The Return of Fireworks?

And: pothole damage claims from winters past


In 2022, Tahoe City, Kings Beach, and Incline Village shifted from Fourth of July fireworks to choreographed drone shows in an effort to reduce fire risk, sound trauma to pets and wildlife, and water and land pollution. This year, Incline Village residents are attempting to bring back a firework show for Independence Day. The latest on that effort, below.

And, potholes from the great winter of 2022/23 remain on my mind. I still think of what Mel Fish, a North Shore resident, told Moonshine last January: “The other day I hit a pothole so hard on 267 that I lost a filling!” With warm weather finally happening, I was curious how many claims were submitted to state transportation departments after vehicle damage on highways from those pesky pits.

~ AH



What inspired Red, White & Tahoe Blue II to try and bring back Fourth of July fireworks this year in Incline Village?

BIGGER BANG: A group of Incline Village residents is rallying to bring back fireworks to this year’s Fourth of July celebration. Photo courtesy Red, White & Tahoe Blue II

The inspiration to revive the Fourth of July fireworks in Incline Village was a community-driven effort. In September 2023, Shelia Leijon, [Incline Village General Improvement District] parks and recreation director and a former colleague on the original Red, White & Tahoe Blue nonprofit, reached out to Jim Smith, the former chairman from 2007 to 2015. She encouraged Jim to “bring back the fun and fireworks we used to have.” Motivated by this call to action and the overwhelming community support evident from a Flashvote survey in July 2023, where 62.7% of respondents identified fireworks as the most important feature for our Independence Day celebrations, our team was reassembled. This revival was warmly supported by all five IVGID trustees, leading to the establishment of our new nonprofit, Red, White & Tahoe Blue II.

Bringing back the fireworks is not just about lighting up the sky; it’s about reigniting a sense of community pride and participation in a tradition that has historically brought joy and unity to Incline Village. We are committed to ensuring that this tradition continues for the foreseeable future with the support and generosity of our community members and stakeholders.

Are there any trash/environmental concerns bringing back fireworks? Specifically, debris that falls in the lake?

Our fireworks contractor is Lantis Fireworks, Owner Ken Lantis has always been on site for every show we’ve produced in Incline Village since 2007. Ken’s father started the company, and they will produce over 300 fireworks displays this Fourth of July including one at the Nugget in Reno. Ken loves Lake Tahoe and shooting our show. He will be here this year. Lantis Fireworks uses biodegradable product.

As we’ve done in the past, we have scuba divers at dawn on July 5 who clean up any and all debris around the barge and surrounding areas. Each year we’ve come up with less than a bag of debris and mostly come up with bottle caps, cans, sunglasses, and virtually no fireworks product. Beach cleanup is always well done by IVGID along with the team of volunteers throughout the day/evening and into the next morning, regardless of fireworks on the Fourth of July.

~ Jim Smith, president, Red, White & Tahoe Blue II

What is the financial goal?

The financial goal is $150,000 and every donation goes right into the show. The expense includes things like permitting, Lantis Fireworks, barges, and cleanup. It’s a big ask, but the sense of community; the sense of “tribe” that they inspire, is priceless. Every donation, no matter the size, helps bring the magic back and is greatly appreciated! To learn more about Red, White & Tahoe Blue II’s efforts, and to donate, please visit

~ Kristen Miller, public relations and marketing, Red, White & Tahoe Blue II

pot, meet hole: A lingering pothole in the Kings Beach Launching Facility lot. Photo by Susy Jeremias


How many claims did the Nevada Department of Transportation receive for pothole damages to vehicles in Incline Village/Crystal Bay last winter, 2022/23, and this one, 23/24?

The Nevada Department of Transportation is dedicated to providing a safe and connected transportation network for millions of Nevada residents and travelers across more than 5,000 miles of state roadway.

As part of the Tahoe community, we take pride in our work to keep the more than 100 lane miles of Nevada state highway in the Tahoe Basin clear and safe for all. Among other highways, this includes State Route 431 (Mt. Rose Highway) and State Route 28 in Incline Village.

NDOT maintenance staff routinely fill weather-related potholes on state roads. These urgent pothole repairs made in winter help provide a safer and smoother driving surface in the near term, but are less permanent due to winter moisture and temperatures. NDOT also prioritizes more permanent summer pothole and other roadway repairs such as resurfacing, etc. within available funding.

During the winter of 2022/23, a total of 71 pothole claims were placed related to state routes 431 and 28 in the Incline Village/Crystal Bay area and NDOT maintenance staff dedicated 462 person hours to hand-patching potholes on U.S. 50 and state routes 431 and 28. Approximately $46,000 was paid for highway pothole claims in the Incline Village/Crystal Bay area.

Directly before the start of winter 2023/24, NDOT substantially completed a multi-year project to resurface and enhance sections of state routes 28 and 431. Crews used approximately 41,500 tons of asphalt to repave and enhance approximately 14 miles of state routes 28 and 431, centered around Incline Village. The project provided a smoother, preserved highway surface.

Following this repaving project, no pothole-related damage claims were received for State Route 28 or 431 during winter 2023/24.

NDOT diligently maintains state roadways in safe conditions for the traveling public. If a citizen believes they have sustained damage directly related to state roadway maintenance or other NDOT operations, they may submit a claim form. After a thorough investigation, the Attorney General’s Claims Management Office makes all determinations. Claim forms are available by selecting “Help” on the web site, or by calling NDOT at (775) 888-7000.

If a driver believes their vehicle has been damaged on a city or county road, claims must be coordinated through those cities or counties.

~ Meg Ragonese, NDOT public information officer

What about Caltrans — how many claims did the agency receive the past two winters from Tahoe Basin residents?

2022/23: 239 total

2023/24: 6 total

There were no approved claims for both seasons.

~ John O’Connell, Caltrans District 3 public information officer


  • Alex Hoeft

    Alex Hoeft joined Moonshine staff in May 2019, happy to return to the world of journalism after a few years in community outreach. She has both her bachelor's and Master's in journalism, from Brigham Young University and University of Nevada, Reno, respectively. When she's not journalism-ing, she's wrangling her toddler or reading a book — or doing both at the same time.

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