Seeing as the Town of Mammoth Lakes will not operate its ice rink this coming winter, businessman Jim Demetriades has come up with an alternate solution.
Demetriades will install a 60’ x 90’ rink on his Sierra Nevada Lodge property, between Rafter’s and the old Ocean Harvest building.
The rink will cover what is now a parking area. Demetriades said the property has ample parking behind Ocean Harvest along Sierra Nevada Rd.
Funny thing is, it won’t technically be an ‘ice’ rink. The surface will consist of a synthetic polymer compound.
According to the manufacturer, Ice Rink Engineering and Manufacturing, the polymer’s microscopic beading is designed to facilitate skating performance, and the company’s interlocking panel system allows for fast, simple installation and a tight seal between panels.
The non-greasy EZ Glide Enhancer, coupled with the company’s Magna Mat, provides what Ice Rink Engineering maintains is the “longest glide possible on synthetic ice.” It’s also environmentally friendly and leaves a smaller carbon footprint, with no power needed to run water pumps and refrigeration units.
Electricity costs for a typical rink, said Demetriades, can run $8,000/month or more.
And you don’t need a Zamboni. Literally, the “ice” can be cleared with a shovel.
Hockey and figure skating will be right at home on the rink, the company says, and the surface can be enjoyed year-round and in a wide variety of temperature ranges, perfect for our changeable Eastern Sierra climate.
And you don’t need special skates. The EZ Glide 350 surface has been designed for use with regular hockey and figure skates. Any figure, hockey or rental skate works perfectly. The synthetic skating surface won’t damage blades.
Demetriades said the artificial ice is a little slower than the real thing, perhaps 10%. But he’ll know more after this weekend as he plans to bring his children to test-drive the EZ Glide surface at a facility in San Diego.
The rink will be installed in mid-November and operate throughout the season.
Perhaps we should nickname Town Manager Robert Clark “El Gato.”
Like a cat, Clark is quick on his feet and seemingly has nine lives.
Despite speculation to the contrary following several staff layoffs last week, Clark was not ordered by Council to follow his surrogates off the plank this week. Mayor Skip Harvey said Thursday that the Town Manager evaluation is “ongoing.” Council will resume the evaluation next month.
I spoke to former, longtime Mammoth Lakes Town Councilman Kirk Stapp this week to ask him about his take on the recent Staff layoffs.
“Rick Wood ran on the platform that he has a plan,” said Stapp. “Well, what’s the plan? A Power Mayor? Is that where this is going?”
Stapp observed that Council has “decimated” Town government.
“You can’t shoot the tires out of the car and then say, ‘Let’s move forward,’” he said.
Stapp also wondered how the staffing cuts will affect the Town’s ability to recruit employees.
“Who’s gonna come here? Any competent department head will do some research [before accepting a job with the Town].”
In regard to Clark’s job performance, Stapp said that’s impossible for him to evaluate because “I don’t know what he [Rob] was asked to do. When I was Mayor, I asked Rob to do five things and he accomplished three. So we didn’t give him a raise.”
In regard to Roy Dickinson’s letter from last week , I spoke to Sheriff Rick Scholl, who busted out the dispatch report from that evening to check the letter’s veracity.
Scholl said the initial call came into dispatch at 10:29 p.m. The first deputy arrived on scene at 10:33 p.m. Contact was made with the Hispanic gentlemen and the call was cleared at 10:38 p.m. Fairly routine.
What the dispatch report would not indicate is how long the two sheriff’s vehicles idled in the parking lot afterwards. As a general rule, Scholl encourages his staff to build camaraderie and to stop and chat when time and circumstances permit. Did they linger too long? That’s a matter of conjecture.
As another follow-up to a story from last week, Fire Marshal Thom Heller has apparently denied a request by Wildflower condominiums to reinstall propane tanks on the property.
Some time ago, Wildflower replaced its tanks with an arterial, underground system built by Turner Propane.
Recently, however, Wildflower began second-guessing its arrangement with Turner when it was informed by its HOA accountant that it was charged $4.04/gallon on its June propane bill.
By comparison, AmeriGas offered Wildflower the bulk price of $2.14/gallon if it would switch.
Tom Colbert of AmeriGas told The Sheet, “I’m not sure where the tanks were located in the past, but the plan [Colbert drew up to place tanks on Wildflower property] met code. It’s not their [the Fire Department’s] job to regulate whom customers can choose as their utility provider.”
A message left for Heller has thus far been unreturned.
Richard Bailey, longtime Director of Maintenance, Operations and Transportation of Mammoth Unified School District, retires Friday.
Although when I asked him his job title, Bailey joked, “If it flushes, it answers to me.”
Bailey has been with the district for 32 years. He’s been in his current post for 16 years.
He started as a janitor at $4/hour.
“From the day I started working there, I’ve always enjoyed it,” he said. “The district’s given me opportunities, and helped put my kids through school.”
When I remarked that I was surprised I hadn’t heard about his retirement earlier, Bailey said, “School is not about the employees. It’s about the kids. That’s why I’ve been flying under the radar.”
Bailey’s task has not been an easy one. For example, the high school is notoriously unwieldy, having over one hundred exit doors that need to be cleared after every snowstorm. The elementary school has over 60.
By comparison, the middle school, which had input from maintenance during the design process, has just 11.
As Bailey observed, some of his most satisfying moments at the job were also the most difficult, in particular, moving the entire elementary school to the high school site in a mere week following the 1980 earthquake.
His immediate retirement plans? He and wife Debby are planning to take out the motorhome for an “Empty the Garage” tour, delivering stuff to children in various locales. After that’s completed? “I don’t know. Keep driving,” said Bailey.
Bishop Police Chief Kathleen Sheehan is moving on.
Sheehan announced this week that she is leaving to take a job as the Port Hueneme, Calif. Chief effective Sept. 20.
Though she’s loved her time in Bishop, in this era of fiscal restraint, you’ve got to go elsewhere in order to get a pay raise. This was, bluntly, a pension-driven move.
Bishop Police Lt. Chris Carter will assume Sheehan’s duties on an interim basis.
And from Geisel’s desk …
Assistant County Counsel Stacey Simon updated Mono County Supervisors on changes regarding new or revised language in the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2011, currently being drafted in Washington D.C. Part of the bill is directly related to proposed water lease programs that would involve rights holders on both the California and Nevada sides of the Walker River Basin.
Some of the language was at the least eye-catching, while other wording ruffled some Board members’ feathers.
One modification in the new draft was an extension in the amount of time allotted to implement the program to three years.
Also mentioned was $15 million to be set aside for use as determined by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) to preserve Walker Lake and protect habitats. Simon indicated this could involve anything from habitat restoration and weed abatement to water rights purchases in Nevada, but the language is unclear. Such a purchase of water rights, even if on the other side of the state line, could affect Mono County if the deal involves storage of water in locations on the California side, such as Topaz.
An eyebrow raiser was allocating $81.2 million to the Walker River Basin Restoration Program to maintain and protect various waters and watershed resources in Nevada and California, including an expansion of restoration program activities that enhance recovery of the Lahontan Cutthroat Trout, which the federal government has deemed “threatened.”
One last item involved the allocation of $11.3 million to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, $7.4 million of which is earmarked for the Walker River Paiute Tribe for the settlement of water rights issues in the Basin, including the water associated with the Reservation.
Supervisor Bob Peters was skeptical of the changes. “Timing’s never accidental,” he said, adding his take that whoever [U.S. Senator] Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and his people are beholden to is “probably thrilled [about the changes].” Simon added that neither the County nor the Walker River Irrigation District (WRID) had been made aware of the new language until the draft of the bill was released.
Debate on the bill, much less a vote, is not expected until at least after the November mid-term elections.
Watch your speed
Caltrans and the California Highway Patrol have recently proposed to reduce the speed limit on U.S. 395 through Lee Vining town limits from 35 to 30 miles per hour. District 4 Supervisor Bob Peters said the deciding factor, ironically, isn’t speeding so much as the percentage of accidents recorded in the zone.
Errata: That’s Warta … with a “t”
Ooops … I goofed. In my story last week on the Hayden Museum, references to the “Warda” family and the associated cabin should have been spelled “Warta.”