Tag Archives: mammoth lakes news

Espitia Accepts Deal with Mono DA for 25 Years in Prison

Alleged sexual predator, Jorge Romero Espitia of Mammoth Lakes has accepted a plea-deal and will be charged with multiple felonies.

The Mammoth Lakes resident will be charged with twelve felonies and one misdemeanor. The felonies range from selling methamphetamine to minors and conducting sexual acts with minors.

A month ago, prosecutors were looking to set up a deal which would put Mr. Espitia away for at least eighty-five percent of a twenty-five year sentence. Mono County Assistant District Attorney, Dave Anderson spoke about the trial in October saying, “We anticipate Mr. Espitia and his attorney will end up accepting the deal the Mono County District Attorney’s office has offered.”

On May 16, 2019, the Mammoth Lakes resident was arrested for nineteen felony charges and had a bail set for $500,000 dollars.

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.

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.

 

Mono County Seek to Mitigate Wildlife Deaths With Grant Money

The Mono County Board of Supervisors expressed support in their letter to Caltrans District 9, and encourage the transportation organization to apply for funding which would help mitigate wildlife deaths from vehicles.

Proposition 68 is an ordinance that provides organizations with funding to help reduce the amount vehicle collisions with animals across the state.

Currently, Caltrans District 9 is requesting $2,000,000 from the state to complete the environmental planning report. In total, the cost of completing the entire project is estimated to cost between $50,000,000-$70,000,000.

Most of the funding would go toward the seven mile stretch from Crowley Lake and the Mammoth Lakes turnoff. “The seven mile stretch of US Highway 395 from Crowley Lake Dr. to the Junction with state route 203 accounts for more than double the number of deceased deer removed by Caltrans Maintenance forces compared to any other seven mile stretch of US 395 within District 9. The letter from the supervisors went on to say “This [area] accounts for 43% of reported collisions for this area of US 395, the stretch of highway also contains the largest hotspot of deer collisions within the district.”

Not only did the supervisors express concern for deer crossing the corridor, they also noted the presence of other species including the Bi-State sage grouse. The letter says, “The areas along these roadways host significant wildlife habitat, supporting populations of resident and migratory species, including the Bi-State sage grouse which is proposed to be listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, and play a critical role for migrating mule deer in the spring and fall.”

In order to obtain the rest of the necessary funding, Mono County will seek money from other state and federal agencies. “If awarded, funding will also allow Caltrans District 9 and their partners to seek additional state and Federal Funding to support the completion of subsequent project development phases.”

Mammoth water board appoints a new member

Mammoth Community Water District Board of Directors Appoint New Member

Local architect and 14-year community member, Robert Creasy fills vacant Board of Director seat

submitted by the Mammoth Community Water District

At a special board meeting on October 15, the Mammoth Community Water District’s Board of Directors appointed Robert Creasy to fill the vacant board position following the passing of Director Gordon Alper.  Mr. Creasy is an architect and has in lived in Mammoth the past 14 years.

Mr. Creasy is a graduate of Stanford University with an undergraduate degree in Environmental Science and Policy after which he received a Master of Architecture degree from Yale University. His education focused on the principles of water and energy sustainability, their economic influences, their engineering solutions, and their architectural applications. Mr. Creasy is excited to serve the community by applying his knowledge and experiences as an MCWD board member.

The MCWD welcomes Mr. Creasy to the board and is confident his skills will help to represent the community of Mammoth Lakes and to benefit the Mammoth Community Water District.

rcreasy
Robert Creasy, photo submitted

About Mammoth Community Water District
MCWD provides water and wastewater utility service to the Town of Mammoth Lakes and surrounding areas. MCWD strives to provide reliable, affordable utility service to our customers and to conduct our operations in a manner reflecting our stewardship role. We encourage our customers to practice responsible use of our limited water resources, and to take advantage of the information and services available to support this goal.

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Forest planning Prescribed Fires

Inyo National Forest Plans Fall Prescribed Fires

The Mammoth and Mono Lake Ranger Districts of the Inyo National Forest are planning to implement several prescribed fire projects for habitat improvement and hazardous fuels reduction in the upcoming fall and winter months.

Prescribed fires will be conducted when weather and fuel moisture conditions are within prescription to safely accomplish the project objectives. By prescribing the fire under optimum weather conditions, managers simulate the natural role of fire. This reduces forest competition, opens gaps in the forest canopy for sunlight to shine through, and recycles nutrients to the soil for re-growth.

Smoke may be visible at times from Highways 395, 158, 167, 120 and 203, as well as the communities of Bridgeport, Mono City, Lee Vining, June Lake, Mammoth Lakes and Crowley Lake. All prescribed fire activities will be coordinated with Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District in accordance with air resource objectives.

Understory burning in the Jeffrey pine forest is expected to begin in late October or early November:

1. East of Highway 395 on National Forest lands near Bald Mountain.

2. West of the Oh Ridge Gun Range near June Lake.

Following the accumulation of snow from fall storms, pile burning will be conducted, and is expected to continue into early winter.

Pile burning is planned on National Forest lands in the Mammoth District in the Reds Meadow Valley, north of Panorama Dome, west of Mammoth Lakes, east and west of Highway 395 near Smokey Bear Flat, around Mammoth Lakes Pack Outfit, west of the Crestview Rest Stop on Highway 395, west of Highway 395 along Deadman Creek Road north to Wilson Butte, southeast of the Town of Mammoth Lakes along Mammoth and Sherwin Creek Roads.

In the June Lake area pile burning is planned on National Forest Lands on Reversed Peak and in the Down Canyon and Peterson Tract areas, and east of Highway 395 at the June Lake Junction.

In the Lee Vining area, pile burning is planned on National Forest lands at the Lee Vining Ranger Station on Tioga Pass Road and on BLM lands west of Highway 395 at Green Creek Road (south of Bridgeport).

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Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men

Run of “Of Mice and Men” starting in Mammoth

Of Mice and Men

October 8-25
Thurs – Sat at 7pm | Sun at 4pm
Edison Theatre, Mammoth

 

Nobel Prize-winning author, John Steinbecks’s classic comes to the stage. Following two migrant workers as they struggle to realize their own version of the American Dream during the Great Depression.

Two drifters, George and his friend Lennie, with delusions of living off the “fat of the land,” have just arrived at a ranch to work for enough money to buy their own place. Lennie is a man-child, a little boy in the body of a dangerously powerful man. It’s Lennie’s obsessions with things soft and cuddly, that have made George cautious about who the gentle giant, with his brute strength, associates with. His promise to allow Lennie to “tend to the rabbits” on their future land keeps Lennie calm, amidst distractions, as the overgrown child needs constant reassurance. But when a ranch boss’ promiscuous wife is found dead in the barn with a broken neck, it’s obvious that Lennie, albeit accidentally, killed her. George, now worried about his own safety, knows exactly where Lennie has gone to hide, and he meets him there. Realizing they can’t run away anymore, George is faced with a moral question: how should he deal with Lennie before the ranchers find him and take matters into their own hands.

Tickets online: $20/$18/$10
Tickets at the door: $22

To purchase tickets and for more information, visit: http://www.edisontheatre.org

cover photo provided

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Mono County Budget Meetings

Mono County Sets Town Hall Meetings

Mono County leadership is encouraging folks to get involved in the County’s Budget process. Town hall budget and strategic planning meetings will be held in Crowley, Bridgeport, Walker, Chalfant, June Lake, and Mammoth. The sessions will include a look at the Mono County economic outlook, a budget overview and a discussion of the status of Mono Counties strategic plan. Public comments are encouraged and responses will be incorporated into the budget hearings in August.

Meeting Schedule.
Monday, July 6, Crowley Lake Community Center.
Tuesday, July 7, Bridgeport Memorial Hall.
Thursday, July 9, Antelope Valley Community Center.
Monday, July 13, Chalfant Community Center.
Thursday, July 16, June Lake Community Center.
Tuesday, July 21, Mammoth Lakes at Minaret Mall, suite Z.
All meeting are set for 6-8pm.

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Mammoth Fire Marshal issues Fireworks warning

Fireworks Prohibited in the Town of Mammoth Lakes

Thom Heller, Fire Marshall for the Mammoth lakes fire protection district,  is passing along the following fireworks information.

All fireworks are prohibited in the Town of Mammoth Lakes, regardless if “safe and sane” or not. In addition, personal use of fireworks is prohibited in the non-incorporated areas of Mono County, on the Inyo National Forest (INF), and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands.

Due to VERY HIGH TO EXTREME FIRE DANGER, both the Mammoth Lakes Fire Protection District and Mammoth Lakes Police Department will enforce a “zero tolerance” policy with respect to the possession and use of fireworks. Fireworks violations will be strictly enforced.

Enjoy and celebrate the holiday in a safe and responsible manner, and feel free to attend the scheduled Fourth of July firework shows. There will be a fireworks show on Saturday, July 4 at Crowley Lake and in The Village at Mammoth on Sunday, July 5.

For additional information on the fireworks restrictions, please contact the Mammoth Lakes Fire Department at (760) 934-2300 or the Mammoth Lakes Police Department at (760) 934-2011. Please enjoy our national holiday in a safe and responsible manner.

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