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January 14th, 2011

Mammoth not alone in dismay at airport ruling

January 14, 2011

It seems to be something that most people have forgotten.

In all the brouhaha over the airport lawsuit appeal, the Town of Mammoth wasn’t the only town challenging the Bridgeport jury’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 “friends of the court” or “amici curiae.” The appellate judges’ decision is rattling municipal nerves across the state.

Holidays bring cheer, visitor spending

January 14, 2011

The new chief of Mammoth’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.

“It was one of the best years we’ve had in a long, long time,” she said.

“The businesses should be really pleased.”

There were glitches, of course. The copious blizzards during the holiday period caused power outages, clogged roadways and frayed nerves.

What's Up, Up Here? Jan. 14

January 14, 2011

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 “Mammoth Lakes fears financial ruin after legal judgment.” ...

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. ...

Martin Luther King

January 14, 2011

Monday Jan. 17 marks the 25th observation of the Martin Luther King holiday, as signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1983, and first celebrated in 1986. King is honored due to his leadership in the Civil Rights movement, during which he promoted nonviolent resistance to racist laws and policies in the United States.

Mammoth Creek as you've never seen it before

January 14, 2011

There’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.

It’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.

New Huskies hoops coach keeps his chin up

January 14, 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.

“Basketball is my love,” he said. “It’s been a great blessing to be here with these guys this year.”

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.

Pop-Up Terrain Parks coming to Mammoth Mountain

January 14, 2011

The innovations among the Unbound Terrain Parks crew on Mammoth Mountain are roaring ahead.

This time, it’s the “Pop-Up Park.”

It’s a Terrain Park that will “pop up” 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 “unique” park experiences outside the regular terrain parks, in spots in the mountain that parks players may have always wanted to have a park, but didn’t.

They are not permanent, lasting a maximum of four to six weeks.

Build your own snowman to toast December snowfall

January 14, 2011

There’s nothing that can stop a good party on Mammoth Mountain.

This past week, ski area employees were scrambling to put together a “Big Snow Bash” 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 Café at the base of Chair 2/Stump Alley Express, according the ski area spokesman Dan Hansen.

January 8th

If it's Tuesday, it must be the Village Championships

January 8, 2011

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 it’s a whole snowpile full of fun for almost everybody, “some people take this very seriously,” said Drew Kemple of the Race Department.

Mammoth stumbles its way to $30 million loss in Hot Creek lawsuit

January 8, 2011

A travesty of justice?

The California Third Appellate District Court sure didn’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 wasn’t even close.

Thus ends the litigation in a dispute that began in 1997. Now begin the myriad questions facing the Town and what it’s going to do about them.

What's Up, Up Here? Jan. 7

January 8, 2011

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. “Not that was a big sports weekend or anything,” sighed the go-go John Urdi …

Frigid temps kill 8,000 trout at Conway Ranch

January 8, 2011

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 ranch’s rainbow trout, as well as all the fish being raised for the kids’ trout pond.

“The Fish and Wildlife Service was devastated by the news,” said Dan Lyster, Mono County’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.

Hugelman wins case against Town of Mammoth

January 8, 2011

Former Mammoth Lakes Police Department Sergeant Eric Hugelman won a decisive judgment against the Town last week.

Hearing Officer Roberto Morales ruled that Hugelman’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 night’s regular meeting, but no decision came out of the session.

The Hot Creek Players, 1997-Present

January 8, 2011

TOWN MANAGERS
1996-PRESENT

1996-1999:
Tracy Fuller – Town Council appointed Fuller on Nov. 11, 1996 and accepted her resignation on 12/1/99.

1999-2003:
Stephen Julian – Town Council approved Julian’s agreement as an interim Town manager on Dec. 15, 1999.
On June 21, 2000, the council approved Julian’s agreement as the Town manager.

2003-2004:

Manning to FAA: Fax it and I'll ignore it

January 8, 2011

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.

Manning’s response was to simply not respond.

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