News Briefs

Carjacking Incident Ends in Fatality   

OLYMPIC VALLEY

California State Parks confirmed a fatal shooting at Palisades Tahoe in Olympic Valley. The incident occurred around 10 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 26, when a state park peace officer (SPPO) attempted to stop a vehicle linked to a carjacking in Tahoe City. The chase ended in a traffic collision near Olympic Valley Inn at Palisades Tahoe. The suspect, identified as 29-year-old Vinton Miller, exited the vehicle armed with a knife, leading to an officer-involved shooting. Despite medical aid provided by officers, Miller succumbed to his injuries. Miller was a Palisades Tahoe employee, confirmed resort staff with Moonshine, and Jamaican national on a work visa. The investigation is being conducted by the Placer County Sheriff’s Office, in cooperation with State Parks.

~ TM

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Shooting Incident Reported, More Information Wanted

HOMEWOOD 

On Monday, Jan. 29, a shooting incident occurred near the 5000 block of West Lake Boulevard, prompting an immediate response from deputies. The situation led to the discovery of one victim, who was transported to medical facilities; however, their condition remains undisclosed. Authorities identified 26-year-old Luis Sanchez-Cabada as a person of interest. It has been established that Sanchez-Cabada and the victim were acquainted and that Sanchez-Cabada is known to frequent the Reno/Tahoe area. The Placer County Sheriff’s Office is actively seeking information on Sanchez-Cabada’s whereabouts and encourages anyone with knowledge to reach out to the non-emergency line at (530) 889-7800.

~ Placer County Sheriff social media statement 

Upcoming Candidate Forums

NORTH LAKE TAHOE

The North Tahoe Chamber will host two opportunities for community members to hear from and ask questions of candidates running for election in March.

The first event will take place online during the North Tahoe First Tuesday Breakfast Club meeting on Feb. 6 from 7 to 8:30 a.m. This live candidate forum will provide an opportunity to connect with those running for regional and state offices, including California State Assembly, District 1; United States Representative, District 3; and Placer County Board of Supervisors, District 5.

Additionally, the North Tahoe Chamber will host a Placer County District 5 candidate forum Feb. 6 in person at the North Tahoe Event Center in Kings Beach from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. This event will provide an opportunity to hear from candidates running to represent North Lake Tahoe on the Placer County Board of Supervisors.

~ North Tahoe Chamber press release

Placer County Looking to Safeguard Pedestrian Safety, Enhance Traffic

TAHOE CITY

A project to safeguard pedestrians and enhance traffic flow within the Tahoe City corridor is set to kick off after a key approval by the Placer County Board of Supervisors last week. The vote authorizes the director of public works to approve a contract with GHD for professional services to begin the Tahoe City Mobility and Grove Street Intersection Improvements Project along state Route 28.

The project’s goal is to assess the location and provide a design to improve traffic control at the intersection of Grove Street and state Route 28, also known as North Lake Boulevard, in Tahoe City. The approved contract is to not exceed $598,119.

Placer County is working in coordination with Caltrans on this project and together, staff will analyze multiple alternatives for the intersection including a signal and roundabout.

“This intersection experiences a significant volume of pedestrian activity, traffic, and congestion in this popular area,” said Public Works Engineering Manager Ryan Decker. “For many years, the county has employed various methods to study the intersection and nearby traffic. That included pedestrian flaggers and a temporary signal during peak tourism periods, but each had its limitations. This effort’s goal is to improve the operation of this intersection and make North Lake Boulevard safer for pedestrians and cyclists.”

The project is intended to address long-standing community concerns with pedestrian safety and mobility, as well as traffic congestion. Due to the adjacent school on Grove Street, there are frequent school bus stops at this intersection and many children crossing state Route 28 en route to school. The contract includes preliminary design for the intersection as well as environmental review and final design services.

Placer County plans to engage the community on this project and others in the coming months. More details will be made available on the county’s Tahoe City Mobility Project webpage.

To learn more, visit placer.ca.gov/1658/tahoe-city-mobility-project.

~ Placer County press release

$8 Million Available in Wildfire Grants

SACRAMENTO

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) announced up to $8 million in funding for Wildfire Resilience Block Grants. This funding supports California’s goals of improved forest health, resilience to climate change, and reduced forestland impacts due to devastating wildfires in line with the goals of the California Wildfire and Forest Resilience Task Force. 

Cal Fire will accept proposals through 5 p.m. on Feb. 26. Additional application information including grant guidelines, eligibility requirements, and deadlines can be found on the Forest Resilience Program website. All grant work must be completed by Dec. 31, 2027.

The purpose of the Wildfire Resilience Block Grant is to address several action items outlined in the Wildfire and Forest Resilience Task Force Action Plan, including increasing technical assistance, improving outreach supporting forest health and maintenance treatments, and establishing emergency forest restoration teams.

Block grants will be awarded to eligible entities who have the capacity to deliver forestry-based technical and financial assistance programs to non-industrial forest landowners ranging in size from 3 to 5,000 acres. Eligible entities must be capable of acting as lead agency for California Environmental Quality Act projects. In addition, $1 million of the $8 million in funding will be allocated specifically for forest stewardship education. Funding to support private forestland owners is provided through the Budget Act 2023. Cal Fire’s Wildfire Resilience Program is tasked with assisting nonindustrial timberland owners with wildfire resilience efforts by providing technical and financial assistance for their forest management needs.

~ Cal Fire press release

NEW EXHIBIT AT KIDZONE MUSEUM: Intricate murals by local artist and longtime KidZone Museum supporter Susie Alexander capture the spirit of E.H. Shepard’s illustrations. Courtesy photo

Local Museum Announces New Exhibit

TRUCKEE

KidZone Museum has launched a first-of-its-kind exhibit geared toward teaching young children about their internal worlds. The Hundred Acre Wood installation brings to life the Winnie the Pooh stories of author A.A. Milne and illustrator E.H. Shepard with a focus on social-emotional learning for the museum’s young audience, which is geared toward children up to age 6.

The KidZone Museum’s new exhibit presents an opportunity for younger children to become familiar with concepts of understanding and identifying their feelings, self-reflection, empathy, and connection.

“Throughout the exhibit there are spaces for each of the Winnie the Pooh characters, and the different characters’ personalities represent what we see in children and ourselves,” said Maria Snideman, a KidZone Museum board member. “It’s fun to do this with a younger population, where they are finding a vocabulary for their feelings.”

HUNDRED ACRE WOOD. Jerry Johnsen builds museum features so they are safe and durable for use by small children. Courtesy photo

The installation includes a donation of materials and resources from The Toolbox Project, a research-based, community-tested social and emotional learning program. 

Jerry Johnsen, an important contributor to the museum’s exhibits over the years, built nearly all of the structures throughout Hundred Acre Wood.

Major funding for Hundred Acre Wood was provided by Lahontan Community Foundation, with additional funding from the Zappettini Family Fund, an anonymous family foundation, and museum donors. In kind support came from Easterbrook Painting, Truckee Paint Mart, and Ace Mountain Hardware & Sports. 

~ KidZone Museum press release 

Man Pleads Guilty to Setting Multiple Fires

SACRAMENTO

Gary Stephen Maynard, 49, of San Jose, pleaded guilty to three counts of arson on federal property, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, Maynard engaged in an arson spree in the Shasta Trinity National Forest and in the vicinity of the then-ongoing Dixie Fire in the Lassen National Forest. Maynard set some of his fires behind firefighters who were actively fighting the Dixie Fire, effectively surrounding these firefighters as they responded to one of the largest wildfires in California history. Maynard admitted to setting the following fires during this arson spree: the Cascade Fire (July 20, 2021), the Everitt Fire (July 21, 2021), the Ranch Fire (Aug. 7, 2021), and the Conard Fire (Aug. 7, 2021).

This case is the product of an investigation by the U.S. Forest Service with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Cal Fire, the California Highway Patrol, and the Lassen County Sheriff’s Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Shea Kenny, Sam Stefanki, and Michael Anderson are prosecuting the case.

Maynard is scheduled to be sentenced on May 9 by U.S. District Judge Daniel J. Calabretta. Maynard faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count to which he pleaded guilty. Arson to federal property carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

~ U.S. Department of Justice press release 

Flooding and Infrastructure Resilience

TAHOE CITY

On Feb. 8, UC Davis TERC will host a lecture about infrastructure resilience in the face of extreme flooding with Dr. Michael Gardner. The in-person event will be held at Sunnyside Restaurant and Lodge in the Mountainside Bar. Dinners will be 20% off for interested guests.

Flooding annually causes thousands of fatalities and billions of dollars in damage globally. Due to climate change, the frequency and magnitude of extreme flooding events is expected to increase. How do flow conditions, local geology, and infrastructure design interact to make certain flooding events more destructive? By building models that can capture this interaction, we can describe how infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and dam spillways will respond to extreme flooding events. Using the latest advances in computing technology, remote sensing, and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology, Dr. Gardner and his team of researchers in the UC Davis GeoSystems Laboratory are working to understand how floods, local geomorphology, and surrounding infrastructure behave as a system. Ultimately, this research will help guide infrastructure design to meet the evolving and potentially destructive influence of climate change.

Admission is $10 and free for students with a student ID. The lecture will begin at 6 p.m. in the Mountainside Bar at Sunnyside Restaurant and Lodge, 1850 West Lake Blvd.

For more information, call (775) 881-7560 or visit tahoe.ucdavis.edu/events.

~ UC Davis TERC enews

Ingrid Backstrom to Speak

TAHOE CITY

On Feb. 15 at 7 p.m., the Alpenglow Sports Winter Speaker Series, presented by Tahoe Mountain Realty, continues with big mountain skier Ingrid Backstrom. Backstrom’s show, Searching for the Answer, focuses on her winter goal, as a professional skier and mother, to ski 100 in a row. 

INGRID BACKSTROM has appeared in over 20 movies by Matchstick Productions, Sherpa Cinemas, Warren Miller, and more. Backstrom will speak at the Feb. 15 Alpenglow Sports Winter Speaker Series event. Photo by Taylor Boyd from The Approach 2

Every Winter Speaker Series show is hosted at the Palisades Tahoe Olympic Village Events Center and can also be livestreamed, for free, on Alpenglow’s YouTube channel. Both shows are free, and all ages are encouraged to attend. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m. Ingrid’s show is dedicated to nonprofit beneficiary the Scotty Lapp Foundation. 

In Searching for the Answer, Backstrom reflects on her professional ski career, a journey that starts inwardly and ends with an ultimate, and close to home, personal challenge. Before having a family, Backstrom focused relentlessly on chasing the best snow on the planet. However, after several life-changing events, including pregnancies, raising a family, and a “wake-up call” crash in Alaska in 2022, Backstrom found herself questioning her relationship with skiing for the first time. Rather than pull back, Backstrom’s hunch was to go all in and ski 100 consecutive days. The results are physically, mentally, logistically, and hilariously challenging. 

Registration specifics are available here and all registrants, which are not required to view the show, automatically receive one free entry into an online giveaway. Registration is not required to attend the event in person. 

~ Alpenglow Sports press release

Fall Event Funding Grants

NORTH LAKE TAHOE

The North Tahoe Community Alliance (NTCA) is now accepting applications for grant sponsorship funding of events that are scheduled to take place in North Lake Tahoe between Aug. 1 and Dec. 31, 2024. Funding for the grants is generated by the North Lake Tahoe Tourism Business Improvement District (NLT-TBID), and is used to support events that promote community vitality, environmental stewardship, and economic health in the region.

Generally, events that have received funding have been human-powered sports, cultural, and health and wellness-focused. Submission criteria and the application process are outlined on the NTCA website. Deadline to submit is Feb. 16. New events and events that have not previously been funded are encouraged to apply.

Preferred investments include events that:

  • Feature human-powered sports, arts, culture or health/wellness-focused
  • Create community vitality
  • Utilize the local workforce and resources/vendors
  • Have a positive economic impact
  • Support local nonprofits
  • Increase brand awareness of North Lake Tahoe
  • Support longer lengths of stay, shoulder season visitation, and that draw people into the mountains in summer and toward the lake in winter

Scoring and funding prioritization are based on how the events contribute to and benefit economic health, community vitality, and environmental stewardship. Each event’s traffic management and sustainability plans are also evaluated, with organizers responsible for identifying and outlining how they will mitigate the impacts of tourism on the community and environment. 

~ NTCA press release

Grants for Cannabis Cultivators

NEVADA COUNTY

Current legal cannabis applicants and those interested in entering the regulated market in Nevada County can apply for financial assistance from the county’s new Good to Grow Grants Program through Feb. 28.  

The county has partnered with the Sierra Business Council to administer and disperse approximately $1.3 million to cannabis applicants and cultivators. Potential applicants can take  a short quiz first to see if they qualify before filling out the application. 

Diana Gamzon, executive director of the Cannabis Alliance, appreciates the new funding  opportunity. “The grant funds will directly support our local cannabis industry by aiding  businesses with capital to receive business support, infrastructure improvements, and  permitting and regulatory assistance,” she said. “The cannabis sector has a significant role in  our local economy, and these funds will promote business growth and employment opportunities while increasing tax revenue.” 

Sierra Business Council is hosting two workshops to answer questions for those considering  applying:  

~ Nevada County press release

TDPUD Board Approves Climate Partnership 

TRUCKEE

Truckee Donner Public Utility District’s board of directors held its first board meeting of the year on Jan. 17, approving the utility’s continued involvement in a local climate partnership and receiving reports on greenhouse gas inventory and TDPUD’s year-in-review recap.

The board received the 2022 greenhouse gas inventory report, which was created to reliably quantify TDPUD’s annual emissions footprint and establish a baseline to measure future net carbon reduction progress. In this report, TDPUD’s carbon emissions are broken into three classes:

  • Scope one accounts for emissions from electricity generated by assets in which the utility has ownership stake, which amounted to 9,404 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2).
  • Scope two accounts for emissions caused by TDPUD operations, which amounted to 239 tons of CO2.
  • Scope three tallies TDPUD’s indirect emissions, which is the downstream use of the electricity and water it sells to its customers. This amounted to 33,516 tons of CO2; a figure TDPUD has little direct control over, though it still strives to influence its customers to use energy responsibly and reduce carbon emissions. 

To view the full report, visit tdpud.org/ghg-inventory

Staff presented a 2023 year-in-review recap, which included a look at major reliability projects and capital investments into both electric and water infrastructure. It also reviewed TDPUD’s push for community engagement last year. To view the recap, visit tdpud.org/2023.

The board authorized TDPUD’s continued involvement with the Climate Transformation Alliance, a public-private partnership governed by TDPUD, the Town of Truckee and the Truckee Tahoe Airport District. The board authorized TDPUD to contribute about $30,000 to CTA to enter phase III of its operations.

Information about TDPUD board meetings and access to agendas, minutes, live streaming and archived video can be found at tdpud.org/boardmeetings.

~ TDPUD press release

Business Briefs

Gallery Sales Benefit Local Nonprofit 

TRUCKEE

For the month of February, Alpenglow Gallery’s owners Douglas DeVore and Justin Majeczky will donate 100% of profits to the Tahoe Fund. The fine art gallery, located in downtown Truckee, features mountain and lake landscape prints of the Tahoe/Truckee area and beyond.

“The Tahoe Fund has worked with Justin and Doug on a number of projects over the years, and we are thrilled they want to support the work we’ve been doing to improve the Tahoe environment for all to enjoy in this way,” said Amy Berry, Tahoe Fund CEO. “By purchasing one of Justin or Doug’s prints from Alpenglow Gallery this February, people will not only have a beautiful reminder of this special place, they’ll be giving back to Tahoe in a meaningful way.”

Alpenglow Gallery’s prints are available in various sizes and shipped ready-to-hang on canvas, metal or Lumachrome. Only prints from Douglas DeVore and Justin Majeczky are eligible for the Tahoe Fund benefit, including online orders with free shipping.

The Alpenglow Gallery is located at 9940 Donner Pass Rd. and open Friday through Monday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Learn more and see available prints at thealpenglowgallery.com. Learn more about the Tahoe Fund at tahoefund.org.

~ Tahoe Fund press release

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