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Lake Tahoe resorts receive several more inches of snow

After receiving around 1 foot of new snow earlier this week, Lake Tahoe ski resorts received several more inches of snow overnight.

Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows received 5 inches of new snow, according to a Sunday morning report from onthesnow.com.

Heavenly Mountain Resort reported 2 inches of new snow Sunday morning.

All three resorts are open today. Squaw reported 18 inches of new snow earlier this week. Heavenly reported 8 inches of new snow earlier in the week.

Brian Dahle, Kevin Kiley talk issues, trade jabs in race for California Senate District 1 seat

The June 4 election for the state Senate District 1 seat is under a month away, though many voters already may have their ballots in hand.

The state Senate district includes parts of or all of 11 different counties, with El Dorado County being among them.

There’s only one question on that ballot: Brian Dahle or Kevin Kiley for state Senate District 1.

Dahle, 53, and Kiley, 34, are Republican assemblymen who took first and second place, respectively, in a March 26 primary for the seat. Neither received 50% plus one vote, requiring the June 4 runoff.

The candidates who failed to meet the top two threshold are Republicans Theodore Dziuba, 34; and Rex Hime, 70; and Democrat Silke Pflueger, 53. Democrat Steve Baird said he withdrew from the race, though his name remained on the ballot.

Baird, who ran as a Republican for the state Senate seat in 2016, drew controversy over his withdrawal. Some Democrats claimed his candidacy siphoned votes from Pflueger. A campaign advert sent on behalf of Dahle suggested Republicans should support Dahle and urged Democrats to cast votes for Baird.

Dahle

Brian Dahle

Brian Dahle, in an interview with The Union (the Tribune’s sister publication in Grass Valley), said the issues important to people depend on where they live.

Folks surrounded by trees are concerned about fire and worried about losing their insurance. Crime and homelessness are concerns everywhere, but pronounced along the Interstate 5 and 80 and corridors. Transportation is key in the Tahoe area. Broadband internet and health care top many people’s lists.

Dahle argued he’s the best person to serve as the District 1 state senator and help provide solutions to the area’s issues. He pointed to past successes like $1 billion he helped secure for vegetation management.

Dahle noted his opponent cast no vote for the legislation providing the funding.

Dahle has also brought legislators to his Assembly district, providing them a perspective they otherwise wouldn’t get. One such tour is scheduled for next week, he said.

Dahle said he and his opponent agree on much. They’re both Republicans. They both oppose sanctuary state status.

“The difference is quite clear to me — it’s experience,” Dahle said of what differentiates him from Kiley. “I don’t just author legislation or author resolutions. He authors them, but he doesn’t get them out of committee.

“My ability to get things done,” Dahle added. “That’s the main thing for me.”

Dahle emphasized that he’s a business owner and meets his payroll every two weeks. It’s a theme he spoke about during the primary campaign.

Asked about marijuana’s legalization, Dahle said he favors local control. As a former Lassen County supervisor, Dahle said he grew frustrated when the state imposed on local government.

According to Dahle, medicinal and recreational cannabis laws conflict with each other. He proposed setting both aside and having a statewide ballot initiative creating new rules for its regulation, taxation and control.

“Most consumers have no idea what they’re getting,” Dahle said. “There’s still a lot of inconsistencies.”

Switching topics — Dahle called it “crazy” for the state Senate to pass a bill prohibiting a candidate’s name from appearing on the primary ballot if they don’t release their tax returns. He said it appeared unconstitutional — a characterization Kiley also used.

President Donald Trump has refused to release his returns.

Addressing Kiley’s claim that he’s foregoing forums, Dahle said it’s been challenging to schedule events. The large district coupled with school schedules makes it difficult.

Dahle said he’d consider participating in a Facebook Live forum, as suggested by The Union Editorial Board.

“I look forward to representing Nevada County in the Senate,” Dahle said.

Kiley

Kevin Kiley

Kevin Kiley came out swinging.

In an interview with The Union, Kiley claimed that special interests and lobbyists support Dahle. They’ve contributed to his campaign. They want him in office.

Kiley is quick to say voters should support his opponent for the state Senate District 1 seat, if they believe the Legislature works well.

“Brian’s someone who’s been in politics a long time,” Kiley said. “He’s very much a part of the culture of the state Capitol.

“If you think things have been going well, you should certainly vote for Brian,” Kiley added moments later.

But if people want change in Sacramento, they should cast their vote for Kiley, he said.

“I’ve come to the Capitol to shake things up,” Kiley added.

Dahle served for years as a Lassen County supervisor before joining the state Assembly in 2013.

Kiley, who took state office in 2017, dismissed the suggestion that Dahle’s experience makes him better suited to serve in the state Senate. Kiley said he would bring new leadership and a break from special interests.

Kiley lambasted what he called defamatory tactics by Dahle in the campaign. He pointed to a “doctored” photograph placing himself next to Democratic U.S. Sen. and former California Attorney General Kamala Harris.

Kiley has served as a deputy attorney general. However, he said he never stood next to Harris and opposes her policies.

“I think it’s even worse than politics as usual,” Kiley said. “It crosses a line when you doctor a photograph. It’s defamatory.”

Fielding questions about the issues, Kiley said he was no supporter of the legalization of marijuana. However, California voters have spoken. He said it’s essential local governments maintain control over the permitting of cannabis businesses.

Kiley decried a recent move by the state Senate to prohibit a presidential candidate’s name from appearing on the 2020 primary ballot, unless that person releases five years of tax returns.

“It’s an absurdity,” Kiley said. “The bill is blatantly unconstitutional.”

Kiley said he’d be accessible as a state senator to Nevada County residents. He’d hold forums and attend community coffee events to meet with people, hear their ideas and state his own positions. He again slammed Dahle for failing to attend debates.

“I have agreed to debate him anytime, anywhere,” Kiley said. “That’s pretty basic.”

Kiley agreed to a suggestion by The Union Editorial Board, saying he’d participate in a Facebook Live forum with Dahle.

“I think it’s a vitally important election for the future of the state,” he said.

Pogacar, van der Breggen hold on to win Tour of California

PASADENA, Calif. — Tadej Pogacar did the work necessary to win the Tour of California on the steep climb of Mt. Baldy.

His team did the work it needed for him to win on the run-in to Pasadena.

With big names going on the attack midway through the final stage Saturday, UAE Team Emirates was able to consistently keep their young star out of trouble. And when the field came back for a sprint at the Rose Bowl, all Pogacar had to do was raise his hands in overall victory.

Cees Bol of Team Sunweb won the group sprint ahead of three-time world champion Peter Sagan to win the seventh stage, while Jasper Philipsen capped a big day for Team Emirates with a third-place run.

Pogacar’s first WorldTour stage race victory came ahead of Sergio Iguita, who went on the attack on one of the day’s final climbs, and Kasper Asgreen of the strong Deceuninck-Quick Step team.

“This was my main goal this year,” said the 20-year-old Pogacar, who was inspired to pick up cycling by his brother. “I knew that I was prepared. I surprised myself a bit that I took the overall win, but I’m really happy and I’m looking forward to next year.”

In the three-stage women’s race, Olympic champion Anna van der Breggen held the lead she took on the first stage all the way to Pasadena, finishing 29 seconds ahead of teammate Katie Hall.

Elisa Balsamo beat Arlenis Sierra and Leigh Ann Ganzer in a sprint on the final stage.

“It’s really special,” said van der Breggen, who finished just behind Hall on the Stage 2 climb to Mt. Baldy. “Katie won here last year and I the year before. We get to work together now. Yeah, getting a one-two result, we didn’t think that was possible before. It’s great for the spirit of the team.”

The short final stage took riders 126 kilometers from the San Gabriel Mountains to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. And with Pogacar holding a 16-second lead on Higuita after his win on Mt. Baldy, the contenders knew they had to make something happen on the short hills midway through the stage.

Max Shachmann got into an early breakaway with Davide Ballerini, Alex Hoehn and a handful of other strong climbers. Asgreen soon attacked the lead group, but their advantage over Pogacar’s chase group was not enough to prevent the field coming together during the final circuits around the stadium.

Deceuninck-Quick Step, which had a strong week of racing, set the tempo for its sprinter, Fabio Jakobsen, and Team Ineos tried to set up Kristoffer Halvorsen with a lead-out. But it was Bol, riding for Team Sunweb, who timed his sprint perfectly to nip Sagan at the line.

“It was quite a chaotic stage,” Sagan said. “I probably reacted a bit late to Bol’s sprint.”

Philipsen’s third-place finish helped him secure the best young rider jersey, while Asgreen won the points jersey as the top sprinter and Ballerini secured the king of the mountains jersey.

“This is my first time here in California. It’s beautiful country,” Ballerini said. “I tried to win a stage but it wasn’t easy. I tried to get away also today, but it was a very short, fast stage.”

That was good news for Pogacar, who was able to hold onto his 16-second advantage over Higuita, riding for EF Education First. Asgreen was another second back to round out the podium, while former race winner George Bennett was 29 seconds back in fourth for his Team Jumbo-Visma.

Asked where the relatively unknown Pogacar picked up his beyond-his-years poise and tactics, he replied: “I think from all the racing over the years, with great coaching. I’ve been racing 10 years now and you learn stuff. But I still don’t know everything.”

It seems as if van der Breggen does.

The world’s best rider by a wide margin, van der Breggen stayed close to the front of the peloton as it reeled in the breakaway, helping to ensure the final stage of the women’s race would be a sprint.

American rider Coryn Rivera came to the front and was just starting to ramp up the speed when she sustained a mechanical problem at the worst possible moment. That opened the door for Balsamo, who held off Sierra and Ganzer with Chloe Dygert of the U.S. right behind in fourth.

Van der Breggen and Hall were joined on the final podium by Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio.

“It was a hard stage race. Three beautiful stages,” van der Breggen said. “They didn’t make it easy for us the last day. We’re really happy to finish first and second. It’s a great result.”

UC regents hike out-of-state student tuition by $762

SAN FRANCISCO — The University of California is raising tuition by hundreds of dollars for out-of-state and international students.

KQED-TV says the UC Board of Regents approved a $762 hike on Thursday despite loud protests from students.

The increase amounts to 2.6% and will take effect for the 2019-2020 school year. That comes on top of a nearly $1,000 hike approved last year.

Students coming to UC schools from abroad or out of state will now pay more than $42,000 a year in tuition and fees.

That’s more than three times what students from California pay.

The tuition increase is expected to bring the university system about $26 million. Nearly $3 million of that additional revenue will be set aside for financial aid for students coming from out of state.

Barton Foundation accepting grant applications for community health and well-being

The Barton Foundation is accepting grant applications from local programs and services that positively impact the health of the South Shore community.

In total, the foundation plans to award $50,000 in grant funding, according to a press release.

Grant criteria and the application can be found online at bartonhealth.org/foundation/grants. For information, contact Tania Pilkinton at 530-543-5614.

The Barton Foundation’s community grants fund local programs that address the area’s most pressing health needs, as identified by Barton Health’s Community Health Needs Assessment: mental health, substance abuse, and access to healthcare services.

Grant proposals addressing one or more of these top three issues will be prioritized, according to Barton

Local organizations including government agencies, nonprofits and schools are encouraged to apply.

The Barton Foundation’s 2018 community grant cycle supported 13 local nonprofits:

A Balanced Life, funding mindfulness based stress reduction for South Tahoe Middle School students.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of El Dorado County, providing support for at-risk youth through mentoring programs.

Boys and Girls Club of Lake Tahoe, for a camp focused on social and emotional growth for at-risk children.

Kelly Ridge Affordable Housing for Seniors, funding health-related educational programs.

Live Violence Free, supporting a free inter-agency child advocate and therapy service program.

Mt. Tallac High School, funding mental health and resilience programs for at-risk youth.

NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), for mental health community outreach.

SOS Outreach, providing continued support and character development to underserved youth.

Sierra House PTA, funding programs to help students, parents, and staff build strong relationships.

South Lake Tahoe Cancer League, providing funding for cancer patients’ transportation to their treatments.

South Tahoe High School Ally Club, to offer support services that decrease LGBTQ student anxiety and stress.

Tahoe Coalition for the Homeless, supporting services for adults experiencing homelessness.

Tahoe Youth & Family Services, to provide free youth counseling services at South Tahoe Middle School and South Tahoe High School.

The application period for the 2019 Barton Foundation community grant cycle ends at midnight on Friday, May 31, according to Barton.

Grant applications will be reviewed by the Community Health Advisory Committee (CHAC). The CHAC is comprised of community leaders, elected officials, clinicians, Barton Health staff, and non-profit stakeholders.

For information on programs available through the Barton Foundation that benefit community health and well-being, visit bartonhealth.org/foundation.

El Dorado County election officials hosting town halls

With changes coming to how El Dorado County conducts elections, officials have planned a series of town halls to discuss the changes.

El Dorado County Registrar of Voters Bill O’Neill will explain the changes that will be implemented in 2020 as a result of the passage of the California Voters Choice Act, Senate Bill 450.

The bill requires counties to operate one voter center operating 11 days per 50,000 residents and one four-day vote center for every 10,000 voters prior to Election Day, according to the county. The mandate means El Dorado County must have a total of 13 vote centers.

SB 450 requires one drop box for every 15,000 voters, meaning there will be nine drop boxes in the county.

“While we must have vote centers, the legislation does allow each county to decide for itself where they will be located,” O’Neill said in a press release.

The town halls are intended to educate residents about the legislation and seek input on the desired vote center locations.

“Vote centers provide more convenience than polling places, as voters can vote at any center in the county,” O’Neill said. “They can also receive services they could previously only get at the elections office.”

All meetings start at 6 p.m. Meeting dates and locations are:

Monday, May 20, at the Board of Supervisors chambers at 330 Fair Lane in Placerville;

Tuesday, May 21, at the Lake Tahoe Community College Aspen Room at 1 College Drive;

Thursday May 23, at the El Dorado Hills Fire Station at 1050 Wilson Blvd., El Dorado Hills.

Douglas County chairman says he regrets behavior at meeting where fight occurred

Douglas County Commission Chairman Barry Penzel issued a statement addressing Thursday’s meeting where a fight broke out between commissioners.

“As the Chairman of the Douglas County Board of County Commissioners, I would like to express that I regret the behavior which occurred during the Board of County Commissioners Meeting on May 16,” he said. “This is not the way we wish to conduct business for the people of Douglas County.  I am committed to working on settling our differences in a more appropriate manner in the future.”

Douglas County deputies were called to the Tahoe Transportation Center at 5:55 p.m., just minutes after a heated exchange between Penzel and Commissioner John Engels, who had just finished reading a five-page statement critical of the commissioners supporting Redevelopment Area No. 2.

Penzel called a recess and he, Engels and Commissioner Larry Walsh walked into the room behind the tables.

The Sheriff’s Office reported that a fight took place that resulted in an injury. Engels came out with a bleeding arm and was treated by paramedics. He did not participate in the rest of the meeting.

Penzel took closing public comment, which focused on the redevelopment area, after which commissioners voted 3-1 to continue the issue to the next meeting at Lake Tahoe, which should be June 20.

Citing an open and ongoing investigation, the sheriff’s office did not provide additional information. The case will be referred to the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office for review.

County commissioners are scheduled to meet again 3 p.m. Monday to finalize the budget and once more on Thursday in a joint session with planning commissioners.

Pogacar wins Stage 6 of Tour of California to take lead

ONTARIO, Calif. — UAE Team Emirates began its week at the Tour of California by sending home one of its riders upon learning that his name had surfaced in a European investigation into doping in cycling.

The team appears set to end it with the overall race lead.

Tadej Pogacar reeled in several top contenders on Friday’s final climb to Mt. Baldy, then matched every attack thrown down by Sergio Higuita. That allowed him to reach the finish line first and take not only the sixth stage but also the lead in the general classification with just a day of racing to go.

In the women’s race, American climber Katie Hall surged in the final couple kilometers up Mt. Baldy before holding off teammate Anna van der Breggen for the stage win. Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio was third.

Van der Breggen retained the overall lead by 29 seconds over Hall, the defending race winner.

UAE Team Emirates has ridden this week without Kristijan Durasek, who was caught up in the Austrian doping probe. But it hardly mattered for Pogacar, who stayed out of trouble during the earlier stages and was in fourth place and 16 seconds adrift of Tejay van Garderen entering Friday’s stage.

Van Garderen’s team tried to pace him to the top, but the 2013 race winner cracked before some of his EF-Education First teammates. Gianni Mascon of Team Ineos, who had been third, also dropped off the brutal pace up the steep Mt. Baldy climb, throwing the race wide open.

George Bennett tried to join the fray in the closing kilometer, but he was unable to make up the ground on Pogacar and Higuita, making it a true duel to the finish line.

Higuita led the way heading to the final corner, but the diminutive Colombian swung low and took a better line, allowing him to pull ahead and sprint clear for the victory.

He now leads by 16 seconds ahead of Higuita with Kasper Asgreen in third.

Several riders in the women’s race tried to attack on the tough climb of Mt. Baldy, too, and Omer Shapira was the first to offer a truly dangerous move. Hall soon followed with about 2½ kilometers (1 ½ miles) to go, and van der Breggen soon bridged to make a trio of riders at the front.

Shapira was unable to keep up with Hall and van der Breggen, the reigning world champion. That left the two Boels-Dolmans riders to duel on the final kilometer to the summit, and Hall made the pass within sight of the finish line to snag the stage victory.

The final stage Saturday takes the men and women 126 kilometers (78 miles) from Santa Clarita to Pasadena, but both overall leaders will be expected to protect their jerseys before the finish at the Rose Bowl.

California lawmakers nix temporary marijuana tax cut

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — An effort to jumpstart California’s licensed marijuana retailers failed to clear a key legislative committee on Thursday, likely dooming its prospects for the year as the country’s largest legal cannabis industry continues to flounder in the shadow of the illegal — and tax free — black market.

Prices for legal marijuana products are inflated in California by the 15% tax consumers have to pay at the cash register and a cultivation tax on growers of $148-per-pound for the flower and $44 per pound for the leaves.

A group of state lawmakers, led by Democrat Assemblyman Rob Bonta, had hoped to temporarily lower the sales tax to 11% and suspend the cultivation taxes for 2 ½ years to help retailers compete with prices on the black market.

A Bonta spokesman said he had agreed to eliminate the sales tax portion of the bill in the hopes it would attract enough votes to get it out of committee and have a chance to pass. But the bill failed to clear the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Thursday, meaning it won’t advance to the Assembly Floor and is likely dead for the year.

“I’m really disappointed,” said Tiffany Devitt, chief compliance officer for CannaCraft, a cannabis manufacturer and distributor. “We’re being crushed by the black market.”

It’s possible lawmakers could revive it using legislative maneuvers later this year, but it’s unclear if they want to do that.

California’s marijuana tax collections are not at all what lawmakers had expected after voters agreed to legalize the drug in a state with nearly 40 million people.

State officials estimate that if marijuana tax collections continue on their current pace — which is hard to predict because the industry is so new — the state will collect $270 million this year. That’s $85 million less than initial estimates.

Last week, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration lowered marijuana tax revenue estimates for the budget year that begins July 1 by $223 million.

“The taxes are so high that there is a big incentive to avoid them,” said Dale Gieringer, director of pro-marijuana group California NORML. “The black market is presently at least as large or larger as the legal market.”

State taxes are not the only barrier to California’s emerging marijuana market. Industry advocates say local taxes and requirements on licensing and lab testing add up to make a legal marijuana business more expensive. Plus, retailers often don’t have a place to put their money because most banks won’t accept it because selling marijuana is still a federal crime.

Efforts to address the banking problem did survive the legislative deadline. The Senate Appropriations Committee advanced Senate Bill 51, which would create cannabis-limited charter banks and cannabis-limited charter credit unions. The law would allow those financial institutions to cash special-purpose checks.

“We can’t sit by while the safety of legal business owners, their employees, and the general public are put at risk. SB 51 represents a first step in getting cannabis cash off the street and integrating these legal businesses into our economy,” Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, said in a news release.

Ski season ain’t over: Lake Tahoe resorts report 8 – 18 inches of new snow in 2 days

The calendar says mid-May but for skiers and riders at Lake Tahoe the season just does not want to end.

A blast of winter weather delivered a fresh coat of Sierra powder to the few resorts that are still operating for the season.

Heavenly Mountain Resort, which will continue Friday-through-Sunday operations until Memorial Day, reported 8 inches of new snow in 48 hours Friday morning.

Skiers and riders tear down the mountain at Heavenly Mountain Resort
Ryan Hoffman via Instagram

Mountain access is available via the gondola. The resort will close after Memorial Day.

Squaw Valley, which plans to move to weekend-only operations after Memorial Day, reported 18 inches in 48 hours Friday morning.

The resort plans to keep spinning lifts until July 7.

This will be the last weekend of operations for Alpine Meadows, which reported 16 inches of new snow in 48 hours.

While we’re moving toward the closing dates for some resorts, it’s not due to a lack of snow.

More is in the forecast for this weekend, when a winter weather advisory is slated to take effect.