Prepare for Extreme Drought; 2022 Fire Season is Here; Youngest Truckee Squadron Leader; More

Briefs: May 27 - June 2, 2022


News Briefs

Private Well Owners Should Prepare for Extreme Drought


The California Groundwater Association is urging all private well owners impacted by drought to have their systems inspected and water levels tested as we enter the summer months.

Drought impacts both the productivity of a water well and its water quality. Because of this, it is important that well owners take proper steps to ensure their systems are operating safely and efficiently as we continue to experience drought conditions across the country.


Well owners should consider taking the following steps:

  • Have your water well inspected by a certified water well contractor. Wells that are not operating correctly will waste water and are more likely to completely fail during prolonged periods of drought. An inspection can help locate current and potential problems with a system before they become serious issues.
  • Test your well water. There has been growing evidence that lower water tables, deeper wells, and extreme drought have led to higher levels of contaminants in groundwater. These contaminants can typically be easily identified and treated with a simple water quality test.
  • Test your water levels. Declining water levels can impact not only the mechanics of your well but also water quality. A simple water level test can help determine what service may or may not be needed.
  • Conserve water, fix leaks, and utilize water-efficient technology. By properly conserving water, fixing leaks, and utilizing more efficient water technology, you can help ensure your water levels remain healthy for you and your neighbors.
  • Don’t delay. Due to ongoing drought, supply chain issues, and national labor shortages, well owners are seeing longer than usual wait times for service. If it has been more than a year since your last water well inspection, we urge well owners to reach out today to a certified contractor.

For more information on maintaining water wells during drought, visit is operated by NGWA with assistance from the Rural Community Assistance Partnership and offers tip sheets on well maintenance and a Find A Contractor page which allows the public to find water well contractors in their area.

~ CGA press release

FIRE SEASON UNDERWAY: North Tahoe Basin and Truckee fire agencies have declared the 2022 fire season to be underway, meaning a full suspension of residential burn permits is in effect in the Basin. Courtesy graphic

2022 Fire Season Declared


On May 19, the Cal Fire Nevada-Yuba-Placer Unit suspended burn permits for the season, and on May 24, the Cal Fire Amador-El Dorado Unit followed suit, resulting in full suspension of residential burn permits in the Tahoe Basin. These are the triggers that prompted North Tahoe Fire Protection District, Meeks Bay Fire Protection District, Alpine Springs County Water District, and Truckee Fire Protection District to activate local fire restrictions that suspend the outdoor burning of solid fuels, including wood and charcoal. The suspension took effect June 1, and remains in effect for the duration of fire season.  

Following the adoption of the 2019 Fire Code, only natural gas or propane outdoor fire pits, barbecues, and pellet grills/smokers are allowed year-round except during red flag/critical fire weather conditions. All of these appliances must be utilized following manufacturer’s recommendations. Open-flame devices such as tiki torches and all fireworks, including sparklers and firecrackers, are illegal in California year-round. For reports of hazardous/illegal campfires, people should call 9-1-1, and illegal firework activity should be reported to local law enforcement.  

During red flag/critical fire weather conditions, all sources of open flames, including natural gas or propane outdoor fire pits, barbecues, and pellet grills/smokers are prohibited. Red flag watches and warnings of critical fire weather in the Tahoe Basin are issued by the National Weather Service, Reno. 

“The National Weather Service will issue a fire weather watch roughly three to five days in advance of critical fire weather conditions, including strong winds and low humidity,” said Chris Smallcomb, NWS warning coordination meteorologist and public information officer. “Once confidence levels are high enough, this is upgraded to a red flag warning, usually one to three days in advance. Our fire service partners use the alerts to help guide staffing and resource decisions not just locally but over regional and multi-state areas.”

NTFPD asks residents to prepare for wildfire by maintaining a minimum of 100 feet of defensible space around every structure. “Residents can increase the survivability of homes and neighborhoods from wildfire by managing vegetation and retrofitting structures to be more resistant to both surface fires and ember showers,” said NTFPD Fire Marshal Brent Armstrong. “We encourage residents to sign up for our no-cost defensible space inspections, and no-cost residential curbside chipping.”

For additional information on how to create defensible space, tips to prevent wildfires and ways to prepare for emergencies and evacuations, visit

~ NTFPD press release

TART Connect Expands


New this summer, TART Connect, the free, on-demand, shared shuttle service operating in North Lake Tahoe, is now coming to Truckee. The Truckee Town Council has approved a $460,977 contract with Downtowner to operate a summer 2022 micro transit pilot program.

Service will operate from June 25 to Sept. 5, seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. TART Connect users can download the TART Connect app and enjoy service in Tahoe Donner, the downtown commercial core, Glenshire, and the Tahoe Forest Hospital district zones. All rides are free of charge.

Riders will be able to request point-to-point on-demand rides using the TART Connect mobile application, which provides real time information with estimated pickup times and mapping with the location of the scheduled vehicle. The application will be similar to other ride-sharing applications offered by transportation network companies. Those who do not have access to a cellular device can book a trip by calling (530) 214-5811. In addition, the contractor will provide all drivers and a fleet of seven six- to nine-seat passenger vans with one additional backup vehicle. Two of the vehicles will have wheelchair accessibility, and all vehicles will be equipped with bicycle racks. 

The Truckee TART Connect Pilot Program is made possible through funding provided by the Town of Truckee, Truckee Tourism Business Improvement District funds, Tahoe Forest Hospital District, Truckee Special Service Area #1 (Tahoe Donner) and #5 (Glenshire) funds, which are funds generated from special assessments on residential properties.

Riders can also make connections from the Truckee Train Depot and Truckee Tahoe airport to North Lake Tahoe by TART bus. Once in North Lake Tahoe, riders can request rides within the North Shore’s TART Connect service zones.

For more information about this program and regional transportation services, visit

~ Town of Truckee press release

Fiscal Year 2022/23 Recommended Budget Released


El Dorado Chief Administrative Officer Don Ashton released the fiscal year 2022/23 recommended budget to the board of supervisors. The total recommended budget is $864.9 million, which is a $93.1 million (12%) increase over the 2021/22 adopted budget of $771.8 million and includes all governmental funds, including the use of special revenue funds.

The recommended budget fully funds the general fund contingency at $16 million and general reserves at $10.75 million, in accordance with the board’s budget policies. Additionally, this recommended budget meets the board’s new policy goals of contributing $6 million to the designation for capital projects as well as exceeds the policy goal of contributing $5 million of discretionary revenues to road maintenance by $2 million, for a total contribution to road maintenance and snow removal services of $7.95 million.

The increase in the total recommended budget can primarily be attributed to the Mosquito Bridge replacement project, Caldor Fire Hazardous Tree Removal projects, the second allocation of American Rescue Plan Act funding, and increased state and federal grants and allocations in the Health and Human Services Agency, as well as compensation increases provided to county staff.

“Due to the board’s constraints and adherence to fiscal and budget policies that have been developed over the past six years, as well as much higher than anticipated discretionary revenues and federal funding associated with the CARES Act and American Rescue Plan, the county’s general fund is in a strong position,” Ashton said.

Total general fund appropriations are recommended at $397.6 million, which is $27.1 million (7%) more than the FY 2021/22 adopted budget of $370.5 million approved by the board in September 2021.

The budget also addresses the board’s previous direction by including the following:

  • $3.9 million for the sheriff’s helicopter program, including $800,000 in ongoing operational costs, funded by $400,000 from Transient Occupancy Tax revenue and $400,000 from the general fund.
  • $2.5 million to support one-time costs for local fire districts.
  • $300,000 to establish the Office of Wildfire Preparedness and Resilience.
  • $2.9 million set aside for future California Public Employees’ Retirement System cost increases.
  • $2.15 million set aside for the FY 2023/24 public safety facility loan payment.
  • $1 million for the Diamond Springs Community Park and $250,000 for the Chili Bar Park project.
  • An additional $9.8 million set aside in contingency to address future unknown cost increases relative to inflation and economic uncertainty.
  • $20 million in federal revenue and expenditures to begin construction of the Mosquito Bridge
  • $95,600 to Arts and Culture El Dorado
  • $76,500 to offset maintenance costs for the Placerville pool

“Although the county currently sits in a secure economic position due to previous board decisions and diligent staff work, we cannot ignore the warnings of many experts who are predicting a recession and the impact it would have on our ability to provide goods and services at the current level,” Ashton said. “Therefore, the most prudent approach is for the board to maintain these reserves and contingency amounts, without authorizing any additional spending at this time.”

State law requires counties to have a budget in place no later than June 30 of each year. The recommended budget can be found at

~ El Dorado County press release

STR Waitlist Application Process Opens June 13


The short-term rental waitlist application process for the Town of Truckee will open electronically on June 13 at 8 a.m. No applications will be accepted before this time, and only electronically formatted applications will be accepted. The link to apply will be posted at the go live date/time on the main landing page for the Town of Truckee Short-Term Rental Division at

Here are some highlights to prepare users for when the waitlist application goes live:

  • $100 non-refundable deposit will be due at the time of the application submission.
  • Questions to be asked on the application:
    • Owner information: Name, mailing address, phone number, and email address
    • Rental address: Property address and Assessor Parcel Number
    • Rental unit information: Property type, number of permitted bedrooms, and the date of most recent sale/transfer of the property
    • Documents: Copy of the recorded grant deed showing current ownership of the property

As a reminder, the following scenarios will be prohibited to join the waitlist:

  • Owners of Accessory Dwelling Units and Multi-Family Dwelling Units will be unable to apply for the waitlist and no new registration certificates will be issued for these property types.
  • There is a 365-day waiting period after a home sale before the new owner may apply for the waitlist.

Staff will be sending out another communication before the go-live date of the waitlist application process explaining more of what to expect.

Any further questions or concerns should be addressed to the Short-Term Rental Division at (530) 582-5280 or

~ Town of Truckee press release

SAFETY FIRST: A drowning occurred at Lake Tahoe off the shore of Tahoma in May. Tahoe agencies are strongly encouraging recreators to wear a life jacket and abide by these cold water survival tips. Courtesy graphic

Life Jackets Save Lives


U.S. Coast Guard statistics show that drowning was the reported cause of death in 4 out of every 5 recreational boating fatalities in 2020, and that 86% of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets. Lake Tahoe has already witnessed this statistic this season.

In May, North Tahoe firefighters were dispatched to a water rescue in Tahoma, where they received reports of two people in the water. A witness stated the victim had hold of the ladder but struggled to gain access to the vessel and shortly after entering the water, submerged without resurfacing. The incident took place approximately 100 yards into the buoy field.  

North Tahoe Fire personnel attempted rescue from shore with dry suits and shore-zone rescue gear, but the water was too deep. The U.S. Coast Guard retrieved the victim who was attended to immediately by North Tahoe Fire paramedics on the boat, who attempted resuscitation efforts on the 58-year-old. CPR efforts were terminated at the direction of Tahoe Forest Health given the gravity of the circumstances. 

The water temperature in Lake Tahoe was approximately 45F at the time of the incident. Lake Tahoe does not warm up until well into July. Even in late summer and close to shore, the water in Lake Tahoe is extremely cold and may result in cold shock response, which can immediately incapacitate even the strongest and most experienced swimmers. 

Agencies who assisted with the rescue efforts include the U.S. Coast Guard, El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office, Meeks Bay Fire, and North Tahoe Fire.  

The National Safe Boating Council recommends these tips for boaters:

  • Take a boating safety course. Gain valuable knowledge and on-water experience in a boating safety course with many options for novice to experienced boaters.
  • Check equipment. Schedule a free vessel safety check with local U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadrons to make sure all essential equipment is present, working, and in good condition.
  • Make a float plan. Always let someone on shore know the trip itinerary, including operator and passenger information, boat type and registration, and communication equipment on board.
  • Wear a life jacket. Make sure everyone wears a life jacket every time. A stowed life jacket is no use in an emergency.
  • Use an engine cut-off device; it’s the law. An engine cut-off device, or engine cut-off switch, is a proven safety device to stop the boat’s engine should the operator unexpectedly fall overboard.
  • Watch the weather. Always check the forecast before departing on the water and frequently during the excursion.
  • Know what’s going on around you at all times. Nearly a quarter of all reported boating accidents in 2020 were caused by operator inattention or improper lookout.
  • Know where you’re going and travel at safe speeds. Be familiar with the area, local boating speed zones, and always travel at a safe speed.
  • Never boat under the influence. A DUI is involved in one-third of all recreational boating fatalities. Always designate a sober skipper.
  • Keep in touch. Have more than one communication device that works when wet. VHF radios, emergency locator beacons, satellite phones, and cell phones can all be important devices in an emergency.

~ North Tahoe Fire Protection District press release

Tahoe Region Destination Stewardship Partnership to Host Virtual Workshops in English, Spanish


The Tahoe community, including Truckee, is invited to join an upcoming online visioning workshop to help create the Lake Tahoe Destination Stewardship Plan.

The virtual session — set for 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, June 9 — will round out a series of in-person workshops in May that drew nearly 140 attendees. Another virtual workshop will be held in Spanish on June 10 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. to gather additional input from the Spanish-speaking community. Links to register for both workshops can be found at, as well as more information about the yearlong planning process. 

All with a stake in the greater Tahoe region’s future, including full- and part-time residents, business operators, frontline workers, outdoor recreationists, and others, are encouraged to participate.

A wide-ranging partnership is leading the plan that includes local visitor authorities, the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California, local governments, and nonprofits representing a region of two states, six counties, and one city.

An initial group of 13 organizations have coalesced around a clear vision: Lake Tahoe’s communities and economy are rooted in recreation and tourism, touching the lives of all who work, live, and play here. The region is coming together to create a shared destination stewardship plan that will balance the needs of the environment, businesses, visitors, and local communities. This new shared strategy will inspire all to take care of Tahoe.

An experienced consulting team is helping develop the plan including the Center for Responsible Travel, Better Destinations, and the Travel Foundation. The team also includes South Lake Tahoe-based research firm SMG Consulting and Civitas Advisors specializing in sustainable funding solutions.

All are encouraged to sign up for the project’s newsletter to receive updates about planning outcomes and future opportunities to participate in a resident survey and future visioning workshops. The plan is targeted for completion in early 2023. Questions may be directed to the planning team at

~ Center for Responsible Travel press release

Placer Joins AARP’s Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities


Placer County, home to an aging population relative to the state as a whole, recently joined the AARP’s Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities, alongside a handful of other California counties and numerous cities, including the City of Roseville. 

There are currently over 107,000 Placer residents aged 60 and older, and that number is expected to grow to over 133,000 by 2030.

Placer’s new membership in the network follows an application process and a review of countywide efforts to support older adults, including accomplishments from the recently-concluded Placer County 5-Year Plan for Meeting the Needs of a Growing Senior Population. The plan emerged from collaboration between the Older Adult Advisory Commission, the Health and Human Services department, and other local agencies and organizations, with oversight from the Placer County Board of Supervisors. 

As the county joins the AARP’s Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities, it will also turn from the recently-completed local five-year plan to the state’s first-ever Master Plan on Aging, which is a 10-year blueprint. This process will include additional collaborative and cross-sector partnerships, building on past success.

~ Placer County press release

Moving In, Moving Up, Moving On

CHANGE OF COMMAND: Cadet 2nd Lt. Maile Giansiracusa (center) with the first women cadet commanders, Pat Northrop (right), and Kimberlei Northrop. Pat Northrup has been a Civil Air Patrol member for over 50 years. Kimberlei Northrup went on to become a captain for a major airline. Courtesy photo

Civil Air Patrol Cadets Have New Leader


The Truckee Tahoe Civil Air Patrol Cadet Squadron has a new leader. Cadet 2nd Lt. Maile Giansiracusa took over command of the squadron from Cadet Maj. Gerald Mon Pere, who is transferring to a squadron on the East Coast.

At 14 years old, Giansiracusa is the youngest Truckee cadet commander. She is the fifth woman to hold this leadership position since the squadron was chartered 60 years ago and the first in 34 years.

Giansiracusa has demonstrated her superior leadership skills. At the annual Nevada Wing Conference, she was the Master of Ceremonies, hosting the day’s events for 200 senior members (adults) and cadets.

She was recently promoted to second lieutenant. Other promotions include Sierra Demarest, promoted to cadet/airman first class, and Bryce Anderson, promoted to cadet/master sergeant.

As the United States Air Force auxiliary, Truckee Tahoe Civil Air Patrol is part of over 500 squadrons nationwide providing three key missions:

  • Emergency services: Air and ground services for lost hikers, aircraft, and support during natural disasters. 
  • Aerospace education: Thousands of young people from 12 years through age 21 are introduced to aviation through CAP’s cadet program. The program focuses on developing leadership skills, fitness, aerospace, and character. There are also opportunities for primary flight training in powered aircraft and gliders. Cadets compete for academic scholarships to further their studies in fields such as engineering, science, aircraft mechanics, aerospace medicine, meteorology, as well as many others. Those cadets who earn cadet officer status may enter the Air Force as an E3 (airman first class).
  • Locally, the Tahoe Truckee Squadron supports the community through a number of avenues, such as providing guest leaders for the Mission To Mars programs for kids ages 8 to 12, representing and participating in local parades and ceremonies, assisting at the Truckee Air Show and Family Festival, working with the EAA Young Eagles free flights for kids program, among numerous other ways.

~ Capt. Dan Beadle, Tahoe-Truckee Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol, Special to Moonshine Ink

DUGDALE TO DUFFIELD: Jim Dugdale was recently announced as new executive director for the Dave & Cheryl Duffield Foundation. He takes the position after seven months of Amy Zeifang and Dr. Laurie Peek serving as interim directors. Courtesy photo

Duffield Foundation Announces New Executive Director


The Dave & Cheryl Duffield Foundation announced that effective May 2, James (Jim) Dugdale started as the new executive director.

Dugdale brings to the foundation more than 20 years of experience with family offices and private foundations focused on operations, planning, and grants. His expertise spans estate, financial, tax, operational planning, and general asset management and diversification. Jim is a licensed attorney (inactive status), and he previously focused on corporate tax, mergers, and acquisitions, deferred compensation planning, as well as general U.S. domestic tax issues. Dugdale previously worked for the Duffields at Nevada Pacific Consulting from 1999 through 2008.

“We are so pleased to welcome Jim to the foundation as executive director,” said Dave and Cheryl Duffield. “Jim has been a longstanding friend of the family from his time at Nevada Pacific Consulting until now, and we think his work experience and leadership skills make him the perfect fit to lead DCDF. We also want to thank foundation board members Amy Zeifang and Dr. Laurie Peek for stepping in as interim executive directors during the past seven months. Their leadership at Maddie’s Fund and DCDF is invaluable, and we would not be able to do this without them.”

Dugdale is a graduate of Indiana University, Golden Gate University School of Law, and the Georgetown University Law Center. He spent many years visiting and working in Incline Village, and he and his husband, Eric, recently relocated to Northern Nevada from the Bay Area.

“It’s a great honor and privilege to join the leadership team of the Dave and Cheryl Duffield Foundation,” Dugdale said. “I’m looking forward to working with representatives of Incline Village, neighboring Nevada communities, and our national partners to further the foundation’s vision and mission and those of Dave and Cheryl Duffield. Also, I am tremendously excited to represent the foundation in the planning and building of Liberty Dogs, the nation’s premier service dog training campus for veterans.”

~ DCDF press release

Business Briefs

ENHANCED GOLFING: The 2022 summer season means the Tahoe Donner golf course is open and under the leadership of a new golf superintendent and golf pro. New enhancements are also in place this season. Photo courtesy Tahoe Donner

Tahoe Donner Golf Course Opens for the 2022/23 Season Under New Management


Tahoe Donner reopened its 18-hole championship golf course and driving range on May 27. Now entering its second season of play after significant course renovations beginning in 2020, Tahoe Donner is excited to start the 2022 summer season under the leadership of a new golf superintendent and golf pro.

In 2021, Tahoe Donner hired Ramiro Sena as its new golf superintendent, bringing nearly 30 years of turf and golf course management to the association. Sena spent the last two decades in California as turf director for Catta Verdera Country Club in Lincoln, turf director for Coyote Moon Golf Course in Truckee, and project and renovations superintendent at Apple Mountain Golf Resort. 

In addition to Sena in 2021, Tahoe Donner hired Jeff Hwang in early 2022 as its new golf professional. Having grown up in Tahoe Donner, Hwang spent the better part of 10 years in Southern California, where he earned the President’s Award upon graduating from the Golf Academy of America in Carlsbad and became the golf and teaching professional at PGA West and Indian Wells Golf Resort in Palm Springs. Most recently, Hwang was the first assistant and head golf professional at Red Hawk Golf Resort and Petaluma Golf and Country Club. 

In celebration of its 50th anniversary in 2021, Tahoe Donner completed a course renovation project with over $2 million of improvements continuing into 2022. Along with Sena’s skillful management and Hwang’s professional experience, players of all skill levels will continue to enjoy the following enhancements this year:

  • Replacement of all greens, including new putting and chipping greens
  • Extensive tee and fairway improvements
  • Expansion of forward tees and tee box improvements
  • Increased player shot selections through improved drainage and relocated cart paths
  • Improved accessibility to practice green with two new stairways
  • Revamped Pro Shop offering new, top-of-the-line Callaway products, custom fitting, and more

Golfers can warm up at the on-site driving range and schedule a variety of one-hour weekly skills clinics for $30 per session. Enjoy a twilight round for $95, including a golf cart, or a prime-time tee time starting at $130 in the early and late seasons.

Public tee times are now available to reserve as far as 12 days in advance for members. Golf season passes are on sale now starting at $825 with discounts available to Tahoe Donner members.

~ Tahoe Donner press release


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