February 18th, 2011
Mammoth Lakes Mayor Skip Harvey has a few ideas about how government works â€“ or doesnâ€™t â€“ in this town.
Make that a lot of ideas, some of which he tossed out to the town council on Wednesday night.
One of them was easy enough â€“ a proposal to change the structure of town council meetings.
The second one got most of the attention â€“ changing the very structure of the government.
When Mammoth councilman Rick Wood gets angry, he does not pull many punches.
Wood is angry.
At Wednesdayâ€™s town council meeting he jumped all over the Eastern Sierra Community Bank, and urged its current customers to â€śuse your best judgment as whether you ought to continue.â€ť
At the heart of his rant was the bankâ€™s policy toward seven unsold condominium units at Aspen Village â€“ the condo project on Old Mammoth Road built with the assistance by Mammoth Lakes Housing (MLH).
On the night of February 11, 2011, the Mono County Sheriff Search and Rescue (SAR) Team was called out to assist Betsy Rieke, 67, of Carson City, Nev., who became lost and stranded above a cliff while on a solo hike in the Mono Craters.
She made cell phone contact with the persons with whom she had discussed the hike with, who in turn, reported the situation to the Sheriffâ€™s Department before they began to hike to Ms. Riekeâ€™s location.
The Sheriffâ€™s Department dispatched personnel to the area where it was determined that SAR should also respond.
Cougar Gold, a gold mining exploration company with claims in the Bodie Hills Wilderness Study Area, said yesterday that they won't continue their exploratory drilling until the "regulatory purgatory" of the Wilderness Study Area designation is removed from the hills.
Despite their request for support for this from the Mono County Board of Supervisors, who, regardless, cannot change the designation (but could support a bid by Congress to do so) the supervisors gave the mining company executives who attended the meeting no clear answer.
The Whitmore Track project has been stopped in its tracks.
Fast-tracked by the Mammoth Lakes Town Council for an anticipated construction and completion by the end of the dry season, the project has no chance of that, due to a request by the Department of Fish and Game for a new plant survey.
The DFG, which regulates habitat issues in addition to critters, said it wants the survey to determine if the construction of the track would harm three â€śrare speciesâ€ť of blooms.
â€śWeâ€™re not happy about it,â€ť said Elaine Smith of the High Sierra Striders, â€śbut weâ€™re going to accommodate the DFG.
Mark Wardlaw likes to tell the story about Arnold Schwarzeneggerâ€™s latest visit to Mammoth.
â€śThis place hasnâ€™t changed since the 80s!â€ťthe former California governor was to have said.
Well, thatâ€™s obviously stretching it, the townâ€™s community development director said. Then again, Wardlaw said that maybe Arnold was merely looking at the townâ€™s signs and condos, which havenâ€™t changed much since, um, the â€™80s.
Mammoth speed racer Stacey Cook this week crashed out of the World Super G in the World Ski Championships in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, in fast-fast-fast conditions. After a cycle of freeze-thaw-freeze days, the Super G course was so slick that she said, â€śIt was the first time I could see my reflection in the snow.â€ť ...
Olympic champion Julia Mancuso of Squaw Valley finished second, BTW, behind Austriaâ€™s Elisabeth Goergl. ...
A mining company that said it can create hundreds of jobs in Mono County if a potential gold mine in the Bodie Hills goes forward will be in Bridgeport next week.
Cougar Gold, a mining exploration company with ties to a global financial company Tigris Financial Group, will be in Bridgeport Feb. 15, talking to both the Mono County Board of Supervisors in the afternoon, then holding a â€śtown hallâ€ť meeting later that evening.
Cougar Gold got permission from the Bureau of Land Management in 2009 to do some exploratory drilling in the BLMâ€™s Bodie Hills Wilderness Study Area.
There will be no cross-country track skiing this winter on the public trail system.
An effort by the townâ€™s recreation department to make a compromise with Mammoth Nordicâ€™s Brian Knox fell through on Tuesday, when Knox turned down flat a compromise proposal.
â€śYour proposal requiring our volunteer staff to train your staff to professionally operate and maintain Mammoth Nordicâ€™s grooming equipment is a commitment, in the middle of this winter, I regrettably cannot make,â€ť Knox wrote in a letter to the Recreation Commission.
Knox did not slam the door all the way on next winter, however
Does Mammoth need another entrance sign?
Or just a better one?
According to some residents, the answer is both.
Elizabeth Tenney, the woman behind the post office flower garden and landscape miracle, is turning that same attention to design toward another project: giving Mammoth more of a definite entrance.
The fact that the new sign would act to also soften the appearance of the under-construction, block-like courthouse, regarded by many as out of place in a small alpine town, doesnâ€™t seem like a bad idea.
The discovery of geothermal energy literally right below the Shady Rest Park area has only complicated an already very complicated issue in Mammoth â€“ how best to utilize one of Mammothâ€™s favorite locations.
The Shady Rest area includes the park and surrounding forest service land. About two years ago, with the discovery of geothermal energy under the site, the area opened up via a plowed road as far back as the park itself, allowing access to the geothermal developments and adding yet another demand to the already highly used area.
Imagine skiing along a sparkling blue river, skies whispering softly over the white, blanketing snow.
Imagine the river, blue, silver, indigo, glimmering, a ribbon of color in the white land.
Imagine the quiet; perfect, joyous, broken only by the riffle of the river, the whoosh of the wings of a blue heron flashing far above.
The Owens River cuts a wild and wide path through upper Long Valley, flashing down to Crowley Lake from its birthplace at Big Springs, southeast of Lee Vining.
As Village Championship races go, last Tuesdayâ€™s race seemed to be as normal as normal can be, aside from various off-the-wall costumes.
And then Jimmy Morning appeared.
One of Mammothâ€™s iconic skiers and coaches, Morning was injured in a Super G crash two weeks earlier, earning him a hospital stay and a couple of weeks in bed.
Morning didnâ€™t race in Tuesdayâ€™s dual Giant Slalom on Fascination, but his appearance made the beautiful racing conditions and bright sunshine even more radiant, and warmed up the Happy Hour party at Rafters.
Mammoth welcomed back a couple of its in-the-news athletes on Sunday, giving locals a chance to meet and ski with ski cross mega-star Johnny Teller and slopestyle skier Kaya Turski.
Hundreds of people jammed the Main Lodge sun deck for autographs, handshakes and high-fives, and if there were passers-by or out-of-towners who wondered what the fuss was about, hereâ€™s why:
Teller, coming off an X-Games gold medal and a couple of World Cup podiums, was just back from the FIS World Championships in Utah, where he placed fifth but won the so-called â€śsmall finalsâ€ť in his event.
Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra (DSES) and Mammoth Mountain Ski Area hosted the fifth annual winter Wounded Warrior Disabled Sports Project.
Thirty-five wounded marines, soldiers and veterans, their family members and military staff enjoyed five days of recreation catered by DSES.
Participants joined DSES from hospitals and rehabilitation centers at San Diego and Arizona and Hawaii.
Veterans joined the program from as far away as Washington and Virginia.