Tag Archives: mono county news

Northern Inyo Hospital is Running Low on COVID-19 Tests

Interim Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Will Timbers and Chief of Staff, Dr. Stacey Brown held a press conference Friday afternoon to discuss the current situation relating to the COVID-19 pandemic at Northern Inyo Healthcare District.

Nothing major has happened this week according to Dr. Brown, which is something he is relieved about. “I am super happy that we don’t have anything earth shattering to report on today, which shows that we are doing what we can to put a lid on this thing,” Brown remarked.

The discussion shifted toward antibody testing, which is being offered to essential workers throughout the community. “I think we are getting some traction finally on the testing front. I believe we will expand our net of antibody testing before these tests expire on the twenty-fifth of this month. Personally, I have signed off on eight to ten tests for my patients in the past few days. We will hear from our Director of Diagnostics, Larry Weber on how many tests have been administered by next Wednesday,” Brown said

Though antibody testing is available for many in the community, the same can not be said for the hospital’s supply of nasal swabs that detect active COVID-19 infection.

Northern Inyo Hospital has a short supply of PCR nasal swabs due to the rise in cases throughout the United States.

Dr. Timbers remarked that the supply chains are starting to waver, which has made it more difficult for the hospital to acquire testing kits. The Chief Medical Officer said, “We are down to twelve tests, so we will likely run out of them in the next few days. We will be receiving more of them in the next 5-7 days. The reason for a lack of tests goes back to the conversation at beginning of pandemic. We need to have systems in place, so when we do have a crisis situation we can respond accordingly.”

Mammoth Lakes Cancels Fourth of July Festivities

MAMMOTH LAKES, CA (April 27, 2020) – Due to the timing uncertainty for the modification or lifting of the Governor’s unprecedented Stay At Home Order, along with the state’s subsequent mitigation measures for special events, the Town of Mammoth Lakes and the Mammoth Lakes Chamber of Commerce have made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s Fourth of July festivities.

Cancelled July 4 festivities in the Mammoth Lakes area for 2020 currently include the Annual Mammoth Lakes Fourth of July Parade, Footloose Freedom Mile, POPS in the Park, Mono Arts Council: Mammoth Celebrates the Arts Festival, Mammoth Museum at Hayden Cabin Family Celebration, and the Fireworks Spectacular at Crowley Lake.

“This is a very serious situation and now, more than ever, we must be vigilant about following guidance and directives in order to flatten the curve and to decrease the strain on our local health care system. Physical distancing and other mitigations must continue even after the Stay At Home Order is lifted. We are experiencing some respite, but we are clearly not out of the woods yet. You may say we have a bit of a cease fire, but the war is not over,” stated Dr. Boo.

“The Town of Mammoth Lakes would like to recognize and acknowledge the many long-standing partners, supporters and sponsors of the annual Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular at Crowley Lake,” stated Stuart Brown, Parks and Recreation Director. “Canceling this generational event was an extremely difficult decision, but in our current environment of uncertainty, safety is our top priority. Next year will be bigger and better thanks to the Crowley Lake Fish Camp, L.D.C., Mono County

Community Services Area 1, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, and Pyro Spectaculars by Souza.”

“While we know the Fourth of July festivities are always a favorite for tens of thousands of our loyal Mammoth Lakes’ visitors, we appreciate the need to focus on health and safety,” said John Urdi, Mammoth Lakes Tourism Executive Director.

This decision does not come lightly to any of the partnering entities. These measures are being taken to ensure the health and well-being of all Mono County residents and our many loyal visitors. The Chamber of Commerce is aware of the fiscal impacts this will have on the business community and has already begun, in partnership with the Town of Mammoth Lakes and Mammoth Lakes Tourism, working toward an alternative for the business community, locals, and visitors to celebrate our national holiday in a safe and responsible manner.

Mono County DA Will Not Seek Death Penalty in Alleged Premeditated Murder Case

DECISION TO NOT SEEK DEATH PENALTY IN PEOPLE V. CORREA-VASQUEZ

Part of the District Attorney’s responsibility in a murder case is to make the decision whether to seek or not seek the Death Penalty. To assist in that decision, the District Attorney convenes a death review panel and conducts a Penalty Phase Investigation. The victim, Jose Omar Hernandez Sanchez, was brutally gunned down in the early morning hours of October 9, 2016, by the defendant Josue Adalberto Corea-Vasquez. The defendant was charged with murder with special circumstances of lying in wait which makes the crime eligible for the death penalty. The Death Penalty Investigation comprises of input from the victim’s family and friends, input from the defendant’s family and friends, consideration of the facts of the crime, background investigation into the defendant, ties to gangs, prior crimes, reputation and involvement in the community, and the overall purpose in seeking justice.

Since 1778, capital punishment has been a legal penalty in California. In 1972 the Supreme Court struck down the capital punishment statute however, within a few months, Proposition 17, was passed by the voters which once again legalized the death penalty. In 2012 and 2016, California again, rejected two initiatives to repeal the death penalty by popular vote. As of March 2019, current Governor Gavin Newsom put a moratorium on any further executions even though the law found favor with the California voters. Since 1972 only 13 executions have taken place with the last one in 2006. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation records show 744 inmates currently on California’s death row.

Regardless of California’s history regarding the death penalty, as long as capital punishment remains as a lawful sentence, it is my legal obligation to thoroughly and thoughtfully consider all the information and facts in a very deliberate manner and decide whether the death penalty is an appropriate sentence to be applied in a case.

After receiving input from the Death Review Panel, meetings with the victim’s family and evidence gathered through the Death Penalty Investigation, as well as evidence provided by the defendant’s family, the office will not be seeking death as a sentence and instead will seek the maximum of life in prison without the possibility of parole. In balancing the crime with the information that was gathered, sentencing to life in prison outweighed death. Discussion with victim’s family was critical to this decision and although the murder of the victim will never be understood, showing compassion and not moving forward with a lengthy process will allow the family to heal and move forward.

Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra Prepares for Operation Mountain Freedom

Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra (DSES), in partnership with Mammoth Mountain Ski Area and the Inyo National Forest Service will welcome more than 50 active and veteran military personnel and their families. Participants have a myriad of disabilities, including Post Traumatic Stress, Traumatic Brain Injuries, Major Depressive Disorder, and amputations.

Beginning with a welcome dinner hosted by Mammoth Lakes Fire Department, the community of Mammoth Lakes will gather together to support our wounded warriors for a week of therapeutic recreation as part of Operation Mountain Freedom.

This event, which has been growing each year since 2007, was created in an effort to help our wounded warriors reintegrate into civilian life within the beauty, safety, and joy of the Sierra Nevada mountains. New this year, athletes will participate in sessions geared toward assimilating to civilian life including goal setting, successful transition and caregiver support.

Like all of DSES’s programs for military athletes, Operation Mountain Freedom often changes the lives of participants. For example, Julius, a retired Army Ranger who first came to Operation Mountain Freedom in 2016 learned to Alpine and Nordic ski as part of the program. Julius has since returned to several events to improve his skills and now competes across the country in Nordic and biathlon races. He and his fiancée, Katie, continue to support the program in many capacities like fundraising and mentoring both military and civilian athletes new to the world of adaptive sports. Julius and Katie are now so entwined in the DSES family that they are making the organization as part of their wedding celebrations which include a ceremony at the summit of Mammoth Mountain coinciding with Operation Mountain Freedom.

On Thursday, January 16, the Mammoth Lakes community is invited to come together to recognize all participants with a ceremonial Arch of Honor at 8:45am at the Gondola Building at Main Lodge.

Operation Mountain Freedom is supported by generous grants and contributions from The Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF), National Football League (NFL), Disabled Sports USA (DSUSA), Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, and Steve and Dana Garcia.

For a complete schedule of events and more information about Operation Mountain Freedom, please contact Amanda Carlson at 760.934.0791 or email acarlson@disabledsportseasternsierra.org.

Mammoth Lakes Alleged Child Predator Arrested

On July 22, 2019, Mammoth Lakes Police and Mono County District Attorney Investigators arrested Christopher Adams Libby, 61, for three felony counts of sexual acts with a child under the age of14. In accordance with the applicable statute of limitations, Mr. Libby is alleged to have had substantial sexual conduct with the minor and the conduct is supported by independent corroborating evidence. These acts were alleged to have occurred in Mammoth Lakes between the summers of 2002 and 2003.

During the course of the investigation, it was discovered that there are potentially other victims in the Mammoth Lakes area spanning decades, possibly as far back as the early 1990’s. If you or someone you know has any information concerning Mr. Libby and sexual acts with children, please call Officer Brian Madera and the Mammoth Lakes Police Department at760-970-8413 or Chief Investigator Chris Callinan and the Mono County District Attorney’s Office at 760-858-2127.

 

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.

33-Year Old Male Arrested for Rape in Mammoth Lakes

On March 18, 2019, Mammoth Lakes PD responded to a call from a registered nurse at Mammoth Hospital who said there was an individual in the emergency room requesting an officer because she had been sexually assaulted.

Mammoth Lakes Police Department took a report from the victim, and arrested Salvador Arevalo-Montes, a 33 year old Hispanic male on March 19, 2019 at the Crestview Condos in Mammoth Lakes.

Arevalo-Montes was booked into the Mono County Jail on charges of Rape by Force, Sexual Penetration with a Foreign Object, Oral Copulation, and False Imprisonment. The perpetrator’s bail is set at $100,000.

Body Recovered from Crowley Lake

Mono County recovers body from Crowley Lake

May 23, 2016
By Arnie Palu

The Mono County Sheriffs office has released details from a weekend recovery.  According to the Mono County Sheriffs Department the body is presumed to be that of missing La Habra man Juan Manuel Vierheller.  Vierheller was reported missing back on May 13th.  Mono County Sheriffs department statement:

On the morning of Sunday, May 22, at approximately 10:30 a.m., the body of a deceased male was found in Crowley Lake. Mono County Sheriff’s deputies were on scene within minutes and took custody of the deceased person. The body is presumed to be that of missing person Juan Vierheller, who was last seen at Beaver Cove in the early morning of Friday, May 13. The family of the missing person has been notified. An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death.

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Work Begins to open Lakes Basin and Reds Meadow Roads

Crews being clearing Lakes Basin and Reds Meadow Roads

submitted by the Forest Service
April 21, 2016

The Inyo National Forest, in cooperation with the Town of Mammoth Lakes and Cal Trans, is beginning work to open the Lakes Basin and Reds Meadow roads.

These areas are popular recreation destination for visitors and locals alike and provides access to the Devils Postpile National Monument, trailheads that access the John Muir Trail and destinations such as Agnew Meadow, Thousand Island Lakes, Rainbow Falls, and the Minarets. Fishing, camping, horseback riding are also popular with visitors.

Work in the Lakes Basin will begin on April 25th. The walking and bike paths will remain closed while work is underway since there will be heavy equipment removing hazard trees for the next several weeks. This will create unsafe conditions for pedestrians and cyclists. Snow removal and routine maintenance (pothole repair, culvert clearing, etc.) will also be underway. The expected opening date is May 10th.

Work on the Reds Meadow Road will begin on May 10th. Similar maintenance work and hazard tree removal is also required on this road and the road will be closed to pedestrians and cyclists while this work is underway. It is anticipated that this road will open by mid-June.

“The opportunity to complete this important safety work now will allow providing safe public access throughout the summer,” said Jon Regelbrugge, Mammoth and Mono Lake District Ranger. “We appreciate your patience while this essential work is completed.”

Expect campground in the Lakes Basin to open in early June and campgrounds in the Reds Meadow Valley to open in mid-June.

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Gardner Announces Candidacy for Mono Supervisor

June Lake Resident Bob Gardner Announces Candidacy for Mono County Board of Supervisors

submitted  by Bob Gardner, June Lake, CA January 11, 2016

June Lake resident Bob Gardner announced today he is running for the Third District seat on the Mono County Board of Supervisors in the June 7, 2016 election. Current Supervisor Tim Alpers announced in November he would not seek re-election to the seat, which represents the June Lake and Mono Basin areas, and the northwest section of the Town of Mammoth Lakes.

Being on the Board of Supervisors is a chance to give back to a region that has been special to me for many decades,” said Gardner. “I have seen Mono County grow and change over the years. I now want to be part of ensuring it will continue to be one of the finest counties in California, and a great place to live, work, and play.”
Gardner has 40 years of experience managing public and non-profit organizations. “I am running for this office because we need to continue to move our county government forward to keep the quality of life we all seek,” stated Gardner. As an elected local official in California on the Redlands City Council, Gardner worked closely with other Council members to set priorities, make tough decisions, and hold managers accountable for results. “My career goal has been to make sure taxpayers get their money’s worth from government. I want to do this now for Mono County.”

The challenge to our Mono County Board of Supervisors, according to Gardner, is to sustain and build our current quality of life through wise policy-making and prudent fiscal management. “Much progress has been achieved in the last few years through implementation of technology infrastructure, strategic planning, energy efficiency, and other initiatives. We need to work together to build on this foundation to ensure our success in protecting and preserving what we value most in Mono County. At the same time we honor the past, we also need to look to the future and make sure we anticipate new visitors and other community demands. Mono County is in a position to increase its collaboration with local, state, and federal agencies to leverage our county’s resources and meet these future demands. We need to be ready to respond and adapt to these changes while maintaining our quality of life and growing our economy. ”

Gardner’s approach on the Board would be to listen carefully to citizens and business owner concerns, address issues as soon as possible, and then keep everyone informed about progress achieved. “People have lost trust in government. I have found it can be built again through cooperation, collaboration, and frequent direct, open and honest communication.” Gardner said as the District Three Representative he would initiate a monthly “Coffee with the Supervisor” event in Mammoth, June Lake, and Lee Vining, modeled after a similar activity he and the other Redlands City Council members started.

Bob grew up in Bishop and enjoyed hiking, fishing, and skiing in the Eastern Sierra. “My family and I love the June Lake area and the Eastern Sierra. We have enjoyed being part of the June Lake community for many years.” He is currently a member of the June Lake Citizens Advisory Committee.

Gardner is currently the Executive Director of the Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association (ESIA), which operates 11 bookstores and provides various interpretive programs in US Forest Service Visitor Centers and Ranger Stations in the Eastern Sierra. He is also the President of the Eastern Sierra Land Trust Board of Directors. He has been a chief financial officer responsible for multi-billion-dollar budgets in both federal and state agencies throughout his career, including NASA, the US Department of Homeland Security, and the US Department of Veterans Affairs. In 2008 Bob received a Presidential Rank Award, one of the highest awards for Federal civil servants. He also served as Vice President of Administration and Finance at California State University San Bernardino. Bob graduated from the University of Redlands with a major in Government in 1973. He received a Masters in Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University in 1975.

Bob’s wife, Karen, is a recently retired United Methodist pastor. They have three grown sons, Adam, Kyle, and Nathan.

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