathering this data, we ensure the safety of the habitat and the species residing there in a cost effective manner.”

Data gathered from the study will be used by LADWP to map the location of bedrock, fault lines and groundwater depth. This information will assist the Department as it works to model the Owens Lake Master Project and protect resources that utilize groundwater in the area – private wells, vegetation and habitat – while also preventing potential land subsidence.

If the pilot study goes well, LADWP will utilize the new technique for future projects in the Eastern Sierra region.

Native American Helicopters LLC (NAH) will be conducting the flights using an Astar 350FX2 helicopter. The helicopter will fly parallel to Highway 395 over the North East corner of Owens Lake for a three day period from approximately 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The equipment will be approximately 100 feet above the surface while in flight. During that time, the helicopter will not fly over the Highway, power lines and other structures so as to protect the safety of all involved during the operation.

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Native American LLC helicopter flying the SkyTEM system to obtain geological measurements for LADWP over Owens Lake on July 26, 2015. (Photo by LADWP)
LADWP, owens lake, highway 395, amanda parsons
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City Council Will Honor James Wilson

Bishop City Council honoring Wilson tonight

A moment of silence will be part of an acknowledgement by the Bishop City Council tonight.  The regular meeting of the Bishop City Council will include a time to honor the late businessman for his contributions to the community.  Wilson’s Eastside Sports has been a pillar of Main Street Bishop for decades.  The tribute to James Wilson is scheduled to take place directly after the council begins the open session portion of their meeting tonight at 6pm.  The Bishop City Council meets in their chambers at 301 west line street.

Tonight’s (Monday, July 27th) agenda includes a closed session at 5pm for labor negotiations followed by the open session.  The Inyo County Planning Department will make a presentation on the North Sierra Highway Corridor plan.  The department heads will make presentations to the council and Executive Director Tawni Thomson will present the Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau update.  Under new business, the Bishop City Council will consider the approval of changing two parking spaces on East South Street from unrestricted to 24 minute parking.  The council will also be asked to approve the city’s official response to the Grand Jury Report relating to the annual inspection of the Bishop Police Department.

Following tonight’s meeting the next regular meeting of the Bishop City Council will be held on Monday, August 10th.

bishop city council, bishop california, bishop police department, james wilson, inyo county planning department, bishop chamber of commerce
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LA to Continue Irrigation through August

LADWP TO PROVIDE IRRIGATION WATER IN OWENS VALLEY THROUGH AUGUST

Statement provided by the LA DWP:

Bishop, CA – Unexpected summer rainfall has provided sufficient water in the Los Angeles Aqueduct system for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) to continue irrigation in Owens Valley through the end of August. Continued irrigation, in the absence of any savings elsewhere, is only possible because Los Angeles’ extreme reduction in water exports from the Eastern Sierra.

“This weather could not have come at a better time,” Manager of the Los Angeles Aqueduct James Yannotta said. “These rains are providing much-needed water that will help LADWP to continue irrigation through August.”
Earlier in this extremely dry year LADWP recognized that there might be insufficient water supplies from the Los Angeles Aqueduct to meet all water demands in the Owens Valley and in the City of Los Angeles. The Long Term Water Agreement between the City of Los Angeles and Inyo County protects two end-goals: Providing a reliable source of water for Los Angeles and protecting the Owens Valley environment. The Agreement also contemplates the Parties approving a program to provide for reasonable reductions in irrigation water supply for Los Angeles-owned lands in the Owens Valley and for Enhancement and Mitigation (E/M) programs during periods of dry-year water shortages. Consequently, the Technical Group and the Standing Committee have attempted to evaluate and provide reasonable reductions in other areas to reallocate water for irrigation during the 2015 runoff year. Although the City and the County have not yet agreed to any reductions in E/M projects, the City of Los Angeles has almost entirely reduced the Owens Valley water supply to customers during this irrigation season.
The length and intensity of this four-year drought has surprised most water managers and regulators in the Southwest. The intensity of the scant Eastern Sierra snowpack and potential runoff was not fully realized until early April, which left little time to plan for its impacts, forcing the Department to evaluate operations on a virtual real-time basis. With respect to current conditions, the picture continues to be grim for Angelenos as LADWP will experience an 85% reduction from its normal export from the Eastern Sierra this runoff year.
“The only bright spot in our most recent forecasting is that it appears recent rain events provided additional water that we did not anticipate when we released our Annual Operations Plan in April,” Yannotta added. “Even though most, if not all, of the extremely low snowpack has already melted, recent storms are providing unanticipated run-off into the Eastern Sierra that will allow us to continue irrigating longer than we previously expected.”

The 2015 runoff year is unique in that snowpack was the lowest on record, measuring only 4% of normal, but summer precipitation is appearing somewhat above normal. The hydrologic conditions this year are so different from previous years that there isn’t another year from which to draw a fair comparison. As you would expect, the lack of comparable years has created operational challenges.

LADWP recently received preliminary draft runoff data and field information relating to water availability after the storms. Although Department management is verifying all information, LADWP is confident that there is sufficient water for irrigation in Owens Valley through the end of August.

cover photo by Gary Young

ladwp, owens valley, drought 2015, jim yannotta
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OVC responds to LA Mayor

Owens Valley Committee Responds to Mayor Garcetti

Owens Valley Committee statement:

“We just made peace with the Owens Valley,” Mayor Garcetti declared in a recent interview with MSNBC reporter Chris Hayes. He went on to state that he wishes to avoid “turning city folk against rural folk,” that Los Angeles has “plenty of water,” and that using water to mitigate dust on the Owens Lake is “stupid.”

We wish it were so. But however much the City’s Mayor wants it, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) continues to wage intense battles to supply a thirsty city.

Instead of a historic truce, we have seen politics as usual. In making his incorrect statements, Mayor Garcetti unwittingly provides yet another example of the problems inherent in Los Angeles’s colonial rule of Owens Valley. Political leaders in Los Angeles rely entirely on the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power for information. Owens Valley residents cannot vote in LA elections and have no elected representatives to provide accurate information to the Mayor and to advocate for our interests.

Without such a voice, peace remains elusive. On April 27, 2015, LADWP announced it would cut off all water to the Valley’s ranchers and farmers. With only three days notice, LADWP not only threatened livelihoods, but also the Valley’s economy, native animals and plants, and its dwindling groundwater supply – all of which depend on the water that flows onto the fields of farmers and ranchers.

The Inyo-LA Long Term Water Agreement – the settlement agreement to which LA is legally bound – does not allow LADWP to unilaterally cut off water. Yet only a threat by Inyo County to seek an immediate injunction forced LADWP to back down, proving, yet again, that it will continue to “turn city folk against rural folk.”

Not only has peace not been made, LADWP is defying the Mayor’s widely publicized goals of “sustainability” and “reducing dependence on imported water.” The Mayor referred to LADWP’s plans to take water that would otherwise restore life in portions of Owens Lake, and send it down the aqueduct instead. If implemented, this plan will increase Los Angeles’s dependence on Owens Valley water instead of reducing it. Mayor Garcetti spoke of sharing Owens Lake water with the Owens Valley, but we have yet to hear that from LADWP. The new wells LADWP plans to drill will also increase Los Angeles’s dependency. While the Mayor calls for sustainability, it is exploitation as usual in the Owens Valley.

Despite claims that LA has “plenty of water,” LADWP continues to dig out seeps and springs, and to pump groundwater that is not being recharged. Meanwhile, vegetation in the Valley is drying up; fish and wildlife habitat is shrinking; farmers and ranchers must cut back crops and cattle; and dust still spews from the Owens Lake.

Some water on the lake bed is essential, and far from “stupid.” Owens Lake was the largest source of particulate pollution in North America, producing lung-scarring dust laced with toxic heavy metals. While there has been significant reduction in the amount of dust from Owens Lake, there are still too many days the dust levels exceed federal and state standards. Water not only keeps the dust down; it creates habitat for birds and other animals, and it covers – without destroying – historical artifacts and markers.

Given all this, we must question whether the “water wars” have indeed reached their end. We appreciate the Mayor’s optimism, and support for water conservation more generally, but achieving an effective truce will require more than good wishes. It requires action – not only on the part of City and County leaders, but by LADWP. For a City with “plenty of water,” and leaders truly hoping to bridge the divide between “city folk and rural folk,” such action should not be too hard.

The Owens Valley Committee is a non-profit (501c3) organization seeking just and sustainable management of Owens Valley land and water resources. We envision a valley in which existing open space is protected, historic land uses sustained, and depleted groundwater reserves and surface water flows restored as Los Angeles phases out its dependence on Owens Valley water.

cover photo by Gary Young.

owens valley committee, ladwp, Mayor Garcetti, Chris Hayes
manzanar

Fullerton Family crashes near Manzanar

Single Vehicle Crash Sends 3 to the hospital

The California Highway Patrol accident report indicates the drivers over-correction led to a single vehicle roll over Thursday.  The accident occurred just after 1pm Thursday, July 16th on highway 395 just south of the Manzanar National Historic site.  The accident report indicates that 31 year old Fullerton resident Michael Leon Jr was behind the wheel of a 2007 Toyota southbound on highway 395 at approximately 70 mile per hour.  The vehicle drifted onto the left dirt shoulder when the driver over-corrected to the right losing control of the vehicle which then overturned at least one time.

Michael Leon Jr and a 7 year old female passenger where properly restrained and were able to exit the vehicle with the assistance of a passing motorist.  Both suffered minor injuries and where transported to Lone Pines Southern Inyo Hospital.  58 year old passenger Michael Leon Sr had to be removed from the vehicle by paramedics.  Leon Sr was also wearing his seat belt.  Leon Sr suffered moderate injures and was transported via Mercy Air to Kern Regional Hospital.  The collision remains under investigation.

Agencies responding to the crash included the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office, Independence Volunteer Fire Department, Lone Pine Volunteer Fire Department, California Highway Patrol and CalFIRE.

cover photo by the Inyo County Sheriffs Department.

inyo county news, lone pine california, independence california, california highway patrol, inyo county sheriffs office, highway 395
mono sheriff

Mono County Search and Rescue

Orange man Lost, now he is found

Written and reported by: Jennifer M. Hansen, Public Information Officer, Mono County Sheriffs Department

On the evening of Monday, July 13, 2015, at approximately 8:40PM, the Mono County Sheriff’s Office received a call regarding an overdue day hiker near the Sherwin Creek campground.

A male day hiker, age 44, from Orange, California, set out on a day hike around 2:30PM. The hiker wasn’t expected to be out for long, and when he didn’t return when he said he would, the family became concerned. The Mono County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue (SAR) Team was dispatched to help in the search for the overdue day hiker near the Sherwin Creek campground. After securing the overdue hikers campsite for tracks, two SAR teams started searching nearby dirt roads and spoke with nearby campers to see if anyone had seen the overdue hiker.

The hiker had walked to a familiar place but had found himself turned around when he tried to return to his campsite. Realizing he was lost, he tried to hale down some motorists and knocked on an RV’s door but no one would help. Eventually he walked towards a light which put him at the closed-up YWCA Camp. The caretaker of the camp had previously spoken with one of the SAR teams, so when she found the overdue hiker, she gave him food and water, as he was very dehydrated and shivering, and called 911. The SAR team returned to the YWCA Camp and safely returned the overdue hiker to his family.

The Mono County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Team uses this successful rescue as a reminder to always let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return, even if it is just for a small day hike or walk.

mono county california, mono county sheriffs department, search and rescue

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Mono on Display at the State Fair

MONO COUNTY EXHIBIT WINS THREE AWARDS AT STATE FAIR

At the California State Fair County Exhibit Awards Presentation on Friday, July 10th, Mono County was honored with three different ribbons  — a Gold Award,  Best Use of Produce, Products, Artifacts, and a Best of Division award for “Professionally Built” exhibits.

Alicia Vennos, Economic Development Director for Mono County, attended the event and accepted the Gold Award and the ribbon for Best Use of Products, Produce, Artifacts on behalf of the county.  She explains, “We were thrilled to win two ribbons but when our name was announced for the third time for the Best of Division for Professionally Built exhibits, it was perfect that our builder, John Quierolo, was there to accept this prestigious recognition.”  Mr. Quierolo has created Mono County’s exhibit for several years now and his hard work, building skills, and vast collection of Gold Rush era antiquities and artifacts, have earned many awards for the Mono County exhibit over the years.

Mono County’s exhibit this year features a street corner in Bodie, complete with four separate false store fronts, a boardwalk, an authentic hearse carriage, and a mining car piled high with ore in front of  a mine shaft.  The biggest draw, however, seems to be the two-seater outhouse which has fair-goers lined up for humorous photos. Once again, this year, the Blue Canyon Gang — a Western Action Drama Group — has volunteered to dress up in period costume and staff the exhibit.  The County Exhibit theme this year is “Festival & Events” and the county’s list of events is available for folks to take away.

Mono County Supervisor and Chair of the Board, Tim Fesko, commented that “Almost a million people attend the State Fair every year, and the exhibit is a tremendous way for Mono County to reach the Northern California visitor market.  We are very pleased to be honored with three awards this year and we deeply appreciate the participation of the Blue Canyon Gang for bringing wonderful animation to our exhibit.”

The California State Fair runs from July 10-26 at the Cal Expo grounds in Sacramento

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mono county, bodie, california state fair