November 26th, 2010
It was the fireball above the dark highway that first caught John Williamson’s eye that hot summer night of Aug. 9. A veteran Bishop Fire Department volunteer, he was off duty, headed from his girlfriend Amy Steinwand’s home in Big Pine to his home in Bishop.
He stared in horror at the seething red mass and turned to Steinwand, who was driving. “Go,” he said. “Go, go, go.”
They shot up the highway, flying past cars and trucks, headed toward the inferno.
In the lap of constantly moving tectonic plates, amid volcanic, pine strewn mountains, Mammoth is a singular place.
Its people match the granite that rises high above the town. Strong, generally selfless souls who think nothing of moving mountains to help someone who has been injured, has an illness or has lost their home.
Mammoth and the Eastern Sierra are peopled by individuals with outsized hearts.
Look at the Search and Rescue team: Its members will drop whatever theyâ€™re doing to head out into difficult terrain in all kinds of weather to rescue those who are lost or injured.
In an incident that easily could have turned tragic, a 47-year-old Bishop man spent Saturday night alone and without a sleeping bag, in a steep ravine below White Mountain, after two hiking companions abandoned him there.
The hiking companions then continued their hike up to the old, restored cabins at the Champion Sparkplug Mine, where they spent the night â€“ with sleeping bags and under a roof.
Bishop resident Patrick Toon was hiking in on the trail to the mine Saturday when he became separated from his group, according to Mono County Sheriffâ€™s Deputy Pete De George.
Welcome. Everything’s open.
For the first Thanksgiving weekend since 2004, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area is open from Eagle Express and Cloud Nine Express, all the way over to Outpost 14.
“This,” said ski area spokesman Dan Hansen, “is huge for us.”
“It’s been an amazing early-season snowfall. Mother Nature has been very good to us.”
The Mammoth Lakes Police Department is investigating the circumstances of a single vehicle, roll-over traffic collision resulting in the death of a 30-year-old resident of Summerland, Calif.
On Tuesday, November 23, the police were notified of a vehicle that was off the roadway in the vicinity of Le Verne and Fir Streets in the Bluffs area of Mammoth Lakes. Officers located a Toyota Tacoma on its side approximately 100 feet down an embankment.
Law enforcement officials confirmed a fatality in Mammoth Tuesday, but did not release any other information, pending notification of kin and an on-going investigation.
Updates will be posted as soon as they are available.
The fatality was storm related, other sources said.
The storms of this past weekend came with some drama, when a Bishop man in his forties had to be rescued from a ravine where he had been injured during a fall, below the Campion Sparkplug Mine/ Jeffrey Canyon area in the White Mountains Sunday.
According to a Mono County Search and Rescue Team member, who wished to remain anonymous, the rescue took nine hours due to the steep and snow-slippery and terrain. A break in the weather did cooperate with the rescuers, however, and the man was eventually transported to Northern Inyo Hospital will non-life-threatening injuries.
The snowplows plowed. The tow trucks towed. Police investigators investigated. The skiers skied, the snowboarders rode, the sledders sledded, the snowshoers showeshoed and it was a perfect day.
Last Sunday, it was good to hear the familiar voice of Doug Howell and his snow removal team from Mammoth Firewood come crackling across the scanner. It was like an old shoe.
"Careful coming around that bend, it's a blind corner."
"There's a car parked in the middle of the road!"
"Just about got Canyon cleaned up. Headed to Lakeview."
Winning games helps.
Going to the playoffs is fun and exciting for everyone, from the players and coaches to the supporters of the team and the fans in the stands.
But this yearâ€™s Mammoth High School football team was bigger than that just for having taken the field.
After a lost season in which Mammoth had no team at all, the Huskies returned under the wing of their resolute coach, Tom Gault and his industrial-strength assistant coach Marty Thompson â€“ a former Fresno State and Detroit Lions tight end.
(Updated 9 a.m. Sunday) The other shoe of the Big Storm dropped on Mammoth Saturday night and Sunday.
After a lull in the action on Saturday afternoon, the second wave of the storm kicked into high gear overnight, starting at about 10 p.m. Saturday and running into Sunday. At the top of Mammoth Mountain, a wind gust of 107 miles an hour was recorded at 4 a.m. Sunday
By 8 a.m. Sunday, the wind had calmed to an average wind speed of 32 miles an hour and a foot and a half of new snow was on the ground at the Sesame Snow Study Site, near the Main Lodge at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area.
Note: The What's Up item about the Thompsons that ran in Friday's paper has been corrected in this version.
That was the crew of â€śThe Ellen DeGeneres Showâ€ť up on Mammoth Mountain Saturday, which took marketing whiz Joani Lynch a bit by surprise, but she (Joani) is fast on her feet. Ellen didnâ€™t show, but â€śAmyâ€ť (the dorky on-camera cohort in the blue biz suit) came up for 15 hours of taping. The bit aired Wednesday. For two minutes. â€śHollywoodâ€™s rough,â€ť said Joani. ...
If and when the Town of Mammoth Lakes loses its appeal of the $30 million Hot Creek litigation against it, Mammoth could be thrown into a Chapter 9 bankruptcy whose effects could last many years.
But citizens who are anticipating the immediate effects of such a predicament are unlikely to notice anything different at all.
â€śThe notion that the town would be shut down because of bankruptcy is a laymanâ€™s misunderstanding of how it actually works,â€ť said one of the participants in the court battle, who preferred anonymity over concerns in interfering with the ruling.