Embezzlement at Fairgrounds
As the Eastern Sierra Tri-County Fair gears up for another Labor Day weekend, the State California Highway Patrol (CHP) is beginning an investigating into a possible embezzlement of funds from the Tri-County Fair operations. Officer Steve Carapia of the Inland Division of the CHP confirmed an ongoing investigation, but could provide no further details. “Right now we’re in the beginning stages,” he said; “as the investigation matures, we’ll be more than happy to relay that information.”
Because the Tri-County Fairgrounds are a state facility, the State rather than the local Bishop branch of the CHP will conduct the investigation.
The Tri-County Fairgrounds Administration Office said that Tri-County Fair operations “have no comment at this time.”
Bishop City Council Asks Not ‘Wye’
Bishop’s Wye Road Intersection Improvements Project is on track to begin construction after the Bishop City Council awarded the construction contract to Marzano & Sons of June Lake at the Aug. 26 Bishop City Council meeting. Marzano & Sons offered the lowest bid of $587,431, including a 5% contingency, for the project. The City will pay for the project using existing Kmart/Vons development, as well as Caltrans funds.
The Wye Road Intersection Improvements Project aims to improve the increasingly busy intersection of Wye Road and Hwy 6 by widening Wye Road about 540 feet west of the intersection and 360 feet east of the intersection to allow for the construction of dedicated right and left-hand turn lanes onto Hwy 6. The project will also match up the lanes across the intersection, explained Public Works Director Dave Grah, and includes the construction of a storm drain along Wye Road to the Bishop Creek Canal near Spruce Street.
Councilmember David Stottlemyre wondered at the contract bid spread from lowest to highest bidder, asking, “Are they bidding on the same thing?” Grah explained that the spread was very common. “You’d think that everyone would be close, but there typically is a broad range,” he said. “I think it’s a set of four good bids, and I’m quite confident in that low bid,” he added.
Given the approval of the City Council for the contract award, construction should begin around Sept. 24, Grah said. “The traffic impacts are going to be significant, and we plan on putting a lot of effort into that,” he said. He asked again for the patience of the public, noting that construction should conclude around Nov. 13.
Bishop Climbs ‘Silver Peaks’
Low-income seniors and Bishop City residents with disabilities are one City Council approval closer to access to a new, 72-unit ‘Silver Peaks’ housing facility. At the Monday, Aug. 26 meeting, City Council approved a $2,900 contract for Cheryl Bretton, MAI to determine the value of a 3.3 acre parcel at the southwest corner of MacIver and Spruce Street where the facility might be built. The property is owned by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP).
The City of Bishop is working in partnership with Inyo Mono Advocates for Community Action (IMACA) and the DWP to locate and purchase a property for Silver Peaks. “We feel, and also the State feels, that given the number of low-income seniors, as well as residents with disabilities, this type of housing would be appropriate,” said City Administrator Keith Caldwell. He noted existing facilities for low-income seniors at Sunrise Mobile Home Park, and housing for residents with disabilities at Valley Apartments, but added that neither facility is meeting the total need of the community.
The appraisal, Caldwell said, is just the second step in moving the Silver Peaks project forward. The third step is “hopefully finding a funding source to make [the project] possible,” he said. The City of Bishop and IMACA are currently looking to grants and investors rather than the General Fund to pay for the project. When Council member Pat Gardner wondered whether Bishop would recoup the $2,900 cost of appraisal, Caldwell confirmed that the $2,900 would be folded into the overall purchase price of the property.