News Briefs

Fatal Traffic Collision 

TAHOE CITY

On Oct. 25, at approximately 9:10 a.m., the Chico Communications Center received multiple calls of a two-vehicle traffic collision on State Route 28, east of Old County Road. The Truckee California Highway Patrol, Placer County Sheriff’s Office, North Tahoe Fire Protection District, and Cal Fire responded to the scene. Preliminary investigation indicates Ian Tippins, 54, of Tahoe Vista, was driving a GMC Savana van westbound on SR 28, west of Old Country Road. Scott Juniver, 59, of Reno, was driving a Peterbilt tractor, pulling a Landoll flatbed trailer, traveling westbound on SR 28, approaching Tippins’ vehicle. For unknown reasons yet to be determined, the driver of the GMC drifted to the left, crossing over the double yellow lines, and traveled into the eastbound lane. This resulted in the front left side of the GMC colliding with the left front side of the Peterbilt. Tippins was pronounced deceased on scene. The driver of the Peterbilt was uninjured as a result of the collision. It is unknown if alcohol and/or drugs were a factor in this collision, pending toxicology results. 

This traffic collision is still under investigation. If you have any information regarding this traffic collision, please contact Officer Williamson at (530) 563-9200. 

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~ CHP press release

Launch of the Home Access Program

TRUCKEE

The Town of Truckee has launched a new housing program, the Truckee Home Access Program (THAP). The THAP is one solution of many to preserve and protect housing for the Truckee area workforce. This new program offers a pathway to home ownership while also expanding to include a higher area median income limit.

To qualify for the THAP, a household must have at least one member employed 30 or more hours per week, meets full-time employment equivalency with employer verification, or has a written offer for full-time employment at an employment site within the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District. THAP works in three different ways:

  1. Financial assistance to buyers who work full-time in the region, don’t earn more than the program’s maximum income limits ($241,080 for a household of 4), and agree to sell to another THAP qualified buyer at resale. Buyers can use the financial assistance for a down payment, home renovations, or other expenses; or
  2. Offers homeowners an incentive to sell their property to a household that qualifies for the program; or
  3. Offers local businesses and developers compensation to create new rental or ownership housing opportunities for the Truckee workforce.

The program offers payments up to $150,000 to local buyers, sellers, businesses, and developers in exchange for making for-sale or for-rent homes available to the local workforce through a long-term deed restriction.

Those interested in learning more about the THAP are encouraged to visit townoftruckee.com/THAP to register for an upcoming workshop. For more questions about the program please contact thap@townoftruckee.com.

~ Town of Truckee press release

Homeless Center Emergency Warming Season 

NORTH TAHOE/ TRUCKEE

North Tahoe-Truckee Homeless Services is starting its 8th annual Emergency Warming Season. The Emergency Warming Season will begin Nov. 1 and last through April 30, and be available on severe weather nights, meaning it is 15 degrees or lower, there is a foot or more of snow, or other severe weather conditions. On these nights, the center provides guests a warm, dry, safe place to stay overnight where they will be given dinner and breakfast. 

The center is looking for volunteers to help on the dinner and breakfast shifts. Donations of pre-owned or new items are also being sought for. More info can be found at ntthomelessservices.com under “ways to help.”  

For more information on the impact these services have in the community, check out the 2022 Annual Report and Stories of Success. If you have any questions about North Tahoe-Truckee Homeless Services, call (530)386-7954. 

~ North Tahoe-Truckee Homeless Services Executive Director Cathie Foley

Public Input Wanted to Strengthen Mental Health Programs

PLACER COUNTY 

Placer County’s Health and Human Services Department is collecting community input to help shape the county’s three-year Mental Health Services Act plan, set to begin July 1, 2023.

California voters passed the Mental Health Services Act, or Proposition 63, in November 2004. MHSA places a 1% tax on personal incomes over $1 million. Counties receive funds through the state with the goal of transforming the public mental health system to better serve the community.

The plan aims to create local mental health systems that are consumer- and family member- driven, focused on wellness and resiliency, and are recovery-orientated and culturally competent.

Community input through the survey will help determine what is working well in the community and what services are still needed to improve mental health.

Placer’s MHSA online survey is available here. The survey is anonymous, has 12 questions, and takes about 10 minutes to complete.

To learn more about current MHSA programs or get involved, visit the county’s MHSA website or the collaborative Placer County Campaign for Community Wellness website.

~ Placer County press release

The Misunderstood Life of Bats … and Vampires

INCLINE VILLAGE

One of the most enduring and scary Halloween costumes of all time is Count Dracula, the infamous vampire. Dracula comes complete with a black cape, sharp plastic vampire teeth, and fake blood. He even has special powers that enable him to turn into a bat and quietly escape any sticky Halloween situation.  

It is perhaps because of the story of Dracula that bats have long had a bad reputation. The educators over at the Tahoe Institute for Natural Science are working to dispel some of the myths about bats: They do not all carry rabies, they don’t get trapped in people’s hair, they aren’t rodents, and they aren’t blind. In fact, bats do a lot of good for the environment. 

“There are 16 species of bats that occur in the Tahoe area,” says Will Richardson, TINS co-founder and executive director. “All of our bats are insectivorous, mostly eating bugs like mosquitoes, moths, and other flying insects, but a few, like the pallid bat, will actually pounce on spiders and centipedes and possibly even visit flowers and eat fruit, something they do elsewhere in their range. They’re all natural pest controllers and are essential to the health of the environment.”

Bats are mammals, the only species of mammal that flies. Some bats can live 30 to 40 years or longer. Often seen at dusk and occasionally seen flying during the day, they are mostly nocturnal. All of Tahoe’s bats hibernate in the wintertime, though most Tahoe bats migrate out of the region to do so. A few of our bats, however, hibernate locally, and warm spring weather can occasionally bring out active bats as early as March.

~  Tahoe Institute for Natural Science press release

LAND USE REWORK: The impacts of Truckee’s 2040 general plan update land use element changes on the Gateway at Donner Pass shopping center preliminary application. Courtesy photo

Community Discussion Drives Land Use Changes

TRUCKEE

On Oct. 11, a joint Truckee Town Council and planning commission meeting took place to discuss the 2040 General Plan Update. Land use, specifically along Donner Pass Road in the Gateway area, was revisited and discussed. There was a general consensus that 32 units an acre was too much for the Gateway corridor. Truckee town council members and planning commissioners shared that they had received concerns about this level of density in the Gateway corridor, especially given the unknowns of state law housing actions and the state density bonuses, which could result in substantial increases beyond what the town establishes as a base density.

As a result of this community conversation, it was determined that six to18 units an acre is a more appropriate fit for the area and achieves a good balance of providing opportunity for housing while protecting community character. The council and commissioners also took into consideration the town’s initiative to develop its own density bonus incentive as an action item in the general plan update, which could allow for more density in exchange for workforce housing that serves the community. Staff is currently working to incorporate these changes in the draft 2040 General Plan Update. These changes would ultimately not permit the development within the Gateway at Donner Pass Road shopping center at the level of density originally presented by town staff.  

~ Town of Truckee press release 

$5 Million Awarded to support the Tahoe Region with Envision Tahoe

LAKE TAHOE

The Sacramento region was awarded $5 million in planning money from the Community Economic Resilience Fund program. The program, developed and led by the Employment Development Department, the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, and the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, advances regional economic recovery and resilience strategies that prioritize the creation of accessible, high-quality jobs in sustainable industries.

Planning dollars will be used to stand up a High Road Transition Collaborative and a regional economic development plan. In a months-long grant application process, Valley Vision convened multiple open-to-all webinars, workshops, subregional roundtables, and activity-based committees to inform the region’s application. In particular, the Prosperity Partnership, the Tahoe Prosperity Center, the Sierra Business Council, Yuba-Sutter Economic Development Corporation, the Nevada County Economic Resource Council, and the counties of Colusa and Yuba were instrumental in bringing regional stakeholders and community partners to the table. As the designated regional convenor and fiscal agent for the Sacramento region, which includes Colusa, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Yolo and Yuba counties, Valley Vision is charged with mediating a planning process that engages meaningfully across subregions, sectors, and communities, to advance the goals of the CERF program.

Heidi Hill Drum, Tahoe Prosperity Center CEO, said, “The Envision Tahoe Prosperity Playbook, just completed in June 2022, outlines Tahoe/Truckee’s regional, inclusive, and collaborative economic resiliency strategy. We’re ready to hit the ground running now to begin our economic development strategies for future diversification and community improvement.”

~ Tahoe Prosperity Center press release

Truckee Donner Public Utility District Goes Paperless 

TRUCKEE

Beginning in November, Truckee Donner Public Utility District is moving to a paperless billing system. Bills and other account information will be available to view on the TDPUD SmartHub online platform, which is a convenient and easy-to-use tool that makes it simple for customers to manage their accounts and pay bills

TDPUD customers will need to be enrolled in billing notifications in their SmartHub account before Nov. 1 to avoid missing any billing alerts. TDPUD SmartHub provides easy, on-demand, online access to account information, and can be accessed from the TDPUD website or from the SmartHub app. Customers can view their current bill and up to three years of billing history, make payments, and monitor energy use data. SmartHub is also where customers can control which email notifications and text alerts they would like to enable for their account. Users can opt to receive a monthly email when their bill is available, as well as alerts for when payments have been posted, when water flow data indicates a possible leak, and for real-time information during power outages. Customers do have the option to contact TDPUD customer service and opt out of paperless billing if they would like to continue to receive a paper bill in the mail.

~ TDPUD press release 

Proposed Amendments to Regional Plan

LAKE TAHOE

Ten years ago, in December 2012, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency adopted the Lake Tahoe Regional Plan following years of negotiations and a recommitment of both the states of California and Nevada to the future of Lake Tahoe. 

After the TRPA Regional Plan was adopted, Placer County set to work on its Tahoe Basin Area Plan (TBAP) as the important guiding document for development and redevelopment in the Tahoe Basin. Since the adoption of the TBAP by the Placer County Board of Supervisors, on Dec. 6, 2016, and by the TRPA Governing Board, on Jan. 25, 2017, no new projects have been developed in either the Tahoe City or Kings Beach town centers. 

The proposed amendments are designed to attract environmentally beneficial investment in the form of redevelopment, small-scale new business start-ups, and new lodging in town centers (to offset a proposed one-to-one decrease in short-term rentals for each new lodging unit constructed), while also facilitating new workforce housing development by addressing and streamlining those permitting processes in certain infill locations. In addition, they are targeted at economic development and housing to catalyze revitalization and redevelopment of the town centers, boost economic development, and create workforce housing needed to produce a year-round economy. 

The amendments are a proposed solution to three concerns:

  1. The lack of private investment in our town centers since the adoption of the area plan in 2017, particularly the lack of new redevelopment projects and new lodging (e.g. hotels) within the Tahoe Basin area.
  2. The lack of workforce housing development. Both problems are due to the high cost of development and permitting processes.
  3. Declining Placer County Tahoe Basin year-round populations (a loss of approximately 2,000 full time residents since 2000)

~ Cindy Gustafson, Eastern Placer bulletin

Library Fund Supports Additional Hours and Increased Staff

TAHOE CITY/ KINGS BEACH

Due to increased tax revenues, there is capacity in Placer County’s library fund to support additional open hours and increased staff and programming at the Kings Beach and Tahoe City libraries. Both libraries will see an increase of 10.5 open hours per week to match current open hours in the Auburn, Colfax, Granite Bay, and Rocklin locations: Tuesday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Current part-time library staff (30 hours per week) in Kings Beach and Tahoe City will transition to full-time. In addition, two library specialists will be recruited for Kings Beach and Tahoe City, providing the ability to increase library programming including community outreach, Baby Lapsit, Toddler Time, literacy services and assessments, plus technology classes and trainings

~ Eastern Placer bulletin

Former South Lake Tahoe Resident Releases Book About Being an Airbnb Host

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE

Sleeping with Strangers: An Airbnb Host’s Life in Lake Tahoe and Mexico reveals what it’s like to be in charge of a short-term rental in two distinctly different locations: South Lake Tahoe and Todos Santos, Baja California Sur, Mexico.

SLEEPING WITH STRANGERS: Former Lake Tahoe resident releases her fourth book. Courtesy photo

This book will have readers laughing, scratching their heads, and possibly changing their behavior as a guest and/or host of a short-term rental.

Sleeping with Strangers is Kathryn Reed’s fourth book. She is also the author of Lake Tahoe Trails For All Seasons: Must-Do Hiking and Snowshoe Treks, Snowshoeing Around Lake Tahoe: Must-Do Scenic Treks, and The Dirt Around Lake Tahoe: Must-Do Scenic Hikes. She is an award-winning journalist who has had a permanent address somewhere in Northern California most of her life.

Reed is the former publisher of Lake Tahoe News, and was a resident of South Lake Tahoe for nearly 20 years. She will be signing and selling her books at the Valhalla Holiday Faire on the South Shore, Nov. 18 to 20. No fee to attend the faire. Books are $20, cash, check, or Venmo.

In the book, Reed doesn’t hold back on what it was like to be a host, lauding the good guests and making a strong case for those she’d rather not see again (after all, one chapter is titled “Don’t Come Back”). She also delves into what her experience was like dealing with Airbnb.

Sleeping with Strangers is available at local bookstores. 

~  Kathryn Reed press release

AMERICAN PICKERS: As seen on The History Channel, the pickers are ready to find extraordinary items and hear fascinating tales about them. Courtesy photo

American Pickers is Coming to California

CALIFORNIA 

The American Pickers are excited to return to California! They plan to film episodes of The History Channel hit television series throughout your area in January 2023.

American Pickers is a documentary series that explores the fascinating world of antique “picking” on The History Channel. The hit show follows skilled pickers in the business as they hunt for America’s most valuable antiques. They are always excited to find sizable, unique collections and learn the interesting stories behind them.

As they hit the back roads from coast to coast, the pickers are on a mission to recycle and rescue forgotten relics. Along the way, they want to meet characters with remarkable and exceptional items. They hope to give historically significant objects a new lease on life while learning a thing or two about America’s past along the way. The pickers have seen a lot of rusty gold over the years and are always looking to discover something they’ve never seen before. 

The American Pickers TV show is looking for leads and would love to explore your hidden treasure. If you or someone you know has a large, private collection or accumulation of antiques that the pickers can spend the better part of the day looking through, we would love to hear from you! Please note, the pickers do not pick stores, flea markets, malls, auction businesses, museums, or anything open to the public. If interested, please send us your name, phone number, location, and description of the collection with photos to americanpickers@cineflix.com

~  Cineflix USA press release

Moving In, Moving On, Moving Up

SAMANTHA LAROCHE: HSTT’s first foster and shelter volunteer manager is moving on. Courtesy photo

Samantha Laroche Moves On From Humane Society 

TRUCKEE/ TAHOE 

It’s with a heavy heart that Tahoe Truckee Humane Society is saying goodbye to Samantha Laroche and a thank you for the many years of service.

Samantha started at HSTT in March of 2016 as an adoption counselor, and from there took over the foster program, eventually becoming HSTT’s first foster and shelter volunteer manager. Prior to her employment, she volunteered with the nonprofit for several years.

Samantha has saved and helped thousands of pets in need over the years. She has educated many community members and has built the foster program into what it is today. Her quick wit, ability to take on any challenges, relationships with people and pets, positive attitude, and calm nature have made her one of the best employees and staff persons HSTT has ever had. To say that she’ll be missed is an understatement. Samantha’s last day will be Nov. 2, so if you would like to drop in to say goodbye and wish her well, please do! 

Liz Alstott will be stepping in to fill those shoes. Liz started with HSTT in 2021 as an adoption and customer specialist and was quickly promoted to adoption and customer service manager. Liz is a quick learner, a great multitasker, an excellent communicator, and wonderful with both people and pets. 

~ HSTT newsletter

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