News Briefs

Death of Kiely Rodni Ruled as Accidental Drowning

TRUCKEE

The Nevada County Sheriff’s Office coroner has ruled the death of 16-year-old Kiely Rodni as accidental in nature, according to a statement released Oct. 13.

There was no evidence to indicate that foul play was a factor in her death, which was caused by accidental drowning. The announcement comes more than seven weeks after Rodni’s body was found in her submerged Honda CRV in Prosser Reservoir following an intense two-week search that spanned the region and beyond.

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The Truckee teen, who would have turned 17 on Sept. 1, was reported missing on Aug. 6 after attending a party the night before near Prosser Family Campground. Her disappearance sparked a search effort by more than 200 officials across multiple agencies, including the FBI, as well as scores of volunteer community members.

Her vehicle was located on the evening of Aug. 21 by Adventures With Purpose, a YouTube outfit that is known for solving cold cases. On Aug. 23, remains that had been found in the rear cargo area of the vehicle were identified during an autopsy as Rodni.

The pathologist’s toxicology report stated ethanol, nicotine, caffeine, cotinine, and delta-9-carboxy-THC were found in Rodni’s system.

“Delta-9-THC is the principle psychoactive ingredient of marijuana/hashish. Delta-9-carboxy-THC (THCC) is the inactive metabolite of THC,” the report states. “Ethyl alcohol (ethanol, drinking alcohol) is a central nervous system depressant and can cause effects such as impaired judgment, reduced alertness and impaired muscular coordination. Ethanol can also be a product of decomposition or degradation of biological samples.”

~ JD

Public Input Sought for Lake Tahoe Destination Stewardship Plan

LAKE TAHOE

An unprecedented collaboration of public and private sector organizations in the greater Tahoe region is inviting residents, community members, and stakeholders interested in sustainable management of outdoor recreation and tourism to take part in an online survey and public workshops later this month. The online survey and registration for public workshops Oct. 25 and 26 are open now at stewardshiptahoe.org.

The survey and workshops will add to input received at public workshops held in May that is helping create a destination stewardship plan that will balance the needs of Lake Tahoe’s environment, businesses, visitors, and local communities. Participants will help identify opportunities for increasing the direct benefits of tourism and recreation, while addressing the challenges, all toward creating the plan’s vision and mission statements and key goals.

A collaborative group of 15 organizations is leading the project including federal, state, county and local governmental organizations, as well as nonprofits and destination organizations that market and manage Lake Tahoe area tourism.

To ensure the plan supports a shared vision for recreation and tourism, it will draw inspiration from a diverse range of stakeholders including the Washoe Tribe of California and Nevada.

Additional Spanish language workshops are planned this year as well.

All are encouraged to take the survey and/or choose a workshop from one of the following dates, locations, and times:

  • Oct. 25:Incline Village, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • Oct. 25:Kings Beach, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
  • Oct. 26:Lake Tahoe Community College, South Lake Tahoe, 11:30 a.m to 1:30 p.m.
  • Oct. 26 – Lake Tahoe Community College, South Lake Tahoe, 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

 Respond, register, and find out more at stewardshiptahoe.org.

~ Center for Responsible Travel press release 

Open Enrollment Time For Medicare is Here

TAHOE/TRUCKEE

The open enrollment period for Medicare is here, and just around the corner for Covered California. Don’t miss this opportunity to ensure your coverage for the coming year. 

During open enrollment for Medicare, patients can sign up for or make changes to their existing Medicare Part D prescription plans, change to or from a Medicare Advantage Plan, and/or switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another. Open enrollment for Medicare starts on Oct. 15 and goes until Dec. 7.

To sign up or make changes, visit: medicare.gov/sign-up-change-plans

During open enrollment for Covered California, patients can sign up or make changes to their existing insurance plans. 

Open enrollment for Covered California starts on Nov.r 1 and ends Jan. 31, 2023.

To sign up or make changes, visit: healthforcalifornia.com/covered-california

~ Tahoe Forest Health System press release 

County Treasurer Catches Check-Processing Error

NEVADA COUNTY 

Residents who made a payment by check for property taxes, county services, or services provided by any school or special district in Nevada County between Sept. 21 and Oct. 6 should be on alert for a possible duplicate charge to their bank account.

Due to an electronic processing error that occurred on Oct. 11, a total of 3,000 checks were duplicated, although it appears that a limited number of checks were processed twice. Once the Treasurer’s Office became aware of the error, staff immediately stopped the process to prevent additional duplicate charges.

Steps to take to see if you are impacted:

  • Review bank statements to identify a duplicate charge.
  • If you are a Bank of the West customer, you will receive a credit back into your account for this duplicated charge no later than Oct. 14.
  • If you notice a duplicate charge and are not a Bank of the West customer, please contact your financial institution and notify them of the check processing error. You will need to file a claim with your bank, which will work directly with Bank of the West to process the credit.
  • Should your banking institution need further information about the duplicate charge or fees, please have them reach out to the Nevada County Treasurer’s Office at (530) 265-1285 or email at ttc@nevadacountyca.gov .

The Treasurer’s Office has been working diligently with its primary banking institution to resolve this issue as quickly as possible and has sent notices and credits to all banks affected. However, some banks have unique processes regarding duplicate payments and may not apply credits automatically. To avoid further complications, the Treasurer’s Office urges everyone seeing these duplicate charges to inquire directly with their banking institution so that the credit may be applied as quickly as possible.

~ County of Nevada press release

CLOSURE EXTENDED: Central Truckee I-80 ramp ongoing construction. Courtesy photo

Central Truckee I-80 Ramp Closure Extended for Ongoing Construction

TRUCKEE

Caltrans is alerting Interstate 80 motorists to expect a continued closure of the Central Truckee eastbound off-ramp for ongoing construction.

Originally scheduled to reopen on Sept. 23, the closure of the I-80 eastbound off-ramp at Central Truckee (Exit 186) has now been extended through 5 p.m. Oct. 17. Ongoing ramp construction activities include sign structure installation, paving and drainage work.

Intermittent I-80 lane and ramp closures also continue through October between the I-80/SR-89)/SR-267 separation and Donner Pass Road/Coldstream Road (Exit 184) for striping, electrical, and grinding work.

Motorists are reminded to expect travel delays on I-80 through November for construction. Typical delays of 15 to 20 minutes should be anticipated when traveling through the work zones on weekdays. However, delays of 25 to 30 minutes are common on Thursday afternoons due to increased travel levels. Caltrans makes every effort to reduce weekend travel congestion by keeping interstate lanes open.

The construction is part of a $30.6 million project to rehabilitate the existing concrete on I-80 in Truckee, install a westbound auxiliary lane from the SR-89 south on-ramp to the Donner Pass Road off-ramp, install eastbound acceleration lanes from the Donner Pass Road on-ramp and the SR-89 south on-ramp, improve drainage, and upgrade concrete walkways along ramps to meet current Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards.

~ Caltrans press release 

TOXIC ALGAE: Harmful algae is being found in some parts of Lake Tahoe which is not typical for the lake. Courtesy photo
Courtesy photo

Algae Advisory Signs at Tahoe Beaches

LAKE TAHOE

Lake Tahoe is famous for its blueness. The growth and spread of algae is one reason blue lakes around the world can go green in the summer. Algae forms the base of many food webs, and most algae in Lake Tahoe, though sometimes unattractive, does not pose a health risk to people or animals that enjoy the Lake. Harmful algal blooms (HABs) are a different story. HABs are often mistaken for harmless types of algae or cyanobacteria that look like algae, which naturally occur in Tahoe and can be found clinging to rocks and washing up on beaches. HABs, however, pose a risk to public health and safety.

On the California side of Lake Tahoe, the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board tests for, monitors, and provides signage to warn the public of risks associated with HABs. In 2022, HABs were discovered on the south shore along Regan Beach, Barton Beach, Kiva Beach, and in the shallow lagoons of the Tahoe Keys.

HABs are formed by tiny organisms called cyanobacteria and can make the water a variety of colors such as green, white, red, or brown. HABs may look like thick paint floating on the water or as algal mats in rivers, streams, and along the shallow shorelines of lakes. In lakes, HABs usually appear as a mix of intense shades of green in a paint-like sheen on the water’s surface. In rivers, HABs look like algal mats that are attached to the channel bottom. Algal mats can also become stranded on shorelines.

Common factors contributing to blooms are warmer temperatures, slow or stagnant water, and nutrients in the water that serve as food for algal organisms. Current research suggests that rising temperatures and changing precipitation events associated with climate change may contribute to the increase in HAB events. 

~ League to Save Lake Tahoe press release 

Outdoor Recreation Partners Launch ‘Nevada Trail Finder’” 

NEVADA

A centralized, “one-stop-shop” for trails statewide, Nevada Trail Finder connects you to current information and web-based interactive maps featuring all-season outdoor recreation opportunities and tools to keep track of all your outdoor adventures. This free, web-based mapping resource designed to help Nevadans and visitors discover thousands of miles of trails across the state’s abundant public lands and waterways.

A user-friendly, digital mapping platform, Nevada Trail Finder provides detailed trail description pages allowing outdoor recreationists to explore Nevada’s vibrant trail systems, download maps for offline use, get essential information and planning tools, learn tips for responsible and sustainable recreation, submit trip comments and photos, and much more. Additionally, the public can use Nevada Trail Finder to track their personal trail experiences, noting trails they have explored, their favorites, or ones they want to visit.

Nevada Trail Finder currently features over 150 trail systems spanning every region throughout the state. New trails will continue to be added on an ongoing basis, so be sure to check the website regularly to discover new trails and adventures. 

Nevada Trail Finder was developed by multiple state, federal, and nonprofit partners including:

  • Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (Nevada Division of Outdoor Recreation, Nevada Division of State Parks, Nevada Off-Highway Vehicles Program)
  • The Great Basin Institute
  • Travel Nevada
  • Bureau of Land Management
  • U.S. Forest Service

Discover your next adventure by visiting the new Nevada Trail Finder website at nvtrailfinder.com

~ Nevada Trail Finder press release 

CARS FOR ANIMALS: The Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe encourages donations to help support the care of local animals. Courtesy photo

The Humane Society Encourages Vehicle Donations 

TAHOE/TRUCKEE

The Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe is participating in Cartober, a national giving campaign held throughout the month of October to highlight the impact vehicle donations can make for local nonprofits. Cartober is a fun way to spread the word this season, however, the Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe accepts car donations throughout the year.

People can donate their car, truck, motorcycle, RV or boat and the proceeds from the sale will benefit the shelter. HSTT’s vehicle donation partner, CARS Donation Division, will arrange the pick-up of vehicle donations within 24 to 72 hours at no cost to the donor. Those who donate may qualify for a tax deduction as well. Once the vehicle is sold, donors will be provided with proper tax forms. 

“Proceeds from donated vehicles help HSTT find permanent homes for hundreds of homeless dogs and cats in the Truckee/North Lake Tahoe region each year. Additionally, the funding helps us support our pet-loving community with our low- and no-cost spay/neuter programs, Pet Pantry program, wellness clinics, and Community Pet Financial Assistance grants,” said Dale Lawrence, development and marketing director at the HSTT.

Donations may include cars, trucks, motorcycles, RVs, or boats. Interested donors can fill out the online form found here or call (855) 500-RIDE (7433). After submitting the donation form, the CARS donation division will contact the donor to schedule a pick-up. In most cases, CARS can take care of all the DMV paperwork as well.

Donations have another great benefit — they are good for the environment. CARS Donation Division is committed to a cleaner, greener environment, and donating your car ensures it is recycled via many different channels.

For more information, visit careasy.org/nonprofit/hstt 

~ HSTT press release 

Visit Truckee-Tahoe Supports Small Businesses, Thanks Locals, and Funds Stewardship

TRUCKEE

Visit Truckee-Tahoe launched the Sustainable TruckeeFall Lodging Offer, a promotion that supports Truckee’s tourism-dependent businesses, thanks the community, and funds stewardship projects. 

SUSTAINABLE TRUCKEE GIFT CARDS: Digital community-based cards redeemable at 49 locations in Truckee. Courtesy photo

Visitors who book lodging in Truckee get a $100 Sustainable Truckee Gift Card to shop, dine, drink, and play at 49 Truckee businesses. In addition, Visit Truckee-Tahoe sets aside $25 per booking for stewardship projects, a fund now at $7,500 with a $25,000 goal for 2022. In addition, Truckee-Tahoe locals who refer a friend to the promotion also get a $50 Sustainable Truckee Gift Card to shop local. To refer a friend, locals share the Fall Lodging Offer at visittruckeetahoe.com/falloffer and receive a $50 gift card the day their friend, a verified lodging guest, checks in. 

The Sustainable Truckee Fall Lodging Offer is available to visitors who book two or more nights of lodging in Truckee and stay through Dec. 21, excluding Thanksgiving weekend, for a minimum total value of $300. Guests choose from Truckee’s 12 hotels and over 1,200 professionally and independently managed vacation rentals.

Sustainable Truckee Gift Cards are digital community-based cards redeemable at 49 locations in Truckee:restaurants, breweries, grocery stores, retail shops, yoga/wellness studios, and outdoor guide companies. View the list of participating merchants at visittruckeetahoe.com/giftcard

Aside from the Fall Lodging Offer, Sustainable Truckee Gift Cards are available to purchase in bulk for employees and as e-gifts for family and friends. For every card sold, Visit Truckee-Tahoe gives back to stewardship. In 2022, Visit Truckee-Tahoe is setting aside 25% of the total value for all cards sold, up to $25,000, for funding more Sustainable Truckee programs and sponsorships that prioritize stewardship, community, and the environment. Learn more at visittruckeetahoe.com/programs.

~ Visit Truckee-Tahoe press release 

7th Annual WinterWonderGrass Festival

OLYMPIC VALLEY

Bursting with hope, inspiration, and gratitude, WinterWonderGrass Festival announces its 2023 lineup at Palisades Tahoe in Lake Tahoe, California, March 31 to April 2, 2023. General admission, VIP, Ski/Ride, Tram-to-Table passes, and lLodging are on sale now at winterwondergrass.com

Originating in Colorado since 2013, WinterWonderGrass found its second home in California two years later. This critically acclaimed, boutique music festival brings together some of the best in bluegrass and Americana. Set over a period of three days, attendees will experience a spectacular mountain backdrop, welcoming community, sustainable awareness, a lively kids zone, carefully curated local food vendors, spirits, and world class craft beer and seltzer (with complimentary tastings). 

Mark your calendars (and prep your lift tickets) for the free Thursday Kickoff Show in The Village at Palisades Tahoe, followed by a weekend of music, brews, and mountains with bluegrass and Americana favorites. Inside the venue, you will find an open-air outdoor main stage, three side stages (tented and heated), plus daily beer, whiskey, and spiked seltzer complimentary tastings for those 21 and over, from 3 to 5 pm. 

WinterWonderGrass is a family-friendly event and children 12 and under are free. 

The first annual WinterWonderGrass kicked off at The Crazy Mountain Brewery, Edwards Colorado in 2013. After two years of sold out festivals, and incredible response from the Colorado community, founder Scotty Stoughton made a trip to the majestic Sierra Nevada with an intent to expand the bluegrass family. Standing on a worn out parking lot below the world famous Tahoe Tram, he declared the new WinterWonderGrass location. Many fans now take part in both WWG events, first Steamboat, Colorado, and then Lake Tahoe, California, just one month later.

~ Bonfire Entertainment press release

EROSION PREVENTION PLAN: Town of Truckee requires an erosion prevention plan to be included as part of the submitted construction plan documents. Courtesy photo

Do You Know the Wet Season Requirements for Erosion Prevention Planning?

TRUCKEE

To help protect water quality and reduce erosion caused by stormwater runoff, the Town of Truckee requires an erosion prevention plan to be included as part of the submitted construction plan documents. The plan must be site specific and be prepared by a certified or licensed professional. The plan must show temporary and permanent Best Management Practices or erosion prevention methods, infiltration or detention methods, and must include a timeline for implementation. 

The “wet season” in Truckee is from Oct. 15 to May 1. If starting construction during this period, a pre-land-disturbance inspection (otherwise known as a 101/802 inspection) is required. All sites must be winterized during the wet season to prevent the discharge of earthen materials at the site. Wet season requirements are listed within the Erosion Prevention Standards page on the Town of Truckee website. 

Several resources to help you with Erosion Prevention Planning can be found here.

If in doubt, town representatives can  talk you through any of the items on your engineering plan check, or help with other questions you may have prior to submittal/re-submittal. Call Riley Powers at (530) 582-2931.

~ Town of Truckee press release

Grading and Digging Season Comes to a Close On Nevada Side

LAKE TAHOE, STATELINE

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency is reminding residents and contractors that the annual grading and digging season for permitted projects will end on Oct. 15, after which all construction sites must be appropriately winterized to protect Lake Tahoe’s famed water quality.

Winterization  helps prevent sediment from washing into streams and the lake and to prevent soil compaction and disturbance during the region’s historic period of wet weather. Site winterization requirements are available on the TRPA website.

TRPA can approve grading season exceptions for projects on a case-by-case basis if a public health, safety, or water quality emergency exists.

Some limited activities do not require TRPA approval, even outside the grading season, including:

  • Paving, if all grading and base compaction is already complete.
  • Up to 3 cubic yards of soil disturbance that is not part of a larger project, if completed within 48 hours and if the site is stabilized to prevent erosion. This exemption applies to residential home landscaping and gardening projects, including irrigation work, and exempt residential fences up to 6 feet in height.

Projects that create or relocate impervious surfaces, also called land coverage, require a TRPA permit. The grading and digging season for permitted projects at Lake Tahoe will open again May 1, 2023.

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency leads the cooperative effort to preserve, restore, and enhance the unique natural and human environment of the Lake Tahoe Region, while improving local communities, and people’s interactions with our irreplaceable environment.

~ TRPA press release

Moving In, Moving On, Moving Up

Annamarie Cohen Named TTUSD Student Services Executive Director

TRUCKEE

The Tahoe Truckee Unified School District Board of Education Trustees approved hiring Annamarie Cohen, Ph.D., as the new executive director of Student Services at the Oct. 5 board meeting. Cohen brings 26 years of experience to the district and will oversee special education, early learning, nursing services, health and wellness, attendance, and discipline. 

Most recently, Cohen served as the associate superintendent of educational services for the Lake Tahoe Unified School District in South Lake Tahoe, where she led the Special Education Department for the district and the Tahoe Alpine Special Education Local Plan Area. She led social-emotional, mental, and behavioral health initiatives across the district, including implementing a new social-emotional learning curriculum, universal screenings, and assessments, and partnered with community agencies to provide Tier II and Tier III therapeutic interventions for students.  

“I’m thrilled to return to TTUSD, where I taught Special Education for over 17 years,” Cohen said. “My passion lies in serving students with disabilities, fostering programs that ensure high-quality support and services, and working hard to embrace a culture of inclusion, access, and evidence-based practices. I look forward to sharing my knowledge and experiences with the TTUSD team and the entire Tahoe/Truckee community.”

Cohen lives in Reno with her husband, Paul, and their two high school-aged boys, Bodie and Reilly.

~ TTUSD press release

Business Briefs

Donner Creek Brewing Claims Silver Medal at The Great American Beer Festival

TRUCKEE

Donner Creek Brewing won a silver medal at the 2022 Great American Beer Festival (GABF) competition. Presented by the Brewers Association, GABF is the nation’s largest commercial beer competition and recognizes the most outstanding beers produced in the United States.

Donner Creek Brewing was recognized in the Historical Beers beer-style category for its Vitkus #3, a light Lithuanian Farmhouse beer with a creamy, full-bodied mouthfeel and notes of rosemary and biscuit. The Vitkus #3 is part of an ongoing series developed by Donner Creek Owner and Head Brewer Greg Speicher which incorporates loaf ends from Truckee Sourdough in the grain bill. The Vitkus name comes from Speicher’s mother’s family, which is of Lithuanian descent. Donner Creek Brewing is a half-barrel pico brewpub located in Truckee that specializes in unique, small-batch brews and an adventure-forward, laid-back vibe.

“It feels surreal that the Vitkus #3 is my first award-winning beer at the GABF. This is truly a full-circle compilation of all of the things I love about beer making – creativity, family heritage, conservation, tasty beer. I couldn’t be happier,” said Greg Speicher, owner and head brewer at Donner Creek Brewing.

The top three winners in the competition’s 98 beer categories covering 177 different beer styles were announced Oct. 8 at the Great American Beer Festival awards ceremony held at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, Colorado.

The 2022 GABF competition winners were selected by an international panel of 235 expert judges from 9,904 entries, plus 94 Collaboration and 35 Pro-Am entries, received from 2,154 U.S. breweries.

For more GABF competition information, including the 2022 winners list and photos, visit greatamericanbeerfestival.com.

~ Donner Creek Brewing press release

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