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Missing backpacker found deceased (Updated)

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — A hiker, Jia Huang, 32, who was reported missing on Tuesday near Aloha Lake was found on Wednesday deceased in a body of water by El Dorado County Search and Rescue.

A Facebook post from his sister, Lai Wong, who reached out to the community via social media asking for help in finding her brother, on Wednesday afternoon confirmed Huang had been found.

“Hi Everyone, I just got a call from the Sherriff. They found his dead body in the lake. Thank you for all your help. I appreciated it,” said the post.

Original post

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — A backpacker was reported missing on Tuesday, June 28, after another hiker saw the man’s abandoned campsite near Lake Aloha. 

Jia Huang’s started a solo backpacking trip on June 22.

Jia Huang, 32, started a solo backpacking trip from Mt. Tallac on the Tahoe Rim Trail on Wednesday, June 22. 

Around 3:30 p.m. on Monday, June 27, a hiker saw Huang’s tent upside down, along with his food canister and backpack. The next morning, around 6:30 a.m., the same hiker said he passed by the campsite again and saw that the tent was still upside down. 

Huang’s tent was found on June 27.

The hiker reported the situation to El Dorado County Search and Rescue who opened an investigation. 

Huang’s wallet with his ID was found at the campsite and Huang’s sister, Lai Wong, was informed. 

The location of Huang’s tent.

Search and rescue officials told the Tribune they are searching bodies of water near where his tent was found, as well as the forest around the area. A helicopter has also been dispatched to look for him.

Huang is 5-feet-6, about 120 pounds with black hair and black eyes. 

Anyone with information is asked to contact Wong at 415-672-7293 or laiwong33@gmail.com

Proposed program would incentivize North Tahoe homeowners to rent to local workers

KINGS BEACH, Calif. — North Lake Tahoe homeowners could soon earn up to $24,000 by offering their property as a long-term rental to local workers. 

The Placer County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday advanced a proposed $95,000 agreement with Truckee-based firm Landing Locals to market and administer the one-year Lease to Locals pilot program. 

The board is scheduled to consider final adoption of the program and a budget amendment providing up to $405,000 in funding for grants to participating homeowners with underused properties in the coming weeks. Funding is proposed to come from local lodging tax revenues. 

“We continue to have such a desperate need for more workforce housing in North Lake Tahoe, and yet so many of the homes here sit vacant for much if not most of the year,” said Board Chair and District 5 Supervisor Cindy Gustafson. “It’s clear that in other mountain resort communities incentives like this have been the key to unlocking more homes for local workers and we’re eager to see that play out here, too.”

Under the proposal, property owners may offer their property for seasonal leases of between five and 12 months or long-term for 12 months or more, with incentive amounts varying by the length of lease and number of tenants. 

Placer would join the Town of Truckee in partnering with Landing Locals, which recently extended its own program after exceeding its goal by providing 56 grants and housing 112 residents. 

Landing Locals has since expanded to serve other mountain resort communities in South Lake Tahoe and Summit County, Colorado. 

If the program is approved and launches as planned Aug. 1, Landing Locals would work with homeowners to guide them through the process of qualifying for the grant, including listing the property on the Landing Locals website where they can connect with local tenants seeking housing. 

Placer County would provide the grants once leases are signed and Landing Locals would handle all of the qualifying of tenants and landlords. Half the grant would be provided when the lease is signed, and the other half at the end of the lease upon verification of tenancy. Lease agreements would be between the homeowner and the tenant. 

To qualify for the program, a property must be located in unincorporated Placer County within the boundaries of its East Placer Transient Occupancy Tax District. To be eligible, units cannot have been rented long-term within the past 18 months.  

Property owners would need to submit an application, sign a lease with qualifying tenants, and undergo lease checks to ensure they are in compliance. 

A prospective tenant must be an adult employed at least 20 hours per week at an employment site within the Tahoe-Truckee Unified School District geographical boundary, who is not of blood relation to the property owner.

Tenants and homeowners can learn more about the program and, if approved, fill out online applications by going to https://landinglocals.com/NorthLakeTahoe/ or by calling Landing Locals at 530-448-8179 or emailing them at hello@landinglocals.com.

California’s ongoing housing crisis has been especially acute in eastern Placer County, where more than 65% of residences zoned for single-family homes are used as second homes and short-term rentals, according to a 2021 study by the Mountain Housing Council. 

The Lease to Locals program is the latest in a series of recent Placer County initiatives to address local housing challenges. Last year it launched the Workforce Housing Preservation Program, providing local workers with up to $150,000 in mortgage down payment assistance to ensure their home continues to house local workers. 

Since the Board of Supervisors approved the county’s first-ever housing work plan in 2017, the county has also partnered with affordable housing developers to build 84 new workforce housing units in North Lake Tahoe, and 160 more are under construction now or in planning phases. 

This includes Hopkins Village, a new for-sale development, and the Dollar Creek Crossing project, expected to offer a range of for-rent and for-purchase homes and apartments across income ranges. 

County housing staff are also working on developing a proposed long-term rental program in west Placer to incentivize renting to local college students.

Summer evening programs return to Taylor Creek Visitor Center

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — After a two year absence due to the pandemic, Lake of the Sky Amphitheater evening programs return to Taylor Creek Visitor Center this week.

Great Basin Institute has announced three programs over the next three weeks that begin on Friday, July 1.

This Friday An Evening with Mark Twain will be held from 6-7 p.m.

Portrayed by the well-known McAvoy Layne, Mark Twain has been presenting at the Lake of the Sky Amphitheater for more than 30 years. Mr. Twain has said it’s one of his favorite stages.

Summer evening programs return to Taylor Creek Visitor Center.

From 8-9 p.m. Friday, July 8, The Birds of Taylor Creek will be presented by Alan Gubanich. Join Gubanich, a Lahontan Audubon Society ornithologist, and discover Taylor Creek’s wonderful world of birds.

From 8:30-9:30 p.m. Friday, July 15, Winged Flight at Night, will be presented by Corky Quirk from NorCalBats. He will take guests on a journey through the life of bats.

Pre-packaged items for sale and public restrooms will be available during these events.

For more information, call the Taylor Creek Visitor Center at 530-543-2674 during business hours, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursdays and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday.

Correction: The business hours for the Taylor Creek Visitor Center have been updated.

Free history series to feature ‘Sentimental Journey Along Carson Pass’

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The Wylder Hotel Hope Valley Eastern Sierra history series continues this weekend with a presentation about Carson Pass.

At 2 p.m. Saturday, July 2, Eastern Sierra historian David Woodruff will present a 50-minute slideshow presentation, “A Sentimental Journey Along Carson Pass.” 

Woodruff will take guests on a sentimental journey along one of California’s favorite scenic mountain byways. 

Using seldom seen historic photos, hear the tales of the people and events that have helped shape this beloved “Alpine Highway.”  

The program will be held at the Wylder General Store, just east of Wylder Hotel Hope Valley (formerly Sorenson’s Resort) on California State Route 88. 

The program is free and open to the public. 

For more information, call 760-920-8061.

South Lake Tahoe residents protest Supreme Court decision

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Angry South Lake Tahoe residents gathered at Lakeview Commons on Tuesday evening to protest the U.S. Supreme Court ruling which overturned the federal right to abortion. 

At 4 p.m. Tuesday, June 28, about 200 people gathered at Lakeview Commons before trekking over to U.S. Highway 50 with signs and chants.

The event started with a speech by co-organizer Jackie DuPont, who said she overcame her fear of public speaking for the event. 

Jackie DuPont helped co-organize the event.
Laney Griffo/Tahoe Daily Tribune

“When I’m happy or excited, I’m this big bouncing ball of energy but when I’m sad or angry, I turn into a festering blackhole,” DuPont said to the crowd. “It’s out of that exact desperation that I started to search for something to do with all the pain that was left here inside me, lingering when the woman’s right to choice was stripped away by the highest court in the land last week.”

The organizers partnered with the Wild West Access Fund of Nevada, which raises money to provide free abortion access to anyone. 

DuPont said that although both California and Nevada have access to abortion laws on the books, she knows there will be an influx on people from out-of-state looking for abortions and there aren’t enough resources currently available to handle that. 

About 200 protesters attended the event.
Laney Griffo/Tahoe Daily Tribune

The fundraising goal for the protest was $500, which was reached before the protest even started, so they upped the goal to $1,000. 

Sue Chandler, Chair of the South Lake Tahoe Democratic Club also spoke. 

“I can remember the day in 1973 when they passed Roe vs. Wade, the happiest day of my life. Last week was the saddest day of my life,” Chandler said.

She asked for more young people to get involved with the party and to elect Democrats to office.

Protesters lined both sides of Hwy 50.
Laney Griffo/Tahoe Daily Tribune

Prior to going to the street, DuPont went over rules for the event which included not blocking access to cars or sidewalks and not engaging counter-protesters. As of 5 p.m., there were no counter-protesters. 

To learn more about the Wild West Access Fund, visit /www.wildwestfund.org

$50,000 matching campaign launched to build Meeks Ridge Trail

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The Tahoe Fund and the Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association on Tuesday announced a $50,000 matching campaign to build the Meeks Ridge Trail. This new 4.5 mile multi-use trail will provide a brand-new 10-plus mile loop option for hikers and mountain bikers on Lake Tahoe’s West Shore.

“Right now, people on the West Shore have to drive to trailheads to get in a longer hike or bike ride,” said Verdi DiSesa, vice chair of the Tahoe Fund Board. “This new trail will create access to a world-class loop with unbelievable views, all without requiring anyone to get in their cars. And now donations will be doubled to help make it happen.” 

The new trail, which will begin just north of Meeks Bay Resort, starts near lake level and then climbs to the top of Meeks Ridge where it will connect with the Lost Lake Trail. From there, users will be able to pick up the General Creek Trail as part of the 10-12 mile loop. The loop will end by the California State Route 89 bike path that connects directly to Sugar Pine Point and Meeks Bay Campground. 

While volunteers are working diligently to clear and build the lower half of the trail, a paid crew will be key to completing the final 2-3 miles at higher elevations. The upper section is more rugged and requires a professional team to tackle the difficult terrain. The funds raised through the Tahoe Fund’s $50,000 matching campaign will help cover the cost of the paid crew, allowing them to be camped in the higher elevations for eight days at a time to work on the trail more efficiently.

“Our team is excited to bring this dynamic new option to the West Shore,” said Patrick Parsel, trails director at TAMBA. “The funds raised through the Tahoe Fund matching campaign will make it possible for us to get this work done and create an incredible new trail outside of Desolation Wilderness for hikers and bikers to enjoy.”

With panoramic views of Meeks Bay, Meeks Meadow and Desolation Wilderness, naming rights at four vista points along the trail are available for a $10,000 donation each. The vista points, identified on this map, will feature a bench and custom plaque with the name of the donor.
To contribute to the matching campaign or secure a vista point, visit www.tahoefund.org/projects/active-projects/meeks-ridge-trail/ or email info@tahoefund.org

Barton publication wins award for quality messaging

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The Barton Health Foundation’s publication — Elevations Magazine — was honored as a “Merit Winner” for outstanding work in the 39th Annual Healthcare Advertising Awards.

The Healthcare Advertising Awards is the oldest, largest and most widely respected healthcare advertising awards competition, said a news release. 

More than 4,400 entries were reviewed by a panel of national judges, who awarded various designations based on materials displaying exceptional quality, creativity, and messaging effectiveness.

“Elevations Magazine is both informative and entertaining, aimed at keeping our many physicians, staff, board members, donors, and friends informed and up to date about the philanthropic mission of the Foundation,” said Chris Kiser, executive director of the Barton Health Foundation. “We are proud to be recognized for excellence in quality and effective messaging, a critical component in gaining community support and inspiring philanthropy for the health of the community.”

For over 30 years, the Barton Health Foundation has been committed to improving the health of the residents and visitors of the Lake Tahoe region and to ensuring Barton Health has the tools and technology to provide the best healthcare possible. Since its inception in 1990, the Barton Health Foundation has raised more than $26 million to ensure state-of-the-art medical care is available right here in our community.

For additional details on the Barton Health Foundation and to receive future editions of the Elevations Magazine, visit BartonHealth.org/Foundation.

Source: Barton Health

California budget includes cash payments for most taxpayers

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Most California households would get up to $1,050 from the government to help them put the nation’s most expensive gasoline in their cars, part of a relief package in the state’s record-setting operating budget that lawmakers are scheduled to approve later this week.

The proposal would send cash directly to taxpayers instead of suspending the state’s tax on fuel, which accounts for 51.1 cents per gallon of the price at the pump and is scheduled to increase nearly another 3 cents on Friday.

While some other states have halted their fuel taxes and Democratic President Joe Biden has called for a suspension of the national gas tax, Democrats who control California’s government have refused to do the same because they said they didn’t trust big oil companies and refineries to pass along the savings to drivers.

Instead, California officials plan to send $9.5 billion to about 23 million people — accounting for about 10% of the state’s record-breaking $97 billion budget surplus. The money would go to people regardless of whether they owned a car, but only couples who make less than $500,000 per year and single people who make less than $250,000 per year are eligible to get it.

People who buy 15 gallons of fuel twice per month would pay roughly $194 per year in California gas taxes. Meanwhile, the lowest amount a household would get under this plan would be $200 for a single person with no children who makes $250,000 or less per year. The most money a household would get would be $1,050 for a married couple with children that earns $150,000 or less per year.

“I think California families would rather see their savings in their pocket,” Democratic Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo said. “The savings and the gas rebate that we are currently proposing is much, much better.”

The Newsom administration said it will be October before taxpayers would get the money, or 10 months into a year of record-high gas prices. Republicans criticized the move, saying drivers could have been saving all along if the state had quickly suspended its tax on fuel.

“Enough waiting, talking and investigating. People need relief now,” Assembly Republican Leader James Gallagher said.

The proposal is the centerpiece of California’s $307.9 billion operating budget that lawmakers are scheduled to approve later this week. Despite initial dire projections, California’s revenues have soared throughout the pandemic, fueling record surpluses.

All of that money has allowed lawmakers to greatly expand a number of government programs. One of the most impactful will be extending government-funded health care benefits to all low-income adults regardless of their immigration status.

Right now, people living in the country illegally can only qualify for California’s Medicaid program if they are 26 and younger or 50 and older. The budget says by 2024, everyone who meets the income requirements will be covered — at a cost of $2.6 billion per year to taxpayers.

“This budget investment reflects California’s values of inclusion and fairness and should be a model for the rest of the nation,” said Sarah Dar, director of health and public benefits policy at the California Immigrant Policy Center.

The budget would leave $37.1 billion in the states’ savings accounts to prepare for a future economic downturn. While California revenues have been strong, the independent Legislative Analyst’s Office says the economy has showed signs of weakening as inflation remains high and home sales have slowed in part because of a rapid rise in mortgage rates.

Edgewood Companies appoints Winkel as board chairman

STATELINE, Nev. — Edgewood Companies, one of Nevada’s oldest and diversified real estate companies which owns and operates Edgewood Tahoe, has appointed Robert Winkel, board member since 2008, as the new board chair. 

Winkel succeeds Steve Johnson, who will continue to be director of Edgewood Companies and an active board member after serving as chairman for the past 14 years. The announcement comes as Edgewood Companies also debuts a new rebrand and website.

“I feel very privileged to take on this new role and build upon the incredible work that Steve has accomplished by liaising closely with our world-class management team and shareholder families to ensure the Company’s future success,” Winkel said in a news release. “The Park family has owned Edgewood Tahoe since 1872 and I feel a great responsibility and pride to preserve this as their family legacy and as a Lake Tahoe gem for the next generations to come.”

Winkel joined Edgewood Companies’ Board of Directors in July 2008, bringing an impressive resume of more than 35 years as a licensed attorney, public and private company business management experience, business and not-for-profit board experience, and real estate development experience. As Chairman of the Board, Winkel looks forward to being a key interface and support between the shareholders and management team to develop strategic initiatives and goals, including overseeing the next phase of Edgewood Tahoe – the Villa Suites, an array of luxurious lakefront villas ranging from two to six bedrooms debuting this fall. Born and raised in Reno, Winkel currently lives in Reno with his wife and has three adult children.

“After more than 14 years in the role, one of my top priorities has been to identify and prepare a new Chairman for the next chapter of Edgewood Companies’ growth and success and I am fully confident that Rob is the person,” said Johnson. “And with our Company having just navigated a challenging period of facing the pandemic, devastating forest fires, and smoke over the past few years and coming out stronger than when it began, this is the right time for me to take a step back and play a different role at Edgewood Companies.”

Johnson was appointed to Edgewood Companies board of directors in 2007 and elected Chairman of the Board in 2008. As Chairman of the Board, Johnson was instrumental in the development of Edgewood Tahoe’s talented management team as well as remained committed to providing continued leadership and participation in South Lake Tahoe / Stateline Communities as a whole. As director and board member, Johnson will remain fully active and engaged in Edgewood Companies’ key strategic decisions and priorities, advising both Winkel and the board on long-term strategy and critical priorities. Johnson was previously an accountant in the Reno office of Grant Thornton, a national accounting and auditing firm, where he was recognized for advancing the growth of the

firm in serving the gaming industry. Johnson currently serves as a trustee on the Renown Health Board of Trustees and has been married to his wife, Camie, for over 41 years in which they have two adult sons.

“While I am grateful to have been a part of so many of our Company’s incredible accomplishments over the past decade-plus years, I am most proud of the amazing team we have cultivated at every level at Edgewood Tahoe – who has been the primary driver of all the innovation, growth and success we have created together,” said Johnson. “I am proud of where Edgewood Company is today and passionate about supporting Rob and our board in continuing to preserve the Edgewood legacy.”

California offers free fishing day on Saturday

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The first of California’s two free fishing days this year happens this Independence Day holiday weekend.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is offering free fishing for those without a license on Saturday, July 2.

For those new to fishing, this is an opportunity to explore a new hobby. For licensed anglers, this is an opportunity to introduce, or reintroduce, someone else to the benefits of becoming an angler. Free fishing days are also a time for people who used to fish to come back and reconnect to the activity.

Only basic fishing equipment and knowledge is needed to get started fishing. The CDFW offers introductory fishing videos that can be watched leading up to July 2.

  • Tackle Box Basics: You’ll learn about the different types of tackle and how to match the “when, where and what species” of various types of tackle.
  •  How to Become a California Angler: You’ll hear about California’s diverse fish species and where and how to find them.
  •  A Beginner’s Guide to Trout Fishing: You’ll gain an introduction to cold freshwater trout fishing, including differentiating species, spawning patterns and best catch techniques for California waters.

CDFW’s Fishing Guide can be a great resource for all anglers. Look for a new body of water to fish, review recent planting locations or even refresh your knowledge of fishing regulations.

Those interested in fishing in California’s lakes, streams and rivers can find information about inland fishing locations and species on the CDFW website. Information about ocean fishing, including spots along California beaches, is also available on the website.

All fishing regulations, such as bag and size limits, gear restrictions, report card requirements, fishing hours and stream closures remain in effect on Free Fishing Days. Anglers must have the appropriate report card when fishing for steelhead or sturgeon anywhere in the state, and salmon in the Smith and Klamath-Trinity River systems. Anglers can review the sport fishing regulations online or use CDFW’s mobile website to view freshwater limits and regulations specific to a body of water.

“California anglers are incredibly fortunate to have such a wide variety of fish species and fishing opportunities to choose from on July 2,” said CDFW Director Charlton Bonham. “We ask anglers to pick their fishing destinations carefully given the drought conditions impacting our waters. Please try and avoid waters visibly suffering from the impacts of drought. Specifically, where warm and low water levels may be stressing fish populations.”

Anglers planning to fish inland waters through catch and release can help reduce fish stress levels and increase survival rates by voluntarily adopting the following practices:

  • Assess the water for extreme drought conditions before committing to fish there
  • Fish before the day heats up
  • Handle fish as little as possible
  • Keep fish in the water when removing hooks

An annual resident sport fishing license in California currently costs $54, while a one-day fishing license costs $17.54.

Source: CDFW