Tag Archives: inyo county news

July 4th Celebration in Independence

4th of July, Independence style

The theme of this year’s Fourth of July Celebration, “Keep on Trucking”, ties in with our Fourth of July Grand Marshals, John and Philip Baxter. The Baxter Family has been a part of the history of Independence and the Owens Valley since the late 1800’s. The Baxter name is even on one of the Sierra’s rugged mountain passes – Baxter Pass.

John Baxter’s iconic 1968 Chevy Flatbed truck is pictured on this year’s one-of-a-kind t-shirts. Many of us have enjoyed Baxter Honey throughout the years, and if you look closely at the t-shirts, you will see the bee hives stacked in the back of the truck.

E_Independence_KeeponTrucking15_Artwork

July 3rd Music & Dance – Dehy Park 8:00 PM until Midnight.
July 4th opens with Flag Raising Ceremony at 6:15 AM.
Pancake Breakfast 6:30 – 9 AM at Dehy Park.
Historic Independence Walking Tour, Meet at Dehy Park at 8:30 AM, Tour leader – David Woodruff.
4K/4 Mile Run/Walk registration at 6:30 AM and starts at 7:30 AM.
Have Breakfast at the Park!
Arts and Crafts Show is at 8 AM on the Courthouse Lawn.
Parade begins at 10 AM and goes both North and South on Highway 395.
Pie Social is at Noon at Dehy Park, followed by Spelling Bee at 12:30 P.M. and Old Time Kid’s Games at 2 PM.
Deep Pit Barbeque is from 4 – 6:30 PM at Dehy Park.
Grand Finale Fireworks Display begins at dusk at the Independence Airport.
OV School pool open for free swimming from 1 – 6 pm July 4th and July 5th.

For more information, including parade entry forms, race entry forms and the Arts and Crafts show vendor application forms, please contact 760-878-2046 or email indycivicclub@gmail.com.

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Be Safe this Weekend

Smoke, Lightning, and Heat

Inyo and Mono County Public health Officer Dr. Richard Johnson is passing along an important message.  Several risk factors are in play this weekend, high temperatures, thunderstorms, and smoke from wildfires.  Please take note and be safe.

From Dr. Richard Johnson:

Below is a summary of key points to keep in mind for the next few days —

  • Smoke — with fairly light winds today smoke from the various fires will tend to ooze around in various directions. Degraded air quality is likely in communities throughout the Eastern Sierra. After settling into the valleys at night where concentrated areas of thick smoke are possible, wind projections suggest a slight westward movement though again winds are light so the smoke will tend to move randomly/slowly. Advice — Communities with outdoor events should have contingencies in case the smoke becomes thick enough to impact health, and monitor statements from Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District at:

http://www.gbuapcd.org/healthadvisory/

  • Thunderstorms — moisture aloft working into the region will lead to buildups Thursday afternoon followed by decent chances for thunderstorms each day Friday through early next week. Confidence is still medium due to uncertainties in how isolated or widespread storms may be.
    • Friday/Saturday – fast moving storms over the Sierra and far western Nevada are likely to be dry with potential for new fire starts from lightning, and particularly strong and unpredictable outflow winds. Fire suppression efforts would be impacted by these microbursts. 
    • Sunday/Monday – we’re likely to see a transition to wetter storms with an increased risk of flash flooding. Be aware of your flash flood hot spots and have a plan. Important — Areas around and downstream of fires are at enhanced risk of seeing flash flooding and debris flows if storms develop overhead Sunday/Monday.
  • Heat — confidence remains high in a heat wave impacting the region, with the core of the hottest temperatures Thursday-Saturday, possibly lasting into Sunday for western Nevada. 100-107 in the western Nevada Valleys and 85-90 in the Sierra at Tahoe and Mammoth elevations, which are near or exceeding daily record highs. Advice — keep an eye on those prone to heat illness. Extra heat precautions should be considered for outdoor events and fire suppression activities Thursday through the weekend. Also – have a thunderstorm/lightning plan…

As temperatures rise over the next few days, we are reminding residents and visitors that heat-related illnesses can be deadly and are urging people to take precautions to avoid them. There are simple steps people can take to keep risk at a minimum.

1. Drink Plenty of Fluids – Even If You Don’t Feel Thirsty

Increase your fluid intake regardless of your activity level. During heavy exercise in hot weather, drink 2-4 glasses (16-32 ounces) of cool fluids each hour.

2. Stay Cool Indoors–The most efficient way to beat the heat is to stay in an air conditioned area. If you do not have an air conditioner or evaporative cooling unit, consider a visit to a shopping mall or public library for a few hours.

3. Stay Cool Outdoors

Plan activities so that you are outdoors either before noon or in the evening. In the hot sun, a wide-brimmed hat will keep the head cool. While outdoors, rest frequently in a shady area.

4. Monitor Those at High Risk

If you are 65 years of age or older, have a friend or relative call to check on you twice a day during a heat wave. If you know anyone in this age group, check on them at least twice a day. When working in the heat, monitor the condition of your coworkers and have someone do the same for you.

5. Pace Yourself

If you are unaccustomed to working or exercising in hot weather, start slowly and pick up the pace gradually. If exertion in the heat makes your heart pound and leaves you gasping for breath, stop all activity, get into a cool or shady area, and rest, especially if you become lightheaded, confused, weak, or feel faint.

6. Use Common Sense

Do not leave infants, children, or pets in a parked car. Bring your pets indoors with you to protect them. Give your outdoor animals plenty of fresh water, leave the water in a shady area, and consider wetting the animal down. Those at highest risk of heat-related illness are the very young, the elderly, and those who must work outdoors in extremely high temperatures. Sudden rise in body temperature and dehydration can lead to heat stroke or heat exhaustion. If not addressed quickly, brain damage or death can result. “High temperatures like those we expect in the next few days and throughout the summer can have serious health consequences.” People can avoid lots of problems if they just use a little common sense such as: never leaving infants, children or pets in a parked car, as temperatures can soar rapidly and cause severe brain injury or even death; drinking plenty of fluids that don’t contain caffeine or alcohol (these cause dehydration); staying indoors preferably in an air-conditioned environment such as libraries, stores, or restaurants; and, limiting strenuous activities between noon to 6 p.m., when temperatures tend to be highest.

cover photo by Gary Young.  Haze in Bishop from the Washington Fire near Markleeville

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Inyo Deputy injured in Tuesday crash

2 Vehicle crash near Shoshone injures 3

Just after noon Tuesday a GMC Terrain crossed a double yellow line colliding with a Ford Expedition driven by Inyo County Sheriffs Deputy Joe Seaton.  Both vehicles overturned with Seaton suffering major injuries.  The California Highway Patrol is handling the crash investigation.

According to the CHP, the collision occurred on Tuesday, June 23rd at 12:30pm.  The accident took place on highway 127 just south of the community of Shoshone.  The CHP accident report indicates 65-year old Glendale Arizona man, Steve Anderson was driving a 2014 GMC Terrain southbound on highway 127.  Deputy Seaton (age 28) was behind the wheel of a 2014 Ford Expedition patrol vehicle driving northbound.  The accident report says Anderson, “Allowed the GMC to cross double yellow lines into the northbound lane in a  sweeping right turn”.  After the collision both vehicles overturned at lease one time with both coming to a rest on their roofs.  All involved were wearing their seat belts.  Anderson and his passenger, 67-year old Dorothy Anderson of Glendale Arizona, suffered only minor injuries.  Dorothy Anderson suffered minor chest pains from the Air Bag deployment and was transported by Southern Inyo Fire Protection to the Desert View Hospital, Pahrump Nevada.

Deputy Joe Seaton suffered major injuries including a broken ankle, facial lacerations, and shoulder lacerations.  Seaton was transported by Deputy Graeff to the Desert View Hospital.

cover photo courtesy Inyo County Sheriffs department Facebook page.

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Manzanar hosting special presentation

Manzanar National Historic Site holding special program

All are invited to the Manzanar National Historic Site at 11 am, Saturday, June 27, for a special program “The Life and Art of Chiura Obata” presented by Obata’s granddaughter, author/historian Kimi Kodani Hill.

Chiura Obata (1885-1975) was an Issei artist and art professor at UC Berkeley. During World War II, he and his family were confined at Tanforan racetrack and later at Topaz, Utah. Obata established art schools in both camps.

Obata had a special bond with Yosemite and the Eastern Sierra. His works, showcased in Topaz Moon and Obata’s Yosemite, illustrate human hardship as well as natural beauty.

The program is free and open to the public. After the program, Kimi Kodani Hill will sign books in the Manzanar History Association bookstore (www.manzanarstore.com). Proceeds benefit Manzanar.

Kimi Hill Obata Program 6 27 15 DRAFT

cover photo by Gary Young.

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Dr Johnson talks Wildfire Smoke

Health Effects from Wildfire Smoke

Dr Richard Johnson, Inyo and Mono county health director, issued a statement today (Monday, June 22) addressing wildfire smoke. The Washington fire near the community of Markleeville is estimated near 8,000 acres.  The lightning caused fire started on Friday, June 19th.

Dr. Johnson’s statement:

Those of you in Mono County from the communities of Walker and north have undoubtedly seen the smoke from the Washington Fire burning in Alpine County. Although most of the smoke is blowing over us and into Nevada, as the wind has died down during the night, smoke has settled into the valleys this morning. Keep in mind that this is a very fluid and ever changing situation, dependent on the fire, fuel, control efforts, and the wind. Our prayers are with the large numbers of dedicated personnel who are making tremendous efforts to protect all of us, our homes, and the environment.
Some communities in the Eastern Sierra have access to continuous particulate matter (PM) monitoring. These monitors provide an instant reading of particulate matter concentrations averaged over one hour. Smoke from wildfires is a mixture of gases and fine particles from burning trees and other plant materials. It is these fine particles which are contained in wildfire smoke which make it so hazardous to our health. Smoke can hurt your eyes, irritate your respiratory system, and worsen chronic heart and lung diseases.
Unfortunately, there is no monitoring in the areas currently impacted by smoke. Areas without monitoring need other ways to estimate particle levels. The following index is useful in judging the levels near you on a continual basis.
Good (can see 11 miles or more) – No cautionary statements.
Moderate (can see 6-10 miles) – Unusually sensitive people should consider reducing prolonged or heavy exertion.
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups (can see 3-5 miles) – People with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion.
Unhealthy (can see 1½-3 miles) – People with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion. Everyone else should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion.
Very Unhealthy (can see 1-1½ mile) – People with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should avoid all physical activity outdoors. Everyone else should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion.
Hazardous (can see 1 mile or less) – Everyone should avoid all physical activity outdoors; people with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should remain indoors and keep activity levels low.
How to tell if smoke is affecting you:
Smoke can cause—
Coughing,  A scratchy throat, Irritated sinuses, Shortness of breath, Chest pain, Headaches, Stinging eyes, A runny nose, Asthma exacerbations.  If you have heart or lung disease, smoke might make your symptoms worse.
People who have heart disease might experience—
Chest pain, Rapid heartbeat, Shortness of breath, Fatigue.
Smoke may worsen symptoms for people who have pre-existing respiratory conditions, such as respiratory allergies, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), in the following ways:
Inability to breathe normally, Cough with or without mucus, Chest discomfort, Wheezing and shortness of breath.
When smoke levels are high enough, even healthy people may experience some of these symptoms.  Know whether you are at risk
If you have heart or lung disease, such as congestive heart failure, angina, COPD, emphysema, or asthma, you are at higher risk of having health problems than healthy people. Older adults are more likely to be affected by smoke, possibly because they are more likely to have heart or lung diseases than younger people. Children are more likely to be affected by health threats from smoke because their airways are still developing and because they breathe more air per pound of body weight than adults. Children also are more likely to be active outdoors.

What should you be doing:
1. Stay indoors with windows and doors closed; run air-conditioner on “recirculate” setting. Keep the fresh-air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent outdoor smoke from getting inside. Minimize the use of swamp coolers. If it becomes too warm indoors, individuals may consider leaving the area to seek alternative shelter.
2. Do not add to indoor pollution. When smoke levels are high, do not use anything that burns, such as candles, fireplaces, or gas stoves. Do not vacuum, because vacuuming stirs up particles already inside your home. Do not smoke, because smoking puts even more pollution into the air.
3. Follow your doctor’s advice about medicines and about your respiratory management plan if you have asthma or another lung disease, Call your doctor if your symptoms worsen. If you evacuate, make sure you take all essential medications along with you.
4. Do not rely on dust masks or N95 respirators for protection. If you wish to wear something, use a wet handkerchief or bandana to cover your mouth and nose. The key – keep it moist.
5. When driving make sure to drive with the windows rolled up and the air conditioner on “recirculate.” Also, buckle up – and do not drink and drive!
6. Minimize or stop outdoor activities, especially exercise, during smoky conditions.
7. People who must spend time outdoors should drink plenty of fluids.
8. Additionally, pet owners should consider bringing their pets indoors out of the unhealthy air conditions, if possible. This is especially important for older pets.
9. Stay tuned to local radio and TV for emergency announcements about air quality.
10. Stay in touch with family and friends, especially if you live alone. Exercise your communications plan.

cover photo, smoke rising from the Round Fire, photo by Gary Young

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Inyo-Mono Crop and Livestock report

Annual Report indicates a big drop in production

Inyo and Mono County Agriculture Commissioner Nathan Reade has released the annual crop and livestock report.  Here is Reade’s introducution to the report:
I am pleased to present the 2014 Inyo and Mono Counties’ Annual Crop and Livestock Report. This report is prepared pursuant to California Food and Agriculture Code 2279, and is a statistical compilation of agriculture production in Inyo and Mono Counties. These values reflect gross agricultural production within the two counties, and do not represent net profit or loss.  The gross combined agricultural production values for Inyo and Mono Counties in 2014 totaled $58,606,000, representing a decrease of nearly 21% from 2013 production values. Drought conditions continue to significantly impact area agricultural businesses, and are the reason for the majority of decrease in value over last year. Livestock herd reductions began in 2011 with the drought and have continued each year thereafter. Herd sizes are now so small that rising beef prices no longer mask production losses when viewed in terms of dollars. Feeder cattle gain is also in sharp decline due to unavailability of pasture. Field crops continue to suffer as water supply diminishes. This year does not look to be the end of this downward trend as we enter another year with even lower runoff projections.  This report features both wool production as well as fruit and nut statistics for the first time for Inyo and Mono Counties. Additionally, Inyo county is now reporting nursery stock production.
The link to the report:
inyo mono crop report, inyo county news, mono county news, drought 2015

Bishop Businessman Sentenced

Jiminez Sentenced on Felony Embezzlement Charges

Statement from Inyo County District Attorney Tom Hardy.

At a sentencing hearing on Thursday, June 18, 2015 local businessman Jose “Jay” Jiminez was placed on five years of formal felony probation and ordered to serve 240 days in the Inyo County Jail for embezzling from a now-deceased client who had given him a power of attorney. He must serve an actual 90 days, and may apply for electronic monitoring for the balance of his sentence. The court set restitution in the amount of $79,449.76. He is also forbidden from acting as a fiduciary and from managing money or property on behalf of other individuals during the term of his probation, and may not engage in the tax preparation business.

The case began in August, 2012, when the Ombudsman’s Office received a complaint on behalf of the victim and a criminal investigation was initiated by the Bishop Police Department. The investigation discovered that in November, 2011 Jiminez was granted power of attorney by the victim in the case. This gave Jimenez access to the victim’s bank and credit card accounts. Jimenez used the power of attorney to pay bills for victim; but he also used the accounts to fund his businesses, Jimenez Tax Service and Petite Pantry, as well as pay personal bills. In March, 2012, Jimenez also sold victim’s mobile home for forty thousand dollars ($40,000.00). Jimenez received seventeen thousand dollars cash ($17,000.00) and a 2004 Hummer valued at approximately twenty-three thousand dollars ($23,000.00). Jimenez apparently pocketed the cash – records indicate it was not deposited into any account owned by the victim – and took possession of the Hummer.

Mr. Jiminez had previously entered a “no contest” plea to a felony embezzlement charge.

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Supervisors Thank Board of Ed for Library support

Inyo Supervisor honor the Board of Education

Inyo Supervisors thanked Superintendent Dr. Terry McAteer and the Inyo County Board of Education for their contribution to Inyo’s Libraries. Dr. McAteer, through the Inyo County Office of Education committed $150,000 to upgrade and improve the Bishop and Lone Pine libraries. Inyo County Administrator Kevin Carunchio was thankful for the opportunity to honor Dr. McAteer and the Inyo County Board of Education, “Board action yesterday was long overdue. Dr. McAteer and the entire Inyo County Board of Education have been big supporters of the Inyo County free library system. Patrons of the library in Bishop or Lone Pine have seen the fruits of their labors. Those libraries look fantastic with the infusion of money from the office of eduction and Dr. McAteer. Its been a big collaborative process with library director Nancy Masters. Tuesdays proclamation was a small but sincere gesture from the board.”

In other action from this weeks board meeting, Inyo Supervisors were asked to rule on a request for a salary increase from Treasurer-Tax Collector Alisha McMurtrie. McMurtrie has been elected to the office three times and was asking for her salary to be brought in line with the County Assessor and Auditor-Controller. The board denied the salary adjustment, which would have elevated McMurtie’s monthly pay from $7,807 to $8,934. Carunchio indicates the timing of the request was a big consideration, “The board fully recognized and thanked the treasurer-tax collector for the many, many improvements she has brought to the office, in service to the county, and tax payers. The board indicated that they would like to consider the mater of a pay increase a little later in the year when the county has gotten through the budget process.”

The next meeting for the Inyo County Board of Supervisors is set for July 7th.

Cover photo by Arnie Palu,  left to right, Alden Nash (area 1 board member), David Hefner (area 2 board member), LeeAnn Rasmuson (area 3 board member), Mary Kemp (area 4 board member), Ted Pederson (friends of the mt whitney fish hatchery), Illissa Twomey (Inyo County Office of Education), Chris Langley (area 5 board member). photo taken at the Community Star Awards held May 19th.

 

 

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DWP issues post-standing committee statement

DWP issues statement

The June 4th Inyo/LA standing committee meeting was dominated by a shared sense of cooperation between Inyo County and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.  Working through another year of drought the two parties agreed to reduce water to the McNalley enhancement/mitigation project and Warren Lake while securing irrigation water through July.

In response to the June 4, 2015 Inyo County/Los Angeles Standing Committee meeting, The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has issued the following statement:

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) is pleased with the outcome of the June 4 Standing Committee meeting. In these times of unprecedented drought, we are encouraged by the collaboration exercised by the Inyo County community. This shared sacrifice by all, including the City of Los Angeles who itself is receiving an 85 percent reduction in LA Aqueduct water this runoff year, will allow local ranchers the ability to irrigate their lands through July. LADWP and the other MOU parties are working toward finalizing an agreement (hopefully by early THIS week) that will save up to 4,000 AF of water toward additional irrigation in the Owens Valley. If additional water savings are realized on Owens Lake this Fall and are agreed by Great Basin, State Lands, and California Department of Fish and Wildlife, then more water can be made available for continuing irrigation into August and later into the irrigation season.  We look forward to continued constructive collaboration with the community and more positive outcomes from future negotiations.”

The next Inyo/LA standing committee meeting is set for July 24th in Los Angeles.

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Inyo Identifies remains

Shepherd Pass Remains Identified

The body that was located off the Shepherd Pass trail has been identified as 37-year old man, Kenneth Pledger, from Colorado City, AZ.  According to the Inyo County Sheriffs Department, at this time the cause of death has not been determined.

Back on Monday, May 18th, 2015 Inyo County Sheriff’s Dispatch received notification of a deceased person off the Shepherd Pass trail at about the 12,000′ elevation level. The information shared with the Sheriff’s Office from the reporting party was that it was evident that the person had been deceased for some time.

Due to the demanding and steep terrain, it was determined that a helicopter recovery would be the safest mechanism to remove the body. Several attempts were made, but due to the recent storm activity in the High Sierra’s the recovery mission had to be held off until the morning of Wednesday May 27th. CHP Helicopter H-80 out of Apple Valley was utilized. Inyo SAR members were able to safely secure the remains for transport to the Lone Pine Airport where they were met by the Inyo County Coroner’s Office.

cover photo by inyo county sheriffs department

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