Local News

The 2020 Tri-County Fair Has Been Cancelled

The 2020 Tri-County Fair has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

CEO, Jen McGuire discussed how the Inyo County Public Health Department believed it would not be best to host the fair this year due to the State of California not allowing any mass gatherings.

McGurie also says that she has tried to find a solution when it comes to hosting the fair, but it was just not possible.

“We have tried different ideas, and I have laid awake each night to see if we can do a virtual fair, or an open market, or anything possible to try and make work. Unfortunately it is just not going to happen with our numbers continuing to rise, and  COVID numbers will continue to rise for the next two to three weeks. I have to tell you cancelling fair was something that we kind of all knew was coming, but it is just sad that it actually is happening. We have tried everything we possibly could to make it happen,” McGuire said.

 

Bishop Paiute Tribe Faces Water Shortage

July 28th, 2020 – Inyo County – The Bishop Paiute Tribe is experiencing low water pressure reservation wide due to the high demand of water usage and minimal storage and pumping capacity.

The Bishop Paiute Reservation has six drinking water wells with two wells each located at PaMe Lane, Tibec Lane, and Siebu Lane. Currently three out of six wells are inoperable. With the temperatures rising, and more community members staying home due to the COVID-19 pandemic the water usage has gone up significantly.

The Public Works Department is working hard to secure funding and contracts to make the needed repairs and replacements for inoperable pumps and motors of the three wells. It is of highest priority to ensure our community has continuous safe drinking water.

The following restrictions apply to all residential, commercial, non-profit and Tribal entities. No use of the domestic water for any water users is allowed on Mondays. Even numbered addresses may water only on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from 5:00am-10:00am and 5:00pm-10:00pm . Odd numbered addresses only water on Wednesday Friday and Sunday from 5:00am-10:00am and 5:00pm-10:00pm.These restrictions will be strictly enforced until further notice. The only exception to consider under these regulations is you may water any gardens and fruit trees as needed as long as it is not excessive. We encourage those that have access to irrigation or creeks to utilize those resources. If you have any questions or would like to report any violators, please do not hesitate to contact the Public Works office at 760-873-6638. We thank you for your cooperation in joining the team of conservation.

Updates will be available to the public as they occur on KBPT-LP 96.1fm at the top of the hour for breaking information and at 8am, 11am, 6pm and 11pm for cumulative information.

The Eastern Sierra Has Never Been Busier, Nor More Trashed

Campgrounds, public lands, and public facilities have never been busier than they are right now in the Eastern Sierra. The large increase in visitation to towns and areas in the Inyo National Forest is likely because visitors from Southern California and other areas of the state and country have been encouraged to stay at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and are looking for a getaway in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Unfortunately with a high amount of visitation, comes a higher chance of seeing vandalism, littering, trash dumping, dispersed camping, and illegal campfires.

Inyo National Forest Public Affairs Specialist, Deb Schweizer, says she cannot remember a time that she has seen campgrounds and hiking trails busier. “I have never seen our public lands busier,” Schweizer said. “I have never seen as much violation of rules as we are seeing right now such as illegal campfires, dispersed fires, trash dumping, and vandalism.”

One such example of the disregard some individuals are showing is near June Lake. Trees and rocks have been vandalized with graffiti on hiking trails, trashcans have been left overflowing with waste, and playgrounds have been riddled with trash.

According to Mono County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer, Sarah Roberts, the department’s June Lake Substation was vandalized, and the door was kicked in. The Mono County Sheriff’s Office says they are investigating the incident.

At this point in time, they are not completely sure if the vandalism occurred this past weekend or beforehand. Luckily the substation is not currently used by the department, so nothing of value was taken.

Another recent example of some of the disregard travelers are showing on public lands is at the Crestview Rest Area just north of Mammoth Lakes. One picture posted on Facebook shows four dumpsters filled to the brim with trash along with litter spewed across the parking lot.

Schweizer says that the Inyo National Forest is not the only place that has seen an uptick in illegal activity on public lands. “The vandalism is not just happening on the Inyo. The National Forest Service has seen an increase in vandalism, littering, and illegal campfires everywhere,” Schweizer said.

Crash on 168 West Near Bishop Leads to Fatality

On Sunday, July 26th, 2020, at approximately 1:07 PM, the driver of a 2012 Toyota Sienna van was driving eastbound on SR-168 west of Starlight Drive at approximately 55 miles per hour. For unknown reasons the driver of the Sienna allowed the vehicle to travel off the south side of the road.

The front of the vehicle collided with a boulder and as the vehicle continued in a easterly direction overturned onto its left side coming to a stop blocking both lanes of traffic. The driver sustained fatal injuries as a result of the collision. The two passengers were transported to Northern Inyo Hospital.

The identity of the fatal victim is to be released through the Inyo County Coroner’s Office.

This traffic collision is still under investigation by the California Highway Patrol, Bishop Area.

Mammoth Community Water District Scales Back Services

PRESS RELEASE FROM MAMMOTH COMMUNITY WATER DISTRICT:

District Returns to Risk Level 2 Due to increased cases of COVID-19 in Mono County, the Mammoth Community Water District moved into Risk Level 2, of the Risk Minimization and Outbreak Response Plan on July 21. Risk Level 2, makes operational adjustments, including remote work, to reduce exposure for employees. Staff remain available to assist customers and water and wastewater services will not be interrupted. The District is offering payment plans for customers experiencing financial hardship. The District is dedicated to supporting our staff and community through this exceptionally difficult time, we are in this together.

Current MCWD Information:

  • MCWD’s front Administration Office remains open to the public:All customers must check in at the Administration Building’s front desk and will be directed accordingly.
  • Water Quality: The District’s treatment process prevents transmission ofCOVID-19 virus in water supply.Bill Pay: Customers are encouraged to utilize electronic bill payment: https://mcwd.dst.ca.us/payment-options
  • Experiencing Financial Hardship?Contact the District’s Finance Department at 760-934-2596.
  • Disinfecting Wipes: Please DO NOT flush disinfecting wipes, this includes wipes labeled ‘flushable’. Wipes do not break down and cause clogs in pipes, leading to sewer backups and overflows.

Please contact the District with any questions or concernsat760-934-2596| https://mcwd.dst.ca.us

Crews Respond to Iris Fire

Fire crews are continuing to aggressively work on suppressing the Iris Fire, located west of Iris Meadows Campground and the Rock Creek Road on the Inyo National Forest. The fire is currently 40 acres and 20% contained. Investigators have determined that the fire is lightning- caused. It is burning in a mixture of sagebrush, mahogany, and mixed conifer.


Iris Meadow Campground and Big Meadows Campground have been evacuated. The Rock Creek Road is closed. Mono County Sheriff and California Highway Patrol are managing exiting traffic along Rock Creek Road and at Hwy 395. Please avoid the area to assist firefighters with their response.


Yesterday, the fire grew with gusty winds associated with the weather system. Initial attack included a series of air tanker retardant drops to help slow the fire’s spread while firefighters constructed containment lines.


Today, wind is challenging containment lines. Crews will continue to construct and improve containment lines, assisted by helicopter bucket drops. Four air tanker are ordered for today.
High winds are in the forecast and remain a concern.


There are four engines, five crews, three helicopters, and four air tankers assigned to the fire and more resources are being ordered. Cal Fire is also assisting in this fire response.

CDFW Euthanize Fish at Three Facilities Due to Bacteria Outbreak

Three California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) fish hatchery facilities in the Eastern Sierra and Southern California have been battling a bacterial outbreak that has affected 3.2 million fish. This week, after consultation with fish pathology experts and exhausting all avenues of treatment, CDFW announced that the fish, which are all trout, at the affected facilities must be euthanized in order to stop the spread of the outbreak.

The affected facilities – Mojave River Hatchery, Black Rock Hatchery and Fish Springs Hatchery – usually provide fish for stocking waterways in CDFW’s South Coast Region and Inland Deserts Region. The euthanization of all the fish at these facilities will have a profound effect on CDFW’s ability to stock fish for anglers in those regions in the near future.

“Euthanizing our hatchery stocks was not a decision we came to lightly, but it had to be done,” said Jay Rowan environmental program manager for CDFW hatcheries. “This bacterium is resistant to all the treatment options we have available for fish. The fish losses were getting worse despite our treatments. The best option we have available that will get us back to planting fish from these hatcheries in the shortest timeline is to clear the raceways, thoroughly disinfect the facilities, and start over.”

CDFW has had the three facilities under quarantine for more than a month, while pathologists and hatchery staff treated the affected fish and researched potential options. The outbreak of Lactococcus garvieae, which is similar to streptococcus, has been reported in cattle and poultry farms as well as fresh and salt water fish and shellfish hatcheries around the world, but had never before been detected in fish in California. Research of treatment options employed at trout farms in Europe and other parts of the world show there is almost no chance for successfully eliminating the bacteria from a facility without depopulation and disinfection.

Fish that are infected with can show symptoms including bulging eyes, lethargic or erratic swimming and increased mortality, or be asymptomatic and show no signs of infection depending on a several factors including water temperature and stress. Fish-to-human transmission of this bacteria is rare and unlikely but there are several documented instances associated with immunocompromised people consuming infected raw fish and unpasteurized milk products.

Hot Creek Hatchery in the Eastern Sierra has tested negative for the bacteria and is still planting eight waters in Inyo and Mono counties. CDFW is in the process of developing a modified stocking plan to reallocate fish from central and northern California hatcheries to a small number of high angler use, easily accessible waters in geographically distinct parts of the eastern Sierra and Southern California.

For real-time updates, California anglers can refer to CDFW’s Fish Planting Schedule. This schedule is updated directly by CDFW hatchery staff. Although it contains current information, all fish plants are subject to change depending on road, water, weather and operational conditions.

Mammoth Hospital Sees First COVID-19 Hospitalization Since March

COVID-19 Positive Patient Hospitalized at Mammoth Hospital.

Mammoth Hospital has hospitalized its first patient since late March due to COVID-19. While the Eastern Sierra has seen relatively few infections over the last few months, the pandemic continues to be a threat to Mono County. This patient is now hospitalized and being treated for coronavirus.

“This new hospitalization is a reminder that the pandemic is still a very real crisis, on both a local and global level,” says Mammoth Hospital CEO, Tom Parker. “Many restrictions have been eased and we have seen a reopening of many businesses, giving us a sense of normalcy. Mono County’s ‘Stay Safe to Stay Open‘ campaign speaks to the need to stay vigilant in our efforts to cover, distance and wash. We have seen a significant increase in the last two weeks in the number of people testing positive for COVID-19. This is not the time to let our guard down. Mammoth Hospital has taken great steps to prepare for a surge of COVID patients, and we remain prepared to care for anyone who presents to our facility.”

CIF Postpones All Sports Until Winter

Release from CIF:

SACRAMENTO, CALIF. – The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) has determined, in collaboration with our 10 Sections, that education-based athletics for the 2020-2021 school year will begin with a modified season of sport schedule (see below for 2020-21 sports calendar). Our calendar reflects the season for each CIF sport and the last date for Section Championships and Regional/State Championships in those sports where a Regional/State Championship is currently offered. Following this announcement, each CIF Section Office will release their own calendar to reflect regular season starting and ending dates and Section playoffs. It is anticipated that most Section start dates will commence in December 2020 or January 2021.

We are continuously monitoring the directives and guidelines released from the Governor’s Office, the California Department of Education, the California Department of Public Health, and local county health departments and agencies as these directives and guidelines are followed by our member schools/school districts with student health and safety at the forefront. As these guidelines change, CIF Sections may allow for athletic activity to potentially resume under the summer period rules of the local Section. Also, given this calendar change, the CIF has temporarily suspended Bylaws 600-605 (Outside Competition) in all sports for the 2020-21 school year (see below for more specific information related to these changes).

Mammoth Lakes Tourism Welcomes New Board Member

Mammoth Lakes, Calif. (July 13, 2020) At its July 1 meeting the Mammoth Lakes Tourism Board of Directors appointed Pat Foster to the At-Large seat available on the board.

Born in Bridgeport, Foster has been a lifelong resident of the Eastern Sierra,having lived in June Lake and Bishop for most of his life. He is the President of Hot Creek Aviation at the Mammoth Yosemite Airport where he has spent the last 21 years providing General Aviation Services and working alongside the town’s air service partners.

Mammoth Lakes Tourism has done some amazing work over the last several years and I am excited to join its efforts,” Foster said.We find ourselves in unprecedented and challenging times right now -I am hoping I can contribute to a responsible recovery.”

The role of the At-Large Board seat is to provide guidance from the larger business community in Mammoth Lakes. It is meant to bring a perspective beyond the other represented groups of lodging, restaurant and retail.

“As a lifelong Eastern Sierra resident, and President of Hot Creek Aviation, Pat Foster brings a unique perspective on our community to the MLT Board of Directors,” said Board President, John Morris.We look forward to his input and wisdom regarding the pending expansion of air service to Bishop Airport and other key strategic initiatives.”