Community News

All Three Local CDFW Hatcheries Now Opened to the Public

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is pleased to announce that our local CDFW hatcheries – Black Rock and Fish Springs in Independence, and Hot Creek in Mammoth, reopened to the public on Thursday, April 7. The facilities have been closed to visitors for nearly two years during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The public is welcome again at outdoor areas including raceways and picnic spots. Hatcheries offer numerous activities including fish feeding, nature walks and educational kiosks.

“A visit to a fish hatchery is a fun-filled outing for both kids and adults – and it’s free, which is a difficult opportunity to find in today’s world,” said Ken Kundargi, CDFW’s Hatchery Program Manager. “The staff are excited to welcome the public back. The atmosphere at our hatcheries has just not been the same without visitors. Please come see us soon!”

For more information see:  Information about specific hatcheries, including locations, hours, directions and safety guidelines.

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.)

Mojave Precious Metals/Conglomerate Mesa Gold Exploration Shut Down

A gold exploration company has announced it’s suspending a proposal to continue gold mining exploration on Conglomerate Mesa, between Lone Pine and Death Valley, after the U.S. Bureau of Land Management required an environmental impact statement for the project.

Known as Mojave Precious Metals, a local subsidiary of Canadian-owned K2Gold,  the planned exploration project in a rugged, roadless area was shut down over a threatened, rare Inyo rock daisy.

In February the Center and other groups formally petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect the wildflower under the federal Endangered Species Act.

Ileene Anderson, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity, said .“Now that the immediate threat of exploratory drilling is behind us, our goal is to get the daisy and its remote habitat protected for good.”

Nearly every population of the rock daisy and the largest population of newly described Inyo thread plant are found on mining claims in Conglomerate Mesa in Inyo County. Earlier this month the BLM’s local field office notified the mining company that a comprehensive environmental impact statement would be required before any additional exploratory mining work could be done.

The Inyo rock daisy is a rare wildflower found only at the highest elevations of the southern Inyo Mountains, between the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains and Death Valley National Park.

Conglomerate Mesa is part of the National Conservation Lands system as well as an area of critical environmental concern, but these public lands remain open for commercial extraction under the 1872 Mining Law.

(Editor’s Note: We’ve reached out to Mojave Precious Metals by email and voicemail for comment. Their Lone Pine corporate offices are “temporarily closed.”

This report is taken from Press Releases issued or supported by The Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club, Friends of the Inyo, and other environmental organizations.

Active mining in Inyo County, which started approximately in the 1870s, continues today throughout the county. )

Congressman Obernolte Advances Japanese American/Manzanar WWII History Bill

Congressman Jay Obernolte’s (R-Hesperia) Japanese American WWII History Network Act (H.R. 6434) passed the U.S. House of Representatives with broad bipartisan support.

The bill will create a Japanese American World War II History Network administered by the National Park Service to interconnect sites across the country related to the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans and increased recognition of the human rights tragedy.

“The mass incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II was the heartbreaking culmination of what occurred when our country turned its back on its founding principles and allowed thousands of Americans to lose their liberties in the face of racism and fear. By bringing transparency to the story of Japanese American internment, we can help ensure that such injustice never again occurs within our nation,” said Rep. Obernolte.

The History Network network will follow the model of existing National Park Service networks, such as the African American Civil Rights Network, to provide a platform to increase access and promote heritage tourism to federal, state, and privately-owned sites linked to the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. Users will be empowered to use an interactive map to explore different geographic areas, learn about the journeys of Japanese Americans during World War II and plan visits to historic and cultural sites.

Locally, the Manzanar War Relocation Camp – a national monument, will be included in the new Network.

Arrested With Dynamite

On March 10, at approximately 9:30 AM, Inyo County Sheriff’s Office was notified of a domestic dispute inside one of the rooms of the Quality Inn Motel in Lone Pine, CA. Inyo County Sheriff’s Deputies and CHP responded to the call.

Upon arrival, the male subject provide two false names but was later identified as David Iuele, a 33-year-old man from Glenwood, CO.

During Iuele’s interview with Sheriff’s deputies, the female subject left the room to take her dog outside near the back of the motel. A CHP officer was watching the female subject and noticed an orange wax paper-wrapped item near the back door of the motel room.

After realizing the item was a stick of dynamite, the CHP Officer placed the device in an open area approximately 10 yards from the motel.

After Ieule admitted the device was his, he was arrested and booked into the Inyo County Jail for transporting an explosive device, PC 18715(a)(2), and placing a destructive device in a public area, PC 18725 – both felony charges. Additionally, he was charged with providing false identification, PC 148.9. Bail has been set for $100,000.

The device was safely removed from the area and disposed of by the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit.

Photo Courtesy of the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office

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

1872 Lone Pine Earthquake Sesquicentennial Remembrance

Join the Eastern  California Museum on Saturday, March 26,  from 10:30—11:30 at the Gravesite of the 1872 Lone Pine Earthquake Victims. The State Monument is located on the west side of Highway 395 one mile north of Lone Pine.

150 years ago, the 1872  earthquake that struck the Eastern Sierra impacted lives, property, and landscapes. Hear stories and accounts of this powerful event!

Bring water, dress for the weather, wear sturdy shoes. Park on the west side of Hwy. 395 – look for the parking assistants. The outdoor event with limited seating, Unfortunately, the trail to the gravesite is NOT wheelchair accessible and there is no railing along the steps.

For further information and questions, contact the Eastern California Museum at (760) 878-0258.

Photo Courtesy of Eastern California Museum .

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