KIBS/KBOV Announcements

Dark Sky Festival was a success – Largest attendance in thirteen-year history of the event

DEATH VALLEY, Calif. – Clear skies, telescopes, and engaging speakers combined for a stellar experience at this year’s Dark Sky Festival in Death Valley National Park. The programs had a total attendance of 5,568. Many people stayed for all three days and enjoyed multiple programs.

The Dark Sky Festival included auditorium talks, field trips, astrophotography workshops, night sky tours and other presentations held from February 10 through 12.  Over 1,500 people looked through telescopes hosted by the Las Vegas Astronomical Society.

“It was exciting to see so many people travel to Death Valley to enjoy the night sky,” said Superintendent Mike Reynolds. “This was a special opportunity for the public to interact directly with top scientists studying the planets and stars. And Death Valley National Park is an ideal place for this, because the park has supported a lot of planetary science research.”

The event’s partners included the Ames Research Center, California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Death Valley Natural History Association, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Las Vegas Astronomical Society, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, and SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence).

The festival is an annual celebration of space and planetary science in one of the darkest locations in the United States. Dates for the 2024 Dark Sky Festival have not been set yet.  

Death Valley National Park is the homeland of the Timbisha Shoshone and preserves natural resources, cultural resources, exceptional wilderness, scenery, and learning experiences within the nation’s largest conserved desert landscape and some of the most extreme climate and topographic conditions on the planet. Learn more at  

(Photo Below: Ralph Lorenz, from the John Hopkins Applied Physics Lab, talks about the exploration of Venus. NPS photo by J. Hallett)

(Photo below: Michael Tuite from NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory leads a guided field program at Mars Hill in Death Valley. NPS photo by J. Hallett )

Mary Booher Returns to Mono County Administrative Office

On February 9, 2023, Mary Booher, a former resident and valued employee of Mono County for more than 24 years, returned to
County service. Ms. Booher’s knowledge of County services, functions, and culture, combined with her lengthy experience in public administration, make her a welcome addition to the Mono
County team.

Ms. Booher worked in various positions during her 24 years with Mono County, gaining experience in administration, budget, finance, and various departmental functions, before moving on to leadership roles with both Sonoma and Napa Counties. She most recently retired as Assistant County Executive Officer from Napa County. After returning to the Eastern Sierra in 2020, she volunteered her time to assist in recovery efforts following the devastating Mountain
View Fire in northern Mono County.

“We are thrilled that Mary has agreed to return to Mono County during this transition period, and know that she will hit the ground running,” said Supervisor Rhonda Duggan, Chair of the Mono County Board of Supervisors. “Her long history with Mono County, and extensive experience in local government, make her an asset to any organization, and we are grateful for her support.”

Ms. Booher will be serving in the capacity of “Retired Annuitant – County Administrative Office, Special Projects.” Ms. Booher received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of
Nevada, Reno, her Bachelor of Science/Business Administration degree from Regis University in Denver, Colorado, and her Master of Public Administration from Golden Gate University in San
Francisco. Ms. Booher will be working part-time to adhere to the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) rules of retired annuitants.


The 2023 Blake Jones Trout Derby is set for Saturday, March 11th in Bishop, California. Since 1968, the event has been a favorite Eastern Sierra tradition. Last year, nearly 400 registered participants weighed in more than 500 fish. The largest was 5 pounds and most were in the 1-pound range. Lucky winners took home about $10K
worth of prizes including float tubes, Yeti coolers, barbecues, rod & reel combos and tons of other great gear provided by the event’s ever-generous co-sponsors.

This year is shaping up to be another great one according to the Bishop Area Chamber of Commerce. The derby is popular with visitors as well as locals. “We want to make sure that it’s sustainable so upcoming generations can enjoy the fishing fun. We’ve added a category for catch & release and a special raffle prize for
those who pick up trash while they are out fishing. And, we always purchase and plant far more fish than are usually caught at the derby,” explains Bishop Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tawni Thomson.

The Blake Jones derby is a blind bogey format with categories for adults and kids of all ages. In addition to the blind bogey awards, there will be prizes for early bird registrations, farthest travel, biggest fish, even prizes for those who don’t catch any fish or choose to catch & release.

Registration, weigh-in, and awards ceremony will be at the Eastern Sierra Tri-County Fairgrounds in downtown Bishop. Fishing locations include Pleasant Valley Reservoir and the Owens River. California Department of Fish and Wildlife plants Rainbow Trout year-round in these locations and the Bishop Chamber will arrange for supplemental stocking of fish purchased from Wright’s Rainbows prior to the derby. “We want to make sure there are plenty of fish for everyone,” explains April Leeson, Event Coordinator at the Bishop Chamber of Commerce.

“The derby is a real family-friendly fishing event. In addition to the fishing contest, we’ll have information booths, educational displays, kids’ casting games, music, activities, food & beverage vendors and more”, Leeson added.

Registration for the derby is now open.  Sign up online at or drop by the Bishop Chamber of Commerce, 690 North Main Street.

The Blake Jones Trout Derby is co-sponsored by Inyo County and the City of Bishop, plus many other generous sponsors.  For more information, contact the Bishop Chamber at (760)873-8405.

Laws Honors Women in Mining History on March 11th

Most readers, if asked for a word association to women in 19th Century mining camps are likely to respond with an association to “working girls” and “red light districts”. But the mines of 19th and early 20th Century’s in California and Nevada had a share of women who were seeking fortunes of their own: roaming the hills in search of riches, prospecting, staking claims, and investing their wealth in townsites and ranches. Some were successful, some died in
poverty. But the ones who made history weren’t about to trade their lifestyle for anything more traditional. In fact, Lillian Malcolm, Broadway actress turned gold miner, wondered why more women didn’t choose the healthier, grander outdoor lifestyle of prospecting.

This year, Laws Railroad Museum and Historical Site will honor women in mining during Women’s History Month, on Saturday March 11th. Visitors to Laws will have the opportunity to hear from history docents about the lives and experiences of some of California’s and Nevada’s women gold-panners and prospectors. Some of these unconventional women travelled from the east
coast and even from other countries in response to “Gold Fever”. Others, like Ellen Nay, grew up prospecting alongside family members who hoped to strike it rich.

Some readers may be also be surprised by the historic link between the narrow- gauge railroad that came through Laws Station, and the mining industry. The railroad itself was built primarily to serve the mines. Passengers and produce were also transported, but the productive mines of the eastern Sierra were the real reason for rails through the Owens Valley.

Join us at Laws Railroad Museum and Historical Site on March 11th to learn more! Weather permitting, rides will be given on the Pine Creek tungsten mine’s ore cart, and the first 49 visitors to obtain autographs from six history docents will earn a bag of polished rocks from the gift shop/reception center’s “mine”.

The museum is open 10:00-4:00 p.m. Call (760) 873-5950 for more information.

LADWP Confirms Elevation of Mono Lake Is Rising, No Emergency Conditions Present

Feb. 14, 2023 (LOS ANGELES) — Today, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) announced that recent measurements taken at Mono Lake indicate that the lake level elevation is 6,379.3 feet above sea level, which is over two feet higher than its 2017 low of 6,377.5 feet when no emergency regulatory action was called for or taken.  LADWP has also recently forecasted that recent snowfall in and around the Mono Basin will cause the lake level to rise approximately two more feet before the end of the year, ensuring the continued health of the Mono Basin ecosystem.

“Our hydrographers have confirmed that the Mono Lake level is the highest it has been in years – despite drought – and the snowpack from January will cause the lake level to rise even higher,” said Anselmo Collins, Senior Assistant General Manager, Water Systems at LADWP. “We’re confident and pleased that recent weather, along with LADWP’s responsible environmental stewardship, has assured that the Mono Basin ecosystem remains healthy.”

Mono Lake supports a healthy ecosystem for a variety of species, including brine shrimp and California gulls, both in its waters and on the islands and shores surrounding the lake. Additionally, due to LADWP’s significant investments, Mono Basin creeks have been restored, fish populations are thriving, and waterfowl habitats have been enhanced.

The Mono Lake Committee (MLC) has made false claims that nesting gulls on Negit Island in Mono Lake are at risk of coyote predation and is urging the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) to take emergency action to prohibit LADWP from exercising its water rights. In recent statements and publicity, MLC relied on a lake level measurement from the seasonal low point at the height of drought last year, which does not reflect today’s reality. Mono Lake’s water level is more than four feet above possible land exposure that would allow coyotes to potentially cross to Negit Island.

Thanks to requirements that the SWRCB established in 1994, coyotes would need to travel approximately four football fields’ worth of water four feet deep to reach nesting gull populations – a length and depth that will only increase as snowpack melts and fills into the lake. Furthermore, scientific evidence shows that nesting gull populations are correlated to food availability, not lake levels. LADWP is prepared to collaborate with MLC and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to continue its stewardship in the Mono Basin, but rejects any assertion that stream diversions should be cut on an emergency or other basis.

The City of Los Angeles utilizes its Mono Basin water rights to serve up to 200,000 Angelenos each year. MLC has acknowledged that if the City of Los Angeles were ordered to cease its diversions, it would only raise the lake level by approximately one inch. Intense statewide drought has meant that California’s other water sources – the State Water Project and Colorado River – are under heavy strain. In the last 40 years, Angelenos have reduced water use by 44% despite a population growth of more than one million, but no amount of conservation will make Los Angeles independent of vital imported water supplies that have already been reduced substantially.

LADWP continues to serve as an environmental steward of Mono Basin and the Mono Lake watershed while also protecting the health and well-being of the four million residents LADWP serves.


Sandy Lund – 2023 Big Pine Civic Club “Citizen of the Year”

Sandy Lund was awarded the 2023 Big Pine Civic Club Citizen of the Year on Feb. 13. Sandy is certainly Ms. Big Pine. She gives her all and at least 10% more to everything she is involved in.

Sandy is Civic Club president, heads community activities like Highway clean up, Christmas tree lighting, Easter Egg hunt. She is
involved in the American Legion Auxiliary, selling Fire Department calendars, and being Mrs. Santa. The following comments were added to Sandy’s nomination: Sandy keeps Big Pine activities rolling; she is very involved in local events and does a lot to support the town; OMG! She’s always trying to bring the community
together; Sandy has been working to put Big Pine community together for the good of our future and always is willing to help those in need; Sandy has put her heart and soul into Big Pine Civic Club.

Congratulation to Sandy Lund!

After the presentation of the Citizen of the Year, Civic Club President Sandy opened the floor for chairmanship volunteers to the upcoming community Easter Egg Hunt, Shave Ice Booth, 4th of July community BBQ, and Christmas events. Please contact Sandy if you would like to be on any of these committees.

Lloyd Wilson from the Big Pine volunteer fire department and Inyo County Health director Marilyn Mann both discussed the effect Symon Ambulance ending services to the area will affect our
community. Inyo County Sheriff, Stephanie Rennie, gave a brief update on changes in the Sheriff department. The American Legion Auxiliary Unit 457 was pleased to announce this year’s Girls State
delegates are Morgan Renard and Vanessa Miller.

8 delicious carrot cakes from a wide field of contests were judged by the audience at large with good humor. Kevin Carrunchio reclaimed his crown as the Best Carrot Cake baker, Eileen Burger took second
and Inyo County Sheriff Stephine Rennie third. The winners received a gift certificate from Carroll’s market and their choice of a wine stopper, bottle opener or wine opener made from the Big Pine Tree and bragging rights.

Next Big Pine Civic Club meeting will be Monday, March 13 at 6:00 in the Big Pine Town Hall.

(Photos: Citizen of the Year – Sandy Kund; Carrot Cake Winners)

Inyo County Awards Community Project Grants

More than a dozen local non-profit groups have been awarded grants for various community projects and events throughout Inyo County.

The aid is being offered by the County of Inyo through its Community Project Sponsorship Program (CPSP). The Inyo County Board of Supervisors approved a total of $40,000 for competitive CPSP grants in calendar year 2023.

Each year, the competitive grants can be used to fund a variety of projects, programs or events. In general, the CPSP program is focused on helping local organizations promote activities and programs that bring visitors to the area, and supports events and programs that enhance the cultural and recreational quality
of life of the county’s residents.

This year, the County received a whopping 19 grant applications from 16 different organizations requesting a total of $126,950 – more than three times the amount of money available. An independent review panel determined that 2023 CPSP competitive grant funding should be distributed thusly (applications must
receive a score of at least 70/100 to be eligible):

• Amargosa Conservancy – $2,000 for a trailhead project near Tecopa
• Bishop Area Climbers Association – $2,500 for the Sky Pilot Project involving a guided Mt.
Whitney Trip for two area youth;
• Bishop Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau – $2,000 for “Fam” Tours to
familiarize local frontline hospitality providers with the region’s recreational, scenic, and
cultural assets;
• Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association – $2,000 for its Eastern Sierra Youth Outdoors
program that takes local teens on a six-day rock-climbing/backpacking adventure;
• Farm to Crag – $2,000 for a program that connects the climbing community with local
• Friends of the Eastern Sierra Tri-County Fair – $6,500 to hold another season of Friday Night
Markets in Bishop;
• Goodent – $2,500 toward the purchase of a stove for the Lone Pine Forum Theater, helping
facilitate year-round events and activities;
• Healthy Communities of Southern Inyo County – $1,000 for summer youth programs;
• Inyo County Search and Rescue – $4,000 for the Range of Light Trail Races that raises
funds for the volunteer organization;
• Lone Pine Museum of Film History – $3,000 for “Movies at the Museum;”
• Mule Days – $3,000 for digital marketing;
• Owens Valley Little League – $3,000 for equipment and fields maintenance;• Owens Lake Bird Festival – $3,500;
• Playhouse 395 – $3,000 for a spring musical production.

“The volunteer panel of community members responsible for reviewing and scoring the applications certainly had a daunting task, and we appreciate their careful and thorough consideration of each request,” said Board Chair Jennifer Roeser. “While it’s unfortunate the County could not fund every request this year, the citizen panel did a fantastic job. Thank you to everyone who applied.”

The next application period for CPSP Competitive Grants, for 2024, will be this fall. The CPSP program also includes Fishing Promotion, which funds four local fishing derbies and other promotional events during the Fishing Season, and Line Item Grants which fund well-established, ongoing promotional efforts or events such as the Wild Wild West Marathon in Lone Pine and the California High
School Rodeo Association State Finals in Bishop.

SCAM!! Alert – Inyo County Sheriff’s Department

The so-called Distraint Warrant reports a false outstanding tax debt owed to the county by the recipient; warns that “levying procedures will begin within 15 days of its receipt,” including threatening garnishment of wages and seizure of property; and, to avoid enforcement, advises people to call the number provided in the letter to pay the outstanding debt. THIS IS A SCAM. Scams Can be reported at the following link:

Long-Time Ambulance Provider Gives Notice to Cease Operations in Bishop Area

Symons Emergency Services has given notice to the Inland Counties Emergency Medical Agency (ICEMA) that in the near future it will cease providing Advanced Life Support (ALS) ambulance services in the Exclusive Operating Area (EOA), which encompasses the greater Bishop area.

Symons has served the Bishop area since 1989. Its current contract with ICEMA requires an ALS level of response in the Bishop area EOA, which ensures that a paramedic is on board the responding ambulance.

Over the past year, the Bishop Fire Department has backed up Symons with additional ambulance service, mostly provided by volunteer Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) delivering Basic Life Support (BLS) services.

“While Symons’ decision to cease service is unfortunate, the City and County are working together to develop a plan that will ensure continued critical ambulance service for the residents and visitors in the greater Bishop area,” said City Administrator Deston Dishion.

Both agencies are committed to keeping the public informed as they work through the process.

In its formal notice to ICEMA, Symons Emergency Services cited unsustainable financial losses as the reason for the
company ceasing ALS operations in Bishop. Symons said it can no longer bear the burden of subsidizing the ambulance service as a result of rising costs continuously outpacing Medicaid reimbursement rates.

Symons, ICEMA, and the agencies are exploring the possibility of Symons providing BLS services as a short-term solution that may allow for a smoother transition to a new provider. All involved Emergency Service partners are committed to ensuring ambulance service is available while a long-term solution is sought. Public meetings will be scheduled in the near future for residents to give input.

NIHD welcomes Ted Gardner Back to its Board of Directors

Northern Inyo Healthcare District (NIHD) recently welcomed its second new Board of Directors member within two months.
Ted Gardner, sworn in Jan. 18, and Melissa Best-Baker, sworn in last month, are both appointees completing existing terms on the five-member Governing Board. They join Mary Mae Kilpatrick,
Jean Turner, and Jody Veenker in maintaining the policy administration needed to operate the 76-year-old District, one of the oldest healthcare districts in the state.

While the long-time Bishop resident is the newest to the existing Board, Gardner is no stranger to the District, having served eight years previously on the Board. He also represented the District
on the Association of California Healthcare Districts (ACHD) and has administrative experience in the physical therapy practice owned and operated by his late wife, Patricia.

Aware of the open position in Zone III, Gardner stepped forward, feeling he could contribute in a challenging fiscal time for the District. “I hope to bring a perspective that balances the healthcare needs of the community with the ability to be always aware of financial restraints,” Gardner said Monday during an interview.
“Every individual has three hopes in receiving healthcare: choice, access, and quality. Choice is the ability to choose a particular provider. Access is the ability to have a provider that does not
require a lot of travel. Quality is being able to receive the best healthcare. It is sometimes difficult to have all three of the hopes fulfilled in a rural area.”

Retired from law enforcement, Gardner said he feels prevention is essential, whether it is best practice COVID-19 procedures or drug addiction. “I hope to be able to make informed decisions
after receiving recommendations from the CEO and Medical Staff,” Gardner said.

Gardner’s appointment ends in November 2024. He intends to stand for election to the board at that time.

Melissa Best-Baker grew up in Round Valley and chose to make Big Pine her home. She is the Deputy Director of Fiscal Oversight and Operations for Inyo County’s Health & Human Services
department. Part of her job includes overseeing 23 budgets, consisting of grants, State and Federal funds. She is responsible for monitoring legislature changes and analyzing those effects
on current programs. She also is the trusted lead for four different financial audits within Inyo County HHS.

As for why she stepped forward to serve on the Board, Best-Baker said representation for Big Pine and the southern reaches of Bishop was key. “I wanted to ensure the District considered the
healthcare needs of the residents in my zone,” she said. “I felt it was very important to have someone with a broad overview of these needs to represent the outlying communities on the Board.”
Best-Baker said she hopes to bring “a different and open opinion” to the Board. “I also plan to use my knowledge and experiences to support the teams that provide healthcare to our
communities,” she said.

Best-Baker has an extensive community service background in education, scouting, and sports. She has given her time and talents to Eastern Sierra Cancer Alliance and AARP’s Tax-Aide
program. She also held leadership roles within the Inyo County Employees Association and is currently an Emergency Medical Technician with the Big Pine Fire Department.

Best-Baker married Chuck Baker in 2006, and together they have three children. She also expressed an interest in standing for election to a full term when her appointment ends in
November 2026.

Board Chair Mary Mae Kilpatrick said the board’s focus turns to selecting a permanent Chief Executive Officer and addressing the District’s turbulent finances. Two CEO candidates are
scheduling on-campus visits in the coming weeks. The Board hopes the new CEO will be in place by March.
“The addition of two Board members was greatly needed,” Kilpatrick said. “Having Melissa’s background in finances and Ted’s experience as a former Board member not only will strengthen
our Board, but will be a great asset to our District and our community. Both have had years of experience in California healthcare and we are very fortunate to have them join our team.”

In addition to Chair Kilpatrick, Board officers for 2023 include Vice Chair Best-Baker, Secretary Gardner, and Treasurer Jean Turner. The fifth Board member, Jody Veenker, will serve in the
Member-At-Large role.


NOTE: Effective February 1, 2023, the Public Health Weekly Test-to-Treat Clinics will move from the Mono County Civic Center to the Sierra Wellness Center (181 Sierra Manor Road #4).

Mono County Public Health provides COVID-19 test-to-treat services and vaccination in Mono County. Pre-registration for COVID-19 vaccinations are requested through My Turn (

Mono County Public Health offers walk-in testing and test-to-treat services on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at the Sierra Wellness Center (181 Sierra Manor Road #4) from 11am – 1pm (excluding holidays). For the rest of the county, Mono County Public Health offers pop-up testing at various times and locations throughout the month as detailed below. In addition, walk-in testing is available at the Bridgeport and Walker Paramedic Stations (upon Paramedic availability).


✔️ Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays: Sierra Wellness Center (181 Sierra Manor Road #4; Mammoth Lakes); 11am – 1pm (excluding holidays: 02/20)


✔️ 02/02/23 (Thursday): Bridgeport Memorial Hall (73 N. School Street); 10am – 2pm

✔️ 02/07//23 (Tuesday): Lee Vining Community Center (296 Mattly Avenue); 11am – 2pm

✔️ 02/09/23 (Thursday): Bridgeport Memorial Hall (73 N. School Street); 10am – 2pm

✔️ 02/14/23 (Tuesday): Walker Community Center (442 Mule Deer Road); 11am – 2pm

✔️ 02/16/23 (Thursday): Bridgeport Memorial Hall (73 N. School Street); 10am – 2pm

✔️ 02/16/23 (Thursday): Benton Community Center (58869 Hwy 120); 12:30pm – 2:30pm

✔️ 02/16/23 (Thursday): Chalfant Community Center (123 Valley Road); 3:30pm – 6:30pm

✔️ 02/21/23 (Tuesday): June Lake Community Center (90 W. Granite Avenue); 11am – 2pm

✔️ 02/23/23 (Thursday): Bridgeport Memorial Hall (73 N. School Street); 10am – 2pm

✔️ 02/28/23 (Tuesday): Crowley Lake (482 S. Landing Road); 11am – 2pm

All clinics are scheduled weather-permitting, and open to the public, regardless of insurance. Appointments are preferred, but walk-ins are welcome. PCR testing is by appointment only. Individuals on the Hwy 6 corridor can call the Public Health Department at (760) 924-1830 to request testing.

Public Health Testing Pre-Registration:

Public Health COVID-19 Vaccination Pre-Registration:

NIHD Healthy Lifestyle Talk spotlights Infusion Therapy Services

Northern Inyo Healthcare District invites you to attend this Thursday’s Healthy Lifestyle Talk– Infusion Therapy Close to Home: Local access to management of chronic and acute illnesses. This virtual presentation is set to start at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 26.

The talk brings together many of NIHD’s valued experts on the topic. Hosted by Infusion Unit Manager Tammy Andersen, RN BSN, this session will also feature NIHD Internal Medicine physician Dr. Anne K. Wakamiya, NIHD Oncology Patient Navigator Rosie Graves, and Acute-Subacute RN and Clinical Staff Educator Christy McIntire.

Infusion Therapy is an alternative to oral treatment, involving the administration of drugs directly into a patient’s veins. Historically, hospitals utilized infusion therapy during inpatient care.
Increasingly, hospitals are using infusion therapy in outpatient settings, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic dispensing monoclonal treatments.

NIHD opened its Infusion Center during the summer of 2015. The construction of a new pharmacy has required the center’s relocation to the Post Anesthesia Care Unit, just off NIHD’s Surgical Suite area. The unit remains fully staffed with supportive, knowledgeable, and
experienced registered nurses specializing in this type of therapy.

In addition to providing cancer treatment medications, NIHD’s Infusion team delivers antibiotics to fight infection, blood transfusions to fight anemia, arthritis medications to manage
inflammation and joint pain, and other blood-based treatments.
This educational presentation is part of NIHD’s ongoing Healthy Lifestyle Talk Series. The talks are open to the public and free of charge. NIHD will present the talk in two formats:

Broadcast LIVE Please note that to participate in the Q&A session on YouTube, you will need to log into that service. It would be best to log into Zoom if you do not have a YouTube or Gmail account.

Presented live on Zoom. For connection information, please visit or check the blue banner at the top of