Forest Service Acquires 120 Acres on Brockway Summit

NORTH LAKE TAHOE

The USDA Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit has completed the purchase of a significant portion of undeveloped land on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe. The acquisition includes two parcels totaling approximately 120.4 acres on Brockway Summit that will be added to the National Forest System of lands within the LTBMU. The property is one of the few remaining large parcels of land in the Lake Tahoe Basin suitable for acquisition by the forest service.

These parcels are part of a much larger property on the north side of the ridgeline outside of the LTBMU owned by Sierra Pacific Industries, adjacent to Northstar California Resort. All other private lands on the LTBMU side of the ridge have been previously acquired by the NFS from Sierra Pacific’s predecessors in ownership. The California Tahoe Conservancy was an integral partner during the purchase, assisting with the appraisal and helping to keep the landowners engaged during the purchase process.

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~ USDA Forest Service press release

This land is your land: The recently acquired Brockway Summit parcel will be added to the National Forest System of lands around Lake Tahoe. Photo courtesy League to Save Lake Tahoe

Federal Recognition, Funding Awarded to Area Tribes

NEVADA CITY, SOUTH LAKE TAHOE

On Dec. 15, the Nevada County board of supervisors unanimously voted to support the restoration of federal recognition of the Nevada City Rancheria Nisenan Tribe. The county received 888 letters in favor.

The Nevada City Rancheria was one of 44 rancherias terminated in the 1950s and ’60s by the California Rancheria Termination Acts. Most have been restored. The action taken by the Nevada County board is one of many next steps toward federal recognition of the tribe.

Additionally, the California Tahoe Conservancy Board has awarded a $380,454 grant to the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California for the Máyala Wáta Restoration Project at Meeks Meadow.

At its virtual meeting on Dec. 10, the conservancy board awarded the grant to support the tribe’s plans to restore the meadow in coordination with the USDA Forest Service, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. After restoration is complete, Tribal crews will continue to monitor the effectiveness of restoration activities.

~ Nevada County, CTC press releases

Resort Association Gets Go-Ahead to Create TBID

NORTH LAKE TAHOE

The North Lake Tahoe Resort Association has received approval from the Placer County board of supervisors to implement the proposed Tourism Business Improvement District.

The new TBID, focused on bolstering a year-round economy, could generate up to $7 million of locally controlled funds annually to support infrastructure projects and services, and free up millions in local guest lodging tax revenues for workforce housing and traffic mitigation initiatives.

The TBID would fund $3.15 million for marketing and visitor services, functions that Placer County currently contracts with the NLTRA via TOT revenue. NLTRA’s roughly $3.9 million of TOT revenue would go to funding other local priorities (housing, traffic mitigation, etc.).

Remaining TBID funds will be used for offsetting tourism impacts, advocacy on behalf of local businesses, and economic development initiatives, according to the release.

~ NLTRA press release

Violations Documented at Sanitation Agency

TRUCKEE

California’s State Water Resources Control Board has found four violations and two method deviations at the Tahoe Truckee Sanitation Agency. They were discovered during an on-site investigation by the board’s Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program on Sept. 30, 2020, taking place in the agency’s laboratory and documented as follows:

  • Conflict of notice and posting for the lab director position
  • No documented training program
  • Demonstrations of capability are not documented nor reviewed annually
  • Standard operating procedures have not been reviewed or updated since 2017

The method deviations concern a chemical agent and formula mismanagement.

TTSA is required to correct both the violations and deviations by Jan. 18, and the ruling stipulates that the agency provide evidence to the state board. Should TTSA not comply in a timely nor completed manner, further enforcement may take place in the form of civil penalties, suspension or revocation of laboratory accreditation. The special district’s general manager, LaRue Griffin, informed Moonshine Ink in an email that the agency does intend to make corrections by the deadline.

~ AH

New Homeownership Opportunities for Local Workforce

MARTIS VALLEY

Placer County will soon be seeking applications for a new homeownership opportunity for the Tahoe/Truckee local workforce.

Hopkins Village, a new for-sale housing development located in Martis Valley, will begin selling in mid-February. Forty units (20 half-plexes, each containing three bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths, and a garage) will be constructed and sold to local workers at a price of $550,000.

The homeowners association fee of $660 per quarter will include a management fee, replacement reserves for roads, park maintenance, exterior painting, and snow removal on roadways and driveways.

Buyers will have to meet certain requirements such as employment averaging at least 30 hours per week within the TTUSD boundary and total household income at or below 180% of area median income. Applications became available on Jan. 8.

The county will establish a list of qualified buyers in mid-February and will consider applicants on a first-come, first-served basis as the units are constructed on a rolling basis in 2021. Interested buyers can visit placer.ca.gov/7013/hopkins-village for more information.

~ Placer County press release

First Microgrid Added to Sagehen to Reduce Risk of Fire Ignition

TAHOE

Liberty Utilities announced the construction of its first microgrid is complete and in operation at UC Berkeley’s Sagehen Creek Field Station. A microgrid is a decentralized electric source and distribution that can provide electric power to an isolated area of the electrical distribution system and be synchronized with the full system, providing additional power and load balancing.  The Sagehen microgrid comprises 48 solar panels and 53kWh of battery storage with an emergency generator back-up. The system allows Sagehen to operate almost exclusively on solar power during the summer months and will contribute to Liberty’s ongoing wildfire mitigation efforts.

Located off Highway 89, just north of Truckee, Sagehen Creek Field Station is a research and teaching facility that benefits both the UC Berkeley and Tahoe Truckee Unified School District students.

~ Liberty press release

Free Mental Health Services for Reno Residents

RENO

On Dec. 2, Reno’s city council voted to approve an agreement with Talkspace Network to provide complimentary remote counseling services for one year to eligible residents.

Those who live within the city’s boundaries and are over the age of 13 can access Talkspace, which allows virtual, private interaction with therapists 24/7 through text, voice, and video messages. Residents interested in using the system should visit redemption.talkspace.com/redemption/reno to validate their eligibility.

In June of 2020, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak announced Reno received $46.6 million in state funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relieve, and Economic Security Act. City council ultimately approved $3 million of that money to provide residents with COVID-related mental health support. The amount the city is paying to Talkspace will not exceed $1,32 million.

Opposition to the deal came from those claiming the city did not explore local therapist options, that platforms such as Talkspace have sold client/patient information in the past, and frustration over the no-bid contract deal.

Mental Health America, a national nonprofit, placed Nevada at 42nd in the organization’s 2021 adult ranking list (California is 21st). For youth, Nevada was dead last, with California at 33.

~ AH

Best in The Basin Awards Announced

TAHOE BASIN

Seven restoration, sustainability, and construction projects have been recognized as recipients of Best in the Basin awards by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency during an online meeting of the agency’s governing board, chosen for their planning and execution and for leading the way in environmental stewardship in the Lake Tahoe region, according to the agency. This year’s winners are:

  • Tahoe Blue Crew Program (League to Save Lake Tahoe)
  • Bow Bay Historic Home Renovation (John and Heather Mozart)
  • East Shore Trail, Incline Village to Sand Harbor (Nevada Department of Transportation)
  • Pioneer Trail Utility Undergrounding (El Dorado County Department of Public Works)
  • Sierra Boulevard Complete Streets (City of South Lake Tahoe)
  • Spooner Lake Landscape Resilience Project (Nevada Tahoe Resource Team)
  • Incline Creek Restoration Phase V (Incline Village General Improvement District)

~ TRPA press release

Tahoe Fund Receives Donation From Vail to Clean Up Lake

TAHOE CITY

The Tahoe Fund announced that Vail Resorts has contributed $25,000 in support of its campaign to remove trash around all 72 miles of Lake Tahoe with Clean Up the Lake. The project will be completed by a SCUBA dive team of professionals and volunteers that will begin in spring 2021. Vail Resorts’ donation, generated by $1 guest donations from lift ticket and season pass sales, brings the project closer to meeting a $100,000 match provided by Tahoe Blue Vodka.

“Lake Tahoe has long been known for its clarity, but it has been hiding a dirty secret beneath the surface. Thousands of pounds of trash are breaking apart and impacting the lake’s aquatic habitats,” according to a joint Clean Up the Lake/Tahoe Fund press release. “When this project gets underway, a team of divers will work to recover trash that has been accumulating untouched under the surface of the lake for decades.”

The estimated clean-up cost is $225,000. Learn more about the project, how to donate, and how to volunteer on dives at tahoefund.org.

~ Tahoe Fund, Clean Up the Lake press release

Vaccines in Local Arms

TRUCKEE/NORTH LAKE TAHOE

COVID-19 vaccine shipments arrived in Reno at the Washoe County Health District office on Dec. 23 at noon, with Moonshine staff on the scene to witness the historic moment when those in Nevada’s Tier 1 Critical Infrastructure Workforce began to receive the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Nevada County received its own shipment on Dec. 17, including 975 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which were distributed to the county’s two hospitals, Tahoe Forest Hospital and Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital. These vaccines are slated for the county’s frontline healthcare workers.

~ BL, WS

Details Regarding GM’s Departure

TRUCKEE

Former Truckee Donner Public Utility District general manager Rem Scherzinger, who was terminated from his position in November 2020 after four months, received a severance payment of $275,000 upon his release.

Based on his contract for a no-cause termination, the amount covers a full year of base salary pay post-departure and includes continued health insurance benefits for six months. The pay covers all vacation leave, paid holidays, and administrative leave.

Scherzinger separated from the public utility district after a Nov. 18 board meeting during which the decision was finalized. Read more about the separation, a board member’s and an employee’s differing views, and Scherzinger’s response in In ‘n’ Out: Quick Stint for New PUD General Manager.

~ AH

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