Truckee player resurrects career in CFL | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Truckee player resurrects career in CFL

Former Truckee High standout David DeCoite heading north of the border to play football By Sylas Wright Sierra Sun Once upon a time – 1996 to 1999 to be exact – David DeCoite roamed the backfield at Truckee’s Surprise Stadium, laying down merciless licks on opposing football players. Two years removed from doing that exact same thing at University of Montana’s Washington-Grizzly Stadium, the 25-year-old Truckee grad will try to continue the trend on a more grand stage: McMahon Stadium, home of the Canadian Football League’s Calgary Stampeders. “I’m young, and I figured I might as well give it another shot before I get too old,” DeCoite said of his football career. That career was resurrected on April 30 when he signed a contract with the CFL team. DeCoite said his deal, which is guaranteed, is worth about $70,000 a year plus incentives. “We have signed David to a three year deal,” said Stampeders’ General Manager Jim Barker by E-mail on Wednesday. “He doesn’t show up (on our Web site) yet because his contract just got in today.” Montana assistant coach Tom Hauck likes DeCoite’s chance of launching a pro football career. “I think he has a good chance at making it,” Hauck said. “He’s been out a couple years, but this is a good opportunity for him. He’s a good player – a big hitter.” Most of DeCoite’s big hits at Montana came from the strong safety position, where he earned the Golden Helmet Award his junior and senior seasons for being the heaviest hitter on the team and helped lead the Grizzlies to a Division II national title in 2001. “He was instrumental when we won the national championship,” Hauck said. “It was interesting to watch him develop into more of a team type of guy. I’m sure in high school he made most of the plays.” Tough as nails In high school DeCoite made varsity as a sophomore and played most of his three seasons at free safety and wingback, said Truckee head coach Bob Shaffer. He was named Defensive Player of the Year his senior year. He also played quarterback for the final six games after the first four choices were either injured or dismissed from the team. DeCoite also made all-state as a wingback his junior year, when the Wolverines won the 3A state title. “He is a leader by example,” Shaffer said of his former standout player. “He works very hard, he’s very coachable and he’s one of the best physical players we’ve had here at Truckee.” Even at 160 to 177 pounds, the weights at which he played his sophomore and senior seasons at Truckee, the kid could pack a hit. “On his last three steps he would gain momentum and knock your lights out,” Shaffer said. “Boy, he’d smack ya.” DeCoite continued his hard hitting as a 195- to 200-pound strong safety at Montana, the school that gave him a full-ride scholarship to play with his older brother Dan in 2000 and 2001. Now at 210 pounds, DeCoite – who played last year in the semi-pro Rocky Mountain Football League in Missoula, his home – said he has the ability to hit even harder, as he is bigger, faster and stronger than ever before. “With how I hit, it’s better to have a little more weight,” he said. DeCoite will be making a switch from safety to outside linebacker in Calgary. He’s OK with that. “I’d rather play safety and get to roam more, but when I get an opportunity like this, I’ll play wherever,” DeCoite said. “Wherever they want me, I’ll give it hell.” A second chance Shortly after his senior season at Montana, David DeCoite got married and he and his wife Christy had a child. They named him Darren. “I had to lay off football and support my family.” He said. “But once my son got a little older (Darren is almost 2), I was able to get out and try it again.” As for his football instincts? “They are still there,” he said. DeCoite’s father Dennis suggested to his son that he attend Competitive Edge Sports in Atlanta, a six-week training session led by Chip Smith, a world-renowned speed and strength coach and personal trainer of Chicago Bears All-Pro linebacker Brian Urlacher. With Smith, DeCoite worked out with Urlacher, Marcus Vick, Champ Bailey and other professional football players performing “heavy-duty conditioning.” DeCoite then sent game film to several Canadian Football League teams. The Calgary Stampeders showed immediate interest, offering DeCoite a flight to its mini camp in late April to compete against 11 other outside linebackers for a spot on the team. The Stampeders were impressed enough to give him the job. On Friday, DeCoite reports to Calgary’s training camp. Canadian football vs. The States As opposed to the NFL and NCAA, which play on fields 120 yards long by 53 and one-third yards wide – that includes the two 10-yard end zones – the Canadian Football League plays on a field that is 150 yards long by 65 yards wide, with two 20-yard end zones. Other differences are that in the CFL there are only three downs, compared with four in the NFL and NCAA. And while college and NFL teams field 11 players, the CFL has 12. Instead of a tight end, the CFL employs two “Slot Backs”. On defense, Canadian teams have an additional linebacker or defensive back, depending on the play. The offensive backfield in the CFL also has unlimited motion. Only the down linemen cannot move. The NFL only allows one player to move parallel to the line of scrimmage. This extra motion allows for a larger play set.

South Lake Tahoe wrestlers heading to state championship

A couple of South Tahoe wrestlers will find themselves in familiar territory Friday and Saturday. After taking regional championships in their respective weight classes this past weekend in Truckee, senior Andrew Herrera and sophomore Jose Leon will head to Spanish Springs High School in Sparks to compete in the state championship. Herrera, the lone senior this season for the South Tahoe Vikings, will look to defend his state title in the 195-pound class. He has made it to the state championships all four years at South Tahoe High. "Andrew is the school's first two-time regional champion and he's the first South Tahoe wrestler who has a chance to repeat [as state champion]," said Sean Griffis, Vikings coach. Leon also competed in the state championship in 2016. Unlike last year, however, he enters this year as the No. 1 seed in his class. Leon is competing in the 170-pound weight class. "Jose … had a really good season, Griffis said. "He dominated everyone in our northern league throughout the year." Both athletes are healthy and feeling good coming out of the regional competition in Truckee, Griffis added. Herrera and Leon were not the only two South Tahoe wrestlers who competed in the regional finals this past weekend. Joshua Brackett (106 pounds), Nate Singelyn (113 pounds) and Josiah Brackett (152 pounds) all placed fifth in their weight classes. Kody Griffis (126 pounds) and James Knudson (132 pounds) placed sixth in their classes. As a team, Griffis said he is optimistic given the overall strong performance and the relative inexperience of the young Vikings. "Next year we're looking really strong."

Kings’ rally falls short against Spurs

SACRAMENTO – An obscure reserve guard a year ago in his rookie season, George Hill has emerged into a difference-maker for the San Antonio Spurs. Filling in admirably for the injured Tony Parker, Hill tied a career high with 23 points, had a career-high nine assists, and hit four free throws in the final 6.5 seconds to help the Spurs beat the Sacramento Kings 115-113 on Wednesday night. Although the Spurs received the typical production from All-Star Tim Duncan – 22 points and 13 rebounds – Hill received quite a bit of credit afterward. “He has really developed this year and come on so quickly,” Duncan said. “He’s a real threat for us and is one of our best perimeter defenders. We expect a lot from him now.” Hill delivered in the fourth quarter, scoring seven points. He made 7 of 16 shots, converted all nine free throws and added four rebounds and two steals. “George is probably the most improved player in the whole league,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “From his rookie year last year to this year he’s starting to get confident and played well at both ends of the floor. He’s going to be a really fine player for us.” The Spurs led by 13 in the fourth quarter, but Andres Nocioni’s 3-pointer cut it to 113-110 with 4.1 seconds left. After Hill’s two free throws built the lead to five, Tyreke Evans made a 3-pointer at the buzzer for the Kings. “That’s our theme,” Kings center Spencer Hawes said after the team’s fourth straight loss. “We let ourselves get down, we re too far out of it, and then we make a late comeback. In the end we come up short.” DeJuan Blair and Manu Ginobili had 20 points each for the Spurs, who played their third straight game without Parker (sprained ankle). Evans had a career-tying 32 points, eight assists and seven rebounds for the Kings. Hawes had 18 points, Kevin Martin added 15, and Donte Green had 12. With the Kings getting just one shot and missing from the perimeter early in the fourth quarter, the Spurs ran off eight straight points to take a 100-89 lead with 7:29 remaining. Bogans’ 3-pointer gave the Spurs’ their biggest lead, 107-94 with 2:21 left. But Evans got hot late, scoring 14 fourth-quarter points. Evans’ 3-pointer with 6.9 seconds left pulled the Kings to 111-107. With the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo taking over the ATT&T Center for the next two weeks, the Spurs began their annual “Rodeo trip” in Sacramento. The Spurs are playing eight games in seven cities over a 19-day stretch interrupted by the All-Star break. “This is really important because of how bad we have played so far,” Duncan said. “We’re very up and down, losing a lot of games on the road and at home against teams that we should have beaten. We’ve used this in the past to get it together. Hopefully we’re going to do that again this year.” Sacramento has lost 15 of 17 since a Dec. 28 victory over Denver. The Kings also have dropped seven of their last 10 games at Arco Arena after winning 10 of their first 13 at home. “I don’t know what it is,” Evans said. “We go out and play hard but at the end of the game we just don’t find a way to pull it out. Our execution is terrible.” NOTES: Kings starting forward Jason Thompson missed the game because of a family funeral. He also will be absent Friday night against Orlando. … Blair, a 265-pound rookie, scored 11 of the Spurs’ first 13 points in the second quarter. … San Antonio has won eight straight and 17 of 19 against Sacramento.

Father-daughter partnership leads to great success for Tahoe Dog Gear

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Deciding which path to follow after high school graduation is undoubtedly difficult for most teens. Factor in cerebral palsy and bilateral hearing loss, and the path becomes that much more uncertain. That is, unless you're Michaela Welch, whose passion, work ethic and determination have led her down the path of becoming a successful business owner by pursuing exactly what she loves. Alongside her father, Mike Welch, the 19-year-old Truckee High School graduate is co-owner and creative force behind Tahoe Dog Gear — a Lake Tahoe-inspired lifestyle brand that offers locally made, durable, and polyester-based leashes and collars. "I started this business to help create a fun opportunity for Michaela and to get her ready for that next stage in life," Mike said. "Part of the process was figuring out where her skill sets are, what she likes to do and what direction we could take that in." LEARNING RESPONSIBILITY Diagnosed with cerebral palsy — a disorder caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain that affects muscle tone, movement and motor skills — at age 3, Michaela also struggles with bilateral hearing loss, making communication that much greater a challenge for the otherwise outgoing teenager. "She wants to be able to live on her own some day, and part of reaching that point is learning responsibility and having the means to pay for those things," Mike said. The business combines Michaela's longtime passion for animals with her knack for creativity, and since its launch in May 2015, Tahoe Dog Gear has proven itself a valuable learning tool. "Having her involved in the entire business process helps her understand the amount of work it takes to build something from the beginning, versus showing up and having it done for her," Mike said. SERVING UP A DUO OF BUSINESS ACES Mike's savvy business expertise stems from his career as head volleyball coach at various universities across the country, after which the husband and father of two relocated his family to Truckee to launch a new business endeavor, Peak Volleyball Camps, in 2010. "As a college coach, you're basically a business manager in the sense that a lot of things you do revolve around making business decisions, managing a budget, that sort of thing," Mike said. "That experience really came in handy when I started creating the concepts for this business." Through an opportunity with the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District's WorkAbility Program — which helps students with disabilities to develop a career portfolio — Michaela was offered a position as an assistant groomer at the Tahoe Truckee Pet Lodge. "I like taking the dogs on walks and playing with them," Michaela said. Beaming with excitement, the expert assistant groomer also added "snuggling" to the list of her favorite canine activities. In addition to her work with the Pet Lodge, Michaela's resumé also includes an internship at her uncle's Southern California-based veterinary clinic, as well as completion of an online veterinary assistant course. PAWING FOR SUCCESS Michaela's expertise in all things canine, combined with Mike's overall business sense, has contributed to the success and functionality of Tahoe Dog Gear's line of collars and leashes. With their initial inventory in place, the father-daughter duo geared up for the launch of Tahoe Dog Gear at a festival held in the Village at Squaw Valley last May, but they weren't as prepared for the overwhelmingly positive response as they had hoped. "We had no idea what was going to happen at that first festival, so we made about 75 collars and leashes and before we knew it, we were completely sold out so I had to start sewing on demand to keep up with the orders," Mike said. "I quickly realized that I can't be an expert in everything and I have to let people do what they do best." Nowadays, their line of quick-dry, brightly-colored polyester collars and leashes are sewn by a Tahoe City-based seamstress, which has helped control the pace and precision of production, while providing the quality craftsmanship for which Mike and Michaela strive. For the time being, the plan is to focus on building and refining their current line of products, which are available for purchase online, at events like Truckee Thursdays, and at local retailers including Truckee Tahoe Pet Lodge, Mountain Hardware & Sports, Sierra Pet Clinic and Granite Chief. But there's no telling where the future will take the duo. "It's amazing watching her at festivals and seeing her become more confident in her social interactions with people," Mike said. "We are family, so working together can be challenging, but mostly, it's been incredibly rewarding for, I think, both of us." Jenny Goldsmith is a North Tahoe-based freelance writer and a former reporter for the Sierra Sun newspaper. Have an idea for a merchant to feature? Email her at jennyanngoldsmith@gmail.com.

Single mom ready for deployment

While tensions have elevated around the globe, Nevada Army National Guard Sgt. Rvon Dillon stands ready to go overseas if and when her unit is called upon. The 1993 South Tahoe High School graduate and full-time technician for the Guard says while there is no set time to be deployed, her fellow guardsmen have been told there is a chance deployment could come without much notice. “We could get the call if it looks like something goes wrong,” said Dillon, 28, who lives on the South Shore and commutes to Carson City daily. Her unit would be activated if tensions escalate with a country other than Iraq. One place the 100 or so members of Dillon’s Company D, 113th Aviation Unit have been told they could go is South Korea. In the event she is called, Dillon has made arrangements with a close friend to take care of her daughter, Cassidy, who turns 6 next month. “I think it will be hard leaving my daughter, but at least she’ll know that I’m doing something good,” Dillon said. “She won’t think ‘momma’s left me.’ She’ll know there is a reason why I’m gone and that it is for a good reason.” It’s hard not to watch television reports about a potential war in Iraq, but Dillon says she doesn’t spend her time thinking and worrying about going into hostile parts of the world. Her once-a-month training in the National Guard has prepared her physically and emotionally for duty. “My family is panicking enough for me already,” she said. “I figure if they need me, they will call me and I will go.” As a fueling and maintenance specialist for Army Chinook helicopters, which in the military is called 77 Fox, Dillon has spent the past three years training once a month with her unit. Her full-time job with the Army National Guard is a civilian job, where she does maintenance and mechanical duty. Dillon joined the Guard in April 2000 after spending seven years on the South Shore doing what she described as “Tahoe jobs.” “I cleaned rooms, worked in the casinos, I did all the seasonal work that a lot of Tahoe people do,” Dillon said. Looking to find a permanent career, a friend who had signed up encouraged Dillon to join the service. “I was really looking for a year-round, full-time job that I could be proud of and that meant something,” Dillon said. “I thought of the Air Force but wound up in the Army recruiters office instead.” After basic training, which took her to Fort Jackson, S.C., and additional training at Fort Stewart, Ga., Dillon returned to Nevada where she works in the Combined Support Maintenance Shop. Once a month she is stripped of her civilian duties and meets for a weekend of military maneuvers. This month the unit performed refueling exercises at Fallon Naval Air Station. The military have ramped up exercises for people of all ranks and branches of the service since the terrorist attacks. Dillon said she is trained to always be prepared for the unexpected. “On Sept. 11, that day, I knew the chance (of being called up) was even more so,” she said. “That’s why we don’t spend a lot of time wondering if the day will come. We are always prepared to get the call.” Jeff Munson may be reached at jmunson@tahoedailytribune.com

Tribune managing editor is named

Staff reports The Tahoe Daily Tribune has named Jim Scripps as its managing editor. Scripps, who was editor of the Sierra Sun newspaper in Truckee and comes from a long line of family members in the newspaper business, has been employed by Swift Newspapers Inc. for four years. He is a native of Los Altos, Calif. “Jim has been a tremendous asset to Swift Newspapers, having worked at the Nevada Appeal and most recently as editor at the Sierra Sun in Truckee,” Tribune publisher Paul Middlebrook said. “We look forward to using Jim’s tremendous talents and experience in resort community newspapers to help the Tribune continue to be the South Shore’s No. 1 source for local news.” A 1999 graduate of University of Oregon with degrees in journalism and history, Scripps began his newspaper career as an intern at the Roseburg News-Review in Roseburg, Ore. After graduation, he moved to Carson City to work at the Nevada Appeal newspaper as its criminal justice reporter before moving to the business beat. He was there for three years before being promoted to editor of the Sierra Sun newspaper in Truckee. While in Truckee, Scripps was instrumental in transitioning the Sierra Sun from a weekly to a twice-weekly newspaper, building both the size of its staff and its coverage area. The transition was necessary to match the growth of the market, which had opened it to more competition, Scripps said. The South Shore is different from Truckee, which has seen its growth double over the past decade. Scripps says he will see to it that the Tribune continues to capitalize on the strides the paper has made over the years, including winning dozens of awards from the California and Nevada press associations. “The Tribune doesn’t have a rebuilding process; it is a matter of conforming to what has already been done well,” Scripps said. “What I want to take a look at is what has already been done well and expand in areas that have been undercovered.” Scripps is married to wife, Rachel, a native of South Lake Tahoe. The couple resides in Tahoe Keys. They enjoy snowboarding, mountain biking, fishing, golf and dirtbike riding.

Douglas County graduation rate climbs

Douglas County schools posted the third highest 2013 graduation rate in Nevada with 84.96 percent. "I'm so happy for our teachers, principals and our kids," Douglas Superintendent Lisa Noonan said. "This speaks volumes to all the hard work that our people are doing." Noonan said graduation is the culmination of the district's efforts. "That diploma is everything we're working on from day one in kindergarten," she said. "We don't want to give up on anybody." Noonan said that now the district has the numbers, they will drill down to the details. "When I look deeper, I see 20-30 students who didn't get to cross the stage after four years, who stuck with it as a fifth-year senior and got their diploma," she said. "Just because someone doesn't get through college in four years, it doesn't mean they didn't earn their degree. But these fifth-year diplomas aren't counted with the state figures." She said that the district's graduation rate of roughly 85 percent doesn't mean the district has a drop-out rate of 15 percent. She said not counted in the numbers are those students who obtain their high school equivalency. "We know they are completers, they just didn't get to fulfill the requirements for that diploma," she said. Adjusted diplomas for students with disabilities are also not counted in the state numbers. "We have around 4 percent of kids who have gone out somewhere," she said. "They haven't checked in or asked for their records, so we assume they've dropped out." This is third year the county's graduation rate has been calculated using a new formula known as the adjusted cohort graduation rate. Before 2011, graduation rates were calculated by comparing the freshman and senior classes in the same year. Because in Nevada sophomores were counted as freshmen for the first half of their second year, the number was skewed lower statewide. Before the standardization with other states, Nevada's graduation rate averaged around 50 percent. The total shows an improvement over 2012's 77 percent, and slightly better than 2011's 83.6 percent. Rates have been improving steadily since the implementation of the new formula statewide with schools climbing from 63.08 percent to 70.65 percent in 2013. Eureka County had the highest graduation rate in the state with 95 percent, followed by Storey County with 87.88 percent. Nevada's State Charter School Authority had the lowest rate in the state with 46.28 percent, followed by Mineral County with a 51.52 percent graduation rate. The state's largest school district, Clark County, came at slightly better than the state average with 71.5 percent. Washoe County had a 72.62 percent graduation rate. Statewide, the public high school graduation rate rose more than seven percentage points over the previous year — from 63.08 percent in 2012 to 70.65 percent in 2013. With this increase, Nevada schools graduated 1,113 additional students in 2013 than in 2012. "I am very pleased that our graduation rate continues to increase," said Superintendent of Public Instruction Dale Erquiaga. "While Nevada's graduation rate is still too low and we must direct more attention to certain student populations, we are improving. In order to encourage more students to stay in school, we must make high school relevant for all students and provide targeted support to students who need it most. As we continue to set high expectations, I know that Nevada's students and educators can rise to the challenge when provided an opportunity to succeed."

Educational Foundation honors grant recipients, retirees

The Lake Tahoe Educational Foundation hosted its 15th annual Celebration of Education on May 27 at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe special events center. The celebration recognized and honored recipients of the 2004 Graduate Fellowship and Grants Program, as well as two donor-advised grants, and retiring administrators, teachers and support staff. Mistress of ceremonies was foundation board member Judge Suzanne Kingsbury. She started the event off with humor as she introduced The Singing Nuns, a group of South Tahoe High School staff and parents, direct from the South Tahoe High School production of “The Sound of Music.” Attired in nuns’ habits, the choral group, directed by Linda Kurek, included Linda Blaney, Barbara Davis, JJ Clause, Marcia Kaster, Rosemary Manning, Marilyn Pawling, Stacy Romagnolo and Cindy Shinault. Robyn Lindner, a 1999 graduate of South Tahoe High School, was presented a $1,000 Graduate Fellowship Grant to continue her graduate studies in education. She is the 34th STHS student to receive this grant in the past 15 years. Five retiring Lake Tahoe Educational Foundation board members were recognized. They are Bob Kingman, Delicia Spees, Manuel Jimenez, Dru Cunningham and Deb Howard. The two retiring Lake Tahoe Unified School District administrators are Mike Greenfield and Susanne Stuck. Greenfield began his career in education with Burbank High School in 1969 and followed with service in both the Tahoe Truckee and Washoe school districts. Beginning in 1985 he taught social studies, history and physical education at South Tahoe Middle School. Assigned as assistant principal in 1991, Greenfield became STMS principal in 1995. Stuck has been with Lake Tahoe Unified School District since 1974, serving first as a counselor at South Tahoe High School and for the past 20 years at South Tahoe Middle School. The four retiring teachers are Wynne Boynton, Russ Anderson, Pam Greenfield and Carol Haase-Hug. Boynton taught in the San Diego Unified School District prior to coming to the South Shore in 1977. She taught the third, fifth and sixth grades at Bijou Community School from 1978 through 1987. In 1987 she moved to South Tahoe Middle School to teach sixth grade. In 1993 she moved to Tahoe Valley Elementary School to teach second grade, where she has remained until her retirement. Anderson began his teaching career in 1964 in Colorado and in 1970 began his career as a Department of Defense teacher, assigned to bases in Portugal, Labrador, Bermuda, Germany and the United States. In 1986 he came to LTUSD and his since taught in a combination of sixth and seventh grade social studies and physical education at South Tahoe Middle School. Returning to her teaching career in 1979, Haase-Hug taught third, fourth, fifth and sixth grades at Al Tahoe Elementary School until 1986. Transferring to South Tahoe Middle School in that year, she taught eighth-grade language arts, and since 1996 has been instructing art at the middle school. Pam Greenfield taught for 11 years in Truckee and Monterey, Calif., before coming to Lake Tahoe in 1988. She taught first and third grades at Sierra House Elementary School from 1988 through 1992. In 1993 she moved to South Tahoe Middle School to teach sixth grade, from which she is retiring. The one retiring support staff is Patty Brown, who worked for Lake Tahoe Community College prior to coming to LTUSD in 1988. She served as the principal’s secretary at Sierra House Elementary School until 1998, when she moved to the district office as administrative assistant in the special services department. Two donor-advised grants were presented in memory of their late wives by Malcolm Pribyl and Doug Forte. The 2004 Cindy Pribyl Education Fund Grant will provide $200 to each kindergarten through second-grade teacher in the Lake Tahoe Unified School District to purchase books for their students. The money replaces funding formerly available from the state. The 2004 Daphne Forte Music in Our Schools Grant was used to purchase a marimba and a vibraphone for the Lake Tahoe Unified School District music program. Each instrument has a plaque engraved with “In Memory of Daphne Forte.” A visual presentation by Peg Kortes highlighted the 2004-2005 Program Grants. A $2,000 Transportation for Music Students grant was used to transport fifth- and sixth-grade music students to competitions; $6,573 will go for eight computerized Library Terminals at STHS; a $4,000 Challenge Day Diversity Program grant was provided for STHS to conduct its diversity program; and The Chimes for Kids grant provided $3,750 to purchase chimes for the LTUSD music program. The South Tahoe High School Percussion Ensemble entertained following both the program and the Daphne Forte Music in Our Schools grants. The numbers they performed featured the chimes, marimba and vibraphone. Members of the group include Greg Dupree, Erik Gallanty, Ali Martinez, Mark McCullough, Bubba Romagnolo, Nick Stewart, John Terry, Alisa Reich and Michael Craven.

Barton gets ‘average’ rating

Barton Memorial Hospital received an overall “average” rating from patients in a survey of California hospitals released Wednesday. More than 21,000 patients were interviewed as part of the survey by the California HealthCare Foundation, a charitable organization, and the nonprofit California Institute for Health Systems Performance. Barton’s across-the-board “two-star” rating is a “good, strong performance,” said Marsha Nelson, the institute’s vice president. “We feel pretty proud of it. We went into it never really having a great return rate on customer satisfaction surveys,” said Kathryn Biasotti, director of quality improvement and risk management. The “Patients’ Evaluation of Performance in California” project, called PEP-C, compiled mail surveys sent to patients from 113 of the state’s acute care hospitals. Seven factors were evaluated including respect for patient preferences, coordination of care, education and emotional support. Barton was rated average in each of the seven categories. The Tahoe Forest Hospital District, which operates Tahoe Forest Hospital in Truckee, scored above average in every category. Overall, the study found patients believe hospitals do well attending to physical comfort, including pain control, but they see room for improvement in easing the transition from hospital to home. The study also found that patients admitted for maternity care or surgical procedures had more positive responses than those admitted for medical reasons.

Ellis, Morrow pace Warriors to first win

OAKLAND – Monta Ellis had 24 points and a season-high 12 assists, Anthony Morrow added 24 points, and Corey Maggette had 20 to lead Golden State to its first win of the season, 113-105 over the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night. Stephen Jackson added 20 points and rookie Stephen Curry had seven points and nine assists for the Warriors, who trailed by 13 points in the first quarter and were outrebounded 46-35. Rudy Gay had 29 points and eight rebounds for Memphis while Allen Iverson added 18 points to become the 16th player in NBA history to reach 24,000 for his career. The Grizzlies lost their third straight and were held under 115 points for the first time since their season-opener. Johnson and Crawford help Hawks beat Kings SACRAMENTO – Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford had 26 points each to help the Atlanta Hawks beat the Sacramento Kings 113-105 on Wednesday night. Marvin Williams and Mike Bibby each had 13 points for the Hawks (4-1). Kevin Martin, who was playing with bruised right wrist, had 29 points and 11 rebounds and Jason Thompson added 22 points and 12 rebounds for the Kings (1-3). Martin had 25 points going into the fourth quarter, but the Kings, who were ahead by four, allowed the Hawks to surge back to a 93-92 lead after Bibby made a 3-pointer with less than 10 minutes to play. Johnson’s jumper with 3:20 left extended the lead to seven. Martin finally scored his first basket of the fourth on Sacramento’s next possession, but it was too late. Crawford answered with a 3-pointer that put the game away.