Eastern CA Museum: Film and Lecture

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Free Rock Art Film Screening
The Eastern California Museum will host a free screening of the hour-long documentary film,
“Talking Stone: Rock Art of the Cosos,” on Saturday Aug. 25. The filmmaker, Dr. Alan Garfinkel, will be hand to discuss the film, which features hundreds of rock art images on the usually off-limits grounds of the China Lake Naval Weapons Station.

When: Sat., Aug. 25 (6pm)
Independence American Legion Hall, at the intersection of US 395 and West Kearsarge
Questions: 760-878-0258 

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Ancient Bighorn Lecture
The Eastern California Museum will host Dr. Alan Garfinkel for a talk on the intriguing discovery of a bighorn ram skull with intact horn cores set atop a stacked rock cairn found in the 1990s at Rose Springs, in the Owens Valley. Dr. Garfinkel will explore the religious and ceremonial significance of the bighorn to ancient peoples. The talk will start at 1 p.m.

When: Sat., Aug. 25 (1pm)
Eastern CA Museum, 155 N. Grant St., Independence
Questions: 760-878-0258

NIH: Demonstration - Robot-Assisted Surgery


Robot-Assisted Surgery Demonstrations bound for Lone Pine, Tonopah
Residents of Southern Inyo County and Tonopah, Nevada are invited to explore the high tech world of Robot-Assisted Surgery during two Open House presentations in the coming week. Those in attendance literally will be invited to sit in the surgeon’s seat, slide their fingers into the video-game style controllers, and see what tomorrow’s healthcare looks like today.

To be clear, the robot that’s headed out for this tour is not the one based in Northern Inyo Hospital’s operating theater. Rather, it is a traveling version of Intuitive Surgical System’s newest model, the Xi, and while it is built to travel, taking it on the road is no easy feat.

Now considered the standard of care, robotic surgical systems have been successfully used in more than five million procedures around the world. In an almost two-year run at NIH, the da Vinci robot has aided in more than 155 local surgeries. These open houses provide our communities with a rare opportunity to see such advancements in surgical technology. Plus, given the chance to actual operate the system, those attending will be able to see for themselves why this new approach to minimally-invasive surgery is being taught in medical schools across the nation.

This short technology road tour will start Tuesday, Aug. 21 at the Tonopah Convention Center, and conclude Wednesday, Aug. 22 at Statham Hall in Lone Pine. Each day, from 4-5:30 p.m., students of all ages are invited to question-and-answer session followed by an opportunity to sit at the surgeon’s console and put the da Vinci through its paces. A more formal presentation for adults will follow from 6-7:30 p.m.

Two of the three da Vinci-trained surgeons from Northern Inyo Healthcare District will assist with the presentations. Dr. Allison Robinson, a colorectal surgeon, will join Intuitive’s team in Tonopah, giving the evening demonstration and fielding questions about her experiences with robot-assisted surgery. Dr. Jeanine Arndal, a gynecologic surgeon, will serve as the presenter at the Lone Pine open house and also take audience questions about this new surgical tool.

These open houses stem from the popularity of two similar events held in Bishop over the last two years. “Intuitive asked us to help show our neighbors what robot-assisted surgery means for the future of healthcare,” said NIHD’s Chief Executive Officer Kevin S. Flanigan, MD MBA. “We are delighted to partner with them and, in Lone Pine’s case, Southern Inyo Healthcare District, to bring this style of education to the Owens Valley and the Tonopah-Goldfield areas.”
Dr. Flanigan explained that even now robot-assisted surgery is an option given to those
facing hernia repairs, hysterectomies, prostrate and colorectal surgeries. “It’s so important for people to understand what their options are in healthcare, especially in surgery,” he said. “If these open houses help educate people so they can make informed decisions about their health when faced with surgery, then we are achieving our mission, to improve our communities, one life at a time. What we do is not always about getting patients to our healthcare facility. There is an educational component to healthcare and if we can help facilitate that, and do it alongside trusted partners like Intuitive and Southern Inyo Healthcare District, then we are providing a
true service to our neighbors.”

Dr. Flanigan concluded by saying, “Besides, why would anyone want to travel for hours to the big city to spend the night before surgery when you can have personal small town care with tomorrow’s technology.”

When - 2 Dates:
Tuesday, Aug. 21 at the Tonopah Convention Center, Tonopah, NV
Wednesday, Aug. 22 at Statham Hall in Lone Pine, CA

  • (4-5:30 p.m) Students of all ages are invited to question-and-answer session followed by an opportunity to sit at the surgeon’s console and put the da Vinci through its paces.
  • (6-7:30 p.m.) Formal presentation for adults will follow from

Anyone with questions about the open houses, may call Barbara Laughon, NIHD’s Strategic Communications Specialist, at (760) 873-5811 ext. 3415.

Caltrans: Lane Closure Report for the week of 8/20/18 – 8/24/18


Lane Closure Report for the week of 8/20/18 – 8/24/18

Inyo, Mono & Eastern Kern Counties – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) would like to alert the traveling public to be careful of workers on the Highway, to Slow for the Cone Zone and Move Over where possible.   The scheduled lane closures for the week of August 20th through August 24th are as follows: 

Mono County:

  • Walker Canyon Cold In Place Recycle (CIR) Project – On US Highway 395 near Walker from State Route 108 to Eastside Lane.  Construction crews are repairing the highway to extend the life of the pavement.  There will be daily lane closures that may delay traffic up to 30 minutes, Monday through Thursday, from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm, and Fridays, from 6:00 am to 3:00 pm.
  • Sheep Ranch Shoulders Project - On US Highway 395 near Bridgeport from Buckeye Road to 2.9 miles south of Swauger Canyon.  Construction crews are widening the highway and installing slope nets and retaining walls.  There will be daily lane closures that may delay traffic up to 30 minutes, Monday through Thursday, from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm, and Fridays, from 6:00 am to 3:00 pm.
  • Virginia Lakes Turn Pocket Project - On northbound US Highway 395 12 miles north of Lee Vining.  Construction crews will be creating a left turn pocket to Virginia Lake Road and a new access road to the Conway Cinder Shed.  There will be one lane closed northbound that should not delay traffic, Monday through Thursday from 6:00 am to 5:00 pm, and on Friday from 6:00 am to 3:00 pm. 
  • Sherwin Grade & Conway US 395 Chip Seal Project – On US Highway 395 in Mono County south of Tom’s Place (postmile 6.9 – 9.9) and near Virginia Lakes Road (postmile 63.9 – 65.1).  This is a SB1 project (Your tax dollars at work!).  Construction crews are placing a chip seal on the highway to extend the life of the pavement. There will be daily lane closures on one lane of traffic that should not impact traffic, Monday and Tuesday 6:00 am to 8:30 pm to perform final striping operations
  • McNally Shoulders Project – On US Highway 6 from north of Silver Canyon Road to North of Pumice Mill Road, construction crews are widening the highway.  There will be daily lane closures that may delay traffic up to 20 minutes Monday thru Thursday from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm, and on Friday from 6:00 am to 3:00 pm.

Inyo County:

  • Bishop ADA Project –On State Route 168 west (aka Line Street) between Fulton Street and Sunland Drive and on the corner of US Hwy 395 and State Route 168 east, construction crews are replacing curbs, driveways and sidewalks to create ADA compliant sidewalks. Crews will be working Sunday through Thursday during the night from 7:00 pm to 6:00 am the next morning. Traffic will encounter lane closures with a slight detour but no delays on State Route 168 west.  State Route 168 east will be closed to east bound traffic between US Hwy 395 and Whitney Alley nightly from 7:00 pm to 6:00 ambeginning on Sunday, August 12th.
  • North See Vee Signal Project – On US Highway 395 at the junction of See Vee Lane north of Bishop.  Construction crews are installing signals, curb and gutter, and ADA compliant sidewalks.    Construction is currently in suspension.
  • Blackrock CAPM Project – On US Highway 395 near Independence from Fort Independence Road to Elna Road construction crews will be conducting striping operations.  Watch for moving lane closuresMonday thru Friday, 6:00 am to 8:00 pm in one of traffic.
  • Inyo AR US 395 Chip Seal Project – On US Highway 395 in Inyo County near Olancha, from Haiwee Canyon Road to the Los Angeles Aqueduct Bridge (postmile 25.8 – 31.3), and from ½ mile south of Ash Creek Bridge to 1.6 miles north of Cottonwood Creek Bridge (postmile 41.4 – 45.5). Construction crews will be conducting striping operations as part of the chip seal on the highway to extend the life of the pavement. There will be daily lane closures on one lane of traffic that should not impact traffic, Monday through Thursday 6:00 am to 8:30 pm, and Friday 6:00 am to 3:00 pm to perform final striping operations.

Kern County:

  • Kern AR Chip Seal Pavement Project SR178– On State Route 178 between Kelso Valley Road and 5.0 miles east of Chimney Peak Road construction crews will be striping the highway. There will be daily moving closures on one lane of traffic Monday through Wednesday 5:00 am to 8:00 pm.

San Bernardino County:

  • US Hwy 395 Shoulder Widening – In San Bernardino County on US 395 from 6.9 miles south of Kramer Junction to Kramer Junction. Construction crews are constructing a 4-foot median buffer, widening the existing shoulders to 8 feet, and installing rumble strips on the centerline and shoulders.  There will be daily lane closures that may delay traffic.
  • Kramer Junction Expressway Project – In San Bernardino County on State Route 58.  The project realigns and widens 13 miles of SR-58, builds a new SR-58 & US Highway 395 Interchange, and one railroad grade separation.  The majority of the construction activity continues to be away from the current SR-58 Expressway. For more information about this project visit:  http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist8/Project-SR-58-Kramer-Junction-Expressway.html

Work schedule is subject to change due to traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment and/or materials, and/or construction-related issues.

SB 1 provides an ongoing funding increase of approximately $1.8 billion annually for the maintenance and rehabilitation of the state highway system. SB 1 funds will enable Caltrans to fix more than 17,000 lane miles of pavement, 500 bridges and 55,000 culverts by 2027.  To learn more about SB1 please visit:  http://rebuildingca.ca.gov/overview.html.


Watt's World: Let the Journey Begin


Let the Journey Begin

Growing up my disabilities never defined or stopped me, my family and friends wouldn’t let it slow me down. We simply figured out different ways to do basic things. Even when I was diagnosed with a seizure disorder epilepsy, it was just something new to figure out. I’ll never forget sitting at lunch, talking to my friends about how I was going to make it out of the classroom before the girl I liked saw me have a seizure. From that first seizure in 7th grade to my last day of high school, nothing was going to hold me back. I can say that if it were not for the people around me, I would not be where I am today writing this blog and enjoying my independence.

Recently things have begun to change and not letting these challenges define me has become much more of a struggle. From not having my driver’s license to having a hard time getting a job, there are certain things that even the most positive of attitudes can’t shake. I have recently decided to have an operation that will hopefully limit my seizures drastically. I have decided to use this blog to chronicle my journey to get the surgery, and the people I meet along the way. I hope to give people a look into my world, and hopefully inspire a few people  as well.

LADWP: Statement


LADWP Begins Environmental Review Process for New Ranch Leases in Mono County

Releases Notice of Preparation of a Draft Environmental Impact Report

LOS ANGELES, CA (August 16, 2018)– The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) today released a Notice of Preparation for an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) — marking the beginning of the environmental review process for the proposed Mono County Ranch Lease Renewal Project (Project). The study will assess the environmental impacts of a proposal to enter into new, 20-year leases, with 10 current lessees of approximately 28,000 acres of City of Los Angeles-owned lands in the Long Valley area of Mono County.  Past leases of these lands to the same operators have expired, and they are currently operating on holdover status.

Historically, 6,100 acres of these lands were flood irrigated on an ad hoc basis to answer an LADWP operational need to manage surplus water flowing to the Los Angeles Aqueduct. However, in the period that would be covered by the new leases, LADWP anticipates that little to no surplus water will be available, due to circumstances including reduced annual rainfall due to climate change and LADWP’s environmental enhancement/mitigation obligations unrelated to the leases.  Therefore, LADWP is proposing to issue new leases with the provision that water may only be diverted to the leased lands to address LADWP’s operational and environmental-protection purposes. The proposed new leases would not affect LADWP’s long-term commitment to the natural environment in Long Valley – including the creeks, streams, fisheries, and Sage Grouse and riparian habitats.

“We look forward to the preparation of the Environmental Impact Report and encourage all interested stakeholders to participate in this public and transparent process,” said Richard Harasick, LADWP Senior Assistant General Manager of Water System.

LADWP continues to work closely with and implement recommendations from the California Department of Fish & Wildlife, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Mono County, local Audubon representatives, and U.S. Geological Survey to ensure the health of the Sage Grouse habitat.

All interested stakeholders are encouraged to attend a public scoping meeting that will be held to solicit input from interested parties on the scope and content of the EIR – meeting details will be provided to the public as soon as the date and location are determined. LADWP will keep stakeholders and community members informed throughout this environmental review process.