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November 2, 2012
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Peak could honor Tahoe's fallen

From beaches to buildings to neighborhoods, just about everything at Lake Tahoe has a name.

That is, except for one prominent peak.

Looking out across Lake Tahoe from Lakeview Commons, the short, but distinct, summit sits namelessly between well-known Mount Pluto and Martis Peak.

But the anonymity of the mountain may be short-lived.

Discussions are taking place to name the peak in honor of veterans from the Lake Tahoe Basin who have been killed in action.

U.S. Congressman Tom McClintock, who has spearheaded the naming effort, has suggested "Gold Star Peak" in reference to the designation given to families of military personal killed during combat operations.

"It was the congressman's idea to do something to remember the three fallen soldiers from the basin," said Ross Branch, a field representative in McClintock's office, referring to Army Pfc. Phillip Brandon Williams, Army Sgt. Timothy Smith and Army Spc. Garrett Fant.

Patty Smith, Timothy Smith's mother, said the discussions have been taking place for awhile, and the designation would be a tremendous honor.

"It's an honor to me, to my son, to all the soldiers that have laid their lives down," Smith said Friday.

Whether the name of the peak should be expanded to honor everyone from the Lake Tahoe Basin who has served in the military has been brought up by South Shore resident and veteran Kenny Curtzwiler, who suggested the peak be named "Veteran's Peak" in a letter to the South Lake Tahoe City Council. Curtzwiler has gathered dozens of signatures in support of the name.

The council will consider a resolution in support of naming the peak at their Tuesday meeting. Similar resolutions are expected to come before El Dorado and Placer counties, said U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Lisa Herron. The peak is located near Brockway Summit on federal land bordering the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, Tahoe National Forest and Sierra Pacific Industries, Herron said.

If the proposal receives support from the local jurisdictions, it will then go to the California Advisory Committee on Geographic Names before heading to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names.

"Without the community support it is tough to move along," Branch said.

If approved by the national board, the formation would then be recognized by name in any federal publication from that point forward, Branch added.

Also on Tuesday, the City Council will give direction to City Manager Nancy Kerry on the possibility of building a monument at Lakeview Commons identifying the peak.

A granite pedestal monument would cost an estimated $39,500, while a simpler plaque facing the peak would cost less than $8,000, according to a city staff report. A $10,000 grant from the California Tahoe Conservancy may also be available for the project, according to the report.

Curtzwiler said in the letter he would be able to design and construct a monument for Lakeview Commons with the help of area veterans for less than the city's $39,500 estimate.

The City Council meets starting at 9 a.m. at Lake Tahoe Airpor, located at 1901 Airport Road. The item on the peak naming is among the last on Tuesday's agenda.


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Nov 2, 2012 09:47PM Published Nov 2, 2012 09:43PM Copyright 2012 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.