Sunday, May 18, 2008

Alcohol sales seminar


May 16, 2008

Time: 11:00 a.m.

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office will be hosting two Alcohol Sales Compliance Seminars on Tuesday, May 20th. The seminars are two hours in length, and will be held at the Horizon Hotel and Casino, Stateline NV. The first class begins at 9:00 am; the second at 11:00 am.

The seminars are designed to instruct business owners, managers, supervisors, clerks, bartenders, waitresses, or any other person involved in the legal sales of alcohol on the following:

- Federal, State and County Liquor Laws

- Douglas County Liquor Board Policy

- Establishing a valid company policy for sales of alcohol

- Steps for preventing alcohol sales to underage youths and limiting liability

- Consequences for violating liquor sales laws

- How to check ID’s thoroughly

- Recognizing characteristics of false ID’s

- Questions to ask customers attempting to purchase alcohol

- Dealing with hostile or uncooperative customers

The classes are free to attend. For enrollment, contact Captain David Aymami (775-586-7251) or Sergeant Jim Halsey (775-782-9931).

Information provided at these seminars has limited liability of many businesses and employees by reducing or eliminating illegal sales of alcohol to minors within Douglas County.

The classes come highly recommended by Sheriff Ron Pierini for owners/employees of any business which sells alcohol on or off premises.

Geocaching in Tahoe in June



Explore Lake Tahoe at One of the World’s Largest Two-Day Geocaching Events

(South Shore Lake Tahoe, Calif./Nev.) – The annual Blue Lake Tahoe Geocaching Treasure Hunt at South Shore ( is back for a third rendition, Saturday and Sunday, June 28 – 29. Nearly 100 prizes will be stashed throughout the area waiting to be stalked by an anticipated 500 ambitious GPS-wielding trackers.

The Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority will offer a variety of prizes to reflect the unique nature of the area such as certificates to popular Tahoe restaurants, concerts, festival tickets, boat cruises, overnight accommodations, rounds of golf, bowling, ice skating and various local activities. For footage from last year’s event, visit

“The combination of Tahoe’s appeal, the unique format, the social activities and the area-themed cache prizes all make this Treasure Hunt one of the country’s most desirable,” said John Chen, CEO, Playtime Inc. and event organizer. “The Tahoe fun factor – awarding the same prizes for first finders as well as random raffle winners – also makes it one of the fastest growing events.”

The Tahoe Treasure Hunt will be held Saturday, June 28 from 11:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. and Sunday, June 29 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Free GPS devices are available both days to the first 42 teams each day. Teams are also encouraged to use personal GPS devices.

There’s also a final raffle and celebration party, Sunday at 5 p.m. at Embassy Suites Lake Tahoe Hotel & Ski Resort, where geocachers turn in their Treasure Maps and receive a raffle entry for every correct stamp for another chance to win valuable prizes.

Geocaching is an easy-to-play activity that combines technology with a traditional treasure hunt. A hand-held global positioning device utilizes coordinates to decipher directional clues. Caches, or prize boxes, are hidden in various places – at Tahoe those can include the Emerald Bay lookout point, behind a casino slot machine, along the Lake Tahoe Rim Trail, near someone’s lucky tree or where people rest in peace! To learn more:

“It was well worth the 500 plus mile drive from San Diego; this was our first trip to the lake, but certainly won’t be the last,” said one of last year’s participants from San Diego.

“Even though we have lived in the area for over 30 years, we still found places that were new to us, and our three children had such a great experience working together trying to find the caches with us,” said last year’s Pirates geocaching team. “South Lake Tahoe was such a beautiful backdrop with perfect weather.”

Geocachers can register online at or the day of the event at Embassy Suites. Registration is required in order to receive the Passport containing clue information along with special offers for visiting geocachers. GPS rentals are available from 10:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Sunday.

That same weekend, if geocachers look up, they’ll also witness The 19th Annual Lake in the Sky Air Show. The daring-do of aerobatics, formation flights and stunt planes, along with static displays will mark the 50th Anniversary of the Lake Tahoe Airport. For more information:

For South Shore Lake Tahoe lodging and packages: For information on the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority, 1-800-AT-TAHOE (1-800-288-2463).

SLT City Manager's report -- May 12, 2008

Electronic Version
May 12, 2008


“In matters of style, swim with the current.
In matters of principle, stand like a rock.
Thomas Jefferson

“It is immensely moving when a mature person…is aware of the responsibility for the consequences of his conduct and really feels responsibility with heart and soul…”
Max Weber
In this Edition:

State Budget – “The Empire Strikes Back?”
Tahoe Transportation District Moving On
Harrison Avenue Options – Balancing it All
Anti Gang and Anti Graffiti Presentation Ready
Bi-State Fire Commission Recommendations – Keeping us Fire Safe
Parking on Venice Drive – Cooperation Needed
Expansion of Business Opportunities on Ski Run Boulevard

STATE BUDGET UPDATE – “The Empire Strikes Back?”
(Quoted portion below reprinted from the League of California Cities)

In the April 8, 2008 edition, the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) was proposing stripping cities and counties of Safety Sales Tax funds to fund probation. This anti-safety initiative has been vigorously resisted by the League of California Cities and city councils (including South Lake Tahoe) throughout the State. As you will now see below, the LAO now has some new ideas to balance the State budget. Pitting local government entities against one another is not a solution; it is a sad state of affairs.
“Legislative Analyst's Revised Parole Realignment Proposal Includes Take of City VLF Funds
In a May 5 letter to Senate Budget Committee Chair Denise Moreno Ducheny (D-San Diego), the Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) submitted a revised proposal on how the Legislature could successfully transition the supervision responsibilities of state parolees to counties. The LAO's revised proposal contains various suggested modifications governing the number of parolees eligible, excluding those with prior violent convictions, and alternatives for revoking parole.
In the LAO's original proposal, the state would fund the realignment of parole services from the state to counties with $178 million (all) of city Proposition 172 public safety funds, $188 million of property taxes shifted from water and waste enterprise special districts to counties, and taking $130 million in administrative revenues from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The League and the California Police Chiefs Association vigorously oppose the idea to take city public safety dollars, and the special districts strongly defended their property taxes.
The LAO's May 5 letter contains an "alternative financing" proposal that includes two basic features:
1) Shifting Vehicle Licensing Fee (VLF) revenue that currently goes to cities (estimated by the LAO at $149 million) and the DMV (estimated by the LAO at $363 million) to the counties to support state parole realignment. (To simplify, for cities VLF revenue for FY 07-08 amounts to about $4.50 per capita plus special allocations for inhabited annexations since 2004.)
2) Shifting all property tax revenues currently going to water and wastewater enterprise special districts to counties and giving counties the option to: a) offset some or all city VLF losses, b) supplement county resources for the new parole responsibilities, c) use funds to contract back with special districts for water/waste disposal services, or d) give property tax reductions to taxpayers.
The League is continuing to analyze this proposal, including its potential legality. Whatever the policy merits of shifting state parole responsibility to county probation, the LAO's initial financing proposal, as well as the May 5 revision, serves as a stark reminder to local governments that a perspective still exists among some in Sacramento that the state's budget priorities supersede all community priorities and conditions. Proposals which attempt to pit cities, counties and special districts against each other for the state's gain should be strongly rejected.”(My emphasis)”

The Director of Public Works reports on the following actions of the TTD:

• The TTD is requesting that each public agency fund future TTD staffing and operations in the amount of $10K annually. More information on the specifics will go to the elected board members on the TTD.
• The TTD would like to purchase used trolleys from the City of Detroit and have the City utilize its AQ Mitigation Funds for the purchase of one of the units. The vehicles are supposed to be in good shape and Detroit is asking about $29K each.
• The City of South Lake Tahoe is in the process of purchasing new CNG buses. North Shore members of the TTD discussed mechanical concerns regarding the CNG engines as they have had considerable problems.
• Apparently there are 22 vehicles that are no longer operative that are parked at the City’s Transit Corporation Yard or at a ATM leased facility that need to be disposed of. 2 of those are owned by the TTD and their disposal was approved today.
• The City’s request for CMAQ ($1.8 million) funds for the Pioneer Trail Pathway and the Sierra Boulevard Intersection were not approved. Instead, funds were approved for El Dorado County in the amount of $850K for Sawmill and LTBLVD Bike Trail and $200K for Blue Go fair boxes and outreach. The remaining $750K will be dispersed in October when a new allocation of CMAQ funds will be received. As the remaining funds are not sufficient to fully fund either project we submitted, we will re-apply when the new allocation is received in October.

As previously reported and discussed in management observation reports, the TTD needs to make a presentation to the City Council that discusses their goals and plans for the future and how their work will improve the delivery of transportation services to the City and Region within available revenue and what steps they plan to take to attract new Federal and State revenues for system operations. Requests for funding from TTD participants will need to be made of the budget process. In addition, to the extent that City government is being asked to use City Air Quality Mitigation funds for purchase of vehicles for TTD activities, the City Council should get a complete picture of the request and value to City residents before committing these dollars.

City staff is examining the previously scavenged busses operated by ATM to determine who salvaged the parts and where the parts went. The current operator of the system and previous operator have been contacted.

As I reported briefly to the City Council, City staff met recently with staff of CTC to discuss the status of possible alternatives for the improvement of Harrison Avenue. A new round of meetings with owners and operators of businesses there need to be held to discuss further improvement options and the associated costs and benefits.

During the next round of discussions with business owners and operators on Harrison we all agree that it is important for us to fully discuss with them design issues, the costs of improvements (e.g. curb and gutter, sidewalks, parking, lighting, landscaping) and the opportunities and challenges facing local business there with any option.

While there is opportunity for grant funds to make improvements in this area, City government and funding agencies need to be sensitive to and have insight about the issues facing business owners and operators. These are not the best of times for local businesses, and government officials and staff need to clearly understand these issues before proposing changes to the area. A reasonable question for business operators to ask, is how the proposed improvements help business and help them to better serve the public?

While improvements discussed in the past for Harrison Avenue would have cosmetic benefits, we now understand and appreciate that Harrison Avenue is a functioning business area and changes should not jeopardize existing businesses or the solvency of the area.


The Police Chief and Police Department personnel have been working with School District officials and community members to take steeps that appropriately discourage the growth of gangs and graffiti in the community. Effective anti-gang and anti-graffiti measures involve a wide variety of groups and organizations who work cooperatively with the Police Department.

Chief Daniels and Department personnel now are ready to make a presentation to the City Council on these anti-gang and anti-graffiti efforts and further steps that may be needed. All of us want to see our youth lead productive and useful lives and grow into being responsible adults. In doing so, we are also mindful that all segments of our community cannot and should not tolerate any developing gang and graffiti activity. Alternatives to anti-social activities must be found and promoted and underage violators and their parents must be held accountable for their acts. Gangs and graffiti have no place in South Lake Tahoe and must be discouraged and driven out.


I’ve asked the Fire Chief to provide the City Council with a summary of the findings of the Bi-State Fire Commission and to identify the significant policy actions that are needed to fully and completely support fire prevention in the City and Basin. Now that the Commission has completed its work, local governments must work collectively to ensure that proposed changes are made by regulatory agencies and we must enlist the support of State legislators, the Governor, and the Federal government to achieve this important public safety objective. Catastrophic fire that results from poor fuels management practices must never occur again.


The City Council held a productive and engaging conversation on the parking of boats and trailers on Venice Drive east of Tahoe Keys Boulevard at its last regular meeting on May 6, 2008. The issue that has been raised in the past that the currently parking arrangement has boats and trailers parking on both sides of the street that block pedestrian and bicycle lanes and have motor vehicles parked close to environmentally sensitive waters.

The City Council instructed the City Manager to contact adjacent land and business owners and operators to meet in the near term to come up with alternatives to the current parking situation that address outstanding problems, do not impair business operations, protect pedestrians and bicyclists, protect adjacent neighborhoods, are cost neutral to City government and are environmentally friendly. The City Council believes that by all parties working cooperatively and discussing these issues, we can arrive at a mutually agreeable approach that avoids City government being forced to put in place further restrictions on parking in the area. Notification of Council action and a request to meet was made on May 6th by the City Manager.


City government and the RDA own buildable parcels on Ski Run Boulevard and Ski Run and Highway 50 that have great potential to be developed for commercial or other business purposes. This office will bring forward to the City Council and RDA at their meeting of May 20, 2008 a proposal to allow City staff to develop a competitive request for proposals and begin solicitations for developing the subject vacant properties to improve business activity on Ski Run, better utilize vacant land, and generate jobs and new sales tax revenues.

City Manager

SLT city manager comments on cops















Thursday, May 15, 2008

Phys ed issues in Lake Tahoe

By Kathryn Reed

With baby boomers retiring and about two-thirds of U.S. residents being overweight, health is becoming a greater priority. It begins at the kindergarten level in both South Shore K-12 districts and continues at Lake Tahoe Community College.
Physical activity courses have long been popular at the college, but the institution is taking it to the next level. This is the first year students have the opportunity to pursue an associate of arts degree in Physical Education and Health.
Students must take a core 28 units. Those focusing on Exercise Science must take another 11.75 units in classes like Nutrition for Fitness and Sport, and Care and Prevention of Athletic Injuries. While the Health segment of the major is 11 units, with classes like Nutrition, and Human Sexuality.
“We decided to do a program that would better fit our students’ needs,” explained Cynthea Preston, LTCC dean of instruction.
The curriculum is geared toward preparing students for employment in the fitness world as well as transferring to a four-year college to pursue a bachelor’s degree.
Of the 13 students in Tim Johnson’s Care and Prevention of Athletic Injuries course last fall, some were contemplating pursuing an AA, others want to become personal trainers or physical therapists, some are in it for personal knowledge.
“I want to stay here and focus on seniors and kids,” said student Judy Sabo as to why she was in the class.
Tufon Kalbassi wants to get his physical trainer certificate and then decide about physical therapy school.
With the state signing off on paperwork for the program after the start of this school year, the college was not able to publicize the major earlier.
Even though physical activity is a main goal of the K-12 districts, enlightening students about why that’s necessary and how good nutrition plays a role are components of the programs on both sides of the state line.
A couple years ago Nevada revamped its phys ed program, which falls under the wellness policy.
“The emphasis is on a lifetime of health and activity in all of our PE programs, whether they’re taking basketball or a general PE class,” said Nancy Bryant, Douglas County School District assistant superintendent. “We want to give them skills to be active as a lifestyle.”
Elementary students must have 60 minutes of physical education each week. Specialized instructors and regular classroom teachers are part of mix.
Middle school students get one-half credit for every 60 hours of PE. They must have one credit by the end of eighth grade.
High school students need two credits to graduate. They can petition to have a sport or band count as one unit.
All students are supposed to get 30 minutes of activity a day. Recess, lunch and walking from class to class count as being up and moving.
California is a little more stringent with its rules. Elementary students are supposed to get 200 minutes of physical education every two weeks. The district has three instructors dedicated to phys ed instruction. They are able to provide all but 20 minutes of the requirements. The classroom teacher makes up the deficit.
“PE standards include a whole bunch of things like health and nutrition. Teachers found out they were already doing a lot of that,” explained Steve Hayward, who teaches PE at Bijou. “We have encouraged teachers if they do five minutes of stretching every morning or go out five minute before recess and jog around the playground, they will have the 20 minutes for the week.”
Nonetheless, Hayward longs for the days when the district had PE specialists at each elementary school. He’s thankful the program has grown back to three instructors, but hopes more will be added so he and others don’t have to keep dealing with 30 or 40 kids at once. Class-size reduction is not adhered to for PE.
At the middle school, the sixth-graders get PE everyday, while the seventh- and eighth-graders who are on a block schedule participate in it every other day.
“PE instruction has changed a lot through the last decade. It’s very standards driven now,” Hayward said. “It helps kids do a specific skill at each grade level. If we can instill healthy habits at an early age, they won’t be bumps on the couch. We want them to enjoy physical activity.”
Because of the 4x4 schedule at South Tahoe High, the district was awarded a two-year waiver from the state in September. Students are supposed to get 400 minutes of PE every two weeks. Students on 4x4 get the equivalent in one term.
Ninth grade PE is mandatory, while PE 2 can be taken as a sophomore, junior or senior. Sports no longer counts as a PE credit.
“Physical education in school is not a mini sports thing. Sports is something different. Physical education is a smorgasbord … body movement, dance, noncompetitive games, total inclusion,” Hayward said.

Loding-air travel partnership?

By Kathryn Reed

Despite the scary news about airlines that seems to make headlines every other day, a couple folks pitched the idea to the South Lake Tahoe Lodging Association that it should shell out $50,000 to market air travel into Reno.
Ronele Klingensmith and Knud Svendsen touted the benefits of their five-year-old coalition on April 10. No action was taken by the board. (This reporter is an associate member of the lodging association through her massage business.)
“Our mission is to build air service,” Klingensmith said.
Members of the airline coalition include North Lake Tahoe Resort Association, Ski Lake Tahoe, Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority and Incline Village’s visitors’ bureau.
Jerry Bindel, president of the local lodging association and general manager of Lakeland Village, asked what the benefit would be to his association or independent hoteliers when LTVA is already onboard as a voting partner.
“The major advantage is you would have an additional voice and bring additional money for the things we do,” Svendsen said.
“We are missing the voice of smaller properties,” Klingensmith said.
She said the group has worked with Southwest, Alaska, Delta, Continental, U.S. Airways, Express Jet and others to assist with promoting the Reno-Tahoe area. It’s all about marketing, they said.
Svendsen said Southwest’s flight out of Baltimore that connects in Chicago before landing in Reno will be even more critical to this area once the convention center is completed. He said money and national associations are based in the nation’s capital, making Baltimore a potential conventioneer launching point for South Lake.
He mentioned how his group is bringing a media entourage to the South Shore the third week of June and that if a South Shore property were part of his group, then they’d benefit by possible free publicity as the group swings by.
In other SLTLA news:
• B Gorman, executive director of the South Shore Chamber of Commerce, said her organization is working with North Lake officials to come up with basin-wide economic indicators that will be revealed at a lunch this month.
• Nicole Cox, with LTVA, touted the June 21-22 Opening Days on the Lake. The paddle-wheel race will be June 22. Last year the bike valet "parked" 400 two-wheelers and is aiming to triple that number next month.
• Pat Ronan, lodging member and GM of Lake Shore Lodge & Spa, said the LTVA summer ad campaign will begin this month. It includes Opening Days, unlike last year. That’s because in ’07 the final permit wasn’t secured until three days before the event.

Trail building in Tahoe

Trail building training along the TRT

The 3rd Annual Trail Building and Crew Leadership Training will be May 16-18.
The cost is $65 and includes instruction, lodging, food, training materials and transportation to work sites. Participants learn how to design, build and maintain trails.
Participating organizations include the Sierra Front Recreation Coalition, Tahoe Rim Trail Association, Carson Valley Trails Association, Pacific Crest Trail Association, Truckee Meadows Trails Association, Truckee Trails Foundation, Truckee Donner Land Trust, Nevada State Parks, Washoe County Parks, California State Parks and the U.S. Forest Service.
For more information, contact the Tahoe Rim Trail Association at (775) 298-0239. Register is online at

Unauthorized magazine peddlers

Unauthorized magazine peddlers in Douglas County

At least one person has been arrested by Douglas County sheriff’s deputies for allegedly representing themselves as area high school students collecting funds for school events through sales of magazines.
The fraud was happening in Zephyr Cove, Cave Rock and Glenbrook last month.
The people in question are not legally licensed to conduct such sales in Douglas County, nor are they local students. It is unknown if they were casing residences to later burglarize those locations, according to a sheriff’s press release.
If someone shows up at your residence to conduct door-to-door sales, ask to see their permit or call the sheriff’s office at (775) 782-9911. Deputies caution residents to never allow strangers, even valid peddlers, inside the residence.

Area code scam

Returning calls to area codes 809, 284 and 876 can cost big bucks.
The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department in a press release said this is how it works: “A caller will leave a message similar to, ‘Hey, this is Karen. Sorry I missed you--get back to us quickly. I have something important to tell you.’ The caller will repeat a phone number beginning with 809. Other message ploys can be in the form of a sick/injured/deceased relative, someone arrested or you have won a wonderful prize/lottery. When you call back the number you will typically get a recording that strings you along. The longer they keep you on the phone the more they can charge you. Charges have been reported in the range of $25/minute and up.”

Gang issues in Tahoe

april tahoe unedited

Editor’s note: On the following pages and in the coming months, we will be looking at a variety of social issues affecting youth on the South Shore – from gangs to the judicial system to social agencies and more.

By Kathryn Reed

Disconnects between parents and kids, between the community and schools, between law enforcement and parents of troubled youth are being bridged through a task force that was formed more than a year ago.
Issues of unrest at South Tahoe High School are repeatedly said to be a reflection of what is going on the community at-large. Fights at the school can be the result of an event or an exchange of words that occurred elsewhere over the weekend. Tagging is a form of communication for gangs as well as a symptom of boredom for kids who have nothing better to do and no place to hang.
Language barriers are just that – an obstacle that must be acknowledged and dealt with. Cultural differences are real. It is impossible to merely tell someone to figure out the American way and become assimilated.
South Lake Tahoe’s population is one-quarter Latino.

Help for parents

About 80 people – mostly parents -- showed up at South Tahoe Middle School on March 25 to listen to a panel of ten talk about what Latino parents can do to better communicate with their children and the schools they attend. More than 200 people showed up at a similar meeting last fall.
This second Youth Task Force meeting for parents conducted in Spanish with translators for English-only speakers had representatives from South Tahoe High and South Tahoe Middles schools, Tahoe Youth & Family Services, mental health, probation, SLT Police Department, county health department and the women’s center.
Arturo Rangel, who facilitated the meeting and works at the college and Family Resource Center, said afterward, “We are dealing with a deeply rooted cultural thing.”
He, like many in the room, came to Tahoe from Mexico; from small towns where gangs don’t exist. Rangel said parents don’t communicate with people in the education system unless a problem exists. This is counter to the U.S. system where parents are encouraged to attend open houses, back to school nights, sign off on homework, volunteer in classrooms and chat with their child’s teacher at the grocery store.
Delicia Spees came to the United States from Bolivia. She grew-up in Illinois, but has lived in South Lake for 33 years. She is the director of the Family Resource Center. She knows what it is like to speak only Spanish in a country that speaks English.
“Kids assimilate and parents are in isolation. The language acquisition is hard. Most are parents who work two jobs. It’s a cultural shock. Most have very little education,” Spees said.
She believes the lack of a bilingual officer in the South Lake Tahoe Police Department is part of the problem because kids don’t translate the full story between officers and parents. Spees related a story of when she was in elementary school and didn’t tell her mom everything the teacher was saying. Her mom called her on it after the meeting. Spees was shocked her mom knew something was amiss. Her mom set out to learn English so she was never at a disadvantage.
Police officials admit they have youths translate for them. They contend this is not a problem.
But, Spees, who says she was a good kid, says if she didn’t translate an entire conversation, then what are older kids who might be questioned about a fight or tagging going to do? How can parents help if they don’t know the full story?
Parents seem to be scared and uncertain about their rights as evidenced by questions they asked last month. Immigration issues trouble them. Will INS be called? Will Child Protective Services be called? Will their child be removed from the house?
Police officer Shannon Laney told the group the department isn’t concerned with the immigration issue. They want to resolve local problems, and ideally prevent them.
“We aren’t so much to be feared, we’re there to help,” Laney said. He encouraged parents to call the department. He said officers can talk to the children to find out what is going on. “Go through their binders. Look at drawing. If you think they are involved win a gang or associated with people who are, call the school.”
No one from CPS was at the meeting, but it was noted to parents that the agency is not called anymore for Latino families than Anglo – it’s all about a child’s safety.
Spees said parents are afraid to punish kids – that their children have threatened to call police or CPS on them.
“Parents have the right to spank kids,” Spees said.
Repeatedly parents were told that schools welcome calls. Resources are available from each of the agencies in attendance.
Most important, they were told to know their kids, to talk to them, to meet their friends, peruse what sites they are visiting on the Internet, to tell them they are loved.

The task force

The Youth Task Force is comprised of about 20 individuals from a variety of agencies, law enforcement, area schools and parents who are trying to make a difference. They often meet monthly.
“A lot of parents said we need communication, don’t tell me what is going on in the schools, tell me what I can do, what are my rights, the rights of my kids and what resources are out there,” Spees said before the meeting. She is on the task force.
Brooke Laine became involved in the task force when a son’s friend got into a fight at South Tahoe High. The parents of the child who was involved in the fight didn’t want to be quoted because they’ve filed charges against the youngster who allegedly started the fight by cold-cocking their child.
“You have to teach kids there is a difference between right and wrong,” said Laine, a South Lake Tahoe native with two boys at STHS.
She is encouraged by the task force – saying it is one of the few groups she has been involved with that is mostly task driven.
With the school resource officer from SLTPD on medical leave, it has been months since STHS has had a regular law enforcement presence. The task force helped get the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department and California Highway Patrol to agree to stop by when they can – not just when a crisis occurs.
A safety issue at the school involves how some of the doors lock at the school. Principal Ivone Larson said new ones are on order.
A goal of the task force is to get the community involved, to not tolerate graffiti by removing it quickly. But this isn’t happening. The only location quickly covered up was in early spring when Tahoe Valley Elementary was splattered with gang markings.
“They use tagging as a method of communicating. We can’t be complacent about that. We can’t be OK with that. We can’t allow our community to accept that that’s OK,” Laine said.
Tahoe isn’t alone with its graffiti problem. The San Francisco Chronicle has had several articles this year about troubles in Bay Area cities.
In Redding, law enforcement officials and the city manager came together to have a no-tolerance stance on graffiti. Kids in juvi hall paint over gang symbols. The North State city has a trailer full of paint just for this purpose.
At one Tahoe task force meeting store managers came to talk about thefts, alcohol and other issues pertaining to youths.
Larson is also a big proponent of getting the community involved and not letting the unrest be deemed solely a school issue.
“Working with things like putting in the track (at South Tahoe Middle School) unites a community,” Larson said. “When facilities look good, students take pride and interact with those facilities in a whole different light. Creating programs that engage kids with our new facilities will do that.”

South Tahoe High

Larson says the violence at the school has picked up since the campus has been without a school resource officer. She believes the officer’s presence is a preventative measure to fights.
She added that since the series of 11 arrests earlier this year things have calmed down on Gardner Mountain.
The district is in the process of hiring a third full-time security guard for the school. This will be the first female hire. The STHS grad is expected to be onboard this month if all the background checks pan out.
Staff, counselors and administrators patrol the campus before and after school and during breaks.
“The cameras have been fabulous for both being proactive and clarifying what happened,” Larson said of the devices installed last year.
She hopes if the June facilities bond passes that the high school will be reconfigured to make it more of a closed-in campus where oversight will be easier. Plus, it will provide for a student union-cafeteria that doesn’t currently exist.
When it comes to discipline, administrators can dole out a five-day suspension. Beyond that it goes to the school board. In-house, after school and Saturday suspensions are types of punishment. The state Education Code dictates a lot of what can be done. Peer mediation is something Larson says has been well received.
“It’s been very effective for students to learn this process. They learn they can resolve issues without violence,” Larson said.
Police are called when it is serious, she said.
Several people have pointed to the A Team as being a huge positive force for STHS and Mount Tallac students. Its name is derived from the three primary forces’ first names starting with A. They are Amy Jackson, counselor at Tallac; Aaron Barnett, counselor at STHS; and Adrian Escobedo, community liaison for the schools.
“The A Team came together this year after the gang stuff in September. We were concerned about retaliation and what the next step would be,” Jackson said. “We thought we might have some impact on some of the kids who may be involved.”
Many kids they are dealing with don’t know their options. They don’t know about education opportunities beyond Tahoe or jobs beyond what their parents do. Many haven’t experienced Tahoe’s natural resources.
“We have a million water holes around and most Latino kids don’t swim. How do you think a family is going to afford a ski pass let alone the equipment that goes with that? It’s a wonderful town, but (Latino parents) don’t understand the resources,” Spees, with the Family Resource Center, said.
She doesn’t believe the community should entirely pick up the pieces, but that it needs to understand the problems and what is going on.
Communication – that appears to be key to resolving many problems in town.
Escobedo started his job in March 2007. He’s a resource for all kids and parents. He connects with parents and helps students connect with the community via jobs and getting them to know Tahoe more.
The A Team has received support from the town. Heavenly allowed a group to go up on the Gondola – a first for these kids. Sierra-at-Tahoe let them ski and board for a day – another first. The city Parks and Rec Department let them play broom ball – yes, a first.
“We are providing them opportunities that perhaps they haven’t received because of their culture or economics,” Escobedo said.

Dangers for youths on Internet

tahoe never published ..

A lesson in Internet seediness for kids, parents

By Kathryn Reed

Sixteen-year-old Jane likes to party, hang with friends – she has hundreds of them on MySpace – and isn’t wearing much in her pictures. She identifies herself and her friends by first names. In chat rooms she flirts with just about anyone. She lives and works here, and isn’t hesitant to describe what she has on or the things she’s in to.
Is this your daughter?
Or is Jane an undercover cop trying to lure would-be predators?
The description is fictitious, but could be real. People reveal more about themselves than they realize in online profiles and chat rooms. They become easy prey.
Parents and students got a dose of reality earlier this school year when El Dorado County sheriff’s Detective Dave Lawrence told them about the underbelly of the Internet.
A search of MySpace showed 47 pages and 1,832 people with the ZIP code 91650. Include the other South Shore postal codes and the numbers just keep climbing. Some are businesses, some are individuals, some are tasteful, some are raunchy.
MySpace isn’t the only online venue for all ages to brag, share info with friends and let it all hang out. The letting it all hang out part is what adults are worried about.
Even private pages are easy to access, warns the detective. Everything online is public. If a webpage is deleted, someone else may have saved it. It’s never really gone.
Parents were told that their kids should literally know all the “friends” listed on their page – as should the child.
St. Theresa School Principal Danette Winslow admitted one of her son’s had 238 “friends” listed at one time. She has found 12-year-old students with their photos online saying they are 16. Alumni, former parents – they are a click away for the world to see.
Students at her school were given a primer on the dos and don’ts of the Internet, while parents had their own session.
“I think kids are more educated about computers than we are. I wanted to get a little education about what’s out there,” said parent Jeff Valeny.
It was obvious from questions by different parents that they have never text messaged, been in a chat room and don’t know how to begin an instant message. They didn’t realize how easy it is for strangers to interact with their children.
“Many problems students have begin at MySpace. Ask your child what they are spending time on so you have better control,” JoAnn Hernandez, South Tahoe Middle School counselor told a group of parents in March. She said MySpace can foster bitterness toward individuals and groups of kids and that it becomes a type of bullying.
Detective Lawrence said at the seventh-grade level youths start exploring the Internet more. He said 71 percent of parents stop monitoring Internet usage when kids hit 14, and 20 percent of parents never monitor what’s on the screen.
Lawrence prowls around online as a girl with the intent of snaring bad guys.
“They have to step over the line before we can do something,” he said. The arrest in April 2007 of Raymond Benjamin Pedroza and subsequent 71-month prison sentence is an example of crossing the line. The Las Vegas man came to South Lake Tahoe to meet and have sex with who he thought was a 13-year-old girl. Pedroza was tracked down via Internet chat rooms and MySpace.

Meyers Visitors Center

april tahoe .. unedited

By Kathryn Reed

Looking for the Ponderosa Ranch? The Meyers Visitors Center has details.
Locals know the “Bonanza” set hasn’t existed for nearly four years. But tourists are unsuspectingly sent to Incline Village.
That’s all going to change soon. The California Tahoe Conservancy awarded a $74,800 grant to the Forest Service to upgrade the center that it runs.
One of the major improvements will be to the interpretive panels that haven’t been changed in 12 years. Lisa O’Daly, recreation program manager for CTC, said the panels look good as long as you don’t read them. The panels were supposed to have a seven- to 10-year life expectancy.
“Updated interpretive and informational panels have been identified as the most important means of improving visitor service at this facility, particularly at off-peak hours when staff are not available,” the staff report says.
Board member Kathay Lovell asked that information about Explore Tahoe near Stateline be included in the updates.
When the facility was built in 1987 it was supposed to be temporary. But no permanent site has been developed.
It is staffed by the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority from May-October. More than 14,000 people passed through in 2007. The numbers are low because of the Angora Fire.

South Tahoe dog park

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By Kathryn Reed

"Tahoe is so dog friendly." It's often heard, but the reality is walking a dog off-leash on the South Shore can come with a lecture and a fine. And a leash doesn't always mean the four-legged family member is welcome.
All this is about to end. The City Council last fall allocated $35,000 for a dog park. The romping grounds at Bijou Community Park will open no later than July 1.
The dog park, which doesn't have a formal name, will be on the south side near the exit. It will not displace any of the existing uses in the 35-acre park. Years ago, an archery range operated where the dog park will go.
No changes will be made to the land.
"It has a slight uphill run. The top of the property has a good amount of nice big trees," said Gary Moore, director of parks and recreation for South Lake Tahoe. “The bottom of the property near Al Tahoe Boulevard is more open and exposed. It will have some grass area, sod in it, but it will mostly be natural-scape."
A six-foot cyclone fence will enclose the nearly one-acre parcel. Part of it will be sectioned off for big dogs, the other for small dogs. Drinking fountains for the furry critters and separate ones for their people will be installed. Benches will also be added.
Garbage cans and mitts to pickup up doo-doo will be provided.
No leashes necessary. Tennis balls and Frisbees welcome. It's up to the owners to figure out which side of the park to have their pet run around in.
"Dog parks seem to be very good at self-policing. People who go to dog parks are generally good dog owners," Moore said.
Moore said he expects to spend about $30,000 to get the park running. The remainder of the budgeted money will be spent as needs arise. He expects the park maintenance bill to be about $3,000 per year. This can be partly absorbed by current staff doing maintenance and landscape work.
The park will be free, open from sunrise to sunset. While snow is on the ground, it will be closed. Moore expects it to be closed from about Thanksgiving to Easter.
"It will be a neat amenity for our community and for dog lovers. Ant it's a really appropriate use for Bijou," Moore said.

LTCC award

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LTCC's effort to educate younger students rewarded

The Corporation for Education Network Initiatives last month awarded one of four California 2008 Networking Awards to Lake Tahoe Community College for educational and research projects.
Approximately 48,000 students in the class of 2006 failed to receive their high school diploma because they couldn't pass the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE). The Legislature made block grants available through the California Community College Chancellor's Office to colleges wanting to serve these students. The Butte-Glenn and Lake Tahoe Community College districts applied. Finding they shared a common vision about how students should be served, they entered into a partnership, planting the seed that became "CAHSEE: Stepping into Your Future" initiative.
Butte-Glenn and LTCC and their partners devised a program to serve students via online classes. This helped reach students beyond the traditional classroom model.
Teachers, faculty, and staff from kindergarten through post-graduate education, public libraries, and nonprofit community technology centers have worked together to develop two hybrid courses that prepare students across the state for the exam.

County health cuts

april tahoe mt. news unedited

Public health care services eliminated

El Dorado County Public Health Department will be offering fewer services as of July1 because state budget cuts are trickling down.
Personal health care services, including family planning services like pregnancy testing and birth control, breast and pap exams, and child health exams will be axed.
The South Lake Tahoe and Placerville offices will remain open with a stronger focus on communicable disease control and education. The clinics will continue to offer immunizations for children and vulnerable populations, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases and tuberculosis, and screening and referral for HIV and hepatitis C.
The cuts should save the county approximately $600,000 per year. Individuals with questions or concerns may contact Margaret Williams, (530) 621-6243.

Angora: Global warming

april tahoe mt. news unedited

Study: Angora Fire contributing to global warming

A study released March 12 of the Angora Fire and three others in the state says together they will release about 38 million tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
The fires themselves and the rotting dead trees are the source of the gases.
The study was conducted for the nonprofit Forest Foundation. The study is based on a ground-breaking analytical tool that allows scientists to estimate greenhouse gases emitted by wildfire and subsequent forest decay, according to a press release. Vegetation density, tree species, mortality caused by a fire, and the removal of dead trees and replanting new trees are part of the equation.
Besides the Angora Fire, the Fountain Fire, which destroyed nearly 60,000 acres east of Redding in August 1992; the Star Fire, which burned more than 16,000 acres in September 2001 in the Tahoe and Eldorado national forests; and the Moonlight Fire, which burned more than 65,000 acres in September 2007 in and around the Plumas National Forest in the northern Sierra Nevada were part of the study.
For a copy of the report, go to

Barton health check up

april tahoe mt. news unedited

By Kathryn Reed

Being called fat is not something I’m accustomed to. I had a hissy fit.
To show them I went and got a large fry with a side of ranch dressing. Honestly.
That fateful February day was my own doing. I had signed up for the free medical checkup through Barton Memorial Hospital. It started well.
Cindy in Occupational Health told me I have the ears of a young child. I hear a tad better out of my left ear than my right. No obvious reason since I put the phone to my left ear when I’m not wearing a headset.
I have a sheet I can use to chart my hearing (loss?) through the years. Cindy says a hearing test is something to be done every year.
From the hospital I drove to Barton University where the rest of the checks were administered. Sue took my weight, asked for my height and age and then hooked up a device to test my body composition.
What looks like a credit card receipt printout tells me my body fat, body mass index, estimates how much of my body is water, how much of my weight is fat, how much is essential fat, reserve fat and excess fat.
“Excess Fat causes health risks such as heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. These risks can be minimized by diet and exercise,” the form says.
I have excess fat. I jumped to the conclusion this means I’m fat. I have 3 pounds of excess fat. The form says “risky” under the 3 pounds.
Amazingly, my blood pressure is not elevated at the next station. Susan also checks my pulse, the percentage of oxygen I’m using (97) and my temperature (97.9).
She says all the numbers are good.
Next up is Jacqueline. This is my first EKG. Electrodes are stuck on me. The reading is to make sure my heart is operating like it should. She says all looks OK, but someone else will read the results and my doctor gets a copy. She does this for everyone.
Barton is offering a series of free checkups on a quarterly basis. About the only limitation is space. The 70 spots filled up fast for the Feb. 22 event. The number allowed depends on what is offered.
“It’s a community service. The testing is for some pretty serious conditions,” said Denise Sloan, Barton spokeswoman. Ideally abnormalities will be caught before they become life threatening – which is also a more expensive stage.
To schedule each of the five to six screenings per quarter would cost a minimum of $500 – assuming a person doesn’t have health insurance.
The May 9 checkup will include skin cancer, varicose vein and spider vein screenings, along with orthopedic and physical therapy sessions. Drs. Leonard Holmgren, Michael Nussdorfer and Stephen Bannar will be on hand.
With September being National Vascular Disease Awareness Month, the Sept. 19 event will check carotid arteries via ultrasound, test for peripheral arterial disease and focus on AAA (abdominal, aorta, aneurism).
The Nov. 21 session centers on November being National Diabetes Month and Radiological Technology Week. Dr. Michael Sullivan will do sleep disorder screening. Diabetes screenings will also be offered.
For more information or to signup, call (530) 543-5537 or go to

Angora --John M. in April

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Editor's note: This is a monthly article following one of the hundreds of people who lost their homes in the Angora Fire in summer 2007.

By Kathryn Reed

It’s Easter Sunday and John Mauriello is with Tara Brennan and Tony Colombo at their property in the Angora burn area. A toast is interrupted.
Mauriello says a couple squad cars from El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department show up because some guys have been seen stealing from construction sites.
El Dorado County sheriff’s Detective Matt Underhill said because the goods were returned immediately no further investigation was done by his department. He worked on a couple construction theft cases in late summer, and then a burglary earlier this year involving someone who did house cleaning at a home in the area that had nothing to do with construction.
Mauriello says word on the street is thefts are going on up there, but Underhill says otherwise. Besides the thefts, Mauriello is tired of all the dogs in the area coming up with the contractors. He says the workers aren’t good about cleaning up after their animals.
The retired 69-year-old still is on the fence about rebuilding. He went to a meeting about green building last month at the college.
“It was nothing but a pitch. I thought it was ridiculous and I left,” Mauriello said. “It was a waste of my time.”
Despite a slew of agencies and green related entities handing out information, the two key speakers did seem to be mostly touting their businesses and what they personally could offer the Angora survivors.
Mauriello was also there to ask a question for a neighbor who is building green and wants thicker walls for better insulation. A Tahoe Regional Planning Agency official told Mauriello to tell his friend coverage would be the issue. Or, he could lose square footage inside to make it work.
“If TRPA is so concerned about everything and building green, shouldn’t they make a couple minor exceptions?” Mauriello asked.
Since moving back to the burn area as a renter, Mauriello said the winds are something to behold.
“Without the tree canopy, those winds come down. The winds are horrible. This house literally shakes and it’s a new house,” he said.
Mauriello is still working on his inventory. It’s time consuming to remember everything that was in his place on Mount Olympia Circle before it became ash on June 24.
Instead he is looking for more favorable activities – possibly taking a music class at the college this quarter, while definitely being back at the campus gym.
He’s not sure what to make of being summoned for jury duty twice this month.
“I guess they are making up for lost time,” Mauriello quipped, since these are the first notices he’s received since the fire.

Angora Fire update

april tahoe mt. news .. unedited ..

By Kathryn Reed

While the governors of California and Nevada decide if a state of fire emergency should be declared throughout the Lake Tahoe Basin, the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department and U.S. Forest Service are moving forward with more immediate needs.
On March 25, sheriff’s Lt. Les Lovell met with contractors – local and out of area – about the building season that begins May 1.
“A whole bunch of homes out there will be built this summer,” Lovell said of the Angora burn area. “We need to coordinate the best routes and traffic flow patterns.”
His office is working with the county building department and California Highway Patrol to make sure things run smoothly.
“There are going to be key times when we have traffic control out there when we have multiple cement trucks and 18-wheelers with trusses. We will have to close a lane,”
Lovell predicts.
Lovell’s goal is to make it work for residents and contractors, as well as emergency personnel who may need to access the area.

Removing dead trees

This spring Forest Service personnel will be marking which trees in 256 acres of National Forest Land will be felled during the summer and fall. Pile burning could take place in summer 2009.
This area represents the most heavily used trails in the 3,100-acre burn area. Six roads and three trails will be affected. Machines and hand felling will be used on 167 acres, with just hand felling on the other 89.
“We are not anticipating a blanket re-closure of the area,” Forest Service spokeswoman Cheva Heck said. “If we need to for safety reasons, it will be area by area.”
Ongoing monitoring will occur to see if other trees need to be removed.
Which company will haul out the wood has not been determined. Some snags will be left behind for wildlife habitat and erosion measures, including wood chips. Goshawk and spotted owl oversight programs will be implemented because the ones that existed in the burn area were disturbed. This will help determine if the birds are still in the area.
In a 34-page document, the Forest Service expects to harvest 4,518 cubic feet of wood. This will be a combination of Jeffrey pine, white fire, incense cedar, lodgepole pine, sugar pine and fiber. Any tree more than 30 inches in diameter will get a second opinion by a forester about the need for its removal.
“This is not something we normally do,” Heck said. “It is not an issue of maybe we are cutting the wrong one, but groups and the public expressed concerns. We want to be as transparent as possible why we are doing it.”
The agency intends to have a public field trip this spring. The information will be posted at
After the 30-day comment period the Forest Service compiled 38 pages to answer the 22 questions it received.
The National Environmental Policy Act mandates the Forest Service go through various protocols. Long-term restoration ideas will be on the table in early May. This could include replanting. The public will have an opportunity to weigh-in on ideas.
Seedlings are starting to sprout, which will further help with potential erosion concerns. Heck said the sloped areas held through winter.
Replanting on urban lots will be more immediate. Trees are on order.

Fire commission

Last month the 18-member bi-state fire commission, which Govs. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jim Gibbons created after the devastating Angora Fire, asked the state leaders and President George W. Bush to declare a state of emergency in the basin because of the threat of fire.
As of press time, no one had made such a declaration.
Before signing the document forming the commission on July 25 at Lake Valley Fire Department, Schwarzenegger said, “It is important to learn from mistakes that may have been made.”
Gibbons on that date said, “A catastrophic wildfire are conditions of an unhealthy forest. We want the rules changed to make the forest healthy again. Reform is mandatory.”
Schwarzenegger left that meeting quickly. Gibbons hung around.
Asked if this was just another commission that would suggest policy but have no teeth, and merely create a large document at the culmination that would collect dust, Gibbons told the Tahoe Mountain News that would not be the case.
He said conflicting policies and regulations would be sorted out.
“We have some influence over the TRPA board,” Gibbons said during the one-on-one interview, hinting that maybe this is where change should start. Each governor appoints a member to the board. Schwarzenegger last month appointed former Tahoe area Assemblyman Tim Leslie – a staunch critic of the bi-state regulatory agency.
After meeting for 19 days in seven months, not counting committee meetings, the panel said fire agencies need $7.8 million now to rid 15,000 acres of dense timber and clear fuels from 40,000 urban lots. That’s in addition to the $6.3 million annual budget they have collectively to mitigate fire threats.

56-acre project

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By Kathryn Reed

Looking at Lake Tahoe is often breathtaking. Looking at the shore from the Lake is not so great.
Slides presented at the March board meeting of the California Tahoe Conservancy proved that fact. Fortunately, the board is going forward with its commitment to improve El Dorado Beach.
The board OK’d $800,000 in expenditures for final design and permitting for site improvements in the waterfront portion of the 56-Acre Project.
In July 2006, South Lake Tahoe and El Dorado County decided to improve this area that mostly encompasses Campground by the Lake, the city recreation center, the beach and boat ramp. Both government bodies were presented with the preferred concept plan for the entire project in January.
Currently, three types of retaining walls separate the pedestrian walk from the beach. One is falling apart. It’s possible a terraced area will be created.
Now wheelchair access to the beach is via the boat ramp. That will change.
The plan is to connect the picnic area with the beach. A new concession building will be erected.

Reaction to Manny Scott

unpublished for march tahoe mt. news ...

By Kathryn Reed

One man can make a difference.
Manuel V. Scott proved this when he spent two days in South Lake Tahoe telling his story to students at South Tahoe Middle School, South Tahoe High, Mt. Tallac and to the community.
His life and that of his high school classmates were forever immortalized in the film “Freedom Writers.” Life as a gang member in Long Beach wasn’t pretty or easy.
During the community presentation in January he talked about how his dad just got out of prison. He talked about his mom using drugs when he was growing up. He talked about abuse. He talked about a sense of hopelessness.
Each session, even the community one, began with Scott asking a series of questions. If you could answer “yes”, you stood up. It started comically enough with a question about a type of dance that most people over 25 didn’t have a clue about.
Then it got serious. People who’d thought about suicide stood. People whose parents did drugs stood. People who knew someone who had died violently stood. A hush fell over the room as one teen stood until Scott counted to 12. That’s how many people this one boy knew who had died a violent death.
Scott’s message hit home.
Jenny Lopez, a senior at Mt. Tallac, was surprised to see friends stand when certain questions were asked. It made her realize what they are going through and what they don’t talk about.
Classmate Robert Aguilar said he was surprised by the similarities and differences he had with others based on answers to Scott’s questions.
Cindy Cowen, the middle school teacher instrumental in bringing Scott to town, had students answer “What did Manny say that resonated with you?” in their journals.
One wrote, “The feeling that resonated with me was a warm glow of inspiration and comfort. I felt the inspiration run around me, like millions of ants fleeing away from a tide. I let comfort fill my senses, like when your mother hugs you. When Manuel V. Scott first came out and sang that song, I was inspired to do anything I want or have to do and for some reason, I felt safe. I know it sounds silly, but I am only writing down the truth.”
Mt. Tallac students have a renewed commitment to staying in school and staying out of trouble.
“If he made it and was going through worse things than you, you can be even better,” Lopez said.
Scott finished college, is now an inspirational speaker, married and has a child.
“Miss Jackson is like our Miss G. She shows us colleges and things like that to be interested in and not just gangs,” said Francisco Noboa, a Tallac senior. Amy Jackson is the counselor at Tallac; Erin Gruell the Long Beach teacher who made the difference.
Scott wasn’t just another adult trying to relate to students. He is someone who has walked the walk.
“Since he has been through it, it got to me more,” Tallac junior Sandra Yanez said. “If you want to change, you can.”
The five Tallac students interviewed after hearing Scott’s talk spoke about finding it in them to do better. They admit it’s hard when adults look at them with contempt without knowing them. They say cops seem not to believe change is possible. Even kids at South Tahoe High discriminate against Tallac kids without knowing their story.
These Tallac students have or know other teens using and dealing drugs (“there are a lot of drugs out there”) – mostly pot. Stealing, violence – some gang related, fighting, making fun of people and bullying – it’s been part of their world in some fashion.
They talked about the need to and their desire to make good choices.
“If you do, then they notice you changing,” Noboa said. “You sleep better knowing you didn’t do something bad. When you do something bad, you feel guilt. You’re not comfortable with yourself.”
These students often feel misunderstood.
“You do care. We do have feelings,” senior Eric Salazar said. He learned from Scott, “That even though you grow-up in a tough place, you can make it in life.”
In a thank you letter to the El Dorado Community Foundation, Lake Tahoe Collaborative and Lake Tahoe Community College, Cowen wrote, “When asked what they thought Manny's message was, the kids said that he urged them to believe in themselves even if no one else did, to dream big and to get an education. One student literally threw herself in my arms thanking me and saying that finally someone understood what she was going through and that she didn't feel alone anymore. Spontaneously, the entire class leaped up and did a group hug. They all said they felt better getting things out in the open and seeing someone with such odds stacked against him succeed. This was a GATE class.
“In other classes, students who had previously scored in the 30% area on benchmarks were scoring in the 90%! When asked what had happened, the students said that Manny had inspired them to try again. I just hope we can keep these kids connected.”

Elddorad Forest news

Eldorado Forest reconfigures routes for vehicles

After 2.5 years of study, a revamped road system has been created for the Eldorado National Forest. A map for 2009 will show the 1,847 miles (1,002 miles of dirt roads, 210 miles of trails, 635 miles of paved roads suitable for passenger cars), plus 334 miles of county roads and state highways, and 311 miles of routes previously designated in the Rock Creek area near Georgetown.
This summer the Forest Service will allow motor vehicles on routes displayed on the free Motor Vehicle Use Restriction map that’s been in existence since 2005.
Per the new rules, the dirt roads will be closed from Jan. 1-March 31 to protect watersheds, meadows and wildlife.
The forest supervisor’s decision, final Environmental Impact Statement and maps are at:

June 7 deadline for forest comments

Contact: Public Affairs, Cheva Heck 530-543-2608 or Rex Norman

Opportunity to Comment on the Lake Tahoe Basin Ecosystem Underburn

South Lake Tahoe Calif. The US Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin
Management Unit (LTBMU) invites the public to comment on a proposal to
conduct prescribed fire underburn activities in the Tahoe Basin. These
underburns will mimic historic low intensity fire behaviors, and will be
conducted for ecosystem restoration purposes.

The project would use prescribed fire to treat 3,500 acres of National
Forest System lands spread across the 5 counties in the Lake Tahoe
Basin. The project is designed to reduce and maintain the desired
amounts of forest fuels following initial thinning treatment and removal
of hazardous amounts of fuels. Low intensity underburns re-introduce
fire into a fire adapted ecosystem to promote healthy and sustainable
plant and wildlife habitat. The project would be conducted in numerous
stages over several seasons.

A predecisional memo detailing the proposal is available for review at
the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, 35 College Drive, South Lake
Tahoe, CA 96150. The phone number is (530) 543-2600. Additional
information regarding this proposal can be obtained from Duncan Leao, or
John Washington through the number above.

This comment period is intended to provide those interested in or
affected by this proposal an opportunity to make their concerns known
prior to a decision being made. This comment period is being provided
pursuant to the July 2, 2005, order issued by the U. S. District Court
for the Eastern District of California in Case No. CIV F-03-6386JKS.
Those who provide timely and substantive comments will be eligible to
appeal the decision pursuant to 36 CFR part 215 regulations.

Written, facsimile, hand-delivered, oral, and electronic comments
concerning this action will be accepted for 30 calendar days following
publication of notice in the Tahoe Daily Tribune. Written comments must
be submitted to: Terri Marceron, Forest Supervisor, 35 College Drive,
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150. The office business hours for those
submitting hand-delivered comments are: 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday
through Friday, excluding holidays. Oral comments must be provided at
the Forest Supervisor's Office during normal business hours, by
telephone (530) 543-2600 or in person. Comments may also be submitted
by email to: using Subject:
Lake Tahoe Basin Ecosystem Underburn Project.


Monday, May 5, 2008

May 22 shorezone workshop


Lake Tahoe, Stateline, NV - A public workshop has been scheduled for May 22 at which interested parties will have an opportunity to "test drive" shorezone ordinances being considered for adoption by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Governing Board next month.
The day-long workshop is an opportunity for project proponents, property owners and other interested parties to review test cases against the proposed new code of ordinances to determine whether the new code is usable and achieves the results intended in the Preferred Alternative.
The Preferred Alternative is the program description that has been derived from alternatives proposed in the final Environmental Impact Statement that was released in late 2006, and which has been developed in concert with California and Nevada state agencies.
Participants are encouraged to identify proposed scenarios in the shorezone to focus on as test case exercises for use in the workshop. These proposals may be submitted to Judy Nikkel at prior to the workshop. Not all proposals will be addressed, but the workshop will review a representative sampling of those received.
The workshop will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at TRPA headquarters, 128 Market Street, Stateline, NV, 89448.
Those planning to participate are encouraged to review the Preferred Alternative and accompanying code before that date. Those documents are available on the TRPA web site, at .
Some 20 years in the making and long a source of controversy, the shorezone regulations guide development and conservation along the 72-mile shore of Lake Tahoe, where the water meets the land. The regulations spell out policies for staged development of piers and buoys and for striking an appropriate balance between private and public access as well as private property rights and environmental/scenic concerns.
The current proposal was unveiled after months of talks between the California and Nevada state agencies, TRPA, and other stakeholders working to identify areas of compromise between divergent parties about the appropriate rate and extent of development that should be allowed.
The workshop will provide an opportunity to look at the fine details of that compromise plan.
The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency cooperatively leads the effort to preserve, restore, and enhance the unique natural and human environment of the Lake Tahoe Region now and in the future. For additional information, call Dennis Oliver at 775-589-5235 or email .

BlueGo hires administrator



SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, CA - The Coordinated Transit System Management Company Board of Directors (operators of BlueGO) has hired its first administrator and committed to dramatically improve public transportation service in the South Lake Tahoe region.
John Andoh will oversee day-to-day management of the BlueGO transit services while helping the agency secure additional funding, test new service concepts and develop a strategic plan for overall improvement of service in the future, including better coordination with other services around the Lake.
Andoh, formerly the Assistant Transit Manager for the City of Elk Grove and Part Time Transit Services Manager for the City of Benicia, has over eight years of experience in the transit industry.
He spent three years at both cities implementing new fixed-route services, purchasing vehicles, and developing short-range transit plans and budgets. In that time, he secured more than $10 million dollars in grant funding to support transit operations, modified and improved the dial-a-ride program and implemented a new marketing, public outreach and advertising campaign to increase ridership.
Andoh was successful in rebranding these transit operations, improving mobility and increasing ridership by 25 percent in Benicia and over 55 percent in Elk Grove.
Andoh also worked for the cities of Escalon, Ceres, Rio Vista, the Palo Verde Valley Transit Agency and Riverbank/Oakdale Transit Authority where he facilitated the implementation of new fixed-routes, providing stability to transit operations, supervision of contract transit operators and oversaw the marketing and public outreach programs.
Andoh began his career in public transportation at the age of 13 through performing a summer internship with the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority. "It has always been my goal to be a Transit Manager - since age 5, when I used to see the buses go by the pre-school that I was attending in Milpitas" said Andoh.
Andoh hopes to bring stability and reliability to BlueGO transit operations, improve routes, schedules and fares, increase the awareness of BlueGO, increase revenue from outside funding sources, coordinate with other transit providers coming into the south shore of Lake Tahoe, perform additional marketing and outreach to BlueGO, reduce costs and improve the transit system's performance measures.
BlueGO is confident that Andoh will improve and maintain the quality of the transit service and will expand the offering of transportation services in the future. BlueGO feels that he will be successful in providing BlueGO with the leadership and commitment to advance public transportation in this community.

To reach Andoh, stop by TRPA offices, Monday-Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, call him at 775.589.5284 or email him at He is happy to seek public comment on what can be done to improve transit on the south shore of Lake Tahoe.

The public is invited to attend the BlueGO Board of Directors meeting at TRPA offices, 128 Market Street, Stateline NV, 89449 at 10:00 am on the first Friday of the month. BlueGO Nevada Flex Route, BlueGO Heavenly Ski Shuttle Blue Route and BlueGO Kingsbury Express serve this meeting location.

For BlueGO Transit Information call 530.541.7149. You can also visit the BlueGO website at

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