July 2nd, 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.
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."
It is hard enough to spot downhiller Stacey Cook on a downhill course.
Mammothâ€™s Olympic downhiller is by you in a whooshâ€”a split-second of wind and snow, set against an audible backdrop of oohs and aahs.
But last week, she outdid herself.
With a roar of jet engines, Cook and Olympic teammate Kelly Clark buzzed by Mammoth Mountain in a U.S. Navy fighter jet from Fallon, Nev., leaving her and Clark as exhausted as a downhill race or a day in the halfpipe.
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.
â€śI think itâ€™s been pretty clear the entire eight years since I was elected that this is exactly what I have been working to avoid,â€ť said June Lakeâ€™s county supervisor, Vikki Bauer.
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 wasnâ€™t enough to stop him.
â€śPersonally, Iâ€™m incredibly disappointed as well,â€ť he said. â€ť 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.â€ť
He also said skier visits have gone from an average of 80,000 per season to 45,000 last season.
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.
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.
Theyâ€™re scrawny, however, and hungry.
â€śThe drought this year means itâ€™s going to be busier,â€ť he said in his monthly bear report. â€śThe bears are going to run out of natural foods and will be more likely to try to get into human food.â€ť
He said people in Mammoth are going to notice some skinnier bears, but â€śThe Bear Whispererâ€ť said he is urging that people â€ścanâ€™t give in to feeding them.â€ť
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.
â€śHere I am! Hey hey hey hey!â€ť
Fido scampered on over, full of beans as usual.
â€śFido, have you been messing with my email? Iâ€™m getting all kinds of strange email from people I donâ€™t know, in places Iâ€™ve never been, and I just have a hunch youâ€™re behind this.â€ť
â€śI love email,â€ť Fido said. â€śYou can connect with anyone!â€ť
â€śI know, Fido, but I donâ€™t want to be connected with EVERYone. I can see there is a green, pine pollen dogpaw print on my keyboard.â€ť
Fido sat (obediently, for once in his life) at my side. He grinned.
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.
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. …
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.
â€śForest-wide, we think about 10 to 20 percent of the barriers have been damaged or removed,â€ť said Marty Hornick, the forestâ€™s travel management plan coordinator.
Thirty-four years ago, on a hot July day in Idaho Falls, Idaho, my mother grabbed her five kids, ages 6 to 13 years old, her reluctant husband, a long-nosed collie dog, and herded us all into the wilderness backcountry for the first time.
We wore Levis and flannel shirts and giant, five-pound leather boots with thick soles that killed our young and tender feet with gleeful abandon.
We carried awkward, heavy external frame packs that killed our young and tender shoulders and hips with equal abandon.
The Summer Solsticeâ€”the longest day and shortest night of the yearâ€”occurred last week, heralding the beginning of summer in the Western Hemisphere.
The long days make summer the idyllic time for outdoor pursuits and backyard barbeques. But for stargazers, the short nights present something of a challenge.
â€śIt doesnâ€™t really get totally dark until after midnight and it begins to lighten up by 4 a.m.,â€ť said local, retired astronomer Ron Oriti.