All posts by Ken Harrison

Caltrans Announces Projects For Smaller, Local Contractors

In support of Caltran’s ongoing effort statewide to utilize small businesses, contracts of less than $333,000 may be awarded to local contractors.

Small business owners interested in working for Caltrans through the “Minor B” program should visit Caltrans District 9’s website, or contact the District’s Small Business Liaison: jessica.klemencic@dot.ca.gov, or 760-874-8853.

 

 

Bishop Bakery Patriarch Erick Schat Dies at 79

Erick Schat, the owner of Schat’s Bakery in Bishop has passed away, early in the morning on Monday [October 4] at Reno’s St. Mary’s Hospital

With the clousure yesterday [October 4] of the bakery and related businesses, Tawni Thomson, executive director of the Bishop Chamber of Commerce, released this statement . . . “[Erick Schat] was a generous icon who invested heavily in the community. “He gave a lot and helped with events,” Thomson said. “He left a legacy that we hope goes on for another 100 years. It’s a sad day.”

The Schat family goes back to 1893 with a line of bakers from Holland. The original Bishop bakery was opened in the early 1900s.  Local Basque sheepherders convinced the family to build a stone oven to bake the sheepherder bread, known to stay fresh while they were out with their flocks.

Erick, carried on that tradition and certainly helped put Bishop on the map, as a must-stop place for fresh baked goods and meals.

KIBS/KBOV News learned of Schat’s passing Monday morning but purposefully held the story, in honor of his much-beloved family and their great involvement and support to the Eastern Sierra communities. . We will of course announce a more formal obituary once issued by the family. Hugs to all of the several family-owned businesses’ employees and their families.

“Wolfie” Spotted Again

California Dept. of Fish & Wildlife has received three reports of a gray wolf with a purple tracking collar in Ventura County. Officials were able to confirm wolf tracks in the vicinity.

The endangered gray wolf, officially known has OR-93, had traveled at least 1,000 miles from his  Oregon release site, to California’s Central Coast, traveling through northern Mono County, before his tracking collar stopped giving signals in the spring.

Last month CDFW found, what appeared to be the grey wolf, picked up on a Kern County rancher’s watering trough video. , Unfortunately the hard drive of the night vision camera is only checked every three months. Arial flights over the area unsuccessfully failed to re-boot the wolf’s tracking device.

The young male who was fitted with a purple tracking collar by federal wildlife officials in Oregon in June 2020, indicated he entered California early this year, passing through the Sierra Nevada and the San Joaquin Valley before reaching San Luis Obispo County, where officials received the last signal on April 5.

“Though historically all of California is wolf habitat, this is the farthest south in California that any gray wolf has been documented since one was captured in San Bernardino County in 1922,” CDFW said in a statement.

“We’re thrilled to hear that OR-93 is likely alive and exploring Ventura County after not hearing from him for months,” said officials.

KIBS/KBOV News named OR-93 “Wolfie ” because he looks so cute.  CDFW cautioned in giving wild animals human-type names.

Go Wolfie!

 

Kelli Davis In As NIHD CEO

Almost In As CEO . . . Northern Inyo Healthcare District’s Board of Directors will offer Kelli Davis the permanent position of the healthcare district’s Chief Executive Officer.

During a special meeting Thursday [Sept. 30], the Board gave direction to proceed with negotiations for final terms of Davis’ contract.

A longtime Bishop resident, Davis has been with NIHD for more than 10 years. She most recently served as NIHD’s COO from 2016 to the present, and as NIHD’s Interim CEO since February 2020.

In giving this direction, the board recognizes that Davis has successfully led the NIHD team through difficult waters in the past year and a half. Davis postively navigated a worldwide pandemic with numerous impacts on the healthcare district’s patients and staff.

“Kelli has proven herself time and time again in her role as Interim CEO,” says NIHD Board Chair Robert Sharp. “One might say she has been interviewing for this position for 18 months as she has led our teams to success. Repeatedly she has showcased the ability to create procedures to streamline workflows, and created infrastructure, and to serve as guideposts for quality and equity, amid novel circumstances.”

Davis represents the fourth-generation of her family to call the Owens Valley home. She holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis on Healthcare Management.

She currently serves on the boards of Eastern Sierra Area Agency on Aging and Pioneer Home Health Care.

(Photo Courtesy of NIHD)

A Big Win For Mono Lake

From Geoffrey McQuilkin, Executive Director of the Mono Lake Committee . . . .

“It’s a bright new day for streams and wildlife in the Mono Basin!

Yesterday evening [October 4] the California State Water Resources Control Board issued Order WR 2021-0086 EXEC, which amends the Mono Basin water rights of the City of Los Angeles to make sure that 20 miles of Mono Lake’s tributary streams, riparian forests, and fish habitat will be restored to health.

This is truly a landmark moment for the streams, and cause for celebration. Head to our blog for more on this exciting news.

Years of hard work by all of us who care about this special place have gone into this achievement. Mono Lake Committee supporters know well that persistence and collaboration are essential ingredients for healing Mono Lake and its tributary streams. This State Water Board action shows that those lengthy efforts can lead to positive results.

As the yellows and oranges of fall tinge the aspens and cottonwoods, the creeks now flow to Mono Lake alive with the promise of a healthier, sustainable future.

Long Live Mono Lake’s tributaries!

Geoffrey McQuilkin
Executive Director

Deceased Local Firefighter Honored by Nat’l Fallen Firefighters Foundation

Peter Hein,  a previous employee of the Inyo National Forest, CAL FIRE, and the Big Pine Volunteer Fire Department, was honored at the 40th Annual National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend, October 2 and 3. This event is sponsored by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF).

Peter Hein was a much-loved community member of Big Pine and the Eastern Sierra, and he is dearly missed.

Please see the remembrance attached for a touching tribute to Peter. Video from the 40th Annual National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend can be viewed here. https://www.firehero.org/events/memorial-weekend/. Peter is honored at approximately 45 minutes into the video.

Hein passed away in 2020.

(Photo Courtesy of Inyo National Forest)

31st Annual Lone Pine Film Festival

Live and In Person . . . . “The Great Western Comeback” 31st Anniversary Lone Pine Film Festival comes October 7 – 10.

Celebrities and invited guests of this year’s will include: Patrick WayneClaude Jarman Jr.Robert CarradineBruce BoxleitnerDarby Hinton, and Cheryl Rogers-Barnett. A few highlights added this year are tapings of “A Word on Westerns with Rob Word, and screenings of Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained and Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood.

Over the course of the weekend, 21 films will be presented with even more film location tours this year. This is the only festival in the world where fans can actually tour film locations.

The Sunrise Tour with cowboy poet, Larry Maurice is not to be missed. This year, the festival is including some more recent films with a theme of The Great Western Comeback, as well as the westerns shot amidst the boulders, canyons, and rocky outcroppings of the Alabama Hills that have set the scene for over 400 action-packed films.

In Spainhower Park on Friday and Saturday from 9-6 and Sunday from 9-5, “Art in the Park” will anchor the north end of Main Street. A community fair with artisan crafts, food booths, and local artists, this year the fair will also feature Mariachi Original de Mexico on Saturday from 5-7:00pm.

Back by popular demand will be the rousing stunt show coordinated by Diamond Farnsworth and John Moio.

Other returning crowd favorites on Sunday include the Cowboy Church on the Anchor Ranch, the VFW Pancake Breakfast on Saturday and Sunday. The  Main Street Parade will be announced by KIBS’ News Director and long-time Film Festival attendee, Ken Harrison, following with the closing campfire in Spainhower Park, Sunday evening at 7:30pm hosted by cowboy poet, Larry Maurice.

Tickets and Info at www.lonepinefilmfest.com.

Teen Aviation Club Meets

Bishop’s Sierra Community Aviation Mentoring Program for teens ages 13 – 19 is open to new members.

Program participants build an actual aircraft with other teens, go flying in general aviation aircraft, and take control of much of the flight.

Some students have continued,  receiving their private pilot license after joining the club.

For more information, contact Tony Unger, 661-510-6351, pastorfsb@gmail.com.

The club meets every Tuesday, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.

Curley Fletcher Raises From the Graveyard

The Laws Railroad Museum and Historical Site will host the Curley Fletcher Birthday Poetry Rendezvous this weekend (Sept. 24 – 26). Along with the reincarnation of famed poet Curley, in his childhood home, other performers and actors in character will be; Waddie Mitchell, Laurel Ann Bogen, Carolyn Dufurrena, Larry Long, Fiddlin’ Pete, Duane Rossi and many more. Gail Mettler Swain will recreate famed author Mary Austin.

lawsmuseum.org or 760-873-5950 for tickets.

Schedule: Friday – Historical Show and Dinner at Whiskey Creek – 6:00 p.m.

Saturday: Poetry, Music, Kids Events, Hand Car Rides, Mining Demo’s, Food and Craft Vendors, and Laws Famous Pie Auction. – 10:00 a.m.  to 7:00 p.m.

Sunday: Curley’s Graveside Farewell Toast – 9:00 a.m.

New Pedestrian Crossing Signals Activated

Caltrans announces two new pedestrian signals were activated on  Monday. One is at the intersection of Highway 395/Main Street at East Elm (Giggle Springs/Sinclair Gas), and on Line Street at the Post Office/Dwayne’s Friendly Pharmacy intersection.

The flashing yellow, flashing red, solid red design is new to Inyo County and most California drivers. One does exist in Mammoth at The Village crossing into the parking lot on Highway 209.

When the pedestrians push the walk activation button, the system looks for breaks in traffic before activating the yellow flashers, but eventually will alert traffic to stop. The signal will then go to a solid red light, and the cross-walkers will see the WALK symbol. The solid red stays on for a normal amount of time for one to safely cross the street.

The signal then goes to flashing red, which is new, indicating it is okay for vehicles to proceed  . . . if safe to do so – as in the pedestrians have cleared the intersection.

KIBS/KBOV News visited the Line Street site and saw three separate interactions, one pedestrian didn’t seem to understand the system, didn’t push the WALK button, and crossed anyway. Another activated the system, and crossed safely. The vehicle stopped at the light did not proceed when the flashing Red was displayed and the pedestrian had safely cleared the intersection. A flashing Red is the same as as top sign – proceed when safe.

Caltrans has produced a short, informative video on the new crossing.

 

Future Eagle Scout to Rebuild Lone Pine Gazebo

Seth Tait, a local scout from Ridgecrest Troop 35 is on his trail to become an Eagle Scout. The Lone Pine resident is 17.

Seth will be completely replacing the aging Spainhower Park Gazebo. “The structure is falling apart, parts have been replaced and not painted. There’s deterioration of structural members, the stairs aren’t to code, and there are electrical safety problems,” said Seth.

 

Seth has reached out to some heavy hitters in the Valley, in donating materials, labor, and funding. Supporting the project are LADWP, Coso Geothermal Plant, Gardner’s Hardware & Lumber, the Celbridge Plant in Olancha,  county planning, and local engineers.

“Becoming an Eagle Scout requires a lot of leadership, citizenship, doing service projects that are important to the community,” said Seth.  Before applying for the top rank of Eagle Scout, among many merit badges and ranks, one has to be able to save a life, tie knots, read maps, and have camped outdoors over 50 nights with the Boy Scout program. An Eagle Scout Project is one of the last endeavors to obtain the rank, It is an honored title that is bestowed for a lifetime.

Unfortunalty Lone Pine Boy Scout Troop 82 folded a few years back. Seth’s older brother, as part of his Troop 82 Eagle Project, rebuilt the bridges across the creek in Spainhower Park.

Seth’s plans were submitted to Inyo County for approval last week. Anyone wishing to help out this project may contact Seth at: sethtait16@gmail.com