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Cops on the lookout for burglar who zapped four Mammoth businesses

June 29, 2012

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.

Budget done, town turns attention to commissions

June 29, 2012

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.

What's Up, Up Here? Mammoth news and gossip for June 29-July 5

June 29, 2012

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. …

Tearing out road barriers isn't the answer, Forest Service says

June 29, 2012

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.

“Forest-wide, we think about 10 to 20 percent of the barriers have been damaged or removed,” said Marty Hornick, the forest’s travel management plan coordinator.

What's up with the wind?

June 29, 2012

The Eastern Sierra was already bracing for a dry summer but the last few weeks of near constant wind has made things even worse.

It’s been windy almost every day for the past three weeks, stretching a pattern that usually occurs for one to two weeks in late May and early June to almost a month long event.

And the pattern responsible for creating the wind—two large high pressure systems to the far west over the Pacific Ocean and another one over the Midwest—shows no signs of weakening anytime soon, according to Dawn Fishler, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Reno.

"Welcome to the Eastern Sierra" magazine hits the racks

June 29, 2012

A new magazine introducing readers to the wonders and activities of Mammoth and the Eastern Sierra appeared on the streets Friday.

Tucked into the June 29 issue of the Mammoth Times newspaper, the 72-page, tabloid-sized publication contains a comprehensive calendar for Fourth of July activities up and down the Eastside, from Independence in the south to Walker and Coleville in the north.

RAW: Fire restrictions hit today, June 25, for Mammoth and surrounding area

June 22, 2012

Effective today, June 25, the Bureau of Land Management is implementing fire restrictions on all BLM-managed public lands within the Bishop Field Office boundary. At the same time, the U.S. Forest Service is implementing fire restrictions on the Inyo National Forest. The restrictions are in effect on all Inyo National Forest lands, including wilderness areas, and all Bureau of Land Management public lands managed by the Bishop Field Office.

Tenaya Lake gets makeover

June 22, 2012

Yosemite’s Tenaya Lake, once called “Lake of the Shining Rocks,” will sparkle even more brightly following major restoration efforts this summer to its east beach and surrounding wetlands and trails with funding provided by Yosemite Conservancy.

“Tenaya Lake has a captivating natural beauty that charms park visitors young and old alike,” said Mike Tollefson, president of the Yosemite Conservancy.

Value Sports to open store in Mammoth

June 22, 2012

Value Sports is adding to their Bishop location with a new store in Mammoth Lakes at the Mammoth Luxury Outlet Mall. The new store will open June 28 at 3399 Main Street. As background on the owners behind the new store, Steve Hertzog opened his first sports shop, “Mammoth Sporting Goods” in 1976.

The first shop was on Main Street, but later moved to its current location at 452 Old Mammoth Rd. across from Vons. As the store was modernized and expanded, the name was recently changed to “Mammoth Outdoor Sports.”

Rattlesnake aversion training for dogs works, Swall residents say

June 22, 2012

A rattlesnake aversion training for dogs held in Swall Meadows earlier this month was successful, according to the area’s County Supervisor Duane “Hap” Hazard.

About 35 dogs, including two of Hazard’s, were trained to avoid rattlesnakes and Hazard said the private company that did the training, Natural Solutions, indicated an interest in coming back to the Eastern Sierra for more such clinics, if there is enough interest.

A local resident organized the event. The cost was $35 per dog. For more information, visit: www.rattle- snakeaversion.com.

Whitmore Shelter funding cut by town, county says shelter will stay

June 22, 2012

Negotiations over the fate of the Whitmore Animal Shelter continue between the Town of Mammoth Lakes and Mono County, after the Town pulled out of the a joint agreement with the county to run the shelter in the face of its recently adopted budget (which cut its share of the funding).

The potential for Mammoth to declare bankruptcy is very real, said county supervisor Byng Hunt, but even if that were to happen, he believes the county and Town will find a way to keep the shelter open.

Lone Pine man arrested on attempted murder charges

June 22, 2012

A Lone Pine man has been arrested on suspicion of murder, according to Inyo County officials. On June 17, at midnight, deputies from the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to a residence in Lone Pine for a report of a family disturbance that involved the use of a firearm.

Sheriff’s Deputies were advised that the subject, Allen Robert Weston, a 30-year-old man from Lone Pine, had left the residence and was in possession of a firearm.

Deputies located and arrested Weston for attempted murder, assault with a firearm, and criminal threats.

Occupancy at 54 percent

June 22, 2012

With the Mammoth Motocross in town this week, occupancy rates for the town are projected to shoot skyward.

The Mammoth Tourism Bureau projects the town to fill to 54 percent this weekend, up five points from a year ago at this time.

As for midweek projections, the bureau said it projects occupancy at 43 percent, up six points from the same week last year.

Voodoo Chute gets major mojo

June 22, 2012

The Voodoo Chute is among the most vexing roads in Mammoth.

Anyone who has tried navigating the steep intersection of Lakeview Boulevard and Lake Mary Road has had issues with it in the winter, when ice causes accidents, blown nerves and, last year, a broken fence protecting the Lake Mary Bike Path.

But now, because of $200,000 in state money, along with a $20,000 match in the town’s Measure U funds, Public Works Director Ray Jarvis said a solution is finally on the way.

Biggest Budget Loser 3: Employees

June 22, 2012

The Town of Mammoth Lakes will cut abut $1 million in salaries in the coming fiscal year, the result of a 10 percent pay cut across the board for civilian staffers and a 24 percent cut in concessions from the police department.

Those cuts put the town in a precarious position, compared to similar-sized communities in California, according to the Assistant Town Manager Marianna Marysheva-Martinez.

The town’s dependance on personnel accounts for less than a third of its budget. Since 2008, town employees have cut their salaries by 17 percent.

Biggest Budget Loser 2: Police

June 22, 2012

Among the biggest losers in the 2012-13 budget are the men and women in blue—the Mammoth Lakes Police Department.

The MLPD will lose its School Resource officer. In a memo to the Town Council, Police Chief Dan Watson said that the effect would be the elimination of the DARE Program, the Every 15 Minutes Presentation, supervision at special events and an increase in juvenile crime and at-risk behavior by youth.

At the same time, Watson sent out a plea for volunteer “reserve” officers to help make up the shortfall.

Biggest Budget Loser 1: Tourism

June 22, 2012

John Urdi has his fingers crossed.

The director of Mammoth Lakes Tourism draws almost his entire budget from Transient Occupancy Taxes. To increase the tax revenue, it is his task to draw visitors to Mammoth.

But when the Town Council approved its balanced budget Wednesday evening, Urdi was left with $215,562 less with which to draw the very tourists who supply the revenue.

“We’re hoping this is a one-time phenomenon,” he said in the corridor outside Suite Z, the town council chambers above the Minaret Cinema. “Obviously we can’t have another year like last year.”

Town Council OKs blowdown budget; town is (painfully) balanced

June 22, 2012

In the end, there was nothing left to cut; there wasn’t much to discuss.

The Mammoth Lakes Town Council passed an extraordinary “bare bones” 2012-13 budget Wednesday evening, leaving anger, heartache and uncertainty in its wake.

It also left Mammoth with a clean start, said councilmember Rick Wood.

“Fundamentally we have changed the approach, and the approach changed after essentially turning over every stone and finding out things that no prior council in the history of Mammoth Lakes had known—about how municipal finance works, how our government works.

June Mountain shuts down; 2012-13 ski season gone

June 22, 2012

June Mountain Ski Area on Thursday suspended its operations for the foreseeable future, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area announced on Thursday.

The resort will shut down immediately. Its summer season, set to open yesterday (Thursday), was cut down.

The 2012-13 winter season will not happen at all, leaving the lifts idle and employees scrambling to find work.

The news came as a “complete surprise” to June Lake’s incoming county supervisor, Tim Alpers. He was in Southern California on business when he found out.

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