News Briefs

Professional Rock Climber Sentenced to Life in Prison

SACRAMENTO

Charles Barrett, 40, was sentenced June 4 to life in prison for two counts of aggravated sexual abuse and one count of abusive sexual contact that occurred during a weekend in Yosemite National Park, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

“Barrett’s long history of sexual violence supports the imposition of a life sentence,” said Talbert. “He used his status as a prominent climber to assault women in the rock-climbing community, and when his victims began to tell, Barrett responded by lashing out publicly with threats and intimidation.”

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According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, in August 2016, the victim went to Yosemite for a weekend of hiking, and Barrett, who was living and working for a private business in the park, sexually assaulted her three times. During trial, three other women testified that Barrett also sexually assaulted them. These assaults were not charged because they were outside federal jurisdiction but were admitted at trial as relevant to the charged assaults.

According to court documents, in 2017 — 7 years after he assaulted one of the victims who testified at trial — Barrett purposely climbed at a rock-climbing gym where the victim attended. She then disclosed Barrett’s assault on her to the gym owner in the interest of protecting other women. Barrett responded by harassing and threatening her for several years. In August 2022, he was convicted for criminal threats he made in January 2022.

While in custody on the present case, Barrett made hundreds of phone calls. On these calls, he threatened to use violence and vindictive lawsuits against the victims, claiming they designed a conspiracy to ruin his life.

Barrett lived in South Lake Tahoe in 2019. He had three restraining orders issued against him in Placer County in November 2008 and then again in February and March 2014 for the same woman. She also received a criminal protective order against Barrett in Inyo County in 2009.

This case was the product of an investigation by the National Park Service. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael G. Tierney and Arin C. Heinz prosecuted the case.

~ U.S. Department of Justice press release, MS

Legislative Committee to Meet at Lake Tahoe

STATELINE

The next regular meeting of the Nevada State Legislative Committee for the Review and Oversight of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and the Marlette Lake Water System will be held at the TRPA office in Stateline on Friday, June 7, at 1 p.m.

The committee of the Nevada legislature holds multiple meetings every other year during the interim session to discuss the work of TRPA and state agencies in the Lake Tahoe Basin and to provide oversight on issues important to Nevada citizens. Today’s meeting will be the fourth of six hearings scheduled during the 2024 interim.

The body is comprised of six legislators, three from each house, to review agency budgets, programs, and activities and to communicate with members of the California Legislature to achieve the goals set forth in the Bi-State Tahoe Regional Planning Compact.

Agencies will provide informational presentations to the committee on the Environmental Improvement Program, forest health and wildfire prevention, evacuation planning, and the Marlette Lake Water System. Earlier meetings covered transportation, destination stewardship, affordable housing, growth management, and land-use planning.

TRPA and Basin fire agencies formed the Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team in 2008 to help improve coordination, increase the pace of forest fuel reduction projects, and streamline homeowner defensible space. Evacuation planning is progressing at the regional scale as well. TRPA secured $1.7 million in federal funding earlier this year to help facilitate integrated evacuation planning and critical upgrades to communications and transportation infrastructure needed during emergencies.

For more information, email tahoe@lcb.state.nv.us.

~ Tahoe Regional Planning Agency press release

Summer Transit Service from Incline to Sand Harbor

INCLINE VILLAGE

Tahoe Transportation District announced the return of the East Shore Express Service beginning June 28. This season, hourly paid parking will be available at the Tunnel Creek parking lot at 1102 Tahoe Blvd. at the Tahoe East Shore Trailhead.

EAST SHORE EXPRESS: Riders can take advantage of a continuous transit loop between Incline Village and Sand Harbor State Park this summer. Courtesy graphic

The free transit service will operate daily from 10 a.m. to approximately 6:30 p.m., starting June 28 and run through Sept. 2. The service will operate as a continuous loop with multiple designated eastbound and westbound bus stops. For additional information, visit eastshoreexpress.com

Eastbound stops: Incline Village to Sand Harbor 

  • Continuous loop service begins at 10 a.m. 
  • Route start: 76 gas station (corner of Northwood Boulevard and Tahoe Boulevard/SR 28) 

Westbound stops: Sand Harbor to Incline Village 

  • Continuous loop service begins at 10:30 a.m. 
  • Route start: Sand Harbor Visitor Center 

TTD encourages all residents and visitors to take advantage of the East Shore Express and other public transit options to reduce congestion and environmental impact in the Lake Tahoe Basin. The transit app remains the preferred method for accessing Tahoe’s public transportation network, offering real-time updates and trip planning assistance.  

For schedules and additional information on Tahoe Truckee Area Regional Transportation services, visit tahoetruckeetransit.com. Riders can also download the TART Connect app for convenient curb-to-curb rides and transfers to the mainline bus system on the North Shore. 

Before planning a visit to Sand Harbor, TTD, and Nevada State Parks, advise checking the state parks Facebook page for parking availability. Timely updates will ensure a smoother experience for all travelers.  

Sand Harbor is closed to incoming visitors after 3 p.m. The last bus from Incline Village is also at 3 p.m. Starting at 3:30 p.m, there are only westbound stops. The last bus from Sand Harbor leaves at 6 p.m. 

For details on Tahoe Transportation District and its current projects, visit tahoetransportation.org or call (775) 589-5500.   

~ Tahoe Transportation District press release

Local Female Pilots to Compete in National Air Race

TRUCKEE

The 2024 Air Race Classic, the only all-female air race that brings together over 100 female pilots and spans over 2,400 miles in the U.S., will feature the Tahoe Turbulence Team, consisting of two local aviators, Raj Karwa and Sarah Krammen.

Karwa, who lives in Incline Village, is a computer engineer who began flying in 2013, flying over Lake Tahoe in a weight shift control trike. She hones her aviation skills in her Cessna 182 in the backcountry and is looking forward to pushing her skills further by racing. Committed to fostering community and inspiring youth, she volunteers with local nonprofits, including EAA Young Eagles, Lake Tahoe 99s, Sierra Community House, and at local schools. Karwa also enjoys skiing, hiking, and spending time with her husband and twins.

PILOTS Raj Karwa and Sarah Krammen (left to right) will race as the Tahoe Turbulence Team in the upcoming Air Race Classic. Courtesy photo

Krammen, who lives in Truckee and is a math teacher at Truckee High, transitioned into a professional pilot after her discovery flight over the Kenai Peninsula glaciers in Alaska. She is now a multi-engine commercial pilot and a certified flight instructor at Truckee Tahoe Airport. She has her sights set on conquering the new challenge of an air race and wants to continue inspiring others to live their dreams. She also enjoys skiing, snowmobiling, mountain biking, and volunteering with Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue.

The 2024 race will take place June 18 to 21. Pilots start in Loveland, Colorado and finish in Carbondale, Illinois. Learn more about the race at airraceclassic.org. To track the race as it happens, visit airraceclassic2024.maprogress.com.

The Tahoe Turbulence Team is sponsored by Truckee Tahoe Airport District, Dreamline Aviation, Lake Tahoe 99s, and local community members.

~ Tahoe Turbulence Team press release 

Donors Fund Accessibility Ramp in Tahoe Meadows

INCLINE VILLAGE

Plans to create accessible access to more than half a mile of boardwalks in Tahoe Meadows off Mt. Rose Highway are moving forward thanks to support from the NV Energy Foundation, Keyser Foundation, Steven and Sandy Hardie, and dozens of Tahoe Fund donors. With this funding now secured, construction is slated to begin this fall on these major accessibility improvements.

On June 5, project partners from the Tahoe Meadows Access Ramp Committee, Truckee Meadows Parks Foundation, and the USDA Forest Service Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest joined Tahoe Fund donors at the meadows to celebrate this milestone. At the event, the NV Energy Foundation presented a $35,000 check to the Tahoe Fund, the final funding needed to meet the $75,000 match provided by Steven and Sandy Hardie, bringing the total raised for the project to over $150,000. 

FROM STEPS TO RAMPS: Currently, the Tahoe Meadows boardwalk is only accessible by stairs. This fall, work will begin to convert the stairs to a ramp, making the area more accessible. Courtesy photo

Located off Mt. Rose Highway, Tahoe Meadows has a boardwalk trail that provides visitors with sweeping views and signage about the local flora and fauna. Access to the boardwalk is currently limited to those who can successfully navigate two sets of stairs. The accessibility ramp will help everyone enjoy this area.

The Tahoe Meadows Access Ramp committee will work alongside the Truckee Meadows Park Foundation and the US Forest Service, Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, Carson Ranger District to build the ramp. Construction is anticipated to begin this fall. 

Learn more about the project at tahoefund.org/tahoemeadows.

~ Tahoe Fund press release

June is Bike Month

TRUCKEE

This month, the Town of Truckee is celebrating Truckee Bike Month to encourage more people to try biking, showcase the many benefits of bicycling, and celebrate the regional bike culture. The event features activities and several raffle opportunities to earn prizes from local sponsors, including RMU, Bike Truckee, and Start Haus.  

Truckee Bike Month incorporates multiple events and challenges that offer participants a  chance to connect with the community and directly support the Truckee Town Council’s goal of promoting alternate forms of transportation. These include: 

  • Bingo challenge: Each completed bingo earns participants a prize plus an entry into the raffle for a grand prize.
  • Bike kitchen: From 3:30 to 6:30 p.m., learn repair and maintenance skills from mechanics from the Lake Tahoe Bicycle Coalition.
  • Free bike valet: Truckee Trails Foundation will host a free bike valet this month and throughout the summer at Truckee Day, Music in the Park, Truckee Thursdays, and the Truckee Tahoe Airshow.  
  • Team registration: Create a team and ride a bike to work or school, around town, or just for fun, tracking rides over the month to earn points. 
  • Pledge to bike everywhere: Commit to riding your bike everywhere around Truckee on June 26. Participants will be entered into a raffle and are encouraged to stop by a refuel station for water refills, air, and a swag bag with discount cards and goodies from local shops. The Eagle Plaza refuel station will be located in downtown Truckee at the corner of Donner  Pass Road and Spring Street from 3 to 6 p.m. The Bike Truckee refuel station will be located near the Truckee River Regional Park from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.

For more information and a complete calendar of events, visit keeptruckeegreen.org/bikemonth.

~ Town of Truckee press release

How to Run for Office, Part Two

TRUCKEE

After the success of the first How to Run for Office Workshop, the Truckee Chamber of Commerce and Contractors Association of Truckee Tahoe Political Action Committee announced a second workshop focused on campaign strategy. Potential candidates are invited to join on Friday, June 21, from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for a campaign strategy and fundraising workshop.

The workshop will feature interactive sessions covering:

  • Why run: Presenters will create a conversation around how to talk about plans to improve things for constituents, conflicts of interest, and reasons why voters might choose to vote for or against a candidate.
  • Workload expectation: Discussion on the expectations surrounding campaign efforts and service efforts required of candidates.
  • Campaign strategy: Learn about messaging and theme development, crafting the Candidate Statement of Qualifications, budget and outreach planning, and fundraising strategies.

The workshop will conclude with a panel discussion. Participants will have the opportunity to ask current and past elected officials how they got elected, what it is like to serve the community, and more.

Space is limited. Visit truckee.com/events to sign up. Lunch will be provided. 

~ Truckee Chamber of Commerce press release

Over Half Million Dollars Invested for Free Transportation

TRUCKEE

Visit Truckee-Tahoe announced a milestone in its commitment to sustainable destination management. With funding totaling $570,195 to date over 3 fiscal years, VTT played a pivotal role in helping Truckee’s TART Connect get off the ground. The free, on-demand microtransit shuttle serves both visitors and residents of Truckee.

Truckee TART Connect offers door-to-door rides through an app and operates 7 days a week in all Truckee neighborhoods. VTT’s funding contribution to the Town of Truckee, who oversees TART Connect, aligns with VTT’s 2-year Strategic Plan for fiscal years 2023/24 to 2024/25, which emphasizes sustainability and destination management.

While this initiative has only been in operation since summer 2022, key metrics indicate that TART Connect is making a positive impact. Town of Truckee’s most recent study indicates:

  • Projected 2024 ridership will exceed 200,000 trips. Before the launch of TART Connect, public transportation ridership was 32,000 trips in a year. 
  • Ridership continues to grow and is currently averaging 590 trips per day, with a monthly average 16,327 trips in 2024.
  • Most riders are residents (56% to 61%) or second homeowners (18%). Overnight visitors made up 11% to 13% while day visitors made up 2% to 4%.
  • While TART Connect is primarily used by local residents, ridership for overnight visitors has grown from 6% in the first year to 13% in 2024.

“We know there is still work to do to increase usage and we’ll continue to educate visitors on the convenience and benefits of the service,” said Jackie Calvert, director of tourism marketing and management for Visit Truckee-Tahoe. “As community members, we can continue to help spread the word to house guests, visitors, and friends to take advantage of this incredible service.”

Learn more about TART Connect and about Visit Truckee-Tahoe’s 2-year Strategic Plan here.

~ Visit Truckee-Tahoe press release

Celebrate California State Parks Week

TAHOMA

The Sierra State Parks Foundation invites the community to the Howdy Neighbor! Open House at Sugar Pine Point State Park on June 15 from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. as a part of the statewide State Parks Week which runs June 12 to 16. 

STATE PARKS WEEK: Interpretative rangers Katie Sullivan (left) and Kaytlen Jackson (right) leading an educational program at Sugar Pine Point State Park. Courtesy photo

The day’s activities include:

  • Free coffee and donuts at the gazebo from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. 
  • Historic house tours of the Hellman Mansion. Half-price tickets will be available for purchase at the park store. No reservations needed.
  • Free junior ranger programs at the Nature Center at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.  
  • A free 2.5-mile guided hike from 1 to 3 p.m. through the nature preserve. Meet at the Nature Center.
  • Free plein air art class for beginners from 1 to 3 p.m. Registration required.

For more information about the Sierra State Parks Foundation, visit: sierrastateparks.org. To learn more about California State Parks Week and events, visit castateparksweek.org.

~ Sierra State Parks press release

Founder of Tahoe Research Group to Present  

INCLINE VILLAGE

On Tuesday, June 11, UC Davis TERC will host a lecture, Adventures in Limnology and a World Water Crisis, featuring limnologist and UC Davis Distinguished Professor Emeritus Dr. Charles Goldman. The in-person event will be held at the Tahoe Science Center in Incline Village.

Goldman has devoted his career to studying the effects of environmental pollutants on lake ecology. He developed the first UC Davis course on limnology and oceanography and taught at UC Davis for 52 years. His single most important and sustained contribution is the 5 decades of research on Lake Tahoe. He founded the Tahoe Research Group at UC Davis, now known as the Tahoe Environmental Research Center, and has pursued long-term ecological research at Lake Tahoe since 1958. He has served as an advisor to presidents, governors, senators, and countless other leaders about the environmental health of Lake Tahoe. Professor Goldman’s career work has been honored with the 1998 Albert Einstein World Award of Science, presented at a formal ceremony held in New Zealand. The Einstein Award, given annually to a single individual by a council of eminent scientists that includes 25 Nobel laureates, recognizes those who have accomplished scientific and technological achievements that have advanced scientific understanding and benefited humanity.

Doors open at 4 p.m. and the presentation begins at 4:30 p.m. at UC Davis Tahoe Science Center, 291 Country Club Dr. in Incline Village on the University of Nevada, Reno at Lake Tahoe campus.

There are limited UC Davis parking spaces available with a temporary parking pass required (obtained inside the lobby of the Tahoe Science Center). Paid parking is available in the campus parking lot.

~ UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center press release

Tour de Manure Raises Record $30,000

SIERRAVILLE

The 13th annual Tour de Manure in Sierraville saw a sellout crowd of 500 bicyclists on June 1 to pedal various Sierra Valley routes, dodge the occasional cowpie, and be rewarded afterwards with beer, BBQ, and live music. The ride was organized by a team of locals and Tahoe/Truckee transplants to raise a record $30,000 for volunteer firefighters and EMTs from the Eastern Sierra Firefighters’ Auxiliary. “It’s a community event in the spirit of the Great Ski Race,” said co-director Nanci Davis. “But it’s not a race. Our average rider was over 60.” Also this year, e-bikes were seen in greater numbers than ever before.

~ David H. Fenimore, special to Moonshine Ink

Nonprofit Receives $50,000 for Adaptive Equipment

SACRAMENTO

Achieve Tahoe, a nonprofit organization that provides sports and recreational programs in Northern California to people with disabilities, was awarded a $50,000 grant from The Hartford’s Adaptive Sports program for new adaptive sports equipment. The grant enabled Achieve Tahoe, a member of the Move United Network, to enhance its adaptive sports programming through the purchase of additional equipment for kayaking, archery, hiking, and climbing programs to better serve individuals with physical disabilities. The Hartford also surprised 19-year-old Bass Mansour with an adaptive waterski. This custom-fit adaptive sports equipment will help Mansour reach his goal of completing a waterski slalom course while spending more time on the water with his family.

BASS MANSOUR (center), Achieve Tahoe Executive Director Haakon Lang-Ree (left), and Move United Senior Events Manager Huarya Garcia-Gomez with Bass’ new adaptive seated waterski that he was granted thanks to Move United and the Hartford. Courtesy photo

The Hartford has been inspiring human achievement through adaptive sports for nearly 30 years. As a leading provider of disability insurance, the company has seen firsthand the positive impact sports can have on people and is dedicated to making adaptive sports and equipment more accessible. This includes equipment donations to local sports clubs nationwide, raising awareness about equity in sports in partnership with its world-class Team Hartford athletes, and hosting The Hartford’s Competition Series.

~ Achieve Tahoe press release

Fundraising Event To Benefit Land Trust

TRUCKEE

Tahoe Modern, a furniture showroom and interior design firm in Truckee, is hosting a fundraising event in conjunction with the Truckee Donner Land Trust on June 8 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Tahoe Modern showroom on Pioneer Trail. Visitors are encouraged to make a donation to TDLT when they enter the showroom with Tahoe Modern matching all donations up to $2,500.

Representatives from TDLT, which focuses on preserving open space in the region and building trails, will be on site to answer questions. Tahoe Modern’s team of designers will also offer advice on home interior design. There will be a raffle for a Tahoe Modern gift card. The fundraiser also coincides with a relaunch of the store’s showroom. 

“We opened about a year ago and we’re already seeing new trends emerge, so we completely revamped and redesigned our showroom with a brand new look and feel,” says Bristol. “We want people to be able to come in, walk around and see some of these new techniques and trends in real life, as opposed to scrolling on social media. Hopefully they will find some inspiration to bring back to their own homes.” 

~ Tahoe Modern press release

Moving In, Moving On, Moving Up

New Chief Fiscal Officer 

NEVADA CITY

Erin Mettler has been appointed as Nevada County’s chief fiscal officer. She has served as the county’s health and human services chief fiscal and administrative officer since 2020, managing over $180 million budget and has 23 years of experience in managing budgets and programs in local government. 

“Within her 4 years at Nevada County, she has been instrumental in important initiatives such as establishing the Western Nevada County Local Housing Trust Fund, which has funded projects such as Cashin’s Field in Nevada City and phase two of Lone Oak Senior Housing in Penn Valley, bringing over 80 new housing units online,” said Nevada County’s executive officer Alison Lehman.  

ERIN METTLER has been appointed as the new chief fiscal officer for Nevada County. Courtesy photo

Nevada County’s former chief fiscal officer, Martin Polt, is retiring in July after 11 years in the role and 19 years working with Nevada County.

This role also serves as an integral part of the county’s executive team as the deputy county  executive officer. “What appeals to me most about this job opportunity is the potential to build  upon a solid foundation of fiscal prudence and stretch our skills around innovative financing  models for key projects and board priorities,” said Mettler. “Having grown up in Nevada County  and now choosing to raise my own family here, I have a significant vested interest in its  success.” 

Before joining the county, Mettler spent 19 years working in several roles within the City of  Stockton’s police, housing, economic development, and redevelopment departments. She  worked on several capital project bond issuances, managed the downtown marina expansion,  navigated her departments through the city’s bankruptcy, and implemented a local tax measure to restore police services.  

Mettler holds a master’s degree in leadership for the public sector from Saint Mary’s College of  California and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of the Pacific. She is a  California State Association of Counties (CSAC) credentialed senior executive and a 2022  graduate of Nevada County’s Community Leadership Institute. She lives in Grass Valley. 

~ Nevada County press release

Business Briefs

Truckee Tahoe Lumber Expands

RENO

Andrew Cross, president and CEO of Truckee Tahoe Lumber Co. and Design Center, announced the expansion of the company to include structural building components through the acquisition of the assets of NVO Construction Components, a manufacturer of floor and roof trusses, prefabricated wall panels, panelized floor and roof cassettes, and prefabricated stairs. The transaction will be effective July 1 to create the Truckee Tahoe Lumber Co. Truss and Component division. 

“Our goal is to offer our framing customers the entire framing materials package,” said Cross. “Once we saw the NVO operation and talked with our mutual customers, we were very excited about the opportunity to take on an operation that not only offers trusses, but also manufactures additional prefabricated components which provide framers with a full array of products that complement our lumber offerings to meet their production goals.” 

TRUCKEE TAHOE LUMBER expands offerings through the acquisition of NVO Construction Components. Courtesy photo

The acquisition includes a 75,000-square-foot manufacturing facility located in the Stead area of Reno. Serving customers since 2021, NVO has provided building components for single-family and multifamily homes as well as commercial wood-frame construction. 

Taylor Adams, CEO of the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada called the integration of the two companies “a real success story for our region.” He continued, “Bringing a 93-year-old local company together with a Reno-based manufacturing start-up is big news in any case but the fact that this combined company is serving the local market, supporting local causes, and providing great jobs for our residents is a tremendous win for all. Across the country, the building materials industry is experiencing rapid consolidation so it’s refreshing to see a Reno-based company growing and innovating while keeping the fruits of their labors right here in our community.” 

According to Cross, TTL plans to continue to grow and expand the products offered currently by NVO.

~ Truckee Tahoe Lumber press release

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