PRESS RELEASE FROM NORTHERN INYO HOSPITAL:
Nature’s season of change will serve as the backdrop for change in nursing leadership at Northern Inyo Healthcare District. As veteran nursing leader Tracy Aspel prepares for her October retirement, the District named Allison Partridge as its new Chief Nursing Officer, effective mid-September.
When asked what she hopes to bring to the District, Partridge’s list of aspirations is clear. “I really hope to continue the work that Tracy, and those before her, started. I’m really striving for continuous process improvement, continuous excellence in care, and striving to ensure that we’re meeting the needs of the community.”
That last point – meeting the community’s needs – impacted the new CNO as she said the words. “Meeting those needs is huge,” she said. “We’re rural, we’re far away from any major healthcare facility. We have to work with our community partners to make sure we’re doing the best we can for those who count on us every day. It’s that simple.”
NIHD’s Interim Chief Executive Officer Kelli Davis said Partridge has proven herself to be an inclusive leader who takes into consideration differing viewpoints. “I find her to be a very positive and authentic person who stands by doing what’s best for the whole, whether that’s a single nursing department or the entire District. Allison works hard to help others achieve their goals and meet their aspirations in growth and development. I look forward to seeing what she brings to the District in the next year.”
Partridge currently serves as NIHD’s Director of Nursing for Emergency and Inpatient Services. That has put the 20-plus year nursing veteran at the forefront of the District’s pandemic response, alongside Aspel, Davis, and Drs. Will Timbers and Stacey Brown.
Bolstered by a 16-member incident command and the support of District physicians and employees, Partridge and these leaders find themselves tackling both basic and complicated needs.
“As far as the District’s response to the pandemic, I think we are spot on,” she said. “We’ve got a very structured, organized format that we’re following in addressing this. We assure we stay up-to-date and apprised of the most current information from both Centers for Disease Control and California Department of Public Health. We’re using that information to help drive the decisions we make. It’s been a lot of work and is continuously changing, but we’ve adapted, and we’ve stayed focused.”
Before joining NIHD almost three years ago, Partridge spent most of her career at San Pedro’s Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center. She credits Providence’s in-house leadership development program with preparing her to serve as NIHD’s Chief Nursing Officer.
Partridge holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Nursing. She has extensive training in lean leadership, six sigma, and mission-focused leadership. Of all of her education, Partridge is most proud of her Master’s degree with an emphasis on leadership, and not for a reason most expected. She earned her Master’s as a working adult and mother. “I have a deep respect for anyone trying to juggle all that. It was not easy,” she said.
As for her years with NIHD, Partridge values the time she spent getting to know the District, the communities it serves, and the nursing teams she works with. “I look at our teams, and I see so much potential and such great opportunity, and that’s really exciting,” she said. “Throughout the District, you see this really heightened desire to achieve excellence, and together, I know we can do it.”
Partridge also understands the love the community has for its nurses. “We are a small community, and for the nurses, that brings this deep desire to really provide excellence in care,” she said. “I genuinely think that’s because here, as a nurse, you often know the person you are caring for, or someone who loves them, and people respond to that.”
On August 8, 2020 Inyo County Sheriff’s Dispatch received a report from a hiker of a potentially deceased female in the foothills west of Manzanar National Historic Site. Sheriff’s Deputies arrived and located a deceased female. A search of the area produced a red sweatshirt and multicolored tennis shoes approximately two miles from her body near the base of the Sierra Mountain Range.
Inyo County Search and Rescue were dispatched to the scene to provide additional tracking support on August 8 and August 9. Based on foot impressions it is believed that she walked north along Foothill Road after exiting a vehicle, then east along a smaller dirt road where she eventually sat down and perished. There was no indication of a struggle or initial signs of foul play.
There was no identification located near or around the body; however Bishop Police Department had logged contact with a female matching the description of the decedent on July 30. Based on the information gathered during the contact, a positive identification was confirmed on August 11 and next of kin was notified. The deceased has been identified as Elaine Hartnett, a 48-year old woman from Pioneer, CA. A forensic autopsy has been scheduled to take place in Orange County, CA to determine cause of death. If anyone has had contact with Ms. Hartnett in Inyo County and can provide information please call Sheriff’s Dispatch at 760-878-0383, option 4
COVID-19 Positive Patient Hospitalized at Mammoth Hospital.
Mammoth Hospital has hospitalized its first patient since late March due to COVID-19. While the Eastern Sierra has seen relatively few infections over the last few months, the pandemic continues to be a threat to Mono County. This patient is now hospitalized and being treated for coronavirus.
“This new hospitalization is a reminder that the pandemic is still a very real crisis, on both a local and global level,” says Mammoth Hospital CEO, Tom Parker. “Many restrictions have been eased and we have seen a reopening of many businesses, giving us a sense of normalcy. Mono County’s ‘Stay Safe to Stay Open‘ campaign speaks to the need to stay vigilant in our efforts to cover, distance and wash. We have seen a significant increase in the last two weeks in the number of people testing positive for COVID-19. This is not the time to let our guard down. Mammoth Hospital has taken great steps to prepare for a surge of COVID patients, and we remain prepared to care for anyone who presents to our facility.”
BISHOP, California. – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Bishop Field Office is seeking public input for the future management of the Alabama Hills near Lone Pine in Inyo County. Today’s release of an environmental assessment lays out three proposed alternatives and begins a 30-day public review period that ends on August 7, 2020.
Set between the jagged peaks of the Sierra Nevada and the Owens Valley, the Alabama Hills are a unique formation of rounded rocks and eroded hills that encompass more than 29,000 acres of public land that is well known for its mix of scenic, cultural, geological, educational, biological, historical, recreational, cinematographic, and scientific values. In March 2019, President Trump signed Public Law 116-9 (P.L. 116-9), also known as the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, which designated 18,745 acres within the Alabama Hills as a National Scenic Area. The BLM is currently preparing a management plan for the Scenic Area and adjacent public lands in the Alabama Hills Special Recreation Management Area.
Implementing P.L. 116-9 is a top priority for the Department of the Interior as we work to strike a proper balance for land and resource management, increase access for hunting, fishing, and recreation, and create economic prosperity, while protecting and preserving America’s treasures.
“We welcome continued public engagement in our effort to develop a comprehensive plan for management of the area,” says Bishop Field Manager Steve Nelson. “We also look forward to completing the plan and working with the Alabama Hills Stewardship Group, the local tribe, and the Lone Pine community to implement management strategies that will ensure the long-term protection, conservation, public access, and responsible use of this magnificent landscape.”
To facilitate public review and encourage public participation in the Alabama Hills planning effort, the BLM will host two virtual meetings in late July. Public meeting materials will be available on the project website: https://eplanning.blm.gov/
- Wednesday, July 22, from 2:00-4:00 p.m.
- Thursday, July 23, from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
To register for one of the virtual meetings, go to the project website. Once registered, you will receive an email with instructions on how to join the meeting. These instructions will also include an option to call into the meeting using a traditional phone line.
Written comments on the proposed alternatives in the environmental assessment can be submitted via email to: blm_ca_alabama_hills_planning@
Before including addresses, phone numbers, email addresses or other personal identifying information in a comment, commenters should be aware that the entire comment, including personal identifying information, could be made publicly available at any time. While the public may ask the BLM to withhold personal identifying information from public review, the BLM cannot guarantee that it will be able to do so.
For specific questions, please call Project Manager Monica Buhler at 760-872-5000.
The Inyo National Forest is extending the closure of all group campgrounds and two remote campgrounds under a forest order closure The closure can be terminated or extended depending in conditions.
Please see Exhibit A (in the link above) for a full list of campgrounds included in this order.
The decision is based upon recommendations from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and state and local health authorities.
Developed recreation group campsites on the Inyo National Forest typically draw large groups of people, creating mass gatherings and concentrated groups of forest visitors. This results in significant management oversight. especially during the high use conditions now being experienced.
Additionally, due to lack of personnel it is necessary to close two developed campgrounds, Grandview Campground and Kennedy Meadows Campground, located in remote areas of the Inyo National Forest. These facilities are located in areas that timely and routine cleaning cannot occur.
This closure is an interim measure. The Inyo National Forest will follow guidelines from the CDC, as well as state and local health departments, to ensure that the safety of our employees and our visitors is a priority.
Visitors are also urged to take the precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) along with local health and safety guidance. For tips from the CDC on preventing illnesses like the coronavirus, go to: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention.html.
Joint Press Release from US Forrest Service and Inyo County
Stating on July 6, and anticipating effective through July 25, the South Lake Road Reconstruction Project will implement no overnight parking in the South Lake area. This will include the Bishop Pass Trailhead Parking, boat trailer parking, and some of the day use parking near South Lake. Additionally, there is no parking permitted along roadside shoulders during the construction project.
This closure will allow the contractor to pulverize and pave these parking lots. The construction schedule remains Monday – Friday, 6:00 am to 8:00 pm. Expect up to 30-minute delays. Flaggers and a pilot car will manage traffic, allowing alternating two-way traffic.
Hikers entering or exiting the Bishop Pass Trail at South Lake should plan their trips in accordance with the construction schedule. Hikers need to plan for travel delays, re-routed trailhead access, understand that that long-term parking is not available, plan to be picked up or dropped off at the trailhead, consider shuttles to/from trailheads, and utilize alternative trails for resupply, if possible.
Eastern Sierra Transit Authority (ESTA)’s Bishop Creek Shuttle is running twice daily Please see the attached for a list of operators who may provide shuttles on the forest. Hiker Shuttles: https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd586535.pdf.
The contractor is required to provide 40 day-use parking spaces in the area. However, since this is a popular recreation destination for boating, fishing, and hiking, these spaces will fill up quickly. Visitors should plan that parking, which is difficult in a normal year, will be substantially reduced during this project and will likely not be available.
Additionally, overnight parking will be allowed in the dirt lot just north of the Tyee Lakes Trailhead, including bear boxes for food storage (see attached map). It is approximately a three-mile walk to the Bishop Pass Trailhead via the trail behind Willow Campground that continues near Parchers Resort and connects to the trailhead on the east side of South Lake Road.
Motorhomes and trailers are not recommended past Four Jeffreys Campground unless you have a reservation with Creekside Resort, Bishop Creek Lodge, or Parchers Resort during this period since there is no safe turn-around past this point. Local businesses and services along South Lake Road remain open and accessible.
There is no way to complete a project of this nature without it having a significant impact on visitors to the area. Accessing the area may be, at times, difficult and frustrating. If you have any flexibility in your plans, please consider a visit to South Lake/Bishop Pass destinations in another year.
As a reminder, the project’s scope stated that Bishop Pass Trailhead Parking and Tyee Lakes Trailhead Parking and certain campgrounds will be closed at times this summer, although access to the trailheads will be maintained
The Eastern Sierra Foundation would like to congratulate the 76 Cerro Coso Community College 2020 graduates from Inyo and Mono Counties! While we are saddened that due to the pandemic an in-person graduation celebration is not possible this year, we are so impressed by the graduates’ perseverance, resilience, and strength in completing their certificates and degrees during these very challenging times. We know that the Class of 2020 will all go on to make positive contributions to our community and our world.
This year, Cerro Coso Community College’s Eastern Sierra College Center in Bishop and Mammoth graduated students in 26 different certificate and degree fields, including humanities, social sciences, math and sciences, studio arts, administration of justice, business, art history, English, human services, management, nursing, information technology, childhood development, medical assisting, and web development. Half of the graduates earned multiple degrees and/or certificates. Cerro Coso Community College will be hosting a virtual graduation on Saturday, June 13 at 6PM. For more information visit https://www.cerrocoso.edu/studentservices/commencement.
Each year, the Eastern Sierra Foundation offers full scholarships for any and all Inyo County residents who enroll in 12 units per semester on the Bishop Campus. The scholarship covers all enrollment fees. Additionally, in response to economic challenges resulting from the pandemic, the Eastern Sierra Foundation will now also cover up to $500 per semester for books. Scholarship applications and information are available online https://www.cerrocoso.edu/studentservices/financial-aid/eastern-sierra-foundation-scholarship. Due to the uncertainty about whether four-year colleges will offer in-seat courses in the fall, and to support local students who may be changing college plans, the Eastern Sierra Foundation has extended the scholarship deadline for the Fall 2020 semester to Tuesday, June 30 at 5PM.
The 111 graduates from Bishop Union High School will get the chance to receive their diplomas from BUHS Administration over the course of three days next week. Though there won’t be a traditional ceremony in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, students will get the chance to drive to the high school’s parking lot with their family members and receive their diplomas.
This makeshift ceremony will be taking place starting May 26, 2020, until May 28, 2020. A maximum of four family members will be allowed to accompany the graduating seniors.
Graduating seniors will be assigned a specific time to pick up their graduation certificates on one of the three aforementioned dates. There is no specific time relating to when the celebration will start each day, but it will be some time during the evening.
During the three day ceremony, students will be filmed receiving their high school diplomas. After all of the footage is compiled, the high school will post it online for the general public to view on June 5th, 2020.
CDFW Press Release
In response to the delay of in-person California hunter education classes due to COVID-19, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is temporarily allowing new hunters to complete their education requirements entirely online.
Prior to COVID-19, California offered a traditional in-person course or a hybrid online/in-person class with a certified Hunter Education Instructor (HEI). Because all classroom instruction opportunities have been suspended, California will temporarily waive the in-person requirement, allowing students to complete the full course of instruction online.
“Online-only certification is a temporary solution to allow Californians the ability to fulfill their hunter education requirements and obtain a hunting license during these unique times,” said David Bess, CDFW Deputy Director and Chief of the Law Enforcement Division. “We don’t want anyone to miss out on the chance to earn their certification before the fall hunting seasons, so we believe this is a reasonable solution, given the circumstances.”
When deemed safe to do so, CDFW intends to return to the prior system, including a minimum level of in-person instruction with a certified HEI. “We value our 1,000 extremely dedicated volunteer instructors enormously, and we’re anxious to see them back in front of students as soon as possible,” Bess added.
Effective immediately, prospective hunters may earn their hunter education certification online. More information is available at https://wildlife.ca.gov/hunter-education. The cost for the course is $24.95. Successful prospective hunters who complete and pass the online course will be able to immediately print a paper Hunter Education Completion Certificate, which will qualify them to purchase a hunting license. Their CDFW online license profile will automatically be updated with their Hunter Education Certification within two days.
Prospective hunters are advised that the deadline to apply for California’s Big Game draw is June 2, 2020. CDFW advises new hunters to set a goal of completing the online certification by May 31, to allow time for the automatic update of their CDFW license profile. CDFW license profiles can also be updated by presenting the paper certificate to a CDFW License Agent.
The South Lake Road Reconstruction planned for the 2020 season will begin the week of May 11 The contractor, Hat Creek Construction & Materials, Inc., has been completing survey work in advance of construction work.
Construction delays will typically be 30 minutes during the day. However, when work requires it, Inyo County and the forest will permit longer closures. This could include three-hour closures twice a day.
This work is considered essential and Hat Creek Construction is taking all necessary steps to adhere to social distancing. This includes providing travel trailers for their crews.
There will be no night work, weekend work, or work during holiday weekends, although traffic controls will still be in place. Campgrounds along the South Lake Road remain closed under a Regional Closure Order through May 15.
Local businesses and services along South Lake Road will remain open and accessible during construction this year. Please check with individual businesses about early season services.
During construction, roadside parking, day use parking, and the parking areas for South Lake will be significantly reduced, and at times, closed. Visitors to the area should plan that parking will not be available and plan to be dropped off or use local shuttle services when feasible. Shuttle services may be limited in their capacity to serve demand based on social distancing guidelines. Thoughtful planning is helpful during any major construction project. This year coordinated planning is required for a successful visit to South Lake Road destinations.
The project is being completed under a funding request from Inyo County through Federal Highways Administration (FHWA). The road will be re-paved and needs significant repairs for safety and includes a new bicycle staging area. The Inyo National Forest is also completing trailhead parking and campground improvements in conjunction with this project.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“USFWS”) announced it is withdrawing a 2013 proposed rule to list the Bi-State sage-grouse as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
USFWS made this decision after an “extended and comprehensive analysis of the best available science.” They concluded that local conservation actions have and will continue to successfully reduce threats to the Bi-State sage-grouse.
This is good news for all the Eastside conservation professionals and community members who have unified to form what’s called the Bi-State Local Area Working Group (“LAWG”), a group of diverse stakeholders dedicated to bringing the power of local land protection to care for the Bi-State sage-grouse. The LAWG is made up of state and local officials, public and tribal land managers, ranchers, private landowners, scientists, and conservationists like the Bishop-based nonprofit organization Eastern Sierra Land Trust.
Sometimes, like in the cases of the Red-Cockaded Woodpecker or the California Condor, the Endangered Species Act serves as a very effective tool for the recovery of a species. In the case of the Bi-State sage-grouse, our uniquely local and collaborative approach is working without the need for the Endangered Species Act. The committed Bi-State partners have seen success in the targeted and specific actions they’ve taken to enhance our local sagebrush ecosystem. They’ve cared for the needs of our local environment using individualized and flexible efforts.
The efforts of LAWG have not only worked, but are also being heralded across the nation as an exceptionally successful model for local, collaborative, science-based conservation. And after such a comprehensive analysis by the USFWS, we can rest assured that we’re on the right track to protecting the many unique species that make their homes in the sagebrush, like sage-grouse.
Bi-State sage-grouse are a unique population of Greater sage-grouse that live in the Eastern Sierra and western Nevada. The birds are known for the males’ flamboyant springtime mating displays on traditional dancing grounds, known as leks. This species is a key indicator species for the health of other wildlife and for sagebrush areas generally. This means that if the Bi-State sage-grouse are thriving, there’s a higher likelihood that other species of plants and animals are thriving too.
In addition to the Bi-State sage-grouse, mule deer, pronghorn, songbirds, lizards, pygmy rabbits, and more depend on wide sagebrush areas for homes and food. It’s great to have some hopeful news right now, as our world navigates the current COVID-19 pandemic. Once it is safe to do so, local organizations like Eastern Sierra Land Trust look forward to inviting community members back onto the land
to work side by side with them and agency partners to care for sagebrush ecosystems. Future sage-grouse workdays are planned for this autumn, and the safe participation and support of our community members make a positive difference for our iconic Eastern Sierra land and wildlife.