So many in the Truckee and Sugar Bowl communities were devastated Monday by the sudden and incomprehensibly tragic death or our dear friend and brother Dave Van Ruiten. The number of people Dave “helped” is enormous. He was a person who thrived on giving. The sort of giving Dave did was sometimes material, in the form of incredibly thoughtful gifts but often as not, it was the giving of himself and his time. As friends have been gathering this week in small groups I have heard of more and more of Dave’s generosity. One friend says, “I would not have a yard without Dave.” One says, “I would not have a floor or kitchen without Dave.” One friend’s house made it just under the wire for sale due to Dave’s time and talent. Others will be warm this winter due to Dave’s labors of love. My family will remember Dave every time we turn a light on in our new addition.In Dave’s extended family, the children were central. Our sons and daughters were so looked after by him, so loved and so respected. They counted on Dave and he was always there, never letting them down. He was so much fun. He remembered their birthdays and made sure they had holiday gifts and not even the big holidays. He gave kids gifts for Halloween and Valentines Day.The ripples of Dave’s love spread far and the hole he leaves in our lives is vast. Many think of him as family and he is irreplaceable. I think we can look to him as a role model of love, friendship and caring. To the Van Ruiten family, we express our most deeply felt sadness for your loss, for the family Dave created from friends we grieve along side you all. All I can say is Thanks Dave! Thanks for all you’ve done for us. Words cannot describe how much you are missed!Rosy, Martyn & Mariah Dixon-DaviesTruckeeWorkAbility program not strugglingI was quite upset with all the misinformation in your article titled “Work program struggling through limited funding” on the front page of the Sierra Sun on Oct. 26. There are no state budget cuts to the WorkAbility Program for the 2005-06 school year. WorkAbility is not soliciting donations in the community. WorkAbility is a state-wide transition program designed to provide services to students with disabilities. Service include career exploration, vocational assessment, pre-employment skills, employer expectations, employment placement, follow-up and transition services from high school to life after high school.During the 2004-05 school year, the Tahoe Truckee WorkAbility Program served 118 middle school students and 131 high school students. Fifty high school students had paid job placements. We expect to serve at least that many students this year. If local employees would like to support our program, they should hire our students, and we are greatly appreciative of the many employers that do. Further information is available at 582-2567.Nancy Cerceau,WorkAbility Coordinator, Tahoe Truckee Unified School DistrictAre merchants spreading the savings? There is an important fact that is being overlooked in the discussion regarding the employee parking situation downtown. With the new paid parking scheme, the Truckee downtown merchants have been relieved of a fiscal burden they have carried for many years. The cost of the leases from the railroad, snow removal and maintenance of several off-street parking areas (the fire station lot, and the lot behind the Beacon to name the largest) has been paid in the past by the downtown merchants. The new scheme relieves them of this cost, and transfers it to the Town of Truckee. Shouldn’t the downtown merchants step forward now, and publicly state that they will use every bit of their savings to buy parking passes for their employees? This must be a significant amount, and would go far toward offsetting these new expenses to those least able to afford them. Perhaps this is all being done already, and is simply not being publicized. It would be good to hear from the downtown merchants that they are responsibly using their new savings to benefit their employees. Fred Howard TruckeeEmployee-only parkingIn regard to the new paid parking in downtown Truckee, the bottom line is this: The majority of employees in the downtown area are not paid a living wage in accordance with the increasing home and rent prices in the area, and therefore should not be required to pay the parking fees. There should be permits given out to all downtown Truckee employees and a designated parking area for employees only. We are the lifeblood of the town, and if these businesses were not here, the town could not charge for parking in the first place. Another bottom line? There is not adequate public transportation for residents in the Truckee/Tahoe area in order to get to the downtown area. Plus, and in relevance to my own situation, the bike lane situation coming from Glenshire/Olympic Heights should be on the Town of Truckee agenda: Construct bike lanes. I was nearly hit by a car this summer while riding my bike. It’s important the town takes this matter into their own hands and not the hands of (well meaning) volunteer organizations. In closing, I support paid parking, because times are unfortunately changing in Truckee, but let’s designate an area for downtown employees without charge. Lindsey Hill Truckee
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