Mendel, Grahek, Vanderhurst named to commissions; Agnitch voted off Recreation

Biathlon enthusiast Clayton Mendel and incumbent Elizabeth Truax won appointments to the Mammoth Lakes Recreation Commission on Wednesday night, July 16.

In voting Mendel onto the commission, the Town Council bypassed incumbent Pat Agnitch's bid for reappointment.
The Council, in its regular meeting, also appointed civic health activist  Amy Grahek and Mammoth Lakes Tourism sales director Michael Vanderhurst to the Planning and Economic Development Commission, along with incumbent Madeleine "Mickey" Brown.
In joining the planning panel, Vanderhurst now has a foothold at both the municipal level as well as at the Mono County level. He serves as a commissioner of the county's Tourism and Film Commission.
Grahek, an interior designer who is involved with the Sierra Bounty Produce Collective, won a two-year term to finish the term of outgoing Commissioner Colin Fernie, who on June 3 was elected to the Town Council. Vanderhurst's term is for the full four years, as is Brown's.
The biggest surprise was in the council's decision to appoint Mendel, 34, to the Recreation Commission, and in rejecting Agnitch, who has put in three decades of work in the recreation field in Mammoth and
in Southern California.
She currently serves with the California Parks and Recreation Commission and missed just two Recreation Commission meetings during her four years as commissioner in Mammoth.
All the candidates—there were eight, vying for spots on one commission or the other—underwent an interview by the council members in the hours previous to the regular meeting.
Those interviews were in an anteroom off the main Council Chambers in Suite Z of the Town offices, and were open to the public.
"It was a very interesting discussion," said new Councilman John Wentworth.
"I enjoyed myself. I like this kind of thing. Anytime you get a chance to have an opportunity to hear from members of the community and to hear what they may be able to contribute, is a valuable experience."
In the final vote, Truax won the support of all five council members. Mendel, the owner of Eastern Sierra Armory and an all-around outdoors athlete, finished second, with three votes. Agnitch finished with two.
Of the commissioners, only Shields Richardson and Wentworth stayed with the incumbents Truax and Agnitch, while Mayor Jo Bacon, incumbent Councilman Michael Raimondo and the newly-elected Fernie chose Mendel instead of Agnitch.
Thus the new five-member recreation commission will be the three who were appointed Wednesday, along with with Bill Sauser and Teri Stehlik. Both Stehlik and Sauser are midway through their four-year terms,
The new Planning and Economic Development Commission will welcome Grahek and Vanderhurst as new members, along with Brown and incumbents Elizabeth Tenney and Dave Harvey.
Rhonda Duggan, who served on the planning panel, chose not to seek another four-year term and did not apply for a reappointment.
The council members thanked the applicants for going through the process.
"To all those who were interested," Bacon said, "stay interested, and apply again, or for something else you may be interested in."