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Aspen Fire grows to 11,019 acres, smoke continues to pour into Eastern Sierra

July 29, 2013

The Aspen Fire burning near Huntington Lake and pouring smoke into the Eastern Sierra for the past few days has grown to 11,019 acres according to the latest forest service update issued on Monday, July 29, at 7 a.m.

Although the fire continues to grow, firefighters are making headway on "containing" the fire—or surrounding it with a fire line. As of Monday morning, the fire was 20 percent contained and there were about 1,400 firefighters fighting the fire.

The fire started on Monday, July 22 and was caused by a lightening strike.

RAW: LA man arrested after attempted murder, stabbing at Pearsonville, Kennedy Meadows area

July 25, 2013

A Los Angeles man was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of attempted murder and robbery at the Pearsonville Shell gas station located on U.S. 395 between Ridgecrest and Lone Pine, and, a few days later, a stabbing at the popular Kennedy Meadows recreation area.

According to the Inyo County Sheriff's department, on Sunday, July 21, at approximately 10:20 p.m., Inyo County Sheriff’s Dispatch was contacted regarding an armed robbery and stabbing that occurred at the Pearsonville Shell gas station.

Town Council approves TBID

July 25, 2013

Wood, Bacon vote ‘no’ in split vote

With a potential infusion of $4.7 million a year into the town’s tourism quiver for the next five years, the Mammoth Lakes Town Council this past week approved the creation of a Tourism Business Improvement District.

The vote, taken at the end of a long council meeting on Wednesday, July 24, was 3-2, with both Mayor Rick Wood and council member Jo Bacon voting against.

Voting in favor of the TBID were council members John Eastman, Matthew Lehman, and Michael Raimondo.

Fire fills Mammoth with smoke

July 25, 2013

Officials predict blaze to grow to 6,000 acres

The smoke above Mammoth and the Eastern Sierra that began on Tuesday, July 23, is not going to dissipate for at least a few days, according to the local air pollution control district.

The smoke is due to a 2,000-3,000-acre fire (at press time on Wednesday night, July 24) on the west side of the Sierra crest, north and west of Huntington Lake, near a reservoir called Mammoth Pool Reservoir.

Bears in Crowley Lake head for bad ending

July 25, 2013

Two generations of bears learn bad habits

Bears are relatively rare in Crowley Lake compared to Mammoth Lakes, but in the past few weeks, local residents have said at least one bear—and perhaps two—seem to be getting bolder.

“I get a lot of calls, a lot of concerns,” said Steve Searles, the Town of Mammoth Lakes’ wildlife specialist and known throughout the country as the “Bear Whisperer.” Most calls are about seeing a bear or about the bear getting into trash.

UPDATE JULY 24: Smoky skies in Mammoth due to 2,000-plus-acre Aspen Fire on west side of Sierra crest

July 24, 2013

The smoky sky above Mammoth and the Eastern Sierra that became noticeable on the evening of Tuesday, July 23, and into the morning of July 24 is due to a 2,000-plus-acre fire on the west side of the Sierra crest, north and west of Huntington Lake, near a SCE reservoir called Mammoth Pool Reservoir.

The nearest town is Huntington Lake.

The fire is almost directly 40 miles west of Aspendell, a small community west of Bishop (located on S.R. 168, the road to Sabrina Lake, South Lake and North Lake).

RAW: Last few Valentine Reserve talks/walks still have some space available

July 23, 2013

The last day for all Valentine Reserve talks is Aug. 2, and there is still some room left on the last two talks of the year:

The Geology of Valentine Reserve
July 31,9:30-12 p.m.; moderately strenuous hike
Carole Lester

RAW: Local says closed session item Wednesday on proposed recycle facility should get more public input

July 23, 2013

Editor's note: This letter was sent to the MT on Monday, July 22, by local recycling expert and Mono County Solid Waste Task Force member Lisa Isaacs. Since we go to press after the meeting tomorrow night where the Town council may vote on a private property item related to this letter (votes on "property negotiations" are allowed in closed session, according to Town officials), Isaac's letter is printed here in full.

Mammoth Lakes Community Members:

Olympic Andrea Lawrence rucksack up for auction

July 23, 2013

Music Festival offers piece of 1952 history

A rucksack used by Andrea Lawrence during her historic performance at the 1952 Winter Olympics has found its way to an auction.

Along with a hand painted violin from Lady Jill Mueller, which is signed by Dave McCoy, the rucksack is part of the Mammoth Lakes Music Festival fundraising drive.

The drive, which accompanies the three-week music festival, also offers other auction items, including a Hollywood Bowl package as well as a weekend stay at a Southern California beachfront house.

Sick hiker airlifted out of Rush Creek area

July 22, 2013

On the evening of Saturday, July 20, Mono County Sheriff’s Dispatch received an emergency call from a SPOT satellite device warning of an ill and/or injured hiker on the John Muir Trail.

The Mono County Sheriff Search and Rescue (SAR) team was dispatched to the area. A father, age 52, and son, age 22, from Clovis, CA, were backpacking from Lake Edison to Tuolumne Meadows when the father became ill and activated his emergency notification device.

A jazzy goodbye

July 22, 2013

Ken and Flossie Coulter step away from Jazz Jubilee

Two days after the last trumpet blew at the 2013 Mammoth Lakes Jazz Jubilee, Ken and Flossie Coulter were still at it.

“This morning I found a bass amplifier that someone forgot to take home,” said Ken Coulter as he made his rounds through Sam’s Woodsite (“The Holler”) and the other venues that featured last weekend’s 25th annual festival.

“You wouldn’t believe how long it takes to wrap things up,” he said.

Skiing, snowboarding are flat, other outdoor recreation is exploding

July 22, 2013

Tourism expert proposes TBID for county, region

Mammoth and Mono County are making a mistake if they assume that the future lies mostly in skiing and snowboarding, according to a recent economic study commissioned by the county.

“Of the $646 billion that is generated in the country from outdoor recreation spending, only $6 billion comes from the ski and snowboard industry,” said Carl Ribaudo, a consultant with Strategic Marketing Group.

Rock ‘n’ Bowl takes shape

July 19, 2013

Owner forecasts mid-February opening

Dan O’Connell walked across the dry, dusty parking lot on Chateau Road, popped through an entry way of his brand new Rock ‘n’ Bowl, and looked as if even he could not believe what he saw.

“It’s real!” he said. “It’s going to happen!”

O’Connell, 52, a Mammoth resident since 2009, this past week led a private tour around the two-story, 26,000-square-foot-structure.

It took a while.

U.S. Forest Service steps up to the plate

July 19, 2013

Research with Major League Baseball over shattered bats

As the major league baseball season slides past the All-Star break, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced the results of research by the U.S. Forest Service, and funded by MLB, that will result in significantly fewer shattered baseball bats.

“This innovative research by the U.S. Forest Service will make baseball games safer for players and fans across the nation,” said Vilsack in a news release.

Town, county hit garbage issues hard at meeting

July 19, 2013

Trails residents vent fears about ‘stinky, ugly’ recycling facility

The Town of Mammoth Lakes and Mono County have been at opposing sides of the garbage issue for a long time and last week, it was easy to see why.

A Town/County Liaison meeting on July 11 turned personal when Town Council member John Eastman took umbrage with a comment made by the county’s new county administrative officer, Jim Leddy.

Suddenlink won’t give launch date

July 18, 2013

Official says new system must be tested first

Although there have been delays on some sections of the Digital 395 high speed broadband fiber installation project, a Suddenlink representative said Wednesday that vastly improved broadband speed for its customers is expected after the Digital 395 infrastructure is in place at the end of the month—but he could not give an exact date for the service.

LADWP, Mammoth agree over water

July 18, 2013

Agreement will ensure enough water for Mammoth’s projected final population

Mammoth Lakes will continue to have access to the amount of water from Mammoth Creek granted to it by the state for at least another century and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power will get about $5.8 million in return after both sides reached an out-of-court settlement earlier this month.

Space still available for Valentine Reserve talks, walks this week

July 15, 2013

Limited space is still available on these Valentine Eastern Sierra Reserve Walks and Talks this week:

The Geology of Valentine Reserve
July 17
Carole Lester 9:30-12:00 pm; moderately strenuous hike

County heads into ‘flat’ budget season

July 15, 2013

New finance director aims to continue belt tightening

The rest of the country might be pulling out of the Great Recession, but Mono County is still sitting tight, budget wise.

“It’s flat,” said the county’s finance director, Leslie Chapman. “That’s the best way I can describe it.”

Bridgeport eyes multi-agency visitor center

July 15, 2013

Fesko: ‘We need to keep this momentum going’

The community of Bridgeport is hoping a proposed new visitor center can help it join the rest of the Eastern Sierra communities that have had to reinvent themselves in the past decade to survive—but first, it had to get past its own internal disagreements about the project.

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