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Police: 6 now confirmed dead in plane crash near Tahoe

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Six deaths have been confirmed in the crash of a twin-engine jet near a golf course in the Lake Tahoe area, authorities said Wednesday.

The Nevada County Sheriff’s Office said all those aboard the Bombardier CL 600 died when it crashed Monday in a heavily wooded area near the Ponderosa Golf Course in Truckee, near the Northern California border with Nevada. Authorities initially said three people died in the crash.

The identities of the victims weren’t released pending DNA identification. Nobody on the ground was injured.

The aircraft went down several blocks from a runway as the pilot was trying to land at Truckee-Tahoe Airport, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

The plane burst into flames, but the fire was quickly doused.

The National Transportation Safety Board said Wednesday that two of its investigators were on scene investigating the crash. It says the flight originated from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

Officials reported that a plane crash near Truckee has claimed six lives. (Provided / Austyn Harrington)

California follows CDC, advises indoor masks for vaccinated

California’s public health agency recommended on Wednesday that people wear masks indoors, regardless of their vaccination status, while more employers announced that workers must be vaccinated or face testing.

State officials said they were following the lead of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which reversed course on masking rules Tuesday and advised fully vaccinated people to mask up in public indoor settings in areas where transmission is high or substantial.

Meanwhile, the San Jose Unified School District, with more than 30,000 students, said it will require teachers and staff to get inoculated against the coronavirus or get tested twice a week for the coronavirus. Google and Facebook announced a vaccine mandate for returning workers, with exceptions for medical or other reasons. Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday said more than 2.4 million state and health care workers must provide proof of vaccination or be tested.

The changes come amid spiking coronavirus infections and hospitalizations as the highly contagious delta variant sweeps the country with widely varying vaccination rates. The vaccine protects most people from becoming seriously ill or dying. But unlike with previous variants, new data shows that vaccinated people infected with the delta variant “have the potential to spread that virus to others,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.

Virginia McCuistion, who had her mask in her bag while visiting a San Diego beach on Wednesday, said she agrees with the masking recommendation, but is frustrated the country is once again wrangling over masks because people refuse to get vaccinated.

“I think it’s selfish,” she said of people refusing shots. “Too many people are not getting vaccinated so that puts us at risk. I’ve been vaccinated and I’m still worried.”

Although case numbers in California remain well below the winter peak, infections and hospitalizations are rising and health officials fear that not enough people are vaccinated. In California, more than 62% of residents 12 and older are fully vaccinated.

California and some of its counties have been stricter than most in the U.S. in battling the pandemic, imposing earlier and longer economic shutdowns. Despite the caution, officials said more than 90% of the state’s nearly 40 million residents live in areas where community spread is now high or substantial. California’s seven-day positivity rate has jumped to 5.9% from 1.4% a month ago.

“The delta variant has caused a sharp increase in hospitalizations and case rates across the state. We are recommending masking in indoor public places to slow the spread while we continue efforts to get more Californians vaccinated,” said Dr. Tomás J. Aragón, the state’s public health officer.

Yolo and Los Angeles are the only counties to mandate masks for everyone, while most San Francisco Bay Area counties have been encouraging people to cover up indoors.

In announcing the vaccinate-or-test policy this week, Newsom said he wanted to encourage other employers to do the same. The state policy applies to nearly 250,000 state workers and an estimated 2.2 million people who work in private or public health care and long-term care facilities.

San Francisco is now requiring new hires get vaccinated or get an exemption before they start work, while an estimated 35,000 employees already on the job must show proof of inoculation, seek an exemption or risk disciplinary action once the vaccines are given full approval by the Food and Drug Administration.

California State University, the largest four-year university system in the U.S., said on Tuesday it would no longer wait for full FDA approval and instead will require faculty, staff and students to be immunized against COVID-19 if they plan to be on campus this fall.

In San Jose schools, officials are going a step beyond state guidelines and said everyone will be required to mask up indoors and outdoors.

The federal recommendation is a shift from May, when the CDC announced that fully vaccinated people could skip masking in most indoor spaces.

Action: Live at Lakeview returns; Classical Tahoe, Wine Walk on tap

Live at Lakeview returns on Aug. 5 in South Lake Tahoe. (Provided)


SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Live at Lakeview Summer Music Series returns next week.

The ninth season kicks off from 4:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 5, at Lakeview Commons on El Dorado Beach.

The free, weekly concert series that began in 2012 is back after a year and a half, and will host five total events that’ll conclude around Labor Day.

The event is sponsored by the city of South Lake Tahoe, Tahoe Wellness Center and On Course events.

“After a year and a half of not being able to produce concerts for our community, it’s a beautiful thing to see live music making a comeback,” said On Course Events Director of Marketing Leslie Shultz. “The support we’ve received from our event sponsors and vendors has made this short season of events possible. We’re so grateful for this community and excited to provide free shows on the beach once again.”

The event will feature live music and art on El Dorado Beach, with local merchants and new food truck options with amphitheater style seating and beautiful views of the lake from the beer garden.

Festivities begin at 4:30 pm, with Boot Juice and Preacher’s Pickers opening up the event.

“We’re thrilled for Boot Juice and Preacher’s Pickers to open up the long overdue return of Live at Lakeview,” Schultz said. “It’s the perfect group of artists to set the tone for the good vibes and high energy we’ll be delivering to this community for the reminder of the summer.”

According to Music Connection Magazine, “Boot Juice delivers modern American and retro-country, they can go from graceful to gritty at the drop of a cowboy hat.”

Their music will compliment the Preacher’s Pickers perfectly through their own love of folk and classic rock.

This year, the On Course events team is encouraging participation in weekly beach and park cleanups hosted at the Lakeview Commons Monday mornings starting Aug. 2 in an increased effort to take care of the environment that hosts so many fun events.

For more information, visit http://liveatlakeview.com.

Classical Tahoe on North Shore

Classical Tahoe is back for another three weeks of orchestra concerts on the Sierra Nevada University campus. The Classical Tahoe Orchestra includes musicians from orchestras such as Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, LA Phil, and more.

Tickets to the event can be purchased online, with prices ranging from $70 to $155 for the Orchestra concerts, with packages and discounts available at the box office. Show times and events vary from night to night.

For more information, visit https://classicaltahoe.org or call 775-298-0245.

Wine Walk at the Heavenly Village

Heavenly Village is hosting a Wine Walk for the month of August every night in August from 4:30-7:30 p.m. with hand crafted samples from Carson Road Wineries.

The event offers fun food specials for patrons along with chances to win fun prizes at each location participating in the walk. Tickets are available at the event with a $20 donation at the start of the event.

Multiple shops in the Village will be hosting their own tasting stations with selections of their favorite wines from Carson Road Wineries. The winery prides itself in making great wine that’s perfect for sharing.

For more information, visit the Village’s https://theshopsatheavenly.com/.

California, Nevada governors tour Tamarack Fire site

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (front left) and Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak on Wednesday tour homes destroyed by wildfires near where the Tamarack Fire ignited earlier in July. (AP Photo/Sam Metz)

GARDNERVILLE, Nev. — The governors of California and Nevada called for more federal firefighting assistance Wednesday as they toured a region blackened by one of several massive wildfires that have destroyed dozens of homes in the West.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak and California Gov. Gavin Newsom stood on ashen ground as they surveyed burned homes and a mountain range of pine trees charred by the Tamarack Fire south of Lake Tahoe, near Topaz Lake.

The Democrats called on the federal government to provide more firefighting resources and stressed that climate change could make wildfires even more intense and destructive.

Battling large-scale fires with limited resources, the U.S. Forest Service decided in early July to let dozens of lightning fires burn, including the Tamarack Fire.

Sisolak said more support and firefighters would have prevented the U.S. Forest Service from having to make difficult decisions about where to direct its resources.

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak (left) and California Governor Gavin Newsom tour the Tamarack Fire area on Wednesday. (Kurt Hildebrand / Record Courier)

“We need help on the federal side. We need more people coming in. We need more resources. We need more air support. We need more boots on the ground,” Sisolak said.

Nevada firefighters with the East Fork Fire Protection District told Newsom that each year fires are spreading earlier in the season due to hotter, drier weather.

The U.S. Forest Service manages the majority of wildfire-prone land in California. Newsom said the agency is understaffed, underfunded and needs major changes.

“We have a historic framework that has to be thrown out. You can’t look back a decade or two. The world is radically changing as the climate changes. You may not believe in science, you got it with your own damn eyes,” Newsom said, gesturing toward the blackened landscape.

A historic drought and recent heat waves tied to climate change have made wildfires harder to fight in the American West. Scientists say climate change has made the region much warmer and drier in the past 30 years and will continue to make weather more extreme and wildfires more frequent and destructive.

Cooler weather and even rain helped the fight against some of the largest blazes this week but fire officials warned that hotter, drier weather was returning.

The 106-square-mile Tamarack blaze was more than halfway surrounded by containment lines. At least 23 buildings have burned since lightning sparked the fire on July 4.

Evacuation orders for about 2,000 residents on both sides of the state line were lifted early in the week.

Ed and Sonya Amaral returned to their Gardnerville home on Wednesday after being evacuated two weeks ago to find their trees blackened and brittle. The embers scorched nearby homes and an art studio, but spared the Amarals.

The couple believes their home still stands partially due to brush they cleared for a defensible perimeter. When they moved there in October, neighbors told them some of the trees hadn’t burned in two centuries.

“I just told them, ‘Never say never,’” Sonya Amaral said.

They told the governors that they hoped the fires served as a lesson about the importance of fire prevention in forests and neighborhoods.

Tuesday thunderstorms brought rain and cooler, more humid weather that made grass and brush less prone to burning, fire officials said. The chance of thunderstorms with rain, possibly heavy at times, was expected through Friday.

“We’re not doing hand-to-hand combat” on the blaze, Dan Dallas, an incident commander for the fire, said Tuesday evening.

It was a relief from fiercely dry heat that scorched much of the West only a week or two earlier, when flames feeding on bone-dry fuel raged through a dozen states.

California’s largest blaze, the Dixie Fire, was 23% contained but threatened more than 10,000 homes in the region about 175 miles northeast of San Francisco.

The fire had scorched nearly 340 square miles, an area bigger than New York City. Weather conditions trapped smoke over the blaze and the shade helped lower temperatures and keep humidity up but authorities said temperatures could warm to well above normal in the second half of the week.

Wednesday’s report on property losses showed 35 structures and 19 minor structures destroyed, and seven other structures damaged.

Drink of the Week: Toulouse’s Strawberry-Infused Vodka Lemonade

This week’s featured drink is Toulouse’s Strawberry-Infused Vodka. (Rob Galloway / Tahoe Daily Tribune)

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.

“Simplicity is the essence of happiness.”

That quote, stolen from Cedric Bledsoe, might personify this drink perfectly. It’s basic at its core, yet it brings a smile to your face with each drink. It could be just the playfulness that invokes those childhood tastes and memories, but a good drink is a good drink, regardless if there’s alcohol playing a role.

In this case, this drink is not for the littles, so it comes with its own boozy explicit lyrics warning. That’s not to say it might have you talking like sailor (although after a few, who knows), but they go down insanely easy, so you’ve been warned.

It all starts with a three-day soak of fresh strawberries in vodka. That’s combined with homemade lemonade and that’s it. No flower petals. No skewers of food sticking out – just fresh ingredients rocking your lips with every sip.

I’m sure it doesn’t take much of the imagination to wonder what this tastes like, but there’s a freshness that pours through that wants to shake hands with a warm sunny day, making it the perfect porch pounder on the deck at Toulouse.

While there’s plenty of vodka to go around, the strawberry cartwheels in to show the lemonade its there to party. There’s a distinct advantage to the homemade lemonade, and its no more evident because it returns the favor with a somersault or two of its own. Lucky for you the playground is your palette.

When simple puts a smile on your face, just lean back and soak it in. Don’t overthink it. Don’t push it away. Just let it do its thing and enjoy it in the moment. You are, after all, in Tahoe.

Toulouse restaurant is located at 901 Park Ave. in South Lake Tahoe. For menu and more information visit them online at Toulouse.wtf or by phone at 530-600-0060.

Barton raises money for high-tech wheelchairs

Pictured from left to right: Chris Proctor, Dr. Kim Evans, Jennifer Taylor, Marsha Ticas, Dr. Clint Purvance, Angela Moore, Dr. David Norman, Julie Clayton, Diane Roeser-Kinney, Corinna Osborne, Dr. Jeffrey A. Orr, Chris Kiser with Barton’s new wheelchairs.

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Continuing its mission of advancing local healthcare through philanthropy, the Barton Foundation has purchased 30 new high-tech wheelchairs for Barton Health, an award of $90,000.

The wheelchairs have been distributed for use throughout Barton Memorial Hospital, Lake Tahoe Surgery Center, Barton Center for Orthopedics & Wellness, and the Barton Community Health Center.

“Thanks to the generosity of our donors who made this purchase possible, we have replaced outdated wheelchairs with leading-edge chairs that are much more comfortable, lighter and ergonomically designed,” said Chris Kiser, Barton Foundation Executive Director in a press release. “Our Foundation Board of Trustees recognized a need and unanimously voted to fund this award, which has already made a positive impact at Barton.”

The wheelchairs feature ergonomic design: for patients, the seat is higher and more firm, providing easy transition from standing to seated position or from chair to gurney. The chairs can accommodate larger patients and help with easier movement resulting in safer transport mechanisms for staff.

“In a hospital setting, where technology is constantly improving, it’s exciting to see something as fundamental as modern transport equipment making such a big difference,” said Julie Clayton, Chief Nursing Officer with Barton Health in the press release. “We’re thrilled to be on the receiving end of this wonderful gift, which will continue to improve daily experiences for patients, their families and Barton staff.”

For 30 years, the Barton Foundation has been committed to improving the health 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 Foundation has raised more than $20 million to ensure that state-of-the-art medical care is available right here in our community.

For additional details on the Barton Foundation, visit BartonHealth.org/Foundation.


EAT This Week: Maria’s Mexican Restaurant’s Chilaquiles

This week’s featured EAT dish is Maria’s Mexican Restaurant’s Chilaquiles. (Rob Galloway / Tahoe Daily Tribune)

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.

Whether it truly is the most important meal of the day or not, it doesn’t really matter. If you wake up in the morning and you have a pulse, breakfast at Maria’s is a great option now being offered – and just like the mailman, it delivers.

This week it’s all about the traditional Mexican dish of chilaquiles. House made tortilla chips are combined with their famous salsa roja (or green, if you prefer) then sautéed until the chips start to soften. They’re then topped with sour cream, queso fresco, chopped red onions, and a small garnish of cilantro. They’re served with two eggs (your style) and black beans.

I’m going to give you the inside skinny right off the bat. I like my eggs over easy pretty much all time, but this will work regardless of style. Get the tomatillo salsa on the side and pour that right over your eggs. Not only does it give your eggs a whole new take on life, but an option that I’ll get to in a moment.

It’s hard not to start with the red sauce when it comes to the chilaquiles. It’s deep and rich and if you put it on a poker chip I’d go all in. The sour cream combined with the cheese gives you a creamy and saltiness that cuts through the richness and creates supreme balance. The chopped onions add a crunchy and sweet texture and all together feel as comforting as warm hug from your favorite grandma.

But, if you want to go complete commando, here’s where that tidbit from the egg comes in. Break that egg up and let it join forces with the tomatillo salsa. Then, drag the chiliaquiles through the egg (picking up the yolk and salsa), and then take a bite. Put your seats and tray tables up because your taste buds will take off.

The classic freshness Maria’s is known for still reigns supreme, and it’s still vegan-friendly. If you want to punch it up even more, you can add in some avocado and their soy chorizo. Is there such thing as taking it up to 12?

Maria’s Mexican Restaurant is located at 2494 Lake Tahoe Blvd. in South Lake Tahoe. Breakfast menu is served from 7 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. For menu items and general information visit them online at mariaslaketahoe.com or reach them by phone at 530-600-2200.

TART Connect completes 10,000 rides in Incline, Crystal Bay

Officials said the TART Connect program has been a success. (Provided)

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — The TART Connect micro-transit service has delivered more than 10,000 rides to visitors and residents in the Incline Village Crystal Bay area since its launch in late June, officials said on Wednesday.

The project’s popularity has made a meaningful impact on sustainability and accessibility in the region.

“We are thrilled with the early results from TART Connect,” said President/CEO of the Incline Village Crystal Bay Visitors Bureau Andy Chapman in a press release. “Our goal in supporting TART Connect was to provide a convenient and easy-to-use service for visitors and residents alike that would contribute to our regions’ sustainability goals. The early results in terms of ridership and trip miles show this has been an outstanding success.”

IVCBVB provided nearly $200,000 to fund TART Connect in the Incline Village and Crystal Bay area. The Tahoe Transportation District provided the operating authority while the Truckee North Tahoe Transportation Management Association provided operational oversight.

The on-demand, app-based service allows visitors as well as residents of the region to call for a ride — free to users — from anywhere within one of three service areas within North Lake Tahoe, as well as in Kings Beach and Tahoe City Zones.

As of July 26, TART Connect delivered over 17,600 passenger miles worth of rides in Incline Village and Crystal Bay with an average wait time for pickup of just 13 minutes. Passengers who completed a survey following the use of TART Connect rated their experience 4.84 out of 5.

“By making it easy for our residents and visitors to access convenient transit options, we are able to reduce the number of cars on the road which benefits all of us, especially during a busy summer tourism season,” said Chapman. “As we continue to study these early results, we will continue to work to improve the transportation services to meet the needs of the region.”

IVCBVB will continue to work with its partners to analyze the trip and ridership data to understand how residents and visitors are using TART Connect and how best to optimize the service and support the overall sustainability goals of the bureau.

School district hosts hiring event Thursday in Incline

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Washoe County School District this week is hosting a hiring event in Incline Village.

The school district is recruiting for some critical need positions in housekeeping, transportation, substitute teacher services and more.

The event will be held from 3-6 p.m. Thursday, July 29, at Incline Elementary School located at 915 Northwood Boulevard.

Human Resources will be at the event to assist applicants and answer questions.

To see a complete list of available positions, visit https://www.washoeschools.net/Page/1034.

For more information, contact HR Manager Caty Delone at catherine.delone@washoeschools.net or 775-348-0321.

Tamarack Fire recovery begins in Douglas; Full containment expected in late August

Lake Tahoe, from a Zephyr Cove camera, is free of smoke Wednesday morning. (Provided / alertwildfire.org)

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — California State Routes 89 and 4 are reopening Wednesday morning through the Tamarack Fire burn area to through traffic only, officials announced Tuesday.

The reopening is expected at 7 a.m.

“There will be no access on Forest Service lands,” CHP Spokeswoman Ruth Loehr said. “Be advised there is still firefighting work being done in many areas. Use caution and reduce speeds on roadways as firefighting vehicles will be on the roads.”

While firefighters continue to battle the blaze that is at 68,327 acres, 59% contained and has covered 106-square-miles.

Utility companies are also working in the burn area to restore services and repair destroyed equipment.

Officials said repairs may require road closures up to two hours and without notice. Repairs are scheduled for 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Monday, July 31 through Aug. 2.

Efforts to contain the blaze were helped Tuesday by rain from thunderstorms moving through the region.

“This wet stuff fell out of the sky that I barely remembered and recognized,” Dan Dallas, an incident commander for the fire, said Tuesday evening at a briefing.

“This wet stuff fell out of the sky that I barely remembered and recognized,” — Dan Dallas, an incident commander for the fire.

The fire is expected to continue burning through August. Officials have set a 100% containment date of Aug. 31.

Air quality at Lake Tahoe has improved and no smoke, or haze, is lingering in the region Wednesday morning. The National Weather Service in Reno has also removed the smoke and haze from its forecast for the rest of the week.

Douglas County has moved to a recovery phase after all evacuations have been lifted there.

“Both shelter locations have been closed, allowing Douglas County to focus on providing recovery resources to residents who have been impacted by the fire,” said a press release.

Officials on July 25 began notifying residents who had lost their homes. The county has personnel available to answer questions regarding recovery and support at the Topaz Ranch Estate Community and Senior Center 3939 Carter Dr. Wellington, Nev., from 1-4 p.m. through at least Friday, July 30.

A web page has been created with links and resources regarding recovery.

This page includes information regarding what to do when returning home after an evacuation and a fire, emotional and behavioral health resources, and contact information for a variety of support agencies.

Residents should check all utility connections including propane tanks for damage and to reach out to the Douglas County Community Development building department with questions regarding building safety.

Douglas Disposal secured three locations for debris boxes for residents affected by the fire to use. The boxes will be placed at the following locations starting Wednesday, July 28:

Topaz Ranch Estate Community Center, 3939 Carter Dr, Wellington, NV (SR208 and Albite Rd)

Carson Tahoe Regional Health Center, 3324 Highland Way, Gardnerville, NV (US Hwy 395 and Highland Way)

Topaz Event Center, (1929 US Hwy 395 S, Gardnerville, NV (US Hwy 395 and Topaz Park Rd).

All Douglas County residents affected by the Tamarack Fire are allowed to dump spoiled food waste and household trash at any of these temporary disposal locations. Residents affected by the fire are also allowed to bring spoiled food waste and household trash to the Douglas County Transfer Station at no cost from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.

Residents who need to dispose of burned material should contact Douglas Disposal at 775-782-5713 or Douglas County Public Works at 775-783-6480.

A map of the Tamarack Fire with containment lines in black. (Provided)