Category Archives: Local News

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High Speed crash at the Bishop Gun Club

Mammoth Man Cited for Reckless Driving following Sunday Accident

The California Highway Patrol says 25-year old Mammoth resident Rene Suarez was behind the wheel of a gold Lexus GS300 that plowed into the rear of a BMW sports utility vehicle Sunday afternoon north of Bishop. According to Bishop CHP public information officer Dennis Cleland, Suarez was cited for reckless driving and released to Northern Inyo Hospital for treatment of what were referred to as minor injuries.
Cleland says that just prior to 4pm Sunday afternoon Suarez was driving at a high speed, estimated by officers in excess of 100 mph, southbound on highway 395 just south of Ed Powers Road. Officers indicate Suarez was driving aggressively including driving on both shoulders while passing vehicles. According to Cleland, an CHP unit initiated a vehicle stop when the suspect vehicle collided with the rear of a southbound BMW driven by a Studio City California resident. After the initial collision both vehicles slid across both northbound lanes of 395 crashing through a fence at the Bishop Gun Club. The Lexus continued through a second fence before stopping. The driver and passengers of the BMW did not require medial transportation. The crash remains under investigation.

chp bishop, bishop california news, highway 395
manzanar

Manzanar hosting special presentation

Manzanar National Historic Site holding special program

All are invited to the Manzanar National Historic Site at 11 am, Saturday, June 27, for a special program “The Life and Art of Chiura Obata” presented by Obata’s granddaughter, author/historian Kimi Kodani Hill.

Chiura Obata (1885-1975) was an Issei artist and art professor at UC Berkeley. During World War II, he and his family were confined at Tanforan racetrack and later at Topaz, Utah. Obata established art schools in both camps.

Obata had a special bond with Yosemite and the Eastern Sierra. His works, showcased in Topaz Moon and Obata’s Yosemite, illustrate human hardship as well as natural beauty.

The program is free and open to the public. After the program, Kimi Kodani Hill will sign books in the Manzanar History Association bookstore (www.manzanarstore.com). Proceeds benefit Manzanar.

Kimi Hill Obata Program 6 27 15 DRAFT

cover photo by Gary Young.

manzanar national historic site, eastern sierra news, inyo county news, manzanar history association
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Bowling for Scholarships

Caltrans employees set bowl-a-thon

Saturday, July 11th the third edition of the Caltrans district 9  bowl-a-thon will be held at Bishop’s Back Alley Bowling lanes.  The event is a way to raise money for the Caltrans scholarship program. Jessica Klemencic, District 9 Scholarship Committee Chair, indicates the scholarship program has granted 80 scholarships to graduating seniors.  Since 2003, their efforts have awarded over 70 thousand dollars to further the education of graduating seniors in the Caltrans District 9 area.  Klemencic credits Caltrans employee Patty Cano with creating the bowl-a-thon.   This years event will be their third bowl-a-thon, the first year they raised $1,256.  Last year they raised $2,225.  The bowl-a-thon will be Saturday, July 11, 3:30 – 5:30 at the Back Alley bowling lanes, Bishop.  There will be a 50/50 drawing during the bowl-a-thon, and prizes will be raffled as well.  This year they will be hold a pot luck dinner at Izaak Walton Park after bowling.  Klemencic encourages members of the public to come and cheer on the bowlers, and join the pot luck too!

caltrans district 9, back alley bowling lanes, bishop news, scholarship fundraiser
chp

Sparks Woman killed in Saturday Crash

Accident on highway 395 near Crowley Lake leaves one dead, two with serious injuries

CHP Accident report:

On Saturday, June 20, 2015, at approximately 8:42 am, California Highway Patrol (CHP) Bridgeport Area officers were dispatched to a solo vehicle rollover collision on US-395 southbound, north of Crowley Lake Drive.  Personnel from the CHP Bishop Area Office, Mono County Sheriff’s Office, Mono County Emergency Medical Services, and Long Valley Fire Department also responded to the scene to assist.

The preliminary investigation indicates Sherry Johnson, age 53 of Sparks Nevada,  was driving a 2005 Ford F-250 southbound on US-395, north of Crowley Lake Drive.  For unknown reasons, the driver allowed the vehicle to drift onto the right shoulder of the roadway where it collided with two metal paddle markers and a highway sign.  The vehicle then veered across all southbound lanes and into the center divide, where it overturned and came to rest on its wheels.  The driver of the vehicle (Sherry Johnson) was pronounced deceased at the scene.  Two passengers in the vehicle were transported by ambulance to Mammoth Hospital, and airlifted to Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno, Nevada.  Passengers include 46-year old Sparks resident Donald Karwoski and a 12-year old male from Reno.  The preliminary investigation suggests fatigue may have been a factor in the collision.  Officers from the CHP Bridgeport Area are handling the collision investigation.  The Mono County Sheriff’s Office is conducting the death investigation.

mono county news, chp bridgeport, crowley lake, long valley fire department, mono county sheriffs department
gary round

Dr Johnson talks Wildfire Smoke

Health Effects from Wildfire Smoke

Dr Richard Johnson, Inyo and Mono county health director, issued a statement today (Monday, June 22) addressing wildfire smoke. The Washington fire near the community of Markleeville is estimated near 8,000 acres.  The lightning caused fire started on Friday, June 19th.

Dr. Johnson’s statement:

Those of you in Mono County from the communities of Walker and north have undoubtedly seen the smoke from the Washington Fire burning in Alpine County. Although most of the smoke is blowing over us and into Nevada, as the wind has died down during the night, smoke has settled into the valleys this morning. Keep in mind that this is a very fluid and ever changing situation, dependent on the fire, fuel, control efforts, and the wind. Our prayers are with the large numbers of dedicated personnel who are making tremendous efforts to protect all of us, our homes, and the environment.
Some communities in the Eastern Sierra have access to continuous particulate matter (PM) monitoring. These monitors provide an instant reading of particulate matter concentrations averaged over one hour. Smoke from wildfires is a mixture of gases and fine particles from burning trees and other plant materials. It is these fine particles which are contained in wildfire smoke which make it so hazardous to our health. Smoke can hurt your eyes, irritate your respiratory system, and worsen chronic heart and lung diseases.
Unfortunately, there is no monitoring in the areas currently impacted by smoke. Areas without monitoring need other ways to estimate particle levels. The following index is useful in judging the levels near you on a continual basis.
Good (can see 11 miles or more) – No cautionary statements.
Moderate (can see 6-10 miles) – Unusually sensitive people should consider reducing prolonged or heavy exertion.
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups (can see 3-5 miles) – People with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion.
Unhealthy (can see 1½-3 miles) – People with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion. Everyone else should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion.
Very Unhealthy (can see 1-1½ mile) – People with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should avoid all physical activity outdoors. Everyone else should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion.
Hazardous (can see 1 mile or less) – Everyone should avoid all physical activity outdoors; people with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should remain indoors and keep activity levels low.
How to tell if smoke is affecting you:
Smoke can cause—
Coughing,  A scratchy throat, Irritated sinuses, Shortness of breath, Chest pain, Headaches, Stinging eyes, A runny nose, Asthma exacerbations.  If you have heart or lung disease, smoke might make your symptoms worse.
People who have heart disease might experience—
Chest pain, Rapid heartbeat, Shortness of breath, Fatigue.
Smoke may worsen symptoms for people who have pre-existing respiratory conditions, such as respiratory allergies, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), in the following ways:
Inability to breathe normally, Cough with or without mucus, Chest discomfort, Wheezing and shortness of breath.
When smoke levels are high enough, even healthy people may experience some of these symptoms.  Know whether you are at risk
If you have heart or lung disease, such as congestive heart failure, angina, COPD, emphysema, or asthma, you are at higher risk of having health problems than healthy people. Older adults are more likely to be affected by smoke, possibly because they are more likely to have heart or lung diseases than younger people. Children are more likely to be affected by health threats from smoke because their airways are still developing and because they breathe more air per pound of body weight than adults. Children also are more likely to be active outdoors.

What should you be doing:
1. Stay indoors with windows and doors closed; run air-conditioner on “recirculate” setting. Keep the fresh-air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent outdoor smoke from getting inside. Minimize the use of swamp coolers. If it becomes too warm indoors, individuals may consider leaving the area to seek alternative shelter.
2. Do not add to indoor pollution. When smoke levels are high, do not use anything that burns, such as candles, fireplaces, or gas stoves. Do not vacuum, because vacuuming stirs up particles already inside your home. Do not smoke, because smoking puts even more pollution into the air.
3. Follow your doctor’s advice about medicines and about your respiratory management plan if you have asthma or another lung disease, Call your doctor if your symptoms worsen. If you evacuate, make sure you take all essential medications along with you.
4. Do not rely on dust masks or N95 respirators for protection. If you wish to wear something, use a wet handkerchief or bandana to cover your mouth and nose. The key – keep it moist.
5. When driving make sure to drive with the windows rolled up and the air conditioner on “recirculate.” Also, buckle up – and do not drink and drive!
6. Minimize or stop outdoor activities, especially exercise, during smoky conditions.
7. People who must spend time outdoors should drink plenty of fluids.
8. Additionally, pet owners should consider bringing their pets indoors out of the unhealthy air conditions, if possible. This is especially important for older pets.
9. Stay tuned to local radio and TV for emergency announcements about air quality.
10. Stay in touch with family and friends, especially if you live alone. Exercise your communications plan.

cover photo, smoke rising from the Round Fire, photo by Gary Young

dr richard johnson, inyo county news, mono county news, washington fire, drought 2015
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Friday incident in Beatty ends in arrest

Canadian arrested in Beatty

Lea Meng Che, age 29 of Brampton, Ontario was arrested Friday.  According to the Nye County Sheriffs Department, Che is facing several felony charges.  Che is being held on suspicion of battery with a deadly weapon, possession of stolen property, grand larceny of a motor vehicle, making threats or conveying false information concerning terrorism or weapons of mass destruction.

The Nye County Sheriffs department release the following statement:

June 19th, 2015 at approximately 1200 hours deputies responded from Beatty Nevada to a report of a stolen vehicle that was heading south on US95 toward lathrope wells. The victim, 46 year old Carrie Radomski and local resident of Beatty Nevada, was reporting she had been struck by the vehicle when the suspect stole it from her.
Deputies and local residents of Beatty located the stolen vehicle and the suspect, Lea Meng Che near MM 34 on US95. He was taken into custody without incident.
When Detectives interviewed Mrs. Radomski it was learned that the suspect had flagged her down near Revert’s tire shop in Beatty claiming vehicle problems. Mrs.Radomski offered to give the suspect a short ride to the tire shop as she knows the owner. When she exited her vehicle she left it running and motioned for the suspect to get out and come with her into the shop. She then saw the suspect slide over to the driver seat. She reacted by trying to run back toward the driver side of her truck and the suspect then accelerated and struck her with the truck fleeing the area and heading south out of Beatty where he was later apprehended by NSCO.
The suspect after being arrested allegedly made many spontaneous statements about stealing vehicles in Las Vegas. Deputies later confirmed (through LVMPD) that the vehicle he was allegedly standing next to when he flagged Mrs. Radomski down was stolen from Las Vegas. Deputies and Detectives also confirmed (through LVMPD) that he had allegedly stolen another vehicle before stealing this one he drove to Beatty.  Lea Meng Che allegedly stated that he had luggage still at the airport (Mccarran) that had contents that would “harm a lot of people there”. It is unclear at the time of this press release when he had exactly arrived in Las Vegas but did say he had a boarding pass which was confirmed with that pass still on his person for June 19th 2015 at 1140 hours. Che also had a passport on him listing his address in Canada along with several denominations of canadian currencey on his person.
Due to the alleged statements made by Che and his alleged mutli- jurisdictional felony crime spree he was involved in, the Las Vegas Metro anti terrorist team was notified and responded to assistance with the investigation. Ontario’s Peel Police department was also contacted in regards to Mr. Che as well as interpol for any possible information on Che as he has no criminal history in US until now. This case is on going and further information regarding the validity of possible weapons of mass destruction (WMD) utterences from the suspect will be be released as soon as information becomes available.
Che remains in custody.

cover photo, Lea Meng Che, photo courtesy of the Nye County Sheriffs department.

nye county nevada, nye county sheriffs department, beatty nevada news
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Mammoth Fire Marshal issues Fireworks warning

Fireworks Prohibited in the Town of Mammoth Lakes

Thom Heller, Fire Marshall for the Mammoth lakes fire protection district,  is passing along the following fireworks information.

All fireworks are prohibited in the Town of Mammoth Lakes, regardless if “safe and sane” or not. In addition, personal use of fireworks is prohibited in the non-incorporated areas of Mono County, on the Inyo National Forest (INF), and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands.

Due to VERY HIGH TO EXTREME FIRE DANGER, both the Mammoth Lakes Fire Protection District and Mammoth Lakes Police Department will enforce a “zero tolerance” policy with respect to the possession and use of fireworks. Fireworks violations will be strictly enforced.

Enjoy and celebrate the holiday in a safe and responsible manner, and feel free to attend the scheduled Fourth of July firework shows. There will be a fireworks show on Saturday, July 4 at Crowley Lake and in The Village at Mammoth on Sunday, July 5.

For additional information on the fireworks restrictions, please contact the Mammoth Lakes Fire Department at (760) 934-2300 or the Mammoth Lakes Police Department at (760) 934-2011. Please enjoy our national holiday in a safe and responsible manner.

mammoth lakes fire protection district, mammoth lakes news, mono county news, fireworks, drought 2015
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Hanta Virus update

Health officer rumor control

Inyo and Mono county public heath officer Dr. Richard Johnson is dispelling rumors of a virus circulating in the community of Mammoth.  According to Dr. Johnson there is a unconfirmed rumor that is being circulated that there is “a nasty virus circulating that is killing people in town”. In response, at least one residence has been “tented” to eliminate this risk. Dr. Johnson is presuming – perhaps incorrectly – that the alleged culprit is the hantavirus.

According to Dr. Johnson, “First, there is no nasty virus killing people in town, that I am aware of – hantavirus, or otherwise. We have not had a case of hantavirus this year in the Eastern Sierra, although there have been at least 3 deaths in Colorado so far. We also have not had any unexplained deaths due to a “nasty virus”.

Johnson goes on to say, “Second, ‘tenting’ as one would do for termites, is not an appropriate response to the threat from hantavirus. If you create a void by killing off mice, more will move in to fill the void. Third, yes, we live in an area where we all are always at risk for exposure to the hantavirus. The drought is forcing all animals, including mice, into the human interface where we have chosen to live and visit, in their search for food for survival. So, don’t let down your guard. Do the right thing!”

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. 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, pictured above. 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.

Inyo/Mono public health recommends 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
    sources;
  • 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!

dr richard johnson, hantavirus, eastern sierra news, mammoth lake california
20150619_162307

John Schwab field rehab underway

BUHS football field renovation begins

Weeds have been treated and new irrigation infrastructure is being installed.  Bishop Unified School District Superintendent Barry Simpson updated the board of trustees at this weeks regular meeting.  “Its something that needs to be done.  What we found is really two issues with the field.  First it gets a lot of use, following football season we roll right into our soccer season.  By the time the soccer season is done, we have really pounded that field, the grass is pretty much gone, to be quite honest, its almost unsafe.”

To give the main field time to rest the school has been working with the City of Bishop to install a practice field in the rear of the city park.  Due to the ongoing drought, that effort has stalled as the city is holding off seeding the new field.  Simpson is hopeful the new city park field will be planted this fall.

Superintendent Simpson notes the second reason the field is suffering is due to a poor irrigation system.  “The irrigation system was really not meeting the needs of that field, we were not getting the coverage from the sprinklers, and so we were not getting the kind of regrowth that we needed.”

To address the irrigation system, new infrastructure in being installed.  The track and field are currently closes as open trenches exist near the finish line of the track and the length of the 50-yard line.  Following the irrigation upgrade field treatments will continue.

“There are some applications to get rid of the weeds that have taken hold, that is going on now.  Following the irritation system installation  and getting sprinklers up and running, we will do some aeration , over-seeding , and apply fertilizer.  We are working with two local companies, they feel we can defiantly bring that field back and get it ready for the mid august start of football season.”

The first scheduled home game for the Broncos is set for Friday, August 28th.  The Broncos will open at home with Whittier Christian.

50 yard line, south.
50 yard line trench
south side of John Schwab field
south side of John Schwab field
irrigation infrastructure near home street.
irrigation infrastructure near home street.
bishop union high school, barry simpson, bishop union high school football, john schwab field, drought 2015
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Inyo-Mono Crop and Livestock report

Annual Report indicates a big drop in production

Inyo and Mono County Agriculture Commissioner Nathan Reade has released the annual crop and livestock report.  Here is Reade’s introducution to the report:
I am pleased to present the 2014 Inyo and Mono Counties’ Annual Crop and Livestock Report. This report is prepared pursuant to California Food and Agriculture Code 2279, and is a statistical compilation of agriculture production in Inyo and Mono Counties. These values reflect gross agricultural production within the two counties, and do not represent net profit or loss.  The gross combined agricultural production values for Inyo and Mono Counties in 2014 totaled $58,606,000, representing a decrease of nearly 21% from 2013 production values. Drought conditions continue to significantly impact area agricultural businesses, and are the reason for the majority of decrease in value over last year. Livestock herd reductions began in 2011 with the drought and have continued each year thereafter. Herd sizes are now so small that rising beef prices no longer mask production losses when viewed in terms of dollars. Feeder cattle gain is also in sharp decline due to unavailability of pasture. Field crops continue to suffer as water supply diminishes. This year does not look to be the end of this downward trend as we enter another year with even lower runoff projections.  This report features both wool production as well as fruit and nut statistics for the first time for Inyo and Mono Counties. Additionally, Inyo county is now reporting nursery stock production.
The link to the report:
inyo mono crop report, inyo county news, mono county news, drought 2015