Residents Lack Propane, AmeriGas Trying to Keep Up
Amid the recent deluge of snow and freezing temperatures, some local residents have been without heat for nearly a month. Multiple people have reached out to Moonshine Ink sharing concern over no-show scheduled deliveries and repeatedly unaddressed phone calls from AmeriGas, the largest retail propane distributor in the country. Many have opted to utilize Hunt & Sons Propane in Reno instead, and have received timely deliveries.
“My tank was showing 3% so I would have run out in two days max …,” Russ Wilson, a Glenshire neighborhood resident, said. “The most frustrating part is the lack of believable information from the office about delivery dates.” After a friend personally called a lead AmeriGas delivery driver, Wilson’s tank was filled.
In turn, AmeriGas says that higher usage, snow-laden roads, and working-hour time constraints have stalled propane deliveries to Truckee/North Tahoe (and Reno) residents.
“We’ve been fortunate where we’ve never really gotten customers to a low point, but because we’re in a situation where everybody needs it right now, customers are seeing their gauges go lower than ever before,” said Brilynn Johnson, director of industry and customer relations for the company, in an interview with Moonshine. She added that about 50% of Truckee/North Tahoe’s AmeriGas customers aren’t accessible “because they don’t have it plowed, they don’t have it cleared, they don’t have it ready to go … There is an expectation that there has to be a clear path to the tank, the tank has to be clear of snow, and we have to be able to actually pull the hose from the truck to the tank to make the delivery.”
Additional staff have come in from across the country to attend to customers using tanks of gas faster than ever, and there are more drivers on the road than ever before.
Both California and Nevada have been issued emergency declarations from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in response to winter weather. California’s runs through Feb. 3; Nevada’s, an extension proclamation extending liquid petroleum gas delivery, expires Feb. 1. Such declarations allow AmeriGas delivery drivers (and other personnel) to extend their working hours. Johnson added that by the end of January, the western portion of the country will be fully staffed at budget for its drivers.
In response to customer complaints of AmeriGas customer service representatives repeatedly promising to address missed deliveries, Johnson said such calls are not falling on deaf ears. “We take great pride in quality customer service and our representatives are coached, trained, and we go through a whole quality process on a daily basis.”
Both the Truckee and Reno AmeriGas offices are closed to the public, though they remain in operation. For propane safety during winter storms, click here. To contact AmeriGas, visit amerigas.com/support/contact-us.
Prevent Snow-Related Gas Leaks
The Sierra Nevada received remarkable snowfall in a short period of time, leading to a spike in propane-related calls to local fire agencies. This is not uncommon after early, heavy, and wet snowfall events. North Tahoe Fire Protection District shares information on ways locals can prevent snow-related gas leaks.
As tanks run dry, they can push concentrated levels of odorant to settle at the bottom of the tank and into the gas lines, which emit strong propane odors from appliances. Propane is heavier than air, settling and traveling in a manner similar to water where it can run under the snowpack undetected, following terrain features and potentially pooling under the foundations of structures.
Propane tanks/cylinders, gas lines, and regulators and appliance vents need to be continuously maintained throughout the winter by keeping them well cleared of snow and ice buildup. The district recommends the following:
- Take caution when clearing snow from roofs and protect propane tanks or cylinders, propane lines, regulators, and vents from falling snow.
- When plowing, snowblowing, or shoveling, do not push or pile snow around a tank, meter, regulator, or piping.
- Use caution when removing snow from the tanks and cylinders, gas piping, and regulators; don’t use sharp tools or force. Carefully clear heavy snow until the tank and equipment are visible, complete final clearing with soft tools such as brooms or brushes to prevent damage to equipment and components.
- Tanks should not be allowed to run dry; doing so may require an inspection of all gas appliances before the tank can be refilled. Be sure to place refill orders before the tank reaches 30% to 40% and keep tanks clear of snow with a path accessible to gas suppliers.
- Propane smells like rotten eggs and propane leaking into snow may release more of a musty odor.
- Anytime there is an odor of propane or natural gas, call 911 immediately.
- Watch this Propane Snow Safety PSA (2019), courtesy of the Placer County sheriff and North Tahoe Fire.
~ North Tahoe and Meeks Bay Fire Protection District press release
Unprecedented Levels of High-Severity Fire Burn in Sierra Nevada Forests
High-severity wildfire is increasing in Sierra Nevada and Southern Cascade forests and has been burning at unprecedented rates compared to the years before Euro-American settlement, according to a study from the Safford Lab at the University of California, Davis, and its collaborators. Those rates have especially shot up over the past decade.
In low and middle-elevation forest types, the average annual area that burned at low-to-moderate severity has decreased from more than 90% before 1850 to 60% to 70% today. At the same time, the area burned annually at high severity has nearly quintupled, rising from less than 10% to 43% today. High-severity burns are those where more than 95% of aboveground tree biomass is killed by fire.
Many fire ecologists talk about the need to burn more acreage by putting “good fire” on the ground, such as through prescribed burning, while preventing “bad fire.” Good fire refers to the low-to-moderate severity burning that the dominant species are adapted to. Many such fires were set by Native Americans before the mid-19th century through the practice of cultural burning.
Before 1850, much more land burned each year in California compared to the present day. The study indicates that gap is beginning to close. Unfortunately, more of what is burning comprises damaging, high-severity fire.
Nine of California’s 10 biggest wildfires occurred within the past decade. The state’s record-breaking 2020 fire year — when nearly 9,900 fires burned 4.3 million acres — was the only year in which the annual area burned exceeded historical levels, but much of that burned at high severity. Excessively severe fires in these forests can harm landscapes and the habitat and ecosystem services they provide.
Other research carried out at UC Davis and its partners has shown that negative effects of severe burning in these forest types are serious and long-lasting to biodiversity, carbon storage, soil biogeochemistry, air quality, and forest regeneration.
~ UC Davis press release
Resort Association Becomes North Tahoe Community Alliance
The North Lake Tahoe Resort Association will become the North Tahoe Community Alliance on Feb. 1 to align with its new mission: to collaborate with regional stakeholders to support a vibrant, year-round economy that benefits residents, businesses, and visitors of North Lake Tahoe. The organization also advocates for and funds local transportation and workforce housing solutions and visitor services and promotes responsible and off-peak season travel with a focus on stewardship education.
~ NLTRA press release
Placer County Board of Supervisors Approves Eight Tahoe Projects for 2022/23
Eight capital improvement projects have received funding in eastern Placer County based on the recommendation of the Capital Advisory Projects Committee.
The Placer County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the allocation of approximately $4.49 million in tourism occupancy tax dollars to help fund the eight projects for the 2022/23 fiscal year.
During this year’s grant cycle, the CAP Committee received 13 proposals requesting a total of $8.1 million. The committee determined three applications did not meet funding criteria and two others were supported by the committee, but the authors were encouraged to seek other identified funding sources.
The CAP Committee had $7.2 million in available funding for project recommendations, including $5.5 million in TOT collected over the past fiscal year and $1.7 million in leftover funding from the previous grant cycle. The committee decided to reserve $2.7 million for future projects.
Projects funded in this grant cycle feature improvements to portions of the Resort Triangle Trail, including the Martis Valley Trail ($2 million); Flick Point II Trail ($70,000); and the North Tahoe Trail ($1.5 million). Additional dirt trails and amenities were also funded including Sawtooth Trail ($157,983); Donner Lake Rim Trail ($265,000); and Cabin Creek trailhead amenities ($91,694). Both North Tahoe Public Utilities District ($58,141) and Tahoe City Public Utilities District ($351,000) received funding to enhance community signage projects.
The CAP Committee is co-convened by Placer County and the North Tahoe Community Alliance, formerly known as the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association. The committee is tasked annually with making recommendations to the Placer County Board of Supervisors for grant awards to fund infrastructure and capital projects. The committee includes 13 appointed members representing eastern Placer County businesses, special districts, ski resorts, the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association and Placer County.
~Placer County press release
Avoid Consuming All Baked Goods Purchased at Happy Tiers Bakery
The Washoe County Health District is issuing a Public Health Alert for residents who purchased or consumed baked products from Happy Tiers Bakery, located in Incline Village. The bakery products were manufactured and produced without benefit of inspection and sold to residents in the surrounding areas.
The baked goods in question would have been purchased between Oct. 1, 2022, and Jan. 24, 2023, and include wedding cakes, cinnamon rolls, cookies, quiches, and other baked products.
The products are considered adulterated because they were produced without benefit of inspection and food safety protocols were not able to be verified. The products were manufactured in an unknown location and the retail facility did not have a permit for the baking or manufacturing of any food products.
Baked products may have been purchased online or through the retail location in Incline Village, including the production and delivery of custom-made cakes. Consumers who have purchased products are advised not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.
No reports of illness involving these products have been reported. Individuals exhibiting signs or symptoms of foodborne illness should contact a health care provider immediately.
Residents with food safety questions can call (775) 328-2434, option #8, or send a question via email at email@example.com.
~Washoe County press release
Forest Service Launches New Efforts to Address the Wildfire Crisis
Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Jan. 19 expanded efforts to reduce wildfire risk across the western U.S., directly affecting national forests in Nevada.
These investments, made possible through the Biden Administration’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act, will directly benefit at-risk communities and critical infrastructure across 11 additional landscapes in Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.
In Nevada, the Sierra and Elko fronts were selected for increased funding. The Sierra Front Landscape is approximately 2 million acres, including National Forest System and Bureau of Land Management lands. Of this landscape, 810,000 acres are located on National Forest System lands.
This announcement complements the agency’s 10 landscape projects announced in 2022 and the agency’s broader strategy to address critical infrastructure, community protection, and forest resilience at risk to catastrophic wildfire. Combined with the initial investment landscapes, these actions will span nearly 45 million acres across 137 of the 250 high-risk firesheds in the Western U.S., with a total investment of $930 million on 21 landscapes across 26.7 million acres in 2023. This work will mitigate risk to approximately 200 communities within these landscapes.
Secretary Vilsack is also authorizing the Forest Service to utilize a new emergency authority in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, combined with strategic implementation of existing authorities. Doing so will enable the agency to move more quickly in applying targeted treatments to high-risk firesheds identified in the agency’s Wildfire Crisis Strategy, as well as post-fire recovery areas most impacted the past several years.
These actions are required to be conducted in an ecologically appropriate manner that maximizes the retention of large trees, considers historically underserved communities and tribes, and is done collaboratively with communities and partners.
~ USDA press release
Housing Program/Project Updates
The Eastern Placer Bulletin, sent monthly out of District 5 Supervisor Cindy Gustafson’s office, gives an update on how housing programs and projects are being implemented. The programs include the Workforce Housing Preservation Program, Lease-to-Locals Program, Hopkins Village, Meadow View Place, and Dollar Creek Crossing.
- Three grants made/homes purchased and restricted for local workers
- Thirty-three local workers have qualified for the program and are actively looking for homes.
- Total leads: 256
- Properties awarded grants: 16
- Number of people housed: 38
- Number of bedrooms: 32
- Average property rent: $2,466/month
- Total incentive cost: $171,500
- Hopkins Village
- Forty-unit for-sale development for local workers earning 180% Area Median Income
- Units still available for purchase
- Meadow View Place
- Fifty-six affordable housing rentals, fully leased
- Opened December 2021
- Single-Room Occupancy amendment adopted in December 2020
- Countywide zoning ordinance housing amendments (allows tiny houses)
- Board of Supervisors adoption June 2022
- Tahoe Basin Area Plan updates targeted at economic sustainability of town centers, streamlining achievable housing
- Anticipating adoption spring 2023
- Tahoe Living Working Group coordination
- Increasing flexibility in height, density, coverage, mitigation fees, streamlining
The proposed Dollar Creek Crossing housing project would support the construction of much-needed housing for the local workforce. The project is proposed on the 11.4-acre Nahas property, which was purchased by the county in October 2019 with financial support from the Truckee Tahoe Airport District. This property is located near schools, transit routes, trails, and other services, making it an ideal location for members of the local workforce and their families. If you would like to stay updated as this project evolves, important project updates will be posted on this website. If you would like to receive email updates, please join here.
~ Eastern Placer bulletin, January 2023
Local High School Student Runner-Up in Hispanic Heritage Essay Contest
Optimum, together with co-sponsor TelevisaUnivision, is proud to announce the 2022 winners of its annual Hispanic Heritage Month essay contest. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, which is celebrated each year from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15, Optimum invited students across the company’s 21-state footprint to share in 500 words or less a person or group of Hispanic heritage who/that has kept their community connected to one another, to their culture or to those outside their community.
Truckee High School 10th grader Alexa Carrillo Macias was a runner up. To recognize her achievements, Macias was awarded a backpack full of school supplies, including an iPad.
The student essay contest ran from Sept. 15 to Oct. 31 and boasted a total of four grand prize scholarships of $3,000. Prizes have also been awarded to a dozen finalists in both the high school and middle school categories. To view the full list of finalists, visit optimum.com/hhm.
Altice USA and Optimum are committed to making a positive impact in the communities we serve. Click here to learn more about how Altice USA and Optimum are involved in our local communities.
~ Altice USA press release
Dr. Smith Honored for Pioneering Efforts in Preserving Vikingsholm Castle
The Sierra State Parks Foundation recognizes Dr. Helen Henry Smith for her pioneering efforts that saved and preserve Vikingsholm Castle located at Emerald Bay State Park at Lake Tahoe. Dr. Smith was awarded the Golden Bear Award, an annually presented award by the California State Parks and Recreation Commission, highlighting individuals who demonstrate leadership and make significant contributions to the park’s mission.
Constructed in 1929, Vikingsholm harmoniously blends with its majestic setting. Dr. Smith’s passion for Vikingsholm came through her unique perspective. Her parents and Lora Knight, the visionary and owner behind the castle, were friends. She fondly remembers walks and conversations with “Aunt Lora” as she spent 14 summers at Vikingsholm as a guest.
In 1953, the house and property were acquired by California State Parks with plans of demolishing the historic home. During this period, Dr. Smith reconnected with Vikingsholm and petitioned state parks to allow her to offer tours. At that time, women employees worked solely in administrative jobs; Dr. Smith’s request to serve the public in a front-line position was bold and courageous and changed her relationship with her childhood get-away from guest to advocate. Through education and interpretation, she inspired many more to connect with the historical landmark and fostered future generations of stewards. Sixty-eight years later and Dr. Smith’s passion is still strong as ever. Concerned with the lack of state funding and resources to care for the property, she formed the Vikingsholm Project Council, which raised $2 million for restoration and repair. Although she is no longer able to spend summers at Vikingsholm, she remains steadfast to its preservation and future and continues to raise funds and advocate in partnership with the Sierra State Parks Foundation. The foundation now manages tour and visitor center operations and partners with California State Parks on restoration projects.
For more information about the castle, tours, and the Vikingsholm Forever Endowment Campaign, visit sierrastateparks.org.
~ Sierra State Parks Foundation press release
Telehealth Makes Substance Use Treatment More Accessible
NORTH LAKE TAHOE
For individuals with a substance use disorder, from drugs to alcohol, timely access to treatment is crucial to recovery. Three feet of snow, road closures, and howling winds, though, can complicate things.
A new pilot with a telehealth company has expanded substance use disorder treatment options across low-access regions of Placer County, but especially in North Lake Tahoe, where dual challenges of harsh weather and provider staffing have historically been barriers to treatment accessibility.
In April, Placer County’s Adult System of Care contracted with Recover Medical Group, which specializes in telehealth substance-use services. To date, the program has served 30 clients in the North Tahoe area, offering both standard and intensive outpatient treatment. Soon they will also offer treatment for Placer County youth. These services are available to Placer residents who receive Medi-Cal.
National studies have shown that increased telehealth services during the pandemic successfully kept individuals in treatment longer and prevented opioid-related deaths.
“Some clients prefer telehealth. For some, it’s a necessity because they can’t go to treatment in person,” said Daniel Apgar, program supervisor, referencing some with disabilities or other barriers. Recover also offers language options when needed.
The Adult System of Care provides a wide array of substance use services depending on individual needs, including residential treatment, outpatient and intensive outpatient treatment, residential withdrawal management (detoxification), case management, recovery services, physician consultation, and medication assisted treatment. To connect with the county’s 24-hour intake line and access services, call (888) 886-5401. North Tahoe residents have access to the broader network of services in Placer County through this line.
~ Placer County press release
Humane Society Expands Pet Pantry Program
The Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe is expanding its Pet Pantry program, which helps owners keep their pets despite financial hardships or other barriers. HSTT launched the program during the recession of 2010, offering Truckee residents free pet food and supplies to maintain their pet’s care. When the South Lake Tahoe office opened in 2019, the agency expanded the program to that area. Now, every Lake Tahoe resident is eligible.
“The top priority of this service is keeping pets and people together,” says HSTT’s outreach programs manager, Kara Carstensen. “We believe it is in an animal’s best interest to stay with their loving person, rather than enter the shelter system, whenever possible.”
Residents who could use some help can stop by either the Truckee shelter or the South Lake Tahoe office to pick up food and/or supplies. HSTT also partners with local social service groups in Lake Tahoe and Sierra County to provide distribution locations and offers food delivery services to qualifying homebound community members in the North Lake Tahoe area. For more information and to apply for assistance, visit hstt.org/programs-services-resources/community-pet-pantry.
~ HSTT press release
Lake Tahoe Freestyle Skiers to Represent USA at FIS Freestyle World Cup and The NorAm Cup
Athletes from the Olympic Valley Freestyle Freeride Team competed last week in the U.S. Freestyle Selections at Winter Park, Colorado amongst athletes from the U.S., Australia, Japan, Germany, and the Netherlands to vie for the opportunity to compete at the highest level of international mogul skiing.
Sixteen North Lake Tahoe athletes, the largest group in the history of the team, represented the Olympic Valley Freestyle Freeride Team in Colorado for the international competition. Ryan Tam, 18, earned his first FIS Freestyle World Cup start along with alumni athletes Kylie Kariotis and August Davis. They will join alumni Tristan Cayolle, 20, who was recently named to the French National Freestyle Team and has competed in WC events internationally.
In addition to the four athletes qualifying for the WC, three more athletes earned starts for The NorAm Cup: Benji Nickel, 20 Alicia Buckmaster, 16 and Ella English, 17, will represent the Olympic Valley Freestyle Freeride Team and the United States this season for four NORAM competitions throughout North America.
The Olympic Valley Freestyle Freeride Team Head Mogul Coach and former US Ski Team athlete, Jarrod Semmens, said, “This is the beginning of the highest level of mogul skiing in the world. These athletes are now representing the U.S., and that is an incredible honor for them. They are an inspiration for all our younger athletes on the program and an example of what you can achieve.”
~ Olympic Valley Freestyle Freeride Team press release
Moving In, Moving On, Moving Up
Recreation and Park District Announces New General Manager
The Truckee-Donner Recreation and Park District has named a new general manager, Sven Leff. Leff is a California native and Truckee resident who has served as TDRPD’s recreation superintendent for the past five years.
Leff is taking over for Steve Randall, who has served as TDRPD GM for the past 38 years. Leff acknowledges Randall leaves behind a gigantic legacy and will be an extremely tough act to follow. “Steve has built most of what we have today,” says Leff. “He has a real keen business sense and that’s what made the district so successful over his tenure. He deserves a lot of credit and appreciation for everything he’s given to our community.”
Leff previously worked at recreation departments in Iowa and Nevada, but he says there’s nothing quite like the services the TDRPD has to offer the Truckee community. “We’re just really blessed to have the facilities and parks that we have in Truckee,” says Leff. “I do volunteer work with the National Rec. and Park Association, so I’ve traveled around the country. I don’t think any other community rivals what we have to offer.”
Even though Leff takes over a district that is in great shape, he recognizes some challenges ahead, particularly as the Truckee population continues to grow. The TDRPD set a level of service standard of 5 acres of park or property per capita, and as the town has grown, the district has fallen below that threshold. “We have greater demands on our land than we want to have and that makes the impact and the challenges for maintenance greater,” says Leff. “So our district needs to grow as the population grows.”
~TDRPD press release
Alterra Acquires Snow Valley Mountain Resort
Alterra Mountain Company has closed on the purchase of Snow Valley Mountain Resort, adding another Southern California destination to its portfolio of year-round destinations.
Easily accessible from Pasadena, Santa Monica, Los Angeles, and San Diego, and located just 11 miles from Big Bear Lake, the new three-mountain experience will offer skiers and riders the ability to progress from beginner to intermediate to expert terrain. With a focus on the beginning of that progression, Snow Valley features some of the region’s best beginner terrain, with award-winning learning centers and a shared dedication to exceptional guest service. The addition of the resort also means that skiers and riders will have access to Southern California’s only chairlift serviced sledding area for enhanced snow play during the winter season
Alterra Mountain Company’s 16 mountain destinations are spread throughout six states and three Canadian provinces: Steamboat and Winter Park in Colorado; Palisades Tahoe, Mammoth Mountain, June Mountain, Big Bear Mountain Resort and Snow Valley Mountain Resort in California; Stratton and Sugarbush in Vermont; Snowshoe in West Virginia; Tremblant in Quebec, Blue Mountain in Ontario; Crystal Mountain in Washington; Deer Valley Resort and Solitude Mountain Resort in Utah; and CMH Heli-Skiing & Summer Adventures in British Columbia.
Alterra Mountain Company also introduced the Ikon Pass for winter 2018/19, which today offers skiers and riders access to more than 50 mountain destinations throughout the Americas, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan.
The Ikon Pass and Big Bear Mountain Resort season passes will be accepted at Snow Valley starting Monday, Feb. 20, 2023.
~ Alterra Mountain Company press release