MHS Senior Symposium thanks
Once teens get ready to go out on their own, they rarely want to listen to life lessons from their parents. With the school year nearly over and with grades 9-11 taking standardized testing, Mammoth High School Seniors recently took part in a symposium of life lessons.
Topics covered in the 3-morning symposium included self-defense, reproductive health, alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, defensive driving, first aide recognition and seeking treatment for mental health stressors, healthy relationships, planning for disasters away from home and alternative exercise programs.
Senior advisor Erin LeFrancois and I would like to thank the following people for their valuable time and effort in making this symposium meaningful: Jesse McLaughlin of Wild Iris, Eric Leach from Snowcreek and his assistants Patty Hensley and Kiara Razi, Sandra Pearce and Nancy Cruz of the Health Dept., Debra Stewart, Sal Montanez, Robbi Downey and Annie Linnaweaver of Mental Health, Natalie Morrow of the ML Fire Dept., Mark Moskowitz and David Scobie of the MLPD, Yoga teacher Liz Fleming and the many important members of Alcoholics Anonymous who were willing to share their own life lessons with the teens.
Mono County Health Department
Day urges continuity in Dist. 2
Over the last couple of months you have been hearing about Digital 395 (the middle mile) and Eastern Sierra Connect (the last mile), the bringing of dependable high speed internet service to our communities.
My involvement was simple enough. Being a Long Valley Fire Commissioner and member of the Long Valley Regional Planning Advisory Committee, Supervisor Hap Hazard and I met to discuss our community’s thoughts and concerns.
I was meeting with Hap that day to discuss an issue between the Fire Dept and County but later the discussion move to the frustration with the quality of internet and cell phone service not only in Crowley but all over Mono County. Hap let me in on what he has been working since 2007.
At the 2007 Regional Council Counties annual conference Hap learned about available funding for broadband to rural areas and a new tech called Wi-Max that could provide both cell and internet service to remote areas. The wheels started turning with the possibilities for Mono County and if you know Hap they haven’t stopped.
Attending more conferences and meeting, contacts were made and ideas and experiences shared. Mono, Inyo and Kern Counties joined together as regional force and formed the Desert Mountain Resource Conservation and Development Council.
In May 2008 Hap was introduced to Michael Ort, and as ideas were shared the vision of a fiber optic cable system that would run from Mojave to Carson City, Nevada seemed actually possible. More meetings and planning and by the fall of 2008 the idea was becoming a reality, the idea now know as Digital 395.
Construction plans between Michael Ort and his firm Praxis were formalized and funding was requested. The lobbying started at both the State and Federal levels. These efforts continued for months. Issues with the available grants became apparent. The grant required matching funds of 20%. Funding 20% of a 100 million project would be impossible for the three counties to accomplish. Finding another grant to fund the required matching funds had to be overcome.
First grant funding for the project was denied in July of 2009. In December 2009, after months of lobbying by Hap and others, the CPCU change their policy no longer requiring 20% in matching funds.
After reapplying in the summer of 2010 the project was awarded full funding, with no addition local funds required. The largest broadband grant approved in the country was going to a project that was benefiting all of MonoCounty but only if we take advantage of this opportunity. We need to get the service from Digital 395 to the communities, the last mile.
This is where I came in.
In August 2011 Hap approached me
if I would be interested in applying to join the Eastern Sierra Connect. This consortium is to address the last mile issues and concerns. Apply for the available grants. Set policies and workwith the last mile providers so communities receive the best technology available.
In the past several months we have accomplished what seems to be so much, but so much more needs to be done. More than $200 million in State grants is available to fund the infrastructure required to bring Mono County the technology. We are not the only consortium applying for these funds. The competition for these grants will be fierce and the application deadline for the first round of these grants is fast approaching.
Hap has been working on this project for 5 years, and not just for his district but for all of Mono County. He knows the players and knows the hurdles Mono County will have to leap to have a chance for any of this available funding. He has been working with providers who are interested in providing service to other communities in Mono County, not only to Mammoth Lakes or Crowley Lake. He has been Mono County’s representative for this project and now is not the time to lose this representation in this, the most important project to ever happen to Mono County. It would be a setback this county can ill afford.
For answers to your questions you can email me at Ron@schat.net. Also check out www.digital395 and Eastern Sierra Connect on the California Public Utilities Commission site www.cpuc.ca.gov/PUC?Telco/CASF+Consortia and findEastern Sierra Connect on the left info side bar. Digital 395 is breaking ground in Nevada and heading for Mono County in the next 30 days. Fingers crossed.
Don’t tread on me
For the past 11 years, I have been traveling in an RV rescuing abandoned cats. I had 3 males and 3 females (all spayed/neutered and vaccinated), calling them my “6 pack.” They are all from different states on my travels.
I began traveling up and down U.S. 395 five years ago, heading south in winter and north in summer, always stopping in Bishop to stock up at Kmart, Vons, Smart ‘N Final, as well as the various small local businesses. I have spent the summers in the Mammoth Lakes area, so Bishop is my main shopping center.
A year ago, I began parking on the outside of Bishop City Park across from the Senior Center — daytime only, never after dark — so my cats could get outside and play. I have enjoyed meeting many fine locals during their strolls to the park.
A man in a white van took my most friendly cat, De’Abby, 11 years old. She loved everybody. I searched extensively for her for months. I made signs, called radio stations, ran ads in the newspapers — everything I could think of. I walked and drove miles, looking at any and every black cat that people called me about. I warmly thank all those wonderful people who responded with such caring and concern.
When the summer heat became too much for the cats and me, we’d leave town for a while, but I kept coming back, never giving up. This last time, while at the park, the maintenance guys informed me that my cats were using their dirt piles as a cat box, and it was nasty to work with. I agreed to keep an eye on them and keep them out of the dirt. And if by chance one did get by me, I’d clean it out and get rid of it.
No more was said to me, so I assumed that all was okay. “Never assume!” Some time later, Chief Animal Control Officer Tim Proffitt contacted me at the park, relaying the same concerns as the park maintenance employees, citing cat poop, etc. I explained that I was vigilant, that this situation was under control and asked about the dogs that defecate adjacent to and all over the park. He said that never happens. Yeah, right!
My word was not good enough. The very next day, Bishop Police Officer B. Rossi served me with an Enforcement of Trespass issued by Mr. Weyland Cleland of Park Maintenance for a full year, a violation of which would be 90 days in jail and a $400 fine.
The irony of it all is that my cats were never in the park per se and now I am restricted from even walking in the park for one year.
So this is how Bishop city officials treat their elderly. But then maybe I don’t qualify; I’m only 70 years old.
Humanitarian and Cat Lover
Not so friend-Lee to Council
As a second homeowner in Mammoth Lakes, I find it hard to believe that the Town has gotten itself into such a pickle. When I read about the $40+ million judgment awarded to Mammoth Lakes Land Acquisition, and the quarter-million dollar salaries and perks given to the Assistant Town Manager, with similar salaries to other employees, I recalled two quotes by Mark Twain, who was once a visitor to what is today Mono County.
Only the subject has been changed. They are: “In the first place, God made idiots. That was for practice. Then He made the Mammoth Town Council.”
Following, though, is the quote I like best:
“Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of the Mammoth Town Council. But I repeat myself.”
The only additional word of wisdom that I can add is for the Town Council to look at salaries paid to residents of Mono County who are employees of county, state and federal agencies. It then makes sense in understanding how this mess came about.
Evans, Peters spar
This letter is in response to a Political Flyer that Bob Peters recently sent out and speaks also to claims he has publicly made.
1) In 2001-2002, I started a campaign to raise the T.O.T. Tax which was to get extra money for the Paramedics Program and Tourism. My supporters on this campaign were Sheriff Paranick and then-Supervisor John Cecil. I got the backing of ABC and CBS. We were on TV with Dunbar, Tyson and a nurse from St Mary’s. We won with an 88.26 mandate and we were able to save the paramedics program and I received commendations for this effort.
2) The ATV event started by the Northern Mono Chamber of Commerce in Coleville had trouble with CalTrans and its costly regulations and requirements. We did not have issues with any of the other departments mentioned by Bob Peter’s flyer. Furthermore he used people’s names in the flyer attempting to indicate their support, which he does not have, and without obtaining their permission. He also used the Chamber’s name in which he has no involvement. This is just plain wrong.
3) At one time, there was trouble brewing regarding the lease/options with the Antelope Valley Thrift Store and Recycling Center in Walker. Then Supervisor Bill Reid (now deceased) worked hard to get the new lease before Bob Peters became involved. Bill set the groundwork and therefore much of the credit goes to his efforts.
I could go on, but my point is, it is a shame when someone takes credit for things others have done. The credit belongs to those who have done the work!
Peters responds …
Evans comment #1: The effort to increase the TOT tax to 12% in 2002 was led by John Wuhlmuth, the CAO of Mono County and the Board of Supervisors. I was asked to be the business community leader on the Ad Hoc committee that was formed. served in that role and allowed my name to be placed on the ballot in support of the initiative in the 2002 election. It was successful. Like all efforts of this type, many individuals worked separately and together to get this initiative passed.
Evans comment #2: The ATV event planned for June 2010 was, in fact, in trouble and in danger of being cancelled. The California Highway Patrol and Caltrans were not in favor of going forward with the plan for the event as submitted. Mono County, at my request, came to the rescue. Everyone involved, including the Northern Mono County Chamber of Commerce worked to solve the problems and preserve this important Antelope Valley event. I don’t recall Evans having anything to do with the event.
Evans comment #3: When I became involved with the lease issue for the Thrift Store and Recycling Center, I was informed by the Mono County CAO that Mr. Reid had asked that the non-profit responsible for managing the operations be removed from the Senior Center that houses the operation. I know that the lease difficulties had been going on for several years. I don’t know all the details about how the situation became so dysfunctional. However, with the help of Lynne Katusich (Chair of the non-profit), and her Board of Directors, and the Mono County Counsel, we were able to solve the problems.
I have found in my many years of volunteer service and business experience that no one person is ever solely responsible for successes or failures. That certainly has been the case in my career in Mono County and elsewhere.
It’s just math
I may not be the smartest man in the world, so perhaps that’s why I’m having such a hard time figuring out why so many of the people who have brought our little mountain town to the brink of bankruptcy have not faced any consequences for their actions. I’m sure there’s people like Peter Tracy and Charlie Long who were smart enough to abandon ship a couple years ago and will never suffer any legal or financial hardship for their role in the airport litigation circus.
But what about Bill Manning? How does he still have his six-figure job with plush benefits? According Kirk Stapp, in the history of the airport litigation that The Sheet published a few weeks ago, Manning “was the only staff oversight on the [Development Agreement].” Does Manning care to respond to former Town Manager Tracy Fuller’s claim that in an act of “gross insubordination” he hid from her the infamous FAA letter that would have apparently stopped the D. A.
I’ve heard rumors around town that John Eastman is the councilmember protecting Manning. I’m not sure if these rumors are true but I do think that the citizens of Mammoth deserve an explanation from our elected officials as to why Manning still deserves employment as Airport Manager. And for that matter, why do we keep reelecting John Eastman? He is the only council member still in office who originally approved the D. A.
I think that outrage and the feeling of being offended are all too common in today’s society, to the point where they’re tired and worn-out public emotions with limited effectiveness to change things. But as someone who would one day like to raise children in a mountain town with decent schools, plowed roads, a functioning police force, and a modicum of public services, I can’t understand why there aren’t more people calling for the heads of the clearly incompetent people who created a $42 million payment for a town with $15 million in yearly income. Asking that people be held accountable for screwing up that badly isn’t unreasonable; it’s just math.
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