News Briefs

Homeless Advisory Committee Seeks New Warming Shelter

TRUCKEE

In a concerted effort to help those experiencing homelessness in the Truckee region, the Homeless Advisory Committee, a Nevada County initiative facilitated by Seana Doherty at Agnew Beck, has ramped up its activities following the Oct. 1 announcement of the non-reopening of North Tahoe Truckee Homeless Services’ warming shelter. 

“The goal is to have a multi-jurisdictional community-based approach to addressing the homeless issue. It’s going to start with finding a suitable location for both a day orientation center and a warming center,” said Hardy Bullock, supervisor for Nevada County’s fifth district.

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Nevada County is actively seeking a new location for the warming shelter, driven by staffing shortages and the recognition that Church of the Mountains, the shelter’s previous home, is no longer a good fit. The committee has identified the Joseph Center in Truckee as a potential site for a warming shelter, aiming to open in the second week of December.

“If we have homeless individuals that are in need of shelter, we’re giving them hotel vouchers, rides to other alternative facilities, or we’re putting them in permanent or semi-permanent placements. So a multitude of different solutions are coming to bear in the next two weeks until we get the warming shelter open,” Bullock said.

The Homeless Advisory Committee is focused not only on immediate solutions, but also on long-term strategies. “Homelessness is a community problem. It’s not a mandate of the county to solve it. And we see that all over California; that’s why cities, towns, and counties, they’re all trying to work together to find a solution, working alongside healthcare providers and nonprofit organizations,” Bullock said.

The committee, established in early summer 2023, includes key stakeholders such as the Tahoe Forest Hospital District, Town of Truckee, Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation, Nevada County, Placer County law enforcement, and homeless service advocates.

~ TC

Engraved Bears Raise Funds for Trails

TAHOE CITY

Building on the success of the popular engraved bears along the Tahoe East Shore Trail, the Tahoe Fund announced a partnership with Placer County to install personalized bears along the railings in Tahoe City’s Heritage Plaza to raise funds for trails in the Placer County region of North Lake Tahoe.

“From birthdays to anniversaries to memorials, any message takes on an added meaning when it’s mounted in front of Lake Tahoe,” said Karolina Hedman, chief operations officer for the Tahoe Fund.

The bear plaques are available in two sizes. For $5,000, the Mama Bear plaque measures 13 inches tall and 20 inches wide and has space for a 40- to 45-character message. For $2,500, the Baby Bear plaque measures 8 inches tall and 12 inches wide and has space for a 20- to 25- character message.

“Partnerships with organizations like the Tahoe Fund are imperative to get vital trail, recreation, and environmental projects completed for the benefit of Placer residents and Tahoe visitors,” said Placer County District 5 Supervisor Cindy Gustafson.

The Tahoe Fund also offers engraved trout plaques and bear pavers along the East Shore Trail, a 3-mile paved path from Incline Village to Sand Harbor. To learn more, visit tahoefund.org/projects/active-projects/tahoe-east-shore-trail/.

For more information and to purchase a Tahoe City bear plaque, visit tahoefund.org/projects/active-projects/tahoe-city-bear-plaques/.

~ Tahoe Fund press release

Prepare Now for Severe Winter Weather

NEVADA COUNTY

In advance of potential severe winter weather this season, the Nevada County Office of Emergency Services is encouraging the community to prepare for possible extended power outages and road closures. Now is the best time to prepare for harsh winter conditions. Find winter preparedness tips: nevadacountyca.gov/1336/winter-preparedness

~ Nevada County press release

Utility District Board Adopts New Electric Rates, Budgets

TRUCKEE

Truckee Donner Public Utility District’s board of directors met on Nov. 1 to conduct two public hearings for the adoption of new electric rates and the approval of the TDPUD budget for 2024 and 2025.

The board adopted HDR Consultants’ proposed two-year rate design, which includes a 12% increase for 2024 and 2025. This will prepare TDPUD to maintain its electrical system, accomplish improvement projects the community has deemed important, and recover from unanticipated energy price spikes in the last two years.

The board also adopted new rate tools that will help both TDPUD and its customers manage the costs of their energy usage. The optional time-of-use rate is a way to give customers control of their energy costs by incentivizing energy use outside of peak times when energy costs the most to procure. TDPUD sees its peak energy usage during the winter, on weekends, and at nighttime, from 4 to 9 p.m.

NEW RATES: TDPUD rates show as below average. Courtesy photo

The board also adopted a power cost adjustment (PCA) rate option that would allow electric bills to reflect — up or down — recent changes in electric resource procurement costs. TDPUD experienced severe price spikes during last winter’s natural gas shortages that required the board to utilize a portion of electric rate reserves, which now need to be replenished.

For full details on the new TDPUD rates and the adopted budget, visit tdpud.org/rates.

A $60,500 contract was awarded to NV5 for a Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) assessment, which is a key first step to designing, locating, and constructing a BESS project in Truckee. If successful, a BESS project would be located at one of TDPUD’s substations and could be used to reduce overall electric costs while improving our clean electricity mix.

Another board action was the completion of the Pioneer Trail pipeline project, which provides a second water connection between TDPUD’s main water system and Tahoe Donner.

~ Truckee Donner PUD press release

Tahoe Fund Launches Matching Campaign for People with Disabilities

TAHOE CITY

The Tahoe Fund has launched a $25,000 matching campaign to support Achieve Tahoe’s summer recreation programs for people with disabilities and their families. Thanks to a generous match provided by Putnam Lexus, courtesy of Marty and Anne Putnam, the Tahoe Fund is doubling all donations to this program given before Dec. 31 to reach the goal of $50,000.

“We want to ensure that the Tahoe region can be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of their ability,” said the Putnams.

ARCHERY FUN: Yakout Mansour, Sylvie Bergeron, and Bass Mansour enjoy family time playing with targets. Courtesy photo

In recent years, with support from the Tahoe Fund, Achieve Tahoe has shifted to offering year-round outdoor recreation programming such as archery, hiking, sailing, and paddle sports. Prior funding from the Tahoe Fund has helped Achieve Tahoe offer scholarships for participants who could not afford program enrollment costs, invest in supplies and equipment, and provide training for staff and volunteers.

“We are grateful for the support and partnership the Tahoe Fund provides to increase inclusion in the Tahoe region,” said Haakon Lang-Ree, executive director of Achieve Tahoe.

To donate, visit tahoefund.org/achieve.

~ Tahoe Fund press release

Art Installation Survey

TRUCKEE

The Public Art Commission of Truckee (PACT) is working on its next art implementation project. One location that is under consideration is the Mobility Hub in the Railyard area, at the east end of Donner Pass Road. Construction of phase 1A of the Railyard Mobility Hub is nearing completion and includes an area set aside for an art installation.

The PACT would like the community’s feedback on potential ideas and themes for art at this location. Fill out the survey here.

~ Town of Truckee enews

GBI Cultural Resources Program Partners with Eldorado National Forest

ELDORADO NATIONAL FOREST

In 2022, Great Basin Institute entered into a partnership with the U.S. Forest Service to treat approximately 100 miles of system road and remove over 600,000 tons of fuel in areas of Eldorado National Forest affected by the 2021 Caldor and Mosquito fires, thereby preparing the area for planting. 

NEW GROWTH: GBI and USFS prepare for planting. Photo courtesy Camilla Block

This is a wide-ranging agreement, encompassing National Environmental Policy Act documentation, hazard fuels reduction, fuel break creation, and plant surveys. The agreement includes an archaeological component. 

USFS’s Chuck Hutcheson, who serves as Eldorado’s heritage program manager and tribal relations program manager, pointing out that “the ENF has worked with GBI on other projects, but the field season of 2023 was the first time that GBI archaeologists were integrated in an ‘in-house’ sense. GBI archaeologists helped the ENF survey approximately 1,000 acres; update and record hundreds of archaeological site records; and complete numerous cultural survey reports. Additionally, GBI archaeologists have helped flag well over 100 archaeological sites prior to implementations and have monitored sensitive sites during implementation.”

In the spring, GBI will be bringing on two members of the Colfax-Todd’s Valley Consolidated Tribe to serve on a crew conducting cultural resource surveys within the Mosquito Fire burn scar. As Hutcheson explains, “The fire did affect one of the tribe’s traditional cultural properties. This area is important to the tribe as it helps connect them to their traditional cultural values through deer hunting, traditional plant gathering, and other traditional lifeways.”

~ Great Basin Institute newsletter

Lake Tahoe Students Create Pollinator Garden

TRUCKEE

During a semester-long course, students at the Tahoe Expedition Academy (TEA) learned about native pollinators and the challenges they face in an ever-evolving climate. When they discovered how dire the situation was, they decided to take action.

“In our studies we identified a decline in local pollinators,” said third-grade teacher Colleen Carr. “The kids recognized this as an important environmental issue that we should tackle. So, they presented to the Truckee Chamber of Commerce and proposed Truckee work to become a certified Bee Friendly City. The chamber agreed.”

The students visited pollinator gardens throughout the Reno/Sparks area, meeting with experts to learn how plants grow and survive. They have designed their own pollinator habitat which is being built on campus this school year.

TAKING ACTION: TEA third graders visiting the University of Nevada, Reno Natural History Museum to observe a native bumblebee hive at work. Courtesy photo

“This project is a great example of nonprofit organizations and local experts collaborating to address an important need in the community,” said TEA co-founder Taylor Simmers. “Thanks to this team effort and support from the Martis Fund and Martis Valley Education Foundation, we get to see the power of these young people in action.”

The local organizations and experts who helped make the project possible include Martis Valley Education Foundation, the Martis Fund, Vital Bee Buds in Gardnerville, Barb Fenney and Ray Hopper from Help Save the Bees Foundation, UNR Entomology department professors, Xerces Society, Truckee Meadows Community college professor Cecelia Vigil, and Villager Nursery.

~ TEA press release

State Academic Testing Results Released

NORTH TAHOE/TRUCKEE

The California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) is the state’s academic testing program that monitors student progress and proficiency in English Language Arts (ELA), mathematics, and science. It evaluates students’ knowledge and skills acquired throughout the school year, assessing their critical thinking and problem-solving abilities. All California students in grades three through eight and 11 annually take ELA and math assessments, with students in grades five, eight, and 10 participating in the science assessment (CAST) as well.

The state releases results from the previous spring’s testing each October. Results provide a collective snapshot of students’ performance at the district level, allowing for year-over-year comparisons. While CAASPP is a helpful and informative tool, it’s important to recognize that it represents just one aspect of the learning process. 

Assistant superintendent of educational services Logan Mallonee presented this year’s findings at the Nov. 1 TTUSD board meeting. She highlighted key findings:

  • ELA results, on average, for all TTUSD students remained similar to last year.
  • TTUSD sees a higher percentage of students “at or above proficiency levels” than the state median, attributed to their district-wide focus on literacy.
  • An achievement gap still persists for socioeconomically disadvantaged and English Learner subgroups. 
  • Math results did not significantly shift from last year. All TTUSD student subgroups are above performance trends for the state, except for the district’s Redesignated Fluent English Proficient (RFEP) subgroup.
  • Math needs to be a districtwide focus while balancing the focus on literacy.
  • When TTUSD focuses on subgroups falling below state standards, it ultimately supports achievement for all subgroups and students.

~ TTTUSD newsletter

Moving In, Moving On, Moving Up

El Dorado County Appoints New Public Health Officer

PLACERVILLE

The El Dorado County Board of Supervisors appointed Dr. Matthew Minson, M.D. as the county’s public health officer and local registrar for vital statistics.

Minson is a physician, inventor, author, and a decorated and awarded local, state, and federal health official. While at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Minson led the creation and delivery of the first National Health Security Strategy, the Telehealth Report to Congress, Emergency Use Authorization policies, and was the USDHHS White House interagency policy liaison for chemical and biodefense, and countermeasures innovation.

An acknowledged expert in humanitarian response and public health medicine, Minson has more than 20 high-profile field deployments, including 9/11, and was deputy coordinator for the U.S. Health and Medical Response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake at USAID. He has also been a medical director/team manager with FEMA’s Urban Search and Rescue, the USAR Incident Support Team, and was a federal medical specialist instructor.

He has been honored with appointments to the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine’s Public Preparedness forum and as a principal member of the National Fire Protection Association’s committees addressing First Responder Standards in Hazardous Material and WMD environments for the last 20 years. He also serves on the board of directors of HealthcareReady, addressing supply chain and bridging between government and the private sector.

He is a graduate of the University of Texas Medical Branch where he also completed his internship and residency before completing an advanced track at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston. 

~ El Dorado County press release

NEW TOWN CLERK: Kelly Carpenter takes on new role. Courtesy photo

Kelly Carpenter Appointed Town Clerk

TRUCKEE

Town of Truckee announced the appointment of Kelly Carpenter following the retirement of Judy Price. She has more than 20 years of experience working for civil litigation law firms and originally joined the Town of Truckee team in 2022 as the deputy clerk. 

“I have spent the past year learning what it means to be the town clerk by shadowing Judy throughout her various duties. She took me under her wing and set me up for success,” Carpenter said. 

Carpenter’s vision for the clerk’s department is to continue providing access to the town government and its documents in order to preserve and grow public trust. This has always been the mission of the department and she aims to provide transparency to the highest level. The clerk’s department has projects underway that will automate many processes and create better efficiency in their service to the community. One example is the integration of new technologies to make it easier for the public to access records.

Carpenter is a dedicated mother of two and when she is not at work, enjoys all the recreational things that Truckee has to offer including skiing, trail running, paddle boarding, and camping. 

~ Town of Truckee newsletter

Business Briefs

NV Energy Launches PowerShift Smart Shop 

NEVADA

PowerShift by NV Energy announced the launch of Smart Shop, an online storefront giving customers an option to directly purchase energy-efficient products and equipment. The Smart Shop has exclusive deals on popular household items that make a difference in energy consumption and savings.

The Powershift Smart Shop features large appliances such as refrigerators and electric vehicle chargers as well as small energy saving devices, including air purifiers, smart power strips, and weatherization products.

“The new Powershift Smart Shop is just one more way NV Energy is bringing energy efficiency tools and discounted products to our customers in one convenient place,” said Marie Steele, vice president of Integrated Energy Services at NV Energy. “This provides a way for our customers to find energy-efficient devices and services that will help save energy and save money.” 

Customers can find instant savings up to 50% off retail on certain energy-efficient products. View a full list of available energy-efficient products and services at nvenergy.com/smartshop.

The Smart Shop is the latest extension of existing NV Energy incentive programs aimed at helping customers save energy and money. NV Energy does not make money off of any items sold.  

~ NV Energy press release

Sugar Bowl Resort Opens Dec. 1

NORDEN

Sugar Bowl Resort opened Dec. 1 with beginner and intermediate terrain accessible via the Jerome Hill Express and White Pine chairlifts plus the Flume Moving Carpet. Taking advantage of ideal snowmaking conditions since the Thanksgiving holiday, the resort has and will continue to make snow at every opportunity to expand open terrain as quickly as possible.

Despite a lack of natural snowfall, the resort’s state-of-the-art snowmaking system has produced a 10- to 12-inch base. “Our snowmaking team has done tremendous work recently, operating the system for over 75 hours and counting to prepare the slopes for opening day,” said Bridget Legnavsky, Sugar Bowl Resort president and CEO. Early season conditions exist and the resort encourages guests to ski and ride with care.

Ski lessons, rentals, and retail operations will be available, with a special $149 first-timer package (limited lift ticket, lesson, and rentals) offered Monday through Friday, non-holiday. In addition, the resort will offer $99 discounted adult lift tickets until more terrain is open. Also starting Dec. 1, guests seeking a Sugar Bowl Village experience can book a room at the lodge, enjoy a cocktail at the Belt Room Bar, or enjoy a wine dinner in the dining room.

Royal Gorge’s opening has been pushed back to Dec. 8 as the cross-country area awaits natural snowfall. For updates related to snow conditions and open terrain, visit sugarbowl.com.

~ Sugar Bowl press release

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