June 22nd, 2012
The Town of Mammoth Lakes will cut abut $1 million in salaries in the coming fiscal year, the result of a 10 percent pay cut across the board for civilian staffers and a 24 percent cut in concessions from the police department.
Those cuts put the town in a precarious position, compared to similar-sized communities in California, according to the Assistant Town Manager Marianna Marysheva-Martinez.
The townâ€™s dependance on personnel accounts for less than a third of its budget. Since 2008, town employees have cut their salaries by 17 percent.
Among the biggest losers in the 2012-13 budget are the men and women in blueâ€”the Mammoth Lakes Police Department.
The MLPD will lose its School Resource officer. In a memo to the Town Council, Police Chief Dan Watson said that the effect would be the elimination of the DARE Program, the Every 15 Minutes Presentation, supervision at special events and an increase in juvenile crime and at-risk behavior by youth.
At the same time, Watson sent out a plea for volunteer â€śreserveâ€ť officers to help make up the shortfall.
John Urdi has his fingers crossed.
The director of Mammoth Lakes Tourism draws almost his entire budget from Transient Occupancy Taxes. To increase the tax revenue, it is his task to draw visitors to Mammoth.
But when the Town Council approved its balanced budget Wednesday evening, Urdi was left with $215,562 less with which to draw the very tourists who supply the revenue.
â€śWeâ€™re hoping this is a one-time phenomenon,â€ť he said in the corridor outside Suite Z, the town council chambers above the Minaret Cinema. â€śObviously we canâ€™t have another year like last year.â€ť
In the end, there was nothing left to cut; there wasnâ€™t much to discuss.
The Mammoth Lakes Town Council passed an extraordinary â€śbare bonesâ€ť 2012-13 budget Wednesday evening, leaving anger, heartache and uncertainty in its wake.
It also left Mammoth with a clean start, said councilmember Rick Wood.
â€śFundamentally we have changed the approach, and the approach changed after essentially turning over every stone and finding out things that no prior council in the history of Mammoth Lakes had knownâ€”about how municipal finance works, how our government works.
June Mountain Ski Area on Thursday suspended its operations for the foreseeable future, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area announced on Thursday.
The resort will shut down immediately. Its summer season, set to open yesterday (Thursday), was cut down.
The 2012-13 winter season will not happen at all, leaving the lifts idle and employees scrambling to find work.
The news came as a â€ścomplete surpriseâ€ť to June Lakeâ€™s incoming county supervisor, Tim Alpers. He was in Southern California on business when he found out.
State fire crews and Lee Vining community members created an unusual coalition earlier this month and the result is both historicalâ€”and edible.
A community garden and a much needed update to the community Lee Vining museum are now complete after much hard work by members of the Cal Fire Owens Valley Conservation Camp, and kids and adults from Lee Vining.
It is the first week of summer and the Eastern Sierra is almost 50 percent drier than average for this time of year.
A bark beetle infestation on June Mountain and in the Sherwin Range above Mammoth stands red and dry as an old bone. It wonâ€™t take much to start a fire there.
A Lone Pine man has been arrested on suspicion of murder, according to Inyo County officials. On June 17, at midnight, deputies from the Inyo County Sheriffâ€™s Office were dispatched to a residence in Lone Pine for a report of a family disturbance which involved the use of a firearm.
Sheriffâ€™s Deputies were advised that the subject, Allen Robert Weston, a 30-year-old man from Lone Pine, had left the residence and was in possession of the firearm.
Deputies located and arrested Weston for attempted murder, assault with a firearm, and criminal threats.
Yosemiteâ€™s Tenaya Lake, once called â€śLake of the Shining Rocks,â€ť will
sparkle even more brightly following major restoration efforts this summer
to its east beach and surrounding wetlands and trails with funding provided
by Yosemite Conservancy.
â€śTenaya Lake has a captivating natural beauty that charms park visitors
young and old alike. Those coming to the east beach area will have an even
better high country lake experience as a result of the restoration efforts
made possible by our donors,â€ť said Mike Tollefson, president, Yosemite
Deena Kastorâ€™s bid for her fourth Olympic Games took a tumble this week when she withdrew because of back spasms.
"Of course Iâ€™m extremely disappointed, but I have run out of options," she said in an interview with the Mammoth Times. "I am still in pain, unable to run or cross train, and so Iâ€™m left with no option but to be a spectator at the Olympic Trials."
If there is a single person who put Mammoth on the running map, it is Kastor, who as Deena Drossin was the first elite runner to actually move here, train here and evangelize the town.
Yosemite National Park Fire Managers are planning a prescribed fire in the
northwestern portion of the park near the Big Oak Flat Entrance Station on
Highway 120 (Big Oak Flat Road) on Tuesday, June 19, 2012.
The ignition of the fire is dependent on weather conditions. The total prescribed burn area will include 220 acres and be split into two units. The prescribed
area is at the optimal fuel moisture level to successfully complete the
project. This will be the first prescribed burn of the 2012 fire season.
On June 14, 2012, the Mono County Sheriff Search and Rescue (SAR) Team responded to a call for help of two hikers who had lost their trail.
A father and his 17 year-old son from Ohio went on a day hike over Mammoth Pass to the Devils Postpile National Monument. While returning to their vehicle at Horseshoe Lake, they lost the trail and were not able to find their way back.
When the axe fell on Bill Manning, it was quiet. When it fell on Dave Beck, it was even more so.
Both longtime Mammoth managers lost their positions this week as part of a town reorganization that eliminated the Airport Manager/Transit Coordinator job (Manning) and the Maintenance Superintendent job (Beck).
Rather than to wait until the July 1 budget took effect, both left immediately, with severance packages in hand.
â€śIt wasnâ€™t about politics,â€ť said Town Manager Dave Wilbrecht. â€śIt happened because our resources are so tight.â€ť