The good news: the world did not end in 2012. The bad news: the Town’s Airport litigation suit did end with Mammoth on the short end of a $48.5 million (over 23 years) settlement. The good news: Winter 2012-2013 is shaping up as a blockbuster. The bad news: Former Mayor Skip Harvey isn’t around to see it. That’s kind of how 2012 went for all of us … it was a Wish Sandwich. “A wish sandwich is the kind of sandwich where you have two slices of bread … and you wish you had some meat. Bow Bow Bow.” -Blues Brothers
The Mammoth Community Water District was served with papers by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power in the Mono County Superior Court. The action was triggered by the finalization and approval of MCWD’s Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and subsequent project titled “Mammoth Creek Fishery Bypass Flow Requirements.”
Tim Fesko and Bob Peters threw their hats in the ring for the Mono County District 4 Supervisor seat. Peters had the most votes in the June primary, but Fesko won the November runoff and the seat.
Sara Batterham continued fighting her case in court and ended the year with formal probation and restitution. Batterham was convicted on Nov. 16, 2011, on three of five charges, including embezzlement, one of two forgery counts, and preparing and submitting false documents for trial. Batterham initially got into legal trouble for stealing from the Econo Lodge in Mammoth.
Suddenlink and Verizon announced they would not be taking any new customers in the Eastern Sierra due to a shortage of bandwidth. New internet was not expected to be available until Digital 395, which kicked off this year, and is expected to be up and running in 2013.
Mammoth Lakes Town Council voted to give Elizabeth Tenney’s Gateway Project $250,000 out of the Public Arts Fund, effectively overruling its own Public Arts Commission. The decision led to the resignation of all of the Commissioners who did not believe the Gateway Monument was art.
On Friday Feb. 3 at approximately 8:53 p.m. the Mono County Sheriff’s Dispatch received numerous 911 calls regarding an explosion and a residential structure that was on fire at the U.S. Marine Mountain Warfare Training Center (MWTC) Base Housing. Lori Hardin, 31, died in a propane gas explosion that occurred in the housing unit in Coleville, Calif. Two other blast victims, a Navy corpsman and his wife, were flown to hospitals with serious injuries including third-degree burns.
On what was almost immediately dubbed as “Black Wednesday” by local residents, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area laid off 75 year-round employees on Feb. 28, representing 21% of its permanent workforce.
Angel’s owners Melanie and Todd Nagy confirmed they had sold Angel’s. The buyer? Convict Lake’s Brian Balarsky. Angel’s reopens with a remodeled look at the end of November.
Longtime Mammoth Middle and High School Drama Teacher Kevin Worden is pink-slipped by the school district on March 15, indicating he would not be invited back to teach for the 2012-2013 school year, protests of many former students notwithstanding.
County solid waste came to the forefront as the Mono County Board of Supervisors discussed a five-year lease with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) for the Benton Crossing Landfill. The Landfill is set to be closed in 2023. By the end of the year, solid waste fees increased once again.
Old New York Deli owner Michael Raimondo announced he would run for a seat on Town Council. Sitting Councilmember Skip Harvey then chose not torun again. With only two candidates running for two open seats, the Town chose to bypass an election and appointed Raimondo and incumbent Jo Bacon, saving itself approximately $17,000.
Matt Toomey, who opened his own restaurant in Mammoth at the end of 2011, announced that he will no longer be in any way associated with the Whoa Nellie Deli.
After a 12-year run, bankruptcy forces out Robin Hart at Fern Creek Lodge in June Lake. Hart moves back to her native Mississippi.
LADWP filed an appeal to the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District’s new, more stringent requirements which were implemented in December 2011. It then sued the California Air Resources Board, disputing the required appeal process, claiming the amount of time the process would take would cause DWP irreparable harm in the form of attorney fees.
In November, the Air Resources Board upheld Great Basin’s new requirements.
LADWP’s lawsuit against the Air Resources Board has not been resolved.
A Personnel Appeals Board hearing began for Mono County Mechanic Dick Luman who was involved in an altercation with fellow employee Brett McCurry in 2011 and subsequently fired. Luman lost his appeal for reinstatement. McCurry also received a hearing and was reinstated to his position.
Mammoth’s Town Council ended a lawsuit between property owner John Vereuck and Mammoth Lakes Housing over a potential default on a loan for MLH’s office space at 587 Old Mammoth Rd.
The Bridgeport Public Utilities District Board is put into the hot seat with the way it handles an emerging embezzlement case. On May 17, Cheryl Goode, the former General Manager of the PUD, turned herself in for issuing herself numerous unsubstantiated payments.
During a proceeding in Mono County Superior Court, counsel representing the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power in pending litigation against the Mammoth Community Water District abandoned a change of venue motion.
Roxanna Foley, age 51, of Bridgeport, former bank branch manager of Eastern Sierra Community Bank, was arrested for felony embezzlement.
Restaurant Skadi seemingly closed its doors for good … and then reopened in December.
The Mono County Sheriff’s Department hosted its first National Peace Officers Memorial Day ceremony in Mono County to honor the fallen law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in the Eastern Sierra.
On May 11, a 15-year-old Mammoth Lakes High School student was arrested following an investigation into alleged hacking of the school’s computer system for the purpose of changing student grades.
The Mammoth Lakes Planning Commission voted 4-1 in favor of allowing the sale of firearms as a permitted use in the commercial and industrial zones based on the finding that the use is similar to and no more detrimental than existing uses in those zones.
According to a civil suit filed in the Mono County Superior Court by Gregory Mark Fesko and Mammie Fesko, Greg’s brother, Tim (current candidate for District 4 Supervisor) Fesko and wife, Mary committed fraud in the sale of Meadowcliff Restaurant located in Coleville, Calif. Tim settles the suit before his election.
On Tuesday, May 1, the MLPD initiated an embezzlement investigation when a victim reported that a large sum of money was discovered missing from various personal and corporate accounts that were managed by bookeeper, Susan L. Hicks. On May 2, Susan Hicks was arrested and the follow-up investigation revealed that the suspect has at least 16 additional clients in the Mammoth Lakes and surrounding areas.
Mono County Deputy District Attorney Tim Kendall is appointed to the position of District Attorney to fill the shoes of retiring District Attorney George Booth.
Mammoth Mountain announced it would not open June Mountain for the 2012/13 ski season.
Four Mammoth businesses were victimized by burglary. Schat’s Bakery, Nik ‘n Willies, the Dollar Store and and Rafters all suffered losses during the break-ins. Mammoth Lakes Police Department identified the suspect as Cameron Puckett, age 27, a transient.
Mammoth Community Church celebrated its 50th anniversary.
Mono County Assessor Jody Henning and Assistant Assessor Chris Lyons resign.
Nevados owner Tim Dawson reported that his restaurant was robbed … not necessarily broken into, but definitely robbed. Once inside the culprit(s) ate a meal, drank, threw up on the floor, put their cigarettes out in the carpet, and stole a great deal of high end liquor as well as food and the restaurant’s 37” Vizio television.
Mammoth Lakes Town Manager Dave Wilbrecht said that the latest two positions to be eliminated or otherwise left unfilled in the Town’s Fiscal Year 2012-2013 proposed budget include the Airport Director position, held by Bill Manning.
Paul Rudder and Drew Hild are no strangers to working together. In 2006, Paul and Kathleen Rudder owned Sierra Center and engaged Hild of Highmark who then sold the property for them. The two finalized work this year that bought the mall back.
The June 5 Primary Election was full of surprises, with a decided anti-incumbent outcome in several local races. In Mono County, for District 2 Supervisor, Fred Stump edged out incumbent Hap Hazard 476 to 389. For District 3 Supervisor, Tim Alpers KO’d incumbent Vikki Bauer 449 to 216. District 4 went to a runoff on Nov. 6, as Bob Peters got 296 votes against Tim Fesko’s 272. Jan Huggans is out after pulling just 121 votes.
The Inyo National Forest’s 2009 Motorized Travel Management Decision drew continued criticism with some people who suggested that the agency went too far in closing some 700 miles of trails.
Paiute Palace Casino GM Bill MacDonald forks over $771,172.65 to Jeanette S. of Bishop, a regular local customer, who won on one of the new Godzilla slot machines.
Following a last minute meeting on the Fourth of July, Mammoth’s Town Council voted unanimously to borrow money in order to pay for this year’s summer/fall air service subsidy to Alaska Airlines. The loan, taken out of Measure U funds, was expected to be collected between then and the time the payment’s due to Alaska in February 2013.
The Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board renewed the waiver to allow cattle to continue grazing the Bridgeport Valley.
The Inyo Mono Area Agency on Aging (IMAAA) Governing Board voted unanimously on Dec. 19, 2011 to allow its contract with the California Department of Aging to expire, effective June 30, 2012, a casualty of what it labeled “state underfunding.” With the expiration date passed, Mono County Director of Social Services Julie Tiede worked furiously to negotiate a new contract with Inyo County to keep Mono County’s senior services up to snuff.
Outgoing Mammoth Unified School District Interim Finance Director Michele McClowry tells the Board of Education that voila, last fiscal year’s 2011-2012 unaudited budget actuals turned up a $100,000 budget surplus!
Mammoth’s Town Council votes unanimously to extend its moratorium on DIF (Development Impact Fees) for one more year.
Mono County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to approve an allocation of $100,000 from its contingency fund to be immediately handed over to the June Lake community under the direction of the Mono County Tourism Department. The money is to be used to help keep the community afloat during the 2012/13 winter while June Mountain is closed.
A shake up to Assembly Bill 7 (AB 7) put California hatcheries under attack, according to retired State Senator Dave Cogdill, who carried AB 7 while serving in the State Assembly. The blow came in the form of Senate Bill 1148, which would shift funding prioritization away from hatcheries to wild and native trout programs. SB 1148 passed by the end of the year.
The new Bristlecone Pine Forest Visitor Center reopened after being burned down in 2008.
Mono County Director of Social Services Julie Tiede confirmed that she would not renew her contract with the County upon its expiration in April 2013.
For months the County had been eagerly awaiting the results of the Fitch & Associates Emergency Medical Services Assessment Report, but when the goods were delivered in draft form, they left much to be desired. “Everyone has been waiting for the Fitch report to do something,” said Supervisor Vikki Bauer. “But with the gaps in information, I’m not comfortable moving forward with it.”
Mark Wardlaw, Community Development Director for the Town of Mammoth Lakes, formally tendered his resignation after accepting an offer from the County of San Diego.
Residents in June Lake and communities north of there thought they were going crazy when their clocks started running fast, seemingly gaining five to 10 minutes per day. The culprit, according to SCE was the installation of a new transmission line between Mammoth and June Lake.
Mammoth Rock ‘N Bowl breaks ground.
The Town of Mammoth began to lay out it restructuring proposal for paying MLLA. The ideas included the elimination of seven police officers.
There is indeed an expiration date on MMSA’s Right of First Refusal Agreement for the Rodeo Grounds property in June Lake. The property, owned by Intrawest, is currently for sale, and according to Dan Scidmore, a member of the brokerage team at Daum Commercial retained in June by Intrawest to sell the property, the Right of First Refusal (ROFR) Agreement expires in March 2013.
A union scam made its way to Mono County and targeted the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for Ormat’s Mammoth Pacific I Replacement Project. Union lawyers appealed the EIR, but are ultimately overruled by the Mono County Board of Supervisors.
The L.A. Times published a story about Mammoth’s proposal to lay off 7 out of its 17 sworn police officers, as part of its proposed austerity measures to pay the airport litigation settlement. The story’s contents drew major concern from the Mammoth Lakes Police Department and the Mammoth Lakes Police Officers Association (MLPOA). While Mammoth proposed laying off 7 of 17 sworn police officers, Bishop plans to hire two new officers as of Jan 1, 2013.
At least four petroglyphs were taken from the Volcanic Tablelands in Mono County, while a fifth was defaced by deep saw cuts, and a sixth was removed, broken and left propped against a boulder near a visitor parking lot.
The Southern Mono Health Care District (SMHCD) Board of Directors voted to appoint former CEO Gary Myers to take over as Interim CEO of Mammoth Hospital. Myers would fill in for CEO Gary Boyd, who was on medical leave recovering from a stroke he suffered on Nov. 4.
The Town of Mammoth Lakes announced the dismissal of its bankruptcy case.
Mammoth Mountain Ski Area CEO Rusty Gregory laid out further details regarding the proposal to establish a Town-wide BID (Business Improvement District). Gregory suggested that lodging pay 1% of gross revenues, that retail establishments contribute 1.5% sales tax, and that the Mountain contribute a 2% admissions fee (on lift ticket sales).
The Mammoth Track opened at Whitmore Park.
Mono County Sheriff Rick Scholl announced he would retire on Dec. 20. The Mono County Board of Supervisors appointed Undersheriff Ralph Obenberger to fill his shoes.
Rusty Gregory announced that June Mountain would open again for the winter of 2013/14.
Chris Francis was found not guilty in his DUI case where he challenged Mammoth Lakes Police Department practices in regard to breathalyzer tests and procedure.
John Stavlo and Shana Stapp were elected to the Mammoth Unified School Board while Jimmy Little and John Peters grabbed seats on the Eastern Sierra Unified School Board.
June Lake’s plan to promote cross-country skiing on the Loop upset some residents who feared that access to the Nordic area would have to go through their neighborhood.
The House of Representatives passed the Mt. Andrea Lawrence Designation Act of 2011, which would name a mountain peak in Mono County “Mt. Andrea Lawrence” in honor and memory of Andrea Lawrence.
The Town of Mammoth Lakes received an upgrade to its bond rating by Standard & Poor’s (S&P), up from a “C” to a “BB+.”
Mammoth Jazz founders Flossie and Ken Coulter are honored by Mammoth Lakes Rotary with its inaugural Service Above Self award.
Town Council directed staff to proceed with a study of financial and other impacts of allowing a change in zoning to permit nightly rentals of single-family homes.
Evan Jack Lewis, age 18, of Mammoth Lakes is arrested for burglary and arson at Jalapenos Restaurant.
Mono County Board of Supervisor approved Transient Rental Overlay Districts (TRODs) in the County.
Inyo County Supervisors denied an agreement with BrightSource Energy regarding a solar power plant at Hidden Hills Ranch.
Mammoth Planning Commission approved the restart of medical marijuana dispensary Green Mammoth, previously owned and operated by Steve Klassen, by new owner-operator Don Wright Jr.
The California’s Eastern Sierra is listed as one of the Top U.S. Destinations for 2013 by the preeminent travel publisher Lonely Planet.