YLP water status critical

A number of recent events are requiring YSPUC to alert all water customers to reduce usage immediately.

Since most of the extra demand on the system comes from external (outside the home) watering, YLOA/YSPUC General Manager Jonathan Penrose is requesting a 50 percent reduction in outside watering for at least the next two to three weeks.

Demand on the system has spiked upward in the past several days, and water usage is on track to be up 40 percent from last August. At this time, YLP is consuming more water than it is producing.

Among reasons for YLP’s critical water situation:

• More people are staying home and using more water here because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

• The extended string of 100 degree-plus days, with an Excessive Heat Warning posted for coming days.

• Failure of a pump on Long Hollow Drive which is temporarily reducing production. Emergency service for the pump replacement has already begun, but it will take several days to complete and bring that well back on line.

• Simultaneously, a pump on Revis went down and is also receiving emergency repairs. 

• Two power outages in the same week caused the shutdown of 5 wells and 5 booster stations. Although power was restored after a short time, the wells cannot be brought back into production for several hours – which reduced available supply. 

Although the situation is critical now, Penrose said there IS water to get the community through this IF conservation takes place. But it COULD become an emergency if YLP residents don’t conserve.

Homeowners are urged to cut back on irrigation and regularly check systems for leaks — especially now in midsummer when animals are most desperate for water and will easily chew through tubing.

Water conservation tips from Madera County

Reminder: office hours & calls

YLOA office hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 Monday through Friday, except for posted holidays when the office is closed.

If you call on these days, between these hours, you should be able to reach a customer service representative by choosing “1” at the first prompt. If you don’t get through, it’s very likely that representatives are busy on other calls. Please hang up and try again later.

YLOA does not use a system to put active calls on hold in order to answer new incoming calls. It’s been proven more efficient and better customer service to give full attention to an active call until it’s complete — and then take a new call.

If the main number is busy, the call will go to voice mail and you can leave a message. Callbacks on messages are usually done the same day, or at least with 24 hours.

You can also reach YLOA and YSPUC staff and other departments through the Contact Us page at yosemitelakespark.org.

Save water in YLP

With a dry, hot summer well under way, YLOA-YSPUC General Manager Jonathan Penrose is asking everyone to conserve water whenever possible.

Water usage is up this year because of many more people staying home during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Get useful conservation tips here.

2020 election results


YLOA has a new Board of Directors for 2020-21.

Following a 3-hour vote counting by volunteers, Inspector of Elections Marie Touitou has announced this year’s election outcome:

YLOA 2020 Election Results

Quorum required for the Annual Membership Continuation Meeting is 25% (567 ballots) for the election to be valid.

Valid ballots received: 786

This number includes non-voting 9 YLOA ballots and 13 YSPUC ballots submitted for quorum purposes only.

A voting quorum of 35% of all property owners was achieved.

Four candidates were elected to the YLOA Board of Directors:


Candidates not winning a seat on the BOD:
Rebecca Brannon 356
Randy Sacks 301

Denis Ciccarelli 4
Christine Sturkey 4

Invalid Ballots – 22
Reasons: No signature on white envelope, blue envelope submitted without white envelope, no information on envelope, duplicate ballot

Election envelopes were used by some to pay association and water company bills. These were delivered to the proper departments.

In addition, during the counting process, 4 ballots were invalid due to having more than 4 votes marked.

Marie Touitou
Inspector of Elections

After the vote total announcement, the new YLOA board voted in officers for 2020-21:

President Sandy Eigenman
Vice President Doug Dorsey
Secretary Kathy Miller
Outside Treasurer Mark Zoeller (not a director)

The Yosemite Spring Park Utility Co. (or water) board was then formed. Directors for 2020-21 will be: David Mahan, Doug Dorsey, Ken Sartain, Kathy Miller, Todd Benzie, Gary Bryngelson and Mark Zoeller.

YSPUC Board officers were elected for 2020-21:

President David Mahan
Vice President Doug Dorsey
Secretary Kathy Miller
Treasurer Mark Zoeller


Trucks for water company

YLP’s water company crews will soon have a couple of long-awaited and much-need specialty trucks.

The YSPUC Board of Directors meeting in special online session on July 17 approved purchase of the trucks with the price not to exceed $180,000 without further board approval. The vote was 5-1 with Director Michelle Piotrowski voting no. Treasurer Mark Zoeller was absent.

Below, you can read YSPUC President David Mahan’s comments and then his rationale for the purchase.

Following that, photos of the trucks to be ordered and the video of the meeting.

Dodge Ram 3500

Dodge Ram 5500

Video: the floriferous Brandegee’s sage

A star of the California native plant garden is Brandegee’s Sage, Salvia brandegei.  It’s fast, lush, floriferous, resilient, deerproof and remarkably drought-tolerant.  Join me in my springtime garden, as I sit in a patch of this intoxicating sage, extolling its virtues.

A CA native plant gardener for 20 years, Leslie Lipton has been caring for her habitat garden in Yosemite Lakes Parks since 2013.  Join her and other YLP residents at Native Plants Live Here for advice, education, and celebration of our native treasures.  Visit the Equestrian Center demo garden for inspiration for your own home.

More by Leslie Lipton:

Got joy? Try native plants

Great-tailed grackle

What do birds and wrestling have in common?

Nothing, actually, unless the birds happen to be great-tailed grackles (Quiscalus mexicanus). These boisterous blackbirds occupy the trees around the lake and clubhouse parking lot from spring through fall. If your timing is right, you just might witness a wrestling match between two competing males.

I came across an avian “lucha libre” this past spring. At first I thought it was a mating ritual, a rough one for sure. On closer look, I realized it was two males rolling on the ground, screeching up a storm, beaks and wings, tails and talons in each others face until, ultimately, one bird lay motionless in submission to a stronger foe. It was quite extraordinary to watch.

Of all the birds that reside in YLP, the one species that grabs the brass ring for elegance has to be the great-tailed grackle. The male sports a glossy, black and purple sheen.

And the tail!. What a magnificent tail he has, one almost as long as the bird’s whole body. The tail may resemble a boat keel creating drag as the bird, flapping its wings, moves slowly through the air. The tail may also be spread open like a fan, or folded into a V shape.

On the ground, males strut their stuff like they are king of the mountain. They move boldly on long legs, their tail swooshing from side to side as if ready to swat anyone silly enough to approach.

Yellow eyes framed in jet black give a fierce look of determination. A bill raised towards the sky is a posture designed to intimidate other males.

As brash as they may appear, however, great-tailed can be pretty skittish. if you stare at them too long, or come too close, their courage evaporates like the mist and they go airborne into the cover of the trees.

Great-tailed grackles forage mostly for plant material; being omnivores, however, they won’t pass up a fish or a frog, lizard or mouse whenever the meal presents itself.

Originally native to Central and South America, since the early 1900s great-tailed grackles have moved rapidly northward into parts of the West, Southwest, and Great Plains. By following human alteration of the landscape, they now flourish in both agricultural and urban developments (lawns, parks, golf courses) where water is available.

Great-tailed grackles are highly social birds. In south Texas, along the Rio Grande valley, tens of thousands may assemble in winter roost trees. Oh my, what a clattering clammer of clacks, cackles, shrieks and whistles an assemblage of several thousand individuals must make.

Click below to hear the vocalizations that just a few individuals produce:

As you gather your family around the barbecue this weekend, while wearing masks and social distancing 6 feet apart, arm yourselves with party noisemakers, a bugle and a piccolo or two, drumsticks and a few kazoos. Join great-tailed grackles in raising a festive commotion to celebrate the anniversary of the birth of our nation.

Happy Fourth of July, 2020

Keep birding,
Robert Groos
For more from Robert Groos, visit:

Robert Groos is a published photographer and keen observer of nature who lives in Yosemite Lakes Park. He shares some of his outstanding images of our local feathered friends along with some tidbits of interesting facts about each. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do. 

Previous posts:
What’s good for the goose
It’s nesting time
Wild turkeys on parade
The Pied-Billed Grebe
Hunchback of YLP: The black-crowned night heron
The bluebird
Talking turkey
The secret world of the phainopepla
Acorn woodpecker 
Oak titmouse
White-breasted nuthatch
California quail
Bald eagle
Western kingbird
The turkey vulture

Federal program helps YLP

By Jonathan Penrose
YLOA/YSPUC General Manager

The Payroll Protection Program (PPP) received some much needed revision recently that will benefit our community and association. 

The PPP provides federal funding to businesses in financial need to help weather the fiscal effects of Covid-19. When these funds are used in compliance with federal guidelines they are eligible for 100% forgiveness — essentially becoming federal grants. 

The original conditions of PPP forgiveness had several conditions, including:

1) Using the funds within 8 weeks of receipt. 
2) Using at least 75% of the funds for payroll
3) Retaining staffing levels at 100% of pre-Covid levels (or rehiring staff at the same wage and hours by June 30th)

Additionally, the forgiveness application was incredibly complicated, detailed, and, in some places, differed from the actual details of the CARES Act which authorized the PPP program. 

Also, the interpretation and guidelines for the program have changed several times in the last 2 months — making it difficult for businesses to meet the forgiveness requirements (except in a few special cases). 

I have spent a considerable amount of time in the last two months engrossed in the details in an effort to maximize the available forgiveness for YLOA and YSPUC. 


As of last Friday, the forgiveness terms of the PPP have been greatly relaxed. 

1) Businesses now have 24 weeks to use the funds, instead of 8.
2) Required usage for payroll has been reduced to 60%.
3) The rehire date to return to full staffing has been extended until the end of the year. 

Together these changes make it much easier for businesses to use PPP funds in a way that maximizes the forgiveness — which is very good for us — and indeed, for nearly all businesses that applied and qualified for funds. 

While there are still some details that we need to determine and some remaining incongruities with the original legislation, this will help us maximize the amount of federal funds for our community. 

And, it greatly reduces the amount of time and pressure we were operating under with the June deadline enabling us to focus more on other issues and opportunities.