Editor’s note, Sept. 19 at 3:30 p.m.: The area candidate table has been updated to show the Incline Village General Improvement District candidates who advanced to the General Election.

News Briefs

Area Candidates for November’s General Election


The candidate list for local offices in November’s General Election has been finalized. The following table shows who has been confirmed as a candidate for offices in the Tahoe/Truckee reaches of El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, and Washoe counties. Visit the websites below for county-specific information:

District Seats Available Term(s)
Donner Summit Public Utility District

Phil Gamick*

Dawn Parkhurst (appointed incumbent)

Joni Kaufman (appointed incumbent)

4 (1) 4-year (full)

(2) 2-year (short)

Incline Village General Improvement District (contested)

Yolanda Knaak

Gail Krolick

David Noble

Ray Tulloch

2 4-year
Meeks Bay Fire Protection District

Korinne Kromydas (appointed incumbent)

2 4-year
North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District

Denise Bremer

Richard “Charley” Miller

2 4-year
North Tahoe Fire Protection District

Luke Ragan*

Ron Parson

2 4-year
Sierra Joint Community College District (Trustee Area 2)

Paul Bancroft

1 4-year
Tahoe City Public Utility District (contested)

Morgahn Grey

Gail Scoville*

John Pang*

2 4-year
Tahoe Forest Hospital District (contested)

Dale Chamblin

Mary G. Brown*

Michael McGarry*

Cindy Basso

Robert Barnett

4 (3) 4-year (full)

(1) 2-year (short)

Tahoe Truckee Unified School District (contested)

Patrick Mooney (Trustee Area 1)

Richard Ludke (Trustee Area 1)

Denyelle Nishimori (Trustee Area 4)

Heather Whitney (Trustee Area 4)

Shannon Hansen (Trustee Area 5)

Dianna “DeeDee” Driller* (Trustee Area 5)

3 4-year
Town of Truckee Town Council (contested)

Anna Klovstad*

David Polivy*

Jan Zabriskie*

Suzie Tarnay

3 4-year
Truckee Donner Public Utility District

Christa Finn*

Tony Laliotis*

2 4-year
Truckee-Donner Recreation and Park District

Eric Smith

Lori Marquette

Mark J Wasley (appointed incumbent)

3 4-year
Truckee Fire Protection District

Gary R. Botto*

Paul Wilford*

Victor Hernandez*

3 4-year
Truckee Sanitary District (contested)

Jerry Gilmore*

Marcus Waters (appointed incumbent)

Nelson Van Gundy*

Phil Fay

3 4-year
Truckee Tahoe Airport District (contested)

Christopher Henderson

Kathryn Rohlf*

Mary Hetherington*

Mike Daniel

2 4-year

* Signifies incumbent

~ AH 

Candidate and Tax Measure Forums


The Truckee Chamber of Commerce, the Contractors Association of Truckee Tahoe Political Action Committee, and Tahoe Sierra Board of Realtors have teamed up with Tahoe Truckee Media-Channel 18, Moonshine Ink, and the Sierra Sun newspapers to provide two candidate forums aimed at enhancing voter education and participation in the upcoming election.

The dates of the forums are Oct. 4 and Oct. 6, from 6 to 8 p.m., and will be held at Truckee Town Hall Council Chambers. The forums will be broadcast live on Channel 18, as well as live-streamed on ttctv.org, and rerun frequently until the election Nov. 8. 

The first forum on Oct. 4 will feature the Truckee Tahoe Airport District candidates and the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District candidates. On the schedule that evening will be pro/con statements for Measure V — the Nevada County half-cent sales tax for wildfire prevention, emergency services, and disaster readiness.

The second forum on Oct. 6 will feature the Truckee Town Council candidates. The Tahoe Forest Hospital District has one two-year term seat available with two candidates vying for that seat. And the Truckee Sanitary District has three seats open, and four candidates running.

Residents can email questions to Moonshine Ink in advance of the forums. Send questions to elections@moonshineink.com. Please put “Candidate Forum Question” in the subject line. Questions will be submitted to the candidates anonymously. The deadline for emailed questions is the day before each forum. Members of Moonshine Ink and Sierra Sun staff will present the questions to candidates and tax measure speakers. Questions asked may be a compilation of questions received on a given topic.

~ Truckee Chamber of Commerce press release

GREEN GUNK: Algae levels are increasing in Lake Tahoe. Courtesy photo

New Citizen Group Aims to Combat Nearshore Algae


This past April, startling areas of the north and west shoreline were covered in slimy attached algae. In July and August, the beaches of the south and east had masses of bright green algae amongst swimmers and rotting on the beaches. The algae at South Lake was found to have cyanobacteria (blue-green algae), which can be toxic for humans and animals.

TERC released the State of the Lake Report (tahoe.ucdavis.edu/stateofthelake) on July 28, in which  some of the latest research results on the nearshore algae were reported. Researchers have been endeavoring to understand the changing spread of the algae, as well as the increasing intensity of the impacts to the public. But funding for this work has dried up.

The public can help keep this important research going by donating here or using TERC’s Citizen Science Tahoe web app to submit “ground-truthing” images. No downloads are necessary, people can simply take a photo and include any additional comments to be directly sent to TERC. 

~ TERC press release 

GREEN GUNK: Algae levels are increasing in Lake Tahoe. Courtesy photo

Volunteers Needed for Community Clean-Up Event


One of Lake Tahoe’s notorious party spots is getting some much-needed care and attention. The Tahoe Institute of Natural Science and the Tahoe Rim Trail Association are teaming up with Jack Johnson’s All At Once organization to host a community clean-up event at Party Rock this Labor Day, Sept. 5 from 9 a.m. to noon. Volunteers are needed and should RSVP in advance by clicking this link to register: tahoerimtrail.org/event/party-rock-community-clean-up.

The popular hang-out spot is on a trail connection to Van Sickle Bi-State Park in South Lake Tahoe. Thanks to its easily accessible location, it is often used for late-night parties and is frequently littered with trash and defaced rocks. 

This clean-up event takes place before Jack Johnson’s concert in Stateline, Nevada. 

In addition to litter and graffiti removal, teams will be repainting the defaced rocks to return the area to a more natural and welcoming setting.  


Bringing Outdoor Access To Underserved Community Members


To provide opportunities for underserved community members of all ages to connect with nature, the Tahoe Fund has partnered with the Tahoe Institute for Natural Science to bring a new pilot program to life. Aligned with the State of California’s Outdoor Access for All initiative, the Tahoe’s Nature for All program will provide immersive experiences to hundreds of people who do not currently have access to the outdoors.

Part of the funding provided by the Tahoe Fund for TINS’ Tahoe Nature for All program comes from Palisades Tahoe. The resort participates in the $1 for Tahoe program, which allows guests to support conservation, recreation, and stewardship education throughout the Lake Tahoe Basin and the Truckee River Watershed through their purchase of lift tickets and season passes. This year, these contributions from Palisades Tahoe will be earmarked for the Tahoe Nature for All program. In addition to their financial support, Palisades Tahoe will also host one of the nature experiences at High Camp in late August. 

In the inaugural year of the program, the experts at Tahoe Institute for Natural Science will provide free nature experience programs in partnership with four nonprofit and educational partner organizations. 

~ TINS press release 

First Pediatric Covid-19 Death Confirmed


The Public Health department has confirmed Placer County’s first Covid-19 death of a youth under the age of 18, a child with no underlying health conditions. The death occurred earlier in the summer.

Altogether, Placer County has recorded more than 650 Covid-19 deaths since March 2020, the majority among elderly adults. While poor outcomes from Covid are rare in children, vaccination helps protect against severe disease.

Vaccinations are widely available throughout the county, with walk-up locations or appointments available at myturn.ca.gov. All people aged 6 months and older can receive a vaccine.

Those 12 and older who are immunocompromised and those 50 and older should receive a second booster dose at least four months after their first. Use the CDC’s online tool to determine whether you are eligible for a booster. An updated booster vaccine targeting Omicron variants is expected in the fall, but individuals who are eligible now should not delay.

In addition to vaccination, there are other tools which can protect vulnerable individuals from severe outcomes of Covid-19. Treatments such as Paxlovid are more widely available through healthcare providers, pharmacies, and through the county’s OptumServe Test to Treat sites. High quality masks, such as N95s or KF94s and KN95s, also help provide protection against infection.

Covid surged in the late spring and early summer months this year as Omicron and its variants, most notably BA.5, spread rapidly and evaded immunity from previous infection and vaccination. Community transmission appears to have crested in the last several weeks even as spread remains elevated. While case data is less precise at this stage of the pandemic due to the availability of home testing, Covid hospitalizations ⁠— a reliable, if lagged, metric ⁠— have recently declined.

~ Placer County press release 

Moving In, Moving On, Moving Up

Visit Truckee-Tahoe Welcomes New Board Members


Visit Truckee-Tahoe welcomes two new members to the organization’s board of directors, Charles Haber and Kerrie Racicot-Baitx. Combined, Haber and Racicot-Baitx bring over four decades of experience in the tourism industry with vested interests in community, destination stewardship and sustainability. The two join Chair Jim Winterberger, Secretary Shelly Braden, and Dave Polivy on VTT’s five-member board. The organization oversees a Destination Promotion and Management Plan as funded by the 1.25% lodging tourism fee known as the Truckee Tourism Business Improvement District. 

Haber, general manager of the 109 room Tahoe-Truckee Hampton Inn & Suites, brings 30 years of flagship, loyalty-brand hotel experience including Hilton, Sheraton and Crowne Plaza. He has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to leadership, previously serving on the American Red Cross Board in Guam and in Officer Board roles for two California tourism authority boards who also manage funding from Tourism Business Improvement Districts. 

Joining Haber on the VTT Board is Racicot-Baitx, the 10-year co-owner of Tahoe Truckee Vacation Properties, a local, family-owned property management company with six employees. Racicot-Baitx and her team manage 160 Truckee and North Lake Tahoe properties, ranging from vacation rentals to ski leases. Kerrie also works with Landing Locals, having recently referred several homes for conversion to long-term housing, and reports that the majority of Tahoe Truckee Vacation Properties’ long-term rental inventory is rented to the local workforce.

In addition to eyes and ears on short-term rental rules and regulations, Racicot-Baitx also brings to the VTT Board an environmental engineering degree specializing in sustainability. 

~ Visit Truckee-Tahoe press release 

CRYSTAL SAWYER-WHITE: Tahoe Prosperity Center’s new senior housing program manager. Courtesy photo

Tahoe Prosperity Center Hires New Senior Housing Program Manager


The Tahoe Prosperity Center welcomes Crystal Sawyer-White as its new senior housing program manager. Sawyer-White brings a diverse background of experience to this role and is passionate about ensuring Tahoe residents have access to locally based housing options.

She was born in Nashville, Tennessee, raised in Detroit, Michigan and has lived in the Bay Area for 22 years. Sawyer-White recently worked on a congressional campaign as a campaign director of communications. She was elected to her first term as an Antioch Unified School Board Trustee in 2016. Sawyer-White has over 10 years of experience in parent and housing advocacy. She is a former secretary for the Contra Costa County School Board Association. Sawyer-White has a BA in psychology from John F. Kennedy University and a Master of Science in education with an emphasis in curriculum and instructional strategies from the University of New England. She is married with two children.

Tahoe Prosperity Center Board Chair Bill Kelly states, “Crystal was our unanimous choice for this position and we know she’ll be a strong housing advocate to continue our important work for the community and residents of Lake Tahoe.”

The Tahoe Prosperity Center is currently leading a housing initiative in the Washoe/Tahoe portion of the lake, along with supporting housing initiatives in the larger Truckee/Tahoe region. Other community and economic development projects include the recently completed Envision Tahoe Prosperity Playbook, which was a year-long collaborative project that designed an action plan to diversify Tahoe’s economy so it is more resilient. Find out more at tahoeprosperity.org.

~ Tahoe Prosperity Center press release 

Business Briefs

Palisades Tahoe Base-to-Base Gondola


The resort is excited to officially announce the name of its newest transport as the Palisades Tahoe Base-to-Base Gondola. The gondola is scheduled to open for the 2022/23 season and will finally connect the two valleys of the resort, making Palisades Tahoe one of the largest ski resorts in North America. A realization of the founders’ original vision, the Base-to-Base Gondola offers newfound convenience and accessibility to the resort’s 6,000 acres and full spectrum of lifts, terrain, dining venues, and more. The base-to-base ride will offer scenic views of Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada mountains, easy transit between the resort’s two base areas, and lift access for expert skiers and snowboards to the top of KT-22. 

The Palisades Tahoe team has launched a website to share more about the Base-to-Base Gondola experience, which includes a video, map, statistics, and frequently asked questions: gondola.palisadestahoe.com/experience

~ Palisades Tahoe press release


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