Readers Write | SierraSun.com

Readers Write

The natural beauty of Truckee/Tahoe is captivating, drawing millions of visitors annually who relax and play in our community. These visitors contribute to our economy and to many of our livelihoods in the tourism and construction industries. In a real sense, our environment is our economy.

Truckee’s population is growing, estimated at 25,000 by 2017 up from 14,000 today. This population growth will require the infrastructure needed for long-term sustainability. The Joerger Ranch project is to be the largest commercial/residential development in Truckee’s history and lacks key building considerations that cannot be ignored.

It is shocking this project has no mention of green building considerations. It is of concern that the Town of Truckee has not mandated the Joerger Ranch project to meet minimum green building principles as laid out in the United States Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for Neighborhood Development (LEED – ND) and for New Construction (LEED – NC).

Green buildings emphasize our ability to live and build with the environment, the economy and with social benefits in mind. Green developments conserve natural resources, reduce operational costs, and contribute to our quality of life. According to the USGBC, traditional buildings in the U.S. alone account for 36 percent of total energy use, 65 percent of electricity consumption, 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, 30 percent of raw material use, 136 million tons of waste output annually.

A frenzy of green buildings are popping up throughout the country. Local developers, architects, and builders are busy creating them here in our communities. Local non-profit organizations have been established to facilitate public understanding of the benefits of building green. Concerned citizens should attend the Town of Truckee Planning Commission’s public meeting on April 12 and voice your own concern about this project and its lack of green building principles.

Greg Jones

Truckee

I am writing in response to the article published on Thursday March 29, 2007 in the Sierra Sun regarding “SAT realities.” It concerns me that your paper would publish an article without having interviewed the high school counselors here at Truckee High School. Perhaps, if the school district had a person responsible for dispersing media releases, this article would not appear to be as slanted as it may have appeared. I checked with the Truckee High School counselors and in the last three years 57 percent of our students have taken the SAT test, which is 43 percent higher than state and county averages.

Having taught at both high schools in this district and having proctored SAT exams at North Tahoe High School when they were offered there, I would have to take exception to Emily Wexler’s position as presented in this article. The counseling departments at both high schools, in my opinion, certainly present information in regard to college application, admission procedures, and scholarship opportunities quite regularly and thoroughly.

As a credentialed life community college instructor, I am an advocate of students exploring all options post high school. For those students who cannot afford and need the bridge that the community college system provides, the SAT and other admission tests are unnecessary. Students, after completing their general education requirements at the community college can transfer without testing to the CSU and UC campuses. Families should make that decision when presented with the information regarding a variety of post high school options and students should demonstrate the personal responsibility necessary to get to these testing facilities.

Patti McCaffrey

Tahoe City

“I owe how much?!” Common sense told me something must be wrong, as I sat in front of the enrolled agents I had hired to prepare my tax return.

Suddenly I was being told I owed $3,902 in tax. There was very little change in my income and I haven’t owed extra taxes in 25 years. The preparers explained to me that with the new laws regarding the Alternative Minimum Tax, several of their clients were being hit with extra tax this year. They stated that it was a shame because the tax was meant for much higher wage earners, but it was hitting many levels. Well, that explanation didn’t satisfy me ” thank goodness.

I spent the weekend reviewing my tax return ” in detail, line by line. The time spent was well worth it. Though I didn’t understand everything I was looking at, some things just didn’t make sense (i.e., my tax-exempt interest was showing up in taxable-interest columns, items submitted as deductions had been missed, etc.). After a five-minute phone conversation with my CPA sister-in-law, she saved me over $1,000, and could tell there were more errors from our discussion. I overnight-shipped my returns to her; in the end she saved me $3,342 in owed taxes, just based on the errors she had found. Similar errors were found on all three returns I had had prepared. Oh, and by the way, I didn’t qualify for the Alternative Minimum Tax; it was because of another error, that it looked like I would qualify. Needless to say, I fired the “enrolled agents,” and my sister-in-law is preparing my returns this year. Thank you Yvonne.

Lesson learned: Really review your tax returns; it’s the most money I’ve saved this year! My hope is that this letter will save others of you on your taxes.

Deborah White

Truckee