Tag Archives: Lone Pine

Coronavirus Town Hall Recap: When Will Normal Life Return?

On Thursday, April 9, 2020, Inyo County hosted a virtual town hall meeting to discuss the coronavirus. Officials from all healthcare facilities including, Toiyabe, Northern Inyo Hospital, and Southern Inyo Hospital, along with key figures from the City of Bishop and Inyo County were in attendance.

In total, twelve panelists were present during the discussion, with over 250 citizens tuning in to the town hall.

Inyo County Administrative Officer, Clint Quilter, served as the moderator, fielding questions from the public, and allowing each panel participant to give an update on where things stand when it comes to managing the COVID-19 crisis.

Southern Inyo Hospital CEO, Peter Spiers, was one of the first people to speak. Spiers, who has been in the Eastern Sierra for about eight months, talked about how he believes the community has enough strength and resolve to overcome the coronavirus pandemic. Spiers said, “I truly believe that by the grace of God, we have met this challenge with a resolve and commitment as a hospital. This is a unique place. From first day I was here, everyone was committed to making the hospital survive and thrive.”

Spiers also says the healthcare district has been taking a proactive approach since February to prepare for the pandemic. He went on to say, “We took aggressive measures starting in February, and made sure to screen all of our employees before they came to work.”

Chief Operating Officer of Toiyabe, Ethan Dexter, said that the health clinic is taking extra precautions when it comes to helping the public. Dexter remarked that all public health workers are sanitizing and wearing masks when doing wellness checks for patients.

Representing Northern Inyo Healthcare District during the discussion, was Dr. William Timbers, the newly appointed Interim Chief Medical Officer. Timbers gave a fifteen-minute PowerPoint presentation to attendees explaining the background of COVID-19 and told where things stand as far as the latest research on the virus.

After the healthcare officials finished speaking, Quilter turned the presentation over to local government officials from Inyo County and Bishop.

Bishop Mayor, Laura Smith, talked about the need for the city and the Eastern Sierra region to come together and embrace sacrifice for the greater good. Smith said, “City Council officials are elected by the people, and our hearts are with the people who are suffering. We need to band together as an Eastern Sierra community. That is how we are going to move past this problem.”

When it comes to sacrifices, Mayor Smith says the city will meet on April 13, 2020 to discuss what can be done to help the citizens of Bishop, even if it hurts the city fiscally. “There is going to be some sacrifice involved in order to combat this crisis. We are meeting as a city to see what sacrifices need to be made,” Smith remarked.

Chairman of the Inyo County Board of Supervisors, Matt Kingsley spoke after Mayor Smith, and commended the community for the job it has done helping those in need. The fifth district supervisor said, “I first wanted to recognize the efforts of our county staff, and the medical workers and volunteers around the community. Lunches are being served to kids and senior citizens, quilting clubs are making masks, and community activities are being organized like Easter Bunny drive-bys,”

Though pleased with the efforts of the community, Kingsley expressed displeasure with the fact that he can only provide a limited amount of help to his south county constituents during this pandemic. “My biggest frustration is not being able to communicate with my constituents. This is a great effort that we are doing in helping the community. But we have to realize that not all constituents have internet, so we have to find a way to help them.”

Inyo County Public Health Officer, Dr. James Richardson, was one of the panelists who had the most to say during the event.

To start things off, Richardson said, “As a public health officer, my goal is to protect the health of the citizens. Right now, the goal is to limit the impact of disease on local healthcare systems so they are not overwhelmed.”

Most of what Richardson discussed related to the importance of covering up with a cloth mask when going out in public, washing hands, and social distancing.

However, the Inyo County Public Health Officer stated that if an outbreak of coronavirus gets bad enough in the area, he will order the construction of alternative sites to help treat patients. “We are willing to develop alternative sites if needed along with increasing beds if things get bad.”

According to Dr. Richardson, there may be light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to life going back to some semblance of normal. “I have noticed recently in the latest predictive models, the estimation of deaths has gone down,” Richardson said. “I suspect in mid to late May, things will start lightening up. There may be an undercurrent of this virus in our community for a while though.”

Coronavirus in Eastern Sierra Likely More of a ‘When’ Rather Than ‘If’

Director of Northern Inyo Healthcare District’s Rural Health Clinic, Dr. Stacy Brown provided KIBS/KBOV with the latest relating to novel coronavirus in the Eastern Sierra Friday afternoon.

Brown says there have been no local cases of coronavirus identified yet. “At this time, no local cases have been recorded.” Brown said. “We are stepping up our efforts as conditions change to try and contain the virus, and patients may see increased procedures before they even enter the buildings.”

Such procedures include staff asking questions relating to travel history, asking patients to describe symptoms, and checking temperature before they even enter the building.

Though increased precautions are being taken, the Rural Health Clinic Director expressed that hospital operations are currently running at 100%. “We are fully functioning and fully operational, with no limitations of services at this time. There may be a little bit of a delay at times, but right now it is business as usual for NIHD.”

Even with all of the preemptive provisions at the hospital, NIHD is treating a local outbreak of coronavirus as a very real possibility. Coronavirus arriving locally is, “probably not a matter of if, but rather when, so we want to be ahead of the game.”

If for any reason an individual has to go to the hospital for any medical problem, Brown asks patients to not be alarmed when they see staff workers wearing protective masks, clothes, and other equipment.

KIBS/KBOV News will continue to provide updates on novel coronavirus.

 

 

Bye-Bye Airbnb? County Moves to Regulate Non-Host Rentals

The Inyo County Board of Supervisors discussed short-term rental regulations at Tuesday’s meeting in Independence, CA.

A major talking point among the board pertained to problems with non-host short-term rentals, which supervisors identified as a major problem in an area already severely limited on available housing. Fifth District Supervisor, Matt Kingsley voiced his concerns about how non-host rentals can cause harm to neighborhoods. “The main issue we are dealing with today is making sure neighborhoods do not change too much. We have Amsterdam, Venice, and Darwin all struggling with the same issue [of eliminating affordable housing.]”

District Supervisor, Jeff Griffiths expressed similar concerns saying, “The number one concern should be affordable housing.”

Though the board appeared to disapprove of non-host rentals, short-term rentals with a host on the premise did not cause much ire. All of the supervisors were in favor of allowing what the county calls “R2” rentals, which require a host be on site.

One important component in the regulations discussed pertained to the definition of exactly what a host is defined as. Under the proposed ordinance, there must be a “designated representative which means a person or persons designated by the owner to represent them as a ‘host’ during the duration of a renters stay.” This means that host rentals must have either the owner of the property on site or a manager while travelers use the property.

While the Board of Supervisors appear close to making a final decision on the rental ordinance, Matt Kingsley spoke about the importance of issuing a moratorium, which would prohibit any new applications for non-host short-term rentals being filed. The south county area supervisor said, “A moratorium on new permits is important until we can come to a decision on this matter.”

Issuing a moratorium may be a bit more difficult than the supervisors envision. According to the Board of Supervisor’s legal counsel, the county must identify an “current or immediate threat” to surrounding areas. Lawyers for Inyo County said they were unable to identify a problem that would allow for a moratorium.

Robert James Obituary

Robert “Bobby” Cyril James passed away July 2nd, 2019 in Bishop, California. He was a beloved brother, father, grandfather, uncle and friend to many.

Bobby James was born and raised on a small farm in Mitchell, South Dakota and was a graduate of Mitchell High School. After an honorable discharge from the Navy he met and married Bonnie Redmond where they were married for 28 years while raising their three daughters here in the Owens Valley. Bobby worked as a truck driver for 45 years. Hauling anything from gasoline from Bishop’s local Giggle Springs to all kinds of different freight for Bishops own Night Owl Trucking. Bobby loved to hunt and fish, but also loved his old hot rod cars, owning several over the years. He traveled to numerous old car shows in Deadwood, SD and here in the Owens Valley. He also traveled 3000 miles across the country in his 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass a few years ago visiting family along the way. Bobby was a life member of the VFW Post 8988, serving as a board trustee, member of the post honor guard, and color guard. Bobby was a wonderful family man, proud Navy Vietnam Veteran and loyal friend.

He is survived by his two sisters, Rita Baumgart of Mitchell, South Dakota, Patti Bisset of Ft. Meyers, Florida. His daughter Jennifer Reese and husband Troy reside in Lexington, South Carolina with two grandchildren Tyler and Raegan. His daughter Jaime Holland and husband Mark reside in Bishop with grandson Conner. His daughter Joni Riggs and husband Mike reside in Bishop with granddaughters McKenzie Rae and Karen Lee. Along with countless nieces and nephews spread out all along the country whom he always made a point to see along his travels.

A Celebration of Life will be held for family and friends at the VFW Post located at 484 Short St. Bishop, California on Saturday August 10, at 1pm. A second celebration will be held mostly by family and close friends in the Black Hills of South Dakota at a later date, to be determined. Donations in his name can be made to VFW Scholarship Fund Post 8988, Bishop California.

Murder Suspect Arrested in Lone Pine

Sheriff’s detectives arrest man for the murder of his roommate.

At about 9:52 AM on May 12, 2019, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Communication Center received information indicating that  Cameron Lykins had admitted to killing his roommate and discarding the body. This led deputies to respond to a residence in the 1100 block of Meyer Road. Upon arrival, deputies discovered a bloody scene consistent with a homicide, but no victim. Lykins’ roommate, Houston Auer, also could not be found. Further investigation led to
information that Lykins killed Auer during a disturbance that occurred at the residence during the early morning hours. Lykins then removed the victim’s body from the scene.

At about 1:00 PM, law enforcement officers from the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office and the California Highway Patrol located Lykins in the City of Lone Pine. Lykins vehicle was also located and it contained evidence confirming that Lykins had used the vehicle to transport the victim’s body away from the crime scene.

Ventura County Sheriff’s detectives went to Lone Pine and arrested Lykins for murder. Lykins was transported back to Ventura County and booked into custody at the Pre-Trial Detention Facility. Lykins is scheduled to appear in Ventura County Superior Court on May 14, 2019. His bail is set at $2,000,000.00.

Though there is sufficient evidence to conclude the victim did not survive the attack, Lykins has not cooperated in locating the victim’s body. Attached are photographs of Lykins and his vehicle. Anyone with information about this crime, or who believes they may have seen Lykins or his vehicle, described as a silver Nissan Frontier truck bearing the license plate number Ca. 39077S1, between the hours of 1:00 AM and 9:50 AM on May 12, 2019, is asked to contact Sergeant Carlos Macias at (805) 384-4761.

Man Looking for Treasure at Manzanar Arrested

Thanks to a concerned visitor at Manzanar National Historic Site last weekend, law enforcement authorities were able to apprehend an individual using a metal detector and shovel inside the park boundary. It is a federal crime to dig for artifacts, use a metal detector, or take any items from the ground in Manzanar National Historic Site.

Shortly before 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 16, 2019, a visitor stopped at the front desk and reported seeing an individual with a metal detector. The visitor was able to describe the car and give the license plate. Manzanar rangers called Inyo County Sheriff Department, and within minutes a sheriff’s deputy and a California Department of Fish and Wildlife warden had arrived and detained the suspect. Law enforcement rangers from Death Valley National Park were called to investigate. The suspect faces possible criminal charges.

Manzanar Superintendent Bernadette Johnson expressed gratitude to the visitor and law enforcement whose actions helped deter damage to the site and loss of valuable cultural history. “Manzanar staff members take our responsibility to protect historic resources seriously,” she said. “And it is great to see that the public does as well.”

You can help protect our treasured National Park Service sites.  If you see something suspicious in any National Park Service (NPS) site, stay safe and tell us about it. Talk to any NPS employee for help, or give the Special Agents of the NPS Investigative Services Branch a call. We understand that it may take time to reach areas with cell or internet service. You don’t have to tell us who you are, but please tell us what you know: go.usa.gov/xPd8J

Multiple Lone Pine Residents Win National FFA Awards

Brenda Lacey the FFA Advisor of the Lone Pine High School FFA Chapter. Was recently awarded the Honorary American FFA Degree at the 2018 National Convention & Expo during an onstage ceremony on Friday, Oct. 26 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Mrs. Lacey received a certificate and medal, and their name will be permanently recorded at the National FFA Center.

This award is given to those who advance agricultural education and FFA through outstanding personal commitment. The National FFA Organization works to enhance the lives of youth through agricultural education. Without the efforts of highly dedicated individuals, thousands of young people would not be able to achieve the success that, in turn, contributes directly to the overall well being of the nation.

Also receiving National FFA Awards where Katie Lacey a 2016 Lone Pine High Graduate who is currently a junior at Oklahoma State University studying Agricultural Business/Pre-Law. Katie was recognized as the California FFA Star American Farmer receiving a Gold Medal along with her American FFA Degree. Tinh LeTrung a 2017 Lone Pine High Graduate a sophomore at Cerro Coso Community College received his American FFA Degree.

As the highest degree achievable in the National FFA Organization, the American FFA degree shows an FFA member’s dedication to his or her chapter and state FFA association. American FFA Degree recipients show promise for the future and have gone above and beyond to achieve excellence.

Recipients received a certificate and the American FFA Degree key in honor of their accomplishments and dedication to FFA.

The Lone Pine FFA Chapter had six current members in attendance at the 91st National FFA Convention and Expo, which drew a record 69,944 attendees to Indianapolis for this year’s themed convention “Just One”. Jessica McGuire, Kaili Hykes, Jaye Eaton, Luke Sullivan, Daniel Miller, and Fernando Rodriguez were in attendance for all of the leadership sessions, keynote speakers, and the National FFA Expo. In addition the students spent time at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, toured Purdue University, and explored the beautiful city of Indianapolis.

The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 669,989 student members who belong to one of 8,630 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Bergin Islands. The national FFA Organization is the premier youth organization dedicated to preparing members for leadership and careers in the science, business and technology of agriculture. FFA members are the future food industry’s premier human capital, and they are all driven by the organization’s foundational motto: Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve.

MAJOR ROCKFALL

Mount Whitney Spring opening may be delayed.

Posted by Seth Conners

Substantial snowfall from an atmospheric river event in mid-January has led to a major rock fall on Whitney Portal Road, causing significant damage to an approximately 100-foot stretch of road. This damage may delay the re-opening of the road this spring.

Initial assessments by Inyo County, Cal Trans, and Inyo National Forest indicate that there will be approximately two months of work that include blasting and clearing the rock, and stabilizing and re-building the road bed. Road construction will not begin until after the permitting process is complete.

The road is currently gated just above Hogback Road on Whitney Portal Road to prevent vehicle entrance; however, foot traffic past the gate is not recommended due to the hazardous and potentially unstable conditions surrounding the rock fall.

For now, the area remains under snow and there is no clear estimate of when the removal operations will begin. Continued winter storms as well as the concerns for the stability of the slide area during the spring freeze/thaw cycle make it difficult to predict when this work can safely begin.

The Whitney Portal Road often opens by May 1st, conditions permitting, and that is also the beginning of the Mt. Whitney Lottery for day and overnight hikes. Every effort will be made by all parties involved to have the road open by this date.

While the road is under construction, access to Mt. Whitney is via the Whitney Portal National Recreation Trail (NRT) or from other trailheads such as Kearsarge Pass or Cottonwood Pass. The NRT will close for public safety when blasting is underway.

This winter has brought substantial snow to the Sierra Nevada. Snow should be expected along the trail through early summer and hikers will be required to have technical skill and equipment to access Mt. Whitney in the early season.

NEW FIRE IN LONE PINE

Fire crews respond to a wild fire in Lone Pine.

August 9th
By Seth Conners

Fire crews from numerous agencies are responding to a fire reported along Horseshoe Meadows Road.  It is estimated to be approximately ten acres in size.  Responding agencies include Inyo National Forest, Inyo Sheriffs Office, Lone Pine Fire, Cal Fire, BLM, and CHP.
There is a mandatory evacuation of Horseshoe Meadows Campground (Cottonwood Lakes, Cottonwood pass, and the Equestrian Camp)- hikers and campers will be escorted out.  There is also a hard closure of Lubkin Canyon Road and Horseshoe Meadows Road.
We’ll provide more details as they roll in.

Horshoe Meadows, Lone Pine, Cal Fire, Fire Crews, BLM, CHP

 

MOUNT WHITNEY SEARCH ENDS IN TRAGEDY

Missing hikers body found in Sequoia National Park

July 26th
by Seth Conners

After a five day search that involved nearly 100 people, 2 search dogs, and 4 helicopters, the body of missing hiker John Lee was spotted last Sunday afternoon by a search helicopter in Sequoia National Park.  The 68 year old hiker from Mentone California was discovered at the base of the SouthWest slope of Mt. Whitney at approximately 12,500 feet in elevation.
Lee and several of his friends began the hike on Monday July 18th at 4am and had planned to return to their vehicle at the trail head by days end.  The group had intended to follow the Mountaineers Route, but after becoming concerned for their safety they decided to stop and sleep near the top of the Whitney Russell pass about a half mile from the Mount Whitney summit.
on Tuesday Morning three members of the hiking party stayed behind while Lee continued on.  Later His companions saw his backpack “hanging” on a granite ledge.  After waiting for several hours, his group believed they would meet Lee at the car and descended the mountain with the assistance of several experienced hikers that they met along the way.  They returned to the trailhead around 10pm on Tuesday to no sign of their missing companion.
The search began on Wednesday and went on until Sunday when the body of the missing hiker was discovered.
Lee’s remains have been transferred to the Tulare County Coroner’s Office.  The cause of death is under investigation.

Cover Photo
by Gary Young Photography

MT WHITNEY, SEARCH AND RESCUE, LONE PINE, SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK, KINGS CANYON NATIONAL PARK, INYO COUNTY SHERRIFF’S DEPARTMENT