| SierraSun.com

Tahoe Fund issues last call for project submissions

Since 2010, the Tahoe Fund has generated support from private donors to help secure over $50 million in public funds for more than 40 environmental projects. Today it issued the last call for 2021 project submissions that provide solutions to Lake Tahoe’s environmental challenges.

The call for projects is the organization’s annual effort to find projects that are designed to restore Lake Tahoe’s famed clarity, create healthier forests, improve transportation, create more sustainable recreation, and inspire greater stewardship in the region. Organizations can submit projects for consideration until Jan. 29.

According to Tahoe Fund vice chair, Cory Ritchie, the project selection committee will give particular consideration to projects that meet multiple goals or that can improve the pace and scale of forest health. “We’re excited to see what projects are put forward that will help make an impact in the Lake Tahoe Basin,” said Ritchie.

All submissions will be reviewed by the Tahoe Fund Board, which is tasked with developing the Tahoe Fund’s Signature and Premier Projects Portfolio. Selected projects will be invited to provide further details.

Every year, the Tahoe Fund collaborates with organizations to develop Signature and Premier Projects with fundraising goals of $5,000 to $1,000,000 that align with its mission. Eligible projects must demonstrate a benefit to the Tahoe Basin, an alignment with a specific Tahoe Fund goal area, and a general timeline and budget range. In addition, projects should be able to show wide community support and must comply with all applicable federal, state and local statutes and regulations.

Project submissions for early-stage grants through the Environmental Venture Trust or Smartest Forest Fund can also be submitted. These projects should bring innovative solutions to Tahoe’s environmental challenges. They should also demonstrate how an early investment will be leveraged to secure significantly more funding in the future from public and/or private sources.

Project guidelines and the request for projects submission form can be found online at www.tahoefund.org/our-projects/submit-a-project/.

Source: Tahoe Fund

Grab and go with the library

Donna gives out activity bags during curbside pickup at the Grass Valley Library.
Provided photo
Amy at the Grass Valley Library presents Random Acts of Science over Facebook live.
Provided photo
Mellisa presents Pajama Storytime from the Grass Valley Library, using Facebook live.
Provided photo
The Madelyn Helling Library in Nevada City.
Provided photo
Librarians and staff at Madelyn Helling Library in Nevada City are on site and available by phone and email.
Provided photo

American writer Sidney Sheldon once said, “Libraries store the energy that fuels the imagination. They open up windows to the world and inspire us to explore and achieve and contribute to improving our quality of life.” Nevada County is enriched by a strong and active library system that has managed to continue to connect the community through engagement and resources, even as the pandemic continues to limit opportunities to gather in person.

A quick look at the library calendar of events shows a robust list of activities geared toward all ages, and includes both online and “grab and go” resources.

For more info on the many services offered by the county libraries, visit mynevadacounty.com/library.

Adult Services Librarian at the Madelyn Helling Library in Nevada City (just one of six branch libraries serving Nevada County) Megan Lloyd said there was some regrouping to be done when the shut down began in March, but the libraries are extremely active.

“There was a little bit of a learning curve,” explained Lloyd. “We got everything digital as quickly as we could and started thinking about how to reach people who might not have great access to digital, so we started offering grab bags and we have found that combination has worked pretty well for the community.”

“Grab Bags” is an activity or other program in a bag.

“Whatever we would normally do, like an art program or a science program, we have put together all of the supplies so people can pick them up, take them home and do them along with us with an online tutorial or just on their own,” Lloyd said. Activities are organized for children and for adults. Each week there is an art activity for adults with grab bags available for pick up at the Madelyn Helling Library in Nevada City, at the Grass Valley Library Royce Branch, and sometimes at the Truckee Library in eastern Nevada County. The art programs have been offered for years through the library system — in person before the pandemic — and continuing now with a bit of innovation.


Another program the library continues to bring to residents is the Winter Reading Challenge. Lloyd said people are asking for an outlet.

“If you are staying at home alone, or having to quarantine with your family, it’s nice to have an activity that you don’t have to come up with and try to figure out how to keep yourself or your family entertained. People have been very into that,” said Lloyd.

The Winter Reading challenge suggests just 30 minutes of reading a week for adults and 10 minutes a day for youths. Prizes are given just for signing up and more prizes are available as participants meet the challenge through Jan. 31.

“Parents come in to sign their kids up and then realize that there is an adult version on it too and get really excited and sign up themselves,” Lloyd said.

Other popular programs offered an no cost to county residents include a monthly virtual crafting circle where librarians get on the library Facebook live page and complete a craft and talk about crafting. The libraries also offer a number of online books clubs including one on diverse perspectives.

“This is a cool way to explore different perspectives and lots of different ways of approaching diversity,” said Lloyd. “This month was for National Religious Freedom Day and last month was around World Aids Day. “

The library also offers ‘Online Lawyer in the Library’ because of a great group of volunteers, Lloyd said. “We have a couple of local lawyer volunteers who give up their time on the first Friday of the month to sit down with people and talk about their court cases, and legal issues they are dealing with. They (the lawyers) are really, really incredible. I can not say enough about how amazing our lawyer volunteers are. They really bend over backwards to help people out.”

Everything the library offers is free. Funding comes in a variety of sources including grants, donations made through the nonprofit “Friends of the Library” and a bit from a voter approved sales tax.


Nevada County Reads and Writes

Nevada County Reads and Writes kicks off Feb. 1. This year, “The Roundhouse” by Louise Erdrich — winner of the National Book Award for fiction — was chosen and several events are planned.

“It is a little bit challenging with COVID,” said Lloyd. “But we are doing what we can to make sure there is stuff for everybody. We have an art walk from Feb. 8 through 13 in Nevada City where you can walk around and see art inspired by ’The Roundhouse’ or connected to it somehow, including at the space for CHIRP (California Heritage Indigenous Research Project) with local Niesenan. That is a very cool thing we are able to incorporate this year. It culminates with a digital event on Zoom featuring CHIRP spokesperson Shelly Covert.”

When asked what she wishes the library could do more of, Lloyd said one of the challenges is bridging the digital divide. “I wish we had more funding to be able to give people more wi-fi. The library does have a number of hotspots they offer on loan for up to 14 days at time.”

Lloyd said the role of the library is to provide a community center.

“It’s a place where everybody and anybody is welcome and everybody and anybody does come to the library. It doesn’t matter what your background is or where you are at in life. We get young families. We get seniors, and everybody in between. It’s a place to come and be. You get your free wi-fi. You get your books. You get access to information which is one of our favorite things to give people access to, but we also have programs and events and ways to connect with each other.”

More information about each of the mentioned programs and more can be found online by going to mynevadacounty.com/library or by calling any of the branches.

Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire, as well as a podcaster at HollieGrams. You can hear her episodes at https://www.buzzsprout.com/1332253. She can be reached at holliesallwrite@ gmail.com.


Sun Snapshots: December sunrise


Have you captured the faces, places and events of our community? Need help finding a lost pet?

Then submit your photos to the Sierra Sun’s “Sun Snapshots” to be published in our print and online editions. Send photos (and/or videos) to photos@sierrasun.com, or post photos on social media using #SunSnapshots.

Submissions may also be used at SierraSun.com and the Sierra Sun Facebook page.

Donner Summit sun rise Dec. 30, 2020.
Submitted by Chris Turner
Jaxon hanging out with his new pals.
Submitted by Ray O’Brien
Icy orange.
Submitted by Michael Kennedy
Ice crystals at Squaw Valley after the storm.
Submitted by Ron Wheelehan
When in doubt, visit the Lake (Pope Beach).
Submitted by Michael Kennedy
Rejoice in Good Health
Submitted by Samantha & Mat Morrison

Bessie Minor Swift Foundation now accepting grant applications

The Bessie Minor Swift Foundation is now accepting grant applications from nonprofit organizations in Nevada County. Grants will be awarded to selected nonprofits that promote literacy, reading and writing skills and programs in the languages, sciences and interdisciplinary areas. Applications will be accepted through Feb. 15 and recipients will be announced on May 1. The Fund will consider applications requesting a minimum of $500 and a maximum of $3,000.

The Bessie Minor Swift Foundation considers grants to organizations that provide direct service to help with the implementation or expansion of literacy programs for children who are below grade level or experiencing difficulty reading, and also to develop reading and writing skills at all age levels. The Foundation supports STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) as well. The Foundation also occasionally supports programs for adults.

More than $700,000 in grant money has been awarded since 2008. The Foundation prefers to consider support for programs rather than grants for the purchase of technology. The Foundation also favors organizations that do not have access to large fundraising budgets and are local in nature. Grants are made only to nonprofit organizations certified as tax exempt. More information is available on the website.

The Bessie Minor Swift Foundation was formed by the owners and founder of Swift Communications, the company that owns and operates the Sierra Sun and www.sierrasun.com, as well as The Union and www.theunion.com. Bessie Minor Swift was the mother of Philip Swift, the founder of Swift Communications. She was born in Onaga, Kansas on June 29, 1887, raised in Kansas City, Missouri, then moved to Blackburn, Missouri where she taught school in a one-room schoolhouse. Phil Swift recalled that the importance of education was reinforced throughout his upbringing, not so much through statements or concrete expectations, but through the example of his mother’s interest in English, reading, history and music. Phil Swift passed away in November 2019.

Nonprofit organizations in the area are encouraged to apply.

Source: The Bessie Minor Swift Foundation

Sun Snapshots: Welcoming the New Year


Have you captured the faces, places and events of our community? Need help finding a lost pet?

Then submit your photos to the Sierra Sun’s “Sun Snapshots” to be published in our print and online editions. Send photos (and/or videos) to photos@sierrasun.com, or post photos on social media using #SunSnapshots.

Submissions may also be used at SierraSun.com and the Sierra Sun Facebook page.

Truckee sisters Sorell and Zinnia sledding in Glenshire.
Submitted by Natasha Davis
Welcoming 2021.
Submitted by Allan Crawford
Sierra Sturm, age 11, from Truckee, closing out 2020 on the afternoon of New Year's Eve at Squaw Valley.
Submitted by Aaron Sturm
Sunset on 2020.
Submitted by Julie Peters
Outrageous clouds post storm, Prosser Lake.
Submitted by C. Herrington


Soroptimist Club donates thousands of toys to Truckee families

Soroptimist Angela White collects and sorts toys on distribution day in Truckee.
Provided photo
A collection of donated toys at the airport.
Provided photo

Soroptimist International of Truckee Donner (SITD) collected and distributed thousands of toys to families in need in Truckee as part of Community Christmas.

This year was a challenge because of COVID restrictions reducing where the Toys for Tot boxes could be located and eliminating company parties. As always, it was a community effort. The airport gave the club containers for storage. Seventh Day Adventist church allowed the club to use their work room to store toys. On Dec. 19, the Californian Highway Patrol officers moved 430 bags of toys from two locations (containers at the airport and the basement of the Seventh Day Adventists Church) to the Truckee Recreation Center for Distribution Day. As a result, 489 children (215 families) were very happy to be given their toy bags, ready for the big day. And special thanks to SITD members Angela White, Lynette Powell and Philippa Nigg who had to do most of the sorting and bagging to minimize COVID risk to others. The club worked closely with Truckee Community Christmas (TCC) and Toys for Tots. Toys for Tots provided the boxes and lots of toys. TCC provided coordinated and a place to distribute toys to the families.

SITD member Lynette Powell commented, “We received some generous cash donations, so that we were able to buy lots of toys. The Ian Casey Foundation donated $6,000 when they heard of our need. $2,000 came in from Optimists. The Truckee Police Department provided 30 wonderful helmets. Our club members donated hundreds of dollars in checks, cash and gift cards, plus toys.”

The Soroptimist International of Truckee Donner (SITD) holds monthly club meetings on the second Thursday of each month by Zoom. All women are invited to join us as a guest by emailing us at info@sitd.info. For more information, go to www.sitd.info or contact Patti Conk, President. SITD hosts the “Oldest and Best” Wine tasting and Restaurant Faire each year, on the first Saturday of June and Soroptishop, a virtual week of shopping featuring local artisans, in November.

Soroptimist (soroptimist.org) is an international volunteer service organization working to improve the lives of women and girls through programs leading to social and economic empowerment. Soroptimist International of Truckee Donner (www.sitd.info) is a 501(c)(3) organization.

Source: Soroptimist International of Truckee Donner

COVID-19 the topic of Good Morning Truckee’s January gathering

Good Morning Truckee will focus on timely COVID-related subjects for it’s Jan. 12 virtual community gathering.

Harry Weis, CEO Tahoe Forest Health System, will provide an update on the COVID-19 vaccine, when Truckee might begin to receive, explain the distribution process, what the Tahoe Forest Health System is doing to educate the community on the safety of the vaccine to create trust, and the importance of getting the vaccine to protect you and others and help stop the pandemic.

Stacy Caldwell, CEO of the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation (TTCF), will provide an update on the impact that COVID-19 has had on our community and our nonprofits, particularly our safety net nonprofits focused on rental assistance, food and housing insecurity, and mental health.

David Wolfe, Attorney at Porter Simon, will go over California and Federal COVID-19 Tenant Eviction Protection Legislation. As of now, California AB 3088 is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2020 and CDC Orders are set to expire Jan. 31, 2021. The presentation will provide an overview of relevant issues for landlords and tenants under AB 3088 and the CDC Orders.

Good Morning Truckee is a community forum to provide timely, relevant information on a variety of topics. It is open to the public – everyone is invited free of charge. It is held the second Tuesday of every month virtually from 7:30-8:30 a.m.

Whether you are new to the community or have lived here for years, hearing from our leaders in the community is an enjoyable way to stay on top of important issues, connect and engage. One of the great things about living in a small community like Truckee is that you can personally know your leaders and work with them to make a difference.

Viewers can participate through Zoom, watch the livestream at Truckee.com/GoodMorningTruckee, tahoetruckeemedia.org, or watch on Suddenlink Channel 18. The session will be recorded and available for viewing at a later date.

Good Morning Truckee is presented by the Truckee Chamber of Commerce in partnership with sponsors Tahoe Forest Health System; Law Offices of Porter Simon; Dickson Realty Truckee Tahoe; Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation; N|V|5; Auerbach Engineering; Tahoe Truckee Media, 101.5FM Truckee Tahoe Radio; Sierra Sun; Moonshine Ink; Town of Truckee and Truckee Tahoe Airport District.

About the Truckee Chamber of Commerce

The Truckee Chamber of Commerce is a membership organization of over 630 members with the goal of making a positive difference for its members and the community by continually improving the Truckee business climate and strengthening the economic development opportunities, while maintaining Truckee’s community character and sense of place.

Source: Truckee Chamber of Commerce

’Resilient by nature’: Wild & Scenic Film Festival goes virtual

'Salmon' crossing the street during the 2020 Wild & Scenic Film Festival in downtown Nevada City. This year the beloved festival goes virtual, reaching a global audience.
Photo by Josh Miller
The official poster art for the 2021 Wild & Scenic Film Festival.
Provided graphic
A still from the film “2040,” just one of many films featured at the 2021 Wild & Scenic Film Festival.
Provided photo
A mom and her two children take a look at a brochure outside the Nevada Theatre during the 2020 Wild & Scenic Film Festival.
Photo by Josh Miller
“Rise Beyond Gold" is a film about a proposal to re-open a relic gold mine in Nevada County. The community faces a foreign corporation that would take the gold from under their property and leave a toxic legacy. ”Rise Beyond Gold“ raises bigger questions for the world at large. Why do we desire gold; and ultimately, is it worth it?
Provided photo

WHAT: The 19th annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival

WHEN: Jan. 14 through Jan. 24, 2021

WHERE: Online

MORE INFO: https://wsff.eventive.org

For many people, there is simply nothing better than watching a film on a giant screen, while eating popcorn in the dark. For others, watching a movie from the comfort of their own home is the ultimate pleasure. This year, as movie theaters have been forced to close, the big screen option is more of a challenge, but can still be done through the magic of technology and with the help of the Wild & Scenic Film Festival, as they bring the opportunity to watch over 100 films, including 13 world premieres, on whatever size screen you can manage!

The 19th annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival takes place Jan. 14 through Jan. 24, 2021 with over 100 environmental and adventure films, activist workshops, programs for youth, an art exhibition, and the opportunity to meet filmmakers – all presented online.

Festival Producer Eric Dunn said the event, which is the largest fundraiser for South Yuba River Citizen’s League, is going completely virtual.

“We made the decision to go all virtual pretty early on and we are feeling good about the decision,” said Dunn. “We have been able to put ourselves into planning and sculpting this new format for the festival.”

Leaders of the organization decided to move forward with a virtual event to bring the festival’s tagline “Where activism gets inspired” to life. Dunn said, “I think that in a crazy year like this and crazy times overall, we could all use some inspiration. And not only that, the environmental movement, environmental justice movement, those things don’t stop because of a pandemic or because of politics. They are always important, and even more so in times like these. We felt it was important to bring these messages to inspire activism and interest in these subjects.” Support of the community and support of SYRCL is also vital.

With a virtual event, many limitations have been removed including the overall reach of the films.

“In making the most of the situation, we feel this is a great year to expand the scope of who is able to be part of this and who is able to get these films in front of them or engage in the workshops and other programming,” said Dunn. “Hopefully, that leads to Wild & Scenic coming back in 2022 bigger and better than ever, having garnered a bunch of new folks who didn’t know about the festival before, who will be inspired to come up to western Nevada County and spend some money and engage in our community in a physical festival in the future.”

As with past festivals, there will still be free programming such as Activist Center Workshops, an Art Exhibition, and the Enviro Fair. There are self-guided excursions available and even an online beer and Kombucha tasting! Many elements encourage community engagement – even without the purchase of a festival pass – though that is encouraged.

The festival programming still has thematic tracks and this year there are several pass options to consider, from single sessions to the Watershed Pass which includes the entire festival. Many of the films will be available on demand while others come with restrictions such as availability and caps on the number of viewers in a session. Each session is about an hour and a half long and includes three to six films of varying length.

Some of the featured films at the 2021 festival have local interest including “Rise Beyond Gold” about the proposal to reopen a relic gold mine in Nevada County; “The Hidden Bear” which takes viewers down eight and a half miles of the Bear River that would be flooded by the Centennial Dam project; the Ron Howard film, “Rebuilding Paradise” which showcases the devastating 2018 Camp Fire, and a film featuring a local craftsman on the San Juan Ridge, “The Local Woods.”

The “Wild Child” session is taking the place of the Saturday morning programming that happened at the Del Oro. There is a film focused on a group of black female mountain bikers “Pedal Through” which is in line with the focus of highlighting stories not traditionally featured in the outdoor world and many award winning environmental not-to-be-missed films.

Dunn said most of the films are available to watch anytime during the 11-day window of the festival. “Most of the film sessions are available on demand. There are only a handful of sessions that have some kind of restriction, be it when, or how many people can view it, that kind of thing, so most of these sessions are available to watch anytime during the festival window from the 14th through the 24th. We really tried to make things flexible for folks so they can get their dose of inspiration on their own schedule.” There are also age based programs with curriculum available.

For those who may not have the best internet quality available, a special “Staycation” package is being offered by Courtyard Suites with plenty of wi-fi included in the stay. And Three Forks Bakery and Brewery is offering meal packages during the festival.

The art exhibition is inspired by the 2021 Festival theme, “Resilient by Nature” and is in partnership with the Nevada County Arts Council. The online exhibition includes local as well as international artists.

Filmmaker Q&A sessions will be available. There will be a virtual lobby via Zoom of filmmakers and special guests as a way to engage, and there will be happy hours and chat rooms as well.

“We have workshops about everything from river restoration with some of our SYRCL crew to great talks about diversity, equity and inclusion in the outdoor space and we are also excited to have the President of Earthjustice joining us to talk about the legal work they are doing as we turn the calendar into 2021,” said Dunn. Dunn encourages people to go to the website to explore the many choices available throughout the festival.

“I hate to get ahead of myself, but I am cautiously optimistic we will gather in the streets again next January and I look forward to that,” said Dunn. “But we have to see the upside in all of these things, and we worked to make the most of it and still get these stories in front of folks. That is the name of game. I have heard several people speak to the idea that surviving is thriving in 2020.”

Go to https://wsff.eventive.org to explore the films, workshops, and other offerings of the 2021 Wild & Scenic Film Festival.

Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a freelancer writer for The Union, a sister publication of the Sierra Sun.

Sun Snapshots: Natural holiday lights


Have you captured the faces, places and events of our community? Need help finding a lost pet?

Then submit your photos to the Sierra Sun’s “Sun Snapshots” to be published in our print and online editions. Send photos (and/or videos) to photos@sierrasun.com, or post photos on social media using #SunSnapshots.

Submissions may also be used at SierraSun.com and the Sierra Sun Facebook page.

Natural Holiday Lights!
Submitted by Susan Husher
The Nature Loop Trail in Tahoe Donner, which runs along Trout Creek.
Submitted by Allan Crawford
Downtown Truckee at dusk, alit for the holidays.
Submitted by Allan Crawford


The Forlorn Hope teams makes their way up Donner Summit on Dec. 16, 2020.
Submitted by Greg Zirbel
Truckee's Christmas Tree and lights.
Submitted by Gail Thompson


Sierra roadwork schedule through January 2


State Route 49 (Placer County) from the I-80/SR 49 interchange to Dry Creek Road: Construction began June 17, 2019 on a $42.4 million project in Auburn. The project will rehabilitate existing pavement and drainage, improve operational features and upgrade pedestrian and bicycle facilities.

December 27 – December 31

State Route 49 (Placer County) from the Interstate 80 junction to Dry Creek Road: Motorists may expect intermittent lane and shoulder closures from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sunday through Thursday morning for miscellaneous work.

State Route 49 (Nevada County) from Woodridge Drive to Linton Lane: Construction began July 27 on a $3.8 million safety improvement project on State Route 49 near Wolf Road and Combie Road. Caltrans is constructing a northbound and southbound acceleration lane and adding other safety and operational improvement elements. Work will primarily be performed along shoulders behind concrete barriers, with minimal impacts to traffic. Major work on the project is complete with final electrical work anticipated in December or January.

State Route 49 (Nevada County) from Auburn Road to Alta Sierra Drive: Vegetation work is beginning for a $4.3 million safety improvement project on State Route 49 near Round Valley Road and Quail Creek Drive. Caltrans is constructing a two-way left turn lane with an increased 8-foot-wide southbound shoulder. Major construction work is expected in spring 2021. This project is currently in winter suspension.

Interstate 80 (Placer/Nevada Counties) between Alta and Floriston: A $6.6 million structure maintenance project will replace polyester concrete overlays and joint seals on 11 bridges. The project will extend the life of the bridge decks by sealing them off to moisture and fix rutting in the concrete overlays caused by heavy freight and vehicle travel. No traffic-interfering work is scheduled this week.

Interstate 80 (Nevada County) from Farad to the Acid Flat Bridge: An $12.9 million Farad Ditch Slope Stabilization project will restore the Farad Ditch by extending the collection area. Construction will also include regrading of the slope by means of roadway excavation, rock excavation, and controlled blasting. No traffic-interfering work is scheduled this week.

State Route 174 (Nevada County) from Maple Way to You Bet Road: A $27.1 million safety improvement project will realign several curves, widen shoulders, add a southbound left turn pocket at Greenhorn Access Road and improve the clear recovery zone, allowing errant vehicles to regain control. This project is currently in winter suspension.


State Route 49 (Nevada County) from Alta Sierra Drive to Timberland Drive: Northbound motorists may expect lane and shoulder closures from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday for dead tree removal.

Interstate 80 (Sacramento/Placer Counties) from Madison Avenue to Cirby Way: Motorists may expect intermittent right shoulder closures from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Wednesday for electrical work.

Unexpected schedule changes may occur. For current information on roadwork, delays, road conditions and emergency closures, call the voice-activated Caltrans Highway Information Network (CHIN) at 800-427-7623 (ROAD) or visit Caltrans “QuickMap” website at: http://quickmap.dot.ca.gov/

Source: Caltrans