Category Archives: Community News


New NIH Technology Saves a Life

New Technology leads to early detection

Submitted by Northern Inyo Hospital.

A film crew from General Electric Healthcare was at Northern Inyo Hospital recently to capture a local woman’s early breast cancer detection story. Joyce Decho of Bishop credits Dr. Stuart Souders and the NIH Diagnostic Imaging team’s use of the GE Automated Breast Ultra Sound (ABUS) machine with saving her life.

Board certified Radiologist, Dr. Stuart Souders, MD, and breast cancer survivor Joyce Decho share a light moment during the GE filming. In standard mammograms, Decho’s dense breast tissue masked the six millimeter tumor later found by the hospital’s ABUS machine. Souders and Decho credit ABUS with an early detection that saved Decho’s life. Photo by Barbara Laughon/Northern Inyo Hospital

To say Joyce Decho is a unique person would be a huge understatement. The petite, demure woman with flowing salt-and-pepper locks served as the only female lineperson for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power for 30-plus years. Her eyes still sparkle as she details passing the physical tests required to work the high voltage lines. She swam every day for an hour and a half with five pound weights strapped to her arms to garner muscle. She worked out as often as she could. She studied endlessly.
She will tell you she thought her professional career would be her biggest challenge in life.

Decho’s healthcare story began routinely enough with a visit to her primary care doctor, who was concerned about skin changes in her breasts. Two standard mammograms showed no issue, but Dr. Souders recognized that Decho’s dense breast tissue could be hiding the true story.

“If a woman has a lot of fibrous breast tissue, it appears white in a mammogram,” Dr. Souders explained. “Cancers also appear white. It can be like looking for a snowball in a snowstorm. That’s why ABUS was felt to be something we could effectively use to find these cancers.”

Dr. Stuart Souders is a story unto himself. He came to Bishop in 2009, to help out the hospital for a few weeks when one of its radiologists left. Souders, who had been working in a large Southern California Breast Cancer center, thought his time at NIH would be short lived. That changed once he began working with local patients.

“I stopped dreading the drive and started wondering how soon I’d be able to come back here to help the patients,” he smiled. Souders eventually left the large center, and while he still has a home in Southern California, his primary work is at Northern Inyo Hospital. “I come up here every other week and do all the breast imaging up here, and I just love it. The hospital is very supportive; we have some the finest equipment for hundreds of miles and I think it’s state of the art in every way.”

Souders discussed the hospital’s new ABUS machine with Decho, explaining that ABUS provided a more sensitive screening for women with dense tissue. Decho agreed to undergo the test, but wondered if there was really any value to gain since the two mammograms showed nothing.

The ABUS test revealed a six millimeter tumor in her left breast.
Dr. Souders still marvels at the ease of the find with the ABUS machine. “This is the kind of cancer we’re finding with ABUS, those killer cancers – very aggressive – that are less than a centimeter and have not spread to the lymph nodes, and that’s the value of ABUS.”
In the recent past, facilities like NIH would have had to rely on hand-held ultrasounds. Souders explains ABUS has brought breast cancer screenings to a new level.

“ABUS was developed to automatically scan both breasts, and eliminate operator variables. Hand held ultrasound examinations are extremely ‘operator dependent,’ whereas ABUS is not,” he said. “ABUS is fast and it’s efficient, and it’s reproducible. With ABUS everything is on the images. Handheld screening ultrasound required 20 to 40 minutes of technologist and/or radiologist time to perform. If a lesion was not found by either of them, it would not be recorded in the image file.”

According to Souders, Decho would have most likely not felt the tumor for a year or possibly two. “If she continued with her regular mammograms, I still don’t think we would have caught it because of her breast density. Most likely it would have made itself known when it was palpable, and by that time, prognosis is not always good, especially for her type of cancer. ”

So how did NIH get this life-changing machine? Souders explained the hospital had been exploring ways to purchase the ABUS system, but fell short of full funding. At about the same time, he gave a breast cancer awareness talk to the Northern Inyo Hospital Auxiliary and discussed the value of an ABUS system. A week later, the Auxiliary offered to give the hospital $50,000 to make the purchase.

Former Hospital CEO Victoria Alexander-Lane noted the important role the NIH Auxiliary has played in the hospital’s success. “Of all the life-saving contributions the auxiliary has made to the hospital, the ABUS donation is the one that has touched the most lives,” she said. “We are very grateful to the auxiliary volunteers for the support they give us.”

Souders agreed. “They saw the value it had for women in our region and they did not hesitate to step up and help. Their gift gave us a better chance for early detection. I think that if you ask Joyce, it was worth the money we spent on the system. That system saved her life.”

As it turns out, Decho was the first cancer case diagnosed at NIH using ABUS screening. “This was another first for me, just not the kind I was used to,” she said. Souders encouraged Decho to take charge of the situation; to educate herself about her options. “He didn’t want me to be a follower, to put my life in someone else’s hands,” she said, before she paused, leaned forward and smiled.
“I don’t believe I’m a follower,” she matter-of-factly stated. “I read up. The more you know, the less afraid you are. I had all my decisions made when I got to the City of Hope.”

Decho chose to have a single mastectomy at the City of Hope. After six months of healing, she underwent a three phase reconstructive surgery.   In all, Joyce Decho’s breast cancer journey has taken just over two years and it’s not over by any means. She has regular follow ups every three months. She’s on medication to reduce her chance of re-occurrence. She needs to undergo twice a year calcium infusions to strengthen her bones. “Then, I guess, I graduate,” she laughed.
Decho openly talks to people about her experience, even showing them her surgery site. “I’ve been told we are fortunate to have a machine like this in the Owens Valley, and I believe that to be so,” she said. “My advice to other women is to have your annual check-up. If you don’t know if you have dense breasts, ask. If you have dense breasts, push for ABUS testing. Early detection saved my life, and it can save others.”

Joyce Decho of Bishop, Dr. Stuart Souders, northern inyo hospital, breast cancer awareness, general electric
mono da

Weaver Sentenced to 4 years in Prison

Dempsey family in the courtroom for Sentencing

Mono County District attorney press release

On September 21, 2015, in the Mammoth Lakes courthouse, Edgar Lee Weaver, Jr. was sentenced for a violation of Gross Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated for the killing of Rebecca Dempsey, 21, of England. The case was handled by Assistant District Attorney Dave Anderson who argued that Mr. Weaver should spend the maximum sentence allowed by law of 6 years in prison for the offense. After the court weighed all the evidence and considered the parties arguments, the court sentenced Mr. Weaver to four years in state prison.

Ms. Dempsey was killed on October 6, 2014 in Mammoth Lakes after accepting an invitation from Mr. Weaver to ride as a passenger on his motorcycle. Mr. Weaver lost control of his motorcycle on Meridian Blvd just before the Meadowridge Condos. Mr. Weaver had a blood alcohol level of .22 and a speed investigation concluded he was driving at a minimum of 76 mph in a posted 40 mph zone when he lost control going into a sharp curve. Ms. Dempsey was pronounced dead upon arrival at Mammoth Hospital.

Ms. Dempsey arrived in Mammoth a few months earlier on a work visa after graduating from a university in England in May 2014. She was scheduled to return home the following week.

Ms. Dempsey’s mother, father, sister, and aunt traveled from England to be present at sentencing and spoke to their difficulty in the past year. Additionally, a number of Ms. Dempsey’s friends made the trip from all over California to show their support. Ms. Dempsey’s mother, Karen, also thanked the Mammoth community for the overwhelming support shown to them and their daughter.

Mr. Weaver was remanded into the custody of the Mono County Sheriff for transport to the California Department of Corrections.

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Edgar Lee Weaver, Jr. Photo by Mono County Sheriffs Department
mono county district attorney,  rebecca dempsey, mono county sheriffs department, sentencing in mammoth death


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Unrest at the Bishop Police Department

Officers pen letter of no confidence in chief

Seven Bishop Police Officer have pinned a letter of no confidence in Police Chief Chris Carter. The letter was signed by sworn officers  Brent Gillespie, Mark Gutierrez, Doug Mairs, David Jepson, Jared Waasdorp, Bryan Rossy and Mike Mairs.

The letter was delivered to local media and the city council this past Thursday, September 17th. The letter was release while Chief Carter was on a scheduled vacation, not making him available to comment or respond. Chief Carter submitted a response Monday afternoon.

The letter of no confidence uses clear language in challenging Chief Carters integrity and ethics.  “The Bishop Police Department has a cancer. That Cancer is CRONYISM in the form of Chief Carter’s unfair, unethical, hostile and retaliatory leadership.”

The five page letter of no confidence opens by saying, “It is with great regret that we, the undersigned officers of the Bishop Police Department, write this letter.  Unfortunately circumstances leave us no choice.  We have lost all trust, faith and confidence in Chief Carter’s ability to lead this department and continue serving as Chief of Police.   By Fostering an atmosphere of hostility, retaliation and unethical behavior Chief Carter has brought morale to an all-time low.  Retention and recruitment of qualified personnel is suffering. That is turn jeopardizes the safety of the community.  Chief Carter’s unfair and inequitable treatment of Department personnel and his use of internal affairs investigations to intimidate officers can no longer be tolerated.”

Chief Carter, officer Dan Nolan, and City Councilman Joe Pecsi’s  involvement with Sierra Tactical Training and Active Response Resources (STTARR) is also addressed in the letter.  The letter of no confidence states, “Recently two on duty officers were in the Bishop Police department dispatch center.  The Dispatcher told the officers he was updating the website at the direction of Chief Carter.  The Dispatcher stated Councilman Pecsi had ask Chief Carter to have him (the dispatcher) update the website.  Utilizing on duty subordinate Police Department personnel and city computer systems to augment him and his partners’ private business venture could be viewed as time card fraud or even embezzlement of city resources.”

The officers letter also questions the departments lack of updated training, “The Department has not had a qualification shoot or defensive tactics training since November 2014. Per the Bishop Police Departments Policy, all sworn personnel are required to qualify quarterly with their duty weapon on an approved range course.”

Department moral was also addressed, “In other instances where officers have tried to express concerns about morale or police issues, the Chief has told officers, ‘If you don’t like working here there are five (expletive) doors, pick one.’  He once told supervisors at a staff meeting that if any officers weren’t happy with the schedule they ‘Should go sell (expletive) shoes at Kmart.'”

The letter of no confidence also addresses officer issues with City Administrator Jim Tatum.  “Several of the undersigned have also made the problems at the department know to City Administrator on numerous occasions.  He has failed to act.  More recently, the City Administrator chose to ignore lies and false statements made by a Department employee (and supported of Chief Carter) against an officer in an internal affairs investigation.”

Chief Carter’s Response.

It is my understanding there will be an official investigation, as there well should be, and I welcome it because I know what the truths of these allegations are. I assure you that while some of what has been said is true, the whole truth is not contained anywhere in their letter. I have been advised that because some of these allegations might amount to misconduct or even criminal conduct, I’m not obliged to make any statement and should not proceed without legal counsel. While I recognize the validity of this advice, I cannot and will not remain silent on this issue.

I would like the citizens of Bishop and any others who are concerned to take into account a couple of things: one being that I announced my retirement in July. These officers have had two months in the interim to go public with their complaints and concerns, and yet they chose to make these allegations on the day I left on a scheduled vacation and two weeks prior to my official retirement date. This isn’t a coincidence. Their goal has nothing to do with bettering the Department or exposing corruption. I believe this letter is a smear campaign, plain and simple.

This letter was signed by seven people, but authored by a single individual. Each of these individuals may have their own personal axes to grind based on our common history as subordinate and supervisor. This letter is not a correspondence from the Police Officers Association (union). There was no meeting held or vote taken, even though two of the people who signed this letter act as the President and Vice-President of the Union.

An internal notice of training regarding Range qualifications was sent out on August 22, 2015, to all sworn personnel, scheduling a Range Training for September 23rd. I’m aware we’re out of policy for our training and the issue was being addressed. This is yet another example of omission of facts in order to avoid presenting the whole truth.

Other quotes attributed to me are fairly accurate, however out of context they might be. I have no tolerance for those who still think this is a little league game. Not everybody gets a trophy (or promotion) for just showing up. We keep score here in the majors and I run a performance based system. I do play favorites. My favorites are those people who consistently give 111% and who solve problems and don’t whine about having to do their job. If you want a regular schedule with predictable hours and demands, K-mart is hiring. If you don’t like this job, there really are 5 doors in the building, pick one and I’ll help you pack. I respect professional attitudes and conduct. I will offer the opinion that for these officers to address their concerns in this manner is absolutely unprofessional and it might go a long way to explaining why none of them got a trophy.

There are many other allegations in the letter that will prove to be completely false, especially those that would call into question the integrity or character of Jim Tatum, Joe Pecsi and any other member of the Bishop Police Department. There is no conspiracy, no misconduct and no excuse for these Officers to attack others in their attempt to tarnish my reputation or my history of service to this Community. They can offer no proof of the validity of their claims but I can offer absolute proof of my innocence and that of others they have attacked.

In closing, I offer the following; I have done nothing illegal, unethical or immoral as your Chief of Police. I continue to serve at the  pleasure of the City Council and will continue to do so while my replacement is sought. Should the Council choose other options, it has been my honor to serve them and this Community for the past 12 years and I assure you that the men and women of the Bishop Police Department are still serving and protecting to the best of their ability.

bishop police department, city of bishop, bishop police chief chris carter, city of bishop administrator, bishop city council


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June Lake Accident sends one to the hospital

Truck vs. Bicyclist Collision Friday in June Lake

59 year old Bicyclist Sally Timp of Anchorage Alaska sustains major injures

A vehicle vs Bicyclist accident Friday morning in June Lake resulted in a Alaska woman being flow to Reno with major injuries.  The California Highway Patrol Accident report indicates that 68-year old James Bortolotti of Temple City California was behind the wheel of a 2000 Chevy Silverado that struck Timp.

The CHP Bridgeport area accident report:

On Friday, September 18, 2015, at approximately 10:17 A.M., California Highway Patrol (CHP) Bishop Communication Center (BICC) received a report of an injury collision involving a black Chevrolet truck and a bicyclist on SR-158, at the ski lift.

The preliminary investigation by CHP indicates Party #1 (James Bortolotti) was traveling southbound on SR-158, south of the north junction with Northshore Drive.  Party #2 (Sally Timp) was riding a bicycle traveling southbound near the right edge of the roadway of SR-158.  As Party #1 approached Party #2, he failed to notice Party #2.  Due to his unsafe speed for the lighting and traffic conditions,  Party #1 was unable to safely pass Party #2.  As a result, Party #1 struck the rear of the bicycle and Party #2.  Party #2 was ejected from the bicycle and sustained major injuries.  Party #2 was transported by ambulance to Mammoth Hospital, then airlifted to Renown Medical Center in Reno, Nevada.

chp bridgeport, bicyclist accident in june lake, june lake california

Bishop Drug Education Presentation

Drug Information night planned

The Bishop Unified School District in partnership with the Bishop Police Department is pleased to announce a very important informational event.  The free event is designed to raise drug awareness among the parents of our community. The event is planned for Tuesday, September 29 beginning at 6 PM in the Bishop Union High School Auditorium .  The presentation will feature local law enforcement officers and narcotics experts. The target audience for this event is anyone within the community who has school age children.  Parents, grandparents, guardians, aunts, uncles and anyone who works with or has an interest in children will benefit.

Included in the discussion will be what drugs your children will be exposed to, what signs to look for that indicate drug use, how to talk to kids about drugs, and “The Rule of Five” which recommends that parents start discussing drugs with their children a full five years before the children are typically even exposed to them.

BUSD and Bishop PD suggest you don’t miss this opportunity to educate yourself about the dangers students face within the Bishop community.  The free presentation is set for Tuesday, September 29 at 6 PM in the BUHS Auditorium.  This is an adults only event but there will be childcare available in classrooms.  For more information please contact the main office at any of the Bishop schools.

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Manzanar 1

Eastern California Museum highlights Manzanar

Thursday Evening Program places focus on Manzanar

The Friends of the Eastern California Museum will continue their community outreach program with a great evening program presented this Thursday September 24th by Alisa Lynch. Lynch is a ranger with the National Park Service and is Chief of Interpretation at Manzanar National Historic Site, located just south of Independence on Hwy 395.

The program will highlight a few of the ten thousand stories of ten thousand lives at Manzanar during World War II. Those attending the program will learn about how the National Park Service uses personal stories to connect 80,000 visitors to the site each year. The illustrated program will be followed by a question an answer period.

The free program will be presented in Independence at the Historic Winnedumah Hotel at 7:00pm on Thursday September 24th.
The “Friends” are a nonprofit organization dedicated to the support of the Eastern California Museum and its programs and to aid in increasing the Eastern California Museum’s value as a public educational facility with an emphasis on heritage.

For more information on this great program you can call David at 760 920-8061.

Cover photo provided by the Eastern California Museum

manzanar historic site, friends of the eastern california museum, independence california, eastern california museum

Christine Bodine

Christine Bodine, 1919-2015

January 2, 1919 – August 18, 2015

Chris passed away August 18, 2015, at the Bishop Care Center. She was 96.

Born in Lindsay, Oklahoma to Charles Cunningham. Chris’ father died when she was young and her much older brother left, leaving her and her mother Mary Rogers, known to the family as Ms. Crum, to live off the land in rural Oklahoma. The Great Dust Bowl chased off Chris and Ms Crum to California. She was Rosey the Riveter during WW II, assembling bulletproof gas tanks for fighter planes.

She met John Bodine in Southern California and married in 1942 She used to dance to Benny Goodman band and digging up beaches during the grunion runs. The two moved to the suburbs, a house and a car, John Charles came in 1944 and Terry followed in 1950. It was as a mother that Chris found her true calling. She was the best cook even after losing her sense of smell when she was in her 50s. The first thing she would say when you say her was usually, “Did you have something to eat, honey?”

She worked as a volunteer most of her life at local hospitals and headed up the Candy Stripers organization. Started her first paying job at the age of 60 working at Northern Inyo Hospital in the collections department.

She had an outgoing spirit, a very giving nature and loved animals. There were plenty of camping trips and endless supplies of biscuits and gravy or short spaghetti. Bodine’s like to eat.

Chris had a grace and generosity that was genuine and never lost to age. She could make friends in an instant and had thousands of them, some from second grade that still kept in touch. She had an outgoing spirit and loved animals. She was the sweetest person you’d ever meet. This place has lost a light, and its a little dark, but she was bright enough to keep shining long after she’s gone.

Christine was preceded in death by her husband John A. Bodine and son John C. Bodine. She is survived by daughter Terry Pledger of Newhall, CA. Grandsons Mike Bodine of Bishop and Charlie Bodine of Agua Dulce, CA. Great Grandchildren Diana Bodine of Bishop, CA and J.C. Bodine of Agua Dulce, CA, Also Rita Heller of Michigan and Claudie Montgomery of Oregon.

Graveside services will be held September 29 at 10:30 a.m. at the West Line St Cemetery 929 W. Line St. Bishop. Please join us for a celebration of life at Bishop First United Methodist Church right after the services. 205 N. Fowler St. Bishop.


Jackie Pollett

Jacaline Pollett 1958-2015

Jacaline J. “Jackie” Pollett passed away Friday, Sept. 4, 2015 after a sudden illness. A memorial service for Jackie will be held Sunday, Sept. 20, 1 p.m. at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8988, with Dee Dee Costello and the VFW members officiating.
Jackie was born in Bishop on September 16, 1958 to Thomas and Mildred Pollett. She had two siblings, Duane Hilton and Terry Pollett.
After graduating from Bishop Union High School in 1977, Jackie briefly moved to Arizona with her parents and attended Taft College before returning to Bishop. She began a career in health care support, first working in billing for radiologist Dr. Wilfred Wells, MD, from 1987 until Dr. Wells retired in 1999; and then working at Northern Inyo Hospital for the past 16 years. Most recently, Jackie served as the Administrative Assistant for the hospital’s Performance Excellence office.
A kind woman with a big heart, Jackie was known among the hospital staff as the “Candy Lady,” for the large dish of treats she kept on her the corner of her desk. Anyone was welcome to take a piece, and they often did, becoming acquaintances with Jackie in the process. Jackie was truly one of the last great listeners in this world, who would be reserved and respectful, but would signal just how she really felt with the subtle arching of her eyebrows.
Those closest to Jackie say she was a true philanthropist, often donating her time and money to charities she loved and never expecting any praise or notoriety in return. She was dedicated to animals, especially cats. She lavished love and attention on cats in need of a home, often finding a way to make her home their home. Five such pets survive Jackie. She was also a friend to the local veterans organizations, a voracious reader, a crochet enthusiast and an avid crystal and gem collector. A very private woman, she had an easy laugh and a quick smile for those she brought into her life.
She is survived by her brother and sister-in-law, Duane and Jan Hilton; her sister, Terry; and her friends at Northern Inyo Hospital.
Those wishing to remember Jackie are encouraged to make a donation in her honor to either Inyo/Mono County Animal Resources & Education (ICARE), P.O. Box 76, Bishop, CA 93515,; or, to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 8988, 484 Short Street
Bishop, CA 93514.



Eastern Sierra Wildlife Care

Fall at Eastern Sierra Wildlife Care


Provided by Eastern Sierra Wildlife Care:

As days grow short, the last birds and mammals of the busy “baby season” are leaving the shelter of Eastern Sierra Wildlife Care and facing the demands of freedom. A late Barn Swallow youngster took wing today into a mixed flock of Violet-Green and Cliff Swallows while ESWC foster mom Kelly Bahr prepares to release three Chickarees (Douglas Tree Squirrels) into the alpine forest. The furry trio will need to get busy immediately readying themselves for winter.

Three Barn Owls rescued from a truckload of hay bales hauled from Willows to the Owen Dry Lake are now out hunting the Hammil Valley fields. A hitchhiking young Yellow-bellied Marmot traveled from White Mountain to the Waterworks on Main Street where he evacuated the truck engine. He was treated for a laceration and driven back up to his home by ESWC volunteer Kevin Calder. Cliff Swallows, Orioles, two Kestrels, Mallard ducklings, Golden Mantled Ground Squirrels, Crows, Ravens, doves, and many other orphans “graduated” this summer. Like all parents, staff and volunteers share mixed feelings of joy and worry as we send “our babies” off. “It’s hard not to worry when we know all the dangers they face,” said Wildlife Tech Kelly Tallon.

For the past month, spaces left by departing youngsters have been filled by juvenile raptors (Red-tailed, Red-shouldered and Swainson’s Hawks) who encountered hazards such as barbed wire, fish hooks, cars, stray shotgun pellets, and near starvation. Young birds of prey must meet the challenge that faces all predators—finding, catching and killing their food—while honing hunting skills at a time of year when there are fewer prey animals available. A downward cycle can begin: the hawk misses a kill for a couple of days and becomes weakened, causing him to miss his next hunt, and the next. Too weak to fly, he arrives at ESWC malnourished and underweight. Sometimes we can help; at other times, his system is already shutting down and can’t be reversed.

At the same time that the year’s crop of young mammals, birds and reptiles battle for survival, migration pressures also begin to build. Why only some animals migrate, when they migrate, and where they go is not fully understood. Our young Swainson’s hawk will travel all the way to Argentina; the young Northern Oriole may end her journey in San Diego or across the border in Mexico.

Migrating birds face numerous hazards on their journeys to their winter quarters. Songbirds often stop at neighborhood bird feeders where they get picked off by the local Cooper’s Hawk or hit an unfamiliar skylight or sliding glass door. Winds can blow them off-course and aerial predators are on the lookout for these travelers. Tired water birds like grebes and loons often land on pavement that looks like water from up high. Volunteer Janice Pedersen recently gave a stranded Eared Grebe a lift to a nearby body of water.

“After 4 months or more of raising wild orphans, we are busy admitting juveniles and adults impacted by drought, smoke, high temperatures, and the demands of migration and dispersion,” explained ESWC Director Cindy Kamler. “Our funds need replenishing so we are also busy preparing for our tenth annual Wild Spirits fundraiser on October 25th. The people in our community help us rescue injured and orphaned wildlife, and their support helps us treat and care for them.”

A rare visitor, this Great Gray Owl was rescued in Mammoth and airlifted to UC Davis for special care.

cover photo, Great Gray Owl rescued in Mammoth.

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This hitchhiking teen-aged Yellow-bellied Marmot bailed out of his vehicle at Waterworks carwash in Bishop

eastern sierra wildlife care, cindy kamler, mammoth lakes wildlife, eastern sierra wildlife


Mono Drug Take Back Day

Mono Drug Take Back September 26th

The Mono County District Attorney’s office is taking back unwanted prescription drugs September 26th.  Several Mono County sites will be participating, including the Walker General Store, Bridgeport Fire Department, June Lake Fire Department, Vons in Mammoth Lakes, and the Crowley Community Center.

From Mono County District Attorney Tim Kendall:

On September 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Mono County District Attorney’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public its tenth opportunity in five years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. Bring your pills for disposal to any of the sites listed above. (The District Attorney cannot accept liquids, needles or sharp objects, only pills or patches.) The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

Last September, Americans turned in 309 tons (over 617,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at nearly 5,500 sites operated by the DEA and more than 4,000 of its state and local law enforcement partners. When those results are combined with what was collected in its eight previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in over 4.8 million pounds, more than 2,400 tons of pills. Last year alone, the Mono County District Attorney collected a total of 32 pounds of unwanted prescription drugs at its various locations throughout Mono County. These were prescription drugs that could potentially make their way into our community and schools.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—both pose potential safety and health hazards.

For more information about the disposal of prescription drugs or about the September 26 Take Back Day event, go to the DEA Office of Diversion Control site or call the Mono County District Attorney.

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