Hank the Tank Exonerated; Workforce Housing Units Accepting Applications; Rookies Sports Bar and Grill to Close; More

Briefs: 22 Feb. - 28 Feb. 2022


News Briefs

Workforce Housing Developments Accepting Applications for 124 Units


Two workforce housing developments are accepting applications for 124 units in Truckee: Frishman Hollow II and Meadow View Place. Construction for Meadow View Place at Schaffer’s Mill in Placer County is complete, and the development is accepting applications for 56 workforce housing units. These units were part of Mountain Area Preservation’s land use negotiations and a settlement agreement in 2008, with construction starting in 2020. 

Frishman Hollow II has 68 workforce housing units near Truckee by Alder Creek Middle School. Units are available to apply for now, and one building is already partially occupied. These are the second phase of units built by The Pacific Companies in Truckee, “creating much-needed housing for the workforce and families of various income levels,” according to MAP, which supported this project in early 2020 and partnered with the Martis Fund in providing a $1 million grant to support the development. Find information and sign up for Frishman Hollow II here, and Meadow View Place, here


~ MAP release

Hank the Tank has been unjustly blamed for dozens of South Lake Tahoe break-ins and property damage, but he’s been exonerated and his viral fame helped inspire new policies regarding Tahoe bears. Photo courtesy Bear League

Tahoe’s ‘Hank the Tank,’ Infamously Huge Local Black Bear, Exonerated By DNA Evidence


A 500-pound black bear, dubbed “Hank the Tank,” has made national headlines (with international attention) after being accused of breaking into more than two dozen South Lake Tahoe homes near the Tahoe Keys neighborhood, yet DNA evidence has now cleared his name. 

Twenty-eight recent home invasions and 150 reports of conflict overall had been attributed to this one massive bear by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. However, the department employed the use of DNA evidence to discover that the break-ins were caused by at least three bears (two female and one male, which may be Hank).

Peter Tira, CDFW spokesperson, concluded, “We can’t pin all this damage on one particular bear. Ultimately this is the best outcome possible for a wild animal to remain a wild animal.”

International media attention followed Hank the Tank while he was considered the culprit for the damages, with the CDFW having ruled he would be euthanized if captured. Local residents and activists fought for Hank to be placed in a sanctuary instead.

With Hank no longer on the run, the traps intended for him have been taken down. The CDFW announced plans to trap bears in the area, tag them, and collect DNA evidence to help advise the agency’s strategy for managing black bears in the area moving forward. The animals with DNA found at incident sites will then be released into a “suitable wild habitat,” rather than being euthanized, the department said. 

~ BL

Sanitation Agency Board Approves Master Sewer Plan


A 25-year master sewer plan was unanimously approved by the Tahoe-Truckee Sanitation Agency Board of Directors on Feb. 16. The plan evaluated existing TTSA facilities, including the water reclamation plant and Truckee River Interceptor (a 17-mile-long concrete pipe collecting flows from TTSA’s five member districts), to assess their ability to meet future conditions through the year 2045. Such improvements needed make up a capital improvement plan (CPI), which includes a schedule and cost estimates.

The CPI will cost $144.6 million over the 25 years; the water reclamation plant improvements costing $115.7 million and the Truckee River interceptor, $28.9 million. These numbers are based on November 2021 dollars and are considered conservative by the master plan consultant, Carollo Engineers. The first of five phases, expected to begin this year and run through fiscal year 2026/27, will focus on the improvement of facilities and assets considered to have exceeded their useful service life — specifically, river-crossing segments of the Truckee River Interceptor pipe that are experiencing corrosion issues. Phase one will be the most expensive at $40 million. Phases four and five, planned for 2037 through 2046, are likely to shift in need and cost with new information.

Blake Tresan, board member and general manager at the Truckee Sanitary District, said during the meeting, “As a planning document, I think it really works. This is not cast in stone and every project in here should be done and cost exactly what it says, but again, it gives us direction.” 

TTSA was formed in 1972 and serves five member districts (North Tahoe Public Utility District, Tahoe City Public Utility District, Alpine Springs County Water District, Olympic Valley Public Service District, and Truckee Sanitary District) and has one contributing district (Northstar Community Services District). The water reclamation plant was first constructed in 1975, expanded upon in 1981, received new additions in 1990 and 1995, and was last expanded in 2003.

View the full master plan at ​​ttsa.net/documents

~ AH

TDPUD Continues Discussion of ‘Green Fee’


At its Feb. 18 meeting, the board of the Truckee Donner Public Utility District held a workshop to continue the discussion about a possible green rate or fee to fund increased and accelerated TDPUD environmental initiatives. Staff provided a presentation that summarized the regulatory and market dynamics impacting electric utilities, evolving customer and community expectations, and the costs and benefits of local generations compared to leveraging the full market. Critical to the discussion was the desire for a continued emphasis on reliability of services and to pursue local, clean, resilient, and fiscally responsible electric resources while at the same time maximizing the dollar per greenhouse gas ($/GHG) reduction of available electric resources. 

The board directed staff to prioritize investments that maximize $/GHG reduction and electric system reliability while remaining sensitive to how our community weathers extended power outages. The board also asked staff to work collaboratively with its residential customers, business customers, and the community to help support the PUD’s efforts to invest in solutions that deliver the resiliency that an individual, business, or the community may need. This was the first of a series of workshops to explore this issue.

~ TDPUD update

Business Briefs

Rookies Sports Bar and Grill to be Sold


Rookies, owner of Rookies Sports Bar and Grill, has announced the selling of its Incline Village restaurant. The sports bar and food establishment has been a gathering place for locals, tourists, families, and sports enthusiasts since 1993. Founded by Serge Rigisich and John “J.B.” Brennan, the restaurant is still run by the founders’ families.

“Unfortunately, the founders have both passed away,” said Rookies’ president, Shelly Rigisich. “Upon their passing, their families took over management of the restaurant. As much as we love the idea of continuing to carry out Serge and J.B.’s vision, it is time to pass the torch to others.”

The company is negotiating with prospective buyers and is soliciting additional offers to purchase this long-standing, beloved landmark establishment. Rookies’ recently re-executed lease has almost nine years remaining on its primary term, along with two additional five-year options, enabling Rookies to stay in its current heart-of-Incline Village location until 2040.

~ Rookies press release

Elements to Host Photography Competition for Rocker Memorial Skatepark


Elements is hosting a mountain life photography competition to assist in the fundraising for Rocker Memorial Skatepark. 

The contest is open to all non-professional photographers in the Truckee and Lake Tahoe community, and will end with a reception and gallery showing on March 19 at Alibi Ale Works in Truckee, including a silent auction at the gallery event. The contest is set to launch on March 7, and the deadline for submissions is April 29 at 5 p.m. All proceeds from the silent auction are going directly to the skatepark fund. Alibi Ale Works will also donate a portion of their beer sales that day to the skatepark. See plans for the Rocker Memorial Skate Park here.

~ Elements email

Moving In, Moving Up,

KATIE BIGGERS has been selected as the new executive director of the Tahoe City Downtown Association by the nonprofit’s board, bringing experience with the NLTRA to her role. Courtesy photo

Executive Director, Two Board Members Named to Downtown Association


The nonprofit Tahoe City Downtown Association’s board of directors announced Feb. 10 that Katie Biggers has been selected as the organization’s new executive director. Two new members have also been welcomed to the board as TCDA resumes efforts to welcome the return of its signature events in 2022.

Since 2019, Biggers has worked as the chamber manager and senior event specialist for the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association. In that role, she was responsible for the management and facilitation of all chamber of commerce activities, as well as special event sponsorship, event selection and management, creation and execution of all contracts, budget management, communications, and on-site event promotion and activation. During her tenure, Biggers was instrumental in the execution of rent relief and other programs designed to aid local business owners. Biggers lives in Tahoe City with her dog, Tash. She assumes her new role on Feb. 28.

In addition to Biggers’ appointment, TCDA has welcomed Meghan Polite of Tahoe Fullers and Jennifer Schaller of MOBO Law as new members of its board. 

~ TCDA press release

Dr. Marcus Waters Appointed to Truckee Sanitary District Board 


At its board meeting on Jan. 25, the Truckee Sanitary District Board of Directors voted to appoint Dr. Marcus Waters to serve on the board. Waters was selected to fill the vacancy created when long-time director Ronald E. Sweet passed away on Nov. 30, 2021.

DR. MARCUS WATERS is appointed to serve on the board of the Truckee Sanitary District. Waters was selected to fill the vacancy created when long-time director Ronald E. Sweet passed away on Nov. 30, 2021. Courtesy photo

Waters joins Dennis Anderson (president), Brian Smart (vice president), Jerry Gilmore, and Nelson Van Gundy on the board. He will serve until the next general election in November 2022.

Waters, a Truckee native, is a chiropractor with an office in the Truckee area. He was a summer intern with TSD in 2006 through 2009 while working his way through college. He currently volunteers for Truckee Pop Warner Football and provides free chiropractic to veteran care through the Patriot Project Organization.

~ TSD press release


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