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NEWS BRIEFS | June 9 - July 12, 2017

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Moving In, Moving Up, Moving On

New Executive Director for Downtown Association


The Tahoe City Downtown Association welcomed JT Chevalier to the position of executive director on May 24. Chevalier moved to the Lake Tahoe basin from Las Vegas in 2006 to pursue a life in the mountains, and subsequently worked at Lake Tahoe Television and Homewood Mountain Resort as the event manager before coming to TCDA in 2017.

Lake Tahoe Community College Brings Russi Egan on as VP


In their May board meeting, LTCC approved the hiring of Russi Egan as the college’s new Vice President of Administrative Services. The role of vice president has been vacant since January 2017 when former VP Jeff DeFranco was selected as LTCC’s new superintendent and president. Egan assumes her new role on July 1, after moving on from her position as vice president at Palo Verde College in Blythe, Calif.

North Tahoe Arts Appoints Kim Snyder as Executive Director


Local artist and business owner Kim Snyder assumed the role of executive director at North Tahoe Arts on May 15, replacing interim executive director Sue Gross, who served in the position for four months. Snyder previously acted as executive director of the Paso Robles Art Association and is a co-owner of Cobalt Artist Studio & Gallery in Incline Village, as well as an accomplished painter.

TTUSD Teacher Selected for NASA LiftOff Summer Institute


Laurie Scheibner, an elementary science teacher at TTUSD’s Glenshire Elementary and Tahoe Lake Elementary schools, has been selected for the prestigious LiftOff Summer Institute to be held at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, this summer. This nationally competitive program selects teachers who will increase their knowledge of science, technology, engineering, and math through space education. Scheibner is also receiving grant funding from the California Space Grant Consortium for her registration fees and travel expenditures to Houston.

Sierra Nevada College not Renewing Faculty Contracts for 2017/18


Tahoe’s four-year private liberal arts institution, Sierra Nevada College, notified all faculty members this May, following commencement, that no contracts would be renewed or awarded for the 2017/18 school year. SNC intends to award faculty agreements by August 2017, but urges faculty members that “no reliance should be made on the above estimated timeline nor should the statement of the intended dates create an expectation or guarantee of future employment with SNC.” In an email President Alan Walker said that the school was taking this action “in order to have more time to better gauge the most likely level of enrollment that can be expected […] and the impact on the college’s ability to develop a balanced budget for the 2017/2018 academic year.” Contract non-renewal comes on the heels of more than $2.1 million in budget cuts at SNC since August 2015.

Tahoe-Truckee Sanitation Agency Employees Pursuing Unionization Effort


The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Chapter 1245 submitted notice on behalf of Tahoe-Truckee Sanitation Agency employees on April 5 to TTSA management, requesting that management formally recognize TTSA as a union-represented workplace. Management issued a counter-proposal to separate employee bargaining units into four groups: supervision/management, clerical/administrative, professional/technical, and operations/maintenance. Each of these separate bargaining units would be required to negotiate a separate agreement and each agreement would be separately administered, a differentiation that IBEW Lead Organizer Rick Thompson believes would place an “unjustifiable burden on public resources” in an agency with fewer than 50 employees. The petition was not mentioned at the April or May board meetings that followed its submission, but discussion is set to take place at the next board meeting on June 14.

Truckee’s California Highway Patrol Dispatch Center Closing


The Truckee Communications Center, the only California Highway Patrol dispatch center within 95 miles of Truckee, will shut down within a year. As part of former Governor Schwarzenegger’s five-year infrastructure plan, consolidation of dispatch centers is a statewide goal intended to optimize the usage of infrastructure and radio frequencies. According to the Truckee CHP Area Office, response times should remain the same, though a learning curve for Sacramento-based dispatchers who are unfamiliar with the area is expected. Current dispatch employees will be offered opportunities to transfer to other dispatch centers within the state.

Truckee Tahoe Airport Celebrates Grand Opening of New Control Tower


On June 1, the Truckee Tahoe Airport began operations in its first ever control tower. The airport constructed the tower’s base from six shipping containers, adding a welded stairwell and power infrastructure to connect to the operational air control facility constructed by Kansas-based Midwest ATC. The tower is set to operate seasonally, from June 1 through Sept. 15, which is a peak traffic period for the airport — 50 percent of annual operations occur within the three-month period. The tower is intended to help reduce annoyance and noise complaints in surrounding neighborhoods and to increase safety at the airport.

Skiing for Schools Program Raises More Than $70,000 for Local Education


The combination of great snow, ticket deals, and a supportive community gave the Skiing for Schools fundraising program an incredibly successful 2017 season. More than $70,000 was raised for local schools, to be given out through a grant program to the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District. Homewood Mountain Resort, Northstar California, Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows, Tahoe XC, and Tahoe Donner all participated in the fundraiser by donating tickets to the program to sell for reduced cost, and each additionally donated $15,000 to the cause.

California Ranked Second-Worst in the Nation for Making a Living

FOSTER CITY in May released their annual financial analysis of the best and worst states in the nation to make a living in, and California just about tops the “worst” list, coming in second behind the notoriously out-of-reach Hawaiian Islands. Despite having a relatively high median wage, hefty state tax rates and cost of living bump California into the inaccessible category, and with an unemployment rate two percent higher than Hawaii’s, moving up the economic ladder can be more difficult in California than anywhere else in the United States. Number one on the list of “best” states to make a living in is, for the seventh year in a row, Washington state, which boasts no wage income tax, a high median wage, and low unemployment rate.

High School Science Students Team up With Headwaters Science Institute to Study Sierra Snowpack


In April, students from the Met Sacramento Charter High School and the Sacramento Adventist Academy traveled to Donner Summit, working with Headwaters Science Institute, to study the Sierra snowpack. More than 60 percent of the state’s drinking water comes from the snowpack in this region, making it a critical area for scientific research related to the changing climate. Headwaters instructors mentored students conducting experiments and Tahoe Donner XC provided snowshoes, allowing the young researchers to travel around the field sites and collect data first-hand. The Headwaters Science Institute was formed three years ago with a mission of bringing top-notch scientific programs to local schools. Info:

Study Predicts 74 Percent of California Salmon, Steelhead, and Trout populations gone in 100 Years


A new report released by the nonprofit California Trout and the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences shows that California’s native salmon, steelhead, and trout are in dire threat of widespread extinction if present trends continue. The report identifies key threats, including the overarching peril of climate change, dam construction, big agriculture and runoff, urbanization, and transportation. An initial study conducted in 2008 found that five species of native California fish may go extinct by 2060, but the new study nearly tripled this estimate, bringing the number of extinction-threatened species to 14. Info:

Zagster Bike Share Program Comes to Truckee


The Truckee Tahoe Airport District is spearheading a Truckee bike share program called Zagster this summer. The initial launch will include 10 bikes and two pickup and return parking stations. One station will be located at the Truckee Airport and the other in downtown Truckee. The Airport District hopes that if the program is successful, more local public agencies will come on board and make regional expansion possible. The service involves downloading and setting up an app, which will provide a code to unlock the bicycle. You’ll be able to enjoy the bike share program anywhere in the world where there are stations. Info:

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April 12, 2018