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Stateline casinos post Nevada’s biggest win for September

STATELINE, Nev. — The casinos at Stateline posted the biggest single increase in gaming revenue in Nevada during September, according to figures released by the Nevada Gaming Control Board on Wednesday.

Making up for the spring closure due to the coronavirus outbreak, the chief source of Douglas County’s gaming revenue raked in $24.79 million during the month of September. That’s an increase of 36.3% from last year’s $18.19 million.

September is not usually a big month for Stateline, which tends to quiet down in the months between summer and ski season.

But several reports from Lake Tahoe is that tourism hasn’t slowed down at all, with visitors swamping the area to escape the heat and fires in California.

The $6.6 million increase year over year is the largest in the state, which was down 22.38% to $821 million. Clark County accounted for most of that drop bringing in $666.7 million during the month. Washoe County had a 3.4% increase, which amounted to a total of $2.6 million.

The only Washoe County market to see a decrease was North Lake Tahoe where win decreased $226,000 or 8.8% to $2.3 million.

The casinos are still behind 11.8% for the fiscal year, which started July 1. In the first quarter, the casinos brought in $67.8 million down from 2019’s $76.8 million.

The casinos were closed by the coronavirus outbreak in March and reopened on June 4. The Lakeside Inn never reopened after the lockdown, which contributed to the decrease in gaming revenues.

Both Lake Tahoe and Carson Valley tourism officials are conducting a marketing campaign to draw visitors back to the area.

Douglas County committed the first expenditure of $476,000 from an $8.9 million federal grant designed to offset the coronavirus outbreak. The money will be used to market the resumption of tourism activities in the county.

“As we all know, tourism has been one of the hardest-hit sectors of our economy, and while Lake Tahoe has seen visitors as restrictions have lifted, our businesses and activities that rely on tourism are impacted,” said Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority President Carol Chaplin. “Douglas County recognized this and allocated a budget under the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund to support a campaign designed to restore travel confidence and talk about what businesses in our destination are doing to keep locals and visitors’ health and safety top of mind. This provides a unique opportunity to collaborate with area partners to reinforce safety messaging to a larger audience that wouldn’t have been possible without this funding.”

Base Camp Pizza donates over $12K to Live Violence Free

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Base Camp Pizza Company in Heavenly Village has donated thousands of dollars to a South Lake Tahoe nonprofit.

Base Camp chose Live Violence Free to partner with this year and throughout the 12-month period, staff collected $12,747 to donate to LVF. Base Camp has donated more than $100,000 over the years to local nonprofits.

“We are so overwhelmed by Basecamp’s generosity,” said Dr. Mandi Weavil, LVF board president. “We can’t believe they were able to raise that amount of money during a pandemic. We are beyond grateful that they chose to donate to our organization. It will really help us serve our community during these difficult times.” 

The donation will go towards LVF’s various programs that assist  victims and families who have experienced domestic violence, child abuse or sexual assault. Victims are supported with confidential and free services including crisis support, advocacy, counseling, legal services, and safe housing.

The funds will also assist in LVF’s community outreach including spreading the word about their new campaign #OneConversation http://www.oneconversationtahoe.org​.

The campaign provides insights on signs to recognize in people who may be experiencing domestic violence, child abuse or sexual assault. It also provides necessary information on how to help a victim seek support when they are ready.

“LVF has been supporting our local community for 43 years but they don’t do it alone,” said a press release from LVF. “Valuable community partnerships like this one with Base Camp Pizza Company help create a safer community for everyone.”

For more information, visit ​https://liveviolencefree.org/.

EAT This Week: Sprout’s Tahoe Turkey

To try and decide each week where and what to eat around the basin can be a challenge — there are so many amazing choices. In this feature we’ll dive into dishes that will surely satisfy those hunger pangs and leave you wondering where to go next.

If you work or live next to a restaurant, chances are you have a go-to at that place that you either know you’re having every time you walk in, or have it like 20 times a week. For me, this is that go-to. I guess I’m not alone because Sprouts’ Tahoe Turkey is their number one seller day in and day out.

This sandwich is piled high with fresh ingredients: turkey breast, mild green chiles, melted Monterey jack, freshly grated red cabbage and carrots, diced tomato and red onion, sprouts, avocado, doused with a homemade honey mustard dressing, all sitting between two sheets of toasted whole wheat bread. Yeah, pretty sure they have to use a corset to make sure everything fits. But, even with all that going on, the sandwich still holds together perfectly.

There are all kinds of textures going on here; great crunch delivered from the carrots, cabbage and sprouts combined with a satin creaminess from the avocados. The turkey is thickly sliced and juicy and the green chiles add just a hint of sweet and smoky.

I think the real belle of the ball is the honey mustard dressing. Flowing like a river over all the ingredients, it not only brings everything together, but it adds a tanginess that counters all the other flavors bringing a subtle balance to the dish.

With each bite you get something a little different, but the base changes ever so slightly. It’s like Thanksgiving each year – the main folks are there, but different people pop in and out. Regardless, everyone’s having a great time.

While you might think with everything going on it could get heavy, but this sandwich is extremely light. It’s like Oprah handing out freshness. You get a fresh bite. And you get a fresh bite … Well, you know where I’m going. If only we could turn it into a car.

Sprouts Natural Foods Café is located at 3123 Harrison Ave. in South Lake Tahoe. For a peek at their menu items, visit them online at sproutscafetahoe.com or reach out to them via phone at 530-541-6969.

Drink of the Week: The Cocktail Corner’s Con Limone

In our Drink of the Week segment, we’ll showcase one unique type of beer, wine, cocktail — you name it — to try at one of the countless breweries, bars and restaurants from around the basin.

For those of you entrepreneurs that had a lemon stand as a kid, if you had this cocktail gracing that permanent marker cardboard menu, you might have been staring at triple the profits. Although, of course, it would have been illegal – a minor selling mixed drinks and all – but you definitely would have had some street cred as the master squeezer.

For this cocktail, it’s quite evident what you’re cooking with when the smell hits your nose. It’s screaming out that its lemon and it’s proud of that fact. But inside of that citrusy smell, there’s also some richness.

Before we get into the rest of the drink, let’s talk about who is huddled around the campfire: Malfy con limone gin, Cointreau, sweet & sour and fresh squeezed lemons. Topping it out is a sugar rim with a bright lemon twist of a garnish.

The citrus definitely opens things up with a bang. The Malfy gin with its lemony notes, combined with the orange from the Cointreau, and then the added punch from the fresh citrus, it lets you know you’re in for a pucker of a good time.

Once those gills open up, out of nowhere the gin takes over and brings in a little coriander and juniper. It doesn’t mess around, either. It’s hitting 100 mph on the radar gun each and every sip, although all together it doesn’t go over the top with tartness.

The sugar rim brings everyone back to earth a little bit and helps successfully toe the line between sweet, sour and boozy. I’m not sure what kind of combination floats your boat when it comes to cocktails, but if that trifecta is right up your alley, then this is your bowling ball.

The Tahoe Cocktail Corner is located at 2042 Lake Tahoe Blvd. (in the Crossing at Tahoe Valley) in South Lake Tahoe. For more information, visit them online at tahoecocktailcorner.com or call at 530-600-2751.

Celebrating spooky season around Lake Tahoe

As if 2020 isn’t spooky enough, Halloween is just around the corner. While this Halloween will be different, we still have several excuses to get dressed up and celebrate this spooky season around the Tahoe Basin.

For the first time since 1944, during World War II, stargazers can witness the rare blue moon on Hallows Eve. Treat your eyes to this rare beauty that will have us all howling at the moon. Grab a loved one, a blanket, somes treats and head outside to witness the second full moon of the month that will light up the sky.

If you want to show off your costume (or your pet’s costume) here are some socially-distant events.

SOUTH SHORE

Trunk or Treat

Pick 6 Sports Bar and EJ’s Cafe is hosting ‘Trunk or Treat’ Halloween celebration. Starting at 1 p.m. until 4 p.m., on Halloween come by Pick 6’s back parking lot with your decorated vehicle trunk. Fill your trunk with candy so kids can treat-or-treat. The top three best decorated trunks win prizes. There will also be a free hot chocolate bar and popcorn for kids. Make sure to reserve your spot by calling 707-718-7318.

Hocus Pocus Viewing Party

Calling all adults 21 and older who love Hocus Pocus or just love Halloween. Come in costume ready to watch a Halloween favorite. From 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., The Brewery at Lake Tahoe is hosting a Hocus Pocus viewing party with $1 jello shots and a prize for best costume — Hocus Pocus themed costumes are highly encouraged — along with a special Halloween cocktail and appetizer menu.

Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. Call 530-600-4141 for more information.

Howl-O-Ween Party

Don’t leave our four-legged friends out this Halloween, Earthwise Pet Lake Tahoe will be celebrating with their inaugural Howl-O-Ween Party. Dress Fido in a costume to win prizes.

Earthwise Pet will have free samples, raffles, discounts, a photo booth and more. The costume contest starts at 2:30 p.m. There will be a pet parade at the shopping center following the contest. Dogs must be kept on a leash, up-to-date on vaccinations and well-socialized. Also, be sure your dog is dressed safely and comfortably.

If you don’t have a pup don’t fret, cats are welcome as well. The event is outdoors, however social distancing is still encouraged and masks are required for humans. Get in contact by emailing laketahoe@earthwisepet.com to reserve your entry into the contest or register day of the event by 2 p.m.

Pet Costume Contest

The Coachman Hotel is having their inaugural pet costume contest. From 2-4 p.m., bring your houndy and show off their best outfit and for a chance to win a $100 gift card for Tahoe Best Friends. Each dog who enters receives a party gift-bag. There are bonus prizes for people that dress up with their pets. Happy Hour lasts all day and kids can join in on pumpkin carving. A tarot card reader will also be on site.

Funds raised from local keg and food sales go to support the Truckee Tahoe Humane Society. The event will be held on the lower and upper deck outside of the hotel.

NORTH SHORE

Socially-Distanced Haunted Hotel

Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa and Casino will be transforming their second floor into a socially distanced haunted hotel for Halloween. Each guest room will be decorated with a different theme.

The haunted hotel will be open from 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. All ages are welcome, however, the Hyatt will ensure social distancing at checkpoints and staging areas. Hyatt will also provide Halloween-themed activities for overnight guests throughout the weekend.

Guests checking in on Friday, Oct. 30 or Saturday, Oct. 31, will receive “Squirmy S’mores” kits with gummy worms included and children will receive “Goblin Goodie Bags.” The resort will also feature a “Skeleton Scavenger Hunt” at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, and a complimentary “Witches Brew” hot apple cider available at the poolside fire pit at 4 p.m. on Saturday.

The haunted hotel will raise food donations for Sierra Community House. While it is complimentary for overnight resort guests, non-resort guests must bring at least one food donation to participate. The organization is seeking healthy, non-perishable foods.

A list of Sierra Community House’s food donation guidelines can be found by visiting the following link: https://sierracommunityhouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/FoodDonationGuidelines.pdf.

Reservations for the haunted hotel are required and are available by visiting: hyattregencylaketahoe.eventbrite.com.

Tahoe City Halloween Hunt

Tahoe City’s Parks and Recreation and Tahoe City Downtown Association have partnered to put on Tahoe City’s Spooktacular Scavenger Hunt. The hunt will start at noon on Oct. 30 and will run for 36 hours until the clock strikes midnight on Halloween.

The hunt will feature digital activity challenges around Tahoe City so break out your costume and take to downtown to safely explore the city to earn and track points via the Goosechase App (which is available on both Android and iPhone). Earn the most points to earn prizes for your team. Visit https://www.tcpud.org/tahoe-city-halloween-hunt for more info.

Follow these steps to join the hunt:

1. Download the Goosechase App to your phone

2. Find the “Tahoe City Halloween Hunt” game in Goosechase

3. Register your team

4. Start playing and complete as many challenges as possible

Drive Thru trick-or-treat

From 6-9 p.m., on Halloween take your trick-or-treaters to Christmas Tree Village in Incline for a drive-thru trick-or-treating experience.

Howl-O-Ween

Class A Roofing is hosting a family-friendly, pet-friendly Halloween celebration. From 2-7 p.m., the event will include a silent auction, wine wheelbarrow, sign artwork and live music by Jacked-Up band. At 5 p.m., there will be a pet costume contest. $10 entry fee includes first drink, $15 entry for a drink in a signature glass of beer and wine. The event will be at 876 Tanager St in Incline Village.

Halloween Show in the Beer Garden

Come get spooky with Alibi Ale Works – Incline Public House on Saturday night. They will be celebrating Halloween with an outdoor show in the beer garden. From 5-8 p.m., DJ Mr. D will be providing spooky tunes. The show will also feature Kandy Xander from Metal Echo along with performances by Tahoe Flow Arts. Make sure to dress for the occasion because there will be a costume contest with prizes.

This will be a $10 reserved seating socially distanced outdoor show. To make reservations please call 775-831-8300.

LTCC presents a pair of new art exhibits

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Despite COVID, art continues to be fundamental at Lake Tahoe Community College. Students, staff, and the entire community are all invited to safely and virtually enjoy two new art exhibits housed at the South Tahoe campus.

Loren Madsen’s “Worry Beads” are one of the pieces on display. The piece is a large sculpture of wood-carved beads strung together like a chain with each bead representing one year between 1945 to 2017. Each individual bead’s size tells a story about how many terrorist-caused deaths occurred in that year globally.

It makes for a sublime piece of woodworking skill and a powerful political statement. The sculpture is placed in LTCC’s Haldan Gallery. Meet the artist, Loren Madsen, and hear about his techniques in a free virtual artist talk at 6 p.m., Thursday Oct. 29. RSVP by visiting https://arttech43.wixsite.com/website and clicking the “RSVP” button. A Zoom link will be sent after.

In the Foyer Gallery is painter Daniel Albanese’s “Stumped: Imaginary Former Treescapes.” This former scene painter for the movies, including “What Dreams May Come” and “Anna and the King.” Albanese is now based here in South Lake Tahoe. Whether he is painting the human figure, an intimate still life or fantasy paintings based on observations of nature, his virtuosic use of oil paint is always evident.

His current series of paintings featured in this exhibit are based on observations of the very humble forms of dead and decaying tree stumps.

Both of these exhibits can be enjoyed from anywhere for free by visitinghttps://arttech43.wixsite.com/website.

Survey reveals ski resort visitors’ top concerns for upcoming winter

A study showing the COVID-related sentiment of visitors to mountain resort destinations for the upcoming winter.
ABOUT INSIGHTS COLLECTIVE

The Insights Collective is a pandemic economy think tank, established to provide insights and actionable recommendations to public and private sector decision makers in leisure travel destinations. For more information, visit www.theinsightscollective.com.

The intention to ski and snowboard this winter is strong, season pass purchase is up nationally, and skiers are planning for a socially-distanced, face-covered winter at mountain resorts, with some adjustments to their typical behavior. 

These topics and more were part of a comprehensive national survey that RRC Associates conducted with skiers and snowboarders in September of 2020. The survey received over 20,000 responses from all corners of the U.S. and provides unique insight to what skiers and snowboarders are expecting for the 2020/21 season. 

The results of the survey give local leaders and resort staff critical information about what visitors, locals, and second homeowners are thinking about in terms of safety, adjustments, concerns and behaviors for this winter. 

“Understanding what our visitors are thinking before they get to our resorts is critical,” said Kelly Pawlak, President and CEO of National Ski Areas Association. “This information is another helpful tool we will use to open the winter season with the safety of our staff and guests front and center.”

Visitor concerns

The survey showed that one of the biggest concerns of both visitors and locals alike is whether ski resorts will be able to stay open all winter. People are worried about a situation like the one in March, when resorts were forced to close abruptly. About two-thirds of visitors and locals indicated that they were concerned about Coronavirus-related closures of ski areas. Resorts have been making preparations to address that issue, but maintaining focus on staying open all winter will be critical.

“At our resort we are meeting daily and sometimes multiple times a day internally to stay aware of trends and changes in the way this pandemic is behaving regionally,” said Nick Polumbus, Director of Marketing and Sales at Whitefish Mountain Resort. “We know that it will take constant attention to trends as well as our own protocols and procedures to keep the virus in check and the lifts spinning.”

Other concerns among local residents are whether guests follow health and safety protocols, the overall health and safety of the community, and visitors from major cities/hot spots. Additionally, locals are focused on the potential impact of COVID-19 on the local economy. These legitimate concerns among local residents are important for local leaders to monitor and communicate with community members. 

Adjusting behaviors

In terms of skier behavior at the mountain this winter, survey results show that most snowsports enthusiasts are already planning to wear a face covering around the base area and while riding lifts, to make an online appointment to rent equipment, and to eat lunch at their car or outside. The survey also revealed they are generally OK with longer lift lines due to unrelated parties not riding together on chairlifts. Knowing what the guests know ahead of time gives ski areas a head start on guest education and safety. 

“Skiers and riders continue to show that they’ll do what it takes to get out on the hill. I am encouraged by the willingness of skiers/riders to wear masks and socially distance. This level of flexibility and resilience among snowsports enthusiasts is impressive, even during a pandemic,” said Jesse True from the Insights Collective.

Skiing midweek will be more common, with nearly half of survey respondents saying they are more likely to ski midweek this winter. Increases in midweek skiing will contribute to spreading skier visits out across the week and could alleviate some weekend crowding, a significant concern for resort operators. On the other hand, carpooling will be somewhat less popular and could therefore strain resort parking infrastructure. 

Most downhill skiers do not plan on changing their behavior when it comes to enrolling children in midweek ski lessons (rather than weekends), participation in half-day ski lessons (rather than full-day lessons), or partaking in off-mountain activities like snowshoeing, backcountry skiing, and snowmobiling, Nevertheless, about 1/4 of survey respondents are more likely to take part in off-mountain activities, and resort areas can help to show visitors how to access and safely participate in those alternate activities. 

“Resorts and resort towns will need to have plans in place to accommodate this additional demand for alternate activities and to manage capacity appropriately,” said Barb Carpenter, of the Insights Collective. “Communication with visitors about the availability and safety of alternate activities will be key to ensuring a good guest experience.”

Since comfort with dispersed outdoor recreation like ice skating and Nordic skiing is incredibly high, demand for these activities – beyond that from the downhill skiers and snowboarders represented in the survey – is anticipated to be elevated this winter. 

Preparing for a different ski season ahead

Communication with visitors will have to be accurate, nimble and frequent. Fortunately, skiers are very receptive to opting-in to receive text message updates from resorts. Email and resort or town apps are also good ways to communicate information to visitors. Towns and ski areas should be planning to use these methods to communicate with visitors this winter.

“This continual use of technology to manage the visitor experience in an effort to provide a seamless experience will become a standard going forward for destinations,” said Carl Ribaudo, President of SMG Consulting and a member of the Insights Collective.

The majority of second homeowners are not anticipating changing the way they normally use their second homes this winter. However, about one in five ski area second homeowners said they would plan to use their home more for themselves or for friends/family, rather than renting it out, which could have implications for the short-term rental inventory in some resort towns. Indeed, skiers responded in the survey that they are more comfortable with rent-by-owner lodging than with a traditional hotel, for a variety of reasons, including safety, cleanliness and the ability to make and eat meals more easily. 

These national-level survey results might play out somewhat differently in specific resort towns across the U.S.; however, the results indicate that ski area and town leaders should anticipate a positive, though different, ski season than the past, and that safety, cleanliness, communication, and flexibility will be critical to that success.

LTUSD confirms positive COVID case at school

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Someone at a South Lake Tahoe school has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Lake Tahoe Unified District officials announced Wednesday evening that someone at Bijou Community School, which serves students in kindergarten through fifth grade, tested positive for COVID-19.

“The LTUSD is monitoring the health of our students and staff and publicly sharing active COVID-19 positive cases in our school district,” said a press release from Dr. Annamarie Cohen, director of special services. “Proactive reporting is part of our commitment to our community. Our families and employees are notified whenever there is a positive COVID-19 case within the district and within the school site.”

Once someone tests positive, the El Dorado County Health Department begins contract tracing to determine exposure and then makes all determinations on which students and staff will be excluded from school.

If the health department determines that exposure to a student or employee who has tested positive meets the requirements for mandated precautionary quarantine, families and staff who may have been exposed will be immediately advised.

“A precautionary quarantine does not mean that an employee or student is sick or will become sick,” the release said. “Precautionary quarantine is a LTUSD mandated practice to ensure the safety of the student or employee, as well as those teaching and learning around them.”

IVGID board votes to bring Katz legal battle to an end

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — The Incline Village General Improvement District Board of Trustees voted to bring a nearly decade long legal battle with resident Aaron Katz to an end during their Tuesday, Oct. 27 meeting.

After the United States Supreme Court denied Katz’ request for them to hear his case earlier this month, the board had the decision of whether they wanted to ask for additional attorneys fees and costs for their opposition to that request.

However, the amount they could recoup if they asked for the additional costs was only up to $70,000 and they’d have to pay $25,000 for legal representation so Chairman Tim Callicrate said he didn’t think that amount of money was worth the stress. Plus, Callicrate added, that could open them up to additional appeals from Katz which would drag out the process even longer.

The board voted 4-0 to not ask for additional fees and costs. Trustee Matthew Dent was absent from the meeting.

The board also voted to purchase new human resource and finance technology. During public comment, many people expressed concern over the agenda item, specifically that the board was not offered multiple technology companies to choose from.

However, Director of Human Resources Dee Carey, said she had reviewed 14 different vendors in-depth, had received quotes from five of those and ultimately went with Tyler Technologies.

Members of the public also asked about outsourcing payroll services but Carey said with the complexity of the district’s payroll, it didn’t make sense financially to do that.

Trustee Sara Schmitz asked Finance Director Paul Navazio if his department had the bandwidth currently to implement new technology. Navazio said the HR and payroll part of the program is the priority and they could be more flexible in implementing the finance side of the technology.

The board voted 4-0 to approve the purchase.

Finally, Navazio presented the 2021/22 proposed budget calendar. One notable part of the calendar is that the district will be holding three separate budget workshops between December and February instead of the one long marathon workshop they had last year.

The board’s next meeting will be held Nov. 18.

Carson Valley, South Tahoe promotes tourism recovery with #SierraSafely campaign

STATELINE, Nev. — The visitors authorities from both Carson Valley and South Lake Tahoe are using CARES Act funds to promote tourism recovery for Douglas County for the rest of 2020 and that includes a website on how to safely enjoy visiting the Sierra Nevada.

The agencies are using money set aside by county commissioners and welcoming visitors to the region with a “travel safely, adventure greatly” message through the #SierraSafely campaign.

The Carson Valley Visitors Authority and the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority, are using an integrated marketing campaign that includes the SierraSafely.com website, a digitally-driven paid media program, traditional advertising and a comprehensive public relations program, directed towards local and road-trip travelers, said a press release.

“As we all know, tourism has been one of the hardest-hit sectors of our economy, and while Lake Tahoe has seen visitors as restrictions have lifted, our businesses and activities that rely on tourism are impacted,” said Carol Chaplin, president and CEO for the LTVA. “Douglas County recognized this and allocated a budget under the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund (CARES Act) to support a campaign designed to restore travel confidence and talk about what businesses in our destination are doing to keep locals and visitors’ health and safety top of mind. This provides a unique opportunity to collaborate with area partners to reinforce safety messaging to a larger audience that wouldn’t have been possible without this funding.”

While weaving in the safety message, a secondary message of personal responsibility is also evident with an emphasis on responsible travel.

According to Jan Vandermade, executive director for the CVVA, “We need to communicate differently today than we did seven months ago and the safety and welfare of our visitors’ needs remains top of mind. The campaign, while providing needed safety messaging, plays off our natural beauty with the ability to be physically distant as part of our DNA. We’re equally encouraging visitors to enjoy our area while taking personal responsibility. This combined message and collaboration between two naturally beautiful parts of our county is already resonating with our visitors.”

The health and safety message focuses on businesses being open and the outdoors calling along with reminders to maintain proper distance, frequent hand washing, wearing a mask in public spaces and getting in a local state of mind respectful of guidelines and requests.

From an environmental and sustainability-focused standpoint, #SierraSafely encourages visitors to take only photos and leave only footprints, use reusable water bottles to help reduce waste and to dispose of trash – pack it in, pack it out.

The campaign continues through the end of 2020.

For more information on #SierraSafely, visit online at SierraSafely.com.