Archive - News Article
June 19th, 2014
After four years of extraordinary municipal crises and a topsy-turvy electoral campaign, three members of the Mammoth Lakes Town Council this past week stepped down.
The body of a Mt. Whitney hiker missing since June 14 was found Thursday in a steep chute above Mirror Lake, only about a mile from where the man was supposed to meet his friends on June 14 after he and two friends had climbed Whitney for the fifth time.
Early in the evening of June 19, during an aerial reconnaissance mission above Mirror Lake west of Outpost Camp, search crews located what is believed to be the remains of missing hiker John Likely, 60, Dumont, New Jersey, in an extremely steep chute.
Urban smog isn’t one of those things most people associate with Mammoth, but that is the likely source of the persistent silver-gray hazy air residents have been breathing almost every afternoon and evening since the day after Memorial Day.
Cursing slow internet speeds is almost a local pastime in Mono County, especially in the communities outside of Mammoth where upload speeds of less than one megabit per second are common.
That might be about to change if a new provider, Burlingame, California-based Race Telecommunications, Inc., gets the approval of the state Public Utilities Commission to build the “final mile” fiber-optic broadband cable to the communities of Aspen Springs, Chalfant, Crowley Lake and Sunny Slopes.
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 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.
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.
Two staff positions, both described by Mammoth Town Manager Dan Holler as critically important, are no longer vacant.
With just one week until Election Day, the eight candidates for Town Council threw a little more gas on the fire this past week, introducing new campaign issues at a candidates forum at the Forest Service Auditorium.