Readers Reflect | October 2023


A Scare at Tahoe Lake Elementary

Last month I got a call from my child’s school, Tahoe Lake Elementary, to tell me my son had swallowed a pill at school, a pill given to him by another child. I was told he was “fine.”

Nothing more was released by the school until the next morning by a brief email, which noted in part that the school “… had an upper grades student bring Dental Check Plaque Highlighting Chews to school and pass them [out] to friends, calling them ‘Scooby Skittles’ or ‘special edition Skittles.’ Our staff was able to quickly determine that the tablets were plaque chews and contacted the parents of all students known to be directly involved or impacted.”

The email did not mention how it was determined what the “pills” actually were; how many students were given pills and if the quantity varied for different recipients; if the distribution was limited to the upper grades; how students were determined to be “fine;” and if all the pills were accounted for. While the email clearly was intended to provide information and reassurance, the school clearly was not fully forthcoming, encouraging rumors and leaving the school community with more questions.


When I picked my son up from school shortly after the call he said he got the purple pill at recess from a best friend thinking it was candy. According to a fellow parent, some 85 pills were distributed in a matter of a few minutes.

We must have clear guidelines for our students and their personal safety behavior at school. I suggest we at least start with:

No sharing of any candy or candy-like substances, or anything unopened.

No sharing of pills or anything that looks like a pill or even might be a pill or some type of medication.

No taking food from friends, trusted or not.

Finally, if and when an incident occurs, our students must tell the school what they know for their own protection and their fellow students.

~ Roxie Ormsby, Tahoe City, via email

In response to Have You Been Affected by Fire Insurance Changes? in the September print edition.

Need to include FAIR Plan

I was glad to see this Do Tell question, but was dismayed that you didn’t talk to anyone who has lost their fire insurance and been forced onto the California FAIR Plan. The answers of “I work on defensible space” from most interviewees doesn’t represent the absolute financial heartache a lot of us are facing in paying $10,000 or $20,000 or $30,000 in annual home insurance premiums, and this is not for multi-million dollar homes or homes in remote areas (this happens in Tahoe Donner, for example). I paid sub-$1,000 for home insurance for our older, 1,500-square-foot Tahoe Donner home a year ago and now I pay $8,000 on the California FAIR Plan. Please, next time try to get a more diverse and accurate representation of the fire insurance reality.

~ Nicole Reitter, Truckee, via email

In response to Fire Insurance Market in Danger of Collapsing in the September print edition.

Fire insurance should

Thanks for an insightful and well-written piece. That said, I have a different perspective. I wish the fire insurance would collapse. Owners would then take many more precautions in hardening their home, and would do more to make the surrounding area safe. Get rid of fire insurance and we will all be much, much safer! I am self-insured out of necessity (retired, fixed income) and I absolutely ensure my property is fire-safe. Can’t expect someone else to save you if you don’t do the right things.

~ Steven Robert Burke, Olympic Valley, via email

In response to We Don’t Need Affordable Housing Experiments in the August print edition.

Rent controls

Why are there no rent controls in the town of Truckee? How many on the town council own rental properties, hmmm?

~ Kevin Reeve, Truckee, via Facebook


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