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Mountain to be named after Andrea Mead Lawrence, pending approval by Congress

May 10, 2011

One of Mono County's fiercest defenders of the environment, Andrea Mead Lawrence, will likely have a nearby mountain named after her.

U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer today introduced the Mt. Andrea Lawrence Designation Act of 2011, which would name a mountain peak in Mono County “Mt. Andrea Lawrence” in honor and memory of Andrea Lawrence – a conservationist, three-time Olympian and former member of the Mono County Board of Supervisors who passed away in 2009.

Mono County human resource director is new interim county administrator

May 6, 2011

Jim Arken, Mono County’s human resources director for the past year, will serve as the county’s interim administrative officer (CAO) until a new CAO can be found, following the departure of Mono County CAO Dave Wilbrecht in early June.

Arken, 58, was chosen by the county board of supervisors over the past week and a half and his contract to serve as both the interim CAO and the human resources director was approved unanimously Tuesday.

He will serve alongside current CAO Dave Wilbrecht until Wilbrecht takes his new job as the Town manager for the Town of Mammoth Lakes.

Skip Harvey to town: Straighten up and fly right

May 6, 2011

If there’s one thing that drives Mayor Skip Harvey nuts, it’s inefficiency.

He says he doesn’t allow it in his restaurant business (Base Camp Café), which operates – like most small businesses around here – with a razor-thin margin.

But when he looks over the landscape of the way the Town of Mammoth Lakes goes about its business, he said he sees unproductive, time-wasting practices everywhere.

“It’s part of being efficient, part of being a better town,” he said last week.

“You have to look at everything your town does in operations.

Happy Mother's Day

May 6, 2011

It’s Mother’s Day on Sunday, and all over town you can hear it, feel it, and most of all, smell it.
It’s the sound of champagne corks popping out of bottles, soon to be mixed with ice-cold orange juice – the Mother’s Day Mimosa.

Sometimes in Mammoth, the decks become crowded with celebrants; sometimes not. This year might be a bit on the cool side.

Practically all the local restaurants have special brunches for the Moms. Eggs Benedict abound and the scent of hollandaise and poached eggs, Canadian bacon and fruit dishes permeate the air.

Buster-the-Wonder-Dog goes to Tarawa with companion Paul Dostie

May 6, 2011

When retired Mammoth Lakes police officer Paul Dostie first picked up a wriggling black Labrador retriever puppy several years ago, he had no idea how much his life was about to change.

But this week, he’s in Washington, D.C. talking top names in the nation’s military and in Congress; he is working to bring attention to what has become a personal mission to help bring home America’s soldiers still “MIA,” or, missing in action.

Mammoth has a brand new brand

May 6, 2011

Mammoth has a brand new face.

If not a new face, then at least a brand new brand.

It’s blue and white and evokes the letter M, water, and mountains. Before long, it will be ubiquitous around town, on brochures and other mailings.

It will be on streetside banners, wayfinding markers, city vehicles and behind the Town Council dais.

No one would be surprised if it also weren’t tattooed on John Urdi’s forehead.

Urdi, Mammoth’s tourism director, showed up at the Town Council meeting on Wednesday and pushed through a proposal to re-brand the town.

Mono County redistricting promises to be difficult, painful

May 6, 2011

A quiet but critical requirement to change the boundaries of the county’s five supervisor districts after the last Census gets under way this spring, as a citizen commission wrestles with the best way to divide the county into districts of equal population size.

That means some districts will lose and some will gain people, since the law requires all supervisor districts to be almost equal in population.

The law allows for no more than a 10 percent difference between districts, meaning districts can only have 10 percent less or 10 percent more people than all other districts.

What's Up, Up Here? News and gossip for May 6-12

May 6, 2011

Nothing quite like spending Mothers Day picking up dog poop, then heading for brunch, but that’s the plan along Sherwin Creek Road, says citizen activist Suzanne Nottingham, who will be at Mammoth’s “Unofficial Dog Park” at 11 a.m. ...

Longtime Mammoth resident and writer Georgia Lowe is up for the Independent Book Publishers Benjamin Franklin Award. Her book, “The Bonus,” an examination of the Depression-era Bonus March, is a finalist in the category of historical fiction. Not only that, she gets to go to New York City for the May 23 ceremony. ...

Crime down in 2010 over preceding year

May 2, 2011

A press release from Mammoth Lakes Police Chief Dan Watson reports that there was a 27 percent reduction in crime in Mammoth Lakes in 2010 when compared to 2009.

Further, Watson says, a review of traffic collision data shows that there was an 18 percent increase in injury collisions and hit and run collisions in 2010 over 2009.

Meet new Inyo Forest Supervisor

May 2, 2011

On thursday, May 5, there will be a Meet and Greet with Ed Armenta, new Inyo National Forest Supervisor, from 4-6 p.m. at the Mammoth Welcome Center on SR 203.

Judge sentences day care provider Lupe Almaguer to 60 years for child sexual abuse

April 30, 2011

It’s been a long time coming, but finally, some of the victims of day care provider Guadalupe Almaguer know what power – and justice – feel like.

On Tuesday, Mono County Superior Court Judge Mark Magit sentenced former Mammoth day care provider “Lupe” Almaguer, 58, to 60 years to life in prison, following his arrest in early October 2010 on suspicion of child sexual abuse.

Is winter over yet? Kinda. Mostly.

April 30, 2011

The weatherman says yes. Mostly.

According to Mammoth’s weather forecaster, Howard Sheckter, the long, cold, snowy winter of 2010-11 is finally over – mostly.

With 618 - 637 inches measured up at the 9,200 foot elevation on Mammoth Mountain now, the winter goes down in the record books as Mammoth’s snowiest, though not wettest, winter ever.

It started snowing on Oct. 5, making it seven months of snow, although an abnormally dry January and February gave us something of a break for a short time.

What's Up, Up Here? News and gossip from Mammoth, April 29-May 5

April 30, 2011

Former Mammoth Track Club distance runner Ryan Hall ran the best Boston Marathon by an American last week. Way to go, Ryan, and this amazing tweet on Wednesday: “Happy to be alive after our plane was hit by lightning.” ...

Mammoth resident and Mammoth Mountain junior race team member Scott Busche took the silver medal at USASA nationals, boys 10-12 skiercross on April 10 at Copper Mountain, Colo. He was presented with the Cholula “Hot Shot” award of the day for having the day’s fastest skiercross qualification time and for his “hot” racer style. ...

June Mountain snowboarder found safe

April 29, 2011

On the afternoon of April 24, the Mono County Sheriff Search and Rescue (SAR) Team was called out to search for a lost snowboarder.

Tiffany Pridanonda, age 21, of Walnut, CA, was snowboarding on June Mountain with a group of friends when she became separated and went out of bounds from the top of Chair 6. She went downhill to the east but could not climb back up.

She sent cell phone text messages to her friends and attempted to navigate to Highway 395. She went as far as the Hartley Springs campground, called 911, and was advised to stay where she was until the SAR team arrived.

Child molester Lupe Almaguer sentenced to 60 years

April 27, 2011

Mono County Superior Court Judge Mark Magit on Tuesday sentenced former Mammoth day care provider Guadalupe "Lupe" Almaguer, 58, to 60 years to life in prison, following Almaguer's arrest in early October of last year on suspicion of child sexual abuse. Since that time, Almaguer has admitted he is guilty of sexually molesting four children, a confession he made after at least one victim and the victim's mother confronted him in person in October. The confrontation was taped under the guidance of the Mono County District Attorney's office and later used as evidence.

Vons employees could strike – maybe

April 26, 2011

Ready for another strike at Vons?

It could happen.

The union representing Vons, as well as Ralphs, Albertsons, Safeway and other Pavilions stores last week voted to authorize a strike

The labor contract between the union and their employers, ratified four years ago, expired on March 6, and workers have continued on a day-to-day basis since then.

While a work stoppage isn’t a foregone conclusion, the threat recalls memories of 2003-2004’s protracted strike and lockout, which lasted 142 days and cost the stores roughly $2 billion.

Mono Basin open but Reds Meadow, Lakes Basin, will open late due to snow

April 26, 2011

Although the Mono Basin Visitor Center will open this week, Reds Meadow and the Lakes Basin are still under heavy snow and will open later than usual, according to the Inyo National Forest. The Lakes Basin is projected to be open by Memorial Day and Reds is projected to be open in late June, although conditions could change those dates.

Here's a summary of the conditions and opening dates, as projected by the forest service today:

MONO BASIN SCENIC AREA VISITOR CENTER OPEN

Meridian Boulevard puts school kids

April 23, 2011

There are so many puzzles attached to Meridian Boulevard that Mammoth’s town staff and planners hardly know where to start.

There is repaving, for example, and traffic calming.

But one problem is perfectly clear.

School kids using the four-lane street as a route to and from school have nowhere to go except for the street in winter. The snowbanks grow. The traffic gets heavy.

“From Old Mammoth Road to Azimuth we have a sidewalk, but it’s not wide enough to get snow removal equipment in there,” said Public Works Director Ray Jarvis.

Councilman Rick Wood to Mammoth: 'Never Again'

April 23, 2011

Rick Wood is not exactly carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders, but he certainly is carrying a very heavy heart.

The veteran town councilman and former mayor delivered an emotional speech to the town at Wednesday’s Town Council meeting, trying to put into harsh perspective the effects the $30 million judgment against the town in the Hot Creek litigation case.

“Never again,” he intoned.

“Never again should we put ourselves in a situation where we don’t explore all the opportunities.”

Searles wins $74,000, three-year contract from Town

April 23, 2011

Not that long ago, the town government was split on Steve Searles.

Not any more.

Searles, who is Mammoth’s wildlife specialist (and sudden television star, with “The Bear Whisperer”) won a $74,315-a-year contract for three years on Wednesday when the Town Council approved it.

“Everyone needs a hero,” said councilman John Eastman, “and every community needs a hero. Steve Searles is a hero for the Town of Mammoth Lakes.

“We need him as our wildlife specialist in Mammoth Lakes.”

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