All posts by Deston Rogers

Long-Time Ambulance Provider Gives Notice to Cease Operations in Bishop Area

Symons Emergency Services has given notice to the Inland Counties Emergency Medical Agency (ICEMA) that in the near future it will cease providing Advanced Life Support (ALS) ambulance services in the Exclusive Operating Area (EOA), which encompasses the greater Bishop area.

Symons has served the Bishop area since 1989. Its current contract with ICEMA requires an ALS level of response in the Bishop area EOA, which ensures that a paramedic is on board the responding ambulance.

Over the past year, the Bishop Fire Department has backed up Symons with additional ambulance service, mostly provided by volunteer Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) delivering Basic Life Support (BLS) services.

“While Symons’ decision to cease service is unfortunate, the City and County are working together to develop a plan that will ensure continued critical ambulance service for the residents and visitors in the greater Bishop area,” said City Administrator Deston Dishion.

Both agencies are committed to keeping the public informed as they work through the process.

In its formal notice to ICEMA, Symons Emergency Services cited unsustainable financial losses as the reason for the
company ceasing ALS operations in Bishop. Symons said it can no longer bear the burden of subsidizing the ambulance service as a result of rising costs continuously outpacing Medicaid reimbursement rates.

Symons, ICEMA, and the agencies are exploring the possibility of Symons providing BLS services as a short-term solution that may allow for a smoother transition to a new provider. All involved Emergency Service partners are committed to ensuring ambulance service is available while a long-term solution is sought. Public meetings will be scheduled in the near future for residents to give input.

NIHD welcomes Ted Gardner Back to its Board of Directors

Northern Inyo Healthcare District (NIHD) recently welcomed its second new Board of Directors member within two months.
Ted Gardner, sworn in Jan. 18, and Melissa Best-Baker, sworn in last month, are both appointees completing existing terms on the five-member Governing Board. They join Mary Mae Kilpatrick,
Jean Turner, and Jody Veenker in maintaining the policy administration needed to operate the 76-year-old District, one of the oldest healthcare districts in the state.

While the long-time Bishop resident is the newest to the existing Board, Gardner is no stranger to the District, having served eight years previously on the Board. He also represented the District
on the Association of California Healthcare Districts (ACHD) and has administrative experience in the physical therapy practice owned and operated by his late wife, Patricia.

Aware of the open position in Zone III, Gardner stepped forward, feeling he could contribute in a challenging fiscal time for the District. “I hope to bring a perspective that balances the healthcare needs of the community with the ability to be always aware of financial restraints,” Gardner said Monday during an interview.
“Every individual has three hopes in receiving healthcare: choice, access, and quality. Choice is the ability to choose a particular provider. Access is the ability to have a provider that does not
require a lot of travel. Quality is being able to receive the best healthcare. It is sometimes difficult to have all three of the hopes fulfilled in a rural area.”

Retired from law enforcement, Gardner said he feels prevention is essential, whether it is best practice COVID-19 procedures or drug addiction. “I hope to be able to make informed decisions
after receiving recommendations from the CEO and Medical Staff,” Gardner said.

Gardner’s appointment ends in November 2024. He intends to stand for election to the board at that time.

Melissa Best-Baker grew up in Round Valley and chose to make Big Pine her home. She is the Deputy Director of Fiscal Oversight and Operations for Inyo County’s Health & Human Services
department. Part of her job includes overseeing 23 budgets, consisting of grants, State and Federal funds. She is responsible for monitoring legislature changes and analyzing those effects
on current programs. She also is the trusted lead for four different financial audits within Inyo County HHS.

As for why she stepped forward to serve on the Board, Best-Baker said representation for Big Pine and the southern reaches of Bishop was key. “I wanted to ensure the District considered the
healthcare needs of the residents in my zone,” she said. “I felt it was very important to have someone with a broad overview of these needs to represent the outlying communities on the Board.”
Best-Baker said she hopes to bring “a different and open opinion” to the Board. “I also plan to use my knowledge and experiences to support the teams that provide healthcare to our
communities,” she said.

Best-Baker has an extensive community service background in education, scouting, and sports. She has given her time and talents to Eastern Sierra Cancer Alliance and AARP’s Tax-Aide
program. She also held leadership roles within the Inyo County Employees Association and is currently an Emergency Medical Technician with the Big Pine Fire Department.

Best-Baker married Chuck Baker in 2006, and together they have three children. She also expressed an interest in standing for election to a full term when her appointment ends in
November 2026.

Board Chair Mary Mae Kilpatrick said the board’s focus turns to selecting a permanent Chief Executive Officer and addressing the District’s turbulent finances. Two CEO candidates are
scheduling on-campus visits in the coming weeks. The Board hopes the new CEO will be in place by March.
“The addition of two Board members was greatly needed,” Kilpatrick said. “Having Melissa’s background in finances and Ted’s experience as a former Board member not only will strengthen
our Board, but will be a great asset to our District and our community. Both have had years of experience in California healthcare and we are very fortunate to have them join our team.”

In addition to Chair Kilpatrick, Board officers for 2023 include Vice Chair Best-Baker, Secretary Gardner, and Treasurer Jean Turner. The fifth Board member, Jody Veenker, will serve in the
Member-At-Large role.


NOTE: Effective February 1, 2023, the Public Health Weekly Test-to-Treat Clinics will move from the Mono County Civic Center to the Sierra Wellness Center (181 Sierra Manor Road #4).

Mono County Public Health provides COVID-19 test-to-treat services and vaccination in Mono County. Pre-registration for COVID-19 vaccinations are requested through My Turn (

Mono County Public Health offers walk-in testing and test-to-treat services on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at the Sierra Wellness Center (181 Sierra Manor Road #4) from 11am – 1pm (excluding holidays). For the rest of the county, Mono County Public Health offers pop-up testing at various times and locations throughout the month as detailed below. In addition, walk-in testing is available at the Bridgeport and Walker Paramedic Stations (upon Paramedic availability).


✔️ Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays: Sierra Wellness Center (181 Sierra Manor Road #4; Mammoth Lakes); 11am – 1pm (excluding holidays: 02/20)


✔️ 02/02/23 (Thursday): Bridgeport Memorial Hall (73 N. School Street); 10am – 2pm

✔️ 02/07//23 (Tuesday): Lee Vining Community Center (296 Mattly Avenue); 11am – 2pm

✔️ 02/09/23 (Thursday): Bridgeport Memorial Hall (73 N. School Street); 10am – 2pm

✔️ 02/14/23 (Tuesday): Walker Community Center (442 Mule Deer Road); 11am – 2pm

✔️ 02/16/23 (Thursday): Bridgeport Memorial Hall (73 N. School Street); 10am – 2pm

✔️ 02/16/23 (Thursday): Benton Community Center (58869 Hwy 120); 12:30pm – 2:30pm

✔️ 02/16/23 (Thursday): Chalfant Community Center (123 Valley Road); 3:30pm – 6:30pm

✔️ 02/21/23 (Tuesday): June Lake Community Center (90 W. Granite Avenue); 11am – 2pm

✔️ 02/23/23 (Thursday): Bridgeport Memorial Hall (73 N. School Street); 10am – 2pm

✔️ 02/28/23 (Tuesday): Crowley Lake (482 S. Landing Road); 11am – 2pm

All clinics are scheduled weather-permitting, and open to the public, regardless of insurance. Appointments are preferred, but walk-ins are welcome. PCR testing is by appointment only. Individuals on the Hwy 6 corridor can call the Public Health Department at (760) 924-1830 to request testing.

Public Health Testing Pre-Registration:

Public Health COVID-19 Vaccination Pre-Registration:

BLM and Inyo National Forest seek public input for off-highway vehicle grants

BISHOP, Calif., January 24, 2023 – The Bureau of Land Management Bishop Field Office and the Inyo National Forest want to hear your ideas on how to ensure off-highway vehicle trails are safe and well maintained on public lands throughout the Eastern Sierra at a virtual public meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 5 p.m.

The public must register to participate in the virtual public meeting at: Registrants will receive a link and phone numbers to join the meeting. Please contact the BLM or USFS for reasonable accommodations to participate.

“This public meeting will give off-highway vehicle users a chance to visit with BLM and Forest Service staff and discuss changes or improvements to enhance outdoor recreation,” said BLM Bishop Field Manager Sherri Lisius. “The BLM and Forest Service will use public feedback to prepare grant applications to the California State Parks’ Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) Grants and Cooperative Agreements Program for law enforcement, restoration, and ground operations and maintenance projects.”

The Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Grants and Cooperative Agreements Program supports well-managed off-highway vehicle recreation in California by distributing more than $30 million annually collected from gas tax, entrance fees and OHV sticker registrations. Cities, counties, districts, federal and state agencies, educational institutions, federally recognized Native American Tribes and non-profit entities can apply for funds to develop, maintain and restore trails; provide law enforcement; and offer safety and training for riders.

Preliminary applications must be submitted to OHMVR Division no later than March 6th and will be available on the OHMVR Division’s website at for additional public review and comment from March 7th-May 1st. The website will provide detailed instructions for accessing the preliminary applications and submitting comments. Public comments must be submitted to both the OHMVR Division and to the BLM Bishop Field Office or Inyo National Forest by May 1, 2023. Comments may also be emailed to the BLM at or to Adam Leidy at the Inyo National Forest at 

NIHD Healthy Lifestyle Talk spotlights Infusion Therapy Services

Northern Inyo Healthcare District invites you to attend this Thursday’s Healthy Lifestyle Talk– Infusion Therapy Close to Home: Local access to management of chronic and acute illnesses. This virtual presentation is set to start at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 26.

The talk brings together many of NIHD’s valued experts on the topic. Hosted by Infusion Unit Manager Tammy Andersen, RN BSN, this session will also feature NIHD Internal Medicine physician Dr. Anne K. Wakamiya, NIHD Oncology Patient Navigator Rosie Graves, and Acute-Subacute RN and Clinical Staff Educator Christy McIntire.

Infusion Therapy is an alternative to oral treatment, involving the administration of drugs directly into a patient’s veins. Historically, hospitals utilized infusion therapy during inpatient care.
Increasingly, hospitals are using infusion therapy in outpatient settings, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic dispensing monoclonal treatments.

NIHD opened its Infusion Center during the summer of 2015. The construction of a new pharmacy has required the center’s relocation to the Post Anesthesia Care Unit, just off NIHD’s Surgical Suite area. The unit remains fully staffed with supportive, knowledgeable, and
experienced registered nurses specializing in this type of therapy.

In addition to providing cancer treatment medications, NIHD’s Infusion team delivers antibiotics to fight infection, blood transfusions to fight anemia, arthritis medications to manage
inflammation and joint pain, and other blood-based treatments.
This educational presentation is part of NIHD’s ongoing Healthy Lifestyle Talk Series. The talks are open to the public and free of charge. NIHD will present the talk in two formats:

Broadcast LIVE Please note that to participate in the Q&A session on YouTube, you will need to log into that service. It would be best to log into Zoom if you do not have a YouTube or Gmail account.

Presented live on Zoom. For connection information, please visit or check the blue banner at the top of


Elderly Couple found Deceased in Death Valley National Park

DEATH VALLEY, Calif. – A elderly husband and wife from Las Vegas, Nevada were found dead in Death Valley National Park on January 13th, according to law enforcement officials.

Paul Fischer, 73, called the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office to report that he had just killed his wife, Mary Fischer, 72.  Mr. Fischer stated his intention to kill himself and told the 911 operator  where to find them. Mr. Fischer left a note in their vehicle which explained that his wife was suffering from chronic health conditions.

Law enforcement officials from Inyo County Sheriff’s Office, Inyo County Coroner’s Office, National Park Service, California Highway Patrol and Bureau of Land Management responded to this incident.

If you are in crisis, contact 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by calling 988, or go online to Services are free and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All calls are confidential.

Bishop Fire Department to host new firefighter or EMT orientation

The Bishop Fire Department is looking for community-minded individuals who are interested in serving others and volunteering as firefighters or EMTs in the new year.

The Bishop Fire Department is holding a new volunteer orientation to kick-off 2023. Anyone who is interested in joining the department is invited to attend the department’s weekly trainings this January,
at 6:45 p.m. every Wednesday at the Fire Training Facility, 960 Poleta Road in Bishop.

There are a few prerequisites to serving on the department, such as passing a background check and physical, but no prior firefighting experience is required. Volunteers can anticipate spending roughly 20 hours per month responding to calls, trainings and meetings. Volunteers respond to a variety of emergency and life safety calls, including fires and medical emergencies, as well as anything from carbon monoxide and propane leaks to weather related incidents, traffic accidents and other service calls. The department’s dedicated staff and volunteers mentor and guide new firefighters through the onboarding and training process.

All of the initial training for firefighters is done in-house, and the department will work with perspective EMTs to help them through EMT class and national registry.

Being a volunteer firefighter or EMT is a catalyst for both personal and professional growth, and it can be extremely rewarding. In recent years, many newly graduated students have joined the department to gain experience and enhance their career goals. In addition to extensive public safety training, working
with a volunteer department can open countless doors for opportunity. Bishop volunteers have participated in several wildfire deployments through Cal Fire, helped with fire prevention education programs in local schools, provided EMS standby for arena events at the Tri-County Fairgrounds, and participated in various local events and activities.

The department has fitness program incentives, as well as a recently implemented volunteer length of service pension program for volunteers who dedicate ten years or more to the department.
Anyone who would like more information about joining the Bishop Fire Department can call (760) 873-5485, or email

Caltrans Completes Safety Project on US 395

MONO COUNTY — Caltrans announced today it has completed a project to improve safety on U.S. Highway 395 in Mono County. The $21.4 million project includes $13 million in federal funding for the construction phase.

Engineers identified this stretch of U.S. 395 for improvements that would increase traveler safety by addressing shoulder and median width, curve radius, stopping sight distance, and embankment slopes to meet newer state standards and specifications.

Construction on the North Sherwin Shoulders Project Construction began in April 2021 from 2.4 miles south of Lower Rock Creek Road to 0.3 miles north. From November 2021 to May 2022, construction paused while the project was in winter suspension.

This project widened the paved highway shoulders to 10 feet and improved sight distances around curves. Construction crews also:

· Installed retaining walls,

· Flattened soil slopes next to the highway,

· Replaced or installed guardrails,

· Upgraded drainage systems,

· Installed skip rumble strips between travel lanes and shoulders,

· Added a bicycle right turn pocket at U.S. 395 and Lower Rock Creek Road.

For more information, visit the District 9 Projects page: North Sherwin Shoulders Project | Caltrans.

For those with sensory disabilities requiring alternate formats (i.e. Braille, large print, sign language interpreter, etc.) and those needing information in a language other than English, please contact Bob Gossman at 760-881-7145 or TTY 711.

Board of Supervisors to Have Changing of the Guard

INDEPENDENCE – Inyo County’s Board of Supervisors will look a lot different when it convenes for its first meeting
of 2023.

The Board and staff will officially welcome newly elected District 1 Supervisor Trina Orrill and District 3 Supervisor Scott Marcellin on Tuesday, January 3 when the duo takes its hard-won seats on the dais after successful runoff elections in November.

Both incoming supervisors come from the private sector where each owns a small business in the Bishop area. They also both have prior experience in public service – Marcellin as a longtime member of the
Bishop Rural Fire Protection District Board of Commissioners and Orrill as a member of the Bishop Unified School District Board of Trustees.

Marcellin and Orrill won runoff elections in November to replace longtime Supervisors Rick Pucci and Dan Totheroh, respectively. The outgoing public servants are retiring with a combined 20 years of service on the Board of Supervisors.

Pucci and Totheroh were treated to fond farewells at the final meeting of 2022. In addition to approving proclamations on December 20 honoring the supervisors for their years of diligent and dedicated service, remaining Board members Jeff Griffiths, Jennifer Roeser, and Matt Kingsley shared their individual well wishes, favorite memories, and overall admiration. Staff members also chimed in with their expressions of gratitude for Pucci and
Totheroh’s leadership and support.

Supervisors Orrill and Marcellin will be sworn in during the traditional, ceremonial swearing-in ceremony scheduled for noon January 3, 2023 in the historic courtroom on the top floor of the Inyo County Courthouse, 168 N. Edwards St. Presiding Judge Stephen M. Place will preside over the ceremony and the public is welcome to attend.

Marcellin and Orrill are both eager to start in their new roles.

“I look forward to my first meeting as District 3 Supervisor,” said Marcellin. “I cannot replace the knowledge that Supervisor Pucci brought to the district, but I can bring a new perspective and knowledge of my own. I will take this oath knowing the responsibility it carries. I look forward to serving the people of District 3 and Inyo County.”

“It is such an honor to be sworn in as District 1 Supervisor, joining Inyo County’s team of elected representatives. I truly look forward to serving District 1, our County, and its communities and am excited to be working alongside the many dedicated individuals who keep Inyo County running,” Orrill said. “I would like to extend a special thank you to outgoing Supervisors Totheroh and Pucci for their many years of dedication and service to Inyo County and its residents. Taking my seat amongst the current supervisors, I look forward to working toward the goals the residents of District 1 shared with me during my campaign, and much more for the benefit of Inyo County.”

Also being sworn in this coming Tuesday are Superintendent of Schools Barry Simpson, Assessor Dave Stottlemyre, Auditor-Controller Amy Shepherd, Coroner Jason Molinar, District Attorney Tom Hardy, Public Administrator/Public Guardian Patricia Barton, and Treasurer-Tax Collector Alisha McMurtrie – all of whom won uncontested races for re-election.

Joining the incumbents will be Clerk-Recorder Danielle Sexton, who was appointed by the Board in 2021 to serve out the remainder of the then-vacant term and won election to a full term in November; and Stephanie Rennie, chief investigator for the D.A.’s Office who won the runoff election for Sheriff.

Orrill and Marcellin are not the only new faces joining the County team. New Inyo County Film Commissioner Jesse Steele replaces longtime Film Commissioner Chris Langley, whose service has been greatly appreciated.

Steele can be reached at (760) 938-0144 or Orrill can be reached at (760) 878-8818 or Contact Marcellin at (760) 878-8791 or



On December 13, 2022, a Mammoth Lakes man pled guilty to two felony counts of assault with a stun gun or taser as well as two counts of felony child endangerment under circumstances or conditions likely to cause great bodily injury or death after an investigation discovered Mr. Lopez used a stun gun to discipline his two elementary school-aged children.

In November of 2022, an investigation by the Mammoth Lakes Police Department revealed that Mr. Lopez had recently purchased a stun gun online and admitted using it on his children to “keep them still.” One of the children had what appeared to be a burn mark or bruise where Mr. Lopez was described to have applied the stun gun. The children were removed from the home and Mr. Lopez was arrested and taken to the Mono County Jail where he has remained
since his arrest.

During service of a search warrant on Mr. Lopez’s home, officers found a black “Police” branded taser as well as a usable quantity of methamphetamine. It was determined the methamphetamine was well within reach of the children and the children disclosed they watched their father consume methamphetamine on multiple occasions.

District Attorney Elect David Anderson stated, “This is one of the most egregious child abuse cases I have seen in the decade I
have been in this office. While I believe addiction issues must be treated, when you assault little, vulnerable children who trust you to defend them, protecting those children will always be my priority. I will be seeking a state prison term for Mr. Lopez.”

Mr. Lopez is scheduled to be sentenced in Bridgeport on February 14, 2023. He faces a maximum penalty of 8 years and 8 months in state prison. Mr. Lopez remains in custody on $200,000 bail.

Mono County Search & Rescue Award Night

The Mono County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) Search and Rescue (SAR) Team is an all-volunteer non-profit organization dedicated to saving lives. When called by the MCSO, the Team responds for searches and rescues at any time, in any weather, for as long as it takes, for free. Each year, the Team honors members for their individual excellence and public service and shares in the experience with family, friends, and the community alike. This year the Team
held a Holiday and Awards party at the Palisades Room at The Village Lodge in Mammoth Lakes on the evening of Saturday, December 3, 2022.

The Team’s primary annual honor for achievement is the Pete Schoerner Rescue Member of the Year award. The award is named in memory of a beloved teammate who died in an iceclimbing accident in 1996, and it is given to the Team member who represents exceptional leadership, individual excellence, and achievement. This year, the Pete Schoerner Rescue
Member of the Year award was awarded to Jerry Evans. Jerry is a very active member of the team responding to 73% of the calls for 2022 and 356 team events since joining the team.
Jerry is often the first to show in the building during a call and often last to leave, bringing a great amount of experience, maturity, and great decision-making support to the Team missions. In addition to his great mission support, Jerry is a member of the Board of Directors, lending his experience to overall Team growth.

New members in training are called Candidate Members, and must undergo training, practice, and testing in eighteen skill categories before being considered for advancement to Rescue
Member. Completion of all requirements takes a lot of dedication and faithfulness over a period that is typically a year or more. The Team honors one Candidate Member each year with the
Rick Mosher Candidate Member of the Year Award. Rick Mosher is the only team member to have died in the line of duty while searching in a small airplane that crashed during an
operation on August 15, 1979. This year the Team selected Jacob Lipman as the Rick Mosher Candidate Member of the Year. Jacob is very active in many areas of Team responses to calls, training, and education. Since joining the team, he has participated in 56 team events and has advanced to Rescue Member, all in his first year. Jacob is a model example of what it means to be a new member to our Team and jumped right in with tremendous commitment.

The Team relies heavily on Support members who ensure our facilities and equipment are ready for any mission any time. This year the Team voted to recognize Bruce Torrence for his
outstanding dedication and commitment to the success of our team. Bruce is the Facility Manager for the team and is working, on a daily basis, to attend to any needs of equipment and make sure everything is operating perfectly. This work varies from repairs and
maintenance on vehicles, restocking supplies on the rescue vehicles or tending to building maintenance and snow removal. In addition to these tasks, Bruce manages all team uniforms, purchasing or repairing what we need for our missions. Bruce’s efforts ensure our facilities, vehicles, gear, and team are ready for any mission. His tireless work and dedication are critical to our success and defines the role of an outstanding support member for Mono County
Search and Rescue.

Additionally, a 30-year service award was presented to Steve Case, who was also awarded the Pete Schoerner Rescue Member of the Year Award in 2006. To date, Steve has completed 693 operations and trainings, was a member of the Board of Directors and serves as our lead Tracking Trainer. Steve is a beloved member of our team and provides a wealth of knowledge on locations, trails, conditions, and mission approach.

A 10-year service plaque was awarded to Megan Guffey, who was also awarded CandidateMember of the Year back in 2012, her first year on the team. To date, Megan has completed a combined 177 operations and trainings.The SAR team wishes to thank members of the community for their generous support.

(Jerry Evans & Rob Patterson MOSAR President) (Jacob Lipman & Rob Patterson)

BUHS Lady Soccer Opens League with Big Win

Bishop Union High School lady varsity soccer team hosted the Fraser Mountain Falcons on Tuesday, December 13 for the first league game of the season.

The lady Broncos came out shooting. The first half ended with a score of 7 to 0 in favor of the Broncos. The second half the Broncos scored three additional points and ended the game with a score of 10 to 0. The Broncos defense were extremely strong only allowing two shots that we’re not on goal.

The offensive attack resulted in 10 goals and six assist.

Alyssa Buchholz had 3 goals and 2 assist, JuliAnna Jackson had 3 goals and 2 assist, Brooklyn Braaten had 2 goals 2 assist and Jillian Veenker scored her first 2 goals of her high school career.

Coach Bill Dailey says the team is coming together nicely.

The Bishop Lady Broncos would like to thank the Frazier Mountain Falcons for the great sportsmanship and friendly competition. And we wish them the best of luck during season.

This Thursday, December 15, 2022 at 3:00 PM, The Bishop Broncos girls varsity soccer team will host the Mammoth Huskies. Come out and support your varsity soccer boys and girls teams. The snack bar will be open with the sale of candies and hot chocolate. Proceeds will go to the Bishop Union HS soccer program.