Nevada wildfire north of Reno now 78 square miles |

Nevada wildfire north of Reno now 78 square miles

RENO — A series of wildfires continues to grow in northern Nevada, where about 800 firefighters are working to stop flames that had threatened a tribal town and nearby hamlets near Pyramid Lake, about 35 miles north of Reno.

A fire spokeswoman, Jesse Bender, said Monday the overall fire area is now about 78 square miles.

She says one firefighter reported a minor injury.

Residents in about 30 homes in Cottonwood Creek and Fish Springs Ranch have been told they’ll get a 30-minute notice to evacuate if necessary.

About 600 people were ordered out of the shoreline town of Sutcliffe during the weekend, and 200 were evacuated from beach areas.

Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribal officials say six houses and mobile homes, two vehicles and several out-buildings at historic Hardscrabble Ranch burned.

Sierra Snowkite Center back in business thanks to Tahoe winter’s return

SODA SPRINGS, Calif. — For two straight years, the Sierra Snowkite Center was twisting in the wind.

Unable to open due to the lack of snow, the Sierra Snowkite Center, which first opened in 2012 at Royal Gorge Cross Country Resort, was on the verge of pulling the plug for good on its short-lived operation.

Simply put, the persistent drought had dried up the business.

But then, the 2015-16 winter season swept in.

And thanks to the steady string of snowstorms since November, the center’s 250 acres of undulating terrain at Van Norden Meadow (a high Sierra meadow known for consistent wind) is in pristine shape once again — finally.

“It’s so nice,” said Tyler Brown, the Sierra Snowkite School director and a former North American Snowkite Tour champion. “Otherwise, it was like, man, this was kind of the last year I could’ve held on to it financially. If you can’t open for two years, it’s not very easy to run a business that way.”


Since the Sierra Snowkite Center opened back up this season, Brown said he’s given more than 50 lessons thus far, and the terrain has seen plenty of kiters riding on their own.

“It’s been non-stop,” Brown added. “It’s been tricky with the wind, but we got plenty of snow. I imagine we’ll be able to be out here kiting through April, no problem.”

In other words, once again, local kiters, and those interested in giving the sport a whirl, have terrain tailored for kiting to explore.

“It’s hugely exciting that the Sierra Snowkite Center has reopened and is ready to allow people to enjoy the sport here,” said Truckee resident Morgan Duncan, who took snowkite lessons from Brown four years ago. “Tyler, he’s an incredible teacher; very patient and very methodical in the way he teaches.

“The Sierra Snowkite Center really makes that transformation from knowing nothing to knowing the best practice for kiting.”

The center’s location at Royal Gorge, Duncan said, plays a key role in helping one learn the ropes.

“It’s very conducive for kiting,” he said. “Obviously when you’re on a kite, you have quite a distance between you and the actual kite. You need to have big broad open spaces, and the Sierra Snowkite Center is fantastic for it.

“It’s one of those sports you have to try, and once you try, you’ll fall in love with it.”


When it first opened in 2012, the Sierra Snowkite Center received a lot of interest, but very little of it came from the Truckee-Tahoe region. The bulk of the lessons given by Brown and his fellow instructors were to Bay Area residents.

After all, the Sierra Snowkite Center is the first and only snowkite school in California.

“It was popular right away, only because we’re only three hours from San Francisco, which is one of the main hubs in the world for kiteboarding,” Brown said. “Right off the bat, I wouldn’t say we had so many mountain people that knew what it was, but we had all these kiters who had never been on snow. So we had a ton of lessons with all these kiters coming up and teaching them to do it in the snow.”

With an influx of skiers and snowboarders traversing Van Norden Meadow using colorful kites sprouted into the sky, it didn’t take long for snowkiting to pique local interest, as well.

“People would be on the mountain, looking down and seeing all these colorful kites,” Brown said. “It happened pretty quickly as far as gaining notoriety in the Tahoe area. Now I’d say I get at least 50-50 as far as mountain people to existing kiteboarders.”


So why has snowkiting caught on and continued to grow?

For Brown, the answer is simple.

“It’s just another way to play in the snow,” he said, adding that the backcountry aspect also pulls people into trying it.

“You find a zone that you can ski and also kite up — it’s above the tree line and facing the right wind direction,” Brown said, “and you can lap it with a kite and get 25 runs in versus three runs if you were just touring with AT gear. So as far as the travel aspect, you can go longer distances in the backcountry.”

Essentially, Brown said, snowkiting is in “addendum sport” for skiers, snowboarders, kiteboarders and the like.

“If you ski and snowboard, you already know how to do that,” he continued. “This is just a way of harnessing the wind and doing the same thing you know how to do on the mountain.

“And the same thing with the water, if you know how to surf or wakeboard, anything like that, it’s just another addendum. Kiteboarding, it’s exploding. And all these people have this gear and now they can use it in the snow, so why not?”

Grand opening set for Carson Tahoe Health’s new breast center

It has been reported one in eight American women will battle breast cancer during their lifetime. And studies show the best defense against breast cancer is early detection. With this in mind, Carson Tahoe is excited to announce the grand opening of a new comprehensive breast exam center.

The new center, opening in August, will offer patients easy access to the latest breast imaging and diagnostics services currently available in the region.

The Carson Tahoe Breast Center is located in North Carson City on the Carson Tahoe Medical Campus, inside Sierra Surgery.

This innovative patient-centered model of care features 3-D Tomosynthesis Mammography, the most advanced form of diagnostic tests available for breast cancer screening. This leading-edge technology is also vital for women with dense breast tissue as it sees beyond the dense tissue to find hidden tumors. Additional services include: Breast MRI, Breast Ultrasound, Breast Biopsy, and Dexa Bone Density, all in an ultra-modern healing environment.

“We are thrilled to offer this essential service to our community,” said Michelle Joy, vice president and chief operating officer at Carson Tahoe Health. “The center provides patients with a seamless integration of preventive and diagnostic services in a tranquil, compassionate setting. We feel very fortunate to have the unique opportunity to provide state-of-the-art care, close to home.”

Carson Tahoe also recently added 3-D Tomosynthesis Mammography technology at Minden Medical Center to benefit Douglas County patients.

A grand opening celebration, open to the community, is scheduled from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 11 at Sierra Surgery, 1400 Medical Parkway.

To learn more about the innovative treatments coming to the new Carson Tahoe Breast Center or the grand opening celebration, go to

Search for missing Northern California hiker on hold after volunteer shot

WASHINGTON, Calif. — Citing safety concerns, Northern California authorities put on hold the search for a missing hiker while they seek to find a gunman who shot and wounded a volunteer rescuer.

The rescuer was in stable condition Wednesday with a hip wound, and crews worked late Tuesday to bring him to a site where a rescue helicopter could land, said Paul Schmidt, operations captain for the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office.

Nevada County Sheriff Keith Royal told the Sacramento Bee ( ) that helicopter crews plan to use heat-detecting devices to try to locate the shooter.

Authorities have not identified the wounded man.

The missing hiker is not believed to have any involvement in the shooting.

Immediately after the shooting, the wounded man and two colleagues took cover in a wooded area to await rescue.

The three volunteers with the Placer County Search and Rescue team were among several groups looking for the 75-year-old hiker reported missing along the South Yuba River near the rural town of Washington, about 75 miles west of Reno, Nevada, when the shooting occurred.

Schmidt said it wasn’t clear what prompted the shooting.

“We have absolutely no information on who or why,” he told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

71-year-old woman missing from Lake Alpine campground near Bear Valley (updated)

BEAR VALLEY – Rosalyn Saxsenmeier, 71, has been missing since July 28, according to a release by the Alpine County Sheriff’s Office. She was last seen at the Silver Valley Campground at Lake Alpine, which is near Bear Valley in Alpine County.

Saxsenmeier walked away from her campsite and has not returned. She suffers from a medical condition(s) and may have become disoriented, said police officials.

Saxsenmeier is a white female with brown hair and brown eyes. She is approximately 5’1” tall and weighs around 125 lbs. She was last seen wearing a yellow or blue short sleeve shirt, blue shorts and tennis shoes.

Starting on July 29, a 10-day multi-organization search was conducted through the combined efforts of the Alpine County Sheriff’s Office, CalOES, numerous law enforcement agencies, search and rescue volunteers, Civil Air Patrol and the California National Guard, according to an Aug. 9 release by the sheriff’s office.

“After a difficult ten days of searching and with no new developments, Alpine County Sheriff is reluctantly scaling back the search effort and has released all mutual aid resources as of August 7, 2016,” reads the release. “The Alpine County Sheriff’s Office will continue its investigation and will rely on their in-county resources to sustain a limited continuous search.”

Any information on Saxsenmeier’s whereabouts should be relayed to the Alpine County Sheriff’s Office at 209-753-2232.

Vail Resorts plans to abandon ‘Park City’ trademark in Utah

PARK CITY, Utah — Vail Resorts, with Park City Mountain Resort, said Saturday, July 16, it would withdraw its polarizing trademark application for the name “Park City” as it applies to a ski area, an unexpected turnabout amid widespread opposition to the bid to trademark the name of the community.

Park City Mountain Resort on Saturday morning released a prepared statement attributed to Bill Rock, the chief operating officer of the resort, explaining the decision to withdraw the application, which was filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He noted the application was initially filed by Powdr Corp., the former owner of Park City Mountain Resort, and it is “common within the ski industry” to obtain trademarks.

He also mentioned the opposition in the community, which reached a crescendo in the last week as critics mounted a well-attended rally outside the Marsac Building as City Hall officials and Vail Resorts executives huddled to discuss the matter. There were dozens of individuals or businesses considering formal oppositions with the Patent and Trademark Office. City Hall was one of the entities weighing whether to mount a formal opposition.

The statement issued by Rock follows:

“In 2014, while under Powdr Corp ownership, an application was filed with the Patent and Trademark Office to register the word mark ‘Park City’ for providing facilities for skiing and snowboarding. After our acquisition, we supported that application because we think it’s appropriate to obtain the benefits of federal registration for the Park City mark, which has a long history of use in connection with the ski resort that is located in the Park City community. This is common within the ski industry and there are other businesses in our community that have registered Park City for their products.

“However, recently there has been much concern raised in the community about what the impact of our trademark registration would be. We have tried to assure the community that this registration would not negatively impact other businesses and we do believe that there has been some misunderstandings and misinformation about the trademark registration.

“That said, this has clearly become a distraction that is pulling our collective focus away from the important work that lies ahead for our city on critical issues, such as affordable housing, parking and transit among others. As such, we have decided to withdraw our trademark application in an effort to move beyond this concern. In addition, we will be updating certain of our wayfinding and vehicular signage in Park City to address any local confusion about the difference between the resort and the municipality.

“We will be longtime partners in the Park City community, and we look forward to continuing our collaboration on everything that makes our community so special.”

The Park Record, located in Park City, Utah, is a sister paper to Tahoe Daily Tribune.

Medical marijuana: Nevada Co. supes adopt new grow rules amid criticism

NEVADA COUNTY, Calif. — Nevada County supervisors on Tuesday voted 4 to 1 to adopt new medical marijuana regulations, tweaking the proposed rules after a contentious back-and-forth discussion with grow advocates.

Supervisor Ed Scofield opposed the vote. The grow regulations required four-fifths of supervisors to approve. They become effective immediately.

The vote establishes interim grow rules and repeals the outdoor grow ban established Jan. 12 by the supervisors. The ordinance, which will be followed in several months by permanent grow rules, allows grows with a maximum of 25 plants on parcels over 20 acres, in specific zones.

Supervisor Hank Weston tweaked the original ordinance, adding up to six outdoor plants on residential agricultural rural land designations between 2 to 5 acres, if within 300 contiguous square feet.

Weston’s changes also allow indoor grows in all zones for another three months. After that time no grows will be allowed in residential areas, though both indoor and outdoor gardens are permitted in certain rural areas.

“This is totally new from what was brought here,” Scofield said of Weston’s additions. “You start making these changes and I can’t support it.”

The vote came after almost three hours of public comment and another hour of supervisor discussion that periodically resulted in angry back-and-forth retorts between ordinance supporters and detractors.

At one point, after Supervisor Dan Miller said he’d end the public comment, a man approached the board and said they’d have to arrest him if they refused to let him speak.

Miller then ordered a brief recess after the man spoke, and allowed several more to talk before ending the public comment. He said 52 people spoke.

Grow supporters argued that supervisors failed to obey voters’ wishes by implementing grow regulations some called more restrictive than the outdoor grow ban. Supporters of the ordinance asked the board to consider the county’s youth, and the nuisance they say marijuana creates, when crafting new grow rules.

Most of the grow advocates who served on the marijuana subcommittee that helped draft the interim ordinance blasted the supervisors.

“This thing is full of poison pills,” said Patricia Smith, chairwoman of the Nevada County chapter of Americans for Safe Access. “It cannot be followed.”

According to Smith, she must have a 200-foot setback on her 10-acre property. The setbacks overlap by 75 feet, meaning she can’t grow.

“This ordinance is a farce,” she added.

Mark Schaefer, chairman of the No on W Committee, questioned the county’s decision to increase plant count but limit the square footage where plants can grow. He said the ordinance didn’t appear to be a compromise.

James DeVinny, also with No on W, said he was bullied as a child. The board’s Jan. 12 vote to ban outdoor grows and limit indoor grows to 12 plants felt like the bully had returned.

It led him to help form the No on W Committee, which he said registered thousands of people to vote.

Measure W, which would have cemented the outdoor grow ban and 12-plant indoor limitation, failed by about 60 to 40 percent.

“I’m here to tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear,” DeVinny said, echoing Miller, who said similar words at an April marijuana forum.

“If you think the No on W campaign was well organized, you haven’t seen anything yet,” DeVinny added.

Forrest Hurd, father of a 9-year-old child with intractable epilepsy who uses medical marijuana, noted that cultivation can only occur on the property of a patient or caregiver.

It provides no allowance for third-party cultivation, an argument County Counsel Alison Barratt-Green later disputed.

“I do think there are a lot of misconceptions out there,” Barratt-Green said.

Hurd argued that medical marijuana is a science-based treatment, and that supervisors continued to operate under a 1940’s mentality.

“If you think nothing can be done, come and hold one of these babies,” Hurd said. “You tell them, ‘Someone, somewhere is diverting water and there’s nothing that can be done.’”

Hezekiah Allen, executive director of the California Growers Association, said he doesn’t want to encourage the commercialization of marijuana in Nevada County.

“It’s already here,” he said. “We want to regulate it.

“The penalty approach has not and will not work,” Allen added.

The ordinance calls for a $100 fine per plant, per day for the first violation. The second violation would be $200 per plant, per day and the third violation would warrant a $500 fine for each plant.

The county would impose similar fines for safety and building code violations.

The fines become effective Jan. 1.

Don Bessee, executive director of Smart Approaches to Marijuana of Nevada County, asked if the fines could become effective immediately. He also suggested requiring growers to register with the county.

Anthony Halby, with the Nevada County Law Enforcement and Fire Protection Council, said he moved 30 years ago to Nevada County for its quality of life. He strongly opposes drugs and supports the county’s interim ordinance.

“Drug money can buy corruption,” Halby said. “Drug money can buy intimidation. Drug money can buy elections. I think that’s what we have to fear in this county.”

James Henderson said he opposes any marijuana cultivation, and asked supervisors if they believe growers will comply with any new law. He argued marijuana grows would lead to more access and exposure to the drug.

Fran Freedle, another ordinance supporter, said she wishes the county would have focused more on the California Environmental Quality Act, known as CEQA.

The county exempted its new ordinance from CEQA, which it did with its previous grow ordinances.

“It’s clear — marijuana should not be grown outdoors in residential areas,” Freedle said.

Alan Riquelmy is a staff writer with The Union newspaper, a sister paper of the Sierra Sun that serves Nevada City, Grass Valley and other communities in the Sierra Foothills.

On the Hill: More snow on the way for Tahoe (Video)

On the Hill is brought to you by the Tahoe Center for Orthopedics

Breakdown: Join On the Hill host and Tahoe Daily Tribune reporter Sebastian Foltz checking out conditions at Heavenly Mountain Resort Wednesday.


Scattered snow showers Thursday. Cloudy, with a high near 33. Chance of precipitation is 40 percent. New snow accumulation of less than one inch at lake level.

There is a 40 percent chance of snow showers Thursday night. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 19. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch expected.

Friday’s forecast is calling for a 20 percent chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 33.

Snow is likely Friday night after 10p.m. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 25. Chance of precipitation is 60 percent. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.

Additional snow is likely Saturday. Forecasters are calling for mostly cloudy skies, with a high near 34. Chance of precipitation is 60 percent. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.

There is a chance of snow showers Saturday night, mostly cloudy skies, with a low around 17. Sunday is expected to be mostly cloudy with a high around 34 degrees.

On the Hill: Ski touring Emerald Bay (Video)

On the Hill is brought to you by the Tahoe Center for Orthopedics

Breakdown: Join On the Hill host and Tahoe Daily Tribune reporter Sebastian Foltz a short ski touring session at Emerald Bay


Saturday should be mostly sunny, with a high near 28. Light winds only around 5 mph. For Sunday, forecasters are calling for a chance of snow showers after 5pm. It’s expected to be mostly cloudy during the day, with a high near 37.

On the Hill: Backcountry turns on Luther Pass (Video)

On the Hill is brought to you by the Tahoe Center for Orthopedics

Breakdown: On the Hill host and Tahoe Daily Tribune reporter Sebastian Foltz gets in the backcountry on Luther Pass.


Skiers and snowboarders should take caution with potential for spring conditions

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — Spring will be in the air this weekend throughout the Tahoe region, rewarding skiers and snowboarders with sunny skies and warmer temperatures.

As a result, backcountry users should look for spring-like conditions across much of the Sierra Nevada with temperatures forecast to reach above freezing even at higher elevations Saturday and Sunday.

After a consistent avalanche threat with recent storms, the snowpack had an opportunity to settle, according to Sierra Avalanche Center forecasters. But prospective backcountry users should still be cautious, especially in late afternoon on southern facing slopes with significant sun exposure.

“Skiing below tree line has been excellent,” Sierra Center forecaster Steve Reynaud said.

Earlier in the week, however, significant large, wet avalanches were reported above tree line due to a rain layer in the snowpack. While wet slides are typically more common later in spring, the end-of-January storm that brought rain to higher elevations created some concern.

“These avalanches were happening on a bunch of different aspects,” Reynaud said. “Some of the biggest ones were running about 1,400 feet on this Jan. 29 rain crust.”

Though significant danger has subsided, forecasters have left the threat at moderate — Level 2 on their five-tiered scale — meaning human-triggered slides remain possible on steeper slopes.

Speaking to the rain layer in the snowpack, Reynaud said, “It’s not a problem for today or tomorrow or even next week, but could be in the future.”

Reynaud suggested using spring travel approaches through the weekend and into next week. With freezing temperatures forecast each night, the chance for wet slides may arise later in the afternoon on slopes with sun exposure. Northern aspects will be less affected.

“In the morning hours things are going to be much safer,” Reynaud added. “You’ll begin seeing small signs to start with.”

As the snowpack warms, small “roller balls,” or small rolling pieces of snow, will begin to give an indication of slide potential. Fortunately, a wet slide threat increases more gradually than other colder temperature avalanche threats.

“There’s plenty of signs you’ll see before larger things start to happen,” Reynaud said.

Overall, with snowpack levels at 120 to 130 percent of average, backcountry users have seen a long awaited return to promising ski conditions so far this winter.

“We’re doing quite well,” Sierra Center forecaster Andy Anderson said. “There’s good snow to be had in the right places. We’re doing much better than we have in the last three years.”

Still with lower risk, he cautioned, “The same processes, the same strategies, still apply. You want to be paying attention to the forecast. Tailor your travel plans to conditions.”

More information is available at