Popular national parks to raise fees to $35, not $70

WASHINGTON — The Interior Department is increasing fees at the most popular national parks to $35 per vehicle, backing down from an earlier plan that would have forced visitors to pay $70 per vehicle to visit the Grand Canyon, Yosemite and other iconic parks.

A change announced Thursday will boost fees at 17 popular parks by $5, up from the current $30 but far below the figure Interior proposed last fall.

The plan by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke drew widespread opposition from lawmakers and governors of both parties, who said the higher fees could exclude many Americans from enjoying national parks. The agency received more than 109,000 comments on the plan, most of them opposed.

Most of the rate hikes take effect June 1, the National Park Service said. The $35 fee applies mostly in the West and will affect such popular parks as Yellowstone, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Mount Rainier, Rocky Mountain and Grand Teton parks, among others.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said the fee hikes were needed to help maintain the parks and begin to address an $11.6 billion maintenance backlog.

“Every dollar spent to rebuild our parks will help bolster the gateway communities that rely on park visitation for economic vitality,” Zinke said.

Zinke thanked those who made their voices heard through the public comment process: “Your input has helped us develop a balanced plan that focuses on modest increases,” he said.

The maintenance backlog “isn’t going to be solved overnight and will require a multi-tiered approach as we work to provide badly needed revenue to repair infrastructure,” Zinke added.

Theresa Pierno, president and CEO of the National Park Conservation Association, hailed the new fee structure.

“The public spoke, and the administration listened,” she said, noting that the plan to nearly triple fees at popular parks was opposed by a range of businesses, gateway communities, governors, tourism groups, conservation organizations and the public.

The revised fee plan is “a big win for park lovers everywhere,” said Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona, top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee.

“This is a prime example that activism works,” Grijalva added. “The American people raised their concerns, participated in the public comment period and made sure that the Trump White House knew the proposal was unpopular.”

Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell, top Democrat on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said she was glad Zinke “abandoned his reckless plan to almost triple park fees on American families,” but said the new plan lacks transparency or a full analysis of the impact fee hikes will have on park visitation and local economies.

She opposes “any action that creates barriers to accessing public lands,” Cantwell said.

The fee schedule announced Thursday sets a $5 increase for all parks that charge entrance fees. Parks that previously charged $15 will now charge $20; a $20 fee will rise to $25; and a $25 fee will now be $30.

The current $30 fee is the highest charged by the park service and applies to the 17 most-visited parks. More than two-thirds of national parks will remain free to enter.

Scorpions joins 2018 Lake Tahoe Summer Concert Series

Rock band Scorpions is the latest addition to the 2018 Lake Tahoe Summer Concert Series lineup. On Friday, Aug. 31, the German group will take the stage at Harveys Outdoor Arena at 7:30 p.m.

The band, which formed in the ’60s, is known for classics including “Rock You Like a Hurricane” and “Wind of Change.”

“In these 50 years, they have become Germany’s, or rather Continental Europe’s, most successful rock band, the living proof that not only VW, Mercedes or BMW are able to compete internationally, but classic rock music made in Germany as well,” states Scorpions’ online biography.

Washington-based heavy metal outfit Queensrÿche will open the South Shore show.

Tickets for the gig range from $69.50 to $149.50, and go on sale to the general public via Ticketmaster on Friday, April 20.

The 2018 Lake Tahoe Summer Concert Series features performances by fellow rock artists Robert Plant, Phish, Steve Miller Band with Peter Frampton and Dave Matthews Band.

Few inches overnight, more snow on the way (video)

The Lake Tahoe Basin got a dusting of snow Wednesday night with Heavenly Mountain Resort receiving two inches, Sierra-at-Tahoe eight inches and Diamond Peak on the North Shore received an inch. Sierra reportedly received the highest amount of any Tahoe resort. Temperatures the next couple of days in South Lake Tahoe will get down to freezing at night with highs in the 50s, according to the National Weather Service. A stronger wave of moisture is headed our way Sunday night and may dump several inches of snow. The only resort remaining open on the South Shore after Sunday is Heavenly. The California side will close at the end of the day Sunday, April 15, but the Nevada side will be open through April 22.

Battle of the Girl Bands makes debut at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino

In light of it being Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Hard Rock Hotel and Casino is hosting an all-new event in support of the cause and nonprofit Live Violence Free's campaign to promote a violence-free community.

On Saturday, April 14, the South Shore-based resort opens the doors to its Vinyl venue for the first-ever Battle of the Girl Bands.

"Guests will be able to watch as several female-led bands battle against each other to help raise awareness and bring the community together for an electrifying, music-filled evening," states a press release from Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.

But that's not all the night has in store.

"Before and during the event, guests will be able to bring or purchase a clothing item to decorate with an empowering message, which will be strung throughout the venue to support the cause," continues the release.

Doors open at 8 p.m. for the 8:30 p.m. show. Tickets cost $15 and are available through the venue's website (www.hardrockcasinolaketahoe.com), where additional information can be found.

All proceeds benefit a local Lake Tahoe shelter, according to the site.

Hard Rock Hotel and Casino is located at 50 U.S. 50 in Stateline.

Green and Blue Day, April 13 at Barton Hospital, celebrates organ donors

April is National Donate Life Month, focusing national attention on every individual's power to make life possible by registering their decision to be an organ, eye and tissue donor, and learning more about living donation. In El Dorado County, we celebrate Green and Blue Day to raise awareness of the importance of local registered organ donors.

Community members are invited to visit Barton Memorial Hospital on Blue and Green Day, Friday, April 13, to register or check their organ donor status from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. in the hospital's main entrance lobby. The Barton Gift Shop will be offering 20 percent off for all organ donors, and anyone wearing blue and green from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

"The act of registering your decision to be an organ, eye and tissue donor takes less than a minute. Your one action can serve as a lifesaving prism, transforming your decision into life and healing for more than 75 people, their families and their communities," says David Fleming, President and CEO of Donate Life America.

Beyond Blue and Green Day, interested donors can register their decision to be an organ, eye and tissue donor at any California DMV office, online at RegisterMe.org, or in the Medical ID tab of the iPhone Health app.

Currently, 43 percent of Californians have registered to be organ, eye and tissue donors at the time of their death. Yet the number of people in need of transplants continues to outpace the number of organs donated. According to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, 116,000 people are waiting for a transplant and a second chance at life, including over 21,000 Californians. On average, 22 people die each day because the organ they need is not donated in time — that is almost one person dying every hour.

You can help by registering your decision to be an organ, eye and tissue donor, and learning more about living donation. To learn more about being a living donor, please visit LivingDonationCalifornia.org.

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South Lake Tahoe seeks to fill 2 seats on planning commission

The city of South Lake Tahoe is in need of two new members for its planning commission.

The openings follow resignations from commissioners Jamie Orr and Jesse Dwyer, both of whom moved outside city limits, making them ineligible for the commission.

"It has been a pleasure serving for the past year and working closely with city staff and my fellow commissioners," Orr wrote in a resignation letter to council. "I am thankful for the confidence of the members of city council in appointing me to this role and hope that I have fulfilled my duties to the residents of the city."

Dwyer, who is moving out of the country, shared similar sentiments in his resignation letter.

"The theme of the resignation is just one of gratitude: I learned so much in this short time from you and Kevin [Fabino] and others, and the example you set is nothing short of inspiring."

City Clerk Susan Alessi will be accepting applications for the two open seats until Tuesday, April 24, with City Council expected to make the appointments at its May 1 meeting.

Applications can be picked up at the clerk's office at 1901 Airport Road between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Applications can be emailed, mailed or faxed upon request to the clerk's office. Completed applications must be returned no later than 5 p.m., on April 24.

Contact Alessi at 530-542-6004 for more information.

Valhalla Tahoe announces Art, Music & Theatre Festival lineup

Valhalla Tahoe's annual Art, Music & Theatre Festival celebrates its 39th year with live entertainment that kicks off in June and lasts through October. According to a press release from Valhalla, it's the most diverse and ambitious festival since the tradition began.

"The lineup provides a little something for everyone! Between the great performances and the natural setting you can't beat Valhalla Tahoe for one of the best experiences on the lake. This year should be more fun than ever," said Sharon Romack, the new executive director of Valhalla Tahoe.

This year the Art, Music & Theatre Festival offers musical and dramatic theater, comedy shows, concerts and more. The summer-long fun begins on Friday, June 22, with Little Faith, an R&B, soul and gospel collective.

Other performers scheduled to headline Valhalla's season include: the Tahoe Improv Players (June 30, July 10, 24 and 31); Broadway in Blue — a revue featuring songs from classic and contemporary Broadway shows (July 5-8, 12-15); Capoeira, Dance and Drumming Workshops with SambaDa, a Brazilian dance band (July 17-18); Tea for Three: Lady Bird, Pat & Betty — a one-woman show about life and love in the White House (July 19-22); James Garner's Tribute to Johnny Cash (Aug. 1); and Ultrafaux with Evan Price — a concert highlighting Balkan folk, gypsy swing, be-bop, funk and more (Sept. 5).

Additional entertainment is expected to round out the current lineup. Visit http://www.valhallatahoe.com for information and a full schedule.

Bonnie Boyd Skinner

former 31 year resident of South Lake Tahoe,passed away 7 April 2018 from a stroke in the company of her long-term domestic

partner Carlos Ballantyne.

Besides Carlos, Bonnie leaves behind a sister Connie Baxter of Paso Robles, CA; Brother Larry Boyd, Jr. of Los Angeles;

blood sister Pam Sakaida of Topanga Canyon, CA; dear sister-in-law Susan Skinner of Carmichael,CA; and many cousins,nieces & nephews.

In addition to her many social graces and bountiful hospitality, Bonnie was

a noted hiker and mountain climber having ascended all of California's 14,000' peaks and climbed to 20,000' in the Andes in the company of her late husband Bob Skinner.

It is requested that donations be made in Bonnie's name to http://www.peruvianhearts.org/ (Peruvian Hearts dot org) as Bonnie and her late husband had a lifelong interest in the welfare of the children of Mexico, Ecuador, Bolivia, and especially Peru where she travelled 8 times.

Josephine Ann (Jo) Azevedo

Josephine Ann (Jo) Azevedo- 93 passed away on March 9, 2018 at her home in South Lake Tahoe, CA. She passed peacefully with her daughters Toni and Terry by her side.

She was born in Mt. View Ca on February 20, 1925 to Anthony and Mary Unquera. She graduated from Mt. View High School and pursued a career in Cosmetology while also working the family business at her parents Café. She was introduced to Eugene (Chet) Azevedo by writing to him while he was in the Korean War. After a year of writing to each other they met in person and were married August 14, 1955 and honeymooned in South Lake Tahoe.

The family went on a family vacation in August 1969 to South Lake Tahoe and moved there a year later as they knew Tahoe was the place they wanted to raise their children. She worked at Barton Memorial hospital for 20 years though she wanted to retire at 67 her love of helping and being around people drew her to continue working and did so for the South Lake Tahoe Senior Center until she decided that at 81 it was time to enjoy her great grandchildren and retired.

She is survived by daughters Toni and Terry, grand-daughter Stefanie (Azevedo) McGrath her husband Seth McGrath and great-Grandchildren Spencer, Trent and Hayden. Sister Esther Knab (Unquera), nieces, and nephews and great nieces and nephews. She is preceded by her husband Eugene (Chet) Azevedo and son Eddie Azevedo.

Our family would like to send out a special thank you to Barton Memorial Hospice and Citizen Assist of South Lake Tahoe Fire Department for your assistance and kindness.

Services will be held on Friday, May 4, 2018 at 2 pm at Happy Homestead Cemetery. Reception will immediately follow.