Category Archives: Community News

Body Recovered from Crowley Lake

Mono County recovers body from Crowley Lake

May 23, 2016
By Arnie Palu

The Mono County Sheriffs office has released details from a weekend recovery.  According to the Mono County Sheriffs Department the body is presumed to be that of missing La Habra man Juan Manuel Vierheller.  Vierheller was reported missing back on May 13th.  Mono County Sheriffs department statement:

On the morning of Sunday, May 22, at approximately 10:30 a.m., the body of a deceased male was found in Crowley Lake. Mono County Sheriff’s deputies were on scene within minutes and took custody of the deceased person. The body is presumed to be that of missing person Juan Vierheller, who was last seen at Beaver Cove in the early morning of Friday, May 13. The family of the missing person has been notified. An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death.

Mono County Sheriffs department, crowley lake california, mono county news

American Mule Museum Kick Off Party

Mule Museum Party set for May 27th

May 18, 2016
by Arnie Palu

A dedicated group of volunteers are hosting a kick off party for the American Mule Museum.  Food, libations and live music will be showcased at the party set for 3 to 6pm on Friday, May 27th at the Serventi Villa, located at 187 East Line Street, Bishop.

Fiddlin’ Pete Watercott will provide live music with party goers enjoying delicious western appetizers along with libations including the signature “Sierra Mule” drink.

Tickets are $25 each and may be purchased here at the KIBS/KBOV radio station and at the Bishop Chamber of Commerce.  Tickets are also available on the American Mule Museum website at


Mammoth Lakes Fire Protection District pushing Fuel Reduction

MLFPD Encouraging Reduction of Wildland Fire Fuels

May 18, 2016
Submitted by Mammoth Lakes Fire Protection District

Now that the winter snows have melted from much of town, the Mammoth Lakes Fire Protection District (MLFD) reminds residents of your responsibility to keep your property wildland fire safe. Long term residents are aware of the wildland fire incidence that can occur around town and especially with windy, hot, dry summers. From just about anywhere in town one can see the results of previous fire activity and the scars that have been left behind. In addition, the warmer temperatures are revealing the significant number of dead trees that are located in and around town.

Establishing and maintaining defensible space around our property is all of our responsibilities. We are all part of the team that will protect our community should we find ourselves in the situation of a wildfire threatening town. A well-maintained landscape enhances the beauty and value of any property— and just as importantly, the work serves as a fuel break. The goal is to keep your landscape lean, clean and green. The following steps can reduce your home’s vulnerability from the threat of wildfire and reduce your use of irrigation.

ZONE 1: 30 feet or more adjacent to the home and beyond attachments such as wooden decks.
Within the first 10 feet of the home, use nonflammable landscaping materials (rock, pavers), or low level annuals or perennials less than 18 inches in height. There should be nothing flammable within 10 feet of the home.
Keep this area lightly irrigated and free from dead or dry vegetation, combustible debris, and accumulations of leaf and needle litter. Plants should be carefully spaced, low growing and free of vegetation high in resins, oils, and waxes that burn easily. Mow lawns regularly.
Prune all trees up 1/3 the height of the tree or so the lowest limbs are 10-15 feet from the ground. If adjacent to a structure, prune up to the eave level. Clearance shall be a minimum of 10 feet from chimneys/stovepipes. Keep roof surfaces clear.
Thin out living vegetation 30 to 50% within this zone to decrease fire intensity and continuous path of travel.
Allow space between tops of trees to reduce the risk of crown fire.
Keep firewood stacks/piles at least 30 feet from the home. If this is not possible, from June 1 to September 30, cover entire woodpile with properly secured, fire resistive, California State Fire Marshal tagged tarp.
Water plants and trees as needed to ensure they are healthy. Do not use finely shredded mulch and mulch should be wetted periodically.
Areas around and above propane tanks need to be kept clear of vegetation for 10 feet.

ZONE 2: Approximately 30 to 100 feet from the home (if your property size permits).
Leave approximately 30 feet between clusters of two to three trees, or approximately 20 feet between individual trees. Do not remove more than 1/3 of the crown density.
Limit vegetation that serves as a link between low level vegetation and tree tops (ladder fuels).
Prune trees so branches and leaves are at least 10-15 feet above the ground.
Give yourself added protection with “fuel breaks,” such as gravel walkways, and lawns.
Remove any dead or dying material from yard and break up continuous patches of brush species to slow fire advance and decrease heat productivity.

forest 1
photo provided by MLFPD. Before Fuels reduction work.
forest 2
Photo Provided by MLFPD. After fuels reduction work.

Property owners who are unable to do this work themselves are encouraged to hire a licensed professional who both understand this information and can apply it to the property. MLFD maintains a list of qualified contractors that can perform this work.

Failure to comply with the regulations and clear your property in a timely fashion is not only expensive, but endangers the lives and homes of your neighbors, the community, and the firefighters who protect them.

If you would like more information on this or any other fire safety related matter, please feel free to contact the Mammoth Lakes Fire Department at (760) 934-2300.

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Tioga Road Opening

Tioga Road in Yosemite National Park to Open on Wednesday, May 18

May 18, 2016
Submitted by Yosemite National Park

The Tioga Road in Yosemite National Park will open for all vehicular traffic tomorrow, Wednesday, May 18, 2016, at noon. The Tioga Road, bounded on both sides by State Highway 120, is the popular east-west crossing of the Sierra Nevada.

We would like to thank all of our road crews, as well as our partners in Mono County and Caltrans, for all of their hard work in clearing the road for the opening tomorrow,” stated Don Neubacher, Superintendent.” Visitors are urged to travel with caution, as there will be ongoing roadwork and the possibility of ice in some places, especially in the early morning hours.”

Snow and icy conditions may still exist on hiking trails at the higher elevations. Visitors are urged to be prepared for snowy conditions and possible treacherous stream crossings while hiking the back-country in the early season. Vault toilets are available in several locations along the road.  Limited visitor services will be available over the next several weeks.  Additionally, late spring storms may change the status of the road and cause temporary closures. For updated, 24-hour road conditions, please call 209-372-0200 and follow the prompts.

All campgrounds along the Tioga Road remain closed. All commercial services, including the Tuolumne Store, and Village Grill, are also closed.  There are no anticipated opening dates for any of these facilities at this time. The gas station in Tuolumne Meadows is permanently closed and the nearest gas stations are Crane Flat to the west and Lee Vining to the east.

Yosemite National Park celebrated its 125th Anniversary last year and is currently celebrating its Centennial Anniversary with the National Park Service. The park welcomes over four million visitors from all over the world each year and serves as a strong economic engine for the region and local communities. Yosemite National Park generates $535 million in economic benefit to the local region and directly supports 6,261 jobs. The park is home to Yosemite Falls, the tallest waterfall in North America, and iconic rock formations such as Half Dome and El Capitan. The park also features approximately 90 different species of mammals and over 1500 species of plants.

cover photo provided by Yosemite National Park

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Threat Closes Lone Pine Schools

Email Threat Closes Lone Pine Schools

May 18, 2016
submitted by the Inyo County Sheriffs Department

The Inyo County Sheriff’s Office was notified Tuesday afternoon about an email threat to Lone Pine High School. The Sheriff’s Office began immediate investigations and is working with the Federal Bureau of Investigations and other law enforcement agencies to determine the credibility of the threat.

A decision was made Tuesday evening by school officials and law enforcement to cancel classes and all other school activities (Wednesday, May 18th) at both Lo-Inyo School and Lone Pine High School.

At this time it appears that the threat was isolated to Lone Pine High School. Law enforcement and school officials will continue to work together; students, staff, and the public will be notified when Lo-Inyo School and Lone Pine High School have been reopened.

“The safety of both students and staff is paramount,” stated Inyo County Sheriff, Bill Lutze. “At this time we are unable to disclose the details of the threat due to the ongoing investigation; however, as more information becomes available we will provide follow-up press releases.”

If anyone has information that may be helpful in this case you are encouraged to contact the Sheriff’s Office at 760-878-0383.

Nick Yeager

Nick Yeager 1948-2016

Nick Yeager passed away Saturday April 2, 2016 at the age of 68. Nick was an avid outdoorsman who loved hunting, fishing, and collecting old things. Nick was born to Bob and Dorothy Yeager in Dillon Montana on September 1, 1948. He would be the oldest of the three Yeager boys. The family moved to Big Pine Ca when Nick was 6 years old. A few years later the family moved to Bishop Ca where Nick graduated from Bishop Union High school. He attended Bakersfield City College. While studying to become an  Entomologist, Nick was drafted to the Army. Nick would spend 14 months in Vietnam. Nick was a member of company B , 2nd Battalion (Airmobile) , 5th Cavalry of the 1st Cavalry Division. Nick received ten medals for his service including the Bronze Star with a V for valor for heroism in connection with ground operations against a hostile force in the Republic of Cambodia. Nick returned to Bishop Ca for he would spend the rest of his life.

Nick worked for Turner Gas company for almost 20 years as a gas delivery driver. Nick then became a painting Contractor and continued painting until he retired.  Nick leaves behind his Daughter Renee Yeager Rowley of Bishop, her Mother Kathy Yeager-Lowry of Clovis ca, Grandchildren Brandon Rowley, Cameron Rowley, and Maddie Hall of Bishop. Son Jim Dixon and his Mother MaryJane Dixon of Bishop. Brothers and Sister in laws Steve and Sharon Yeager, Bill and Lisa Yeager also of Bishop. Nieces Corey Buffington, Lianne Talbot, Gina Tetrick and Nephew Ryan Yeager and five great nieces and one great nephew all of Bishop and also many life long friends. We will all miss his sense of adventure, the great stories he shared, his great sense of humor and his kind loving heart.

There will be a celebration of life and potluck luncheon Saturday June 25, 2016 at 11:00 AM at The Elks Lodge #1603, 151 E. Line st Bishop. To bring a dish please contact Tammy Deyo at 760-938-2900 or 760-937-0187

Rhonda Aihara named NIH’s 2016 DAISY Award Winner

Rhonda Aihara named NIH’s 2016 DAISY Award Winner

May 16, 2016
Submitted by Northern Inyo Hospital

Rhonda Aihara, a Perinatal Services/Labor and Delivery nurse at Northern Inyo Healthcare District (NIHD), was named the healthcare facility’s 2016 winner of the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses. The recognition is part of an annual international program honoring nurses for clinical skills and compassionate care.

Aihara, clearly humbled by the honor, said she feels she could share the award with a number of “incredibly fabulous and fantastic nurses who equally deserve such recognition. Each one has their own special touch and their own compassionate heart, and they think nothing of going above and beyond for our patients. I am honored to be able to stand beside them.”

NIH 2016 Daisy Award Winner Rhonda Aihara
NIH 2016 Daisy Award Winner Rhonda Aihara

For Aihara, nursing has been a way of life for the past 37 years. She says she knew at age seven that she wanted to be a nurse. She credits her mother, a Licensed Vocational Nurse who cared for burn patients at the UC Irvine Medical Center, with inspiring her to follow in her footsteps. “I think I subconsciously decided to take the same path she did,” Aihara said. “As a child, I remember wisps and shades of stories she told about her patients and how she cared for them. Her compassion for her patients affected me.”

Aihara began her career at UC Irvine, working first with trauma patients before moving into Labor and Delivery, serving almost 15 years in each department. She retired from UC Irvine in 2008 and discovered she had more to give. She became a traveling nurse.

I can still hear my recruiter telling me about NIH,” she said. “My recruiter said, “it’s this little, tiny place in the middle of nowhere. I don’t know if you’d be interested.’” Aihara was more than interested. She fell in love with the Eastern Sierra corridor as a young woman and jumped at the chance to call Bishop her home. She joined the hospital and worked as a “traveler” for one year, the longest term she could work under that job title. She was required then to take three months off.

It was the best year of my life, I mean, I woke up every day in God’s County,” Aihara said. When a full-time position became available, she quickly applied and has been at the hospital ever since. “I’m living the dream I had three decades ago,” she said. “Every day I wake up here is a gift; living here is a joy.”

The DAISY award honors the super-human work nurses do for patients every day, explained Tracy Aspel, NIHD’s Acting Chief Nursing Officer. Patients and their families, as well as other nurses within the organization, nominate nurses for the DAISY award. In Aihara’s case, two patients nominated her for the honor.

In a letter to NIHD, one of the patients called Aihara “one of the most compassionate persons I have ever met.” The letter went on to say that Aihara’s “every act and word is intentionally kind, empathetic and truly without pretense. I know her job must be difficult on many levels, but she sets her heart into action just as readily as she does her hands. Her heart is beautiful.”

The second letter detailed the care Aihara gave a young patient, including twice being called in from home to assist with the child’s care. “She did not have to do the kind things she had done for (us), but she did,” the letter said. “She treated us like she truly cared about our (child). She went above and beyond for our (child) and put (our child’s) needs above hers. She showed us and talked to us and treated us like family, and that means everything to me. I cannot say enough about Rhonda. This letter does not explain half of what Rhonda has done for our family. She is an inspiration to us. I’m glad Northern Inyo Hospital has nurses like Rhonda.”

As Aspel read the letters to those assembled at the hospital for the DAISY presentation, her emotions became visible, her voice cracking. “I don’t mean to get emotional, but I am touched because this is what makes Northern Inyo special, it has a team that cares about patients and who put patients first,” Aspel said.

Also nominated for the DAISY award were Emergency Department nurses Brenda Brewer and Cindy Knight; Acute/SubAcute Nurses Brent Obinger, Ron Daywalt and Sasha Smith; Post-Anesthesia Care Unit/Outpatient Infusion nurses Cathy Chuey and Oscar Morales, and; Intensive Care Unit nurses Jane Steele and Scotty Vincik. Aspel said all nominees are given a special DAISY pin and most wear them on their hospital employee badges.

Previous DAISY Award nurses at NIHD include Christine Hanley (2012), Joey Zappia (2013), Deborah Earls (2014) and Diane Stevens (2015). Northern Inyo Healthcare District has been recognized as a DAISY organization since 2013.Aihara received a certificate of recognition; a DAISY Award pin; a sculpture entitled “A Healer’s Touch,” which is hand-carved from serpentine stone by artists of the Shona Tribe in Zimbabwe; and, a DAISY Award tote bag.

The presentation was the kickoff to the hospital’s observation of National Nurses Week, May 6-12, and National Hospital Week, May 9-13.

DAISY is an acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune System. The DAISY Award is part of the DAISY Foundation’s efforts to recognize the super-human efforts nurses make in direct care of patients and patient families every day. The not-for-profit DAISY Foundation, based in Glen Ellen, Calif., was established by family members in memory of J. Patrick Barnes.

Barnes died in 1999 at the age of 33 from an autoimmune disease. The care Barnes and his family received from nurses while he was ill inspired the award as a means of thanking nurses for making a profound difference in the lives of their patients and patient families.

About Northern Inyo Healthcare District: Founded in 1946, Northern Inyo Healthcare District features a 25-bed critical access hospital, a 24-hour emergency department, a primary care rural health clinic, a diagnostic imaging center, and clinics specializing in women’s health, orthopedics and neurology, pediatrics and allergies and general surgery. Continually striving to improve the health outcomes of those who rely on its services, Northern Inyo Healthcare District aims to improve our communities one life at a time. One team, one goal, your health.

Photos by Barbara Laughon

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Mule Days is Fun for Kids Too

I Want to be a Packer returns to Mule Days

May 16, 2016
Submitted by Mule Days

Mule Days presents I Want to be a Packer! This family-friendly, kid-loving, fun-having event is open to the public and is FREE to participants! Located at the Tri-County Fairgrounds Junior Packer Corral on Main walkway before the grandstands. The dates of this event are Friday, Saturday, and Sunday May 27-29, 2016.

The I Want to be a Packer events are Musical Tires, Barrel Racing, Cross Country Jumping, Pole Bending, Clown School, and Bronc Riding, and will be occurring throughout the weekend on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

All youth participate for FREE, and parents are encouraged to watch their children perform in the Main Arena. However, adults will need to purchase show tickets.

Along with all the fun, there will be gold panning from 12pm-1pm, and free fishing at the Rick Dean Fish Ponds on Saturday and Sunday.

Cover Photo by Gary Young

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Devils Hole Pupfish vandals identified

Nye County Sheriffs Office locates 3 suspects

May 13, 2016
By Arnie Palu

Law enforcement has tracked down three men suspected of killing an endangered Devil’s Hole Pupfish.  The Nye County Sheriffs Department and National Park Service officers are leading the investigation.  The Nye County Sheriffs Department has released the following details.

SUSPECT(S): SCHWINKENDORF, Steven, 29, Pahrump, NV REYES, Edgar, 35, North Las Vegas, NV SARGENT, Trenton, 26, Indian Springs, NV
Potential Charges : Charges are projected to be taken at the federal level.
Charges include Conspiracy to commit a crime,  killing of an endangered species, destruction of property,
trespassing,  destruction of  habitat, ex‐felon possession of firearm.

DETAILS: A collaborative investigation between the National Park Service andNye County Sheriff’s Office  Scorpion  Task  Force  has  led  to  the  identification of the three suspects involved in the   trespassing  and  property destruction at the Devils Hole section of Death Valley
National  Park.  Suspects Steven SCHWINKENDORF, of Pahrump, Edgar REYES, of North Las Vegas, and Trenton   SARGENT,  of  Indian  Springs  have  all  een interviewed and will be subsequently charged for their  actions which occurred on 04/30/16.

NPS officers contacted a detective with the Scorpion Task Force on 05/02/16 after the  damage  was  discovered.  Subsequent investigation led to the collection of evidence, including  DNA, along with video surveillance. The surveillance footage was viewed, and SGT KLENCZAR of  the  NCSO  was able  to  investigate  and locate the off road vehicle seen in the video. The vehicles’  owner was identified as SCHWINKENDORF, and detectives from both agencies made contact  with  SCHWINKENDORF  for  an  interview, during which more information was obtained.

REYES was contacted by phone, stated that the subject in the video was indeed him, and  directed further questions to his attorney.
SARGENT was also contacted by phone and interviewed. Based on the investigation of the  crime  scene  and  the  interviews  with  the  suspects, investigators determined the threesome had  been  drinking  and  out  shooting  rabbits  when  they  came  to  Devil’s  Hole.  They jumped the fence  of  the  clearly  marked  protected  area,  nd in the course of their unlawful visit destroyed an  electronic sensor by shooting it with a shotgun, damaged two surveillance cameras, and  rammed  and  shot  two  gates  causing  damage.   Their unlawful visit ultimately culminated with at  least  one  of  the  suspects  stripping  off  their  clothes  and  entering  the  water  of  Devils Hole. The  suspect(s)  in  the  water  stomped  around  the  shelf area of the critical ecosystem before  swimming  around  the  deeper  water,  leaving  behind  a  pair  of  dirty  underwear  when  finished.

In addition to the gates and cameras, a large sign near Devils Hole was shot multiple times  with  a  shotgun.  Assessments  of  the  financial loss are still being conducted, but will be felony in  nature. The intrusion is believed to have resulted in the death of at least one endangered Devils  Hole  Pupfish,  and  fisheries  biologists are trying to ascertain the extended damage that may  have been done to food sources and egg sites which could lead to more loss of a species who’s  numbers  are  now  below  the  last  count of 115 in existence. The killing of an endangered species  is a felony crime.

Other charges including trespassing,  damage  to  habitat,  and  conspiracy will be added.  Additionally, it is believed that at least one of the suspects is a convicted felon making it illegal  to  possess  or  be  in  involvement  with others possessing a gun. The NCSO and NPS would like to  thank all of the people who called in with information and helped
keep  the case active.
cover photo by the Nevada Fish and Wildlife Department, Olin Feuerbacher
nye county sheriffs department, devils hole pupfish, death valley national park

Home Street Students of the Month

Home Street names April Students of the Month

May 11, 2016
submitted by Home Street Middle School


Home Street Middle School is proud to announce their April
Students of the Month. Selections are based on academic success or improvement, community service, effort, positive attitude, or excellent citizenship. The following students were presented with a certificate to be displayed on the Wall of Fame.

Students of the Month

Shelbi Sapp
Dakota Reynolds
Juan Martinez
Emily Motley
Billy McKinzey
Scott Hennarty
Bodie Bedore
Nicole Emmert
Hugo Santana
Ezra Rambeau
Kayla Jackson
Carlos Rodriges-Gonzalez
Kayden Rinehart
Tyler Hembree
Zachary Mojarro