Archive - News Article
January 21st, 2011
A couple of very high-profile Mammoth players in the Hot Creek lawsuit remained invisible in last monthâ€™s $30 million judgment against the Town of Mammoth Lakes.
Mammoth Mountain Ski Area and its CEO, Rusty Gregory, were left unscathed â€“ not even mentioned. This is in spite of the fact that at the beginning of the case, in 1997, both MMSA and Gregory himself were caught in some nasty crossfire.
They still are, in a sense.
When the case first was filed, both Gregory and MMSA were named as defendants, along with the Town.
Here's the latest from our groovy little burg.
Problems with AT&T service out in the Tri-Valley area of Mono County have diminished since much of the Tri-Valley area in eastern Mono County found themselves without cell service after switching from Alltel to AT&T late last year, but they have not gone away, according to Chalfant community members, including members of the Benton Paiute tribe, many of whom are still without cell service.
On Tuesday, Jan. 18 at approximately 11:45 p.m., Mono County Sheriffâ€™s Department Deputies stopped a vehicle traveling in an erratic manner, northbound on Hwy 395 in Coleville.
The deputy made contact with the two individuals inside of the vehicle, identified as David Cruz, age 32, and Bernadin Estriplet, age 28, both of June Lake.
Upon contact, the deputy noticed a strong odor of burnt marijuana coming from inside the vehicle and asked both parties to exit the vehicle.
It seems to be something that most people have forgotten.
In all the brouhaha over the airport lawsuit appeal, the Town of Mammoth wasnâ€™t the only town challenging the Bridgeport juryâ€™s finding that the Town is liable for $30 million in damages.
Far from it.
In fact, every city and county in the state of California sided with the Town, as â€śfriends of the courtâ€ť or â€śamici curiae.â€ť The appellate judgesâ€™ decision is rattling municipal nerves across the state.
The new chief of Mammothâ€™s Chamber of Commerce is smiling, and when was the last time anyone saw that?
Maggie Thompson, general manager of NPG Cable, said the holiday spending spree by visitors to Mammoth exceeded all her expectations, and may signal a larger economic trend.
â€śIt was one of the best years weâ€™ve had in a long, long time,â€ť she said.
â€śThe businesses should be really pleased.â€ť
There were glitches, of course. The copious blizzards during the holiday period caused power outages, clogged roadways and frayed nerves.
A rundown of what's going on around here:
Realtors all over town died a little death earlier this week when the L.A. Times fronted a story about Mammoth and our little legal problem. Headline was â€śMammoth Lakes fears financial ruin after legal judgment.â€ť ...
Brian Shibley tells us that the golf tournament held last fall in memory of his daugther Cari raised $3,000 for ICare and $3,000 for Mono County Animal Shelter. ...
Thereâ€™s a place not far from here where the wind blows quiet and clean, the creek sings softly under its winter blanket and the wide, gold roots of an old juniper shelter the perfect place to sit warm and dry, even in deepest winter.
Itâ€™s a sweet place, sometimes warm and calm, sometimes wild and furious. In the daytime, the sharp high country sun turns the white to indigo and that inexpressible aqua color seen only in deep depressions in the snow on a sunlit day.
Thereâ€™s nothing that can stop a good party on Mammoth Mountain.
This past week, ski area employees were scrambling to put together a â€śBig Snow Bashâ€ť weekend for Jan. 21-23, with events commemorating the 209-inch December snowfall that broke records for the snowiest month on record.
It will start with the construction of 209-inch (17.4 feet) snowmen, situated at Main Lodge, Canyon Lodge, Little Eagle Lodge and at the Mill CafĂ© at the base of Chair 2/Stump Alley Express, according the ski area spokesman Dan Hansen.
A travesty of justice?
The California Third Appellate District Court sure didnâ€™t think so.
The three-member panel last week unanimously upheld a $30 million judgment against the Town of Mammoth Lakes in the Hot Creek Aviation litigation.
It wasnâ€™t even close.
Thus ends the litigation in a dispute that began in 1997. Now begin the myriad questions facing the Town and what itâ€™s going to do about them.
Our weekly roundup of what's what and who's who:
That was a bad week last week for the satellite TV customers, reception dishes filled with snow and signals blocked by snow-laden trees. â€śNot that was a big sports weekend or anything,â€ť sighed the go-go John Urdi â€¦
An attempt to create a viable trout hatchery at Conway Ranch got hit with a big blow at the beginning of the new year, when icy cold killed off 8,000 of the ranchâ€™s rainbow trout, as well as all the fish being raised for the kidsâ€™ trout pond.
â€śThe Fish and Wildlife Service was devastated by the news,â€ť said Dan Lyster, Mono Countyâ€™s development director.
The trout were being raised at Conway under an agreement with the service, whose state trout stocking program has been heavily impacted by budget cuts and other problems in recent years.
Former Mammoth Lakes Police Department Sergeant Eric Hugelman won a decisive judgment against the Town last week.
Hearing Officer Roberto Morales ruled that Hugelmanâ€™s termination a year and a half ago was unjustified, and ruled that he should be reinstated.
Morales ruled that Hugelman should have been suspended for three weeks, at most.
Now the question is whether Hugelman will, in fact, rejoin the force, and how much back pay he is entitled to.
The Town Council took up the matter in closed session after Wednesday nightâ€™s regular meeting, but no decision came out of the session.
Tracy Fuller â€“ Town Council appointed Fuller on Nov. 11, 1996 and accepted her resignation on 12/1/99.
Stephen Julian â€“ Town Council approved Julianâ€™s agreement as an interim Town manager on Dec. 15, 1999.
On June 21, 2000, the council approved Julianâ€™s agreement as the Town manager.
It was as bad as communications can get.
In the complicated Hot Creek predicament that turned into the $30 million loss for the town, the California Third Appellate District Court consistently hammered the Town and the Federal Aviation Administration for poor communications.
The three-member panel cited one instance for special consideration.
Early on in the process, after the Mammoth Lakes Town Council agreed on the development project, the FAA sent (by fax) a number of concerns to Bill Manning, the airport manager.
Manningâ€™s response was to simply not respond.