Local News

MCWD ups Water Restrictions

MCWD Board of Directors Approve Raising Water Restrictions to Level 2

Water content of the Mammoth Pass snowpack is more than 70 percent below normal conditions. Customers are requested to reduce water use by 20 percent.

 Mammoth Lakes, CA – On February 19, the MCWD board unanimously approved moving from Level 1 to Level 2 water shortage restrictions.  The board’s decision was based on the water content of the Mammoth Pass snowpack, about 70 percent below normal, and MCWD staff estimates of water supply availability.  The goal of the Level 2 restrictions are to achieve a 20 percent reduction of customer water demand.  Customers of the MCWD have been under Level 1 restrictions since the drought began in 2012.  The MCWD board will continue to reassess snowpack conditions and the status of the groundwater production wells water supply conditions through the coming months.

Level 2 water restrictions will be in effect March 9th.  Under these restrictions, outdoor irrigation will only be allowed from 8:00 pm to 9:00 am, water for construction is limited to recycled water, significant leaks must be repaired within 3 days of notification or discovery, and no new lawns may be installed, even when a hose with an automatic shut-off nozzle is used for irrigation.  Indoor savings are expected to result from voluntary measures taken by customers.

MCWD has incentive programs to help customers save water. These programs include an indoor and outdoor fixture rebate program, free efficient showerheads and staff availability to discuss site specific irrigation efficiency improvements. Information on these programs are available on the MCWD website.     MCWD would like to encourage all customers to pay attention to water usage, check for leaking fixtures indoors and out, keep pools and spas covered when not in use, limit shower times and only run full loads of dishes and clothes.

More information on Level 2 restrictions and tips to conserve water is available from the MCWD website, www.mcwd.dst.ca.us.

About Mammoth Community Water District 

MCWD provides water and wastewater utility service to the Town of Mammoth Lakes and surrounding areas.  MCWD strives to provide reliable, affordable utility service to our customers and to conduct our operations in a manner reflecting our stewardship role.  We encourage our customers to practice responsible use of our limited water resources, and to take advantage of the information and services available to support this goal.

photo courtesy of the MCWD website

mammoth news, mammoth community water district, eastern sierra news

New Manager for OV Growers

Owens Valley Growers Cooperative

New General Manager for OVGC Planned Food Coop

The Owens Valley Growers Cooperative (OVGC) is pleased to announce that David Woodruff will be joining the OVGC in the position of General Manager for the new Food Coop/local foods café, bakery and community gathering place planned for opening in the former Mairs’ Market building in downtown Independence this summer.
The Owens Valley Growers Cooperative’s was founded by a group of Inyo County residents two years ago whose purpose is to build a local and sustainable food system in the Owens Valley through community education, support of local agriculture and the development of local market outlets.
With generous support from the Metabolic Studio and USDA Local Foods Promotion Project, OVGC will be re-opening the historic Mairs’ Market building and offering Owens Valley residents the opportunity to buy locally produced and natural food products in addition to household staples. The small Café and bakery will provide wholesome and healthy foods for dining in or take out and serve as a focal point for the community to gather, and share friendship and ideas.
OVGC has operated the very successful Owens Valley Certified Farmers Market alternate weeks in Lone Pine and Independence for almost two years.
Woodruff brings with him a lengthy background in business, retail and food & beverage management. Most recently, he has been the Operations Manager of the Fort Independence Travel Plaza, RV Park and Winnedumah Winns Casino.
“I am deeply honored to have been selected to help get this exciting project off the ground” said Woodruff. “This is an incredible thing OVGC is bringing to Independence and all of the Owens Valley. To be able to provide not only much needed goods and services to our community, but also an outlet and an inspiration for our friends and neighbors to produce more local foods and value added products has been a goal of the OVGC founders since its inception…and now we’re ready to make it a reality.”
The goal is to have the not for profit Food Coop and Café open by this summer. With the help of volunteers, members and supporters, the outlet will offer the best selection of items at the best value possible to consumers.
“The purpose of the Food Coop is not to accumulate profit for investors, but to meet the goals, needs and aspirations of its members and community” said Woodruff. “We’ll not only provide healthy, delicious and sustainable foods at a good price, but we’ll also be a source of information and learning, offering a variety of outreach programs from home canning to winter gardening. We hope to be a catalyst for economic revitalization and provide a gathering place for people to come together and share and contribute their ideas, interests and goals”.
“We have a lot of work ahead of us and hope to gather support from our community to help get us open. Community forums, fundraisers, membership drives and volunteer work days are all planned for the next several months. I look forward to meeting everyone who’s interested in helping make this worthy project a reality.”
For more information on the Owens Valley Growers Cooperative Food Coop and Café you may contact them at ovgcfoodcoop@gmail or checkout their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/OwensValleyGrowersCooperative

Anna Capodano and Tamara Cohn
Anna Capodano and Tamara Cohn
eastern sierra news, owens valley growers, independence news

Big Pine Grad Honored

Former Big Pine Warrior honored

Korina Kemp-Riggin started playing volleyball for Big Pine in junior high school. In high school she was named All-League and All-CIF as a Lady Warrior and then went on to compete at the national level with a scholarship to Cal State University at Los Angeles.  Last Tuesday, the 1990 Big Pine High graduate was inducted into the CSULA’s Athletic Hall of Fame.
Riggin, the daughter of Jim Kemp and the late Linda Kemp of Big Pine, was cited as a major reason for CSULA’s Golden Warriors volleyball program’s improved successes. The Golden Eagles had only one winning season prior to Kemp’s 1992 sophomore season. That year CSULA was 25-10 and advanced to the national semi-finals. Riggin holds the number two spot at CSULA with 169 career aces and fifth in kills with 1,271.
The following year, Riggin and the Eagles went on to the regional championship match. In Riggin’s senior year, the Eagles started the season with 18 consecutive wins and held the number two spot in the national rankings during the season.
Individual honors for the former Warrior included American Volleyball Coaches Association 2nd team All-American in 1993, 1st team All-American in 1994 and All-Region in 1993 and 1994, All-California Collegiate Athletic Association first team in 1993 and 1994.
Riggin graduated from CSULA in 1995 with a major in communications and lives with her husband Mitch in Cave Creek, Arizona. She is a freelance TV camera operator covering Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, National Football League games and the Olympics, both summer and winter.

big pine


big pine high school, big pine volleyball, big pine news, eastern sierra news

BUSD Pennies for Patients

Bishop Schools raising funds for LLS

Bishop Unified School District is running a district wide “Pennies for Patients” campaign between March 2nd and March 20th . All proceeds will benefit the Leukemia Lymphoma Society. During this 3 week period they will have many activities to help raise money and awareness of Leukemia and Cancer and students of all ages will be collecting money throughout the community. Checks may be made payable to LLS-Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  On Friday, March 20th , the public is invited to attend the closing ceremonies at the “Shine on the Sierra Luminary Walk” on the BUHS track.  The evening will be filled with music, food and fun.  Registration is at 6:15 followed by the walk from 7:00-8:00.  Luminary bags, which you can decorate, will be available for a $5 donation.  All donations will benefit LLS and the Eastern Sierra Breast Cancer Alliance.  You may walk in honor or in memory of someone who has dealt with Leukemia or Cancer or you may just walk to show your support. There will also be a Bone Marrow Registry which is a simple mouth swab. You will be able to purchase, Lions Club Corn Dogs, NASA Indian Tacos, Face Painting by the BUHS Cheer Squad, Sweatshirts by HAPPY HOODS and Hot Beverages from Looney Bean.  Organizers are asking folks to come together as a community and get involved in this extremely important campaign, your gift could help save a life.

There is another way to participate, if you’d like to donate 8 inches or more of your hair to “Locks of Love” please contact Stephanie at Studio 27 for an appointment on Saturday, March 21st.

If you have any questions you may contact Kristin Carr at the BUSD District Office at 760-872-3680. We look forward to your support and participation.

bishop unified school district, bishop news, eastern sierra breast cancer alliance

Fish Slough Clean Up

Public Invited to Assist with Fish Slough Clean-Up

Bishop, CA – The Bishop Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Friends of the Inyo invite you to help clean-up the Fish Slough Area of Critical Environmental Concern five miles north of Bishop.

Join Friends of the Inyo and BLM staff on March 21 to pick up trash and help restore Fish Slough.

Participants should meet at the junction of Chalk Bluff, Casa Diablo and Fish Slough roads at 9 a.m. Please carpool if possible. Volunteers will help plant and wildlife communities by cleaning up debris and other human-related impacts to restore and preserve the natural beauty of the Fish Slough area. The volunteer work will last approximately three hours and be done by noon. Volunteers are asked to RSVP for the event by emailing Andrew Schurr at andrew@friendsoftheinyo.org.

Volunteers for the event should wear sturdy shoes or boots, long pants and long sleeves, a hat and gloves. Waterproof boots are strongly recommended. Tools and water will be provided. Volunteers are encouraged to bring refillable water bottles.

Fish Slough is a lush oasis amid an otherwise arid landscape known as the Volcanic Tableland. It is on the southern edge of the Great Basin High Desert Plateau, at the north end of the Owens Valley about five miles north of Bishop. The slough (wetland) is created by three natural springs flowing to the surface and the water that defines the area is the key to its varied plant and animal life, including several unique and sensitive species.

The slough and surrounding desert totaling 36,000 acres were designated as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern in 1982. The purpose of the designation was to recognize, maintain and enhance the area’s unique resource values.  In recent years, recreation activity in Fish Slough has begun to impact the sensitive native plants and animals. Contact the Bishop Field Office if you are interested in becoming a volunteer steward for this area.

For further information about the event contact Becca Brooke at (760) 872-5046 (rbrooke@blm.gov) or Andrew Schurr at (760) 872-6500 (andrew@friendsoftheinyo.org).

bishop news, eastern sierra news

Lone Pine Man Indicted in Artifacts Case

Lone Pine man indicted for taking archaeological artifacts from public lands in Inyo county

FRESNO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a six-count indictment Thursday against Norman Starks, 76, a resident of Lone Pine, California, charging him with unauthorized removal of archaeological resources, depredation of government property, and possession of stolen government property, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

According to court documents, the defendant damaged, altered, and removed Native American archaeological resources without authorization, from federal lands.  These included Native American burial cairns and other cultural artifacts, such as beads and fragments of ceramic pots, which were more than 100 years old.  The artifacts were located in the Lone Pine area of Inyo County on public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management.  In addition, the indictment charges the defendant with possessing stolen property that included prehistoric Native American incised stone tablets, which had been taken from government lands.

This case was the product of an investigation by the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service. Assistant United States Attorney Megan A. S. Richards is prosecuting the case.

If convicted of theft of stolen government property or depredation of government property, STARKS faces a maximum statutory penalty of ten years in prison and a $100,000 fine.  For each count of removal of archaeological resources, STARKS faces a maximum statutory penalty of two years in prison and a $100,000 fine.  Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Archeological resources are protected under the Archaeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA).  Federal land managers, such as Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service, are responsible for the protection of natural and cultural resources located on public lands.

lone pine news, eastern sierra news,  blm

Burgers for Bucks!

Mammoth fundraiser Monday

Monday February 23rd 11am-9pm –Burgers Restaurant has generously offered to hold a ‘Burgers for Bucks’ benefit. A percentage of all sales that day will be donated to the Friends of Sam and Linda Nicolosi fund.  Join them for lunch, dinner or if time is an issue- they will be happy to accommodate your ‘to go’ orders.  Along with great food-they will be selling raffle tickets for some incredible prizes.  They are also thrilled to announce two of their silent auction items – a  one of a kind – Brad Paisley felt hat – he personally wore at the CMA’s and signed it.  Another wonderful prize is a one week stay at a three bedroom home in Rancho Mirage.  Raffle tickets are already being sold by Mammoth Mountain Hosts and at Footloose Sports.

They also created a Go Fund Me site where you can donate directly – http://www.gofundme.com/kqtj9c

The funds raised go directly to Sam and Linda to help with their travel expenses and we hope to raise enough funds to redo their bathroom for handicapped access. Linda just had her ‘32nd’ surgery this week at St. Vincents  Hospital in Los Angeles and is recovering well.

mammoth news, burgers for bucks, brad paisley, burgers restaurant


Drug Arrest in Highlands

INET arrests Bishop man in Highlands

On Tuesday, February 17,  Agents with the Inyo Narcotics Enforcement Team (INET), along with assistance from the Inyo County Sheriff’s Department, served a search warrant at a residence  in Bishop’s Highlands mobile home park. At the residence, Agents seized over half an ounce of methamphetamine, a scale, evidence of drug sales, and drug paraphernalia.
The primary suspect of the investigation, Eryk James Finney (age 35) of Bishop, was located inside the living room of the residence at the time of the search warrant service. Finney was arrested and booked at the Inyo County Jail on charges of Possession of a Controlled Substance for Sale and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. He is being held on bail pending arraignment.

bishop news, inet, inyo county sheriffs department

Liliana Romero claims powerball prize

Mono County Woman Claims Million Dollar Powerball® Prize

SACRAMENTO – A Mono County woman has claimed the million dollar prize won on a Powerball ticket sold in Lee Vining last week. Liliana Romero claimed at the California Lottery’s Sacramento District Office yesterday morning. Hers was one of three lucky tickets sold in California that matched five numbers, missing only the Powerball number in the draw last Wednesday. While these tickets were just one number shy of hitting the $564 million jackpot that night, each, including Romero’s, still won an impressive $1,428,692 apiece before federal taxes!

This win could not have come at a more opportune time. Romero is just 21 years old and currently does prep work in a restaurant. She told us the excitement has even been causing her to lose sleep. It started when she checked her ticket at Mono Market, which is located at 51303 Highway 395 in Lee Vining (Mono County). That’s the same place she bought it. “I was screaming and in shock,” said Romero about the screen message that popped up announcing her win.

We’ve posted a copy of her ticket below. The top line matched the numbers 11-13-25-39-54, missing only the Powerball number 19. That last number kept her from hitting the jackpot, but Romero doesn’t mind. After all, the money she did win opens up so many options, and this prize winner is determined to get it right. “I’m just gonna put the money away…keep it frozen for a little while,” Romero said. (She doesn’t want to say much more about her win and respectfully declines additional media interviews.)

Mono Market will receive a $7,000 bonus just for selling the lucky ticket. This retailer bonus is separate and is NOT pulled from the winner’s prize amount. Mono Market also earns a spot on the California Lottery’s list of Lucky Retailers. The same goes for the stores where the other two 2nd place California Lottery tickets were sold. There’s one in San Leandro (Alameda County). The other is in Cypress (Orange County).

You’ll remember three lucky tickets did hit the jackpot that night. They were sold in North Carolina, Texas and Puerto Rico. These winners will split, what is now, the 5th largest jackpot won in U.S. history.

mono county news, lee vining news, eastern sierra news

Xochimitl Sentenced in Mono Court

Jacinto Xochimitl Sentenced Tuesday in Mono Court


International Fugitive Sentenced 30 years to Life

On January 6, 2014, an Investigator from the Mono County District Attorney’s Office, assisted by the Sacramento branch of the FBI traveled to Mexico City to transport a fugitive back to Mono County to face charges for repeatedly and forcibly raping a child while she was between the ages of five and twelve.

On February 17, 2015, Jacinto Flores Xochimitl pled guilty to two counts of rape of a child under 14. The defendant entered into a negotiated disposition with the District Attorney whereby Mr. Xochimitl was sentenced to the maximum penalty of 30 years to life in state prison. He will be approximately 87 years old before eligible for a parole hearing.

Mr. Xochimitl was being housed in the Mono County Jail since his return to the United States from Mexico under an extradition treaty. Mr. Xochimitl admitted that from 1997 until 2004, he raped his former girlfriend’s daughter multiple times between the ages of five and twelve.

The Mono County District Attorney has been working with the FBI, the US Attorney General’s Office, Department of Homeland Security and Interpol over the last decade to locate and extradite Mr. Xochimitl. During the later part of 2011 and early 2012, the FBI and FBI Legal Attache office in Mexico confirmed the location of the suspect and in July of 2012, the Mono County District Attorney formally requested the extradition of Mr. Xochimitl from Mexico.
Mr. Xochimitl was arrested in Puebla, Mexico by Interpol on January 14, 2014. After unsuccessfully appealing extradition to the United States, the Government of Mexico affirmed the extradition on September 19, 2014. Mr. Xochimitl was transported to the United States on January 6, 2015.

At sentencing, Mr. Xochimitl expressed remorse for his actions and hoped the victim would be able to forgive him someday. The victim tearfully expressed the anger, hatred and emotional damage that his actions have caused her. The victim finished her impact statement by telling Mr. Xochimitl, “now it’s your turn to rot in prison.”

The number one priority of the District Attorney is the investigation and prosecution of those who commit acts of sexual, physical, or emotional abuse of children. Children are often abused by people who are entrusted with protecting them and these crimes leave lifelong scars and trauma on these young victims. People who prey on children are some of the most despicable individuals in society. The District Attorney is dedicated to the protection of our children and has devoted the resources needed to effectively investigate and prosecute individuals who prey on children.

Over the past five years, the District Attorney has sentenced individuals to a cumulative of over 450 years in imprisonment for their crimes against children. It is because of the damage to victims that these crimes cause that the District Attorney refused to negotiate in Mr. Xochimitl’s case and forced him to accept the maximum punishment allowed under California law. Further, these principals were paramount in the reason Mr. Xochimitl was so vigorously sought for over a decade even after fleeing the country.

mono county news, mono county district attorney, eastern sierra news