Inyo County Agricultural Commissioner Nate Reade announced that the county will again be accepting applications to operate cannabis businesses within the unincorporated portions of Inyo County beginning on June 10, 2019. The license application window will remain open to potential business owners at least until August 9, 2019. Once the application window closes, scoring of applications will occur with a final determination made by the Inyo County Board of Supervisors at a public meeting. Application fees will remain $2,711.89. License fees, which will be charged if an applicant is successful, are set at $8,850.00. A list of available license types by licensing zone is posted on the both the Inyo County and Inyo County Agricultural Commissioner’s websites.
The business license is one component necessary for a cannabis business to be legal in Inyo County, the other being a conditional use permit for the property where the business activities will occur. Interested individuals can find more information at the Inyo County website, www.inyocounty.us, or at the Inyo/Mono Counties Agricultural Commissioner’s site at www.inyomonoagriculture.com
Graduation season is here in the Eastern Sierra and West and South Central Nevada. With all of the schools saying goodbye to the class of 2019, parents can be proud of the numbers.
Bishop Union High School will be seeing 122 students receiving diplomas, with no seniors ineligible to walk. The valedictorian of of Bishop High School will be Ariana Pope, who is scheduled to study at the University of Nevada, Reno.
As for south of KIBS/KBOV studios, Big Pine High School will see their class of five seniors walk, with the top student of the class, Cassandra Meza also attending University of Nevada, Reno.
Owens Valley School will have their two seniors walk on June 6th, with Steven Mather being crowned as Valedictorian.
Lone Pine have sixteen seniors slated to graduate depending on how finals go, with the valedictorian still undecided.
Up north in Mono County, Lee Vining will see six graduates walk with two co-valedictorians. The two girls atop the class are Caelen McQuilkin, and Sophia McKee.
Mammoth High School will see ninety-nine seniors graduate, which is one of their largest classes ever. The valedictorian is Guy Laborde.
Over in Tonopah, Nevada, the senior class has already graduated. Thirty-eight students walked with no seniors ineligible to receive their diplomas. The valedictorian for Tonopah High School is Delaney Friel. Currently, she is undecided as to where she will attend college.
Lastly, Round Mountain High School had thirteen graduates walk last week.
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.
BISHOP, CA – Earlier this evening, the Inyo Mono Alpine Cattlemen’s Association’s Spring Tour Dinner Meeting was held at the Talman Pavillion. The meeting included updates on information relevant to ranching interests at the local, regional, state, and federal levels. Staff members from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) were in attendance and announced that LADWP plans to spread 30,000 acre-feet of water in Long Valley starting this coming May 2019.
In a statement shared by LADWP staff at the dinner, LADWP Senior Assistant General Manager of Water System Rich Harasick said, “It has been a great year for rain and snowfall in California – after recent storms the Eastern Sierra snowpack is 188% of normal as of March 8th. LADWP continues to work on its operational plans and is preparing for the upcoming spring runoff. Efforts are already underway with water spreading started in Inyo County.”
Consistent with past practices, LADWP plans to provide water to its lessees based on LADWP operational needs. In prior years when the Eastern Sierra runoff exceeded the capacity of the aqueduct system, LADWP spread water to its leased lands in the southern Mono area. This was the case during the 2017 record precipitation, when as much water was spread as the land could handle.
LADWP is evaluating this year’s anticipated runoff while also considering the demands of the overall water system, which include customer needs, environmental commitments and hydroelectric generation. Taking these factors into account, LADWP is committed to maximizing the beneficial use of runoff water to the fullest extent and working with its lessees and ranching community to use water efficiently. In order to keep residents and partners of the Eastern Sierra informed of the steps being taken to manage runoff, LADWP will continue to issue additional updates as conditions and operations progress.
Don’t forget! Tomorrow, the Wellness Center and Progress house are going to be having a food collection event for The Salvation Army’s food pantry.
Make sure your food bags are placed on your porch or doorstep. The event will take place in neighborhoods between South Barlow to West Bishop/Manor Area the morning of Friday, Nov 2nd and collected the morning of November 5th.
Make sure to put you bags next to your mailbox, to make it easier on those picking up the food.
If you have questions, contact the Wellness Center at 760-873-8039
The Mammoth Lakes Chamber of Commerce has hired Ken Brengle as its new Director. Brengle comes to the position with more than 30 years of Chamber experience, and is no stranger to mountain communities.
“I did a lot of work with Chamber resort associations in Colorado, as well as in Big Bear,” Brengle explained. “I love mountain communities and have a close tie to them.” Brengle was raised in Colorado and is a graduate of Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo. He managed Chambers throughout Colorado, Wyoming and California.
For the past two years Brengle has been working for Union Bank in Southern California while his son was attending high school, but his passion is in the Chamber management field. He is looking forward to getting back to what he loves now that his son is about to graduate.
Brengle’s wife used to live in Mammoth Lakes so he is familiar with the area. Ken is looking forward to jumping feet-first into his new position on April 24.
“Membership is always the number one priority with a Chamber,” Brengle said. “I’m looking forward to getting out and visiting the business community and listening to the business owners to determine the issues that need to be addressed.”
“We are thrilled to have someone with Ken’s breadth of Chamber experience with a track record of building communities by working with both the public and private sectors,” said Mammoth Lakes Chamber President Jeff Guillory. “As a Colorado native, we are equally excited to have someone like Ken who shares our love of and passion for the mountains.”
“I’m looking forward to getting back to a community that is obviously moving forward,” Brengle added, “and to assisting the business community in getting to the next level.”
As Brengle takes on the Chamber Director role, Jessica Kennedy, who has been serving as the Interim Director, and previously as Business Projects Manager for the Chamber and Mammoth Lakes Tourism, will step into the role of Assistant Director of the Chamber of Commerce.
Mammoth Lakes Tourism has hired local Emily Summers as its new Office Manager to replace the work that Kennedy was doing for MLT. Summers will begin work on April 24 as well.
Cancer awareness fundraiser is part “Students Supporting Cancer Awareness” campaign
Posted by Seth Conners
According to a press release from Bishop Union High School, students of Bishop Union High School are hosting a fundraising carnival to support the ESCA (Eastern Sierra Cancer Alliance). The community is invited to the family, fun event that will take place tonight from 5:30pm to 7:00pm in the mall at Bishop Union High School.
The Bishop Unified School District is running a district wide “Students Supporting Cancer Awareness” campaign from March 27th to April 7th. During this 2 week period, students will have many fun and creative activities on each campus to help raise money and awareness for cancer. All funds raised at the carnival will go towards Bishop Union High School’s contribution to the Eastern Sierra Cancer Alliance. The ESCA is a grassroots, non-profit organization that helps many Inyo and Mono county residents by providing resources, financial aid, and gives moral support for those battling cancer.
The carnival will feature a variety of classic games such as mini golf, frisbee toss, Nerf Gun shooting range, hoop shoot, ring toss, and football toss. Prizes will include a photo-shoot with Mike McDermott, a photo-shoot with Steve Dutcher, and Toys donated by J. Rousek Toy Company; a food booth will be hosted by the Bronco Booster Club.
Mono County Receives National Conservation Leadership Award
County’s Teamwork Recognized by Bureau of Land Management and US Forest Service
Bridgeport, CA – On March 16, 2016, Mono County’s role in the collaborative effort to conserve the Bi-State Distinct Population Segment (Bi-State DPS) of Greater Sage-grouse was recognized during the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and US Forest Service (USFS) Joint Awards Reception held at the 81st North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference in Pittsburgh, PA. Mono County was honored with the Conservation Leadership Partner of the Year award, which recognizes outstanding conservation accomplishments for fish, wildlife, and/or native plants and their habitat on public lands.
“Mono County has been an exemplary partner for the BLM and the Forest Service in support of Bi-state sage-grouse conservation, taking an innovative approach to dealing with a potential Endangered Species Act listing. The County was proactive and dove into helping with or leading projects to conserve the Bi-State sage-grouse and its habitat across jurisdictional boundaries, and assisted with activities that would benefit the bird across its entire range, not just within the county. The County’s part in summarizing past conservation activities completed by the Local Area Working Group (LAWG) and the future commitments of the LAWG to fund high priority sage-grouse projects was imperative in informing the decision not to list the DPS as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act in April of 2015,” noted Steve Small, BLM, Chief, Division of Fish and Wildlife Conservation, during the presentation.
“The BLM has been a fantastic partner and we have a great story to tell about Bi-State sage-grouse conservation. We are but one part of the effort which, besides the BLM, also includes the US Forest Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Geological Survey (USGS), Nevada Department of Wildlife, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and private ranchers and landowners. We are honored to accept this award in recognition of the good work being done by all our partners,” stated Wendy Sugimura, Mono County, at the award reception.
“This is a big deal – only one award is given a year, and typically it’s given to large, well-funded organizations whose sole mission is conservation. For a county to receive it is unusual, and Mono County should be very proud to have received this distinguished award,” explained Steve Nelson, Field Manager for the Bishop BLM Office, which nominated Mono County for the award. “There’s no other county anywhere in the nation, that I’m aware of, that provides the kind of support and commitment for sage-grouse conservation that we experience here in our partnership with Mono County.”
Mono County is a part of the Local Area Working Group (LAWG) for the Bi-State sage-grouse and has participated at varying levels since 2002. In 2012, the County increased its involvement and became a leading partner in the work to support and implement conservation actions for the Bi-State DPS and its habitat. Tim Fesko, Mono County Board of Supervisors, stated in April 2015, “Mono County had a choice when the proposed listing [of the Bi-State sage-grouse] was issued: Commit to the conservation effort based on the understanding that the sage-grouse should not be listed for scientifically verifiable reasons, or fight the listing. Mono County chose conservation and the power of partnerships and collaboration over political grandstanding.”
Mono County, Sage Grouse recovery, BLM Division of fish and wildlife
On June 1, 2015 the Mono County DA’s Office conducted flight operations in accordance with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s marijuana eradication program. The purpose of the program is to locate large scale outdoor marijuana grows on public lands within Mono County. These flight operations resulted in the detection of several marijuana grows in rugged and remote locations in the southern Mono County area. The grow sites were very large in size and ran up to approximately seven miles in length.
As a result the Mono County DA’s Office, with the assistance of the Forest Service, initiated a two month investigation. The investigation was also aided with the assistance of the Inyo County District Attorney’s Office and the Inyo County Sheriff’s Department since some of the marijuana grows crossed over into Inyo County.
During the investigation, it was determined that the largest grow, which was located in Mono County, was typical of grows commonly operated by Mexican Drug Trade Organizations. Along with those characteristics, several Hispanic males were identified and were seen tending to the garden armed with rifles.
On August 11, 2015 Investigators with the Mono District Attorney’s Office, assisted by Inyo County District Attorney’s Office, Forrest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Guard and the Inyo County Sheriff’s Department, conducted a raid operation to arrest and detain any gardeners found in the site.
Due to unknown reasons, it was determined that the persons responsible for tending to the garden had fled, leaving the garden unattended. The heavy late July rains appeared to have damaged the marijuana plants within the garden and therefore that is suspected to be the reason that the garden was abandoned.
During eradication and reclamation efforts approximately 40,000 marijuana plants with a conservative street value of well over $2 million dollars were located and destroyed from this site. During reclamation efforts a total of 4,401 pounds of trash was removed. Some of that consisted of 10.82 miles of irrigation hose and 550 pounds of fertilizer.
Numerous other illegal and highly toxic pesticides were found being used in the garden and Hazmat crews later responded to recovered and removed those pesticides.
Large scale marijuana gardens on public lands creates a danger to the public and to our recreational users of these lands. Unfortunately, hunters, hikers and others that come across these types of gardens and the individuals who attend these gardens put themselves in great danger. Along with the public danger there are also serious environmental impacts that these marijuana gardens create. If you ever encounter a marijuana garden you should quickly and quietly remove yourself from the area. Do not continue on your path and do not make contact with anyone in the area. Immediately call the Mono County District Attorney or any other law enforcement agency as soon as you possibly can.
photos provided by the Mono County District Attorney
mono county district attorney, Tim Kendall, inyo county district attorney, mono county, inyo county, inyo county sheriffs department
Inyo National Forest Advisory: Increase in Plague Activity in the Sierra Nevada
Based upon recent incidents of rodents with plague and a handful of cases where plague was contracted by people visiting nearby federal lands, the Inyo National Forest would like to advise recreationalists and residents to take the following steps as a matter of caution while visiting the Inyo National Forest.
Never feed squirrels, chipmunks or other rodents and never touch sick or dead rodents.
Avoid walking or camping near rodent burrows.
Wear long pants tucked into socks or boot tops to reduce exposure to fleas.
Spray insect repellent containing DEET on skin and clothing, especially socks and pant cuffs to reduce exposure to fleas.
Keep wild rodents out of homes, trailers, and outbuildings and away from pets.
If you notice dead rodents without obvious signs of injury while recreating, please contact your local health department (Mono County: 760-924-1830; Inyo County: 760-873-7868) or the California Department of Public Health’s Vector-Borne Disease Section at 916-552-9730. If possible, note the type of rodent (i.e. mouse, chipmunk, squirrel, etc.), location and date seen. If you are in a campground, please notify the campground host in addition to the health department.
Early symptoms of plague may include high fever, chills, nausea, weakness and swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpit or groin. People who develop these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention and notify their health care provider that they have been camping or out in the wilderness and have been exposed to rodents and fleas.
Although the presence of plague has been confirmed in wild rodents over the past few weeks in nearby areas, the risk to human health remains low. In California, plague-infected animals are most likely to be found in the foothills and mountains.