Free Rideshare Service Coming to North Lake Tahoe

OLYMPIC VALLEY

This summer, North Lake Tahoe residents and visitors will have a new microtransit rideshare service available through Tahoe Truckee Area Regional Transit. Placer County’s board of supervisors authorized spending $465,000 to implement this new service as a pilot program for the summer of 2021.

The service will offer free, on-demand shuttle service using small transit vehicles. Passengers can request the service through a mobile application, similar to how Uber or Lyft operate. A local phone number will also be available for scheduling rides.

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TART will operate eight small transit vehicles that can complete an estimated 350 trips per day. The service will be available in Tahoe City and Kings Beach. In addition to taking passengers from their origin to destination, the microtransit will also connect to the regional TART bus routes.

The service will launch July 1 and operate through Sept. 6, which aligns with peak tourism season in the Tahoe Basin.

~ Placer County press release

State Assembly Passes Bill to Repeal Death Penalty

CARSON CITY

The Nevada State Assembly has passed a bill that would abolish the state’s death penalty and resentence the prisoners currently on its death row to life without parole, marking the first time any death-penalty abolition bill had been reported out of committee and considered by either house of the Nevada legislature.

AB 395 passed the Assembly on April 13, by a vote of 26-16, with all Democrats supporting the measure and all Republicans opposing it.

The bill advances to the state senate, where it faces uncertain prospects. SB 228 was a less expansive bill that would have repealed the death penalty for future offenses but left in place the death sentences of those already on death row; this bill failed when the Senate Judiciary Committee took no action on it before the deadline for committee passage during the 2021 legislative session.

If Nevada abolishes the death penalty, it will be the 24th state to do so, and the second this year. Virginia abrogated the death penalty in March, following Colorado’s repeal of its death penalty in 2020 and New Hampshire’s abolition in 2019.

~ Death Penalty Information Center press release

Taking a Dip: An American dipper was spotted along Bear Creek in Alpine Meadows, indicating good water quality. Photo courtesy Joshua Covill

American Dipper Spotted

ALPINE MEADOWS

Recently, Truckee River Watershed Council staff spotted an American dipper (Cinclus mexicanus) surfing the water and repeatedly diving near a project site in the Bear Creek Lower Meadow. This bird spotting is great news, because as North America’s only true aquatic songbird, the American dipper is often an indicator species of good water quality.

~ TRWC newsletter

Caltrans Initiates Rock Slope Stabilization Projects on I-80

NEVADA COUNTY

Caltrans is alerting motorists of two projects to reduce rock slides on westbound Interstate 80 east of Floriston in Nevada County.

The $7 million Acid Flat rockfall project spans from 0.2 miles east of the Truckee River Bridge to 0.8 miles west of the Farad Undercrossing; it is expected to begin mid-May with completion in September. The $2.5 million Farad rockfall project is just east of the first project location on I-80; construction on this project began in mid-April with completion anticipated in May.

To prevent slope erosion and materials from the mountainside from falling onto the westbound I-80 shoulders and roadway, construction crews will install draped mesh on the slope and perform rock scaling. Motorists may expect westbound lane reductions in the project areas with some travel delays for rock scaling or blasting activities.

The California Highway Patrol will be escorting westbound traffic from the Nevada state line and eastbound traffic from Hirschdale Road through the construction zone in a round-robin fashion during rock-scaling activities. Motorists may expect temporary traffic holds of 30 minutes or less.

Due to the nature of the work, construction activities are limited to daytime hours with lane reductions expected Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

~ Caltrans press release

Placer County Creates New Department

AUBURN

Placer County’s board of supervisors has supported the creation of a newly formed department.

Following the ordinance approval, the new Department of Parks and Open Space will work to position the county to accommodate the expansive park management responsibilities, increased service demands, and ensure the long-term financial viability of the county’s parks and open space operations. The county expects significant growth in coming years, thus the new department is designed to guide the evolution of its parks service model.

After formation of the department, recruitment for the new director will begin, with selection expected to be completed prior to July 2021.

~ Placer County press release

ELECTRIC AVENUE: Sierra Senior Services purchased a Tesla to help deliver food to seniors in need through its Meals on Wheels program. Courtesy photo

Sierra Senior Services Goes Electric

TRUCKEE

Volunteers for Sierra Senior Services are driving a Tesla Model Y electric car on some of their delivery rounds for Meals on Wheels. The organization began a turnover of its fleet to electric vehicles with this first model, made possible by a grant from the Northern Sierra Air Quality District.

Sierra Senior Services provides meals to seniors in Truckee and North Lake Tahoe through the Meals on Wheels program. This year has seen tremendous growth in the need for such meals and the necessity for additional vehicles was apparent as four new routes were added. Sierra Senior Services’ fleet of eight gas-powered vehicles traveled over 47,000 miles in the past year.

The grant from Northern Sierra Air Quality District was approved to be used in 2020, but purchase of the Tesla was delayed because of the Covid-19 crisis. As meal delivery stabilized, Sierra Senior Services moved ahead with the purchase and the vehicle was delivered.

~ Sierra Senior Services press release

Placer Approves Funding for Martis Valley Trail, Fanny Bridge Revitalization, More

OLYMPIC VALLEY

The Martis Valley Trail and the Fanny Bridge Community Revitalization Project were among nine projects approved by Placer County’s board of supervisors in March for approximately $1.4 million in lodging tax funding to support community priorities in eastern Placer County.

The Martis Valley Trail, a proposed 9-mile trail connecting Northstar Village with the Lake Tahoe Basin and the Town of Truckee, was awarded $500,000. The State Route 89/Fanny Bridge Revitalization Project received $300,000 to move into its second phase, which will include a roundabout, bridge replacement, and complete street improvements on SR 89.

The Kings Beach Western Approach Project, intended to enhance safety and mobility for all roadway users around the intersection of State Route 267 and State Route 28, was awarded $250,000.

The Pam Emmerich Memorial Pinedrop Trailhead Improvements project was awarded $109,000 for the installation of bike racks, a bike fixit station, a shade structure, bench, permanent trailhead signs, and a plaza.

The SNOW Sports Museum, dedicated to memorializing the heritage of the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley and the legacy of alpine and Nordic sports in the Lake Tahoe area, will receive an additional $75,000.

~ Placer County press release

Visit Truckee-Tahoe Celebrates Truckee High School Seniors

TRUCKEE

Visit Truckee-Tahoe donated 167 flagpole banner pole locations in downtown Truckee for the second year in a row, recognizing the Truckee High School senior class of 2021 and all of their accomplishments after a challenging year of distance learning.

Find the banners along the historic downtown’s main drag, with one banner per student, 167 total, each proudly showing their senior portrait, on display from April 1 to May 30. Once they are taken down, they will be gifted to each senior as a keepsake. In addition to Visit Truckee-Tahoe’s donation of the flagpole space for two months, this project was made possible through the support of Rose Weskamp from Sign Source, Kathy Hess Slocum from Just Imagine Marketing and Design, Christina Cutler at Cutler Graphic Design, and Truckee High School staff and parent volunteers from Project Safe and Sober Graduation.

~ Visit Truckee-Tahoe press release

Counties Move Ahead With Evolving STR Legislation

WASHOE, PLACER COUNTIES

Permits for short-term rentals were available in Washoe County starting May 1. The county has set up an online platform with permit applications, a how-to guide and video tutorials on their website, washoecounty.us. It’s part of ordinances for STRs that were adopted by the Washoe County board of commissioners. There will be a three-month grace period for STR host applicants in order to accommodate an anticipated large number of hopefuls. Full enforcement of the new ordinances will begin Aug. 1, 2021. 

Meanwhile, in Placer County, community feedback has inspired a vote by the Placer County Board of Supervisors, resulting in a decision Tuesday to update the county’s current short-term rental ordinance. Changes to the existing program include redefining its boundaries to match the eastern Placer transient occupancy tax collection area; clarifications to rental restrictions during construction; and adding information regarding bear boxes, fire safety enhancements and program streamlining.

Placer’s short-term rental program was approved by the board in November 2019 with the intention to strike a balance of reducing neighborhood nuisances like noise and parking issues related to vacation rentals without undermining the market for this important guest accommodation.

These solution-driven conversations have been brought directly to the community through town halls, focus groups and formal mediation processes implemented through Zephyr Collaboration, a third-party facilitation consultant. This program update is one of the many examples of actions taken that directly result from the feedback received during these discussions. (Read our coverage, Placer Brings Frustrations With Tourism to the Forefront, online for more information about this collaboration process and its results).

~ Washoe, Placer county press releases

Outpatient Lab Services Moving Back to Tahoe Forest Hospital

TRUCKEE

Starting June 3, Tahoe Forest Hospital’s outpatient lab services will return to 10121 Pine Ave., Truckee, and will no longer be located at the Medical Office Building at 10956 Donner Pass Rd., Suite 260. Hours are Monday to Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Saturday, 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Appointments for lab work can be scheduled online through Tahoe Forest Health System at tfhd.com/lab, or by calling (530) 582-6510.

~ TFHS press release

Removal of Over 5,000 Trees Deemed Hazardous

AUBURN

Placer County has removed 5,200 trees threatening county infrastructure, marking the completion of its hazardous tree removal project.

In 2015, then-Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. proclaimed a state of emergency due to the extreme hazard of dead and dying trees throughout California resulting from years of drought and bark beetle damage. Placer County was among the 10 counties most affected.

In response, the board of supervisors approved the Hazardous Tree Removal Plan, which outlined the steps needed to address the identification and removal of drought-related hazardous trees that threaten county roads and infrastructure. Under the proclamation of a state of emergency, the governor authorized California Disaster Assistance Act funds to support those most-impacted counties by reimbursing up to 75% of costs to remove eligible hazardous trees under the county’s plan.

Placer County is responsible for over 1,000 miles of public roadway. Aerial and ground surveys documented dead and dying trees within Placer County due to the drought, identifying the trees that could affect county infrastructure. Of the trees that were selected, 5,200 were authorized to be removed, with the majority of the removal costs to be offset by the state.

~ Placer County press release

Selection Begins for Police Chief’s Advisory Committee

TRUCKEE

A chief’s advisory committee, a group of six to 10 community members who meet monthly with the chief of police, will be formed in Truckee to discuss topics like police policies and procedures; community input about how the citizens perceive the Truckee Police Department; specific incidents occurring in the community; and conversations about national events with local affects.

The panel “reflects the strength of diversity that is Truckee and lift[s] up voices and perspectives of community members who have not historically been engaged or included in these conversations,” wrote Lisa Madden, lieutenant with the department, in an update from the town.

Madden made it clear that the group’s discussions would never be involved in discipline, active investigations or incidents, or policy making. The panel will consist of a group of community members that come on a voluntary basis, with an application process that ends May 31. Interviews will be held in June with the first meeting in the summer of 2021.

The Truckee Police Department website and social media pages will provide updates about when the application is open.

If you have an interest in becoming a member of this committee, please contact Lieutenant Lisa Madden at lmadden@townoftruckee.com to discuss more specific details about the chief’s advisory committee.

~ Town of Truckee newsletter

Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park Boat Ramps Open

INCLINE VILLAGE

Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park’s Sand Harbor and Cave Rock boat ramps are open since the start of May. From May 1 to 27, the Sand Harbor ramp will be accessible from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and the on at Cave Rock from 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Starting May 28, boat ramp hours at both locations will be extended to 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., and remain at these hours until they either close for the season or are suspended for use due to low water levels. Nevada State Parks reminds users to complete all watercraft inspections with Tahoe Regional Planning Agency prior to arriving at the boat ramp.

For more information on the Invasive Species Program and inspection locations, visit tahoeboatinspections.com. For park updates overall, visit parks.nv.gov.

~ Nevada State Parks press release

Sheriff’s Office to Don Body-Worn Cameras

PLACER COUNTY

In a joint letter from Sheriff Devon Bell and the Placer County board of supervisors published on April 28, the county’s sheriff’s office announced the board has approved body-worn cameras for sheriff’s deputies and correctional officers, which has been a priority for Sheriff Devon Bell since he took office in 2017.   

“These body-worn cameras will serve as a tool to emphasize the hard work of our deputies and correctional officers, and provide another method of transparency to our community,” he said, adding: “I am confident my staff will continue to uphold the highest level of integrity in accordance with the core values and mission of the Placer County Sheriff’s Office.”

The program, with a $4.8 million budget, is expected to be rolled out over the next nine months.

~ BL

Roadway Vegetation Management Underway in Glenshire

TRUCKEE

On April 19 in the Glenshire neighborhood, tree and vegetation removal commenced as part of a two-year effort including work in the Tahoe Donner, Glenshire, Sierra Meadows, and Prosser Lakeview neighborhoods. The Tahoe Donner portion of the project began in the summer of 2020, where vegetation removal was completed on 61 centerline miles of roadsides to a distance of 15 feet from the edge of the roadways. This year’s project includes removal of vegetation along 42 centerline miles of roadsides within 10 feet of the edge of the roadways in Glenshire, Sierra Meadows, Prosser Lakeview, and the peripherals of Tahoe Donner.

“The goals of the project are to increase wildfire resiliency, improve roadside safety, and to improve roadway maintenance and operations, including snow removal,” wrote Scott Mathot, associate engineer for the project in an update from the town.

Mathot’s letter states Truckee had received feedback from 300 residents in the project neighborhoods, and that the project has been “adjusted [in] scale” with an exception of vegetation removal now being made for groundcover vegetation less than 18 inches in height, trees larger than 24 inches in diameter at breast height (limbed to 15 feet), and vegetation within the median islands in the Sierra Meadows neighborhood.

An interactive project map titled 2021 Roadway Vegetation Project Interactive Map can be found on Truckee’s website. The town’s contractor expects to com-plete treatment of the roadways in Glenshire by early to mid-June and will move into Sierra Meadows at that time, followed by Prosser Lakeview in August. These are tentative schedules and may be updated as the project progresses. For more information about the project, please contact Thom Ravey via travey@townoftruckee.com or at (530) 582-5379.

~ Town of Truckee newsletter

Washoe/Tahoe Housing Partnership to Study Housing Needs, Strategies

INCLINE VILLAGE, CRYSTAL BAY

The newly formed Washoe Tahoe Housing Partnership will be coordinating a needs assessment and strategic plan for local resident housing in the Incline Village and Crystal Bay areas of Lake Tahoe.

This is the last section of housing around the lake slated to have housing analysis of this nature completed, and aims to provide guidance on how the area fits into the greater Lake Tahoe region.

Thanks to the public-private partnership effort to support this project, the Tahoe Prosperity Center will once again serve as the convener, bringing together local stakeholders with technical guidance from an expert consulting team. This study will prioritize input from residents, local employers and employees, referring to this element as “of primary importance,” according to a press release from the TPC.

The feedback portion comprises two community surveys in the area this summer. For more information visit the project’s housing page at tahoeprosperity.org/housing-study/.

~ Tahoe Prosperity Center press release

REDUCE YOUR CARBON FLY-PRINT: Avfuel Corporation and Truckee Tahoe Airport District in partnership have secured sustainable aviation fuel for KTRK. Courtesy photo

Sustainable Aviation Fuel Coming to Truckee Tahoe Airport District

TRUCKEE

In an effort to expand the reach of sustainable aviation fuel throughout the industry and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the region, Avfuel Corporation and Truckee Tahoe Airport District (KTRK) have partnered to provide a consistent supply of the fuel to the Truckee aviation community.

KTRK received its first delivery of Neste MY SAF from Avfuel on April 28. Each truckload (approximately 8,000 gallons) results in 22 metric tons less carbon emissions over its lifecycle, which is the equivalent of making five passenger vehicles zero emissions for one year.

Neste MY SAF is made from sustainably sourced renewable waste and residue materials — such as used cooking oil. It is a fully approved drop-in fuel that, once blended with petroleum jet fuel, meets ASTM D-1655 specification for conventional jet fuel and performance standards under all operating conditions. Thus it requires no new investments, modifications or changes to the aircraft, fuel distribution procedures or airport fuel storage tanks.

Those interested in learning more about sustainable aviation fuel are encouraged to visit Avfuel.com/SAF or contact Keith Sawyer, manager of alternative fuels, at ksawyer@avfuel.com.

~ Avfuel press release

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