Smell of holidays is making my eyes water |

Smell of holidays is making my eyes water

Ah, the holidays approach. As I walked into my office this morning I smelled the scent of chestnuts roasting on the open fire, Jack Frost nipping … wait … it’s not chestnuts, it’s a huge plume of smoke from a prescribed burn — as the Forest Service calls it.

Who exactly “prescribes” it? Not the ear, nose and throat doctor, not the respiratory therapist, certainly.

I was looking at some new cars the other day and one brochure said the car “had more on board computer systems than the Apollo spacecraft.” If that technology is in an automobile, isn’t there a technique that could remove slash and other forest debris from the basin other than a prescribed burn? I don’t want a devastating forest fire in the basin, but I fear I will die from smoke inhalation before that happens.

Fall hockey leagues are winding down at the South Lake Tahoe Ice Arena and the winter leagues will soon be heating up the ice. (I love that line, I always wanted to be a sportswriter.) We wrote a news teaser the other day about “Ice Arena — court case.” Nobody is suing the arena; it was about a team dispute at the rink about five months ago. Sorry to the city Recreation Department; they got a ton of calls. If disturbances ever occur in any sport involved with the Recreation Department, they have always been resolved quickly and decisively. My children have been in camps there, played basketball there, taken swimming lessons there … they do a great job of ensuring the quality and safety of the recreation experience.

Next week is a public ceremony/tour for the community to attend at the Marriott complex at Stateline. You must go see it. I have and it is absolutely fantastic what they have done. A ski village in the middle of town … finally! Great job to Heavenly, Marriott and all of the local shops and restaurants involved.

Snow should be here this weekend and we can get the rest of the resorts open for the holidays. At least when you eat the snow it will have a pleasant smoky flavor. Just don’t eat … well, you know that one. I also am seeing less of those: “If it’s tourist season, why can’t we shoot them” bumper stickers. Thank God, those types of stickers are disgusting.

The big buzz about town has been the million dollar plus shortfall the unified school district is facing, the possible closing of a school, cutbacks, etc. To make matters worse, Gov. Gray Davis (did that many people really vote for him?) will be making more cutbacks that will affect our local schools. We all need to get together to help the school district solve the problems it faces.

Finger-pointing is not useful, solutions are. They need our help and we, parents and non-parents, need to get involved. We can cast blame ’til doomsday, but many lives are affected — the kids, the parents, the teachers, everyone. Let’s pull together on this one. It is no longer just about one school … budget cuts will impact the entire district.

In our paper, just about everyday we have notices of food, clothing and canned goods drives. If you have a little extra in your life, please share with others who are less fortunate. Each year, Janine Adcock here at the Tahoe Daily Tribune adopts a family in need and we pitch in to help them out … it makes us all feel a little bit better about ourselves for doing so. Thanks to all of the bands, the businesses and individuals, Christmas Cheer, Bread and Broth and all the other agencies which do so much for so many.

I hate to take sides, but I have been involved with Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care and the Millhams for many years … I’m thrilled they can continue to do the work they do. My kids catch fish and take them there for the bears and once we were invited to help release a bald eagle … and once, when I was on the radio, I had the privilege of helping raise funds for the care of a bald eagle. Good people and a good cause E rewarded for their good deeds. Thanks also to the efforts of City Councilman Tom Davis and El Dorado County Supervisor Dave Solaro.

My condolences to two of my friends, Ron Williams and Tom Davis, who both recently lost their mothers. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your families.

Have a very happy holiday season! Be safe.

Paul Middlebrook is publisher of the Tahoe Daily Tribune. He may be reached via e-mail at

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