Category Archives: Community News

Congressman Paul Cook plans visit

Paul Cook holding office hours in Mono, Inyo County

WASHINGTON – Rep. Paul Cook (R- Apple Valley) announced today that his office will conduct mobile office hours in Inyo and Mono County on Friday October 23, 2015. Rep. Cook’s staff will be at  the Mammoth Lakes Branch Library at 400 Sierra Springs Drive, Mammoth Lakes, California 93546 from 10:00AM to 12:30PM and at the Bishop Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau at 690 North Main Street, Bishop, California 93514 from 2:00PM to 4:30PM.

Rep. Cook’s staff will be on hand to answer questions and provide casework assistance to constituents with issues pertaining to federal agencies, such as Veterans Affairs, Social Security, and Internal Revenue Service. If you would like to schedule an appointment, please contact Rep. Cook’s Apple Valley District Office at (760)247-1815. Walk-ins are also welcome.

Who: Office of Congressman Paul Cook

What: Mobile Office Hours

When: Friday October 23, 2015 from 10:00AM to 12:30PM and 2:00PM to 4:30PM

Where: Mammoth Lakes Branch Library at 400 Sierra Springs Drive, Mammoth lakes, California 93546 and the Bishop Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau at 690 North Main Street, Bishop, California, 93514

A member of the House Natural Resources, Armed Services, and Foreign Affairs Committees, Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Heart.

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Forest planning Prescribed Fires

Inyo National Forest Plans Fall Prescribed Fires

The Mammoth and Mono Lake Ranger Districts of the Inyo National Forest are planning to implement several prescribed fire projects for habitat improvement and hazardous fuels reduction in the upcoming fall and winter months.

Prescribed fires will be conducted when weather and fuel moisture conditions are within prescription to safely accomplish the project objectives. By prescribing the fire under optimum weather conditions, managers simulate the natural role of fire. This reduces forest competition, opens gaps in the forest canopy for sunlight to shine through, and recycles nutrients to the soil for re-growth.

Smoke may be visible at times from Highways 395, 158, 167, 120 and 203, as well as the communities of Bridgeport, Mono City, Lee Vining, June Lake, Mammoth Lakes and Crowley Lake. All prescribed fire activities will be coordinated with Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District in accordance with air resource objectives.

Understory burning in the Jeffrey pine forest is expected to begin in late October or early November:

1. East of Highway 395 on National Forest lands near Bald Mountain.

2. West of the Oh Ridge Gun Range near June Lake.

Following the accumulation of snow from fall storms, pile burning will be conducted, and is expected to continue into early winter.

Pile burning is planned on National Forest lands in the Mammoth District in the Reds Meadow Valley, north of Panorama Dome, west of Mammoth Lakes, east and west of Highway 395 near Smokey Bear Flat, around Mammoth Lakes Pack Outfit, west of the Crestview Rest Stop on Highway 395, west of Highway 395 along Deadman Creek Road north to Wilson Butte, southeast of the Town of Mammoth Lakes along Mammoth and Sherwin Creek Roads.

In the June Lake area pile burning is planned on National Forest Lands on Reversed Peak and in the Down Canyon and Peterson Tract areas, and east of Highway 395 at the June Lake Junction.

In the Lee Vining area, pile burning is planned on National Forest lands at the Lee Vining Ranger Station on Tioga Pass Road and on BLM lands west of Highway 395 at Green Creek Road (south of Bridgeport).

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Mammoth Man dies in Friday Crash

Friday Afternoon Accident Claims Mammoth local

Statement from the Mono County Sheriffs Department

Date:     October, 20, 2015
Subject: Fatal dirt bike accident near Mammoth Lakes

On the afternoon of Friday, October 16, 2015, at approximately 3:00pm, Mono County Sheriff’s Dispatch received a 911 call regarding a single dirt bike collision near the Chair 2 parking lot at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area.

Kurt Kruse, age 59, of Mammoth Lakes, California, was riding dirt bikes with his son when he crashed into a fallen tree while going around a curve. Mono County Paramedics, Mammoth Lakes Police Department, and the Mono County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to the area. Upon arrival, CPR was in progress and Mr. Kruse was transported by ambulance to Mammoth Hospital. Mr. Kruse was pronounced deceased at Mammoth Hospital.

The cause of death is pending autopsy results but appears to be of traumatic injuries caused by the crash. – Jennifer M. Hansen, Public Information Officer

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City of Bishop Solar Project

Bishop Solar Construction Starts Soon

Construction of the City of Bishop’s solar project is expected to start this week with the first material arriving at the project’s three work
sites. The $600,000 project will add solar arrays at two city well sites and at the city sewage treatment plant. These arrays
will provide most of the power used by the wells and sewage plant, will save the city about $60,000 per year in electricity costs, and will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 470,000 pounds per year.
One 5,000 square foot solar array will be constructed at the city’s Well 2 site near the Tri-county Fairgrounds, one 11,000 square foot solar array will be constructed at the city’s Well 4 site on West Line Street near Mumy Lane, and two arrays with a combined area of about 12,500 square feet will be constructed at the sewage treatment plant about 1/2 mile east of the Bishop Creek Canal.
Construction is expected to start this week and continue into January. At the waste-water treatment plant east of Bishop and at
Well 2 near the fairgrounds, construction will include driving posts into the ground to mount the solar panels. Sound from driving the
posts will probably be heard outside of these sites and is expected between 7 am and 7 pm workdays. Post driving is expected to last 1 or 2 weeks.
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Hwy 95 now open

Update on the U.S. Ecology Industrial Fire in Nye County

Statement from the Nevada Department of Safety

Approximately 24 hours after notification of a fire at a low-level radioactive storage site near Beatty, Nevada, the State of Nevada has determined that there are no known current health risks to area residents associated with the fire. Department of Public Safety Director Jim Wright has authorized the opening of U.S. Highway 95 beginning at 5:30 p.m Monday.

In response to the fire, and at the request of the Governor, the Department of Public Safety, including the Nevada Highway Patrol, State Fire Marshal, and Division of Emergency Management, Department of Health and Human Services, Nevada National Guard including the Civil Support Team, Department of Transportation, and Division of Environment Protection continue to work closely together to monitor the situation. The Governor has approved the mobilization of state assistance and resources to access the incident. The state Emergency Operations Center in Carson City has been activated to continue coordinating resources and provide updates.

With respect to radiological testing, these resources included high altitude testing conducted by fixed-wing aircraft and intermediate altitude testing conducted by rotary wing aircraft over the site of the fire, both by Remote Sensing Laboratories. A joint team made of up Las Vegas ARMOR personnel, Nevada National Guard Civil Support Team personnel, and additional members from Remote Sensing Laboratories, was also deployed to take readings at the ground level. All levels of testing conducted resulted in negative readings for radiation.

Governor Sandoval received a briefing this afternoon regarding the testing results and ongoing efforts. “I would like to thank all of our local, state and federal partners for their immediate and continued attention to this matter,” said Governor Brian Sandoval

“This was a serious incident, and one that could only be solved through collaboration between state, local, and federal partners,” said Caleb Cage, Chief of DPS’s Division of Emergency Management. “We are pleased with how efficiently and effectively our partners deployed from throughout the state to respond to this significant event, and we look forward to working with all parties on the causal investigation and mitigation measures going forward.”

Because this emergency coincided with a series of flash flooding events, multiple precautions were taken protect local residents. Schools and roads were closed in response to both events. State and local agencies are actively working to reinstate services to all of Nevada’s residents and visitors in the area.

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Great News, One More Murder!

Playhouse 395 Offering One More Night of Murder

You asked for it…another murder in Bishop. Back by popular demand, Mountain Rambler Brewery will be hosting Playhouse 395’s Encore presentation of Eat, Drink and Be Murdered on Monday, November 2nd at 6:30 PM.  The cast of this murder mystery dinner theater has performed to two sold out audiences featuring two witty, feuding families gathered under one roof to celebrate the 80th birthday of Rose McFadden, the matriarch of Wild Irish Rose Distillery.

If you missed out on all the fun of our previous two shows, you have a final opportunity to experience this murder mystery dinner theater by attending our November 2nd Encore performance.  A limited amount of tickets are available at Mountain Rambler Brewery located at 186 S. Main Street for $40 per person. For more information contact Debbie Clarkson (760)920-8817.

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Bishop Union JV Mathletes

Bishop Union High School JV Mathletes compete

The Bronco’s JV Mathletes team traveled to Tehachapi on October 7th for its first meet of the year, and brought home third place for the team and several individual honors.  Desert High School won first place with 29 points, Tehachapi won second with 26 points, and Bishop won third with 24 points.  Eight schools and 60 students competed in the meet, with the students on the teams individually completing difficult math problems in a timed setting.

Several of the Broncos performed exceptionally well, with freshman Carter Silva’s eight points earning him an individual 2nd place finish, Dylan Fitt earned seven points and a 3rd place individual finish, and Jim Tomasek earned six points and a 4th place individual finish.  The team is led by JV captains Jim Tomasek and Carter Silva, and coached by BUHS math teacher Mrs. DeeDee Buchholz.  Buchholz was enthusiastic about their results, saying “The team is young but hard working.  Each player demonstrated great effort at the meet and they all have been coming to the practices.  I see a great year ahead of us for both JV and Varsity Mathletes.”

The team is already practicing for its next meet at Kern Valley on November 14.

Photo Provided: From left to right: Dylan Fitt, Joey Proeger, Jim Tomasek, Nicholas Orrill, Sam Marcinko, Jennifer Velazquez, Jeanine Lomaintewa, Jake Graves, Carter Silva
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Caltrans Estimating HWY 58 opening Thursday

Highway 58 Remains Closed

Statement Written by Florene Trainor – Caltrans District 9 Public Information Officer.

Bishop, CA – The California Department of Transportation is continuing to clear mud, debris and vehicles from State Route 58 between Mojave & Tehachapi.  Due to a flash flood that occurred Thursday, October 15, 2015, mud flowed from the surrounding mountains onto State Route 58 at approximately 4:30 p.m. The highway closed to through traffic at 6:30 p.m. due to the amount of mud and vehicles that were engulfed by the mud.

It was discovered that approximately 1 ½ miles of roadway was covered in 5-6 feet of mud.  78 passenger vehicles, 2 buses, 36 trucks, 1 RV & 1 trailer were stuck in the mud.  Emergency personnel were able to safely remove all travelers and move them to emergency shelters.  There have been no injuries or fatalities.

As of Sunday, October 18, 2015, 33 passenger vehicles, 13 big rigs in approximately 4/10’s of a mile of mud is in the process of being removed. (UPDATE, as of Monday at 1am, all vehicles have been removed)

Caltrans has 52 employees on site with 11 loaders, 5 graders, 14 dump trucks, an excavator and a fuel truck.  There are also 4 engineers and 2 geologists assessing the damage.

Granite Construction has been hired to assist with the excavations and mud removal.  Granite Construction has 27 employees with 9 loaders, 2 dozers, 3 excavators, 1 scrapper, 1 Petti-bone fork lift and 33 to 60 end dump haulers.

State Route 58 will remain closed to the traveling public until all vehicles have been extracted, mud has been cleared and the roadway repaired.  It is estimated at this time that State Route 58 will reopen by Thursday, October 22nd.  The traveling public should avoid this section of highway, and plan an alternate route.

 For information in regards to vehicles that were excavated, please contact Bishop California Highway Patrol dispatch at 760-872-5900.

Cover photo provided by Caltrans

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Fischer Sentenced in Mono Court

Westlake Mother Sentenced in Mono Court

Drowning incident from July results in Jail time, probation for Danielle Fischer.  The baby has made a full recovery.

Statement from Mono County District Attorney Tim Kendall:

On Sunday, July 5, 2015, Paramedics responded to a call for a ten-month old baby drowning in a hot tub at the Village. A maintenance worker for the village saw the baby floating in the hot tub and pulled the baby out.  The mother, 26 year old, Ms. Danielle Fischer from the Westlake Village area of Ventura County was visiting Mammoth and staying at a family residence at the Village. The Mammoth Lakes Police Department also responded to the scene and subsequently arrested the mother of the baby for Child Neglect, following an initial investigation.

The District Attorney and the Mono County Investigative Unit was given the case. After securing and analyzing video surveillance and interviewing additional witnesses, it appeared that the mother, Danielle Fischer, was in the hot tub when her baby fell in. The baby was playing near the edge of the tub before falling in.  Further, the video showed that Ms. Fischer remained in the hot tub while her baby was floating unconscious for approximately three minutes.  She then exits the hot tub and walks pass her baby’s lifeless body and leaves the area.

A hotel maintenance worker noticed Ms. Fischer in the tub after the baby had fallen in but continued on. The maintenance worker returned to the hot tub area minutes later and Ms. Fischer was gone but the baby was still floating in the tub.  The worker pulled the baby out of the hot tub but she was not breathing.

Coincidentally, a family who had been in the hot tub earlier with Ms. Fischer and the baby saw the events unfold from their hotel room.  They witnessed Ms. Fischer walking around in circles for 3-4 minutes while the baby was floating in the water before she walked away. Thankfully, one of the family members is a Registered Nurse and fled down the stairs to the hot tub area and performed CPR on the baby. Furthermore, the evidence indicated that Ms. Fischer’s blood alcohol level was approximately .22 at the time of the events.

Ms. Fischer was charged by the Mono County District Attorney with a violation of Penal Code Section 273a(a), Felony Child Endangerment with Great Bodily Injury Likely. On October 6, 2015, after entering a guilty plea, Judge Stan Eller sentenced Ms. Fischer to the middle-term of 4 years in prison. The Court suspended the prison sentence pending successful completion of 5 years of formal probation.  Ms. Fischer’s probation includes 1 year of custody in the Mono County Jail followed by six months in residential rehab; a one-year parenting class; total abstention from alcohol and drugs and other standard terms and conditions.  Ms. Fischer currently remains in the Mono County Jail pending the completion of her one year jail sentence.

The baby has made a full recovery and is in the temporary custody of the grandparents in Ventura County.

Danielle Fisher. photo courtesy Mono County Sheriffs Department
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Music Festival Hoedown

Eastern Sierra Music Festival Hoedown

Hoedown benefits Music Festival

The Eastern Sierra Music Festival presents its next fund-raiser. The “Harvest Hoedown” at Roxanne Tallman’s Hidden Creeks Ranch is set for Saturday, November 7th. Featuring dinner by Classy Cowgirl Catering and entertainment by AZ Dueling Pianos of Temecula.The night will feature a wine tasting by Mineral Winery of Angels Camp. A no host bar will be available through the Bishop VFW Post 8988. Gift bags and bottle bags will be presented by the Eastern Sierra Music Festival “bag ladies”. The night will feature at live auction with many great gifts for the holidays. The hoedown begins with drinks at 5pm, and dinner will be served at 6:30pm. For tickets visit Reserve a stall with a table for 8 @ $500.00, or single tickets $67.00 per person.

The Eastern Sierra Music Festival is a benefit for the National Wounded Warrior Center. The Mission Statement for the Eastern Sierra Music Festival:

To organize and institutionalize an annual music festival for the expressed purpose of raising funds for the National Wounded Warrior Center in Mammoth Lakes Ca. All net proceeds from this annual event will be donated to the National Wounded Warrior Center.

Eastern Sierra Music Festival is a non-profit 501C3 California corporation.

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