Candidates Lined Up for Town Council Spots
The town is governed by five council members, elected at-large for four-year terms. Elections are held every other year, and terms are staggered. Each year, in December, the council chooses which council members will serve as mayor and vice mayor the following year.
The Town of Truckee is scheduled to conduct its next general municipal election on Nov. 3 to elect two council members for four-year terms; based on the seat vacated by Morgan Goodwin, there will be one council member seat for a two-year term.
Candidates qualified for the election in the order they will appear on the ballot:
- Carla Embertson
- Jan Zabriskie
- Frank Bernhard
- Courtney Henderson
- Nicholas Sielchan
- Marcy Dolan
- Jack Forbes
- Dow Costa
- Lindsay Romack
~ Town of Truckee press release
Voting Locations Announced
The Washoe County Registrar of Voters released polling locations and voting hours for the 2020 General Election. For this year’s election, all registered voters will be sent a ballot in the mail, and voters will have the choice to complete them and mail them back, drop them off at a secure location, or vote in person.
Early voting is available 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Oct. 17 to 30, and there will be 15 locations in Washoe County where voters can vote in person or drop off their completed ballot. There will be an additional 15 locations for ballot drop-off only.
Election day is Nov. 3, and as with early voting, voters can mail their ballot, vote in person, or drop off their ballots. Election day polling sites are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and there will be 29 locations to either vote in-person or drop off your ballot, and 15 locations reserved only for ballot drop-off.
Precautions will be taken at every location to ensure proper social distancing. Masks and temperature scans will be required for poll workers and voters, and surfaces will be routinely sanitized. Early-voting locations and Election Day locations can be found at washoecounty.us/voters/elections/polling_location.php.
~ Washoe County press release
Free Parking Returns to Northstar
After one season of charging visitors to park in all resort-adjacent lots, Northstar California Resort announced a return to free parking in its Village View lots.
The announcement came after multiple legal battles on the topic of the paid parking polciy implemented during the 2019/20 season. In one, Truckee resident Robert Grossman took Northstar to Placer County small claims court in Tahoe City, seeking a refund of the cost of his 2019/20 season ski pass. Grossman claimed he was unable to use his ski pass as intended because of Northstar’s new paid parking policy. Commissioner John Ross heard the case and ultimately decided in Grossman’s favor, ordering Northstar to repay Grossman the entire cost of his ski pass as well as court costs. Northstar appealed the case to Placer County Superior Court in Roseville. On Aug. 12, Judge Steven Howell issued his decision, ruling in favor of Grossman and ordering Northstar to refund the cost of the pass plus court expenses.
~ Lake Tahoe TV News press release, Northstar Facebook post
Coexisting/Not Coexisting with Tahoe Bears
For the second time in just over a week, a bear has entered the Safeway in Kings Beach to feast on food. Both incidents (one on Aug. 18, the other on Aug. 27) were captured on video, and it has not been confirmed whether it’s the same bear both times.
Incline Village is seeing its own interactions with bears, and residents are highly engaged in how they can be more responsible about preventing bear break-ins, and what happens with a bear once he or she is trapped. In Nevada, the Department of Wildlife will set a humane trap to catch the bear and then release it at or near the capture point and use aversive conditioning tactics to discourage the bear from returning (rubber bullets or Karelian bear dogs). If the bear increasingly follows its initial behavior patterns and seeks homes to enter, NDOW officials will euthanize a bear. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has a similar policy, noting that “bears that are threats to public safety, as determined by a public safety officer or Department employee, may be killed at any time without a permit.” These bears are known as “habituated” or “depredation” bears.
Ordinance to Address STR, Noise Concerns
The town is in the process of developing an ordinance to regulate short-term rental operations and establish community-wide noise restrictions. The purpose of this ordinance is to address community nuisance and safety impacts and specific issues associated with such rentals, such as trash, occupancy limits, parking, and fire safety.
The public comment period closed Sept. 8, and the next step is for staff to collect and review the comments, consider updates as necessary, and present a draft ordinance at the Sept. 22 town council meeting. To learn more about what led up to the development of this ordinance, read Truckee Accelerates STR Ordinance Process at moonshineink.com.
~ Town of Truckee press release
Tahoe Ambassador Program
North Lake Tahoe is seeking ambassadors to help expand education on destination stewardship and community safety. Local business organizations and Placer County officials have launched an ambassador program to assist with trash clean-up, distribution of personal protection equipment, and peer-to-peer communication in an effort to establish long-term solutions among North Lake Tahoe communities.
The North Lake Tahoe Ambassador Program will support existing community clean-up days while also focusing on safety messaging to help keep businesses open.
For more information on the ambassador program, visit the blog on nltra.org. Volunteers will be asked to fill out a form and review a short training video. They will be provided with proper PPE and education materials. Ambassadors select hours and days they want to volunteer and will be asked to log their time each week. The program will run year-round and is open to full and part-time residents and visitors.
~ North Lake Tahoe Resort Association press release
Hospital Continues to Seek Parking Expansion
The Town of Truckee planning commission asked on Aug. 18 for the Tahoe Forest Hospital District to rework its proposed plan to expand its parking lot.
The application as presented in August sought to construct three new surface parking lots on the north side of Donner Pass Road (across from the hospital) with a total of 97 spaces, which would develop on slopes with a 20%-plus grade, merge a vacant parcel with a developed parcel, and adjust parcel lines.
The planning commissioners offered to either make a decision at the meeting or allow hospital staff to continue planning efforts to a later date; the hospital chose to continue to a later date. A main concern expressed by the commission was that the parking lots were counter to the town’s general plan policy.
There is no date yet for the hospital to return to the planning commission with updates to its proposal.
Efforts to Keep Pollutants Out of Lake Surpass Targets
According to the latest data, local government and state transportation agencies have successfully surpassed 2019 pollution prevention targets established to reduce urban stormwater pollution and restore Lake Tahoe’s famous, crystal-clear water.
Stormwater from roads and urban areas is the primary source of fine sediment particles, which scatter and reduce light, diminishing the distance people can see into Tahoe’s depths. The Lake Tahoe Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Program’s 2020 performance report, compiled by the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection and the California Regional Water Board, Lahontan Region (Lahontan Water Board), details the ongoing accomplishments of this bi-state program to restore Lake Tahoe’s famed clarity.
The report found that in 2019, urban implementing partners collectively reduced fine sediments by 477,000 pounds; this equates to 853 drums (55-gallon) of fine sediment no longer washing into the lake, surpassing targets for the program. Reductions of nitrogen and phosphorus — which spur algae growth — also surpassed program targets. The report is available online at clarity.laketahoeinfo.org.
~ California Water Boards press release
Peregrine Falcons Thriving
Lake Tahoe organizations working to harmonize wildlife protection and responsible recreation have reported a successful effort to protect fledgling peregrine falcons while still allowing access to popular hiking and climbing routes near the birds’ nesting sites. For the second year in a row, young peregrine falcons successfully left their nest at Castle Rock.
The USDA Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, Nevada Department of Wildlife, California Tahoe Conservancy, Tahoe Institute for Natural Science, and Sierra Ecotone Solutions have monitored peregrine falcons as a special interest species dating back to 2009. Over the years of monitoring, falcon populations increased and expanded to new areas of the Basin like Castle Rock. Located in the southeast region of Lake Tahoe near Kingsbury Grade, the granite outcrop is an ideal nesting spot for the special bird. However, with excellent views of the lake, its popularity among climbers and hikers presented a new challenge for the raptors.
This spring and summer, as COVID-19 stay-at-home orders drove people to spend more time outdoors, TINS noticed an immediate impact on the falcons when hikers returned to where they were nesting. The group was alerted and the partners sprang into action. The TRPA printed signs and installed them on the trail, and the nonprofit Tahoe Fund jumped in to help pay for the continuation of the monitoring by TINS. Normally, each partner contributes several monitoring visits per season to this unique site, but with COVID most of the partners were not able to get into the field during the critical spring months. With the support of the Tahoe Fund, TINS was able to keep the monitoring schedule on track and remove the signs as soon as the young fledged.
~ TINS, Tahoe Fund press release
Federal Funding Will Address Microplastics
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $97,000 in grants for projects to address microplastic pollution in Lake Tahoe. The projects include a study led by the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center to gather more data on the movement and types of plastics in Lake Tahoe, as well as a public education-focused source reduction pilot project led by the Incline Village General Improvement District, in partnership with the Tahoe Water Suppliers Association and others. Both projects are managed by the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection with the aim of reducing sources of plastic pollution.
Ongoing EPA funded projects to address microplastics in Lake Tahoe include:
- A snapshot study on the fate and type of plastics in Lake Tahoe, EPA Grant of $35,000
- A source plastic pollution reduction pilot program for Tahoe, EPA Grant of $62,000
- For more information about EPA efforts related to Lake Tahoe, visit epa.gov/lake-tahoe.
~ EPA press release
Reconstruction of Tyrolian Trail
A $45,000 grant from the Tahoe Fund has allowed the nonprofit Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association to begin a trail improvement project that will reconstruct sections of the upper Tyrolian Trail in Incline Village. The project, designed to enhance the user experience, make critical trail connections in the Incline Village area and rehabilitate and restore old logging roads to reduce erosion and improve lake clarity, is expected to be completed by the end of October 2020.
A new upper section of the trail will provide an official start trailhead with improved signage, and reduce mountain bike traffic on the Tahoe Rim Trail. The current Tyrolian downhill trail will not be closed during construction, but to avoid slowing progress, TAMBA asks that riders stay off the new trail until it has been completed.
The trail project is still in need of $15,000 to be completed this year. Donors interested in supporting the project can contribute at tahoefund.org or TAMBA.org.
~ TAMBA, Tahoe Fund
Inspirational Song, Video Helps Fund Artists
Inspired by a friendly challenge from Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve and several Reno arts and culture partners are proud to present “Heartbeat to Heartbeat, Eye to Eye (From Reno with Love),” a new song and video inspired by Fischer’s “Lift Up Lou” movement, launched in early March to keep residents’ spirits up during the fight against COVID-19 and maintain a sense of connectedness, even at a time of necessary social distancing.
The Reno song represents a collaborative effort by the City of Reno, Artown, Reno Philharmonic, Eric Henry Andersen, and Bryon Evans Films:
- Written by Eric Henry Andersen, Tyler Stafford, Dave Berry, Kate Cotter, Khalilah Smith Cage, Shaughn Richardson, Tristan Selzler, Jeff Depaoli, and Zachary Teran
- Audio produced by Eric Henry Andersen and Tom Gordon
- Video directed, filmed, and edited by Bryon Evans
- Featuring: Khalilah Smith Cage, Cliff Porter, Kyle Rea, Tim Snider, Reno Jazz Syndicate, and nearly 50 other musicians and artists from the Reno area
- Mixed and mastered by Tom Gordon for Inspired Amateur Productions and Imirage Sound Lab in Sparks
- Recorded by Tom Gordon, Eric Henry Andersen and Tyler Stafford, at Imirage Sound Lab, Moon Room, Angel’s Share Studio, and remotely around Reno
All proceeds from the song will benefit Artown’s “From Reno with Love Artist Fund,” created to assist performing artists adversely affected economically by COVID-19.
~ Artown press release
Grant to Assist Restaurants, Bars
The Placer County Board of Supervisors approved a $1.2 million grant program Aug. 8 to assist restaurants and bars impacted by COVID-19 in the county.
Eligible restaurants and bars may apply for $1,000 in grant funding via the newly established Placer Shares: Eats & Drinks Program. Applications are accepted online at placer.ca.gov/eatsdrinks and must be received by Sept. 30.
The Board of Supervisors voted to offer fee relief for restaurants and bars who had paid their annual county inspection fees but were ordered to close by the state due to COVID-19.
~ Placer County press release