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That was nasty business at Alpine Meadows last week when longtime ski patroller Bill Foster, 53, a veteran member of the Alpine ski patrol team was killed in an avalanche. He died on Christmas Day at Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno after being caught in an intentionally triggered slide the day before. Our advice: Don’t ever, ever, ever take the patrollers for granted. Bill had logged 28 years at Alpine. …
Town Manager Dave Wilbrecht and Assistant Town Manager Marianna Marysheva-Martinez are this year’s Mammoth Times “Persons of the Year,” announced Publisher and Editor Aleksandra Gajewski.
Back from the abyss
If ever there was a year more topsy-turvy, nobody in Mammoth can remember it.
From the blackness of the first six months (bankruptcy, record-bad snow season, mass layoffs at the ski area, etc.), Mammoth emerged at the end on a very bright note.
It was almost like falling in love all over again.
A continuous revolving door
There were so many old faces leaving and new faces arriving in Mono County during 2012, it was almost enough to suffer whiplash.
The 2012 elections brought a new majority to the Mono County Board of Supervisors, as candidates Tim Fesko, Fred Stump, and Tim Alpers replace Supervisor Tim Hansen, Duane “Hap” Hazard, and Vikki Magee Bauer, respectively.
To the edge and then back again
Practically everyone calls it “The Bankruptcy,” even though Mammoth never actually crossed that line.
The town came close enough, though, and it seemed at times as if the eyes of the nation—and certainly California—were focused on Mammoth in the same way television crews and bystanders wait nearby to see the precise moment when the house slides off the cliff.
Bad to worse, worse to worst
It was not just Mammoth that got hit with the bad snow season in 2011-12.
Everyone in the U.S., with the exception of the ski areas in the extreme Northwest, had a ski season that started late—Mammoth got just two inches of snow in December—and continued to stink through the February ski holidays. Snow didn’t arrive until the spring, by which time it was too late to save the season.
Saved by the bell
Mono County school districts entered 2012 under the serious threat of severe state budget cuts.
Both of the county’s school districts—Mammoth Unified and Eastern Sierra Unified—made cuts early in the year, trimming hundreds of thousands of dollars from budgets that could ill afford it.
In June, Mammoth Unified got a break when district voters agreed to renew a property tax measure.
Bourne, Walker child sex abuse case divides Mammoth
Few Mammoth locals will ever forget Jan. 4, the day Mammoth Hospital surgeon and school board member Andrew Bourne and longtime Mammoth resident Joe Walker, were arrested on suspicion of various counts of child sexual abuse against a young Santa Barbara girl, whose family had long been friends with both men.
New cooperation emerges
It used to be, back in the not-so-old days, it was every man for himself when it came to fishing in the Eastern Sierra.
But when spring arrived early in 2012, the result of a near-disastrous low-snow season, the fishermen and their related businesses found a bond in the new Eastern Sierra Fishing Coalition.
‘Devils Windstorm’ wreaks havoc in the forest
A freak windstorm that took out tens of thousands of mature pine in the Reds Meadow area on the night of Nov. 30, 2011 might seem like last year’s story and not fit for this anthology.
But the repercussion from that night’s windstorm could well come back to haunt Mammoth and other affected parts of the Eastern Sierra for decades to come.
In London, the World Cup and here at home
It seemed like every time a sports fan turned around, there was something to catch his or her attention.
If it wasn’t John Teller on the World Cup Ski Cross tour, it was Stacey Cook, climbing to 10th in the world in women’s World Cup downhill racing, then nabbing her first two World Cup podium finishes on back-to-back days in Lake Louise in early December.
Cancer silences a joyful, obstreperous voice
Skip Harvey died on July 16, leaving an empty spot in Mammoth that nearly everyone felt.
A two-term Mammoth Lakes town councilman and mayor, ski instructor at Mammoth Mountain, and owner of the Base Camp Café, Harvey died at home after a long battle with throat cancer.
He took on just about everyone at one point or another with his iconoclastic points of view, but no one ever questioned his love of the mountains and of Mammoth in particular.
No one dared care
While Mono County blessed the electorate with a genuine dogfight, in Mammoth, voters in the municipal contest were treated (as it were) to the Election That Wasn’t.
In spite of a town aswirl in controversy, finger-pointing, blame-gaming, layoffs and general overall mayhem, two seats opened on the Town Council.
Incumbent Jo Bacon signed up for re-election, while political neophyte Michael Raimondo brought his bagel-bagging electorate to the show.
After that, no one.
‘Um, what bankruptcy?’
Even before it started, town leaders pushed forward with a “Best Summer Ever” marketing campaign, with more hope than actual promise.
And yet when it was over, no one could argue with it.
From the Fourth of July and Jazz Jubilee all the way to the end, Mammoth’s festival season was vibrant, well-attended, and loads of fun.
We recall one evening at the four-day Bluesapalooza and Festival of Beers event at Sam’s Wood Site on Minaret Boulevard.
Parks, tracks, you-name it
A distant observer might have thought poor ol’ Mammoth was just going to dry up and call it quits, what with all the national, state and local press about the town’s tightrope-walk along the brink of financial ruin.
But with a combination of Measure R and Measure U funds, coupled with careful planning, political willpower and the force of volunteerism, Mammoth just kept chugging ahead.