Tag Archives: bishop news

Jury Trial ends with conviction

Inyo Jury Finds Chavez Guilty

Inyo County District Attorney Tom Hardy is announcing an Inyo County Jury has found Tashina Chavez Guilty of assault. According to Hardy, the jury found Bishop area resident Tashina Chavez guilty of assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury and battery causing serious bodily injury. The jury also found to be “true” a special allegation that Ms. Chavez personally inflicted great bodily injury. The verdicts followed a four day jury trial that commenced on June 8, 2015. The offense occurred on June 9, 2014. The case is now set for sentencing in Independence on July 7, 2015. Chavez is facing up to seven years in state prison. Hardy notes that the case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Michael Turner following an investigation by the Inyo County Sheriff’s Department.

Inyo county court, inyo county jury trial, inyo county district attorney tom hardy, bishop news

Nurses Union Files charges, NIH responds

Nurses File Charges Against Northern Inyo

Statement from the Negotiating Committee:

Northern Inyo Hospital Nurses represented  by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) have filed Unfair Practice Charges with the California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), demanding that the Hospital District bargain in good faith over Grievance and Progressive Discipline. Registered Nurses have repeatedly stated that their primary goal is to re-­‐establish a fair and supportive environment for caregivers.
“We are doing this to maintain  the are and safety of our patients, to
retain experienced staff and nurture new nurses in a safe culture, to
be involved in NIH’s financial stability, and to support the  other
employees at the hospital who are part of our team,” explains the
Organizing Committee’s initial statement. After filing with PERB on
February 2, the Nurses’ Union was formally recognized on March
17, held Negotiating Committee elections on March 26, began
collecting Bargaining Surveys,  and engaged in the formal bargaining
process by initially meeting with the District on March 31. Bargaining Surveys showed overwhelmingly that a fair Grievance Procedure and the District’s Medical Leave Policies are of great
concern to nurses.  These  policies are linked because of the District’s practice of terminating sick employees after just 16
weeks of Leave. Most employers, and particularly Hospitals,
give significantly longer unpaid leaves, enabling employees
to return to their positions upon recovery.
“One nurse gave over 25 years of service to this hospital, got cancer and was separated,” explains Laurie Archer, a Recovery Room Nurse and member of the Nurse Negotiating Team. “The District’s current Medical Leave policy is inhumane, unrealistic, and does not support the retention of skilled caregivers for this community. ”
In April, the Hospital District’s Board of Directors changed  the Hospital’s Grievance policy by eliminating the Board of Directors
as the final decision makers in any termination appeal, and delegating the final determination to Hospital CEO Victoria Lane.
Since during bargaining it is unlawful for the  District to make changes for Registered Nurses without first bargaining with the
Union, Nurses understood this change would not apply to them.
Nurses attended the Board meeting, however, to support unrepresented employees, and, along with other employees, called
on the Board of Directors not to proceed with this change. After the
Board passed the policy in spite of these appeals, NIH Administration informed Union leaders  that it would be implemented for all employees, including Registered Nurses. Nurses
informed the District  that this change was unlawful during the  bargaining process. The Union did not decide to file charges, however, until the District went even further, informing the Nurse
Negotiating Committee on May 22 that it would not be bargaining
over Grievance or Discipline in Union Negotiations. Since just cause
discipline and a fair  grievance procedure are among the most important elements  of any Union contract, it’s difficult to imagine a
more flagrant sign of bad faith. The PERB Charge also asserts  that NIH has been unlawfully removing Union notices from hospital break rooms while leaving other non-­‐work related notices up on bulletin boards. This is the second set of PERB Unfair Practice Charges nurses have had to file against Northern Inyo Hospital. The
first Charge was filed while they were completing the organizing process in early  February, after CEO Victoria Alexander-­‐Lane
sent an email to employees alerting them to language in their
Retirement Plan that could  exclude unionized employees from
the Plan. The Union asserted that  the email, and  the Plan itself,
were threatening and discriminatory,  making them unlawful under
California Labor Law. In response to the Charge, the Hospital District amended its Plan to make it possible for Union employees
to bargain the Plan into their contract, and notified NIH Employees
that it had done so. Since  the Hospital District  had only recently settled the retirement related charges, nurses were shocked that
the District almost immediately proceeded to commit further violations, potentially triggering another expensive legal battle.
“We’re concerned that the District may be using valuable public resources to fight its Registered Nurses, when we should all be working together to resolve these  issues and focus on continuing
to provide the best possible patient care to our community,” says
Nurse Negotiator and 2013 Daisy Award Winner Chris Hanley,
“We call on the District to demonstrate its good faith, by agreeing
to a fair contract with its nurses.”

Northern Inyo Hospitals response

Northern Inyo Hospital remains committed to bargaining in good faith with the NIH nurses represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). NIH is making every effort to be fair to all parties involved while keeping its commitment to the community to provide quality health care at reasonable rates.
NIH reduced the rate of many services in an effort to bring a balance to health care in Inyo County, and will not apologize for placing the needs of its patients and the community it serves at the forefront. NIH’s RN pay scale range is $33.72 to $48.41/hour, or roughly $70,000 to $100,000 annually. RNs who work from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. earn an additional 8 percent shift differential, while those who work 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. earn an additional 25 percent.
In the long run, NIH is looking to preserve hospital service for this community. NIH must adapt how we provide services in order to meet modern patient needs.
To date, NIH has paid $56,000 for legal consultation in regards to the unionization. It is typical for both sides of any union negotiation to have legal counsel. However, NIH would rather see this money used to improve patient services.
Specific points about NIH Medical Leave:
NIH voluntarily goes above and beyond the 12 week Federal Medical Leave Act minimum with an additional four weeks of protected leave. A 2012 U.S. Department of Labor statistics report more than 70 percent of employees taking FMLA leave were back at work within 40 days. Only women who took leave to care for a new child took longer leaves.
Additionally, NIH employees may use any Paid Time Off (PTO) they have coming, plus other available resources, including the opportunity to have co-workers donate PTO hours to the employee.
After FMLA is exhausted, the medical condition is protected under Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Under the ADA, the hospital has the right to not accommodate an extended medical leave because of an undue hardship to the hospital and a specific department.
In the last two years, there have been three instances where an employee was separated from NIH due to medical issues. One was separated after 23 weeks, one after 20 weeks and one after 16 weeks.
It is shameful that the RNs would accuse the District and its Board of Directors of being uncaring and inhumane. When faced with making needed changes, the Board stepped up, researched solutions and sought input from stakeholders. Their priority is the greater good of this community.
Specific points about NIH Grievance Policy:
NIH was the only District Hospital in the State of California where employees could appeal grievances to the Board of Directors. It would not be fair to non-union employees to have one grievance policy for union members, and another for everyone else. NIH is committed to a fair and just grievance procedure for all employees, and we are committed to assuring the nurses a fair process.
Northern Inyo Hospital remains committed to providing quality of care for its community. Should anyone have concerns about the quality of care received, please contact Maria Sirois, Chief Performance Excellence Officer, at (760) 873-5811 or maria.sirois@nih.org.

cover photo, Lynn Greer and Becky Taylor lead a “community meeting” discussing NIH.

northern inyo hospital, victoria alexander lane, bishop news, eastern sierra news


Andersen wins Scholar Athlete Award

Keirsten Andersen named top Scholar Athlete

UCLA bound Keirsten Andersen won the first AltaOne, KIBS/KBOV scholar athlete award Thursday evening.  Andersen, the salutatorian for the class of 2015 at Bishop Union High school was a standout swimmer for the Broncos.  Andersen takes home a $1,500 scholarship for being named the Scholar Athlete Award winner.  In addition to Andersen, two additional finalist receive $500 scholarships.  Tennis player Tessa Wright (ASB president at BUHS) won for fall sports, with Basketball player Tamia Shoshone winning for winter sports.  Shoshone is a hoops standout leading the Broncos to an undefeated high desert league season while picking up the league MVP.

Andersen, Wright, Shoshone. photo by arnie palu

AltaOne’s Ted Huntington, Assistant Vice President of Marketing/Business Development, served as master of ceremonies.  Huntington thanked the nominees and winners for their effort and dedication while recognizing their parents for their efforts.  Bishop Union High School Athletic Director Stacy Vannest and KIBS/KBOV owner Steve Miller were on hand to celebrate the top Student Athletes at BUHS.

Stacy Vannest, Ted Huntington, Steve Miller.

Coaches at BUHS were asked to nominate one athlete from each sports team for the award, based on their academic performance and team leadership.  Each of the students were also asked to write an essay on their future aspirations.

Fall Sports
Staci Sonke, volleyball.
Miranda Barnes, cross country.
Tessa Wright, Tennis. $500 winner
Thomas Sills, cross country.
Woodrow Reynolds, football

Winter Athletes
Joe Griego, soccer.
Tamia Shoshone, basketball. $500 winner
Jake Traynor, basketball.
Luke Olson, snowboarding.
Alicia Campos, soccer.
Hannah Neer, ski team.

Spring Athletes
Frankie Harvey, swimming.
Colton Riesen, baseball.
Sam Riesen, softball.
Keirsten Andersen, swimming. $1,500 winner
Collin Batchelder, track and field.
Katherine Desbrosses, track and field.
Sean Mitton, golf.

bishop union high school, altaone, kibs/kbov, bishop news

Bishop Tribe Primary Election results

Top 5 advance to July 14 General Election

The Bishop Paiute Tribe’s Primary election was held Tuesday.  Tribal members cast 458 votes advancing five candidates to the July 14th General Election.  The five candidates will now compete for two seats on the tribal council.  Those seats are currently held  by Earleen Hess-Williams and Kristopher Hohag.

Vote Totals
1. Deston Rogers, 263.
2. William Vega, 237.
3. Kristopher Hohag, 206.
4. James V. Hess, 195.
5. Deborah Vega, 183.

6. Richard Napoles, 182.
7. Thomas Mitchell, 160.
8. Jack Williams, Jr, 134.
9. Michael Rogers, 157.
10. Paul Chavez, 125.
11. Brandon Decker, 115.

All eligible voters of the Bishop Paiute Tribe are encouraged to participate in July’s General Election.  The Bishop Paiute Tribe is a federally recognized Indian Tribe located on the 879 acre Bishop Paiute Reservation in Inyo County, California.  For more information visit their website at www.bishoppaiutetribe.com


bishop paiute tribe, bishop news, kibs/kbov, bishop tribal council


AltaOne Honoring Scholar Athletes

Thursday Event Honors BUHS Student Athletes

The AltaOne Federal Credit Union, Bishop member service center is hosting a Scholar Athlete Awards Ceremony.  The Thursday evening event marks the completion of the first year of the AltaOne Scholar Athlete Award program.  KIBS/KBOV radio is partnering with AltaOne and Bishop Union High School in honoring top student athletes.

Coaches at Bishop Union High School were asked to nominate one athlete from every sports team for the award, based on their academic performance and team leadership. Each of the students were also asked to write an essay on their future aspirations. A shortlist for each season was selected by an independent judging panel.

Winners of the Scholar Athlete Award will be announced at the award ceremony Thursday, June 11. The ceremony will begin at 6pm in the AltaOne member service center, Bishop. Each of the 3 season winners will receive a $500 scholarship check, with an overall winner out of the 3 receiving an additional $1,000 scholarship.

Fall Athletes
Staci Sonke, volleyball.
Miranda Barnes, cross country.
Tessa Wright, Tennis.
Thomas Sills, cross country.
Woodrow Reynolds, football

Winter Athletes
Joe Griego, soccer.
Tamia Shoshone, basketball.
Jake Traynor, basketball.
Luke Olson, snowboarding.
Alicia Campos, soccer.
Hannah Neer, ski team.

Spring Athletes
Frankie Harvey, swimming.
Colton Riesen, baseball.
Sam Riesen, softball.
Keirsten Andersen, swimming.
Collin Batchelder, track and field.
Katherine Desbrosses, track and field.
Sean Mitton, golf.

The community is encouraged to attend the ceremony Thursday evening beginning at 6pm at the AltaOne member service center on north main street, Bishop.

Cover Photo by Gary Young.  Baseball nominee Colton Riesen

altaone federal credit union, bishop news, bishop union high school sports, colton riesen

Bishop Tribal Election Today

Polls Open for Bishop Tribes Primary Election

Eleven candidates are vying for five spots in the July General election.  The top five will advance to the July election to fill 2 spots on the Bishop Tribal Council.  Polls are now open and will stay open until 7pm.  Voting takes place at the Bishop Paiute Tribal Chambers at 50 Tu Su Lane.  All Eligible voters of the Bishop Paiute Tribe are encouraged to participate.

The following individuals are running for two (2) seats on the Bishop Paiute Tribal Council, for three year terms:
Paul Chavez
Brandon Decker
James V. Hess
4.      Kristopher Hohag (incumbent)
5.      Thomas Mitchell
6.      Richard Napoles
7.      Deston Rogers
8.      Michael Rogers
9.      Deborah Vega
10.  William Vega
11.  Jack Williams, Jr.

The top five (5) candidates receiving the highest votes will proceed to the General Election on July 14, 2015.  The seats up for election are currently held by Earleen Hess-Williams and Kristopher Hohag.

bishop paiute tribe, bishop news, bishop paiute tribal council

Bishop Chamber elects leadership

Bishop Chamber selects Board members

submitted by the Bishop Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau

The Bishop Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau recently conducted an election to select new members to serve on its Board of Directors.

Newly elected, re-elected and appointed members include:
David Bhakta, representing Holiday Inn Express
Kamal Bhakta, representing Days Inn and La Quinta
Pete Korngiebel, representing Community Printing & Publishing
Corinna Korpi, representing Alta One Federal Credit Union
Sam Patel, representing Vagabond Inn
Scott Piercey, representing High Country Lumber
Chris Plakos, individual member
Sally Symons, representing the Eastern Sierra Tri-County Fairgrounds

Continuing Board Members include:
Julie Faber, representing Mountain Studio and Coso Operating Company
Todd Lembke, representing New-Cali Landscapes
Jennifer Roeser, representing McGee Creek Pack Station
Cheryl Underhill, representing VFW, Lions, Altrusa, ESBCA and Elks Lodge
Debi Yerkes, representing Alex Printing

Greg Allen, Rohit Bhakta and Manny Singh will be retiring from the Board when the new members take office on July 1st. “We so appreciate the dedicated service and we’ll definitely miss them,” states current Board President Julie Faber. “They’ve all agreed to continue to help out as needed and that’s awesome,” added Faber.

2015/2016 Chamber Board President will be Cheryl Underhill and offices of Vice President and Treasurer will be selected at the June 18th Board Meeting. The all-volunteer board meets monthly to provide leadership, oversight and direction to BACCVB staff. Meetings are always on the third Thursday of the month and follow the networking luncheons. Meetings are open to all members, guests and interested community members.

“Our community is extremely fortunate to have such a terrific group of individuals serving as Board Members for the Bishop Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau,” states Tawni Thomson, Chamber Executive Director. “This group represents a wide variety of interests and they possess a vast array of talents. We truly appreciate their commitment and spirit of volunteerism. Congratulations to all and thanks for serving.”

cover photo provided by the Chamber, left to right, Harry Bhakta, Julie Faber, Cheryl Underhill

bishop area chamber of commerce, bishop news, julie faber, cheryl underhill

Inyo Jury finds Bencoma Guilty

Bishop Resident Steven Bencoma Convicted on Felony Criminal Threats Charge

According to Inyo County District Attorney Tom Hardy, on Thursday, May 28, following a three day jury trial held in the Superior Court of California, County of Inyo, Bishop area resident Steven Bencoma was convicted of a felony charge of making criminal threats. After the jury verdict, Assigned Superior Court Judge Christopher Yeager made “true findings” that Mr. Bencoma had previously served a term in prison, and that he had previously suffered a prior “strike” conviction. The jury deliberated for approximately one hour before returning its verdict. The case is now set for sentencing in Independence on June 16, 2015. Bencoma is facing up to seven years in state prison.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Dee Shepherd following an investigation by the Inyo County Sheriff’s Department.

cover photo by Gary Young, (Inyo County Courthouse, Independence)

inyo county news, bishop news, steven bencoma, tom hardy, dee shepherd

Inyo Register responds to McAteer comments

Inyo Register Responds

Inyo County Superintendent of schools Dr. Terry McAteer conducted an interview with KIBS/KBOV radio Thursday.  The full interview is available through a link on the home page. Dr. McAteer details what he calls, “bullying” behavior by the Inyo Register. The Inyo Register’s Managing Editor Darcy Ellis and Publisher Rena Mlodecki submitted the following response.

The Inyo Register’s official comment regarding Dr. McAteer’s allegations:

“McAteer’s belief that this is small group of people wanting answers is  off base. The real issue here is the superintendent’s and the Board of Education’s refusal to answer simple questions about the use of taxpayer money. What could have and probably would have been an open-and-shut story has ballooned into what we are facing today: elected officials demonizing a news organization because they were offended by its audacity to question them. Had they simply cooperated months ago, the matter probably would be settled by now. Instead, Dr. McAteer and the Board of Education have tried to make this about The Inyo Register, about former employees and about a lack of trust – but it’s not. It’s our job to hold public officials accountable and ask the tough questions – whatever the answers may be. Their refusal to cooperate or answer questions not only demonstrates a clear lack of respect for taxpayers and constituents, but has inflamed the situation.”

dr terry mcateer, inyo register, bishop news, inyo county news


Bishop officials choose sidewalks

Bishop Proposes Sidewalk in Back of Park

The City of Bishop public works department held meetings this month to prioritize improvement projects.  City officials are looking specificly at funding opportunities that target “active transportation”.  Public works at the city of Bishop issued the following statement:
This month the City of Bishop will propose a sidewalk and bike lane project in the back of the City Park for state Active Transportation Program (ATP) funding. The $1 million project, called the Spruce, Hanby, Yaney Sidewalks project, would construct sidewalks and bike lanes on portions of Spruce Street, East Yaney Street, and Hanby Avenue in and near the east portion of the Bishop City Park, near the Bishop Senior Center. This sidewalk and bike lane project is proposed for funding even though it was not the most popular project at a recent series of public meetings held by the city. The most popular projects at these meetings were bike path and residential sidewalk projects. Because of difficulties with the most popular bike path and residential sidewalk projects, the relative ease, and substantial benefits of the Spruce, Hanby, Yaney Sidewalks
project, this project in the back of the park will be proposed for the current ATP funding opportunity. The more popular projects face difficulties in the form of resistance from the City of Los Angeles
Department of Water and Power (DWP, the landowner) in the case
of the bike path projects, and from residents and citizens concerned about sidewalk construction and tree removal in the case of the sidewalk projects. The city looks forward to working with DWP and with residents on future funding opportunities for the popular bike path and residential sidewalk projects.
The state’s ATP is intended to promote public health and safety by encouraging active forms of transportation such as walking, biking, and skateboarding to get to school, work, or every day activities.
The City of Bishop appreciates the public’s involvement identifying the best projects for ATP funding. For more information contact City of Bishop Public Works at publicworks@ca-bishop.us  or 760-873-8458.
cover photo by Arnie Palu, sidewalk work on Warren St.
city of bishop california, bishop news, bishop public works