July 15th, 2011
The face of audacity at the Mammoth Mountain Bike Park looks exactly like Dave Geirman.
He looks like the kind of guy who will let nothing stop him, and nothing does. His face is tanned and leathery, suggesting a man who has lived a career in the outdoors, at altitude. He doesn't brag on himself. When questions get a little too close, he deflects them.
He's tough. Rugged.
Geirman is in charge of lift operations at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area during the winter. After last winter, Geirman might have thought he was going to relax a bit in the summer.
Fido and I are playing checkers.
Most people think checkers is a kids' game, but checkers is more complicated than you'd think. Even more than that, checkers is a convivial game. It' not like chess. Chess is played by erudite and bloodthirsty combatants; Germany and France and all of that.
Fido is neither erudite nor bloodthirsty and checkers is the game for him.
Being a red dog, he always chooses the red pieces, so he gets the first move.
A wind energy project proposed for an area north of Benton will be a hard sell, if recent public outcry is any indication.
Two public meetings and a field trip to the proposed test tower sites this past week and a half has done little to calm a skeptical public, even after one of the two proposed projects, the one with the largest potential footprint, was pulled July 5.
OMG the End of the World is at hand: They're re-paving and re-striping the Minaret Village Mall (including Vons!) just in time for Jazz Jubilee. You don't want one of those folks weaving around the parking lot, without stripes, that's for sure. ...
Reinforcing the End of the World concept is that Public Works is doing its duty on Minaret Boulevard, fixing this, smoothing that, and praying that it will hold up for another year. Good luck with that, we say. ...
Forest officials are managing the Lion Fire in the Golden Trout Wilderness on the Sequoia National Forest. This lightning-caused fire was found July 8 at 1:30 p.m., one half mile to the west of Lion Meadow and east of the Little Kern River. Since then it has grown to approximately 200 acres. There are currently no threats to life or property. The Sequoia National Forest is in command of the fire.
One of the wind farm proposals for the Glass Mountains and Benton area was withdrawn last week on July 5, according to Bureau of Land Management officials. EWind Farms Inc. withdrew their wind
energy monitoring and project area (24,000 acre) proposal as of July 5, Larry Primosch, the agency's realty specialist, wrote in an email.
The agency held a field trip to the proposed wind energy sites this weekend and two public meetings are still scheduled to occur this week.
Outdoor education director for the Valentine Reserve Leslie Dawson said there is still room on the wildflower walk this Wednesday and Friday (July 13 and 15) and on the Forest talk on Thursday, July 14 and on the history talk on July 16.
The Black Bear talk on Tuesday, July 13 is completely full, she said.
Here's more details.
Wildflowers of Valentine Reserve
July 13 and 15: (same talk each day)
Sherryl Taylor 10:00-12:30 pm; moderately strenuous hike
I am trying to teach Fido baseball.
Heâ€™s doing pretty well since April, but heâ€™s got a ways to go.
There is no set way to teach a dog baseball. For that matter, thereâ€™s no set way to teach a human, either. Itâ€™s an acquired thing, based on repetition.
â€śWanna learn baseball?â€ť I says to Fido as the season began. Snow was falling outside.
Fido says,â€ťHey Hey Hey Hey!â€ť
So we began.
On the very first day of the very first week of the Mammoth Lakes Police Department, 24-year-old Tim Smalley signed up.
It was 1986. Mammoth had just incorporated. It was a brand new job in a brand new town. Heâ€™s still here. â€śThe first five days were good,â€ť he said. â€śWe just drove around town to get the lay of the land. We just checked it out.â€ť
Thereâ€™s nothing quite like an afternoon of Chihuahua races at the Village.
The crowd begins to pulse about an hour before the heats begin. Big men, such as Alpine Garageâ€™s Mike Fiebigger, hold their tiny dogs close. His wife, Karen, was alongside. In the Fiebigersâ€™ case, this was an unusual hairless Chihuahua, named Klein.
â€śHeâ€™s like a Billy Idol,â€ť said Fiebiger. (There are three more Chihuahuas in the Fiebiger clan, named Juicy, Dolce and Lelo, but thatâ€™s beside the point.)
Tom Shepard, holding the appropriately named Smidgen, strolled by, showing off.
The cop shop wonâ€™t ever be the same.
Sergeant Karen Smart, on the Mammoth Lakes Police Department force for 25 years, said earlier this week she will retire so that the department can save a job for one of the younger officers.
â€śMy time is done,â€ť she said in a poignant interview early this week. â€śThe younger guys are the future of the department and the future of the town.â€ť
Now that the Fourth of July is over, at least one town councilman is already looking at the next Fourth of July.
Time is short. Matthew Lehman has only a year to figure out what the holiday should look like.
At Wednesdayâ€™s Town Council meeting, Lehman floated the idea of moving the center of attention to the Village rather than Crowley Lake.
He said he knows heâ€™ll hear gasps all over town.
â€śMy primary goal is to help the business community,â€ť he said.
â€śInstead of being one of the worst nights of the year in Mammoth, Iâ€™d like it to be one of the best.â€ť
Several long-time Eastside residents were the first to respond to the news that a Mexican sport fishing boat, the Erik, with 26 American citizens on board, had capsized off the eastern coast of Baja Mexico on July 3, dumping all 43 passengers into the sea in the midst of a raging storm.
Doug and Peggy Magee have owned a home in Baja for 25 years and have lived there permanently for the past ten. Gloria and Ed Vasquez own a home close to the Mageeâ€™s.
Mammoth Mountain picked up a nice mention on NBC Nightly News a week ago. The bit was about our late ski season, narrated by anchor Kate Snow. â€¦
Itâ€™s true! Tony and Cindy Avena, stalwarts in Mammoth for 30 years, have put the venrable Slocumâ€™s up for sale. â€¦
Weâ€™re sure going to miss Jon Eisert, the estimable Ski Surgeon, who folded up shop Tuesday at 12:59:59 p.m. and is on his way to Paso Robles. For good. â€śSome decisions are made for you,â€ť he said. â€śItâ€™s time.â€ť Memories? â€śBack in the day, our dirtbags were better than the current dirtbags.â€ť â€¦