June 12th, 2014
Thirty years after Mammoth broke away from Bridgeport and incorporated, the town has reached a do-over point.
As the dust settles over the 2014 elections in Mammoth and Mono County, residents and visitors are looking at what is essentially a blank canvas.
There have been great advances and there have been serious setbacks. The town’s short history is heavy on family division, boom-and-bust cycles, great snow years and bad snow years.
A 54-year-old French national died in Death Valley National Park this weekend after he spent about an hour exposed to 115-degree temperatures, although the exact cause of his death has not been identified.
According to the Inyo County Sheriff's Department, Guy Brossart was found dead on June 6 at about 3:30 p.m. after failing to return to a tour bus, following a brief stop at the Mesquite Dunes.
The mountains are down on the ground, washed from their customary serene height by a rampaging enemy, water.
Fifteen feet above the rutted road, mud as thick as a two-story building looms above the big red truck, dwarfing it.
Embedded in the thick, grey mud, whole trees, big trees-—junipers and Jeffrey and white pine and pinyon—tangle and twist in their death throes; Pompeii in the Sierra.
The newest member of the Mammoth Track Club did not take long to make a bold statement last weekend.
Shadrack Biwott, who until recently ran for the University of Oregon, was the top American male in the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon on Sunday, June 1 took 6th place, with MTC’s Gabe Proctor placing 8th, in a field of nearly 25,000 runners.
The 2014 Election closed this past week, with a landslide decision in the race for Mono County Sheriff, a surprise victory in Supervisors District 5 and three new members of the Mammoth Town Council.
Ingrid Braun, 46, a 21-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department who last year was dismissed from her deputy’s position by Sheriff Ralph Obenberger, won election against Obenberger Tuesday night, June 3.
Ingrid Braun, the new Sheriff-elect of Mono County, said this past week she had no intention of waiting until January to begin a transition.
“Hopefully, there will be a transition that happens smoothly,” she said. “At least that’s what I would want.”
Under the current budget, she will inherit an undersheriff, a lieutenant, four sergeants, 14 deputies and eight court screeners.
Seventeen candidates have been whittled down to nine office holders.
The parties are over.
The signs are coming down.
None of the races, with the slimmest possibility of the District 1 County Supervisor race where 49 votes separate winner Larry Johnston from Bill Sauser (see below), are going to a runoff election.
About 54 percent of Mono County’s 5,802 registered voters—3,114 voters—made their choices Tuesday night.
Ingrid Braun, a 21-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department who last year was dismissed by Sheriff Ralph Obenberger, easily won election against Obenberger Tuesday night.
The newest member of the Mammoth Track Club did not take long to make a statement last weekend.
Road construction on the Tioga Road in Yosemite National Park began this week, and will continue through September 30, 2015. This two-year rehabilitation project is a multi-phased construction project that encompasses improvements to the Tuolumne Grove Parking Lot and the Tioga Road Corridor. This phase of the rehabilitation work will include a 15 mile segment along the road from the Crane Flat Intersection to just east of White Wolf. The construction work will include improvements to culvert drainages, road grading and pavement resurfacing, new signage, and road striping.
Mammoth and Mono County voters went to the polls on Tuesday, June 3, under sunny skies and warm temperatures.
It was impossible to gauge voter turnout, said poll worker Jay Dienken.
“It’s quiet now,” he said at the Community Center polling station on Forest Trail, “but they come in waves.”
As he spoke, Town Council candidate John Wentworth rode up on his mountain bike to vote, while Mammoth District Ranger Jon Regelbrugge of the U.S. Forest Service was in a voting booth nearby.
Political observers haven’t seen anything quite like it.
It has been 20 years since Mammoth has had eight non-incumbent candidates running for three open Town Council seats. The race for Mono County Sheriff started out as a volatile contest, and then just kept getting more so.
Three candidates—Stacy Corless, Greg Eckert and Kirk Stapp—are running for an open seat on the Board of Supervisors from the Mammoth-only District 5.
The drought winter has allowed more access to Mammoth-area trails, roads and campgrounds than is normal for late May and June, but many high country trails are still covered in snow if they are above 10,000 elevation and/or if they are on north-facing, shaded slopes.
Several campgrounds are also still closed, due to issues with infrastructure or access.
According to the Inyo National Forest, the following is a list of the status of most of the area roads, campgrounds and trails, with a new update expected on Friday, May 30. That update will be posted at mammothtimes..com.
A toxic and carcinogenic heavy metal, mercury, has been detected near the Mill City Stamp Mill area in Old Mammoth at levels high enough to trigger a clean up effort but the mercury is not likely to pose a risk to Mammothâ€™s drinking water supplyâ€”nor to people accessing the Mill City area for recreational purposes, scientists said Tuesday.
Two staff positions, both described by Mammoth Town Manager Dan Holler as critically important, are no longer vacant.