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58 new COVID-19 cases reported in El Dorado County

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Over the weekend and Monday 58 new coronavirus cases were reported in El Dorado County.

Of the new cases 14 are from the Lake Tahoe region and there were 27 assumed recoveries. The active case count has risen to 456.

The county is in the red tier of the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy and the adjusted daily case rate (8.3) is well within the red tier but California Department of Public Health recently said “Unless there are extenuating circumstances, such as low rate of vaccine take up, a county will only move to a more restrictive tier if hospitalizations are increasing significantly among vulnerable individuals, especially among vaccinated individuals, and both test positivity and adjusted case rates show a concerning increase in transmission.”

As of Monday afternoon, there were two individuals hospitalized for COVID, both are in intensive care.

The county suffered a death late last week to put the count at 109, but none were reported from Saturday through Monday.

The county has had 9,777 total cases.

Douglas County has 11 new cases from Saturday through Monday reported Carson Health and Human Services. There were also two recoveries putting the active count still below 100, at 95.

Douglas has a population of 49,695 and has had 2,758 total cases and 35 deaths.

In Washoe County, Incline Village has had 461 cases and 30 remain active.

Azul makes $11,000 donation to Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care

Azul was happy to give Lake Tahoe Wildlife it’s check.

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care officials received an $11,000 donation from Azul Latin Kitchen.

The donation was the result of fundraising efforts throughout the challenging 2020 year. Typically Azul hosts a fall fundraising party at the restaurant in December. However, due to COVID-19 this annual event was canceled.

The donation was largely in part to donations made from patrons who dined at the restaurant, and a partnership with Tahoe Blue Vodka.

“Azul Latin Kitchen is proud to support our community through frequent fundraising events,” said Ray Villaman, owner and CEO of Tahoe Restaurant Group in a press release. “This year was especially meaningful for us to make a contribution to a local non-profit. Our community has endured so much in 2020 and we couldn’t be happier to have had the success we did considering all of the challenges presented to us.”

According to Villaman, the $11,000 sum is the second most successful fundraising effort for Azul since it was established in 2014.

“It is because of Azul’s management, employees, LTWC volunteers, our partner companies and many individuals who supported that we were able to make the contribution,” he added. “I am particularly proud of our GM, Lauren Lappin, for orchestrating this year’s fundraising efforts.”

“When a team comes together and believes in a cause, anything is possible. It was our front line workers that spread the good word about Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care Center. They stepped up during one of the most challenging years, and to say I am proud is an understatement,” Lappin said in the release

Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care said they were honored to be selected as the non-partner partner.

“Our mission to Rescue, Rehabilitate and Release orphaned and injured wildlife is dependent on the kindness and generosity of the community. To this end, Azul Latin Kitchen has been a wonderful partner, especially in a tough year,” Coralin Glerum of the LTWC foundation said in the press release. “We truly appreciate this relationship and look forward to future collaborative efforts and events.”

“Tahoe Blue Vodka is proud to partner with Azul Latin Kitchen to raise funds to support the Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care Center,” said Matt Levitt, Founder & Owner of Tahoe Blue Vodka. “As California’s vodka, we are excited to amplify efforts that protect the stunning Lake Tahoe area along with the rescue and care for its natural inhabitants. Our commitment to giving back to the region is a key part of our brand promise and what sets Tahoe Blue above all the rest.”

For more information or to make a donation to help Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care visit, go to https://ltwc.org/.

Composters recycled record 40,000 tons of green waste in 2020

Cody Witt with a big pile of green waste recycled during 2020 into a range of soils and mulches. Provided / Full Circle Compost

With help from the green waste recyclers along the Sierra Front, Full Circle Soils & Compost reported a record-breaking compost year in 2020.

Full Circle Compost kept a total of 87,088.24 cubic yards of organic materials out of the landfill. That’s equal to filling the Nevada Wolfpack’s football field 41-feet high with yard waste, spokesman Cody Witt said.

The volume this material weighed was an impressive 40,164.28 tons

That weight is equal to 16,257 Tesla Model S cars. And the greenhouse gases that were avoided by composting all of that material rather than throwing it into the landfill is equivalent to pulling 29,218 cars off the road (based on the EPA WARM model).

Full Circle’s green waste recycling program has grown to include many municipalities and organizations around northern Nevada and Lake Tahoe, including:

Incline Village’s fire prevention pine needle composting program

South Lake Tahoe’s fire prevention pine needle composting program

South Lake Tahoe’s commercial food waste program

Truckee, California’s commercial food waste program

Carson City’s residential organic materials composting program

University of Nevada’s organic materials composting program

Many landscape organizations’ organic materials composting programs

Many construction and excavation organizations’ organic materials composting programs

Full Circle converted the whole amount into Nevada-made compost, soils, and mulches to help increase the health of local soils.

Witt asked residents to promote composting by using local compost made from locally recycled materials.

For more information about Full Circle’s all-natural Nevada compost, soil blends, and mulches that create nutrient-rich soils visit https://fullcirclecompost.com/find-us/.

El Dorado supervisors look at county leaders’ pay

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The El Dorado County Board of Supervisors has taken up a number of salary issues, including its own pay.

At the board’s April 6 meeting Human Resources staff was authorized to conduct an analysis of compensation paid to each supervisor and to return with updated salary resolutions and documentation establishing compensation paid to each member at an amount no less than 8% of the median.

Members of the board currently receive a salary of $76,876.80 annually plus most of the same benefits offered to employees.

During the discussion of this agenda item, Supervisor John Hidahl suggested an alternative approach to how board members are compensated, saying that in some counties board members receive a fixed percentage of what superior court judges get in pay and when the judges receive a pay increase, board members automatically get an increase as well.

Supervisor Sue Novasel agreed to further explore that approach, noting that it, along with other benefits, should be examined since it may influence people’s decision to run for office and that board compensation is only one-quarter of what some of “our other executives” make in pay.

Staff was asked to return with a new salary resolution stating the sheriff’s total compensation will remain 2.5% above the undersheriff on an ongoing basis, as well as confirming the district attorney and sheriff will continue to receive the same base salary no later than June 30. Currently the sheriff and district attorney both make $236,683 a year plus a 2.5% contribution to their deferred compensation plan.

For the public defender’s base salary staff will prepare a resolution setting it at 15% below the district attorney’s base salary no later than Sept. 30, 2021.

The assessor and treasurer/tax collector will continue to be compensated at the same amount.

Human Resources staff was directed to return with an updated salary resolution increasing the compensation paid to unrepresented department heads, unrepresented management employees and confidential employees totaling no less than 8% below the median of comparator organizations no later than Sept. 30.

Staff will also determine the total cost of increasing deferred compensation contributions and other non-public employees’ retirement system contributions from 2.5% to 4% of the base salary for unrepresented and elected department heads in order to provide a more competitive compensation package without increasing ongoing pension liability.

The 2% solution

In other action at its April 6 meeting the board approved a 2% increase in parks and recreation development impact mitigation fees for the El Dorado Hills Community Services District.

The fees for new development will be $12,347 for a single-family home, $8,149 for multi-family homes and affordable homes, $7,215 for age-restricted homes, $6,601 for Serrano single-family homes and $4,356 for Serrano multi-family homes. Mobile park homes and accessory dwelling units are both exempt from the fees.

These new fees go into effect 60 days hence.

The board decided to put off until the May 11 meeting a presentation on options to address Vacation Home Rental clusters in the Tahoe Basin.

The discussion and potential rules governing VHR clusters are designed to address the problem of people renting out their homes in residential areas as Tahoe has become an increasingly popular year-round recreation spot.

The delay also gives Supervisor Sue Novasel more time to hear from the Fair Political Practices Commission regarding whether or not she can participate in the debate on the issue given that she may have a conflict of interest.

SNU president to speak at IVCBA’s 1st ’Inclined to Meet’


INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. – The Incline Village Community and Business Association will host its first “Inclined to Meet” monthly community program online at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 22.

The free event’s guest speaker will be Rob Valli, president of Sierra Nevada University, who will present his insight on “Finding Your Inner Entrepreneur.”

Sierra Nevada University President Rob Valli will be the guest speaker at the first “Incline to Meet” hosted by the Incline Village Crystal Bay Association. Provided

The event can be viewed by following this link on Zoom.

“IVCBA sees a need for residents to hear about the positive issues and events that are alive and well in our community,” said Linda Offerdahl, IVCBA executive director in a press release. “The pandemic has led to the isolation of locals and an influx of new residents, all wanting to know more about our active and wonderful community.”

The purpose of “Inclined to Meet” is to engage the community with its businesses and nonprofit organizations through presentations from community leaders. The program also includes updates from various local organizations.

IVCBA is a community and business association for Incline Village Crystal Bay. Along with events and programs such as “Inclined to Meet,” it provides current and local news, business listings, and a community calendar through its website.

“Everyone is invited to subscribe to our organization for free or join as a community supporter to receive our weekly SnapShot E-newsletter,” said Offerdahl.

Businesses and nonprofits receive additional benefits with their membership.

For more information, visit IVCBA.org.

Sonora Pass highway open to Kennedy Meadows

Snow and debris have been cleared from Highway 108 to the Kennedy Meadows gate as of Monday morning.

The California Department of Transportation reported necessary repairs have been made on the road in time for trout fishing season on Saturday.

“Caltrans recognizes the importance of this route to the region’s economy, which depends a great deal on tourism,” officials said. “Crews responsible for the road opening extend their best wishes for those traveling who enjoy the recreational opportunities this part of California has to offer.”

Sonora and Ebbetts passes closed for the season on Dec. 15. 2020. There is no estimated time when Sonora Pass will be opened.

California reopened Monitor Pass on Highway 89 between Topaz and Markleeville on April 9.

Ebbetts Pass remains closed as of this week.

Inclement weather can result in the passes being closed.

The Bridgeport Winter Recreation Area on the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest’s Bridgeport Ranger District closed on Monday. This closure will remain in effect until the 2021-2022 winter season when the snow depth exceeds the minimum requirement of 24 inches, and a foorest Order is signed and posted as open for snowmobile use.

The Forest closure of the Bridgeport Winter Recreation Area to motorized travel occurs every year at the end of April regardless of snow cover. The intent of this action is to reduce user conflicts as snow melts and the California State Route 108 corridor nears opening. This year, the area is closing one week earlier due to current snow depth not meeting the 24-inch requirement.

Snowmobiling is currently still permitted on the north side of State Route 108 in non-wilderness areas of the forest. United States Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center and Forest Service personnel may be present in the Bridgeport Winter Recreation Area for administrative use and law enforcement patrols.

South Tahoe police seeks information on man arrested for sexual assault

Rex Bernat

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — South Lake Tahoe Police is seeking more information on a man who was arrested last week for sexual assault.

Rex Bernat, 42, was arrested in Reno on Thursday, April 15, for a felony fugitive warrant. Bernat is being held in the Washoe County Jail and faces charges related to the sexual assault of a child under 14 years of age that allegedly took place in South Lake Tahoe.

Bernat has lived his adult life in Washoe County, according to a press release. He is known to use the aliases Ryan or Rayan Samones, Ryan Bernat and Mykee Daws.

SLTPD and El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office are working in conjunction with the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office and seeking information from anyone who may have been victimized by Bernat in California.

Anyone who may have relevant information regarding Bernat is asked to contact the SLTPD at 530-542-6100 and reference case 2103-2287. This is an ongoing investigation.

Squaw Alpine offers discounts for pass holders at other resorts

A view of Alpine Meadows on Friday, April 9.

OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. — For those not finished skiing and riding, the only resort still open at Lake Tahoe, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, is offering discounted lift tickets for those with passes at resorts that have closed for the season.

SquawAlpine plans to operate as late in the spring as weather and conditions allow, said a press release.

To take advantage and receive 25% off walk-up tickets guests need to show a 2020-21 season pass from another resort. These tickets are available at walk-up ticket windows only, no advanced booking is required.

The deal will be available through the end of the ski and ride season.

“We didn’t have the opportunity to enjoy spring turns last season, so this year we want to make sure that the ‘Spring Skiing Capital’ is easily accessible to those who aren’t ready to hang up their gear yet,” said Tom Feiten, vice president of marketing and business development at SquawAlpine. “Spring conditions are in full swing, and it’s the perfect time for a classic Tahoe multi-sport day. We’ve all been through the wringer this past year in one way or another: sunny days and soft turns are good medicine for the soul after this long winter.”

Council to discuss new housing project, vehicle replacement plan

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — South Lake Tahoe City Council on Tuesday will hold a public hearing for a new housing project in Tahoe Valley.

The proposed residential project, if approved, will be built at 906 Emerald Bay Road. It would consist of six separate 1,000-square foot condominiums placed on lots that with a common area.

The project was approved by the planning commission on March 18. Even if approved by city council, the applicants will still need approval from the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.

The council will also discuss allowing city events again. In May 2020, council voted to postpone or cancel all events for 90 days due to the pandemic. Every 90 days since then, the council has voted to extend the ban.

However, with the dropping number in new active cases and with California slowly reopening, city staff recommends allowing events to happen. If the council votes to allow events, organizers will need to show how the events will be compliant with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regulations.

Also on the agenda is the draft electric vehicle transition plan. On October 20, 2020, council approved the Climate Action Plan to help meet city and statewide greenhouse gas emissions reductions goals.

One way to help reduce GHG is by replacing the city’s vehicle fleet with electric vehicles. The first phase of the 5-year replacement plan will focus on eight light weight vehicles. The cost of vehicle replacement will be about $345,000 and infrastructure costs to support the vehicles will be about $300,000.

However, those costs will not need to be paid all at once or immediately and many grants do exist for vehicle replacements and infrastructure.

Following discussion of the plan, council will consider the purchase of a Tesla Model 3 AWD. Staff had recommended the purchase during the Dec. 1 meeting but council delayed the decision until the transition plan was in place. The purchase of the vehicle plus the infrastructure required to support the vehicle would cost the city nearly $60,000.

Staff is asking for $35,000 for a focused Condition Assessment Report to help update the 2008 Drainage Master Plan. A 2008 survey found much of the city’s drainage infrastructure to be failing or non-existent.

While the city has done a significant amount of work to address this issue, staff would like a survey to help them take stock of where they are and where they should focus their efforts.

Finally, the council will discuss funding a road rehabilitation project at Lake Tahoe Boulevard and Spruce Ave. The project would cost $1.271 million. Council could also decide to include a section of Pioneer Trail which would raise the cost to $3.697 million.

The meeting will be held at 9 a.m. Tuesday, April 20. The meeting can be viewed on the city’s website or on Zoom.

To make a comment, call 530-542-6500, the meeting ID is 957 6838 3734, press *9 to indicate a desire to comment or email PublicComment@cityofslt.us.

Endow El Dorado grant recipients announced

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The El Dorado Community Foundation awarded over $175,000 to Endow El Dorado grant recipients.

Due to circumstances surrounding the pandemic, the foundation decided to allocate some of the grant funding to pandemic response in addition to the usual categories social services, community mental health and youth.

In total, $175,190 is being distributed to 28 different organizations throughout the county.

Endow Ed 2021 grant recipients

Organization, Grant Title/ Description, Grant Amount


South Lake Tahoe Family Resource Center, LatinX Pandemic Food Insecurity South Lake Tahoe, $10,000

Only Kindness Inc, Response to Covid-19: Temporary Housing & Homelessness Prevention, $10,000

Lake Tahoe Educational Foundation, Inc, Connect, Engage, Succeed, $10,000

Lilliput, a part of Wayfinder Family Services, Support for Kinship and Guardianship Families during the pandemic, $2,500

Lake Valley Firefighters Foundation, Envo mask purchase, $3,000


CASA El Dorado, Coaching for At-Risk Families, $10,000

Lake Tahoe Community College Foundation, TimelyMD Mental Health Services for LTCC Students, $10,000

3Strands Global Foundation, Employ & Empower Workforce Development Program, $10,000

Windows To My Soul, Help During Turbulent Times, $10,000

Hope Lutheran Church of the Sierra, Hope Full Lunch, $10,000

Mountain High Recovery Center, Start Up Expenses for In-person Services, $10,000

SOS Outreach, Building Resilience in Local Underrepresented Youth, $10,000

YOUTH Recipients

Tahoe Youth and Family Services, Transitional Living Program for youth at risk of homelessness, $5,000

Georgetown Divide Ready by 21, Inc., Quest for Equity for Georgetown Divide’s Children, $5,000

Assistance League Sierra Foothills, Operation School Bell- Clothing Kids with Confidence, $5,000

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northern Sierra, Defending Potential of Youth through Mentoring, $5,000

El Dorado County Ag in the Classroom, On-Line Subscription Program Facilitator, $5,000

ASPIREKids, Teens Helping Teens: Building Skills, Confidence, Compassion, and Purpose, $5,000

EDCOE – Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) Program, Summer Employment Program, $3,660

Live Violence Free, LVF in Our Schools: A Rape Prevention Education Program, $5,000

EDC 4-H Youth Development Program/4-H Camp Program, 2021 El Dorado County 4-H Camp, $5,000

Folsom Lake Symphony, Music at our Schools, $5,000

Lake Tahoe’s Shining Stars, Shining Stars Performance Showcase, $4,850

Sierra Gold Soccer Club, Youth Soccer Scholarships with Sierra Gold Soccer, $5,000

American River Conservancy, NGSS Standards for Outdoor Education, $2,500

Escobar Martial Arts Club, Martial Arts Training for Youth, $4,680

Loyal Order of Moose Lodge 1632, 18th Annual Fishing Derby, $3,000

California District 54 Little League Baseball, Inc., Youth Opportunities to play youth Sports., $1,000

Total: $175,190