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High Winds Rip Down Trees and Turnover Semi-Truck

A wind prohibition for trucks was issued at 12:22 PM on May 16 after sustained 40 mile per hour winds with gusts as high as 80 miles per hour.

Originally, the prohibition existed from Bishop to Lone Pine by a CHP Officer in the area, but it was determined necessary to implement the ban all the way down to Pearsonville.

There has been damage to trees along the entire corridor, as well as damage to vehicles.

One vehicle which sustained major damage was a semi-truck driving in the Fort Independence Travel Plaza area. The sixteen-wheeler sustained a large amount of destruction to the front side after it overturned on the shoulder of the road. The vehicle’s hood was torn off after the accident.

According to Bishop Area CHP, no injuries were sustained during the rollover.

Woman Arrested in Poverty Hills Area After Crashing

A woman was arrested Thursday after a vehicle spin-out in Poverty Hills.

22 year old, Kianna Hoops from Reno, Nevada was driving a gray Honda Accord south of Big Pine when she lost control of her vehicle for an unknown reason and spun out.

When Hoops lost control of her vehicle, CHP arrived on the scene to investigate the accident. While conducting an inspection, the officer checked inside the vehicle and discovered a lever action firearm as well as a small amount of drugs.

After running the serial number, the officer determined that the firearm was not registered to Hoops, and was stolen.

Kianna Hoops was subsequently arrested for possession of stolen property, possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia. She was detained and booked at the Inyo County Jail. Her bail is set for $15,000.

The Fate of the Bishop Nursery Property Revealed

Rumors have been swirling about the fate of the property where the Bishop Nursery stands. There has been speculation that the property will turn into an apartment complex,  or affordable housing for low-income families. However, according to Bill Parris, the owner of the property, none of these rumors are true.

“The plan is to build standard-sized family houses, we are not building apartments and we are not building anything other than houses in a town that is in dire need of more houses.” Parris said.

Parris Construction Corporation based out of Santa Barbara have been permitted to build up to fifteen houses on the property. However, the plan is to preserve the nursery and build twelve houses instead.

“We have been approved to build fifteen houses by the City of Bishop.” Parris said. “Although that was the original plan, I have seen how important the Bishop Nursery is to this community, and I am going to do everything I can to make sure we can keep the nursery in tact.”

Parris still faces challenges with the city to assure his vision comes to fruition, but when asked about the chances of a mixed-use development that includes the nursery, he said there is, “an eighty-percent chance that we can preserve the business.”

The Bishop Nursery will face a few changes  if it is included in the building plans. Operations of the business will be on a “smaller-scale” with trees and other large plants no longer being sold.

Originally, the idea was to try and save the nursery in it’s current state. Parris, the current owner of the land loaned $50,000 to the former owner of the Bishop Nursery to try and save the business. Unfortunately, the President of Parris Construction Corporation noted that it was “not possible” as the business began to fall into disarray.

Progress on the new housing development is still very much in the early stages, with some of the most recent work involving the removal of some trees on the property.

Liz Merrill, the General Manager of Bishop Nursery discussed why it was necessary to remove the trees saying, “The trees needed to be cut in order to create an access point to Home Street as all of the property will be utilized.” She added that although they are removing trees right now, they will be replenished in the future. “Sixty-one trees will be removed, but over two-hundred will be planted.”

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!

Scotty’s Castle Projects Pass Environmental Assessment

DEATH VALLEY, CA – The National Park Service (NPS) has completed its final environmental reviews of proposed projects to repair flood damage at Scotty’s Castle. Meanwhile, work has already started on projects approved earlier. The popular historic site could be partially open by late 2020 and is expected to be fully open by late 2021.

A severe flash flood on the night of October 18, 2015 sent water, mud, and rocks rushing down Grapevine Canyon. The flood broke through the walls of the historic Garage, in use by the NPS as the site’s visitor center, and filled it with four feet of debris. Two other historic buildings were damaged by the flood. The main house escaped the path of the flood, but bore lesser damage from water intrusion from heavy rain.

The NPS prepared two environmental assessments (EAs), each of which addressed different proposed actions to repair flood-damaged infrastructure in Grapevine Canyon. The Bonnie Clare Road Reconstruction EA was finalized in May 2018, and approved proposals to reconstruct 7.6 miles of Bonnie Clare Road, install 4,000 feet of waterline under the road, reconstruct damaged portions of the historic concrete and wire fence, and stabilize the historic bridge and gatehouse.

Road and Highway Builders started work in December 2018 on all four of these projects under contract managed by Federal Highways Administration.

The Scotty’s Castle Flood Rehabilitation EA was finalized on March 12, 2019. Some proposed actions approved in this EA include repairing historic structures, replacing components utility systems, building a second public restroom, building flood control structures, and building a cooling tower for a replacement heating, ventilation, and cooling (HVAC) system. This EA completes the legal requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), but each project will need additional review to meet requirements of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA).

The National Park Service cares for special places saved by the American people so that all may experience our heritage. “This is where things can get tricky,” said Abby Wines, spokesperson for Death Valley National Park. “Sometimes we have to make trade-offs. In a few cases, we are proposing significant changes to the historic district in order to protect the historic district. A purest might say that we shouldn’t build any berms, flood walls, or shallow channels because they weren’t in the historic district during the 1920s. But if we don’t build flood control structures, we risk losing a lot more in the next major flood. It would be great if we could magically protect the site without changing a thing, but it’s not possible.”

If things go smoothly, several major contracts should be awarded within the next 6 months.

The EA and Finding of No Significant Impact documents can be viewed at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/castle.

People Are Stealing Donations From IMAH Sierra Thrift Mall. Seriously?

News and Sports Director, Bradford Evans sits down with Executive Director of Inyo-Mono Association for the Handicapped, Beth Himelhoch to interview her about the problem of residents of Bishop stealing donations.  You can find the interview in the link below. https://soundcloud.com/user-627742700/imah-sierra-thirft-mall-stolen-property

Customer Water Leaks Identified by MCWD’s Advanced Metering Infrastructure

During the summer of 2014, the Mammoth Community Water District (District) upgraded to new meters that wirelessly transmit data using remote collectors. This advanced technology allows the District to see hourly usage of all water meters on the distribution system. Utilizing software developed by WaterSmart, a data analytics company, the District is able to run a report that details leaks and alert customers accordingly.

“We are thrilled to have the ability to help our customers protect their property and save an exorbitant amount of water,” said Irene Yamashita, Principal Analyst. “It has been a learning experience to determine what size leaks should be flagged, what patterns are associated with various sources of leaks and how to best introduce the information to the customers.”

Typically, the District calls two to five customers or property managers a day with leaks ranging from 15 to 1,500 gallons per hour. “About 80 percent of leaks we call on are caused by toilets. Customers are usually surprised to learn that leaking toilets can waste 600+ gallons per hour (over 14,000 gallons per day), ” described Betty Hylton, Administrative Analyst. “In winter, we find a number of leaks caused by shedding snow that turns on or breaks hose bibs and frozen pipes that break. Despite the cause of the leak, customers are generally very grateful that we have this capability and take the time to notify them.”

The District recommends that customers (or property managers) look and listen for the leak first. If unable to identify where the water is leaking, then call a plumber. The District has offered two Leak Detection courses for plumbers and property managers to learn the most efficient process for leak detection and maintains a supply of coloring dye tabs to check for toilet leaks.

The Mammoth Lakes community is limited to local surface and groundwater resources in our basin. The leak detection program conserves water that would otherwise be wasted and develops positive relationships with our customers. The District is proud to have this advanced capability, however customers remain responsible for identifying water leaks at their property. An online customer portal is available to provide customers the ability to look at their hourly water use from their computer, and receive high usage alerts by signing up for WaterSmart here: https://mcwd.watersmart.com/index.php/welcome

Select Death Valley Facilities Closing

DEATH VALLEY, CA – Due to the government shutdown, several sites within Death Valley National Park will be closing for health and safety concerns associated with continuing issues of human waste, trash, vandalism and park resource damage. 

On Friday, January 4, the Furnace Creek and Texas Springs Campgrounds will be closed.  Access roads to Natural Bridge, Dantes View, and Keane Wonder Mine will also be closed. The road to Salt Creek remains closed.

Visitor services are limited due to the lapse in federal appropriations. During the government shutdown, national parks are working to remain as open and accessible to the American people as possible. 

All normal park rules and regulations still apply and violators will be cited. Dogs are not permitted on park trails or off leash.  Off-road vehicle travel is illegal within the park, vehicles must stay on established roadways.  Camping must be in accordance with park regulations. The Stovepipe Wells Campground as well as private campgrounds at The Oasis Furnace Creek Ranch and Panamint Springs remain open and operational.  

Visitors are encouraged to stop and use restroom facilities in the gateway communities before entering the park as there are extremely limited restroom facilities in the park. Visitors are also encouraged to practice leave no trace principles and pack in and pack out waste.     

Additional roads and facilities within Death Valley National Park may close at any time for the health and safety of park visitors.

Thanks to donations from The Oasis at Death Valley, restrooms at the Ryan Junction, Zabriskie Point, Golden Canyon, and Badwater are cleaned and stocked daily.  The Death Valley Natural History Association has also made a donation to have the Furnace Creek Visitor Center open from 8am-5pm daily.  Ortega National Parks LLC. continues to operate the Stovepipe Wells Campground as a donation.

For updates on the shutdown, please visit www.doi.gov/shutdown.

Woman Arrested for Fleeing from Police While Driving Under the Influence

On December 3rd, Nye County Sheriffs received information of a possible drunk driver leaving the Super 7 Gas station in Tonopah, NV.

The vehicle was promptly located traveling northbound on U.S. Highway 95, traveling northbound passing Depot Road. Nye County Sheriffs attempted to stop the vehicle, but the driver would not obey the pursing officer’s commands to yield. The alleged drunk driver ended up maneuvering through parking lots, until eventually continuing on to Highway 95.

Eventually, the vehicle came to a stop at the Sierra Vista Apartment Complex. Heather Thomas, a resident of Salt Lake City, Utah surrendered herself to authorities, exiting the vehicle with her hands held high in the air. Thomas was subdued by pursuing police officers and booked on charges of driving with an out of state suspended drivers license, driving under the influence, disobeying a peace officer while driving under the influence, and speeding 25 or more miles per hour over the posted speed limit.