Tag Archives: KIBS Radio

New Exhibit Arrives at Laws Museum

A new exhibit has just arrived at Laws Railroad Museum and Historic Site! The Museum has acquired, on loan, the restored Bodie Railway and Lumber Company (Bodie and Benton Railroad) flat car number 8, and it is on display on the Museum grounds.


Several years ago, members of the Friends of the Bodie Railway and Lumber Company group were exploring the BR&L right of way and found the remains of a wrecked flat car. The metal parts were salvaged and cleaned up, but the remains of the wood parts were too far gone to salvage. The Friends located the number on the car and found the plans for it and started in on the restoration. The car was restored by the Friends of the Bodie Railway and Lumber Company about 17 years ago and has been on display in June Lake until last week. The restoration effort included acquiring custom cut full dimensional lumber to replicate the original lumber in the car. The restoration was completed in 2002


The Friends of the Bodie Railway and Lumber Company recently decided to disband, and turned ownership of the car over to the Bodie Foundation. The Foundation did not have a means of moving or storing the car, so two former members of the Friends, John Fredrickson and Paul Thompson, stepped up and negotiated a loan to the Laws Railroad Museum to display and maintain the car for the next several years. The Museum hired Kurt Van Nest, owner of High Sierra Storage, to move and set up the car in its new location. The move was made by his company, with the help of a volunteer crew from Laws Railroad Museum, on Sunday November 17.

Bishop City Council Vote to Protect Renters with Emergency Ordinance

The Bishop City Council voted 5-0 in favor of adopting an emergency ordinance that will prohibit landlords from dramatically increasing rent on tenants and evicting residents without just cause. The city ordinance is in response to a loophole created by AB 1482, which is designed to protect tenants from egregious hikes in an individual’s monthly rent. However, from now until January 1, 2020, landlords had the option to dramatically increase rent before the ordinance was made official.

Mayor Pro Tempore, Laura Smith spoke about the possible rental hikes saying, “We are not looking to handcuff landlords by passing this ordinance. There is a drastic shortage of housing in the area, and people are probably not going to find a place to live. We don’t want people kicked out of their homes with the cold weather and no place to go.”

Councilman, Stephen Muchovej expressed similar feelings, indicating that the council’s job is to help its citizens. “We are here to help people out in town. We should prevent these sort of scenarios [subjecting tenants to rental hikes] from happening.”

Bishop resident Steve Seats, who was previously evicted from his home at the Primrose Lane Apartments in town due to a rent increase, spoke to the city council and expressed his feelings on the matter.

“It sickens me when I heard that over forty families were at risk of being evicted from their homes.” Seats said.

Seats, who now says he lives in his car and spends most nights in the parking lot adjacent to the City of Bishop Council Chambers, also told the public about his experience of allegedly being harassed by a member of the Bishop Police Department since being evicted from his apartment.

“Last night an officer threatened to arrest me for sleeping in my car in the parking lot.” Seats said. “The officer became progressively more and more aggravated when I did not comply. The behavior was inappropriate by the police force.”

Shortly after Seats spoke, Mayor Jim Ellis gave his thoughts on the ordinance saying, “This ordinance is to protect our citizens.” Ellis also added that the housing market makes things difficult for low-income individuals. “We have a tough housing market here. I don’t think any of us have a problem with voting in favor of an ordinance.”

Laws Museum Appoint New Museum Administrator

The Board of Directors of Laws Museum is pleased to announce the selection of Raven Angeles as our museum Administrator. Since beginning her employment as office manager in May 2019, Ms. Angeles has consistently met the highest professional standards in her position. Her bookkeeping and office management expertise is matched by her problem solving skills and her dedication to do what is best for the museum, staff, volunteers, and visitors. The Board of Directors looks forward to a new and exciting future for Laws Museum with Raven Angeles on the team as our Administrator!

When you visit Laws Museum, what you experience is the result of the many years Howard Holland has dedicated to the museum as our Exhibits Manager. At the October meeting of the board of directors Howard Holland announced his retirement and his intention to “pass the torch” to Katie Olson. We are thrilled to announce Katie Olson has accepted the position of Exhibits Manager. Katie was elected to the Laws Railroad Museum & Historical Site Board of Directors in June after retiring from a thirty eight year career with Walt Disney Imagineering. Katie brings a wealth of experience to the Laws Railroad Museum and we are excited about her new role at the museum.

Please join us in congratulating Katie and Raven on their new positions!

Scotty’s Castle Renovations Continue

Death Valley, Calif.— Scotty’s Castle located in the northern region of Death Valley National Park has been closed since October 18, 2015 when almost three inches of rain fell on the Scotty’s Castle area in Grapevine Canyon. The flash flood that ensued dramatically changed the landscape, the road and utilities were destroyed and some buildings damaged. Repairs are estimated at $47 million. Repairs are being funded over multiple years from a number of sources: park entrance fees, Federal Highways Administration, National Park Service deferred maintenance accounts, and donations.

Post flood, Death Valley National Park has requested funding from the Death Valley Natural History Association (DVNHA) to assist with funding several curatorial projects at Scotty’s Castle including: treatment of the silver collection, conservation of the Scotty’s Castle Upper Music Room Curtains, and repairs to the Scotty’s Castle Welte-Mignon Theatre Organ currently underway.

The Death Valley Natural History Association presented a check this week in the amount of $41,420 to fund the
reproduction of eight leather curtains in the Great Hall of Scotty’s Castle. The original painted and tooled sheepskin curtains are severely deteriorated. After 90 years of use in the desert, they have desiccation, tears, fading, cracking and loss of tassels. A professional conservation examination in 2012 determined that the
curtains are beyond repair. All curtains at Scotty’s Castle have an important function in protecting sensitive historic furnishings and textiles from further UV damage and also allow visitors to visualize the space as it was when occupied by the Johnson’s in the 1930s.

A complex project, leather stamps for this project were manufactured in 2018 using NPS funding and artisans
capable of stamping, cutting, coloring, and sewing the fully replicated reproductions took years to find. Appropriate weight and color matched leather is being sourced and artisans are now ready to begin work.

“This is the perfect timing for preservation and conservation work to take place while the collection has been taken out of Scotty’s Castle. Due to lack of temperature and humidly controls the entire collection normally housed within the Castle was removed for its protection. We have been working as fast as we can to raise
money so that necessary repairs to collection items can be made and so that the historic house can be reopened as complete as possible,” said David Blacker Executive Director of the Death Valley Natural History Association. “It all takes time and people willing to contribute.”

The Scotty’s Castle Historic District is scheduled to reopen in October 2021. During the closure, there are limited opportunities to visit Scotty’s Castle with a park ranger and see first-hand how the power of water shapes the landscape of Death Valley, listen to the stories of this unique palace in the desert, the people who called it home, and the projects underway to reopen this unique historic district. This season’s tours are offered on Sundays from December 8, 2019 through April 12, 2020. Reservations are required in advance. Tickets are $25 per person, available at www.dvnha.org. Proceeds from the tour benefit the Scotty’s Castle Historic Preservation Fund to support projects like the aforementioned. An additional $25,000 is needed for conservation treatment of the Scotty’s Castle Dining Room Curtains.

For more information on the Death Valley Natural History Association or to make a donation to the Scotty’s Castle Historic Preservation Fund please visit: www.dvnha.org.

What’s Next for the Bishop Kmart Property?

Kmart and Sears are getting ready to close another batch of stores throughout the United States in February. Transformco, the company who own both chains has announced it will close 96 Sears and Kmart stores, leaving the chain with 182 locations.

The Kmart based in Bishop has been confirmed by USA Today as a location which will shut its doors in just a few months time.

News of the store closure has many residents in the Eastern Sierra concerned as to where they will purchase items such as office supplies, clothes, and appliances.

Additionally, the closure has led to many people asking City of Bishop officials what is next for the location where Kmart sits.

Associate Planner and Economic Development Coordinator, Elaine Kabala was able to answer some of those questions during the Tuesday City Council meeting.

“The closing of Kmart is a significant issue to the community as it well should be.” Kabala said.

The Economic Development Coordinator told the council she and Interim City Administrator, Robin Picken are getting ready to meet with the property owners where the department store sits. “I spoke to Kmart headquarters as well as the property owners of the building and surrounding properties to talk about what their plans are for bringing in a future retail tenant. The property owners are still working on an internal strategy, but we will be setting up a meeting with the property managers next week.”

Elaine Kabala believes that property owners seemed to be receptive to the idea of bringing in another retailer. “I talked with them [the property owners] last week and initial conversations were very positive. They were interested in the Bishop Market and want to find a good fit for replacing Kmart.”

The City of Bishop employee also expressed the importance of finding a replacement quickly. Kabala expressed, “We are trying to get ahead of this issue and stay on top of it.”

As for now, all annual holiday endeavors are taking place at the Bishop Kmart this year. These events include KIBS Radio’s Coats for Kids Drive, Eastern Sierra Shop with a Cop, and Eastern Sierra Transit Authority’s Stuff-A-Bus event.

Funds Pour in for Fuel Reduction Projects in Mammoth

In March of 2019, the Mammoth Lakes Fire Safe Council was awarded a $1,000,000 grant from the Sierra Nevada Conservancy (SNC) to complete the Lakes Basin Hazardous Fuels Reduction Project (‘project’). The ‘project’ provides valuable fuel reduction treatment on 630 acres in the Mammoth Lakes Basin to reduce wildfire risk, improve forest health and protect the watershed. The contractor’s proposed cost of the project resulted in an $181,275 deficit. The following agencies recently made significant financial contributions to support the project’s completion:

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power ($60,425) Mono County ($30,425) Town of Mammoth Lakes ($60,425) Edison International – a parent company of Southern California Edison ($30,000)

“I am grateful these agencies and SNC recognized the importance of this project” stated Dave Easterby, MLFSC president. “The success of this project will be recognized by their financial contribution, along with the tireless efforts from volunteer individuals, including our primary grant writer, Matthew Diener, MLFSC Director at Large. We’re fortunate to be working with dedicated like-minded individuals within a community of supportive agencies.”

“This project’s success demonstrates the power in multi-agency collaboration and what volunteer groups can accomplish.” Juliana Jones, Secretary of MLFSC, continued “I am grateful so many entities, who care about the safety of our community, came together to provide financial contributions to this regional support effort.”

The Lakes Basin Hazardous Fuels Reduction Project will be completed in Fall of 2020. 568 acres were completed this season, providing valuable protection to the Mammoth Lakes Community. Inyo National Forest, Mammoth Community Water District and Mammoth Lakes Fire Protection District supported the ‘project’ development and grant administration. The MLFSC is thankful for the overwhelming support received by the community and recent financial contributions from other local agencies.

Affordable Housing Development in Mammoth is Gaining Traction

The Town of Mammoth Lakes is getting ready to issue a request for statements of qualifications for the development of a piece of land known as The Parcel, which consists of twenty-five acres of land near the center of Mammoth Lakes.

A statements of qualification is a process relating to accepting bids for the development of a property.

Mammoth Lakes wishes to, “identify a development team consisting of one or more developers that will be the best fit to partner with the town to develop The Parcel.”

Currently, the Town of Mammoth Lakes has set broad guidelines and objectives for what they wish to see in a possible development for the existing site, which includes the construction of 400-450 properties ranging from studio apartments to entire houses zoned for affordable residences to be completed by 2022.

According to an official document from the Department of Public Works for the Town of Mammoth Lakes, the cheap housing is required to be priced at or below 120 percent of the area’s median income.

Other than creating affordable housing, The Parcel must adhere to the town’s wishes and include a community facility, formal and informal open spaces, vehicle and bicycle parking for residents and guests, and must consider pets in the design of the neighborhood.

Further restrictions include establishing a “livable, integrated, and well-designed community.” For example, the Town of Mammoth Lakes wishes to assure that the structures built connect seamlessly to the neighborhood and its surroundings.

Although 2022 is a long way off, the town council of Mammoth Lakes is taking steps toward turning The Parcel into homes in the future. On November 21, a pre-submittal conference for interested parties is scheduled for those who would like to find out more. After that, the Town Council is expected to accept a preferred conceptual land use plan on December 11, meaning the town desires to regulate property to ensure a more desirable socioeconomic outcome.

40-Year Old Hiker Found Deceased

NORTH LAKE (INYO NATIONAL FOREST), CA. November 7, 2019 – On November 4 (evening), Inyo County Sheriff’s Office received notification of a missing hiker. The reporting party said that Alan Stringer, a 40-year old man from Huntington Beach, had planned on hiking somewhere out of the Bishop area on Sunday but failed to return home on Monday.
Stringer, who was described as an experienced hiker, did not disclose his hiking plans or potential routes. However, he recently purchased and ice ax and crampons, and participated in mountaineering training courses. Stringer was equipped for day-hiking only; he had an InReach device that he hiked with, but it was never activated. After checking trailheads throughout the Bishop area, Sheriff’s Deputies located Stringer’s vehicle at North Lake shortly after midnight on Tuesday morning.
On Tuesday a forensic analysis of Stringer’s cell phone activity revealed only one call very early in the morning from downtown Bishop on Sunday November 3 (before his planned hike). Inyo Search and Rescue used aerial support to fly the areas near and around North Lake.
On Wednesday ground teams searched the areas of Paiute Pass, Lamarck Col and Mt. Emerson. Aerial reconnaissance with night-vision capability was used Wednesday night.
Today ground teams will continue to scour the areas near and around North Lake, paying extra attention to Wonder Lake Basin, Lamarck Col, Mt. Lamarck summit, and Mt. Emmerson.  Aerial support will be used again today (H-40 out of Fresno). Sequoia and Kings National Park is running a joint operation concentrating on the following locations: Darwin Canyon and Darwin Peak.
If anyone from the public has seen Alan Stringer (particularly on Sunday November 3) and can provide us with a more conclusive hiking route please call 760-878-0383 option 4. We do not have a conclusive description of what he was wearing but he could potentially be wearing a bright green “puffer” style jacket or a dark green light-weight jacket. His ice ax is lime green. Stringer is 6’04”, 230 pounds with brown hair and hazel eyes.

UPDATE– On Nov 7 around 2:30pm Sequoia and Kings National Park located Alan Stringer deceased at the top of the Darwin glacier, near the base of the notch to go up Mount Darwin. Sequoia and Kings will be conducting the investigation and recovery.

Search photos for Stringer SAR
Alan Stringer has been missing since Sunday Nov 3 out of the North Lake area. Tips can be reported to Inyo SO at 760-878-0383 option 4.

Donations Sought for the Annual Eastern Sierra Shop with a Cop

Law enforcement officers and public safety staff from law enforcement and criminal justice agencies throughout Mono and Inyo Counties are busy planning the Annual Shop-with-a-Cop event, which will be held Saturday, December 14, 2019.

This is a very special day where our local law enforcement brings the true spirit of Christmas to families in need throughout the Eastern Sierra and Owens Valley. Children are selected by various local law enforcement agencies from nominations received by area schools, community groups and individuals. On Saturday morning, the children are picked up at their homes by their law enforcement “partners” and taken to pancake breakfast sponsored by the Bishop Lion’s Club. After breakfast, the officers and children respond Code 3 (lights and sirens) through Bishop to K-Mart to start their shopping extravaganza. Each child is given $200 to shop for gifts for their families. After all the gifts have been purchased, local volunteers wrap the gifts, and the officers and children travel home where an early holiday celebration begins!

Their goal for the 2019 Shop-with-a-Cop event is to provide Christmas to 70 children and their families. This event is completely donation driven. Let’s start getting into the holiday spirit and donate to this great event today! Donations can be dropped off at the Mono County Sheriff’s Office, Inyo County Sheriff’s Office, Bishop Police Department and Mammoth Lakes Police Department. Please make checks payable to ESPOA (Eastern Sierra Peace Officers Association) with “Shop-with-a-Cop” written in the memo line. ESPOA is a 501(c)3, and your donation is tax deductible.

Photos of Children Found in Alleged Child Predator’s Storage

A Mammoth Lakes resident who was arrested for three counts of sexual acts with a child under the age of 14 is now facing added charges of possession of child pornography and destruction of evidence.

On July 22, 2019, Mammoth Lakes Police Department and Mono County District Attorney Investigators arrested Christopher Adams Libby on alleged sexual activity with children. In their press release, the Mono County DA’s Office stated, “In accordance with the applicable statue of limitations, Mr. Libby is alleged to have had substantial sexual conduct with the minor, and the conduct is supported by independent corroborating evidence.”

The case against Libby indicates the alleged acts occurred during 2002 and 2003. However, the District Attorney’s Office believes there are potentially other victims.

Last week, Libby was released from jail after paying his $100,000 bail. After being released, Libby requested that his niece destroy further evidence at a storage locker in Mammoth Lakes. Upon arriving at the alleged child predator’s locker, Mr. Libby’s niece discovered child pornography in the form of Polaroid pictures along with a camera, and 2017-2019 newspaper clippings containing photographs of local Mammoth Lakes’ children in the newspaper The Sheet.

The 61 year-old male’s niece subsequently turned the evidence over to investigators. After receiving the child pornography and newspaper clippings, authorities arrested Mr. Libby a second time only a day and a half after posting bail.

Mono County Assistant District Attorney, David Anderson, said the photographs taken “appear to be of a personal nature.”

As for the newspaper clippings discovered in Libby’s locker, Anderson said the district attorney’s office cannot determine at this moment if the pictures of children in the newspaper were targets of the alleged predator.

Anderson also made it clear, “The parents of the children identified in the newspaper have been notified that Mr. Libby possessed photographs of their kids.”

Libby is scheduled to appear back in court on September 17, 2019, and is being held on $1,000,000 bail. Prosecutors are aiming to assure that there is no possible way for the defendant to be released inasmuch as the district attorney’s office believes he is a flight risk and danger to the public.