Tag Archives: eastern sierra news

Local Conservation Groups Efforts to Protect Sage Grouse is Making a Difference

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.

Coronavirus Testing Results Coming Back Faster for Northern Inyo Hospital

Northern Inyo Hospital gave their weekly COVID-19 update to members of the media on Monday, April 6, 2020.

Dr. Stacey Brown told the media that the hospital is currently functioning at full capacity. “NIH is fully functional for all services at this time. If you break your leg, we are here to treat that,” Brown expressed.

Interim Chief Medical Officer, Will Timbers, shifted the discussion to COVID testing protocols at the hospital. He highlighted false negative tests, which are tests where a patient appears to not have coronavirus, but ends up actually having it. “No test that we do is going to be 100% perfect. We need to make sure to get a really good nasal swab to ensure that we can find out if they have it or not. There are false negatives, where the tests aren’t completely reliable due to limitations in the testing,” Timbers remarked.

Brown added that testing kits will continue to be reserved for essential workers and those with pre-existing conditions. The Rural Health Director said, “The priorities for testing will be for critical staff and critically ill patients. We know the spread of COVID-19 is communicable, so there is no need to test the general public.”

The amount of time it takes for Northern Inyo Hospital to obtain COVID-19 results is becoming more efficient as each week passes. Brown told the media that the hospital is now getting results back in about a day and a half. “Turnaround testing via LabCorp takes about 1.5 days now. LabCorp in Phoenix is doing a really nice job of getting the results to us,” he remarked. When NIHD started testing last month, the turnaround time for lab results was taking anywhere between 7-10 days.

Patients can expect even faster coronavirus testing in the future. The hospital is about one to two weeks away from rolling out their in-house testing, which will take about an hour. “In-house testing is about a week or two off at this point. We are hoping to do in-house testing by the end of the month,” said Brown.

Whether to wear facial covering or not to reduce the spread of coronavirus has been a hot topic of discussion throughout the world, with the CDC now recommending that the general public wear masks after previously discouraging the public from using them. Dr. Brown is encouraging the general public to cover-up. “The CDC came down with recommendations for decreasing transmission in the community by wearing masks. The push on that is to have you protect the rest of the community from spewing out the virus from your mouth. It looks like many people are transmitting coronavirus without showing symptoms, so it is smart to wear masks. My anticipation is that you are going to see the adoption of the masks in our community,” Brown expressed.

The Rural Health Director stated that the community has been stepping up as far as helping out with medical supplies. One such program that Brown says has been quite successful is “project cover-up,” a grassroots effort in which local seamstresses and quilters have created masks for healthcare workers to use. “’Project Cover-Up’ has been a great example of the community stepping up during the pandemic,” Brown said. “So far, we have had over 200 masks donated.”

Dr. Brown is encouraging people to continue to donate medical supplies. “If people are interested in dropping off Personal Protective Equipment donations, you can drop them off at the front of the hospital.”

The Interim Chief Medical Officer, Will Timbers spoke about the possibility of people building up immunity to coronavirus, and if the data he has been examining is accurate, it is a promising sign. “It does seem like with the majority of patients who have COVID, that there is some herd immunity at this point. The data suggests that there are some antibodies that are being built up in patients,” Timbers said.

Antibody testing to see if patients with COVID-19 are building immunity to the virus will be implemented in medical facilities across the world soon. As for testing locally, the public can expect it to be ready some time around May. Dr. Brown said, “Larry Weber, our Director of Diagnostic Services, says there is a rush for antibody testing to be implemented by many companies. Larry and his team have vetted a company that has a good reputation, and that looks very promising. I still don’t see testing happening for a few weeks though. Right now, we are looking at early May.”

Inyo County Could Approve New Regulations on Certain Tobacco Products

Photo Credit: Getty Images

The Inyo County Board of Supervisors has plans to approve regulations which they hope will restrict adolescent access to tobacco products at Tuesday’s meeting.

Anna Scott, the Inyo County Health and Human Services Deputy Director gave a presentation to the board, and recommended regulating the sale of some tobacco products.

There are three components the department wants to see when it comes to preventing children from purchasing tobacco products. According to county documents,“1) a flavored ecigarette or “vape” ban; 2) a requirement that all little cigars be sold in packs of 20 and cigars be sold in packs of 5 (except cigars that cost more than $5 each); and 3) a requirement for minimum pricing of $8 per pack for cigarettes and little cigars and $5 per cigar.”

Scott says Inyo County’s high school students can easily obtain tobacco paraphernalia, and vape use among Inyo County’s youth is more than three times higher than the state average. The Deputy HHS Director also told the supervisors that according to a survey the department conducted with 9th and 11th graders, obtaining tobacco products is “very easy.”

In order to enforce a ban on these products, Health and Human Services requested the board also adopt a Tobacco Retail License ordinance, which will help create a structure for cracking down on illegal tobacco sales.

The board will not charge retailers for these licenses. Due to available funds in the county budget, the application cost will be covered.

Inyo County zeroed in on the sale of tobacco that costs under five dollars. The big item under five dollars the supervisors wanted to address, was the sale of cigarillos and blunt wraps, including popular brands like Swisher, Zig Zag, and Backwoods. County Health and Human Services officials say that these brands are targeting children with flavors such as grape, cotton candy, and blueberry.

According to Tobacco Control Supervisor, Eryn Clark, the sale of these cigarillos has increased dramatically. “The sale of blunts like Swisher Sweets has grown 280%.” Clark said.

As of right now, it looks like the Board of Supervisors will only implement part of what the Health and Human Services Department wants. There will be no outright ban on flavored tobacco, but that could happen in the near future.

With that being said, the board may vote to increase the price of cigarettes to a minimum of eight dollars per pack, along with cigarillos, which will now cost a minimum of five dollars per package. The cigarillos must also be sold with a minimum of six per pack. Additionally, flavored vape E-liquid will be banned in Inyo County.

DISCLAIMER: The story has been changed. Inyo County has not made the ban official, and it still needs to be voted on.

BLM Bishop Conducting Pile Burns This Week

BISHOP, Calif. – Interagency wildland fire crews from the Bureau of Land Management Bishop Field Office and the Inyo National Forest will be treating up to 70 acres of public lands with prescribed fire at Fish Slough north of Bishop in Inyo and Mono counties to improve wetland habitat. Prescribed fire operations will occur in late February or early March, depending on weather, air quality and staff availability.

The BLM has used prescribed fire as part of a larger strategy to maintain and improve wetland habitats in the Fish Slough Area of Critical Environmental Concern for several decades. Prescribed fire operations, which are scheduled to occur before the spring growing season, will reduce tule accumulations, increase open water habitat for Owens pupfish, and encourage new vegetation growth to support other species dependent on this desert wetland. The BLM is committed to keeping public landscapes healthy and productive.

 

During prescribed fire operations, smoke may be visible from Bishop and nearby communities along U.S. Highway 395 and U.S. Highway 6 corridors, including Mustang Mesa, Round Valley, Swall Meadows, Laws and Chalfant. The BLM requests that the public avoid congregating on or near roadways in the Fish Slough area, which can obstruct fire equipment and emergency vehicles supporting prescribed fire operations. All prescribed fire operations will be 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.

Eastern Sierra Wins Big at Visit California Poppy Awards

Eastern Sierra, Calif. (February 24, 2020) — Earlier this month, the Eastern Sierra triumphed at Visit California’s biennial Poppy Awards contest. This competition honors the best and brightest of California tourism promotion and awards are bestowed in even-numbered years as part of Visit California’s Outlook Forum conference.

To kick off the evening, the Bishop Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau, Inyo County, Mammoth Lakes Tourism and Mono County walked away with the award for Best Cooperative Marketing Campaign for the collaborative efforts to promote fall colors in the Eastern Sierra.

“I really love that the Eastside was recognized for our cooperative effort on the fall color campaign,” said Tawni Thomson, Executive Director of the Bishop Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau. “There are honestly no boundaries between us when it comes to the visitor experience. Our guests identify all of us as the Eastern Sierra and the success of this campaign proves that working together can produce a great outcome.”

The agencies partnered to capitalize on the area’s lengthy fall colors season. The concept was particularly clever, as elevation changes cause the different partners to experience peak colors throughout autumn, which allows the area to market a lengthy season without bringing destinations into competition with one another.

“It’s a great honor to be recognized for our long-standing partnerships to promote the fall season to our visitors,” said MLT’s Executive Director John Urdi. “I am proud of our efforts and even prouder of the results for our Eastern Sierra communities. Winning the Visit California Poppy award for best cooperative marketing program is just the cherry on top.”

Judges declared that the campaign provided impressive occupancy increases across the cooperation and was a great concept that joined competitors in an effective campaign for a low investment. The judges also appreciated the use of multiple marketing tactics that they felt have potential for further applications.

The award was given as a tie with another joint cooperative campaign between San Francisco Travel Association and San Diego Tourism Authority.

Additionally, Yosemite National Park along with Yosemite Gateway Counties — Mono, Tuolumne, Mariposa, and Madera were selected as the winner in the surprise inaugural category, Excellence in Destination Stewardship for their collaborative digital influencer campaign. The funding for the campaign was received as a grant from Yosemite National Park for the purpose of encouraging travelers to arrive on off-peak days or seasons, take public transportation into the valley, and to arrive early if taking your own vehicle.

“Both of these Poppy Awards really affirm the top priorities for all the agencies involved — one, regional collaboration and two, sustainable tourism through stewardship and best practices,” said Alicia Vennos, Economic Development Director for Mono County. “We also share these honors with our local business community and all those who joined the effort and used their own channels to help promote the Eastern Sierra Fall Color Campaign and the best ways to visit Yosemite Valley. I congratulate everyone involved for a fantastic team effort.”

And the final icing on the Eastern Sierra cake was Bishop winning the award for Best Overall Brand Identity (with a budget under $1 million), beating out Visit Carmel and Visit Santa Maria County.

“Our team was so proud to bring home the Poppy for Best Overall Brand Identity,” Thomson said. We’ve really got a great group of local professionals that are passionate about telling Bishop’s story to our guests. We love our Small Town with a Big Backyard slogan as it resonates with locals as well as our guests.”

Poppy winners are selected by a panel of industry marketing experts in nine categories ranging from best public relations campaign, to best digital campaign to best cooperative marketing campaign.

Struggling Broncos Drop Second Straight Game Against Desert

The Bishop Broncos suffered their second straight loss last night against the Desert Scorpions losing 62-45. Unfortunately for Bishop, the loss all but eliminates them from having a chance to win the High Desert League.

Bishop got out to an early lead, hitting their first few shots. However, the advantage did not last for long. Desert took control of the game in the second quarter and never looked back.

The reason Bishop’s opponent was able to get out to a big lead in the first half was because of Desert’s shooting. Senior, Javier Elliot hit back to back three pointers in the second quarter, and continued his effective shooting throughout the quarter hitting a total of four three-pointers in the first half.

When Elliot wasn’t hitting shots beyond the arc, he was driving inside the paint whenever he pleased. There were many times throughout the game where Elliot had the ball on the left wing and would slash into the paint to create an easy layup for himself.

Another player who was hitting shots throughout the game was Marquis Morris. The Desert guard was the recipient of quite a few wide-open looks from three thanks to Elliott’s penetration which collapsed the defense.

The Broncos did a good job on Desert’s best player in the first half. Emil Rogers, who is averaging a double-double, was a non-factor inside thanks to Luke McClean and Tristan Valle’s interior defense. The Scorpions would often throw the ball inside to Rogers to try an get easy looks. However, every time he got the ball inside, McClean and Valle were there to stave off the big fella’s efforts.

Bishop’s stout interior defense fell apart in the second half. Emil Rogers was able to score three straight buckets to start off the third quarter. The senior continued to dominate inside in the second half.

Although Bishop did not have the best game, there were still some positives. Luke McClean, who had a bad night from beyond the arc was able to make up for it on the defensive side of the ball. There was a span where McClean had three straight steals on three possessions. A few plays later, McClean had two blocks in one sequence.

Jaydan Braithwaite had a good game defensively as well. The senior was a pesky presence with his excellent perimeter defense. He won player of the game honors thanks to his hustle.

Clay Omohundro performed well in the game. The young Junior came off of a rough game against Rosamond on Tuesday in which he had difficulty connecting on his shots. This time, Omohundro hit jumpers and did a nice job creating baskets for himself off of the dribble.

Bishop will face California City on Tuesday for their next game in the High Desert League.

City of Bishop Appoints New City Administrator

After conducting a comprehensive recruitment facilitated by an executive search firm, the Bishop City Council voted unanimously to appoint Ron Phillips as its next City Administrator at the City Council meeting on January 13, 2020.

The recruitment process yielded 14 applicants, which were put through a rigorous screening. The field was eventually reduced to 4 highly qualified candidates for final interviews. Candidates interviewed before two panels comprised of staff and the City Council.

Mr. Phillips holds a Master’s degree in Regional and City Planning and has a diverse career as a City Manager, Planning Director, Engineering General Manager, Transportation Planner and Past President of the Colorado Municipal League. Ron attended the Program for Senior Executives in State & Local Government as a Gates Foundation Fellow in the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Ron has served as Town Manager in Vail, Colorado, Transportation Services Director for Fort Collins, Colorado, principal in his own consulting firm, and most recently as General Manager for six water utility special districts in Wasatch County, Utah.

The Bishop City Council welcomes Mr. Phillips to the City! He is expected to start on February 1st, and we are excited to have him join the City team.

County to Discuss Indian Wells Groundwater Authority Groundwater Sustainability

The Inyo County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to discuss the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority (IWVGA) draft Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) at its regular meeting Tuesday, January 14. Specifically, the Board will receive a presentation by staff and an update from Supervisor Kingsley, Inyo
County’s representative on the IWVGA. The GSP is scheduled for consideration by the IWVGA on Thursday, January 16, 2020. One of the components of the GSP is inclusion of a project seeking to import water into the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Basin via the Los Angeles Aqueduct.

Inyo County is one of five members of the IWVGA, which also includes Kern and San Bernardino counties, the City of Ridgecrest, and the Indian Wells Valley Water District. The joint powers authority was created for the purpose of implementing the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) within the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Basin, which the state determined is in “critical overdraft” due to decades of over- pumping. SGMA is requiring development of a GSP as part of the mandate to halt the overdraft and bring the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Basin into balanced levels of pumping and recharge by 2040. The GSP is
due this month.

“Although Inyo County’s constituency is a relatively small portion of the groundwater users in that basin (i.e., Pearsonville), Inyo County has outsized concerns regarding the future of the basin’s water use due to the intention of our fellow JPA members to import water into the basin via the LADWP Aqueduct,” said Assistant County Counsel John-Carl Vallejo, who serves as Inyo County’s alternate on the IWVGA board.

The Inyo County Board of Supervisors hear the update Tuesday shortly after reconvening from closed session at 10 a.m.

The meeting will be held in the Board of Supervisors Chambers, County Administrative Center, 224 N. Edwards St., Independence.

Local Man Shoots and Kills Attempted Robbery Suspect

An attempted robbery was foiled by an Eastern Sierra resident Monday evening.

The Bishop Police Department received multiple 911 calls regarding a shooting involving several people at the Shell Gas Station on Wye Road in Bishop, CA.

When officers arrived on the scene, they discovered an adult male on the ground in the parking lot with multiple gunshots wounds. According to a press release from the Bishop Police Department, the individual died on the scene. “He [The male] was unable to speak. A handgun was nearby, and medics began life saving measures, but he died shortly thereafter.”

At this time, the Bishop Police Department is not releasing the identity of the male until next of kin is notified. However, Police Chief Ted Stec told KIBS/KBOV News that the deceased individual was a non-local.

It appears as though the perpetrator was a suspect in an attempted robbery. “The investigation thus far tends to show the decedent attempted to rob one of our local residents shortly after he parked and exited his vehicle at the Shell,” the Bishop Police Department press release says. “It is likely the decedent had been looking to target someone in the parking lot. The decedent shot the victim more than once. The victim, who had a concealed carry permit and was armed, returned fire. He then managed to enter his vehicle and move to a better location. The victim received serious wounds but was able to provide BPD with good details.”

The victim is currently undergoing treatment for multiple gunshot wounds. He was transferred to a hospital in Reno, Nevada, for further evaluation.

After discovering the deceased suspect, Bishop Police issued a BOLO for a white Ford Escape being driven by a female wearing a beanie after a witness described the car in which the deceased male attempted to get away.

Police Chief Stec told KIBS/KBOV News, “This is a tragic event that has unfolded in Bishop. However, there’s been a tremendous response from Bishop PD, and all of its law enforcement partners including Inyo County Sheriff’s Department, Mono County Sheriff’s Department, Mammoth Lakes PD, CHP, Bishop Fire Department, and Symons Ambulance. This is an active investigation, and we are working to find the at large suspect.”

Later in the evening, authorities located a crashed and unoccupied vehicle that matched the wittiness’s description on Jean Blanc Road near the Laws area. A CHP helicopter and a K9 unit from Ridgecrest PD assisted in locating the female suspect.

Around 2:00 am, the wanted suspect called 911 to turn herself in due to cold weather. “It’s too cold, I am going to freeze to death.” the suspect told the dispatcher during the call. The temperature at that time was 19 degrees.

The female has been identified as Brandee Sue Trujillo, age 46 of Oildale, CA. She was booked into the Inyo County Jail on charges relating to a fugitive running from justice.

The investigation is still ongoing. If anyone has relevant information about this incident, you are encouraged to contact the Bishop Police Department as soon as possible at 760-873-5866.

 

New Year’s DUI Arrests Decrease Across State, but Increase in Bishop Area

The California Highway Patrol conducted its Maximum Enforcement Period (MEP) for the New Year in response one of the biggest binge-drinking holidays in the United States.

“For this New Year’s Day Maximum Enforcement Period (MEP), the CHP will be deploying all available personnel from 6:01 p.m. on Tuesday, December 31, 2019, to 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, January 1, 2020.  The CHP will focus on impaired drivers.” CHP said in a press release.

On a state-wide level, DUI arrest numbers drastically decreased, with a total of 491 people arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances. Last year, there were 1,140 arrests during the CHP MEP.

One major factor as to why there were far less arrests, is because the Maximum Enforcement Period lasted a much shorter duration. The 2019-2020 MEP went on for just thirty hours compared to the 2018-2019 period, which lasted for 102 hours.

DUI arrests this year for the Inland Division of the California Highway Patrol followed the trend of decreased arrests throughout the state. Last year, the CHP Inland Division arrested ninety-six people on suspicion of impaired driving, with three fatal traffic collisions occurring As for this MEP, there were a total of forty-one arrests with no fatal accidents occurring.

Although arrests were down state-wide for driving under the influence, that was not the case in the Bishop area. Bishop CHP arrested three people, whereas during the last New Year’s MEP, there were no drivers charged with operating a vehicle while impaired.

As for the Bridgeport Area CHP, two people were charged with DUI. During the previous year, three people were arrested for drinking and driving.

Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra Prepares for Operation Mountain Freedom

Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra (DSES), in partnership with Mammoth Mountain Ski Area and the Inyo National Forest Service will welcome more than 50 active and veteran military personnel and their families. Participants have a myriad of disabilities, including Post Traumatic Stress, Traumatic Brain Injuries, Major Depressive Disorder, and amputations.

Beginning with a welcome dinner hosted by Mammoth Lakes Fire Department, the community of Mammoth Lakes will gather together to support our wounded warriors for a week of therapeutic recreation as part of Operation Mountain Freedom.

This event, which has been growing each year since 2007, was created in an effort to help our wounded warriors reintegrate into civilian life within the beauty, safety, and joy of the Sierra Nevada mountains. New this year, athletes will participate in sessions geared toward assimilating to civilian life including goal setting, successful transition and caregiver support.

Like all of DSES’s programs for military athletes, Operation Mountain Freedom often changes the lives of participants. For example, Julius, a retired Army Ranger who first came to Operation Mountain Freedom in 2016 learned to Alpine and Nordic ski as part of the program. Julius has since returned to several events to improve his skills and now competes across the country in Nordic and biathlon races. He and his fiancée, Katie, continue to support the program in many capacities like fundraising and mentoring both military and civilian athletes new to the world of adaptive sports. Julius and Katie are now so entwined in the DSES family that they are making the organization as part of their wedding celebrations which include a ceremony at the summit of Mammoth Mountain coinciding with Operation Mountain Freedom.

On Thursday, January 16, the Mammoth Lakes community is invited to come together to recognize all participants with a ceremonial Arch of Honor at 8:45am at the Gondola Building at Main Lodge.

Operation Mountain Freedom is supported by generous grants and contributions from The Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF), National Football League (NFL), Disabled Sports USA (DSUSA), Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, and Steve and Dana Garcia.

For a complete schedule of events and more information about Operation Mountain Freedom, please contact Amanda Carlson at 760.934.0791 or email acarlson@disabledsportseasternsierra.org.

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.