Health director starts with Alpine County |

Health director starts with Alpine County

Susan Wood, Tribune staff writer

The first order of business for the head of Alpine County’s Health Department involves healing at her office.

Cindy Hannah of South Lake Tahoe replaced Katherine Kerr as the director of the small department following the death of the popular staff member. She died in a car accident at the end of last year.

Kerr’s death came two days after the office was already feeling the pain from the loss of a colleague’s husband. Dr. Steven Levesque, husband of county Public Health Officer Janice Levesque, had died in a mountain climbing accident.

“It was the week from you know what. It was very hard for the community, not just the department,” said Hannah, 50, who worked a year as the family support counsel for the county’s Office of Education.

She served as interim director until Feb. 1, when she took the job on a permanent basis. She reports to the county Board of Supervisors at an annual salary of $56,000 and manages a full-time staff of 12 people.

Hannah wanted to combine a desire to work in local government with her experience in the well-being and care of people.

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Between 1996 and 2000, she worked as the social services director for Churchill County in Fallon before returning to Tahoe with her significant other, Steve Kaufman, and their dogs.

The health department director plans to launch a shuttle bus service with Proposition 10 funds that carts passengers between the Ranchos neighborhood of Gardnerville up Highway 88 to Markleeville for $1 a ride. Six stops are planned on the route.

The supervisors approved the estimated $60,000 program, which now requires the OK from Douglas County commissioners, who are expected to hear the matter within a month.

Also on Hannah’s agenda, the department needs to develop its state-mandated bioterrorism plan, hire a public health nurse, keep the community clinic open in Woodfords and monitor the outcome of California’s budget woes.

“Obviously, the state budget the way it is — this is the major focus this year,” Hannah said.

The manager, who describes herself as a “jack-of-all-trades,” received a degree from San Jose State University in physical education.

When she’s not working, she goes out on her downhill or cross country skis and in the summer pulls out her golf clubs.

— Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at