Category Archives: Community News

Fish Slough Clean Up

Public Invited to Assist with Fish Slough Clean-Up

Bishop, CA – The Bishop Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Friends of the Inyo invite you to help clean-up the Fish Slough Area of Critical Environmental Concern five miles north of Bishop.

Join Friends of the Inyo and BLM staff on March 21 to pick up trash and help restore Fish Slough.

Participants should meet at the junction of Chalk Bluff, Casa Diablo and Fish Slough roads at 9 a.m. Please carpool if possible. Volunteers will help plant and wildlife communities by cleaning up debris and other human-related impacts to restore and preserve the natural beauty of the Fish Slough area. The volunteer work will last approximately three hours and be done by noon. Volunteers are asked to RSVP for the event by emailing Andrew Schurr at andrew@friendsoftheinyo.org.

Volunteers for the event should wear sturdy shoes or boots, long pants and long sleeves, a hat and gloves. Waterproof boots are strongly recommended. Tools and water will be provided. Volunteers are encouraged to bring refillable water bottles.

Fish Slough is a lush oasis amid an otherwise arid landscape known as the Volcanic Tableland. It is on the southern edge of the Great Basin High Desert Plateau, at the north end of the Owens Valley about five miles north of Bishop. The slough (wetland) is created by three natural springs flowing to the surface and the water that defines the area is the key to its varied plant and animal life, including several unique and sensitive species.

The slough and surrounding desert totaling 36,000 acres were designated as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern in 1982. The purpose of the designation was to recognize, maintain and enhance the area’s unique resource values.  In recent years, recreation activity in Fish Slough has begun to impact the sensitive native plants and animals. Contact the Bishop Field Office if you are interested in becoming a volunteer steward for this area.

For further information about the event contact Becca Brooke at (760) 872-5046 (rbrooke@blm.gov) or Andrew Schurr at (760) 872-6500 (andrew@friendsoftheinyo.org).

bishop news, eastern sierra news
LogoChoice21202

Lone Pine Man Indicted in Artifacts Case

Lone Pine man indicted for taking archaeological artifacts from public lands in Inyo county

FRESNO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a six-count indictment Thursday against Norman Starks, 76, a resident of Lone Pine, California, charging him with unauthorized removal of archaeological resources, depredation of government property, and possession of stolen government property, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

According to court documents, the defendant damaged, altered, and removed Native American archaeological resources without authorization, from federal lands.  These included Native American burial cairns and other cultural artifacts, such as beads and fragments of ceramic pots, which were more than 100 years old.  The artifacts were located in the Lone Pine area of Inyo County on public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management.  In addition, the indictment charges the defendant with possessing stolen property that included prehistoric Native American incised stone tablets, which had been taken from government lands.

This case was the product of an investigation by the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service. Assistant United States Attorney Megan A. S. Richards is prosecuting the case.

If convicted of theft of stolen government property or depredation of government property, STARKS faces a maximum statutory penalty of ten years in prison and a $100,000 fine.  For each count of removal of archaeological resources, STARKS faces a maximum statutory penalty of two years in prison and a $100,000 fine.  Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Archeological resources are protected under the Archaeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA).  Federal land managers, such as Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service, are responsible for the protection of natural and cultural resources located on public lands.

lone pine news, eastern sierra news,  blm
linda and sam

Burgers for Bucks!

Mammoth fundraiser Monday

Monday February 23rd 11am-9pm –Burgers Restaurant has generously offered to hold a ‘Burgers for Bucks’ benefit. A percentage of all sales that day will be donated to the Friends of Sam and Linda Nicolosi fund.  Join them for lunch, dinner or if time is an issue- they will be happy to accommodate your ‘to go’ orders.  Along with great food-they will be selling raffle tickets for some incredible prizes.  They are also thrilled to announce two of their silent auction items – a  one of a kind – Brad Paisley felt hat – he personally wore at the CMA’s and signed it.  Another wonderful prize is a one week stay at a three bedroom home in Rancho Mirage.  Raffle tickets are already being sold by Mammoth Mountain Hosts and at Footloose Sports.

They also created a Go Fund Me site where you can donate directly – http://www.gofundme.com/kqtj9c

The funds raised go directly to Sam and Linda to help with their travel expenses and we hope to raise enough funds to redo their bathroom for handicapped access. Linda just had her ‘32nd’ surgery this week at St. Vincents  Hospital in Los Angeles and is recovering well.

mammoth news, burgers for bucks, brad paisley, burgers restaurant

 

Finney Evidence

Drug Arrest in Highlands

INET arrests Bishop man in Highlands

On Tuesday, February 17,  Agents with the Inyo Narcotics Enforcement Team (INET), along with assistance from the Inyo County Sheriff’s Department, served a search warrant at a residence  in Bishop’s Highlands mobile home park. At the residence, Agents seized over half an ounce of methamphetamine, a scale, evidence of drug sales, and drug paraphernalia.
The primary suspect of the investigation, Eryk James Finney (age 35) of Bishop, was located inside the living room of the residence at the time of the search warrant service. Finney was arrested and booked at the Inyo County Jail on charges of Possession of a Controlled Substance for Sale and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. He is being held on bail pending arraignment.

Finney
Finney
bishop news, inet, inyo county sheriffs department
loto

Liliana Romero claims powerball prize

Mono County Woman Claims Million Dollar Powerball® Prize

SACRAMENTO – A Mono County woman has claimed the million dollar prize won on a Powerball ticket sold in Lee Vining last week. Liliana Romero claimed at the California Lottery’s Sacramento District Office yesterday morning. Hers was one of three lucky tickets sold in California that matched five numbers, missing only the Powerball number in the draw last Wednesday. While these tickets were just one number shy of hitting the $564 million jackpot that night, each, including Romero’s, still won an impressive $1,428,692 apiece before federal taxes!

This win could not have come at a more opportune time. Romero is just 21 years old and currently does prep work in a restaurant. She told us the excitement has even been causing her to lose sleep. It started when she checked her ticket at Mono Market, which is located at 51303 Highway 395 in Lee Vining (Mono County). That’s the same place she bought it. “I was screaming and in shock,” said Romero about the screen message that popped up announcing her win.

We’ve posted a copy of her ticket below. The top line matched the numbers 11-13-25-39-54, missing only the Powerball number 19. That last number kept her from hitting the jackpot, but Romero doesn’t mind. After all, the money she did win opens up so many options, and this prize winner is determined to get it right. “I’m just gonna put the money away…keep it frozen for a little while,” Romero said. (She doesn’t want to say much more about her win and respectfully declines additional media interviews.)

Mono Market will receive a $7,000 bonus just for selling the lucky ticket. This retailer bonus is separate and is NOT pulled from the winner’s prize amount. Mono Market also earns a spot on the California Lottery’s list of Lucky Retailers. The same goes for the stores where the other two 2nd place California Lottery tickets were sold. There’s one in San Leandro (Alameda County). The other is in Cypress (Orange County).

You’ll remember three lucky tickets did hit the jackpot that night. They were sold in North Carolina, Texas and Puerto Rico. These winners will split, what is now, the 5th largest jackpot won in U.S. history.

mono county news, lee vining news, eastern sierra news
Mono County Courthouse

Xochimitl Sentenced in Mono Court

Jacinto Xochimitl Sentenced Tuesday in Mono Court

MONO COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE

International Fugitive Sentenced 30 years to Life

On January 6, 2014, an Investigator from the Mono County District Attorney’s Office, assisted by the Sacramento branch of the FBI traveled to Mexico City to transport a fugitive back to Mono County to face charges for repeatedly and forcibly raping a child while she was between the ages of five and twelve.

On February 17, 2015, Jacinto Flores Xochimitl pled guilty to two counts of rape of a child under 14. The defendant entered into a negotiated disposition with the District Attorney whereby Mr. Xochimitl was sentenced to the maximum penalty of 30 years to life in state prison. He will be approximately 87 years old before eligible for a parole hearing.

Mr. Xochimitl was being housed in the Mono County Jail since his return to the United States from Mexico under an extradition treaty. Mr. Xochimitl admitted that from 1997 until 2004, he raped his former girlfriend’s daughter multiple times between the ages of five and twelve.

The Mono County District Attorney has been working with the FBI, the US Attorney General’s Office, Department of Homeland Security and Interpol over the last decade to locate and extradite Mr. Xochimitl. During the later part of 2011 and early 2012, the FBI and FBI Legal Attache office in Mexico confirmed the location of the suspect and in July of 2012, the Mono County District Attorney formally requested the extradition of Mr. Xochimitl from Mexico.
Mr. Xochimitl was arrested in Puebla, Mexico by Interpol on January 14, 2014. After unsuccessfully appealing extradition to the United States, the Government of Mexico affirmed the extradition on September 19, 2014. Mr. Xochimitl was transported to the United States on January 6, 2015.

At sentencing, Mr. Xochimitl expressed remorse for his actions and hoped the victim would be able to forgive him someday. The victim tearfully expressed the anger, hatred and emotional damage that his actions have caused her. The victim finished her impact statement by telling Mr. Xochimitl, “now it’s your turn to rot in prison.”

The number one priority of the District Attorney is the investigation and prosecution of those who commit acts of sexual, physical, or emotional abuse of children. Children are often abused by people who are entrusted with protecting them and these crimes leave lifelong scars and trauma on these young victims. People who prey on children are some of the most despicable individuals in society. The District Attorney is dedicated to the protection of our children and has devoted the resources needed to effectively investigate and prosecute individuals who prey on children.

Over the past five years, the District Attorney has sentenced individuals to a cumulative of over 450 years in imprisonment for their crimes against children. It is because of the damage to victims that these crimes cause that the District Attorney refused to negotiate in Mr. Xochimitl’s case and forced him to accept the maximum punishment allowed under California law. Further, these principals were paramount in the reason Mr. Xochimitl was so vigorously sought for over a decade even after fleeing the country.

mono county news, mono county district attorney, eastern sierra news

Butterbredt Dies in Custody

48 year old Bishop Man dies while in Custody

The Inyo County Sheriffs department is confirming the death of Harold Butterbredt.  The Sheriffs department released a statement Tuesday confirming Butterbredt’s passing:

“Harold Wayne Butterbredt, a 48-year old man and inmate at the Inyo County Jail, passed away suddenly Monday morning. Butterbredt requested to be seen by medical staff around 7:20 AM; he was in the process of being transported to Southern Inyo Hospital when he collapsed in the sally port area outside the jail facility. CPR was performed and every attempt to stabilize Butterbredt was maintained throughout the ambulance transport to Southern Inyo Hospital. Butterbredt was pronounced deceased at the hospital at approximately 8:00 AM.  An autopsy will be conducted this week to determine cause of death. The Inyo County District Attorney’s Office is conducting an investigation into the incident.”

foul play is not suspected

inyo county sheriffs department, bishop news, eastern sierra news
legatt

Remains of Missing Man located in Death Valley

The Body of Graig Legatt found Monday in Death Valley

The Inyo County Sheriffs department is reporting the discovery of the remains of Graig Legatt.  A statement for the Inyo County Sheriffs department:

Graig Legatt’s remains were located on February 16, 2015 in Death Valley National Park approximately one mile up a ravine from where his vehicle was discovered by National Park Services rangers abandoned.
The vehicle was reported to the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office on February 10th; since then both ground and aerial searches have been conducted in attempt to locate Legatt.
The Inyo County Coroner has notified Legatt’s family; the cause of death was determined to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Although this search had a tragic ending, the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank everyone for their assistance: CHP, National Park Services, New Richmond WI Police Department, as well as the outpouring of support and assistance received by the public. Our thoughts are with the Legatt family as they begin to heal.

legatt

photo courtesy of the Inyo county sheriffs department

death valley, graig legatt, inyo county sheriffs department

 

tribe

Bishop Tribe Defends Officer

BISHOP PAIUTE TRIBE SUPPORTS TRIBAL POLICE OFFICER

The Bishop Paiute Tribe issued the following statement:

“The Bishop Paiute Tribe would like to take this opportunity to state its support of Tribal Police Officer Daniel Johnson. The Bishop Tribe has maintained a police department since 2009 and its mission is to ensure public safety to the reservation residents and visitors. The incident leading to Officer Johnson’s arrest occurred on December 24, 2014, after he responded to a tribal member’s call for protection in a disturbance by a non-Indian individual who is ordered by both the tribal and state courts to have no contact with the tribal member. Officer Johnson was acting under tribal authority and was carrying out his duties as a Tribal Police Officer for the Bishop Paiute Tribe at the time of the incident.
The Tribe wishes to thank Officer Johnson for his past and continued service to the Tribe and recognize his commitment to the safety and well-being of the Bishop Paiute Reservation and all of its residents. The Tribe and the Tribal Police Department have worked earnestly in the past with the Sheriff’s Department to ensure the public safety on the Bishop Reservation. It is unfortunate and regrettable that the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney has taken the unprecedented actions against Officer Johnson and fails to recognize the inherent Tribal sovereignty of the Bishop Paiute Tribe (including the authority bestowed to our Tribal Police Department). The Bishop Paiute Tribal Police Department continues its commitment to public safety and the protection of all citizens and residents of the Reservation and surrounding communities.”

Johnson,  arrested on January 6th, is facing charges of battery,  false imprisonment, and acting under the color of authority.

RESPONSE FROM DISTRICT ATTORNEY TOM HARDY

Response to Bishop Paiute Tribe Press Release of February 17, 2015
On or about January 5, 2015, the District Attorney filed a criminal complaint alleging three felony charges and one misdemeanor charge against Mr. Daniel Johnson. Specifically, he is charged with
violating Penal Code section 244.5(b), assault with a stun gun; Penal Code section 236, false imprisonment; Penal Code section146a(b), falsely representing himself to be a public officer; and Penal Code section 242, simple battery. The charges are based on allegations that Mr. Johnson used unlawful force on the person of another, and was the result of an investigation conducted by the Inyo County Sheriff’s Department.
The District Attorney’s office reviewed the investigation reports with the same degree of scrutiny that it would apply to any case submitted to it, and determined that sufficient legal cause existed to file the case and to proceed in court. Mr. Johnson is, of course, presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Pursuant to an Act of Congress, State law enforcement authorities in the State of California are obligated to investigate and prosecute crimes alleged to have been committed on reservation lands in
the state, including the Bishop Paiute Reservation. The Inyo County District Attorney takes its obligation to provide criminal justice services to all citizens of Inyo County, including all tribal
members and reservation residents, very seriously.
As we all know from recent events around our nation, no one, including peace officers employed by federal, state, and local agencies, are immune from investigation and prosecution of alleged criminal acts. The charges against Mr. Johnson will proceed in court and he will receive all of the protections accorded to anyone charged with a crime. Because of Congress’s grant of criminal jurisdiction to California state authorities, this case has nothing to do with tribal sovereignty. The District Attorney absolutely respects the sovereignty of the Bishop Paiute Tribe, and all of the federally-recognized tribes in our County. The office will continue to work with all stake-holders to ensure equal access to justice for everyone in Inyo County.

bishop news, eastern sierra news, bishop paiute tribe, inyo county sheriff

Carl Dondero

Carl Dondero

Carl Dondero was born on October 10th, 1932 in Lee Vining/Mono Lake, CA and passed away February 13th, 2015 surrounded by his family. He was raised in Yosemite, CA Indian Village. Throughout his childhood growing up in Yosemite, Carl enjoyed the outdoors while also learning his Paiute culture. As a teen he attended Stewart Indian School in Carson City, NV. During his time at Stewart he met his wife, Loretta Burns. Together they raised 8 children. Carl enjoyed being with his family and spent every deer season around Mono Lake with his children, brothers, nephews, nieces and grandchildren.
He is survived by his brother; John Dondero. His children; Judy, Terry, Mike, Larry and Waylon Dondero, Gary and Nancy Dondero, John and Rosenda Dondero, Tammy and Tab Andrade, Rosella and Ross Stone, 20 Grandchildren, 27 Great Grandchildren, 1 Great Great Grandchild, numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.
Carl was preceded in death by his wife; Loretta Dondero, parents; John Dondero and Lena Tom, brothers; Harvey Brown, Roy and Richard Dondero, sister; Della Hern, son; Melvin Dondero, and grandson; Daniel Charley.
Services will be held at 11:00 am on Saturday, February 21st, 2015 at Lee Vining High School Gymnasium in Lee Vining, CA. Burial to follow at Mono Lake Cemetery. A potluck will be held at Lee Vining High School Gymnasium following the services.

Dondero

lee vining news, eastern sierra news, carl dondero