By Rachel Arst McCullough
Welcome back to Owl Post, where I show you an easy way to become a bona fide Truckee/Tahoe citizen — by signing up for the right email newsletters and taking action, big or small. If you didn’t read my first installment, you might be rolling your eyes. Newsletters. Ugh! I get it. You don’t want to read any more emails, your inbox is overflowing, it sounds like work. I’ll give you that. It does take time to stay informed and take part in our community. But it’s worth it, and I’m here to make it super easy for you. I’ve done the vetting and have only the best of the best to share on local government in this installment.
If the word government triggers visions of endless community meetings, you’re not alone. The beauty of being signed up for the right newsletters is that you’ll get an owl’s eye view of what’s happening with local governments, so you can pick and choose where to put your energy.
Here’s a mind bender. Lake Tahoe spans two states and five counties. Even with an incorporated town, Truckee is split between two counties. On top of that, there are about 20 special districts in the region (for example, the Incline Village General Improvement District and the Truckee Sanitary District). There is a lot to keep track of. But, we aim for a government by and for the people and that means that we people need to stay engaged. Sign up for your county and town newsletter at the very least. Consider signing up for all the ones below to be a local wise owl.
Before we get into what to sign up for, I ask that you share what you learn with others. Being a good citizen means sharing what you know. And this is something that you can do very quickly that can provide a huge amount of value to the receiver. For example, I sent a friend hoping to buy their first home an email from Placer County about a down payment assistance program. I sent another friend, who is passionate about the environment and reusable restaurant containers, the application for a Town of Truckee committee related to the same. The list goes on!
Let’s fly on into the details.
The town has a ton of options for email notifications. Check off topics you’re interested in when signing up. Good starting places are your neighborhood, trails, solid waste and recycling, police services, and local emergency information. This month I was happy to take a few minutes to fill out a survey on trail connectivity that the town sent out from the Truckee Trails Foundation. It got me excited about spring hiking!
If you’re only up for one email from the town, select Newsletter. This is the monthly Talk of the Town PDF that comes in English and Spanish. The update I appreciated most over the past couple of months was the play-by-play of the big snowstorm during the holidays. I learned that we have emergency on-call snow removal contractors and that the town removed 2 billion pounds of snow off Truckee roads. I also learned about building reach codes. As part of Truckee’s Climate Action Plan, the town is planning to “reach” beyond state minimum requirements for energy use in building design and construction.
Like for Truckee, there are dozens of options, so pick whatever you’re interested in. Try Broadband in Nevada County or Recreation Master Plan, which lately has been about the Truckee River access in Hirschdale.
If a weekly email is all you want, sign up for “Nevada County News.” Get highlights like the library’s move to re-open for in-person business after Covid or the vegetation removal schedule for Highway 20. An easy call-to-action in March was a request for residents to fill out the Nevada County “Need for Speed” Broadband Survey to help prioritize and fund new projects for us to all have faster internet. This was super quick and is available in both English and Spanish.
Sign up for Placer County’s weekly newsletter. In addition to the expected news on new ordinances and advisory council meetings, feast your eyes on the photo of the week, get a history lesson, or choose from the list of fun things to do this week in the county. Even better, look out for quick opportunities to take action. This winter, the county put out a survey for public feedback on how to rename the public roads and park in Olympic Valley that used the word “squaw.” Because I’ve found so many gems in this newsletter, I’d say sign up for it — even if you don’t live in Placer County.
One caveat on this one: While this newsletter covers government happenings, it is not put out by the government. It’s from Incline Village Crystal Bay Community 1st, a 501(c)(3). There’s certainly nothing eye-catching about this newsletter, but it is a good source of local info, along with the standard meeting notices and schedules. Read about the latest on Boulder Bay, short-term rentals, and the recent abolishment of the Office of the Constable.
I like to get government info straight from the source, but in this case, my attempt to sign up for the IVGID newsletter didn’t process and my request to IVGID for past copies didn’t receive a response. You may sign up for IVGID emails at yourtahoeplace.com/email-subscribe.
By now, you get the idea: Sign up from a list of topics. Try Citizen Involvement, General Announcements, Short-Term Rentals, and District 1, which covers Incline Village. Ready to take action? Washoe County is taking a good look at its approach to growth, and the staff will be using the Envision Washoe 2040 survey responses as input in developing a plan. Fill it out!
While you can choose from dozens of topics and how often you want to receive them, News and Hot Topics is a good way to learn about happenings from a variety of county departments. Recent news included a fundraiser for Animal Services, a call to action to nominate a senior for the El Dorado Senior of the Year Award 2022, and an update on the progress on property tax refund checks for properties that lost value from Caldor Fire damages. One of the hottest topics lately in our area is short-term rentals. Check off all three options for Vacation Home Rentals to get these updates.
Happy reading. Stay tuned for the next Owl Post installment in July in the quarterly Think Local section.