Local News

State Representatives Recognize NIHD’s District of Year Designation

Inyo County’s representatives, State Senator Andreas Borgeas and Assemblyman Devon Mathis, recently recognized Northern Inyo Healthcare District for its designation as the Healthcare District of the Year by the Association of California Healthcare Districts.

Mathis, representing California’s 26th Assembly District, visited the District to present the NIHD Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer Kevin S. Flanigan, MD MBA, with a framed Assembly Resolution. Borgeas, representing California’s 8th Senate District, had an approved State Senate Certificate delivered by Field Representative Dana Jorgensen.

In October, Northern Inyo Healthcare District’s success with its Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) program garnered the District top honors from the Association of California Healthcare Districts (ACHD) as it named NIHD California’s Healthcare District of the Year for 2019.

Earlier this year, NIHD began a MAT program with grant and other funding, which the District runs in collaboration with other stakeholders for coordination of care. During the preceding three years, the District and others began to review opioid use. They identified a trend in the escalation of overdoses, deaths, criminal cases, and medical issues associated with opioid use, misuse, and abuse.

NIHD applied for and was one of 31 named recipients for the Bridge Grant. This action allowed for the creation of the MAT program, which is now expanding into other areas of Behavioral Health treatment. Since the implementation of the program:

NIHD has seen more than 92 enrolled patients in eleven months.

Every NIHD Emergency Department physician has earned special certification to prescribe the highly controlled anti-addiction medication; and,

 More than a half dozen patients have been treated with the life-saving medication, Narcan, by police, first responders, or private citizens outside of the hospital.

State Health officials have also asked the program’s coordinators to share their path of success and growing expertise with other healthcare agencies in hopes of launching similar programs in other areas of California.

Senator Borgeas’ certificate noted that the District’s MAT program has “broken barriers to treat patients dealing with behavioral health issues and is improving their quality of life.” It goes on to commend the entire NIHD staff for the program’s “creative efforts (that) will truly save lives.”

Assemblyman Mathis’ resolution, read into the Assembly’s official record on Nov. 14, made note of the “vital and interdependent” relationship between communities and their nonprofit health care organizations, the resulting positive health outcomes, and “the spirit of ongoing community engagement” fostered through charitable activities.

Mathis’ resolution goes on to note that in keeping with the District’s vision, “NIHD has stood firm to its core value of compassion and integrity; aspirational values of quality, excellence, and innovation, and permissive values of safety and team-based partnerships with its professional staff.” Mathis then went on to congratulate the District as ACHD’s Healthcare District of the Year and commended the Board of Trustees, leadership, and staff for continually providing outstanding healthcare services to the residents of Northern Inyo County.

BLM Conducting Pile Burns in Mono County

BRIDGEPORT, Calif. – Wildland fire crews from the Bureau of Land Management Bishop Field Office are planning winter pile burning operations with interagency partners for south of Bridgeport, Mono County, when weather and air quality conditions permit.

 

Slash piles, composed of limbs, branches and trees will be burned on approximately 270-acres of BLM-managed public lands at several locations in the Mormon Meadows and Bridgeport Canyon areas. Prescribed burning helps to reduce hazardous fuels, moderate the potential negative effects of wildland fire and increase firefighter and public safety.

 

During burn operations, smoke may be visible from Bridgeport, Conway Summit, Conway Ranch Estates, June Mountain, Lee Vining, Mono City, U.S. Route 395 and Virginia Lakes Road. The BLM is requesting the public to avoid congregating on or near roadways, which can obstruct fire equipment and emergency vehicles.

 

The BLM is committed to keeping public landscapes healthy and productive. These prescribed burns are part of a larger strategy to improve sagebrush habitat conditions throughout the Bodie Hills. Trees have been cut and piled in historically open sagebrush areas to increase ecosystem resiliency and restore habitat for several species, including sage grouse and migratory mule deer. All prescribed fire operations are conducted in close coordination with the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District.

 

For more information, please call Heather Stone at the Bishop Field Office, 760-872-5000.

IMACA Appoint New Executive Director

The IMACA Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Robert (Bob) Hughes has been appointed as IMACA’s new Executive Director beginning December 2, 2019. He will succeed Charles Broten, who is retiring after 5 ½ years with the Agency.

Mr. Hughes has professional experience in banking and was the President/CEO of the Thrift/Pan America Bank and Beneficial State Bank in Porterville CA. One of his key accomplishments there was developing relationships with auto and furniture dealers that required fair treatment of customers in order to participate in lending programs. He also adapted a business model to effectively serve low income and Spanish speaking communities.

Recently, Hughes worked as AmeriCorps Statewide Volunteer Infrastructure Project Leader in Napa Ca. He led a group of 130 + volunteers serving dozens of non-profit agencies in the State. He completed a 1700 hour service year with CalServes/AmeriCorps.

Carolyn Balliet, IMACA Chairperson, says, “IMACA has been extremely fortunate to have had Charlie Broten in recent years, working successfully to implement the goals of our Mission Statement and assist the managers to maximize their talents in serving the low income people in our Counties. We look forward to working with Bob Hughes to continue increasing the impact IMACA has in our community.”

Hiker Missing in Death Valley

HUNTER CANYON, CA. December 4, 2019 – On November 27 (evening), Inyo County Sheriff’s Office received notification by Death Valley National Park of a missing hiker, Rolin Bruno, a 76-year old man from Arrowbear, CA. Bruno planned on hiking up Hunter Canyon out of Saline Valley to cache water for a future hike in the Spring, prior to meeting family members at Saline Valley Hot Springs on November 27. When Bruno did not arrive, family members notified the campground host. Bruno was hiking alone. (It is unclear whether Bruno’s hike occurred on Monday November 25 or Tuesday November 26.)

 

On Thursday November 28 a severe winter storm impeded search efforts. Aerial reconnaissance was requested for Friday November 29; CHP Inland Division Air Operations initially responded, however a fog layer made flying impossible in the morning. China Lake Naval Air Station was requested to provide aerial support once the fog layer lifted; Inyo Search and Rescue (SAR) members were on board providing additional assistance.

 

Saturday November 30, 11 Inyo SAR members conducted extensive search assignments in the area. Aerial searching was provided by CHP Inland Division Air Operations. A drone was deployed in order to reach more remote areas and provide additional search information to the team.  Due to extremely icy conditions on Saline Valley’s “South Pass”, the team was almost unable to drive out of the search area.  Sunday December 1, winter weather disallowed flying or driving into the search area.

 

On Monday Dec 2, as weather cleared, two Inyo SAR members were hoisted from CHP H-80 into more remote areas high in the search zone to check structures and mining ruins. Additional aerial searching was provided by CHP Inland Division Air Operations with Inyo SAR members on board.

 

Tuesday December 3, six Inyo SAR members were inserted into the search area by Kern County Air Operations.  SAR members from China Lake Mountain Rescue Group drove into the search zone and combed lower segments of the area. Inyo Sheriff’s Office deputies also drove to the sight and conducted investigations at the vehicle and searched nearby mining cabins.

 

Today winter weather has hampered search efforts.  Overhead planning teams are working on the next phase of the search operation. If anyone from the public has seen Bruno you are encouraged to contact Inyo Sheriff at 760-878-0383 option 4. Bruno is 5’11”, 170lbs, white male, long grey hair, grey beard, brown eyes, possibly wearing a flannel or denim shirt and blue jeans.

 

Aerial assistance has been provided by: CHP Inland Division Air Operations H-80, China Lake Naval Air Station VX-31, and Kern County Air Operations Air 5. Ground searching has been provided by: Inyo SAR, Kern County SAR, and China Lake Mountain Rescue Group. Additional support has been provided by Death Valley National Park and CalOES.

 

Winter Storm Causes Multiple Accidents Over Thanksgiving Weekend

The California Highway Patrol conducted its annual Maximum Enforcement Period for the Thanksgiving holiday between November 27 to December 1.

During this time, there were quite a few reported collisions in both Bishop and Bridgeport CHP’s jurisdiction. The combined amount of total crashes in the four day period was twenty-three.

The Bishop Area CHP reported thirteen total accidents, with three of them involving injury. Out of the thirteen total crashes, eight of them were non-injury collisions. Additionally, nearly every reported accident was weather related.

The California Highway Patrol in the Bishop area also documented three DUI arrests during the MEP, with one DUI crash occurring.

As for the Bridgeport Area CHP, their office reports that during their Maximum Enforcement Period, they had ten accidents. Surprisingly enough with all the inclement weather in the Eastern Sierra, none of the reported accidents involved injury.

Although there were only three DUI arrests through the Thanksgiving holiday period in the Eastern Sierra, that number skyrockets when looking at the statewide statistics. In the first thirty hours of the MEP, there were a reported 314 arrests involving impaired driving. Additionally, eight people died in collisions because of driving under the influence during the four days.

Bishop Union Win Third CIF Championship in School History

Photos by Gary Young

Defense wins championships. However cliché it sounds, the Bishop Bronco’s defense is what won them the championship against the Orosi Cardinals on Saturday night.

Midway through the first quarter, the Broncos forced their first turnover of the game, when Jaydan Braithwaite stole Orosi Quarterback, Evan Lara’s screen pass, which was intended for star running back, Dominic Martinez inside the red zone. Braithwaite knew the ball was going to be thrown to Martinez before Lara could even react.

Later on, Orosi had another opportunity to score inside the red zone. Lara tried to throw a ball off of his back foot. The wayward throw was intercepted in the middle of the field by Darren Dondero, who recorded his fourth interception of the season.

Right before halftime, it appeared as though Orosi would score some much needed points trailing 13-0. Dominic Martinez received the hand off, shifted to the left and headed toward the goal line. That’s when a host of Bronco defenders stormed toward Martinez, who was on the one yard line and fumbled before scoring.

The ball looked like it had a mind of its own, inexplicably shooting out of the hands of the junior tailback toward the touchdown marker as defenders closed in on Martinez. The officials determined the Orosi Cardinal did not cross the goal line, therefore the Broncos would take possession on their 20 yard line.

Later on in the game, Lara would fumble the ball for the team’s fourth turnover on the night near midfield.

Turnovers weren’t the only facet of the game in which Ricky Beal’s defense thrived. Sophomore, Kennedy Bachelder led the team with ten tackles and two sacks. Cornerback, Joe Weaver had five pass breakups along with two tackles, and Tristan Valle recorded seven tackles and one sack.

Although Bishop’s defense is it’s strength, the Broncos offense isn’t too shabby either. Led by Luke McClean and Steven Paco, James Ferrell’s offense has scored fifty-five total touchdowns this season. Five of those touchdowns were scored in the championship.

Going into the second quarter, the game was tied 0-0. Steven Paco turned the tide in favor of Bishop with a one yard scamper into the end zone, making it 7-0. The first score of the game was Paco’s 14th rushing touchdown of the year.

Later on in the second quarter, Luke McClean found Johnny Torres, affectionately known now as “Johnny Playoffs” for his stellar performances in the post season for a twenty yard reception, which put the Broncos at the one yard line. McClean finished off the drive with a one yard rushing touchdown.

With 10:30 to go in the third quarter, McClean hooked up with the player of the game, Joe Weaver for a twenty yard touchdown pass over the middle. Bishop converted the two-point attempt to give them a three score lead against Orosi.

Luke McClean would get his second touchdown of the game when he kept the ball for a three yard touchdown right before the fourth quarter began. The rush was the star quarterback’s eighteenth touchdown on the ground this season.

Bishop’s offense would finish off the night with a twenty yard sweep to “Johnny Playoffs.” Torres went in motion from the right side, took the ball up the left, and blew past the Cardinal defenders. The game would finish 34-7.

The CIF title is the first for Head Coach, Arnie Palu and the third in school history. The team’s last championship came in 2010. Before that, Bishop had to wait fifty-three years to see a title, which happened in 1957.

Salt Creek Boardwalk and All Campgrounds Open

DEATH VALLEY, CA – Salt Creek Boardwalk and all campgrounds are now open in Death Valley National Park. However, visitors should be aware of severe winter weather forecasted for Thanksgiving week.

Salt Creek Boardwalk, which has been closed for months due to safety hazards, recently reopened. Park employees and volunteers from Apple replaced over one hundred broken or sagging boards.
Death Valley generally welcomes a large number of visitors during the week of Thanksgiving. However, travelers this year should be cautious of winter storms that might bring snow as low as 3,200 feet in the park.

All park campgrounds are now open. However, Mahogany Flat Campground (elevation 8,200’) and Thorndike Campground (elevation 7,400’) will close if snow makes them inaccessible.

Bishop Win a Thriller to Advance to the CIF Championship Game

Photos by Gary Young Photography

Resilience is a word that comes to mind when describing Bishop’s effort Friday night.

The first half belonged to the Cardinals. Lindsay controlled the tempo on their first possession, with a methodical march down the field that lasted nearly seven minutes. Star running back, Danny Trujillo, who came into the game with more than 2,100 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns, was dragging Bishop’s front seven forward on what appeared to be nearly every play.

Nearly every time the standout halfback was hit, he would fall forward, or break a tackle, until Lindsay found themselves on Bishop’s doorstep. Lindsay scored on a one yard run, but it was Danny’s brother, Israel who punched it in.

Down 7-0, the Broncos quickly responded. Lindsay put all of their eggs into one basket by trying to stop the run the subsequent drive. With 2:40 to go in the first quarter, Luke McClean threw a strike down the middle of the field to Jaydan Braithwaite for a 55 yard touchdown.

After tying the game up at seven a piece, Bishop didn’t do much else in the first half. The Trujillo brothers were running rampant on the Bronco’s front seven. It seemed like every time a linebacker or defensive lineman had a good angle for a tackle, the Trujillo brothers were able to slip by the defense.The ground and pound formula paid dividends yet again for Lindsay, when Danny Trujillo scored a six yard touchdown to make it 16-7 Cardinals. Bishop looked tired, beaten, and battered.

Bishop got the ball to start the second half. The waters did not calm for the Broncos during the first drive. Star quarterback, Luke McClean threw an interception on the near sideline, giving the ball back to the Cardinals in Bishop territory. The interception could have been the moment where head coach, Arnie Palu’s team folded, but it wasn’t.

Instead, the turnover was a moment which appeared to galvanize the team. Bishop forced a three and out after the turnover, and for the rest of the game defensive coordinator, Rick Beall had his defense dialed in.

Those Grand Canyon sized holes Danny Trujillo was running through in the first half turned into narrow crevices. All of those missed tackles in the first half were a thing of the past. The Broncos were able to get to Trujillo before he had any steam and nullified most of his rushing attempts.

The offense followed the defense’s example, playing inspired football. In the third quarter, the Luke McClean found wide receiver, Johnny Torres for a thirty yard touchdown to pull within two.

In the fourth and final quarter, McClean went back to Torres, who was wide open for a fifteen yard touchdown. The crowd erupted as Bishop had finally taken the lead. McClean then scored the two-point conversion on a direct snap. Bishop were up 22-16.

After the score, it was time for the Bronco defense to hold the line. On a crucial third down, Sophomore, Kennedy Bachelder sacked quarterback, Randon Gomez resulting in a fourth down and long for Lindsay. The Cardinals were bailed out on what would have been Lindsay’s final play, when Sophomore, Luis Cruz got called for pass interference.

With about two minutes left in the game, Gomez threw up a prayer with hopes of trying to convert a first down. That prayer was not answered. The ball was thrown near Steven Paco, who came up with the game-winning interception.

The final score in this one was 22-16. Bishop will now match up against Orosi in the CIF Championship Game for Division Six.

State Makes Groundwater Capture Easier for Local Agencies

The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) announced late last week that it has streamlined requirements for applicants seeking to divert surface water to underground storage during floods and other high flow conditions in an effort to expedite its water right permitting process. Although the changes will have no impact on existing laws and regulations, the streamlined requirements will simplify the permitting pathway for capturing water during high flow events and storing that water underground, a process known as recharge. The new requirements will also reduce application filing fees and annual permit and license costs.

“Achieving groundwater sustainability is one of California’s most pressing water management challenges,” said State Water Board Chair E. Joaquin Esquivel. “With a more variable hydrology expected, it’s critical that we prepare to capture floodwaters and other high flows, increase groundwater recharge, and better prepare for the effects of climate change. These permitting revisions will help make that process more nimble and efficient, while still protecting fish and senior right holders.”

The new measures are expected to directly benefit groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) and similar local entities. Many such entities are struggling as they strive to comply with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) and replenish overdrafted groundwater basins. The SGMA became law in 2015 empowering local agencies to manage groundwater resources for long-term sustainability. The long-term planning requirement is designed to provide a buffer against drought and climate change and contributes to reliable water supplies, regardless of weather patterns.

The new streamlined process allows applicants to choose one of two diversion scenarios during the December-to-March time frame: (1) when a river or stream’s daily flows exceed the 90th percentile and no more than 20 percent of the total stream flow is taken; or (2) a flood control agency determines actions are needed to protect the public. Agencies who divert to underground storage and choose this less complicated approach must meet certain criteria and comply with a water availability analysis that monitors diversion of high flows during the winter.

“Umbrella” permitting allows a water right holder to manage the diversion, storage and extraction of water on a landowner-by-landowner basis, from one high flow event to the next, or from year to year, without additional approvals from the Board. GSAs are encouraged to pursue “umbrella” permitting to cover dozens and possibly hundreds of diversion locations in a watershed and large areas of use, such as a water district.

Currently, California depends on groundwater for a third of its annual water supply, and significantly more during droughts. New groundwater recharge projects will likely be proposed and implemented by many GSAs as part of sustainable groundwater management. The new streamlined recharge permitting measures are designed to help GSAs obtain water right permits faster to help meet timelines for achieving sustainability.

 

Story via californiawaternewsdaily.com

New Exhibit Arrives at Laws Museum

A new exhibit has just arrived at Laws Railroad Museum and Historic Site! The Museum has acquired, on loan, the restored Bodie Railway and Lumber Company (Bodie and Benton Railroad) flat car number 8, and it is on display on the Museum grounds.


Several years ago, members of the Friends of the Bodie Railway and Lumber Company group were exploring the BR&L right of way and found the remains of a wrecked flat car. The metal parts were salvaged and cleaned up, but the remains of the wood parts were too far gone to salvage. The Friends located the number on the car and found the plans for it and started in on the restoration. The car was restored by the Friends of the Bodie Railway and Lumber Company about 17 years ago and has been on display in June Lake until last week. The restoration effort included acquiring custom cut full dimensional lumber to replicate the original lumber in the car. The restoration was completed in 2002


The Friends of the Bodie Railway and Lumber Company recently decided to disband, and turned ownership of the car over to the Bodie Foundation. The Foundation did not have a means of moving or storing the car, so two former members of the Friends, John Fredrickson and Paul Thompson, stepped up and negotiated a loan to the Laws Railroad Museum to display and maintain the car for the next several years. The Museum hired Kurt Van Nest, owner of High Sierra Storage, to move and set up the car in its new location. The move was made by his company, with the help of a volunteer crew from Laws Railroad Museum, on Sunday November 17.