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Mono Basin open but Reds Meadow, Lakes Basin, will open late due to snow

April 26, 2011

Although the Mono Basin Visitor Center will open this week, Reds Meadow and the Lakes Basin are still under heavy snow and will open later than usual, according to the Inyo National Forest. The Lakes Basin is projected to be open by Memorial Day and Reds is projected to be open in late June, although conditions could change those dates.

Here's a summary of the conditions and opening dates, as projected by the forest service today:


Meridian Boulevard puts school kids

April 23, 2011

There are so many puzzles attached to Meridian Boulevard that Mammoth’s town staff and planners hardly know where to start.

There is repaving, for example, and traffic calming.

But one problem is perfectly clear.

School kids using the four-lane street as a route to and from school have nowhere to go except for the street in winter. The snowbanks grow. The traffic gets heavy.

“From Old Mammoth Road to Azimuth we have a sidewalk, but it’s not wide enough to get snow removal equipment in there,” said Public Works Director Ray Jarvis.

Councilman Rick Wood to Mammoth: 'Never Again'

April 23, 2011

Rick Wood is not exactly carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders, but he certainly is carrying a very heavy heart.

The veteran town councilman and former mayor delivered an emotional speech to the town at Wednesday’s Town Council meeting, trying to put into harsh perspective the effects the $30 million judgment against the town in the Hot Creek litigation case.

“Never again,” he intoned.

“Never again should we put ourselves in a situation where we don’t explore all the opportunities.”

Searles wins $74,000, three-year contract from Town

April 23, 2011

Not that long ago, the town government was split on Steve Searles.

Not any more.

Searles, who is Mammoth’s wildlife specialist (and sudden television star, with “The Bear Whisperer”) won a $74,315-a-year contract for three years on Wednesday when the Town Council approved it.

“Everyone needs a hero,” said councilman John Eastman, “and every community needs a hero. Steve Searles is a hero for the Town of Mammoth Lakes.

“We need him as our wildlife specialist in Mammoth Lakes.”

Dire report is released on the town''s finances

April 23, 2011

Incoming Town Manager Dave Wilbrecht has a new best friend, and her name is Marianna Marysheva-Martinez.

A numbers wonk and a high-ranking city administrator in Oakland before she became the Mammoth Lakes Interim Town Manager, the first thing Marysheva-Martinez did was look at the town’s financials.
Her conclusion was dire.

“We’re in stable shape right now,” she said, “and the reason is that our revenues will be up by the end of June but our expenditures will be up by almost the same amount.

“While we’re stable, we’re not in good shape.

“Next year is going to be bad.”

Unofficial dog park is great, except for the poop

April 23, 2011

We’re talking poop here.

Dog poop, to be specific.

Mammoth has a new unofficial dog park down Sherwin Creek Road – a rather vast expanse on Forest Service land behind Sierra Meadows Ranch, made accessible this winter by the town plowing down to the Turner Propane tanks.

Dog lovers found it right away.

But Suzanne Nottingham, companion of three dogs (Ivan, Fred and Zion), has been horrified by the amount of poop this winter – poop that could easily have been picked up by their human companions but wasn’t.

Work begins on Tioga Pass but opening day is still uncertain

April 23, 2011

The big winter has Mammoth celebrating, but Lee Vining residents are getting worried.

The record-breaking winter raises a worrisome question – when will Tioga Pass open?

More snow means more snow to plow, and the cool April so far isn’t helping much, either.

But all is not lost. On Tuesday, April 12, Mono County found out that Mammoth Mountain will be donating some plow equipment to the cause, said county officials.

Town goofs on Wilbrecht contract

April 23, 2011

It was supposed to be a coronation Wednesday night.

Instead, it turned out to be a “whoops” moment for the Mammoth Lakes Town Council, which was all set to finalize incoming Town Manager Dave Wilbrecht’s $180,000-a-year contract.

It didn’t happen.

In what Mayor Skip Harvey called an “embarrassing” situation, the terms of Wilbrecht’s retirement benefits ran contrary to a November council resolution, which councilwoman Jo Bacon said she can’t even remember making.

What's Up, Up Here? News and gossip for April 22-28

April 23, 2011

Not much action at Police Chief Dan Watson’s Hispanic Outreach meeting this past week. No community members at all and just three committee members, out of more than 20 who signed up. “This meeting gets smaller all the time,” Watson said. ...

In the “Er, what?” Department, Councilman John Eastman described his presence at the reception for our new Assemblywoman (Modesto) in Suite Z on Tuesday. “I was able to attend a reception for Kristin (pause) what’s Kristin’s last name?” (Olsen, for those wondering) ...

Two heroin overdoses in Mammoth

April 23, 2011

On Friday, April 15, Mammoth Lakes Police Officers and Paramedics responded to a radio call in the Old Mammoth area and discovered a deceased 21-year-old woman. Evidence at the scene indicated that she had died of a heroin overdose. Agents from the Mono Narcotics Enforcement Team (MONET) followed up and identified the dealer who supplied the heroin to the victim.

100 m.p.h. winds pound Mammoth Mountain early Monday; spring runoff begins in earnest

April 18, 2011

Winds of nearly 100 miles an hour slammed into Mammoth Mountain early Monday morning, while rain and snow in the Sierra put water watchers on alert.

The winds, which preceded Monday morning’s rain and snow, reached 99.8 miles an hour at 4 a.m., according to ski patrol data.

It didn’t let up for more than an hour. At 5 a.m., ski patrol measured a wind gust at 99.6 miles an hour.

The average wind speed for the two hours was 70.3 miles an hour.

MHS named California Distinguished School

April 16, 2011

Finally, the call that Mammoth High Shool had been waiting for came.

Word arrived late Tuesday afternoon that the school has been awarded the prestigious California Distinguished School award, one of 97 schools in the state to get the coveted award this year.

A product of rising test scores across all the students in the school – whether English Language Learners, English speakers, Caucasian or Hispanic, the award is a testament to several hard years of work by students, parents and staff alike, said school superintendent Rich Boccia.

Garbage disposal fees likely to increase soon

April 16, 2011

It’s probably inevitable.

Garbage disposal rates are going to go up sometime soon and some hours or days are going to get cut at most of the county’s landfills, in an attempt to plug a funding hole that is leaking as much as $2,000-$3,000 a day from the county’s coffers.

The proposed increase, which goes to the public for a hearing on April 19, will increase residents’ garbage disposal fees by about 11 percent, if the plan laid out by county staff and approved in theory by the county supervisors passes a final vote on April 19 at a meeting in Mammoth Lakes.

Mono County’s loss is Mammoth’s gain, Wilbrecht admirers say

April 16, 2011

‘One man’s loss is another man’s gain.’

That might be the most appropriate sentiment regarding losing Mono County Administrative Officer Dave Wilbrecht to the Town of Mammoth Lakes as its newest Town manager.

After eight years at the helm of Mono County, Wilbrecht leaves behind a county in enviable shape compared to almost every other county in the state: in the black, solvent, with a small but still present reserve for emergencies and economic hard times.

Welcome home to incoming Town Manager Dave Wilbrecht

April 16, 2011

It was a love fest.

When The Town Council named Dave Wilbrecht as the new Town Manager this week, Mammoth residents universally approved the decision.

From Tom Cage, of Kittredge Sports and P3 and Nordic advocate Brian Knox, to recreation commissioner Bill Sauser, former town planner Bill Taylor and former National Forest Service administrator Sandy Hogan, all were crazy nuts about the decision.

“He’s a natural leader,” Hogan said, echoing county tourism director Alicia Vennos. “The town is very, very lucky. He’s an incredible leader,” Vennos said.

Skip has a bold new idea for Main Street

April 16, 2011

Skip Harvey has a cwazy idea.

Except this time, it might not be so cwazy to turn the south frontage road on Main Street into a combination pedestrian mall and small festival place.

Harvey, the owner of the Base Camp Café, which would benefit from such a makeover, also is mayor of the town.

The makeover, called “an experiment,” would hit the road, so to speak, in Mid-June and last until the end of September.

What's Up, Up Here? News and gossip for April 15-21

April 16, 2011

Is there ever such a thing as too much ice cream? Pita Vasquez, a Cerro Coso College student, took full advantage of the Ben and Jerry’s free cone day, eating 13 cones in an afternoon. “I never want to eat ice cream again. I had seriously all of them,” she said. Her friend, Bailey Morley, a Mammoth High School senior, had even more — 17 — and was of the same mind. “I feel so bad,” she said late Wednesday night. ...

Crowley Lake says: X Cells – no towers for now

April 15, 2011

Some Crowley Lake residents would rather remain in their cell phone dead zone than put up with two towers smack dab in the middle of their neighborhood. Mono County Planning commissioners supported them when they denied a permit to build the towers on Crowley Lake Drive, concluding a meeting last night (Thursday, April 14) at the Crowley Lake Community Center. Area residents who spoke at the meeting sided 14 to 9 against the permit, as they addressed a standing-room-only crowd of more than 60 concerned residents.

Mono County Public Health Officer position statement on Crowley cell tower issue

April 13, 2011

Dr. Rick Johnson, Mono County Public Health Officer, has today (April 13, 2011) submitted the following statement on the cell tower issue in Crowley Lake. He emphasizes it is separate from the Planning/approval process of any individual tower or base station, and simply expresses his opinion as the Health Officer in response to requests for information regarding RF emissions:

"It Shouldn’t Be About The Tower!

Mammoth High awarded California Distinguished School status

April 13, 2011

It's been a long wait for Mammoth High School, but late this afternoon, the school finally found out that it is now a California Distinguished School, one of only 97 other schools to get the award this year.

The award is a reflection of several years of higher test scores and other academic accomplishments for the high school, much of it accomplished under the leadership of former Mammoth High principal Mike Agnitch. The MT will update this story as soon as possible.

In the meantime, here's the state's announcement:

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