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.
BISHOP, Calif. – The Bureau of Land Management Bishop Field Office has issued seasonal fire restrictions for BLM-managed public lands in the Eastern Sierra effective Monday, July 1, due to increased wildland fire danger in the region. The restrictions will remain in effect until November 1, or until wildland fire conditions on public lands in the region improve.
Fire officials estimate that nearly 90 percent of wildland fires affecting BLM-managed public lands in California during the last decade have been human caused. Individuals who spark wildfires, intentionally or unintentionally, may be held responsible for fire suppression and property damage costs. Officials encourage the public to be extremely careful when recreating outdoors, to carry a shovel and water at all times, and to check weather forecasts and fire danger conditions before leaving home.
The following restrictions will remain in place until the risk of wildland fire in the Eastern Sierra subsides:
No campfires, charcoal or wood barbeques, or similar open flame fires, except within a designated campsite with a fire ring or fire pit specifically provided for such use in the following developed campgrounds: Tuttle Creek Campground, Goodale Creek Campground, Horton Creek Campground, Crowley Lake Campground and Pleasant Valley Pit Campground. Portable stoves burning gas, jelled petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel are allowed outside of developed campgrounds when used in accordance with a valid California Campfire Permit, available free at all BLM, Forest Service and Cal Fire offices or at www.preventwildfireca.org/Permits.
No tools powered by internal combustion engines off established roads, trails or parking areas (such as chainsaws or lawn mowers).
No smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, or within the developed campgrounds listed above, or while stopped within an area at least five feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials.
No motorized vehicles off established roads, trails or parking areas.
Target shooters may not use incendiary, exploding, tracer, steel core or armor piercing ammunition. Shooting at steel or exploding targets that could emit sparks is not allowed. Target shooters must have a shovel or fire extinguisher on hand. Hunters may use steel shot and other non-lead ammunition as required by California State Law.
No fireworks, including “safe and sane” fireworks.
No welding or operating an acetylene or other torch with open flame, except by special permit.
No use of explosives, except by special permit.
BLM-managed public lands subject to these fire restrictions extend from the southern Owens Valley in Inyo County, north to Topaz Lake and the Nevada border in Mono County. These fire restrictions also apply to popular BLM-managed recreational areas in the region including the Alabama Hills National Scenic Area, Inyo Mountains Wilderness, Volcanic Tableland, Long Valley, Adobe Valley, Mono Basin, Bodie Hills and Slinkard Valley. BLM seasonal fire restrictions for the Eastern Sierra Region are being implemented in close coordination with Cal Fire (https://www.facebook.com/1663811310523258/posts/2419842918253423?sfns=mo).
The BLM is committed to keeping public landscapes healthy and productive by working closely with cooperating agencies, neighboring communities, and public land visitors to prevent wildland fires. To learn how you can do your part to prevent wildland fires visit www.readyforwildfire.org. A listing of fire restrictions throughout BLM California is available at https://go.usa.gov/xmUEG. For specific questions, please contact the Bishop Field Office at 760-872-5000.
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