Obituary: Mary Burke

November 12, 1930 – December 25, 2022

Mary Eloise Burke passed away on December 25, 2022, at Barton Skilled Nursing Facility in South Lake Tahoe, after 92 years of a fulfilling life.
Though born in Tucson, Arizona, she moved with her family to San Diego, California as a baby girl. They lived there in North Park until her 1947 marriage to Thomas J Burke and starting her own family in Spring Valley.
When Mary’s children were young, the phrase “stay-at-home-mom” didn’t exist, wives were at home with the children and husbands worked. And Mary was an exceptional wife and mother who cared deeply for her family and was proud of doing so. After her 1963 divorce she never remarried, but continued to be a source of strength, and laughter and joy.
With a 1981 move to South Lake Tahoe, Mary worked at the Harrah’s Casino until retirement, enjoying her role interacting with a variety of people.
Also an avid gardener with a green thumb, Mary loved watching her flowers grow, and would say, “there’s nothing more precious than the face of a pansy.” She took the time to admire and share the tiniest detail of her world. Her broad interests included a deep love for the ocean, nature, animals, science, and camping with her family.
Mary is survived by her six children Eileen, Kathleen, Susan, Thomas, and Robert; as well as 13 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.
If you were lucky to know Mary, her sense of humor and contagious laughter, raise a coffee cup in loving memory. She will live on in our hearts forever.
The family will celebrate her life privately as she wished.

All Is Calm, All Is Bright On A Powder Night

It’s as if we were planning a heist like Mark Wahlberg in the Italian Job. And we were “of sorts…”. Instead of gold bullion, it was the fresh, white powder us skiers & snowboarders dream about. Long, long ago while sitting at my computer, the instant messenger suddenly popped up and read “You Ready?” I responded with a “Hell yes!” Standing up, I looked around to make sure no bosses were in sight. Sneaking out of the office, I swung the office door open & slapped high fives with my buddy. Our plan was to steal some untracked powder turns late on a Wednesday night. Wait, what? Where can you go powder skiing at night?!?! If you live in the greater Seattle area, you’re in luck. There is such a fabled place and it is called Summit West.

Snow Removal on Snoqualmie Pass - Photo Courtesy WSDOT
Snow Removal on Snoqualmie Pass – Photo Courtesy WSDOT

Nighttime Pow Mission

Summit West from a distance. Photo Courtesy - Mike Gilbert
Summit West from a distance. Photo Courtesy – Mike Gilbert

Hopping into our ride, we rush out of Seattle and take I-90 east towards Snoqualmie Pass. With a one track mind, we set our sights towards the destination and are almost unaware that we were swimming upstream. We are so focused on our mission to get powder, we hardly even notice everyone else was heading home. Our windshield wipers push the rain away as the traffic continues to subside. After about 30 minutes, the traffic is virtually nonexistent and the road becomes windier and more desolate. Rain drops begin to get chunkier and eventually transition into wet snowflakes. The weather forecast for the past three days called for continued snowfall through Wednesday with no end in sight. And then… we finally arrived.

Pulling into the parking lot, huge walls of snow block our view of the ski area which added to the suspense & excitement. With only a few cars and snow falling steadily, it was almost unbearable. The stoke was high, so as soon as we parked, we bailed out of the car. Quickly changing from our office attire, we throw on the most comfortable clothes we own. What else but our colorful snowboard gear!

Untracked Pow At Night? No Way!

Photo Courtesy - Sergio Bonachela
Photo Courtesy – Sergio Bonachela

Rushing to the chairlift, we look up & see huge open runs with only a few tracks on them. How can that be? Okay, let us fill you in on a little known secret. During the work week, Summit West is closed on Monday & Tuesday and then only opens at 2:00 p.m. in the evening for Wednesday through Friday plus some weekend hours. Translation… first tracks and fresh pow after work!

As we ascend on the chairlift, we look down at a few people taking turns. This is the perfect stress reliever after a long day at work. Hootin’ and hollerin’ in excitement, they make turns in the fresh snow. We finally reach the top & strap in. For a moment, we stop and slap high fives as we look at the open field of snow in front of us. Under the orange halogen glow, we make turn after turn in the virgin snow screeching for joy just like the others we saw from the lift. At the bottom, we look up the hill studying the tracks we made. It was only an hour ago that we were stuck in a cubicle and now we were transported into a winter wonderland. With huge grins, we get back on the lift to do this again and again.

Recipe For Getting Untracked Powder At Night

Photo Courtesy: Sergio Bonachela
Photo Courtesy: Sergio Bonachela

If your work schedule isn’t flexible, there’s a few different ways to get these mid-week treats.

Find A Resort That Has Night Skiing

Even out west there are 1 or 2 ski resorts open at night. From Keystone in Colorado to Boreal in Tahoe, this gives you a chance to get the goods mid-week.

Check The Weather Forecast

For the best possible conditions, check the snow levels of the storm & understand when the snow will fall. If the resort is open all day, having a storm that rolls through in the afternoon will make it more likely to find fresh snow under the lights than a storm that starts in the a.m.

Find A Resort That’s Closed During The Day

If you’re lucky enough to live in Seattle area, then Summit West at Snoqualmie is the spot. They keep the resort closed on Monday and Tuesday, reopening at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday. This leads to a high likelihood of feet of fresh powder to slash when the sun goes down.

Following these 3 basic rules will help you keep your normal job, but at the same time quench your hunger for some epic turns. Let us know of a resort in your area that is perfect for a powder night.

The post All Is Calm, All Is Bright On A Powder Night appeared first on Local Freshies.

Tahoe Conservancy elects Acosta as board chairman, Wallace vice chair

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The California Tahoe Conservancy on Thursday announced the election of Adam Acosta as its new Board Chairman and Tamara Wallace as Vice Chair. Acosta is the first Latino to chair the Conservancy Board.

“I am honored to have been elected as the Conservancy Board Chair,” said Acosta. “I look forward to continuing to work with my fellow Board members and the Conservancy staff. In addition to the important work of restoring and expanding equitable access to Tahoe’s natural resources, I’m excited by the Conservancy’s increasing commitment to racial equity — a commitment that’s closely aligned with Governor Newsom’s administration.”

The California State Assembly appointed Acosta to the Conservancy Board in 2017. Acosta serves as a senior policy advisor to the Los Angeles City Council. Previously, he was the Assistant Executive Director for the California American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. During his 24-year career with AFSCME, he spearheaded the reform of public sector labor laws on behalf of municipal and county employees throughout the state of California.

Acosta was born and raised in Santa Barbara and graduated from San Diego State University. He is an avid outdoorsman who frequents the Eastern High Sierra with his two children Adam and Isabela.

“Adam Acosta is a leader who is respected statewide and who has always brought a welcome perspective to our Board,” said Jason Vasques, the Conservancy’s executive director. “I look forward to working with Adam and Vice-Chair Wallace in their new roles as our agency continues to expand our work to address emerging issues like climate resilience and reducing wildfire risk for our communities.”

Wallace has served as the city of South Lake Tahoe’s representative to the Conservancy Board since 2020. A member of the South Lake Tahoe City Council, she is a past member of the City’s Planning Commission, past-president of the Kiwanis Club of Lake Tahoe and was the charter secretary for the Tulare Sunrise Rotary Club. She has managed several small businesses in South Lake Tahoe, is past executive vice president of the Tulare Chamber of Commerce and the former Executive Director of the South Tahoe Chamber.

Tamara Wallace

The Conservancy thanks past Board Chair Sue Novasel and past Vice Chair Cindy Gustafson for their service.

At the same meeting, leaders from the Equity and Wellness Institute led the Board through a training on community engagement and racial equity. The Conservancy has engaged the Equity and Wellness Institute in a two-year contract to help build the Conservancy’s capacity to achieve racial equity goals and better engage with the communities it serves.

History speaker series to feature ‘Into the Jaws of Hell’

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The Wylder Resort Hope Valley history speaker series continues on Saturday, Feb. 4, with a 50-minute presentation, “Into the Jaws of Hell.”

Local historian, and former Death Valley resident, David Woodruff will recount the dramatic and heroic tale, of how lost, forlorn, and starving argonauts found demise in the desert instead of the riches of the California goldfields they had sought, and christened the chilling name upon their near fatal location, Death Valley.

The free program starts at 2 p.m. and will be in the Café at Wylder Resort, on State Route 88 in Hope Valley.

For more information, call Woodruff at 760-920-8061.

The 50-minute presentation will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Winds, light snow to end work week at Tahoe followed by a more potent storm on Sunday

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — A weak, quick-moving storm entering the Lake Tahoe region today will bring light snow and gusty winds and will be followed by a stronger system for the weekend that could drop more than a foot of snow.

The National Weather Service in Reno said in a special statement that southwest winds will begin to increase Thursday afternoon in higher terrain, peaking early Friday morning. Ridgetop gusts may hit triple digits and could result in some aviation and mountain recreation disruptions before the wind gusts begin to diminish Friday afternoon.

Light snow showers are also likely with 2 inches possible along the Sierra crest and a dusting for the basin. The service said even a couple inches of snow on highways could lead to slick and hazardous conditions.

The second, and more potent system, is expected to move into the Sierra Saturday night through Sunday which will likely result in widespread travel impacts due to moderate snow, the service said.

Upwards of a foot of snow is possible along Sierra passes and there’s a 15% chance of up to 18 inches. The Tahoe Basin is expected to receive 4-8 inches.

The service said lingering snow showers will be possible through Monday morning followed by cold temperatures that will be about 10 degrees below seasonal averages, which means lower 30s for the Sierra, and will rebound to near averages through next week with low chances for precipitation.

Local business introduces nonprofit to South Tahoe with community celebration

STATELINE, Nev. — The local children’s boutique Will & Ivey will be hosting a community celebration with the nonprofit Rescued Hearts Ranch at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 4. The event, which will feature face painting and decorating heart ornaments, is also a great opportunity for community members to get to know the founders of the nonprofit. 

Founder and owner of Will & Ivey Sandra Ney will be serving on Rescued Hearts Ranch’s executive board, and feels passionate about connecting the organization with families. 

“It’s just a really fun opportunity to pull the community together,” said Ney, “give them something to do during these winter days.” 

The suggested donation to attend the event, which will be happening at Will & Ivey’s shop at Stateline, is $10, and all proceeds will go to Rescued Heart Ranch. 

Will & Ivey will be hosting a community gathering to introduce the nonprofit to locals at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 4.
Provided/Amanda Price

Co-founder of the organization Amanda Price explained that this newly founded nonprofit is a care farm and is the first one in the state of Nevada, located in Minden. 

“Our mission is to provide a safe and nurturing environment for kids to come and experience life on a farm,” said Price. “Our goal is to provide that safe environment, connect kids with animal experiences, or animal assisted type therapies.” 

At the ranch, children are able to develop their self-esteem, learn healthy coping skills, and have an environment where they can learn how to become emotionally and spiritually healthy human beings. 

Outside of animal experiences, the ranch offers art experiences and mentoring. Price mentioned recently the nonprofit pitched their programming to the El Dorado County Department of Mental Health, to whom they are hoping to be a resource for their adult patients. 

Ney is excited to be hosting an event that will hopefully bring awareness to an important, holistic way to heal. During the event, the founders of the nonprofit will be around to give community members more information, and to hopefully create lasting relationships moving forward. 

Will & Ivey is located at 292 Kingsbury Grade at Stateline. This event will be happening from 10 a.m.- 1 p.m.

For more information, call 775-580-7705. 

Nevada says Tesla’s possible tax breaks stay secret, for now

RENO — The details of any potential tax breaks for Tesla’s $3.6 billion expansion of its Nevada factory will remain secret until late February, under a nondisclosure agreement that state officials signed with the electric carmaker.

The governor’s economic development office will release the tax-abatement request on Feb 27, just three days before the office votes on whether the planned factory expansion is eligible to receive those tax breaks, spokesperson Gregory Bortolin said. He said the nondisclosure agreement means he can’t give exact figures for any possible tax abatements.

Tesla, run by billionaire CEO Elon Musk, intends to produce high volumes of semitrucks and make enough cell batteries for 2 million light-duty vehicles annually in Nevada.

The project was announced last week, and will expand an existing operation at the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center, about 20 miles east of Reno-Sparks along Interstate 80. The plan takes the company a step closer to accomplishing previously announced plans to ramp up production of fully electric Tesla Semi vehicles, in order to make 50,000 trucks in North America in 2024.

The company said it expects to bring 3,000 new jobs to northern Nevada, a key part of Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo’s early plans to diversify the state’s economy.

“Economic development matters,” Lombardo said after announcing the partnership at his state of the state address last week “I’m proud to declare that Nevada is back open for business, effective immediately.”

The Nevada Current first reported the possibility of the new tax abatements.

When Tesla in 2014 announced its first $3.5 billion investment in northern Nevada, the company received about $1.25 billion over 20 years — one of the largest in the country at the time.

At a special legislative session that year, state legislators passed a law that would trigger tax abatements for large development projects. Qualified projects that make $3.5 billion in investments within a 10 year period — such as the Tesla expansion — could be eligible for several abatements.

Tesla benefited over $410 million in tax abatements since 2014, according to the latest latest report by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

Bortolin, the agency’s spokesperson, said in a statement that he could not comment on “what might happen going forward,” but stressed that Tesla has invested $6.2 billion in Nevada and created more than 11,000 total jobs.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Musk tweeted Tuesday that the company expects the factory to eventually be “almost entirely solar-powered.”

EAT This Week: Flatstick Pub’s Quesabirria Tacos

To try and decide each week where and what to eat around the basin can be a challenge — there are so many amazing choices. In this feature we’ll dive into dishes that will surely satisfy those hunger pangs and leave you wondering where to go next. 

Can we all just admit that eating tacos are fun? When was the last time you ate a taco and were flaming mad? I will interrupt you because I already know the answer — it’s never happened. This week’s feature doubles down on the fun and, as part of Flatstick’s menu refresh, is one of the most popular Mexican street food items added from their Sacramento location.  

To walk you through the name, this dish is equal parts taco and quesadilla stuffed with beef birria — a melt in your mouth protein that’s spent a lot of time marinating in things like dried chiles, vinegar, garlic, herbs, and spices before ultimately getting cooked in a flavorful broth. That broth is essentially the consommé it is served with for dipping. Each order of four is served with a dusting of cotija cheese and fresh cilantro. 

The tacos get a quick dip in that consommé before hitting the griddle, which caramelizes the outside, and adds a nice and crispy exterior. Inside, the birria is ooey gooey and dripping with flavor. Once you take all of that and plunge it in the consommé, there’s an extra level of richness that sends the taste into orbit. 

If you’re like me and you can put away some tacos, be very mindful of your fingers — they may get injured in the consumption of these. Seriously. Put these in a machine gun and just shoot them at me because I can probably put them away as fast as they’re coming at me. Well, maybe not a machine gun. Sling shot, maybe? 

What I’m trying to say is that, unless you’re alone, you may want to think about ordering more than one order. Believe me, there won’t be anything left over.  

Flatstick Pub is located at 4101 No. 101 Lake Tahoe Boulevard in South Lake Tahoe. For menu and additional information visit them online at or give them a call at 530-443-4376. 

Drink of the Week: Tahoe Bowl’s The Dude

In our Drink of the Week segment, we’ll showcase one unique type of beer, wine, cocktail — you name it — to try at one of the countless breweries, bars and restaurants from around the basin.

If ever there were a drink offering and a location match made in heaven, I think this week’s feature might take the cake. If The Dude cocktail being offered at a bowling alley doesn’t connect the dots, then I have to assume you have never watched the Coen brother’s classic “The Big Lebowski.” If you have, then this column might just spark an extra smile or two as you reminisce. 

In that movie, the drink of choice is a White Russian. This cocktail features some of those familiar ingredients, but serves as more of a mash-up between that and a Colorado Bulldog. Let me explain. 

Instead of plain vodka, you get a little amp up of flavor from vanilla vodka. Kahlua serves as the coffee component and instead of the heavier cream; its skinner cousin (half and half) fills in as the creamy character. Then, a splash of Coke tops it off along with a Maraschino cherry. 

The vanilla comes through on the front end, along with a touch of sweetness from the cola. The Kahlua (with a little help from the vodka) is what carries through the rest of the way. Given this drink’s creaminess, combined with the vanilla, I had some serious flashbacks to ice cream floats, which really had me wondering what it would all taste like with a splash of root beer. Feel free to take that idea and let me know how it tastes.

As a whole, this drink is super fun and an easy partner for a few frames. If your bowling game is anything like mine, it might even make you better. No guarantees, though. 

I suppose you can also order this drink by its other names: His Dudeness, Duder, or El Duderino, if you’re not into that whole brevity thing. In any case, this drink abides. 

Tahoe Bowl is located at 1030 Fremont Ave in South Lake Tahoe. For further information they can be reached by phone at 530-544-3700.    

Tahoe Action: Ullr Fest; Broadway Live fundraiser; The Woods Brothers, Dark Star Orchestra, California Honeydrops on stage

13th annual Ullr Fest Parade and Community Party

The 13th annual Ullr Fest, Parade, and Community Party will be happening Friday, Feb. 3 at the Diamond Peak Ski Resort for a community celebration while raising funds for the Diamond Peak Ski Team. 

This free event will include a torchlight parade, bonfire, music, raffles, food, drinks, and more. Come dressed in your best Ullr attire, as the event is named for the Scandinavian god of winter and snow. Ullr hats will be available for purchase while supplies last. 

Parking and admission to this event will be free. Food, drinks, raffles, and merchandise will be available for purchase. 

This event will be outdoors, so dress warm. 

The following evening from 6-9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, the fun will continue with the Diamond Peak Ski Education Foundation Winter Apres Party will be happening at Bowl Incline. This fundraiser invites guests to dress to impress in their favorite apres ski outfit to enjoy a silent a live auction, along with great food and axe-throwing. 

Eat, meet, greet, and donate and help support the Diamond Peak Ski Team. 

Tickets to the fundraiser are $125 per person. Donations can be made online, and there will be an online auction as well. 

To learn more about both events visit

Broadway Live Goes to the Movies Fundraiser 

“Broadway Live Goes to the Movies” is coming to South Lake Tahoe for two nights only and will be raising money for the Black Ice Theatre Company and the Barbara Kelly Memorial Scholarship Fund. 

Shows will take place at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 3-4 at the South Tahoe Association of Realtors building. There will be music played by the Broadway Live Ban as well as some backing tacks, where the group will be covering iconic songs from movies over the years with a great crew of vocalists. 

Tickets to the show are $25 a person. Guests can enjoy wine, beer, and snacks, which will be for sale. 

To purchase tickets to the Friday, Feb. 3 show visit

To purchase tickets to the Saturday, Feb. 4 show visit

Guided Snowshoe Hike Sugar Pine Point State Park 

State Park Interpreters will lead Nighttime Guided Snowshoe tours in Sugar Pine Point State Park from 5-7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4 to explore the natural and cultural history around Hellman-Ehrman estate and the Lake Tahoe shoreline. 

There will be a beginner’s clinic at 5 p.m. for those new to showshoeing, with the hike starting at 5:30 p.m. The program will last around one and a half hours and costs $50 per person. Children 12 and under are $25. The cost includes snowshoe rentals, park entrance, the hikes, and lots of fun. Make sure to dress warmly, layer, and wear winter boots. 

This event is sponsored by West Shore Sports and all proceeds will benefit the Sierra State Parks Foundation’s educational programming. Ticket sales are final, and purchasing a ticket means you also agree to be photographed. 

To reserve your spot visit

The Wood Brothers at Bally’s Lake Tahoe 

The American roots band The Wood Brothers will be performing at Bally’s Lake Tahoe at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4 with special guest Taylor Ashton to open. 

Doors to the show will open at 7 p.m. Minors must be accompanied by an adult 21-plus and those under six will not be admitted. 

Tickets to the show start at $25 each and are available on Prices are subject to change. 

The band consists of brothers Chris and Oliver Wood, as well as multi-instrumentalist Jano Rix. Their music is a combination of folk, gospel, blues, and jazz. 

To learn more and purchase tickets visit

Dark Star Orchestra at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe 

Dark Star Orchestra will be performing at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe at 8 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 5 in the South Shore Room for those 21-plus only. 

Tickets are currently on sale on starting at $36.23. Prices are subject to change. 

Dark Star Orchestra is a tribute band to the legendary group The Grateful Dead, and have been forming together since 1997. Their shows recreate song performances straight from historic set lists played by the original group, and offer their own interpretation and improvisations of memorable shows. 

To purchase tickets visit

The California Honeydrops at Crystal Bay Club Casino 

The Crystal Bay Club Casino will be hosting The California Honeydrops in the Crown Room for two nights at 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Feb. 3-4. Tickets to the 21-plus shows can be purchased for $35 in advanced and $40 the day of the show (plus taxes/fees). 

The California Honeydrops are celebrating their fourteenth year together with their latest studio album release Soft Spot. Known for bringing vibrant energy and infectious dance-party vibes, the band is ready to raise the roof at these well waited for shows. 

To learn more visit

Family fun at the Incline Village Library 

Calling all teens! The Incline Village Library will be hosting Tens Tuesday in The Lounge at the library, where teens will create custom Valentine’s Day cards for free. 

Teen Tuesday will be happening from 4-5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7. 

Snacks will be available, and a Circuit cutter will be used to create cards. 

Make sure to hangout for Bingo Night at the library at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7. All ages are welcome to join this family-friendly fun every first Tuesday of the month. 

There will be chances to win a fun prize. Pre-registration is not necessary, but can be done at

UC Davis Tahoe Science Lecture Series

The UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center will be hosting a Tahoe Science Lecture Series talk titled, “Why is a third of food wasted worldwide?” form 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9. 

Tickets to this presentation are $10 for general admission and free for students and staff. Refreshments and a no-host bar will be available until 6 p.m., when the lecture begins. 

The talk will be led by assistant professor in the Department of Food Science and Technology at UC Davis, Ned Spang. 

To learn more and purchase your tickets visit

North Tahoe Community Alliance launches with new purpose

TAHOE CITY, Calif. — The North Tahoe Community Alliance in February officially launched as the destination stewardship and management organization for North Lake Tahoe. 

Formerly known as the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association, the organization is changing its name to align with its mission to positively impact the economic health of the region, contribute to community vitality and promote environmental stewardship.

“The organizational shift we made over the last year presented an opportunity to align our name more directly with our revised purpose,” said NTCA president and CEO Tony Karwowski. “Instead of purely marketing the region and encouraging visitation as the NLTRA did for 65 years, the NTCA’s efforts are now focused on promoting responsible travel during off-peak seasons, stewardship education, and collaborating with regional stakeholders to identify and implement solutions to issues that impact our residents, businesses and visitors.”

In addition to supporting the North Lake Tahoe business community by contributing to the maintenance of a vibrant, sustainable year-round economy, the NTCA’s role is to address key issues that impact the community. 

Through this lens, the NTCA will continue to seek out and advocate for local transportation and workforce housing solutions, visitor services, and tourism mitigation projects that can be funded by and leveraged with transient occupancy taxes and North Lake Tahoe Tourism Business Improvement District assessment dollars. The stewardship principles the organization is aligned around include: 

● Elevating the experience of Lake Tahoe for all

● Honoring the region’s culture and history 

● Ensuring that natural resources are cared for by visitors and residents 

● Creating opportunities that support a balance for business owners, employees and residents 

● Engaging partners in collaborations toward common outcomes 

GoTahoeNorth will remain intact as the brand used by the North Lake Tahoe Marketing Cooperative, the collaborative effort facilitated by the NTCA and Travel North Tahoe Nevada. It will continue to be used for consumer-facing outreach related to visiting North Lake Tahoe and the promotion of responsible travel.

Learn more at

Flatstick Pub partners with boys, girls club for Sunday FundDay

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — South Lake Tahoe’s Flatstick Pub, also known as Tipsy Putt, will be teaming up with the Boys & Girls Club of Lake Tahoe to give back to the local environment and community. 

Each Sunday of February, Flatstick Pub will donate $1 for every beer and $1 for every round of mini golf purchased from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Flatstick Pub’s one-of-a-kind mini golf course encourages camaraderie and a chance to bond with fellow civic-minded citizens over the needs of our community. Guests can learn from Boys & Girls Club of Lake Tahoe representatives how their efforts meet the challenges of their mission head-on.

Locally-owned and family-operated, Flatstick Pub is seeking to enliven and empower their community by hosting Sunday FundDay once a week every month with the intention of raising $200,000 for local nonprofits in 2023.

Back-to-back storms lead to massive snowpack, more than double of seasonal average

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The California snowpack is more than double of the seasonal average after receiving a significant boost from one of the wettest three-week periods on record, state officials announced Wednesday.

The Department of Water Resources on Wednesday, Feb. 1, conducted the survey at Phillips Station, at the entrance road to Sierra-at-Tahoe and recorded the snowpack at 205% of normal and a snow water equivalent of 33.5 inches, which is 193% of average for the location.

The snow water equivalent measures the amount of water contained in the snowpack and is a key component of DWR’s water supply forecast. 

The wettest three weeks followed what was the driest three-year period on record in California and also one of the hottest heat waves ever for September, said a DWR press release.

“California has always experienced some degree of swings between wet and dry, but the past few months have demonstrated how much more extreme those swings are becoming,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “California is preparing for more intense and dangerous climate swings by bolstering both drought and flood preparation. While today’s results are good news for water supplies, we know from experience how quickly snowpack can disappear if dry conditions return in the months ahead.”

Officials said April 1 is when the snowpack usually peaks.

DWR’s electronic readings from 130 snow sensors placed throughout the state indicate the statewide snowpack’s snow water equivalent is 33.7 inches, or 205% of average for this date. While those results are currently outpacing the record 1982-83 season, two months still remain. 

DWR said that every day it does not rain or snow, the conditions are drying. If California returns to dry conditions and the next two months lack additional precipitation, like what the state experienced last season, a significant snowpack early in the winter can quickly disappear. Periodic rain and snow over the next several months will be key to get the biggest water supply benefit from the state’s snowpack without posing additional flood risks.

“Large snow totals like today are a welcome sight but also present new challenges for water managers as they walk the fine line between water supply and flood control,” said DWR’s Snow Surveys and Water Supply Forecasting Unit Manager Sean de Guzman. “As we move into the snowmelt season in the spring, water managers will work to manage flood risk and optimize the snowpack’s water supply benefits during peak demands in the summer.”

On average, the Sierra snowpack supplies about 30% of California’s water needs and is an important factor in determining how DWR manages the state’s water resources. Its natural ability to store water is why the Sierra snowpack is often referred to as California’s “frozen reservoir.”

DWR is currently conducting Airborne Snow Observatory survey flights to collect more information on the snowpack accumulated by these powerful storms. Data from these flights, which use LiDAR and spectrometer technology to measure snowpack across broad swaths of key watersheds, will be used by DWR to get an accurate account of California’s snowpack and its water content and will increase the accuracy of water supply runoff forecasts. Since the storms California experienced in January saw variable snow elevations, this data, combined with snow course and snow sensor data, will help DWR understand how snow has been distributed across the Sierra Nevada.

These new data tools align with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s “California’s Water Supply Strategy: Adapting to a Hotter, Drier Future” which calls for modernizing how the state manages water. The tools will also help inform flood management decisions, which will be increasingly important as California swings between extreme drought and flood. The recently adopted 2022 Update to the Central Valley Flood Protection Plan emphasizes the importance of flood management and the need to adapt California’s flood infrastructure to a rapidly changing climate.   

The next survey is tentatively scheduled for March 1.

Wildfires, colliding with drought, burning California’s snowy landscapes, shrinking snowpack

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The early pandemic years overlapped with some of California’s worst wildfires on record, creating haunting, orange-tinted skies and wide swathes of burned landscape. Some of the impacts of these fires are well known, including drastic declines in air quality, and now a new study shows how these wildfires combined with midwinter drought conditions accelerate snowmelt.  

In a study published Jan. 20 in Geophysical Research Letters, a DRI-led research team examined what happens to mountain snowpacks when sunny, midwinter dry spells occur in forests impacted by severe wildfire. The researchers found a substantial increase in wildfires burning in California’s snowy landscapes throughout 2020 and 2021, when large blazes like the Dixie, Caldor, and Creek fires concentrated in snow zones. Using a 2013 midwinter dry spell as comparison, they found that similar weather in the winter of 2021-2022 led to 50% less snow cover. The compounding impacts of wildfire on snow melt include an increase in sun exposure due to loss of forest canopy, and a reduction in the snow’s ability to reflect sunlight.  

“It’s already established that wildfires are accelerating spring snow melt, but we wanted to know what happens when you add a long winter dry spell on top of that,” said Arielle Koshkin, M.S., a Ph.D. student now at the Colorado School of Mines who co-led the study as part of her master’s research at DRI and the University of Nevada, Reno. “The Caldor Fire burned in our backyard, it was so close to where we live and work. So, the following winter, we wanted to investigate what it looked like.” 

Satellite data showed that compared to the 2001-2019 average, 2020 and 2021 saw a nearly ten-fold increase in wildfires burning in California’s seasonal snow zones. 

“What that implies is that there’s this increasing overlap between the fire and snow and there’s all these cascading and compounding impacts on the system and especially the hydrology,” said Ben Hatchett, Ph.D., a climatologist at DRI who co-led the study with Koshkin. “This huge increase of fire activity in California snowy regions is exactly what we expect to see more of going forward.”  

A strong winter drought followed during the winter of 2021-2022, when Tahoe City experienced a 46-day long midwinter dry spell (the second-longest since reliable records began in 1917; the long-term median is 22 days without precipitation). A comparable midwinter drought following a wet start to the winter occurred in 2013, giving the researchers the ability to compare and contrast the impacts under more typical conditions with those that occurred in a severely burnt landscape.  

“In 2013 and 2022, we had very similar weather patterns, but we didn’t see notable melt in 2013. And in 2022, we also did not see melt in unburned areas,” Hatchett said. “So that gives two lines of evidence suggesting that it’s the fire and not the meteorology that’s driving this.” 

Forests where severe wildfires have burnt the tree canopy have more exposed snowpacks, which enhances the melting caused by sunny days and warm nights (another recent DRI study examined the snowmelt impacts of spring heatwaves). Snowmelt is further exacerbated by the loss of the snowpack’s albedo, or the natural power of white snow to reflect, rather than absorb, the sun’s radiation. Particularly in the winters immediately following a wildfire, snow is dusted with the black carbon of burnt vegetation, which can accelerate snowmelt rates by up to 57%.  

The enhanced snowmelt was so pronounced within the perimeter of the Caldor fire that the researchers found a total of 50 fewer days with snow cover in the winter of 2021-2022 – the lowest number of snow cover days on record.  

Following a wildfire, “there are two timescales of interest: right after the fire, the loss in albedo really dominates,” said Hatchett. “But impacts from the loss of canopy last for decades, maybe longer if the forest does not recover.” 

The enhanced snowmelt midwinter creates challenges for forecasting water availability from the natural snowpack reservoir. During the winter months, water managers need to leave room in reservoirs to prevent flooding; this means that earlier snowmelt may not be captured for later use in the dry season. Studies like this provide water managers with the tools to make more accurate predictions of the timing and magnitude of snowmelt.  

“The fires have made major landscape disturbances that we’re not taking into account in our forecasting abilities,” Koshkin said. “I think this study is showing that wildfire impacts are huge, and we need to implement this into our ability to understand how water runs off the landscape. It’s part of our world and it’s increasing and it’s going to affect more snowy places. So, it’s important to make sure that we understand the outcomes in our models and management plans.” 

Koshkin plans to expand on this research for her Ph.D. studies by examining regional variation of fire impacts on snow. She notes that how wildfire impacts snowmelt in the Sierra Nevada may look different in Colorado or Idaho, due to different weather and snowpack conditions.  

 The researchers emphasize that the wildfire impacts seen in this study are the result of high-severity wildfires, and not lower-severity burns like prescribed fires. “This study really highlights the importance of bringing fire back onto our landscape in the sense that we need fire – good fire is the answer to our wildfire problem,” Hatchett says. “Bringing a more natural regime of fire, through prescribed and cultural fire, back onto our landscape will help reduce the likelihood of future severe fire.” 

“We can recognize that this could be our new normal,” Koshkin said, “but we also have the ability to adapt and manage and mitigate as much as possible.” 

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Zephyr Cove thief receives up to 4 years in prison

ZEPHYR COVE, Nev. — A man who claimed he stole packages to feed his fentanyl addiction was sentenced to 19-48 months in prison Monday in Douglas County Court.

Jordan Michael Keeney, 35, stole four packages from a residence in Zephyr Cove in August 2021.

According to court documents, the Ring doorbell camera caught footage of Keeney and a warrant was issued for his arrest. He was arrested in November 2022 in El Dorado County after he had stolen a vehicle. During the arrest, Keeney provided authorities with false identification.

According to defense attorney, Keeney was stealing to feed his fentanyl addiction, and was seeking probation and a chance to get sober.

“I have never sought treatment before and it seems I have everything I need to achieve it,” said Keeney.

Prosecutors said Keeney has similar convictions that date back as far as 2016, including two felonies and a gross misdemeanor and failing to comply with drug court, which does not make him a good candidate for probation in this case.

He was required to pay restitution in the amount of $1,884.19. He was given credit for 79 days. On count two of providing false identification, he was sentenced to 77 days in jail which is to run concurrent with count one.

Officials eyeing weekend storm that could drop a foot of snow at Tahoe

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — After a few mostly sunny days to end the week, the weather pattern looks to be changing this weekend with a storm that could drop a foot of snow at Lake Tahoe.

High temps will be in the mid 40s into Friday and then the winds will start to pick up in the afternoon with up to 25 mph gusts expected with up to 90 mph for Sierra ridges. 

Saturday will be partly sunny with a high in the upper 40s before a winter storm moves into the region. A bit of snow could fall as well later in the afternoon/evening.

The National Weather Service in Reno says the next storm wave behind Friday’s wind maker has been trending wetter for Sunday into Monday morning.

The service said snowfall potential with this storm has about a 40% chance of producing up to a foot of snow along the Sierra crest passes from Sunday morning into Monday morning with around 6 inches for lower Tahoe Basin communities. There is a low chance that snow flurries could begin Saturday afternoon.

The best potential for precipitation into western Nevada valleys looks to be on Sunday with snow levels generating a rain/snow mix for lower valleys at times. Any snow accumulation looks limited at this time, with the best snow potential residing for foothill areas above 5,000 feet, the service said.

Clean up the Lake highlights efforts for 2023, including return to Tahoe

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Following on the successful 72-mile clean-up of Lake Tahoe in 2022, the dive team that coordinated the effort is expanding its underwater clean-up plans in 2023.

Clean up the Lake, a nonprofit committed to fighting back against plastic and pollution both above and below the surface of local waters, will return to Lake Tahoe and nearby Fallen Leaf Lake this year and also has plans to clean up Echo Lake, Boca and Stampede Reservoirs in Truckee and four different lakes in Mono County and the Mammoth Lakes Basin.

The CUTL dive team is already back in the water in Lake Tahoe, with plans to revisit 40 different dive sites around the lake in 2023. Three separate Tahoe-based projects will take place, focused on deep dive litter accumulation studies at 35 and 70 feet and also looking into “terrain traps,” or how the lake’s bathymetry, wind, currents and recreation affect litter accumulation trends throughout Lake Tahoe.  

“The projects we are doing in Lake Tahoe this year are building on what we’ve already accomplished and will help us better understand freshwater litter accumulation while guiding future work both here in Lake Tahoe and other freshwater lakes in need of our efforts,” said Colin West, founder and executive director of Clean up the Lake. “We’re also really excited to launch the Youth Education Program in collaboration with the Pay It Forward Project. This new initiative will work to engage and educate young people in the Reno-Tahoe community on the importance of environmental conservation.”

This year, CUTL will complete the circumnavigated clean-up of Fallen Leaf Lake that started in 2022 and produced some of the highest underwater litter totals in the Tahoe Basin. The organization will also launch pilot research on Boca and Stampede Reservoirs in Truckee and Echo Lake near South Lake Tahoe, and return to Mono County and the Mammoth Lakes Basin to execute various projects on four different lakes.

Throughout their work in 2023, the team will also be implementing an extensive invasive species surveillance program they have developed; surveys have already been conducted around Donner Lake, June Lake and half of Fallen Leaf Lake’s circumference.

Last year, CUTL’s 72-mile clean-up effort in Lake Tahoe resulted in the removal of 25,282 pounds of small litter from the lake, while also GPS identifying 485 heavy lift objects slotted for future removal. This effort was just the beginning, as CUTL dive teams also removed an additional 25,000 pounds of debris from seven smaller lakes. One such lake was Donner Lake, where after their work this last year, over 13,000 pounds of litter has been removed. With the support of various partnerships including Visit Mammoth, the organization was also able to expand its reach in the High Sierra in and around Mammoth Lakes.  

The CUTL dive team is already back in the water in Lake Tahoe, with plans to revisit 40 different dive sites around the lake in 2023.
Provided/Clean up the Lake

Women in leadership: Opportunity to Thrive registration open

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Women professionals and leaders in the Lake Tahoe region are invited to attend Women in Leadership: Opportunity to Thrive from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15, at the Beach Retreat and Lodge. Registrations are open through Feb. 3 or until sold out.

The event will be presented by Elena Armijo, master certified coach, founder and CEO of The C-Suite Collective, and certified dare to lead facilitator has a strong track record of supporting clients and organizations in creating impact, culture shifts and leadership development. Her unique ability to identify common patterns while generating new awareness and re-invention leaves clients with the ability to make stronger choices, clearer decisions and powerful steps toward their desired outcomes.

“Supporting women in leadership lights up my soul,” said Armijo. “Fully expressed, empathic and grounded women leading others has the possibility to change how we experience our world.”

The workshop will cover several topic areas including:

  • Succession Planning – Creating Women’s Voices at the Table
  • Coaching VS Mentoring – How They Are Different, Why They Are Important and How to Implement
  • Leading Through Legacy – Women Leading Women and Women Replacing WomenTickets are $150 for Tahoe Chamber members and $165 General. Lunch is included. Limited seats are available. All previous events were sold out so register early at

Reports say 2022 was good for Nevada casinos, tourism

LAS VEGAS — The year 2022 was good for gambling and tourism in Nevada, where winnings at casinos statewide set calendar year records and Las Vegas visitor tallies nearly reached levels before the coronavirus pandemic.

“Las Vegas enjoyed a robust recovery trajectory across core tourism indicators in 2022,” the regional Convention and Visitors Authority said in a report summarizing December and year-end visitor volume figures on Tuesday.

“The year closed out with 38.8 million annual visitors,” the report said, up more than 20% from 2021 and down just under 9% from 42.5 million in 2019.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board said separately that 459 large casinos statewide won an all-time high $14.8 billion last year, up more than 23% from calendar year 2019.

That translated to nearly $945 million in taxes and fees for the state, Michael Lawton, board senior analyst said. That’s an increase of about $8 million compared with 2021 and up almost 25% from $758 million in pre-pandemic 2019.

The figures are important, because casino taxes make up about 17% of state revenues, second only to sales taxes in a state that has no personal income tax.

A 10-year bar chart of what the board terms “casino win” figures shows steady annual increases since 2013, except in 2020 when all casinos and many other businesses statewide were closed from mid-March to early June 2020.

December marked the 22nd consecutive month that casinos reported at least $1 billion in winnings, which is an unprecedented stretch, Lawton said.

“We’re still feeling the effects of pent-up demand from COVID, as well as overall growth of interest,” said Brett Abarbanel, executive director of the International Gaming Institute at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

“Our entertainment mix has grown through COVID and beyond,” she said, citing, “sports, shows, concerts, and of course, gambling.”

Convention attendance has also been recovering in Las Vegas, the visitors authority said. It counted just under 5 million people at conferences and trade shows in 2022, or about three‐quarters of the 2019 tally of 6.6 million convention attendees.

Lawton noted that a large, new gambling property opened in Nevada in 2022: Legends Bay Casino in Sparks. Several businesses closed, including the Tahoe Biltmore Lodge & Casino, and the Fiesta, Texas Station and Fiesta Henderson properties in the Las Vegas area.

Table-game winnings statewide of $4.8 billion topped the previous record of $4.4 billion set in 2007, Lawton said. House winnings from blackjack and other card games, baccarat, craps and roulette were all higher in 2022 than in 2021.

Casino sports books set a new record last year, winning almost $447 million statewide on $8.7 billion in wagers, Lawton said. In 2021, those figures were $445 million and $8.1 billion.

Sports wagers made using mobile apps accounted for more than 68% of sports wagers statewide, up from 65% last year, Lawton added.

Abarbanel, at UNLV, attributed rapid growth in online sports betting to a “novelty effect” as more states allow internet bets and aggressive advertising by legal betting companies.

“Typically, this novelty effect plateaus after a while,” she observed, adding that current levels of advertising have prompted some states to make what she termed “regulatory changes that tighten up their original plans.”

‘Unprecedented’ amount of potholes being strategically fixed in South Lake Tahoe

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The City is strategically repairing an unprecedented amount of potholes due to freeze-thaw cycles from record-breaking precipitation, officials announced Tuesday.

“With the break in storms, this gives us the perfect opportunity to fill potholes along our city streets,” said Director of Public Works Anush Nejad. “Right now, our focus is the main arterial roadways. While we understand many other streets in the city are impacted, we ask for your patience as we assess all streets and prioritize pothole repairs based on need.”

The City said with further precipitation over the next several months, “we will continue to see additional potholes including some deterioration of ones that have been fixed.”

Pothole repairs done during the winter or colder months are only a temporary fix due to using a cold-mix asphalt. When temperatures increase and the materials are available, the City said it will use a hot-mix asphalt which will extend the pothole repair for up to a year. 

Officials advise drivers that due to rough road conditions, to adjust speed accordingly.

“Please take it slow in work zones and give right-of-way to the City’s work crews,” said a news release. “If possible, use an alternate route while work is being done and expect traffic delays during road maintenance. Pothole repairs will continue as weather permits throughout the season.”  

Stay current with the city’s road operations visit Twitter @cityofslt.


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