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Readers write

A new misguided policy has been instituted at the Truckee Tahoe High School which gives lunch time detentions to students who are late or tardy for class. I believe that this policy is dangerous. It is my understanding that the new principal instituted this policy and personally walks the parking lots handing out detentions to students who are late. According to Assistant Principal Grant Steunenberg, on the first day it snowed in Truckee this year about 90 students were late for class. Almost all of them received detentions.In the mountains many conditions can lead a student to be late for class. Unforeseen road construction with delays up to 20 minutes is not uncommon. Extreme winter weather with ice and snow are a fact of life. High school kids that drive have only recently received their licenses. Now, with this new policy, kids are trying to beat the bell at all cost. Yes, kids should plan ahead and realize that it might take an extra 15 minutes to shovel before they can get the car out. But sometimes the obvious escapes them. And sometimes adverse road conditions are unavoidable.I believe the high school should implement an opposite policy. A policy that would encourage safe driving, and allow extra time to get to class when ice and snow is present. Students should be encouraged to walk to class through the parking lot (as not to slip and fall and be run over by a kid who is late and trying to beat the detention deadline). The administration should be understanding of local conditions and consider that the safety of our students should come first. Chronically late students should be counseled in conjunction with their parents (ah, but that would take actual effort by the school administration). Any policy that will have the effect of encouraging our children to drive faster in adverse road conditions or run on ice on a poorly maintained parking lot is not a smart idea. I sincerely hope it does not take a tragedy for our new principle to wake up to the realities of our local condition.Thomas W. GrossmanTruckee

Downtown Truckee is considering planning restrictions to enhance its attractiveness to visitors. Tahoe City is not similarly incorporated, but it appears that like improvements would be welcomed. The Tahoe City Downtown Business Association should put this on their discussion agenda. Ray JonesHomewood

I have been evaluating Truckee Donner PUD energy efficiency projects since 2001, including lighting projects at the school district and fire stations and high efficiency chillers at the hospital. I have been performing energy conservation studies throughout the United States since 1985. There is a huge potential for cost effective energy conservation in Truckee.Unfortunately, the TDPUD board isn’t interested in conservation due to a perception that customers want low rates instead of conservation. In Truckee the most important market segments are schools, hospitals, retail, office, lodging, and residential. Lighting, water heating, space heating, space cooling, and cooking are the primary end uses for these sectors. The potential savings from energy conservation are 40 percent to 60 percent and the cost is approximately $20 to $40 per MWh. Conservation and renewable energy are cost effective and sustainable long-term energy solutions.From the perspective of base load electricity generation, combined-cycle gas turbines represent a cost-effective opportunity for TDPUD along with biomass like the cutting-edge 24 MW biomass Snowflake White Mountain Power Project. The key to sustainability is generating power locally.Natural gas, bio-mass, and bio-diesel offer cost effective opportunities for base load power generation with wind and solar filling in when available. Combined-cycle heat and power can be used to deliver low-cost heat to the hospital, schools, community recreation centers, and local businesses. TDPUD has an array of cost-effective options available to become one of the leading municipal utilities in the world to deliver sustainable electricity and reduce global warming. The challenge is in getting the TDPUD board to understand and pursue alternatives to coal-fired power plants.Robert Mowris, P.E.Olympic Valley


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