News Briefs

Clean Up The Lake Completes 72-Mile Clean-up of Lake Tahoe, Recovers 25,281 Pounds of Trash


The Clean Up the Lake SCUBA dive team that embarked on an extraordinary effort to recover submerged litter around all 72 miles of Lake Tahoe’s shoreline — which launched on May 14, 2021 — has officially completed the project. In all, the dive team collected 24,797 pieces of litter, bringing the total weight of items removed to 25,281 pounds.

The project was made possible by a $100,000 matching donation from Tahoe Blue Vodka, contributions from more than 135 Tahoe Fund donors, including Vail Resorts, and the Nevada Division of State Lands’ Lake Tahoe License Plate program and other local grant giving foundations.


As divers circumnavigated the lake, they recovered not only plastic bottles, cans, and other typical litter, but items that included engagement rings, 1980s Nikon film cameras, entire lamp-posts, no littering signs, massive pieces of broken-down boats and engine blocks, lost wallets, cordless home telephones, a blackberry mobile phone, and more.

Clean Up the Lake will collaborate with scientific institutions and environmental consultants to study the recovered litter to develop a better understanding of its impact on Lake Tahoe. In addition, the Tahoe Fund, with support from Tahoe Blue Vodka, recently announced it has commissioned artists to create a sculpture using some of the recovered items from the Lake. Surfaced, a permanent art installation, will be featured at the new Tahoe South Events Center to educate visitors about what lies beneath Tahoe’s blue waters.

Clean Up the Lake is excited to announce that it will be performing cleanups across four lakes this year, beginning as soon as next week. This will include intensive monitoring projects on both Lake Tahoe and Donner Lake, a circumnavigated cleanup of Fallen Leaf Lake located within the Tahoe Basin, and an expansion to the Mammoth Lakes region for the clean-up of June Lake. 

MJD Capital Partners and Truckee Tahoe Lumber Company are new project partners to Clean Up The Lake’s next projects while past donors including Tahoe Fund, Tahoe Blue Vodka, Nevada Division of State Lands’ Lake Tahoe License Plate program, Martis Fund, Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation, Tahoe Mountain Resorts Foundation, Alpenglobal Capital, and others continue to support the efforts. Despite current support, Clean Up The Lake’s 2022 projects require additional funding. Donate now at

~ Clean Up the Lake, Tahoe Fund, Tahoe Blue Vodka press release

Approval of Short-Term Rental Ordinance Amendment


The Washoe County Board of County Commissioners has voted to adopt an ordinance amending Washoe County Code governing short-term rentals. Washoe County began permitting STRs in May 2021 with the Community Services Department approaching the summer season as a pilot to see what issues may arise and how the code might be amended to better serve residents/owners of STRs. Based on public meetings with residents and STR owners, the Community Services Department presented suggested revisions to the STR code at the January 25, 2022 commissioners meeting, many of which were adopted on May 10. 

Ordinance changes include modifying the maximum occupancy calculation, outlining minimum insurance requirements, excludes overflow parking spaces in condominium or multi-family complexes in the calculation of required parking spaces, and provides that a bear box is required in the Incline Village General Improvement District’s service territory following two confirmed trash violations.

Commissioner Alexis Hill, who represents the district in which  a majority of the county’s STRs are located, said, “I think we have a great opportunity this next year to have a full two years of the program, to then reevaluate and see where we are at. These changes are really necessary, and they provide some great next steps over the next year to make this code a better code for those who own STRs and our community.”

Commissioner Kitty Jung added, “This was a public safety issue, and especially when we found out that all of the Californians around the lake closed their short-term rentals, we had no ability to close short-term rentals because, legally, they did not exist in Washoe County; we had never created the code. I want to thank this commission and Commissioner Hill for preserving the safety, wellness, and protection for the people who are living, visiting or recreating up there.”

~ Washoe County enews

Land Trust Receives Nearly $400,000 for Forest Health


The Truckee Donner Land Trust was awarded nearly $400,000 for forest health projects by the Martis Fund and Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation.

The Martis Fund awarded the Land Trust $298,440 dollars for forest health work at Royal Gorge in coordination with other landowners on Donner Summit, while Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation awarded $100,000 from its Forest Futures campaign for forestry projects west of Donner Lake.

The work planned with the Martis Fund grant at Royal Gorge will treat 70 acres of forest on the western end of the property, which will help with fire risk along a road corridor important for ingress and egress in the area. The work will be done in coordination with Camp Wamp, another property owner on the summit used for a summer camp for persons living with physical disabilities.

“Combining multiple landowners and building on past forestry work at Royal Gorge — about 500 acres — will help landscape-level forest health that will make a big difference for our region,” said Daniel Joannes, forest and restoration coordinator for the land trust.

Farther east, the Forest Futures funding will be used for land trust property along Old Highway 40, which is downwind from the Donner Lake, Armstrong Tract, and Tahoe Donner neighborhoods, improving fire hazard for those areas.

This work would also benefit habitat in the Old Highway 40 corridor for aspen, willow flycatcher, and other species.

~ TDLT press release

Operation of a Housing Stability Self-Help Desk


The Washoe County Board of County Commissioners has approved an agreement for professional services between Washoe County and Washoe Legal Services to operate a housing stability self-help desk at the Reno Justice Court, running May 11 to Sept. 30. 

The purpose of the self-help desk is to provide housing stability services to county residents facing eviction and other forms of housing instability. To meet these needs, the desk will provide services including assistance completing court-related forms related to eviction mediation, notarizing court paperwork, providing referrals and resources for legal advice and housing stability services, assisting clients with applying for emergency rental assistance, and more. 

Funding comes from the final allocation of the $6.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of the Treasury for the Washoe Housing Assistance for Covid Relief Program. The grant requires that all Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA1) funds be expended by Sept. 30.

~ Washoe County enews

GO FOR GOLD: Julianna Martin, Siena Lopez, and Denali Cooke received their Girl Scout Gold awards at an All That Glitters celebration in Reno, alongside their leader, Melanie Cooke. Courtesy photo

Three Local Seniors Receive Girl Scout Gold Awards


In May, three high school seniors from Truckee were awarded their Girl Scout Gold awards. This is the highest girl-earned achievement in Girl Scouting, similar to the Eagle Scout status in Boy Scouts. The three girls are all from the same troop and have been scouting together since elementary school. For their projects, each girl selected an issue that was important to her and addressed the root cause of that issue at the local level. Each project also highlighted the girls’ individual passions and talents. 

Julianna Martin of Truckee High School created an interactive art display and educational video series at Truckee High to show students how they are connected and cared about in the community. She was noticing how isolation and the pandemic were negatively affecting her classmates and wanted to do something about it. Martin took portraits of the incoming freshman class and posted them in an artistic display in the school lobby.  

Siena Lopez, also from Truckee High School, created and led art lessons for Glenshire students so that they could learn about preventing wildfire through the lens of art. She created video art lessons where students had the opportunity to learn about wildfire while drawing birds whose habitats are affected by wildfire. These lessons were shared with fifth graders during the pandemic and are still available online.

Denali Cooke of North Tahoe High inspired young women and minority youths at the Boys and Girls Club of North Lake Tahoe to consider a career in the STEM fields. She created hands-on science lessons that were aimed to pique the interest of students who statistically are less likely to explore the scientific fields and included interviews with local women in science to expose the young scientists to role models. Both Cooke’s and Lopez’s projects were supported by donations from the Truckee Optimists.

The young women were honored at the All That Glitters celebration in Reno along with their leader, Melanie Cooke. Melanie, a Gold Award Scout herself, also received the Girl Scout Heritage Award for her continued dedication to the girls and the organization.

Martin, Lopez, and Cooke will be attending Princeton, Cal Poly SLO, and the University of Oregon, respectively.

Those interested in Girl Scouting should reach out to the Girl Scouts of the Sierra Nevada at to get a troop started.

~ Melanie Cooke, special to Moonshine Ink

Caltrans Spotlights Top Six Pollutants Degrading California’s Water Quality


Caltrans has shared the top sources of stormwater pollution and ways to prevent them from contaminating California’s waterways as part of its Let’s Change This to That public education campaign. As stormwater travels into storm drains, it captures pollutants from highways, streets, sidewalks, and yards that flow into waterways. The top six pollutants have an outsized impact on the water quality of lakes, rivers, streams and the ocean, and many are preventable through small actions Californians can take. 

The following lists the top six pollutants and actions to stop them at the source: 

  • Trash and litter: Properly secure items in truck beds and put trash and recycling in the correct bin. 
  • Sediments: Prevent soil erosion by using mulch in the garden, planting trees and shrubs, and sweeping driveways instead of hosing them off. 
  • Nutrients: Avoid over-fertilizing lawns and plants and limit vegetation waste by keeping fallen leaves out of storm drains. 
  • Bacteria: Limit pet and RV waste by picking up after your pet and using appropriate RV dumping stations. 
  • Metals: Regularly check tire pressure, change oil and fluids, and use commercial car washes to prevent metals generated from vehicle, tire, and brake wear from ending up on highways. 
  • Pesticides: Use organic pesticides and properly dispose of unused portions.  

Caltrans is tasked with managing stormwater runoff and mitigating pollution within its 350,000 acres of right of way, which includes more than 15,000 centerline miles of highways. This effort involves picking up roadside litter and clearing out storm drains to preserve roadway safety and drivability during all types of weather conditions.  

Unlike water that goes down the sink or toilet in a home, stormwater is untreated and flows directly into lakes, rivers, and other waterways. Stopping pollutants at the source is critical  to Caltrans’ efforts to keep stormwater runoff clean  

Visit to take the pledge and learn more about the sources and pathways of stormwater pollution.

~ Caltrans press release

Classical Tahoe Announces 2022 Music Festival and Institute


Classical Tahoe Festival and Music Institute has announced its upcoming season, July 14 to Aug. 18.

Guest conductors Jonathan Darlington, David Chan, and Ken-David Masur will lead the orchestra with several Grammy-winning soloists including Tessa Lark, violin; Isabel Leonard, mezzo-soprano; Svet Stoyanov, marimba; Aldo López-Gavilán, piano; and Dongsok Shin, harpsichord.

The world premiere of Lake Tahoe Symphonic Reflections by composer Jake Heggie will open the orchestral series. Heggie’s new work was commissioned by Classical Tahoe to celebrate the life and honor the memory of Joel Revzen, Classical Tahoe’s founding artistic director and conductor, who passed away in 2020 from Covid-19.

The inaugural Brubeck Jazz Summit, July 10 to 16, will bring 34 talented students to Lake Tahoe for an educational program in jazz as a living legacy of the musician and international statesman Dave Brubeck. Faculty include Chad LB, saxophone; Sean Jones, trumpet; Chris Brubeck, trombone; Connie Han, piano; Gilad Hekselman, guitar; Eric Harland, drums; Dan Brubeck, drums; Rodney Whitaker, bass. 

The Classical Tahoe Academy and the Sphinx Organization will bring 12 Black and Latinx musicians to be in residence as Academy Fellows. The fellows will perform with the Classical Tahoe Orchestra and take part in a customized experience of mentorship, networking, and audition preparation. The ultimate goal of this initiative is job placement for musicians of color in American orchestras.

For a third year, PBS Reno will film and livestream six orchestra concerts. Past episodes are available to view free of charge at

~ Classical Tahoe press release

Placer Supervisors Pave Way for Faster Electric Vehicle Charging Station Permits


The Placer County Board of Supervisors has approved a motion to streamline the permitting process for electric vehicle charging stations.

An electric vehicle charging station is any level of electric vehicle supply equipment that delivers electricity from an outside source into a plug-in electric vehicle. The permit process is designed to aid business and homeowners not already equipped with a charging station to install an electric vehicle charging station or receptacle.

“Keeping pace with technological demands and how those translate to the built environment are everyday considerations of the Building Service team,” said Placer County Building Chief Official Timothy Wegner. “With this new program to expedite the installation of charging stations, we’re happy to facilitate the ever-growing demand for these systems.”  

The goal is to issue permits over-the-counter, the same day, and to facilitate this the team has developed complementary checklists to expedite the process.

Electric vehicle charging station checklists and applications for residential and commercial properties are available online at  

Applications can be submitted in person at the building services offices in North Auburn and Tahoe City, as well as online via the county’s e-services platform at

~ Placer County press release

Moving In, Moving Up, Moving On

AFTER TWO DECADES working for the Truckee Chamber of Commerce, President and CEO Lynn Saunders is retiring at the end of 2022. A process to find her replacement is underway. Courtesy photo

Chamber President and CEO Announces Timeline for Retirement, Succession


After 20 years with the Truckee Chamber of Commerce, President and CEO Lynn Saunders has notified the board of directors of her intent to retire at the end of 2022, initiating a succession and transition process for the organization. 

Some of Saunders’ proudest achievements include leading the formation of the Truckee Tourism Business Improvement District in 2015, now Visit Truckee-Tahoe; being a founding partner in the North Lake Tahoe-Truckee Leadership Program; as an integral leader in the Truckee Tomorrow initiative, which resulted in the Base Camp for a Big Life brand, Truckee Jobs Collective, and laid the foundation for future entrepreneurial initiatives; and Good Morning Truckee, in its 12th year as a popular community forum.

“The board of directors has established a hiring committee and will begin the recruitment and search process for a successor,” said Aimee Schaller, Truckee Chamber of Commerce board chair. “Because of her vast experience in the chamber and the community, we will rely on Lynn’s incisive guidance to ensure a smooth transition.”

For detailed job description, qualifications, core responsibilities, and information on how to apply, visit

~ Chamber press release

TTUSD’s Head of Comms Leaves for Role at New Districts


Kelli Twomey, who has overseen the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District’s communications for eight years, had her last day on May 12. While she will still be based in North Lake Tahoe, she is beginning her new role as communications and community relations coordinator for the Las Lomitas Elementary School District and Portola Valley School District on May 23.

It’s been a very rewarding and enriching experience working with our parents and community,” Twomey told Moonshine Ink. “Every person in a school district makes a difference in the lives of kids and that’s what makes it rewarding. It was rewarding to be part of that.”

~ AH


Previous articleAlterra, Are You Listening?
Next articleLocal Infant Formula Options; El Dorado County Appealing to Biden; Free Green Waste Pickup; More