1. Murder on the West Shore
On June 5 at approximately 9 p.m., a murder and attempted murder occurred at a full-time residence in Homewood. Robert Gary Spohr, 70, was found deceased with a single gunshot wound. His wife, Wendy Wood Spohr, was found alive with three gunshot wounds. She is currently in intensive care at Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno. Placer County Sheriff’s Dispatch received a 911 call around 9 p.m. with no one speaking on the other end. Placer County Sheriff Lieutenant Nelson Resendes said it is likely that Wendy Spohr made the 911 call, but they don’t know for sure as they haven’t been able to speak to her yet. According to a statement released by the couple’s younger daughter, Adrienne Spohr, her mother is unresponsive.
Security camera footage of the property shows a man wearing a hoodie, grey sweatpants, a neck gaiter, and a backpack on foot in the driveway. The sheriff’s office believes the man was at the residence during the time of the incident and have deemed him a person of interest. At this time, there is no evidence of a burglary.
Murders in Tahoe “are very rare,” said Resendes. “It’s alarming.” Anyone with information about this case should call the Placer County Sheriff’s Office tip line at (530) 889-7853.
~ Melissa Siig, Special to Moonshine Ink
2. TDPUD: Prepare for
Summer Power Outages
Truckee Donner Public Utility District is urging customers to be prepared for prolonged power outages this summer if NV Energy turns off power transmission to Truckee due to extreme fire danger. TDPUD does not generate power locally and is dependent on the transmission of electricity from our generation sources through NV Energy.
The outages, based on the length of the extreme wildfire danger period and the time required to visually inspect 100% of the electric system to safely restore power, will likely impact TDPUD’s entire customer base for periods ranging from one day to a few days. TDPUD does not have control over the timing and duration of the outages, but the district is collaborating with local emergency response and critical infrastructure stakeholders to raise awareness of the new NV Energy PSOM program and to mitigate impacts.
Details on NV Energy’s PSOM program can be found at nvenergy.com/safety/psom. Sign up for TDPUD’s automated alerts via text or email at tdpud.org. TDPUD customers can sign up to be notified of NV Energy PSOM’s and other emergency situations. The district will attempt to notify all customers between 48 and 24 hours prior and 12 to 4 hours before the outage, if an NV Energy PSOM is planned.
Get prepared at tdpud.org/wildfire-safety, and read up on wildfire preparedness in the Ink in our Space it Up, It’s GO Time!, p. 41.
~ TDPUD press release
3. U.S. Cities Study Reparations for Slavery to Black Residents
The state’s capital pledged to create a pilot program for distributing reparations to a select cohort of Black residents in an effort to demonstrate how a national level slavery reparations system could work. Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg joins 10 other U.S. mayors (including one other from California, Los Angeles’ Eric Garcetti) who announced intentions to create these programs.
The City Council of Evanston, Illinois, announced its program earlier this year, saying it would pay $25,000 toward qualifying homes of Black residents, earmarked for home payments or repairs. Sacramento had made no announcement about how its pilot program will work as of press time.
4. STRs Roaring Back According to New Market Report
RedAwning, a marketing, distribution, reservations, and hospitality platform for short-term rentals, has released an in-depth market report exploring accommodation and tourism trends in the Truckee region. According to the report, vacation rental occupancy in Truckee was at 83% in April 2021 versus 53% in pre-Covid April of 2019.
The report also found that the number of nights booked increased similarly to rates charged for those nights, with April 2021 up 42% over 2019. The average daily rate in April 2021 was $403 in Truckee, a 24% increase over the 2019 April figure, suggesting Truckee is in high demand as the state reopens. The combination of higher occupancy and higher rates means homeowners are also generating more income from their rentals.
“The timing has never been better to start renting out a vacation property in the Tahoe Truckee area,” said RedAwning’s CEO Tim Choate. “Our data suggests that even shoulder seasons will be well ahead of pre-Covid levels as visitors from around the world continue to rediscover North Lake Tahoe’s year-round appeal.”
The full report for Truckee/Tahoe is available to download at info.redawning.com/truckee-market-report.
~ RedAwning press release
5. BEAR League Confirms 6 Bears Hit Within 12 Hours
Six young bears were hit by automobiles on Tahoe/Truckee roads, with four of them dying as a result of the crashes, according to BEAR League’s executive director, Ann Bryant. While the local bear rescue and advocacy nonprofit doesn’t keep overall annual stats about bear/human interaction or automobile-caused bear deaths, Bryant told the Ink that these rates are unprecedented, and she’s “never seen such carnage in such a short period of time.”
6. HSTT Reopens Doors
to the Public
The Human Society of Truckee-Tahoe reopened its doors to members of the public on June 17. Both of HSTT’s locations, in Truckee and South Lake Tahoe, have long been closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but the nonprofit organization has continued its work throughout the past year.
“The community really stepped up and helped us keep going during the pandemic,” said Erin Ellis, community engagement director at HSTT. “We were able to continue our rescue and adoption programs, community spay/neuter, vet assistance, and pet pantry efforts. But we are thrilled to get back to full capacity and are actively looking for more foster homes and more volunteers.”
The new HSTT hours at the Truckee shelter are Thursday through Monday, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., closed on Tuesday and Wednesday.
~ HSTT press release
7. TART Brings Free Transit to the North Shore
On June 25, Placer County and partners welcomed free on-demand transportation service to North Lake Tahoe, celebrating with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the North Lake Tahoe Event Center and reporting that roughly 60 riders took advantage of the free service on its first day. Known as TART Connect, the new free shuttle service relies on eight small transit vans to provide curb-to-curb service throughout North Lake Tahoe.
Passengers can request the service through a mobile application titled TART Connect, similar to how popular services such as Uber and Lyft operate. Passengers who don’t have the app can call (530) 214-5811 to schedule a ride.
Hosting partners for the event included Placer County, North Lake Tahoe Resort Association, Washoe County, and the Incline Village Crystal Bay Visitors Bureau. The pilot service will be contracted through Squaw Downtowner, LLC, which will provide the vehicles, drivers, and software to operate the service. Transient occupancy tax dollars fund the $506,000 pilot program under the recommendation of the NLTRA.
The microtransit program is one of the TOT-funded efforts being undertaken by Placer County to reduce traffic impacts in North Lake Tahoe. Taking a triage approach to increasing mobility in the region, the county is working to address all areas of transportation, including road mobility, alternative transportation, pedestrian support, and public transit incentives. More information on these programs can be found at tot-tbidatwork.com.
~ NLTRA press release