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Outdoor, Olympic accounts told at Mark Twain Center

Tim Parsons
Paul McHugh will tell the stories he could not write April 21 at the Mark Twain Cultural Center.
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Tahoens can soon learn the real scoop.

Paul McHugh, who last year published a thrilling fiction novel about a damaged investigative newspaper reporter, will give true accounts from a 22-year career as an outdoor writer for the San Francisco Chronicle.

“Most of the stories I’m going to tell I’ve never told and many I have not even told to members of my family,” he said. “My wife will be shocked at some of the descriptions of things that have occurred during my trail-bumping ride over the terrain of the outdoors.”

Since leaving the Chronicle, McHugh wrote “Deadlines,” a page-turner based on two of his investigative stories, using as characters some of the sources and co-workers he has known. He promised to put a “fair amount of theatrics” into his April 21 presentation, “Quite Risky to a Bit Risque, Outdoor Stories I Could Never Write.”

“This is not going to be just a guy standing at a lectern,” said McHugh, who will speak at the Mark Twain Cultural Center, opened at Incline Village last summer by Twain impersonator McAvoy Layne and his wife, Rebecca. Authors often speak on Thursdays at the venue, which also houses plays, concerts and appearances by “the ghost of Twain.”

David Antonucci is a writer who never strays from the genre of nonfiction.

He presents on Thursday, April 14, “A Snowball’s Chance, The Story of the 1960 Olympic Winter Games at Squaw Valley and Lake Tahoe.”

Antonucci was instrumental in gathering artifacts and restoring about 10 kilometers of trails used for the biathlon. A Tahoma resident, he discovered the historic area in the late 1980s while skiing behind his house.

“I noticed corridors cut through the forest and they weren’t Forest Service roads or logging skid trails,” he said. “I knew about the 1960 Olympics, but like everybody else thought all of the events were up at Squaw Valley.”

Over the next couple of decades, Antonucci met Olympic officials and athletes, learned the history and acquired memorabilia. He gives lectures about the 1960 events and is part of the Lake Tahoe Olympic Heritage Celebration Committee, which plans to create a museum at Squaw Valley.

He also created the website http://www.tahoefacts.com about three years ago after growing frustrated with some of the oft-repeated falsehoods about the lake.

Antonucci disputes Nevadans, including Layne, about the location of a wildfire Samuel Clemens described in “Roughing It,” a book about Twain’s adventures at Tahoe and Virginia City.

Federal officials are considering designating an area near Incline Village as “Clemens Cove.” Antonucci said the fire was in California.


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