Tag Archives: Inyo County

Inyo County Commercial Cannabis Application Window Set to Reopen

Inyo County Agricultural Commissioner Nate Reade announced that the county will again be accepting applications to operate cannabis businesses within the unincorporated portions of Inyo County beginning on June 10, 2019. The license application window will remain open to potential business owners at least until August 9, 2019. Once the application window closes, scoring of applications will occur with a final determination made by the Inyo County Board of Supervisors at a public meeting. Application fees will remain $2,711.89. License fees, which will be charged if an applicant is successful, are set at $8,850.00. A list of available license types by licensing zone is posted on the both the Inyo County and Inyo County Agricultural Commissioner’s websites.

The business license is one component necessary for a cannabis business to be legal in Inyo County, the other being a conditional use permit for the property where the business activities will occur. Interested individuals can find more information at the Inyo County website, www.inyocounty.us, or at the Inyo/Mono Counties Agricultural Commissioner’s site at www.inyomonoagriculture.com

Every Senior for 2019 Class Set to Graduate in KIBS Coverage Area

Graduation season is here in the Eastern Sierra and West and South Central Nevada. With all of the schools saying goodbye to the class of 2019, parents can be proud of the numbers.

Bishop Union High School will be seeing 122 students receiving diplomas, with no seniors ineligible to walk. The valedictorian of of Bishop High School will be Ariana Pope, who is scheduled to study at the University of Nevada, Reno.

As for south of KIBS/KBOV studios, Big Pine High School will see their class of five seniors walk, with the top student of the class, Cassandra Meza also attending University of Nevada, Reno.

Owens Valley School will have their two seniors walk on June 6th, with Steven Mather being crowned as Valedictorian.

Lone Pine have sixteen seniors slated to graduate depending on how finals go, with the valedictorian still undecided.

Up north in Mono County, Lee Vining will see six graduates walk with two co-valedictorians. The two girls atop the class are Caelen McQuilkin, and Sophia McKee.

Mammoth High School will see ninety-nine seniors graduate, which is one of their largest classes ever. The valedictorian is Guy Laborde.

Over in Tonopah, Nevada, the senior class has already graduated. Thirty-eight students walked with no seniors ineligible to receive their diplomas. The valedictorian for Tonopah High School is Delaney Friel. Currently, she is undecided as to where she will attend college.

Lastly, Round Mountain High School had thirteen graduates walk last week.

Congratulations to the class of 2019!

Mono County DA Arrest Alleged Child Sexual Predator

On May 16, 2019, Mono County District Attorney Investigators,with the assistance of Mammoth Lakes Police Department,arrested Jorge Romero Espitia for 19 felony charges, including alleged sexual acts with minors and providing methamphetamine to minors. He is currently in custody with bail set at $500,000.

There is reason to believe there may be other victims. If you or someone you know has information concerning Mr. Espitia and potential sexual acts with minors or furnishing illegal drugs to minors please contact Mono County District Attorney Chief Investigator Chris Callinan directly at 760-858-2127.

You may also walk in during normal business hours to the Mammoth Lakes branch of the District Attorney’s office located in the Sierra Center Mall at 452 Old Mammoth Road.

Saline Valley Warm Springs Plan Finalized

DEATH VALLEY, CA – The National Park Service announced on May 10 that it has finalized the Saline Valley Warm Springs Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (plan/EIS). The document outlines the agency’s plan for managing visitor use, natural resources, cultural resources, and facilities at this backcountry site.

Saline Valley Warm Springs are located in a remote northwest corner of Death Valley National Park, 35 miles from the closest paved road. Recreational users developed soaking tubs and art installations starting in the 1950s. The site was managed by the Bureau of Land Management until it was transferred to NPS with the California Desert Protection Act in 1994.

The NPS started working on a management plan for the site in 2012. Inyo County, the BLM, and the Timbisha Shoshone Tribe participated in the plan as cooperating agencies. Several organizations were heavily involved in providing comments, including the Saline Preservation Association and Recreation Aviation Foundation.

There were opportunities for the public to provide feedback on the plan’s direction in 2012, 2014, and 2018. The NPS received and analyzed a total of 1,696 pieces of correspondence during these comment periods. The NPS made changes to the plan at every stage of the process reflecting the feedback received from the public, organizations, and agencies.

“What we heard loud and clear from many of the recreational users was a desire to ‘leave it like it is.’ We feel this management plan will maintain a feeling of unconstrained recreation while protecting natural and cultural resources,” said Death Valley National Park Superintendent Mike Reynolds.

Things staying the same under the plan:

  • Existing soaking tubs at Lower Spring and Palm Spring would remain in use.
  • Upper Spring would remain undeveloped.
  • All art installations that were in place by January 1, 2019 in non-wilderness areas would be allowed to stay.
  • Airplane use of the Chicken Strip, in use for decades, would be authorized by a separate (pending) special regulation.
  • NPS would establish memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with user groups for maintenance and management of Saline Valley Warm Springs.
  • Public nudity is common at the site, and the plan is silent on this topic. Public nudity is not against Federal regulations, but lewd behavior is.

Things that would change under this plan:

  • Three camping zones would be established: 1) car camping areas; 2) walk-in camping with an associated parking area separate from the camping area; and 3) areas where camping is prohibited, including within 100 feet of source springs.
  • Artistic fencing would be added around source springs to prevent access by nonnative burros.
  • Existing mature palm trees will stay at Lower Spring and Palm Spring until they die of natural causes. No new palm trees will be allowed to grow and native plants will be added to provide shade.
  • All nonnative plants, including palm trees, at Upper Spring will be removed.
  • New artwork will be allowed only if it does not disturb natural or cultural resources, is of a temporary nature, and is removed by the visitor when he or she leaves.
  • The vehicle support facility would be removed.
  • The NPS would address concerns about water quality, storage of hazardous materials, and wastewater.

The plan will become effective when the NPS signs the Record of Decision (ROD), which will be on or after June 10, 2019. However, some aspects of the plan may not be implemented immediately.

The plan and associated documents can be viewed at parkplanning.nps.gov/SalineValleyWarmSprings. A printed copy will temporarily be available at each of the following locations: Amargosa Valley Library, Bishop Library, Death Valley Library, Furnace Creek Visitor Center, Lone Pine Library, Pahrump Library, and Ridgecrest Library.

Former Corporal in Sheriff’s Department Arrested

Former Inyo County Sheriff’s Department Corporal Nick Vaughn was arrested today by Investigators from the Inyo County District Attorney’s office on charges stemming from an alleged misappropriation of public funds.

 

After an internal investigation, the Sheriff’s Department referred the case to the District Attorney’s office for a criminal investigation.  After a lengthy investigation, a criminal complaint has been filed charging Mr. Vaughn with misappropriating over $10,000.00 that had been collected by him from participants in the Sheriff’s Department Work Release Program.  Participants in the program are required to pay certain fees to the Department, and it is alleged that a portion of those fees were diverted to Mr. Vaughn’s personal use or the use of other individuals.  Mr. Vaughn was the supervisor of the Work Release Program from approximately May, 2014 to March, 2018.

 

At this time, no other employees of the Sheriff’s Department are implicated in the investigation.

 

Mr. Vaughn was booked at the Inyo County Jail.  Bail on the arrest warrant was set at $15,000.00.

 

The District Attorney reminds the public that a defendant in any criminal case is presumed to be innocent until the contrary is proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

Round Valley Student Alexandra Morales Wins Inyo County Speech Contest

Inyo County Office of Education is pleased to announce that Alexandra Morales from Round Valley Joint Elementary School won first place at the 59 th annual Inyo County Speech Contest, for her speech: Parkland, Columbine, Sandy Hook, Enough! The second place winner was Paige Makris from Owens Valley Elementary School with her speech: Turning Obstacles into Opportunities. The third place winner was Kyle Schaniel from Seventh Day Adventist with the topic: Nuclear Fission. Also representing their schools were: Willam Young, Will Hennarty, Luis Leon, Marlene Castro, Jade Scott, and Harlee Bardonnex.

The Speech Contest was sponsored by Bishop Real Estate and held on April 11 th at the Jill Kinmont Boothe School. Students from Big Pine, Home Street Middle School, Owens Valley, Round Valley, and Seventh Day Adventist participated in the event. The topic was: How could lessons learned from historical examples of tragedy and triumph be applied to decisions we make every day? Audience members were impressed by the insightful and inspiring speeches from creative middle-schoolers striving to make our world a better place.

All speeches were evaluated on content and delivery by a panel of three community judges: Gerald Howard, Maggie Kingsbury, and Chris Langley. Inyo County Office of Education thanks these judges for their time and expertise.

In addition, ICOE would like to thank Bishop Real Estate Rasmuson & Associates for sponsoring the contest and providing the winners with trophies and cash prizes.

ICOE would also like to express gratitude to the school coaches for their time, effort and support for our students. The coaches were Tim Steele of Big Pine School, Mark DesRochers of Home Street Middle School, Vivian Hanson of Owens Valley School, Jennifer Morales of Round Valley School, and Sandy Burns for Seventh Day Adventist School.

Congratulations to all the participants!

Death Valley National Park Gains Land and More

DEATH VALLEY, CA – The largest national park outside of Alaska just got bigger.  On March 12, President Trump signed public lands legislation that included several changes to Death Valley National Park.

The John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act (Public Law 116-9) transferred approximately 35,000 acres of land from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to the National Park Service. Already nearly the size of Connecticut, Death Valley National Park increased by about 1% to 3,422,024 acres.

One part of the transfer is a 6,369-acre lollipop-shaped section of land adjacent to the Big Pine – Death Valley Road in the northern part of the park. It includes the Crater Mine, a colorful former sulfur mine.

The 28,923-acre “Bowling Alley” is a long, narrow swath of land on the northern border of Fort Irwin National Training Center. This area includes a portion of the Quail Mountains.

About 93% of the park is designated as the Death Valley National Park Wilderness, which is the sixth-largest wilderness area in the nation and the largest outside of Alaska. The Dingell Act added 87,999 acres of wilderness in North Eureka Valley, Panamint Valley, Warm Springs, Ibex, Bowling Alley, and Axe Head.

The Act designated 5.3 miles of Surprise Canyon Creek as a Wild River. The wild river designation provides further protection to this rare desert creek and adjacent Panamint City, a 1870s silver mining ghost town.

The Dingell Act authorizes the operation and maintenance of the existing microwave telecommunications infrastructure on Mormon Peak. AT&T owns this facility, which has been in legal limbo since the land it sits on was designated as wilderness in 1994. With the exception of satellite connections, the Mormon Peak facility relays all land-line telephone, cell phone, and internet connections for Death Valley residents and visitors.

www.nps.gov/deva-

Search for Missing US Marine in Sierra Nevada Moves to Limited Continuous Mode

CENTRAL SIERRA NEVADA, Calif. March 16, 2019 – A massive multiagency search in the Sierra Nevada has been underway for more than a week to locate missing U.S. Marine Corps 1st Lt. Matthew Kraft, a 24-year-old man from Washington, Conn. Kraft set out on a solo ski and hike trip on Feb. 24 with an itinerary to complete the 195-mile Sierra High Route on March 4 or 5. Beginning today the search operation will transition into a limited continuous search status until Kraft is found.
On March 4, Kraft’s father contacted Mono County Sheriff after not hearing from his son. Mono County Sheriff’s Office began checking trail heads in the Bridgeport area that day. Cell phone forensics initiated by Mono County Sheriff showed that his last phone activity was in the Independence area, in Inyo County. Inyo County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue began a search on March 5. The evening of March 8, Kraft’s vehicle was located at the Grays Meadows campground above Independence, Calif.
Backcountry snow instability and weather issues, including high winds, have been a significant challenge for search crews. Both aerial and ground searches have identified avalanche activity, cornices, and snow bridges throughout the wilderness, including along the Sierra High Route. The search zone has been determined to be larger than the state of Rhode Island and consists of the 195-mile Sierra High Route as well as multiple points of potential exit.
Aerial reconnaissance and ground teams have been deployed to the search area; however to date there have been no substantiated clues that link Kraft to any particular search area.
Additionally, aircraft with thermal and night vision imagery capabilities have been flying the route and while several points of interest have been identified – all have been investigated and determined to be animal related. Search crews also employed RECCO technology, an electronic device to find people buried in an avalanche.
Search and rescue authorities have been unable to locate evidence of Kraft’s location along his planned route.
The Marine Corps, along with the other assisting agencies, will continue to stand by and support Kraft’s family, friends, and Marines during this difficult time.
Agencies assisting throughout this search include U.S. Marine Corps, Mono County Sheriff, Mono County Search and Rescue, Inyo County Sheriff, Inyo County Search and Rescue, Madera County Sheriff, Fresno County Sheriff, Tulare County Sheriff, Los Angeles County Sheriff, Sequoia and Kings National Parks, Yosemite National Park, CHP H-80, CHP H-40, Air National Guard, Sierra Madre Search and Rescue Team, Bay Area Mountain Rescue Unit, China Lake Naval Weapons Base, and California Office of Emergency Services.
This is the final news release about this search and rescue operation, unless new information becomes available.
Beginning Monday, March 18, InciWeb, the Incident Information System being used to relay regular updates will go into inactive status, meaning updates will no longer be posted, but the page will remain accessible to anyone wanting information about this search.
For more information about this search please visit: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6272/
If you were in the search area on or around Feb. 23, and you think you might have seen Kraft, please call 559-565-4286.

Jack Johantgen Obituary

Jack Johantgen was born in Tulsa Oklahoma in 1932. He was the youngest of three sons born to Clara and John Robins Johantgen. Joseph and Robert his older siblings both served in the military and after Jack finished high school he moved with his parents to Prescott Arizona and followed his brother’s example by enlisting in the Navy. Jack served in the navy for three years on an aircraft carrier and went on to receive his degree in engineering from San Diego University.

Jack was married to his first wife Helen Lujan in 1955. They lived in Pasadena as well as San Diego while Jack was in the Navy and eventually settled in Ridgecrest California where Jack began a 30-plus year career at China Lake Weapons Center. Together they raised 7 children: Knud, Helen, Marie, Bess, John, Jeannie and Francis. They were blessed with 12 grandchildren Casey, Allison, Daniel, Richie, Stephen, Alexis, Angela, Remington, Marjorie, Amanda, Regan and Ali.

Jack was an electrical engineer and was recognized for his significant contributions to the Sidewinder short-range air-to-air and antiradiation missiles and radar warning receivers over his years of employment at China Lake. Johantgen, a supervisory electronics engineer who headed the Missile Guidance Branch in the Electronic Warfare Department’s RF Development Division was also is the program manager of the Antiradiation Projectile Program (ARP) for more than two decades at NWC. His notable contributions as a design engineer, system engineer, program manager and line manager were considered the forefront of technology, pushing forward the state-of-the-art and contributed to the outstanding recognition for the Naval Weapons Center as a leader in tactical weapons development.

Jack divorced and remarried his second wife Jeannie Smith in 2001. Through this marriage he was given a gift of 3 more children Shawn, Todd and Tracy; 10 grandchildren: Gavin, Chad, Lauren, Elias, Nicole, Amanda, Caleb, Cassandra, Katie, and Alex; 4 great-grandchildren Skylar, Grayson, Elyse, and Reegan.

Jack lived in Ridgecrest for over 30 years, he also lived in Mammoth Lakes and retired in Bishop with his wife Jeannie. Both were avid skiers and bicyclists. Jack traveled cross county on his bike at age 72. They enjoyed traveling throughout Europe, Mexico and Hawaii, many of their trips included bike tours and sailing. They loved opening their homes in the Sierras to family and friends and hosted many family holidays and celebrations.

Jack was long-term parishioner of Ridgecrest’s St. Ann Catholic Church, St Joseph in Mammoth and Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Bishop California and he served as a Catholic youth educator in both Mammoth and Bishop.

Jack Johantgen died peacefully in his home in Bishop California on Sunday March 10 surrounded by family. He was preceded in death by his brother Joseph Johantgen, his parents Clara Agnes and John Robins Johantgen; son Knud Neilson and daughter Marie Anne Johantgen.

Services:
Rosary is scheduled Friday March 15th at 3 PM at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Bishop California,
849 Home St. Bishop
Mass will be held Saturday March 16th at 11 AM at Our Lady of Perpetual Help
Reception immediately following the service at the home of Jack and Jeannie Johantgen at 3561 Majestic Way, Bishop
Graveside Service Monday March 18th at 1:30 in Ridgecrest at the Desert Memorial Park 801 S. San Bernardino County Line Rd.

Samantha Burns set to Compete in Poetry Out Loud State Finals in Sacramento

The Poetry Out Loud State Championships start this weekend on Sunday, and Inyo County’s local champion is competing in Sacramento. Samantha Burns, a student at Bishop Union High School will be competing against students from fifty-two other counties in California.

If Samantha were to place in the top eight of the Poetry Out Loud contest, she would have the opportunity to attend the national contest in Washington DC.

As far as the competition is concerned, there are two heats occurring at the Stanley Mosk Library in Sacramento on Sunday. The northern counties for California will start the proceedings at 9:00 AM. Afterwards, students from the southern counties will read their poetry beginning at 2:00 P.M. Inyo County is apart of the southern groupings.

There are two poems which students must recite. The contestants are judged by accuracy, eye contact and delivery. Several judges determine who they believe were the best performers and the finalists will have to recite their third poems in the State Capitol Senate Chamber on Monday. Afterward, a winner will be selected by the judges.

Inyo County’s finalist, Samantha Burns two poems she will recite are Bleeding Heart and Blade Unplugged. Bleeding Heart is a poem written by Carmen Giménez Smith, a poet based in New York City, who has been awarded the Juniper Prize for Poetry. The second poem is Blade Unplugged, written by Tim Seibles, who is a poet and a professor of English and creative writing at Old Dominion University.

“I am so proud of Samantha qualifying for this event.” Samatha’s mother Sandy said. “She worked extremely hard for this opportunity, and being apart of this event just goes to show how much love and appreciation she has for poetry.”