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Tahoe Film Fest returns to North Shore

The 6th annual Tahoe Film Fest will return for 2020, despite looking a bit different with an auidence wearing masks, the festival that highlights inspiring, award-winning films and is known for showing captivating environmental, American and International Independent films will return to the Incline Village Cinema and the Crystal Bay Club starting Thursday.

The festival goes from Dec. 3-6.

When the Tahoe Film Festival Director, Robert Roussel secured the 27 films for the festival in late July of this year, COVID-19 cases had decreased and Roussel said that “things were doing okay”.

Movie theaters, salons and restaurants were open at limited capacity, but still open to the public.

“Everything was on track until late October,” he said. COVID-19 cases began to increase once again. Due to California’s regulations regarding COVID-19, NorthStar Cinema which was one of the venues for the film fest, is now temporarily closed.

Between Incline Village Cinema and the Crystal Bay Club, 21 films will be shown this year. Purple Mountains directed by Josh “Bones” Murphy, is one of the much anticipated films being shown Dec. 3 at the Incline Village Cinema.

Purple Mountains follows professional snowboarder and mountaineer Jeremy Jones on his journey to find a common ground with people of diverse political backgrounds while finding key uniting shared values.

In a mission to bring attention to climate change, Jones first tries to understand people’s hopes and fears surrounding it.

Jones plans to be in attendance of the showing of this film.

Other outdoor, environmental films include Solving for Z, Akashinga: The Brave Ones, The New West and the Politics of the Environment and Gunda.

Other films include Parasite, Critical Thinking, Citizen Penn, Ema, Sibyl, Shirley, Clemency, Monsters & Men, and The Cave.

The festival will also be showing several films about prominent musicians including Ella Fitzgerald: Just One of Those Things, Billie, The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash, Laurel Canyon: A Place in Time, Miles Davis: The Birth of Cool, Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President.

While the Incline Village Cinema and Crystal Bay Club Casino Crown Room are still open, they are operating at 25% capacity. Both venues are allowing up to 50 people inside.

The Crystal Bay Club Casino Crown Room has capacity for 750 people, but they are erring on the side of safety and will be allowing 50 people for extra space.

Roussel said that he thought Gov. Steve Sisolak was going to shut down operations again during Sunday’s press conference. “We were ready to postpone, but he didn’t so we are going forward,” said Roussel. “It is going to be very safe. Our priority is safety and guidelines are in place.”

Regulations will include masks, social-distancing and there will be contactless check-in at the box office. Temperatures will also be taken upon entry.

The 6 films that were to be screened at the NorthStar Cinema, will be part of Tahoe Film Fest’s upcoming virtual, “Best of the Best” showing. It will include the past ‘best’ films along with the 6 films that were not shown during the festival which include Blood on the Wall, That’s Wild, Rebuilding Paradise, Nomad: In the Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin, Public Trust, and Kiss the Ground.

Tickets can be purchased individually for each film, or purchase an All Access Pass for $50.

Tahoe Film Fest ticket sales go towards science research and education at U.C. Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center.

Online ticket sales end at midnight the night before each film’s showing.

Tickets will be available each day at the theater box offices 30 minutes prior to the start of each film as long as seats are available.

There will be no refunds, however, if the festival is postponed due to COVID, all tickets will be honored at the rescheduled event.

Check the Tahoe Film Fest Event Facebook Page for ticket availability updates during the festival. For more information, visit tahoefilmfest.com.

Cheyanne Neuffer is a reporter for the Tahoe Daily Tribune, a sister publication of the Sierra Sun.

Tahoe Mobility Forum seeks to find solutions to high traffic volume

Regional leaders convened recently to discuss solutions to a kind of congestion mostly unrelated to COVID-19 — traffic.

Even between Tahoe’s two most highly trafficked seasons, parking below Mayhem Cove overflowed and drivers dodged pedestrians on Emerald Bay Road in mid-October. Peak season, locals’ trips to the grocery store become trials as they merged with Bay-area tourists finishing seven hour-long commutes in the snow.

When Amy Berry, Tahoe Fund’s CEO, first arrived to the basin in 1996, she took the bus.

“I was in college and too young to rent a car, and we happened to be staying near the stops,” Berry said.

As an east coast native, Berry said using public transit was familiar. The biggest challenge she and her friends faced getting from Truckee to Squaw was finding exact change for their transit.

“It’s never dawned on me we’ve built an environment that’s really car dependent,” Berry said. “We need a solution to change people’s behaviors — a lot of people.”

Berry said the Tahoe Fund is a nonprofit that helps allocate funds dedicated to preserving the basin’s natural beauty, hence its involvement in the Tahoe Mobility Forum in September.

The forum was sponsored by the Tahoe Regional Arts Foundation to explore short- and long-term ways to reduce vehicle miles traveled during peak visitation periods.

Berry identified the pandemonium that is Tahoe traffic as a “wicked problem.” By that she means that the solution is far from linear, and everything needs to be fixed at once.

“The number one thing to understand is that Tahoe is an incredibly complex place to get things done,” Berry said, referring to the five counties, two states and the federal government that govern the basin. “You expand out, and you get Truckee, Nevada County as well. It’s a lot of people to coordinate — it’s a lot of entities, bureaucracies and policies to coordinate.”

According to the Tahoe Mobility Forum’s report, those entities oversee the wellbeing of the basin’s 55,000 permanent residents and its 25 million annual visitors.

The report called the consequences of congestion “severe,” and detailed its economic and environmental impact.

“The delays can discourage visitors to local businesses and decrease quality of life for residents and visitors alike,” the report read. “It also jeopardizes public safety by increasing the risk of automobile collisions, especially with people on bicycles or on foot.”

Berry said the traffic not only affects carbon emissions and air quality in the region, but also pollutes the lake everyone is there to appreciate.

“If you come up to Tahoe and you’re stuck in traffic the whole time, you’re probably not being respectful of the environment,” Berry said. “The biggest issue is the source of fine sediment from surrounding roads blowing into Lake Tahoe causing loss of lake clarity.”

PARKING

Berry said offering viable alternative transit options begins with offering easy and accessible parking.

“People hate paying for parking in Tahoe,” Berry explained. “Usually, they’ll park anywhere.”

Berry said the region’s leaders are losing out on a financial opportunity that engages Tahoe’s day visitors — the audience hardest to reach and generate revenue from.

“We’re seeing a huge influx of people coming up for the day that don’t contribute much to the economy,” Berry said. “That base is very hard to communicate to.”

Berry said an interaction while paying for a night at a hotel or a lift ticket provides conduits for helpful messaging, be they Leave No Trace or COVID-19 safety protocols and recommendations.

“Generally, a transaction means that you’re having a conversation with them,” Berry said.

Berry said the problem has devolved into vehicles parking anywhere along the side of the road, and the California and Nevada Highway patrols physically cannot keep up with necessary ticketing.

“You’d be appalled if you saw the East Shore this summer,” Berry said. “There were more tickets given out than ever before.”

Berry said sometimes the highway patrol can call upon park rangers to help, but the Forest Service is “not committed” to writing tickets on federal property.

Berry said leaders are considering putting together a regional parking enforcement program along the way.

“I think what we really have is a parking problem,” Berry explained, “then we could move tourists around in public transportation.”

Berry said once remote parking areas are identified, the team assembled at the forum could devise a plan to bus people in.

“It’s very likely that that location comes with a parking spot, then we could shuttle people around,” Berry said.

Berry said the forum attendees also considered incentivizing Union Pacific to give consumers rail priority on Sundays, as opposed to product transit. Even that option for a tourist from Sacramento, Berry said, begs the question: “What do you do when you get here?”

TRANSIT

The broad range of stakeholders is exactly why an appropriate solution will be so full-bodied, said Christine Maley-Grubl, who joined the Truckee North Tahoe Transportation Management Association as executive director in June.

According to Maley-Grubl, the Truckee North Tahoe TMA is a public-private partnership concerned with identifying transportation solutions and promoting those options.

Maley-Grubl said a big portion of her work is advertising existing transit options in the area.

“There’s the TART service, which is a regional bus service on the North Shore, which is currently free,” Maley-Grubl said, referring to Tahoe Truckee Area Regional Transit. “You can jump on the bus anywhere on the route at no cost.”

Maley-Grubl said one of TMA’s main focuses is marketing and promotion of different types of transit they emerge. That is why she is looking forward to the Resort Triangle Transportation plan, which connects Kings Beach, Tahoe City and Truckee.

Tahoe Fund’s CEO Berry said the forum’s attendees are trying to leverage existing corridor management plans to create long-term solutions.

The Tahoe Transportation District (TTD) and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) are two key players in the actionable items presented in the forum’s report, Berry said.

The Highway 28 corridor is from Crystal Bay to Spooner Summit, and separate plans are being developed for the Highway 89 and Highway 267 corridors, respectively.

Berry said she was not sure how plausible an entry fee would be given that a significant portion of Tahoe’s workforce lives outside of the basin.

“It may be needed,” Berry said, “but it’s not without controversy.”

Berry said the state of Nevada requires a constitutional amendment in order to introduce a toll.

FUTURE

September’s forum will be followed by another in February, where the group will determine actionable items and prioritize app development, said Tahoe Regional Arts Foundation Chairman Keith Vogt.

Vogt said an app and a website would help tourists see traffic in the area in real time, but all parties — event hosts, planners, Tahoe locals, travelers and the environment — stand to benefit.

“Say you’re from Emeryville and you want to come to an event at the theater, and it’s just you coming in your car,” Vogt explained, “Our ticket is going to encourage you to come with another person. If we have other people from Fairfield, Davis and Sacramento, we’ll have the power to link those people up with each other.”

Vogt said the Stages at Northstar and the foundation have already determined that hosting events during high traffic times is not feasible, and are taking “aggressive” steps to encourage carpooling.

“Our goal is to provide parking for people who show up with three of more people in their cars,” Vogt added, “(The Resort Triangle) and hopefully Squaw and Incline Village will be mobility hubs we send shuttles to.”

Rebecca O’Neil is a staff writer with The Union. She can be reached at roneil@theunion.com.

HISTORY: Who were the Native Americans of the Truckee/Tahoe Region?

For thousands of years, Native Americans have occupied Summit Valley at Donner Summit in the summer. They came to escape the Nevada heat and to trade with California Native Americans. The ancient Native American Tribal connection to this area began around 2000 B.C. with the Martis Culture. They lived in Northern California on both the eastern and western sides of the Sierra Nevada.

The Martis left behind evidence of their residence in many places. There are dozens of mortars (grinding holes) and metates (grinding slicks) used to ground their foods on the hard Sierra granite. They also left behind many petroglyphs as well as projectile points for spears. They followed game to the high mountain meadows and made use of the great variety of available foods.

Gathering edible plant-based materials were the women’s responsibility. On the Sierra Crest there were a wide variety of seeds, nuts and berries. Oak acorns were a staple to their diet and tasty – at least once the tannins (bitterness) was removed by soaking or washing them in water. The acorns were brought up from lower elevations since none existed at the Summit. At the mortar sites women shared important lessons to the young girls. Generation after generation little bits of culture passed on with each meal ground on the mortars.

The men would be found nearby fashioning basalt rock pieces into projectile points for spears. They too passed on cultural knowledge to the boys, leaving thousands upon thousands of basalt discards littering the ground.

Donner Summit was a summer meeting place for other tribes in this area including the Maidu (Nisenan), Miwok and Washo (Washoe) tribes. At the summit the California Native Americans traded shells, obsidian and acorns for dried fish caught at Pyramid Lake by the Martis.

Disappearance of the Martis Culture

The Martis stayed in Summit Valley until about 500 A.D. Climate change may have been one of the reasons they ‘disappeared’ as the area became much drier.

However, at the same time the bow and arrow were developed by the area’s Native Americans. The new weapon had more power, greater accuracy and a greater range. The Martis historically used spears as well as atlatls (spear throwers) for their hunting. They worked almost exclusively with basalt to craft tools and projectile points. Basalt was readily available in the area but cannot be crafted into the finer and lighter points needed for arrows. Chert and obsidian were suddenly highly valued and were not available on the Sierra Crest. The nearest source of obsidian is the Tuolomne area near Yosemite, which necessitated them to either trade with California tribes or relocate.

The Maidu People

The Maidu were a peaceful, semi-nomadic tribe that inhabited the Sierra Nevada’s and adjacent valleys in Northern California (Plumas County and southern Lassen County). The Maidus were a California Tribe who were hunter-gatherers and fisherman. They hunted in the summer, building wigwams (wikiups) as temporary shelters and in the winter lived in semi-subterranean pit houses or earth lodges. Their food staples included acorns, fish and small game.

Prior to the Gold Rush (1848) it is estimated that there were 4,000 Northern Maidus (Nisenan). Regretfully, the Maidu’s lands were right in the middle of where gold was found and they were overrun and their native food supplies vanished by the surge of white settlers and prospectors.

The Washo (Washoe)

The Washo tribe inhabited the Lake Tahoe region over 1300 years ago. They would generally spend the summer in the Sierra Nevada then in the fall move to the mountain ranges to the east, utilizing the valleys found in between for the winter and spring. The western part of the Washo territory was in the mountains and subject to heavy snows so few people wintered there.

Washo people were semi-sedentary hunters and gatherers and very knowledgeable about their land and its resources. This included an understanding of the seasonal cycles of both plants and animals. Fishing was a huge part of the Washo way of life and each family had their own fishing grounds.

The Washo did not have sustained contact with white Euro-Americans until the 1848 California Gold Rush. Their resistance to incursions on their lands proved unsuccessful. The last armed conflict with the Washo and non-Indians was the Potato War of 1857 where starving Washos were killed for gathering potatoes from a settler’s farm.

Their hunting grounds were lost to farms and the pinon pine groves fell to feed Virginia City’s demand for lumber and charcoal. Commercial fishing at Lake Tahoe destroyed another important resource to the people. These events forced the Washos to depend on jobs found on ranches, farms and in cities.

The Lake Tahoe area is a very spiritual place for members of the Washo Tribe. It also explains their concern for the protection of locations important to the Washo Heritage.

Chief Truckee’s Influence

No story on Truckee’s Native American influence would be complete without a nod to Chief Truckee. There are many stories on who first called him “Truckee” but all of them agree on his friendship with the early explorers and settlers.

One such story talks about a Paiute chief who in 1844 told members of the Stephens-Townsend-Murphy party that 50 or 60 miles to the west there was a river that flowed easterly from the mountains and along the river they would find large trees and good grass. A scouting party (which included Stephens, Caleb Greenwood and the chief) rode out to investigate. While exploring, their guide used the Paiute word for “all right”. The word sounded like “tro-kay” and everyone thought the chief was telling them his name. The scouting party found the route to be “all right” and began to refer to their guide as “Chief Truckee” (a liberal translation of “tro-kay”). The chief liked the name so much that he retained it for the rest of his life.

Judy DePuy is a retired civil engineer, marketer, and volunteer for Truckee Donner Historical and Railroad Societies and Donner Summit Historical Society. Judy enjoys traveling, hiking, skiing, sewing, giving back to the community and being with her Belgian Sheepdog, Morticia.

Tom Kellar: Turning a house into a home

When Wayne Worden and Re-start Ministries burst onto the housing scene in 2016, his emergence was no doubt met with a chorus of hallelujahs from social agencies in town who work to help folks in need find permanent housing.

As a housing advocate myself, I will never forget the day I assisted my first client into her own apartment, then watched as she opened the door to her new place, then stood alone in the middle of the living room without any of the furniture or houseware that helps make a house a home. Talk about a buzzkill.

Thanks to Wayne and volunteers, those days are gone and the nonprofit communities in Nevada and Placer counties are deeply grateful. Today, when one of our clients is given the green light into their own place, we have the client contact Wayne, and an appointment is made for the client to visit Wayne’s warehouse, where they choose the furniture and items they need. And the best part? Wayne delivers the chosen furnishings at no charge when the client is officially ready to move in.

My interview with Wayne took place a week ago in his Auburn warehouse and, as usual, the man was extremely busy, but graciously gave me a few minutes of his time.

Tom Kellar: I understand Re-start Ministries just passed a big milestone.

Wayne Worden: Yes, since we started in 2016 we’ve now helped over 800 families.

TK: Congratulations! What were the reasons driving you to get into this work?

WW: In 2015, I was involved in helping an Air Force vet who had been discharged early and lost his apartment. He, his wife and 14-year-old daughter had been living in their car. They had just found a house in Grass Valley to rent but had nothing else. I got involved with a few other people to get them the things they needed for their house. A couple of months later, I was sitting in my house one morning reading my Bible and I heard God say: “I have something I want you to do.” I said, “I don’t have time,” but God said: “No, I have something I want you to do.” Then I proposed the idea to my wife, then talked to a local pastor whose church did a lot of community service. I talked to a board member of the homeless shelter here in Auburn and they all said there is no one doing anything like the ministry I was thinking about.

TK: And that was the beginning?

WW: Yes. I started by handing out flyers at yard sales and told folks I would take anything that was leftover if they wanted to donate it to the ministry and that’s how we started.

TK: So you had no previous experience working in the nonprofit world, this work was just something God laid on your heart?

WW: I have a long background working with kids’ ministry at church, but had never operated a nonprofit.

TK: Who are the organizations that you regularly partner with?

WW: There are two dozen nonprofits I work with in Placer and Nevada counties. The ones I assist most are Community Beyond Violence, Hospitality House, The Booth Center, AMI Housing, The Gathering Inn, The Placer County Whole Person Care Unit and Stand Up Placer.

TK: Now that you’ve been doing this work awhile, what are some of the things you’ve learned from it?

WW: The payback for me has been watching the people that come through and the joy that they get from finally starting to get back on their feet. It’s usually taken all the money that they have to get into a place and they come in here and see all the stuff I have that’s available to them. It’s just a joy to watch them react. It allows me to share the love of God.

TK: What is the hardest part of what you do?

WW: Time management. (Laughing) There’s two things. Finances: I operate by donation. People give to the ministry monthly in order for me to pay the rent. I’ve never gotten to the point of being 100% sustainable. I was up to about 90%, but since COVID hit I’m back down to about 60%. I make up the difference. All the other expenses for gas, repairs, etc., I pay for. I don’t take anything out of the ministry. The other thing is manpower: I have a few guys I can call on for heavy lifting, but a lot of it I do by myself. For the month of October I had 27 clients come through. That means 27 meetings, 27 deliveries and I had 36 people donating, so that meant 36 pickups. That means I don’t have too much time left in the day to put things away, so that means I have boxes of things I still need to deal with. I could always use help to pick up the big stuff, make some deliveries and also to clean things as I bring them in.

TK: What would you tell someone who is thinking about becoming a Re-start Ministries volunteer.

WW: I would like to eventually develop a list of people who have strong backs and could volunteer at least one day a month to come and drive the trucks, do the pick-ups and deliveries. That would allow me to stay in the warehouse and meet clients, put things away and do repairs. That’s my goal, to get together a list of 30 people who would give me at least one day per month.

TK: What’s the best way for someone who wants to donate money or volunteer to reach you?

WW: They can just call me. My number is 530-906-9120.

TK: Looking out into the future, what is in store for Re-start Ministries? How long do you see yourself doing this work?

WW: I have no plans on quitting. (Laughing) Retirement is not an option, I’ve already retired. I would like to have someone who feels called to come join me and share the burden some. Right now I’m doing 10 to 11 hours a day, five days a week.

TK: Like most of us in the nonprofit world, I’m assuming you probably have a favorite story?

WW: Just before COVID hit a single mom came to the warehouse. She was escaping domestic violence, having to leave her home in a hurry. She had been living in a crisis shelter, then gotten an apartment. She came in with her 12-year-old son. Like most of the people who come here, she was overwhelmed when she saw the amount of stuff that I had. She was walking around with that deer in the headlights look. Her son was saying, “Mom, we could use this, mom, we could use that.” Her son finally moved to the back of the warehouse where the toys are. I had picked most of them up well over a month earlier and I couldn’t remember where I’d gotten them. So the boy is standing there and he says, “Mom, there’s my toys,” and it turned out they really were. They were the toys he’d been forced to leave behind when his mother escaped. (Wayne pauses, both of us becoming misty eyed.) It doesn’t get any better than that.

At this time, Wayne’s three storage spots are literally filled to the rafters with donated furniture, appliances and housewares. The best way a reader can help Wayne and Re-start Ministries is by donating time, money or both. As someone who has seen up close the profound effect Wayne has on the clients he serves, I can attest to the significance his work has in our community. Donate to Wayne — 530-906-9120. Your heart will be glad you did.

Tom Kellar has been a Nevada County housing case manager for eight years. He currently works for Community Beyond Violence in Grass Valley.

Law Review: A Thanksgiving meal

A young man named, let us say, Simon, received a parrot as a gift. The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary. Every word out of the bird’s mouth was rude, obnoxious and laced with profanity. Simon tried and tried to change the bird’s attitude by consistently saying only polite words, playing soft music and anything else he could think of to “clean up” the bird’s vocabulary. Simon himself can be loud, so it was not easy.

Finally, Simon was fed up and he yelled at the parrot. The parrot yelled back. Simon shook the parrot and the parrot got angrier and even ruder. Simon, in desperation, threw up his hands, grabbed the bird and put him in the freezer. Simon has a temper. For a few minutes the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed. Then suddenly there was total quiet. Not a peep was heard for over a minute.

Fearing that he had hurt the parrot, Simon, who on occasion, can be compassionate (unless he is cross-examining a witness), quickly open the door to the freezer. The parrot calmly stepped out onto Simon’s outstretched arms and said “I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I’m sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions and I fully intend to do everything I can to correct my rude and unforgivable behavior.” Simon was stunned at the change in the bird’s attitude.

As he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic change in his behavior, the bird continued, “May I ask what the turkey did?”

I apologize for this slightly embellished internet column, but I thought it was appropriate “fare,” albeit “foul,” for the week. And with apologies for that:

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

Despite this miserable year 2020, we have much to be thankful for, some of us more than other perhaps. Hopefully relief is around the corner – both on the political front and pandemic. Be smart, be safe.

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, HOAs, contracts, personal injury, accidents, mediation and other transactional matters. He may be reached at porter@portersimon.com or http://www.portersimon.com.

Don Rogers: To all that’s good

A toast to President Trump as he leaves the White House, presumably — the bull in the china shop. He certainly woke America up to some things.

Most singular accomplishment? No, not the economy; those seeds were planted and already well watered when he took office, though his administration did help the stock markets grow like weeds.

Mixed results with America First, a lot of wand waving and moving deck chairs on established trade agreements to little real change. Jobs came and went with market innovations far more than through presidential fiat; Clinton remains king for job growth during a term. But Trump broke the globalist mold in the party that started that, a move widely welcomed among both parties.

He very successfully tore the scab off pretensions of America having grown out of racism, overt and otherwise. This has been painful all around, but few can deny the inflammation has lingered. Having the national wound in the open air does mean we can deal with it perhaps more honestly, including pushing back with the progress that indeed has taken place these past decades.

But mostly, let’s toast the president for recognizing that previous strategies of appeasement to that rising tiger China were only strengthening a rival ever eager to take advantage of our goodwill. President Trump most definitely did not get that one wrong, and he alone set us on a course even the next administration will not retreat from.

So there are a couple of things we all should be able to agree on concerning national politics, even with the most divisive personality as commander in chief ever.

A toast to the deeper things in life, which by the way have little to nothing to do with the politics we’ve let roil us so. Well, sure, not completely true. Much of our deepest worries and deepest virtues bubble up and express themselves in our politics, which makes our discussions so fractious.

This is why we find it so hard to talk with those awful others who believe the “wrong” things, vote for the “wrong” people, hold the “wrong” opinions. Quickly we realize we’re not exchanging ideas, which would be fine, fairly easy to do. No, we’re declaring core principles, faiths, worldviews, the dark hearts of our souls if we carry on long enough. It gets hard to impossible to keep listening. At least that’s what I hear.

How about a toast then to truly listening, to taking all of it in without rendering judgment, which by the way isn’t ours to render, according to the scripture. Listening without judgment isn’t complicit. It’s holy, about as holy an act as a human being can muster. That’s worth at least a quick side toast.

OK, back to toasting the deeper things in life: love, good health, family, friends, finding our place in this world and fulfilling our higher purpose. All these are real, even if we find ourselves living a bit short of our ideals, as we all are to some degree.

A toast to those who have managed to better themselves despite or because of these trying times.

A toast as well to Project Heart, dedicated to getting the fallen on their feet and off to their first steps from the gutter. This group has been remarkably successful in finding value overlooked by polite society and especially the person him or herself, and then helping them rebuild themselves. We’re blessed as a community to have this group and many others dedicated to lifting the quality of life right here.

A toast to you and yours this Thanksgiving weekend, critics and supporters, subscribers to The Union and donators to The Sierra Sun (thank you for your part keeping local news alive) and others who might take only the most occasional peek at our pages online and off.

Our aim — believe it or not! — is to be true always, to get the good news as well as harder stuff, to give voice to the full range of our community without coddling readers of any particular political persuasion, but rather informing everyone as grownups who can understand neighbors may hold different views and that there really does need to be evidence the courts can recognize for ever wilder conspiracy theories and widespread fraud to prove out as in fact true. Otherwise, better to trust Occam’s Razor here.

A toast on this uniquely American holiday to America, through thick and thin, together in fact even as we may stray apart in outlook, and with whomever we must tolerate as president. For all our challenges, we’re still the bright beacon of hope for the world, exceptional in deed today as well as in history, the leaders of the free world, and with a lot of good left in us yet. Our day is yet young. Cheers.

Don Rogers is the publisher of the Sierra Sun and The Union, based in Grass Valley. He can be reached at drogers@sierrasun.com or 530-477-4299.

Invasive species removal begins in Taylor Creek Marsh

LAKE TAHOE — Crews began work this month in the marsh system of Taylor and Tallac creeks in the Southwest portion of the Tahoe Basin to remove aquatic invasive plants from an abundant and impacted marsh ecosystem, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) announced.

In partnership with the USDA Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, crews will remove vegetation from the marsh this fall in preparation for the laying of bottom barriers next spring, according to TRPA. Bottom barriers are mats laid underwater to deprive weeds of sunlight they need to grow. Visitors to the area should expect to see field crews at work in and around the marsh with all-terrain vehicles, skiffs, and vegetation management tools. This work is expected to continue as long as the weather allows.

The Taylor and Tallac creeks watershed have been damaged by historical grazing, recreation infrastructure, construction, and erosion. The degraded condition has promoted the introduction of aquatic invasive weeds that threaten native species and alter the marshes’ natural ecosystem.

Controlling invasive plants, including Eurasian watermilfoil, is the first phase in a larger, comprehensive Taylor and Tallac Creeks Restoration Project, according to the agency. Both aquatic invasive species control and creek restoration are components of the Lake Tahoe Environmental Improvement Program (EIP), one of the nation’s most ambitious landscape-scale restoration programs involving more than 80 organizations around the Tahoe Basin.

Source: The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency

Climate Dispatches: Where does climate action stand post-election?

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.

I don’t know about you, but for me this election has been dispiriting. Your favorite candidate for president may or may not have won, but one thing we can say for sure is that this country is more divided than it’s been in living memory. For those of us who are concerned about climate change, and that’s probably the majority of you reading this article, this situation is especially worrisome. Climate change is a complex problem that will require a coordinated and robust response at the federal level, and hopefully much, much sooner than later. As this author writes, it looks like we’re heading for divided government again. Granted, who controls the Senate won’t be determined until Jan. 5 when both of Georgia’s senators are elected in runoff elections. Almost no one is predicting that Democrats will win both of those seats, which is what they would have to do to match the number of Republican Senators. 

So what next you ask? That depends to some extent on whether Republican Senatorial leadership will be interested in listening to the voices of younger voters in the Republican Party who are overwhelmingly interested in action on climate change. If so, this may be one issue that Republicans and Democrats can agree to address, at least to some extent. One priority of both parties will be to address the flagging economy in January, so hopefully Congress can agree to put some of our stimulus spending towards bolstering jobs in areas of the economy that would also mitigate climate change. For instance: building out the EV charging network, electrifying buildings, making buildings more energy efficient, reinstating tax incentives for car makers that have already gone through their allotment (Tesla), building more bike lanes, expanding public transit, upgrading the electrical grid, building very high voltage transmission lines and extending tax credits for renewable energy projects. All of these policies would have a beneficial effect on mitigating climate change and creating jobs, but they almost certainly will not be enough on their own to get us to where we need to be. Another possibility for bipartisan cooperation would be to put a price on carbon. That issue will be addressed in a subsequent Climate Dispatches column. But putting a price on carbon along with some of the stimulus options outlined above would go a long way to putting us on the right path.

If Republicans go back to being the party of “no” that they were during the Obama years, climate action will have to come solely from the White House. Biden has already come up with a long list of executive actions that he will move forward with if Republicans aren’t interested in compromise. This has drawbacks. We could have a repeat of what happened when Trump came to power. He rolled back many of the environmental efforts of the Obama administration as well as those of other administrations (over 100 environmental safeguards removed and still counting). So this could easily happen again when a Republican president takes office in the future. Another concern with this approach is that our 6-3 conservative Supreme Court may reverse Biden’s executive actions if they don’t meet their conservative interpretation of the Constitution, which we can be sure will be a very business friendly interpretation and skeptical of executive “overreach.”

So that is the political landscape we find ourselves in. What does that mean for those of us that want to put our time and energies into making an impact on climate change now? While Washington may get mired in partisan gridlock again, those of us lucky enough to live in California can work on real climate change solutions right here, right now. We have a state government that is actively pursuing the kinds of policies that if implemented at the federal level would put us on the path to meet the crucial target of staying below 1.5 degrees Celsius. So let’s take advantage of that and blaze a path to net zero carbon right here in Truckee. Consider joining 100% Renewable Truckee, which is working to help the Town of Truckee move forward on its commitment to a net zero future. All the while, we need to be thinking about how we can share the knowledge that we gain along the way with folks in other parts of the state and country who may be several steps behind us.

We also need to stay politically active. The only reason we aren’t in worse shape politically on climate is that many of you really stepped up this fall and helped in any way that you could to ensure that as many climate champions as possible were elected. Also, seriously consider joining an organization that works to build the political will to tackle climate change: Protect Our Winters, Citizens’ Climate Lobby, Moms Clean Air Force, Elders Climate Action, Rebuild Climate, Rewire America, Sierra Club, Sunrise Movement, 350.org. All of these organizations are working hard to ensure a safe future for our children, so join the one that feels like the right match for you. But don’t assume that you can afford to sit by and let others do the work. There is too much to be done, and too little time to do it. We all need to be involved in one way or another. If you’re short on time, consider donating to one of these organizations. If you’re shorter on money than time, consider volunteering with one of them.

Either way, we all need to take up the mantle of climate activist if we’re going to have any hope of stemming the tide.

Matt Tucker is a proud father of two, husband, full-time Truckee resident and advocate for a livable climate. 

Pine Nuts: A time for women

The prevailing belief amongst leaders of nine nuclear powers is that Weapons of Mass Destruction are a deterrent. So far so good. However, there is also a belief simmering in the minds of a few revanchists, that WMDs might be useful in exacting retaliation or retribution for various grievances.

Cooler heads do not always prevail, and much better minds than mine have told us, “Preparation for war begets war.” We have no permanent enemies, except weapons of mass destruction, and the time to draw them down is now.

So how do we do this? Well, first and foremost, we need to put women in charge of de-escalation, because the building blocks of WMDs, the very DNA of WMDs is testosterone.

Mankind has always been quick to attempt to solve problems with violence. Women, on the other hand have been the voice of reason. Their final salvo in an argument has customarily been a coherent and cogent, “Fine!” Personally, I’m fine with that, as I’ve learned to abide by such risk averse compromise. You bet!

Over the millenniums, while men have declared casus belli, mothers have sent their sons off to fight internecine wars. But the ladies are wising-up to that scheme of things. They want peace, a true peace, and a true peace is more than an absence of violence, it is a omnipresence of kindness.

I ask you, when was the last time you heard a woman say, “You got a problem with that?” When was the last time you heard a woman shout, “Don’t make me come over there!” And when was the last time you heard a woman declare, “I’m not a _______, (you fill in the blank), and I’m not a dentist either, but I’ll take your teeth out.”

No, those are things we men like to say, oftentimes followed by physical altercations, it’s in our DNA. Now if the violence that follows such taunts is mere fisticuffs, well maybe nobody gets hurt. But if there’s a knife involved, or more commonly, a firearm, there could be a corpse. As we move up the scale of killing power of weaponry, with no change in the combative nature of mankind, we get to Weapons of Mass Destruction, and well yes, Virginia, accidents do happen.

A quick glance around the world today reveals armed conflicts from Afghanistan to Yemeni, from Azerbaijan to Somalia, and Russian fighter jets have been buzzing Alaska of late. I guess they’re still sore about selling us Alaska for 7 million rubles, but hey, that was away back in 1867; get over it!

There’s an age old expression, “____ happens!” Let us not fill in that blank with “nuclear war,” because if we do fill in that blank with “nuclear war,” well my friend, we can kiss our assets goodbye.

Yes, let us let the ladies have a voice in de-escalation of WMDs, and let us bid a final farewell to Weapons of Mass Destruction before they bid a final farewell to us…

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

David Trustman: Demand more from elected representatives

Demand more from elected representatives

We are currently 20+ days since the election. We have all seen our President file lawsuit after lawsuit trying to invalidate this election. He has racked up loss after loss, while he and his lawyers continue to make claims of fraud, refusing to offer a shred of viable evidence. In court, the lawyers don’t claim fraud, because they know they don’t have any reasonable proof. Despite all this, our republican senators and congress people, including recently re-elected representative Tom McClintock refuse to grow a backbone and stand up to the presidents nonsense. They hide behind statements that the president should be allowed to pursue all avenues in his search for a way to invalidate the election. Their lack of morals and conviction in favor of playing it safe, hoping not to upset the president and risk their next reelection is appalling.

While they are correct that the president can pursue all his legal remedies, it is obvious to anyone paying attention, that he has run out of avenues that would actually change the outcome of our election. By remaining complicit with his ridiculous shenanigans, they have hamstrung president elect Biden’s transition process, during the middle of the worst rise in COVID-19 cases and deaths since the start of this pandemic. At what point do we, as a people, demand that our representatives put the good of the country over the good of their career?

Please call and/or write to your representative! Tom McClintock just got re-elected for two more years. If he is unwilling to stand up to a bully in the White House, how does he expect us to believe he will stand up for us? Let’s vote him out of office and replace him with a republican, democrat, or independent who is willing to stand up for morals and character rather than one who hides in the corner, not willing to stand up for what’s just and what’s right. We need to demand more from our elected representatives!

David Trustman

Truckee