| SierraSun.com

COVID-19 update from 
President and CEO of Tahoe Forest Health System Harry Weis


This is to inform you of important updates about the fight against COVID-19 in our community, so you and your family hear information straight from the local healthcare source.  

We continue to see a growing number of positive COVID-19 cases in our region, and the numbers change every day. The regional area referred to includes Nevada, Placer, El Dorado and Washoe Counties.  For specific information on trends and number of cases, please visit the county websites listed below.  

As with most other healthcare organizations, we too have several team members with positive test results, and they are recovering at home, with none requiring hospitalization.  It’s common for healthcare workers to become infected when caring for the ill, and we’re grateful to our strong team of caregivers and support staff who are working hard daily to keep our communities and health system as safe as possible.  Our team is putting everything we have on the line to provide our community with the best healthcare during this crisis.    

Because the COVID virus is highly contagious, we strongly suggest everyone follow the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations for prevention, including hand washing, not touching your face, staying at home and social distancing when going out for essentials. 

Here are some of the most important new measures we are taking to fight COVID-19 at Tahoe Forest Health System now:  

There are restrictions for patients coming to any of our physician offices unless there is an urgent medical condition. If you have a medical issue that cannot wait and is not COVID-19 related, please call our central phone number to schedule an urgent provider office visit at (530) 582-6205.  

All of our staff members are being screened daily before each shift for any type of illness, and employees will wear masks.  

We have implemented telemedicine services with many of our clinical providers, and this access is growing daily.  If you need to see a healthcare provider for a non-COVID issue, your visit may be scheduled using telemedicine technology which allows for remote medical diagnosis and evaluation.  This allows us to treat patients remotely for your health and safety.  Please note that our Emergency Department continues to be open 24/7.

We are screening every patient we see, anywhere, for any illness symptoms, and we ask that even patients wear mask.  This is for everyone’s safety.  We are continuing to restrict elective surgery, lab visits and radiology visits in the hospital as the COVID-19 situation evolves.  

We’ve created a new curbside drop-off and pick-up process at our retail Pharmacy, located in the Medical Office Building directly across from the hospital at 10956 Donner Pass Road, Suite 100.  Call the Pharmacy at 530-587-7607 for details.  

There’s also a location change for the outpatient Laboratory, now temporarily located at 10956 Donner Pass Road, Suite 240.  They are open M-F from 7:00 am to 4:30 pm (closed from 12:30-1:00 daily).  This change is to decrease entry into Tahoe Forest Hospital.   

The virus is growing rapidly, and it will continue in our region at least through the month of April.  We’re hopeful for a higher volume of testing to occur everywhere, and we’re working very hard and in innovative ways to make this more accessible in our community now.  We strongly encourage everyone to follow the State of California and CDC guidelines, and practice good habits such as limited alcohol intake and healthy eating as much as possible. Remember, if you have symptoms or are concerned about symptoms, call our COVID-19 Hotline at 530-582-3450. Specially trained nurses are available to answer your questions and direct you to treatment if needed.  

Finally, thank you to everyone who has encouraged and supported us through these very challenging weeks.  The pandemic causes a major financial impact to our organization, and we are committed to being a strong resource for encouragement and recovery to our community in the months ahead.  I feel optimistic that we’ll get through this crisis with new ways of thriving together.  

 Your health and safety is our number one priority.  

Please follow our website as well as the Nevada, Placer, Washoe and El Dorado county health websites for continued updates:  

Source: Tahoe Forest Health System

State Parks curtail parking in hopes of minimizing COVID-19 spread

With more and more parks being shut down due to coronavirus concerns, record numbers of people are turning out to parks that have remained open, including Nevada County’s Empire Mine State Historic Park and South Yuba River recreation areas.

While the county’s state parks remain open, California State Parks Sierra District Superintendent Matthew Green on Saturday morning ordered the closure of high traffic parking areas due to health and safety concerns, including at Empire Mine and the South Yuba River parks.

“We’re trying to limit the possibility of larger groups gathering,” Ranger Marc Wetherbee said. “Last week, people were not heeding the stay-at-home order.”

While Gov. Newsom’s order does allow for people to get out and exercise, rangers like Wetherbee see issues with social distancing while on narrow trails such as Buttermilk Bend near the Bridgeport Bridge, which can become crowded during the spring wildflower blooms.

“There’s a lot of single-track trails,” Wetherbee said. “But I’m seeing a lot more people hiking along the dirt roads near Rice’s Crossing.”

Dirt roads are wider and allow for better social distancing when encountering people along the paths. Signs giving people tips on recreating safely at the parks have also been posted in English and Spanish.

Those visiting parks are asked: not to gather in groups or at picnic tables; stay more than 6 feet apart from folks hiking, walking, jogging, or biking; and to bring hand soap or sanitizer along with them.

Elias Funez is the Multimedia Reporter for The Union, a sister publication to the Sierra Sun. To contact him, email efunez@theunion.com, or call 530-477-4230.

LISTEN: Social distancing order extended, virtual concerts and more on Tahoe Talk Podcast

Get up-to-date news and information about the Truckee-Tahoe area.

Today’s topics include:

  • Social distancing (not shelter in place) extended by President Trump through April 30
  • “Pop up” field hospital in Central Park
  • New York Instacart and Amazon workers planning strike today at fulfillment centers
  • Virtual concerts thriving and keeping America connected (raised $1 million last night)

Listen to the latest podcasts here.

Lake Tahoe Basin and El Dorado County roadwork schedule through April 4


U.S. Highway 50 (El Dorado County): Work continues on a $5.2 million project to upgrade metal beam guardrail and construct concrete barriers at 89 locations from the Red Hawk Undercrossing to 1.9 miles west of the junction with State Route 89 in Meyers. Completion is expected in late spring 2020. No traffic-interfering work is scheduled.

U.S. Highway 50 (El Dorado County): Work is in winter suspension on a $14.1 million project to replace the Echo Summit Sidehill Viaduct, located 7 miles west of South Lake Tahoe. This project is replacing the current bridge, built in 1939, with a new structure to meet current design and safety standards. Completion is expected this fall. For more information, visitway2tahoe.com 

U.S. Highway 50 (El Dorado County): Work is in winter suspension on a $57 million project from the “Y” intersection at State Route 89 to the Trout Creek Bridge in South Lake Tahoe. This project is building new drainage systems to collect and treat stormwater runoff, rebuilding curbs, gutters and sidewalks, widening the highway to allow for bike lanes and resurfacing the roadway. Completion is expected this spring.         

State Route 193 (El Dorado County): Work continues a $6.1 million project to build retaining walls at two locations on State Route 193 between Kelsey Road and Rock Creek Road and to install metal beam guardrail. Completion is expected this spring. No traffic-interfering work is scheduled.


State Route 28 (Placer County) from Onyx Street to Speed Boat Avenue: Motorists can expect intermittent full highway closures at various locations from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday for water quality testing.  

State Route 49 (El Dorado County) from Gold Beach to Union Mine: Motorists can expect one-way traffic control at various locations from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday for tree work.

State Route 49 (El Dorado County) from Fowler Lane to Bradley Drive: Motorists can expect one-way traffic control from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday for miscellaneous work.

State Route 49 (El Dorado County) at Pacific Street/Main Street in Placerville: Motorists can expect the #1 (left) lane closed from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday and Tuesday for traffic signal work.

U.S. Highway 50 (El Dorado County) at Cameron Park Drive: Eastbound and westbound motorists can expect the #2 lane and the on- and off-ramps closed from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Monday through Saturday for electrical work.

U.S. Highway 50 (El Dorado County) from Ponderosa Road to Bedford Avenue: Eastbound and westbound motorists can expect the #1 lane closed at various locations from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday for traffic signal work.

U.S. Highway 50 (El Dorado County) from Friday Avenue to Upper Truckee Road: Eastbound and westbound motorists can expect intermittent full highway closures at various locations from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday for water quality testing.

State Route 193 (El Dorado County) between Traverse Creek Road and the South Fork American River (Chili Bar): Motorists can expect one-way traffic control at various locations from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday for tree 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 1-800-427-7623 (ROAD) or visit Caltrans’ “QuickMap” website at: http://quickmap.dot.ca.gov/

Source: Caltrans

Pine Nuts: Break out the C-rats

They told us the C-rations they were delivering to us leathernecks in Vietnam were prepared and canned for troops fighting long before us in Korea. I tended to believe they were prepared and canned for troops fighting in the Crusades.

I was fully convinced the ham & lima beans were provided by the deity and prepared by the devil; we called them, Ham & Little … but never mind. Albeit, awful as they were, they did keep us alive.

I suspect we have C-Rats stored somewhere that are still serviceable and we need find them and start making more. As Napoleon Bonaparte assured us, “An army marches on its stomach,” and we are that army. Should our customarily reliable food supply chain break down we better have a plan B, and plan B might just have to be ham & lima beans.

Large-scale military production and distribution of C-rats could be a clarion call to calm frayed nerves and feed empty stomachs.

Now, let’s talk about seaweed. We can harvest edible seaweed and make it available to the public in a matter of days. And too, we can then use up all those seasonings that have been sitting in the cupboard for years to liven up that seaweed.

If we don’t get moving on a plan B, well, we might be looking at plan C, that of examining foraging guides in trying to figure out which wild plants are edible and which will poison you before they reach your stomach.

You know that dandelion growing in your backyard? Well, you can eat it, roots, leaves, flower and all! They are best when boiled for a prolonged time. Then you can drink the water when it cools and it’s tea.

Personally, I can live on pine nuts alone. You just need to hire an army of squirrels to ferret them out for you. But enough of plan C …

Let’s hope our amazing food chain holds together, but if it should break, let us break out the C-rats and not complain.

In closing, I congratulate my comrades in self-isolation, who exhibit endurance and patience that resembles contentment.

Onward & upward …

Learn more about McAvoy Layne at http://www.ghostoftwain.com.

Barbara Smith: We do have a choice, in representation

People are sick, schools and businesses are shuttered, family life is disrupted, jobs are lost.

The necessary practice of social distancing is adding to the isolation and fear already impacted by economic challenges. At these times, we look to our elected leaders to provide solace and leadership.

Instead of voting to provide emergency paid leave to furloughed or laid-off workers, Rep. Tom McClintock voted against the bill. He claimed it would de-incentivize our work force, providing an opportunity to game the system. Setting aside the implications of McClintock’s degrading opinion of his constituents, we have now been presented with his dissertation on the choices we face going forward.

In his column, “Our Choice: A Third Quarter Rebound or a Lost Decade,” McClintock continues his paternalistic patronizing views by echoing recent calls to return to life as normal. He further states that a payroll tax holiday is preferable to extending leave and unemployment benefits.

To McClintock, it matters little that scientists and public health professionals tell us ending social distancing too soon will hasten the transmission of the virus, devastate an already overburdened healthcare system, and lead to long-term societal and economic difficulties. We ignore the advice and experience of these experts at our peril.

For the unemployed, how is a payroll tax holiday of any help? A holiday from a tax you’re not paying because you’re unemployed is hardly a benefit. Furthermore, payroll taxes are used to fund Medicare and Social Security. How long will it be before McClintock demands cuts in earned benefits as a pretext of his rediscovered fiscal concerns?

McClintock is right — we do have a choice. He has already chosen partisan politics and wealthy donors over us.

I will choose a representative who puts our needs first.

Barbara Smith


Celeste Leon: Climate change is still here and it’s dire

I imagine many people are wondering if there could ever be such a thing as a “silver lining” to the coronavirus pandemic.

With all of us practicing social distancing, we are driving less and thereby decreasing our carbon footprint. Air pollution is lower in China. But these effects are temporary.

With an uncertain future and an almost certain recession looming, there will be less money for funding and research for renewable energy, at least until a government stimulus package is passed.

Climate change is still here and it’s dire. If our world pledges to hold the increase in global average temperatures to below two degrees Celsius, then we need to limit carbon-dioxide emissions, particularly in the US; with 5% of the global population we are responsible for more than 25% of emissions. Personally, I want the world to be safe for my family and my daughter’s future family. So what can we as citizens do in these troubling times?

I joined the North Tahoe chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby.

CCL also has several members in South Lake and aspires to eventually establish a South Shore chapter. We are a grassroots organization responsible for the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. This bill received bipartisan support in Congress, will reduce America’s emissions by more than 40% in the first 12 years and will provide 2.1 million new jobs. Money collected from a carbon fee will be allocated back to all Americans. Don’t wait too long to act!

To learn more about this important bill to protect the nature of this pristine place we live in, visit www.energyinnovationact.org.

Celeste Leon


Michael Kennedy: When laid off in Squaw Valley, climb higher

Like many other people I just became unemployed. I moved across the country to live and work in Squaw Valley, one of the largest ski areas in the United States, host site of the 1960 Winter Olympics.

But due to the pandemic, our enchanting little village shut down.

The surrounding mountains full of fresh powder sit idle, uninhabited by hoards of would-be tourists, local skiers, boarders and onlookers, as we wait this out.

Adversity: the start or end of something great.

Adversity is a peculiar thing. It can debilitate or liberate. It can be a catalyst for fantastic change, or push you into deep despair. One thing for sure, none of us is immune to it.

Many people will view adversity with optimism, as an opportunity to discover hidden talents, untapped resources, untested courage and resolve.

Some people will approach adversity with a “woe is me” mentality. “Why me? Why now?” They will find their excuse for aiming low  — or not aiming at all  —  in this nicely wrapped gift called adversity.

With the fast moving spread of the novel coronavirus impacting everyone, everywhere in the world, life as we know it has forever changed. Collectively we’re facing a new kind of adversity, one we’ve never experienced in our lifetimes.

We can choose to cower and live in fear, or we can make the most of our “down” time as we spend unusual amounts of it at home. It starts with an optimistic view … led by action.

Distance Learning

We have a chance to learn new skills and improve on skills we already have, gaining a marketable edge like never before.

There are dozens of websites at our fingertips offering free education. Sites like Coursera.org where you can gain world-class education from leading universities and companies on subjects such as business, computer science, art, literature, poetry, language learning, history and more. Take advantage of these learning sites.

Give Back

What can you do for others? How can you help, lift, encourage, console … be a better neighbor in this new social distancing world we now find ourselves in? Here are some thought starters.

Engage more online with others. There’s safety in numbers  —  virtual, digital connections. Akimbo recognizes the power of what happens when people connect and work together online. They just launched a public co-working space, open for the next month. There’s no charge … it’s free.

Find ways to lend a hand or support others. In the wise words of Zig Ziglar, “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care … about them.”

Be a better neighbor.

Find new sources of revenue

What are you passionate about doing that others might like you doing for them? Art, photography, music, writing, cleaning, organizing, dog-walking, mentoring, teaching, coaching …? Now’s a good time to turn your hobbies into revenue generating machines. Especially if you’re unemployed.

No act of kindness, no-matter how small, is ever wasted.” ~ Aesop

Don’t be the guy or gal who made no use of this down time. Embrace adversity with boldness and courage. Climb higher.

Feel like connecting with me? I’d love it. You can find me on FB, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Medium.

We’re in this together and we need each other more than ever.

Michael Kennedy, a Squaw Valley resident, is a professional photographer. He can be reached at Michael.Kennedy999@gmail.com

Climate Dispatches: How to take a community approach to climate change

The purpose of this ongoing series of “Climate Dispatches” is to share with our neighbors how climate change affects our community and how we can all make a meaningful difference.

As we all try to manage the disruption to our lives that is resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is difficult to think beyond the challenges that are immediately in front of us, and rightfully so.

We are concerned for the health and well-being of our families, friends, and communities, and there is great uncertainty in how it will impact us into the future. When we do get through this, and we will, it will be because each of us did our part to keep ourselves and everyone around us safe, and because we as a community came together to support one another.

When we look at how we are confronted with the impacts of climate change, it will also take individual and community action for us to be successful. It is important that each of us, individually, make conscious decisions to minimize our impact, according to the resources that each of us has, and within the limitations that we face. It is also important that we come together as a community to advocate for larger change, to influence the systems that make our daily lives possible and help them support a sustainable and equitable future.

My wife and I moved to the mountains to be closer to things that we love, to become part of a smaller community, and also, in part, to reduce the emissions associated with driving up here every weekend. But I still have a large carbon footprint. I travel for work almost every month; our home uses more energy than it should; and we find ourselves driving around town more often than we’d like to. We try to minimize this footprint, by purchasing carbon offsets for travel, making efficiency improvements to our home as we can afford to, prioritizing bikes and transit over driving whenever we can, and eating a less impactful diet.

However, this can only do so much. It reduces my individual impact, which is really important and has positive effects on our local community, but it doesn’t largely influence our global emissions. If we are to have a more significant impact at a larger scale, then we also need to advocate for why climate change is important and why we should take immediate steps to address it.

Locally, we can each make our voice heard. We can show up for Truckee Town Council meetings and Truckee Donner Public Utility District meetings; we can reach out to our Town Council members to let them know why this issue is important to us; we can comment on regional planning efforts by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, Tahoe Transportation District, Truckee Planning Division, and USFS Tahoe National Forest; and we can participate in the Town of Truckee 2040 General Plan Update. We can use our voice to drive the future of our region in a meaningful way.

Locally and regionally, we can be involved with groups that are working towards a carbon neutral Truckee-Tahoe region and that support the Town’s intent to: 1) power the community with 100% renewable electricity, and 2) reduce community greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2040. Truckee’s 2020 goals include action towards these renewable energy and carbon emissions targets. The Citizens’ Climate Lobby North Tahoe Chapter and 100% Renewable Truckee Coalition are groups of local residents trying to help the town realize this goal, and they can use your help.

At a state and national level, we can contact our state and federal representatives to let them know that climate change and related issues that are important to us, and we can tell them that we support specific pieces of legislation that drive state and federal policy in a positive direction. We can support groups like Protect Our Winters (POW), 350.org, the Sierra Club, and other organizations that are part of the U.S. Climate Action Network, who are actively working on our behalf to drive policy decisions that will modernize our energy infrastructure and move us to a clean energy future.

We are already seeing the impacts of climate change in our region, from longer, more severe fire seasons to warmer winters and extreme variability in snowpack. If we hope to meet the 1.5 °C temperature increase established by the IPCC, then we have to act quickly. We need to reduce emissions by at least 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, and we need to be carbon neutral by 2050. It will take collective action to get there.

Not all of us are able to reduce our individual emissions significantly, but we all have a voice and can become active in our local community. I saw the author Ibrahim Abdul-Matin speak a number of years ago, and in discussing the need for us to work towards a sustainable future, he said, “Don’t let the harm you are doing now stop the good you can later.” No matter our circumstances, we can have an impact, and it will be much greater if we work together.

Learn more about how you can become engaged with local efforts to combat change by contacting the Citizens Climate Lobby North Tahoe Chapter and 100% Renewable Truckee Coalition.

Matt Cunha-Rigby, a resident of Truckee, is an architect and sustainable leader.

Law Review: Fan hit by foul ball — any liability?

United States Supreme Court Chief Justice Benjamin Cardozo first adopted what has become known as the “Baseball Rule,” essentially that spectators attending baseball games assume the risk of injury.


Chief Justice Cardozo applied the common law doctrine volenti non fit injuria (“to a willing person, injury is not done”).

He went on to write: “One who takes part in such a sport accepts the dangers that inhere in it so far as they are obvious and necessary, just as a fencer accepts the risk of a thrust by his antagonist or a spectator at a ball game the chance of contact with the ball.”

The Baseball Rule has generally given stadium operators a limited duty to provide a screened area behind home plate. The general concept is foul balls represent an inherent risk to spectators attending baseball games, a risk they assume.


Just recently Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred announced that all 30 major league teams will expand the protective netting in their stadiums “substantially beyond the end of the dugout” for the 2020 season and that 7 or 8 stadiums will run netting all the way to the foul poles.

Of course, that is if we have a 2020 season.


In February, a case called Sumner v. U.S. Baseball Federation, the Second Appellate District Court of Los Angeles seemed to change the law of the Baseball Rule. The Court allowed Sumner to move her case forward after she was hit in the eye with a foul ball. The Court determined the injury could have been prevented with netting further down the foul ball line than is currently provided at stadiums.

The Court of Appeal rejected the park owner’s argument that it had no duty of any sort to protect spectators from foul balls.

As the Court wrote, installing protective netting down the first and third baselines at least to the dugouts would certainly increase safety and minimize risk to fans sitting in those areas. Would it alter the nature of the game?

The Court reiterated that 30 major league teams and many minor league teams will be expanding protective netting beyond the end of the dugouts for the upcoming (non) 2020 season.


Given that concession, the Court of Appeal allowed Sumner to take her case to a jury — trying to prove the stadium operator could possibly have provided protection without changing the game. Sumner’s case may still be pending, but stadium operators are getting the message that protective netting needs to be expanded. I predict the netting will be installed all the way to the foul poles — I have been predicting this change for a few years.

Yes, spectacular first- and third-base plays catching foul balls falling into the stands may no longer be possible, but the tradeoff is more safety for spectators.

Jim Porter is an attorney with Porter Simon licensed in California and Nevada, with offices in Truckee and Tahoe City, California, and Reno, Nevada. Jim’s practice areas include: real estate, development, construction, business, HOA’s, contracts, personal injury, accidents, mediation and other transactional matters. He may be reached at porter@portersimon.com or www.portersimon.com.