Local News

The Story Behind Lost Couple in Nevada

KIBS/KBOV News reported, for almost a week, on the search for a missing couple, traveling in their 32′ RV through western Nevada. The couple had left Oregon on March 26, heading the Tucson, AZ.

They were last spotted on a gas station camera on March 27 in Stagecoach, NV. A traffic camera in Hawthorne, NV later spotted the rig traveling south on Hwy. 95.

The Nye County Sheriff’s Dept., Esmeralda County Sheriff’s Dept, and the Nevada Highway Patrol started their search mission on Sunday, April 2.

New details have emerged as to the search and the eventual finding of Beverly Barker, 69, of Indianapolis, IN, and her husband Ronnie, 73.

It’s like they’ve disappeared off the face of the earth. They have vanished, literally, into thin air,” said the couple’s daughter, Jennifer Whaley. “You can see for miles and a 32-foot RV, towing a car, literally vanishes into thin air. Where did they go?” Whaley asked, with her eyes tearing up. 

Both of the Barkers have diabetes. The family knew they had enough medicine to go until April 8. There had been no activity on their bank cards since the Stagecoach, NV gas purchase.

Volunteers and police began searching for the Barkers over the weekend, four days after their daughters tried to alert authorities that something was wrong when they didn’t show up in Arizona.

Initially, Nevada law enforcement said they could not issue a “Silver Alert” statewide because the Barkers were not Nevada residents. A Silver Alert used to locate missing and endangered senior citizens, was eventually issued, as well as fliers on social media, and issuing daily updates to area radio stations, including KIBS/KBOV.  

Earlier on Tuesday, April 5, search crews found the Barkers’ RV stuck in the mud, but the couple and the SUV they had been towing were not at the scene. The search switched to looking for the missing KIA Soul SUV.

Police say the Barkers were found together later Tuesday, inside the SUV about two miles from their RV. When search crews found them, they say Beverly appeared to be in good spirits. Unfortunately, Ronnie Barker was deceased. He had died the day before the couple was found. Beverly was life-flighted to Renown Hospital in Reno.

The couple was found on a dirt road upon a mountain west of Silver Peak, NV, an old mining town 20 miles south of Hwy. 6 and 30 miles west of Goldfield, NV. at the 4,300′ level (Pop. 142).

Beverly Barker was released from the hospital on Wednesday, April 6.  Her family had flown out from Indianapolis, and shared her story.

It’s still unclear how Ronnie Barker died, though dehydration likely was a factor. “As a lot of people suspected, it was bad GPS directions,” said a nephew of the couple.

Their RV got stuck on Sunday, March 27. After staying a night in their motor home, the couple got up the next day and drove for help in the SUV. But after another wrong turn, the KIA got stuck too. The couple was stranded with no water, no food and still no cell service. 

Beverly’s family said she is not very mobile, but made repeated trips up a hill to where she spotted snow in the shadows of rocks. Using a walker, she filled sacks with the snow to try to gather water for the couple to drink. 

Temperatures dropped into the 20s at night. As they huddled to try to keep warm, Ronnie’s condition weakened. As time progressed, Ronnie, who was a very devout Christian, saw figures from the Bible and took comfort in that.

As the days and the nights passed, Ronnie told his wife he was dying.  They knew it was dehydration. Ronnie would ask Beverly to read the Bible.

After search crews found their RV. They tried to follow the tracks left by the KIA but kept losing them.  A short time later, however, a rescuer heard a car horn. It was Beverly, honking out “SOS” in Morse code, just as Ronnie taught her during the week.

“The family of Ronnie and Beverly Barker wish to thank those who participated in the search and rescue operations to locate our beloved family members. The outpouring of support was nothing short of incredible by the members of the local community. Our hearts are full because of the efforts that were put forth to help us bring Ron and Bev back home again to Indiana,” read an official statement from the family.

A Go Fund Me account has been established with currently $13,037 in donations.

The family also called upon Nevada to change its policy regarding the issuance of public safety alerts, which will allow for a more expeditious approach to locating missing persons of all ages for both non-residents and residents of the state of Nevada.

(The Mineral County Independent News, Indianapolis Star newspaper, WTHR NBC Channel 13, Radio Goldfield 89.1, contributed to this story.)

Welcome Back Spring Animals and Birds

“Is this a good time to trim my trees and shrubs?” people are asking counselors at Wildcare Eastern Sierra.  Our off-and-on, warm and cold, drought-ridden winter has confused our Eastern Sierra mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, plants, trees, and people!

March 20 is officially the first day of spring. Yet an early nest of baby rabbits was found in Chalfant in December! Mammoth residents have reported that local Ravens are already readying their nests!

Tree-trimming or removal is best done before our native wild birds build nests and lay eggs. Look carefully for nesting birds before pruning or removing limbs. Most bird parents keep their young safe from predators by hiding and camouflaging nests, making them hard to see. It is illegal to interfere with nests once they are active,

Wildcare Eastern Sierra’s Director Cindy Kamler says, “Please don’t hesitate to give us a call for advice and assistance in making a “Garden of Eden” for you and your wild neighbors.”

Wildcare Eastern Sierra was one of the several recent recipients of a $9,000  grant from the California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, earmarked for organizations that help rescue wildlife.

For further information, contact Cindy or Danielle at 760-872-1487 or lkamler@earthlink.net

Join KIBS/KBOV in recycling your CRV cans and bottles at Manor Market’s Buy-Back Center, and donate the proceeds to Wildcare Eastern Sierra.


New Mt. Whitney District Ranger Is A Local

The Inyo National Forest is pleased to welcome Julie Hall, the new District Ranger for the Mt. Whitney Ranger District. 

 Julie has strong ties to the Eastern Sierra. Her father retired from the Inyo National Forest in 1992 as the Forest Recreation Staff Officer and still lives in Bishop. Her family relocated to Bishop with his job and she attended high school here.

 Julie comes from San Bernardino National Forest where she was the District Ranger on the San Jacinto Ranger District, stationed in Idyllwild, CA.

 Julie began her Forest Service career in 1985 as a Youth Conservation Corps employee on the Inyo. She worked as a temporary employee in recreation and visitor information services during college and after graduating. From there, she joined the Inyo full time, enjoying numerous roles, including engineering program manager, civil rights officer, and administrative officer. 

“I’m excited to be back in the Eastern Sierra, continuing my passion for serving the public with the Forest Service,” Julie said. “I feel like I have come home, and I look forward to meeting district residents and stakeholders and working with them for years to come.”

Photo Courtest of Inyo National Forest

Bishop High JV Mathletes Add Up to First Place

Bishop High’s Jr. Varsity Mathletes are the Champs of the four-school championships.  Their season recently ended with an impressive First Place finish. The JV teams competed in four meets. Bishop took home first in each meet and brought home 22 individual ribbons!

Bishop was #1 with 143 points, Tehachapi #2 with 76 points, Boron #3 with 67 points and Rosamond #4 with 66 points.

The top 15 Mathletes in the league are awarded high honors. 7 out of the top 15 are Bishop players. Congratulations to  #1 in the league Sam Wilson, #2 Ashley Fitt, #3 Elias Downard, #4 Alyssa Buchholz, #5 Cooper Beard, #9 Audrey Cokeley, and #13 Anwyn Benson.

Coach DeeDee Buchholz is very proud! “These kids are incredible! They are so smart and creative in their approach to solving problems. They work great together and enjoy competing, ” she reported.
“I see a very bright future for Bishop Mathletes! I am so impressed!”

We at KIBS/KBOV see a very bright future for our world with these high schoolers from Bishop.

Bishop High Mathletes at Boran Photo Courtesy of Coach Buchholz

Lucky Winner Might Get Lucky?

Warren Boling of Bishop won the Love Is On The Air Cupid Contest Grand Prize, given away on Valentine’s Day.

The week before, on the Gary Young Morning Show, winners that were the correct caller upon hearing the designated love song of the hour, each won a $25 Gift Certificate to a local restaurant.

Winners were put into the Grand Prize drawing for a romantic night’s stay at Convict Lake Resort and a $125 credit to The Restaurant at Convict Lake.

Listen to the Gary Young Show on KIBS, 6 AM – 10 AM. Our next contest – The Luck of the Irish, runs March 10 – 16.


Volunteer Archheology at Manzanar

Manzanar National Historic Site’s award-winning public archeology program is returning with three projects this year. On March 24-29, May 27-31, and September 2-6, volunteers will have the opportunity to assist the National Park Service in uncovering and preserving Manzanar’s Hospital area, the Children’s Village orphanage, and the Administration and Staff Housing area.

Work at the Hospital will include rebuilding a collapsed rock wall, removing brush and dead trees, clearing flood deposits, resetting building footers, and excavating landscaping features.

At Children’s Village, volunteers will rebuild rustic wood fences, expose building footers, and clear brush and downed trees. In the Staff Housing area, volunteers will help with a controlled surface collection of artifacts and making repairs to a soon-to-be returned staff apartment building.

Volunteer positions are available to anyone age 15 and over who is physically able to work outdoors and participate in moderately strenuous activity. Previous archeological experience is helpful, but not necessary. 

For more information or to sign up, please email jeff_burton@nps.gov

Photos Courtesy of the National Park SService

Images of Fire on the Owens

Lead photo, 10:00 PM  Feb. 16, from top of Collins Road, looking south to 3 miles north of Big Pine. Photo by Ken Harrison

Only one hour into the fire, moving quickly south, winds up to 30 MPH. Photo by Gary Young
United Airlines flight arriving from San Francisco glides in through the smoke to Eastern Sierra Regional Airport. Photo by Gary Young
Fire expoldes and it heads quickly down the Owens River. Photo by Gary Young
Flames continue into early Thursday morning (2-17). Photo by CHP Officer Adam Otten
Fire closes three roads leading to the river on Wednesday. Line St., Warm Springs, and Collins Road. Early Thursday AM Hwy 168 was closed. Photo by CHP Officer Adam Otten

BREAKING NEWS – Fire on the O

BREAKING NEWS – Can’t miss the big fire currently burning southeast of BIshop, about three miles east of Highway 395. The fire started south of the airport around 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday (2-16).

Numerous units responded from CalFire and Bishop Volunteer Fire, The fire maintained its southern movement along the banks of the Owens River. By 3:30 p.m. it was approaching Collins Road.

CalFirs Incident Commander Travis Lemm said all the local units available are on the scene. Three times more fire fighting units will arrive from other areas of California by this evening. With the heavy winds, aircraft might not be available today. In the Wintertime, their closet base of operations is over in Potterville. And in addition, CalFire said they’re not supposed to drop retardant in the river.

A CODE RED ALERT was received on area smart phones just after 1:30 p.m., advising of mandatory evacuations for the  Warms Springs area, although no structures were in the direct path of the fire. The White Mountain Research Center was evacuated.

The high winds are expected t last through the night. Fire officials said there is no threat to BIshop, Wilkerson, or Big Pine, but conditions could change.

Photo Courtesy of Gary Young Photography




Geothermal Pipeline Closes Some Mammoth Public Trails

The Bureau of Land Management Bishop Field Office and the Inyo National Forest are limiting some winter recreation access north of Shady Rest Park during the construction of a geothermal pipeline.

Ormat Technologies Inc. is undergoing pipeline construction as a component of the Casa Diablo IV Geothermal Development Project approved in 2013. Work is expected to be completed this spring.

For the time being, recreation access is limited on portions of Knolls Loop Trail, Nordic Ski Trails, Sawmill Cutoff Road and Sawmill Road, as plowing and tree cutting is underway. Roads may also be closed temporarily while work is underway. Signs have been installed to advise visitors of the activity.

The Casa Diablo IV (CD-IV) Geothermal Development Project is being developed by Ormat on federal geothermal leases administered by the Bureau of Land Management  The CD-IV project will become the fourth power plant in the Mammoth Pacific geothermal complex and is expected to generate enough electricity to serve an additional 10,000 homes or roughly 33,000 citizens (outside of Mono County).

Super Bowl Rams’ Team Member from Nevada Tribe

Congratulations to a Walker River Paiute and L.A. Rams lineman, Austin Corbett, # 63, who now owns a Super Bowl ring.

Corbett, a right guard, was on the field late for the game-winning score. He was in the team’s starting lineup, helping lead his team to victory Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals, 23-20.

His prior success of being named one of the NFL’s Top 20 Linemen, and his team’s Super Bowl win, was celebrated online by many in Indian Country.

A former member of the Wolf Pack at the University of Nevada – Reno, Corbett, joined the UNR team as a walk-on.  The Cleveland Browns selected him in the Second Round of the 2017 Draft and signed him to a  four-year $10 million deal.

In October 2019, the Browns traded him to the Rams. With the season finale Super Bowl win, Corbett is now a free agent.

The Walker River Paiute Tribe is located just north of Walker Lake in the Hawthorne area, in Schurz, NV., and is home to 900 members.

Road Diet and Reverse Back-in Parking For Main Street in Lee Vining’s “Revitalization”

(STORY UPDATE – POSTED 2-16 @ 11:00 AM.) Caltrans hosted a virtual meeting last night with 30 attendees. While a request for more time to study various proposals before approval of a negative environmental declaration (comments due by March 4) Caltrans assured residents that the design features of the highway need not be decided until January 2023.    

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A proposed road diet, consisting of Highway 395 being reduced from its current four lanes of travel, reduced to two lanes – one in each direction, and reverse back-in parking are two ideas being proposed by Caltrans for Lee Vining (Option #2 pictured. )

The project proposes to rehabilitate the existing 2 1/2 miles of Highway 395 through Lee Vining – replace, repair, or construct new pavement & facilities including drainage, sidewalks, curb ramps, driveways, street lighting, landscaping, a retaining wall, and guardrails.

Four conceptual cross-section design options have been prepared for the community of Lee Vining.

Caltrans wants the community’s input. There are many ways you can submit your comments on this project:

Fill out the Electronic Comment Card https://deavpm.wixsite.com/d9lvrehab/submit-comments

Or mail your written comments to: Caltrans District 9, Attn: Ryan Spaulding, 500 S. Main Street, Bishop, CA 93514

Or Email your comments directly to: Ryan.Spaulding@dot.ca.gov

The official comment period is from February 3 to March 4, 2022.  Comments must be received by the comment period deadline to be addressed in the Final Environmental Document.

See the entire proposal at https://deavpm.wixsite.com/d9lvrehab

Caltrans pushed pack-in parking a few years ago with a revitalization of 395 in Bridgeport. One local business employee stated to KIBS/KBOV News, “The community hates it.”

The Mono Basin Regional Planning Advisory Committee will be meeting by Zoom on Thursday, Feb. 17 at 5:30 PM discussing this subject. To comment, log onto  Zoom Meeting ID 845 2784 7218 or by phone 669-900-6833, Password #1234.

The project is planned for a 2025 completion.

Does Your Veteran Need Help?

Are you a Veteran in crisis, or more than likely – a friend or family member of a Vet and you have concerns.

The Inyo/Mono County Veteran’s Service stands ready to help.

Most recently, returning Vets from Afghanistan, seeing the images of the withdrawal, are having a particularly rough time.

Family members and friends of Vets should be aware that their loved ones may not reach out for support, thinking they may be taking away resources from Vets that need it more. FALSE. All Vets earned the services available.

Reach out to Gorden Greene, Veterans Service Officer, ggreene@inyocounty.org, or 760-873-7850.

Veterans Crisis Line 800-273-8255 – Option 1, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Or text to 838255, or online chat.

877-WAR-VETS Vet Center focusing on discussions with other Vets.

giveanhour.org – free mental health services to Vets.

Iraq and Afghanistan Vets of America (IAVA) 24/7/365, 855-91RAPID.

Inyo County Behavioral Health Crisis Hotline 800-841-5011

Also, Officer Greene is available to help with VA benefits, along with flags and Honor Guard services for memorials.

VETS . . . THANK YOU   for your service!