January 14th, 2011
Jason Patterson has an impossible job, and he loves it.
The new Mammoth Huskies boys basketball coach has nine freshmen, three sophomores, no juniors, two seniors and no victories in its first 10 games.
Another coach might want to jump overboard with a situation like this, but not Patterson.
â€śBasketball is my love,â€ť he said. â€śItâ€™s been a great blessing to be here with these guys this year.â€ť
A native of a small town in Washington, Patterson said he comes to coaching by way of his dad, who coached just about everything there was to coach.
The innovations among the Unbound Terrain Parks crew on Mammoth Mountain are roaring ahead.
This time, itâ€™s the â€śPop-Up Park.â€ť
Itâ€™s a Terrain Park that will â€śpop upâ€ť at various sites on the mountain, and then be dismantled, never to be seen again.
According to Mammoth Mountain Ski Area spokesman Dan Hansen, this will allow â€śuniqueâ€ť park experiences outside the regular terrain parks, in spots in the mountain that parks players may have always wanted to have a park, but didnâ€™t.
They are not permanent, lasting a maximum of four to six weeks.
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.
Some towns in America have bowling and basketball leagues to keep them happy in the winter.
In Mammoth, we ski.
The Village Championships return to Mammoth Mountain Ski Area for the 35th year this Tuesday, a noontime tradition on the ski hill and a Happy Hour tradition in pubs and watering holes all over town.
While itâ€™s a whole snowpile full of fun for almost everybody, â€śsome people take this very seriously,â€ť said Drew Kemple of the Race Department.
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.
The bomb dropped on Mammoth Lakesâ€™ incoming Town Attorney as soon as he set foot in the door.
Andrew Morris, who was invited to town last week for a meet-and-greet with the town staff and others, was supposed to have a relaxed couple of days.
Instead, on the day he arrived, the Hot Creek decision came crashing down on the town from the California Appellate Court, sending Morris and everyone else scrambling.
â€śI took office the day the bomb fell, yeah,â€ť Morris said.
The much-debated, proposed subdivision in Lower Rock Creek Canyon was approved by the Mono County Board of Supervisors Dec. 21, but only after some extensive changes to the plan.
The subdivision, proposed by longtime Eastern Sierra developer John Hooper, is located at the old Paradise Restaurant and Resort site.
The 29-acre project, with proposed market-rate homes that will mostly replace the old rental cabins there, has been relatively controversial.
When things get all gnarly, youâ€™d think the cops would get all grumpy.
Not so, according to Police Chief Dan Watson, a former officer with Los Angeles Police Department.
Instead, they have a ball.
â€śIâ€™ve worked some really busy nights in L.A.,â€ť Watson said.
â€śOn a really busy night, with all kinds of crime, with officers going from one call to another. Thatâ€™s a fun night. Itâ€™s what weâ€™re here for.
â€śWe donâ€™t have that kind of activity here in Mammoth. But what I sensed on the radio, everybody was out there.
It had a little bit of the feeling of a come to Jesus meeting, when people of like mind come together to praise their gods.
In this case, it was the gods of rock climbing. And one of the disciples, Peter Croft, gave a slide show and riveting sermon on various rock routes in the Eastern Sierra.
Croft inaugurated the new and already popular Adventure Slide Show Series started by Jim Barnes, Tuesday night, Jan. 4, at the Snowcreek Athletic Club.