In response to Dementia Discharge

Bill Borden’s Corgi Friend

For the past two and a half years it has been my pleasure to visit Tahoe Forest Hospital’s long-term care facility as a member of Alliance of Therapy Dogs and the Humane Society of Truckee Tahoe’s Pet Assisted Therapy groups. My 3-year-old Corgi, Rufus, and I visited residents weekly until the COVID-19 pandemic closed the facility to visitors.

Beverly and Bill Borden’s room was a favorite place to stop for a brief chat and some welcome pats for Rufus. The walls of the room are covered with favorite photos and mementos. The beds, always neatly made, have handsome, colorful quilts on top. Bill is a proud veteran of the Marine Corps.

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They appeared very devoted to each other and were always welcoming to Rufus and me. Bill often said goodbye by saying, “You are so kind to come.” We enjoyed meeting their son Jon and his children briefly one day when he came to pick his parents up for an outing. They appeared to be a very happy and close family.

I was astounded and very distressed to read the article Dementia Discharge. To think that this couple, married for 55 years, has been separated for four months, while living a few hundred feet apart at Tahoe Forest Hospital is a disgrace. If Bill’s behavior had become a problem, surely steps could have been taken to find solutions. To deny re-admittance to Bill without some effort to mitigate the situation is inexcusable. And the fact that Bill now lives in the Tahoe Forest ER is pathetic. I applaud the state of California for issuing a citation to TFH for this egregious, illegal eviction. The manner in which Todd Johnson, TFH risk manager, addressed the situation with the Bordens’ son is unforgivable. Threatening to release Mr. Borden to a homeless shelter is disgraceful and a pathetic attempt to intimidate this family.

Nursing home residents and our elderly population should always be held in high regard and treated with respect and dignity. I am appalled at the treatment this loving couple has received. It is my understanding that Bill’s belongings have been removed from the room they shared for the past two-and-a-half years and that Beverly has been assigned a new roommate. It is my hope that skilled care and a new home can be found for this loving couple in a facility where they can remain together and will be treated with the kindness and dignity they deserve.

~ Tara Christison, Truckee, via letter

Friend of the Family

My aunt was a resident of Tahoe Forest Extended Care (now known as Tahoe Forest Skilled Nursing) for six years. During her residency, she received quality and compassionate care. I am also a former employee of Tahoe Forest Hospital District and have a high level of respect for those with whom I worked closely. Based on my knowledge and experience with Tahoe Forest, I strongly encouraged my friend of over 25 years, Jon Borden, to consider relocating his parents Bill and Bev Borden to Tahoe Forest with the belief it would improve their quality of life and care.

Instead I have been supporting the Borden family through the unnecessary ordeal related to the inappropriate involuntary discharge of Bill Borden to the Tahoe Forest emergency room.

… I have witnessed conduct lacking in integrity, compassion, and accountability. It is completely void of logic. Further, I was disappointed to learn that the community-elected board appears to be in agreement with and supportive of the actions of administration and their decision to disregard CDPH and DHSC directives to readmit Bill Borden and allow him to be reunited with his wife of 55 years.

Over the last couple of months, the visible physical and cognitive decline being experienced by Bill Borden due to his not having access to the appropriate interventions available in a skilled nursing facility, as well as the stress and emotional anguish being experienced by all in the Borden family, is untenable and the cause for which is the responsibility of Tahoe Forest.

Truckee is a strong community that has a history of taking care of its own; starting with the establishment of Tahoe Forest through the philanthropy of the Joseph and McIver families. And although I will forgo going into details of my perception of those representing Tahoe Forest in these matters, I will share that they do not present to have the same understanding of, nor commitment to, a community I so fondly remember being the foundation of what it meant to be from Truckee and the surrounding communities.

I will conclude with this call of action for the community. What is happening to Bill Borden could happen to your family, your friend … to you. Don’t stand for it. Reach out to your district’s elected officials and implore them to do the right thing, to do as they have been directed by CDPH and DHSC. Lastly, watch out for your elder community members that too easily fall victim to those with ulterior motives, as not all will have family able to take up the fight on their behalf.

~ Patricia Barrett, Truckee, via letter


Diamond is My Choice

David Diamond is my choice for the airport board. Chair of the Airport Community Advisory Team, David has had to deal with difficult issues before passing them on to the board. A number of board members recognize his astute contributions, similarly endorsing him. You may have met David recently when, as a volunteer, he was on the front lines dispensing PPE to our community

Of special note, though, is David’s commitment to homeless pets. He volunteers his time, aircraft, and personal resources for Pilots N Paws, ferrying homeless pets to places of shelter. He has also balanced a successful business career with a brilliant music career. For over 20 years, he served as the marketing director for two international software companies while co-founding Berlin, a new wave band whose music appeared in Top Gun, and David is still its lead guitarist. Locally, he has offered to share his talents as a mentor for Lake Tahoe Music Festival’s emerging young musician’s program.

David Diamond, who is insightful, community engaged, and fiscally responsible, can only make a very good airport board even better.

~ Ernest Grossman, Truckee, via letter

Aronson Will Take Off 

In the upcoming election, I would like to ask your support to vote for Ken Aronson, who is running for a position on the Truckee Tahoe Airport board of directors. Not only is Ken my friend, he is eminently qualified to be on the board.

Ken is a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Truckee Chapter 1073, a Civil Air Patrol mission pilot and former squadron commander of the Tahoe-Truckee Composite Squadron, which has a very active youth cadet program. Ken has also developed and has instructed the airport’s Mission to Mars Space Camp each summer at the airport for our local youth for many years. It is so popular, his three one-week classes are all full the first day of registration. Ken is also a pilot who built his own airplane in his garage in Glenshire and has given over 100 local youths free rides in his aircraft for the EAA-sponsored Young Eagles program.

Ken is an active role model for our community’s youth, promoting STEM and aerospace education. He will represent both our community and the pilots’ interests in the operation of the airport. Ken believes that the Tahoe Truckee Airport can be a tremendous asset to educate and inspire our local youth in engineering and aerodynamics, while at the same time he will use new technology and common sense to mitigate aircraft noise.

You can’t go wrong by casting a vote for Ken Aronson.

~ Pat McDonough, Truckee, via letter

An Exceptional Individual

I was on the airport board from 2004 to 2012. During that time we were able to turn the eyes of the airport toward the community and began significant efforts to reduce the growing noise and annoyance. We made progress, yet the volume of flights has continued to increase. There is more that can be done to help the community if the commitment is there. Three seats are up for election on Nov. 3. Do all you can to inform yourselves about the candidates. One of those candidates is David Diamond. He is an exceptional individual who fully understands the detail of the issues, has outstanding ideas, and is a person of action, not just talk. He has proven that in his role as president of the Airport Community Advisory Team. Please go to his website, diamond2020.com. Read all he has to say and you’ll see what I mean.

He has my vote. And tell your friends about him. Above all, please vote.

~ Kathleen Eagan, Truckee, via letter


In response to Is Tahoe Actually More Crowded Than Summers Past?

Data Doesn’t Line Up With What We’re Seeing

As a 17-year full-time resident of Kings Beach, it was obvious that this summer was busier, more crowded with tourists, than a normal summer. Tahoe appeared to be bursting at the seams — from the elbow-to-elbow packed beaches, long lines of traffic, overflowing trash receptacles, litter and graffiti, to the increase in late night noise coming from nearby STRs.

Like many, I was surprised to read Moonshine Ink’s article … because the conclusion that “the data tracking how many people are here points to a decrease overall, as compared to last year” didn’t align with what so many of us were seeing.

I decided to dig a little deeper and I found that the data was not sufficient to draw the overall conclusion of the article; in fact, drawing the conclusion that there were less people here this year than last year was incorrect and misleading for general readers and policy makers. 

First, the article looked at Placer County’s reported Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) data April to June. The reason for this was clear: TOT is not reported until the quarter ends, so this was the most recent data available. However, looking at these months says nothing about the number of people occupying short-term rentals in July and August, the heart of the summer. Also … until mid-April there was still a Placer County-wide ban on STRs due to the state’s ban on nonessential travel; so naturally we’d expect to see a decrease in that quarter’s overall figures.

Secondly, the article looked at the amount of water “flushed and gushed” from “toilets and showers” and the article notes that decreased water usage was an equivalent of 7,000 fewer people per day. In a normal year, day visitors might comprise around 40% of total visitors to North Lake Tahoe (NLT Tourism Master Plan, 2015). This summer, it was clear that the number and percentage of day visitors shifted upwards as people from nearby cities tried to escape the heat and get outdoors during the pandemic …

Put simply, people coming here for the day to use beaches, trails, and parks aren’t necessarily flushing toilets. So, to say that a decrease in water usage means less people is incorrect … Similar to the STRs data, including March and April [traffic data] is misleading; the entire state was under a stay-at-home order so naturally traffic counts were down. …

Finally, the article looked at trash and while totals were down slightly, I agree with the Tahoe Truckee Sierra Disposal that the slight decrease is “likely due to many commercial businesses either closed or on limited service.” Campground trash, however, doubled compared to last year! This says more about the number of people visiting Lake Tahoe than overall trash collection during a pandemic when so many businesses are closed.

Based on all of the above, I am not saying that we know there were definitely more people here. But I am saying that until we can disaggregate the data and understand what is causing some of the trends, we simply don’t know. Perhaps a better focus of the article would have been to look at how to get real time data on visitation so that policy makers can make important decisions when faced with real health and safety risks — like a pandemic and/or wildfires within “ember-range” of hitting the Truckee area.

We need to have more and better tools so we know when it’s time to tell the tourists to stay or go home … for their safety and ours.

~ Cheri Sugal, Kings Beach, via letter

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