Actor Injured by Snowplow; Nevada Power Outages; More

Briefs: Dec. 23, 2022 - Jan. 5, 2023

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News Briefs

Founder of Tahoe Pyramid Trail, Janet Phillips, Dies at Age 70

RENO

It is with heavy hearts, the board of the Tahoe Pyramid Trail announces the passing of Janet Phillips. Phillips passed away Dec. 28 with her brother holding her hand.

Phillips is now joined in heaven with her late husband, Mike Phillips, to continue their adventures.

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Twenty years ago, Phillips envisioned creating a trail from Tahoe all the way to Pyramid Lake. The Tahoe-Pyramid Trail (abbreviated as TPT) started as an audacious idea that once completed, will result in a trail that follows the entire length of the Truckee River, from its source at the stunning Lake Tahoe (6,225 feet) to the majestic desert terminus of Pyramid Lake (3,796 feet). The trail (now at 80% completion) can be enjoyed by hikers, runners, walkers, or cyclists.

Once fully completed, the trail will descend nearly 2,500 feet in elevation over the course of the 114-mile length, using a combination of existing dirt, paved, and historic roads, bike paths, as well as many newly constructed sections of trail and connecting bridges in both urban and more remote trail areas. Phillips graduated from Stanford University and spent her career working in water resources along the Truckee River in Nevada.

When she retired, she knew she wanted to spend her time creating the one thing she saw missing along the Truckee River; a trail for all to enjoy. Phillips worked with two states, numerous counties, the railroad, and countless other agencies to get approval to build sections of the trail.

In 2019, Phillips was named the Reno-Sparks Citizen of the Year by the Reno Gazette Journal. EDAWN also awarded her the President’s Award. In addition to her primary love of the TPT Janet served as chair, from inception, of the Truckee River Fund which has awarded more than 268 grants totaling well over $10 million. She was a generous supporter of a wide variety of charities including Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful, the Child Assault Prevention, Women and Children’s Center of the Sierra, the Alzheimer’s Association, the National Foundation for Cancer Research, the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance, Resurge, Compassion & Choices, and FINCA.

Phillips fought a valiant battle against cancer for nearly two years.

Her legacy will forever be creating the Tahoe Pyramid Trail which is already enjoyed by thousands of hikers and cyclists every year. To support Janet’s legacy and the completion of the trail, please visit tahoepyramidtrail.org

A memorial service for Phillips will be held along the trail this spring.

~ TPT Facebook post

Actor Jeremy Renner Involved in Snow Plow Accident

RENO

At approximately 9 a.m. on Jan. 1, the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office responded to a traumatic injury in the area of Mt. Rose Highway in Reno.

Upon arrival, deputies coordinated with Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District and REMSA Health to arrange for medical transport of actor Jeremy Renner via care flight to a local area hospital. Renner was the only involved party in the incident which involved a 7-ton SnowCat rolling over him.

The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Major Accident Investigation Team is currently looking into the circumstances of the incident. There is no belief that Renner was impaired during the incident, and there’s no suspicion of foul play.

In a statement sent to PEOPLE, Renner’s publicist, Samantha Mast, shared, “We can confirm that Jeremy has suffered blunt chest trauma and orthopedic injuries and has undergone surgery [on] Jan. 2, 2023. He has returned from surgery and remains in the intensive care unit in critical but stable condition.

“Jeremy’s family would like to express their gratitude to the incredible doctors and nurses looking after him, Truckee Meadows Fire and Rescue, Washoe County Sheriff, Reno City Mayor Hillary Schieve, and the Carano and Murdock families. They are also tremendously overwhelmed and appreciative of the outpouring of love and support from his fans.”

Renner, 51, is well known for his roles in the Avengers movies.

~ AH

NV Energy Power Outages

NEVADA

As NV Energy continues to restore power to the customers impacted by the New Year’s Eve storm, the company is prepared for the next winter storm wave that is expected to bring more wind and heavy snow to the Lake Tahoe and western Nevada region through the weekend.

The company, in response to last weekend’s storm and in preparation for the coming winter storms, has brought in and staged additional lineman resources from throughout Nevada, Oregon, and Utah to respond as effectively as possible to any impacts of the coming storm.

NV Energy is also offering customers who have been without power since Jan. 1 the following services:

  • NV Energy is proactively contacting each remaining customer who is out of power from the New Year’s Eve storm to ensure that they have accommodations in place.
  • Green Cross customers (those requiring active use of medical equipment at home) are being prioritized for restoration and NV Energy is also ensuring that these customers have accommodations in place.
  • We are working with local counties to assist customers having trouble watering their livestock because of a power outage.

Support efforts have already included a $10,000 grant from the NV Energy Foundation to the American Red Cross of Northern Nevada to aid in their response to the storm. NV Energy executives have also been reaching out to impacted customers to provide assistance and information.

NV Energy encourages customers to be prepared for upcoming winter weather and possible outages.

~ NV Energy press release 

FIRST BORN: Baby girl Imogen Burkhalter was born early in the morning Jan. 1, weighing 6 pounds and 1.9 ounces, and measured 18 inches long. Courtesy photo

Tahoe Forest Welcomes the First Baby of 2023

Tahoe Forest Health System announced the arrival of the first baby of the new year, born on Jan. 1, at 6:58 a.m. Baby girl Imogen Burkhalter was delivered by OB-GYN Shawni Coll, DO. She is the second child of proud parents James Burkhalter and Angela Hauner, residents of Quincy, and joins big sister Aislynn.

Despite having to travel through a snowstorm for the delivery of Baby Imogen, Parents James and Angela found comfort at the Joseph Family Center for Women and Newborn Care during their stay. “It’s amazing here! They’re treating us well,” mother Angela shared of their experience. 

Tahoe Forest Hospital’s Joseph Family Center for Women and Newborn Care is a state-of-the-art facility designed with the needs, safety, and comfort of new moms and families in mind. The facility features private birthing suites, each with a jacuzzi tub and private postpartum suites. 

Tahoe Forest Hospital has been nationally certified as a Baby-Friendly hospital since 2010.  The Baby-Friendly certification recognizes hospitals that have made a dedicated commitment to help mothers with breastfeeding, including training and educational programs for hospital staff and parents. 

In honor of the first baby of the year, the Burkhalter family was presented with a gift basket donated by the Tahoe Forest Health System Foundation. The gift basket included baby items from The Gift Tree gift shop, located inside the main lobby at Tahoe Forest Hospital.

~ Tahoe Forest Health System press release

Support for Long Time Physical Therapist Ladd Williams 

TRUCKEE

Sherry McConkey is organizing a fundraiser to help Ladd Williams, a long-time physical therapist in the area who is experiencing tough times. According to McConkey, Williams has an irreparable torn rotator cuff tendon which put him out of work. Williams also recently underwent surgery for a cervical spine injury where he had eight vertebrae fused. McConkey stated, “His out-of-pocket medical expenses are fast approaching $25,000 and he has a long, unemployed road ahead.”

McConkey explained that Williams was a long-time local before being displaced by the housing crisis. Williams is temporarily living in Utah with plans to return home to South Dakota and the hope to eventually find his way back to Truckee. 

“Ladd Williams worked in North Tahoe for 30 years as a physical therapist and in other roles within the healing arts,” McConkey said. “Innately driven to heal and improve the lives of others, he over-delivered by providing care that exceeded the mandates of the health care bureaucracy providing his remuneration.”

For more information and to donate visit the GoFundMe site Ladd Williams needs our help.

~ KM

WHERE’S WATER?: Spring snowmelt on Peavine Peak above Reno. Courtesy photo

​​Spring Heat Waves Added to Severe Water Supply Impacts 

RENO

Snow-capped mountains provide natural water storage by creating reservoirs of frozen water that slowly melt into watersheds throughout the spring and summer months. Much of the Western U.S. relies on this process to renew and sustain freshwater supplies, and new research underscores the impacts of extreme weather conditions on this annual cycle.  

In a study published Jan. 5 in Environmental Research Letters, DRI researchers examine the role of spring heat waves on the melting rates of mountain snowpacks across the west. They found that in April 2021, record-breaking snowmelt rates occurred at 24% of all mountain snowpack monitoring sites in the region, further compounding the impacts of extended drought conditions. 

By examining data from mountain snowpack monitoring stations, the researchers found that between April 1 and May 1, record high temperatures caused dramatic decreases in snowpacks. Several factors contributed to the rapid rate of snowmelt. On top of record high maximum temperatures, record high minimum temperatures prevented snowpacks from re-freezing at night, and clear, sunny skies exposed snow to the melting energy of the sun’s rays. The ongoing drought, already widespread in late 2020, also created parched soils that absorbed more of the spring snowmelt in 2021 before it could run off into streams and reservoirs or replenish groundwater.  

With reservoirs below expected levels based on early-season snowpack predictions, less water flowed to downstream users. Reduced water availability also impacted hydropower production, which made providing energy during the summer and fall heat waves more challenging. By the end of summer 2021, 76% of the West was in severe drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. 

These spring heatwaves are consistent with the long-term trend of spring warming across the west, because of this, April 1 may no longer be a reliable benchmark for evaluating snowpack levels and their seasonal contributions to water supplies. 2021 was also an active wildfire season in California and the Pacific Northwest, consistent with previous research linking reduced mountain snowpacks and spring heat waves with increased wildfire potential.

~ Desert Research Institute press release 

Business Briefs

Resort at Squaw Creek Announces Wellness Exclusive for Local Residents

OLYMPIC VALLEY

Resort at Squaw Creek announces its 2023 Creekside Wellness Exclusive for local residents. The updated program provides access to exclusive spa experiences at the spa at Squaw Creek.

“We have developed this spa offer specifically so that our local guests can enjoy the relaxing and rejuvenating spa and wellness experiences we offer right in their backyard,” said Melissa Ratkovitz, director of spa at Resort at Squaw Creek.

When locals sign up for the 2023 Creekside Wellness Exclusive, they receive their choice of one complimentary 60-minute spa treatment each month. For any other treatments booked that month, guests receive a 25% discount as well as a complimentary add-on enhancement for their experience. Participants also have access to exclusive VIP treatment specials, a 20% discount on any retail products at the spa, as well as 25% off waxing and brow or lash tinting services.

Additionally, the Creekside Wellness Exclusive provides a variety of discounts at the resort. Participants will receive a 15% discount on hotel room reservations and food and beverage excluding alcohol, as well as a 15% discount at the golf and pro shop and all recreational activities. They also receive 5,000 World of Hyatt bonus points, complimentary self-parking or valet parking validation for three hours, and discounted season rentals for ski lockers.

The program is open to guests 18 years and older and is available on a monthly basis for $199 per month or annually for $1,999.

For more information visit destinationhotels.com/squawcreek

~ Resort at Squaw Creek press release 

HAUL TO RENO: U-Haul ranks Reno number 18 on the list of cities that are growing. Courtesy photo

U-Haul Ranks Reno as a Growth City

RENO

Reno is the number 18 growth city in America, according to the U-Haul growth index analyzing customer moves during 2022. 

People arriving in Reno in one-way U-Haul trucks rose almost 1% over 2021 while departures fell 2%. Do-it-yourself movers arriving in Reno accounted for 50.8% of all one-way U-Haul truck traffic in and out of the market (49.2% departures). Reno is one of two Nevada markets to make the top 25 list, the other being Henderson. 

“There’s no income tax and the tax structure is lenient in Nevada,” explained Christopher Piedra, U-Haul Company of Northern Nevada president. “People from California and the Bay Area are coming here because they can sell their 1,200-square-foot home and buy a huge place in Reno for cash. Ever since the pandemic, when people began moving away from big cities and working from home, we’ve seen lots of U-Haul trucks coming into Reno. The cost of housing is going down from where it was. With higher interest rates, the home inventory is up again. Reno is still an attractive area for Californians.”

The U-Haul growth index is compiled according to the net gain of one-way U-Haul trucks arriving in a city or state, versus departing from that city or state, in a calendar year. Migration trends data is compiled from more than 2 million one-way U-Haul truck transactions that occur annually across the U.S. and Canada.

Neighboring cities in U-Haul markets are often packaged together for migration trends purposes. While U-Haul migration trends do not correlate directly to population or economic growth, the U-Haul growth index is an effective gauge of how well cities and states are attracting and maintaining residents. Visit myuhaulstory.com to view the U-Haul top 50 growth state rankings of 2022. 

~ U-Haul press release

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