News Briefs

EKN Restructuring Loan for Tahoe Biltmore Project

WASHOE COUNTY

On April 9, a notice of default was filed with Washoe County to EKN Development on the Tahoe Biltmore Lodge and Casino property. The filing stated that payment had not been made on a principal balance of $82 million, due on March 11. On June 3, EKN Development CEO, Ebbie Nakhjavani, said the company is still in the process of restructuring the loan. “We are working on restructuring the financing. One of the lenders was very impatient and caused the filing of the notice of default,” he said. “We’re very committed to the project and [the notice of default] is not going to be an issue.”

It is undetermined when the restructuring will be finalized, as it depends on several components that EKN is dealing with, according to Nakhjavani. “We’re working on that right now, but we’ll meet the requirements by the law. The notice of default has certain requirements, so we’ll definitely meet those,” he said. “It’ll be cured on time in terms of the provisions that are part of the notice of default requirements, but continuing beyond that as well.” 

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The timeline for the company to address the issue is uncertain. “This project is partially in Nevada, partially in California, and I do not want to presume to try to interpret the law as far as what cure periods apply,” Nakhjavani said. “It’s very complex.” 

Currently elevated interest rates aren’t affecting the project, according to Nakhjavani. “The rates are higher than they were when we started this project, however, while the project construction loan will be more expensive, it will not be insurmountable.”

~ TC

Cal Fire Suspends Burn Permits

CAMINO

The increasing fire danger posed by the high volume of dead grass and hotter, drier conditions in the region prompted Cal Fire to suspend all burn permits for outdoor residential burning within the state responsibility areas (SRA) of Alpine, Amador, El Dorado (west of Echo Summit), Sacramento, and San Joaquin counties. This suspension took effect on June 10 and bans all residential outdoor burning of landscape debris such as branches and leaves.

While outdoor burning of landscape debris by homeowners is no longer allowed, Cal Fire is asking residents to ensure they are prepared for wildfires by maintaining a minimum of 100 feet of defensible space around every building on their property and being prepared to evacuate if the time comes.

Tips to help prepare homes and property:

  • Clear all dead and or dying vegetation 100 feet from around all structures.
  • Landscape with fire resistant plants and non-flammable ground cover.
  • Find alternative ways to dispose of landscape debris like chipping or hauling it to a biomass energy or green waste facility.

The department may issue restricted temporary burning permits if there is an essential reason due to public health and safety. Agriculture, land management, fire training, and other industrial-type burning may proceed if a Cal Fire official inspects the burn site and issues a special permit.

The suspension of burn permits for residential landscape debris does not apply to campfires within organized campgrounds or on private property. Campfires may be permitted if they are maintained in such a manner as to prevent the spread to the wildland. A campfire permit can be obtained at readyforwildfire.org/permits/campfire-permit.

For additional information on how to create defensible space, and how to be prepared for and prevent wildfires, visit readyforwildfire.org

~ Cal Fire press release

View Beach-Cleaning Robot

LAKE TAHOE

Tahoe’s beach-cleaning robot, Bebot, will make its North Shore debut for the 2024 operational season with a full beach cleanup at Kings Beach on Monday, June 17, from 8 to 11 a.m. The public is invited to join this kickoff event with Eco-Clean Solutions and members of the League to Save Lake Tahoe by participating in a human versus machine test to demonstrate how people and technology can work together to rid Tahoe beaches of trash.

Meet at 8603 Brockway Vista Ave. on the sand next to the boat ramp parking lot off of Racoon Street. Register here.

BEBOT: Learn how people and technology can work together to keep Tahoe’s beaches clean. Courtesy graphic.

Catch Bebot in action over the next 2 weeks at various locations: 

  • June 18 from 7 to 10 a.m. in Kings Beach
  • June 19 from 7 to 10 a.m. and 5 to 7 p.m. at Mourelatos, Franciscan, and Tonopalo Beaches
  • June 25 from 7 to 10 a.m. and 5 to 7 p.m. at Lake Forest Beach
  • June 26 from 7 to 10 a.m. and 5 to 7 p.m. at Moon Dunes
  • June 27 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Commons Beach

~ Eco-Clean Solutions press release

Pilot to Demonstrate Historic Warbird at Air Show

TRUCKEE

Vicky Benzing will join the aerial performance line-up at the Truckee Tahoe Air Show and Family Festival on June 22 at Truckee Tahoe Airport. A nationally renowned aerobatic pilot, Benzing will fly a P-51 Mustang and participate in a Q&A session. 

This will be Benzing’s first air show performing in her recently refurbished Plum Crazy warbird this season. The purple Mustang transitioned from a WWII military fighter to the 1970 National Air Race Champion. Very few warbirds are still flying in the United States, and even fewer are flown by a female aerobatic pilot. 

On the ground, Benzing will participate in the air show’s speaker presentation from 12 to 1 p.m. when she’ll discuss the historical significance of the aircraft and provide an inside look into the life of an aerobatic pilot. 

PLUM CRAZY: The historic warbird will be flown by female pilot Vicky Benzing at this year’s Truckee Tahoe Air Show and Family Festival. Courtesy photo

Benzing is also known for being the fastest woman ever at the National Championship Air Races in Reno. An accomplished pilot, skydiver, aerobatic performer, and air racer with nearly 10,000 hours of flight time and over 1,300 parachute jumps, Benzing is a strong proponent of pursuing an aviation education. 

Free to the public, the Truckee Tahoe Air Show and Family Festival features aerial performances, static displays of aircraft, a hands-on STEM expo, live music, arts and crafts, and more. Learn more at truckeetahoeairshow.com.

~ California Aeronautical University press release

Museum Completes Equity Program

TRUCKEE

KidZone Museum has successfully completed the nationally recognized Cambio program after a highly competitive selection process and 1 year of intensive professional development. Cambio’s aim is to advance equity by building museums’ capacity to support Latino communities’ full participation in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics).

In partnership with the Exploratorium in San Francisco and the Cultural Competence Learning Institute, this designation recognizes KidZone Museum’s commitment to creating culturally relevant and responsive STEAM experiences for Latino communities in the Truckee/Tahoe region. 

The Cambio experience focuses on incremental change in organizational practice, building on strengths, and improving what they do well, with a goal of long-term transformational change that includes questioning assumptions, examining systems, and changing structures toward more equitable institution-wide change.

Carol Meagher, KidZone Museum executive director for more than 20 years, said Cambio has strengthened a decades-long effort to grow inclusivity efforts and STEAM programming at the museum. 

“Cambio has really sparked our thinking on how we can better support our English language learners,” Meagher said. “We’re committed to helping them thrive in literacy and math through culturally enriching STEAM programs now, and in our new facility and science center.”

KidZone Museum is the only children’s museum serving North Lake Tahoe and Truckee, with nearly 30,000 visits annually. The creative play spaces, including an outdoor nature space, are optimal for children under 7 years of age. Learn more at kidzonemuseum.org.

~ KidZone Museum press release

Donate for AllTrails+ Membership

TAHOE CITY

This summer, the Tahoe Fund is teaming up with AllTrails to offer a new opportunity to give back to Tahoe trails. Contributions of $25 or more to the Tahoe Trails Endowment by July 4 will result in a free 3-month AllTrails+ membership, gaining access to premium AllTrails features and offline maps for trails in the Tahoe region and beyond.

“Tahoe is home to more than 300 miles of trails, and sometimes these trails need some extra love to ensure they remain safe for users and the environment,” said Amy Berry, Tahoe Fund CEO. “Through this amazing partnership with AllTrails, now you can support annual trail crews through a donation to the Tahoe Trails Endowment and enjoy finding new or lesser-known trails to explore through AllTrails+.” 

Each year, the Tahoe Fund supports trailwork throughout the region through the Tahoe Trails Endowment. Funds from the endowment help trail crews from the Tahoe Rim Trail Association and the Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association as they remove downed trees, clear rock fall, repair trail tread, and fix erosion damage on popular trails. 

The Tahoe Fund hopes to grow the Tahoe Trails Endowment to $3 million to fund annual trail maintenance throughout the region for years to come. Currently, the endowment is at just over $1 million. The endowment was launched in late 2020 with a generous $100,000 donation from Chris and Viktoria McNamara. 

Donate to the Tahoe Trails Endowment before July 4 at tahoefund.org/tahoetrails.

~ The Tahoe Fund press release

Independence Day Celebration to Honor Local Heroes

INCLINE VILLAGE 

Incline Village’s 4th of July Celebration will honor local heroes who make lives safer. Event highlights include: 

  • The local heroes parade will pay tribute to veterans, firefighters, healthcare workers, educators, service workers, parents, and everyone who helps build the community. 
  • Two pancake breakfasts, one hosted by the North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District on July 2 and the other hosted by the IVCB Veterans Club on July 4. 
  • A community fair featuring a Washoe County Sheriff’s Office meet and greet, the Highlander Pride Youth Olympics, a Highlander Pride backyard BBQ fundraiser, and a Susie Scoops ice cream eating contest. 
  • The Incline Tahoe Foundation’s Summerfest will take place on July 2 at UNR Lake Tahoe; enjoy beer tasting, food, games, music, and fun for the whole family.
  • A Veterans Recognition Reception and Flag Retirement Ceremony. 
  • A Highlander Pride Basketball Tournament, open to all ages. 
  • A Tahoe Symphony Orchestra & Chorus (TOCCATA) Red, White, and Tahoe Blue concert. 
  • Red, White & Tahoe Blue II will present fireworks over Lake Tahoe. (Access to Incline Village General Improvement District beaches is limited to beach passholders.) 

For more information and full schedule, visit ivcba.org.

~ Incline Village Crystal Bay Community and Business Association press release

Over 120 in Attendance at Community Event

KINGS BEACH

In the last week of May, Placer County invited members of the public to the inaugural Discover and Discuss event to ask questions and share feedback about regional projects and programs. Over 120 community members joined 30 county staff and 10 partner agencies at the educational event in Kings Beach to learn more about shaping the vision of a vibrant, healthy, and sustainable Tahoe.

Participants had a chance to meet with regional experts, ask questions, and provide feedback. It was an opportunity for staff to share updates to the public and for community members to learn about the diverse range of initiatives, programs, and projects related to housing, land use, the Placer County Office of Emergency Management, the Resort Triangle Trail, infrastructure, Caltrans, transit, economic vitality, and Engage Placer.

Sierra Community House provided Spanish interpretation and a children’s activity area.

This is the first of future planned events to provide new and important information to the Placer County community in North Lake Tahoe. Stay tuned for further announcements.

For interested community members, the county is encouraging the public to provide feedback on the event and ideas for local service improvements in a short survey here.

~ Placer County press release

Office of Emergency Services Receives Award 

NEVADA CITY

The Nevada County Office of Emergency Services received the Partnership Award from NEU leadership at the Cal Fire Nevada-Yuba-Placer (NEU) unit’s annual all hands meeting.

“From fire response, evacuation support, debris removal and recovery efforts, to community risk  reduction and prevention planning efforts, Nevada County OES has led the way in representing  the region professionally and proactively,” says Cal Fire Assistant Chief Landon Haack. “Whenever asked if Craig and his OES staff are available, the answer was universally ‘When do  you need us there, we are here for you.’” 

In recent years, Nevada County has experienced significant emergencies, including severe  winter storms and wildfire events.

Partnership and collaboration at all levels increase Nevada County’s emergency preparedness as a whole. Residents are encouraged to sign up for CodeRED Emergency Alerts, know their  evacuation zone, and help others do the same. Finding five emergency allies or joining local Firewise Communities are great ways to continue to increase the community’s preparedness for fire season. Visit readynevadacounty.org for emergency preparedness resources. 

~ Nevada County press release

Leadership Program Graduates 27 

NORTH TAHOE/TRUCKEE

The North Lake Tahoe/Truckee Leadership Program successfully completed its 20th year by graduating 27 leaders. The Leadership Program creates an opportunity for potential leaders to broaden their understanding of the region and its issues, challenges, and opportunities, while honing and developing leadership skills. Since 2004, the program has graduated almost 480 individuals. 

NEW LEADERS: The North Lake Tahoe/Truckee Leadership Program class of 2024. Courtesy photo

As part of the 6-month program, participants worked on action plans designed to enhance some aspect of local community life. These plans are intended to provide the framework to allow for real-world changes in the community. Through interviews, surveys, and research, teams developed a program rationale, needs assessment, proposed budget, timeline, community collaboration, and promotional packets. Results were presented on the final day. This year, the projects were: ARTober, Tahoe Career Compass, Employer Sponsored Child Care Co-Op, Equitable Lake Access Foundation, Bike Wise, and NESTT.

Sponsors and location hosts included Rotary Club of Truckee, Sustainable Community Advocates, Town of Truckee, Truckee Tahoe Airport, Tahoe City PUD, Town of Truckee, and Za’s Lakefront Restaurant.

Scholarships were generously funded by the Rotary Club of Tahoe City, Kiwanis Club of North Lake Tahoe, Soroptimist International of Truckee Donner, and Theresa May Duggan of Duggan and Duggan. Information about the program, sponsorships, and scholarship support can be found at tahoetruckeeleadership.com

~ North Lake Tahoe/Truckee Leadership Program press release

Fire Protection District Launches Spanish Communications

RENO

The Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District announced the launch of dedicated Spanish communications to better serve the Hispanic community in Washoe County. This initiative includes a new Spanish-dedicated Facebook page aimed at ensuring more members of the community have access to important safety information and updates.

Over one quarter of Washoe County’s population is Hispanic, and Spanish is the most spoken non-English language in the area.

The new Spanish Facebook page will feature:

  • Emergency alerts and updates
  • Fire safety tips and educational resources
  • Information on community events and programs
  • Real-time communication during emergencies

By providing resources in Spanish, TMFPD aims to bridge communication gaps and enhance the community’s resilience against emergencies. For more information, visit facebook.com/tmfpdespanol.

~ Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District

Over $1M Goes to Local Businesses

NORTH LAKE TAHOE

At the June meeting, the North Tahoe Community Alliance Board of Directors allocated over $1 million in funding to support efforts benefiting local businesses, economic development, and community vitality. Specifically, funds generated by tourism will be used by the North Tahoe Business Association, Tahoe City Downtown Association, and North Tahoe Chamber for programs and projects designed to collaboratively address the most critical economic challenges facing the region.

“Signature events, main street programs, educational opportunities, mixers, and a consolidated membership platform are just a few of the ways these organizations support our business community,” said Sue Rae Irelan, NTCA Board Chair. “Because of the TOT-TBID Dollars At Work program, this funding will inject necessary resources back into our community and allow these three nonprofit organizations to continue the great work they do in our region.”

The business associations are responsible for the production of popular annual events that include Music on the Beach, Concerts at Commons Beach, the Tahoe City Oktoberfest, Passport to Dining, the Tahoe City Food and Wine Classic, and more. They also support the business communities throughout North Tahoe and are focused on the revitalization of the Kings Beach and Tahoe City downtown cores.

Learn more about membership opportunities and benefits at northtahoechamber.org, and about the TOT-TBID Dollars At Work program here.

~ North Tahoe Community Alliance press release

Webinar Series on How to Electrify Buildings

TRUCKEE

The Climate Transformation Alliance, in collaboration with the North Tahoe Chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby and 100% Renewable Truckee, will host a webinar series for community leaders and the general public on how to electrify buildings in Truckee/Tahoe.

The series will delve into key enablers for electrifying buildings in our area, including thermal energy networks, financing and implementation strategies, and the pressing need for a one-stop shop to simplify the electrification process. 

“Buildings, both residential and commercial, are the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the Truckee/Tahoe area, so reducing the use of fossil fuels in buildings is essential to reduce the pollution that is warming the atmosphere and causing climate change,” said Matt Tucker of 100% Renewable Truckee.

The first webinar in the series will explore thermal energy networks with Ania Camargo, the Thermal Networks senior manager at the Building Decarbonization Coalition. Camargo is also the board president at HEET, a climate solutions think tank in Massachusetts that has pioneered working with gas utilities to initiate networked geothermal pilot projects. 

“Networked geothermal systems, also known as thermal energy networks, which make use of the heat existing under our feet in the ground to energize heat pumps for heating and cooling buildings, are having a moment in the renewable energy world,” said Deirdre Henderson, co-leader of North Tahoe Citizens’ Climate Lobby. “Ania will explore with us what networked geothermal is, why we should be looking at it, why gas utilities are looking at it, and what regulatory changes may be needed to unleash and grow it.”

Register here. For more information, visit climatetransformationalliance.org/webinar-series.

~ Climate Transformation Alliance press release

Macias Brothers to Headline Envision Tahoe Talks Event

INCLINE VILLAGE

The Macias Brothers will share their story during an Envision Tahoe Talk at Alibi Ale Works in Incline Village on June 25 from 5 to 7 pm. Tickets are $25 and include a drink and light appetizers. In addition to reflecting on their professional path, the Macias Brothers will discuss the barriers and opportunities for Spanish-speaking residents in our community. 

During the 2023 Envision Tahoe Venture Summit, the entrepreneurial brothers, David and Martin, generated rave reviews for their breakout session focused on the challenges and achievements they experienced while entering the workforce, working in the building trades, finding a market need, and launching their business, Macias Power Washing Solutions. 

David and Martin both carved paths with nontraditional education, working through the building and construction trades, and teaming up to address an identified market need. They’ve shown ingenuity and determination, setting an example for how Tahoe’s regional economy can lean into its strengths, adapt, and provide greater opportunity for more residents. 

Tickets are available at tinyurl.com/envisiontahoetalks. Students can attend for free, but will not receive a drink ticket. For those unable to afford a ticket, email info@tahoeprosperity.org or call (775) 298-0267 to have the cost of a ticket covered. 

~ Tahoe Prosperity Center press release

Moving In, Moving On, Moving Up

Committee Members Approved, Two Candidates Sought

NORTH LAKE TAHOE

The North Tahoe Community Alliance Board of Directors has approved a slate of 13 local candidates to sit on the new Transient Occupancy Tax Advisory Committee. The board also reopened the application process to identify two additional community members. The new TOT Advisory Committee takes on the responsibilities of the former TOT and Capital Projects Advisory committees and streamlines efforts to direct the roughly $10 million of transient occupancy tax revenues generated by overnight stays in local hotels and short-term rentals in North Lake Tahoe.

“We have also reopened the application process specifically to solicit local representation in two seats; one representing housing expertise, with a background in planning, construction, financing or land use, and a second seat providing geographical representation from Donner Summit,” said Sue Rae Irelan, NTCA Board chair. 

At-large seats must fit one or more of 15 representation categories. The 13 members seated on the TOT Advisory Committee include:

  • Teresa Crimmens, representing transportation/housing advocacy/expertise
  • Pat Fraser, representing transportation/housing advocacy/expertise
  • Acadia Davis, representing transportation/housing advocacy/expertise
  • Dan Wilkins, representing North Lake Tahoe special districts
  • Andrew Ryan, representing North Tahoe Chamber/NTBA/TCDA
  • Heidi Spirgi, Placer County District 5 Supervisor-nominated representation
  • Kevin Drake, at-large
  • Marina Gardiner, at-large
  • Nicole Gorman, at-large
  • Joshua Fonseca, at-large
  • Waide Wright, at-large
  • Sara Gooding, at-large
  • Susan Winter, at-large

Staff designated advisory seats are occupied by:

  • Lindsay Romack, Placer County
  • Ryan Murray, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency
  • Bradley Johnson, North Lake Tahoe Special Districts

Applications can be submitted between June 10 and July 10 at northtahoecommunityalliance.com/who-we-are/tot-advisory-committee. The NTCA Board of Directors will seat the two additional committee members at its Aug. 7 meeting.

Email Tara Hetz at tara@northtahoecommunityalliance.com with questions about the application process. For information on all of the committees convened by the NTCA, visit northtahoecommunityalliance.com/who-we-are.

~ North Tahoe Community Alliance press release

Business Briefs

Winners of Art Contest Announced

TRUCKEE

The Office Boss announced the winners of its 9th annual pARTicipate Amateur Art Contest, The Fire Within, celebrating the creative talents of local amateur artists. Dahlia Dunbar, who is 12 years old, was the kid’s category winner with her piece, Passion. Akira Avila Lopez was the kids category people’s choice winner.

Lila Kangelaris won first place in the youth category with her piece, Made of Stars, created with graphite pencil. Ennis Graham won second place with My Fire is My Passion, digital artwork. Graham was also the youth category people’s choice winner. Zoey Carillo won third place with Chinese Dragons, acrylic on canvas. 

In the adult category, Sarah Manning won first place with East Ridge, gouache with acrylic ink. Emily Rademacher won second place with Life and Death, watercolor. Zakiya Stubbs won third place with Friday the 13th, digital artwork. The people’s choice award in the adult category went to Citlali Lopez with Phoenix, pastel.

The contest welcomed submissions in various mediums, including watercolor, colored pencil, photography, digital artwork, acrylic, gouache, graphite, and more. Artists of all ages participated. The submission period ran from April 1 through May 5.

This year’s panel of judges featured local artists Sarah Smith, Trina Gold, and Cathee Vanrossem-St.Clair. The winning artwork is on display at The Office Boss next to Safeway at 11260 Donner Pass Rd. The exhibition is open to the public until June 17.

For more information, contact nathan.g@theofficeboss.com.

~ The Office Boss press release

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