All posts by Ken Harrison

STEVEN PACO OUT FOR BISHOP BRONCOS FOOTBALL SEASON

(Edited 10-21-20 @ 12:30 p.m.) Two weeks ago, in what was supposed to be a fun pick up game of football with friends in Bishop City Park, turned into a high school sports-ending injury. Two weeks ago,  Broncos star running back, Steven Paco suffered a major ACL ligament tear.

The senior varsity running back had surgery at Mammoth Hospital on Monday. On Tuesday afternoon, to show their support, love, and help in his healing process, friends, family, and fans held a “Paco Parade” past his home in west Bishop, with honking horns, signs, and hugs.

While he was all smiles at the surprise parade, of his injury, he said “It just really hurts.” His mom Shelly says he will start recovery therapy on Friday.

Paco started playing football in the 6th grade. He played for the varsity Bishop Broncos in his freshman year.

With his sports future uncertain for now, Steven said he will perhaps attend a two-year community college that has a football program. Then he might be able to transfer to a four-year college, hopefully with a scholarship.

 

 

LONE PINE LIGHTS UP

An extensive project to restore the town’s classic neon signs has been completed and the reviews from residents and visitors alike are, well . . .  glowing.

“Before photo” of the “jumping salmon” at the High Country Outfitters and Sporting Goods in Lone Pine next to Chamber of Commerce.

The return of vibrant neon lights along US 395, which is also Lone Pine’s main street and business corridor, “makes my heart smile when I see the signs. They bring back all my memories of childhood,” said Kathleen New, director of the Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce.

Both the Gardner’s True Value Hardware Store’s iconic flashing rainbow trout neon sign and the neon sign advertising ice were restored to their former glory as part of the project.

“After photo” of the “jumping salmon” at the High Country Outfitters and Sporting Goods lights up downtown area in Lone Pine.

The idea of restoring the town’s fading neon signs had long been discussed, and those discussions and the noticeable deterioration of the signs themselves caught the attention of artist Lauren Bon, of the Metabolic Studio, who has been directing the studio’s ongoing engagement in Lone Pine and the Owens Valley for more than a decade. Bon thought rejuvenating and upgrading the signs would be a unique blend of artistic restoration, community building and historic preservation.

The idea started to take more tangible shape in 2018 when Bon and the Metabolic Studio team began a conversation with business owners and residents about restoring the six remaining vintage galvanized steel and neon signs in Lone Pine and Independence that were originally installed in the 1940s and ‘50s.

The Metabolic Studio provided funding for the neon restoration project as part of its long-term, ongoing engagement with the Lone Pine community and Inyo County.

Metabolic Studio’s action included the skills of Kathleen New, Executive Director of the Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce, neon restoration expert John Iadipaolo, owner of Artistic Sign Company, and the proprietors of the businesses with original neon signage in need of repair,  which had not yet gone digital or LED. The project kept intact the vintage patina of the galvanized steel signs and put all the neon signs on timers to preserve the beauty of the dark sky in the area after hours.

The Artistic Sign Company had to bring all neon and glass back to its shop in Ventura where craftspeople took field patterns on paper of the signs. Next, new neon tube glass that matched the color of the vintage neon was remanufactured from the original tube glass, filled with neon gas then returned to the towns of Lone Pine and Independence to be reinstalled.

The Mt. Whitney Motel is located at the north end of town in Lone Pine.

In addition to the neon fish and other signs at Gardner’s True Value, the other rejuvenated neon signs are located at the Merry-Go-Round restaurant, the Mt. Whitney Motel, the “jumping salmon” at the High Country Outfitters and Sporting Goods; Ray’s Den Motel and the Courthouse Motel in Independence.

 

(PHOTOS: Courtesy of Lone PIne Chamber of Commerce and Metabolic Studios)

F-18 CRASHES IN INYOKERN

(UPDATED 10-21 @ 8:00 a.m.)  Lemoore NAS reports the pilot involved in yesterday’s mishap was released for the medical facility following a thorough examination.

The crash site area is closed by BLM as the investigation continues. Highways 14 and 178 were reopened by CHP late Tuesday.

(KIBS/KBOV would like to thank our media friends at NBC 17 KGET in Bakersfield and photographer Daniel Espindola for posting his first-on-the-scene photo to media)

Original Post . . .

Around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 20, an F/A- 18E  fighter jet out of Lemoore Naval Air Station crashed near Highway 14 at the intersection of Highway 178, near Inyokern. The pilot ejected and was taken to a local hospital for examination.

Lemoore NAS acknowledged on social media the jet was on a routine training flight over Superior Valley, south of China Lake Naval Weapons Station in Ridgecrest.

“The U.S. Navy is cooperating fully with local authorities,” posted the base’s public information office.

Firefighters from China Lake NAWS  responded as well as local authorities. CHP has both highways blocked as the investigation continues.

Today’s crash is the second such area crash of a F/A-18E  in just over a year. A $66 million fighter jet crashed on maneuvers flying through Star Wars Canyon in Death Valley on July 31, 2019, killing the pilot and injuring seven bystanders on the ground.

(Photo Credit: Daniel Espindola)

Car vs. House on Clarke Street

(Edited 10/20 @ 4:20 p.m.) Late Sunday night, a local 20-year old driver lost control of the vehicle he was driving, crashing into a parked car and residence in the 300 block of Clarke Street.

Bishop Volunteer Fire Department  had to extract the victim and his adult passenger. They were both transported to Northern Inyo Hospital, with non-life-threatening injuries. No one inside the residence was injured.

According to the Bishop Police Department, the driver is still hospitalized as of October 20.  His name has not yet been released.

Bishop police found alcohol and marijuana inside the vehicle. The investigation continues and any additional information  leading up to the DUI/collision would be appreciated by Bishop police.

(Photos: Courtesy of Bishop Police Department)

GIVING BACK TO WILDLIFE REHAB

KIBS/KBOV took all our station’s recycling to the Manor Market Recycling Center and earmarked our buy-back funds towards the Wildcare  Eastern Sierra rehabilitation program.

The rehab center, with the help of volunteers and foster “parents,” have helped recently to rehabilitate nesting and fledging Sparrows, House Finches, Ducklings, Starlings, and Rabbits in their homes.

Red Tailed,  Red Shouldered, Cooper’s Hawks, and several owls have been recent residents in their rehab flight center, along with a migrating but off course young Pelican and Avocet.

Two orphaned baby Racoons were also rescued recently.

Earmarking CRV recycling at Manor Market is just one way to support the good works at Wildcare Eastern Sierra. Volunteers are always welcomed.

(Photo: KIBS/KBOV’s News & Sports Director, Ken Harrison, and the station’s teenaged Fast Food Critic, Chase Hernandez, are happy to drink the Diet Cokes that end up helping Wildcare  Eastern Sierra.)

WHERE DID THE BIG PINE MAMMOTH BEANIE GO?

 

The huge Mammoth Beanie disappeared from its southern post in Big Pine about a week ago. We had hoped it was not an indication of the projections for a lower than average winter.

Not to worry. Its gone to get its annual design makeover, according to Jim at Lamar Signs in Lancaster, the creators of the billboard. KIBS will be on the scene when the 2020-21 version is unveiled in about another week.

 

 

SCOTTY’S CASTLE NOT REOPENING UNTIL DECEMBER 2022

DEATH VALLEY, CA – It has been five years since a flash flood devastated historic structures and utilities at Scotty’s Castle in Death Valley National Park. The National Park Service (NPS) has completed several projects, but reopening is still about two years away.

Scotty’s Castle and the adjacent road are closed to the public until repairs are complete, likely December 2022. Death Valley Natural History Association will offer a limited number of tours this winter to see Scotty’s Castle, learn about the flood and the recovery effort.

A massive flash flood on October 19, 2015 tore through Death Valley Scotty Historic District, damaging historic structures, ripping out 8 miles of road, and destroying essential utilities.

Projects status:

  • Scotty’s Castle Road – completed Jan. 2020. The road is remaining closed until other projects are completed for visitor safety and protection of historic district.
  • Water – The water main replaced in 2019/2020. Distribution lines to be replaced in 2021.
  • Wastewater – Sewage treatment was replaced in 2019/2020. Collection lines will be replaced in 2021.
  • Electrical – Southern California Edison installed the powerline in 2016. Electrical distribution in the campus was repaired in 2019/2020. Further work is planned for 2021.
  • Visitor center – The historic Garage is now used as the visitor center. It was the most heavily damaged building, with extensive structural damage. The construction contract will begin next month and should be completed by November 2021. The adjoining historic Long Shed, which is used for back-of-the house support for the visitor center, is just entering design phase, with construction likely in 2022.
  • Hacienda – The historic building is used for staff housing and offices.  This building had interior damage from mud and water. Construction will start next month and be completed by November 2021.
  • Flood control structures – This project will build a 600-foot-long gabion-lined berm and four smaller flood walls and ditches. Design has been completed recently and consultation with the California State Historic Preservation Office will start soon. Construction is tentatively planned for July 2021-July 2022.
  • Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) – This will construct a climate control plant with a boiler, chiller, and cooling tower. The design was completed recently and consultation with the California State Historic Preservation Office will start soon. Construction is tentatively planned for September 2021-September 2022.
  • Historic furnishings – The furniture, dishes, carpets, and clothing that belonged to Scotty and the Johnsons were moved off-site for protection. The Death Valley Natural History Association funded about $100,000 in conservation work on the pipe organ, curtains, and silver. The museum collection will be returned to the Castle for the public to enjoy after all the other projects are complete.

Scotty’s Castle was constructed in the 1920s as a vacation home for Albert and Bessie Johnson, millionaires from Chicago. The (untrue) claim that it was built on top of Walter “Scotty” Scott’s gold mine fueled public interest at the time, and still does.

(Photo by NPS)

WINNER WINNER FRIED CHICKEN DINNER

Someone struck it rich in Death Valley, without using a shovel, pick ax, or digging a mine.

On October 6, the California Lottery Mega Millions draw hit a five-out-of-six number ticket at Charles Brown General Store in Shoshone. The jackpot will pay the ticket holder $1.9 millon.

According to Trudy, the store’s manager, as of October 15, the winner has not identified themselves to either the store or Lottery redemption officials in Sacramento.

After federal taxes, the winner will receive $1,582,000 if taking the cash payout option.   Might he or she be a local and  choose to be generous with the town of 50, each resident would receive $30,000. Probably not, but for sure the winner will have plenty of new “best friends” hanging around.

The store, which will receive the standard .05% commision on the big win ($9,500) was also a lucky Lottery retailer in 2016 when it sold a winning Fantasy Five ticket that paid out $75,000.

Manager Trudy said, “With all the things going on with COVID and everything, its like Christmas around here.”

DEATH VALLEY CAMPGROUNDS REOPEN

Beginning Thursday, October 15, the Death Valley National Park is reopening most of its campgrounds including Texas Springs, Sunset, and Stovepipe Wells Campgrounds.

The park’s 762 individual campsites are limited to no more than eight people and two vehicles. The park’s five group camps remain closed for now.

Reservations can be made for Furnace Creek Campground for October 15 through April 15. All other campgrounds are first-come, first-served only. Sunset Campground has 270 sites and rarely fills, even on holiday weekends.  Scotty’s Castle in closed for repairs until late 2021.

Good news on lodging, food, supplies, and gas. All are available within the park including at The Oasis at Death Valley, Stovepipe Wells Resort, and Panamint Springs Resort. The Natural History Association’s  bookstore at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center is also open.

(Photo courtesy of the Death Valley NP)

 

 

DEATH IN A VALLEY OF THE SAME NAME

At 7:15 a.m. on Sunday, October 11, Zachary Salyer, 34, of Amargosa Valley, Nevada, called the Nye County Sheriff’s Office to report he had shot someone. Salyer reported that the victim was on a dry lake bed in Amargosa.

A body was found in the small community of Amargosa Valley on a dry lake bed in Death Valley National Park, inside the California state border. Inyo County deputies, an evidence technician, the coroner, and the county’s DA’s office responded.

The suspect was arrested for a fatal shooting.  He was charged with first degree murder, and transported to Inyo County Jail, being held on $1,000,000 bail.

The victim’s identity is being withheld pending notification of next of kin. This is still an open investigation.

Inyo County Sheriff’s Office wishes to thank other law enforcement agencies; the Nye County Sheriff’s Office, the National Park Service, and the Bureau of Land Management for their assistance.

BANK ROBBERY UPDATE

We reported on Monday October 12 of the late Friday attempted robbery of El Dorado Savings Bank at 515 N. Main Street in Bishop. Here’s an update:

Bishop Police Chief Ted Stec reports the suspect did not have a weapon, but did pass a note to a teller. The suspect stood in the lobby after speaking with the teller. Upon arrival, law enforcement took about 10 minutes to evacuate the employees  from inside the bank, out a rear door. There were no customers inside at the time.
Upon entering the bank, the suspect was arrested without incident. He appeared unaware that the employees had been evacuated.
The suspect is under arrest in the  Inyo County jail, and has not posted his $100,000 bail as of October 13. Apparently the suspect had pre-planned his stop in Bishop to rob a bank.
The suspect was reported as missing in San Bernardino County several months ago. We’ve reached out to sheriff’s officials in that county to find a possible backstory of his disappearance, which may have led him to Bishop.
Although bank robbery is a federal crime, and the FBI was notified by Bishop PD, the agency has reportedly not responded.  Several attempts for KIBS/KBOV News to reach the FBI’s Sacramento office have been unsuccessful.

LONE PINE FILM FESTIVAL WILL RETURN IN 2021

After a very successful virtual film festival over Columbus Day weekend, the Museum of Western Film in Lone Pine announced the 31st annual festival is on the calendar for October 7 – 10, 2021.

This year should have been the 31st annual event, but due to the virus situation, was canceled. The museum put together a virtual “Watch Party” with recorded tours, interviews, and panel discussions, as a fundraiser. Over the weekend, more than 200 western movie fans logged on to view the presentations at their leisure.

Several festival fans gathered in Lone PIne during the past weekend anyway, even without an official festival, to watch the shows in lobby of Dow Villa Hotel in Lone Pine. The historic Dow not only served the movie -making industry in its heyday, but has been the unofficial gathering place for festival regulars for years.

The virtual festival hosted the world premiere of the 4K restoration of Macintosh & TJ, Roy Rogers’ last starring role. The 1975 film had not been shown on TV or streaming services, nor had not been  available on DVD for decades.

Lone Pine’s Alabama Hills and Mt. Whitney’s backdrop  have served as Hollywood’s back lot since 1915, as a filming location for over 400 movies and TV shows.  The festival  is the only film fan gathering in the world which is held on location where the movies were shot.

The virtual event was so successful, and assuming public gatherings will be the normal in late 2021, the museum plans to host another Watch Party during the actual festival .

(This post’s author, News DIrector for KIBS/KBOV, has served as one of the Festival’s parade announcers and the town’s Karaoke Contest MC for the last 10 years.)