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December 28th

The Year in Review: Mammoth Lakes 2012- A Tale of Two Cities

December 28, 2012

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.

Mono County 2012: Musical chairs

December 28, 2012

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.

The 2012 bankruptcy

December 28, 2012

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.

The 2012 Ski Season stunk

December 28, 2012

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.

Mono County schools escape cuts—twice—in 2012

December 28, 2012

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.

2012 Crime: One case dominated

December 28, 2012

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.

The fishing season hooked us in 2012

December 28, 2012

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.

The Devil in 2012

December 28, 2012

‘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.

Sports took center stage in 2012

December 28, 2012

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.

Mammoth loses Skip Harvey in 2012

December 28, 2012

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.

The 2012 election that wasn’t

December 28, 2012

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.

The 2012 Festival Season was ‘The Best’

December 28, 2012

‘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.

New stuff was built in 2012

December 28, 2012

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.

The 2012 turnaround of Rusty Gregory

December 28, 2012

The ski area’s CEO pledges new cooperation

Long held as lord of its own separate fiefdom, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area CEO Rusty Gregory began a new era of involvement with the town when he said he’s had a change of heart.

In a move that left many Mammothites utterly baffled, Gregory startled the Town Council on Nov. 7 with a jaw-dropping speech.

“I am an impediment to the growth and prosperity of our resort community,” he began.

Performing Arts in 2012 was diverse

December 28, 2012

Musicals, complex drama highlighted the season

In 2012, theater audiences were entertained by several diverse productions, from Sierra Classic Theatre’s emotionally complex “Proof” to Mammoth Lakes Repertory Theatre’s musical sensation “The Marvelous Wonderettes.”

Earlier this year when the lack of snow and holiday-withdrawals started to kick in, MLRT’s “Lend Me A Tenor” written by Ken Ludwig kept spirits high with risqué double-entendre and cartoonish physical comedy.

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