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News Briefs from the May 7, 2024 Inyo County Board of Supervisors Meeting

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News Briefs from the May 7, 2024 Board of Supervisors Meeting 


As directed at the April 2 Board meeting, Supervisors Jennifer Roeser and Trina Orrill presented for approval on  Tuesday letters calling for the California Department Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and Fish and Game Commission  to take immediate steps to address the impacts of mountain lion predation on the mule deer and endangered  bighorn sheep populations in the Eastern Sierra.

Supervisors Roeser and Orrill worked on the letters in response to a request from the Inyo County Fish and Wildlife  Advisory Committee to demand action by the State regarding what’s being described as increased threats to the  survivability of the two species as they fall victim to rising mountain lion populations. In response, both supervisors  volunteered to draft letters that, as directed by the Board, steered away from political statements while highlighting  the urgent need for CDFW to explore all possible solutions. One letter was directed to the California Fish and  Game Commission and the other was addressed to Senator Marie Alvarado-Gil and Assemblyman Jim Patterson.

“ … our Board strongly urges the Commission and Director Charlton Bonham to look at the efficacy of current  mountain lion management policies and, in combination with a consideration of the latest data and sound scientific  research, explore all options for mitigating the loss being seen in the Eastern Sierra – including a revisit of the Bighorn  Sheep Recovery Plan approved in 2002,” the first letter states. “Common-sense management would not only  contribute to the ability of the Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep and deer populations to thrive but to the health and well being of the many species (including the mountain lion) who are native to the area and call it home.”

Both letters, which also note that responsible mountain lion management ensures a healthy and robust ecology  and economy, were unanimously approved.


The Inyo County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday recognized several employees who reached service milestones  during the first quarter of 2024. Department heads and members of the Board lauded and thanked the following  individuals for their dedication:

  • Health & Human Services – Valerie Behrendt, 25 years; Darcia Blackdeer-Lent, 10 years; Ralph Cataldo, 10  years; Jolie Bostick, 5 years; Maria Miranda, 5 years; and Jenny Trimble, 5 years.
  • Ag Commissioner – Carl Olsen, 5 years.
  • Sheriff’s Office – Nate Girardin, 15 years; and David Dart, 5 years.
  • County Counsel – Grace Weitz, 5 years.
  • Child Support Services – Amy Weurdig, 5 years.
  • Risk Management – Aaron Holmberg, 5 years.

CAO Nate Greenberg also recognized two employees who reached 5-year milestones during the last quarter of 2023  but were unable to attend to receive honors in person: Librarian Joe Frankel and Emergency Services Manager  Mikaela Torres.

While all employees received rounds of applause, a standing ovation was reserved for the current longest tenured  staff member at the County, Library Director Nancy Masters, who reached a whopping 40 years of service in the first  quarter of 2024.

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True to form, Nancy Masters shares some history of the early library days while being recognized for 40 years of continuous service to Inyo County.

Masters’ milestone is not only rare, but a testament to her endurance, perseverance, and commitment to help keeping  Inyo’s libraries’ doors open and the shelves stocked – as well as assisting numerous academics, writers, filmmakers,  and historians from all over the world in researching Inyo County’s storied history for the past four decades.

“Nancy has been a really valuable part of this organization and the community as a whole for a long time,” Greenberg  said, noting that Masters’ milestone says a lot about her character and work ethic. “…(T)hese jobs are hard. Forty years of being in the trenches and dealing with the day to day is certainly something to be recognized for.”

Greenberg and the Board also noted Masters’ efforts to help care for the grounds of the courthouse campus and for  being Inyo County’s “unofficial” archivist – although Masters said it’s more accurate to call her a “guerilla archivist.”


Inyo County Health & Human Services Director Anna Scott announced that her department will be observing Mental  Health Awareness Month throughout May.

Among the outreach events planned is a Mental Health Awareness Walk on Thursday, May 16 starting at 11 a.m. in  the middle of Bishop City Park. Participants are encouraged to wear green for the walk and attend the subsequent  barbecue luncheon at the Wellness Center, 586 Central Ave.

Scott said HHS staff will be wearing green ribbons and green in general throughout the month to help keep the  observance in the spotlight.

“Part of our purpose is to start conversations about mental health,” Scott told the Board. “Over a quarter of the U.S.  population of adults suffer from a mental illness, either chronic or temporary at a point in time in their life. It’s something  that many of us experience either personally or as part of our family or amongst our friends and it’s important to be  able to talk openly without the stigma involved and making sure our friends and family are supported and that we’re  seeking the help we need when we need it.”

Scott also told the Board HHS will be observing Emergency Medical Services Week May 19-25 and partnering with  the Emergency Medical Care Committee in spreading the word about upcoming events.


Among the actions taken by the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday was reappointing several residents to County and  special district boards.

Bill Fletcher and Chris Langley of Lone Pine were reappointed to serve on the Mt. Whitney Cemetery District Board  of Trustees through May 31, 2028 and Marilyn Bracken was reappointed to serve on the Independence Cemetery District Board through March 1, 2028. All three had requested reappointment in response to notices of vacancies that  were publicly noticed when their terms expired.

The Board similarly reappointed Geoff Pope and Wayne Sayer to serve on the Northern Inyo Airport Advisory  Committee through October 31, 2027.

A recruitment period is currently open for the following positions on the Southern Inyo Airport Advisory Committee  through May 31 at 5 p.m.:

  • Three (3) four-year terms expiring June 1, 2028
  • Two (2) four-year terms expiring June 1, 2027
  • One (1) four-year term for an alternate expiring June 1, 2027

The County is also seeking family caregivers to fill four vacancies on the Eastern Sierra Area Agency on Aging  Advisory Council with terms ending December 31, 2025. The deadline to submit letters of interest is May 23 at 5 p.m.

Individuals interested in applying for any of the aforementioned vacancies may send letters of interest to the Board of  Supervisors at P.O. Box N, Independence, CA 93526 or [email protected] by the listed deadlines.


The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a routine road closure request to accommodate the Second Annual  Cerro Gordo Silver Run on Saturday, May 25 from 7 a.m.-6 p.m.

The request was submitted by Silver Pineapple, LLC. Staff determined there will be minimal impact on people trying  to cross State Route 136 and noted that the permittees will be required to arrange for staging and placement of traffic  control devices needed for the road closure.

The race route follows the historic Yellow Grade Road and includes almost a mile of elevation gain in just under 8  miles. The winner of the inaugural run completed the grueling course in 1 hour, 46 minutes, and 48 seconds.


At the request of Inyo County Public Works, the Board authorized the department to take steps necessary to  essentially swap Federal dollars for almost $800,000 in State funding that comes with fewer strings attached for road  maintenance projects.

According to the Road Department, Section 182.6 of the Streets and Highways Code allows counties of fewer than  200,000 people to exchange Regional Surface Transportation Programs funds from the Federal government for State  Highway Account funds. The State funds are not restricted, whereas the Federal money can only be spent on projects  for roads that have a Federal designation. Exchanging the funds provides Inyo County’s Road Department a greater  degree of discretion and flexibility regarding how the money is used on County roads and streets. The State funding  can be used for projects included in the Regional Transportation Improvement Program.

Statute also requires the State to allocate unobligated matching funds (money required of the recipients) to those  counties choosing to exchange their federal funds. So, in addition to the $673,353 in State Highway Account funding,  Inyo County will also receive $100,000 in matching funds, for a total of $773,353. The Road Department plans to  budget the Fiscal Year 2023-2024 funds for use in FY 2024-2025.

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