My daughter had wanted a ski day birthday party, so I’d called June Mountain to arrange it. A few weeks in advance no less – a stunning achievement for a last-minute guy. Julie Brown, the June Mountain G.M., even offered to put together some gift bags. I said ‘hell yes.’
I casually check the weather in the days leading up to the event. It promises to be brisk, but most of these kids are alums of Erin Boehme’s Forest School. Weather doesn’t bother them.
The day of (Sunday, March 13), there’s a wind advisory. ‘Til 11 a.m. We’re supposed to meet at June at 11 a.m. Not too worried.
But then we’re driving up the grade. And there’s an overturned semi. And the trees are waving their branches in the air like they just don’t care. And I realize that dad is just gonna eat s&%t on this one. The texts are pouring in. The other parents, all well-intentioned, enlighten me on the painfully obvious.
“I don’t want to spoil the party or tell you what to do,” texted one mom, “but it’s really windy. I doubt June will open and you all are driving sixty miles.”
I responded as I expect most dads respond when backed into a corner. I refused to acknowledge reality.
“We’re going to June,” I replied. “We have faith.”
We get there and it’s blowing so hard that my windbreaker, which I’d temporarily hung on my sideview mirror, disappears in the gale.
We find it pinned by the wind to the side of a dumpster a hundred feet away.
Symbolically, we start a game of freeze tag in the parking lot to warm up. And after about twenty minutes, Julie Brown approaches. She offers to have a Snowcat take the birthday party up to Mid-Chalet, where kitchen staff is ready and willing. They haven’t been sent home yet. Bucky the Mascot Reindeer is also still around.
So we pile into the Snowcat – birthday cake in someone’s lap in the passenger seat – and wind our way up the hill. The lodge is decked out with a Happy Birthday Margaux sign and all sorts of balloons – I learn later that the balloons are remnants from Bucky’s weekly Saturday party, but I don’t tell Margaux that. The balloons are all hers, and of course, she can assume Dad’s responsible.
Cheeseburger lunches for all. Kids went wild over the gift bags. Throw in a little birthday cake courtesy of Sue Ebersold and the place descended into full-throated, happy madness.
And I sat there in wonder, fully cognizant that I really didn’t deserve such good fortune, but grateful that I live in this small community where magic still happens, and where people like Julie Brown go the extra mile when they have 99 reasons to say no.
Leon gets 90
Mammoth Lakes resident Greg Leon was sentenced on Monday to 90 days in county jail for conducting business without a contractor’s license.
Which has been Leon’s modus operandi, according to Mono County Asst. D.A. Todd Graham, for at least a decade.
As Graham said in an emailed statement:
“Greg Leon is a repeat violator of California’s contracting laws.
In 2009 he was convicted of misdemeanor grand theft, illegal use of another’s contractor’s license as a misdemeanor, and unlawful advertising as a misdemeanor. Mr. Leon was placed on probation, ordered to pay fines and restitution, and not hold himself out as a contractor. In August of 2019, he was convicted of two misdemeanor counts of operating as a contractor without a license, and failure to observe a work stoppage order as a misdemeanor. He was placed on four years probation, ordered to obey the state’s contracting laws, pay fines, and serve 30 days in the county jail. While he was pending the resolution of this second case, unbeknownst to law enforcement, he engaged in another act of contracting without a license. In this last case, he was charged and convicted of another instance of contracting without a license. On March 14, 2022, he was placed again on probation and ordered to serve 90 days in jail, along with fines and restitution.
The primary purpose of the laws punishing those engaged in unlicensed contractors work is “to protect the public from dishonesty and incompetence in the administration of that business.” Mr. Leon has repeatedly violated those laws, and ignored the many orders of the Court to not engage in unlicensed contractor work. The People hope that this most recent case will be his last.”
In the latest case, Mr. Leon is alleged to have almost electrocuted client Steve Shatkin. In court, Mr. Leon’s attorney Sophie Bidet said her client has since obtained a contractor’s license.
Judge Mark Magit said the purpose of the statute is to protect the consumer. Flouting of licensing laws, he said, undermines the many good contracting professionals who obtain their licenses and follow the rules.
That Mr. Leon has repeatedly violated the law, “deeply concerns the Court,” said Magit. Life, he said, is about conducting one’s affairs in such a manner so that you don’t get in trouble with the IRS and then skirt the law in desperation.
Mr. Leon told the court he is a positive member of society and totally remorseful. “You won’t see me again,” he promised.