Community News

State Gives Green Light for Inyo County Businesses to Reopen

As of noon today, Inyo County has moved to a new tier and more businesses are allowed to open, effective immediately!!

Here is a summary of changes:

1.       Restaurants – May open indoors at 25% capacity or 100 people , whichever is fewer.

2.       Personal Care Services – Nail Salons, Massage, Tattoo Parlors, etc., Indoors with modifications

3.       Gyms & Fitness Centers – Indoors with modifications, 10% capacity

4.       Movie Theaters – Indoors with modifications, Max 25% Capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer

5.       All retail – Indoors with modifications, Max 50% capacity

6.       Places of Worship – Indoors with modifications, Max 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer

7.       Hotels and Lodging – may open Fitness Centers at 10% of capacity

8.       Museums, Zoos and aquariums – Indoors with modifications, Max capacity 25%

9.       Malls, Destination Centers and Swap Meets – Indoors with modifications, max 50% capacity, closed common areas

 

Inyo County will be required to stay at this level for three weeks and if our number of cases and percent of positive cases stays low, we will move to the next level on October 6th. So, please cover your face, wash your hands frequently and keep your distance.

Death Valley Increases Fire Restrictions

DEATH VALLEY, CADue to high fire danger, Death Valley National Park is increasing fire restrictions and prohibiting all campfires and most other uses of open flame within Death Valley National Park effective Saturday, September 12th. These new restrictions are in addition to regular annual restrictions on campfires at higher elevation campgrounds in the park.

The following restrictions will remain in place until the fire danger subsides:

Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire, campfire, charcoal BBQ, or stove fire (except a portable stove using gas, jellied petroleum, or pressurized liquid fuel), or open flame of any kind, including within established campgrounds.

Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle.

Welding or operating an acetylene or other torch with open flame, except by permit.

Operating a motor vehicle or combustion engine equipment without a spark arrestor.

Possessing or using fireworks or explosives is always prohibited within Death Valley National Park. The use or discharge of a firearm within the park is prohibited.

Although vegetation is sparse in many low elevation areas of the park, there are large forested areas at higher elevations. Trees and shrubs surround many developed areas and popular campgrounds.

Death Valley National Park has experienced two small wildfires this year,Chief Ranger Rob Wissinger stated.With dry and windy conditions found in Death Valley National Park, the potential for a rapidly spreading fire in sensitive wilderness or in populated areas is high.

This year, wildfires have burned more than three million acres across Californiaand the fire season has another four months to go. Taking individual responsibility to reduce wildfire risk while recreating on public lands can keep the public and firefighters safe.

Mono County Adopts Order Prohibiting Fires on Private Property

RELEASE FROM MONO COUNTY :

The Mono County Board of Supervisors adopted an Urgency Ordinance prohibiting open fires on private property within the unincorporated areas of Mono County, and closing the county-operated campground in Lundy Canyon. The Ordinance is in response to extreme local fire threat related to major wildfire events statewide and in Mono County, ongoing drought conditions, well below average rain and snowfall, and extreme dry conditions.

In light of the extreme fire danger facing both the state as a whole, and Mono County specifically, the Mono County Board of Supervisors finds it necessary to enact restrictions on certain open fires on private property within the county, and to close the county-operated campground in Lundy Canyon. Open fires include campfires, bonfires, fire pits, or any other open flame fire (but do not include propane or charcoal barbecues used for cooking).

“There is an immediate need to take action to protect the public health, safety and welfare of the citizens and environment of Mono County from further harm and risk due to extreme wildfire danger,” said Stacy Corless, Chair of the Mono County Board of Supervisors. “This week, the Inyo and other national forests in central and southern California were closed due to hazardous fire conditions and the lack of firefighting resources statewide. Locally, we need to do our part toward protecting our communities.”

In addition to Mono County’s Ordinance, state and federal agencies have also taken action over the past few months to address the extreme fire threat, including:

  • The Inyo National Forest and Bureau of Land Management Bishop Office issued restrictions on open fires on federal lands in the Eastern Sierra (June 27);
  • Governor Gavin Newsom declared a State of Emergence in five California counties due to the existence of 25 major wildfires which have collectively burned more than 1.2 million acres (September 7); and,
  • The United States Forest Service closed eight National Forests in California due to extreme fire conditions, including the Inyo National Forest (September 7).

The Ordinance went into effect immediately, and shall be reviewed by the Board of Supervisors on September 15, 2020, and at each meeting thereafter until terminated by action of the Board.

IMACA PUBLIC MEETING FOR OVERNIGHT HOMELESS PARKING

PRESS RELEASE

September 10, 2020

RE: NOTICE OF COMMUNITY VIDEO CONFERENCE TO REVIEW SAFE PARKING PROJECT PROPOSED AT BISHOP NAZARENE CHURCH

Inyo Mono Advocates for Community Action (IMACA) cordially invites interested community members to a virtual meeting (Zoom video conference) on Wednesday evening, September 16, 2020, at 6:00 p.m. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss IMACA’s proposal to operate a monitored, overnight parking lot for people experiencing homelessness and living out of their vehicles at the Bishop Nazarene Church located at 900 W. Line Street, Bishop, CA.
The Inyo County Planning Commission approved a Conditional Use Permit for the Nazarene Church Safe Parking Project in January of 2020, which was subsequently appealed to the Board of Supervisors. This community meeting and the appeal hearing were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. IMACA has operated an emergency parking lot at 910 N. Main Street since May of this year and would like to close the facility and then reopen at the Nazarene Church in Bishop.

The community meeting will include a presentation by IMACA staff of the proposed Safe Parking Operating and Security Plan followed by a moderated panel discussion with questions and comments from members of the public. Everyone will participate via Zoom video conference from individual, separate locations. The video conference is accessible to the public at https://www.imaca.net/safe-nazarene-church. Individuals will be asked to provide their name and an email address in order to access the video conference. Anyone who does not want to provide their email address may use the following generic, non-functioning address to gain access: donotreply@imaca.net.

Anyone wishing to make a comment prior to the meeting, or as the community meeting is being conducted, may do so either in writing, or by utilizing the “hand-waving” feature when appropriate in the Zoom meeting (the moderator will call on those who wish to speak). We encourage everyone to email comments and questions prior to the meeting to info@imaca.net.

Emailed comments may or may not be read aloud, but all comments will be made a part of the meeting record. We value community participation in this process and welcome recommendations that will improve our project to better serve the community.

Please call Larry Emerson at (760) 873-8557, extension 109, or contact him by email at lemerson@imaca.net with any questions or comments.

SQF Complex Fire Closes Portion of Golden Trout Wilderness

The Inyo National Forest has closed the southwest segment of the Golden Trout Wilderness on the Inyo National Forest under a forest closure order due to the SQF Complex (Castle Fire and Shotgun Fire) for firefighter and public safety. In addition, the Sequoia National Forest has closed the parts Golden Trout Wilderness under their administration.

 

The Inyo’s closure is to the west of the South Fork of the Kern and trail networks from Siberian Pass at the northern boundary with Sequoia National Park, remains west of Big Whitney Meadow, Ramshaw Meadow, and Kingfisher Ridge and connects at the at the southern boundary with Sequoia National Forest at Blackrock Ranger Station .Please see the map for better detail.

 

For now, the north eastern part of the Golden Trout Wilderness on the Inyo remains open, which keeps the Pacific Crest Trail and trails at Cottonwood Pass, Trail Pass, and Cottonwood Lakes open as long as those itineraries avoid the closure areas on the Inyo and the Sequoia National Forest (as a rule itineraries heading north from these trails).

 

If you are considering hiking or backpacking into the Golden Trout Wilderness from the Inyo, please be advised that there is an uncontained fire and substantial smoke a in the area. Please consider alternatives.

 

The Castle Fire started by lightning and is currently 23,625 acres and 0% contained.

 

Inyo County Upgrades Elections Website

Kammi Foote, Inyo County Registrar of Voters is excited to announce that voters now have a new updated version of the Inyo County Elections website!

This new website was brought to Inyo County voters at no additional cost. Inyo County worked with the teams at US Digital Response (USDR) and the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) to update the design, based on research from the Center for Civic Design, and provides critical information voters need to participate in the Presidential Election on November 3rd.

Here’s what you’ll find on the new website:

• A modernized homepage with easy navigation and timely, relevant announcements
• Key information to assist voters with registering to vote
• Important information about what to expect on your ballot, how to vote by mail, and what to expect when voting in person
• A new updated Frequently Asked Questions section.

People are increasingly looking for civic information online. The layout of the new website allows voters to easily find important election information and is readable on desktop computers and mobile devices.

Kammi Foote, Inyo County Registrar of Voters, states “Our office is committed to providing voters with all of the information they need to participate in this election.”

Inyo County citizens are encouraged to visit elections.inyocounty.us to learn more, and to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter under the handle @inyoelections to stay informed.

South Lake Road Construction Update

Significant progress has been made this summer on the South Lake Road Reconstruction. As the project moves into paving and striping, extended closures are required to complete this work. Hat Creek Construction anticipates that the project will be completed by October 7.

No overnight parking is permitted at Bishop Pass Trailhead. There is no estimated date for when it will re-open for overnight parking. This includes Bishop Pass Trailhead parking, boat trailer parking, and some of the day use parking near South Lake. This will allow for fog sealing, parking lot striping, and will be used for a turn-around for paving trucks. It will close intermittently to day use parking as well. There is no parking along the shoulders of the road anywhere along South Lake Road.

Hat Creek Construction must provide 40 day-use parking spaces in the area. However, this is a popular recreation destination for boating, fishing, and hiking, these spaces will fill up quickly. Visitors should plan that parking, which is difficult in a normal year, will be substantially reduced. Consider carpooling.

Tyee Lakes Trailhead parking remains closed to both day and overnight parking with no estimated date for when it will re-open.

Overnight parking is still available at the dirt parking lot north of Tyee Lakes Trailhead. It is a three-mile walk to the Bishop Pass Trailhead via the trail behind Willow Campground that continues near Parchers Resort and connects to the trailhead on the east side of South Lake Road.

Three-hour closures are planned at Four Jeffrey Campground (This includes the entrance and the camp loops) The closures will run from 8am – 11am and 1pm-4pm, with delays of up to 30 minutes from 6am-8am & 11am-1pm & 4pm-8pm. Hat Creek Construction is planning these closures for the following days:

  • 9/2/2020 through 9/3/2020
  • 9/9/2020 through 9/10/2020

The campground will remain open. However, campers at Four Jeffrey will need to plan to enter and exit the campground around this schedule. RRM, the concessioner who manages Four Jeffrey Campground and the contractor will work with campers to ensure vehicles are safely out of the roadway where work is taking place. Some loops may be closed completely, on an alternating basis, to allow for safe and timely completion of this work. Staying at other campgrounds during these dates is advised to avoid any inconvenience and the noise and dust that comes with construction.

The construction schedule remains Monday – Friday, 6:00 am to 8:00 pm, Expect up to 30-minute delays. Flaggers and a pilot car will manage traffic, allowing alternating two-way traffic. The exception for the Labor Day Weekend, when work stop at the end of construction on Thursday September 3 and will restart on Tuesday, September 8.

Motorhomes and trailers are not recommended past Four Jeffrey Campground unless you have a reservation with Creekside Resort, Bishop Creek Lodge, or Parchers Resort during this period since there is no safe turn-around past this point.

Local businesses and services along South Lake Road remain open and accessible.

There is no way to complete a project of this nature without it having a significant impact on visitors to the area. Accessing the area may be, at times, difficult and frustrating. If you have any flexibility in your plans, please consider a visit to South Lake/Bishop Pass destinations in another year.

Authorities Looking for Suspect on the Loose

On August 24 shortly after 2:00pm Inyo County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to the area just north of Pearsonville on Highway 395, regarding a report of a man brandishing a firearm. The reporting party indicated that a white male wearing a straw hat, light colored flannel long sleeve shirt, cargo pants and brown colored hiking boots had approached them on foot out of the desert area near Sterling Road. The man said, “Que pasa,” to the party who had pulled over to change a flat tire. The party explained that they didn’t speak Spanish, and the man walked away. Moments later the man returned and stood on the opposite side Highway 395. The reporting party observed the male lay down on the ground holding a rifle pointed at the vehicle. The reporting party was alarmed and fired a warning shot from a registered handgun in the air to try and scare off the male. The reporting party described being afraid for their lives, and began to slowly drive away southbound without finishing the change of the flat tire.

Further description of the individual with the gun revealed that the suspect was Matthew David Hays, a 35-year old man known to law enforcement. Deputies arrived on scene near Hays’ residence; moments later Hays appeared from his trailer. Deputies observed Hays holding a black colored rifle with a scope. Numerous announcements were made to drop the firearm. At one point, Hays began running towards law enforcement while holding the rifle and continued holding the rifle at the low ready position with the muzzle end of the rifle slightly raised. Hays eventually began walking off north-westerly into the desert.

A CHP helicopter responded and observed Hays in the desert, still with a rifle. However, the helicopter was forced to refuel and lost sight of Hays. Mutual aid was requested with Kern County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team along with Inyo County SED team. After SWAT and SED arrived on scene, a search of the area was conducted but the suspect could not be located. A search of an abandoned building nearby revealed the rifle and the suspect’s clothing. A search of the suspect’s residence was also conducted with a search warrant. The search resulted in the recovery of several pellet gun rifles and one bb handgun from the suspect’s residence.

A search of the vast area was conducted to locate the suspect. Due to the expansive territory and night time conditions, the search did not locate the suspect. An arrest warrant has been issued for the subject. The suspect is described as a white male, 6’2”, 165 pounds, brown hair, blue eyes. The public is strongly encouraged to contact the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office at 760-878-0383, option 4, if anyone has any information that can lead to the arrest of Matthew David Hays

The Inyo County Sheriff’s Office extends its appreciation to the following agencies that assisted last night: Kern County SO, CHP, BLM, Forest Service LEO, Liberty Ambulance, and Olancha Volunteer Fire Department.

Northern Inyo Hospital Appoints New Chief Nursing Officer

PRESS RELEASE FROM NORTHERN INYO HOSPITAL:

Nature’s season of change will serve as the backdrop for change in nursing leadership at Northern Inyo Healthcare District. As veteran nursing leader Tracy Aspel prepares for her October retirement, the District named Allison Partridge as its new Chief Nursing Officer, effective mid-September.

When asked what she hopes to bring to the District, Partridge’s list of aspirations is clear. “I really hope to continue the work that Tracy, and those before her, started. I’m really striving for continuous process improvement, continuous excellence in care, and striving to ensure that we’re meeting the needs of the community.”

That last point – meeting the community’s needs – impacted the new CNO as she said the words. “Meeting those needs is huge,” she said. “We’re rural, we’re far away from any major healthcare facility. We have to work with our community partners to make sure we’re doing the best we can for those who count on us every day. It’s that simple.”

NIHD’s Interim Chief Executive Officer Kelli Davis said Partridge has proven herself to be an inclusive leader who takes into consideration differing viewpoints. “I find her to be a very positive and authentic person who stands by doing what’s best for the whole, whether that’s a single nursing department or the entire District. Allison works hard to help others achieve their goals and meet their aspirations in growth and development. I look forward to seeing what she brings to the District in the next year.”

Partridge currently serves as NIHD’s Director of Nursing for Emergency and Inpatient Services. That has put the 20-plus year nursing veteran at the forefront of the District’s pandemic response, alongside Aspel, Davis, and Drs. Will Timbers and Stacey Brown.

Bolstered by a 16-member incident command and the support of District physicians and employees, Partridge and these leaders find themselves tackling both basic and complicated needs.

“As far as the District’s response to the pandemic, I think we are spot on,” she said. “We’ve got a very structured, organized format that we’re following in addressing this. We assure we stay up-to-date and apprised of the most current information from both Centers for Disease Control and California Department of Public Health. We’re using that information to help drive the decisions we make. It’s been a lot of work and is continuously changing, but we’ve adapted, and we’ve stayed focused.”

Before joining NIHD almost three years ago, Partridge spent most of her career at San Pedro’s Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center. She credits Providence’s in-house leadership development program with preparing her to serve as NIHD’s Chief Nursing Officer.

Partridge holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Nursing. She has extensive training in lean leadership, six sigma, and mission-focused leadership. Of all of her education, Partridge is most proud of her Master’s degree with an emphasis on leadership, and not for a reason most expected. She earned her Master’s as a working adult and mother. “I have a deep respect for anyone trying to juggle all that. It was not easy,” she said.

As for her years with NIHD, Partridge values the time she spent getting to know the District, the communities it serves, and the nursing teams she works with. “I look at our teams, and I see so much potential and such great opportunity, and that’s really exciting,” she said. “Throughout the District, you see this really heightened desire to achieve excellence, and together, I know we can do it.”

Partridge also understands the love the community has for its nurses. “We are a small community, and for the nurses, that brings this deep desire to really provide excellence in care,” she said. “I genuinely think that’s because here, as a nurse, you often know the person you are caring for, or someone who loves them, and people respond to that.”

Donald Metivier Obituary

It is with a heavy hearts that the Metivier Family announce the passing of our beloved husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather Donald W. Metivier. “Dad,” entered the Lord’s presence, peacefully late afternoon on August 9, 2020, at the age of 93.

He was born January 25, 1928 in Manitowoc, WI, to parents Ernestine and Willard Metivier. Enlisted in the U.S. Army after graduating from Lincoln High School in 1946.

Worked as a Corporal in the regular Army, Classification Specialist for the Department of the Adjutant General, at Fort Lawton, WA. In charge of interviewing, debriefing and giving aptitude tests of soldiers returning from overseas and re-enlistees after the end of World War II. Decorated World War II Victory Medal and under the G.I. Bill benefit, attended Michigan State University. Graduated in 1952 Bachelor of Science Degree in Forestry and a minor in engineering.

Met the love of his life, Patricia, at MSU equestrian class. Began a career with the Forest Service at Lassen National Park, CA, before moving to Tillamook and Cannon Beach, OR. Cape Lookout State Park and Collier State Parks, preforming duties as a park ranger.

Continued an impressive second career as a Design Engineer for Aeronutronic Division of Ford Aerospace in Newport Beach, CA, in 1955, relocated to Santa Ana, CA. Retired in 1989, before moving to Chalfant Valley, CA.

Lived a full life raising eight children and loved art, theater, music, travelling, mountaineering, backpacking, and camping with family. Climbed over 250 peaks in the western US, loved the Sierra Nevada, and the Rockies. Avid ice hockey and football fan.

Donald is preceded in death by sons, Daniel, James, and infant Joseph. He is survived by wife of 67 years, Patricia, daughters, Michelle, Yvonne, and Nannette, sons, Patrick, Thomas, and Paul, numerous grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

Faithful member of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Catholic Church, Bishop, CA. Funeral mass to be determined. The family requests your prayers and well wishes. In lieu of flowers, perhaps a donation to favorite charity in Donald’s name. Thank you.

Mono County Has Second COVID-19 Related Death

The second death of a Mono County resident due to COVID-19 has been confirmed.

The patient passed away on Monday, August 17, 2020. Initially found to have COVID-19 through Mono County Public Health contact tracing on July 27, the patient was later admitted to Mammoth Hospital with worsening symptoms. Following a period of slight improvement, the condition deteriorated, and the patient was subsequently transferred to Northern Nevada Medical Center and passed away due to complications related to COVID-19.

Mammoth Hospital has had eight patients hospitalized due to COVID-19. It remains critically important to work together to reduce the spread of COVID-19 through our community by wearing a mask when you can’t maintain distance, washing your hands, and limiting social interactions with members outside of your household.

“Our hearts go out to the loved ones of this patient as we are saddened by the recent loss of another one of our community members,” says Mammoth Hospital CEO Tom Parker. “This is another tragic loss for a tight knit community such as ours and our deepest condolences go out to those close to her.”  

Both Mono County Public Health Officer, Dr. Tom Boo, and Mammoth Hospital Chief Medical Officer Craig Burrows, MD, agree the second death in Mono County underscores the importance of protecting our community members during this ongoing pandemic. Mr. Parker added that Mammoth Hospital is able to care for all patients and has taken great steps to prepare for any potential surge of COVID-19 related cases in Mono County.

Inyo County Placed On COVID-19 Monitoring List

Inyo County’s Public Health Division of Health and Human Services was notified on Friday, August 14, 2020 of the likelihood that the County will be officially placed on the list as of Monday, August 17, 2020, which will result in closure of indoor activities for additional industries.

Once the County is placed on the monitoring list, the following industries will be added to the list of businesses that must close indoor operations, but are able to modify to operate outside or by pick-up:

• Gyms and fitness centers
• Personal care services, like nail salons and body waxing
• Hair salons and barbershops
• Places of worship and cultural ceremonies, like weddings and funerals
• Offices for non-critical infrastructure sectors
• Shopping malls (not Inyo)

For more information visit the County website @ Inyo County, California