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Resilience fund set to help South Tahoe businesses; City invests $100k

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The Sierra Business Council has launched a resilience fund to help support businesses during and post COVID-19.

The Resilience Fund-Tahoe is a community impact loan fund that allows accredited investors to support local businesses with low cost capital.

The fund is intended to help businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19. SBC is discouraging businesses who are fully operational or who have already received significant relief funds from federal programs from applying.

The low interest loan is available to businesses with a physical presence in Tahoe and have been operational since March 1 with a solid cash flow prior to closure. The businesses must also have fewer than 25 employees.

The fund has already launched in North Lake Tahoe and Truckee. As of May 28, 150 applications in that area have been received, 14 loans have been funded which reflects 160 jobs recovered.

People who are interested in helping the fund can make a donation or an investment. There is a minimum investment of $10,000.

The fund has expanded into the South Lake Tahoe region and a private investor has already invested $100,000 into the fund.

During the May 28 South Lake Tahoe city council meeting, the council voted unanimously to match that investment.

To learn more, visit resiliencefund.org.

Healthy Tahoe: Gets the facts about addiction

Drug and alcohol addictions aren’t mere character flaws. They’re diseases that change the way the brain functions.

Scientists have examined brain scans of those who are addicted. They can see differences in areas that are critical to judgment, decision-making, learning, memory, and behavior control.

On first use, drugs stimulate the brain’s reward system and release pleasure boosting chemicals. Over time, more of the substance is needed to get the same “high.” An addict will feel sick, anxious, and irritable when he or she isn’t using.

The person will do almost anything to get alcohol or drugs — even if it hurts others or his or her own health.

Medications, therapy, or a combination of the two help treat addiction. The best choice depends on the person, so talk with your doctor if you or someone you love is struggling with addiction.

Substance abuse has been identified as a leading health care issue in the community.

In addition to safe and accessible medical services through Barton Health, there are several crisis lines available for Lake Tahoe residents to call for support with addiction, behavioral and mental health issues:

El Dorado County Mental Health – 530-544-2219

El Dorado County Substance Use Disorder Services – 530-544-2219

Live Violence Free – 530-544-4444

Tahoe Youth & Family Services – 800-870-8937

National Alliance on Mental Illness – 800-950-6264

Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 800-273-TALK (8255)

Dr. Tracy Protell is a board-certified psychiatrist providing care through Barton Health. One in eight people are affected by diagnosable mental illness, and only one third of our community will seek help. If you or a loved one need support, local resources are available. Ask your care provider for a referral to speak with a behavioral health specialist, or visit BartonHealth.org/BehavioralHealth.

Lake Tahoe native buys Dayton preschool, battles through virus

Christina Davis was born and raised in Lake Tahoe. She graduated from George Whittell High School in 2006 and went on to complete a degree at University of Nevada, Reno.

After college, she worked as a stock-market fraud investigator in San Diego. Well into her career, she realized her passions were rooted in childcare since high school when she was the activity leader at Tahoe Beach Ski Club off Ski Run in South Lake Tahoe.

Davis felt her career was meaningful, but it didn’t light up her world like childcare.

In January 2020, Davis bought a preschool in Dayton, Nev. Dayton Valley Learning Center is a preschool and has before and after school programs. It has a capacity for 97 children with 17 staff members. Two months after opening, the coronavirus pandemic hit.

Dayton Valley Learning Center had a 20% drop in enrollment. During this time, Davis’s primary goal was to keep all 17 staff members working their usual 40-hour week schedule. To keep staff she started giving tasks like cleaning rotations to ensure hours could be kept.

Davis saw parents losing their jobs and parents were afraid to bring their kids to the care center. Davis said she could have laid off nearly 50% of her staff but did not want to.

Davis wanted to make sure the preschool stayed open so children were guaranteed a meal and supervision so parents who were “essential workers” could go back to work.

“This shows what a key role childcare is in the economy lifecycle,” Davis said.

Davis partnered with Lyon County School District to provide 30 meals two times a week to children. Davis also got Dayton Valley Learning Center labeled as an emergency childcare provider which means any essential workers who needed childcare could reach out to the preschool. Davis said she gave families with essential workers a priority for placement.

“Childcare has never been looked at from this perspective,” Davis said.

As things open up, Davis said she has seen an increase in enrollment. Davis has implemented new sanitation protocols for the center and implemented safe child drop-off procedures. Dayton Valley Learning Center offers care for children ages six weeks old to 5 years old and also offers beforeand after school programs for children ages 6-12 years old.

El Dorado County reports 6 new COVID-19 cases in Tahoe region, 5 from same home

El Dorado County reported six new coronavirus cases Friday, all from the Lake Tahoe region.

Five of the residents are connected to a known case, officials said. And all five are from the same household.

The other resident with the virus is not related to a known case.

There were also four recoveries announced Friday putting the total active residents fighting COVID-19 at 25.

There is also one resident in intensive care according to the county website.

Of the six new cases, four are women. Two are in the 17-and-under age group while the other four are in the 18 to 49 category.

From Monday through Friday, county officials announced 16 new cases, most in the Tahoe region which now has had 36 overall.

The county is at 90 overall cases.

There were also 104 tests administered bringing the total residents tested to 6,059.

Washoe County reported 17 new cases, 22 recoveries and four additional deaths on Friday. The county has had 1,531 cases and 59 residents have died. 

There are 616 active cases and 59 are in the hospital.

In Douglas County, there are five active cases out of 30 overall. No residents have been lost due to the virus and none are hospitalized.

Carson City is up to 95 total cases with 26 still active. Four residents have died and two are in the hospital.

Lake Tahoe Grizzlies Squirts go unbeaten, win title

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The Lake Tahoe Grizzlies Squirts B team finished the 2020 regular season unbeaten and claimed the championship before COVID-19 ended the year early.

The Grizzlies finished with a 12-0-2 record and were awarded the regular season championship banner.

They also this season took first place in the Las Vegas Confetti Cup Tier II division and won the 2019 Mammoth Lakes Outdoor Winter Classic.

The team was poised to compete in both the NorCal playoffs and State Championship prior to getting canceled.

Players on the team are from South Lake Tahoe, Stateline, Carson City, Dayton, Reno and Truckee.

The team consisted of six returning players including Tristan Dries (goalie), Matthew Klym (defense), DG Enkhbayar (offense), Josef Prochazka (defense), Colter Robertson (offense) and Miles Coleman (defense) and eight newcomers Connor Bowe (offense and defense), Bryce Nye-Morrell (offense), Mackenzie Livingston (offense and defense), Stephen Rocke (offense), Luke Sloan (offense), Ben Michaels (defense), Walker Moss (offense) and Sofi Owens (offense).

Klym and Enkhbayar provided a powerful offensive one-two punch as they were first and second, respectively, in their division. Klym was the most valuable player at the Vegas event.

Dries was first in the division for save percentage.

Robertson, Dries, Sloane and Coleman each earned individual game MVP honors at the Wine Country Faceoff Tournament.

The team was led by head coach Rick Bowe and assistant coaches Jeremy Dries, Matthew Klym, Tomas Prochazka and Dan Robertson.

Barton: Your health is essential (Opinion)

Together, we have helped to keep each other safe. Staying home and practicing social distancing helped reduce the spread, and enabled Barton to adapt and prepare for the impacts of COVID-19.

Now it is time to get back to making sure you are feeling your best, and Barton is here to provide the care you and your family needs, when you need it.

Your health is essential, and the providers at Barton who make it a priority urge you to do the same. As things begin to re-open across the state, re-open your connection with health care and don’t defer seeking medical services when needed. Medical offices, including Barton Urgent Care and Barton’s Emergency Department are safe and available.

Additionally, Barton has expanded appointment options to include virtual pathways through secure telehealth platforms like Zoom Health, phone appointments with a clinician, and communications with providers through our MyChart platform.

The safety of our patients and team members continues to be our top priority, and you’ll notice evidence of this next time you visit Barton Memorial Hospital, or any facility in our healthcare system.

Our offices have implemented protocols to reduce exposure for both patients and healthcare workers, including the use of Virtual Visits when appropriate. When in-person medical care is needed, Barton requires fask masks and follows CDC screening guidelines prior to entry, and along with heightened disinfecting practices, we’ve updated the flow of our reception and patient care areas to maintain appropriate social distancing.

Doctor’s orders: don’t put your health on hold.

Postponing or neglecting the care you need can have detrimental effects on your short and long-term health.

Those with chronic medical conditions should continue to see their provider to ensure proper maintenance and oversight.

If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or proceed to Barton’s 24/7 emergency department, and if you are in need of care, don’t delay in seeking an appointment.

Barton will continue to be here for you and care for you, just as you have shown care for us while we meet the challenges of COVID-19.

The handmade facemasks, donations and heart-felt messages Barton has received during this health crisis signal our community’s collective strength and determination to get through this together.

On behalf of Barton physicians and health care workers, thank you.

We promise to continue putting your health and safety first.

Dr. Matthew Wonnacott is chief medical officer at Barton Health.

Farmers’ markets opening at Tahoe with restrictions

As Lake Tahoe slowly reopens, people are itching to venture outside for some fresh air and healthy doses of sunshine paired with social distancing.

Deemed “essential services” in some regions, farmers markets in the Sierra have been allowed to provide shopping opportunities for those who are either afraid to go into a brick and mortar store or can’t find what they need as bigger supply chains continue to be disrupted.

However, since people tend to congregate and hang out at farmers markets, they can also pose some risk for potentially spreading COVID-19. Therefore, here is what South Shore and North Shore farmers markets are doing to keep the Tahoe community safe.

South Lake Tahoe farmers’ market kicks off Tuesday

As part of the El Dorado County Certified Farmers’ Market, one is held at the American Legion parking lot at 2732 South Lake Tahoe Boulevard on Tuesdays from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. The first one of the season is keeping with its planned opening date of June 2, even though others have been pushed back.

“We have not been delayed for starting the Tahoe one, we got the okay from the California Environmental Protection Agency and the California Department of Public Health to launch June 2,” says Lois Coalwell, the “paperwork person” and wife of El Dorado Farmers Market Manager Jim Coalwell.

However, there will be some new safety protocols in place to be able to continue the event.

“The only people who are allowed to be there for the entire event are the farmers, people who are selling pre-packaged foods, and those who are selling essential items like Tahoe Mountain Soaps,” Lois said.

She further explains that there will be zero sampling and all farmers will wear masks provided by the California Department of Food and Agriculture, although she is concerned that there won’t be enough masks to make it through the entire season.

Each vendor will have a handwashing station at their site and there will basically be two people at each tent — the farmer and one collecting the money, both who will be fully masked and gloved.

So far, there are 13 farmers signed up to be at the South Lake Tahoe market, 13 vendors selling pre-packaged food, three alternative agriculture vendors (like an olive oil vendor, for example), and one essential item producer (Tahoe Mountain Soaps). This same farmers’ market started off last season with 52 vendors, about double of this year’s producers. Lois expects around a 25% drop in income this season. However, she says that most vendors have been adaptable and eager to provide essential items to South Lake Tahoe residents.

“Ninety-nine percent of farmers want to do what they can to ease the concerns and support the community, and we’re doing all we can to provide this service,” she said.

To comply with the new COVID-19 rules, El Dorado County Certified Farmers’ Markets are asking people to practice social distancing and abide by the signs that ask people to “shop with their eyes” and not handle produce as much as they may have done in the past.

“It’s a learning curve and we’re talking to farmers on a regular basis,” Lois said.

For instance, she explains that in the beginning of the application process of being able to host the markets under the new coronavirus umbrella, the state told the organizers that vendors had to keep their tents six feet apart from each other which not only takes up unnecessary space, but it wouldn’t keep people from walking between the tents thus negating social distancing rules. When brought to the officials’ attention, the state health entities agreed to allow a one-foot distance between each vendor with barriers/tables blocking people from going between them. Lois said that way a sneeze will not leave the tent.

“It’s a severe time and we hope there will not be anything that affects the farmers market or causes this to be shut down,” Lois said. “But we’re doing everything we can to make it as safe as possible. In our 28 years of running farmers markets we’ve never seen anything like this.”

For more information about the El Dorado County Certified Farmers’ Markets, visit https://eldoradofarmersmarket.com/.

Tahoe City Farmers Market happening now

The Tahoe City Farmers Market held at Commons Beach on Thursdays from 8 a.m. -1 p.m. began on May 14 and runs through Oct. 8.

To comply with the new public health standards, Tahoe City Farmers Market organizers are asking visitors to keep these recommendations in mind while shopping:

– Cover your face. All visitors are encouraged to wear face masks while browsing through the farmers market.

-Keep six feet apart. Practice proper social distancing by staying a safe distance from strangers, following the posted signs, and waiting your turn to shop.

– Come alone. Limit shopping experiences to one person per household and go with intention- organizers ask that you keep your farmers market visit to a half-hour or less.

– Don’t stay and eat. All food purchases must be ordered to be taken away and enjoyed at home.

Some of the vendors that participate in the Tahoe City Farmers Market include: Bravo Produce, Little Roots Farm, the Sugar Pine Cakery, Twin Peaks Orchards, McClaughry Farms Honey, Raffine Chocolate, Dietricks Cheese, Il Gusto Spoon, Tahoe Mountain Soaps, and more.

The closest places to park are at 64 Acres, the visitors center, behind Blue Agave, the Tahoe City Golf Course, and Upper Commons Beach.

For more information, visit the website.

Firefighters battle blaze near Spooner Summit

Firefighters are battling a wildfire Friday night that may have been sparked by lightning.

Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District firefighters with support from Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit Engine 344, Battalion 42 and Tallac Hotshots have responded to the blaze near Spooner Summit. 

According to a LTBMU Facebook post, the Glenbrook Fire began just before 8 p.m., is three-quarters of an acre in size and moving at a slow rate of spread.

A series of thunderstorms have been moving through the region and it’s possible lightning may have sparked the fire.

The cause is under investigation.

Record-breaking heat wave ends; Thunderstorm possible to kickoff weekend at Tahoe

The record-breaking heat wave at Lake Tahoe ends Friday as a possible thunderstorm passes through overnight to kick off the weekend.

The 80-degree temperature on Tuesday broke the old mark of 79 set on that day in 1983.

Wednesday’s and Thursday’s highs of 81 and 83, respectively, were each within one degree of tying daily records, according to the National Weather Service. Thursday’s record was set in 2003 and Wednesday’s was set in 1984.

The heat tapers off Friday with the high expected to reach 77 before a possible thunderstorm moves in late in the evening.

The NWS is calling for a 50% chance of scattered showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 11 p.m.

The storm continues Saturday where the high temperature, 55, is forecast to be 22 degrees cooler than Friday.

Snow levels start high in the Sierra then drop throughout the day to around 8,500 feet. A consistent 10-20 mph southwest wind will give way at times to gusts up to 30 mph.

The chance of precipitation is 80% on Saturday.

The rain moves out in the evening with Sunday expected to be mostly sunny with a high near 63 and light wind.

There is a 20% chance of showers after 11 p.m. Sunday and that rises to 30% on Monday where the high will reach near 60.

Looking ahead, NWS is calling for a chance of rain and thunderstorms throughout next week with highs in the mid-60s and lows in the mid-40s.

Tahoe Talk: 103 year old beats virus; Live concert streams upcoming

Up-to-date, daily info on news that is happening around Lake Tahoe, California and Nevada. Notes from today’s Good News Friday edition include:

  • Costco to bring back samples mid-June
  • 103-year-old Massachusetts woman beats COVID-19 and celebrates with an ice cold bud light
  • The House approved bill yesterday that will ease many of the terms and conditions of PPP loans
  • Brooklyn hospitals wipes out $4M worth of medical debt for 4,500 patients
  • FedEx driver helps connect young boy and Tony Hawk via TikTok
  • Free Live Streams today and this weekend: Five Finger Death Punch Friday 10 a.m., Grateful Dead Friday 5:30 p.m., Diplo plus Dillon Francis Saturday 8 p.m., John Mayer Sunday 7 p.m.
  • Local fundraiser via virtual raffle of $2k art piece/sculpture for local that was injured at Kirkwood and needed 12 surgeries
  • Tahoe Bike Challenge begins June 1

Listen to today’s discussion here.