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Skiing at Mammoth till Fourth of July

April 6, 2011

Thanks to a record-breaking snow year, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area will remain open daily for skiing and snowboarding through July 4, 2011. According to Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, Mammoth received an incredible 606 inches of snow this season, the most the resort has received in a single season.

With 15-25 feet of packed snow, Mammoth has also earned the recognition of having one of the highest recorded base depths of any ski resort in the world according to skiinfo.com. The snow totals will ensure phenomenal spring skiing conditions that will last well into early summer.

Sun begins to shine for snowboard accident victim

April 2, 2011

It is hard to find solace in last week’s horrific accident on Mammoth Mountain.

But on Wednesday, the remarkable spirit of the female victim broke through like the Eastern Sierra sun.
“I am looking at the positives,” wrote Kathleen Willhide-Michiulis, a season pass holder from the Saugus neighborhood of Santa Clarita.

Unable to speak, she scribbled notes that were posted to the Internet.

“We get front row parking EVERYWHERE! I get to go to the front of the line at Disneyland!”

Worrying about Japan’s radiation reaching Eastside should be last on your to-do list

April 2, 2011

Radiation?

Mammoth knows more about natural radiation than almost any other place in the country.

We sit atop radioactive rock, we ski so high that we are exposed to 70 percent more radiation than people living at sea level.

But calls are still coming into the county health department, people worrying about radiation coming across the ocean on a plume, in the water, through our food.

What's Up, Up Here? All the news and gossip for April 1-7

April 2, 2011

Call it what you want (embezzling, theft, fraud, whatever), but attorney and town councilman Rick Wood says there has never been a single criminal case in Mammoth against people who rent out their condos or single-family homes illegally. ...

Spring is blooming, although it’s blooming potholes rather than flowers. Among the first has sprung up on Meridian across from the entrance to Meadow Ridge. ...

Daycare provider sentenced delayed yet again

March 31, 2011

The sentencing for Lupe Almaguer, a former Mammoth Lakes daycare provider who was arrested last October on child sexual abuse charges, was continued yet again at the request of Almaguer's attorney Tuesday.

Almaguer was on the court calendar to be sentenced March 29, but was granted a continuance to April 26, according to Todd Graham, Mono County Deputy District Attorney.

Graham said earlier that the District Attorney's office would be ready to move forward on March 29. "I will state on the record that I am ready to proceed with the hearing," he said in a March 25 email.

Former Mammoth man arraigned in Nevada double homicide

March 31, 2011

A 24-year-old former Mammoth man was arraigned Tuesday morning on murder and arson charges related to the September killings of his estranged wife’s grandmother and his two-year-old stepson, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported Tuesday.

Washoe County District Attorney Richard Gammick and his staff will be meeting to decide if they will seek the death penalty against Justin Tu Ouimet, currently of Reno, who is accused of fatally stabbing Lana Stone, 62, and Connor Lawrence, the two year old, the newspaper reported.

Grisly accident on Mammoth Mountain

March 29, 2011

It was horrific, in every sense of the word.

A 43-year-old woman snowboarder crashed into the side of a snowcat last week at Mammoth Mountain, losing a leg when she was entangled in the spinning tiller behind the cat.

"Her leg was gone!" said a startled employee at the ski area, who asked for anonymity until investigators could complete their work.

Kathleen Willhide-Michiulis, a season pass holder from the Saugus neighborhood of Santa Clarita, was immediately airlifted to a Reno hospital.

Fourth Annual Winter Biathlon pulls off a winner

March 29, 2011

The mountain community of Mammoth Lakes showed its true spirit for the winter sport of Biathlon Sunday in the 4th Annual Mammoth Winter Biathlon. Amidst heavy snowfall of 5-9 feet over the last week, the townspeople overcame blizzard conditions and mobilized in force Sunday morning beginning at 4 a.m. Volunteers built out a 20-point biathlon stadium in order to host more than 200 racers, making this race the largest winter biathlon in North America.

That's a LOT of snow

March 28, 2011

The Super Sign outside Main Lodge is buried up to its knees by the March snows, which over the past week packed on up to nine feet of snow. According to mammothmountain.com, this has been the snowiest March ever on record.

Mammoth High waits for call on Distinguished School status

March 26, 2011

Mammoth High School should know if it becomes one of California’s Distinguished Schools within the “next few weeks” according to district superintendent Rich Boccia.

The announcement, which Boccia said he expects will reveal a “positive outcome” comes on the heels of a state team of administrators that visited the school earlier in March for the formal on-site visitation required by the application process.

“The team spent the day visiting the school, which included an opening meeting with the staff, a meeting with the leadership team and classroom visits,” Boccia said.

Run, play chess, do better at both

March 26, 2011

When Mammoth resident Christian Fuller sits down Monday night at Snowcreek Athletic Club to play 12 simultaneous games of chess with players ranging in age from seven to 77, don’t expect him to lose.

In that room will be everyone from a fifth grade Mammoth Elementary student to someone in their 70s, most students that Fuller has been teaching over the past year since he moved to Mammoth to train as a long distance runner.

Fuller, best known as a winning long distance runner, has also been playing chess competitively as long as he’s been running – and winning at both.

Eastern Sierra Wildlife Care seeks volunteers to work with animals

March 26, 2011

When Kelly Bahr became an animal care volunteer for Eastern Sierra Wildlife Care she never imagined she would do physical therapy on a Golden eagle.

But a few weeks ago, she did just that. The eagle was rescued from the shoulder of Hwy. 6 on Matthew Hill midway between Hammil and Benton.

On admission, the female eagle had tightly clenched talons and could only stand on her hocks. While working to find the cause of this problem, ESWC Director Cindy Kamler ordered therapy and Bahr helped implement it.

Mammoth loses Supreme Court bid; faces $30 million payout

March 26, 2011

When the news that Mammoth had lost its bid to the state Supreme Court to review the airport lawsuit finally came down Wednesday afternoon, it was as expected as it was deeply disappointing.

The court typically only hears about five percent of the cases that reach its doors. But Mammoth had hoped to buck that percentage, arguing that the outcome of the case would negatively affect the ability of cities and counties across the state to do business with developers.

But the Court didn’t see it that way.

Big Pine faces fire, Mammoth gets buried

March 26, 2011

As Big Pine residents mourned the loss of homes and property due to a windblown fire this past weekend, Mammoth residents – already buried after a winter that has dumped 44.7 feet (561 inches) of snow on the higher elevations – are waiting out another three to four feet of the white stuff that’s expected to fall by Sunday night.

When Mammoth headed into the second storm of the week early Thursday, it was only 17 inches from becoming the biggest snowfall winter on record – 578.5 inches set in 2005-06 – and it’s not over yet.

What's Up, Up Here? All the news and gossip for March 25-31

March 26, 2011

Ryan Hall’s favorite coffee is Peet’s Au Lait, he tweets, so if you wanna run fast and long, there’s a tip. ...

The Fred Hall Show in San Diego is this weekend, and Quiz for the Week: “Who the heck is/was Fred Hall?”
...
Our faithful tweeters, meanwhile, say that if you haven’t latched on to Steven M. Bumgardner (YosemiteSteve), you’re missing out. ...

MLPD Sergeant John Mair will be sworn in as the newest lieutenant on today at one o’clock at the Cop Shop. ...

Want to work with eagles? Wildlife rehab training this weekend

March 22, 2011

When Kelly Bahr became an animal care volunteer for Eastern Sierra Wildlife Care, she never imagined she would do physical therapy on a Golden eagle. But a few weeks ago, she did just that. The Golden eagle was rescued from the shoulder of Highway 6 on Matthew Hill, mid-way between Hammil and Benton. On admission, the female eagle had tightly clenched talons and could only stand on her hocks. While working to find the cause of this problem, ESWC Director Cindy Kamler ordered therapy and Kelly helped implement it.

UPDATE: Roads to Yosemite open but power out in park

March 21, 2011

All roads into Yosemite National Park have reopened this morning, pending weather and safety along the roadways. This includes park entrances via Highways 120, 140, and 41.

The park is open to visitors until 7:00 p.m. this evening. Reservations for rooms in the park will be honored this evening. The Hetch Hetchy Road and the Badger Pass Road will remain closed
until further notice.

Yosemite National Park will be fully open to the public beginning tomorrow, Friday, March 25. Again, this is contingent upon the weather and safety on the roads.

Big Pine fire burns 19 structures, fund set up for victims

March 21, 2011

The Center Fire that started outside of Big Pine Friday night burned 19 structures, including homes, and 850 acres before it was considered "contained" or out, last night.

The cause of the fire is still unknown.

As many as 400 fire fighters were assigned to the fire over the weekend, although the wind-whipped flames did most of their damage Friday night.

CalFire's website is one of the best places to get the latest data on the fire; http://cdfdata.fire.ca.gov/incidents/incidents_details_info?incident_id=482

Here's the latest update from CalFire, filed Sunday night at 7 p.m.

Shake, rattle, roll ... and be prepared

March 19, 2011

Are we ready? It’s hard not to ask that question, watching the destruction, fear and grief facing Japan.

Deep down, Mammoth holds a large and uncomfortable resemblance to that island country, although the surfaces of the two areas couldn’t be more different.

Unstable bedrock, an unquiet volcanic past; more than many places in the country, the Eastern Sierra shares a certain geological kinship with Japan. All that’s missing is the sea – and many millions of people.

But a big quake? Sure. A volcano? Sure. Both are inevitable, scientists tell us. Someday.

Right on time, bears are waking

March 19, 2011

Don’t let the snowbanks or the cold snap fool you.

Mammoth’s bears are starting to wake up.

You can see them, now and again, lying on top of a snowbank, soaking up some sun before retreating back in their dens.

“The life cycle is beginning again,” said Wildlife Specialist Steve Searles,.

“During the winter we kind of forget about them,” he said. “I know where I live, I can leave stuff out in the garage and it’ll just freeze, and there’s no odor.

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