News Briefs

Hospital Secures Lease at Former Rite Aid

TAHOE/TRUCKEE

Tahoe Forest Health System announced a secured long-term lease on the space formerly occupied by Rite Aid Truckee in the Gateway Center. The 21,000-square-foot building, located at 11230 Donner Pass Rd., has been vacant since Rite Aid closed its doors in December 2023.

“In our continuous pursuit to make health care convenient for our community, we are excited about the possibilities this new space opens up for us,” said Harry Weis, president and CEO of Tahoe Forest Health System. “This building will give us greater flexibility in providing a larger array of servic

es to the public. And it has the additional benefit of being centrally located, with easy parking and access.”

Plans for the space have not yet been announced; however, the health system is working to determine which services will be most beneficial to the community at this location.

~ Tahoe Forest Health System press release

TDPUD Board Approves Electric Bill Credit for Customers

TRUCKEE

At Truckee Donner Public Utility District’s May board of directors meeting, the board approved an electric bill credit under the new Power Cost Adjustment rate, approved a water infrastructure project in Tahoe Donner, and held a workshop to review TDPUD’s new Emergency Operations Plan.

A Power Cost Adjustment rate option allows electric bills to reflect changes in electric resource procurement costs in order to adapt to short-term price changes in real time, without requiring a permanent rate change. The PCA is calculated and implemented quarterly and is a new line item on customers’ monthly bills.

During the first three months of 2024, power costs were about $325,500 less than TDPUD budgeted for, which will result in a credit to customers of $.0088 per kilowatt hour on their bill for May, June, and July. The exact credit amounts to an average residential credit of $7.36 per month.

Power costs were under budget due to lower prices on natural gas, landfill gas, and wind. Additionally, with this year’s mild winter, customers used less energy for heating than was anticipated. Under the PCA rate option, TDPUD doesn’t keep that overage in reserves. If there is a quarter where power costs exceed budget, the result is a subsequent overage charge for customers.

In other TDPUD news, the Ski Run water tank and pump station serve customers in the upper elevations of Tahoe Donner. This tank is 50 years old, and after inspection, rehabilitation was not recommended because the tank is undersized for the system’s current needs. It also does not meet current industry standards, which have changed since its construction. The cost of repair is close to the cost of replacement. Construction will begin this month and is anticipated to be completed in October.

TDPUD staff also presented the board with its new Emergency Operations Plan, which describes how TDPUD will respond in an emergency.

Information about TDPUD board meetings and access to agendas, minutes, live streaming, and archived video can be found at tdpud.org/boardmeetings.

~ TDPUD press release

Over 414,000 Acres Designated for Winter Vehicle Recreation 

NEVADA CITY

The Tahoe National Forest has designated 414,721 acres for winter over-snow vehicle use, including 373 miles of trails, of which up to 247 miles will be groomed for motorized recreation use. This designation will help to ensure the health and safety of all recreationists, prevent damage to natural and cultural resources and will protect threatened, endangered, and sensitive wildlife species. The decision has been finalized after several years of analysis, consultation with tribes, and robust public engagement with interested groups, individuals, and agencies.

Each forest designates over-snow use roads, trails, and areas. Designations also help to ensure the health and safety of all recreationists, prevent damage to natural resources, such as to water and soils, and protect wildlife, particularly those deemed endangered or threatened.  

OSV users can continue to recreate in popular wintertime areas on the Tahoe National Forest including Sierra Buttes/Lake Basin, Robinson Flat, Donner Summit, Yuba Pass, Carpenter Ridge, White Rock Lake, and more. 

Best management practices for water quality will be applied to minimize the impact of snowmelt runoff on road surfaces and mitigate adverse effects to soil, water quality, and riparian resources from OSV use. Additionally, OSV use will continue to be off limits in key deer winter range, important habitat for the threatened Lahontan cutthroat trout population at Independence Lake,  and critical habitat areas for the endangered Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog. Use will also be limited in some areas of the forest to protect nearby historic structures. 

OSV designations will be implemented prior to the 2025 snow recreation season. More information on Tahoe National Forest’s Over-Snow Vehicle Use Designation Project, including the final environmental impact statement, record of decision, and maps are available at fs.usda.gov/project/?project=45914

~ Tahoe National Forest press release

Grant Awarded to Construct North Tahoe Trail Segment

NORTH TAHOE

Placer County’s North Tahoe shared-use trail was one of two projects awarded a community sustainability and climate resilience grant at the California Tahoe Conservancy Board meeting.

The project received $1.2 million for the construction of the first of three remaining segments. Segment 1 will connect North Tahoe Regional Park to Carnelian Bay with 2.52 miles of paved Class 1 shared-use trail. This new trail segment will expand the North Shore shared-use trail network and provide alternative transportation options.

“Our goal is to have more recreation opportunities and encourage people to get out of their personal vehicles,” said Placer County project manager Andy Deinken. “It’s one part of a larger effort to reduce traffic congestion throughout North Lake Tahoe.”

SHARED-USE TRAIL: The project received $1.2 million to build the first of three segments of the North Tahoe shared-use trail. Segment 1 will connect North Tahoe Regional Park to Carnelian Bay. Courtesy photo

The 8-mile connection between North Tahoe Regional Park and Tahoe City includes three remaining phases to be constructed. The first portion of the trail will begin construction at the park and head southwest up the ridge around the shale outcropping to offer views of Agate Bay. While multiple alternatives were considered, the trail’s current alignment offers the most protection for riders and pedestrians by avoiding main highways.

The trail will merge at Carnelian Bay Avenue, providing unpaved access north to Brockway Summit and a future connection west to the Dollar Creek Trail.

Since 2014, the trail has been reviewed by Placer County’s Board of Supervisors six times. This project has been highlighted at additional public meetings including one in March of 2022 to discuss the environmental review.

When complete, the North Tahoe shared-use trail will connect the North Shore communities of Tahoe Vista, Carnelian Bay, and Tahoe City. The trail is Placer County’s portion of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s plan for a continuous paved path circumnavigating Lake Tahoe.  

Learn more at placer.ca.gov/8884/north-tahoe-trail.

~ Placer County enews

Over $2 Million Approved for Projects

TAHOE CITY

Four investment projects in eastern Placer County, amounting to nearly $2.7 million, were approved by the Placer County Board of Supervisors to advance regional goals, including improved transportation and recreation.

Revenue from Tahoe’s Transient Occupancy Tax is being used to fund the projects, which were solicited, vetted, and recommended through the North Tahoe Community Alliance Board of Directors, the TOT committee, and the Capital Projects Advisory committee, and moved forward via the TOT-TBID Dollars at Work annual grant cycle.

The board approved a total of $2,680,000 in TOT funds for the following projects over the next year:

  • $250,000 for the North Tahoe Recreation Access Plan project led by Placer County in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service to improve the existing infrastructure at the site located off Thelin Drive in Truckee
  • $2 million to construct Martis Valley Trail Segment 3F via the Northstar Community Services District, which will complete the trail from Northstar Castle Peak parking lots to the Village at Northstar
  • $400,000 to construct Phase 2 of the Tahoe Cross Country Lodge project overseen by the Tahoe Cross Country Ski Education Association
  • $30,000 to construct North Tahoe Mountain Biking Trails/FS 73 Bypass via the Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association in partnership with U.S. Forest Service to connect the bottom of the Antone Meadows area to the Whoop-de-doo Trail and the Tahoe Rim Trail Painted Rock section.

Learn more about TOT funding and projects in North Lake Tahoe at placer.ca.gov/8199/transient-occupancy-tax.

~ Placer County press release

Student Activist Team Wins National Challenge

TRUCKEE

The Tahoe Youth Action Team, the youth division of the North Tahoe chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby, won first place in CCL’s national Great School Electrification Challenge. This contest called for student groups to work to get their school district to pass a decarbonization resolution to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions produced from school buildings and operations.

“The Great School Electrification Challenge provides a framework for students to engage civically in their own communities. As the most important users of school buildings, students have both a unique stake and a unique power to advocate for change,” said Sharon Bagatell, CCL’s youth action coordinator.

At the beginning of 2023, TYAT, led by Truckee High School senior Keira Scott, made a strategic decision to convince the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District to increase its commitment to sustainability and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. 

Shortly thereafter, CCL’s National Youth Action Team announced the Great School Electrification Challenge, which TYAT entered. Their work in drafting and presenting a  resolution to the TTUSD board and building community support for it was so skilled, respectful, and effective, they were invited to present to last June’s national CCL conference in Washington, D.C.  While there, Scott and junior Sophia Martin also lobbied Congress with 1,000 other CCL volunteers from around the country to urge strong legislative action on climate change.

TYAT students are continuing discussions with TTUSD on the goals of the proposed resolution. They urged the school district to create a dedicated sustainability director position, which the district has done. They are now planning to urge the sustainability director to undertake, with community input, a greenhouse gas inventory and a climate action and sustainability plan for the district.

~ North Tahoe Citizens’ Climate Lobby press release

Demonstration Shows Effectiveness of Wildfire Mitigation

ROSEVILLE

The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, in collaboration with Cal Fire Office of the State Fire Marshal, showed the effectiveness of research-based wildfire mitigation during a live burn demonstration conducted as part of Wildfire Preparedness Week. 

Based on the latest research, IBHS’s Wildfire Prepared Home program provides a system of actions Californians can take to meaningfully reduce their home’s chance of ignition from embers, including creating defensible space.

The demonstration highlighted the importance of maintaining a noncombustible 5-foot buffer zone, termed Zone 0, around residential structures to mitigate the risk of ignition during wildfires.

Emphasizing the significance of this effort, IBHS CEO Roy Wright said, “While moving shrubs five feet from your home may not be the traditional method of landscaping, it provides the best opportunity to have a house to come home to when a wildfire comes through. It limits your exposure to embers. And the good news is there are attractive ways to do this so that homeowners can both mitigate their wildfire risk and maintain curb appeal.”

DEFENSIBLE SPACE: A recent demonstration showed the effectiveness of maintaining a noncombustible 5-foot buffer zone to prevent structure ignition. Courtesy photo

State Fire Marshal Chief Daniel Berlant further emphasized how this demonstration should encourage Californians to take steps to harden their homes and create defensible space around their property. “Although California received a substantial amount of rain this past winter, we must prepare ourselves for peak wildfire season now as the grass is already growing tall across the state. This demonstration showed how vulnerable a home can be and how much of a difference taking steps to prepare for wildfire can make,” he said. “Now is the time to prepare your home for peak wildfire season. A few quick steps to take include removing all combustible materials, like vegetation and mulch, within 5 feet of your home, clearing your roof and gutters of leaves and debris, and repairing holes or gaps greater than 1/8 inch in exterior siding, including vents.”

For more information on the importance of home hardening and defensible space, visit readyforwildfire.org. To learn more about Wildfire Prepared Home, visit wildfireprepared.org.

~ Cal Fire press release

Workforce Scholarships for In-Demand Careers

TRUCKEE

From May 15 through June 30, Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation will accept applications for workforce scholarships. Applications are open to young adults pursuing in-demand careers, such as education, vocational career paths, aviation, and science, technology, engineering, and math, that benefit our region. All scholarships are awarded via a single online common application provided and facilitated by TTCF. Applicant eligibility and requirements can be found at ttcf.net.

Richard and Theresa Crocker provide substantial scholarship funds through TTCF to help students pursue careers in counseling, education, and more.

The S.H.E. Foundation Scholarship is for those pursuing a career in teaching or education. It offers scholarships to both high school seniors attending college for education ($15,000) and adults pursuing education or teaching via its workforce scholarship for $20,000.

The Steve Shippy Vocational Scholarship is for those pursuing vocational career paths; $20,000 is available for awards of at least $5,000 each.

YULISA MENDEZ, a Tahoe local, received a workforce scholarship to attend graduate school to become a bilingual counselor. Courtesy photo

The Truckee Tahoe Airport District Aviation/STEM Career Path Scholarship, of which $40,000 is available, aims to help those pursuing aviation and STEM careers.

Professional organizations and individuals can contribute by donating through TTCF’s workforce scholarship fund, a donor-advised fund, or by opening a scholarship fund. To learn more, email phyllis@ttcf.net.

~ Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation press release

Fentanyl Crisis Campaign Report

PLACER COUNTY

The Placer County 1 Pill Can Kill Placer campaign released its annual update reaffirming the county’s collective commitment to fighting the fentanyl crisis. Key campaign updates: 

  • Distribution of new opioid settlement funds countywide  
  • A new dedicated position to the District Attorney’s Community Outreach Unit to support continued education in schools and community 
  • Placer County Sheriff’s Office new Opioid Response Team dedicated to investigating fentanyl cases  
  • Placer DA’s Special Prosecutions Unit has filed five fentanyl death cases; three received convictions, two are pending  
  • Over 8,800 naloxone kits received from the state by Placer County organizations including health and human services, which is also expanding treatment infrastructure

The 1 Pill can Kill Placer campaign is an example of how collective partnerships with local public health, bereaved and grieving families, county agencies, local schools, community leaders, and law enforcement can help fight this crisis.  

To date, this effort has reached 17 high schools and 15 middle schools, has conducted 59 assemblies, and reached over 30,000 students. The Placer County Sheriff’s Office, committed to fighting the fentanyl epidemic, issued a public service announcement which has reached over 66,000 people.

Placer County is also expanding access to substance use treatment. Local organizations, including law enforcement, schools, and nonprofits, are providing Narcan through the state’s Naloxone Distribution Project, which provides free supplies to community organizations after they complete an application process.   

As the county works to address the demand side of the fentanyl crisis through education and prevention, it is equally critical to address the supply side through enforcement. The Placer County Sheriff’s Office’s newly formed Opioid Response Team, the Placer Special Investigations Unit, and the Tri-County Drug Enforcement Team have been critical in removing fentanyl from the streets and the supply destined for the community.   

Learn more about the campaign at 1pillcankillplacer.com.  Learn about the fentanyl crisis at placer.ca.gov/fightingfentanyl. To find a local location offering community distribution of naloxone, call 211.  

~ Placer County press release

Inaugural World Cultural Day Planned

OLYMPIC VALLEY

Creekside Charter School, a public TK through eighth-grade school in Olympic Valley, announced their inaugural World Culture Day celebration that will take place at Bar One at Palisades Tahoe on May 28 from 12 to 2:30 p.m.

WORLD CULTURE DAY: Creekside Charter School will host its inaugural World Culture Day celebration on May 28. Courtesy graphic

Aimee Suzara, a Filipino-American poet, playwright, and performer based in Oakland, is the event’s keynote speaker. She will speak about her heritage and the importance of culture and identity. 

Creekside students will also speak at the event about their heritage and culture:

  • Annika Shah, fourth grade, will speak about Indian culture
  • Isabel Olen Hernandez, fourth grade, will speak about Chilean culture
  • Sienna Milem (fourth grade) and Kelly Milem (kindergarten) will speak about Japanese culture
  • Roger Sievert, kindergarten, will speak about Filipino and Wisconsin culture

Participants can enjoy a Brazilian capoeira dance performance and class. Volunteer families will offer various food choices from all over the world, including India, Chile, Japan (tea ceremony), the Philippines, Brazil, and more. Students and families will also present cultural items at show-and-tell stations. A raffle will benefit the charter school. 

The goal is to increase knowledge about different cultures represented at the school. The hope is to offer this free event annually. The public is welcome to attend. 

~ TC

Chamber Mixer Partners With Old Greenwood, Barracuda

TRUCKEE

PUTT, PUTT: Old Greenwood will host the May Truckee Chamber of Commerce mixer in partnership with the Barracuda Championship. Courtesy photo

The Truckee Chamber of Commerce’s May networking mixer is set to take place on May 23 at the newly renovated event space at Timbers at Old Greenwood in partnership with the Barracuda Championship. 

Attendees can connect with community members, enjoy food and drinks, enter to win prizes, and test putting skills with Barracuda Championship’s golfing activities.

Attendance is free for chamber members and $10 for future members. RSVP at truckee.com to secure a spot. Bring business cards for networking and to participate in the door prize drawing.

~ Truckee Chamber of Commerce press release

Macias Brothers to Present at Envision Tahoe Talks

INCLINE VILLAGE

During the 2023 Envision Tahoe Venture Summit, entrepreneurial brothers Martin and David Macias generated rave reviews for their breakout session focused on the challenges and achievements they experienced while entering the workforce, working in the building trades, finding a market need, and launching their business, Macias Power Washing Solutions.

THE MACIAS BROTHERS, Martin Macias (left) and David Macias, will speak at the next Envision Tahoe event at Alibi Ale Works in Incline Village. Courtesy graphic

The brothers will share their story during an Envision Tahoe Talk at Alibi Ale Works in Incline Village on June 25 from 5 to 7 p.m. In addition to reflecting on their professional path, the Macias brothers will discuss the barriers and opportunities for Spanish-speaking residents in the community. Register at tahoeprosperity.kindful.com/e/envision-tahoe-talks-2.

~ Tahoe Prosperity press release

Environmental Document Publishing Moving to Digital Format

AUBURN

Placer County will no longer print paper copies of environmental review documents that have traditionally been available at county offices and libraries for public review. The county will transition to an all-electronic publishing format beginning May 15.

The change will help Placer County reduce the use of paper, reduce costs, and potentially speed up the release of important documents.

Placer County residents interested in reviewing California Environmental Quality Act documents, including negative declarations, mitigated negative declarations, notices of preparation/initial study checklists, draft environmental impact reports, and final environmental impact reports, can access them on the Environmental Coordination Services page on the county’s website at placer.ca.gov/2479/environmental-coordination-services.

The documents can also be accessed via computer kiosks at Community Development Resource Agency offices in Auburn and Tahoe, the county clerk-recorder’s offices in Rocklin and Auburn, and at all county libraries. 

Hard copies can be purchased from Environmental Coordination Services. The current cost is 50 cents for the first page and 25 cents for each additional page.

~ Placer County press release

Contractors Organization Offers Members Retirement Plan

TRUCKEE

The Contractors Association of Truckee Tahoe announced a partnership with 401GO and Western Level Advisors to provide 401(k) solutions to its California and Nevada members.

Through this partnership, CATT members will gain access to a range of bundled 401(k) solutions, access to 116 competitive investment options, enrollment support, employee education, and a dedicated relationship manager. CATT members will be able to establish a custom, confidential 401(k) plan tailored to their business and employee profile.

“We are excited to partner with CATT and 401GO and offer a low cost, accessible retirement plan solution for small businesses in the Truckee Tahoe region,” said Jon Fritzinger, founder of Western Level Advisors.

For more information, visit ca-tt.com or contact Jon Fritzinger at jon@westernlevel.com.

~ CATT press release

Awards Dinner to Celebrate Trails, Volunteers

TAHOE CITY

The Tahoe Rim Trail Association announced the annual awards dinner an event celebrating the accomplishments of 2023 and setting the stage for the 2024 trail season. Held at Granlibakken Tahoe, the gathering will be one of camaraderie, recognition, and festivities.

On May 18 from 4 to 7:30 p.m., the awards dinner will welcome all stewards of Lake Tahoe, including hikers, bikers, and horseback riders. It’s a time to honor the dedication of volunteers who tirelessly contribute to maintaining and enhancing the Tahoe Rim Trail.

Attendees will have the opportunity to engage with the trails community, participate in a trail-themed silent auction, and hear from guest speaker, Liz Thomas, a triple crown thru-hiker and friend of the Tahoe Rim Trail.

Tickets are $55 for TRTA members and $65 for non-members. All ticket and auction proceeds will be directed towards operations and maintaining the Tahoe Rim Trail.

Secure your tickets at tahoerimtrail.org/event/awards-dinner

~ Tahoe Rim Trail Association press release

Moving In, Moving On, Moving Up

Sierra State Parks Foundation New Executive Director

TAHOE CITY

MICHAEL MYERS is the new executive director of the Sierra State Parks Foundation. Photo courtesy Michael Myers

The Sierra State Parks Foundation Board of Directors has named Michael Myers as the new executive director.

Myer’s background in collaborating with government agencies and nonprofit partners and promoting inclusive stewardship will help to further advance the mission of the organization that is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Myers will manage operations for the foundation and park (visitor centers and historic house tours), fundraising programs, and will coordinate projects in progress with state parks.

Myers served as executive director for Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy in Virginia and Friends of Black Rock-High Rock in Nevada. He began as a conservation, development, and outreach coordinator (AmeriCorps member) with the Friends of Black Rock-High Rock and rose to an executive position after gaining a master of nonprofit management. In addition, he is a certified interpretive naturalist and an avid birder. Myers’ combination of fundraising skills and understanding of public lands space is the perfect fit for the Sierra State Parks Foundation.

For more information about the Sierra State Parks Foundation, visit sierrastateparks.org.

~ Sierra State Parks Foundation press release

CEO Retires

PLACER COUNTY

After more than three decades of service with a number of local government agencies spanning the West Coast, Placer County Executive Officer Jane Christenson announced her retirement, which went into effect on May 4.  

Christenson was first hired by Placer County in January 2019 as the assistant county executive officer and then promoted to county executive officer in November 2022. She has been instrumental in moving forward the county’s strategic initiatives and facilitating interdepartmental communication and coordination. 

While next steps are being evaluated by the board of supervisors, Daniel Chatigny, will continue to serve as the acting CEO.

~ Placer County press release

Reno Jazz Orchestra New Music Director

RENO

Dr. Greg Johnson was selected as the Reno Jazz Orchestra’s new music director. “After having four music director candidates lead the Reno Jazz Orchestra, we chose Greg Johnson to be our new music director,” said board president Chuck Reider, who led the orchestra as its music and executive director for 16 years. “He is a gifted composer, arranger, director, and saxophonist.”

Molly Rose Lewis, regional representative and healthcare manager for U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen, presented Johnson with a Certificate of Congressional Commendation at the introduction ceremony in recognition of his new commitment to the arts and culture community of Northern Nevada. She also commended the Reno Jazz Orchestra for its 27 years of legendary performances and youth jazz education programs.

Johnson grew up in Pennsylvania near Penn State University. His grandmother, Kim Kimberly, was a big band singer who worked with Mel Tormé, an American musician and singer.

NEW JAZZ DIRECTOR: Reno Jazz Orchestra’s new director, Greg Johnson (left), and Tim Young, RJO executive director (right), receive Certificates of Congressional Commendation from Molly Rose Lewis, regional representative and healthcare manager for U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen. Courtesy photo

Johnson knew he wanted music to be his life early on. To hone his craft, he attended the University of Northern Colorado and received his doctorate at the University of Southern California. His distinctive saxophone sound has found its way into multiple genres of jazz, classical, and popular music. As a saxophonist, Johnson has appeared in concerts and on over 40 mainstream recordings with jazz artists Curtis Fuller, Billy Taylor, Bob Mintzer, and more. He has released seven recordings under his name and has contributed dozens more.

Johnson has a new album, The Naked Truth, slated for release in July 2024, featuring a nonet. He is also a dynamic teacher of ensembles and improvisation and has kept an active schedule as a clinician and guest composer/saxophonist. He is praised for his relatable, organic approach to music. 

Johnson believes that diversity is what makes jazz fun to listen to, that you do not need to understand music to enjoy it, and that musicians must be community members.

~ Reno Jazz Orchestra press release