January 8th, 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 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.
After reading the book, Too Many Tamales, the third grade students in Mammoth Elementary Schoolâ€™s Dual Immersion classes had their annual Tamale Fest on Dec. 9.
Fifty-eight hardworking chefs almost doubled last yearâ€™s number by making a whopping 392 chicken, pork and chile-cheese tamales!
As usual, none of this would have been possible without the support of our dedicated parents.
Bullying in school can make some childrenâ€™s lives so miserable, they donâ€™t want to even get up in morning, let alone go to school to learn.
It can lead to depression and other serious mental health problems, and even, as a recent string of high-profile suicides across the country, show, the death of young people.
Mammoth Unified School District is hoping to once again step up its anti-bullying efforts, beginning next week with a series of films shown at all the districtâ€™s campuses.
The films will be shown:
â€˘ Jan. 10 from 6-7 p.m. at Mammoth Elementary School
St. Johann, Austria (Jan. 7) American Ski Cross athlete John Teller, of Mammoth Lakes, CA won the first Ski Cross World Cup of 2011 and the first World Cup Ski Cross ever for an American. Teller, who was third place in the second World Cup of the season in December, won every heat on his way to victory under the lights in St. Johann, Austria. â€śI canâ€™t believe it,â€ť said Teller, â€śI owned every heat.â€ť