As this issue mostly looks back at the year that was, I figured I’d look ahead to 2010 on page two.
January: Town Finance Director Brad Koehn announces, based on anecdotal evidence that Vons ran out of eggs over Christmas, that the Town is now fiscally solvent and needs to hire new bean counters (called bean counters, he says, because there are no eggs left to count.
February: Councilmember Wendy Sugimura announces she will seek reelection in June, because she and Erick hope to have another baby covered by the Town’s health insurance. In regard to family planning, Sugimura reaffirms her belief in performance-based budgeting
March: Dr. Frank Romero goes before the Mammoth Unified School Board to announce a rebirth of his own: He’s just been accepted into the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop and plans to become a novelist.
April: Mammoth Lakes Police, wary of getting into further mischief as they did in 2009 during a charity poker run in Las Vegas, decide to enter a different Poker Run … in South Beach.
May: A group of firebrand citizens march on Town Offices looking to truly clean-up the Town for Town Cleanup Day … only to discover it’s a furlough day
June: MMSA CEO Rusty Gregory says Main Street revitilization plans are on track and that within days, he expects John’s Pizza Works to be annexed to Nevada for a future high school football transfer student.
July: Brad Koehn acknowledges that eggs have returned to Vons and the Town budget is $1 million underwater because he is to Nostradamus as Mike McKenna is to Tiger Woods.
Before Koehn can clarify that it’s a golf analogy, McKenna’s wife has impaled him with a 7-iron.
“If only I’d run for Town Council for the health insurance,” he says from his hospital bed.
August: Mammoth Rocks again with a Monkees cover band. Organizer Matthew Lehman makes a killing off selling oxygen tanks to concertgoers short of breath trying to keep up with “Last Train to Clarksville.”
September: The Town wins its appeal of a $30 million judgement originally levied against it as a result of airport litigation. Airport Manager Bill Manning, in apparently too much of a celebratory mood, sells the airport to the Paiute Palace in exchange for a minute inside the wind tunnel of cash.
October: Avatar finally leaves the Minaret Cinemas.
November: The marijuana dispensary moratorium over, Town Council passes an ordinance allowing for dispensaries, passes a joint to commemorate the event, and falls asleep until 2011. While they’re out of commission, Town Manager Rob Clark takes the opportunity to hire 53 new employees.
December: The first users of the Ski Back Trail finally arrive at the Village where they are met by apes and a replica of the Statue of Liberty.
Okay, couple things to watch out for over the next week or so. One is the debut of the “Bear Whisperer” on Animal Planet on January 7 from 8-10 p.m.
Local bear specialist Steve Searles apparently gets the hero’s treatment, and thanks to the magic of editing, it really does look like he “talks bear.”
There’s one scene, Searles says, where he finds a sick bear in a drainage culvert and he orders it to get up, and voila, the bear gets up. With a trademark bit of self-deprecation, Searles adds, “I’ve got a cameraman flashing a huge light in that bear’s eyes. It’s uncomfortable. Of course he’s gonna move. Same way that you’re gonna sit there and continue to drink that beer if I order you to sit there and keep drinking that beer.”
Self-deprecation aside, the show will put Mammoth on the map and if it makes a splash, Searles says there are a full 13 episodes in the can just waiting to go. Tourism and Recreation Dept. Director Danna Stroud has estimated the media exposure for the “Bear Whisperer” could be worth as much as $1 million.
Finally, check out www.thesheetradio.com when you return home from your vacation, so you can stay abreast of what’s happening locally. There’s a daily morning show Tuesday-Saturday from 7-11 a.m.