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Upcoming walks, campfire programs at Devils Postpile

July 6, 2012

Now that the Reds Meadow Road is open again, there is a lot going on in the Valley. Here’s a summary of some of the events:

Weekly ranger-led walk to Devils Postpile: This one hour, one-mile walk includes topics such as wildlife, resource conservation, and the geology of the Devils Postpile formation. It begins every day at 11 a.m. at the Devils Postpile Ranger Station (shuttle stop #6).

Recycling facility study can wait a while longer

July 6, 2012

A $25,000 study to assess whether Mono County and the Town of Mammoth Lakes need another, bigger re- cycling facility is a “last resort,” pending more discussion and cooperation between the two governments, the county supervisors agreed Tuesday.

Both are struggling to meet new state requirements that force municipalities to recycle more of their garbage. Solving “the garbage question” is a high priority for both governments, given high costs and low revenues due to a huge decline in construction revenues.

Senior services get 90-day contract extension

July 6, 2012

Mono County seniors will continue to get all the services they currently receive—from Meals on Wheels to other in-home service—for at least the next 90 days after the Mono County Board of Supervisors agreed to extend a current agreement with Inyo County for 90 more days.

But in the long run, a final solution regarding how to serve the county’s seniors still needs to be put into place, county officials agreed.

Election certified Tuesday

July 6, 2012

The Mono County Board of Supervisors voted to certify the election results Tuesday. The election delivered Tim Alpers and Fred Stump as two new county supervisors, with a runoff election between candidates Bob Peters and Tim Fesko this November.

Digital 395 should break ground this month

July 6, 2012

The equipment is on the ground, the crews are ready to go, the studies have been done. Digital 395 is almost ready to break ground in Mono County. Almost.

“All that’s missing is a few, federal right-of-way permits that are still in the appeal process and some last minute work we are doing with the (Native American) tribes,” said private side developer for the project, Michael Ort.

That leaves Ort with about a year to actually construct the project and he said Monday that he is completely confident that the deadline will be met.

Mammoth Track project breaks ground July 9

July 6, 2012

A year-round running track project near the Whitmore Pool site will break ground on Monday, July 9, according to representatives from the High Sierra Striders group.

The nonprofit has been the track’s biggest advocate and fundraiser. One of its biggest fundraisers occurred at Wednesday’s July 4 Footloose Freedom Mile race. Member Elaine Smith broke the news about the track to about 350 cheering race participants.

Community expresses concerns about June Mountain closures

July 6, 2012

“If you think you can wait until November to decide to reopen this mountain, you can’t,” said June Mountain Ski Area’s general manager, Carl Williams, to a packed room of citizens at the Mono County Board of Supervisors meeting in Bridgeport on Tuesday.

Williams’ comments capped an emotional hour and a half as residents and June Mountain aficionados spoke at length about the impact Mammoth Mountain Ski Area’s closure of June for the summer and coming winter (announced publicly June 21) would have on the unincorporated community of June Lake.

Mammoth area man dies in car accident

July 5, 2012

A Mammoth area man died Saturday, June 30 and passengers in another vehicle were seriously injured after the vehicle the Mammoth man was driving crashed into another vehicle near the Obsidian Dome Road intersection with U.S. 395.

Although the final cause of the accident is still under investigation, the Mono County Sheriff's report indicates that the man, Randy Sly, 53, failed to stop at the intersection and collided with a Jeep SUV that was traveling on U.S. 395 and unable to stop.

It's official: Mammoth to declare bankruptcy; Wood: 'A necessary and unavoidable step'

July 2, 2012

The worst possible outcome for Mammoth Lakes has come true.

The town decided to declare municipal bankruptcy Monday morning, July 2. The Town Council took the action unanimously.

"It's wish this hadn't happened," said Mayor Matthew Lehman, "but it's not the way the cards fell for us."

The town immediately issued a press release regarding the Town council decision.

Mammoth Track Club’s Morgan Uceny wins trip to London in 1,500 meters

July 2, 2012

For such a small little town, Mammoth came up big in the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Trials last week.

The latest hammer blow came on Sunday night, when Morgan Uceny easily won the 1,500 meters in 4-minutes, 4.59.4 in Eugene.

Uceny won over second-place Shannon Rowbury and third-place Jenny Simpson, both of whom joined Uceny on the U.S. team.

"I felt awesome up there," she said of her consistent lead in the wind-blown race. "I always had an exrta gear that I might have needed to respond if I needed to. But I knew as long as I ran smart, there was no way I could lose the race."

June Mountain gloom

June 29, 2012

There is no shortage of gloom in June Lake.

When Mammoth Mountain Ski Area announced last week (June 21) that it would close down the June Mountain ski area at least until the end of the 2012-13 ski season, the reaction was swift and tense.
“I think it’s been pretty clear the entire eight years since I was elected that this is exactly what I have been working to avoid,” said June Lake’s county supervisor, Vikki Bauer.

Gregory: 'Irresponsible of me to have not faced facts sooner'

June 29, 2012

Rusty Gregory knows people are not happy with him for closing June Mountain.

In the end, facing a loss of an average of $1.5 million a year, that wasn’t enough to stop him.

“Personally, I’m incredibly disappointed as well,” he said. ” I realize that the people in June are shocked and very disappointed, and angry with me. But the idea of subsidizing June without a view of an end result is not sustainable.”

He also said skier visits have gone from an average of 80,000 per season to 45,000 last season.

Reds Meadow Road opens; Devils Postpile, other destinations accessible

June 29, 2012

After a massive effort to remove the downed trees felled by the giant windstorm last year, the Reds Meadow Shuttle Service is scheduled to begin this week on Friday, June 29.

'Scrawny' bears in Mammoth doing well ... so far

June 29, 2012

One of the more interesting bear seasons in years has begun in Mammoth, and Wildlife Specialist Steve Searles said their habitat is remaining intact, more or less.

They’re scrawny, however, and hungry.

“The drought this year means it’s going to be busier,” he said in his monthly bear report. “The bears are going to run out of natural foods and will be more likely to try to get into human food.”

He said people in Mammoth are going to notice some skinnier bears, but “The Bear Whisperer” said he is urging that people “can’t give in to feeding them.”

Cops on the lookout for burglar who zapped four Mammoth businesses

June 29, 2012

Mammoth police as of Thursday afternoon were still looking for the perpetrator of four burglaries that happened in the course of two days.

They identified 27-year-old Cameron Jeffrey Puckett, a transient, as the leading suspect, and distributed photos of him. One of the photos, in black and white, shows Puckett during the commission of the burglary, police said.

They also said he dropped his mobile phone at one of the sites.

Budget done, town turns attention to commissions

June 29, 2012

The Town of Mammoth Lakes Airport Commission still has a heartbeat.

So, too, does the Mobility Commission.

In spite of a cost-saving effort to combine the two governmental bodies, neither commission, nor the Town Council, found how to do it in advance of July 31, when new commissioners are to be seated.

In the whirlwind rush by the Town Council to complete a balanced budget, that small sub-drama took place one rung lower on the town government ladder.

What's Up, Up Here? Mammoth news and gossip for June 29-July 5

June 29, 2012

Joel St. Marie (Mammoth Gallery), is the featured shutterbug at the Mono Inn all July, and we say check it out. He’s close to joining the front ranks of local photographers, some say, but we say he’s already there. …

Tearing out road barriers isn't the answer, Forest Service says

June 29, 2012

At least some of the barriers put up last year to close illegal roads and routes on the Inyo National Forest have been torn out since the snow melted.

“Forest-wide, we think about 10 to 20 percent of the barriers have been damaged or removed,” said Marty Hornick, the forest’s travel management plan coordinator.

What's up with the wind?

June 29, 2012

The Eastern Sierra was already bracing for a dry summer but the last few weeks of near constant wind has made things even worse.

It’s been windy almost every day for the past three weeks, stretching a pattern that usually occurs for one to two weeks in late May and early June to almost a month long event.

And the pattern responsible for creating the wind—two large high pressure systems to the far west over the Pacific Ocean and another one over the Midwest—shows no signs of weakening anytime soon, according to Dawn Fishler, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Reno.

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