Truckee’s Sage retiring from helm of county environmental health
Truckee resident Larry Sage says his Nevada County Department of Environmental Health operates a bit like antivirus software on your computer: It works in the background and no one pays attention until a problem pops up.And with West Nile virus and hazardous waste issues cropping up in Nevada County over the past few years, people have taken notice of Sage and his department.”I’m a bit biased here, but environmental health is really an important field that most people don’t really know about,” Sage said.After 15 years with the county’s Department of Environmental Health, Sage, 50, announced last week that he will retire from the department in July 2006.Sage has overseen 18 employees as the department’s director since 2003, commuting three to four days a week from his Glenshire home to Nevada City and working in the Truckee office the rest of the week. He was initially a staff environmental health specialist for the county.Sage originally requested to retire in July of this year, but county CEO Rick Haffney and Community Development Agency Director Steven DeCamp convinced Sage to stick around for another year to complete ongoing projects.”[Sage] has played a key role in the development and refinement of some very important programs within the Environmental Health Department,” Haffney said in a news release. “We are very pleased that [he] agreed to stay for the extra year and guide the implementation of those programs.”This included working with land-use planners on the west side of the county and on West Nile virus abatement.”In Truckee, we’ve been lucky to have no West Nile virus cases. Part of that is that there are plenty of mosquitoes, but we don’t have the abundance of species that [transmit] West Nile effectively,” he said.Several human cases of West Nile virus have been reported on the west side of the county.Another project Sage has spearheaded is installation of environmental health software for the county. The software will allow the department to, among other things, track complaints and post county restaurant inspections on the Internet.”We’re very excited about [the online restaurant inspections],” he said. “We’ll go to the [Nevada County Board of Supervisors] and make a request to enact that in the public’s interest.”The department’s upcoming challenges will be to keep an eye on avian influenza and continue to work on the state-mandated hazardous materials program, Sage said.Following his retirement, he plans to pursue his passions as a nature photographer and backcountry guide.
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