Arsonist Sentenced for Blocking Firefighters During Dixie Fire; Stroke Resources; Educational Circumnavigation of Tahoe; More

Briefs: May 24-30, 2024

0

News Briefs

Former Professor Sentenced for Setting Fires Blocking Dixie Fire Response Efforts 

SACRAMENTO

Gary Stephen Maynard, 49, of San Jose, was sentenced to 5 years and 3 months in prison, 3 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $13,081 in restitution for three counts of arson on federal property, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

“Maynard went on an arson spree on federal land while California faced one of the worst fire seasons in history. He intentionally made a dangerous situation more perilous by setting some of his fires behind the men and women fighting the Dixie Fire, potentially cutting off any chance of escape,” said Talbert. “It is only because of the quick response by the U.S. Forest Service — and the actions of civilian witnesses — that those fires were extinguished as quickly as they were. Today’s sentence underscores the danger that Maynard’s fires created and serves as a reminder that federal law enforcement takes seriously the threats to life, property, and our national forests caused by arson.”

Advertisement

According to court documents, Maynard set a series of fires in the Shasta Trinity National Forest and in the vicinity of the then-ongoing Dixie Fire in the Lassen National Forest. 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 was 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 J. Kenny and Sam Stefanki prosecuted the case.

~ U.S. Department of Justice press release

Software Platform to Streamline Defensible Space Process

TAHOE CITY

With support from the Tahoe Fund and Parasol Tahoe Community Foundation, every local fire agency in the Tahoe Basin now has access to Fire Aside, a software platform that makes defensible space and home hardening evaluations significantly faster to carry out and risk mitigation recommendations easier for residents to implement. 

WILDFIRE RESILIENCE SOFTWARE: A defensible space inspector takes photos at a residence with an iPad. Courtesy photo

Fire Aside’s Defensible Space Evaluation software makes it easier for fire agencies and residents to conduct inspections by replacing manual forms and checklists with an interactive digital platform. Through the software, fire inspectors are able to share clear, actionable information with residents about their property, including photos of vulnerable items and associated risk levels. This helps residents receive information quickly and prioritize action items. It also helps fire agencies create home hardening prescriptions more efficiently, reducing over 50% of office hours that could be better spent in the field engaging with the community.

This Basinwide expansion of the Fire Aside software follows a successful pilot in 2023 with the North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District funded by Parasol Tahoe Community foundation, who expanded their funding to the rest of Nevada in 2024. A grant from the Tahoe Fund’s Smartest Forest Fund helped expand the software to the entire California side of Lake Tahoe.

Fire Aside has been successful in other regions, leading to a five-time increase in wildfire prevention actions among residents. In addition, over 81% of residents who used Fire Aside in 2023 credited the platform for motivating them to remove hazardous vegetation.

For more information on preparing Tahoe’s communities for wildfire, visit tahoelivingwithfire.com

~ Tahoe Fund press release

Pipeline Project Enters 2024 Construction Season

INCLINE VILLAGE

The second summer of construction on Incline Village’s long-awaited pipeline replacement is underway. Motorists can expect to see large piles of materials and traffic delays as 9,800 linear feet of pipeline are replaced between now and Oct. 15.

As part of its provision of utility and recreation services to the Incline Village/Crystal Bay community, the Incline Village General Improvement District operates wastewater collection, treatment, and effluent export systems. Per the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act, wastewater in the Tahoe Basin must be collected and pumped out. 

The IVGID effluent flows by gravity from the east end of Incline Village to the Spooner Pump Station near Sand Harbor State Park. From there, the effluent is pumped over Spooner Summit on State Route 50 to its eventual outfall within the IVGID wetlands facility in the Carson Valley.

Approximately 30,000 linear feet of the original force main segment, within the total 20.5-mile long existing effluent pipeline, have reached the end of their useful life (over 50 years old) and are undergoing restoration.

The ongoing construction project this summer will replace a section of pipeline from Sand Harbor to the Douglas County line, about 1.5 miles north of the SR 50 interchange. This section of pipe is the last remaining section of the original 1970 pressure pipeline within the Tahoe Basin.

The first phase of the project was completed in 2023 by Granite Construction and included approximately 5,500 linear feet of new pipeline put into operation. The total schedule of the project extends into the summer of 2026.

The project will impact the traveling public on SR 28 as the two-lane highway will be reduced to a single lane through the construction zone. Flaggers will be positioned to direct stop-and-go traffic as required. The work is scheduled to take place 24 hours per day this construction season, from Sunday at 7 p.m. until Fridays at 12 p.m. This schedule will vary slightly to accommodate holiday weekends, special events, and potential unidentified situations such as weather, unknown underground facilities, or general emergencies that may affect construction progress.

No additional impacts beyond the travel delays are anticipated as the new pipeline is confined to the travel lanes within the existing SR 28 paving extents. Regular construction updates will be available on the IVGID website (yourtahoeplace.com/ivgid).

~ AH

Hospital Designated as Primary Stroke Center

TAHOE/TRUCKEE

Tahoe Forest Health System announced that the Sierra-Sacramento Valley EMS Agency (S-SV) recently designated Tahoe Forest Hospital as a Primary Stroke Center and Stroke Receiving Center for the local emergency medical services region.

This designation allows TFH to receive patients with stroke-like symptoms, provide a rapid assessment of their condition, and coordinate with local EMS and tele-neurologists to provide expeditious treatment.

BEFAST is the screening tool for the warning signs and symptoms of a possible stroke. Courtesy graphic

TFH’s Stroke Program includes a performance improvement program that tracks stroke patient data for the purpose of improving treatment times and overall care. This data is submitted to the American Heart Association and the State of California. The program also includes educating the community on how to recognize the symptoms of a stroke and how to respond to it. TFH provides education and training for paramedics in the local EMS region.  

The Tahoe Forest Health System encourages everyone to learn the stroke warning signs. BE FAST is the acronym to refer to as the warning signs that can help save a life from stroke: B for balance unsteady, E for eyes blurry, F for face drooping, A for arm weakness, S for speech difficulty, and T for time to call 911. The quicker stroke is treated, the more likely the person is to recover.

For more information about the stroke program and other emergency care services at Tahoe Forest Hospital, visit tfhd.com.

~ Tahoe Forest Health District press release

Fire Management Resources

TRUCKEE, INCLINE VILLAGE/CRYSTAL BAY, EL DORADO COUNTY

Building on the success of 2022 and 2023 wildfire prevention division developments, Truckee Fire is once again launching a robust set of programs and initiatives aimed at reducing wildfire risk and enhancing community resilience. Truckee Fire urges residents and homeowners to join forces in taking proactive measures against the threat of wildfires.

WILDFIRE DEFENSE: A grapple truck removes green waste to mitigate wildfire risk. Courtesy photo

In its first season, the Measure T-funded programs witnessed significant engagement and yielded tangible results, underscoring the community’s commitment to wildfire prevention. However, Truckee Fire acknowledges the importance of greater participation by residents and homeowners to fortify the region’s defenses against wildfires.

Programs available include:

  • Free defensible space inspections to homeowners, residents, and community members. Learn more at truckeefire.org/dspace.
  • Free green waste removal programs and dumpster rebate programs to aid homeowners in fire prevention efforts. Details at truckeefire.org/greenwaste.
  • A $500 home hardening rebate program involves using non-combustible building materials. Learn more at truckeefire.org/hardenyourhome.
  • Up to $500,000 in wildfire prevention grants for projects focusing on forest fuels reduction, forest health, community preparedness, or wildfire prevention education. Requirements at truckeefire.org/grants.
  • The Ongoing and Comprehensive Community Wildfire Protection Plan serves as the roadmap for wildfire resilience and project area prioritization. It is in its final form and will be signed into action by the implementing agencies and organizations this summer. 

For more information, visit truckeefire.org.

Meanwhile, the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors  proclaimed the period of May through October 2024 as Wildfire Awareness Season as a call for residents to prepare for wildfire. The proclamation can be found here. In 2023, the county adopted a Wildfire Strategy that promotes the creation, coordination, and maintenance of fire adapted communities throughout the county. 

And in Incline Village/Crystal Bay, seasonal open burning (wood, slash, or needle pines) is closed effective May 31. Recreational fires (wood or charcoal fire within a non-combustible container with a 1/8” mesh screen) are still allowed with a permit.

Barbecue grilling is still allowed under certain guidelines, found at nltfpd.org/outdoor-burning. Please note: no open flame of any kind is allowed during Red Flag Warnings.

~ Truckee Fire, North Lake Tahoe Fire, El Dorado County press releases

Town Organizational Assessment Planned

TRUCKEE

The Town of Truckee has contracted with Baker Tilly to conduct an independent, best practices review of the government agency. The organizational assessment, which analyzes three key service delivery components — people, processes, and systems — kicked off on May 14.  

Town manager Jen Callaway believes the organizational assessment is a responsible next step for the relatively young organization. With extensive experience in California and local government, the project team from Baker Tilly will help the town strategically organize, staff, and implement processes that will enhance service delivery to the community.

Baker Tilly will conduct internal interviews, facilitate community and stakeholder engagement sessions, analyze the town’s business processes, service delivery methods, staffing levels, structures and policies, and perform equivalent agency comparisons.

The report outlining recommendations is scheduled to be completed in January 2025, and Baker Tilly plans to conduct a variety of community engagement opportunities starting this summer. The Town of Truckee will provide updates and information about engagement events as they are finalized.  

~ Town of Truckee press release

Area Plan Community Workshops

EL DORADO COUNTY

El Dorado County is hosting a series of four in-person community workshops for its Tahoe El Dorado Area Plan (TED) effort June 3 through 6. The TED is a long-term planning document that will update and incorporate the Meyers Area Plan and other communities in the Tahoe Basin area of the county. The goal of the TED is to create a single document to simplify permitting and streamline environmental review, allow the county to control land use policies and decisions based on each community’s needs, and incorporate Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Code and state law updates — ultimately, establishing a better framework to advance affordable housing and economic development. 

​The county will be holding workshops the week of June 3 in the communities of Tahoma, Meeks Bay, Meyers, and Fallen Leaf Lake. “These workshops will give the public a chance to identify housing, recreational, and transportation needs within each community as we plan for the future,” according to Brooke Laine, County of El Dorado District 5 Supervisor. “The workshops provide folks a great opportunity to share their future vision for the unincorporated areas of the county in Tahoe.”

  • Tahoma: June 3 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Marie Sluchak Community Park
  • Meeks Bay: June 4 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Meeks Bay Fire Station 67
  • Meyers: June 5 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Meyers Elementary School
  • ​Fallen Leaf Lake: June 6 from ​6 to 7:30 p.m. at Fallen Leaf Lake Community Center
  • Virtual: June 12 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. 

Visit the project website at tedareaplan.com to sign up and learn more.

~ El Dorado County press release 

Lake Tahoe Circumnavigation

LAKE TAHOE

Kayakers are invited to join the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center for the fourth annual Circumnavigate Lake Tahoe fundraiser (TERC CIRC 4) supporting science around the lake and beyond. TERC CIRC 4 will take place over 7 days, beginning Monday, June 17, and concluding Sunday, June 23.

PADDLE AND LEARN: UC Davis professor Dr. Alex Forrest lecturing at Whale Bay, Lake Tahoe as part of the Circumnavigate Lake Tahoe fundraiser. Courtesy photo

Many people have paddled Lake Tahoe, but this event is unique. In addition to each day’s spectacular shoreline paddling, kayakers will see, share, and learn about Lake Tahoe’s ecology, geology, and emerging challenges, as TERC’s scientific experts provide daily on-shore and on-water talks illustrating the science being used to restore and protect Lake Tahoe.

Each day’s route is set near shore and extends between 6 and 13 miles, with halfway rest stops on all but the shortest day. Experienced, professional kayak guides will lead the fleet. The odyssey starts at Sand Harbor and proceeds counterclockwise around the lake. (Daily details are provided after registration.) Paddlers are shuttled by bus from takeout to put-in each day, to retrieve their cars. Multi-day paddlers are also provided with onshore boat storage at each takeout. On the final day after paddling, there is a gala party where paddlers can help to support TERC and bid each other farewell until next year. 

The event is limited to 50 paddlers, and at this writing a few places remain. Visit tahoe.ucdavis.edu/events/terc-circumnavigation-2024 for registration and more information.

~ UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center press release

Library Core Partners Announce Community Engagement Events to Shape New Design

TRUCKEE

As part of the ongoing efforts to enrich community involvement in the development of the new Truckee Regional Library, the core partners (Nevada County, Town of Truckee, and Friends of the Truckee Library) are excited to announce a series of in-person engagement events throughout June and July, inviting residents to contribute their ideas and feedback toward the design of the new library.

The in-person community engagement events are scheduled as follows:

  • June 1st – Truckee Community Clean Up Day BBQ
  • June 22nd – Truckee-Tahoe Airport Airshow & Family Festival
  • June 27th – Truckee Thursdays
  • July 10th – Music at the Park

These events will provide residents with a platform to share their vision for the new library, offer input on desired features and amenities, and engage in meaningful dialogue with project organizers and designers.

Following the initial round of engagement events, additional opportunities for community input will be available in the coming months as the project progresses. Residents are encouraged to stay informed and engaged through the Friends of the Truckee Library’s official channels and website.

For more information and updates on the new Truckee Regional Library project, including details on upcoming engagement events, please visit truckeefol.org. To participate in the community engagement survey online, please visit surveyhero.com/c/TruckeeCommunitySurveyRound1

~ Truckee Library core partners press release

Celebrating 50 Years of Philanthropy

TAHOMA

For 5 decades, the Sierra State Parks Foundation has partnered with California State Parks to address critical needs and projects through private philanthropy, volunteerism, and strong partnerships. This ongoing collaboration ensures that local and state parks continue to benefit the community and visitors today and for generations to come.

CELEBRATE 50 YEARS: Through an effective mix of private philanthropy, volunteerism, and strong partnerships with California State Parks, the Sierra State Parks Foundation carries on the legacy of the Hellman-Ehrman mansion with ongoing restoration and preservation efforts. Visit it during the Golden Anniversary Celebration. Courtesy photo

To commemorate this milestone, the community is invited to the Golden Anniversary Celebration at the Hellman-Ehrman estate on June 26. Guests are encouraged to wear a touch of gold.

Event highlights include:

  • Music by Sacramento’s Potential Jazz Ensemble
  • Food by Mountain Lotus Provisions
  • A signature Pine Needle Punch cocktail
  • Wine, courtesy of Darcy Kent Winery
  • A silent and a live auction

RSVP is required due to limited space. For more information, visit sierrastateparks.org.

~ Sierra State Parks press release

Volunteers Invited to National Trails Day

LAKE TAHOE

On the morning of Saturday, June 1, volunteers of all ages will gather at the 64 Acres Trailhead in Tahoe City to maintain a stretch of the Tahoe Rim Trail and clean up litter from walking paths from Tahoe City to Commons Beach. The event is co-hosted by the Tahoe Rim Trail Association and the League to Save Lake Tahoe in celebration of National Trails Day, an annual opportunity to give back to local trails, protect the environment, and improve access.  

The TRTA will lead a team of volunteers to widen the trail corridor and clean drainages along the Tahoe Rim Trail. The league will get participants geared up to remove litter along popular walking paths. The public is welcome to take part in one or both activities. 

After a morning of impactful work, volunteers are invited to an after-party with complimentary beer and appetizers at the Tahoe National Brewing taproom.  

TRTA and the league are partnering with Drink Coffee Do Stuff, Tahoe City Downtown Association, Tahoe National Brewing, and the U.S. Forest Service to host this event. 

To register for trail maintenance, visit tahoerimtrail.org/event/national_trails_day_2024.

To register for litter cleanup, visit keeptahoeblue.org/trailsday2024

~ Keep Tahoe Blue press release

Legacy Fund Nominations

TRUCKEE

The Jeff Hamilton Legacy Fund is accepting nominations for the 2024 Juniper Awards beginning June 1. These awards celebrate locals who demonstrate commitment, imagination, and fearlessness in their work, craft, trade, or sport. The $3,000 no-strings-attached monetary awards will be given to recipients across six categories: art and performing arts, the trades, medical caregiving, writing, community impact, U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team athletes. 

JUNIPER AWARDS: Nominations are open for the Jeff Hamilton Legacy Fund’s Juniper Awards. Courtesy graphic

One heartfelt nomination is all it takes for a nominee to be considered; recipients will never be chosen based on the number of nominations they receive.

Jeff Hamilton, who died of pancreatic cancer in January 2023, created this fund with the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation because he believed individuals are the roots of the community. He wanted to recognize and financially support individual potential after he was gone.  

Nominations close Sept. 15. For more information and to nominate, visit jeffhamiltonlegacyfund.com, or contact the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation or Carolyn Hamilton at carolyn4hamilton@gmail.com.

~ Jeff Hamilton Legacy Fund press release 

Flute Flights of Fancy

OLYMPIC VALLEY

North Tahoe will play host to two flutists and a rising star of the piano. Known as the Queen of the Flute, Carol Wincenc’s ensemble includes Ráyo Furuta, known as the Rock Star of the Flute, according to Informador de Guadalajara, and Yamaha pianist Alexandria Le. Presented by Tahoe Music Alive, the concert, Flute Flights of Fancy, will take place July 6 from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Olympic Valley Chapel. For tickets, visit tahoemusic.org.

MUSICAL TRIO: Carol Wincenc, Alexandria Le, and Ráyo Furuda (left to right) will perform in Olympic Valley on July 6. Courtesy photo

Wincenc shares her musical talents throughout the world, traveling to South Korea, France, Poland, Germany, and Finland to mentor other flutists. She has plans to conduct a master class on July 7.

Furuta is a Burkart artist and performs exclusively on a handmade Lilian Burkart 9k gold flute. Through his Mas Amor Arts initiative, Furuta promotes creativity, community, and more for underserved communities, including local juvenile detention centers and engaging in collaborative endeavors that benefit unhoused women of color and California farmworkers.

Le’s Pro Musica Award and Yamaha sponsorship have allowed her to perform in schools, hospitals, incarceration facilities like Rikers Island, assisted living facilities, and homeless shelters in New York City.

The concert is sponsored in part by Dan and Charlene Simmons, in honor of Charlene’s mother, Jean Wear, a flutist and teacher.

~ Tahoe Music Alive press release

Moving In, Moving On, Moving Up

County Executive Officer Appointed

AUBURN

The Placer County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted on May 28 to appoint Acting County Executive Officer Daniel Chatigny as the county’s next CEO and authorize a 3-year employment agreement.

DANIEL CHATIGNY has been appointed as Placer County’s next CEO. Courtesy photo

Chatigny began working for Placer in 2019 as the finance and budget operations manager, earning a reputation for developing solid budget processes that ensured board and department priorities were clearly identified. Chatigny was also instrumental in implementing a series of responsible budget practices and is credited with helping the county reach a healthy 10% general reserve with a balanced budget in each of the past four budget cycles. 

He was promoted to deputy CEO in April 2022 and assistant CEO in January 2024. In February, Chatigny was appointed acting CEO due to a leave of absence by then-CEO Jane Christenson, who retired May 4. 

Chatigny is an accomplished administrative and fiscal manager with more than 25 years of professional experience, including program and human resource management, contract and compliance management, and business analysis. 

A longtime resident of the Sierra foothills, Chatigny worked for the County of Nevada for more than 13 years as the chief fiscal administrative officer for its community development agency before coming to Placer County. Chatigny holds a bachelor of arts degree in government from Sacramento State University and an executive master of public administration from Golden Gate University.

~ Placer County press release

Author

Advertisement
Previous articleHospital CEO Put on Leave; Washoe Works to Purchase Back Ancestral Lands; How Smoke Impacts Lakes; More
Next articleRock Climber Sentenced to Life; Female Pilots to Race; Bike Month Events; Summer Transit Service; More